Bleach the 3rd Phantom Review

Now this is a game that I’ve owned for generations but never went around to beating it. The game’s just so crazy long and back then I wouldn’t have made it. Well, I finally got to play the game from start to finish now and it’s a lot of fun. Be prepared to be here for a while though as the game definitely takes its time with you. Be prepared to grind out some extra level ups and use some cheese as well. Without that you will be in for a rough time here.

The game starts off by introducing us to two siblings named Fujimaru and Matsuri. They grew up in the rough part of Soul Society but get taken in by Captain Seigen and his sister Konoka. They decide to look after the kids and eventually they grow up into fine Soul Reapers. Their time together is cut short when they disappear into a time portal through to the future. Now Seigen is on the side of darkness along with Matsuri while Konoka is no more. Can Fujimaru find out exactly what happened? Also…why is Aizen poised to be the greatest threat that the heroes have ever fought?

The game has 25 chapters and each one can take over an hour so you’ve got a lot to do here. I dare say that you may even spend over 50 hours here by the end of its run. The game does not hold back on how long the levels can be and even some of the cutscenes can be on the long side. So this isn’t a game that you can rush through and as a result we also get quite a lot of story to discuss. That’s for sure. A lot happens here across the two time periods.

First we should talk about the gameplay style here. It’s a tactics game so the idea is to maneuver your pieces around the board and attack the enemy when you have a type advantage. Don’t get greedy here and just take what they give you. You will be moving up to 9 characters at a time. Once you have moved everyone once then it is the opponent’s turn so you have to wait as they attack. The idea is to pick your moment so that you can attack and take the opponent down without eating a counter attack.

There’ a whole lot to describe here if I was going to go into detail on how to play a tactics game but I’ll let you look that part up. It’s fairly self descriptive anyway. You just have to find out exactly how to move everyone and what combination of moves to use. Once you have that figured out then you’ve already won half the battle. Each character can move, attack, use a skill, use an item, or raise spirit pressure. Raising your pressure lets you recover spirit energy quicker which is used to activate your skills or bankai. So naturally you want to have a lot of that at all times.

I didn’t take advantage of the items much until the end but I can definitely tell you that they came in handy. One key thing to always remember here is to keep your healer in the back. Healing usually takes up a lot of health if you’re Orihime or isn’t versatile if you’re using someone like Shiho. You have to take all of that into account when playing through the levels.

Additionally, be careful when you have to split up your team. If you put everyone on one side then the other team will end up being in a tough spot. Try to keep it as balanced as possible. Worst case if you forget you can quickly grind by using free battle. You can do this while at the character selection screen through the options. This lets you raise everyone’s level in the bonus stage. Still, you need to be careful because hypothetically you could find yourself in a position where your team is unable to beat the practice level. If that happens then there is no way to train and you’d have to start the game again. I can definitely say that I did get a little nervous during some levels in the game due to this.

Also, one tip for the final boss. The final level is a really long one and the final boss has 8000 health points while more enemies only have about 1000. That means you’re going to be in for 30+ turns of trying to take him out. The thing to know is that he can attack in any row he is facing and can seal your attacks if you get too close. He cannot hit you at a diagonal angle though so that’s how I got him. Slow and steady was my measure as I gradually drained the energy out of him while he couldn’t retaliate. It’s a tough strategy but one that saved my bacon there. I highly recommend having a strong projectile user like Uryu at the ready to pull this off. Also make sure that you upgrade each character between levels.

I’m mixed on if you should upgrade your sword or go with pure stats. I went with the sword but there were a lot of times where it didn’t seem to help much and I wondered if I should have just paid more attention to health and attack points. Those were the 2 main stats I would raise aside from the sword. Personally that’s probably a better deal than the sword so keep that in mind. I could talk more on the gameplay but I do think you get the general idea here.

The graphics are pretty solid. I would have liked some true cutscenes though instead of images all the time. I feel like the DS could have pulled this off. Ah well, the story is a lot of fun either way and I do like the visual effects here. Activating Bankai always feels fancy in a very good way. You can tell that the technique will make a difference in combat. Some Bankai are better than others but they’re all still better than not having one. I didn’t unlock Fujimaru’s though so I ended up playing without it.

The soundtrack is surprisingly good as well. There are some fun tunes here and the game knew how to get that danger feeling across. There’s a good variety of tunes here as well so you don’t have to worry about hearing the game one too often. In terms of replay value, the main campaign is so long that you don’t even need it. Still, there is a lot since you unlock the Bleach Tower where you get to go through all of the floors and take out a bunch of enemies. Apparently the main campaign is short next to the tower so take that as you will. I can’t say I would be too tempted to try my might up there. It would just take too long plus having the story is definitely a good chunk of the fun.

It was nice to see Aizen and friends here to take some names. He definitely gets a lot of respect in the game as you’d expect. Fujimaru is the main character here and I thought he was okay. He’s not really my kind of character as he slacks off/goofs off way too much but he tries his best by the end. Matsuri is way too gullible which hurts her character. She doesn’t have a lot of conviction of her own which ends up putting her in a sticky situation. Seigen suffers from the same issues to an extent. He gets suckered a lot but the guy does have conviction. Unfortunately he just tends to join the wrong side which isn’t a good look. You absolutely understand why he’s so upset but even so, he’s just going to the wrong side here.

Konoka is more on the side of reason. She’s a fun character through and through who tries her best. Finally you have Shiyo who is a bit too clumsy for her own good. This holds her back considerably. I would have liked to have seen Ichigo be the main character here and I suppose he already gets to be the lead all the time but it would have been nice to see him take names. Now he’s got to share the spotlight for a change.

Overall, This is a game that will require a lot of patience because of how long every match is. Tactic type games really are meant to have you focus on every play so it’s hard to go too fast. I would often be reading while playing because of how long every turn takes. I think there should have been a way to turn off attack animations or something like that but it’s not the kind of thing that would end up hurting the game’s score. I would still say this one was great. There is a lot of attention to the Bleach mythos so you really shouldn’t be disappointed here. It did everything it could to be one of the definitive Bleach titles and it was also cool to see the Wii game’s villain return. That guy was always pretty fun even if he couldn’t match up to Aizen. If you want to check out a tactical game, this is the one for you!

Overall 8/10

The King of Fighters XV Review

Reaching 15 games is a great accomplishment for any series. Of course when you count spinoffs then this series already passed that number but 15 in just the main-line is even more impressive. While the story isn’t as big as in some of the other games, everyone has their classic Arcade Mode here so you’ll be playing a lot of stories. With solid gameplay at the ready you can bet that this game is a full success.

