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Andrew’s Most Anticipated Titles of 2015: The Movie

Disclaimer…not all games are officially coming out for 2015, but they’re announced and this is me hoping.

2015 so far looks to already be leaning towards a year of incredible releases, as long as the trend of releasing half finished games or delaying the games until 2016 doesn’t continue. Nonetheless, my hopes are held extremely high and I can’t wait for a few games in particular. So why not just jump into that list. This list is in alphabetical order and is not rated by how much I want the game.

Continue reading Andrew’s Most Anticipated Titles of 2015: The Movie

The Only NUReviews Top 10 GOTY 2014 That Matters*

Man, what a year, am I right? I mean, I haven’t posted any articles in a year, but if you follow our FaceBook page you’ll have seen we were at least semi-active this year.  But really, all that matters is the last post of the year, the traditional 2014 GOTY Top 10 List.  I’ve played a handful of games over the year, mostly good, some bad, and then there’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, but narrowing down what I could consider my Top 10 was certainly harder than I thought it’d be.  I’ll provide a small insight into the game and why I think it deserves the place on my list for each game, and much like The Octopus from The Spirit, I like to start from the bottom and work my way up.  So let’s start with the metaphorical toes of my Top 10 List, entry number 10.

NUmbeR 10 – South Park: The Stick of Truth


South Park: The Stick of Truth finds you, the new kid on the block, in the middle of a war of the imaginations between the children of South Park, Colorado.  Initially enlisted alongside Cartman and Butters, you eventually team up with Kyle, Kenny, Stan, and even Jimmy as you fight to try and reclaim the all powerful Stick of Truth, a weapon so powerful that anyone who wields it can bend all of reality to their whim.  Written by the brains behind the show, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and animated to look just like the show, the game blends wonderful visuals, crude humor, and simple yet solid gameplay mechanics to craft a game worthy of praise.  My biggest complaint with the game, however, is that it’s so short, in just under 12 hours, I was able to complete the main campaign and most, if not all of the side quests. For an RPG, that certainly leaves things lacking.  Some will say that making a 40 hour RPG out of South Park material would be stretching the source too much, and you know, they’re probably right. But I wouldn’t let this issue deter me from recommending people buy the game.  However, if you can’t get it for anything less than $15, I’d highly recommend you hold off on it. That really is the best way to get the most bang for your buck for this otherwise great game.

NUmbeR 9 – Hyrule Warriors

tumblr_ndz1m5nS6h1rf0hsxo4_250Stupid Sexy Link-senpai

When announced at E3, Hyrule Warriors looked to just be a Dynasty Warriors game with a Zelda skin, which if it were only that, would still have made my list.  But instead, what we got was a game crafted around both the gameplay elements of the two completely separate series, while maintaining the feel that comes with a game that the developers truly loved to make.  The Tecmo Koei people have perfected the Dynasty Warriors gameplay to an art, almost, being able to create these spin-offs of the series while lovingly crafting them around the source material that they’re being based on.  Each of the characters hold weapons that are pulled from the 3D Zelda Games (with the exception of some 8-bit weapons to throw in as a treat to fans), along with giant boss monsters that sometimes invade the field require a bit of easy puzzle solving to do massive damage to them, as it would take with any Zelda game.  Packed with hours of content past just the main story, as well as a gameplay style that doesn’t really get old in my eyes, it’s one of my GOTY titles.  You may be wondering why, with such high praise, it’s so low on my list. Well, the reason is because at its core, it’s still a game from the Dynasty Warriors series, whose games aren’t for everyone.  Many people get tired of the Hack-n-Slash, mow-down-an-entire-army gameplay the series provides, rather quickly.

If you love Zelda, it’s worth the look just for the care that was put into the game. But if you’re not a fan of Dynasty Warriors as a whole, you won’t be able enjoy the game to its full potential.  Also, how can you not include Groose? He demands to be let loose.

NUmbeR 8 – The Evil Within

THE NOPE WITHINI really feel you SeaBass

I guess it’s time to admit one of my greater gaming sins: I have never played Resident Evil 4, the last Resident Evil title before the series went, objectively, to the shitter (though I still liked RE5 a little, despite its terrible AI).  When The Evil Within started showing it’s face in the gaming world, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention. But towards release, I started to get pretty hype by trailers and screens, and post release the hype was intensified by watching other people play. It ended up being one of my better purchases of the year.  Following the story of Detective Sebastian Castellanos, you find yourself in a life or death struggle against crazed, zombie like people and a mad man with mysterious powers called Ruvik.  If you’re wondering why I had to start this by bringing up Resident Evil 4, it’s because anyone who has played the two will tell you of the huge similarities the two games hold.  Even putting aside the fact that they share the same director, gameplay elements and sections, which  The Evil Within seemed to have almost carbon copied from Resident Evil 4 (though they took out the ability to do sick suplexes on stunned enemies, the fools).  The story is a bit of a cluster-fuck and doesn’t explain a whole lot, but the visuals are great and the gameplay is solid.  Despite my terrible skill at the game, I enjoyed every minute I play of this wonderful title.

NUmbeR 7 – Jackbox Party Pack

hqdefaultShameless ripping of Steve’s image

You’ll start to notice something from this point on, so I’ll give you the heads up now.  Starting with this entry, I really don’t have many negative things to say about the rest of the games on this list.  While clearly all these views are subjective and your thoughts may vary, if I can make a top ten list, and run out of negative things to say by number 7, then I’ve clearly had a good year.  The Jackbox Party Pack is exactly that kind of game. It’s a collection of five games by the developers behind You Don’t Know Jack (which is also included in this collection).  Each title can be played solo with a controller, or with multiple people with each person using a smart phone, tablet, computer, or anything that has a browser as their controller.  Because of this set up, some games are able to support up to eight consecutive players. One game can even supporting up to 100.  It’s a perfect game to have when you have a lot of people over, as none of the games require any real amount of skill. I guarantee that everyone will have a great time playing it.

