Dynasty Warriors 2 Stats and Records

No stats I’m afraid. It’s one of those old games that doesn’t keep track of your play time or anything. Ah well, maybe next time.

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Dynasty Warriors 2 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Black Clover Quartet Knights Review

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It’s rare that I pre order games. Honestly there are probably only around 10 or so that I can think of at the moment. I’m only counting games that I actually paid for so pre orders for Christmas or my Birthday don’t count. Off the top the games that I can think of are Super Smash Bros 3DS, Super Smash Bros Wii U, Pokken, Street Fighter V, Star Fox Zero, Black Clover Quartet Knights, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Sonic Forces, and Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet. There may be a few more that I’m missing but that’s basically it. Considering that this spans a time frame of around 10 years, you can see that I basically only started pre-ordering recently. It’s definitely fun to get a game at launch, but it’s also risky if the game ends up being underwhelming or just not worth the money. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I actively regret any of these or anything like that, but some were certainly more rewarding than others. I’d probably say that (not counting Super Smash since those would be the easy answers) Pokken was probably my favorite one. I definitely spent a lot of time with that game and the PVP was just a lot of fun. Definitely good times remembering when you didn’t have to pay to go online. Getting off topic though, lets talk about Black Clover.

The story has our heroes head to a cavern after stopping a villain named Mars when they are split up from Captian Yami. Asta and Noelle break through the rounds of enemies and find him, but now he has de-aged 14 years. What could have happened to him in the moments it took them to find him? They don’t have much time to rest though as a group of terrorists known as the Eye of the Morning Star have decided to team up with a mysterious lady from Yami’s past. Asta doesn’t have time to worry about the specifics here as he has a kingdom to save.

The story is extremely short as it is just 10 battles long and you’ll clear it in around 2 hours. I was a little dubious after finishing up the story. Naturally I know that the main point of this game is the online play so I wasn’t going to harsh on it too much, but only 10 levels? Fortunately by beating the game you unlock an alternate route with Yami which adds 8 more levels. After that you also get 2 “extra” levels so in total the game is a little closer to 4 hours which is nice. That definitely makes a difference. There are also other offline modes to play which extends the length. Each character has a challenge tutorial which is fairly easy and lets you get used to the characters. I’ll definitely try doing all of them at some point, but that may not happen for a while yet. Still, it does extend the game’s length.

Of course, this may go without saying, but you will enjoy the game a lot more if you have online play activated. After all, this game’s not exactly as mainstream as Naruto or DBZ so if you want to fight a bunch of people online you’ll want to do it right away. If you want until everyone is gone then it will certainly be way too late at that point. The offline content may last you around 6 hours and a little more if you decide to beat every level on hard mode. That may not seem like enough for your $60 dollar purchase, but the quality of the game is high so I don’t think you’ll feel bad about it afterwards.

For example, this game does have fully animated cutscenes which was definitely a blast. Not many games do that so I can only imagine how difficult it must be. We also get a bunch of CGI cutscenes and still illustrations as well. I definitely think that quite a bit of care was put into this game. The story is short but memorable. The graphics are definitely quite solid and are in the familiar Bandai style. If you like how the Naruto/Seven Deadly Sins game looks then you’ll enjoy this one as well. The soundtrack is a little less impressive though as there is only one really rocking theme. The lyrical song for the final boss is all kinds of hype. The other themes are all very forgettable. I think the game should have just brought in a bunch of themes from the anime, that would have certainly worked out well.

I haven’t even talked about the gameplay yet so I should get on that. It’s a pretty fast paced fighting game. It’s in squads format so you go 3 v 3. You want to construct your team carefully as you have mages, fighters, healers, and a different kind of fighter. My favorite characters to play as are definitely fighters and healers are the worst, but naturally you want a balanced squad. It plays a bit like a beat em up I’d say or Dissidia if you are familiar with that game. You have roughly 4-5 attack options so there isn’t a crazy amount of options to use, but this’ll help you memorize them quickly. The game is easy to start while being difficult to master which is definitely a good balance. I definitely enjoyed the gameplay a lot although I am definitely a sucker for fighters. They always just manage to hit the right notes which is why I always try to snag them right away.

