Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice Review


It’s been a little while since I played Disgaea 2, but I’ve been meaning to jump into 3 for a while now. The strategic gameplay of the series is always a blast. It really brings you in for a big challenge from start to finish that’s for sure. You have to consider a lot of angles when playing. While the core story is definitely a bit weaker than the first two, it makes for a great game either way and one that you don’t want to miss.

The game starts by introducing us to Mao. He’s the son of the Overlord and his goal is to rise to that position by destroying his father. The reason he wants to do this is because the Overlord broke his video game console a while back. To that end, Mao has decided that he will need to figure out what powers a hero since heroes usually take the Overlord down. Once he is able to figure that out then he will be ready to roll. To that end he captures a hero named Almaz and steals his title. Now, this gets a little meta and the game isn’t afraid to break the 4th wall but bear with me here. So effectively everyone has a title which actually affects how you act and think. Now that Almaz’s title has been taken he is slowly becoming a demon. He has to find a way to get into Mao’s heart (Which is located as basically a department store that you can walk into) to steal his title back. Will either of the characters get what they want?

Most of the game takes place at school or on campus as Mao tries to locate how to find a lot of power. Heroes are almost mythical in the demon world because of how rarely they appear. Everything is backwards in this world so to be an honor student you need to keep on cutting class and just being mean while the delinquents are people who attend class and are nice to others. It’s a fun dynamic and there are 3 little minions who show up in basically every chapter of the game to try and cause trouble. They’re always fun to have around for sure.

As a main character Mao is decent. He has his entertaining moments and I do like that he is always trying to set the record straight that he has no friends. The guy has a lot of secrets and a fascination with live experimentation so even by the end he isn’t a true hero. Still, he does end up fighting with the villains so you are at least glad to have him on your side at the very least. Almaz is the other main hero and he’s pretty fun. His plot is about getting Princess Sapphire to finally notice him but he is content to stay in the shadows until he works up the courage. He protects her from a distance and all. A one way romance like this can always be rough but at least the demons aren’t too hard on him about this.

Sapphire is a solid Princess though and one of the better ones of recent years. She has the brilliant idea of going to destroy the Overlord before he even thinks of kidnapping her. That’s pretty proactive so I can certainly get behind that. Princess Peach should consider capturing Bowser next time instead of waiting for the inevitable. She can fight which is always a pretty good skill to have as well. Her super strength punch and Buzzsaw even scare Mao at times.

Mao’s rival is a solid character as well. As leader of the delinquents you’d expect nothing less. One supporting character who could be annoying most of the time was the cook though. Literally all of his lines are using food lingo. I can appreciate good puns and all but I felt like he would never actually get to the point so he didn’t really serve much of a purpose at times. He gets a lot of hype and is apparently super strong but the game doesn’t do much with that concept.

As an RPG there are tons of other characters of course but those are the big ones. You’ll enjoy the story, there’s a lot going on. For the gameplay, it’s the same as in previous titles. You control up to 9 characters and maneuver them through a chess board of sorts. The idea is to take out the opponent fighters. Sometimes this will be straight forward and you just run to take them out while at other times there are a bunch of obstacles to get past. The levels become more like a puzzle as you have to decide how to attack the enemy. A good strategy is just as important as your level ups here.

The game holds nothing back so you will likely need to go replay levels a bunch before clearing the game. It’s difficult to level everyone up here since only the character who beats the enemy gets the level up this time. So by the end of the game I had 4 really strong fighters and my other guys were scrubs. It was worth it though. Then you want to save money to buy excellent equipment. The equipment will really come in handy since it boosts your stats massively. For example you can switch out your weapon with 100 attack power for one with 700 and suddenly you’re blasting through everyone. The toughest part is always choosing between buying a new weapon or new armor. I always prioritized weapons first since it makes the grinding quicker but ultimately you will need armor or you will fall. My strategy is to sell off all the equipment of all my other fighters and only stick to 4 but of course this is risky. It’s a great way to raise funds short term though.

There’s a whole lot of depth to the gameplay as you can also upgrade attacks here. Doing so makes them more powerful but drastically costs more magic meter as well so sometimes getting it too strong can actually be a bad thing. Then you can go to class to have the students give you money or unlock more levels at the shop. There is definitely a whole lot to consider here. The main story took me over 20 hours and there is a sizable post game story as well. This game can easily last you 50+ hours so there is a ton of replay value here. I would definitely recommend sticking with it

Naturally the soundtrack is also pretty solid. You’ll recognize a theme or two from the original game in addition to the new ones. Then you’ve got the solid graphics which go all out with the special attacks as always. It really knows how to make everything look really high tier. I do low key wish you could skip the cinematics on the special moves eventually since it takes up some time but I suppose after putting so much effort into the attacks they don’t want people just skipping them each time.

