Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Review


It’s time to take a look at the recent Switch port of the famous Dragon Ball Heroes game. It really is impressive just how far this part of the franchise has gone. It now has several manga titles, an ongoing anime series and of course the video game ports. It’s a nice continuation of the Dragon Ball series that is able to get quite out there with the content it brings to the table. There are numerous characters and super forms here since nothing is considered too crazy to be implemented. The gameplay style is pretty different and will take some getting used to, but is considerably better than any of the card games I’ve played for the series before. It feels like a great RPG and I’d be up for more games with this style.

The plot starts off with a kid (I called him DReager1) who decides to play some Dragon Ball Heroes. It’s a card game that has gotten very popular on Earth as you get to assemble a deck of Z characters and fight it out with others. DReager1 quickly finds out that it isn’t all just a game though as the best player in the world shows up and tells DReager that there are villains seeking to change history in the Z world. He must now team up with other Dragon Ball Heroes to foil this villain’s plans. The villain goes by the name of Sealas and he is reasonably strong at around SSJ3 level if not higher. What really makes him dangerous is his A.I. sidekick though. It grows stronger with every opponent it watched or consumes. If the heroes don’t stop him fast then it’ll be all over.

The first thing you’ll notice when booting this game up is how extensive the content is. The main campaign alone will take you over 20 hours. After that you have adaptions for some of the movies, all of Dragon Ball Super, and the rest of the Heroes exclusive content. Trying to complete all of this will likely take you 50 hours or longer. Then you can start trying to collect everything. I’m thinking this is 100+ hours easy and of course you’ve got the online vs mode which never has to end. All in all this is a great game filled with a lot of value. So long as you enjoy the gameplay you won’t be bored.

So lets talk about the gameplay. It’s one of those styles that is easy to get into, but very difficult to master. You assemble a team of 7 warriors. At first you won’t have a whole lot of options, but getting new cards isn’t hard. It’s a lottery system though as you pay 10 tickets to get 10 characters. Once you’ve assembled a team that you like then you give them enhancements which increase their stats or give them access to cool abilities like double attack. You’ll want to have abilities that complement each other as well as compatible partners so you can fuse fighters or assemble them for combo attacks.

At that point the match begins. Each round will let you place your fighters among 4 different rows. The back row allows them to recover stamina while the front rows let you attack. Typically I like having half of my team in the front and half in the back, but by the end of the game you’ll have a lot of abilities that replenish stamina so you can just jump in and keep on fighting. When you use an ultimate attack or spell sometimes you’ll have to trace actions on the screen but they are extremely easy so you will likely never fail any. The first team to either eliminate all of the HP from an opponent or the one with the most health after 5 rounds is the winner. There’s a lot more to this than what I mentioned, but that’s the jist of it. The rest I think you’ll get the hang of naturally.

The core of the gameplay comes from the clashes. Every time you attack or block a bar will show up for both sides. You want to press A when it is closest to the top and likewise for the opponent. The bar can be sped up or slowed down based on abilities. Everything rides on these bars including your special attacks so you can really boil it down to “Win the bar and win the game” You will want to get really good at the timing if you want to win. This game is actually very difficult. Without the right moveset you could find yourself fighting the same opponent over and over for a very long time. Grinding out the levels can be a little difficult so you’ll want to head to online levels to give your characters the edge they will need. You can’t level up character cards, but you can level up DReager1. This could easily be the toughest game I’ve played in years so it was pretty satisfying to complete it.

With the soundtrack we have all of the insert songs from the old Dragon Ball Heroes promos. That was definitely nice to see and you can even have them play over the normal gameplay so then you’ll be seeing them a lot. The only issue is that they’re very short so you’ll be hearing them loop over and over multiple times in a single fight. The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good. They’re simple, but catchy themes. As for the graphics, they definitely look pretty good. It’s nothing like FighterZ, but the arcade style is likely what helps the game have so many different character models. It’s a simple look, but one that ages well. Then you’ve also got 2 animated cutscenes that were thrown in. I was hoping for more to be honest especially since the game starts out with one, but 2 is better than none.

If the game has an issue it’s that the various mechanics aren’t explained very well. There are quite a lot of tutorials, but even those aren’t able to explain everything. (Which shows how complex this style is) You’ll want to learn the mechanics from GameFaqs or Reddit if you’re unsure about something. For example, when you obtain the Dragon Balls and make a wish you are given a lot of options. One option is to rank up your lead but one thing that’s useful to know is the longer you wait, the better his stats will be. You can rank him up 4-5 times so it’ll also take a while if you decide to take him to Level 99 each time. (He reverts to 1 for each class up but gets a percentage of his old stats) If you don’t care about the post game then just rank him up right away each time. He’ll still be plenty strong by the time he is in Super God level.

Another thing to note is that the character animations are unskippable. This does admittedly result in some rather tedious battles at times as you are watching the characters perform the same actions over and over again. Each battle can be very long and there are dozens of battles to complete in order to conquer the story. Typically you can read something while playing as the game only ever needs one hand to do all of the controls. I did a lot of multitasking, but otherwise I think the game definitely should have reduced the turn time. Simply having the combat animations be toggled off like in Pokemon/Digimon would have helped immensely. That way you still have the option to keep them on if you really want to see the supers. That’s more of a quality of life upgrade though, it’s not something that actually hurts the title.

