7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dynasty Warriors 6 Review


It’s time to look at the next instalment in the Dynasty Warriors series. It’s definitely been pretty fun playing through all of the installments lately. From Dynasty Warriors 2 to now the series has definitely changed quite a bit. This one does feel a bit more modern than the last few even if the gap isn’t particularly wide. The story is more or less the same as the last ones so you’re really in this for the hype gameplay. Does it deliver?

When you boot the game up you’ll have a lot of different modes to choose from but I usually like to dive straight into Musou. This is effectively the game’s story mode after all so you definitely can’t go wrong there. The story consists of 6 levels where you have to defeat scores of enemies in order to proceed. It’s also a rather difficult mode and I highly recommend going into Free Mode and leveling up a bit if you want to really be ready for action here. Otherwise you can definitely expect to take quite a few losses in the meantime. The enemies have no mercy so if they catch you that’s it.

Often times you also have to account for the fact that you’re not the only guy on the squad. It doesn’t matter if you beat 700 enemies if your captain’s about to go down. One key thing to remember is that if he goes down you go down. There is really no I in team here because at the end of the day it’s all about the camp. If your camp is captured before the enemy one then that’s going to be game over. Some levels have different win conditions so I highly recommend checking into them as soon as you start each level. Knowing what you have to do in order to win and what you should do to make sure you don’t lose are absolutely critical.

The gameplay is the same as always so you should be able to pick it up pretty quickly. It’s a 3D Beat Em Up where you have to take down all of the enemies in your way until you get to the enemy stronghold. You have your standard attacks as well as power moves and super attacks. I recommend keeping your super attack as a combo breaker of sorts. The enemies deal a ton of damage so if they start to hit you I’d say to very quickly use your super. It’ll also give you an opportunity to run.

One thing about the game is that it’s very easy to drop you guard. You just took down 300 enemies in a row so why should this one be any different right? Well, the trickiest thing about the enemies is that all it takes is one solid combo to take you down for the count. Especially a boss. Part of why I lost in one level was because I underestimated the fact that the boss could take 75% of my HP with a single combo. It’s also pretty demoralizing to lose in this game because of how long the levels are. You instinctively know that you just lost a ton or progress.

It’s why I recommend playing the levels as intended. It’s real tempting to bypass everyone and run straight to the stronghold. In most levels it doesn’t even stop you from doing that. The problem is that it takes several minutes to run all that way and then you have around 10 or more bosses running at you at once. If you mess up your combo or leave an opening even for a second then you’ll be going down. You can’t really afford to do something like this until you’re at a very high level.

That’s where Free Mode comes in. Additionally this game has a more robust level system than most of the other games. You can actually learn new skills as you level up and upgrade your stats through a skill tree. I definitely was not expecting anything quite like that here so it was a pretty welcome surprise. I can’t say enough how much I like level ups. Having trouble on a level? Just go back and beat some more enemies. The gameplay is fun as I mentioned so it’s not like this is a problem. Additionally I like when you can see the fruits of your labor and the level ups make a good difference here. It’s like night and day. I actually took down 1200 enemies in one of the levels after grinding up my level so that felt pretty good.

In terms of graphics the game holds up well. The more realistic setting does stifle the game in terms of how out there the graphics can get but we get some nice action scenes. The intro cinematic was a little shorter than usual though or it felt that way. The soundtrack is pretty nice. I always like the opening main menu riff that tends to play. It’s always a rock theme in this series which starts you off right.

The length of the game is pretty reasonable as well. The 6 level campaign should last you a few hours I’d say and then you can multiply that by all of the characters who have a campaign. Additionally you can try to complete the campaign on more difficult settings as you go through the game. Then you’ve got the whole level up system and a ton of bonus content so there’s no end to it here. This game will last you for as long as you want to enjoy it.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn’t hold back on any of its punches. It throws you right into the action and it’s all handled pretty well. You really feel like you’re on some kind of grand adventure the whole time. I would like them to take more liberties with the story at some point but as long as the gameplay is this good I don’t see Dynast Warriors ever faltering. The fundamentals are just too good and there’s a lot of content for the price you pay. It’s a steal!

