Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom Review


Kemco has delivered quite a lot of amazing hits over the years and this one is no different. It’s definitely very different from their other titles in a few ways which I’ll get into, but it nails it. This is really trying to cross the classic RPG style with more of a gathering game you’d think of for mobile or online gaming. It works really well in doing so.

So the game follows a kid named Volker. His father died in an accident a while back and so he had to start running the blacksmithing operation on his own. At the same time he always wanted to be an adventurer though and is at a cross roads. Fortunately his best friend says she will man the shop while he is away and a fairy also shows up to help out. Now Volker can focus on being the best in both fields and along the way he may uncover some conspiracies. At the end of the day he wants to keep his kingdom safe, whether it is through creating equipment for them or by clearing quests. Will he be able to do this?

The game’s hub world has several areas including the shop, mission area, infirmary, food store, the arena, the dungeons, and the workplace. Each area has tasks that you can do once a day. For example you can enter a dungeon once a day and you can eat once a day. When you are ready to go to the next day you can head home and build a lot of equipment to sell which triggers the end of the day. The typical flowchart here is that you will complete a bunch of ordinary missions which involve building things for people until you get a story mission. The first story mission is always to investigate a dungeon which means getting to the final floor. The second story mission will be to fight a boss at the end of it.

The story missions are unlocked by completing a lot of normal missions. There are 296 missions in the game and you need to complete almost all of them in order to unlock the final story mission so prepare yourself. While combat is important, just as important is having a lot of materials at the ready so that you can build things as needed. Each time you complete a dungeon you unlock new materials. Also be sure to stop at every store each day in order to trigger cutscenes that move the story forward.

As you can probably guess, this means you will be moving around a lot. You will also have to spend a lot of time crafting weapons and shifting materials from one form to the next. There isn’t a lot of downtime here, you’re always just pressing on to the next thing. You gotta be ready for that without a doubt. It’s more fun than it sounds though so you’ll like it. At the very least I get a kick out of it. You usually have to do this kind of thing in mobile games and it can take hours sometimes as you have to allocate resources and then just wait it out. If you’re not used to that kind of thing then it may seem tedious. I would go as far as to say that this is the tipping point of the game. Whether you love it or not will depend on how much you enjoy crafting objects.

Trust me, you’ll be crafting a lot too. I nearly completed the 100% secret gallery (Made it to 97%) by the time I beat the game because I had to cook so much. Also, the game is difficult. I had all my guys maxed out at level 99 and I still barely beat the final boss. In a sense this is because I didn’t fully master the different concepts in the game. There are just so many from the prayers you use before battle to the orbs you equip to each piece of your equipment. Each character can choose 2 classes out of 12 in order to build a solid formation and each formation can be altered. There are also active and passive skills that you have to choose.

That sounded like a lot? Well it’s even more imposing while playing. So I did my best and crafted a team strategy that I thought sounded good but if there had been any more bosses then I may have had to rethink that a bit. They really were quite difficult and the final boss took over 30 minutes. It doesn’t help that a lot of the bosses like to heal themselves or summon an infinite amount of minions. You often have to decide whether to go for them or the minion first. Each strategy has its ups and downs in that respect.

Also, they love going for the paralyze option and if that happens then your character can’t attack for 3 turns. Definitely watch out for that since it gets really tricky. The challenge never feels unfair or broken though. You’re always left with the thought that you could have assembled your team better in order to win. So as you can tell I liked this game quite a lot. It’s just a very great all around experience and there’s so much to have fun with. I very nearly got all the trophies along the way.

Now if the game has a weakness it’s that there isn’t much of a story for about 90% of the game. There are hintings at one for a while of course but it never really happens until you’re at about the climax. Then we get a cosmic being and some nice action but it’s all at the very end. It’s clear that the story wasn’t really the focus here. The focus was definitely on the whole harvesting/gathering aspect of the game. It’s a fun aspect of course so I’m glad that they handled it well but a nice story would have been fun to have too. As it is the cast is incredibly small since the rest of your party is made up. Because of that there are just a few characters around the hub world and a villain or two.

Finally, the way the equipment works is a bit too time consuming if you ask me. So here’s how it goes, when you want to change equipment you go to the screen as normal except you can’t see your current weapon’s stats compared to the one you are equipping. As a result you have to switch screens a lot to make sure you’re getting the right one. Upgrading a weapon or transferring effects also takes you to a screen with tons of weapons so you have to make sure that you’re grabbing the right one. The equipment part could be a bit of a pain so in the end I just ended up going for the ones that had the highest stats and called it a day instead of always looking to optimize. It just was not very user friendly.

Naturally the graphics are solid here. I like the illustrations and the levels look good. I wouldn’t say it feels as dynamic or polished as the Asdivine Hero titles but it still looks good enough. Meanwhile the soundtrack is good. There are some solid tunes here although a lot of the battles are so fast that you won’t get to hear it much. I tend to have the team set to auto battle in most fights because manually battling takes forever in this game. If they can’t handle the battle then I take the wheel as needed. Another small thing I like about the game is that there are keyboard shortcuts for everything and you move faster than the villains. So if you don’t want to fight some minions then you don’t have to. It’s the quality of life features like this that always put Kemco at the top.

Overall, Blacksmith of the Sand Village is definitely a great game. The way the very game is developed does mean that it won’t be for everyone though. I just get the feeling that not everyone is going to want to be spending some hours crafting equipment over and over which is understandable. It’s just so smooth and enjoyable though that you don’t even notice. I ended up having a very good time with the game without a doubt and would love to see a sequel. Just give us more of a story next time.

Overall 8/10

Madden 21 Review


It’s been quite a while but I finally got the next Madden game! I’m still behind as there’s one more I need to get but it felt good upgrading. I’ve been playing a lot of Madden 20 so this way I was really able to see what had changed. On the whole I would say Madden 20’s a little better but it’s close and I still had a blast with 21. I ended up playing through an entire season and won the Super Bowl so I can really say that I got to experience the game all the way through. I won’t be forgetting Madden 21 anytime soon, that’s for sure!

There is a bit of a story mode with how you go from college to the pros but the cutscenes are still completely unskippable so it didn’t really seem worth it to go through this mode. I went through the normal Franchise mode instead and played a season that way. I then went into the only offense version since I don’t care for defense quite as much and it worked out pretty well I would say. I didn’t win every game and the system did well in making some teams tougher than others based on their record. So this really became apparent by the end of the season.

I found myself running the ball a lot because throwing always feels risky in the newer Madden games. The throwing mechanics definitely did seem to be a bit different now as you could actually miss some automatic type throws if you held your control stick too much in any direction. I get that it makes the game a little more realistic but I was not a fan of this. Just let me throw the ball and I’m set. I know you have to have a balance here but Madden 2004 and Madden 2013 should be the templates for that. They were absolutely perfect with throwing the ball. I would feel comfortable just airing the ball out.

That’s something that the newer Maddens haven’t encouraged in a very long time. Throwing slants is good but a deep shot up the middle? It’ll get picked off or blown incomplete pretty much every time. There’s almost no reason to even try attempting the pass which is a little disappointing. I love throwing the ball but it’s just smarter to run it in this game. I must have ran for over 60% of my plays in every game and it turned out well. I had Zeke run for over 200 yards on 4 different occasions and I’d usually run for close to 100 with Dak.

Running is fun too of course but not quite as epic as throwing the ball. To me that’s where the heart of Madden is as it’s all about making the right read at the right time. Most times there will be someone open but whether you notice that in time or after you throw the ball is really the deciding factor here. Still, I don’t throw much because the defenders can all jump 6 feet in any direction and just snag the ball out of anywhere. It’s crazy just how good they are and they have lightning fast reaction times.

Fortunately running the ball is still a blast so there’s that. The gameplay is just absolutely top notch so even if Madden were to keep on throwing out the same game every year, I would still have a blast with it. I just wish online play wasn’t an added cost or I would be having a lot of battles online. As it stands I don’t really get a chance to do that but if Madden 23 ends up coming out for the Switch that would be excellent and fix everything.

Outside of the normal games there are a bunch of other modes of course. We have an NFL street kind of experience as a new mode which is interesting. I don’t feel like you get a whole lot out of it compared to the normal games though so I wouldn’t say that it’s really a winner. More options is never a bad thing though and it doesn’t take away from playing the normal games. You’ve also got the story and all the online content so you won’t run out of things to do.

I will say that you might want to turn off injuries while playing through Franchise mode though. I decided to keep all settings as default but there were so many injuries during the games that it was crazy. I must have lost close to 10 people for the season which seemed excessive. Then there were a ton of injuries during the game that would hold them out til next week. It did make the playoffs a little more difficult but fortunately I got Zeke back for the championship and I never lost Dak. If I lost Dak then things might have really been curtains for me.

One feeling that the game really captures 100% is how some teams will stuff the run. There was one game where by halftime I had 12 rushes for 18 yards which is just sad. I eventually had to give up on the run and I ended up losing that game but for the most part I won all my games thanks to a very healthy blend of running and passing the ball. You need that kind of balance if you want to capture a win. Of course if you practice hard enough then you can probably win any which way. Fortunately there aren’t many fumbles going on either. That can feel cheesy since it’s an error that you couldn’t control so it should always be a rare event.

Naturally the game still puts a lot of effort into the graphics and how realistic the presentation is. I like how much detail is on the screen whether it’s your player’s stats or the team as a whole. You see a live sports ticket on the bottom of the screen as well and of course it’s fun to hear the commentators. Naturally they can improve and it’s no secret that EA has been very lazy with the series but it shows how good the fundamentals are. They could just keep copy and pasting the game over and over again and it would still end up being amazing. I would like to see what EA can do if they really try though. To date the best games are 2004 and 2013 so I’d like to see if they can ever be surpassed.

Overall, Madden 21 is definitely a blast. The series is as good as ever and you’re bound to have a lot of fun here. The content is almost literally unlimited and you can always try different plays and teams to freshen things up. Hopefully one day they can remove the unskippable cutscenes and also make the franchise mode a little more extensive. Do that and the series will just keep on getting better and better. I know Madden has the potential for even more greatness!

Overall 9/10

Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch Remastered Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 30h 12m
PS4 Trophies 9/34
Oliver Level 59
Esther Level 59
Marcassin Level 56
Swaine Level 54
Tyke Myson Level 49
Rocko Level 31
Joules Level 50
Bosun Level 55
Gunther Level 50
Gogo Level 59
Shonky Level 54
Sid Level 58
Lemahl Level 54
Mitey Level 54
Spells Learned: 32

Alphadia Genesis Review


Kemco has returned and this is easily the best story they’ve churned out since the original Asdivine Heart games. We’re back to having a lot of twists, a grand end of the world story, and a colorful cast of characters. The game certainly gets rather serious and the heroes are put to their limits but at the end the day you know teamwork is what will be the decisive factor here. The game’s only main weakness is there are still less customizable game options than in the Asdivine games and there are quite a few dead spots. More on that later.

The game starts off right away by explaining that the two kingdoms of the world are getting ready to come up with an answer to the clones issue. Right now there is a debate on if all clones should be put in stasis since they are too dangerous or to continue to allow them free roam. Recently there have been instances of clones attacking and even murdering people. An investigative team is created using two people from each kingdom. Fray and Aurra from one with Walter and Corune making up the other group. They run into a clone named Enah and add her to the party as well. Is someone deliberately making clones look bad or is there a real security risk?

I can’t say I was expecting a game about clones, it is a much more futuristic world than I had expected. It’s a fun change of pace though and the Kemco games really are all quite unique. Naturally when it comes to this debate I’m immediately against the idea of putting everyone into stasis. It seems like an overreaction to me and you’d have a very hard time of ever convincing me that every clone should be taken down for the actions of a few. The dilemma here is interesting though as the clones are cybernetic meaning that they can be hacked. So the heroes need to find a way to prevent that from being possible but don’t even know if that’s the cause.

As mentioned, I enjoyed the cast here quite a bit. Fray is the main character and he’s your classic RPG hero. He can be oblivious a lot of the time but always tries to do the right thing. He’s not quite as intense as Zack from Asdivine but Fray has a lot of good moments and a solid character arc. He does go through a very rough patch during the second half of the game but that doesn’t last too long.

Aurra is Fray’s little sister and she’s a scientist but can still fight when needed. Without her the heroes would have definitely been in a bit of a jam on more than one occasion. She certainly enjoys trolling Fray a lot of the time. Enah is the clone who joined the group and as she literally woke up yesterday she doesn’t know a whole lot for most of the game and learns with the characters. I’d have liked her to have known more about the world but as it stands her character was executed well.

Grande is a tough gang leader or at least so it seems at the start but for the most part he seems like a good guy. The town likes the group and it seems like they’re a bunch of people who do good things but don’t want to take credit for it. Grande looks out for his men and makes for a good addition to the cast. Then you have Corune as the main heroine. With her title as the War Princess you can bet that she fights quite a lot. It’s always good to have another fighter on board and she does well.

Finally you have Walter who loses so many times in the game that it might be a record. His thing is that he likes Corune but she likes Fray so he is always jealous. He probably makes 50+ attempts to get her to notice him but this always fails. His streak of losing is so exaggerated that it becomes funny after a while. Naturally this is leading up to a character arc but don’t expect things to ever go very well for him.

From all of the Kemco games this one may have had the most romance. You have Aurra and one of the villains who shows up, the triangle with Fray, Corune, and Walter, then Fray and another girl who shows up near the end. I was glad the final one didn’t really go anywhere (As of the normal ending) though because that would have felt like a very big rebound. There are some circumstances that make this unique but I still don’t think it would have been a good idea. The main romance isn’t too bad I suppose, at least it’s given a whole lot of time to develop. It’s why Aurra’s romance with the villain isn’t nearly as good since it doesn’t have that kind of development.

Now when it comes to the gameplay you have the excellent turn based system that Kemco games are known for. It certainly does not disappoint here. The fights are fast and the attack animations are on point. You can’t turn them off this time around but you can still use auto battle which is good at least. The A.I. is a step down from other games though so you won’t want to rely on it too much. There isn’t a whole lot of grinding needed to complete the game this time around though so that’s not much of an issue. You will just need to use a lot of good tactics as you decide how to play each battle.

I found the status effect moves to be really helpful in this game. I would usually run a status combination for my first 4 turns. (Attack up, Defense up, Enemy attack down, Speed up) That would set me up really well for the next attack. As for the hub world, your characters move really quickly which is good. You can also set a speed formation which lets you run away from pretty much any battle because your character should always move first. Now that is what I’d call an extremely useful formation.

Now what did I mean about dead zones? Well, there are quite a few times in the game where a cutscene will end and you know a boss fight is coming up. The issue is that at this point in the game you cannot leave the castle to go train. So your only option is to fight the boss but if you aren’t strong enough to win then you will be stuck. Your only option is to start the game over from the beginning. That’s what a true dead zone is and this game has quite a few of them. I ended up having 3 files going on at the same time as backups just in case. On one occasion this saved me because there was no way I could have possibly beaten the boss without a lot of level ups.

A dead zone is really a design issue. I think it means this game could have used a little more playtesting. I definitely would have been dismayed if I had to restart the game after being near the end but fortunately that didn’t happen. Beyond that, one element that’s a bit weaker than the other games is that you can’t land your airship just anywhere here. You have to land in the water so you will often have to walk a bit more than would usually be necessary. Not a big deal or anything but it just feels like a really random change. I don’t see why the airship was changed from all of the other games.

As always the graphics are definitely on point here. The level designs are great and I like all of the different attack animations. The character designs are good too so I have no issues here. Naturally the soundtrack is also great with all of the usual catchy beats you find in these games. This one definitely doesn’t falter and you will really enjoy the boss theme.

As for replay value, well the game does have a post game story for the true ending. The main campaign took me almost 20 hours so I imagine the post game will probably be around 1-3 hours of bonus content. I’m sure it will be difficult as well so throw in some extra time for grinding and this is a game that should last you for quite a bit. A lot of story happens throughout so you should be satisfied. You can also go after the Platinum which doesn’t look all that difficult for this game. That would be a fun way to get some extra play time in.

Overall, Alphadia Genesis is definitely a great game. The story is engaging and really tackles some pretty intense themes. The story can be happy, dark, light, serious, etc. As an RPG it succeeds in really telling a complete story from start to finish. Throw in a likable group of characters and you have an adventure to remember. While the dead zones get tricky and parts of the gameplay aren’t quite up to Asdivine level, it’s close enough where it doesn’t hurt the title. Even if it’s not a 100% replica, Kemco games are so far ahead of the curve that this one is as well. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this game regardless of how the true ending plays out. Seeing the characters again would be fun.

Overall 8/10

Monster Viator Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 22h 44m
PS4 Trophies 21/27
Bestiary 78/81
Quests Completed 31/34

Character Levels

Terry 73
Aira 73
Gonya 73
Molmol 73
Ishiri 73
Levi 73
Brave 73
Alulu 65
Windie 73
Flaire 73
Yucklew 73
Boros 73
Khid 66
Girua 70
Ellen 66
Tetsu 70
Julius 63

One Piece: World Seeker Review


I remember World Seeker was getting a lot of hype when it was first announced but it seems like the hype died out when it came out. I just happened to run across it at a Gamestop and figured that was a good time to see if it was any good. Fortunately this is another great title to add to the One Piece collection. The franchise has really done well in that arena. While most of the other games were big beat em up titles, this one’s more of an open world action/adventure game. It works out really well and feels like a Breath of the Wild type experience.

The game starts out with a very cinematic approach as the credits roll while we see Luffy getting ready to be executed by the government. Fortunately he is able to get out of there just in time but the whole crew has been split up. They were lured to the island with treasure but it turns out to all have been a trap by Isaac and the World Government. Luffy and friends need to get off the island but the Sunny won’t be repaired for a few days so there is no escape. Additionally, there may be something more to this situation other than a simple trap as famous pirates, admirals, and many other figures are all converging on the island. It’s time for Luffy to help Jeanne save her island and prove that even a pirate can be a hero.

Right off the bat you’re thrown into the rather large island and then have to make your way from place to place for the missions. The hub world is quite large to the point where you will be using the quick travel mechanic a whole lot. It’s not as big as Breath of the Wild, but the size is impressive enough where it’s worth noting. They did a really good job there. There is a whole lot to do in the various areas as well with side missions everywhere and a whole lot of treasure chests. This is good because the main campaign is really not that long. I cleared it in around 8 hours which feels short for this kind of big open world adventure.

Throw in the replay value like grabbing all of the PS4 trophies and the deal looks a lot better though. It’ll take a while to get up to rank 100 and take down all of the quests which helps put in a lot of extra value here. The game uses Luffy’s rubber abilities well as you can swing from place to place almost like Spider-Man and all of his classic moves are in the game. I would have liked some kind of flying option though as some mountains are just too high to jump onto so you have to go the long way around the valley.

I suppose it shows that even Luffy has some limits but I wouldn’t have minded the game helping me out a bit there. Just give me a bit of a boost so I don’t have to do the leg work, that’s all I wanted. As for the combat, it’s definitely really solid. There’s a bit more variety here than your average beat em up so you can have fun with your combos. That said, I would make the case that some tactics are simply better than others. For example, against the robots, just use your fire fist because it’s a guaranteed 1 hit KO. I used that technique for 90% of my battles simply because it was so efficient.

There are two weaknesses that the game has though. The first is that there are a ton of loading times. Any time you want to quick travel somewhere you have to sit through a full loading screen which is quite long. Keep in mind that you will be using quick travel dozens of times since it is always significantly faster than running the full distance. The missions will usually have you crossing large portions of the map so walking just wouldn’t make as much sense. The loading times just seemed excessive though and something that could have been improved.

Then there’s the story which is ambitious but felt really choppy at times. There are no smooth transitions between lines so the screen will go black and then they’ll say the next thing. It’s really noticeable while playing through the game. Also, there is almost no voice acting here which feels a bit lazy for a PS4 title. Most of the time they’ll just grunt or say 1 word. It was cool to see all of the characters showing up on the island but half of them don’t get to do anything. Sanji’s family show up for a transaction for example and then dash off. The admirals appear to get in their fight and then run off.

The amount of times a villain is about to beat Luffy but is told to let him go is crazy. I feel like Luffy could take some of these guys at this point in time too. Gone are the days where he had to run off just because an admiral was around. When we do get a cutscene they’re fun like seeing Zoro take on Isaac. We just needed more of that and the story doesn’t necessarily have to be longer. Just cut out some of the mandatory side missions and you’re good. I see what the intent behind the side missions was. It was to introduce us to all of the islanders so it’s emotional when they come together in the climax. I get the logic there but personally I’d have liked to have seen more of the actual Strawhats taking names. Even Law vanishes early on although he apparently got his own DLC pack so I suppose you would need to play that to see what’s going on with him.

As for the graphics, those are definitely really good as you would expect. The game looks sharp and feels like a PS4 title. It helps that the island is just a lot of fun to look at and the city was developed well too. Then you have the soundtrack which is actually really solid but they don’t play the tunes very often. You might hear a theme that sounds great but then it never appears in the game again. This is the kind of soundtrack you’ll want to look up on Youtube afterwards to see if you can find all of the cool tunes.

Overall, One Piece: World Seeker is definitely a winner in my book. The story could have been a lot stronger to be honest but it would make for a fun movie. Just needed to focus up a bit more. I appreciate that the game went with an original story though and the execution on the open world concept was really solid. Open world can absolutely be a blast when it’s like this. In a lot of ways it does remind me of Breath of the Wild, just with Luffy as the main character. If I had any more nitpicks on that I would like Luffy to be a little faster when moving around so I didn’t have to rely on quick travel so much but the speed isn’t bad either. I’m also glad there is a quick travel since that’s an absolute must have feature for any open world game.

Overall 8/10

Monster Viator Review


Time for the next Kemco game. This one may not be in the Asdivine series but otherwise it looks like it could be in that franchise. As always Kemco delivers with a quality game here but the gameplay is a noticeable step down from the other titles. Mix that in with the game not really having a big villain this time around and it isn’t quite ready to be challenging the other titles. Still, you’ll have a fun time playing through this one.

You start off as a kid who has complete amnesia. He has no idea how he got here or even what the world is all about. Fortunately he ends up near a fairly nice village. In this world, some people can talk to monsters and if they have a strong enough bond, the monster will be your pal for life. Most don’t have a whole lot of skill in this arena though so it’s considered a really rare skill. Well, Terry (That’s what I called the kid) seems to be a natural and can talk to any monster with ease. Is it possible that he was the world’s greatest monster trainer back in the day? It’s hard to say but he will need to gather his skills to stop a rather spoiled prince from causing trouble for everyone.

The prince will end up being the main antagonist by the end but for most of the game you’re really just travelling a lot and meeting new monsters. You help people at every place you go to and uncover some memories little by little. By the end of the game you get the full picture of what happened here. You’ll understand why he is always getting a lot of de ja vu and it works well as a final twist. The ending of the game also delivers with a classic final boss that’s super over the top. In an RPG the final boss always has to be some kind of deity with immense power after all and that’s an aspect I’m glad that the genre has continued to use.

The cast here is fairly small. There’s not much to say about Terry since he doesn’t really talk. He’s a lot more expressive than most of the prior main characters though as this guy will jump in the air, grin, do a spin move, etc. He’s having a lot of fun on the journey which is a good thing. After all, you have to enjoy the journey or else what fun will the resolution be right? It would all be futile if the whole thing wasn’t fun.

The main heroine here is Aira and she’s fun enough. She doesn’t have as much skill as Terry yet but she is training hard. Her flute allows her to still train her own monsters up and she is very determined to get Terry into fighting shape which is good. He at least has one ally who won’t rest until he gets all of his memories back. Then you have the villain Biscute who is more of a petty villain. He really just likes to show off and wants to own the most powerful monsters out there.

You have to give him credit for being skilled though. He actually did capture quite a few powerful monsters with no real tricks or sneaky tactics. It was just pure skill and you feel kind of bad for him by the end of the game. Things didn’t quite go as expected that’s for sure. So the story may not have been mind blowing, but it was entertaining enough to get you through the adventure.

The gameplay is a turn based style where you take turns slamming away at each other’s health points. You win by getting the enemy down to 0. You can use physical attacks, magical attacks, or skills. There are some unity moves too but I never got the hang of it. The gameplay itself is good even if it is a bit long. There’s no way to speed up gameplay or turn off encounters here. In fact, a lot of the big quality of life features I praise Kemco’s games for have been removed in this one.

I have to assume it’s because they brought another company in they decided to use that as an opportunity to test new things. It’s not as natural though and makes the gameplay more like any other RPG rather than really standing out like the other ones did. This one is more interchangeable with a classic RPG because there are no extra features. The biggest flaw here though would have to be that there is an extensive amount of grinding needed to beat the game. This is one of those games where it isn’t properly balanced so you go from a group of enemies being a little strong to suddenly being ultra powerful. Well over half of my gameplay experience was pure grinding.

The actual story was very short, likely under 10 hours. It’s the grinding that really stretches this out as you have to spend hours beating up on the minions to be strong enough to take these guys on. That’s really my only issue with the game. It just felt really excessive and then it also feels a bit sneaky when you realize that they sold a DLC pack where you could get triple damage and triple EXP permanently for the rest of the game. Seems like they intentionally made the end of the game difficult so you could buy the pack eh? I mean, it doesn’t even sound conspiratorial because that makes a lot of sense. Why else would you be selling a pack specifically for the two things that would help reduce the grind and allow you to beat the game?

There’s also a trophy for dealing 100,000 damage in a single blow which is incredibly hard without the DLC pack. It’s like a variation of the pay to win tactic and usually Kemco doesn’t go with that. Their other games have had DLC packs as well but you never felt like you absolutely had to get it. If you don’t have a lot of time, this would be one game where it is very tempting to just hunker down and pay the fee. I’ve got time though and knocked it out, but it felt extremely excessive.

The graphics are solid as always though. The game has a very colorful feel to it that works really well. The monster designs are on point and I liked the level layouts. Once you are able to fly, navigating the world isn’t too bad either. The enemies don’t spawn a crazy amount either which is good. So the terrain and gameplay outside of battle are good too. The game is also good with directions for the most part. Through beating the game I was able to beat pretty much all of the EXP monsters around the globe and felt like I almost 100% beat most of the game. The Platinum looks like it would still be really difficult but at least most of the trophies are straight forward. There is naturally a lot of replay value to be found here as well so you definitely don’t have to worry about that.

Overall, I thought Monster Viator definitely could have improved in some aspects. It really should have kept in the gameplay features that made Asdivine so much fun like being able to fast forward or even skip fights against enemies that were super weak. The story also won’t grip you quite as much even if this one’s going for more of an emotional feel. That said, this game may live in Asdivine’s shadow but if you look past that and consider this game as a stand alone experience, then you will definitely be pleased. It’s still a fundamentally strong RPG.

Overall 7/10

Cris Tales Review


Cris Tales is an RPG I wasn’t super familiar with but happened to see the cover while I was at Gamestop. It looked cool and that was when I knew that I definitely needed to check this one out. It involves time travel which is always a win so I would definitely recommend this title. It’s a great game that has a pretty interesting plot and full voice acting which is always important.

The game starts by introducing us to Crisbell. She is a time mage who isn’t very powerful yet but serves the Mother Superior (Effectively the head priest of the church) and performs normal errands. One day a bunch of enemies storm the village and Cris only barely makes it out alive thanks to the help of a guy named Christopher. He’s a hero in training who wants to defeat the powerful spellcasters who are threatening the world. Another time mage named Willhelm shows up as well as a talking frog. Can these unsuspecting heroes actually band together to save the world or are they doomed?

The gameplay is a turn based combat style but with speed playing a big role similar to titles like Megaman X Command Mission. When it’s your turn you can attack or do another action and there are also techniques that will allow you to take extra turns. These are definitely very handy so I recommend using them whenever possible. This is probably the first game where I had a dedicated character just for status effects since usually I just power through everything. In this case powering through everything is rarely a viable strategy and will likely just end with you getting stomped.

There’s a good amount of depth to the gameplay too so get ready for a lot of strategy. Your equipment is definitely a big deal here and you can go for pure attack, defense, special abilities, or something else. Preventing the burn status is what I would lean towards since that effect deals a ton of damage in this game. It seems like it always deals a percentage of your health as opposed to a static number which is what really makes this one so dangerous. So if you get burned that’s pretty much it since you don’t want to waste a turn to heal yourself.

One of the main gimmicks in the game is time travel but surprisingly you will want to rarely use that ability. More often than not it won’t actually help you in a fight and just serves to waste a turn. For Cris just focus on healing your teammates or speeding them up. That should really be the only two things you’re using those turns for and that will go a long way towards helping you win levels. As soon as Zas joins the group then this is the perfect combo. Speed her up and Zas can crush almost any opponent with ease. Her normal attacks do massive amounts of damage and since this isn’t magic, nobody (aside from 1 boss) can block it.

For most of the game I ran a 3 man team of Cris, Christopher, and Willhelm. Once Zas came in though then my end game team was Cris, Zas, and Jkr721. You can really pick any variation of the group for your team though as they all have their own strengths. I’m absolutely a power type fighter though so I like going for the combos and just putting an end to these opponents as soon as possible. What better way than to overload them with full frontal attacks right?

The graphics are pretty solid. The art style’s fairly unique, it goes for a hand drawn look but also with an older fairy tail kind of vibe to it. There are even fully animated cutscenes at different points which is a lot of fun. It really makes this feel like more of a cinematic journey or a movie of sorts. With the voice acting throughout that just seals the deal. The length is also fairly good so this is an RPG that will last you around 20 hours or so as expected. The difficulty is manageable but you will probably need to train at a few different spots or you may find yourself falling to the bosses.

Where the game really shines is with the story. It involves time travel which is an automatic win but even beyond that I would say there is just a whole lot of depth to it. There are twists galore and you learn a whole lot about each character. The final act effectively introduces a whole villain group as well. I say “introduce” rather loosely but can’t go into much more detail than that. Needless to say, the game will keep you on the edge of your seat. It had a relatively slow beginning so I was glad to see it turn up. By the end it’s almost like a whole different game.

Cris also gets a lot of development. At the start of the game she isn’t very self confident and doesn’t know a lot about the world. By the end she is a very capable leader who makes the most of her team. The game also has two endings so you get to choose what you want to do at the end. It’s at the very end so not much about the game changes but I’m always up for giving you a choice like that. The ending is fairly resolute but I would be down with a sequel. Once time travel is involved you never really have to say goodbye to the idea of more games in the series.

Overall, Cris Tales is definitely a great game. One thing that’s always been a big positive for RPG titles is that you get to really enjoy the journey with the characters since you are with them for so long. This one is no exception and you’ll know the characters like the back of your hand by the end. For replay value you can also try to get all of the trophies as well. It seems like a very achievable Platinum as well so that’s something to think about. Whether you’re here for the story or for the gameplay you should have a good amount of fun.

Overall 8/10

Samurai Warriors 5 Review


I bought Samurai Warriors 4 recently so I would be ready for this one but otherwise it’s definitely been quite the wait for the 5th game to come out. They pulled out all the stops with this one though so it was worth the wait. It’s pretty interesting to be playing as a younger Nobunaga in this version. It’s definitely way before the days when he really cracked and became known as the Devil King. The gameplay is on point and there’s a lot of content to enjoy here.

The main campaign introduces Nobunaga as someone who wants to end the chaos in the land. As with all would be tyrants he figures that the best way to do this is for him to rule over everyone. If he has all of the command decisions then perhaps that would ensure that people would finally stop having wars with each other. The obstacles in his way are numerous though as every other leader and king doesn’t want this to happen. Along the way Nobunaga will make allies, enemies, and wild cards. He will have to manipulate everyone effectively in order to win.

Nobunaga may start off with good ambitions but you definitely see him begin to falter as the game goes on. He makes more and more dicey decisions which even leads at one point to him ordering one of his teammates to destroy himself. The teammate is the one who brought up the idea first but that’s definitely a time where you need to override them. Nobunaga’s pride also gets in the way often times as he fights battles that cannot be won.

Of course with the gameplay mechanics it looks like his plans are going pretty well but then the cutscene appears and you realize that officially you’re actually losing. It’s not like the other kingdoms are light weights after all. They’ve got plenty of strong fighters in their own rights as well which is why careful planning is definitely a must here.

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D hack n slash as you would expect. You run through the levels and take down as many enemy officers as you can. You have to clear some objectives and defeat the final boss in order to clear the level. Once you have done that, you repeat the process in the other levels. Always keep your defeat conditions in mind because in some you will need to protect someone or you will risk being defeated.

Losing in these games is always rough because of how long each level takes so you will want to keep that in mind. You have your normal attacks, special moves, and power blows. I recommend power blows against minions since it takes them out real fast but against bosses mainly you want to stick to standard moves. They can always block the initial power blow and that can be risky. You can mix it in through combos which is a better way to go about it.

Riding your horse is a great way to move around the stage so I highly recommend doing this. While you’re on your horse it just feels like you save time on all aspects of the game. Usually that might not be a big deal since you want to have fun and enjoy the game at your leisure but in protection missions this will come in clutch. As you progress through the game and level up your character you will begin moving faster as well.

Samurai Warriors typically has a slower running speed than Dynasty but with these power ups you will end up moving very quickly by the end. It gets to the point where it almost feels like you’re on the horse full time. It was a blast and felt like a power up that actually made a huge difference. A good leveling up system should have noticeable benefits so I was pretty pleased about that.

The graphics are really solid as expected. I got a little nervous at first when I saw it was just text boxes but then the game changed to full cinematics and I was happy again. Basically the game just switched between the two. There aren’t a ton of full cinematics but enough where I’m satisfied. You get one between levels and occasionally during an event in the level. The graphics inside the actual gameplay are on point as well.

As for the soundtrack, it’s got a lot of pretty fast paced tunes which I enjoyed. They fit well with the constant action that a warrior game brings you. You might not remember a lot of them in particular but it can be hard to notice anything while you’re fighting it out in the map. I should probably look up the soundtrack at some point but while playing you will be all set here.

As for replay value, getting all of the trophies to this game will take a very long time. The main campaign also isn’t very short, it was a little longer than I had expected. After that you can play the game through someone else’s point of view so there are 2 stories total. Finally you have Citadel mode where you try to protect the palace from intruders. It’s not quite as fun as the standard mode but I’ll give the game props for switching things up a bit. It does feel different from the main mode which is important. Leveling everyone up and getting all collectibles are all things that will take time as well.

Overall, Samurai Warriors 5 is definitely a great game and one that I would recommend to any action fan. It’s got all the fighting you could want and the game is very intuitive. The mechanics just make sense and it’s a very satisfying game to play through. You’ll have a lot of fun going through it and then beginning the wait for 6. Granted, I doubt we will get a 6th title for a very long time but this one will last you until then. I doubt I’ll get the Platinum in this one but at least it does look more achievable than some of the previous installments in the series.

Overall 8/10