Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Unpopular Opinion 5: Games SPC Liked That Many Did Not

Opinions are like tadpoles... or something that rhymes with that. Anyway, not every opinion in the world is a popular one, especially when it comes to games, which is the whole focus of SuperPhillip Central! Over the nearly nine years SuperPhillip Central has been around, we've occasionally taken the road less traveled on our opinions. Now, it isn't done to rock the boat or be difficult. Sometimes, SuperPhillip Central just likes or dislikes a game that many love or hate just because that's how we're wired. The Unpopular Opinion series of articles hits its fifth installment, detailing more games that weren't widely well received, but ended up being games we enjoyed.

For past installments for your convenience, check out these links:

The Unpopular Opinion
The Unpopular Opinion 2
The Unpopular Opinion 3
The Unpopular Opinion 4

Star Fox Zero (Wii U)

Listed by some outlets and critics on their picks for most disappointing games, SuperPhillip Central had a different take on Star Fox Zero. Now, let's not lie here and say that the unorthodox controls are for everyone. You have to sometimes turn your attention to both screens, the TV and the Wii U GamePad, but many times you're just taking a quick glimpse at the cockpit view to get a beat on surrounding enemies or to quickly shoot at an off-screen foe. With practice, this becomes second nature, and if it didn't, then I wouldn't have acquired all of the game's medals through proficient play. Perhaps it's not the Star Fox game that many wanted, but SuperPhillip Central will be darned if Star Fox Zero was a fun experiment.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS)

Fools and children are the types of people who look at a list, see one or two games on it that they don't agree with, and then dismiss the opinion of someone immediately. These people probably shouldn't read SuperPhillip Central or sites like it, then (aka Stay off the Internet). Metroid Prime: Federation Force, like Star Fox Zero, wasn't the Metroid game fans were expecting, but unlike Zero, Federation Force wasn't like any traditional Metroid game. Instead, it was a squad shooter, best played with friends. Of course, playing the game by oneself was very much possible, and this reviewer actually did that to start, finding no problems with doing so. While Federation Force was not like Metroid at all, what it was like was a much more action-focused Metroid Prime game, having missions that rarely repeated their objectives. One you'd be luring ice titans into cages to lock them inside while another you'd be exiting your mech, stealthily entering a Space Pirate stronghold. The point here is that Metroid Prime: Federation Force wasn't what even SuperPhillip Central was expecting from Nintendo, but the end result was hardly an abomination. Instead, it was great fun.

Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)

Killzone is a tale of a video game franchise that had so much potential, but was marred with games that just didn't do anything too special. Though, if we're talking about the PlayStation Vita exclusive entry, Mercenary, then that's a totally different story. That game rocked. With the PlayStation 4 launch title, Killzone: Shadow Fall, what players got was more open-ended level design and pretty standard first-person shooting gameplay. Although much of Killzone: Shadow Fall was "been there, done that", a cool addition to the formula was that of OWL, a robotic buddy that could be used to temporarily stun enemies with a quick jolt, something to summon an electric shield, and a tool to create a makeshift zipline to access faraway portions of levels. The campaign was enjoyable enough to play through multiple times, even doing a no-death run, and the multiplayer wasn't too shabby either, though, developers, stop forcing multiplayer achievements and trophies into your games-- PLEASE. Anyway, Killzone: Shadow Fall might not astonish in any one area, but all in all, it's a thrilling game and fine initial showpiece of the PS4's hardware power.

LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4, PS3)

Despite launching as a buggy piece of crap, LittleBigPlanet 3 eventually went on to become another enjoyable entry in the series. Introducing some new concepts to the aging formula (seriously, we need a shake up with the series!) like new playable character types, new gadgets, and multi-tiered levels that could stretch back 16 layers instead of just 3, LittleBigPlanet 3 continued to show off the creative tool set that Media Molecule originally created back with the very first LittleBigPlanet. Creating levels and other goodies can be as simple or as complex as a creator wants it, and the end result is something one can easily be proud of, sharing it with the still-very-active community. While there are still some bugs and glitches to be found in the game, LittleBigPlanet 3 is far from the monstrosity it was when it originally launched.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Wii U, 3DS)

The Mario & Sonic series always sees two of the most iconic characters in gaming history team up for some friendly Olympic fun*. (*Your results may vary.) While the latest Olympic release starring the portly plumber and the Blue Blur improves upon the formula in some ways, in others it wasn't so successful. Talking about the latter first, the lack of Dream Events, fantasy versions of Olympic events set in Mario and Sonic's various worlds, was very disappointing. The Duel events that replaced them weren't nearly as good substitutions. Regardless, the events play better for those who can't stand any type of motion controls. Instead, those were replaced with all analog controls, so instead of shaking a Wii Remote like a madman, you can mash on a button like a madman. Sure, some events weren't nearly as fun without motion controls, but they all still provided a certain level of fun. The local multiplayer allowed for up to four players to participate in solo events or the career mode, a nice, challenging change of pace, all adding up to a multiplayer game that remains enjoyable even long after the real Rio Olympics ended.

Mario Party 10 (Wii U)

ND Cube took over from former Mario Party developer Hudson Soft, who was swallowed up Konami. ND Cube has since tried to change up the Mario Party formula to varying degrees of success. With Mario Party 10, the formula from the Wii's Mario Party 9 continued with players sharing the same car, and depending on who was the driver, different actions would happen along the five major boards. While a traditional Mario Party experience would have been better (as seen in the Amiibo-compatible mode), there was a stronger focus on skill than usual, especially compared to Mario Party 9. The mini-games were a strong point, something that ND Cube continues to do really well with the series, and the addition of a mode where the Wii U GamePad player controlled Bowser changed things up for a nice side mode, though a short-lived one. Ultimately, Mario Party 10 was a worthwhile installment, although it's very easy to see why it wasn't liked by every player who came by to join the party.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

A launch title for Nintendo's mega-hit Wii, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was part of Sega's milking of the franchise, one that would see games on a wide range of platforms within a very limited range of time. Regardless, Banana Blitz saw multiple new mechanics to the Super Monkey Ball series, such as the motion control movement, which worked as advertised; the ability to jump, which made for some interestingly designed levels; and boss battles, engagements that delivered crafty encounters and heavy hijinks. While the multiplayer featured an overabundance of lame mini-games, the ones that did shine shined rather bright. Couple that with a colorful art style and one of the most infectiously catchy soundtracks on the Wii, and you have a Super Monkey Ball entry that wasn't perfect, but something that SuperPhillip Central ended up enjoying.

ModNation Racers: Road Trip (Vita)

Sure, the lack of traditional online play seems and was a ridiculous exclusion that would have made the game much more appealing, but ModNation Racers: Road Trip possessed some worthy qualities to almost make up for that. For one, the much more streamlined single-player campaign featured wonderful track design and an AI that was fun to race against and seldom overly irritating. The item progression and drifting to get boost or shield energy made for a fairer kart racing experience than many Mario Kart games. Then, you had the ability to create, share, and download custom tracks and racers, many showcasing the amazing creativity of the small but active ModNation Racers: Road Trip community. All of these aspects of Road Trip made for a PlayStation Vita launch title that was an enjoyable and deep racing experience.

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