Pokemon Go Review

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It’s time to finally review the big app sensation of the last few months. I played it quite a lot and got all the way to Level 32. The game’s starting to die down now with the cold weather stopping many players so now felt like a good time to review it. I’ll still be sticking with it but my pace has slowed quite a bit so if anything, I’ll just add updates whenever I reach a new level. I can certainly say that it has lived up to the hype although I’ll admit that it was a rough road at first with all of the bugs. The game isn’t 100% smooth yet, but we are getting there and the game continues to add updates. As this is an App game, the review likely won’t be all that long, but still longer than most similar titles.

You are given some Pokeballs to start the game with. You catch Pokemon and every time you do this you get 100 stardust and 3 candies for that Pokemon. You can use stardust to power up your Pokemon and you can use the candy to evolve them into stronger forms. You can transfer duplicates that you don’t want to the Professor. As you level up in the game, you’ll get more items like Great and Ultra Balls as well as access to stronger levels for your Pokemon. The end goal for players is usually one of two options. The first is to simply complete the Pokedex. That’s my end goal although it is certainly a very tough one. I don’t count Regional Exclusives, but even so you have to get lucky to catch some of the rare ones like Snorlax and Lapras. The other goal is to get to Level 40, which is quite the achievement as well since the EXP needed for each level grows tremendously as you go through the game. I’m at Level 32 and I believe that means that I am just barely over half way or maybe not even there yet.

The game itself is very simple. You’ll understand how to play it in a matter of minutes. What made it a sensation is the fact that you find Pokemon out in the wild and you can activate the camera so you can see the real world at the same time. I never use that feature because the battery drain is already quite high without considering that. It’s fun because it loosely tracks the distance that you walk and it’s a way to keep you active and about. You may walk more while playing the game because you want to catch Pokemon and get some more EXP. It’s a game that you can’t play quite as well indoors as outdoors.

If the game had been handled smoothly, I think it still could have been a big sensation right now. Unfortunately, the game has a tendency of shutting off, heating up your phone, glitching your gym battles and locking you out, and a whole plethora of issues. I’m not even going to go into them because you’re probably well aware of them thanks to the internet and how popular the title was. The only bug that really bothers me now is the Gym one. Whenever I try to take over a Gym, I’m blocked out because of a random glitch. It’s gotten to the point where I haven’t taken over a gym in a very long time. That’s tough on coin earning since it’s the only way to earn coins. I have a survey app which has helped quite a lot with that, but it’s still not a very fun issue to have.

I don’t want this review to give off a negative vibe though. As you can tell, I’ve played the game for a very long time. It’s a highly addictive title much like Mario or Pac Man and it’s a game that can last you for well over a year. They may raise the level cap when they add in future generations which could be fun or frustrating depending on how you look at it. That’s not til the summer though and I have my doubts on whether I’ll be playing that far into the future, but you never know. I don’t plan to delete the app even when I’m playing rarely so I can always go back and look at it. Ultimately, it is an app and those are great for passing the time. The game will likely be even smoother and more polished by that point.

The graphics for the game look pretty good. Considering that it’s a mobile title, everything is clear. The soundtrack is limited as it only has one or two actual themes. The main theme isn’t very good, but the other one is all right. I’d love the ability to add in your own musical tracks, but I play on mute 99% of the time so I suppose it wouldn’t actually make a huge difference to me in the end.

Overall, Pokemon Go was a sensation and I’m glad to have been apart of it. It’s definitely the kind of thing that you’ll have fun telling people about many years down the road. This is the company’s second project of this kind so I wonder if they’ll ever do another franchise. I doubt it would get quite as much traction since nothing is quite as big as Pokemon when it comes to catching them all, but it is a very successful formula. At Level 32 with 137/150 Pokemon caught, I’d definitely say that I’ve come far. If you haven’t played the game yet, then I recommend giving it a whirl. It’s not the same as when it first came out of course, but there are still a lot of lures around to attract Pokemon with and it’s better to start now than later. More players is always a good thing for the game since it means that the gyms will stay active and you’ll have actual competition. Just remember that Team Valor is the way to go!

Overall 9/10

World of Final Fantasy Review

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I finally finished up the Postscript in World of Final Fantasy and completed all of the Interventions in the end as well. I didn’t get to complete all of the townsfolk quests although I did almost all of them and I’m fairly close to completing the Colosseum as well. All I can say about that is that it feels good. World of Final Fantasy was a game where you really felt like going out there and completing it all. It was an excellent game and continues to keep the reputation of the Final Fantasy franchise high. I only really have one complaint with the game and I’ll mention it below. Beyond that, the game was just about perfect.

Lann and Reynn are two siblings who run a coffee shop. Life was pretty quiet and normal for them until a mysterious god walks in and asks for a coffee with a lot of sugar. The strange thing is that she entered the shop while it was still closed and had apparently been there for quite a while. She tells Lann and Reynn that they have lost their memories. The two heroes quickly realize that they have never actually seen anyone in their town and don’t have any memories either. The lady tells them that to regain their memories and find their parents, they will have to explore the world of Grymoire and capture a lot of Mirages. (Monsters) The two heroes do just that as they explore this huge world which crams together all of the past Final Fantasy universes.

Naturally, it’s not all fun and games. There is an evil group of monsters who wish to destroy the universe. They stop the heroes at every corner and there final plan will be difficult to stop. Lanna and Reynn have to beef up their attack strength by grabbing more Mirages, but they will also need the help of their friends if they want to win this round. Teamwork is the name of the game and who can stop these two siblings in that department?

At first I actually thought that this was going to be a fairly short Final Fantasy game. There are 21 chapters and each chapter felt rather short. However, this was not the case as you need to factor time in to grind up the heroes and power up your monsters. Not to mention that after the 21 chapters is a Final Chapter which is quite difficult. There are also many Intervention quests which act as epilogues for all of the characters and there are even some Main Story quests in there as well. That results in a bunch of cutscenes and the game spared no expense as we even get full anime cutscenes at several points in the game. I ended up completing the game in 35 hours, which is a pretty good length. That’s slightly longer than Ocarina of Time and White Knight Chronicles, but not as long as Skyward Sword or the Kingdom Heart games.