NUmbeR 6 – Mario Kart 8

YoshicolorsSo much wasted potential in a single roster, wheres my Rawk Hawk?

What is there really to say about this that’s not already known? If you just read the title of the game, you would know what you’re in for.  Mario Kart 8 brings the classic karting fun the series is known for to the Wii U, in beautiful high definition.  The worlds are lovingly crafted and each race is a load of fun, no matter how good you are at the game.  Another great game to play with your friends, fun for all without as much of the relationship crushing nature that comes with Mario Party.  If I had one complaint for the game, it’d be the waste of character slots (seriously, who thinks putting every Koopa Kid and Pink Gold Peach in was a good idea?), but I’m not going to let that ruin my view of the game.

NUmbeR 5 – Dark Souls 2

tumblr_naux25S9pP1sxoyxro10_500I really have nothing clever to put here, but I’m on a roll and won’t stop now

There is so much that can be said about Dark Souls 2, it’s a little hard to think of a place to start.  Even if I started with a rough overview of the story, that in and of itself is complicated.  You play an undead, someone who can not die, who is on a quest to try and find a cure to your condition.  You find yourself in the land of Drangleic, an ancient kingdom that has all but fallen apart, where you are tasked to seek the king of Drangleic, for it is he who will have the answers.  Your quest takes you all around this strange world: from deepest darkness of The Gulch, to the strangely high and seemingly geographically misplaced Iron Keep. As your quest goes on so does your goal.  However, it is not the ideals of the character that changes, it feels more as if the world is just guiding you on your way, and as you continue on, you start to forget why you set out on the journey to begin with.  Featuring the action RPG combat that started way back on the PS3 with Demons Souls, Dark Souls 2 is refined in some matters while faltering in others.  Many will argue on how the game compares to previous entries in the series, but I enjoy it all the same.  Where it falters, its previous entries rise to the challenge, and where they falter, Dark Souls 2 sits high above them.  The inclusion of the DLC is easily the best part of the game, showing design and artistic methods that show what the team is truly capable of.  If you haven’t played this game yet, then I would highly recommend you do, don’t let the claims of its insane difficulty deter you away.  The key to playing any “Souls” game is patience and learning. Keep those in mind, and you can overcome any obstacle in your path.  Dark Souls 2 will be re-released around end of Quarter 1 and beginning of Quarter 2 of 2015, with the Scholar of the First Sin edition, which will include new story elements, NPCs, and gameplay balances.  This edition will be released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC with DirectX11 support, which will include enhanced visuals and alternate enemy placements. So if you’ve been putting off playing the game or are just considering playing it, wait for this definitive edition to be released.

NUmbeR 4 – Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix

braigYes, good, that’s the word.

When I was constructing this list, I found that there were a couple of HD remakes that I played over the year that I considered for the list, but I really couldn’t put any of them above Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix.  While its close contender, the FFX/X-2 HD Re-master, was an excellent remastering of some excellent games, updating their visuals for more modern systems, I didn’t really get all that much more out of it.  While the editions did come with the extra content from the “International” editions of the game (which were kind of like Final Mix versions of Kingdom Hearts, except only not released in the US), all of that extra content was end-game, so I didn’t see any of it until well into my playthrough.  Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix brings the Final Mix version of two of the best games of the Kingdom Hearts series stateside for the first time, and these versions are of course the reasoning this has made it so high on my list.  Kingdom Hearts has been my guilty pleasure game since its release. I’ve played every title, save for the Japanese only mobile game, and at one point even imported Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix.  To be able to play these enhanced version with new forms, gameplay balances, difficulty levels, cutscenes and secret bosses in a language I understand, is almost like a childish dream come true.  As a fan of the series, there’s no reason for you not to own this game. If you’re looking forward to Kingdom Hearts 3, but don’t quite grasp the story, these HD Remix versions are the best place to start.

NUmbeR 3 – Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

imagesIt’s Un-Bear-able~

Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair is another example of many of why the Vita is actually a handheld worth investing in.  While the number of big named titles doesn’t reach the expectations one might have for it, the sheer force of the niche Japanese titles is what really drives the system.  When I first bought Danganronpa, I didn’t expect to really enjoy it, since I heard it was kind of like Phoenix Wright, but that’s all I had known about it.  What I got was another entry into the small list of Visual Novel-esque titles that have become some of my favorite handheld games.  Danganronpa is about a class of “Ultimates”, students who are the best of the best in their given field, trying to survive imprisoned in the very school they thought they were safe in.  You take on the role of Makoto Maegi, the “Ultimate Lucky Student”, that is to say he has no particular skill of interest, he just got accepted into the school because he won a lotto drawing.  Inside the school you’ll encounter your fellow “classmates”, including the “Ultimate Programmer”, “Ultimate Martial Artist”, “Ultimate Otaku” and more. You’ll be lead by the sadistic, pun throwing, monochromatic mad-bear, Monokuma.  There’s only one rule to surviving this dark situation: Murder your fellow classmates.  The gameplay is split between two different states. There’s what I’ll refer to as the “Peaceful State”, where you spend your days spending time with your classmates, getting to know them and building friendships ala the Persona Series.  And then there’s the “Murder State”, which takes place when ever someone has been murdered.  Your job in the “Murder State” is to find clues as to who committed the murder, and then bring them to justice in a trial.  If you win, the murderer gets punished and you continue playing, however if you pick out the wrong person, everybody but the murderer gets punished, and the murderer gets set free.  The story is full of twists that even I didn’t quite see coming(And I’m pretty good about spotting twists, I figured Vader was Luke’s father a whole minute before he said that line), and the characters are eccentric to the point where you can’t help but feel love for all of them, even the sadistic asshole that is Monokuma.  If you want a game similar to 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors or Virtue’s Last Reward: Zero’s Escape, but with a more light-hearted tone to it, be sure to pick this up.

