Driv3r Review


The Driver series seems to have peaked with the first one so far because it has been wayyyyy better than the two sequels. You can’t even compare them but granted, the first I played on Playstation while the next two have been on GBA. These editions leave a lot to be desired and this game in particular was a lot weaker than I had expected. Personally I just thought that it was going to be a lot better than the final product. It’s not a game I would really be recommending to people.

Tanner is back and this time he has to go undercover in Miami to grab some bad guys and find out about car transactions. The plot has a very Fast and the Furious feel to it but the abridged version. It feels like the game grabs screenshots from the home console games and then picks some text to go with it. As a result you get a very fragmented version of the story. Additionally there is nothing to show who is talking so half the time they keep changing the person who is talking in the cutscene but you have no idea who is saying what.

The story ends up being a bit bland as a result. It doesn’t help that the game only has one musical theme that plays for every cutscene. The game is definitely on the low budget side that’s for sure. I was never really able to get all that invested into the story so then the gameplay has to hold its own. There are good and bad things about the gameplay though so that’s why it wasn’t up to the task of carrying the whole game on its back. First off the game can’t process most of the background items.

What that means is you’ll be driving when suddenly a car appears in front of you and knocks the wind right out. A single crash can often mean that you will lose a level, particularly if it’s a head to head collision. There are a lot of high speed chases and such but with this it makes the game a little tougher than it would be otherwise. Particularly when it’s a long level then replaying the whole thing is a hassle. The final level in the game involves 3 checkpoint races in a row and yes if you lose any of them then you start all 3 again.

There is a new mechanic in this game which is that you can actually fight on foot. You get out of your car and start firing shots but there is a big catch to this. See, it was actually going to be a really fun mode but what ruins it is how quickly you can run out of bullets. If you run out of bullets then you have no way to fight back so you just have to lose to the opponent. An additional penalty is that dying takes you back to before the mission and often means that you will have to drive halfway across the city to get back to where you were. Every time you die it’s a huge time delay. I appreciate that the game’s hub world is so big but there should be a quick travel option somewhere. That would have helped out a great deal.

Then getting more ammo is a hassle. (You lose any ammo you used even if you die by the way) You have to find some packs scattered across the massive hub world which is difficult or you have to beat all sub missions of a color which will get you a new weapon. This will come with some ammo. It’s worth unlocking the weapons anyway though because they are considerably more powerful than the starting weapon that you get. Always keep your most powerful weapon equipped as well since ammo you pick up will then go to that one.

Completing the game without the latter weapons will be nearly impossible so make sure you complete the missions. Most of the missions can be a lot of fun at least and they’re short. I didn’t feel bothered at playing them and they would often beat some of the story missions. In the story I mostly don’t like when you have to tail someone, just let me go full blast in a race or something instead.

I do like the combat though and driving can be fun when you’re allowed to go all lout. You can move at really high speeds and while this often causes the game to lag a whole lot, it still feels nice. Surprisingly there is no police mechanic here so you can bump into everyone with no problem. I missed that a bit since it was such a big part of the original Driver game. Maybe they just couldn’t figure it out for GBA or something like that.

The graphics are okay but I would say below average. It didn’t seem like a whole lot of effort was put into this one compared to the bigger titles. It almost looks and feels like some kind of cash-in. I already noted how the soundtrack is basically nonexistent as well so don’t expect any really big tunes there. This is definitely not that kind of title. At least the main theme isn’t bad. That’s good because you’ll be hearing it a whole lot.

Ultimately at its core this game just needed a lot of quality of life upgrades. For starts you should get some ammo when you revive and you need a better way of getting more. Whether that means buying ammo or spawning it in more places, it shouldn’t take forever to get it. I nearly died against the final boss who was a real bullet sponge and if I lost there that would have been disheartening because it took so long to get those bullets in the first place. Then we need quick travel and losing a mission should give you the option to retry it rather than having to drive all the way there again. That would have at least given the game a fighting chance instead of making the levels needlessly exhausting at times.

Overall, Driv3r is not a very good game. I thought it would be better than it was. The gameplay is just good enough to keep me from calling it a bad title but there is almost no reason to get it. There are much better car games to buy as well as shooters. If you have the original Playstation or a PS2 then I would say to just buy the original and play it again. It’s way better and really executes on the potential and possibilities of the franchise. This one isn’t trying nearly as hard. I do still have high hopes for the PS3 title though because we’ll be back on the home consoles and it should have a good budget. If that one is no good then I don’t know what to say at that point. It would be a bit odd.

