Elebits Review

Do you remember Elebits for the Wii? Well, it was never the most popular game around, but it was always at Gamestop. I would pass by it just about every week. Finally, the decision was made to purchase the elusive game. After that…it sat around in the backlog for 2 or more years. Now, I finally went back and finished it. Was this game extremely awesome? Well…let’s just say that this was not the case!

The plot revolves around a boy named Kai. He dislikes the Elebits and he just wants his parents to acknowledge his skills. The Elebits are really a way of life at this point and they power just about everything with their electrical abilities. One day, Kai’s parents leave and the Elebits all begin to go crazy as they cause a blackout to affect the entire planet. (or city) Kai quickly grabs his Dad’s legendary Capture Gun and sets out to recapture all of them. Still…what could have made them go berserk!?

Kai is the main character and he’s definitely not the next Mario. He has no good reason to dislike the Elebits. Naturally, he provides us with a reason, but it’s not something that I can sympathize with. He may have been alone a lot, but it’s not really the Elebits fault. If not for them, his parents wouldn’t have their current hobby. Kai gets his much needed character development by the end of the game, but I still couldn’t say that he was a likable character. He has a lot of room for improvement and the sequel could help with that.

The gameplay is really what didn’t click with me. As you may be aware, gameplay is the single most important attribute for a video game. You can have terrible looking character models and background while still being a great fighting game. That being said, you can have amazing graphics and die out from the gameplay. This game’s gameplay may not be the worst that I’ve seen, but it’s just not my style. Remember I Spy?

This game is essentially like that. You have to locate the Elebits scattered across the park and blast them with your capture gun. This is the kind of game that many would say was meant to be for the Wii. The truth is..this game would have been better on the PS3 or Gamecube. We are pretty well aware of how the motion controls can make things difficult right? Well, this game purely relies on pointing and turning so that was definitely a little more difficult than necessary.

The thing is…there’s really not much to the game. You spend 29 levels just shooting at the Elebits with the occasional boss battle thrown in. The bosses were actually pretty fun to fight against so I wish that there had been more of them. The game did show a lot of improvement in the second half as well. Once we finally got to leave the house, it was just more fun to take on the Elebits. The areas became pretty diverse as you fight in the streets and outside the park. I wish that the whole game could have been like that. The first 7+ levels you are stuck inside of the house and the levels really aren’t that interesting.

One of the bigger issues with the gameplay is how long each of the levels are. I’m all for long levels, but you need to have some kind of checkpoint system in place. The levels in this game go up to 25 minutes and you can imagine how annoying it is to replay a 25 minute level. It would be like having to start all the way from scratch in Shattered Dimensions whenever you lost a life. One could argue that it’s a good challenge and you just need to learn how to play. One could try to debate this…but I don’t agree. This is just tedious and it certainly doesn’t help the game. I lost my fair share of levels in this game and I was never thrilled about starting over.

The game does give you a lot of content. You can edit each stage, make whole new stages, and even explore the story levels on your own with no time limit. These options definitely make the game a little more appealing in terms of replay value. If the levels had not had a time limit from the start, I’m sure that I would have enjoyed them a little more.

The graphics for the game are decent. The actual cutscenes look pretty terrible since it’s like you’re reading from a book. It’s just a bunch of pictures/stills that keep on going. I can’t say I was impressed on that front. The narration is also really bad. This must be the worst voice acting that I’ve ever heard for a video game. Trust me…it’s not something that you’ll miss! The actual gameplay is pretty good though. You can clearly see an Elebit even if they are on a completely different stage. Moreover, you can even blast the Elebit, which is pretty good on the gameplay side. Usually, it just won’t work because the game can’t read such a long distance action. This isn’t the next New Super Mario Bros, but it looks good enough to satisfy me.

The soundtrack is less impressive. There are at least 29 different tunes in the game, but they’re all pretty forgettable. They’re supposed to be soothing to help with the gameplay I suppose, but I would have liked some fast electronic music. Maybe even a few guitar strums for that epicness factor. We didn’t really get any of that and I would say that the soundtrack is definitely in the sub par category. The insert song during the credits was pretty good, but that wasn’t enough to save this soundtrack.

This is a game that you likely won’t enjoy at first. You really need to let the game grow on you and by level 15 or so, you may actually enjoy it. I can safely say that I was heavily leaning towards a 4 when I first started the game. After picking the game up a few years later to replay it, I still kept the 4 in heavy consideration. I was only able to get through two levels on my first shot before I had to call it a day. Slowly, I began to play more levels per shot. I took on another 6 after that and then I marathoned most of the levels that were left. It’s still not a game that I really care for, but I can see the appeal of it. Trading levels online and trying to beat the custom ones would probably make things a little more interesting.

Overall, This game really isn’t my type. I’m not a huge fan of the controls and the gameplay isn’t very exciting. The stages are really important in this type of game and the opening levels definitely don’t succeed. I prefer to just rush into an arena and throw everything out of my way to find the Elebits. Unfortunately, this way won’t really allow you to win very often so I had to take a more cautious approach. That’s likely a factor in how the game got to be more enjoyable. Still, it goes against my gaming ways! You should enjoy this if you want a challenge for your observational abilities. Personally, I’d rather play a nice game of Bakugan!

Overall 5/10

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Centipede Infestation Review

It’s time for another action packed Wii game! I’ve been on a roll with this console and Centipede Infestation was definitely the next title on my list. I mainly bought this game because it was supposed to be similar to Alien Syndrome and also because the title is pretty intense. I got it for a cheap price, but it’s a very fun game that I would highly recommend for the Wii!

The plot revolves around Max, The Bug Slayer. Earth has been overtake by Centipedes and other insects and all of the flowers and plants have died. One day, Max meets up with a girl named Maisy who is able to grow gardens. She needs to head back to her main base of operations, but getting back there will be dangerous. Max decides to escort her there since he may as well and they decide to go. What dangers will befall these two along the way!?

The plot is pretty simple. The game explains towards the end how this all happened and I feel bad for the Government since it sounds like they were taken down pretty quickly. The situation is effectively hopeless for the heroes since they would need to destroy all of the insects to win back the Earth. Max basically accepts this so he just goes around destroying as many as he can while having fun. He does take a lot of pride in his work after all. If there were more heroes, then they would have a chance. Essentially, destroying large insects can make a garden grow immediately, so Max just needs a few resistance fighters with him and they’d be okay. It would be an Attack on Titan situation where they try to protect a little land and slowly move to conquer more. It would take a while, but it’s basically the only option still available for the humans.

Max is the main character and he’s pretty cool. He has accepted that he is the only person brave enough to fight the insects and he has become pretty skilled at it. Give him a blaster and the insects don’t stand a chance! He befriends one of them, but things get a little dicey for Max and the ending is quite tragic. At least he didn’t mean to shoot, so that helps Max in my book. He’s not an all star character, but he makes for a good lead.

Maisy is the main heroine and she’s really the only form of civilization that we get to meet. Everyone else is hiding out at the town. Maisy runs a garden business and she goes across the planet planting them. The apocalypse has slowed down her business, but she still tries to make time to plant some new ones. She’s a pretty solid character and she always tries to keep Max in check. I’m hoping that she picks up a gun and decides to help more in the sequel.

There’s also a ghost kid who meets up with Max after he is separated from Maisy. He has a different name than Max technically, but I believe that he is supposed to represent Max’s kid self. Unfortunately, I can’t say that he’s very likable. He mostly tries to verbally take shots at Max whenever he can and he’s constantly taunting the poor guy. No, the ghost kid definitely wasn’t up to snuff and he ran once the going got tough.

