By Jeff Neuenschwander / January 25th, 2013
Finishing up the flagship consoles, we have the 3DS — as it finished its second year on the market — and the Vita — as it made its debut this past year. Though it seems like the 3DS will leave the Vita in its dust (similar to the DS with the PSP), we would still like to see both succeed and have a good old fashion business melee, akin to the console wars of Nintendo and Sega. To discuss these in more depth, here is editor Will Whitehurst for the 3DS and manager Crystal Baltimore for the Vita.
|BEST 3DS GAME|
WILL: To say that 2011’s launch of Nintendo’s latest flagship handheld was botched would be an understatement, especially after its predecessor’s sheer success. Good things come to those who wait, however, and the 3DS’ offerings in 2012 were so varied, it was certainly a struggle for the oprainfall staff to crown this award, much less pick five nominees. In the end, however, here they are:
Atlus USA turned heads when, at E3 2012, they announced a localization of this inventive side-scrolling hack-and-slash by former members of famed developer Treasure. Princess Solange, a heroine who redefines the term “scantily clad” with her self-described “Royal Gown,” is but one of fifty-plus playable characters featured in Code of Princess. And the fun doesn’t stop there, with RPG-style level progression, a fantastic soundtrack by ACE+ (of Xenoblade fame), and very effective use of 3D, with environments that work on several different planes. Add a dash of self-deprecating humor and online play to this mix of delicious fighting ingredients, and this game makes waiting for the new Super Smash Bros. just a little less harder.
The 3DS eShop’s offerings were as eclectic as ever this year, but this clever augmented reality RPG is one worth noting. The basic premise — capturing little men from the world around you via Wi-Fi signals — is one part Katamari, one part Pikmin and one part Treasure Park, albeit with cameras. But developer Genius Sonority has added an engaging dungeon crawler element to the game, where your Denpa Men fight off a host of baddies with their color-based skills. In the end, this is one bizarre eShop game that is not to be missed.
This shooter revival of a classic NES franchise, first revealed alongside the 3DS at E3 2010, was originally planned for the 3DS launch window. But director Masahiro Sakurai’s notorious perfectionism ended up giving Kid Icarus: Uprising an early 2012 release. However, it was worth the wait. While the odd control scheme spawned a plastic 3DS stand and numerous Internet arguments, Sakurai’s magic touch was in full force. Not only is Kid Icarus a prime showpiece for the 3DS, with nearly every feature of the system from augmented reality to SpotPass coming into play at some point, it also sports unique visuals and 3D, thrilling music, a hilarious script, great multiplayer, and an absolutely insane amount of unlockable content.
Already nominated for Best Downloadable Game and Best Gameplay, Renegade Kid’s old-school throwback has taken notice from us here at oprainfall. After having played the PC and iOS versions, we can safely say that the 3DS version is the way to go for this retro platformer, at least until Mutant Mudds Deluxe hits the Wii U eShop soon. In Mutant Mudds, Max jumps between foreground and background quite regularly in order to take out alien Mudds from every corner, and the 2D planes on this game’s other versions don’t have nearly as much depth in that regard. $8.99 is not much to pay for such a fun little title.
Eat your heart out, Resident Evil fans. After the much-loathed Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Capcom unveiled what is arguably the best third-party 3DS title in the system’s short history. The visuals, pumped out by a mobile version of Capcom’s MT Framework engine, are close to HD home console quality, but this game is far from another pretty face. In fact, it’s actually a fairly ugly one, especially with regard to scare tactics. Revelations eschews the shooter-lite gameplay of 5 and 6, opting instead for a more traditional survival horror experience – and succeeding remarkably. “Revelations” notwithstanding, it’s not hard to see why Capcom has also decided to let home console owners in on this terrifying game.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Kid Icarus: Uprising.