Overall, Black Clover Quartet Knights is definitely a great game. It is on the short side which is unfortunate, but it’s a short game that really excelled in its presentation and pacing. For example, I’d say that a lot more effort was put into the actual story than Blazblue. It’s around the same length but ends up feeling a lot more like a complete adventure. I’d still be pretty hyped for a sequel after playing this one. It’s a shame that there isn’t a local multiplayer though. It seems like that would have been really easy to program in even if it would be tough to keep track of everything on only half a screen. Better a crunched option than none at all right? (Well, I guess critics would take shots at it anyway, but the devs can ignore those) If you don’t have the game yet then I definitely recommend checking it out. If you don’t have online and feel that the length is too short, then I get that and you should probably go get a different fighting game. Any of the old Naruto Ninja Storms would work in that case and will be cheaper by now.

Overall 8/10

Dark Angel Review

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It’s time to look at a PS2 movie tie-in to a TV series that I never actually got around to watching. It seems like a cool premise though. It’s basically Maximum Ride but taking place in a futuristic setting. I can get behind that. The actual game mixes stealth with the beat em up genre for interesting results. Honestly I think it would have certainly been sufficient to have just been a beat em up, but I suppose the stealth aspects make sense with the actual plot of the game.

So the story follows Max (You won’t be able to forget her name since it is mentioned a few times for every single level) as she wants to rescue the other people who was kidnapped by the I-Corporation and experimented on. Among those were her sisters. Max broke out (In the show I’m guessing) but now she must head back to face her fears once more. Logan helps her from the sidelines as he tries to shut off some security cameras here and there. He’s basically tech support and I suppose he does go into the field once in a while. Can Max really save her family?

One thing to note here is that in the future the government fell apart thanks to some kind of nuclear situation so now corporations run the world. I-Corp is one of those along with a second one that I’m forgetting. Both sides are evil and do experimentation so you have to decide who to root for. In this case we are going after I-Corp, but apparently Max destroyed a good chunk of the other side prior to the game so she has done a good job of taking out any corporation that stands against her.

The gameplay is very straight forward when it comes to combat. You can punch, kick, and throw. Jumping is also useful even if the jump isn’t very high. You can run and then jump+kick to unleash a devastating tackle that will knock any opponent over. This is really useful for when a bunch of enemies are after you as they have no real counter to this. If you don’t mind taking a little while you can bear all of the enemies this way. To prevent you from cheesing the game for each level though, some will have a time limit for which you can beat the enemies. Just keep mixing up your punches and kicks to resist enemy throws and you’ll be okay. Whenever possible I would ignore the stealth option and just barrel into groups of enemies. Some groups I just barely beat with 1 second left, but that’s the kind of intensity that you want to see. Also, I didn’t quite understand the stealth part for a little while since the game never explains it.

Basically if you crouch from behind an enemy and attempt to throw them it will result in a one hit KO. This is really useful if there are a bunch of enemies. You can take them all out one at a time this way. Otherwise if you just attack one then every enemy in the room will rush at you which can be around 6 and they can take a lot of health out of you if you aren’t careful. 2 of the last levels mix this formula up a bit though as stealth isn’t optional. If you are spotted then you are sent back to the very beginning. These levels can be a little on the long side so I can definitely confirm that it’s in your best interest to proceed with caution. A good technique for mixing the enemies up is just randomly jumping and then running off to hide. It will change their current pattern into one that may be easier. Of course it could get harder so proceed with caution.

To help in your stealth missions you are given some stealth gun ammo. This is a one hit KO to any opponent so it’s a good way to cheese these stealth missions. It is a tactical gamble though as you don’t get a whole lot of ammo. I believe you get around 20 shots for the duration of the game or something like that. Use your ammo wisely. I had already spent all of mine before the last big stealth mission, but I’d say that I did a good job of making it last when you consider how many levels there are. You also have other gadgets like a walkie talkie to lure the enemies closer and health packs which are self explanatory. As with many stealth games you just want to make these items really count.

