<![CDATA[GOOD TIME GAMES .ca New Used Vintage Video Games Consoles and Accessories in Canada - Gamers Blog]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 10:50:05 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition Review]]>Fri, 15 May 2015 21:49:59 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/the-witcher-2-assassins-of-kings-enhanced-edition-reviewBy Curtis Walker
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: May 17th, 2011 (PC), April 17th, 2012 (360)
Current Price at Good Time Games: $19.99

The Witcher 2 is an epic RPG from Polish developer CD Projekt Red that puts players in the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, one of the few surviving “Witchers” in the world of Temeria. Witchers are superhuman monster hunters who can use magic, wield swords, and craft bombs, traps, and potions to gain the upper hand in combat. The Witcher 2 allows for multiple ways of completing quests, and even branching storylines that drastically affect how your game will turn out, but be warned, this RPG is not casual friendly. Read on to see if this game is for you!
In honour of The Witcher 3, the final installment in Geralt's story, releasing on Tuesday, May 19th, I thought I'd take a look at the fine game that came before it: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition. For those interested in the Witcher 3, Good Time Games is still taking pre-orders, so make sure to get yours in before they're sold out! Every standard edition copy of The Witcher 3 will include special packaging, along with other goodies, not to mention everyone who owns the Witcher 3 is entitled to download 16 free pieces of DLC courtesy of CD Projekt Red. Now that's DLC done right. Onto the review.

The Witcher 2 is a marvelous game from top to bottom, so long as you’re prepared to invest many hours into understanding the game’s rich backstory and lore, search each area thoroughly for quests that often to do not provide map markers, and grind for certain items. If that first sentence sounded off-putting to you, then that’s probably a sign that the Witcher 2 is not for you.

However, even if you didn’t like the sounds of those first few things, the Witcher 2 is still a game I’d recommend for anyone to try out first, especially with the launch of the Witcher 3 just around the corner. And no, you didn’t have to have played the first one play this game.
STORY:

The Witcher 2’s story is an extremely epic one, spanning multiple countries and encompassing multiple branching decisions. As previously mentioned, no prior knowledge of the Witcher series is required to jump right into this installment, although fans of The Witcher 1 will be treated to a few cameos and dialogue references to the first game.

Without spoiling anything, Geralt of Rivia must clear his name after he is framed for a murder which he did not commit, chase down the assassin, and uncover the rest of the plot behind it all. The story is quite good, being dark, mature, funny, and interesting all at onces, although it sometimes becomes too detailed for its own good, becoming bogged down in fantasy mumbo-jumbo at times.

This is because The Witcher is actually based off a series of novels and short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which were published in the 90’s. It’s hard to fault CD Projekt Red for being too ambitious in recreating the descriptiveness in Sapkowski’s work, but at times I felt like I was reading a fantasy book rather than playing an RPG video game due to the vivid detail and descriptions most NPC characters’ discussions will go into. Many players will appreciate this, but I found it to be a bit much at times.
Another slight gripe I had with the story and writing aspect of the game was its treatment of female characters. Female characters are either there for eye candy because you can seduce and sleep with them, or are there for eye candy because the game wants you to wish you could seduce and sleep with them. I understand this is a fantasy game set in the middle ages, but really? Have a little class. This is the kind of game Anita Sarkeesian would be upset about.

Other than the almost-too-descriptive details and the blatant sexism at points, the Witcher 2’s writing and dialogue are spot on. The voice actors all do a great job at bringing characters and environments to life, and the writing is well done. Most of the time the game’s tone is serious, but there are tons of hilarious bits of dialogues, characters, and even quests themselves to lighten the mood. The Witcher 2’s balance between humour and intensity is what makes the story so compelling.
GAMEPLAY:

The Witcher 2 is not an open-world RPG, rather it is an RPG that is broken up into three main chapters plus a prologue, each with a large, fully explorable environment to complete tasks in and advance the story. Players cannot roam freely between these environments; once you leave an area, you likely are not coming back.

This isn’t a bad thing though. The areas we do get to explore are vast and packed with content, from interesting NPCs, to fun mini-games, to engaging monster hunts. Nevertheless, this will still turn many players off of this game. If that’s you, don’t worry, the Witcher 3 includes a fully open world that you can explore at your own pace. But, back to the Witcher 2, of course.

The aforementioned prologue does a great job at orienting new players with the world of The Witcher and some of its game mechanics. It perfectly drops the player into the Witcher 2, whether they have played the first game or not, by easing you into the story, but in an exciting way. That’s all I’m going to say on that, play on for yourself if you want to know why it’s so exciting!
Many common elements of RPGs are present in the Witcher 2, namely this is a game where you complete quests, level up, find new gear, customize your skills in a skill tree, and of course, fight fantasy monsters. However, the Witcher 2 has a few unique gameplay elements of its own.

One that many players will notice right away is that Geralt has two swords, a silver and a steel sword. The silver sword is used to take out monsters, while the steel sword is more effective versus human enemies. These swords can be switched out with left and right on the D-pad, making switching during combat a tactical necessity. This is one of my favourite parts about the Witcher series.

The best equipment for Geralt will have to be crafted, so grinding for materials becomes an unfortunate reality for players wanting to max out their Geralt builds. Fortunately, most of the materials needed can be purchased, and if you’re a seasoned player of the Witcher 2, you can craft everything you need with little trouble.

There is, however, a difficulty setting called Dark mode, that, regardless of player skill or knowledge, requires grinding in order to complete the game. Dark mode is the same game but much harder, and adds in three new armor sets called dark sets – one for each chapter in the game. These sets are pretty much required in order to complete the game on dark, and their material costs are outrageous. Translation: if you want to complete Dark mode, you’re going to need to do some grinding.
Although you can’t change your character’s identity (You are Geralt of Rivia no matter what), all weapons and pieces of armor you equip change Geralt’s appearance. This is a huge plus in my books when it comes to RPGs. Certain weapons and armor sets can also be slotted with runes and other valuable materials to improve Geralt’s attributes and customize your character even further.

Combat in the Witcher 2 can be very challenging, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes fairly easy. Geralt can dodge roll, light attack, strong attack, block, use spells, bombs, traps, oils, potions, and other unlockable abilities to defeat his enemies. There are many ways to experiment with combat, namely combining melee and spell attacks. For example, you could stun an opponent with a well timed block, then send them flying over a cliff as they’re stunned using the Aard spell.

Unfortunately, there are only 6 spells in the game (7 if you count the special sign unlocked in the last spot of the magic skill tree). While the variety does work out fine, as every spell has its vital uses throughout the game, I really would have liked to see more spells for Geralt to use and upgrade.
Levelling up is a standard affair, as you’re given a training skill tree and three main skill trees for you to invest your points into: Swordsmanship, Magic, and Alchemy. While I’m sure you can all picture what swordsmanship and magic are like, alchemy plays a bit differently, and brings a unique flair to the Witcher’s combat.

Before combat, Geralt can brew and drink potions that give him advantageous effects in battle, such as gaining more health regeneration or being able to see in the dark. Alchemist builds capitalize on this even further, because as they put points into the alchemy skill tree, things like potion duration, effectiveness, and even bombs and traps crafted with alchemy will improve.

One thing that will turn many people off of this game is that many of its quests do not have map markers. This means that some NPCs will give you quests that only give you a vague sense of where to complete them. I personally really enjoyed this mechanic, as it was a refreshing break from the constant hand-holding present in today’s video gaming scene. When I couldn’t find an objective, I would just move on to something else. When I did eventually find an unmarked objective, I felt much more satisfied than I would have if I had just walked to a map marker.

And, when I failed a quest that didn’t have map markers because I unknowingly advanced the story too far, I wasn’t mad, because the game encourages multiple playthroughs in a big way. More on that in the replay value section.
The quests themselves were very entertaining, for the most part. Not just simple fetch quests, the side quests in the Witcher 2 often task the player with venturing through new lands and forcing them to encounter new, crazy, funny, or dangerous characters. Almost every side quest feels memorable, a rarity in any RPG.

One last mode in the enhanced edition that is separate from the main campaign is the arena mode. Arena mode lets players face configurations of enemies you won’t see in the main story, and even introduces a couple new enemies. After every round, you get to pick between three random pieces of gear to make Geralt stronger, and you get a skill point to level him up. You can even recruit three different party members to help you out.

Arena mode is a great way for you to test out how certain skills are in combat, since the skills and equipment of this Geralt are completely separate from your main story Geralt. Unless you’re a massive fan of the game’s combat, or someone who always goes for high scores, you won’t really see the need to keep playing arena mode after you complete the thirty rounds and get the achievement.
GRAPHICS/SOUND:

For a last-gen game released over three years ago, the Witcher 2 still looks stunning on an Xbox 360. You can tell that the art designers put the utmost attention to detail when crafting the environments of the Witcher 2, and it still blows me away how good a game can look on last-gen. Graphics alone should not make any game an instant purchase, but this one is close.

Also, the sound and music in this game is excellent. Enemies emit terrifying and flat out gross noises when they’re near or you’re fighting them, constantly conveying a sense of dread to the player. The ambient noises in the game’s many towns/cities is organic and believable, adding to your overall immersion playing the game.

There is also something to be said about the fantastic epic fantasy music pieces included during some of the game’s more epic moments. Just hearing a few notes from the game’s best pieces can transport you to Temeria, and adds further magnitude to the situation you’re faced with.
REPLAY VALUE:

The Witcher 2 is a unique game. Not only is it the epic, 30+ hour RPG I’ve been describing to you, but it’s also an epic, 30+ hour RPG with ONE playthrough. That’s right, the game encourages multiple playthroughs, and it does so in a massive way.

