Nintendojo’s Backlog Summer keeps on rolling! What games are the staff playing this week? Read on to find out!
I’m almost finished with the fourth world in Yoshi’s New Island. Rather than blaze through the game, I’m finding myself picking it up and playing two or three levels in short, twenty minute bursts. This week, I did that on my lunch break. It was a fairly stressful work day, and I found it really put me in a better mood. It’s not a terribly original jump from the Super Nintendo title, but the game is such a master class in 2D, platforming level design. I’m consistently impressed at the secrets each level hides. I’m not killing myself trying to find every red coin or flower, but I am doing my best, because I’m just enjoying the game so much.
I’ve also really been putting a lot of time into Super Smash Bros. on Wii U lately. I finally unlocked Rob and some more music and trophies. Last night, I raced to download the two new (old) stages that were added and the Lloyd Irving costume. I hadn’t really done much with the custom fighter options, but since I’ve wanted Lloyd in the game (and even called it in some of our previous round tables), I had to download his Mii costume. It’s a great callback to one of my favorite games on the GameCube!
Speaking of those newly added levels, I really like the addition of Peach’s Castle and Hyrule Castle to the game. Those N64 levels have really made me nostalgic for the original game. I love where the series has gone since then, but there’s still something very charming about the simplicity of the first Super Smash Bros. title. It reminds me how much I enjoyed playing the game with my friends back in middle school. Now, if only we could get them to bring back Saffron City!
So I’ve made it to Chapter 2 of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and I’m having quite the dilemma! Back in the day, I wouldn’t hesitate to say TTYD was far superior to the original, but having replayed the N64 one last fall I’m finding it’s more neck-and-neck than I thought. The feel-good “first-timer” charm of the original won me over so hard, and it’s a bit of a shock, to say the least, to transition over to a setting that’s far…dare I say, darker? It didn’t help that TTYD’s Chapter 1 felt like it was going through the motions and retreading old ground up until maybe Hooktail’s castle, and I began to fear my childhood self was wrong…
But for its lows, I’m beginning to find highs the N64 game could only dream of — the localization, for one. Don’t get me wrong, the original Paper Mario’s script was incredible, too, but in more of this super-cute way that lifted my spirits just to read the characters’ dialogue. Here, much like my trip through Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, I keep ending up in stitches thanks to obvious touches by NOA Treehouse; be it Gus’s speech about video game protagonists resorting to violence or the “terrors” of the Curse Face, there’s never a dull moment in the script. Can I also say how much I love the theater-based battle system? Everything feels so organic, from the audience participation to the “stylish” timed-presses. And Chapter 2’s forest is just as lovely as I remember it.
Time will tell of my reforged, ultimate opinion, but I’m starting to get the sense that TTYD’s darker setting complements the original’s sugariness, as with Mother 3 to EarthBound. I’m quite interested in getting reacquainted with this darker underbelly of the Mario universe, and it can only go up from here.
Much like Marc, it’s been a particularly busy and stressful week at work, so my gaming unfortunately has had to take a back seat. It’s frustrating as it’s weeks like these that are the reason I have a backlog of games in the first place, but I guess that’s life for you!
It’s not a complete washout though, as I have managed to squeeze the odd half-hour in here and there. Smash Bros. has taken the brunt of my gaming drought and hasn’t been played at all. I have, however, managed to get some time again with Donkey Kong Country Returns, and I am almost halfway through, having just reached the cave area. The game continues to impress in both of its playability and graphics and I find that I have to remind myself that I am playing this on Wii. I actually can’t wait to get this finished and reap my rewards when I finally get to purchase and play Tropical Freeze in glorious HD.
Aside from this, I’ve also gone back to having a spin on Mario Kart 8. Although this isn’t on my backlog remit, the game somehow found its way back into my Wii U, and I was soon racing around the likes of Hyrule Circuit and Mute City. I’ve even found a new character in Dry Bowser, and completing cups such as Leaf Cup and Lightning Cup with the elusive three star rating on 150cc mode is no longer as difficult as it once was with Toad, my usual racer of choice.
Seriously though, how good is this game? Over a year since release and having some of the finest DLC I’ve ever purchased for any title on any system, Mario Kart 8, for me, is still an absolute masterpiece. However, I digress. No more racing for me. I must return to the jungle if I’m ever to rid Donkey Kong Island from that pesky Tiki Take Tribe.
So my shift to Batman games continued this week, as I found myself beating both Arkham City and Arkham Origins again. I got an Xbox One a couple weeks ago and immediately went to get Arkham Knight, but I wanted a refresher on the last two games before cracking into the new one (I’ve beaten Arkham Asylum like three times). Arkham City I had started last week, but I marathoned through it in just a couple days because I was having so much fun with it. The only thing I have yet to do in that one is finish getting all the Riddler trophies and solving all of his riddles, but otherwise I obliterated all the content in that game. My costume of choice is the Batman Beyond suit, though Bruce’s eyes are oddly far apart…
Ah, Arkham Origins. I had a lot of fun with that game the first time I played it, never being able to understand where all the hate came from for it. Sure, it’s hands down the glitchiest of the Arkham games. Fast travel feels anything but, too. At the same time though, there’s so much Batman fanservice on display. Seeing an inexperienced Batman is frankly unusual regardless of whether it’s in a video game or a comic book, making his portrayal in Arkham Origins a welcome change of pace. Bruce is filled with rage and a need to prove himself at this point in his story, and I loved watching him come to understand how he can’t do his mission alone. The Deathstroke fight is epic. Sneaking into the GCPD headquarters is satisfyingly tense. Seriously, glitches or not, Origins is worth a play if you’ve never gotten to it. It’s shortcomings don’t prevent it from being worthy of the Arkham name.
Wahaha! Phase one of Wario’s grand adventure has been completed! I finished Wario Land the other day! I didn’t end up finding about half the treasure when it was all said and done, but I really enjoyed the game. I would say the first game is a great start to the Wario series. With some interesting game design and new ways to approach things with Wario, I found it to be a refreshing platformer. I do think Wario Land hit a difficulty plateau a few worlds in, because the last couple worlds weren’t really much more challenging than those before it. I had the hardest time with the hidden ice world, which was only the third area out of seven. I think Virtual Boy Wario Land trumps the original in terms of creative powers, but I like the world map and exploration in the Game Boy game. There’s probably a couple more hours of gameplay I could squeeze out if I wanted to go back and unlock all the treasure, but I don’t have time for that– on to the next game!
I started Wario Land II immediately after finishing the first game, and got through the opening world. I already have to say that the sequel is definitely a better game! Wario has a more unique feel in how he controls rather than just being a slower and larger Mario. You can ram through walls and pound the floor anytime. Wario is just more solid, and not only in how he feels– in fact, Wario is invincible! You just lose coins when hit by enemies, with no lives or deaths to worry about. It’s yet to be seen if this will take away the challenge, but I enjoy how this mechanic changes up the entire dynamic of the game. If Wario can’t die, you have to be punished in other ways or presented with different types of obstacles.
I have noticedWario Land II is a lot more linear, with named levels that come after one another instead of the world map. I heard about the branching paths that can occur from finding hidden goals, so I am interested to see how those appear as the game continues. So far I think I have collected most of the treasure, but I bet there’s a few things missed so far. I can just tell from all the spaces on the collection screen that this one might be a long ride. I’m excited to keep playing! The Wario roller coaster will never end!
What games are you playing this weekend? Let us know in the comments!