Metroid Prime Pinball Review

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It’s been a while since I played a Metroid game so what better way than to go back and finally check out Metroid Pinball? I’ve had the game for a long time, but the cartridge never worked. Well, it finally did so I wasted no time in scoping it out before it decided to break again. It’s a pretty solid Pinball game that fans of the genre will enjoy, but it’s not as if the title does a whole lot with the genre. Effectively it’s just the same old Pinball with a new paint job.

There’s not really a plot here although there could have been the first time around. See, I got this game used so it was already completed. For the sake of the review I just went through the level select and tried them out. It’s not as if there are a lot of levels so it was pretty easy. There are only 4-5 levels if I’m remembering correctly. There are actual bosses so that’s pretty neat. It means that there is certainly some kind of story here. I’ll assume that Samus has been charged with destroying all of the Metroids in her way.

If you don’t know how Pinball works, effectively you have a ball inside of a field and you have to keep it there as long as possible. You control two flippers that you use to block the ball from exiting the field. The longer you survive, the more points you get. There’s also a layer of strategy as you try to hit the ball at certain angles to get your points as quickly as possible. That’s how all of the normal levels play out, but with the Metroid background. This means that the levels are very tech based and there are even Metroids running around. You even get to turn into your robot mode to blast away at them once in a while if you hit the right switch. I think that could have made for a good game to be honest since those segments were always a lot of fun.

The graphics look pretty good. I feel like the company actually put quite a bit of effort into this one since the character designs are on point. You really feel like this is a Metroid Prime game and not some pinball game leaning on its legacy. The soundtrack is also quite good as a result. This game definitely benefited from the fact that it is from the Metroid Prime series as opposed to simply being a Metroid title. Since Pinball is fairly passive the matches can take a long time. While waiting for the ball there isn’t much you can actually do so it’s nice to at least be able to listen to good music in the meanwhile.

Back to the bosses, the gameplay for those is still like normal Pinball except you want to hit them with it. They’re not all that difficult but you’ll still have to get used to the ball and knowing where you’ll hit it before you can claim victory. At least there really isn’t much luck involved here as it’s all in the angles. In a rare occasion the ball will land perfectly in the middle so you can’t block it but that is extremely rare.

There’s not a lot of replay value depending on how you look at it. I mean, it’s Pinball so technically you can play it forever, but there aren’t a lot of game specific reasons to keep on playing. You can beat the “story” in 40 minutes and even if the levels take you a while it won’t be longer than a few hours. You can keep on trying to beat your high scores, but there just isn’t a lot of content in this one. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t own many Pinball games. It’s one of those games that’s a little more fun in real life than in a game.

Overall, There’s not much more to say about this title since in general there’s not too much for me to talk about Pinball. Pinball fans will get a kick out of this one. It’s certainly a lot better than the Pokemon Pinball game. Mario Pinball is still the definitive title, but Metroid is likely the second best portable Pinball title. I can’t imagine getting this for the full price back in the day, but it’s only a dollar or two nowadays so you can’t go wrong with that price. Once you purchase it, prepare for the nostalgia as you hear the classic Prime tunes again. We do have Metroid Prime 4 coming out at some point so the series isn’t dead yet! I’m not the biggest Pinball fan but don’t get me wrong, playing the game is fun. It’s one of those titles that you can easily pop into the console whenever you want and play a few rounds. It’s always nice to have an easy option like that one at the ready for whenever you need it. I’d love a Super Smash Bros pinball game someday. now that would be a lot of fun.

Overall 6/10

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Genji: Days of the Blade Review

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It’s time to check out an old PS3 beat em up. I got this one at around the same time as Trinity so once I finished that game I knew that it was time to finally pop Genji in. Unfortunately it is nowhere near as good as Trinity. It loses in pretty much every single way. It’s not a bad game, but it does have a bunch of questionable design choices that limit the title. Depending on how the final boss battle had unfolded, this review certainly could have gotten more negative.

There are three main heroes, Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Shizuka. A cosmic entity inhabiting the body of the main villain from the first game also shows up, but he doesn’t really add anything to the story. The land is being overrun by zombies and mystical villains who can turn into vampires and other such monsters. There are even giant Crabs running around and a Kaiju. The heroes have to defend their turf and the whole world as well so they ready their swords and shields. Stopping the villains is as simple as destroying them all, but it won’t be so easy since these villains can certainly fight back. It’s essentially a war against zombies which is an interesting premise, but the characters don’t always seem to act as if they’re fighting anything supernatural. It’s just another day in Feudal Japan. (Or China. I think it’s Japan though)

Right off the bat you can tell that this plot isn’t going to be particularly exciting. The voice acting is pretty iffy and the story is only slightly better than Dynasty Warriors. The characters are as generic as can be, but don’t even have good character designs to save them. Yoshitsune is a poor man’s Sanada Yukimura. Shizuka never actually does much in the story and her health is so low in the game that you never want to actually play as her. Benkei is super powerful in combat, but I just didn’t like him either. There was no reason for the heroes to ditch him during his dramatic moment either as they should have just stayed together and fought off the villains.

While the graphics aren’t as good as Trinity, it’s not as if they’re bad either. It’s still PS3 level, it’s just that the level designs are really bland and there’s not much for the game to work with. There aren’t really even any colors throughout the game so it all appears to be rather lifeless. It doesn’t do anything to immerse you in the game. The soundtrack can also be rather annoying. I like the more atmospheric ninja themes that play during the game, but the one where the guy just keeps yelling over and over again just makes you want to turn the volume off. On a technical level, I’d say that the game was actually bad when you think about it.

Fortunately, the gameplay is what we’re here for and it’s pretty good. For an odd reason the game chose to go for a more cinematic style. This means that you fight in slow motion a lot of the time. Gradually you start to fight a little faster as the game goes on and by the end it feels pretty normal. I suppose you just get that strong by the end. There is no lock on system so sometimes you’ll find yourself randomly missing the enemy but you’ll adapt to this by the time you complete the game. Each character has a final smash attack which stops time and lets you unleash a flurry of attacks. It’s a lengthy quick time event which saves you a lot of time from fighting each opponent individually. It’s immensely helpful for bosses even if it can get rather repetitive.

There isn’t any replay value to be found here. No collectibles, no multiplayer, no trophies…etc. Once you complete the game you’re just going to put it down and you’ll probably never pick it up again. The game is about 10 hours long so at least it’s not too short or anything. It’s a reasonable length considering that you can pick the game up for about 5 dollars. Still, I always like to at least have some replay value at the ready.

Make sure you have some backup saves ready as you approach the end of the game. If you don’t have a lot of items or power ups at the ready for when you fight the final boss it’ll all be over for you. The final boss is basically 5 phases long and in that time there are no minions to fight so forget about getting any more EXP for your weapons. Fortunately I had saved most of my items and power ups til the climax so I was able to barely squeak by, but it does feel like a mean spirited game. The average player would have used the power ups by then since you’d assume that it’s the right move and there is no guarantee that they would save their items either. The 4th phase of the final boss is hard to even hit without the final smash since it’s limbs are so high up and the final, final boss takes a lot of dodging and tedious hit/run strategies to overcome. Ideally you want to have around 10-15 final smashes ready. A pro tip is that leveling up your Magic meter restores it completely so just don’t level it up until you’re at the boss. Then you can use the final smash, upgrade, use it again, and keep on repeating this strategy over and over again. It’s a sound plan and one that worked for me.

