Final Fantasy II Review


This game has certainly been sitting on the backburner for many years. After beating the original Final Fantasy I tried to get in on the action with the sequel but I just couldn’t pull it off. The gameplay didn’t click. Well, I finally played it from start to finish and I have to say that my view hasn’t changed a whole lot. The story is the strongest part of the game even if it doesn’t touch the newer ones.

The basic plot is that the world is under attack by the Emperor. He has decided to rule over everything just because he can. The heroes are in a rough spot so the queen will now rely on a talented swordsman named Firian, a mage known as Maria, and a strong axe user named Guy. The three of them will need to travel the world and get strong enough to defeat the Emperor. Do they actually have enough strength to do so though? The Emperor has many powerful allies as well as pretty impressive tech at his disposal as well.

This is one of the first games where it took me way longer to complete than the estimated time on the “How long to beat” site. My time nearly doubled it I think at around 20 hours. It’s pretty difficult and that’s due in large part to how the level up system works. See, you don’t have straight level ups like 1, 2, 3. Instead you level up your proficiencies and stats in battle one by one.

Lets say you defeat a minion but you took a hit in the process. You have the potential to increase your max health, speed, defense, and attack power. If you used magic during the battle you may increase that as well. You passively level up your weapon skill as well depending on which kind you have equipped. You can already see how a lot of this is luck based. You increase the chance of increasing your proficiency but it’s not guaranteed. There are a lot of other factors here as well like the strength of your opponents and the duration of the match.

It’s not a very satisfying way to level up though because it’s hard to see when you’re really getting better. You also need to make sure you choose the right spells and weapons or you’ll be wasting your time leveling up something that you’ll never need. Your 4th member of the team also tends to change every other chapter so don’t get too attached. Often times when they leave they will never return so say good bye to any level ups you got.

The weapons also don’t seem very balanced to the point where I discarded them entirely by around the halfway point of the game. Instead I focused on using the barehanded techniques for the climax and honestly they seemed better than weapons anyway. I would always deal heavy damage while the weapons would falter at the worst moments. I have little doubt that the weapons would ultimately be better than bare handed but at least to the point where I was up to this did not seem to be the case.

The final boss was very difficult to defeat like this though. RNG is partially what got me through. See, his attacks were strong enough to not only finish me in a single hit but also replenish almost all of his health. Of course, that was only with physical attacks. On one of my runs I got lucky because he kept spamming magical spells which deal far less damage. I was able to buy just enough time to defeat him before he healed. Even now I think I would have a very hard time trying to defeat him again. It’s rare for things to work out in quite the same way they did here.

I don’t understand why the game went so far as to also make the equipment work against you. Wearing heavier items makes it harder to dodge but you can’t see how heavy something is without going to your character status page and leaving the item screen. Everything just did not feel very intuitive at all. Perhaps there was an easier way and I just didn’t find it. It seems like Final Fantasy II was meant to be very experimental but in this case I felt like it just back fired completely.

FF II’s spawn rate is also extremely high. Enemies are constantly attacking you every few steps. I was able to get in a lot of good reading during every dungeon. I would just keep spamming the attack button as I read through the God of High School chapters. I finished over 100 chapters as I played through this game because the battles took forever and there were so many of them. It was also uniquely useful to multi task in this game since I didn’t need spells and could just use normal attacks for every minion encounter. If I had nothing to distract myself with that would have hurt though.

Final Fantasy II also suffers from being unclear at times. You just don’t know where to go or what to do in order to advance the plot. The worst is when you’re supposed to talk to someone again and forgot to do so. So you go to the next temple but it’s still closed so you have to travel the world again in order to open it. You don’t get to fly until the very end of the game so prepare for a ton of walking. The game doesn’t give you any real shortcuts either so you really feel like an explorer. Just not in a fun way this time.

I could go on, but as you can tell pretty much none of the gameplay elements worked for me. It’s just a title that offered no qualify of life features. The graphics are good though. The character portraits are on point and I did like the minion designs. The game has a very retro sprite look which works well enough. The soundtrack is also very classic Final Fantasy with how each tune sounds. It’s all got a lot of energy and works really well.

As for replay value, by beating the game it seems like you do unlock some kind of new game+. I’m sure that will take you quite a while. Considering that the game is 20 hours long to defeat once, this is probably a 40 hour game or so. I’m not sure what the price is nowadays but it was pretty cheap before so I doubt it would set you back all that much.

Overall, Final Fantasy II is one of the weakest Final Fantasy games for me. In fact, I would have to say it loses to Final Fantasy VII and is my least favorite title. VII has the better gameplay, characters, and stories so II loses around the board to me. Don’t get me wrong, the story is fun and all but it just doesn’t make up for the game’s weaknesses. I don’t really see myself recommending this title to others as well. I’m glad that it helped continue the franchise into its current state but this is an entry you can skip.

Overall 5/10

Pokemon Unite Review


Pokemon Unite is the latest free to play Pokemon title out there. It’s loaded with all the microtransactions you want though so you can buy just about anything if you want to give some money to the gam. There was some potential to be had here for sure but ultimately I don’t think Unite quite lived up to it. The main issue with the game is how long each battle takes so I feel like you need a complete overhaul of the gameplay mechanics in order to go farther.

When you first start the game you get a pretty nice cinematic. The graphics are really on point and you can tell that you’re about to jump into the crazy world of Pokemon. I allowed my hopes to jump up as I told myself that this would be one of the greatest Pokemon spinoffs of all time. Then you’re taken to the main menu where you learn about the game. There’s a lot to the gameplay so it’s tricky to explain but here’s the basic rundown.

