Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Mar 312023
 

Final Fantasy XVI, my second-most anticipated game of the year, has officially gone gold.

Square Enix made the announcement in a tweet that also includes another look at the adorable Torgal plushies I wish they’d sell as merchandise.

I haven’t been following Final Fantasy XVI too closely to avoid spoilers, although I did check out the “World of Valisthea” trailer to see the gameplay environments, since exploration is the one thing I still have questions about. From that trailer alone, the world looks beautiful.

Final Fantasy XVI is due out on June 22, so if the game has already gone gold, I think it’s safe to say we don’t have to worry about any delays.

While I had some concerns early on, I’ve been getting more and more excited for Final Fantasy XVI. April is supposed to feature news about exploration and RPG elements, so I’ll be looking forward to that. Now, I still don’t have a PS5, since there haven’t been enough exclusives to convince me, but this should be the game that gets me to take the plunge.

Discourse around Final Fantasy XVI has caused this strange divide where some people think it’s a disastrous insult to Final Fantasy and other people think it will be the greatest, most innovative game that ever existed. I fall somewhere in the middle, leaning toward the positive side. While I would have loved a turn-based Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy XVI looks like it’s shaping up to be a great game.

Are you excited for Final Fantasy XVI? Do you want to buy a Torgal plush? Were you surprised to hear it’s gone gold this far ahead of launch?

(In unrelated news, I saw an article from Noisy Pixel saying a Tokyo Xanadu sequel is being teased, but since the article warns of spoilers and I haven’t finished Tokyo Xanadu yet, I didn’t look into it any further. Here’s hoping I finish my Tokyo Xanadu playthrough in the near future. Then we can actually talk about the potential sequel tease!)

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Mar 292023
 

Grasshopper Manufacture has launched a countdown website to celebrate its 25th anniversary, with the message “Something’s gonna happen.”

The countdown will end on June 9, so it’s quite a ways off – just over 71 days from the time it went live.

They’re clearly teasing news… but what kind? A Lollipop Chainsaw remake is set to be released this year, but since Grasshopper Manufacture is not involved with it, it’s unlikely to be related to that.

So then what could this mysterious countdown be for?

The company’s anniversary is on March 30, which made me wonder if the end date of June 9 is significant to the announcement itself. June 9, 2005 was the original Japanese release date of Killer7. Since then, Killer7 received a PC port, but isn’t available on any other modern consoles. Back in 2019, Suda51 said in an interview with Nintendo Life that Killer7 only contains 1/3 of his original script and that he hoped to make a complete version of Killer7 in the future. Could this countdown end with the announcement of the long-awaited extended Killer7?

On the other hand, maybe the countdown date isn’t important. In 2021, Suda51 reiterated that he wanted to remaster Flower, Sun, and Rain and even had a partner picked out to handle it.

Suda51 also said in 2021 that Grasshopper Manufacture would make three new IP over the next ten years, so this announcement could be for something entirely new.

Of all of these possibilities, I lean toward Killer7 the most because of the release date. One way or another, we’ll find out in a few months. What do you think Grasshopper Manufacture’s countdown is for?

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Mar 272023
 

Less than 6 hours remain until the 3DS and Wii U eShops are shut down.

On Friday, we talked about our last-minute purchases, but now I’d like to take a look back at some of my favorite games on the two systems.

(My backlog being what it is, I still have many unplayed Wii U and 3DS games, so my top 5 could change in the future.)

For the sake of not having my 3DS list be entirely Ace Attorney games, I’ve decided to make these lists specifically for games that I personally played on the platforms in question.

So with that classification in mind, here are my favorite 5 games I’ve played on the Wii U and 3DS.

Top 5 Wii U Games

5. Affordable Space Adventures

Many Wii U games have been ported to the Switch, and the handful of exclusives that remain tend to have fans hoping they won’t remain stranded on the Wii U forever, but there’s one game that I feel just wouldn’t be the same on any other system: Affordable Space Adventures.

In my review I talked about how well it makes use of the Wii U GamePad, to the point where it’s integral to the experience. It’s a challenging, clever puzzle game that found its perfect home on the Wii U.

If you haven’t heard of Affordable Space Adventures before, it’s one you should consider picking up before the eShop closes.

4. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

The Shantae games are available on just about every system nowadays, but the Wii U was where I first discovered the series, with Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse. I enjoyed the start so much that I went back and played Risky’s Revenge first, and then when I moved on to fully play Pirate’s Curse, I liked it even better.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse has less of a Metroidvania structure than Risky’s Revenge due to the multiple islands you explore, but it still had plenty of exploration and was a blast to play. It’s funny, fun, and has a fairly interesting story.

Of all the games I’ve played in the series so far, Pirate’s Curse is my favorite. It might not be a Wii U exclusive, but it’s one of the games I’ll always associate with it.

3. Xenoblade Chronicles X

But for one that is a Wii U exclusive, and remains so despite fervent hopes of a Switch port, Xenoblade Chronicles X stands out as not only a great JRPG, but the first open world game I actually loved.

Xenoblade Chronicles X is quite different from the other Xenoblade games, with more of a focus on exploration and worldbuilding while the story takes a backseat. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every second I spent with it, and I hope Monolith Soft returns to this world someday – not just with a port, but also with a sequel.

