Ridge Racer 7 Review

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It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while. Ridge Racer always looked like a lot of fun and to already have 7 games it must be quite successful. As soon as I put the game in I was impressed because the graphics are out of this world. It might not be a stretch to say that this is the best looking racing game that I’ve played although F-Zero is naturally up there as well. It’s a really fun racing game although I think it could have done a better job of explaining the confusing layout of the menu and advanced mechanics.

The main mode here is naturally the Grand Prix. When you step inside a bot gives you your current stats. This happens every time you enter the mode which may be excessive but I do like the fact that the game keeps track of everything. That even includes play time which is nice as I now know that I played this game for about 4 hours. That’s a pretty reasonable amount of time considering that a lot of big games tend to be that length nowadays like Sonic Forces and Black Clover. Of course there is a lot more to do here that will take you over 4 hours. There are 14 Grand Prixs to deal with. Aside from that you also have a bunch of corporate companies who will challenge you to single races and exhibitions. Clear them all to get your completion % to 100%.

Aside from this mode you also have the shop, event mode, and some kind of super event mode. I usually cover replay value at the end, but since I’m talking about content already I may as well address that. This is the kind of racing game that you can play for a very long time. It also has online support to back it up and local multiplayer. Think of any kind of content that a racing game would typically provide and this game has you covered. It’s really quite impressive when you think about it. Now, whether you will have enough driving skills to tackle all of that content is another thing.

That brings me to the cars aspect. I was only able to clear the first 5 GPs in this time frame because of how this part works. So, you have cars for various categories 1-4 and you use them to clear the events. You start with 1 car for each category and gradually work on obtaining more. The problem is that the ways in which you unlock cars are rather vague. Is it from the corporate sponsorships or should I be doing a different mode for that? The layouts aren’t very user friendly so if you want to find the right car you’ll have to cycle through a bunch of them. All of the cars can also have upgrades and modifications done to them but you can’t see how the stats change for the car. I guess you gotta find that out the hard way? It’s little things like this that will make you wonder if it couldn’t have been done a little better. Personally I found it to be a little hard to understand.

Perhaps there is a better way of upgrading your car but I couldn’t find one. Then everything is also super expensive. Buying 2 cars and 2 packs of boost were enough to make my character bankrupt. I guess I would need to keep replaying the old events to get more money or something, but that seems like it would take a lot of time. Towards the second half of the game the cars just got way too fast and my little car just couldn’t keep up. I prefer when the cars don’t change speeds like in F-Zero or Mario Kart. Have the tracks get harder and the A.I. more intricate but don’t mess with the cars. That just seems like an unfair advantage to me. Also, the game quickly started to re-use tracks which I found to be a bit dubious. I think the grand prixs should not reuse tracks unless it’s the final one or an “All Star” cup of sorts. Otherwise the game is just attempting to pad out the time.

As mentioned the graphics are extremely good. The cars look very lifelike and the tracks are polished to perfection. Whether you’re playing a daylight stage or driving through the night the levels are very well made. There’s one level where you drive next to a waterfall which was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s a little limited compared to other racing games but the tracks are very fast paced and filled with energy. It really allows you to cut loose and jump into the fray.

We also can’t forget the actual gameplay of course. This game is all about drifting which makes it a little different from the average car game. There are a lot of turns and the only way to get through them is to drift. To properly drift you have to stop accelerating by either braking or simply letting go of the ignition. Once your car starts to turn then you have to gun it once more to correct your path. It takes practice for sure, but after a few levels you will likely be able to handle it. You’ll need to be self taught though as the game isn’t too helpful in this regard. Beyond the boosting it is a pretty straight forward racing game that isn’t too out there. I’ve always been a big fan of the racing genre so it was definitely a lot of fun. This genre is one that can get old if played for too long though so I do recommend taking a few breaks. Don’t try to clear everything in one shot.

Overall, Ridge Racer 7 was quite good. It lives up to its reputation and I was certainly satisfied with the game. I’m not sure if I’ll be getting any other installments in the near future but if I do it would certainly be the Gamecube spinoff. After all, that one actually has a story mode which is really impressive for a racing game. I don’t think I need to tell you readers that this is quite rare. Need For Speed is really the only big racing series I can think of that has consistent plots at this point. If you like racing games then I definitely recommend picking up Ridge Racer. It’s a very by the books title that polished all of the technicals to a T. Its only failing is that the game can be a little too ambitious without letting you know what is going on so prepare to learn everything on your own.

Overall 7/10

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Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon Review

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It’s time to look at a recent Final Fantasy spinoff I got to play. This game has been sitting on the back burner for a very long time at this point. It always looked pretty fun, but I figured it would be pretty long so shorter games kept jumping it in line. Well, no more! I finally took the plunge and it’s definitely a fun game. While I’m not a fan of all the mechanics, I can say that the game was pretty well made. It certainly does the Chocobo character justice.

