The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
This is another one of those games that has been sitting on my shelf for months. With everyone and their mother playing Hyrule Warriors and myself feeling left out because I can't afford a $60 game right now, this seemed as good a time as any to finally crack this bad boy open.
Why on Earth did I wait so long to get around to this game? I've always had great adoration for A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds feels like one huge lover letter to that game and more. Let me just say that I have no qualms with the Zelda series shifting to 3D. Ocarina of Time is still one of my favorite entries in the series and Wind Waker is a marvel as much as it is visually impressive. But I couldn't help but feel as giddy as a school girl as I traveled the dungeons of Hyrule from an overhead perspective. Yes, Phantom Hour Glass and Spirit Tracks play with the classic overhead view, but I haven't gotten around to playing those games yet (still on the shelf sealed), so A Link Between Worlds is the first new Zelda game I've played with the old view in a very long time.
The Hyrule in this game feels very familiar and that's no coincidence. The overworld is is a carbon copy of the one from A Link to the Past so I immediately felt at home. Even so, having been to this Hyrule several times in the past, that doesn't keep things from feeling old hat. The wall merging mechanic is quite the clever innovation. More often than not, wall merging is the solution to many of the game's puzzles, at least from what I've played thus far.
Another thing I love about A Link Between Worlds is how it kicks linear gameplay to the curb. Before I tackled the three first dungeons, I Revio rented out many familiar Zelda items to me. The Hook Shot this early in the game? Yes, yes and yes again! This meant I could go to any of the three dungeons in the order of my choosing. I do hope this keeps up when the inevitable shift to the Dark World comes into play.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
Man, the wait for this game was killing me (probably you, too, I'd imagine) but when October 3rd finally rolled around, the waiting was over and it was at last time to Smash. I had to work on October 3rd but when that was done, I was finally (for real this time) able to get my Smash on.
Even after I've spent time with the demo version of the game that I received as a Club Nintendo member, playing it did very little to scratch the surface of the full game, though I am grateful I did get the opportunity to play the demo to get me ready for this version of Smash. I've mostly got the controls down, though the 3DS thumb pad still takes some adjusting to for the kind of game that Smash is. I really wish you could switch over to directional pad controls for movements instead of just taunts. Control wise, that's my only gripe with 3DS Smash.
When I started the game up, I was surprised at how many characters were available from the get go. I was pleased that Mega Man and Pac-Man were characters that I wouldn't have to unlock. While most fighters are there from the start, you still do have to do some work to make a few of them playable and some of these combatants to not want to be playable. I was really taken aback when Duck Hunt was fighting tooth and nail. It took me three attempts to unlock Duck Hunt, including one failed attempt with King Dedede. When I unleashed the Mii Gunner, Duck Hunt got his retro butt kicked something fierce. Even I was surprised at how well the Mii Gunner handled against Duck Hunt because when all was said and done and I sent that mutt and mallard flying, my percent meter was at 0.
As I did not follow Smash leading up to it's release as closely as I should have, I was in the dark about Smash Run, which takes elements from Kirby Air Ride, another Masahiro Sakurai game and implements them into Smash Run. Like City Trial from Air Ride, you have 5 minutes to power up your fighters stats and face off in random challenges. What's more is that you get to keep these stats to customize your fighter and use these customization options in other modes. So I can replace Mega Man's Crash Bomb's with the Ice Slasher, or the Metal Blade with the Shadow Blade. Its mind boggling to think that you'll be able to do this sort of thing with each and every character in the game.
Some fans are miffed that The Ice Climbers, Lucas and Wolf are gone. I do miss the Ice Climbers as they were some of my favorite characters to use, but to say you won't be picking up the game because they or your most coveted third party character didn't make it? Come on, how needy do you have to be? With a roster of over 50 characters, I think you can get over the fact that (insert character here) didn't make the cut. There are way too many cool characters in this game to feel butthurt about a few missing old favorites.
The tweaks that have been made to the old characters and the new ones has be switching from fighter to fighter on a regular basis. Bowser isn't just standing up right. The dude is a freaking tank. And not those crappy Grand Theft Auto Vice City and onward tanks. I mean a GTAIII tank, the kind that dished out so much destruction and took an unfathomable amount of damage to stop. I think Smash 4 has my favorite Bowser to date. Little Mac is a tiny titan, netting me the highest score in Home Run Contest as well as Endless Smash. Link has been improved after he was nerfed in Brawl. I still prefer Toon Link, but if I ever feel like switching it up with the Links I definitely will now.
I really love how 3DS Smash has levels specifically for this version of the game. Even a level from Find Mii was included and has one of favorite songs. One of the Kirby levels I've yet to unlock takes place inside a Game Boy, similar to a few of the Flat Zone arenas from previous Smash Bros. titles. Of course the Boxing Ring representing Punch-Out!! is in both versions of Smash 4. I like that you can jump off the ropes and even make your way to the ring lights and better still, said lights can be brought down on combatants below. The Mute City stage is cool for representing what has now become one of Nintendo's forgotten franchises and I love how it uses SNES graphics.
If you couldn't tell, I love 3DS Smash so much that it's difficult to get back to my other games, including A Link Between Worlds and Mario Kart 8, but I'll just have to tear myself away from it. Obsession, they name is Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (they really shoulda called it something else)
Still Playing: Mario Kart 8, Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels (All-Stars ver.), Shovel Knight