Play Time 9h 7m
PS4 Trophies 33/43
Green Symbols: 9
Power Ups obtained 100%
Play Time 9h 7m
PS4 Trophies 33/43
Green Symbols: 9
Power Ups obtained 100%
It’s time to look at a recent game known as the Messenger. This one takes your classic 2D platformer genre and throws in some Metroidvania mechanics. It’s also part parody so it pokes fun at a lot of the usual tropes. It’s a pretty solid game, but one that would have risen up to great status if it had just not added in the Metroidvania aspect. The title didn’t really need it to be a complete title as the story and length would have still been pretty sufficient.
The game starts with the main character’s village being attacked by demons. The lead had been complaining about how boring the place was so he starts to feel a little regret as everyone is slain and he is powerless before the Demon King. Fortunately there is a prophecy that a legendary hero will arrive to save everyone. Unfortunately the hero was late so he gives you a letter to deliver to someone on top of a mountain to really save the day. You are now the Messenger and the fate of the planet rests on you. If you don’t deliver this letter then everyone is truly doomed.
That’s the basic plot but of course there’s a lot more to it than that. The second half of the game in particular really throws in a lot of other elements like time travel and other dimensions. It’s all explained pretty well though so you’ll have no trouble getting what is going on. There is also a long cutscene near the end of the game to explain the origins of how this all happened. It’s pretty interesting and the game has a nice vibe to it. The main character has more personality than I would have expected.
The writing is particularly strong here. As I hinted at earlier with the parody elements, the script is a lot of fun. The characters are constantly throwing shade around and insulting each other. For the soundtrack, it’s pretty calming. The best theme in the game is the shop tune. There are 2 themes that are randomly selected when you go to the shop, but at least 50% of the time. You’ll be hearing the really hype tune. Then for the graphics it’s all very clear. It’s got that classic sprite vibe, but it’s not blurry or retro in the slightest. It’s like a very modern version of a sprite game and that’s definitely okay by me. You always feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.
Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. You run and jump through the levels and are armed with your sword as well as Shuriken. Those are the only weapons you have, but they get the job done. Then you have the interesting air mechanic which is basically an extra jump you get whenever you hit an opponent or an obstacle while in the air. This leads to some pretty intense platforming sections during the later parts of the game. You’ll actually have to try quite a bit if you want to clear those levels. It’s no longer a walk in the park. It’s a satisfying level of difficulty and there are constant checkpoints so you are never worried about being sent too far back. The game design was quite solid.
So far this is sounding like an amazing game right? Well, that’s because it was quite great throughout. From the start of the game all the way to the big confrontation with the demon king’s right hand man it was a fast paced adventure filled with great platforming and a solid level up system. After that is where the game hit a big hurdle. Up til this point it was a straight forward adventure, but after beating the demon you are sent back to the time chamber and must now go back through all of the old levels to find some music notes. Keep in mind that going through these levels took hours the first time. You are given some portal shortcuts to jump around, but not nearly enough. Get ready to spend 4-5 hours just running around collecting. To get a music note you must first do other things like helping explorers and dragons.
This part was pretty tedious. It’s handled far better than a game like Metroid since you at least know where to go thanks to hints from the shop owner. Of course that will cost you quite a few shards so it’ll keep you from buying other power ups for a while. You’ll be crossing the same levels over and over again multiple times as you try to near the end. This part just felt like it was here to stall for time and I think it shouldn’t have done that. I definitely prefer when things are linear or if you’re back tracking with a purpose. At the very least you should have the ability to quickly get to where you want to go instead of having to hoof it the old fashioned way.
Ah well, that’s really the only gripe with the game that slows it down quite a bit. Once you have the music notes then you enter the climax and things get pretty exciting again. All in all, the game had a lot of really fun ideas. The shop owner was definitely one of the best characters in the game but I also liked the lead a lot. The game throws a quick fake ending at you twice and both times it worked really well. I actually think it would have been awesome if the game ended with the first ending as it would have subverted everything so convincingly. It still works without ending there of course, but it shows that the writers really knew what they were doing. They made the game in a way where you would be satisfied no matter what.
As for replay value, there are some things to do here. When you beat the game you can start a New Game +. Additionally you can work to getting the Platinum Trophy in this game which certainly won’t be easy to do. I managed to get most of the trophies in the game but there are 2 tough ones that I feel would take a long time which is the dark cave one and another where you have to beat most of the game without dying. That’s a pretty tough thing to do, but if you’re dedicated to clearing the game then you’ll manage. I definitely recommend getting as many of the upgrades as you can early on. Earning money isn’t very tough so you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Getting the upgrade that gives you triple attack is extremely handy.
