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Playing Wind Waker HD

The wait for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is closing in on the 2 week mark! To pass the time, I decided to play through a few Zelda games I skipped over on my Wii U. My wife and I finished playing through Twilight Princess a few months back and decided that it was time to break out Wind Waker HD.

I never actually played the original Wind Waker. I watched Graev play a lot of it, and it always looked fun, but never did I take the controls. Wind Waker was at a time when I wasn’t really a console gamer. Since then, I’ve become much more comfortable with and even at times prefer the console gaming session over the PC. I digress.

I won’t bore you guys with any long-winded gist of the game. It’s old. You probably played it already. You’re one of the many reincarnations of the hero we know as Link, and you’re sailing around a world torn asunder into islands. Lots of exploration and fun things to find while sailing around on your ship.

I want to simply share a few of my favorite little gems.

What I really love about Wind Waker is how much it maintains a story but allows for freedom to sail the ocean and find things. I’m also loving the little things like having bags within my main bag that allow me to collect monster drops. Picking up enemy weapons is another little detail that’s just fun.

Some of the items are awesome like the grappling hook and the leaf. They add a neat element I haven’t yet experience in a Zelda game.

Wind Waker is a relatively short game if you go for just the story. You can sail island to island and knock out the dungeons rather quickly. Another huge plus for me is that the dungeons aren’t as convoluted as they were in Twilight Princess. None of this having to go back to the same room 5 times and rotate platforms to figure out puzzles so unintuitive you’d have to simply bash your head against the wall for a week to figure it out (if you’re not already following a step-by-step walkthrough).

So if you’re looking for a quick Zelda fix while you wait for Breath of the Wild, give Wind Waker HD a shot. It’s $20 and can last you 24-35 hours. It’s now my favorite — likely to be second favorite after BotW.

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Maybe Nintendo Did Okay?

I was a little quick to judge Nintendo’s E3 portfolio, but their approach to E3 with the Nintendo Treehouse wasn’t the best approach either. As the day(s) went on, Nintendo showed several other games beyond just Zelda and Pokemon that really have me excited. There’s one in particular that I’ll kick things off with…

Ever Oasis

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/1fsPHrBtzAw” width=”700″]

Ever Oasis is an action-adventure RPG for Nintendo 3DS family systems contains puzzle-filled dungeons, real-time battles, exploration and treasure hunting. Players use the oasis as their base, which they can expand as they play, and gain affinity with characters called Seedlings, who are themed after plant seeds, as well as a variety of other unique characters who live in the desert. Players can freely form strategic parties with any of their allied characters, using allies’ weapons to battle enemies and solve dungeon puzzles. Ever Oasis is scheduled to launch in 2017.

It’s like Zelda meets Animal Crossing meets Monster Hunter meets Pokemon Mystery dungeon; Some are even thinking Runefactory is in there somewhere. The video above really showcases a lot of that. This is exactly the type of game that I enjoy playing on a 3DS. I’m super excited, and would love to hear about the possibility of co-op.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/VeInFdxmq3g” width=”700″]

This Nintendo 3DS remake of the classic turn-based game involves a young boy who sets off with his friends on a journey to restore the world to its former glory and save the present by mending lands that were sealed in the past. In addition to updated graphics and an entirely new localization, the game does away with random enemy encounters to bring the player deeper into the game world. Players can also collect and share Traveller’s Tablets via the StreetPass feature, granting access to special dungeons offering unique rewards.

I’ll freely admit here that i haven’t played a single Dragon Quest game. That’s like a gaming sin, I know. So I don’t know if this is a remake of a game that ever released in the US on another console, or just a remake of the Japanese version. I think it looks fun, though. Again, the perfect kind of game on the 3DS. Am I going to be able to jump right in and enjoy the series having never played previous installments in the series?

Monster Hunter Generations

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/PSWGRskv8gs” width=”700″]

I haven’t decided yet whether or not I will pick up Generations. I played Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and enjoyed it online with Graev, but I think the series is incredibly templated. They all play so much the same that the next one simply feels like the previous one. They’re great — really great — but is that enough to jump in and play another? Once again, a perfect game for the 3DS. Handheld really is where Nintendo shines.

Additional honorable mentions:

  • Mario Party Star Rush – Still no online multiplayer, but a new mode that removes turns and enables free movement. Biggest shock: It’s a 3DS title.
  • Paper Mario: Color Splash – Looks good. I like to watch these be played but haven’t actually played one myself. Graev loves them.

Ever Oasis all by itself is enough for me to boost Nintendo’s E3 score. That looks ridiculously fun.  Bringing updates to a few staples, and showcasing more of their titles already announced doesn’t hurt either.

Minecraft Wii U Edition & Mario Mash-up Pack

Minecraft Wii U Edition

Graev and I picked up Minecraft for Wii U over the weekend along with the newly released Mario Mash-up pack. That pretty much explains where my entire weekend went. The digital version is available for $29.99 on the eShop, and the physical version comes out June 17.

As a veteran to Minecraft, I’ve played a lot of what the PC has to offer. Graev is a purist and refuses to touch mods — he wants nothing to do with them, and says if he wanted something more complex then he would go and play Space Engineers. I haven’t played basic MC in years. I love Feed the Beast, Sky Factory, Tekkit, and all of the mods bundled with them. Minecraft on the Wii U is about as vanilla as it gets, sitting around v1.6.4.

