Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review


Right here, right now, it’s time to talk about Star Ocean! I can’t say I’m super familiar with the series compared to other RPG titles like Final Fantasy but I like the genre and I like sci-fi so you can’t go wrong. I figured I’d get this one day 1 because it looked like fun and it makes for a really fun game. It took around 30 hours to clear this one so you’ve got a sizable amount of story and cutscenes to get through. I consider this to be an absolute win and I look forward to playing more games in the series.

The game starts off with captain Raymond piloting his ship when they are attacked by the federation. His crew all manage to escape but they are scattered on a nearby planet which isn’t very developed. There are no high tech weapons or equipment on the planet and of course its medicine isn’t great either. Raymond knows he has to find his friends very quickly or it could get rough. He meets up with Laeticia, a mysterious girl who talks in a very formal manner and her bodyguard Albaird. They have a mission of their own and volunteer to help Raymond find his friends if he helps them out with some things as well. Time is of the essence so he agrees…hopefully these two are on the up and up!

As with any RPG you can bet that the plot changes a whole lot and gets expanded on as you play more and more. The story is very detailed and there are a whole lot of cutscenes talking about the rules of the federation and why it isn’t so easy to just hop in and save everyone with high tech teleporters. Raymond is aligned with a planet that opted not to join the Federation and so there is a lot of bad blood there. Meanwhile the federation really wants everyone to join to a rather unhealthy degree and they seem really shady. That’s not even accounting for all of the drama on the planet itself with the King and his subjects being on different pages as well.

At times this can make for a bit of a slow beginning as a result of that but the story really does pick up the more you go through the game. Once the various alien species show up then you get a lot of extra developments. You also have a lot of super forms and then a whole plot involving A.I. and how alive they truly are. It’s all pretty good stuff so you’ll have a good time. Ultimately it may not surpass some of the bigger RPG titles in a pure story sense but it’s well balanced in all areas.

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D hack and slash. You have your basic attack, strong attack, and quick attack. Unlike most games where these are locked in, you can completely customize which button you want to use for which attack. You have around 15-20 by the end so you can just stick to using the attacks you want or mix and match. You can also assign full combos to each button to make things a bit easier. Personally I mainly just stuck to one attack. Once I got the flurry move I wanted I never ended up using another physical attack. It was just way too good and by the stats it was the strongest move so why switch it anyway right?

Aside from the main fighting moves you also have a final smash type attack that charges as you fight. It can be really handy in taking down the last bits of an opponent’s health bar. Then you have your DUMA which is basically a little robot that lets you hover in the air, create barriers, and do charge attacks. This guy is worth spamming on all minions because you can quickly get behind them for sneak attacks that deal extra damage. Additionally you can change directions in mid air while attacking which is handy as well. It won’t always work on bosses but it’s good to keep in mind.

Meanwhile the graphics are definitely really solid. The art style may take a little getting used to. I’ve heard some refer to the characters as looking like dolls and after that you can’t help but notice it. Still the visuals are on point and this still feels like a new gen title. A good amount of effort was put into it. Meanwhile the opening theme for the game is really solid. It’s a fun rock theme that feels like something out of the 90s. It was definitely real nostalgic to hear that although in the game I would have liked to have seen some more memorable boss fights. Surprisingly within the actual game you won’t have too many distinct tracks. They sort of just blend together for the most part.

In terms of content you’ve got a lot here. The main game is 29 hours as I noted but then you’ve also got a fairly extensive amount of replay value. There are numerous endings to obtain in the game and then aside from that you can try to get the Platinum trophy which will definitely take a while. I’d be surprised if you could beat it in any less time than 50 hours. This is a full adventure and even that may be understating it. So you’ll definitely be getting a good amount of content for your dollar and it’s worth the full price.

As far as the characters go, Raymond makes for a pretty good main character. He’s not afraid to talk tough to the Federation and tells it like it is. He doesn’t make promises without learning the details first and he is always thinking. It’s clear why he is the captain of a full crew because he is a very smart main character. He can be impulsive but balances the two attributes really well.

Then you have Elena who is a solid main heroine. As an android she tends to look at things logically but unlike most she is still able to keep her common sense and can understand humans well enough to act like one. Sometimes you’ll even end up forgetting that she is an android. She’s probably one of the most well rounded characters in the game and you can always count on her in a pinch. Without her the characters would have not made it quite so far.

Laeticia is the other main heroine here and she goes through a good character arc as she learns how to really be a great ruler. Raymond helps her become more flexible and she’s good in a fight. I definitely enjoyed her character and even her bodyguard Albaird looked decently good in the game. By the end he also loosened up a lot and was ready to stand with the other heroes.

Nina is a bit younger so she doesn’t get to fight on the front lines as much but she does well as a medic. While she is technically around for the whole game, her role feels a bit smaller though. Midas is someone who very reluctantly starts to help but that’s mainly thanks to Malkya. The two have a solid connection as she is basically immortal and he is super interested in science so it works out well. Then we have Marielle who is given a really tough time by Raymond at first due to her ties to the Federation. She does well in not making the same mistakes that most of them did though and gradually earns his trust.

Finally there is DUMA who is a fun robot type character even if he can take a little long to get on the ball about what’s going on here. Since he looks at everything logically, it can throw him for a loop when people don’t follow any kind of logic. So we’ve got a strong hero group here but the villains are more on the forgettable side. You’ve got corrupt kings and leaders but some of them are almost interchangeable. I liked the two alien villains a lot more and ultimately they were just minions. The final boss has a cool design though so I’ll give him that. At least you know that the battles will be visually entertaining the whole time.

