Cris Tales Review


Cris Tales is an RPG I wasn’t super familiar with but happened to see the cover while I was at Gamestop. It looked cool and that was when I knew that I definitely needed to check this one out. It involves time travel which is always a win so I would definitely recommend this title. It’s a great game that has a pretty interesting plot and full voice acting which is always important.

The game starts by introducing us to Crisbell. She is a time mage who isn’t very powerful yet but serves the Mother Superior (Effectively the head priest of the church) and performs normal errands. One day a bunch of enemies storm the village and Cris only barely makes it out alive thanks to the help of a guy named Christopher. He’s a hero in training who wants to defeat the powerful spellcasters who are threatening the world. Another time mage named Willhelm shows up as well as a talking frog. Can these unsuspecting heroes actually band together to save the world or are they doomed?

The gameplay is a turn based combat style but with speed playing a big role similar to titles like Megaman X Command Mission. When it’s your turn you can attack or do another action and there are also techniques that will allow you to take extra turns. These are definitely very handy so I recommend using them whenever possible. This is probably the first game where I had a dedicated character just for status effects since usually I just power through everything. In this case powering through everything is rarely a viable strategy and will likely just end with you getting stomped.

There’s a good amount of depth to the gameplay too so get ready for a lot of strategy. Your equipment is definitely a big deal here and you can go for pure attack, defense, special abilities, or something else. Preventing the burn status is what I would lean towards since that effect deals a ton of damage in this game. It seems like it always deals a percentage of your health as opposed to a static number which is what really makes this one so dangerous. So if you get burned that’s pretty much it since you don’t want to waste a turn to heal yourself.

One of the main gimmicks in the game is time travel but surprisingly you will want to rarely use that ability. More often than not it won’t actually help you in a fight and just serves to waste a turn. For Cris just focus on healing your teammates or speeding them up. That should really be the only two things you’re using those turns for and that will go a long way towards helping you win levels. As soon as Zas joins the group then this is the perfect combo. Speed her up and Zas can crush almost any opponent with ease. Her normal attacks do massive amounts of damage and since this isn’t magic, nobody (aside from 1 boss) can block it.

For most of the game I ran a 3 man team of Cris, Christopher, and Willhelm. Once Zas came in though then my end game team was Cris, Zas, and Jkr721. You can really pick any variation of the group for your team though as they all have their own strengths. I’m absolutely a power type fighter though so I like going for the combos and just putting an end to these opponents as soon as possible. What better way than to overload them with full frontal attacks right?

The graphics are pretty solid. The art style’s fairly unique, it goes for a hand drawn look but also with an older fairy tail kind of vibe to it. There are even fully animated cutscenes at different points which is a lot of fun. It really makes this feel like more of a cinematic journey or a movie of sorts. With the voice acting throughout that just seals the deal. The length is also fairly good so this is an RPG that will last you around 20 hours or so as expected. The difficulty is manageable but you will probably need to train at a few different spots or you may find yourself falling to the bosses.

Where the game really shines is with the story. It involves time travel which is an automatic win but even beyond that I would say there is just a whole lot of depth to it. There are twists galore and you learn a whole lot about each character. The final act effectively introduces a whole villain group as well. I say “introduce” rather loosely but can’t go into much more detail than that. Needless to say, the game will keep you on the edge of your seat. It had a relatively slow beginning so I was glad to see it turn up. By the end it’s almost like a whole different game.

Cris also gets a lot of development. At the start of the game she isn’t very self confident and doesn’t know a lot about the world. By the end she is a very capable leader who makes the most of her team. The game also has two endings so you get to choose what you want to do at the end. It’s at the very end so not much about the game changes but I’m always up for giving you a choice like that. The ending is fairly resolute but I would be down with a sequel. Once time travel is involved you never really have to say goodbye to the idea of more games in the series.

Overall, Cris Tales is definitely a great game. One thing that’s always been a big positive for RPG titles is that you get to really enjoy the journey with the characters since you are with them for so long. This one is no exception and you’ll know the characters like the back of your hand by the end. For replay value you can also try to get all of the trophies as well. It seems like a very achievable Platinum as well so that’s something to think about. Whether you’re here for the story or for the gameplay you should have a good amount of fun.

Overall 8/10

Grandia II Review


It’s time to take a look at an RPG that’s a part of a series I know the name of but that’s about it. I certainly had no idea on the plot or anything like that. It’s certainly a great RPG and one that has lasted throughout time. You’ll have a good time with this one as there are a bunch of likable characters and solid gameplay throughout.

