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

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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

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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

Fire Emblem Warriors Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 7h 22m
Badges 8/36
Character Stats

Rowan Level 50
Marth Level 50
Lucina Level 41
Cordelia Level 29
Lianna Level 27
Xander Level 27
Caeda Level 26
Corrin Level 21
Robin Level 21
Ryoma Level 20
Tiki Level 20
Leo Level 19
Camilla Level 16
Chrom Level 15
Hinoka Level 14
Takumi Level 14
Sakura Level 13
Elise Level 13
Lissa Level 13
Frederick Level 13

Fire Emblem Warriors Review

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After all these months I finally went and got the Nintendo Switch. Now I’m playing with power! I’m still not a big fan of the console, but it’s not bad or anything. I do like the fact that it’s essentially a portable console that you can stream to the tv. It’s one of those brilliant ideas where you can barely believe that nobody has thought of it before. Mark my words, if Sony ever makes another portable console they are going to borrow this concept. Let’s take a look at my first Switch game.

I became a big Fire Emblem fan pretty recently after downloading Heroes. Its a franchise with a lot of potential and has a fan of sword fighters in general it was right up my alley. The plot focuses on a prince and a princess. Their kingdom is attacked by an army of monsters and everyone is imprisoned within its walls. Only the two main characters and their reliable friend manage to escape. Before they return, the heroes will need to uncover the 5 legendary Hero Gems. Since dimensional rifts are opening up everywhere, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them, but time is of the essence.

It’s a really fun story. I probably would have preferred the game to have focused on characters from the older games since I know the modern characters pretty well, but the crossover aspect still makes it all a blast. There’s also a lot of room for a sequel as a result since they could explore the rest of the universe. The original characters made up for the game may have been rather generic, but they weren’t bad. Monster fans will love the Chaos Dragon and I didn’t mind the guardian of the main characters until he basically cracked. Not much to say about the blond heroes, they’re super heroic and that is their personality in a nutshell. Even with 20+ chapters, the story never feels like it’s stalling for time or going nowhere. It’s pretty well paced.

There is also a History/Legend mode. I forgot the exact name, but essentially the overworld looks like an old 8 bit Fire Emblem game. You have to move across the field and whenever you bump into an enemy it triggers a level. There are challenges like beating 500 enemies in 20 minutes. It seems like a decent mode, but I can’t say it’s too appealing compared to the main story mode. I’d probably use it for grinding level ups and at least it does help the overall replay value.

As expected of a new Switch game, the graphics are quite good. The interface is also cutting edge so everything feels very smooth and streamlined. There’s a lot on the menu at any given time but the game does a good job of not letting it get overwhelming. The final smash attacks are also very satisfying to unleash. The soundtrack is also really good. Longtime fans will remember most of the sound effects. In fact, they are the same as in Heroes so I wonder if it’s just a Fire Emblem staple or they’re aiming for a lot of synergy with the new games. Either way it can feel nice and nostalgic at times.

One of the aspects of the game that was promoted before the game came out was how it was a beat em up, but it was going to incorporate Fire Emblem mechanics. The game does this by bringing in the weapons triangle where Sword Fighters beat Axes, Axes beat Spears, and Spears beat Swords. Unless you play on hard mode though, it won’t make much of a difference. You will have the enemies begging for mercy very quickly regardless. You can also give orders to your allies for retreats, advancing, or just ditching them in the middle of nowhere so they won’t get hurt. It’s definitely useful if you think they are just going to hurt themselves. They typically can’t hold their own against opponent fighters after all.

If you’re familiar with the genre then you’ll definitely know what the gameplay is like. If not, essentially it is a 3D fighter where you destroy hundreds of opponents in each level as you head for a boss somewhere in the map or secure a retreat route. You have quick attacks, power attacks, special moves, a grab, final smash, and an awakening mode. As a result you can see how you have a bunch of options. This means you can have fun mixing up your attacks. Sometimes I even forget to use my awakening since I’m waiting for the right moment and just end up beating the level before it occurs.

I feel like there are 3 kinds of beat em ups. There is the Dynasty Warriors style where you beat a lot of enemies, but it’s not an insanely large amount. It’s slightly more realistic and also the worst of the 3. Next there is the Sengoku Basara/Anime titles like Bleach or One Piece which have a lot of enemies and you take them down. They are essentially the beat em games that come to mind. Finally there are the crazy good beat em ups like Hyrule Warriors and this game. Somehow Nintendo really gets the company to take it to the next level. The amount of enemies around at one time is crazy. I thought Hyrule Warriors was just about perfect and this game manages to improve on it even further. One incredible feature that this game brought to the table is that you can now switch between allies instantly. This makes it much easier to attack and defend. For example, you can order Lucina to attack a base, Marth to stay and guard yours, and you go after the boss. If your ally starts to lose the battle, you can quickly become the ally and fight back while the character you were controlling earlier will continue the mission. It’s brilliant since one of the only annoying aspects of the genre is that protecting all of your bases can be difficult since your A.I. compatriots just hold you back. Now you can really feel like you have complete control of the battlefield. It’s also perfect for when I go maverick and just disobey direct orders. They want me to retreat or protect the base? Nonsense, I’m heading straight for the big boss!

The game also did think up more ways to prevent you from essentially cheesing the level like that though. Sometimes the areas can’t be accessed without using a flying ally to go past the pits and activate portals. Other times the base is simply locked down until you beat all of the bases. I do think it’d be nice to have more levels where you were just able to rush up the middle but I can kind of get why the developers wouldn’t want you to just rush through everything. As it is, I went through the story at a normal pace and I still didn’t get to explore most of the customizing options. It can all seem rather overwhelming since you have crests to level up and actual level ups to buy. I’d definitely be content with the game sticking with Level 100 as the cap and not raising it. It would be quite the grind, but at least I can actually imagine getting everyone to level 100 at this point.

Overall, There is a lot to love here. This game is basically a masterpiece and I’d consider it to be the greatest beat em up out there. It would be very hard to improve on the gameplay at this point. The patch that the Switch got even allowed me to play the game with the greatest controller on Earth, the Gamecube controller. The story was impressively long for a beat em up and a lot happened along the way. Lucina got to look really cool in her debut appearance and the other heroes had their moments as well. There’s a ton of replay value here as you can tell like beating all of the levels on all difficulties and getting everyone to the max level. I think there is actually one possible way that you can top this game within the genre. Imagine this game, but multiplayer where the 2nd player plays as the opposing army. That would be a blast as you both try to take over the map. I do think it’d work best online so that you wouldn’t know who each player is playing as. That would add to the depth as you wonder which base to protect. I can’t imagine that would be an easy game to product since it would probably take a lot of memory and be tough on the A.I., but it’d be awesome. Well, with LoZ and FE done, I’d like a Metroid beat em up next. It’d be cool blasting through waves of Metroids, but the developers will have to get creative about which other heroes to have playable.

Genji: Days of the Blade Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Trinity Souls of Zill O’ll Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 24h 1m
PS3 Trophy% 38%
Areus Level 47
Dagda Level 44
Selene Level 43
Journal 58% Complete
Characters 95% Complete
Bestiary 93% Complete
Titles 25% Complete
Glossary 95% Complete
Help 97% Complete

Trinity Souls of Zill O’II Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10