Lostorage incited WIXOSS Review


Wixoss returns with its third season. The first two seasons were pretty fun and mainly just got held back by an unfortunate subplot. This time around Wixoss has no such characters to stop it. I mean, the main villain is kinda suspect but nothing too crazy. Lostorage incited is a very solid all around show. It does a good job of introducing all of the characters and giving us another good installment here. The ending’s a bit somber for some characters but since there’s a season 4 you suspect that this isn’t quite the end to the story. That said, it would actually work really well as an ending either way so if you’re not a big sequel person you can end it here and still be fine. The ending may not be super happy but it is pretty definitive.

The show starts by introducing us to two characters who were best friends as kids: Suzuko and Chinatsu. Eventually Suzuko had to move away though. Despite writing to Chinatsu consistently the two lost touch because none of her letters were returned. Suzuko figures Chinatsu probably moved away as well. She’s ready to have a good time at school when a Wixoss card appears and tells Suzuko that she has been chosen as a Selector. This isn’t something you can say no to either. This time around the characters are given 5 coins. If you don’t fight within a certain amount of time then you will lose one of them. If you win a fight then you get to claim one. Additionally you can bet a coin on the match to use a special ability. If you win then you will get the coin back in addition to a new one but if you lose then you’ll lose 2 coins this way. Even though you have 5 coins at the start, 2 are grayed out since otherwise a single win would have you win a tournament right off the bat.

Suzuko would usually be happy to play a game like this but she doesn’t appreciate the stakes. There are quite a few rules here to consider. If you lose all of your coins then you will disappear. Much like the first seasons, your LRig will take over your body while your original self gets thrown into the void hopefully to be reborn as an LRig someday. If you win all of your coins then you can manipulate your memory. You can remember something that you’ve forgotten, forget something you no longer wish to remember, or even alter your memories to be happier ones. There is nothing to suggest that this will actually rewrite events though so worst case you’ll have inaccurate memories that can trip you up. The winning prize isn’t quite as enticing as getting any wish of your desires so a big thing here is just that you may not want to destroy other people by winning your match.

The time limit here is a pretty interesting way to up the stakes though. In the first two seasons you could theoretically just not fight and you would be okay. With the time limit here you absolutely have to participate at some point or you’ll lose your memories. I suppose you may not disappear and would just forget a bunch of stuff since your coins would just be grayed out. It’s hard to confirm that though as no character gets to that point. There’s a chance you would just completely disappear in the same way as losing. A pretty good chance honestly so that’s a pretty good incentive to keep on fighting.

Suzuko is just one half of the main plot. Meanwhile Chinatsu is also a main character. It’s a nice dynamic as I always like having two characters sharing the lead spot particularly when they’re split up. It works as a nice build up to the inevitable confrontation they’ll need to have. So Chinatsu was always a kid who tried to do the right things. She would stick up for Suzuko and help her succeed. She would support her parents when her father was having trouble holding down a job and would keep all of the things she was worrying about to herself. She just did her best not to make anyone worry but now that she’s a teenager this is becoming more than she can bear. Her father has lost his job again so they may have to move which means Chinatsu won’t be able to get into her next school. Chinatsu also lost her current job so she isn’t able to help bring in money.

That’s when the game of Wixoss really brings her in. She is offered a job by Satomi to basically trick people into signing contracts with him and then they are stuck with playing more and more matches. It’s obviously a scam set up and not something she should really be doing but she is desperate enough to make this call. She wants to lose her memories of Suzuko because she believes that they are part of the problem. Deep down Chinatsu really blames herself here. She wants to be able to be a tougher person who can make selfish decisions but feels like she can’t do so without discarding her past. As a result she will get the other characters into sticky situations if it means that it’ll benefit her. So she’s going on the dark path while Suzuko is staying heroic so you can see how their clash of ideals will be a big plot point later on.

That’s probably the longest plot description I’ve given in a while but there’s just a lot to unpack there so it’s necessary. The animation is definitely pretty solid here. We get a lot of nice shots during the action scenes and in general the character designs are on point as well. The animation is nice and smooth. I wouldn’t say there has been a big change since the first two seasons. The contract scenes are still the best looking ones in the series and you don’t really get much of that here but it’s a consistent art style that always looks good. The soundtrack is also really solid. You’ve got a lot of good tunes here including some nice battle themes and a catchy opening. The series has never disappointed in those areas.

Suzuko is a solid new main character. She’s fairly quick at getting used to the game and really giving it her all. While I wouldn’t say she can get as fiery as the original lead, she’s still a fun heroine to follow around. Her main goal is to finally be friends with Chinatsu again and she is resolute in that. It’s enough of a motivation to keep her character interesting. I don’t expect she will really break out as one of the big characters in the series though. Her partner Ril is also solid. When the season first began I thought to an extent it was Chinatsu. Sort of like a fake version of her born from Suzuko’s mind. The show doesn’t really go in that direction but she acts enough like her where I consider that to be true in my head canon. She’s a solid companion. Ril may not be as strong as Tama but I would say she is one of the stronger fighters.

Then you have Chinatsu who really goes into the dark side. She’s a fun hero to have around but she goes so far as being a villain that it’s hard to buy into her being a sympathetic character by the end. In particular she pulls some big tricks on Shohei who was just trying his best to be a hero til the end. Her goals are also naturally a lot shakier than Suzuko’s. Chinatsu believes that cutting out her memories of Suzuko using this game will allow her to be free but will it? Part of the goal here is that by being free she will no longer have to be such a nice person but she seems to be doing a good job of pushing everyone away even with her memories in tact. It’s not like this would make her home situation much better either.