Unite is a 5 on 5 Pokemon battle that uses a real time overhead view. The goal is to knock out wild Pokemon or opposing team members to store up some energy. You then go to one of the opponent’s cores and use the energy to take it over. When you have accumulated enough energy to do so, you slam the energy down in a Basketball slam dunk of sorts and take over the area. Rinse and repeat until the time limit is up and the match is over.

Each match is around 10 or more minutes so that’s a lot of time to run around and explore. You will want to try and coordinate with your teammates but that isn’t easy in an online lobby. I’m not sure if you are able to connect your microphone but if you can then that is probably your best bet to get everyone on the same page. You can send generic orders using the control pad as well though.

Whether you run straight at the enemy or try and protect your own bases initially, it’s your call. There’s no best strategy I’d say, it’s really about how you execute it. Each Pokemon has their normal attack, two special moves, and a final smash. Yo want to master each ability so you’re ready for action. Of course, when the match is starting everyone has to scramble to choose which Pokemon they want to play so the odds of you getting to play the same one a lot is pretty rare. Unless you like playing as Slowbro or something since nobody seems to want to play as him.

Charizard is probably the best Pokemon from the ones that I played. Note that you start out as the Pokemon’s rookie form and gradually move up by defeating opponents. Eventually you will level up during the match and then you repeat the process for future rounds. So this all sounds pretty decent right?

Well, the gameplay is good in theory but it just didn’t really mesh with me. The time limit is too long for starters, I’d prefer a stock ruleset as opposed to time. Maybe do it by score instead but the problem with time though is that you will probably know if you are going to win or lose by the middle of the match. So you can either quit and live to fight another day or just stick it through. I’m not sure if you keep the EXP if you quit so keep that in mind. I didn’t put that to the test here.

The battles also feel repetitive very quickly. You don’t feel any real weight behind the blows. I think a 1 vs 1 battle or 2 vs 2 would have worked better than 5 v 5. This is really aiming more at the World of Warcraft/League of Legends crowd with the widespread battles. I can’t speak to those titles since I haven’t played them but for Pokemon it hasn’t yet worked. The game is a little too limiting.

So even though it’s free I don’t see you sticking with this one for very long. Ultimately it’s a fun game to bide your time with but that’s about it. Eventually you’ll be ready for the next thing. Still, I will say that the graphics are good even after the opening cinematic. The Pokemon character models are on point. Additionally, I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. You get some classic Pokemon themes. Maybe nothing too exciting but it’s good enough as background music to keep you going.

Ultimately to move up this game just needs more content. Whether they add in a 1 vs 1 mode or maybe even a story mode, that would help immensely. You need that here to give the game an extra kick. Something to help it stand out in a crowd and give you reason to play it. Otherwise there are just too many good alternatives out there and you don’t want to miss any of those.

Overall, Pokemon Unite may not have lived up to the hype for me but it was fun to give it a shot. The game may appear very greedy with how it wants money for everything but it is still a true free to play in the sense that you don’t need to buy anything. Stick on the free path and you will still have every option available to you. Now that’s a good bargain if I’ve ever seen one right? What we need now is a free to play Pokemon runner game. Now that would have lots of potential.

Overall 5/10

The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D Review


As I entered the final dungeon, I started writing this review back in April 2015. Little did I know that I would be stuck in that same dungeon for the next 6 years. It’s pretty fun to see how I may have sounded 6 years ago and why waste the writing right? So I’ve kept my old review in italics and will throw in some additions at the very end of this review for some modern thoughts
Majora’s Mask is one of the few Legend of Zelda games that is a direct sequel. It takes place after Ocarina of Time. Despite this it seems to be forgotten or pushed to the wayside more than the other big titles. Part of the reason is that it is a sequel so it could not be thought of as the next core Zelda game. That being said, it does have a strong fan following and it is talked about to this day.

Link’s adventure begins suddenly as he is confronted by a mysterious kid. He calls himself Skull Kid and his powers are incredible. He takes Epona away and transforms Link into a scrub. Link will have to stop strong guardians in different parts of the world if he is to stop the moon from crashing. He only has 3 days to do this, but let’s not forget that he is the hero of time! Time has never been a problem for Link before and it won’t be one now.

Graphically, the game holds up pretty well. You are bound to feel nostalgic if you played Ocarina of Time. Of course, the area is not quite as happy as it used to be so things are also different. I am also sure that you are familiar with the many fan theories for this game. There are loads and loads of them to be found and the developers likely had this in mind when they were making the game. It is certainly a lot darker than the average Legend of Zelda game.

The sad fact for the resistance is that Link is simply too late this time. Most of the heroes are already dead and Link simply pretends to be them so that he can inherit their powers and keep up morale. It is certainly scary just how many casualties there were in this game and the whole atmosphere can seem depressing at times. It is as if all hope is lost.

The soundtrack is a little limited, but it is still good. The danger theme holds up well and that’s the main one that I continue to remember. It is catchy and returns again and again as you play the game.

Unfortunately, I do think that this game is a big step down from the average Zelda game. It certainly loses to all of the big titles. There are two main reasons for this. The first of which is the new 3 day system. As it is, the 3DS version added more save features to make this a little less tedious, but the system still hurts the game. It is a unique gimmick as Pikmin is the only other game that I can think of which uses it. That being said, it simply acts to delay you. If you are in a dungeon when the 3 days are up…then too bad. You can slow down time to make it more manageable, but it is still an issue which the adventure could do without.