The part I was stuck at for the longest time was definitely a long tower level within a boat. You had to climb and jump through a bunch of obstacles. The problem is that the camera kept changing angles which made your journey that much more difficult and then falling would send you way back. You won’t fall for the same trick too many times as you’ll eventually manage to get through, but I feel like the developers just did a really bad job with the stage design and a lot of the game’s fundamentals. This game could have been so much better than it actually was. I’ll give it some kudos for the amount of cutscenes that it had though. I may not have particularly enjoyed the story, but at least it actually did have one. That’s better than nothing.

Overall, The gameplay may not have sounded great from how I described it, but it’s still a 3D beat em up. It’s fun to take on the legions of enemies and prove that you are the best fighter. The game can be rather difficult so you can’t just run into every pile of enemies and attack until they’re down. Sometimes you’ll need to lead them into traps or cross-fire between enemies. Other times you may have to retreat for a while. Be careful because save parts can be far apart so you can lose close to 20 minutes at times. The platforming in the game is also pretty rough so watch out for those sections. I think you’ll enjoy the game more if you know the tricks behind it since the game doesn’t explain it very well. Otherwise you’re in for a brutal time. Believe it or not, I recommend the game, but just be sure to take every precaution by having the backup files at the ready. It’s never too early to start saving your items either.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh Ultimate Masters World Championship 2007 Review

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It’s been a long while, but now I can finally jump onto the next installment in the Yugioh World Championships. I believe I am only missing around 4 of them now. The games lasted for quite a while back then and it’s a shame that they’ve stopped. Imagine how many cards a World Championship 2017 would have had. I suppose that with Duel Links the franchise may be wondering how they can top that, but I’d still like to see an attempt. While I prefer humanoid opponents to monsters in the WC series, this game holds up as well as any of the others. It’s pretty well optimized and the load times are nonexistent so that’s a win-win.

The main mode you’ll be playing here is the campaign. Essentially you start off at Level 1 where there are 6 opponents. To unlock the next level you must defeat each opponent 5 times. Fortunately this is now the only requirement to unlock the next level as previous games forced you to achieve a specific victory ratio. That required you to keep on resetting the game right before defeat which was tedious so this is a big improvement. There were opponents in this game that I had a losing record against so I am definitely glad that I don’t have to worry about that now. It makes gathering money a little easier since you actually get to keep it even through defeat.

There are 5-6 levels in the game, but only the first 4 are accessible without having to enter other modes so that’s where I stopped. My final record at the end was 96 wins and 88 losses which isn’t so bad if you ask me. I was just glad to stay above a 50% win ratio so that was satisfying enough. This main mode will likely take you at least 10 hours, but it’ll certainly depend on the deck that you create. Naturally there is a large amount of luck involved on which cards you get and such, but mitigating the risk is part of what makes you a good deck builder. Try to build a lot of combos into your deck so that no matter what you draw it’ll be a good one.

I focused my deck on Elemental Heroes. Sure, it may be borrowed from Jaden, but that’s exactly why I went with the deck. If it was good enough for him to wreck everybody then it’s good enough for me. I added in some extra spells and traps to make the deck a lot easier to counter with so at times it did backfire. Let me say that getting a hand with all traps and no monsters is no good. You always want to have a monster ready to summon or you’re really going to be in a pickle. At the same time, the final opponents all have very cheesy summons and combos so having a trap that automatically destroys the monster and wastes the last 5 minutes of their effort is a must.

The graphics are pretty clean. It’s not as if they’re doing anything too special but it’s easy to look at. The duel field isn’t cluttered and it’s always easy to see what is going on. As for the soundtrack, it’s okay. I think Tag Force has spoiled me a little as the themes there were just super awesome throughout, but the peaceful World Championship score isn’t bad. Honestly I’m usually way too focused on playing my trap cards and going through memes in my mind to actually notice it all that much.

It goes without saying that there is a ton of replay value in this game. After beating all of the main opponents you can go to the other modes that I referenced earlier. One such mode is the Limited Duel. Essentially you have to beat an opponent while adhering to certain limitations. Another one is the Duel Puzzle. You’ll be thrown in the middle of a duel and have to figure out how to win it in one turn. Despite the fact that there are only so many ways you can play your turn, this can actually be extremely difficult. Seriously, don’t underestimate just how tough this is. It’s pretty entertaining though so while it’ll take a while, you’ll have fun trying it out. Honestly it could probably take you as long as an RPG’s game length to tackle everything in this game. I won’t even count collecting all of the hundreds of cards since that would be even crazier. I have around 400 cards and I don’t think I’m even halfway there yet. Not to mention that you buy them lottery style so there is some luck at play there.

You couldn’t really ask for a better Yugioh simulator. Since the game even has mini animations for the big monsters, you really feel like you’re in the duel. The music will also change if you destroy your opponent’s ace monster. As I mentioned, the controls are really smooth so you’re not going to attack the wrong person by mistake. The turns are pretty quick so it’s not as if the long loading times exist to deter you. The amount of cards at play is also pretty good and earning money is quick so you are always ready to buy your next pack. As such I don’t really have any complaints for this game. A minor nitpick would be that I’d prefer to have fought some of Jaden’s opponents from the show instead of generic monsters. The classic Yugioh games all had you fight with iconic characters like Kaiba and Pegasus. There weren’t cutscenes or anything, but at least it would feel more like you were fighting an actual opponent. As you went up the levels you would fight stronger/more popular fighters. Here…I guess having Cyber End Dragon in World 4 makes a lot of sense, but I didn’t even know a bunch of the other monsters. It was just an odd change although the last Yugioh GX game did that as well so maybe it’s just GX’s gimmick or something.

One of these days I’m definitely going to have to make a list where I place all of the Yugioh Games from best to worst. Such a list would be super hype and perhaps I should make that an article. Keep your eyes out for that even if it may not have the clickbait headline that I usually try to have accompanying it. The highest game for Yugioh on my backburner is Duelist of the Rose, which will likely come up pretty soon. It technically is pretty short since there are only about 7-8 duels as opposed to close to 200 in this one, but I’ve heard they are super tough to compensate for that.

Pro tip for when you fight the opponents. Stalling them usually won’t work. I was able to really take advantage of that in the Wii game, but here they always have some kind of fancy combo to wipe the field so they can usually outlast you. If you have the edge in battle, just throw out an attack. Odds are that it will succeed and you’ll be glad that you did. Surprisingly most opponents don’t have a trap card to punish your attack in the later levels as mostly it’s just the intro opponents who will do that.

Overall, If you’re into Yugioh, then this is a solid game to get. My personal favorite World Championship game may still be 2006 because I felt the gameplay was the best from all of them, but I also may be bias because that game had my favorite deck. I went through all of the options for hours in that game and finally came out with a really hype fire deck. Every card had a lot of power behind it and I cruised through the game. Still, I made a pretty solid deck in the end through this game as well and it would be fun if I could fight myself with it. 2010 is also a pretty great title since that one did actually have a main story as well. I’m not sure which WC game I’ll get next, but 2005 is definitely the cheapest one which sounds good to me. I believe it is the final classic Yu-Gi-Oh title that I have not purchased yet.