I don’t think I’ll even go that far into power levels as that always gets dicey with Dragon Ball, but I suppose it wasn’t all that bad. One thing you’ll notice is that DReager1 is super overpowered though. He’s able to handle SSJ3 Legendary Broly in his SSJ1 form. That’s pretty good eh? As for the plot in general, I definitely thought it was a lot of fun. It was great to be able to see so many different eras including the Tournament of Power. I do think it’s a bit iffy that Sealas was able to escape even Zeno and the Grand Priest, but I guess he needed to keep his hype.

Sealas was definitely a great villain as well. Not only is his backstory rock solid, but I also liked his final form. He does feel like an amalgam of various DB characters for a while and then he suddenly takes a very Final Fantasy esque appearance by the end. There are a lot of similarities between him and Goku Black which the game also addresses. Sealas is definitely a character that you’ll remember and I hope he gets to appear somewhere else someday. Maybe the online TV specials will adapt this game someday, that’d definitely be cool.

Overall, Super Dragon Ball Heroes is definitely a great game. I can see why it got so big over in Japan. If they keep on giving us free updates I suppose there won’t be a need to make a sequel anytime soon, but if they ever do make one I’ll have it on my radar. Maybe someday when there are less games on the backburner I’ll also check out some of the post game content. I gotta see if it lives up to the hype of being as difficult as I’ve heard. I somehow think it probably isn’t exaggerated though. As it is the final boss was pretty insane. I’d recommend taking a look at the gameplay online. If it looks like your style then definitely take the plunge on this game. It’ll keep you busy for quite a long while.

Overall 8/10

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New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe Review


It’s time to look at the next big Mario Adventure. This one technically came out a while ago but it ended up being worth waiting for since the Switch title game with both games in one rather than having to buy both Mario and Luigi versions. The New Super Mario Bros series has definitely had a good run and I expect it’ll return with a new game at some point. The gameplay is just too solid to pass up. Of course with the existence of Mario Maker it will have to do something to stay at the top.

The plot is fairly basic as Peach is kidnapped once more by Bowser. Unfortunately, Mario and Luigi were unable to prevent him from doing this and are now forced to play catch up. In order to face off against Bowser the plumbers will first need to take down the 7 Koopa Kids and Bowser Jr. Only then will they be able to challenge the King of the Koopas. It’s definitely a nostalgic plot or at least that’s probably what Nintendo is hoping your reaction will be. At the same time you can’t help but think that Nintendo could have done something a little more original right? This plot really has been done over and over again.

As always the graphics are definitely excellent. The NSMB series does a good job of making all the characters and levels exciting and colorful without making it too simplified. It does feel like the natural progression of the Mario series and it will be hard to get any better with this art style. Nintendo is at the absolute front here with this game leading the charge. It’s hard to find a better looking Switch game.

As for the soundtrack that is naturally pretty hype as well. You’ve got a lot of classic Mario tunes here and a bunch of remixes. Throw them all together with the multitude of levels in the game and you’ll find yourself listening to good music constantly. In a lot of video games you’d be forgiven for forgetting the tunes because they sound so similar, but that’s definitely not going to be a problem with this one. Each world’s array of tunes really help capture the atmosphere that the game is going for.

As expected the level designs are also on point. They are created well so you can fast blast through the levels with a lot of cool acrobatics or you can explore and find all of the collectibles. There are a lot of them to find after all, but they are put in places that makes sense. If you are looking carefully then you’ll find the ones that you’re looking for. Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. The movements are all very fluid and you won’t have a problem making tight maneuvers. It really is a world of difference playing the NSMB games compared to the really old ones where even the simplest of jumps was very difficult.

There’s definitely a lot of content in this game as well. Between the many levels and collectibles you’ve got enough content to last you around 10 hours. Then you’ve got Luigi mode which almost doubles the amount of content that you have access to. The way they handle it is pretty cool as they don’t just reuse the levels. They’re all altered to fit in the space of half the timer so you can’t take a break to check out the scenery. You’ll want to run your way to the end to beat the timer. Getting used to the physics also means that you’ll need some time to adjust. The game never gets all that difficult and you’ll beat all of the levels after attempting them a few times, but it does add a little spice to the usual formula.

The best item in the game is definitely the flying variation where you get an extra jump. You can use that to get really far in just about every level. Watch as the villains turn away in fear when you just jump over em! This even works against Bowser’s first form as you can just jump over him and hit the Axe. Otherwise you can just run in when he jumps so either way you should be all set for action. Watch out for the final boss as well, you’ll want to bring your A game for that one.

While Mario Maker seems to have probably ended this series I’m glad that it still got another hurrah. There will always be room for more Mario games and what style can possible be better than New Super Mario Bros? Mario does tend to take many styles over the years so I am actually looking forward to what’s next. The recent Yoshi and Kirby artstyles do have me a little worried as well, but I have to trust in Nintendo and their passion to improve.

Overall, New Super Mario Bros Deluxe is definitely a game that I’d recommend checking out. There’s a lot of fun to be had with it and the levels are pretty intense. It’s a very complete Mario game and you really can’t go wrong there. The only way you won’t like this game is if you simply don’t like the classic Mario games or platformers in general. Of course in that case you have to wonder why you would buy this game in the first place. Maybe you just wanted to see what the hype was all about? Regardless, I think you’ll be embracing the hype by the end as Nintendo did not phone this one in.

Overall 8/10

Dust: An Elysian Tail Review


It’s time to look at another Limited Run game. The company’s been on a roll with their releases. Asdivine Hearts has probably been my favorite thus far and even holds its own against most AAA rpgs. Dust certainly ranks very highly as well though as it mixes the classic 2D platforming with some good sword gameplay. Throw in a solid plot and you’ve got a winner.

