Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Most Overlooked Current Gen Games - Part Eight

There's no shortage of great video games out there, but not all go on to sell millions or get a huge following. That's why SuperPhillip Central's "Most Overlooked" series of articles came to fruition. SuperPhillip Central once again puts the spotlight on some games that either fell through the figurative cracks or just didn't get as much attention as they may have deserved from the gaming populace. This edition's list features super speedy mascot racers, precision platforming with bikes, and one underrated series of b-ball playgrounds.

Before you leap in to this edition's five choices, check out past installments of Most Overlooked Current Gen Games with the following links:

Current Gen - Part One
Current Gen - Part Two
Current Gen - Part Three
Current Gen - Part Four
Current Gen - Part Five
Current Gen - Part Six
Current Gen - Part Seven

Team Sonic Racing (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


We start with the most recently released game on this list, and although Team Sonic Racing reached number one in its first week in the UK market, the competition wasn't all that taxing. In May 2019's NPD results for the U.S., Team Sonic Racing failed to make much of a dent on the sales charts, debuting at 19th place with all systems included. It's disappointing, as the game is considerably a great deal of fun with excellent and enjoyable track design, sensational speeds, and an engaging campaign mode that can be played alone or with help from a friend. The lack of SEGA's other all-star characters like previous SEGA + Sumo Digital racers and releasing a month before the more ambitious and hyped Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled certainly didn't do Team Sonic Racing any favors.

Trials Rising (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


The latest in the long-running Trials series, Trials Rising, came and went in its launch month last February without too much fanfare. Between the levels, which are the best in the Trials series, and the wonderful "one more time" gameplay, Trials Rising delivered an immense amount of thrills and--if you're as amateur a player as I am--spills. The added rider customization options brought forth a lot of creativity within the Trials Rising community, but things like loot boxes, inventory glitches, and slow progression put off many players and potential players-to-be. Still, even with the issues--and this isn't of course a means to excuse them--Trials Rising ended up being a raucously good time that encouraged patience and precision in perfecting levels, besting times, and hitting the top of the leaderboards.

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


We go from one game with microtransactions and loot boxes to another with NBA 2K Playgrounds 2. No doubt the figurative taste of the overall unsatisfactory NBA Playgrounds put many players off of the 2K-funded sequel. However, if you don't mind the randomness of unlocking the particular NBA all-star you want to play as, as the game uses a system where you earn players randomly from purchased card packs (which can be bought with in-game currency or yes, real-world money), then you'll find a lot to enjoy about NBA 2K Playgrounds 2's most important part of its B-ball experience, the actual gameplay itself. Dunking the ball on your opponent and making a clutch half-court buzzer-beater will never stop being entertaining (unless you're the opponent, of course), and I happily spent dozens of hours engaged with NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 after overestimating how aggressive the microtransactions would be coming from 2K. (Note: They weren't a force to be reckoned with whatsoever.)

Super Bomberman R: Shiny Edition (PS4, XB1, PC)


Success on the Nintendo Switch does not mean success on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Steam. At least that's the story of Super Bomberman R's debut on the latter three platforms. Not only did the players on these platforms get an exclusive character each, but they got the broken-in version of Super Bomberman R. Essentially, Switch owners were beta testers as the game added patches and updates to make for a better game. Said better game was what PS4, Xbox, and Steam players received right from the get-go with all of the AI difficulties balanced, camera issues worked out, and content like new characters and arenas added. Unfortunately, it's good luck finding anyone online to play Super Bomberman R with if you're searching for a random lobby to join, as the game's online scene is a ghost town.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (NSW)


With the official E3 2019 announcement of No More Heroes 3, it's an opportune time to mention the side game that predates it and even hinted at NMH3 as well, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes for the Nintendo Switch. Always destined to be a cult favorite at best and left to obscurity at worst due to its gameplay style and wacky, eccentric charm, Travis Strikes Again managed to be an entertaining ride from beginning to end. The isometric perspective and hack and slash gameplay wasn't always on point, but the style and sheer insanity of the story and intriguing characters more than made up for it. I always wanted to see what strange twist would pop up next. With the game announced to be arriving on more platforms, I hope more players will get to deep dive into Travis Strike Again: No More Heroes in anticipation for the third mainline installment in the No More Heroes series.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Book A Trip to These Exotic Summer Vacation Video Game Destinations

It's the first full day of summer, and SuperPhillip Central wishes you a peaceful and relaxing season. What better way to enjoy this time of year than to book a trip to one of the following exciting video game destinations perfect for summertime. Forget the hassle of planning some extravagant vacation, the long lines at the airport terminal, the annoying plane passenger in front of you who insists on reclining his seat all the way back, and all that other nonsense. Let the most prominent video game travel booking business on the 'net*--SuperPhillip Central's Virtual Vacations--entice you to take a digital trip to some truly terrific locales in some excellent games instead!

