A free, once-weekly round-up of all the best Nintendo Switch links, articles and videos from the past seven days.
Subscribe
by
published Thursday, Jan 21st

Games Of The Decade – 50-31

If you hadn’t noticed already it’s 2010, which means that another decade has passed. What a decade it has been though, the ‘noughties’ has brought the next generation consoles, online gaming, downloadable content and most importantly some of the best gaming titles ever release. Take a look at what the Gamebrit Staff have decided are the best and most important 50 games of the last decade. First up 50-31.

 

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

50 – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

The biggest step up in the franchise since GTA 3, San Andreas saw you take on a much larger map with more detail, excellent voice acting, and a plot that actually made you care about the characters. As with all GTA games, this title was met with bad press due to the violent content, but this is still one of the pinnacles of the PS2 and an excellent game.

Platform: PS2 Developer: Rockstar North Year: 2004

 

 

Professor Layton & The Curious Village

Professor Layton & The Curious Village

49 – Professor Layton & The Curious Village

Professor Layton already had three adventures released in Japan before Nintendo brought him to the UK. This first title was a cross between a French graphic novel and a GCSE maths exam, but was strangely compelling all the same.

Platform: Nintendo DS Developer: Level-5 Year: 2008

 

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus

48 – Shadow of the Colossus

Team Ico knew it would take something ‘Colossus’ to topple their debut game, but spiritual sequel Shadows of the Colossus more than matched its predecessor. Bringing down one of the game’s 16 colossi was an exhilarating but strangely emotional experience.

Platform: PS2 Developer: Team Ico Year: 2006

 

God Of War 2

God of War II

47 – God of War II

Taking all that made the original God of War so special, the developers dialled the action, puzzles and epic scale up a few notches. The result was even bigger environments to traverse, vastly improved graphics and brutal combat that even today is seen as a benchmark for hack and slash titles.

Platform: PS2 Developer: SCE Studios Santa Monica Year: 2007

 

Fable 2

Fable II

46 – Fable II

Hyped as an RPG giving real consequence to your choices, Fable II fell short of that promise. Instead it offered immersion in a story polar to the familiar po-faced, Kung-fu-onion filled JRPG. The game allows you to fart and puppet theatre your way to popularity or infamy.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: Lionhead Studios Year: 2008

 

 

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock

45 – Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

While Guitar Hero III wasn’t the title that brought the Guitar Hero franchise the acclaim it so rightly deserved it certainly brought the idea of being able to download additional songs to the masses on the next generation of consoles. That and you could play as guitar legends Slash and Tom Morello.

Platform: Multi Developer: Neversoft Year: 2007

 

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker

44 – Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker

Nintendo took a big risk with the toon-shaded art style, but it paid off, as Wind Waker is still one of the most beautiful looking games ever. It may have been too short, too easy and had one of the most frustrating fetch-quests ever, but it still stands as an epic entry in the long-running franchise.

Platform: GameCube Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2003

 

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

43 – The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

It takes the RPG of yore and puts flesh, bone and decent acting to the text adventures that enthralled so many way back when. ES:IV melded adventure gaming perfectly with FPS’s. Creating the path for genre crossing games like Fallout 3 and Bioshock, introduces RPG elements to FPS games and paves the way for COD: Modern Warfare.

Platform: Multi Developer: Bethesda Year: 2006

 

Viva Pinata

Viva Pinata

42 – Viva Pinata

Attracting piñata animals with sweet-based names to a garden in order to breed them – the concept of Viva Pinata in a nutshell. Rare’s weird and wonderful take on animal breeding provided one of the most unique gaming experiences of the last decade. Delightfully colorful, wonderfully charming and incredibly additive, gardening has never been so much fun.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: Rare Year: 2006

 

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

41 – Grand Theft Auto Vice City

Set in Miami with story components similar to those found in the Scarface films, Vice City offered an all-round action fest involving guns, drugs, and even rock and roll – depending on which station you listened to. You play as GTA III’s Tommy Vercetti who has just been released from jail and attempts a simple job for his old boss. Of course this simple job goes sour and you end up on a rollercoaster ride until you eventually become the top man of Vice City. Vice City is truly a masterpiece of sandbox gaming. “It’s time for the Lance Vance Dance!”

Platform: PS2 Developer: Rockstar North Year: 2002

 

Metroid Prime

Metroid Prime

40 – Metroid Prime

Nintendo took a big gamble giving one of their greatest franchises to Retro Studios, but the Texas-based studio more than delivered. The moody atmosphere of the SNES title was recreated perfectly in 3D, as were all the other series’ staple elements, like epic bosses and unique alien worlds to explore.

