Fast & Furious Crossroads Review


It hasn’t been too long since I played the last Fast and the Furious game so it was time to check out the latest one. It has certainly raised the bar compared to last time and it’s a fun playthrough. It’s a bit on the short side though, you’ll certainly be able to beat it in under 10 hours. Aside from the first two levels which I played on day 1, I conquered the rest in one sitting. This is not a game you buy to play for a full month vacation.

The story starts by introducing us to the two main characters Vienna and Cam. They seem to be running away from some kind of dark past but have finally found themselves at peace in a new city. This doesn’t last though when one of Vienna’s friends gets himself wrapped up in some mob business that’s connected with a global terrorist group. Dom and Letty have been on this case for a while but the villain group led by Emil is rather tricky to pin down. They always seem to be one step ahead. Perhaps Vienna and Cam can help Dom’s crew gets the edge here. It’s high risk but then again, the main characters are probably doomed otherwise. Will they be able to gain enough skills to actually take down the villains or will it be curtains for them.

Right away you can appreciate the solid graphics here. The level designs are on point and the world feels really large. It’s really like something out of a Need for Speed game. Granted, I don’t think there actually is a free roam option although I could be mistaken. Each level makes you feel like you can just go off track and do whatever you want though. There are a lot of shortcuts you can use in each level by going off the path. Occasionally you will bump into an invisible wall though and the short cut ends up being the long way around. You have to choose your routes carefully but it’s certainly a good feeling when you find the right path.

The levels are polished and that’s absolutely what you want to see in a game like this. Now once in a while they can go a bit overboard on the effects like the desert level where you can’t see anything. It might be realistic but I’d actually like to see the level instead of sand clogging up the mirror. If you throw on your nitro while in the sand storm it’s really a trippy experience as the whole screen turns a dark red and it’s like you’re in the underworld. Beyond that level it’s always clear to see what is happening though.

The game isn’t very difficult. You should be able to beat most of the levels on the first try. The only two that gave me some trouble was one mission where you couldn’t let your partner die and one where you have to beat the main villain before he got too far away. That one was tough because of how fast he goes but fortunately each level has a lot of checkpoints so you never have to go too far. That’s definitely a critical point because having to replay a whole level would be unfortunate so this was just really good stage design.

The soundtrack’s more on the forgettable side. I doubt you will remember it at all. For the characters, they’re okay but the film crew steals the show so I wouldn’t have minded if they were the main characters instead. Vienna get a tragic backstory that we don’t fully learn about until the final 2 minutes of the game so the writers really took their time here. She has a clear reason to fight and a lot of development throughout so they did a good job with her. Cam is here as the tough character who is always disobeying orders to run in and get the job done. This tends to work out more often than not and seeing as how everyone is always defying orders here, Cam fits right in.

From the movie cast you’ve really just got 3 characters who get a lot of screen time here. First up is Roman who has to handle the undercover part of the job. He really does take the biggest risks here so you feel bad for him with how nervous the guy gets. It’s fortunate that he is able to stay so calm under pressure. I would have liked to have seen more of him since he was great in all of his appearances. Then you have Dom coming in clutch as always but he might get the smallest role of the 3 since he’s always dashing off. When the game enters the climax and a huge rocket appears you know that he is really their only chance now.

Letty has a lot of connections and is also the one to find the new main characters so she contributed quite a lot to the group. Vienna tries to make things personal quite a few times and fortunately Letty doesn’t back down. She’s not the kind of character who will take any disrespect without some kind of comeback. The villains in the story are less noticeable though. The leader is a guy named Emil but there really isn’t anything to him. He’s just an old guy who wants to cause a lot of chaos and deal a blow to America. It all comes down to money for him.

There actually aren’t a lot of races in this game. Most of the gameplay is following other cars, getting somewhere on time, or even fighting against other cars. There are only maybe 2-3 races if I recall correctly. The races are typically the toughest levels in the game though so it works out that they’re gone. I would win them but it would come down to the wire because it took me some time to get the turning under control. Once that was in the bag then it was off to the races for me. There are also some quick time events like jumping onto a truck but you never control anyone outside of the car so this isn’t completely like Pursuit Force just yet. Maybe for the sequel.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though. So the main story will last you some hours but after that you really just have online and some trophy hunting to keep you busy. I don’t expect either option will last you for too long. I mean, the online will take a lot of matches to get the Platinum if you pursue it, but if you don’t have PS+ then I don’t see the offline options keeping you around for very long. This is definitely a game that you beat and then put away.

