Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Classics I Can Return To - Part Eight

Hello, everyone! I hope you're enjoying E3 2017 whether you're actually in Los Angeles or consuming every bit of new possible via video or on sites like these. Welcome to another installment of Classics I, your owner and main operator of SuperPhillip Central, Phil, Can Return To! This series of articles goes into seemingly infinitely replayable games that I either actually do play quite often or will come back to eventually. They're either games that are full blown classics or games that I perceive to be modern classics. This part of Classics contains a mix of the two, featuring franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, and Grand Theft Auto, to name a few. What games that you consider classics do you find yourself coming back to?

For past parts of Classics I Can Return To, here are all seven for your convenience.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NS, Wii U)

Certainly a contender for Game of the Year so far, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild "breathed" new life into The Legend of Zelda franchise as a whole after so many entries following the same standard formula for so long. It took inspiration mostly from the very first game as seen on the NES, featuring a world you can easily get lost in (where that was most of the fun), little direction to guide you from place to place, and a means to go wherever you wanted (but not without it own obvious risks in doing so). Just one play-through can feel infinite in itself with everything you can do. I've played over 80 hours (and that's on the short side of most folks' time with the game), and I'm still witnessing new things in the world, new places to find, and things I can do with enemies, the environments, and objects that I never even knew existed. Breath of the Wild is an insanely well crafted open world game that didn't just breathe new life to Zelda as previously mentioned, but breathed new life into the open world sub-genre of games.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (NS)

It says something about the quality and entertainment factor of a game where I can enjoy the original and play it for so many dozens of hours and feel compelled to buy an upgraded and updated version on another console. Mario Kart 8 was one of those games that did well on the Wii U but was limited in features for the most part (and stuck on a doomed console). Nintendo cleverly ported the game to the Nintendo Switch, which is doing awesomely so far, but added new content to make the upgrade worth it. Such new content included a totally revamped and improved Battle Mode (featuring five modes and actual battle arenas this time around instead of retro-fitted tracks from the Grand Prix mode), new characters, new kart pieces, new accessibility features, and much more. This was all while including every bit of content including the DLC from the original Wii U Mario Kart 8. With that, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a winner in my book, a worthwhile purchase despite already logging so many hours into the Wii U original, and a game I obviously can replay without issue.

Grand Theft Auto V (Multi)

Speaking of games I purchased again because I loved them so much and the upgrades were wholly worthwhile, we have one of the best selling games of all time with Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar and Take Two are killing it with the game, constantly showing up on monthly and weekly bestseller charts in both North America and Europe respectively. The story campaign alone is deep enough and filled with so much content that it could take months to fully digest it all, especially if you just like to joyride around the city, causing trouble, and having an entourage of cops cars on your tail. However, the real longevity of Grand Theft Auto V comes from its online counterpart, included with the game. Constantly updated with fresh features, Grand Theft Auto Online continues to get support from Rockstar and is key in why the game is easy to want to come back to for many players, including myself.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (PS4)

With a new trailer shown at E3 2017 of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which is an expansion story to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, why not mention Nathan Drake's final chapter? It is in fact a modern classic by every meaning of the world. The globetrotting adventure is larger than ever before, the stakes are positively at their highest, the story is engrossing and engaging, and the various action moments in the game are to die for. Well, not literally, unless you let an enemy flank you, or you miss a jump, or you get blown to smithereens by a grenade. That notwithstanding, I hope to have a review of Uncharted 4 by the end of this month as a means to have a look back at the game a year after its release and far beyond the hype. Though as the game is on a list of games I'll come back to, it's probably no surprise how much I still enjoy it.

Super Metroid (SNES)

With not one but two new Metroid titles announced at E3 (which should appease Metroid fans for all but a minute probably), it's the perfect opportunity to bring up one of Samus Aran's most fondly remembered missions. That mission was in the Super Nintendo classic, Super Metroid. Whether I was intricately exploring every inch of Zebes for secret alcoves containing energy or missile upgrades, or trying to complete the game as fast as possible by speed-running it, Super Metroid was a game got in to far after its initial release. In fact, my first time playing it was on the Wii Virtual Console. You could say with all of my play-throughs of the game now that I've more than made up for lost time.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (GEN)

We conclude this edition of Classics I Can Return To with by far my favorite 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game, Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It combines both Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its expansion, Sonic & Knuckles, into one lengthy adventure encapsulating multiple playable characters, Chaos and Master Emeralds to collect, and new story elements not found in either Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles by themselves. This cyborg of Sonic games (even the construction of putting the Sonic 3 cartridge into the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge looked some mechanical monstrosity) features my favorite collection of zones in any Sonic game, and there are seldom any moments I dread playing, which I can't say for any other Sonic adventure. While I enjoyed other 2D Sonics, even modern ones like the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series, Sonic 3 & Knuckles remains my top tier 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game.

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