Overall, I’d recommend checking out The Messengers. It’s around 10 hours long so it’ll definitely last you for a while and it’s just a fun look at the platforming genre. Keep in mind that the second half of the game will slow things down, but all in all the first half and the climax should still keep things up. The game does end with a “To be Continued” message so maybe someday we’ll get a sequel. I’d be down with checking that out and it would be interesting to see where the plot goes from here. The ending was fairly definitive if you ask me so I’m thinking it’ll either be a totally new main character or he is just thrown into some crazy situation that the blue cloaked warriors didn’t tell him about.
It’s time to take a look at an RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for an extremely long amount of time. It’s been several years since I started this game, maybe even a full 10. Regardless, it was time to finally go through it and it’s a unique experience. I hadn’t played a first person RPG title before. I definitely prefer third person, but I’m always up for trying something new and this was quite the experience. The game has several weak areas though which prevent it from being a truly solid title.
The game starts by showing us a cutscene of someone fighting a dragon a long time ago. We then cut to the present where the king’s advisor sends his son off to a mysterious island to find out what’s going on. There had been something called an Eternal Ring planted in that island a long time ago. The king sent many soldiers to the island, but they never returned. The Hero arrives and things are not looking good for the army. Most of the members have succumbed to monsters and demons lurking on the island. The captain of the guards was personally consumed by the Eternal Ring and now exists as an undead who wants ultimate power. The lead will have to steel himself as he heads through this island to locate the Eternal Ring and complete his mission.
The plot is as vague as can be in the beginning so you get to piece together what is happening along with the others characters as the lead goes on. I tend to like this intrigue style and the more you withhold from me the better. Still, there isn’t a whole lot that happens here til the end. Then we learn about the infinite prison, the child of one of the gods being trapped, and other such things. The lead takes all of this in stride as he doesn’t bat an eye whether he is fighting ordinary lizards or taking down demonic tyrants. It’s all the same to him, he just wants to grab/destroy the ring and head home. It’s really all he is focused on and doesn’t even talk to anyone. Truly a tough man, but he gets the job done.
Eternal Ring is rather tragic with the plot as just about everyone dies though. I especially feel bad for the soldiers who have been trying to uphold the rebellion for years only to be completely left to fend for themselves. They did good to last this long, but when just one of the big villains can solo the whole army you know that things won’t go well. The ring is also too powerful for their mortal minds to just being near is an issue for them as well. There’s really no winning for the army grunts this time. The overall plot concept is still really cool though. There’s a lot you can do with it. It’s pretty simple at the core, a mysterious island exists with monsters protecting a jewel of ultimate power. It’s just all about the execution and the story is the strong part of the game.
As for the gameplay, as I mentioned it is a first person title where you swing a sword and fire magical spells. Think Call of Duty, but without the guns. You go from area to area as you collect keys and slay monsters as you get closer and closer to the heart of the island. Key spells include the recovery spell and the anti-poison one. They will save you much needed gems on potions and antidotes so you can buy the important things like MP crystals instead. When in a fight it is very important to strafe as much as possible to dodge hits. Almost all boss fights can easily be won by strafing while slicing the entire time. The matches will take an eternity if you’re under leveled, but they simply can’t hit you.
I ended up beating the game at level 27 which is way under leveled compared to where I should have been. That being said, I had obtained enough gems to get the wind summon which can easily destroy even the final boss in 4-5 hits. The summons in this game are ridiculously broken to the point where once you get one you have effectively conquered the game. It was smart of the title to keep them locked away for so long although if you knew where to look ahead of time you could have gotten the summons quite a bit earlier than I did. I didn’t grab them until right before the final few areas. They’re risky against minions since there isn’t a lot of space to use them so stick to fighting the bosses with them. Why does space matter? Well, summons actually deal friendly fire so they’ll destroy you in one hit if you’re close by when they strike.
Eternal Ring makes your journey a little more tedious than necessary though. For starters, there is only one shop in the entire game. If you want to go buy some supplies to help you out in the final sections then you’re going to have to run all the way back to the army base in the forest. This can take you an insane amount of time since most levels are constructed to be mazes. If you don’t have a map nearby then all I can say is “Good Luck!” because you’re going to need it. Then you’ve got the fact that save points and level ups don’t restore your health or MP so if you don’t have your health ring ready then you’ll be burning a lot of items very quickly.
