8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that has always been quite well known as an underratted classic. Just about every threat I go to about great DBZ games there is at least one person naming this game. People seem to love just how in depth it went as well as the solid gameplay. While I’m not ready to call it the best DBZ game I will say that it is great. Ir’s too bad that they couldn’t have covered more of the story than just the Saiyan Saga, but you’ll likely never see such a detailed lookthrough in any other game. It’s impressive how much is shown here and the gameplay is pretty tight.

The story actually starts with some adventures from Dragon Ball. The main part starts when Raditz shows up halfway through the way though and we learn that more Saiyans are on the way. Goku and friends will have to surpass their limits if they want to beat these guys, but the problem is that time is not on the hero’s side. They will only have an hour to get ready and that’s a really short time table. Still, the heroes have been through worse odds before and come out on top so they won’t let this get to them.

So the gameplay is similar to the turn based style of Pokemon, but more interactive. I’d say that the Mario & Luigi series is a good benchmark for this one. The reason for that is because you can click buttons at the right time to minimize damage which is always an interesting change. If you get really good at blocking then you’ll need to do less grinding than someone who isn’t able to react in time. It adds some strategy there. Then you’ve also got the line-up strategies. You can have 3 people in the front and up to 5 in the back although you’ll never get a full party of 8 in the game. You will probably figure that having 3 people in the front at all times is your best bet, but there is actually a good reason to only have 1 at times. The EXP you get in battle is evenly split up between the characters in your active party with the backups only getting 10% of it. So if you’ve only got 1 guy in the front then he will get massive amounts of EXP. It helps a lot with leveling.

Typically I kept my whole group of 3 in the front though. If the other members die in one hit for the boss fights then you’d be in trouble anyway so at least this way it kept the fighters close. At first in the game I would lose to the boss each time which would then require more grinding. The game can be difficult so expect to have to level up quite a lot. There are numerous strategies to try out though and a vast level up tree. What abilities you decide to improve and rank up will play a huge factor in how your character turns out. Personally I decided to just max out attack power for everyone and I always ignored the other stats. Good attack will go a long way right? That’s the way I figured it. Unfortunately when you beat the game you are taken to right before the final boss so you can only control Gohan, Krillin, and Goku. Everyone else that you trained up is lost forever unless there is some way to find them again. That part’s a little unfortunate.

Most of the game you will just need to figure out on your own as you play through. I personally say you should max out one special attack for each fighter first. Then work on unlocking ultimate attacks by powering up other techniques and you should be good to go. Definitely buy a good amount of potions for the end game because you’ll be going through 5-6 boss battles in a row. Losing in the middle of those would have definitely been rough if you ask me. I recommend being around level 50 to make the battle go smoothly and be careful with the Kaio-Ken. It’s the best move in the game but if you can’t finish the opponent off before it runs out you are most likely doomed to be defeated since you can’t move or block for a few turns.

There is a lot of content in this game and it took me around 20 hours to conquer the main story. Should you decide to do the bonus content like fighting Broly and maxing everyone out it’ll take even longer. This is not a short game so you’ll have a lot of replay value here. Even without playing any side quests you’ll be here for a while since I didn’t really do any of them myself. The game can be a bit pricey online but at least you know you’ll be getting a great game.

Meanwhile the game doesn’t cheap out on any other areas. The graphics here are quite good. One thing that might drag on for you are the explanation points and other symbols that show up after every line in the cutscenes. Hold down the R button to speed things along, but let go when clicking on the dialogue or otherwise you’ll skip some lines. Doing this helps to make the cutscenes go by pretty quick. All of the attacks are flashy and I like that you can see the improvement as you level them up. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty good. The boss battle against Vegeta was great and I also liked the general danger theme that plays constantly. The basic boss theme is also sound. It’s just a very well rounded array of tunes.

Overall, Attack of the Saiyans definitely lived up to the hype. It’s a classic DBZ RPG that can hold its own with the best of em. I managed to beat the game on Friday the same day that Kakarot arrived so it was good timing. Now I can effectively take a look at the PS4 version of the RPG. I already know it’s going to be a top notch game for sure. While I’m sure most of my readers will be picking this one up, I’d say you should also buy Attack of the Saiyans if you’re a big fan of the series or if you just like RPG titles. It’s a lot of fun with really sound gameplay mechanics.

Overall 8/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox 2 Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Star Fox game. Not a lot of people got to play this game back in the day although that has changed to a degree since the game was included on the SNES classic and now it’s also available through the Switch Online. I can definitely see why Nintendo wanted to bury this game back in the day though. While I applaud Nintendo’s effort to make a new kind of Star Fox game, it really doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the original. The gameplay just isn’t that good and that’s always tough to get past for a video game.

The basic plot is that Andross wants to conquer the star systems once again. Fox and friends don’t want to let this happen, but at the same time it’s going to be really hard to put a stop to this. The team splits up and prepares to defeat the opposing planets while protecting their own. This takes you to the hub world which shows you where everything is at. It’s a bit overwhelming but you’ll get the gist of it after a few minutes. Corneria is your home base and if it gets destroyed then that is an instant game over. Your goal is to stop the missilles heading towards it and taking down all of the enemy bases. Personally I feel like the easiest thing to do is taking out all of the bases right away. The villains won’t have time to blow up Corneria if you do that. That’s what I did and the game is over within 40-50 minutes.

The actual gameplay is a 3D shooter. You fly through the air and try to blast the ships out of the sky. This is the worst part of the gameplay because it’s hard to see anything. Your sensor is oddly not in the middle of your screen so you have to find it and then shoot from there. It’s just not very fun and the gameplay feels like it was slapped together. It’s always hard to tell where you’re at or even just moving in general. Fortunately not all of the levels use this gameplay style but it would have to be one of the worst shooter gameplays I’ve tried.

