6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Angry Birds Trilogy Review


It’s time to look at the Angry Birds trilogy on the PS3. The game was definitely an odd port when it first came out because you can get Angry Birds for free on the mobile. Why pay the 30-40 bucks for console when you can do that? I suppose playing on console is more fulfilling with the controls for most games, but with the way this one plays out the mobile controls are actually your best bet either way. In the end I bought this game for a few bucks and I’d say that it’s worth the price for the sheer amount of content. You certainly can still get it on mobile but if you look at this port in a vacuum it certainly is worth a buy.

There isn’t really much of a plot here. The evil pig empire wants to take control of the birds base of operations so now the Angry Birds are being called in to put a stop to this. Keep in mind that the cutscenes don’t have any dialogue or voice acting so you have to interpret this as best you can but the games did get a movie so that also helps you get the plot across. You get some quick cinematics at the end of each chapter for the main game but not really any for the two spinoffs.

I’m not sure what the name for this kind of gameplay is, but I’d call it a motion shooter. Basically you have the bird on a slingshot and you launch him towards some constructs which have pigs in them. The goal is to hit all of the pigs before you run out of birds. From the start you can see how many birds you have so that’s how you start budgeting where to fire them. Sometimes you’ll aim for the pigs directly but other times you need to hit a part of the base and get it to all topple down. There’s a lot of factors to consider with each shot and towards the end there is a lot of trial and error or at least I ended up using a lot to get the wine.

As you go through the game you’ll start getting more advanced birds to use. The Red bird is the basic one that you launch into the air. The Yellow one can use a booster after launching so you can really power through some of the obstacles. The small blue one can turn into 3 birds after launch but they are all pretty weak so be careful on what you tackle. There’s the egg bomb bird which can drop a bomb below which deals a lot of damage. Finally there’s the actual bomb bird which blows up after a short time or you can trigger the explosion early. You’ve definitely got a lot of options for the birds and ultimately you will need to master them all.

You’ll have a lot of time to do so because the game has a crazy amount of levels to go through. We’re not just talking one or two hundred, but significantly more than that. I don’t know exactly how many there are but there’s enough content here to last you for an extremely long amount of time. You’d have to be a really big fan of the series to stick around with it for so long though. After a while you are effectively playing the same same stage. While that can be said for many titles, you really feel the repetition in Angry Birds. It’s just unrelenting even if the actual gameplay can be fun. I think it just needs more cinematics or razzle dazzle to make you want to stick around. Otherwise you’ll probably just stop playing after 100 or so levels. That’s what I did at any rate.

There are 3 games here, but they all have the same gameplay style so that doesn’t really solve the problem. My favorite was actually the summer game because I liked the level designs the most but they all have their charms. The graphics are pretty good I’d say. It’s not as if there is a lot in the game that really needs graphics so that probably made it easier for the company to focus on making those sections look good. We also get a few cinematics in the first game, but not really in the others. Calling them “cinematics” may be a bit strong since it’s mostly just stills that try to make you think they’re moving. I’m definitely still glad to have them though.

Angry Birds can be surprisingly difficult as well. Some levels took me dozens of tries to complete so they definitely weren’t your average mobile levels. The spike happens quite suddenly so even if you have a pretty good understanding of the birds and their various abilities I expect you will have some trouble here. I wonder how the final levels would be. They’ve got to be crazy since I was relatively early on in the game when I ended up putting it down. I have this nagging feeling that some of the birds have extra abilities that I don’t know about, but more likely I just wasn’t hitting the right angels.

Overall, The Angry Birds Trilogy is a fun game. It’s just not the kind of title that you want to play in long batches. I think it’s at its best a few levels at a time like most mobile games. It’s just not really convenient to be turning your console on and off so often the way you can on a cell phone. You’ll likely enjoy the game more if you play it on the mobile, but if you do choose to get the console version it is nice to have all of the content available right away. I do think more mobile games should try to port over to console though. It sounds like it should be fairly easy to do so the companies should make at least a bit of a profit in the transition.

Overall 6/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokken Tournament Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 9/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Street Fighter Ex 3 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10