Live Action Movies, Reviews, Live Action Movie Reviews, 5 Star Movies

The Magnificent Seven (2016) Review


It’s time to delve into the world of the Wild West once more. While the film is definitely way better than how the first series ended it doesn’t even come close to matching the original. On the whole it’s not a bad movie as most of the scenes are fairly sound but there’s a very questionable scene near the middle and the ending also falls flat with a very sudden backstory. This film tries really hard but just isn’t able to capture what made the original so fun.

The movie starts Bartholomew taking over a town and deciding that he will get rich this way. The townspeople don’t end up fighting even though they all have guns until it is far too late and they have absolutely no chance of victory. It’s always interesting to see this go down when everyone is armed because then there is seriously no excuse not to at least do something. Ah well. Emma then decides to find some gunmen so they can avenge her husband and save the town. She runs into Sam and he agrees to help after rounding up a posse. It ends up being 7 people total and they prepare to deal out some justice.

One thing the film does do right this time around is give time to introduce all of the characters. They all get a few scenes to make us aware of who they are and their personalities. Unfortunately I wouldn’t say that they are all very likable. First off, the main character isn’t bad. Sam is a reasonable main character who does his best to keep a level head as they approach the villains. He really only panics at the end when the film decides to get gritty for no reason with his motives for why he took the mission in the first place.

Then you’ve got Joshua who definitely has the most fun out of the characters. He actually enjoys being a gunman and is always messing around with everyone. He also seems to be the most skilled fighter of the group if you ask me. I’d have liked him to have been the main character because he was easily the most enjoyable to have on screen. Then you have Goodnight who is traumatized and can’t fight very well. I wasn’t particularly a big fan of this guy. He isn’t nearly as bad as the character he was based off of in the older films but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

His partner Billy was a lot better. That guy had real skills both with a knife and with a gun. He was one of the most talented fighters in the film and you could always count on him to take down his opponent. Then you have Jack who is the worst member. He seems pretty crazy from the start and the guy doesn’t even use a gun much. I struggle to see why he was included in the film and if anything he just waters the group down by association. There’s nothing exceptional or magnificent about him in the slightest. It almost takes you out of the film when he is taking people down with an axe while they have guns. That doesn’t make any kind of sense.

Vasquez’s initial scene immediately makes him pretty unlikable here. The guy’s motives certainly aren’t the best. He has skills but that doesn’t automatically make him a quality character in the slightest. Finally you have Red Harvest whose opening scene throws him out of the picture immediately. We see him destroy an animal and then eat it which is such a pointless an unnecessary scene to have in the film. I was shaking my head the whole time. We really didn’t need this and in a way it delivered one of the final blows to the film. It was hard to come back from that.

The writing in general can’t keep up with the originals. There is a lot of friction between the characters but rather than it be because they all have big egos and a lot of confidence it’s more because they’re all portrayed as jerks. They tend to make insensitive comments to each other and flat out bully each other in other scenes. The scene of Joshua stealing the guy’s whiskey comes to mind. Then you have the fact that these 7 characters aren’t as great as they act. The main villain does a good job of taking them down for a while and they miss the shots that count. Joshua gets a great ending but most of the gunmen go down pretty easily otherwise.

Emma was a good heroine though and I was glad that she was able to fire off a gun. It’s always good to see people helping out at least a little because it’s your town so you should be defending it. If you just stand around then you’re not helping anyone except the villains for slowing things down. She should have been the one to get the original hero theme but it doesn’t really appear here. There is one scene where I feel like it was meant to be a bit of a homage but the music is very soft and it’s hard to say for sure. Either way I wouldn’t say it’s handled all that well. The main villain is given a reasonable role though. Bartholomew was pretty solid so I have no qualms with him.

The movie has a lot of little tributes to the various past films so that’s nice for fans I suppose. Since I watched them all recently it was a lot easier to pick up on them. Homages are nice to see but they don’t help to hide the flaws of this one. I’ve already talked about those so for a positive I’d say that the gun fights are pretty solid. There’s not a whole lot you can do with a gun fight after a while but they’re still pretty entertaining so the movie did a good job with those.

Overall, The Magnificent Seven remake is not a film that I would particularly recommend. It makes enough mistakes where I just can’t put it in the higher ranks. There’s no reason to watch this one over the original. It could have been worse for sure I guess so it’s not a terrible movie either. If you want to watch a modern wild west then this is probably better than a lot of the alternatives I suppose.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Little Big Planet 2 Review


It’s time to look at the second Little Big Planet game. I played the first one a while back and wasn’t particularly impressed. I found the story mode to be rather boring as nothing really happened. Platforming gameplay is fun enough but I do need some kind of story or at least bright graphics to get me through. The first game’s gameplay wasn’t the sharpest and the backgrounds weren’t amazing either so that left me in a spot. Fortunately the sequel greatly improved on all accounts and actually ended up being quite solid. I was impressed with this game and now I can actually say that I look forward to playing the third when initially I scoffed at the prospect.