The story is that the next tournament has been announced so everybody is invited. Most of the characters share the same intro this time around so you might not know the reason they are all entering but you can make good guesses based on the endings. The main teams here are the ones led by Isla and Shun’ei. They both still need to work on mastering their psychic abilities and there may be something more to this tournament. When a mysterious cosmic being known as Re-Verse appears, the teams will have to fight hard to stop her. What if she is even more powerful than Verse from the last game? The heroes can’t let their guard down for a moment!

I have to admit that I would have liked a bit more of a story though. Even the classic opening and ending routine would have felt a bit better since everyone gets two shots. With most of the teams only getting the ending it felt like the story may have been rushed a bit. Make sure you check the gallery before playing though as it will let you know which characters get different versions of the cutscenes aside from the ending. Usually you will have your character rival cutscene during the story as well so be on the lookout for those.

Re-Verse makes for a cool villain and she even has a super form. The battle is also quite difficult in her final form when you’re playing on standard mode. I always start with standard mode but for the rest of the stories I made the settings as quick as possible to get through them. If you are fighting her, make sure you block a lot. It’s a 3 vs 1 fight against the boss so it may sound easy but her attacks hit like a truck. You can’t underestimate her or it’ll all be over. You get unlimited continues but you still want to win as soon as you can.

Isla’s group makes for a solid rival team. Isla herself is a good rival and she even gets some solid development in her own story. She isn’t quite ready to take the main character spot away from the others but I’d like to see her appear more in the sequel. Shun’ei is also a good lead even if he’s no Kyo. I like his confidence and he is getting better at mastering his abilities so he is no longer a novice at this point. Kyo and Terry are still the two big powerhouses to watch out for though.

Aside from the story mode you’ve got a lot of other content like the tutorials, vs modes, online battles, etc. Multiplayer automatically gives a game unlimited replay value as far as I’m concerned because you can always have fun playing more rounds. Without PS+ the online option may not be applicable but there’s always local in that case. The gameplay is also very solid and I started to get the hang of the combos by the end. I had to learn a lot of the different techniques to obtain the PS4 trophies which was handy for the matches.

Obtaining the Platinum would take a while here but it’s certainly something else you can shoot for. Especially if you have PS+, then a lot of these trophies will be more obtainable. Naturally the graphics here are really quite solid. Everything is in HD and the attacks are all very bright. It definitely feels good landing big attacks for that reason. The soundtrack is solid and we get a new main theme which plays during all of the endings. I’d say that it’s pretty good. It’s got a catchy beat to it and raises the tension since it’s the perfect cliffhanger kind of theme. The lyrical song from the last game also returns and of course I like Re-Verse’s themes that play during the game.

There is an album feature here so you can go back and listen to the songs at any time. There’s even an option where you can pick what song plays for each stage like in Super Smash Bros. It may seem like a little thing but I’m really glad that you can do that. This way you make sure that the best song is playing at all times which is always a good idea. When you can choose like this, why would you choose anything but the best right?

For the combat I would recommend playing through the tutorials. Not only is it good because of the trophies that you get but there are a lot of different concepts here and you want to know them all. Gone are the days where you would just punch and kick your way to victory. Now you’ve got a bunch of other techniques up your sleeve and you won’t even know the names or how to use them if you haven’t properly learned how to do it. Button mashing and spacing can only get you so far after all. Find your 3 main characters and then you’ll be all set. For me that would be Kyo, Terry, and Shun’ei, the 3 main characters across generations in a sense. Perhaps the obvious picks but their gameplays were all very solid to me.

Overall, The King of Fighters XV is definitely a great follow up to the series. It brings back everything you like about the series like the great gameplay and a solid story mode. I think the story could have been more expansive/included more unique cutscenes but at the end of the day it’s more like a bonus than the focus here. The character roster is a good size so no issues there and I’m sure the game will be getting DLC for a while to include some bonus fighters. It’s always fun to see what the cast will look like by the end since if we get enough waves it can almost double.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon Legends: Arceus Review

This game got a ton of hype when it was first announced. After all, Pokemon was finally entering the open world genre! That’s a really huge deal no matter how you slice it. I was definitely excited to see how this would go and I would say the game absolutely succeeds. I think there are a few small things that keep me from putting this at a 9 but either way it’s a big success and I want to see a sequel at some point. There’s just so much that you can do with this game.

The adventure starts off with Terry falling out of a portal and landing in Hsui. In this land, people are scared of Pokemon. There are two main factions, Diamond and Pearl. They both worship the all mighty Sinnoh but disagree on if that being is all about space or time. Terry ends up joining the Galactic Patrol which is a group that has recently moved into Hsui and doesn’t want to anger either group. As a result they do their best to help out whenever possible and now Terry will assist in this mission. Still, why has Terry arrived here? Is it possible that he’s a villain just here to stir up trouble for everyone? He will have to prove himself by completing missions which will raise his star rank. If he raises it enough then good things may happen.

There is a good deal of story here which is nice. I wouldn’t say it’s the most ambitious Pokemon story as that has to be Pokemon Black but a great deal of effort was put into this one without a doubt. For starters, there is a lot of good world building in Hsui and it all ties up nicely at the end. The supporting cast is also solid. Most of them may turn chicken at the end when the going gets tough but they’re all entertaining enough. A few characters get off real easy by the end though. So trust nobody and just keep developing your skills because not all of these guys are Terry’s allies. The game has quite a few twists and turns within it. Some you will likely see coming and others you won’t. There’s a good balance of things happening here and so you’re always kept on guard.

Arceus is also one of the more challenging Pokemon games by the end. You’re not necessarily playing Pokemon for the challenge but it does make the whole climax feel that much more rewarding since you really need to earn it. There are effectively 3 endings to the game here. The base ending, the post game ending, and then the true ending. I went for the first two and may go for the third at some point. The last one isn’t so much difficult as it is very time consuming. Although it’s fair to say that this is difficult in its own way since it’s hard to make up that much time.

The post game ending will put you through your paces though. I had to grind for a few hours to get my guys strong enough for the challenge and let me tell you…grinding is not exactly normal for a Pokemon game. It is very rare indeed that you will ever have to do it. This game embraces its RPG roots though as there are multiple phases to the final boss. I was rather impressed. I didn’t beat the boss in one shot but I certainly gave it a good shot right from the jump.

Now going back to the gameplay, there’s a lot to it here. For the free roam part, you run around the map with your items and Pokemon. You can throw Pokeballs at Pokemon before they spot you to try and catch them. Most Pokemon can be caught straight up like this. For the ones that are higher leveled and keep breaking out, you can throw your Pokemon out to weaken them and then throw your Pokeball. You can also use berries to get their guard down. Sometimes you’ll even want to beat Pokemon instead of catching them to improve your Pokedex.