As far as the characters go, we have a good cast here. Max is definitely a great main character. All of her dialogue is basically mocking all of the minions as she beats them up. She certainly isn’t above hitting someone who’s down as we even see that in a cutscene near the end so it isn’t just gameplay mechanics. She’s had a tough past but has definitely gotten past it and turned into a good hero. Logan is all right. I’m not a fan, but I guess he is useful. I can’t say much about the sisters as they don’t appear until near the end, but Beka was cool. She’s probably the best character after Max. She can certainly fight pretty well too.

The graphics look pretty sharp. A good amount of budget probably went into the cutscenes as they are full cinematics so no text cop outs. I mean, you get a text cutscene at the beginning of each level as well, but so long as you get both that isn’t an issue. The visuals are quite nice and I just wish we could have gotten more outdoor levels as towards the end they all feel a little cramped. The game had reasonable variety though. The soundtrack is definitely pretty solid. A little on the generic side, but nonetheless the combat themes were quite fast and really suck you into the moment. It makes the battles more fun.

There is no real replay value here though. There’s no level select and no collectibles to acquire. Basically once you complete the game that is it for your adventure. You have no more reason to play at all. With 22 levels I’d say that this game should last you around 4-5 hours. It will depend on how long some of the tougher levels take you as one took me around an hour before I finally had it beat. It’s no walk in the park and the game’s difficulty is pretty fair. It’s just enough to make you try but not too crazy either.

Overall, Dark Angel is definitely a fun game. The TV show definitely sounds pretty interesting if it’s like that. Max is basically a super soldier after all so that should make for some good action scenes. Hopefully the special effects were on point for that. Considering that I got the game for a few bucks I would say that this was a bargain. If you are looking for a quality action game to get for cheap then this is definitely the one for you. It’s just such a solid action game. Who knows, maybe it’ll get a sequel someday.

Overall 7/10

RWBY Grimm Eclipse Review

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As a big RWBY fan I knew that it was about time that I finally got to play the official game. Granted, it’s fairly low budget and a first test of sorts rather than being the next big game, but I still shelled out the quick $15. It’s a fun game and definitely one that is a lot more fun if you play with multiplayer so you can actually grab most of the trophies. You need to go online for the rest as well, but more on that later.

The basic plot of the game is that an evil scientist is using Grimm for some very nefarious experiments. Even the shady Ozpin states that this guy is too dangerous and we should avoid him. Unfortunately, team RWBY ends up getting trapped on the island with the guy and they must now stop his plans and survive for as long as they can. Does the team have what it takes to stop this guy?

The plot is fairly basic and you’re only told what is happening via voice over from various characters during the chapters. It’s cool that we got some voice over even if there aren’t any actual cutscenes. You’ll really be focusing on the gameplay here above all else. It’s a classic beat em up where you have to defeat all of the enemies in order to move on. You have 3 main forms of attacking. There are the standard attacks, the power attacks, and the ranged attack. Your projectiles are fairly weak, but can be used to stun enemies which is handy for getting a specific trophy or just for buying yourself some time. The standard attacks are nice and fast which you will find yourself using for most of the time. The power attacks deal a lot of damage and are your best bet. You can mix and match both of them for some really good combos which will really make getting through the levels a breeze.

While the graphics aren’t amazing, they’re fairly good. The visuals on the game’s cover and main menu are off model, but inside the actual gameplay the characters are on point and the Grimm look menacing. The levels are bright and look really solid. I’d also have to give the soundtrack a thumbs up for the impressive collection of osts from the show. It is an odd decision to have all of the tunes be instrumental, but I guess they thought the vocals would be distracting? I don’t agree with the decision, but the tunes are still good whether they have lyrics or not.

One point against the game is how short it is. You can beat the whole game in around 2 hours. There are only 10 levels and you get infinite lives to help you out. You also keep whatever exp you earned so eventually you are sure to be able to complete the game. There are trophies which help to serve as replay value, but you can forget about getting most of them if you don’t have PS+. It broke my streak of nonstop A ranks in the recent games as I’ve got a D rank on PSN for this game now. Still, maxing everyone out and going for the trophies that you can will make this game last quite a while. It’ll help justify the 15 dollar price, but it’ll only work if you have PS+.