NUmbeR 2 – Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor

shadow-of-mordro8 out of 10 witty comments isn’t too bad right?

Let’s be frank with each other: franchise games are rarely good.  I’m, of course, not talking about video game franchises. I’m talking about video games based around franchises that pre-existed in other mediums, such as movies or books.  Short of an original story not told in other mediums, or being a LEGO game, franchise games are essentially doomed to be at the bottom of the barrel for eternity.  So it comes as a surprise that Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, a franchise game that takes gameplay directly from two of the biggest AAA game franchises on the market right now, can do it better than both of them and come so close to my personal GOTY.  The story of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor follows Talion, a ranger in charge of defending the Black Gate.  All is going well with him and his family, but everything changed when the Fire Nation… I mean… the Black Hand of Sauron attacked.  After watching his family killed before his eyes, Talion himself is killed, but his spirit remains in the world of the living.  An Elvish wraith tells him that his soul is cursed, much like the wraith, and that if they were to team up, they could take down the armies of Sauron, the Black Hand, and then finally reunite with their families.  So begins a quest across the lands of Mordor, slaughtering Uruks and retrieving fragments of the Wraith’s memories to discover his hidden past.  Exploration in Shadow of Mordor is taken almost directly from Assassin’s Creed, with the ability to stealth at will and climb up buildings like a professional climber.  The similarities in this system are so abundant, that sometimes I thought I might have actually been playing an Assassin’s Creed game (which was quickly rectified by the fact that it wasn’t Assassin’s Creed IV and I was having fun).  Meanwhile the combat is a carbon copy of the Batman Arkham games of recent fame.  In combat, you’ll find yourself surrounded by Uruks that will try to attack you one or two at a time. You can press ‘Triangle’ to counter their attacks at the last minute, ‘Square’ to issue strikes, ‘X’ to bound over your enemies, and ‘Circle’ to stun them, which, while stunned, you can issue repetitive blows using the ‘Square’ button.  After you get a high enough combo, you can press a combination of two buttons to perform a finishing move, which does things like knock out a single opponent or stun enemies in a radius around you (seems pretty familiar huh?).  The inclusion of a Bow with a bullet time mechanic allows you to take out a group of enemies swiftly and from a distance.

But the real meat of the game comes from the much acclaimed Nemesis System.  Each Uruk captain is generated to look and sound different, to fight differently, and to have different strengths and weaknesses.  Killing a captain opens up his spot in Sauron’s army, allowing another captain to move up in the ranks.  Combine this with the late game ability to turn Uruks into your own minions, the game quickly becomes finding Uruks you particularly like, beefing them up and turning all of Mordor under your control.  The game is loaded with side challenges to distract you from the very few main quests (only 20 total), so much so in fact that I had completed all the side challenges I could complete in the first half of the game before I was even done with the first half of the story missions.  It never feels like a chore to do these side quests, unless you wait until the end and that’s all you have left to do.  While the story isn’t particularly engaging, the gameplay is almost perfect in all aspects.  If I had two complaints about the game, it’s that you don’t get the ability to control enemies until very late in the game, and that the DLC they added trophies which ruined my 100% completion rating.  I worked very hard for that Level 25 Rune, damn it, and you took away my pride!!

NUmbeR 1 – Shovel Knight

 276752-SN2221It’s both cozy, and lonely at the top.

Here we are, Numero Uno, The King of Kings, the 100%, Indisputable** 2014 Game of the Year: Shovel Knight.  What a game, where can I even start?  So often Indie games try and pander off their work by giving it that “retro” look, but rarely is a game so expertly crafted as Shovel Knight is.  Taking elements from the classic side scrolling action games of the 8-bit era (see Megaman, Ducktales, etc), Shovel Knight is as much a love letter as it is a stand alone title.  You play Shovel Knight, a once proud Knight of the Spade who, after the loss of his companion Shield Knight, retired to a life of easy digging.  However, after an evil Enchantress started rising to power with the aid of the Knights of No Quarter, Shovel Knight takes it upon himself to bury these evil doers and dig up some Justice!  Starting off fairly weak (classic 3 heart containers), each level sees Shovel Knight traversing the 2D planes, defeating enemies and collecting cash, which he can then use to buy relics and upgrades.  If you die in a level you lose a percentage of the gold you have on you, but similar to games like Dark Souls, if you make it back to the place you died you can reclaim all that lost gold.  While a single playthrough won’t last you too long, the game has a New Game+ feature, which allows you to start again with all your upgrades and stronger enemies.  Attached onto that are a number of challenges and achievements that will have you playing the game for hours on end.

Despite being an 8-bit Indie Game, the difficulty matches and, in some cases, exceeds modern AAA titles.  Enemies make platforming perilous yet fair, and Bosses do large amounts of damage but have fairly predictable move sets.  The game is perfectly balanced to be both fair for those who are possibly new to games, but also challenging and rewarding to the more experienced gamer.  There is nothing I can possibly say wrong about this game, which makes it a one of a kind diamond in the desert that has been 2014 in gaming.

*: NUReviews does not stand by that this is the only GOTY list that matters, there are a lot of lists out there and they are all respectable opinions, NUReviews doesn’t condone the idea that we’re better than everyone***

**: It is completely refutable if Shovel Knight is indeed GOTY because this is based off Brad’s personal preference.

***: Except Kotaku, we’re better than Kotaku

Steve’s Top 5 Games of the Year (2014)


I have had an extremely busy time this year. Unfortunately, most of that times was dedicated to academics and other life stuff…and Peggle Blast for Android OS. Don’t worry, no way I’m letting a mobile game get on this list. I did manage to get to a good number of games I’ve been eying for a while, but unfortunately, time (and funds) didn’t let me get to other games I been putting off (Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, South Park: Stick of Truth, etc). It’s actually why I had to do a Top 5, rather than a top 10. I guess those are left to my eternal backlog. Oh well, anyways, to the list.