The game starts with Chocobo and Cid trying to grab the Timeless Power stone from some kind of ruins. Unfortunately Cid’s rival shows up and nabs it first. Before she can gloat, the whole group is transported to another dimension and the rival vanishes. This town is a little odd as nobody remembers anything including what their names are. A bell rings every few hours which makes the memory loss even worse. Fortunately, Chocobo seems to have the ability to go inside someone’s mind which allows him to restore their memories. There is also a baby named Rafaello who seems to have something to do with it. Chocobo starts on his mission to get everyone’s memories back, but everyone keeps telling him that this is a bad idea. Even the gods of the world tell him that he will only bring despair. Is this really the right thing to do?

Chocobo’s Dungeon is the kind of game where a large part of the story doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot. You go around restoring memories, but beyond that nothing much happens. Still, it’s a pleasant enough game. Right away you can see how much content is here as there are a bunch of side missions and sub quests to fulfill. The towns people seem nice enough as well. Still, you get the sense that something isn’t right since as I mentioned everyone is against Chocobo. The bosses you have to defeat in order to save the memories are also characters like the guardians of Light and Flame. Are they really villains or are you the villain?

All of these questions are answered in the climax which is definitely intense. It’s a climax that wouldn’t feel out of place in a main installment like Final Fantasy VII. The Destroyer, who is the final boss even looks a little like Sephiroth. We get a nice cutscene towards the end where this character even takes on Chroma and I wasn’t expecting such a fight. It was cool and I’d be up for seeing this game get a remake or be turned into a movie. I know there is a sequel for the DS so maybe I’ll get that one pretty soon.

Now lets talk about the gameplay as that is the bulk of the game. It’s a 3D turn based dungeon explorer type game where you have to navigate through the many floors until you get to the boss. Each step you take counts as a turn so you will have to quickly decide whether you want to move, attack, or use an item. I do really enjoy the strategy here. Most dungeons are only 8-10 floors while the larger ones are around 20. The final dungeon is 50 floors so get ready for that. Fortunately there is a check point every 10 floors so you don’t have to worry about starting all the way from the beginning. That would have been annoying.

The game does add in some stakes here though. For one, if you die you lose all of your money and all non equipped items. This encourages you not to take unrealistic risks. Make sure you have an exit strategy in mind or at least store your money in the bank before going on a tough quest. You’ll definitely want to do some leveling up before you get to the end of the game since the final bosses see a considerable increase in difficulty. Don’t underestimate them or your items will be sorry. When going into a dungeon you also have to choose what class you want to play as. Each new dungeon unlocks a new form for you. I highly recommend the Knight and White Mage forms. The Knight has great special attacks and gives you extra defense which is always good. I used him for the first 3 and a half chapters. However, eventually he simply wasn’t cutting it so I switched to the White Mage and never looked back. This form has a lot of great healing abilities so you no longer have to worry about carrying potions. Then he also has the best ability in the game which is the fact that he can cast a revive on himself. You can also use the escape ability to just get out of the dungeon if things look impossible. The Dark Knight is typically considered to be the best, but by the time I unlocked him the game was almost over so I couldn’t really verify that.

Now, I mentioned that not all of the mechanics were my favorite. In particular I am referring to the fact that enemies can rot your weapons. It works like in Breath of the Wild where your weapons just get weaker as you use them. They don’t actually break in this version but they do get weaker which is annoying since the only way to power them up further is to spend more money. What you want to do is find a weapon with an anti rust upgrade and then fuse that to your main weapon to ensure that nobody can weaken it. At that point you are all set. There are others for extra EXP and money, but I never found the former. It would have certainly come in handy though.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s certainly a step below most of the other Final Fantasy games, but it still looks pretty good I’d say. It’s just using a different style. It’s sort of like World of Final Fantasy but not quite as polished. It does have each character keep up a motion throughout the game which is cool though like Chocobo’s power squats. He is doing squats during the entire game which is pretty impressive. Then we have the soundtrack which is pretty ordinary for the most part, but I do like the Chrome boss theme. That one’s definitely hype and will pump you up for the actual battle. It’s just that kind of high energy theme. So this game ultimately definitely delivered when it counted.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a pretty fun RPG and one where you really feel like you got a lot of value for the price. The story took me 18 hours and that’s certainly a good amount of time. As I mentioned, the plot does take a while to get going, but as long as you’re fine with that then this is a slam dunk. With this game gone now I’ll be eagerly awaiting the Spyro trilogy. In the meanwhile I’ll work on Ridge Racer, but those turns are definitely real tough. I need some more training before I can be a master at the game like Chocobo. They always start out tough, but get enough level up and any RPG is cake. Sadly there are no level ups in something like Ridge Racer.