Overall, Disgaea 3 is a solid way to end the trilogy. The game has a lot of heart and depth to it. It’s a very complete RPG that excels in all areas. While I would say that the first two defeated it, you’ll definitely be invested in the game. It may be very difficult but you always feel like you have hope even if you need to go back and earn some more level ups again. Sometimes that’s just something you have to do. Going back to get stronger is a noble quest at all times.

Overall 8/10

Midnight Club: Los Angeles Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 20h 13m
Total Game Complete 70%
Total Agro hits 13
Total Agro special abilities 7
Burnouts 1
Collectibles 7
Cops activated 31
Cops lost 8
Arrests 9
Consecutive Wins 8
Opponents hit 954
Props hit 4462
Traffic Hit 2011
Nitrous 580
Damage Out 25
Races Completed 215
Wins 164
Wipeouts 343
Hours Cruising 5h 51m

Need For Speed Undercover Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 10h 1m
Total Drive Distance 658.4 Miles
Total Cash Earned 912,690
Longest Pursuit 5m 20s
Career Complete 100%
Game Complete 63%
Wheelman Level 15
Total Cost to State 928,886
Total Zone Points 575,910
Events Dominated 69/157
Events Won 119/187

Need for Speed Shift Review


It’s time to look at another Need for Speed title. This one takes the series in a much different direction compared to the rest of the titles in the series. For starters, there is no actual running from the cops in this title or anything like that. You’re actually racing on a pro track the whole time as you work to become the best. It’s interesting that the series would go in this direction but it doesn’t work particularly well. By doing this, the game becomes “Just another car game” which is not something that a franchise wants to be. It had such originality and creativity before this. Still, I can’t deny that the game has quite a lot of content at its disposal and the controls are good so it’s still solid.

The main campaign mode here consists of you jumping into a bunch of different races and doing your best to obtain stars. These stars are what allow you to unlock more races to get into. Once you have obtained enough stars then you unlock the championship where you can race to be the best. The star system means that you don’t necessarily have to complete every race in first. You can also skip some if you’re not confident. The important thing is getting as many stars as possible so that you qualify. An average race will usually have 5 stars, you get 3 for coming in first, 1 for breaking a lap record, and one for some kind of miscellaneous achievement. On average if you’re placing first in events then you don’t need to worry about the bonus stars but this way if you come in second or third a lot then you should be okay.

You will definitely still need to play a lot of races though. The game may give you extra stars to work with but it’s not like you can take that as an excuse to lose every race. You want to realistically still win quite a lot. The game can be difficult, but I wouldn’t call it crazy either. A lot of the races are very winnable since your car can keep up. I’d say it’s once you go around 2 tiers higher than where you start that the game really starts to jump the difficulty up pretty high. It gets hard to deal with and you have to upgrade your car quite a bit to stay ahead of the game. Money gets to be a concern because you run out of it very quickly. So you always have to balance out upgrading with buying a new car. It’s also best to stay with the older car as long as possible because that’ll allow for better cars to be on the market.

Personally I’ve always preferred just having 1 car so you don’t have to worry about all of that but I understand that this does make things more realistic. I suppose it increases the replay value as well as you have fun customizing the car to your liking. It’s definitely something that it vitally important to the career mode so keep that in mind. The game is fairly long and I imagine it’ll take over 10 hours to complete. That’s due in part to the difficulty but also because there are just a lot of races here. You’re not going to finish it too quickly to be sure and that’s a good thing. It’s always nice to have a lot to do in a game even before you consider the replay value. Need For Speed tends to always deliver on that front.

So there’s not much to say about the gameplay but it’s your standard 3D racing title. You speed through the streets in one of the cars you’ve chosen and try to stay in the lead. There are also other kind of events like drifting where you keep a turn for as long as possible and other such events. The Nitro is always a fun boost as well. I definitely have no problem with the controls. It’s all very smooth and on point. Meanwhile the graphics are also top notch. The backgrounds are rather limited so it’s not as impressive as some of the other installments but I think the studio still did a good job of keeping it as smooth as possible. Then of course you’ve got a pretty big soundtrack although not all of the songs will be great. I recommend keeping the music low so you can focus on the driving.