It’s a solid plot because it does show that the burden of always having to be the tough mature character helping everyone out will take its toll. In the end it did end up breaking her and unfortunately she got in with the wrong crowd. I wasn’t really a fan of her by the end. I don’t mind a character arc of going to the dark side but also dooming everyone else through the contracts and being Satomi’s underling? Yeah that’s pretty suspect. Her partner Mel is also interesting because she actually acts sorta shady. It makes it less likely that she is a version of Suzuko. While this isn’t really delved into, you get the feeling that she was goading Chinatsu on at times. She certainly made no effort to put her back on the right track and seemed to enjoy being the villain.

Shou is one of the other Wixoss players. He had a tragic story of his younger sister vanishing after getting involved with the game. He hadn’t paid much attention back then and regrets it now. This may be part of what got him into the game although he never makes much progress. I wouldn’t say he does all that well as one of the big characters. His whole dynamic with his L Rig is definitely not all that great and at the end of the day he’s kind of weak and easily manipulated. Especially given what the stakes are here like finding out what happened to his sister I would have expected him to be a whole lot more serious when it counted.

Then you’ve got Shohei who is actually a great character. In fact I would say that he is the best character here. He actually takes the high road over the other characters by refusing to play the game so nobody gets hurt. It’s an easy strategy to use at its core except for the fact that you’ll end up losing all of your memories and then disappearing from the world forever if you don’t battle. At the end of the day none of the other characters no matter how heroic are willing to make this sacrifice. They want their wish no matter what even if the other characters end up falling to the wayside. Shohei wasn’t having any of that and I can respect it. At the end of the day in the first series I applauded Ruko deciding that her wish was to save everyone. I much prefer that kind of goal because you save everyone while fighting. In this case there are no wishes though so it’s hard to see what else Shohei can do. Sitting back to just accept your death doesn’t sound great but he isn’t hurting anyone this way and it’s hard to think of a workaround. Things may not have gone over very well for him but I can’t fault the decision. I’ve got a lot of respect for the guy and if anything it’s too bad he couldn’t have appeared more.

Hanna is Suzuko’s main friend here. She’s a step up from the friend in the first seasons but I never became a big fan. Hanna is said to be an excellent Wixoss fighter and strategist but you don’t see a whole lot of that here. To me she seemed rather average and quickly surpassed by Suzuko. She certainly has a tragic past of her own to get to. Considering what her goal was I thought she could have handled the new knowledge a little better but I suppose it was pretty intense either way. Her fighter is Nanashi, a fairly mysterious fighter who doesn’t really give her input much. She doesn’t mind being a villain or a hero so long as she is having fun. In a way that makes her one of the more dangerous figures since you absolutely can’t trust her at any point.

Aya is Shou’s LRig and definitely one of the meanest ones. Usually your LRig is someone you can count on at all times but not in this case. She’s constantly insulting him and granted, he does earn it some of the time. Holding back against an opponent in this game is something you must never do since your life and memories are on the line but Shou has a lot of easily exploited weaknesses. In comparison you’ve got Dona who is Shouhei’s LRig and a supportive partner to have. She’s not thrilled about his decision to stay away from the fights but does support him as best she can. She gets a fairly big role for being an LRig and is always right there ready to participate in the action.

There’s not much to say about Sou as his role here is pretty small. He’s definitely a pretty rude guy who only likes fighting people he thinks is weak so that tells you what you need to know about the guy’s confident. He’s pretty willing to be a lowly subordinate if it means he can get wins. Then he’s got a super timid LRig in Guzuko who is one of the worst ones in the game. It definitely makes them an odd pairing but also shows why they are so weak. They aren’t on the same page at all.

Then you have Rio who is a little kid that was selected. In a lot of ways that makes her a tragic character because she can’t possibly comprehend the stakes at the moment. She wants to make her mother well again and figures that by being in the game she will be able to do this. Well of course that may have been true in the first two seasons but since the prize here is only to manipulate memories and not change real world events, you can’t help but feel like this plan couldn’t possibly work out. This also makes her a bit of a tough opponent to fight against since nobody wants to actually take her out for the count since they know what’ll end up happening. Her LRig is named Mama and seems like a nice LRig on the surface but I’m not so sure. I guess it seems like I don’t trust any of them but why would I? They all know the rules but rarely ever let their controllers know until it’s too late. Rio isn’t as charismatic as the little girl from the first two seasons but she was still fun.

Satomi is the big villain of the series and well he’s definitely not my kind of villain. Every single line he has is an innuendo as he constantly messes with the heroes and heroines. The guy manipulates them so easily that you’ll be shaking your head. Why do they always get so flustered so easily? In general this season just had a lot of fun with that and it would continue on to the next season too as the characters intentionally frame things in a suggestive way. It’s all obvious enough where I’d love a character to play dumb and just accept the challenge. At the end of the day the characters are just asking if you want to have a match with them. Instead of being flustered or stammering just accept the challenge with a “Yeah, let’s have a great game ” and that would be an excellent comeback.

