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This review is from: WWE 2K14 Playstation3 Game
Pros: The good news:
The roster is one of the strongest ever, especially if you purchase the season pass and download the available DLC. Superstars and Divas have (many of them, at least) much more on offer in the way of alternate attires. Characters from different eras as well as the present are on hand. There are a handful of classic managers as well.
Being able to manage rivalries in Universe mode (and have somewhat finer control over what the mode does on its own in terms of creating and breaking up teams and so forth) is a welcome, if superficial addition.
Online feels much smoother and less prone to downtime and lag. I have yet to have a created superstar preview or download hang, which is a vast improvement over previous years.
Being able to specify which themes and music play on menus is a huge relief after years of being forced to repeatedly listen to, "Whoooah! You're only smoke and mirrors!" for hours on end while editing CAWs.
Created titles seem to have more components and options this year, which is nice.
Cons: The bad news:
This sounds like a lot on paper, but in practice feels like a shallow fine tuning of the previous game.
I can create and manage rivalries now, but Universe Mode still makes baffling and inconsistent matches, and rivalries are still boring, repetitive, and superficial. There is no sense of build or drama. Just the same canned moments repeating ad nauseum, often in ways that make no sense within the context of the match that just happened.
Gameplay is still mechanically "floaty," hit or miss in terms of collision, and prone to glitches. Weight detection - which again exists as an option to be turned on or off - still seems to do almost nothing. (CM Punk can still GTS Andre the Giant without any noticeable gameplay or animation difference from GTSing Rey Mysterio.)
Moves and holds still sometimes damage the wrong body parts (Buzzkiller, aka the crossface chickenwing damages the head instead of the arm. What?)
Commentary is even more abysmal than before. (Once while Daniel Bryan held Punk in the Yes Lock for an extended period, Cole kept repeating lines about brilliant reversals while none were happening. "Brilliant reversal by Bryan!" "Bryan with a quick counter!" At least twice now participants not even in the match or at ringside were mentioned.)
Entirely new bugs (such as present day Rock coming out when the match screen and Universe both said "The Rock (Retro)" or wrestlers in the Inactive roster appearing in Universe,) as well as old familiar nuissences (editing Retro Taker's entrance at all makes his hat disappear, never to return unless you use a motion option other than the one he originally came with) drive me mad and are totally inexplicable.
Other Thoughts: As a hardcore fan of these games since the earliest THQ days (before they were even called Smackdown, and AKI was still around) and who has faithfully played them every year, I of course enjoy the game. I always have. It's more of a tradition for me and my pro wrestling fan friends than just a game purchase, so I'm biased.
But if I'm honest, in my opinion the game is merely... alright. Good even, in and of itself. However the improvements over last year's game feel shockingly minor, even for a series where changes are usually more incremental than revolutionary. And the characteristic clunkiness, glitchiness, and inconsistency of the series seems worse than ever to me this time around.
The only substantive feeling additions to the game are 1) the roster, and 2) the 30 years of WrestleMania mode. The latter is, essentially, this series' take on Legends of WrestleMania. Complete with archival video packages and match objectives. It's a lot of fun, and a great trip down memory lane. But it suffers from all of the gameplay inadequacies the rest of the game does at the same time.
At the end of the day, this feels like fine tuning with a roster update thrown in. They might just as well release regular roster updates and only release new games every few years, with more substantive gameplay enhancements each time at this rate.
Ultimately Yukes, remnants of the THQ team, and 2K have a dilemma: keep making games that incrementally improve an aging, buggy base in order to keep the treasure trove of features we all know and love, or start from scratch with a better engine and rebuild tech, but lose many of those features. (They would then presumably be included back into the games as the series moved forward.)
They're between a rock and a hard place, and so are we. As I said, this has become something of a tradition among my friends. I don't want to lose the parts of that tradition that I love, particularly Create-a-Superstar (which I still call CAW.) But I also don't think I can stomach another year of this engine and all its problems.
It's time for a change in my opinion, no matter how painful that might be.
This review is from: New Super Mario Bros. U Wii U Games
Pros: A return to the challenge of Mario's sidescroling past.
Inventive, often brilliant level design.
Oodles of secret exits, power ups, and other hidden goodies.
Lengthy for a platformer.
Crisp, beautiful visuals.
Classic Nintendo control: tight and responsive.
Fun local multiplayer.
Excellent challenge modes.
Though I am loath to use it, Super Guide allows an automated playthrough of levels if the going gets too tough. Will be a great option for novices or casual players.
Cons: Gyroscope levels (so far I've only encountered two, but like all motion controls, they feel imprecise compared to the tight responsiveness of buttons and a D-pad.)
Other Thoughts: This is a return to form for Mario in my view. Here we have a challenging (at times brutally difficult, requiring perfect timing and reflexes,) lengthy, meaty Mario platformer that harkens back to the SNES era. This is what I've wanted a Mario game to be for a long, long time... with the sole caveat of rare instances of gyroscope control.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Nintendo Wii U Mario & Luigi Deluxe Set Black
$100 less than its closest 8th generation competitor.
Surprisingly sturdy and comfortable tablet Gamepad.
Intuitive and inviting design encouraged me to explore all it had to offer.
Included game is great fun. Classic Mario platforming that ramps up to a surpisingly stiff challenge, unlike some recent Mario outings. Lots of additional content and a lengthy experience for what it is.
400+ classic NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis, N64, TurboGrafx, Neo Geo, and arcade games via Wii Mode's Virtual Console (and a spectacular handful of Virtual Console iterations made specifically for Wii U, including the bar none best ports of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World I've ever played.) Ability to map controls for the Wii U VC ports is awesome.