Overall 8/10

Percy Jackson and the The Olympians: The Lightning Thief Review

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Time to look at a movie tie in that came out for the DS. I actually miss these games. For a while (The Gamecube era) just about every movie got a video game adaption almost instantly. They were usually short and fairly low budget, but there were some really good ones like the Spider-Man games and the Matrix. Typically none of them were downright terrible or anything either so it fun to have them around. Lightning Thief is one of the last movie games left or at least comparatively so. It’s naturally not a AAA title, but it is pretty fun and I enjoyed playing through it.

The plot starts off with a bang as Percy is chased by a Minotaur. It ends up destroying his Mom and Percy is taken to a school for demi gods like himself. Percy doesn’t care about fitting in with the other kids and doing his studies though as he wants to go to the under world and save his Mom. The problem is that he has been framed by someone for stealing the Master Bolt. If he doesn’t find it within 24 hours to clear his name, Zeus will start a huge war among the gods and millions will perish. Percy decides this is important enough to make a sub goal on the way, but saving his Mom is the priority. Mission start!

The gameplay is a pretty simple turn based system. You have to tap on the screen at the right time to reduce damage from enemy attacks so that makes it a little interactive. If you land a critical attack then you draw on the screen to increase the damage. Each character can have 3 different attacks equipped and instead of everyone getting a turn, each party gets a turn. This means that you can just stick to using one character and the other 2 can act as shields in the meantime. Interestingly, Grover was the strongest character in the game so I rarely ever used Percy. I’m assuming that was an accidental game design choice.

To progress through the story, you go from level to level via a map. There are no random encounters like in a traditional RPG as you see each circle before you cross it. You’ll only be forced intro a non story encounter once in a blue moon so for the most part you’re always progressing through the story. That being said, the game does add a lot of henchmen and random bosses for you to fight in the story to pad the game out a little. It’s still not a terribly long story and you’ll probably end up beating it in around 10 hours or so. It feels a little artificial when you’re fighting the same enemies over and over again, but fortunately I like turn based combat so it wasn’t too bad.

There’s not much in the way of replay value though. You can level yourself up to 99 I suppose. There’s not much point to doing so, but I suppose it’ll feel good. There are post game bosses that you can track down as well and eventually you can clear the map. It doesn’t personally interest me, but it’s better than not having any post game stuff to do.

The soundtrack is rather limited, but it isn’t bad. I liked the main theme well enough. It may not have been quite as high effort as the average title, but I like to think it tried its best. The graphics are also rather underwhelming as the sprites can be really blurry. It looks slightly worse than the average PS1 game, but I like to think that it would have looked better if the developers had been given a few more months to work with.

One thing to keep in mind during the game is that items are extremely valuable. They usually don’t count as a turn so you can still attack afterwards and they also deal as much, if not more damage than your best attacks. I ended up saving all of the items I had earned until the final 3 bosses and I’m really glad that I did. I was able to beat them extremely fast thanks to this strategy as I just spammed the items. The final boss was only able to get in one shot thanks to my item spam. You get items with each level up so just follow that strategy. In the meantime, use your upgrade points to improve strength and accuracy.

My favorite combo that I used for the whole game was Percy’s Accuracy increase ability on Grover and then I’d use his heavy slash to take out the opponents. It’s full proof and will work without exception for the first 80% of the game. After that you may need other strategies at the ready since the villains really love to spam status effects against you. They’ll blind you, burn you, etc. You just gotta press on or use the overpowered healing ability which cures you of everything and also restores a bunch of health. Clearly this game wasn’t balanced all that well.

The game did a good job of making Percy a really likable main character in this game. He doesn’t back down from a fight and is always making the right calls. He goes to save his Mom even when everyone else tells him to back off and he handles the traitor twist pretty calmly. He’s pretty much the ideal main character and while in part that may be due to the game’s limited level of story telling it worked out well so I can’t complain. The other characters were around, but none of them were as likable or charismatic as Percy.

Overall, The Lightning Thief was a fun game. It’s not a masterpiece and the story is stretched out a little too much at times, but you won’t get bored. It’s repetitive, but after catching over 50000 Pokemon in Go, I chuckle at the average game’s repetition. It’s pretty easy so it’s not much of a challenge, but it doesn’t feel insulting either. I wish the game would chill a bit with the status effects as they barely hurt you and just stretch the battle out. At the end of the day though, it’s a solid portable game to keep you entertained for a few hours. I’d recommend checking it out and maybe it’ll inspire you to watch the movie.

Overall 7/10

Professor Layton and the Last Specter Review

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It’s time to take a look at the start of the Professor Layton prequel trilogy! It’s always fun to see the characters first meeting up so I was ready for the big Layton/Luke team up. There’s no chance for them to fight as in most classic prequels, but Luke did manage to be rather mysterious for a little while. Aside from a dreadfully terrible ending that makes you want to delete the game, this is another solid title in the consistent series. It always reminds me of how puzzles are actually a lot of fun if they’re handled correctly.

Layton may be a mild mannered professor during the day, but he is also a master sleuth and archaeologist. He receives a letter from an old friend of his requesting some help. As he is about to head off, a girl named Emmy shows up and claims she is now his assistant. Layton tries to get out of this situation, but she won’t take no for an answer. The two of them head to the town where a giant monster shows up and knocks over a lot of buildings. Clearly this is an enemy that Layton is not going to want to underestimate, but is there really a monster or is it just a fake? A kid named Luke seems to be able to predict whenever it will appear which is rather suspect. Between the suspicious mayor, the underground gangs, and the corrupt police, Layton will have his work cut out for him.

Emmy’s a great addition to the cast in this game. I like her more than her current timeline counterpart and the fact that she can fight is really great. We get several cutscenes of her taking down gangs and defending Layton. A gentleman resorts to violence as a last resort of course and as such Layton doesn’t have a whole lot of combat training. I’m definitely going to be interested in seeing why she decides to leave Layton by the end of the trilogy. Maybe she’ll end up appearing in the new 3DS game that is coming out soon.

Layton is a solid main character as always. He stays firm even as he gets threatened by various characters. He’s always tipping his cap when greeting others which is nice of him and has many plans at the ready. Villains rarely catch him off guard. There’s not much more to say about him that I haven’t already said in the older games. Luke is also pretty similar to the other games even though he is quite a bit younger. He’s not really ready to solve too many puzzles this time around, but always manages to try his best regardless. Luke’s father didn’t look very good the whole time. He just seems awfully shady without and never seems like a nice guy. Everything is a mystery though so keep an open mind.

The graphics are pretty good of course. As always we get a number of fully animated cutscenes at the ready which was great. The fact that we had multiple action scenes during them was also pretty neat. The scene of the monster destroying the town of Emmy comboing the gang were both quite exciting. I’d also say that the soundtrack is pretty good, but I’d like some new themes. I felt like they were all recycled from previous games. I can get the nostalgia appeal of course, but new themes help to keep the games fresh and relying on old ones can be a bit lazy.

I enjoyed the array of puzzles. A lot of them follow the same style as older ones, but there are some new ones as well. It’s not as if there are a whole lot of different ways to make a puzzle after all so you’ll inevitably have some recycled ones. Still, they’re always enjoyable to get through and the game does its best to make them all different in some way or another. The game will last you around 12 hours and there is a lot of replay value as you work to solve the rest of the puzzles and complete the minigames. It’ll probably take you around 20-30 hours to do all of that so it’s really worth the price. Even without the replay value, the main game has a lot of value.

