Star Fox Guard Review

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After the interesting Star Fox Zero experience, I walked into this game with slightly leveled expectations. Luckily, Guard accomplishes what it set out to do and plays out like a fun little minigame adventure. It is similar to the Captain Toad game in the way that it doesn’t feel like a full title, but is still fun. It even has a little plot which is always fun to have and there are actually some online features which add to the replay value. Need I also mention that the game’s main story is longer than Zero’s campaign? Zero took 2 hours and 52 minutes while this one took 3 hours and 9 minutes. Close of course, but Guard took the win here.

You play as an original character who has been hired to help defend some mines. Slippy and Grippy offer some “helpful” advice once in a while, but in the end your skills are the only thing keeping the alien robots from conquering your precious metals. Are you up to the task? There are 50 Story Mode missions with there being 10 per world. Each world has a cutscene for the very first level and for the last one, which is typically a big boss fight. There are actually one or two cinematic cutscenes as we see Team Star Fox arrive to lend a hand. It is always pretty hype to see the main characters. “Fox here” never gets old as Fox’s opening line to the other characters. I still don’t understand why he was so quiet in Zero for most of the game though. In most titles you would expect some banter, but Fox likes to just tune out the villains I suppose.

The gameplay is fairly original. You have the Gamepad for the aerial display of your cameras and the TV lets you actually see what is happening. Your 12 cameras all have laser guns inside of them and you have to blast away all of the enemy robots before they can reach your generator. If they hit it even once, then it is all over for you. Each stage is similar to a Pac Man maze and the generator is always in the center. You can choose to start the level with the default camera layout or move them around to your own preferences. Typically I recommend moving them a little since the A.I. intentionally leaves a blind spot or two, but you should be fine either way. The game isn’t all that hard, but does require a good amount of concentration.

As you progress through the game, you’ll get level ups, which unlock new cameras. For example, you’ll have a camera that can stop time and one that can lock onto a few opponents at once. These really come in handy and especially the time slow one. That one is almost overpowered against bosses if you ask me. The time slow lasts for so long and recharges so quickly! Level ups also allow you to access more bonus levels. There are 50 levels total and I made it to 20 by the end of the game. You’ll definitely need to grind a little to make it to 50, but it should be a fairly painless endeavor.

Surprisingly, the Gamepad is actually utilized rather well in this game. The rest of Nintendo’s titles should take some notes here. The Gamepad screen shows you the cameras as mentioned earlier, but you still need the TV screen to accurately shoot at the enemies. It’s not tedious and it doesn’t feel forced. This gimmick is something that the Gamepad can naturally make use of and while you can theoretically complete the levels with only one screen, using both of them helps a great deal.

I like the look of the graphics. They are at the same level as Star Fox Zero so even though Guard is really a minigame, it looks and feels like a big budget title. There aren’t a whole lot of character models and levels so the ones that are there can have quite a lot of detail. It’s all very flashy and the cinematics that show up from time to time look quite good as well. As far as the music goes, it is all decently catchy I guess. None of the themes will be all that memorable, but we have some good heroic themes and some tense ones as well. It helps complete the experience.

As for the villains, I enjoyed the boss designs. The first boss was a King and he fit into the lore pretty well as Mario 64 had quite a few of those as well. There was a giant bird that was intense and the final boss was a blast to fight as well. It is tough to design a boss like this, but there is nothing more thrilling than facing off against a boss and just barely managing to take the win. That’s how the final boss of Guard was as I just barely beat him, only to find that he had another form. I kept on clutching the win through his 4 forms and it always felt satisfying. The bosses weren’t “cheap” or artificially difficult. They were just right.

Guard also has a good amount of replay value at its disposal. Aside from the 50 main levels, there are an additional 50 bonus missions which are harder than the story based ones. They will test your mastery over the game. There is a level system as well with the highest level being 50. It’s always fun to get some level ups and I could see that being a good incentive to replay levels until you max out. There is even some online capabilities which always helps out a little. That’s because there is one aspect of the game that I haven’t even touched on yet.

You can build your own levels sort of like Mario Maker. You don’t touch the actual design or layout as far as I know…although it is certainly possible. I sorta skipped the tutorial for building a level and haven’t gotten around to making one yet. I uploaded a tutorial level which is actually doing well online, but I need to sit down and really try to make something glorious one of these days. You can also go online and play other people’s levels which is always fun and competitive. You even have a global rank sort of like Street Fighter which is awesome. The downside is that when someone defeats your level you end up losing points. I’m not crazy about that and would prefer if each side (Building and Playing) had different ranks. I suppose you could just decide to not make a stage if you’re worried about that, but it’s not really a big deal. Just a slight suggestion for Nintendo.

Overall, Star Fox Guard is a blast. It remembered the most important quality that all games have to possess in order to be successful. Guard has the fun factor. It’s the kind of game that you can easily just boot up and start playing at any time. There is a lot of replay value here so I would actually say that it’s worth more than Star Fox Zero although neither are worth the 60. Even with Zero as a combo pack, I don’t think this is all that worth your money for 60, but 40 would be another story. It is certainly a blast though so you don’t have to worry about completely regretting your purchase. If you get the game look up Terry20 and prepare yourself for a dangerous level!

Overall 7/10

Star Fox Zero Review

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Let’s just say that I’m glad that I basically got this game for free since I used a contest prize to pre order this title. This isn’t the Star Fox game that we deserve. Star Fox Zero was supposed to bring this franchise back to life after its sad demise at the hands of Command. Unfortunately, Nintendo dropped the ball on this game in a big way. It’s not even so much that the game is short because length isn’t all that important compared to other aspects…sometimes…but the controls are some of the worst that I’ve ever played. Aside from Wii shovelware titles, this may have the worst controls for any AAA title. It really drains away any enjoyment that you could have taken from this game.

As far as the story goes, the game is essentially a remake/reboot of Star Fox 64 or the original. I forgot which one had this plot actually. Andross wants to destroy Corneria so a galactic war begins. Both sides suffer heavy losses and Team Star Fox is called in. They get the job done and their small group is more powerful than any army. The leader is Fox McCloud, a man who must avenge his father’s death by saving the universe. No task is too much for this young hero and he eagerly rises to the occasion along with his tough crew. Falco is the resident hot head who talks a good game even though he always tends to lose. Slippy doesn’t talk tough and still manages to lose a lot. Finally we’ve also got Peppy, the tough veteran who always ends up losing. Thing is, Fox is the only one who tends to win since the A.I. isn’t good against a villain attack in the gameplay. It’s a shame for them.

All right, let’s start with the positives because there are quite a few negatives here. I did enjoy the visuals. The space fights looked visually appealing and the game certainly looks pretty polished. The character models are not quite as good though and the game is pretty lazy which may have given them more time for the visuals. For example, the game uses the same recycled footage before each level as a mini conversation is had and there is really nothing to be found beyond the levels. More on that later.

The soundtrack is pretty fun. We have some nice remixes from the older Star Fox games and the themes are all very heroic and inspiring. It’s not quite Mario, but the themes never get dull and you’ll appreciate them. This may be the game’s greatest positive now that I think about it. A more mild one would be the fact that the characters are pretty charismatic. It barely counts since they are relying on character development from older games though. Fox and the others don’t really have much of a personality beyond a one line description that can fit each character. You are really just supposed to know who they all are at this point. Still, Fox has always been a cool character and that doesn’t change here. I don’t like Peppy, but Slippy and Falco are cool.

