NHL 15 Review


It’s time to jump back into the world of Hockey! It’s been a long time since I’ve played a hockey game so I must warn you that I was pretty rusty. It’s definitely not my favorite sport to play, but at the same time it can be fast paced so it’s not the worst either. It’s just got a high learning curve like the FIFA titles. Fortunately this one does give you a lot of different gameplay options at the ready which I thought was pretty nice. You can play through Arcade mode or simulation style. I tried both options to make sure I was ready for the review.

So there are the usual modes here. You can play quick games, jump into a franchise, or you can have fun coaching and practicing. I jumped right into the thick of the action of course. The gameplay is pretty straight forward as it’s a 3D title and the goal is to hit the ball/puck into the opponent’s goal. Once you’ve done that then you’ll have scored a point. Whoever scores the most wins. You can switch between players and shoot, pass, and a lot of other moves. One thing I like about this game is how it embraces the combat aspect of the game. You can body slam opponents and even accept fight requests.

If you accept a fight then the two characters will line up in a boxing battle. The controls even change to that of a boxing game’s which is a pretty neat touch. I definitely enjoyed those brawls even if I was basically just button mashing at that point. I won almost all of my fights which was pretty nice. As for the overall games, I won the match on rookie level, but lost on all other difficulties. It’s similar to Soccer in how it’s almost impossible to score. Even on the easiest difficulty I was having trouble doing anything. The CPU would just run in and steal the puck from me whenever I was getting close which was pretty sad.

I feel like there are more breaks in the flow of the game than usual here though. Whenever you do something it seems like a flag comes out or the puck is stopped for icing. As a result the games can be a little on the long side. The computers never seem to make these mistakes though so it’s just something that you’ll have to get around. I suspect that it would take you a very long time to get all of the mechanics down. It helps a lot if you already watch Hockey and know the rules. If you do not, then this will be quite the experience indeed.

There are naturally a lot of PS4 trophies to grab which helps with the replay value. Prepare to sink quite a lot of time into the game if you are seriously gunning for the Platinum though. If there are any online trophies then your chances are probably 0 before you even start anyway. Then you’ve got local multiplayer so as with most sport games it basically has unlimited replay value as long as you know someone who also enjoys NHL. This may be a bit of a long shot though as I don’t imagine that there are a whole lot of people who would want to play NHL 15 when you can play one of the newer ones.

Naturally the game’s presentation is quite impressive and fires on all cylinders. You actually have live action commentators giving feedback as the match starts and then we get a nice introduction to both teams. The graphics are definitely on point and the music is pretty fitting. None of this is surprising in the slightest as EA sport games always look really great, but it’s nice to see regardless. This is the level of design that all games should strive for, especially in this day and age.

After having played more sport games I can confirm that so far the standings are Football>Tennis>Basketball>>>>Soccer>NHL>>>>MLB>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PGA. I really enjoy playing the first 3 sports, but the other ones definitely take quite the tumble. Still, with the exception of PGA, it’s not like I would call any of them bad games. Even this one will still get a positive score. It may not be a title that I see myself ever getting back into, but there was definitely a lot of effort put into this game. The developers clearly cared and just seeing that boxing minigame was enough to get me sold. There aren’t any glitches and the gameplay does seem to make sense, I just need to learn how to master it.

Overall, NHL is not quite as fun as FIFA I’d say. It makes sense since I prefer Soccer to Hockey in general. Both games have a lot of similarities though so it’ll definitely come down to personal preference. What gives Soccer the edge though is that it’s easier to defend so at least the team won’t blow you out. In this game prepare for them to run up the score because they aren’t held back by the goalie. They’ll score whenever they feel like it and it’s very hard to stop them. The gameplay wasn’t quite as intuitive to me as the other games so moving around was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. Fans of the NHL games will definitely like this one, but newcomers beware as the game is just very complicated and hard to master.

Overall 6/10

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Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron Review


The Star Wars marathon continues as I play through the final PSP experience. The Battlefront series has definitely been pretty fun. While I still do miss the overall gameplay of the first title, the rest have definitely been solid. Ironically I think this one’s gameplay is definitely weaker than Renegade Squadron, but it makes up for this with a more expansive story. The Battlefront games have all been pretty close when it counts.

The game’s story covers the trilogy as well as some events after it. The main character is X2 and he is a clone bred for combat. Along with X1, he was one of the Empire’s finest soldiers. He ends up joining the rebellion though once Palpatine emerges and he finds out that he was on the wrong side. X1 remains evil though and will do everything he can to help the Empire win the war. It may not be Darth Vader and Palpatine that the rebels need to worry about after all.

It’s always fun to see how the games incorporate all of these new characters and events into the classic films. They fit them in pretty seamlessly to be honest. There are also a lot of fun nods to the last games as in 2 missions you get to support Renegade Squadron in their battles. It helps tie everything together into a larger continuity so that’s definitely pretty cool. Sadly you don’t get to fight with Vader this time, but you do take on some Jedi which is definitely a lot of fun.

It is easy to see how the Jedi ended up losing the war though. There is one cutscene where a Jedi shows up and manages to beat X1. However, he says that he won’t murder anyone. After saying this, the Jedi turns his back to X1 and is promptly stabbed. Did he really think that one line would cause X1 to turn good? Later in the story X2 is presented with a similar choice and while he also makes the hero call of not murdering X1, he at least doesn’t give the villain his back. Both X1 and X2 are definitely real fun characters though. They remind me of Starkiller to an extent. They also get hype as the villain takes down Luke Skywalker and the hero is ultimately able to trade blows with just about anyone in the game.

