Neptunia Virtual Stars Review


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.

Overall 7/10

Warriors Orochi 3 Review


Warriors Orochi has always been a pretty fun series. There was a huge gap between when I played the first two Orochi titles but this time I was determined not to wait so long. I took the plunge and grabbed Orochi 3. Fortunately the PS3 is region free so that worked out pretty nicely. Orochi 3 definitely has a very strong plot and it features time travel so that’s a win win. It’s certainly the best Orochi game so far.

The game starts off with Orochi returning but this time as the Hydra. This 8 headed dragon crushes the entire planet to the point where within 10 minutes of the game’s start there are only 3 heroes left alive. The rest of the Dynasty and Samurai warriors cast have been obliterated. This desperate mission ends in failure but the heroes are saved by a goddess known as Kaguya. She has the ability to time travel part of the way into the past but not so far back that we can prevent Orochi from returning. Using this bonus time we have to alert everyone to the true danger and bring the world to an era of peace. Then we will return to the place of the final battle only this time we will have more of a full roster at the ready. Can the heroes stop Orochi once and for all?

I love crossovers, beat em ups, and time travel. Mix all of that into one game and it’s not surprising in the slightest that this is an absolute win. First off, the story is just very grand in scope. Seeing this dragon show up and just decimate the cast was intense. Especially since these characters are all quite powerful in their own right. It may be a little hard to buy that they would all lose like this but when you factor in that they’re always fighting among themselves they probably were weakened by this point. While the game ends with everyone finally being at peace, something tells me that won’t last for the sequel.

The main campaign is fairly long at 29 levels and there is a good amount of replay value here as well with all of the bonus levels to tackle as well. Getting everyone to level 100 will take ages too although I don’t think there’s a trophy for that so no need to force yourself. There are over 100 characters after all so that’d be pretty crazy. By the time I beat the game I only had 1 person at level 100 so I think it’s safe to say that getting everyone over there would just be too long. I’d say the story mode is maybe around 7-8 hours. I didn’t count exactly and they don’t store the playtime but that sounds about right to me.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard 3D combat system so you will know what to expect. You rush into battle and slam into enemies using both standard and power attacks. You have super attacks as well but I recommend keeping that in your pocket as a combo breaker in case a boss lays a good hit on you. Typically they go down pretty quickly but if they do start a combo they can take off huge chunks of your health in an instant. You definitely want to respect their power and keep some distance between you and the boss. At least I would recommend that.

One of the most handy tools at your disposal is your horse. I recommend summoning him as much as possible so you can run through the battlefields at top speed. Doing this will help you reach your objectives quicker. After all, aside from conquering enemies you also have to protect your comrades. My strategy in each level was to knock out all of the officers but mainly not worry about the minions. I would still average around 1000 KO’s per stage so those come naturally but getting rid of the officers is key or your allies will end up defeated and you will have to start the level from scratch. Let me tell you, you do not want to start the level from scratch to be sure.

Naturally the graphics for this game are absolutely stellar. The character models are on point and the level designs are really striking. This is the kind of PS3 game where you can tell they spared no expense. It could easily pass for a PS4 title. Likewise the soundtrack is excellent. It’s no surprise as the Orochi games tend to sound quite excellent but this one really manages to even go above and beyond. The battle themes really get you into the action so you feel ready for what comes next.

When you’re not fighting there are still other bonus things you can do as well. One of those is buying new weapons or fusing your older ones into weapons with more slots and abilities. Your weapon is quite important in this game so I recommend working on that right away. Don’t worry about the money it costs because by the end of the game you’ll be swimming in it. At the very least there was never a point in the game where I was low on funds. There is also the tea shop where you can increase your bonds with the other characters but I never really tried that out. I think the bonds mechanic increases your strength when you fight with allies but admittedly I never really tried this out. I tend to run ahead of the others to try and shield them from danger while also getting the fun fights for myself.

Overall, Warriors Orochi 3 is fantastic. It’s a top tier game filled with a lot of life and action. The story is a lot of fun, the graphics are top notch, and so is the soundtrack. There’s a lot of replay value here and the gameplay is a blast. You can easily have fun just playing the levels over and over again. I can see how people would sink dozens and dozens of hours into these games. It would make for a fun ride to try and platinum it, but the trophy for beating all of the levels on chaos difficulty sounds a bit daunting. Maybe someday. Now just one more Orochi game and I’ll finally be caught up!