Overall 7/10

RWBY: Amity Arena Review

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It’s time to take a look at the recent RWBY game that came out. No, not the super awesome Chinese one that arrived this year, but the watered down Tower Defense game that America got. I had pretty low hopes for this one from the start because Tower Defense just isn’t my cup of tea, but I figured I would give it a shot just in case it was good. Well, unfortunately it is not and the game is incredibly bare bones. There is little to no content to be had here so if the gameplay isn’t particularly fun then it’s dead on arrival. Lets look at the missed opportunity that is Amity Arena.

So what is a tower defense game? Well, you start off my assembling a team of 8 characters based on the cards you have. A typical starter pack is Ruby, Jaune, Yasuhashi, and a bunch of Grimm and Atlas soldiers. The game then loads you onto a small map. There are two mini generators and one big one on your side of the field and the same is on the opponent’s. You can your cards into battle to watch them run over to the opponent’s side while they do the same to you. You win as soon as the main generator is defeated, but if the time runs out then whoever destroyed more of the mini ones wins. If it’s a tie then nobody gets any rewards. That’s the whole game in a nutshell there. The matches don’t have a lot of variety since you’ll be using the same cards over and over for a very long time until you can buy others. Unfortunately you don’t get a whole lot of money per win either. This is definitely more of a P2W title than the other mobile games that I’ve played as of late.

There’s nothing wrong with a P2W title, I just want to put that out there. However, it can still be a little rough to see how small the rewards are. There’s not too much reason to keep playing if you’re F2P. Of course, I’d argue that there isn’t much reason to keep on playing regardless since there’s just not much to the game. Lets get away from the PVP mode for a second. What else is there to do? Well….nothing. There are no other modes aside from a practice mode where you just play against the A.I. to test out strategies. That’s the entire game. This is a game that is made for PVP. You can go to the shop and buy stuff, but that’s also it. There’s no story mode or galleries or anything like that. This game seems to have been made with no real budget which is a shame.

There’s only one good thing about this game and that’s how great the technicals are. First is the soundtrack. There are remixed themes for many of the songs from the first 4 volumes and maybe even some from volume 5. You at least get to hear a lot of cool tunes while playing. Still, if I wanted some music I would just boot up Youtube. Then we’ve also got the fact that the game looks really nice. There’s a lot of cool artwork here and the character models are on point. The aesthetic of the game makes it easy to look at and the colors are very vibrant. I feel like most of the effort went into making sure that the game looked veyr fancy and appealing. That’s certainly nice and I’m glad that the game doesn’t look ugly. Still, there isn’t a good reason to keep on playing this game if we’re talking about the gameplay. That’s what I’d say the disappointing part of this is. Even if you’re a tower defense game, couldn’t the developers have added a story mode? I’d keep playing if there was a story, but without one the game is sunk. Not all app games need a story of course, but if not then you have to have a lot of other modes to keep you busy. Say what you will about Pokemon Go, but there is enough content to keep you busy there for years. Not so for Amity Arena.

It doesn’t help that Amity Arena was completely glitched out for the day of release. Not a particularly good look although I’ll give the developers props for fixing it up with a patch by day 2. I’m sure they were all super stressed at that point. I’m sure the game will still make a reasonable amount of cash given how many micro transactions are in the game. People tend to eat that stuff up. I also do like that Pyrrha and Penny are currently the two top tier characters in the game. It’s a nice way for the fans to be able to remember those two at their best.

Overall, Amity Arena did not impress me. I dare say that it may be the weakest app game I’ve played since the Domino’s one and at least that one gave me real points so I could order a pizza pie. Amity Arena is just one of those games that seems to be made to earn a quick buck and doesn’t strive for much beyond that. You always want to make money as an app developer of course, but at least put in the effort to make this a complete title. Who knows, maybe they’ll improve the game and I’ll find myself back here one day, but as of right now the app is getting uninstalled as soon as I’ve finished uploading my stats page. Hopefully we can get the other RWBY game to show up soon since that one looks a lot more fun. It’s a fighting game for starters and does have an actual story. That’s two checks for that one. It may not have full voice acting and such like this one had, but there’s not all that much point to it with no story. There is a mysterious mode that is labeled as “Coming Soon” so lets keep our fingers crossed there.

Overall 4/10

Dynasty Warriors 2 Review

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It’s time to look at one of the original beat em ups out there. Dynasty Warriors has really created a name for itself over the years. When you think of a beat em up it is certainly one of the first ones that you think of. It’s almost unfortunate though as I consider it to be one of the weakest ones. The reason for this is that I’m not a big fan of the characters. They are all rather forgettable to me and I feel like they all act the same as well. They pop in to talk tough but ultimately just don’t do much. I still like the gameplay a lot, but it’s the only thing holding the game together. What I wouldn’t give for another Hyrule Warriors type of game right about now!

