8/25 Crests from Mini shields
8/25 Crests from Mini shields
Toothless Tokens 48%
Mouth on Fire 25%
Dragon Surfer 65%
Commander of the Skies 35%
Watch your Melon 37%
Fearless Rider 100%
Beard Trimmer 25%
Cave Dweller 14%
Dizzy Rider 82%
Fire Breather 100%
Like A Chief 75%
Watch where you’re going 5%
How to Train Your Dragon was always a series with a pretty unique concept of being able to train some dragons as allies. I don’t know a whole lot about the series beyond that but it must be doing something right to have had 3 films as well as a TV show and multiple video games. This game is actually more fun than I thought it would be. Not saying it’s suddenly an 8 star game or anything but the combat is really on point and so are the various mechanics when navigating the hub world.
The basic plot of the game is that you grow up on an island where people raise their Dragons to fight in tournaments like Pokemon. The first tournament is filled with 1 on 1 battles, the next 2 on 2, etc. Tournament 5 is the ultimate championships but it caps off at 4 on 4 battles so you don’t need to worry about getting a 5th one. The game follows a pretty steady formula where you complete one tournament, then do a few side quests. Complete another tournament, more side quests, etc. It’s a fairly short title as I completed it in under 4 hours. There is actually a solid amount of replay value to consider though.
After beating the game you can still work on clearing all of the side quests, maxing out your four main dragons, and getting the Platinum trophy. I don’t think any of this will take you very long to achieve but it does give you more to strive for. The core gameplay is solid so that helps with making you want to play it a little longer. It’s a well crafted game even if it’s on a fairly low budget.
So the gameplay is that of a 2D brawler. You control the dragon and have to knock out the opponent’s health. Pretty simple enough eh? The game has some good depth there though as you have your standard attack, power moves, projectile blasts, dodging, blocking, and jumping. You have a lot of attack options throughout and it helps to make the fights more interesting. There are things you can do before the fights to help get your dragon ready too. Feeding them allows for their health bars to be a little bigger and you can complete tutorials in the cave to muster up some new combos. The combos can be quite handy for sure like one 8 hit combo that leaves the other dragon stunned so you can follow up. These tutorials give your dragon EXP and there are also minigames you can play for exp as well. The minigames is the fastest way to do this.
When you’re not battling you are walking across the village and either helping the villagers by giving them ingredients or finding things for the chief. These little intermissions are fun enough although they’re very short. I was pretty cool with the tasks because even if they don’t really add anything to the game, at least they are short enough where they don’t really hurt it either. The last thing you want to do is add this free roam part but at the expense of making the game less fun to play after all.
There is virtually no story in the game though. You get a few quick cutscenes here and there but if we’re being honest it’s never anything important. Just the characters talking about the next tournament or planning ways to cheat in it. You can tell that the developers were focusing completely on the gameplay. You almost could have just made this a pure arcade mode type game and I should note that there is an arcade mode here. Now the game does have one real weakness though which becomes a bit apparent by the very end of the game. So it’s not something that ended up hurting but if this game were longer then it may have become a real concern.
It can be a bit repetitive. The gameplay is fun like I said but the more dragons they force you to compete against, the more nonstop fights you are looking at. Take the final tournament for example. You have to defeat 5 opponents, who each have 4 dragons. That’s 20 back to back to back battles. Each match is like a normal Street Fighter round so that’s effectively clearing 3 arcade modes in one tournament. Then you have 5 tournaments to consider. The first ones are shorter of course but be that as it may, it’s still a whole lot of battles that you have to go up against. I think the game didn’t need to make you go through so many battles at once.
The game is rather short as it is though so maybe the developers were worried about it being under 3 hours otherwise. So that’s my only real complaint here. The graphics are solid. They may not be Sonic 2006 level or anything like that but the graphics during combat were good so I’m satisfied. The soundtrack is quite generic though. I definitely wouldn’t say that it was anything particularly impressive. More like elevator music where you hear it while you’re on the ride but forget it immediately afterwards.
Overall, How to Train Your Dragon is a good game. It’s a very short one to be sure but the developers did make sure that the experience you had was fun. It’s the little things sometimes like being able to just run around the village at top speeds or being able to train conveniently. Everything in the game feels quick and easy. The gameplay is also quite strong as I mentioned earlier. When you put all of that into perspective then this is a tie-in game I can recommend. Particularly if you are able to get this game for under $10. At that point the short length won’t bother you so much. So if you enjoyed the movie or just like the idea of a Pokemon style game where you have dragons face off against each other in real time then this will definitely be up your alley.
