8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Golden Sun Review


It’s time to look at a fairly legendary RPG from back in the day. While Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest tend to have most of the popularity right now, Golden Sun used to be pretty big back in its day. It’s only got 3 games, but the series still got quite a lot of fans. I’ve had this game on the back burner for an extremely long time so it’s good to finally be able to jump in and experience the story in all its glory. It reminds me why I love the RPG genre. Fighting games will ultimately still reclaim the top spot, but RPGs are always fun to play with. It’s partially because the idea of grinding your stats up is always a good one and the games last long enough for you to really enjoy the characters.

So in this world there exists a few select people who are called Adepts. They are able to harness elemental powers like fire and water to increase their strength or to be used as projectiles. Some already had these abilities while others are triggered once a meteor storm occurs. There is a group of enemies who want to light all 4 of the lighthouses. Isaac and the other heroes don’t exactly know why they want to do this, but they can’t allow the villains to do as they please. They decide to stop them, but along the journey they end up finding out that there is more to their plan than meets the eye. Is stopping them from lighting the lighthouses really the best move?

The game is fairly long and it took me around 22 hours to beat it. This is partially due to how big the map is, but also how difficult the enemies get. Golden Sun’s no joke and the difficulty really spikes towards the second half of the game. Suddenly the enemies are able to take you out in a few hits and that’s just the minions. The bosses basically one turn KO you so you need to level up a lot if you want to beat them. I got everyone up to Level 30 and that made the battle pretty manageable. I think if you want it to be a little calmer getting up to level 32 would probably be a good bet. Also, a big part of the game revolves around the Djinn so you are going to want to grab those guys.

There are 28 of them in the game and they are like power sources that allow you to summon. There are 4 types and 7 per type. The strongest summon of each type is worth 4 orbs so you can summon 4, 4 level summons in one match and then 4 level 3s. I only got 25/28 of the Djinn, but I can guarantee that without them I would not have been able to beat the final boss. Initially I didn’t go after them and even avoided obtaining them unless they were directly in my way. I figured that they weren’t all that important, but they are crucial. Aside from the summoning just owning the Djinn increases all of your stats as if you got multiple level ups. So once you have 25 you’re way stronger than if you didn’t have them. For example one of my characters went from having 200HP to over 500 with them equipped. I can’t stress enough just how useful these guys are.

Golden Sun is definitely an RPG with a pretty intricate gameplay system. The turn based combat is pretty much the same as always, but then you’ve got the element system. This also ties into the Djinn. Depending on which ones you’ve got equipped and your element ratio, your attacks per character will be different as well. Likewise they will also change depending on if you have your Djinn set or on standby. There’s a whole lot to consider as a result and it does make you have to re-think how you want them arranged on the board for each fight. You’ll want to think over every fight very carefully. Even by the end of the game I can’t say that I really understand the system perfectly. It’s also hard to tell which attacks are best to use since the type advantage system isn’t always obvious. By the end of the game using a normal attack is typically better than using almost any of the magical abilities which is pretty interesting.

The game definitely holds up quite well with the visuals. There’s a lot of nice backgrounds here and the game even gets a nice 3D effect during the credits. The attacks are all a lot of fun to look at and in general everything is pretty bright. Then the game also has a dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great themes to listen to here that range from being fairly heroic to setting up a moody atmosphere. It’s all exactly what you want to see here. Golden Sun just holds up well in every area. There is almost nothing to dislike about the game.

While the story may not be quite as exciting as some other RPGs, I did like it overall. You can tell that there’s more to this story than your usual heroes vs villains story. The villains definitely have their own reasons for doing things and don’t seem to be inherently evil. Of course there are many villains who believe they are the hero, but since the heroes don’t know what will happen if the lighthouses are activated, it’s possible that it is the right thing to do. Of course, it would be easy to tell the heroes this, but none of the villains ever feel like talking. The heroes also get lucky quite often as the villains could have easily won on a number of occasions. They just prefer to split up rather than fight as a team.

Isaac doesn’t really have a personality in this game as he is just the player. Garet is a good ally who basically acts as the leader of the team even if he is a bit impulsive. Mia’s a solid medic who joins on later. We don’t get a whole lot of time to develop her personality but she seems nice. Then you’ve got the young mage who seems really nice even if lacking in experience. The childhood friends are all suspect though with how they don’t tell the heroes much. They basically miss the entire game as they just get a few scenes after being kidnapped, but they seem to be taking it in stride. It seems like the villains ultimately start to convert everyone.

The game ends with quite a lot of loose ends for the sequel. While there are probably one or two that you could finish through side quests, there are definitely some that can’t be. There’s a scene after the credits for example which shows that the adventure isn’t quite over yet. It makes sense since there’s a big villain who doesn’t show up in the climax. Also, in general it just doesn’t feel like a conclusive ending because there are more lighthouses left and more villains so the heroes can’t rest easy now. As I already own the sequel you can bet that I’ll be jumping on that one pretty soon.

If there’s anything that’s a bit iffy here, it’s that the game isn’t always clear on where to go next. It actually has a map with town labels on it so that’s a big upgrade from something like Final Fantasy VII, but at the same time there are usually multiple routes to choose so you end up wasting a lot of time looking for the right one. The good news is that it gives you more time to level up though. Once you’ve gotten strong enough then you can also just flee the battles, but it takes quite a while to get to that level. Another thing I do like is that if you die you are taken back to the temple, but don’t lose any data. It costs money to revive your teammates, but that’s a fair price. A lot of little things like that help the game overall because it takes away the irritating nature of a game over. Dying and being forced to restart the area is very fair if you ask me.