See, there is a big difference here compared to other Pokemon games. Catching a Pokemon doesn’t end their Pokedex entry. You have to complete 10 tasks relating to a Pokemon to get it to completed status within your Pokedex. This will include tasks that range from catching that Pokemon to beating it, to feeding it, or even watching a move. Each Pokemon seems to have close to 50 tasks so choosing 10 out of those isn’t so bar. Of course 10 for each Pokemon means that you will have to complete over 2300 tasks. If you want a truly complete Pokedex (Not necessary for the true ending) then the number will be over 10,000. Quite the journey eh?

I don’t expect you will get very far in completing the Dex by the time you complete the game. That said, it is always fun to add a few more entries to your list. You can examine Pokemon from afar to see the status of all their missions so you know right away if engaging them is even worth it. Catching or defeating a Pokemon will always give EXP but in the latter parts of the game it is low enough where you’ll probably want to skip them if you’ve already completed the entry. The best place to farm exp is certainly by beating a wild Blissey over and over again. Nothing else is even close if you ask me.

You can also go around completing missions and finding lost items. The lost items seem to be infinite so you may not want to bother with that one. It increases your “merit” score though but I’m not even sure what that does. I got our score to over 1000 but didn’t notice any changes within the game. Completing missions is always a good idea though as it can help generate new missions plus there is a finite amount of these. So once you finish all of the missions that’s it. They give really good rewards too like rare candy. I managed to beat a good chunk of the missions, I want to say over half but if not, it was close to that amount. Some of the missions are simple like catching a Pokemon while others will require a lot of leg work.

As the game goes on you will be able to fly and swim in the water which are really handy. The sections of the world are rather big after all. Then you have the combat gameplay which is a bit weaker than the average Pokemon game. I suspect this is because most of the budget went into the open world part and this was just the bonus. It still works and the rules are pretty much the same but it feels like almost every attack takes the other out in one hit thanks to the new strong style feature. So if my opponent goes first then I lose a fighter and if I go first then I take one out. It feels like the attacks are just a bit too overpowered here.

I do appreciate how switching Pokemon doesn’t cost you a turn though. That is incredibly useful in the final battles as those could have been difficult without that feature. This way it’s like you get a free turn every now and again. You’ve also got crafting which is a way to build items out of resources. It’s a handy little feature but I never really used it much. In the early parts of the game you don’t have enough materials and by late game it’s easier to just buy whatever you need. I highly recommend completing the shop side quests whenever possible so you can upgrade his wares. Once you do this 3-4 times he will start selling Ultra Balls and Max Revives which are absolutely necessary. Earning money can be difficult here until you’re in the end game but then beating Blissey will get you a good amount of money through the item drops.

Now I do have some issues with the game. Mainly they are quality of life features or lack thereof which is what keeps this from being a 9. First off, the bag is way too small. You’ll get constant messages that your bag is full when you try to pick something up. I even went to the one guy who gives you more bag space and bought a ton of slots but it’s not enough. (Also it’s crazy how you’re charged big money for a single slot) There are way more kinds of items in the game than item spots to grab. The issue here is that you then have to throw stuff out which could be handy later on.

I didn’t think it was necessary to make the bag so small. Also, going back to the money angle, since it’s hard to earn money at times, that means you will often be running low on Pokeballs which can be a bit annoying when you are trying to catch a lot of Pokemon. You’ve then got to leave and return. There is no way to leave and then quick travel to a different location either. You always have to go back to home base and then set out again. It’s a small thing but that mans you have to click through the various text boxes every time you want to switch areas which adds up.

It’s little areas like that which feel like they could have been more polished. A few more months may have helped the game with a few of these features. Some missions give the compass some trouble and things like that. Still, these are all what I would consider minor quality of life improvements. The important thing here is that you will still be having fun the whole time. I could barely put the game down as I played through the whole campaign. The game’s length is also pretty good at around 20-22 hours. That’s a solid length and of course there is a ton of replay value.

I don’t see how you can catch all of the Pokemon to unlock the true ending in under 30-40 hours. If you want to complete all tasks for all Pokemon then that’s probably even longer. So you’re not going to run out of content here, that’s for sure. I still consider this to be a Pokemon spinoff game and not the next in the main line series but it’s got enough content to be one, that’s for sure. You can play this for a very long time and with all the missions around as well, you’re likely looking at 50-60 hours total.

The graphics were a big deal leading up to the game since everyone pointed out how they don’t look so great. Yes, it’s true that this doesn’t compare to any of the big Switch games. It’s GameFreak though and they’re known for being as cheap as possible while still coming out with the game. I can’t say that I’m surprised they did not spend the extra budget to make this title look amazing. Even with that being said, this is still a good looking game. Just because it’s not top tier doesn’t mean that it is bad. There are a lot of nice sceneries and effects thrown in here.

Trust me when I say that you won’t have any issues when playing through the game. It still looks good and I would play a sequel that looks just like this one in a heartbeat. The soundtrack is quite good though. I like all of the remixes here. The wild Pokemon theme and the trainer theme are both a lot of fun. The absolute best theme in the game is definitely the Giratina remix though. The most powerful moment in the whole game and the theme is very fitting. It really fills you with energy and after beating the game this was the first track from the title that I looked up. It’ll be hard to go back to the normal tune after this.

Overall, Pokemon Legends: Arceus is a very solid game. I think the lack of Arceus in a game named after him can be disappointing for some but I’m not particularly a big fan of his so I was cool with that. The game is great and I liked the story around it. We got some real villains here and a ton of lore. All of the final scenes are really serious and make you feel the danger surrounding the characters. Some quality of life updates would be greatly appreciated so maybe they could put in some free DLC. Like trying to find Pokemon when you have to deal with the usuals each time can be a bit tedious. If there was a way to filter out Pokemon that you have mastered the entry for, that would be awesome. With some Pokemon only showing up at night or in the day, I’m glad you can change the time at any camp but that also takes some time. With a little more polish this game would be near perfect but either way I would recommend picking it up right away. There’s just to much to do here that you almost don’t know where to start when talking about it. There’s plenty of stuff I haven’t even touched upon myself in this review so when you start the game you’ll be in for some surprises!

Overall 8/10

Blaster Master Zero 3 Review

Blaster Master’s been a pretty fun series. It has the exploration components from Shankar and then your classic Metroid shooting gameplay. There is some extra variety since you can switch gameplay styles from the ship to fighting as a human too. Throw in an excellent plot and you’ve got yourself a great game here. It’s a good way to end the Blaster Master epic.

After the events of the second game, Eve and Jason are kidnapped by the government. Our lead isn’t sure why this is happening after he already helped save the world in the second game. Fortunately the area is attacked and he is able to escape in the confusion. He meets up with his old enemy Leibniz who was also attacked by the government and they ended up destroying his ship. This means they will have to reluctantly team up now. The only clue Jason has is that the government is seeking to destroy Eve because she may be in league with the monsters. Jason doesn’t believe this and has to get to her before it’s too late.