As for the core gameplay, it’s a classic 3D blaster style. You do get a lightsaber during the final few levels though so at that point it feels more like a beat em up. The controls are a little rougher than the last few titles mainly thanks to the camera work. It can be very hard to turn around as the camera shakes quite a bit so get ready for the villains to get a bunch of cheap shots in. Perhaps the developers realized this though as there are constant checkpoints throughout the game. Whenever you die you can find solace in the fact that you won’t have gone far. You’ll rarely have to replay more than 5 minutes of content to get back to where you are at.

You can heal your health by throwing a health packet or standing near a health point. Likewise there are various ammo points. Due to all of these methods of strengthening your character you are rarely in serious danger. So long as you play patiently you will definitely be fine. The aerial levels are back as well and these are definitely improved from the last one. You can move really quickly and the lock-on system is on point. You always feel like you are in control here and I actually looked forward to these levels. Typically they would be mixed in with the ground levels for a pretty good balance.

As for the length of the game, while it isn’t 3 hours like the last one, it is still pretty short. I don’t imagine it would take you much longer than 5 hours and honestly it would probably be more like 4. It’s definitely a short campaign, but of course there are other modes to keep you engaged like jumping into normal levels to have fun in. There’s no real post game though as the various unlockables don’t feel all that special. I got it for a cheap price and the value is pretty decent. I don’t think you’d regret the buy as even though it is short the gameplay is fun enough to keep you on board.

Going back to the length, this is also the kind of game where you can leisurely beat the level as you explore or you can blast through them. As the game uses a checkpoint system it’s very easy to cheese the game by running full speed to each objective. Even if you die after making it the checkpoint counts as a save point so each time you’ll be closer. As a result it’s not a bad idea to just run in each time. It’s not exactly how the developers probably imagined you’ll play though. Also, it’s not like you’re always saving a ton of time by doing this, but realistically there is no reason to actually fight all of the enemies unless you really want to. After all, there’s no EXP system here and I only tend to stick around and fight everyone when I can get level ups out of it.

The graphics are definitely solid and we do get more cinematics than last time. The Jedi vs X1 battle was really solid and we get other good action scenes as well. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see such cutscenes in the games and it does make the game feel a little more special. The soundtrack is about the same as always. I know the tunes are still good no matter how many times you hear them but I want to see the Star Wars games show a little more creativity with the upcoming games. There are a lot of new tunes they can come up with I’m sure.

Overall, Elite Squadron is a very fun game. It is definitely a step up over Rebel Squadron even if the gameplay is a little weaker. It’s very relative since all of the Battlefront games are very solid in that respect. The rest of the game aspects improve upon the original so you can’t count that as anything but a win. The next Star Wars game I’m playing is for the GBA so that’ll definitely be fun. It’ll be a fresh gameplay experience so it’ll be nice to see what the other companies could come up with. y Star Wars marathon is coming to a close, but it’s definitely been a fun ride. If you don’t have Elite Squadron yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review


It’s been a little while, but now it’s time to look at the next installment in the Olympic Game series. This one has been a mixed bag for me because some of the titles here have been really solid while others were pretty bland. I have to put Sochi in the weaker half as well. While it does have the best story in the series the gameplay is definitely the weakest. The game made the odd decision of having you switch between the Gamepad and the Wii remote constantly for story mode. That’s just an odd decision if you ask me and it’s one that slows everything down. I’ll go into that more in a second.

The story revolves around Team Sonic and Team Mario getting ready for another round of competition. They are interrupted when a giant castle shows up and mysterious keys lock down all of the doors. The heroes will have to fight past shadow versions of themselves to make it to the top and find out who is doing this. What mastermind could possibly be giving the heroes such a difficult fight? One thing’s for sure, the heroes can’t afford to hold back if they want to claim victory here.

So I definitely do give the game credit for actually adding a story here. That’s where the credit stops. I’ll talk about the positives in a minute, but the controls need to be addressed right away. Not only do you have to switch controls but you have to have the Wii Remote Plus or you won’t even be allowed to play the story. It’s a pretty slick way of making sure everyone bought the add on, but definitely a shady method if you ask me. The player shouldn’t be required to jump through all these hoops just to have some fun playing these Olympic titles.

Would it have been so hard to have just made all of the minigames Gamepad compatible? It’s just really strange that you have to keep switching. Also, the series has never been particularly good with this, but it’s really hard to understand the controls at a glance here. You can see the controls after you’ve paused the game, but the first time around you’ll probably be winging it. The controls are heavily motion based as well so get ready for the game to keep doing things when you don’t want it to. As a result this can make the game a bit more difficult than it is actually supposed to be which is definitely pretty iffy.

On the positive side, the graphics look pretty good as always. It’s always nice to see modern Sonic and Mario on the same screen here. All of the characters look sharp and the same goes for the level designs and animations. The soundtrack is also quite solid as it gives us various remixes for both the Mario and Sonic titles. This adds a little spice to the mini games for sure. It also just makes a lot of sense since the game should not use any generic themes when it has such a vast library of good tunes to choose from. That’s the way I see it anyway.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. The games are all made to be ones that you can replay a lot with friends and family to just have a good time. There are a lot of records to break and content to unlock. It’s not quite as vast as the first Winter Olympic Games which had a whole store filled with things to buy, but it’s definitely not bad either. There are a lot of modes here, but of course what will ultimately decide whether you want to play or not is how much you like the minigames.

