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Double Dragon IV is a fun game and definitely does a good job of being a very retro experience. You’ve got all of the classic sprites here and the levels feel like something out of an SNES game. The gameplay is on point and you’ll enjoy blasting away at the enemies. The game is a bit on the short side but throwing in the survival mode and multiplayer aspects will help with the replay value. Now I’m ready for a Double Dragon V someday.
The game introduces a new villain group in the Renegades. They want to cause a lot of trouble but most importantly they want to defeat the Double Dragons. They have a whole army of minions and allies to help them accomplish this goal and even kidnap the main heroine. This forces the two heroes into action once more. They don’t care how many minions they will have to beat up, they’re going to put a stop to these guys and fast! Are the Renegades going to regret getting on the heroes’ bad side?
As you’d expect the gameplay is definitely on point here. The combat is very smooth and feels like it’s a little more diverse than your average 2D beat em up. You have a little more control and don’t feel like it’s pure rng when you get up close to an opponent to land some blows. I found the best thing to do in a lot of cases was to get right next to the opponent once they were down and just start throwing some punches. It should work most of the time. That’s the fastest way to do it if you’re trying to burst through the levels. There is a much safer way to go about this though even if it is a bit slower.
That’s to walk up and down a bit. The enemies can only strike out at you if you are directly in front of them and the same is true for you. So the trick is to be a bit above them so when they get to your point of view you can immediately strike. You can do this quicker than they can so it’s foolproof in a one on one battle. Of course it’ll be a little more difficult to gain position when there are a bunch of enemies running at you so you will want to keep that in mind.
In a way it’s pretty realistic because in the game if you get jumped by a bunch of minions there isn’t a lot that you can do. It’s like being jumped by a group of thugs, if you’re just a normal guy with a baseball bat then it’s going to be really tricky. Even if you know what to do in this game, you’ll have a hard time getting out of that situation. It’s cool though as it adds to the danger. Just make sure you’re never trapped in the middle of two groups and you should be fine. Always stay on the offensive and get the enemies in the corner if you can.
Aside from the combat you also have some platforming sections where you have to jump on or over some obstacles to get to the end. These can be some of the toughest spots in the game since falling once will take out a whole life. Make sure you go slowly in these levels or the computers will just keep pushing you off. Fortunately you do get a lot of lives. You have around 15 before you get a game over but keep in mind that the deaths carry over. So I got my full game over on level 11 out of 12 which was pretty good. For a minute there I thought I would have to start all over which would have been rough but fortunately the game does give you a checkpoint at the last level you completed. So if you got a game over on level 11 then you have to go back to level 10 which is a fair penalty for losing. The game is no walk in the park either so it’s good you get this many levels. As a challenge you can try to complete the game without needing a game over although I warn you that this will be a difficult challenge. I went 6 deaths over the limit if I was doing that challenge.
The graphics are nice and retro. As mentioned, it’s definitely going for a very old school look. Naturally as a result it isn’t touching games from the PS1 era or beyond but as a faithful SNES type look it works well. I think the game could have gone for a more modern aesthetic and it would have been a lot of fun like the newest Streets of Rage but the graphics are an intentional art decision so I can roll with that. The soundtrack is also fun, definitely has that very high tempo, upbeat kind of feel to it.
The only real strike against the game is that it’s super short. You’ll have the complete game beat in around an hour. After that your replay value will mostly be from survival mode and multiplayer. That will give you a good amount of activity to play with. You can test your skills to see just how high up you go and as long as you’re getting the game for a good price then this shouldn’t be any kind of issue either way.
Overall, Double Dragon IV is a fun game. It has a nice story and the cutscenes give the characters a lot of personality. You just know how everyone acts right from the jump. The level designs are all very distinct as well. The battle gameplay is on point and the platforming elements can actually be rather difficult. It’s a nice blast to the past and continues the saga well. I think there’s a ton of potential for a big AAA title in this franchise someday. You don’t see a whole lot of the Double Dragons nowadays but stopping gangs and saving your friends is always a good formula. I have quite a bit of confidence that the series can go places.
PS4 Trophies 32/56
Play Time 15h 42m
Objective Clearance Rate 46%
Percentage of Events Unlocked 53%
Percentage of Background Music Unlocked 86%
Total K.O.s 83055
Total Musou Attack K.O.s 15538
It’s been a little while since my last Crash game but it’s time to get back into the action. This Crash game is also a little different from the others in that it has more of an emphasis on the combat. It’s part beat em up this time as opposed to being a pure platformer and that certainly works out well enough for me. I love some good battling after all.