Game 2 had multiple endings similar to this one and the one I got was not exactly the true ending so this one ended up picking up at a different spot than I left it. There is a quick flashback/explanation of the first two games though so it’s easy to know what’s going on right from the jump. This game also has a true ending and it’s pretty creative how you unlock it. I dare say you won’t get it naturally on your first try but you’ll be ready for the second. I haven’t gone after the secret ending myself but it’s something I could see myself having fun with some day.

The story here is very engaging right from the start. The quest to find Eve is exciting and there’s always a lot happening. The only slow part of the game is when we run into Kanna in the veggie planet. We learn a bit about her and all but this really felt like filler. Once we got back in the chase for Eve then things got really good again. We also got to meet Kane who is apparently the main character of the Japanese version of the original game. He gets a good role here so his fans should be pleased.

For the most part this is a fairly small cast that we’re working with here so the dialogue needs to be sharp. I can say that the game pulls it off and in particular I had a lot of fun with Leibniz. For the longest time I thought he was the main character from an alternate dimension but by now I have to accept that he’s just a guy who was in a really similar situation only things didn’t work out well for him. I can definitely see how the guy got jaded very quickly. Would have been nice to have seen him actually go into the field and help us in battle at one point.

The graphics here are definitely sharp. The game really captures that Megaman ZX feeling throughout. It’s futuristic and full of energy as everything is all happening at once. The attacks look nice and the illustrations for the cutscenes are really good too. These are all amplified by the excellent soundtrack that is playing throughout the game. There isn’t a large variety but each time is great so when you add them up then you have a very satisfying roster here. In a technical level the game never fails and that isn’t surprising since Blaster Master has always been good at delivering on its Sci fi elements.

I also liked the gameplay a lot. 2D shooters are fun and when you also factor in all the sub weapons and movement options, there is a lot of depth to the gameplay. You’re not going to just run in and take names or you’ll lose your energy quickly. Particularly before you learn how to hover you have to go forward with caution. As your machine grows stronger you are able to engage in every fight which is nice since you really feel the character’s progression into being a mighty warrior. Then for the dungeons where the machine can’t fit, you go in on foot and the gameplay becomes more of an overhead adventure with your blaster. It’s a different gameplay style that is still similar enough where you can easily transition between the two. You can also access the VRW world which boosts all of your abilities but it’s supposed to be dangerous to stay in there for too long. I didn’t use this a ton outside of the areas where you have to use it but I like the transformation effects and how everything changes while inside of that world. So in a way you have 3 different styles here and the best part is how responsive it all feels. You’re always in complete control of what’s going on.

The length of the game is pretty good as well. I’d say it’s around 7 hours or so and then you have the bonus endings and power ups to get which should take you to 10+. You can also try to get the Platinum trophy so when you consider all of that, you’re getting a good bang for your buck. Even without the replay value the main story is strong enough where you would be feeling good about this either way.

Overall, Blaster Master 3 is a great game and I dare say it’s the best title in the trilogy. It takes all the good aspects from the first two games and keeps them going with good momentum. The story is as good as ever and the graphics/soundtrack is on point. Hopefully we do end up getting more games with these characters but if not I think we can safely say that it was a satisfying ride. By the end you will feel like the true Blaster Master!

Overall 8/10

Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered Review

I was never all that familiar with the Ni No Kuni title. I had heard of it since Level 5 games always get a good amount of publicity but I can’t say I knew anything about the plot. Well, it was definitely a very satisfying RPG and a rather long one as it took me a full 30 hours. After playing it I can definitely say that this is a winner and a really solid title. It’s also unique enough where you can’t call it quite like any others. I would certainly like to see more games in this series.

The story introduces us to a kid named Oliver who decides to go out one night to try out his friend’s car. Unfortunately he ends up crashing and while Oliver’s mother is able to save him, she dies in the process. Now Oliver is broken inside as he blames himself for this happening. One day his stuffed animal Drippy becomes sentient and lets Oliver know that there is still a way to save his mother. See, there’s a parallel world where everyone has a double. If Oliver can save his mother’s double then he will also be able to save her. Oliver agrees to do this and stop the evil wizard Shadar. Along the way he meets several allies and friends who will help him out. If Oliver can spread joy to many, he can begin to save lives and souls wherever he goes.

I will say that from the start this does seem a bit suspect though. So as we play through the game you see that if one person is sad then their double in the other world is sad as well. Emotions and everything transfer. If you die in one world then you die in the other. Wait a minute……lets focus on that last part. So if Oliver’s mother died in the real world then she would have died in the other world too so there’s nobody left to save right? Oh nooooooooooo. I mean it’s impossible not to be thinking about that immediately. The question is just if Drippy is intentionally misleading Oliver or if there’s some reason why this would be an exception. Naturally you’ll have to wait until the end to see what is really going on here but I remember thinking about this right from the start. If both souls are linked throughout then that’s bad news for Oliver’s chances.

The gameplay is classic turn based although you are able to move while attacking. In that sense it’s the most similar to .Hack which also had turn based combat but you could move around to gather energy, items, and try to make the other player miss. It’s a good way to add some energy to the usual turn based combat although I tend to enjoy it either way. You can fight as Oliver or you can play as one of up to 3 creatures you control. You can switch in and out at any time though which is really good for strategy. Let me tell you now that you will want to be switching in and out a whole lot here. You can’t stick with any monster for too long anyway since there is a time limit. So I would usually go to my monster for the fighting and would switch back to Oliver when it was time to heal.

You can also capture monsters later on to add them to your team like in Pokemon. For about 80-90% of the game I didn’t use Oliver almost at all aside from healing but then towards the end you learn 2 spells that are extremely powerful. At that point I stopped using the monsters and would play as Oliver exclusively. Trust me when I say that the spells are that good. Use your two allies to draw enemy fire while you charge them up though as the spells take a while to work. Your allies will probably lose a lot though as they have a hard time blocking. You can tell them to go on defense mode by pressing square but they’ll ignore you half the time since they’re already in the middle of a spell.

Don’t worry about them so much but make sure you end up blocking the attack. It reduces the damage by around 90% and also causes the enemy to drop some health/mp bubbles and sometimes even a full recovery that gives you a final smash. You don’t want to miss out on that. There is a lot of strategic elements to keep in mind here but you’ll have all of the mechanics down before long. The game is rather difficult either way though so don’t expect to just breeze on by it. I had to grind out a lot of EXP throughout the game and even then the bosses were challenging. On the final boss I lost on the final phase when the health was in the red the first time which stung. You just have to keep going at the enemies though and get your guys into the mid 50s for level. If you go higher then even better but I wouldn’t really try if your guys are too low. Just hang back and train for a bit longer.