The difficulty level here is definitely intense since it doesn’t seem like the game scales down when you’re playing on your own. As a result some of the final levels are rather brutal with the minions because they can drain your aura away with ease and deal massive damage. I had to rely on one of Yang’s excellent combos to get the job done against these guys. They definitely were not easy, I can tell you that. The final boss is also crazy strong as you essentially just have to keep running as you dodge all of the attacks from the many minions and strike back when you get a chance. There’s technically no RNG to worry about here, but with attacks coming from all sides you have to be pretty fortunate not to get hit by anything. Otherwise you will be taken down very quickly.

There is one mechanic that helps against this though. Instead of a traditional health bar system you have a aura level like in the show. As long as you have aura you can’t really get hurt and the only way to die is to let the enemies get your aura all the way down and then taking a hit. If you notice your aura going down then you should run away very quickly so as not to risk getting hit again. Be careful not to underestimate the Grimm attacks since their claws reach a little longer than you’d think. Being cautious is the best strategy here.

Overall, RWBY Grimm Eclipse is a good game, but one that isn’t quite polished yet. It’s definitely not quite as good as it could be, but I did have fun running through the levels with my button mashing skills. I’ve always been a big fan of beat em ups and at the end of the day you have to forget about everything except the gameplay. The gameplay is good so that’s enough to float the game by. Just take my negatives as warnings so you know what you’re getting into when you get the game. If you’re not a particularly huge fan of the series then this game may offer even less for you as another beat em up would give you the superior experience. It’s just a lot of fun being able to actually play as the title characters from the show. You could also buy the JNPR DLC pack, but considering all of this I think I will be passing on that for the time being. Now I just need to wait for Cross Tag Battle to see the characters again.

Overall 7/10

Batman Dark Tomorrow Review

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Batman has had quite a few video games over the years. I’ve yet to play one that was truly spectacular though. The other games were fairly solid but I’m waiting for a game that will be the next big thing. I got Dark Tomorrow in the hopes that this would be it as the comic driven plot and early 2000s aesthetic would be just what the series needed. Unfortunately a truly dreadful opening ends up severely limiting the game’s potential even though the ending is fantastic.

The game starts off by spoiling the final twist as we see very obvious silhouettes of Ra’s Al Ghoul and Talia. They plan to cleanse the world of humanity. To proceed with this goal they free all of the villains in Arkham to distract Batman. Batman also has to deal with a turf war going on in Gotham and the fact that Commissioner Gordon has also gone missing. Robin and Oracle are ready as backup but Batman decides to handle this alone, that’s how dangerous these villains are.

There’s always a debate about which is more important, gameplay or story. Well, gameplay will always be the most important part of a game and it is certainly what holds this game back. The game just doesn’t tell you anything about the controls and puts in so many red herrings that you aren’t sure what to do. You have extra gadgets that are basically pointless like the flashlight. You can barely move while that thing is one and the light it emits is comically small. You’ve got night vision goggles which are good for a small handful of segments when trying to dodge the trip lasers but you don’t even need to bother with them. I ran through all of the lasers for fun and honestly I didn’t notice a big difference in the amount of enemies that popped up. Then you’ve got the bat grapple 2 different times as one lets you swing and the other lets you shoot up. They are also used quite sparingly. This really feels like the game was meant for pure hand to hand combat and the gadgets were only added since someone in development thought Batman should have them. The Batarangs never get useful and the same goes for the smoke bombs which really don’t fool the villains for a second. The health packs are great though.

The game uses an interesting auto save feature. Basically, you have an unlimited amount of lives and typically wake up in the area that you died instead of going all the way back to when you last saved. However, while the game keeps a local record of your progress, you do still have to save on your own if you want to turn the game off. So just don’t make the mistake of thinking that the game is auto saving even if it does seem that way.