Overall, Star Ocean: The Divine Force is a great game. It’s got a very detailed plot and the gameplay is on point. There’s actually a lot to dive into there so you’ll want to really absorb the tutorials. If I’m drilling down a bit more the one thing they messed up on is the equipment screen. When trying on an equipment it shows you all the characters and who it would work on but no indication of which character you are viewing currently which is a little annoying. Super minor since you can back out of the menu to check that but it’s the kind of thing that a quality of life update would certainly fix. It’s got every element that you need in order to have a great time and I hope to see the series continue with more games in the future. Perhaps we can get some more space exploration in the next title but either way this worked out well. If you’re on the fence about the game then I would definitely recommend making the tough call and buying it now. You won’t regret making the purchase.

Overall 8/10

Kao The Kangaroo Review


I always enjoy myself a good platformer. It has to be the safest genre out there aside from fighting games in that you know you’ll always have a good time here. It’s a very non risky gameplay style because whether it’s high budget or cheap you’ll be having some fun. Now this one may not be AAA but it was good. The game could be a little glitchy but at the end of the day I had a good time. It’s a short game but one that makes the most of each hour.

The game revolves around a kangaroo named Kao who was having a good time in the village but unfortunately his father and sister have both vanished. His mom pleads with him to stay but Kao has to learn what happened to them. He finds a pair of gloves with incredible magic power and decides that he will save the world and reunite his family. He is warned by a wise old man that the gloves may corrupt him and even turn Kao evil but he isn’t worried. Kao knows that he is strong of heart and can accomplish anything.

So the game has 4 worlds and each one has 3 levels and then a boss. You should have the game completed within a few hours max so it’s not very long but the levels are well designed. I had a fun time playing through them and I may even go back for the Platinum at some point. You can run, jump, and punch so all the basic controls are here. You can also wield elements to solve puzzles and of course take down enemies. I would have liked to have seen more elements but it was probably hard to fit too much in before the game was ending.

Now I mentioned that the game is glitchy. For the most part I don’t really care about glitches much as long as they don’t really impact the game. Sonic 2006, Frontiers, and Pokemon Scarlet are all known as games with glitches but they never impacted the gameplay so I wouldn’t really take note of them. The only reason why I note it for Kao is because I had to redo an entire level due to a glitch at one point. Basically the game doesn’t freeze time while you are talking to someone so I got attacked by minions before I could finish the cutscene. As a result the guy didn’t give me the gem and I couldn’t talk to him again so I had to restart.

Then other times the audio would cut out and you would get these loud static noises so I had to really lower the volume on the TV. These things are pretty noticeable so I would say the game could have used some more time on the debugging phase. Fortunately these are still rare in the end so they won’t really hold the score back either. At the end of the day I would have liked the game to have been longer but it still delivered on giving me a fun adventure which is all that I can ask for. As long as I can have fun then that means that the game did something right.

The story may not be the most original out there but it works out. Kao’s sister is one of those tough characters with a lot of personality so I can appreciate that. The old guy is very wise with all of his teachings so he’s about what you would expect as well. Kao’s father looks bad since he couldn’t master the gloves and got wrecked so easily but I’m sure he’s a good guy. The main villain is super forgettable though so you won’t be afraid of him or anything. I liked the gloves though, he made for a fun side kick.

There are a lot of elements here that would lend themselves over to a sequel really well. I can’t say that I’d be there day 1 or anything like that but I would definitely have a good time with a sequel and would buy it at some point. There isn’t a lot of replay value here though. I suppose you can go for the Platinum trophy which involves getting all of the collectibles. This should take you a few extra hours I’d say but even then not a whole lot of them. You’ll be done with this in a flash

The graphics look good. The character models are on point and I do think that they put a good amount of effort into the backgrounds. It’s a game that visually holds its own at all points. Then the soundtrack is also good. I’d give a special shoutout to the voices though. I loved Kao’s accent and he had this gimmick of overaccentuating the accent on every other word. It made for fun listening and it also makes the character more memorable. He’s not afraid to take risks and go after the villain so I’d give him some good props there. He won’t be winning any awards but he’s better than characters like Crash and Knack.

Overall, Kao The Kangaroo is a fun game that I could recommend to gamers of all ages. It’s a fun platformer that is very simple and straight forward. So you can just appreciate the levels as you jump around and get to the end of the game. I’d have appreciated a few more hours of content to really make this one last but at the very least you can’t say that they wanted to pad things out. The game does what it wants and then just ends after that. No dragging things out or just going on to keep going on and I can respect that.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Scarlet Review


It’s time for the next big Pokemon event game! It’s always fun to have the Gym Leaders and Elite 4 running around. It’s been a little while since we really got to have that whole setup here as Arceus was a bit different from the usual path. All in all I would say this was definitely a big success. The plot may be the weakest one among all of the main-line Pokemon games but the gameplay is nostalgic and you should have a really good time here.

The game starts you off as a new student who will be attending a fun Pokemon school. There are 3 paths for you to embark on, the Gym Leader course, the Titans course, and stopping the Starfall group. Only after you have completed all 3 routes will you be able to unlock the final story and complete the game. Initially I thought it was going to be more like you complete one path and beat the game, then optionally play the others but in the end they’re all interconnected. The levels also match up that way and each path has their perks so I recommend just always going for the one closest to you.

The game has a map which is handy since the world is so big but it also does have its limitations. You can’t tell what level a raid is until you walk over there. It’s also hard to tell which gym/encounter is next on the list but I was okay with that one because it does help to emulate how a trainer might tackle things out of order. I found this to be the most difficult Pokemon game by far as I actually lost some battles and had to go back and train. It turned out that I was playing the Gym Leaders in reverse order by mistake. No wonder one of them had Level 50s early on. I must have taken a wrong turn on one of the routes but either way it was cool.

It did mean that the second half of the game mostly turned into a cakewalk though as I fought a guy with level 15s near the very end of the game. It did explain why my rival Nemona was so much weaker than the gym leaders at first since I guess the programming has a set level for her Pokemon based on how many badges I’ve obtained as opposed to which ones. Once you unlock sprinting and gliding you have a lot more fun traversing the world. It may be hard to adjust to the lower speed after playing Sonic Frontiers for so long but you get the hang of it. It was an ambitious map and I would say the game did a good job of it.