The game also doesn’t help with finding out how to create the rings you want. You have to put the attribute in the left and the type on the right, but with 6 slots and over 100 possibilities you could potentially go throughout the whole game and not get the cure ring. I would have been sunk without it and that’s just unnecessarily difficulty. Nothing in the game is properly explained so you’re just left to your own devices. The story doesn’t need to be explained, but the same cannot be said for the gameplay. I absolutely need to know how to do the things so I can plunge through and claim victory!
It can be hard to see where you’re going because of how dark the game is as well. I have to attribute some of the blame to my TV since it’s always had a very tough time with PS2 games in general. Still, I could have done with more light levels as opposed to almost all of the stages being inside a very dark cave. It’s not even as enjoyable as being outside because at least in the latter scenario you can always see what is happening no matter what. Caves all look the same after a while.
The soundtrack isn’t bad. There’s a decent blend of tunes here and the themes are more extensive than I would have thought. As I write this review I’m listening to the soundtrack and it all sounds so nostalgic since I just beat the game. It’s not amazing, but it’s better than I would have expected. It helps make up for the game’s sub-par graphics. As for replay value, there really isn’t much at all after beating the game. You could try to grab all of the magic rings and such, but there isn’t really much to do with that newfound power once you’ve beaten the game. At that point it is just time to take a step back and head for the next title.
Overall, Eternal Ring was definitely put on the bench for a reason. It’s a game that the me of 10 years ago would have probably been really confused by. As it stands I still think that the game makes itself overly complicated at times and needlessly grindy in other sections. Leveling up isn’t very convenient and the lack of healing and shops in the game make you have to backtrack and run around a lot. Getting lost is also rough because if you lose then you’ll be sent back a long ways away to the last save point. You just never want to go out that way. If you really like the idea of a close quarters monster brawler then this could be the game for you. Just know that you are going to have a lot of exploring to do so the gameplay may not be as fun by the end of your struggle. First person style may not be my thing, but I’d be down with a sequel to this title if they gave it some more polish.
PS4 Trophies 11/24
Potion Bag Level Max
Brave Potion Level 1
No stats this time. Sadly I couldn’t even snag one trophy yet! I will at some point though.
All right guys, it’s finally time to take a look at one of the newer Madden titles. Madden is easily still my favorite sports title out of all the big EA games and 17 continues to impress. While this installment isn’t quite as impressive as some of the older ones, it still had all of the positive fundamentals that we have come to expect from the series. It’s certainly a steal considering it was only 3-4 bucks.
The gameplay is the same Football mechanics as the older ones at least in a grand scope kind of view. The goal is to score more points than the other team by getting a player with the football into the opponent’s end zone. Alternatively you can just kick the ball in. You’re really going to need to be able to survey different parts of the screen at once especially when throwing passes. It’s a very intricate game and you do need great reactions to pull this off. Part of why the game is so satisfying is because it needs all of those skills. You can’t pick up the game and suddenly become good, you’re going to need to work on it. There’s definitely a lot to learn too since you’ve also got other sides of the ball like defense, kicking, and running.
While not much has changed since the last Madden they did retool the kicking gameplay once again. Now you’ve got a meter that goes up and down which you have to stop twice. I definitely preferred the old system where you would just flick a lever up and down. I suppose this one is a lot trickier though, but I don’t think you need to over complicate field goals. It also makes the meter pretty crazy when you increase the difficulty. That’s not new, but I still disagree with it since I want a challenge on the field when upping the stakes, not a challenge to fight myself!
Accelerating is a little less obvious here so the game is a little more like a simulation than arcade style. I miss zooming around the field, but I do get the logic and it works well enough. The tackling is still on point and you can see how the game is really well polished in all areas. The gameplay is just a lot of fun provided that you like the sport of Football. It accurately portrays how the game goes down. When you’re playing you feel like you’re in total control so the game succeeds here.
It goes without saying that the graphics are pretty incredible as always. Everything is just so lifelike and while EA may not have the best reputation they do always deliver on this front. As for the soundtrack, it’s less obvious than usual. You’re really not going to be paying it much attention anyway since you’ll be in the game by that point. Now the presentation is where its at and the game is stunning there. It really feels like a real game with how the announcers introduce the teams and we get a nice pre game set up. Likewise you get a good set up for the playoffs and super bowl.
