7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dynasty Warriors 4 Review


Time to take a look at the next Dynasty Warriors entry. I wouldn’t really say that it’s very different from 3 in this case. The graphics are about the same and the story is pretty similar too. In terms of changes from entry to entry I feel like the gap between 3 and 4 is probably one of the smallest that I’ve seen. It’s just as fun as the last game of course, but if you swapped them out it would be pretty hard to tell so I feel like this one came out really quickly after the last one in terms of development time.

So once again I went with the Wu faction to save China and unite everyone. The gameplay is completely unchanged from the last one with the core mechanics. It does seem like you know more of your super moves without leveling up this time which is handy. I also do like that you just have one weapon this time so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to equip it or something like that. That was one thing that could be tricky in 2 because it was hard to always be remembering something like that. This way you can focus on just getting into the action. You still have items to equip though and I recommend doing that since their extra stat boosts do help.

The levels try to have a little more variety in this game with new objectives. One of these is the “Find the Seal” level but the idea was better than the execution. This one took me almost the entire stage time not because of enemies but because the seal wouldn’t show up in any of the boxes. I broke over 80 and scoured the stage over and over but it just wouldn’t show up. It wasn’t really fun, but just tedious. Fortunately that level only showed up once and the rest were more standard. I much prefer just having to take down a bunch of enemies.

I gotta say that the final level really went all in though. It seemed like no matter which faction I tried to help I was left alone pretty early on. It was pretty thrilling in its own way though because the meter was all the way in the red meaning I had no support. I had to slowly encroach on their territory from all sides. There were many times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I ultimately was able to survive. I got to test my skills under duress and they weren’t lacking. The computer A.I. in this game is pretty impressive. They don’t let you split them up very easily and even utilize traps of their own. You don’t want to underestimate these guys.

Even on the Easy difficulty this game could be pretty crazy. The final level is my proof of this but even the other levels would be difficult at times too. This is definitely not quite like any other Easy mode that I have experienced. This one is determined to give you a challenge under any level and I can definitely respect that. There is no easy walk in the park to be found here. My main gameplay advice here is to pick your battles carefully. Just because you can go into enemy territory and take all of the fighters down doesn’t mean that you should. If you leave your allies alone then they may end up getting crushed by the forces that remain. It may feel heroic to invade the enemy base but that’s why it’s so risky. Additionally in this game the enemy generals are a lot more likely to just gang up on you which makes them a lot more difficult to handle. At least one of them will probably block or parry your blow and then you’re in a bad spot.

There are also 1 on 1 duels in this game and I recommend turning them down. The enemies often have cheesy combos that take a lot of damage out of you and they also have access to potions. There’s no real reason to fight them except that your army will lose morale if you turn them down. On the flip side if you accept and lose then you get a game over so I really don’t think that the risk is worth the reward. It seems a little lopsided but maybe that’s just me.

On the graphical front the game looks good. As I mentioned it is basically the same as the last one. I liked 3’s graphics so I enjoyed 4’s as well. The soundtrack continues to bring us a lot of different rock themes so that was a lot of fun. These games are really super impressive with the tracks and I hope to see that continue in the newer games. Music is a big part of the gameplay experience after all and if I could ask for any enhancement it would just be to make the music a little louder during the actual gameplay. Amidst the sword swinging and yelling I really can’t hear the music and it may even stop during the levels. You really hear it a lot during the menus.

It goes without saying that the game has a lot of replay value. The main campaign will probably last you a few hours and then after that you can try beating the game with the other teams. Additionally you can max out all of the characters and get the items. It will take an extremely long amount of time to do all of that so you can really just keep playing the game until you get to the point where you are tired of the gameplay. When you couple that with the fact that the game goes for a very low price at this point then you’ve definitely got yourself quite the deal here.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 4 is a fun beat em up game as with the last one. If you have enjoyed any of the previous DW games then you will definitely like this one. There’s really nothing to dislike here and everything to enjoy. It’s got a ton of content and solid gameplay so you can’t ask for much more. Right now I’m working on Dynasty Warriors 5 and that will end my little marathon. It’s pretty impressive how many installments this series has gone which really shows what a solid fanbase it has. The games have earned it with the solid gameplay over the years.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Dynasty Warriors 4 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 32m