So, I couldn’t even tell you much about the plot. Essentially the feuding nations are once again at each other in mortal combat. You have to pick which side you want to help and you lead them to victory in the 5 battle Musou Mode campaign. Each level is very long so you will be glad that it is only 5 levels. Any more and the game would have really dragged on. No matter which team you pick your character will be the one doing all of the work. Your allies can’t really handle even one named opponent. You’ll look on with a bit of sadness as you rack up 250 kills while your teammates are still struggling. Ultimately you have to be a one man army.

I will give the game some credit for being a little difficult though. This beat em up was made before the current days where the enemies only exist to inflate your stat sheet. If you rush off by yourself to fight a big group of opponents you probably won’t last long. You’re encouraged to just stand and fight with the rest of the crew. It takes a little longer of course, but it’s the most efficient way to go about it. I did manage to ditch my army once as I ran in for the win but I nearly died quite a few times. It goes without saying that dying is something you really don’t want to do in this game since you have to start the super long level from scratch. You can find save points inside of vases sometimes but it can be difficult to find those. I suppose you can go after the vases but that could take time so usually I didn’t bother.

You have your basic attacks and charge attacks in this game. You can also use your ultimate move. Again, the destructive capabilities of your attacks are a lot milder than something like Fire Emblem Warriors. It’s just a different kind of beat em up. I went into more detail with this in another review but essentially you won’t be just mowing down dozens of opponents with a single hit here. You can still take down like 300 opponents, but it will take much longer than in other games. I prefer the other type, but I also understand that this game is really old. We’ll see if the system changes as we enter the modern day. I own games 4 and 5, but not 3 so I will have to wait a bit before re-entering this series. I look forward to that opportunity arising though.

The graphics look pretty decent. The character models are on point and it does accurately show off how the era looks. It’s not particularly fun to look at since all of the battle fields look the same, but it’s more of a design choice than a graphical limitation. Unfortunately the soundtrack is rather bland so that part I’ll blame on the game. The only good theme is the one that plays during the credits as we get a quick look at what this game could have been like. The cool visuals and emotional lyrics just make you feel like this game was ultimately meant to be a lot quicker paced than it was.

There is certainly a lot of replay value here though. Each story mode will probably take you around 3 hours. By the time you play everyone’s stories you will be looking at 20+ hours of content. That’s really not bad although we’ll see how exciting beating the enemies will be by that point. There really isn’t much in the way of actual rewards either so the satisfaction will have to suffice. Of course, I guess that should always be enough.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 2 delivers on the beat em up action that it promises. Beyond that there isn’t a whole lot of exciting content to be enveloped in though. It’s pretty much just a beat em up with a story that you won’t be invested into. Taking down the enemies is the only reason why you’re here. If you’re such a big fan of the gameplay that this doesn’t bother you then you are certainly in the right place. If not, then I recommend looking at a better title in this series like Pirate Warriors 3.

Overall 6/10

Dagedar Review

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It’s time to look at a very obscure racing game known as Dagedar. I’ve had this one on the backburner for a very long time because it was just hard to get into the game. I couldn’t even beat the first level for a super long time. It doesn’t help that the only way to clear a level/tournament is to win at least 3/5 races. The game doesn’t really help you out with learning the controls so that’s something you’ll need to figure out on the fly. Interestingly it’s the kind of game that gets easier as you play it since you just need a fast car in order to win. It had a very shaky start, but I suppose it was okay by the end.

So there aren’t too many modes to play in this one. You can jump into the Grand Prix adventures or go to Time Attack. I believe there is also a multiplayer option but good luck finding someone else who has the game. Time Attack can be fun if you want to train and it also helps you unlock Dagedar along the way. I was able to unlock one by beating one of the levels which helped me go back to the Championship. Naturally the championship mode is where you will be spending most of your time as you aim to become the best of the best. There are 7 tournaments which each have 5 races so that’s a lot of track to cover.

Technically each stage is only around 2 minutes long so you could theoretically beat the game in less than 3 hours. However, as I mentioned the game is extremely difficult. It probably took me about 5-7 hours just to beat the first tournament. I had significantly less trouble with the other tournaments. They finally got tough again near the end, but by then I had played enough of the game to have a pretty good idea of what it was all about. I had taken the game to the brink of what it could offer me. The levels also started to become pretty similar by then and the only way it could get tougher was to mess with the tracks. Eventually they would start reversing or you would have to do very precise jumps. Mess one up by hitting the electricity and catching up to the other car would be nearly impossible.

