Tag Archives: Wii U

Review: LEGO Marvel’s Avengers

lego avengers cover
via Superhero Hype Forums

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers (2016)

PS4 / Rated E

Action / Adventure

Publisher: WB Games

Developer: TT Games

At this point, I will pretty much play any LEGO game that you put in front of me.  LEGO and Traveller’s Tales have been putting these games out for years, largely without change in the classic LEGO game formula.  Sure, there have been changes along the way like open world gameplay and voice acting, but the actual backbone that these games run on has stayed tried and true, for better or worse.  This has turned a lot of people away from these games, but I find myself coming back over and over again thanks to the franchises that the games tackle.

lego avengers 1
via Gameinformer

This time around, Marvel’s highly popular Avengers franchise gets the spotlight.  This isn’t the first time that Marvel’s superheroes have gotten the LEGO treatment.  This games predecessor was aptly titled LEGO Marvel Superheroes.  With Marvel’s Avengers, the first two Avengers movies, along with some of the other Marvel movies that have come out around them, are the primary focus with the main cast of characters being everybody’s favorite band of superheroes.  Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, the Hulk, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Vision make up the main selection of superheroes that you will be able to take control of, along with a surplus of other lesser known characters.

Anybody that has seen the first two Avengers movies (seemingly everybody at this point) should instantly be familiar with the story’s main happenings.  There’s nothing new or original here.  In fact, the voice acting is all cut from different parts of the movies.  Some people find this pleasing, but I find the audio kind of jarring.  The audio is never edited to fit the situation happening on screen so you might get Captain America yelling with wind blowing in the background while the game has him just talking normally in a wind-less room.  Jarring moments like this always make me question the choice to pull audio from the movies, but I guess there really isn’t an appealing alternative.  The generic voice acting has been okay in the past but it’s really nothing to write home about.

lego avengers 2
via Game Side Story

The aspect that gives these games their trademark charm is the slapstick humor and hilarious retellings of popular movie scenes.  All of that humor is present and still strong as ever.  I have to give the writing team a little credit here, because they manage to make me laugh over and over again over the stupidest things that happen on screen.  They don’t have too much liberty to tell their own story since they are closely mimicking existing storylines, but they manage to put a spin on classic scenes while staying true to the source material…in classic LEGO fashion.

Maybe the game’s weaker aspect is the unoriginality of its gameplay formula.  There’s fifteen levels for you to play through spanning the events of the two movies.  Within these levels there are things to collect and characters to unlock.  You won’t be able to get everything on your first run through, so Free Play mode allow you to go back through the levels with all of your unlocked characters to pick up anything you have missed.  Sound familiar?  Outside of the levels are the open world areas that offer up side missions and well, more collectibles.  The city of Manhattan is the main open world arena, but you also get to visit smaller and more condensed locales such as Washington D.C., Sokovia, the Avenger’s ranch, and Asgard.  There’s a lot of things for you to do in these areas, but you’re going to be doing a lot of the same stuff.  Side missions are aplenty, but a majority of these missions are either fetch quests or beat-em ups.  They start to get tedious after a while, turning things into a grind when you are going after 100% completion.

LEGO® MARVEL's Avengers_20160203115411

Collecting and unlocking characters are one of these games’ strong suits and that is no different for LEGO Avengers.  In fact, there is a wide range of characters spanning from extremely popular to wildly obscure.  Like I mentioned before, heroes like Captain America and Iron Man are present but there are also lesser known heroes like Squirrel Girl and Bengal.  There’s a lot of deep cuts on the rich roster that will please any hardcore Marvel fanboy.  I didn’t have a clue who have the characters were, but that’s a cool thing.  It made me go and dig out some info on some of the characters I was unlocking.  Needless to say, you’re going to find someone new on the roster.