Back to Satomi though. His general goal is he wants to make everyone as miserable as possible. He’s definitely in the right field for this since that’s not a very difficult task to do at all. He’s also a very strong Wixoss player so it’s not like you can just disregard him either. The guy needs to be treated as a serious opponent and taken down right away. The problem is that there are very few characters in the series who can match him. This is because his chosen fighter Carnival is incredibly powerful. Carnival can reach elusive levels that only fighters like Tama could match and she has the nice ability of being able to use everyone’s ability. It’s always really hard to match a fighter like that because it breaks the balance of the game. If your opponent knows you’ve only got 1 skill while they can choose any, that’s naturally going to be very difficult to counter.

Kiyoi appears here but very briefly. She is seen as a powerful opponent who was even able to dominate Chinatsu. Then just as quickly she disappears from the season after having one more big fight. She clearly wants to stop Satomi’s plans but isn’t working with the rest of the group. She’s a mysterious loner and makes for a very interesting character. We’ll learn more about her in the next season though so this was really just a little quick set of appearances to set that up. Kiyoi was definitely a great character in this season.


Overall, This is the best season of Wixoss yet. While the memories angle seems like it makes the stakes a little lower than putting your immortal soul on the line for a wish, the end result is still basically the same. At the end of the day if you lose all of your memories you still do vanish so that hasn’t changed. The writing may not be amazing at times like with all of the characters getting flustered so easily by the most basic of suggestive phrases but the show has a lot of good plot lines and action to keep it going on a strong note. It’s a pretty interesting story all told and one that was able to survive on the new characters without needing the older ones to appear. I don’t have any real issues with the season and would definitely recommend giving it a watch. You don’t even need the first two seasons for context since it’s a whole new cast although it should be noted that this is in the old continuity and there are definitely references to that.

Overall 7/10

Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that I’ve been working on for quite a while at this point. It was the second big attempt at a card game version of DBZ based on the real one. The problem is that this is the kind of game that works better in person than in a video game. When you’ve got a game that’s completely luck based like this one, you can’t trust the computers not to cheat. Of course they’ll do whatever they can to win and that’s the problem. It’s never an even playing field with them and then that just makes the journey feel futile. 20 hours in and it was time to call it a day on this title.

The game adapts the first two arcs of DBZ. We get to wage our war against the Saiyans and Frieza’s Army in the first and then Cell and the Androids strike after that. I made it as far as the Ginyu Force showing up before I was ultimately forced to call it a day. Those guys are a lot tougher than you would suspect at first glance. There are also a lot of levels to even get that far. This game makes sure that even the briefest of skirmishes in the manga are turned into full blown boss battles in this one. You can expect a very long experience here. Honestly I don’t see how you could possibly complete it in under 30-40 hours. This game is definitely a long one so I do appreciate that the developers were trying to make this a complete experience.

The problem is that it’s long for all of the wrong reasons. One of the issues the game has is that each match takes forever. You have to wait for the cards to load, then you pick the cards and you get a little animation as the cards group up. If you win the encounter then the game plays a cutscene of you blasting the opponent. Rinse and repeat in every turn until one of you goes down. As you progress through the game you’ll deal less and less damage due to your level not going up quickly enough. If you want to fix that then you’ll need to go back and play the old levels again. Also if you lose during a level you don’t keep any of the XP from the fights. This can be tough as some levels can have up to 8 boss battles and if you lose to the last one you have to start all over again from your previous level. That means you’ll be stuck in a loop unless you go to an old level and do more grinding.

It’s not very fun either because in the last level the enemies just aren’t that tough so you’re not getting a lot of XP here either. It drags the game out even further. Still, I worked on doing a lot of grinding because I figured it was all worth it to beat the next level. Eventually I got Vegeta to level 23 to try and handle Captain Ginyu and to my dismay he started pulling out reverse cards. Now to understand how bad this is lets quickly recap the game’s controls. It’s very complicated so I’ll do my best to give a very condensed version of the rules. You have to use power or ally cards to attack your opponent and this works if your attack is higher than the other player’s power points. So if you roll a 7 and they have a 4 then you’ll get to attack and the damage will be based on their defense so for example the opponent may have a defense of 6. So just go for high numbers right?

Well, starting in this level the opponent has a reverse so if you have an 8 and they have a 2, it flips and they get your high number. The issue with this is that you’re now never sure of what to do. Do you try to go for a number higher than the opponent or lower? It’s a big issue because the computer always manages to somehow guess the correct number to dish out. I was far stronger than him at this point in the story yet he countered all of my blows until I eventually lost. That’s when I realized that there wouldn’t be much of a future in this game. It took the card mechanics one step too far to the point where there was just no return. You can’t use card game tactics like this and then also throw in a reverse card. If you’re not sure how to even aim your points then the whole thing feels futile.

It’s a shame because I do like the idea of the various characters having their own stories so you keep on alternating. The game has 4 main characters: Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Gohan. Each character has their own fights and because of that you can also see why Arc 1 is so long. Some of the stages are also very long and can last for 20 turns or more. Each turn takes a while too. On average I’d finish a level in around 20-30 minutes I’d say. I’ve seen games with longer levels but that’s still a lot of time for a card game. It’s why the best Yugioh games are the ones that have low loading times since you’re really able to get into the action without having to slow yourself down.

The graphics are okay. They’re classic sprite animations which look fun enough. It’s got a very retro feel to it. The soundtrack is less impressive though. It’s not bad, the game is clearly going for a bit of a peaceful theme that you won’t mind hearing over and over again. I definitely see the logic in this approach because with this gameplay you can bet that you’ll be hearing the theme effectively on loop forever. So I’d say the game succeeds in that respect. I’d like more tunes but if this is the one we have to have it could definitely be worse.