*Your frequent flyer mileage may vary.

Isle Delfino - Super Mario Sunshine (GCN)


Let's begin our glimpse at some prime summer hotspots with one of the quintessential summer getaways--one that gaming's most famous mascot has ventured to at least once. It's the tropical Isle Delfino from the Nintendo GameCube's Super Mario Sunshine. Go hopping around Bianco Hills, get your feet wet in the pristine waters of Gelato Beach, spend the day having fun in the sun at the Pinna Park amusement park, and return back to home base at the glorious sunny shores of Delfino Plaza at the end of the day. How do you speak summer? We at SPC Virtual Vacations speak it "Super Mario Sunshine's Isle Delfino."

Bubblaine - Super Mario Odyssey (NSW)


Perhaps you're wanting something more modern out of your summer vacation? While Isle Delfino is a fantastic choice, it's awfully dated. How about another selection from the world of Mario, this time from Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch? Welcome to Bubblaine in the Seaside Kingdom, where every dive underwater will have you belching on your way up due to the carbonated water that flows from Bubblaine's central soda fountain. Don't be embarrassed--it's your summer vacation, so burp and belch all you'd like! In Bubblaine you can scale a massive lighthouse, go exploring in the bubbling deep, catch a ride on a duo of Dorries, or play catch with the local beach-dwelling puppy dog. Who's a good boy? Yes, you're a good boy, doggy!

Dolphin Shoals - Mario Kart 8 (NSW, Wii U)


Perhaps the slow, plodding pace of rest and relaxation on a summer vacation doesn't fulfill your sense of thrill. Instead, maybe your idea of a satisfying and exciting vacation is speeding through an almost wholly submerged racetrack as you jet along the waters accompanied by aquatic friends. That's what Mario Kart 8's Dolphin Shoals delivers in spades... well, perhaps we should say "delivers in dolphins and other deep sea delights", as there are no spades to actually speak of. Regardless of semantics, wind through underwater passageways, ride on the back of the gigantic Unagi eel, speed along the cliffs overlooking an ocean twister, and do it all under the warmth of a tropical sun.

Eventide Island - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NSW, Wii U)


If you're like us at SPC Virtual Vacations, you don't like your vacation simply handed to you on a silver platter. And even if you did, you'd want that silver platter to degrade after several uses anyway! The point here is that why be given a vacation when you can make a memorable adventure for yourself while marooned on the glorious shores of Eventide Island! This very special destination from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features all the resources one would and could possibly need to live on the island, and--if for some ridiculous reason you'd ever want to--escape. From its picturesque plateau of palm trees to its extra friendly humongous Hinox that loves to go "clubbing" with guests, Eventide Island is an impressive and innovative area of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It will make any vacationer not only have to play by its unique set of rules, but also overcome them in a truly unique challenge to the game.

Besaid Island - Final Fantasy X (PS2)


Sure, you can go to Isle Delfino or some other fancy tropical shmopical island, but SPC Virtual Vacations knows you by now! You're a person of taste and culture. You're one to go down lesser traveled roads. You're one to thumb up your nose to the mainstream, and what better way to do than that go to a lesser frequented summer getaway, where the water is always warm, the people are seldom unkind, and the island's Blitzball team is the worst in the league. It's Besaid Island, and this locale from Final Fantasy X is home to a bounty of beauty in every inch of this small luxurious island.

Costa del Sol - Final Fantasy VII (PS1)


Then again, maybe Besaid Island is too... folksy for your tastes. Why share an island when you can own an inn? That's exactly what you can do in Final Fantasy VII's Costa del Sol, and with the remake of the game coming in March of next year (though the first episode will most likely be limited to Midgar), it's a nice idea to book your trip to the "House of Sun" seaside summer town before it becomes overrun with other tourists seeking a similar hit of nostalgia.

Destiny Islands - Kingdom Hearts series


Let's now plan for a trip that's just as wholesome and nostalgic as it is beautiful and scenic. It's the Destiny Islands from the Kingdom Hearts series, seen various times throughout Sora's saga. It's where our adventure begins and it's where some incredibly important events in the Kingdom Hearts franchise take place. Feel free to do battle with local islander Riku, but fair warning--he's a bit of a brooding fellow at first until he's comfortable with you. Also, maybe don't go near that cave in the center of the island. Just trust me on this one.