What acts as the ultimate 1-2 punch here is the large amount of puzzles. Legend of Zelda has always had this element to separate it from the traditional hack and slash games. In the past, it has worked really well like with Wind Waker and Skyward Sword. (Which was still a very fun game) Unfortunately, Majora’s Mask is unable to find a good mix of puzzle and action. It is skewed heavily in favor of puzzles. Towards the end of the game, we finally get more action but for the first 70-80% of the game the action is minimal.

Puzzles can be fun if handled right. You always felt a sense of accomplishment when you solved one in Wind Waker. Of course, there was no timer there. Even without a timer, Majora’s Mask’s quests are not nearly as fun as they could have been. One big reason is the actual gameplay.

The gameplay is your average 3D title. You can’t jump, but you have a lot of gadgets and you traverse through the unknown. It works very well for the action segments. The puzzles are the dicey part. Some temples like the water one require you to walk a great distance between areas multiple times. Link isn’t very fast so it makes the experience that much worse when you have to head back to a place where you have already been. It is not as if Link is abnormally slow, but for some reason, if just feels like it can take forever to get to where you want to go at times.

Many of the puzzles simply start as well and you just have to wander around until you find out what to do. It is difficult, but in more of an artificial way. I love a nice challenge, but not because I am unsure of what to do. Look at Capcom vs SNK’s God Rugal/Regal boss or the Subspace Emissary on intense in Super Smash. Those can be very difficult, but you do know what to do from the start. It will test your gaming ability, but in a fun way.

After all, you are playing to have a good time and that is one area where Majora’s Mask is lacking. It simply isn’t fun at times, which certainly hurts the score. It takes away the replay value factor and makes this title dangerously close to not being a good game. All right, that’s enough for negatives, let’s close out with what the game did right.

While the gameplay doesn’t suit the puzzles, it is still a lot of fun for the combat. Striking with a sword or using one of your gadgets ensures that you are in for a very flexible boss battle. The boss fights are also fun. They can be direct like in traditional 3D fighters, but often times they are unique in a good way. The ocean boss fight with the large fish was certainly fun. A lot of the boss designs are certainly good. It is also fun to see the ReDeads/Undead appear once more to strike fear into the hearts of many. They are still one of the most intense minions out there and facing them is always a lot of fun.

Link is naturally about as heroic as you would expect. He tackles the enemies with complete confidence in his abilities and never loses sight of his goals. Naturally, this game came out a long time ago so it can’t make him look quite as epic as a modern title would, but Link tries his best and that’s the important part. He is knocked down many times, but he always makes sure to get back up.

I am definitely not a fan of Skull Kid though. He is lacking in willpower from the start and he just isn’t my kind of villain. His design certainly isn’t bad though. Majora is the real threat and makes for a really epic villain. Even before playing the game you’ll have seen this guy’s crazy super form designs since it’s so iconic. The developers really gave it their all to ensure that Majora would spook the audience as the fight began. Certainly an epic way to end the game.

Finally, Majora’s Mask is very interesting. It is like looking at a twisted alternate reality if Link had not saved the world from Ganondorf. Which, it is still surprising that Ganon completely missed out on this title. That is certainly rare for a LoZ game.

Overall, Majora’s Mask 3D will continue to be known as the deepest Zelda game. It has the mechanics of Ocarina of Time, but ends up losing out due to the extreme number of puzzles as well as the two gimmicks. Those being the masks and the 3 Day system. More action and play time as Link would have done much to improve this title. Either way, the graphics and soundtrack hold up well. The iconic “You’ve met with a terrible fate haven’t you?” line holds up very well to this day. It makes the merchant appear to be sympathetic, sarcastic, or gleeful depending on how you read it. I wouldn’t trust him though since it seems like he destroyed Mario…heh heh. If you are looking for a nice challenge for your puzzle skills or are a big Legend of Zelda fan, I recommend checking this one out. It is also a good bet if you just want to analyze the game and create some theories of your own about it. If not, Skyward Sword is probably a better bet.

My views on the game haven’t really changed much since I originally played the title. I would still say this is certainly the weakest of the 3DS titles. It really boils down to the 3 day system more than anything else. It adds a layer of pressure to the puzzles to be sure, but in a way where you dread them rather than enjoy them. After playing through the stone temple dozens and dozens of times, you start wanting some qualify of life updates like not having to solve the room’s puzzle every time you have to go back and forth. Being able to equip more items at once so you don’t have to keep on substituting them out would be ideal as well.

I didn’t get to play as Fierce Deity Link so that was too bad. I guess maybe that’s more of a bonus thing if you get all of the masks or something like that. At least you definitely can’t say that the game is short though. It took me over 50 hours to conquer and even then there is a lot of extra content to try and grab like the masks and collectibles. Finding everything in this world is definitely not for the faint of heart and not something that can be sped through. You’ll really want to master these temples.

Overall, if you really enjoy puzzles and like the idea of the day system resetting your temple progress every 3 days then it’s probably about time you picked this one up. Otherwise I would say to just buy Ocarina of Time or Skyward Sword instead if you want more of a definitive Link experience. Both of those 2 are what I would call the definitive title in the franchise because they capture everything you would expect to see in a Link title. If we ever get a Majora’s Mask sequel, I’m confident it would work out a lot better since the 3 day system should be gone…at least in theory.

Overall 5/10

Transformers Battlegrounds Review


When this Transformers game came out there definitely was not a whole lot of fanfare and hype. For the most part people just kept going about their business and that was the end of that. I probably wasn’t going to get it myself for a while but the price was right so why not? It’s a pretty solid strategy game that you just wish was a little longer. It really ends up flying by so you’ll have it completed within a few days. The game isn’t exactly built for replay value either so there isn’t a ton to do afterwards.