Overall 5/10

Christine Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

You may remember Christine as the bully from Carrie but the name is a coincidence. This car has been a demon for a very long time and is around to dish out the pain. The movie is about how corruption spreads fast and you have to be careful who you hang with or you could be in trouble. The main guy’s friend is annoying with how quickly he goes on the dark side though.

So the movie starts by introducing us to Arnie who has had a rough time of things. He gets picked on, has really strict parents, and just doesn’t have a high opinion of himself. Well, one day he finds a super beat up car that looks like it’s on its way to the scrapheap and decides to buy it from this shady old guy. His friend Dennis tries to convince Arnie not to do this but he does anyway. Miraculously Arnie is able to make this car look brand new and all of a sudden he has become an overconfident school delinquent. Dennis sees that Arnie is getting worse and worse but what can he do about it?

I’d say that Dennis is definitely put in a really tough spot here. There’s only so much that you can do as the best friend. He’s not family and it’s not like he’s an adult figure so his best bet is just trying to reason with Arnie as friends. Unfortunately that guy is so far off the deep end that it’s really tough to do so. Dennis is a stand-out character for trying so hard. Additionally, Dennis did risk his life in stepping in when the bullies had Arnie outnumbered 5 to 1 and disarmed the guy with the knife.

It was a great scene for him and he really didn’t lose faith in his friend until the end. Dennis really did everything he could. Meanwhile you can basically flip everything that I said for Dennis for Arnie. That guy was annoying on every front. Look, he definitely did have a tragic origin story, I can’t argue against that. The bullies scene was really rough and knowing that he has to go through things like that at school is tough. It’s also easy to see why he has so much self doubt.

The main issue is once he gets the car Christine and suddenly does a 180. If the car is going to mess with his mind, I’d like to see it be gradual so that we know Arnie is actually fighting. Instead the guy goes crazy almost immediately and starts taking this out on Leigh, his parents, and everyone around him. He stops being sympathetic real quick and at the end of the day he chose the car over everyone else. How much of that was mind control and how much of that was really him is the question that the film leaves you with.

It’s hard to say but I’m always big on willpower. If you didn’t produce then that’s game over. So Arnie letting himself be turned evil like that was just bad. Especially when he turns on Dennis who was always in his corner. Beating up on the bullies and taking them out? Yeah that’s rather intense but you definitely see how it could happen. Once he started driving crazy on the highway and acting hostile towards Dennis then things were really crazy. Likewise with taking such a hard stance with Leigh after she had nearly just died by choking in his car.

Arnie’s pretty bad but then I’d also say that Leigh should have completely cut ties with him after the first incident as well. Don’t go back to him after that no matter what he says. Following him into the garage led to another blow-up since the car was his top priority and even after that she’s trying to save him. Perhaps she was extra perceptive that it was the car messing him up but realistically that’s not the first thing that you would think of. She was rather easy on him.

Another character who suspected the car awful quickly was Rudolph. He’s a detective but a rather odd one. I don’t see how anybody could jump to the supernatural conclusion too quickly but this guy seemed to suspect it right away. He was asking a whole lot of questions about the car and how it was fixed so quickly but I’m not even sure what he was getting at. It felt like he had to be hinting that he knew the car was supernatural but that’s really a headscratcher. How he could possibly have jumped to that conclusion (Even if it was correct) is a bit beyond me there.

Props to him being a great detective I suppose. He was a nice character though and I would have liked to have seen more of him. As for Christine, well she’s evil from the jump so it’s not like you can reason with her. She gets jealous quickly and is always ready to exact lethal revenge. If she hadn’t gone after Leigh then you could have at least tried to paint her as a more sympathetic character trying to protect her owner but since she is possessive like that, then there’s no shot. Of course she did the same thing in the past to the previous owner’s family so she was just always like that. I’m cool with the film not going any further into the past because I think it actually makes things more scary to know that she was just randomly an evil, sentient car as opposed to some long backstory about how she turned out that way.

The film isn’t quite as violent as the average King title. The car does take some people out for sure but usually not in super gruesome ways. The violence at times is more implied than shown explicitly. One guy gets rammed to death for example but whereas in another film we would see every moment of that for a drawn out period of time, it’s not quite as intense here. Christine is in general a bit of a mean spirited film though with the average bullies running around and causing trouble. They really go all in by attacking a second time and then you have Arnie’s boss who is rude to everyone for no real reason.