The story starts with Cortex attacking Crash and the gang once again. This time he’s serious so the heroes have to really watch out or they may be taken down for the count. Coco is kidnapped though and Crunch is encased in ice so it’s all up to Crash as per usual. What will make this a little more difficult this time is that Nina is taking over the role as main villain instead of Cortex. In fact, Cortex has now been imprisoned so deep down he may be rooting for Crash as well. Crash will have to get through many different dungeons and castles in order to get to Nina but he won’t stop until he has saved the world.
It’s easy to describe the gameplay since it’s what you would expect in a beat em up. You try to take out your opponents with standard moves and power blows. In a lot of circumstances you have to defeat all of the enemies in order to proceed and other times you can skip through. While the gameplay is simple, that also makes it difficult to go forward in other cases. For example, there are a bunch of slime minions that show up in a few levels and the only way to even damage them is to use your power moves.
The issue is that the power moves take a lot of time to load up. Additionally, these minions can use parry skills to dodge your attack and land a pretty solid blow. I would really just beat these guys with luck half the time and the other half I would just end up getting wrecked. There is an item that allows you to use a one hit KO attack so I recommend saving it for whenever you see one of these guys. Keep in mind that the item does not reappear if you lose a life so be careful when you use it.
A prominent mechanic in this game is that you can also take control of an enemy you defeat. This is crucial to completing the level. When you take control of a monster, do not allow yourself to be defeated and always hop into a new monster if you’re losing health. Most of the monsters are incredibly powerful so while you have control of one of those you should be really safe.
It’s not full proof but it’ll help you out in most circumstances. Otherwise I just couldn’t find a good full proof strategy against these guys. You won’t have a problem against most of the other enemies though, just button mash as best you can and you should be all good here. It’s a fun combat system and the ability to jump into monsters reminds me of Mario Odyssey. The boss fights make good use of this as well with the final boss being rather difficult to deal with. Most of the other bosses you should breeze through.
One pro tip here is as I mentioned, sometimes you don’t have to beat every enemy. Remember those moments well because it can be the difference between winning a round and losing. There was one really intense moment when I was nearly out of health and had to deal with a lot of the fire monsters. So what I did is I just ran right past them. Just barely mind you, but I was able to jump into the tunnel leading into the next level right before they slammed me. Losing can be intense here because a game over means you go back to the very beginning of the level no matter how many sections you completed. So if this tip helps you even avoid one game over then it’s definitely worth it.
In a way because this is not a platformer it does feel a lot easier than the usual Crash games. In terms of length I’d say it’s similar. You should beat this one in under 10 hours. In terms of replay value I don’t recall running into any collectables but there are probably some things you can do with to increase the play time here. Either way the game goes for a fairly low price nowadays so you should be able to get good value here.
The graphics have aged pretty well too. The character designs are on point and the art style is really colorful. It’s all expressive and taps into that Crash energy well. I may not be a fan of the character himself but the universe always had a lot of interesting level designs. That remains true for this game as well. The soundtrack is less memorable but the tunes work well enough within their contexts.
As for Nina, she works well as the new main villain. You do feel bad for Cortex though since she is absolutely roasting him throughout the entire game. You’d think he would get a little more respect since they’re related and he was a main villain for so long but that’s not the case here. Nina is played straight but the rest of the villains tend to have their comedic moments as well.
Meanwhile Coco spends most of the game being mind controlled and kidnapped so this isn’t exactly her biggest role. It does allow Crash to step in and do the job on his own…or with a little help from the mask I should say. Crunch stays frozen so don’t expect any help from him. The game has a lot of cutscenes/cinematics so it’s a good chance to see more of the characters. All in all, it makes for a satisfying story mode.
Overall, Crash of the Titans is definitely another solid Crash installment. It’s a nice change of pace having Cortex on the sidelines even if I still prefer him to Nina. Nina gets her hype though and puts up a good fight here. If the games were to ever revamp Crash’s personality just a bit I dare say that the series could end up being even bigger than it is currently. There are just a few more Crash games I haven’t played yet so now I’m really close to the end. It’ll definitely be a milestone getting that far.
I bought Samurai Warriors 4 recently so I would be ready for this one but otherwise it’s definitely been quite the wait for the 5th game to come out. They pulled out all the stops with this one though so it was worth the wait. It’s pretty interesting to be playing as a younger Nobunaga in this version. It’s definitely way before the days when he really cracked and became known as the Devil King. The gameplay is on point and there’s a lot of content to enjoy here.