Sackboy is thrust into another big conflict here. Some dark dragons/overlords have begun kidnapping powerful people and conquering multiple worlds. Sackboy must now team up with a comedian, an old man, a queen, a fighter in order to take these guys down. Sackboy may not look like the most intimidating character in the bunch but he has the power to interact with anything and he’s got a lot of determination on his side as well. He won’t be going down easy and with his friends at the ready maybe they can actually make a real change here. He won’t know until he tries so Sackboy is ready to defy all odds and get started here.

First off the fact that this game actually has a real story nearly blew me off my chair. I was pleasantly shocked to see real cutscenes with voice acting and everything. The story even has an epic feel to it with powerful opponents and a lot of scary designs. The purple monsters are excellent and they all look quite evil. These aren’t kid designs or anything like that, they’re just going in. The worlds all have pretty unique designs and gameplay strategies to them as well which is good and there’s a reasonable degree of difficulty here. This is a platformer that is actually trying quite hard. There was a lot of time put into this one.

The main gameplay is that of a 2D platformer. You run and jump past obstacles as you get to the end. There are a lot of extra details and mechanics at play here too though. For starters you’ve can grab onto objects which helps you jump across large gaps. You also throw objects to block some flames or throw them into enemies. You lead mini Sackboys over obstacles as well. Then you’ve got the possession levels where you use a stuffed rabbit or cat to blast your way through levels. There are also levels where you take control of a bee and these are basically sci-fi ship levels. You have an energy blaster and it’s all great fun. I wouldn’t have minded if we got more aerial levels like that. The important thing though is that the game succeeds in all of its different gameplay variations. They’re all pretty fun and well polished.

Graphically the game has come far from the first one too. The first game felt more experimental in a lot of levels as it would have odd looking live action graphics and things of that nature. This one still keeps some of the more disturbing imagery but it’s toned down to a great extent and feels a lot more mainstream. That’s definitely the way I like it and while it’s still not on the level of Mario or Kirby there are some really nice looking moments. The enemies and the final world in general are good examples of that. The soundtrack is a lot more forgettable though. There are no tunes from the game that I even remember.

The length is fairly reasonable for a platformer. I’d say it took 5-6 hours to complete. It’s definitely not the longest title out there but you don’t really expect games in this genre to be all that long. It’s mainly all about a quick experience filled with a lot of creative levels and fun times along the way. The main question is if those levels were fun and engaging to which I can confirm that the title did a good job with this. I was certainly kept well entertained throughout which was good. There also is a good amount of replay value to be found here even if the online may not be operational anymore. You can still collect a lot of items and complete side missions too.

Overall, Little Big Planet 2 brings in every element that I had wanted to see from the first game. It’s a big improvement in every sense and this may be the most improvement I’ve seen from game to game in a long time. If you like platformers then I can completely recommend this one to you. It’s good fun and while some parts of the game can be challenging I don’t expect you would be stuck for long. The final boss is probably the only part of the game that didn’t seem to be designed all that well. The fight just takes too long and there is a ton of waiting here since for most of the fight he is invincible. Eventually you defeat him but it’s a lot longer than it is difficult.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Black Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the most iconic Pokemon games of all time. Pokemon Black/White got a whole lot of hype and recognition when it first came out. It had one of the biggest stories back in the day and a massive postgame. Well, it’s all deserved. After playing the game I can definitely see why it is known as one of the all time greats. This game really had everything you could ask for and then some. The main campaign does feel a bit short though. In terms of play time it is the shortest Pokemon game I ever played with only 14 hours before being completed. Yes, that’s even counting Pokemon Ranger and Mystery Dungeon.

The game starts with Terry getting ready to be a Pokemon Trainer. He has two rivals in this game, Bianca and Cheren. Both of them want to be the best as well but of course the best they can hope for is second place at this point. Terry won’t let go of the 1st spot. One obstacle in his path though is Team Plasma. They are an organization that believes Pokemon battling is wrong and intends to separate all of the Pokemon from their trainers. While most of the members are radical and downright evil, it is a very interesting premise. The idea of Pokemon battling in any setting other than the Utopia Pokemon exists in would be quite sinister. I’d actually be on Team Plasma’s team to an extent but of course in this game they are the villains so don’t expect them to be too reasonable.

The most neutral character within the team is N. He really believes in the cause and tries to do things the right way. He takes down the Pokemon League including the Champion just to prove that he is the best. He’s not running around committing crimes or anything like that. At the same time he is helping Plasma though so you do have to acknowledge that he is at least complicit in what is going on. He’s effectively acting as an accomplice the whole time. He’s one of the best villains that I’ve seen in a Pokemon game though. The whole climax of the story is also great with a lot of difficult battles and they’re all back to back. I can’t think of another time where I actually felt such a sense of danger and tension while playing through a Pokemon game. It was really quite impressive.