Overall, Fast & Furious Crossroads is a solid game. I certainly would have liked to have seen the story be a bit longer but in the end I don’t have any big complaints. It ends up executing well on what you would expect for a game set in the Furious universe. You have high intensity races and car battles from start to finish. The story quickly goes off the rails with the rocket showing up and it feels out really crazy like the movies tend to be. If you want a vehicular battle game then this is the one for you.

Overall 7/10

Fast & Furious Showdown Review


Fast & Furious Showdown is one of those games that is easy to forget about. I didn’t even know it existed until I was on Ebay looking for the new game and came across it. That said, this should not be mixed up to say that it isn’t a high intensity title. The racing is solid and while the game is short enough, there is a tough level or two that should take you some tries. Ultimately it’s a good racing game that is hindered by its short length.

The game takes place before film 6 where the heroes had their big team up with Hobbs. So the campaign follows the introduction of his new partner who is trying to learn about Hobb’s objectives and enemies. To do this, the heroes basically talk about how great Dom and his crew are as well as Shaw and the villains. As they continue defeating us in each encounter, the partner gradually sees why Hobbs wants to recruit Dom and his gang since Shaw is unbeatable otherwise.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard racing game for the most part, but throw in a bit of Need for Speed type combat as well. After all, either the cops or the villains will always be trying to stop you depending on what side you’re playing as. So you have to move as fast as possible and always stay one step ahead. For the traditional driving levels, the gameplay is on point and you feel like you’re going rather fast. The toughest levels are when you have to win through drifting which is not a mechanic I use a whole lot in any title.

Then you have the double driver levels where one person jumps to the top of the car and blasts away at the others while someone drives. I would always switch myself back into the driver’s seat because I’m not the biggest FPS fan. Additionally, I found the A.I. to be a pretty bad driver in most instances so driving on my own was the best bet. Otherwise you’re just crashing all the time and at times it also feels like you’re just moving really slowly which was kind of odd. I don’t see how that would have an effect on anything as long as the A.I.is holding down the accelerator.

There is one level where the obstacle feels a bit odd though. That’s when there are these little bombs on the ground and the shockwave feels like it’s a whole lot bigger than the animation. It doesn’t matter where you are, the bomb will ultimately catch you. I thought this was a bit much and died numerous times but I suppose I eventually got out of there which is the important thing. That’s the only time I let the A.I. drive so I could snipe as many bombs as possible.

There are also some quick time events where you have to jump on a truck once in a while. I like quick time event type scenarios but this one does feel like there is no true purpose to even have it here. It’s a small instance once in a blue moon for something that will not actually affect the level since it usually ends at that point. I’ll give the game credit for coming up with new modes and all but I think you could have done more with it. Imagine quick time events for some hand to hand fights among the main characters? Now that would have been pretty awesome.

As for the graphics, well they’re fairly standard stuff. Not as good as you’d find in one of the big AAA titles but I would say they are good enough not to be called bad. So they’re fairly passable and better than what you would find in the Madden cinematic moments. The soundtrack is more on the bad side. It’s going for an EA kind of feel with a lot of modern lyrical songs but most of them definitely felt more annoying than good. They’re loud and all but the lyrics don’t work so well and I wouldn’t count this as a net positive.

In terms of replay value, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything here. No extra levels or big collectibles to grab at all. I suppose that means you will purely be here to re-experience the story levels again but the thing to note is that you cannot skip the cutscenes. So that will present a bit of an issue I imagine. There may have been some kind of challenge mode so hopefully that will help but for the most part this is definitely the kind of game that you play for the story and after that you’ll likely leave it around. The story’s around 4-5 hours so it’s good enough if you find this for a small price. For full pricing it would not have been worth it though.