There is also a lot of bonus content to do. I don’t think it will take you all the way up to 100 hours, but probably to at least 50 and maybe even more than that. If you want to get the Platinum in this game, you’re going to have to master all of the Mirage Boards and find all of the Treasure Chests in the game. That is bound to take a while. The leveling up part doesn’t sound all that bad to me, but finding chests when minions are constantly attacking you will be quite the trick. I got over half of the trophies so I’m pretty satisfied. I’d like to go and complete the final two town quests and the rest of the Colosseum battles at some point, but that’s probably where I will stop. At some point, it would be fun to have the bragging rights for getting the Platinum here though. I imagine that it will be very rare.

I really think there might be something to the whole “Great Graphics can make a Great Game” argument. Naturally it’s not that simple and I wouldn’t be talking about just the graphics. However, couple that with a great soundtrack and solid writing and then you’ve got a masterpiece. See, an old PS1 game could have a plot that is just as good and a dynamite soundtrack as well, but without the graphics, it could get hurt a little. (Final Fantasy VII comes to mind, but that game had a whole array of issues with it so graphics was the least of its worries) On the other hand, a game can have a fairly boring plot, a nonexistent soundtrack, and unimpressive writing like Knack, but you can still be decently engaged thanks to the good graphics. So, I do think that graphics play a bit of a role and I do find that newer games draw my attention a lot more than old ones. There’s just something very high tech and awesome about new games. That doesn’t take anything away from World of Final Fantasy though. I’m just happy to add it to my collection of other modern games that are awesome. Cyber Sleuth, Pokken, Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Dengeki, etc. They feel crisp and solid through and through.

I mentioned that there was one area where the game could have been a little better. Are you ready for this? Well, I think that Cloud and the others should have turned into their Jiant (Yes, it’s spelled that way) forms at least once. Sure, it isn’t really them and they’re just using the bodies of this parallel dimension where they are all clones, but it would have been awesome. The game could have saved up one of its anime cutscenes for the final battle and we could have seen Cloud fight the leader of the Bahamut army. Obviously this isn’t a negative that will impact the score in any way, but you have to admit that this would have been awesome and was a bit of an oversight. We needed to see big Cloud wreck everybody!

Beyond that, navigating through the Mirages could have been a little easier. It’d be nice to mess with their Mirage Boards without having to add them to the party. That’s minor though and since the loading times are very quick, it’s not much of an issue. The game is also clear on what to do next aside from the Postscript. To save you some time, I’ll just say that you need to capture the 3 elemental spirits from the Colosseum before it’ll let you complete the game. The map will never tell you this and the game never really explains how to catch Mirages all that well. It tells you about how you have to wait for a circle to appear of course, but I assumed that it was like Pokemon. I figured that weakening them would do the trick, but apparently not. Each Mirage has a different catch requirement and I believe you can use a skill to find out each time or you can just go to Reddit and they’ll help you out. Those guys are always willing to lend a hand and they have a large spreadsheet for just that purpose. I think World of Final Fantasy should have gone the Pokemon route when catching Mirages as it’d be a little simpler.

The most convenient ability at the end of the game is certainly the power to travel wherever you want whenever you want to do so. You won’t have to walk around too much aside from when you’re clearing dungeons or catching Mirages. It saves you do much time and it’s a great feature. You can really customize your party roster and everyone’s abilities quite nicely which is another good addition to the series. The whole concept of stacking monsters on top of each other is a new one and I like it. It adds a lot of strategy to the gameplay so you have to really think about who you want to use in battle. I recommend training the small Behemoth dog right from the start of the game. He’ll end up becoming your best monster once you get his XL form. Seriously, I wouldn’t have beaten the final boss without him. He can take down half of the final boss’ health in one shot thanks to his Revenge attack which gets stronger as he gets weaker. Just use the Last Hit technique so he goes to 1 HP and then prepare to one shot any boss that stands in your way. It’s awesome. The final boss used a cheesy technique that reflected the attack in the end, but the damage was done and I got my narrow win. I shudder to think about how tough that boss would have been otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game probably has one of the best troll endings. If you don’t decide to play the Postscript, then you’ll be in for quite the experience.

Both of the main leads are pretty good characters. Reynn does spend a lot of time insulting Lann throughout, but he takes it pretty well and it’s all in good fun. It’s just the dynamic that they have. She’s the calm and reasonable character for the most part, but she doesn’t like to be messed with and will enter full combat mode at that point. She actually taught Lann how to fight and defend himself so that shows how she was always a fighter. Lann isn’t very smart and all of the characters mock him as a result, but his heart’s always in the right place. He’s a lot more enthusiastic about saving the day and helping everyone out even if it means going out of his way. He’s also willing to make the ultimate sacrifice when necessary even if he jumps to that conclusion a little too quickly. I’d say that he was the best character from the new ones introduced in this game.

Tama is the animal mascot of the game and she is a fairly strange being who works for Enna Kros. She has the power to stop time and get the heroes to safety and can exploit a lot of game mechanics through her reality warping. She even has the power to create new timelines and mess with the past. The power never goes to her head though and she has a fun gimmick where she will use the word “the” in between words for no reason. It’s a gimmick that could have gotten old if it was misused, but I thought that the game did an admirable job. I actually liked Tama quite a bit and the execution was sound.

Enna Kros is a good high above being, but like most cosmic entities, she never really does much. Her reasoning is that Lann and Reynn are the heroes of the story so they have to do everything on their own, but she should really step in when the going gets tough. That is…unless she doesn’t have the large amounts of power that she wants us to thinks she possesses. It raises a lot of interesting questions. She was fun though and adding extra sugar to the coffee gives her some extra personality.