On that note, they are very hit or miss. There are some minigames that are a lot of fun like Hockey, sliding down the hill, skateboarding, bobsledding, etc. On the other hand, there is the classic Curling game which seems to make it in every year. This game is as bad as it always was with the outcome basically being luck and the game drags on forever. You never get to walk in and out for this title. The dancing minigames also take quite a while to end. I believe they may be 4-5 minutes long which may not sound crazy, but for a minigame that is really pushing it.

At the end of the day the Olympic series has always seemed like a watered down version of Mario Party. The various games usually aren’t made with quite as much heart and there’s always a dicey one in there somewhere. Most of the games are good and I think they’ll all be reasonably enjoyable once you’re not playing a computer. This is still a good party game, but it’s definitely not the first one I’d recommend getting. I’m hoping that the new one coming out for the Switch does something different. I haven’t played the newest Olympics title yet so maybe by now they’ve fixed everything, but I can say that t this point in time I’m not in a huge rush to get the next one. I certainly will, but I do hope it’s better than this one.

Overall, The Sochi 2014 games aren’t a whole lot different from the other years. I feel like they phoned this game in to an extent. Many of the games share the same controls and aren’t terribly inspired. At the same time, the story is fun though and I think you can get some good enjoyment out of this one. The game is pretty cheap by this point so it isn’t much of an investment. I think it’s also fair to say that the game is not misleading. You should absolutely know what you’re getting yourself into before you play the game. It’s very straightforward about this so I think even without this review you should know whether you enjoy it or not. If you decide to buy the game then just be prepared to switch controllers every other match.

Overall 6/10

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Battlefront game. I’m getting closer to the end of this Battlefront marathon as there is just one more that I have after this one. Renegade Squadron is a pretty fun game with a nice setup, but it is definitely as short as you may have heard. I was able to blast through the game in around 3 hours if not a little sooner. There are only 11 levels and they’re all pretty easy. I think I only lost a level once during the whole playthrough. The gameplay is definitely solid though and I can’t say that there are any real weak points to the game beyond the length.

The game starts with a researcher trying to make sure that the history logs about the original trilogy are accurate. As a result she calls the leader of the old Renegade Squadron since nobody’s ever heard of them but apparently they were crucial towards winning the war. The commander confirms that this is the case and starts to talk to her about how things went back in the day. It turns out that this squad was present in pretty much every big battle. They would always be behind the shadows as they helped change events, but their role was key. They even took down Darth Vader twice.

It’s a fun premise even if it does seem like every game likes to introduce new characters who were apparently the real heroes of the rebellion. The dialogue can be pretty cheesy, but it works out pretty well. It may be by the books, but the script does get the job done. You can’t help but root for this old general as he brags about the good ole days. The cutscenes are basically stills with a lot of cool energy effects in the background. I can definitely get behind that and having cutscenes always makes the game feel more majestic. The story may not be as grand as Battlefront II, but the narrator definitely does a better job of making it sound epic.

The graphics are pretty decent. You’ll recognize all of the characters pretty well. It definitely holds up and the PSP has always been pretty impressive in this area. The soundtrack is certainly less memorable and you may not even recall any of the tunes by the time it ends. They just won’t leave that kind of impact on you, but it could be worse. At least you have the classic Star Wars tunes that you see in all of the games.

There is a little replay value as you can play random levels or replay the story ones to get some medals. Admittedly it is still not all that much content though so if you had bought this day 1 then you’d probably be a little upset. As it stands though, I got the game for just a few bucks so that makes the purchase feel a lot better if you ask me. It may be a game that only lasted 3 hours, but at least it was fun. The gameplay lends itself pretty well to just jumping in and having fun. It’s certainly the easiest of the Battlefront games though. Your character is very strong and half of the time you can just skip the enemies.

The gameplay revolves around objectives like destroying objects/fighters or conquering areas. Long gone are the days of the original Battlefront where it was about territory. Since some objectives are just to destroy terminals you can ignore the enemies entirely. Also, you have 3 little objects that you can throw to recover your health entirely. You have a chaingun that has unlimited ammo which also packs a punch and can switch to any other weapon whenever you’re at a base. Your options are numerous and you can also run for prolonged periods of time so there is just no way that the enemies can hope to catch you. I’m not sure why they decided to give you so many techniques for this PSP title. If anything it’s part of why the game is so short since most of the levels can be cheesed.

One area where is did improve on compared to Battlefront II were the space levels though. In that game they weren’t all that fun since the ships were super slow and you didn’t have much of a proper lock on. This game fixes both options as the ship can fly real fast and you can boost for a while. The enemy targets go down quicker so it isn’t as long to clear the levels. They also added auto landing so you don’t have to worry about crashing on re-entry. I still think Battlefront should really stick to the ground levels as that is when the game is at its best, but if the space levels stay this solid then it is definitely less of an issue.