The general plot of the game has the Autobots on the run once more. The Decepticons have taken an overwhelming advantage in numbers and are getting closer to finding the All Spark. The Autobots have split up as Prime focuses on finding it first while Bumblebee defends the city. The Autobots realize that they will need to reunite in order to stop Megatron’s ambitions though and will have to fight their way past the other Decepticons in order to do it. Can they pull this off!?

The gameplay is your classic XCom style as each character gets a turn as you move them around the board. You have to decide what action to have them take, whether it’s an attack, hiding for cover, or doing something else. Each character has 3 “actions” they can take per turn so spending them wisely is important. If you don’t have to spend one moving then you can fire off a level 3 attack right away. Alternately you might be too far and will have to waste all of your points on moving.

It’s important to keep in mind your next turn as well since if you move 3 spots and just barely don’t reach the opponent, that’s basically tell him to take a free shot. You don’t want to go too aggressive in these things or it could really end up backfiring on you quite a bit. The game’s difficulty is not that high so you should be fine either way but you don’t want to pick up any bad habits for when you’re challenging more difficult games. At that point you’ll be glad to have picked up some legitimate tactics.

I’ll give the game credit for making each character feel different. These guys aren’t clones and all have very unique abilities and special moves at their disposal. Even their power level ranges quite a lot as Grimlock and Prime can deal 3 damage with even their weakest attacks while the others are stuck at 2. The health points also vary as some characters might have around 7 while others have 20+.

Each character is also customizable. You can use the points you accumulate from your victories in order to buy new weapons/abilities to make your characters real threats out on the field. By the time you beat the game you won’t have nearly enough points to buy all the upgrades but you can buy most. Within 2 paythroughs you will have them all. That being said, I actually preferred the default blasters to a lot of the more unique weapons. The blasters just did the trick, after all with those you can hit someone from long range while a lot of the other attacks require you to be up close and personal. I can’t stress enough how useful long range options are.

For levels where you have a healer on board, definitely keep them to the back. You don’t want them taking too much damage and healing 3-4 points a turn is incredibly valuable. It can turn the tides of any match without a doubt. Then you’ve also got super attacks once you have collected enough energon. You fill up this meter by completing turns and also ending them while still having some action points left. So that’s another thing to consider, sometimes it’s best to leave some turns on the table so to speak because they allow you to fire off more ultimate moves.

Another bonus on that is that the special moves don’t take up any action points. So on the next turn one of your characters will effectively have 4 points. Pretty sweet right? So these are all just things to keep in mind and they’ll eventually help you out if you get yourself into a tough spot.

The graphics are pretty solid. I wouldn’t say they’re anything to write home about but they’re colorful and distinct. The character designs are on point and the levels look good. It’s definitely got a retro look to it and doesn’t appear as detailed at other games but at the same time I never had an issue with it. The colorful atmosphere fits right in with this part of the franchise.

The soundtrack is very uninspired though. You won’t be able to recall any key tunes here as it all feels as generic as possible. The gameplay will have you focusing so hard that you’ll barely hear the music as well. It’s not bad but it doesn’t leave any kind of impact and in some ways that is an issue of its own.

As for replay value, as I mentioned earlier it’s a bit on the small side. You can work on buying the rest of the upgrades I suppose but it’s not like there are extra levels to use them on. You do need to complete the game on hard mode for one of the trophies so I suppose that is a good place to start. Obtaining the Platinum trophy will definitely take a lot of time and adding content is definitely a perk of having trophies.

Overall, Transformers Battleground may not be the most impressive Transformers game but it’s always fun to revisit the XCom gameplay. The title just needed to have a longer story though and give you more things to do. At the end of the day I feel like you would be left very unsatisfied if you bought it at opening price. For $12, it’s not a bad bargain though. The gameplay is strong and the story is fully voice acted which always helps make things feel a lot more grand and official. I’d recommend checking this one out and seeing what you think.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero Review


The next mobile game I gave a whirl was the My Hero Academia title. This one was getting a good amount of promotion and it’s clear that there was a good budget behind it. As MHA is really big right now they wouldn’t want to weaken the brand with a total cash-in. The title definitely delivers on that front although at the same time it’s so high budget that it has the same weakness as the Sword Art Online title in that it’s a lot harder to just pick up and play.

The game starts you off with a nice introduction movie complete with cinematics and voice acting. You learn about who Deku and All Might is before being thrown further into the story. You’re working with pro heroes on taking down crooks so I want to say at minimum this takes place midway through season 2. Deku seems to have a good handle on his Full Cowl already after all and while the gameplay uses his shoot style, that may be more of a mechanic than confirming that this is in season 3.

The story is separated into chapters which are separated into acts. Each act has a few missions which range from finding civilians to taking down villains. You can also navigate through the city to locate radio towers and collectibles which increases your view of the city. I have no doubt that the objectives in each level will continue to expand as you play through the game.

For the combat this is a 3D action title. You use the buttons on the touchscreen to attack, use super moves, and dodge. By mixing light and heavy attacks you can also perform various combos to take the enemy down more quickly. The gameplay is pretty versatile with each hats yet having many moves and they are all upgradable.

The hub world is also quite large. You aren’t really allowed to explore until you cover the first 2 chapters but after that you can have some fun looking around. The graphics are really solid and would not be out of place on the home consoles. Once again I wonder why mobile games are not automatically ported to console at this point, perhaps there is some kind of licensing angle that would make it slightly more expensive than being a mobile exclusive. Since being a mobile title can be super profitable anyway, I could see that as a reason on why you would not port it. 