As for the villains, Brendires is the main one. He is a dark overlord who wants to take over the world. We don’t see a whole lot of him beyond that, but he works well as a villain and has a great design. He’s certainly very powerful since he took down Cloud and Lightning, but I’m calling plot hax on that. Even with a weakened vessel that houses his soul, Cloud should have been able to take him down. Brendires never gave up and had a lot of determination for a villain. He’s easily one of the cooler Final Fantasy end bosses. His two main minions were a little more on the bland side. The winged fighter got some hype for a while, but never did much about it. I do like the fact that she was the only one to get up after being knocked out the first time though. That’s considering that her vessel was supposedly putting up a large fight. The other villain reminded me of Fang from Street Fighter V. His constant rhyming was a gimmick that didn’t work and I couldn’t take him very seriously.

Naturally, all of the old Final Fantasy game characters showed up as well. They were all in character so there’s no need to say much about them. Lightning and Cloud are still the coolest two members. We got a tease about Sephiroth showing up and that could be a DLC quest at some point. It would definitely be neat to see him show up and thanks to owning the Day 1 Edition, we do have his Champion Medal. It’s a fun tribute to his ultimate attack from the original game.

Overall, World of Final Fantasy is a great game. I’d probably put it under both of the Final Fantasy XIII games, but it destroys VII and defeats X-2. It goes without saying that it beats the original as well and I haven’t completed any other main titles at the moment. The characters are good and the plot is engaging. You’ll be breezing through the game because it’s hard to take yourself away from it. It also has a great opening cutscene that is similar to a Kingdom Hearts intro. Even the little dance by everyone at the end is fairly intriguing since you’ll rarely get to see Cloud outshine everyone on the dance floor. If you haven’t picked up the game yet because you’re worried about the Chibi style or just dread playing long games, I’d recommend getting it anyway. It’s fine if you don’t play the post script since the normal ending is actually quite great since it’s so unexpected.

Overall 9/10

Rayman Arena Review

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It’s finally happened. I’ve finally gotten around to playing one of the Rayman games! Honestly speaking, I can’t say that he’s probably going to become one of the more likable main characters. I just can’t get behind this guy in the same way as the hardcore platformer leads like Sonic, Pac-Man, Mega Man, Mario, and Roy(?). That being said, I do like fighting games and I really like 4 player ones. That was a huge advantage that the Gamecube always had over the other consoles. It’s the one thing that the Playstation consoles have lacked. If they ever got this feature for most of their games, it would be Game Over for the competition. This game is great when playing with friends and just good if you’re by yourself. You need to have others around to make the most of this adventure.

There are two main forms of gameplay here, Racing and Fighting. Each of these two options have two more options so lets get right to it. The normal way of fighting is a time limit is set to around 2 minutes and you have to blast each other. The player who scores the most points takes the win. You can use your normal blaster to take away life points from the other player or you can use the power ups which are scattered across the stage. I highly recommend going for these super weapons since they are incredibly overpowered. Grabbing the Green Multi Rifle basically guarantees a full 5 life wipeout for the opponent. There is no way to escape once you have been hit which is why the next 4 shots are confirmed. You can also grab bombs, (Which are terrible) self guided missiles, (Also terrible. They should have grabbed a page from Star Fox Assault’s playbook) and Barriers. (Which are awesome) There are a few more weapons, but those are the main ones. A nice defensive option is a magnet, which lets you steal the opponent’s weapon. Use these tactics to win the fight! You can jump and hide to cheese out the opponent if necessary. It may not always feel fun, but if it works then it’s time to use it.

The other form of combat has both opponents try to grab as many objects as possible. Both players get a freeze gun to start the match and shiny objects are placed around the field. They switch positions each time someone grabs one. The matches are all right I suppose, but these are definitely very luck based and once you have a large lead, you can just stand in place and wait out the clock. I definitely prefer the standard combat. The main racing game has you try to dash to the goal. There are many obstacles around the stages and you have a purple energy blast which you can use to activate traps and grab aerial rings to give yourself a boost. Activating traps may not sound like it’s in your best interests, but you can really trip up an opponent that way. This was definitely the toughest mode as the A.I. is quite good. Just remember to pace yourself and look for the shortcuts. They will certainly come in handy.

The alternate racing style is a one on one fight. You have to get ahead of your opponent by 6 seconds in order to win. This results in a lot of incredibly short 1 lap fights in one player mode, but I don’t see how it’ll work in multiplayer mode when you’re facing someone of similar skill. Maybe you just lose if you’re behind when a certain amount of laps end or something like that. Both players get freeze guns once again so you can try to freeze your opponent at a tricky spot so they lose a lot of time I suppose.

Graphically, the game holds up pretty well. The character designs have that solid Gamecube feel about them. They have depth and everything looks pretty sharp. The color scheme is a bit dark if you ask me, but it’s solid otherwise. The soundtrack is very forgettable though and it doesn’t help that the game doesn’t really have any cutscenes. World of Final Fantasy puts this game to shame in that aspect among others. It doesn’t hold the game back, but having some more up beat tunes would certainly make the game a lot more fun.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value to be found here. There are 4 tournaments for each event and you can play each event in two difficulties. That makes 32 tournaments or 96 actual matches since each tournament has 3 rounds. You can beat each tournament in around 10 minutes and possible less depending on the event. It’s not a terribly long game, but there’s not much point to beating the hard mode versions aside from a few extra shirts for the characters. It wasn’t enough of an incentive for me honestly and that’s the only post game content available.

Of course, there is one form of replay value that does save the game. I’m talking about multiplayer mode of course. The fact that it is compatible with 4 players opens up a lot of doors that had been slammed. The game would still get a solid 7 if it was just single player, but it would be lacking quite a bit in content. Fighting games get around this through the multiplayer and that’s exactly what Rayman does. This kind of gameplay would work really well with 4 players. It has less depth than others, but the core gameplay is solid. The racing works really well and I can only imagine how chaotic it gets with 4 people around. Likewise for the shooting events. That ultimately helps bump it up an extra star as it’s a game I can definitely see myself picking around Christmas time for everyone to have fun with.