Overall 9/10

Warriors Orochi 2 Review


After many years it was finally time to jump into the second Warriors Orochi title. The first one had definitely been a lot of fun so I was eager to see how the sequel would respond. Once again this is definitely a great title. I do think there’s a bit more they could have done with the story to highlight the crossover aspect but on the whole you should be very satisfied here.

The game lets you choose between playing as the Dynasty Warrior series, Samurai, or Orochi. I went for Dynasty and it’s fun that the fire team gets to be the head fighters here. The Sun clan is always a fun team to get behind even if the leader Sun Jian doesn’t look his best this time. He is determined to keep the kingdom at peace so he doesn’t make a move against the new villains until he is effectively forced into doing so. Then he is ready for action but it all feels a bit late in the game.

With Orochi destroyed everyone is just trying to get used to living in this strange world since there appears to be no way back. Unfortunately peace isn’t something that will be maintained for long as Lu Bu has returned along with one of Orochi’s trusted followers and they intend to plunge the world into chaos once more. Meanwhile, a bunch of other villains from Samurai Warriors and Dynasty have decided to use the confusion to take over as well. It’s going to be a tough few days for the Sun clan but they have to take them all down without mercy.

The gameplay is pretty self explanatory but I’ll quickly run over it anyway. The goal of the level is to take down the enemy generals. You have to do this without letting your own men be destroyed. You have your standard attacks, power moves, and super attacks. Use them wisely as you take opponents down. As this is a hack n slash there are hundreds of opponents to defeat to the point where they are practically never ending. Never let yourself get distracted in any one area too long or your partners will die pretty quickly. I died in the first level but never after that. As long as you stay sharp you’ll be fine. It’s also worth noting that this is a rare game where you keep your EXP even when you lose a level. I was really glad to see that.

There are 8 levels in the game and on average you should complete them between 10-13 minutes. The levels feel fairly short but that’s because they are a lot of fun. Your attacking speed is a little on the slow side but you can call up your horse to move great distances when needed. Initially you’ll want to beat a lot of the minions to gain EXP but then in latter levels you can run straight for the enemy generals. Once I unlocked the 5 hit combo which burned my opponents I was definitely ready to go with a more aggressive strategy. This combo could even be used repeatedly if the opponent didn’t block the launcher move which would result in a lot of damage Without that move the levels would have certainly been a lot more difficult to navigate.

The graphics here definitely look good as expected. The character models are on point and the stages are suitably ominous. I like how everything looks, the game just has an epic feel from start to finish. It feels like a grand crossover and that’s exactly how this game is supposed to be. The character roster is also impressive although not surprising since the warrior games usually shine like this. The soundtrack is always very good. Optic Lines is the most memorable track (The name is at least something like that) but there are a lot of good tunes throughout.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. You can play the other story modes and really perfect your skills. Maxing out all of the characters is bound to take a lot of time as well since there are so many and level ups can take some time. I think I got my character to around Level 50 by the end though so that was a pretty reasonable jump. You’ll easily be able to find 20+ hours here by the time you do everything.

One unfortunate thing though was that in the end I beat Orochi before I could even see his little pre rendered cutscene. I had too many backed up by this point as I ran through the level so it wasn’t quite up to his I suppose. Unless he didn’t have one but I would be surprised since every other boss has one. It was definitely cool to see him there though. I’m wondering how Orochi 3 will handle the plot since I’m sure they don’t want to go for the same angle of him reviving again and yet it feels like that is what they will have to do. A lot of tough decisions there to be sure.

Overall, I am one step closer to being caught up with all of the Warrior Orochi games now. Orochi 2 was definitely a blast and I expect the rest will be as well. It’s a fairly simple/direct game so there isn’t much more to say on it. If you like the main Warrior games then of course you’ll like this one. The more you’ve played the other two series, the more you will really enjoy the unique interactions here as well. I’d like to see more interactions in future games but as it is, it was fun seeing the final boss of Samurai Warriors Katana show up here since I just beat that game the other day.