The main campaign introduces Nobunaga as someone who wants to end the chaos in the land. As with all would be tyrants he figures that the best way to do this is for him to rule over everyone. If he has all of the command decisions then perhaps that would ensure that people would finally stop having wars with each other. The obstacles in his way are numerous though as every other leader and king doesn’t want this to happen. Along the way Nobunaga will make allies, enemies, and wild cards. He will have to manipulate everyone effectively in order to win.
Nobunaga may start off with good ambitions but you definitely see him begin to falter as the game goes on. He makes more and more dicey decisions which even leads at one point to him ordering one of his teammates to destroy himself. The teammate is the one who brought up the idea first but that’s definitely a time where you need to override them. Nobunaga’s pride also gets in the way often times as he fights battles that cannot be won.
Of course with the gameplay mechanics it looks like his plans are going pretty well but then the cutscene appears and you realize that officially you’re actually losing. It’s not like the other kingdoms are light weights after all. They’ve got plenty of strong fighters in their own rights as well which is why careful planning is definitely a must here.
As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D hack n slash as you would expect. You run through the levels and take down as many enemy officers as you can. You have to clear some objectives and defeat the final boss in order to clear the level. Once you have done that, you repeat the process in the other levels. Always keep your defeat conditions in mind because in some you will need to protect someone or you will risk being defeated.
Losing in these games is always rough because of how long each level takes so you will want to keep that in mind. You have your normal attacks, special moves, and power blows. I recommend power blows against minions since it takes them out real fast but against bosses mainly you want to stick to standard moves. They can always block the initial power blow and that can be risky. You can mix it in through combos which is a better way to go about it.
Riding your horse is a great way to move around the stage so I highly recommend doing this. While you’re on your horse it just feels like you save time on all aspects of the game. Usually that might not be a big deal since you want to have fun and enjoy the game at your leisure but in protection missions this will come in clutch. As you progress through the game and level up your character you will begin moving faster as well.
Samurai Warriors typically has a slower running speed than Dynasty but with these power ups you will end up moving very quickly by the end. It gets to the point where it almost feels like you’re on the horse full time. It was a blast and felt like a power up that actually made a huge difference. A good leveling up system should have noticeable benefits so I was pretty pleased about that.
The graphics are really solid as expected. I got a little nervous at first when I saw it was just text boxes but then the game changed to full cinematics and I was happy again. Basically the game just switched between the two. There aren’t a ton of full cinematics but enough where I’m satisfied. You get one between levels and occasionally during an event in the level. The graphics inside the actual gameplay are on point as well.
As for the soundtrack, it’s got a lot of pretty fast paced tunes which I enjoyed. They fit well with the constant action that a warrior game brings you. You might not remember a lot of them in particular but it can be hard to notice anything while you’re fighting it out in the map. I should probably look up the soundtrack at some point but while playing you will be all set here.
As for replay value, getting all of the trophies to this game will take a very long time. The main campaign also isn’t very short, it was a little longer than I had expected. After that you can play the game through someone else’s point of view so there are 2 stories total. Finally you have Citadel mode where you try to protect the palace from intruders. It’s not quite as fun as the standard mode but I’ll give the game props for switching things up a bit. It does feel different from the main mode which is important. Leveling everyone up and getting all collectibles are all things that will take time as well.
Overall, Samurai Warriors 5 is definitely a great game and one that I would recommend to any action fan. It’s got all the fighting you could want and the game is very intuitive. The mechanics just make sense and it’s a very satisfying game to play through. You’ll have a lot of fun going through it and then beginning the wait for 6. Granted, I doubt we will get a 6th title for a very long time but this one will last you until then. I doubt I’ll get the Platinum in this one but at least it does look more achievable than some of the previous installments in the series.
Play Time 2h 48m
Characters Unlocked 12/37
Movies unlocked 10%
Yukimura Level 28
All other Characters: Level 1
Playing a beat em up type game on the Wii certainly feels rather odd. It’s not really a Wii kind of game and so I always tend to play these on the PS3/PS4 but that wasn’t an option this time. Well, the game is as great as always. It can take a little time to get used to the controller layout but once you have got that down then the rest of the game is effectively like the others. You shouldn’t have any problems with it.
The story mode is a little different than some of the other titles in that it is centered around a specific character as opposed to the kingdom. So you have a lot of options on who to make the lead and then you get a story tailored to that fighter. It’s a nice touch and I have to assume that it’s a lot more work since way since there are a bunch of stories so kudos to the developers on that. There are 5 story levels for each character.
