Video Games

RE Review: Super Smash Bros. Brawl

This game probably needed a re review the most. Here’s my original review of the epic platformer/fighter: Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Sound: The music for this game is made up of pretty much every Nintendo character’s soundtrack to date. If that weren’t enough, there are even a few non-Nintendo soundtracks included (Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Gear Solid). And aside from the thousand-some song list, there’s also custom themes and tracks for each character. The voice acting is okay for the game, not really noticeable though. Sound: 9/10

Presentation: At the time, the visuals were pretty slick for a non-HD console such as the Wii. So props to Nintendo for creating so much detail, so many unique environments, and overall graphically pleasing surroundings. Characters themselves have received a lot of polish, with Mario looking almost gritty and the impressive stylization of Wario. Lastly, cutscenes are really detailed CG movies, not cheap animations like most other games. Presentation: 9.5/10

Gameplay: The gameplay is amazing for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It’s perfectly balanced between characters, and every fighter has a chance at winning. That’s saying a lot, considering there’s over thirty characters on the roster, almost all of which are fun to play as. Controls are simple enough, so if you know one character’s move set it won’t be impossible to learn another’s, unlike *coughStreetFighterXTekkencough*. Aside from balanced gameplay from a pure fighter standpoint, stages are also unique and add various hazards to the arena, providing a sense of uncertainty which keeps things intense. But what is a SSB without power-ups? This game is chalk-full of them, having dozens of different items that either help yourself or damage your opponents. My favorite of these would have to be the assist trophies, from which a character from a series that isn’t in the game comes out and wreaks havoc on everyone. But of course, the big twist in this installment to the series is the smash ball, adding the most unpredictable twist to a fight. Each character has their own unique smash attack, and things get wild with for everyone. All of that is just for the basic freeplay brawling, though. The story mode, being an extremely lengthy yet fun adventure, does a surprisingly good job translating a fighter into a 2D platforming adventure. The story itself is intriguing, if a bit dark compared to the usual Nintendo, but is all around amazing and has a good learning curve. Gameplay: 10/10

Even Lucario can smash!

Multiplayer: If you spent days worth of hours on singleplayer, be prepared to give up your own and a friend’s life over this game’s outstanding multiplayer. I can’t count how many hours my friends and I sat around a couch bashing each other’s head in with our favorite Nintendo characters. Online mode is probably the only detriment to what is a seemingly perfect experience, suffering from minor lag and long matchmaking times. Multiplayer: 9/10

Length: Longest game I’ve ever played, in terms of replayability. I no doubt spent an unhealthy amount of hours playing, even after completing story mode, boss challenges, all-star mode, classic mode, training and multiplayer. Freeplay and the basic formula of the game itself is just THAT good. Length: 10/10

Overall: This game is no doubt a testament to why Nintendo is still in business. I’ll give it a score of 9.5/10. I recommend everyone and anyone get this game, regardless of whether you’re a casual, hardcore, Nintendo fanboy or anti-technology mom gamer. It is a game everyone with a soul can enjoy.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games for Nintendo 3DS

That is a long title. But does this game live up to that long title, being a Mario and Sonic outing of olympic proportions, or is it not even worthy of a bronze medal? Read on to find out!

Sound: The music in this game is sort of lacking, and the most overused song is the main theme. Not much to say for voice acting, because characters only make a few grunts throughout an entire event. One thing I think belongs in the sound category, is that during one of the events you’re required to yell into the 3DS. And you feel like a complete idiot while doing it. Sound: 4.5/10

Presentation: The visuals aren’t as pixelly as I expected, actually being mistakable for the Wii’s M&S graphics. I’m not sure if that’s dissing the Wii but it’s definitely complimenting the 3DS. The 3D of the 3DS works really well in this game, the best event for it being trampoline where your character hurls towards you through the screen. I think the story mode is part of the game’s presentation as well, so I’m going to mention this game has a pretty well presented story mode that doesn’t feel like a cheap toss-in but more of a giant cutscene related movie with a few events thrown in. And there are actual cutscenes, not that two characters and a speech box $&%# from Sonic Generations for the 3DS. Presentation: 8.5/10

Gameplay: Throughout all of the events, the gameplay is extremely diverse. Almost too diverse, because simple games like badminton are played one way, but ping pong is played a completely different way! Speed running involves the stylus, but the next running event involves five different buttons! It’s just a hassle to constantly retrain yourself for a single event. Even worse, some of the controls for these games are just awkward. Other than the already mentioned weightlifting game (where you yell into the 3DS) I actually found most of the motion-controlled, microphone enabled events to be really fun and my main issues were with the button-using events. Some of them are just horrible or require you to button mash like your life depended on it. With all of those complaints out of the way, there are over fifty events so if you really dislike a few there are always other options, and of course medley mode where you can pit all of your favorite events in a string (although after making one you can’t edit it at all… strange), but my issue with all of these events is that none of them are truly addicting! I couldn’t find a single one that caught my interest for more than thirty minutes, and the fact that you can’t even choose from more than four characters per event doesn’t help. Gameplay: 5/10