Overall, Golden Sun is definitely an excellent RPG and deserves to be known as one of the greats. It’s aged really well and made for a very fun 20+ hour experience. I look forward to seeing how the sequel goes since it should feel pretty similar. I’m also ready for Isaac to talk since that would be awesome, but even if he doesn’t I’m sure the story is going to be really good. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend changing that. It’s just a great all around title with no real weaknesses. You’ll be engaged from start to finish even if you might end up with a slight headache from how complex the gameplay mechanics are. The important thing is that you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment because this is definitely one of the tougher RPG titles out there.

Overall 8/10

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8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Maker 2 Review


It’s finally time to take a look at the new Mario Maker game. The first one I still have listed as one of the greatest Mario games of all time. Mario’s tackled many different genres and for the most part they have obvious #1 titles. The best 3D Mario is 64, the best Mario sports title is Strikers, the best racing game is Double Dash, and the best 2D is Super Mario World. The question is…where does Maker fit into all of this? It’s basically its own genre, but it can hold its own all the same. Ultimately I wouldn’t say it is quite as good as the first Maker, but it’s very close and is definitely a game with tons of replay value.

This time around we do have a real story mode, but only barely since there aren’t really any cutscenes. There isn’t much of a plot either but I am still glad that Nintendo at least made the attempt and gave us something. They definitely could have gone the lazy route and just not included it. We did get some quality levels as well and it is a good way to learn all the mechanics of the game. By the time you’re done with the story you’ll be ready to tackle the others modes. A new addition to the game is the ability to fight other players online. The 4 of you are thrown into a level and the first to clear it wins. If you die in the level then you’ll be taken back to the start or the checkpoint. These segments can be a bit laggy at times, but for the most part it works well.

There is also the classic course world from the previous games. You can play new and popular levels while honing your own skills. Try to grab some world records while you’re at it. You can sort through the levels a bunch of different ways or even look up specific levels from the course ID. There are endless levels to have fun with here so there’s no reason to stop playing. Unfortunately the star system is gone and in its place is a more simplified like/dislike button system. It doesn’t really let you see how the stage is doing quite as well, but that was a pretty minor part of the process anyway.

As this is Super Mario Maker a big chunk of your time will likely be spent on making levels as well. I mean, it varies I suppose, but I imagine that for most people this would have been the main reason to get the game right? There have been new items and enemies added so the sky is the limit on what you can make. The stage builder is incredibly detailed and there are almost too many options. You can’t even fit everything on one screen so to find more items you have to go through a settings window. It’s all pretty intuitive once you start though with two exceptions. You can’t draw on the screen with a pen so you have to do it by hand which is a little tricky. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to zoom out and that would be handy. I actually feel like making levels in Mario Maker 1 was a little easier, but maybe that’s just my memory playing tricks on me.

As of the time of this review I have completed two stages and am in the process of uploading a third. In this game you can only upload 32 stages instead of 100 like in the last one so you don’t want to use up all of your slots too soon anyway. I don’t think I would get over that amount anyway so 32 isn’t a bad limit for me, but it is a pretty disheartening change for the more experienced makers of the game. So, as you can see Maker added a lot of improvements, but also slid backwards a little bit. I think the main part that is disappointing is how they got rid of all the extra characters here. It was awesome getting to play as characters like Daisy and Mega Man. It was also fun to try and collect them all as it added a lot more end game content as opposed to simply going around and playing all of the levels. It gave the game more of a focus and it’s just a shame that it is gone.

Naturally the graphics are definitely pretty solid here. All of the styles look good and Nintendo never cuts corners in this area. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes all sound pretty good so that’s not really an issue. On a technical level this game is quite sound and the fact that you can spam your levels with a ton of objects is also impressive. You don’t run out of space in a level for a verrrrrry long time. That’s something that other stage builder games still have a lot of trouble with.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value to be found here. Really the game never quite has to end. I’ll have to put it back to sharing game time with other titles now that the story is over, but I’ll still be playing it a little every day for a while. It doesn’t quite have the full array of content that the first game had to keep you going, but so long as you like the classic Mario gameplay then there’s no reason to stop playing. Also there are little medals and achievements built into the game this time around so that’s something to focus on. I imagine that getting all of the medals will take a very long time.

Overall, Super Mario Maker 2 is definitely one of the definitive Mario games. It’s the kind of title that can last you throughout the whole life of the Switch. You’ll be able to just keep playing it over and over again. At this point Nintendo can’t really release another big 2D Mario game since there isn’t much of a point when you can make all of the levels here. That means they’ll need to either come up with a cinematic story or stick to the 3D Mario games. Either way the mascot is in good hands right now as he isn’t leaving the limelight anytime soon. I wonder what this game will do for paid DLC. Maybe they’ll add a new style or more objects for maker mode.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yooka-Laylee Review


It’s time to look at a platforming game that I’ve been aware of for a pretty long time, but just hadn’t picked up til now. I have to admit that the game didn’t look/sound amazing. It seemed like it was probably going to get bogged down by puzzles and such, but the price wasn’t bad so finally I got it. It’s definitely not the best platformer and the first world is one of the worst playforming worlds I’ve ever seen. Still, after that the game got a lot better so even though I wouldn’t call it great by the end I did think that it started to redeem itself. Hopefully the sequel will start on a higher note and soar to new heights.

The plot of the game is pretty basic. Laylee’s book is stolen by Captain B. who is going to use it to rule the world. Laylee decides to ask Yooka for help and together they now need to get all of the pages for the book. Why not just get the book right away? Well, B refuses to see them until they collect at least 100 pages. Rather than question this the heroes decide to oblige. This makes them about as smart as Crash and friends which isn’t great, but at least Laylee is pretty self aware about this. Yooka should be a little worried though. So begins the plot.