The other style is your ground missions which ties into the final level. You get to run around as a walker and blast various objects. It actually feels pretty similar to Star Fox Assault which is good since that is still the best Star Fox title. You can also switch back to your Arwing if necessary but I don’t see why you would do that. The walker is way easier to move around in and the blasters take down all of the enemies very quickly. The final boss even goes down quickly like this and the gameplay is a lot more fun. This would be a whole different game if you could just play in the walker the whole time. It’s just really solid.

If I had to describe why the gameplay didn’t work, it’s just a little too unfocused. It can be hard to know what is happening right away and it’s just too hard to turn around. The boss against the long snake is a good example of that as he keeps flying around you and it’s so hard to keep up with him. He barely ever tries to attack you so the boss isn’t hard, just a little on the tedious side. I think the first person view is what tripped the game up, it should have been more of a third person camera view like the original Star Fox. That’s always a safer approach if you ask me.

Team Wolf shows up in this game, but they don’t really serve much purpose except to give you a quick dogfight. The level is okay but surprisingly Leon was way more difficult than Wolf. Wolf went down almost instantly while Leon actually beat me the first time. The difficulty level here isn’t as crazy as some SNES games, but it’s still tough enough where you can’t just breeze through the whole thing. You will have to think through your moves and be very careful about how you approach each level. One loss means game over, but the rewind feature on the SNES should help you avoid that.

Meanwhile the graphics are pretty good. In this area at least I’d say it keeps up pretty well with the original game and maybe even surpasses it. I was glad we got little text cutscenes even if the game didn’t have the most elaborate story in it. At least having a bit of a story is better than none right? The soundtrack is also decent I suppose. Not the most imaginative, but it’s got those classic Star Fox vibes that always work well. As for replay value, I wouldn’t really say there is much. You can try beating the game in a different way but there’s not a whole lot of reason to do so. I suppose if you just like the game enough then that’s not a bad idea. Since the game is free it’s not like you need the game to be quite as long though.

Overall, Star Fox 2 is a fairly weak Star Fox game. I have to say that the franchise has had a pretty tough time over the years. The original Star Fox game was decently good, but then we had this one which wasn’t very good. Star Fox Assault was amazing and Adventures was pretty good but then we had Command and Zero which really could not hold their own on that level. I hope the next Star Fox game we get is more like Assault and brings the series into the elite level. The concept is still so much fun and Fox is always a great character to have around. I don’t really recommend this game, but if you have the Switch Online then you may as well check it out. Otherwise I’d say you should just pick up Assault instead.

Overall 5/10

Games, 5 Star Games, Reviews, Game Reviews

Major League Baseball 2K7 Review


It’s time for another Baseball game! This one could actually be the last one I review for a while which is pretty crazy. I have two more MLB games, but they haven’t been working. If they don’t start working soon then it’ll be time to cut my losses with them. Baseball is one of the few series where I actually tend to prefer 2K to the main line games. 2K7 is no exception and actually has the best batting mechanics I’ve seen yet. If you really like Baseball then this is the title for you. It’s still not really my sport when it comes to video games because I feel like there is too much RNG, but at least now I can hit the ball back.

There are a lot of modes as always here but the one you will want is the exhibition mode right off the bat. I just wanted to test my skills against another Baseball team and so I dashed over. Much to my surprise I actually put up a pretty good fight here. It started out badly as I was down 3-0 after a few innings. I just couldn’t manage to hit the ball. I checked the settings and the reason for this was that the game was using motion controls. You were supposed to tilt your controller in order to swing. This is all well and good except for the fact that my PS3 controller has no such feature. I switched the controls to what they listed as “Classic” which allowed me to hit the ball normally. It went back to a classic “Press X” control scheme which is way more my speed.

So I started to make my comeback. I was hitting balls left and right. A lot of them went foul but others would actually be home runs. Eventually the game ended with a score of 9-6. I may have lost, but I got really close compared to most games where I lose 18-0 or something like that. At least this one made me feel like I was in the game at several points. It still doesn’t really take away from my main issue with these Baseball games though. My problem is that none of it feels like it’s in my control.

When pitching, the guy will just hit the ball sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you hit the perfect pitch, sometimes the guy will simply be ready for it. Likewise when you’re batting you can be in just the right spot and still not hit the ball. Perhaps it was outside and it just looked like it was in. Even worse is when you hit the ball and it goes out of bounds or straight into someone’s mitt. I know there are ways to angle your hit better and if you don’t want to go out of bounds then you’ve got to work on timing but there is too much that is out of my control for me to enjoy it as much as the others.

Basketball, Football, and Tennis are my three favorite sports to play in video game format and that’s because RNG is kept to a minimum there. What you see is what you get. If you mess up then it’s all on you. Sure, there is RNG present in every game and those are not exceptions, but they don’t feel nearly as frequent as they do in Baseball. No matter how refined the controls get, I feel as though that will always be holding the series back to an extent.

As always the graphics are good though. The players all look lifelike and the Baseball field is very clear. A lot of effort went into this even if it’s not quite up to Madden level. The presentation is also nice with a lot of quick cutscenes showing up between plays or after the game. Even seeing everyone heading into the stadium was a lot of fun. Slowly but surely the games are all starting to have big presentations like this and I think it’s definitely a good thing. It makes the whole thing look and feel even more realistic.

