A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.
That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.
As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.
As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.
On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.
So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.
If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.
With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?
￼Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.
Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme
On September 13 there was a Nintendo Direct. A rather long one, standing strong at 45 minutes worth of information regarding games of all shapes and sizes. Because of life being life I didn’t have the chance to talk about my thoughts regarding the Direct, but there was plenty of great stuff there. The new Kirby game looks really, really fun, as do the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake, Fire Emblem Warriors and Mario Odyssey. Plus there’s plenty of updates coming for games like Splatoon 2, ARMS and Breath of the Wild on top of some interesting ports for games like DOOM, Sonic Forces and a remake of L.A. Noire.
One thing the Direct also addressed was Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon, and there were some interesting information dropped that I sort of regret not delving into. Necrozma’s role in the games was elaborated on a bit more, there was a new Z-Move for Lycanroc shown off that varies depending on which Lycanroc you have and they even told us that new Ultra Beasts will join the line-up of available Pokémon.
After all, now isn’t the time to be slogged down in old-new information, we have some new-new information to discuss! I mostly wanted to include that introduction as a filler for the gap in my informative timeline, as today I’m looking to talk about the brand new informational trailer that was released for the world to enjoy.
As usual, I’ll be holding my long-winded discussion below this read more line in case anyone’s looking to not get spoiled on Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon information. That may be counter-intuitive since I just spoiled the entirety of the last trailer right above this, but… That was a few weeks ago. I guess.
I’ve spent most of the day out in Fullerton covering a Project Rebound event for a story I’ll be publishing in the Daily Titan’s first issue insert on Monday. The event started at 9 a.m. so I had to get up pretty early to drive out, and then devote plenty of time to covering what was happening.
Frankly, I’m pretty tired after finishing it all and could use a bit of a break before jumping into more interview transcription. I’ve probably transcribed close to 2 and a half hours with of speech in the last couple of days so I’m a bit burned out on it.
Luckily, Pokémon has me covered in the quick distraction department.
The reveal of Lycanroc’s Dusk Form earlier this month was the first really substantial piece of information we learned regarding the upcoming releases of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. However, more new information was apparently dropped during the Opening Ceremony for the 2017 Pokémon World Championships today.
And you know I’m all over talking about anything and everything Pokémon.
So if you’re anything like me and down to put the upcoming semester’s work down for a bit, let’s journey into some new business regarding our second venture into Alola.
It’s that time once again, ladies and gentlemen. With a brand new Pokémon Direct this morning comes a brand new reason to get hyped up for the holiday season!
While the Direct itself is only about 8 minutes long, with half of that time filled up by a rather long trailer, there are still three main announcements to pull out: Pokkén Tournament DX for the Switch, Pokémon Gold and Silver coming out on the 3DS virtual console and (most importantly to me) Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon being announced for the 3DS, coming out later this year.
Oh yeah, that’s right. A new(ish) Pokémon game to look forward to again. What a time to be alive.
But I’ll get to that last, as it’ll likely be the longest thing I talk about. For now, let’s go in order and start off with Pokkén.
Pokkén Tournament DX
I’ll get this out of the way first – I have not personally had the chance to play the original Pokkén Tournament. Despite certainly being interested in the game, for some reason circumstances have led to it flying completely under my radar. I never bought the game and neither did any of my close friends, so we never got to experience it together either.
That being said, I won’t be able to judge whether or not I think the game will mesh well with the Nintendo Switch. However, I can say that based on my experiences playing Breath of the Wild and seeing the variety of play style options showcased on the trailer shown during the direct that it seems like the fighting game will work well on the home/mobile hybrid console.
Especially considering you can split the joy cons up to use as controllers for two people, making it pretty accessible to play with friends. That’s a nice looking addition.
Due to my lack of experience with the game, that’s all I can really say about it at the moment. I’m looking forward to hopefully making use of this second chance to try it out, and the additional fighters being added into the console version certainly help with encouragement. I’d main Decidueye all day, every day for… Well obvious reasons for anyone who has followed my blog for any stretch of time.
Alongside Decidueye, the addition of Darkrai, Scizor, Empoleon and Croagunk brings the playable roster up to 21 Pokémon, with a pretty diverse range considering all the options that are available.
The game is coming out on September 22, 2017, so look out for that. I know I will be.
Pokémon Gold and Silver
Okay to be honest, there isn’t a hell of a lot to say here – not from me personally, but just from what was announced in general. Pokémon Gold and Silver will be available on the 3DS virtual console on September 22, 2017, the same day as the new Pokkén Tournament is being released. According to Sun and Moon’s Producer Junichi Masuda in the Direct, the games will look as they did on the Gameboy Color and be compatible with Pokémon Bank, so everyone will get to take their Red Gyarados from the Lake of Rage with them into the Alola region. Pretty sweet.