Honorable Mentions:


Mario Golf: World Tour

I’m not the biggest sports guy. I would only watch big events like the Super Bowl or World Cup( dat 7-1, eh?). That also applies to sport games, so don’t expect to see me talk about the latest Madden or MLB game. However, there are exceptions. Games like NBA Jam or NFL Blitz, mostly those zany, arcade styled games, are more my speed, since they’re a bit more hectic and allow for more creativity. The Mario sport series certainly falls under this category. Mario Golf: World Tour is a great portable game. You can play the game for a few holes, take a break, and then resume later with no hassle at all. Even the online mode is pretty fun and helpful for picking up some swing techniques. My major gripe with the game is that despite having a decent chunk of content, there’s little to no replay value. The lack of a single player RPG mode, which were featured in previous portable versions of Mario Golf, left me desiring more out of the game. But still, the mechanics and courses were solid enough for me to recommend this game to any casual golf fan…but perhaps when it’s discounted though.


The Jackbox Party Pack:
If there’s one thing I love, it’s playing party games with my friends. At $25, this can’t be passed up…unless you are not the type of person who likes this sort of thing. Anyways, this game contains a bunch of great games, like You Don’t Know Jack 2015, which has a bunch of new episodes with everyone’s favorite virtual game show host, Cookie Masterson,  and Fibbage XL and Drawful, where you have to create deceitful answers believable enough for others to choose in order to win points. What’s great is that everyone can play using their cell phones, iPad, or computer, so no need for extra controllers. Brad actually did a livestream a few weeks ago where viewers can actually play too. If we get enough of a response, we’ll try to do something like this again.

And now to the list!

#5- Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season TwoWDS2_KeyArt_Logo-650px

Season One of Telltale’s The Walking Dead is one hell of an emotionally impactful game. Although there were not many, the decisions you had to make drastically affects the sort of experience you were going to have. And, of course, as Lee, you had to decide what kind of role model you were going to be for Clementine, which made decisions so much tougher. This element allowed players to become more involved with the relationship between Lee and Clementine, which made the ending so effective.

In Season Two, the primary dilemma for Clementine is what she values more: survival or loyalty? This question creates a number of dire situations in Season Two, which resulted in me asking “Well there is no way this is going to end well” on many occasions. However, I felt that the writing may have been weaker in this season. A number of the hard choices were virtually pointless, since all decisions end with similar results (Season One had this problem as well[i.e. illusion of choice ]). I also wasn’t as emotionally involved with this season, since I wasn’t as fond of the majority of characters in this season, which lessen the impact of their potential deaths. All of the endings except one, which was the one I received during my first playthrough, felt disappointing. Even though the ending I got left me tearing up, I had the feeling Telltales won’t be able to continue the story in Season Three successfully. They have to somehow tie in the multiple endings of Season Two into a one cohesive plot for Three, which could mean that the choice the play made at the end of Season Two meaningless.

Nevertheless, I still recommend this series, both Season One and Two, to people who desire decent stories in a zombie infected world. Even now, I prefer this game over the TV Show and the comic series. This series has the compelling human drama that I desire in zombie stories, and fortunately for me, it shows up in the entertainment medium I enjoy most: video games.


#4 – Mario Kart 8

I’m not sure how much more I can say about Mario Kart 8 that hasn’t been already said by others. This game is the best Mario Kart game yet. It built upon the superb foundation of Mario Kart Wii & 7, bringing back key features like gliding, underwater driving, motorcycles, and a great online system. It’s also the best looking MK game to date as well.  Even the DLC is great, drawing inspiration for new characters and track from other Nintendo franchises like F-Zero and Excite Bike. Despite some gripes with the roster, this is a must have game for the Wii U. ‘Nuff said.


#3 Super Smash Bros for 3DS

I’ve said this once, when I managed to get Smash Bros 64 working on a Nintendo 64 emulator app for my phone, but I’ll say it again: if I were to show my younger self that I was able to play Smash Bros just about anywhere in the world, without the need of a home console, kid Steve’s mind would explode. That’s how much I love Smash Bros, and I can firmly say that I love this version of Smash Bros.

Smash Bros for the 3DS doesn’t compromise much on content, despite being on a portable console. Anyone familiar with Super Smash Bros’ director, Masahiro Sakurai, knows that his game philosophy includes having an insane amount of content in each of his games. This game features many returning modes from previous iterations of the game, like Classic mode, Stadium mode, All-Star, and, of course, Smash. But this game adds a few good modes as well, such as a completely playable online mode that puts Brawl’s to shame(which sadly, isn’t a difficult task to do). Smash Run is a mode that has the player run through a giant maze fighting enemies from various gaming franchises and collecting stat boosts in order to strengthen the player’s character before playing a final round of Smash after five minutes.

Some people would argue that this version of Smash was merely a glorified demo for the Wii U version. But I’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time with this game (partially because I’m not home often enough to play the console version). This game, along with Wii U, has the largest roster of any Smash Bros yet. The stages, although smaller in scale to compensate for the size of the 3DS’s screen, were quite creative, like the F-Zero and Earthbound stage (although I’m sure no one likes the ‘birdmin’). The controls work well for the 3DS, although some may free lost since the 3DS control scheme is rather different from the Gamecube controller, which many Smash players have become more than fond of. Once again, this is one of those “must own” games for the system.


#2 – Dark Souls II

The Souls series is infamous for its difficulty. I’m sure just about every modern-day game enthusiast knows this. But I argue that the game series is manageable, as long as you always display caution around every corner, along with having a firm grasp on the combat system. If you still run into trouble, there’s one piece of advice I have for you: “Git gud.”