Getting used to Vanilla MC again took me a little bit. I struggled to cope with going from wood to stone to iron, and there being no copper or tin in between. The resources are a fraction of what’s available. Nevertheless, these aren’t things I feel that I should ding the game for since I went outside the game to mod my experience on my own. After a few hours, I finally started to come around to what was available and began to realize there’s still potential to “make cool things that do things” (which is what I like to do in Minecraft), they’ll just take a lot more imagination and be a lot rougher.

My biggest gripe about the game is the lack of gamepad utility. It’s simply a duplicate if what you see on the screen. Huge opportunity missed here for easier inventory management or even gameplay like tapping blocks and placing blocks.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/p5l5FA3iac4″ width=”700″]

We got multiplayer up and running flawlessly in seconds. Minecraft Wii U edition comes with several texture packs, including the Mario Mash-up one which transforms a lot of blocks into Mario-themed goodies. Sheeps are Koopa Troopas on all fours, Zombies are Koopa Troopas, chickens are Goombas, plants are the Mario plants, flint and steel are the fire flower, etc. The music is also swapped out for all Mario music. It’s a TON of fun. More to come on this version soon.

Lots of other DLC packs and texture packs from with the Wii U version, but there are plenty of other bits of DLC for sale. The Skyrim pack, for example, costs $3.99 and the Star Wars Rebels skin pack is like $2.99.

Last night my wife and I also started our own split-screen world together. She’s never played Minecraft, but quickly started getting the hang of how it works. The hardest part for her is managing the controller. Two sticks at once in a 3D environment was a first for her, but she’s getting the hang of it. We made a little base underground, started mining, and getting the basics all set up.

I’m trying to figure out how to stream from my couch which is across the room from my computer. I think I’ll jerry-rig the laptop to try and stream through my Avermedia Live Gamer Portable. Should hopefully work, and I’ll be able to stream my awful vanilla MC noobiness.

Overall, tons of fun. I think 10 hours was gone in a second. I definitely recommend it for people like myself who enjoy variations on a game like Minecraft and won’t baulk at buying a game you already own on PC in order to experience it differently on a console. And of course the kids will love it too. I also enjoy the Mario goodies on the new Mash-up, and highly recommend you choose that texture pack when creating your world.

I’ll call this an early review, but I intend on showcasing the game more and talking more about the Mario texture pack once I have more experience with the game.

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Most Anticipated Games of 2016

Let’s kick the new year off with a look at the games I am most looking forward to in 2016. Funny enough, two of the games I wanted to see in 2015 aren’t out yet and may not even make a 2016 launch. I’ll go ahead and keep those on my list this year.

The Legend of Zelda Open World

The Legend of Zelda Wii U (Hopefully)

The big open-world Zelda game for the Wii U is looking more and more like it won’t make it onto NIntendo’s current gen console. Everything I’m reading indicates we may see a dual launch on both the Wii U and the NX. Nintendo wasn’t happy with it the game so they went back to the drawing board which never bodes well. This time last year not much was certain about this upcoming Zelda game, and now I can’t say we’re much closer to any answers. I just have this awesome image of a Zelda game set in a world that is open and akin to an Elder Scrolls game. Do I have delusions of grandeur? Yes, absolutely.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yeah… watch the trailer.

Easily near the top of my anticipated list.

No Man’s Sky

We have an announce date! June 2016. Exploring galaxies, planets, mountains, moons, and space all seamlessly and procedurally generated… sounds like a blast. I imagine it being something like a mix of Terraria, Rust/Ark, and Space Engineers. I haven’t spent much time researching the details, but I know that there will be 18 quintillion planets, and no NPCs.

The “game” part of NMS still eludes me. What is the point? Just explore? I think there’s enormous potential to be a disappointment if there isn’t a ‘point’ to the game.

scalebound

Scalebound

I saw this announced at one of the conventions this year and thought it looked really neat. The gist is that you are bonded to a Dragon and fight big monsters. You have a dragon arm, can use melee weapons, and play with other friends to tackle big bosses. It simply looks cool.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Overwatch
  • Uncharted 4
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda
  • Gears of War 4

I think 2016 will be a great year, and thankfully I think there will be a few fewer launches to flood the second half of the year. I’m looking forward to playing all of these, as well as having a good amount of time to hunker down and enjoy some MMORPG playing (mostly EverQuest) while waiting on a few MMOs that are nowhere near 2016 — hopefully I can add Camelot Unchained to the top of my 2017 anticipated games list.

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The Christmas Haul 2015

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone who celebrates had a wonderful day and weekend. This was my first married Christmas, and with that came the new experience of spending the day with both my family and the in-laws (who live 1 street apart!). That meant a lot more time with family than I am used to spending, so I apologize for the lull around here!

This year was once again a year of board games. We received quite a few:

  • Smallworld Underground & Great Dames expansion
  • All Creatures Big and Small (Agricola 2 player game)
  • Qwirkle
  • Star Trek Catan
  • King of New York
  • Machi Koro Deluxe Edition

So expect quite a few board game reviews headed your way.

I also picked up Legacy of the Void, Disney Infinity 3.0’s Force Awakens playset & figures, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and a retro gaming system in a Loot Crate subscription. Lots of reviews are headed your way for these games as well.

Overall I had an awesome Christmas spent with family, and I’m ready to get back into gaming in a big way. I have my end-of-the-year posts coming soon too to discuss how this year went. That should be very interesting. Stay tuned!

Get anything cool I should check out?

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