Tornado Outbreak Review

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Before Star Fox Zero arrives in the mail later I decided to go through one more game. This one had trophies, was on the backburner for a while, and it was a short title. That made it super qualified for this role. It’s a fun game although they definitely could have done more with the overall concept. The game really is over before you know it. The actual campaign only lasted a few hours and was certainly less than I had heard. Ironically it is about as long as Star Fox Zero. This review was originally going to come out before Zero’s, but when the game arrived, it naturally took top priority. No worries though, this game is short, but it is definitely fun.

The story revolves around a guy named Zephyr. He is a living tornado and he is the prince/leader of the Wind Warriors. His mentor is one of the wisest guys ever and reminds Zephyr that they must defeat all of the fire spirits before the Earth is destroyed. Zephyr is glad to help even if he has no real regard for the safety of Earth’s citizens. Still, he is going to have to move fast since the villains are everywhere and the tornadoes are really starting to weaken the Earth’s defenses. Also, Zephyr isn’t being lied too right? That would be too sinister even for the villains…uh oh!

There are 8 worlds like your average Mario game and each one has 3 zones. The first two revolve around the Tornado gimmick that I actually liked quite a bit. You start out as a really weak wind that can only hurl away small objects. The more objects that you absorb, the stronger you become. Eventually you become a rank 10-11 Tornado that can whip away everything in sight. You can then find the Fire Spirits and return to your portal before the time limit is up. Rinse and repeat for Zone 2. In Zone 3, you have to quickly win a Ring Race and then destroy the evil Totem Poles that have been placed in the center. You have to avoid the spotlights as you do this.

I like the concept of gradually getting stronger in a level until you accomplish everything within that level. The only game that I’ve played with a very similar concept would be De Blob, which I also enjoyed quite a bit. There’s something about this style that is simply a blast to play through. Both titles are fairly short so maybe there is some reason why that is the case. Perhaps it is tough to program a lot of levels for this style of the developers thought it could potentially get repetitive. I suppose that would happen if it was too long.

The plot isn’t all that engaging, but I did like the style of the cinematic. It felt very similar to the Sly games to the point where I would consider this a homage. Even the main character’s voice was like Sly’s. The plot may have even been a bit better than Sly’s since plot was never Sly’s strong suit when compared to his two rivals. (Ratchet and Jak) I think they could have done a lot more with Tornado Outbreak’s story though. It is very short, but aside from that the character cast is very small so there isn’t a whole lot of banter. In fact, you end up feeling a little bad for Zephyr’s men.

Sure, they doubt him a lot, but Sly’s always rather short with them. They constantly try to make one liners only to have Zephyr quickly take them back to the mission or tactfully insult them. The mentor tries to talk tough, but he can be a bit annoying and cryptic as well. The main villain was decently cool although he could barely talk and by the end he became your average giant villain who could no longer fight. The Rock and Water allies were all right. Basically, what I’m getting at is that the gameplay should be the selling point of this game rather than the plot even if the actual premise is fairly good.

One issue that is never really brought up in the game is how the Wind Warriors, the heroes of the story, seem to do just as much harm as good. The villains are rocking the planet to its core and will destroy it if they are not stopped, but the heroes should still be careful of how they save the planet. Zephyr and his men essentially raze the countries to the ground as they destroy whole neighborhoods and landmarks. They also destroy all of the animals and humans on board depending on how you look at it. I guess you could say that they are just flinging them away and that they’re all okay thanks to Toon Force, but is that what really happened here? Zephyr mentions in one cutscene that they should all try to help rebuild at some points, but then he’s distracted by the villains and it is never mentioned again. I dunno, it is hard to see Zephyr as an actual hero here and he is more of a lone vigilante than anything else. If not for how “Toon Force” everything is, the whole animal thing would have decimated the score. For the sake of the game and my experience, I’ll say that the tornado did gently throw them all away. Zephyr claims to be a hero so it is the least that he could do.

There is a decent amount of replay value to be found here. I wouldn’t call it a super large amount, but enough to make this game a decently long experience. Once you beat the game, you can go and replay all of the older levels with your new power ups so you can free the Rock Golems and the Water Spirits. There are currently no real collectible guides out there so you’ll have to use trial and error as you explore the levels for that shiny Platinum trophy. I can’t say that this game is high on my list to Platinum since it seems rather tricky, but I got a decent amount of trophies so I’m pretty satisfied.

I can’t say that I was very impressed with the soundtrack. It was a little lackluster, but not outright bad either. It was just pretty nonexistent the whole time and typically got drowned out by the actual gameplay. It is satisfying to just swallow up everything on the stage though. The graphics look nice. The cutscenes seemed to be hand drawn and the character models in the levels were good. Nothing awe inspiring, but certainly good enough.

Overall, Tornado Outbreak is a solid game. It’s a little shorter than you would expect, but unlike Star Fox Zero, the game is only about 10 dollars or less. It is certainly worth the price and this is a good game to add to your collection. The gameplay is quite unique in a world where many games are very similar at this point. It is hard to come up with new gameplay styles that work, but Outbreak pulls it off. A sequel to this game would be fun, but if not, maybe he’ll be in PS All Stars 2..heh heh.

Overall 7/10

Men In Black Alien Crisis Review

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Looks like it’s time to take a look at Alien Crisis. This is the first Men In Black game that I’ve played and one of the only ones to have ever come out. It’s a pretty fun game and you could tell that some effort was put into it, but at the same time you can also see how the developers were a little lazy at times. There are parts of the game where there is no real explanation on how to handle a boss and that can make it last a lot longer than it really should. One boss took me nearly an hour until I realized that the game was actually showing me the wrong weak spot. That wasn’t very helpful.

The game revolves around a guy named Peter. He’s a thief who used to be a respected archeologiest until he started having theories about aliens living among us. He was discredited so he decided to get back at society by stealing things. He gets in a little over his head when aliens show up, but he dispatches them with his gun skills. The Men In Black organization is intrigued so they blackmail him into helping them, but as the journey goes on, Peter starts to realize that being a hero may not be such a bad thing. It may be a brief realization though since the Earth may not be around for much longer!