Mutliplayer: No online?! That sets this game back ages in my book. Local multiplayer and download play is cool, but not enough to even consider this game for its multiplayer. Multiplayer: 5.5/10

Length: With over fifty five events, a lengthy story mode (mainly because of the cutscenes) and medley match options, this game can easily keep you busy for six to seven hours. But after that, the game solely relies on the hope that you’ll find some of the events addicting and come back to play more. Sadly, that just doesn’t work for this game. Length: 6.5/10

Overall: Mario and Sonic’s first Olympic 3DS outing gets a 6/10. An okay collection of minigames, but not enough to warrant a full $40 price tag.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Mario Kart 7 for Nintendo 3DS

With a lull in good console games, I decided to pick up a 3DS title. So is this handheld kart racer as good as its other Mario Kart brethren? Read on to find out!

Sound: Lots of classic Mario soundtracks and even some new are all compiled into the game, so the nostalgia factor is high. Sound effects are great too, making you sweat when you hear that blue turtle shell closing in… Sound: 9/10

Presentation: At first glance, the graphics don’t look like anything special. But play long enough, and you’ll start to see that these visuals rival quite a few Wii titles. On top of the impressive graphics, the 3D looks great. Not so great that it’ll be worth using enough to make you sick (read my Nintendo 3DS review for the full scoop) but good enough that it’s worth turning on once in a while. Presentation: 9/10

Gameplay: The gameplay of Mario Kart is identical to its past games, easy to play, hard to master. The controls are basic as can be, but that simplicity adds up to a lot of fun when you throw in the dangerous items and new underwater/sky gameplay elements. The hang glider is a fun new addition that adds a new level of depth to each track, and the underwater segments are always some of the best and most original parts of each course. New items have been added so that things are even more unpredictable during races, and there’s a fair amount of unlockable characters and kart customizations to get. My only gripe with this is that it takes forever to get new customizations/characters, so gameplay becomes a little stale before new unlockables are obtained. Gameplay: 8/10

Multiplayer: Coin battle and balloon battle are just as frantic as ever, especially on the new eight player online multiplayer. I encountered no lag and everything worked perfectly, my only real problem being how long the matchmaking took. But other than that, a great online experience that shows what MK7 is all about. Multiplayer: 8/10

Length: If you’re into grand prix mode, this game will keep you busy for a few hours. The online is great too, being the most addicting part of the package. If you don’t have an internet connection and don’t get a lot of fun out of versing AI through four-track competitions though, this game will be over within the first two hours. Length: 7/10

Overall: Mario Kart 7 gets 8.4 coins out of 10! A great installment to the series, and is a must-buy for any racing fanatics who own a 3DS.

The Scrap Yard

Review of Sonic Generations for Nintendo 3DS

If the console version was great, the handheld version should be too… right? Read on to find out!

Sound: Well, there is almost no voice acting aside from a few sound clips. In terms of music, the 3DS version just got recycled music. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I honestly didn’t hear a remixed track for either classic OR modern. The original music is cool too, but seriously the originality-ometer is low. Sound: 5.5/10

Presentation: The pictures and gameplay videos of this game don’t do it justice. The only way you can really enjoy its stunning 2D graphics are in person. With that said, the 3D visuals are amazing as well, really simulating the whole three dimensions thing whenever Sonic hits a loop-de-loop or has a pseudo 3D gameplay moment. Presentation: 9/10

Gameplay: Bringing a whole slew of new levels that the console versions didn’t have, the variety is plenty. Actual level design is sort of lacking though, with cheap instant deaths, bad level layouts and annoying gimmicks (Like the forced-upon Classic Sonic homing attack. Ugh.). Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay is fun most of the time, but Modern Sonic only has two 3D gameplay moments in the entire game!! I also think they could’ve used a lot more handheld Sonic game stages, instead of just one from Sonic Rush. Seriously this game is about Sonic’s history and yet some of the levels in this version he’s never even been through (like Radical Highway)! But with all of its many flaws, there is still a little Sonic Rush reminiscent fun to be had with Modern Sonic (because in this version Classic Sonic has the utmost worst level design and controls). Gameplay: 6/10

Multiplayer: I commend this game for at least having a multiplayer mode, unlike its console counterpart. All the multiplayer is is a race against someone else, but it has a really cool point system and gets really addicting really fast. There’s also a nifty profile card section where you can upgrade your profile card based on how many matches you’ve won, so the world can see your stylized customized Sonic I.D. Multiplayer: 7.5/10

Length: About two hours, and that is only if you’re bad at the game. If you’re good and used to the play style, you can zoom through in just under an hour and a half. Online adds a good hour or two on to that, but the bonus missions are just not enough to keep me coming back past the three hour mark. Length: 4/10

Overall: Sonic’s 3DS 20th anniversary outing gets a 6.4/10. I reviewed this game based on an average gamer’s viewpoint, being critical of its many flaws and stating you should only get it if its discounted, but if you’re a Sonic fan you should definitely pick this up just for the nostalgia factor.