The gameplay is basically the same as Alien Syndrome. In case you haven’t played that (excellent) game, here is how it works. The gameplay is overhead (Although not completely overhead) and you’ve got the blaster. Some levels are very enclosed as if you are in a boxing ring and you have to destroy all of the insects to win. They’ll keep coming out of the bushes and you have to keep your finger on the trigger. You can also stomp, but that’s only useful for the underground monsters and it leaves you wide open for attack. The Wii remote can make things a little dicey, but it works out decently well for this game. It doesn’t hinder it as much as it would hinder other games and I still found the gameplay to be a lot of fun.

There are power ups to be found across the levels and they range from increasing your fire power to nuclear explosions that can defeat any enemy in one shot, except for bosses of course. My favorite power up was the laser blasts, but the explosions are a close second. Picking your power ups can be a tactical decision because they only last for a few seconds and you can run out of space as you can only have 4 different ones at once. Picking up something that just leaves you vulnerable like the acid bombs could get in the way of a solid laser pick up.

There are 40 levels in this game. That’s a solid amount, but they are pretty short so you should be warned. Each level may be 2-5 minutes long so you can roughly finish the entire game in 2-4 hours. That is a little short, but it still does have a lot of levels and there is an achievements system as well. I ended up earning most of them and I almost got a Gold Medal in each level. That definitely would have been pretty cool and I just missed a handful towards the end. There is also hard mode and insane mode where you can really see if you have what it takes to stop the insects. I haven’t given them a try, but they definitely sound like a lot of fun. The levels could be a little easy at times so this is just what I need!

The graphics are decent. I do applaud the fact that there are voices for the characters and the cutscenes appear after every level. We also get completely animated cutscenes once in a while. The animations can be a little retro and more like a really old cartoon, but I’m just glad that they were there. The graphics may be a little underwhelming, but you really won’t notice all that much while you’re busy blasting aliens. That is the important part to the game after all.

The soundtrack is all right. There aren’t many different tunes in the game, but the ones that are there are decently catchy. You’ll likely enjoy them as you are crushing the bugs and then forget about them afterwards. That’s good enough for me since they aren’t bad tunes and they won’t hamper your experience. I would prefer for the tunes to be more memorable, but we can’t have it all.

Overall, This is a very good game for the Wii. 40 levels is a solid deal and the plot is pretty sound. They put more effort into the cutscenes than one would expect and the main characters are pretty good. The game never gets repetitive and it’s very easy to just pick it up and play. I actually took a break from it for several months and it was still just as fun when I jumped back in. I would definitely be up for a sequel and that would be a lot of fun to experience. Now, was this game quite as good as Alien Syndrome? I would say that it is slightly inferior to Alien Syndrome because the choice of weaponry is more limited and there is no level up system. I did love those after all. Of course, this game does have a level select and it has a Lot more replay value. Both games definitely have their pros and cons so it is a very evenly matched battle. Nonetheless, I definitely recommend checking this one out! After all, who doesn’t like a game where you have to fight giant insectoids!?

Overall 7/10

Epic Mickey Review

Epic Mickey certainly got a lot of press when it first came out. He was finally getting a big game and it was going to be very dark. With the Phantom Blot as the main enemy and the graphical abilities of the Wii behind it…how could Epic Mickey lose? Well, this just goes to show that platforming isn’t always as safe as it seems. Mario pulls it off easily enough, but he basically invented the genre.

The plot involves Mickey the mouse as he decides to head to the magician’s lair. After the old man leaves, Mickey quickly rushes to the painting, but he spills a jar of paint and oil on it. He then gets sucked in by the Phantom Blot and some pretty trippy dreams commence on his trip down. Mickey finally lands and he’s in a troubled world. Everyone basically lives in despair after the pain disaster. Can Mickey save the planet from the repercussions of his actions? It will be tough, but Mickey Mouse is the only one who stands a chance against the Phantom Blot. It’s up to him!

The plot is simple enough. It’s mostly a non factor though since the plot briefly appears in the beginning and then it progresses at a snails pace. There are over 70 missions in the game and that’s barely counting side quests. Most of the story missions basically are side quests. Examples include: Finding some ice cream, Finding a burgler, Finding Power Sparks, Finding flowers, etc. More on this later though. Let’s look at our cast of characters.

Mickey Mouse is the main protagonist and he’s always ready for danger. Unfortunately, he’s not a very good character. I can’t really say that I found myself rooting for him. His dilemma was pretty sad, but Mickey was just so bland that you couldn’t really sympathize with him. It helps that he only talks in text bubbles, but they weren’t very good text bubbles. Mickey is typically surprised at what’s happening and he doesn’t mind showing his friends how scared he is of the Phantom Blot. I dunno…this isn’t the Mickey that I remember from Kingdom Hearts. I guess Mickey’s still got to wait a while before he gets that hardcore. Still, scaring an old man for the lolz? Definitely not what I would expect from him.

The Phantom Blot is as intense as ever, but he’s really a mindless monster in this version. I remember him having a little more personality in the comic where he was just a guy dressed as a dark ghost. He does bear a striking resemblence to Venom in the way that he roars and he’s basically a really large symbiote. He may not have any character at the moment, but he’s still a tough creature to deal with. Let it be said that he also has a degree of intelligence since he makes plans and figures out what Mickey is about to do with the fireworks. He makes for a good villain in the game…I just wish that he could have appeared more.

Gus is Mickey’s ally in adventure and his courage is matched only by his ability to state the obvious. He started out as a pretty hardcore character when he was taunting the villains. Unfortunately, he lost most of his gusto after that and he was really just around to give Mickey moral support. He can fly and Gus seems to be pretty smart, but he never really developed into a character of his own. He could have been replaced with Donald or even Goofy and the game’s dialogue could have been a little more interesting. Gus wasn’t bad, but he was basically nonexistent.

Oswald is the mean rival for Mickey. He’s mad that Mickey stole all of his glory and also had a hand in the death of his best friend. Those are decent reasons to be mad at Mickey I suppose, but what’s Oswald going to do about it? He spends most of the game running away from Mickey until he finally decides to help take down the Phantom Blot. After that, Oswald thinks up the plans while Mickey does the hard work. It’s a decently fair deal I suppose. Oswald gets his big moments, but I couldn’t take him seriously. He talks so tough, but he never actually wins the battles that counts. Actually…he doesn’t win any battles.

The graphics for Epic Mickey are passable. They aren’t very good, but they are decent enough where I wouldn’t consider them to be bad. They aren’t at the level of Brawl or Skyward Sword, but they are slightly better than Balls of Fury. No photo shop appearances are to be found here! The fact that Mickey is constantly melting can be a little intriguing, but it’s intentional at least.

Epic Mickey’s soundtrack is definitely one of its weak points. None of the tunes are exciting and you’d think that you were walking through the park instead of fighting some pretty serious threats. Even the big battle with Phantom Blot is pretty generic. The composers could take a few pages out of the classic Mickey games like KH2 and BBS to see some true boss tunes.

All right, it’s time to really talk about the game. The main problem that it had was the pacing for the story. If you thought that Skyward Sword had too many sub quests (I personally found them to be pretty enjoyable) then you’re definitely not going to like the campaign. From the 70+ missions to reach the final level, I’d say that over half of them are basically side quests. You need to find so many things that it’s scary and nobody will help you unless you complete a task.

The formula for Epic Mickey is quite simple. Enter a world and try to get to the next one. The exit is always blocked off and then you have to ask for help from the general populace. They will ask you to do something quick and easy or tedious and easy. After you finish, then it is off to the races! Imagine doing this over and over and over again. Travelling between worlds isn’t exactly a cake walk.

Going between worlds requires going inside of a painting. This transforms the game into a classic 2D sidescroller and you have to complete a brief level. This can make things a little dicey when you have to go back and forth between worlds. It will always be the same level as long as you keep going into the same painting. I don’t know why they even added the painting gimmick for the 2D levels. Allowing Mickey to go from one world to another instantly is what should have happened like a classic Sonic or Mario game. The paintings just drag things out. I actually did like the 2D levels, but they are immensely easy and there really isn’t a point to them in the end.

