Nintendo Switch is Releasing with Something for Everyone

The Nintendo Switch is exactly one week from launch, and initially, many were complaining of the lack of day one release titles. Naturally as we narrow down the time until launch, more titles have been revealed to be releasing alongside the console. Here is the full list of games releasing day one for the Nintendo Switch, both retail and digitally (as well as their price):

Retail and Digital:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ($59.99)
  • 1-2 Switch ($49.99)
  • Super Bomberman R ($49.99)
  • Skylanders Imaginators ($59.99)
  • Just Dance 2017 ($59.99)

eShop Exclusives:

  • FAST RMX ($19.99)
  • Shovel Knight Treasure Trove ($24.99)
  • Snipperclips – Cut it out, together! ($19.99)
  • I Am Setsuna ($39.99)

Now nine titles may still seem like a small amount for day one releases, but think of this from a different perspective: Nintendo is launching the system with a variety of game types. Those looking for a massive open-world adventure experience have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Those looking for a game that not only captures the casual crowd, but also takes advantage of the tech the Joy-cons contain have 1-2 Switch. Then you have Super Bomberman R, a classic revisited series for solo and multiplayer. Activision’s Skylanders Imaginators is coming to provide family-friendly, co-op action, which while the least sold installment, is still a big franchise for the publisher. And if you’re looking for a game to get you active and burn a sweat, there’s Just Dance 2017. These alone are the retail available games with each offering a different game genre.

Now from the eShop perspective, there’s Fast RMX, an insanely fast-paced racing experience and visual showcase. Old-school platforming fans have the awesomeness of Shovel Knight to enjoy. Looking to test that noggin’ of yours? Then Snipperclips will test you and your partner’s thinking skills (and also provides for communication skills). Lastly, JRPG fans have I Am Setsuna, a spiritual successor to Crono Trigger (which many considered to be one of the best RPGs of all-time). Thinking of it now, the main three genres missing are sports, fighters, and shooters for day one…but that’s about it.

The main thing to consider is that there is something available for virtually anyone getting a Switch day one. If sports, fighters and shooters are your thing…well, those games are coming to fill in the gap. FIFA 18 and NBA 2K18 are releasing later this year (September/October), Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers will be “shor-yu-ken” play that this Spring (that was an absolutely terrible pun…), and Splatoon 2 will fill the shooter void (and will be a flagship online title for the console).

There’s no question that there’s virtually something for everyone here investing in a Switch on launch day. If we look back at the Nintendo 64, that console released with a mere two games launch day: Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. Granted, Super Mario 64 reimagined 3D gaming as we know it, but Zelda BotW is shaping up to provide launch day buyers with the most refreshing direction the series has seen since Ocarina of Time.

That being said, what are your most anticipated games for the Switch’s launch window? Sound off in the comments below!

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Hands-On – NYCC 2014

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Capcom has a reliable presence at New York Comic Con every year, and this time around was no different. For 2014, Capcom brought a playable demo of the sequel to the highly-acclaimed Resident Evil: Revelations, allowing visitors to get a glimpse at the franchise’s first leap to next-gen. The demo features series veteran Claire Redfield and newcomer Moira Burton as they try to survive an abandoned medical facility.

It has to be said that with the jump to next-gen platforms, we should expect a bump to the visuals, and the most immediate thing you’ll notice is that RE:Rev2 runs at a smooth and consistent 60 FPS, a jarringly eye-pleasing change that’s long overdue. Models have been improved as well, showing many more minute details than before. Even though it’s obvious Capcom used Resident Evil 4/5’s assets as the baseline, you’ll notice improvements such as Claire’s jacket fluttering around in response to her movements. Enemies are also much more lifelike, wincing in pain depending on where you shoot them. The enemies featured in the demo are also surprisingly agile, and their movements are animated very well, whether they’re lunging and leaping at you, or taking a swing with a crude bladed weapon.

The demo was playable with DualShock 4 controllers, and if it was any indication, RE:Rev2 will control beautifully. Capcom have stated that the Revelations series is meant to evoke a more old-school feel, and while I feel this style has been achieved, the controls are still quite well-tuned. Aiming and firing is very easy and precise, aside from a sudden leap in sensitivity as you move the stick away from its center position. However, this only took a few minutes to get used to, and by the time enemies started getting thrown at me, I was pulling off headshots like a trained professional. Your character can sprint and dodge as well, though I find the confined spaces presented in the demo left very few opportunities to dash around. Dodging, however, is a welcome mechanic, and is achieved by simply pressing the O button with a direction. This mechanic alone has saved my skin multiple times, and while you could argue it makes the game too easy, it’d definitely be a staple of those who decide to play RE:Rev2 on the harder difficulty.

What I had originally heard of RE:Rev2 was that Claire would play like traditional RE characters have in the past, but her new partner, Moira, was relegated to simply holding a flashlight to help her see. While the beginning of the demo confirmed those fears, it just as quickly reversed them by introducing some new mechanics unique to her. Players can switch between characters using the Triangle button, and some parts of the game will even mandate this. While it’s true that Moira will generally follow you around, shining light on the path ahead of you (and what you’re aiming at), she can also uncover hidden items for you to pick up, as well as use a crowbar to open boarded-up doors. She can even use this blunt instrument to stun enemies from behind, and finish them off when they’re down. Given the report that RE:Rev2 will support 2-player co-op, it’s nice to know that number 2 will have more to do than just pointing a flashlight around.

What little was described of the story implies that Claire and Moira are abducted while attending a party together, being hauled away to an abandoned medical facility, and fitted with bracelets that change in appearance according to their amount of fear. Interestingly, it seems Claire’s vast amount of experience keeps her bracelet glowing green, while Moira’s, being a relative newcomer to the series, is constantly yellow. A conversation between the two indicates Claire may have more of a hard edge at this point in the story as well, describing a found pistol as being “more reliable than any person”. And while Moira apparently can’t do firearms, due to some incident that has yet to be expounded upon, she has no problem tearing into zombies and mutants with the crowbar she finds early on. The entire time, the two are being monitored by an unknown enemy (the same one who placed the bracelets on their wrists), and are taunted fairly late in the demo that what they’ve experienced is nothing compared to what’s to come – a clever nod by Capcom not only to Claire and Moira’s upcoming hardships, but what the player can expect once the full game is released. And indeed, the enemies they have to fight early on are a new breed for Resident Evil, resembling something out of “The Hills Have Eyes” with their bloated appendages and visible stitchmarks, implying extensive surgical experimentation. These aren’t slow zombies, either – they’re capable of short sprints like previous enemies, but can also take sudden leaps at you with their carried weapons. They’re even clever enough to attack you while you’re climbing a ladder, hitting you just in time to knock you off and put you in an even more intense situation where your life is really on the line.