Throughout your journey, you will be forced to make many tough decisions. Yeah, I know you’ve heard the whole make moral choices or don’t system present in games like Fallout 3 and the inFamous games, but the Witcher 2’s choices affect gameplay on a level I have not previously seen from many games.

Depending on your choices, your entire experience with chapter 2 and 3 could be completely different from one playthrough to the next. And I really do mean completely different. For example, you could start chapter 2 in a completely different area with a completely different set of quests, but with similar overall goals as your last playthrough. Achieving similar goals but in completely new ways in a completely new environment is a fantastic way of extending the life of the game, and I applaud CD Projekt Red for doing so.
I should note that there are many more smaller decision for you to make as you play through the game, but none are more significant as Chapter 2 being completely different. If you were expecting EVERY chapter to have multiple possible environments, then I’m sorry, you’re out of luck.

Combine these alternate storylines, environments, quests, items, etc. with the game’s arena mode AND dark mode and you’ve got an extremely solid RPG package with many, many hours of replayability. If I were to guess how long it took me to experience everything this game has to offer and get every achievement, it would be around the 70 hour range.
THE VERDICT

The Witcher 2 offers insane value for its meager asking price. If you’re able to invest many hours into understanding the game’s lore, and you don’t get bogged down by the game’s sometimes obtuse fantasy language and lack of quest markers at times, you will be in for a fantastic and original RPG. Tactical combat, expansive environments, clever solutions to quests, funny and intense dialogue, and deep customization options round out one of the finest RPGs of the generation, and one that you should not miss.
PROS
  • Engaging and complex story
  • Fun and visceral combat
  • Many different ways of completing the same quest
  • Branching storylines/pathways that drastically affect gameplay
  • Beautiful visuals and musical score
CONS
  • Gets bogged down in fantasy language/tropes from its original source material
  • Tutorial could have done a better job teaching the player
  • Sexist dialogue/situations
  • Combat can devolve into dodge rolling and slashing
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
Are you excited for The Witcher 3? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter @CWalkTweets, or on the Good Time Games Facebook page! It's coming out just around the corner, on Tuesday, May 19th! Make sure to get your pre-orders in at Good Time Games - all standard editions come in special packaging, and everyone who owns the Witcher 3 will be entitled to 16 (!) free pieces of DLC! Don't miss out on this RPG masterpiece of our time!
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<![CDATA[Everything You Need to Know About Rock Band 4 (so far)]]>Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:15:39 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-rock-band-4-so-farBy Curtis Walker
Last month, Harmonix officially unveiled the next installment in the Rock Band franchise, Rock Band 4. The newest iteration is set to come out later this year, although no official release date has been provided other than "late-2015."

The announcement comes on the heels of Harmonix quietly releasing further DLC songs for Rock Band 3 for the first time in 21 months, which I covered in January. Since then, they have released several more downloadable tracks, all of which should be compatible with Rock Band 4, so long as you import them within the same family of systems. Below are videos of me playing one of the new tracks on expert pro drums and expert guitar, if you'd like to get a feel for the new DLC.
Here's me playing Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix, which will be compatible in Rock Band 4, on expert pro drums. This song is great!
And because guitar has been left out of my playthroughs so far, here's me playing the same song on expert guitar!
Rock Band 4 is set to be compatible with all previous DLC for the series, so long as you import your songs from within the same family of consoles. For example, you'll be able to move your tracks from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, but not Xbox 360 to PS4. Because of licensing issues, Harmonix cannot yet guarantee that every song will transfer, but at this point it looks as if that will be the case.

Rock Band 4 will feature an all-new engine, capable of delivering next-gen visuals in 1080p at 60 frames per second.
The new installment will also feature new, more fluid animations for your virtual band members. The new engine also boasts improved character models and lighting effects suitable for next generation consoles.

In an effort to avoid another oversaturation of music/rhythm games, Harmonix has promised that this will be the only flagship Rock Band title for this generation. Their focus instead will be to provide continuous DLC support, similar to their weekly content seen in the past three Rock Band games. No word has been announced on exactly what their DLC support will be like, although I'd speculate it to be weekly like the previous installments.

Currently, there are only plans to release Rock Band 4 on PS4 and Xbox One. Unless fans support and demand it, we will not be seeing Rock Band 4 on the Wii U or PC.

Another significant change to the Rock Band formula, or at least Rock Band 3's, is the removal of the pro guitar and pro keyboard modes. Due to the success of Rocksmith, a game that lets you plug a real guitar into your console and teaches you how to play, and likely due to the costs involved of producing these intruments, Harmonix felt it was wise to remove these features.

Harmonix is working hard to be able to support previously purchased Rock Band instruments, and will support the majority of them at launch. There is no guarantee that they will be able to support all previously compatible peripherals, however. Mad Catz, the company who made the instruments for Rock Band 3, will be in charge of making Rock Band 4's instruments again this time, specifically designed for next-gen. No other information on the new instruments is available at this time.

Currently, no songs from the soundtrack have been announced yet, although Harmonix has announced they plan on putting in enough funding to "support a top tier soundtrack." Turning to their fans, they have put up a webpage that allows you to submit requests for songs you'd like to see on Rock Band 4. Here is the link to that if you'd like to make a request!

Overall, Rock Band 4 will not reinvent the wheel with its gameplay, but will instead stick to the tried-and-true rhythm based gameplay that brought them success in the first place. Harmonix is emphasizing simplicity, focusing on refining the existing gameplay for both single and multiplayer. Their aim is, obviously, to make the best Rock Band game yet!

What do you think of the announcement of Rock Band 4 so far? Are you excited to play it, or will you be passing on it? Are you going to buy the new next-gen versions of the instruments, or stick to your classic ones? Or are you just waiting for more information (namely, the soundtrack!) Let me know in the comments below!

**Images sourced from Rockband.com, Psu.com and Hardcoregamer.com**
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<![CDATA[New 3DS XL Review]]>Fri, 13 Mar 2015 21:09:36 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/new-3ds-xl-reviewBy Curtis Walker
Kicking off Nintendo's new year, the brand new New 3DS XL has been unveiled. Confusing marketing names aside, the New 3DS XL comes complete with an added C-stick, extra trigger buttons, improved face-tracking 3D, amiibo support, and an improved processor. Does the New 3DS deliver a supreme handheld experience worth its the price tag? I've got your back, read on to find out!
The New 3DS XL is a fantastic piece of gaming hardware. Whether it deserves your hard-earned cash depends on your gaming habits, however. I'll be breaking down the four main new features in sections of their own, as well as going into detail about every little thing that has changed from the previous 3DS variants.

Notice that I'm only talking about the XL variant; North America unfortunately did not receive any of the regular sized New 3DS models. Don't worry though, aside from customizable removable faceplates (which admittedly are pretty cool), there is little to no reason not to go with the XL version.

You can still customize your New 3DS XL without Nintendo's official faceplates though! One great way to do that is to order custom stickers or decals online. If you do opt to do this, my advice to you is to get the matte finish, so that your surfaces aren't shiny and your decals show up more clearly. Onto the review.
Added C-Stick and Extra Trigger Buttons

Undoubtedly, one of the main draws to purchasing a New 3DS XL is the added C-Stick in the upper right hand corner of your system. This allows you to control the camera in games that support it, like you would with a controller with a second analog stick, say an Xbox 360 controller.

One major difference to this control stick is that is doesn't actually move when you use it. It's just kind of a little stub, that you put pressure on with your thumb. Although this can be a little jarring at first, rest assured that it absolutely works, and you will get used to it in no time.
The C-Stick is essential for playing games such as Resident Evil: Revelations and Monster Hunter 3 and 4. While they can still be played, you have to control the camera with the touch screen. Speaking from experience, you don't want to play these games without either the new 3DS' C-stick or a circle pad pro, which only works on the old 3DS model (not XLs).

Also new are the additions of two new trigger buttons; ZR and ZL. These buttons were present on the circle pad pro for the old 3DS, and allow for improved controls in games like Resident Evil: Revelations, Majora's Mask 3D, and Super Smash Bros. 3DS just to name a few. For example, in Smash, you have R as shield like always, but now you can use ZR to grab instead of L, just like a Gamecube controller. This is awesome.
Face-Tracking 3D

Believe it or not, this is actually my favourite new feature of the New 3DS XL, over the C-stick. I've played countless hours of 3DS, first on my regular edition, then on an XL, and there's an extremely small selection of games where I prefer to play with the 3D on (like Super Mario 3D Land). This is a huge issue for a system that is called the 3DS.

The improved 3D fixes this issue completely. The New 3DS XL adds another camera on the top screen, which tracks your face and its movements, allowing for real-time 3D adjustments. In other words, when you move your 3DS around, which you're bound to do, the 3D will no longer be blurry, and you won't have to spend the time readjusting your eyes to it again.

This feature drastically improves gameplay in games which make abundant use of 3D, such as all three Zeldas on the system, Star Fox 64 3D, and Kirby Triple Deluxe, just to name a very small number of games. You'll find yourself playing with the 3D on almost all the time, as it adds so much to your gaming experience when it is as stable as the New 3DS XL makes it. Trust me, this makes a HUGE difference.
Amiibo Support

By now, you've probably heard of Nintendo's new products, amiibos. If you haven't, they're little figurines of classic Nintendo characters which can be placed on your Wii U gamepad to access small bits of content, like training a fighter in Smash Bros, and unlocking skins for use in Mario Kart 8. Think Spyro’s Skylanders or Disney’s Infinity, only with less important content locked off (this is a good thing).
A new feature of the New 3DS XL allows you to use amiibos in a similar way now. Just tap any amiibo you've collected to the touch screen, and any number of functions can happen. As mentioned, amiibos let you mold a fighter in Smash to your playstyle, but they can also do other things. For example, using a Fire Emblem amiibo in Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. unlocks your amiibo as a playable character. Nintendo promises to release more amiibos in the future, and many more games that take advantage of them.