There’s a lot of replay value to be had here so you don’t have to worry about running out of content. That’s never really been a concern in Baseball games though so I would have been surprised if there was a lack of content. You can play endless matches against all of the teams and there are a lot of modes to try out. Considering that the game is only about a dollar or two nowadays it’s really a great deal for sure.

Overall, Major League Baseball 2K7 is probably one of the best Baseball games I’ve played. It’s quite solid for a Baseball game, but still doesn’t solve the things that were issues for me. I think the games need to take a bit of inspiration from the Mario Baseball game for Gamecube. Of course they wouldn’t grab the special abilities or anything like that, but the batting mechanics were quite solid. There you felt like every ball went exactly where you wanted it to go and that’s a really good thing. I’m confident it will happen in a main Baseball game someday.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Angry Birds Trilogy Review


It’s time to look at the Angry Birds trilogy on the PS3. The game was definitely an odd port when it first came out because you can get Angry Birds for free on the mobile. Why pay the 30-40 bucks for console when you can do that? I suppose playing on console is more fulfilling with the controls for most games, but with the way this one plays out the mobile controls are actually your best bet either way. In the end I bought this game for a few bucks and I’d say that it’s worth the price for the sheer amount of content. You certainly can still get it on mobile but if you look at this port in a vacuum it certainly is worth a buy.

There isn’t really much of a plot here. The evil pig empire wants to take control of the birds base of operations so now the Angry Birds are being called in to put a stop to this. Keep in mind that the cutscenes don’t have any dialogue or voice acting so you have to interpret this as best you can but the games did get a movie so that also helps you get the plot across. You get some quick cinematics at the end of each chapter for the main game but not really any for the two spinoffs.

I’m not sure what the name for this kind of gameplay is, but I’d call it a motion shooter. Basically you have the bird on a slingshot and you launch him towards some constructs which have pigs in them. The goal is to hit all of the pigs before you run out of birds. From the start you can see how many birds you have so that’s how you start budgeting where to fire them. Sometimes you’ll aim for the pigs directly but other times you need to hit a part of the base and get it to all topple down. There’s a lot of factors to consider with each shot and towards the end there is a lot of trial and error or at least I ended up using a lot to get the wine.

As you go through the game you’ll start getting more advanced birds to use. The Red bird is the basic one that you launch into the air. The Yellow one can use a booster after launching so you can really power through some of the obstacles. The small blue one can turn into 3 birds after launch but they are all pretty weak so be careful on what you tackle. There’s the egg bomb bird which can drop a bomb below which deals a lot of damage. Finally there’s the actual bomb bird which blows up after a short time or you can trigger the explosion early. You’ve definitely got a lot of options for the birds and ultimately you will need to master them all.

You’ll have a lot of time to do so because the game has a crazy amount of levels to go through. We’re not just talking one or two hundred, but significantly more than that. I don’t know exactly how many there are but there’s enough content here to last you for an extremely long amount of time. You’d have to be a really big fan of the series to stick around with it for so long though. After a while you are effectively playing the same same stage. While that can be said for many titles, you really feel the repetition in Angry Birds. It’s just unrelenting even if the actual gameplay can be fun. I think it just needs more cinematics or razzle dazzle to make you want to stick around. Otherwise you’ll probably just stop playing after 100 or so levels. That’s what I did at any rate.

There are 3 games here, but they all have the same gameplay style so that doesn’t really solve the problem. My favorite was actually the summer game because I liked the level designs the most but they all have their charms. The graphics are pretty good I’d say. It’s not as if there is a lot in the game that really needs graphics so that probably made it easier for the company to focus on making those sections look good. We also get a few cinematics in the first game, but not really in the others. Calling them “cinematics” may be a bit strong since it’s mostly just stills that try to make you think they’re moving. I’m definitely still glad to have them though.

Angry Birds can be surprisingly difficult as well. Some levels took me dozens of tries to complete so they definitely weren’t your average mobile levels. The spike happens quite suddenly so even if you have a pretty good understanding of the birds and their various abilities I expect you will have some trouble here. I wonder how the final levels would be. They’ve got to be crazy since I was relatively early on in the game when I ended up putting it down. I have this nagging feeling that some of the birds have extra abilities that I don’t know about, but more likely I just wasn’t hitting the right angels.

Overall, The Angry Birds Trilogy is a fun game. It’s just not the kind of title that you want to play in long batches. I think it’s at its best a few levels at a time like most mobile games. It’s just not really convenient to be turning your console on and off so often the way you can on a cell phone. You’ll likely enjoy the game more if you play it on the mobile, but if you do choose to get the console version it is nice to have all of the content available right away. I do think more mobile games should try to port over to console though. It sounds like it should be fairly easy to do so the companies should make at least a bit of a profit in the transition.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Blur Review


It’s time to look at a racing game that made a lot of noise back in the day. There aren’t a whole lot of item based racing games and even fewer ones that go for a realistic angle. The only other one going on at the time was probably Wipeout. This game had been on my radar for a very long time so now was a good opportunity to finally pick it up. It’s a pretty fun game and having a straight forward arcade mode is nostalgic but I do feel like the game was missing something.

The main mode is the career and what happens here is you start off with the first chapter available. Each chapter has 6 races and if you complete extra objectives during these levels you will unlock the boss level at the end with an opportunity to unlock your opponent’s car. Each level has up to 7 stars that you can earn with 3 being the minimum that you need in order to clear the level. These stars are important because they are how you unlock the next chapters.

By the end of the game I got a little over half of the stars and unlocked all but the final chapter. It’s usually not too difficult to get up to 5 stars in a level but going beyond that is definitely a challenge. The game really wants you to ace the levels in order to unlock the final chapter. The star requirements are surprisingly high. Most likely you will need to replay levels a bit if you want to get to the end.