There are a lot of modes beyond the quick games of course. You can practice or jump into the online modes. There are a lot of ranks to go through so if you play online then you’ll probably be around for quite a while. Learning all of the playbooks will take a while and naturally obtaining the Platinum is quite difficult. These games may come out every year, but one title is enough to hold you for several years to be honest since there is just so much to do. There’s also the fact that every game is different so like a fighting game there is basically unlimited replay value here.
Due to the nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot to say but I’ll end off with my tips on how to take the computers down a few pegs. I was able to take them down until All Madden difficulty after all although at that point they cheesed me out. One thing I don’t like about All Madden is that your players start to choke. They begin dropping passes and fumbling all over the place which doesn’t feel like a real difficulty spike. It’s more like your players start breaking down as if they’re 1st year rookies going into their first playoff game. So ignoring that, my strategy for winning was a bland but effective ground game. I’d run it on 1st and 2nd down and then pick up the final 3 yards over the place. Then I’d mix it up with a first yard pass sometimes. I would win in very low scoring games like 17-10 or something like that. The computer has a hard time fully shutting down the run so you’re almost guaranteed to get 2-3 yards up the middle each time.
On the other hand, if you go around then you’re more likely to lose yardage but you have a decent shot of getting a big gain. I prefer consistency so I go up the middle and you’ve also got the shot of making a big gain so the way I see it there isn’t much of a downside to this. Just keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get some kind of win. Defense is also important, but I don’t really have any tips for that. What’ll happen will happen with that one.
Overall, Madden 17 is definitely a game that you’re going to want to jump into. It’s only 2-3 dollars so there is really no downside to making the purchase. By the same token you can also just skip to 18 which is basically the same price and have close to the same experience. It’s really up to you to see what you want to do, but there’s no bad option. While I do think they should speed up the gameplay a bit like in the old days it is still very balanced. I think the problem of the low acceleration is that the running back feels like just an ordinary player as opposed to the speedster. It also gets rid of the quarterback advantage which is too bad because I loved scrambling for every play and getting a bunch of yards. I guess it was pretty broken to be honest though. The quarterback was unbeatable in some of the older games.
Play Time 13h 20m
PS4 Trophies 25/36
Science Orbs 5/5
Yellow Ghosts 3/5
Red Ghosts 4/5
Green Ghosts 4/5
Blue Ghosts 0/5
Purple Ghosts 2/5
It’s time to look at one of the oldest 2K games out there. It’s certainly the oldest one that I’ve got. Right away you can see how retro the game is and it’s actually quite a lot of fun. It makes for a good change of pace and feels a lot more like the classic arcade style or NBA titles. Of course that doesn’t stop the computer from basically making every shot as expected. It really does feel like they are all stars while you’re playing as the normal joes.
Naturally I went into a quick match to gauge just how good of a fight I could put up. Turns out that I wasn’t quite ready for these guys. I kept it close for the first 3 quarters but eventually their slight lead got larger and ultimately it was a decisive loss for me. My guys would just miss easy shots and gradually that would cost me since the computer seems unable to miss unless they are going for a 3 point shot. The computer was even able to save for the ball many times to scoop up the rebound while my guys would hang back.
Still, I think they did a good job of adding a lot of cool animations and mechanics in this game. For one, being able to literally dive into the ground to grab the basketball is pretty cool. That’s not really something you see very often but in the 2 games I played I got to see it numerous times. Then you’ve got the “assists” where you’ll shoot the ball and another player will try to help by getting a hand on it and pushing the ball through the hoop. I remember seeing that quite a bit when I was watching the NBA Finals so that’s a nice touch.
In general the game is just a lot smoother than the newer ones. You can just run up and down the court without worrying about all of the extra mechanics. On the other hand, the gameplay is a lot more slippery as you lose the ball quite easily. I probably knocked the ball away 30 times, even if the computer was always quick to grab it back. Playing defense is more fun here than in later games so that’s definitely a plus. Defense will never be as fun as offense, but the closer you get the better.
In the second round I managed to keep it close for a bit, but then they started steamrolling me again. This time I wasn’t able to last til the third quarter, I’d say that after the first half it was already out of control. One thing about basketball is that it’s very hard to make a comeback. Once you see that the team has a considerable advantage in the score you start trying riskier techniques which makes the gap grow more and more. There are people who say that there is no sport more boring than Basketball when it turns into a blowout. That’s definitely a little exaggerated but I will admit that it isn’t nearly as fun once it is so one sided.