The game also suffered from a lack of action. The gameplay is essentially Mario Sunshine style. You can jump and move around, but most of the enemies can only be defeated by using your acid or transformed into heroes by the water. This goes into the morality system, but I’ll go into that later on. The enemies do appear quite a lot, but blasting them with the water/acid can get a little old. You must also remember that this is the Wii remote so it’s not very responsive. I mostly just skipped the enemies whenever I could to save some money. There are around 3-4 bosses in the game and…there is no final boss. The last boss fight involves going through a few towers and lighting up the fireworks. Yes…you don’t actually fight the boss in this boss battle.

The actual 3D gameplay should have been a lot of fun, but it really wasn’t. This is partially due to the camera, but also due to the fact that Mickey isn’t very fast. It takes time to get anywhere and the levels aren’t nearly as fun as the Mario ones. They’re pretty enclosed and there isn’t a whole lot of room to run. This is because most levels have a few side quests at the ready so it only takes a while to leave the level because of them. Otherwise, you’d finish a world in a matter of minutes.

The morality system doesn’t really do all that much in the game. You have the option to finish a mission the nice way or the mean way. For example, I fed Captain Hook to the sharks instead of breaking the device that was mind controlling him. The game makes the choices a little intriguing in that the good choices are always much harder to accomplish than the mean ones. Unfortunately, nothing really becomes of this. My acid meter leveled up instead of my water one, but that’s really the only change that happens. The story goes on as it would have regardless of your choices and the townsfolk will just be a little meaner to you. No significant changes arise due to your decisions.

Not a huge negative on the game’s part because I suspect that it is mostly just my TV, but it can be really hard to see some of the levels. They are extremely dark and my TV just can’t handle it. It works very well if it’s a light cutscene game like Final Fantasy XIII or Street Fighter X Tekken. Other games tend to be a little dicey. Oddly enough, this is probably the first Wii game that it has happened too unless it had some troubles with Lost in Shadow. Typically, it is just PS2 or Gamecube games.

One thing that Epic Mickey succeeded in was making sure that the game was long. It definitely took a while and it’s much longer than its rivals in Mario and Ratchet and Clank. It’s no Kingdom Hearts, but for a platformer Epic Mickey’s duration is impressive. Unfortunately, I would argue that this wasn’t very good for the game. It definitely dragged on during many parts and cutting out a few hours may have helped.

The story for the game could have been a lot better if another big element had been changed. I’m talking about the cutscenes. All of the big cutscenes are animated, but they are silent and you have to read the text at the bottom of the screen. This just didn’t work out so well. I’m sure that they were trying to make it retro and to feel like the old cartoons, but it didn’t work. At least go in a Legend of Zelda direction and have everyone but Link being able to talk. What made it worse was the animation for the cutscenes. It was purposely done in a way that made them look pretty terrible. It was just unappealing to the eyes and one could picture the N64 doing a better job of it.

We’re getting to the end of this review, but another thing that can be sad is the fact that there is no replay value. None. The game starts you back at the first level and you can try to make better decisions and complete more quests. I’ve always preferred for a level select to be included and most platformers allow you to just have fun in free play once you have beaten the game. Being taken back to the first level is something that just isn’t done very often anymore and it’s always a little sad to see.

Well, if you do bother to beat the game again, there are collectibles to obtain. Pins are awarded to Mickey through various quests and they can also be found in hidden areas by melting a certain patch of the wall or maybe underground. You can try to get all of them, but you have to be very careful since the game auto saves, which makes it very hard to go back for something. More often than not, you would just need to start over again with a new game.

Ultimately, the biggest problem that Epic Mickey faced was the fact that it wasn’t very fun. There were times were I felt a little drowzy. The gameplay is constantly broken apart by the endless cutscenes, which stops you from really getting into it. The 2D levels are too easy since it’s basically impossible not to defeat them in a few minutes and the game just stalled for time too much. The last part of the game just keeps on going and going way past the point where they should have called it a day. If only I could have at least gotten a final boss fight to end things with a bang. If only….

Overall, Epic Mickey had a lot of potential, but I can’t say that it fulfilled it. This is one of those times where I can safely say that the console had a part in keeping it down. Getting rid of the motion controls and allowing for better animation on another console could have easily pushed it up a point. As it is, the game just isn’t as fun as it could be and it really dragged on. All of the negatives for the game keep it from really entering the positive territory and the story didn’t help matters. Technically, the game had a lot of good ideas in terms of the 3D meets 2D gameplay part and the overall story, but it just wasn’t able to execute these ideas. I’m confident that the sequel will be better, but Epic Mickey is not going to be the next Kingdom Hearts of Mario Galaxy. If the sequel can refine the gameplay and work on the other issues, then it has a real chance. (I have hear that the sequel works on the “game dragging on” issue so that’s good) I can’t really say that I recommend the game, but if you really like platformers and don’t need a story to go along with it, then you may enjoy it. Just be warned that the game is loaded with mandatory side quests.

Overall 5/10

Balls of Fury (Wii) Review

Balls-of-Fury (1)
Anyone remember the Balls of Fury film? I haven’t seen it yet, but I bought the original video game based off of the film for the DS a while back. Eventually, I ran across it in the 5 dollar bin section and I realized something….I had to buy it again! You can never have too much ping pong and while I may have been a little more impressed with the DS version, this one isn’t as bad as I initially thought.

The plot is basically from the film so I don’t really need to recap it all that much. Basically, the main character’s family member is murdered over a hardcore game of Ping Pong so the hero enters the fray. He gets trained by the best and he enters the ultimate tournament to avenge his family. Ping Pong is all he ever knew and it’s going to have to be enough to win the final battle!

I do give the game props for the dialogue boxes in the story. I know that the film didn’t take itself seriously either, but the game takes it to the next level. It makes sure that everyone looks terrible and you can’t help, but crack a smile when viewing the “cutscenes.” It actually makes me tempted to see the film, but some things are more fun in video game format anyway.

The actual story mode is fairly short and it’s around 8 battles give or take 2-3. I completed it in around an hour or two so you don’t want to rely on that for replay value. Although, just having a story mode is pretty cool for a sports game. There’s also an Arcade Mode and a Tournament Mode. You essentially just fight other Ping Pong players like in Story Mode. It’s basically the same thing except for the fact that there are no cutscenes and you can play as a different character.

The gameplay is the intriguing part. There is no moving involved. Now, this Is a Ping Pong match so I suppose that there is only so much room to run anyway. That being said, I was definitely a little surprised. The Wii Remote is the required remote for this game and it’s pretty basic. Swing your arm to the left for a left hit, up for a lob, down for a smash, etc. The controls are very simple and you can master them in a few seconds. Each character has a special ability as well. You can use it on your serve or on a generic hit. They are very useful…for the computer since you get no warning. When you use it, it’s really a matter of luck on whether it will go through or not. It’s still a good feature to include in the game though and the traditional super attack that I use is a fire blast. It’s very effective.

Each game goes up to 11 points with a few exceptions. The games can definitely take a while as there is a lot of back and forth, but the time is definitely doable. Some matches just require you to end up leading a match by at least 3 points, which tends to be a lot quicker. I’m sure that you can probably choose which settings to play with in multiplayer mode.

Multiplayer mode is really what saves the game from getting a slightly negative to barely standing rating. If this was like Casper’s sport game for the Wii, then it would have been a little dicey. Multiplayer is essential for this kind of game and I’m glad to see it included. Battling a computer over and over again can definitely get repetitive after a while. This game simply wasn’t made for that. It works for titles like Street Fighter, Mario Kart, and Smash Bros, but Balls of Fury really needs that multiplayer element.

