Overwatch 2 Review


I got around to playing this one a bit but ultimately it’s not really going to stand out all that much among the big shooter games. The main issue is that there are too many mechanics and abilities which take away from being able to just jump in there and have some fun. It’s certainly no Fortnite as a result and I dare say that you would have a much better time in Fortnite as well. There are better free to play games to check out is the main message here.

They did an odd job of promoting this game though as if you didn’t know any better you’d think this was still the first Overwatch. There aren’t a lot of screens showing that this is the 2nd one or anything like that and the game doesn’t seem to be very different from the original except for the fact that it’s free now. Definitely the minimum amount of effort went into this one but of course if you haven’t played the original before then it’ll still be fresh at least. So I suppose that’s a consolation at least. This is a team game so get ready to have to team up with a lot of people and hope for the best. If there is a 1 on 1 mode, I hadn’t unlocked it yet although granted I never made it to a really high level.

So what separates this from the other games is that as soon as you step on the field you are given the objective of taking over a square or defending it. The other team has the other objective and then you fight it out. Expect to die a whole lot and any time you respawn you get to switch characters. That’s a nice touch at least although in general I prefer to have one life and when you die that’s it. It would make the game a lot more strategic since you can’t just run in guns blazing.

There are so many attack options as well that the game is naturally not as balanced as some of the others. Just from playing all of the characters once I could tell that much. This is not the kind of game where you can pick up any character and just have fun. Of course that also means if there’s a character you like but a teammate got him first then you’re out of luck. I liked one shadow ninja type character but for the most part the roster is very unimpressive. I couldn’t say that there were many that stood out for me.

The graphics are really decent though. The level designs are on point and you’ll have a good time running around. The energy effects are good too. The soundtrack is more on the nonexistent side though but typically shooters aren’t known for having great soundtracks anyway. They tend to be more silent so you can focus on what’s going on. I suppose there is replay value here to jump back into as many matches as you want but I don’t see this game really lasting all that long.

Additionally they want you to put in a phone number just to play the game which seems a bit drastic. I’ve never really heard of that for a game like this. I guess it’s to deter bots and multiple accounts maybe but if no other game is bothering with this then clearly the devs here are doing something wrong. You just don’t need to be that thorough and I feel like it’ll box a lot of people out of the game right out of the gate.

At the end of the day what hurts this one a lot is that it adds a lot of bells and whistles to the base shooting gameplay but does so in a way that weakens the core aspect of the game. You never get to actually run and shoot at the opponents because everyone is too busy activating their super powers. Being forced to attack or defend an area also means that you can’t have fun running around the map and planning an offensive. It forces everyone to bunch up at the same spots where it then becomes a mindless battle of shooting all your abilities at once.

It may work as a minigame or you eventually push people together to end the match but doing so from the start just isn’t a fun decision from a design standpoint. I want to be able to have fun and play the game my way, not be forced to run in like this. It’s not really my cup of tea. Maybe down the road they’ll make the gameplay smoother and change the objectives a little more but if the game is doing well then that’s unlikely. The original Overwatch may not be as big as it used to be but it still makes a ton of money so they’re probably satisfied with the system that they have.

Overall, Overwatch 2 may be more fun if you really drill down and learn all of the mechanics and such but I can’t say that I was very impressed at all. You have a lot of options and all but the game just isn’t very fun and part of the issue is that you can’t take two steps without being blasted. You can’t move fast enough to dodge much either so it just becomes a full on fire fight the whole time and without the strategy that makes it a lot of fun. I highly advise sticking to Fortnite instead which provides a much more entertaining shooting game that beats this one around the board in all areas.

Overall 5/10

Driv3r Review


The Driver series seems to have peaked with the first one so far because it has been wayyyyy better than the two sequels. You can’t even compare them but granted, the first I played on Playstation while the next two have been on GBA. These editions leave a lot to be desired and this game in particular was a lot weaker than I had expected. Personally I just thought that it was going to be a lot better than the final product. It’s not a game I would really be recommending to people.

Tanner is back and this time he has to go undercover in Miami to grab some bad guys and find out about car transactions. The plot has a very Fast and the Furious feel to it but the abridged version. It feels like the game grabs screenshots from the home console games and then picks some text to go with it. As a result you get a very fragmented version of the story. Additionally there is nothing to show who is talking so half the time they keep changing the person who is talking in the cutscene but you have no idea who is saying what.

The story ends up being a bit bland as a result. It doesn’t help that the game only has one musical theme that plays for every cutscene. The game is definitely on the low budget side that’s for sure. I was never really able to get all that invested into the story so then the gameplay has to hold its own. There are good and bad things about the gameplay though so that’s why it wasn’t up to the task of carrying the whole game on its back. First off the game can’t process most of the background items.