There are a few different gameplay styles to be found here. The one you will see the most is definitely the racing levels. These play out pretty much as you would expect with the goal being to get to the end of the level first. Along the way you will see the mini challenges. Some of these are “fan challenges” which are little icons that will give you an item and 40 seconds in which to use it properly. Then you’ve got the gates and the objective here is to go through them all in time. These give you a star for completion so do your best to clear them all.

As I mentioned earlier there are also items in this game so you will want to take those into account. There are a few basic items. First you have the booster which is self explanatory. Then you have the land mine which you can place behind you or fire in front at short range. It’s a pretty handy item and one of the best in the game. Of course you also have the energy blast weapon or the mini energy gun that can fire 3 times. The wrench item heals you back to full health which I think is a little excessive but it does make this the most valuable item in the game. There are certainly other items to be found but those are the main ones.

Other modes include Checkpoint which is really just a race with yourself as you try to get to the end of the level. These levels can be a little tricky to get the main 5 stars in, you will sometimes want to go for the booster instead of the clock if it’s more of a direct route to the goal. Then there is Knockout where the goal is to take down as many others cars as possible. There is no end to the level so you keep blasting cars until the timer runs out.

The graphics here are pretty solid. The levels have a lot of variety and the cars look great. There is a decent amount of customization like changing the color of the car without it being overwhelming. The soundtrack isn’t really anything to write home about but it supplements the game well enough. This game can be fairly long depending on how many tries it takes you to unlock the final chapter. That’s the thing with racing games, especially ones with items. In the end you just have to get really good at the fundamentals and hope no big item slams you in the end because it’s not like you can spend time farming enemies to get stronger. You do get fans win or lose which unlocks new cars so eventually you will get a car that gives you more of an edge which will be handy.

The campaign is fairly long on its own and the game has a lot of replay value through the PS3 trophies you can earn as well as the multiplayer option. You definitely don’t have to worry about not having enough content for your purchase. In general racing games have levels that can feel a little long since you’re so focused on the road and the other cars so as it is you’ll likely need to take quite a few breaks along the way. This is not the kind of game you can beat overnight in one shot unless you’re some kind of racing prodigy.

Overall, Blur is definitely a fun game. The items work out pretty well and the graphics hold up to this day. The level designs are solid and there are a lot of cars to choose from. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a quick car game to play and don’t mind having the items to look out for. I tend to prefer the racing games without items but I still enjoy both kinds. Racing games in general are just pretty fun and this one is going for cheap now so it’ll be hard to get a better price than what it’s at. This is your chance to snag it.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brave Review


Video games based on movies always have a certain reputation that comes along with them. People just expect these games to not be very good and this is warranted by the multitude of games that came out in the early 2000s…..or did they? See, a lot of games based on movies did come out in that era, but I’d argue that a lot of them were really good. The Matrix, Spider-Man 1-3, X-Men 3, etc. These games were actually a lot of fun and then you’ve got titles like The Incredibles or Superman Shadow of Apokolips (Based on a show at least) which were also solid. Now there have been some terrible ones like Finding Nemo, but I’d argue it balances out well. Brave is a solid game in its own right and I’d recommend checking it out.

The plot seems to cover what the movie did in abridged form although I have not watched the movie yet so I can’t say that with 100% confidence. Basically the main character’s Mom is turned into a bear so now she must find a way to turn her back. Meanwhile there is an evil bear who is spreading evil throughout the world and corrupting everybody. If he isn’t stopped soon then there will be no going back. The lead has to learn that bravery is something that comes from within and the way to save her Mother may have something to do with this. The only thing left to do now is fight!

The gameplay is fairly standard. You start out at the Ring of Stones which is effectively the hub world although I hesitate to say that because there is nothing to do here. It’s a blank field you can run around in and it leads you to the 9 levels. Each time you clear one level then the gateway to the next one opens up which allows you to challenge it. There’s not really much more than that to do here so maybe lets just call it the hub. Once inside of the level the goal is to get to the end. This is done by running and jumping through the obstacles. You’ll have to beat a lot of the levels as it is part beat em up. When you beat all of the enemies the force field will leave and you can proceed forward. The levels are fairly quick and you can knock out the full game in a few hours. I don’t know exactly how long it took me, but it was between 4-6 hours I’d say.

In combat you have two weapons. The first is the sword which the game seems to think is your main weapon but don’t let that fool you. It’s nice and you can slice enemies up pretty quickly but there’s no reason to use it. The reason for that is you have a bow which fires unlimited arrows machine gun style. While the damage is slightly lower it compensates well with how many arrows you’re shooting. You can also run at full speed while shooting which is rare for any game. As a result there is no downside to constantly shooting as you are running. Not a bad idea right? I went with the arrows for the whole game and it was worth it. I didn’t die at all throughout my whole playthrough (until the final boss) which yeah that isn’t too impressive considering what game it is, but it still felt pretty good.

As you play through the game you will find upgrades for your sword and arrows as well as other costumes and tapestries which increase your base stats. You can also buy other upgrades at each save point which are pretty handy. They aren’t hidden all that far away from the main path so I was actually able to get almost all of them despite focusing on just clearing the game the whole time. It’s really not much of a time sink to quickly turn around and grab them so I’d recommend doing so. Additionally if you aim to get the Platinum trophy you’ll need to do this at some point anyway so what better time than the present right?