Unfortunately there is one thing that holds the game back…the ending. Spoilers will commence so skip this paragraph if you want to avoid that. I always figured that the mysterious monster wasn’t actually a monster so that was no big deal. If anything, I was surprised we got a monster at all, but it turns out that there was one hanging around. He was fighting the robot at night and immense plot hax made this look like a giant monster to the audience. Honestly, the game didn’t try too hard with this moment as there’s just no way it could have happened. Beyond that, the big issue is that at the end the monster dies from overexerting itself. It keeps hitting the walls of the town until it finally shatters them and the little girl is saved from her disease. It’s an emotional tale, but why did the monster have to die? He should have lived and then the ending would have been perfect. As it is, the story took a rather gritty turn there and instantly made this the worst of the Layton adventures. It really is a shame since the rest of the game is so solid, but I couldn’t overlook this. The game crossed a line that it should not have crossed.

The game is definitely leading up to something big in the next one as the villain gets an after credits scene. He’s not bad so far and should make for a good antagonist. I prefer him to the guy from the first two games, but Future Luke is still the best villain in the series. I aim to get the next game fairly soon so prepare for that, it shall be Epic! There’s not much more to say about the game. The gameplay is all as streamlined as it can be at this point and you can tell that the company is very experienced with the Layton game. It’s easy to pick up and play at any time and while the story is fairly long it never gets dull. Something is always happening.

Overall, This game is a lot more low key than the last one as this is only the start of the trilogy. It still gets off to a more exciting start than the first ever Layton though. Unfortunately the gritty ending does shave off 2 whole stars from the game. An ending is supposed to make you feel glad that you played the whole game, not make you shake your head in disbelief. I’m confident that the next two games will go back to the quality that I’ve come to expect though as the rest of the game is quite sound. I’d still recommend this game to all gamers, just watch out for the ending. See how many puzzles you can solve before you have to resort to the hint coins. I’d be immensely impressed if anyone could solve all of the main puzzles without hint coins since that honestly seems almost impossible. Before the next Layton game, it’s going to be time to play something a little less intellectually stimulating.

Overall 6/10

Beyblade: Metal Fusion Battle Fortress Review

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It’s been a long time since I let a game play me instead of the other way around. It may sound impossible, but this is one of those games where you are encouraged to put down the Wii remote once the battle starts. There is even a bonus you get for winning rounds without using the controller at all. It’s really a unique way to play the game, but not in a positive way. If I wanted to watch the game I’d check out a Let’s Play or watch the TV show adaption. Fortunately the fun story and solid soundtrack help save the game, but this ended up being a real missed opportunity.

The main characters of the Beyblade Metal Fusion series have been kidnapped and brought to an alien spaceship. The aliens want to absorb their Beyblading abilities through matches so they can then destroy the planet. A lot of humans are also helping them in exchange for “Molecular Powers” which will apparently help them exceed the skill levels of the normal humans. Gingka doesn’t like this since he says that all a Beyblader needs is a determined spirit and prepares to stop them all.

Lets dive right into the gameplay. Through the years the Beyblade games have experimented with a bunch of different gameplay styles. From Turn Based to Monkey Ball to the classic Gamecube Beyblade where you rotate your tops on a field and try to knock the others off, the series has been places. This one tries to be like the Gamecube one. Your Beyblades (Which are effectively tops) are placed on a field and you try to knock the other one off. When you have enough meter you can use a super attack which covers a fixed range which either comes from your Beyblade or from the center. Knocking your opponent out of the ring gives you two points while destroying it or outlasting the spin just gives you one point. Getting to 3 is the goal for most levels.

That’s no problem. This gameplay is what Beyblade is supposed to be. There’s just one big problem….You Can’t Move. That’s the only problem, but it is a massive one. Who thought it would be a good idea to make it so that you can’t move at all in the game? It’s like playing a DBZ game where you can choose when to use the special abilities, but otherwise the characters do whatever they like. It would get irritating very quickly since they keep getting hit by basic bread and butter combos that you know you would dodge. That is definitely the worst part about the situation. The fact that you know you could do a better job. As a result, you’ll find that your Beyblade is knocked out of the ring many times. I customized my Beyblade beautifully so that it could wreck all of the others quite easily. I basically never lost a head to head fight. The problem is that they would just knock me out of bounds instead and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. You can use a mini boost but it always just sends you off the stage as well.

One stage took me close to an hour at one point. I was able to get some good reading done in the meantime, but it’s not exactly the most entertaining experience. The game actually took quite a while because while most levels were quick and easy, the ones that were tough took many, many tries. The story could also get a little repetitive at times as they make the same speeches over and over again as you meet new bladers. It was a little funny just how often Gingka would start talking about a Blader’s spirit. He would mention it before and after virtually every fight. At the very least, you can’t say that Gingka isn’t serious about the subject. He will never hesitate to let everyone know what’s up.

The story will get you interested in the show since it seems to have quite a lot of “hype” characters. You’ve got Gingka’s first rival Kyoya who was tempted by the power but got knocked out of it. Hikaru who may have defeated Gingka in the past (Story was vague on that) but fights with honor. Hyoma, Tsubasa, Ryuga, etc. The cast is very solid and I’m sure they all get quite a lot of intense fights in the anime. Unfortunately, the story’s original characters weren’t all that great. I liked the designs for the robot killers and their various super forms, but there’s not too much to say about them besides that. Once you’ve fought one robot blader you’ve fought them all. The old man scientist wasn’t a very interesting villain either and it was hard to buy his character arc of turning good again so quickly. Mariko was okay as at least she had a character arc that was a lot more developed than the others. She was pretty shady from the start, but at least she fooled the heroes for a while. She’s also pretty powerful so she can hold her own in a fight.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s the kind of game where all of the cutscenes are just recycled pictures of everyone as they yell and point fingers, but the actual images look pretty sharp. The gameplay shots are also fairly decent although the quality certainly does end up taking a hit. As far as the music goes, that is even better. We really only have a small handful of tunes, but one of them is quite excellent. That really helps to seal the deal here since I got to hear it a bunch of times during the story. One good tune can always go a long way.

There is a pretty good amount of content here to keep you busy. The actual story has around 5 worlds and each world has 5-6 battles. I doubt you’ll beat them all in one go but even if you do that should last a few hours. I’d imagine that this game should last you 6-10 hours. There’s no real replay value after finishing the game but odds are that you’ll have had enough of the gameplay style by then. You’ll be ready for something new and fresh. At least there is multiplayer mode so with the luck system in place it should make for some pretty entertaining matches.

Overall, This is a good Beyblade game, but one that could have been so much better. You’ll mainly just want to play it to hype yourself up for the show. I’ve never been a big fan of luck based gameplay so a title where it is almost 100% luck is just not going to be up my ally. Especially as there is one event where you have to win 3 matches in a row or get sent back to the first and various 1 vs 3 rounds where you just need luck to save you. With enough time you will beat them all as a result, but I don’t really want to wait to get to the end. Skill should be the only thing to have to worry about. I’d definitely recommend the Gamecube game instead of this one as that is the definitive Beyblade game. That being said, if you really prefer the Metal Fusion cast to the old characters then it isn’t a bad one to get. Just focus on the story instead of the gameplay.

Overall 6/10

Trinity Souls of Zill O’II Review

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Be warned, there are quite a lot of spoilers in this review. This game has been on the backlog for me since as long as I can remember. I always winced as I saw the low 2% trophy collection hurt my overall average. Well, I decided to finally take the plunge and finish the game. It was as great as I could have hoped although it did have an issue or two that prevented it from getting a 9. There are some artificial means that the game uses to extend the campaign, but I’ll expand more on that in a second. Lets go over the plot first.