Overall, Rayman Arena is definitely a solid game. Adding in both racing and fighting was definitely a good idea as it adds some variety and also adds more content to the title. A little more of a story would have been appreciated though. It would possibly help me like Rayman more as a character and it would make Story Mode more interesting. Just look at Pokken, they were able to squeeze in a nice story during the normal campaign. Trust me when I say that it makes quite the difference. Of course, Pokken was just a complete masterpiece in every sense of the word so that’s another story. Rayman’s great, but Pokken is amazing. It’s scary how large the jumps are between scores. Look at Super Smash Bros, Pokken isn’t even in the same league because Smash is the ultimate game. It’s like the saying goes, there’s always something better. I digress. I definitely recommend picking Rayman Arena up if you want a new fighting game to play or just something fun and chaotic for a session with friends and family. This game won’t let you down and it’s very easy to simply plug and play. The controls are intuitive.

Overall 8/10

Justice League Heroes Review

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This is a game that I’ve wanted to get for quite a few years. The Justice League rarely get their own video games after all and this seemed like a nice counterpart to Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance. Personally, I actually consider this to be the better game, but more on that later. I actually originally got this game for the DS, but playing it on big console is certainly a different experience. Both versions are a blast, but this one is certainly better.

The plot revolves around Brainiac’s plan to take down the League once and for all. Robots have started showing up in cities around the world and a lot of villains are also in on the scheme. Ranging from White Martians all the way to lesser enemies like Queen Bee. One thing’s for sure, the League is going to have their hands full. They are the world’s strongest heroes though so there is nothing that they can’t stop if they put their minds to it. Is this scheme really everything that it appears or is there another villain lurking in the shadows? Time to find out!

The gameplay is similar to Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance. It is mostly overhead although slightly 3D so you’re not too far from the actual fight. Each character has their standard attacks and power moves as well. You can link them into combos, but you really only need your standard attacks to get through the game. There are also 4 special moves per character those really tend to come in handy. In particular, I recommend upgrading the projectile attack that your character has as those can be quite useful. Whenever you get a level up, you will obtain two upgrade points. Rather than putting a little bit in each category, I’d recommend maxing out on something. Health, Power, or your Projectile are the three best options in my opinion. Max them out and you’ll be fine.

It’s worth mentioning that in this game all characters have health regeneration on their side. This means that if you are getting overwhelmed, you should try to run away. Flying away is typically ideal. Most opponents will go down quickly if you just fight them head on, but challenging a group is not recommended. They can drain your health all the way in a very short amount of time so you won’t be able to escape. Bosses are typically easier since you can hit and run as much as you like until you claim the win. Queen Bee is annoying though as she is very fast and actually camps you out from time to time. If only there was a good way to lock on and actually get the hits in.

Graphically, the game is pretty solid and we actually do get some nice cutscenes. It was a fun story and while the voice actors may have not always matched the characters well, they were still fun to listen too. Superman was a little out of character for most of the game though. He really flew off the handle once Darkseid showed up and turned into a total renegade. The team made up by the end though and at least Superman made for a good AI ally. In these kinds of games, your partner will usually die easily and you have to worry about defending them the whole time. That’s not the case here as I was the one who kept on dying so finally I just let Superman take the lead. He dealt with the minions and that definitely worked for me.

The soundtrack is fairly bland. You won’t really recall any of the themes after playing it. I suppose that anything would seem bland after hearing the classic intro for the first time. Seeing the narrator remind us that the Justice League is the strongest team in the universe was definitely neat as well. He’s got a point since the rest of the comic book teams pale in comparison to the good ole JL.

It’s a fairly short game that you will be able to breeze through. It isn’t too short though and considering that you can purchase it for a low price, it’s definitely worth the money. As they say, quality>>>quantity. You’ll be having a blast with each level and it’s the kind of game that has a lot of replay value because the actual levels are fun. There isn’t a VS mode though so you’ll mainly just be playing the game again to max out all of the characters. Once you’ve purchased everything and gotten them to the top, you’ll have completely finished the game.

The main reason why the levels are so fun is because the level up system was handled really well. Getting to the next level always feels very achievable and doesn’t take all that long. The power ups are noticeable in the gameplay and makes it all feel worth it by the end. That’s actually why I liked the classic DS port of this game so much as well. I actually did max everyone out in that game and I played it quite a lot back in the day. The main unfortunate part is that the DS version didn’t really have a story mode. Sure, there was a semblance of a story in there, but they cut most of it out. I suppose this was due to DS limitations or something like that. Both versions are really addicting, but the DS one is in more of a Pokemon Go or 1010! kind of way while Justice League Heroes is in more of a standard AAA video game style. The PS2 version wins out of course, but you should buy them both while you still can.

One thing that is pretty funny though is how Heroes basically copies the last part of the story directly from the final two episodes of the DCAU TV show. Unlimited ends with Lex trying to resurrect Brainiac and reviving Darkseid instead. In this version, Brainiac tries getting unlimited knowledge and gives himself a power up, but it turns the guy into Darkseid. The game only came out around 6 months after Unlimited finished so that was enough time to watch the episode and then turn it into a fun climax. I think it would actually have been fun to have seen a game adapt more episodes from the classic show and I’d still love to see a PS4 game do that. Imagine fighting the Justice Lords in a big 3D environment? That’d be a lot of fun. Heroes even manages to adapt most of Darkseid’s famous speech about despair before he would finish off Superman. Of course, Darkseid’s voice is a lot different. It’s fun and certainly super deep, but the TV show definitely wins here.

Overall, Justice League Heroes is a very solid game and one of the better comic book titles. The Superman Gamecube game is probably still the definitive single player experience and when we go to multiplayer it’s hard to deny X-Men Next Dimension or Marvel vs Capcom, but Justice League Heroes can hold its head high and play with the big boys. It’s certainly the best Justice League game as well. The story adds the extra dimension to the game and there is even a fight in one of them as we see Darkseid take down the whole league. There were some iffy moments like when Batman actually lost to Killer Frost, but we can chalk that up to him just not having enough prep time. Batman definitely wouldn’t fall for the same trick twice! With this game review completed, it’s hard to say which one will be next. It could be the Pizza Delivery Boy, World of Final Fantasy, or possibly even Professor Layton.