Traditionally controlled games work more or less as well as they could on any contemporary, industry standard, dual analog controller, unlike on Wii.
Wii backward compatibility means Wii and Wii VC games are now 480p upscaled to your display's resolution. Since it's a minimal upscale compared to plugging an old console into an HDTV, the upscale bluring is also minimal, resulting in extremely sharp (comparatively speaking) Wii games and classic ports.
Vibrant, friendly online communities to choose between.
Enhanced editions of previous gen games that are in many cases the definitive versions. (If you haven't played them, this is probably the place to do it.)
Great stop gap system that looks better than 360 and PS3 if you're holding out on buying a PS4 and/or Xbox One.
Demos for many Wii U games. Trailers for nearly all Virtual Console games.
Playing a game on the tablet/Gamepad instead of the TV feels like playing HD games on the most powerful Nintendo handheld ever made.
Idiosyncratic peripheral requirements for Wii Mode Virtual Console games and local multiplayer.
Equally idiosyncratic separation of Wii Points in the Wii Mode eShop, and money in your Wii U eShop. (They are not interchangeable.)
Inability to plug the controllers - any of them - directly into the system (for charging, or for any reason; they are fully wireless.) A charger is included for the Wii U tablet/Gamepad, but you will need batteries and a charger if you buy a Wii Remote controller.
Limited storage capacity. On the same note...
Baffling (and, AGAIN, totally idiosyncratic... Nintendo, what is your deal sometimes? I swear...) limitation on Wii Mode Virtual Console game storage means you will need SD cards if you plan to buy a lot of them. (External HDDs are supported by Wii U... but not for storing Wii Mode Virtual Console games. GO FIGURE!)
Inability to share downloaded games stored on SD cards between systems or users.
Spotty in-game voice chat support. Some games have it, while some do not. There is no cross-game voice chat. A Nintendo licensed headset is required for in-game voice chat (unlike out-of-game Wii U voice and video chat, which simply uses the mic on the tablet/Gamepad.)
MiiVerse functionality is fun and friendly, but its implementation (or presence at all) varies by game.
Rather long load times both in games and between menus (though not unbearable... I survived Morrowind on the original Xbox. I can survive this.)
Poor third party game selection (though some third party multiplats show up in arguably their very best incarnations on Wii U. I would cite Deus Ex: Human Revolution The Director's Cut, which I own and am loving, as one such example.)
Analog stick spacing takes some getting used to.
Having to research which controller interface (of the more than four Wii U supports) a given game uses before considering a purchase. (Not a problem if you're comfortable with all of them, obviously. I'm still resistant to motion control though personally.)
Unless a game allowed controller mapping in its original incarnation, Wii Mode VC games do not allow controller mapping. (A real issue in some games, such as Super Mario Bros. 3, given the differences between the original controllers and the Wii Classic controller. Note that SMB3 is scheduled to show up in a better, fully mappable Wii U port sometime soon, however. With more on the way.)
Will never compete graphically with other 8th gen consoles. (Though, as stated, it does outperform 360 and PS3.)
Grouping with and playing with others in online games is still a less seamless experience than on other platformers... but it does work, in those games which support it. (Mario Kart, coming in 2014, should be a lot of fun for instance.)
Other Thoughts: I'm a lifelong gamer since the early 80s. I've loved Nintendo forever. They lost me with Wii, however. The combination of inferior hardware power and motion control (which I continue to detest personally) was simply too much for me to stomach. With Wii U I was very cautious. I did not want a repeat of that experience.
Nevertheless, with the increasing proliferation of what I regard as anti-consumer practices within the video game industry, I decided to give the system a shot. I did so quite warily... and have been pleasantly surprised.
The tablet controller (Gamepad) feels heavier and more robust than anticipated. Games feel great. The games I've played have zero intrusive second screen or motion control. Some games will use the Wii remote entirely instead, but you can research and avoid those if you so desire.
Everything works well. There's a long initial system update and the load times are quite lengthy. But everything is pleasant, attractive, and intuitive. A lot like 3DS, but more powerful, more comprehensive, and bigger.
One reason I bought the system is the Virtual Console. There are a handful made for Wii U specifically. They look beautiful and are among the best ports of some great classics I've ever seen or played. They work great with Wii U gamepad. The vast hundreds-strong majority of Virtual Console games however are found in "Wii mode," These games require a Wii Classic controller (not to be confused with Wii U Pro controller.) Which in turn requires a Wii Remote as it does not have its own power source. Which in turn requires batteries, which must be charged. Which means buying a charger.
Further, you can only store up to 512MB of Wii Mode VC games, and external HDDs cannot be used to store them. You must purchase compatible SD cards. Compatible in this case means up to 32GB and preferably confirmed to work with the system or pre-formatted for it (not all SD cards are guaranteed to work.)
This is an annoying and unnecessary design decision on Nintendo's part, but once you have everythig in hand it works great. The Wii Classic controller is among the best controllers I've held since Nintendo's classics. Ports play beautifully on it. I recommend the latest Motion Plus Wii Remote if you buy a Wii-mote.
You can link your Wii U and 3DS Nintendo Network IDs. Unfortunately, Wii Points (used for buying Wii Virtual Console games and other Wii eShop products) are distinct from money in your Wii U & 3DS eshop account. This means you can put a lot of money into the Wii U eShop, thinking it'll apply to Wii's Virtual console purchases as well, only to find that it doesn't.
The system will never visually compete with PS4 or Xbox One. (Let alone PC.) But it is 1080p via HDMI, and if you just want a nice stop gap system that'll run multiplats prettier than 360 or PS3, if you know you love Nintendo's IPs and games, and if you want a great retro alternative to buying old systems, you may find as I did that the Wii U is a fanta