The game starts out by introducing us to Ryudo. He’s effectively a solo hunter/bounty hunter that nobody likes. His career choice isn’t exactly a popular one and Ryudo isn’t known for his winning personality either. Well, one day he finds himself in a village where his next assignment will be difficult. He has to guard a girl named Elena as she heads off to a mysterious castle to perform a ceremony. It doesn’t go well though and she ends up absorbing the Wings of Valmar.

Elena is now considered corrupted and must find a her way to the master church in order to cure her affliction. It won’t be easy though so Ryudo will have to stay on the job a while longer. He doesn’t believe in either Granas or Valmar as the two gods and just wants to live his life as best he can. The two heroes will ultimately run into several allies, enemies, and even a whole conspiracy. All they will have is each other as the group of heroes prepare for their ultimate confrontation.

The story goes through a whole lot of twists and turns so this is really more of a basic summary. The main thing to remember here is to always watch your back. Ryudo has a pretty good sense of danger about him and usually suspects everyone at first. It’s a wise policy since most of these characters always have some kind of agenda at the ready. It’s impressive just how antagonistic Ryudo is at first. He insults everyone and is clearly not having any fun.

As the game goes on we learn more about his past and why Ryudo is the way that he is. He gets a lot of memorable dialogue throughout the game including a variation of Bully Maguire’s famous line “You missed the part where that’s my problem.” Ryudo is a very different kind of protagonist and is written very well. He’s memorable and not a lead that you are likely to forget anytime soon.

As for Elena, she’s a bit of a weaker heroine. I wasn’t on board for her during most of the game as she always follows the bosses even when they’re acting rather suspect. She’s slow on the uptake in that front and just takes a lot of time to get used to the real world. She finally does, but not until the very end of the game so it took some time.

Her counterpart Millenia was a lot more fun. Effectively this fighter is the embodiment of the Wings of Valmar and one of the most powerful demons around. Naturally that means that someone like Elena who is incredibly focused on the church of Granas does not take too kindly to her. They are polar opposites in personality as Millenia is very forceful and takes what she wants while Elena is a lot more passive.

Roan is a kid who joins the group as well and he’s got quite a few secrets to hide. He’s a nice enough kid even if you feel like he’s too young for this adventure for a while. Ultimately he does end up helping out the group when it counts though. He was also one of the first characters to really trust Millenia which was great for her character arc.

Then you have Mareg who is the power member of the group. He wants to destroy Melfice no matter what due to a tragedy that happened in his origin story. Mareg is always speaking in riddles and trying to be fancy. It may make his dialogue a little stiff but I wouldn’t say they overplay this angle too much. He may not rank quite up there with some of the other characters but he gets the job done.

The final main hero is Tio and she’s an android who has to try and develop a heart. That’s not an easy tasks for anyone but she gives it her all. She comes a bit late in the game but makes the most of her screen time and quickly became one of the more enjoyable members. It always makes for a powerful character arc to have a robot truly become alive like this.

There’s also Ryudo’s pet bird Skye but he doesn’t do as much as you would expect despite technically being around for the whole game. He likes to tease Ryudo once in a while. Selene is one of the big members of the Church of Granas so she gets a sizable role here. From the start she comes off as very forceful in trying to keep people safe so you don’t want to be near her when the knights come strolling in. I’ll give her this, she was very dedicated to the cause.

Then you have Melfice, Ryudo’s long laost brother. This guy was a difficult fighter and certainly not someone to take lightly. He’s one of the more interesting villains even if he isn’t around for a big part of the game. Ultimately he chosse power over everything which is rarely ever a good decision. It was interesting to see how in his village this was a popular idea though in the sense that you can’t create justice without power. To an extent that is true but it’s definitely easy to lose focus and start obsessing over power too much.

Zera is a big player in the story for sure. I’d say he’s your classic old guys in one of these RPGs. He has big plans and will do anything in order to make it to the end. Not the kind of guy you want to trust and he loves showing off with his big speeches and everything. It’s just what he does.

Towards the end of the game things get rather cosmic. One of the best cutscenes is when we actually got to see the origin of the big battle between Valmar and Granas. Typically this is the kind of thing you’d expect to hear about but never actually see so I was impressed when the game threw me a curve ball and actually showed this on screen. That was very impressive and a prequel could easily work with this concept. There’s a lot you could do for that war.

