With its inspired space setting, rich history, and distinctive aesthetic, Phantasy Star may be my favorite RPG series of all time. One may not associate Sega’s flagship RPG with Nintendo hardware, but the Wii, DS, Game Boy Advance, and GameCube are actually home to some of the best games in the franchise- many of which still hold up today! Let’s have a look. Continue reading →
The Virtua Striker series, as with most games with “Virtua” in the title, got its start in arcades. Developed by legendary studio Amusement Vision (Super Monkey Ball, F-Zero GX, Planet Harriers), Virtua Striker 2002 (based on the arcade game Virtua Striker 3) combines fast and fluid pick-up-and-play controls with unrelenting and challenging AI. Continue reading →
Nintendo’s WiiU has been out for almost a year, and the system is finally starting to see a steady stream of quality releases. Games like Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends, The Wonderful 101, and Wind Waker HD have quickly given new life to the console, while games like Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Wii Fit U, and Wii Sports Club, and Bayonetta 2 have begun crowding many gamers’ wish lists. Although there is now much more software on the console than I have time to play—I still want to catch up on Pikmin 3, Lego City Stories, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Spin the Bottle: Bumpie’s Party, Resident Evil: Revelations, and a few more—the WiiU’s first year has been undeniably spotty in terms of releases. While the launch delivered over thirty titles, the subsequent months were plagued by delays and cancellations, giving WiiU owners much cause for concern. With two new consoles having, in my opinion, lackluster launch windows on the horizon—the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 both release in November with not much that interests me—I can’t help but wonder if sparse launch windows might merely be an inescapable reality for early-adopters of modern game machines. This was certainly the case for not only the WiiU but also the DS and the 3DS, whose launches were a far cry from both the well-roundedness of the Wii launch and the essential Mario experiences found at the NES, SNES, and N64 launches. Considering all of the Nintendo launches, however, I have come to the realization that the GameCube boasted my favorite launch overall, which comes as a surprise, even to me. While recognizing that GameCube provided one of Nintendo’s most difficult eras with retail success, I feel that system offered a rare launch, full of several high quality games that proved more than the barely passable distractions that populate most console launches.