Emerald Coast - Sonic Adventure (DC)


Nothing says Sonic Adventure like fast speeds along with some more methodical platforming sections. The game's Emerald Coast boasted a tremendous first impression for players, and it will definitely make a splendid spot to spend some of your summertime in. Bounce from spring to spring along the wooden docks as you speed from beach to beach, and what's that there? Oh, it's just a happy little whale playfully giving chase to anyone who approaches its dock, just like Sonic the Hedgehog, for instance. Emerald Coast is a rockin' azure blue world that made for a memorable locale for owners of the Dreamcast at the system's 1999 launch, and it will make for a great destination to soak up some sun while speeding along the coast as well.

Treasure Trove Cove - Banjo-Kazooie (N64, XBLA)


With the surprise E3 2019 announcement of the bear and bird pair of Banjo and Kazooie arriving in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this fall, if you're anything like me, you're chomping at the bit (beak?) to dig in to the bounty of sands on the beach of Banjo-Kazooie's Treasure Trove Cove. This second world in the Nintendo 64 classic has plenty to delight cove-goers including a large sandcastle with a friendly face inside, a lighthouse sitting at the very top of the cove, a wrecked pirate ship that one can explore, sprawling beaches where there are definitely NOT any angry crabs roaming them, nor are they ready to snap at any vacationer willing to approach them, and there's CERTAINLY no fear of swimming in the ocean waters as there are NO sharks to speak of.

Crash Cove - Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled (PS4, XB1, NSW)


From one cove to another, if you somehow aren't gifted with the ability to breathe underwater as you participate in an exhilarating race, then we at SPC Virtual Vacations do not recommend booking a trip to Mario Kart 8's Dolphin Shoals. But, if you'd still like the scenic sights of the sea without having to enter into it (unless you're a poor driver, of course), then we offer a suitable supplement summertime location for you: Crash Team Racing's Crash Cove, the opening racetrack of the game. The recently remade and released Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, offers a view of this bountiful beach in high-definition beauty for the very first time, allowing racers to speed along the shoreline of the island cove with the sunset shining brightly on the sand and seas. While not an optimal place to perfect one's power-slide, Crash Cove does offer a breezy course to get some practice in before going to the big leagues in CTR.

Planet Pokitaru - Ratchet & Clank (PS4)


Who needs just one area when you can have a whole planet to enjoy? Come to beautiful Planet Pokitaru for a tropical locale where you can get away from it all. Okay, sure, you might not be able to get away from the spiked fish that love to harass tourists, nor the slime creatures that overrun the nearby plant, but you cannot deny that Planet Pokitaru is a picturesque place nevertheless! Seen in both the original Ratchet & Clank and made even more fabulous and fantastic in the 2016 remake, Pokitaru is all sun, all fun, and some danger--but who doesn't like a little danger in their lives, am I right?

Kanaloa Beach Golf Resort - Everybody's Golf (PS4)


Are you a bit of an outdoors-man or outdoors-woman? These three final locales on SuperPhillip Central's picks for spectacular summer vacation video game destinations offer plenty of activities to enjoy your time spent outside. Tee up and go golfing on the prestigious Kanaloa Beach Golf Resort from the Everybody's Golf franchise's PlayStation 4 debut. This resort is set under a breathtaking sunset and surrounded by a generous helping of ocean, perfect for getting some fishing in between rounds. When you're not golfing or fishing, it's just as fun to go joyriding around the resort's premises via golf cart. Just don't tell the resort staff that SPC Virtual Vacations put that idea in your head... Whether on the fairways, greens, or if you're like us, the bunkers or out of bounds, you'll find something to love at the Kanaloa Beach Golf Resort in Everybody's Golf.

Splash Beach - Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn (3DS)


At first, all seems quiet at Splash Beach from Kirby's Epic Yarn and its Nintendo 3DS port. Nighttime has already fallen on the serene sands and waters of the beach, but with enough exploring and examinations into the skies, you can reveal the sun--simultaneously revealing a hustling and bustling beach! Looks are indeed deceiving at Splash Beach, so take a dive in the now sun-soaked seas of the beach (you might even be asked to make a... wait for it... "splash") or save your skin and beat the heat under the shade of one of many beach umbrellas also serving as platforms for any "jumpy" beach-goers out there.

Lake Orangatanga - Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble (SNES)


We've reached the last place on SuperPhillip Central's list of summer vacay stops, and unlike most of the hot spots on this list, this particular pick will take us camping. After all, you needn't have tropical sights and sounds to think of summertime! Sometimes all you need is the great outdoors, and boy, will you get it with Donkey Kong Country 3's Lake Orangatanga. Some camps are home to arts and crafts. BO-RING. This lake is home to Kongs and Kremlings instead! There are also cold tundras to the northeast to slip and slide around in, as well as massive barns full of barrels--including one particularly big barrel who has a bit of a belching problem. For a camp experience that will have you make some wonderful memories without having to worry about sunburns and mosquitoes, look no further than spending your summer at Camp Lake Orangatanga and do it Donkey Kong Country-style!