In terms of replay value the game technically has a ton of it. The main campaign is huge and then after that you’ve also got extra leveling up you can do and things of that nature. You won’t be finishing this game anytime soon but with the gameplay as it is you’re unlikely to want to play through the whole adventure. This game really should have just tried being more fun. I should mention that you are able to exploit the quick save mechanic so that you are actually able to save within the levels. It’s extremely handy because this game would be even trickier otherwise. 2 quick fixes the game could and should have done would be to add actual save points and also to allow you to keep your XP when you lose. Those two things would have made a world of difference in the game.

Overall, The game’s design just isn’t very good. It makes a whole lot of mistakes and ultimately is not able to come back from them. DBZ games need action and excitement. If you’re going to go for a card game format then you need to make sure it’s fun. Dragon Ball Heroes uses cards to a much greater effect. This one still beats the GBA game though. That one had similar controls but the execution was ultimately even worse than this one. At least this one tried a lot more with the story and such. There is a huge amount of dialogue in this game. I recommend playing Attack of the Saiyans instead.

Overall 4/10

Yugioh 7 Trials to Glory: World Championship Tournament 2005 Review


It’s time for another Yugioh game as I get closer to playing through them all. This one goes back to the whole calendar system which still should not be a thing if you ask me. It’s one of the World Championship titles too which is odd because those are usually all about just taking out all of the duelists a bunch of times and calling it a day. Why mess with a good thing? The actual gameplay is still pretty solid but it feels like there just isn’t a whole lot to do here so you’re spinning your wheels a lot.

There really isn’t much of a plot to be found here. You are playing as a new kid on the block who is going around dueling everyone. As you beat more and more players you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. There are also tournaments you can enter on the weekend. That’s really just about it as far as plot goes. Keep on dueling and having fun. Unlike the other Yugioh game a day doesn’t end here until you click on the bed and go to sleep. That means you can have a ton of duels in a single day if you’d like. There really isn’t much of a rush either as you can’t even see the calendar so it’s hard to say if there is an end game. There didn’t seem to be any kind of change for me even after playing through a few weeks. It was the same tournaments every weekend and the same duelists on the block.

So I went around town dueling as many people as I could. For the most part the duelists around town are made to be very easy so you can beat them with your starter deck. It makes sense since our deck isn’t all that powerful. You’ve got some great spells and traps like Trap Hole and Change of Heart but most of your monsters are pretty bottom of the barrel so it’s hard to deal with stronger opponents. A good example of this was in the tournament when I fought Mako. That guy’s cards were just way above my own. My spells carried me to a victory in one round but he won the set 2-1.

Around town the characters have monsters with numbers like 800 attack points so there isn’t much of a threat. You don’t directly get cards for winning in this game but you do get money after every duel so that is very helpful. I bought a bunch of packs and in theory the best way to really get a good deck in this game is to keep farming wins off of the weaker opponents. Do this long enough and you should have a winning combo before long.

The problem again is that there isn’t too much of an incentive to doing so. I assume that winning tournaments and beating duelists enough will cause new ones to appear or do something but without knowing that for sure there isn’t a great reason for continuing to duel. That’s often the problem with no story mode. At least nowadays you can duel online to still feel like there is some kind of end game but that wasn’t really an option back in the day. I’d say making some kind of internal goal for yourself like beating every duelist once makes sense, but it’s not quite the same.

The graphics are pretty solid here. There’s not a whole lot for the game to really do with them since not a lot is happening on screen, but I’d say what we do have looks solid. You certainly won’t be confused as to what is happening at any given point or anything like that. The music is also catchy enough to enhance your dueling experience which is all that I would ask of it. It’s not the most impressive Yugioh game out there, but still a solid way to learn the game and have some fun in the mean-time. The actual UI is better than some of the other titles.

Again, it’s hard to really talk about the length since it’ll depend on how you handle this. I’d say that the game is probably about 2-3 hours if you just want to go and duel a bunch of people. If you want to get good enough cards to win some tournaments then you’ll probably need to increase that to around 10 hours. It will really depend on a ton of factors though like what cards you get from the shop or how good you are at building your deck. I imagine that most people’s decks will look incredibly different as they go through the game.

Overall, Yugioh 7 Trials to Glory is a fun game. It may not have changed the world the way that some of the other Yugioh games did, but I’d make the case that it is still a fair experience. You can buy this game for a few dollars at this point so you really can’t go wrong here. That being said, I’d advise you to get one of the other World Championship titles instead. I prefer having the tier system where as you get more and more wins you unlock stronger duelists. It makes for more of a linear campaign and that’s something I always like to see. Now I’ve only got one more GBA Yugioh game to work on, but it is by far the hardest Yugioh game I’ve played so beating this one should be tricky.

Overall 6/10

Yugioh The Eternal Duelist Soul Review


It’s time to take a look at a GBA Yugioh game that I’m pretty sure I played back in the day. I remember going through tons of duels and really getting to master the strategies of taking them all on. The data even reset, but it’s been a long time so I went through the full first tier before doing this review. The game holds up quite well. What keeps it from being one of the definitive World Championship titles is the fact that the loading times are a little on the slow side compared to the others. You can hold B to speed things up, but then it’ll skip your chance to use trap cards which is risky. The game also constantly asks if you want to use the cards in your hand which is a little overdone.