The game’s premise revolves around a reign of tyranny that has enveloped the planet. Moonbloods are hunted by the evil empire across the planet and most have been exterminated. That’s where the main character steps in. He has complete amnesia and is unsure of how he got here. Based on his uniform it seems like he was a member of the villains but of course he can’t know for sure. This character meets up with someone named Fidget who decides to call him dust. Dust then meets up with a legendary sword that can talk and seems to know more than he lets on. Together with his new companions, Dust sets out to find the answer to his past as well as to stop the empire. Can he pull this off?

Right away you’ll see how there is a lot of heart put into the game. We have full voice acting and even some hand drawn cutscenes which was pretty cool. Additionally the graphics were pretty solid throughout the game as well. The character designs are on point and the levels are all very striking. There’s a good amount of variety to be found here. If anything, it’ll make you miss the minor characters like the first boss who had an awesome design but of course did not appear after that. The music throughout the game is also pretty nice. While the themes may not be ones that you’ll automatically remember as you finish the title, they’re all pretty original and fit in with the gameplay.

Dust isn’t afraid to be an emotional game either. Most of the bosses are characters who are being mind controlled by the main villain. Alas, it is tough to break this spell and Dust doesn’t even know about it at first so there is at least one casualty. The ending is also pretty intense and I’d say it wraps things up quite well. I’d certainly be down for a sequel. There’s definitely a lot more that can be done in this universe even if the empire plot wouldn’t return.

Meanwhile the character cast is strong. As I mentioned, the one shot bosses are pretty solid. Then you have Dust who is pretty similar to Link. He may not remember his past but that doesn’t stop him from jumping in to try and help everyone else out. He’s very skilled with a blade and his design is good. Fidget is not quite as exciting as the other characters, but she’s actually helpful which is good. For the little sidekicks like herself, the goal is always to try and have them support the main leads. That means Fidget should be strong enough to be helpful while still being weak enough where she doesn’t overshadow Dust. The game achieves the balance well. If anything the sword is the weak link here. He basically knew everything from the start, but plays dumb for the duration of the game. I question how he knew everything and I could see that being a plot for the next title. He probably has some dark secrets of his own.

The main villain is also pretty decent. His name is General Gaius and he leads his fleet to conquer the world. The game plays him up to be a bit more sympathetic than you might expect, but at the end of the day he’s definitely still a villain. He’s the kind of antagonist who doesn’t really see himself as being evil, but evidently he stepped down the wrong path at some point. The final boss fight is definitely a challenging one as he keeps on getting up no matter how many times you put him down. I had to go back and train for a while although I probably overdid it because when I came back he was a breeze. It’s why grinding pays off in these titles.

As for the gameplay, I’ve already talked a bit about it. Dust really shines with how fast paced the gameplay is. You can really choose how to approach a match. You can run into the enemies and go for big combos or you can blast them from afar. The larger the combo the more exp you get though so try not to get hit. Obtaining EXP is pretty easy here so if you’re ever stuck just go back to fighting minions for a while and then you’ll be fine. The toughest part is deciding which power ups to go for. The game does force you to keep the stats within reach of each other but you still have some control from within. I personally liked upgrading attack the most as beating enemies quickly is the best, but of course that does hurt your combo chances so it’s a double edged sword.

The main story will take you around 7 hours so it’s a pretty reasonable length. There are also a lot of side missions you can do and you’re certainly welcome to continue leveling up your character as well. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here after the initial adventure, but if you did everything on the way to the ending then that should buy you a few extra hours. You’ll probably be extremely overpowered by the end if you get the best equipment and max out the level.

Overall, Dust is definitely a very fun game. I would definitely like to see more 2D platformers where you use a sword instead of the classic buster. This one shows how you can do it effectively. The story was also pretty engaging and having voice acting always helps push the title into the next level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I definitely recommend changing that. It’s a title that I would recommend to any and all gamers. You just don’t want to miss out on this one. It’s another big hit for the Indie circuit. I’ve had pretty positive experiences with them so far and expect that to continue.

Overall 8/10

Fate Extella Link Review


It’s time to look at a brand new game that isn’t really getting a lot of attention. I don’t pre order too many games throughout the year because…well that gets pricey very quick. So typically I try to hold out for the best games of the year. Now you may be wondering why this one would make it. Well, I’m a big fan of the beat em up genre first of all. Then while Fate the franchise may have its ups and downs, you can’t deny that the premise is definitely really good and it’s a very interesting verse. Mix the two together and it definitely makes for a game that I don’t want to miss. At the same time I do have to admit that the game is incredibly short to the point where it does hurt the longevity part a bit.

There is one main plot here as opposed to a bunch of small ones like in most beat em up titles. You follow the champion of the previous game. He conquered the Fate game on the Moon and thought that a time of peace would be coming but instead a new villain group has arisen. Really it’s just one main villain who is mind controlling a bunch of old foes from the various Fate battles. Fortunately a new character has shown up to help assist the lead. He seems to be hiding a secret, but as long as he is helping then the lead is willing to overlook that.

I won’t mince words here, the game’s story is only around 3 hours long. It’s incredibly short, there are only 8 levels until you get to the ending. Each level varies in length but it certainly won’t take you very long to complete. The levels are longer than a platformer’s or something like that, but they are still short compared to other beat em ups. When the credits start rolling you’ll try to wake yourself up because it just seems to have happened way too quickly.