There’s good things and frustrating things that make up LEGO Marvel’s Avengers but hey, that’s pretty much LEGO games for you these days.  TT Games hasn’t really done anything to change the aging LEGO game formula and that’s frustrating.  There’s a lot to like however in this iteration, like the deep cast of characters, fan service, and humor.  Basically, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is another solid LEGO game that will satisfy comic fans and younger kids alike.

lego avengers score

Also available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PSVita, Wii U, 3DS, and PC


Review: The Swapper

via Giant Bomb
via Giant Bomb

The Swapper (2013)

PS4 / E10+

Puzzle / Platformer

Publisher: Curve Digital

Developer: Facepalm Games, Curve Digital

Puzzle games can be extremely satisfying experiences if executed correctly.  Puzzles need to be deep and innovative, using familiar mechanics while managing to keep things fresh as time goes along.  This is precisely why The Swapper was such a satisfying experience.  Not only did it deliver on the puzzles, but it managed to tell a simple yet compelling story with the eerie and dark backdrop of space.  It was a weird experience, but I liked it.

the swapper 1

The game doesn’t waste time in throwing you right into the world.  You play as a female space scavenger who finds herself stranded in an abandoned and mysterious space research facility, which you learn is named Theseus.  The facility, among others, was set up to mine for resources.  Earth has already used up a majority of its resources, forcing the construction and deployment of these facilities to essentially save Earth from a resource crisis.  Theseus and its crew landed on Chori V and discovered some weird, but abundant mineral deposits in the ground.  However, things go awry as these resources start to have adverse effects on the crew and their functions.

As the lone explorer of the space station, the player is left to their own devices to discover the story of what happened to Theseus and its crew.  While wondering around the station’s corridors, you brush up against a mysterious device known as The Swapper.  The device allows for the creation of clones which you can swap in and out of at will.  You’re not meant to immediately get what is going on with the device, but as you progress through the game, you start to learn more about it and its effects.  I like the sense of progression that the game employs.  You are given little in the beginning, but as you make your way through the research facility, you discover more and more, until you finally realize what actually happened to the doomed facility.

via PS4 Home
via PS4 Home

The Swapper, despite its deep, chilling story is a puzzle game by nature.  The device that players picks up yields some great innovative and thoughtful puzzles that feel satisfying every time you solve them.  The obstacles that you have to overcome are pretty easy in the beginning.  The mechanics are simple, you can create clones and then switch to them to gain access to other areas.  Red lights prevent you from swapping to your created clones while blue lights prevent the creation of clones.  Purple lights prevent both actions.  In terms of mechanics, that’s pretty much all there is to it.  Some puzzles require quick timing and precision but don’t let that scare you.  Most of the puzzles are pretty easy to figure out, but are challenging enough to make feel great when completing them.  There are a couple of puzzles that I found to be quite frustrating and annoying, but these problems are few and far between to be too meddling.

You will know when you complete a puzzle because at the end you receive different types of orbs.  Some contain a single orb while others contain multiple orbs.  They all are added to your grand total which allow you to access blocked areas.  The game’s final terminal is only accessible after finding 124 orbs, which means you will have to explore the entirety of the facility to gain the necessary orbs necessary for accessing the final moments.  This was a cool way to handle progression and it made the game feel like Metroid in a way.  You’ll run across areas that you aren’t able to access right away but after some exploration and puzzle solving, you will be able to access these areas in due time.

via Egg Plante
via Egg Plante

Perhaps the neatest thing about The Swapper is its brilliant atmosphere that surrounds the whole experience.  There’s a feeling of loneliness that envelopes you as you make your way through the space station’s abandoned corridors.  There is a silence that lingers in the air, besides the sound of your footsteps.  It’s a chilling adventure.  The game also looks amazing as well.  If the art style looks handmade to you, that’s because it is.  The artists at Curve Studios originally made the game’s assets with clay.  They then digitized their creations to bring the game’s world to life on screen.  The game deserves major props for its art direction.