Personally, I'm not too crazy about the whole amiibo thing, but it definitely works as intended on the New 3DS XL. If you're a collector of figurines, they're pretty much worth their price already if they did nothing but look cool, but the fact that they can unlock content in games is a pretty sweet bonus feature.
Improved Processor

The New 3DS XL boasts a new and improved processor from the previous 3DS models. This actually makes a pretty noticeable difference when playing games which utilize it, like Smash Bros. and Majora's Mask 3D, as you load into these games much faster.

Also improved are download speeds from the 3DS eShop. As a test, I downloaded Kirby Triple Deluxe, which was about 4000-5000 blocks, in about 5 or 6 minutes. Using the same internet connection on my old 3DS', it used to take at least twice that long for games that size.

Another benefit to the improved processor is the ability to play games that will only work on the New 3DS. So far, the only game announced to be New 3DS exclusive is Xenoblade Chronicles. Rest assured, if you pass up the New 3DS XL, Nintendo will not leave you in the dark and start making all of its games only for the New 3DS; the majority of its player base are still on the older systems.

While future proofing your 3DS and getting faster download speeds is nice, the improved processor itself is not really a reason to upgrade. If these four main new features combined interest you, then I highly recommend picking up a New 3DS XL. More on that below.
Other Minor Changes

While not really significant, the New 3DS XL does make some minor changes to the 3DS and 3DS XL's existing software (I have not owned a 2DS, so I can't comment on its differences).

The battery life has been ever so slightly improved from the 3DS XL, which previously had the best battery life of the three variants of 3DS'. Of the minor changes, this is my favourite.

To save space, the New 3DS XL now uses a microSD card, which you will now have to unscrew the back of the system to access. It comes included with a 4GB microSD card, but for digital gamers, this won't be enough. The data transfer process from your old 3DS is somewhat complicated, so here is a guide to help you out with the process.

A minor gripe I have is that the stylus has been relegated back to the bottom of the system, much like its positioning in the original 3DS. This makes it much more difficult to access the stylus, and is kind of a puzzling design choice, considering they fixed this issue with the 3DS XL by putting it on the right side for easy access.
Another small issue I have is that the outer surface is a glossy, not matte, finish. Basically, this means that it will be shiny, and easily show fingerprints. If you opted to get the black system like I did, this issue is more apparent. You can always get some matte decals for your system online to work around this, but it's not a huge deal for me.

The power button is now on the bottom of the system, so that you don't accidentally push it while playing (although it will still happen if you rest your system on a flat surface). The start and select buttons have also been moved to the right hand side of the front of the system; a welcome design choice from the previous editions' somewhat clunky placements of them at the bottom of the touch screen.
Other minor changes include the addition of a Wi-Fi light next to the charging and power indicator, which lights up when you connect to a hotspot. Don't worry, this won't stay lit during gameplay. Also, the charging port has been moved to the direct center of the back of the system, and the game cartridge slot has moved to the bottom left. Additionally, The New 3DS XL is ever so slightly thinner and lighter than the previous 3DS XL, although this is barely noticeable.
A slightly puzzling decision is Nintendo's choice not to include an AC adapter with your purchase of a New 3DS XL. They assume that anyone who buys this system already has the charger, but this leaves out players trying the New 3DS XL for the first time. If I were to guess, this is likely to save money, as the packaging is smaller than previous editions, and including it may have bumped up the price even further.

You have a choice of either black or red right now (sorry, the Majora's Mask edition was made in extremely limited quantities; I wish I had one too). The interior colour is red rather than black if you opt to get the red version. Also, the A, B, X, and Y buttons are now coloured, a minor aesthetic change which is very pleasing to the eye.
Final Verdict: Should you upgrade to/purchase the New 3DS XL?

If you have never owned a 3DS before, buying the New 3DS XL is a no-brainer if you like fantastic games. There are so many amazing games from a wide array of different genres, many of which are exclusively found on the 3DS. The new face tracking 3D is spectacular, and some games were just meant to be played with the C-Stick.

That being said, should you upgrade if you already own a 2DS/3DS/3DS XL? Well, that depends on your gaming habits. If you're a big fan of the 3D effect, you really owe it to yourself to pick up the New 3DS XL. You might not even be a fan of it currently because of its general spotiness in many games, so I recommend coming into the shop to try the New 3DS XL out for yourself.

Also, if games like Resident Evil: Revelations, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Xenoblade Chronicles, and Majora's Mask 3D interest you (they're all great), I highly recommend picking it up. The C-Stick is literally a must have for some of these games, and Xenoblade Chronicles will not work at all on the older 3DS versions.
If you don't play your 3DS too much, don't like the 3D effect, have never wished there was a second analog stick on it, and/or you don't know what Xenoblade Chronicles is, then the New 3DS XL probably isn't for you. You will be absolutely content with your current variant, and Nintendo will not make many games exclusively for the New 3DS, as their biggest player base is still on the 2DS/3DS/3DS XL.

All in all, the New 3DS XL is a great step up from its previous versions for most gamers. The face-tracking 3D is slick, the C-stick and added shoulder buttons improve gameplay in games that utilize them, the amiibo support is appreciated, and as a bonus, you get a faster processor and slightly improved battery life. I would recommend the New 3DS XL to any gamer looking to upgrade to the supreme 3DS experience, and would absolutely recommend it as a starting point for gamers who have never tried a 3DS.
PROS:
  • Face-tracking 3D works extremely well
  • Added C-stick and shoulder buttons improve gameplay
  • Amiibo support is nice
  • Faster processor and download speeds
  • Slightly improved battery life

CONS:
  • Stylus is put back in an inconvenient spot
  • Glossy outer finish shows fingerprints
  • AC adapter not included
  • Digital gamers will need to buy a larger microSD card than what's included
  • More expensive than the other variants

Let me know what you think about the New 3DS XL in the comments and poll below!
**Additonal images sourced from Nintendo.com, Gamespot.com, idigitaltimes.com, and TheTanooki.com**
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<![CDATA[Club Nintendo Releases Their Final Batch of Rewards]]>Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:33:01 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/club-nintendo-releases-their-final-batch-of-rewardsBy Curtis Walker
Club Nintendo, Nintendo's loyalty rewards program, will be ending on June 30th of this year, and they're going out with a bang.

Nintendo has just released a staggering amount of new rewards for those of us who still have Club Nintendo coins to spend. These rewards are pretty awesome this time around, like exclusive t-shirts, a Majora's Mask messenger bag, and an absolutely monstrous list of digital game downloads, including some full 3DS and Wii U titles!

Also being given out for free to all Club Nintendo members is the 3DS downloadable title FlipNote Studio 3D, which can be accessed in your To-Do list if you're a member who hasn't already redeemed it.

Hopefully you still have some spare coins in your Club Nintendo account, as these games are more than worth their asking prices for the classic content you receive. Well, for most of them (I'm looking at you, Urban Champion).

Below is a full list of all of the rewards you could be getting your hands on if you've got the coins. Remember, their shipping is free, so go nuts if you'd like a physical reward!

Wii U Titles
Game & Wario - 600 coins
The Wonderful 101 - 600 coins
Wii Fit U - 600 coins
Wii Party U - 850 coins

Wii U Virtual Console
Balloon Fight (NES) - 200 coins
Baseball (NES) - 200 coins
Clu Clu Land (NES) - 200 coins
Donkey Kong 3 (NES) - 200 coins
Donkey Kong Jr. (NES) - 200 coins
Dr. Mario (NES) - 200 coins
Earthbound (SNES) - 250 coins
Excitebike (NES) - 200 coins
F-Zero (SNES) - 200 coins
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
(GBA) - 200 coins
Golden Sun (GBA) - 200 coins
Golf (NES) - 200 coins
Ice Climber (NES) - 200 coins
Ice Hockey (NES) - 200 coins
Kid Icarus (NES) - 200 coins
Mario Bros. (NES) - 200 coins
Metroid (NES) - 200 coins
NES Open Tournament Golf (NES) - 200 coins
Pilotwings (SNES) - 200 coins
Pinball (NES) - 200 coins
Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream (NES) - 200 coins
Super Mario Bros. (NES) - 200 coins
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES) - 200 coins
Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES) - 200 coins
Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES) - 200 coins
Super Mario World (SNES) - 200 coins

Super Metroid (SNES) - 200 coins
Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) - 200 coins
Tennis (NES) - 200 coins
Urban Champion (NES) - 200 coins
Volleyball (NES) - 200 coins
Wario's Woods (NES) - 200 coins
Wrecking Crew (NES) - 200 coins
Yoshi (NES) - 200 coins

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 (GBA) - 200 coins
Zelda II: The Adventure of Link (NES) - 200 coins

Wii U-Ware Games
Dr. Luigi - 300 coins
NES Remix - 300 coins


Wii Virtual Console
1080
° Snowboarding (N64) - 250 coins
Clu Clu Land (NES) - 200 coins
F-Zero X (N64) - 250 coins
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) - 250 coins
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64) - 250 coins
Mario Golf (N64) - 250 coins
Mario Kart 64 (N64) - 250 coins
Mario Party 2 (N64) - 250 coins
Mario Tennis (N64) - 250 coins
NES Play Action Football (NES) - 200 coins
Paper Mario (N64) - 250 coins
Pilotwings (SNES) - 250 coins
Star Fox 64 (N64) - 250 coins
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES) - 200 coins
Super Mario 64 (N64) - 250 coins
Super Mario Kart (SNES) - 250 coins
Super Metroid (SNES) - 250 coins
Super Punch-Out!! (SNES) - 250 coins
Super Smash Bros. (N64) - 250 coins
Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II (NES) - 200 coins

