Take 1 part established series, 1 part gameplay type, mix together with colourful graphics and Nintendo charm, and you get Hyrule Warriors. It’s always interesting to see game series take a new approach – Fallout 1+2 to 3 and GTA 1+2 to 3 immediately come to mind as standout examples of how developers can completely change the way a game is played and still stand up to the high standards set by previous games in the series.

Thinking of Sonic, Mario and Zelda, we also see some “hit or miss” examples, games where the series branches out into something new and different and is a smash success, and times when it’s a miserable pile of poo. The early reviews of Hyrule Warriors seems to indicate a middle-of-the-road affair for Link’s latest, but we’ll see later this week when it launches.

What other series have planned out expansions that have panned out? Or, which ones have missed the mark compared to the “originals”?

Friday, 4:38 pm – Gavin

News of this controller has been out for ages.  The rationale I’ve heard for why they released this controller is that Melee is the SSB of choice for the fighting game community and is still widely played at tournaments like EVO, so this is to pander to the enormous community that plays this competitively, so that they can shift attention to the current generation and shift units – demonstrate support for a community and they’re more likely to invest.

Of course, you don’t need to buy this controller in order to play it – it works just fine with the Gamepad and the Wii U Pro Controller, and the box in the picture below is the game + controller bundle – you can buy the game on its own.    The Gamecube controller is just an option for those who like to use it, as they’re trying to establish SSBU as the new competitive title, and they know the easiest way to do that is to allow a control scheme that the community is used to.  It’s just an optional extra that doesn’t add additional functionality unavailable elsewhere.

The Gamepad certainly is used though, as it allows for off-screen play and for the use of the Amiibo figurines, in which Nintendo appears to be investing with fairly serious intent.  It doesn’t have touch-screen functionality during active game-play, but that’s entirely sensible – SSB is such a twitchy, all-hands-on-deck game that taking your eyes off the screen to look at the controller is a quick way to lose the game, and Nintendo recognized that.  Better that than shoehorning in touch-screen controls where they aren’t necessary.

The other thing to consider is local multiplayer.  If you require the use of touch-screen controls, then you’re either relinquishing this title to asymmetric gameplay, which would be a death sentence, or you’re requiring the use of multiple Gamepads, which isn’t a reasonable requirement for obvious reasons.

They haven’t announced development of a Metroid title yet, but that’s not any big surprise.  Metroid is not and has never been a big seller on any system.  Zelda Wind Waker HD made good use of the tablet, and Zelda U, which is in development, has only released a teaser trailer – certainly it will make at least similar use of the touch-screen interface.

Lots of titles use the Gamepad in an intuitive and useful fashion.  Even as a simple map and inventory interface, it’s extremely valuable at cleaning up the UI on the big-screen.  Once you spend some time with the controller, it will make considerably more sense to you.

Friday, 1:21 pm – matt

im sorry but when it comes to the Wii-U, I have a hard time accepting the controller they made. things like this further prove my point that the tab-troller was just a BAD idea, they are going back to releaseing the GameCube controller for Super Smash Brothers.


And honestly Gavin, I don’t want to hear :the GameCube controller is regarded as THE go to option for Super Smash Brother fans” because frankly that controller was one the best ever created, topped only by the Wavebird version. this is not a matter of “the gamecube is best suited for this game” its a matter of “the gamepad we made is not suited for this game, so we went back to 2001”. Nintendo had a great controller and they decided to go clockwork orange on the design and come up the wii. Super Smash Brother fans went happy then so rather than tailoring the next controller to it, they went even more batshit crazy and realizing maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Because frankly as great as Metroid would be I havent seen a single screen shot. it would be cool to use it for Zelda, but again – havent seen a thing. The Wii-U finally has very few system sellers, but Smahs Brothers should be a HUGE one for them and its not even utilizing the tablet…

C’mon Nintendo.

Friday, 10:34 am – matt

I have to say, Im still a sucker for the original Metroid game. I remember not only playing it on the NES, but also the r-release on the GBA when my dad bought it for me while playing sick from school. I still can’t get over the original patch of sound when you first land on the planet. the omission of the map certainly makes it difficult to navigate, and you’re right it probably was the last blending of the physical world with videogames in making your own map, but.. I still like it.

That being said going back in full colour after the Space pirates take it over is also freaking awesome…

Thursday, 1:44 pm – Gavin

Well, I finally beat the original Metroid this morning on the train into work.  Having played, analyzed, and fully understood the vastly superior Super Metroid, it was tough to truly appreciate Metroid on its own merits.  I admire the game, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just feel like I was going through the motions at some points.  The difference in quality between Metroid 1 and Super Metroid (yes, I know it was eight years later) is fundamentally insane.