Overall, I was pretty impressed by what I got to experience with the live demo. I really enjoyed the more old-school feel to the original Revelations, and what Capcom has added to it with Rev2 makes it a joy to play. Aiming and shooting feel great, dodging is a welcome improvement (compared to its random and somewhat inconsistent performance in previous titles), and the new enemies are cool and horrifying. The demo also did a great job of whetting my appetite for the full game – I want to know who the mastermind is, where these new enemies came from, and how Claire’s character development has led her to her more hard-edged attitude she appears to have. The only downside I can really comment on is the unnecessary amount of swearing in the dialog. I’m fine with dropping f-bombs when it’s appropriate, but the dialog kind of runs wild with it a little bit. When characters mix in curse words with their normal speech, using the same monotone expression, it really decreases the efficiency of its use.

That one minor gripe aside, I think we have a lot to look forward to early next year when Resident Evil: Revelations 2 comes out.

 

DualShock 4 Controller Hands-On Preview

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Several retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy, are beginning to sell the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller nearly two weeks ahead of the console’s release. This might seem like a strange move, but it’s been confirmed that the new controller is, in fact, compatible (at least in the most essential capacities) with many current PS3 games, such as Call of Duty. Some, like myself, also wanted to make sure we have an extra controller handy on release day so our friends can get in on the multiplayer action with us on day one.

A controller is one of the most essential pieces of a great gaming experience with a console. Sony’s always managed to make waves with their line of DualShock controllers, released as far back as for the original PlayStation. Every iteration has seen streamlines and improvements on the core design while still maintaining the originality that makes the DualShock line one of the most preferred controllers in gaming. With that in mind, I was excited to get my hands around a DualShock 4 of my own, and for those of you who are still wondering how it stacks up, read on; I’ll get into the form and function, the good and the bad, and even a little hands-on time with the DualShock 4 during a few games of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

First Impressions

The first thing you’ll notice after picking up the DualShock 4 is that it feels much more solidly built than the DualShock 3. While both controllers’ internals are contained in a plastic chassis, the DualShock 4 feels much sturdier and less cheaply-built. The controller also seems a tad bit bigger than its last-gen cousin, which might throw some die-hards off at first, but adjustment comes quickly. It’s also pretty hard not to notice the new design of the control sticks, and it’s an excellent modification from the previous line. The raised lip around the edges of the top make it much harder for your thumbs to slip off when doing constant rotations and split-second flicks. The D-Pad has been improved upon too, in spite of its previous excellence. Each cardinal direction is a bit more spaced from the others, and the entire D-Pad is a bit larger overall. I’m very happy with this change – it’s a great boon for fighting fans, where the slightest false read from a controller can mean the difference between a Hadouken and a Shoryuken, and nobody wants to lose a close match over using the wrong move.

No doubt one of the most controversial changes to the DualShock 4 will be the new L2 and R2 triggers. Now, they seem to deserve the name much more than they used to, as they sport a concave curve (like an actual trigger on a firearm) rather than the convex curves of old. It’s true that the DualShock 4 may be losing a bit of its originality by making its triggers more like the ones found on an Xbox 360 controller, but coming from someone whose fingers would sometimes slip off the triggers when in use, this is a welcome change. Interestingly enough, this could change the dynamic of the default controller configuration in shooters on the PS4; whereas games previously used L1 and R1 for aiming and shooting, respectively, the new upgrades to L2 and R2 could very well make them the standard. So long as they provide the option to switch between the two setups, though, everyone should be happy.

The newer additions to the DualShock 4 – the Share button, touch pad, and light bar – are certain to make a real splash once the PS4 is released. Naturally, as of yet they have no functionality, not even the light bar (which, theoretically, should be compatible with the PS3’s existing Move system). Speaking for their position, however, everything sits right where it should. The Share button is accessible without getting in the way, and it’s unlikely you’ll accidently post a video of your most humiliating defeat unless you intend to. The light bar remains completely unobstructed when holding the controller, even if you put a finger on each of the L and R buttons simultaneously (as I’ve known some players to do). It’s safe to say that its functionality will work smoothly during even the most intense gameplay session. As for the touch pad, while it may seem out of place at first, it’s clear that it isn’t meant to be used alongside the more typical gamepad buttons. It is, however, a pleasure to interact with. The entire touch pad clicks in when pressed, not unlike the touch pads featured on many laptops today. Also of note are the inclusion of a speaker and audio-in jack on the front and bottom of the controller face, respectively, with an add-on port next to the audio jack. This is no doubt to accommodate the upcoming PS4 wired headset, but it would seem the inclusion of a speaker also expands on the audio output options available to PS4 developers, much like the WiiMote’s speaker did for its games. It may also give us an option for listening to voice chat without the need for an attached headset. Overall, these wildcards are sure to make a real splash once the PS4 makes it proper release.

There’s another quirk here that DualShock veterans may notice right away – while the familiar PS button is present in the bottom-middle of the controller face, the start and select buttons are nowhere to be found. The lone “Options” button, present opposite the Share button on the right of the controller face, seems to have replaced these two individual buttons, and it’s probably safe to say that this button will roll the functionality of the Start and Select buttons into one. If it works, I’m all for this streamlining, though it’s possible some finagling might have to happen for users who are going to subscribe to the PS4’s upcoming Gaikai service for backlogged games. Clicking in the added touchpad certainly seems like a possible replacement.

Other than these specific points, I’ve got to say that overall, the controller just sports a really solid feel. From the chassis itself to each and every button, the DualShock 4 feels like it’s built to last. Button presses are easy, yet sport an impact you can feel. The overall bigger shape and added spacing between buttons means it’s much easier to avoid pressing extra buttons by accident. And it really has to be said what a welcome improvement the new L2 and R2 triggers are.

Field Tests

In order to test the DualShock 4’s new build, I decided to play a few rounds of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 using the new controller. A few notes about this if you’re looking to try it yourself:

  • The DualShock 4 will only work when plugged in with a USB cable. The PS3 can’t pick up the DualShock 4 over Bluetooth.
  • The PS button will not work on the DualShock 4. You’ll need a PS3 controller to access the PS button’s functionality, like quitting a game.
  • The Select and Start buttons’ functionality is replicated with the Share and Option buttons, respectively.

With all of that in mind, I booted up BLOPS 2 and went into a multiplayer match. Though I hadn’t played for a month or two, I was able to quickly adjust to the new feel of the DualShock 4. To really put the controller through its paces, I played my LMG class – one of the slower, more lumbering and deliberate weapon classes in the game.

However, once I got to lining up my shots and opening fire, I was amazed by how accurate and responsive the new R stick is. Sony have really tweaked the sensitivity from the DualShock 3, and the new level of control and accuracy was impressive. Whereas I would sometimes aim too far and miss my mark with the DS3, my shots landed dead-center every time with the DS4. I also elected to switch the assignments of the L and R buttons, such that L2 and R2 are used for aiming and shooting, respectively. Though I’m still a big fan of the instant responsiveness of L1 and R1 for FPS games, I have to say that the triggers on the DualShock 4 just feel right, and are extremely responsive. There was a familiar yet fresh feeling to these triggers, and it was extremely satisfying to squeeze them and unload a hail of lead on my opponents. The switch brought back a nostalgic feel from my days with the Xbox 360 controller, and aside from accidently firing off a shot instead of throwing a grenade, the switched control setup was extremely intuitive and didn’t take long to get back into.

