The open-world genre has always been a perplexing beast as most titles struggle to find a harmonic balance between the interminable desire for seamless quality and quantity. Most popularized examples simply litter their sandboxes with menial tasks for the sole purpose of longevity, while others have a profound sense of world-building that never appropriately warrants the use of open-world fundamentals. The Legend of Zelda series has always embraced the essential nuts and bolts of the open-world genre, but its explorative world has always felt dissociated from the core innards of the experience. The latest entry in the three-decade long running franchise is said to rethink the conventions of the Zelda series, offering new implementation of player freedom. Breath of the Wild is not only a reinvigorating surge of pulsating energy into the Zelda series, but a masterful reinvention of the open-world genre as a whole, incorporating elements of fundamental realism and meaningful progression that were simply not present in the examples of yesteryear. With a core thematic imprint of discovery, Breath of the Wild’s sense of unadulterated curiosity and exploration is second to none; every minute detail serves a resound purpose and each structured piece of this exceptional puzzle seamlessly blends with the overarching world. Breath of the Wild is simply the most cohesive title in the series and an impeccable example of the aforementioned harmonic balance in the open-world genre. An embodiment of the imperative first steps of a console generation, while simultaneously striking a notable chord as a renowned swan song, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece in every meaning of the word.
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Now that E3 2016 is over, we can all take a deep breath and take the time to analyze the enthralling goodness that enraptured our captivation for the past week. While I felt the overall showcase was rather underwhelming in comparison to last year’s E3, there were specific highlights that acted as this year’s saving grace and Sony in particular definitely brought the momentum back as they undoubtedly knocked it out of the park with their press conference. Aside from the excellent re-imagining of the Resident Evil series with Resident Evil VII, the invigorating multiplayer showcase of Battlefield 1, the intriguing permutations of Detroit: Become Human, the melancholic tranquility of The Last Guardian, and the visceral, albeit familiar, gameplay of Gears of War 4, these next five games were my personal favourite showcases at this year’s E3.
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Out with the old, in with the new…
2015 is coming to an end, and while a moment of reflection on the year’s highlights and disappointments are in order, I shall first gaze upon the horizon of the not so distant future. 2015 was an excellent year for gaming which not only satisfyingly delivered a plethora of phenomenal sequels, but also introduced a wide variety of new, innovative IP’s that arguably hogged the spotlight. Maintaining an optimistically framed mindset, hopefully 2016 is able to replicate this exquisitely balanced equilibrium. With many impressive 2015 titles being pushed into the new year, an unfortunate sign that history will always repeat itself, 2016 admittedly shows intriguing promise and hopefully will be able to deliver a wide array of quality experiences while ultimately living up to the hype. Here are 10 games that have peaked my excitement for the New Year, with each and every one of them emitting an alluring nature that has unquestionably captivated my attention. Aside from these intriguing works of art, I also look forward to The Division, No Man’s Sky, Final Fantasy XV, Final Fantasy VII Remake, For Honor, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Unravel, Star Fox Zero, Street Fighter V, Mafia III, Yooka Laylee, Cuphead, Mighty No 9, Overwatch, Ratchet & Clank, Recore, Daganronpa 3, and Gravity Rush 2. I am also well aware that some of the ten selected games have not been given a definitive release date, let alone a 2016 release window, however their inclusion indicates that there is some margin of a possibility for a 2016 release date. These ten captivating titles, which are ordered alphabetically, have undoubtedly peaked my interest and have rendered me extremely impatient for the imminent New Year which is just around the corner. Which of these games will land on my Top Games of 2016 list? Only time will tell, but for now, let us celebrate the imaginative possibilities of these ten promising titles.
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I’ve been gaming since I was about 7 or 8. The very first video game console I ever owned was the GameBoy Color, rocking Pokemon Silver 24/7. Pokemon Silver is was got me hooked to this phenomenal medium and is still one of my favourite games of all time. I also loved playing Spyro the Dragon on the original PlayStation, my first home console. However I didn’t start my current, habitual gaming hobby until I was about 15, and that’s when I got my PlayStation 3 as a Chirstmas present. And for a long while, I primarily played my PS3, I didn’t own an Xbox 360 at the time and I never did end up grabbing a Wii. And that leaves me with a confession: my very first Nintendo home console was the Wii U. People find that statement to be quite a shocker, especially because of how much I love video games. I never owned an NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, or a Wii; I guess you can say I jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon fairly late. In addition to my Wii U, I also have a 3DS which I do love and wish I had more time to play. So I thought I’d share my sad list of completed Nintendo titles with you all and express my interest on the other titles, whether they be recent or classic, I wish to experience, and hopefully you more experienced gamers can suggest some of your favourite Nintendo titles that I forgetfully omitted!
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Classic corner will be a recurring segment where I’ll either re-experience or inaugurally play a classic title and give my thoughts and impressions. Does the game still hold up after all these years? Does the game rightfully deserve its critical acclaim or animosity? Read more to find out!
Often regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, Ocarina of Time is an immediate classic that helped pave the current gaming world that we’re so enamoured with. I didn’t own any Nintendo consoles as a child, except for the excellent GameBoy Color; I was primarily a PlayStation kid, so I grew up playing Spyro and Crash Bandicoot instead of Mario and Zelda. Luckily Nintendo EAD and Grezzo made the smart decision to port and update one of the greatest Zelda games to the 3DS so people, like myself, can properly experience it for the first time. So does the Ocarina of Time live up to the insurmountable praise it has received over the last decade and a bit? Absolutely, but most of you knew that already. Ocarina of Time is a bonafide masterpiece and rightfully deserves its title as “one of the greatest games of all time”. Hell, it even joined the ranks of my favourite games of all time. The exploration is sublime, the puzzles are intricate but rewarding, and its implementation of time travel and item usage to access new areas is masterful. Its joyous musical score is simple, yet iconic and its innovating lock-on system forever revolutionized character interaction and combat in a 3D environment. Link first entered the 3D landscape of gaming back in 1998 and it still stands the test of time, continuously setting the golden standard for not just our favourite video games but the vast amount of titles to come.