Star Ocean: The Divine Force Review


Right here, right now, it’s time to talk about Star Ocean! I can’t say I’m super familiar with the series compared to other RPG titles like Final Fantasy but I like the genre and I like sci-fi so you can’t go wrong. I figured I’d get this one day 1 because it looked like fun and it makes for a really fun game. It took around 30 hours to clear this one so you’ve got a sizable amount of story and cutscenes to get through. I consider this to be an absolute win and I look forward to playing more games in the series.

The game starts off with captain Raymond piloting his ship when they are attacked by the federation. His crew all manage to escape but they are scattered on a nearby planet which isn’t very developed. There are no high tech weapons or equipment on the planet and of course its medicine isn’t great either. Raymond knows he has to find his friends very quickly or it could get rough. He meets up with Laeticia, a mysterious girl who talks in a very formal manner and her bodyguard Albaird. They have a mission of their own and volunteer to help Raymond find his friends if he helps them out with some things as well. Time is of the essence so he agrees…hopefully these two are on the up and up!

As with any RPG you can bet that the plot changes a whole lot and gets expanded on as you play more and more. The story is very detailed and there are a whole lot of cutscenes talking about the rules of the federation and why it isn’t so easy to just hop in and save everyone with high tech teleporters. Raymond is aligned with a planet that opted not to join the Federation and so there is a lot of bad blood there. Meanwhile the federation really wants everyone to join to a rather unhealthy degree and they seem really shady. That’s not even accounting for all of the drama on the planet itself with the King and his subjects being on different pages as well.

At times this can make for a bit of a slow beginning as a result of that but the story really does pick up the more you go through the game. Once the various alien species show up then you get a lot of extra developments. You also have a lot of super forms and then a whole plot involving A.I. and how alive they truly are. It’s all pretty good stuff so you’ll have a good time. Ultimately it may not surpass some of the bigger RPG titles in a pure story sense but it’s well balanced in all areas.

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D hack and slash. You have your basic attack, strong attack, and quick attack. Unlike most games where these are locked in, you can completely customize which button you want to use for which attack. You have around 15-20 by the end so you can just stick to using the attacks you want or mix and match. You can also assign full combos to each button to make things a bit easier. Personally I mainly just stuck to one attack. Once I got the flurry move I wanted I never ended up using another physical attack. It was just way too good and by the stats it was the strongest move so why switch it anyway right?

Aside from the main fighting moves you also have a final smash type attack that charges as you fight. It can be really handy in taking down the last bits of an opponent’s health bar. Then you have your DUMA which is basically a little robot that lets you hover in the air, create barriers, and do charge attacks. This guy is worth spamming on all minions because you can quickly get behind them for sneak attacks that deal extra damage. Additionally you can change directions in mid air while attacking which is handy as well. It won’t always work on bosses but it’s good to keep in mind.

Meanwhile the graphics are definitely really solid. The art style may take a little getting used to. I’ve heard some refer to the characters as looking like dolls and after that you can’t help but notice it. Still the visuals are on point and this still feels like a new gen title. A good amount of effort was put into it. Meanwhile the opening theme for the game is really solid. It’s a fun rock theme that feels like something out of the 90s. It was definitely real nostalgic to hear that although in the game I would have liked to have seen some more memorable boss fights. Surprisingly within the actual game you won’t have too many distinct tracks. They sort of just blend together for the most part.

In terms of content you’ve got a lot here. The main game is 29 hours as I noted but then you’ve also got a fairly extensive amount of replay value. There are numerous endings to obtain in the game and then aside from that you can try to get the Platinum trophy which will definitely take a while. I’d be surprised if you could beat it in any less time than 50 hours. This is a full adventure and even that may be understating it. So you’ll definitely be getting a good amount of content for your dollar and it’s worth the full price.

As far as the characters go, Raymond makes for a pretty good main character. He’s not afraid to talk tough to the Federation and tells it like it is. He doesn’t make promises without learning the details first and he is always thinking. It’s clear why he is the captain of a full crew because he is a very smart main character. He can be impulsive but balances the two attributes really well.

Then you have Elena who is a solid main heroine. As an android she tends to look at things logically but unlike most she is still able to keep her common sense and can understand humans well enough to act like one. Sometimes you’ll even end up forgetting that she is an android. She’s probably one of the most well rounded characters in the game and you can always count on her in a pinch. Without her the characters would have not made it quite so far.

Laeticia is the other main heroine here and she goes through a good character arc as she learns how to really be a great ruler. Raymond helps her become more flexible and she’s good in a fight. I definitely enjoyed her character and even her bodyguard Albaird looked decently good in the game. By the end he also loosened up a lot and was ready to stand with the other heroes.

