GOTY 2017 | Number 1 — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The hype was real for The Leg­end of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but no one could have seen just how inno­v­a­tive and rein­vig­o­rat­ing the game would end up. Nin­tendo had been play­ing it safe for too long with the Zelda series and vowed to go back to its roots for Breath of the Wild. The suc­cess they found with this new for­mula will likely go on to influ­ence the series going for­ward and likely the design of open world games in gen­eral. Many open world games rely on point­ing the player in the direc­tion they want them to go, for fear of them get­ting bored. Nin­tendo expertly solved the issue that other devel­op­ers didn’t even see here, by rid­ding the world of developer-laid icons and allow­ing the player to choose their own jour­ney. Stand­ing at the top of a tower, you might see some­thing that looks inter­est­ing and decide to inves­ti­gate. Nearly every time, you will be rewarded for your curios­ity with some­thing, even if it’s some­thing small. This is what sep­a­rates Breath of the Wild from other open world games. It allows play­ers to cre­ate their own sto­ries and explore the world at their own pace, while pack­ing every nook and cranny with fun things to find. Hours melted away while I was play­ing Breath of the Wild as I got lost in the gor­geous world. The Leg­end of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games ever made and eas­ily deserves the spot as the best game of 2017.


ESH | Demon’s Crystals Review

Mind­lessly blast­ing bad­dies is always a good way to wind down when you’re not in the mood for some­thing a lit­tle heav­ier. Demon’s Crys­tals is a twin stick shooter that’s not look­ing to break any new ground, but the mechan­ics are just good enough that it’s suit­able for some short bursts of fun. Boast­ing a sim­ple main cam­paign and six mul­ti­player types, Demon’s Crys­tals doesn’t have a lot of depth, but for the five dol­lar price tag, you’ll get enough silly fun to last you and your friends a few nights.


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ESH | Toby: The Secret Mine Review

Atmos­phere, in my hum­ble opin­ion, is one of the most impor­tant things a game can cre­ate. Back in 2010, Play­dead intro­duced us all to a puz­zle plat­former than oozed atmos­phere and cre­ated a sur­pris­ingly tense 2-D expe­ri­ence with Limbo. Since then many devel­op­ers have tried to recap­ture the magic of this game by mim­ic­k­ing its aes­thet­ics or game­play. Com­ing from this stand­point, Lukáš Navrátil cre­ated Toby: The Secret Mine as a solo project. While it doesn’t quite recap­ture the tense feel­ing of the game it was inspired by, there are some good moments to latch onto here.


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E3 2016 | A Narrative Journey Through ‘Breath of the Wild’

The foun­da­tion of the Leg­end of Zelda series was built upon explo­ration. Wan­der­ing the scenic hills of Hyrule in search of secrets has always been the thing that made the best games in the series so fun. Nin­tendo allowed me to explore the diverse lands of The Leg­end of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the E3 demo for quite a while, so instead of list­ing off the fea­tures I noticed in this breath­tak­ing, pun com­pletely intended, adven­ture game, I’m going to take you through the story of my explo­ration of Hyrule. Come join me as I stroll the the lands of Nintendo’s next epic.


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E3 2016 | Severed on iOS and Nintendo

One of the best devel­op­ers out there build­ing games for the PS Vita, Drinkbox Stu­dios has yet to release a game that has not been a slam dunk for me. This year’s release, enti­tled Sev­ered, keeps to this trend and proves that when done smartly, great PS Vita games can cer­tainly be made. For those who are not insane enough to con­tinue back­ing the Vita like I have, Drinkbox Stu­dios has got you cov­ered. They are releas­ing Sev­ered to both iOS and Nin­tendo con­soles this summer.


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ESH | Amazon vs. Best Buy: Which 20% Offer Is Better?

Online retail giant Ama­zon announced yes­ter­day that they will be offer­ing a hefty dis­count on new video games for mem­bers of their Ama­zon Prime ser­vice. Slic­ing 20% off the top of any pre­order or game that has seen a release within the last two weeks is sure to draw some gamers that have been on the fence about Ama­zon Prime. Pair that with the release date guar­an­tee the ser­vice offers and they make a rea­son­able case for sign­ing up. This is, how­ever, not the first com­pany to offer a sim­i­lar dis­count. Best Buy has their Gamer Club Unlocked ser­vice, which will also get you that hot 20% dis­count, but which one offers the bet­ter value is cer­tainly up for debate. Let’s take a sec­ond and com­pare some of the specifics of each service.


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GOTY 2015 | Number 4 — Super Mario Maker

Build­ing cus­tom Super Mario Bros. lev­els sounds like a great idea on paper, but there was plenty of room for doubt as to whether Nin­tendo would nail it in prac­tice. Thank­fully for Super Mario Maker, Nin­tendo did the fran­chise jus­tice with their level builder and cre­ated a game I still boot up on a daily basis. Let’s face it, the Super Mario games are fun and hav­ing a nearly unlim­ited sup­ply of new stages to try can only be a good thing. From the ter­ri­ble lev­els to the clever and devi­ous ones, I enjoy hop­ping into Super Mario Maker every time.

MarioMakerBen Con­tinue read­ing

GOTY 2015 | Number 10 — Splatoon

Com­pet­i­tive mul­ti­player shoot­ers and I have had a rocky rela­tion­ship over the years. I’ve never been very good and it doesn’t take long before it becomes impos­si­ble for me to keep my skill up to par. Spla­toon negates this by cre­at­ing a new main objec­tive for matches that doesn’t even involve shoot­ing one another. While you cer­tainly can aim your ink at other play­ers, you’ll do much bet­ter remem­ber­ing that, in the end, you should be mainly focused on cov­er­ing the arena in your color.

SplatoonBen Con­tinue read­ing