Still, there is some replay value here which will definitely add a bit to the experience. For one thing, there are 3 different endings to the game. Each path takes about as long as the first so then you’ve turned the game into more of a 6 hour game. (“Wait…that’s not 3X 3!” Well yeah, but you’ll be breezing through by this point) I’ve beaten two endings by the time of this review and my play time is a little under 5 hours. After beating all of the levels you can also jump into the Extra Battles which are effectively the same story levels, but now they are a lot harder. This is a good way to get some level ups and more equipment. There are also a bunch of attacks and costumes to unlock and items to craft. While most of the trophies in the game are easy, they will take time so if you go for the Platinum don’t expect to get it anytime soon.

Then we need to talk about the gameplay of course. Beat em ups come in a few different styles. You have the Dynasty Warriors games which are pretty realistic so you aren’t slamming people by the hundreds and then you have the Nintendo ones where you are beating hundreds of opponents in an instant. This one is definitely more like those as you’ll end up beating hundreds of opponents in seconds. It’s definitely pretty nice and I think the whole point of the genre is to feel powerful. In this respect, the game certainly succeeds. Then you’ve got a nice array of attack options so you aren’t literally using the same button over and over.

Beat em up games are button mashers at heart so that doesn’t go away, but at the same time it’s fun to switch things up a bit. The leveling up system can be a bit slow though. Even by the end of the game you’ll only be around level 30. Assuming that the cap is 100 I don’t think you’ll be getting up there very quickly. The flip side of this is the cool EXP share option that most games have been having in this genre for quite a while. You can match the level of every other character to your main one right away. It doesn’t cost too many resources either so you can just max out one character and you’ve instantly matched everyone else. It helps take away the grind aspect of the game so you only do that if you really want to do so.

There are a bunch of other aspects of the game that you can have fun with like bonding and such, but you don’t need to do so. I didn’t bother with any of that myself, but I can see the appeal if you like hanging out with the characters. Typically this aspect tends to get a little dicey so I’m certainly fine with skipping it. Back to the gameplay for a moment, aside from all of the usual final smashes, you have a Noble Phantasm attack which is effectively your ultra move. It hits everyone in the area that you’re in and the attack power is crazy. The game did a really good job of effectively making it a one hit KO move. I also like how they implemented the command seals into the gameplay. You can save them as last second revive moves or you can use all of them at once in order to get full meter. It can be a tough choice, but typically I’ll go with the latter.

After all, this game isn’t all that difficult. Even on hard mode I don’t expect you’ll run into many challenges unless you aren’t leveled up enough. On all other difficulties the enemies barely fight back. The only level where I actually got in some danger was the final boss of the second path. (Of course I haven’t played the third path yet) I’m sure the game will only continue to get more and more difficult though which is good. Difficulty is fun, especially when it’s optional.

As for the technical level, the graphics definitely look pretty good. It’s not exactly at the top of PS4 level, but everything is nice and colorful with a good amount of detail. The attacks all look good and I like the level designs. The music is less memorable, but it’s not bad. I’d say that this is the kind of game where the gameplay is really what the developers focused on and the graphics/soundtrack were less of a priority. As long as they are good enough that’s fine with me.

There isn’t much to talk about with the story either since it’s so short and there isn’t a lot to cover here. The main character is fun enough. He’s a solid adventurer who likes a good fight. His backstory is definitely interesting since it does make you think twice about his character. His future definitely seems like a grim one so it’s good that he can at least have fun now. The main villain is pretty over the top villainy, but I guess he can be enjoyable. There just isn’t all that much to him to be honest.

There’s less to say about the champion. Technically he is the player so that makes sense, but he only appears once in a while and mainly just talks through thinking bubbles. He goes with the flow and does the heroic thing, but doesn’t really have any character. Everyone else is pretty much in character from the shows. They show up and get their moments before being thrown off screen. Everyone gets to make their presence felt.

Overall, Fate Extella Link is a great game. It is limited by the length in the same way that Sonic Forces was, but ultimately it does provide you with enough of a satisfying experience to overlook that. You actually will be interested in playing through the levels multiple times to get level ups and see the alternate levels. The interfaces are all very smooth and the gameplay is exceptional. While I do express caution at buying the game at full price considering the length, I can definitely recommend it as long as you enjoy the gameplay style. There is enough replay value here to be worth your while.

Overall 8/10

Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[st] Review


It’s time to look at a recent fighting game that came out for PS4. The fact that it got announced for EVO was a fun coincidence as I had already ordered this game. Now if anything it’ll help me keep up with what’s happening during the tournament a lot better. Arc Systems has always been great with fighting games so right off the bat I knew that this one would be very good. I certainly was not disappointed. It’s definitely a great title.

There isn’t a central plot here, but instead each character has a story that is told through their Arcade Mode. This is a staple for many fighting games so it’s not surprising. The game does give you a little extra content through the Chronicles mode where you learn more about each character though. There’s actually quite a bit of content here. Completing the game with every character will take some time for sure. The general premise is that once a month the “Night” occurs where people from various eras and locations show up to fight. In a way it’s very similar to the Fate plots except that it all happens in the span of a single day. The characters must stop whoever is leading the charge this time before people start being turned into voids and become a danger to society. Some of the characters fight for justice, others for evil, and others for personal reasons. Either way, only one can survive.