The graphics are fairly decent. It does look more like a PS2 game than PS3, but it’s not like the character models are blocky or anything. You’re always still sure of what’s happening next and there are a good amount of cinematics here to give you that movie feel. There isn’t really a soundtrack unfortunately so that does keep this from feeling like a higher budget title. I’d say that the main giveaways to this not being a big AAA game is how there are some re-used cutscenes and how simple the controls are. I don’t think simple controls is inherently a bad thing though. With good level design and a solid gameplay option you can really make this work out. Just look at the old Sonic or Mega Man games. There weren’t a bunch of controls but they were still a lot of fun.

If anything holds this game back it’s the length, but you can buy this game for cheap nowadays so I don’t think you’ll feel too badly about it. There is also the replay value thanks to the trophies which keeps this from being too short as well. Brave is just a fun game and it feels like a nice relic of the past. You don’t really see quick cash-in games like this anymore and it’s a shame. It’s not the kind of game you’d buy for 60, but it’s one that is always fun to stumble upon in Gamestop. It’s easily worth the price nowadays.

Overall, Brave is a very good game. I’m not saying it’s great and it’s not going for game of the year awards, but there’s really nothing bad to say about it. The ability to shoot endless arrows is admittedly very cheesy, but it does help this feel more like an arcade game. You can just dive into the game and take down as many enemies as you can. You can even turn it into a minigame with yourself to see how long you can go without getting hit. Some of the last levels will give you a nice challenge there and as I mentioned I did die a few times during the final boss. That one throws enemy after enemy at you so taking them all down isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It’s good reaction time practice since if you jump at the right time you should be able to dodge any attack.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dusk Diver Review


It’s time to look at a game that I hadn’t heard of before receiving for Christmas. From the aesthetic and cover right away you get that anime vibe which is always good. I tend to get more excited for games like this with a colorful art style and lots of cinematics. Usually these games are on the long side, but surprisingly this one is only around 6 hours or so. I nearly beat the whole thing on New Year’s, but the final hour took one last batch to complete. It’s definitely a great game with a solid post game plan.

The game focuses on the lead character Yuma who suddenly finds herself in a world filled with monsters one day. She is able to transform into a Super Saiyan type fighter and with the help of a cat defeats them. We then learn that there is another world that exists parallel to the human world and there are a few deities who fight them off every day. Somehow Yuma was thrown into this world and now the deities are unable to transform back into their true forms while she is around. Until they figure out a way around this Yuma will need to do the fighting for them. She agrees to do this while she’s on summer vacation, but once she has to go back to school that’ll be it for their agreement. The monster incursions have started happening more frequently and with greater intensity though so Yuma is going to have to bring her A game to this.

Just judging from the general plot and the huge hub world I’m still surprised that the game is so short. It just feels like we could have had a few more chapters thrown in. It’s better for the game to be direct and end early rather than forcing a long length on us though. As I mentioned earlier there is a lot to do after you beat the game anyway. You can train up your partners and work on getting all of the PS4 trophies. This should take you a long time to accomplish so that’s always something to consider. I didn’t even get to visit a fraction of the shops or learn just about any new skills during the game. I just focused on maxing out my attack power and taking it from there.

Lets talk about the gameplay though. This is your classic 3D beat em up. Each chapter starts with a few conversations with the deities and then you go to the other world through a dimensional rift. The only way to enter these rifts is to have some dragon scales with you so be sure to grab them when the Boss tells you that she senses one. Typically she says that once per chapter and to enter a rift that’s usually all you’ll need. There were 2-3 times where I needed to grab 5 or so, but running around the hub world and getting them doesn’t take up much time. It does make me think that this whole gimmick was rather pointless, but I’m thinking the developers really wanted to show off the town and figured you may not check it out otherwise. It’s probably true, but I still don’t like forced collectibles. It’s not nearly as intrusive as in platformers though so it’s not a big deal here.

Once you’re in the other world then you turn into the blue flame haired Yang Yuma. You’ve got your standard power attacks, standard moves, and a summon which brings out a guardian to land a quick combo. It’s like an assist in a Capcom Vs title as they’ll quickly go back into the air until you summon them again. It takes a block of energy but they do a lot of damage so it’s usually worth it. The big incentive with these guys is they chip away at an enemy’s armor really quick which is very handy. I always use them to get rid of the enemy’s armor and then finish the opponent with my final smash. It takes 3 bars, but does a ton of damage. Even bosses tend to lose a full bar of health if you’ve destroyed their armor. The armor regenerates quickly so be sure to smash it entirely before going for damage to save time. It’s a good tactic and I should know because I S ranked all of the missions except for 1. (Got an A….)

When you have enough super meter you can also transform into a magical girl. I was surprised that we got 2 different super forms here, but it’s fun enough. All of your stats greatly increase and you also get another super attack. For some reason it’s weaker than your normal one, but still fun to have. The main value here is just in your normal attacks getting so much stronger. You can really just rely on them to an extent although the form doesn’t last very long.

The game’s only fault may be that some parts aren’t super polished. At times when you click on X to get the next text to come through it won’t work so you have to click again. There are also a lot of typos in the text so I don’t think anyone actually reviewed it. Some people are pretty big grammar sticklers so they wouldn’t like that, but it doesn’t really bother me. It would have been an easy fix, but it’s mostly just letters left out here and there or ones that are close to each other like a v instead of a b.

As for the game’s cast, it’s fairly compact. There are a few deities with Leo being the main one. He’s a good coach type character who is always around to help Yuma out. Leo and Boss tend to keep way too many secrets though. I don’t see why they didn’t come clean with Yuma from the start as it would have saved them a lot of trouble. The other two deities are pretty good even if they never get quite as much to do. Running into the villain base was definitely not their smartest decision though.