Overall, Fast & Furious Showdown is a fun title. I’m always up for a good racing game and the combat part is also nice since it expands on the concept a bit. What’s more thrilling than trying to turn the corner as someone is blasting as you right? The A.I. uses a lot of rubber banding though so they tend to catch up to you no matter how far ahead you are. Definitely makes it difficult to truly get away without defeating them so you always need to be on the attack. It should have had more of an in depth story mode and more replay value though. I look forward to seeing how the new version plays out one of these days and if it’s able to improve on these areas. If it does then I think we will have a true winner on our hands.

Overall 7/10

Captain America: Super Soldier Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the final Superhero titles that I had yet to play in the modern era. A character like Captain America certainly comes with a unique fighting style and one that the game handled well. I didn’t expect to find it for around 5 dollars at Gamestop, but it just goes to show that you never know what kind of gem you’ll find there. As a loyal Gamestop supporter I must urge you to go there, but don’t get conned into going for Elite Reward Status unless you seriously shop there a lot or desperately want the Buy 2 Get 1 Free coupon.

The plot of the game is that Captain America has infiltrated another Hydra base. At this location, Zola is experimenting to create his own version of the super soldier serum and if he succeeds then it could turn the tide of the whole war. Cap has to stop this weapon at all costs, but he can’t do it alone. That’s where the Invaders come in. They’ve got heavy artillery backing then up so maybe, just maybe the heroes have a chance.

At its core this game is a classic 3D brawler like most of the other superheroes. You will do some platforming as you jump from place to place but most of the time you will be beating up on Hydra agents. The platforming is also pretty easy because your jumps automatically link to where you will want to go and an arrow will show if you can make it or not. If you fall anyway then you simply were not paying attention. If you’ve played pretty much any 3D game like this then you should also be prepared to break some switches and handle miscellaneous tasks.

Now the combat is where the game gets a little more creative. This is Captain America after all, you will be going in expecting to use his shield quite a bit right? Well the game doesn’t disappoint. You can throw the shield around to stun multiple enemies. The more you upgrade the shield skill, the more enemies you can target at once. It’s really handy for when you’re surrounded. Of course, sometimes you want to test your mettle in close range combat and that is always a viable option. When fighting off enemies with your fists you can feel the satisfying sound effect behind each blow. Furthermore, your reaction times are important here as you will have to press the Z button when you are about to be attacked to parry the hit and keep on beating them down. The timing isn’t quite as strict as in some other games and it is hard to miss the visual cue. As a result, you can basically fight off armies by the end of the game and it feels awesome. You can be surrounded and then begin delivering your haymakers until the fight is over. The fight style the game uses is very cinematic which lines up well with the films. You won’t even notice the Wii Remote much since you are focusing on just hitting everything. The motion controls only come into play when you start throwing your shield around, but time slows to a crawl at this point so that compensates for the extra time it takes to move the shield around. You will likely still get tagged once or twice in Cap Mode since when you’re surrounded even slowing down time isn’t always enough. To prevent the game from getting too easy, berserk enemies don’t trigger your Cap Sense so you can’t parry them and the same goes for all of the villains with guns.

Unfortunately the graphics aren’t great. It’s not so much the effects or the backgrounds, but it is the character models that just don’t seem right. Captain America’s proportions just don’t seem right. His top half is just too huge and the rest of him looks too small. I guess maybe he just skipped leg day. One good thing about this style though is that it lets the game go all out with giving us mini cutscenes here and there. The scene where a minion shows up and grabs the shield was pretty hype. He quickly learned that I was still more than a match for him though. The music wasn’t especially memorable or anything like that but I did like the main menu theme. It was a nice rock theme that got you hyped for what the game was about to bring in.

There are 9 levels in the game with the average length being about 20 minutes per level. The game isn’t all that long as a result, but it didn’t feel too short either. It’s a fairly standard length for a movie tie-in which admittedly isn’t saying much. You can get the game for a few dollars though so the price helps to counter this. There is a little replay value to be found here as you can go back to the levels and try to grab the collectibles to unlock some more costumes. Not a great incentive for me, but it’s definitely better than nothing. At the end of the day, this is a very basic game with no extra frills. The main campaign has to be enough to sell you on the product and it worked well enough for me.