Nina is a bit younger so she doesn’t get to fight on the front lines as much but she does well as a medic. While she is technically around for the whole game, her role feels a bit smaller though. Midas is someone who very reluctantly starts to help but that’s mainly thanks to Malkya. The two have a solid connection as she is basically immortal and he is super interested in science so it works out well. Then we have Marielle who is given a really tough time by Raymond at first due to her ties to the Federation. She does well in not making the same mistakes that most of them did though and gradually earns his trust.

Finally there is DUMA who is a fun robot type character even if he can take a little long to get on the ball about what’s going on here. Since he looks at everything logically, it can throw him for a loop when people don’t follow any kind of logic. So we’ve got a strong hero group here but the villains are more on the forgettable side. You’ve got corrupt kings and leaders but some of them are almost interchangeable. I liked the two alien villains a lot more and ultimately they were just minions. The final boss has a cool design though so I’ll give him that. At least you know that the battles will be visually entertaining the whole time.

Overall, Star Ocean: The Divine Force is a great game. It’s got a very detailed plot and the gameplay is on point. There’s actually a lot to dive into there so you’ll want to really absorb the tutorials. If I’m drilling down a bit more the one thing they messed up on is the equipment screen. When trying on an equipment it shows you all the characters and who it would work on but no indication of which character you are viewing currently which is a little annoying. Super minor since you can back out of the menu to check that but it’s the kind of thing that a quality of life update would certainly fix. It’s got every element that you need in order to have a great time and I hope to see the series continue with more games in the future. Perhaps we can get some more space exploration in the next title but either way this worked out well. If you’re on the fence about the game then I would definitely recommend making the tough call and buying it now. You won’t regret making the purchase.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon Scarlet Review


It’s time for the next big Pokemon event game! It’s always fun to have the Gym Leaders and Elite 4 running around. It’s been a little while since we really got to have that whole setup here as Arceus was a bit different from the usual path. All in all I would say this was definitely a big success. The plot may be the weakest one among all of the main-line Pokemon games but the gameplay is nostalgic and you should have a really good time here.

The game starts you off as a new student who will be attending a fun Pokemon school. There are 3 paths for you to embark on, the Gym Leader course, the Titans course, and stopping the Starfall group. Only after you have completed all 3 routes will you be able to unlock the final story and complete the game. Initially I thought it was going to be more like you complete one path and beat the game, then optionally play the others but in the end they’re all interconnected. The levels also match up that way and each path has their perks so I recommend just always going for the one closest to you.

The game has a map which is handy since the world is so big but it also does have its limitations. You can’t tell what level a raid is until you walk over there. It’s also hard to tell which gym/encounter is next on the list but I was okay with that one because it does help to emulate how a trainer might tackle things out of order. I found this to be the most difficult Pokemon game by far as I actually lost some battles and had to go back and train. It turned out that I was playing the Gym Leaders in reverse order by mistake. No wonder one of them had Level 50s early on. I must have taken a wrong turn on one of the routes but either way it was cool.

It did mean that the second half of the game mostly turned into a cakewalk though as I fought a guy with level 15s near the very end of the game. It did explain why my rival Nemona was so much weaker than the gym leaders at first since I guess the programming has a set level for her Pokemon based on how many badges I’ve obtained as opposed to which ones. Once you unlock sprinting and gliding you have a lot more fun traversing the world. It may be hard to adjust to the lower speed after playing Sonic Frontiers for so long but you get the hang of it. It was an ambitious map and I would say the game did a good job of it.

The gameplay feels like classic Pokemon once you actually get into the battles. For the first time in a while I also got to fight blind to an extent as I don’t know almost any of the new Pokemon and their types. It was fun getting that sense of mystery as I struggled to find the right attacks to use. This especially became big during the Elite 4 battles which are handled perfectly. You feel the majesty and mystery surrounding each fighter and the new musical theme that is introduced there works really well. Definitely no issues on the gameplay here.

The game succeeds because it’s just a lot of fun. At the end of the day who doesn’t like just getting out there and fighting in Pokemon battles right? What does hurt the game when comparing it to other big ones like Ruby and Fire Red is the story though. As I mentioned earlier, it’s just not that good. Most of it feels rather aimless and low stakes even for Pokemon. You fight a Titan and get a little cutscene, then this is repeated over and over for each fight. Likewise the Starfall events all have you beat someone and then see their tragic story. For the first time that I can think of, there is no evil group here. (Pokemon Shield may not have had an evil group either although I’m not 100%. If that is the case maybe they’re being phased out) So you’re never in any actual danger there.