I actually lost to the first few gym leaders a few times. Then when I hit the Elite Four I got slammed by the first member. Granted in part it’s because it takes forever and a day to get the two EXP shares in this game though. Once I obtained them grinding was a lot more efficient. It was fun to actually see wild Pokemon who were stronger than all of my characters except for the main one though. Even when I finally got Reshiram he was stronger than 5 of my Pokemon which was pretty crazy. The game doesn’t hold back in the difficulty and I rather enjoyed that. It made things fresh and kept you on the edge the whole time.

The gameplay is basically the same as always. It’s a classic turn based combat system where you assemble a team of 6 and work to defeat all of the other trainers. There are also caves and such to navigate around as you try to get to the end. Most of the HMs are gone in this game but you will still need Cut at some point. None of the others are mandatory for beating the game which is pretty cool. It’s always sad when you have to throw these moves on a Pokemon because they could have used the spots for something better. I do recommend using Fly once you get it though. It saves you a lot of the legwork. The game follows the usual formula for the most part as you obtain the 8 badges and then fight the Elite Four. The main difference is how you get to skip the Champion and having a real final showdown in the castle at the end. I don’t think Pokemon’s ever really changed things up at the last second like this before so it was pretty awesome.

The graphics look great as always. The sprites are on point and we do get a few cutscenes here. The scene of Zekrom shattering the windows and showing up was pretty cool. It’s always nice to see Legendary Pokemon actually looking legendary. This guy got a lot of hype and it was all pretty deserved. Meanwhile the soundtrack is one of the best that I’ve seen. Pretty much every theme is amazing and I even liked the Team Plasma jingle for whenever you fight one of their minions. This game felt really high budget and was probably around GameFreak’s peak. It takes the best out of the past Pokemon elements while ditching the unnecessary ones. Mix that in with a bigger plot than usual as well as extra rivals and you have a winning formula.

As I mentioned the story is only around 14 hours but when you mix in the post game and catching all of the Pokemon I’m sure you will be here for at least 30 hours. There is a lot to explore and based on the difficulty for the main game I’m guessing that the postgame will be quite challenging as well. It’ll take a while to get your team geared up to deal with all of the threats left. Especially since all of the limited edition Gamestop Pokemon are long gone by now. You won’t be able to rely on them to win you the day.

Overall, Pokemon Black is an excellent game. If you like RPGs at all then I highly recommend checking it out. Pokemon Ruby is ultimately still my favorite Pokemon main game of all time but I would certainly put this in 2nd place. It’s just a ton of fun and delivers a complete experience. I’m definitely pretty hyped to get the sequel at some point. Black 2 and Heartgold are now the only two big Pokemon games that I don’t have yet. Once I have them then I will have finally gone through the entire series which is pretty cool. I do aim to play some more Pokemon games in the near future though so it’s going to be time to dust off the spinoffs.

8 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Saint Seiya: Shining Soldiers Review


It’s time to look at a recent mobile game that I downloaded. Saint Seiya always looked like it would be another fun installment and I remember seeing a few articles about it. Mobile games are definitely on the rise as of late and it’s nice to see that the quality has stayed consistently high as well. I think that’s usually a pretty tough trick but with how profitable these games tend to be it makes sense to craft them really well. This is another great mobile game that will only get better with time.

When you launch the game be prepared for around 20 tutorials. It’s hard to keep track of all the information so I would usually head to Reddit if I want to know more. The game does its best not to be too overwhelming and I would say that the menu layouts are pretty solid. For a gatcha game like this you can only simplify it so much after all. You get free items every day which is always cool and it’s like a daily routine to start with. You then have an energy meter so you can play a bunch of matches and modes until you run out. You never have to worry about running out when playing levels for the first time though because they will recharge your meter automatically. This only comes into play when doing re-runs.

There are a ton of modes here of course. One of the big ones is online but I don’t recommend going there until you’ve played offline for a while and leveled up your characters. I’ve done pretty well for myself in most PVP options for these games but in Saint Seiya mine were too low level to bother with it so I skipped out on that part this time. You can also summon new characters with jewels or play through the story mode. As with most mobile games the story will be getting new chapters periodically. Surprisingly the story is very short at the moment. I cleared all of the levels in under 3 hours which is pretty much unheard of for a mobile title. Usually you launch with a ton of them. Just look at Seven Deadly Sins which had over 10 hours of story content at launch. Saint Seiya can learn a thing or two from that one.

Interestingly rather than go chronologically the game starts every arc with a few battles. The Golden Saints arc goes up to Ikki vs Shaka while the others all just have the opening fights. The Hades arc is another exception as it jumps right to Kanon vs the 3 Generals. It’s an interesting approach but there should have been way more story levels if you ask me. Then you have the temporary specials so you want to play those levels before they’re gone. There is one for Cassios and one for Mu. Most Gatcha games follow the same trends and this one is no exception. Since I played a lot of Dragon Ball Legends back in the day it was all pretty formidable.