What that means is you’ll be driving when suddenly a car appears in front of you and knocks the wind right out. A single crash can often mean that you will lose a level, particularly if it’s a head to head collision. There are a lot of high speed chases and such but with this it makes the game a little tougher than it would be otherwise. Particularly when it’s a long level then replaying the whole thing is a hassle. The final level in the game involves 3 checkpoint races in a row and yes if you lose any of them then you start all 3 again.

There is a new mechanic in this game which is that you can actually fight on foot. You get out of your car and start firing shots but there is a big catch to this. See, it was actually going to be a really fun mode but what ruins it is how quickly you can run out of bullets. If you run out of bullets then you have no way to fight back so you just have to lose to the opponent. An additional penalty is that dying takes you back to before the mission and often means that you will have to drive halfway across the city to get back to where you were. Every time you die it’s a huge time delay. I appreciate that the game’s hub world is so big but there should be a quick travel option somewhere. That would have helped out a great deal.

Then getting more ammo is a hassle. (You lose any ammo you used even if you die by the way) You have to find some packs scattered across the massive hub world which is difficult or you have to beat all sub missions of a color which will get you a new weapon. This will come with some ammo. It’s worth unlocking the weapons anyway though because they are considerably more powerful than the starting weapon that you get. Always keep your most powerful weapon equipped as well since ammo you pick up will then go to that one.

Completing the game without the latter weapons will be nearly impossible so make sure you complete the missions. Most of the missions can be a lot of fun at least and they’re short. I didn’t feel bothered at playing them and they would often beat some of the story missions. In the story I mostly don’t like when you have to tail someone, just let me go full blast in a race or something instead.

I do like the combat though and driving can be fun when you’re allowed to go all lout. You can move at really high speeds and while this often causes the game to lag a whole lot, it still feels nice. Surprisingly there is no police mechanic here so you can bump into everyone with no problem. I missed that a bit since it was such a big part of the original Driver game. Maybe they just couldn’t figure it out for GBA or something like that.

The graphics are okay but I would say below average. It didn’t seem like a whole lot of effort was put into this one compared to the bigger titles. It almost looks and feels like some kind of cash-in. I already noted how the soundtrack is basically nonexistent as well so don’t expect any really big tunes there. This is definitely not that kind of title. At least the main theme isn’t bad. That’s good because you’ll be hearing it a whole lot.

Ultimately at its core this game just needed a lot of quality of life upgrades. For starts you should get some ammo when you revive and you need a better way of getting more. Whether that means buying ammo or spawning it in more places, it shouldn’t take forever to get it. I nearly died against the final boss who was a real bullet sponge and if I lost there that would have been disheartening because it took so long to get those bullets in the first place. Then we need quick travel and losing a mission should give you the option to retry it rather than having to drive all the way there again. That would have at least given the game a fighting chance instead of making the levels needlessly exhausting at times.

Overall, Driv3r is not a very good game. I thought it would be better than it was. The gameplay is just good enough to keep me from calling it a bad title but there is almost no reason to get it. There are much better car games to buy as well as shooters. If you have the original Playstation or a PS2 then I would say to just buy the original and play it again. It’s way better and really executes on the potential and possibilities of the franchise. This one isn’t trying nearly as hard. I do still have high hopes for the PS3 title though because we’ll be back on the home consoles and it should have a good budget. If that one is no good then I don’t know what to say at that point. It would be a bit odd.

Overall 5/10

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Review

The Legend of Zelda series has returned and while this one did feel like it’s visually improved a whole lot over the original titles…I can’t give it too much credit either. My main issue with the game is one that tends to occur with a lot of older RPGs which is that the game isn’t too clear on what you’re supposed to do. Towards the end this starts to come back to bite you as the final boss is completely invincible without very specific weapons. This means it’s time to backtrack once again and it gets rough. There are areas that show promise here but ultimately the game just feels too dated and ends up being a miss for me.

The general plot is that Link is called into action to save Princess Zelda. She is in a lot of trouble because a new evil threat has arrived and the castle is taken down. Link must rescue a bunch of princesses and grab some super powerful weapons in order to save Zelda. He definitely needs to hurry but if he can pull this off then it will truly be one of the ultimate feats of a hero. Get ready for a long journey.

This game feels a bit longer than the first ones. You not only have the first hub world to go through but after clearing that then there is a whole second part of the game where you go to all of the areas again but this time in the dark world. So there is a lot going on here for sure but fortunately you actually have a good map this time around. That is massive to have here because without a map you’d be getting lost constantly. It’s a really good upgrade here and near the end of the game you also get a quick travel option. Yes, the quick travel is very limited but it still beats walking everywhere.

Only thing I would change would be how moving between the different worlds works. Instead of only being able to do it at designated areas or using the mirror to go to the light world, you should be able to move between both worlds freely. This would be way more convenient and would be a substantial improvement if you ask me. Not having that ability just slows you down throughout the game and at times you have to backtrack a lot just so that you can change worlds. This doesn’t seem like a necessary feature.