The lack of a map system is what ultimately made this game not as enjoyable as it should have been.  I know that this was still in the era of “draw your own map on a notepad”, and I suppose we’re spoiled by not needing to do that anymore, but nonetheless, its absence was detrimental to the game.

The most impressive thing for me was seeing all of the references from Super Metroid.  In SM, you go back to the planet you visited in Metroid.  You revisit old areas that have been remastered and made more detailed, but you access them through different doors and in different orders, as space pirates have landed on the planet, have taken it over, and are rebuilding it.  Going through the old final boss level at the start of SM has a new meaning for me, as does going through the old starting area, which still retains some of its tricks and hiding spots.

I’m not certain that I would recommend it to someone if they’ve already played Super Metroid beyond telling them to watch someone else play it.  I’m glad I played it as I believe that it’s an important game, but that’s just it – it’s much more “important” than it is “good”, in that I’ve played the vastly superior Super.  If the first platforming game you played was Super Mario Bros 3 or Super Mario World, then the original Super Mario Bros won’t have as much of an impact on you as it did on others for whom that was the contemporary.  Same with the original Legend of Zelda for those who played Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time first.

Anyway, time to move on to whatever the next challenge is.  Super Mario 3D Land?  Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D?  I don’t know, but we’ll see!

Wednesday, 3:47 pm – Gavin

This would be the fourth iteration of the (x)DS (3DS, 3DSXL, 2DS), and the seventh iteration of the *DS lineup, behind the DS, DSi, and DSlite.

I’m frustrated by this piece of hardware, because this is clearly what the hardware should have been from day one.  The (x)DS software lineup is immense, but there’s still a dearth of conventional North American “AAA” support, which typically depends on dual-analogue.  Ubisoft tried to emulate this for Splinter Cell 3DS by taking advantage of the touch-screen to a significant degree, using the left analogue stick for movement and the right four buttons to simulate up-down-left-right camera movement.  Spoiler alert: it was terrible.  If you look at the Vita, which admittedly is in the graveyard of handheld devices that tried to compete with Nintendo, you at least saw entries from Assassin’s Creed, Borderlands, Call of Duty, FIFA, God of War, Metal Gear Solid, MLB The Show, Ninja Gaiden, Silent Hill, and Uncharted.  None of those entries exist on the 3DS, and given the sales of the system, I have to imagine that the control scheme is a significant contributing factor to their absence.

It’s nice hearing positive news about Destiny!  I don’t know much about it but my Twitter feed has, of course, blown up, with many people seemingly disappointed that it didn’t reach the highest highs that we hoped it would.  It has shipped a huge amount though, so no doubt it will make its money back and then a significant amount more.

Bad news re Mass Effect 3, I started the Citadel DLC early and it glitched out on me, I lost my save, and I have to go back four hours to my previous one.  Womp womp.  Back to the drawing board.  It’s OK though, because what I’d seen to that point was extremely well-written and remarkably funny.  Apparently I’m supposed to wait until much further in the game to play it, so that’s good – must have just been a mild bug.

Wednesday, 10:02 am – Ricky

The new 3DS and 3DS XL has a release date! This November, we’ll get to see Nintendo’s top-selling console in it’s 3rd (? 4th?) iteration. There are some great games for the system, but I just don’t see myself taking advantage of it the way you do, Gavin. I barely touch my Vita these days… [EDIT: Just read that this is the release date for Australia only – Europe and the Americas will see the new system in 2015]

That said, I’ve had a great “gaming” week so far – I’ve played three different (VERY different) games, and I’ve really enjoyed each session I’ve played.

– Wasteland 2: I backed this game a couple of years ago on Kickstarter, and haven’t really paid attention to it throughout development. I’ve also never played Wasteland 1, nor did I ever really get into Fallout 1 or 2, which proceeded Wasteland 1.

Boy, am I loving this game. It’s turn-based and beautiful to look at, plus the story and world gripped me right off the bat. I’ve dropped nearly 4 hours into it and I’m still on the “first” mission! I can’t say that I see myself ever finishing this game, but I’ll surely enjoy the time that I’ll spend with it.

– Destiny: My god, Destiny. THIS is a video game. THIS is a space opera. THIS is the Halo/Mass Effect/MMO I’ve always wanted. I’ve been absolutely devouring the story and multiplayer content for this game since I came back from vacation.

I’m ready to give myself over to Destiny for the remainder of the year, but I know that won’t happen – eventually, I’ll hit a peak and my character progress will be stunted until I can grind up my levels/gear. It’s the MMO hook, and I just don’t have the time for that kind of thing. Still, as it stands right now, I see myself playing this game for a while and loving every minute of it.