The romance here is really on the weak side for obvious reasons. The relationship with Leigh and Arnie was never going to work out with him being on the dark side and all. I really hope the film wasn’t gunning towards a rebound later on but I’ll choose to believe it wasn’t since it ends pretty quick. I was expecting a different romance plot to continue but the other girl pretty much got completely written out after the opening scenes.

Overall, Christine isn’t really a fun film to watch but at least it’s fairly tame so I wouldn’t say that it’s too bad. There just aren’t very many happy moments and with Arnie being corrupted immediately, you can’t even root for him to really be saved by the end. If you really like evil cars then that might be enough to push it over the edge for you but otherwise I’d say to skip this one. Meanwhile one character nearly chokes to death here and it reminds me why I have to eat so slowly at Jumbo’s pizza. The cheese is so thick that I swear it’s a choking hazard so I always warn people about that when I recommend the place. Top 2 pizza in the whole world but definitely an intense one so don’t take big bites.

Overall 4/10

Team Sonic Racing Review


Sonic has returned with another racing game! I think that means he now has 7 which is really impressive. (3 Riders, Sonic R, 2 Sonic and Sega racing, then this one) He is all about speed though so in a way it does make sense. While I think the gameplay for the Sega racing titles is a little bit better, I appreciate that this one has a real story and full voice acting. It’s nostalgic seeing all of the old Sonic characters running around here.

The story starts with a new character inviting Sonic and friends into a big racing event he’s hosting. The guy even sent invites to the future and to other dimensions so that Blaze and Silver can compete. Most of the characters think something real funny is going on but Sonic is just interested in the cars. Now he can really test his speed skills so he goes to work on challenging Shadow. Will things end okay or has he underestimated this guy?

The story is surprisingly long for a racing game which is pretty nice. It took me two days to complete but I put in several hours of work on each day. There are 7 chapters so around 7 hours sounds right. There are a bunch of levels to play outside of the main story and they probably all have cutscenes so that’s good for replay value. Basically there are different routes you can take to get to each chapter and so I chose the most direct option each time. I figured that made the most sense right? It’s nice to see that the game has the replay value at the ready though.

There is also the matter of obtaining the PS4 trophies but those looked rather difficult to get so I don’t think that I’ll be spending too much time on that for a while. Maybe I’ll grab a few here and there though just to increase my overall average. The character roster is a little on the small side but we have Sonic, Shadow, Silver, and Metal Sonic so as long as I have my hedgehog squad then we’re set.

The graphics are really nice. The game definitely looks modern and they did not waste the budget here. This has the look of a modern Sonic title even if it doesn’t quite have the detailed story or length you would need to be a big one. Where the game really shines though is the soundtrack. There are a ton of great remixes here. The lyrical song at the beginning also sounds like the BioLizard track just with different lyrics. There are so many great songs to listen to here that you will definitely want to play them on Youtube afterwards. This way you can really listen to them since you don’t have to worry about the track.

As for the gameplay itself, it’s your classic 3D racer. You have to drive as fast as possible in order to get to the end of the stage. If you’re in first then you have probably won but it actually depends on your two teammates. If they finish too far in the back then it brings your average down and you could actually lose. Not much you can do to help them though so just focus on getting to the front. You can throw items forwards and back but one new mechanic is that you can give your items to a teammate.

Doing so increases your final smash gauge and then you can activate that to move at super speeds for a little while. It’s really a great deal so I recommend doing that as often as possible. I would just give all my items away to be honest because it’s not like they were helping me all that much on my end. The item are surprisingly weak so often times they won’t have much of an impact on the battle at hand.

Some levels will be a little different though like you have to smash robots or rings as you go to the end instead of it being a pure race. It’s an interesting way to shake things up I’ll give you that. In general I preferred the races but I understand how this could be seen as a fun change of pace. It does ensure that you are trying out different things. I took the chance to also switch characters a few times. Mainly I stuck to Sonic and Shadow but it was fun hearing the other characters from time to time.

I can’t stress enough how great it was to have full voice acting here. Even just hearing them talk during the races or in the mini cutscenes was fun. Voice acting is always a good way to take a game to the next level and it makes everything feel more grand. The story itself was rather low key but the voice acting made it a lot more fun. If I was the devs I would have made Super Sonic playable in the last level and made the villain a bit bigger but in the end I’m just glad we had a true story like this. We even had a bunch of old characters show up to have fun with the group.

My gameplay tip would be to drift as often as possible. You can get a ton of little boosts that way. Also, give all of your items to your partners so that you build up your meter as soon as possible. From that point, make sure to check where you are in the race. If you have enough time to get a second final attack then use it, but otherwise save it until near the goal. That’s usually the best way to ensure all 3 members of your team make it at good spots in the race.

Overall, Team Sonic Racing is a great racing game. It does get a little overshadowed by Mario Kart as with all racing games at this point but I’d say this one can still hold its own as a side game. I wouldn’t say that it actually beats Mario Kart or anything like that as that game is still way more polished but a good amount of effort was put into this one as well. It doesn’t just feel like some low budget clone or anything like that. The game went all in and I’d like to see more Sonic racing games in the future. In the meanwhile the game is rather cheap now so this is a good chance to pick it up.

Overall 8/10

Viva Las Vegas Review


It’s time for another Elvis adventure. I thought this one was quite a bit better than the last one as it embraces the humor and good cheer that you would want out of a musical film like this. There are a lot of good tunes here throughout and you won’t be disappointed. The romance may be a bit weak but as it’s played for laughs most of the time it doesn’t end up dragging anything down.

The movie starts with Lucky and Elmo getting ready for the big race. This is the ultimate grand prix and you could say that they’re rivals of sorts. Elmo is rich and has the better car so he invites Lucky to race for him but Lucky is eager to win this on his own. Nobody’s going to stop him! Well it’s a nice idea but it won’t be so easy. See, Lucky meets up with a lady named Rusty that he falls for and so he wastes an entire day running through every club with Elmo to find her. He finally locates her at the swimming pool but after his flirting attempts fail quite massively, he drops his money in the pool and it’s gone. He’ll have to get money quickly in order to get an engine for the race. Can he pull this off?

One thing that works really well in the film from start to finish is the humor. This is a film that will live or die on how funny it is after all and fortunately this lands. The best sequence is definitely when Rusty decides to go on a revenge date with Elmo so Lucky takes it upon himself to mess this up. He does this by making sure that he is the waiter assigned to them and messes up all of the dishes and keeps causing a lot of noise. Lucky isn’t subtle about this either. He just runs in and starts causing general mayhem the whole time.

Elmo tries to politely tell him off but it never works. As for Rusty, since she was only doing this to get back at Lucky anyway, she seemed happy enough to just get out of there. So in a way Elmo was just being used the whole time but in a way I think he knew this. He was just desperate enough to play along the whole time. See, Elmo and Lucky were rivals for Rusty but she only ever had eyes for Lucky. Elmo was out of the game before it ever started.

It was almost surprising that the two of them stayed friends throughout all of this but I suppose at the end of the day they weren’t taking it all very seriously. Their friendship wasn’t about to be broken so easily! It’s a nice change of pace from how fragile these things usually are. In the end Elmo was a decent character. He may have been too much of a flirt like Lucky but at least he was a fun guy.

Meanwhile Lucky is okay but definitely not the loyal type. He seems to instantly fall for any girl that he sees so if I’m Rusty I’d be very weary here. He also doesn’t take a hint too quickly like when he was singing the song to Rusty but getting shot down the whole time. Ultimately he doesn’t plan things out too well in advance either like with the whole money situation. Why let the engine be an issue so close to the actual race? If he had ended up missing it then that would have been very bad for him.

The actual race is only a very small part of the film though so you will need to be watching this for the comedy and romance instead. That takes up almost the entire film after all. There are also a lot of songs I suppose. They’re all reasonably catchy. You’ve got that classic Elvis feel to each of the tunes. I wouldn’t say any of them are home run hits but they do the job. There are a lot of songs here after all and so it’s good that they’re fun. Boring songs would have been a really bad idea here since you want to keep up the full momentum the whole time.

Then for Rusty, she’s a good heroine but should have stuck to her guns. Initially she wanted nothing to do with Lucky but ultimately falls for him anyway and then starts to get jealous a lot. Her character flaw here is that she wants him to stop racing since she thinks its dangerous and wants to be the focus point of his life. It makes her come across as rather selfish the whole time. She knew what she was getting into here so why change it up at the last second like this? It didn’t make a lot of sense and ultimately you know she’s just going to have to get used to it because Lucky was not going to leave the race.

Their banter was good while they were rivals and I think they should have kept it that way. Would have been a much better way to go about it if you ask me. They were really going at it too. Like their battle at the competition, it was nice to see them both trying so hard to win it all. You don’t get that same energy once they’re together. It’s also just cheesy in general because of how quickly everything moves. Slow the roll a bit and the film would work better for it.