Any souls veteran should be able to pick up this game with ease. But Dark Souls II is even accessible for newcomers as well, thanks for the optional tutorial at the beginning of the game. Of course, there’s new bosses, new weapons, armor and spells, new enemies, and a whole new land to explore. The game also allows for online co-op and “invasions”, when you can warp into another player’s game, uninvited, in order to fight and vanquish them. Dark Souls II allows for many ways to go through the game, whether you wish to create a character who is a tank, a nimble ninja, a sage, or somewhere in between.

One of the issues I personally have with Dark Souls II is that the game didn’t have as many memorable moments as DaS1. The different areas in the game are all branched off of Majula, the hub area. But in Dark Souls I, there was more of a connection between different areas, such as seeing older areas in the far distances, or shortcuts that can take you to areas on the complete opposite site of the map. The bosses, although plentiful, were quite forgettable, some even being recycled from DS1. Finally, the atmosphere felt a bit duller, due to some of the blandness of the areas found in the game.

But I went into Dark Souls II for primarily one reason: to put up a good fight and eventually kick its ass. And that I did. I found the challenge I was looking for. If you are brave enough to test your skill as a ‘gamer’, absolutely give this game a whirl. There’s a new edition coming out soon for the XB1 and PS4, along with an updated PC version. I recommend checking those out when you get the chance. And if you struggle…”git gud”.


#1 – Super Smash Bros for Wii U

Reasons why this is my GOTY
1.) 8 Player Smash

2.) Glorious HD

3.) Solid Online Mode

4.) Dat Roster

I really can go for a long time, singing praises about this game, but I want to grab some food, so I’ll try to keep this brief. This is the game Brawl should have been. The gameplay is solid enough for competitive and casual players to enjoy. The roster has someone for everyone. Who would have imagined that Wii Fit Trainer would be so fun to use? A lot of the single player modes now have co-op options, giving this game more options when with friends. Smash Tour is a fun mode that brings some of the zaniness found in Mario Party and Fortune Street to Smash Bros.

BUT 8 PLAYER SMASH! It’s a fantastic way to make the already chaotic local multiplayer mode even crazier. The fact that you have a lot of controller options (Wii U GamePad, Pro Controller, Wiimote, Wiimote and Nunchuk, Wiimote and Classic Controller, and , shockingly, the GameCube controller). If you are a Nintendo fan, you should have no problem gathering enough controllers for some 8 player fights.

The Amiibo functionality is also worth noting as well, since it allows for extremely weird virtual Smash Bros Cock Fights. You can personally train your Amiibo to level 50, who will pick up your technique and fight style along the way. Eventually, you’ll be able to buy an Amiibo for every character in the game, and you’ll be able to use these Amiibos in other games as well. Just a warning though, it may be difficult to find some of the Amiibos since they are actually rather popular, and Nintendo underestimated how popular some of them would be.

Nevertheless, Smash Bros for the Wii U is a great reason to get a Wii U. As mentioned before, Sakurai’s games always have loads of content that’ll last you a good, long time. Now that it finally has a decent online mode (and a tournament mode coming soon), you’ll be able to play people from all around the world with little to no lag. Who would have thought that ‘smashing’ would bring people together?

Now that I have some time, I should finally be able to catch up on some games that I missed during 2014. But overall, it was a solid year, especially for the Wii U. I’m glad to see that Nintendo’s console is finally getting the games it’s been yearning for a while now. I’ll be doing a list for ‘Most Anticipated Games of 2015’ soon, because uh…wowzers, it looks like my wallet is going to going into overtime.

A Happy New Year to all of our followers. Let’s hope that 2015 and all following years has games for all of us to enjoy.

Thoughts on “Tusk” (Spoiler-Free)

Thursday, September 18th 2014 was the release day of Tusk, the first of the “True North” trilogy of films based on particular episodes of “Smodcast”, hosted by the movie’s director, Kevin Smith, along with his producer buddy, Scott Moiser. There was also a special promotion going on: if you take a picture of your ticket stub and add a certain hashtag on twitter, your handle gets to be in the credits for the DVD and Blu-Ray release. I’m sure that hardcore Smith fans and those interested in having an excuse to have a listing on IMDB saw it opening night. It being a Thursday night, there were bound to be a decent crowd for the screenings on Friday, or at least I would like to assume that. I wasn’t able to see the movie until Saturday. Typically, I’m a movie goer that likes to go to the theater by themselves, not because I’m a loser (although I won’t deny that), but I do like to watch movies without much chatter. It turns out I got exactly what I asked for.


The only really downside of watching Tusk in an empty theater is that I really can’t gauge the reactions of others. That’s why this is movie is going to be difficult for me to recommend.

Tusk is based on a fake ‘for rent’ listing on an English classified website. The imaginary landowner offered free rent, but in exchange, the tenant must dress up as a walrus for two hours a day, to aid in recreating the friendship landowner had with a walrus. This hoax gained a lot of popularity due to just how bizarre the idea was, which eventually ended up as a point of discussion on Smodcast. After some back and forth with Moiser, they discussed how a horror movie based on the ad would go. But afterward, the idea of the movie was secured planted in Smith’s mind, to the point of asking his Twitter followers if they would actually like him to make this movie. Thanks to #WalrusYes, Smith got the answer he wanted to hear. Only a bit over a year later, Tusk is available for American audiences to see.

Wallace Bryton, played by Justin Long, a Smith veteran, is a podcaster who travels around the country to interview “weirdos”, then, in a deprecating fashion, recounts how it went to his co-host, played by Haley Joel Osment. Wallace eventually ends up in Canada, where he meets Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a wheelchair-bound man who had plenty of adventures to share. But before Wallace realizes something was off about Howe, he falls victim to an extraordinary produce that leaves him as close to being a walrus as possible.