The gameplay is a 3 vs 3 battle with 1 v 1 fights at a time. It’s similar to Pokemon so you want to switch out if you’re in a bad match up. You then choose your attack and the last team standing wins. The gameplay is very smooth and the attacks look quite solid. The graphics in general are definitely top tier here. The armors really stand out and everything feels high end and fresh. You couldn’t tell that this is a mobile game and that’s been true for so many lately that there almost isn’t even a point in saying so anymore. It’s just how it is at this point and that’s a good state for the games to be in.

The soundtrack is very limited, but effective. The opening theme is the old theme song which is really good because that one has aged quite well. During the cutscenes we have a nice danger theme and the music during the gameplay is solid. You won’t hear a lot more than that, but each theme is quite solid so the limited variety doesn’t really end up hurting you. You’re having too much fun with the gameplay to worry about it.

So my only issue with the game is the length, but unlike ARMS we have a lot of different modes to enjoy here. You can jump online as I mentioned or play in one of the many events. You will need to spend a lot of time upgrading your characters as well and grabbing materials. It can get very time consuming to build the perfect team and with new characters being added constantly you can’t really take a break. One thing about these kinds of games is that they are long term commitments if you want to be the best online. If the offline content is all you care about then you don’t need to worry so much as those battles rarely get all that difficult. In DB Legends it took a long time and tons of chapters to get to the point where you really needed to try.

Overall, Shining Soldiers is a great title. If you’ve got some time and want a good action packed mobile title then this is the one for you. It looks like it’ll be doing a good job of adapting the whole Saint Seiya series and it’s always nice to see Aiolos show up since the guy never got much of a role in the actual series. You’ll best enjoy the game if you’re not playing another Gatcha title right now. I’ve noticed that it’s always tough to balance more than one of them in part because they all tend to be the same game just repackaged a bit. Shining Soldiers can hold its own blow for blow with any of the others though.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

ARMS Review


It’s time to look at a fighting game Nintendo churned out a while back. It was one of the big titles for the Switch since it utilized the Joy Con features a lot. That being said, it got quiet very quickly after it came out. It was seen as pretty gimicky but those who stuck around with it did enjoy the game a lot. Well, now it is currently free on the Nintendo Eshop for a few days so I decided to check it out. This way I’ll save myself 60 bucks from actually buying it. It is a great fighting game and there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

When you boot the game up you will notice one thing missing from the start. There is no Story Mode. I was pretty surprised to see that there wasn’t even an Arcade Mode to play through with unique openings and endings. There is 0 story in this game and I think that’s pretty inexcusable for a modern day fighting game. You have to at least do the bare minimum which is have some still images while there is some dialogue about the character. We don’t actually know anything about these characters as a result which is pretty iffy. We’re literally just fighting for kicks now.

So the main modes here are the offline tournament mode and battling people online. The former is fun enough for learning the controls of the game. You get to face off with the computer in traditional fights as well as some minigames like basketball and punching through the rings. The basketball game is very fun and it’s something people have made stages for in Super Smash Bros all the time. The fact that it’s an official mode here it pretty awesome. I can see people having a lot of fun with it here. The shooting though the rings is not quite as fun. It’s basically just a normal fight since the rings barely seem to matter. Landing hits on the opponent is still the best way to win.

As for the main gameplay, it’s a 3D brawler with a similar setup to Pokken. All of your attacks are long range though. You can punch from one side of the stage to the other. You can also try to grab an opponent which will go through the guard. It’s a pretty straight forward fighting game so you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Once you store up enough energy you can use a final smash as well. You’re also given the option to switch your punching equipment between every round. It affects the range of your punch and how strong they are. Test out each weapon until you find one that you really like.

With the points you earn you can then head to the shop and buy some new weapons. It’s a little different than most traditional shops though. You don’t actually pick the equipment that you want. You’re put into a level where you punch at boxes and such. Occasionally a big box will show up containing a random equipment. You have to punch it to obtain this piece. Based on the length of time you chose for this minigame will determine how many items you get. It’s a bit of a roundabout way of unlocking things but it’s fun enough. I’m fine with it as long as duplicates don’t show up. It’d be annoying to play through the whole thing and find out that you just got an old piece.

The character roster isn’t amazing, but it’s decent. It’s big enough where you can’t call it small, but at the same time it could have benefited from a few more characters. I can see how people would like using motion controls for this, but I definitely like traditional for the best. It’s still pretty interesting to use the mechanics since punching with one arm at a time isn’t something you usually do in fighting games. It helps to keep the game a little more fresh and that’s never a bad thing. Particularly since the gameplay is all you will be here for.

The graphics are top notch. It looks and feels a lot like Pokken to me. I wonder if some of the same people were behind this one. It’s all very vibrant and that’s a good thing. The soundtrack is also very lively although a little less memorable. It works well enough while you’re fighting which is the important part. You always want some fast themes to fight to since it helps you keep your speed and tempo up. A slow theme would absolutely defeat the purpose if you ask me.