There isn’t a plot in this game. How it works is you go to the campaign mode. There are 5 duelists you can challenge. Once you beat all 5 of them twice then you unlock the next 5 duelists. Beat all of them 3 times and you unlock tier 3. Rinse and repeat through the 5 tiers. So you can expect to get quite a lot of duels in. The duelist in Tier 1 are basically a cakewalk and you shouldn’t have a problem, but as you go through the tiers the difficulty level certainly spikes up. You’ll definitely need to re-tool your deck quite a bit as you go on and will have to hope for good cards through RNG. You get around 6-7 new ones every time you score a win.

Your starter deck is already quite nice though. You get a Monster Reborn card which is still one of the best in the whole franchise. You’ve also got Raigeki which destroys all opponent monsters, Trap Hole which destroys a new monster who has been summoned, Mystical Space Typhoon which blows up a spell or trap card on the opponent’s side of the field, etc. Your deck is quite loaded with the only weak point being the monsters as most of those are intentionally pretty weak. If you get your Summoned Skull onto the field you will be in good shape though. It’s a long process but by the end of the game your deck will be quite formidable indeed. In my experience the best thing to do is to always arm yourself with a ton of spells and trap cards. Those will really help the monsters out. The strongest monsters won’t do much if the opponent is constantly destroying them with effects after all.

The graphics are nice and fit the game pretty well. The UI is on point and everything is pretty streamlined. You can always tell what is happening even if there are minimal effects in the actual game. You don’t really need to be flashy in Yugioh because the gameplay is strong enough to stand up on its own. That being said, it is fun when the games go a bit extra in that like with Tag Force. Those games are really awesome in part because of how flashy they are. this game isn’t quite going to be in the same league. The soundtrack is also a bit on the dull side. You’ll want to put on some background music while playing this one to shake things up a bit.

There’s a lot of play time you’ll need to put into this game so you don’t have to worry about a lack of content. By the time you’ve beaten all of the duelist a number of times in order to unlock the next tier you’ll probably have played this game for 15-20 hours. When you put that into perspective then playing the 5 or so dollars to buy the game is a steal. Yugioh really had a ton of GBA games to the point where they are all dirt cheap to buy at this point. In comparison it feels like they don’t really make a lot of them anymore. That makes sense though because we have the mobile game now so there isn’t a lot of reason to make more of them. The mobile game has everything you could really hope for in a Yugioh title. That one has a ton of content to explore.

Overall, Yugioh The Eternal Duelist Soul is a really fun game. It’s a bit bare bones next to a lot of the other titles in the series, but if you judge the title on its own then it’s as good a game as you can hope for. I expect you’ll have a lot of fun here so long as you enjoy the Yugioh series in general. At the end of the day the actual card game has always been a lot of fun and I don’t really expect that to change anytime soon. Especially the original days where you don’t have to worry about too many combos. Synchro Summoning is about as complex as I get in my dueling strategies, anything past that I don’t really tend to include in my decks.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh GX Duel Academy Review


It’s time to look at another game that uses the dreaded day system. I still cannot fathom why games would ever choose to use such a system. All it does is force you to miss out on huge amounts of the game so it’s like the developers are wasting their time adding a bunch of features that we’ll never get to use. The core Yugioh gameplay is still good which keeps this from being a negative game in the end, but it is heavily limited.

The story (albeit it there isn’t much of a story here) is about a new kid who has arrived at Duel Academy. He’s looking to perfect his craft and become one of the greatest duelists of all time. It’ll take a lot of semesters and training to do it, but practice makes perfect. That’s the extent of the game. Every few months you get to take an exam to try and rank up, but the questions are surprisingly tricky. I did well enough in the dueling part…I actually had a positive record. The problem is that if you don’t do very well in the written exam you go down in rank anyway. I thought this was a bit iffy, but I suppose it is what it is. After a bunch of duels and weeks went by I figured it was time for the review.

In terms of gameplay it’s the usual Yugioh rules that you should be familiar with. In every turn you get to summon a monster and play some spells or traps. The goal of the game is to get your opponent’s life points down from 8000 to 0. Once you do that you will have won the game and you get to duel the next person. Everyone’s always got a bunch of trap cards to play so you want to work around those. For example, always attack with the weakest monster first and if you have more than 1, put the others in defense mode. That way when Mirror Force is played you won’t lose all of your monsters. As you play more and more duels you’ll see why it’s very important to protect your backup monsters. Each day seems to have 3 segments so you can plan out quite a few duels per day. You then get to watch the week days go by with nothing happening except a chance to buy some cards at the shop. Then you go back to fighting off more duelists.

One thing that slows down the duels here though is the fact that the characters like to talk a lot. It’s an interesting idea but I think it should be done without interrupting the flow. I suppose voice acting would have been out of the question for a GBA game, but maybe have everyone talk as an intro instead of during the duel. I believe that would allow you to really get in on the dueling and not have to worry about the rest. I was pretty satisfied with my starter deck though. It had a lot of fun fire monsters that I always like to have along with some good traps and spells. I made a few modifications here and there, but mainly kept it in tact.

When it comes to the graphics I’d say that the game was pretty solid. you could always tell what was happening and the illustrations were nice. The dueling effects were good and we got a nice amount of backdrops. The soundtrack is also pretty good. It’s not quite ready to take on the GX anime ost or anything like that, but it has actual variety which is important since you’ll be dueling quite a lot.