The soundtrack has a lot of the classic tunes from the show so you’re in good hands there. It goes without saying that there is a tremendous amount of content here. Just completing the current story chapters available will take you several hours. After that you also have all of the bonus missions to go through and then you can work on leveling up your characters as you wait for the updates. Usually this kind of game will update fairly quick with new levels and event missions so I don’t think you will have anything to worry about on that front. Each special event gives you the chance to farm materials and gems. Right now I’m not too familiar with each of the gem mechanics but one important rule for all gatcha games is that you want to save your gems for a long while. Never spend your gems early on because you need time to understand their true value and the game itself. Only then should you start spending them. The replay value here is quite extensive.

As mentioned, the game’s only weakness is in how expansive it is. One of the strengths of mobile games is being able to just turn it on real quick and knock out some levels. Perhaps while you are on the train or playing a bit before bed. This one needs a solid WiFi signal at all times so the train is out of the question. It also isn’t easy to just play for a few minutes because the loading times are quite long to boot up the game as it goes through the companies and loads the environments. It’s something you don’t really care about if you’re about to play the game for hours but if you’re looking to play for 20-30 minutes then suddenly that seems a little less worth it.

The Strongest Hero is definitely a game meant to be played like a console title. To make the most of it you really need to have some time and then crack down on it. It will be a very rewarding experience but at times you will feel like this should have gone on the PS4. I haven’t rolled too many characters yet so I can’t speak to how good the gotcha system is. At first they always appear to be pretty good and this one’s no different. Of course it’s easy to roll a new character when I only had one previously. I got Kaminari on my first spin which is cool, his gameplay is definitely fun to have. Naturally I was hoping for Bakugo but I suppose you can’t get there best character on your first spin. Right now characters are still being added to the game but we already have most of the important Class 1A characters waiting in the lottery zone.

Overall, My Hero Academia The Strongest Hero is definitely a mobile game I would recommend. It may need some more time than the others on the market but at the same time that speaks to the level of effort that went into this game. As I mentioned many times, it really could pass for a console experience. I definitely couldn’t complain if all mobile games were at this level. I’ve had a rather rocky string of mobile games up til this one so I was glad that it broke the streak.

Overall 8/10

Kaiju Brawl: Godzilla vs Kong Review


Over the years there have been quite a few Godzilla app games. One of them was really quite great while a lot of the others have been fairly mid to even awful. Unfortunately this one’s not very good either. It definitely does beat some of the others I’ve played but it’s weighed down by constant ads and glitches. Not exactly the mobile atmosphere you were hoping for. I’ll give the developers credit for actually getting this published though because it does not look official in the slightest.

The game has 2 real modes, Arcade Mode and Survival Mode. Survival puts you in nonstop matches against monsters while Arcade mode is sets of 3 rounds. When you clear them all you’ve completed the first level, then rinse and repeat as you go through. The game only has a small handful of monsters so expect to be fighting them over and over again. You have King Kong, Godzilla, Mecha Godzilla, the Skullcrawlers, and some jello thing. That’s it, so each level you will see one of these guys.

As for the gameplay, it’s a 2D brawler. You move the character by tapping on the screen and then you can use a few moves. You have the close quarters combat attack which is what you will mainly be using. If you wait a bit, your special meter will charge and then you can fire your ultimate attack which does a good deal of damage. The final button lets you jump but there’s no scenario where that is even slightly helpful so you don’t need to bother using it.

There’s not much point to playing Survival mode but I made it through around 10 rounds to be safe. You get money to level up your characters so that’s a start. Arcade Mode is where you feel like there is at least some progression. I think there are 60 sets available in the game currently so clearing all of those should take some time. The main issue is that after playing 1 set you will already have seen exactly what the game has in store for you. It’s not a very elaborate title.

Now that’s not a bad thing per say but the game also feels very low budget. It crashes quite a bit and sometimes the icons will disappear from the game. You won’t be able to see your level or attack meters so you have to hope for the best. It doesn’t look like the game was formatted all that well to the screen size so some things will usually get cut off. That’s all the tip of the iceberg though. I could get around that but not the next part.

After each set you have to watch an unskippable commercial for another app game. This is also true if you click the wrong button after finishing a survival mode or when trying to navigate the menus. If this happens you have to either wait or just close the app and re-open. The game feels incredibly greedy with how frequent the ads are. The ads should be something you watch as a bonus but not something you have to watch. That’s an easy way to take someone out of the game immediately. Ads have no place being an intrusive mechanic when you’re just trying to play for a bit.

That alone meant that this game wasn’t going to get a positive score. Still, it had help from all the other aspects of the game being underwhelming. Just take a look at the graphics, it’s not that good. I’ll give them credit for the drawings I suppose as someone probably had to work on those characters models but it doesn’t look nearly as good and detailed as it should. The lack of content is also quite telling since the game has to throw a bunch of levels in just to inflate the count.

There are no good themes to listen to hear so you can forget about that. The menu says there is a Story Mode coming soon but I have serious doubts on that. It’s one of those “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of things. Not that I’ll have the game still downloaded on my phone by the time this review pops up though. Space isn’t exactly unlimited so these games get the boot as soon as I’m done. The only nice thing about the ads was I found another Godzilla ripoff game so I’ll be checking that one at some point.

What does the game do well? Well, I suppose the actual combat gameplay is really not that bad. It actually has some reasonable mechanics to it even if it’s extremely basic. Like I said earlier, I could get behind this if you just take away all of the negative aspects. Then you would really have something here. Maybe if they worked on it another year or so to add content before throwing it in the app store then I’d be singing a different tune.