The gym leaders are fun even if it’ll take me a while to learn their names. Larry is definitely the highlight there and it’s extremely impressive that he actually performs double duty as a gym leader and an elite four member. That has to be a huge time commitment and he makes it look easy. The game does start to turn up in the climax though so at least the final story event is pretty hype. I enjoyed the last battles but it felt like a preview of what the whole game could have been like. I’m not asking for anything crazy but even having an antagonist like Team Rocket running around would be fun. Give me some kind of trial to surpass as I prove that I’m the true Pokemon master.

A highlight from the characters perspective is Nemona though. She’s your rival here and while she is on the nicer side, she really likes battling. She constantly talks about challenging you and is very enthusiastic. Nemona is a supportive character who just wants to help the lead do his best and the fact that she beat the Elite 4 and the old champion so easily is impressive. Not only was she holding back but she was fairly young when she conquered them based on the dialogue. Yes, this looks really bad on the original champion who may be the least impressive one in the franchise but Nemona makes up for it by being the most memorable rival in a very long time. I am inclined to say that she beats every rival after Ruby in the game series.

As for the graphics, you’ve certainly seen the memes all around. There are a lot of visual glitches running around here like things popping in and out, character models being off point, and some severe lag. It’s clear that graphics weren’t a big point of emphasis here but ultimately it still looks good. In the context of this being a AAA Switch title then it’s well below expectations as it looks more like a Wii game but ultimately you can always tell where you’re at and the colors are fun. I didn’t really have a problem with it and you likely won’t run into any real glitches that affect gameplay so you’re good on this end.

The soundtrack is definitely on the weaker side though. Most of the new tracks don’t really land all that effectively. I liked the Elite 4 theme and the final boss theme but the rest weren’t so great. Still decent though and I don’t mind listening to them but they are a step below what you would expect. I think the issue is that most of the themes try remixing older tunes or taking elements from them instead of trying something completely new and that was a mistake. You always have to try and innovate as much as possible.

The campaign took me around 20 hours to complete so that’s a pretty reasonable amount of time. Between the 3 paths and then the last one it felt like there was a lot of content to play through. The game also has a post game that you can work on completing as well which involves a lot of battles. The game isn’t afraid to get a little difficult so you could look forward to some fun challenges there. In the end it did a great job of not being a cakewalk and so you do have to actually put some effort into the game if you want to complete it.

Overall, Pokemon Scarlet is a great game. At the end of the day it gives you all of the classic Pokemon staples that you would hope to see here. There’s a whole lot to enjoy and just filling up the Pokedex will likely take a very long time. I believe I caught less than 40 Pokemon and there are several hundred in here. Go forth and try to claim your mantle as the champion! Not sure how long it’ll be before we get the next big installment with a bunch of new Pokemon but this game can certainly last a whole lot longer if you want it too and then the gap won’t feel so large.

Overall 8/10

EarthBound Beginnings Review


After all of these years I’ve finally played the original Earthbound game. It’s pretty nostalgic to hear some of the old tracks here and the game certainly has a lot of memorable moments. It is significantly held back by the fact that it is missing a lot of quality of life features and the villain encounters are way too frequent. You’ll want to have a book on hand to read while playing the game or some online videos to look at because otherwise you will feel the time going by.

The story follows a kid named Ninten who is one day attacked by an evil teddy bear. He stops this menace and realizes that the world isn’t quite right. He has to travel across the globe to track down the source of evil and his father is too busy to help but will give you money every now and again. If you save the world, perhaps you will finally be able to see him. Does Ninten have what it takes to pull this off?

One thing the game has going for it right from the start is how odd everything is. The whole game has an air of mystery and you get the feeling that the world Ninten has grown up in is not ordinary by any stretch of the imagination. Around every corner you’ve got monsters and psychic phenomenon. There seem to be a lot of random crooks as well and there are giant mechs and everything. The mystery is part of the fun though and I could see this inspiring Undertale in the future.

It’s just got those fun vibes throughout and it works well. I think with a little more story and cinematics the story could have been downright amazing. As it is, the story is fun but there are long periods where the story just vanishes and I would have liked to have seen more of it. Even the final boss pretty much comes out of nowhere. She’s a cool creature and everything so it makes for a hype climax but it’s like we just jumped through to the end. Talking to NPCs will give you a better picture of the plot but I’d like more of it on the direct path.

The gameplay is your classic turn based system. You can use standard attacks, PSI abilities, or items in your bag. Most of the time you’ll be using normal attacks but for tough bosses then you want to switch to PSI right away. Even then you can expect the bosses to be quite difficult to take down. Some of them are even invincible and you’re meant to lose while others will just give you a run for your money. The final boss in particular took me many tries because of how powerful the strikes were. One wrong hit would just decimate your team.