At its core my main problem is that this just doesn’t really feel like a Need For Speed game. There are no cop chases throughout the game nor are there any night levels with fun backgrounds. As a result you feel rather closed in the whole time. I also don’t like the new mechanic that causes you to lose a level if you go off the track too often. That limits your freedom even more and the game should let you explore. If I see a shortcut, why shouldn’t I take it? That’s always been the spirit of the series. While minor, I also didn’t appreciate the new realistic collision mechanic. Now when you bump into something the screen gets really dizzy as you recover from the concussion. It’s definitely realistic I guess but you can actually get pretty dizzy from that. I tend to crash a lot as well which doesn’t really help matters.

Overall, Need For Speed Shift is definitely a very different kind of game for the series. It was an experiment, but one that I don’t feel worked out very well. It just feels a little soulless and if you want such a game there are many others to choose from. You should always have a real story to back a title up even if it’s brief. If you really enjoy racing games then I suppose this is a good one to go for, but otherwise I would say to give it a pass and pick just about any other up. It’s true that this is a very solid game, but at the same time it doesn’t offer you anything that the others don’t even improve on. As a result there is little reason to go back to this one.

Overall 7/10

Need For Speed ProStreet Review


It’s time to look at a recent Need for Speed title I completed. Unfortunately this may end up being the weakest title in the series. It’s hard to get into this one and there’s not even much of a story. I don’t know about you but I always need a compelling story to really throw the Need For Speed games into the next level. Not having one just doesn’t feel right because the whole time you’re waiting for something to happen and it just doesn’t. Additionally there are some other gimmicks that didn’t work well but more on that later.

The general premise is that you want to become the number one racer in town. To do that you will have to win a lot of races and tournaments. After clearing a bunch of tournaments you get to a showdown level where you get to beat a boss. Then rinse and repeat until you beat all of the showdowns which will earn you a match against one of the legendary Kings. Beat him and the game is over but after that you can take down the rest of the kings in the post game to become the grand king. At that point you are the best there ever was so what else would you really want to do?

There’s a lot of content here so I’ll certainly grant the game that. The campaign itself is incredibly long due to the sheer volume of races and tournaments here. I don’t see you completing the game in under 10 hours and it’ll probably take more like 15. Aside from that it’ll take a lot of time and money to unlock all of the cars or to break enough records to take on all of the kings. Earning money takes a lot of time in this game and that’s unfortunate because you need money to get the better cars. Your starter just won’t cut it. I’m cool with upgrading, but this game tries to go a little too realistic with that. There are some cars where even if you max them out they will never be fast enough to win the race. You also have to compete in “Wheelie” competitions near the end of the game and none of my cars could pull it off. Had to get a brand new one which was a colossal waste of money since it was just good for that and the drag races.

Ultimately I made it to the King at the end and took him down in the first 4 races, but the 5th one stumped me. I really only beat the first race because he ended up crashing so I crawled to the end. His car was simply worlds ahead of mine so no matter how well I raced through the level there was no way I was going to win. I needed a completely different car if I wanted to deal any damage and going all the way back didn’t seem like a great option. So that’s where my journey ended. I really don’t think the idea of having to get new cars all the time is a good one. I like just having one good car that you can upgrade. Make the courses tougher but don’t mess with the cars.

Maybe this wouldn’t have felt quite so bad if the game had a real story. This just didn’t really even feel like a Need For Speed. There is no free roam in the game which is absolutely crazy. That’s basically the core of the NFS franchise. Gone are the underground races and trying to zip away with your car intact. It’s admirable that the game was going for something new but if you ask me it just didn’t work. The core gameplay is still good of course so I’m happy about that but that’s really all I can say about this game. There are several different kinds of racing modes, but the classic Circuit is the best one. I suppose my second favorite would be Speed since the whole idea behind that mode is going full throttle from the start in 1 long lap. One mistake will mean the end for you here so you can’t afford to slip up.

The graphics aren’t bad. They’re pretty standard as far as the series goes. I wouldn’t really say that it’s improved much at all since the last one. As long as I can see the track I’m good though. The soundtrack’s pretty limited, I can’t recall any good tunes. One element that further holds the game back is the announcer. He talks constantly as you’re going through the menus so you feel like you have to hurry and make your selections. His lines aren’t witty, they’re just annoying and super loud. Additionally the game throws in a lot more fanservice than these games typically have. You’re also forced to experience this before every single race. You know how some of these levels are so difficult you have to retry them over and over again? Well, get ready for these unskippable intros before the race because they really eat up a lot of time by the time they’re all over.