Overall 8/10

Dynasty Warriors Advance Review

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I own quite a few Dynasty Warrior games, but I haven’t had a chance to play most of them yet. I have 2,3, and 4 at the ready, but other games have taken priority so far. I hope to get to them soon, but in the meantime we have the Game Boy title to work with. Considering how old this game is, I’d say that it did a fairly good job of capturing the style of the main games. It could use some polish though and certainly shouldn’t be known as a great game. It’s fun to play through, but it’s the kind of game that you won’t find yourself coming back to.

One major gripe that I’ve always had with Dynasty Warriors is that the story is never all that interesting. The characters all start to blend together after a while and likewise with the armies. The plot is always about beating an army somewhere, but you don’t get invested into the plot. The same can be said for most beat em ups like this such as Samurai Warriors and Sengoku Basara. However, I give Basara more credit as at the very least, the Devil Kings spinoff did a good job of adding in a lot more personality to the characters and giving more of a full fledged story. At any rate, the story in Dynasty Warriors Advance is around, but you’ll forget it all as you play. All you need to know is that you’re beating up the villains. (Most of the villains end up joining you as allies anyway. It’s a little cheesy to hear a villain talk about how you must unite the land after you finish giving him lethal injuries, but at least it shows that their hearts were in the right place.

The gameplay is fairly simple and you have two different attacks. You have the standard slashes and power moves. Mix them together to create combos. You also get a final smash where you are completely invincible for a few seconds and can land some really devastating attacks. You can also block although I never bothered with that function. You’ll find that you can beat most levels by just spamming your standard attack. Most of the game is fairly easy except for the final level and one boss. Those guys are pretty crazy so you’ll want to harness your inner Kraft and cheese your way to victory. Just use the A button to fire dash an opponent. It has 5 hits, but you want to run midway through the attack. If you do this right, you’ll be able to zip in and out. This will deal some damage, but also get you to safety so the opponent can’t counter you. It can take a painfully long time to win the stage, but it beats losing and going back to the last save point right? I had to replay a level twice because I hadn’t saved recently. In my defense, I didn’t expect those random difficulty spikes to show up.

The boss was very overpowered as she would freeze you and then just as you would break free…she’d freeze you again. You had to button mash really quickly in order to escape her infinite combo. I don’t know why the difficulty spikes were so erratic, but I suppose they added a level of depth to the game. I believe there is even a hard mode in case you want to really test your skills. You’ll probably want to use the blocking feature a lot more if you choose to do that.

Graphically, the game is rather sub-par. Granted, the Game Boy Advance can’t expect to look like Sonic 2006, but the sprites just seem more compressed than they should be. I think the game definitely could have put in a little more effort if you ask me. I know that even for home console games, graphics are supposedly not as good in beat em ups since they have to process so many enemies at a time, but I still say that Hyrule Warriors had really impressive graphics. It’s probably the most impressive beat em up games although Dynasty Warriors Gundam also looks quite good. There isn’t really a soundtrack in this game as it’s all extremely generic music that will put you to sleep. I actually almost did fall asleep when I was playing this on my way back home from Texas and had to switch back to Professor Layton to wake my brain up.

The game is fairly short as it only has around 5-7 levels in it. Granted, the levels range in how long they are as some are pretty quick and others are long. Unfortunately, the game forces you to watch all of the turns and there are a lot of minions who will approach you so be prepared to fight a lot. I would have liked it to have been free roam like the home console versions, but I understand that this probably would have been impossible for the GBA’s systems to handle.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors Advance is a decent game. My main issue with it is that the game can be very repetitious. You’re basically using the same attack forever and since the story isn’t even engaging…there’s just not much to this title. You’ll complete it, but then it’ll go back on the shelf. I think the game did try to be a little deep as there are a lot of weapons to equip and you get level ups to make the characters stronger, but it rarely mattered all that much. I do recommend always equipping the strongest weapon to save some time though. If you like the series a lot, then you should check this game out. It’s an interesting portable take on the game and while it was only just barely successful, I still wouldn’t call it a bad game. It’s fun when you first start it and the game only starts to be a bit of a chore by the very end due to how repetitious it is. One way to alleviate this would be to play the game in short batches. 1-2 levels at a time is probably a good way to pace yourself.

Overall 6/10

Pirates of the Caribbean At World’s End Review

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It’s time to finally play another Pirates game. It’s been a very long time since I’ve played an installment in the series. I got this game for my birthday 2-5 years ago which shows you just how large the video game backlog is at this point. The game is decently fun and I thought that it went about as far as it could within the realm of the movie cash in. With quick time events and actual fights in the cutscenes, Pirates is a solid step above the average movie tie in while still being below the average AAA game.

Jack Sparrow is a pirate who is disliked by just about everyone. He has made enemies within the government and among the other pirates as well. Still, Jack tries to get past all of that as he works to find the 7-9 pirate Lords so that they can gather up their skills and defeat Davy Jones. There are a lot of betrayals amidst as most of the pirates are corrupt and even the “good” characters like Will Smith and the main heroine can’t be trusted. All of them betray Jack at one point or another.

I can’t stand Jack Sparrow in the movies. He’s incredibly annoying and one of the saddest characters to ever lead a successful film series. (Not number 1 though. I think we all know that James Bond deserves that honor) The game does a better job of handling his character though. Jack comes off more as a troll than anything else here and he keeps hit wit about him even as he faces ultimate doom. Let’s just say that the way that the game ends may prove to be a rather dark fate for Jack. I can a[appreciate the ending here.

The gameplay is slightly 3D while also being slightly overhead. I’d prefer complete 3D of course, but it was fairly close to that so I won’t complain. You’ll spend most of the game just swinging your sword around as that is enough to get the job done. If you want to change things up, you can also throw knives, bombs, and shoot bullets at your opponents. They aren’t necessary, but they can save you a little time once in a while. The time is absolutely minimal though. Most of the levels are combat missions where you will just have to defeat a certain number of foes. Others will have you walk around town as you look for clues. It helps if you’ve seen the movie recently so you will know exactly who to talk too and where to go, but it’s not necessary. The towns aren’t all that large so you’ll be through them in no time.