This game’s got a long amount of time if you want to truly complete the game. It’s hard to say exactly what beating the game entails but I imagine you would need to conquer all of the exams and reach Blue Rank. Assuming you have a great deck and don’t mind restarting the game during exams a few times maybe you would clear this game in around 20 hours or so. Technically there is a ton of replay value to be had here as well. Obtaining all of the cards feels like it would probably take a life time to achieve. Furthermore you’ve got to abide by the day system so you can’t just go to the shop whenever you feel like it.

It really all comes back to that system. Not to be repetitive, but I don’t like having the game force me to only be able to do certain tasks at specific times. I like being able to choose what to do next. While games don’t have to be linear I also like to have a concrete goal so I know exactly what I am supposed to do and when I am supposed to do it. Things like that really go a long way in my eyes. I prefer the retro Yugioh style where it used to be that you would fight 5 duelists, beat all of them 5 times to unlock the next row and then rinse/repeat the system. At least that way you always knew you were making progress.

Overall, This is one of the weakest Yugioh games. It’s a shame because I love GX and really wanted it to have a solid game to fall back on. Unfortunately this is not the game to do that. Tag Force would end up being a better option to represent GX. This one feels more like a cash-in and there is little that it can offer in place of other titles. I would highly recommend getting one of the World Championship games instead like 2006 which is still my favorite one. Those have more direct goals and the gameplay is completely streamlined. That’s all I really need in my Yugioh games and then I’m a happy camper.

Overall 5/10

Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that I’ve had for a very long time. Part of why I kept it in the backlog is because the game just wasn’t very interesting. I would play it a bit from time to time but the controls were confusing and since there wasn’t even really a story I didn’t see the need to keep on playing. Well, I gave this one another whirl and the game is as confusing as ever. It’s hard to ever make any headway here.

The game is based on the actual card game. Unfortunately it is hard for that to translate well to video game format. Unlike Yugioh or Duel Masters this game feels very clunky with matches that go on forever. Literally almost all of my matched went to time, which is the full 7 turns that a duel can take. Matches should not be going to the equivalent of sudden death every round. That tells me that there is something at least a little weird with the game. Since I don’t get it then the A.I. should at least be able to beat me up pretty quick.

Here’s the gameplay in the simplest way I can describe it. When you start the game you draw 5 cards. If you go first then you get to play any non combat cards you have. After that you choose to attack or pass. If you pass then you discard all but one card and draw a fresh 5. Once the opponent has done so as well then they will attack and you will pick a card to defend with. You have to try and take down all of the Life cards that the opponent has and they will do the same to you. You can win in one of 3 different ways. You can take all of their life cards away which will be a complete victory. You can also win via technical win by exhausting the opponent of all cards or maybe you can even grab the Dragon Balls and win via super victory. A final way you can win is also by raising your power level and anger level to the max setting. If you do any of these things then you will have claimed victory.

The problem is that the opponent will never let you do this. They block all of your hits and always seem to have more cards than you do. They don’t run out despite playing so many and every time you raise your anger level they reset it back to 1 using a spell card. As a result you just can’t claim the advantage and the rounds take forever. I was somehow able to beat Krillin and the second guy, but Guldo is where I met my match. After dozens of fights I still couldn’t conquer him and that’s where my DBZ card adventures concluded. It was time to throw in the towel. After all the only way to improve your deck is to keep on re-fighting the first two opponents, but I was only able to beat them once after a ton of tries. Doing so again just to hopefully get a useful card to make a comeback feels like such a long shot that it is barely worth it.

Then you’ve also got the fact that the game has no real effort put into it. There is only one piece of music in the entire game which keeps on looping over and over for every action that you take. You can only hear the same song so many times before you just have to take a break for it. How is it possible that the game wasn’t able to get more than one tune? It’s just crazy to only have 1 in the entire soundtrack if you ask me. There’s not much to say about the graphics either since there barely are any. You’ve just got the one illustration for each character as the squares match up with each other over and over again. The cards don’t look all that flashy either.

This game feels like a total cash-in and that’s not too surprising considering how long the loading times are. Each match takes forever in part because you can’t go through the turns quickly enough. You can spam the A button to at least get rid of the drawing phase and it speeds up the attacks but it also skips card effects so then the catch is that you’ll lose further track of what’s going on. It’s a pretty unfortunate situation all around. The length of the game is quite long as a result although it feels artificial. In theory you can probably get a good 20 hours out of this one and maybe more depending on how often you lose. There won’t be any real replay value, but at this point you wouldn’t need any since the campaign is so long.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game is the weakest of the DBZ games. It’s hard to picture any game losing to this one although since the DS also had a title based on the Card Game it is possible. What the title really needs is a better explanation of the rules and to speed up the gameplay a bit. I know the computer was able to use his avatar card at some points when the tutorial never even referenced how to do so. I tried using mine a bunch but every time I tried the game said that it wasn’t the right situation to do so. That’s not entirely helpful to be honest but it may not have mattered much. My deck simply wasn’t strong enough to beat my opponent’s so no matter how many times I would draw some cards it just wasn’t going to make up the difference. The only way you should get this game is if you are a really big fan of the official card game.

Overall 3/10

Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game Stats and Records

No stats this time. I wish it would at least show a win/loss column next to the opponents so you can see how crazy tough this game is. My record was something like 2-60. Kudos to anyone able to take out all of the fighters in this one!