The gameplay is that of a fast paced 2D fighter. Each character has quite a lot of combos and you’ll want to master them all if you want to start overwhelming the opponent. It’s definitely a game where you won’t ultimately go too far by button mashing. The combos are made in a way where you need to switch buttons to really use the best ones. Just hitting one button simply won’t work. Still, the game makes you feel good with how much damage you end up dealing all the time. Each character has a unique fighting style so you’ll want to find the character that ends up clicking with you.

Fortunately most of the characters are pretty fun here. I definitely enjoy Hide as he’s a fun protagonist. He’s always up for a fight and while the guy can be laid back, he steps in when necessary. Linne is a good supporting character who is a lot older than she appears. Her experience gives her an edge in combat. Finally there is the Assassin who never likes to say his name. His cool demeanor and expert fighting style makes him a threat as well. One thing that all 3 of these characters have in common is that they’re close range sword users. You just can’t beat that gameplay style.

This game really delivers on a graphics front as well. The visuals for the attacks are great. Pretty much every attack has some kind of effect going on. The stages are very dynamic as well and everything looks very pristine and modern. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some actual cutscenes instead of just having a bunch of still images but I suppose you can’t have everything right? Even more impressive than the graphics here is the soundtrack. Pretty much every theme is dynamite. That’s good because you’ll be hearing the themes quite a lot. Each character has their own unique theme and then the game has a few miscellaneous ones as well. Most of them are fast paced rock songs so you can definitely see why they would appeal to me.

For replay value, this game is a fighter so it automatically has an unlimited amount. You can keep on playing others locally or online to hone your skills. You can spend the money you earn on unlocking new costumes and titles. You don’t earn much money from doing Story Mode so you’ll have to see which way earns it the fastest. Either way there are a ton of things to buy so I expect it’ll take you a very long time to do so. You definitely won’t be putting this game down for quite a while after you buy it. It’s here for the long haul.

If anything it would be fun to see this turned into an anime or manga at some point. It’s got a lot of cool ideas and the story is very large in scope. The game can’t really touch on it all that much though since Arcade Modes are very short. If it was a full anime then it could really go into all of this. It’s just a solid premise as well that would lend itself well to such things. Until that happens the game does work well as a prologue of sorts though.

Overall, Under Night is definitely a great fighting game. It really checks off all the boxes for what a fighter should be. The gameplay is fast and detailed. The graphics are sharp and the soundtrack perfectly complements the tone as well. Finally, the characters are interesting. It’s rare that characters hurt a fighting game, but it happened once with AquaPazza. Ideally a roster should involve characters you are interested in as they’ll just make the whole thing more exciting. Take them out of the picture and there just isn’t much left. Well, this game definitely didn’t have those problems. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I would recommend changing that. It’s only about 20 bucks nowadays which is really a pretty good price when you consider that it’s a PS4 title. You’ll want to jump on that deal while you can.

Overall 8/10

Need For Speed Most Wanted Review


It’s time to look at the next Need For Speed game! One impressive thing about the franchise has always been how long each game is. This is another title that will potentially have you busy for 20+ hours and that’s no small feat. EA really put a lot of heart into this series back in the day so I’m curious if that will continue to be the case as I get close to the end of the game series. Most Wanted brings back all of the good elements from Underground 2 while improving on them. It’s the definitive NFS game so far.

The game starts with you heading into town for some good races. You find the top dog and challenge him to a race. Unfortunately he cheats and steals your car. You now have to rise back up to the top from the bottom with a random car. The problem is that your old car was the best in the world. Defeating that is going to be very difficult. There is one lady in your corner who defends you from the blacklist, but ultimately you’ll have to take down all of the racers if you want your dignity back. Are you ready to challenge these guys or is it curtains for you?

At its core the main gameplay of Most Wanted is naturally racing. You have to beat the other cars to the goal. If we go more in depth, the game has a consistent flow chart of how things work out. To challenge a member of the blacklist (There are 10 people on the blacklist) you have to meet certain criteria. This includes: Complete 6 races, 5 Milestones, and achieve a certain amount of bounty. The races are self explanatory, but there are various types like Drag, Circuit, Sprint, Speed Trap, Lap Knockout, and a Time Attack. They all have differing rules but as long as you drive carefully and quickly you’ll be okay. I personally like Sprint and Speed Trap the most. Just boost at the right times and you’ll be set.

Milestones involve escaping the police and doing some time trials. These start out easy but by the end of the game they are quite difficult. For example, one milestone is to run from the cops for 13 minutes without being caught. You can definitely imagine that this is not very easy. If your car tips over then it’s likely over. There’s also the spike traps that are left out which serve as one hit KO attacks against your car. If you’re hit then it’s all over. The bounty also naturally goes up by destroying cop cars or surviving for a while.

Once you’ve taken down 1 or 2 members of the blacklist you’ll be able to see how the game goes from there. While there aren’t many cutscenes here there are still a few more than in the last game. I imagine that the number should keep going up as you go through the series. The cop takedown videos are pretty fun when you lose although it would be nice if they were skippable. By the end you’ll have seen them many times so they aren’t quite as hype by then.

The graphics are definitely pretty nice. The fact that this game finally takes place in the daytime is cool as it makes for a great contrast during the gameplay. It’s like you’re finally back in a real city. The soundtrack is pretty similar to the last one. At least you are given the option to disable songs you don’t like which is very handy. That is already a pretty big game changer if you ask me. The soundtrack isn’t amazing, but the tempo of the songs certainly fit the races.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. Even after you have beaten the game there are a bunch of races to play. Perhaps not as much as you may think, but certainly enough. You can also just have fun running from the cops for hours. It’s an aspect of the game that won’t get old. Then you’ve also got Challenge Mode which has over 50 things to tackle there. The final challenge is sort of like the final mission in the game as the cops have everyone after you. Don’t think it’ll be easy to evade those guys. This time they’re playing for keeps.