Then you’ve got Yuma who is a really fun lead. She tends to take everything in stride which is good. She’s not the type to panic or question every little thing that happens in the monster world. For her it’s just another job. I’m glad she was the lead and not her friend. Her friend seems pretty pointless in the game as she just shows up for free food now and again and also tends to faint a lot. I suppose you need a friend like that to make the main character look even better, but Yuma was already solid so I don’t think she really even needed the help. Finally you’ve got the little girl who shows up near the end. She’s a fun character although if you’ve played Crystar then you probably already know how her character arc is going to go. She’s a good example of a quirky character who doesn’t go over the top and so manages to be a fun character to have around.

The graphics here are definitely really nice. The town looks vibrant and the same can be said for the gameplay. The level and character designs are on point and there’s just a lot of color here. You’ll know you’re playing a PS4 game right away. Then you’ve also got a pretty nice soundtrack. It’s very fast paced to the point where even Yuma’s ringtone is a battle song. Then you’ve got an anime opening type track which plays sparingly during the game as well. There are certainly no complaints here.

Overall, Dusk Diver is a fun game. I can’t really say that I had any complaints with it. Buying the game at full price may cause you to be a little upset at the length, but otherwise it’s not short enough where I’d feel like I was ripped off. By the time you get all of the trophies you’ll likely have been here for quite a while as well. I’d definitely recommend buying this game. Odds are that you probably haven’t heard of it before now either so the more people that play the game the better. Maybe that way people will start spreading the word. If the game ever gets a sequel them I’d definitely be up for that.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wario Land Shake It Review


It’s time to take a look at a Wario game that I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing until very recently. It’s always nice to see him take the center stage. While Mario is certainly the more heroic character, Wario’s definitely a guy that doesn’t let everyone push him around. He just goes at the villains with all he’s got and makes for an entertaining lead. Shake It is a solid game that is slightly held back by the treasure mechanic, but does bring a breath of fresh air into the usual Nintendo platformer.

The basic plot is that a mysterious pirate has kidnapped a bunch of fairies. One of them manages to escape and convinces Wario to help in exchange for a bunch of treasurer. The fairy also heads to a local pirate for help as well and she decides to come along. Can this trio really stop such a powerful adversary or are their stories about to come to an abrupt end here? Only time will tell, but this could get dangerous.

The gameplay has your usual end goal. You have to get to the end of the level only that’s not where the level stops this time. You have to free the fairy there and then dash back to the beginning of the level with a 2-3 minute time limit. If you don’t make it then you’ll have lost. You get to keep whatever treasure you grabbed on the way to the start. You have a few different control options like the usual jumping and ground pounding, but also new ones like slamming into opponents or throwing them at obstacles. You’ll get the hang of these controls pretty quick and from there on it’s just a matter of plunging through.

Each world has 4 levels and there are 5 worlds here. You may think this sounds extremely short right? Well, it’s not a particularly long game, but it’s almost as long as the usual platformer. (Most platformers are around 6-7 hours) I’d put this game in at 5 hours personally. Each level won’t take you longer than a few minutes. So you may wonder why you can’t just beat this game in 2-3 hours or something right? Well, the game forces you to collect a ton of treasure in order to unlock each world. You’ll need 200K for World 5, 150K for World 4, etc. It’s around 700K in total I believe. I usually got around 20-30K per level so I only had to do a little grinding for the final world. If I didn’t have to worry about treasure I could beat the levels way sooner. As if the mock you each level has a very direct route from start to finish. However, if you want to get the treasure you’ll have to go through a bunch of alternate paths to get at it. The levels don’t become super long or anything like that, but you do realize the time you’re wasting throughout.

I’ve never been a big fan of forced items. I don’t like the idea of the game telling me how I have to play it because you are effectively being penalized for blasting through the game. As a bit of a speed runner myself I like conquering the games and just showing them what’s up. I can’t do that if the game is holding my hand the whole time and taking me down the various paths. Since the game does show enough restraint not to make the counts too obsessive it doesn’t hurt much, but it just limits the game from being quite as fun as it could have been. At least its upfront about how much treasure you’ll need for each world at the beginning so you can plan it out as you’re going through the game.

The graphics here are definitely really good. I was also impressed that we got a full opening anime movie to start the game off with and one at the end as well. Why does Wario get all this fanfare rather than Mario who is supposed to be the company’s mascot? It doesn’t make any sense to me and I was thinking about it for quite a long while. I’m sure there is some rationale to this and I’m thinking it’s that Nintendo can experiment more with Wario, but I’d love this treatment for the next big Mario platformer. The soundtrack for Shake It! isn’t quite as impressive as in Yoshi or Mario, but it’s a decent array of songs. None of them really stood out to me though.

Then we have the bosses which are pretty inspired. One of the final ones does get a little cheesy with the only way to beat it being a move that you were never formally taught to do in this situation. Ignoring that, all of the bosses have unique designs and ways to defeat them. There are no recycled fights like you would see in most of Nintendo’s other big games. In part this is because each world only has 1 boss instead of 2 and I think that makes sense to keep each fight fresh. They’re all a lot of fun, but the best boss has to be the final one. Not only does he have a proper two phases like a Mega Man villain, but his design and moveset are really something special. The guy can fire off giant energy blasts and makes it look easy. Additionally he just feels like a final boss. The guy has his own throne. I’d love to see him make a comeback at some point. He’s one of the few Nintendo villains I’ve seen who is played completely straight. He has no comedy moments to speak of.