The Swapper ends with a choice that you have to make based off the information that you have gleaned as you cloned and swapped your way through the station.  This was a thoughtful and deep game, which I was not expecting given the game’s initial moments.  The puzzles and obstacles that you encounter never get old despite the lack of new mechanics.  Instead, they evolve and innovate with these simple mechanics to give you fresh and new experiences right up to the game’s ending.  I encourage you to take the trip through the space station to discover the true story of Theseus and The Swapper.

the swapper score

Also available on PC, PS3, Vita, and Xbox One

Review: Super Smash Bros for Wii U

via JeuxActu.com
via JeuxActu.com

Super Smash Bros for Wii U (2014)

Wii U / Rated T


Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Sora, Bandai Namco Entertainment

The Super Smash Bros games have always held a special place in my heart.  One of my first games that I really got into was Super Smash Bros Melee for the GameCube.  It was a brilliant game that contained all of the characters that I loved.  Ever since then, I have played every single Smash game onward.  (I also went back and played the first N64 one)  They provided endless hours of fun and they were even better when you had friends to mess around with.  The most recent iteration, simply titled Super Smash Bros has released for both the Wii U and 3DS.  Did Nintendo keep the magic going with one of their flagship franchises?

The fundamental idea behind the game has not changed over the years.  It is still a multiplayer brawler starring all of Nintendo’s key players, including the familiar faces of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Pokemon, Link, Zelda, Samus, and many more.  There is a lot of returning characters from the Wii’s Super Smash Bros Brawl, but there are some key additions.  The new characters include Rosalina and Luma, Bowser Jr. and his underlings, Greninja, Paletuna, Dark Pit, Robin, Lucina, Animal Crossing Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, Mega Man, Little Mac, Pac-Man, Shulk, Duck Hunt Dog, and the Mii Fighters. Yep, that’s all of the newbies.

via What's Your Tag?
via What’s Your Tag?

Some of my favorites where Little Mac and Shulk, partly because they brought some new mechanics to the tried and true formula.  Little Mac has a charge up meter that allows him to power up for a big punch that sends opponents flying.  On the other hand, Shulk, from Xenoblade Chronicles, has a special move that allows him to cast a buff on himself, giving him some enhanced abilities for a short amount of time.  Other interesting characters were Wii Fit Trainer, the Duck Hunt Dog, and the Mii Fighters.  There are three different Mii Fighters that you can use.  They may not be for everybody, but it’s still amusing seeing some of your horrific Mii creations fighting alongside Nintendo’s greatest.

New characters like Mega Man and Pac-Man dropped the ball.  Mega-Man just doesn’t seem to powerful and Pac-Man isn’t extremely fun to play as.  Mega Man was probably the biggest bummer given the amount of excitement that was surrounding his announcement that he was going to be in the game.  All the other characters were okay.  They all play pretty well and are fun to use.

via Game Rant
via Game Rant

The final smashes (the big finishers) are back and they, for the most part, were pretty awesome.  Some of the characters contain extremely powerful smashes that take the characters off stage and into these crazy animations.  They’re really fun to watch and they are even more satisfying to pull of.  Some of the characters have pretty lackluster smashes however that make those characters non appealing to use.

There are some pretty cool stages this time around, from all of Nintendo’s different franchises.  There are a bunch of returning stages that will be instantly familiar to Nintendo fans.  One of the coolest changes however is the ability to switch any stage to a Final Destination version of the stage.  This is perfect for all those purists who don’t like the stage effects that a lot of the stages contain.  It was nice that Nintendo was looking out for the more professional players.  I personally still prefer the regular stages though.  (It’s more fun that way)

via Super Smash Bros MiiVerse Fansite
via Super Smash Bros MiiVerse Fansite

As for the other content, not that much has changed.  There are some new modes however that keep things fresh.  New to this iteration is Smash Tour, which is a board game of sorts that involves roaming around a board, collecting characters and items to prepare for a final battle at the end.  Before that final battle, you have to pick up some stat boosts that provide some help in the finale, as well as different items.  There is not too much skill involved though, and it often feels like there is always one player that gets a ton of characters.  (Characters pretty much act as stocks for the final fight.  The more characters a player has, the better off they are in the finals.)  It did provide some dumb fun however, even though half the time I didn’t know what was going on.