Of course the graphics are pretty solid as always. The screens are very clear and there is a lot of attention to detail here. The colors are pretty sharp and the character models are detailed enough where you can really see the resemblance to the real players. The soundtrack is less impressive though and basically just serves as background noise. Finally the presentation overall is definitely impressive. It feels looks like you’re watching a real game and simulates that pretty well.
In terms of replay value this game is basically limitless as always. You can have a good time for as long as you want since each game is different and doing a franchise will give you access to an incredible amount of matches. There are also other modes like practicing so you can improve your fundamentals. No online of course but if you’re buying a 2007 title that almost goes without saying. You’re likely just buying this game to see what it used to be like so you won’t be disappointed. The 2K series has come a long way. It may have traded in fun for realism, but at the end of the day only marginally so as I have enjoyed all of the 2K titles quite a lot.
Overall, NBA 2K7 is definitely a great game to check out. It’s got a lot of hype basketball action in it along with solid graphics and good fundamentals. It’s a game that has really withstood the test of time and ages incredibly well. It’s just as fun as it was when the game first came out and if anything you may enjoy it even more now after playing the newer titles. It’s quite different and reminds us that Basketball can always be presented in a new way.
No stats this time!
It’s time for the next 2K adventure! Once again this game shows that for some sports the older titles just felt more natural. 2K8 is definitely a lot simpler than a game like 2K15 so it may not capture quite as much of the realism but it’s just a lot of fun. You can run up and try to shoot a basket without having to worry about a ton of variables like in the newer ones. You can just trust in your casual fundamentals and go from there.
As always I did jump into the quick match option and it was probably the most back and forth match in a very long time. At first I had the lead and managed to hold on to it for around the first half of the game. At one point I was winning by as much as 7 points. My 3 point shots just kept landing and it was all going good. Everything changed when the computer remembered that it had the fast break option. Suddenly they scored a bunch of points and I was the one down by 7. I rallied as hard as I could and got the lead back by 1 but then in the final minutes they started scoring again and beat me by about 6. So I did lose the match but it was definitely a lot of fun. It felt more interactive on both sides if anything as I was able to play some good defense and even got steals. Offense was fun as always.
I do think that the timing is a big part of making the shots here as opposed to it mostly being luck based. I was able to land 3 three pointers in a row at one point and I think it’s because I had the right angle. On the other hand, some of the 2 point shots still get a little fishy. They should be easy layups and yet the player will miss anyway. The computer never misses those shots so at that moment I just have to shake my head. Still, as I mentioned the games are just a lot of fun which is the important thing. One day I’ll start winning matches consistently.
Going back to the gameplay for a sec, it all just feels so organic. That sounds pretty vague so I’ll try to elaborate on that. When you start to shoot the ball you’ll see a defender casually reach up to try and block it. He’s not using some kind of secret skill or doing anything out of the ordinary. No, instead he’s just getting up there and getting the job done. When you steal the ball it’ll roll on the court before someone grabs it instead of magically jumping into someone’s hand. A lot of these things may technically be because the game isn’t super refined yet, but I actually like it. It makes the characters feel more human since they actually make mistakes. I also thought that the gameplay was a little more exciting than some of the newer ones although of course this is to a small margin. Technically I thought all of the games were exciting in their own way.
As always there is a lot of extra content to play around with. You can forget about the online options though as those servers have been down for a very long time at this point. Still, you can practice your shooting skills, running around the court, etc. There’s also the legendary franchise mode so you can have endless games as your favorite team. There’s no end to the replay value here as you’d expect since that is basically par for the course for sport titles. The NBA games are very consistent with their modes and that’s a good thing.
Naturally there is less emphasis on the presentation here since the graphics aren’t quite as all star as in the later games. Still, everything that you actually do need to be clear is well defined. You’ll never lose yourself on the court or anything like that. The screen is clear and I didn’t notice any glitches either. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty standard as expected. These areas are probably the most similar across all the titles, but why fix what isn’t broken right?
Overall, NBA 2K8 is definitely another really solid title. It brings all of the classic Basketball action that you would expect and then some. These games just never get that old although I will admit that I am just about ready for the next sport. I only have 3 more Basketball titles left so I am in the homestretch there. The goal will be to win one of those last 3 games although I guess we’ll see how it goes. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I really don’t see why you would. At this point the players/teams are so outdated compared to the newer titles. i’m sure a bunch of these players are probably even retired by now. Still, it does hold up and since you can buy the game for about a dollar it really is a steal if you think about it.