Overall, Renegade Squadron is a fun title. It’s the kind of game that you likely won’t go back to, but that’s fine. As mentioned, the gameplay is definitely a lot of fun. It may be easy, but it’s still satisfying to take out your chaingun and just blast everyone away. The fact that the game also had a pretty solid story certainly helps as well. It makes for a complete experience although I will certainly say that it is the weakest of the Battlefront games so far. I do expect that the next PSP title in the series will end up winning. It’s supposed to be longer and that will definitely help, but we’ll see if the gameplay can match up as well since that is just as important.

Overall 7/10

NCAA Football 12 Review


It’s time for my NCAA Football marathon to come to a close. It’s been a good run but they must all end someday. This one actually does change the gameplay up quite drastically compared to the last games which were pretty much identical. Unfortunately I don’t think it works quite as well as the last few. This one slows down the pacing so it’s more of a classic football simulator. Not a bad idea, but after playing the fast paced ones it is just hard to go back.

The array of game modes are pretty much the same as always. I’m not sure why they listed quick play as a new mode inside of the game, but I’ll assume that was a quick misdirect to try and get more sales in and trick people into thinking there is more content. It wouldn’t exactly be the most sinister thing that EA ever did after all. There’s franchise mode, practice, and a bunch of other options. I believe the servers are likely down for this one so don’t expect to be getting into some crispy online battles just yet.

Either way the majority of your time in the game will be playing full Football matches which is why the gameplay is key. You can’t just cheese the game by running in with your quarterback anymore. This game really encourages you to run the ball with your running back as you would typically do in real life. It works well enough and for the record I was still able to win against the computer on Heisman level. It just meant playing very patiently and working on getting used to how this game rolls. For the first few drives I actually wasn’t able to score so I definitely did have to take a step back and re-evaluate how I was playing. Once I got the hang of it then it was off to the races. I found that the best plays were still slants and crossing patterns. The computer always seems to have a tough time with those no matter what year it is.

Surprisingly the computer wasn’t so good on offense this time around which is the only reason I was able to stay in the game. I was able to stop them many times. It almost felt like a glitch at points as the computers would try the same screen pass over and over again. They’d either run it or screen it, but they never really went for real throws. It happened so infrequently and that worked out for me since it’s hard to protect against the longer shots. I kept holding them to field goals so that was pretty cool. I still think something didn’t seem right. When zooming out to see the play it would also flicker at times so there may be something up with my copy after all.

Regardless, the gameplay is still a lot of fun. It may not be as fast as the others, but every aspect of the gameplay is still very polished. You have a lot of control over the player and there are so many different plays you can run. Each game will never feel quite the same as the last one with so many variables intact. Part of why I love the Football games is because of how fun and peaceful they are. You can get lost in these games for a long time as you just go play by play. Before you know it you’ll have gone through the full season. This definitely reminds me that I need to go and play the next Madden soon.

As for the graphics, they’re definitely on point as you would expect. Everything looks pretty sharp and while it isn’t a big change from the other games, this series has never looked bad. EA is always proud of their graphics so that doesn’t really come as a surprise. The sound effects are on point and the game holds up as well as you would expect it to on a technical level. There’s a lot of content here as I already mentioned so you don’t need to worry about replay value. Considering that you can get this game for a dollar now, that’s more than enough content to keep you busy.

Overall, NCAA Football continues to impress. It’s certainly the best ongoing sport series aside from Madden. If the games are still coming out then I’m pretty behind at this point since this is the latest saga in the series that I own. I’ll definitely take a look and see if I notice any newer ones next time I’m at Gamestop. I definitely recommend this game if you like Football and naturally I’d skip on it if you don’t. It’s the kind of game that completely depends on whether you enjoy the sport so you’ll likely know right away whether this is the game for you or not. Now I’ve gotten my sport backlog down to 37 games which is pretty cool. You’ll be seeing it at 0 before you know it!

Overall 9/10

Star Wars Battlefront II Review


It’s time to look at the next Star Wars title! The first Battlefront was pretty fun with its unique take on the beat em up genre. You had to rely on tactics to win and playing as an expendable agent instead of a super fighter was pretty fun. Interestingly this one actually changes the formula considerably to the point where it now lets you play as the OP Jedi/Sith for a bit and the tactics element is removed. I’d still call it an overall improvement to the first game, but I must admit that I do miss the old gameplay style.

The game follows the exploits of the 501 commander unit. These Stormtroopers are the best of the best in their craft. It turns out that they were at all the big battles in the Star Wars mythos. Each of the levels typically has a short live action clip from the movies to let you know where this takes place and then some narration from the lead as he talks about how tragic the whole thing is. These Stormtroopers weren’t just men, they were a family and all the betrayals really took their toll on these guys.

Let me explain how the gameplay is different from the first game. In this one you have an objective to objective structure. The game tells you to conquer area A, then blow up some things, then take over area B, etc. You have a certain amount of reinforcements so if you go over that then you lose the game. It’s not like the first game where you have to take over all the areas at once or take down all of the troops to win. This one is all about doing things one step at a time. It’s fun as well of course, but the first game’s design was a whole lot more unique. You actually felt like you were a Stormtrooper in that one. Here, you are a lot stronger and won’t find yourself dying instantly the way you would in the other title.

There are also points in the various levels where you get to play as one of the Jedi or a Sith. In this form you have your lightsaber and a lot of force abilities. You feel pretty OP here, but once the section is over the computer will usually find a way to take you out real quick. Once the minions start blasting you even The Force can’t save you from such an onslaught. It’s a fun way to mix up the gameplay styles. While it may take away from the point of the game, I can’t deny that it is satisfying.