The gameplay feels like classic Pokemon once you actually get into the battles. For the first time in a while I also got to fight blind to an extent as I don’t know almost any of the new Pokemon and their types. It was fun getting that sense of mystery as I struggled to find the right attacks to use. This especially became big during the Elite 4 battles which are handled perfectly. You feel the majesty and mystery surrounding each fighter and the new musical theme that is introduced there works really well. Definitely no issues on the gameplay here.

The game succeeds because it’s just a lot of fun. At the end of the day who doesn’t like just getting out there and fighting in Pokemon battles right? What does hurt the game when comparing it to other big ones like Ruby and Fire Red is the story though. As I mentioned earlier, it’s just not that good. Most of it feels rather aimless and low stakes even for Pokemon. You fight a Titan and get a little cutscene, then this is repeated over and over for each fight. Likewise the Starfall events all have you beat someone and then see their tragic story. For the first time that I can think of, there is no evil group here. (Pokemon Shield may not have had an evil group either although I’m not 100%. If that is the case maybe they’re being phased out) So you’re never in any actual danger there.

The gym leaders are fun even if it’ll take me a while to learn their names. Larry is definitely the highlight there and it’s extremely impressive that he actually performs double duty as a gym leader and an elite four member. That has to be a huge time commitment and he makes it look easy. The game does start to turn up in the climax though so at least the final story event is pretty hype. I enjoyed the last battles but it felt like a preview of what the whole game could have been like. I’m not asking for anything crazy but even having an antagonist like Team Rocket running around would be fun. Give me some kind of trial to surpass as I prove that I’m the true Pokemon master.

A highlight from the characters perspective is Nemona though. She’s your rival here and while she is on the nicer side, she really likes battling. She constantly talks about challenging you and is very enthusiastic. Nemona is a supportive character who just wants to help the lead do his best and the fact that she beat the Elite 4 and the old champion so easily is impressive. Not only was she holding back but she was fairly young when she conquered them based on the dialogue. Yes, this looks really bad on the original champion who may be the least impressive one in the franchise but Nemona makes up for it by being the most memorable rival in a very long time. I am inclined to say that she beats every rival after Ruby in the game series.

As for the graphics, you’ve certainly seen the memes all around. There are a lot of visual glitches running around here like things popping in and out, character models being off point, and some severe lag. It’s clear that graphics weren’t a big point of emphasis here but ultimately it still looks good. In the context of this being a AAA Switch title then it’s well below expectations as it looks more like a Wii game but ultimately you can always tell where you’re at and the colors are fun. I didn’t really have a problem with it and you likely won’t run into any real glitches that affect gameplay so you’re good on this end.

The soundtrack is definitely on the weaker side though. Most of the new tracks don’t really land all that effectively. I liked the Elite 4 theme and the final boss theme but the rest weren’t so great. Still decent though and I don’t mind listening to them but they are a step below what you would expect. I think the issue is that most of the themes try remixing older tunes or taking elements from them instead of trying something completely new and that was a mistake. You always have to try and innovate as much as possible.

The campaign took me around 20 hours to complete so that’s a pretty reasonable amount of time. Between the 3 paths and then the last one it felt like there was a lot of content to play through. The game also has a post game that you can work on completing as well which involves a lot of battles. The game isn’t afraid to get a little difficult so you could look forward to some fun challenges there. In the end it did a great job of not being a cakewalk and so you do have to actually put some effort into the game if you want to complete it.

Overall, Pokemon Scarlet is a great game. At the end of the day it gives you all of the classic Pokemon staples that you would hope to see here. There’s a whole lot to enjoy and just filling up the Pokedex will likely take a very long time. I believe I caught less than 40 Pokemon and there are several hundred in here. Go forth and try to claim your mantle as the champion! Not sure how long it’ll be before we get the next big installment with a bunch of new Pokemon but this game can certainly last a whole lot longer if you want it too and then the gap won’t feel so large.

Overall 8/10

RWBY: Arrowfell Review


Felt like I had to wait years for this game to come out! I was waiting a long time ever since they announced that WayForward would be helping out with this game. They’ve churned out a lot of all star titles over the years and then ArcSystems was also in on it? This was shaping up to be a game of the year contender and the definitive RWBY game at last. Unfortunately it feels like they ran out of development time early on as this feels a whole lot like a cash-in title. That was too bad but at the end of the day it was still a pretty good game. Not amazing in the way that I was hoping for but you’ll have a fun time here.

The story takes place in Volume 7 shortly after the heroes got their professional licenses but before the election since Jacque Schnee isn’t on the council yet. So it’s a rather tight timeline that we’ve got here. A lot of Grimm have been appearing lately including a new group by the name of BRIR so something is amiss. Ironwood asks Team RWBY to investigate what is going on along with the AceOps. The whole world is depending on them so the heroes have to be up to the task.

This is a fairly short game as I completed it in under 4 hours and I obtained the Platinum trophy around an hour or 2 after that. So there is very little replay value here. 100% completing the game in 6 hours and not having any kind of post game to complete is a bit rough on that front. You don’t want to be spending too much money on this one but fortunately it launched at $30 and I suspect that it will be a lot cheaper very quickly. That may feel like shots fired but it just feels like the price would dip quickly. That said it is still RWBY so I would advise you to get this game immediately.

One of the issues with the story here is it feels like Rooster Teeth told the devs they couldn’t do much of anything because the game takes place too recently and they didn’t want to mess with continuity. That’s why it would have been best to make the game not canon so you could just go all out with the plot. As a result it’s not always the most grand of stories. I liked the new villains introduced here in Team BRIR and the final boss is fairly solid in his own right as well. Only issue is that there is a bit of a mystery on who the villain is so any original character made up for the game is deeply suspicious. It makes things just a tad too easy if you ask me. I would have skipped the mystery angle from the jump.

