Today we have a special treat from Joshua who has a look at all of the great Nintendo stuff at WonderCon from last weekend.
Our resident Video Game Expert takes a look at two upcoming games as well as the panel for the all new "Hyrule Warriors" game.
Written by Joshua Condon
Star Fox Zero
I played for one reason and one reason only: to see how the controls work.
Let me start by saying that the graphics are amazing and the music and sound effects are also great. The voice acting is very well done and sounds like the classic Star Fox 64, which is what they were going for. The controls are...weird.
To start off with a small nitpick because I'm sure you can change it in the game, but the demo didn't have inverted flight controls for the Arwing, so up was up and down was down. It took some getting used to honestly and when I did get used to it, I was done with the level I did, which was Corneria.
And now for the actual controls. You move the Arwing with the left control stick, and aim your shots by using the gyroscope on the Gamepad. You also shoot with the ZR button, re position the aiming with Y, and oddly enough, do all the acrobatics with the right stick.
So for example, to do a Barrel Roll, you have to tap it left or right twice. The controls are very awkward honestly and it'll take a lot to get used to if I get the game.
Metroid Prime Federation Force
Before I played it I was not looking forward to it. From what Nintendo had shown beforehand, it didn't look like Metroid and it just didn't look interesting. I played an entire mission and I have to say, I had a lot of fun with it. It really felt like a Metroid Prime game.
The controls were extremely easy to get into if you've ever played a Prime game, and there was the key point of Metroid: Exploration. There were very few enemies from what I could see in the mission I played, and it was awesome.
(Editors Note: I hadn't played any of the Metroid Prime games but did do the demo and within a few minutes I was able to pick up the controls fairly easily)
Before the mission, I equipped modules of sorts for Super Missiles and a Fire Shot thing because the level was ice. So I did a lot of damage to the second boss in it. The first boss took a while which I was fine with because it was very involving and then I started using charge shots and it became way quicker. Also, there's two stages of the charge shot and the fully charged seems to always do 200 damage because it shows the amount of damage you do.
All in all, I really enjoyed the demo of it and I can't actually wait for it to come out now. Also, I didn't play the multiplayer, I played the single player. This just shows to not judge a game before you play it.
The highlight of WonderCon for me was the Nintendo panel where the Producer and director of the game that came out a day before that, Hyrule Warriors Legends, would be talking about the game. This made me extremely excited as I'm a huge fan of Zelda and really enjoyed Hyrule Warriors.
In the Panel, they started off with some concept art of Link to make him look more like a character from Dynasty Warriors with a mix of the classic Green Tunic from the Zelda franchise. It's always interesting to see how different developers put their own spin on a character that is very well known, but also staying true to the characters roots.
They then went into the new character Linkle and how she was thought of. There was this one piece of concept art in the Japanese art book that showed a female Link and people got really excited about that, so they made her a character. I think Linkle is really cool from her story which I won't spoil because the character isn't even a week old. Her weapons are Crossbows which were based off of Links Crossbow Training, a game that was basically a tech demo for the Wii Zapper, but the Wii Zapper in and of itself didn't really have many other games. She's very acrobatic with them and her attacks cover a lot of range. She's very fun to play as.
Next they went into new character Skull Kid, Toon Link, Tetra, and King Daphnes aka King of Red Lions. The first being from Zelda: Majora's Mask and the last three being from Wind Waker. They detailed the weapons each use and just from what weapon they use I could tell that these characters had a lot of time and effort into them.
Finally they announced another new character Medli, also from Wind Waker, as a playable character. She was announced a little earlier but that still doesn't change the fact that she looks really cool. They stated that Medli is free DLC which is always nice.
Which led into the announcement that the next few DLC packs will be focusing on handheld Zelda games, like Links Awakening and Link Between Worlds for example. This made me super excited because I love the handheld games just as much as the ones on home consoles. After that, they announced that the character Marin from Links Awakening will also be playable in the game. Even though there wasn't any gameplay shown because it's still early in development for her, I'm always happy to see Links Awakening get some love because it's one that was overlooked because it was between Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time games and those games are fantastic in their own right and considered the best Zelda games.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Panel. The people in the Panel had fun with it, which in terms of games, nobody does that like Nintendo. If it was Sony or Microsoft, sure there would be a few jokes, but the tone would be more serious. Which is one big reason why I love Nintendo and their series, especially Zelda.