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That's all from SuperPhillip Central Virtual Vacations! Whether you're actually going on a real vacation this summer or just planning on having a good ol' stay-cation with some awesome games, have a great summer, everyone!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package (NSW) Review

Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package launched a little bit ago on the Nintendo Switch, giving Nintendo players a taste of the Saints Row series for the first time. A Nintendo 3DS game was in development early in the system's life, but that game never did live to see the light of day. Now, after all this time, Saints Row is on a Nintendo platform, and here's the SuperPhillip Central review of the third installment's Switch version.

The Saints go marching in onto the Nintendo Switch.


Up until Saints Row: The Third, the Saints Row series and Rockstar's own Grand Theft Auto games took a slightly serious approach to the open world, crime story formula. With the third installment of Saints Row, developer Volition opted to diverge from the serious route, going with a decidedly zanier and more ridiculous approach. No longer was the series rooted in reality--quite the opposite, in fact. Now, Saints Row: The Third reaches the Nintendo Switch with all of its previous separate DLC included right on the cartridge with Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package. You get everything you could ever want out of Saints Row's third entry, including some added problems.

You play as the fully customizable leader of the Saints gang, who since Saints Row 2, are now a gang of fame, literal celebrities in crime. They have their own comic book, their own series of clothing stores, and even a sports drink! The city of Steelport is the new setting for Saints Row: The Third, and every gang in the area wants to dominate it for themselves--from a highly computer-literate gang of Goths to a gang of steroid-crazed Luchadores. 

When the Third Street Saints go marching in, you know things are about to go down.
Starting out in Saints Row: The Third, the Saints are at a disadvantage. Streets are full of unfriendly faces, and the Saints' claim to Steelport is limited at best--and that's putting it nicely. Through completing missions--both story-related and optional--as well as purchasing properties with hard-earned money, the Saints slowly can stake claim in more of Steelport. It's pretty cool to chart the Saints' progress of claiming Steelport, with the gang just having a meager crib to work with at first, and then by the end of the game being able to control all of the bustling metropolis. 

Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Apparently start a shootout with Steelport's finest!
Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package comes packed with content, as its secondary subtitle alludes. In the base game alone, there is plenty of activities to participate in and enjoy. There's, of course, the story-related missions, but there's also the immense lineup of side activities. I'm talking about activities where you destroy as much as possible on foot or in a friggin' tank, escorting a capable AI partner to their various drug deals, assassination missions, vehicle thefts, running into traffic to commit insurance fraud, destroying gang operations, finding money pallets, blow-up dolls, and drugs scatted around Steelport, and even an activity where you carefully drive around in a convertible with a very hungry tiger in the passenger seat. 

That laser beam is a bit too close for the leader of the Saints' liking.
Additionally, the DLC missions that come included in The Full Package feature three different side stories, such as following the trail of a cloned, hulking Johnny Gat, starring in a movie shoot with real life dangers, and participating in a murder-friendly game show where you perform dangerous tasks like rolling a giant ball of yarn while causing as much destruction as possible and blazing through the sky as you pass through rings and murder costumed mascots for money. 

Yes, those are zombies. (I told you this third installment got quite a bit zany.)
The Full Package on the Nintendo Switch offers two more modes for players as well--the game's version of a Horde mode ("cleverly" called Whored Mode), where you try to survive as many waves of enemies as possible, in addition to co-operative play for the campaign. The latter is available for online or local play, which requires each player to have their own Switch (unfortunately, there's no split-screen option to speak of). 

This luchador just got dunked on.
Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package received a "Day One" patch (I put that in quotation marks because the patch was delayed to a week after release), which made a buggy and near broken Nintendo Switch version of the game much more playable. I'm pleased with the overall quality of the game post-patch. The frame-rate is passable, but it can very much fluctuates in a noticeable manner at times--particularly when the action picks up and the screen is overloaded with enemies and explosions. The video capture function of the Switch for Saints Row: The Third is pretty useless as well, because it takes the footage of the game and turns it into a slide show frame-rate-wise. It's honestly much worse than what you have in the actual game.