The script also reads like it was created from someone who didn’t actually watch the show. The characters tend to be out of character and it just doesn’t make sense. I’ve never seen Weiss be so upset at Penny constantly. She seems to be really antagonistic to the robot right from the jump for no real reason. It’s a bit bizarre to be honest. Now this may all be sounding a bit dicey but we’re here for the gameplay right? That part is fairly good. It reminds me of the old Cartoon Network web games from back in the day. You can run, jump, attack, and use your semblance. You can also switch between the 4 girls at any time and you need to as each one has an ability needed to get past an obstacle.

It’s like a budget version of Shantae. The hit stun is pretty large so try not to fight any opponents by a ledge or you are definitely falling down. There’s no EXP in the game so you should try and skip all of the enemies that you can. The only benefit to fighting them at all is that they drop coins which is useful for buying items but getting money is quick either way so not much to worry about there. You can buy skill points and heart upgrades that way though. Make sure you buy them all as you’ll need them for the platinum. All of the levels have chests with skill points. You may have to walk a few steps out of your way to get them but I recommend doing this because then the Platinum is even quicker after you beat the game.

The graphics are pretty solid. The character models for the characters are surprisingly low quality but the actual level designs and everything are fun. I wish we could have gotten full voice acting instead of the old text boxes for most cutscenes but one treat is that we do get real fully animated cutscenes in each chapter. Now that was cool and it made you feel like the game did get a big budget somewhere in there that just dwindled over time. Those cutscenes were one of the highlights in the game. Then you also have to consider that the soundtrack here is pretty cool. I liked the new lyrical song that popped up during the first level. It’s really catchy and a lot of fun. There are a few other lyrical songs that weren’t really my thing but I did applaud the effort. It was still impressive to get these in there. So I give the soundtrack a thumbs up because of these songs and it makes up for the repetitive minion theme that plays for each ambush.

I said to skip the villains but that isn’t possible during ambushes of which there are a few in every level. These are points where you have to beat everyone before you can go forward. A bit tedious no doubt but they go down quick. The problem is that you’ll have probably maxed your character out after the first few levels so your attack doesn’t get any higher while the minion health bars just keep increasing. It makes things a little longer even if they are easy to dispatch. I did lose a life once on one of the last bosses though so it’s not a total cake walk. For the most part you can just spam the attack button and beat them before they can drain your health though.

Ruby has the best semblance here as she can go through enemies so I would spam that as I blasted through the levels. I ended up using her the most by far. Blake’s copies are handy though since you can attack in 3 spots at once. Weiss has the worst attack unfortunately but she is good for reaching high places. Yang is strong but her attack is too short ranged so it’s usually better to use Ruby.

Overall, Ruby Arrowfell is one of those games that should have been a whole lot better. Put in the right elements and this would easily be a 9 star game. It didn’t go that route but I would still say to check it out. It’s a pretty fun game that probably would have been a really massive hit back in the GBA era. Now it just feels more standard. The gameplay is good and the big cutscenes help to carry the game. They keep things from getting bad for this one but unfortunately it looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer to get a definitive RWBY game. I know that it will eventually happen though.

Overall 7/10

Overwatch 2 Review


I got around to playing this one a bit but ultimately it’s not really going to stand out all that much among the big shooter games. The main issue is that there are too many mechanics and abilities which take away from being able to just jump in there and have some fun. It’s certainly no Fortnite as a result and I dare say that you would have a much better time in Fortnite as well. There are better free to play games to check out is the main message here.

They did an odd job of promoting this game though as if you didn’t know any better you’d think this was still the first Overwatch. There aren’t a lot of screens showing that this is the 2nd one or anything like that and the game doesn’t seem to be very different from the original except for the fact that it’s free now. Definitely the minimum amount of effort went into this one but of course if you haven’t played the original before then it’ll still be fresh at least. So I suppose that’s a consolation at least. This is a team game so get ready to have to team up with a lot of people and hope for the best. If there is a 1 on 1 mode, I hadn’t unlocked it yet although granted I never made it to a really high level.

So what separates this from the other games is that as soon as you step on the field you are given the objective of taking over a square or defending it. The other team has the other objective and then you fight it out. Expect to die a whole lot and any time you respawn you get to switch characters. That’s a nice touch at least although in general I prefer to have one life and when you die that’s it. It would make the game a lot more strategic since you can’t just run in guns blazing.

There are so many attack options as well that the game is naturally not as balanced as some of the others. Just from playing all of the characters once I could tell that much. This is not the kind of game where you can pick up any character and just have fun. Of course that also means if there’s a character you like but a teammate got him first then you’re out of luck. I liked one shadow ninja type character but for the most part the roster is very unimpressive. I couldn’t say that there were many that stood out for me.

The graphics are really decent though. The level designs are on point and you’ll have a good time running around. The energy effects are good too. The soundtrack is more on the nonexistent side though but typically shooters aren’t known for having great soundtracks anyway. They tend to be more silent so you can focus on what’s going on. I suppose there is replay value here to jump back into as many matches as you want but I don’t see this game really lasting all that long.

Additionally they want you to put in a phone number just to play the game which seems a bit drastic. I’ve never really heard of that for a game like this. I guess it’s to deter bots and multiple accounts maybe but if no other game is bothering with this then clearly the devs here are doing something wrong. You just don’t need to be that thorough and I feel like it’ll box a lot of people out of the game right out of the gate.

At the end of the day what hurts this one a lot is that it adds a lot of bells and whistles to the base shooting gameplay but does so in a way that weakens the core aspect of the game. You never get to actually run and shoot at the opponents because everyone is too busy activating their super powers. Being forced to attack or defend an area also means that you can’t have fun running around the map and planning an offensive. It forces everyone to bunch up at the same spots where it then becomes a mindless battle of shooting all your abilities at once.