Throughout the game the graphics are definitely impressive. We even get some good soundtrack themes during the game. I like the battle themes and boss music. It’s not surprising that a big RPG like this could have a solid soundtrack but it’s always worth noting. It makes the battles all go smoothly as you would expect.

In the end the game took me over 30 hours to complete which is a very solid length. I had to train for several hours before the final bosses because of how difficult they were though. Once I got a certain character back into my party then things eased up though. I’m not sure if there is any replay value here though as it seems it’s the kind of game that takes you back to right before the final boss when you load it up. So this will be a game you just aim to beat all the way through.

The only two areas in the game that could be improved are that the cutscenes can’t be skipped as well as the attack options. The latter may not sound like a big deal but quite a few of the attacks here are very fancy so during the final battles you’ll be having to wait for many attacks to go trough. I would usually have reddit open or a manga while I was waiting between attacks. So if the game is ever remade they should definitely add a skip feature in and that would be perfect.

It may go without saying but the combat system is that of a turn based combat mode. It’s a lot like Mega Man X Command Mission where your turns are based on speed as opposed to things always going in the same order. So that makes investing in quick equipment well worth your while. Each character can also equip 6 skills from the books you collect as well as an egg which grants you the ability to use magic. Leveling all of your techniques up takes time so I recommend saving your points for the abilities that you will really want to use.

Overall, Grandia II is a great game. It’s got a very satisfying story to it and a good cast or characters. It’s also fairly long at over 30 hours so this is certainly not the kind of game that you can just complete in an instant. You’ll really have to apply yourself here and I recommend fighting enemies as often as you can because it will certainly catch up to you by the end. I cleared the game at around level 57 and it was still fairly difficult. So I definitely recommend this to any RPG fan.

Overall 8/10

Madden 20 Review


It’s definitely been a long while since I played a Madden game. It’s always somber waiting for the next one because even if there aren’t any big changes, the series just has fantastic gameplay. To date it has to be one of the all time greatest series out there. This one’s certainly no different even if I wouldn’t say that it is quite able to compete with some of the older ones. Mainly I feel like scrambling has been nerfed and the deep ball is still nonexistent. Still, if you’re looking for a quality Football game you can’t really top this one.

Right off the bat you can jump into a ton of different modes like franchise, story mode, play now, online modes, or the skill trainer. Of course for me the first stop is just the quick matches to get a feel for the game. I always make sure to do one game on each difficulty level before I review the game so see how I stack up.

I was able to defeat most of the difficulties but I did get stomped in All Madden. I kept it rather close in the first half at 17-6 but as I got more and more desperate the A.I. would take advantage of that and ultimately go on to score a total of 40+ points. All Madden is as tough as it ever was but this time it did feel pretty legit. Usually I walk away shaking my head but in this instance I thought it was fine. I just got out played there.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as always. The goal in Football is to carry the ball across the goal line. At that point you will have claimed victory and will be in the home stretch. If you allow your opponent to do this, then you have to do it again as well. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the game is the winner and then that would be a wrap. It’s easy to understand if you’re familiar with the sport but otherwise Madden would not be the best place to start learning. I would recommend watching a real game first to see this in action.

Granted, you won’t be calling plays as if you were a real team but it’s still helpful for learning the fundamentals. As mentioned the game is a blast but there are a few aspects that are weaker than in most of the other titles. One of those is the QB scrambling which is when you decide to make a break for it instead of throwing the ball.

I can see how this could be a little overpowered in some of the games but I just love doing it. Often times I will make a break for it instead of throwing the ball because I don’t really have anyone open. Now you have to be a lot more careful because it takes a lot longer to actually start running and that’s an issue for when you just want to take off. I’m thinking it’s the game’s way of telling you that you should be throwing.

The QB throwing accuracy has also been given some more in depth features such as your ball not being thrown where you want it to be if you’re under pressure. You’ll suddenly throw in odd directions and while this is an interesting way to factor pressure in, I don’t think it’s needed. It should all go to your individual skill and where you throw the ball. That’s definitely a lot more straight forward.

I also just miss being able to toss the deep ball around. Find a receiver in a 1 on 1 matchup and just throw the ball over. Nowadays if you try that it will be incomplete 6/10 times and intercepted the other 3/10. Actually completing one of these balls is never worth the risk and that’s a shame because they’re the most fun to complete. Instead it’s often best to go for most short length passes and chip your way to the goal.