Platform: GameCube Developer: Retro Studios Year: 2003

 

 

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros. Melee

39 – Super Smash Bros. Melee

Nintendo’s curious N64 beat-em-up was fully upgraded for the GameCube’s release, with over twenty of the company’s mascots fighting in themed arenas that took in nearly every facet of their illustrious history. Brawl may have expanded on every aspect of Melee, but this is by far the purer title.

Platform: GameCube Developer: HAL Laboratory Year: 2002

 

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

38 – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars games have always been hit and miss, but Bioware turned Knights of the Old Republic into one of the greatest RPGs of the last generation. Taking place a thousand years before the films, KOTOR took players on a whistle stop tour around that galaxy far, far away, during a great Jedi/Sith conflict.

Platform: Multi Developer: BioWare Year: 2003

 

Assassin's Creed II

Assassin's Creed II

37 – Assassin’s Creed II

A thrilling continuation of the story of Assassins versus Templars, and a great step up in terms of gameplay. Following the usual sequel formula of bigger equals better, Assassin’s Creed II gave players more abilities, weapons and variety as well as a more personal story. While not perfect, it still eclipses its predecessor at almost every hurdle.

Platform: Multi Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Year: 2009

 

Pokemon Gold & Silver

Pokemon Gold & Silver

36 – Pokemon Gold & Silver

The original Pokémon games were both brilliant – but that wasn’t enough for Game Freak and Creatures Inc. Not only were 100 more monsters to catch added, the now essential Poke-gear, dark and steel types and the breeding concept were included in what was the most revolutionary (and thus seminal) title of the franchise.

Platform: Game Boy Colour Developer: Game Freak Year: 2001

 

Ico

Ico

35 – Ico

Fumitsa Ueda’s haunting title remains the pinnacle of the PS2’s library. With minimalist story telling, Ico’s world told its own tale as you escaped from the mysterious ancient castle with kidnapped princess Yorda. This is quite rightly lauded as one of the most beautiful games ever made.

Platform: PS2 Developer: Team Ico Year: 2002

 

Mass Effect

Mass Effect

34 – Mass Effect

Where other RPG’s have offered a nuclear war hit Washington DC or a fiction version of the Earth as their setting, Mass Effect gave us the entire Universe as a playground, all of it. Well almost. Bioware’s RPG combined the traditional RPG elements with a solid third person action adventure to create one of the most epic and adventurous titles ever made.

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: BioWare Year: 2007

 

Halo: Combat Evolved

Halo: Combat Evolved

33 – Halo: Combat Evolved

A title which undeniably secured the future of the Xbox as a gaming platform. Launching alongside the system it was instrumental in the consoles initial success. Offering an engaging storyline that drops you right in the middle of a war. You battle on as humanity fights for its survival against the Covenant. In many gamers eyes, Halo is what made the Xbox what it is today as its flagship title in showing what the Xbox was really capable of at its launch.

Platform: Xbox Developer: Bungie Year: 2002

 

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing

32 – Animal Crossing

Shigeru Miyamoto’s unique ‘communication’ title was originally released for the N64 but retooled for the GameCube for a western audience. It took two years to make it to the UK after the US release but the wait was definitely worth it. Few games in the last decade managed to soak up player’s time so effortlessly.

Platform: GameCube Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2004

 

Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

31 – Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Nintendo set out to surpass Ocarina of Time and very nearly succeeded. Twilight Princess was still a magnificent adventure in its own right, combining an epic world with an engaging story and featuring some of the best puzzles in the series.

Platform: GameCube & Wii Developer: Nintendo EAD Year: 2006

 

 

So there you have 50-31 of the 50 best games of the decade. Agree or disagree with out our choices let us know over at out forum. Next up positions 30-11. If you want spoilers go straight to the top 10.


by
published Tuesday, Dec 16th

Sex And The City Folk…Or How We’d Spice Up Animal Crossing

If you’ve read our review of the latest Animal Crossing you can probably tell we’re just a little disappointed by the lack of innovation in what is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. Not ones to rest on our shiny laurels, we put our heads together and came up with a few ways to put some extra spark into the AC experience, while keeping to the core values that made it a success in the first place.

*cue wibbly-wobbly ‘what if’ effect*

Locations

After shrinking the towns in Wild World, Nintendo have returned them to more or less their original size in LGTTC but left out some of the locations trimmed for the handheld release. It made sense for some of the features to be condensed for the DS worlds and made daily visits a tad quicker, but now the bigger townscapes feel a bit empty. Places like the fountain, town dump and lighthouse could have been reinstated and the observatory and café could have broken free of the museum and gone it alone somewhere else in the town. Brewster must have made enough from his extortionately priced coffee in WW to pay for a new shop in the city or somewhere.

