Nickelodeon Kart Racers Review

I got this game almost for free thanks to some Gamestop points and a gift card so now I finally get to see what Nick is up to in the racing circuit. Unfortunately I can confirm that they weren’t up to a whole lot because the game is really not as impressive as you would expect. There just isn’t a whole lot to this game so it ends up feeling rather barren the whole time. There isn’t any real personality and it’s lacking in proper sound effects and replay value. Ultimately it doesn’t seem like it was quite ready for the challenge of trying to be the next Mario Kart but there is potential for sequel games.

When you jump in you’ve really just got two main options, free racing and the grand prixs. The gameplay is your classic 3D racing environment and it’s very much like Mario. You can drift with the R2 and L2 buttons and you pick up items along the track. Use them to smash up the competition and get to the goal. Of course the objective is to finish the race first and then you get the maximum amount of points. There are 4 races per cup but the final ones go up to 8. Each race is fairly quick though so you should blast through them. The difficulty level is also fairly basic. There is a lot of rubberbanding here though so when you’re ahead of the opponents be prepared for them to suddenly make a historic comeback to reach you.

I recommend keeping a boosting item on hand but don’t actually use it until you are close to the goal. That’s the best way to make sure that everything works out. It will work against any sudden surprises. The items have a decent amount of variety so I’ll give the game credit for having a ton of different items at the ready. It would have been real easy to have just had a few items so I appreciate their going the extra mile. I will also say that there are a reasonable amount of different stages here although they do tend to blend together a whole lot. I think it’s because of the slime that hits you in every level, it’s easy for the stages to start all looking the same once they’re covered in slime like that.

In terms of replay value I would say there is a good amount here because aside from the cups you also have unlockables in the form of each car part. You can get engines, wheels, tires, etc. There are a whole lot to buy and it takes a while to earn any money. The easiest way is to level up by winning a lot of races and I imagine that this will get more difficult the more you do it as well. So I expect this would be a fairly long grind by the end of it but it is nice to equip the parts and really feel the boost by the end. Each speed part definitely makes a difference when going up against the computers.

What this game is really lacking though are character voices, more cars, and more content in general. Customizing parts is nice but how about just giving us brand new cars each time instead? I think that would end up feeling a lot more fulfilling. Additionally I would also be on board with some kind of minigame mode similar to Mario Kart where you have another objective besides just the race. That could be do a lot to just make the game feel a little more expansive. Of course another big one is having more than 12 characters. That’s just not a big roster, particularly for a PS4 game. You feel like they could have done a whole lot more with this. I’d say Spongebob and TMNT individually could easily have way more than 12 characters when you think about it.

I think that would really be enough. At its core a racing game doesn’t have to be super fancy after all. Just put some wheels on the car and get us moving. That’ll be enough to do the trick in the end and everything else is about making it stand out. As a developer you want to be able to answer the question of: “Why should I play this instead of another racing game?” with some kind of definitive mechanic. It can be characters, fun levels, etc but you have to have something and right now I don’t think this one does have much of anything. I’ve played car games on the computer that felt like they had more depth but of course that could be my nostalgia goggles.

Overall, This was a good racing game but a bit more basic than I expected. It’s closer to the level of M&M Racing than Mario Kart which is a bit odd since you would expect this to be a big AAA title. That being said, I still did have fun. It’s just the kind of game that you would be having a lot of fun in short term rather than long term. If I bought this one day 1 then I’d probably have been far less pleased with the end result. For a few bucks though you can race as your favorite characters and earn a few trophies. I know there are 1-2 sequels out there so at some point I’ll grab them to see how they go. Who knows, if one of those adds a story mode it could really end up being the next big thing and that would be a lot of fun. Give me a quality story!

Overall 6/10

Redout: Lightspeed Edition Review

Redout is definitely a game that I can’t say I knew a whole lot about before getting it but it ended up being quite solid. It’s effectively an F-Zero type game. Granted there is no story mode here so you are really going to be focused on the races and going as fast as possible. There is a whole lot of content to be played through here so you’ll have a lot of bang for your buck. Especially considering how cheap the game goes for now. It’s definitely a title that you won’t want to miss out on.