Of course my biggest gripe with the game is how you have to go back and complete side missions that you never remember encountering in order to fight the final boss. There is no indication of what exactly you need either so I don’t think I would have ever figured it out without a guide. To be extra sneaky, for the final boss you can’t even tell that you’re hurting him and just have to keep swinging until he goes down. I had assumed I wasn’t attacking the right way and tried switching things up only to find that it had been working. A little sneaky but not in a good way.

On the positives side, the game does look nice as I mentioned before. This is an SNES game that really used the visuals to its advantage. The soundtrack is also on point with a lot of really memorable tunes. The series is really able to hold its own against against the Mario series with its wide array of themes at the ready. While you’re playing, the game at least looks and sounds really good so that’s also a plus.

I would also say that in terms of raw gameplay the game is solid as well. Overhead Link style may not be my favorite and occasionally you will get hit and feel like that shouldn’t have really hurt you but still, it’s a good style and it can even be a little difficult at times. You need quick reaction times in order to win here. In terms of replay value there is a good amount with a lot of areas to explore and collectibles to find. Don’t expect that you will get all of them in one playthrough as they can be hidden really well.

The dungeons are also crafted better than normal as most of the puzzles in there actually made a lot of sense. Getting to the dungeons is the hard part but once you’re there, then you’re good. If the hub world was a little less confusing and there were less mandatory items that you needed, then the game really could have gotten a thumbs up. I would say this one just had some missed opportunities for me but if you enjoy the exploration aspect of the game and have fun uncovering the secrets within the world then you should have a good time here.

I can’t picture playing this one without the Switch Online features or a guide at the ready because it would just take too long though. So it really depends on what you’re looking for in a game. I tend to want to just blast through to the good parts and enjoy the boss fights so backtracking doesn’t feel great unless the game is super smooth like Shantae or something like that. Give me a good indicator of where I need to go or the general location of a collectible and I won’t mind going back to have to grab it. If it’s something I have to find out with no clues so I have to talk to everyone and run around, then it doesn’t work quite as well for me.

Overall, A Link to the Past is okay but I wouldn’t directly recommend it. You should check out Skyward Sword instead or Wind Waker. That said, if you do like the retro Nintendo games then you can access this one for free with the Nintendo Switch Online subscription so you can’t really go wrong there. Who doesn’t like playing games for free right? One of these days I’ll grab one of the more modern overhead LoZ games and then we’ll really see how they have amped up the quality of life features since the SNES days.

Overall 5/10

Kirby’s Avalanche Review


Kirby is back in action and in top form I must say. He gets a lot of quality dialogue here and I wish they had let him continue to talk in the future games. Kirby’s really got a lot to say and he isn’t afraid to show it. If Nintendo had kept him like this for future games then I think he would have a similar rep to Sonic the Hedgehog as a fairly sassy character. Ah well, it wasn’t to be but I do like Kirby well enough as is anyway, it’s just fun to see this side of him. I guess he just takes Avalanche very seriously!

There isn’t much of a plot per say but Kirby keeps on challenging a bunch of fighters at Avalanche. Some of them try hurling insults but Kirby shuts that down real quick. He’s very direct to the villains that they need to train a whole lot more if they ever want to defeat him here. I love that confidence and it really shows why Kirby is the universe’s hero! There are around 13 levels or so here so this is a short game. Well…short if you are good at it! The game is impressively difficult and unless you’re familiar with this style of gameplay then you’re going to be in for a world of hurt.

It’s sort of like Tetris but I think this exact game is called something else. Basically you have a lot of gels falling at you and you have to match 4 pieces of each color together in order to get a match. That breaks them which opens up more space on your screen. The idea is that you never want to let your screen fill up entirely while filling up your opponent’s screen. When you match a lot of these gels then you will be able to throw stuff at the opponent’s screen. There is a strategy element here where you may feel that it is better not to match something right away so you can match a longer combo later but it is risky. If the opponent throws some gels at you then it can wreck all of your plans.

The game is fun enough but for me it’s not enough to hold up a whole game. I wouldn’t be playing this one much longer than the time it would take to have a good basis for this review for example. With a few more cinematics or something like that then it’s definitely possible that this game would be engaging enough but that’s not the case here. I did appreciate that we got a little voice acting and a fun script for the cutscenes though. I really can’t ask for much more than that.

The game is free with the Nintendo Switch Online so there really isn’t any reason not to check it out. Put in a little time here and if you end up liking it a lot, well now you have something to play and have fun with. So it’s a win/win decision all the way through. The graphics hold up well too and are nostalgic while still being fairly detailed. The game doesn’t feel low budget at all or anything like that. The soundtrack is also on point and it’s always a lot of fun to hear the classic Kirby tunes.

