Once again, all the major releases are finally out and about (and being played at the moment). But this week at least sees Nintendo's heavy hitter of the year, and maybe their best one yet for the 3DS. As well as a re-release of an older title to remind us that Final Fantasy used to be good, believe it or not!
Reviews have been floating around for the past couple of days, and Mario Kart 7's reception has been mixed to put it mildly. Well take it from me; the hater don't know what they're talking about. Speaking as someone who sorta gave up on the franchise after the respectable, but not quite as amazing as Double Dash, DS installment, and was put to sleep by the Wii version, 7 is a real return to form, that combines everything that worked the best from before, and combines it with just another extra flourishes for it to feel fresh all over. Granted, it's still not quite as amazing as the GameCube classic, but multiplayer for a portable release is finally done right (which was the biggest hindrance to the DS release), and there's a strong focus on straight forward racing this time around, with some of the best track designs yet. Thanks to the added air and underwater segments (especially the former; it's impossible to accurately describe how much fun the gliding portions are). It's also one of the best uses of 3D yet for the platform, right up there with Super Mario 3D Land, and it's just drop dead gorgeous overall. Granted, if you have a 3DS, you were going to get it anyway, but it's seriously a worthy update to the series. 3DS
All you kids gather around, because I've got a story to tell you youngins. There was a time, believe it or not, in which Final Fantasy didn't suck! Nope. It was all about complex, compelling, and most importantly, identifiable characters. The story used to be grand and sweeping, yet completely comprehensible and didn't insult your intelligence. Gameplay was deep and fun, not overflowing with flash, but filled with zero substance. You actually had to work your ass off to get anywhere, because there was no handholding. Need proof? Then download what is undeniably (imho) the best installment of the franchise, chapter 6, right before it jumped the shark with part 7 (it's also a perfect example of a game not being able to make the jump to the 3D). FF6 has seen releases over the years, though this may be the one to get, since it's in the format that suits it best, which is at home, on a television (and those finely crafted pixels from almost 20 years ago will look beautiful on your HD set, I assure you), and with the best translation to date. PSN