Unfortunately, we get a new character for this game who adds nothing to the story. There used to be a character named Krystal back in the day, but fans were really divided on her and she was axed from the series in this reboot. Instead, we have a new female fox who is naturally pink. I forgot her name, but her only role is to appear for about 5 minutes and flirt with Fox for the entire duration. That’s it…her role is just to flirt with Fox. Nintendo couldn’t have made a more unlikable, 2 dimensional character if they had tried. You could say the same for Andross although for different reasons. He’s also 2 dimensional and unlikable. Partially because of his design and just the fact that he’s not interesting at all. I think Pigma or Wolf would have made for a better final boss. Wolf’s cool as always, a shame that he gets around 2-3 lines here.

All right, let’s tackle the big issue in the room. The motion controls! Why would Nintendo revert back to this tired gimmick that got old a day after the Wii came out? Motion controls never work and they never will work. Sensors will never be accurate enough and it’s a hassle to keep on spinning in your chair to lock on to enemies and fire. As a result, the levels simply aren’t fun to play whenever you have to fight someone. That’s why I avoided enemies whenever possible and just zoomed through them. It is very difficult to aim and boss fights become artificially difficult. With proper controls, I’d say that you could breeze through these guys. As it stands, you’ll have a tough time of it. You can turn it off to an extent, but a slight one. Instead of always being on when moving, it’ll just keep on affecting your aim…which is just as bad. You still have to move the Gamepad in order to hit anything so that’s not much of a help.

It goes without saying that because of this you have to use the Gamepad. It’s a mandatory part of playing Star Fox Zero which is really a shame. I never liked the Gamepad and things like this remind me why that is the case. The instant I played the first level or two and noticed how restrictive the controls were, I knew that the game was going to have it rough. From fairly early on I had a feeling that a 6 was the highest it could go and the rest of the negatives kept it from reaching that spot.

Let’s talk about the game length. The game was nice enough to keep track of how long it took to complete it and I beat the game in 2 hours and 52 minutes. That’s considering that I was stuck on the boss for almost an hour and the fact that I lost to another boss once and in another level once more. This game is incredibly short for 60 dollars to the point where you could and should call it a ripoff. This is not worth 60 dollars and should have only been 30 upon release. You simply can’t justify the price point.

Replay Value is what could save the game from this short length, but there’s not as much as there should be. For starters, there is no multiplayer mode. Yes, there seriously isn’t a multiplayer mode in this game even though it would make perfect sense. Star Fox Assault had a terrific multiplayer mode. So, the only replay value is going back to get all of the medals and I don’t even know what doing that does. Maybe it unlocks a new level or something. There are 70 medals scattered around the 14 levels so that should buy you some time I guess. I definitely wouldn’t want to go after those. Even beating Arcade Mode sounds like a bit of a drag and especially when the only thing you unlock is Sound Test. I can’t verify that Sound Test is the final mode since I’m not going to try and unlock it, but that’s what I’ve heard around the web.

Yes, this game really won’t last you very long and it is easy to see why a lot of people are upset. They should be upset. This game got a lot of hype from Nintendo and it was even delayed a bit to polish up the graphics since it got bashed so hard at E3. Well, the graphics are better, but the controls are downright terrible. There was no quality control in this title and it feels so empty. I don’t think the developers put a lot of heart into this title. Even little things like the fact that the voices come from the Gamepad is annoying. Why do you have to hear the music from the TV on your right and then the voices from the Gamepad speaker below you? It makes no sense and it is like the game is trying to force you to just play with the TV off. Good luck with that.

After you beat the game there is a quick scene, but you won’t really miss anything if you didn’t stick around. I was hoping for an actual cliffhanger or something instead of what we got. Fox’s Dad seems to possibly be alive since he interfered a whole lot for a ghost so maybe that will be a plot in the sequel if the sequel has anything resembling a plot and if one is actually made. I don’t see this game selling all that well at all.

I almost forgot to mention the various gadgets that you have. The Landmaster, The Gyrowing, and the creature form of the Arwing. They’re all pretty bad I’m afraid. The Gyrowing is very slow and it is just around so you can use a Clank ripoff to hack the villain controls. It buys time for the levels. The Landmaster and the robot just suffer from terrible controls. Turning around is a hassle when it shouldn’t be and everything is made much more difficult than it otherwise would be. I suppose that these things wouldn’t be negatives without the motion controls, but that’s simply how the cookie crumbled this time. The controls are simply terrible.

Overall, Star Fox Zero is pretty disappointing and a final reminder for fans around the globe that we don’t want anything even slightly related to motion controls for the upcoming NX. It should be really hard to mess up with this kind of game, but Nintendo went above and beyond expectations on how to destroy hype. Making the motion controls mandatory was the main mistake here. 60 dollars for under 3 hours of story content is also pretty suspect in and of itself. Zero is a cash grab, nothing more and nothing less. Nintendo is hoping that enough loyal fans will buy the game to make a profit instead of trying to make a good game that everyone can buy. I don’t recommend buying this title and if you want to have a good space epic with Fox and the gang, just buy Assault instead. It’s a much better game than Zero in every single way. As sad as it sounds, I played the game for under 3 hours and I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a need to play it again. There is no real reason to go back to it and I actually think Star Fox Guard has a decent chance of being a better game when all is said and done. That’s quite scary. Nintendo, give us a proper Star Fox game or a new F Zero title for the NX. If not, I fear these two franchises may be gone for good.

Overall 5/10

Rocky Review

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You guys playing Star Fox Zero right now? Well, I’m afraid that you’re missing out on an underrated gem! The Rocky films were all a blast back in the day. They still have the best montage scenes in a live action film and it is not even close. The movies just knew how to get you excited for a fight and the soundtrack was superb. So, when I found out that they made a Rocky game for the Gamecube, I knew that I had to go pick it up. If handled right, this could be a winner. The gameplay is actually a lot of fun and the story mode actually adapts all of the films, which is really impressive. It is not a perfect title by any means, but it is definitely worth the purchase.

If you aren’t familiar with the movies, it is about a guy named Rocky. He goes from being a local underdog to the world champ. He avenges his best friend who was destroyed by a Russian boxer and then he also wins in a street fight. Your job in the game is to crush all challengers. There are 20 levels total so roughly 4 per film. Each film gets one Big fight, which gets its own cutscene and everything. That was always pretty fun and actually in a humorous way at times with the voice acting. Giving a cutscene to some of the other fights would have helped to break the monotony that the rest of the story had. After all, let’s face it, it isn’t all that exciting to fight yet another random challenger after a while.

I will give the game some props for fully embracing the repetition though. Each fight plays out in exactly the same way. First we get to hear each fighter’s theme. Then they are introduced and the fight begins. Afterwards, you get to relisten to the victor’s theme one more time. It is very entertaining. You can also beat most of the levels while only using two attacks, but don’t let your guard down. The difficulty will randomly jump up at some points before heading back down. I ended up losing 2-3 fights, but then I would proceed to teach my opponent a lesson.

The gameplay is what you would expect from a classic boxing game. You have an array of punches and moves that you can use here. High, Low, and Medium blows. You can faint and move around to dodge. I never figured out how to block, but I’m sure that there is a button for it. There must be right? Once you take out the opponent’s health bar, they have 10 seconds to try and get back up. Usually the CPU will get up twice in a set at the most. Maybe a third time if the fighter is tough. If you knock an opponent down three times in a single round, then it is an auto win for you. Getting up on your own is a lot tougher though, so good luck trying to rise 3 times.