While this announcement is cool, I’ll admit it seems a little bit underwhelming. Not only does it simply follow the announcement of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but Gold and Silver also don’t tend to carry the same general nostalgic weight as Red, Blue and Yellow do (despite being infinitely better games in my opinion), so there doesn’t seem to be as much fanfare for them.
However, Pokémon Crystal was the first Pokémon game I ever played, so I’m honestly excited to take up any opportunity to jump back into the Johto region. In other words… Count me in for some virtual console action.
Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon
Now here’s the real bread and butter of this little 8-minute Direct, the part where it seems Game Freak and Nintendo were intent on burying the lede of their story only to tease us with something on the horizon. When I say burying the lede, I mean they dropped the fact that these games exist and are coming soon in the last few seconds of the more than three minute trailer for Pokkén Tournament DX. Nice going guys, way to drop a bomb out of nowhere.
Before I get into talking about the games specifically, check out these logos:
Which, I might add, is a theme I’ll be returning to in a minute, so hang onto that thought.
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon appear to be rehashes of Pokémon Sun and Moon with additional content. Specifically, we get to see a range of new cutscenes and are promised new Pokémon will appear in the Alola region than we saw during our last romp there. The only ones we get to see, however, are versions of Lunala and Solgaleo covered with black, crystalized parts similar in appearance to the Ultra Beast Necrozma.
From here on out, I will be referring to them as Necro-Mega Noivern and Necro-Mega Pyroar.
Okay probably not, those names are starting to get ridiculously long, but callback jokes are always appreciated in my own head at least.
Necro-Lunala and Necro-Solgaleo aren’t necessarily the most physically appealing special legendaries in my opinion, if I’m being completely honest about it. Solgaleo’s gear looks a bit cooler, especially with what appear to be metallic arms on his back, but Lunala’s face looks way more intense with the red-eyes-shining-through-black-crystal effect. I’ll probably stick with Moon, as Lunala is still my personal favorite of the two.
However, this is where the comparisons begin. The whole “main series legendaries fused with a third, less important legendary in a pair of sequels” thing has been done before. In fact, it was done in an eerily similar way for Black 2 and White 2, where Kyurem was fused with either Reshiram or Zekrom to form White and Black Kyurem. On top of that, Black 2 and White 2 have thus far been the only Pokémon game to come out with sequels for both versions of the game rather than just having a third game in a trilogy, whites exactly what Sun and Moon are now doing.
Granted, Pokémon X and Y did not even get a sequel version, so maybe it’s been Game Freaks plan to release two version sequels for every game starting in Generation 5… But who knows, really.
While the idea of dual sequels does not worry me necessarily, as Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are arguably some of the most high up games in terms of my favorite Pokémon titles, what does worry me a little is the idea that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon seem to be rehashes, like I said, rather than full on sequels. The titles suggest just that: Black 2 and White 2 followed up on Black and White, while Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are just “ultra” versions of their first counterparts.
Also if that is the case, I do feel like better titles could have been used than just the same things with “ultra” added on. I’m an advocate for Kirby Super Star Ultra as much as he next guy, but for a Pokémon title I think it could’ve been cool to do more space-specific terminology to add onto Sun and Moon. That’s more of a personal qualm, however.
Naming conventions aside, the reason why this idea worries me is because the idea behind Black 2 and White 2 being set three years after Black and White was what really made those games special and unique, in my opinion. While they went through the same general region, new Pokémon, set pieces and roadblocks were implemented to show the passage of time had taken effect. On top of that, characters in the game had special moments and scenes that showed their own development over the years since the first games took place, which helped to rocket most of them past most other non-playable characters in the Pokémon World as far as personality and intrigue goes.
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon don’t seem like they’re necessarily going to get the same kind of treatment. Junichi Masuda says right at the beginning of his explanation for the games that the titles will feature an “alternative story taking place in the same world.” This alternative story does appear to have potentially new protagonists (based on their clothes at least, since facial features appear to be the same), new graphical additions (such as the Wingull flying overhead when the protagonists run past their houses), new locations (like the Pikachu-based area the trailer shows) and new cutscenes featuring a variety of Alolan Pokémon (including my favorite, Mimikyu).
However, it is not fully addressed just how far these changes go. Are they mostly aesthetic differences with new cutscenes on top of the same basic game?
The main thing that tells me that this won’t be the case is Necro-Lunala and Necro-Solgaleo. Most of the events throughout Sun and Moon are driven a least partially by Lusamine’s ultimate plan. Team Skull works under her orders, the Aether Foundation works under her orders and the Ultra Beasts become the true area of focus as the story progresses.