I made a very subtle discovery while playing with this setup – the DualShock 4 seems ergonomically designed for this sort of control setup with shooters. After a couple of games, I noticed that my hands fit more comfortably around the controller with my index fingers on the 2 triggers, while my thumbs were more relaxed on the control sticks. While I’m sure old-school fans will be just fine using the classic PS shooter setup, it seems the controller is built for this new  intended use of the triggers.

With a few games down, I have to say that the DualShock 4 really did make a difference in my game. It seems like my K/D ratio was actually higher in spite of being a couple of months out of practice, and there’s no question that the new, finely-tuned DS4 is the reason why. While I don’t yet have the chance to see what the touchpad, light bar, and share button can really do, in terms of the more salient aspects of the controller, it’s safe to say that any PS4 owner is going to have an excellent, precise, and comfortable experience with the DualShock 4.

Just for bonus points, I decided to give the new D-Pad a run too, and loaded up Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. Here’s another game that I’ve fallen out of practice with for a few months, and so I was expecting at least a little bit of a warm-up curve; yet again, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The newer, larger D-Pad really does make a difference when executing attacks, and the face buttons seem extremely responsive as well. I was pulling off combos and stringing together special moves more easily than I ever could with the DS3. The most die-hard fighting fans will no doubt be sticking with an arcade stick for the PS4 (once one is released), but the rest of us certainly have an excellent and capable control method for fighters in the DualShock 4.

Wrapping It Up

What we’ve seen of the DualShock 4 from press conferences and commercials is certainly exciting from an innovation perspective, with the new input methods and the inclusion of a share button, but when it comes to the improvements in mechanics and build quality, nobody can just tell you how it’s improved – you’ve got to get your hands on it for yourself. After hearing a lot of talk, I was extremely impressed and excited by what I got to experience in Sony’s new controller. Finely-tuned controls, ideal button placement, and solid build quality come together in a package that’s going to improve the gameplay experience over anything Sony have come out with before. If you’re already on board for getting a PS4, I’d encourage you to get yourself a spare controller early, and start to experience how much the DualShock 4 is going to up your game. If you’re still on the fence, try to get your hands on a DS4 and see how it feels to you. The controller is a central component in a console experience, and the DualShock 4 may very well win you over.

Monster Hunter is Finally Coming to the PS Vita, and What This Means for Sony’s Portable Platform

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Monster Hunter, the series responsible for the booming success of the PSP in Japan, has been a scarcity on Sony Consoles recently. What was once almost an exclusive series has now branched out to a variety of different consoles, all except the Vita. Seeing as the Vita doesn’t have an overwhelmingly impressive library, and it is in fact the successor to the PSP, one would think a new Monster Hunter title should have been announced by now for the impressive yet struggling handheld. It is well known and clear to almost everyone that one thing that could save the Vita from ending up like the PSP Go! is a Monster Hunter game; so it is with much relief that we finally have news of the series coming to the Vita.

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Just last night at the Tokyo Game Show 2013, we received a trailer showcasing the already announced Monster Hunter Frontier G, only this time it was shown on a Vita background. We knew MHFG was coming to PS3 and WiiU, so this is a nice surprise. Now, MHFG is not a new game by any means. It is a direct port from the long time running Monster Hunter Frontier Online, an MMO that’s been available in Japan and Korea on PC for the better part of the last decade (and Xbox 360 for a shorter time). It’s remained wildly successful due to the constant updates it receives. These updates are not mere fixes; they are large game packs that are free to everyone (as everyone pays a subscription to play) which includes new monsters, areas, weapons, armor and different weapon movements. The “new” MHFG will pick up where MHFO is, with the newest installment package and everything that goes with it. While the team is considering adding console specific additions – such as trophies for PS3 – the game will be an exact copy.

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The newly announced Vita version will be compatible with the PS3 version, although there may be some content left out (which has yet to be explained). Now, what does this mean for the Vita? Quite simply. It’s hope. The Vita has been struggling to make large sales anywhere, and this should give it a nice shot in the arm. However, keep in mind that MHFG isn’t new, those who already have it on PC as MHFO may be less likely to purchase a new console for the same game – however it is Japan and a truly portable online Monster Hunter is quite the deal. I personally think it will do quite well in Japan, which will do wonders for the Vita right now.

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But Japan gets all of the MH love? What about the West? Well that remains to be seen. I personally highly doubt the localization of MHFG. Why? Because we’re not Monster Hunter crazy over here. A port of a game that hasn’t had an upgrade to the engine in its long lifespan won’t impress many newcomers to the series. And with the (unverified but probable) subscription to play, there will be even less interested. Now, could we simply import MHFG? Thus boosting sales in general, benefitting the Vita and showing that it is worth investing? Ultimately pushing developers and publishers to localize more games to the West? Probably not. The reason MHFO never made it big in the West was because of the verifications it required in playing online. You needed legitimate Japanese/Korean personal information for the subscription, a system that could be used for MHFG. Perhaps we will get lucky and see the subscription go through PSN or the Nintendo Store, in that case it would be much easier to play, once overcoming the vast language barrier that will have to be relearned with every new update.

In the end, Monster Hunter may in fact save the Vita, but I’m not so sure that us in the West will realize it.

The Reality of Gaming and Negativity This Generation (and Next)

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Back in 2009, I was publishing monthly videos via my YouTube account, while working for a previous gaming website. One particular video that garnered much attention was a video I did discussing my thoughts on the gaming market at that time. The video was aptly named “Death of the Console Wars”. Though it got several thousand views, as well as numerous comments, I felt good posting it because it was my thoughts on everything I had experienced and known from my 20+ years of gaming. The video was a culmination of all the disgust and nonsense that was flooding the blogs and internet at that time between the so-called “Console Fanboy Wars”.

Obviously, let’s be honest, this past generation has been Microsoft and Sony neck-and-neck. In the video, I spoke very bluntly on why I buy all consoles and what my predictions were for all three of the major consoles. Fast-forward 4 years years later and it turned out to be completely on the mark. No, Michael Patcher need not worry, because I would need to be wrong numerous times while sounding overly-intelligent about marketing strategies, while at the end of the day I’m just really talking about video games and nothing even remotely important to all of our everyday lives.

In this video, I predicted how Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo would fare by the end of this generation, and, without getting into it, just check the figures and polls online and the results are roughly what I stated they would be. The point is I did that video because I was beyond disgusted with the super-fanatical stereotypical nerdy arguments and drama of 21st century expression. I had purchased the Xbox 360 back in November of 2005 and have never regretted the purchase. This system ushered me into the next generation. For the first time ever, my brother and I raced home and booted it up with excitement. We were told it would visually upgrade your original Xbox games, which was revolutionary at the time. Matter of fact, it’s still revolutionary, being that no other system, including the new X1 and PS4, can upgrade last-gen visuals. Wait, that’s right – they’re not backwards-compatible to begin with! Smart move guys, that way they can port more HD classic collections later on and charge for games we already bought years before. This equals extortion according to the FBI, but let’s not get off-topic.

