Shovel Knight is the first thing I ever kickstarted. It was back in April of last year and at the time the predicted release date was September of that year. I was never too upset about the push backs as I am always in support of making a game better instead of releasing it in an unfinished state and trying to fix it from there. So while the wait was long to get my product, holy shit was the wait ever worth it and with a product as good as this, I’m glad they took their time getting it ready.
Anyone who lives in Canada has no doubt noticed that in recent months, the price of video games, both in physical and digital form, has gone up between 5 to 10 dollars across the board. When this started, I quickly went on Amazon and pre-ordered a ton of games, locking them in at the cheaper price just to be safe. One of these was Murdered: Soul Suspect, which at the time I knew nothing about other than the basic premise of being a dead detective trying to solve your own murder. When the reviews came out and weren’t so kind, I took a chance and let the pre-order ride.
For the most part, I am happy I did so.
Before South Park: The Stick of Truth was released; I saw numerous comments about how it looked like it could end up being one of the best licensed games ever made. This statement was almost always followed by someone saying “Yeah but that isn’t really saying much.” I just can’t agree with that second point. It’s common to knock licensed games but people forget just how many great ones there are. Duck Tales, Goldeneye, Rescue Rangers, Chronicles of Riddick, Aladdin (both the SNES and Genesis versions), the majority of the Tiny Toon games, Ninja Turtles 2-4, the Arkham games (with the possible exception of Origins), The Walking Dead (the ones from Telltale, not that other….thing), and the list really goes on and on.
I say this because when I state that South Park: The Stick of Truth is indeed amongst the best licensed games I’ve ever played, I don’t want you to take that lightly.
I play a whole lot of horror games and yet the same two games have topped my list of the scariest titles for many years – Silent Hill 2 and Fatal Frame. The former has one of the best game stories ever written and is loaded with unsettling atmosphere and disturbing moments. The second is the best at delivering sheer funhouse style thrills, loaded with jump scares and fucked up ghosts yelling at you about how they’re missing their eyeballs. Oh and for the record, I have not played Amnesia: The Dark Descent as my computer has issues playing any game released post 1998, hence it’s absence from the list. As far as I was concerned, Fatal Frame and Silent Hill 2 would remain the top contenders forever.
It has been a pretty solid couple of months for platformers. The Smurfs 2 turned out way better than any rational human being could have ever expected, Duck Tales Remastered turned out great, and now we have another HD update with Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse. I have no clever way to lead into the review so please click onward so my time spent writing this wasn’t for naught.
A lot of people were surprised when I said I was interested in playing The Smurfs 2 video game, since I was very vocal in my opposition to the movie itself (I mean come on, have you seen the trailers?!). The reason is simple – Way Forward made the game. Way Forward is one of very few developers (off hand the only other one I can think of is Twisted Pixel) whose name alone gets me interested in playing a game. In addition to some great original games such as Shantae and Mighty Switch Force, they also seem to be one of the few developers who treat licensed games with respect. Who would have ever expected Thor on DS to be decent? And yet these games swooped in and made a really solid 2D, beat-em-up.
So knowing these guys were behind The Smurfs 2, I figured it might actually be worth a look.
Let me say right away that I am a huge fan of any game involving solving crimes. No matter how terrible they may be, if your game says “Solve the mystery!” or “Catch the killer!” on the back of the box, chances are good you’ll get my money. All the CSI games, NCIS, an array of generically titled DS games, the list goes on. That being said, I am ashamed of myself that I am only now discovering Famicom Detective Club Part II for the Super Nintendo.
I suppose I’ve never really given my overall thoughts on the Wii U since the system launched last year. My wife and I got one on launch day (our first joint console purchase, awwwww) and had a blast the first day, playing Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros U with our friends. We also had ZombiU and Scribblenauts Unlimited, two games I had a lot of fun with as well. Things were off to a solid start overall. Then five months went by before I bought another game - Lego City Undercover. Fun game, but that is a long time to go without really playing a new console. Game & Wario is the first game I have bought since Lego. The drought of games looks to be ending in August, at which point the system will hopefully start living up to its potential (which I do think it has).
In the meantime we at least have the occasional Virtual Console title of worth, as well as fun but unremarkable games like Game & Wario.
Nintendo is the perfect company to produce DLC for their games, which makes it all the more frustrating that they have not fully embraced this idea. New tracks for Mario Kart, new characters for Smash Bros, there is so many perfect opportunities for them to release extra content. Yet aside from some extra Coin Rush courses for New Super Mario Bros. 2, there has been little to nothing from them in this regard. That’s what made the announcement of New Super Luigi U exciting. It would act as the first true test of Nintendo’s DLC capabilities. Would it be a clear cash-in? Or would they put forth the effort and really release a piece of content that was worthwhile?
A part of me still can’t believe that a decent budget was handed over to create a fully focused Deadpool video game. Granted there was that depressing story a few weeks ago about the majority of the studio being laid off, but even initially I’m surprised this got the green light. Not that I don’t think he’s a popular character, but I didn’t think he was “star of his own video game” popular. The complete lack of advertising, as well as how difficult it was to find pure gameplay footage until pretty recently, certainly didn’t instill confidence. Alas, the game is now out and it’s....it’s something.