Overall, Captain America is a pretty fun superhero title. It may not be as high budget as you’d like, but does a good job of depicting what you would expect from Cap’s fighting style into a great gameplay experience. Throwing around the shield just feels right and can really be used to extend combos. Naturally, bouncing it off walls and such won’t work quite like in the movies, but Sega did a good job all things considered. This is a considerable step up from the recent Batman game that I played and I can certainly recommend checking it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Overall 7/10

Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay Review


It’s time to look at another side scroller in the form of Big Hero 6. Most movies may not get tie-in games anymore but Big Hero 6 dared to go against that trend. It’s a game that definitely plays it by the books and feels relatively low budget like what you would expect from the genre. It’s short and straightforward but it is also fun. I’ve always enjoyed these cash in games quite a bit. They may not be AAA titles like Mario Odyssey or Sonic 2006, but in their simplicity it brings you back to an older, more nostalgic era of gaming.

So the plot is that someone has stolen yet another one of Hiro’s inventions. I forgot which one but it’s now in the wrong hands so that makes the villain very dangerous. The team decides to locate the villain at all costs and quickly head over to take him down. The plot is pretty self explanatory as the heroes do exactly that. They find and defeat the villain rather easily and Baymax didn’t even have to do a whole lot this time as he still tries to be a pacifist. That being said, he is thrown into the conflict by the end.

There are 4 playable characters who each have a distinctive fighting style. The main character can shoot out force fields which blow the enemies away. He is fun to play as and the levels go by quickly since he is so skilled. The next character is the Roller Blades character. Unfortunately they made her the worst character in combat as her attacks are the weakest. This is supposed to be balanced by the fact that she is the fastest fighter in the game but that doesn’t matter a whole lot since it’s not by a great deal and most areas force you to stop and fight the villains anyway. The third character is the power hitter of the group who wields a sword. He is easily the best character to play as since even the strongest enemies tend to lose in a single combo. Finally we have Fredzilla. He is in the middle of the gang. Not particularly strong but not downright weak either. His super jumps are fun since you just skip a lot of enemies that way.

Aside from their signature abilities the gameplay is that of a normal side scroller. You walk and jump through the level until you reach the end. There will be a few encounters with the enemy where you quickly dispatch them and keep it moving. Each level will only take a few minutes. There are 21 levels and the game lasted around 2 and a half hours. So I guess each level was around 6 minutes or so. It’s not quite Powerpuff Girls length but still a pretty short game overall. That being said, it’s certainly a lot more enjoyable due to both the level designs and the core gameplay. It’s more polished and the boss battles are all unique as opposed to simply punching them all into submission. Some of these bosses may even take multiple tries as you try to figure out how to hurt them. The game’s a little vague on that part but simply studying their movements and all should help you figure out the weaknesses.

As far as the graphics go, the game looks good. It’s still in the 3DS era so despite not being a big budget game it does hold up well. As long as a game looks clear and I get what’s going on, I typically give it a passing grade and this game earns that. The soundtrack is pretty uninspired though. No memorable tunes are to be found here. You’ll forget the ost the instant you put the game down although I can’t say I was expecting anything different to be honest.

There is some minimal replay value here. You can find the four Hero letters in each level to do something, I believe it may unlock artwork. You can also snag the 5 Health pieces in each level to level up your characters’ health bar. These things are fine but you’re unlikely to get them naturally unless you intentionally go for them and once you’ve beaten the game you don’t really have a need for the extra health if you really think about it. It’s still better than nothing of course but the overall message you should be getting from this is that the game is quite short. Aim to have fun while completing it but don’t expect the game to last.

One easy way to help the game a bit would have been to make the plot a bit better or the dialogue more passable. All of the characters just sound really annoying, Fred in particular. It’s hard to really feel like you should be rooting for these characters and instead you just want the level to start. The “cutscenes” are all very short so they don’t drag or anything though. They really just don’t add anything to the game and that’s always a little sad for the writers when you think about it. Letting Baymax be playable with some kind of unique gameplay like a flying level would have been nice as well. That’s effectively what Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer did for the DS a while back and it worked reasonably well.