Yugioh Duelist of the Roses Review


It’s time to look at what I’d say is easily the strangest Yugioh game. For starters the game has nothing to do with the actual characters from the series and the plot seems to be based on a war from a very long time ago. The story definitely isn’t very interesting and there isn’t much of one in the first place so the gameplay will have to hold the game up on its own. Will it be able to make this title a success?

When you start the game you are summoned as the legendary Rose duelist by the Red Rose army who are currently losing the battle against the White Rose. You are their last hope to try and turn the tide of the war. Seto, who is the leader of the White side shows up and asks you to join him instead to rule the world. This is where you make your choice of which faction to play as. The game is around 10-11 duels long and the path you take determines which array of fighters you will be contending with. The goal is to get all 8 of the cards by beating 8 guardians and there are some extra fighters along the way.

When you first start the game you get to choose your starter deck. All of them are pretty awful if you ask me and you can expect to lose quite a lot of duels at first. Your opponents have everything whole you’ve got basic cards that aren’t strong enough to win. What I was surprised about is that the computer already has significantly more powerful monsters at 2700 from the start while your guys are limited to 1500. Anyone who was able to beat these guys with a starter deck right off the bat has my respect on this one.

Another complication is that the game doesn’t even follow Yugioh rules. I was surprised about this because of you don’t have the rules or the characters then why is this a Yugioh game anyway? I should mention that the main connection in the story is that the characters happen to look like Yugioh characters…that’s it. It’s like when a show does a Christmas Carol and they are all not themselves for that one AU episode. This is the same concept and I guess you’ve got the monsters even if the gameplay is different.

The gameplays a bit complex, but here’s my best attempt at a solid write up. You start out with your captain or vanguard if you will. You can move him one space a time along a board that is fairly large. Around 10 by 6 or something like that. The goal is to destroy the opponent’s guardian. Both guardians always start with 4000 HP but that can go up or down based on spell and trap cards. If you attack the opponent directly then your attack power will determine how much health is lost. You can summon 1 monster per turn and that monster can move 1 space per turn unless it has a type advantage and then it can move two times. All of the opponents you fight will have the type advantage so expect them to always be moving two spaces at a time. A spell card to change the terrain comes in handy for this although they have a very limited range so they aren’t always too great. It’s still a good balancer in the right circumstance, but keep in mind that playing this spell will prevent you from summoning a monster that turn.

You gain 3 stars each turn and monsters require stars to summon. The strongest monsters need 8 stars so you can choose to either wait a few turns and summon them or keep on summoning weaker ones. Usually you want at least one card to defend yourself with and then you start saving up. Then you’ve got all of the spell and trap cards to deal with and you can fuse some into monsters to make them stronger. You can also fuse monsters from your hand but the game doesn’t let you know if they’re compatible so it’s a lot of trial and error here. If you make the wrong call then you’ll lose the first card in each fusion which can be a bit tiresome. This is the best way to clear your hand out to get more cards though. Just smash all of the cards together and next turn you’ll get 5 fresh ones. There’s a lot more to this gameplay, but it’s so complex that the only way to really get it is to play the game first hand. That’s when it’ll all really start to make sense.

As for the graphics, the game has some pretty good illustrations. For the most part there aren’t too many cutscenes but we get a few paintings at the end and one at the start. I prefer animated cutscenes but there was a good amount of effort put into these pieces of art. In game the stages and effects are decent but not all that fun to look at. All of the stages are pretty similar and the whole thing looks pretty dreamy all the time. Better level designs would have been ideal.

I already spoke to the game’s difficulty level and I can assure you that it’s one of the toughest games I’ve played. Beating the whole thing with a starter deck is impossible so the idea is you beat the first few guys, take their cards and keep on beating them til you get a lot of good ones. Then you move on. It requires a lot of wins as well as rng to get the right cards. Then in the duel you need a fair amount luck to draw the right card at the right time. Ultimately I had to just grab some cards through the password mode to get through these duels. I recommend doing this if you need to save some time because otherwise you will be here for a very long time. It does help with the replay value I suppose. The game should last you for quite a while and once you beat it you get to play all over again as the other team.

Overall, Yugioh Duelist of the Roses is an odd game with a confusing gameplay system. It takes quite a while to learn how to really play the game and even then it’s hard to get invested into it. The duels feel like they take quite a long time although that’s normal for a Yugioh game. Once you turn the animations off it speeds up quite a bit. If you like a good strategy type game then this is the one for you. There are a few similarities to Fire Emblem after all. Otherwise I would definitely recommend playing a different Yugioh game instead. My top recommendations would be World Championship or any of the PSP titles. Those actually follow the Yugioh rules and have a better plot. (Note that some of the World Championships don’t have a plot so carefully choose which one you want to play)

Overall 5/10

Cardfight Vanguard: High School Arc Cont. Review


Time for another Cardfight review! This may seem pretty soon compared to usual, but that’s because this was more of a miniseries than a full fledged one. It deals with the fallout from the recent reboot season. Kouji must face his demons and Aichi still intends to bring his club a world championship as soon as possible. At 14 episodes the series has to move on pretty quick but still makes for a good watch. It’s probably the most standard of the series and by default is the weakest entry in the franchise. There’s only so much you can do in 14 episodes when the others are all around 30-50 episodes (Some are at 60+) but it does what it can.