Areus is a half elf who has a tragic past. His father was murdered and his grand father is the King of evil, Balor. Areus now lives with his mother and step brother at an abandoned cabin. He earns money by fighting in the Colosseum and he has lived out his life solely to get revenge. He figures that the best way to get revenge is to pretend to join Balor’s army and rise in rank until he has an opportunity to meet with him in person. Then Areus will take him down. Complicating matters is the fact that Areus meets up with Selene and Dagda. Both of these figures have secrets of their own, but teaming up with them will let Areus achieve his goal quicker. Areus’ best friend Dorado is also around and he’s thrilled about Areus joining the army because he’s a big fan of Balor. Areus decides to keep secrets from everyone in the meantime.

Lets start with the positives here first. The graphics are pretty solid. This game is definitely a big budget PS3 game. It spares no expense with the big cutscenes as they even have fight scenes included. It was always a lot of fun to look forward to the cinematics. The in game graphics may not be as impressive, but they are still at PS3 level. The soundtrack is also very good. It can be a little limited as the same fight theme plays for just about every boss. Fortunately it is a catchy one. We also get a lyrical song that plays during a lot of the emotional moments and that one was also handled pretty well.

The gameplay is also a lot of fun. It’s simple, but addicting as you can use many different attacks. Essentially, each move is treated like a special ability. There is no magic meter to worry about so you can use them whenever you want. You can only have 3 abilities equipped onto one menu and you can equip two menus that you shift through with R2. The actual spells you can learn are closer to 15 so you’ll have to make some choices. I played as Areus for about 90% of the game and mainly relied on his sword combos. They seemed like the best bet if you ask me, but I also really liked the fireball ability as well as the Dark Meteor. Find out which attack is best against the enemy you’re facing and then put it to good use.

It feels like a beat em up most of the time as you enter large areas and try to get to the goal while smashing as many minions as possible. I would typically avoid most of them to be honest as I dashed to the exit. If there’s a cheese strategy to be found, I’ll find it. Fighting them is pretty fun though. I just love the 3D action genre so it never gets old. That’s a good thing since the campaign is quite long. It’s a little over 20 hours and the post game content will last you for even longer than that. Getting all of the trophies should bump this up to close to 50 hours unless the grinding gets a whole lot easier all of a sudden.

You can also unleash team attacks. I recommend doing that whenever you want free hits as it doesn’t do a lot of damage, but it’ll temporarily stun the opponent. The only exception to this is the final phase of the final boss so use the tactic as much as possible until then. I’ve covered the basics of the gameplay, but play the game to really get the full picture. The characters are fairly reasonable and the plot is solid. Throw in the replay value and you can see why this game is easily 8 stars. However, it’s time to talk about the game’s limitations.

First is how long it takes for the story to really get going. I mean, it’s a bit of a staple for many RPGs to have a slow start as you get used to the characters and all. I get that, although it is possible to have a much quicker start like The Last Story, KH Chain of Memories, or World of Final Fantasy. The problem is that it feels like almost nothing has happened for the first 15 hours of the game. That’s over half of the campaign feeling like filler. It’s also not particularly good filler. The point is that you’re supposed to really get used to all of the characters and just enjoy seeing them hang out but it didn’t work well. The dreary landscape of the olden days doesn’t help with that and it’s also that the characters aren’t quite that amazing. Areus makes a ton of mistakes all of the time, Dagda’s constant laughter is incredibly annoying and Selene’s plot was basically dropped for no reason. The amount of times you have to do random quests and beat the exact same recycled boss is a bit much. Once the story actually get going it is quite engaging, but it could have sped things up a bit.

Another issue is that because of this, we didn’t get to explore the lore as much as we should have. The final act of the game actually felt a little rushed if anything. We were introduced to some of the big villains quite abruptly, like the mad scientist. He was one of the big legends, but we just walked in and destroyed him in the span of 2-3 cutscenes. Balor went down pretty quick as well. Did we need to fight Sheelah’s group 3 times when we could have fought the others more? Not dissing the Sheelah fights though as they were actually the highlights of the game. Not sure if that’s unintentionally sad though.

Selene had a big subplot where she was looking for someone and would mysteriously vanish a lot. Well, that plot was probably the most anticlimactic as it turns out her sister was a miniboss with a recycled design. You destroy her and Selene gets over it. The plot had a ton of build up and ends in an instant. Dagda is afraid of going to the arena so we take him to the arena. That plot was just boring. Finally, we have Areus and his quest for vengeance. This one confused me a bit as usually the moral is that you ultimately let go of that right? You forget about getting revenge and just think about justice. Well, the story decided not to go down that path for whatever reason. Instead, Areus went through with his revenge and paid a high price. He never had any regrets and I felt like the narrative never even tried to paint this as a bad thing. It was just a “Good for him” kind of vibe I got from the game.

There’s also the mysterious cloaked Angels who have made a pact with Balor. It’s hard to tell if they’re a fanatical group (Most likely) or actual supernatural beings who would have done something in a sequel. (This game’s actually a prequel by the way. I did not know that) Either way we will never know because they appear as minions in one brief level and then never appear again. Granted, the level was awesome and very atmospheric as we break into a church and start beating people up, but that plot line felt like it had so much potential. The story as a whole had a ton of potential and it completely squandered it.

Back to Areus, he’s an okay character but you can see why he’s not great. He talks an incredibly good game and is always overconfident, but then he ends up losing. Sheelah beat him in a fair fight multiple times which is uncanny. She just kept getting him into choke holds. She even had to save him towards the end because he has no reflexes. Areus is a bit of an embarrassment to the caricature that he is supposed to be. You can’t be the strong, hot headed rival character if you’re always losing. Don’t even get me started on his plan. As if giving Balor the strongest sword of all time that would give him immortality was ever a good idea. I don’t know what that guy is thinking sometimes.

Selene was a good main heroine. She likes insulting Areus constantly and reminding the other two that she is way older than them. One cutscene that was fun was where she woke up from her nap just to insult Areus for no good reason and then go back to sleep. Her mysterious personality also works well even if it never leads anywhere. Dagda is the strong member of the group so naturally he’s not quite as clever as the other two. My only problem with him is that he laughs nonstop and is always trying to boss Areus around even though he’s not the leader. I’m never a fan of insubordination unless the character is doing it for heroic reasons (Wolverine, Superman, Huntress) or to go all the way and become leader. (Sting) Dagda’s has no purpose. (I’m seeing a pattern here)

Dorado is the best friend of Areus, but you’d be hard pressed to guess why. Areus is always being very mean to him and lies to his face throughout the whole game. He also ends up murdering Dorado to which Dorado points out that Areus should have just told him. I do think Dorado would have teamed up with him and Areus was just being short sighted. Instead Areus waited until a point where Dorado could not refuse a fight. Is it any wonder why I don’t like Areus much? Honestly, I’m disliking him more and more as I write this review. Taking down Dorado absolutely did not need to happen.

Sheelah is one of the main supporting characters. She’s a bounty hunter who just wants to get rich, but during the game you learn more about her backstory. I don’t know if it was optional or not since during the game I had a hard time telling the sub quests apart from the main ones which is also why the game took a while. Either way she got more personality than most of the gang and I dare say that she may have been a better character than either of Areus’ companions. Her partners never really got to do anything though.