I would say that the multiplayer part of it contributes to the replay value. Otherwise, the only replay value in the game would be the trophies angle. There are 10 of them in all and I only bothered to earn one of them. (For beating the game) Others are earned by completing tasks like completing Arcade Mode with everyone or without losing a point. The latter sounds difficult, but most of the others definitely sound achievable. I just have too many other games to play at the moment so I wasn’t really tempted to do any of that. It does help the replay factor though. So, if you are on your own, then this game is not going to last very long. With companions, this game can really stay enjoyable for quite some time.

There’s not much to say about the soundtrack in this title either. The main theme is pretty catchy and I really remember it from the DS version. You won’t get tired of it and that’s a good thing since you’ll be hearing it constantly. The taunts are pretty imaginative, but each character only gets 1 or 2 taunts so spamming them can get a little tough on the ears. The whole place shakes when you taunt though so it can be strategically used to win. (Note that it has no effect on the computer)

The graphics are….pretty bad if we’re keeping it real. The heads look photoshopped to the bodies and we’re looking at PS1 level for the animations. Now, that could be an insult to some Playstation 1 games, but it had to be said. Of course, graphics are really unimportant in a sports game so this shouldn’t deter you all that much. If you’re looking for a 1080P 60FPS game…then you’ve come to the wrong place and you’ll want to leave right away.

Overall, This definitely isn’t a bad game. The humorous story mode mixed in with the fun gameplay keeps it positive. The game doesn’t have a lot of replay value though and the graphics are downright bad. At 1.89$ this was definitely a purchase that I am proud of, but I can’t imagine buying it for 30 or 50 dollars. I recommend giving it a shot and you may be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Make sure that you give the game two chances. The Wii Sensor can be a little dicey and that’s why I had a pretty negative first impression of the game. It worked perfectly on this last run and it makes all the difference for this kind of game. The controls definitely hurt the game and it could have scored a 7 if it had some real controllers, but this was simply the extent of its abilities. It looks like the 5 dollar bin batch of games was definitely worth it and I’ll be sure to check it again in the future. Keep an eye out for this title when you’re at your local Gamestop and be ready for some hard hitting table tennis as long as you have a companion to play with. If you’re by your lonesome, then picking it up is still a decent idea, but you may as well buy Grand Slam Tennis for the PS3.

Overall 6/10

Bujingai The Forsaken City Review

The PS2 has had several hidden gems over the past few years including Eve of Extinction and Oni. This was my next blind purchase as the description on Amazon was pretty intense and it looked like a must buy. I believe that the game is a little short, which can hurt the experience, but the levels that we do get are pretty great thanks to the solid gameplay. This is definitely another all star by the PS2!

The plot is nice and simple. Lau was having fun surfing through the cosmos when he finally decided to go back to Earth. His old pal has turned to the dark side so Lau has to put him down once and for all. Luckily, his sensei is around to help as well as a sorceress by the name of Yohfa. Together, these heroes can surely defeat this one villain right? Well, the mastermind has hundreds of demons by his side so it’s a whole planet of inhabitants against Lau….time to fight!

“You have to fight!” is basically what the game is about. The levels are fairly linear and there will usually be a few locked doors barring you from continuing. To unlock the doors, you must defeat a few enemies or grab some kind of key. The platforming part of the game is decent as you can air jump, which is fun to look at. (But not practical since it’s slower than walking) Of course, the main chunk if the fighting part!

Picture Dynasty Warriors and you’ll have a grasp on the main part of the gameplay. You have two ways to attack and from those two buttons you can chain many combos. I typically went for the classic 20+ combo since it breaks through most shields, but there was one exception so watch out for that boss! Aside from your attacks, you also have magical abilities which range from fireballs to light arrows to amplifying your physical strength. I typically went for the fireballs and the physical power up, but all of the abilities are fairly useful. Once you have your magic ready, you’re ready to face off against anyone!

When you clash with a boss, your magic crystals come into play. Essentially, both of you begin to duke it out with your blades and you can continue to duel like this until one of you runs out of crystals or you can jump to the side and strike at the boss from behind. The latter method seems to be full proof against humanoids, but the first method is great as well and you just need to watch out for the times where it doesn’t work. It’s safe to say that most of the bosses are humanoid, but there are a few creatures as well. Those are a lot tougher to fight because their moves aren’t quite as predictable or easily dodged. The varied enemies help keep the bosses fun. They would have been enjoyable either way, but each of them use a different style so it gives the game a better all around feeling.

Lau is the main character of this story and it’s hard to get a read on his character. As with Link and many of the other legendary heroes, he’s not much of a talker. He is a hero and he tends to do the right thing, but he just doesn’t have a whole lot of personality. He’s also pretty cheerful at the end considering that he had to take down his ole friend..permanently. He’ll never be the next Mario or Sonic, but Lau has potential and a sequel or anime adaption could flesh out his character. After all, a character who dances his way from deep space to Earth can’t be all that bad right?

Rei is the main villain and his goals are pretty ambitious. A dark event turned him against humanity and he now leads an army of demons. His skills are definitely real since we actually get to see him slice a moon in half with a single shot. If nothing else, that’s a very serious feat. He makes for a decent villain, but his backstory takes away any threatening aura that he may have had. The dancing makes it a little hard to take him seriously as well. His red blades make for good weapons during the boss fights. Rei’s only a decent villain, but it could be worse.

Yohfa is Lau’s main partner and she helps him out on the journey by opening portrals for him. Her cutscenes are typically odd since her mouth never moves while she’s talking. It must be fun to have telepathy. She’s not a bad character, but she never really added anything to the story. She’s really just there to help out the main character.

The same could be said for Lau’s old master. He’s not really a character when you think about it as he’s just the sensei. He likely got a name, but I quickly forgot it. One cool scene that he did get was when the master speedblitzed Lau. He quickly assured our hero that he had surpassed the master, but the scene really made you question that statement.

The soundtrack is pretty fun and it fits in well with the rest of the game. The boss themes can range from really fast paced to more dramatic in tone and both of them work pretty well. The game definitely did really well in that category and I find that the beat em up type of games typically don’t tend to have great soundtracks so that was good for this title.

Graphically, the game is all right. I can’t say that there is anything spectacular about it, but they can look good at times. The big cutscenes try to have a more live action esque feeling to them while the regular ones are standard. What can be a little…interesting about the regular ones is that the characters like to dance and slash away at thin air. The final cutscene before the final boss is actually pretty fun because the characters keep on jumping and skipping instead of actually fighting. It’s an interesting effect, but I have to wonder if it was intentional or not. It’s just a little odd. Back to the big cutscenes, it worked most of the time. The scene were pretty impressive given the style and one could possibly say that it looked a little like Final Fantasy. The actual gameplay graphics may not have been excellent, but overall it can hold its own.

The overall setting of the game also helped to make the game enjoyable. The levels can have diverse designs as you fight near Lava, in Snow Mountains, and more. The main place is The Forsaken City and it’s a pretty fun place to fight in. I love fighting in city areas and I don’t believe that will ever change. It’s a whole lot of fun to fight an enemy and then jump onto a few buildings before challenging the next one.

In terms of replay value, the game is fairly low. There are 8 levels and I ended up beating the game in around 4 hours. You could beat it in a much shorter time if you don’t get lost in the maze level or spend too much time wandering around in circles. There are 40 medals to obtain throughout the game and a lot of magic spells as well. I assume that they carry on throughout your next playthrough, but there is also a stage select, which should allow you to find them all. There aren’t any multiplayer modes though and this was before the PS3 Trophy days. If you enjoy the game, it’s going to need to be for the Story Mode. It’s a brief, but epic experience!

I would say that I have one main negative with the game. It’s too bad that it’s short of course and the characters could have been more interesting, but I’m talking about the levels. Sometimes, it can be very hard to know where to go and the map is too small to really help you. The Snow level was very long since you had to keep reentering rooms until you figured out the puzzle. This was my least favorite one and it took me about an hour. So, that one level took up a quarter of my whole play time. I believe that they could have smoothed it out a little more. The 7th level had a tricky jump segment that was maybe a little overdone, but it is a good way to challenge gamers so I’ll leave that one as an ambiguous element. You could make the argument that it was a negative or a decent positive.