I was apparently under leveled for the final boss even after fighting tons of monsters so the grind is definitely meant to be real in this game. A lot of time running away is actually longer than just beating the enemy so fortunately because of that you will rarely be tempted to run away. I did it a lot during the final chapter but otherwise I would just fight everyone. The EXP goes rather slowly though even against tough enemies so this is one game where it can be worth it to grind against weaker ones. Just try to find the sweet spot where they go down easily while being close in total XP.

The graphics are also pretty good. This is a game with the AAA Nintendo seal of approval. So you know that they definitely didn’t hold anything back here. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun and very distinctive. That’s another core strength of Nintendo’s without a doubt. On a technical level the game is absolutely on point and it’s pleasant to listen to. There are a lot of mechanics with the items to get used to. I recommend you familiarize yourself with how the bread works in particular since it can save you a lot of time in running.

Now’s where my issues with the game come in. First off, there is an encounter in what feels like every 5 steps. I literally had to have Reddit open in the background to read while the enemies kept spawning since all I had to do was keep pressing A to knock them out. Most of the minions you can defeat with ease but they still keep on coming and there is no quick way to run so this gets really tedious. It is absolutely the weakest part of the game and something that would need to be changed in a modern remake. It got really tedious and is what took up most of the game. Without this then the game would be a lot shorter so it’s like artificial padding.

Running from town to town takes a really long time as well. You don’t unlock teleportation until the very end of the game so until then you will be running everywhere. That means more villain encounters and everything. You have to revisit towns quite a bit as well. Usually that’s not a bad thing but considering that you have to do this while fighting the enemies then it becomes a problem. The whole game just isn’t very optimized and that isn’t as bad as it would be for a modern game since this one is older but it makes things tougher in the present.

A lot of the time it can be hard to know where to go as well. There is a map but it’s missing most of the locations on it so it’s not as much help most of the time. The story can go to a stand still at times and so you have no idea where to go. This happens quite a lot as the game goes on and it reminds me of Final Fantasy VII. It can slow down the momentum quite a bit just when you figure that you’re on a roll. Whenever the plot does continue it’s fun and I do like the story setup but it’s old and it feels old which isn’t a great combo.

It’s a major issue I have with the game along with how it tries to trick you. If you do something out of order then you’re going to be in a lot of trouble later on. There is also one dragon that won’t wake up until you reach level 25 but without looking up a guide I would have had no idea. So I trained for about an hour to get there but otherwise I would have just been running around panicking the whole time. I like a good mystery but in a video game it can definitely be out of place without proper clues. It’s hard to go get those clues in this game though since you may end up in an area with more monsters.

Overall, It was fun to finally play Earthbound Beginnings but it’s a game that would be virtually unplayable without the Switch Online services. Without all of these features it just feels like the game would be impossibly grindy. I’d eventually be able to pull it off but it wouldn’t be the seamless experience that you would expect. Additionally, the game can just be way too vague at times and the monster encounters are relentless even while you level very slowly. It’s probably best to jump to the second game first but I’ll be playing that one soon so I’ll let you know if it does get the quality of life updates that I’m hoping for like a better map, early teleportation, and less monster encounters.

Overall 5/10

Valkyrie Elysium Review


I remember when the first trailer for this game came out I knew that I had to get it. It looked like a really fun 3D action game with a cool plot and everything. Something just out of the blue that had a super amount of potential. Well, I got it day 1 and it was a lot of fun. I do think it could have maybe been a bit longer to really go into the tory here but all in all it was still a quality title. I could see myself going back to grab some more trophies at some point and the battle system was crafted well.

The story starts with the game introducing you to the Valkyrie Nora who is sworn to fight under the command of Odin. Odin and Fenrir had a powerful battle that nearly reduced the planet to ashes and both of them sustained absolutely massive damage. Fenrir is now returning and Odin fears that he will need to move quickly to regain the advantage. He tells Nora to go and cleanse as many souls as she can since each one will power Odin up. Additionally she needs to find the 4 artifacts of power and as a bonus, destroy Fenrir if she can. This is a really tall order but Nora will do her best.

Right from the start you can see how Odin is rather shady and he keeps on throwing more and more tasks at Nora. When he mentions that she needs to destroy Fenrir as well you can see how crazy this is. If Odin himself couldn’t defeat her, then what hope does a Valkyrie have? He gives us a trusty rope that can in theory take Fenrir down but that’s still not a whole lot to truly change the tide of battle. At best it’s a confidence booster I suppose but you still feel like that could never possibly be enough.