As hinted at earlier, you will hear a lot of victory themes and various popular songs throughout the game. It gives the title a certain amount of hype. In the actual matches you are unlikely to notice the music. Thus, I’d say that the soundtrack is good, but not great. Graphically, it is a similar story. This certainly cannot be called great, nor can it be called bad. The game did a fine job of recreating the characters from the films. Each attack was designed well and I didn’t really notice any attack cloning here. Of course, the attacks are all very similar as it is. Character wise there are definitely some clones, but they make sense. Having a version of Rocky for each film was certainly genius and paves the way for crossover fights that we could only dream of back in the day. I think the graphics definitely could have been a little brighter, but I still give them a passing grade.

The campaign is fairly short so you may be wondering what replay value is available. Well, there is essentially nothing extra in the campaign so multiplayer is your only option. If you find someone who enjoys the game as well, then you will have quite a lot of replay value here. On your own you may have fun with it for a few hours, but ultimately it won’t last. I suggest buying this game for a good price. Of course, quality does defy quantity right? Not every title can pull a Super Smash Bros and accomplish both.

Overall, Rocky is a fun game. It is best to think of this one as your average popcorn fun rental. It is the kind of game I could picture someone renting for the weekend to play for a little while. That probably isn’t an option anymore though, so you gotta buy it or forget the title. Faced with those options, I’d recommend grabbing this title. It is a good game even if it won’t last you all that long. It is definitely a special treat for Rocky fans with how accurate the whole thing is. The final boss even feels a little special since it is a real battle as opposed to an official boxing match. Train your skills and then go on to become the world champ in this title. Embrace the experience because we may never get another Rocky game ever again. A truly somber thought.

Overall 7/10

Transformers Dark of The Moon Review

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Transformers definitely has a very solid track record when it comes to video games. Although the same could be said for shows and comics, the video games are really something else as they all typically grab 8/10s. This one is no exception and while Dark of The Moon may not have quite as much depth as War For Cybertron, the gameplay is still great like always. The game doesn’t play like a movie tie in and it’s good to see the developers still give this game their best shot.

So…the plot. Well…you can beat the game while barely recognizing that there is one. Things are happening and the government calls in the Autobots to help out, but what is the grand scheme? Well, it leads to Megatron activating Shockwave at any rate and he makes for a pretty tricky boss. Interestingly enough, Megatron isn’t the final boss and I don’t think you even get to fight him. You do fight Optimus Prime while playing as Megatron though so I suppose that can count to an extent. It was an odd choice, but it was a curve ball so I can appreciate that. There is even a big cliffhanger left in the ending since the Decepticons are now stronger than ever. Who knows, maybe the movie tie ins will diverge even more than we thought or things will tie up nicely. (Shockwave being in Transformers IV suddenly makes sense.

Graphically, you probably could not tell the difference between this one and War For Cybertron. If anything, Cybertron probably looks a little more impressive as all of the levels are futuristic and high tech. At the same time, I do love the city/forest levels in this game so its certainly not a big loss there. The designs are bland if anything and that’s because it is based on the films. I still think the robots could have been a lot more unique and it was a big missed opportunity, but that’s on the films once again. The soundtrack is pretty nonexistent when I try to think about it, but I’m sure that there were some decent tunes while I was playing through. They just escape me at the moment, which is the price of being generic.

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. It is a 3D shooter, which is the norm for Transformers. You can also engage in fisticuffs or turn into a vehicle to throw the opponents off. I don’t recommend close quarters combat..ever, unless you are trying to get a trophy. It simply puts you at a disadvantage as far as I am concerned. Turning into a car is great though and you should do that a lot. I’d say that the game did a terrific job with this mode and the occasional driving level is much appreciated. It brings in a whole new element to the game. (Not the franchise tho) Towards the end of the campaign it will start to be less helpful, but it’s always fun. Normal shooting mode is slightly sketchier than usual as the aim can be a bit off and there is no good lock on as far as I am aware. I think the game mentioned one, but if I did use it, It definitely was not helpful.

The game is reasonably difficult so you can expect a bit of a challenge. There are also a lot of checkpoints which is good since nothing is worse than having to redo a large section from the very beginning. Watch out for large enemy hordes since they can take down your full health bar in seconds. Those guys will give you more of a challenge than the bosses in this game (Which are pretty easy since there are check points at various points so you can enter the fight midway with full health if you lose) and it may take a few shots to beat some of the minion hordes. Strength in numbers and all.

It is worth mentioning that each character has a special ability. I would say that the Machine Gun is the best one, but Invisibility can be quite handy as well. Just use your abilities wisely and you will be okay. They all have their uses and I don’t believe that there were any bad ones, which is good. As far as replay value goes, this game does all right. There are collectibles to grab and a lot of trophies to earn. Considering that the online is basically dead, it will be extremely hard to platinum this title so you’re just earning trophies for the fun of it. If you’re really serious about this, you can probably find some people to help you boost the trophy as well. I collect em, but I’ve never done the whole boosting thing. I’m not quite that into it and I want to earn the online trophies the standard way, with skills and brawn! This will definitely extend your play time in the game, but in the end a multiplayer mode would have been even better.

Overall, Dark of The Moon is pretty fun. It is easy to see why the online died quickly however, since you may as well stick with War For Cybertron. The multiplayer feels more epic and Team Deathmatch is still a blast. While the game may lose out to War For Cybertron, that does not mean you should completely take a pass on the title. The action and enjoyable gameplay still makes this a pretty complete game and you’ll enjoy it a lot even if the plot is very forgettable. We did have some good banter between one of the Autobots and the government in one level though. The Autobot talked tough for a while, but once he started to get pounded by the Decepticons, he knew who to call. I do wish that we could have gotten a game for the 4th film. Ah well, maybe the 5th film will get a title. If not, another stand alone title like Devastation will fit the bill.

Overall 8/10

Men In Black Alien Crisis Review

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Looks like it’s time to take a look at Alien Crisis. This is the first Men In Black game that I’ve played and one of the only ones to have ever come out. It’s a pretty fun game and you could tell that some effort was put into it, but at the same time you can also see how the developers were a little lazy at times. There are parts of the game where there is no real explanation on how to handle a boss and that can make it last a lot longer than it really should. One boss took me nearly an hour until I realized that the game was actually showing me the wrong weak spot. That wasn’t very helpful.

The game revolves around a guy named Peter. He’s a thief who used to be a respected archeologiest until he started having theories about aliens living among us. He was discredited so he decided to get back at society by stealing things. He gets in a little over his head when aliens show up, but he dispatches them with his gun skills. The Men In Black organization is intrigued so they blackmail him into helping them, but as the journey goes on, Peter starts to realize that being a hero may not be such a bad thing. It may be a brief realization though since the Earth may not be around for much longer!

Unfortunately, Peter’s not a good character. He’s modeled after James Bond in a sense so while he makes a lot of good puns and one liners while in imminent danger, he also gets his undesired traits like constantly flirting and most of his lines are about that. It’s too bad that we can’t get a character who’s super confident and everything without being a flirt. Wait a minute The main heroine is the hardened agent who blackmailed Peter into joining. She’s no nonsense and keeps reminding Peter that he’s not ready for this line of work. I could have sworn that she has the same voice actor as Black Widow. She’s a good character and by default, she’s basically the best in the game. As you may expect, she’s naturally possessed at the end so the rookie (Peter) can save the day, but I guess she takes it well. If we ever get a sequel, their dynamic will hopefully be more like the duo from the original Men in Black films since Peter will have some more experience. The dog makes some cameos here and there, but his role is not as big as it could have been. There’s also a professor who tried to outwit Peter and the MIB a lot, but he always fails in the end. One thing you’ll have to think about though is whether you should be rooting for MIB or not. After all, they did destroy a guy who came to Earth for an arranged marriage as part of a truce between races, right before they murdered his partner. Well, you know what they say..Don’t Mess with Earth!

