Madden 23 Review

Madden is back!! Yesssss. Now I’m caught up and of course this has always been a thrilling series from cover to cover. In many ways it is completely unchanged from Madden 22 so you can really just jump right back into the mix without learning any new combos or things like that. As always to test the game out I played a full season. Only difference from usual is that I decided to play the season as a custom made QB in face of the franchise instead of doing a normal season. I have some issues with the mode but at the end of the day it is an elite game as you would expect.

First off the graphics are top tier as you’d expect. A whole lot of work goes into the visuals and it was certainly worth it. Everything just looks very modern and the presentation is really nice while playing. You get highlights, stats, and announcers talking the whole time. It feels like a very genuine Football product. Then the soundtrack may never be my favorite for the menus but the sound effects while in the game are on point. Those are the ones that you want to watch out for after all to make sure it feels real and it does.

There are a ton of modes to play here. If you have PS+ then you can jump online for some games which is absolutely what I would do if I had it but otherwise playing offline will still get you unlimited enjoyment. The fun never has to stop while you’re here and you can quote me on that. Switch things up by changing your position or playing a different mode. You can even mess with the camera angles now to change things up.

The gameplay is fantastic as always and the games go fast so lets talk about the small things that I didn’t like. One is what I’d consider to be a major oversight. In the face of the franchise mode there is no way to see the league standings. You can look at each individual schedule one by one and calculate this or pick apart the records but the fact that there is no league standings to view is really crazy. It’s the kind of oversight you just can’t believe you’re seeing because it feels so obvious. I cycled through the menus so many times before finally googling it and saw people came up with the same issue all over the place. That’s just crazy, I’m still pretty shocked about it.

Then the other one is that the camera tends to break down randomly during the franchise mode. I’ve noticed this usually happens on the first play of your possession if the glitch triggers. Basically the camera goes in front of you so you can see your backfield but nothing in front. This makes passing the ball impossible because you literally cannot see where you’re throwing. I would always audible to a run and calling a time-out works but it’s a very odd glitch. I didn’t really know what to make of it.

The Madden series definitely still has a bunch of kinks to fix. It seems like most glitches just stick around year to year because they don’t want to fix the source code. It’s something fans have complained about for a long time now and you absolutely get it. That said, fortunately these bugs are not ones that you are likely to run into on your daily adventures. While playing through the game I didn’t encounter anything crazy outside of the camera after all.

In terms of gameplay the only thing I would like to see if the receivers get more aggressive. It’s very impractical to throw any deep ball unless your receiver is massively wide open because otherwise the cornerback starts sprinting and just jumps for the ball while the receiver waits for it the whole time. It’s not a great look for the offense and it means you will usually be throwing small slants and screens. It works but it doesn’t feel like the most realistic way to play the game. You don’t want to be gunning it every down but it’s something that really separates the older Maddens from the newer ones. It’s why I loved Madden 2004 so much and still consider it to be the best.

As always scrambling is a blast though. I absolutely recommend playing a team with a fast QB because nothing beats just getting out there and running a lot. It’s why with my self made QB I prioritized speed over power and accuracy. I wanted to be able to get a 1st down with my legs when I had to. Unfortunately I didn’t make the playoffs as I finished my year 9-8 and lost out due to a tiebreaker but I got it close. There was just one losing streak early on that hurt me a lot as I was getting used to the 3D camera. Once I went back to the standard view then I started getting the good wins again. All Pro is a very fair difficulty to use where you have a challenge but it’s not too crazy.

Overall, There’s not a ton more to say beyond that as this is still the Madden that you know and love. It hasn’t changed much but that’s part of what keeps the appeal going for so long. I do hope they sit down one day and really try to optimize this as the best game it can be but in the meantime I’ll still be around and ready to buy the game whenever the new title comes out. There is no better game to simulate the Football experience after all. It may have some issues but it’s still supremely entertaining to watch and I do feel like there is a good budget here for the technical elements. I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Overall 9/10

Armed Emeth Review

I wrapped up the next Kemco game just in time with the big Christmas batch coming up. This one has a lot of the fun parts of the Kemco formula but it also dropped some of the fun quality of life features that had always made these games stand apart. As a result I would not call this the strongest title in the lineup but you’ll still have a good time with this one. You’ll also feel the RPG horror of maxing all of your characters to level 99 but still being unable to defeat some of the bosses. Whenever that happens you know things are getting tricky.