Running the ball is as solid as ever though. I don’t typically run a lot but it does make me feel like I’m using some real plays so I’ll do it here and there. You always get that feeling of being so close but so far away when running the ball because every time you get tackled you’ll think about where you should have run instead. It’s definitely a blast making your picks.

A lot of the modes also have the ability to skip all defensive drives which is pretty cool. Defense isn’t bad but I definitely do prefer being on the offense so that’s definitely more my speed. You have control of the ball and what you do with it at that point which is what makes the game fun. There is a lot amount of RNG in most of these plays.

As for the other modes, well there is a classic Story Mode once again but as always the cutscenes are completely unskippable. This has been the case for 3-4 years now and that’s unacceptable. Surely the devs have heard of the complaints before now so there’s no excuse for not being able to skip these. Especially since the story mode just isn’t all that engaging. You’ll really only be playing through the mode for the trophies.

Outside of the story mode the graphics are very solid though. It’s always great just loading up the game and seeing how nice the uniforms and backgrounds are. This is where 99% of the effort goes into so it makes sense that this part would look good. The soundtrack is very forgettable as while you’re in the games you won’t be hearing it anyway. You’ll just have the classic Football sounds at that point which is really what you want to have to focus on anyway.

Beyond that there is naturally a whole lot of replay value here. You can play games endlessly with a variety of different things to do. If you have the PSN subscription you can also take advantage of the head to head battles which is probably the most enjoyable mode. There’s nothing quite like battling others online. It’s why I would snap up a Switch version if that ever came out, but alas it doesn’t look like EA and Nintendo are ever going to mend the fence here.

Overall, Madden 20 is definitely a blast. While there are some specific changes that make it weaker than some of the other installments, ultimately it’s the core gameplay that you know and love. The series gets a lot of shots fired at it for not changing things up between years and keeping in every glitch which is valid. Still, you’re unlikely to see much of that while playing normally and it’s just too fun to put down. So ultimately the positives vastly outweigh the negatives.

Overall 8/10

Neo: The World Ends With You Review


The World Ends With You was a game I owned for many years before completing. Once I did knock it out though, it felt pretty good. The game had a very fun dynamic and an excellent plot. Throw in a sizzling soundtrack and you were good to go. Neo is definitely a great follow up. While I would give the original one the slight nudge over it, you can really expect a complete experience out of this game. It will will leave you in a pretty happy place.

The game starts with Rindo and his friend Fret hanging out around Shibuya as always. Rindo is also texting with his FanGo friend and it turns out that the person is somewhere in Shubuya too. They’ve never met in person so Fret declares that they should find this mysterious “Swallow”. Unfortunately this doesn’t work but they do get roped into a cool new app game. It involves doing a lot of little quests and fighting monsters. There’s no big prize at the end which is disappointing but the two friends split up to hang out another day.

Trouble is, they wake up the next day in the middle of Shibuya once again. Rindo doesn’t remember coming back here so the whole thing is odd. Well, turns out that he and Fret are stuck in the game now. It’s a survival game too which makes things even worse. The heroes can’t interact with ordinary people anymore and have to clear the quests with a certain level of urgency. After all, the lowest ranked team after the 7 days are up will be eliminated. Can Rindo and Fret stay alive or are they doomed? One thing’s for sure, with other teams having well over a dozen members, they are going to need some backup.

The only survival item the heroes have is a pin which allows them to fight back against the monsters as well as other players. Each pin has a different power ranging from elemental attacks to TK type abilities. Some players are nice enough to chat with you while others will try to murder you on sight so these are all things to keep in mind when trying to survive. At the very least they will certainly know Shibuya like the back of their hands once this is all over.

As a 30+ hour RPG there is a whole lot more to the story beyond the premise. Still, part of the fun is finding out what is going on and turning the tables. You will get to see a lot of characters return from the first game as well so those moments are always hype. They always show up with an excellent opening scene that is definitely worth the wait. It’s something I’m glad about because nothing’s more satisfying than seeing the characters you played as a few years ago return as complete legends and powerhouses.

As for the gameplay itself, it’s a little unique so it’s tougher to describe than most. It’s a 3D environment where you press a button to use your Pin. Each character can have a pin equipped and you have to choose pins which are locked to different control inputs. So you can have one on the R1 button, 1 on the L1 button, etc. Later on you unlock an upgrade so you can have more than one per button which is pretty handy but that won’t happen for a while.