Overall, Need For Speed ProStreet really fell pretty hard compared to most of the Need for Speed games. This one barely even feels like it’s a part of the same series as the others. It only shares the name with the rest of the games but otherwise may as well be a completely different title. The gameplay is good, but that’s not really enough to save the game. If I at least got my free roaming mode I’d be okay but without that this game just couldn’t work. If you’re going to get into the Need For Speed series then I recommend starting out with just about any other game compared to this one. ProStreet just does a disservice to the series.

Overall 5/10

Dynasty Warriors 6 Review


It’s time to look at the next instalment in the Dynasty Warriors series. It’s definitely been pretty fun playing through all of the installments lately. From Dynasty Warriors 2 to now the series has definitely changed quite a bit. This one does feel a bit more modern than the last few even if the gap isn’t particularly wide. The story is more or less the same as the last ones so you’re really in this for the hype gameplay. Does it deliver?

When you boot the game up you’ll have a lot of different modes to choose from but I usually like to dive straight into Musou. This is effectively the game’s story mode after all so you definitely can’t go wrong there. The story consists of 6 levels where you have to defeat scores of enemies in order to proceed. It’s also a rather difficult mode and I highly recommend going into Free Mode and leveling up a bit if you want to really be ready for action here. Otherwise you can definitely expect to take quite a few losses in the meantime. The enemies have no mercy so if they catch you that’s it.

Often times you also have to account for the fact that you’re not the only guy on the squad. It doesn’t matter if you beat 700 enemies if your captain’s about to go down. One key thing to remember is that if he goes down you go down. There is really no I in team here because at the end of the day it’s all about the camp. If your camp is captured before the enemy one then that’s going to be game over. Some levels have different win conditions so I highly recommend checking into them as soon as you start each level. Knowing what you have to do in order to win and what you should do to make sure you don’t lose are absolutely critical.

The gameplay is the same as always so you should be able to pick it up pretty quickly. It’s a 3D Beat Em Up where you have to take down all of the enemies in your way until you get to the enemy stronghold. You have your standard attacks as well as power moves and super attacks. I recommend keeping your super attack as a combo breaker of sorts. The enemies deal a ton of damage so if they start to hit you I’d say to very quickly use your super. It’ll also give you an opportunity to run.

One thing about the game is that it’s very easy to drop you guard. You just took down 300 enemies in a row so why should this one be any different right? Well, the trickiest thing about the enemies is that all it takes is one solid combo to take you down for the count. Especially a boss. Part of why I lost in one level was because I underestimated the fact that the boss could take 75% of my HP with a single combo. It’s also pretty demoralizing to lose in this game because of how long the levels are. You instinctively know that you just lost a ton or progress.

It’s why I recommend playing the levels as intended. It’s real tempting to bypass everyone and run straight to the stronghold. In most levels it doesn’t even stop you from doing that. The problem is that it takes several minutes to run all that way and then you have around 10 or more bosses running at you at once. If you mess up your combo or leave an opening even for a second then you’ll be going down. You can’t really afford to do something like this until you’re at a very high level.

That’s where Free Mode comes in. Additionally this game has a more robust level system than most of the other games. You can actually learn new skills as you level up and upgrade your stats through a skill tree. I definitely was not expecting anything quite like that here so it was a pretty welcome surprise. I can’t say enough how much I like level ups. Having trouble on a level? Just go back and beat some more enemies. The gameplay is fun as I mentioned so it’s not like this is a problem. Additionally I like when you can see the fruits of your labor and the level ups make a good difference here. It’s like night and day. I actually took down 1200 enemies in one of the levels after grinding up my level so that felt pretty good.

In terms of graphics the game holds up well. The more realistic setting does stifle the game in terms of how out there the graphics can get but we get some nice action scenes. The intro cinematic was a little shorter than usual though or it felt that way. The soundtrack is pretty nice. I always like the opening main menu riff that tends to play. It’s always a rock theme in this series which starts you off right.

The length of the game is pretty reasonable as well. The 6 level campaign should last you a few hours I’d say and then you can multiply that by all of the characters who have a campaign. Additionally you can try to complete the campaign on more difficult settings as you go through the game. Then you’ve got the whole level up system and a ton of bonus content so there’s no end to it here. This game will last you for as long as you want to enjoy it.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn’t hold back on any of its punches. It throws you right into the action and it’s all handled pretty well. You really feel like you’re on some kind of grand adventure the whole time. I would like them to take more liberties with the story at some point but as long as the gameplay is this good I don’t see Dynast Warriors ever faltering. The fundamentals are just too good and there’s a lot of content for the price you pay. It’s a steal!

Overall 7/10