Unfortunately, Peter’s not a good character. He’s modeled after James Bond in a sense so while he makes a lot of good puns and one liners while in imminent danger, he also gets his undesired traits like constantly flirting and most of his lines are about that. It’s too bad that we can’t get a character who’s super confident and everything without being a flirt. Wait a minute The main heroine is the hardened agent who blackmailed Peter into joining. She’s no nonsense and keeps reminding Peter that he’s not ready for this line of work. I could have sworn that she has the same voice actor as Black Widow. She’s a good character and by default, she’s basically the best in the game. As you may expect, she’s naturally possessed at the end so the rookie (Peter) can save the day, but I guess she takes it well. If we ever get a sequel, their dynamic will hopefully be more like the duo from the original Men in Black films since Peter will have some more experience. The dog makes some cameos here and there, but his role is not as big as it could have been. There’s also a professor who tried to outwit Peter and the MIB a lot, but he always fails in the end. One thing you’ll have to think about though is whether you should be rooting for MIB or not. After all, they did destroy a guy who came to Earth for an arranged marriage as part of a truce between races, right before they murdered his partner. Well, you know what they say..Don’t Mess with Earth!

The gameplay is your standard shooter, but it’s not totally first person like you would expect. You can still see your character and to an extent it can almost be called a third person shooter. I wouldn’t really call it that because you can never move forwards or backwards, but sideways is always an option. You can choose to hide behind a wall and strike out at the enemies or you can just stand tall and keep on blasting them. Either way, you should have the edge here as the enemies can’t stop you so easily. One health pack is enough to get you back to around full health although I imagine that this will change on higher difficulty modes.

You have around 6 different guns and they’re all pretty useful. I really like the machine gun, but the others have their uses. The two weakest ones have unlimited ammo so you’ll go to them when you’re desperate or in a tough spot. Those two situations are almost identical though. You also have a few gadgets to help you out like anti gravity grenades that send enemies into the air and a freeze ray that can really come through in the clutch. There’s also a barrier, which I highly recommend using as it can block all enemy fire and will never shatter. If you’re low on health then there’s no reason not to use it and it recharges very quickly as well.

I’m going to give this game some props for the fact that it didn’t stop at just making one gameplay style. There are several levels where you have to play in a different way in order to win. For example, there are 2-3 car chase levels where you’re flying through the city and blasting away at the aliens who are chasing you. You have to be careful not to his civilians or cars as you do and it makes for a fun level. There are also the sneaky levels which are all about strategy and silently taking down your foes. I’m always up for a stealth game even if I admit that they can be a little more irritating at times. Carmen Sandiego did this style best with Shattered Dimensions being a close second. Men In Black pulled it off quite well and would probably make it at number 3 here. The Batman games ironically get wrecked in this department.

The soundtrack is a little limited, but the tune for the main menu is catchy. The other themes are mostly non existent, but it’s your usual action fare. I wouldn’t say that the themes are bad and they’re fun to listen to in the heat of battle. The audio is interesting though as some characters sound robotic at times even if they’re trying to be charismatic. Ah well, I appreciate the effort at the very least. It can be annoying to hear the dialogue sometimes though since it is set to always replay if you lost in a level. I lost to the final boss several times before finally winning and to have to hear the same lines over and over again can get really old really fast. As for the graphics, they’re perfectly acceptable. It has that cash-in vibe, but the blasts are nice and colorful. I also like the designs of the enemies. The game did a good job of adding many different species unlike Battleship and the Iron Man inspired villain was also pretty hype.

I can’t say that there’s a whole lot of replay value to be found here. I read that the average completion time for this game is 2 and a half hours. I guess if you skip cutscenes and take out all of the enemies without a problem this can be true, but personally I’d expect the campaign to take you closer to 4 hours the first time. After that, you should have most of the trophies as well. The only things left to do are get the rest of them and maybe play around with the challenges a little if you really want too. I would say that the game is worth the current price although if you spent 60 on it (Not sure if this ever was 60 though. I personally doubt it) then you probably got ripped off.

The only real negative that I have with the game are the boss fights. As I mentioned earlier, the game really leaves you to your own devices, which means that you need to put on your detective hat and figure out what’s happening. Unfortunately, since the moments where the boss is actually vulnerable are few and far between, it can take a while. I lost to one of the bosses over 10 times before defeating her and I still don’t know what the problem was the first time. I basically just got lucky. As for the final boss, I did figure out that I was shooting the wrong target, but man did it take a while! The bosses were certainly the weakest part of the game, but they could have been worse.

Overall, Men In Black Alien Crisis is a pretty fun shooter. I found the actual gameplay to be better than Battleship, James Bond, and several other shooters. I even preferred it to Metroid Prime although that game naturally did have a better plot and more of an epic vibe. The story mode here did feel like a decent movie though and the snappy dialogue made for a believable main character. If you didn’t know any better, you could have easily thought that the movie probably had the same plot as the game although they are completely different. The writers thought it through and made a full on story mode so props to that. This may be a bit of a cash-in, but there was clearly more effort put in than usual. I’d recommend checking this title out.

Overall 8/10

Ratchet and Clank A Crack in Time Review

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Ratchet and Clank is finally back with their next installment! The time trilogy effectively ended here, but little did we know that another one would come out soon. No worries, I’ll certainly be buying that one soon. I do own Ratchet and Clank All 4 One so you can expect me to start that one at some point, but I shall be switching consoles to work on another game for now. Ratchet and Clank is one of those franchises that has never had a bad game. My least favorite would be Secret Agent Clank and that was still a solid title. The series has been getting better and better as it consistently gets 8 stars from me nowadays.