via slashgear
via slashgear

One of the highlights for Super Smash Bros is the addition of 8-Player Smash.  It’s as crazy as it sounds.  Previously, battles were limited to only four players, until now.  If you have eight players and enough controllers (the game accepts a wide range of controllers, which doesn’t make finding controllers  a problem), you can engage in a chaotic eight player brawl.  Its a giant cluster of insanity as eight players fight and claw around the bigger stages.  It’s a ton of fun, even though it’s pretty easy to lose your character in all the ruckus that ensues.

via Demo News
via Demo News

A lot of fans were pretty disappointing that there is no Subspace Emissary this time around.  It was a fun single player adventure that put Nintendo’s characters in a bunch of dream scenarios and rivalries.  Instead, there is a pretty bland single player mode that includes a bunch of different fights and scenarios involving the different characters.  Nothing to special.  In terms of other single player content, there are challenges, training modes, single player events, and the trophy modes that allow you to pick up trophies to add to your collection, just like the previous games.  There’s a lot of collectibles that should keep players occupied for a while.

Other cool features include the ability to customize your own character.  You can collect a ton of different wardrobe items that you can put on your customized character to change their appearance.  You can also change their stats.  It’s a nice little feature that seemed like  no-brainer.  You can also hook up a GameCube adapter to your Wii U which allows you to use the classic GameCube controller.  No matter what anybody says, this is by far the best way to play the game.  Nintendo got it right with the GameCube controller and it’s amazing that the old thing is still a favorite among many Smash players.  You can also use Nintendo’s new scan-able figurines called “Amibos” which allow you to bring a certain character into the game as a NPC.  You can train them and play against them to test their skills.  You can also bring them to your friends house and all of their data will go with it.  I haven’t used them myself, being pretty skeptical of them.

via High Def Digest
via High Def Digest

The plethora of content that is stashed in the final package is amazing.  Whether it’s the trophies, the songs that you can unlock, or the history that you can find, there is something for every Nintendo fan in Super Smash Bros.  The replayablity is off the charts, as long as you have a friend or two around.  However, there is still a bunch of content if you are just messing around in the game by yourself.  This game captures the term “replayability” perfectly.  Other publishers should take not.

Although Super Smash Bros for Wii U may not be the best fighter out there, it still continues to be my favorite.  At this point, it is pretty much one of Nintendo’s best games for the Wii U.  It’s a must buy if you are a owner of the system.  It’s a surprise that the game has not grown tired in concept yet.  It still manages to provide much of the same, while keeping things new and refreshed.  It contains an extensive amount of polish and everything just works and feels right.  The fighting is smooth and extremely satisfying, even after match fifty.  It’s just a game that never tends to get old.  Nintendo, you just keep doing your thing!

super smash bros wii u score


2014 Game Of The Year

It hasn’t been the best year for gaming when you take in to consideration all that has taken place.  The whole gamergate situation left a dark spot on the industry as a whole, even forcing some writers to leave their homes.  There were also an alarming number of games that released broken, or somewhat broken.  It left a lot of gamers questioning whether or not they should purchase their games on day one, which really shouldn’t be a question.

Despite all the woes of the year, their were some great games however.  Here’s my list of my favorites.  Once again, I should note that I have not played every game under the sun.  Thus, there are some great games that came out this year that I did not play.

Best game from previous year: Papers, Please

via PC Gaming Wiki
via PC Gaming Wiki

I was a little behind when it came to Papers, Please.  It was met with a bunch of critical praise when it came out last year for being a dark tale about a border patrol officer for the great country of Arstotzka, a Soviet-esque nation.  The mundane task of checking passport after passport, id after id, permit after permit, and more can become tedious and boring, but that captures the essence of the job.  Each immigrant wants to get into the country, and they all have their story.  It’s your job to determine whether their dreams can be realized, or shot down.  The game puts a lot in your hands and expects you to make the right decision every time.  It’s hard as hell to do this, and their will be many a decision that you make in which you feel awful with yourself.