Stage Stats

Stage 1

KO’s 67
Clear Time 5m 58s
Points 3522

Stage 2

KO’s 83
Clear Time 13m 50s
Points 4364

Stage 3

KO’s 196
Clear Time 27m 45s
Points 1722

Stage 4

KO’s 111
Clear Time 14m 22s
Points 3581

Stage 5

KO’s 101
Clear Time 7m 57s
Points 3451

Stage 6

KO’s 66
Clear Time 8m 18s
Points 3571

Stage 7

KO’s 106
Clear Time 14m 11s
Points 3246

Stage 8

KO’s 11
Clear Time 6m 14s
Points 2400

Stage 8B

KO’s 496
Clear Time 54m 16s
Points 6270

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories Review


It’s time to take a look at the second Disgaea game. After the first adventure I knew that it was time to jump into the second one. It’s a tad shorter than the first but by the end my playtime for both of them was basically on the same level. One big difference though is that the second game requires less grinding. At the same time, it’s also in part because I understood the mechanics better and had a more balanced team. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a mage on the team. I got one named Marcia in this title and she saved me more times than I can count.

The story starts by introducing us to a human town that has slowly been corrupted. Now all of the citizens are turning into monsters and it is the work of Overlord Zenon. Adell is the only human on the planet who has been unaffected and he takes this as a sign that he has to be the one to find Zenon. His Mom tries to summon Zenon but they accidentally summon his daughter Rozalin instead. As Rozalin is bound by the contract to stick with Adell for a while he promises to get her back to her father. This way they will both get what they want. Can he really trust this Princess though?

Along the way the duo meet quite a few allies to help in their quest. First up is Tink who is a demon frog with a split personality. He’s definitely a little on the crazy side and is easily the weakest character of the group. He never pitches in when it counts. Then you have Adell’s little siblings Hanako and Taro. Hanako is always calling Taro named and looks up to the demon lord Etna. She is a reasonable enough character I suppose and could be worse. Taro is too lacking in confidence and the fact that his goal in life is to be Razalin’s servant doesn’t really bode well for his character.

One character that shows up later in the game is Yukimaru. She is an assassin who wants to end Lord Zenon once and for all. Her ice abilities are pretty fun and her gimmick isn’t bad. Basically she says zam at the end of every sentence. Her brother also shows up on a similar quest although he isn’t nearly as heroic as she is. By the end of the game Yukimaru is one of the only characters who can keep up with the main two so I recommend keeping her in your party. As a character she is fun to have around as well.

One of the most enjoyable characters is Etna though. Since she was from the first game that made her appearances extra special. Initially she shows up as a guest star character who is at a crazy level 1000. She even takes down Zenon which is immensely impressive. I was glad to see the old characters get their hype since they didn’t get to be main characters this time. Etna is still as ruthless as ever though as she constantly destroys her minions. While she may be hanging out with the main characters for most of the game don’t mistake her for being some kind of hero. She’s definitely just in it to get more power and destroy Laharl once and for all.

Laharl gets a much smaller role as he only shows up for a quick boss fight. It’s still an amazing scene though and reminds you why he is the Overlord. Ultimately Laharl actually meets his match though. I would have liked to have seen him fight longer, but it was a decisive loss for him. Power isn’t everything and he probably could have used some of his old pals to help even the playing field a bit. Part of what makes Disgaea 2 so much fun is how epic these scenes are. It has the advantage of being a sequel to it can utilize the nostalgia of bringing the old characters back like this.

The amazing soundtrack is also handy for this. Etna gets a cool insert song whenever she appears as well and it fits with her amazing boss fight where you are completely helpless. It also builds the atmosphere as well. Axel gets a similar theme that’s really hype and of course Laharl brings in some of the themes from the first game. Despite just playing that one I can see how nostalgic that would be. The game also has a fully animated opening which is pretty awesome. You don’t really see those as often as you’d like. It’s got a little more shipping in it than you’d expect but the action is really hype and the lyrics are catchy. I’ve listened to that theme quite a few times.