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Review


It’s time to look at another Dynasty Warriors game. It hasn’t been so long since I beat the last main title so now it’s time for a spinoff. I’ve owned the Gundam game for a very long time and did complete two of the Arcade modes a while back. I never actually reviewed it though so I went in and did another one for the review. It definitely still holds up as an excellent game and there’s a world of difference to me compared to the mainline Dynasty Warriors games. Even the gameplay itself just feels a lot better which I’m not sure is because of the character models or for Gundam they had a higher budget.

So there are two different story modes for the characters. One is the classic story which is based on events from the TV show. Then you have the original story which is the crossover epic. The crossover story involves a planet that is heading towards Earth. If it lands that will naturally result in the destruction of both planets so Amuro is ready to put a stop to this. Char has arrived and is asking for help. Can Amuro really trust Char to help him save the world or is this all an elaborate double cross? Either way the stakes are high and so Amuro really doesn’t have time to worry about this. At the end of the day he has a world to save.

The story is pretty basic outside of the main premise. You see all of the characters from the other series but we don’t have any big interactions with them or any of that. I haven’t seen the Gundam shows yet but you do at least get the general feel of their personalities. It’s sort of like a tribute to the fans but I would have liked some more bantering. Part of the fun with crossover games like Marvel vs Capcom is seeing these little interactions/potshots at each other. It’s hard to say who my favorite Gundam character is at the moment but I did like Heero here. He was all about attacking and attacking until the enemy goes down which is a pretty good plan if you ask me. You can’t win by playing defense so he made some really powerful points here. All the characters look pretty fun as expected though.

The gameplay as I’ve already hinted at here is a classic 3D Beat em Up. The idea is to take over portions of the map to weaken the opposing army. After a while their general will come out and the goal is to defeat him. I recommend taking over as many parts of the map as possible, but you do want to be careful not to overextend yourself. In Co-Op this becomes pretty easy because you can split up and each take over half of the map. When you’re on your own you just have to remember that a lot of your allies are fairly weak and will be destroyed pretty quick. Fortunately you don’t typically lose the mission on account of that. If someone specific has to live the game will tell you in the victory conditions page. I recommend looking at this page before every mission. It’s always good to know exactly how the fight must go to win or lose so you know who to prioritize.

At its core I think that’s why I really love beat em up games. On the surface it looks like you’re just an overpowered fighter taking down armies, but when you drill in to the specifics it’s really about learning how to strategize. Unless you lower the difficulty to easy you’re not going to have time to help everyone. In these games you’re highly encouraged to follow the plan of attack. If you deviate then you’ll probably lose a lot of allies. A lot of time you have to keep zipping around which will even mean retreating at times because the bosses take quite a bit of time to defeat. If you make the wrong choice you may end up losing. Your character is a lot more formidable than in Dynasty Warriors which helps you deal more damage to the army, but even here I did have to retreat and regroup a few times. I also appreciated the fact that the A.I. here is a lot better than in Dynasty Warriors. They actually assist you in a meaningful way which I was happy about.

As for the graphics, they are definitely high end as you would expect. The robots all look good and the explosions are definitely pretty intense as well. The level designs are also really great to look at. I particularly like how they incorporated space into this as one level in particular actually has to fighting in the vast unknown. That’s certainly not something you would see in a normal Dynasty Warriors game for sure. There are also some full cinematics that play through the game which all look very good. The various Gundam designs are all pretty unique and it’s fun to see them engaging in battle. The soundtrack is fairly large and works well. Admittedly you won’t hear it a whole lot as you’re blasting through everyone but it’s there all the same. The themes are suitably intense for the big moments and will give you the energy needed to clear these levels.