If it had a few more modes or things to do then I’d like it more. Of course you can’t expect it to have more than the normal mode so that’s just me. Considering how incredibly difficult the game is, you’ll be getting a good amount of content here and you get unlimited continues so you never have to worry about going all the way back to the beginning. I definitely like that since being sent back always feels like a waste after you’ve put so much time into the game. This is easily the best way to handle this gameplay.

Overall, There isn’t much more to talk about though since this is really a one mode game. How much you enjoy it will depend on how much you enjoy the gameplay. If you’re really talented at the machine and strategy then you’ll get to enjoy all of the fun Kirby cutscenes. They really don’t make quick Nintendo titles like this much nowadays and it’s too bad because they could dominate the market with tons of free to play app games in this kind of style. It doesn’t seem like that’s in Nintendo’s plans but they could really make bank this way. I’m closing in on finishing all of the SNES online titles, just 3 more left now!

Overall 5/10

EarthBound Beginnings Review


After all of these years I’ve finally played the original Earthbound game. It’s pretty nostalgic to hear some of the old tracks here and the game certainly has a lot of memorable moments. It is significantly held back by the fact that it is missing a lot of quality of life features and the villain encounters are way too frequent. You’ll want to have a book on hand to read while playing the game or some online videos to look at because otherwise you will feel the time going by.

The story follows a kid named Ninten who is one day attacked by an evil teddy bear. He stops this menace and realizes that the world isn’t quite right. He has to travel across the globe to track down the source of evil and his father is too busy to help but will give you money every now and again. If you save the world, perhaps you will finally be able to see him. Does Ninten have what it takes to pull this off?

One thing the game has going for it right from the start is how odd everything is. The whole game has an air of mystery and you get the feeling that the world Ninten has grown up in is not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination. Around every corner you’ve got monsters and psychic phenomenon. There seem to be a lot of random crooks as well and there are giant mechs and everything. The mystery is part of the fun though and I could see this inspiring Undertale in the future.

It’s just got those fun vibes throughout and it works well. I think with a little more story and cinematics the story could have been downright amazing. As it is, the story is fun but there are long periods where the story just vanishes and I would have liked to have seen more of it. Even the final boss pretty much comes out of nowhere. She’s a cool creature and everything so it makes for a hype climax but it’s like we just jumped through to the end. Talking to NPCs will give you a better picture of the plot but I’d like more of it on the direct path.

The gameplay is your classic turn based system. You can use standard attacks, PSI abilities, or items in your bag. Most of the time you’ll be using normal attacks but for tough bosses then you want to switch to PSI right away. Even then you can expect the bosses to be quite difficult to take down. Some of them are even invincible and you’re meant to lose while others will just give you a run for your money. The final boss in particular took me many tries because of how powerful the strikes were. One wrong hit would just decimate your team.

I was apparently under leveled for the final boss even after fighting tons of monsters so the grind is definitely meant to be real in this game. A lot of time running away is actually longer than just beating the enemy so fortunately because of that you will rarely be tempted to run away. I did it a lot during the final chapter but otherwise I would just fight everyone. The EXP goes rather slowly though even against tough enemies so this is one game where it can be worth it to grind against weaker ones. Just try to find the sweet spot where they go down easily while being close in total XP.

The graphics are also pretty good. This is a game with the AAA Nintendo seal of approval. So you know that they definitely didn’t hold anything back here. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun and very distinctive. That’s another core strength of Nintendo’s without a doubt. On a technical level the game is absolutely on point and it’s pleasant to listen to. There are a lot of mechanics with the items to get used to. I recommend you familiarize yourself with how the bread works in particular since it can save you a lot of time in running.

Now’s where my issues with the game come in. First off, there is an encounter in what feels like every 5 steps. I literally had to have Reddit open in the background to read while the enemies kept spawning since all I had to do was keep pressing A to knock them out. Most of the minions you can defeat with ease but they still keep on coming and there is no quick way to run so this gets really tedious. It is absolutely the weakest part of the game and something that would need to be changed in a modern remake. It got really tedious and is what took up most of the game. Without this then the game would be a lot shorter so it’s like artificial padding.

Running from town to town takes a really long time as well. You don’t unlock teleportation until the very end of the game so until then you will be running everywhere. That means more villain encounters and everything. You have to revisit towns quite a bit as well. Usually that’s not a bad thing but considering that you have to do this while fighting the enemies then it becomes a problem. The whole game just isn’t very optimized and that isn’t as bad as it would be for a modern game since this one is older but it makes things tougher in the present.

A lot of the time it can be hard to know where to go as well. There is a map but it’s missing most of the locations on it so it’s not as much help most of the time. The story can go to a stand still at times and so you have no idea where to go. This happens quite a lot as the game goes on and it reminds me of Final Fantasy VII. It can slow down the momentum quite a bit just when you figure that you’re on a roll. Whenever the plot does continue it’s fun and I do like the story setup but it’s old and it feels old which isn’t a great combo.

