Category Archives: Games

New Nintendo 3DS Review

New Nintendo 3DS Review
I’ve been out of the handheld gaming scene for a long, long time. The last time I seriously gamed on one was during the Gameboy Advance era and things have come a long, long way since then.

Somehow I had completely skipped the entirety of the DS line, though I would occasionally get lucky enough to tinker with one from time to time. At the time I had somehow become exclusive to console gaming, and the era was largely dominated by heavy 360 and Wii usage.

And once smart devices hit? Forget it. It was a wrap. Dedicated handhelds were becoming a thing of the past, despite the PSP Vita and 3DS’s powerful (for a handheld) hardware. I was a part of this unsettling trend, buying into the idea that quality gaming somehow existed on the powerful, yet shallow, games section of the AppStore. iOS or Android, you pick. They’re both woefully simplistic in their offerings.

So when the beautifully dorky 2016 Black Friday Edition was gifted to me by the better half, it scratched this itch I had somehow largely ignored for far too long. Quality, mobile gaming.


And wow. I genuinely have a renewed passion for gaming as a whole for it.

It feels like the culmination of all that Nintendo is known for while still maintaining something fresh. It’s a technically sound and speedy little machine with surprisingly robust online features, tons of excellent games, and the best controls you’ve ever used on a handheld.


And, I know I’m skimming over many of the technical aspects of the console, as this review is more from a reactionary perspective, so I’ll slow down for just a moment and delve into that.

It’s rockin’ the following:

– ARM11 MPCore 4x @ 268MHz

– 4x VFPv2 Co-Processor

– 256MB FCRAM

– 10MB VRAM

There are certainly better performing game consoles out there, but the N3DS is nothing to really scoff at. There are some gorgeous games on display here.


Sonic Generations is a surprisingly competent platformer from the former ’90s hero that looks and sounds phenomenal.


Resident Evil: Revelations is a beautiful, atmospheric game that hearkens back to the series’ roots while maintaining the action of the newer installments.


The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D may be a remake of the N64 classic, but it looks and plays great and has been remastered for modern audiences. It feels like this is what the game was always trying to achieve anyway.

Sure, the system is six years old at this point (I’d like to make the distinction, however, that the unit in review is the “New Nintendo 3DS”, a redesign and substantial upgrade from the earlier model in terms of performance.) but 2016 feels like the perfect time to really pick one of these up. You have a vast library of games from a wide array of Nintendos back catalogue to new and excellent titles still steadily being released. Some of Nintendo’s strongest offerings actually call this device home- if you’re like me, that is, and Mario and Zelda are basically religion.

I truly feel like this is the best piece of hardware Nintendo has ever put out and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s not their most powerful, but certainly their most confident and finely tuned.
9.5/10

Games I played for this review:

Sonic Generations

Ironfall

Kirby’s Dreamland (VC)

Super Mario Land (VC)

Gunslugs

Resident Evil Revelations

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Retrospective Review


The Sonic the Hedgehog series has always been something of a mixed bag in my eyes. Despite a very strong debut on the coveted Genesis console and a number of decent-to-well made games in the nineties, Sonic fell far behind in the early 2000s and never really recovered. Whether it was slamming in poorly thought out characters and stories or crudely implementing some under-baked gameplay gimmick, Sega has tried everything in recent times except give the fans of the series exactly what they want. Well thought out platforming mechanics with a speed twist. That’s it, plain and simple. It seems after a few failed experiments (Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)) Sonic Team caved and created what was intended to be a definitive throw back. A true sequel to those great Genesis games that started it all so many years ago. 


Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (both episodes 1 & 2) were meant to be the true successor so many fans were clamoring for. Did it live up to the hype?

Depends on who you ask, but the general consensus seems to be “No”. 
It’s not to say it didn’t try and come close though! When this was released originally in 2010 it was released to a slew of platforms, from iOS to 360 and everything in between. The versions varied slightly depending on the system, but here we’re focusing mainly on the iOS port (specifically the 2016 updated version with improved visuals and controls). 


The presentation of the game is actually pretty spot-on. Everything has a very modern look and feel (think New Super Mario Bros. Wii) while maintaining that classic 2D angle and action. 2.5D wouldn’t be an incorrect way to describe the experience, but the game only ever makes use of the mechanics on a strictly 2D plane. 


For the most part everything plays and chugs along exactly like the titles of old with a few notable improvements and drawbacks. For starters the homing attack from newer games rears its head here and it mostly works. At times it makes it seem the action is on auto-pilot, but maybe this was more of a personal experience. Something about being able to plan and time my jumps in the olden days felt right and challenging, as this new system makes the proceedings a bit too simple. The controls (while improved from earlier versions) feel a bit touchy and too slippery; it’s way too easy to stop dead in mid-dash from accidentally moving your thumb a smidge. 

But what about the levels?


This is what makes or breaks most platforming games for me. It’s a difficult balance to hit when you’re trying to blend challenge with subtly and grace, an area this franchise has a gross habit of crashing and burning with. For the most part, STH4 holds it own with its competition. (To be fair, it’s not a crowded market anymore really). My only real problem with the stage design is the lack of originality with these levels. It pulls one too many tried and true Sonic tropes and sometimes feels like more of a retread than it should. And those casino levels?


Don’t get me fucking started on those casino levels. They’re not fun Sega, STOP.


Despite it’s flaws the game still holds up some six years later (at least episode 1, avoid the more frustrating 2 with Tails) which is a testament to how much fun is still possible to be had with this concept. Sonic Mania (what seems to be a true sequel to the classics) is just on the horizon and looking pretty spectacular, so a good game to burn through to get yourself prepped for its release is right here. It mostly goes for five bucks or less depending on the platform you’re going for, so you really can’t lose here. Keep your expectations moderate. 

This isn’t the second coming of that once badass blue blur. It is, however, a solid platformer that feels like it would be right at home in the early nineties, and that’s better than most of what Sega seems to offer lately.