Midnight Club is a pretty big racing series in its own right. It has long been overshadowed by the Need For Speed games but it has still lasted a while. In effect it’s like a Grand Theft Auto mixed with Need for Speed game or at least that’s the kind of vibe you get from it. The open world may be even bigger than what NFS usually brings. It’s a pretty great game with a ton of content at your disposal so you really can’t go wrong here.
The basic story is that you’re a new racer who is trying to gain reputation and move up the ranks. You know that you’re the best racer on the block but in order to challenge the best racers you will have to go up the ranks slowly but surely. You make some friends along the way like Karl and Annie as well as some rivals and enemies like Hugo or the 4 Champions. You’ll have to defeat them all, friend or foe in order to claim the title.
One thing I always appreciate in a racing game is having an actual story. You can’t take these for granted because a lot of games in the genre don’t have one. It’s not like this story is particularly unique or ambitious but it’s a story nonetheless. There’s a lot of fun banter between the lead and everyone else which ends up being the best part to me. They never stop with the burns, especially the lead and Karl. There are a lot of great lines like “Face me if you want a real challenge” “I’d love a real challenge but I’ll settle for racing you Karl” and a lot of lines like that. The burns and insults just keep on coming.
I played in over 200 races during the course of the game and I would still have needed to play a bunch more in order to unlock the final events. You’d think that taking down the city champions was the final battle but after that there is a champion for each kind of vehicle which is the part I didn’t finish. To unlock them you would need to play a lot of races in each car type and that was definitely not going to be done
anytime soon. I put in over 20 hours on this game s you definitely don’t need to worry about content here. There’s enough to tide you over and then some. With replay value on the other races and getting more cars I’d estimate this title to be around 30 hours.
The gameplay here is pretty direct, you drive through the stages and try to reach the goal first. Simple as that, that’s what you need to do in order to score a win here. There are other racing types in the game as well like time trials and trying to ram people off the road. The delivery events were likely the trickiest if you ask me because usually you would at least need to know where one or two of the shortcuts were in order to progress further.
As for my car of choice, it wasn’t even a car. As soon as I had enough money to buy a motorcycle I grabbed one and never looked back. The stats are off the charts and the only drawback is that an enemy attack can instantly knock you off your bike and your durability is very low so there is a good chance that you will get “damaged out” during the race and lose by default. Essentially you’ve got ultimate speed at the cost of your defense and that’s a fine trade off for me. I figure durability won’t be a concern as long as I stay ahead of the other racers and that’s exactly how things played out. It was really hard to go back to a car after that for the events where one was mandatory.
One issue I have with the game though is the fact that there is no fast travel. The main world is quite large so at times you would be driving for whole minutes to get to the next event. I’d much rather just be able to jump into the next event. I suppose the reason this game was designed that way was to prevent such things from happening. Admittedly if fast travel was an option I would have skipped most of the hub world experience and jumped straight into the duels.
The graphics here definitely look really good as expected. The game had aged quite well from the PS3. It’s naturally under some of the more high budget experiences like Need for Speed but I’d say it did good with what it had. The soundtrack is not very good though. I spent the majority of my play through constantly switching through songs to find the few gold ones. I would definitely have liked the ability to remove songs from the lineup so it would only cycle through a few that I would give a thumbs up.
Overall, Midnight Club is a great racing game. There is just so much to do here between all of the cars to collect and events to complete. 200 races is quite a lot so there’s no way to beat them all too quickly. In fact I even managed to make it to the maximum driver level which was a lot of fun. That’s not something that I can say happens every time. It was a pretty rare event and one I won’t soon forget. If you like racing games then I highly recommend this one. See how it stacks up for you compared to the famous Need for Speed franchise.
Play Time 20h 13m
Total Game Complete 70%
Total Agro hits 13
Total Agro special abilities 7
Cops activated 31
Cops lost 8
Consecutive Wins 8
Opponents hit 954
Props hit 4462
Traffic Hit 2011
Damage Out 25
Races Completed 215
Hours Cruising 5h 51m
Play Time 5h 41m
Total Game Complete 30%
Distance Driven 527.4 Miles
Time Played As Cop 4h 19m
Cop Distinctions 23/48
Cop Cars Driven 18/49
Cop Milestones Complete 15/20
Time Played As Racer 1h 21m
Racer Golds 6/60
Racer Cars Driven 9/51
Racer Milestones Complete 3/20
Total Driving Milestones Complete 17/40
Distance Driven 2/4
Distance In Oncoming 1/4
Distance In Drift 1/4
Distance On Shortcuts 2/4
Time In Slipstream 1/4
Time At Top Speed 1/4
Time Using Nitrous 1/4
Nitrous Bars Filled 3/4
Near Misses 2/4
Total Crashes 3/4
Looks like the Need for Speed marathon is finally at an end. I’ll play through the next one at some point but at least for right now this will be it. Undercover is definitely a very solid installment in the series though. Not only does it have a lot of content to go through but it also takes us back to the more plot driven direction of the earlier games. It could stand to have more of a focused story but even just having boss battles is a big improvement over the last few. It’s just hard to top that and I wonder what they’ll do for an encore.