The graphics are really solid here. We have full anime cutscenes, cgi rendered cutscenes, and then classic text boxes with voice acting. The game is very well polished and it’s clear that a lot of budget went into this one. The world looks really good even when you’re not in a cutscene. I definitely had no issues with how the visuals looked at all. This is a winning title. The soundtrack is also good even if it’s not super memorable. It does the job of getting you through the game. I do have a bit of an obscure issue with the sound mixing though. There are 3 styles of cutscenes as I mentioned and each one has a different volume level. The problem with that is that it’s hard to have the volume set up since some cutscenes will be too low one way or too loud the other. It’s a rare issue that has only popped up in a handful of games but it’s worth mentioning. It’s not something that should really hurt your experience at all though, especially considering that all of the cutscenes are subbed.

After completing the game there is a good amount of post game content to challenge. More islands, enemies, missions, quests, etc. Additionally you also have the PS4 trophies to grab and those seem to be reasonably challenging. I expect you will certainly have to take a while to conquer those. Considering that the base game with no sub quests is 30 hours, this game will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

As with most RPGs, the story is also really good. The benefit of a story being long is that you really get to hang out with the characters for a while and get to like them all. Naturally as always I wouldn’t mind if Oliver was older but he does well by the end. His team did well in protecting the universe. It was fun to see everyone with british accents as well since you don’t see that so often. The main heroine Esther is good and always has solid banter with Swaine. Droopy has a lot of confidence and his manner of speaking always makes his sentences memorable.

For the villains, we had Shadar of course who is a tough threat. All of his dialogue is rather intense and the guy is not lacking in confidence. The battles with him are suitably tricky. The White Witch takes a while to actually take the stage but the wait is well worth it. I also liked her design. The game gives out a lot of plot twists before things are over and they all help to really change the experience. Each twist is a rather big deal and none of them felt pointless. While I would have handled the ending a bit differently, you’ll have a satisfying ride from start to finish.

Overall, Ni No Kuni is definitely a great game and I would recommend checking it out. It’s a difficult RPG that will require more grinding than in others but by the same token, the extra level of detail means that this could be the reverse for you. If you really master the mechanics and type advantages then perhaps you could beat this at a much lower level than I. Of course I’d like to see you try though as I would argue I did really well with the mechanics. It does mean that there are countless ways to approach each boss though so feel free to experiment. Always buy the latest equipment and you will be in a good spot here.

Overall 8/10

Miden Tower Review

Miden is the latest Kemco game and goes back to the roots of their original rpgs. It has all of the solid gameplay customizations at the ready like skipping battles you don’t need and things like that. I’ll go into it more later but mix that in with one of the best plots I’ve seen in a while and you definitely have a winner here. This is one of those games that would be nice to see a sequel for.

The story starts with a village being burned to the ground as most of these RPGs seem to start off with. The government in this game appears to be on the evil side as they slaughter everyone and so the last remnants of humanity quickly build a tower and hide in there. Using teleportation technology and magic to prevent people from warping in, the people have lived in peace for a while now. Well, one day the villains start appearing in the tower. Peace is no longer a guarantee and so the heroes must find the villains and the source of their entrance to put a stop to this.

We then cut to our main character who is quite unique. Valen had to personally watch his friends and family get destroyed, he has sworn revenge on the army. Every day he heads out to destroy a bunch of them and head home. His entire motivation and reason for existing is revenge which is definitely not healthy. One day he bites off more than he can chew and comes near death only to be saved when he summons a sentient wall to save him. Her name is Leila and she is different from most magic creatures in this land. See, most of them have to listen to the summoner at all times and don’t have creative thoughts or the ability to resist. None of that applies to Leila though. She has control of her own and makes her own choices. Still, she does want to protect Valen even if she does not agree with his whole quest for revenge. She aims to get him to mellow out by the end of all this.

The graphics are classic Kemco from start to finish. You have a lot of bright character designs and different level designs. They all appear very familiar so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are starting to reuse assets from previous games. I can’t really blame them if that is the case though since it’s efficient and ultimately it doesn’t affect the story. As long as the story is good that’s the important thing and the graphics are solid either way.

As for the soundtrack it’s nothing all that special but the tunes are always fun. These games always have a very specific style to them where you can recognize the music immediately. That’s the case with this game as well so you feel rather pumped to be starting on the adventure. The soundtrack isn’t large but we do get a new theme for the final boss which was nice. All in all the game succeeds massively on the technical side as expected.

As for the gameplay, there isn’t a lot to explain here. It’s your classic turn based RPG. You attack with physical blows, magic, or special skills. You keep on fighting until you take the opponents down. On the hub world you run around until you get to the very end. You also have a pot where you can throw ingredients in to get other items from time to time. There are several trophies for making a lot of items so I recommend always having a bunch cooking at the same time since it helps a lot for later on. Ultimately you’re doing this more for the trophies than for its effects.

Now I mentioned the gameplay customization before. So here’s how it goes, first off you can turn off battle effects. When you have to level grind, it can feel a bit long to see the attacks over and over again in each battle. When you turn the effects off, you just see a flash for every attack but they keep on attacking. That saves a lot of time right off the bat. Then you can also increase the speed of combat from X1 all the way to X3. That makes a difference too. Following up on that, you can turn off battles against enemies that are weaker than you. You know how in most RPGs you have to keep getting encounters with level 1 monsters and beating them is only a formality since the victor is never in doubt? You don’t have to worry about those here.

These are gameplay improvements I’d like to see more games pull off but Kemco seems like the only ones who have done this to date. It’s why I consider them as masters of the RPG genre. There are also orbs in each area that you can activate after beating it to stop encounters all together. Need to back track for treasure chests? Well at least you won’t have monsters jumping out at you all the time. Considering that one trophy is for walking 50,000 steps, I thought this was a very considerate option of the game since it at least makes this feat rather painless. Otherwise that would just take forever. Even now that is one of the only trophies left that I haven’t obtained for that reason.

Then what really helped the game get to the next level for me was the solid story. Lately some of the Kemco games have had more down to Earth stories with slightly smaller stakes. Well, this one goes back to being a grand story. The character development for Valen is good as he goes from only wanting revenge to being more of a reasonable guy. It’s an effective character arc. Now some scenes can be a bit cheesy with him but at the end of the day he does his best. The origin is also quite sad so you can see how he became so revenge driven.

Leila is also a good character and I thought she handled the situation well. She didn’t suddenly jump in and tell Valen to start saving everyone but gradually got him to escape from the cycle of violence. It’s very Naruto style with how the characters point out that murdering people will just continue the cycle. Ultimately this allows Valen to be the bigger man here and look the other way when it comes time to make a choice.