I think that alone should be enough for you to determine whether or not you would like to see the film. But as a completely unqualified reviewer, it’s my duty to help you out with making the right choice (for yourself, at least.) First off, “Tusk” tries to present itself as a horror movie. There isn’t much violence or gore in the movie, but there may be a few parts that could creep you out. Overall, I feel that the comedic elements overshadow the horror aspects of Tusk. I’m usually not on for horror films, but Tusk was an easy sit-through. Michael Parks, who also starred in Smith’s previous film, Red State, brought his A-Game, delivering a performance that brought the traits of Howe, which can leave you admiring the character until he reveals his true left. There was also another character, played by an actor I’m sure you know of, that was rather eclectic and notable, but I rather not ruin the surprise for you, if you decide to watch the film. The rest of the performances were good enough to where I can’t have any grips against them. As for the characters though, aside from Wallace and Howe,  I really felt that they did not deserve as much screen time they got, which was a good fifty percent of the movie. Most of it is just comprised of pointless drama that failed to get me intrigued. I just wanted to see more of the walrus. Speaking of the walrus, the practical effects used was great enough to have you taken back at how much work went into creating the walrus. But if you’re like me, you’ll can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing is. I’m not just talking about the walrus, but the whole movie itself. You would be doing yourself a disfavor if you come into this film, expecting to be scared. But that where I think the movie fails. Smith said many times in interviews and his podcast, calling it a horror movie. But there was not enough material to praise Tusk as such. I believe the target audience Smith had in mind for Tusk was his loyal fans, along with himself. When I say loyal, I mean beyond just enjoying his movies. In order to really appreciate the film for what it is, you would have to be familiar with Smith’s work in podcasting. References to his shows, like Smodcast, Plus One, Hollywood Babble-on, and Edumacation, are littered throughout the film. There isn’t much witty dialogues you have come to expect of Smith films that can be found in Tusk. The absurdity is the movie’s only saving grace, and even that’s stretching it.

I give Tusk a 3 out of 6. Unless you are a Kevin Smith super fan boy, the only way I can imagine people enjoying this movie is by watching it with a group of friends and savor the screen time that the walrus gets. I get the feeling that Smith’s intention will be lost among mainstream audiences, probably expecting some spooks but instead laughing at how dumb the movie is and writing it off as terrible. If you are going to watch the film, do yourself a favor and listen to the Smodcast episode that inspired Tusk beforehand. You’ll get a better idea of what you’ll get out of the movie. There was a part of the podcast episode I figured wasn’t going to show up in the movie, but I was surprised to see it as a scene. It turned to be my favorite part of the movie, since the movie went full out stupid at that point. From time to time, it may be good to watch stupid movies, perhaps to loosen up a bit. I know I said this many times throughout this review, but please be aware of what kind of movie this is. If you still are unsure, just wait until it hits Netflix. That way, if you don’t like it, the only thing you’ll end up wasting was time and not money.

Is Diablo 3 fixed?

With the closure of the Real Money Auction House (alongside the in-game gold auction house), there has been talk on whether or not the issues with Diablo 3 have been fixed. They haven’t been. At least not completely, and I don’t think they ever can be truly wiped from the game without making another title.

The flaws themselves differ from player to player, and like anything referring to games it’s debatable. The disconnects, faulty server connection, loot that would pale in comparison to the auction house, and sub-par writing plagued the launch. Most of that has been fixed, and if you’re a fan of Chris Metzen that last bit has never been an issue. What hasn’t been fixed is what can’t be fixed.

The skill runes over a traditional or intricate RPG set up to make an unique character is the biggest issue. Diablo 2 punished you for not allocating your skills correctly; a simple respec via quest or vendor would’ve answered this. Instead we get a decent handful of skills/spells, along with runes, to cater to specific play styles when combined. This is either an advancement or a disgrace; there is Path of Exile, Torchlight 2, or even Borderlands 2 for us that dissent.

The other major issue is lack of LAN play combined with always having to be online. It’s in part to hurt pirates and spoofing items, but it mainly affects those of us who don’t always have a stable connection. It also makes hardcore characters extremely painful when you’re dealing with a faulty modem or router. The answer is simple: include off-line play (and please LAN play), but disable achievements when a connection to the server is not available.

The last bit is the story. The voice acting, characters, and the multiple settings don’t quite capture the eerie Diablo feel of previous games. Everything reminds me of World of Warcraft. Gameplay is always more important than story (we’re not playing a visual novel or adventure game), but here Blizzard dropped the ball. The Butcher is re-hashed for no other reason but nostalgia. Belial and Azmodan just sit back like cartoon villains. The writing is grandiose, epic, without any sense of gravitas.

Yet, I can’t stop my self from putting in 10-15 minutes a day while deciding what multiplayer game to play with 2-5 friends. I’ve spent enough of the day browsing the internet, and I want something I can quit. And, just like World of Warcraft, it gives me that hollow dopamine fix. Plus, it let’s a certain family member know that their gift wasn’t completely in vain. Otherwise, it’s not worth your $20.

Dragon’s Crown Review: An Ode To Gygax


If you get your video game news either by word of mouth from your friends or through TV commercials, you likely haven’t heard of Dragon’s Crown.  However if you peruse the internet like the rest of us, chances are you’ve seen some facet of this game.  Whether it be the game’s incredibly gorgeous art style, the outrage about the game’s portrayal of women from tumblr users and feminists withing the gaming community, or perhaps you’ve seen one of the many adult comics of the female characters that, strangely, existed far before the game was announced.  If you’re uninformed about the game, then strap yourself in, because there is a lot to praise about this game.  Since we at NUReviews like to focus on the things that really make a game great or not, our insight and personal views on the controversy of this game will not be affecting our review score.


Let’s start with the presentation of the game, because when it comes to the presentation, there is nothing that I don’t love about this game.  All the art is classic Vanillaware style, which if you’ve played Muramasa or Odin Sphere, you know what I’m talking about.  Hand drawn, beautifully colored backdrops and characters that animate as fluidly as a flowing river.  On the Vita’s screen everything looks amazing, and once upscaled to your TV screen on the PS3, everything just pops that much more.  All the effects in the game look as good as the characters and backgrounds, though when you can have four playable characters on the screen with all those enemies, things get a little blinding.  The story is told in a fashion similar to a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons, and by similar, I mean exactly.  The story is told through cutscenes of barely static characters against backdrops, all voices and text are read by a singular Narrator entity like a Dungeon Master painting the scene for their players.  In Dragon’s Crown you play as a random adventurer who has come to a new land with their thief sidekick Ronnie in search of adventure and treasure.  You learn that the king of the land has gone missing searching for the Dragon’s Crown, a mystical crown that gives one the ability to control dragons, in hopes that it will help him defend his kingdom from encroaching war.  Meanwhile, an evil group of magicians have been attempting to revive the Ancient Dragon, a powerful creature who has supremacy over all magic, and threatens the life of the entire world.  Aside from the six playable classes and your rouge side kick, there is a cavalcade of NPCs that you will meet along your journey, some run shops or other places that aid you on your quest, others are simply mission based and provide you with information about your current mission or an alternate route after a certain point in the game.


The gameplay is a mix of simplistic beat em up gameplay with RPG mechanics, similar to the D&D beat em ups like Shadow Over Mystara.  You control your character’s movement with the left control stick, allowing your character to move both left and right, and into and out of the foreground, similar to Castle Crashers.  Pressing the Square button unleashes a normal attack, while the X button lets you jump and the Circle button triggers a special.  The special depends on your character, for instance the Wizard can use Circle and a direction with the control stick to unleash different magic spells based on their staff, while the Dwarf simply slams his hammers into the ground in a manly fashion.  Holding the Square button will also perform some form of character trait, in the Dwarfs case it hardens your defense, while the Sorceress and Wizard use it to recharge mana.  You can use any items in your inventory by scrolling to them with the left and right buttons on the d-pad, then using the down button to use the item, however this happens in real time, so be sure not to get hurt while you’re doing it.  You can access and change your equipment any time you’re in town, but you’re stuck with that set the second you enter a dungeon until you finish.  In town you can also buy items such as potions, which allows a limited use in each given dungeon, but will automatically refill themselves up to a certain point upon your return.  This however leads to my biggest problem with the game, the menu system.  By yourself, the menus are of no concern, however the more players you have the more of a hassle it becomes.  Only one player can access each menu at a given time, and every other player must wait for their turn to do what they need to do.  This becomes specifically troublesome when buying/repairing items (which uses gold from the same pool that every player uses, better hope your buddy doesn’t use the last of the gold to repair his weapons before you get a chance to), changing equipment, learning skills, and accepting quests, which each player in the party has to do individually else they won’t get the rewards.  This is easily the hugest problem the game has, for as a four player co-op beat em up, everything in the game should be fluid and match the flow of the action segments, not cause everyone to stop in their tracks for a few minutes while they wait on their friend to decide between repairing their belt or buying a defense up potion.


The action segments of the game are fairly linear, it’s essentially like any other beat em up where you have to move from point A to point B while scrolling to the right side of the screen.  Some rooms in dungeons will have secret passage ways that you can access by touching (or on the PS3 version, clicking using the right analog stick and the L2 button) something in the background or fulfilling certain requirements in the room.  When you come across a chest or locked door, simply touching/clicking it will command your rouge to go unlock it.  Doors will lead you to alternate rooms where some enemies or treasure will be waiting for you, while treasure chests will give you random amounts of gold and a treasure rank.  Each treasure rank (which ranges from E to S) turns into a single equip-able item at the end of the dungeon, which you have to appraise to learn the true abilities of, costing you a handful of gold to do so.  By picking up coins and other trinkets that fall on the ground, you increase your score, which gets turned into the group experience points once you finish.  At the end of each dungeon is a boss fight, and after a certain point in the game, each dungeon gets a harder, alternate path that you have to complete to further the story.  Along the way you’ll encounter piles of bones that you can pick up with the Triangle button (or if you’re a Sorceress and posses a certain skill, you can turn these bones into an undead minion).  If you take these bones to the church in town, you can resurrect them into AI controlled allies to accompany you into dungeons when playing solo (which, if you don’t have friends or are playing on the Vita, you’ll be doing until about 5 hours into the game).  The AI for these characters isn’t the best AI in town, but they get their job done…sometimes.


Now you may have been wondering what I meant when I mentioned the controversy around this game at the beginning of the review.  Well let me give you a quick run down, basically there was a huge upheaval about this game when it came out due to it’s portrayal of women.  There were claims that the game’s depictions were “sexist”, and reviewer for Polygon Danielle Riendau claimed it to be “distracting…It’s obvious, one-sided and gross”.   One of the writers from our “favorite” site Kotaku even called the Sorceress, who is depicted as a young woman with a slim figure and massive breasts, as a “lolicon fantasy”, because that’s what lolicon means all right.  With just as many arguments and claims that it is sexist, there have been just as many defending the game.  Many point out that it’s part of Vanillaware’s art style, in which large breasts are used as a symbol of fertility and life, and often associated to characters who dabble in Necromancy such as the Sorceress.  My personal opinion on the art style that most of it is within good taste, a lot of the character art used for cutscenes or unlockable art match a certain artistic theme similar to medieval paintings.  While the Sorceress and Amazon’s proportions might be to the extreme, I would never call this game sexist, as it treats men in an extremely similar fashion, drawing many men in unreasonable shapes or proportions (such as having a chest three times the size of their head).


And now we get down to brass taxes, the final summary and score of the game.  In the amount of time that I’ve had to play Dragon’s Crown I’ve had a blast.  It’s been great fun playing single player, and when I played local co-op with my friends we all had a good time (when we weren’t dealing with the menu system).  I’ve just gotten to when the game opens access to the rest of it’s goodies, such as online play and the expanded, harder dungeons, but I can tell I have much, much more in store for me in the coming hours.  Despite it’s couple of flaws, the game’s art style, story presentation, and gameplay are beautifully done and make for a game that exceeds many expectations.  However, I probably wouldn’t recommend this game to everyone, if you wouldn’t get committed to it you’ll likely get tired of it quickly.  With that in mind, I give Dragon’s Crown for the PS3 and PlayStation Vita an edited score of 4 out of 6 stars.