Axel The Dark Hero is basically the replacement for the Dark Adonis. He’s another guy who thinks he is the rival to the main character. His story is a little tragic as he just wants to be rich and famous but things never tend to work out for him. When he finally does get his success everyone says he made the wrong choice. I think they were all just jealous to be honest. While I wasn’t a big fan of Axel at the start the game does a good job of developing him into a quality character. By the end he was quite enjoyable. I still prefer the Adonis but they were close.

As for Overlord Zenon, he’s a very unique villain. He takes a lot of losses throughout the game and gets beaten up so badly you keep wondering if the guy is really such a feared Overlord. It’s an interesting take because he clearly isn’t the strongest villain out there, but he’s just strong enough where people fear him. It’s a nice theme that Disgaea has done with the villains. Zenon makes up for this weaknesses with his near immortality and to be clear, he is still immensely powerful. He’d probably be top 10 for the fighters we’ve seen so far. His master plan is definitely twisted but really interesting. I don’t think I’ve quite seen such a plan before and his target’s reaction to it is also amazing. This fighter wasn’t phased in the slightest.

Adell is a great lead and one of the better main characters that I’ve seen in recent years. He’s just a guy who wants to protect his family and doesn’t need to have more of a backstory than that. He’s a very honorable main character who refuses to ever break a promise. While everyone doubts whether he is a human or not for the whole game he never has any doubts about it. His confidence is part of what makes him so solid and the game likely did subvert a lot of expectations with that. I was expecting some kind of twist by the end but Azell just didn’t need one.

Meanwhile Rozalin is a great heroine as well. At first she is constantly scheming to destroy Adell to protect her father but gradually realizes that he is not a bad guy. It’s a nice character arc for her and in particular she gets a pretty solid scene with Laharl. As royalty Rozalin refuses to back down to anyone. The only part that gets repetitive is the line “I’m a being of solitude” which gets old after the first 3 times. It gets spammed relentlessly in some games. That’s really the only thing I can say against the game though. This is pretty much a perfect adventure and the banter between Adell and Rozalin is a lot of fun. Disgaea 2 really does a superb job of balancing the hype scenes with more light hearted comedy/parody elements.

Wait a minute, did I skip the gameplay section? Well, the gameplay is basically the same as in the first one. You are in an overworld map view and your goal is to destroy all of the enemies on the square. You control up to 10 characters in a turn based combat system and use attacks and magic to defeat the enemies. You can gang up on an enemy or divide and conquer them. The tricky thing to keep in mind here is that only the opponent who actually destroys the enemy gets any XP. Everyone else does not so it can be very hard to keep a balanced party. I ended up having Laharl and Rozalin way higher leveled than the others. It takes too long to level everyone up so I just focused on having two. It’s rare where you’ll need more than 2 characters in a level if they’re strong enough.

A huge part of the game is the equipment you get though so make sure to buy the best of the best. It increases your stats way more than leveling up would. I also recommend focusing on attack power because it makes the grinding a lot faster. Also you should turn off the combat animations once you’ve seen them enough because it speeds the game up greatly as well. You’ll need to use the Dark Assembly to unlock higher enemies for the shop. If you want to pass any real bills though you’ll need to bribe them which can get expensive. It’s great for the post game though.

The main story is around 20 hours and then the post game is effectively endless. You can go up to level 1000 and there are so many things to do that it can get a bit intimidating. It’s nice to have though because if you really love the game then you can be here for quite a while. Disgaea never backs down from giving you quite a lot of content to deal with which is pretty awesome. The graphics are also quite sound and you can see how they’ve improved since the first game. It all looks quite clear and I look forward to seeing another upgrade in the third game.

Overall, Disgaea 2 is an excellent game and I would actually say that it surpassed the original. It’s very close in terms of characters but the story of the second game is just a lot more interesting and high stakes. I like the idea of every Overlord deciding to duke it out to see who the strongest one is. It’s a very complete story and one that doesn’t need a sequel but I’d like for these characters to show up again at some point. Perhaps the group would be seen as too powerful at this point but it would be perfect for a 2 on 2 fight, Adell & Rozalin vs Laharl and Etna. I’d definitely buy that. If you like a good RPG with tactical gameplay then I highly recommend checking this one out.