Overall, Bujingai is a pretty fun game. It has all of the fun beat em up traits that you would expect while adding a bit of the anime element to it. The characters were very powerful and the gameplay is very fast. The fighting system was pretty deep and the magic aided the regular combat to make it all flow together. The game is short so be aware that it will only entertain you for a few hours before you’ll have completed it. That being said, it is definitely worth it for this low price and you can experience one of the PS2’s hidden treasures. Any action fan should definitely enjoy it!

Overall 8/10

Yugioh Ultimate Masters World Championship 2006

I sort of beat the game a while back, but I never got the final 3 unlockable duelists because it involved clearing challenges so I didn’t really feel like that was part of the main game. This all happened a long time ago though so there shall not be a review for it at this point in time. Still, I highly recommend this game and it is easily one of the best Yugioh titles!

Overall 8/10

Minority Report Everybody Runs Review

On my video game quest to own all of the games worth owning, I sometimes like to take a step back and aim for a game that’s from the older generation. I got this one a quarter year ago and I have to say that it was easily worth the 4 dollars. This is one of the greatest movie tie ins that I’ve ever played and maybe The best one not including games that tied into superhero films. You don’t want to miss this action packed experience!

The plot is from the film I believe, but it involves a man by the name of John. He works at an organization where they target people who will commit crimes in the future and then take them out personally or lock them up in prison. One day, the future seers have a vision that John ends up murdering someone, but it’s not a unanimous decision as one of them does not report this. John knows that something is up and he aims to get to the bottom of this. Unfortunately, the entire agency made up of hundreds of fighters is out to get him. Will John be able to find out the truth about his alleged murder or will he be stopped in time!?

Since the game is based off of the film, I typically wouldn’t talk about any of the characters. I won’t here either, but I do have to comment that John made for a pretty good protagonist. He made the hero calls when necessary and he never lost sight of his goal. After experiencing a lot of twists and turns throughout his journey, John’s first words in the final level when meeting the final boss are “You’re under arrest.” Now that’s a dedicated hero!

The gameplay is where Minority Report really knocks it out of the park. It’s a mix of third person shooter and a 3D fighting game like Bouncer. It makes for the perfect blend of action types into the combat system. Shooting is pretty easy and linear as you have several guns. All of them are incredibly useful to a fight, but you don’t want to waste the ammo. More on that in a bit. The hand to hand combat techniques are surprisingly deep and there are about as many different combos in this game (20+) as in the average superhero game. You really feel the blows, but simple button mashing won’t be enough as you continue to progress through the game. You need something a little different.

What really makes the game interesting is how challenging it is. You don’t have a certain amount of ammo in each level. It really depends and sometimes you’ll be running on empty. You can spend some cash on it so have a temporary edge to beat the level, but then it can hurt you in the long run. Likewise, you can buy a permanent upgrade like extra health, but you’ll need to last through around 5+ levels without buying anything to work up the funds. Each choice has its amount of ups and downs. The items also aren’t unlimited for some of the temporary power ups like armor or an ultimate shield. I saved the armor for the final boss because…it’s the right thing to do. Trust me, you’ll want to save it! A helpful tip for the final boss is to use any combo that starts with A>B because it will stun her every time, which makes the boss fight a cakewalk after you get the hang of it.

Defeating any of the robots without a gun is very tough and almost impossible to be honest. They don’t flinch and you can’t risk more than 3 hits at a time or they will counter and knock you to the ground. Likewise, all bosses are impervious to guns as they’ll just jump over it or flip to the side. (With one exception.) This definitely forces you to think strategically about how you’ll want to tackle each situation. Saving up your bullets can be a wise move, but sometimes they can be useful to disperse a large crowd of attackers so that you can run by them. An attack that is really a must if you are to survive is the quick slide tackle. It can trip up opponents and deal damage so you should spam it to get the melee fighters out of the way so that you can target the gun fighters.

I also have to say that the game did a great job with the level designs. They do recycle a few old levels during the game, but the plot demands this since he goes to old locations. I especially loved the levels that take place inside of the base and the ones in the city. You actually get a jet pack to use for a few of the levels and it definitely comes in handy. It’s an amazing piece of technology and the gameplay for it is sound. You can move at high speeds and ram opponents to the ground instead of fighting them in hand to hand combat. Proceed with care though because the long range fighters are really good at hitting you no matter how fast you’re going.

The game doesn’t really have any replay value, which can be a little discouraging, but the actual story is pretty long. It contains 40 levels, which is certainly a lot more than one may have expected. The levels aren’t terribly long, but they’re long enough that you’ll feel like you got a good deal from the game. Not to mention that playing it at a higher difficulty will make things interesting. It was already very difficult at some points during the initial playthrough and the other levels of difficulty must be insanely tough. Playing through those would definitely be a fun challenge and that would likely keep you entertained for quite a while. (I would give it a whirl, but I have too many other games to try out….)

The soundtrack is great as you tend to expect from a Gamecube game. The random battle themes that play during the game are all very fast paced and they tend to really give the fights that extra boost. The themes are definitely very engaging and I would give it a 4/5 at the very least. Trust me, good music can certainly make the difference between a great game and a truly great one.

The graphics are pretty good for the game. The legs are realistically detailed as they turn into onion rings when you’re knocked to the ground. (They basically curl into a circle, which looks pretty painful for the main lead, but he tends to walk it off) The graphics definitely aren’t the next Wind Waker or Adventure 2 Battle, but they’re still good and that’s always fun to see from a Gamecube title. Gamecube is the King of Graphics after all.

Overall, This is a pretty great video game and I highly recommend picking it up. It’s going for a very low price and it’s a steal considering how flawless the gameplay is. There are also a few pain arenas where you get to face various copies of a boss, which makes for an unbelievably tough fight. How many games can you get for around 4 dollars that have 40 levels? The soundtrack is top notch and the graphics are good as well. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this title and you should stick around after the screen fades to black as there’s an extra scene in the post game. I can’t really say much more to hype up the game so you’re either sold on it at this point or you’re just not going to get it. Still, I have to say that you’ll be missing out if you pass on such a title!

Overall 8/10

Nerf N-Strike Double Blast Bundle Review

This is another one of the beauties that I snagged at the 5 dollar bin over at Gamestop. See, this game is a steal because it was a little less than 5 dollars and it brings the original Nerf N-Strike game as well as the sequel. You have to admit that two full fledged (Under 10 levels in the second one) games for such a low price is pretty great. The second game improves upon the first one and it’s a game that you’ll want to check out.

I guess I’ll talk about the first game first. It should be noted that the game originally came with a blaster and the sequel came with a red lens, but you don’t actually need them. It just means that you have to get the codes wrong and trip the alarms in the second time every time such a situation pops up. It means more danger for the player, but I’m sure that you could handle such a challenge right? Let’s hope so!

Back to the game. It all starts off when a kid by the name of Shane is playing with his friends at the arcade. He loses the (rigged) level and goes home only to find out that he has been selected to join the Nerf N-Strike team. B.O.B. tells him that he must defeat the other combatants in order to climb to the top of the ranks. Unbeknownst to Shane, B.O.B. is also goading the other combatants to defeat him. Whether it be through threats or insults, B.O.B. makes sure to get the job done. Can this kid fresh out of the arcade really defeat these trained (semi) professionals in a game of Nerf? To do this, the kid must infiltrate each of their hideouts and destroy the high scores at each minigame. Sounds like fun eh!? Let’s just say that B.O.B. may not be as heroic as he seems.

Nerf N-Strike Elite’s plot is a lot deeper and it has a more cinematic feeling. Jackal has decided to round up the team once again because a certain villain has returned and he feels like it’s their duty to stop him. Shane is arguably still the main character even though Tango is the one on the cover. The heroes join forced and take out their new Nerf Blasters. Only one group gets to walk away this time!