WiiWare Games
Art Style: CUBELLO - 200 coins
Doc Louis' Punch-Out!! - 250 coins
Eco Shooter: Plant 530 - 250 coins
Excitebike: World Rally - 250 coins
Fluidity - 250 coins
Grill-Off with Ultra Hand! - 80 coins
Snowpack Park - 250 coins
ThruSpace - 250 coins

3DS Titles
Brain Age: Concentration Training (600 coins)
Crosswords Plus - 600 coins
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (600 coins)
Kid Icarus: Uprising - 700 coins
New Super Mario Bros. 2 - 600 coins
Paper Mario: Sticker Star - 700 coins
Star Fox 64 3D - 700 coins
Super Mario 3D Land - 600 coins

3DS Virtual Console
Baseball (GB) - 150 coins
Donkey Kong (GB) - 150 coins
Donkey Kong 3 (NES) - 200 coins
Donkey Kong Jr. (NES) - 200 coins
Golf (GB) - 150 coins
Kid Icarus of Myths and Monsters (GB) - 150 coins
The Legend of Zelda (NES) - 200 coins
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (GBC) - 200 coins
Mario Golf (GBC) - 200 coins
Mario's Picross (GB) - 150 coins
Metroid (NES) - 200 coins
Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB) - 150 coins
Radar Mission (GB) - 150 coins
Super Mario Land (GB) - 150 coins
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB) - 150 coins
Tennis (GB) - 150 coins
Wario Land 2 (GBC) - 200 coins

3DSWare

A Kappa's Trail - 200 coins
Brain Age Express: Arts & Letters - 200 coins
Brain Age Express: Math - 200 coins
Brain Age Express: Sudoku
Chibi-Robo!: Photo Finder - 250 coins
Dillon's Rolling Western - 250 coins
Dillon's Rolling Western: The Last Ranger - 300 coins
Fluidity: Spin Cycle - 300 coins
HarmoKnight - 300 coins
Looksley's Line Up - 200 coins
Kersploosh! - 150 coins
Ketzal's Corridors - 200 coins
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move - 250 coins
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! - 200 coins
Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword - 200 coins
Sparkle Snapshots 3D - 200 coins
Tokyo Crash Mobs - 200 coins

3D Classics
3D Classics: Excitebike - 200 coins
3D Classics: Kid Icarus - 200 coins
3D Classics: TwinBee - 150 coins
3D Classics: Urban Champion - 200 coins
3D Classics: Xevious - 200 coins

As you can see, Nintendo is offering a massive amount of games (most of which are very good) for you to spend the rest of your Club Nintendo coins on. Remember, you still have until March 31st to redeem any Club Nintendo codes you may have lying around, and you have until June 30th to spend your coins. After that, all these titles and rewards will be unavailable using Club Nintendo coins.

If you're unsure of what games or rewards to spend your coins on, here are a few games with my official stamp of approval. These are not every amazing game on this list, but they are my personal favourites on it. You will not be let down if you pick up any of these titles:

Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Paper Mario, Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 3D Land, Super Metroid.

The prices for all of these are extremely fair, if not steals. Majora's Mask N64 is only 250 coins; 50 more than Urban Champion on NES. That's incredible value (and I'm not talking about Urban Champion).

For a full list and pictures of all available rewards, please visit Club Nintendo's Rewards website.
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<![CDATA[Club Nintendo will be Ending on June 30th, 2015]]>Fri, 23 Jan 2015 20:20:09 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/club-nintendo-will-be-ending-on-june-30th-2015By Curtis Walker
Club Nintendo, Nintendo's ongoing loyalty program running for the past six years, will be discontinuing its services on June 30th, 2015. The service allows gamers to earn games and exclusive merchandise for free by registering Nintendo products and completing surveys.

As of January 20th, all Nintendo games and products will no longer come with Club Nintendo codes. Previous codes will be valid until March 31st, the deadline Nintendo has set for anyone to be able to register their products and earn coins. The service will be completely shut down by July 1st, 2015.

If you're wondering if some of your old codes are valid, Club Nintendo codes expire four years after a game's release date, with a few exceptions like Pokemon HeartGold. So the majority of your DS and Wii games will not have valid codes, but all of your 3DS and Wii U games should.

Thankfully, Nintendo's reason for ending the Club Nintendo program is to focus on a new loyalty program for their fans, presumably one which doesn't involve shipping goods to thousands of Nintendo fans around the world. In a bulletin found on the Club Nintendo site, Nintendo commented:

In order to focus on planning for a new customer loyalty program for our fans, we’ve decided to wind-down the Club Nintendo program. We are deeply thankful to our members for being a part of Club Nintendo for all of these years.
One can only speculate on what their new rewards program will be like at this point. Nintendo will reveal more information about it "on a later date."

As a special thank you to their fans, Nintendo will be offering a free digital copy of Flipnote Studio 3D to North American Club Nintendo members in February. European members will also receive a copy, but at a later date.
Also as a part of Nintendo's thank you to long-time Club Nintendo members, and because all coins will be gone forever on June 30th, they will be adding dozens of downloadable games, as well as a limited quantity of exclusive reward items to help you spend your coins to the Club Nintendo site in February. That's great incentive for those of you who have coins or codes lying around to check it out!

There will also still be a free downloadable game for members who reached gold or platinum status this year. The choice of free games will be available in April, and will only be around until June 30th, 2015, so if you've hit gold or platinum status don't forget to pick up your free game!

It's not too late to join Club Nintendo and receive all these benefits, but I would join before February just to be sure you get ALL of the rewards!

After hearing the news that Club Nintendo was ending, I went and input all of my codes from my Nintendo games and products. Sadly, some of them were (long) expired, and I purchased a bunch of games digitally before joining Club Nintendo, so I didn't get as many points as I could have (I contacted customer support though, because I think I can still get the coins from digital downloads)

I was still able to accrue 1350 coins and platinum status though, so I'll be able to check out first-hand some of the rewards they'll be offering in February! Stay tuned for a follow up article on the games and exclusive merchandise Nintendo will be offering for Club Nintendo members in February, as well as the free downloadable games gold and platinum members will be able to choose from!
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<![CDATA[Rock Band 3 Gets its First New DLC in Almost Two Years This Week *UPDATED*]]>Fri, 16 Jan 2015 22:43:48 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/rock-band-3-gets-its-first-new-dlc-in-almost-two-years-this-weekBy Curtis Walker
UPDATE: All three songs are now working and available for download. 



The original article is as follows:
In a surprising move this past month, Rock Band developers Harmonix announced that they would be releasing some brand new downloadable songs for Rock Band 3 on both Xbox 360 and PS3. The new songs released this past Tuesday, January 13th, and are the first in 21 months. They will run you $1.99 each and are as follows:

Foo Fighters - Something From Nothing
Avenged Sevenfold - Shepherd of Fire
Arctic Monkeys - R U Mine?


Here's me playing through Something From Nothing on Expert Pro Drums. This run is currently #32 on the leaderboards!

These very worthy songs will join the massive downloadable library of over 4000 tracks already available in Rock Band 3. Check out my playthrough of Something From Nothing above for a preview!

As of writing this, however, I was not able to download the Avenged Sevenfold and Arctic Monkeys tracks. It appears others are having some difficulties downloading the tracks as well. Hopefully Harmonix can get things straightened out soon.

It is not known at this time whether or not Rock Band 3 will continue to see new DLC, or if a possible new installment in the series is on its way. Either way, the series seems poised for an eventual comeback, as Harmonix has often been quoted saying that the Rock Band franchise is not dead.

What do you think of this news? Are you excited about more Rock Band 3 DLC, or wishing for a Rock Band 4 announcement? Are you frustrated that you can't download the new DLC? Or are you sick and tired of music and rhythm games and their constantly breaking plastic peripherals? Let me know in the comments below!

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<![CDATA[Good News Regarding the Wii U GameCube Controller Adapters for Smash Bros! *UPDATED*]]>Sat, 13 Dec 2014 21:01:29 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/good-news-regarding-the-wii-u-gamecube-controller-adapters-for-smash-brosBy Curtis Walker
UPDATE: A new statement from Nintendo of America has been obtained by Chris Kohler of Wired, confirming that production of the adapter has not stopped in North America:
"Both the Super Smash Bros. Edition Nintendo GameCube Controller and the Adapter that connects it to the Wii U console remain in distribution in the North American region. Nintendo of America is doing everything we can to meet the strong demand for these products, and additional stock will be made available and delivered to retailers. We ask consumers to contact their local retailers directly regarding availability."
This is great news for all of those who missed out on picking up the adapter in their first distribution run. Unfortunately, no time table was provided on when we might be seeing the next wave of shipments. We will keep you posted when Good Time Games gets both the controller and the adapter in stock!



The original article is as follows:

Earlier in the month, a rumour began that Nintendo had discontinued production on the highly sought after Wii U GameCube adapters for Super Smash Bros Wii U. This rumour started from a listing on Amazon.uk stating that the product had been discontinued.

I'm happy to tell you guys the good news that this is not actually the case! NintendoLife.uk has reached out to Nintendo of Europe, and they got back the following statement:
"We would like to reassure you that GameCube Controller Adapter for Wii U has not been discontinued by Nintendo of Europe and we are doing everything we possibly can to meet the demand which is currently outstripping supply.

