Tag Archive: pirates


Introduction

There were a lot of good games in 2013. For me, however, there weren’t a lot of great games, ones that were clearly head and shoulders above the pack and got me excited every time I talked about them.Aside from some Nintendo titles, the end of the year was surprisingly dull, due to the less-than-stellar launch lineups of the PS4 and Xbox One. Because of that, half my list is comprised of games that surprisingly came from the first six months of 2013. But when I look back, these are the five games I’d sit down and play again more than any others. Enjoy!

Ray’s Top Five Games for 2013

#05: Fire Emblem: Awakening

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Platforms: 3DS

Ray’s Take

Until Marth and Roy made their appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee, I’d never heard of Fire Emblem, since it had only been released in Japan at that point. I personally didn’t get into the series until Path of Radiance a few years later, but since then, I’ve been hooked. The story and strategy is everything I could ever want from a game, and Awakening miraculously finds a way to raise what was already a high bar. Elements like character customization are also introduced to the States for the first time here, and pairing units adds another nuance that can’t be ignored when playing.

#04: Remember Me

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Ray’s Take

Some games take you by surprise so much that you can’t help but fall in love with them. Remember Me is one of those games for me. From futuristic high rises that pierce the clouds to the seedy sewers comprising Neo-Paris’ underbelly, Nilin’s world pulled me in, with no small effort from our dear protagonist herself. The unique memory remixes and combo-creation gameplay elements stoked my fire as I spent way too much time exploring every second of people’s pasts or playing with my Pressens in the Combo Lab.

#03: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Ray’s Take

Few games were able to just straight up impress me more than Assassin’s Creed IV did this year. The amount of freedom I felt on the open sea was unparalleled, and I’d lose hours on end just boarding enemy ships or diving beneath the waves to unearth some long-sunken treasure. I’m genuinely amazed at the progress made between this and Assassin’s Creed III, and I’m of the opinion that Black Flag is the best Assassin’s Creed since we first met Ezio back in Assassin’s Creed II.

#02: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Publisher:Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Platforms: PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, PC

Ray’s Take

I have to play a lot of games over the course of a given year. I’m not complaining, but the only bad thing about this is that I rarely can find the time to go back to the games I truly enjoy. The one game I constantly found myself coming back to when I did find the time, however, was Injustice. I loved the story, I loved the mechanics, and I even loved playing online with other people—an activity that usually has me smashing controllers and living-room furniture left and right.

#01: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: 3DS

Ray’s Take

A Link Between Worlds is simply the best handheld Zelda game ever. Sorry, Link’s Awakening, but your 20-year title reign is at an end. The subtle changes to the classic Zelda formula, like having all the items at the beginning of the game, admittedly took some getting used to. But in the end, none of those changes stopped me from enjoying the game—and I couldn’t put my 3DS down until the adventure was over. In regards to the greatest Zelda games ever conversation, I wouldn’t put A Link Between Worlds past A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time, but it’s not far off either.

Ray’s Off-Topic Awards for 2013

The Razor Ramon Award for Best Bad Guy
Jacob Danik
A lot of games this year tried to offer up some shades of gray to the black-and-white conflicts we normally expect. And while plot twists and grandiose questions about morality are fun, sometimes you just want someone you can hate. A bad guy you love because he’s bad. This year had a few candidates, but in the end, I chose Jacob Danik from Dead Space 3. He was a religious zealot willing to sacrifice the entire human race for what he believed to be salvation, and Simon Templeman played him brilliantly, projecting a cold ruthlessness akin to space itself.
Popsicle’s “The Colors, Duke! The Colors!” Award for Most Colorful Game
Super Mario 3D World
This one’s become sort of a tradition, so I figured I should continue it. It was a close call between several games this year, but I had to go with Super Mario 3D World. This particular Mario outing may have been a bit too easy and a bit too short for my tastes, but there’s no denying how gorgeous it was because of the variety of levels Mario was able to traverse for the first time in full HD. From purple ponds of poison and snowcapped summits down to the shine on the buttons of Mario’s overalls, a Mario game has never looked so good.
The Best Co-Op Gaming with Your Girlfriend Award
BattleBlock Theater
I play a fair amount of games with my girlfriend, but she only ends up happy that she joined in on a few of them. So, I figured I’d give a little recognition to the game she had the most fun co-op marathoning this year: BattleBlock Theater. She still talks about that game to this day, and it remains the only game where it’s OK to tell your significant other to go kill themselves, as we’d often sacrifice one another on floor spikes to serve as makeshift platforms to get across gaps.

Originally Published: June 20, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

When I saw Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball for the Nintendo Wii, I didn’t think much of it. Then I started to analyze the concept. Some of the most revered character genres in all of creation are being combined into one game. Pirates, ninjas, robots, aliens, monsters, and more are meeting in one of the most-fun games you’ve ever participated in on the playground. This game had a premise of what could be an instant classic. So, what have I learned after playing it? Always trust your first instinct.

Although a winning concept, Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball is really nothing more than a glorified mini-game. The story mode lacks any real depth beyond a handful of text prompts before each match as you battle your way through various scenarios set before you. These scenes are possibly humorous to a small child, however, the text story is droll and predictable to anyone out of pre-school.

The graphics are typical of the Wii with their cartoony goodness, but there aren’t many details to drool over visually because of the overhead observational view of the dodgeball court. Even then the court is rather bland and leaves you wanting more.

On top of lackluster visuals, the audio is dull at best. No voice acting whatsoever and cheesy music and sound effects leave any hardcore gamer just shaking their head.

The gameplay was beyond simple and the inclusion of a homing-shot targeting-system left the game to be no challenge whatsoever. It was nice to see each group of characters have special powers to help delay your opponents, but instead of a dodgeball match, the powers help it de-evolve into what might have been a cooler game, actual pirates versus ninjas.

There isn’t much to bring you to this game a first time, never mind for repeat playthroughs, but at least there a few nice versus options if you can convince a friend to play with you. Other than that though, this game is an instant bargain bin offering and will only appeal to much younger, beginning players, if anyone at all.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 4.0: A lack of details on the court, cut scenes, and an overall emphasis on the cartoony look leaves you looking for more from the looks of this game.

Audio: 2.0: Bad sound effects and worse music, coupled with no voice acting, just shows the lack of production value given to this title.

Plot/Plot Development: 2.0: Text-driven prompts usually, only between two characters, poorly develops a lackluster pseudo-rivalry between all these of fictional fan-favorites. This is just another clear sign of poor-production values.

Gameplay: 2.0: No difficulty whatsoever and an emphasis on powers leave a lot to be desired from the gameplay. To say the game is chaotic and unsatisfying is like only saying the Red Sox and Yankees have a rivalry.

Replay Value: 5.0: If you should get this game and can convince someone to play with you, you might actually find the one, barely-redeeming quality of the game. There are several different versions of dodgeball that may get your more competitive side to emerge. However, there is nothing to bring you back to the story mode.

Overall: 1.0 (not an average): Unfortunately, this makes my list of some of the worst games ever made. The worst part of this awful game is the wasted potential. This game could have been very good, I don’t know if there was a lack of funding or a true development team, but the lack of production values and creativity leaves this game a bitter disappointment. Follow your gut when you look at this game and avoid it.

Pirates vs Ninjas Dodgeball for Wii is out now, probably at the bottom of the bargain bin, if you’re looking to waste a few dollars.

-Ray Carsillo