It may work as a minigame or you eventually push people together to end the match but doing so from the start just isn’t a fun decision from a design standpoint. I want to be able to have fun and play the game my way, not be forced to run in like this. It’s not really my cup of tea. Maybe down the road they’ll make the gameplay smoother and change the objectives a little more but if the game is doing well then that’s unlikely. The original Overwatch may not be as big as it used to be but it still makes a ton of money so they’re probably satisfied with the system that they have.

Overall, Overwatch 2 may be more fun if you really drill down and learn all of the mechanics and such but I can’t say that I was very impressed at all. You have a lot of options and all but the game just isn’t very fun and part of the issue is that you can’t take two steps without being blasted. You can’t move fast enough to dodge much either so it just becomes a full on fire fight the whole time and without the strategy that makes it a lot of fun. I highly advise sticking to Fortnite instead which provides a much more entertaining shooting game that beats this one around the board in all areas.

Overall 5/10

Sonic Frontiers Review


It’s been a long while since I went on an all day gaming binge but it was time to do so for Sonic Frontiers and ended up beating over half the game in one shot. It lives up to the hype of being one of the longer games as it took a little under 17 hours to clear. The hierarchy of the Sonic games have changed as this one actually surpasses the world renown Sonic Forces and takes its spot as the 4th best Sonic game of all time. Only Adventure 2, 06, and Shadow the Hedgehog are ahead of Frontiers. This game is really quite excellent and Sega did good in taking their time with this one to make sure that it would be perfect.

The game starts with Sonic’s plane crashing and when he comes to, Tails and Amy are both gone. Sonic is alone on a mysterious island except for a mysterious little girl named Sage. Sonic hears a voice cryptically tell him that to save his friends he will have to destroy a bunch of giant titans and tear down some towers to remove the dimensions between worlds. Only once that has been done will they be okay. Sonic’s a bit skeptical but there aren’t any other leads so he gets to work on this. The game’s main formula here is you will obtain enough keys and memory pieces to talk to your friend for the world and then obtain all 7 Chaos Emeralds. After doing this you move on to another world. There are 5 worlds in the game but one of them is fairly empty so think of it like 4 main worlds.

At about 17 hours you can say each world is roughly 4 hours long and the mini world is 1. It’s a really good balance and right off the bat I can say that the game has a whole lot of replay value you can have fun with. There are a lot of bonus conversations you can have with each of your friends after getting the right amount of hearts needed to complete the world. Additionally there are a lot of the cyberspace levels that you won’t even have played by the time the game is over. So you will be here for a good amount of time and getting the Platinum may even take you around 25-30 hours. I’m definitely aiming for that next now that I have this game completed and look forward to going after it. Maybe if I’m lucky they’ll do some really good DLC for this game with more story events or something.

For the gameplay it’s a bit of a departure from the usual Sonic experience as it’s an open world title where you run around and do a lot of platforming beyond the usual stages. The actual stages are only a very small part of the game after all so you won’t be there a whole lot. If you’re a fan of the usual Sonic structure then I can see you missing it a bit but the open world concept was done very well. You really feel Sonic’s speed as you run around and I just found that to be really ideal. As you level up the speed you feel better and better. My speed was only around level 20 when I beat the game so I’m curious what level 99 speed would look like. That has to feel incredible!

So for my money, Sonic Forces/Adventure 2 Battle probably had the gameplay layout the best in that you just pick a stage and get right in there. Adventure 2’s stages covered a lot of different terrain and could be long as well. You don’t really need the open world and just jumping in is a blast. Still if open world is the future then I’m still all in with it. I do like open worlds quite a bit and with fast travel activated it’s even better. World 3 is the only one that can be a bit annoying with the layout though. There’s a robot that lets you fly but it’s so short that it’s basically pointless and you immediately start sinking when you use it. I question the point of it being in there.

While the gameplay may take a little getting used to as I wouldn’t say it’s quite as sharp as some of the others, put in a few hours and you’ll be maneuvering Sonic like a pro. The best addition to the series is allowing Sonic to leave a light trail before him as if this was Tron. You can move in a circle to hit enemies or activate artifacts. In general Sonic’s attacks were all really great here and you got to use his speed in creative ways. You can also upgrade all of your stats by talking to elders and rescuing little creatures. The sound effects for the creatures may be ripped straight from Legend of Zelda but I like to think of it as a homage to Breath of Wild doing the open world first while Sonic did it best. One advantage Sonic Frontiers has over other open world games is how fast Sonic moves. Most other characters can’t quite move like this.

If I have a nitpick about the game, it’s that every cutscene opens in a smaller screen because they keep a border around it to show you the option to skip the cutscene. I feel like they could have it appear for an instant and then hide or only appear when you try to press X. Why have it always appear? It’s not like I want to skip the cutscenes most times. On the 1st run I’m not skipping any so I thought that was a bit odd. Can’t say I remember any other game doing that.

Part of why this game got a lot of hype was because it was finally going to be another plot driven game. Aside from Sonic Forces we haven’t had one like that in an extremely long time. If this is the return to the Adventure days then that would be great. There are a ton of great references to the past adventures as well including Infinite. It really helps make the continuity feel strong and it also underscores this as the final Sonic game. The characters are all really mature here and each character has their own character arc. Amy, Knuckles, and Tails all make big decisions here that should have big repercussions for the future games.

The soundtrack is also incredible. There are so many great vocal themes here. Each boss has their own unique song which is rare as most games will keep to the same boss theme. They all sound incredible and it also makes this game really feel like the most ambitious Sonic game out there. This is truly end of the world type stuff and these bosses are some of the biggest that Sonic has dealt with. The graphics are top tier as well so you’re really looking at a lot of great work put into this game.

