Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor leads the nominees for the 18th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, a ceremony voted on by members of the video game publishing and developing communities. Over 50 other games are among those nominated this year in technical, genre, and creative categories highlighting the best and most innovative games of 2014.
Tag: Super Smash Bros. (1-9 of 9)
Can Super Smash Bros. for Wii U create new fans, or is the game catering exclusively to players who have spent hours in the Nintendo arena?
Nintendo revealed over 50 facts about the latest version of its fighting franchise, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. While many of these bits of information are rather small, a few reveal just what will make the game worthy of a purchase after the recently released Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
Here are the five most exciting revelations:
Super Smash Bros. 3DS is out in the wild, but its release date had been known for several months before it released last Friday, Oct. 3. Its Wii U counterpart, however, has notoriously been waiting in limbo, with no planned release other than “Holiday 2014.”
In light of the handheld Smash Bros selling so well—it sold more than 2.8 million copies worldwide in its first weekend—Nintendo finally revealed when Wii U owners can expect the Nintendo brawler to debut.
The Super Smash Bros. franchise has become one of the cornerstones of Nintendo’s identity. On every console since the Nintendo 64, eager anticipation has surrounded each new entry in the brawling series–the lead-up to Super Smash Bros. Brawl included daily teases for almost an entire year on the game’s official website.
Super Smash Bros. for 3DS—yes, the device’s name is part of the title—marks a first for the franchise. This entry will be the first time Nintendo’s all-star battle royale has appeared on a handheld. It’s a curious step for a game that has become synonymous with four friends playing a game together on a couch, but Nintendo is hoping the magic can translate to the small screen.
Having had a chance to play the game for over a week now, Aaron Morales and I discussed whether the transition has been successful, or if we’re just biding our time with the game until Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
We, as a nation, have apparently decided that we want most of our video games to come out at the same time every year. We, as a nation, should probably rethink that, because the time it takes to finish an average video game is something crazy like 40 hours. Even with the time off that comes around the holidays, taking on a few extra full-time-job’s worth of games is kind of bananas. Did we mention that this fall’s release calendar is what a “light” year looks like?
Fortunately, our own Natalie Abrams, Jonathon Dornbush, Darren Franich, Aaron Morales, and Joshua Rivera have opinions on how to best allocate those extracurricular hours. Game accordingly.
Disclaimer: This list isn’t comprehensive. It very obviously omits sports games (because we know jack shit about them) and indie games (because they’re made by commitmentphobes who don’t set release dates very far in advance). We’re very much looking forward to some of these games (hello, Ori and the Blind Forest), but this list is geared towards games with set release dates.
Combining beloved Disney franchises with some of Marvel’s most recognizable faces, Disney Infinity 2 adds heroes like Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, and Spider-Man to the menagerie of actual figurines you can zap into its game worlds. (No, really—the game comes with action figures that determine which characters players control.) Beyond that, it allows players to create whatever they would like in the game’s imagination-driven Toy Box, from tower defense games, to a Disney-themed house, to a raceway that’s part Guardians of the Galaxy and part Toy Story.
PRO: I’ve already said plenty about why Infinity is so special. Yes, the single player campaign’s mission design is a bit generic, but the marquee feature, the Toy Box, is a delight. By allowing players to create game levels, cities, raceways, houses—almost anything they want—and express themselves by employing memorable Disney and Marvel franchises, the game sucks users in for hours at a time. Infinity encourages imagination, and the sheer number of possibilities should send any child—and more than a few Disney-obsessed adults—into a creative frenzy. —JD
CON: This adult enjoyed playing with the toys that come with game more than the repetitive, simplistic campaign itself. Seriously, the toys are awesome. —AM
In the tradition of many quality cable dramas, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter takes place in an idyllic town in the middle of nowhere that’s full of terrible occurrences. As a detective with supernatural abilities, you’ll communicate with the dead in order to uncover whatever disturbing, hidden secrets lie in Red Creek Valley.
WHY IT’S INTERESTING: Some of the best games don’t give you much to go on. Myst is the classic example here, a game that dropped you on an island with no explanation and left you to stumble across an intriguing mystery. There’s a bit more context to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, but development studio The Astronauts seem committed to mostly staying out of the way, letting players rely on their own observations to discover the game’s secrets. “Show, don’t tell,” is just as important in video games as it is in other media—and one of the greatest tricks in video game horror is giving you the freedom to creep yourself out. —JR
You know how the first trailer for The Hobbit got you all excited? Because The Lord of the Rings films were great, so surely Hobbit would be, too? And then the movie was divided into like, 18 parts, each a year apart and all of them middling. That’s kind of what it’s been like for LOTR video games, except the bit about there being 18 parts isn’t all that hyperbolic. The pitch for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is simple: what if a LOTR game wasn’t just good, but great?
PRO: There have been some good The Lord of the Rings games, but fans have been waiting for a great one, and Shadow of Mordor looks to be it. Combining the best of two major franchises—Assassin’s Creed and the Batman: Arkham games—Mordor adds in the promising Nemesis System. With it, your enemies are no longer simple sword fodder—they actually matter to main character Talion. Players can alter the balance of power by taking out ruling Uruks or bending them to his will, and the game’s randomized Uruk creator means you’ll never see the same Uruk twice. With the third-person action space dominated by sequels this year and next, it’s nice to see a new franchise try to stake its own claim in the genre. —JD
CON: The last boss battle is an anticlimactic string of quick-time events. Everything else? Pretty awesome. —AM
From the early days of the original Game Boy to its most recent system, the 3DS, Nintendo has made a habit of releasing several different, improved systems that iterate on earlier versions of its handhelds. Today, the house of Mario continued in its tradition by announcing two new 3DS models with a host of new features to correspond with some major upcoming games.
Via one of the company’s occasional Nintendo Direct videos, the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL—a version that has larger screens—debuted with a few cosmetic and functional alterations. (Worth noting, however: Nintendo has only announced the New 3DS line to release in Japan in October. Release dates for America have not been confirmed, though the system is not expected to debut until 2015.)
The most prominent change to the system is actually small in size. A small nub dubbed the C-stick has been placed above the 3DS’ A, B, X and Y buttons. This addition will allow for dual analog-controlled games that mirrors how players can control games on the company’s home console, the Wii U.
The New 3DS will also have additional shoulder buttons, placed next to the L and R buttons that already exist, again making the 3DS almost like a Wii U controller in its setup. Some games with a major following in Japan, like new entries in the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchises, are already set to take advantage of these new features to make games easier to control for players.
Perhaps the most important changes to the system are those players won’t be able to see on the 3DS’ surface. Nintendo is improving the battery life, increasing the internal CPU for a smoother experience, and including functionality that will interact with Nintendo’s upcoming line of Amiibo figures. These statues, modeled after some of the company’s most famous characters like Mario, Samus, and Link will be used not just to look good on your shelf, but also to improve the experience of upcoming games like Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
This may seem like a strange move, and the changes appear slight. But this type of release is a common practice for Nintendo. The 3DS’ predecssor, the Nintendo DS, saw four different models in its lifetime, as did the original Game Boy. Some of these changes are also clear callbacks to Nintendo’s history, as the C-stick was also the name for a nub on the Nintendo GameCube controller, and the A, B, X, and Y buttons are now colored to reflect the buttons on a Super Nintendo controller. An update was inevitable for the 3DS, and it looks like Nintendo is using this improvement to marry its handheld and home console presence while celebrating the company’s past.
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