Each pin’s ability is quite different. For some you have to hold the button down, others require rapid tapping, and others have you hold it down for a little bit and then release. It’s important you get used to how each Pin works but fortunately the menus are quite elaborate so that shouldn’t be a problem. The game also has a lot of good customization options available which you can use if things get dicey. You can also lower your own level to get more pins per victory. It makes each fight higher risk but higher reward which is a cool feature.

The battles can get tough at times so don’t be afraid to exit and train against minions. I had to do that several times but it’s over before you know it. It’ll help you get closer to trophies as well since there are some for beating thousands of enemies and things like that. Meanwhile you will also want to time your pins well to land combos. Landing combos increases your sync levels. When you hit 300 (Available after a certain point in the story) you can use a terrific final smash which also completely refills your health. I highly recommend saving this to use against the final boss. It really came in clutch for me at one point. I was nearly about to get a game over when the full health kicked in.

As you’d expect the graphics are definitely top tier here. The cutscenes are portrayed like a comic book with the characters going in and off panel all the time. Occasionally you will get full on cinematics as well but most are in the comic format. From those, you have the intro and end cutscenes to each chapters that have full voice acting and then the regular text ones. A lot of budget was put into this game for sure. Not sure if the voice actors for the original characters were the same as some of them sounded pretty different to me but it’s been a while since I played the first game. Also they are older so I suppose you’d expect the voices to change a bit.

The soundtrack is also a lot of fun. You’ll be hearing the tunes a whole lot so of course you’re hoping that the songs are on point. They definitely don’t disappoint. It’s also really nostalgic whenever a song appears from the original game. Now that’s a blast. The game is everything you could want and more from a technical perspective as well as the gameplay.

Aside from the main campaign being quite long, there is also a lot of replay value here. First off you have a bonus day set in an alternate universe that should make for a good bit of fun. Then you’ve also got the trophies to go after like completing a bunch of side missions and maxing out your social network. Obtaining the Platinum doesn’t look super difficult but it is absolutely time consuming so you can expect to be there for a long while. The game easily earns back the $60 value and then some.

As for the characters, we’ve got a pretty solid cast here. The main character is named Rindo and he’s not a big people person. Not to the extent of Neku who really didn’t get along with anyone but Rindo isn’t exactly the kind of guy who will seek anyone out. He does his own thing that’s for sure. As the game goes on he learns more about being independent and making his own decisions while still being a good people person. It’s a solid character arc.

Then you have Fret who is pretty much the opposite. He’s great at talking to anyone and just gets along with people. At the same time, he takes everything pretty lightly and you have a hard time seeing what he is really thinking. That’s what he has to contend with as the game goes on. He’s a fun enough character, I prefer Rindo but they’re both solid.

Nagi is the first member to join the group and is the main heroine here. From the 3 she is definitely the weakest character though. For most of the game she is pretty mean to Fret for no real reason. They definitely didn’t get off on the right foot but he always tries to be nice and she constantly reminds him that she isn’t talking to him. Even when she has a direct response she plays it off like they aren’t talking. Gradually she learns to get along with him a bit better but it takes a while.

Then you have the best character in the game: Minamimoto. This guy’s great, every line he has is some kind of number pun. He talks about everything as if they were fractions and number crunching. While the characters never know what is going on, it’s easy enough to follow what he’s saying. His goals are rather mysterious so you really never know what he is thinking. The scene where he confronts Susukichi is amazing though and one of the best scenes in the game.

Then you have the Ruinbringers who are a decent team. Susukichi is the member you have to deal with the most. He’s a true powerhouse and can deal a lot of damage. He also likes being a troll as he leads you on a bunch of wild goose chases. He’s definitely not bad. Then there’s Tsugumi who is very silent but immensely powerful. Her toy cat makes for a difficult adversary to fight as well. Her opening battle is impressive as she seemingly murders one of the original cast.

Then you have the other groups stuck in the game. Fuya is the leader of Team 1 but there’s not a lot to say about him. He seemed okay I guess but didn’t get to do much. Kanon is the leader of Team 2 and gets a much bigger role. She’s a nice character who is pretty helpful even while trying to achieve victory. Definitely not someone to underestimate as a fighter. At most her weakness may be that she tries to tackle everything by herself but it’s not a trait I would ever blame any character for. At the end of the day sometimes that’s the best way to help your team out so I can support that.

Then there’s Motoi, the leader of Team 3. I definitely didn’t like that guy at all. He’s pretty annoying the whole time. After a certain point there was just no way he was ever going to go up. The opportunity for him to do the right thing had come and gone. For the main villain there is Shiba. He definitely loves his announcements. Shiba makes for a good villain. While his overall motivations may not be the best as even by the end they seem shallow, he does get the job done. He also has enough power to back up his ambitions.