Speaking of which, where was the bustling metropolis we were expecting? Considering the rolling perspective it’s understandable that the city was never going to be a mass of buildings – you’d lose your character amongst skyscrapers. But it could easily have consisted of several areas, each the size of the plaza present in the final game. There could have been a large open-air market, selling rare and exotic items, with the stalls changing daily. An entertainment complex with a cinema showing off some of the video trailers available on the Nintendo channel. How about a mall, encompassing a bunch of themed clothing or furniture stores? Or a city park to visit during festivals, full of snowball fights, kite flying and the occasional funfair?

Tools

AC rewards players for interacting with the environments, from shaking trees to finding the money-spouting rock every day – your town is full of daily secrets. Buried treasure is always marked by a small crack in the ground but what if that little signifier was removed for some of the rarer treats? What device could be added to help you find these elusive goodies? Well how about a metal detector? The pointer and speaker functions would be perfect for this task – equip the tool, point at the screen and listen out to a beep from the speaker. Then it’s just a case of whipping out the shovel, digging in the right spot and reaping your reward.


Items

The furniture in your house is mainly there for show but there are a few items that have a less superficial purpose, like the Hi-Fi, cupboards or lights. But what if you could do a little more with the furniture you’d worked so hard to raise the cash for. TVs could be used like Harvest Moon, to show you a weather report or get some hints via a TV show.

Then you have the pinball tables and arcade machines – what if you could actually play on them? Nothing fancy, but enough to give you something to do in the absence of the NES titles last seen in the cube game. Imagine if they were initially housed in Brewster’s Café (which, lets face it really needs some extra raison d’etre), but awarded as a present if you beat a high score so you can practise in the comfort of your own home. Then there’s the competitive and communication elements it would bring with it; set a high score on Pinball, then go online to check out how you fare against others on your friends list or discuss tactics. Nintendo could make these a prime candidate for the DLC content they’ve touted since the Wii version was announced.

Collectibles

It’s probably fair to say that Animal Crossing has reached a plateau in terms of number of collectible flora and fauna (dead or otherwise) and that any more additions would propel the franchise to the same heights as Pokemon. Furniture is a different matter of course it would be great to see a whole plethora of new styles to kit out your home. One thing we’d like to see is an expansion on the Nintendo themed items, with a different set for each of Nintendo’s best loved franchises. On our most wanted list would be DK barrel seats, a TV shaped like Samus’ helmet and a bed that looks like the Blue Falcon.

Remember the GBA card-reader? It was a short-lived peripheral released around the same time as AC in the US and let you scan small pieces of code printed on the edges of sets of collectible cards. Each contained part of a small mini-game (or a level for Super Mario Bros 3 on GBA) or in Animal Crossing’s case, items and bells. It never managed to make an impact in the market and so was scrapped very early on but it forms the basis of our next idea. Taking inspiration from the Pokemon trading card games and eschewing the unpractical and expensive hardware, it would be great to have a set of collectible cards within the AC game world. You could trade or battle with the town folk or your friends, and have rare cards given out as rewards from the Mayor and other characters. If we had to pick a theme, it would definitely have to be based around Nintendo characters and items from yesteryear (what else) which would fit nicely alongside the retro Nintendo items.

 

Multiplayer

With a bit of tinkering AC Wii could have been a great multiplayer title, as it stands it’s extremely limited in what you can do, especially with just four visitors (come on Nintendo, at least make it eight at a time). The thought of fishing with a mate or hunting for treasure may have seemed wonderful in Nintendo’s mind but in reality it’s a superficial addition and the novelty soon wears off. As a rule, we normally we wouldn’t advocate bolting on mini games to a single-player focused title but Animal Crossing could have been one of few titles to have benefited from them, seeing as friendly competition is a running theme throughout the series. As a simple starter, Fishing would have been more competitive if you could see just how big a fish was when caught. We’d also love to see a mixture of mini-games based around sports (2 on 2 basketball, five a side soccer and swimming) and playground favourites (hide and seek, kiss chase and beat the letter, or anything else that involves a lot of running). And maybe some traditional games like hangman (with a stuffed Nook in the noose) or paper-rock-scissors.

DS Connectivity

Transferring a character from your DS game was a bit of a no-brainer but the handheld could have been far more useful. Imagine if it had been an item itself, passed off in-game as a personal aid mimicking the GB color’s appearance in Luigi’s Mansion. For instance, information on your catalogue, museum donations and bug or fish collections could be displayed on your DS, available to browse on the fly. Or it could be used to show your town map so you can see at a glance where the other villagers are and keep track of any errands they may have asked you to run?

Ok, so a map isn’t exactly the most original use of the DS we admit, but the personal organiser idea can be taken even further, if the other animals have one of their own. You could send and receive emails from them (and maybe some spam from Redd) or, if you link your hotmail account for instance, view any real world emails while you’re playing. Maybe you could upload your collection of KK Slider songs and have them playing in the background, turning your DS into a temporary music station. Photos could be transferred and edited in a similar way to the feature included on the DSi.