We are unable to comment specifically on individual retailer stock levels and as such we ask customers to contact their local retailers directly regarding their availability of this product. We would however like to reassure you that we are working hard to ensure that additional stock can be made available and delivered to retailers."
Now, because this statement comes directly from Nintendo of Europe, it does not necessarily mean that Nintendo of North America will also be continuing their production. All signs point to yes, they will continue production, as the rumour that began in the first place that they were discontinuing these adapters was exactly that: a rumour. 

More evidence to suggest these adapters will be coming back to North America include Smash Bros. for Wii U's sales. Smash Bros is the Wii U's fastest selling game ever in North America, selling nearly 500,000 units in its first three days of release. The Gamecube adapters have also been huge sellers, with availability so low and demand so high that prices on sites like eBay have reached around 100$ for an adapter with a suggested retail price of 20$.

The Gamecube controller is the definitive way to play Smash Bros. for Wii U. Nintendo would be foolish to discontinue production of the adapters before letting the majority of players experience their best selling game the way it was meant to be played.
We are reaching out to Nintendo of North America regarding confirmation that they have not discontinued their production of the Gamecube adapters for Smash Bros Wii U. I will update this article the moment we get a clear confirmation from the North American division. 

For now, take this news with a grain of salt, but all signs are pointing towards you not having to shell out hundreds of dollars for the adapter on eBay!
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<![CDATA[Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review (PS4)]]>Sat, 06 Dec 2014 23:44:28 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/middle-earth-shadow-of-mordor-review-ps4By Curtis Walker
Release Dates:
PS4 + Xbox One + PC: September 30th, 2014.
Xbox 360 + PS3: November 18th, 2014.

Current Price at Good Time Games:
Next-gen: $69.99
Last-gen: $59.99

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is an action game set in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe developed by Monolith Productions. The game takes place before the events of the main trilogy, but after the Hobbit. Its notable gameplay draw lies in a mechanic called the Nemesis system, where orcs who you’ve killed and ones who have killed you rise and fall within a military hierarchy, creating epic battlegrounds in which your enemies remember you and the tactics you have used in the past. Does Monolith Productions' offering in the LOTR universe just appeal to the Tolkien faithful, or do we have a stellar action game suitable for a wider audience on our hands? My full review will fill you in.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor does not immediately apply the Lord of the Rings license to its game, but there certainly are heavy elements derived from the series. Fans of Tolkien’s universe will recognize various bits of lore sprinkled throughout the game, making it a great fan-service despite not taking place during the main events of the trilogy.

Shadow of Mordor does a great job of cataloging all of this lore in your menu, along with helpful tutorials and story recaps. It really has everything you’d want from a menu in this type of game.

Before we delve any further into the game, I'd like to highlight some version differences. For the record, I played and reviewed the ps4 version.
The next-gen versions all fare much better in the graphical department, which is to be expected. They run smoother and are able to handle more fauna and enemies onscreen at once. The game is otherwise the same, give or take a few minor details, aside from one major thing.

The last-gen versions don't offer as many variables of character traits for the various orc captains. This is fairly huge, considering in the end game, assassinating orc captains is basically your entire source of fun if you've already 100%'ed everything. It is for this reason that I strongly recommend getting this game on a next-gen platform if you have the option to.
STORY:

The story is the only area of Shadow of Mordor that left me wanting more, and not in a good way. Its story involves Talion, a captain of the guard in one of the few remaining human strongholds in Mordor. The Black Hand of Sauron devastates his stronghold, kills his entire family, and even kills Talion himself. He is saved from death by a spirit of an elf who lived long ago, whose origins I will not spoil.

Talion’s story is at best a mediocre revenge tale that serves to loosely connect various bits of gameplay together. You’ll find yourself much more engaged in the gameplay than the story. Even with iconic characters from the main trilogy, such as Gollum, making an appearance, these cameos do little to save the passable at best narrative.

Some elements that I do like are the brief dialogues of main and side characters between loading screens. These concise and entertaining conversations do their part in pulling you into Mordor, and the voice actors really shine. Troy Baker, who plays Talion, does a fantastic job, as we've come to expect from him. Everyone else is top notch too, but the cut-and-dried plot holds Mordor's story back from being great.

The ending is perhaps one of the most disappointing I’ve experienced in a long time, in terms of feeling left incomplete. Without going into spoilers at all, the final boss, who should be awesome and memorable in every way, is relegated to a simple quick-time event and is very forgettable as a result. That’s not to say that the cutscene that accompanies him is not awesome, but the gameplay in this section is pretty awful for a final boss.

You get the sense that the developers are holding back the grand finale boss battle for the season pass, which has already confirmed that you will fight Sauron, the big bad guy in the Lord of the Rings franchise. My overall experience with the game did not give me this incomplete-without-DLC impression, but the somewhat rushed feeling ending did.
GAMEPLAY:

Shadow of Mordor really shines in the gameplay department. Borrowing from other tried-and-true games such as Assassin’s Creed, the Batman Arkham games, and the Tomb Raider reboot to name a few, Shadow of Mordor knows the role it wants to fill, and executes this perfectly. Its combat system is robust and always feels fluid, with countless animations of deaths and finishing blows to keep you hacking and slashing throughout.

Combat relies on timed button presses for strikes, counters, stuns, and specials, so if you’ve played a Batman Arkham game before, you will feel right at home here. Remember, imitation is one of the most sincere forms of flattery, especially when done as well as Shadow of Mordor.

Mordor’s open world, split into two large areas, is a virtual playground filled with collectables, very comparable to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Among the activities available to you are countless side quests, climbing towers to secure fast-travel locations, and hunting the various beasts of Mordor.

Collectables, again, like Assassin’s Creed, are dotted throughout the map, removing the sense of achievement you’d find from stumbling upon them yourself, but in a world as expansive as Mordor’s, this is not a bad thing. You will be able to 100% this game as long as you put the time into it.

Something that makes traversing the open worlds of Mordor much more enjoyable is the addition of the ability to mount some wild beasts of the land. There are two basic forms of mounts, caragors and graugs, with one built for speed and the other for power. Each has their own movesets, and are able to aid you in combat once you’ve dominated them, even after dismounting.
Some light RPG elements are present here, such as a levelling system and the equipping of runes as modifiers for your sword, bow, and dagger. When you kill a powerful orc captain, they drop a rune. Depending on the captain’s level, title, and how you fought them, the rune can change and/or be more powerful.

These runes allow for a solid degree of personalization to how you want to play the game, a very welcome addition to the game. Levelling allows Talion to access new and powerful abilities which help tip the scales in your favour, although these runes and abilities perhaps work too well. More on that later.

Talion levels up his abilities by killing the many orcs, as well as disrupting the orc chain of command in the game’s bread and butter: its Nemesis system. If you’re unfamiliar, the Nemesis system is basically a military hierarchy for the orcs, in which captains get promoted, duel other captains for supremacy, become warchiefs, and so on.

Meeting a captain begins a minor cutscene in which the captain will clash swords with you, while threatening you, or whatever their character trait calls for them to do. These cutscenes provide a great build-up to an epic battle, and were one of my favourite moments in the game.
Killing a captain weakens Sauron’s army, but also offers other advantages. If you manage to brand a captain, which becomes available later on in the game, you gain the ability to order them to attack on the battlefield. This mechanic becomes quite interesting when you’re tasked with branding a warchief, as you can send them and their captain bodyguards to start riots with the other warchiefs, just to name one example. It’s a system that I haven’t seen any other game that I’ve played use, and it works very well.

Each orc on the battlefield has the potential to become a captain if they kill you, and they will remember your last encounter and the tactics you tried to use against them, which is particularly cool. Each captain has their own set of traits, strengths, and weaknesses, forcing you to apply different methods of assassinations for each.

This system, in theory, offers limitless combinations of traits and skills for the orc captains to inherit, but in reality, familiar captains will emerge and re-emerge often enough that you’ll begin to notice. You will still have a great time assassinating and branding captains, however, as the gameplay never felt stale to me after a 30+ hour 100% completion run. In fact, I actually wanted to play it more, so I ended up getting its platinum trophy (which is fairly easy to obtain for you achievement hunters out there!).

Here's me giving you a demonstration of how the nemesis system works, by assassinating the orc captain, Dush. Yes, Dush.

A pretty big gripe I have with the excellent gameplay is that it becomes far too easy after you’ve put a decent amount of points into upgrading Talion. Before this, the game does a great job of making you feel fairly powerless to stop the endless armies of orcs, and makes it a priority to kill you so you can experience the Nemesis system. After about halfway through the game, the point at which almost every other game would ramp up its difficulty, Shadow of Mordor becomes a walk in the park.

With fully upgraded weapons socketed with powerful runes (which become abundant), and a bunch of skills purchased in the skill tree, I barely ever died, or even came close to death for that matter. The skills you can unlock, while really awesome, quickly make the game’s A.I. trivial. You’ll find yourself able to sneak up on everyone no problem, and get away just as easy.

This wouldn’t be an issue normally, but the game has no difficulty setting. I’m really not sure why they chose to do that. Sure, you can impose tough challenges on yourself, but the difficulty of a game should come from its design, not player agency. I'd recommend staring a new file once you've completed the game to keep yourself challenged.
CONTROLS, GRAPHICS, AND SOUND:

The graphics and sound in this game are top notch, and will rival any AAA game put out this year. Expansive vistas and barren wastelands seem to pop out of the screen, with very large draw distances aiding that. One area of the game that looks particularily great is the gritty details depicted in each of the orcs’ faces. Between the excellent voice-acting, dialogue, and unique facial details of each orc, Shadow of Mordor becomes one of the best looking games of 2014.