It would have been great to have seen more characters thrown into the mix and parts of the plot can be a bit vague at times, particularly Sage’s origin and more about the digital world but it does add to the mystery and intrigue of the story. Sonic also stands out in particular with how great he looks here. He endures a whole lot of pain to help his friends and is always carrying himself in a very mature way. While I may miss the voice direction he had in previous games, I do understand the logic of making him a lot more serious for this one. He feels older like the rest of the characters which works really well.

Overall, I could go on but this is one game you really need to experience. It’s top tier in all aspects and is almost certainly game of the year. It’s unlikely that any other game will even come remotely close to topping it because this is what we’ve been waiting for. The greatest video game series of all time has returned with an all star adventure. If Sega keeps this up then Sonic is about to quickly become even more of a household name like back in the days and there will be no looking back. I’m definitely eager to follow along on this adventure but hopefully the next game doesn’t take so many years to come out this time.

Overall 9/10

Driv3r Review


The Driver series seems to have peaked with the first one so far because it has been wayyyyy better than the two sequels. You can’t even compare them but granted, the first I played on Playstation while the next two have been on GBA. These editions leave a lot to be desired and this game in particular was a lot weaker than I had expected. Personally I just thought that it was going to be a lot better than the final product. It’s not a game I would really be recommending to people.

Tanner is back and this time he has to go undercover in Miami to grab some bad guys and find out about car transactions. The plot has a very Fast and the Furious feel to it but the abridged version. It feels like the game grabs screenshots from the home console games and then picks some text to go with it. As a result you get a very fragmented version of the story. Additionally there is nothing to show who is talking so half the time they keep changing the person who is talking in the cutscene but you have no idea who is saying what.

The story ends up being a bit bland as a result. It doesn’t help that the game only has one musical theme that plays for every cutscene. The game is definitely on the low budget side that’s for sure. I was never really able to get all that invested into the story so then the gameplay has to hold its own. There are good and bad things about the gameplay though so that’s why it wasn’t up to the task of carrying the whole game on its back. First off the game can’t process most of the background items.

What that means is you’ll be driving when suddenly a car appears in front of you and knocks the wind right out. A single crash can often mean that you will lose a level, particularly if it’s a head to head collision. There are a lot of high speed chases and such but with this it makes the game a little tougher than it would be otherwise. Particularly when it’s a long level then replaying the whole thing is a hassle. The final level in the game involves 3 checkpoint races in a row and yes if you lose any of them then you start all 3 again.

There is a new mechanic in this game which is that you can actually fight on foot. You get out of your car and start firing shots but there is a big catch to this. See, it was actually going to be a really fun mode but what ruins it is how quickly you can run out of bullets. If you run out of bullets then you have no way to fight back so you just have to lose to the opponent. An additional penalty is that dying takes you back to before the mission and often means that you will have to drive halfway across the city to get back to where you were. Every time you die it’s a huge time delay. I appreciate that the game’s hub world is so big but there should be a quick travel option somewhere. That would have helped out a great deal.

Then getting more ammo is a hassle. (You lose any ammo you used even if you die by the way) You have to find some packs scattered across the massive hub world which is difficult or you have to beat all sub missions of a color which will get you a new weapon. This will come with some ammo. It’s worth unlocking the weapons anyway though because they are considerably more powerful than the starting weapon that you get. Always keep your most powerful weapon equipped as well since ammo you pick up will then go to that one.

Completing the game without the latter weapons will be nearly impossible so make sure you complete the missions. Most of the missions can be a lot of fun at least and they’re short. I didn’t feel bothered at playing them and they would often beat some of the story missions. In the story I mostly don’t like when you have to tail someone, just let me go full blast in a race or something instead.

I do like the combat though and driving can be fun when you’re allowed to go all lout. You can move at really high speeds and while this often causes the game to lag a whole lot, it still feels nice. Surprisingly there is no police mechanic here so you can bump into everyone with no problem. I missed that a bit since it was such a big part of the original Driver game. Maybe they just couldn’t figure it out for GBA or something like that.

The graphics are okay but I would say below average. It didn’t seem like a whole lot of effort was put into this one compared to the bigger titles. It almost looks and feels like some kind of cash-in. I already noted how the soundtrack is basically nonexistent as well so don’t expect any really big tunes there. This is definitely not that kind of title. At least the main theme isn’t bad. That’s good because you’ll be hearing it a whole lot.

Ultimately at its core this game just needed a lot of quality of life upgrades. For starts you should get some ammo when you revive and you need a better way of getting more. Whether that means buying ammo or spawning it in more places, it shouldn’t take forever to get it. I nearly died against the final boss who was a real bullet sponge and if I lost there that would have been disheartening because it took so long to get those bullets in the first place. Then we need quick travel and losing a mission should give you the option to retry it rather than having to drive all the way there again. That would have at least given the game a fighting chance instead of making the levels needlessly exhausting at times.

Overall, Driv3r is not a very good game. I thought it would be better than it was. The gameplay is just good enough to keep me from calling it a bad title but there is almost no reason to get it. There are much better car games to buy as well as shooters. If you have the original Playstation or a PS2 then I would say to just buy the original and play it again. It’s way better and really executes on the potential and possibilities of the franchise. This one isn’t trying nearly as hard. I do still have high hopes for the PS3 title though because we’ll be back on the home consoles and it should have a good budget. If that one is no good then I don’t know what to say at that point. It would be a bit odd.

Overall 5/10

Time Crisis 4 Review


It’s been a fun marathon through the Time Crisis series but we have now made it to the end. I’ve owned this game for many years so it’s nice to finally play it. I’ll say this, the game is considerably better than the first 3, there’s no question about that. First person shooter games still aren’t really my thing but this one adds a bit to the mix. Instead of being a pure rail shooter you can actually move around during some of the levels so that was nice.