One interesting thing is that you can max out your car before the final two members of the Blacklist show up. You will literally have a car that has all its stat figures maxed out. That means that the final two cars aren’t even worth equipping as they are actually slower than yours. It’s an interesting decision and it was almost a bit odd. Still, I guess it shows that you just have to keep your driving at a high level because at the end they’ll all be matching you. I do recommend trying for the pink slips when you beat the rivals on the blacklist since getting a car is worth the odds.

Also, one thing I liked about the final blacklist race is how the villain appears to cheat which fits with his character. He’ll suddenly vanish from the map and appear in front of you or take a shortcut that you don’t have access to. He beat me once using these cheap tricks. It was cool though because I can’t think of a time a game has done that before and it just makes sense. He cheated the first time, why wouldn’t he do so now? The villain’s name was Razor I believe and while he’s definitely not even a good villain, I did like the voice. It oozed confidence from start to finish.

Overall, Need For Speed Most Wanted is definitely a great title. If you haven’t played a Need For Speed game then I’d say you should certainly start with this one. It’s got the huge hub world from Underground 2, but without the style point grinding. The story also takes more of a focus as you can choose to just do the story battles and go from there. The other games forced you to do a bunch of extra races. Next up is Carbon and I’m interested in seeing how that game is set up. It looks like it might be a bit shorter than these last few, but it’s still Need For Speed so we’ll see about that.

Overall 8/10

Need For Speed Underground 2 Review


It’s time to look at a Need For Speed game that I’ve been working on buying for many years. I beat the first Underground a while back, but I just hadn’t gotten around to buying this one. Well, recently I bought around 6-7 games in the series so now I can go on a little roll. This game was incredibly long so clearing the story was a daunting task, but one that I was prepared for. It’s definitely a great racing game with content that will last you a long time.

The story starts out with a bang as your character is ambushed by someone and your car as well as all of your money is stolen. People don’t remember you without the car so now you’ll have to start from scratch. Fortunately, a rich lady appears and agrees to help you out in exchange for conquering the Underground circuit. You decide to do so with one motive at hand, you want to crush Caleb, the guy who stole your stuff. Can you make it to the top or will he sabotage you before then?

I do like how the game continues from the first with this intro. It’s even a good in universe reason to explain why you’re back at the bottom even if people forgetting your name is a bit of a stretch. Still, the actual premise beats the execution. There aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes in this game and it’s not like the main character ever even appears. The cutscenes are done in comic book format and use moving stills rather than animation. So, the games have some room for improvement in the story, but at least this one did have a real story. I’ll give the title some credit there.

The gameplay is certainly on point. It brings you back to the simpler days of racing as you just drive to the goal using your skills. Eventually you are given the option to add a booster, but that’s as far out as it’ll go. As I’ve mentioned in the past, having a booster isn’t bad. It’s still pure racing and there’s a reason why Need for Speed is so well known. The franchise is just really good at doing what it does best, getting you into the zone. You’ll be dominating the rest of the cars by the end of the game as you master the controls and keep on improving your car.

You better make sure your car is on point because there are over 200 races in the game and if you have to replay all of them a few times to win…then you’re going to be here for a long while. You can clear the game after around 150 races at least, but that’s still a lot. The game is around 20 hours long and 100% completing it will take significantly longer than that. To help ease the repetition you can also go to shops and spruce up your ride a bit. Switching up how it looks should help quite a bit in the long run since it’ll feel like you’re racing an entirely different vehicle.

One thing to watch out for is the game’s visual reputation gimmick. There are 5 stages in the game and to get to the next one you always have to increase your car’s star value. The max is 10 and you typically need to increase it by 2 for every stage. So if you have run out of levels on a stage that is probably why you haven’t been able to go forward yet. Speaking of which, there are several kinds of races. First are the standard Circuit ones. Just drive to the goal to win. Then you have the best ones which are Drift. Just keep on turning to wrack up points and you’ll usually win the races by a rather huge margin to be honest. Street X races are sort of like mini races. You have to out drive the other cars on a very narrow track. Drag races are the toughest ones as you have to manually switch gears at the perfect time to win. The best thing to do is leave these til the end where you can cheese them with your booster.

The races that advance the plot are the URL ones which are typically a series of 2-3 races. Once you beat them then you move on. I do think it’s a little annoying how the game makes the races so long by the end though. Some races can go on for 6-10 minutes straight so when you lose them you’ve just lost a lot of time. I think a good race should always be 3-4 minutes tops. If you get beyond that then the race is too long. It’s almost a case of having too much content, but it’s under the same logic of how save points should be frequent and easy to access.

The graphics definitely look very solid here. It was definitely an interesting move to have the whole game take place at night. Honestly by the end I was hoping for some daylight levels, but the screens still look good. The cars are quite sharp and I always like the boost effect. It’s safe to say that these areas hold up. Unfortunately the soundtrack does not. I ended up having to turn off most of the music themes in the game and the ones that I left on aren’t exactly great. It’s a very weak soundtrack which isn’t all that surprising as EA in general tends to overdo it with their selection. Still, you don’t hear the tunes quite as much when you’re playing Madden and in general I think that series was better at it.