There are around 12 levels and none of them are very long. A few good hours of playing the game should be enough to beat it. There is some replay value at least as you can go back to try and win all of the quick time events and get all of the treasure and characters. It’s not something that particularly entices me, but I can see the appeal. I’m at least glad that they did add extra characters to obtain. I also still want to give the game some credit for the quick time events. They were definitely pretty fun and added an extra notch of effort to the game. The cutscenes also actually had some fighting in them on several occasions. Some have aged better than others though as one cutscene involves a big fight between several individuals, but none of them appear except for Jack running around and doing a little flip as he attempts to shoot. It’s hard to get what is happening here, but….I guess we’ll assume that Jack won.

It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but it is scary just how many memorable moments they are. For better or worse, I definitely remembered most of the plot here. I still think that the main heroine is incredibly shady since she murdered Jack Sparrow, but later tried to claim that she didn’t mean it. It’s all fine and dandy here since dying just sends you to Davy Jones Locker, but it was a little hard to buy her act. Most of the characters are fairly hard to swallow though and it may just be that I can’t take them seriously at the moment.

There isn’t much of a great soundtrack to be found here. You’ll recognize some tunes from the movies I suppose, but for all I know, they are just public domain music that sound like Pirates. At the very least, it gives you something to listen to as you go through the game. The graphics are quite good though and it reminds me how unfortunate it was that the PSP never got more popular. The console was definitely closer to a home console than anything else and it certainly had a lot of potential there. This game is proof of that, but alas, Sony got destroyed by Nintendo in the console wars and the PSP met an early demise.

My main gripe with the game is that it can get very repetitive. After a while, you’ll realize that you are just slashing drone after drone with the exact same attack. There is no reason to use anything other than the standard slash so you can essentially fall asleep while pressing the square button and you’ll wake up to find out that you’re okay. The enemies deal a good amount of damage, but that’s only when they can manage to hit you and you have a lot of meat to replenish your health anyway. Adding more of the quick time events would break up the monotony I believe and maybe throwing in some minigames as well. I do believe that there are some included in the title, but they either didn’t make it into story mode or the quick time events count as minigames. Either way, I wasn’t curious enough to check them out.

Overall, At World’s End is a fun little game. It’s the definition of a weekend rental from Blockbuster. You’ll have a good time playing it, but once you complete the game, there is no reason to keep on going. You can always find better games if you really want too so the initial play through is all that you need. The production values in this game are impressive so if you don’t own the game yet, then I’d recommend picking it up. You can definitely get it for a pretty good price at this point. I have a few games that I’m working on at the moment so I probably won’t be playing the sequel for a while, but it is definitely drawing closer now.

Overall 7/10

Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventures Review

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It’s time for another Ninjabread Man esque game. No worries, this is the last one that I currently own from the game. Does the franchise end on a high note? (For the record, there is one more game that I plan on getting from these guys, but that is a day that may be far away) Unfortunately, it really doesn’t. In a sense, this game is better than the others because it never gets annoying or frustrating, but that may just be due to how many titles I’ve played recently. Since the levels are always reused, I already knew what to expect from it all. In a pure gameplay stance, this game is certainly better than Trixie, Ninjabread Man, and Anubis. However, it is extremely short and the easiest game in the series.

You play as Elviz. Yes, not Elvis, but Elviz. He always speaks with a very artificial voice, but the voice is drowned out thanks to the music so good luck making out what he is saying. The game plays out like a classic 3D platformer. You have to find 10 CDs scattered in the large area and then make your way to the teleport device. The levels are fairly large so the back of the cover is technically correct, but there is a lot of empty space in the levels. You also move very quickly so each level can be beaten very quickly. While you can attack enemies by swinging the Wii Remote, it is very unresponsive so it is best to just blast them with musical notes.

A tip that will make you life a lot easier is the fact that you can jump with the Z button. That could have made quite the difference if I had known for other games, but this time I was ready. The levels are fairly linear, certainly more so than Trixie or Ninjabread Man so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting through them. The compass is also fairly decent this time. There are only 3 levels and a quick tutorial so you should have the game completed in around 30-40 minutes. I really should have been timing myself to be honest, but I just didn’t expect the game to be quite so short. Trixie and Ninjabread Man at least forced me to die a few times due to tricky jumps and glitches, but this game was so easy that none of the obstacles bothered me. Even the minions are significantly weaker.

It worked out well to the extent that the game wasn’t super frustrating as a result, but at the same time, it really exposes just how short this game is. While it actually doesn’t feel as cheap as some of the others, the short length and absolutely no post game content definitely hurts it. There is literally nothing to do after beating the game so that means you will be paying for 30 minutes of “fun.” You can get the game for cheap so it won’t set you back all that much, but you’ll just have to ask what the point of it all is. By all means, buy this game if you are interested in playing it, but if you want a fun platformer, there is no shortage of alternatives out there.

I will give the game some credit for finally changing up the soundtrack a little though. After playing several games that had the exact same tunes over and over again, this was a very welcome change of pace. The main theme is actually all right, but you probably won’t notice it much. The graphics aren’t bad either. They are definitely an improvement over the other games in this series. It is as if the company decided to slightly increase the quality of the whole product at the expense of the length. It’s certainly shorter than Trixie and Anubis after all. It’s close with Ninjabread Man, but that game was more challenging so it balanced out. I am glad that the presentation improved, but the game should still aim for greater heights.

There isn’t even a final boss and the credits don’t play automatically when you beat the game. It simply sends you right back to the main menu. There is no sense of true accomplishment or anything like that and in the end you have to ask yourself, “Why?” I would have even settled for a quick montage of my awesome adventures in the game as the credits rolled. It would have been fun to see my character retrace his steps for 5 seconds before I skipped the credits anyway. Well, the game goes off my backburner list and I feel like I’m finally making a lot of real progress here. There will always be a backlog, but it is getting smaller and that’s always awesome to see.

Overall, There’s not much more to say here. The gameplay surprisingly isn’t bad since it doesn’t rely on the motion controls almost at all. It’s extremely easy so it can actually be played well by its target audience. Older folks may have a kick out of playing this with friends to poke fun at the graphics and the situation. If you enjoy playing “bad” games then this is the one for you. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that this is another one to pass on. With this title out of the way, I’m ready for some more positive game reviews. I’m nearly at the end of Final Fantasy VII and I’m making progress in Sly: Thieves in Time. One of those may be the next game review unless I end up beating another one of these short Wii games first. Only time will tell.