10.  Spelunky (PS4)

2014 game of the year spelunkyTechnically Spelunky, the insanely hard rouge-like, came out in 2013.  But if we are being technical here, the game was ported to the PS4 this year, making it eligable for the list.  I have a love-hate relationship with the game.  It’s a game about learning from your mistakes, mistakes that you will simply not be able to avoid.  You play as a Indiana Jones like adventurer who explores randomly generated caves and ruins in search of treasure.  When you die (and you will die…horribly), you have to start all over again.  Yep, right back to the very start of the game.  However, this didn’t detract me away from the game.  Instead, it inspired me to keep working at it, so I could figure it out.  Each run granted me a new lesson to learn, as well as a new item to harness.  I always felt extremely accomplished whenever I finished a level unscathed…only to immediately die in gruesome fashion in the next level.  I hate you Spelunky.  I love you Spelunky.

9.  Hearthstone

2014 game of the year hearthstoneBlizzard has a pretty high pedigree when it comes to the select list of games that they have put out.  This year, they introduced Hearthstone, a new game to add to their repertoire.  There are two things about this game that make it seem unlikely that I would like it; it’s a collectible card game and it is free-to-play.  However, the game took care of those things brilliantly.  I don’t tend to go for card games because of their complex nature, but Hearthstone managed to keep itself relatively simple, yet complex at the same time.  It was extremely easy to get into.  The game also didn’t seem like a free-to-play game.  Yes, you can put a lot of money into the game if you want to, but the game doesn’t shove it’s free-to-play aspects nastily in your face like other free-to-play games.  I spent countless hours grinding away and building my decks.  A good job by Blizzard.

8.  The Wolf Among Us

2014 game of the year wolfThe concepts that surround The Wolf Among Us were probably the most intriguing part of the game for me.  Telltale’s episodic adventure game is set in the backdrop of a secluded neighborhood in New York, populated by fables (fairy-tale characters disguised as humans).  The main star of the game is the detective Bigby Wolf, more commonly known as the Big Bad Wolf.  He is tasked with investigating some mysterious and fishy business that has been happening in the community, including a gruesome murder.  There are a bunch of likable character that you come across during the course of the mystery, some recognizable and others not so much.  There were also some quick time events that changed up the normal Telltale adventure game formula.  The art style of the game looked pretty great too.  I never got tired of the dark-cartoony atmosphere of the game.

7.  Tales From The Borderlands

2014 game of the year borderlandsTelltale has had a pretty good year with their own brand of adventure games.  Their newest one, Tales From The Borderland, is showing massive amounts of promise.  There has only been one episode released in 2014, but that qualifies it for one of my favorite games of 2014.  Telltale in the past has told a lot of dark and serious stories, but his time around we get a lighthearted and pretty funny adventure starring the unlikely duo of a Hyperion company man and a Pandora con-artist.  The two end up teaming together in the most unlikely way.  The dialogue trees and quick decisions are all there, and there is a lot more quick time events this time around.  They provide some action that the Borderlands games are known for.  The first episode showed lots of promise and I look forward to the coming pieces of the tale.

6.  Dust: An Elysian Tail (PS4)

2014 game of the year dustOnce again, this is another game that technically came out in 2013, but was released on the PS4 this year.  This was the first time I was introduced to the fantasy world of Dust: An Elysian Tail.  The game puts you in the shoes of Dust, a soldier who doesn’t know who he is or what he was doing.  He stumbles upon a talking sword, and then proceeds to meet Fidget, a flying squirrel like creature with a high pitched voice.  He has to help a village with their problems, as well as uncover the mystery that surrounds his history.  The story was brilliantly told.  The game also looked terrific.  It’s hand-painted feel made the game look mesmerizing.  The combat and gameplay was also extremely tight and satisfying.  Although it’s RPG mechanics aren’t your traditional mainstays, they still worked great and provided me with a great experience altogether.

