Ratchet & Clank Into The Nexus Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS3 Trophy% 15%
Skill Points 3/40
Bolts 9979

World Stats

Igliak 96%
Kragg 57%
Yerek 97%
Silox 96%
Thram 18%

Weapon Stats

Dual Omniblasters 100%
Fusion Bomb 100%
Quantum Repulsor 18%
Winterizer 0%
Nightmare Box 0%
Mr. Zurkon 13%
Warmonger 66%
Nether Blades 28%

Advertisements

Ratchet & Clank Into The Nexus Review

ratchetandclankintothenexusps3boxart
It’s been a while since I really got to enjoy a Ratchet and Clank game. I tried playing All 4 One a while back, but the game kept freezing on me. I suppose it’s bound to happen when you buy as many games as I do, but that one along with Rayman advance not working definitely stung a little. I get the chills just thinking about those games. Into The Nexus was always notable for being very short and I can see why. You really breeze through the game. Considering that I took it down in a few hours while managing to die at least once in every level…it’s very short. I mainly just kept dying because I would forget about certain gimmicks. There were a lot of controls and no manual in the game so if you forgot how to do something…it becomes button mashing time. Still, it is a very solid game despite the length and there is a reasonable amount of replay value to be found here as well.

Ratchet and Clank are serving as escorts for a pair of dangerous villains that need to be brought to jail. Unfortunately, they break free and murder two of Ratchet and Clank’s friends as they head off to destroy the universe. Ratchet decides to disobey orders to retreat back to home base and pursues the villains. This time it’s personal and Ratchet isn’t playing games. He’s armed to the teeth and is ready to make the hard calls. With the whole universe in the balance, Ratchet may learn that sometimes you need to have a backup weapon at the ready. Luckily, Ratchet always has a bunch of guns.

While the gameplay appears to be the same as always on the surface, it’s less polished. You’ll quickly get used to the 3D shooting style as it’s made to be easy to pick up and play. I love 3D games and Ratchet & Clank has always nailed it. That being said, this one is missing a lock-on feature. You can use L1 to “focus” which is like locking on, but it won’t follow the enemy. You always have to manually aim while fighting. It’s not a big deal, but it can be a little inconvenient if you’re used to having a lock-on at the ready. Due to the size of the game, the weapon selection is also a lot more limited. You have less than half of the weapons that an average Ratchet & Clank game has along with half the gadgets. They each only have 3 base levels as well so you’ll max out the weapons quite easily. It seems like there are an extra 3 levels that pop up later on though so that helps. This makes the Platinum Trophy easier I suppose, but it still sounds reasonably difficult.

The weapons that we do get are pretty good though. They’ll all old I believe so don’t expect anything new, but all of the good weapons made it back. All you’ll really need are the bombs and machine gun, but I do recommend buying the missiles and metal discs once you are able to as well. Earning money certainly isn’t hard in this game and just enter a few tournaments if you want some quick cash. It’s definitely worth the trouble. There are 5-6 worlds in the game and each one can be completed in under an hour. The tournament planet was probably the shortest plot-wise, but since there are bonus tournaments, it ends up lasting a little longer.

As always, the graphics were definitely on point here. The animations were very smooth and the character designs were as sharp as you could expect. The energy attacks all look really good and I enjoyed the level designs as well. The game did a good job of grabbing the classic stage traits like a City level and a forest one as well. That’s definitely a good thing since every Ratchet game should have at least one City world. Those always look fantastic. The soundtrack never really stood out to me though and I couldn’t recall a single tune afterwards. Music is probably one of the only areas that isn’t a strength for this series.

As mentioned, there is some decent replay value. Getting all of the trophies will take some time and that helps make the game worth the price. Even without the replay value, I think the game goes for around 10 dollars now. That’s certainly not a lot of money for an AAA title. The plot may not be as grandiose as the others, but it’s still engaging. As far as the platformers go, it destroys most of the competition. Only Jak can really keep up with it consistently and I’d still give Ratchet and Clank the edge.