The last game ended with Clank being kidnapped and Ratchet vowing to find his little sidekick. Ratchet is forced to work alongside Captain Qwark and he also meets a fellow Lombax who still lives. The Lombax wants to use the legendary clock of time to alter the past and save Ratchet’s family. Meanwhile, Clank is now the ruler of the clock and he learns how to manipulate time. The problem is that the clock is not meant to alter past or future events so Clank needs to make sure that nobody uses it to affect the past or future. That includes Dr. Nefarious, who wants to spread destruction and chaos throughout the timestream. All of the players are getting ready to make their moves so there is a lot on the line this time.

As always, Ratchet and Clank is a blast and a half to play. One of the main reasons why it is an all star title is because you can simply plug and play at any time. The plot is engaging enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, but also simple enough that you can take a 6 month break and still understand what is happening. The only part of the game that can be considered a little dull is the Clank segments, but we still get some witty burns from the side characters. Manipulating time is also really fun and that never gets old.

The graphics look very good and you can immediately tell that this is a PS3 level game. The developers really put in their best effort as the gameplay and cutscenes easily hold up well. Everything is colorful and vibrant, which is great since you are typically in high tech areas or in space. It’s like Sony’s version of the Mario Galaxy titles. The soundtrack is a little more on the forgetful side. I can’t say that any of the themes really stood out to me and you’ll likely forget them very quickly. That’s probably the game’s only real weak point and at least none of the tracks are actually bad.

Ratchet is still a great main character. He’s heroic with a good personality as he doesn’t back down for any opponent. I expected him to be a little more upset at the guy who tried to destroy him, but Ratchet really didn’t want to have to destroy the fellow. I wonder if Ratchet’s father will ever appear or if he is truly lost to the cosmos. Only time will tell I suppose. Clank’s a nice sidekick and he’s a good character. I’ve never been crazy about him compared to the other sidekicks, but I’ve grown to like his sense of humor a little more and he made the right decision at the end of the game. You certainly couldn’t ask for a more loyal partner and seeing as how he beats Bentley, Murray, and Daxter, he really is the best sidekick in this area. I wouldn’t mind if Clank got another game to himself.

Captain Qwark is also a fun guy to have around. He’s a superhero and he is legitimately tough as he destroys many opponents with his physical strength. He just has a bad habit of overrating himself and Qwark loves to be in the spotlight. Deep down, he’s a good guy and his joking just masks that. He’s still one of the best characters in the series and I would really miss his banter if he was gone. Qwark may not always be on the side of justice, but he helped save the universe in this game and we won’t be forgetting that anytime soon.

Azimuth is a new character for the game and he really hits it off with Ratchet. The lombax’s design is very similar to Kratos, which is cool. He even acts a little like the guy as he is always ready for a fight and is a fierce general. The game implies that he is almost as skilled as Ratchet and maybe even a little more. I like to think that Ratchet would win in a fight though. You will likely find this guy suspicious from the start, but his team ups with Ratchet were a lot of fun. Finally, we had another fighter on our side!

The main villain was Lord Nefarious and his butler was around as well. Nefarious seems to be one of the more popular Ratchet and Clank villains. I can’t say that he’s one of the better ones for me, but he is a robot so at least he can fight on his own without throwing minions at you or hiding. Nefarious can fire energy blasts and he does come very close to destroying the universe. He even captures Ratchet and the others at one point, which is no small feat. He has a habit of shorting out and then a video will play, but that’s why Nefarious has his butler! The butler can be a little defiant at times, but he still seems loyal in the long run.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard third person shooter. The series has a lot of experience with it so it runs very smoothly. There aren’t many games that can hold a candle to it in this style. You get a large variety of guns that you can use by the end and each one works a little differently. I mostly loved the rockets, mini bombs, and my trusty blaster. You can also use your wrench to fight. It’s a little riskier, but it does a lot of damage as a result. If you have faith in your speed, I say go for it! The gameplay is very fast paced and exciting so you should certainly enjoy it a lot.

As for replay value, the game has a lot of that. There are the trophies to unlock of course and there are many collectibles to conquer along the way. There are multiple tournaments to complete and even a Challenge Mode to conquer once you have wrapped up the game once. The story mode will likely take you around 5-6 hours to complete, but the replay value should at least triple that although I’d expect around 20-25 hours unless you manage to take everything down on your first shot. That’s a reasonable length and the game is so fun that it would be worth the purchase even without the replay value.

It’s safe to say that Ratchet and Clank is probably the best shooter that Sony’s got. This series has always been top of the line and I look forward to getting caught up with the franchise in time for the film. It’s lightly possible at any rate. While Kingdom Hearts may still take the title of “best ongoing series with Sony” Ratchet and Clank would be right behind them at second. This isn’t really counting fighting games, but just platformers, shooters, and the other genres. I’m hoping that Ratchet and Clank has another big game coming up aside from the remake of the first title. That will be cool as well of course, but a big one to continue the plot would be a lot of fun. (Unless they really are rebooting the games. In which case, it shall be missed!)

Finally, another big reason as to why Ratchet and Clank is so good is due to the writing. We’re talking 5 stars here as the writing is dynamite. The characters are all rather clever. They don’t talk constantly during gameplay like in the Spider Man games, but they really get to shine in the cutscenes. I think it’s safe to say that the video game series wouldn’t be nearly as legendary without the great script that is always present.

Overall, I highly recommend purchasing this game. Whether you are new to the franchise or already own the other games, this is a title that you do not want to miss. It is a complete video game that has everything that you could possibly want. The graphics are stunning and the gameplay is some of the best in the video game world. I could easily play the game over again given how much fun it is. Someday, I will to get the Platinum trophy in this game, but it’ll likely be a long while until then. The next game is going to have a very tough time beating this title, but we should never underestimate Ratchet and Clank.

Overall 8/10

Playstation All Stars Battle Royale Review

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Super Smash Bros is still pretty recent so it was good timing to finally check out Playstation All Stars. This game was Smash’s big rival and there are still many loyal Sony fans who claim that it is better than Super Smash. It certainly has its fans since I’ve come across several online players who are at level 999 and find it hard to see why someone would play it that long. I got to level 27 with Ratchet after an online battle or two plus arcade mode. So, it would take a very long time to reach such a high level. It definitely has its flaws and I’m sure that you are familiar with some of them, but this is still a great game considering that it’s the first in the series. I’m confident that the sequel will be better.