The game starts with the main character being tasked with the assignment of going undercover in order to take down a bunch of renegade racers. Gangs are popping up everywhere and you have to stay undercover until you find the big boss. The tricky thing is that you start to sympathize with some of these racers who are just trying their best to live and survive in what is considered a pretty frightening world. Is there any way that the hero can let them off easy? He’ll have to also avoid attracting too much attention since some characters already think that he’s probably compromised. It sure is difficult to keep getting these guys arrested while the lead is somehow safe.
I feel like the villains should have known something was up the instant we busted an entire gang, leaving the main character as the only guy left. At this point we joined another gang and did the same thing but really? That’s super suspicious. The main character doesn’t get to appear all that much and even gets censored during the quick cutscenes with the cops so we don’t see him all that clearly. I suppose he seems like a nice enough guy but also a very gullible one who is easy to manipulate. His driving skills are second to none though and the villains learn that the hard way. The ending has a lot of things happening so you’ll need to pay attention to that.
Unfortunately the sound mixing wasn’t very good. The gameplay and music while in the race are much louder than the actual cutscenes. What this means is that you’ll be playing normally when suddenly a cutscene occurs and you need to raise the volume. If you don’t then what ends up happening is you won’t be able to hear what’s going on quite as well. I don’t really get how something like this would make it past the play testing since it seems like a quick fix. Beyond that, it has the usual EA soundtrack. There are a lot of songs here and they’re all pretty fast paced so I’d say that you’re bound to find at least a few that you’ll like. I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The ending song is definitely a pretty intense one and ends as if this was a theatrical movie. Pretty epic if you ask me.
Then you’ve got the graphics which are solid as always. EA has never disappointed in this area and I wouldn’t expect them to start now. The cars look excellent and so driving through the city is a lot of fun. It’s all or mostly all in the daytime though so surprisingly we’re still not getting a lot of night levels. I know those can be risky since it can be hard to get the night look while not getting too dark but I think they can pull it off. Regardless, the hub world is quite huge and the fact that you can drive around the whole thing and pick up missions is a blast if you ask me. The cutscenes also look really good like the big boss battle at the end where the car jumps off the road. It helps really get you into the swing of things.
The gameplay is easy enough to describe. It’s the same 3D racing that you’re used to and is as fun as always. Using your nitro to get away is nice or quickly spinning a 180 and zooming away as the other racers get confused is just as satisfying. You really can’t go wrong with the gameplay here. There are no bonus competitions like drifting or any of that this time. It’s all about racing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This makes the most sense in context after all. You will get new cars as you go through the game and can upgrade them but the process has been very simplified compared to how it was in other titles. I think this game has pretty much nailed down the formula so they should really stick to this going forward. You still need to take a look at your car every now and again but not constantly. Aside from free roam you can also use the GPS to jump straight into a race. You can tell which events are story ones because the icon will be wrapped in a circle which looks very fancy.
If you complete a level very quickly you will have “dominated” it which allows you to permanently increase a stat. You don’t get to choose which one but they certainly add up. I recommend going for the dominate as much as possible because the stats and discounts add up very quickly. Without them I imagine that this would be considerably more difficult. The main game’s campaign took me a little over 10 hours so when you add up all the extra events that should probably take you to around 14-15 hours. Pretty good deal for the game if you ask me. You certainly won’t be wanting for content by the time you’re done with all of this. Undercover is really the complete package for a Need for Speed title.
Overall, I’ll definitely miss Undercover. It’s definitely the most complete game in the series I’ve played since Underground. If you like racing around the city and enjoy Free Roam then this is definitely the game for you. It’ll remind you of Driver with the added danger of having to run from the cops. The cop chases here can definitely be very intense. There’s not a whole lot you can do about the hellicopters and their vans really smash your car out of the way. The game runs well and the graphics are sharp. I only encountered one glitch where I seemingly won a level too quickly which was odd so it didn’t count. It seems like that’s not something you would typically need to worry about though so I wouldn’t sweat it. Could be a while, but we’ll see where the series goes from here.