The main mode you’ll be sticking to is Career Mode. Basically you will start off with a bunch of race options for class 1 vehicles. You will start to race on those and as you obtain medals you will earn EXP to level up. Once you have enough EXP then you will make it to the next level and then you gradually unlock more classes. There are 4 classes in total and the final one is unlocked at level 22. So at that point you can say that you have all of the content here ready to play. You don’t have to actually complete all of the stages in order to unlock the final class as it’s all about EXP. You could theoretically keep on playing the same level to grind out EXP although it would take much longer so there would be no point. Additionally I think the game is wise to that plan because I was farming gold on one level and then I suddenly started receiving 0 gold from there.

The reason gold is important is because that’s the only currency in the game so you have to budget out what upgrades to buy. An upgrade is around $10,000 for example, then power-ups are around $9,000, and a new car can go from $9,000 to $90,000. Everything gets more expensive based on the class of car/power-up you want and money gets scarce quickly. Each new car for class 1 and class IV get you a trophy so you’ll probably want to buy those right away. I ended up still needing to buy around 2 more cars by the end so maybe I’ll head back one day just to grab those silver trophies.

Ultimately if you want the platinum then you will need to beat all of the levels though. At least the base game levels. You will see some for the Mars DLC on the screen and you don’t need to worry about those unless you end up buying the DLC. So that’s one thing to keep in mind here. Beating all of the levels would definitely be really challenging. I played some of the tougher ones and kept on dying because it feels like you can just never move fast enough no matter what you do. It’s really tough to keep pace with the other racers but I suppose in the end that is part of the fun. Trying to keep outdoing yourself as much as possible.

The racing controls are fairly basic but one difference is that you use your right joystick to strafe which helps with the turning. This is the part of the game I likely didn’t master and feel like if I understood that mechanic better then I would hold my own a lot better. You also have the power-ups which are different based on which ones you equip but I have to admit that I never understood those so I intentionally chose passive ones. That way I wouldn’t have to even worry about activating them. In my races against opponents I never really got hit by anything so the whole thing’s a mystery.

This game could serve to have a real tutorial. I feel that’s pretty rare to say but that way I could be sure that I was playing the way the game expected me too. Instead I was sort of just driving as best I can which is good enough for the lower levels but really mastering the game’s specific mechanics is probably the only way I would be getting anywhere near the top. The graphics are really good though. Everything is colorful and vibrant the way you would expect for a sci-fi racer like this. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. There are some decently emotional songs in there but for the most part it’s very fast and techno the way you would expect it to be. It matches up well with what the game is going for.

There is also a lot of replay value because of all the purchases that I mentioned and the levels here. There really are quite a lot of levels so you should have plenty to do for a very long time. Just keep on plunging ahead to the goal and you’ll be at the end in no time. Even when you lose you earn a good amount of XP and Gold which I like because then it never feels like your race was a waste. There was always a purpose to entering each event and some other games can definitely take a few pointers from this one in that regard. You should always get something for your trouble.

Overall, Redout is a pretty fun game. The racing gameplay is on point and while I may not have understood part of it, the overall experience was still on point for me. There is a whole lot of content to enjoy here so you certainly won’t be bored all the way through. It may not stand out compared to other titles but it’s so cheap that you should really give it a chance. After all at worst you may just think it doesn’t stand out but at best it could be the next big racing game for you. It makes no real mistakes and I do like the simplicity of the level up system. Get stronger to race better cars. It’s extremely straightforward and so when you lose you just have to take a look at your car and rethink how you play the stage. There aren’t any big gimmicks to worry about.

Overall 7/10

Need for Speed (2015) Review

It feels like it’s been a while but it’s time to dive in with the next Need for Speed title. This one brings in all the exciting racing you could hope for from previous installments but the story isn’t all that good. This one is trying for an ambitious story with a lot of different group dynamics but it really never gets all that good. The first mistake was making this a more grounded live action kind of story. Give me fun graphics and an animated story any day.

The basic premise here is that you come into town and are looking for some fun racing action. You meet up a group who help you find the right tracks. From there you start racing so well that everyone wants you on their team. You have to complete missions from 5 different people and the more you complete on one side, the more the others get mad at you for always being busy. You even end up helping the Outlaws and so you’ll be in a meeting where everyone is upset at them but on the downlow you’ve actually been helping them the whole time. There’s some real drama here for sure and one character even comes close to beating you up at one point.