There is no story mode of course, but we do have Arcade Mode so that’s something. Each character gets their own intro and ending as well as a cutscene for when you face your rival. Arcade Mode is usually pretty fun because it’s quick and you can get used to the controls on the fly, but the game actually dropped the ball here. Arcade Mode takes around 30 minutes no matter how good you are because the first 3-4 matches are times. That means that you have to battle for 3 minutes before the victor is decided so that’s already 10+ minutes. Considering that you have to beat the mode with 20 characters, that’s a lot of time. I still plan to complete it with everyone eventually, but you can probably see why I got this review out first. It’s definitely going to be a gradual thing to say the least. They definitely shouldn’t have added timed matches to Arcade Mode and hopefully they know better for future games.

As for the actual gameplay, PS All Stars uses a 2D combat system sort of like Super Smash Bros. Each character has a variety of attacks. You have three different standard attacks and each one has 3-4 variations. Then there are also grabs and you can roll to avoid attacks as it lets you become intangible for an instant. You can link these abilities to create fierce combos. Now, this is not how you beat an opponent. Typically, your moves would deal damage to chip away at a health bar or send the opponent flying off of the screen, but this is where Playstation All Stars decided to get unique. Attacking doesn’t deal any damage, but it does build up your final smash meter. You can charge it to a full bar up to three times. Filling it up will let you use your standard final smash and bringing it to the 3rd level will let you use the ultimate attack. You have to hit an opponent with one of these attacks to get a KO.

This is where the game starts to get pretty unbalanced. How good your final smash is will determine if your character is good or not. Some characters like Toro or Heihachi will have a level 3 Smash that instantly KOs everyone on the field while others like Ratchet and Kratos will have to earn them. It’s typically pretty easy to score KOs with your level 3 attack so it shouldn’t matter very much, but there can be a difference. The pro of Toro’s attack is that it guarantees 3 KOs in a 4 way battle. The con is that it can only get 3. Ratchet’s can go up to 6 in theory, but you could theoretically not get any as well. It’s a tough call and it’s something that you’ll want to consider before picking a character. The game’s roster is infamously unbalanced, but you may not notice unless you play it very competitively. In that case, you may want to stick with Kratos or try some of the DLC characters. Speaking of which….

This game suffers from the on disc DLC problem that Street Fighter X Tekken had. You’ll see a few characters on the menu, but you won’t be able to play as them without dishing out some money to PSN. I’m okay with DLC being around for the game, but I don’t like it to actually be on the menu. Why should I have to see those characters on the screen if I can never play as them? I think that it is in pretty bad taste since the game is trying to force you to buy them to clean up your character selection page. It’s also sad because the game already has a pretty limited character roster. There are 20 characters and almost half of them are joke characters. “Half…is that possible?” Well, let’s look as the real characters vs joke characters although our interpretations of a “joke” character may vary a little.

Real Characters
Ratchet
Jak
Sly
Kratos
Radec
Raiden
Sweet Tooth(Arguable…?)
Nathan Drake
Cole
Evil Cole
Heihachi
Dante
Nariko
Big Daddy

Joke Characters
Fat Princess
Parappa
Spike
Toro
Sackboy
Sir Daniel

Well, maybe that’s not as bad as it looks. This means that 30% of the characters are fall into the joke category, which is high, but not as high as I had feared. That being said, the roster definitely needs to shape up a little. All of the 14 normal characters are cool, but a fighting game in this day and age should have well over 30 characters easily. Even with the joke characters, we’re not quite there yet. The characters are just a little too limited for my case and even more so when you consider the fact that Cole is basically taking up two slots. It’s why people always bash the idea of Microsoft making their own Super Smash. Their characters would be much more limited than Sony or Nintendo and that can be dicey to think about. What Sony should do is add more representatives from each series. Just throwing in a second for each one would greatly increase the character count. I don’t have a problem with the stage count though since it’s of a reasonable size.

For Replay Value, PS All Stars definitely has a lot of options after completing Arcade Mode with everyone. Each character has a combat trial to complete and there are general ones as well. Unlocking everything will take an extremely long amount of time and there are a few hundred goals to achieve as well. I don’t think there are any characters or stages to unlock, which can be disappointing, but getting everyone to level 999 is an adventure that you may want to pursue. Finally, we have the PS3 Trophies which are tried and true. Getting the Platinum is supposed to be pretty easy, but that’s with boosting. Without that, it can be pretty tricky thanks to the fact that you need to find a friend who owns the game for two of them. Getting through a match without dying once can also be pretty tricky. Not impossible of course, but tricky nonetheless. That being said, you can easily get around 40 of the trophies here so that’s a great way to boost your Playstation 3 score.

The graphics are pretty good although I would definitely not call them great. The stills are sharp and the cutscene with your rival during Arcade Mode looks great. The game is polished just about everywhere except the gameplay. That’s the area where the graphics tend to struggle a little bit. Especially in 4 player battles. The screen just zooms out a little too much so that it’s hard to see where everyone is and the character models definitely don’t look great at that point. Super Smash Bros can pull it off so this game just needed a little more work in the graphics department. The game feels pretty futuristic and polished otherwise, which has always been one of the perks of the PS3.

The soundtrack is pretty good for the most part. I didn’t want to pull the Super Smash Bros card again, but it’s not quite at that level in terms of the musical themes in the game. The main menu theme is actually pretty good until the singer yells and everything goes downhill. There is only one lyric in the song I believe and I’m not even sure what it is, but it disrupts the nice theme that had been playing. I have already forgotten all of the stage themes, but I’m sure that they’ll come to me in time. It’s fun to play as Ratchet because I get to hear music from his game when you unleash his Level 3 Final Smash. Those games typically had a decent enough soundtrack.