You play as a guy who is a golem bounty hunter. Basically it’s like being a normal bounty hunter but he also goes after golems and will use them in order to fight. Think of them as old time mech suits that you can use to dish out a whole lot of damage. Well one day he comes across a Golem/Human hybrid who says that the hero’s mother has been kidnapped by an evil organization. The two weren’t particularly close but the hero still can’t let this stand. He will have to trust this golem for now and head out. Along the way he will meet a bunch of allies who are here to help him out for when the going gets tough.

The game does utilize the golems into the gameplay which I thought was a good idea. It helps make the story hit a bit more since you actually see what it’s like to be fighting in a mech. As you can probably guess the mechs help you deal a whole lot more damage than when you are out of it. One thing that I liked is when you r mech is destroyed you can keep fighting as a human rather than instantly dying as well. It is almost like having a second health bar. The golems also have their own equipment and everything so you want to train for them in addition to your actual character. They don’t have level ups though so you don’t need to worry about that.

As I mentioned, getting to Level 99 is not enough for you to win every fight. It helps a lot but the best equipment on the block is something that you will need in order to get further. Additionally it helps to buy items from the store that increase your stats. It takes a while to earn the shop currency though so make each purchase count. I recommend buying the double EXP items as soon as you can though, you can worry about the rest once you’re actually level 99 and not before. You have your basic attacks, supers, and combo moves here as well. It’s a classic turn based combat strategy and you should pick it up before long.

The game is reasonably long although there is a bit less replay value than usual. I ended up platinuming the game right after beating it which is certainly rare. There were still a few more guild missions to complete that weren’t needed for the platinum though so that’s always something that you could do for the championship. Just saying, it is definitely an effective way to go about it! Not like you need that though, the main game is still long enough where you’ll feel the value was worth the price.

One thing that’s missing here is unfortunately the characters don’t have illustrations for the cutscenes. Usually you see a character portrait which is nice because it stands out and you get to see how the characters are meant to look outside of the sprite. This one just goes back to normal text so there are no cinematic cutscenes like that. I feel like they’re a benefit so I would have liked to have kept that. In some ways this one just feels a bit older than some of the others. The map is unlabeled so sometimes it can be extremely difficult to know where you are going. I got lost on several occasions which was unfortunate.

A map is really important in any big adventure game like this so I was hoping it could have been better. Ah well, most of the other quality of life features were here like the auto battle and speeding up effects. So it’s not like it lost all the charm or anything like that, it could have gone a bit higher but I can’t really say much in the end. The gameplay itself is still a lot of fun after all.

The graphics are good even f they’re missing illustrations and of course the soundtrack is great as always. These Kemco games always have incredible soundtracks so I was not surprised that this one was also really good. There are a ton of great fast paced themes all throughout the game. So you’ll never find a slow moment here. The game’s story always feels like something is happening so you’ll be engaged all the way through.

Overall, I may have had some issues with the game like removing the illustrations and having a map with no locations marked on it but it still had all of the core fundamentals that I would expect from a Kemco game. I appreciated the smooth gameplay here and the series in general is always just very enjoyable to read. I’d recommend picking this one up if you’ve liked the other games by them. These are almost like light novels where the titles may be shorter than a normal RPG but they still pack a punch regardless.

Overall 7/10

2022 Sony Recap

Time for the big Sony recap!

Honestly 8 Platinums in a year is pretty good. I think these numbers especially got better towards the end of the year when I was really going at it. Always feels good getting more trophies.

Around 300 hours is pretty good on the PS4. Apparently my favorite genre is Platformer based on our games and we got quite a few of those that’s for sure. Platformers are timeless after all.

Multiversus has really withstood the test of time. Keeping the characters locked behind currency is a good way to keep people playing and the fact that you can earn it in game is pretty cool. Having Sonic Forces and Sonic Frontiers there is great though. Goes to show that Sonic is still an absolutely legendary series!

Not too much stats in the Sony recap but it was still pretty fun to see.

Star Ocean: The Divine Force Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 23h 13m
PS4 Trophies 21/54
Distance Walked 148.4 KM
Distance Flown 64.5 KM
Battles 333
Enemies Defeated 2140
Surprise Attacks 182
Blindsides 621
Max Hits 257
Total Gems 264
Objects Destroyed 181
Item Types 181

Character Levels

Raymond Level 91
Albaird Level 92
Nina Level 88
Malkya Level 85
Laeticia Level 89
Midas Level 84
Elena Lveel 83
Marielle Level 86

Kao The Kangaroo Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 trophies 8/16
Game Complete 75%
Characters 21/24
Treasures 17/17
Moveset 8/8