Overall 4/10

Billy the Wizard: Rocket Broomstick Racing Review

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Only 14 reviews onto the blog will have reached 1000 reviews total. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! What better way to keep the ball rolling than by bringing in another Wii game with a very dubious reputation. I’m talking about none other than Billy the Wizard. While the game may not be able to keep his name straight, I have to give it some major kudos for actually being fairly original. The parts that aren’t an obvious Harry Potter rip off anyway. The idea of 3D races while on broomsticks is actually quite impressive. It’s just a shame that the gameplay mechanics weren’t quite up to the challenge.

There is no story mode here so don’t get your hopes up too high. Honestly, you should always go into a Wii review with very low hopes since I have played most of the good ones by this point in time. You have 4 different modes to choose from and each one has 6 stages in it. That’s not a bad start right? Well, the first mode is tutorial. It’s actually fairly challenging to beat one of the final levels in that one, but I pulled through. Not a bad way to start off the game I guess, but by then I had already realized that the controls were completely and utterly terrible. Unlike Super Kart GP, this one insists on using the nunchuk as well. Big mistake. Just about everyone who owns a Wii likely remembers how sad and insulting the Nunchuk was to fellow gamers. It was basically Nintendo’s way of hitting us while we were down because the motion controls weren’t emphasized as much, but it didn’t matter because the nunchuk was still a bad controller.

In this case, the nunchuk is still mainly used as a motion controller, but you still have to use the Wii Remote as well. They both help with turning, but it’s awful confusing and you’ll be scratching your head by the end. Racing is virtually impossible and from the 4 modes, that was the only one that I couldn’t beat. Forget about beating all 6 races, I couldn’t even handle the first one. It’s insane just how difficult it is. You can’t simply race to the finish line. You have to also go through every ring in the level and missing one is fatal so you can’t go too fast. The problem is that the other racers are travelling at full speed at all times, which gets rather dicey. They won’t just pass you, these kids want to watch you squirm. What I mean by that, is that they will blast you with energy attacks. You can fire back as well by waving the Wii remote, but that doesn’t always work so well while racing. You can imagine how easy it is to run off the track when something like that occurs. I ultimately had to choose not to fire anything, but then I’d lose regardless. The races are definitely the worst part about the game and the irony is that this is technically a racing game.

The third mode has you flying around to collect books. You merely need to pass through all of the books scattered in the level in order to complete it. With a compass and how well lit the stages are, this is a breeze. It may have been on the easy side, but at least it was fun and not tedious. Billy finally scored and the final mode was also fairly decent. This one was about blasting Dragons away. You just had to spam your energy blasts and hope that they landed on the dragons. It beat a few levels with only seconds to spare so this one was definitely quite tricky. Just keep on blasting and when in doubt, blast some more. It will ultimately help you out and the dragons won’t stand a chance.

The cover art is really misleading so I feel like I should warn you about that. The back hints that you get to have a really cool totally 3D race that looks like something out of a Mario Party minigame. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. The picture is actually taken from one of the loading screens and cropped appropriately to trick the audience. It’s what the game does…and it does it well. I guess the developers were willing to do just about anything in order to sell a few more copies.

Graphically, this game will fail to impress you. The dragon doesn’t really look like a dragon. I’ll give the landscape some mild props I suppose as it doesn’t look all that bad. It needs some work, but it’s not as bad as it could be. The soundtrack is terrible though as the main theme is officially overused. It’s quite telling when games like Madden…which aren’t exactly known for their great musical selections, have a more energetic song list. Most of the songs are quite sad so you need to definitely take this on a case by case basis, but at least they put in some effort over there. I couldn’t feel any effort with Billy the Wizard.

I suppose you could say that there is a reasonable amount of replay value here thanks to multiplayer mode. Playing with a friend is always better than playing by yourself in a game like this. It won’t make the game worth 20 dollars or anything like that, but it can slightly help the game out in the long run I suppose. It’ll have to do at any rate as this game won’t really be offering you anything else.

Overall, Billy the Wizard is exactly what you would expect when you check to see who made the game. The company has always set the bar low and then they crawl under it. While the gameplay is fairly unique, there’s nothing really positive to say about it. The execution simply wasn’t handled all that well at all and you’ll be done with most of the game’s content in roughly an hour or so…probably much sooner. If you want to play a racing game, go and play F Zero GX. That game had hype, presentation, and good controls. Billy could learn a thing or two from that title.

Overall 4/10

Myth Makers Super Kart GP Review

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“Myth Makers, Start your engines!” is how every race in this game starts and it is a good way to build up the Myth Makers brand. Even if you don’t want to remember the title of the game, the choice is taken away from you as soon as the race starts. After playing Trixie’s little Candyland adventure, I realized that I was in for the long haul with this franchise. Super Kart GP was the next logical step on my Ninjabread man tour and this game manages to be somewhat decent. It’s still at a really low budget and the controls are a mess, but it feels a little more like an actual game than the other titles. There is even a lot of content here…even if it is rather tedious.

There is no plot of course so you will want to just launch right into the races. You can play quick races against A.I. or a human player or you can go to the Grand Prix mode. Playing with friends is probably how you will have the most fun playing this title. That way you can poke fun at the title and really make the most of it. Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your time in the Grand Prix. There are 3 different speed settings and in those speed settings there are three different difficulty levels. After you get past that, there are 5 different cups for you to enter. Each cup has 4 stages and beating them all will give you a lot of bragging rights.

That’s a lot of replay value for this kind of game right? The stages aren’t long and each one can be beaten in around 3-6 minutes, but they add up. If that’s about 12-24 minutes per tournament and there are 15 in all, that’s not half bad. There is one catch though and it is a fairly big one. There aren’t unique stages in the cups. From my estimation, there appear to only be around 4-5 different stages. One or two of them may have a night time variation that is virtually identical, but that’s about it. A bit of a shame if you ask me eh? That means that the cups are completely arbitrary and the only real benefit is having the personal satisfaction of completing them. Otherwise, you could just play the stages in free play mode and it’ll be around the same thing. I don’t see why the game couldn’t have added more stages. “Have you ever made a game, DReager1?” No, but I sure have played some in the past and many more stages could have been added imo.