 

Integrating Wii Features

Posting photos to the message board and letting you get a Mii makeover for your character are a good start, but the Wii has so many more features that could have made LGTTC more than a simple port. Take the channels for a start; Wii Fit and Mario kart can get their own channel but why not AC? Presuming Nintendo had allowed your town to carry on in your absence (and that any visitors could be trusted not to deface it) an AC channel could have been a quick way to see if anything had happened since you last loaded it up. Headlines could scroll in the channel window to let you know if a character had moved away or to give you the results of a fishing tourney. Delve deeper and get a list of your achievements in your town or take a look at up and coming events (Booker would be a great character to handle these reports).

And how could Animal Crossing have interacted with the existing channels? Well, your town-folk could mention some of the games you’d rated via the Nintendo Channel, or discussed how they’d voted on a recent Everybody Votes poll. Pics from the photo channel could have been imported and used as wallpaper, floor tiles, furniture or appeared on billboards in the city. Then there’s the virtual console. While removing the NES games in light of their availability on the online service made sense from a financial perspective, Nintendo could have still let you play your downloaded collection within AC. The original shipped with a robust NES emulator so it isn’t a stretch to imagine the same being possible on the Wii, especially as Smash Bros Brawl allowed a handful of Nintendo gems to be sampled.

These are just a few things we’d have loved to have seen in the new Animal Crossing, or future versions (if you’re reading this Miyamoto…)


by
published Sunday, Dec 14th

Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City Review

Despite trying desperately to prove otherwise, Nintendo’s holiday release schedule has been somewhat lacking in big titles. Warioland: Shake It! arrived too early to be considered a holiday title; Disaster, while good fun, lacked depth and was poorly advertised; and Wii Music? Well…

Elsewhere, the last few months have been pretty busy for gamers; in the last few weeks alone we’ve had Gears of War 2, Little Big Planet and Fallout 3 to keep us glued to our controllers. Sadly, the Wii has had nothing recently that could match these in terms of size, complexity and retail clout, with Nintendo seemingly content to sit back and let their so-called evergreen (or long-tail if you prefer) releases like Mario Kart, Wii Fit and Wii Play bring home the bacon. With the majority of their big franchises already recipients of a Wii outing it was perhaps inevitable that there would be a franchise drought at some point but it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

It’s hard to imagine a Christmas without a big Nintendo game to take your mind off over-cooked turkey, family members attempting to sing, and re-runs of the Dad’s Army Xmas special. The small glimmer of hope this year is still a Class-A franchise, but can ‘Animal Crossing: Let’s go to the City’ be enough to satiate those of us that live and breathe all things Nintendo?

Given that most die-hard Nintendo fans would have played the first two (or four if you count the N64 original and the Japanese re-release of the US Gamecube version) games to death, the answer must surely be a resounding no. The lack of any real changes to the core gameplay isn’t necessarily an area to direct criticism, after all the original was really good fun in small doses and that remains the case here, but the lackluster additions should definitely be called into question. This is one of the first in-house Nintendo titles that could be labeled a lazy port, given the unabashed similarities to the DS version; it’s incredibly disappointing that the Wii has to make do with what is essentially ‘Wild World Plus’. The few changes that exist between these two simply aren’t enough to make this worth playing through once again.

Firstly, the big additions that Nintendo have been keen to advertise, the city location and the optional Wii Speak peripheral, barely make any difference at all. The ‘city’ comprises of a small plaza offering permanent shops for some of the wandering guests that used to visit your village in previous games. You no longer have to wait for Katrina, Dr Shrunk or the shifty Crazy Redd to happen upon your little village, they are now available whenever you decide to pay them a visit, which may be convenient, but takes away some of the fun of waiting for those random visitors. Then there’s Wii Speak, which is only an optional extra and so naturally isn’t built to be an integral part of the experience and is only useful if you have friends who have also plumped for the pricey peripheral.

There are some minor improvements, the inclusion of four possible locations to set up your house when you start the game being one of them, and the online item auction is also a great feature. Nintendo have also back-tracked on some of their design decisions from the DS game, most notably with the welcome return of proper events to mark holidays like Christmas and Halloween. And if you have a DS save file you can transfer your character and their catalogue over to the Wii (although without bells and items). But there could and should have been more.

Newcomers won’t share any of these concerns, of course, for at its core Animal Crossing is still a wonderful and long-lasting experience. And will surely enthrall any first-timers who have the spare time and dedication needed to fully appreciate all it has to offer. But like Mario Kart before it, it’s painfully clear that this Wii version wasn’t made for fans. It was made for those who’d never cursed and run away as a beehive fell from a tree they’d just shaken; or sat for hours in the pouring rain waiting for that Coelacanth-shaped shadow to take the bait; or cheered as another home extension had been paid off.

Animal Crossing remains as charming as ever but it’s hard to enjoy when you know it could have been so much more.