A third gameplay mode was added and this one is the weakest. There are various space levels (That are actually skippable which shows that the game wasn’t too confident in them) where you have to try to take down enemy ships and continue your conquest. These levels are pretty unforgiving with the time limit and the controls also aren’t all that responsive. Case in point, you boost using the R3 button but it never worked. Maybe it’s my controller which couldn’t handle that, but it made these levels even more difficult. It’s also hard to dodge enemy fire and I think this part was slapped on without too much effort. The game did not need any kind of space levels and would have been fine just sticking to ground support.

Of course if we don’t compare this one to the first game then the gameplay certainly does hold up pretty well on its own. I’ve always been a fan of third person shooters even if they aren’t nearly as big as the first person ones. The close quarters combat with the lightsaber is also pretty fun even if it isn’t yet all that refined. I think a big reason as to why the Battlefront series is so big is because the shooting aspect is so fresh compared to the other titles. It’s a shame that the name has been associated with the more negatively received games EA pumped out recently, but it can’t stop these classics from still being really good.

The graphics have definitely improved from the first game which is certainly a good thing. They hold up quite well and you’ll be able to see the levels a lot better than you could in the first title. My favorite level is the ship from the first scene of Episode IV. It’s pretty fun to relive that moment. The character designs are all on point and the game never wavers. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though. We get all the classic tunes and that’s about it. I suppose when you’ve got tunes this memorable there is no reason not to use them right?

As far as replay value goes, this game does have more modes than the last one. In addition to the story mode you can just pick up and play random missions for fun. You’ve also still got multiplayer mode. It’s not the largest selection, but it’s enough to get you going. I imagine you can probably buy this game for pretty cheap right now as well so it’s not like you’ll be spending a whole lot of money here. It’s a game that is worth getting and there is definitely enough content to make the purchase worth it.

Overall, Battlefront II is a solid sequel. While some of the decisions it makes are pretty questionable, it does deliver on being a fresh experience. You certainly can’t accuse this game of just copying the first one over. There was clearly fresh development here and having an actual story was also a pretty nice improvement from the first one. On the whole I do give this game the edge over the first one even if I did prefer the gameplay style of the first. It’s not cut and dry as the pure gameplay here is better, but the actual level designs, how you win a level, and durability make the first one’s gameplay feel more genuine. It was the better package, but that alone isn’t enough to combat the fact that the sequel wins in all other categories. Next it’s time to see how the PSP spinoffs fare.

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Battlefront Review


I’ve owned this game for a very long time as I hunted down the PSP game that I needed to play first. Well, Lethal Alliance is now done so that left room for Battlefront to take the center stage. It’s definitely a very fun game and one that has a pretty unique premise. It takes a very different look at what a beat em up game is all about and it works pretty well. It does feel a little limited in scope, but that’s probably because of how old it is. It still does age well, it just isn’t as long as I would have liked. I would recommend it either way though.

The game’s plot covers the Clone Wars as well as the first two movies in the original trilogy. The unique part of this story is that it’s told through the eyes or ordinary rebels and storm troopers. You also switch between fighting for the Rebels and the Imperials as the game goes on. In some levels you are the hero while in others you are the villain. Sometimes this can make it a little difficult to keep track of who you’re shooting which adds to the danger. After all, friendly fire is activated here. Allies can shoot you in the back and vice versa. Particularly in one of the final levels my allies kept on shooting me to death which was pretty intense. They were throwing grenades like there was no tomorrow. The snow level is also tricky in that respect as both sides are all in white (Storm Troopers and Rebels in white coats) so it’s tough to know what to do next.

Each level starts off by showing you how many troops both sides have. Typically it is 200 on each side. It’s cool in that you can actually see the number go down with each KO you land. Expect to die a lot of times as well though since as a normal character you have no plot shield. On average if I took down 100 enemies I would die around 25-40 times. Of course, every time you die your side loses a man as you are effectively switching characters so you do want to try and not die too often. Once one side is down to 0 troops left or you’ve taken over all of the bases in the level for at least 20 seconds then you win. Typically the first win criteria will happen before the second, but there have been a few times where the enemy only had 1 troop left and I won via conquering all of the areas instead.

The areas are key to winning regardless. Your troops seem to do a lot better when you have most of the bases on your side even if it’s evenly matched. That’s why it is usually worth it to quickly leave your troops to conquer the areas instead of trying to hold your ground. It’s the kind of game where pushing forward is encouraged. This did get tricky for one level near the end where the only way to get to the other territory was through a very long bridge right up the middle. It’s one of the few levels where I did die once. It’s a pretty genius design though as it does force the confrontation right off the bat and you have to wrestle with the fact that you can’t just hide and get them from the back. It was a lot of fun and helped teach me to throw more grenades.

I also do think the game developed the stealth abilities pretty well here. You don’t have any fancy stealth kills or anything like that but if the opponent is focused on shooting down your partners you can often start shooting them real quick from behind. By the time they are able to react to your shots the match is as good as over. It’s done in a way that feels pretty realistic and isn’t too overpowered which is very heard to do. It’s the little things like that which really make the game standout. While I played the whole game as a trooper type character you could also pick the sniper, rocket launcher, and a third choice. I’m sure their respective gameplay would also be pretty fun to dabble with.