Lets backtrack to the gameplay real quick. You move by moving the control pad of course and you can jump with the B button. You also have access to a boost button which you get from orbs in the road. I recommend using them for the big wheels you have to enter like the song games as the extra speed will make them a breeze. Once you get a fast enough car as long as you play well victory will be guaranteed. That’s where the tight turns and such come in. At the end of the day it will all be about your fundamentals and how good you are at the stage. Just try them out in Time Attack until you’re comfortable enough to win. Since there’s no story mode or anything like that I didn’t feel much pressure to do so, but if you really want to prove yourself then this is a good game to do so.

As far as the graphics are concerned I would say that the game looks pretty decent. It’s nothing award winning or anything or that nature, but it gets the job done. You can typically see what is going on except for when the game is being cheesy and you don’t see a trap until it’s too late. The soundtrack is super generic though and I guarantee that you won’t even remember a single tune by the time you finish. Naturally the budget just didn’t seem to go into the music department at all which is a shame. Perhaps for a sequel. (Heh…as if a sequel would come out)

I suppose the game does have a good amount of replay value though. You could easily get 10+ hours in this game trying to get all of the Dagedar and clearing all of the tournaments. If you take to the gameplay better than I did you could certainly clear the game quicker, but don’t underestimate the difficulty level of this title. It’s not the kind of game that you can just pop in and clear with your eyes closed. It will definitely take a lot of skill and finesse to get the job done here. It’s a good challenge though and one where practice is rewarded.

Overall, Dagedar is one of those racing games that takes a lot of time to really get going. At first your car is simply too slow and the computer goes through the course almost perfectly. In fact, I’d argue that the A.I. plays at the same level for all tournaments. The only difference is that once you get a car that is faster than the A.I.’s it no longer matters quite as much. Don’t worry about the control stat since it doesn’t matter much and just go for pure speed. As long as your reaction times are on point you will then be able to blow your opponents out of the water. You’ll also enjoy the game a lot more. If you can find this game for a few bucks then it’s worth taking the plunge. If not, just buy a better racing game like Mario Kart that also has a lot more replay value.

Overall 6/10

Rayman 10th Anniversary Review

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It’s time to take a quick look at the Rayman collection I recently beat for the GBA. This one made the interesting decision of merging the first and third games in the series. I don’t really understand why they would skip the 2nd game. Maybe it just wasn’t formatted in a way that would be easy to port to the GBA the way that the others were. Either way, it’s no big loss since I’m guessing it should be rather similar to the others. This is my first real venture into the Rayman series so that was neat. I’d say that it holds up pretty well though the third game definitely more so than the first. If you are a sidescroller fan then you need to check Rayman out.

The first game is pretty intense with how difficult it is. You get 10 continues and you have to be sure to not lse a life too easily. If you died too much on a level consider restarting your system right away so you can win without that hapening. I just barely made it as I finished the game with no continues left. Of course, if I was going for the secret ending by finding all cages then that would have been another matter entirely. The controls are good, but I can’t say as much for the level designs. There are a lot of blind jumps and cheesy sections where the game just stacks the deck against you. That’s fine, but then we should get unlimited continues like in most games. I never like when the game has a limit and then you just have to start over. That doesn’t seem very fair and will just become tedious after a while.

The plot of the game is a little weak though and that’s one thing that seems true for both titles so far. It’s just that Rayman himself isn’t nearly as interesting as most of the other colorful protagonists in these kind of games. I’m assuming he will get more personality soon but right now the cast doesn’t really jump off the page so to speak. They’re all just going through the motions so to speak. Since you don’t even get to see the ending without getting the 100+ cages then it’s not even much of a satisfying end. This game is fortunately supported by the next one.

Rayman 3 is a noticeable improvement in just about every way. For starters the gameplay is a lot faster and smoother. You really feel like you are in control this time around. None of the enemies scare you and if they ever start to get a little rowdy you can quickly take them out. Your lives are quite abundant and there is no limit on retries so no worries there. There is also more of an actual story this time as we get text boxes and the villains have more of a goal. The story still isn’t at the point where it could actually be considered as a selling point, but it’s getting closer which is the important thing. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for the big leagues. Regardless, this is a title that I could recommend a lot sooner than the other one. It’s just a solid side scroller and one that holds up well as it isn’t clunky.

The graphics for both games look pretty good. Naturally the 3rd game is a little brighter and more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference. Both games are quite clear and you can tell that effort was put behind them. Likewise the soundtracks for both games are pretty similar. There are some memorable tunes in there, but nothing super intense. Either way you’ll probably be too absorbed into the levels to notice much. The levels require a lot of concentration or you will be doomed to lose quite a lot.

As far as replay value goes I’d say there is quite a bit here. In the third game I was able to get most of the collectibles naturally so the bulk of your play time will be in the first game. The third one is also shorter in general, but every bit helps. It should last you a few hours. Then the first game will definitely last a few hours and obtaining everything will extend the time even more. Just keep a look out for those lives and continues since they are very previous. Once lost they will not be returned. That’s why the stakes are so high in the first Rayman.