It’s time to look at a Dynasty Warriors spinoff. The concept behind this is pretty interesting. What if you took the usual Dynasty Warriors setting and then added a bunch of supernatural elements to it. I’m talking full dragons, super forms flight, energy blasts, etc. It’s definitely going in a different direction here. You’ve also got a few different crossover missions you can tackle and even a whole new section after the credits. Unfortunately a game is only as good as its gameplay and that’s where this one faltered. It was ultimately unable to live up to its true potential.
The story follows the same plot as the rest of the Dynasty Warrior games. You are tasked with uniting the kingdom under your rule using whatever tactics you need too in order to do this. I went with the classic Team Wu of course since those guys are always pretty neat. From there you’re off to the races. The game has 5 main chapters which each tend to have around 7-10 levels in them. After the credits you unlock a 6th chapter which which I would assume probably has another 5-7 levels in it but hard to say. Looks like you need to beat at least some of the request levels before you can tackle the story one. Not sure I’m a fan of that concept but it applies to the other chapters as well so the game is consistent.
As mentioned, my main gripe here is with the gameplay. Gone are the classic beat em up controls where you would go around and take down whole armies. This one plays out more like a mobile title as you have to take down enemies in small locations. Once you beat all of the enemies in one square then you can go into another room. Mind you, you don’t have to always beat everyone in the room. It depends on the mission and sometimes you can bypass rooms all together. I’m not sure if this would be a different genre or still just called your usual beat em up. There’s a lot more platforming in this game to be sure though as you have to jump around a lot and dodge the water. No swimming in this game.
The enemies are all pretty difficult including the minions. They’ll readily interrupt any kind of combo you try to use. The minions in level 1 have a higher A.I. than the minions in the final levels of the main games. So that’s pretty impressive but when you couple it with how unrefined the gameplay is then what you get is a scenario where you’re never actually able to cut loose. Everything you try to do is interrupted by the opponent without missing a beat. It makes the combat not very satisfying at all. You don’t even have a parry system or anything like that to stop them. You just have to eat the damage or waste a super. Unlike the main games the minions will never drop items either so restoring health just isn’t done unless you can find the rare vases scattered around.
In the end I had to resort to some cheese tactics. I bought the best bow money could buy and loaded it up with poison orbs. Poison deals a percentage of the opponent’s health which is incredibly helpful for bosses since it effectively bypasses health. It’s also good for staying afar since going up close is just asking to be completely wrecked. I was able to buy a bow with 268 attack power at the end and that was able to get me through the end. I did need to stock up on 30 potions and 10 Max Ether type items in order to do it though. You’ll be going to the shop quite a lot to make it through.
Strikeforce has a full hub world which is different from the others as well. You are able to manage a bunch of shops in the city and you level them up after waiting a while. Time passes in the game whenever you finish a level so the quickest way to get time to go by is to start a level and immediately surrender. Rinse and repeat as you watch the levels go up. Once a level is maxed out you have to use some items to upgrade the store further. Try to have the stores to at least level 3 so you can get some good items to buy. For the weapon shop, the higher level you can get it the better. I think you can’t get the 268 bow until it’s at level 4 so keep that in mind. There’s a lot to watch out for.
If you opt to fight with a sword instead of cheesing through with an arrow then just know that you’re going to need a lot of level ups. Earning levels isn’t the easiest thing in the world but by the end of the game I was nearly at level 50 which is the max so I guess it wasn’t so bad. The first level is the easiest one to grind. Just make sure you defeat 1000 enemies there and then clear the level. If you do it on hard mode then you’ll get 1000 EXP each time you do it. Not a bad deal right? Still, I can’t really picture beating some of these guys using a sword. In particular the various dragons and monsters you fight seem like they’d be a nightmare or the levels where you have 4 bosses running at you at once. Divide and conquer is always your absolute best strategy as long as you have some items with you.
The graphics are pretty good although they’re definitely a cut under the main games. It also feels a bit lazy at times because they actually reuse animations from the older Dynasty Warrior game for the cutscenes. They actually play the same cutscene after each chapter except for the final one where we get a new one but no voice acting from the characters. For that you have to wait until the after credits scene which is admittedly pretty hype. Now that’s a good way to really get the blood pumping I’d say. The soundtrack is pretty good. Maybe not too memorable but it gets the job done.