That’s not to say that you won’t run into the same looking and sounding orc from time to time, but that is much more rare than running into an orc with the same traits. Also, once you get used to the controls, which are fairly standard, you will quickly assume the role of Middle Earth's resident orc slayer.

The soundtrack is beautiful, giving you a sense that you really have transported yourself to Middle Earth. From melodic overworld expositions to dramatic and exciting action ballads, Shadow of Mordor delivers on all fronts of the audio department. Speaking of that, the voice-acting is great. Some of the orcs you will come across truly feel powerful, or insane, or even depressed. This great variety is part of what gives Shadow of Mordor its charm.

There are of course some instances of repeated dialogue, but that is to be expected in an open world action game with 30+ hours of gameplay (The amount of times an orc captain has called me out saying, “Man-filth!” is pretty funny).

Some slight gripes I had with the controls
were that some objects which should be climbable, such as certain crates, were not. You could climb up them when approaching from the other side, however, which makes no sense. I'm usually a fan of glitches, because they are most of the time hilarious, but the unclimbable object one is just frustrating. Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often; I'd say I ran into it about 3 or 4 times during my 30+ hour playthrough.

Other glitches include floating orc weapons, and orc weapons sticking out of walls, but these happen even less than the unclimbable objects one, and don't hinder the gameplay experience in any way.
ONLINE:

Being a single player only game, you wouldn’t expect online play. But there is a component of it available. You have the opportunity to avenge the death of players on your friends list (and on PSN if none of your friends have the game). This is particularly satisfying, as you face the exact captain with the exact traits which slayed your friend.

Defeating a powerful foe that your buddy had some trouble with gives you an immense sense of accomplishment, especially when you know that it will pop up on their screen that you killed the captain that killed them the next time they boot up the game. This works extremely similarly to the recent system in Diablo III: Ultimate evil edition for consoles, as a point of comparison.
REPLAY VALUE:

Shadow of Mordor offers a fairly large chunk of content for an action game. It pulls from the Assassin’s Creed franchise in its open world collect-a-thon style gameplay, which is a great thing. I finished the main campaign 100% after about 35 solid hours of gameplay, and, as previously mentioned, I still wanted to play!

Thankfully, SoM offers a challenge mode, which offers you an endless challenge of hunting down orc captains and warchiefs. You can choose from a variety of challenges, including timed assassinations and mass assassinations, but all of these challenges rely on the same rock solid gameplay present throughout the entirety of the single player campaign. This is by no means a bad thing, but if you find yourself tiring of the single player gameplay, you won’t find anything mind-blowing in these challenge modes.

The season pass, which will run you 25$, promises to extend your gameplay experience even further, although I will not be covering that today.
FINAL VERDICT:

Admittedly, I know very little about the Lord of the Rings universe. I’ve only seen bits and piece of the film trilogy, and I haven’t read the books. Shadow of Mordor, despite having a pretty weak story, pulled me into that universe and made me want to learn more about the complex backstory and characters. The gameplay is a melting pot of successful parts of other great games, mixed in with its own unique mechanics, notably the innovative Nemesis system. The graphics and sound are phenomenal, and to find everything in the single player campaign, you’re looking at around 30 hours of gameplay. Overall, Shadow of Mordor is a fantastic game that should not be missed by mature fans of the action/adventure genre.
PROS:
  • Beautiful open world
  • Fantastic blend of tried-and-true gameplay from other successful franchises
  • New and innovative Nemesis system
  • Over 30+ hours of single player content
CONS:
  • Bad ending and final boss
  • After upgrading, the game becomes far too easy
  • Often repeated orc captain traits
FINAL SCORE: 8/10
Let me know what you think about Shadow of Mordor in the comments; I'd love to hear from you!
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<![CDATA[Super Smash Bros. 3DS Review]]>Thu, 16 Oct 2014 21:22:04 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/super-smash-bros-3ds-reviewBy Curtis Walker
Release Date: October 3rd, 2014

Current Price at Good Time Games: $44.99

The release of Super Smash Bros. on 3DS marks the series’ first foray onto portable systems. Typically associated with home consoles, Smash Bros. on 3DS seeks to prove that screen size doesn’t matter when you have nearly as much content as a full console game release. We all knew Smash Bros. was going to be good, but did it live up to the hype? My full review will fill you in.

Be sure to check out my SSB3DS preview on the Good Time Games website too!
Super Smash Bros. on 3DS is a fantastic game. Easily containing the best gameplay mechanics to date, notably the rebalancing of certain fighters in the spirit of the competitive Smash scene, it should definitely be on any Nintendo enthusiast’s radar. Was the hype justified though?

Fans of old school gaming, predominantly Nintendo of course, will find that this title is absolutely dripping with charm and fan service. I will do my best to leave my Nintendo biases at the door for this review, but just understand that you’ll get a lot more out of Smash if you understand the video game references it alludes to, and my review will reflect that as a long-time Nintendo fan.

As a companion game to the upcoming Wii U version, the 3DS version contains all of the console version’s roster of fighters. Exclusive to the 3DS version are some of the stages, which are based on handheld games, and the Smash Run mode. (more on that later)
STORY:

Alright, so, there isn’t one. Even Smash Bros. on 64 gave you the brief opening cutscene showing what appeared to be Master Hand play fighting with Nintendo figurines, causing them to come to life. SSB3DS relies on the player accepting that this is a Smash Bros. game, and assumes the player already has some knowledge on the background of its characters.

That’s not to say they don’t fill you in on key background details of characters, but they do so without a story, which may result in some of the references going over some players’ heads. For example, you see Little Mac’s trainer proclaiming him victorious at the end of each fight, but unless you know the Punch Out!! Series (which I really hope you do!), you may not get that reference. There are a ton of references just like this one, making this a Nintendo fan’s dream game.
GAMEPLAY:

You can choose from a healthy roster of 49 characters, including your custom-made Miis. The computer AI is very solid, allowing newcomers and veterans alike to find their ideal difficulty setting, although I would recommend online play for veterans. 49 characters is by far the largest roster ever seen in a Smash Bros. game, and seeing Mario, Mega Man, Pac Man, and Sonic in the same game is pretty special, but I can’t help but feel cheated on a few of the roster spots.


Necessary SPOILERS will follow. (I don’t like including spoilers in reviews, but I feel this review would be incomplete without addressing the issue of unlockable characters)
Clones! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read on! Take for example Pit and Dark Pit. They are practically identical in every way, with some of the only differences being that Dark Pit’s arrows stagger opponents more effectively but bend less, and the obvious aesthetic difference between them (white vs. black). I seriously question this design choice, as Dark Pit could have easily been an alternate skin for Pit.

With the introduction of custom movesets, Nintendo could have easily offered us the ability to create our own Dark Pit, complete with his own unique moveset, but instead we are left with a “clone” of another character, something that Masahiro Sakurai, Smash’s director, wanted to get rid of entirely for Brawl. These characters are not entirely a waste of a roster space however, as they possess their own unique custom moves, but these are unusable in competitive play, making the stock variants of the fighters into definite clones, with only minor variations on their damage and movement models. It’s like melee all over again! (No one likes you, Pichu)

Dark Pit is not the only character who has a clone either. The majority of them are unlockable, and I don’t want to spoil too much of the game’s hidden roster, but they really convey a false sense of having a huge roster. Yes, the game’s roster is bigger than it’s ever been before, but 7 out of 49 (48 if you don’t count Miis) are clones of an existing character on the roster. Most of these clones do have slight variations on existing special moves, such as Dr. Mario shooting pills instead of fireballs, but other characters I find myself hard pressed discovering their merits on the roster. Lucina is practically a mirror image of Marth. Why, oh why, could she not have been an alternate costume for Marth and not her own character? That’s not unreasonable either, because characters like Wii Fit trainer, Robin, and Villager all have alternate gender costumes, and another character who I don’t want to spoil even has multiple different alternate forms! It really makes me question Nintendo’s design choices on this one. And yeah, I have to be that guy to say, “Where the **** is Ridley?!?!” [/rant]


END SPOILERS
Anyways, each of these characters’ movesets can be fully customized, but not before unlocking the moves for them. The game tasks you with unlocking the three variants for each of the four special moves each character possesses. This is done by completing various challenges, similar to trophies and achievements on Playstation and Xbox, and progressing with a certain character either in Classic, All-star, or Smash Run modes. Customization proves to be a deep ordeal, and with comprises much of the metagame. The challenges are also extensive, with the later unlockable panels requiring a huge amount of playtime.

Many of your favourite moves from the old Smashes are back, including air dodging and getting up quickly from hits by pushing the guard button. A few annoying mechanics are no more, including the infamous random tripping from Brawl. Also gone is the ability to “ledge guard” opponents, which is when you knock your rival off the stage, then immediately grab the edge of the stage so they can’t grab it when they try to recover. Now, whoever grabs the ledge last boots the first player off of it. This is great, as ledge guarding resulted in some cheap kills back in the day.

A solid 34 stages are available for play and unlocking. These stages predominantly encompass Nintendo’s handheld franchises and games, but you’ll still find a few stages which come from a home console. These stages are all very fun, and if you don’t feel like getting tossed around by the various stage hazards the game has to offer, such as the Yellow Devil from the Megaman series or the Dark Emperor from the Find Mii game, you can turn them off with the omega variants of stages.

Omega versions of stages, which reduce each stage to a flat plane with no stage hazards (think the Final Destination stage), are a welcome addition to the competitive Smash Bros. community. The omega variants of stages can be applied to every stage in the game, making each one suitable for competitive tournament play. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the stage hazards are fun and clever, referencing various points on Nintendo’s timeline, but once and a while it’s nice to take a break from them.