Balor is the big boss, but he barely ever gets to appear during the game. All we know is that he is smarter than Areus but that isn’t even a feat at this point. He has a pretty good design and makes for a good villain. What he lacks in dialogue he makes up for with a good boss fight. The bosses in general were a little unimaginative with the designs so Balor ranks pretty high up by default. The dragon that showed up near the end was the real hero though. He kept on saving the day and ended up being more productive than the heroes. My favorite villain though may have been the first Dark Knight. (Actually she may have been the only one since the rest couldn’t be squeezed into the game I guess) Her armored form was pretty hardcore. The crazy dual personality may have been more weird than hype, but it wasn’t all that bad.

Come to think of it, maybe the reason the game didn’t delve into almost anything was because it was a prequel. I’m still not going to let that go so easily, but at least it’s a reason. Lets talk more about the terrible plan that Areus has though. He is going to capture the heroes (We meet a legendary golden hero by the way who comes out of nowhere. I was expecting him to be a traitor right from the start but surprisingly nothing came of it. He was just a noble hero right up til the end so not bad I guess? He seems not to mind murder as his team tries to destroy us without warning when we first meet, but I’ll let that slide) Areus brings in the group and is going to stab Balor as he gives him the medal. The plan itself is pretty bad as I never like having to essentially trap your allies just for a chance, but it’s not downright terrible.

The ceremony goes as planned and then a villain runs through the doors yelling about how Areus and the others are traitors. Areus seems to go deaf and just turns to the side. I guess he figures that if he ignores the villain then it’ll all go away. Balor just tells the guy to get out and the guards grab him. Unfortunately, he breaks free from the guards multiple times and keeps on spelling things out for Balor. Areus still does nothing so Balor trolls him by taking unsheathing Areus’ sword for him. Areus seems stunned as he has basically given Balor an extra weapon now. Then they are all locked up and the dragon has to save the team again. Why is Areus such an inept main character? He just keeps outdoing himself throughout the game with this moment taking the cake.

It’s too bad that all of the hype scenes are at his expense. As I mentioned earlier, the story can be slow so I always get super hyped when something really happens. The Sheelah fights were always exciting, the brief bout with the gold hero, the dark knight, Balor, etc. It’s just that Areus looked terrible in all of those cutscenes as he apparently can’t beat anyone outside of gameplay mechanics. Even his clash against Balor naturally had him need help from everyone else. He was only able to land the big blow at the end when Balor was weaponless and literally could not move. That’s our hero for you.

I should also mention that Areus failed to save his Mom and brother when they needed him the most. I don’t know why it took him so long since he got there late, but it just reminds you that he should have told Dorado everything. I doubt Dorado would have just went over and murdered his family if he had known. At the very least if he planned to do it anyway, Areus could have taken him down there. The game can be a little overly tragic at times and I think the game could have let them live, but it was all to remind Areus that he couldn’t show mercy at the end. The game was actually kind of edgy if you think about it.

Overall, The last few paragraphs may have sounded really negative, but it’s just that Areus is easy to mock. The guy failed time and time again. I didn’t even realize that I didn’t really like the character until I began writing this review. The game is definitely a complete package of quality though. The grahpics and soundtrack are on point, the gameplay is rock solid, there is a lot of content within this title, the Platinum trophy is also attainable as long as you put in a good amount of time. It’s not an elite title, but it is a great one and I absolutely recommend checking it out. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the story as unintentionally funny as I did at times.

Overall 8/10

Fire Emblem Heroes Review

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It’s time for a new App game! Since I got to Level 40 in Pokemon Go I figured it would be fine to finally check out another free game. This one got a lot of hype back in the day, but I think I got on the gravy train before it completely passed me by. After playing it for a few days I can definitely see why everyone loves it so much. The game is incredibly polished for a free game and it has helped make me a much bigger Fire Emblem fan than I was before. There’s so much to do here that if I took it seriously I would be here a while. It’s going to be more of a side project as new levels come in I’ll complete them and all but I won’t bother going for the more competitive goals.

The game actually has a plot which is already cool. Terry (Your original character protagonist) is summoned into the World of Fire Emblem. The realm is under attack by an evil sorceress with immeasurable power. She has enslaved whole worlds and almost the whole cast is under her power. Terry can tip the balance because he can summon heroes of his own to combat her and he is immune to mind control. You have to team up with the ones who summoned you to stop this foe and rescue everyone who has been enslaved. It’ll be tough though as you’ll have to defeat tough combatants like Lucina, Roy, Ike, and many others. Also, there are so many worlds that as soon as you leave one, the sorceress goes back to reclaim it.

It seems like new levels are added every once in a while, but I don’t expect the game plans to end the campaign anytime soon. The most recent level did end with a big plot twist though. It was one that was certainly expected, but it still counts as progression. There are 12 Story chapters I believe and 10 Protologues, with 2 Xenologues. It’s a pretty good amount of content. I beat the story part of the game in about 2 days, but there is a lot of other content to explore. There are online Arena Battles where you fight other players, Training Stadiums to level up and collect gems, Special Battles where you can fight new matches every day to get more characters and items, Voting Gauntlets, and several other modes.

This game is not lacking in content in the slightest and I probably didn’t even get to try all of the modes for about a week or so. It’s actually very overwhelming at first, but you gradually get used to it as you play more and more. Too much content is never a bad thing after all. If I don’t want to play a mode, then nothing is forcing me to do so. The main currency in the game are Orbs. You get around 5-8 every day for logging in. You can use 20 to purchase a full set of 5 characters. You can also use 1 to replenish your energy each time you run out and you can use 1 during a fight to restore all of your characters and they all get an extra turn. You don’t want to be too frivolous with the Orbs when you start because they get more scarce as you go on.

I mentioned the energy earlier and that determined what you can do every day. Each action costs energy and when you run out you have to use an orb or just stop playing for the day. That’s how they get you as you can purchase extra orbs. I know quite a few people online who’ve spent hundreds on orbs so they could get their favorite character. I definitely won’t be spending any money on this game though. In part it’s because Pokemon Go was my only exception to that rule and also because the game is quite generous with the orbs. I have never been in a spot where I was out of orbs and needed energy or even been in a situation where I was close to that. You would also need to play quite a lot in a single day to approach that limit. It should be a non factor for most players.

Once you’ve beaten the available story chapters in the game, I’d say that the main focus is now to collect all of the Fire Emblem characters. There are currently 168 and I have about 60. The ultimate final goal would be to get all of them to Grade 5 and max them out to Level 40. Of course that increases your time exponentially as doing that is really a long term goal. As such I won’t really be gunning for that. At most I’ll log in every day for my new fighter and eventually maybe I’ll have them all. Even if they’re grade 2 or 3 that’s fine. To improve their grade you have to level back to Level 1 with that character and spend 20,000 Feathers and 20 Shields which are not easy to come by. It can take weeks to obtain that and I personally can’t say it’s worth it unless you’re super competitive in the game.

The gameplay is extremely smooth and highly customizable. It’s classic Fire Emblem gameplay as you position your pieces on the map and attack. All of the characters have special abilities and there are 3 types, Green, Blue, and Red. Each type is good against another one and week to another. There’s also a blank class, but I’m not sure where they fit into all of this. Different characters have different styles of attack like close range or long which you need to take into account. If you want to fight and know that you’ll win anyway, you can set the game to auto fight and let the computer handle the fight while you get a bite to eat or something. I admit that I started doing this quite a lot after I beat the game to save time. You can also turn off the animations for each attack which saves a bunch of time and I wish more games did that. It would be very useful.