In terms of content this game will last you a while. The story mode took me around 10 hours and I didn’t do the extra chapter at the end. Trying to beat that game should add quite a bit more time into the playthrough and same for maxing out all of the shops. Achieving 100% completion status in this game definitely would not be very easy. Still, that means it’ll be around for a while at least and the going rate is pretty low. I’m confident they would be able to improve upon this one quite a lot if we ever got a sequel.
Overall, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce is definitely one of the weaker ones in the series. It really takes out a lot of the positive elements from the series. It’s a spinoff though so I suppose that’s the best place to test out these new gimmicks. They didn’t work out but this was the right way to do it as opposed to risking it on a main installment. If you want to see a very different kind of Warriors game then it may be worth a shot. The gameplay just isn’t all that fun to me which is unfortunate as a beat em up but it can be satisfying to finally get the feel of the bow and start launching some counter offensives of your own. I also like the whole superhero aspect they went for here with all the powers being thrown around.
It’s time for another Dynasty Warriors experience. It’s definitely a step down from the last one which is unfortunate but it’s still a great game. For some reason they just stripped out most of the voice acting and story that made the 7th game so good. Perhaps fans felt that the story was too expansive and overshadowed the actual gameplay. Maybe there were time constraints. I don’t know, but it’s definitely noticeable when playing the games back to back. For once I changed sides over to Wei this time just so I could get more of a fresh experience this time around.
So you’re playing the same story as usual as you try to unite the country. Most of the key battles are the same as always but it’s interesting playing as the side that is often treated as the “bad guys” of the story. Of course each faction sees each other as the enemy so it’s hard to really say who the true heroes are. That being said, I’ve always been partial to the fire group which is why I would side with Wu. The story has around 14 battles and after completing them you can unlock some what if stories based on if you completed all of the objectives along the way. If not then you’ve still got free mode and a bunch of other options to work with as well.
The gameplay is largely the same as in 7. It’s not quite as crisp but it’s hard to say exactly why that is. I think there may be a slight time lag in switching weapons or something. It’s hard to quantify but otherwise this is still one of the cleanest beat em ups I’ve played. It’s still very smooth and every hit is pretty satisfying. I actually took out 1200 opponents in one level this time which is now a new record for me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever top that because that number is just too crazy to think about. My favorite character was one of the new power types since you can use an axe and it just shreds opponents.
One thing that’s a little different here are the command grab supers. Before now your super attack would always be some kind of massive blow that dealt a lot of damage to everyone. Now you have more personal supers which target one enemy but do a ton of damage. You could effectively one shot even whole bosses using this technique. That was always a blast but it can be hard to effectively aim at the guy you want. There’s also a new mechanic where you somehow trigger a mini animation where you start swiping at a lot of enemies. I never got exactly how I would do this but I was always glad to see it because the damage was massive and even does more than your super move. You really can’t go wrong there.
As with the last game I also like the way they managed the horseback riding. It’s so much smoother than in the old games and makes navigating the level a lot more convenient. It’s hard to imagine going back to the days of having to run everywhere. Now that feels a lot more tedious in comparison. You can’t even compare the two speeds and it’s also handy for tracking down opponents who are trying to make a break for it. Now you just jump on the horse and you’re all set for action. A lot of quality of life upgrades like that have stuck since the last game which is great.
As always the graphics and soundtrack are on point. All of the super attacks and combo moves look incredibly flashy and high-end. Then you’ve got the solid soundtrack which the series is known for. There are a ton of great rock themes to enjoy here and they fit in quite well as you take down all the armies that try to oppose you. You won’t particularly remember any of them but the fast beat is really the important element here and the game definitely delivers on that.
There’s just a lot of content to enjoy here. You can play as all 3 of the usual factions and then you also have an extra group. I’m wondering what they do or how they factor in. Should make for a pretty fresh take. After you complete all of the story modes you can work on gathering all of the PS3 trophies or playing free mode and maxing everyone out. There’s a lot of replay value here and the game goes for pretty cheap nowadays. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth here.
Overall, Dynasty Warriors 8 is a great game. In some respects it can feel a bit lazy though. I don’t see why they had to get rid of the voice acting. It’s part of what made the last game so ahead of its time. Going back to text boxes just feels like it’s a pretty big step back even if we did get some cutscenes still. It’s definitely not quite on the level of 7 but it’s still great so I recommend checking it out. The series has definitely come a long way since the olden days. It’s also pretty cool to know that I’m finally almost caught up with the series. One more game and I’ll finally be at the end.
PS3 Trophies 2/41