The graphics are pretty good, although as I mentioned before it can be hard to tell who your ally is and who the enemies are at times. The costumes are really similar and some of the levels are just really dark. The indoor levels are usually well lit so those aren’t a problem but in the dark you end up fumbling through the level. At times I just had to trust in my compass as I shot blindly into the night. Meanwhile the soundtrack is definitely on point. It’s nothing that you haven’t heard before, but it works pretty well all the same.

Where the game is lacking is definitely in replay value. The single player campaign is incredibly short. You can play various side modes like story mode without the story or other bonus levels which helps to an extent. There also is multiplayer mode which I imagine would probably be the most enjoyable option as you lead an army against someone else’s and it’ll all come down to your tactics. Yeah, I ca definitely see that being a lot of fun assuming it works that way. I can’t find too many places talking about the multiplayer here and the only video I saw was more of a co-op. Even so, teaming up with someone is always fun as well.

Overall, Star Wars Battlefront is definitely a very solid game. I can see why this one would have been pretty iconic back in the day. It really was a fresh new direction for the series and I like the way it handled the genre. It’s smaller in scope than it would have been nowadays, but it definitely has that retro charm as a result. The game is very smooth and the gameplay is appealing. At the end of the day that’s really all you need to be a success if you ask me. If you’re on the fence about getting this game because of its age I would recommend you take the plunge and buy it anyway. I’ll be starting Battlefront II soon so I hope to see it continue Star Wars’ steak of quality games.

Overall 7/10

NCAA Football 10 Review


I know that was fast, but it’s time to jump right into the next NCAA Football title! As expected there really aren’t a lot of noticeable differences in this game. I do think that they nerfed the QB speed a bit which is understandable. It forced me to play the game a little more like how it was actually designed instead of just cheesing along as with last time. I still schooled the computer on the highest difficulty in the game though so no matter what they can’t take away my Football mix-ups!

The gameplay is the same as with the other Football games. Basically there are two teams on the field and the goal is to score more points than the other team. You earn points by kicking a Football through the uprights of the goal at the end of the field or physically running into the end zone with the ball in your hands. As a result you’ll be playing Offense and Defense at different times. Then there’s also Special Teams which can make the difference between a win and a loss. The game does a good job of incorporating all of the different mechanics into the game and providing you with an authentic Football experience.

The graphics seem really identical here so I really can’t say that I noticed any kind of change. I’m thinking that a year just doesn’t make a whole lot of difference even if you play them back to back. Still, they hold up just as well as 09’s did and that’s no small feat. The rest of the technical aspects are on point here as well. I even tried playing a match on super windy and snowy at the same time and you can feel the difference in the gameplay. I’d say that it was definitely executed well.

Then we’ve got the massive amount of content here that equals 09. All of the usual modes are still in place like training, quick games, and franchise mode. You can watch your team and custom player grow and get better as the years progress. There is an online mode, but the servers are long gone so you’ll be wanting to get the full experience in your local mode journeys. Fear not, that’s still plenty and since you can get the game for a few bucks it’s really a steal either way.

One slight difference I noticed in the gameplay is that the defense stays a lot closer to your receivers than last time. This is mostly noticeable when you decide to take off as the Quarterback. Even once you’re approaching the line of scrimmage they won’t leave their post so you have a much better chance at breaking off a really good gain. That’s why I went back to the Hail Mary pass and once the receivers are far enough I’d dash through. There’s a lot more nuance to this than I’m saying, but you’ll understand once you get into the actual game. The camera angle also changes a bit when you’re in running mode which may take a little getting used to, but I’d say that it worked out really well.

Once again special teams seems pretty good as I returned another kick for a touchdown. The best way to do that seems to be running straight at the other team and making one guy miss. Do that and it’s off to the races! Usually your returner is the team’s fastest player so you don’t have to worry about someone catching him from behind. That’s still the worst feeling in any game. You never want someone to actually catch you once you had already been going full steam ahead.

The NCAA games really have no negatives so you may be wondering what gives the Madden games their edge over this series. Really the only substantial difference is the amount of promotions and presentation that Madden has. They give the commentators more to do and there are always a lot of interesting stats you see before the game starts that are likely dug up from the previous year in real life. As a result the whole thing feels a lot more genuine than NCAA could hope to match. Then throw in the fact that the teams are all ones that I’ve grown up with in the NFL and the bigger stadiums and NCAA is really doomed. It just feels like a smaller version of Madden. It’s still got the same level of quality but when asked which game I prefer I would be able to very quickly tell you Madden with no hesitation.

Overall, NCAA Football is another keeper. I am continuously reminded how much I enjoy these Football games. From all of the sport titles EA cranks out these are definitely my favorites. I’m gonna be sad once these are gone and I’m back to something like NHL or another sport. All of the sports are solid in their own right of course, but they definitely don’t have the same energy and excitement that Football possesses. I think it’s because even if I’m not the biggest fan of playing defense in these games at least it feels like I’m doing something. In other sports like Baseball I feel like I’m just waiting to see how many runs the computer is going to score on me. In FIFA I’m just waiting for the game to end so we can do the overtime kickoff since nobody gets to score there. Football feels the most balanced, but I am a big Football fan so take that into account.