Really the only thing holding this title back from being better is the lack of content. It really feels like there is nothing to do here beyond fight people online. While fighting people is the main draw in the first place you should really have something else to do as well. I’ve mentioned this a lot in the review but a quick arcade mode would have done wonders. The replay value here is technically limitless but it’s very narrow and as I result I can’t imagine spending 60 bucks on it. I would have felt quite ripped off. You just can’t make a game without any kind of story and sell it for 60 bucks. Even all of the sport games have stories and franchise modes nowadays.

Overall, ARMS is pretty fun. It’s the kind of fighting game that has a lot of potential and automatic replay value. You can keep on busting people online and have fun learning new tricks and strategies. It can be a bit bare bones in terms of offline content though which keeps it from being further up on the list. If you don’t have the Nintendo Switch Online then you need to avoid this game. There is almost literally no reason to buy it if you can’t go online. Still, I do love fighting games and on a technical level this one succeeds quite well. Hopefully when we get a sequel Nintendo remembers to add online this time.

Overall 7/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

30 Great Games: Winter Fun Review


It’s time to look at the latest installment in the 30 Great Games series. The franchise has definitely not been known for its high quality standards or anything like that but when I see it in stores I can’t help but give it a shot. Party games are just nice to give a look at even if you know they won’t be very good. This game clearly had some effort put into it but being on the Wii didn’t help matters. The motion controls are just terrible heavily hold the title back. Even the games with the best of ideas ultimately aren’t able to do anything to save themselves.

When you get into the game you can see right away that there aren’t a lot of options. I’ll just defend the game here as in a party game you really only need two options, a main party mode and a minigame mode with friends. This title has both of those so it doesn’t technically need any more than that. So long as the games are fun then this isn’t a problem. There are 5 worlds and each one has 6 games. The idea is to clear them all and you will have played 30 “great” games. That’s not a bad approach right? Well, the game fumbles the ball on the execution a bit. How it should work is you just beat all of the worlds one at a time. Instead the game has you replay them.

When you first enter a world it only has 5 games. You have to complete the world once and then complete it a second time to play the 6th game. When you beat the first 3 worlds twice then you unlock the next world and the games that accompany it. This is an awful lot of replaying for a game like this though. You really just want to go through the worlds once. It’s better than in another Wii party game I played though where they had a bunch of different worlds but they kept re-using the minigames to pad out the length. This is still better than that.

The game has a winter theme so naturally all of the games follow that path as well. They can be pretty similar but I’ll quickly mention some of the games that weren’t that bad. One that I enjoyed was trying to climb down a mountain. The idea is you let go of the rope and free fall for a few seconds but then you have to grab again or you’ll plummet to your doom and waste a lot of time. If you land on ice that will also waste some time. Then you’re got a minigame where you have to try and sink your claws into the mountain as close to the edge as possible without falling over. It’s pretty fun to see how close you can get. We even get a Bomberman type game where you have to drill through and blow up some blocks as you try to get treasure. While I like the idea, I don’t like the fact that this game is 100% RNG. You never know if you’ll get treasure or a bear.

The worst games are easily the ones that have you racing. Whether you’re snowboarding down the trails or using skiis, these games just aren’t fun. They suffer the most from the motion controls. You’ll find yourself bumping into the edges quite a lot and the computers will just leave you in the dust. It’s no coincidence that the best games in the collection used minimal motion controls. I can’t stress enough that this could have actually been a pretty good game if it had been for a different console. Imagine it on the Gamecube with a solid set of controls. It actually might have been pretty fun because I did appreciate the creativity behind some of the games.

The graphics for the game aren’t honestly all that terrible. This looks like a reasonable party game if you just take a look at the graphics. The levels and minigames all appear very clear and the character models are good as well. I had no complaints in this area. The soundtrack on the other hand is basically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single theme in the game. They’re all very forgettable so hopefully you are too engaged in the activities to notice this too much.

In terms of replay value it will completely depend on how much you like the actual minigames. There are literally no other options for things to do outside of that. You just play the minigames and try your best to see why this game had potential. If the game were to explain its minigames better the first time around and didn’t use motion controls then this could be a very different review. Part of the problem that I didn’t go into earlier is aside from the minigames having terrible controls, the rules aren’t explained very well either. Usually you won’t win a minigame the first time around because you just aren’t really sure of how to play it.

As a little aside, the game did have a fun start though. Nobody could cross the goal in time so we timed out. Keep in mind that I was playing by myself so the other 3 players were A.I. and they couldn’t win either. I think that speaks to the overall game design because there’s no way that should ever happen. After that first level the A.I. went back to normal and started clobbering me though so it was a one time thing. I thought it was pretty funny though.