Level Stats

Hopalloo Island 75%
Walt’s Dojo 86%
The Dark Forest 87%
Terror’s Lair 100%
The Lava Caves 92%
The Hungry Jungle 75%
The Durian Valley 83%
River Track 82%
Monkey Park 67%
The Jungle Throne 100%
The Frozen Mountains 36%
The Frosty Canyon 75%
The Icy Slopes 69%
The Hot Springs 65%
Temple of Spirits 100%
The Isle of Eternity 20%
The Sparkly Funfair 63%
The Crystal Caverns 67%
The Eternal Chambers 100%

Kao The Kangaroo Review

I always enjoy myself a good platformer. It has to be the safest genre out there aside from fighting games in that you know you’ll always have a good time here. It’s a very non risky gameplay style because whether it’s high budget or cheap you’ll be having some fun. Now this one may not be AAA but it was good. The game could be a little glitchy but at the end of the day I had a good time. It’s a short game but one that makes the most of each hour.

The game revolves around a kangaroo named Kao who was having a good time in the village but unfortunately his father and sister have both vanished. His mom pleads with him to stay but Kao has to learn what happened to them. He finds a pair of gloves with incredible magic power and decides that he will save the world and reunite his family. He is warned by a wise old man that the gloves may corrupt him and even turn Kao evil but he isn’t worried. Kao knows that he is strong of heart and can accomplish anything.

So the game has 4 worlds and each one has 3 levels and then a boss. You should have the game completed within a few hours max so it’s not very long but the levels are well designed. I had a fun time playing through them and I may even go back for the Platinum at some point. You can run, jump, and punch so all the basic controls are here. You can also wield elements to solve puzzles and of course take down enemies. I would have liked to have seen more elements but it was probably hard to fit too much in before the game was ending.

Now I mentioned that the game is glitchy. For the most part I don’t really care about glitches much as long as they don’t really impact the game. Sonic 2006, Frontiers, and Pokemon Scarlet are all known as games with glitches but they never impacted the gameplay so I wouldn’t really take note of them. The only reason why I note it for Kao is because I had to redo an entire level due to a glitch at one point. Basically the game doesn’t freeze time while you are talking to someone so I got attacked by minions before I could finish the cutscene. As a result the guy didn’t give me the gem and I couldn’t talk to him again so I had to restart.

Then other times the audio would cut out and you would get these loud static noises so I had to really lower the volume on the TV. These things are pretty noticeable so I would say the game could have used some more time on the debugging phase. Fortunately these are still rare in the end so they won’t really hold the score back either. At the end of the day I would have liked the game to have been longer but it still delivered on giving me a fun adventure which is all that I can ask for. As long as I can have fun then that means that the game did something right.

The story may not be the most original out there but it works out. Kao’s sister is one of those tough characters with a lot of personality so I can appreciate that. The old guy is very wise with all of his teachings so he’s about what you would expect as well. Kao’s father looks bad since he couldn’t master the gloves and got wrecked so easily but I’m sure he’s a good guy. The main villain is super forgettable though so you won’t be afraid of him or anything. I liked the gloves though, he made for a fun side kick.

There are a lot of elements here that would lend themselves over to a sequel really well. I can’t say that I’d be there day 1 or anything like that but I would definitely have a good time with a sequel and would buy it at some point. There isn’t a lot of replay value here though. I suppose you can go for the Platinum trophy which involves getting all of the collectibles. This should take you a few extra hours I’d say but even then not a whole lot of them. You’ll be done with this in a flash

The graphics look good. The character models are on point and I do think that they put a good amount of effort into the backgrounds. It’s a game that visually holds its own at all points. Then the soundtrack is also good. I’d give a special shoutout to the voices though. I loved Kao’s accent and he had this gimmick of overaccentuating the accent on every other word. It made for fun listening and it also makes the character more memorable. He’s not afraid to take risks and go after the villain so I’d give him some good props there. He won’t be winning any awards but he’s better than characters like Crash and Knack.

Overall, Kao The Kangaroo is a fun game that I could recommend to gamers of all ages. It’s a fun platformer that is very simple and straight forward. So you can just appreciate the levels as you jump around and get to the end of the game. I’d have appreciated a few more hours of content to really make this one last but at the very least you can’t say that they wanted to pad things out. The game does what it wants and then just ends after that. No dragging things out or just going on to keep going on and I can respect that.

Overall 7/10

RWBY: Arrowfell Review

Felt like I had to wait years for this game to come out! I was waiting a long time ever since they announced that WayForward would be helping out with this game. They’ve churned out a lot of all star titles over the years and then ArcSystems was also in on it? This was shaping up to be a game of the year contender and the definitive RWBY game at last. Unfortunately it feels like they ran out of development time early on as this feels a whole lot like a cash-in title. That was too bad but at the end of the day it was still a pretty good game. Not amazing in the way that I was hoping for but you’ll have a fun time here.