Overall 8/10

One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 32/40
Gallery Completion 87%

Stage Ranks

Level 1 A
Level 2 S
Level 3 S
Level 4 A
Level 5 S
Level 6 A
Level 7 B
Level 8 S
Level 9 S
Level 10 S
Level 11 A
Level 12 S
Level 13 B
Level 14 A
Level 15 A
Level 16 B
Level 17 A
Level 18 A
Level 19 A
Level 20 S
Level 21 A
Level 22 A
Level 23 A
Level 24 S
Level 25 B
Level 26 S
Level 27 A
Level 28 S
Level 29 S
Level 30 S
Level 31 S
Level 32 S
Level 33 S
Level 34 S
Level 35 S

Samurai Warriors 2: XTreme Legends Review


It’s been a very long time since I played the original Samurai Warriors. I had been focusing on Dynasty for a while but now that I’m caught up with that series it was definitely time to go and check out how this one was doing. Well, it’s definitely a game that has aged really well. You can feel the power behind your attacks and taking down hundreds of opponents all at once certainly never gets old. I definitely look forward to playing the next installment in this series soon.

As with most warrior games you can pick whose story you want to play through. There aren’t a whole lot of options initially but I believe you can unlock more characters as you play through. I played as Kojiro Sasaki. I always like to pick the fire type fighters in these and since Yukimura Sanada wasn’t an option yet I figured this could do the trick. That said, he’s certainly more of an antagonist than I would have figured. Effectively he just wants to destroy a bunch of people but he feels like it’s all a waste. He wants to find someone super powerful to destroy so he goes around on the battlefield until he finds such a person.

I did not warm up to this guy by the end. He’s definitely crazy but would make for a solid antagonist to someone else’s story. At the very least you can’t deny that the guy has some pretty serious skill here. It’s his story so his abilities probably get embellished a bit but he ends up taking everyone out.

The gameplay is fairly standard of course. You go around beating the life points out of all your opponents. You have your standard moves, power moves, and your super attack. I recommend keeping your super on hand for whenever an opponent general shows up because it works as an immediate combo breaker. Just activate it when the opponent lands any kind of hit on you and you’ll be set. The gameplay is very smooth and landing hits is fun. To add some depth here you can power up your weapon at the shop and even buy special abilities that amp up your stats or even control your level ups.

I recommend spending all of your money on this because it’s just a great way to keep your guy ready for action. Your weapon’s important too but the upgrade doesn’t seem to do a whole lot there. The only part of the gameplay where you can tell they haven’t fine tuned it yet is the speed. Your character walks incredibly slow throughout the levels. So it can take a while to get anywhere. I suppose this helps to prevent you from running straight to the goal though. It also adds a little strategy here because moving too far away from your camp is dangerous as a result. After all if your leader dies then you lose the mission instantly.

The game had 5 levels in the campaign I played and I believe it can go up to 7 in some cases as well. It’s fairly short if you’re just playing one character and you should have it beat in around 2 hours. If you do it with all of the characters though then this definitely ought to take a long while. You have no shortage of replay value in this game which is no surprise because that is often the case with any game in the Dynasty franchise. Considering that the games go for around 10-20 bucks now, it’s a good bargain.

The graphics look pretty good here. I always appreciate the fact that there are loads of cutscenes and cinematics everywhere. You’ve got the big budget ones which appear at the beginning and end as well as the mini ones that show up whenever an enemy officer appears. It helps to make these moments feel like a big deal. The attack animations are also on point. As for the soundtrack it’s a little more on the forgettable side but it’s not bad. I’d like to have had more of a signature theme show up at some point. That would have been neat but maybe in the sequel.

The game is reasonably challenging. In particular what makes it pretty tricky here is how long the levels are. If you’ve already polished off about 600 enemies then nothing will be more disheartening than losing at the last second right? There were a few levels where I just had to run for a while to look for health items. The nice sweet spot to be in is when your health is in the red since you can use unlimited super attacks as long as you run a bit. That’s also a good strategy but they take time and it gets pretty intense. You know that a hit could be the end for you. That’s a fun feeling when you come out on top. Fortunately I didn’t end up losing here but that could have been tricky.

Samurai Warriors 2 feels very basic in a lot of respects but it’s part of the charm. You have a pretty direct plot and a lot of good gameplay for each level. In some ways this plot felt a lot more direct than the more extended one in Dynasty Warriors 9. It’s less grand of course but Sasaki’s plot was just interesting and the whole rivalry aspect with Masashi was cool.