Steelport has seen nicer nights, as evident by the billboard
 on the right not fully loading in until you approach it closely.
The controls of Saints Row: The Third work well enough save for one issue I've picked up on. Trying to sprint by holding down the R button doesn't always work. It seems eight times out of ten your character will actually starting running, but the other two times nothing will happen. It's pretty frustrating when you're at dangerously low health and the game won't register that you're hitting the sprint button. Other than that, vehicles take some getting used to and don't have the tightness of control that I would like--but that was an issue with the original Saints Row: The Third and not a new issue with this Switch version.

G...Gah. I-I'm sorry I called you "Baldy McSteroids."
In many ways, Saints Row: The Third is a product of its name, quite dated. This isn't just relegated to some design, presentation, or control-related features either. Perhaps now that I'm older and wiser, I find some of the humor and content in the game just reprehensible and juvenile when back when the original game released I found it amusing and entertaining. There are just flat out many moments in this Nintendo Switch run of Saints Row: The Third that I was just embarrassed and sometimes simply uncomfortable to be playing through them. 

And yes, those are guys in gimp gear pulling carriages in this chase sequence.
...No further comment.
That aside, as long as you know that Saints Row: The Third is very dated in many gameplay ways as well as some cultural aspects, you'll find that it's a really enjoyable GTA clone. It's one that's not afraid of having fun and not taking itself so seriously. (Though, again, some moments shine brighter than others.) With Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package, Nintendo Switch owners have a game that can fill that open world city-based void in the system's library--just so they also know that the level of polish and presentation isn't exactly of the highest caliber. Still, for the amount of off-the-wall fun one can get out of Saints Row's debut on a Nintendo system, The Full Package is worth taking to the streets of Steelport for, warts and all.

[SPC Says: B-]

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (Multi) Launch Trailer

The loving moniker of "IGAvania" has returned, and so has the style of game with today's release of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Nintendo Switch owners will have to wait another week before getting their hands on the game, but for everyone else, it's time to crack a whip and get to slaying some demons!

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition (NSW) E3 2019 Reveal Trailer

There are still some more trailers from E3 2019 to sink SuperPhillip Central's teeth into the week after the big event. One of the amazing ports coming to the Nintendo Switch is that of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition, fully realized on Nintendo's hybrid console. How will it run on the Switch? Will there need to be some serious downgrades to get The Witcher 3 running competently on the system? We'll find out later this year when The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition's open world traversal arrives on the Nintendo Switch.

Monday, June 17, 2019

All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries - Part Thirteen

If you've been around SuperPhillip Central for a little while (it's still okay if you haven't, so no harm done), then you know that I like talking about underrated and overlooked games. I've done various series on the subject. However, most of the time, the games mentioned in these articles are from wholly new or overlooked franchises themselves.

There are also a multitude of series that I can think of that have one, two, or a handful of games in it that aren't viewed as highly as the others, whether just or not.

These ideas are where the concept of All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries comes from, and since our 12th edition, I've come up with six more underrated entries to big-time franchises, some bigger than others. If you'd like to see past parts of this long-running series, check them out here:




Final Fantasy - World of Final Fantasy (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC, Vita)


Our first game on this edition of All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries comes from a franchise that is quite storied and a long-lasting one, Final Fantasy. With Final Fantasy VII Remake officially pinned down for a March 2020 release, I figured it'd be an opportune time to talk about a Final Fantasy game that is on the opposite side of the popularity spectrum. That's not to say World of Final Fantasy and its enhanced Maxima version are bemoaned by franchise fans, but it also doesn't mean that World of Final Fantasy is considered anything more than a cult classic at best. The ability to capture and do battle with familiar Final Fantasy monsters, return to several memorable locations with Final Fantasy favorite heroes and heroines, all joined by a captivating game made World of Final Fantasy quite a treasure to behold. World of Final Fantasy is a family-friendly, sensational love letter to fans of Final Fantasy.

Valkyria Chronicles - Valkyria Chronicles 4 (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


SEGA seems to have a tremendous skill in sending out many of its games to just falter in a crowded release period. For a franchise that seldom saw sensational sales like Valkyria Chronicles, it was a death sentence for the game's fourth mainline installment to release in the busy pre-holiday season that it did. Offering a refined update to the tried and true tactical RPG action that the series is known for, Valkyria Chronicles 4 failed to become a darling on the sales charts, despite its great quality. It's an obvious shame, as now the Valkyria Chronicles series may be like a rusty old tank now, doomed to spend who knows how long in a hangar in SEGA's arsenal of retired franchises.

