Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Classics I Can Return To - Part Nine

It's been almost a year (two days shy, in fact) since I last presented a look at modern video game classics that I can come back to time and time again. These games are indeed classics in every form of the word. Just like last E3, this E3 we're delving deep again into six modern-day classics from the industry's recent years to see which ones players like myself will see themselves returning to perpetually in the coming weeks, months, years and even decades.

For past parts of Classics I Can Return To, check out the previous eight articles listed here for your convenience:

Super Mario Odyssey (NSW)

Mario came back in a big way with his newest 3D platforming adventure last year, and it was SuperPhillip Central's runner-up for best game of 2017. Super Mario Odyssey was a world-trekking adventure that brought Mario from prehistoric waterfalls and an isle of eateries to sun-parched deserts and glistening beach sands. Mario's arsenal of moves was never as large and encompassing as it was in Odyssey, and it gave players so many ways to conquer platforming challenges. The addition of Cappy to capture particular enemies and objects showed a brilliant stroke of creativity, and it really brought something novel in the process. Super Mario Odyssey has as much replay value as you want--you can either collect the bare minimum Power Moons to beat the game, you can collect all 999 of them, or you can shoot for a goal in between. It's all up to you, and I can't help but want to gather all 999 Power Moons all over again, as Super Mario Odyssey is a magnificent, masterful platforming adventure that is tailored to all ages and skill levels.

Horizon: Zero Dawn (PS4)

Quite possibly my favorite brand-new protagonist in gaming in 2017 was Aloy from Guerrilla Games's Horizon: Zero Dawn for the PlayStation 4. Strong, independent, smart and highly capable in combat, Aloy was a joy to play as. Stealthily sneaking through tall grass, carefully approaching the robotic enemies of the game, and then swooping in for the kill was always a pleasure, but I oftentimes found myself wanting to engage with enemies directly, as the combat in Horizon: Zero Dawn was immensely satisfying. While the open world aspects of the game had me more often than not just looking at a map for icons instead of exploring and learning the world, this small, niggling issue I had with Horizon doesn't deter me from wanting to step back into the lovingly crafted world Guerrilla Games made. With the Frozen Wilds expansion, there is even more of an excuse to return to Horizon: Zero Dawn, and beyond that, I see myself coming back to the game quite often.

Dragon Ball FighterZ (PS4, XB1, PC)

With the recent rumor and even more recent announcement of Dragon Ball FighterZ arriving on the Nintendo Switch with limited (if any) compromises in either docked or undocked form, you can bet your seven Dragon Balls that I'm going to jump back into this Arc System Works-developed fighting game. When I played it originally on the PlayStation 4, I saw a fighter that perfectly resembled the high octane action and speed of the anime, complete with a fighting system that was accessible for all, yet challenging enough that only the very best (or the very patient) could master it. The roster of combatants already available in the game pre-DLC was phenomenal, with each character feeling different enough from one another, while the actual DLC introduced even more roster additions that were most welcome. I greatly look forward to returning to the arena of Dragon Ball FighterZ, obliterating an opponent with a Kamehameha, and launching them directly into a mountain. Ah, hell. Who am I kidding? I'm going to be on the receiving end of that just like in the PS4 version! I'm looking forward to it anyway!

Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy (PS4, XB1, NSW)

Although Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is still exclusive to the PlayStation 4 as of now, in two weeks it won't be with the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One releases. Three games for a bargain price, Crash Bandicoot's glorious return with some revamped and remade games from his very first trilogy of adventures was a most exciting one and gives hope for the bandicoot's return with a brand-new game. New content still comes to the game, as announced at E3 this week, with a never-before-seen level called Future Tense. Nevertheless, even without the inclusion of new levels (the count now stands at two), Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy is an insane value. Sure, the first game doesn't really hold up with its brutal, occasionally unfair difficulty, but overall, the complete package is more than worth its weight in Wumpa Fruits.

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition (NSW)

To tell you how much I love Hyrule Warriors, The Legend of Zelda version of Dynasty Warriors, I've now purchased the game three times: Once with the original Wii U game, once with the expanded content of the Nintendo 3DS game (though possessing vastly downgraded visuals, as one could easily figure), and now, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch. This version of the game comes packed with all of the characters (DLC included, which I never purchased on either the Wii U or 3DS versions), Adventure mode maps, weapons, costumes, features and modes of the past versions of Hyrule Warriors, alongside some graphical upgrades and quality of life improvements. I've put in over 60 hours into the Nintendo Switch version, and I'm nowhere near completing everything that this truly definitive edition of Hyrule Warriors has to offer. Whether it's investing a couple of hours to knocking out several missions at once, or turning on my Switch for a quick mission to complete, any play style is perfect with the Switch.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Multi)

You have to admire the team at Yacht Club Games, as they continue to support their darling indie game, Shovel Knight, with loads of new content. Already we've seen two new campaigns for two of Plague Knight and Specter Knight, introducing fresh gameplay mechanics and levels in the mix, and a third is shortly on its way starring King Knight. The original Shovel Knight game by itself was a tremendous success, a superb 2D platformer hearkening back to the NES days, and a highly entertaining romp with plenty of content to it. The DLC campaigns make it so there's always a reason to return to Shovel Knight, but even without them, the game is a retro-inspired wonder that is as addictive as the classics it's modeled after and inspired by.

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