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Having bought the 360, I purchased Call of Duty 2 and Condemned: Criminal Origins, and needless to say, we were blown away. The visuals and audio were nothing we had ever seen or heard before. Now this is 2005; just weeks before that I was still playing San Andreas on my PS2! The graphical jump coupled with this new “High Definition” technology in video games was astounding. Right out the box, we had HD Component cables, outputting 480p “DVD” quality, 720p, and 1080i, the standard with which TV channels are broadcast in today. Hooking up my iPod to the Xbox, I could stream my music and use it as a game’s soundtrack, which for a movie score fanatic like me was pure bliss. I won’t keep describing the numerous features we have all learned and experienced now or expect. A year later, the Playstation 3 launched and after much apprehensiveness, I decided to buy this mammoth of a system, despite its equally-large price. After leaving Toys ‘R’ Us $640 poorer (tax included), I was eager to race home. This large black console I knew had to be teeming with power if it costs this much, right!? I purchased Resistance: Fall of Man and Motorstorm, and was very content. Motorstorm showed visuals I had never seen before up to that point and was thoroughly excited to see the future of this console. Resistance didn’t wow with visuals, but it did please all in its great gameplay and intriguing story.

As 2007 came, I purchased a Wii, because I wanted this experience of new technology that the other systems weren’t doing, and I loved it. It’s great when each system offers a variety that you cannot get on the other two. I purchased Super Mario Galaxy and Resident Evil 4 Wii edition. Both were fantastic titles that went on to score very well and sell even better. By now, I had experienced all three systems in their early years, and what each one was technically capable of, up to that point at least. And now, here is where the heart of this story lies. Throughout 2006 to 2009, there was an outpouring of gamers who continuously spewed hate because of their particular stance on a gaming system. Every website imaginable had ridiculous columns about why each system was better. Now for the first time ever, “gamers” all of a sudden knew or cared about company stocks and marketing strategies, and using these in arguments about which is the better console. Even big websites, which I will not name, occasionally had articles laced with overtones of bias that would, on numerous occasions, start a list of internet comment wars about 21st-century nonsense.

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These articles/boards/comments would circulate throughout the gaming community, leading consumers who are “not in the know” to believe idiotic rumors, and some did not buy a certain console or tend to take a stance against a company because of what a friend of a friend said, or what www.$@$#.com believed. Now to me, this is all insane and I never encountered such a heavily-psychotic problem in the previous generations. I had a PS2 and Gamecube and a cousin with an Xbox and everything was all cool, the world kept spinning. By the time we got to 2009, I had realized the direction each company was going and I released this video speaking my mind on what I felt I could see coming down the road for all three. Now in 2013, I realized, as well as all of you, who had watched and commented that it was a correct assessment. Regardless, this console generation is finally coming to a close this fall. With the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I had hopes that this drama would be a thing of the past; clearly, it’s not. Interesting, since this generation, both the PS4 and X1 are going to be so closely similar in specs and features and even appearance in some ways, that the differences between them are the most minuscule they have ever been in the previous generations. The Wii U shows the biggest difference between the three consoles.

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I purchased a Wii U in November of 2012, and have my own thoughts on Nintendo’s latest system and their marketing strategies. Regardless, I have never regretted my purchase, nor have I ever seriously taken anybody’s prediction that Nintendo was already TKO’d when the system just came out, literally 8 months ago. Nintendo has been in the business longer than Sony and Microsoft put together, and they didn’t become successful from having a enormous selection of mature-rated titles or a fully interactive online gaming community. They always come out swinging with their exclusive and creative titles that no other company can replicate. And I have no doubts that 8 months from now, the state of the Wii U will be at a much more prominent status than it has been placed in now.

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Sadly, ever since E3 2013, the fanboy rants have been growing to sizes of yesteryear. With Microsoft’s announced DRM policy (and its reversal), it gave Nintendo and Sony untold amounts of ammunition that is waning at a too-slow rate. I say this because once the Fall hits, all three crowds of extremist gamers will have to rant and rave. They will roar about a piece of cheaply-made plastic manufactured in China on an assembly line. They will then give reasons as to why they “hate” (yes, hate) the other company. I have said it many times before, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony DO NOT CARE WHETHER YOU LIVE OR DIE. They do not care whether you make your rent this month, or hospital bills, or lose your job. Mircosoft/Sony/Nintendo exec’s do not scour the internet messaging you on Facebook, asking “how is the family” and “how your old aunt with the heart condition doing”. They do not care about you. Their business is to generate a maximum profit each year by releasing content people that will flock to stores to buy. And there is nothing wrong with that; it’s business, pure and simple. However, when you hear this sort of “hero worship” or “company loyalty” among the gaming community, I can’t help but laugh and feel sad at the same time for them.

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I still today can’t figure out where this hate comes from. Whether some people simply can’t afford to buy multiple systems, and must create an imaginary world of hate in order to compensate for their tight income, I don’t know. All these years later and it’s still a great mystery as to why gamers/nerds/gaming journalists continue to spew hate and lunacy towards the X1, PS4, or the Wii U and all past-gen consoles. What is this passion and anger that comes from a subject so inconsequential in our everyday world? The subject after all is video games; it can’t be more infantile than that. I am 25 years old and I love playing video games and writing about my feelings on them, and the market as a whole too. However, even I realize that no matter how mainstream gaming becomes, it will always be looked on as an adolescent hobby where the only true facts are that money is spent in vast amounts each year by the consumer.

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The hate doesn’t have to be there this time, the rivalry should not be in our minds and spewing out. We are not sitting high above in an office working as an executive at any of these companies, we are merely a purchaser of their manufactured goods. And of course if you are someone who just prefers one over the other for specific reasons, that’s perfectly normal and acceptable obviously. Technology can be amazing at times, and in gaming, I do not think anybody should have the right or provocation to become enraged or angered by another piece of technology that nobody is forcing you to buy or not. I am a gamer and I love to game because it is a terrific pastime for me. I chose to purchase all three consoles because I work multiple jobs and monetary reasons would allow me to. More importantly, I chose to purchase all three because I can never see limiting myself to one or two, if not all three. If they all seem exciting in different aspects, and are all offering unique experiences in their own way, then why not?

Top 10 GBA Games that Need to Come to Wii U VC

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Nintendo has finally rolled out the Virtual Console service for the Wii U and they’ve mentioned that we will see GBA and N64 titles hit the service in the near future. For this Top 10, I’ve decided to look back at some GBA classics that I feel would make a perfect fit for the Wii U VC service.

10. Advance Wars

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Intelligent Systems is one of Nintendo’s top-tier developers. Known for their Fire Emblem series, as well as Paper Mario, they’ve always developed games that are worthy of their praise. With the GBA, they created a new IP called “Advance Wars”. Incorporating strategy-tactics gameplay, with an excellent visual presentation, Advance Wars was a game that really took off on the GBA. It had some great depth and immensely gratifying gameplay that would do well for tactics enthusiasts on the Wii U.