There really isn’t much of a story beyond this. Still, that’s pretty expected for platformers in general. Typically you just get a very quick story like that with minimal cutscenes. In many ways this game is trying to just be a normal platformer so of course it doesn’t want to have an elaborate story. That means that the gameplay needs to hold its own. In that sense the gameplay is reasonably solid. Running around and swiping at enemies is fun and you learn a lot of handy abilities. Flying is more annoying than it should be though as the camera just keeps on shifting. Simple turns take a lot longer and more effort than you would have ever dared expect.

I think the camera can be blamed for a whole lot. Also, you’ve got the level designs which aren’t so good. The worlds are downright huge and in part that is impressive of the developers but you have to take a lot of credit away for the fact that everything looks the same. You should never get lost in a world but that will happen many times. It’s why the game got off to a really stormy start since the first world is the guiltiest in this regard. There’s also the fact that most of the pages can’t be captured yet since you don’t have the necessary powers yet. You get 2 powers in each world and then one power after each one. So the game forces you to take the path of doing every world, going to the next one, and then going back to the first world with your new powers. What I did was I got the minimum amount of pages in each world to unlock the next one, rinse and repeat. Regardless you will definitely have to go back and get more pages at some point.

I made it to the final boss level with around 50 pages so I had a whole lot to try and catch after that. Going back to the old worlds isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t like being forced to do so. The page requirement for the final boss should have been considerably lower if you ask me. The final boss was pretty challenging though so the game did do a good job of making him a struggle. The boss is also pretty long since there isn’t a way to beat him much faster. You have to watch as he goes through his motions and if you lose then you have to start all over from the start. So I recommend not losing too often or the level is really going to start dragging.

One annoying part of the game is also how everyone just makes crazy noises to talk. It’s definitely a little dicey after hearing it for a super long time. It’s also pretty suspicious how everyone completely ignores Laylee. It’s almost like she was added into the game after the fact because aside from Yooka none of the other characters acknowledge her presence 99% of the time. It’s a shame because she gets all of the best lines in this game, but nobody reacts to her savage burns. That kind of takes away the point of her stings. She especially gets into it whenever we head to the shop owner. I guess he has to have a thick skin since he’s a professional scammer, but I wanted his conversations to be a little more interactive.

Ah well, ignoring Laylee aside I would consider the writing for this game to be really good. the script is clever and Laylee sees through all of the usual tropes and traps. Yooka is a little less aware and is basically your average protagonist. There’s nothing that separates this dinosaur from someone like Mario for example. I’d like to see Yooka get more personality in the sequel or if not then maybe it is time to join Team Yooka. Meanwhile the villains have even less character. B seems like a nice enough guy for a villain I suppose, but he is completely comic relief so it’s not like you’ll be taking him seriously. Then you’ve got his right hand man who may be more important than we could have ever guessed thanks to the ending. It’d be nice if the sequel game would expand on that, but I suppose that isn’t super likely.

There are a lot of little arcade games held within this platformer and most of those are good. They don’t have much of a middle ground though as the first ones are excellent, but too easy and then the latter ones are challenging, but way too drawn out. You just can’t win I suppose. Well, if we’re talking overall value then this game definitely does give you a lot of bang for your buck. The story will take you at least 10 hours since it forces you to grab a lot of pages. There are also a lot of trophies to nab and for the most part they’re actually pretty easy. This is definitely a Platinum that you can grab if you put your mind to it.

Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a game that gets better as you play it. The more abilities you get, the more the levels become convenient and less of a chore to travel through. This especially applies once you are able to fly as that is a true game changer all the way through. It’s always risky to make a game feel so limiting at the beginning even if it is to show you how useful the upgrades are at the end. Some games do it really well, but I wouldn’t consider this to be a great strategy either way. Still, there are enough things wrong with this game to keep it from getting the solid 7 score. The level designs aren’t good, the plot isn’t that good, and in general the game isn’t super interesting. You’ll complete the game, but then you likely won’t go through it again. It’s a solid one time playthrough so I guess you should buy it, but I’d recommend just about every other platformer first so definitely keep that in mind. I hear that a new Yooka-Laylee game is coming out so I look forward to seeing how that one stacks up.

Overall 6/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Carbon Review


After a long break it is now time to go back into the world of Need For Speed. Carbon brings in a lot of familiar elements from Underground 2 and Most Wanted while also adding its own spin on things. I would consider this to be the best NFS in a lot of ways with the only thing I don’t like being the whole territory system. On the whole it’s also tough between this one and Most Wanted, but I would probably give this one the slight edge. It definitely does have the best story although the gameplay is naturally the deciding factor.

So you’re playing as an underground racer who was nearly caught by the police but managed to escape. Of course, the issue with this is that he had to desert everyone else to do it. Now the rest of the racers and even his old friend are pretty upset at him. It’s a rough time for our nameless lead and he gets sloppy enough to even let a bounty hunter catch him. Fortunately a “nice” gangster frees the hero and tells him that the only way to restore his rep is to go and take over all the various gangster territories in the city. I don’t know exactly how that makes sense…if anything that would make him seem even more like a jerk right? He comes back just in time to beat everyone up and get the cops back on the trail? Ah well, the hero likes the plan so that’s what we’re going with. As the game goes on it turns out that there may have been something more to this incident. Were the cops really just coincidentally in the area?

I liked the story because there are quite a few cutscenes and I do think it did a pretty good job of setting the stage. Each of the main mob bosses gets a very exaggerated cutscene where they yell a lot with crazy colors in the background. It’s got a very 90’s-early 2000s vibe which works really well with the Need For Speed franchise in general. You really just can’t go wrong with the story here. Most of the levels are at night which is cool, but you will find yourself missing the day time by the end. It’s always good to have a mix of both. When there are only day levels I miss the night themed ones and vice versa. I think the game would have done well to have included a nice mix. As for the soundtrack, you’ve got an array of EA songs as always. They’re pretty fast paced even if the lyrics aren’t anything to write home about.