The gameplay for the first game is a little different from your typical shooter. There are 4 rooms and each room has 5 minigames. You have to beat them to proceed to the next room. We do have the classic FPS feel during the final minigame of each section, where you shoot all of the robots who oppose you. You cannot move as that happens automatically and you just focus on the shooting. It’s pretty fun and they did a good job with the mechanics until the final level. The other minigames are fun variations of the style. One of them involves shooting boxes out of the ring until you come across a purple one and you shoot it to win. Another one has you only aim at robots of a certain color. My personal favorite one is where you have to shoot boulders into a soccer goal/pool table. There’s also one where you have to shoot the boulders 5 times to blow them up without hitting the red ones. There are a few others, but that’s mainly the jist of it. There aren’t many actual FPS levels where you’re on an adventure, but the minigames are actually pretty fun so it’s all right.

The gameplay for Game 2 is more straight forward. Picture your average FPS game except that the game characters move for you. You just aim for anything that moves as you go through the adventure. I didn’t have the accessories with me so I had to incorrectly guess every password to let the villains come, which would let me go past once I defeated them. That’s all right and it doesn’t make things that much worse. I will say that the first game was infinitely tougher than this one, but the second does have difficulty levels that you can adjust to make the game harder. I’m sure that on Elite mode it would end up being even more difficult than the first game.

Shane gets the most character development from all of the characters. He’s pretty full of himself in the first game and he really rubs it in whenever he wins. He insults his opponent’s skills and he loves to hear himself talk. He does make the tough calls when it counts though as seen in the ending. In the second game, Shane has become a natural born leader and he’s an expert with a gun. He now believes in teamwork and he never leaves a man behind on the job. He’s essentially Duke from G.I. Joe in the second game. I’m not sure why he changed so much, but he is easily the best character in both games. His heroics rival Mario’s!

Tango is the army member of the group. In the first game, he’s a no nonsense fighter. He makes a lot of puns about his name and he proceeds to put up a decent fight against Shane. In the second game, he represents the strong, but not smart character. It’s a pretty big change and one that is a little hard to embrace. He’s scared of elevators and a few other things, but he does have the strongest (Nerf) gun in the group. Tango is a good teammate to have on board, but it’s hard to say that he’s likable.

Komodo is the first opponent that you face in the Nerf game so he’s also the weakest. From all of the characters, he easily gets the least amount of character development. I can’t say that I recall too many things about him and he’s just easily forgotten. He does have a pretty great moment in the second game though. After the most emotional moment in the franchise where someone betrays them and their hometown is about to be nuked, Komodo says “This is the best day of my life!” after seeing a cool rocket. That’s….a little insensitive to say the least since everything that they know was about to be wiped off the face of the Earth. Maybe it’s all just a game to him.

Jackal is one of the more intriguing characters. By that, I mean that he had the biggest accent. He’s always talking about how he hunts alone and “My grandfather used to say that one person starts the game and another one bags it. Watch as I bag this one.” It’s actually a pretty great saying, but the way that he says it is more humorous than threatening. (Which is what happens to most of the dialogue in the first game) His personality does a 360 in the second game as he gets a pretty huge plot twist that you may not have seen coming. I didn’t either, but the odds of any of my readers playing the game is low so you may not get to experience it. That’s pretty sad if you really think about it.

Raven is another one of the kids who was selected for the Nerf N-Strike team. She loves to remind her opponents that getting beaten by a girl is a pain that will never fade. She loves to use the girl power angle to humiliate her foes as much as she can when defeating them. In the second game, she’s mostly there to taunt Tango and she is the one who lets the villain know that the heroes are now N-Strike Elite members. She doesn’t get as much character as some of the others, but she is consistently around to help out when the going gets tough.

B.O.B. is the recruiter from the first game. His threats know no bounds and he’ll do anything if it means that he’ll get a new fighter for the N-Strike. His methods go a little far and one of the members gets suspicious when two of the kids disappear. B.O.B. can’t have that now can he? He doesn’t mind being frank with the heroes as he lets Shane know that he will not be able to defeat Tango. After Shane defeats Tango, it gets pretty personal and B.O.B. lets us in on a startling fact…this isn’t a game anymore! As a boss fight, B.O.B. is pretty impressive.

In the second game, he is more of a pawn than a strategic mastermind. He gets a big power up in the form of a giant robot, but is that really enough to defeat a few Elite agents? The boss fight in the first game was actually very difficult and it took me a handful of tries, but that was mainly due to the gameplay and the fact that I got a pretty bad gun. The second game smoothed out the gameplay a whole lot so the battle was a cakewalk. I definitely won’t be forgetting B.O.B. though.

The graphics for the first game are all right I suppose. The character models are a little sub par and that doesn’t really change for the sequel. Things just don’t look like they should for a big Wii game. The sequel does look a lot better. The difference is night and day between them and it helps that I played the second one immediately after the first game. Everything suddenly looks like it’s in HD and they put a lot more thought into the backgrounds. The second one’s graphics are actually very impressive and they can easily hold up to any of the other big Wii games.

The soundtrack isn’t really that impressive. I forgot just about all of the themes immediately after I finished playing the games. There isn’t really anything in it that likely took them a while to compose and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all free domain music. The themes aren’t that important in a shooter since your shooting will likely drown it out anyway, but it can definitely help. Just look at the Metroid Prime games as a shining example of this.

The bundle has a decent amount of replay value, but I would’t call it an exceptionally large amount. In the first game, you can continue to break your records in the minigames until all of your medals are Gold Rank and you can try to unlock all of the guns. In the second game there are a lot of weapons to buy and upgrade for each of the characters so it should take at least 20 playthroughs to get everything. Personally, I’m not That dedicated to getting all of the items so I would never even consider if, but why not right? The actual story mode for game 1 is 21 levels and assuming that you beat them all in a single shot, it should only take 4-6 hours to complete. The second game is even shorter with 8 levels and they’re very easy. That game should take you 3-4 hours or maybe even less. Overall, counting the bonus content, it’s still a decent amount, but the second game’s story is a little disappointing level wise. 10 is really the minimum amount that I find acceptable for a video game.

Overall, This was a pretty fun bundle. From the 5 Dollar bin, I would say that it beat Flingsmash, but lost to Geometry Wars. It also managed to beat Roogoo somehow. This is easily worth the 4 dollars since it has a lot of content. Either game works as they’re both good for different reasons. The first game was fun for the minigames while the second one has some really great animation and the plot is really there. The first one had a loose plot with some cutscenes before each boss battle and for each intro, but the second one has a deep and cohesive plot that continues for the whole game as the heroes try to save their town. If you’re looking for plot then the second title is for you and you’ll love the first one for gameplay. Either way, this is a steal and you can show the world that Nerf guns can hold up against giant robots bent on world conquest!

Overall 7/10

One Piece Unlimited World Red Review

I currently own most of the One Piece games that have come to America, but none of them have really stood out. I don’t own the Wii installment, which is supposed to be pretty good and I just had the GBA and Gamecube games. Luckily, this one is a few leagues ahead of those and it’s definitely the definitive One Piece game. As Budokai Tenkaichi 3 revolutionized DBZ and Ninja Storm Generations helped Naruto, Unlimited World Red is currently the ultimate One Piece experience.

This game takes place after the long time skip and the Strawhat Pirates are in the New World. They stop by an island to resupply and let Pato go home. Luffy goes to get some food, but that’s when Pato breaks the news. Luffy’s comrades have been kidnapped and Luffy will have to find all of them. Pato seems to be pretty happy about this and he follows his master’s orders without question. That’s just the kind of guy that he is. Luffy isn’t thrilled about this and he’s also a little skeptical since his comrades are supposed to be tough. Nontheless, Luffy begins his journey and sets out to save all of them. Guarding his friends are most of the big fighters that Luffy has met in his travels and it’s odd how they have all appeared. Are they real or are they fake? It doesn’t matter since Luffy plans on winning either way!