It took me around 2-2.5 hours to clear the story so the level length is nothing to sneeze at. The final level also gets tricky so you will want to be careful. Of course you can switch the game’s difficulty back down to easy if needed. The final level has a trick to it so it’s hard not to die the first time but then you’re ready for the inevitable rematch. In each of the levels you have a pack of items with you that do things like increase your strength, defense, or just plain healing items.
Personally I always recommend going for the healing pack. It can effectively replenish your health bar 6 times over which is really handy since Samurai Warriors doesn’t have health items just hanging out on the map or anything like that. So the levels are easy initially because you can just heal your way to the goal. Well, the final level changes that up. Suddenly you are unable to use your healing items near the end. You then have to clear a quick gauntlet of bosses.
I can safely say this is where I lost the first time. It’s difficult to beat so many enemies without being able to heal. On the second go around I made sure to use a potion right before they got deactivated but I was still running out of health fast. It was pretty intense but I just had to survive with a single smidge of health left as I challenged a bunch of different opponents. Finally I got a level up which automatically restores all health. I don’t know what I could have done without that. So it’s hard to time but if you’re having trouble on this level just beat a ton of minions until you’re close to a level up before starting the fire which triggers your items not working anymore.
As for the gameplay, it’s your classic beat em up style. You have your standard attacks, power moves, and your super attack. One new thing here is the guard break which you can use at the expense of one energy orb and break through an enemy’s defense. This will actually be the most important move you have in the entire game so make sure you use it a lot. It’s also an absolutely surefire way to stop their ultimate attack midway. There aren’t really any downsides to the shield poke either so why not use it right?
The gameplay is noticeably slower than Dynasty Warriors but that might be intentional. I seem to recall that being the case for the last one as well so maybe it’s a way to make the titles stand out as being different from each other. It’s fair since you don’t want all of the games to be clones after all. Most of the other parts of the game are all as you would remember them. The final smashes can all be blocked by the A.I. and usually are though so I’d like them to get buffed in the sequel. As it stands, it’s often better to use your standard attacks than the final smash which doesn’t make sense.
There’s a side mission here where you have to invade castles with Takamaru. It’s a fun little side mode and does well in adding more replay value to the mix. I completed the first world for now before calling it a day. I like the fact that it effectively turns this into a crossover series right out of the jump. They should bring Takamaru along into one of the games at some point as a fully playable character. Maybe he’s in that Warriors All Stars game.
With each story mode taking around 2 hours you’re talking about around 20 hours of content right out of the gate. Then you have the castle mode which will add some time and even a historical mode. Through in the multiplayer and maxing out the rest of the characters and you’ve got yourself a really long game. It goes for really cheap at the moment so it’s a really good bargain. You definitely can’t go wrong here.
The graphics look really good as you would expect. The character models and stage environments are on point. There are a number of solid looking cutscenes throughout that really help to make this a compelling experience. In some ways you could say it even looks better than the modern Dynasty Warrior titles which is very impressive. The story was more emotional that’s for sure, at least in Yukimura’s story. While the OST may not be super memorable, I would also say it was good. The main theme is catchy and you have a lot of fast paced tunes for while you’re fighting.
Overall, Samurai Warriors 3 is definitely a game I would strongly recommend. It’s really got everything you could want in a beat em up title from lots of content to a satisfying story. The layouts are all very clear and the game has no real weaknesses. I definitely look forward to seeing how 4 plays things out. Will it be just as solid or perhaps even more so? In the meantime you’ll want to pick this game up to prepare yourself.
This is the first Hyper Neptunia game I’ve gotten from the series but what better way to start than with a 3D beat em up genre game right? Virtual Stars mixes in the 4 goddesses from Neptunia along with a bunch of virtual idols this time. The game has a pretty solid story and the gameplay is on point. While it could certainly use a little more polish to make it to the next level, I was pretty satisfied with the overall experience.
The game starts with the Neptunia goddesses getting ready to enjoy a solid video game. Unfortunately before they can do so they end up falling inside a cyber world where another goddess lets them know that her world is being taken over. See, these worlds are homages of Youtube, Twitter, and general internet settings. The world is now being forced to create low quality content and to install paywalls everywhere. As a result everyone is upset and morale is quickly fading fast. The Neptunia goddesses agree to help her out and restore peace to the universe. The same goal is given to the idols who are taken away from their big online comedy routine. Can these girls all team up to save the planet or is it already too late? Only time will tell.
There are two main gameplay styles here. When you’re playing as the goddesses it is a third person shooter. You blast away at the enemies with your machine guns, grenades, and other long range techniques. You can also activate a team final smash where everyone blasts the target although in my case the other goddesses were so weak that ironically this would deal less damage than your normal attacks. Yes, it’s a bit odd but I recommend just giving all of the best equipment to one of the goddesses and ignoring the other 3 completely.