Overall 9/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Battlefront II Review


It’s time to look at the next Star Wars title! The first Battlefront was pretty fun with its unique take on the beat em up genre. You had to rely on tactics to win and playing as an expendable agent instead of a super fighter was pretty fun. Interestingly this one actually changes the formula considerably to the point where it now lets you play as the OP Jedi/Sith for a bit and the tactics element is removed. I’d still call it an overall improvement to the first game, but I must admit that I do miss the old gameplay style.

The game follows the exploits of the 501 commander unit. These Stormtroopers are the best of the best in their craft. It turns out that they were at all the big battles in the Star Wars mythos. Each of the levels typically has a short live action clip from the movies to let you know where this takes place and then some narration from the lead as he talks about how tragic the whole thing is. These Stormtroopers weren’t just men, they were a family and all the betrayals really took their toll on these guys.

Let me explain how the gameplay is different from the first game. In this one you have an objective to objective structure. The game tells you to conquer area A, then blow up some things, then take over area B, etc. You have a certain amount of reinforcements so if you go over that then you lose the game. It’s not like the first game where you have to take over all the areas at once or take down all of the troops to win. This one is all about doing things one step at a time. It’s fun as well of course, but the first game’s design was a whole lot more unique. You actually felt like you were a Stormtrooper in that one. Here, you are a lot stronger and won’t find yourself dying instantly the way you would in the other title.

There are also points in the various levels where you get to play as one of the Jedi or a Sith. In this form you have your lightsaber and a lot of force abilities. You feel pretty OP here, but once the section is over the computer will usually find a way to take you out real quick. Once the minions start blasting you even The Force can’t save you from such an onslaught. It’s a fun way to mix up the gameplay styles. While it may take away from the point of the game, I can’t deny that it is satisfying.

A third gameplay mode was added and this one is the weakest. There are various space levels (That are actually skippable which shows that the game wasn’t too confident in them) where you have to try to take down enemy ships and continue your conquest. These levels are pretty unforgiving with the time limit and the controls also aren’t all that responsive. Case in point, you boost using the R3 button but it never worked. Maybe it’s my controller which couldn’t handle that, but it made these levels even more difficult. It’s also hard to dodge enemy fire and I think this part was slapped on without too much effort. The game did not need any kind of space levels and would have been fine just sticking to ground support.

Of course if we don’t compare this one to the first game then the gameplay certainly does hold up pretty well on its own. I’ve always been a fan of third person shooters even if they aren’t nearly as big as the first person ones. The close quarters combat with the lightsaber is also pretty fun even if it isn’t yet all that refined. I think a big reason as to why the Battlefront series is so big is because the shooting aspect is so fresh compared to the other titles. It’s a shame that the name has been associated with the more negatively received games EA pumped out recently, but it can’t stop these classics from still being really good.

The graphics have definitely improved from the first game which is certainly a good thing. They hold up quite well and you’ll be able to see the levels a lot better than you could in the first title. My favorite level is the ship from the first scene of Episode IV. It’s pretty fun to relive that moment. The character designs are all on point and the game never wavers. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable though. We get all the classic tunes and that’s about it. I suppose when you’ve got tunes this memorable there is no reason not to use them right?

As far as replay value goes, this game does have more modes than the last one. In addition to the story mode you can just pick up and play random missions for fun. You’ve also still got multiplayer mode. It’s not the largest selection, but it’s enough to get you going. I imagine you can probably buy this game for pretty cheap right now as well so it’s not like you’ll be spending a whole lot of money here. It’s a game that is worth getting and there is definitely enough content to make the purchase worth it.

Overall, Battlefront II is a solid sequel. While some of the decisions it makes are pretty questionable, it does deliver on being a fresh experience. You certainly can’t accuse this game of just copying the first one over. There was clearly fresh development here and having an actual story was also a pretty nice improvement from the first one. On the whole I do give this game the edge over the first one even if I did prefer the gameplay style of the first. It’s not cut and dry as the pure gameplay here is better, but the actual level designs, how you win a level, and durability make the first one’s gameplay feel more genuine. It was the better package, but that alone isn’t enough to combat the fact that the sequel wins in all other categories. Next it’s time to see how the PSP spinoffs fare.

Overall 7/10