The gameplay is your standard shooter, but it’s not totally first person like you would expect. You can still see your character and to an extent it can almost be called a third person shooter. I wouldn’t really call it that because you can never move forwards or backwards, but sideways is always an option. You can choose to hide behind a wall and strike out at the enemies or you can just stand tall and keep on blasting them. Either way, you should have the edge here as the enemies can’t stop you so easily. One health pack is enough to get you back to around full health although I imagine that this will change on higher difficulty modes.

You have around 6 different guns and they’re all pretty useful. I really like the machine gun, but the others have their uses. The two weakest ones have unlimited ammo so you’ll go to them when you’re desperate or in a tough spot. Those two situations are almost identical though. You also have a few gadgets to help you out like anti gravity grenades that send enemies into the air and a freeze ray that can really come through in the clutch. There’s also a barrier, which I highly recommend using as it can block all enemy fire and will never shatter. If you’re low on health then there’s no reason not to use it and it recharges very quickly as well.

I’m going to give this game some props for the fact that it didn’t stop at just making one gameplay style. There are several levels where you have to play in a different way in order to win. For example, there are 2-3 car chase levels where you’re flying through the city and blasting away at the aliens who are chasing you. You have to be careful not to his civilians or cars as you do and it makes for a fun level. There are also the sneaky levels which are all about strategy and silently taking down your foes. I’m always up for a stealth game even if I admit that they can be a little more irritating at times. Carmen Sandiego did this style best with Shattered Dimensions being a close second. Men In Black pulled it off quite well and would probably make it at number 3 here. The Batman games ironically get wrecked in this department.

The soundtrack is a little limited, but the tune for the main menu is catchy. The other themes are mostly non existent, but it’s your usual action fare. I wouldn’t say that the themes are bad and they’re fun to listen to in the heat of battle. The audio is interesting though as some characters sound robotic at times even if they’re trying to be charismatic. Ah well, I appreciate the effort at the very least. It can be annoying to hear the dialogue sometimes though since it is set to always replay if you lost in a level. I lost to the final boss several times before finally winning and to have to hear the same lines over and over again can get really old really fast. As for the graphics, they’re perfectly acceptable. It has that cash-in vibe, but the blasts are nice and colorful. I also like the designs of the enemies. The game did a good job of adding many different species unlike Battleship and the Iron Man inspired villain was also pretty hype.

I can’t say that there’s a whole lot of replay value to be found here. I read that the average completion time for this game is 2 and a half hours. I guess if you skip cutscenes and take out all of the enemies without a problem this can be true, but personally I’d expect the campaign to take you closer to 4 hours the first time. After that, you should have most of the trophies as well. The only things left to do are get the rest of them and maybe play around with the challenges a little if you really want too. I would say that the game is worth the current price although if you spent 60 on it (Not sure if this ever was 60 though. I personally doubt it) then you probably got ripped off.

The only real negative that I have with the game are the boss fights. As I mentioned earlier, the game really leaves you to your own devices, which means that you need to put on your detective hat and figure out what’s happening. Unfortunately, since the moments where the boss is actually vulnerable are few and far between, it can take a while. I lost to one of the bosses over 10 times before defeating her and I still don’t know what the problem was the first time. I basically just got lucky. As for the final boss, I did figure out that I was shooting the wrong target, but man did it take a while! The bosses were certainly the weakest part of the game, but they could have been worse.

Overall, Men In Black Alien Crisis is a pretty fun shooter. I found the actual gameplay to be better than Battleship, James Bond, and several other shooters. I even preferred it to Metroid Prime although that game naturally did have a better plot and more of an epic vibe. The story mode here did feel like a decent movie though and the snappy dialogue made for a believable main character. If you didn’t know any better, you could have easily thought that the movie probably had the same plot as the game although they are completely different. The writers thought it through and made a full on story mode so props to that. This may be a bit of a cash-in, but there was clearly more effort put in than usual. I’d recommend checking this title out.

Overall 8/10

Gravity Rush Remastered Review

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I remember back in the day when Gravity Rush first came out for the Vita. I knew that I was never going to get the Vita so it was a shame to see a promising title so out of reach. Luckily, this is the decade of the ports. Look at all of the HD collections, remasters, HD remakes, and Hyrule Legends esque ports. It turns out that Gravity Rush got the same treatment and it even brought all of the DLC missions along with it. That’s definitely what I like to see and playing through the game was a blast. It was also fairly unique in the sense that it was the first game (That I can think of) where I preferred the fun platforming to the actual combat.

The plot revolves around a mysterious girl named Kat. People tell her that she is the legendary Gravity Queen, but all she can remember is waking up in a park amidst a dying world. A cat appears and with it (I say it because it may not be alive), she is able to fly and manipulate gravity around her which can essentially let her fly. Kat decides that until she finds out about her past, she’ll be a superhero. The first French (Well, the place isn’t really France, but it’s basically based on the place) superhero that I can think of as well. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t trust her and many of her attempts to do good just make people mad. It’s like being an X-Men, it takes a lot to get people to like you. As the game progresses, you can help people out in main missions as well as side ones to get the inhabitants to like you more. By the end, Kat is more of a Superman/Captain America figure than a Batman/Cyclops so she’s certainly doing well for herself.

As for the actual plot, keep in mind that this game seems to be more of a protologue than anything. You get hints at her past, but nothing has been fully explained yet. Fine by me though since I’m always up for a little mystery and intrigue. She befriends a Police Detective and helps him out in stopping Alias. Alias is a mysterious shape shifter who may not even be human and he helps the Navi destroy parts of the town. Navi are mysterious monsters that appear from the Negative Zone patches and it’s unknown how they got here exactly. It certainly has something to do with Kat’s past and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were her minions.

Either way, the government decides to do something about it. They build a Cyborg of sorts who can help lay waste to them all and they even make a Giant Airship which gives them a lot of power. There is a very long time skip during the game of a little over a year and the government did pretty well in that time. Unfortunately, the power also corrupted and they don’t seem to be quite as nice anymore. The ending seems to have humbled them though so maybe they’ll bounce back now.

Finally, one of the grander plots involves the creator of the universe. He lets Kat know that she can help bring back parts of the planet that were broken and tossed into the Shadow Realm a long time ago by defeating legendary monsters. In the game you get back the rest of the city, but I imagine that there is a lot left to build. A little kid is also the vessal for another super powerful being and there’s even a rival character named Raven who gets in your way from time to time. She hints that the Creator is actually using Kat and that he may not be a good guy at all. It’s hard to tell who’s right, but I’m siding with Raven since she’s the cool rival of the game and thus, she can’t be wrong.

By the end of the game, Raven and Kat get along so they’ll likely do a lot of teaming up in the sequel. The threats may be stopped for the most part, but you can tell that a lot of plots haven’t ended yet or they’ve barely even begun. We’ve seen glimpses of Kat’s past like the fact that she may have sacrificed herself or been betrayed by someone, but it’s told vaguely by a mysterious being. Kat also seems to be repressing her memories for some reason. The Navi infecting the Earth are still mysterioius and Alias may not actually be dead. Furthermore, why does everyone know Kat’s past except her? Even Raven knows so you’d think that it would be easy for Kat to ask them. Why doesn’t she? Maybe this is all some kind of dream or illusion. It’ll be interesting to see what the sequel does with this.

The plot was very interesting and fun, which is partially why it beat the gameplay. I would be pretty eager to just start the next chapter instead of defeating 30+ enemies to get past the section. It was also neat to see a superhero game with a newly created character who’s not from DC or Marvel. We’ve seen that a few times in the movies, but never really in the games. The way that the chapters are presented is also nice as they’re all fairly short, not too short, but easy enough to beat a level and then save if you have to leave for the day. There are roughly 20 levels and it makes for a pretty good lengthed game.