Overall, Samurai Warriors 2 is definitely a very good game. I’d call it a great one at that. If you have time then beating it with all of the characters would be a blast since the stories should all be fairly different. I’m far less familiar with the base story here compared to Dynasty as well so it all feels pretty fresh. It seems to take place way after most of the Sengoku Basara anime since the main kings are already gone. The new characters look fun though and I wonder if the rest of the games in this series will deal with the same era and plot like Dynasty or if we’ll be jumping around a little more here. I’m not sure when I’ll get the third game but it shouldn’t be too far in the future I would say.

Overall 8/10

Dynasty Warriors 9 Review


After many years I have finally made it to the final game in the main Dynasty Warriors series. A while back I had done a bit of a marathon in this series but I didn’t own 9 so it had to go on break. Well, I was finally in the mood to fire it up and it’s a game that’s definitely a lot of fun. The new open world setting takes a little getting used to. Ultimately I prefer the usual structure for how Dynasty Warrior games are set up, but I do appreciate the attempt at something different. It does work well in its own way.

As always the game adapts the story of the 3 Kingdoms so if you’ve played any of the first 8 Dynasty Warrior games then you’ll know how this all plays out. This game is able to go into great detail though and it’s easily the longest title in the series. I decided to follow Cao Cao’s path for my playthrough but you have a lot of characters to choose from here. There are dozens and dozens of playable characters in the game and they all have their own story which is pretty impressive. Some are shorter than others of course. For example Cao Cao’s is much longer than the average story since he is one of the 3 main Kings. That’s why he felt like a fair one to go with.

How the open world setting comes into play is between battles you can run around the kingdom and help people out with side quests or expand your kingdom on hand. One thing that was fun was to finish off skirmishes on the outskirts of the kingdom and watch as the map turned into your color. The enemies will take over the territory after you leave so it’s not like it’s permanent or anything but it is a really good way to allow you to quick travel later on. For example, I had fun taking over a lot of settlements and this saved time later on in the game since you can fast travel to anywhere you’ve been. So instead of crossing half the country to join the next big story fight, I was already there.

It’s really worth it in the long run and since the open world was one of the things heavily promoted about on this game, I’d say it’s worth seeing exactly what all the fuss is about. How I see it, it does heavily help the replay value of the game. The world is pretty huge so the developers did not hold anything back here. There’s also just a lot to do including upgrading your character and getting better equipment. It can all be a little overwhelming if anything so definitely take it one step at a time. The main campaign took me around 9 hours. If you try to complete the game with everyone I’m thinking you’ll be here for at least 40+ which is really good. Then if you work on getting all of the PS4 trophies and exploring every inch of the game you can add even more time to that.

Naturally the graphics look really good as well. All of the character models are on point and the whole thing is just very striking from the backgrounds to the combat animations. It looks like a PS4 title through and through. The series may not especially be known for its graphics but at least for this installment I would say it definitely qualifies as a great showing. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable which is unfortunate because the series has had some really excellent rock themes over the years. This time they held onto the brakes a little more I guess and were going for a much more low key kind of soundtrack. You do still get the occasional rock theme though.

As for the gameplay, it’s pretty similar to most of the other Dynasty Warrior titles although it took a page out of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Well, I guess it would be the other way around) and now you have 4 different special attack options in addition to your normal special attack. It’s an interesting change, and a fun way to spice up the gameplay from just using the same super all the time. I can definitely get behind that. It’s definitely very smooth throughout so you’ll have no problem dealing with the bosses as long as you remember your fundamentals.

One aspect that was also interesting is that in each mission you could head straight for the boss if you wanted a challenge and he would be at a super high level. Or you could weaken defenses and put some plans into motion. This acts like a more realistic strategy if you were fighting a war and so the boss’ level would drop accordingly. Usually I would always run straight for the boss but it was a fun way to have multiple options and also a good way to allow players to challenge themselves a bit or just have fun at a steady pace. This is definitely an element I’d like to see return in future games as well.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 9 is definitely a great game. I admit I do like just being able to jump into the battles right away but the open world approach was still fun. If you like exploring that should add a little extra boost to the experience as well. You do wonder if the series will eventually try something new with the story or if it’ll always adapt the same one though. I suppose it’s a classic story that never gets old but it would also be fun to see the characters in new situations. If you liked the previous Dynasty Warrior titles then I expect you will definitely like this one as well.

Overall 8/10