These driving tests and races really get personal that’s for sure. You can’t afford to let your guard down at all or you may end up in trouble. The only thing to do is to race and race hard! There are a lot of missions in this game so I wouldn’t expect to complete the game too quickly. It can be a bit tricky with the races when their cars are going super fast and likewise the group drifts can get difficult. On the whole drifts are still easier than races though. I would recommend sticking to your main car for most of the game and just upgrade it as needed. Once you see that the opponent’s cars are simply faster than yours even with max upgrades then buy the best car you can. The reason you want to hold off on buying a car right away is so that you have enough money to buy one of the top ends as opposed to a middle grade car that will only buy you some time. There’s just not a whole lot of point in doing that and then having to earn money when you can jump to the top. I did this and so I only needed to buy one really great car at the end.

Just base it all on how much faster your car is. If you’re faster then you just have to make sure not to crash and you’ll win. If you’re slower…well then there isn’t a whole lot that you can do so you may as well not worry about it and just get a good car. The money is fairly generous in this game so I wouldn’t worry too much. Additionally, the more build missions you complete, the more upgrade parts you get so that’s another thing to keep in mind. You absolutely are going to want those down the line as it is so don’t lose sight of that. If you get to level 50 then you should have all of the parts at the ready although you’ll likely beat the game well before that. I beat it at around level 44 if I remember correctly.

You can fast travel to any mission by selecting it and then scrolling right so make sure you do that. I didn’t realize you could teleport at first so I was actually just driving around instead. Teleporting is infinitely easier and more convenient. Then you just complete the missions and if at any point you think a mission is too tricky you can select a different mission instead. With 5 types to choose from it’ll be a while until you actually have to take a specific mission and by then you will likely be a lot faster than you once were.

The graphics here are really sharp. The cars and environments are absolutely high end and everything just looks really sleek and nice. You feel like you are in the car and ready to dominate at all times. The speeds you can go at without the game lagging at all is very impressive. The soundtrack is more on the underwhelming side to the point where you will want to lower the volume in the settings right away. EA has never been known for its soundtracks so that’s not a huge surprise but be that as it may you will probably still shake your head here. Either way just hearing the engine is reasonably soothing.

There is some replay value after beating the game which is to try the Eddie challenges and go after the Platinum. You don’t even need the former to obtain the latter which is interesting. Good luck finding anyone online but the offline gameplay still has a lot of races and non story content to accomplish. Considering that the main length was also rather long as well, I’d say you should be kept nice and busy here. There’s just a lot to really take in and enjoy even if the story is really weak. You are mainly here for the gameplay either way.

The difficulty can be high but it still feels fair. There is a bit of rubberbanding on the CPU side with the enemies suddenly appearing right next to you at times but for the most part I wouldn’t say that this ever becomes a big problem. If your car is faster then you will win. I have repeated this point a few times already but mainly just to emphasize how big a deal that is. Yes crashing will become easier so you better master drifting but at the end of the day if you don’t make mistakes then you’ll be good and that’s how it should be.

Overall, Need For Speed is a quality game. I look forward to seeing how Payback stacks up against this one. Will it surpass the 2015 title or will it end up being left in the dust? It may be a while before I play that one so I won’t know the answer too soon. In the meantime I am aiming for the Platinum on this one so you can probably expect to see an update within the next few days. I mainly just need to get a lot of XP to reach Level 50 and do the daily challenges and I’ll be set. I think this would be my first Need for Speed platinum as those are usually really rare.

Overall 7/10

Ford v Ferrari

I remember this film getting a ton of promotion when it was first coming out. You couldn’t walk a few steps without seeing some kind of advertisement or poster. I can see why since everyone loves cars and you would definitely at least now about both companies. I can’t say that I ever followed the competitions much though so at least whoever would win, I wouldn’t know the outcome much. It’s a pretty good movie but one that is hampered by a pretty bad ending. I suppose it is usually difficult to change any parts of the ending when you’re based on a true story but if there was ever a time to do it, this would be it.