Overall, This is one title you should avoid. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game in the series which is kind of sad in itself, but it’s just not a good game. Even though the going price is only around 2-5 dollars there is no reason to buy this game. There are far better titles to be obtained in the same genre or even in any other genre. You’d need to be really desperate to pull the trigger on this one and if you do just be prepared for those motion controls. Some of the games have good ideas at least. I think if you play this with a few friends with the intent to have fun it can certainly happen. Since this is a party game maybe it still ends up succeeding in its objective even if in an ironic way.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Battle of Giant Dragons Review


It’s time to look at a game that I’ve passed by in stores on many occasions. The game has been dirty cheap practically since it first came out. The reason why I didn’t get it was because the gameplay didn’t look particularly engaging. Still, there was a lot of good games on sale and I needed an extra one for the 4 for 2 deal so I finally took the plunge. The game is about what you expect. The gameplay is actually pretty fun but the game is quite bare in terms of content. There’s not enough to keep you busy for very long and I would say that it is a weakness for the title.

The basic plot seems to be involving humans taking on dragons and such. There is a short prologue to this effect but there are no more real cutscenes after that so the story itself ends up fading away. Even when you beat the game there is absolutely no ceremony. The game just tells you to pick another dragon and beat the game again. Perhaps after beating the game with the main 4 dragons you would get some kind of extra ending or something but that shouldn’t really be necessary if you ask me. You deserve at least a normal ending for clearing the game.

It’s a pretty short game so you should have it completed within a few hours easy. There are 4 worlds and each one has 3 levels. The objective in each level is to collect 2 gems. 1 gem is obtained by beating a dragon located somewhere on the map with a dragon head symbol. The other one is achieved by defeating a dragon that can only be fought after completing a lot of different objectives. Usually this includes tasks like melting a bunch of gem stones, and navigating a maze. Once you have obtained both gems you tap on a device that gets you out of the level. These levels can be pretty quick as long as you don’t bump into any random dragons by mistake. They all trigger fights that are exactly the same as the boss fights. They’re extremely easy but it will take more time.

The gameplay style is a turn based combat style to an extent but it’s all based on speed. You tap on one of the squares to choose which attack you want to use and then flick forward. You can also block and dodge. After you attack you are given the option to absorb some energy from the opponent to power up your next move or use a quick super attack. Personally I usually just pick to absorb an attack once so you can use your final smash on the second round. Then absorb two more turns and another final smash on the third round is guaranteed to beat the opponent. I naturally chose the fire dragon and went on a rampage with his powerful attacks. The fire dragon seems to be the best one in my opinion since all his attacks boost his attack power even further so the odds of you not taking down your opponent in a few turns is slim at best.

The gameplay isn’t particularly balanced though. You never need to actually block or dodge. Just keep swiping up and the opponent will never be able to attack before you do. Even if they block it just delays the inevitable since they can’t counter attack. I assume this wouldn’t work quite so well in a multiplayer match or something like that but 1 on 1 it’s quite easy to take the win. The game is extremely easy as a result with no real challenge to be had. You’ll dominate the game without any real effort. That’s also part of why the game is so short I suppose. If you never lose then it’s like you’re playing the game full steam ahead.

In terms of graphics they aren’t bad but you can see how the game is pretty lazy. Almost all of the dragons are re-used assets. The lord of the first world has the same exact design as all of the minions you fought earlier after all. That’s just sloppy and it makes the boss feel a whole lot less special since he could be just about anyone. The game had a little fun with some random side bosses at least which was fun. One such boss was a cop car that came out of nowhere and another was a drum set. You don’t have to fight these guys but they’re super weak so you might as well. The game should have embraced this part a little more and it would have made the game a lot more memorable.

Overall, Battle of Giant Dragons is a pretty forgettable game. It’s incredibly short and the gameplay is 1 dimensional. These two things could have been forgiven if the story was really good, but that’s not the case either. When you’ve got nothing going for you other than a fairly enjoyable gameplay style it’s going to heavily limit your potential. The game is still fun enough for what it is I suppose and it’s cheap which means you can get a good value here. Gameplay is the most important factor so I’d still put this one in the green in the end, but just barely. I don’t really see myself seeking out the other games in this franchise but I suppose if I happen to be in store you never know. I may pick up a game like this at some point. If you want a good game with big enemies to topple though, I recommend checking out Budokai Tenkaichi 3 instead.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Battle at Big Rock Review


It’s time to look at a very quick live action movie that came out a while back. It’s always nice to see franchises push out a little something like this to expand the universe. It gives you something to look at while waiting another 4-5 years for the next big film after all. The plot is pretty self explanatory. A family is enjoying a nice BBQ when a few dinosaurs show up and start to fight. The main characters have to try and be really quiet but the baby is constantly crying so it won’t be easy. Can the humans escape with their lives intact or are they doomed here?

I do have a question on this though. The heroes clearly know about the dinosaurs from how nonchalantly they talk about seeing one and they reference the radio as well. This takes place after the last film so dinosaurs are everywhere. Why would you possibly have a BBQ outside during such a time? The main guy mentions that bears are around so they get the food in pretty quick but you should be more afraid of the dinosaurs. His wife mentions that the dinosaurs aren’t supposed to be this close yet but I don’t think you should be taking any chances.