The show picks up where the last one left off. The universe has been reset after Kouji was defeated. Everyone has seemingly lost their memories of the old timeline. As a result there are a few things that don’t add up. One is that Aichi’s cardfight club no longer has the right amount of members so the student council decides to shut them down. Aichi and his team defeat them to avert this dilemma and as part of the deal even get the council to aid them in joining the big cardfight tournament that is about to start. Aichi aims to learn why the club is seemingly missing someone despite having no knowledge of this. Winning the tournament might somehow give them clues on how to do that.

They aren’t the only team to enter the Koshien though. Meanwhile you have Ren’s team and they’ve recruited a powerful ally in Kouji. Kouji no longer wants to erase Vanguard from the world, but as a result he is frozen with fear whenever he duels someone. He knows that if he wins he will end up destroying the opponent’s will to play so he must find a way around that if it’s even possible. His plot is almost as big a focus as Aichi’s as he tries to find a new path for himself. Meanwhile Kai is also still weakened from when his spirit was destroyed and along with the rest of the emptied souls must try to regain his joy for the game.

While the main plot of the season is technically about the tournament, it really doesn’t have a whole lot of importance. It’s here as a plot device to get all of the characters together to get through their difficulties but ultimately that’s about it. Unfortunately someone must have told the animators/writers this because it gets the shaft. The tournament doesn’t start until the last few episodes and as a result just about every fight is handled off screen. Sure, you see them on screen briefly for the trash talk and posturing but then most of the duel just goes by in a flash. It almost would have been better to not have had the tournament at all. It all feels very half hearted like the show is just going through the motions.

I suppose a rushed tournament is still better than not having any duels…but there’s more the show could have done if it cut the tournament out. The best episodes here are mainly the ones about Kouji as he struggles with his inner demons. It continues to show why he is the best character in this post reboot world as he is trying very hard to change himself. It’s a pretty painful process compared to everyone else who just has to win a duel. Trying to lose is always a tough thing to do because it also hurts your reputation. I still consider Kouji to be the strongest duelist here even with the nerf as I don’t find his new deck to be quite as impressive.

Although it initially seemed like he was the only one who kept all his memories while everyone else had to start remembering little flashes, the last episode seems to contradict this. Perhaps the universe change is slowly going to get everyone and Psyqualia only prevents this for a time. Ideally I’d like everyone to remember the old days as I never like for it to be permanently forgotten. The characters all get happy endings this time around though so that’s an improvement over the last adaption of this arc. Kourin gets her proper closure and is once again a true part of the team. She’s definitely been a fun character and it’ll be nice to have her back on the cast for a future season if we go back to these guys someday.

Nakagami is probably the biggest of the new characters. He’s got a lot of potential to be sure. At times he is played off purely as a comic relief character and I have a gut feeling that this will always be the case, but there’s always the chance he will be played seriously. If the show ever does go down that route it’ll be cool. I like the concept of his demon arm and he actually seems like a pretty decent duelist. His ramblings are fun and his duel theme is great. All in all I have to say that he is just a great character and struck all of the right notes.

The rest of the student council are decent, but they won’t leave much of an impact on you. They’ve each got their character quirks, but that’s about it. I like the President’s global gimmick as he is always yelling about that. Aichi’s club is always around, but I wouldn’t say that any of them have an especially big role. Naoki does want his revenge on Kouji since ironically one of his only memories is of the days when Kouji was a villain and insulted Aichi. As a result he wants revenge during the big tournament which is his perfect opportunity to do so.

Kai’s episodes are not quite as thrilling as Kouji’s but he also does get a pair of episodes where he duels Mamoru which also works as some setup for Cardfight G. It’s just so weird to see Kai acting so weak. It doesn’t feel right since he’s always been the champ above everyone else. I dare say that he’s taken the biggest hit from his old stature in this reboot series. He is getting to his old level though so I like to think that by the next series he will be back to normal. At least he ultimately did get his hits in though. At this point we definitely need another big season with more G characters. I feel like they’re all close enough in age right now where we could get some good fights between them without the original cast being as old as they were in the original.

As always the animation is pretty sharp here. I’ve always liked the style and especially since the show isn’t very action based the animators can easily just focus on making sure that the character models stay even at all times. The colors are bright and the whole thing just works quite well. In terms of soundtrack it’s all tunes from the last season and they are just as good as they used to be. Kouji still has the best theme but the others all share solid themes as well. The action tunes go quite well with the duels.

I know there are some who prefer the days of Cardfight before the stakes became planetary level. Back in the old episodes it was more about having fun and getting better with your friends so I can understand that. However, I think it’s the natural progression of every series to get higher and higher stakes so my favorite seasons are still the ones like that such as Link Joker. Still, this is a nice refresher season I suppose which is the best way to put it. As I mentioned earlier it’s still quite solid, it’s just “average” compared to the others which would absolutely blow you away.

Overall, This was a good aftermath season. I can see why it would make sense to just include this one with the last season. Ultimately it’s not like it’s trying to tell a brand new story just yet. The next season has already started in Japan though so I’ll be watching it pretty soon. I’m not sure how long that one’s going to be, but I expect it’ll be at least 26 episodes if not 40 so the review for that will likely take a lot longer. If you’re been watching the Cardfight shows then you definitely need to check these out. If this would be your first Cardfight title then I definitely recommend watching the previous season first as you wouldn’t really appreciate the aftermath without actually seeing the events that led up to it.

Overall 7/10