There’s a good amount of replay value here after beating the game. You can work to find all of the treasure chests or even complete all of the bonus missions. Then with that treasure you can buy some extra heart containers or the opening movie to re-watch at your leisure. I don’t think the game will still last for much longer after all of this, but it’s a fair amount of content that really helps justify the price even further. The game goes for around 15-20 nowadays which is a fair price in my opinion. It’s rare that Wario gets his own game so I’m glad Nintendo put some real effort into it.

Overall, Wario Land Shake It! is a pretty fun game. It was more enjoyable than I expected as the motion controls were actually handled well here. You don’t use them much at all except for aiming and it was pretty responsive. Wario makes for a fun lead and the game just feels very unique. It can’t be compared to Nintendo’s other titles so easily. Hopefully we get a new Wario Land game at some point, I think there is still a lot that can be done with it. I also think Nintendo should consider a crossover game someday with Mario, Yoshi, DK, and Wario mixing and matching all 4 of the styles. That would have the potential to be Nintendo’s best platformer yet!

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Madden 19 Review

It’s time to look at one of the newest installments in Madden. It’s definitely been a fun series throughout the years and I’m proud to say that I own almost all of the installments in it. Madden 19 continues the series strong run into the modern era and it’s the kind of game that you could play for a very long time. It’s one of the only sport games where I end up playing through a full season before the review so I could really take in the smooth gameplay. There’s really not much to say against this game although there is a feature or two that take away from it being the perfect Madden title. (2004 will always be the best one)

First things first I jumped into Franchise mode. It’s really quite sad how this mode has gotten the shaft in favor of other titles over the years. You rarely hear people getting hyped about this one anymore, but to me it’ll always be the best mode. You just pick your team and play for as many years as you want. There is now the option to play the Franchise online which sounds interesting. I assume that means all 32 teams will be controller by someone online, but does that mean the matches have to be scheduled? I know there are also a lot of rage quitters so I wonder how the game handles that. Either way I don’t have PS+ so I had to play the franchise offline but that made it extra nostalgic.

As expected there are a few new bells and whistles here. For starters every player has XP as if this was an RPG and you’ve got missions for every game. Clearing them gives you more XP and you can use that to level up specific techniques or even the coach. I’m not sure if I’m 100% happy to have these extra things because I prefer to just play the game with my own playbook, but it doesn’t really harm things offline. Online it could mean that you end up being completely outclassed though if all of their players are maxed out. So I dove into the games and managed a 10-6 record. I managed to get a first round bye which was nice, but then I lost to the Eagles in the Divisional round 37-27. Considering I was playing as the Cowboys it was a pretty rough way to go. My backup quarterback fumbled twice and I also threw a pick. In the end we just couldn’t get past that. (And the random holding calls from my offensive line)

In a lot of ways the games have gotten even more realistic than they used to. A holding penalty suddenly showing up to wipe away my first down happened about as much as you see on TV for the team. Then there are also the constant injuries that would happen every game. Pretty much every important player on my team had to leave at least once during the game and several were out for weeks. I had to sign 3 more quarterbacks during the season to keep my team afloat until Dak arrived again in the final game of the regular season….only to get knocked out during the Eagles game. I’m really tempted to turn off injuries for the league next time I do a season.

Granted, I got a lot of mileage out of Dak. I ran for over 1300 yards as him and while my passing yards were only around 2800 or so, it worked out pretty well. My favorite play in the game is quick slants as there are a lot of options on the field and typically if they’re all covered well then you can run for it. Usually I would run for about 15-20 yards a piece. Of course I do recommend diving each time you run at the end because a direct hit would probably lead to a fumble. Running the ball normally was okay, but Zeke felt extremely slow so I usually wouldn’t get a lot of yards. I did go to Exhibition after the season to play as the Ravens real quick and their running back was so much faster. It just feels nice to blow past everyone.

On the defensive side it felt about the same as usual. You go after the quarterback or stay with the cornerbacks. It can be really tough to make any stops though and half the time it feels like you don’t have any real power here. I played defense for a little while and eventually turned it off. One of the best features here is the ability to skip one side of the ball. I would set it to Offense only so I would only take over at that point and the defensive side would be simulated. It was a pretty good balance if you ask me. Special teams is pretty good as well though and they tend to keep that one in. Field goal kicking has been greatly improved as it’s back to a “click x button twice” style as opposed to flicking the stick. It just feels a lot more natural now. Punting is also pretty good so these parts of the game are as good as can be.

The graphics and presentation are top notch as you’d expect. Madden has always been amazingly consistent in these areas and it shows how much effort the company puts into the game. Madden is a flagship title after all so you would expect it to always be this good. The players throw their clipboards away after a game and they’ve even got most of the celebration dances in. You can now choose how you celebrate after a play as well and the commentators really have a lot of good dialogue options so they typically know what they are talking about. It’s really rare for them to say something unrelated during the game.

Now lets talk about the only parts of the game that don’t work so well. First up, I like the concept of their Longshot mode which is where you get to start the game from college or high school and make your way to the championships. The problem is that the game has long cutscenes that cannot be skipped which is not something you want to see nowadays. I don’t think it was ever a good thing, but I understand that there may have been technical limitations at some points. Otherwise there is no excuse not to be able to skip cutscenes. That just hampers the mode quite a bit.

Meanwhile you’ve got the soundtrack which isn’t so good. EA’s always gone for very loud music which I guess ties into Football, but it can be a little obnoxious while you’re on the menus waiting for the next game. You’ll probably want to turn it off as soon as possible. Fortunately it is easy to do that. The final thing I have to mention here is that it’s still really tough to ever throw deep balls. One thing I liked about the older Maddens was that you could take shots down the field. Nowadays if you do that you’re going to get picked off. There are good receiver catching mechanics that have been added like the RAC option, but they don’t solve this issue. Typically the way to advance are short passes that go for 10-15 yards and that’s it. There are no long balls and that’s a shame.