Trials - Trials Rising (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


You can teach an old franchise new tricks, and that's exactly what the developers at Ubisoft did with Trials Rising. Now, I'll get this out of the way that Trials Rising is far from the optimal game in the series--what, with its loot boxes, progression, and disordered level select menu, but it says something about the game where I could easily overlook those issues because of just how much fun I was having with Trials Rising. Between fully customizing the look of my rider, finding the best lines and paths to take in tracks to get those elusive Diamond medals, and simply enjoying competing against the AI or other human players made for a fantastic Trials offering. The collection of tracks and courses in Trials Rising is the best the series has yet to see, and despite the serious issues (including some nasty glitches) with the game, Trials Rising made me smile more than it got me frustrated.

Killzone - Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4)


A previous edition of All-Star Franchises, Underrated Entries had Killzone: Mercenary from the PlayStation Vita in it. While I don't dare argue that the PlayStation 4 launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall holds a candle to it, I don't dare argue that the game is a poor first-person shooter either. In fact, it's quite good and amazed me with its quality. Between the open-ended level design, the high-octane action, and the highly enjoyable multiplayer, Killzone: Shadow Fall managed to be a game that I couldn't help but want to play through again and again--even going as far as to play through the whole campaign without dying and earning the trophy for this achievement. (Brag session over.) While Guerrilla Games has gone on to bigger and better projects such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, I still maintain that the developer's work on Killzone and Killzone: Shadow Fall is truly terrific.

Hot Shots Golf / Everybody's Golf - Everybody's Golf (PS4)


Everybody's Golf VR recently launched on PlayStation VR, so why not take to the tee with the first Everybody's Golf outing on the PlayStation 4 with--well--Everybody's Golf! Anime avatars playing realistic golf on one of five courses doesn't have a worldwide appeal, but for those that did play a round or two...hundred of Everybody's Golf found an exceptionally well built golf game. Well, I should clarify that it was exceptionally well built with its mechanics and course design. The progression system was an entirely different story, forcing players to play rounds on the same courses over and over again before unlocking new courses to enjoy. Said courses could be traversed entirely, allowing for some fun exploration, as well as some unique mini-games such as fishing. Everybody's Golf isn't the best entry in the golfing series formerly known in North America as Hot Shots Golf, but it surely maintains its high level of quality.

Katamari Damacy - Me & My Katamari (PSP)


Long before the Switch received a remaster of the original Katamari Damacy, the series turned portable with Me & My Katamari on the PSP. This iteration of the game brought the same roll-'em-up gameplay to owners of Sony's handheld, but it also brought a less than satisfactory problem to PSP players--hand cramps. The lack of a second analog nub on the PSP meant that instead of using two sticks to move The Prince's Katamari ball around, players had to use the analog nub in conjunction with the uncomfortable face buttons. This was decidedly a necessary evil to get the game to control with any semblance of competence on the platform, but it ended up making many players of Me & My Katamari dissatisfied. Still, if you can play through the discomfort of the awkward control setup, Me & My Katamari is still the well designed Katamari Damacy gameplay fans have come to expect from the franchise.

Super Mario Maker 2 (NSW) North American Commercial

Super Mario Maker 2 launches on the Nintendo Switch on June 28th, just a week from this Friday! To commemorate the occasion (and spend some marketing bucks in the process), Nintendo of America released this North American advertisement for the game. Are you going to be picking Super Mario Maker 2 up, and if so, which piece of the game interests you the most: making levels or playing levels?

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition (NSW) Review

Before the weekend concludes here in Central City, I have a new bite-sized review to cap off this Sunday evening at SuperPhillip Central. It's a review of Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition for the Nintendo Switch.

Running on fumes


Table Top Racing: World Tour originally launched on other platforms in 2016 to middling reviews and an overall poor reception. Now, three years later, Table Top Racing: World Tour gets a second chance to race for the checkered flag with a Nintendo Switch version subtitled the "Nitro Edition". Not only do Switch owners get an exclusive three year delay on playing the game, they also get the wonderful and generous offer to buy the game for ten dollars more than any other platform ($29.99). Yes, you do get the DLC included and a Switch-exclusive split-screen mode, but... well, just stick around for the actual review and I'll explain why this still isn't a delightful deal.

These cars can go a dangerous 5 mph!
The idea of racing miniature vehicles a la Micro Machines on table top racetracks in settings like workbenches, kitchen counters, and the wooden deck of a ship sounds appealing enough, but the appeal ends soon once you actually start playing. The small race cars move at a sluggish, plodding pace, even the souped up muscle cars that you unlock through regular play. Steering is relatively pain-free, but trying to turn around tight corners can be an effort immense frustration. Couple this with aggressive AI that has been programmed to do its best to annoy as opponent vehicles ram into you, taking you out of races easily, and Table Top Racing: World Tour is hardly a relaxing racer.