Ah well, let us move past that. One other aspect of replay value here is the fact that you can buy characters with the stars that you earn on the track. Run into as many of them as you can and hope that the computers don’t attack you or you will drop a lot of them. By the time you complete the first 5 stages you should have probably unlocked the first character. There are 5 unlockables I believe and getting them all wouldn’t take a crazy amount of time, but probably more than you are willing to put in. It’s also handled very oddly as the first character you unlock has the worst stats in the game. She has a 1 in two out of the three areas and a 2 in the other. Compare this to Trixie who is the main character and also has the best stats in the game. I believe that all 3 of her stats are maxed out, which is quite crazy.

Granted, speed may not be all that important to you with this gameplay. It just means that you’ll be sliding off of walls and crashing a lot more. Slow and steady is enough to win this race. You hold the Wii remote sideways and try to steer as you go through the levels. The controls are easy as pie, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good. The motion controls simply don’t work well with the Wii so you’ll struggle quite a lot as you play. It’s manageable, but I wouldn’t call it that fun at times. There are items like in Mario Kart (Same style of item block) and if you look closely, you’ll notice a lot of other things that they rip off from the series. The item variety is very limited though and while you also have a final smash, you probably won’t get to use it. It simply takes too many stars to use and by then the race is over or you’ll have fallen way behind as you try to collect them all.

The soundtrack keeps on using the same tunes from the other titles like Ninjabread Man. People must have gone crazy while making these games since they will have been listening to the same song over and over and over again. Even if there was another tune or two in this game, you’ll quickly forget it as the main theme is burned into your mind. I’d say that the graphics are fairly decent compared to some abstract art, but I’ve seen Super Nintendo games with more creativity. You can always tell what is happening on screen, but that’s where the buck stops.

Overall, While this racing game may not be a bad steal if you can find it for a few bucks, you may as well get a better one. There is no shortage to racing games on any console so this should be at the bottom of a very long bucket list. The only real incentive to purchase this is Trixie. She still grins a lot as always and even has her iconic “Take that Bustah!” lines sprinkled in. It’s hard to tell what she is saying at times since the audio quality isn’t that good, but I’ll assume that the game will get patched at some point if it gets a remake. There is more to do here than in the average game of Myth Makers and it just barely keeps Super Kart GP from falling into the negative area.

Overall 5/10

1010! Review

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It’s been a while since I reviewed an App game. I technically don’t play a whole lot of them. The first one that I ever dove into was Madden Mobile, which I played for a few months last year. After that, I picked up Pokemon Go this year, which I still play quite actively. I’ll probably review that one once I’m done with the game. I’m planning to stop once I’m level 30 or once I’ve filled up the Pokedex and then I’ll probably just let it rest until Johto. 1010! is a game that I only downloaded because I was challenged by someone who claimed that I could never beat her score. I chuckled and realized that she didn’t know who she was talking too. I am the master of all games and never back down from a challenge! I downloaded the game, and quickly sighed. This was going to be too easy!

The gameplay is fairly simple to pick up and play. You have a classic board of squares that are all empty at first. You are given 3 blocks on the bottom that you have to add to the field. Their shapes will vary based on a limited number of possible shapes. You must fit them all in and then you are given another trio of blocks to add. You don’t have to worry about color coordination as it is purely based on filling rows and columns. Once you fill a row, the row becomes empty and likewise for columns. Completing multiple rows and columns at once will give you bonus points. You keep on going until you are no longer able to add blocks onto the field. When that happens, you have been defeated.

It’ll take you maybe 2-3 minutes tops to understand the rules, but you will get better at making decisions as you play. Soon you’ll be able to eye ball the field and instantly know where you should place the pieces. That being said, no matter how good you get at the game, you can’t get away from the fact that a large portion of the game is completely based on luck. If the game gives you the wrong blocks at a critical time, it’s game over. You always have to gamble based on which block you think will show up. I am not trying to downplay the skill involved though. Some people consistently get scores in the 10000s which is no coincidence. Luck is involved quite a lot, but so is skill. You simply have to play the game enough to really figure out what style works for you.

In the end, I got up to a score of 2919. I deleted the app after a while, but it was a fun run through. I didn’t manage to pass the person who had over 9000, but I helped my Mom get into the game and she shattered the score by about 3000 so I’d call that a win. I did beat the challengee’s friend though so that counts as another mild victory. In the end, you can do just about anything if you put your mind to it! That was my motto as I got into this. The gameplay is certainly a lot of fun and it is easy to just play this for hours and lose track of time. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, mobile games can be great because of how addicting they are and how easy they are to subtly play. It’s hard to take out a 3DS or PSP in public because it might get snatched, but playing something on your phone? That’s no problem!

There’s not much to say about the graphics since there isn’t much to look at here. Everything looks clear so I’ll give it a thumbs up in that category. You can slightly change how the game looks with one or two free options, but the default look ends up being the best way to play. I don’t recall any actual soundtrack, but I usually played with the volume off anyway. The one problem that I have with the game is that its time consuming. After a while, you’ll find yourself less incentivized to play as your high score gets higher and higher. It simply takes too long to get a score that high so you’re better off not even trying. I can’t imagine how people with scores over 10000 keep on playing. Just getting near that number will take a really long period of time. There’s not much of a way to fix that though unless the game added a timer. It’s still a lot of fun so it’s a mild thing that I think could boost the game to the next level.

Overall, 1010! is a fun app. You may not want to play it forever and ever as you’ll find your time vanishing, but it’s fun to play once in a while. It’s certainly good for passing time on the train. I’m the kind of guy who never looks back when it comes to Apps though so don’t expect to see me playing the game again. I do recommend it of course, but Pokemon Go is the only App that I’ve had time for lately. I do intend to play the Pac Man one at some point though. Who knows, if someone challenges me to another App, you may see another review sooner rather than later! Nobody can stop my mad gaming skills!!

Overall 7/10