Ryan Smythe ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Nintendo is coming to the end of a difficult year filled with naysayers, both in the reporting world and within their fanbase. The Wii U was thought to be overshadowed by both the PS4 and the Xbox One, with hardware strength mentioned in nearly every argument against it. Bashed for being “a generation behind”, fans of Nintendo desperately clung to the console-leading 40 million 3DS sales as a reason to hope for the future.
Then the Christmas season hit, and the Wii U started selling like crazy. Its $300 price tag, when compared to the $400 PS4 and $500 Xbox One, suddenly looked so much shinier. And now it leads all next-gen consoles in sales with over 4 million units sold, compared to PS4’s and Xbox One’s 2 or so million.
That being said, let’s take a look at Nintendo’s best games of 2013.
5. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
On the surface, this game shouldn’t be one of the best games on any platform, let alone the top-ranked 3DS. However, once the player’s character gets thrown into the role of mayor and their story begins, the game opens up and shows itself to be one of the most charming games on any system. With no real plot or goals, it is up to the player to decide what to do, and Animal Crossing facilitates almost any option. The character design is adorable and the controls feel so natural that it’s very hard to not fall in love with the world and start a life there.
4. Wonderful 101
Over the top action, eye-popping colors, and a completely wacky feel make this game fun to play, all the while matching the fun with a deceptively complex battle system. At first, it feels like a button-smashing brawler, but very quickly shows itself to be a game that requires precise control, quick reflexes, and an even quicker eye. Platinum Games delivers yet another game to keep people with controllers firmly grasped in hand. Just remember to be patient when starting out for the first time. It takes some getting used to.
3. Pokemon X/Y
In the main series’ first foray away from sprite-based animation, the Pokemon Company delivers its best game to date. As nostalgically perfect as the original Red and Blue are, X and Y, with their new gameplay mechanics, Mega Evolutions, new type, and new Eeveelution top them in every way. The only thing keeping these games out of one of the top two spots is the fact that the 3D effects aren’t quite finished up yet. It weirdly mixes in some 3D briefly, almost like it’s just a test run game. Even with that issue, it easily holds down this number three position.
2. Super Mario 3D World
Mario continues his legacy of starring in some of the most entertaining games on the planet with 3D World adding yet another amazing title to the list of 3D Mario platformers. While maybe not as groundbreaking as Super Mario Galaxy was, it brings with it an undeniable charm. On top of its platforming genius, the option to choose between Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach adds a little extra flexibility to fit the player’s liking. All of the power ups, whether it’s the classic Fire Flower or the brand new Cat Suit, play wonderfully and show off just how clever some of the puzzles can be. But most of all, this game is just pure, unadulterated fun.
1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
It’s hard to talk about this game without using incomplete sentences and unintelligible noises. The amount of sheer joy brought out by ALBW is awe-inspiring, and it’s not just because of one aspect of the game. The combat, especially with the bosses, is clever and deep and keeps Link on his toes. The art style is incredible and infuses the entire world with such charm that even Lorule seems like a beautiful place to live at times. Even the story, though a somewhat traditional princess/hero story, is engrossing and makes the silent Link a sympathetic character. Nintendo may be waiting to release a non-remake Zelda game for the Wii U, but ALBW more than stands up to the pressure of being the only next-gen version out now.
Even with the Wii U’s resurgence, the 3DS retains its title as the best console on the market. That very well may change in 2014 with releases like Super Smash Brothers (with a similar release on the 3DS), Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, X, and possibly Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem.