My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Samurai Warriors 3 Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Tales of Phantasia Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Sword of Mana Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Godzilla Defense Force Review


When they announced that three new Godzilla mobile games were coming to the app stores I quickly ran to see if they were already there. At the time none of them were, however there was an old Godzilla game that I hadn’t even known about. Needless to say, I needed to check that out right away! The mobile game is actually a lot of fun to the point where I have a hard time picturing the other 3 beating this one. I poured in over 20 hours in an instant and had to tear myself away from the game before all my time was spent. This is definitely a very addicting title.

The basic plot of the game is that you are an army commander, the final one on Earth. Everyone else has been wiped out by the aliens who have mind controlled each Kaiju including Godzilla himself. Furthermore, they have gone through time and plucked out different versions of each Kaiju. They have over 20 different Godzilla creatures at their disposal for example. You have to command the Army to slay each Kaiju and save the world. It will be difficult so as a last resort the army has also given you a time travelling device. If you are about to die, quickly run to the past and save yourself.

This game has a lot of attention to detail. Pretty much any Kaiju you have ever seen in a Godzilla film will make their way here. How the game works is you have around 5-6 worlds. Each world has 120 levels with a unique Kaiju showing up after every 10. There will be 3 points where Godzilla himself will show up and these levels are G levels so they aren’t numbered. The worlds can keep going endlessly after the 120 but only old monsters will cycle in. The final world is the Moon where you can make your final stand against the enemies. It should take you around 20 hours to make it there, I don’t see how you can do so sooner without paying.

The gameplay is a Tower Defense style where you have to tap the screen in order to proceed. The faster you tap the screen the more damage you do, at least for the initial weapon. As you defeat enemies you will earn money which you can use to power up your default weapon or to buy new weapons. Each world has around 6 weapons and usually they are a magnitude more pricey to buy. The first weapon might cost around $1000, the next weapon $100,000, then $1,000,000, and from there the numbers get insane. After the trillions they just start showing initials like BB, DD, EE, and so on. I made it to around the JJ amounts before stopping.

Earning the money is really where the game gets to be more of a grinding mobile game. You will inevitably get stuck on a boss many times because you are out of money. At that point you can choose to keep fighting them since you earn money for each battle until you have enough to get to the next level or you can watch a 30 second ad to get a ton of money. Additionally you can watch ads to slowly boost your units as well. The game is very ad intensive so be prepared to “watch” a lot of ads throughout the game to get the money you need.

There are also a wide range of achievements in the game. Completing them will earn you a lot of jewels. Don’t worry, the achievements come naturally like tapping the screen 1 million times or beating 10,000 Kaiju. You should have most of them by the time you’re done with this. However, no matter how many ads you watch and battles you fight, it seems impossible to make it to The Moon on your first playthrough. That’s when time travelling comes into play. The cost for time travel is that you lose all of your money, upgrades, and even all of your levels.

I know that sounds awful but the benefit is that you get time crystals. These let you buy artifacts with permanent upgrades. For example, dealing an extra 50% damage while you’re in Tokyo. I time travelled quite a few times and by the end I had a permanent +1050% damage increase. It’s really worth it to time travel but even then you have to decide when to do so. The longer you go without time travelling as you rack up Kaiju victories, the more shards you get. Ideally you want a ton of shards so that you can get as many upgrades as possible.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg for the various gameplay mechanics here. I recommend reading the Toho Kingdom articles on the game since they break down all of the mechanics. The game doesn’t actually tell you a whole lot beyond the basics so it’s worth knowing. For example, it’s heavily advised that you save your blue crystals. You can then double your time shards when time travelling which is incredibly handy. It’s a game changer and better to use them at that point than for a quick 1 time money boost.

The graphics are pretty solid. All of the Kaiju look goo. There isn’t a big variety in the level designs and effects but the fact that they got character models for every Kaiju is impressive. I’ll also give the game credit for having a real plot even if there isn’t much to it. It’s enough to connect the stages together but that’s about it. It won’t compare visually to the newer mobile games of course. The soundtrack is solid. I like that they incorporate various themes from the films such as original tunes and even Final Wars themes. My only gripe is that the music often plays for around 5 seconds before it’s quickly cut off by an explosion sound effect or something going on.

What Defense Force really did well is show you a solid rate of progression. You always felt like you were getting closer to the next level. It’s an important thing for any game that is centered around grinding because if you don’t feel like you’re making any progress then of course you will quickly lose interest. That doesn’t happen in this game so that’s impressive. Each battle only being 30 seconds long for the bosses also helps since you don’t have to stick around for a while to move forward if you don’t want to. Even while the game is off you will be earning money (At a slower rate of course) so that’s a nice feature too.

Overall, Godzilla Defense Force is a great game. Definitely one of the best mobile games I’ve played in a while. I didn’t even touch on some aspects of the game like the card collecting system or the Moon Stones but it just goes to show that the game really has a lot to offer. This title is also completely over so it’s a mobile game that actually has an end to an extent. I wouldn’t call it much of an ending story-wise but at least there are no more levels so you can feel like you’ve finished it all. If you’re a big Godzilla fan or like the tower defense style then I would really recommend this game. There are a lot of options to spend money to progress faster in the game but I can safely say that you can make it to the end even without spending a single dime. The free content here and rate of progression is quite solid.

Overall 8/10

Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits Review


RPGs tend to always be a lot of fun because you get to have a blast hanging out with a group of characters for a while. In this case the game took me close to 40 hours so you’re not likely going to forget about these guys anytime soon. The plot is solid and the cast of characters is good. The game also has you switching between two sides which is handled very effectively. This is definitely a game you won’t soon forget.

There are two main characters as I mentioned. First you have the humans led by Kharg. He is a prince who fights for the humans against the Deimos, a race of creatures that seemingly want nothing more than chaos and to destroy all humans. Kharg has no reason to doubt this and continues slaying them all but one day he meets a girl named Lilia who is on the run from a corrupt government. She explains that there are 5 magical stones and if they are all collected then the person who has all 5 will gain unlimited power. Since the Deimos are after this, Kharg realizes that he will have to assemble them himself.

The other story follows Darc, who is a slave who lives a rather brutal life. One day his owner is destroyed by a pack of deimos and when Darc is unable to protect his furby he comes to believe that power is everything. He ends up going on a rampage and becoming King of the Deimos. He now wants to slaughter all humans and aims to collect the stones in order to do so. He also meets up with Lilia who is determined to help him see the light but it’s rather difficult since both species are so opposed to each other.

I can’t think of another game like this where you keep switching between both sides and ultimately have to pick one at the end. Certainly not any RPG that I know of so this was pretty fun. Every chapter the game forces you to change sides so you get to really see their point of view. Everything about the sides is isolated which includes your items, level ups, and money. It makes you feel like you’re playing 2 20 hour games at the same time. The stories are connected of course by the plot and such but the characters don’t actually get to meet until you are almost at the very end of the game. This allows for a whole lot of build up which is always a good idea.

Adding to the tension is that Kharg and Darc are brothers who are half human and half deimos. This is something both of them try to hide since being a hybrid in this world would certainly be frowned upon. Naturally there is also a lot more to the story than I’ve mentioned as they both accumulate a lot of allies and the story has a lot of twists. That is often the case with RPGs after all and part of why the genre is so great. It’s definitely got to be one of the best game styles out there.

The gameplay is similar to Disgaea as you move each character around the board and unleash their attacks. After everyone has made their attack then the enemy team is allowed to do so. Additionally, your EXP is based on how much damage you deal and on who gets the finishing blow. As a result you will likely end up with a very unbalanced team depending on how you fight so keep an eye out for that. You can learn skills to help you out through the game and of course you will want to make sure you grab some great equipment as well. It can be the difference between victory and defeat here.

There are a few aspects of the gameplay that could be improved though. One if that this is a game where the cutscenes are all unskippable. Trust me, it’s never fun to have to watch cutscenes again after you have been defeated. The final boss is especially guilty of this since you will likely expect to lose there a few times and getting back through all of the cutscenes takes around 30-40 minutes each time. I got beat down 2 times before winning eventually so it was a long path. It does make sure that you will do a lot of training before you try a second time though.

The gameplay can also be a bit slow and would have benefited a whole lot from having some king of speed up feature. Something to make the turns go by faster would have just been genius since the turns can take a while and absolutely add up. I’d also like to say that the final boss is incredibly cheesy. Defeating him requires a rather unusual battle style that feels like it is exploiting the battle and yet, it’s the only viable way to win. It also takes a while as a result since my team was not built for long range encounters. I had to level up my fighters like crazy.

Graphically the game certainly holds its own though. It’s a PS2 game that has a good amount of polish and definitely wasn’t just thrown together at the last second. The character designs are on point and the battles we get inside of the cinematics are good. The soundtrack is a little on the forgettable side though. There aren’t a whole lot of tracks but they get the job done.

Really the game’s biggest strength here is how good the plot was and how the game utilized having two main characters the way that it did. I thought that was a really good way to do things. The game is also long at around 40 hours. There isn’t a ton of replay value after beating the game but with that kind of length you don’t really need a lot like that. If you can get the game for a decent price then you’ll definitely want to do so. It’s a unique game with a lot of features that are different from usual and I thought it pulled this off.

Overall, Arc The Lad is a great game. I’ll admit that it could use a little more polish in some areas of the gameplay. There are things that can be improved like the speed and the design of the final boss. That being said, the story is just really solid. The game absolutely can hold its own with the bigger RPGs out there and I look forward to playing through the sequel someday. Hopefully more games use this style of two main characters some day because the build up and the inevitable confrontation is always a blast.

Overall 8/10

Asdivine Dios Review


It’s been a while since I played my last Asdivine game but they definitely never get old. The Asdivine series consistently delivers with excellent gameplay and a solid cinematic experience. Pretty much any RPG title could learn a thing or two from this series on quality of life updates. Granted, this one gives you so many different features that you’ll likely be stomping your way through the game but of course you don’t have to use every feature.

The game starts by introducing us to the world of Asdivine. In this world humans exist in relative peace as they are guarded by the guild. The world also contains many spirits and sprites who protect the world from the shadows. Or, at least some of them do. Unfortunately monsters have been attacking a lot more lately. Izayoi, the creator of the world was having an ordinary talk with Iris when all of a sudden he loses a lot of his magical abilities including teleportation. The same is true for Iris as well.

It seems that a human by the name of Odium is going around and destroying all divine beings. One way to destroy a god/goddess in this game is to take down their tree which is what he is doing. Izayoi needs to stop him but without his teleportation that means he will actually have to walk the ground as an ordinary person. He never liked humans in the slightest but he’ll have to get over that now. He will team up with his three most powerful followers, Iris, Minerva, and Friya. Together they aim to save the world and themselves by taking Odium down. Meanwhile there is a guild fighter named Keith who also wants to save the day but doesn’t exactly know who the main threat is.

We’ve got a proper gods vs humans kind of dynamic here and it’s pretty fun. In these things I’m usually with the humans side since the gods tend to be pretty corrupt but naturally it does depend on the setting. In this case the gods do seem pretty suspect like Izayoi basically ignoring the humans for hundreds of years. Based on his character setting it seems to me like he would have let a ton of humans die over the years since he couldn’t care less. Iris likes humans but she really seems to be the exception for the most part. Of course, the humans show their negative colors quite a bit too though like the random mobsters who assisted in murdering a town or everyone immediately thinking the worst of Izayoi.

As the creator, Izayoi isn’t really good at everyday conversation. He’s not sure how to act around humans and is even awkward around his friends. He’s pretty oblivious and lets them beat up on him if it makes them feel better. He definitely doesn’t have the same charisma as Zack from the first two Asdivine games but in fairness that is a very high bar. The original cast was always likely going to be the best. Izayoi gets better as the game goes on but he’s never all that passionate about anything. You’ll probably need to wait for a sequel to really see that.

I found the main cast to be a little on the weaker side as Iris was the only one I was a big fan of. She’s always trying to help out and do the right thing. No matter how often the other members of the group tease or even attack her, Iris always stays strong and keeps on smiling. That’s not exactly an easy thing to do in these circumstances to be sure. She manages to play around a lot while also getting her work done. Minerva is the more serious member of the group who is always taking shots at Iris. She eventually mellows out a bit by the end but it’s not easy to forget all the low blows. She’s also the youngest/weakest member of the group since she’s only around 100 years old so don’t expect her to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Then you have Friya who is probably one of the more violent teammates you’ll ever see. She’s constantly threatening the other characters and even threatens Izayoi quite a bit. She isn’t afraid to rough him up a bit either if it’ll get her point across. As the most powerful ally, she fears nobody including Izayoi. It was impressive to see her dispatch Odium when he first attacked. Up to that point none of the other characters had been able to do much against him. She’s a powerful ally to have but at the same time, probably not an ally you will want to have with you since you will always be in danger.

Keith is the main supporting character and he’s fun. He’s pretty much a homage to the classic RPG hero. He has a lot of shiny armor/weapons at the ready and likes to talk about justice. He takes some losses but always gets right back up to fight again. It can be hard to reason with him but then you have Izayoi being intentionally vague at times too so a fight was basically inevitable from the start when you think about it. I liked Keith, he was a good rival to have at the ready. The main villain Odium was also really good. He’s definitely one of the standout characters here with the classic goal of wanting to destroy everyone. Effectively he blames the gods for standing by as everyone got slaughtered and now he aims to destroy everyone. The guy is pretty strong but to be fair his plan wouldn’t have gone very far at all without his partner Adusk.

So in a lot of ways Odium was really lucky throughout the game. He also did take his share of defeats so he’d have to keep teleporting away. The heroes didn’t have the best reaction times to be sure but teleporting is pretty much instant, so what are you gonna do right? Adusk doesn’t really have any character personality until the literal end of the game but he is a pretty interesting character. I enjoyed his origin since it makes a lot of sense and added some depth to the game.

I talked about the plot for quite a while so I should quickly talk about some other aspects. Needless to say, the story was a lot of fun. The gameplay is your standard turn based combat system but you are given a lot of freedom. You can turn attack animations off for example to streamline the battles. You learn magical abilities, physical skills, and normal attacks. You can also put your character on automatic but the catch is that he will always use the absolute weakest attack in his arsenal so choose wisely. As for battle strategies, personally I would recommend making Friya the leader over Izayoi because that grants a +5% stat boost to all attributes while he gives a 10% but only to speed.

Then for equipment there is the Berserk talisman which is actually really good. It raises your strength by 40% but the catch is that you can’t control your character. The boost is worth it. Additionally, you will earn ADP every other fight and a lot of buster tickets to exchange for weapons. This is where things get interesting. With the ADP you start the game with 1000 so I highly recommend as your first purchases buying the double EXP, double ADP, and double SP upgrades. That will leave you with around 400 so you can also get double coin or something but after that I would usually recommend the ability seeds. These abilities are key because you’ll be playing literally hundreds of battles as you got through the game so the doubles add up.

Near the end of the game you unlock the S level Buster minigame which can get you powerful weapons that are easily stronger than anything you will find in the story. I highly recommend grabbing these are any cost. It’s all luck based but you should get something good. With these weapons I was one shotting even the final bosses to the point where I made sure to crank up the difficulty to expert which made the final phase of the final boss a lot closer. You really feel like a champ by the end of the game and that’s always fun. There are a few features that the game is missing from Asdivine like triple speed for gameplay but the battles go quick anyway.

If I have one thing to say against the gameplay it’s that the enemy spawn rates are crazy. A battle is triggered every few seconds so if I wasn’t one shotting my opponents that could get old quick. There is an item called Mighty Salt that you can use to bypass minions but you can’t buy it so you just have to hope that you run into it. I think this could have just been made an option in the shop since I had literal millions worth of gold and would have gladly bought 100 servings of it. Pretty minor thing in the end though.

The graphics are really good. The game stands out and really looks top notch. The artwork for the Asdivine games is always super solid though so this definitely does not come as any surprise. Then you have the soundtrack which is top tier. The Asdivine games always have fresh themes that sound similar but are quite different. This is more of the same with each tune being perfect for action and really throwing you into the heart of things. There’s just no way to come out of this one without immediately looking up some of the tracks on Youtube.

Overall, Asdivine Dios is a great game. The main campaign should take you a little over 15 hours and then there are a bunch of trophies and multiple endings to try and acquire as well. It’s definitely something to work towards although I hope there is an easy way to get each ending without having to go all the way back. The gameplay is very streamlined and what I like about this series is that pretty much everything is customizable. You can really adapt the gaming experience to your preferences and have maximum fun. You won’t get lost as the directions are always quite clear. The story is satisfying and I’d definitely like to see these characters return and meet the originals at some point. This game did mention there being a ton of different worlds and universes so it is set up perfectly for a crossover.

Overall 8/10

Star Ocean: Second Evolution Review


This game has been on the backburner for quite a while. It’s one of the last PSP games I hadn’t played yet so this was cool to knock out. Mixing the classic RPG setup with some Sci-Fi is always fun. The game has a good story and the fact that all of your partners are basically optional is pretty interesting. Apparently the game has over 80 variations of endings depending on how you use your team which is also cool. The game gets pretty difficult towards the end and there’s even a trick you can do to make the final boss even more difficult. You must be a master of the game to even attempt that I would imagine because otherwise that sounds pretty crazy. I was in the mid 80s for my level when I beat the game and while the last two bosses were quite easy thanks to this, taking down some of the earlier Wisemen was brutal with how they would petrify each member.

The game starts off with Claude and his father working on a spaceship. Claude has always wanted to follow in his Dad’s footsteps by becoming a pilot himself one day but unfortunately this isn’t to be. On one of their expeditions he gets a little too close to an artifact and is teleported to a primitive planet on another star system. He now has no way of getting back home. He decides to pretend he is around there. Claude meets a girl named Rena who explains that he is likely the fabled Hero of Light here to save them all. Calamity is approaching after all. More and more monsters have been appearing in the land and nobody is able to stand up to them. Well, Claude will do his best to help out until the crew can find him but does he even want to go back now?

The monsters are the main plot for most of the game but then towards the end we get a full villain group known as the Ten Wise Men. These guys are interesting because the game is definitely trying to go for something with their names here. You’ve got Zadkiel, Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel all on the same team. Effectively the Angels and Demons have all decided to team up to destroy the universe. Why? Well, to be honest while usually I’d say I couldn’t tell you for spoiler reasons, they don’t really have any reason in particular. They want to either rule the universe or destroy it just because they can. They make for a pretty fun group I have to say. Their inclusion was a little last second but it definitely did help to increase the stakes here. I also tend to like villain groups in general.

As for the main characters, Claude is decent but not quite as good as the average RPG main character. He gets really jealous whenever Rena talks to her old friend Diaz which can get a little iffy. This often makes Claude act rather petty around her which isn’t a good look. I also think he should have come clean with the group about being from another star system a lot earlier in the game. It would have helped a lot particularly since he knew that the aliens were using high tech items as well. A little heads up could have gone a long way to saving more lives.

The death count in this game is absolutely massive. The villains just have more abilities and tech than the heroes so stopping them is really a difficult task. In any head to head confrontation you can really assume that the heroes are about to get wrecked. There are quite a number of fights in the game that you have to lose in order to progress the story. It’s a fun concept for sure but the only dicey thing is you may end up wasting a lot of potions and revives in this fight since you think you have a shot here.

Star Ocean ends rather abruptly without much of an after-ending so don’t expect a lot of closure for the characters. In particular I was expecting one of the old characters to show up again but I guess their premonition that they would never see him again was correct. You get the feeling that this game was left rather open ended for a sequel at some point. You could end the series with this game and it still works but there is definitely enough material for that third game. It’s definitely a satisfying story. I liked the way things turned out and the end of the game got to give Claude a good rage mode so he was more intense at the climax than he was for most of the game. You like to see it because he needed some more intensity the whole time.

As for Rena, she’s a solid heroine. Rena has her own story in the game and I’m sure that would give her even more backstory and personality like exploring her scenes with Diaz and all. She does well and keeps up with Claude the whole time. They have their share of disagreements but Rena is always reasonable about the whole thing. She’s a fun character to have around and has more of a presence than the other characters. Due to the optional nature of the rest of the party they don’t appear in any of the animated cutscenes. Even in the text ones their characters can be interchangeable. For example, I lost one fight with the Wisemen a lot to I had to keep seeing the cutscene over and over again and the side characters would take turns on who would talk to him but with the same dialogue each time. It was pretty interesting to see.

The best of the side characters would definitely be the travelling thief though. Her backstory got more time to shine than the others and since she was with the team near the beginning we at least got to see a lot of her. Some of the guys near the end came in rather late to the point where I intentionally left one of the kids back at base since he would just slow us down. I did like the rival Diaz quite a lot though. His skill with the sword was really impressive. Even by the end it’s hard to say if Claude had truly surpassed him or not. The tournament was a nice little event to show the gap in their abilities.

Not surprisingly the graphics here are really good. The fact that there are cutscenes which are completely animated at different points in the game was also very impressive. You definitely don’t see that every day I can tell you that much. The in game graphics are also on point. Not totally graphics related but I do think the game could have made the animations a little shorter though. Whenever the characters use a super attack there is a long unskippable cutscene that draws out the battles just a bit. Considering that you are going to need to grind out a lot of battles this can add up quite a lot.

As for the soundtrack, that was pretty good. It’s not quite at Tales of tier where each game has a super standout track but it still works out pretty well. There’s a lot of depth to the game so in addition to the 25-30 hours it takes to beat the game you’ve got a ton of replay value. You can beat the game again as Rena or work to get all of the other endings. It’ll definitely take a lot of time to do this so this game will last you an extremely long amount of time. It’s part of why RPGs tend to be some of the best games, you’ll almost always be very attached to what is going on by the end.

Overall, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is a great game. The plot is excellent and the characters are fun to root for. The anime cutscenes help to make this game feel high budget and the whole climax with the Ten Wise Men showing up was really good and kept a high energy approach the whole time. I liked the way you could allocate your abilities into skills as you leveled up since it made you have to decide on what to upgrade first. Strategy plays a huge role in this game. Star Ocean the series is off to a good start so I look forward to checking out more games in the series at some point. Either way if you have a PSP then I highly recommend picking this game up.

Overall 8/10

Mega Man X Collection Review


Mega Man X Collection is one of those games that I have always wanted to get. Who wouldn’t want to play a collection of 6 titles all packed into one mega experience? The X Collection is a treasure trove of important moments in Capcom’s history and it’s fairly out of print so I had to pay a bit of a premium to grab it. It was worth the trouble though and ended up being a pretty masterful game. The titles are all about as hard as I remember as well. Good luck taking them down.

As I had already played X1 and X4 previously I didn’t replay those. The collection brings all of the games up through X6 and I already got X7-X8 on the PS2 a while back. It’s pretty fun to see how the games have improved over the years. There is a noticeable jump in the graphics as you go through. I would say the biggest jump was from X3-X5 in that it now looked like a fully modern experience. You could release that game today and nobody would bat an eye because it would not feel out of place. The core gameplay for each of these titles is largely unchanged though. They are 2D shooters with some platforming involved.

The goal of each level is to make it to the end and then destroy the robot master who is in your way. This won’t be an easy task of course but it is one that you will need to complete. Once you’ve beaten the 8 bosses of the game then you always head to the final stages is around 3-4 back to back levels of taking on new opponents as well as beating up the 8 masters once again. For each game I would focus on beating the 8 masters initially as my completion and didn’t go for the gold with the climax levels this time around. It was nostalgic enough going through those moments so I didn’t think I needed to go further.

Sigma tends to make an appearance in every game but the plots are very different. One of them has the Sigma virus going around and mutating everyone while another one has the Nightmare virus which even affects Zero. Sometimes you have Zero available to play with from the start and other times he is presumed dead so you don’t see him for a while. The various plots are always a lot of fun. X definitely goes all in with the stories compared to the classic Mega Man games. This is why we need an anime to adapt them at some point but in the meanwhile the manga has done a good job of this.

The game gives you the ability to customize the controls which is handy. I always switch the boost to R instead of X. I don’t see how you can boost efficiently with it there. You can also toggle the difficulty level and even start off with a super armor if you want. I like these little tweaks. They are good quality of life upgrades that you want to see in these games. Even with this the games are suitably hard so you don’t need to worry about that.

Naturally the graphics are really good here. The character models are on point and the stage designs are good as well. The soundtrack is also excellent. The X series has so many winning themes that you will lose track by the end. It’s just another reason why the X series is so good. It knows exactly how to deliver on its strengths. As for replay value, each game has some since you can look for power ups and new armors. Additionally each game is difficult enough where it should last you a good amount of time anyway. You won’t be finishing this game very quickly at all so content is the least of your worries. That said, the price is definitely excessively high right now so good luck finding it at a value price. Most likely you will have to shell out a lot for this one. It’s definitely worth it if you are a big fan of the series though.

It’s crazy to think that Capcom has completely ditched this series and yet they really have. I dare say Mega Man could still be a household name if Capcom had kept going instead of ditching it for other things. The storylines alone are enough to make this super engaging for future gamers. Just show them X and the other reploids who helped him out through the years like Zero and you’re set. Keep in the fully animated cutscenes for the games as well since they also helped to establish this as a very big game series with high stakes.

The collection also brings Battle and Chase but to get this you have to complete the first three games completely which is definitely difficult. I didn’t go back to the first one at all anyway but it is a really cool reward for the fans who managed to pull this off. What could be better than getting another complete game for your troubles right? Battle and Chase is also pretty obscure so this would likely be your first time playing it. The X Collection certainly didn’t go cheap with the content and it’s one of the reasons this became an eternal classic. It may not have as many games as the Mega Man Anniversary collection but that one has less story and cutscenes so I imagine it was easier to fit them all there.

Overall, Mega Man X Collection is a great collection of games. Each title here is a complete game from the original Mega Man X days and they all hold up well. Naturally the most polished ones are the final two but they were all developed well and without shortcuts. I don’t see you having any issue with any of the titles presented here. They will absolutely test your gameplay fundamentals though. With the exception of one moving spike level, I thought all of the levels were pretty fair as well. If you learn and memorize the villain’s fighting pattern then you should be all good to go here.

Overall 8/10

Tales of Legendia Review


Time to continue the Tales of Series with Legendia as my next stop. It doesn’t exactly seem to be one of the more popular titles in the series but it’s a great title in its own right. It doesn’t quite match up to the Symphonia titles but then again what does right? The gameplay is on point and we have a good story here so at the end of the day that’s all you need. This is definitely not a game that you can try to just knock out real quickly.

The game starts with Senel and Shirley crash landing on the Legacy. The Legacy is a huge boat that is so big it serves as the hub world of the entire game. See, this ship is bigger than most countries combined to the point where it is practically the planet. It’s an interesting concept. Well, Shirley and Senel are on the run from a powerful group of villains led by Vaclav. Naturally the reasons for this are rather secret and Senel doesn’t intend on telling anyone. Unfortunately Shirley ends up getting kidnapped by the group. Senel meets up with a local authority figure named Will and a self proclaimed hero named Chloe. Eventually they also team up with a cheerful girl named Norma, a bandit named Moses, and a scholar named Jay. Together perhaps they can take this villain group down for the count.

In a 30+ hour RPG like this you can expect a whole lot of twists and turns. This is just the basic premise. Every character is keeping at least a few secrets in the back pocket for later on. The climax is a lot of fun and there are even a few loose ends which are likely either handled in the post game or left for a sequel. I didn’t really go into the postgame so I wouldn’t know if anything big occurred there. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case for at least some though.

Senel’s a good character. He is quick to get into fights which is always a quality you want to see in a hero. He has his own character arc of course so he will change a bit as the game goes on. Naturally one thing that will make his life a little tricky is that 4 of the heroines seem to like him so there will be a bit of tension there. Mainly his goal is to help Shirley out though and everything else is secondary. As long as he saves her then the rest will all come into place eventually.

Shirley’s a solid heroine as well although things definitely get a little dicey with her. She starts to weaken in the second half due to a lot of dicey decisions that she made. It almost turns into a bit of a guilt trip against Senel with the paths she ultimately went on. It makes her not always appear as selfless as you would think. I preferred her sister Stella although her role is a lot smaller than Shirley’s. Stella is more powerful and also just seems more heroic in general.

Then we have Will who may have the biggest role from all of the side characters. My main issue with him is that he seems to think he’s better than the other characters a lot of the time. He spends a lot of time lecturing the other characters and if they don’t agree with him then he will just smack them. Not exactly the kind of leadership you want to see from one of your allies right? He never quite got into my good graces by the end. Chloe’s a much more developed character. Her goals of being a true hero as well as her revenge plot are handled well. She definitely gets a ton of development as well and is really a key player in all of this. The fact that Chloe is a good warrior from the start is also important.

Then you have Norma who is mainly here to throw a bit of levity into the scenes. She is always having a good time and doesn’t take things as seriously as the other members. I thought her character was handled really well and she was consistent in being the voice of hope in the game. Whenever things were dire she would think of something to do. Norma also likes trolling the rest of the characters quite a lot which I can definitely appreciate. Moses is another member of the group but he’s a little more forgettable. The characters always give him a hard time and yell at the poor guy but at the end of the day he is a loyal ally. He’ll help out as much as needed.

Next up is Jay but I didn’t care for this guy. He’s not loyal in the slightest as he plays the field and tried to keep on grabbing more and more intel to stay ahead of the pack. Someone like that isn’t someone you can trust to have your back. Additionally by the end of the game he is quick to decide that he is cool being on his own. This guy was usually more trouble than he’s worth. Finally you have Grune but I’m still not sure what the point of her character is. She shows up near the end of the game as a playable character and then proceeds to do nothing for the rest of the game. If you ask me she could and should have been cut out. It feels like there must have been a big plot for her that was cut out or something because otherwise her whole role here just doesn’t make any kind of real sense.

Then we have the villains such as Vaclav and his 3 generals. They make for a solid villain group. Definitely not the most memorable ones around but the armor was fun. They had better designs than character personalities but they did manage to be a real threat when they arrived. There are a number of villains and factions here as well so the heroes always have to watch their back or risk being attacked while they’re busy. The soundtrack is pretty good. It may not be Symphonia level but the tunes we get are reasonable. There’s enough of an assortment where you are bound to enjoy at least one or two of them. It could be better but I’m satisfied with what we got.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. The base game is already around 30 hours and then after that you have the post game which involves character stories for each member of your party. I don’t know exactly how long this is but coupled with what you already have you are going to have a lot of content to play through here. It’s always one of the big advantages of being an RPG, the fun never really has to end. The graphics are also solid of course. We get a few fully animated cutscenes and for the rest there is a good amount of voice acting as well as details to the backgrounds.

Oh yeah I almost didn’t talk about the gameplay. It’s fairly standard for Tales of. You play as the heroes in a 3D or at least 2.5D gameplay style. You can hit the opponents in real time and use basic attacks as well as items and super attacks. The gameplay flows pretty smoothly and there’s a decent strategy element here as you have to decide which enemy to attack and how to go about it. There are numerous options for each scenario so it’s not as simple as just deciding to run and gun it. That may work for a while but eventually you will need to do some level grinding to keep that sustainable.

Overall, Tales of Legendia is a great game with a lot of emotional moments. You should be pretty well attached to all of the characters by the time you end things off. The gameplay is smooth and the graphics are on point. The game is just a strong experience that I could recommend to any gamer. Whether you’re a fan of RPG titles or action games, you should enjoy this one. I’d definitely be down with a sequel coming out someday to revisit the cast.

Overall 8/10