What are you--a Los Angeles football team? Don't ram me!
The single player component of the game has you taking on multiple events, featuring standard races with or without items, elimination-style races--where at the end of each lap the player in last place is eliminated, time trials, fast lap races, and so forth. The variety is nice, and seldom do events become roadblocks stalling your progress. You just need to earn at least one star in a given event to move forward in the campaign.

While events do not become progression roadblocks, the need to consistently purchase new cars and upgrades with in-game currency does become a progression-killer. Many times you'll be in races and just have no chance of winning without upgrading your current vehicle or purchasing a new one. Money is easy enough to come by, but you'll discover that the game actively encourages grinding the same events over and over to make the requisite cash to purchase the new car or new upgrade you need to have a fighting chance in later events.

Visually, Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition looks capable enough on Switch. By no means will it have you amazed at its graphical wonder or have you stopping mid-race to check out the scenery, but it's relatively inoffensive overall. The game runs smoothly, but part of that is due to the fact that objects are quite blurry in the distance until your approach them. In split-screen with two players, the frame-rate is less stable, but by no means detrimental to the experience.

Split-screen gameplay offers small frame-rate issues, but it's nothing too major.
Aside from the absurd price of the game that tries to prey upon naive Nintendo Switch owners, Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition simply isn't an enticing package in general. The racing is average at best, and incredibly frustrating with its "all of the AI is actively ganging up against you" gameplay at worst. For $29.99, Switch owners can do much better. If you haven't been completely turned against Table Top Racing: World Tour's port on Switch yet, then just wait for a sale. For everyone else, may I recommend finding some Micro Machines toys to play with instead?

[SPC Says: D+]

A review code was provided for this game.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of E3 2019

Like a flash, E3 2019 started and ended. While this was a transition year for many, as new hardware is coming within the next year or two, there were still plenty of great games coming out of the show. SuperPhillip Central's list of its most anticipated games of the show include all-new franchises and old returning favorites, big budget blockbusters and smaller-focused games, as well as games with cute and adorable art styles and ones with bloody and brutal aesthetics. There's something for everyone on this list, much like there was a game for everyone at this past E3. Which of SuperPhillip Central's picks are you most looking forward to?

10) Gods & Monsters (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


Ubisoft ended its E3 2019 press conference with a brand-new IP to ride this generation of gaming platforms into the sunset, Gods & Monsters. Although an exciting prospect of a game, based on Greek mythology and featuring visuals and open world expanses reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we really didn't get to see too terribly much of the actual gameplay. It was more of a concept trailer, and for a game releasing in February of next year, here's hoping the date supplied by Ubisoft isn't too ambitious that Gods & Monsters becomes a game that doesn't live up to its potential. That said, there's plenty of time for a better, more in-depth look at the game, which is coming to all major gaming platforms.

9) Trials of Mana (PS4, NSW, PC)


At long last, the third entry in the Mana series, Trials of Mana has reached shores outside of Japan with the Collection of Mana launching on the Switch. While that game has the newly localized Super Famicom version of Trials of Mana in it, allowing international players to finally enjoy the original game, a remake is also coming. Not only that, but the budget and care being put into the remake of Trials of Mana is obviously much higher than what was afforded to both Adventure of Mana and Secret of Mana's remakes. It's a shot in the arm to a series that hasn't found solid footing with past installments, and here's hoping that Square Enix sticks the landing when Trials of Mana launches on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2020.

8) Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC)


I was one of dozens--DOZENS, I TELL YOU!--that enjoyed Playtonic's Yooka-Laylee, a game that was an ode to Banjo-Kazooie and similar 3D platforming collect-a-thons. While the passion project did not turn out as well as everyone would have hoped, we thankfully aren't seeing the last of the chameleon and bat pairing. While the original game was modeled after Banjo-Kazooie, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair pays homage to another one of Rare's successful platformers, this time the 2D delight that was the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. Offering 2D side-scrolling levels similar to Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair's namesake comes from the titular lair. This level can be accessed at any time, and beating it means you beat the game. However, it's next to--well--impossible at first, and as you complete other levels, you get more health available to you as a means to even the odds and up your chances of successfully clearing the stage.

7) Astral Chain (NSW)


Nintendo showed up with lots of interesting and good-looking games in its Nintendo Direct and subsequent Treehouse Live showings, so it's rather unsurprising that this list of Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of E3 2019 from SuperPhillip Central has plenty of Switch games on it. Astral Chain is one of these, and it's Platinum Games at its absolute finest. Between the fast-paced action where players can take control of mechanical armaments via attaching a chain to them to do battle with fast and fierce enemies, to the abundance of gameplay styles available, Astral Chain has me absolutely salivating for a chance to pick up and play it. I, as long with every other Switch owner, won't have to wait long, either, as Astral Chain releases on Nintendo's hybrid at the end of August.