As for the gameplay it is pretty standard. The driving is pretty good and you’ll get the hang of the turns as the game goes on. Personally I always found it easiest to quickly let go of the pedal and turn before slamming it again. Alternately you’ve got the hand brake by pressing A, but I always found the turns to be a bit too wide using that method. You can also brake to turn which I would use at times if I really had to make a sharp curve in time. They’ve all got pros and cons of course so you’ll just want to try everything and see what sticks. You can also buy turbo which will permanently give you the option to use boosts. One warning for that is once you activate it then the computers will obtain it as well. I’d say that it’s worth it though because the boost really comes in handy.

You start out with a pretty average car, but as the game goes on you will be able to buy new ones. I actually used the same car for most of the game before eventually buying 3 more by the end. It’s worth staying with one car for as long as possible since your new ones will get outdated very quickly and you’ll run out of money. As it stands I only got 3 cars and I was out of money at the end. Of course, the third car I got was the best one money could buy in the game by the end so it was well worth the price. It effectively is impossible to win the last races with a weak car since it is simply too slow. Even if you don’t make any mistakes you simply won’t be able to keep up with the opponent.

Then there are also the cops to worry about. If they catch you too many times then they’ll take your car away for good. If they take all of your cars then you go all the way back to the beginning of the game. I don’t know exactly how that works since I didn’t let them take away 1 car, let alone all of them. Hopefully you’d be able to quickly reset the Gamecube so you wouldn’t actually have to go back. That would be pretty devastating. Speaking of the cops, the game does have an open world as always so you can have fun getting into police chases. I didn’t play around with them much compared to the last games because this time you aren’t forced to stay in the city the whole time. Instead of finding races through free roam you can just warp to them from the safe house. This saves an incredible amount of time and is a great change. You also don’t have to worry about increasing your reputation or anything like that. This game finally gives you the ability to just focus on the races and claim them all.

Now, this wouldn’t be a Need for Speed game without some kind of pointless gimmick though. For Carbon it is the territory system. The way you advance past each world is to win a lot of races and then challenge the boss. When you beat him then you claim the area. The problem here is the fact that other teams can challenge you for the territories you took earlier. If you refuse to fight them then they take your area automatically. So get ready to have to fight these guys quite a bit in races that you’ve already won. I dunno, maybe it’s not all that bad but it felt like a quick way to extend the game a bit. It’s also not needed since the game is actually pretty long I’d say.

The main story should take you around 10 hours or more. For replay value you can go around and beat all of the levels that you had not conquered yet. Since you’re able to skip about 1/3 of the levels that should add on another 3-4 hours under your belt. In general free roam is also limitless fun as long as you just like driving which is the whole point anyway. I can’t say that I’ll be sticking around with this game, but maybe some day I’ll come back to do those extra races. I basically skipped all of the drift challenges since the controls for those are pretty wonky.

Finally, I should mention that in the story mode there are a few different kinds of events. The general gameplay is the same of course, but the objectives are different. First you’ve got normal races which are self explanatory. Then you’ve got Canyon Races which are usually 1 vs 1 races (it can be 4 way though) and they take place at night on a canyon. In these stages you can actually fall off the track which is an instant loss. I really liked how they handled these levels. You’ve also got check points where you’re doing a time trial, speed bumps where you want to go your fastest as the scanner steps in, etc. The only pretty iffy one is Drift and I avoided every single one of those. By the end of the game I hadn’t completed any of them and I’m glad that I didn’t. It would have taken forever for me to force myself to learn the controls which wouldn’t have been super efficient.

Also, you’ve got a partner for some of these races and he really comes in handy. There are a few different kinds of helpers like people who show you short cuts, help you boost, etc. I went for a guy who can ram into other cars to help you get a lead. It went over really well since the guy was great at his job. It’s part of why I got away with using a terrible car for so long. The blocker could buy you up to 20 seconds at a time which is huge in a race. I owe him a lot.

Overall, Need For Speed Carbon is definitely a solid title. The story ends a little too abruptly if you ask me. There’s really no payoff to the long detective journey and by the end you will definitely wonder what the point of the villain’s plan was. He would have been doing good if he didn’t bring the hero in to mess things up. I suppose it’ll just be a mystery. I actually don’t have the next Need For Speed so that’ll probably be a while, but in the meanwhile I do have another video game review coming out so keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile you should definitely check this title out. You’ll have a hard time trying to find a better racing game than this one.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K8 Review


It’s time for the next 2K adventure! Once again this game shows that for some sports the older titles just felt more natural. 2K8 is definitely a lot simpler than a game like 2K15 so it may not capture quite as much of the realism but it’s just a lot of fun. You can run up and try to shoot a basket without having to worry about a ton of variables like in the newer ones. You can just trust in your casual fundamentals and go from there.

As always I did jump into the quick match option and it was probably the most back and forth match in a very long time. At first I had the lead and managed to hold on to it for around the first half of the game. At one point I was winning by as much as 7 points. My 3 point shots just kept landing and it was all going good. Everything changed when the computer remembered that it had the fast break option. Suddenly they scored a bunch of points and I was the one down by 7. I rallied as hard as I could and got the lead back by 1 but then in the final minutes they started scoring again and beat me by about 6. So I did lose the match but it was definitely a lot of fun. It felt more interactive on both sides if anything as I was able to play some good defense and even got steals. Offense was fun as always.