Nearly three years ago, Pit told fans “Sorry to keep you waiting!” in this game’s debut trailer. Well, at oprainfall we can proudly say, “Apology accepted.” Very few forgotten franchises have been revived in a glorious fashion such as this, and the heart (for lack of a better word) throughout this game far outweighs any complaints about the controls. Also, how many games reference Nintendo’s history, break the fourth wall and joke about the economy?
JEFF: Before we move on, I just want to inject a
performance by the Electric Light Orchestra Medusa joke with this song, Turn to Stone. Let’s continue.
|BEST PS VITA GAME|
CRYSTAL: Welcome to the Vita section of the oprainfall Awards. It was a stiff competition as the Vita had some great games released on it. We talked, we laughed and we debated over the games and finally narrowed it down for you all, our readers.
THE NOMINEES ARE…
To begin with, you must create your character. Create your character you will, as the game gives you ample choices. You can be a male or female, and then you customize the character with each and every option being available right down to the color of your clothes.
Aside from the great character creation and nifty outfits, what sets this game apart and makes it worthy of even a nomination in our awards? Everything! The game offers interesting maps in which you fight, a plethora of enemies all with drastically different designs, and boss battles for the ages. The game follows a simple quest style where you go to the counter, choose your mission, get prepared, and jump right in. The town you’re in gives you access to a tavern where you can find multiplayer games as well as several shops that allow you to upgrade your weapons or buy new ones. You can also buy new outfits here as well as change your look.
Gameplay is fun, fast paced, and almost never irritating. As long as you set your character up properly, you will be able to get through the stages and boss battles without wanting to throw the Vita. Grab a copy and join us all as we battle the giants and save the world!
Persona 4: Golden takes place in a small Japanese town, Inaba, where a strange series of unexplained murders have taken place. A small group of high school students soon discover a fog covered world in the oddest of places, their television set. You live out the daily life of the main character (you name him) and build your social links up with other characters throughout the game. Each social link that you strengthen will give you better attributes to your persona, which you use to fight in the dungeons that lurk deep in your TV. As you traverse these dungeons and unfold the mysteries of who is behind the murders you are also living a normal daily life. With so many choices and fun things to do in this version of the game, why wouldn’t we pick it as a nominee?
- Gravity Rush
What? I can control gravity? Suhhweet! From its fun gameplay to its cel-shaded graphics, you really can’t go wrong with this game. Gravity Rush is another example of taking home console games and giving them a fine tune to allow for total fun on the Vita, while not taking away from the story or the depth.
You play in the floating town of Hekseville as Kat, a girl who has lost her memory. Kat runs into a mysterious black cat who gives her the ability to control gravity? Why does the cat do this? I don’t know, go play the game and find out. Once Kat has her ability, she can fly through the air, walk on walls, and pull off some pretty kick-ass kicks.
Gravity Rush boasts wide-open worlds for you to explore and lots of places to try out your new cool ability to control gravity. You can level up, play through side quests, and for added bonus they throw in some optional bad guys to fight. A game truly worthy of a nomination in our PlayStation Vita category, indeed.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 – Golden
Why is this game not just on our list but the winner? Well because, in short, it’s awesome. Murder, friendships and the midnight channel, what else could you ask for out of a game? With P4G, you get this and so much more. Those of us that played the original game had already come to expect something spectacular. And with the Vita’s enhanced, added to, and totally awesome version, we got our money’s worth.
3DSCode of PrincessDust: An Elysian TailFEZForza HorizonFrog FractionsFTL: Faster Than LightGame of the YearGravity RushGuild Wars 2Halo 4Hotline MiamijourneyKid Icarus UprisingMutant MuddsNew Super Mario Bros. UNintendo Landpapo & yoPersona 4 ArenaPersona 4 GoldenPS VitaPS3Ragnarok OdysseyResident Evil: RevelationsSpec Ops: The LineTales of Graces fThe Denpa Men: They Came by WaveThe Walking DeadTorchlight 2Wii UXbox 360XCOM: Enemy UnknownYakuza: Dead SoulsZero Escape: Virtue's Last RewardsZombiU