Overall, Madden 19 is definitely a fantastic game. There is an endless amount of replay value to be found here as the game has tons and tons of different modes. It’ll take some time to master all of the mechanics since there are a lot of them and in general Madden has never been an easy game. You need to have great reaction times and to be able to scan the field right away since everyone’s positions will be constantly moving. Still, if you are able to do that you will find yourself dashing through the competition. Maybe you can even go for the Platinum while there are still enough people playing the game. Regardless Madden continues to be the greatest video game series out there right after Super Smash. I’ll definitely go after Madden 20 once the price has dropped to the 5-10 dollar level like this one did.

Overall 9/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yoshi’s Woolly World Review


I have conquered my first game from the Christmas batch! Of course it had to be Yoshi because this game was supposed to be quite solid. I may not be a fan of the yarn aesthetic but that has no real bearing on the actual gameplay so either way this was going to be a blast. It’s definitely a pretty good game and delivers on everything you could want here. My only gripe is that some of the level designs aren’t great with invisible blocks everywhere which I find to be a bit tiresome. The final level in the game is also the worst one which is a bit ironic, but these issues are fairly minor and ultimately do not prevent the game from reaching its potential.

The story starts with Kamek showing up and stealing most of the Yoshi’s. Since they are made of yarn this isn’t really a difficult thing to do. Fortunately the main Yoshi escaped and now he wants to save all of his friends. To do that he will have to travel to all of the worlds and stop Kamek at every turn. This magic koopa may not be all that powerful, but he is fast and always manages to scamper off. You’ll quickly be able to see what the formula is here so you’ve always got a good idea of how long the game is. It should last you a good 6-7 hours I’d say.

We should jump right into the gameplay which is naturally pretty good. You have to get to the end of the level by jumping and running through various obstacles. You can eat just about anything and then you can turn them into eggs which you throw into switches and use to attack enemies. While there is a little bit of motion controls thrown into this equation it’s not nearly as intrusive as you would expect. While I am of the opinion that motion controls almost never help a game, this one didn’t particularly hurt it either. Half the time you won’t even remember that it’s here.

One area where the game really excels is in the boss battles. True, they do re-use quite a few of them, but it’s nice to have some bosses with actual moves and creative ways to defeat them. I think this is the main area where Nintendo tends to soar above the competitors. Their 2D platformers have way more strategic elements in play to keep things interesting while the others tend to be rather basic. Some of these will actually take you a few moments to determine how to injure them and each boss typically has 2 different points at which they are vulnerable. For the first instance you can take advantage of it if you are ready and quick. Then they have a second opportunity for players who may not be at that level yet. It’s all good boss design.

As expected the graphics are nice and pleasant even if they are some of the worst that I’ve ever seen in a Yoshi game. I’m sorry to say that the yarn aesthetic just doesn’t work for me. It reminds me of Kirby’s Epic Yarn where it just doesn’t hold up as well because the graphics were trying to be so experimental. Sometimes being experimental just isn’t a good thing and it’s something that can be hard for video game companies to wrap their heads around. I think this phase of Nintendo is over though and if you like this style there’s no problem. It just struck out for me.

The soundtrack is solid though. You’ll recognize a lot of the classic Yoshi themes, but then you’ve also got a new one for the lava level that is surprisingly epic. It feels like something you’d hear in a Sonic game, not a fun Yoshi game where you’re weaving yarn. Part of its effectiveness is in the fact that it comes out of nowhere like that. I was certainly impressed and have to give the game high marks for this showing.

Meanwhile there is a lot of replay value as you would expect. Each level has a lot of collectibles and it’ll actually take a good amount of time to grab them all. This will allow you to access extra levels and content which is always nice. Completing the game 100% will take you a very long time so expect to be here for quite a while. As I mentioned, this is just a very complete game and one I expect you’ll have a lot of fun with. It’s like one last hurrah for the Wii U.

Now lets talk about some of the weaker aspects of the game. There really isn’t much to talk about here. There isn’t really much of a plot but that’s to be expected. No, what I’m talking about here are the core level designs. One personal gripe is in the fact that the level designs have a lot of invisible areas. You can’t actually see things unless you shoot an egg wildly and hope it hits something. I didn’t think this was a good thing to do. Sure, it requires you to spend more egg shots and grab more enemies, but it’s not something you would find out otherwise. A good puzzle needs to give you a shot to solve it from the jump. Then you’ve also got the fact that the game will soft lock you in some sections. Sometimes you need to have an egg to throw but there are no enemies around so you’ll have to back-track quite a bit to get them. You should have the ability to always summon at least 1 egg to prevent this.

Then there’s the final level where you have to light up the statues. This level was pretty dreadful because it’s incredibly hard to find the enemies. I was probably on that level for a good 30 minutes or so. We never had anyone hidden under the water before so it comes out of left field. Most of the levels were quite good, it’s just that these things stick out and ultimately prevent the game from being higher up on Nintendo’s impressive list of platformers. Not every game can rise to the top though.

Overall, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game that I would recommend buying. I was definitely pretty late to the party here with how many years it took for me to get to this one, but it was worth the wait. It really sticks to the Nintendo formula of high quality games and it’s hard to imagine playing this one and not having fun. I’m definitely ready to play the next Nintendo game, but I admit there probably will be another long gap before I play the next Yoshi title. There are a lot of other games to play in the meanwhile and you can certainly expect a Wario title soon enough.

Overall 7/10