9. Bomberman Tournament

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Since Bomberman’s debut back on the NES, we’ve seen the character receive countless titles in the series on a ton of different platforms. Whether it be the NES, Game Boy, SNES, GBC, or N64, chances are that you’ve played at least a single Bomberman title. They’ve always been known for their simple, yet incredibly addictive multiplayer. So with a title like “Bomberman Tournament”, you would think the game focuses on a more multiplayer-central component, right? Well, here’s the interesting part. While the game has the excellent multiplayer intact, the single-player played like a Legend of Zelda title. This story mode shift for Bomberman was actually one of my personal favorites, as the Zelda-style gameplay worked brilliantly for the game. This may have been a title that many missed out on for the GBA, which is one of the many reasons it would do very well to release on the Wii U VC.

8. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2

The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was a tremendously successful franchise, selling millions and millions of copies…and for good reason. The concept of completing goals within a two minute time limit, the complexity of the trick system, great soundtracks and nearly impossible to put-down gameplay made the series relevant for the gaming community. When Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 launched alongside the GBA, developer Vicarious Visions showed the power of the system by providing an absolutely superb rendition of a much beloved console game. This was the very first GBA game I ever played prior to owning my own GBA, and remains one of my most remembered. I earned 100% game completion with every single character…and I would easily do that again should the game release for the Wii U VC.

7. Golden Sun

Golden Sun

Camelot Software, known for their excellent Mario Golf and Mario Tennis titles, graced the GBA with a knockout RPG, Golden Sun. Camelot Software had experience in the RPG field, as they were behind the Shining Force series for Sega. The fantastic visuals, gripping story and top-notch gameplay really made the game stand out among the top GBA titles ever released. Golden Sun is a game that I feel would be a prime fit for the Wii U VC. Maybe we could see a Golden Sun hit the Wii U in the near future? One can hope…

6. Sonic Advance

Sonic Advance

Sonic has seen a ton of titles in its lifecycle. The blue hedgehog has been around for over 20 years and when Sega decided to leave the hardware business, Sonic has seen a good amount of his titles come to Nintendo’s platforms. In particular, the very first Sonic game to grace Nintendo’s portable format was Sonic Advance for the GBA. Visually, the game was vibrant, detailed and ran incredibly smooth. The gameplay was rock-solid and was one of the better Sonic games in the series’ history. While Sonic Advance had three installments, the first one was the one I was most fond of on the GBA…and would love to see hit the Wii U VC.

5. Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion

Metroid is another golden franchise that Nintendo has established. From the days of the original that shocked everyone that Samus was a girl, to the SNES classic that’s soon coming to the Wii U VC, to the spectacular Prime series that Retro Studios handled, it’s a series that deserves the limelight. Metroid Fusion was a title I never got around to fully playing until the 3DS Ambassador Program. At the time of the game’s release alongside Metroid Prime for the GameCube, I only had enough money to get one game, so I went with Metroid Prime. I had always been eager to play Fusion and once I did at the end of 2011, it stands as one of my favorite Metroid titles. The dark setting and storyline, challenging difficulty and well-paced gameplay gave me a hard time putting this game down until it was beaten. I really loved that Samus was being hunted down throughout the game, at times giving it a survival horror feel. Nintendo would do very well to release this to the general public of Wii U owners.

4. F-Zero GP Legend

F-Zero GP Legend

F-Zero has always been a racing franchise I’ve held near and dear to me. Ever since I first came across it on the SNES, to the heavy metal sequel on the N64, F-Zero X, to the GBA launch of Maximum Velocity, and then my personal favorite installment (and racing game of all-time), F-Zero GX, I couldn’t get enough of it. Nintendo had decided to release an animated cartoon in 2004 based on their franchise titled “F-Zero GP Legend”. Naturally, a game was made for the GBA based on the cartoon universe. Now this was a title that I picked up back in the day for $4.99 in a bargain bin at Toys R Us…and damn was this an awesome game. It played very close to the SNES classic and GBA launch predecessor, Maximum Velocity. The main difference from the previous GBA iteration was the amount of content and story mode. F-Zero GP Legend was another excellent installment that got overlooked on the GBA but really had the same level of quality that should be expected from an F-Zero game. Nintendo, bring this classic to the Wii U VC while we wait for the proper F-Zero game to hit the Wii U!

3. The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap

Legend of Zelda Minish Cap

The Legend of Zelda…an immensely popular franchise for Nintendo that still excites gamers today. Thanks to its ingenious level designs, interesting characters and plots, fine tuned gameplay and superb soundtrack, there are plenty of reasons it’s successful. I’ll admit, I never got around to playing Minish Cap on the GBA when it released. It wasn’t until the 3DS Ambassador Program when I got the opportunity to play it and was appalled at myself for never getting it back in the day for my GBA. The game was excellent to say in the least and had a terrific soundtrack to accompany it (the Minish Woods track is incredibly catchy). While we wait for the Wind Waker HD, Link to the Past 2 and the new Zelda for Wii U, The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap would be a no-brainer for Nintendo to release for the GBA VC on Wii U.

2. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Advance 4 - Super Mario Bros 3

Over the GBA’s life-cycle, we’ve seen Super Mario games get some nice remasters. From the launch day title, Super Mario Advance, that completely remastered Super Mario Bros. 2, to the last entry that remastered Super Mario Bros. 3, they were “advanced” for on-the-go entertainment. So why did I choose SMA4 over SMA2 which brought us Super Mario World? Simple. Since Super Mario World is now available on the Wii U VC for the SNES, and the fact that very little was tweaked to SMW, it seems like the most logical choice would be to have the “advanced” Super Mario Bros. 3 available. SMB3 is, and always will be, a fine gaming masterpiece that should not have been missed.

1. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

Castlevania Circle of the Moon

My very first game for the GBA was not only my favorite Castlevania title ever made, it stands as one of the greatest games of all-time in my book. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon introduced us to Nathan Graves, the new protagonist that wielded the “Hunter Whip”. The story is about Dracula’s resurrection (as are most Castlevania games) but the characters had a good amount of depth to them. However, Circle of the Moon’s gameplay was as flawless to game design as it could get. Taking the gameplay style of Symphony of the Night and expanding upon it dramatically, it was unbelievable to see the game running on a GBA and of such high quality. The interesting mechanic was the DSS Card system, which allowed you mix and match between 10 Action cards and 10 Attribute cards. This gave the player a hundred different combinations to create and utilize, giving Nathan new weapons and abilities. Finding new cards was addictive and seeing what the combination of cards created was always exciting. I could spend days talking about Circle of the Moon’s perfection. Simply put, this MUST come out to the Wii U VC service immediately.

These are my personal “Top 10” picks on the topic and here’s hoping that Nintendo follows suit on releasing some (if not all) of these titles on the platform. Which GBA titles do you guys want to see release on the Wii U VC? Have any memories of the titles mentioned above? Sound off in the comments below!