Fortunately Nora meets with lost souls along the way that she uses to aid her in battle. By the end of the game she has 4 souls who help her and they each try to get Nora to act more like a human. Initially Nora is virtually emotionless and just following orders but as the game goes on she starts to question things more and also show more empathy. So the character arc here is pretty solid. Nora even gets emotional to the point where she has an outburst by the end but fortunately apologizes for it.

The way the gameplay works is it’s a 3D fighter where you attack with your sword mainly. You can eventually switch weapons as well but there aren’t a ton of them and I mainly stuck with the sword since it handles so well. You can summon one of your 4 fighters for 30 seconds which then changes your weapon to that character’s element. You can summon all 4 of course and keep summoning them but they all take up some of your energy meter. When it runs out then you can no longer summon anybody so keep that in mind.

It’s actually possible to get completely stuck in the tutorial as a result since you need them to get past one of the obstacles but there is no way to replenish energy in the tutorial. It was a rather odd oversight from the devs that I fell for but it was interesting all the same. Part of the strategy in the game is constantly changing your element to deal with the enemies in front of you. Additionally you can also equip up to 4 spells and use them to back you up with the various elements. I personally would have 1 heal, fire, thunder, and holy as my 4 spells. It’s easy to switch though so feel free to experiment.

Aside from combat you can also level up your character’s stats and the weapon itself. They all use the same energy currency so choose wisely. Typically I would upgrade the character and my weapons were purely a backup option. I figure having Nora as powerful as possible was always the best bet here. I feel like the game isn’t super easy to just pick up and play because of how much is going on but it does feel good once you’ve got the whole system down. You’ll be seamlessly transitioning from opponent to opponent.

That said, the final boss is still super tough though and gave me a real tough run for my money. For a minute there I thought I was going to have to go back and train but fortunately I was able to just barely clutch it out. I didn’t run from a single enemy in the game so I like to think that I was at exactly the level the devs intended me to be at for the final boss. The challenge is real but it feels fair and I do think that I could have mastered the mechanics a bit more to make things easier. I sort of learned it to the bare minimum needed to beat the game.

The game felt a little shorter than I expected though. Not saying it’s super short but you can likely beat it in under 10 hours. Each chapter tends to be around 30 minutes or less and there are less than 20 chapters in the game. So just keep plugging away and you’ll be at the end in no time. There are trophies that you can obtain to help with the replay value though and a lot of side missions and such. So there’s still a lot to do here including getting the true ending. Now this I’m not positive about since I haven’t looked it up but the way the game ends just feels a bit odd so I suspect that I needed to do more side missions. I was certainly taken by surprise though so it was effective if this was the game’s intent.

As a main character Nora is solid enough. She doesn’t have much of a personality for most of it but that’s part of the point really. Her evil counterpart Hilde is more interesting but also more annoying because she refuses to say much of anything. What good is it to know a lot of secrets and taunt Nora about being a pawn when you won’t fill her in? I thought Hilde handled the whole situation quite poorly and was really not all that smart. For all her tough talk, she was being manipulated just as much as Nora.

As for Fenrir and Odin, I thought the game did a good job of showing them as two sides of the same coin. They both really just want absolute power to dominate the masses and show what they’ve got. Neither one of them are heroes in the slightest and in fact you could just call them villains straight up. It would certainly be accurate which is part of why the ending is a bit funny. They don’t even disguise their sinister intentions the whole time either. They just do what they want when they want and can get away with it since they’re so powerful.

Overall, Valkyrie: Elysium is a pretty good game. It may have been a bit different than I was expecting in terms of length but I was still satisfied and would be interested in a sequel. I do think it’ll end up being a game that is largely forgotten to time though as it doesn’t do anything to really stand out in a genre that is brimming with tons of games at this point. The story is fun and all though so they should just keep on going with it and eventually this will be a home run hit!

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic Review


This was always one of the most well known Star Wars games. It’s pretty much a living legend and for good reason as it is a very detailed action RPG with a ton of mechanics and a detailed story. I would say it lives up to the hype as I had a blast with it. Get ready for a very difficult final level though, the more you train the better.

The game starts off by introducing us to the main character who has amnesia and is aboard a republic ship that is crashing for some reason. He manages to escape with Carth, a reputable republic soldier. They end up rescuing a Jedi Warrior known as Bastila and the three of them have a very uneasy alliance. The main objective is to stop the Sith and to do that they need to find out how the villains have amassed such an unending army. There has to be foul play at work here but finding the source of that won’t be easy. The only clue they have to go on is something called the Star Forge but what that is remains a mystery.