As for length, the game is a bit on the shorter side. I would definitely say it is one of Kemco’s shorter titles as you should blast right through it. There isn’t much of a post game as you should have that beaten in about an hour or so. Granted, it went by so fast in part because I grinded my character levels to over 500 so I was able to beat most opponents in an instant. The secret ending is good though and way more satisfying than the normal one. That wouldn’t have been a great way to end the adventure. The platinum trophy is quite easy to get so I recommend trying to give it a go.

Overall, Miden Tower is definitely a very solid game. I think it’s the closest we’ve gotten to a game on the Asdivine Hearts series. That is still my all time favorite from Kemco but this would certainly be in second. It’s just got a great story and of course a lot of amazing video game mechanics. Kemco certainly brought out the A team here and I look forward to seeing which adventure they churn out next. If you don’t have this game yet, I’d recommend purchasing it asap!

Overall 8/10

Alphadia Genesis Review

Kemco has returned and this is easily the best story they’ve churned out since the original Asdivine Heart games. We’re back to having a lot of twists, a grand end of the world story, and a colorful cast of characters. The game certainly gets rather serious and the heroes are put to their limits but at the end the day you know teamwork is what will be the decisive factor here. The game’s only main weakness is there are still less customizable game options than in the Asdivine games and there are quite a few dead spots. More on that later.

The game starts off right away by explaining that the two kingdoms of the world are getting ready to come up with an answer to the clones issue. Right now there is a debate on if all clones should be put in stasis since they are too dangerous or to continue to allow them free roam. Recently there have been instances of clones attacking and even murdering people. An investigative team is created using two people from each kingdom. Fray and Aurra from one with Walter and Corune making up the other group. They run into a clone named Enah and add her to the party as well. Is someone deliberately making clones look bad or is there a real security risk?

I can’t say I was expecting a game about clones, it is a much more futuristic world than I had expected. It’s a fun change of pace though and the Kemco games really are all quite unique. Naturally when it comes to this debate I’m immediately against the idea of putting everyone into stasis. It seems like an overreaction to me and you’d have a very hard time of ever convincing me that every clone should be taken down for the actions of a few. The dilemma here is interesting though as the clones are cybernetic meaning that they can be hacked. So the heroes need to find a way to prevent that from being possible but don’t even know if that’s the cause.

As mentioned, I enjoyed the cast here quite a bit. Fray is the main character and he’s your classic RPG hero. He can be oblivious a lot of the time but always tries to do the right thing. He’s not quite as intense as Zack from Asdivine but Fray has a lot of good moments and a solid character arc. He does go through a very rough patch during the second half of the game but that doesn’t last too long.

Aurra is Fray’s little sister and she’s a scientist but can still fight when needed. Without her the heroes would have definitely been in a bit of a jam on more than one occasion. She certainly enjoys trolling Fray a lot of the time. Enah is the clone who joined the group and as she literally woke up yesterday she doesn’t know a whole lot for most of the game and learns with the characters. I’d have liked her to have known more about the world but as it stands her character was executed well.

Grande is a tough gang leader or at least so it seems at the start but for the most part he seems like a good guy. The town likes the group and it seems like they’re a bunch of people who do good things but don’t want to take credit for it. Grande looks out for his men and makes for a good addition to the cast. Then you have Corune as the main heroine. With her title as the War Princess you can bet that she fights quite a lot. It’s always good to have another fighter on board and she does well.

Finally you have Walter who loses so many times in the game that it might be a record. His thing is that he likes Corune but she likes Fray so he is always jealous. He probably makes 50+ attempts to get her to notice him but this always fails. His streak of losing is so exaggerated that it becomes funny after a while. Naturally this is leading up to a character arc but don’t expect things to ever go very well for him.

From all of the Kemco games this one may have had the most romance. You have Aurra and one of the villains who shows up, the triangle with Fray, Corune, and Walter, then Fray and another girl who shows up near the end. I was glad the final one didn’t really go anywhere (As of the normal ending) though because that would have felt like a very big rebound. There are some circumstances that make this unique but I still don’t think it would have been a good idea. The main romance isn’t too bad I suppose, at least it’s given a whole lot of time to develop. It’s why Aurra’s romance with the villain isn’t nearly as good since it doesn’t have that kind of development.

Now when it comes to the gameplay you have the excellent turn based system that Kemco games are known for. It certainly does not disappoint here. The fights are fast and the attack animations are on point. You can’t turn them off this time around but you can still use auto battle which is good at least. The A.I. is a step down from other games though so you won’t want to rely on it too much. There isn’t a whole lot of grinding needed to complete the game this time around though so that’s not much of an issue. You will just need to use a lot of good tactics as you decide how to play each battle.

I found the status effect moves to be really helpful in this game. I would usually run a status combination for my first 4 turns. (Attack up, Defense up, Enemy attack down, Speed up) That would set me up really well for the next attack. As for the hub world, your characters move really quickly which is good. You can also set a speed formation which lets you run away from pretty much any battle because your character should always move first. Now that is what I’d call an extremely useful formation.

Now what did I mean about dead zones? Well, there are quite a few times in the game where a cutscene will end and you know a boss fight is coming up. The issue is that at this point in the game you cannot leave the castle to go train. So your only option is to fight the boss but if you aren’t strong enough to win then you will be stuck. Your only option is to start the game over from the beginning. That’s what a true dead zone is and this game has quite a few of them. I ended up having 3 files going on at the same time as backups just in case. On one occasion this saved me because there was no way I could have possibly beaten the boss without a lot of level ups.

A dead zone is really a design issue. I think it means this game could have used a little more playtesting. I definitely would have been dismayed if I had to restart the game after being near the end but fortunately that didn’t happen. Beyond that, one element that’s a bit weaker than the other games is that you can’t land your airship just anywhere here. You have to land in the water so you will often have to walk a bit more than would usually be necessary. Not a big deal or anything but it just feels like a really random change. I don’t see why the airship was changed from all of the other games.

As always the graphics are definitely on point here. The level designs are great and I like all of the different attack animations. The character designs are good too so I have no issues here. Naturally the soundtrack is also great with all of the usual catchy beats you find in these games. This one definitely doesn’t falter and you will really enjoy the boss theme.

As for replay value, well the game does have a post game story for the true ending. The main campaign took me almost 20 hours so I imagine the post game will probably be around 1-3 hours of bonus content. I’m sure it will be difficult as well so throw in some extra time for grinding and this is a game that should last you for quite a bit. A lot of story happens throughout so you should be satisfied. You can also go after the Platinum which doesn’t look all that difficult for this game. That would be a fun way to get some extra play time in.

Overall, Alphadia Genesis is definitely a great game. The story is engaging and really tackles some pretty intense themes. The story can be happy, dark, light, serious, etc. As an RPG it succeeds in really telling a complete story from start to finish. Throw in a likable group of characters and you have an adventure to remember. While the dead zones get tricky and parts of the gameplay aren’t quite up to Asdivine level, it’s close enough where it doesn’t hurt the title. Even if it’s not a 100% replica, Kemco games are so far ahead of the curve that this one is as well. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this game regardless of how the true ending plays out. Seeing the characters again would be fun.