The new items and assist trophies are great, although I’ve noticed many of the new items are able to instant kill players. Fortunately, every item has a weakness to exploit, with some susceptible to damage, letting you destroy or even turn the item against your rival! The same goes for assist trophies and Pokemon, they are quite tough, but many of them are vulnerable to damage or have an exploitable weakness.

If that’s not enough, there of course is the item switch option, which lets you choose exactly which items you want to be able to spawn. A glaring omission with this feature is the ability to set the frequency at which items spawn. As of writing this, there are only two options: tons of items, or no items at all. Hopefully changing the frequency of the spawn rate of items gets added in with a future patch.
MODES:

Making a return to Smash are the classic and all-star modes. All-star mode, for those unfamiliar, tasks you with knocking out the entire roster in various increments of gradually increasing difficulty. I love how they have chosen to create the order of who you must face in all-star mode; you must face each character in the order of which they make their gaming debut. This means you’ll be going from the early 80’s (Pac-man and Mario, among others) all the way to the present day, where you’ll face off against newer characters such as the Wii fit trainer. This does remove some of the randomness of the all-star mode of the past, where your opponents were literally random, but I’ll excuse this in favour of an awesome retrospective battle royale.

Classic mode has been much improved, allowing you for the first time ever to view the path to your battles from an overworld view, even letting you choose your own path depending on which difficulty you’re feeling like playing. I won’t spoil anything here, but the final boss of classic mode is definitely the coolest (and toughest) fight in the history of classic mode Smash Bros., especially on very high level difficulties.

The new and exclusive mode for the 3DS is known as Smash Run, and at the time of writing this review… I don’t like it. While I really enjoy seeing and beating up a bunch of familiar Nintendo characters and enemies instead of the fabricated Primids of Brawl, the mode lacked a certain substance for me.

You have five minutes to beat up and power up from the enemies, while competing with three other players, computer or human if you try online. Although these power-ups can get quite chaotic, as they increase your character’s speed, jumping ability, attack, defense, and special, I always preferred the physics and balance of the stock variants of fighters. Maybe it’s just a testament to how well Nintendo nailed the gameplay, but I’m not a fan of the over-the-top power up system in Smash Run.

If you’ve ever played the Subspace Emissary from Brawl, think of that one labyrinth stage near the very end of the game, but on steroids due to the power-ups, with a five minute timer, random challenge rooms, and you’ve got smash run. Anyone who’s played Subspace Emissary will know what I’m talking about and may even cringe recollecting it; it was not for everyone.

It’s not completely like the labyrinth level from Subspace, however, as after you’ve finished beating up and powering up from various Nintendo enemies, you’re tasked with an objective, such as destroying crystals or fighting the three players you were in the game with. Not only have you been collecting power ups boosting your stats, but the other three fighters have been doing so too! The final fight, if you get a fight that is, plays out mostly like a crazy version of special melee from, er, Melee, where you have speed set to double, everyone has the bunny hood, and damage ratios are increased. Another complaint I have about this mode is that it’s local-play only, so anyone wishing to play Smash Run with faraway buddies will have to suck it up or make a roadtrip!

All-in-all smash run isn’t bad, but it’s definitely the weakest mode in the game in my opinion, which is a shame, due to it being the main difference that the 3DS version has over the upcoming Wii U release.

Alongside this complaint of Smash Run not being fulfilling is the blatant lack of an adventure mode. I was not expecting, nor wanting, truthfully, anything akin to Brawl’s epic Subspace Emissary, but I had expected at least something. Remember how awesome Melee’s adventure mode was? It wasn’t too long, but it wasn’t short either, and it let you run around a few locales from the game, namely the Mushroom Kingdom and a dungeon from Zelda.

Likely, this omission was due to the hardware limitations of the 3DS, but I expect a mode like this to be included in the Wii U version, especially since it lacks the smash run mode.

More modes exist in the stadium menu, such as multi-man melee from the old games. The fighting polymorphs from the series’ past have been replaced by Mii fighters, but other than that, the games play the same. There’s 100 man melee, tasking you with taking down 100 Miis in one life, and cruel melee, which pits you against the toughest possible Mii fighters, challenging you to kill even just one, to name just a few of these modes.

Also present are mini-game modes, such as Home Run Derby and Target Blast (no break the targets, board the platforms, or race to the finish, unfortunately). I’ll go more in depth into these modes later on in the replay value section.

Also new, and adapted from Kid Icarus: Uprising, also by Sakurai, is the risk and reward difficulty system. The higher difficulty you choose, the more rewards you gain. These rewards range from more coins to buy trophies, trophies themselves, equipment, and custom special moves. This is a fantastic way of managing difficulty in the game, and I hope it sticks around for future installments.
CONTROLS, GRAPHICS, AND SOUND:

The 3DS has clearly been pushed to its limits with this game. The graphics are fantastic for a portable system. Each character has an outline around them, allowing you to easily find your fighter amidst the chaos. This outline can be turned off or thickened, depending on how tough you find it to see your character. I did not find this to be a problem, even with 4 players, so I left it at the default setting.

I’ve also heard a complaint regarding the 3DS’ analog stick not being able to pull off certain moves with accuracy, but I haven’t run into any problems with this either. The controls are fully customizable, although there is no way around using the analog stick for those of you who don't like it, as taunts are always mapped to the D-pad. Like I said though, I have no problems using the 3DS' analog stick, although there's no denying that the Wii U version will have superior controls.

Many were skeptical on the series’ transition from a home console to a portable one, but rest assured, the game plays fantastically on the 3DS. The fighters all run at an impressive (for a handheld) 60 frames per second (FPS), while assist trophy characters and poke ball Pokemon run at 30 FPS. This compromise may seem a bit weird at first, but within no time you’ll get used to it.

The music included is top notch. Returning classic music from Nintendo series’ past, along with a few new compositions, make for the best 3DS game soundtrack in the whole library. Yeah I said it. How could I not though? Each franchise has an extensive amount of music and sounds dedicated to them, with even the simplest of sound effects able to produce a nostalgic feeling for any old-school gamer.

How serious was Sakurai and his team about including great music? If you know the guy, you’d know the answer is, “very serious”, but for those of you don’t, here’s a good idea on how to answer that question: You can put your 3DS in sleep mode while continuing to listen to the game’s soundtrack. Yup, your 3DS just became an oversized Nintendo iPod filled with some of the best tunes in Nintendo’s history. Obviously there are some omissions, but with a history as rich as Nintendo’s, that is to be expected.
REPLAY VALUE:

There are a plethora of activities for you to do in SSB3DS, and most of them hit it out of the park. One returning feature which I really enjoyed was the ability to take screenshots of your fights, and also, for the first time ever, the ability to save videos of your fights to an SD card! The system is intuitive and works exactly how you'd expect it to work; great design all around.

One problem that I did have with the game's replay value was the general ease in which you can unlock every character and stage. All you have to do is play 120 versus matches and you’ll have the full roster at your disposal, and a match can consist of you setting it to stock with one life, and jumping off the edge yourself.

Compared to Melee, where the characters and stages were actually difficult to unlock (Mewtwo required you to play 20 hours in versus mode!), SSB3DS is very easy. I was able to unlock every character and stage in just a few hours on the day of launch, something that may only have been possible on the N64 version before it. To me, it diminishes the sense of accomplishment you get from unlocking all these characters, but I suppose this is just a staple of newer games nowadays.

Thankfully, unlocking characters and stages is not the only thing for you to do in the metagame. Customization is huge in this game, along with the return of trophies. Trophies are collectibles which shed light on the past of Nintendo’s most famous (and random) characters. Playing most of the modes will let you unlock random trophies. Also present for unlocking trophies is a shop (currency is ingame coins; you won't find any microtransactions here), and a new mode called Trophy Rush, which tasks you with breaking open boxes looking for trophies.

This new mode won’t eat up much of your playtime though. It’s not very deep, and the only reason I could see someone playing it a lot is because it’s a great way to unlock missing trophies. Likewise, the other new mode, replacing break the targets/board the platforms/etc. is Target Blast. The best example I can give is like if you were playing Angry Birds with a sandbag instead of birds, although it’s definitely not as deep as Angry Birds. It’s fun for a while, but you won’t be spending a ton of time here either.

The Home Run Derby makes a return from the previous titles. While fun, it remains largely the same. You can still hit a boss drive by using Yoshi’s down aerial A move over and over, for those of you remembering unlocking the Yoshi’s Story stage in Melee. Some challenges require you to hit the sandbag long distances, so remember that tip. And if a better way of racking up damage on the sandbag is out there, let me know about it in the comments!

Rest assured though, this game is massive, despite some shortcomings with a few modes, and will offer endless replayability to nearly every type of gamer. I've put in roughly 20 hours into it since release, and still play it every night. Collecting trophies, customizing characters, and just general smashing with your friends will take over your life. You've been warned!

As previously alluded to, character customization plays a huge role in this game. You can collect equipment that modifies a character’s attack, defense, and/or speed, with some actually giving you a special ability, such as giving your character a gravitational pull for smash balls.

This customization is a very welcome addition to Smash, and will keep the game fresh for many years to come. Not only does unlocking the special custom moves for each character take a long time, but it also takes a while to nail down exactly which special moves suit your character and your playstyle best. Although these custom moves are just slight variants on the already existing special moves, they provide lots of fun and variation to the classic Smash Bros. gameplay.

Custom characters, equipment and all, can be played in versus mode and online with friends, but to encourage a fair and competitive environment, they are banned in the competitive online mode, “For Glory!”.
ONLINE:

How is the online play you ask? Well, in my playtime with it, I experienced very little lag. When I did encounter lag, I also encountered someone from Japan, so I’ll chalk up any connection issues to distance.