5.  Watch_Dogs

2014 game of the year watch dogsThis game made me feel conflicted.  Watch_Dogs was a game that didn’t meet the intense amount of expectations that it was given.  But does that make it a bad game?  The amount of expectations may have been to high to begin with.  I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Watch_Dogs.  Aiden Pierce, protagonist, is a family man, as well as a highly skilled hacker.  His main mission is to avenge the murder of his niece, and he is willing to go to extreme lengths to accomplish this.  Chicago was extremely fun to explore in this third-person open world.  The game also looked pretty great as well graphically.  The hacking mechanics, although not as deep as they could have been, were still fun and fresh.  There was also a wealth of side missions and other things to do around the city besides the main story missions.  This may not have been the “next-gen” experience that most wanted, but it was a game that I thought was pretty entertaining.

4.  Broken Age Act 1

2014 game of the year brokenTim Schafer and Double Fine were the masterminds behind one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in that service’s history.  What it produced was Broken Age, a unique point-and-click adventure game that hearkens back to the golden age of adventure games.  The game explores the story of two kids, who’s worlds seem to be far apart.  The boy lives in a spaceship that contains a mother-like AI that controls his every decision.  The girl on the other hand is forced with being selected as a sacrifice for a nasty sea monster.  The twist that comes at the end of the first act is mind-blowing, and brilliant.  It merges the two parallel plotlines in a perfect way. The game contains simple mechanics, akin to the adventure games of yesteryear, that made it enjoyable to play, and not frustrating.  The main focus with this game is it’s story, and I will be heavily anticipating the conclusion yet to come.

3.  Jazzpunk

2014 game of the year jazzpunkI can’t really find the necessary words to describe the zaniness that is Jazzpunk.  It’s a comedic adventure that is unlike anything that has come out this year.  Let me tell you something, intentional comedy is pretty tough to pull off in a video game.  It’s not an entertainment medium that favors comedy.  However, Jazzpunk, during my brief time with the game, managed to make me laugh a ton.  I never understood what I was doing in the game, or why I was doing it.  I found myself exploring the environments and finding it’s every joke more often then the actual objective itself.  I doubt I found every little secret in the game, but boy was it a fun game.  I can’t say that enough.  What a fun freaking game.

2.  Smash Bros for Wii U

2014 game of the year smashThere haven’t been too many Smash Bros games, but they have all been some of the best game that Nintendo has put out.  This time around, Smash Bros is on the Wii U and it provides the amount of fun you would expect.  The game is obviously best played with a group of friends, but new for the series is the addition of an eight player brawl mode.  It was one of the best parts about the game, yielding some insanely fun chaos.  The additional new characters this time around, sans Mega Man, all feel great and bring some new stuff to the table.  There’s also a new mode called Smash Tour, which is basically a new board game with some fights in between.  In terms of content, there is a ton of it.  Nintendo fans should be pleased with the package that Nintendo has delivered.  The game is by far one of the best for the Wii U.

1. Far Cry 4

2014 game of the year featured

Far Cry 3 was a lot of fun, despite some of the gripes that people had with it.  Far Cry 4?  It’s pretty much the same thing, but with some much needed improvements.  This time around we have a story that is more well-thought out and believable.  We also get Pagan Min, who is, in my opinion, a much better villain than Vaas.  He’s charismatic and brings his own brand of insanity to the table.  The best part about Far Cry 4 is the emergent gameplay that is a by-product of the game’s open world.  I cant’ begin to explain the amount of crazy and ridiculous situations that I got myself into as I roamed the fictional region of Kyrat.  And don’t get me started on the animals.  They are a vicious bunch.  I didn’t like them one bit.  There was a ton of fresh new side missions to take part in, as well as a rich amount of collectibles to go after.  I haven’t completed the game yet, but I think it was easy to make my decision in calling this my best game of 2014.  I’ve had a great time with the game, and I don’t think my opinion is going to change when I finish it up.  Bravo Ubisoft.  Bravo.










A More Genuine Video Game Award Show

Over the past couple of years, video game award shows have been anything but special, or entertaining for that matter.  They have mostly been a bunch of PR babble and celebrities paid to act like they actually play and enjoy video games.  Spike TV has been the channel that has hosted the video game award shows over the past couple of years, but that was not the case for this year.