There aren’t a lot of safe spots elsewhere either though. The film gives us a lot of meanwhile scenes where we see Dinosaurs around every corner sizing people up and destroying the food chain. The film fortunately handles this as well as possible with no explicit animal deaths. They all die but it doesn’t get gritty or graphic. Even the main dinosaur battle is interrupted before either of them can get seriously hurt which is good. It still does hold this back from being a higher score but it doesn’t make it bad either.

There isn’t enough time for the film to really go all that up or down. It just goes by in a flash and reviewing something this short is also pretty tricky for those same reasons. As far as I’m concerned it’s basically middle of the road. It has enough going for it where it’s not bad but there’s not enough here for me to give it a pretty good score or anything. The dinosaurs look great and this could be a scene in a real theatrical film. That’s definitely for sure.

Overall, if you’re a big fan or Jurassic Park or just want to see some dinosaurs in action then you should enjoy this. It’s only about 8-10 minutes so you’ll be done with it very quickly. It doesn’t take much time to watch and it’s solid enough where you should check it out. The humans aren’t too annoying either although I didn’t like the kids or the baby but it’s hard to develop them into likable characters in such a short time span. This special does show why a whole film about surviving in the age of dinosaurs will be pretty interesting. It’s a very dangerous premise so it’ll be hard for a whole film to get out unscathed but it’s worth the attempt.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Diddy Kong Racing DS Review


It’s time to look at a Nintendo racing game from a while back. Considering how successful F-Zero and Mario Kart are you may wonder why Nintendo would have another franchise right? Well, everywhere I go people seem to love Diddy Kong racing so maybe it really did tap into another part of the market. I will say that it is definitely pretty fun. Personally I wouldn’t put it on the same level as the other two titles, but it’s still pretty fun. The game isn’t particularly long but with a racing title the main incentive is the replay value here.

There is also a basic plot. A mysterious pig has broken an amulet and is causing a lot of terror around the planet. Diddy must now conquer four different areas in order to foil this plan once and for all. It may not be an easy task, but it’s one that he knows he must accomplish. Each world has 4 main levels and then you fight the boss. Once you beat the boss of the world then you unlock 4 more races which have you aim at balloons in the level. The first 4 levels are traditional races while the other four play out like an FPS as you don’t control the car, only the blaster. This lets you fight the boss again and then claim the amulet. So effectively each world has 8 levels and 2 bosses so you’re got 40 levels here if you count bosses. It’s a pretty reasonable amount but you’ll still have the game beat in under 3 hours.

The levels aren’t particularly difficult for the most part and naturally the levels aren’t too long either. The average race will take you around 2-3 minutes. There are 3 kinds of races. You’ve got the standard car races, the awesome plane races, and the sluggish hovercraft ones. The car races play out about how you would expect. You try to cross the finish line first and grab items along the way. There are 4 different items triggered by hitting a balloon. You know which balloon spawns which item so part of the fun is choosing what you want for each scenario. There’s also an incentive to not using the item right away. If you store away say a red balloon and then hit another one you get the second ranked version of the item. It’s worth experimenting until you find your favorite item. My favorite was double red since it gives you around 6 rockets.

The plane levels are the same way but you’re in the air which is a lot of fun. It feels like this kind of race is the fastest in the game in terms of how fast everyone is moving. There are a lot of boosters everywhere so use them as much as possible. Finally you have the Hovercraft levels which are just really slow and kind of clunky. It’s hard to turn in these and it is just not nearly as much fun as the other two. Something had to lose out I suppose, but I was glad that there weren’t a lot of these levels.

In terms of graphics the game is quite solid. We actually got some voice acting in the intro and the cutscenes flow really well. In game the assets load up promptly and everything looks clear. You certainly won’t be bumping into things just because you didn’t see them or anything like that. That would be understandably a bit iffy so I was glad that the game managed to avoid that. The soundtrack isn’t quite as memorable as Mario Kart’s but it was still pretty fun. There’s a good amount of variety based on what world you’re in and the level. The final boss theme was also very catchy although I got to hear it quite a bit.

While the game isn’t very difficult for the most part, the final boss is extremely tough. I don’t see how it would even be possible to defeat him without buying upgrades to your car. The guy is too fast and he pounded me into the ground many times before I was able to beat him. Ultimately I had to max out my car’s speed and acceleration and then I was able to keep up. It’s not like the level is all that complex. It’s pretty straightforward so I don’t see how you can play it any differently. You’re either able to out speed him and claim victory or you can’t.

As I mentioned the game is around 3 hours but there is a lot to do after the game. You have extra levels in each world where you need to find a key or do various achievements to unlock. The hub world is quite large so you can explore for a while and buying every upgrade will also take a super long amount of time. I wouldn’t say that there are any huge unlockables to look forward to, but at the same time if you enjoy the gameplay a lot then the game is giving you a fair amount of opportunities to keep on going. The value here definitely justifies the cost.

