Checkpoint: Humid Weekend Edition

It’s been a nice weekend with the significant other but only because we’ve spent most of it indoors with air conditioner. When not doing couple activities, I’ve been catching up on GiantBomb’s E3 2017 coverage and playing Puyo Puyo Tetris on the Switch. 

The GB crew are getting better and better with their night shows. Jeff has a real knack for hosting these shows by asking good questions and getting everyone involved (no awkward segments this year!).

While the coverage has been solid, I thought E3 2017 was a bit of a downer. Dragon Ball Fighters Z was the highlight for me but that’s about it. It was good to see previously announced games show off their wares but they are known quantities. The big surprise for me was Metroid Prime 4 but it was nothing more than a logo. I don’t know what to make of MercurySteam’s Metroid: Samus Returns yet but I’m not getting my hopes up after Nintendo’s last Metroid outing with an external developer. 

Checkpoint: Pikmin 3 Edition

Having finished Ratchet & Clank and wanting to not spend all my console gaming time playing Overwatch, I decided to finally check out Pikmin 3. I had some idea what to expect through snippets of gameplay in the past but I never realized the setup was so open with a few shades of survival. I also didn’t think it was possible for Nintendo to release a game like this in 2013. There’s a surprising amount of freedom for a Nintendo game.

I’m impressed with the visuals; particularly how lifelike fruits were rendered. I was much less impressed with the constant switching between TV and Gamepad. With how the aiming works, I think it’s a game best played with the gamepad alone. It’s certainly a game that leverages the gimmicks of the console.

Game of the Year 2015 Day 1 of 3

2015 will go down as one of the better years in video games. I actually struggled to trim down my top 10 and nominees across all my categories.

Today’s categories feature two Nintendo titles that I didn’t spend enough time with despite the fact they’re in my wheelhouse.

The 2015 Game I Wish I Bought & Played In 2015

Winner: Splatoon

Splatoon Box Art

Nintendo’s third person shooter made waves with its unique and innovative approach to the genre. It looked interesting every time I laid eyes on it but as soon as I glanced at the price of $69.99, I was immediately turned off. The early criticisms concerning the lack of content fell by the wayside thanks to Nintendo’s continued support with free maps, weapons and modes.

I should have pre-ordered it with Amazon.ca’s E3 promotional discount but hindsight is 20/20.

Runner ups: Rise of the Tomb Raider, Until Dawn

 

The 2015 Game I Wish I Spent More Time With

Winner: Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker Box Art

Super Mario Maker should be an endless supply of platforming fun and I should have been tackling course after course but I haven’t. I played several of the pre-made levels and sampled a number of user created ones. I even made and uploaded a level but I haven’t played nearly enough to even give it a an honest review. As silly as it may sound, I think I would have played it more if I bought it digitally.

As for the other nominees? I spent a solid month or so playing Rocket League but it fizzled away as soon as the third quarter approached. Psyonix continued to support it with paid cosmetic items and free gameplay content but I never found the opportunity to revisit it despite my intentions.

It may seem a little silly to nominate The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in this category but I really wanted to play the expansion DLC.

Runner ups: Rocket League, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Checkpoint: New Nintendo 3DS XL Edition

A New Nintendo 3DS XL was always in the cards but not at the price of $229.99. But when Amazon.ca fudged up and discounted the “New Red” version down to $139.99, I couldn’t refuse.

I actually ordered this nearly 3 weeks ago and had my doubts that Amazon.ca would honor their snafu but to my surprise it arrived. After a couple of days of using it, here are some rapid fire observations

Hardware & Styling

  • Glossy finish is a fingerprint magnet
  • Lighter than the original 3DS XL
  • Slightly larger footprint than the original 3DS XL
  • Screen hinge is significantly sturdier
  • Slide pad/joystick has a bit more resistance
  • Receded front loading cartridge a better decision (I’ve accidentally unloaded the cartridge on the 3DS XL because of the flushed nature of the cartridge slot)
  • Relocating the volume controls to the left side of the screen was also a plus

Performance

  • I love how quick everything loads compared to the original 3DS XL
  • The screen quality is noticeably better
  • Speakers are a little louder
  • 3D is noticeably more stable but it’s still not perfect

I would also like to note how long it took to perform a wireless transfer from my old 3DS XL. I watched three and a half quarters of Thursday Night Football before the transfer completed. Fortunately, Pikmin were on screen making light of the excruciatingly long transfer process.

I still have more to test out including the C-Stick and the additional shoulder buttons but all I’ve done was play Theatrhythm. I have Xenoblade Chronicles but I’m not quite ready to check it out yet.

I’m almost done with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I can see the final confrontation in the distance but I just have to wrap up some story threads before embarking on it. Next, it will be Halo 5 with Call of Duty: Black Ops III not far behind.

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