Overall, Big Hero 6 is a fun game. You’ll enjoy each level and going for the collectibles along the way is a good tactic to make the game a more complete experience. The characters and story may be rather weak but the gameplay is the important part and it works well enough. It would be nice if the game was longer or had more modes to enjoy though. Regardless, this is basically the definition of a weekend rental although it’s unlikely to last you for the full weekend. It’ll at least buy you some time and you’ll have fun along the way. An easy fix would be to add a Multiplayer mode and then the game would certainly have a lot more replay value.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You! Review


It’s time for a one shot manga that helps get you ready for the latest Pokemon movie. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing that one get dubbed since it’s going to bring back all of the old Pokemon nostalgia. The manga takes the interesting choice of making it a flashback that Alola Ash is having. It would sure be some twist if the movie is just a dream that Ash is having, but fans would certainly not like that. It’s a fun enough story and does what it can with the 20 pages that it was allotted.

Lets start with the story in the current timeline. Ash is still a little too happy and comic relief esque in the new region if you ask me. He doesn’t have a lot of time for his shenanigans, but still manages to get consistently wrecked by the Totem guardian. It seems like these Pokemon are effectively the gym leaders of the region. Still, Pikachu doesn’t go down so easily and manages to take the opponent down in one hit. This is how I picture every fight with Pikachu to go down by the way as he isn’t known as one of the strongest Pokemon of all time for nothing. He’s in a whole other league and has certainly been trained long enough to be ready for this. I’m not sure about the whole Z move thing that the heroes spam nowadays though. The pose isn’t really necessary and seems like it’ll just leave you open during a fight. I also don’t think Pikachu should even need it.

In the flashback, the chapter plays it pretty straight regarding Ash’s origin. He wakes up real late and after struggling to get out of bed finds out that all of the Pokemon have already been taken. Pikachu is still here though so Ash decides to take him, but the Thunder Mouse doesn’t like Pokeballs. Honestly, I can totally understand the sentiment since it takes away your freedom. Ash allows this since he doesn’t have much of a choice and picks a fight with a Spearow by accident. Ash gets wrecked again, but fortunately Pikachu saves him just like in the modern day timeline. Pikachu was always the MVP of the Pokemon anime and it’s good to be reminded of this. Where would we be now without the little guy eh? It’s a fun story and while they didn’t change anything, it’s been a while since I’ve seen this so that’s cool. I definitely wouldn’t mind a faithful manga adaption of the anime that follows Ash and pals. That would have a lot of potential.

The art is all right. You can tell that this is a tie in as it isn’t anything all that special or detailed. The characters are easily recognizable and the art is simple which helps with the fights. That’s about all that I can say for it though. It just doesn’t feel like there was a whole lot of effort behind it. I have a feeling that this chapter was churned out really quick to make it in time fr the movie. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I’m glad that we have it, but I always feel like they should at least make this into a full volume as opposed to just one chapter.

Overall, If you’re a big Pokemon fan then you should check this out. It’s a good way to get you hyped for the movie. It’s essentially your standard Pokemon story so it’s not going to change your world or anything, but just seeing the familiar faces and environment again should be enough. I’m ready for a big Pokemon manga as the Adventure chapters only come out once in a while and most of the other titles are either finished or in the same boat. I want a weekly Pokemon manga that I can look forward to every week. Considering how popular the franchise is, I’m surprised that we don’t have one yet. Ah well, maybe one day.

Overall 7/10

Yogi Bear Stats and Records

Stats Time!

% Complete 57%
Continues Used: 0

Picnic Baskets Badges
Jellystone Trail 5/8 3/3
Wolf Forest 3/8 2/3
North Caves 1/8 3/3
Jellystone Ridge 6/8 2/3
Tower Falls 2/8 2/3
Crystal Creek 4/8 2/3
Hawk’s Nest Pass 7/8 3/3
Gold Rush Trail 4/8 2/3
Hanna Cavern 4/8 3/3
Cougar Ridge 1/8 3/3
Barbera Springs 4/8 3/3
Gilder Gauntlet 4/8 3/3
Ranger’s Retreat 4/8 3/3
Dry River Cave 5/8 1/3
boulder Pass 7/8 3/3
Eagle Mountain 3/8 1/3
Huckleberry Canyon 5/8 3/3
Jellystone Lake 2/8 0/3