Thanks again to Josh for taking the time out of his "busy" Spring Break to write about his experiences at WonderCon. We'll have much more from WonderCon next week.
... Or it's truly not the worst Superhero movie ever
Written by Gregg Condon
Last night we were invited up to Valencia to see a sneak preview of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. So while I wasn't really gung ho about the movie, and even less so after seeing the reviews (currently 33% on Rotten Tomatoes) I wasn't about to pass up a free movie.
And it was so "advanced" that we were checked for recording equipment before the film, there was a message from Zack Snyder about "spoilers" and two men in suits (assuming from WB) watching us watching the movie. So it was kind of cool.
That being said, I could probably lay out the entire plot of the movie and there would be nothing that would truly "spoil" anything. But I'm totally not going to do that, so feel free to read on.
So where to start off ... is it the worst superhero movie ever? No. Not even close. Is it the best? No. Not even close. It's not even the best superhero movie to come out so far in 2016 (that goes to Deadpool). But what it does do is exactly what Warner Brothers wanted it to do, and that's set up the Justice League, and it does that well.
When you see the movie you will be entertained, there are very few "laughs" in it (typical Zack Snyder), the story is fine, the acting is fine, the directing is fine ... ultimately where the film fails is where most of Zack Snyder's films fail, and that's a severe lack of editing.
They could easily trim 25-30 minutes from this movie and it would be much better (if they trimmed the right 25-30 minutes). There are a few very confusing scenes with Batman in particular that I'm still trying to figure out why they were there. They do nothing to move the story forward, they are weird transitions and just plain make no sense.
I went in with VERY low expectations and the first 1/3 of the movie it was pretty much meeting those expectations. But by the end I was entertained and am looking forward to the next films with these characters.
The movie starts off with a kind of "re-cap" of the end of Man of Steel, just from a different perspective. Even though Superman Returns is the better Superman movie (IMO) WB has chosen to pretend that movie doesn't exist, so if you haven't seen Man of Steel in awhile, or not at all, I'd give it another watch. Just so you are up to speed.
There are a couple of nods to Nolan's Batman movies (he served as Exec Producer) which were interesting and cool.
The cast is actually pretty solid and shouldn't just be discounted.
The rest of the supporting cast is fine, Amy Adams is a sufficient Lois Lane, Holly Hunter is just kind of "there" (totally underused) and Diane Lane actually gives the character of Martha Kent a bit of depth, which we haven't seen much of so that was nice.
They also do a small reveal of a few other characters in The Justice League, but that probably would constitute a spoiler so I won't do that here. I will say that the intro was actually pretty well done without giving away too much.
At the end of the day, if you are a huge DC fan you will enjoy this movie. If you are a comic book movie fan you will also enjoy this movie. If you are a fan of popcorn movies you will probably enjoy this movie. If you take things too seriously and nit-pick everything you will definitely not enjoy this movie.
Don't go in expecting Iron Man or the first Avengers movie ... it's not up to that level. But despite it's missteps it does introduce a new generation of DC characters beyond just Batman and Superman and that is a good thing.
So to do the whole "review" thing and give it thumbs or stars or something I'd say on a scale of Togo to MACK it's about a B&M. Solid thrills without being anything mindblowing. (that's 3 1/2 out of 5 stars for you non coaster nerds). =)
Hopefully the bad reviews don't spell doom for this movie and all the rest that are to follow. Because that would be a shame.
From The Mind Of The Editor ...
Written by Gregg Condon
Today we have something very different for you ... VERY different. I'm going to talk about my family. Something I've avoided doing too much in the history of Park Journey.
It's somewhat theme park related, but more family related and something that came out of our visit to Wizarding World Hollywood last weekend.