2. Bayonetta

The Wii U is also where I discovered the Bayonetta series. Having initially dismissed it as not something I’d enjoy, the Bayonetta 2 demo convinced me to preorder it – and the first Bayonetta was included with it.

I found Bayonetta to be exceptionally fun despite my misgivings, and it became an unexpected favorite. And that brings us to…

1. Bayonetta 2

What could top Bayonetta but more Bayonetta? This might be controversial, since a lot of fans prefer the first game, but I found Bayonetta 2 to be even better than its predecessor and my favorite game of 2014. It was a bit easier than the first game, but the gameplay was pure fun once again, the story was even more compelling, it removed some of the more annoying features like instant-death QTEs, and it was just an amazing game all around.

The first Bayonetta game is multiplatform, and Bayonetta 2 came with it to the Switch, but let’s not forget that Bayonetta 2 gained life on the Wii U. Playing those two games on the Wii U gave me some of my most fun gaming experiences ever.

Those are my top 5 Wii U games, and even though the Wii U itself is generally considered a failure, you can probably tell I had a lot of fun with it. But you know, despite how much I love these games, the 3DS was even better for me, so let’s move on to the next list!

Top 5 3DS Games

5. Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure

I will keep pounding the table for Rhythm Thief until it returns. Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure is a rhythm game about a thief looking for clues about his father’s disappearance and fighting a resurrected Napoleon, and as I mentioned in my review, it’s structured like a Professor Layton game with rhythm games instead of puzzles.

I love Rhythm Thief. The gameplay is fun (even for someone like me, for whom rhythm games are hit or miss), the story is insane, and the only bad thing about it is that it ends with a sequel hook. I’m still waiting for that Rhythm Thief sequel, Sega.

Physical copies of Rhythm thief were nearly impossible to find even back when I played it in 2016, so I recommend picking it up on the eShop now.

4. Tales of the Abyss

How Bandai Namco decides what Tales games to port or remaster is a mystery, but they decided to port Tales of the Abyss to the 3DS, and I’m glad for it, because that’s the version I played.

While it didn’t dethrone Tales of Symphonia as my favorite Tales game, it earned a spot among my top favorites in the series. It has a compelling story and interesting characters, as well as a lot of little details that flesh out its world. It’s one of the best, and right now the PS2 and 3DS are on the only places to play it.

3. Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy

I love the Professor Layton series, and the sixth mainline game is no exception. The conspiracy-filled globe-trotting adventure of Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy rose up to become one of my favorites, as the story and character kept me invested alongside the variety of fun puzzles to solve.

Azran Legacy is the conclusion of the prequel trilogy’s story, and it did everything I was hoping for. I wouldn’t recommend starting the series here, but you should play it eventually.

Both Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask and Azran Legacy are difficult to find physically nowadays. I’d like to think Level-5 will port them now that they’ve made their glorious return (with a new Professor Layton game in the works!), but there’s no sign of that happening yet. Only the original trilogy has even received mobile ports.

So if you’re looking to get into the Professor Layton series, keep in mind that two of the games are still exclusive to the 3DS.

2. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice

From the sixth Professor Layton game to the sixth Ace Attorney game – the next game on this list is Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice. While you might sometimes hear me complain about Spirit of Justice and place it low in my series rankings, here it is as my second-favorite 3DS game. You see, Ace Attorney is my favorite series. Even a “bad” Ace Attorney game is still a great game.

Spirit of Justice has a lot of great things (although Nahyuta is not one of them), and it fixed up a lot of my gameplay criticisms about the previous entry, Dual Destinies.

While Spirit of Justice has a mobile port, its two non-canon “Asinine Attorney” joke cases are exclusive to the 3DS. Judging by the way things went with The Great Ace Attorney 2’s similar cases, Asinine Attorney will likely remain on the 3DS even if Spirit of Justice does get remastered eventually.

(On a side note, it’s a strange feeling to look back at my review and see my comments hoping we’d get The Great Ace Attorney and Ace Attorney Investigations 2 localizations before Ace Attorney 7. Well, at least one of those things has happened…)

Anyway, that brings us to the last game on this list…

1. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

Even though Spirit of Justice improved the gameplay from Dual Destinies, ultimately Dual Destinies is one of my top games in the Ace Attorney series and the game I’ve picked for my favorite 3DS game. Gameplay quibbles aside, I loved everything else about it, especially its story and characters.

It’s one of my favorite entries in my favorite series, and the time I spent playing Dual Destinies was a joy. I love so much about this game.

(Especially Simon Blackquill.)

Dual Destinies, like the others in the series, has a mobile port available, but it’s otherwise only on the 3DS. Both it and Spirit of Justice are digital-only in the west, so this is your last chance to buy 3DS copies. Here’s hoping we see these games ported or remastered in the near future!

In the meantime, it and Spirit of Justice are both on sale for $2.99 until the eShop shuts down – and don’t forget to start the games before then in order to purchase their DLC!

There are many other games I could have put on this list, like Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (which is exclusive to the 3DS, so keep that in mind), but when I looked over the 3DS games I played, these five came out on top.

Conclusion

The Wii U and 3DS have both been wonderful systems filled with many memorable games for me, and these are my current top 5 games for each platform. The eShop may be shutting down, but the systems themselves live on – I look forward to playing the games I picked up ahead of the eShop’s shutdown.

What are your favorite 3DS and Wii U games?

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