What GTA V Means To The Wii U, Nintendo And The Entire Gaming Industry

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Reports have been flying that suggest Take-Two could announce a major statement regarding Grand Theft Auto V next month. The announcement is aimed on discussing what additional formats GTA V will be coming out for besides the already confirmed PS3 and Xbox 360. On May 16th, Take-Two will most certainly confirm GTA V for the PS4 and Xbox 720, but there is also a high chance for the Wii U as well. In fact, a number of sites within the last 24 hours have all but decided based on leaked information, that the Wii U version is “highly probable”.

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Last year, I, as well as staff members and friends, decided that once again we were going to purchase a console on its launch day. That console was Nintendo’s Wii U. Fast forward six months and I absolutely do not regret my purchase in the slightest. Just as I have done before, when adopting a new piece of technology, one must endure the kinks and slow momentum of a console’s build up. It is now almost May of 2013 and my hopes for the Wii U couldn’t be more optimistic. With a system firmware releasing soon that will dramatically improve the system’s OS, as well as a confirmed list of triple A titles releasing on the console within the coming three months, I am pleased. It clearly seems Nintendo is thoroughly committed to making the Wii U a success. To the outside or even early Wii U adopter, it may seem as if the system was an unworthy purchase because of the lackluster line in the previous months. All of this is about to change drastically.

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For the past month, I have been engaged in promoting my hopes for Nintendo, via the Miiverse community on the Wii U. In promoting these hopes, one thing has remained constant throughout: The hope that Take-Two and Rockstar would bring Grand Theft Auto V to the Wii U. Being a fan of GTA since the early days isn’t my reasoning for wanting this either, as I can simply buy GTA V on my Xbox 360 or PS3. My motivation is that Nintendo needs this opportunity to shine in a different light, a brighter one that is. Grand Theft Auto represents the pinnacle of adult-rated gameplay and a revolutionary franchise. It is also being created by one of the biggest and most respected third-party developers in the industry. If on May 16th, Take-Two indeed states GTA V is coming to the Wii U, I believe Nintendo, and the Wii U specifically, will set sail into a brave new land of endless possibilities and success. GTA V coming to the Wii U will send a shockwave through the industry. A tiny ripple of hope that Nintendo needs. It is my belief that if third party core developers get to witness Rockstar’s behemoth game run on the Wii U, there will then be a flood gate of third-party developers pouring into the Wii U filled with eager, creative minds. These past months of naive statements from developers who are passing on the Wii U to develop for Microsoft and Sony platforms will reevaluate their business decisions. This will put tremendous pressure on companies like EA, SEGA, Epic Games, and etc. to start developing their upcoming triple A’s for Nintendo. Industry analysts (who will remain silent for fear of giving them more credit than they already don’t deserve) will have to eat their own miscalculated statements regarding the Wii U.

In closing, I leave you off with this. Nintendo has always been a company that takes the lead, while the other two guys scramble, mimic and follow them. After all, Nintendo has been in the game for longer than anybody else. They know what they’re doing “most of the time” that is. If Take-Two has Rockstar create GTA V for the Wii U, the industry will change. This move will signify Nintendo entering a new era of expanding their audience. Yes, Nintendo has had violent third-party games in the past, but this is different. GTA V is expected to technologically and economically change the gaming industry just as GTA 3 had done 12 years ago. Just the idea of a GTA running on and coming to a Nintendo home console will sell in vast amounts, both for the game and the console. Developers from every walk of life will be closely observing just how powerful the system is and what its strengths are. They will then monitor the sales of the Wii U version. If both prove successful, all of the third party doors will finally unlock, and the Wii U will have truly entered the next generation fight. The only difference being that Nintendo will have a strong shot to take the lead by September due to the already ten month install base, and now enormous title coming to their machine. As of now, it seems May 16th will be an important date for Nintendo and the industry.

Capcom Abandons “Complete” Games, Strives To Push “Incomplete” Games

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In a rather shocking and yet disappointing move, Capcom has announced they are restructuring their entire focus on gaming. First off, they are revising sales expectations downward for their current lot of big titles. The reasoning for this, in their opinion, is “excessive outsourcing”. Capcom now expects Resident Evil 6 to shift sales to just under 5 million, as opposed to their original hopes of over 7 million. Devil May Cry is now expected to sell a 1.25 million copies, not the original 2+ million that they had hoped for. Capcom also pointed out, in their words, “delayed response to the expanding digital contents market and insufficient coordination between the marketing and game development divisions in overseas markets” as justifying reasons for its lackluster sales. The publisher now plans to more heavily focus on promoting its DLC strategies and concentrate more on internal projects. Capcom has warned that because of this restructuring, it has “strictly re-evaluated” some current games in production. Capcom recently announced a two month delay for Lost Planet 3, which is its last known outsourced project to a 3rd party company.

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Now there was plenty of more facts and figures that Capcom issued in terms of their net income loss for the year, but honestly, who cares. None of them are paying our bills. What we do care about is the quality of games being created and how all of this affects “you”, the gamer. From the start, I must point out that the only good thing that can come of this will be Capcom returning to their original “Far East” roots of game making. I feel if you’ve been playing games as long as I have, then you’ve experienced the degeneration of quality from the old days of Capcom.  Blockbuster titles like the original and remakes of the Resident Evil series (0-5), as well as Bionic Commando, 1943, Street Fighter series, Marvel vs. Capcom, Duck Tales and so on, are far gone. Whether Capcom is just blaming western developers for their unsatisfactory sales to deter from their own shortcomings, or they truly feel they have lost their ways has yet to be seen. My personal take is to the point and very blunt, so brace yourselves.

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Yes, indeed since Capcom has shifted to relying on western companies and ideas, the games have gotten significantly weaker and unpolished. You look at Lost Planet 2, or Operation Raccoon City for clear indications of games they published or created that were made to die on release. And then you have Resident Evil 6, which was possibly the biggest disappointment for 2012 in my eyes. For everything the game did right, it did fifty things horribly wrong. Coming from a fan of the series since its inception, I can confidently judge the scope of foul taste it left in most people’s mouths. Rather than discuss what was wrong with these games or many other titles that I have not mentioned, I’d rather focus on Capcom’s statements today.

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If Capcom wants to just focus on creating games that must have DLC, then fine do that. It is 2013 and digital is the future despite the horrible cringe I feel just saying that. However, the question is, does the game need the DLC to become a more “complete” game? Another question is, if Capcom does not improve on making games or continues to publish lackluster titles, is it even worth making DLC for the game? Titles like ORC and Resident Evil 6 clearly shouldn’t have received DLC in the first place because the games themselves left little to be desired in my opinion.