There’s just something about PS All Stars that makes it hard to take seriously. It’s hard to describe, but this just doesn’t feel like “The Next Big Game.” I’m sure that a lot of work was put into it, but some parts just feel like a cash in. You could never say the same thing about Super Smash Bros and that’s just one of the big problems for this title. It’s a great game, but it won’t be able to make it to the next level without some serious work and improvements in key areas. Again, this isn’t bad for a start, but I will have much higher expectations for the inevitable sequel.

Time to directly compare Super Smash Bros and PS All Stars. I could do a bullet point list, but this battle is a little too clear for that. So, let’s just go through the categories here. We’ll have it face off against Brawl since they were from the same generation. Graphics -Super Smash Bros. Soundtrack- Super Smash Bros. Gameplay- Super Smash Bros. Character Roster- Super Smash Bros. Items- Super Smash Bros. Stages- Super Smash Bros. Story Mode- Super Smash Bros. Replay Value- Super Smash Bros. Am I missing anything? Well, PS All Stars puts up a brave fight so don’t get me wrong, but it really did not stand a chance against Super Smash Bros. I hate to say it, but it will never beat Super Smash at its own game. (Especially if Pac Man, Sonic, and Mega Man are really here to stay) Sony just needs to play to their strength sand make a 3D fighting crossover game instead. Now that would be interesting to compare with Super Smash Bros. Especially since a lot of people are pulling for Nintendo to make the next installment in 3D…much to fans’ horror.

Overall, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale is a solid fighting game that is destined to stay hidden in Nintendo’s shadow. The title is a little too long for my taste, but it shall have to do. I am glad that Sony tried to challenge Nintendo with this title and the roster isn’t bad. It definitely needs work, but it’s fun to see these characters meet up in such a unique game. The gameplay actually is a lot of fun. It’s not the kind of game where you’ll put in 100+ hours, but you can definitely pass the time by here. The game just needed more gameplay options for you to play around with. At least there is a lot of content to keep you busy here. The game needs to work a little more in the graphics area as well as add some more songs to the soundtrack. A real story mode would be nice even if those are rare in fighting games like this one. I’ve heard that the online is pretty laggy, but I haven’t experienced that so far. I definitely recommend this game to all fighting fans and just think of it as the next TMNT Smash Up or Cartoon Explosion. The gameplay may be modeled after Super Smash Bros, but it feels more like those other two games. Try to get to level 999 and let me know how long it took you!

Overall 8/10

Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing Review

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It’s time to wrap up the big three racing games that I got for Christmas. Pac Man World Rally was pretty fun, but it could have been better. Mario Kart DS was about as fun as I could have expected, but it’s safe to say that Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing easily took the win here. It’s very fun and I can see why the case is made that it could give Mario Kart a fair challenge. The game is certainly very good and while it may be a stretch to say that it’s better than Mario Kart….it’s getting there.

There is no plot of course and there are 24 courses to play in. They are divided into 6 different cups so that you only have to play 4 courses back to back. Completing the cups can help you obtain trophies and points that you can spend at the shop for more tracks, (For 2 player purposes) characters, and music. There are certainly a lot of things to buy, which can be daunting at first, but earning money in this game is surprisingly easy so that makes it a lot more fun. You can earn about 10000+ points for completing any of the latter cups, which is over 3000 points a stage. That’s definitely not a bad bet.

Speaking of which, the trophies in this game are pretty reasonable for the most part. They will take some time since a trophy requires you to get 750000 points, but that’s not a bad grind compared to many other games. It should be pretty easy if you enjoy the game and you may even get it naturally. The only trophies that I don’t care for are the online ones since those are definitely asking for a bit too much. Unless a match is rigged, how are you going to lap someone? That person would have to be playing extremely poorly for that to happen unless we had a stage similar to Baby Park in Mario Kart…and even that is a stretch. There is also a trophy for racing a friend…let’s just say that this can be problematic. On the whole, the trophies are certainly reasonable since most of them are just long. That being said, I likely won’t be getting the Platinum here.

I enjoyed the level designs here a lot and I dare say that they look better than Pac Man World Rally’s as well as the levels in Mario Kart DS. That being said, this mainly applies to the Sonic stages. I don’t care for most of the Monkey Ball or Party Monkey stages and Sonic’s tend to be the best ones. The Haunted Mansions and City levels are also a lot of fun of course and the stages usually have a shortcut or two to spice things up. One short cut is so great that it’s almost impossible to win without it. I think that this is a bit much, but it does force you to learn where it is before you can finish off the cup.

The gameplay is pretty much what you would expect from a racing styled game, but it all handles so smoothly that you will still be impressed. Naturally, you have to make it to the finish line and you use items that you pass by to help you achieve that goal. You can attack other racers or just focus on speeding your way through to the finish line. Drifting is very important here since you get a considerable boost from using this technique. It’s as good as a mushroom from Mario kart or even better since the boost lasts for several seconds. Likewise, performing tricks on the air will give you a similar effect. Technique is important here and while the items do balance things out, it can be the difference between the 1st and 2nd place racers.

Graphically, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing manages to hit it out of the park once again. Every character design looks flawless and the graphics are definitely PS3 level. Everything is really colorful and it just pops out at you. This applies to everything in the game. From the backgrounds to the items, nothing in this game is lacking in detail or looks out of place. It may just be the best looking racing game that I’ve played, but naturally I have not played Mario Kart 8 yet. Until then, Sonic’s going to have to take the win there.

The soundtrack is also pretty good. I actually found it to be a little too limited at first since the character’s All Star moves always give them their theme. You will likely hear Eggman and Amy’s a lot since they constantly get their super attacks and then any stage from a certain video game where the stages are all in the city always has the exact same theme. It’s a good theme, but I like variety. Of course, that’s when I noticed that I still had over 30 songs to purchase. That ought to help a great deal and I consider the game’s soundtrack to be pretty good with them. I definitely wouldn’t call it excellent though and that’s mainly due to the fact that it takes tunes from many different games. I like just about all of Sonic’s themes, but I definitely don’t care for the party ones or for Monkey Ball. Their themes just don’t work for such a fast and explosive racing game.