Overall, As it stands there just isn’t anything to really keep me here. A story mode of some kind would have really helped. There isn’t a lot of replay value and earning coins seems like a long process from what I got so far so unlocking the other characters without paying the big bucks would take way more of an investment then I was planning to give. If you want to play a Godzilla mobile game definitely give this one a pass.

Overall 5/10

Samurai Warriors 3 Review


Playing a beat em up type game on the Wii certainly feels rather odd. It’s not really a Wii kind of game and so I always tend to play these on the PS3/PS4 but that wasn’t an option this time. Well, the game is as great as always. It can take a little time to get used to the controller layout but once you have got that down then the rest of the game is effectively like the others. You shouldn’t have any problems with it.

The story mode is a little different than some of the other titles in that it is centered around a specific character as opposed to the kingdom. So you have a lot of options on who to make the lead and then you get a story tailored to that fighter. It’s a nice touch and I have to assume that it’s a lot more work since way since there are a bunch of stories so kudos to the developers on that. There are 5 story levels for each character.

It took me around 2-2.5 hours to clear the story so the level length is nothing to sneeze at. The final level also gets tricky so you will want to be careful. Of course you can switch the game’s difficulty back down to easy if needed. The final level has a trick to it so it’s hard not to die the first time but then you’re ready for the inevitable rematch. In each of the levels you have a pack of items with you that do things like increase your strength, defense, or just plain healing items.

Personally I always recommend going for the healing pack. It can effectively replenish your health bar 6 times over which is really handy since Samurai Warriors doesn’t have health items just hanging out on the map or anything like that. So the levels are easy initially because you can just heal your way to the goal. Well, the final level changes that up. Suddenly you are unable to use your healing items near the end. You then have to clear a quick gauntlet of bosses.

I can safely say this is where I lost the first time. It’s difficult to beat so many enemies without being able to heal. On the second go around I made sure to use a potion right before they got deactivated but I was still running out of health fast. It was pretty intense but I just had to survive with a single smidge of health left as I challenged a bunch of different opponents. Finally I got a level up which automatically restores all health. I don’t know what I could have done without that. So it’s hard to time but if you’re having trouble on this level just beat a ton of minions until you’re close to a level up before starting the fire which triggers your items not working anymore.

As for the gameplay, it’s your classic beat em up style. You have your standard attacks, power moves, and your super attack. One new thing here is the guard break which you can use at the expense of one energy orb and break through an enemy’s defense. This will actually be the most important move you have in the entire game so make sure you use it a lot. It’s also an absolutely surefire way to stop their ultimate attack midway. There aren’t really any downsides to the shield poke either so why not use it right?

The gameplay is noticeably slower than Dynasty Warriors but that might be intentional. I seem to recall that being the case for the last one as well so maybe it’s a way to make the titles stand out as being different from each other. It’s fair since you don’t want all of the games to be clones after all. Most of the other parts of the game are all as you would remember them. The final smashes can all be blocked by the A.I. and usually are though so I’d like them to get buffed in the sequel. As it stands, it’s often better to use your standard attacks than the final smash which doesn’t make sense.

There’s a side mission here where you have to invade castles with Takamaru. It’s a fun little side mode and does well in adding more replay value to the mix. I completed the first world for now before calling it a day. I like the fact that it effectively turns this into a crossover series right out of the jump. They should bring Takamaru along into one of the games at some point as a fully playable character. Maybe he’s in that Warriors All Stars game.

With each story mode taking around 2 hours you’re talking about around 20 hours of content right out of the gate. Then you have the castle mode which will add some time and even a historical mode. Through in the multiplayer and maxing out the rest of the characters and you’ve got yourself a really long game. It goes for really cheap at the moment so it’s a really good bargain. You definitely can’t go wrong here.

The graphics look really good as you would expect. The character models and stage environments are on point. There are a number of solid looking cutscenes throughout that really help to make this a compelling experience. In some ways you could say it even looks better than the modern Dynasty Warrior titles which is very impressive. The story was more emotional that’s for sure, at least in Yukimura’s story. While the OST may not be super memorable, I would also say it was good. The main theme is catchy and you have a lot of fast paced tunes for while you’re fighting.

Overall, Samurai Warriors 3 is definitely a game I would strongly recommend. It’s really got everything you could want in a beat em up title from lots of content to a satisfying story. The layouts are all very clear and the game has no real weaknesses. I definitely look forward to seeing how 4 plays things out. Will it be just as solid or perhaps even more so? In the meantime you’ll want to pick this game up to prepare yourself.

Overall 8/10

Tales of Phantasia Review


I haven’t played a lot of Tales of titles yet but I’m working on it. Over the last year or two I played the two Symphonias and Legendia. Now with Phantasia I’m one step closer to getting the full Tales experience. This one’s definitely a lot of fun and feels old in all the right ways. The turn based combat is simple yet effective. Now, I would still have to put it under both Symphonia titles but I dare say this one actually does beat Legendia.

The game follows a guy named Cress who has to go through a rather sad origin story as all Tales of characters do. Cress’ village is attacked by an evil mastermind who murders his family as well as his best friend Chester’s family. The whole village is burned to the ground and the main characters want vengeance. This won’t be quite so easy though. For starters, this is a battle that has been going on for generations. The villain is reviving an evil threat from 1000 years ago, Dhaos. Dhaos has mastery over time and space. The heroes will need to find a way to traverse time as well or they will ultimately be left behind to continue holding those Ls. Let me tell you, the Ls weigh a whole lot after a while.

For the gameplay, it’s not strictly speaking turn based combat. You do take turns when using spells but otherwise you can all move at the same time. The game is in 2D which is an interesting twist since you have to cram all of the characters together as you attack the villains. Since it’s not as close to 3D as the others, it can get a little tricky at times with your A.I. partners getting in the way. The game seems to intentionally get these guys to sabotage you as they’ll use the worst possible spells against the bosses.