It’s a major issue I have with the game along with how it tries to trick you. If you do something out of order then you’re going to be in a lot of trouble later on. There is also one dragon that won’t wake up until you reach level 25 but without looking up a guide I would have had no idea. So I trained for about an hour to get there but otherwise I would have just been running around panicking the whole time. I like a good mystery but in a video game it can definitely be out of place without proper clues. It’s hard to go get those clues in this game though since you may end up in an area with more monsters.

Overall, It was fun to finally play Earthbound Beginnings but it’s a game that would be virtually unplayable without the Switch Online services. Without all of these features it just feels like the game would be impossibly grindy. I’d eventually be able to pull it off but it wouldn’t be the seamless experience that you would expect. Additionally, the game can just be way too vague at times and the monster encounters are relentless even while you level very slowly. It’s probably best to jump to the second game first but I’ll be playing that one soon so I’ll let you know if it does get the quality of life updates that I’m hoping for like a better map, early teleportation, and less monster encounters.

Overall 5/10

Pinball Review


You can’t say that this game isn’t trying to be direct. With a title like Pinball, it’s letting you know up front what kind of game this is going to be about and I can definitely respect that. This was the final NES game on the Switch Online service that I had not completed yet so it felt good to knock it out. It’s fairly basic though so whether you like it or not will depend on if you like Pinball.

That’s because this is the only mode in the game. It’s literally just playing Pinball over and over again on the same field. There are no other levels or bonus features to play. I imagine that I probably would have been a little disappointed if I had bought this opening day but I dunno, maybe it would have been nice. I imagine it saves you a lot of money to play this on the console than to go to the arcade every day. Technically you do have a lot of replay value to try and beat your high score all the time.

Of course for that to mean anything you’re going to need to not use the rewind or access points since then you could create as high a score as you want. Without any extra features though, I can say that this is one of those games I played for 30 minutes or so and then put down. At this day and age there are just other Pinball games I could play instead that have more features and all of that.

Not to say that this is one to be forgotten but unless you’re playing it for free like I did, then I don’t see why you would purchase it. There really isn’t an incentive to go out and buy this game when you could play something like Metroid Pinball instead. Granted, that one wasn’t amazing either. The single best Pinball game would be Mario Pinball because it actually had a story and even took place in the 64 continuity which was a blast. Now that is a Pinball game that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

In terms of the graphics I would say that it looks pretty good. It’s not amazing or anything but you can always tell what is happening which is the important part. Mario even makes a little cameo here during the bonus level where you have to catch Pauline and escort her out safely. This gets you a ton of points so it’s definitely worth doing. Beyond that, just play your hardest and you’ll get great scores in no time.

I always felt like there was a bit of luck in the game with the ball just falling straight down the middle though. Like what can you possibly do in a situation like that? It feels like you’re just out of luck at that point whereas in the arcade as least you could jiggle the table or something. Not officially recommended of course heh heh. There isn’t much of a soundtrack here but the steady music that is around is nice and soothing so it works well enough with the game.

Now if this ever got a remake then I think there’s a lot you could do with it now. Have stages for each of the Nintendo mascots. Like you could have a Mushroom Kingdom stage where you see Mario and friends with the obstacles and bumpers being related to the characters. One for Metroid, etc. At the end of the day it’ll still be the normal Pinball that you know and love but with a lot of visual effects that would be fun. Bumping up the visuals and the soundtrack is the best way to enhance a Pinball game to the next level. Of course adding a story is also great but I feel like that would be rare for the genre so I wouldn’t hold out too much extra hope on that.

Overall, Pinball is a decent game. There just isn’t a lot to do beyond playing Pinball and there are so many free games for that at this point. If you really like Pinball then it’s nice that you have something to play on the console but otherwise I’d say you can give this one a pass. Maybe play it for a few minutes but I don’t think it’s something that will hold your attention in the long run. There’s just too much other competition out there.

Overall 5/10

The Legend of Zelda Review


After all these years I’ve finally played through the original Legend of Zelda thanks to the Switch Online. I don’t tend to be a big fan of the original games because a lot of them don’t hold up for me but LoZ wasn’t bad. I would put it in the middle. I can’t imagine playing it without today’s modern features though because it seems like it would be an extremely long process without a lot of quality of life features. With the Switch Online enhancements it does help the game to an extent but I certainly am glad that the modern titles have added a lot to the experience.

The general plot is that it’s dangerous to go alone so Link grabs his sword. He has to stop the demon king and save the princess so he’s in for a busy day. To do this he will have to find all of the pieces of the legendary Triforce and only then will he be able to save the world. Don’t underestimate a hero that is on a journey! Link will never give up and never surrender until he has his day. That is why he’s so legendary.

The gameplay style uses the overhead format. For the most part you slice the enemies that get in your way but additionally you can also get other weapons later on like a laser blaster, arrows, and bombs. For the most part you don’t want to waste ammo so you’ll stick to the sword but the laser is an exception as the ammo is limitless. Using your gadgets wisely is the only way you can come out on top here because if you squander them then you will be easy pickings for the monsters. You have to be very careful because you take heavy damage just for bumping into them.