One thing that I can definitely get behind for this game is that the level up system is so smooth. Aside from your weapons, you can also level Ratchet up. It’s not particularly long or time consuming to power up, but you still don’t have to unless you want too. The bosses are definitely beatable if you want to go straight for them. There are also constant check points so even if you lose, you never have a long way to go. I think the phrase that I’m looking for is “Quality of Life” mechanics for this game. You never get lost for hours and hours like LoZ and you never have to go back through a long area with unskippable cutscenes like Orphen. Into The Nexus is a game that’s made with the gamer’s needs as top priority and it’s something that I’d like to see more games achieve. It’s easy to see why the series is known as one of the all time greats.

Overall, This felt like a little treat for Ratchet & Clank fans to hold them over until the next full installment. I’d think of this as more of a spinoff than a full fledged game. Think of it as the mini adventure to keep you ready for the next big title like what Kingdom Hearts does. Of course, KH spinoffs are still typically at least 20 hours long, but we’ll let that slide for now. It’s short, but that doesn’t mean that Into The Nexus is any less of a good game than you’d expect. While it’s not as polished and complete as the others, I still had a blast playing it. The time really flies when you’re blasting the opponents. I’m definitely looking forward to playing the next game although I hear that it switches up the format a little. Hopefully it keeps in the fun and intensity of this game.

Overall 8/10

Alter Echo Review

alterecho
This is one of those games that I knew next to nothing about, but decided to buy on a whim. Lets face it, a cool cover and solid gameplay is enough to warrant a purchase. It’s why I like surfing Amazon’s retro games once in a while to find the hidden gems. Alter Echo’s definitely quite a lot of fun. It’s not quite on the same level as Eve of Extinction and Oni as those games were phenomenal, but it’s another good entry for the PS2 that holds up really well. The plot is certainly original.

So, humanity has gone pretty far. We now have telepaths to an extent who can reshape things. One day, a group of humans stumble upon a planet where they had sent a few others many years ago. It seems like their time in space has turned Paavo’s expedition evil so they now want to wipe out humanity. Our 3 proud heroes decide to stop them, but they are split up when landing. Nevin decides to find them and get off the planet while he can. He meets with an artificial intelligence that is the actual planet and it begs Nevin to help him stop Paavo. Nevin declines whole heartedly and gives this entity a hard time throughout the game, but it finally gets personal when the body count starts to rise and he realizes that there will be nowhere to escape to if Earth is destroyed. He reluctantly agrees to help and fortunately, the entity gives him a power suit and an assortment of weapons to bolster his abilities.

The plot is definitely going all in with the science fiction. That’s a smart move since it makes everything cooler. The opponents that you’re fighting are technically entities made of telepathic energies and all, but you can think of them as aliens. The designs are really cool and Nevin’s suit is also like something out of Iron-Man. The gameplay is pretty straight forward. It’s a 3D action title where you’ll be doing a lot of fighting. In standard mode, it plays out like a Link title. You swing at anything that moves. You have a beast mode which lets you climb onto objects and enemies alike. Finally, there’s Gun mode, where you turn into a large mecha and start blasting away. You’ll find that human mode is the most reliable, but you’ll have to use them all since some enemies are impervious to your different forms.

There’s an aspect of platforming to this game as well. You’ll need to activate nodes across the levels at times or get from one place to another with your acrobatics. There are also some puzzles for when you are deciphering a node. Don’t worry, they’re the good kind of puzzles. It’s all about reaction times as you must make the right turn. This also happens when you use your time manipulation to strike at enemies. It’s a really handy ability that I recommend using whenever possible since it gives you extra currency to spend on upgrades. I maxed out all of my powers and bought some combos as well, but you won’t really find yourself needing the combos. Button mashing works well enough on all of the opponents.

The game is fairly easy although the final boss will give you a run for your money. He has two phases and if you lose at any point, you must start again. Luckily, while I did die against the first phase 2-3 times, I never lost to the final one. That would have been demoralizing. It was very tense though since I won at the very end of my health bar. I always give my clutch factor some credit there along with the developers since nothing is more satisfying than winning at the very end like that. The same thing happened to me in Breath of the Wild and Kingdom Hearts II. It’s a good feeling. For the final boss phase 2, I recommend just baiting out his attacks and then punishing them. It’s a fool proof plan.