6) Doom Eternal (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)


I'm once again ready to rip and tear, and Bethesda's gameplay demo of Doom Eternal, the direct sequel to 2016's DOOM didn't help satiate that desire. The game looks exceptionally brilliant with how combat seamlessly flows between running and gunning and performing brutal melee finishers, a feature of the 2016 game dialed up all the way to 11 in this sequel. Although the competitive multiplayer from the original will not be making its way to Eternal, a brand-new Battle Mode is, which seems to be a worthy replacement. Doom Eternal launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in November, but there's been radio silence towards the Switch version, unfortunately.

5) Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (NSW)


While Marvel's Avengers was highly hyped, its actual showing was a slight disappointment. That said, there's obviously more time for Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix to gussy up the game, but in the meantime, there's an even more appealing Marvel game coming to a different console--and it's but a little over a month wait till everyone can own it. It's Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, offering a robust roster of Marvel characters, including many more coming via DLC, but the base lineup is nothing to scoff at regardless. The Black Order, by far, has the most characters in its starting lineup than any previous Marvel Ultimate Alliance game, and I can't wait to try each and every one of them out in battle, wiping the floor with foes and clearing out rooms full of enemies. Team Ninja has seriously put in a fantastic effort with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and I'm frothing at the mouth to get my grubby hands on this game (not literally, of course, or else I'd be heading to the hospital).

4) The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (NSW)


While The Legend of Zelda is one of my favorite franchises of all time, the original Link's Awakening isn't my highest regarded 2D game in the series. By all means, it's a truly fantastic title, but just not one of my favorites in the franchise. However, with seeing the new footage and gameplay of this 2019 remake--with adorable clay-mation-like art style in tow (:3)--I'm thinking my ranking of 2D Zelda faves my get quite the shake up come September 20th when The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening launches on the Nintendo Switch. Aside from the cute new art style comes with it a "dungeon maker" of sorts, where you place rooms in your own desired pattern and sequence, challenging your friends to tackle them and beat your best time. It was a massive joy to see series director Eiji Aonuma tackle such a dungeon during the Treehouse portion of Nintendo's E3 showing, so I feel this mode may have a lot of mileage to it!

3) Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NSW)


Ah, Animal Crossing... it's like the return of an old friend! I'm definitely liking what I'm seeing with the latest Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Heck, even the delay to March next year doesn't really faze me, as the game will surely be even better looking both visually and gameplay-wise due to said delay. Between the major new addition to New Horizons: starting from scratch on a deserted island and doing all sorts of foraging for materials, as well as being able to customize your island to your liking, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has me insanely hyped. I'm ready to lose another 500 hours into this game just like I easily did with Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the 3DS.

2) Luigi's Mansion 3 (NSW)


BOO! Luigi is back, and this time he's stepped up from ghostbusting in spooky mansions and is now exploring haunted hotels. This scary seventeen-story house of horrors has captured Mario, Peach, and a collection of Toads, and Luigi is the only one who can save them. Well, of course, Luigi and his trusty, dusty Poltergust G-OO and helpful "Virtual Boo" ghost-detecting device. Oh, and how can I forget the awesome addition of Gooigi, who can be summoned as a co-op companion locally? Those who were dissatisfied with Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon's mission-based structure will be happy to know that the more Metroid-style approach to design has returned with Luigi's Mansion 3, as have special human-like ghost characters. Returning from Dark Moon is an old haunt (but a fun one), the Scarescraper, allowing up to eight players to hop online and bust some ghosts together while obtaining treasure and scouring the Scarescraper's floors for helpless Toads. Luigi's Mansion 3 has a marked improvement graphically from its initial de-"boo", and the game itself delivered an impressive showing in both the Direct and Treehouse Live.

1) Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)


Square Enix absolutely delighted and impressed with its showing of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Not only did the company supply action-packed footage and nostalgic, old, memorable moments from the original game recreated in fresh, new ways, S-E also managed to provide a firm (?) release date of March 3rd, 2020. It's safe to say that the majority of fans' worries who were concerned with how Final Fantasy VII Remake would shape up, especially with the move to real-time action-RPG combat, have been alleviated. Perhaps my only real concern now is when the actual full story of Final Fantasy VII Remake will be completed. Seeing as this is still an episodic game, I'm wondering if witnessing a conclusion to this epic undertaking will ever actually happen. Regardless, I'll happily go along for the ride if the first episode is as robust and deep as the trailer, gameplay footage, and subsequent details from the developers are anything to go by.