Meanwhile, the game also has a Colosseum Mode. This acts as a separate Story Mode which covers the current arc in the manga, but very loosely. Luffy and Law have formed an alliance and they need to win the large tournament to take down Doflamingo once and for all. Doflamingo mostly seems to be amused by this and he allows the two fighters to stay in the tournament. Will they be able to defeat all of the challengers as well as Doflamingo? The journey begins!

The gameplay is one of the main highlights since it is a classic beat em up. Picture Dynasty Warriors, but add a little more substance to the attacks. It’s not a straight fighter like Naruto or DBZ, but it does take some of those elements and ends up incorporating them into the beat em up style. Because of this, most enemies won’t go down so quickly. The health of the minions is pretty formidable and while they won’t pose a threat, it is wise to use combos to take them out as soon as possible.

I do think that beating the minions can be a little time consuming at first, but it gets better as you level up. I have not attempted hard story yet so I cannot say how much tougher they get, but I do plan on completing that mode soon since it’s necessary for a trophy. The boss fights are really fun since you’ll need strategy alongside your button mashing. You are given the option to dodge (Like Luffy) or block (If you’re Zoro) an attack right before it connects. This holds true for most final smashes as well, but there are exceptions as seen with Shanks and Doflamingo. You don’t want to use too many power attacks in a row since it can eliminate the option of dodging or blocking an attack.

You can equip words, which act as your equipment. They can from something to help in battles like an attack boost or something more subtle like extra money or exp. I highly recommend going for the EXP option since that’s just about always worth it. Having some items at the ready can also be the difference between a victory or a loss since those healing potions are crucial. Typically, you’ll be fighting in a group of 3 members. Even if one member dies, you can just switch to one of the other two. One key thing to know is that your partners never lose health while the computer is controlling them. In light of this, you should never let one of the members die and just make sure to switch when you’re at low health. This way, you’ll still have two partners draining away at the enemy’s health. It’s a pretty solid strategy!

One part that makes this game stand out as a cut above the rest is the fact that the developers really went all out with the story. We get many cutscenes throughout this mode and some of them feature actual fights. We get to see Red take on the crew and we get a brief glimpse of the fight between Lucci and Luffy. Scenes like that are just great because I always love to see a good fight. Even if you’re a video game, there is no excuse not to have an animated fight. Currently, it is still pretty rare so the game did a good job of including these scenes. Luckily, the graphics are solid so the fight scenes work really well. I would definitely say that the characters are drawn in more detail than the average game and this one definitely looks like a modern PS3 game. It’s not at Final Fantasy levels, but one could argue that it’s intentional since One Piece is supposed to be colorful and fun to look at. I’d say that the game managed to show this perfectly.

Naturally, this game has trophies. There are more of them in the game than usual as it contains 57. I have amassed around 35 of them so far and I’m lightly aiming for the Platinum. It seems to be a little on the time consuming side, but I’ve already posted around 30 hours so I may as well go all the way. None of the trophies are unreasonable although finding all of the strong words will take a while. A lot of the trophies are simply grinds like rocket jumping 500 times or slicing a bullet 100 times. The trophies are not very difficult and you should definitely get the Platinum if you purchase this one.

The soundtrack for the game is decent. There aren’t a whole lot of tunes in the game, but the ones that are present as decent enough. It definitely does have Soul Calibur feeling to it and it compliments the gameplay. I would have liked some really fast paced music as well, but you can’t have it all in one game. Otherwise, the others wouldn’t look so good.

Red is the new villain who was made up for this game. He’s known as one of the legendary pirates since he could fight on equal grounds with guys like Gold D Roger and Whitebeard. He’s decided that he needs to be immortal and he sets off on this quest while mocking the heroes. He’s a very formidable foe and he’s easily one of Luffy’s strongest opponents. I definitely respect his raw power, but I can’t say that I care for him all that much as a villain. Towards the end, he never became one of my favorites, but he is decent and he definitely beats some of the other fighters as well as the other two game original characters.

Pato is a raccoon who was with the Strawhats prior to this game and he ends up revealing that he is working for an unknown master. This destroys a lot of the trust that the Strawhats had had in him and it was definitely a low move by Pato. I never cared for him by the end because his heart may have been in the right place, but I just couldn’t take him seriously. He doesn’t have enough power to back up his tough talk and his personality was really similar to Chopper’s. I don’t know, we could have had a better fighter.

There’s also the shop owner. She doesn’t get a whole lot of screentime, but we know that she’s decently tough since she stands up to the thugs at the beginning of the game. She mostly lets us know which parts of the town should be built first and it’s a noble sentiment. That being said, she just doesn’t have much of a role in the story and she didn’t really change any of the events. Things would have played out with or without her.

The Strawhats are interesting to see since they’re in their New World forms. I still can’t say that I’m a fan of most of the changes. Luffy, Sanji, Nami, Chopper, and Robin are all right. I don’t dislike their new forms, but I can safely say that I do prefer each of their old forms. Brook is beyond saving from before the timeskip so it’s really Usopp and Franky that are a little hard to take in. They’re all still in character besides that and the banter between them is good. With the exception of Brook, this group is one of the stronger Shonen Jump casts and they’re far more interesting than the Genin 11 and Ichigo’s pals. It should be noted that this game was not dubbed so everyone is talking in japanese. That shouldn’t really affect the game for you since the text is still in english and it’s fun to hear how they sound in their original voices.

There is certainly a lot of replay value present in the game. The story mode takes around 4-6 hours as there are 9 levels and each one takes around 30 minutes. Aside from that, you are also tasked with building the city and it can take a while to get all of the necessary parts. After that, the trophies require you to buy 100 things from just about every store. There is fishing to be done, insect catching, running a museum, planting, etc. We also have the alternate story mode, which is about as long as the main one and there are many bonus challenges to do in the Colosseum as well. I’ve clocked in around 30 hours and I still have plenty of things to do. I’d say that this game will last you at least 50 hours and that’s definitely a lot of content. You certainly can’t say that this game was empty.

Overall, This is easily one of the best games for the PS3 and one of the best ones out there. The gameplay is nice and smooth. It doesn’t get repetitive after playing it for a long time. The trophies will take a long time to get, but they are achievable so it’s a fun goal to work towards. (No online trophies so no worries about servers!) I highly recommend this game and it’s a good way to get into the One Piece franchise. You’ll be able to meet the characters and see how strong they are. It may be a beat em up, but I wouldn’t call it a complete button smasher thanks to the depth. I highly recommend checking out Colosseum mode as well as the normal story mode because you get to play as some of the stronger bosses. Whitebeard, Doflamingo, Shanks, they’re all in it! So, this is a golden opportunity to play as the strongest warriors around. Hopefully, all One Piece games will reach America starting with this one.

Overall 9/10

Pac Man World 3 Review

It’s been years since I played Pac Man World 2 and this game has always been on my list. It just never made the cut and finally my bro ended up purchasing a copy. Does this game live up to the 10+ years of hype? Well, it’s tough for any game to do that and this one is a good game, but it’s not quite as enjoyable as the last installment…despite some fun additions. Time to see why it didn’t click!

The game takes place on Pac Man’s 25th Birthday. The festivities are cut short when Pac Man is whisked away into the Spectral Realm by Orson. Orson tells him that a new villain by the name off Erwin has kidnapped the four main ghosts and he’s wrecking both planets through his siphons. Once he has gained enough energy, then both planets will collide and the outcome will be devastating. Pac Man (extremely) reluctantly agrees to help, but he’s not too pleased about this scenario. Erwin is determined to stop him and he has the Spectral Fiend by his side to ensure success. In light of this, Pac Man gets some help from Clyde and Pinky.