Alter Echo also ends with a big cliffhanger although a sequel is unlikely. Spoilers are present for this paragraph to skip it if you must. You ready? Well, it would appear that the entity is also evil and the heroine lives after all. She had seemingly died a while back so it’s good to see that she survived. That being said, she’ll probably be turned evil or not given a choice so that’s too bad for her. The other villains are also alive as well. The sequel probably would have been a blast so it’s a shame that it didn’t happen. The plot wasn’t particularly strong, but it still would have been enjoyable.

The graphics are good. They aren’t anything special, but the levels are fun to look at since the space theme is good. I will admit that all of the levels look the same though. There is no real variety to speak of since all of the levels are on the planet and in the caverns. This was a little lazy on the side of the developers so that’s something that could be fixed in a sequel. The time stop attacks look really good with purple energy all around. As for the soundtrack, it’s also really good. The themes are all really fast paced and increase the intensity of the levels. I’d definitely like to see the tunes return in a sequel.

Unfortunately, there is no replay value here. Once you beat the game, you cannot replay the levels to get the extra power ups. Your only option is to replay the game and that would purely be just to have fun. It’s a game that you complete and then put back on the shelf. The playthrough is good though so this isn’t a bad thing, but I always like to have some replay value. It gives the game an extra boost if you ask me.

While the game is good, there are clearly some negatives since I’m only giving it a 7. As I mentioned, the story isn’t great. It’s not bad and showed signs of promise like whenever the two friends would appear. It just suffered from some slow parts where nothing would really happen during some levels. The gameplay could also be a little repetitious since you would have to keep shifting forms to deal with various enemies. It wasn’t a big deal though and I still enjoyed the gameplay. These are just elements that hold it from being an 8. I did enjoy the puzzle system for the time stop attacks though and I’d definitely keep that for the sequel.

Overall, Alter Echo is a solid game and one that I would definitely recommend. It’s fairly short and won’t last you too long, but the gameplay is on point. The soundtrack is solid and the plot isn’t bad either. It’s the kind of game that nobody has heard of so it’ll also earn you some brownie points with other gamers when you mention that you’ve played such an obscure game. It had some issues like the levels being repetitious along with the gameplay to an extent, but that’s where the short length actually came in handy. Hopefully we get more space games soon, but I doubt that’ll be a problem. Space games are always going to be seen as cool.

Overall 7/10

Little Big Planet Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS3 Trophy% 15%

Level Stats

The Canyons
Boom Town 35%
The Mines 28%
Serpent Shrine 16%

The Wedding
The Darkness 7%
Skulldozer 0%
The Wedding Reception 23%

The Savannah
The Meerkat Kingdom 6%
Burning Forest 4%
Swinging Safari 29%

The Temples
Great Magician’s Palace 34%
The Dancers’ Court 20%
Elephant Temple 13%

The Islands
Endurance Dojo 26%
Sensei’s Lost Castle 28%
The Terrible Oni’s Volcano 20%

The Wilderness
The Frozen Tundra 35%
The Bunker 23%
The Collector’s Lair 44%
The Collector 100%

The Gardens
Get a Grip 23%
Skate to Victory 18%
First Steps 100%

The Metropolis
Subway 25%
The Construction Site 18%
Lowrider 21%

Little Big Planet Review

3829281908_f458c07625_o
It’s time to take a look at Little Big Planet! This game was fairly big when it came out and it took me a while to finally get it. Many people started comparing it to Mario and it was supposed to be Sony’s big answer. Well if that is the case, then it is safe to say that Nintendo won this round by a mile. LBP’s gameplay is decently solid, but the whole game tries to be very “art house” and meta instead of focusing on just being fun and easy to get into. The plot’s also rather lackluster, but what else is new for platformers?

You play as Sackboy. It is heavily implied that the characters know that you the player are controlling Sackboy. The game constantly tries to be meta like this and all of the characters are actually paper cutouts. They are all being manipulated by a mysterious villain known as the Collector so you have to go around saving them all and proving that the Little Big Planet is more resilient than the villain thinks. Honestly, the story would have been much better if it wasn’t constantly trying to remind you that the whole thing was fake. The main villain even cries at the end and quickly turns good so fast that you had to wonder what was going on.

