Boom. Here we go.
First off, New Super Mario Bros. U. Awesome. All my complaints about New Super Mario Bros. 2 have been fixed right here. Where as the 3DS one was all of traditional Mario elements blended together in a paint by numbers kind of way this new game, well, in a sense is the same, but the way the elements interact with each other is actually well thought out and react to each other really well. Like real game design or something. It's also a lot bigger and shinier that helps make it feel fresher. The camera loves to pan out and even Super Mario looks a little little compared to the stuff he's scrambling over, and HD is gorgeous! Such fine detail every where and the colours are so bright and lush. Even the backgrounds look stunning.
It's also a lot more giving which if you read the NSMB2 thread was another one of my problems with that game. Second item you get? Squirrel suit. Boom. Take it. And although at a glance may look really similar to the Tanooki suit it actually works very differently and is awesome. 3 levels in? Pink Yoshi. Boom. Take it. And although is a re-skinned Propeller suit by making it a Yoshi you have to hold they've actually managed to make it feel more special with it being easy to use, taking some of Mario's moves away but enabling him to to reach super high heights and save him self from bottomless pits. Really well balanced. My favourite thing? Mini Mushroom. Not new, and I've always loved it, but now you can run up the side of walls with it which is magic! Such a rare thing for a video game to let you do but I love it when they let it happen.
Overall fantastic. Restored my faith in this branch of the series, although if you've never been keen on it this won't change your mind, so there is that. I also don't get how the Miiverse functionality works. I can see people's balloons but no idea what it's for and haven't seen a single post although I've left a few.
Sonic All-Stars Racing (Is that the title?). Better than Mario Kart 7. No Blue Shell makes it better automatically, but there's more, and I say Mario Kart 7 specifically because that game let you go in water and fly too, but not like this. I'll admit I wasn't especially sold on it until I reached the After Burner track which maybe one of the smaller tracks I've seen but is some bad-ass bananas. It kills the frame rate, but there's so much going on that's totally fine. Flying is cool!! The boat stuff not so much, I feel like you lose a lot of speed and the handling feels iffy, it's not terrible, but not as good as the normal driving and the awesome flying. I also love how they've stepped away from the usual Mario Kart/Kart Racer structure to with having more options like World Tour and having drifting events and whatnot instead of the just the Grand Prix mode, although I think it has that, too.
Online was a little bit of a let down. It worked well enough, but the most players I found at one time was 4. Think you really need the absolute max because it loses some of the crazy otherwise. There's also the lack of the familiarity for me not having a rich Sega history. Love Sonic to death and I recognized After Burner but I was never a big Sega guy so although the tracks and the racers seem cool, my inner child just doesn't get pumped like with the Mario Kart cast. Likewise the items feel really non specific and just like Mario Kart equivalents and random ideas. They probably all tie in to Sega somewhere down the line, but I don't know.
Sonic 4 Episode 2. I was a bit sceptical about this because even outlets that I know give Sonic games a chance tore this a new one, but I think y'all nuts. It's fantastic. First and foremost it looks tonnes better. The character models, the environments, the colours, just worlds apart. It also seems better value for money than Episode 1 when you look at it as less rip-off-y. Where as Episode 1 was just a riff on old zones these ones actually feel new and fresh. Yes, out of the two I've seen you can still peg them as Aquatic Ruin and Ice Cap inspired I think they got the right balance between "Oh, this is from that game" but extremely different enough to avoid the feeling of "Oh, this is from that game" if you know what I mean. the first boss was a great nod and wink, too.
My favourite thing about is the interaction between Sonic & Tails. Being able to fly like that is great! Such a vast improvement over the way things used to be. Where is you miss a jump you die on purpose at a check point or restart the level to try again. Nope, you just hit X and fly up there. Sure, takes away some of the skill you would get from learning the level, but it's nice to know I can do that later and for now still get where I want to be. The mechanics they use them for are cool as well. I love that whole digging through the snow stuff, and it makes underwater sonic levels feel a lot more bearable. Got great special stages, too. Not quite sure why they've put a speed up button in there, just seems to make it harder and there's no penalty for going slower if I'm right. Regardless, I really like those.
Yeah, I don't know where all the hate came for this, not only do I think it's much better than Sonic 4 Episode 1, so far for me it's in the league of great new Sonic games with Colours, Rush and Generations. Good to see that continuing, honestly. Metal Sonic, too. Metal Sonic is bad ass although the Episode Metal DLC was not. But as a free bonus, whatever.
Also spin-y legs! Whoo!
From what I can remember that's all I've played today. But waiting in the wings is ZombieU, Dust: An Elysian Tale, Mark of the Ninja, The whole of the Walking Dead series, Fez, Assassin's Creed 3, Need 4 Speed: Most Wanted, Far Cry 3 and various 3DS game demo's I downloaded. Going to be busy!