Friday, July 24, 2020

Classics I Can Return To - Part Ten

It's time once again to take a look at those video games that--despite my immense backlog, despite the seemingly never-ending amount of new games being released, and despite a seemingly ever-decreasing amount of free time--are the games that I keep coming back to for replay after replay. Maybe it's just to return to familiar gaming territory, have a deep dish of comfort gaming, or play something that tickles my nostalgia bone, but I can't help but return to these games as if they were old friends of mine.

Speaking of returning to things, it's been over two years since I posted Part Nine of Classics I Can Return To on SuperPhillip Central, so it's about time to make up for it, wouldn't you say! Before we do that, however, check out all nine past parts of this ongoing series of articles with these conveniently placed links:

Marvel's Spider-Man (PS4)

With Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales web-slinging onto the PlayStation 5 this holiday season, there's no better time to bring up the original game from developer Insomniac Games and ensnare the game once more into SPC's collective web. This open world action game gave me the feeling of controlling Spider-Man unlike any game previous, which is no small feat. Traveling around the island of Manhattan posed a slight learning curve, but once one rose to the occasion, they could jet around New York City with style and grace. In essence, one wasn't just controlling Spider-Man; Insomniac Games made it feel like you WERE Spider-Man, as hokey as that may sound. Even with earning the Platinum trophy for the game (humble brag there, possibly), I keep coming back to Spider-Man's amazing, spectacular PlayStation 4 outing. With the PS5 follow-up planned for release this year, I think I'll don the mask of the webhead once again--pending there's enough space on that blasted hard drive of mine.

Super Mario Maker 2 (NSW)

It says something about a game that I pretty much played it nonstop for the three month post-launch period, whether it was playing through Nintendo's collection of Story Mode levels, playing other creators' levels, or making my own levels. My currently Switch playtime for Super Mario Maker 2 is well over 200 hours, and that World Maker update that Nintendo bestowed onto creators as the last major update for the game, only caused my total playtime to soar even further. I'm the type of maker and player who prefers traditionally designed Mario levels, so that's what I like to create and also what I like to play. While Kaizo-style levels with cheap deaths aplenty may entertain (and pardon me as I put on my "snob monocle" for this), they do little for me as a Super Mario Maker 2 designer or player. However, that's the beauty of Super Mario Maker 2: You can make whatever you want, and there's probably an audience for it--pending it has some semblance of quality. It's what keeps me coming back for more now a year after the game's original release.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NSW)

Speaking of games that I have played almost nonstop since launch, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is more of a routine for me now than a game. Don't let me be misunderstood: there's still plenty of fun to be found in my daily or bi-daily routine with the game. I enjoy visiting with the locals, showering them with daily gifts in hopes of receiving a prized pic of them (okay, I may have made that sound unintentionally disturbing), and doing daily Nook Miles goals. Nintendo continues to give players such as myself reasons to return to New Horizons as well, such as special seasonal events that are patched into the game via routine updates. It's been four months since Animal Crossing: New Horizons released on the Nintendo Switch, and while my play schedule has slowed down considerably, I do discover new things to appreciate with the game to this day, as my 210 hours of playtime would happily suggest.

Yoshi's Crafted World (NSW)

Let's continue with the theme of cute and adorable games with Yoshi's Crafted World. Though the game has some quirks that make it a lesser experience than its Wii U (and then ported to the 3DS) predecessor Woolly World, I do find a plethora of reasons to return to Yoshi's Crafted World. It's a mostly chill and relaxing game, save for the more difficult post-game contents like damage-free boss runs. Otherwise, the act of merrily and breezily marching through levels, discovering secrets, and aiming for 100% completion in each level and world are things that keep me fascinated with this innovative and consistently creative 2D platformer. The worlds made out of everyday household objects, like paper plates as rolling green hills, is abundantly clever, and the level design houses superbly hidden secrets as well. Yoshi's Crafted World may be a different kind of platformer by design when compared to the Yoshi's Island games, but it remains one that I can't help but adore.

Trials of Mana (NSW, PS4, PC)

Time to rev up the action with these final two games on this list of latest titles to reach "Classics I Can Return To" status! Let's continue with Trials of Mana, the remake of the once un-localized Super Famicom game Seiken Densetsu 3. (The SFC game would recently as of a couple years ago be released in localized form as part of the Nintendo Switch's Collection of Mana.) This game begs to be played multiple times, as depending on the trio of protagonists you select, you visit different sections of the world, fight different villains, and have the story play out with sharp contrasts. The battle system is simple, dare I say a bit basic, but it is engaging enough that I enjoyed carefully attacking foes while being on the lookout for their windup of their own attacks and special spells and moves. Trials of Mana is truly a wonderfully done remake, and to me, my enjoyment of it rivals another RPG remake that Square Enix released earlier this year. ...Well, at least part of a remake that Square Enix released earlier this year. (No more hints!)

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

Now, let's literally rev up the action with another remake with Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled! What can I say about this stellar, content-rich kart racer that I haven't already said? Wait. That was rhetorical, but still, if I repeat myself, just let me know in the comments. Between the copious amount of characters, tracks, modes, and online options via the Grand Prix and daily challenges to engage in, Crash Team Racing was reborn with the utmost of tender loving care put into it. Whether you're a fan of the Diddy Kong Racing-inspired Adventure mode, tackling N. Tropy and then N. Oxide's deviously difficult time trials, earning Wumpa Coins through completing daily challenges, or hopping online to put the pedal to the metal and test your racing mettle against the world, Nitro-Fueled has it all. Believe me when I say I greatly enjoyed what the fine folks behind the game delivered with this remake... and I continue to do so to this day!

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