How’s the overall value for the game? Well, the 6 cups won’t last you very long since it’s roughly 4 minutes per race with only 24 in the game. So, the game will barely last 90 minutes if you just count that, but there is a whole lot more to do. Trying to get the Platinum Trophy will mean that you’ll definitely have to play it for a few days and let’s not forget about buying everything at the shop. On the way to the Platinum you’ll need to master all of the missions as well and there are a little over 60 of those. I haven’t even touched that mode yet, but you can bet that I’ll certainly be trying it out soon. I always like tackling a good mission!

In the end, does this game beat Mario Kart? That’s very tough to say and especially since I’ve put in a few hours on this game and hundreds on Double Dash. It’s fair to say that this game automatically beats all of the portable Mario Kart titles and all of the other item based racers, but can it really beat the famous Mario Kart titles? It’s just hard to definitively say so. That being said, I don’t believe in ties so I will say that it is slightly better than Mario Kart, at least when you’re playing by yourself. We’ll see if it’s Mario Kart level in multiplayer or not eventually.

Overall, Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing is a great racing title. It really could be one of the best period and it’s a worthy rival to the Mario Kart series. I would just say that it is the best racing game of all time, but we have to consider the racing games without gimmicks and then things get tough once again. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel since I’ve heard that it’s even better. The gameplay is supposedly pretty different from this one, but I’m okay with that since it still sounds like lot of fun. After all, Transformed is the Sonic title that I’ve heard manages to maybe even defeat Mario Kart 8. It’ll be interesting to see if I agree with that. I recommend this to anyone who likes to enjoy a good racing game and for anyone who especially likes a chaotic racing game. You’re always moving at a very high speed so the excitement never dies down as you race for the Gold!

Overall 8/10

Madden 2013 Review

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It’s definitely been a while since I got to play a new Madden game. In case you are not aware, I am a huge fan of the Madden franchise. I’ve played almost every one of the titles since 2002 and they were all rock solid. I’ll admit that Madden 2010 may have slipped a little, but it was still a blast. 2011 and 2012 were also enjoyable experiences so I was all set to grab this one. I didn’t realize that it had already dropped to 6 dollars so it was a steal! Madden 2015 just came out so I’m sure that this game’s online days are numbered. That being said, I’m really glad that I finally got to try the online experience because it is amazing! This is easily the best Madden title for the PS3!

I also know that I need to make this one last because I likely won’t be getting one of the newer Madden games anytime soon! There is no Madden 2014 because they decided to come out with the special Madden 25 package. I’m looking forward to playing it, but it’s still going for 25! I love these games, but I always wait for the price drops since they’re so frequent. I wouldn’t expect to see another Madden review on this site for even a year, but maybe I’ll surprise you guys and get one of the few titles that I missed for Christmas!

Back to the game! Madden 2013 uses a lot of elements from the past games while changing things up. I know that everyone has already heard the stories and some are still upset that EA refuses to change the formula with any drastic measures. There’s no need to change a system that is already great and EA still does provide a unique experience each time. In this game, the defense is probably the most notable change, but the whole game is really impacted. Is it in a good way? It depends on the effect. I won’t really explain the rules because I’m sure that you are familiar with the NFL. If not, it’s an easy game to figure out.

One of the ways that Madden seems to have changed is how fiercely the cornerbacks will go after the ball. It is essentially impossible to throw a deep ball anymore. You can still do it of course, but you’ll be forced to watch your receiver get shoved out of the way as the cornerback snags it for a pick 6. Sometimes, your receiver will just stand there and wait for the football while the cornerback jumps up for the steal. They can jump extremely high by the way and they aren’t opposed to catching the ball with one hand in a rather fancy athletic movement. One way to stop this is to quickly take control of your receiver and turn around to grab the ball. Of course, this is a Lot trickier than it sounds and it requires perfect precision on your part. More often than not, this won’t work. Once in a while, your player will actually catch the ball, but you’ll have already thrown a lot of interceptions by that point.

It’s great for the defense and I’ve always enjoyed getting an interception. It’s pretty thrilling and it’s one of my favorite plays along with kickoff/punt returns. On the flipside, it makes you hesitate to throw the football. You’ll find yourself relying on basic screen passes and other short throws because you can’t risk going downfield. Throwing it into the centerfield for your tight end is usually a decently safe throw, but I miss the days where I felt comfortable throwing to any part of the field. You can definitely forget about slants unless your receiver is in a great position. So, this is definitely a mixed bag.

One area where the game really excels at is how realistic the hits are. It’s great to see your player get tackled or to record a sack on your own. You really feel the hit and it’s usually interesting to see how your player will go down. Sometimes the game will even revert to slow motion although that could just be the frame rate hitting the ball. This is more like the Football that we’re used too!

The graphics for the game are always pretty solid and that doesn’t change in this installment. You can clearly see all of the players and every option available on the field. You’ll never find yourself squinting to see something and the field looks as real as ever. I definitely have no complaints with the game on this front and the commentary is also good. There are some obvious mistakes like when they say that there are 15 minutes left when only 6 are on the clock. Some of the lines can get a little old when you hear them so often, but I actually enjoy it. It really makes the game feel professional and it means that I won’t have to listen to any (awful imo) music like in some of the other titles. Remember NFL Street? Great game, but the music was pretty terrible. I’m not a fan of EA’s music so the commentary means that the music has to go away. I don’t think it plays at all during the games anymore and that’s fine by me!

The game does have one annoying cutscene that plays after every timeout. If you call a timeout, your opponent’s player will meet up with one of the staff for a drink of water. The trainer will get him the water and the player always stops the guy from leaving so that he can get a second drink. This happens every single time and it gets old rather quickly. The character models are constantly chewing as well although I believe that it’s supposed to depict them talking to each other. Trust me, you’ll wish that it wasn’t there after a while!