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In closing, my message is simple and clear. Capcom, if you are going to indeed shift the focus back to Japan and the traditional old-school methods of making games, the way you guys used to them, that would be phenomenal. In 2013, if I could buy a Capcom game that contained the same level of quality as the Resident Evil GameCube remake of 2002, then I will personally be sending holiday fruit baskets to Capcom headquarters. Secondly, if you must make DLC, make sure that the primary focus is placed on the game itself first and foremost. If the consumer is spending $60, they want the full experience they expect to receive just as we would have 10 years ago, when there was no such thing as DLC. I know for many, we have all gotten spoiled and forgot what life was like just seven years ago before digital content. Make a game that is “complete’ from start to finish with all the bells and whistles that you guys were known for in the days of old. Then, make DLC that is equally as satisfying and creates an attractive incentive for us to plunk down another $10 or $15. Please Capcom, once again become the company I fell in love with 17 years ago, when I first powered up Resident Evil on my PlayStation. The times should move the company, yes, but in a positive way, not a downward spiral of quality and greed. You guys have a second chance to win gamers back with this move, please look to your own company’s past for the secrets on how to succeed once again.

Staff Reminisces on PlayStation Memories

PlayStation 4 Announcement Logo

We are only hours away from Sony’s highly anticipated conference, as they most certainly prep up the reveal of the PlayStation 4. If you’ve been on Twitter at all today, you may have noticed that “PlayStationMemory” is trending, as well as “PS4”. In preparation of this event, the staff at Gamers Xtreme have decided to share a few of their PlayStation Memories.

Glacier928:

  • Playing the snow level of Jet Moto and being blown away with it back in the day on PS1.
  • Playing through Dino Crisis 2 and Driver 2 with my cousin on the PS1.
  • Experiencing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and really getting into the extreme sports genre. Countless hours were spent playing that game with friends.
  • Experiencing a whole new level immersion with Metal Gear Solid. Checking the back of the game case to find Meryl’s codec and switching controller ports against Psycho Mantis was absolutely unique.
  • Getting into the Resident Evil franchise upon playing RE3: Nemesis
  • Borrowing my friend’s PS1 to play Tomb Raider II.
  • Rushing home from high school to play Shinobi on PS2…hard as hell game but loved it!
  • Playing a demo of the original Devil May Cry and thinking how I needed a PS2 ASAP.
  • Playing Resident Evil: Code Veronica X on the PS2 with my brother until 2am.
  • Playing SSX 3 for over 6 months straight until I got 100% completion with every character.
  • Rushing home from class to fire up God of War II and be beyond impressed at the scale of the game.
  • Buying a PSP just to get Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.
  • Getting my 60GB PS3 when it dropped to $499 with Resistance: Fall of Man and Ninja Gaiden Sigma.
  • Playing Uncharted 2 and thinking no game would compete with the perfection it is.

MJA42X:

  • Buying a PS2 after playing and being impressed by Spyhunter.
  • Playing SSX Tricky for months in order to beat all of its challenges.
  • Experiencing GTA3 for the very first time, and loving the idea of sandbox gameplay.
  • Playing top notch exclusives such as God of War, Ratchet, Jak, and Sly Cooper.
  • Purchasing a PS3 and being blown away by the graphics and gameplay of resistance and motorstorm. It was the perfect use of my stereo surround.
  • The addition of downloadable titles on PSN, which brought back inventive and original 2d platforming games.
  • Playing Sports Champions during parties and people commenting on the colored lights from the Move controllers.
  • The controller port change in MGS. One of the craftiest ways to defeat a boss ever made.

R17:

  • Racing to KB Toys to purchase a PS One and getting mortal Kombat Trilogy as my very first PlayStation game.
  • Playing the entire Syphon Filter franchise (1-3) on one system was a thrill.
  • Experiencing Resident Evil 2 for the first time changed my view on gaming forever.
  • Using my PlayStation to listen to music CDs through my TV Speakers was fascinating to me!
  • Playing Driver with a Mad Katz steering wheel and pedals accessory on the PS One was a thrill.
  • Spending hours trying to beat Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal 2.
  • Ripping open the package of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on Christmas Morning ’99 and starting it up on my PlayStation.
  • Seeing Silent Hill for the first time was an unforgettable and horrifying experience, in a good way.
  • Searching the entire Tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for the Playstation 2.
  • Playing The Bouncer as my first PS2 game.
  • First hearing about, then finally playing, Grand Theft Auto 3 and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
  • The excitement and rush of seeing the very first teaser trailer on the internet for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
  • Playing a Metal Gear Solid game for the very first time, MGS3: Snake Eater.
  • The amazement of being able to watch DVD’s through my PS2!
  • The best start up a SONY console ever had, the Playstation 2 opening sounds and video.

Argus9:

  • Waiting at the mailroom for my PS3 to arrive, and getting a grin across my face after receiving it.
  • Being absolutely blown away by the quality of gameplay and presentation of Uncharted 3, my first PS3 game ever. Never before have I had the experience of “playing a movie” before U3.
  • Buying a PSP and being impressed with having a full multimedia experience in my pocket. Before I had a smartphone, I had my PSP.
  • Playing Final Fantasy Tactics on my PSP into the wee hours of the night – and using it as an ice breaker when meeting my girlfriend of 3 years for the first time. (That’s right boys – video games CAN help you meet girls!)
  • “Fight Night” with my college buddies in my hall – loading up fighting games and facing off round – robin style on our PS3s.
  • Waiting anxiously every Tuesday night for the Playstation store to update so I can see what’s on offer for Plus members each week.

Any memories you’d like to share? Sound off your PlayStation Memories in the comments below!

PS Vita Essential Games Guide

Back in August of 2011, I wrote up an article for the 3DS when it received its price drop, specifying the best games to grab for Nintendo’s portable console at the time for the respectable genres. In similar fashion, I felt it was time to give the PS Vita the same respect I gave the 3DS by providing an essential buyer’s guide.

Sony’s latest portable device has been out for almost one year now, with it also being nearly a year since we’ve gotten our hands on it back at PlayStation Blog’s Community Meetup Event held in NYC. When we first got our hands on the device, we were immediately impressed with how the system felt. The overall design gave it a sleek and downright sexy look, while providing for an incredibly solid build.


With the console approaching it’s one year anniversary in the US, I look back at all the Vita games I’ve played in the various genres and provide my personal favorites that pertain to each category.

Best Action/Adventure: Gravity Rush

When it comes to the most refreshing, unique experience available for the Vita that also takes full advantage of the console, Gravity Rush shines above every other game. Back when it was shown during the Vita’s unveiling in 2011 (when the device was known as “NGP”), the game seemed very intriguing. The art style and mechanics truly stood out amongst the pack of titles announced for the console. Upon finally playing this game, my expectations actually exceeded, as I was floored by how stunning the game was. Rich environments, unique gameplay mechanics, interesting story and the best visuals to ever grace the Vita, Gravity Rush is a game that I truly can’t recommend enough to any Vita owner.

Best Third-Person Shooter: Uncharted: Golden Abyss

When the Vita launched, THE title to own was Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Being Sony’s flagship IP this generation, there was good reason for fans to be excited about the title’s first portable installment. Instead of being developed by series creator Naughty Dog, Sony Bend (Syphon Filter, Resistance: Retribution) took the helm and tackled the gargantuan task of translating a much beloved series on the PS3 to the PS Vita. The end result was proof that Uncharted can translate onto Sony’s new portable and still feel exactly like that of the console editions.