Flashback almost 21 years ago. I started dating my wife at the age of 19 and within 1 1/2 years we would be married and have a daughter. And 19 months later we would add our son. It hasn't always been easy (no marriage is) but it's safe to say being a husband and father is the most rewarding thing I've ever done.
And now that I have an almost 20 year old daughter finishing her sophomore year in college (and planning on moving out) and a just turned 18 year old son who is graduating High School in June I'm realizing that a specific era of my life is over.
And realizing that in the middle of Wizarding World Hollywood on Saturday was an interesting place for that to happen.
Theme Parks played a HUGE role in our lives through the youth of our children. A HUGE role.
We were Disneyland Annual Passholders from 1998 to 2012 which meant at least monthly (but mostly bi-weekly) visits to to the parks. From our kids not being able to ride anything when DCA opened to seeing the transformation of that park. Pictures in front of the Rabbit Door on almost every visit (you try getting teenagers to humor their parents by taking a picture together).
Both of their first coasters was of course The Matterhorn at Disneyland (before it had a height requirement). Our daughters first looping coaster (CA Screamin') and our sons first looping coaster (Revolution).
Trips to Florida, Texas, the Bay Area, Sea World, Legoland, Chicago, Vegas, Colorado. One year (2007) we had Annual Passes to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Legoland, Sea World, Six Flags and Cedar Fair.
Everybody always asked how we justified the expense. We aren't rich. Not by a long shot. But in our belief we would rather go to a park and spend 8-10 hours of family time vs 2 hours in a dark theater. And once the passes were paid for we could go and eat in a theme park for the same price as a movie and snacks.
But over the past few years with both kids in high school and then college, those family days became more rare. Life got in the way. Whether it was FFA stuff for our daughter, track for our son or a variety of other things. The last year we had Disneyland AP's our kids used them exactly once. It turned into more of a chore, more to go to "get our $$ worth" vs "hey, let's go to Disneyland". And that, more than anything is the reason we let those passes go.
Sure, we've done family stuff. But getting us all together to spend a day at a theme park was something that had become more rare the past 4 or 5 years. Even our first two visits to Wizarding World were incomplete because my daughter couldn't go.
That was until our visit last Saturday ...
We would all finally experience Wizarding World together. Something we'd all been looking forward to since the day it was announced. Our last trip to FL was in 2007 so we hadn't even seen it there.
This was special.
And we had an amazing time. Riding the rides, using the interactive wands, enjoying way too much Butterbeer. It was just like old times.
But as we sat having our amazing breakfast at The Three Broomsticks we started to realize that this might be the end of an era ...
The fact is, our kids are growing up. Very soon we may not all be living under the same roof. And that's a very strange thing for us.
We are very close. We used to do everything together. Just the 4 of us for the most part. For 7 years I worked nights so somebody would always be home with the kids when they were younger (this also saved a LOT of $$ on after-school care). But this also meant weekends were even more special. And since we spent most of them out at theme parks together we always had that to share.
Sure, there will be more times in the future when we are all doing things together. That's never going to end. But just the 4 of us? There's probably not much of that left.
So after that breakfast, my wife and I, kind of unsaid really took it all in. We didn't want it to end. But it had to because our daughter had to work (still weird). We enjoyed the hell out of it, taking those mental pictures (along with all of the cell phone ones). I stopped posting pics to our social media. I wanted to be "in the moment". Wanted to cherish every second. And I did.
So by this point you are probably asking yourself (if you are still reading this) ... "what's the point of this". And that's a great question.
The point is, to enjoy ALL the things. Not just the little things, not the big things, not the good things, not the bad things. ENJOY THEM ALL!!
Stop worrying about a corporate decision made at your favorite park that's not going to impact your enjoyment of said place. A little chipped paint? Who cares? Enjoy the hell out of the thing you enjoy. Because if you aren't enjoying it, why are you even there?
Whether your thing is going to theme parks (as I'm sure it is if you are reading this site) or skiing, camping, hiking, sitting at home and watching movies, sports, playing games, whatever it is ... whoever it's with. Enjoy it. Because things change, kids grow up, new jobs, new cities, friends movie away, parents get older.
Someday all we'll have are those memories ... and way too many cell phone pictures.