Good thing there are no games for awhile...

Seriously, January is a bunch of nothing, and February isn't looking so hot either. That's good though, as I'm sure many of us have a pile of games to get through either due to gifts from family over the holidays or gifts to ourselves thanks to many of the awesome sales over the past couple of months. I tend to focus on only one or two games at a time, but I manged to play enough to give impressions on everything:

Basically played about two hour of this so far and it's a fine return to form for a series that really lost it's way from the last couple entries with misguided attempts at multi-player & tower defense. I know it's short so it'll probably be the next game I finish. A lot of said it also feels like a swan song for the series and while I certainly think a break is in order with no less than 6 games in 8 years, I'm hoping this won't be the last time we see the Lombax and his little robot buddy and anybody who is an R&C fan should pick this up immediately.

I specifically posted an image of the PS4 version because I think it's important to note that it's the version I have and while not a tremendous improvement everything has a nice extra sheen to it and moves at a fantastic frame rate. To be completely honest, I thought I was pretty much done with this series after I thoroughly played through Giants, but I also hadn't played Giants in quite awhile so maybe that break was long enough to let me have fun again because this Diablo-light game with figures is still incredibly entertaining. I have bought one extra figure since getting it but I've never been one to go insane collecting, my entire Skylander collection consists of about 16 characters when there are about 70 and I don't really have a huge urge to collect more, just play the game with what I've got and have fun with it. And the Swapforce gimmick works pretty well with characters that easily separate but click together well so you don't have to worry much about losing half of a figure or something. I think the most surprising thing is how this continues to not be a heartless cash in and has an actual game in there and I'll probably continue to be a fan as long as they keep that up.

I know that the PS4 and the Xbox One have the flashier graphics, but they don't have Mario (or Wonderful 101 or several other great Wii U exclusives) and once again with this title Nintendo reminds us that great games don't have to be gloomy or dark or have a bunch of systems so complex it's hard to even say what genre the game falls into. Mario is pure joy distilled into an excellent platformer. It's also fantastic at playing with your expectations as it puts new twists on very familiar elements for us Mario veterans who have played and beaten nearly every game in the series. I think Nintendo made a pretty big mistake releasing this in the midst of two competing console launches as a couple months head start and a big advertising blitz could've done wonders for the struggling Wii U.

And speaking of struggling systems,  I finally got a Vita. And you know what? It's a pretty great little piece of hardware. Sure the memory is still overpriced (I bought a 16 gb card on sale for $20, you can can get normal SD cards for half that normally) but it looks gorgeous and feels great. As much as I love my 3DS, it does feel like a kind of cheap toy and the Vita feels fairly sophisticated. And I think it has plenty of games on it, especially if you have PS+ you get a ton free right off the bat. Admittedly nothing I've played so far quite reaches the level of the 3DS' AAA hits but you've got most of the PSP library, PS One games, Indy titles and frankly games like Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Guacamelee and Persona 4 (admittedly the only one I bought with the system), I already had Guacamelee on PS3 but actually like it a bit more on Vita) all are great on it. And the cross play with PS4 works pretty flawlessly, though the implementation of the shoulder buttons takes some getting used to. Frankly, if all it's ever good for is Indy/classic titles and the rare Vita exclusive along with cross play I'll be pretty happy with my purchase over the long run.

That's it for today but I did download the Bravely Default Demo, which is the next big 3DS title on the horizon in February. It's pretty good so far, but I'll give full impressions in my next post, hopefully tomorrow or Sunday.

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