The story takes place in Volume 7 shortly after the heroes got their professional licenses but before the election since Jacque Schnee isn’t on the council yet. So it’s a rather tight timeline that we’ve got here. A lot of Grimm have been appearing lately including a new group by the name of BRIR so something is amiss. Ironwood asks Team RWBY to investigate what is going on along with the AceOps. The whole world is depending on them so the heroes have to be up to the task.

This is a fairly short game as I completed it in under 4 hours and I obtained the Platinum trophy around an hour or 2 after that. So there is very little replay value here. 100% completing the game in 6 hours and not having any kind of post game to complete is a bit rough on that front. You don’t want to be spending too much money on this one but fortunately it launched at $30 and I suspect that it will be a lot cheaper very quickly. That may feel like shots fired but it just feels like the price would dip quickly. That said it is still RWBY so I would advise you to get this game immediately.

One of the issues with the story here is it feels like Rooster Teeth told the devs they couldn’t do much of anything because the game takes place too recently and they didn’t want to mess with continuity. That’s why it would have been best to make the game not canon so you could just go all out with the plot. As a result it’s not always the most grand of stories. I liked the new villains introduced here in Team BRIR and the final boss is fairly solid in his own right as well. Only issue is that there is a bit of a mystery on who the villain is so any original character made up for the game is deeply suspicious. It makes things just a tad too easy if you ask me. I would have skipped the mystery angle from the jump.

The script also reads like it was created from someone who didn’t actually watch the show. The characters tend to be out of character and it just doesn’t make sense. I’ve never seen Weiss be so upset at Penny constantly. She seems to be really antagonistic to the robot right from the jump for no real reason. It’s a bit bizarre to be honest. Now this may all be sounding a bit dicey but we’re here for the gameplay right? That part is fairly good. It reminds me of the old Cartoon Network web games from back in the day. You can run, jump, attack, and use your semblance. You can also switch between the 4 girls at any time and you need to as each one has an ability needed to get past an obstacle.

It’s like a budget version of Shantae. The hit stun is pretty large so try not to fight any opponents by a ledge or you are definitely falling down. There’s no EXP in the game so you should try and skip all of the enemies that you can. The only benefit to fighting them at all is that they drop coins which is useful for buying items but getting money is quick either way so not much to worry about there. You can buy skill points and heart upgrades that way though. Make sure you buy them all as you’ll need them for the platinum. All of the levels have chests with skill points. You may have to walk a few steps out of your way to get them but I recommend doing this because then the Platinum is even quicker after you beat the game.

The graphics are pretty solid. The character models for the characters are surprisingly low quality but the actual level designs and everything are fun. I wish we could have gotten full voice acting instead of the old text boxes for most cutscenes but one treat is that we do get real fully animated cutscenes in each chapter. Now that was cool and it made you feel like the game did get a big budget somewhere in there that just dwindled over time. Those cutscenes were one of the highlights in the game. Then you also have to consider that the soundtrack here is pretty cool. I liked the new lyrical song that popped up during the first level. It’s really catchy and a lot of fun. There are a few other lyrical songs that weren’t really my thing but I did applaud the effort. It was still impressive to get these in there. So I give the soundtrack a thumbs up because of these songs and it makes up for the repetitive minion theme that plays for each ambush.

I said to skip the villains but that isn’t possible during ambushes of which there are a few in every level. These are points where you have to beat everyone before you can go forward. A bit tedious no doubt but they go down quick. The problem is that you’ll have probably maxed your character out after the first few levels so your attack doesn’t get any higher while the minion health bars just keep increasing. It makes things a little longer even if they are easy to dispatch. I did lose a life once on one of the last bosses though so it’s not a total cake walk. For the most part you can just spam the attack button and beat them before they can drain your health though.

Ruby has the best semblance here as she can go through enemies so I would spam that as I blasted through the levels. I ended up using her the most by far. Blake’s copies are handy though since you can attack in 3 spots at once. Weiss has the worst attack unfortunately but she is good for reaching high places. Yang is strong but her attack is too short ranged so it’s usually better to use Ruby.

Overall, Ruby Arrowfell is one of those games that should have been a whole lot better. Put in the right elements and this would easily be a 9 star game. It didn’t go that route but I would still say to check it out. It’s a pretty fun game that probably would have been a really massive hit back in the GBA era. Now it just feels more standard. The gameplay is good and the big cutscenes help to carry the game. They keep things from getting bad for this one but unfortunately it looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer to get a definitive RWBY game. I know that it will eventually happen though.

Overall 7/10