Right away one of the things I enjoyed about the game is all of the dialogue options. You can constantly act like a jerk, take the nice guy approach, or just go for pure chaos. The dialogue options also have a big impact on the game itself so it’s not like you’re just fluffing out the game length. I ended up not getting to recruit two members to the team because I didn’t say the right things. The ending was also very different because of the route I went. It helps to make the whole experience feel a lot more authentic to me.

The story here is also very long so you can expect to be playing this game for a long while. There is a lot of time for the characters to develop and there are tons of side quests and extra content to play. For the most part I stuck to the main story beats but you could easily add several hours onto the play time if you want to go and explore. It can also be useful for EXP as this is one game where it’s not so easy to grind. Most worlds don’t allow enemies to respawn once you defeat them so you will be stuck after you have defeated them all. I recommend beating as many enemies as you can.

The gameplay is pretty much that of an auto battler where you keep changing the moves as they fight. Think of it like you’re the head coach and the fighters have to do whatever you tell them. I would have liked to actually do the battling myself so that part of the gameplay can be a little weak. The whole “Let the A.I. decide what to do” angle usually isn’t really my thing. That said, I would say the game has a good amount of polish to it so it works out well enough. There is definitely a whole lot of depth to this system as well.

Whenever you level up you get to decide which stats and skills to increase. It’s a bit overwhelming with the amount of options so usually I would do the auto level and just let the computer decide. This can make the end of the game even more difficult so it may be worth researching what the optimal build is. Of course it can be fun to just go with your gut so choose the option that seems like it will be the most enjoyable and you can’t go wrong there.

The graphics really hold up here. I like the designs of the levels and characters. Then the actual combat looks good too and it’s all got a very distinctive style to it. It really holds up while playing this port. I also liked the soundtrack well enough although it doesn’t stand out as it’s mainly the kind of Star Wars themes you’d expect to hear. Perhaps they are iconic but at this point you’ve really heard them all before.

The character cast is one of the biggest strengths here. The main character gets a lot of development and of course because you can decide how he develops then that makes the whole game more interesting too. In fact, your choices even determine how you will fight the final boss which is massive. I had to break out all of the cheese strategies for him including using some rather villainous tactics. Look, this guy was going to keep regenerating all of his health over and over so I had to put a top to that. I succeeded and then ran away a while to regain my strength. The final boss ended up being really long but I won in the end so that’s what counts right?

The game also has some quality of life features that I would highly recommend using. For starters you can save the game anywhere. I highly advise having several backup slots at different points so you don’t get stuck. There is one game breaking bug after all which I got trapped in but fortunately I had a backup save just a few minutes away. In one of the final temples just save a lot because the glitch room is the one where there are two light towers. I can’t say I remember the exact planet though so just keep your guard up.

Then for the final boss, don’t be afraid to just run a lot. It may take a while but you’ll win in the end and that’s what counts. The Star Forge itself is incredibly difficult but one thing you should know is that the enemies actually aren’t endless. After a bunch of waves they do finish so just heal up and save between waves. Eventually you will beat them and can move forward. It had to be one of the most challenging final areas I’ve played through in a long while so it felt nice knocking that one out.

As for the other characters, Carth was one of the big ones. I like how he can’t really trust anyone and always seems like he’s about to pick a fight. The guy may not use the Force but he can defend himself and knows how to fight. He was responsible for a lot of the great banter along with Bastila. Bastila is a Jedi who is very by the books so naturally she tends to have a lot of disagreements with the main character since I tend to be more on the impulsive side. I would say the script was always at its best when these 3 were fighting.

Then you also had characters like Canderous the Mandalorian who naturally didn’t get along with Carth due to their respective backstories. Malak also made for a good villain. He perhaps gets a little overshadowed by some of the heroes but he was a very imposing presence all the same. There are a lot of other characters who get big roles here so you’ll want to play the game to see them. The game is also long enough where you really feel like you’ve gone on a full adventure by the end of it.

Overall, This is a great Star Wars game that you don’t want to miss out on. You feel like you were watching a movie here and this could really be adapted for the big screen. It was definitely a lot of fun playing it on the Switch and I can also confirm that it’s the hardest one that I’ve played. An RPG with limited leveling up functionality is definitely not something to take lightly. That said, just fight smart and have a lot of backup saves. You’ll be just fine by the end of it and if you absolutely need to, you’ll be able to go back and level up. Just don’t use up all your saves in the final dungeon because then there really is no way out!

