Little Big Planet 3 Review


The Little Big Planet series started off rather rocky with the first game and then really jumped with the second one. This final installment in the trilogy manages to keep that same energy and keeps the series on an upwards trajectory. I wouldn’t say it quite matches the second game which still had the most intense plot but the fact that the game has a pretty serious story with clear plot progression is always a good thing. Sackboy has really done everything he could in order to save the world at this point. He may get nervous but he’s always ready.

So there’s a guy named Newton who has decided to awaken the Titans. He had the best of intentions initially as he just wanted to help the world with energy and such. Unfortunately the power corrupts him as everyone warned it would and he aims to destroy the world. Sackboy will have to resurrect the 3 legendary warriors to back him up and claim victory now. It’ll be dangerous but if he has these guys back him up then now he has a real shot at success. Naturally that means Sackboy will have to get past the Titans though so he can’t afford to lower his guard at all or it may be game over here.

There are 3 worlds in the game and each one has around 5 levels. The campaign is a little on the short side as you’ll have it completed in around 3 hours. There is a lot of replay value to be had here though as you can go back and play online levels, grab collectibles, and earn PS4 trophies. There are a lot of these to grab so that should extend the game to around 10 hours or longer I would expect. There are also a bunch of extra levels that aren’t required to beat the game but are present in each world. You can also get the game for a pretty good price so that helps even out the length concerns. Part of why it goes a lot faster than the other games is because the game is a lot easier than the second one. Perhaps people weren’t thrilled with the difficulty of the last one? It could get surprisingly tough that’s for sure, I remember being pretty surprised at that myself.

The story itself is pretty fun though. Newton makes for a fun villain who even has an emotional backstory. You can’t help but feel a little bad for him because he’s had it tough. Not “Gotta destroy the world” tough but still I’ll give him some props. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely solid. The levels have a lot of really solid backgrounds to it and each of the worlds are pretty unique. The soundtrack is also nice with an iconic Christmas song thrown in and then you’ve got another lively one during the credits. A good amount of work was put into this. I wonder if the songs were free domain at this point or if they had to pay for them. Either way it’s pretty nice to have though.

The gameplay is your classic 2D platformer. You want to run and jump past obstacles to make it to the end of the game. This time around you have multiple playable characters though and each of them have some slight differences. The dog for example can move faster than Sackboy. He can’t grab things but he can run on walls. Then you have the bird who can fly at high speeds. He makes for some of the tougher bits in the game since when you go into free drive it can be difficult to dodge the lasers and such. Then you have the power player of the group who can shrink into a tiny form to go under platforms or into the huge form in order to punch through obstacles.

One thing that’s always been a big point of emphasis for the Little Big Planet games is how much customization there is in the gameplay. Aside from level creating you can also equip your Sackboy with hundreds of different clothing options. You can make him an explorer, superhero, monster, etc. I gave him a basic Indiana Jones type costume this time. Initially when you start the game the two options are that one and Red Riding Hood but there are tons of materials to find in every level. After the first level you can probably combine for a bunch of different uniforms as well. So Sackboy can really appear as you want him to be.

Overall, Little Big Planet 3 is a pretty fun game. You can’t ask for much more from a classic platformer. The gameplay is strong with no glitches in sight, the soundtrack is on point with a lot of variety and solid tunes, finally you have really good graphics with a lot of character designs that are on point. It doesn’t lose in any technical aspects. The only real factor working against the game is the length of the story and even then there are a lot of bonus options you can do to keep up the replay value. I’m looking forward to seeing how the 4th Little Big Planet turns out. If it does well then it may be time for Sony to more aggressively think of spinoffs putting Sackboy in different gameplay styles and situations. I think there’s a lot of potential there. If you like platformers then this should be somewhere on your list.

Overall 7/10

Little Big Planet 3 Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 4/32

World Stats

World 0 56% Complete
World 1 34% Complete
World 2 28% Complete
World 3 235 Complete

Level Stats (%Complete)

Belly of the Beast 42%
Masque Maker’s Tower 19%
Cloud Caravan 31%
Even Bosses Wear Hats Sometimes 76%
Benkum Lagoon 9%
The Great Escape 30%

Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Review


It’s time to look at the Pac-Man Championship Edition title now that it’s free on the PS4 for a little while. I’ve always been a fan of the Pac-Man style gameplay. It’s simple yet effective. You could play it for hours as you try to get a higher and higher score. After a while though when your score is super high you have to play for very long periods of time before you even think about smashing the record. Well, this one’s a remixed style of the game. It’s not quite as fun as the original, but it still works out well and it’s nice to see Pac-Man experimenting.

When you boot up the game you’re forced to run through a bunch of tutorials. These shouldn’t take you long though and there is a second wave that is optional. I’d recommend playing through them as well. Then you jump into the mission mode where you take on a bunch of levels and try to get good ranks. Eventually this unlocks the Adventure Mode where you blast through worlds with a bunch of levels and a boss at the end. It’s pretty fun although fairly similar to the Mission Mode. I think you could have put them in the same category but the more content the better right? I played through a bunch of the levels although there are quite a lot so I didn’t beat them all.

The levels tend to all be about the same in the end with some slight differences in between them. For the Score Attack levels you have 5 minutes to get as many points as you can. You get infinite lives in the meantime I believe or at least it never seemed like you were in danger of losing them all. I got a few A ranks but it seems like it would be incredibly hard to get an S rank. Perhaps there is some kind of trick to moving faster or getting more points. It was pretty fun though and I do like how high-tech the gameplay feels. Even the fact that you can bump into ghosts intentionally to get them out of the way is definitely something new.

One area where the game missed out on though was not having the original game as an option here. I would have very quickly jumped on that. Pac-Man is just so much fun to play and I suppose the developers would be sad to see you playing that instead of their game but at least it would push sales a little more too right? It’s a win-win in my book. My main issue is that the variety of content seems very low. You’ve got a lot of levels to play through here but they’re all effectively the same level in the first mode and in the Adventure Mode they’re all super short. There isn’t really a mode here where you can just free play until you’re defeated and match scores with everyone. At least you can match scores on the 5 minute levels but in those you know you could have lived longer if they didn’t cut you off.

The graphics here are definitely pretty solid. I like the colors and the backdrops. It all works out pretty nicely if you ask me. It’s not like it’s AAA level but it’s all very clear and I like the art direction. As for the soundtrack, it was nice enough. It’s very fast paced which is important for a game like this. I dare say that you need fast music since slow tunes would throw you out of your rhythm very quickly.

It’s hard to say quite how long a game like this is. If it’s about how long it’ll take for you to beat all of the levels then I’d say around 7-8 most likely. Of course you’ve also got the replay value of trying to increase your score or getting the Platinum Trophy. It seems to me like that would be incredibly hard and even a lot of the individual trophies are tagged as Ultra Rare on the site which is not something you see every day. The game doesn’t have a lot of trophies so if you’re really good at Pac-Man then this could be one to go for.

Overall, Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is a pretty solid game. I never got the first but this seems like it would be a solid sequel. At the very least it does hold up on its own which is always the important thing. I don’t know how long it”ll be free or even if it still is so I’d advise dashing if you want to play it. Who wants to turn down a free game right? This is the perfect opportunity to make a move for it so you should definitely do that. In the meantime I’ll keep on waiting for a new Pac-Man game to show up. I feel like it’s been ages since we got a big title.

Overall 7/10

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Review


It’s time to look at the DBZ game that came out recently. It definitely looked like a real game of the year contender from the instant that we got the first teasers. Interestingly the game kept focusing on the first two arcs so for a while there I was wondering if Arc 3 would be included at all. Fortunately it is here so the game ends up feeling pretty complete. The story took me around 20 hours which is pretty good for an action title. It’s quite rare for any to rank all the way up there. It’s an excellent game and one I definitely recommend.

The story follows the events of the DBZ show/manga. If you don’t know what that is, here’s a quick recap. Goku is a hero who has saved the planet many times. He ended up marrying Chi Chi prior to the game’s start and they had a kid named Gohan. That’s when an alien named Raditz arrives and kidnaps Goku’s son. Goku has to then team up with Piccolo to stop him. Along the way more aliens show up such as Vegeta and Frieza as well as androids like Cell and even mythical beings like Majin Buu. Goku will have to keep on training in order to keep up with these guys, but he believes that he will be up to the task. Goku’s never turned down a challenge before and he doesn’t intend to start now.

The gameplay is similar to the Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi series although styles in more of a single player fashion. You’re using less advanced combos here and more flashy moves to take the opponent down. It’s fun using all of the signature attacks from the show and you can learn new moves/upgrade old ones as you go through the game. I didn’t touch the upgrading part until deep in arc 2, but it’s a handy feature. You won’t be able to upgrade all that much without going through some Roshi training though. Once you beat the game you can unlock all of the training lessons and then you can make your characters really strong. If you want to beat a powerful enemy without leveling up then just buy a lot of health items. Those come in handy although of course it will make getting S ranks a little more difficult. I got an S rank on almost every level but I don’t believe there is much of a reward for doing so here so it’s not a big deal.

In combat you’ll be fine if you just go with your instincts. Typically I like to just stick to physical attacks and don’t use the special moves much unless the opponent is shooting a laser and I don’t want to wait for it to end. Sniping the enemy with a laser of your own is a really good way to counter such a technique. If the opponent is blocking your hits a lot then I would recommend landing a few hits, teleporting, and then attacking more. The opponent is forced to either drop his guard and get hit or let his shield be broken. Either way works out quite nicely for you. There is a good amount of depth to the gameplay so you have the liberty of finding what method of fighting works best for you. The toughest fights for me were the ones where you have to fight multiple opponents. The Cell Jrs that launched at you were no joke.

Meanwhile the graphics here are definitely top tier. There are a lot of animated cutscenes to watch where the characters duke it out and even the normal cutscenes look really good. The engine works really well for a game like DBZ and it feels like you are back in the TV show. The most impressive cutscene was probably Vegito’s battle against Super Buu. The animators definitely had a lot of fun with that one. The scene of Vegeta and Kid Buu punching each other was also styled really well. It keeps up with FighterZ as the two best looking DBZ games. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is really great. You’ll recognize a lot of the themes from the anime which is a nice touch. We also get an insert song at the very end of the game which was pretty neat. There was certainly no corners being cut in this title.

The sheer amount of content here is also impressive. As I mentioned I beat the game in around 20 hours. That’s considering that I didn’t stop to do any side quests or things like that. I just plunged right through the story. If you consider the side quests, extra boss, and leveling up then you’ll be here for quite a while. The Platinum trophy in this game actually sounds pretty achievable so if I start trophy hunting again then this would be one of the first games that I would focus on. I’d estimate that the game should take you around 40 hours to complete everything. That’s a lot of time and really helps to justify your purchase. Even just wandering around the hub world driving your car and fishing can be a lot of fun. The game did a good job of adding a lot of different gameplay options to have fun with. The game even let you play Baseball for a second which was nice.

Kakarot is a reasonably challenging game, but not one where you will ever be stuck for long. It all feels pretty fair and balanced in part because there are always workarounds. If a boss is too difficult for you right now then you can go and train somewhere, unlock new attacks, re-position your stat medals, cook some food, buy potions, etc. There is no way you will actually be stuck for very long but at the same time you may enjoy just retrying the battle a few times when the opponent is hard to beat like this as it really helps you learn the fighting style. Before long you’ll be racking up S rank after S rank.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is a superb game. It’s easily one of the best DBZ games I’ve played. I’ve seen it compared to Attack of the Saiyans quite a lot. While that game is also very good, I would have to give this one the edge. I’d put it in third place right behind FighterZ and Budokai Tenkaichi 3. I hope we get a sequel to this game which adapts GT, the movies, and Super. I’m sure they could also do that through DLC as well, but a sequel would be ideal because then it could be a full 20+ hour experience with a lot of cutscenes. I feel like you are slightly more limited with what you can do when it’s DLC but that’s not necessarily true. If you haven’t gotten this game yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s one of the most complete DBZ adaptions you’ll ever see. When you finish the story you’ll feel as though you just scratched the surface of what the title has in store for you.

Overall 9/10

My 2019 year in review from Sony’s stats

Hey guys, Sony just sent me my 2019 year in review stats so I figured I would share them here.

This image isn’t really surprising. Kingdom Hearts III was definitely the game I played the most in 2019. Yooka Laylee also took me forever with some of the puzzles so it makes sense that it would show up as well. 54 different games also sounds pretty good to me. It’s definitely been a pretty fun year for Sony.

Action-Adventure as my main genre makes sense. I think all 3 of the games above would fall into that category most likely even if they have other genres as well. You just can’t go wrong with a good action-adventure if you ask me.

So it looks like on average I played on the PS3 or PS4 once every 3 days. That seems pretty solid and of course they were all local hours as I don’t remember playing online at all. I wonder which game I was playing for 4 hours straight. I know I was really close with Star Wars so that could have reached 4, but I also played really long batches in Kingdom Hearts III as well.

396 trophies is pretty cool. I don’t see how it’s more than last year’s since I didn’t do any trophy hunting this year, but I suppose that just by having so many games it was a natural side effect.

So that’s my Sony wrap-up. I’d love it if Nintendo sent out a similar email. My numbers would be considerably higher on that one since I still do play Super Smash just about every day. It’s still the ultimate video game experience, a title that never really has to end. I’ll have more of a general 2019 recap soon for the blog itself.

Dusk Diver Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 7/38
Money 25,925
Shards 53/153

Chapter Stats

Chapter 2 S Rank
Chapter 3 A Rank
Chapter 3 S Rank
Chapter 4 S Rank
Chapter 5 S Rank
Chapter 6 S Rank
Chapter 7 S Rank
Chapter 8 S Rank
Chapter 9 A Rank
Chapter 10 S Rank
Chapter 11 S Rank
Chapter 12 S Rank

Yumo

HP 4
SP Max
ATK Max
Luck Max
Moves 3
Just Dodge Max
D. Arms 1

Leo

Atk 1
TP 0

Everyone Else

Atk 0
TP 0

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

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

Crystar Review


It’s time to look at a video game that I hadn’t actually heard of before. It’s a pretty new one and doesn’t appear to be super mainstream so I’ll cut myself some slack here. It’s definitely got an interesting cover and with a name like this you can’t help but get a little interested. It’s definitely a pretty good game with a solid plot. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this one.

The game starts off by introducing us to Rei and her little sister Mirai. They both wake up in a demonic world and don’t know how they get there. Unfortunately this leads to a monster showing up and the only way for Rei to defeat him is to open up a contract with the two leaders of this realm. They reveal that this world is Purgatory and that doesn’t bode well since Mirai ended up getting destroyed during the chaos early on. Her soul is now flying through purgatory and if it reaches the gears of revival she will be lost forever. Purgatory’s rulers give Rei a simply contract. They will give her the power to fight through the underworld and save her sister but in exchange she must destroy the Revenants that plague the world. Rei is determined to do whatever it takes to save her sister so while she doesn’t trust these self proclaimed demons and thinks the contract is suspect, she doesn’t have much of a choice. 

As you can tell the game’s plot is pretty deep as usually I could summarize the whole thing in one paragraph. As you may guess from the term purgatory this is a world you only enter if you are dead. The only exceptions are that revenants can suck away living humans into this demonic world in order to eat their souls. Technically revenants can also go after other revenants and dead souls, but a living one is worth a lot more so it speeds up their quest for revival. One they have attained enough for revival they will be able to go back to the real world and resume their life or potentially use their power to destroy it. It’s why the Executors (People who have signed a contract) are told to destroy them to keep the balance.On one hand, you’ve gotta take these guys down because they are eating all of the good souls as well. When someone dies if they forget their identity they become butterflies. Ones that retain some identity eventually level up into becoming a special butterfly or a revenant.

Ironically the ones with the strongest wills are the ones who are hunted. Strong mental fortitude is one of the most important traits for a soul to have in order to escape this place. So there are a lot of things to think about when targeting all of these souls but at the end of the day there doesn’t seem to be another way to save Mirai. For my two cents on that, the people are already dead and the ones who are mindless are just monsters at this point. Most of the revenants are completely evil as well and it would be hard to take them to prison. I do think it’s the right move not to destroy the good ones but of course it is tough since they all tend to lie quite a lot to get you to lower your guard. 

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D best em up. You travel through maps that are created like a maze as you search for the exit. You rarely have to fight enemies but I recommend taking on most of them since the level ups are important. If you get to some of these bosses at a low level they’ll just end up crushing you with no mercy. One hit would be enough to finish you off and that’s not putting yourself in a great position. If you just fight all of the enemies you come across during your route in the game then you’ll be just fine when it comes to these challenges. You’ve got your standard attack, power attack, and a bunch of special moves. The power move is extremely slow though so I don’t recommend ever using it. It just never comes in handy and is so much slower that the slight increase in power is not worth it. This is partially due to the fact that you can dash cancel your standard combos. What I’ll do is throw out 3-4 hits and then immediately dash to continue the combo. A lot of games that use a dash feature end up having this feature so I always try for it. You always feel like this can’t be intentional because it really extends the combo, but if it’s there then I’m gonna use it. 

I ended up beating the game at a relatively early level as I hadn’t even hit 30 yet. It wasn’t bad though and I could still deal a good amount of damage. The equipment you have is the important part and I also bought a lot of food to amp up my stats during the fight. Leveling up will certainly help you beat bosses easier but it also makes the levels a lot longer so you just have to decide how to want to play this. I got to enjoy using all 4 characters throughout the game. Rei is definitely the most balanced one and my favorite for taking on minions. When the bosses would show up I liked Kokoro because while her attack range is terrible her power is through the roof. When she lands hits the bosses definitely feel it. Sen’s a good all around attacker so she’s good to switch in as well. Nanana is pretty broken with her projectiles but they deal an extremely low amount of damage. Put it this way, you can beat any level/any boss with ease using her, but it’ll take a super long amount of time. Keep her on the bench for emergencies.

The graphics are definitely solid here. In game it’s got a very goth/end of the world feel to it. It makes for a good atmosphere and the colors really stand out. I was also happy to see a full anime intro to the game which was pretty cool. The soundtrack is also pretty good. It’s not super extensive or anything, but it complements the game well. The game is definitely pretty somber the whole time so don’t expect to see too many bright colors or happy themes. The happiest theme is probably when Rei is at home, at least that part feels pretty normal.

As I mentioned the story is pretty dark. The same goes for even the normal levels as every enemy you face used to be human. When you destroy them they tend to throw curses at you hinting at how they died. Pretty much everyone has a tragic backstory here with everyone’s souls constantly crying at you. Crying is how you get stronger so prepare for a ton of that. I dare say it crosses the line a bit when one of the animals gets involved. The game handles it as well as something like that can be handled since there’s no blood and at least it happened painlessly in the human world, but I still did have to strike away a star for this. It really wasn’t needed in the game and the whole thing would have been better off without it.

As for the characters, they are all pushed to the breaking point as the game goes on. Rei definitely handles this the worst from all of them. I still don’t really buy into her stabbing the wrong person by accident the way she did. I’d like it if the game implied that someone forced her to do this, but surprisingly that didn’t happen. The whole game was someone’s plan so it’s reasonable to say that she did something, but it’s hard to confirm that. Regardless Rei cracks quite a lot as the game goes on. Everyone is always messing with her, but you still have to put a lot of blame on her.

Kokoro is a fun enough character aside from her Rei antics. She does a good job of moving past her origin story and keeping a lid on things. She’s a dependable ally to have. The climax of her character arc is similar to Captain America: Civil War’s so you’ll have to choose which side you’re on. I have to say that I’m on Kokoro’s, but it’s written well so you can understand where both characters are coming from. Sen’s a good character who’s justice angle is solid. She’s probably the most heroic out of the group although by the end her justice appears to waver. It’s a personal situation, but doesn’t change the fact that it goes against her ideals. Then we have Nanana who gets a smaller role than the other 3, but is a lot of fun.

She probably gets the roughest hand out of the group though because most of her scenes are people being mean to her. She’s always nice in response though so it gets pretty emotional. For supporting characters we have Mephis and Pheles. They’re more annoying than anything, but I suppose you need cryptically evil characters to balance things out. The one with glasses at least plays it straight though and gives some actually useful info. The other one just trolls 24/7. There are more characters but you should really play the game to get the full scoop. It has so much story that it’s like watching an anime or a movie.

There’s a lot of replay value here. For starters the game has 4 different endings. Beating the game once took me around 11.5 hours. Fortunately you don’t need to beat the whole game again for the different endings, but I fully expect you’ll be at 30+. Then if you want the Platinum it’ll take even longer. So there’s definitely a lot to enjoy even after you beat the game here.

Overall, Crystar is definitely a really solid game. It’s certainly very different from your average beat em up game. The whole thing really felt like Madoka from the abstract drawings to the contracts with the demons. I dare say that the game is even more grim as nobody really gets a happy ending here. Granted, I only played the default ending so I’m sure the true ending probably gives everyone a better conclusion. I’d definitely recommend checking this game out, but if you don’t like sad stories then this one won’t be for you.

Overall 7/10

Asdivine Hearts 2 Review


After a long time since playing the first game it’s finally time to take a look at the sequel for PS4 thanks to Limited Run Games. The first one was super memorable for me thanks to its really impressive UI and menus. The game is just super streamlined and has every feature you could want in an RPG. This one is a great followup even if the plot isn’t quite as good as the first one. Some of the characters can be a bit much, but either way I would definitely still recommend picking up this game.

The game takes place 2 years after the first one. Zack and Stella haven’t seen each other in that span of time, but they are called together once more by the light goddess Felix. She explains that something is wrong in a parrallel world so she wants their help in investigating. The dark goddess Nadia will be accompanying them as well as Uriel from the last game. Celine has to stay back this time to help with preparations for the Star Festival. The heroes enter the portal and find that the other world is freezing over thanks to the powers of a new deity. They will have to stop this guy at all costs, but is there more to this threat than meets the eye?

Naturally the plot expands quite a lot from the general premise as you would expect from any long RPG. This game is quite a bit shorter than the first one and you’ll probably beat it in half of the time. Still, at around 12 hours the campaign is still long enough to get your money’s worth as well as a bunch of twists and turns in the game. Whenever the climax approaches (We get 3-4 different climaxes) the game always draws you into the excitement thanks in part to the music. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes that we do get are quite terrific. I could hear the enemy theme on loop for hours and the final boss theme is suitably hype as well. The game does a good job of really selling you on the game ending before a twist suddenly throws everything for a loop once more.

The graphics are also very good. The cutscenes are told through image illustrations like a GBA game, but the character portraits definitely look like they are in HD which is good. Everything just looks shiny and modern which I think it a must for any big PS4 game. The gameplay graphics are nice as well even if I don’t look at the effects all that much since I have the game running at high speed mode. The attacks look great, but the animations do tend to take a while so after you’ve seen them all once it makes sense to just skip past them.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard turn based combat system. Each character gets to attack and you can use various skills and techniques to speed up your turn or slow the opponent’s down. Each character can learn a ton of attacks including physical skills, magical skills, unity skills, combo skills, etc. By the end of the game your menu will be pretty cluttered with how many different kinds of moves you can activate. In most games this could be overwhelming, but Asdivine Hearts does a good job of never letting it get that far. Part of how it does this is by allowing you to control everything. You can put your guys on automatic for fights, you can skip fights with weaker fighters altogether, text speed, etc. Everything is customizable which is awesome.

I’ve never seen a game that can make grinding so effortless. Then you’ve also got other featured like gardening which increases your physical stats, tickets which gets you rare items, and power jewels which can be traded for great items like doubling your EXP for the rest of the game. I highly recommend buying all 3 copies of that as soon as possible. This is one game where you should never skip a fight because you’ll want to do as many as possible to get those gems. Trading them in gets you the very best rewards. Even with all of this the final boss is pretty difficult though. A lot of their skills will really test your abilities and put your skills as a player to the mettle. They seem to have almost unlimited durability and even with my characters at level 90+ I was having some real difficulty. The final bosses took around 30-40 minutes to conquer which was pretty crazy.

The main character cast is good for the most part. Zack is still a great lead who always does the right thing. He has a lot of confidence and usually comes up with the best plans out of the bunch. Even with his companions being a little crazy he never lets it get to him and always stays ready as the leader. Stella is a good main heroine as well even if her whip gimmick feels a little forced at this point. At least she is a little bolder than in the first game and also doesn’t get quite as jealous as last time. It would be nice to see her use her light powers a little more though.

Then we have Uriel who is the best of the training companions. She’s honest about her feelings the whole time and her subplot about being a little worried since she is a human was pretty emotional as well. Uriel was a good companion to have around. Then we have Felix who isn’t quite as solid as the others. She’s a goddess and yet she is always a few steps behind the other characters in just about everything. How can you be a deity and still not be prepared for what’s going on? That just doesn’t work and it makes her look pretty bad the whole time. Her whole fur gimmick is definitely not great either.

Then we have Nadia whose core personality isn’t bad, but her obsession with Felix gets to be a bit much. The game loves giving everyone a different creepy gimmick like this which can get old very quickly. Lets not even start with the character who wants everyone to stomp on her. (Or him. It’s hard to tell with some of these characters) The problem is that these traits start to take over the characters very quickly so it has to appear in every cutscene more than once. A lot of the cutscenes get pretty iffy as a result.

The villains are good at least. As I mentioned there are quite a few twists with each villain getting a different “All according to plan” moment which is nice. The hype music also really sells these scenes so that the game can get quite epic when it needs to be. As a result I can’t say that the story was bad. Really it is great during serious scenes and then pretty bad when it’s back to slice of life mode. Hopefully it can be a bit more balanced in a potential third game as this is the only thing holding the game back from a full 9 star title.

There is definitely a lot of replay value here. Beating the game will take around 12 hours as mentioned, but if you intend to platinum the game you can expect to double that amount of time. Increasing everyone’s trust levels will take time so I’m thinking the best way to get everyone’s ending would be to save right before the end and give all of your trust items to one person. Then after the trophy pops you reset the game and do the same for each other character. Some of the other trophies will still take some time though. The game’s excellent gameplay mechanics for encounters and such do make it easier to explore and find all of the chests though. It’s a much more manageable Platinum than what you would see in most other games which is definitely appreciated.

Overall, Asdivine Hearts 2 is a really fun game. The gameplay is out of this world and the level of customization that you have at your disposal is quite impressive. It may all feel a little overwhelming at first, but I think the developers did a great job of making it all as straight forward as possible.The actual story is a little on the weaker side though with the characters going a little too overboard on how desperate to be quirky they can be. Still, it’s never too bad I guess and you can always just quickly skip through the dialogue when certain characters show up. You can set the text to instant so you blast through the conversations and you can then prep for the actual cutscenes that are important. I’d definitely be game for a third title in this series but with how overpowered the heroes are at this point it’s hard to see what could possibly be a threat to them at this point. I’m sure the developers can think of something though.

Overall 8/10