Project X Zone Review: WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOR!? No, really…


Chances are if you own a Nintendo 3DS, you know of Project X Zone.  The big collaboration title got a massive following when it was announced for release in Japan, and similarly to Xenoblade Chronicles or Pandora’s Tower, hoards of fans begged for it to be brought over to the west.  Well their cries were heard and their wishes granted, for Project X Zone has breached our shores for about a month now, so the question on your mind may be: “Is it really worth it?”


The story follows a cast of characters whose size would make the Game of Thrones cast look like as small dog, and that’s before R.R.Martin wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.  The cast is comprised of characters from across numerous series owned by Bandai Namco, Capcom, and Sega, some of which never even made it stateside.  As with many cross over games, the story REALLY follows a handful of original characters designed solely for the game, in this case it’s Kogoro Tenzai and Mii Koryuji.  Mii is a cheerleader and youngest member of a rich family, and Kogoro is her tutor/private detective/ninja…yeah, I couldn’t make that up if I tried.  A treasure of the Koryuji family, the Portalstone, has been stolen, and due to it worlds from across space and time, reality and virtual reality, are crashing together.  Allies and Villains alike clash in a battle for the stability of the multiverse.  Needless to say, the story isn’t the strong point of this game.  It’s hardly enticing and really only picks up in the later chapters of the game, I didn’t find myself caring until 10 chapters away from the end, and only then I was wondering what the non-original villains were up to.  And with a lackluster story comes similarly lackluster writing, while it’s still better than most of the fanfiction universe (a place where something like this would seem to fit right at home) and the entirety of the Twilight series, it still leaves much to be desired.  Gratefully all the established characters talk and act similarly to how they would in their own series, and there are a number of little nods to their respective games.  For example, when ever Frank West encounters a new, female character that is, how should we say, top heavy, he snaps a picture of her and the “Erotic!” label from the Dead Rising game will pop up over the female.


The battle system is really where the game shines.  Project X Zone is a Strategy RPG with a battle system that focuses heavily on combos and special attacks.  Each playable character is divided into pairs of two, such as X and Zero from Megaman X, Chris and Jill from Resident Evil, and Dante and Demitri Maximoff from Devil May Cry/DarkStalkers.  Along with these pairs are solo units which you can group up with your pair units, and while you can’t control these solo units directly, you can summon them to deal extra damage and extend your combos.  Examples of solo units include Tron Bonne from Megaman Legends, Ulala from Space Channel 5, and Totally-Not-Bruce-Willis Bruno Delinger (PS. It’s totally Bruce Willis).  Battles are separated into two “phases”, there’s the over-world and the battle screen.  In the over-world you have an isometric view of the whole battle field, where you’ll be able to see all enemy and ally placements.  Everyone moves on a grid based system within a pre-determined range, and can attack any unit within a pre-determined attack range.  When an enemy unit attacks one of your characters, you can expend some of their XP to either lessen the damage done to you, or counter your opponent with some attacks in exchange for taking full damage.  When you choose to attack an enemy, your current active unit and any solo unit paired with them are pulled into battle, also, if you’re standing next to another pair unit, you can summon them into battle as well to extend your combo and deal more damage.  The battle screen is set up on a 2D view similar to most fighting games, with the enemy on the left side of the screen and your controlled unit on the right.  By using any combination of a directional button and the a button, you can unleash one of 5 attacks against your enemy, building up XP as you do so.  If you use all of your available moves once, you’ll be granted an extra attack, so once your full array of attacks is available you can perform a maximum of 6 attacks.  By pressing L or R you can bring in the solo or extra pair unit to attack, and if you land an attack at the same time as them you’ll perform a X-Attack.  Once activated, your opponent freezes in place and you generate more XP than usual.  Once your XP is 100% or greater you may press the Y button to perform a unique special attack which will do massive damage to your opponent.  I absolutely love this battle system, it’s very similar to the system in a DS game by the name of Super Robot Taisen OG Saga Endless Frontier (in fact, some of the characters from that game make it into Project X Zone).  However, as much as I can praise the battle system, it still doesn’t shine as much as one would hope.


The game offers very little in terms of difficulty, and reaches more the realms of frustration.  Never was I really challenged by the difficulty of an enemy, since their all pretty much the same through out the game, just with scaled health and damage output.  Most normal enemies can be taken out easily single battle with proper  combo management (and some even improper combo management), while bosses are just a matter of ganging up on them with super attacks.  Often you’ll start a level feeling as if there’s a proper amount of challenge, then three turns in the field will be swarmed by new enemies and bosses, often surrounding your current units and putting your team at risk.  Even with that however I only ever lost a unit maybe three times, the cause of which being me just neglecting their health.  When a unit loses all it’s health, it’s simply out for the rest of level and will be back in fighting shape next level, so there’s no fear of perma-death like in some other strategy games.  Item management is also not a big issue, while I often felt as if I didn’t have enough of the items that heal greater amounts of my health/XP, I never found myself in a situation where I needed an item I didn’t have.  Combine this with the bad story and lack luster writing, it doesn’t lead to a very favorable start.  All in all the game is decent enough, in my eyes, but it’s not something I would recommend to everyone.  If you really like the characters, then you should probably wait till it’s on sale before you pick it up, at least 50% off.  If nothing really turns you on about the game, but you still might pick it up, wait until you can get it REALLY cheap, otherwise you’ll probably feel as if you wasted your money.  I give Project X Zone for the Nintendo 3DS, a NUReviews rating of 3 stars.