As for the characters, Kat makes for a good heroine. She doesn’t care for listening to orders when they’re clearly not the right one and doesn’t hesitate about it, which is always good. Her crush on a random detective who I was expecting to turn evil doesn’t do wonders for her personality though. At her core, she’s a fighter so she leads the game quite well. The detective is all right, but honestly he never impressed me all that much. He’s comic relief, but also competent at his job, which is an interesting mix. I want him to be more helpful when the going gets tough, but at least he always sticks up for Kat.

Raven’s a good rival and reminded me of Kyoko from Madoka Magica. It’s safe to say that she’s already been surpassed by Kat, but she still has a very important role to play. She knows all of the secrets behind gravity powers, or at least I would assume so. Kat really needs to ask her all of the questions that we’re still wondering about the plot. Apparently she’s going to have a bigger role in the sequel so that’ll definitely be neat. She’s definitely the best character in the game although Kat’s a close second.

There’s not much to say about Alias. He’s a bit of a generic villain who talks a good game, but gets wrecked in the long run. No way he’s actually dead though. Finally, we have the Mega Man homage. I forgot her name, but she works for the government and is easily the best “villain” Antagonist may be a better word. She has a Mega Buster and is the only normal person who can actually fight in close quarters against Kat and the Navi. I definitely want to see her in the sequel and her boss fight was definitely one of the best ones in the game. The concept of a Mega Man or a Mega Lady in this case is always hype.

As I mentioned earlier, the three DLC packs also come with the game. They’re basically filler of course. One of them has a story about Kat becoming a maid, another sees her join the government, and the third has her become the leader of a biker gang. They’re all decently interesting I suppose and the Biker Gang one was easily the best, but I think the DLC missions could have been a little more exciting. Some behind the scenes knowledge to reward players who bought the DLC for the original game would have definitely been neat.

As for the gameplay, the platforming is similar to Mario or Sonic. Naturally, there’s the added gravity aspect, which lets you fly/fall in any direction. You can also levitate humans and objects around you. There’s always the option to attack, even in free roam. Kat has 4 special attacks although I’ll admit that I never used any of them aside from the Claw until after I’d beaten the game. They’re all fairly useful though so I recommend exploring your options. The combat system is a little less enjoyable compared to the average title because it’s very easy to miss an opponent and just go spiraling off into the sunset. You can quickly stop and head back, but after a while it can get a little tedious. Once you get into a rhythm though, it goes by pretty smoothly.

I still had fun playing and replaying the side missions though so the combat isn’t bad by any means. The boss battles are typically pretty interesting since those require more strategy and finesse. There were also one or two gravity races, which were pretty fun. One fight/race against Raven was certainly very tricky and that was definitely a blast to get through. You can also level up all of your abilities from gravity control, to kicking power, to health, which makes all of these things a little easier. To upgrade, you use the gems that you find around town and gathering them up is pretty quick and efficient so you’ll never have a problem leveling up. It’s probably one of the best level up systems that I’ve seen in a non turn based game. You don’t want to have to grind forever to get a level up like some other titles.

The soundtrack is pretty soothing and quiet. Usually that’s not really my thing, but they’re all pretty catchy and memorable. The soundtrack is fairly small so it was definitely important for each tune to be able to stand on its own. The graphics are also solid and the style is interesting because I can’t really place it. The colors are definitely vibrant regardless and everyone’s powered up mode looks a lot like something you would see out of Tron.

As for replay value, there’s a lot of it to be found as mentioned earlier. You’ll want to go after the Platinum since it’s one of the easier ones out there. I haven’t had time to grab it yet, but I picked up most of the trophies. Beating the side missions is slightly difficult, but you should be able to beat most missions within 3 tries. They also get you a lot of gems, which is very helpful. Exploring the town and finding all of the secret areas is fun as well and the loading times are all very quick when there actually are any (Very rarely. Only when you teleport) so that makes the whole experience very smooth.

Overall, Gravity Rush is a great game and I highly recommend it. The platforming is spot on and it’s almost too good as it makes the combat style pale in comparison. The plot was very engaging and minus 2 unnecessary interrupted while getting changed type scenes (Which are pretty minor so they’re not as bad as they could be) it was pretty much perfect. I think games are actually improving with the plots as opposed to other forms of media where I say that the oldies had the best ones. Gravity Rush, Cyber Sleuth, Street Fighter V’s June Story, and more all have that level of excitement and depth that you didn’t used to get in a game. It’s why I’m still sad that Super Smash had nothing like that. A good story can always elevate a game to the next level. I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel and look forward to seeing how they handle the plot. I don’t think we need any more time skips since that would introduce a lot of new plots along with yet another status quo, but the more ambitious the plot, the better right?

Overall 8/10

Pokken Tournament Review

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Nintendo has churned out another winner folks. The Wii U has gotten a lot of heat over the infamous Gamepad as well as the lack of third party games, but it’s always very easy to forgive these oversights when you look at the first party titles. Super Smash Bros for Wii U is the greatest game of all time and Mario Maker is an all star title as well. Pokken continues to set the bar very high and isn’t afraid of those other titles. In fact, I’d say that this game beats Mario Maker and it’s automatically my 2nd favorite Wii U game. It has a lot of replay value and I can definitely see myself playing it for a very long time. This one’s a keeper all right.

Pokken is a mix of 2D and 3D fighting. There are two phases which have different rules and strategies so the game is deeper than you would expect. In 3D mode, you want to either overwhelm your opponent with projectile spam or quickly hit them with a close attack. 2D mode plays more like Street Fighter and you have to really think about which move you are going to use or it’ll all be for naught. The game has a bit of a rock paper scissors mechanic so it’s all about out thinking your opponent.

Your standard attacks beat out grabs. Grabs beat out Focus Attacks. Focus Attacks beat out Power Modes. Power Moves usually beat out strong moves and strong moves are basically pointless, but I’m guessing that they beat out standard ones. String them together for combos and then you also have the Burst Mode at your disposal once you have enough meter. That mode essentially gives you super armor on just about all of your attacks as well as a great final smash which can eat through just about every single attack. I highly recommend using it after performing an unsafe combo, the opponent will try to punish you and that’s when the final smash really comes through.

I’m not usually a fan of the classic Rock Paper Scissors for fighting games, but it’s implemented well here. It doesn’t feel like luck and it’s really more tactical than anything else. Conditioning an opponent feels more important here than in Super Smash as you want to lead an opponent to your destination. (For example, spending the first 2 rounds of a set always going for a Focus Attack when getting up to set up the grab for the third round where you’ll go for a strong combo instead.)

An interesting choice that the game made was to include a level up system. I suppose that this is a feature that has always been in the Pokemon games so getting rid of it may not have gone over well with the older fans, but it does give you a bit of an advantage online. It actually applies to your online “For Glory” mode and that means that the person with the higher leveled fighter has the edge. The level caps at 100 and you should have that after 2-3 days, but until then you better watch out. You can choose to use your level up points on Attack, Defense, Synergy, or Support I believe. I put everything into attack so my Final Smash is truly awesome now!

The bulk of your playtime will likely go towards the local multiplayer mode or online to fight with friends and rivals as you rise through the ranks. I really like how the leaderboard rankings are set up because it’s less discouraging than some other games. For example, a loss won’t get rid of any of your points until you make it to C rank. That’s when the true struggle will begin. This differs from a game like Street Fighter where you’ll lose points each time you lose and one loss can force you to have to make up a lot of ground and you can even lose your rank. That can happen here, but it’s a little safer and going on a losing streak is just as tricky as going on a win streak due to the solid matchmaking algorithms in place.