Online play, as expected, is much improved from the lagfest that was Brawl, where I couldn’t even play a full match with someone in my town. The separation of competitive and casual is a great idea, and should be standard in competitive fighters such as Smash, in my opinion.

As good as the CPU A.I. is in the solo game, nothing compares to playing against real players. I’m happy Nintendo has been embracing online for the past while, taking off various restrictions such as ingame friend codes. Now, you only need to add a player to your 3DS friends list, and you can play with them. I might be persuaded to give out my FC if anyone is interested in challenging me!
THE VERDICT:

Super Smash Bros. 3DS is an immensely satisfying brawler sure to ruin many friendships in the future generations to come. Its addicting core gameplay has been improved and is better than ever, held down only by a few questionable characters taking roster spots, and the lackluster Smash Run mode. Every 3DS owner should absolutely own this fantastic title. The hype is real.
PROS:
  • Biggest roster of characters in a Smash game to date - 49!
  • Large amount of fun stages, from the new to the old school
  • Trophies are back and as addicting to collect as ever
  • Extensive customization options to collect for each character
  • The Smash you know and love; you'll be playing this one for hours and hours solo and/or with friends!

CONS:
  • Roster spots taken up by clones
  • Lackluster Smash Run mode in place of an adventure mode
  • Characters and stages are too easy to unlock
  • Lack of an option to set item spawn frequency

FINAL SCORE: 9/10
Let me know what you think about Smash Bros. on 3DS in the comments!
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<![CDATA[Super Smash Bros. 3DS Preview]]>Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:01:48 GMThttp://goodtimegames.ca/gamers-blog/super-smash-bros-3ds-preview
By Curtis Walker

Release Date:
October 3rd, 2014

Current price at Good Time Games (at time of publication): 44.99$

The next installment of Nintendo’s widely acclaimed fighter featuring their all-stars, mascots, and even some old rivals, finally releases on their portable console this Friday. Super Smash Bros. on 3DS emphasizes competitive play, while also leaving ample room for the casual gamer to have a smashing good time. Today we’ll preview the demo, available to all 3DS owners now on the Nintendo e-shop, while also looking ahead to the final product.

Let’s start this preview with a confession. Since the Smash Bros. 3DS demo’s release two Fridays ago, I’ve put in, at the very least, 6 full hours into it. That’s an absolutely staggering amount of time sank into just a demo of a game, especially considering it only contains a tiny fraction of the characters and stages which will be featured in the full release. 

Naturally, I’m a huge Super Smash Bros. fan, and have played many, many hours of each installment since its beginnings on N64. But you don’t have to be a hardcore Smash fan to find hours of enjoyment in this demo, because the amount of time and love Nintendo put into crafting this game is immediately apparent from the moment you boot it up. Here’s why you should be excited for the full game.

The first thing a veteran Smash player will notice in-game is that the speed of the fighting has increased. To some, Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii felt too slow and unbalanced for competitive play, along with a few other annoyances (I’m looking at you, random tripping). Players who had these issues with Brawl will immediately see that Nintendo has done away with them, creating a new Smash that feels much more like Melee did on the Gamecube. 

Fighters move and act about as fast as they did in Melee, which, speaking as a lifelong Smash fan, is a very good thing. Overpowered fighters from Brawl, such as Meta Knight, have been rebalanced to allow for competitive players to once again thrive in the Smash community.

The question on everyone’s mind is, “How does the 3DS handle Smash, wasn’t it made to be played on TVs?” It actually handles things quite well, allowing you to clearly see the fighters by outlining them in black. Even in four player matches with items on when the camera zooms out, I was still able to follow my character. 

The 3DS version boasts a very smooth frame rate of 60 FPS, which is almost unheard of on a portable console when considering the magnitude of this game. Albeit, some concessions had to be made, such as assist trophy characters running at 30 FPS, but it is still a remarkable feat considering the hardware limitations.

So what’s included in the demo? You get five characters, each with alternate skins or forms, one stage with two variants, two pieces of music, along with a healthy selection of items, assist trophies, and poke ball Pokemon. 

You’re only able to set up two minute standard versus matches in the demo, but a very pleasant surprise is the ability to try out local multiplayer with another person who has the demo downloaded. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test this out for myself, but I will be trying online matches for the full review once the final version is out. Also worth mentioning is that you can set the computer to nine varying degrees of difficulty, allowing players of all skill levels to join in on the fun.

Three of the playable characters are returning favourites, Mario, Link, and Pikachu, while the other 2 are newcomers, Mega Man and a villager from Animal Crossing. The returning characters have been slightly tweaked in favour of a more balanced competitive scene, but remain largely the same as their Brawl counterparts on Wii. 

The highlights, villager and Megaman, have been lovingly recreated to fit perfectly into the Smash Bros. universe. The villager in particular has been so well designed that his normally passive activities in Animal Crossing, such as growing trees, lighting fireworks, heck, even using his/her inventory system, seem right at home here. Believe it or not, the usually peaceful villager has no shortage of special moves and combos he/she is ready to unleash on the rest of the Smash cast. 

With the addition of alternate forms instead of just skins for a few different fighters, you’re able to play as both a male and female villager. While none of the other characters in the demo have alternate forms, other fighters in the full version will have alts, such as the Wii Fit trainer and Captain Olimar.

The only stage available in the demo is Battlefield, which should be a familiar name for Smash veterans, but new for this installment are the omega stage variants. This ingenious feature removes all stage hazards and platforms, essentially making a stage a flat plane, and will be available for every stage in the full version of the game. This means you won’t have to constantly play on Final Destination to achieve a balanced, tournament level of competitiveness, and that’s fantastic. 

For now, choosing the omega variant is the only way to turn off items in the demo (the true way to play competitively), but you can bet that the retail version will give you a full item select just like the previous installments.

There are many new items included in the demo, all originating from Nintendo franchises or classic games. My favourite new addition is the Boss Galaga ship from the classic arcade game of the same name, Galaga. Use it, and watch as he tries to beam your enemies up and off the screen for the KO! 

Many of the new items are one hit kill items, which may turn some people off, but they are either easily avoided or are able to be defeated with a few hits (like Boss Galaga). You can always turn off individual items in the item select in the full version of the game. The real highlight in the items department are the assist trophies.

For those of you who missed Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii, assist trophies are a form of item that summons a classic video game character from Nintendo’s past into the fray to help you KO your opponents. Present in the demo are absolutely awesome assist trophies, including Ghirahim from LoZ: Skyward Sword, the fearsome Mother Brain from the Metroid series, and Elec Man from the Mega Man series, among others. You can even summon two paddles that play a game of Pong, complete with a score on the top of the screen, KOing any unlucky combatant caught in their retro crossfire!

I am very happy to report that there will be many more assist trophy characters and poke ball Pokemon included in the full version of the game that didn’t find their way into the demo, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen your favourite assist trophy or Pokemon yet!

Another returning element from Brawl are the final smashes. Basically, a ball with the Smash Bros. logo will appear onscreen periodically, and whoever can land the final hit on it breaks it and gains their fighter’s final smash. Activate it by pushing your special move button, and watch the fireworks fly. 

Each fighter has a unique final smash for themselves, with some requiring you to be right next to your target, and others able to effectively hit all enemies at once, among other variants. Make sure to experiment with every character’s final smash, especially the villager’s; that’s my favourite from the demo!

I can’t write this preview and not mention the superb music and sound; it would be a crime against humanity. Not only are the two tracks you get for the Battlefield stage great (one is Melee’s menu music, it will bring you back), but the sound design for each character and item is phenomenal. Nintendo and video game enthusiasts will have their ears rewarded with faithful recreations of classic sound effects and music spanning multiple decades. 

From the noise the villager makes when he suddenly halts his sprint, to the Wrecking Crew music that plays when you snag a golden hammer, there’s something for the video game Mozart in all of us. Also, the full version will let you play any music from the game you want while your 3DS is in sleep mode, showing you just how serious the developers are about including awesome music in the game.

The full 3DS version contains all 49 characters present in the upcoming Wii U version launching this Holiday season, which is another insane accomplishment. (Note: not all 49 characters are present on the character select screen, some must be unlocked) The 3DS version differentiates itself by having stages prominently featured in portable games, whereas the Wii U version will predictably contain stages mainly from console games.


The 3DS version will also include an exclusive mode called Smash Run, which tasks players with defeating recognizable enemies in a time limit while powering up to defeat a boss at the end. 


Another massive new feature of this installment of Smash not present in the demo is character customization, which will allow you to choose variations on each character’s special attacks to your liking, as well as use stat boosting equipment for your characters. This feature will be present in both versions. 

If you’re a 3DS owner who hasn’t yet downloaded the Smash Bros. demo, what are you waiting for? Even casual Nintendo fans will find something to love here, with multiple skins or alternate costumes for each character, amazing new and retro music, and some of the best gameplay in Super Smash Bros. history. And that’s just with five characters and one stage. Are you excited for the full game yet?

Make sure you make it out to the Good Time Games midnight release of Super Smash Bros. 3DS this Friday, October 3rd! Doors will be open at 12:05AM. Remember, it’s not too late to pre-order your copy! There will be extra copies available for those who missed out on pre-ordering.

Not only will we be holding a midnight launch for Smash Bros. 3DS, but also a tournament! We’ll give you this Friday to practice your skills, but come Saturday, October 4th at 2 PM, it’s on. Check any grudges you might have at the door and #SettleItInSmash!

Please leave a comment or suggestion below and I'll be happy to get back to you as soon as I'm able. A full review will be out very soon, so stay tuned!


NOTE: Articles in the very near future will be incorporating pictures and even videos into them for your viewing pleasure!

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