Ridge Racer 7 Review

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It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while. Ridge Racer always looked like a lot of fun and to already have 7 games it must be quite successful. As soon as I put the game in I was impressed because the graphics are out of this world. It might not be a stretch to say that this is the best looking racing game that I’ve played although F-Zero is naturally up there as well. It’s a really fun racing game although I think it could have done a better job of explaining the confusing layout of the menu and advanced mechanics.

The main mode here is naturally the Grand Prix. When you step inside a bot gives you your current stats. This happens every time you enter the mode which may be excessive but I do like the fact that the game keeps track of everything. That even includes play time which is nice as I now know that I played this game for about 4 hours. That’s a pretty reasonable amount of time considering that a lot of big games tend to be that length nowadays like Sonic Forces and Black Clover. Of course there is a lot more to do here that will take you over 4 hours. There are 14 Grand Prixs to deal with. Aside from that you also have a bunch of corporate companies who will challenge you to single races and exhibitions. Clear them all to get your completion % to 100%.

Aside from this mode you also have the shop, event mode, and some kind of super event mode. I usually cover replay value at the end, but since I’m talking about content already I may as well address that. This is the kind of racing game that you can play for a very long time. It also has online support to back it up and local multiplayer. Think of any kind of content that a racing game would typically provide and this game has you covered. It’s really quite impressive when you think about it. Now, whether you will have enough driving skills to tackle all of that content is another thing.

That brings me to the cars aspect. I was only able to clear the first 5 GPs in this time frame because of how this part works. So, you have cars for various categories 1-4 and you use them to clear the events. You start with 1 car for each category and gradually work on obtaining more. The problem is that the ways in which you unlock cars are rather vague. Is it from the corporate sponsorships or should I be doing a different mode for that? The layouts aren’t very user friendly so if you want to find the right car you’ll have to cycle through a bunch of them. All of the cars can also have upgrades and modifications done to them but you can’t see how the stats change for the car. I guess you gotta find that out the hard way? It’s little things like this that will make you wonder if it couldn’t have been done a little better. Personally I found it to be a little hard to understand.

Perhaps there is a better way of upgrading your car but I couldn’t find one. Then everything is also super expensive. Buying 2 cars and 2 packs of boost were enough to make my character bankrupt. I guess I would need to keep replaying the old events to get more money or something, but that seems like it would take a lot of time. Towards the second half of the game the cars just got way too fast and my little car just couldn’t keep up. I prefer when the cars don’t change speeds like in F-Zero or Mario Kart. Have the tracks get harder and the A.I. more intricate but don’t mess with the cars. That just seems like an unfair advantage to me. Also, the game quickly started to re-use tracks which I found to be a bit dubious. I think the grand prixs should not reuse tracks unless it’s the final one or an “All Star” cup of sorts. Otherwise the game is just attempting to pad out the time.

As mentioned the graphics are extremely good. The cars look very lifelike and the tracks are polished to perfection. Whether you’re playing a daylight stage or driving through the night the levels are very well made. There’s one level where you drive next to a waterfall which was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s a little limited compared to other racing games but the tracks are very fast paced and filled with energy. It really allows you to cut loose and jump into the fray.

We also can’t forget the actual gameplay of course. This game is all about drifting which makes it a little different from the average car game. There are a lot of turns and the only way to get through them is to drift. To properly drift you have to stop accelerating by either braking or simply letting go of the ignition. Once your car starts to turn then you have to gun it once more to correct your path. It takes practice for sure, but after a few levels you will likely be able to handle it. You’ll need to be self taught though as the game isn’t too helpful in this regard. Beyond the boosting it is a pretty straight forward racing game that isn’t too out there. I’ve always been a big fan of the racing genre so it was definitely a lot of fun. This genre is one that can get old if played for too long though so I do recommend taking a few breaks. Don’t try to clear everything in one shot.

Overall, Ridge Racer 7 was quite good. It lives up to its reputation and I was certainly satisfied with the game. I’m not sure if I’ll be getting any other installments in the near future but if I do it would certainly be the Gamecube spinoff. After all, that one actually has a story mode which is really impressive for a racing game. I don’t think I need to tell you readers that this is quite rare. Need For Speed is really the only big racing series I can think of that has consistent plots at this point. If you like racing games then I definitely recommend picking up Ridge Racer. It’s a very by the books title that polished all of the technicals to a T. Its only failing is that the game can be a little too ambitious without letting you know what is going on so prepare to learn everything on your own.

Overall 7/10

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Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon Review

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It’s time to look at a recent Final Fantasy spinoff I got to play. This game has been sitting on the back burner for a very long time at this point. It always looked pretty fun, but I figured it would be pretty long so shorter games kept jumping it in line. Well, no more! I finally took the plunge and it’s definitely a fun game. While I’m not a fan of all the mechanics, I can say that the game was pretty well made. It certainly does the Chocobo character justice.