For replay value the game has quite a lot of it. Each story mode should take you a little over 2 hours. You can multiply that X2 for the characters who have both stories and then there are around 20 characters or so which makes for a lot of levels. You can also work on maxing out every character to improve their stats and gathering the items. All of this will take quite some time so you really won’t be running out of content anytime soon. There’s simply way too much to do and it’s part of what makes this game the complete package. The company clearly put quite a lot of time and effort into this one which keeps on holding it up as one of the best beat em ups.

Overall, If you like a good beat em up game then you’ll love this title. The gameplay is very smooth and there is a whole lot of content to absorb here. Each of the character attacks are different enough where you’ll see the benefit of switching things up. I can definitely say that the sequels are higher on my list although right now they seem a bit overpriced so I’ll hold off on that for a bit. Playing as a Gundam is just a lot of fun because of how many attack options they have as well as the stage backgrounds. It all feels very high tech and sci-fi which has really held up over the years.

Overall 9/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon II: The Revenge Review


It’s tome to look at the sequel to the original Double Dragon. Double Dragon II is a pretty solid followup that handles everything just as good as the first game except for a slightly weaker story experience. At the same time it doesn’t give us any crazy loop levels this time. (Still can’t believe the first one did this) So I’d say that this does beat the original game. It’s really got all the hype you could want from a classic NES game and is a fun way to spend around 30-40 minutes.

The plot of the game is definitely a lot darker than the first one. Instead of being kidnapped, the main heroine is murdered by an opposing gang this time around. The heroes decide to avenge her and head off to destroy the gangs. This will be difficult though as the villains heavily outnumber them by hundreds of fighters. That’s not enough to set these guys back but they’ve also got to find the main hideout which will be tricky. Fortunately they have a lot of henchmen to beat up and one of them ought to know where the villains are. From there it is just a matter of finding the right one.

So I was pretty surprised at the story. I mean, it just seemed really intense for back in the day. That being said, towards the end of the game they start hinting that the heroine is actually alive. We seemingly hear her voice after all. Unfortunately the game cuts out before you can get there. I guess there’s some kind of trick to actually facing the final boss or maybe it’s a difficulty level thing. How the game ended on my playthrough is you fight a shadow clone of yourself. It’s always fun to do that but I never liked the idea of the game hiding the final level behind another difficulty. Cmon, you should let me actually get the ending. Having a bonus for people playing higher difficulties makes sense, but make it in the form of a post game or something instead of cutting out my ending. I thought that was uncalled for.

As for the gameplay, it’s your classic 2D beat em up. You have to keep fighting through scores of enemies in order to beat the level. A lot of them are big bruisers this time so definitely time your punches right or you’ll eat a counter worth a ton of damage. There isn’t much to the controls so you should know how to play the whole thing straightaway without any real problem. That being said, the ninjas will still be a pain to deal with. They move incredibly fast and are constantly jumping. They also like to throw things at you once in a while and I don’t know what the proper strategy is to deal with them. They definitely caused me a ton of restarts and rewinds so these guys are definitely serious business. They were actually even tougher than the bosses to be honest.

The graphics are pretty fun. There is a noticeable improvement which is always good to see. The character designs and stage layouts are all pretty fun. Then when it comes to the soundtrack it’s pretty pleasant. I can’t really say that it’s memorable though but I’d say that the important thing is that it’s not distracting in a bad way. A good soundtrack should enhance the experience and I’d say that it does even if only slightly. The game’s fairly short also so it’s not like you got to experience it for very long. You’ll be through the game in no time.

There isn’t really much replay value though. I suppose if you picked the wrong settings or something then you will need to play the ending again. I’d look up why you don’t get the real ending before you play the game though just to save yourself some time. If it is that you have to beat the game twice no matter what they that’s really forced to try and make the length better. I never support that kind of practice, it just seems a bit underhanded to me. You shouldn’t force people to play your game a lot through gimmicks like that.