Overall 9/10

NCAA Football 09 Review


With the FIFA marathon over it’s time to finally take a look at a different sport. Usually you save the best one for last but I was in the mood for something epic so I jumped over to NCAA Football. Right away I feel like I’m back on my home turf. There aren’t a whole lot of differences between Madden and NCAA after all so the skills transfer over. I made sure to squeeze in a match against the computer on Heisman difficulty (Highest level) and was able to win so I’ve still got it. It’s a game that really holds up to the test of time.

One thing you’ll notice right away is that the Quarterback moves very quick. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, after all Madden had some fast quarterbacks as well like Vick in 2004. Still, the ones I played here were fast like that as well which made my offense unstoppable. One of the best plays to run is the screen pass. You can treat it like an option play as you start running and gauge the defense right away. If the defenders start running at you then you can flip it to the running back, but if they don’t you can really run. I managed to get quite a few runs of over 10 yards and even broke away for one 20+ gain. Running the ball normally is also pretty effective at times. I averaged about 7 yards a pop.

Really the only part that is always tricky is passing it. Unless the receiver is wide open it feels like the pass will always get picked off or the guy will drop it. Typically the best chance to make the catch seems to be on a slant route or a crossing pattern. I also like the Hail Mary play. For some reason they usually don’t cover the TE right away so if you throw it almost immediately you’ll get around 10 yards easy. Occasionally they do defend him though so you do want to stay sharp and not just flip it on instinct.

I sort of skipped the gameplay rules here, but it’s classic Football. That means there are a lot of rules here. Sort of like how FIFA went over my head, this will likely be very tough for someone if it’s their first NCAA game. Still, if you know the rules of the real sport then you’ll be ready for action here. One difference from the NFL seems to be in how the play clock will stop even if you’re tackled in-bounds at times. I’m sure there’s some kind of explanation for this, but I’m not sure what it is. There are 2 main sides to the game, Offense and Defense. Naturally I prefer playing Offense for the most part as I get to think on the fly and try every trick in the book to secure the edge. Defense can be good, but at times it may feel futile as the computer runs all over you. I’m sure there are more tricks to this side than what I know which is probably the issue, but offense just feels a whole lot more satisfying. You can have the other team at your mercy.

Special Teams happens after every score or punt and that’s when you get a chance to run across as much of the field as you can before you’re tackled. I feel like they may have actually made this part a little easier as I ran back 3 kicks for touchdowns. Typically this is an extremely rare event, but you wouldn’t know that from NCAA 09. It did feel pretty satisfying I must admit though. I don’t think this summary really does the gameplay justice so I suggest just reading up the rules online before jumping in. It is a complex game for sure.

The graphics are definitely pretty solid as you’d expect. By this point EA wasn’t going in too hard with the cutscenes and animations so the game is pretty fast paced. You go from play to play seamlessly. Every play is very clear and you can see the amount of care and detail that went into this game. There isn’t much of a soundtrack but the effects are on point. The commentary may not be there in the same way as Madden, but overall you feel like you’re in a real Football game while playing through this game.

It almost goes without saying that the amount of content here is through the roof. You can jump into quick games, go for full franchise mode or even play some minigames. The online may not work anymore, but the local content is still more than enough to keep you going for a very long time. This is one of those games that never technically has to end as each game is a fresh experience. I don’t imagine you’ll stay with this game for too long as you move on to newer ones, but you’ve got a lot of value here.

Overall, NCAA Football 09 is definitely a game that you’ll want to get. I know that these sport titles are known for being the same year after year but you have to recognize that this is because you never want to fix something that isn’t broken. EA knows that they’ve got a winning system here so changing that definitely wouldn’t be a good idea. It’ll be fun to see how the next games improve on this one and I’m sure that they’l find ways to do so, but there’s only so much you can do at this point. Whether you’ve played the others or not, this one is only 1-2 dollars so it’s not going to break the bank should you decide to take the plunge with it.

Overall 9/10

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Review


It’s time to take a look at the recent Switch port of the famous Dragon Ball Heroes game. It really is impressive just how far this part of the franchise has gone. It now has several manga titles, an ongoing anime series and of course the video game ports. It’s a nice continuation of the Dragon Ball series that is able to get quite out there with the content it brings to the table. There are numerous characters and super forms here since nothing is considered too crazy to be implemented. The gameplay style is pretty different and will take some getting used to, but is considerably better than any of the card games I’ve played for the series before. It feels like a great RPG and I’d be up for more games with this style.

The plot starts off with a kid (I called him DReager1) who decides to play some Dragon Ball Heroes. It’s a card game that has gotten very popular on Earth as you get to assemble a deck of Z characters and fight it out with others. DReager1 quickly finds out that it isn’t all just a game though as the best player in the world shows up and tells DReager that there are villains seeking to change history in the Z world. He must now team up with other Dragon Ball Heroes to foil this villain’s plans. The villain goes by the name of Sealas and he is reasonably strong at around SSJ3 level if not higher. What really makes him dangerous is his A.I. sidekick though. It grows stronger with every opponent it watched or consumes. If the heroes don’t stop him fast then it’ll be all over.

The first thing you’ll notice when booting this game up is how extensive the content is. The main campaign alone will take you over 20 hours. After that you have adaptions for some of the movies, all of Dragon Ball Super, and the rest of the Heroes exclusive content. Trying to complete all of this will likely take you 50 hours or longer. Then you can start trying to collect everything. I’m thinking this is 100+ hours easy and of course you’ve got the online vs mode which never has to end. All in all this is a great game filled with a lot of value. So long as you enjoy the gameplay you won’t be bored.