The game starts with Chocobo and Cid trying to grab the Timeless Power stone from some kind of ruins. Unfortunately Cid’s rival shows up and nabs it first. Before she can gloat, the whole group is transported to another dimension and the rival vanishes. This town is a little odd as nobody remembers anything including what their names are. A bell rings every few hours which makes the memory loss even worse. Fortunately, Chocobo seems to have the ability to go inside someone’s mind which allows him to restore their memories. There is also a baby named Rafaello who seems to have something to do with it. Chocobo starts on his mission to get everyone’s memories back, but everyone keeps telling him that this is a bad idea. Even the gods of the world tell him that he will only bring despair. Is this really the right thing to do?

Chocobo’s Dungeon is the kind of game where a large part of the story doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot. You go around restoring memories, but beyond that nothing much happens. Still, it’s a pleasant enough game. Right away you can see how much content is here as there are a bunch of side missions and sub quests to fulfill. The towns people seem nice enough as well. Still, you get the sense that something isn’t right since as I mentioned everyone is against Chocobo. The bosses you have to defeat in order to save the memories are also characters like the guardians of Light and Flame. Are they really villains or are you the villain?

All of these questions are answered in the climax which is definitely intense. It’s a climax that wouldn’t feel out of place in a main installment like Final Fantasy VII. The Destroyer, who is the final boss even looks a little like Sephiroth. We get a nice cutscene towards the end where this character even takes on Chroma and I wasn’t expecting such a fight. It was cool and I’d be up for seeing this game get a remake or be turned into a movie. I know there is a sequel for the DS so maybe I’ll get that one pretty soon.

Now lets talk about the gameplay as that is the bulk of the game. It’s a 3D turn based dungeon explorer type game where you have to navigate through the many floors until you get to the boss. Each step you take counts as a turn so you will have to quickly decide whether you want to move, attack, or use an item. I do really enjoy the strategy here. Most dungeons are only 8-10 floors while the larger ones are around 20. The final dungeon is 50 floors so get ready for that. Fortunately there is a check point every 10 floors so you don’t have to worry about starting all the way from the beginning. That would have been annoying.

The game does add in some stakes here though. For one, if you die you lose all of your money and all non equipped items. This encourages you not to take unrealistic risks. Make sure you have an exit strategy in mind or at least store your money in the bank before going on a tough quest. You’ll definitely want to do some leveling up before you get to the end of the game since the final bosses see a considerable increase in difficulty. Don’t underestimate them or your items will be sorry. When going into a dungeon you also have to choose what class you want to play as. Each new dungeon unlocks a new form for you. I highly recommend the Knight and White Mage forms. The Knight has great special attacks and gives you extra defense which is always good. I used him for the first 3 and a half chapters. However, eventually he simply wasn’t cutting it so I switched to the White Mage and never looked back. This form has a lot of great healing abilities so you no longer have to worry about carrying potions. Then he also has the best ability in the game which is the fact that he can cast a revive on himself. You can also use the escape ability to just get out of the dungeon if things look impossible. The Dark Knight is typically considered to be the best, but by the time I unlocked him the game was almost over so I couldn’t really verify that.

Now, I mentioned that not all of the mechanics were my favorite. In particular I am referring to the fact that enemies can rot your weapons. It works like in Breath of the Wild where your weapons just get weaker as you use them. They don’t actually break in this version but they do get weaker which is annoying since the only way to power them up further is to spend more money. What you want to do is find a weapon with an anti rust upgrade and then fuse that to your main weapon to ensure that nobody can weaken it. At that point you are all set. There are others for extra EXP and money, but I never found the former. It would have certainly come in handy though.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s certainly a step below most of the other Final Fantasy games, but it still looks pretty good I’d say. It’s just using a different style. It’s sort of like World of Final Fantasy but not quite as polished. It does have each character keep up a motion throughout the game which is cool though like Chocobo’s power squats. He is doing squats during the entire game which is pretty impressive. Then we have the soundtrack which is pretty ordinary for the most part, but I do like the Chrome boss theme. That one’s definitely hype and will pump you up for the actual battle. It’s just that kind of high energy theme. So this game ultimately definitely delivered when it counted.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a pretty fun RPG and one where you really feel like you got a lot of value for the price. The story took me 18 hours and that’s certainly a good amount of time. As I mentioned, the plot does take a while to get going, but as long as you’re fine with that then this is a slam dunk. With this game gone now I’ll be eagerly awaiting the Spyro trilogy. In the meanwhile I’ll work on Ridge Racer, but those turns are definitely real tough. I need some more training before I can be a master at the game like Chocobo. They always start out tough, but get enough level up and any RPG is cake. Sadly there are no level ups in something like Ridge Racer.

Overall 7/10

Dagedar Review

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It’s time to look at a very obscure racing game known as Dagedar. I’ve had this one on the backburner for a very long time because it was just hard to get into the game. I couldn’t even beat the first level for a super long time. It doesn’t help that the only way to clear a level/tournament is to win at least 3/5 races. The game doesn’t really help you out with learning the controls so that’s something you’ll need to figure out on the fly. Interestingly it’s the kind of game that gets easier as you play it since you just need a fast car in order to win. It had a very shaky start, but I suppose it was okay by the end.

So there aren’t too many modes to play in this one. You can jump into the Grand Prix adventures or go to Time Attack. I believe there is also a multiplayer option but good luck finding someone else who has the game. Time Attack can be fun if you want to train and it also helps you unlock Dagedar along the way. I was able to unlock one by beating one of the levels which helped me go back to the Championship. Naturally the championship mode is where you will be spending most of your time as you aim to become the best of the best. There are 7 tournaments which each have 5 races so that’s a lot of track to cover.

Technically each stage is only around 2 minutes long so you could theoretically beat the game in less than 3 hours. However, as I mentioned the game is extremely difficult. It probably took me about 5-7 hours just to beat the first tournament. I had significantly less trouble with the other tournaments. They finally got tough again near the end, but by then I had played enough of the game to have a pretty good idea of what it was all about. I had taken the game to the brink of what it could offer me. The levels also started to become pretty similar by then and the only way it could get tougher was to mess with the tracks. Eventually they would start reversing or you would have to do very precise jumps. Mess one up by hitting the electricity and catching up to the other car would be nearly impossible.

Lets backtrack to the gameplay real quick. You move by moving the control pad of course and you can jump with the B button. You also have access to a boost button which you get from orbs in the road. I recommend using them for the big wheels you have to enter like the song games as the extra speed will make them a breeze. Once you get a fast enough car as long as you play well victory will be guaranteed. That’s where the tight turns and such come in. At the end of the day it will all be about your fundamentals and how good you are at the stage. Just try them out in Time Attack until you’re comfortable enough to win. Since there’s no story mode or anything like that I didn’t feel much pressure to do so, but if you really want to prove yourself then this is a good game to do so.

As far as the graphics are concerned I would say that the game looks pretty decent. It’s nothing award winning or anything or that nature, but it gets the job done. You can typically see what is going on except for when the game is being cheesy and you don’t see a trap until it’s too late. The soundtrack is super generic though and I guarantee that you won’t even remember a single tune by the time you finish. Naturally the budget just didn’t seem to go into the music department at all which is a shame. Perhaps for a sequel. (Heh…as if a sequel would come out)

I suppose the game does have a good amount of replay value though. You could easily get 10+ hours in this game trying to get all of the Dagedar and clearing all of the tournaments. If you take to the gameplay better than I did you could certainly clear the game quicker, but don’t underestimate the difficulty level of this title. It’s not the kind of game that you can just pop in and clear with your eyes closed. It will definitely take a lot of skill and finesse to get the job done here. It’s a good challenge though and one where practice is rewarded.

Overall, Dagedar is one of those racing games that takes a lot of time to really get going. At first your car is simply too slow and the computer goes through the course almost perfectly. In fact, I’d argue that the A.I. plays at the same level for all tournaments. The only difference is that once you get a car that is faster than the A.I.’s it no longer matters quite as much. Don’t worry about the control stat since it doesn’t matter much and just go for pure speed. As long as your reaction times are on point you will then be able to blow your opponents out of the water. You’ll also enjoy the game a lot more. If you can find this game for a few bucks then it’s worth taking the plunge. If not, just buy a better racing game like Mario Kart that also has a lot more replay value.

Overall 6/10

Rayman 10th Anniversary Review

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It’s time to take a quick look at the Rayman collection I recently beat for the GBA. This one made the interesting decision of merging the first and third games in the series. I don’t really understand why they would skip the 2nd game. Maybe it just wasn’t formatted in a way that would be easy to port to the GBA the way that the others were. Either way, it’s no big loss since I’m guessing it should be rather similar to the others. This is my first real venture into the Rayman series so that was neat. I’d say that it holds up pretty well though the third game definitely more so than the first. If you are a sidescroller fan then you need to check Rayman out.

The first game is pretty intense with how difficult it is. You get 10 continues and you have to be sure to not lse a life too easily. If you died too much on a level consider restarting your system right away so you can win without that hapening. I just barely made it as I finished the game with no continues left. Of course, if I was going for the secret ending by finding all cages then that would have been another matter entirely. The controls are good, but I can’t say as much for the level designs. There are a lot of blind jumps and cheesy sections where the game just stacks the deck against you. That’s fine, but then we should get unlimited continues like in most games. I never like when the game has a limit and then you just have to start over. That doesn’t seem very fair and will just become tedious after a while.

The plot of the game is a little weak though and that’s one thing that seems true for both titles so far. It’s just that Rayman himself isn’t nearly as interesting as most of the other colorful protagonists in these kind of games. I’m assuming he will get more personality soon but right now the cast doesn’t really jump off the page so to speak. They’re all just going through the motions so to speak. Since you don’t even get to see the ending without getting the 100+ cages then it’s not even much of a satisfying end. This game is fortunately supported by the next one.

Rayman 3 is a noticeable improvement in just about every way. For starters the gameplay is a lot faster and smoother. You really feel like you are in control this time around. None of the enemies scare you and if they ever start to get a little rowdy you can quickly take them out. Your lives are quite abundant and there is no limit on retries so no worries there. There is also more of an actual story this time as we get text boxes and the villains have more of a goal. The story still isn’t at the point where it could actually be considered as a selling point, but it’s getting closer which is the important thing. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for the big leagues. Regardless, this is a title that I could recommend a lot sooner than the other one. It’s just a solid side scroller and one that holds up well as it isn’t clunky.

The graphics for both games look pretty good. Naturally the 3rd game is a little brighter and more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference. Both games are quite clear and you can tell that effort was put behind them. Likewise the soundtracks for both games are pretty similar. There are some memorable tunes in there, but nothing super intense. Either way you’ll probably be too absorbed into the levels to notice much. The levels require a lot of concentration or you will be doomed to lose quite a lot.

As far as replay value goes I’d say there is quite a bit here. In the third game I was able to get most of the collectibles naturally so the bulk of your play time will be in the first game. The third one is also shorter in general, but every bit helps. It should last you a few hours. Then the first game will definitely last a few hours and obtaining everything will extend the time even more. Just keep a look out for those lives and continues since they are very previous. Once lost they will not be returned. That’s why the stakes are so high in the first Rayman.

Overall, The Rayman 10th Anniversary game is pretty solid. Since it brings 2 games for the price of one it is already a pretty good bargain. If you haven’t played the series before then it’s the perfect way to start I’d say. It may be tough goings for a little while but you’ll certainly get a lot of experience in how to handle a platformer by the end of this. It’s why I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to a kid but given enough time I’m sure anyone would be able to clear these levels. It’s just all about repetition and trying to learn some strategies. Now I can finally go and play some of the newer Rayman games. I’ll definitely snag them at some point and we’ll see if they can possibly match these two or if they are doomed from the start. No guarantees on just how soon “at some point” means though.

Overall 7/10

Undertale Review

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It’s time to look at what was considered to be the greatest game of all time according to Gamefaqs. Of course that isn’t something I’d agree with since I don’t see any game topping Super Smash Bros or Madden unless it’s a game in a similar genre. Still, Undertale is a fun game and I’m glad that it got some recognition. It’s a short, but sweet experience that reminds you how much fun developers can have with making the gameplay a unique experience. I’d be up for Undertale getting a sequel. Maybe the main character could do a little more in the sequel.

So the game starts off with you plummeting to the monster world. You must now try to get back to the human world, but it’s going to be very difficult since to do so you must find King Asgore and destroy him. The problem is that he will also be out to destroy you so this won’t be easy. My advice? Just go in swinging! Well, along the way the hero runs into a bunch of quirky characters and they help him get to the goal. Throughout your adventure you have to decide if you want to destroy all of the opponents in your way or if you will spare them. Whatever you do, you cannot allow yourself to fall in this fight.

A big part of this game is all about deciding whether you want to spare the enemies or not. If you decide to do so then your level won’t raise any higher so dodging the enemy attacks will become more crucial. At the same time it will give you a sense of satisfaction which is always nice I suppose. The ending won’t change the first time, but after that you can keep on playing the game to try and get all of the endings. As the game is fairly short at only 3 hours that won’t be a problem. Technically it took me 5 minutes longer than that, but either way that’s roughly the game’s length. While it is quite short, that doesn’t take away from the game being pretty solid.

The gameplay is part of what makes the experience fun. You run around a bunch of tunnels and corredors until you make it to the next boss. If you are blasting through to the end of the game all you have to do is keep running straight half of the time. There are a few puzzles but for the most part there are no distractions. However, if you want to hear more of the lore and meet up with the characters then you are able to do so as well. There are a lot of areas to explore and have fun with. The levels seemed rather big to me at least and there are quite a few people to talk to. Then we have the combat gameplay where you play as a heart and have to dodge enemy attacks. When it’s your turn then it becomes more of a traditional turn based combat system as you pick your attack and time it so you strike when the line is above the center of the opponent. You’ll get the timing down in no time.

I certainly enjoyed the soundtrack as well. There are a lot of good boss themes here and the music is very atmospheric. The whole thing is very retro while also trying to also add a bit of a creepy edge to it. The music definitely fits the scenes pretty well. The graphics are also fairly decent. The game uses sprites so there isn’t anything particularly fancy about the game’s looks, but that’s where the game’s originality comes in. It did a good job with the final boss by adding in a bunch of cool visuals for its attacks. It was a solid way to end the game and was certainly one of the better climaxes that I’ve seen as of late for such a retro game.

A fun part of the story here is that you never really know what’s going to happen next. I didn’t know much about the story before playing the game so it was fun to see what would happen next. The characters were all a little different from how I pictured them since I had no context previously. They were all pretty solid for the most part although I think that the levels with the genius and the robot may have dragged on a bit. Their gimmicks weren’t nearly as entertaining as the ones that the other characters had. Papyrus and Sans were certainly a lot cooler and I would have been up for seeing more of them. Since I got Sans pretty upset though maybe he could end up being the villain for a sequel. It would be nice if it had multiple starts based on how you acted in this game.

The character designs were on point and I definitely would have liked to have seen Undyne fight a little more. She was a solid fighter and definitely a great fighter to match swords with. Asgore was less impressive although once he entered battle mode he was pretty neat as well. Flowey definitely makes for a great mastermind and he’s a big part of why the game is so interesting. He brings in most of the wrinkles and twists that the game really needs to make a name for itself. If we get a sequel hopefully he would return.

Overall, Undertale is a fun game. It’s a very memorable one so I can see why it is so well liked. The sound effects such as Flowey’s laugh are excellent. The music is on point and the gameplay is also a lot of fun. It’s a game that is reasonably challenging but never tries to get tedious. The gameplay is easy to pick up but mastering the game will take some time. While the game is very short, there is also some nice replay value if you go back and beat the game multiple times or trying to get the Platinum if you got the PS4 version. So, I’d recommend this game. I believe the going price right now isn’t too high so it’s a pretty good value. Once you play it you can decide if the game is amazing or at the very least a solid experience.

Overall 7/10

Dragalia Lost Review

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It’s time to take a look at Nintendo’s latest mobile adventure. Just like Pokemon Go Nintendo seems to be here to provide the promotion while they handled every other aspect of the game to a third party. It’s a good strategy since I’m sure it takes up less manpower this way and the third party has more experience with mobile titles. The game is well made and quite polished although it’s one that I won’t be sticking around for. It has its weaknesses, but as long as you have the time it makes for quite the investment.

The plot is a little generic though as you are a prince who didn’t want to be King. Unfortunately all 7 of your brothers have turned evil and the same goes for your father The King. It’s hinted that they are being mind controlled but either way it is time for the main character to rise to the occasion. In this world all proper fighters need to have a dragon companion so his first order of business is to tame one. Now he has to go save the world, but can he do it?

As this is a mobile game the answer to that question is likely a flat no. These games just never seem to end which is one of the main things that ends up deterring you from playing after a while. It’s all a matter of preference though. I typically play console games but those always have a start and an end. If I wasn’t a big console fan then I’d probably stick around for this one. As it is the only games I’m actively keeping up with are Dragon Ball Legends and Pokemon Go. That’s enough to keep me busy, but it’s always fun to at least check these other games out for a bit.

The gameplay is an overhead real time combat system. You swing your sword by tapping the screen and you can use super attacks once you have charged up enough energy meter. There is also a separate energy meter for turning into a dragon. Turning into a dragon gives you a huge boost in health and attack power so I highly advise doing so. Each level is typically a short run where you beat up a bunch of enemies and then the boss room at the end of it. The fact that the levels are so short is definitely a good thing since it makes it very easy to play the game in batches. Of course it also highlights the fact that the story moves so slowly so that’s the only drawback.

The graphics are very good. They wouldn’t look out of place in a home console title. The character designs are smooth and the colors are very vibrant. Likewise, the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. It’s very fast paced and makes the game feel energetic as well. These aspects of the game are just as well polished as the gameplay and keeps up the appearance that this could be a AAA title for the Switch.

As for the replay value it’s basically infinite with everything going on here. New content is added all the time through online levels and new characters. As it is the actual story is quite long as well and with all of the bonus raids you can’t run out of things to do. You do have a stamina meter so you can’t play for too long in a row without breaks. While it is a lot more lenient than the Dragon Ball Legends one, it’s not quite as long as Fire Emblem Heroes. Still, it’s certainly enough energy for you to play for fairly long sessions.

Honestly at this point I wish we could get a full Super Smash Bros gatcha game for mobile. See, the only reason I’m not sticking around with this one as long as I stuck around with Fire Emblem and Dragon Ball is because all of the characters are OCs and naturally I’m less invested in them. If the story was about Nintendo mascots I wouldn’t care that 90% of it is stalling for time and not going anywhere. It would still be priceless just to see the Super Smash characters interacting and everything. Hopefully one day we get that.

Ironically I’d say that the mobile games that are less complex and complete tend to work better. I’m looking forward to the Mario Kart app and I’m sure I’ll stick with that one for a while. RWBY is also coming up although I don’t think that one will last. I can’t think of any other mobile games that are coming up soon, but I’m sure some will pop up. Those games seem very simple to the point of almost just being point and click. Even Dragon Ball Legends which has a lot going on seems simpler than Dragalia Lost. Dragalia is just a little too complex. If you want to actually get all of the mechanics in the game you’re going to need to dive into Reddit. Otherwise you’re gonna get hopelessly lost with the dozens of mechanics and such going on here. It’s all a little overwhelming. If you do decide to play this game, I highly recommend not spending any of your orbs and materials for the first few weeks of the game. Wait and see who you want to actually power up since these materials are often going to get scarce as the game goes on.

Overall, Dragalia Lost is a fun game. It’ll probably take a long while to get invested in the plot, but at the same time the game did launch with a ton of story levels to sift through so that’ll help. An impressive aspect is also that every single character has an individual story mode as well which consist of a few cutscenes. Since there are going to be hundreds of characters by the end of this that is a lot of content. I can’t stress enough that this is basically a full RPG on the phone. It’s probably the most convincing one I’ve seen since Sword Art Online Integral Factor. That one had the better plot, but this one has the better level designs and less filler.

Overall 7/10

Twisted Metal: Head-On Review

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It’s time to look at my first ever Twisted Metal game! It felt good to finally be able to open the door on this franchise. It always looked pretty interesting and who doesn’t like car combat? Naturally the game’s likely a little more limited than the main installments would be, but it gives you a pretty good look at what the franchise is all about. (I assume) There is even a story even if it was rather brief so that’s cool. It’s a fun game and one that you will remember down the line.

The game starts with a mysterious being announcing that the entire planet is going to be the battleground for a tournament that he is hosting. The objective is to use your vehicle to destroy everyone else’s. If you are successful then he shall grant you a wish. If you don’t want to participate in the tournament…too bad. Each character gets their own story but at first you only have 2 characters unlocked so I chose the biker dude. He’s not thrilled about this, but if someone’s going to win this thing it may as well be him. There aren’t really any more cutscenes until the end of the game where you fight a giant car that is all but indestructible. Then you are treated to the ending. The guy’s reaction to it wasn’t great though. You get a wish of course, but the main character is just super confused and starts yelling about how this must all be a nightmare. The villain zaps him a bit, but the guy won’t budge so the announcer takes this as his wish and decides to stop with the tournaments for a little while. However, he does say that this is wish that he cannot grant so it was pretty pointless. The main guy should have asked for something a little more valuable. The options are pretty much endless to be honest.

When it comes to the gameplay, you’ll likely pick it up very quickly. You drive around in the car and try to blow the others up. You have a machine gun built into the car that you can spam although you have to let it recharge from time to time. It does almost no damage but it’s still good to have. Around the stage there are a few different power ups like Fire missiles, power missiles, upgrades, etc. The best ones are the homing missiles as they deal a lot of damage and are easy to hit with. Most levels will have you try to destroy 4-5 cars. You get 3 lives to do so or you have to restart. I died once, but after that I realized the perfect way to cheese. Look for a health power up somewhere in the level. It’ll keep respawning there so whenever you’re low on health just head for that place.

However, the most important thing to do is to grab the upgrades. There are 6 upgrades. I’m not sure if it was a glitch or not, but once I got them all my car became completely invincible. This was really handy for the final boss since I literally couldn’t lose health. Getting the 6 upgrades can be tough because if you lose a life you lose all of your upgrades and earning them back takes a while since you get them only when you destroy cars. Still, it’s worth it and without that invincibility I get the feeling that the final boss would have been a whole lot more challenging.

The graphics look pretty good. Naturally I was impressed that it had full voice acting and everything. I shouldn’t be surprised since the PSP always did a good job of feeling like a big console. It’s a shame that it didn’t end up selling better because I do think a lot of passion was put into the PSP. It really could have ended up being one of the big ones and instead it ended up fading into obscurity. The soundtrack is also pretty good for the most part. Naturally there is a lot of rock music which is fun. I can’t really vouch for the lyrical themes because I didn’t understand anything they were saying, but the instrumental themes are definitely quite good.

As for replay value, I wouldn’t say that there is a ton here. There is probably a multiplayer mode for if you have two PSPs, but that’s tough to find nowadays. You can try beating the game with everyone to get all of the endings. That will take you around 10 hours I’d say. Beyond that there isn’t much else. If the price was higher then it probably wouldn’t be worth it, but if you can get the game for a few bucks then the initial playthrough probably still justifies the cost. It’s a car game that you’ll want to add to your collection.

Overall, Twisted Metal was fun. The plot twist about who the main character at the end was is pretty intense. I’m not sure exactly how straightforward it was though as it’s possible that the guy is actually someone else. I just get the feeling that there is more to the clown than meets the eye, but I really don’t know enough about the franchise to say one way or the other. If you play this game, make sure to keep an eye out for those final cutscenes. They’re pretty fun. With this game completed, I have finally gotten the video game backlog down to 100 games. Definitely a pretty emotional moment.

Overall 7/10

James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Review

GENP69
It’s time to look at the final James Bond game that I own. It’s been a good run, but even this agent has to run out of games eventually right? The games have all been fairly solid thus far though. I may not be the biggest fan of FPS titles, but I’ve warmed up to them over the years. Then we have this game which is a third person shooter so you really can’t go wrong there at all. It’s a fun game even if some parts feel a little cheesy when it comes to the gameplay mechanics.

The plot involves a rogue scientist deciding to team up with Jaws so they can destroy the world. He has a spy working for him who gets behind Bond’s defenses and helps to advance the villain’s plans. Bond must put aside his love for being a terrible agent so that he can finally become the fighter that he always dreamed of being. Can Bond actually pull this off or is it time for him to finally call it quits and take a step back?

Yeah, there’s really not much to the plot to be honest. Although while it is a little on the generic side, I do appreciate the fact that it is an ongoing story that continues throughout the game. That helps it feel more like a proper movie adventure than just having snippets of plot here and there. We have full cutscenes and voice acting so honestly it was actually quite high budget. The graphics are on point, but you’d expect nothing less since this is on the Nintendo Gamecube. Then we’ve also got the soundtrack which may not be the most inspired out there, but it’s not terrible. On a technical level this game succeeded.

Then we’ve got the gameplay which is also solid. For most levels you’ll be running with your guns at the ready. At first you can get away with just running into a room and initiating the fight, but as you get closer to the end of the game you’ll have to switch to a far more tactical approach like hiding behind objects. You can temporarily slow time while looking across the room to spot a path through the villains as well. Then you’ve also got a bunch of tech at your disposal like an invisibility suit, grenades, spider bots, and more. I rarely used them since the villains would be on you in a heart beat, but the thermo suit turned out to be very useful in the final level. Seriously, winning without that would have been almost impossible.

Then you have other gameplay styles like when you have to drive a motorcycle, car, or a tank. The driving levels (Aside from the tank) were a blast and a nice break from the shooting. Of course, adding in alternate forms of gameplay like this can be risky since it can take away from the experience, but the gameplay was just as polished and it was just fun so I can’t say that I had any problem with it. When it comes to the gameplay the only thing I really did have an issue with was the final level. That one was just not executed well.

I’m fine with it being super difficult and riddled with enemies of course. As the final level in the game I’d expect nothing less. What wasn’t good though was the fact that the level was incredibly long without any checkpoints until the actual boss fight. I spent nearly 2 hours on this level. I’d make it so far only for something cheesy to happen or an enemy would get a lucky hit. If every level had been like that things could have gotten dicey for the game. Fortunately that was the only level to not have well placed checkpoints.

As far as the game’s content goes, it’s at a good length. The main story has around 27 levels in it and after that you can feel free to have fun in multiplayer mode for a while. It’s 4 player so that will give you a lot to have fun with. The replay value never really has to end and even without it the main campaign is sufficiently long. I’m not sure what the going price for it is nowadays, but I can’t imagine that it would be all that pricey. It’s so old…unless it’s out of print of course, but I’ll hope that this is not the case.

Overall, Everything or Nothing is a solid James Bond game. It focuses less on the Bond aspects of the franchise and more on the fun action scenes. It’s certainly not perfect, but as far as shooters go it can hold its own against any other realistic TPS. If you haven’t played a Bond game before then this is definitely one that I would recommend checking out. It’s a good way to start off and it’ll allow you to get used to the shooting aspect. Since you don’t have any cool super powers to back you up, you’ll have to train yourself on the fundamentals. Once you’ve gotten those down, this skill will help you for future games.

Overall 7/10

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Review

GOYE69
It’s time for a very interesting game review. The reason why I say that is because this review isn’t 100% complete. This game came in two discs and the only problem is that I don’t have the two discs. I only bought the first and I’m not about to go and try to buy the other one so I’m reviewing the game based on the first half. That’s reasonable though since the first disc has over half of the levels since the second one focuses on the multiplayer aspect of the title. It’s a fun game and feels rather polished. It may not be my favorite Bond game as that honor belongs to one that I’ll be reviewing shortly, but it is definitely a solid game in its own right.

The game manages to bring together most of the biggest villains from the classic Bond films. They have all united to try and take the agent down for good which is certainly bad news for this operative. Fortunately he has the help of Agent Terry, a fighter so powerful that even 007 has to acknowledge his abilities. Together these two agents will do their best to fight against the forces of evil. Can they succeed or will they fail? It all comes down to the skills of you, the player.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You try to shoot the enemies ahead of you and ultimately you have to survive at any cost. Your mission will typically be to activate something after you’ve cleared out the guards. You have your hand weapon when starting a level but you can also pick up weapons that are scattered across the room from the various minions. You can also engage in fisticuffs when you are out of ammo, but I can’t really say that I would advise this. Just try to have some ammo on hands so don’t waste your shots. The gameplay is quite technical all things considered and you’ll want to try and remember as much of it as possible.

Also, it should be noted that this game is quite difficult. I’m not great at the FPS genre so that should be taken into account, but the levels are very unforgiving. Shots from the enemy take up a lot of damage so even with your health being able to regenerate it is hard to proceed through a level. The enemies also bring the fight to you so you can only hide for so long. It’s definitely not a game for newcomers to the genre or kids in general as they won’t stand a chance. It helps the game last longer for sure though so that’ll help it be worth the price you paid. The main game length should take you around 10 hours which is solid. There’s not really anything else in the way of replay value single player wise. There is a nice multiplayer option though so that’ll give you enough fun for a very long while. Be sure that you have the 2nd disc or you won’t be able to play it though.