The story effectively has two main characters. First you have Shelby who used to be a great driver but unfortunately he can no longer race at high speeds anymore. His heart just can’t keep up with it and so everything gets really blurry. He now works as someone who repairs and sells cars. One day he is approached by Iacocca representing Mr. Ford. He wants Shelby’s help in creating the ultimate race car so they can win Le Mans. Shelby figures this is pretty much impossible since Ferrari has such a strong hold on that race but they are willing to spend anything so why not right? He knows just the man for the job.

The top racer around is Miles. He has won many races over the years but unfortunately they don’t pay the bills very well since his bad attitude often costs him any shot of getting a sponsor. So he’s retired from the business at this point but Shelby pushes him back in. Perhaps by having the best racer and the best car they can actually have a shot at this. There are corporate suits trying to get in the way though, specifically Beebe who didn’t get along with Miles when they first met and now has a huge grudge. The grudge is so big that he would rather lose than see Miles come out on top here.

There is definitely a lot of drama here. I don’t know enough about the historical events to say how accurate it is or not but either way it is very entertaining and that’s the important part. I like the feud between Ferrari and Ford. It makes for a good reason as to why Ford is trying to hard to win this one. He feels like he absolutely has to win this or all is lost. That’s why Mr. Ford is a bit disappointing later on as he seems to lose that fire in favor of the suits calling the shots. Even leaving the race midway to go out and eat seemed a bit odd. I know it’s 24 hours so you need to go somewhere but have the 5 star food go to his suite or something since it’s so important to him.

Allowing Beebe to be the head of the race division again after telling Shelby that he would have no boss was also an odd move. It just seems like Mr. Ford’s mind can be easily changed and his big speeches don’t amount to much since his mind can be changed so easily. It’s not a great look for a man who considered himself to be a real power player. He gets manipulated with ease so while Beebe is a worse character, Ford just looks weak. Beebe being so petty that he would sabotage his own team is just an awful look for the guy. He’s really lucky that he wasn’t fired at this point.

The only executive I actually liked was Iacocca. He was one of the few guys who would stand up for himself and did well during the first board meeting. He didn’t let Shelby deter him the whole time and he had a voice with a good amount of power. Ultimately he still won’t try to rock the boat so at best he will give Shelby a heads up and then dip but I appreciate his doing at least that much. I don’t think most of the others would have done that.

As for Miles, he does get himself into a whole lot of trouble by being so emotional. Shelby tries to help him on several occasions and Miles usually find a way to get himself into trouble. I don’t blame him for being upset at being put on the bench at the last second though. That did feel like a betrayal so I don’t blame him but other scenes like throwing the wrench and causing a scene at the race weren’t good looks. His wife certainly has a hard time of it with everything going on but ultimately she did good to be very supportive when it counted. I thought she was a really fun character and helped to flesh out his side of the plot.

While Miles had his issues off the track, he certainly lived up to the hype on it. He was the best driver without anyone being even close. He knew the right turns to take and breaking all of those records was really impressive. I’d say a good part of why the film is good was due to him being one of the main characters. Additionally Shelby did a great job on his side of things and I would say that he was the best character.

Shelby knew how to play the corporate game while also making sure that things went well on the track. He would stop people from trying to sabotage his racer and he also played some tricks on the rival. Shelby was a big time competitor and his only mistake I would say was being passive with Miles at the end. He should have just told him to race hard and keep going as normal. Ultimately he gave Miles a choice but in a way that still made it seem like slowing down was the right call and I can’t say that I agreed with that at any point. Even if the person suggesting this idea wasn’t trying to mess the heroes up, it just makes no sense. It’s super risky to slow down and don’t you want to go as fast as you can to set more records? That would have been the right way to do it.

Ultimately a lot of characters share the blame for the ending. In the end I suppose Ford was unable to get past the bureaucracy no matter how much the leader thought he could. Ford is still a very top to bottom organization in this film and that does prevent things from being done efficiently and in the right way. There is a time and a place for it but it certainly came as a detriment in every possible moment during this movie.

Overall, Ford V Ferrari is a solid movie. It’s well written and has a lot of good characters. The pacing is good so you are really engaged from start to finish and don’t really notice the length. I did not like the ending of the film which definitely does sour the experience and takes away most of the replay value though. You probably wouldn’t want to watch it again after the first showing. I would still recommend you watch it at least once though. It’s clear that a lot of effort was put into this and they really did a good job of creating this film from top to bottom. You definitely get to experience what it’s like to drive really fast.

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