Kubo is a wild card but I couldn’t take him as seriously as some of the other villains. While everyone seems to have their own motives and agendas, he seems like the only one who really enjoys messing wit everyone else. So as a villain he may be the most devoted to the role. Then there’s Shoka who is another one of the Shinjuku reapers and she gets a really big role. I was actually surprised at just how extensive it was. You can expect to see quite a lot of her as the game goes on, that’s for sure.

Shoka is a fun character, I would say she is easily the best reaper. She clearly has more morals than the rest and is always around to give a good pep talk. She throws a lot of insults around as well to be sure but does so in more of a playful way. She doesn’t seem to detest the players the way some do. Also I give her credit for actually acting while many of the reapers stay in the sidelines.

For example, I would say Uzuki and Koki look pretty bad here. They talk tough of course but for the most part they just watch what is going on. By the time they start to act they are quickly defeated and don’t stand a chance. You’d expect the big bad Shibuya reapers to be more impressive but they never actually do much of anything. At least Coco actually made some pretty loud moves on the board. She may not have acted much directly but she still contributed.

All right, the next two paragraphs are spoiler territory so skip these sections if you haven’t played the game yet. It’s time to talk about the old characters.

Neku is naturally a pretty big deal. I think everyone expected he would appear at some point in the game but I don’t want to spoil his big moment. It is a great way to jump in though and he shows why he has earned the title of living legend. The guy one shots an opponent that the main cast absolutely couldn’t deal with. It’s very impressive and very cool. I liked his portrayal throughout. You can tell that he is a veteran.

Then you have Beet who helps out a lot during the game. His skills may not be as high as Neku’s but they are still considerable. He has a lot of confidence and really gets a lot of work done throughout. I can definitely appreciate his commitment. The rest of the characters get less of a combat role but you’ll still see Shiki and Rhythm at different points in the game. Even Joshua appears briefly.

All right, spoilers are over now. So does the game have any weak points? Well, I do think the gameplay can at times feel a bit like pure button mashing. There’s so much going on in the screen when you’re firing a bunch of pins at once. You can use strategy but most of the time you may as well just spam the attacks and it’ll have the same effect. So that can be a bit repetitive and same with the time traveling. There’s one point where you basically play through the same cutscene like 5-6 times. I love time travel as a concept but I do think it could have been used a little less or maybe there was a way to make each visit a little more different.

The story itself is definitely very compelling and epic. Each week continues to increase the stakes and scope of the plot. If you’ve played the original game then you’ll really be able to enjoy a lot of the references and guest stars. If you played the Switch version with the extra epilogue during the 3 year jump then you’ll be able to get even more out of it. This game doesn’t hold back on trying to get every kind of reference thrown in as well. It’s cool how the games are all so connected as this one even gives closure to the first game.

That said, if you cut beneath all of the deep dialogue and characters wondering what is going on…you do feel like the Reapers could have done a lot more. There’s no way the villains should have even been able to get into the position that they did. It’s just hard to buy that they could suddenly change things so drastically and nobody stepped in. Shibuya has a Conductor after all and many top tier Reapers. Why did they all cower in fear or just vanish? I am definitely going to need some more details before I can really buy into this. So at the moment I am pretty skeptical. Maybe they’re just like the Gold Saints of Athena in that they love making the situation as bad as possible I suppose.

Overall, Neo: The World Ends With You is a great game. It’s a real page turner from start to finish. The characters are on point, the gameplay is solid, and you’ve got great graphics at the ready. You’ve got every reason and more to just keep on going with the game all the way through to the end. There are quite a few plotlines that are still open and story ideas to be explored so I’d like to see another sequel at some point down the road. There’s just too many cool items to leave on the shelf.

Overall 8/10

Samurai Warriors 5 Review


I bought Samurai Warriors 4 recently so I would be ready for this one but otherwise it’s definitely been quite the wait for the 5th game to come out. They pulled out all the stops with this one though so it was worth the wait. It’s pretty interesting to be playing as a younger Nobunaga in this version. It’s definitely way before the days when he really cracked and became known as the Devil King. The gameplay is on point and there’s a lot of content to enjoy here.