Overall, Need For Speed Underground 2 is a great racing game. You really can’t ask for much more out of the genre. It’s got a story and over 200 races. There is also a multiplayer mode to have fun with. I see this as being the definitive Need For Speed title, but we’ll see if it can hold on to that. Next up is Most Wanted which seems to have a better story and it finally brings in the pursuit mechanics, but it may come at the expense of a multiplayer mode. Either way I’ll start on that one soon, but with Kingdom Hearts III coming out it may take a little longer to complete than I would have expected otherwise. If you haven’t played this game yet then you should change that. It’s definitely a title that you will want up your sleeve.

Overall 8/10

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review


It’s time to look at the recent Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Collection. I’ve played all of the Kingdom Heart games previously but this collection brought a new adventure featuring Aqua and also has a movie which serves as a prequel to the series. As a result, I played those, but didn’t play the Dream Drop Distance remake so my review will not be addressing this one. I also won’t count it towards the score to make it fair despite knowing how the game works. Just a slight disclaimer up front.

Following the events of BBS, Aqua is now in the shadow realm. She been here for many years to the point where she had lost track of time and is slowly falling into the darkness. Still, Aqua has not given up and continues to try to find a way out. Can she escape this place?

0.2 is very short of course as it’s more of a prologue than a full game. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was initially going to be included in KH3 as the intro. It would be an ambitiously long one which would fit the series. It’s a lot of fun and also works well as a preview of how the next KH will play. It has a lot of polish in the gameplay and it’s fun throwing out the ole combos. A new mechanic or a least one that I didn’t remember is that you can now charge up a flurry of energy blasts to send at your opponent. It came in real handy during the final boss. The game is actually fairly difficult as you can’t really grind your level up to make it easy. You’ve just gotta roll with the level that is pre set. There did seem to be at least one cluster of heartless that you could maybe stay with to gain levels but it would take a long time and since the game isn’t very long it wouldn’t be all that worth it.

The graphics are definitely excellent and could pass for being a movie. 0.2 still has the best opening out of all the KH titles as well, managing to beat out KH2 from the top spot. The song is definitely on point and I think it works as a good recap to BBS. These openings have always been very recaps and I look forward to seeing KHIII’s. As expected the soundtrack is also very good. I’ve heard the final boss themes many times as it played during the modded Smash 4’s final destination. It’s a 5 star ost to match the rest of the game.

As far as replay value goes, there isn’t much here but you could try to grab all of the treasure chests and such to make sure you get all the trophies. Beating the game on proud mode will also probably be very hard and time consuming. The game thrives on quality over quantity.

Of course we also have the movie which is about an hour. This serves as a prequel to the whole franchise which is cool. Of course we learned about the Great Keyblade War from BBS, but the movie shows what got the war started. There was a mysterious being who could see the future and he quickly got some pupils. He gave them all different tasks which nobody else could know. Then the master vanished. The prophecies quickly start to create a gap between the pupils and by the end you feel as though the war is inevitable. It’s definitely one of those fairly mysterious films where it doesn’t answer too many of the questions you may have. It’s more about understanding the basic premise of the origin and how we got to the war than exploring the timeline.

It does a good job of doing that and each of the characters got a good amount of personality in this stretch in time. Prophecies can make people paranoid so it’s no surprise that everyone started to turn on each other by the end. They definitely don’t have the bonds that Sora and the others possess. The film is pretty fast paced and it will keep you entertained. I think showing it all at once like this is better than just giving bits and pieces through a game as it would probably be jarring to be fighting Sephiroth and afterwards you are suddenly in a flashback.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 is definitely a great game. 0.2 is another excellent expansion to the Kingdom Hearts series and the movie was pretty interesting. It is fairly short which just barely keeps it from the 9 but keep in mind that this is all by not counting the first game. For those of you buying the game and haven’t played the first one, then this quite easily jumps up to a 9. Either way I highly recommend buying this game and you better hurry since Kingdom Hearts III is right around the corner.

Overall 8/10

Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Brittania Review


Time to look at another game. This time the title in question is Seven Deadly Sins. This game is based on a manga that I have to give a hard thumbs down. Still, I figured that the game wouldn’t have the same issues that the manga has and it is a 3D action game with a duel mode so you can’t go wrong there. It’s definitely fun and while the gameplay does not feel quite as polished as other similar games it gets the job done.

The game starts with the princess of a corrupt kingdom escaping and deciding to seek out the legendary Seven Deadly Sins to help her reclaim it. The problem is that they have been lost to the world for many years. Elizabeth manages to find the leader who is currently operating a tavern and decides to stick with him to find the others. Fortunately he is looking for the others as well so this works out quite nicely. Their opponents are the legendary Holy Knights who have been tainted with power and corruption.

The gameplay is pretty much how you would imagine it. There are less enemies than usual so calling it more of an action title than a beat em up seems pretty fitting. Naturally then the duel mode plays out more like a traditional fighting game. Each character has their normal attacks and power moves. Additionally they can use various super attacks and a final smash of sorts. Using these techniques at the right time will be the difference between victory and defeat. The game can get slightly challenging towards the end but never to the point where you will be stuck for any long period of time. At most you may just lose once or twice.

This is probably the first 3D styled game like this where some of the characters aren’t all that fun to play though. Most of them are good with their traditional attacks, strengths and weaknesses. However, a few characters just seem so bad and rigid that it’s hard to see yourself wanting to play as them. King is a good example of this. He can’t fight up close and is purely a long range fighter. His attacks all use up energy meter as well so sometimes you’ll have to resort to running and hiding until your energy gets back. You can see how this would get old. Fortunately you only have to actually play as him 2-3 times. I’m sure he has some kind of strengths to offset such a massive weakness, but I couldn’t find it. While simpler than other fighting games, you’ll still get to engage in a lot of fun brawls.