Overall 8/10

Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Impact Review

Time to look at the final Naruto PSP game. The series has had a really impressive run on the console but all things must come to an end at some point. This one mixed in a Dynasty Warriors kind of gameplay which is a nice addition. I’m always up for some good 3D action so mix in a good story and you have another winner with this one.

The game covers the Naruto story from the first arc of Shippuden all the way through the Kage summit. It’s an impressively long campaign and easily more extensive than any of the other PSP titles. Each arc is quite long and there are a lot of battles as well as cutscene events. There’s even two endings, you can go as Sasuke or Naruto for the final battle. I decided to go the extra mile and completed the game with both characters though. Now that’s when you know a game is on point!

For the gameplay, it’s really simple to get the hang of. The objective of each mission is to take down a ton of enemies and then make it to the goal. Usually you’re on your own but occasionally you will have a teammate to hold you back. In these instances you have to be careful not to go too far ahead of you will lose them in the waves of minions and they will be promptly taken down. Sometimes there will be a boss at the end of the level who fights you and sometimes they show up at the start.

You have your standard attack combos which are fast and do a good amount of damage. You’ll be using these a lot but you can also mix in power blows to keep the opponent honest. The power attacks are your ninjutsu moves which are usually good for dealing a lot of damage. Some characters have ninjutsu that is too slow though so it’s more efficient to use standard attacks. You can learn as you go which character is best for which techniques. I will say you will want to use the homing attack a lot no matter which character you are. It’s the best technique in the game and if the opponent tries it at the same time they get completely paralyzed. That means you can land a free final smash on them.

Aside from the beat em up gameplay, there is also a level of customization before entering the levels. For example, you can equip up to 4 cards to the character you are using which boosts your stats in various areas or gives you a special ability. As you play through the game you will unlock a lot of them and you can also buy some from the shop. If you level up a card, you can then use it for different characters. For example, a Naruto card can only be used by Naruto initially but if you max it out then Sasuke can use it as well. It adds a little strategy to the mix although the game is easy enough where it never makes much of a difference. Even if your character is 30 levels under the boss, it just means that the level will take longer. Only the final boss gave me a little trouble and I still clutched it out on my first try.

Naturally the graphics are really on point here as well. The character models are good and I liked the illustrations. The game also goes a step further than the others in that we have full quick time events in this title which is always fun to see. Some of the bosses will trigger this (You’ll know it’s coming if you see a diamond in the opponent’s health bar) and it’s always a lot of fun to watch. You need good reaction times though or you lose and have to start the quick time from scratch. The game is lenient on the time though, I only had to restart once.

As for the soundtrack, it’s excellent as expected. There are a whole lot of action tunes as well as emotional tracks throughout the game. The story is excellent which isn’t surprising since it is faithfully adapting the anime. You’ll really get to see the characters go through a wide range of emotions here. That said, the game does have some changes from the show on occasion perhaps just because they felt it would flow easier with how the game is or they just wanted to change things. It’s always fun when you notice them coming. It adds a little intrigue to the game.

There’s a good amount of replay value here as you can work to S rank each level and gather all of the cards. It may not be the most stimulating reason to go back and play but the gameplay is solid enough where you will still have fun. That’s the important part of going back to play the game after all right? As it is, the main campaign will easily last you over 10 hours so there’s definitely no problems of length to be found here.

As with the other PSP games, there is full voice acting here which is always great. It really helps you get immersed with what is happening way more than you ever could be without the voices. That’s why this is such a complete product, you could even give it to someone who doesn’t want to spend a long time watching the anime and it would work as a valid shortcut. It covers enough of the small details as well as the big events to keep you current.

It definitely gets you excited for the prospect of a true Naruto Warriors game similar to what One Piece and Bleach have already gotten. I just love these kind of beat em up games as it’s satisfying to be taking down whole armies with your combos. One level may have gone a little overboard where the requirement was to defeat 1000 enemies in a level but for the most part it never gets that high. That level was really an outlier and I suppose it was just a way to show you how powerful Sasuke was.

Overall, Naruto Impact is a great title and one you should definitely check out if you have a PSP. It really slams in a home run on all aspects such as gameplay, story, and technical elements. The length is also impressive so you can really spend a lot of time just going through the adventure until the end. It feels like a while since we’ve gotten a true story based Naruto title so hopefully we get more in the future. The story never gets old.

Overall 8/10

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 Review

It’s been many years since I played the second Ultimate Ninja Heroes title but at long last it’s time to enter the third one. This one decided to add some platformer elements to the game which is a rather odd option but it reminds you of the old Ninja Council games on the GBA/DS. I don’t think it was necessary but it does help to pad the game out as with only fights it would have been really short.

The game follows the Shippuden story midway through Sasuke’s arc and also has an original story thrown into the middle where we have to fight a new villain group know as the Leaf Anbu. Unlike the normal Anbu who are some of the weakest guys you’ll meet in Naruto, these guys can actually fight rather well. They want to use their visual prowess to grab some of the secrets in the village and do something dangerous with them. Kakashi and Naruto will have to stop them from breaking in, but maybe it’s time that Naruto is told the truth about all of this?

The original story isn’t bad, it introduces some new characters and it’s all worth it for the climax where Naruto and Sasuke have a big team up. Yes, Bonds did it first where they had to team up in the movie but I was always underwhelmed by that title because it was so brief. It’s brief here as well but with the end of the world upon the characters, the stakes were so high that you can see why they went right down to business. The scene where Sasuke first shows up to taunt Naruto one last time was the highlight of the whole game. It just filled you with a great sense of excitement and you get to re live it later on when playing as Sasuke.

The game also deserves a lot of credit for having full voice acting. Every line is said out loud by the voice actors from the show and this is the kind of attention to detail that I like to see in any modern title. It’s crazy that even nowadays some titles don’t have full voice acting while the PSP pulled it off so many years ago. It really does enhance the experience and make the whole thing feel that much more real. The soundtrack also had some fairly good tunes. I wouldn’t say any of them are Earth shattering but they’re good enough to be noticed. The danger theme, Sasuke’s overworld theme, one of the battle tunes, etc. This was a very solid setup.

In terms of replay value the game is a little smaller in pure single player content. By playing through the game naturally I got over half of the collectibles in the game. The main story will take you around 10 hours to complete. Considering that this is most of the stages you should be able to clear everything within 14 hours or so I’d guess. Earning money will be the toughest thing in the end as you have to buy each collectible. That said, there is endless replay value for the multiplayer mode and as a fighting game you can always have fun just beating the A.I. since there are so many characters to choose from.