I do think that the timing is a big part of making the shots here as opposed to it mostly being luck based. I was able to land 3 three pointers in a row at one point and I think it’s because I had the right angle. On the other hand, some of the 2 point shots still get a little fishy. They should be easy layups and yet the player will miss anyway. The computer never misses those shots so at that moment I just have to shake my head. Still, as I mentioned the games are just a lot of fun which is the important thing. One day I’ll start winning matches consistently.

Going back to the gameplay for a sec, it all just feels so organic. That sounds pretty vague so I’ll try to elaborate on that. When you start to shoot the ball you’ll see a defender casually reach up to try and block it. He’s not using some kind of secret skill or doing anything out of the ordinary. No, instead he’s just getting up there and getting the job done. When you steal the ball it’ll roll on the court before someone grabs it instead of magically jumping into someone’s hand. A lot of these things may technically be because the game isn’t super refined yet, but I actually like it. It makes the characters feel more human since they actually make mistakes. I also thought that the gameplay was a little more exciting than some of the newer ones although of course this is to a small margin. Technically I thought all of the games were exciting in their own way.

As always there is a lot of extra content to play around with. You can forget about the online options though as those servers have been down for a very long time at this point. Still, you can practice your shooting skills, running around the court, etc. There’s also the legendary franchise mode so you can have endless games as your favorite team. There’s no end to the replay value here as you’d expect since that is basically par for the course for sport titles. The NBA games are very consistent with their modes and that’s a good thing.

Naturally there is less emphasis on the presentation here since the graphics aren’t quite as all star as in the later games. Still, everything that you actually do need to be clear is well defined. You’ll never lose yourself on the court or anything like that. The screen is clear and I didn’t notice any glitches either. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty standard as expected. These areas are probably the most similar across all the titles, but why fix what isn’t broken right?

Overall, NBA 2K8 is definitely another really solid title. It brings all of the classic Basketball action that you would expect and then some. These games just never get that old although I will admit that I am just about ready for the next sport. I only have 3 more Basketball titles left so I am in the homestretch there. The goal will be to win one of those last 3 games although I guess we’ll see how it goes. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I really don’t see why you would. At this point the players/teams are so outdated compared to the newer titles. i’m sure a bunch of these players are probably even retired by now. Still, it does hold up and since you can buy the game for about a dollar it really is a steal if you think about it.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bendy in Nightmare Run Review


It’s time to look at the latest Bendy game. It’s been a long while since I played a new mobile title so this was a fun detour. It’s not a game I would keep in the longrun because unlike most of the others it actually isn’t endless. You can actually get through all of the content pretty quickly I got through all of the worlds in under a week and by that point there isn’t a whole lot to do. It’s a fun game though and I do like free runners.

Naturally there isn’t an actual plot here. There are 4 main chapters and each one has 6 levels where you fight the same boss only he gets more health each time. As a result there are really only 4 unique levels so the game actually feels pretty low budget compared to most. The Ladybug game had a similar format, but a whole lot more content and a better reward system. In short, this is a free runner you would play because you like the franchise, but otherwise there isn’t really much of a reason to pick this one.

The gameplay is pretty easy to understand. You can move from side to side and there are 3 different lanes. You can jump and when you touch a weapon you tap the screen to fire it at the villain. The goal is to land enough hits to knock him out while dodging his attacks. When this is done you’ll have won the level. Rinse and repeat as you go through. The only thing that really tends to change in the level is how long the boss will last and naturally his attacks will also get a little quicker. By the time you’re in world 3 or so you’ll likely know the game well enough to beat the levels without taking a hit.

There isn’t much opportunity for the game to show the graphics since it’s all very repetitive, but the game looks fine. You can only expect so much out of a mobile title of course. It’s definitely not as high grade as the big Nintendo ones or something like Dragon Ball Legends, but ultimately I would say that it works out pretty well. You can at least see what is happening at all times. The soundtrack is pretty limited though and while it’s going for a happy feel since this is the more heroic Bendy, it would have been nice for some of the horror tracks to slip through. I think it would have made the game a lot more ominous.

As it’s a mobile game there is naturally the pay to play aspect of it. Rather than limit your game playtime through an energy meter the various level are locked behind soup limits. You need 15000 soup cans to unlock the final world after all. You can pay a few bucks to do it or just keep playing the old levels until you have enough cans. You can get around 1000 cans during a first play through of a level or you can just drag out the levels for as long as possible to get more cans. It will take a while to get everything though. Then you’ve also got special abilities which cost a lot of cans and you also need to buy extra slots to use them.

Unlike Ladybug it does feel like it takes a very long time to get all of these power ups so you can expect that you won’t have most of them by the end. At the same time once you have beaten the game it’ll be pretty easy in comparison to buy the power ups. They definitely aren’t as expensive as the main story chapters. Of course, with no more levels to play what would be the point in buying the rest of the items? I think where the game suffers a bit is in how there is no real post game. There isn’t a multiplayer or anything to test your skills and the actual amount of content is surprisingly small. It’s odd since for mobile games usually the whole point is to have endless content but I guess this one didn’t want to bother with that.

So it’s really going to depend on how much you enjoy the game. One thing you can also do to avoid the grind is simply download the game around 1-2 weeks in advance and simply log in. That will give you all of the daily bonuses and then when you play the game you’ll already have enough gems to blast through the story. I’ve thought about that for some titles, but once I have the game downloaded it’s real tempting to just start playing it right away. Still, if you really don’t like having to wait then it’s ultimately your best bet.