The graphics look pretty good. This style has worked pretty well for the various anime fighters. It does a good job of keeping each character model detailed and the game is easy to see at a glance. In particular the ultimate attacks are always fun to see. The soundtrack is on the repetitive side, but fortunately the tunes are quite solid. The danger tune is on point and helps to amp up the tension.

The actual story is fairly short at around 4 hours but there is a good amount of replay value to be had. First of all there is multiplayer mode which always adds in a whole lot to do. There are a reasonable amount of characters to keep the matches fresh and inventive. For single player content the game ends once you have assembled 6 of the deadly sins. As you can imagine there is a 7th one hiding somewhere. To get him and 100% the story you have to go through the various taverns and complete the bonus missions. They’re all very quick so these missions won’t feel tedious. It’s a good way of extending the game and as I mentioned in my tank review, it’s the right way to extend it. Lock some good bonus content behind the extra stuff, just don’t keep the story imprisoned. I could see myself going back to complete these missions at some point in the future, even if just to get some more characters to fight with since I’m currently missing a few.

Overall, Seven Deadly Sins is a pretty fun game. It hits all of the right notes and has a great balance of gameplay and technical merits helping it along. The game’s layout is very simple, as is the world map. Initially I thought the rumor system was rather pointless but as it is just a fancy way of saying that you unlock new levels as you beat old ones I suppose I can get behind that. Might as well differentiate your game a bit right? I’d definitely recommend giving this game a shot. It has a lot going for it and at the end of the day there’s just a lot to like here. Even the main characters here are a lot more likable than in the actual manga so the game did a really good job of bringing out the best in everyone.

Overall 8/10

Driver: You Are The Wheelman Review


Driver is one of the first racing games that I ever got to play and it was always a fun one. It was certainly the first open world driving game that I had ever played. The game really holds up well and honestly you can entertain yourself for many hours just by driving around. Even without the story this game has a lot of depth and with it…well this ends up being one of the greatest driving games out there. I can see the appeal of Grand Theft Auto’s driving aspect if it’s anything like this and I look forward to checking out the Driver sequels.

The plot can be a bit hard to follow but you seem to be a double agent for the cops. You infiltrate the mafia by pretending to be one of them and from there you work on getting their trust. By the end you have to try to put an end to their plot. In many ways this feels like the basic synopsis for one of the Fast and the Furious films. As you might have guessed the plot wasn’t exactly the more interesting aspect of the game. I’m glad the game had it of course and it wasn’t bad, just a bit on the generic side.

The gameplay is where this title really shines. The driving is incredibly smooth. Dare I say that this may be one of the best titles in the whole genre on that regard? You can’t even compare this to a lot of the other big titles like Need For Speed. (Although I haven’t played the more modern ones yet) You never have to worry about quick turns or anything like that. If you want to drive somewhere or dodge obstacles you will be able to do so without a problem. It’s these basic things that help make Driver so good. The fundamentals are all completely on point.

This may be a given, but I also like how the battles with the cops play out. You can choose to either run away from them entirely or engage. If you engage then you need to total their car without getting totaled yourself. You can take out 2-3 police cars before you eventually have to stick to running. It’s fun to try and get your crime meter all the way to the top and then see how long you last. Once the police start throwing out the roadblocks then your time is nearly up. Those things are really hard to get around although sometimes there is a slight gap for you. Otherwise you have to try and do a quick 180 but that’s usually just about impossible in that situation.

The stages are also huge. It’s fun driving around the city. You can stop by the park if you like or head to the highway for some fast driving. You won’t need to pass by the same place twice for a very long time unless you want to. The weather also changes as you go from day to night and sometimes it will also be raining. The effects are pretty fun even if they don’t change the actual gameplay all that much. Unfortunately my TV still can’t handle old gen games too well so I really couldn’t see much of anything while playing these sections. It’s why I was unable to handle the final level in the game. Trust me, this game can be super difficult if you are unable to see where you are going or anything like that.

The difficulty is nothing to sneeze at either way though. Some of the levels are reasonably difficult here even if you can see. I think you can take off a point or two from the difficulty level once you can see but don’t underestimate the cops or the mafia chasing you. Practice makes perfect and just work on your turning skills til you can shake them without even thinking about it. That will be the moment when you can really take off. Alternately just see how long you can follow the rules in free roam. I would try that for a while, but eventually I would go back to driving at top speed and just having a blast running around. It’s really hard to go slow for long.

As for the graphics, they are top notch for the PS1. This game could easily pass for a PS2 game. The models for the cars and levels are excellent and there is a lot of attention to detail here. The soundtrack also isn’t bad although it is a little less impressive. Between the fairly long story and the fee roam this game has a ton of replay value. It’s a car game that you will find yourself going back to time and time again. It took me over 10 years to finally get back to this game, but it was certainly worth it. I have a PS3 Driver game, but I think I’ve got to go through a few others before that one so it still could be a little while til I’m back with this franchise.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. There aren’t a whole lot of open world car games. I think it would probably get old if too many people did it, but as this is my first experience naturally it was a whole lot of fun. Of course, the game is quite old so it’s understandable if you don’t want to go that far back. Maybe it’s on the PSN or something. Now there are only 2 more PS1 games for me to go through and since Tarzan isn’t working I basically just have one left. That’s definitely not too bad if I do say so myself!

Overall 8/10