Overall 8/10

Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 16h 20m
22/46 PS4 Trophies
Materials 100%
Equipment 97.4%
Monsters 78.4%
Runes 70.6%
Story 96.1%
Event 94.6%
Request 97.8%
Business Trophies 88.8%
Adventure Trophies 79.4%

Shop Rank Max
Pick Axe Rank 2/3
Egg Basket Rank 2/3
Weaponry Rank 2/3
Home Rank 2/3
Books Rank 2/3

Character Levels

Volker Max
Paula Max
Harry Max
Boyla Max
Abel Max

Dusk Diver 2 Review


It’s good to have Dusk Diver back in action. I thought the first Dusk Diver was quite a bit of fun even if it was real short. Well this game continues with that action while also being longer so that’s a good thing. In some areas the budget does begin to show itself and I think the game could have masked that more but either way you’ll have a fun time here.

The game starts by explaining that Yang has somehow kept her abilities after the first adventure. Additionally her teammates can still turn into animals at times so clearly some ties to the gates have stayed in place. The heroes have to look into this but in the meantime a mysterious kid has appeared in the other world and the government is starting to act really shady as they create a lot of barriers. When you throw in another faction that wants nothing more than to destroy the world, the heroes know that they are going to be in for a tough time here.

I wouldn’t say the plot itself is amazing compared to the average RPG but there’s enough in here to keep you engaged. It has a bit of a slow start but once the dark diver shows up then the game really starts to cook. I’d say that it also went all out in the climax with the big villains and fights there. You can see all of the potential here and how this would make for a great anime. Throw a solid budget at it and there will be no looking back. There’s still a lot of comparisons you could make here between Yang and Yang from RWBY. Their personalities are different but the similar power set and character design will always be fun to note.

The gameplay is your classic beat em up style. You control one character and try to destroy all of the monsters. Beating all of them allows you to then proceed to the next area so you keep on repeating those steps. You can buy new moves as you earn ability points and you also upgrade your weapons. You can even control how you level up by personally picking the attributes that you want to increase. The max level is higher than 100 so you can expect to go very far here. I made it to around level 100 before beating the game.

My only critique on the gameplay style would be that the enemies have a lot of health so it can feel like they are damage sponges at time. You aren’t in any real danger but beating them can take quite a bit of time. The combat system is rather basic too so you’ll really spend most of your time spamming the same moves over and over again. Not exactly the most explosive gameplay style. I always like beating enemies so it works out well enough but they probably could have done more with this.

The graphics are definitely solid. There aren’t a lot of cinematics here but the ones that we do get are fun. I like the lyrical song that plays when you unleash your final smash during some of the big bosses too and overall I’d say the soundtrack is good. The game succeeds on those technical areas. One odd thing is how the text boxes can’t keep up with the game is in the middle of a cutscene. You have to turn auto off and manually click through or it’ll be as if the characters are constantly cutting each other off.

Throw in a typo or two as well and those are the kind of cracks you don’t see as much in a AAA game. There is a lot of content to go through here though so they didn’t skip out on all the bonus content. I even beat the game without getting a significant amount of the trophies here. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like there is a level select and a lot of the trophies are miscible so I would have to go back to the start anyway. I’m hoping New Game+ at least lets you keep the collectibles so you aren’t completely starting from scratch but I’m not sure exactly how that works.

It does add to the replay value though so you can bet that you will be here for quite a while. This is no longer a game that you can just pick up and complete in a batch or two. My advice when playing is to max out your power right away so you end the battles easier and then save your gems so that you can quickly level up your weapon as soon as you have beaten the chapter. It’s always a good idea to do this since the boost is big. Additionally, make sure you eat food as often as you can and always buy something different. I bought every food dish I could find in the city and it paid off with a ton of extra EXP.

You also get passive stat boosts so there are really no downsides to doing this. You want every advantage that you can get in a fight after all. While the game isn’t super difficult, you can still be given a good run for your money if you aren’t careful. There was a boss or two where I just won with barely any health left. It’s very cheap to buy items though so don’t be afraid to buy a ton of potions and revives. Those always come in handy.

Overall, Dusk Diver was a lot of fun. In some ways I absolutely think they could have done more with it and I really zoom in on this because my expectations for the series are quite high. The concept is just so good and I always like this kind of gameplay after all and the characters are fun so right off the bat that’s a lot of advantages for this title. With more of a budget I think they can take this to the next level but we’ll see if they do that for a 3rd game. The new concepts and characters were all fun to see. There’s a lot more you can do with this world as well now that it has gotten so much development and build up. Especially since you could say this game ends on an even more open note than the first. There’s no reason why the series would have to end when you take that into consideration. If you want to play through an action title with a lot of combat then this should be right up your alley.