Right now my For Glory Win% is around 80% and I’ve made it to E1. I expect to be in the D ranks by tomorrow and my progress will likely start to slow around that point as the opponents will get a lot tougher. The rounds are short and fun so it’s easy to play this game for hours and hours. It’s easy to see how streamers can keep on playing in front of their audience for so long. It’s the kind of game that has unlimited replay value.

The offline modes are not quite as brilliant. There’s a nice tutorial/practice mode, but you may not want to spend much..or any time there. I recommend at least giving it a quick stop, but you should use Story Mode to practice your moves since it’s so long and the opponents in the first league won’t really fight back anyway. The plot of the story is that a mysterious Shadow Mewtwo has been challenging players and defeating them all. He continues to get stronger, which is a problem since it’s draining synergy, the life force of the planet. If he’s not stopped then the planet will blow up so the main character has to get strong enough to end this.

The plot shows up at the end of each tournament before finally coming into play after the third one. The plot is actually pretty enjoyable. The exposition was a little unnaturally long, but for the most part the characters were interesting and the universe was nicely developed. Shadow Mewtwo’s boss themes were also incredible and I’ll never forget the very first time that he showed up. It was such an epic moment and easily the best part of the whole story experience. Unfortunately, the gameplay of the story is what I’m not crazy about like with DBZ’s Budokai 2.

There are 4 (Possibly 5 from what I’ve heard) tournaments. Each tournament has you start by moving up the ranks as you face 5 opponents. You must then fight them again and again to move past that part and enter the 8 man tournament. After you win that, then you fight the Promotion Battle and then you rinse and repeat after a quick cinematic fight. It gets longer and longer and according to Reddit/Gamefaqs calculations, the story is around 110-120 fights long and that number will vary if you happen to lose during the run. I completed the first 3 tournaments so far and I’ll admit that I’m not too crazy about the prospect of going for the next 2. I will do them, even if only to get Mewtwo and the final support Pokemon, but the story didn’t have to be artificially extended quite so far. There was just no reason for it.

The short part that is actually the story is quite interesting though and I really would have liked the whole story mode to be about that. Maybe next time I guess. The voice acting has been chuckled at a lot online and I can see why. As one guy said for the first big promotion battle master, he sounded like he was eating while talking. The voice was very muffled. Still, it’s pretty funny and I’d say that the voice acting is pretty well done depending on how intentional it all is. I actually like Nia as she constantly rubs the losses in your face and takes credit for your wins. “You’re like a Magikarp out of water” “They made you their punching bag that time!” Those are epic quotes that may seem mean spirited, but that’s just who Nia is. It’s not personal, even when she gives you advice like “Keep your guard up” right before the opponent grabs you. You have the option to turn her off, but I can’t bring myself to do that. The constant dialogue is hype and she’s much better at her role than Navi. Mewtwo’s owner is also a pretty cool character. She’s a mysterious figure and even her ending is rather sudden so I guess that’ll leave some room for the sequel. Hopefully the main character gets to talk if there is a Pokken 2.

The gameplay is great, which is lucky for me because it makes this a lot more bearable than it would have been otherwise, but it’s still really long. My recommendation is, don’t lose when you’re in the main tournament phase. Trust me, it’ll make the whole cycle even tougher. You can cheese most of the opponents though, but make sure that you are truly good by the time the last tournaments roll around because the cheese tactics won’t be nearly as effective.

Each round earns you up to 20K and winning tournaments gives you significantly higher amounts. I’ve earned almost 10 million already, but the money goes very quickly. I don’t even know how many accessories and clothes you can buy, but it’s a lot and I’m nowhere near rich enough to purchase them all. That’ll come with time since the game is quite generous with the money. Local battles and friendly matches still give you the 20K so just play a lot and eventually you’ll have all the money that you could ever want. I can’t say that most of the clothes are anything that I would want to use for my avatar, but to be honest I haven’t looked through most of the choices yet.

The graphics for Pokken are very well done. It has the semi realistic look of Tekken while still being very bright and fancy. As you may know from the Brawl days, I’m not a super big fan of darker, more live action esque designs, but these stay colorful enough that they still feel like Pokemon and it does leave a trail of epicness for the fights to escalate to even greater heights. It’s part of why I like maining Blaziken so much, his fiery attacks look so great when you’re in the middle of a good ole fashioned fist fight. Blaziken was the very first Pokemon that I ever got in Pokemon Ruby, my first Pokemon game so he has a lot of sentimental value for me. He may be a low tier fighter next to most of the others in Pokken, but he’s currently my main and he’s taken me pretty far.

The soundtrack’s decent for the most part. I’ll admit that most of the stages are fairly unmemorable when it comes to the music and I tried to listen to a few of them on Youtube, but some of them just aren’t that good. Luckily, Shadow Mewtwo makes up for that with his incredible themes. I could listen to those for hours and the tunes are great enough to raise the whole soundtrack for me. Still, that’s reason enough for me to just call the soundtrack decent, it doesn’t really live up to my expectations of how good it would sound. Most of the handheld games have a better overall soundtrack.

As possibly mentioned earlier, there are 16 fighters. This is a really low amount and I’ll admit that a few of the choices were pretty underwhelming. Chandelure and that Fire Fox? Really? I don’t think they’ve earned a spot on the roster to be honest although I support Shadow Mewtwo and Pikachu Libre so..my opinion is a little unique. Unlike Super Smash where you’ll have memorized all of the attacks for all 50+ characters right away, it’s tricky to do that in this game since there are 4 different attack types for each character and then you have to double that for 3D mode + 2D mode while also accounting for their attacks in both modes while in Burst Mode. Simply put, it’ll take a while unless you make this game your top priority.

I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this game, but it’ll never be my top priority the way that Smash Bros is. I’ve put in well over 100 hours on that game just watching gameplay footage from the top players around the world. I’ve maybe put in 2 hours for that with Pokken, but I’ll really just spend my time playing it as opposed to watching. I am entering the Pokken event at Apex 2016, but I’ll see how far I can go as I am. Back to the main point, the 16 characters limit doesn’t feel as bad as it could. As it is, it’s very hard to pull out another fighter once you’ve chosen a main and do well enough to win the fight. I have pulled it off with my classic pockets, Pikachu Libre and Chandelure, but it’s tricky since I’m relying on pure fundamentals and button mashing.

Blaziken’s definitely my guy right now. He unfortunately has a very tough time against projectiles though. If I see any strong Gengars or Chandelure players, I can probably count the match as a loss although I’ll try to keep it real. I like Pikachu since he really has a lot of good projectiles and Libre’s command grabs make him a real threat. Each of the characters have their strengths with the only one that just feels weak is Charizard. He’s just soooo slow, although I pulled off a nice win with him online, I doubt I will play him again for a while. I still haven’t even tried out around 5-6 of the characters so I have to get around to that. This is the kind of game where you don’t spend much time choosing different characters since there’s not much merit to it. Just pick 2 characters to cover your matchups and you’re set.

By the way, you’ll want to stay active online or your ranking will plummet. You won’t lose points, but people will just leapfrog you. I made it into the 8000s on my first day, but then I took a break from online for a day to focus on the story. When I got back I was in the 14000s. I’ve since made it back to the 10000s, but it just goes to show how many people are playing it right now. I kind of want to make the top 1000, but that’s unlikely unless I really play it a bunch. I’ll probably look at the overall sales figures and then I’ll try to stay in the top 10% or 5% by the end. That’s a reasonable goal I’d say.