There is the normal arcade mode here but also more of a complete mode. This one adds in levels for the American agent which are fully 3D and add to the story. So in the usual rail shooter levels you play as the VSSE agents and then you play as the secret service guy for the others. The game has 15 levels as a result which is definitely longer than the others. Now if you had to beat this in one shot that would be crazy so fortunately this one actually has a save feature!

That was a game changer. No matter how fun the other games could be, it was always annoying to not be able to save. Until you got a bunch of game overs you knew that you would effectively be spinning your wheels for a while. The levels here can still be tough but there is less pressure since you can try again. Additionally the levels are also quite a bit shorter so when you die it’s not like you have to play large portions of the game again.

There are some new mechanics here like the insect battles and fort fights. The insects are more on the annoying side so I’d be cool with the series dropping this for the sequel. It could be really difficult to deal with them and they take up a ton of bullets. Then for the fort battles there is a lot of moving around and it feels almost a bit random. Good thing the girl lets you know what direction to check because otherwise that would be really difficult. The normal shooting sections tend to be a lot more solid if you ask me.

I really liked the new 3D sections though so those are easily the highlight. You still do need to use some real strategy here though. Don’t just run in and expect everyone to go down immediately. You have to conserve your bullets and keep on moving forward. There are checkpoints and all but you don’t want to have to lose and see how far back you go. The game isn’t quite as hard as the last two though so you should be okay. Those are still really hard to match.

Naturally the graphics are really solid here. We’re finally in PS3 world and we keep the big cinematics that the last game had. You can be guaranteed some kind of cinematic before each level and some have more after the level as well. The story may be a little dry as you’re just out to stop another criminal organization but I’m not exactly sure what the best way to spice it up would be. I don’t think the plot itself is the issue but it doesn’t really stand out. Maybe have the villains get a little more colorful with their designs? I thought that the 3rd game had the best villain designs personally.

There isn’t a ton of replay value here. Even if you really like the gameplay, it’s going to effectively be the same experience each time. I suppose you could just work on getting a better high score but there are probably other games in the genre you could play instead. Still you should be able to find the game for fairly cheap and so then it’s a good value. You’ll have fun playing through the story and it is the longest game in the series which is impressive in its own right. You should always strive to be longer and longer right!?

As the end of the day whether you like it or not will depend on if you like the genre. So long as you do then the high production values will carry the day. The good characters and cinematics help to hold their own. My advice here would be that in some of the levels the timer is generous so just hide when the insects show up. It’s hard to react quickly enough to hit them before they hit you. So instead wait until they have finished their attack and then go for the win. That would be the ideal way to handle this and you will not be looking back.

Overall, Time Crisis 4 is a pretty good game. It’s certainly my favorite game in the series. At the end of the day I can’t guarantee that I will really remember these games all that often since they’re more the type of game that you play through and then it goes back in the closet but it still is good. If they ever brought another one to consoles over here then I’d be interested in playing it. Perhaps the ole muscle memory would kick in and I would start dominating it. That would be ideal at least. In the meantime it’ll probably be a while before I play another FPS so we’ll see which game comes next.

Overall 7/10

Time Crisis 3 Review


This one’s fairly similar to the last Time Crisis in a lot of ways. It’s got the fun cinematics that you always want to see and has a good soundtrack but the game is just so short and it’s hard to get around that. It’s over in the blink of an eye and before you know it, it’s time to put the game back in the drawer. Still if you liked the second game then you’ll like this one since they’re very similar.

The game starts with the VSSE agents on another mission. They are attacked by another evil group and have to put these guys down real quick. Fortunately they are professional so this shouldn’t be hard. Along the way they meet up with a lady who is here to bail them out of some tough situations. The 3 of them are ready for any danger that comes their way because they know that their victory is inevitable!

I wouldn’t call the game identical to the last one per say but it is similar. The game has 3 levels and each one is divided up into 3 areas. You have to blast your way through every enemy in order to prove that you really are the strongest guy on the block. You have 40 seconds for each mob rush and so you have to blast them all away. Don’t get hit by one of their attacks or you will lose a health point. Lose all 4 health points and you lose a life. You gain a new continue each time you get a game over so eventually you will have unlimited lives. You can’t move so the only two controls are to shoot and hide. Of course you can move your curser though.

Now this game is considerably tougher than the last one. Remember that in Time Crisis 2 I didn’t actually have to wait until the unlimited continues to win. It took me a few game overs but eventually I was able to beat the game. Not this time, I couldn’t come anywhere close and just had to keep on losing until I got the free continues. Only at that point was I actually able to hold my own here. This game was just impressively difficult because there are so many enemies and their reaction times are amazing. I know this isn’t my genre but even so it is no easy feat to get me to have so many game overs.

The game still feels fair all the way through though. Every time I got hit I knew that it was an attack that I should have been able to avoid. Whether I was getting too greedy in getting extra shots off or not ducking when I needed to, each of the hits made sense. It’s just hard to stay super alert and consistent the whole time. The penalty of making even one mistake is really quite large in this game. So focus up and do your best but don’t feel bad if you need the unlimited lives by the end.

Like with the last game we get a good amount of cinematics here. This time you get one for each area in addition to each level which was nice. You also have some returning villains from the first game and the villains all have solid designs. The game is as out there as ever and that’s a good thing. It’s just all so chaotic but in a good way. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next and that’s exactly how you want it.

The soundtrack is also still very exciting. The rock themes just keep on coming and they help to get you pumped during the levels. I had a good time with the story and James Bond could take a few lessons from these games on how to make your secret agent stories as good as possible. This one just had the right formula in order to make everything feel like a win. It’s not as easy as it looks.