Overall, Double Dragon II really shows you what a sequel is supposed to be all about. It grabs the positives from the first game and erases the big negative I had with it. All of the levels here are pretty linear and you don’t have to worry about the game trying to trick you. It’s all about just using your skills here and fighting with great speed and precision. So long as you do that then you’ll be okay. I’m slowly but surely making my way through all of these classic NES games. I think this may have been the last full fighting game left though so it’ll be missed.

Overall 6/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dynasty Warriors 5 Review


It’s time to take a look at another Dynasty Warriors game. With this title out of the way I have now finished playing through all of the installments that I own. It’s been a pretty fun ride to be sure. This one definitely has the biggest change between entries in the series. It’s really like playing an entire new game which is cool. I definitely like all of the changes made here and he game still gets quite difficult by the end of its run. It’s certainly not a game to underestimate.

The basic plot of the game seems to be the same as all of the other ones. Your goal is to unite China under the same flag as the army you are fighting for. Once you do that, then you will have restored honor and balance to the kingdom. I went with Wu as always. The army’s armor always looked pretty cool and it was nostalgic to play as the same guy from the third game. From there I just went on to clear the campaign which was certainly a lot quicker than the last two games. There are only 5 levels here compared to the usual 7-8 you would have expected. Couple that with the game’s less difficult nature and it was a breeze.

I’d heard about this before but the difficulty in 5 is definitely a lot lower than in the previous two games. You really just mow the enemies down and they don’t fight back quite as much. I would say that the whole game was a cakewalk except that the final level was actually very difficult and felt like one of the installments from the earlier titles. It took me a lot of attempts to clear that one. I did my best to try and complete it the “normal” way but my army would lose morale way too quickly so it would never work out. Finally I just had to try and run straight up to the main villain and then I was able to clear it. This certainly took a good amount of effort.

Most likely the reason for the spike was because my level just wasn’t high enough. Due in part to how easily I would complete the other levels, I hadn’t needed to fight nearly as well as I should have. If I had been a higher level then I’d be beating enemies a lot quicker and naturally that would make a difference with the army morale. That wasn’t how things went down though but it does add to the replay value of the game. You can easily beat the game in under 3 hours if you blast through. However, after that you can also work on getting all of the other characters leveled up and completing their stories as well. In this game each characters gets their own story so that is definitely a lot of stories to run through. It’s definitely not something that will be an easy task nor will it be one that you can do quickly.

The graphics definitely look very good here. You’ve got a lot of little improvements like each enemy having a health bar and also their status not vanishing. In the old games you could easily lose track of a general among the mob because the title would flicker in and out. In this game it stays put the whole time which is appreciated. Characters load up a lot quicker and in general it all just looks quite good. Then you have the soundtrack which has a lot of classic rock themes like the last two. I’m still pretty surprised in general that the games have such a great soundtrack but I’m certainly not going to complain.

The gameplay in Dynasty Warriors 5 plays it straight this time around. You don’t have any missions to find a missing box or anything like that. All of the missions are simply about taking down a boss and unlike previous games they never lock the main villain away. You can run up to him in any of the levels and just test your skills. It won’t be super easy to do so as there are a lot of minions in the way, but 5 certainly makes it possible. I imagine that experienced DW fans would be able to easily get in there and take down the boss. It’s ultimately a strategy that will bite you in the end since your level will stay low but if you’re just planning to quickly beat a campaign then it makes sense. If you do this then I recommend the paralyze combo. It’s two week hits and then a power shot. It trigger a 5-7 hit combo with guaranteed stun. It’s really hard to think of any attack option that is superior to this. Spam it as often as you like. As always make sure to keep your final smash on hand until someone attacks you to instantly combo-break the opposing hit.