Overall, The Rayman 10th Anniversary game is pretty solid. Since it brings 2 games for the price of one it is already a pretty good bargain. If you haven’t played the series before then it’s the perfect way to start I’d say. It may be tough goings for a little while but you’ll certainly get a lot of experience in how to handle a platformer by the end of this. It’s why I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to a kid but given enough time I’m sure anyone would be able to clear these levels. It’s just all about repetition and trying to learn some strategies. Now I can finally go and play some of the newer Rayman games. I’ll definitely snag them at some point and we’ll see if they can possibly match these two or if they are doomed from the start. No guarantees on just how soon “at some point” means though.

Overall 7/10

F1 2002 Review

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It’s time to look at a more modern video game in the form of F1. I tried out this game a bit a very long time ago but I quickly fell behind the curve. I believe this is because of the gameplay and after playing it again I am more confident of this fact. It just doesn’t play like a racing game really should. The controls are way too stiff and without the core racing aspect of this title it just feels rather empty.

So when you start the game you have to run to the training room. That’s because most of the other modes such as Tournament mode are locked until you get a lot of medals in training. The more medals you get, the more proficiency points you obtain. If you try to go for a perfect 100 you will certainly be here for a while. The good news though is that if you do this you will definitely have mastered the game since the training is incredibly thorough. It does do a good job of prepping you for the tournies but the irony is that by then you may not even see that point and you will put the game down. It’s like having to play a 5 hour tutorial before playing Sonic Racing. After 5 hours you’ll be burned out and ready to leave. Especially if the training is an accurate showing of what the gameplay will be like.

In F1 if you touch the outside of the track at all then you take a hard loss and have to repeat the level. If you accidentally drive on the right side during a certain portion of the map then you will be taken to the pit where you will lose almost a minute of time and it will effectively be impossible to win the race. I also think the gimmick of having to stop in for repairs is going way too far in trying to be realistic. This game does cross the line into being a race car simulator which I was not a fan of.

Simulators can be fun but they aren’t generally my cup of tea. I want to play a simplified version of the activity, not perform all of the steps. Another example of this mechanic is that as you drive through the stage your turning abilities will gradually get worse and worse until you can no longer pull off these maneuvers. This also makes it hard to learn the game because the gameplay won’t stay the same. If even that is constantly shifting then it’s yet another thing that you are going to have to worry about in the end. The game was too technical for its own good.

The graphics aren’t bad at least. EA has always been consistent in that area and so I’m not particularly surprised. The levels pop out at you and when blasting through the course at 100 miles an hour you are reminded that sometimes you need to just embrace the speed and head for the goal. Unfortunately the soundtrack is far less impressive and you will forget it almost immediately after hearing it. This is the opposite of the graphics as EA rarely has a good soundtrack going. The only one that is typically solid is Madden’s and that’s only because it uses iconic themes from the outside world for the games. I could go for a good Madden game right now, but lets stay focused.

There is a lot of replay value here technically since there is so much extra content. After doing all of the tutorials and beating the tournaments you’ll likely have spent over 10-20 hours in the game easily. The only question is really if you want to do that or if it’s time to take a step back. I do think you’ll be heavily burned out by this game very quickly but maybe I’m underestimating how many sport car fans there are. If you really like these extra mechanics to appear in the game then by all means you should try this game. Perhaps it will end up being your cup of tea.

Overall, F1 2002 is definitely not a game that I would recommend. It simply isn’t particularly good as a racer and I just don’t need a car simulator at the moment. I can see why the game series died while others like FIFA, NBA, and Madden are still going. That’s definitely a sign that something went wrong here. It’s a shame because the game has potential. If you want a good race car game that is built similarly to this one just look at Speed for the Wii. That game tries to have a similar approach but you don’t lose the race for going off the track and there certainly isn’t a pit where you can perform repairs. To this day I will still go on record to say that Speed did the best job of illustrating how fast you can go. No other racing game has ever matched that or even come close to be honest. It’s just a fun feeling when you’re playing Speed so go check that one out.

Overall 5/10

Max Hoffman’s Pro BMX Review

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So I got to play another PS1 game. This one is a bike title that plays like a skateboarding one and I actually haven’t played a lot of those. I’m pretty good with the Basketball and Football ones but then some of the other sports like soccer and golf get tricky. After playing this one I can definitely say that skateboarding is likely not my forte. (Yes, this game doesn’t feel like a bike one so I may as well call it a skateboarding title) It’s a pretty interesting game though and I’m sure fans of the sport would have fun with it. At the end of the day it just wasn’t my cup of tea though.