Overall, Diddy Kong Racing DS is a fun racing game. To me it felt fairly standard but with that Nintendo seal of quality. Just having 3 different options of racing does mean you have more options than your typical racing game and it’s a complete package. If you want to enjoy some good racing then you will definitely have fun here. The ending will also give you a nice challenge which is always good. If we do get a sequel to this for 3DS or Switch someday I’d definitely be down with that. The ending is also pretty fun as Pig gets one last laugh against the heroes.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

When Worlds Collide Review


It’s time to look at a sci-fi film from the 1950s. This one’s definitely pretty old but holds up quite well to this day. There are some fun characters here although one definitely goes off the deep end to me by the end. The romance is rather weak but everything pertaining to the actual world about to blow up plot is quite interesting. I’d definitely recommend a look at it if you ever happen to see it airing on TV. It’s a fun adventure.

The movie starts with Randall being given a top secret mission. He is to deliver some secret photographs to a Mr. Hendron and shouldn’t ask any questions. Randall finds this a bit odd but they are paying well for this mission to he heads over. Hendron’s daughter spills the beans by mistake though and admits that the world is going to be destroyed. Once at base Randall finds out the full story. The Earth is going to be hit by a new star/planet and they will all be dead in a year. To that end Hendron is going to build a rocket to get 40 people off the Earth safely. It’s a good plan but Randall feels as though he is not qualified to be a part of the crew and is only being included because Joyce likes him. What is he to do?

The plot of the Earth being doomed is nothing new, but it’s such a great premise that you can make a lot of very good films about it. I’m sure there weren’t quite as many in 1951 either so this may very well have been the template for a lot of them. It’s handled really well with a lot of the film being about the build up to the big day. In general the best disaster films are ones that take place during the end of the world or right before with characters panicking a lot. The ones that have a good chunk of action after the event would typically be weaker. I like to see the build up myself and the film does a good job with it.

From the summit meeting to casual conversations it’s nice to see everyone’s takes. One of the men who ends up funding Hendron’s rocket is a guy named Stanton. He’s definitely the main antagonist in the film but easily the most enjoyable character. He has more of a cynical view on society and believes everyone will ultimately break down and attack once the day approaches. He really isn’t wrong either. It’s one of those times where you may not wish he was right, but it’s definitely the most likely solution. When the chips are down people tend to go into survival mode. Fortunately Stanton was right and even had his gun at the ready. The scene where he turns the tables on someone was very good.

It actually makes the ending pretty emotional. Stanton planned out everything really well except the betrayal at the end. It’s why it is very tragic when you have to rely on someone else for help and can no longer just save yourself. There was no way Stanton could possibly escape once Hendron decided to sabotage him and it’s the most emotional scene in the film. You can feel Stanton’s frustration there especially since he no longer had his gun. Hendron’s a pretty rational guy, but I thought he definitely crossed the line there. Deciding to stay is one thing, but forcing someone else as well is definitely another. That makes him a total murderer there. At least it’ll be a quick death on Earth. Personally I would rather stay there and die than travel in space for who knows how long and most likely die a much slower death. At least on Earth it’ll be quick.

The only weak part of the film is the romance triangle between Joyce, Tony, and Randall. Joyce and Tony were about to be married before Randall broke into the scene. Joyce then moved on from Tony and decided that she liked Randall instead. Look, it’s totally valid to move on from someone if you aren’t wed yet. I would argue it meant that she never liked Tony all that much though. I don’t see how you could be ready to marry someone and then fall for someone else. It seems very shallow to me as in you are just judging by appearances at that point. Tony does his best but it’s obvious from the minute Randall appears that it’s over for him. Ultimately Tony is a good sport about it and handles the situation quite well.

Randall is more obnoxious though. He openly flirts with Joyce even while she is literally dancing with Tony and is always staring at her. They make Tony feel terrible throughout the movie and the guy can just never catch a break. Randall even bursts in to where Joyce is while she’s serving food to mess around a bit while poor Tony is watching on the security cams. Despite all of this, Randall was also planning not to go into space for quite a while. That would have left Tony and Joyce together again but with both of them knowing that this is the backup choice which isn’t ideal. Yeah, I just didn’t like Randall.

The same is true for Joyce. She was just moving around way too much. It’s good that she realized Tony wasn’t the right guy for her but she should have told that to him directly instead of brushing him off to be with Randall the whole time. She led him on until the literal last second and even then she didn’t tell him, Randall had to be the one to basically break things off. Joyce needed to make a decision as not making a decision is the worst thing you can do to the guy. I think the film would have been just fine without having any kind of romance plot. The actual story and writing were strong enough to make do without it.

Overall, When Worlds Collide is a very solid film. It’s nice to see all of the characters rationally discussing their options and trying to save at least some people. The World Summit meeting was also cool and it was nice to see the old school translators. I wonder if they still do that, I imagine they would since having a machine translate wouldn’t be nearly as accurate even with today’s technology. Some things are just better in person and I expect it’ll be many years before a machine can quite keep up. If you haven’t seen this movie yet then you should change that.

Overall 7/10