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The 5 most interesting facts about 'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'

Super-Smash-Bros

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:

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Nintendo announces 'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U' release date

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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.

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Team Deathmatch: EW argues the pros and cons of fall's biggest video games

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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.

SEPT OCT NOV DEC
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes Edition
Release Date: Sept. 23
Playstation 4
Xbox One
Playstation 3
Xbox 360
PC & Vita in 2015

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

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Release Date: Sept. 26
PC
PS4 TBA

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

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Release Date: Sept. 30
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 11.18.14

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

The most exciting games at E3 2013...and everything that might be wrong with them

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) marked an exciting moment for the videogame industry. New consoles. New blockbuster titles. Long-awaited sequels. What follows is a list of the 15 most exciting games I saw this year. I got hands-on time with most of them, but it’s important to remember that playing videogames at E3 is not the same as actually playing the videogames. At E3, you’re staring at the most expensive TV screens corporate money can buy, while various company reps urge you on and assure you that you’re much better at the game than all of the other journalists they’ve seen that day. (One developer assured me I was doing great after I died for the fifth time in two minutes.) With that in mind, each of these games comes with an addendum: What could go wrong between now and when the game is actually released?

15. Killzone: Shadow Fall
The franchise about futuristic space dudes with futuristic space guns gets a next-gen makeover. I’ve never been a Killzone fan. In fact, I couldn’t pick out the first three games from a lineup of futuristic-space-gun shooters. But the level I played through offered a fascinating array of possible tactical decisions. Also, this was The Year of the Ziplines at E3, and Shadow Fall lets you fire a zipline anywhere you want. (Playstation 4, End of 2013)
What Could Go Wrong: The title Killzone: Shadow Fall sounds like a straightfaced parody of a contemporary futuristic-space-gun videogame, and what little I could glean of the plot sounded like boilerplate from the post-Gears of War era.

14. Mariokart 8
After many months of hype and rumors, Nintendo’s biggest franchises were mostly no-shows at this year’s E3 — unless you consider an HD remake of an old Zelda game a new development (it isn’t) or you think Super Mario 3D Land is even close to Super Mario Galaxy (it ain’t.) But the new Mariokart offers some intriguing twists on the two-decade-old formula, with the ability to drive on walls. Also, the levels are so pretty in HD. (Wii U, Spring 2014).
What Could Go Wrong: It’s the same old Mariokart, except this time it’s on a console you still don’t feel like buying.
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E3: Which new console are you most excited about? -- POLL

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While in years past, it’s been new games and high-drama cinematic effects we were most excited about in the videogame world, as this year’s E3 comes to a close, it’s the prospect of new consoles and new technology that we’re most looking forward to. How will the way we play games change in the coming months and years? What does the future look like for Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U, Sony’s Playstation, and Microsoft’s XBox – not to mention indie platforms and newcomers like the Ouya?

While the Wii U’s had a hard time catching on (in part, as EW’s Darren Franich reports, due to the lackluster games it was launched with), Nintendo returned to E3 this year with a new outlook on its offerings. Sony and Microsoft, however, stole the show with big upcoming releases. Sony’s PlayStation 4 will sell for $399 and offers advancements for hardcore games, including a streaming service that allows gamers to stream, rather than download, older games. Microsoft’s XBox One ($499), which was announced before E3, made its splash by showcasing new games. Both new consoles will be released around Holiday 2013. And then a little independent, $99 Kickstarter-funded box called the Ouya (on sale later this month), which streams independent games to its own console, staged a non-E3 event that got them in some trouble with the LAPD — but earned them plenty of buzz in the gaming world. Where will you put your money once the upcoming new iterations are released?

Take the poll below and discuss the new advances in videogame tech in the comments!

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The Nintendo Wii U: A review

The best and worst thing about the Wii U is that you can’t quite figure out just what, precisely, Nintendo’s new console is trying to accomplish. The Wii had a clear-cut gimmick that became a revolution: Motion sensors and Wii Sports contributed to 97 million units shipped. Off-brand pretenders like the Kinect (a legitimate step forward by Microsoft) and the Move (an embarrassing step sideways by Sony) appeared just in time for motion gaming to look passé.

The Wii U is very different. It’s central innovation — the idea that your controller can also be a console unto itself — feels like an attempt to crossbreed two very different strains of videogame culture: The TV-based console games industry (which is ailing) and the smartphone/tablet/handheld-based mobile games industry (which is booming). New Super Mario Bros. U is a game that works equally well on your big HD TV screen or on your GamePad’s touchscreen. That is an impressive achievement, which would be even more impressive if the size of the screen could make New Super Mario Bros. U anything more than helplessly mediocre. READ FULL STORY

'Super Mario,' 'Batman,' 'Nintendo Land': Reviews of new Wii U games!

We spent the weekend with Nintendo’s latest entry into the videogame platform market, the Wii U. Featuring the innovative GamePad — part controller, part tablet — the new system was released Sunday, along with a slew of new games and Wii versions of existing games to go along with it. Below, we review some of the latest Wii U game entries: New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: New Rihanna, new Wii U, and new movies -- just in time for the holidays

It’s a short work week, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on entertainment to keep you busy over the long holiday weekend! The week starts off with the AMAs on Sunday and keeps rolling with a videogame platform release, a slew of new movies to keep you and your family occupied, and of course the annual Macy’s parade. Now let’s talk turkey, happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday
American Music Awards, 8 p.m. ABC

The American Music Awards air live on ABC Sunday night and feature a bunch of sure to be hit performances, including Stevie Wonder’s tribute to Dick Clark and a Gangnam Style rendition from South Korean viral hitmaker Psy. EW will be on the carpet and we’ll fill you in on all the style and showmanship during the night.  READ FULL STORY

'Batman: Arkham City': How does the new 'Armored Edition' look on the new Wii U? -- EXCLUSIVE TRAILER

Batman: Arkham CityEW’s top game of 2012 — is back, but this time the Dark Knight’s delivering his bone-crunching brand of vigilante justice on Nintendo’s new Wii U console (out Nov. 18). More than a prettied-up port, the re-branded Armored Edition is utilizing the hardware’s tablet-like GamePad in hopes of putting players under the cowl like never before.

In theory, the controller serves as the caped crusader’s wrist-mounted computer, allowing gamers to manage gadgets, view objectives, examine intel, and navigate Gotham’s labyrinthine map without exiting to an immersion-breaking pause menu. Additionally, a number of gameplay actions, such as steering remote-controlled batarangs, can be handled with the peripheral’s various gyroscopic and touch-screen tricks.

As anyone who’s played motion- and touch-sensitive titles will attest, they can be more frustrating than fun. That said, based on my time behind the GamePad — which had me detonating explosive gel with a few intuitive finger swipes — I’m encouraged the experience will make budding Bats feel more like the Dark Knight than a drunken monkey.

Whether or not these bonus bat-toys will be enough to lure back fans who’ve already cleaned up Gotham’s crime-choked streets remains to be seen, but those craving a sneak peek can spy the exclusive launch trailer below:  READ FULL STORY

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