Fire Emblem Heroes really shines when it comes to the graphics. They are exceptionally good and easily the best that I’ve ever seen in a mobile game. It spared no expense with the character portraits and attacks. It’s one of the things that really drew me to the game when I first started. It’ll be really cool if they can grab more animated cutscenes by the end of the game, but even if they don’t I’m still pretty satisfied. The soundtrack is also solid. The themes are limited, but memorable. All in all I’m sure a very large amount of money was put into this game and I’m sure that it has made it all back quite easily.

It’s time to go back and rank all of the mobile games. In 1st is clearly Pokemon Go. The game’s amazing and I’ve put in over 1000 hours by now. You just can’t overestimate just how influential the title is. Truly a legend. 2nd is Fire Emblem Warriors. The immense amount of content and reasons to keep playing speaks for itself. I also like the generous log in bonuses as you really feel like it’s worth it to keep showing up. 3rd is Marvel’s Contest of Champions. It was a fun game, but a big step down from the first two as the gameplay was very repetitive. It also had a very long story mode but it was considerably lower budget and you never felt like you were making any progress. Honestly it’s a very similar style to Fire Emblem Heroes but think of the difference being like Mario Galaxy vs Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. 4th is Ingress. It’s basically just like Pokemon only without the Pokemon and the Gyms. It may go up as some point, but my whole area is owned by the opposing team and I need to reach Level 6-8 in order to actually do anything about it. I dunno, it’s fun enough but I always can’t help but think of how many Pokemon I’d be catching if I had Go open. Finally in 5th is 1010!. It barely counts when placed with the others since it has no plot and it more of a very simple game app. Still, I did play through it so counting it is fair. It’s a lot of fun at first, but actually gets less so the higher your score gets. After all, who wants to spend 30 minutes trying to top your score only to come out short in the end? Definitely not me! That’s 6 App games that I’ve tried out now. It could be a while before another one so we’ll see how that does in the end.

Overall, App games are very addicting. It’s easy to see how this one got so far. For every great title like this one there are probably 100 low budget mobile games that are pretty bad, but I’ve done a good job of avoiding those so far. I hope Nintendo comes out with a Super Smash app at some point as you just know that would be really awesome. I finally got Roy, Ike, and Lucina in this game so I’m definitely very satisfied with my turnout. I’d like to get Marth at some point, but I suppose it could be a while. If you’re interested in the game, I recommend downloading it as soon as possible. Even if you don’t want to play it yet, download the game just so you can start receiving your daily rewards by logging in. That way you’ll be extra prepared with a bunch of extra items and characters by the time you really do start. There are still a bunch of features that I don’t fully understand or have barely scratched the surface of and we’ll see if I ever do. At least it’s nice knowing that they’re there if I ever need them. It may be time to get a real Fire Emblem game, but I’ve heard mixed things on the newer ones and the old ones are so expensive. It’s definitely a tough call.

Overall 8/10

LBX: Little Battlers eXperience Review

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I’m always up for a good robot game. Mega Man and Custom Robo were always exceptional titles and so naturally LBX looked like a winner from the get go. I actually got to watch the TV show way before the game so if anything this version feels pretty nostalgic while playing through. The anime adapted the game pretty faithfully to be honest and the quality is sharp since it’s by Level 5. Those guys really do a great job of completely building a game around its concept. Layton is the perfect puzzle game and this is the optimal robot experience. You just can’t go wrong with buying this title.

The story follows a kid named Van. He’s really interested in the new game that everyone is playing. It’s called LBX and you buy a mini robot that you can use to fight with other people. Think of it like those classic Rock em Sock Em toys that used to be around, but 1000X cooler as the robots have weapons with live ammo and you control them with your phones. Unfortunately his Mom is against it for reasons unknown and Van’s Dad may have created the LBX franchise, but he died in a plane crash. A mysterious lady gives Van a one of a kind LBX one day though and after he stops some burglars from stealing it, he ends up joining a private faction who is trying to stop the villain organization from using it for their own means. They tell Van that his Dad is actually alive and being held hostage so Van quickly goes on board. His two friends Ami and Kaz agree to help as well. They’ll have to win multiple tournaments, break into enemy territory, and hone their skills. The risk is high, but there are lives on the line so the heroes put on their game faces and get ready for action.

It’s a pretty long game at 15 hours so that’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the plot. There are 12-13 episodes in the game and the length varies for each one. There is also a lot of replay value as you have many parts to buy and quests to complete. I did a few quests here and there and got a bunch of weapons, but getting them all would take a long while. There are also online battles that you can play so content is certainly not lacking in this title. You can have fun playing the game for a very long time and it’s worth the full price.

The soundtrack is stellar. It was pretty cool hearing the tunes from the anime even if they technically came out in this game first. It was still nostalgic and most of them are quite memorable. LBX spared no expense in this department and the same goes for the graphics. Not only are the in game graphics sharp, but there are a number of fully animated cutscenes at the ready as well. They really help you dive into the game. It used up a bunch of these cutscenes early on and I would have preferred for Jin to get more of them, but it’s how it goes. It’s really impressive that they added so much in and I feel like we got more animations than Layton. It just feels that way so I can’t confirm it, but a quick Youtube search would give you the answer to that.

As you can imagine, the gameplay is really sharp. It’s in full 3D like Custom Robo and you can equip two weapons at a time. I always went with a good Machine Gun and an electric sword. Even if it’s not the strongest, I like the electric sword because it stuns the opponent so you get more hits in. More hits = More damage or at least that’s how I saw it. The gun can be safer, but the opponent can use the downtime between rounds to get in close and take you down. You have to use a lot of strategy here. You can carry health items to help yourself out as well. There are also a number of final smashes that you can equip. You can use a weaker one to try and get some damage in, but the catch is that the enemy might dodge it. You can instead use an ultra attack which is impossible to dodge, but you can’t move for around 5-8 seconds which is a long time and if an opponent deals enough damage during that time you will lose the attack. I was able to use it successfully in the final boss which was helpful. It seems to always happen that the boss gets me to my last bit of health and then I clutch it out. It’s an amazing feeling, but also super stressful. The final bosses were definitely incredibly powerful so I recommend training a lot so you’re prepared for it.

I still think the concept of LBX was borrowed heavily from Megaman Battle Network, but it certainly did a good job of making a name for itself. It had a lot of its own unique features which differentiated itself from Megaman. It’s also a good move to be like Megaman since Capcom isn’t making any new games at the moment so we can get our Megaman fix this way. Imagine a Megaman game that was 3D like this one with a bunch of hype cutscenes. Hopefully Capcom can learn a thing or two from this title and incorporate it into future titles.

The cast is basically the same from the anime, but I’ll briefly mention some of the big ones. Van is a solid hero as you’d expect. He’s always ready for a fight and is very proactive in trying to save his Dad. He has a brief lapse in confidence, but gets over it right away. At times he can almost seem too happy like when they arrive to the toy store to buy things which felt like a contrast to his rather serious self, but at the end of the day he’s still just a kid. It’s hard to say if he beats Lan Hikari or not as they’re both very similar. He’s a lead you can get behind.