So, why is the gameplay so broken? Well for starters, the game has some really bad puzzle sections that just don’t make sense. The first level has most of these. In one section of the burning street you will try going forward but are quickly riddled with bullets. It doesn’t matter what tactic you try, you will never be able to get through there. You have to instead go through a side road and walk through some burning cars. There’s a small gap there that just seems cheesy. In another level, you are stuck next to a fence and your lock pick inexplicably does not work on the door. The lock pick is another negative as it’s called an ultimate something instead and the game doesn’t even tell you what it does. You will just find out that it’s a lock pick once you use it towards the end of the game. Here’s the problem, the game makes a big deal about it during this gate section as if you are supposed to use it, but you never do in this level. Instead you have to jump on a car and then jump on the roof with perfect precision. If you are slightly off or the game glitches again then you will miss the jump. Due to this, you will likely believe that the jump isn’t possible unless you know beforehand that it is.

Even the combat system is hidden from you. You have two attack options, punches and kicks. You use them to knock the enemies down and then you handcuff them. If you don’t handcuff them, then they will simply keep getting up forever. It’s an odd mechanic especially since you can’t skip the long handcuffing cutscene. What the game doesn’t tell you is that if you hold onto the L button you will unleash a series of rapid kicks and punches which deal a considerably higher damage output and make the bosses child’s play in comparison. You can certainly beat the game without this knowledge and sometimes it’s actually better not to go for a combo since it leaves you vulnerable if the opponent blocks it. I do think that information should be somewhere in the game though.

These are the reasons why the game got off to a rough start. The design of the opening levels where you are stuck in a death loop and the jump over the gate mixed in with the rather choppy combat controls if you don’t know how to combo the hits. However, once you get past the level and master the combat system, then things get fun. The second half of the hand feels like a whole different game. The Arkham level in particular is a lot of fun as you go through a marathon of bosses including Mr Freeze, Killer Croc, Szaz , and Poison Ivy. The bosses are a lot of fun. This is one time where the poor camera angles and the overused cutscenes can be quite fun. It’s pretty satisfying to knock the boss down since you get the full cutscene. Of course, it’s also fun when he knocks you over as well. Once you learn the combos the combat system becomes genuinely fun as well. It’s like an old school arcade game.

Some aspects of the game also shined from the start like the graphics. They are way ahead of their time and look considerably better than any of the other GameCube Batman games. It has a certain comic aesthetic that just works really well with the character models. The first cutscene sets the game on a positive note as it just feels very theatrical. You would not be blamed for thinking that it was a clip from a film. I can’t say as much for the soundtrack unfortunately. I suppose they didn’t put in quite as much effort into this section of the game compared to the others.

The level designs are really large and well thought out. You can be wandering for quite a long time from room to room. Fortunately the game remembers who you have handcuffed until you turn the game off so you don’t have to worry about beating them every time. Unfortunately you aren’t always able to appreciate the levels because of the really bad camera angles. It just keeps on turning whenever you move which really causes you to stop in your tracks or take more hits than you would have liked. It’s pretty distracting and I died a few times thanks to that, but at least there are constant checkpoints.

Then there is the plot which is probably the best plot from any Batman game. We get to see an onslaught of Batman villains throughout and Ra’s can make for a good villain. As par for the course Batman certainly does give him a whole lot of credit but I don’t consider him to be quite as impressive as many of Batman’s other rogues. Oracle did doubt Batman quite a bit in the cutscenes and it was too bad Robin couldn’t help out more, but I suppose the developers really wanted to keep this as a Batman solo game.

There isn’t any real replay value to be had in this game. It’s the kind of title that locks you in next to the final boss so you couldn’t go back and get collectibles even if you wanted too. You could play the whole game again for that, but that’s a little drastic. The value in this game will be in the main story which is really a 50/50 gamble. It’s tough because the climax is so amazing, but I just can’t forget the opening.

I should also mention that the game has around 4-5 endings. I actually ended up with one of the bad endings as I ran into the villains and knocked them all out, but I didn’t deactivate the apocalyptic machine. Apparently that was in the next door over. I also lost to Ra’s once so I actually got to see both endings. Getting to the good ending wouldn’t take very long but I was rather satisfied with the ending I got so I stuck with this one. It’s actually a fairly realistic look at how the situation usually goes if your opponent has a deadman‘s switch.