Overall, Viva Las Vegas is a solid all around film. The plot is good and a lot of the gags in the movie really work well. The movie knows how to get a good laugh out of you. The main guy and his rival definitely get too distracted by girls though. At least Elmo doesn’t scam them because he’s too nice for that but the same isn’t said for Lucky. You will have a hard time rooting for Lucky the whole time since Elmo just seems like a better person in every way. You still know how it’s all going to play out either way though. That’s just how it goes.

Overall 7/10

SpyHunter 2 Review


It’s time to finally jump into the next installment in the SpyHunter series. The first one was a reasonably solid game that didn’t have a big story mode but the gameplay was pretty solid. This one switches things up quite a bit. There aren’t a lot of objectives you have to complete in every level this time, typically there will just be 2-3 and they are done one at a time instead of being all at once. As a result the gameplay experience is a lot smoother and this one definitely beats the original.

You’re given the story objectives through the loading screens each time but effectively another terrorist group is around and they’re causing mayhem. Funding the wrong people, causing explosions and damages, etc. It’s now up to the main character to put a stop to this. He now has one ally, a professional agent who is so skilled that she gets the opening cutscene here. Will these two be enough to stop the villains or have they already lost when faced with this much unchecked power!

So the general gameplay is that of a 3D racer. You drive your car through the levels and blast away at all of the enemies who attack you. Typically there is some kind of opponent to beat at the end but other levels will have you protect someone or have to destroy a bunch of objects. There are no literal races here as every mission is serious business. You have two weapons and a defensive option at the ready. You unlock new upgrades every few levels and the game will always default you to the most recent ones. Often times that’s for the best but on the defense side I actually preferred the forcefield that gives you complete invincibility for a little while over the improved armor which was technically scored higher.

It’s nice that you actually get to customize your weapons this time around though. That’s not something you were really able to do back in the day. The level designs are all pretty sharp as well. Only once did I think the level wasn’t too straight forward. It was a water level where you had to use a lot of short cuts through the pipes but because the pipes were everywhere the whole thing got confusing really quickly.

Now this is not an easy game by any means. Expect to die quite a lot because your vehicle doesn’t have a lot of durability. Aiming is also very rough here so a lot of times you will be blasting right at an opponent and still missing somehow. I definitely think that part could have been refined a whole lot more than how it was. Something tells me it was not intentional but hey…if it was intentional then I guess that’s fine…not. Still should have been more usable.

The best thing to do sometimes is to just circle back. Never let an opponent get behind you because then they start blasting and the next thing you know, your car is completely broken. Losing some time to get behind them is always worth it. Fortunately later on in the game you get a smoke attack that shoots behind you and it is easily the best tool at your disposal. It can beat just about any minion instantly and it even works on some of the bosses. I remember having trouble with one of them so I went on ahead and used the smoke. Surprisingly it did the job.

The game does allow you to be a little creative here. It’s also done in a way where you don’t feel too annoyed at having to start over again. I’d say it’s because the game is fast paced and the soundtrack is so good. You’ll see some really excellent themes pop up from time to time in this game. It’s got that old school rock feel to it which really makes the races a whole lot more exciting. The graphics are also very good. Not out of this world or anything but it holds up quite well over the years.

One tip I’d say is that your vehicle actually has a ground mode. There’s one level where you have to go through the mud and the car was going super slowly the whole time. So I thought that was intentional and it was one of those almost auto scroller type levels but then I lost due to the time running out. It turns out that I was supposed to click the upwards directional button to transform. I don’t recall the game explaining that at any point and so it took me a little while to figure out. If you’ve got that at the ready then you’ve nothing to fear.

It’s just a strong all around title. The gameplay is really good and it stands out among its peers as a vehicle combat game. I’d like to see the series get more of a comeback with some AAA titles in the future. I think there is a whole lot you could do with this franchise and a solid company could really get it into the mainstream. I guess we’ll see if that ever happens or if this stays forgotten in the past instead.

Overall, SpyHunter 2 is a pretty good game and I’d recommend checking it out. The campaign isn’t super long or anything so you’ll have it beaten before long but the difficulty level really helps to keep it from being too fast either. So that way you’ve got a pretty good balance here. Just keep on trying and use different tactics in the levels. Before long you’ll have this one knocked out and then you’ll be ready for the next challenge.

Overall 7/10

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 5h
Race Rating 1413
Battle Rating 1151
Total Battles 49
Tournament Battles 26
Online Races 64
Balloon Battles 2
Renegade Roundup 3
Bob-omb Blast 2
Coin Runners 2
Shine Thief 0
Distance Driven 234
Coins 335
Favorite Course Mute City
Favorite Character Daisy
Favorite Vehicle Standard Bike
Favorite Tires Ancient Tires
Favorite Glider Super Glider
Drifts 1825
Mini-Turbos 618
Super Mini-Turbos 375
Ultra Mini-Turbos 0
Jump Boosts 683
Saved by Lakitu 12

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review


Mario Kart 8 is a game I’ve been meaning to get for many, many years but it just didn’t work out. Well, that paid off in a way because then it came out for the Switch so I got to get the updated version there. The Deluxe version brings Link and everything unlocked from the jump. Throw in the smooth online and it really does feel like a Deluxe edition here. You are bound to have a lot of fun while playing through this one.

Now on one hand with everything unlocked from the jump you may feel less incentive to go and actually play through all of the cups but it also means that you can really relax and do everything at your own pace. You can play the tournaments, jump into online battles, play vs mode, etc. There is absolutely a lot of content here so you certainly won’t run out or get bored either. The amount of stages here must be a record. I’m not sure if that is a fact but at least it feels like this must be the case.

I’ve played a whole lot of stages and I’m not sure if I’ve played them all yet. Then there’s also the character roster which is just as impressive. I set a challenge for myself to play as every character before doing that review and so I took them all for a spin. It’s really cool to play as a guest star like Link here. I can definitely understand why people are getting hyped for a Nintendo Kart. You can’t go wrong with guest stars and it just enhances the amount of fun you can have. Characters are mainly cosmetic as well so you might as well throw them in.

It goes without saying that the gameplay is quite excellent here. The controls are really smooth and you shouldn’t have a problem driving around. I notice that the game does try to make it a little easier on you here as it’s hard to drive off the road. The game will usually auto correct for you to make sure that you stay on the road. That’s definitely a very useful feature to be sure. I don’t think it is quite as good as say Double Dash where you really have to be careful to master your vehicle at all times but it does make sense in terms of making the game more inclusive for everyone to have a good time with. Double Dash is still my all time favorite game after all but it’s safe to say that Mario Kart 8 is the next best.

The soundtrack is excellent with a huge variety of songs to choose from. Every stage has its own distinct theme and nothing is reused here. You’ll hear a lot of nostalgic music throughout the game and of course modern twists as well. It’s definitely a game that’s very soothing to play with how peaceful some of the songs can be and even the fast paced tunes just feel good. This is a game where you can see how Nintendo put a ton of effort into every aspect. Naturally the graphics are included with that. The game looks quite excellent at all times. The gameplay is sharp and the stage designs really pop out at you as well.

For the online modes you can play in tournaments, single races, battle modes, etc. I tried all of the options and it’s nice to be playing against other opponents in real time. I played a ton of matches and didn’t experience lag in any of them. Imagine if Super Smash had that level of attention to it? Now that would really be something. It’s also fun how you have a little point total next to your name as you play through the stages. It’s not really a ranking since you don’t know where you stack up but it does give you something to aim for as you win more and more races.

As for the battle modes, you’ve got quite a few here. The most fun one is probably the cops and robbers game as you have to dry and get out of the area before you are whacked by the other team. You can free other members who have been captured though. The game seems to favor the team making the arrests here but you do need to have strategy and doing that online can be tricky. There’s also a capture the flag game which is fun. You have to try and hold onto it for a while in order to win. This can be tough if you’re not the first to grab it though. It’s not that hard to buy 20 seconds in the initial skirmish.

There’s also the bomb and balloon modes although unfortunately the balloon one is no longer about survival. I suspect the developers were worried about players dragging the matches out too long so they turned this into a pure score battle but I always liked the idea of a survival mode since it really makes you have to drive carefully to try and stay on top there. With a score system it’s a bit more chaotic. I don’t think you will be spending quite as much time here as in the races anyway though so it’s really just more ways to play the game and you can’t go wrong there.

Overall, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely a great game. There is a whole lot of replay value here which you probably guessed from everything above. This is really a complete game in every aspect. I can’t think of a single weakness that it has and so Mario Kart 8 will really end up leaving a strong legacy behind it. You will be hard pressed to find a better racing game available and of course playing online with others is a lot of fun. The items ensure that you will have a fresh experience in each race. No two races will be identical after all and the item frequency is really quite high. The stages are the right length as they aren’t too short or too long. There really must have been hundreds of hours of research pumped into this and it paid off. The bar for the 9th game is really set quite high at this point.