So lets talk about the gameplay. It’s one of those styles that is easy to get into, but very difficult to master. You assemble a team of 7 warriors. At first you won’t have a whole lot of options, but getting new cards isn’t hard. It’s a lottery system though as you pay 10 tickets to get 10 characters. Once you’ve assembled a team that you like then you give them enhancements which increase their stats or give them access to cool abilities like double attack. You’ll want to have abilities that complement each other as well as compatible partners so you can fuse fighters or assemble them for combo attacks.

At that point the match begins. Each round will let you place your fighters among 4 different rows. The back row allows them to recover stamina while the front rows let you attack. Typically I like having half of my team in the front and half in the back, but by the end of the game you’ll have a lot of abilities that replenish stamina so you can just jump in and keep on fighting. When you use an ultimate attack or spell sometimes you’ll have to trace actions on the screen but they are extremely easy so you will likely never fail any. The first team to either eliminate all of the HP from an opponent or the one with the most health after 5 rounds is the winner. There’s a lot more to this than what I mentioned, but that’s the jist of it. The rest I think you’ll get the hang of naturally.

The core of the gameplay comes from the clashes. Every time you attack or block a bar will show up for both sides. You want to press A when it is closest to the top and likewise for the opponent. The bar can be sped up or slowed down based on abilities. Everything rides on these bars including your special attacks so you can really boil it down to “Win the bar and win the game” You will want to get really good at the timing if you want to win. This game is actually very difficult. Without the right moveset you could find yourself fighting the same opponent over and over for a very long time. Grinding out the levels can be a little difficult so you’ll want to head to online levels to give your characters the edge they will need. You can’t level up character cards, but you can level up DReager1. This could easily be the toughest game I’ve played in years so it was pretty satisfying to complete it.

With the soundtrack we have all of the insert songs from the old Dragon Ball Heroes promos. That was definitely nice to see and you can even have them play over the normal gameplay so then you’ll be seeing them a lot. The only issue is that they’re very short so you’ll be hearing them loop over and over multiple times in a single fight. The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good. They’re simple, but catchy themes. As for the graphics, they definitely look pretty good. It’s nothing like FighterZ, but the arcade style is likely what helps the game have so many different character models. It’s a simple look, but one that ages well. Then you’ve also got 2 animated cutscenes that were thrown in. I was hoping for more to be honest especially since the game starts out with one, but 2 is better than none.

If the game has an issue it’s that the various mechanics aren’t explained very well. There are quite a lot of tutorials, but even those aren’t able to explain everything. (Which shows how complex this style is) You’ll want to learn the mechanics from GameFaqs or Reddit if you’re unsure about something. For example, when you obtain the Dragon Balls and make a wish you are given a lot of options. One option is to rank up your lead but one thing that’s useful to know is the longer you wait, the better his stats will be. You can rank him up 4-5 times so it’ll also take a while if you decide to take him to Level 99 each time. (He reverts to 1 for each class up but gets a percentage of his old stats) If you don’t care about the post game then just rank him up right away each time. He’ll still be plenty strong by the time he is in Super God level.

Another thing to note is that the character animations are unskippable. This does admittedly result in some rather tedious battles at times as you are watching the characters perform the same actions over and over again. Each battle can be very long and there are dozens of battles to complete in order to conquer the story. Typically you can read something while playing as the game only ever needs one hand to do all of the controls. I did a lot of multitasking, but otherwise I think the game definitely should have reduced the turn time. Simply having the combat animations be toggled off like in Pokemon/Digimon would have helped immensely. That way you still have the option to keep them on if you really want to see the supers. That’s more of a quality of life upgrade though, it’s not something that actually hurts the title.

I don’t think I’ll even go that far into power levels as that always gets dicey with Dragon Ball, but I suppose it wasn’t all that bad. One thing you’ll notice is that DReager1 is super overpowered though. He’s able to handle SSJ3 Legendary Broly in his SSJ1 form. That’s pretty good eh? As for the plot in general, I definitely thought it was a lot of fun. It was great to be able to see so many different eras including the Tournament of Power. I do think it’s a bit iffy that Sealas was able to escape even Zeno and the Grand Priest, but I guess he needed to keep his hype.

Sealas was definitely a great villain as well. Not only is his backstory rock solid, but I also liked his final form. He does feel like an amalgam of various DB characters for a while and then he suddenly takes a very Final Fantasy esque appearance by the end. There are a lot of similarities between him and Goku Black which the game also addresses. Sealas is definitely a character that you’ll remember and I hope he gets to appear somewhere else someday. Maybe the online TV specials will adapt this game someday, that’d definitely be cool.

Overall, Super Dragon Ball Heroes is definitely a great game. I can see why it got so big over in Japan. If they keep on giving us free updates I suppose there won’t be a need to make a sequel anytime soon, but if they ever do make one I’ll have it on my radar. Maybe someday when there are less games on the backburner I’ll also check out some of the post game content. I gotta see if it lives up to the hype of being as difficult as I’ve heard. I somehow think it probably isn’t exaggerated though. As it is the final boss was pretty insane. I’d recommend taking a look at the gameplay online. If it looks like your style then definitely take the plunge on this game. It’ll keep you busy for quite a long while.

Overall 8/10