Geoff Keighley, a video game journalist of GametrailersTV fame, was the brains behind a new type of award show.  One that was independent, and free from TV.  It would be an award show for the gamers, run by gamers.  The industry would play a big part in them.  Thus, for the first time ever, The Game Awards was brought to life as an internet only broadcast, taking place at the AXIS Theater in Las Vegas.

the game awards 2

Numerous members of the industry, as well as journalists and fans alike, crowded the theater to watch the inaugural year of the award show.  For the first year, the show actually felt genuine, and not fake.  (However, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the audience cheer heard on the live stream was fake).  The Game Awards did a lot of good things, and they took some steps in the right direction.

However, after forty minutes and only one award handed out, you know there are still some problems that hover over the show.  The show had more of an E3 vibe to it than an award show.  There were countless “World Premieres” as developers showed off their newest trailers and sneak at games to come in the future.  There were some cool announcements here and there (including some new ones) but they mostly got tiresome as we hit the later parts of the show.  The show also lasted a whopping three hours.  It was a little on the long side, and their seemed to be a lot of filler that clogged up the show in between.

the game awards 3

With that being said, how about we actually get to some of the stuff that took place during the show…

The ceremony kicked off with a pretty neat musical performance by Koji Kondo, one of the main music composers at Nintendo.  He played the piano as Mario appeared on the big screens behind him.  It was a cool little retro homage to the early days of gaming.  Then Reggie Fils-Aime (the President of Nintendo of America), the crowd favorite, came out to start the show.  He then directed our attention to a video that had Shigeru Miyamoto highlighting some of Nintendo’s biggest releases coming next year, including the likes of Majora’s MaskMario Maker, and Star Fox for the Wii U.  The show was off to a good start.

the game awards 6

Kiefer Sutherland, who was the voice of Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series, came out to introduce the mastermind behind the series, Hideo Kojima.  Sutherland’s presence was actually a nice surprise.  His little talk about where games have come was even better.  Kojima gave us a little sneak peek at the new Metal Gear Online.  The little trailer showed some of the tactical strategies you can employ as a team to carry out your mission.  The game looks beautiful, but the online components don’t seem like they fit the Metal Gear style.

After that, we then got our first award of the night, which went to Trey Parker for Best Performance in a Game.  Trey Parker did a ton of voices for the game South Park Stick of Truth.  The best part about the whole thing was Tim Schafer, the presenter of the award, who cracked some jokes about the fake nature of past video game award shows.  It was actually pretty funny and clever.

the game awards 1

It was then Fullbright, a small independent studio known for their hit game Gone Home, who took the stage to give everybody a surprise teaser for their new game Tacoma.  Coming in 2016, the game looks like it has an retro art-deco atmosphere to it.  If it’s anything like Gone Home, it should be pretty interesting.

Then there were more announcements and sneak peeks, which was slowly becoming the theme of the show.  We got a look at Bloodborne, a PlayStation exclusive RPG that borrows a lot from the Dark Souls games.  We also got an announcement of Banner Saga 2.

Some other highlights of the show included EA’s Peter Moore, who came up to announce Hazelight Studios, a new development team working on a next-gen game.  We got a little teaser, but it only showcased two men on a train car looking off into the distance.  Nothing much, but still intriguing.  We also got a cool laser light musical performance that showcased some old video game music of yore.  It was weird, but a good kind of weird.

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Nintendo was the big winner of the night, taking home three awards by the end.  They won Best Fighting Game for Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Best Developer, as well as Best Sports/Racing Game for Mario Kart 8.  They also ended the show with an exclusive look at the next Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U.  The sneak peek showcased some of the open world traversal features that they were working on, as well as the scope of the game itself.  The game looked pretty, and the fans loved it as well.  Nintendo had a great night at the awards.