Naturally the graphics here are really solid. The character portraits are good and occasionally you’ll even get an illustration that looks just like a screenshot from the anime. The filler arc in particular was impressive here since you’d almost think there was an anime episode you might have missed. Most of the time there aren’t any true cutscenes but occasionally you will get a moving image like with Naruto and Sasuke’s combo attack at the end.

The gameplay remains rock solid from the first two games. It’s a 2D fighter where you try to overwhelm your opponent with ninjutsu and taijutsu. Use your combos well to win. The main thing that separates this from most fighting games is how you can use some energy to teleport away when being combo attacked and this can create a chain of teleports between you and your opponent as you both start teleporting everywhere. Your final smash uses up a lot of energy so while it does a lot of damage, you have to decide if it’s worth it since it will use up your teleport energy. Some good strategies to be had in the game for sure and some of the story levels can also be rather difficult when they pit you in a 1 vs 2 battle later on.

Then you have the platforming gameplay. You have to run to the goal, sometimes defeating enemies along the way. The actual platforming isn’t bad, you move and jump rather well with controls that are on point. That being said, it’s the combat in the platforming levels that isn’t very good. It’s hard to land any attacks because all minions have super armor and will just hit you through the blows. Your best bet is to use a ninjutsu on all enemies as it is the only consistent way to bring them down. There are spike balls and other kinds of classic platforming obstacles to content with but it’s very by the book. With most levels having a 60 second timer, you’re really done in a flash.

Overall, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3 is a very fun game. It’s nostalgic in a sense as it reminds you of the old days of Naruto. It brings back all of the classic action you could want in a Naruto title and has solid voice acting, graphics, and soundtrack. This is the definition of a super solid game. At 10 hours it’s also the perfect length in that it’s just long enough where I wouldn’t say it’s too short. I’ll never turn down a game being longer but 10 hours is really the minimum length you should always strive for. It’s also good to see a fighting game with a proper story like this. It’s nothing new for anime related titles but many other franchises still struggle with this.

Overall 8/10

One Piece: World Seeker Review

I remember World Seeker was getting a lot of hype when it was first announced but it seems like the hype died out when it came out. I just happened to run across it at a Gamestop and figured that was a good time to see if it was any good. Fortunately this is another great title to add to the One Piece collection. The franchise has really done well in that arena. While most of the other games were big beat em up titles, this one’s more of an open world action/adventure game. It works out really well and feels like a Breath of the Wild type experience.

The game starts out with a very cinematic approach as the credits roll while we see Luffy getting ready to be executed by the government. Fortunately he is able to get out of there just in time but the whole crew has been split up. They were lured to the island with treasure but it turns out to all have been a trap by Isaac and the World Government. Luffy and friends need to get off the island but the Sunny won’t be repaired for a few days so there is no escape. Additionally, there may be something more to this situation other than a simple trap as famous pirates, admirals, and many other figures are all converging on the island. It’s time for Luffy to help Jeanne save her island and prove that even a pirate can be a hero.

Right off the bat you’re thrown into the rather large island and then have to make your way from place to place for the missions. The hub world is quite large to the point where you will be using the quick travel mechanic a whole lot. It’s not as big as Breath of the Wild, but the size is impressive enough where it’s worth noting. They did a really good job there. There is a whole lot to do in the various areas as well with side missions everywhere and a whole lot of treasure chests. This is good because the main campaign is really not that long. I cleared it in around 8 hours which feels short for this kind of big open world adventure.

Throw in the replay value like grabbing all of the PS4 trophies and the deal looks a lot better though. It’ll take a while to get up to rank 100 and take down all of the quests which helps put in a lot of extra value here. The game uses Luffy’s rubber abilities well as you can swing from place to place almost like Spider-Man and all of his classic moves are in the game. I would have liked some kind of flying option though as some mountains are just too high to jump onto so you have to go the long way around the valley.

I suppose it shows that even Luffy has some limits but I wouldn’t have minded the game helping me out a bit there. Just give me a bit of a boost so I don’t have to do the leg work, that’s all I wanted. As for the combat, it’s definitely really solid. There’s a bit more variety here than your average beat em up so you can have fun with your combos. That said, I would make the case that some tactics are simply better than others. For example, against the robots, just use your fire fist because it’s a guaranteed 1 hit KO. I used that technique for 90% of my battles simply because it was so efficient.

There are two weaknesses that the game has though. The first is that there are a ton of loading times. Any time you want to quick travel somewhere you have to sit through a full loading screen which is quite long. Keep in mind that you will be using quick travel dozens of times since it is always significantly faster than running the full distance. The missions will usually have you crossing large portions of the map so walking just wouldn’t make as much sense. The loading times just seemed excessive though and something that could have been improved.

Then there’s the story which is ambitious but felt really choppy at times. There are no smooth transitions between lines so the screen will go black and then they’ll say the next thing. It’s really noticeable while playing through the game. Also, there is almost no voice acting here which feels a bit lazy for a PS4 title. Most of the time they’ll just grunt or say 1 word. It was cool to see all of the characters showing up on the island but half of them don’t get to do anything. Sanji’s family show up for a transaction for example and then dash off. The admirals appear to get in their fight and then run off.

The amount of times a villain is about to beat Luffy but is told to let him go is crazy. I feel like Luffy could take some of these guys at this point in time too. Gone are the days where he had to run off just because an admiral was around. When we do get a cutscene they’re fun like seeing Zoro take on Isaac. We just needed more of that and the story doesn’t necessarily have to be longer. Just cut out some of the mandatory side missions and you’re good. I see what the intent behind the side missions was. It was to introduce us to all of the islanders so it’s emotional when they come together in the climax. I get the logic there but personally I’d have liked to have seen more of the actual Strawhats taking names. Even Law vanishes early on although he apparently got his own DLC pack so I suppose you would need to play that to see what’s going on with him.

As for the graphics, those are definitely really good as you would expect. The game looks sharp and feels like a PS4 title. It helps that the island is just a lot of fun to look at and the city was developed well too. Then you have the soundtrack which is actually really solid but they don’t play the tunes very often. You might hear a theme that sounds great but then it never appears in the game again. This is the kind of soundtrack you’ll want to look up on Youtube afterwards to see if you can find all of the cool tunes.

Overall, One Piece: World Seeker is definitely a winner in my book. The story could have been a lot stronger to be honest but it would make for a fun movie. Just needed to focus up a bit more. I appreciate that the game went with an original story though and the execution on the open world concept was really solid. Open world can absolutely be a blast when it’s like this. In a lot of ways it does remind me of Breath of the Wild, just with Luffy as the main character. If I had any more nitpicks on that I would like Luffy to be a little faster when moving around so I didn’t have to rely on quick travel so much but the speed isn’t bad either. I’m also glad there is a quick travel since that’s an absolute must have feature for any open world game.

Overall 8/10