Welcome, everyone, to the first WEGO of 2014! We hope you all have had a wonderful holiday. The Dojo staff is officially back from holiday break, and we’re excited to kick off the year with plenty of new Nintendo coverage. But before we get into other business (namely, listing our favorite games of 2013), we’d like to take this time to talk about some of the gaming we’ve done over the holidays, from all the new games we received to the old classics we rediscovered with friends and family. We hope you enjoy!
This Christmas Eve, Animal Crossing: New Leaf reiterated the unbreakable hold it has over my psyche as I snuck away from my family festivities to hand out presents to the people of my town. It’s amazing that I’ve been playing almost daily since July and I’m still that hooked. Christmas Day brought a bunch of new games under the tree, including Super Mario 3D World. After spending most of the day with my family, I came home exhausted, hoping to get in just a little Mario time before I went to bed. Instead, I found that my roommates had come home from their own family activities so I decided to enlist them for a four-player session. Two hours later, I had to remind myself that I did, in fact, have work in the morning, and Super Mario 3D World went back in its case. Nintendo always has a knack for bringing people together!
I was able to catch up to a lot of games that people have been enjoying for months once Christmas rolled by! I finally got Super Mario 3D World for Wii U, and I was able to see why the game has gotten such high praise. The game is absolutely beautiful, and the brilliance of the new cat suit power-up far exceeded my expectations. The induction of co-op is also fantastic, as I had a blast going through the first world with my non-gamer girlfriend. Super Mario 3D World is a wonderful game, but I personally found that it’s not as wonderful as the Wonderful 101! I’m not even saying that just for the sake of a bad pun either, because I truly feel that The Wonderful 101 is my favorite Wii U game thus far! The brilliant, innovative combat combined with the over-the-top superhero storyline makes for pure gaming bliss. Our review of the game was completely on the mark!
I was also pleasantly surprised by Sonic Lost Worlds upon playing it for the first time. I was cautiously optimistic before I got my hands on it, due to the fact that it was slammed critically, but I’m glad that I received it as a present for Christmas regardless. The game definitely has its issues, most notably in its physics engine, but it’s incredible when everything is going right. In my opinion, the moments of pure entertainment and enjoyment outweigh the negatives of the experience, leading me to believe that the game is definitely an underrated title on Wii U.
Oh, and what about NES Remix? That was a great holiday surprise on for the Wii U eShop! Being that I am a huge retro enthusiast, I was excited to get my hands on it after seeing it for the first time during the Nintendo Direct last December. While I have to admit that some of the challenges are hit or miss, it’s still a great addition to the Wii U eShop. I personally loved the remixed challenges that the game offered, such as playing as a jump-less Link within Donkey Kong. Challenges like this offered a nice distraction for me in-between sessions of my other new Wii U games. If you couldn’t tell by my ramblings, it’s been a good holiday for my Wii U! Christmas has given me a chance to get the most out of my previously dormant Wii U, and I couldn’t be happier.
The dust is only now starting to settle on my holiday vacation, so I really haven’t had much time to play the new games I got for Christmas. Instead, my holiday gaming consisted of multiplayer games all around.
While I was back home with the family, my old high school buddy and I got into some great Nintendo 64 games. We spent two entire evenings bombing each other in Bomberman 64, and partying hard in Mario Party 2 and 3. I also tested out the multiplayer games in Game & Wario for the first time, and “Sketch” is a ton of fun! I also hosted a Mario Kart 64 session with a bunch of friends. Man, those battles can get heated. Now that we’re older, there’s less controller flinging while whining, and more sneaky tricks and profanities.
My sister got her own Wii U for Christmas, so when I went over to visit we were playing New Super Mario Bros. U, Mario 3D World, and LEGO Batman 2. I showed her the ropes of being a Wii U owner, and she is loving the system because she can play on the GamePad while her kids play Xbox. I also took some time to mess around in Disney Infinity with my nephew. That game is too cool, and kind of makes me wish Nintendo had a similar title; I’m such a fanboy I wouldn’t be able to resist buying all the figures!
But I’m back home now, so it’s time to dig into the games from the holiday, like The Wonderful 101, The Wind Waker HD, and Mario Party: Island Tour. I guess the podcast should be coming back soon as well. I’m so busy I don’t what to do with myself.
I only put one game on my holiday wish list, and my wife sprung for it. It was Tales of Graces f which originally surfaced on Wii in Japan before being ported over to PS3 with extras. The PS3 version has made it to America but a limited print run has kept the price relatively high, even on the used market, so I was hesitant to buy in. It made for a nice Christmas present, though. Early returns are good, with the same sort of addictive frenetic combat that made Symphonia so awesome years ago. As an added bonus, my five-year-old daughter has been tagging along as one of the girl characters, making combat more of a family affair.
I also had to do a spot of traveling this holiday season, which is usually where I dust off my DS. This year I revisited Radiant Historia, the Atlus JRPG that hit DS back in 2011. It’s an awfully good game, and the soundtrack… oh, man. Yoko Shimomura, who also scored for Kingdom Hearts and parts of Xenoblade Chronicles, created one of the coolest, most ambient DS scores ever.
Joining my personal list of “greatest Christmas gifts ever,” I got the awesome Sega Genesis Classic Game Console. The unit is based off of the Genesis 3 build and has 80 pre-installed games, two wireless Genesis controllers (which are a bit spotty to use, but I digress), and can even play actual Genesis cartridges! It’s freaking amazing (at the cost of stereo sound, though). When is Nintendo going to do the same with NES? I’d play top dollar for it!
I’ve played a fair few Genesis games over the years, but I was a Nintendo kid growing up and thus have more limited exposure to Sega’s system by comparison. As a result, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started playing Streets of Rage for the first time. Talk about being pleasantly surprised! I’m tempted to say I like the three Streets of Rage games better than the Final Fight trilogy after whiling away many an hour beating on thugs in Sega’s brawler series. They’re simple by today’s standards, but definitely give the Streets of Rage games a download on Wii’s Virtual Console if you have yet to experience them. The first game is also part of Sega’s 3D remakes recently released for 3DS and is a couple bucks cheaper. Whatever you do… play Streets of Rage!
Having already procured myself a PS4 and a copy of Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag back in November, I was expecting this to be a rather low key Christmas. Maybe I’d receive some nice socks, a jug of cider, but certainly nothing to write home about. Imagine my surprise then when my family and fiance sprung for not only Super Mario 3D World and A Link Between Worlds, but also a shiny new Xbox One.
I found myself in the interesting dilemma this holiday season of owning all three next gen consoles, which, while a first world problem to be sure, made for a scheduling nightmare when it came to spending adequate time on all of the games that I wanted to play. An hour of Zelda here, 45 minutes of Dead Rising 3 there, all while still trying to make a dent in my seemingly insurmountable backlog. I have an as of yet unopened copy of Ni no Kuni sitting on my shelf just waiting to be played, and, much to my chagrin, I’ve only been able to spare about ten minutes for the latest Shin Megami Tensei title.
While I haven’t been able to spare much time for any particular game this holiday season, the time that I have spent with A Link Between Worlds has been fantastic. I was very skeptical of this game from the get go, mainly because I saw it as yet another instance of Nintendo watering down one of its core series (a la New Super Mario Bros.), but please believe me when I say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. This game is classic Zelda perfection from the moment that you turn it on, and I can’t wait to find out what else it has to offer.
What games did you play over the holidays? Did you get any special gaming presents, or did you spend the break rediscovering an old favorite? Share your holiday gaming stories with us in the comments!