Pac Man is the main hero in this game, but I’m sure that you expected that. He’s always the main hero in this series after all. He finally gets to talk in this game, which is a big gamble from the writers. We all come into the game with certain expectations of how cool Pac Man will be and this gives us less freedom for interpretation. He’s a little on the mean side and he believes in insulting first and fighting later. He’s an experienced veteran at this point, but he does complain a lot.

What might really get Pac Man fans is the ending. It’s not just Pac Man as Ms. Pac Man and Pac Man Jr look pretty mean as well. Let’s just say that if you’ve just been through a tough ordeal and you helped a hero save two worlds…don’t think that you’re invited to stay over. The situation ends up escalating very quickly and Pac Man decides to eat some people. Pac Man may have been a little on the mean side during the game, but that scene may have been overdoing it a little.

Pac Man did have his moments though and he gets a lot of witty comebacks. He typically outsmarts the villains and distracts them through discussion as they end up setting up their ultimate demise. Pac Man is definitely very crafty, but he arguably sacrifices his heroics in the process. I have to say that the character personality isn’t terrible, but it’s really not Pac Man. I’m sure that Mario fans would be outraged if he ever looked like this. Pac Man’s portrayal could have been worse though and we have a current example of that in the media…..

Orson is the helpful ghost who aids Pac Man throughout the game. “I’m sure there are many things that you don’t understand Pac Man” is one of his better lines as he insults Pac Man to his face. Usually, his insults aren’t quite that direct. He typically starts off every sentence by saying “Sorry Pac Man” right before stating what negative thing is happening this time. He typically teleports the hero into dangerous circumstances and you have to wonder whether it is intentional or not. The whole game he tells Pac Man that the worlds will be destroyed if they collide….and then the villain points out that this isn’t the case towards the end of the game. Orson quickly agrees and we find out that he knew this all along. Of course, most of that isn’t to be taken seriously as he’s a hero through and through, but his character was definitely interesting. He was a solid ally for Pac Man and he provided us with some necessary banter and epic lines.

Erwin is the main villain of the game and unfortunately, he’s not a very good one. He’s a comic relief scientist who is good at building robots and that’s about it for his character arc. Pac Man loves to humiliate him verbally whenever they meet. He’s supposed to be humorous through their chats, but while I do like Orson and Pac Man’s lines, Erwin’s aren’t really my style. They really needed a better villain to make the story more interesting. Erwin just isn’t very powerful and threats won’t be enough to stop the legendary Pac Man!

The Spectral Fiend doesn’t really get much of a name, but he’s a solid character. He’s tricky and he doesn’t mind a little deceit if it means that it will help him win the fight. He doesn’t seem to be much of a fighter as he talks a good game, but he quickly crumbles when things get dangerous. That being said, he was a fun villain and his voice is catchy. This is someone that I could root for and I wish that he could have been the main villain instead of Erwin. This guy’s design was also pretty great and he reminded me of a Sonic character.

The gameplay for Pac Man is your average 3D platformer. You walk and jump to the place where you need to be and solve puzzles along the way. Pac Man can ground pound and he can also punch in this game. Punching is pretty fun and it’s a great addition to the series. I definitely used it a lot at first, but ground pounding tends to be a lot more effective. There are also several orbs in the game that give him powers like thunder and circle explosions. They are pretty good and they can help to take out the villains a lot quicker than you could have otherwise. The gameplay itself is pretty fun and I just don’t care for the parts where you have to stop and fight a bunch of villains. There was something about the gameplay that made it a little less fun. It may have been the speed or something. That being said, it’s still a very good form of gameplay by any standard.

Once in a while, you have to enter the arcade and then the gameplay goes back to how it was in the original game. The only difference is that the gameplay isn’t quite as smooth and the levels are very small. You get 4 lives, but most of them are a cakewalk with one as you just grab a Power Pellet, regular pellets, and then repeat the formula. The ghosts will never even be able to recover and you’ll be set. If the levels were not so easy, then it could have been a challenge since the animation didn’t work well with the gameplay. It was hard to tell when you were being chased or not.

The gameplay itself shouldn’t be that bad, but it’s just not as great as it could have been. Each level is around 30 minutes and that’s not necessarily a bad thing although it is definitely a big threat when you are not a beat em up style game like Dynasty Warriors. Getting through a level can feel like a big challenge because the game typically leaves you to your own devices. I got lost or temporarily stuck several times because I was unsure of what to do next. Because of that, the game lasted for quite a while and I’d say that the game was around 7-8 hours long. It could have been a whole lot shorter though since 3 our of the 15 levels were very short. There are times where you get to play as the ghosts, but I can’t say that it really added a lot of depth to the game.

This game puts a lot of emphasis on fighting so there are many rooms where you simply have to stop and fight the enemies. Defeating the enemies isn’t really that fun because the gameplay simply wasn’t built for it. Beating an enemy can take a little too long at times and defeating the ghosts requires you to run to a power pellet and just eat them. The only problem is that they only come out 4 at a time instead of all at once so you have to keep running back to the power pellet.

There are also two levels where you get to play as Toc Man. His gameplay is fun although it’s a little too easy and simplistic. Just keep on punching away at the villains until they go down and then the level is over after a few minutes. I would have liked more of these levels since they were a pretty nice change of pace. They could have added in some more challenges and then I’d be set.

Pac Man’s graphics holds up pretty well. The ghosts can be a little hard to take seriously with their big mittens and all, but they don’t look bad. The level designs can be a little dark so it’s hard to see, but it’s not really an issue with the graphics. Older games just tend to come out dark on my TV. It’s good to see Pac Man have his classic design back as well. The graphics aren’t the next Super Smash Bros Melee, but they are very good.

I enjoyed the soundtrack in the game since it could be pretty catchy. Unfortunately, most of the good tracks aren’t in the actual gameplay, but around it. I like the theme that plays when you jump into the arcade and battle it out with the ghosts in a retro fashion. Losing always brings about a classic sound and the stages within the game were supported by the peaceful music. You’ll forget the in game music instantly, but the arcade one never fades.

The game has a decent amount of replay value to it. You can replay a level to get a higher score or to get more of the collectibles that are scattered across the stages. Doing all of this will take some time and you can always keep on playing the retro stages for points as well. The replay value is there, but there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to getting all of the collectibles.

The difficulty of the game is pretty low as you continue from where you were even if you lose a life. So, you can die during a boss fight and wake up in time to beat him. He won’t regain any health and building up lives is pretty easy. I had over 10 left when I completed the game. One area that separates this game from Pac Man World 2 is the boss fights. World 2 had several of them and they were all fairly interesting. This game only has two bosses and the second one is just a recoloring of the first. Since this game was more fight heavy, I was expecting a whole lot more in that department. When I saw the final boss, I couldn’t help, but feel like it was a wasted opportunity. We need a boss for Pac Man to punch!

Overall, This was a good Pac Man game, but it didn’t have the usual aura of fun that the classic game and World 2 had. World 3 had too many stop and fight moments and the stage designs weren’t that good or unique. You were typically locked inside a pretty small place and you wouldn’t get to see the sun in all its glory. There are a lot less levels in this game than World 2, but they are longer. I prefer a lot of short levels to a few long ones, but it’s a matter of preference I suppose. Pac Man’s portrayal was unique and he didn’t really feel like a hero or Pac Man anymore. His family wasn’t much better and the ghosts were all right, but Clyde is really the only one who got a big role. Orson is a good supporting character, but Erwin isn’t a great villain. The writing can be pretty cheesy at times, but I definitely liked all of the insults that were thrown around by the heroes and villains alike. The graphics and soundtrack are solid and it’s still a nice way to end the trilogy. There may not have been a lot of closure at the end, but there was enough. I recommend this to fans of the platforming genre and especially if you like challenging yourself to solving tough puzzles. They definitely gave me a run for my money at times. Considering that the price for the game is pretty low, this is definitely a worthwhile investment and a chance to see the classic Pac Man one last time.

Overall 6/10