There isn’t much replay value here though which is why I have to dock a point from the game again. Ultimately after you spend an hour beating the game there just isn’t a lot left to do. You can do the normal stage levels I suppose and there seems to be some kind of rescue mode but it’s all still very short. It’s a byproduct of being an arcade game but there should be some way around this. In fact, Time Crisis 4 did get around this so stay tuned for my review of that game soon once I complete it.

As it stands, you’ll only want to buy this game if you can get it for a really good price. If you are able to get it for cheap then there is really no issue here. You can play through the hour and have a good time. If it’s expensive though then you may feel like you’re losing out so bide your time and wait until you’ve found a good deal. Then you’re really all set here.

There is one difference though which is that you can now switch weapons. It’s surprisingly not a big deal most of the time as you’ll stick to your pistol but now you can also use a machine gun, grenades, and a shotgun. I mainly would save these for bosses as it can be tough to get the ammo that you need for them but they do help to save you some time there. I would spam them as soon as a big opponent showed up and the grenade can take out half a life bar which is great. I think there is more you could do with these weapons but I understand why they don’t give you unlimited ammo. If they did that then who would ever use the normal gun right? One risk with the other guns though is that you could be having so much fun that you don’t notice when someone is about to fire and take some extra damage. That definitely happened to me at times.

Overall, Time Crisis 3 builds on what worked in Time Crisis 2. It’s virtually the same game just with a different plot this time around. The graphics and soundtrack are similar but that’s a good thing since I enjoyed them in the second game. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to just be a copy of the last game since what worked before will still work now. That said, it really needs to improve the length because you’re done with the game way too quickly. Increasing the difficulty may buy some time there but ultimately it’s not enough. (I am glad they still give you more continues for each game over though. Getting rid of that would have been a big mistake)

Overall 6/10

Time Crisis II Review


I’ve had Time Crisis 4 on the backlog for many years so it was finally time to go ahead and buy games 2 and 3. Well, this one is fun and while I do think it’s a bit too short which takes a point off at the end, it’s still a fun game. First person shooters aren’t typically my favorite games and even less so when you cannot move since this is a rail-shooter but the game has a fun plot with several cinematics so that keeps things moving well.

You play as two VSSE agents who have to stop another villain group from setting off nukes and destroying the world. It’s a fairly simple secret agent kind of storyline but one that works well within this setup. There are 3 levels in the game and each level has 3 areas. So you’re going to be completing this game in under an hour but the catch is that there are no save points. If you get a game over then you have to start from scratch. That’s quite difficult so the game does throw you a bone here. Every time you get a game over, you start the next playthrough with an extra life. Obtain 7 game overs and you will finally unlock unlimited continues which is where you can really have fun.

Personally I’d like to have unlimited lives from the jump but I do get the rationale of having it be an unlockable. Ideally it means that you try as hard as you can on the first playthroughs and if you still couldn’t beat the game then now you can at least see the cinematics and everything with no pressure. Or if you don’t want to do that then you can quickly tank the playthrough and get a game over as soon as possible. The game tries to discourage that by making the first level rather easy so you feel like if you’re in that deep then you may as well finish out the run.

The game is very difficult though so good luck trying to get all the way to the end. I didn’t need all of the continues but I wasn’t able to win until I had 7 saved up. With those I was able to plunge ahead. The way the game works is interesting as you’ll always see a lot of people shooting at you but half the time they aren’t actually doing anything. The ones you have to watch out for are the enemies in red and blue since they mean business. When a real shot is going towards you then the screen will flash red so you know to dodge.

To dodge you have to let go of the square button which is what lets you aim. This makes you hide back behind a wall or another object. When doing this there is no way for you to be hurt. The reason you can’t do this forever though is because each minion rush has a 40 second timer. If you don’t beat them within that time then you lose a health point and each health point is crucial here since each life only had 4 HP. The trick is to react quickly so that you keep on firing and then dodge as needed. It’s easier said than done though that’s for sure.

The graphics are pretty good here. This is a PS2 game with a rather decent budget at least based on the looks. I was satisfied here. Then with the cinematics they’re a lot of fun. We’ve got full voice acting and a very intense soundtrack with a lot of rock. Mix in the explosions everywhere and the game went all out in making this as exciting as possible. I think the Time Crisis series would make for a really exciting action series if they ever wanted to make a TV show or movie out of it. In the meantime these games will do.

As I mentioned the actual game length is less than an hour but for replay value you could always try to beat your high score or do some free play. You’d probably need to be a fairly big fan of the gameplay to do that but it’s an option at least. Personally I wouldn’t try getting the game unless you can buy it for $10 or less because there just isn’t enough content. It’s a good game and I got it for a good price but otherwise if I had gotten this on launch day then I probably would have been a little disappointed.

Perhaps it comes with the territory of being an arcade game but even so I need some serious replay value to keep things moving at a high level. Titles like Pac Man and Galaga have a ton of replay value built in so serious fans of the shooter genre may find that same value here but for me it just isn’t the same. This is the kind of game you beat straight through in order to see the whole story and then you call it a day.

My final tip when playing through the game is to just hide as soon as a blue or red fighter appears. Technically you can try to shoot them before they get off the first shot but it’s risky. Your reactions really have to be great whereas if you hide right away then you have a good chance of their not shooting when you return. The game is realistic in that you can’t tell what they’re doing while you hide though. So be prepared to react quickly when you go out there again because if your timing isn’t good you’ll be escaping just to take a direct shot which would defeat the purpose of your hiding in the first place.

Overall, Time Crisis II is a good game. I wish that it was longer but at least it does still make for a complete story experience. You’ve got a serious plot here with quality characters and an engaging story. Full voice acting and cinematics is something that will always elevate a game for me. The actual shooting gameplay is smooth enough as well. It isn’t really my thing so the game felt extremely difficult but it seemed polished for what it was trying to do. If you’re looking for a quick PS2 game to add to your collection then this could work out. Otherwise you may want to pick up one of the newer installments instead.

Overall 6/10