The main mode is about getting covers. A cover is essentially an achievement and there are 5 per level. If you get enough covers then you can move on. The challenges are tasks like “Break the lights”, “Get a High Score”, “Grab the letters”, etc. I was able to get a pair of covers in the first level after quite a bit of effort but in the second one I only got 1. Either way I wasn’t particularly close though as I still needed 4 more to unlock the third level. It’s definitely a game that’s harder than it looks.

Again, this will probably be easier for people who are used to skateboarding games though. I even have a hard time landing with the car in Fortnite without taking damage. The controls themselves sound basic on paper here as you just move, jump, and perform aerial tricks. However it still manages to be tricky since if you go for a trick that is too ambitious you will likely wipe out and lose a lot of previous time. Mastering the tricks will likely take time.

Also, the game just feels very isolated and empty. At least in the first two levels as you are all alone in an abandoned factory and then an outdoor building. Nobody is around so it’s just your character driving around and breaking things. Are we actually playing as the villain here or is he just a bit of a rebel. It’d be nice to see some other boarders or something. That’s not to take away from the graphics though. A good amount of effort was put into this one. It could possibly pass for a PS2 game. In particular I enjoyed the second level’s design. It almost looked a little sci-fi with how isolated and glowy it was.

It would be nice if there was more to it for this title though. Freestyle racing through a big city would be a lot of fun. There would probably be quite a few routes and shortcuts in such a level. Performing tricks just doesn’t have the same kind of appeal after a while. There are only so many tricks that you can perform after all. As such, I would say that the replay value here isn’t particularly high. It’s not a game that I can see myself going back to and there are probably better alternatives within the genre. It just hasn’t aged particularly well and there’s nothing that this game has over the others. Those games have the wow factor while this one does not.

Overall, This is a game where I will give it a thumbs up. I won’t say that it’s a bad game and it holds onto the middle spot. It just doesn’t have enough of an impact to really make a name for itself. I’ve already forgotten its name twice during the course of this review as it is. I think the idea of an open world skateboarding game could be cool even if that doesn’t perfectly describe what this game even is. It gives you glimpses of what that could look like, you just need to get rid of the timer. With the timer being as short as it is you don’t have any time to have fun getting the covers. A single mistake means that you will likely have to start the level again from scratch and who really wants to do that. So, instead of recommending this game I’d say that you should probably just play F-Zero instead or something like that.

Overall 5/10

Undertale Review

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It’s time to look at what was considered to be the greatest game of all time according to Gamefaqs. Of course that isn’t something I’d agree with since I don’t see any game topping Super Smash Bros or Madden unless it’s a game in a similar genre. Still, Undertale is a fun game and I’m glad that it got some recognition. It’s a short, but sweet experience that reminds you how much fun developers can have with making the gameplay a unique experience. I’d be up for Undertale getting a sequel. Maybe the main character could do a little more in the sequel.

So the game starts off with you plummeting to the monster world. You must now try to get back to the human world, but it’s going to be very difficult since to do so you must find King Asgore and destroy him. The problem is that he will also be out to destroy you so this won’t be easy. My advice? Just go in swinging! Well, along the way the hero runs into a bunch of quirky characters and they help him get to the goal. Throughout your adventure you have to decide if you want to destroy all of the opponents in your way or if you will spare them. Whatever you do, you cannot allow yourself to fall in this fight.

A big part of this game is all about deciding whether you want to spare the enemies or not. If you decide to do so then your level won’t raise any higher so dodging the enemy attacks will become more crucial. At the same time it will give you a sense of satisfaction which is always nice I suppose. The ending won’t change the first time, but after that you can keep on playing the game to try and get all of the endings. As the game is fairly short at only 3 hours that won’t be a problem. Technically it took me 5 minutes longer than that, but either way that’s roughly the game’s length. While it is quite short, that doesn’t take away from the game being pretty solid.

The gameplay is part of what makes the experience fun. You run around a bunch of tunnels and corredors until you make it to the next boss. If you are blasting through to the end of the game all you have to do is keep running straight half of the time. There are a few puzzles but for the most part there are no distractions. However, if you want to hear more of the lore and meet up with the characters then you are able to do so as well. There are a lot of areas to explore and have fun with. The levels seemed rather big to me at least and there are quite a few people to talk to. Then we have the combat gameplay where you play as a heart and have to dodge enemy attacks. When it’s your turn then it becomes more of a traditional turn based combat system as you pick your attack and time it so you strike when the line is above the center of the opponent. You’ll get the timing down in no time.

I certainly enjoyed the soundtrack as well. There are a lot of good boss themes here and the music is very atmospheric. The whole thing is very retro while also trying to also add a bit of a creepy edge to it. The music definitely fits the scenes pretty well. The graphics are also fairly decent. The game uses sprites so there isn’t anything particularly fancy about the game’s looks, but that’s where the game’s originality comes in. It did a good job with the final boss by adding in a bunch of cool visuals for its attacks. It was a solid way to end the game and was certainly one of the better climaxes that I’ve seen as of late for such a retro game.