If you get a horse then I recommend keeping him around. On Easy mode none of the minions can do anything about him so just jump off when you make it to the boss. The horse won’t be going anywhere either so once you’re done you saddle up and move. The humans run a lot slower than the horses and these levels are massive so I definitely recommend keeping him around. In general it is just so handy to have your own horse and they can be rare to find. Another way to get one is to lure your ally who has a horse into a big battle and once the enemies knock him off you grab the horse and run. I hope in one of the future games you are given the ability to tell your ally to leave the horse. It’s a small feature but one that would be very handy.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 5 is about as solid as the last two. If anything I would say that it is even better than them thanks to the graphics improving quite a lot and the gameplay feels smoother. The opening cutscene for example is pretty incredible. 5 feels way more polished than the last two and you would have expected that the game would have come out a lot later than it did. It’ll be interesting to see how 6 tries to stop 5. It definitely won’t be easy but the series seems like it’s on an upwards trend so I won’t say that I’d be surprised either. If Dynasty Warriors wants to keep improving I expect that it will be able to do so. If you like beat em ups then you definitely ought to give this one a try.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon Review


It’s time to look at an old beat em up game for the NES. I’m pretty familiar at least with the title because this was a pretty popular game back in the day. Who doesn’t like a good 2D beat em up right? The only thing holding this game back is that it randomly decides to throw an infinitely looping level at you during the campaign. Why would a game even add that? I feel like there is no real benefit to doing so and it just throws you out of your rhythm. Still, the game is definitely fun and it has an actual plot which is always nice.

The game starts with a girl being kidnapped by a gang of thugs. The main character decides to save her, but to do so he will have to travel across cities and mountains to their base. He is also up against an entire city’s worth of thugs who are out to get him. It won’t be easy to stop all of them, but that’s fine. The main character is ready to do whatever it takes in order to win and he is clearly not opposed to getting into some fights. If anything he looks forward to the action.

The controls are pretty simple. You can punch, kick, and do a flying kick. You can also grab the opponent to get some extra pummel damage in which is pretty handy. To continue to going through the level you have to defeat all of the enemies you currently see. After a few waves of this you will make it to the next level. Most of the enemies are pretty easy to dispatch. I recommend kicking over punching as it has a longer range so it’s just a lot more efficient. They will have a hard time landing a counter hit on you.

The toughest enemies are the big dudes who show up to smash your health away. The trick to beating them is to kick when they are the maximum distance away from you. That way you can unleash all 3 kicks in time to knock them down. That’s absolutely your best bet here and if you do that then you will certainly be in a great spot. It’s easier said than done though so you will likely need to work on the timing a bit. A lot of times enemies show up out of nowhere too and throw things at you which are hard to react to in time. These items take a lot of health away so you’ll likely need a few restarts. Still, eventually you will have beaten the game. There are only 4 levels if I recall correctly so that won’t take you very long at all.

The gameplay is straight forward as I mentioned, but the one thing holding it back is level 3. I don’t see why a level loop was necessary. It’s really just penalizing the player for going ahead and kicking everyone around. There’s no reason you should be looking for a secret exit because you haven’t needed one throughout the game. Up til now all you had to do was just beat people up and that worked really well. I feel like this was just to extent the game a bit and it didn’t really age well.

The graphics are pretty solid though. I like the various level backgrounds. You can use quite a few objects throughout the game and it’s always easy to tell what you’re using. The character models are good and the main music theme is pretty solid as well. I definitely didn’t have any complaints with this. There isn’t much replay value since the game is so short and there is no post game content to try and tackle so this is definitely a game that you just play through once and call it a day.

Overall, Double Dragon is a pretty fun game. It may not be the game of the year material you may expect it to be, but you’ll have a good time. It’s fairly short but should still last you for around 30 minutes. Maybe even longer if you get tricked into the infinite level for a while before realizing what is going on. The levels all have time limits which is the main indicator that something is wrong. The time limit is around 2-3 minutes so if you’re still running and there isn’t much time left then you know that something isn’t adding up. If you have the Nintendo Switch Online then there is no reason not to check this one out. The Switch Online even has Double Dragon II already so then you can see if that one does a good job of following up the original.