I’d say that the graphics look pretty good. They’re not super amazing or anything like that, but they get the job done. The levels look good and the game does give us a solid amount of cinematics which is refreshing. You can tell that some real effort was put behind this game and that’s definitely a good thing. It’s also impressive that Bond got at least 3 different games for the Gamecube. Not just any character can pull that off. It’s a little hard to compare FPS titles to each other since they’re so similar so I couldn’t tell you if this game is as good as Agent Under Fire or not. I’m inclined to say that it isn’t but it’s probably pretty close.

The plot was reasonably engaging. It didn’t have as many one liners as the last Bond game, but that’s because Bond isn’t the lead so it makes sense that Terry is a lot more withdrawn. After all, he’s here to help save the day, not to trade barbs. It’s hard to say how likable the main character is either of course since he’s rather silent and doesn’t do anything but fire at the enemies. Not a bad thing, but I like when the games aren’t afraid to give the original character a little more personality than that.

Overall, GoldenEye is a fun Bond game. It’s a shame that I won’t be able to see the ending, but rebuying the disc just doesn’t seem worth it and I’m not interested enough to look it up on Youtube either. It’s just going to have to live with the knowledge of only being worth half a playthrough. Honestly that’s not such a sad fate though right? Half a game is still better than none and at the end of the day at least you could say that the game was interesting enough to get through that. If you like FPS titles then this is a good game for you but otherwise skip it. Your enjoyment depends entirely on how you like the genre because it doesn’t try for much more than that. That’s just the kind of genre an FPS is.

Overall 7/10

NBA Ballers: Rebound Review

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NBA Ballers is a game that I’ve been working on for quite a while. It was never quite interesting enough to become the main game but was a nice side project. It’s a very unique Basketball game and while I probably would not put it above any of the other titles, it’s definitely a solid enough game in its own right. Who hasn’t wanted to be able to go 1 on 1 in this sport before? It’s not a mode that I remember being featured in the mainstream NBA games so it’s cool that it finally got some time in the spotlight.

There are several game modes in this but the main one is naturally the Rags to Riches mode. You start out as a kid playing by the local courts and gradually move up until you are a pro. There are numerous tournaments and each one has around 8-10 people. Between tournaments you get to see your buddies or a rival may show up to put you on blast. The audio isn’t great so don’t expect to actually know what anyone is saying. Focus on the gameplay, that’s the important part here. It’s basically where I spent all of my time anyway.

The unique part of the game is the fact that all matches are 1 vs 1. You don’t have any teammates to back you up so if the opponent gets past you then it’s all over. The match’s are first to 11 and best of 3. The matches can be a little long depending on how good the opponent is but for the most part it is all a reasonable amount. A very important part of the gameplay is your juice meter. Build it up to spam the opponent with style moves that will build your house meter up so you can use a final smash. I never got to do the latter, but using the juice meter to run is an easy but effective way to score anyway. I also like bouncing the basketball off of my opponent but that play is a little risky since sometimes they will just keep the ball.

As you play through the tournaments your stats will increased based on your gameplay. It’s a nice touch although with the opponents also getting better you probably won’t notice the change all that much. You can then use money to buy new abilities or upgrade your current ones. Money is definitely very important here. As a casual player myself, I can’t say that I made the most of it though. Even by the end I couldn’t really use most of the abilities so I had to win with pure fundamentals. I was able to pull through of course since that’s what I do, but mostly each match would be neck and neck. It was hard to stop my opponent from scoring so the best of 3 set would always go to the last game.

The story campaign is already fairly long so it’s clear that this game has a lot of content to it. There is a multiplayer mode as well where you can have endless fun. Becoming the best and buying everything will take an extremely long time as well. Considering that you can probably get this game for a few bucks, you’re really getting a great deal here. In general sport games do excel at content since from a developing point of view it’s easy to make it long. Just keep on adding more opponents and slightly altering the character models. It’s even easier for Madden since you just fight the same teams over and over again in fresh environments. It’s sort of like how a fighting game never gets dull. You can just keep on playing over and over again with no worries.

The graphics aren’t bad. There’s not really much the game can do to show off though since the whole game takes place in very realistic environments and it’s not like there are any superpowers or things like that. Everything is clear so that’s basically what I’m judging the graphics on. It succeeds at what it is trying to do, showing a good game of Basketball. I can’t say much for the soundtrack though, it’s fairly generic as with most sport games. You won’t recall any of the tunes and I’m still waiting for these games to branch out a little more. No reason why we can’t have some hype opera themes while shooting hoops right?

Overall, NBA Ballers is a fun game. It’s definitely a title that flew under the radar, but one that I would recommend to any serious NBA fan. It’s a fresh take on the franchise and that’s what you want to see in a spinoff. Still, if you have to choose one or the other, I would certainly say that you’re better off getting one of the main installments. At the end of the day Basketball is still more fun when it’s team against team as opposed to 1 vs 1. Maybe I’ll be able to play another game in this series at some point although I doubt that would be anytime soon. As it is I’ve got a bunch of sport games on the back burner already.

Overall 7/10