The main campaign introduces Nobunaga as someone who wants to end the chaos in the land. As with all would be tyrants he figures that the best way to do this is for him to rule over everyone. If he has all of the command decisions then perhaps that would ensure that people would finally stop having wars with each other. The obstacles in his way are numerous though as every other leader and king doesn’t want this to happen. Along the way Nobunaga will make allies, enemies, and wild cards. He will have to manipulate everyone effectively in order to win.

Nobunaga may start off with good ambitions but you definitely see him begin to falter as the game goes on. He makes more and more dicey decisions which even leads at one point to him ordering one of his teammates to destroy himself. The teammate is the one who brought up the idea first but that’s definitely a time where you need to override them. Nobunaga’s pride also gets in the way often times as he fights battles that cannot be won.

Of course with the gameplay mechanics it looks like his plans are going pretty well but then the cutscene appears and you realize that officially you’re actually losing. It’s not like the other kingdoms are light weights after all. They’ve got plenty of strong fighters in their own rights as well which is why careful planning is definitely a must here.

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D hack n slash as you would expect. You run through the levels and take down as many enemy officers as you can. You have to clear some objectives and defeat the final boss in order to clear the level. Once you have done that, you repeat the process in the other levels. Always keep your defeat conditions in mind because in some you will need to protect someone or you will risk being defeated.

Losing in these games is always rough because of how long each level takes so you will want to keep that in mind. You have your normal attacks, special moves, and power blows. I recommend power blows against minions since it takes them out real fast but against bosses mainly you want to stick to standard moves. They can always block the initial power blow and that can be risky. You can mix it in through combos which is a better way to go about it.

Riding your horse is a great way to move around the stage so I highly recommend doing this. While you’re on your horse it just feels like you save time on all aspects of the game. Usually that might not be a big deal since you want to have fun and enjoy the game at your leisure but in protection missions this will come in clutch. As you progress through the game and level up your character you will begin moving faster as well.

Samurai Warriors typically has a slower running speed than Dynasty but with these power ups you will end up moving very quickly by the end. It gets to the point where it almost feels like you’re on the horse full time. It was a blast and felt like a power up that actually made a huge difference. A good leveling up system should have noticeable benefits so I was pretty pleased about that.

The graphics are really solid as expected. I got a little nervous at first when I saw it was just text boxes but then the game changed to full cinematics and I was happy again. Basically the game just switched between the two. There aren’t a ton of full cinematics but enough where I’m satisfied. You get one between levels and occasionally during an event in the level. The graphics inside the actual gameplay are on point as well.

As for the soundtrack, it’s got a lot of pretty fast paced tunes which I enjoyed. They fit well with the constant action that a warrior game brings you. You might not remember a lot of them in particular but it can be hard to notice anything while you’re fighting it out in the map. I should probably look up the soundtrack at some point but while playing you will be all set here.

As for replay value, getting all of the trophies to this game will take a very long time. The main campaign also isn’t very short, it was a little longer than I had expected. After that you can play the game through someone else’s point of view so there are 2 stories total. Finally you have Citadel mode where you try to protect the palace from intruders. It’s not quite as fun as the standard mode but I’ll give the game props for switching things up a bit. It does feel different from the main mode which is important. Leveling everyone up and getting all collectibles are all things that will take time as well.

Overall, Samurai Warriors 5 is definitely a great game and one that I would recommend to any action fan. It’s got all the fighting you could want and the game is very intuitive. The mechanics just make sense and it’s a very satisfying game to play through. You’ll have a lot of fun going through it and then beginning the wait for 6. Granted, I doubt we will get a 6th title for a very long time but this one will last you until then. I doubt I’ll get the Platinum in this one but at least it does look more achievable than some of the previous installments in the series.

Overall 8/10

Wizards of Brandel Review


Wizards of Brandel brings us back to the world of high quality RPGs. The Asdivine Heart titles will always be legendary for their various quality of life upgrades to the genre and this one follows closely in its tracks. It may not be going as cosmic in is setting as those games but it’s got a fun story and you’ll have a fun time running through the game. It’s a bit on the short side but there are some post game elements that will help you run the length a bit more. I think I beat it at around 14 hours or so.
The story starts with Darius being evicted from his house since he hadn’t paid the rent in a very long time. All they left him is his bed so he now lives in the middle of a forest. One day he is approached by an immortal wizard named Mark who says he will allow Darius to live at his mansion as long as the hero does chores. Darius agrees but little does he know that Mark is a legendary demon lord who is wanted by the entire world. Is he really safe at this house?