Overall, This is a good mobile game. It is really carried by the fact that it’s part of a franchise though. Ultimately there is no other real reason to play it when there are simply better versions of the game available. I always think you shouldn’t score a game relatively like that though. Just because there exists a game that is better in every way it doesn’t make the other title any worse. So, if you look at this game independently then it’s still pretty fun. Also, it’s a free title so at the end of the day the fact that it is good and will last you a few days is pretty satisfactory I’d say. Now that the game is completed I’ll be deleting it, but it had a good run. My next mobile game likely won’t be until the new Dr. Mario came comes out, but that one definitely looks like it’s going to have a whole lot of content so it may last a bit longer.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K10 Review


It’s time to look at another NBA 2K title. This one is a lot older than the others so was it as good? Honestly, this is the best NBA 2K game yet and I’m not just saying that because it’s the first one where I was finally able to take it to the computer. Not only did I win, but I won by 20 points. It felt pretty good to actually be in the lead for a change. Don’t get me wrong, losing is good sometimes and it definitely does build character, but I was definitely ready to be in the driver’s seat for a change. It’s a lot of fun and while the gameplay isn’t quite as deep as some of the newer games, it is deep enough for me.

I jumped right into the play now mode and I knew things would go my way when I was able to stop them from scoring 3 times in a row. I was quickly up to a 5-2 lead and from there the gap kept widening. It felt like everything was working this time. I would go for the 2 point shots or I would quickly pass it to my guy on the outside and he would hit the 3 point shot. It may just be some placebo on my end, but it seems like you have a better chance of making the shot if you take it right away. If you walk around for a bit before trying the 3 pointer it just won’t work. Of course I still did miss a lot of the 3 point shots, but I got the ones that counter. My strategy was to just run in and score and it worked pretty well. I was scoring at will and while they would stop me from time to time I was able to stop them more.

One gameplay mechanic that I still don’t understand is why my guy will randomly fire a shot at times. I’m just trying to hold R2 and accelerate, but my guy will throw the ball and naturally since I’m nowhere near the hoop then it basically gives the other team a free turnover. It just seems to happen randomly. I doubt it’s a glitch so it’s just something that I’m not doing right. Then you’ve also got players running out of bounds sometimes. That happened to me at least 3 times and it never occurred in the other games. I guess parts of the gameplay are a little unrefined, but all in all it still feels natural.

The biggest change which helped me win here was that my defense was finally going good. A good chunk of this is due to the fact that the A.I. seemed to be really good. Players would stick their hands up and stop balls from getting past them. I think my team got well over 10 turnovers in the game. I also got my share of steals (and fouls) which definitely helped out a lot. I’d then transition into my fast break offense and from there the sky was the limits. Nobody was going to stop me from making the basket and I don’t think any of them wanted to. Whenever they would jump in front I would still make the basket only now they had a foul so I was able to go for the third point. All in all, it was a pretty good deal.

There are the usual assortment of modes here so even if you get bored you can quickly try to spice up the gameplay. You can go through the franchise option or make your own player. Naturally there is also the option to just practice for a while or turn up the difficulty. After the win I did get a bit greedy so I tried another match only this time I intentionally chose a team with a very low rating to see how different it would be. I was losing this match by a few points so it was definitely different. It felt more like the other 2K games as I wasn’t getting any backup and the other team was stopping me more. I think the overall score seems to have a pretty big impact across the board with the various players. I didn’t actually get to finish the second game as I exited in the 4th quarter, but I wasn’t going to make it back at that point. Of course you also have the local multiplayer option at your disposal which is sure to add even more replay value to the mix.

The graphics are definitely as sharp as ever. They may not be as flashy as some of the newer games, but they do get the job done. You’ll be able to easily see the field and understand the situation at all times. Surprisingly the main menu didn’t really have a flashy theme this time, but I assume that the usual assortment of musical themes can be found somewhere in the game. At least the loading screens are also faster than the other 2K games I played so if you don’t like the presentation then you can skip to the game. Otherwise I do think the presentation was handled really well so you’ll probably enjoy it for the first few times at least.

Overall, NBA 2K10 holds up as well as the others. If anything it is currently my favorite NBA 2K game although I admit that it had the advantage of letting me win this time. It does feel pretty good to be holding the W instead of the L this time. On the other hand, the fundamentals are all on point as they are in the newer ones so it is basically like you’re playing the same game. If you liked the newer ones then I don’t really see any reason why you wouldn’t like this one. At the end of the day it’s all Basketball and the gameplay can only change so much. Considering that this game is only about a dollar I would definitely recommend snagging it.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bendy and The Ink Machine Review


It’s time to take a look at my first ever horror game. I may have played some other games that could be considered to be part horror like Scooby Doo, but none that go all the way like this one. Bendy is definitely an impressive game. It throws in a lot of intense visuals and a dark story without having to resort to over the top levels of violence. It really is quite impressive and this is definitely a game that I would recommend checking out. It has certainly done a good job of really making a name for itself and now I’m ready for the next game. (Even if it isn’t a direct sequel)

The plot of the game follows a guy named Henry as he heads back to his old workplace after having left a long time ago. The whole place seems pretty far gone but he wants to figure out what his old pal Joey wanted to show him. Unfortunately he is then knocked out and may not be able to get out as easily as he thought. The workplace is now filled with beings of darkness and they all want to destroy him. If he gets out of this alive he’ll definitely have some words for Joey, but in the meantime he’s going to make sure to clock in and keep a calm head at all times.

Henry is definitely one of the bravest characters you’ll ever see. It’s almost to the point where it’ll actually take you out of the experience for a few seconds because this guy just isn’t afraid of anything. He keeps a monotone voice throughout the game even when he is being directly threatened. The guy just doesn’t get phased. While it is just gameplay mechanics for him to talk about getting paid for this and clocking in, it does make the save feature pretty memorable and certainly a lot of fun. Henry is the kind of character that you want to lead the team because he is charismatic.