No worries though you can keep pausing the game to give them manual commands. It’s a little extra work but it is worth it most of the time. You can see the areas where the series was still finding its footing with the gameplay mechanics. The game has to freeze whenever someone uses a spell which is pretty much every few seconds so that extends the length of each battle. That’s something future games stopped doing which is for the best.

So those are the weak points of the gameplay but the positives definitely outweigh those. For starters it’s always fun to learn new spells and try them out. The EXP system is very straightforward and the level ups make a difference. The most crucial part of the game is making sure you have the right equipment though. You want the pendent that cuts the spell time in half. It’s the most valuable item in the game by far and it would have been difficult to beat some of the bosses without it. You can effectively spam magical spells at your opponent which is incredibly handy.

As for the graphics, it looks pretty good. Some of the sprites may not be as descriptive as in other games like the Mana titles but you can still tell what is going on. The character illustrations may look a little different than the sprites but that’s hard to get around. The game does like to show off its graphics at times though like with the cutscene where we blow up a lot of monsters. That was definitely impressive.

As for the soundtrack, it’s a little less memorable than some of the others but the final boss theme is definitely fun. I liked the castle in general and the game does have a lot of energy. This one uses a style where the music will completely cut out a lot of the time. That’s something that I think the game should have changed. The situation getting dramatically quiet can be effective but not when you use it constantly. Then it doesn’t quite work.

If you like time travel then you will definitely enjoy the story quite a lot. As with most RPGs the story is very satisfying and a lot happens. Jumping from the past to the future is always fun and there are a lot of moments where it seems like the game is ending and then you jump back into it. Additionally The campaign took me close to 30 hours and after that there is still a lot of replay value to be had. You can try to complete side quests, get more level ups, and things like that. I don’t know of any significant post game though so it’s not quite as much of a post game as many RPGs. Still, with the base game being so long you shouldn’t have any issues there.

As a main character Cress is pretty reasonable. He’s a nice guy who does what he can to save the world. He may have a little less character than some of the other big RPG heroes but I wouldn’t say he has any real faults. Chester makes for a good friend but he misses out on a considerable portion of the game. By the time he rejoins the party you may not feel like putting him back in the rotation since your team is already set.

Mint also tends to miss a lot of the game. Unlike Chester she is around the whole time but doesn’t get to talk a lot. She’s a nice enough mage though. Claus gets more and more broken as the game goes on since he is able to summon all of the elemental spirits in the game. A large chunk of the adventure is supplying him with these creatures so he can fight off anyone who gets in his way. Then you have Arche who is a spell expert and can deal out a ton of damage. In most battles you just need her and Claus to take out the enemies since the other characters can barely even contribute in comparison. Arche has a lot of fun trolling the cast which is always good for the dynamic.

Finally you have the villain Dhaos. At times it’s hard to say if the game was really trying to make him sympathetic or not. Either way I wouldn’t say it succeeded as we needed to see more about his goal. No matter how he may have acted at the very end, it’s hard to get the feeling that this guy was ever in it for anything but himself. He makes for a great villain, no doubt about that. I just wouldn’t consider him anything but a full fledged villain.

Overall, Tales of Phantasia is another great RPG to add to the pile. It’s easy to see how this would help kickstart the Tales of series into becoming the huge title that it is today. I’m not sure when I’ll be checking out my next Tales of title but there are certainly a lot of other options to choose from. If you want to check out a very retro version of the franchise this is the one to pick up.

Overall 8/10

Sword of Mana Review


The Sword of Mana is a game I’ve owned for many years at this point. It just kept getting passed by other games but no longer. I finally went in and completed it. The game certainly played really well and lives up to the Mana brand. The real time action is a nice touch and the story got rather intense with a lot of twists and turns along the way. It’s a good reminder as always on why I like the RPG genre so much. There’s always so much to do in these games.

The two main characters don’t have formal names so I just called them Terry and Daisy. Well, the game starts out with the two characters on the run as their parents are hunted by the Dark Lord. Unfortunately Terry ends up tripping so the two get split up. We fast forward a bunch of years to where Terry is now forced to fight as a gladiator for the villain’s amusement. One day he manages to escape and meets up with a girl who looks just like Daisy. Together, the two of them will find the legendary Granz and take the Dark Lord down!

Of course for an RPG like this you already know there is a lot more to the story than just that. The Dark Lord is not so easily defeated after all. The heroes meet up with a man named Bogard who was a friend of Terry’s parents and a lot of other characters. Along the path to saving the world the heroes will see other kingdoms, meet a demon, and other villains are also along the way.

This RPG isn’t quite as long as some others as it’s a little under 20 hours but you still get to do a lot. I would say you’ll end up pretty satisfied here to be sure. Not every game needs to be crazy long after all, although I will admit that for RPGs I like to see them 20+ hours long. For normal games I strive for at least 10 but of course each genre tends to have their specialties in that respect.

Sword of Mana also has a lot of replay value with the side quests going on. I assume some are probably skippable so you’ll want to do them as you play through the game rather than just waiting until the end. There does not seem to be a post game though as the game just freezes after beating it so you have to turn it off at that point. Perhaps that triggers something to change within the game itself so you do unlock the post game but I’m not sure of that myself. Either way there’s enough to keep you busy.

As expected the graphics are quite sharp here. The sprites are well animated and also have a lot of depth to them such as the characters whisking out their swords and even sitting down for dinner. The developers added a lot of extra animations to really make this as realistic as possible which was cool. This was clearly not the kind of game that was thrown together at the last second but had a lot of effort.