Yet, this focus on Ultra Beasts leads to the main box art legendaries Lunala and Solgaleo seeming to almost take a backseat as far as importance to the plot. Yes, they’re referenced throughout the game and receive a good amount of lore, but this lore mostly comes through things like legends in the Malie City library. At the end of the day, you use these Legendary Pokémon primarily as a means of transportation to stop Lusamine’s plan, rather than them being the embodiment of her plan like most other legendaries have been in the past.
Because Necrozma was not even acknowledged during the main plot in Sun and Moon (it only appeared post-Looker missions in the post-game), the fact that it appears to have a more significant place in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon’s storylines does give me a lot of hope. It suggest that these games, rather than just being a simple rehash of Sun and Moon, will actually be something much bigger. The additions they talk about look to me like Sun and Moon were originally planned to be much bigger games, but development time led to there being a bunch of content to leave out. Either that or perhaps these sequels were in the initial planning stages, and Game Freak has secretly been holding back on us this whole time.
Either way, the long ramblings on such a short reveal trailer should be more than enough evidence that I’m hyped and ready to talk more about the games as we get closer to their release for the 3DS on November 17, 2017.
Just seeing the extra cutscenes with Pokémon like Lycanroc, Mimikyu and Togedemaru were more than enough to get me invested, however. Just saying.
What did you think of the Pokémon Direct? Are you excited for the upcoming titles? And how do you feel about Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon? Do you think the games will be too similar to their predecessors? Or will they tread enough new ground to be exciting additions to the Pokémon anthology? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!
Then, just over this past weekend, a few pages from this month’s CoroCoro magazine were leaked, showing off more details about some Ultra Beasts and signature Z-Moves for the three starter Pokémon. After that, I really should not have been surprised that we would be getting another video talking about those things in more detail. That’s exactly what we’ve gotten.
While it isn’t a lot of new detail, this is presumably the last dump of new official information we’re going to be getting pre-release, so I figure I should still talk about it. For old time’s sake, if nothing else. It really has been a hell of a journey these past few months, one that I’m sad to see go… But not sad enough to elongate the wait.
Seriously can the games just get released right now?
Alright, I’m assuming that none of this stuff is necessarily new if you happen to be following the data-mined information leaks. Some people can’t seem to leave things alone so they can be a surprise, so I’m pretty sure just about everything about Sun and Moon is out in the wild, wild West of the internet right now.
I personally want to keep everything not officially released by Nintendo/Game Freak/The Pokémon Company/whoever releases this stuff a secret. I love having the surprise reveals naturally appear during gameplay, particularly with Pokémon and mechanics we haven’t been told about yet. Though it certainly seems like there is not much left to reveal after the last few months of videos, leaks like this one we got today out of CoroCoro suggest otherwise. Continue reading “New Sun and Moon information: Last minute CoroCoro leaks”→
Normally this kind of post would be here to talk about some new bit of information that got dropped on us out of nowhere. In fact, given how things have been lately, it’d probably start with me complaining about how little time I have to talk about what I really like, so on and so forth.
However, this time around, the trailer we got didn’t really tell us anything new. It just kind of showed us a few things we already knew about and barely elaborated further than what we already had. So, this post will be nice and short, but I still thought the trailer was worth showing off and talking about for one reason in particular.
Once again my busy schedule has kept me from being super timely with the new CoroCoro magazine leak that happened on Monday, but that isn’t going to stop me from unnecessarily rambling on about things that make me happy and provide a good distraction from a stressful and hectic period in my life.
On that happy note, let’s talk about some Pokémon, shall we?
So obviously it’s been a while since we had the last huge batch of Pokémon Sun and Moon information drop, and at the time that it did I was unable to talk about it due to some school commitments (particularly getting my story for one of our issues finished, an especially time-consuming thing since we’re officially on daily productions).
It’s really been killing me not to talk about this too, since there’s so much incredibly good stuff that we got to find out about in the update. Seriously pretty game-changing kind of stuff. With the game coming out in November I figured we were done getting really big surprise announcements, but clearly I was way off.
Even though I’m still really busy with homework and preparing for this upcoming week’s batch of newspapers, I still wanted to try and talk about Pokémon. If nothing else, it’s a wonderful stress relief for me in an honestly very stressful time, and there’s a theory I had running through my head that I teased in the last post about this that I’ve had plenty of time to think on and really simmer down the details.
So, if you’re down to hear me ramble a bit, check out what I’ve got under the cut. Personally I think it’s some solid stuff, even if the game could very easily come out and totally blow everything out of the water. That’s what’s fun about a fandom though, if you ask me. The period of time where everything is up in the air and thoughts are abound about every thing that pops up.