The gameplay is that of a 1st person shooter without the shooting. Effectively most of the game is about investigating various rooms and areas to meet objectives. These objectives range from pulling levers to beating enemies. When you are holding a weapon you can swing away at the villains which is always pretty fun. The gameplay isn’t focused on the combat mechanics though so there aren’t many of them. It’s really just one swing so make sure you get used to it. There are also puzzles here, but none of them are all that annoying. Once you’ve played some of the puzzles you’ll start knowing what to expect as the game goes on.

It took me around 4 and a half hours to beat the game. Online I see that the average was 3 so this is actually one time where it took me a lot longer to beat it than the average player. That’s fine, it’s definitely not a game that you want to be rushing through anyway. There are a lot of little easter eggs all around the place and collectibles to nab. Listening to the audio recordings will help you get a better picture of the plot and story inside of the game as well. The Platinum trophy for this game doesn’t seem all that hard but you will need to play the game at least twice. I feel like the toughest trophy is definitely going to be trying to get all of the bacon soup cans though. There are just so many of them throughout the game and there is no way to see how many there are. Be prepared to play for quite a bit if you want to truly 100% the game.

As mentioned, this is a horror game so the atmosphere is clear. Fortunately this is an area that the game has on point right from the start. The factory that the lead is in is very dark and mysterious. You’re going to see a whole lot of creepy visuals throughout as Bendy and the other villains utterly wreck anyone who comes inside. It’s the kind of game where the Youtube theory videos will definitely have a field day. There’s a whole lot to unpack here and you could write essays on almost any part of the plot. I definitely enjoyed the story a lot and I’m sure you will as well. The ending of the game is perfect and there are definitely a lot of ways you can follow up on this title.

As for the characters, we’ve got a few of them running around. Naturally one of the big ones is Bendy and he is definitely a highlight. Due to the nature of the game he doesn’t appear a lot until near the end, but his scenes are definitely memorable. He’s got a great character design and makes for a solid antagonist. Then you’ve got Boris who is pretty much a Goofy homage. That guy’s probably the worst of the ink supporting characters because he’s always acting nervous and ultimately gets wrecked. He never really put up a good fight. Then you’ve got the Angel(s) who are definitely very solid. Don’t want to spoil anything with these characters, but the duality of the Angel definitely makes for a powerful role. Then you’ve got Tom who definitely doesn’t like Henry at all. The guy’s got a real axe to grind in more ways than one. Ultimately you’ll have to wonder if this guy is really trust worthy anyway.

Sammy is another big villain and he’s intense because the guy is the first big villain to show up. He commands respect and makes for a good boss fight. I like his design and the guy’s just an interesting villain. There’s also a camera enemy how is pretty tough although not Bendy level. I was actually able to defeat him the first time I ran into the guy which was pretty cool. I exploited an area that was too small for him and just kept whacking away at the guy until he went down. Trust me, that felt pretty satisfying since for the most part these guys are always kicking you around. The boss fights were definitely handled very well.

Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is very impressive. There are a lot of really solid tunes here. They definitely help to amplify the setting through and through. You need good music to really complete the world and Bendy had that on point. The graphics are also important and definitely work very well. I played about half of the game during the daytime and half at night. It’s definitely best to play at night, but works either way. This game really knows how to properly handle the jump scares and it left big shoes for the follow-up entry. We’ll see if it can match up to this one.

Overall, Bendy and the Ink Machine is one of those games that you might not have heard of before, but it’s worth taking the plunge. It’s an excellent game that is also quite original. You won’t think even for a second that this one is trying to copy another title. It’s going for a fresh take and that’s always what you want to see. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for the sequel even if i do wish it would come out as a full game right away and not using the chapter system that everyone seems to love nowadays. Be prepared for the array of jump scares!

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K13 Review


It’s time for yet another NBA2K game down for the count. It’s definitely quite solid although I wouldn’t say it is quite as polished as 2K15. I mean that in the most low key way possible though because you really could mistake the two games for each other quite easily. In a way that’s cool as you’ll be able to jump right in if you’re a longtime 2K player but the flip side is that if you’re looking for a new experience this isn’t the way to go? Don’t fix what ain’t broke? Definitely a debate to be had there.

I jumped right into the play now mode of course as I was ready for some good basketball action. I do think that I’m getting a little better at the gameplay though because I’m keeping the games a lot more competitive than I was earlier. I’m not as good as I am at the NBA games but I’m not getting destroyed like in some of the other 2K titles. I’ll definitely take his and one of these days I’ll be grabbing championships! The gameplay is pretty much the same as always. The goal is to score more goals than the other team of course. You need to have good defense and be able to score at will. If you are able to do both then you’ve really got the game in the bag. I’m definitely better at offense than defense but I will keep working at it until I can excel at both.

It seems like the shot meter is back again since when you take a shot you’ll notice a few yellow bars under your character as well as a flash. It seemed to me that when I shot during the flash the ball would go in. The tricky part though is the fact that the flash’s timing didn’t seem consistent and I feel like it is too fast to react to. The yellow bars may also be unrelated so possibly it is just the flash that you want to look out for. For the free throws it is still all about holding the stick down and releasing when the player is at the height of his aim. I think I’ve pretty much got this down but the computers rarely draw a flag so I didn’t have too many chances to practice.

One area where I think the game could improve a bit is the passing. There is an option to pass to whoever you want to by holding down a button and then passing but that takes too long in the heat of the moment. During a full court press I want to be able to quickly pass it to the guy in position and score from there. A lot of times you’ll end up passing to the wrong guy and it’ll cost you points. While it is risky because of this, that is still my go to strategy for getting on the board and increasing the lead. (When I actually have a lead) I was able to get a lot more turnovers than usual so that was definitely pretty cool.