As a result of the game trying to go for a very indie feel, the graphics were actually pretty bad. Honestly, they looked worse than the average PS2 game and I’d take good ole N64 and PS1 games over it. The graphics just weren’t my style and the fact that they were all made of paper just seemed like it was an easy way to save some money on the budget. It was all pretty iffy if you ask me. The soundtrack was fairly decent I suppose, but certainly not memorable. There are no tunes that you’ll be humming to yourself afterwards.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the plot just isn’t good. You have to ignore the graphics and the story and just focus on the gameplay. That’s the only way to really enjoy Little Big Planet. Even then, it is a lot choppier than Mario. Possibly to reinforce the fact that they’re all paper, it’s easy for Sackboy to get stuck to objects or jump a little too far. I died quite a few times in the thunder level because it was hard to control where I was going. It didn’t feel like it would have been much of a challenge if the game had Mario’s level of refinement. It’s just so much smoother than this title.

All right, this has been a pretty negative review so far. Keep in mind that the gameplay is still good, but it’s more at the level of Flip’s Twisted World than Mario. It feels a lot more like an Indie game than a AAA title and maybe it is I suppose. Regardless, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I was expecting a very different game than what I got, but that’s the price of not really looking up a game until you buy it. Just as some will be better than expected, others end up turning out worse.

There is a lot of replay value here to help hold the game up. After completing the game, you are only around halfway done at best. There are plenty of other levels to complete and stickers to assemble. Along the way you can aim for the Platinum Trophy which seems fairly reasonable to obtain. It would take a long while though and you’ll need to master the controls along the way. They definitely do get easier to use the more that you play the game. Doing all of this will definitely extend the play time of the game. The actual story is reasonably short and you can complete it in a few hours, but the Platinum should easily take you to around 20 hours if not longer.

There were boss battles in the worlds, which were fun as well. Most of them were pretty easy, but the fights were well thought out. I also think that all Platforming games should have bosses of some kind to change up the gameplay and to just provide a nice challenge. It at least offers the semblance of a story. I guess this game should be described as more of an experience than anything else. You get to run through various levels like a desert or a haunted house. The haunted house was definitely the most tense and atmospheric level while others like the Canyons were fairly generic. There is a great contrast between the various worlds and I suppose that’s a good thing. You can also create levels in this game which is a fairly big deal, but I skipped that part. Maybe I’ll go back to it someday, but with Mario Maker in existence, there’s no real reason to use any other title for level creation.

Overall, Little Big Planet may have not been the platformer that I wanted, but it’s definitely the one that I deserved after not giving him fights on my blog for so long. The game was disappointing which had an impact on making this review so negative, but keep in mind that it is still a decently good game. There is a lot to do here and the gameplay was decently well thought out. I always talk about how gameplay is really the bottom line for a video game and this title is the perfect example of that. The execution wasn’t perfect, but the game did try to give you as much control over Sackboy as it could. You can change his facial expressions, make him give a thumbs up, and a lot of other customization. You can dress him up any way you see fit and that can make the levels a little more entertaining. I don’t imagine that I’ll be buying the sequel anytime soon, but if you’re looking for a good platformer to spend some time on, this one will work as well as any.

Overall 6/10

Assault Suit Leynos Review

819CdTb6RTL
I ended up printing out a coupon for 5 dollars off a new game instead of 10 dollars off of a pre owned one at Gamestop by mistake the other day so I went looking for a new title that I could get for cheap. Leynos showed up and this game always looked pretty interesting. I’d only come across it once or twice in the past, but I like Arcade style games well enough. A modern port is always appreciated since it adds continue points and a saving feature. It’s a fun game and while it is fairly short, the trophies help to add in some replay value. Considering that it’s only 15 dollars new and probably even less used, I’d say that it deserves to be picked up.

The plot is that a bunch of people were sent into space back in the day. Then World War 4 showed up (Yes, not 3. That was off screen) and all of our technology went out the window. We finally rebuilt our civilization and united the world in peace, but we told the space explorers to fend for themselves. They didn’t like that and created their own robot army in order to claim revenge. Can we defeat our own people…and should we? It is life or death as they intend to destroy Earth so I think that ultimately ends up answering the question. We certainly will not go down easily!