Overall, Pokken is a fighting game that you’ve got to get right away. The gameplay mechanics can be a little complex and overwhelming at first, but put in an hour or two of just fighting normally in Story Mode and you’ll start to pick up all of the little rules. It’s not a game like Virtua Fighter where you can play for days and still not pick up most of the terms. Once you’re in, you’ll see how much fun the game is. There may only be 16 fighters, but you’ll still have a tough time learning all of their attacks and now you can really prove your stuff with your main. The replay value is endless and you also unlock a lot of titles from time to time, which are fun to use online. There are so many choices that it’s tough to decide on one. Aim to become the world champ with your character and I’ll see you at the top!

Overall 9/10

Street Fighter Ex 3 Review

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With Street Fighter V out, I decided that it was time to actually get into the Street Fighter franchise. It has always looked like an epic franchise, but SF IV is the only game that I had played. Well, that’s all changed with Ex 3 and I also bought the Alpha collection as a nice backdrop for after this title at some point. Ex 3 feels like the good ole Arcade Style of the olden days and it works really well here with one of the best Arcade Modes of all time.

Unfortunately, there is no real story here. Usually Arcade Mode has a nice opening and an ending, but that isn’t the case this time. There is a small block of text for each character upon beating the game, but that’s all. No rival cutscene and no opening makes this a standard fight the CPU mode. Luckily, that’s where the cool design comes into play. The first battle is always a 3 vs 1 fight. Let that sink in a bit since it’s rare to see this in a Street Fighter title. It’s a blast! You then grab one of your defeated foes as an ally and rinse and repeat as you go through the mode in other formats like 2 vs 2 and 2 vs 1. Finally, you go up against Bison in the ultimate battle as it’s 4 vs 1. I have to say that it would feel pretty bad to lose to him with the odds so heavily stacked in your favor. It does make the fight that much more epic though.

There are 27 fighters in the game, which is definitely an impressive amount. Oddly enough, it seems like over half of the characters (Or roughly half) are made up for the Ex series. You can tell because while their designs may have some slight personality, they feel a little generic. One character is literally called Area and some of the others have names that may sound eccentric, but probably didn’t have a lot of thought behind them. The characters were quickly just created and thrown into the game. Most of them at least seem to have fairly good controls and combos so there’s always that. I like the two Superhero/Supervillain character combo. Those guys are definitely a blast.

The actual gameplay is what you would expect to find in a Street Fighter game. It’s 2D and you have to punch and kick your opponent until his/her health bar goes all the way down. There are a lot of combos that you can work towards completing and you can learn them in the trials/training mode. More on that in a moment. Street Fighter basically invented the term “Button Masher” so you can still do pretty well against the computer is you just keep on pressing buttons. Due to the retro feel of the game, it feels like you can move very fast and fluidly. I also can’t forget to mention how the team function is so fun. You can switch out and pull off a devastating team combo before your partner leaves. It’s also risky if your partner gets hit in the crossfire though because you’re then taking roughly double damage for each hit. So, watch out, but it adds another layer to the game. The Arcade Feeling is cemented in the game and that’s definitely a good thing.

Back to the Trials Mode. This mode has you pull off combos and challenges so that you can gather EXP to unlock new attacks with. They can then be used on your original fighter so you can give him your personal 4 best special abilities. Imagine having Zangief’s Cyclone and Ryu’s Shoryuken. The possibilities are endless so your fighter will be very tough by the end. I did a lot of the challenges for fun, but they do get really difficult later on and without any actual prize besides buying abilities for a character that I’ll never use…there’s not much else to do there. Before going to multiplayer mode, you’ll just want to make sure that you have all of the characters. Beating the game 10 times will get you the 10 normal unlockable characters, but you have to beat it 8 times as Ryu and 8 times as Bison to get their true forms. They’re really like glorified alt costumes, but you’ll still want to have them unlocked for parties.

The true replay value as always is simply playing the multiplayer mode with friends. There are enough characters so that you won’t ever have to get bored. Whenever you want a break from Ryu, try out Bison for a bit and then go back to Ryu. Evil Ryu and Bison 2 are secret characters, which also shake things up although they are not quite as intense as they will be in future installments.

The graphics are a little more pixelated than you may have assumed, but it does help that retro vibe. It’s also interesting to see the characters use their moves from SF V. It shows how true to its history Street Fighter has stayed over the years. Just about every combo in SF V is still around here even if it’s no longer a true combo or the attack may have become less effective. The final stage in particular looks great and I’m sure that a lot of effort was put into that one.

As for the soundtrack, it works fairly well. Once again, I’ll give a shoutout to the final stage for that. Beyond that level, the themes are a little more forgettable than your average Street Fighter game. It’s a good soundtrack while you’re playing, but you probably won’t remember it quite as vividly as you would for a title like Street Fighter V. I haven’t played that game in a while and I can still recall all of the big themes. Still, Street Fighter can’t knock it out of the park every time.

In case you’re curious, this game still loses to Street Fighter IV and V. It’s a blast of course, but those games are simply too good. I also have my doubts on whether or not it’ll be able to beat the Alpha games. It probably beats the original though (I played the mobile version) so there’s always that. Getting another Ex game someday would be a blast. Bringing back that team angle would make for some fun tournies!

Overall, Street Fighter Ex 3 is a complete success in my book. I know that reviews for the game weren’t quite as positive as the others, but it shows what a high standard Street Fighter games have set for the franchise. I’d still say that Ex 3 isn’t just a good game, but a great one. It really forces you to put on your nostalgia goggles and the gameplay has aged very well over the years. You can just pop it in the console and play it at any time and you’ll have as much fun as someone who played it when it first came out on March 4th in the year 2000. If you don’t own this forgotten Street Fighter game yet, then I highly recommend goinng out there and getting it ASAP!

Overall 8/10

Madden Mobile Review

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I don’t play mobile games all that often, but when I do you can bet that I take the experience as far as it can go. Pokemon Shuffle was a FTP game that was a lot of fun for a while and I probably did around 50 levels before deciding to go away from it. It’s hard to say how long I played Madden Mobile, but it was for quite a while. It’s very fun and well done for the most part, but eventually its limitations wil start to show. That is the fate of all mobile games at some point I’d say unless they start to actually have endings or are some kind of multiplayer experience like Super Smash Flash. I’m not positive, but I believe that I read somewhere about the data being deleted at some point so you’d start the next season fresh. Hopefully that’s not the case and the data is still here at the moment so I won’t deduct any points there. Just keep in mind that if this is true, it really does hurt the overall score.

I found out about Madden Mobile through a commercial and quickly figured that it would be a fun game. The gameplay as you would expect is a replica of the normal Madden games, but drastically simplified. You can choose from a variety of kicks and passes as well as go for the occasional field goal. You can also play defense, which really makes this feel like a complete game. There are 2 different control types to be found here. I choose the control stick type to further the realism of the simulation compared to the real Madden. It was fairly smooth and as this is apparently a new feature, it was handled very well. Once in a while your stride would go past the stick, which would lead to an unfortunate play, but that was rare once you got the hang of it.

There are several modes to be found here. The main one is Season mode, which pits you against 16 opponents and then the Playoffs start. It’s very easy, but a good way to learn the controls, earn money/exp and knock out some achievements. I had fun clearing a season. There is also the daily challenges, which will give you all of the rewards as Season mode, but in smaller chunks. They also cost more energy points to use so they are less efficient. Of course, The card rewards may be worth it at times since a lot of the daily challenges are special events towards the end of the series. You will want to grab as many level ups as possible before that happens to have more energy at your disposal.