Also it’s easy to miss an item and have to backtrack a lot so watch out for that. This is definitely a puzzle game first and foremost, not to mention that it’s also an unforgiving one. If you don’t watch your step then that’ll be curtains for your time. It definitely took me several hours to beat this game because I would get lost a whole lot. I don’t know how you would be able to navigate the final dungeon straight through. That one is extremely long and filled with shortcuts. There’s no visual indicator of any kind on which walls can be blown up so I just had to try on all of them. Each room had at least 3 corners to try and there could be over 20 rooms so that was a lot of options. I should mention that you can only carry 8 bombs unless you find a secret upgrade so without rewinding to replenish your stock…that would have been absolutely brutal.

The actual combat can be fun but expect to get hit a whole lot. At times the game turns into a bullet hell title where everyone is blasting you at the speed of sound. There’s one particular enemy that is super tough to deal with because he emits a full barrier with a lot of little attack nodes that are super hard to dodge. If any of them hit you then they will deal an incredible amount of damage. I would avoid them when possible but a lot of times you would have to fight in order to move forward.

If I were to take a stab at trying to improve the game it would really boil down to one thing. I would add some kind of indicator that a shortcut was nearby like a crack in the wall or something. That takes the guesswork out which I think is a good thing. Why should you be wasting bombs everywhere when you can just place them tactically? There is a sort of map on the top right of the screen but it’s an empty void that only shows your location. I would put in landmarks and such so you at least know where you’ve been. It’ll be like Link was filling out the map along the way.

These quality of life updates are what I would add to the mix and I think it would work really well. Then you can focus more on the actual combat and just taking out the villains. I’d also say maybe they shouldn’t let you exit a dungeon without taking every key item there. It would help prevent issues like not taking the raft in world 4 and then having to search every dungeon until you find it. That’s definitely no fun because you never want to have to go back. It just isn’t fulfilling. The only time I really enjoyed backtracking is when there is a power up system so you get stronger or the levels are super convenient. Like going back in Shantae is fun enough because you get the ability to fly and do other kinds of things that makes the old levels a breeze. If you’re about the same level of strength then it’s just not quite the same.

The soundtrack really holds up quite nicely though. You hear a lot of classic LoZ themes that are still used to this day. Nintendo really never held back in this area and the graphics also look pretty good for the NES. It’s clear that a solid budget was put into the game for back in its day and it shows. Good effort never goes to waste after all and they can look back on that and be proud. We’ll see if the next Link game can match it in that respect.

Overall, Legend of Zelda ended up becoming a big thing so clearly the game succeeded. I can see the appeal back in the day in that there was so much to do so you could easily spend months playing this game and figuring everything out. That would definitely be a rewarding experience but I wouldn’t say it holds up quite as well nowadays. It can really toe the line between being annoying or being fun at times. Still, you can’t go wrong playing it for free on the Switch Online though. Give it a whirl and see what you think. Either way you get to experience one of Nintendo’s most historic titles so that alone should be an incentive to give it a whirl. That said, if you take the nostalgia goggles off, I would argue that Skyward Sword still leaves this one in the dust.

Overall 5/10

Tomb Raider: Anniversary Review


I’ve never played a full Tomb Raider game before so with this I got to finally say that I’ve entered the series. That said, I can’t say that I was a big fan of it. The dungeon experience wasn’t the best and the way the auto save points worked would actually harm you at times. I think this game could have used a bit more polish which would have helped a great deal. Ultimately it’s not a bad game but it’s not really a good one either.

The story starts with Lara being tasked with finding an ancient Atlantean relic. Little does she realize that this will put her right in the mix of an ancient feud among 3 gods. One of them wants total global annihilation and there’s a whole group of mercenaries after Lara. She will have to outwit all of them if she wants to stay alive here, but that shouldn’t be a big problem for a professional like Lara. She is ready to do whatever it takes in order to win here.

First off I have to say that the story is excellent. It’s considerably better than what I was expecting going in. Battles with gods? Count me in! The story is very engaging whenever the cutscenes show up and it started off on the right foot too with a big T Rex showing up early on. That really set the stage for how this game was not going to be afraid to go supernatural. Things just kept on escalating.

We even got a serious plot point with Lara having to decide if she was willing to take a life in the process of saving the world. The villains were really solid and there were also a lot of quick time events for all of the bosses. Now this was a nice touch and really made the whole game feel a bit more cinematic. I’d give that a full thumbs up all the way, that was really impressive.

Unfortunately a video game cannot survive on the story alone. That may be easier for a movie or a show where it can survive poor effects and graphics if the story is good. Gameplay is the top factor in any video game so if that isn’t good then the rest of the areas will have a very hard time keeping it afloat. That’s exactly what happened here. A lot of areas in the game are good but the gameplay isn’t and that’s the whole point of the title.