Overall 6/10

Game Records

Dynasty Warriors 5 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Total Play Time 30m 41s
Total KO’s 395
Total Points 8543

Stage Stats

Stage 1

KO’s 61
Total Points 1409
Clear Time 2m 46s

Stage 2

KO’s 26
Total Points 1501
Clear Time 3m 9s

Stage 3

KO’s 78
Total Points 1615
Clear Time 4m 25s

Stage 4

KO’s 138
Total Points 1797
Clear Time 7m 7s

Stage 5

KO’s 92
Total Points 2221
Clear Time 13m 12s

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

River City Ransom Review


It’s time to look at the next NES title. Slowly but surely I’m cranking down on the rest of these NES games. At the time of writing this I have around 22 left I believe which is pretty good. At this rate I should have them all done by the end of June and then I’ll be eagerly awaiting Nintendo’s announcement that they are adding more. The other good news is that now I’m getting to the big games. Gone are the sport games, now I’m up for more of the plot type games or at least ones that have more in the way of gameplay.

I recently played River City Girls so it was pretty fun to go back and play the original. This is a game that has definitely aged quite well. First off we’ve actually got a plot with cutscenes here. The main character’s girlfriend was kidnapped by a bunch of thugs so the hero is off to save her. Along the way he will have to defeat 9 different gangs so it’s going to be a long day for the hero. Fortunately you can utilize just about everything you come across as a weapon and you also pass by a lot of malls to replenish your health.

One impressive thing about the game is that it has a full open world much like River City Girls. The game isn’t linear so you choose where you want to go first. Each area has a boss once you beat a lot of the minions and presumably once you beat all 9 then you will clear the game. Open world is a concept that has always been a lot of fun although there is still something to be said for a more linear experience. I wouldn’t say that either is better as they each have their positives but open world can be a little more dangerous if you have the potential to get stuck. I’ve had that happen to me in the past and it was pretty dicey. That actually happened in this game as well.

See, you don’t actually seem to trigger the boss if you bypass the henchmen. After I beat the first boss I figured, why not run to the school since that’s where the hostage is being kept right? So, I made a beeline over there including jumping down from a cliff and entering a passageway. I made it to the school, but nothing was happening even after I beat all of the henchmen a few times. So, I had to go back and clear the other levels but the problem is that you can’t actually go back once you cross the cliff. It’s an interesting design choice and one that seems a bit fatal depending on how fast you go through the game. Perhaps there is a way to get unstuck there and if so, kudos to whoever figured that out. I was going to go through the whole game but since it’s not really linear anyway and finding all of the bosses would take a while I figured I’d stop here.

There are few games where I would explore a whole labyrinth to find answers and one of those would be Metroid for honor. At this point that game’s personal. River City Girls took this game’s premise and really ran with it though. The best new addition that game had was a big map system. If you ever got lost you could consult that. This game has no map which is understandable since that would have been difficult back then but I would have definitely enjoyed it.

The combat is definitely a lot of fun here. You can really hit people with combo after combo, but the computers don’t just sit there and take it either. They actually block quite a lot which is pretty impressive and when they lunge at you it can be hard to react in time. You definitely have to stay on your guard. I really like the Baseball bat and highly recommend equipping it as much as possible. There are a ton of stores so you definitely want to buy food at them. Not only does it increase your health but it can also increase all of your other stats like attack power and speed.

The graphics are definitely pretty solid. I like the character designs for the various characters. They look tough as you’d expect such a character to be. These guys are clearly not messing around and that’s a good thing. Whatever threat comes up, the hero is ready to squash it. The soundtrack is also pretty catchy. It’s nice and fast paced and definitely gets you into the moment.

Overall, River City Ransom is definitely a pretty fun game. The fact that it has a real story is pretty cool and the gameplay is pretty solid. There’s a good amount of content here to playing through the game could last you an hour or two. The only thing holding is back is really the lack of a map feature and the point of no return. Just make sure you take out all of the goons in each area without skipping any and then you should be fine. Slow and steady wins the race as always.

Overall 6/10