Overall, Dark Tomorrow is going to have to stay squarely in the middle. The two parts of the game neatly cancel each other out. Dark Tomorrow certainly seems to have divided its team up into various sections and some worked harder than others. If you’re a big Batman fan then I’d recommend checking this game out. Just watch out for the burning level and try to find the truck right away. It’s the best chance you’ve got!

Overall 5/10

Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay Review

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It’s time to look at another side scroller in the form of Big Hero 6. Most movies may not get tie-in games anymore but Big Hero 6 dared to go against that trend. It’s a game that definitely plays it by the books and feels relatively low budget like what you would expect from the genre. It’s short and straightforward but it is also fun. I’ve always enjoyed these cash in games quite a bit. They may not be AAA titles like Mario Odyssey or Sonic 2006, but in their simplicity it brings you back to an older, more nostalgic era of gaming.

So the plot is that someone has stolen yet another one of Hiro’s inventions. I forgot which one but it’s now in the wrong hands so that makes the villain very dangerous. The team decides to locate the villain at all costs and quickly head over to take him down. The plot is pretty self explanatory as the heroes do exactly that. They find and defeat the villain rather easily and Baymax didn’t even have to do a whole lot this time as he still tries to be a pacifist. That being said, he is thrown into the conflict by the end.

There are 4 playable characters who each have a distinctive fighting style. The main character can shoot out force fields which blow the enemies away. He is fun to play as and the levels go by quickly since he is so skilled. The next character is the Roller Blades character. Unfortunately they made her the worst character in combat as her attacks are the weakest. This is supposed to be balanced by the fact that she is the fastest fighter in the game but that doesn’t matter a whole lot since it’s not by a great deal and most areas force you to stop and fight the villains anyway. The third character is the power hitter of the group who wields a sword. He is easily the best character to play as since even the strongest enemies tend to lose in a single combo. Finally we have Fredzilla. He is in the middle of the gang. Not particularly strong but not downright weak either. His super jumps are fun since you just skip a lot of enemies that way.

Aside from their signature abilities the gameplay is that of a normal side scroller. You walk and jump through the level until you reach the end. There will be a few encounters with the enemy where you quickly dispatch them and keep it moving. Each level will only take a few minutes. There are 21 levels and the game lasted around 2 and a half hours. So I guess each level was around 6 minutes or so. It’s not quite Powerpuff Girls length but still a pretty short game overall. That being said, it’s certainly a lot more enjoyable due to both the level designs and the core gameplay. It’s more polished and the boss battles are all unique as opposed to simply punching them all into submission. Some of these bosses may even take multiple tries as you try to figure out how to hurt them. The game’s a little vague on that part but simply studying their movements and all should help you figure out the weaknesses.

As far as the graphics go, the game looks good. It’s still in the 3DS era so despite not being a big budget game it does hold up well. As long as a game looks clear and I get what’s going on, I typically give it a passing grade and this game earns that. The soundtrack is pretty uninspired though. No memorable tunes are to be found here. You’ll forget the ost the instant you put the game down although I can’t say I was expecting anything different to be honest.

There is some minimal replay value here. You can find the four Hero letters in each level to do something, I believe it may unlock artwork. You can also snag the 5 Health pieces in each level to level up your characters’ health bar. These things are fine but you’re unlikely to get them naturally unless you intentionally go for them and once you’ve beaten the game you don’t really have a need for the extra health if you really think about it. It’s still better than nothing of course but the overall message you should be getting from this is that the game is quite short. Aim to have fun while completing it but don’t expect the game to last.

One easy way to help the game a bit would have been to make the plot a bit better or the dialogue more passable. All of the characters just sound really annoying, Fred in particular. It’s hard to really feel like you should be rooting for these characters and instead you just want the level to start. The “cutscenes” are all very short so they don’t drag or anything though. They really just don’t add anything to the game and that’s always a little sad for the writers when you think about it. Letting Baymax be playable with some kind of unique gameplay like a flying level would have been nice as well. That’s effectively what Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer did for the DS a while back and it worked reasonably well.