On the surface level this is just another classic 3D platformer. You run and jump through the levels as you use your gadgets to get to the end. Each dungeon has a ton of puzzles to solve so you have to get past them in order to get to the end of the game. Once you’ve pulled that off then the sky is the limit. The level endings are really smooth with the transitions so you’ll just be walking when suddenly the level is over. It’s a fairly long game as well so don’t expect to coast through this one. The puzzles are much too difficult for that.

You may jump in the wrong direction once or twice but for the most part there isn’t anything wrong with those mechanics. Lets talk about the first issue which is the auto save feature. It’s as it sounds, when you move somewhere the game will auto save so that you respawn there. Sounds simple enough right? Here’s the catch, lets say you’re going through one of those long platforming sections and you fall? You better hope you die because if Lara clings to the wall and you land safely then it’s going to auto save you from down there since there are almost always checkpoints by the entrances. Now you have to do the whole platforming angle again but if you die for real then you respawn back on the ground.

This made one level take super long because I had to keep running over to where the complicated jumps were and the time added up real quick. This seems like a quick quality of life feature that just didn’t go the way the devs intended. I love auto save but maybe it just shouldn’t work backwards or you should be able to warp to other quick save locations. Those are just two quick ideas I would have on that subject.

Speaking of jumps, some of them can be a bit iffy. There’s a certain jump where you have to swing around on a cable and then do a reverse jump. This is really difficult because the camera angle has to match exactly or Lara won’t jump the way you want her to. This should have been cleaned up since jumping should be based on direction and not the camera work. That just makes a lot more sense.

Finally, a lot of the puzzles are difficult but in an annoying way as opposed to being endearing. So as a result you just feel like the game is grating on you. The combat sections are a lot of fun, I liked fighting off the bad guys and doing the quick time events but the exploration parts were no good. Sometimes you could be playing for an hour or more and nothing would happen because you’d be on the same puzzle for ages. Some of them barely even give you any direction. You just have to go in and hope for the best which is not what you want to see in any kind of puzzle adventure.

The graphics and soundtrack are good at least. Really, the game shines in every area that isn’t the gameplay. That’s an area where I’m sure the modern games have cleaned it up a whole lot. Now if you want to play the game for the story then that’s still not a bad idea because the story is really good. Just brace yourself for the actual gameplay because there will be several sections where it just isn’t fun. You’ll be plugging away at the levels but more automatically as the dungeons break your spirit.

Overall, Tomb Raider: Anniversary is still a nice milestone for me because it was one of the biggest video game series that I hadn’t started yet. Now I can say that I really know how it goes but I would say the Indiana Jones games are winning for now. Those are fairly similar in some ways but it’s a more simple game design so no big quick time events but the puzzles weren’t so bad. I can’t say I would recommend this one too wholeheartedly but you know what you’re getting into. So if you like puzzles then by all means you should jump in.

Overall 5/10

1943: The Battle of Midway Review


1943 is a rather basic airplane type game. There may be a plot but you wouldn’t really know it from playing the game. I don’t tend to count booklet plots all that much. So you have to enjoy the gameplay as that’s really the focus of this game. I wasn’t particularly impressed with any one element but the game itself is solid enough. It’s a game built on its fundamentals and there are quite a few weapons and mechanics to learn. Ultimately they may not stand out but this is a really difficult game so good luck trying to beat it without using any of the advanced features like rewinding and such. This one is going to take all of your abilities to get through to the end.

The main gameplay here is an overhead style as you watch your plane go forward and land major damage. You are attacked by all kinds of ships and other enemies as they overload the screen. Your task is to take them out as they come through and survive until the end. Typically there will be a boss at the end although not every level has one. Sometimes you will just keep on going until the level ends.

Now when I said the game was tough, I definitely meant it all the way. A few hits can take your plane down for the count. Additionally your plane keeps changing weapons when you touch the power ups. Some are better than others so avoid these when you have one that you like. On the other hand, you can shoot a power up to turn it into a health item but you have to do that carefully. Shoot too much and it’ll be a power up item again, shoot too little and the same thing could happen. It’s all a battle of reaction times and you have to make sure that you are on point the whole time.

You’ve also got some kind of bomb/thunderstrike ability. This is really handy as it affects the whole screen but surprisingly it won’t necessarily defeat all of the minions that it hits. It’s strong but not a one hit KO move the way that most of these attacks tend to be. I was certainly surprised when some of the villains endured the attack. I guess it helps as per game balance but I’m used to it being a one hit KO in all other games so it took me by surprise.

It’s not worth using anyway though as it cost your health to use this attack. It takes a solid chunk out of your health bar so even if you land a lot of hits with it, it’ll rarely be worth it. I’d say at best, use it if you’re completely surrounded and are about to be shot down. Then you have nothing to lose and may as well give it a shot. Moves that take up health are just rarely worth it to me in any game.