Probably one of the best moments of the show was when the Industry Icon award was handed out.  The new award was designed to honor icons in the industry who have put in a lot of work to get them to where they are today.  It was Sierra, the studio behind classics such as Kings Quest, that got the spotlight.  The founders of the studio, Ken Williams and Roberta Williams, received the award.  There was a video that showcased some of the work that the two worked on, featuring some of the history of the studio.  The two really deserved it.  They also brought out some developers working on the revival of the series, aptly named Kings Quest.  They gave us a look at the stylistic 3D re-imagining of the series.  Some thought that this game took the prize for game of the show.

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Some other notable awards included Best Shooter, which surprisingly went to Far Cry 4, Best Indie Game, which went to Shovel Knight, and Best Handheld/Mobile Game, which went to Hearthstone.  However, the award of the show, Game of the Year, was saved for the end.  Geoff Keighley came out on stage and announced the winner, which was Dragon Age Inquisition. The game, which has gotten high praise the past couple of weeks, seemed like a sure lock for the award.

The award show concluded with a nice, and surprisingly intimate, performance from Imagine Dragons.  It turns out that they are pretty big video game fans, as evidence by their performance of some of the music from the Legend of Zelda.  They were also joined by Koji Kondo, who played piano in the background.  Kondo was a good sport through it all, and it was a nice conclusion to the show.

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As I said before, the Video Game Awards 2014 was a big step in the right direction.  The show has rallied a lot of support from the industry, and it seemed like they were free of the PR antics that plagued past shows.  There is still a lot of work that needs to be done however to make it spot on.  Nevertheless, the show was still entertaining after all.  But, I got tired of “World Premiere” by the end of the show.  They need to cut that stuff out.

Here’s the full list of winners from the night:


GAME OF THE YEAR: Dragon Age Inquisition




BEST NARRATIVE: Valiant Hearts: The Great War


BEST PERFORMANCE: Trey Parker as Various Voices, South Park The Stick of Truth

GAMES FOR CHANGE: Valiant Hearts: The Great War

BEST REMASTER: Grand Theft Auto V



BEST ROLE PLAYING GAME: Dragon Age Inquisition

BEST FIGHTING GAME: Super Smash Bros Wii U





MOST ANTICIPATED GAME: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt




BEST FAN CREATION: Twitch Plays Pokemon


A look at Wii Street U

When Google Maps released their app for the iPhone 5, everybody went crazy with excitement because…let’s just say that Apple didn’t really now what they were doing and Google pretty much has their map software on lock-down.  Wii U owners recently got a chance to have the power of Google maps on their system in the form of Wii Street U, a new app from Google.nintendo-wii-street-u

The app is basically Google Maps with a lot of added features.  You can still look up addresses and see the regular view and the satellite view.  In Wii Street U, you can now immerse yourself in the area using the Gamepad.  There is a new mode that lets you move the Gamepad around as if you were looking at the settings around you.  It is a cool new way to maneuver around streets and other areas on the maps.  This concept is kind of hard to explain with words so there is a video below to demonstrate…

(Credit goes to YouTube user SNESmapper for the video)

Another feature allows you to go on “tours” to many hot spots that are highlighted on a globe.  Each of these tours gives you access to many different tourists locations around the globe.  Some include the North Pole and even a look inside the White House.

Wii-Street-USome people may find the need for an app like this is unnecessary on the Wii U due to the fact you can’t bring your Wii U in a car to navigate places.  The reason why I think an app like this is a must have is because of the other options this app offers, especially the tours.  This app is a free download so there is no reason why any Wii U owner would have a reason not to get this pretty sweet app.

Pandora’s Tower US Trailer

Pandora’s Tower is the third game in Operation Rainfall, a campaign to get Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower into the states.  The first two have already been released to mixed opinions so it should be interesting to see how Pandora’s Tower will do when it comes out this April, especially since it is only being released on the Wii; a system slowly being outdated by the Wii U.

The new trailer put out by XSEED, the game’s publisher, reveals a lot of new story elements including a girl who is going through some pretty hard troubles.  The gameplay most likens to a dungeon crawler so be prepared to do a lot of grinding!