Overall 9/10

Fast & Furious Crossroads Review


It hasn’t been too long since I played the last Fast and the Furious game so it was time to check out the latest one. It has certainly raised the bar compared to last time and it’s a fun playthrough. It’s a bit on the short side though, you’ll certainly be able to beat it in under 10 hours. Aside from the first two levels which I played on day 1, I conquered the rest in one sitting. This is not a game you buy to play for a full month vacation.

The story starts by introducing us to the two main characters Vienna and Cam. They seem to be running away from some kind of dark past but have finally found themselves at peace in a new city. This doesn’t last though when one of Vienna’s friends gets himself wrapped up in some mob business that’s connected with a global terrorist group. Dom and Letty have been on this case for a while but the villain group led by Emil is rather tricky to pin down. They always seem to be one step ahead. Perhaps Vienna and Cam can help Dom’s crew gets the edge here. It’s high risk but then again, the main characters are probably doomed otherwise. Will they be able to gain enough skills to actually take down the villains or will it be curtains for them.

Right away you can appreciate the solid graphics here. The level designs are on point and the world feels really large. It’s really like something out of a Need for Speed game. Granted, I don’t think there actually is a free roam option although I could be mistaken. Each level makes you feel like you can just go off track and do whatever you want though. There are a lot of shortcuts you can use in each level by going off the path. Occasionally you will bump into an invisible wall though and the short cut ends up being the long way around. You have to choose your routes carefully but it’s certainly a good feeling when you find the right path.

The levels are polished and that’s absolutely what you want to see in a game like this. Now once in a while they can go a bit overboard on the effects like the desert level where you can’t see anything. It might be realistic but I’d actually like to see the level instead of sand clogging up the mirror. If you throw on your nitro while in the sand storm it’s really a trippy experience as the whole screen turns a dark red and it’s like you’re in the underworld. Beyond that level it’s always clear to see what is happening though.

The game isn’t very difficult. You should be able to beat most of the levels on the first try. The only two that gave me some trouble was one mission where you couldn’t let your partner die and one where you have to beat the main villain before he got too far away. That one was tough because of how fast he goes but fortunately each level has a lot of checkpoints so you never have to go too far. That’s definitely a critical point because having to replay a whole level would be unfortunate so this was just really good stage design.

The soundtrack’s more on the forgettable side. I doubt you will remember it at all. For the characters, they’re okay but the film crew steals the show so I wouldn’t have minded if they were the main characters instead. Vienna get a tragic backstory that we don’t fully learn about until the final 2 minutes of the game so the writers really took their time here. She has a clear reason to fight and a lot of development throughout so they did a good job with her. Cam is here as the tough character who is always disobeying orders to run in and get the job done. This tends to work out more often than not and seeing as how everyone is always defying orders here, Cam fits right in.

From the movie cast you’ve really just got 3 characters who get a lot of screen time here. First up is Roman who has to handle the undercover part of the job. He really does take the biggest risks here so you feel bad for him with how nervous the guy gets. It’s fortunate that he is able to stay so calm under pressure. I would have liked to have seen more of him since he was great in all of his appearances. Then you have Dom coming in clutch as always but he might get the smallest role of the 3 since he’s always dashing off. When the game enters the climax and a huge rocket appears you know that he is really their only chance now.

Letty has a lot of connections and is also the one to find the new main characters so she contributed quite a lot to the group. Vienna tries to make things personal quite a few times and fortunately Letty doesn’t back down. She’s not the kind of character who will take any disrespect without some kind of comeback. The villains in the story are less noticeable though. The leader is a guy named Emil but there really isn’t anything to him. He’s just an old guy who wants to cause a lot of chaos and deal a blow to America. It all comes down to money for him.

There actually aren’t a lot of races in this game. Most of the gameplay is following other cars, getting somewhere on time, or even fighting against other cars. There are only maybe 2-3 races if I recall correctly. The races are typically the toughest levels in the game though so it works out that they’re gone. I would win them but it would come down to the wire because it took me some time to get the turning under control. Once that was in the bag then it was off to the races for me. There are also some quick time events like jumping onto a truck but you never control anyone outside of the car so this isn’t completely like Pursuit Force just yet. Maybe for the sequel.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though. So the main story will last you some hours but after that you really just have online and some trophy hunting to keep you busy. I don’t expect either option will last you for too long. I mean, the online will take a lot of matches to get the Platinum if you pursue it, but if you don’t have PS+ then I don’t see the offline options keeping you around for very long. This is definitely a game that you beat and then put away.