The gameplay plays out like a 2D Gundam game. You can equip up to 6 parts on your robot. You can choose to load him up with various guns and rockets or you can equip some boosters and extra armor. I personally went with 3 armors, my Machine Gun, and two sets of rockets. I definitely recommend the Machine Gun and the Armors are great since they add a whole new life bar for each one that you equip. They’re a real life savor. You can also fly if you have the booster and you can aim the guns up and down with the control stick as you go through the levels. You can also punch, but aside from a trophy that you can get for it…why would you ever punch? It’s a joke move in there just for fun I believe.

There are two different modes in the game, Arcade Mode and Classic Mode. Ironically, Classic Mode is the actual one from the arcade game as you play through the whole game and take it down a few pegs. There are less cutscenes and bosses and it feels retro. Naturally, I played the Arcade Mode instead. This one’s a little more modernized with extra features and all the new gadgets. I’ll try the other one out soon for a trophy though so no worries on that. I’ve heard that it’s tougher, but that’s what the save feature is for right? There are 8 levels in each mode and each one can be defeated in a few minutes. The game isn’t very long as a result, but the difficulty level should ensure that you replay some of them a few times which adds to the overall length.

There also is some replay value here since you’ll want to nab the Platinum trophy. It doesn’t sound too difficult, but will certainly take some 2D skills to achieve. For example, one level will have you win without using any guns, that one definitely sounds like it’ll be a pain. I’ll need to equip my best armors for that. Without the trophies, this game probably would have gotten bumped down to a 6. After all, the gameplay may be entertaining, but there’s no multiplayer. That would mean that there are only 8 levels to play and nothing more to gain from replaying it so the game would have sunk due to the fact that it just didn’t have much content. It’s why I am such a big fan of Sony’s trophy system. It really helps all games and certainly adds replay value.

The graphics are fairly retro as they’re supposed to be. The game is clear and you can always tell what is happening though. I’d actually say that they look better than Frogger: The Great Quest despite how much older this one was when it first came out. Some of the level designs will even remind you of Mega Man X. Of course, it would be neat to get a full PS4 sequel for this game with the latest graphics. That would be a lot of fun so hopefully this one sold well enough. The music is also pretty sound. It may not be the most impressive soundtrack of all, but it works well and adds a little more intensity to the campaign.

There’s not much to say about the actual story. It’s pretty decent and hits all of the usual mecha notes. We have the emotional death, the emotionless main character, the emotional heroine, and even the “sympathetic” villain who just wants revenge and to destroy the whole world. It’s good enough for me to still believe that it was good to have the story in the game, but it just serves the bare minimum of what a story should be. It adds context to the battles and gives you something to look forward to after each level. The final level was handled really well with that as you got to fight 4-5 bosses back to back to back. It took me quite a few tries to take that one down, but all bosses fall eventually right?

Overall, Assault Suit Leynos is a good game. It’s fundamentally sound and arcade gamers from the olden days will probably be able to appreciate this even more. It’s not a game that I could see myself playing for too long as I’d get burned out at replaying the same level too much, but it’s good for a quick run through. I don’t have time to stick around and replay many of my games anymore regardless so as long as it’s fun for the first run through, then I’m set. If the game got a sequel, I’m confident that I would check it out. I’m still a little behind in Gundam games, but maybe this will spur me on to get one in the near future. I’m always up for any more robot games that aren’t called Armored Core. If you hadn’t heard of this game before this review, then hopefully I helped give you some extra knowledge so you could decide if you want to purchase it or not.

Overall 7/10

Frogger: The Great Quest Review

frogger_the_great_quest
Frogger is a character that we all grew up with, but I never got a chance to play his games. I probably got my hands on one at some point or other, but I didn’t have the privilege of owning any of them. Well, I finally took the plunge with this one. It’s a little underwhelming and doesn’t take full advantage of its gameplay style. It’s a decent game, but there were a number of issues which kept it from getting a solid 7. One thing’s for sure, this is definitely not your Dad’s Frogger. This is a whole new monster!

