THE END IS NIGH FOR CLUB NINTENDO

Nintendo has issued a statement that they will be ending the long running Club Nintendo program this year.  Giving no specific reason as to why they are cancelling the program, Nintendo has stated in a statement issued to Club Nintendo members that this year will be the last for Club Nintendo, to be replaced by a different program sometime in the future.  For existing Club Nintendo members, there are some things to know about your present and future coins:

A) No game or console released after 1/20/2015 will be viable to be registered on Club Nintendo

B) No game or console can be registered with Club Nintendo after 3/31/2015

C) All Coins and accounts will be deleted at 11:59 PM PT 6/30/2015

To make the most out of existing coins, Nintendo has stated that in February they will be adding “dozens of downloadable games and a limited quantity of exclusive reward items” to the catalog in February.  Also, all Club Nintendo members will receive a free copy of Flip Note Studio 3D in February.

STEVE’S MOST ANTICIPATED TITLES OF 2015 & MORE

I think 2015 is going to be one of the more hype years in gaming we’ve had in a while. Home consoles are finally getting some games worth getting, and other previously exclusive games are now also being released on PC as well. Let’s see how much work my wallet is going to be doing this year. LET’S GO!

  • Grim Fandango: Remastered – This game is one that has been on my “To Play” list for a quite a while now. Fortunately, thanks to the upcoming remastered version, now is the perfect time to finally give this much acclaimed game a shot.
  • Kirby and the Rainbow Curse – I’m glad to see that the underrated “Canvas Curse” for the DS is getting a sequel. But this clay art style…it’s too much for my heart to take…HHNNNGGGG
  • Mortal Kombat X – Mortal Kombat (9) took me by surprised. Content-wise, it was one of the most fleshed out fighting games I’ve seen. The gameplay is also extremely accessible, which allowed for me to play with my more casual friends on equal footing…who am I kidding, I suck at the game. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see how ridiculously brutal this game turns out to be.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Android) – I know, this game has been out for a while now for PC/Mac/iPad, but I’ve been itching for a decent mobile game to play. Emphasis on ‘decent’. I can only play so much ‘Threes’. And don’t even get me started on ‘Peggle: Blast”. I’m ashamed about how many hours I sunk into Peggle Blast, so much that I just had to delete it from my home to make sure it didn’t get any worse. However, I think I’ll be OK with Hearthstone…right?
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate – Like Peggle Blast, I sunk a lot of hours into this game, both on the 3DS and Wii U. Thankfully, this game will have online enable for the 3DS, so hopefully, I’ll be able to find a group to go a huntin’ with.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker – I actually have this game already, but only the original version that was released for the DS. I didn’t want to play it until I have beaten Devil Survivor: Overclocked completely…but it turns out that I never managed to that yet. Nevertheless, I’m going to finish it before this new version comes out. The version practically doubles the content, along with added voice acting as well. This tactical JRPG is a great entry point for SMT newcomers…but be forewarned, many have claimed it’s pretty tough.
  • Splatoon – I haven’t really played any shooters in 2014, aside from some Halo 4. But I didn’t play Destiny, Titanfall, or COD: Advanced Warfare. I think Splatoon should remedy that. It counts, right?
  • The Legend of Zelda (Wii U) – This could wind up being the biggest and most ambitious Zelda game yet. I just hope it turns out better than Skyward Sword.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D – Like Grim Fandango (and Devil Survivor 2), this game is still on my “To Play” list. I finally got around to beating Ocarina of Time, thanks to the 3DS remake. Can’t wait to play this one.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X – Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii is an incredible game in both gameplay and scale, that I feel more people should get to play (and they’ll get the chance with the New 3DS port). But Xenoblade Chronicles X… is FLOOPING HUGE! You can battle in mechs and traverse this massive world. You can even play online with friends. This game is absolutely in my Top 3 most hyped up games…but number one can only belong to…
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – 2015 is the year of the bigger and massive sequels for great franchises. I’m not talking about the ones that churn out a game yearly, like Assassin’s Creed, but games that the gaming audience have to really wait for. And a majority of the time, the game is absolutely worth it. No game better represents this than Metal Gear Solid V. Playing Ground Zeroes has made me even more hype. The series has never felt so great to control. You are given an insane amount of freedom in regards to how you want to conduct an infiltration, with multiple ways of sneaking in or going guns ablazing. You can fulton just about anything. Of course, there’s no way I can talk about MGS without mentioning the story. This time, the story has never been grim. We’ll be witnessing the fall of Big Boss, what corrupted the world’s greatest soldier, and what led him to create Outer Heaven. I CAN NOT SUPPRESS MY HYPE LEVELS FOR THIS GAME.

Also worth mentioning is the next Zero Escape game (the ‘Virtue’s Last Reward’ sequel). As much as I want to believe the rumor, I can only get hype once we get a confirmation.

As an added bonus, Alex was kind enough to also submit his own list of anticipated games. Even though not all of the games on his list are confirmed for 2015, that doesn’t mean you can’t get hype for them!