Best First-Person Shooter: Resistance: Burning Skies

With the PS Vita having two analog sticks built into it, many were eager to see how FPSs would translate to the portable device. While we haven’t seen many of these on the console yet, one developer has brought two FPSs within six months of each other: Resistance: Burning Skies and COD: BO: Declassified. This one was a mixed bag to pick from, but ultimately, the final decision wasn’t all that difficult for me to determine. Resistance: Burning Skies was released in May of 2012 and provided for a solid experience from developer Nihilistic. The setting was well done, the controls were solid, the visuals were pretty good and the campaign was entertaining. Multiplayer was a bit on the laggy side unfortunately and while there’s some fun to be had with it, there wasn’t much lasting appeal. The game does have the easiest platinum trophy to earn on the Vita at the moment, if that’s an extra incentive for you. COD: BO: Declassified, also developed by Nihilistic, was a herculan attempt by the developer since they were only given less than six months to develop it. However, with a campaign that was less than an hour long, and a buggy mess of a multiplayer, it’s impossible for me to recommend that over Resistance: Burning Skies…especially when it’s the priciest game available on the Vita for $49.99.

Best Racing: WipEout 2048

The Vita has its share of racing titles. Between WipEout 2048, Modnation Racers: Roadtrip, Asphalt: Injection, Motorstorm RC, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Ridge Racer, there are a good amount to choose between. Out of the available titles, WipEout 2048 is the game that has the edge over any of the other racing titles. Visually, WipEout 2048 is an absolute beauty to see in action. Replicating visuals from the console version (with the switchoff of 30 fps), the game looks stunning. The lengthy and challenging campaign will keep you busy for quite some time, the Multiplayer Campaign adds a fresh twist to the multiplayer component of the game and the Cross-Play between the Vita and PS3 “WipEout HD” is an outstanding demonstration of asymetrical gaming. It really is unfortunate that Studio Liverpool shut its doors…especially with a knock-out title like this.

Best Fighter: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

The Vita has a large amount of fighters to pick from. Between Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Mortal Kombat, Blazblue, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Reality Fighters, and Street Fighter X TEKKEN, the Vita isn’t exactly short handed on fighting titles at the moment. However, out of all those titles, the one game that really stood out as a proper game on-the-go was PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. First off, utilizing the Cross-Buy feature of purchasing the PS3 version and getting the Vita version (digital) free is an excellent incentive to pick it up. The game itself was called a “Super Smash” ripoff and I’m going to be 100% honest, I was on the fence about the game when it was announced myself. However, finally getting my hands on the game, it was an absolute blast to play. The amount of fan service Superbot Entertainment has incorporated into this game is astounding, with only more that could be added to the game in the near future. The gameplay is fast-paced frentic fun and having to buildup your Special meter before actually eliminating your opponent for a point is a very strategic and intense twist to the genre. Couple that with Cross-Play support to play online amongst both PS3 and PS Vita owners and you’ve got a robust game that you’ll be returning to for quite some time.

Best Sports: Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition

Another genre that hasn’t seen the short end of the stick are sports games. There are quite a good selection of them, between MLB ’12, Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational, Virtua Tennis 4, FIFA Soccer and FIFA ’13 (yes, there were two editions within a year). While any of your choices here would do you well, especially pertaining to which is your favorite sport, I was torn between two particular titles: Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational and Virtua Tennis 4. Ultimately, Virtua Tennis 4 had the slight edge for me for various reasons. If you’ve never played VT4 before, it’s one of the most refined, yet easy to pickup-and-play tennis games ever made. Visually, it’s incredibly impressive that SEGA was able to cram the entire console version into the portable format without any loss in quality, while also adding Vita-specific content. It even ran at the 60 fps the console versions did.

Best RPG: Persona 4 Golden

The PlayStation brand was built on a plethora of JRPGs back with the PS1 and PS2. Fast-forward today and JRPGs have dwindled their way down in numbers. However, Atlus aims to revive the genre a bit for Sony’s latest portable with Persona 4 Golden. P4G is an enhanced version of the PS2 title, Persona 4, but with completely redone visuals and some extra content. Speaking of content, Persona 4 Golden is an immensely deep game that will keep you busy for tens, if not hundreds, of hours tackling everything the game has to offer. Whether you’re interacting with people to form friendships, working side jobs, attending school, or dungeon-crawling through the “TV World” (where missing people vanish to from the real world), P4G offers hybrid RPG/Simulation gameplay mechanics. If completing the game wasn’t enough, there’s a New Game+ to dive into, further extending the longevity.

Best Platformer: LittleBigPlanet Vita

In terms of carrying a platforming title on-the-go, LittleBigPlanet Vita is hands-down the choice to go with. LittleBigPlanet has picked up a huge fan base since Media Molecule’s first release on the PS3, and more so with the sequel. The PS Vita edition wasn’t developed by Media Molecule, but rather, Tarsier Studios. While fans can be wary when their franchise is later developed by a different studio, Tarsier Studios absolutely nailed bringing the experience to the Vita. Taking full advantage of the Vita’s features, creating levels has never been easier thanks to the touch screen implementations. Naturally, a big part of LBP is the user-generated content and playing other people’s creations is a huge portion of the fun. There’s some really innovative stuff that people have created and the developers incorporated filters to ensure you come across the best stuff every week. Additionally, one of the best features is the compatibility with DLC between the PS3 and Vita versions. Almost every DLC costume you own for the PS3 is accessible for download on the PS Vita version, at no additional cost. While Rayman Origins is another great platformer, LittleBigPlanet Vita is one that feels more like a tailored experience for the PS Vita (due to the fact that it was developed specifically for the Vita).

Best PSN Download: Retro City Rampage

There is a pretty wide assortment of PSN titles available for download on the PS Vita at this point of the system’s lifecycle. However, there’s one that particularly struck solid gold for me: Retro City Rampage. When I reviewed RCR back in October, there wasn’t enough praise I could give the game. Essentially an 8-bit “GTA” style game, you’ll tackle an insanely wild adventure that packs a rich amount of content. While I won’t go crazy in-depth here (read the full review for that), Retro City Rampage is simply a retro throwback with countless nostalgic moments that has me coming back day after day.

It’ll be almost one year since the PS Vita released in North America and the console has expanded over that course. At launch, the system wasn’t backwards compatible with many PSP games and/or Minis, and had zero PS1 Classics compatibility. Over time, we’ve seen the backwards compatibility library of PSP and PS Minis expand dramatically, while PS1 functionality finally gave old-school fans the ability to play their favorites on the stunning OLED screen. The Vita has also seen the inclusion of PlayStation Mobile content, as well as some neat apps, with more surely to come.

There you have it PS Vita owners. These are my personal picks for you to look into getting and while I’m not telling you that you have to buy these, I’m strongly recommending them. Enjoy!

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