If this game had one big weakness, it would be how they’ve made every action a lot more complicated. Gone are the days where you only needed to worry about running and where to throw the ball. Now there are so many buttons to press! You have to remember to hit a button so that you don’t fumble, there’s a button to sprint as per usual, but you can also tilt one of the joysticks to bring your head down and charge. There are like three different ways to juke and you really need the hit stick on the defensive side or the opponent will just break your tackles. I don’t think the game really needs to be this complex. It wouldn’t be so bad either if your player wouldn’t fumble all the time. Never run right into the opponent player without pressing something or you’re almost guaranteed to fumble. So much for my wild charges into the crowd eh?

Franchise mode is long gone and now we have the Connected Careers mode. It’s essentially the same thing so it’s all good. You can play as the Coach or as the players. I only use the latter of course and you can even add yourself to the game through Gameface. The EA account is actually pretty handy since it really does a good job of recording your online stats. The online ranked battles are really where the action is at. It’s almost hard to go back to the classic offline battles when you can fight such talented players online. (Almost is the key word! Regular matches are still a blast.) My current record is 5-4 as of this writing and I already scored over 150 points, which netted me the first few online trophies. The highest one is at 600 points and that is likely where I would stop online gaming for this title. It’s a blast, but I have so many other games where I need to accomplish that I wouldn’t have time for it anymore. The offline world is another story since there are more trophies to get there.

The trophies are pretty fair for the most part, but I think that EA is asking too much for the offline ones. You would basically have to play over 10-20 seasons if you wanted to snag them all unless they expect you to start simulating all of them. There are many workarounds to grab a lot of the trophies, but adjusting sliders and such, but that doesn’t seem right. Thus, I am doomed to have a relatively low trophy% in this title, but I’ll still do my best to snag as many of them as I can. At least there are more trophies to be collected in this one than in the previous Madden titles!

I almost don’t even need to bring up the replay value. The trophies alone can last for weeks or even months. This Madden also has quite a few different modes to play. You can relive famous moments in NFL history and try to complete each of them. The Connected Careers mode can go on for as many seasons as you want and you can play it from the coach’s point of view or from the player’s. The replay value to this game is essentially endless and the servers are actually still up so you can have fun online or offline. The game is really a bargain at 6 dollars and it would have been well worth the original 60 dollars if I had bought it then too. It just goes against my buying code to do that. I only go that far for Smash Bros at this point in time.

Finally, it’s worth noting that EA has done a good job to really make the games feel alive. On the main menu, you can actually see the scores for the current NFL 2014 Pre Season games. Not to mention that there are Facebook and Twitter options inside of the game so that you can post your scores and stats throughout the season. Everything is completely up to date, which is pretty fun. You won’t lose touch with the real world by playing this game and their Origin system helps you to link your account through all of their titles. EA may have a very bad reputation with the average person at the moment, but one can’t deny that their games are great!

Overall, This is an excellent Madden game. As mentioned earlier, I would say that it easily clobbers Madden 08-12. It’s tough to take on the Gamecube ones, but this is easily one of the best installments. I do believe that the game has gotten a little too complicated in some areas, but you can still choose to simplify things based on your playstyle. I got used to it after a game or two and the only troubles that I’m having now are with the audibles. It’s hardly something that will really cost you a game since audibles are pretty rare. I highly recommend getting this game and you’ll have fun for dozens of hours. Madden is one of the only games that can compete with the new Super Smash Bros for how much time you can pour into it! It’s going to be tough for Madden 25 or the new Madden 15 to keep up with this one!

Overall 9/10

Sega Superstars Tennis Review

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It’s time to review a PS3 game that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while now. This is a game that I got for 5 dollars at Gamestop and that’s always a pretty good bargain for a game. We can’t underestimate how good a PS3 Sonic game can be after the big one in 2006. So, I stepped into the game world and witnessed some great gameplay, but a story mode that left much to be desired.

See, the “story mode” in this game is called Superstar Mode. Instead of making it your typical career mode like in most tennis games, this one was totally made up of minigames. That’s strange right? It may be appealing for a little while, but there are so many levels in Superstar mode that it can get tedious. There is the occasional match or tournament, but mostly your tasks include things like: Shoot the balls into the portal, Shoot the moving objects, Shoot the ground to alter the path, etc. Minigames can be fun because they are short and sweet as they distract you from the tough story mode. The point is lost when there is no main mode. There is a separate tournament mode in the game, but it’s more like Super Smash Bros’ tournament mode.

So, Superstars mode wasn’t really that enjoyable for me. It definitely could have been handled a lot better. The cast of characters isn’t very impressive either. There are around 20 characters in the game and you typically expect a little more than that. Mario Power Tennis had a similar amount and that came out many years ago. (Of course, it was on the Gamecube so that could explain why it was so great) The cast isn’t terribly important since everyone will want to be Shadow or Sonic, (Or at least, I always want to play as them) but more options would have been preferable. I guess Sega didn’t want this to be thought of as Sonic tennis in the end so they quickly stopped themselves from adding more of them. Otherwise, Metal Sonic would have been a pretty great addition to the cast.

The gameplay for the main games is essentially the same as Virtua Tennis. (Which is a very good thing) I assume that you are familiar with the rules of tennis. After that, you really have a good understanding of the gameplay. Each character has a super move that can be used once in a while. Sonic’s allows you to transform into Super Sonic. You gain a lot of speed and all of the balls that you hit will gain a pretty mean spin. It’s important to lunge for those balls right away since they can be impossible to hit once they really get going. Sonic’s super attack is pretty cool, but I’m not familiar with most of the others. I typically finished off my opponents before they could use theirs. I definitely find the gameplay to be pretty enjoyable. It’s a lot more technical than Mario Power Tennis and that can be a good or bad thing. There are definitely pros and cons to both styles. This one is more realistic, but you could really feel the power behind the blows in Mario Tennis. I’m a pretty big fan of both types of gameplay so I’m fine either way. Tennis is likely second to Football when it comes to sport gameplay.

The graphics are decently good. The character models look pretty great and almost as if they were ripped from the 2006 game. They were definitely very well done..at least for the Sonic characters. Others like Alex The Kidd and Nights didn’t look quite as good, but they were good enough. The backgrounds and effects were pretty standard. Not bad though and you could still tell that you were playing a PS3 game. I suppose that’s all I can ask for from a sports spinoff anyway.