Overall 8/10

Breath of Fire II Review


I was really satisfied with the first Breath of Fire and I can safely say that this one is a really good sequel as well. I wouldn’t quite say that it beats the first as it loses out on at least one big quality of life feature but it’s still a really solid game all around. To compensate for that it does have the better story here. Either way if you like RPGs then you will definitely like this game.

It actually starts off with some Undertale type vibes as the main character and his pal enter a dark cave and things get rather trippy. You have an evil eye that it always running around, a giant monster that murders them, and things like that happen. Finally, a few years pass by and Tery’s (That’s what I called the lead) best friend Bow decided to become a bit of a thief. He is going to help this one guy who was already stolen from so in a way it’s like payback but it backfires and now everybody thinks he is a thief. Tery must quickly come to his aid and prove Bow’s innocence. Additionally Tery must find out why nobody remembers him and why his whole family is gone. Does it have something to do with the main villain?

There are a ton of monsters in this world so naturally it is not quite the kind of place that you want to be when things get tough. Tery got to meet one of the more powerful creatures in the tutorial after all even if he isn’t sure whether it was a dream or not. There’s this whole emotional system too where talking to people will light up or darken your crystal but there didn’t seem to be much of a point to it. Perhaps it alters your ending but I would have liked it to have made a bigger difference throughout the game. I appreciated how the game would get rather spooky at some points but ultimately it’s more for show than anything else.

The game is fairly long and you can certainly expect to take many hours to conquer it. Unfortunately the game doesn’t track your play time but it has to at least be 25-30+ hours. There’s a whole lot to do here, villages to help and party members to recruit. Additionally there is no easy way to bypass minions. So in the first game you could buy an item that stopped them from appearing for about a minute or so. I would stock up on as many of those as possible and it was a great deal but that’s not the case here. There is an item that (barely) reduces how often they spawn but it can’t prevent it.

Half the time it feels like the item didn’t do anything to be honest so it was a bit of a waste. It’s too bad they didn’t bring the item from the first game back because it’s just so much more peaceful when you’re able to run around and don’t have to worry about minions attacking. You can explore to get treasure and all kinds of things like that. Trying to run is usually not going to work so you have to keep rewinding until it does or you could just fight every minion in your way.

It is good for grinding I suppose. Speaking of which, be prepared to grind a whole lot here because the final bosses suddenly jump up a bunch of levels. They were not playing around but I would expect nothing less from an RPG final boss. Those are the kind of opponents that you want to go all out. Show us why you are the demon king or whoever the final boss is. The final battles are really an endurance test so buy as many potions, revives, and MP items as possible. I had over 100 items when you add in the amounts for each and I still barely made it. That was definitely not easy in the slightest.

The game’s ending isn’t super satisfying though. You can’t help but feel that Tery made the wrong choice unless there is some kind of true ending here. He overthought things but it did work as an intense twist of sorts. The game always has that uneasy feeling thanks to the prologue which shows just how effective it was even if the rest of the game plays it straight for the most part. The story is really engaging so you should be having a blast from start to finish. Tery’s companions were definitely really good as well and if anything the toughest part is deciding who to keep home.

Each ally has their own special ability which you’ll need on the hub world. One can fly, one can swim, one can jump, etc. So there will be times when you have to switch companions and you just can’t worry about it. Additionally some characters have a 1 on 1 story fight that can’t be skipped so if they are at a low level then that’s game over. You obtain shamans to power up your fighters but one if missable which can be disappointing if you didn’t get him. So if you see a chance to donate some money later in the game, make sure you click donate 20 times. If you don’t do that then you won’t get him at the end.

That’s really my main tips here, you should be able to get through the game with no real issues. The graphics are real good here and some aspects of the game have aged extremely well with the visual style. For example there’s one boss fight where you’re falling off a tower and then there’s a scene where Tery is running through the flames. You don’t see a whole lot of cutscenes using the sprites like this outside of combat so I thought that was pretty cool. The soundtrack is also good although as far as RPGs go I wouldn’t say it stands out a ton.

This is the kind of game that just freezes once you beat it so that means there is no replay value. Fortunately the main campaign is so long that this really is not an issue in the slightest. You’ll get to have your full barrel of fun here. The cast is fairly solid and of course Tery steals the show even if he’s the silent kind of protagonist so you won’t really see him talk here. You just know that he has what it takes to win.

Overall, Breath of Fire II is a great follow up to the original. I would probably still learn towards the first game as a whole even though this one had the better story. Breath of Fire is certainly one of those games that could do well with a modern sequel or remake. After all stories about dragons are always cool and this one has plenty of them. It’s a very challenging game so you do need to keep your guard up but then making it to the ending is that much more satisfying.

Overall 8/10