  • MGS V
  • GTA V for PC (even though I can’t play it on max)
  • The Division
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Evolve
  • The Witcher 3
  • Mortal Kombat X
  • The Order 1886

So what are your most anticipated games? Let us know in the comments!

2015 IN PREVIEW – BRAD’S MOST ANTICIPATED TITLES OF 2015

With 2014 behind us, it’s time to look towards the future.  While there are numerous titles already scheduled to be released in 2015, and even more that are not, let’s look at the 15 titles I’m looking forward to the most.

  • Evolve – While originally slipping under my radar, watching people play the beta has gotten me pretty hyped for this team based first person shooter, especially with the ability to play as the giant monster being hunted.
  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD – I’ve been wanting to play Final Fantasy Type-0 since it was coming to the PSP and title Final Fantasy Agito.  After a name change and years of silence about a western release, we’re finally getting an HD remake of the game for next gen systems, and I couldn’t be happier.
  • Bloodborne – Bloodborne is just about the game that I’m most anticipated for in 2015, an easy but close second.  With a more aggressive stance on the Dark Souls combat, and being made by the quintessential “A” team responsible for Dark Souls and Demons Souls, there’s no reason a Souls fan shouldn’t be excited (unless they don’t own a PS4, sorry Xbone owners).
  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin – It’s no secret that I love the Dark Souls series, heck, Dark Souls 2 made it to my GOTY list.  But it’s also no secret that the original release of Dark Souls 2 was lacking in comparison to the first and even the prerelease footage we saw of the game.  Promising enhanced visuals, better balance, tweaked enemy placement, and more story elements to bring some of the more confusing parts to light, I’m excited to dive into Drangleic again in this definitive edition.
  • Mighty No. 9 – One of the few Kickstarter projects I’ve backed, Keiji Inafune’s love child Mighty No. 9 finally makes it to release this year.  Hopefully after this he’ll finish up that Animal Pirate Dynasty Warriors 3DS game he announced oh so long ago.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight – I’ve always been a fan of the Batman: Arkham games, even Origins was a decent entry despite not being developed by the original team.  Boasting a bigger city and the ability to drive the Batmobile around, I’m looking forward to dawning the cape and cowl once again.
  • J-Stars Victory VS+ – Probably the only time you’ll see a fighting game on a list of games I’m hyped for (with the exception of portable Smash bros, but we’ve already got that).  I’m a big fan of the Jump All Stars game series, and seeing this PS3 entry being ported to the west makes me one happy gamer.
  • Kings Quest – Only recently have I acquired respect and interest for the old school point and click adventure games, from Monkey Island to Sam and Max, from Day of the Tentacle to Kings Quest.  Seeing how wonderful the game looks at the VGA a few months back has got me all aboard the Kings Quest Hype Train.
  • No Man’s Sky – This game holds a lot of promise, with it’s procedurally generated worlds and boasts about how it will never run out of content.  In all honesty it may not even be a game I play for long, but just based on what it’s promising I can’t help but be excited.
  • Soul Saga: Episode 1 – Another Kickstarter game I backed, Soul Saga is shaping up to be a mighty fine turn based RPG.  With the promise of Airship Combat, numerous playable characters, and voice acting from known voice actors Todd Haberkorn and Kira Buckland, Soul Saga is shaping up to be one fantastic product of Kickstarter.
  • Star Fox – I’ve been wanting a new Star Fox game for years now, something more in the vein of 64 instead of Adventures or Assault.  While no substantial information is known so far, the fact that one is in development has got me excited.
  • The Legend of Zelda Wii U – I’m just going to say this: Skyrim Sized, Open World, HD, Non-Linear Zelda.  Who wouldn’t be excited?
  • The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D – Ocarina of Time 3D was the reason I got a 3DS, and since I’ve been waiting for them to announce Majora’s Mask 3D.  Now that they have, and the possibility that it could be bundled with the New 3DS, I’m actually going to have a reason to pick up the new handheld.

 

  • Yakuza 5 – I picked up Yakuza 4 around November of 2013, and while it still sits uncompleted on my shelf (as do most games), I absolutely love it.  The characters were great and the combat brutally fun, and if Yakuza 5 is even just more of the same I’ll be happy to pick it up.  Maybe I’ll even beat 4 before it comes out…

And my most anticipated title of 2015…

  • Rumored Virtue’s Last Reward Sequel – While nothing official has been said, rumors of the final installment in the Virtue’s Last Reward series coming to 2015 have been buzzing around.  In an article that interviewed a bunch of Japanese developers about what is coming in 2015, series director Kotaro Uchikoshi stated “It’s looking like 2015 will be the year where everything I’ve built up over the years will come together and be let out into the world in one fell swoop”.  It’s been stated in the past that the Virtue’s Last Reward series will be a trilogy, taking place between 9 Persons 9 Hours 9 Doors and Zero’s Escape, so with a statement like that I’m highly anticipating news of this final installment coming to our doorsteps soon.

That’s my list, how about you? What are you looking forward to in 2015?

If you haven’t already checked out Steve and My 2014 GOTY Lists, go ahead and click the respective names to check them out.

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 Two

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.