Overall, Fast & Furious Crossroads is a solid game. I certainly would have liked to have seen the story be a bit longer but in the end I don’t have any big complaints. It ends up executing well on what you would expect for a game set in the Furious universe. You have high intensity races and car battles from start to finish. The story quickly goes off the rails with the rocket showing up and it feels out really crazy like the movies tend to be. If you want a vehicular battle game then this is the one for you.

Overall 7/10

Fast & Furious Showdown Review


Fast & Furious Showdown is one of those games that is easy to forget about. I didn’t even know it existed until I was on Ebay looking for the new game and came across it. That said, this should not be mixed up to say that it isn’t a high intensity title. The racing is solid and while the game is short enough, there is a tough level or two that should take you some tries. Ultimately it’s a good racing game that is hindered by its short length.

The game takes place before film 6 where the heroes had their big team up with Hobbs. So the campaign follows the introduction of his new partner who is trying to learn about Hobb’s objectives and enemies. To do this, the heroes basically talk about how great Dom and his crew are as well as Shaw and the villains. As they continue defeating us in each encounter, the partner gradually sees why Hobbs wants to recruit Dom and his gang since Shaw is unbeatable otherwise.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard racing game for the most part, but throw in a bit of Need for Speed type combat as well. After all, either the cops or the villains will always be trying to stop you depending on what side you’re playing as. So you have to move as fast as possible and always stay one step ahead. For the traditional driving levels, the gameplay is on point and you feel like you’re going rather fast. The toughest levels are when you have to win through drifting which is not a mechanic I use a whole lot in any title.

Then you have the double driver levels where one person jumps to the top of the car and blasts away at the others while someone drives. I would always switch myself back into the driver’s seat because I’m not the biggest FPS fan. Additionally, I found the A.I. to be a pretty bad driver in most instances so driving on my own was the best bet. Otherwise you’re just crashing all the time and at times it also feels like you’re just moving really slowly which was kind of odd. I don’t see how that would have an effect on anything as long as the A.I.is holding down the accelerator.

There is one level where the obstacle feels a bit odd though. That’s when there are these little bombs on the ground and the shockwave feels like it’s a whole lot bigger than the animation. It doesn’t matter where you are, the bomb will ultimately catch you. I thought this was a bit much and died numerous times but I suppose I eventually got out of there which is the important thing. That’s the only time I let the A.I. drive so I could snipe as many bombs as possible.

There are also some quick time events where you have to jump on a truck once in a while. I like quick time event type scenarios but this one does feel like there is no true purpose to even have it here. It’s a small instance once in a blue moon for something that will not actually affect the level since it usually ends at that point. I’ll give the game credit for coming up with new modes and all but I think you could have done more with it. Imagine quick time events for some hand to hand fights among the main characters? Now that would have been pretty awesome.

As for the graphics, well they’re fairly standard stuff. Not as good as you’d find in one of the big AAA titles but I would say they are good enough not to be called bad. So they’re fairly passable and better than what you would find in the Madden cinematic moments. The soundtrack is more on the bad side. It’s going for an EA kind of feel with a lot of modern lyrical songs but most of them definitely felt more annoying than good. They’re loud and all but the lyrics don’t work so well and I wouldn’t count this as a net positive.

In terms of replay value, there doesn’t seem to be much of anything here. No extra levels or big collectibles to grab at all. I suppose that means you will purely be here to re-experience the story levels again but the thing to note is that you cannot skip the cutscenes. So that will present a bit of an issue I imagine. There may have been some kind of challenge mode so hopefully that will help but for the most part this is definitely the kind of game that you play for the story and after that you’ll likely leave it around. The story’s around 4-5 hours so it’s good enough if you find this for a small price. For full pricing it would not have been worth it though.

Overall, Fast & Furious Showdown is a fun title. I’m always up for a good racing game and the combat part is also nice since it expands on the concept a bit. What’s more thrilling than trying to turn the corner as someone is blasting as you right? The A.I. uses a lot of rubber banding though so they tend to catch up to you no matter how far ahead you are. Definitely makes it difficult to truly get away without defeating them so you always need to be on the attack. It should have had more of an in depth story mode and more replay value though. I look forward to seeing how the new version plays out one of these days and if it’s able to improve on these areas. If it does then I think we will have a true winner on our hands.

Overall 7/10