For the virtual idols the gameplay is more like something out of Dynasty Warriors. You use your sword to slice away at all of the enemies who get in your way. The attacks don’t deal as much damage though so after the first level I basically didn’t play as them again. I do like how the game really lets you feel like you’re playing two different games this way though. It’s a nice way to keep things fresh as you progress through the game.
Make no mistake, there is a ton to do in the game. You can customize the characters with accessories that unlock latent special abilities and of course general equipment. The V-Cubes are your best bet here since they are even better than traditional level ups. Here’s what you need to do, whenever you pass an item box, only open it when it turns to the V Cube corner. All other items are basically irrelevant in the game. As long as you focus on the cubes you will be good to go here. Whenever you get a weak one, just sell it for DP so you can power up your current one. By the end of this you will be suitably overpowered.
Also, it’s worth noting that the final phase of the final boss introduces a whole new mechanic to watch out for. You can only injure his core with alternate power. The initials are something like TXMD, but you’ll be able to see this on the menu. Make sure you keep some weak V Cubes for this or you could be in for a world of pain. Things almost got tricky for me there but fortunately I had held onto some. I don’t like the concept for that though, why do you have to lose some strength for the final boss? Without an explanation it was just a bit odd.
The game doesn’t tend to explain a whole lot but you can typically make sense of the mechanics on your own. The graphics are pretty solid as well. This may not be the ultimate AAA experience but there’s enough here where the visuals look impressive. I do think they could have put some more effort into having actual cutscenes or at least more stills though. I’ve seen Playstation 1 games with more cinematics. It would have made the story feel a lot more alive than it is. The only kind of animations the game shows a lot of is a fanservice animation for the DOA type effects.
While the game is mainly legit, they do force this into most cutscenes which can get a bit old. The game’s certainly not focusing its attention on the right things here like also amping up the soundtrack. I like the lyrical song pretty well but it shows up for literally every boss fight so I think they could have added a few more songs for variety. It can’t have been that difficult to shake things up a bit more right? Maybe alter the speed or something to at least make it sound a bit different.
As for the characters, they’re solid enough. Neptune is the leader of the main group and she is always ready for action. She likes calling out the tropes and breaking the fourth wall as much as possible. She may be more oblivious than the other characters but she is also the least likely to give up which is important. Her friend Noire isn’t quite as ready for the spotlight as she just isn’t used to being open with the other characters. Blanc is the weakest of the 4 though as her thing is that she’s the low key mean one who is always being passive aggressive but will always tend to blow up. Vert’s the least memorable as there isn’t a whole lot to her.
Then for the Idols you have Me and You which are pretty cool names when you think about it. Me’s a lot of fun and gives Neptune a run for her money as far as the bubbly lead is concerned. Her singing skills are legit and she holds the stage better than You. You is always trying to squash all the fun but Me makes sure to keep her from being too much of a downer. There are other supporting characters and Idols who show up as well of course but these are the main characters.
Then for the villains you have Hero and Kado. As the main villains they felt a lot like the duo from Gridman to me although things play out very differently. I was quite surprised with how Hero’s plot ended up turning out because it just seemed the whole time like it was going to go somewhere else and then it just didn’t. Terrific red herring that’s for sure and he has a solid design. Kado’s one of those characters with more of a sympathetic backstory although she was also letting people run all over her so easily that it could be a bit annoying. If she had been more assertive then things would be a lot different.
Additionally, she was whipping and torturing one character for the majority of the game so when we learn that she may not have been so bad…it’s hard to buy. Kado has an epic design and makes for a good villain but I have a hard time seeing her as anything other than a villain. So the game has a solid story here. The script has a lot of fun with this and the writing can really shine at times. It’s a pleasant game to go through and one that has a reasonable length. I want to say this will last for around 10 hours. Then if you want to get the Platinum that will add more time as well since you have to clear side quests and do some extra minigames like singing.
Overall, Virtual Stars is a good way to kick off the Neptunia series. The gameplay is solid and the plot is pretty good. What keeps it from being an 8 star game though is the lack of lock-on and the gameplay generally not feeling as refined as it could have been though. Additionally I think more effort could have been put into this game on a technical level like adding more cutscenes and illustrations. They could also get rid of the bouncing effect on the characters for good measure since it’s not really adding to the story. I like to think a sequel would be able to make it to the next level but either way this is a fun game and I expect you’ll have fun going through it.