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The Ten: Updated Wednesdays-Fridays-Sundays

Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Sorta Fresh" Review: Pikmin 3

It's wrong to want virtual fruit this bad.
The first game I got on my GCN was Pikmin.

Even back then, I was just in love with the strangeness of the world. Odd ant-like creatures that followed me in droves as I struggled to escape the planet they called their own, bizarre predatory creatures that looked familiar but would cause me a world of hurt, and a race against the clock to manage resources and complete a game. Sure, it was a brief ride, but one that was filled with Nintendo magic. And though I never picked up Pikmin 2 (and I cannot say I've played it to this day- I know, it's awful), I finally got to take another trip to that magical world.

It's good to be back.

PROS:

-The controls in Pikmin 3 feel just right, and having skipped an iteration, it boggles me to see such great advancements to the gameplay. While switching Pikmin and captains is a bit of a chore, various features like the "go here" function, lock-on, and easy camera movement make exploring the world a blast.

-The visuals, from each tiny Pikmin to the mighty enemies and carefully crafted environments, are gorgeous. Pikmin is the only game that could possibly showcase the beauty of Nintendo IPs in high definition.

-The pacing of the game is top-notch, allowing the player to feel as if they've discovered something new at every turn. While some goals are initially unobtainable, the slow-unlock and progression of the story are even and engaging.

CONS:

-If promoting a new console was so important, why does the Gamepad feel so counter-intuitive sometimes? Aiming can be a chore, and its other features feel woefully underused.

THOUGHTS:

I mean, what is there really to say? Miyamoto makes good games. Pikmin 3 made me brim with childish glee like no other game I've played lately, and that's saying something. I've felt so burnt out on RPGs as of late, which are my favorite genre, but have had me quite testy lately. But this game... man, this game. It's just fun. The puzzles are smart, the progression is smart, the enemies are hard, but most importantly, the game takes a solid middle ground in throwing its challenges at you. In allowing fast restarts from the beginning of the day or even days before that, the game allows you to plan your efforts carefully and tackle them all more quickly. Though it may seem like a cop-out, restarting the day can make a world of difference.

Its story is deliciously potent and bizarre all at the same time, the characters quirky in their individuality in absurd ways. The way the story and its silly cautionary nods to indulgence are told is just so endearing, yet intelligent all at the same time. Pikmin 3's environments feel more like playgrounds to test ones management skills and their ability to tackle clever puzzles than anything. Each boss battle has its own stunning mechanics, from simple enemies with rock-hard claws to the insanity-inducing final boss and its many attack forms.

If there's only one complaint I have, it's that aiming Pikmin and their target is just a bit less intuitive than one would hope. The Gamepad's "go here" function is brilliant and I found myself relying on it heavily throughout the game if only because of its amazing ease of use. But it is clear that there are two different ways to play this game, and that the Wii Remote beats out the Gamepad by just a bit. It's a shame the developers weren't able to cram a bt more functionality into the device since, you know... it is the system's controller.

But every complaint feels small in the grand scheme of Pikmin 3. Too short? Pikmin is designed for the personal challenge of re-running story mode, not to mention its challenge mode. It's just a damn good game, and it might just be the best one I've played all year.

Final Verdict: Pikmin isn't the game for everyone. But everyone should play it, if only because it's a a game full of challenge, beauty, and good design. Pikmin 3 is the best Wii U you can get, and it might stay that way for a while.

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