– Madden 15: And now for something completely different. I haven’t purchased a Madden game since 2011, and even then, I think I picked it up used and barely played it (Albert had it and I wanted to play him… as usual, that never happened). So of course, Madden 15 feels like a huge leap to me – the graphics are incredible, the animation is smooth and the presentation is all top-notch. Stadiums and crowds, two oft ignored elements in sports games, both look and sound incredible. I think this will be my sports game for the year, despite the very positive reviews FIFA 15 is receiving this week.

Monday, 2:24 pm – Gavin

Hyrule Warriors is more of an experiment than anything else.  As soon as it was first announced, the Nintendo folks said that it wasn’t the next “true” Zelda game, and that we’d see one.  At the last E3, we saw the first teaser trailer for Zelda U.

I’m not surprised that it has received middling reviews.  Dynasty Warriors hasn’t had a well-received game in the series in their last four attempts at it.  They sell well, but they typically aren’t reviewed well.  I certainly hope that Nintendo and Tecmo Koei weren’t expecting anything different.

If we’re just talking graphical shifts along the lines of GTA, then the difference between the entire Super Mario Bros. series to that point and Super Mario 64 is insane.  The degree of influence that SM64 had over platforming and third-person games in general is nuts.  The difference between GTA 3 and GTA 1 and 2 is really just perspective – they’re fundamentally the same types of games with the same types of missions; it’s just a matter of graphical fidelity.  Same type of thing with Super Metroid and Metroid Prime – it’s different, but it’s really just the natural evolution of that genre.

The most radical attempt I can recall at breaking form is Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball, which is just the dumbest idea I can imagine.  From fighting game to bouncing breasts sports game, this was a horribly cynical attempt at branching out, and the fact that it didn’t bankrupt Tecmo saddens me dearly.

King’s Quest VIII, which only exists for the purpose of this comparison and otherwise has been banished from the annals of history, was a miserable attempt at bringing the whimsical magic of the point-and-click adventure game into the first-person perspective.  Everything about this game was different – it lost the charm, the bright colours, the fun plot, everything.  It was a drab and dreary first-person medieval affair with terrible graphical fidelity, woeful voice acting, and poor production values.  They tried to turn it into a first-person action-adventure game, and it was just a hateful game.

When does it work?  When it’s completely unexpected.  I’m not counting Spec Ops: The Line here, because that’s just using an old IP name – there’s nothing familiar between The Line and Airborne Commando.  Plus, it can’t just be a natural evolution.  It has to be off the wall, taking something out of its element.  Nintendo is good at this – matt already mentioned Smash and Kart, but there’s also Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario, Party, NintendoLand, and Strikers, all of which were received well.  Has any other company come close to that kind of crossover success?

Anyway, I’m continuing to slog through Mass Effect 3, and it’s good, though I see issues that I didn’t have in ME2. You can collect optional missions that you can’t actually start at the same time, which is infinitely annoying – I have all of these quests still waiting for me and I don’t know when I’ll be able to do them, because Bioware is notorious for locking out side-quests once you pass a certain point.  I’m about 20 hours in or so, generally enjoying it despite its flaws.  Lots of glitches on my PC version though, lots of clipping and characters not standing where they’re supposed to, but nothing I can’t handle.

I’m also playing the original Metroid on 3DS.  I got it for free through Club Nintendo.  It’s not a bad game, but it’s extremely apparent just how much better Super Metroid is.  Movement is more difficult in this, the flow of the world is poorer, and there’s all kinds of backtracking required.  There’s no map function either, so you have to keep track through other means.  Still, as genesis of the series, it’s important to play, and it’s fun to see how much better it’s gotten.  I’ll probably never go back to it once I’m done with it, but I do respect it, even if it’s not as much fun as I’d hoped.  I can see how this game didn’t sell well though – it’s remarkably unintuitive at parts.  Super Metroid resolved that with the X-ray scope, but this one just relies on trial and error.

Monday, 1:15 pm – matt

interesting topic, and for one I had no idea this Hyrule Warriors even existed. somehow I doubt this was the Zelda game wii-u owners have been holding out for. game franchises tend to stall after a few years and inject new gameplay elements to freshen things up but for the most part they stay to the course that’s been laid out. I can think of a bunch of big game franchises that release mini IOS games, but a whole new game based on a established franchise?

I can think of a few;
Super Mario and Sonic Olympic games
The Final Fanstasy fighting game franchise
Super Smash Brothers for the win
Any Kart version of a game (Crash, LBP, Mario)
Starfox RPG

Monday, 8:42 am – Ricky

Albert and I chatted briefly last night about planning out our Extra Life game day on October 25th. You can donate to Team Gamentary here, or sign-up and play with us! I’ll probably take some time this week to through out some games I’d like to play, so feel free to do the same!