A recently turned 30 going on 13 year old just trying to make my way in an increasingly confusing world.
I'm a massive geek - film nut; retro gamer; board gamer; video gamer; Lego fan; Sci-fi enthusiast; theatre goer; comedian lover; health nut; avid walker; whiskey drinker; chilli eater and an obsessive collector of many things.
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The Legend Of Zelda #ALinkBetweenWorlds
I am an avid fan of the Legend Of Zelda series ever since my first time playing video games, and to me, they opitimise everything good about video games - They're epic, they're colourful yet broad in appeal, they involve a big sword, and most importantly, they're fun.
If anything, I lean towards preferring the handheld games over the console endeavours, as it's just amazing how something so grand in scale can fit on to such a small screen. Links Awakening DX was the first LOZ game I ever played and is still one of the very best.
And now, Link makes his way to the small(ish) screen yet again, in a completely original Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, a sequel to the stunning 16bit Link to The Past. The result of Ninty's merging of the nostalgia of old with the tech and design of new is pretty much flawless, creating an instant classic; a must own title for the 3DS and certainly a good enough reason to go out and buy a system to play it. It really is that good.
Frequent visitors to the pastures of Hyrule will instantly recognise a lot of the musical themes in ALBW. The 16bit midi has been reorchestrated and sounds exquisit, bringing with it excitement, tension and celebration throughout. Even the sound effects used are polished, with satisfying sounds signalling skipping through text for example - not an annoying beep on earshot.
They should also recognise the overworld map. It really is a sequel to ALTTP, and whilst the game encourages you to explore very early on, you'll no doubt be treading some familiar paths and taking a walk down nostalgia lane. And it's all presented in brilliant colours and clarity, using the 3d effect throughout. This especially adds depth to the dungeons, which make use of the effect when moving from floor to floor. Early on, Link uses springs to ascend a dungeon, bursting out of the screen before landing safely one floor up.
As for gameplay, the traditional complete a dungeon with the gear you find within has been replaced with a renting system, making the familiar in game currency of Rupees arguably more important than before. You rent your gear, and should you die, you lose it. A nice idea, though in my first play through I only died once, meaning I soon had enough rupees to buy equipment should I have fallen. Lots of the series staples are still available to equip, such as the hookshot, the bow, and the always inessential boomerang.
Another new mechanic is the 'as seen on TV' ability to merge into walls as a painting. Link can move left to right in this state as long as the magic meter lasts. It makes for some ingenious puzzles and some glorious artwork. Picking up painted rupees and hearts is beautiful to behold and really put a smile on my fave when I realised it could be done.
The dungeons then, for me at least, were tricky, but combat is not. Puzzles and routes often take a lot of scratching your head to work out but fights, even with bosses, were never truly difficult. This is not to say they lacked tension, the music and cramped arenas see to this, but Inwas still able to make my way through with few casulties. Fortunately though, there is an included hero mode which is unlocked upon completion for those wishing to test themselves.
Finally then, there is the StreetPass. This has been used to gain hits from other 'Link's' from other people's game. They show up in yours as Dark Links in the overworld. Bumping into these triggers a 1on1 battle using your currently equipped gear and nothing else. This is an intuitive and unobtrusive way of using StreetPass and definitely enriches the Zelda experience.
All in all then, a pristinely polished game which utilises both the nostalgia from the prequel and the new tech of the 3DS to create something sublime. A must by for anyone interested in gaming adventures. (Screenshots taken from Official Nintendo Website, at http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/Z6ft-sYy0pxxdkRc-dIxtTH7XHqWVLl9)
SuperPlay issue 48 is a collaboration between members of the original SuperPlay writers to mark the arrival of the new Nintendo SNES mini, released with October's issue of Retro Gamer magazine.
Fittingly, the cover is adorned for Fox McCloud from the Star Fox games, as one of the SNES minis oddities that hype was building for is the inclusion of Star Fox 2, originally axed for release on the original hardware due to ongoing changes in the gaming industry as a whole at the time. It's a lovely cover by Will Overton who also did a lot of the original art for the magazine originally.
The magazine goes on to look at the hardware of the SNES mini, and give a review of every title included on the console. Rather than review the games as they're remembered, the writers have reviewed the games from today's benchmarks, for example looking at the original Star Fox now is definitely more jarring an experience than the jaw dropping one it would've been back in '93.
Coming up to the new year the internet is ripe with posts about the best releases from the year, but for ordinary humans like us you may only be playing, reading or watching stuff that may have been out for some time already. So, here's a brief collection of my favourites from 2017. Let me know what you think!
Board Game Handheld Game - Metroid: Samus Returns My favourite handheld game this year has definitely been on my trusty 3DS. Metroid: Samus Returns is a glorious homage to Metroid 2 on the game boy, utilising the same setting and story but with revamped graphics, sound and gameplay. New abilities and equipment keep the tried and tested Metroidvania gameplay fresh, and I found this really easy to dip in and out of after gaps away from playing. It's quite difficult in places especially with my big hands around the smaller form of the regular 3DS.
I also plumped for the collector’s edition with this game, which is an absolut…
Handheld Zelda games are better than console Zelda games. It's just true. The immense scale of a grand and epic adventure typical of a Zelda game, squashed down into just as an exciting jaunt that fits in your pocket (almost, looking at you DMG-01) for you to play whenever you damn well please - how could this not be better than the equivalent half an hour bursts of game play you get after the inevitable family argument for control of the TV...
Of course, the games are absolutely stellar quality too. And I don't mean 'for handheld games' but as video games in their own rights! Often, developers strip back the quality and features in a portable title due to a number of factors; maybe budget, hardware restrictions or simply time constraints during production. Nintendo never seem to do that, devoting just as sufficient resources to their mobile output as they do their home system catalog. Often, the fact that the games are releasing on a handheld give the developer a ch…