The soundtrack is also pretty solid. Now, I wouldn’t say it quite matches up to a lot of the all time greats when it comes to RPGs but there are enough quality tunes for this one to still hold its own at the end of the day. The main boss theme for example is a pretty solid one.

As for the gameplay, it’s a real time combat title as I mentioned earlier. You obtain many different weapons during the course of the game but you’ll get the most mileage out of the Sword, Bow/Arrow, and your long baton of sorts that extends. You will use this to cross large chasms. Perhaps you will grow a liking to another weapon along the way but I just can’t go wrong with swords. They’re always just so much fun to use.

I will say that the game’s way of letting you power up your sword can be a little complicated. You need a lot of materials and have to find a blacksmith. So due to that I just used the basic level 1 sword for the whole game until the final boss where I finally got a really cool one. I can tell you that I felt the immense difference as soon as I picked that one up. Now that was true power right there.

Whenever you level up you are given one point which you can put to any attribute. This will determine what your stat boost will be so choose carefully. You also unlock classes depending on what your focus is. If you don’t have a focus then it could get a little tricky for you. I went for one of the warrior classes which means putting the points away into strength, random, and a little into magic I think. It’s worth it because you get a crazy power boost which really served me well.

The game knows that you’ll be focusing on the sword though so there are quite a few bosses where you can’t even attack the bosses that way. A lot of them fly away so you have to use a projectile weapon. This could be a little cheesy but they probably knew that otherwise you would really be steam rolling through these guys. That’s how insanely powerful the sword is. There’s no enemy or boss who can last for very long against it.

My final note would be if you’re ever in doubt, grab some level ups. The EXP system here is pretty well balanced so leveling up doesn’t take too long. As soon as you get $10,000 make sure you buy the EXP brace to double your EXP. Trust me that is worth the purchase because it makes a huge difference immediately. There are a few puzzles that can be tough near the end of the game so brace yourself for them. In particular Dime Tower doesn’t hold back. If you see that a light isn’t showing up to signify that you completed a puzzle on the floor, go back down. For some reason puzzles can be on the wrong floor to trip you up so don’t fall for it!

Overall, Sword of Mana was definitely a lot of fun. It’s a very well balanced RPG and one that had a really wide cast. The story certainly shifts a lot by the end with all the new villains and plot twists. The Dark Lord was a really fun character throughout it all and he got quite a few battles with Terry. The game wasn’t afraid to have the hero lose a few fights that’s for sure since he took quite a few Ls as the game went on. If you’re looking for an old RPG that has aged incredibly well, look no further than this title. The Sword of Mana is just what you’re looking for.

Overall 8/10

Taito Legends Power-Up Review


This is a game that I sort of got out of the blue because I wanted to finally check out the original Legend of Kage. Not only did this collection have the original but it also had the remade version that had a more 3D look to it. There’s a pretty solid collection of games here as well so it’s got some pretty decent value. At the end of the day it’s hard to really deny that this title has a lot of replay value. Surely you should be able to enjoy most if not all of the titles here.

None of the games really have much of a story mode of course since these are really arcade titles. Mainly the point of the game is to play all of these titles out and get your high scores in there. You’ve got sci-fi games, ninja titles, and even a game that’s sort of like Monkey Ball. The amount of variety here is impressive and while you may not put these games up against the true classics like Mario and Pac-Man, they hold up well enough.

Super old games are usually not really my thing since I can only play them so long before I need a break. That being said, I’ll still have fun while I’m along for the ride. Since Legend of Kage is the reason I was buying the game in the first place lets lead off with that. The game involves you throwing stars and slashing away at the enemies. The goal is to make it to the end of the game before they take you down. It’s a rather difficult game but with enough tries you should be able to conquer it. When you lose you can restart as many times as needed so you don’t need to worry about getting a game over. That would have definitely hurt the momentum.

You’ve got games that feature skiing, monkey ball, a bunch of sci-fi shooters, and a game that works a lot like Pac-Man. Basically you have to race around the stage and get all of the pellets before these opposing airships tag you. It’s very difficult because they are much faster than you. I don’t want to say that the game is luck based…but it sure feels that way at times. Escaping these guys is really hard to be sure.

As a collection Taito Legends accomplished what it set out to do. None of the games may stand out on their own but when together they make for a decent game. The graphics are pretty solid here so the quality of the old sprites is on point. The soundtracks are good too. I wouldn’t say they are particularly notable but they do have a lot of energy so they fit right in while you’re playing through the game. You probably won’t even notice the tracks a lot of the time. Maybe if there was some extra rock or something.

Since a few of the games have the original version as well as the enhanced remake it’ll be interesting to see if any of the originals can beat their powered up versions. I find it is usually very difficult to beat a newer version but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Sometimes the new version may try too hard in trying to be better and miss something that gave the original its charm. This title allows you to try both versions back to back to see how it really stands up.

There isn’t a whole lot more to say about the collection due to the nature of the game. Really this will either be your style or it won’t be but you should know right away based on the kinds of games you enjoy. That is really the deciding factor here. I’m not sure I would buy a future Taito collection but if they ever decided to bundle up a lot of very new games that could have a lot of potential.

Overall, Taito Legends Power-Up is a good game. I’d recommend checking it out if you like playing the classic Arcade Games. Naturally you would want to skip it if you’re more into the modern titles with story and cinematics. That’s mainly where I’m at but at the same time it can be fun to relive how the games used to be. After all, for their time I’m sure these were considered to be top notch.

Overall 6/10