Each energy replenishes itself in half an hour. Each activity will likely cost 3-4 points with super special ones costing 10. I got over level 20 so energy wasn’t a huge factor by the end, but this is where the FTP part comes in. If you want to just keep on playing the game instead of constantly stopping to let the energy come back, you will have to cave in and just pay out some money. Obviously, I’d personally recommend just waiting it out. As it stands, I did form a very impressive team by the end and made it quite far.

I also did well in the Head to Head mode where you battle other users. I moved up a few ranks and gradually just stopped when I stopped playing the game. The ranks are easy to climb through so you can easily get to the final rank if you want that achievent. Especially considering that I didn’t start the game until around half of the season was already over. It’s too bad that you can’t actually fight someone in real time though. Instead you alternate drives and whoever scored the most by the end wins.

The graphics are fairly good. It’s a mobile game, not a AAA title so don’t expect Madden console graphics here, but the animations are clear. The soundtrack can be a little sad though. There are barely any tunes to be found and more effort certainly could have been placed here. Sport games aren’t known for their great soundtracks, but Mario Strikers pulled it off.

Unfortunately, the servers are not all that great. You will find yourself being disconnectes from the game many times and the servers will refuse to operate at other points as well. It happened a lot more than I would have expected so that was a disappointment. Part of the point about having a game like Madden Mobile is that you can play it on the go or when you have a few minutes of empty time. If the servers aren’t working once again, then it makes the situation a little less ideal.

Overall, Madden Mobile was a fun mobile game. Apparently it continues to improve year after year so I look forward to seeing where it goes from here. I still hope that the data isn’t deleted for the next season though. The exp and level ups should just be a sign of dedication from the hardcore Madden fans who have been sticking around with the series for quite a while. The hours will go by very quickly as you play the title, although eventually the nature of this FTP game will start to be a little taxing. You’ll be less willing to wait until your energy replenishes and you will want to just play a console Madden. I got burned out towards the end although it’s been long enough that I could easily get back into it. It’s easy to see how these mobile games can get to addicting. You’re technically doing the same tasks over and over, yet the game never stops making it feel fresh. It’s hard to describe exactly what makes it so appealing, but either way my Madden Mobile experience has come to an end, but yours may just be starting!

Overall 7/10

Shovel Knight Review

shovel-knight
I haven’t played a whole lot of indie games over the years. Typically, most of them don’t get a physical release, which essentially means Game Over as I don’t step into the digital realm very often. Shovel Knight certainly got very popular though so it’s not too surprising that it got such a wide release. For a while there, people were completely convinced that he was going to be playable in Super Smash Bros. That may not have ultimately happened, but it did help his popularity soar to even greater heights. The game is fun and it’s a call back to the classic Mega Man games from the good ole days. Those were always a lot of fun and ditto for Shovel Knight. There’s quite a lot of replay value contained within to back up the short story.

You play as a Knight who wields a shovel and whose teammate was seemingly destroyed. He decided to retire to a land of peace for a while, but eventually realizes that it’s time to avenge Shield Knight. Shovel Knight sets out, but the rest of the Knights from the round table intend to stop him along with the mysterious Black Knight. Will Shovel Knight’s determination be enough for him to vanquish all of his foes or will he ultimately have to use a tactical retreat?

Shovel Knight is a hero through and through so he doesn’t destroy the opponents that he defeats. On the contrary, he simply lets them think about their follies while on the ground and he moves onto the next area. Towards the end, he’s had just about enough of his “friends” and leaves them hanging from a castle. They eventually get up, but Shovel Knight couldn’t be bothered to stop and help. These guys are rather ungrateful and not reasonable so you can understand why Shovel Knight decided to use the extra minutes to stop the villain. The Knights can take care of themselves.

Let’s talk more about the gameplay. Instead of a Mega Buster, you’ve got a Shovel that you can whack opponents with. As you progress through the game, you’ll get magic spells like a fire blast or a super punch. You can also upgrade the shovel so that it can fire mini shockwaves and power slashes by holding the slash button. Watch out for enemy attacks though because like the old Mega Man games they will put you in hit stun for a while and during that time you are certainly very vurlable to pits. I died quite a few times that way. You can also obtain different armors and each one has strengths and weaknesses so you have to decide which one to ultimately use. I decided to use the economically friendly one to save on gold. When you die, you drop gold and that gold can really come in handy.

It should be noted that you can’t really die here. When you die, you’re taken to the last check point and you can seemingly keep trying until you eventually succeed. That did come in handy at the end of the game since I lost to the final form of the final boss and beating the first form again would have been a little iffy. It’s not a super long boss like some of the other games that I’ve played over the years, but saving some time and just throwing me back into the final form is definitely great. Not being able to really die can be an issue for some, but you do lose gold so there are still some consequences and the game isn’t super easy or anything like that. I expect you to definitely die a few times during your initial play through. Probably more than just “a few” times as well.

The graphics are solid. The game did a fine job of emulating the retro games as you can see above. The character designs are solid and the models look clear in the game. Black Knight is definitely the most interesting character visually although the final boss looks epic as well. I’d also give a nice thumbs up to the soundtrack for going the extra mile here. There were many themes present in the game and each one was suitable for the stages and the combat. Each theme was quick and you know how I don’t care for soft/quiet songs quite as much.

The ending would definitely have been super tragic if not for the after credits scene so make sure that you stick around for it. I’d say that it’s definitely a good thing that they added it since the first ending was unexpected, but also just a little sad for both of the Knights. That would have been a pretty big failure for them. Still, it didn’t happen so they did good. I would have liked to have seen some more of the “wanderers” though. The characters seemed pretty neat. They were all fairly mysterious and we only have a vague sense of their ambitions and goals. At the very least, we know that they are all good fighters.

There’s certainly already quite a bit of lore in the game. I don’t mind if they don’t end up exploring a lot of this, but those mystery characters need to return. After that, I guess we’ll need some new villains so I’m wondering who will show up. I’m assuming that we will probably get a sequel at some point and if the series is still going strong in a few years, Shovel Knight really could make his debut into the Super Smash universe.

This is one of those games that is very easy to quickly plug and play. You can get into the gameplay very easily and earning Gold is always a lot of fun since you have good things to spend it on. Of course, that won’t be a factor soon since I only have one armor left, but it was always a blast going for the jewels. As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of replay value here. You’ll want to go back and get all of the music notes, which should take quite a long while. Talking to everyone in all of the villages will help you get trophies and naturally the Platinum in and of itself will take quite a long time. Some trophies are incredibly difficult like beating the game in under 90 minutes or beating it without dying. The company went all out for this Platinum and it’s definitely all but unachieveable for me. Eventually you could get all of the trophies, but it would take many hours.

Meanwhile, the game also brings the DLC pack along with it where you play as another Knight and do Story Mode again, but it’s decently changed from the first time around. The level designs have been altered and seeing everything from another perspective is interesting, but I would have liked something a bit more like adding in more items or something. I haven’t embarked on this DLC yet and will probably do it someday, but not in the near future. I beat the game in one nice long batch, but I imagine that doing it a second time would be a lot harder depending on how good or bad Plague Knight is.

Overall, I’d recommend giving Shovel Knight a purchase. If you enjoyed those old Nintendo classics or the Mega Man games, then this is right up your ally. The developers even went the extra mile and provided an actual plot through the word bubbles. You certainly didn’t see that in the oldest games from back in the day and it’s a good way of quickly using some modern elements without messing up the vibe of the title. With good graphics and a solid soundtrack as well, there are no real negatives to be found here. A mild issue could be that the game is a little on the short side, but as always, that does typically work out well for me. The game certainly doesn’t drag this way and most of the old games were very short like this one. Shield Knight still got a big team up with Shovel Knight to end it all and that was pretty climactic. The dream fights were also pretty intense. You better make that catch!

Overall 7/10