Overall, Big Hero 6 is a fun game. You’ll enjoy each level and going for the collectibles along the way is a good tactic to make the game a more complete experience. The characters and story may be rather weak but the gameplay is the important part and it works well enough. It would be nice if the game was longer or had more modes to enjoy though. Regardless, this is basically the definition of a weekend rental although it’s unlikely to last you for the full weekend. It’ll at least buy you some time and you’ll have fun along the way. An easy fix would be to add a Multiplayer mode and then the game would certainly have a lot more replay value.

Overall 7/10

Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 13h 50m

Scrolls 59/222
Jutsu 23/35
Ninja Tools 23/51

Story Mode Level Ranks

Chapter 1 S
Chapter 2 S
Chapter 3 S
Chapter 4 S
Chapter 5 C
Chapter 6 S
Chapter 7 B
Chapter 8 C
Chapter 9 C
Chapter 10 C
Chapter 11 C
Chapter 12 S
Chapter 13 S
Chapter 14 S
Chapter 15 A
Chapter 16 C
Chapter 17 C

Mission Ranks

D Class
1 B
2 S
3 C
4 S

C Rank
1 B
2 S
3 A
4 B
5 B
6 B
7 B
8 S
9 B

B Rank
1 S
2 S
3 B
4 S
5 S
6 S
7 S
8 B
9 S

A Rank
1 –
2 –
3 S
4 –
5 –
6 –
7 –
8 –
9 –

S Rank
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –
5 –
6 –

Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive Review

Naruto-Shippuden-Kizuna-Drive1
It’s time to look at a Naruto PSP game that I have owned for many years. It’s really been sitting in the closet for a long time, but at long last I got to finally complete it. It’s certainly one of the weaker Naruto games thanks to several game mechanics that hold it back. It’s a shame because you can see the potential lurking in the background, but in the end it simply wasn’t enough to make the game as solid as it can be.

It has an original story where Naruto is framed. The Hidden Dreams village believes that he transformed into the Nine Tails and destroyed it, eliminating the leader of the village in the process. As such, they have decided that it is time to destroy Naruto and the rest of the Konoha ninja once and for all. Naruto has to defend himself and take these guys down at the same time. Meanwhile, Sasuke and his allies are closing in on Itachi. They won’t take kindly to anyone that gets in their way. Who will come out on top!?

First off, I’ll give the story kudos for being pretty interesting. The original characters weren’t all that bad. There were 5 new characters. Enzo, the leader of the group for the majority of the game was fairly decent. He wants to avenge his village and leader which works well enough and his design isn’t bad. He makes for a good opponent. Two of the weaker villains were Taiso and Yomito. I didn’t care for either one of them since they never felt all that formidable and you knew that they were going down. While all of the villains were gullible, their individual personalities just didn’t help their case at all. Ryuka easily had the biggest role from the villains and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring in the Three Heads monster to destroy the world. The heroes were definitely nervous about fighting such a beast so it was a fairly good move. Of course, Ryuka was also being manipulated by the ultimate mastermind. She would probably make for a pretty good hero to have around.

The big villain behind the shadows was fairly generic. He’s old and presumably wise so he strings everyone along with ease. He doesn’t play around, but his end goal makes it feel like he was since he didn’t really think it through. Even with the 3 Heads, I don’t see him destroying the world since the main characters defeated him pretty easily. If they had lost then the Akatsuki would have done the job themselves. He’s pretty good at getting the cheap shots in, but that’s really the extent of his abilities. Without the monster, he wouldn’t have stood a chance.

I have to give the game some credit on the cutscenes though. There’s not a whole lot that you can do with still shots for the most part. This game does everything it can to make them exciting despite this. You have a lot of quick cuts through the images and sharp sound effects. It can also be pretty funny since the game takes itself so seriously the whole time, but I appreciate the effort. Most games would have settled to have the images stay on screen with dialogue but nothing happens. This one at least simulates an actual fight.