A fun part of the story here is that you never really know what’s going to happen next. I didn’t know much about the story before playing the game so it was fun to see what would happen next. The characters were all a little different from how I pictured them since I had no context previously. They were all pretty solid for the most part although I think that the levels with the genius and the robot may have dragged on a bit. Their gimmicks weren’t nearly as entertaining as the ones that the other characters had. Papyrus and Sans were certainly a lot cooler and I would have been up for seeing more of them. Since I got Sans pretty upset though maybe he could end up being the villain for a sequel. It would be nice if it had multiple starts based on how you acted in this game.

The character designs were on point and I definitely would have liked to have seen Undyne fight a little more. She was a solid fighter and definitely a great fighter to match swords with. Asgore was less impressive although once he entered battle mode he was pretty neat as well. Flowey definitely makes for a great mastermind and he’s a big part of why the game is so interesting. He brings in most of the wrinkles and twists that the game really needs to make a name for itself. If we get a sequel hopefully he would return.

Overall, Undertale is a fun game. It’s a very memorable one so I can see why it is so well liked. The sound effects such as Flowey’s laugh are excellent. The music is on point and the gameplay is also a lot of fun. It’s a game that is reasonably challenging but never tries to get tedious. The gameplay is easy to pick up but mastering the game will take some time. While the game is very short, there is also some nice replay value if you go back and beat the game multiple times or trying to get the Platinum if you got the PS4 version. So, I’d recommend this game. I believe the going price right now isn’t too high so it’s a pretty good value. Once you play it you can decide if the game is amazing or at the very least a solid experience.

Overall 7/10

Jeremy McGrath Super Cross 98 Review

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It’s time to look at a very old PS1 game. I actually have a few of them that have been waiting for their chance, but since the bulk of them don’t have any story modes and aren’t even recognized on the backlog there isn’t much of an incentive to playing them. Still, while I wait for Undertale to show up it’s a great opportunity to blast through this one. It’s a fairly fun game although it’s one that is naturally quite limited.

There are a few main modes here like Time Trials and Single race, but you’ll be spending most of your time in the quick career mode. There are 11 races in this mode, but you only get to keep going if you have enough points. I had to retry one of the races real quick since I didn’t qualify so make sure you save after each race in case the next one doesn’t go as you planned. As long as you average in the top 3 out of 6 you will typically be okay to keep going. I ended up with 3rd in the tournament but apparently that wasn’t quite good enough so then you get a cutscene of the main character crashing. It feels pretty bad, but I like how the game has a sense of humor. Even when you pause the game there are extra options in case you are confused and the game tells you to make up your mind or go ask a friend.

There aren’t enough stages for 11 levels though so a few of the levels are used twice. I think there were maybe 8 unique levels which isn’t too bad I suppose. To make the final 2 stages a little harder they made them take place at night time. I don’t think that was the best move as it’s just super hard to see where you’re going. If a computer is going to beat me then I want it to be legit, not because I’m just crashing into everything. Still, I guess I appreciate the fact that they did something to make the level experience a little unique. That’s still pretty cool of them.

The graphics are really old. This game certainly doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the original Spider Man game but I guess it doesn’t look bad either. Everyone just seems a little blurry and of course it can be hard to see the turns in the level in time. When it comes to the soundtrack it is fairly generic. The game once again adds a little personality with how enthusiastic the announcer is. I think the game did a good job there.

I don’t think I really need to describe the gameplay here as you could understand it with a glance. You are driving a motorcycle/bike and trying to be the fastest to make it through the course by the end of the laps. You can go for style points by pulling off tricks after jumps, but it is risky since if you mess up you will crash and lose a lot of time. You can also target players by performing a wheelie but if you don’t hit them at just the right angle then you’ll be the one who crashes. I couldn’t quite get the angle right so I gave up after a while, but it does give some nice depth to the gameplay. If you manage to master all of the extra gameplay techniques and such then I think you will be quite ready to take on these computer opponents.

There isn’t much replay value here though. Most of it will come from the multiplayer mode of course, but your friends will probably be playing some other racing games instead so I’m not sure if it’ll be enough. The single player content is only good enough for around 1-2 hours so you just need to make sure that you’re getting a good price. If so, then it’s time to pull the trigger on this game.

Overall, I think the game is reasonably fun. It may not be a racing game that you will particularly remember after playing it, but there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just a situation where there are now many more solid options to play for racing games. If you can find this game for a dollar or two then by all means you should check it out. It’s a good game and I’d recommend it. I do think that I should have gotten a medal or something for 3rd place though.

Overall 6/10