The core cast is fairly small but each character is memorable. Brandel does a good job of giving each character a lot of character traits early on. First off you have Darius who is fairly emotionless most of the time although it’s very easy to tease him and cause the guy to blow up. He has a lot of different magical spells. Darius is obsessed with learning as much as he can but unfortunately none of those spells get him a lot of money. As he gets roped into this latest quest to save the world, he stows his fear and does his best.

Then you have the heroine Erica who is an agent of the government and was originally here to hunt Mark. Gradually she realizes that something isn’t quite right about all of this. Mark doesn’t seem like a villain and Darius is an upstanding guy so she aims to get to the bottom of this. She’s a good character and the game has an interesting dynamic with her and Darius. Usually you have the oblivious guy but the heroine likes him. In this game both of them only see the other as a friend so the supporting characters keep trying to push them together since that’s how it’s supposed to be…but the two main characters are both oblivious and just keep it moving. That was a fun twist and it must have been intentional.

Then you have Phelia who is a little girl that was kidnapped and experimented on until she turned into a plant monster. She has a lot of cool abilities now and may even be immortal but at the same time you never want to voluntarily have to go through experiments. The main characters decide to help protect her and ensure that this doesn’t happen again. It takes us back to our main plot where there is clearly someone evil in the world but it doesn’t appear to be the immortal wizard Mark. The heroes have to clear his name and find the main villain before too long.

In this case, the game is short enough where there aren’t many suspects so you’ll probably figure this out pretty fast. That said, the game does its best to still throw a few curve balls your way so it won’t be too easy to figure out what is going on. The story is interesting so you should be on board the whole time. The post game is more about tournaments and not really plot but there are some cutscenes to give closure to the characters as well. You can’t help but feel like Erica got the short end of the stick though.
Finally you have Mark who joins the party near the end. He has some kind of tragic backstory involving how he became immortal but the game doesn’t go into it. Every time someone asks him about it, Mark refuses to talk about it. It’s kind of neat that we don’t find this out, leaves a little mystery and room for your head canon here. I wish he would fight a little more since it seems like he should be pretty powerful but unfortunately that never ends up happening.

Then you’ve got Veldt who is the leader of the Guild. He seems pretty reasonable but the guy just looks like he’s a little more powerful than he should be. You’ll want to give him a second look to be sure and don’t let your guard down. Then there’s Cloney who is here to help the heroes. He will be King if our plan works out so that’s a pretty nice incentive for him to help us right? Not a bad prize for being a good citizen. There’s also the Warriors 3 who are pretty interesting antagonists. They are the best of the best in the kingdom and since they are after us, that means things will be tricky.

The gameplay is that of a turn based RPG. As I mentioned though, the game is light years ahead of most other titles in pretty much every way. You are able to speed up gameplay, go into auto battle mode, and use all kinds of tricks. You can turn animations on and off and so at all times you can play the game how you want. You may need to grind up some levels to beat the game but with auto battle turned on it’s not really much of a problem. It goes by very quickly and it’s just a lot of fun. I’d like to see more titles just make a game as smooth as these always turn out.

In a way you may get a little sloppy with the actual gameplay if you rely on this too much though so make sure you fight a bit on your own just in case. It shouldn’t be necessarily if you get a lot of level ups though. You have physical skills, magical ones, unity moves, and of course your physical attacks. Then you have the shop where you can trade in gems to buy incredibly powerful weapons, permanent EXP upgrades, and things like that. As a rule of thumb I always say to get the permanent upgrades first since they will come in handy for a lot of other things as the game goes on. By the end you will be really OP. A good way to grind is to click on the statues in each dungeon which let you run a gauntlet of 3 battles in a row over and over again. You get guaranteed gems which is huge.

The graphics are very good as you would expect. The art style always pops out for all the games from this company. The level designs are on point and the whole thing is just so colorful. Meanwhile the soundtrack is on point as well with a lot of tunes that sound just like something out of Asdivine Hearts. It’s all very fast paced and pretty hype. On a technical level the game really holds up.

Overall, Wizards of Brandel is great. It’s a relatively simple game as far as RPGs go but the execution in each area is just so good. You won’t be bored for a moment since there is always something happening here. The character cast is good and while the length isn’t very large, there’s enough content to keep you satisfied here. I’d definitely be down with this game getting a sequel and I hope the company continues to churn out more RPGs. I’d recommend getting this game if you like the genre or if you’re curious about starting this kind of game since this is a perfect entry point.

Overall 8/10

My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Samurai Warriors 3 Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Tales of Phantasia Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Sword of Mana Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10