The themes in the game are decently catchy. I found them to be a little limited, but it sounds pretty good when you’re actually engaged in the matches. Again, I would say that it was pretty standard. Perhaps I’d give it a 6/10 at the most. The soundtrack gets you in the mood to play tennis and that is the main goal for the soundtrack.

In terms of replay value, Sega Tennis does a fine job. It’s mostly be default since it is a tennis game and it has a multiplayer option. Playing against someone else will always be fun in this style, which is why I say that this game has replay value. Otherwise, there really isn’t much to do once you beat Superstar mode. The computers will become pretty easy for you at that point and there is nothing else to unlock. If you don’t have anyone to play with, then I would consider this game to be more of a 6. (Or a high 5) It should also be noted that this is one of the games that came out before the Playstation 3 began to add trophies to every game. That also takes away a chunk out of the replay value.

Overall, This game is not going to last you for a very long time. The counter says that it only took me 2h:30m to beat the game. It definitely took me longer than that, but I guess the loading times really add up. The only way that this game will help you in the long run is if you take the game up on its multiplayer option. Superstars mode can only last for so long after all and it’s not very enjoyable. The rest of the game is pretty solid though and the gameplay is the important part. The game is currently going for less than 5 dollars so that’s also a good reason to go for it. I would recommend Mario Power Tennis more than this one so I have to give Nintendo the win this time. There’s no reason why Sega cannot improve though so I’m looking forward to their next tennis game. It’ll be fun to compare the racing title to Mario Kart as well someday.

Overall 7/10

Green Lantern Rise of The Manhunters Review

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This was one of the highest games on my list. I’ve wanted it for ages since it had such easy trophies and it was a superhero tie in. They may not be known to be all stars, but they’ve always been fun for me and the gameplay is guaranteed to be good. It’s a tried and true formula that is very hard to wreck. 3D fighting can be spectacular or it can be good. Very rarely is it ever bad. The game was essentially as good as I expected!

The plot is pretty basic so that the emphasis can be on the action. Hal Jordan is still learning the ropes on how to be a good Green Lantern when the Manhunters attack. Hal realizes that their plan is a little deeper than a simple attack and he is going to have to find out what their ultimate goal is before they destroy OA. Not to mention that there may be someone leaking information to these villains. It’s going to take everything that Hal has and more…but he’s up for the challenge.

The gameplay is what you would expect from a superhero game. It’s essentially a duplicate of the Thor game that came out for the PS3 a while back. The way that they fly to the next area and land is about the same as well so it almost feels like they had the same developers or reused part of the game. (Like how Daniel X and Ultimate Spiderman feel identical for the DS) This is not a bad thing since I know what to expect. You can unlock a lot of different constructs to use in the game. Luckily, most of them are pretty useful so you can keep on switching weapons or just find one that you like and stick to it. The Mech suit and the Gatling Gun are definitely two of the most fun weapons to use.

The graphics are pretty average for Green Lantern. It’s decently low for a PS3 game, but it’s good enough. I’m not expecting Final Fantasy for this game anyway. As long as the graphics aren’t downright terrible like Chaotic…then I’m all set. They really tried to match the character designs to the movie counterparts. I’m pretty cool with that and it is helpful for those who just finished the film. There is a brief fight scene at the end of the game, which was a welcome surprise since we don’t get a whole lot of those in cinematic anymore. I shall skip the soundtrack section because there essentially isn’t one in this game.

The trophies for Green Lantern are a cake walk. It’s definitely one of the easiest platinums that I have (almost) obtained. I should officially have it by the end of the day since I just need to finish two more levels. There are no outrageous trophies that will require a lot of grinding unless you start the game on hard mode. Then you’ll have to replay a lot of levels, but it’s short compared to the kind of grind that you see in Bleach or White Knight Chronicles. One of the great things about having trophies is that it gives Green Lantern some much needed replay value.

After all, Green Lantern barely keeps itself from being too short because it has exactly 10 levels. The ground levels can take a while, but the flying ones are completed very quickly. One of the trophies requires that you buy all of the items and that will likely take a little over 20 levels. So, that means that you’ll basically be playing the game twice and then retrying an extra pair of levels. I am so glad that Green Lantern has a level select since it’s much more efficient to just replay the level that way.

While the gameplay is pretty fun since it’s a classic 3D beat em up; I did have some complaints with it. For one thing, defeating the enemies was a little too time consuming after a while. This is especially noticeable during the second play through as you just want to blast through it, but you have to beat the enemies first. You also can’t turn the camera around, which was an interesting twist. I can’t say that I was very fond of this.

While all of the characters were essentially in character, Hal Jordan could be a ltitle irritating at times. In an attempt to make him hardcore, Hal Jordan constantly says “What the —-” and “How the —-” over and over and over again. It really feels artificial because he is completely overreacting. There’s one cutscene where that is essentially all that he says. When he charges up it is interesting because Hal only says “In Brightest Day…In Blackest Night” before yelling to beware his power. The only problem is that his voice dies down every time when he says the blackest night part so it feels like they tacked in the last part at the end. Hal also suspects that there is a traitor, but he acts as if it’s his idea right after Kilowog voiced these concerns. It isn’t to steal his credit either; it just seems as if Hal forgot that he said that. Anyway, it’s not a terribly large complaint and it shouldn’t affect your gaming enjoyment all that much.

Overall, Green Lantern is a fun game. That’s really the bottom line. It’s not going to be remembered as an all star, but I also won’t remember it as a boring game that I couldn’t wait to finish. The gameplay was solid and the story was interesting enough to keep me occupied. The only reason why one would want to be hesitant of the game is the fact that it only has 10 levels, but that’s not a bad number. It’s the minimum amount of levels that I would consider acceptable…but it is still acceptable. Finding a few scattered collectibles and obtaining the trophies fixes this as well. I definitely recommend this to all gamers who are looking for a nice action game.

Overall 7/10