The graphics are decent here. Nothing too special but the game itself is clear and you always know what’s going on so that’s worth something. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side but it’s not bad. In general the game just doesn’t have a whole lot of personality. From a screenshot you could easily mistake this for any other aerial fighter. I think they should have done a better job of standing out. Even if this is trying to be fairly realistic, you could still pull it off if you thought about it hard enough. It’s an old game so I’m not expecting anything out of this world but I think it could have done more.

There also just isn’t much of an ending or a sense of accomplishment when you make it to the end. It just starts looping as if this is a super old NES game. I would have liked there to have been some kind of end cutscene or something. That would have done a lot of good if you ask me. Well, it’s not a bad game either way but you probably won’t see me picking it up again. This is very much a one and done kind of game. You play it through and then move on to the net thing.

Overall, 1943 is a decent game to play for a little while. Blackhawk Striker/Shooter is a much better plane game though. If you want a game with a lot of personality and energy then that is the one to check out. Without a doubt that one tends to blow everything out of the water in the genre. This one feels more like a dime a dozen and hey, that’s still not a bad deal for 40 minutes of free fun. It’s just not enough to take it to the next level so I’d recommend giving this one a try and then looking for something more long term.

Overall 5/10

Fighting EX Layer Another Dash Review


Whenever there is a free fighting game to check out, it’s definitely worth a play. Fighting Ex Layer is much like Street Fighter X Tekken in that you can see the full game content right out of the gate in the menus but you just can’t interact with them unless you pay the full price. I went into this one with the freemium version of course so I stuck to my selection. The game’s modes aren’t too extensive anyhow.

The modes here are vs mode (Online and Offline), Arcade mode, and Training. There isn’t a story mode here and Arcade only has one block of text as a character ending of sorts. So this is really a game that is focused purely on the combat. For most that will probably be enough for them to spend money on the full version so they can play the online vs mode. Battling against people online really throws in the replay value after all. If you stay strong on that though then your best bet is playing through the Arcade mode.

You get 4 fighters to play with and each one has their own special techniques and attack options. Mastering each character is your best way to win. I was able to complete the Arcade mode on normal and easy and they were reasonably tough so I imagine going on hard mode would really be a tough ordeal. Definitely not something to do unless you’re really confident in your own abilities. You have to have absolute confidence in yourself or it’s all over. I recommend going for the leg sweep, they seem to have a hard time blocking that move.

Mix in a few aerials and just keep swinging buttons. I can’t say I had an easy time finding out which attack combo’s into another so just find a 2 hit combo and you’re set. You can at least launch a flying kick and then go for a sweep which should work for any character. Pull that off and then you’re in a really good spot. You can also use an unblockable attack by pressing the A and X buttons at the same time. It’s super slow but gets the job done in a pinch.

Another benefit to jumping a lot is that if the opponent counters you will be just out of range. A final tip I should mention is grabbing is really good here. Just throw the opponent all over the field and you won’t have a problem. It’s a great way to keep the momentum at all times. It also deals quite a bit of damage so the game reminded me of Street Fighter V in that sense. Man I used to throw all the time there and it would just work. That’s how good the throws were.

The graphics are definitely really solid here. The game looks new and has a fairly sci-fi kind of feel to it. You feel like it’s a modern title and I would like to see the characters show up in a game with a story mode someday. Now that would absolutely have a ton of potential behind it. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side. No real bad tunes or anything but none that you’ll remember once you finish the game. It could really use one rock solid rock theme if you ask me.

In general the game is just lacking in content kind of like Super Mario Run’s free version. It would be good to have added some more things to do here or maybe we could get a story mode at some point. The best thing to do if you ask me would have been to have added some text before each opponent so the arcade mode feels like a story. I think that would have hit the best balance by far and it’s a relatively low impact way to enhance the game as a whole. I’m surprised more titles don’t quickly slap a little story together like that. Would be a perfect way to pull it off.

At the end of the day the game is still good because the gameplay is solid though. It may not be the fastest paced fighting title but the moves make sense and you always feel like you have a chance. It’s got a higher bar to really learn the controls than a lot of the other fighting games so you can’t expect to just pick it up and start landing combos. This is one of those games where actually learning the moves will be absolutely mandatory.

Overall, Fighting Ex Layer is a game that I’d recommend giving a download. After all, it’s free so there’s no reason not to. Way I see it, downloading a free game is always worth the effort. Even if it doesn’t light your world on fire, you’ll have still gotten to play a nice game and it won’t have cost you anything. I don’t think you’ll be playing this game for very long as there isn’t much to do on your own but you can enjoy the nice gameplay and characters. Slap on some more content for this without having to purchase it and you’ll definitely have a winner here. It just has to be done soon before people have forgotten about the game. Honestly the marketing wasn’t that intense so you very easily could have missed hearing about it even from the start.

Overall 5/10