His two friends aren’t bad. Kaz is always low on confidence which can be a little grating, but he still helps out when he can. Ami is always supporting Van and doing her best to get in on the action. The school friends are pretty bland and underwhelming though. I can see why they got such tiny roles in the game since they didn’t add anything to the dynamic. Jin is a great rival and his LBX has an excellent design. He’s pretty reasonable throughout and does a good job of balancing this while still acting really confident the whole time. He’s an ideal rival and his team up fights with Van at the end are a blast.

Dak and Gouda are two other characters who help out a bit. They’re a step below Jin and Van when it comes to ability, but the more allies the better right? I thought Dak was an enjoyable supporting character, but Gouda is a little too weak to be taken seriously. He was good as an opening boss though. Mr. Kaido is a solid main villain. The fact that he can actually fight goes a long way since he doesn’t have to hide when the fighting starts. His robot is also really cool and has a great design. One villain that came in towards the very end was Kirito and he was exceptionally good. Taking out almost the whole cast on his own was certainly a hype moment and the fact that his LBX had a Super Form was really cool as well.

I have to say that I liked how the super forms were incorporated in this game. When you get below 25% health you can activate it and heavily boost your attack power. It helped a lot in the final boss and just looked really cool. When an opponent would use it, it would up the stakes as you had to focus on defense a lot more. Since some fights would give them all of their health back, the game really didn’t hold anything back. You need to be pretty good at the game and be at a high level to win. It always feels fair and balanced with just the right amount of difficulty to make things interesting.

Van’s Dad is okay at best here. I still think he tends to run off too often and leave Van behind for no reason. He gets a lot of hype so he’s a good scientist, but seems like a bad father. I wasn’t impressed with the Red Haired guy and his Team Rocket homage members. They’re the only part of the cast/plot that I couldn’t take seriously. I just never liked them for some reason. The true final boss of the game was great though. His origin story was definitely pretty intense and his LBX even more so. It was a pretty nice/explosive way to end the game. It’s great to see Level 5 get to go all out with the ending here as most of their other titles are a lot more down to Earth. Now we know what they can do with a good action title. I didn’t even totally get how the final boss worked and just had to keep on buying time and using hit and run tactics. You can probably see why I just barely defeated him.

Overall, LBX is without a doubt an excellent game. There are absolutely no negatives with it. The gameplay was completely on point. It felt balanced and it was easy to lock on to an opponent. The levels were huge which was a lot of fun but you can move fast so you don’t have to worry about matches dragging out. The plot was really engaging and kept you alert with all of its twists and turns. You felt like you were playing a big RPG and I think this probably would fit in the genre considering that you do have to backtrack to various areas and you explore as you go through the game. The cast of characters was a lot of fun. It’s a little hard to get used to the American names so in this review I mainly used the ones I was familiar with but not all of them were downgrades. The main case where the English name definitely loses is with Justin though. The graphics and audio were definitely well above average and there is a lot of content in this game. It’s the definition of a AAA title and I’m convinced that Level 5 is one of the best studios of all time. It’s hard to see them churning out a game that isn’t great at this point. I highly recommend buying this game. You’ll be glad that you did.

Overall 9/10

Gormiti: Lords of Nature Review

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I’ve never heard of Gormiti before, but I’m a sucker for this kind of Wii game. When I saw it in the 5 dollar bin I knew I had to snag it fast. The cover promised me an action game and it did deliver. The game isn’t high budget or anything, but it is a solid step above some of the recent cash in titles that I’ve been playing. It’ll hold your attention a little while as you power your way through the game.

The title follows 4 kids who are your normal citizens by day. What is different about them though is that these kids can teleport to a mystical world where they are actually Lords of Nature. Everyone respects them in the other world and they get a lot of hype. They have to stop the evil monsters because the things they do there affect the real world as well. The villains are trying to merge several amulets so they can open up a portal to Earth in order to destroy it. The heroes must stop them at every turn, but the villains have the numbers advantage and always seem to get back up no matter how many times they are defeated. The heroes are going to want to be careful in this round.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the Legos. It’s mostly overhead but the camera is low enough where it can give the illusion of a 3D game at times. Each character can activate different gimmicks. Blue gets water, Green gets grass, etc. You have to activate various switches and break all of the flashlight statues to get through a level. Interestingly enough, beating the enemies is never mandatory aside from boss fights. As a result, I figured I’d cheese my way through the game and it worked pretty well. Why stop to fight the minions when you don’t really get anything out of it? There are no level ups so it’s not as if I’d miss out on EXP. You can just jump over them.

Honestly, I beat the game in probably half the time I was supposed too since I skipped all confrontations. I would just run to each obstacle, activate it, and then dash to the exit. It was pretty fun even if it was a little insensitive to the hard work that the developers may have put into the level designs. I just couldn’t help myself. You also get infinite lives and you respawn right where you died so the game isn’t really challenging either. For all boss battles you can just keep attacking because even if they knock you out a few times, it doesn’t matter. Just spamming the hit button is the fastest way to win.

You only have two attack options anyway. You can fire a projectile, or throw a punch. Those are your only options so make the most of them. It’s basic and it’s fairly low budget, but at the very least you can’t say that the gameplay isn’t tried and true. I’ll take this kind of gameplay any day over low budget minigames. It’s still action after all and I’m all for combat. Just keep it coming is my motto.

The graphics are okay. It’s sort of like a really old cell shaded style or its CGI. The game’s one or the other, but it’s hard to place. I can roll with it and the character models aren’t bad, but the level designs need some work. There’s just too much orange the whole time. Surprisingly, the soundtrack is actually pretty decent. The boss theme that plays over and over again is nice as it’s very fast paced and gets all of the right beats in. I can’t remember any other tunes, but that was the main one so it did good.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though. The actual game you can likely complete in about 3 hours or so. I guess you can try to get all of the collectibles so you can unlock a bunch of puzzles, but that is honestly one of the worst incentives I’ve seen in a while. You can keep your puzzles man, I’ll just move onto a Layton title if I want to challenge my mind. There isn’t a multiplayer vs mode either so after beating the game there really isn’t much point to playing it again. At the most you may want to tackle some of the tournaments but I don’t see why.

As for the plot, it’s a little too formulaic and generic for its own good. The stock footage of everyone yelling to the chair is easily the most annoying part. Beyond that, the kids are okay. They all seem like classic 80’s-90’s kids with their contrasting personalities and at least all of the villains have designs as well. They’re all fire villains which limits the variety a bit, but I guess I can live with that. The ending is a little rushed though and I wonder why the game chose to have the final boss be one of the older bosses. Not just that, but they chose the easiest one as you just keep hitting him til he dies. At least the others force the fight to be tedious by retreating for a few minutes every time you shave off 1/3 of his health bar. This guy just stays there, but that works for me I guess.

I will give the game some serious credit for having a bunch of animated cutscenes though. You unlock them all after beating the game and it’s a pretty significant amount. It at least shows me that the game had some amount of budget put into it and separates it from the more generic titles. It’s still not exactly Street Fighter, but after the game I feel like I know the Gormiti cast well enough.

Overall, Another Wii 5 dollar bin game has been conquered. I probably would have played this one a lot sooner if I’d known how short and easy it was. For some reason I just never thought of it before. If you can find it for the same price that I did, then it’s worth checking out. It is a fun game, but its biggest problem is that it is incredibly short. It’s hard to justify any game for around 20 dollars if it’s only 2 hours right? Even 10 dollars get to be a stretch, but you can make a reasonable argument with that one. One last tip, use the Blue Gormiti for all boss fights, he has an infinite combo where he just keeps punching forever. Watch out for glitches though.

Overall 7/10