The soundtrack is also pretty decent. The themes are certainly limited, but they’re catchy and memorable. I doubt you’ll be forgetting the themes anytime soon once you start playing the game. I would have liked more tunes, but as a whole I feel like the budget for this game was incredibly low. You can see this through the gameplay as there are only a few different bosses and minions. They all end up being reskins that are copy and pasted from each other. It’s pretty lazy and also very noticeable by the end. It makes playing the free missions not quite as fun. At least the game did scrounge together enough budget for an intro and end song. The lyrical song was done very well and at least ended the game on a high note.

What hurts the game is really the gameplay. The actual style isn’t bad as it’s your average 3D fighter. You get one attack button and one for jutsu. You can mix and match the two to use various combos. Dodging and platforming also come in handy. There are no level ups in this game, but you do get scrolls after every mission which amp up your stats. They are incredibly useful and I believe mandatory as well as completing the game without a good set of scrolls would be impossible. Here’s where the game goes too far though.

The bosses have massively large health bars which go down at a very slow rate. It just keeps on crawling and crawling. The levels give you a full 30 minutes to fight the level and in two of them I nearly got timed out by the villain. Levels shouldn’t be that long if it’s a small circle where you just keep pummeling the boss and he won’t go down. The only way to put yourself in a better position is to replay old missions to get better scrolls. The problem is that if you go too far back then the scrolls will be really bad and not useful but if you do the mission that you just beat then you’ll barely be able to beat it and it’ll take a while. Naturally you have to do the latter, but it just feels like artificial padding when you have to beat it again.

There are the free missions you can do instead of the scenario ones to earn the scrolls, but it’s a grind all the same. It took me a while to get past some of the early bosses for that reason since through RNG I kept getting underwhelming scrolls. Towards the end of the game I finally got really good ones that carried me through the game, but it took longer than I would have liked. The A.I. doesn’t help either since it feels like your allies are programmed pretty badly on purpose at times. They attack and heal you as you fight but often times they won’t get out of the boss’ attacks and will get trampled. Once they are out of the way it’s up to you and you won’t be able to deal enough damage. Some bosses also cannot be harmed like the Beetle that you have to trick into crashing into a tree (Which your allies will try to prevent) or others that you have to knock down. These are easily the worst bosses since it takes forever to beat them. I much prefer the opponents that you just fight until you get their health bars to 0.

An easy fix that could have helped the game would be to make the ninjutsu stronger. You know there’s a problem when it’s usually better to spam your normal attacks than to use any specials. Only Naruto had two really great attacks which I spammed forever. The other characters were completely out of luck so I always got worried when I had to play as another character. I couldn’t even look forward to playing as Sasuke. At least Kakashi’s level went by quickly since for some reason Itachi couldn’t fight back. I feel like it was a glitch but it’s possible that they just didn’t program him very well. It’s definitely a real possibility.

The game just padded itself out as long as it possibly could. I ended up finishing the game after around 14 hours and since it only had 17 levels, that’s pretty scary. I wish I could say that the grinding was fun, but since every level is effectively the same and they’re all so long, it definitely wasn’t the most enjoyable experience. It’s hard to see myself going back to this one. Technically it did have a lot of replay value though. You can go back and try to beat the rest of the Free Missions. There are a bunch of other jutsu, ninja tools, and one other thing left to collect that I can’t think of at the moment. Getting all S ranks in the game might help to unlock something as well I’m sure.

Overall, This wasn’t a bad game, but the padding and poor game design prevents it from being quite as good as it should have been. The gameplay and levels were extremely limited and the bosses were poorly designed. Having to try and get new scrolls to get through the game is already bad, but making them completely luck based is even worse. It prevents the combat from being fun when it really should be. It’s a shame since the story is really good along with the visuals. The graphics are on point during the gameplay and cutscenes and the music is memorable. I’d recommend this game, but only after you’ve played all of the other Naruto games and you want something fresh. Otherwise, they’re all more polished than this one is.

Overall 6/10