For shooting from up close I think I had the timing down a bit better. I was able to get within a good range a lot more often this time around but sometimes my guy would still flub the shot. Maybe I’m holding on to the ball a little too long or something like that. Fortunately my team was pretty tall so a lot of times my guy would get the rebound. The team you get does seem to be very important to be honest.

The graphics are definitely very sharp. Now as they are basically the same as 2015 then you may wonder how they can be good. Well, they’re just pretty timeless. I think I would still consider these graphics to look good 6 years from now and maybe even 6 years from then. It may not be the PS4 level but it gets the job done and you won’t be distracted. The soundtrack did get a little more fancy as they got some pretty big singers here. I’m sure there will be some kind of song that you’ll like here if you can find them. I think there is a soundtrack option where you can choose which songs play and how often so it’s probably worth finding that.

As always the replay value here is basically endless. You can keep playing basketball games for days without getting old. No two games are be same and you’ve got a bunch of extra modes as well like the custom player mode and your traditional franchise option. You can practice as well or face off against a friend. Basically as long as you like the basketball gameplay the you’re set. While you can always get a newer version instead you really can’t go wrong for 1-2 dollars. How many other games will give you this much content?

Overall, NBA2K13 is definitely another winner to add to your collection. I’m now getting close to the end of the NBA games. There are 6 left but only 3 2K titles left so then I’ll need to get used to the other styles for Basketball again. Should be nostalgic to go back to the big NBA titles. They may not be the most realistic ones but I have to admit that between the fast paced nature of the games and the nostalgia goggles I’m always wearing, I don’t think NBA will ever be beat.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K15 Review


Yes guys, it is Basketball time once more! I’m still not the biggest 2K fan out there, but I will admit that they spared no expense with this one. There’s even more content than usual and of course the graphics are really good as always. There’s really nothing to dislike here so as long as you like Basketball then you’re gonna be in for a pretty great experience.

As always I started out with the classic Play Now mode. It’s always a good way to quickly get used to the controls and just get yourself acquainted with the game. I’m still not quite ready to take on the higher difficulties here as normal mode is enough for the computers to start to overwhelm me. I was doing pretty good, but gradually the small lead the computer had kept getting bigger and bigger. By the end of the game it was a genuine blowout. I tried adjusting mid-game but it’s definitely easier said than done.

The main issue here is the fact that on offense I am definitely not guaranteed to score and that’s always a bad thing since I can’t really stop the computer all that consistently. Sure, I can stop them here and there, but they score almost every time and I’m typically scoring 50% of the time. It’s odd that I’m missing so much so In know that I’m getting something wrong as opposed to the shot% just being really low here. It seems like there is some kind of shot meter like in some of the newer NBA games only it is invisible unlike those. So make sure you’re timing your shots since that seems important.

Even with that it is tough to get the shots because you need to learn how the mechanics work for all the various situations. A lot of times I would try to get a shot off but the player would try to dodge someone so the shot didn’t go off. It definitely takes a lot of practice. You also can’t get away with the risky passes you might have tried in the normal NBA games because here they’ll steal the ball almost every time. The defense is relentless.

On the other hand, it’s hard to stop the team when they’re on offense. Most of the time you’re just hoping that they’ll miss the shot and you can get the rebound. Of course, rebounds are really tough here. On one hand I almost always got the rebounds when I would miss a shot, but by the same token they would tend to get their own rebounds as well. Defense just felt almost impossible at times, but that’s usually how it is for me.

So, I decided to play some more of the bonus content here that I usually don’t really touch upon. One of these was the franchise mode. In this one you start out as a new recruit in college and you play one game before the actual draft starts. It’s pretty interesting since you’re an actual player so you can’t just keep on jumping around like you would in a normal game. You have to just play the game as a selfish player constantly asking for the ball or just waiting for your opportunity. I tried being selfish since it’s not like I was going to be playing this for a long time anyway. I ended up getting an F grade….so that didn’t work out well.

From there you go to the draft and then some actual interviews which was pretty interesting. I do love the concept as this makes the realism grow to even greater heights. It’s hard to imagine the games getting even more realistic than this. It’s the full draft experience, but the one thing I don’t like is that you can’t skip the cutcenes. You get 3 interviews back to back and I like how you have different options for your answers, but it is very long so if you don’t care and just want to get into the action you’ll be waiting for quite a while.

Meanwhile the graphics are naturally top tier as always. You won’t have any complaints here for sure. The players are naturally on point and on model. The court is clear and a lot of effort was put in here as per usual. The soundtrack is definitely less inspired. It’s pretty much the same as per usual but either way you’re in it for the Basketball right? The soundtrack would just be a bonus.

There’s pretty much endless replay value here as you can keep on playing the various basketball matches or you can jump into these various franchise modes. I probably prefer the classic Basketball gameplay the best, but I do think the novelty of sticking to one player could definitely be a lot of fun as well. I don’t know about being pulled out of the game though, that seems like it would be annoying pretty quick. Then of course you’ve also got the PS3 trophies to earn so you’ll definitely be here for a while. I didn’t try the online, but since this is 2K15 I wonder if the servers are still up. I definitely don’t know for sure though so don’t count on the online still being active just in case.

Overall, NBA 2K15 is probably the definitive installment in the 2K series. At least from the ones I’ve played. The gameplay still isn’t quite as fast paced or intense as the NBA ones in my opinion. It’s definitely a very different take and for longtime fans of the 2K series I’m sure they’ll love it. It’ll take a little longer for the normal NBA fans to get into it of course, but once you do then you’ll see the great amount of depth that is to be found here. I’d recommend picking this one up and soon I’ll be playing the older installments so it’ll be fun to see how the game has evolved over the years.

Overall 8/10