The game starts off with “Frogger” whining about how he wants to start a romance with a Princess. His mentor advises him to go find one then and “Frogger” takes him up on the offer. Unfortunately, “Frogger” keeps on getting “Your Princess is in another castle” messages. Villains are running rampant across the land and the young “hero” starts to get discouraged. Can he find his princess and satisfy his own ego or is it all over by now?

It’s really hard to sympathize with the main character at all. He’s very transparent about the fact that he just wants a kiss and doesn’t care about helping people or stopping villains. He really doesn’t care what happens to the rest of the world so long as he gets what he wants. “Frogger” is definitely annoying and the only really endearing thing about him is his catchphrase. “Whoa!” He yells that at every occasion and when he isn’t trembling in fear at the sight of the villains, he uses this to mask his terror. You’ll want to brace yourself for the big plot twist at the end of the game. It will fully show you that “Frogger” is not what he appears to be.

I do have to give the game some major props on the ending. Not the kiss part with the Princess recoiling in terror during the moment as that was just weird and the transformation was even wierder. I’m talking about the big cliffhanger that the game decided to end with. It’s unlikely to be mentioned in the sequel although I’ll give the next game some props if it does that, but it was great. All of the villains suddenly show up and start flying around the main characters. The flame head and the three stooges return and you realize that “Frogger” may be a little out of his depth here. It’s safe to say that they took him out and now rule the kingdom since the main character could barely handle them one at a time. It’s a rather somber ending, but the game can get away with it because of how few people know about it or bothered to purchase it back in the day. I’d like to see more games end on such a note. Naturally, it’d be great if they could actually acknowledge the endings and continue them in a sequel as well. It certainly beats the super safe Pizza Delivery Boy type endings…just saying.

The graphics aren’t that bad although they could certainly be better. It’s a very retro style with the mouths opening a lot like in the old Sonic DX game. Unfortunately, it hardly matters with the level designs since they are very bland. It doesn’t help that the levels are so large and you’ll easily get lost since each and every turn looks basically the same. That’s one of the big drawbacks to the game if you ask me. When it comes to the voice acting, Frogger is a lot worse than expected. It seems intentional just because of how bad it is. All of the characters have really fake exaggerated voices and just can’t stop themselves as they utter a lot of crazy lines. A lot of parodies of famous characters like Frankenstein are around and they don’t take themselves seriously so I assume that we are supposed to treat them likewise. If you’re looking for a good soundtrack, you can forget about all of that right now. You won’t remember a single tune by the end.

There isn’t much replay value to be found here and that’s an exaggeration. There is seriously no replay value here since there is no level select and you can’t go back to grab any of the lost jewels to complete your figure collection. There isn’t much point to the collection anyway though since it’s as bland as can be in this game. Considering that the game is also pretty short, this one is not worth a whole lot of money. It took me 3 hours to beat the game and that’s including the fact that I spent about 40-50 minutes getting lost in various levels. You should be able to purchase the game for about 3-4 dollars though so that should help considerably.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard 3D platformer. You walk and jump through levels as you look for things or just aim to get to the end of a long tunnel. You can double jump, glide, and even shoot spitballs. You’ll want to use the latter quite a lot as engaging even with a minion in hand to hand combat will result in you losing a lot of health. It’s simply not worth it when you can spam them with projectiles the whole time. If you lose, no worries. You go back to the checkpoint, but the enemies don’t respawn or gain back any health so just keep going at it until you win. What is going to be trickier is dodging all of the numerous glitches.

Sometimes a door won’t open and you’ll have to restart the level. It’s usually not all that long since there are checkpoints everywhere, but it’s definitely not very fun to have to do so. The reason is that the door opening mechanics are very precise. You have to click O at just the right point and you cannot be moving at all or it won’t register it. One reset was all that I would need though and it only happened twice so I suppose it could have been quite a lot worse.

Another iffy part is how the camera angles are really bad. One level involves you running through a tower for a very long time with the camera constantly moving. It’s very easy to fall off the stairs and have to climb back up all over again. Slow and steady will win this race. I remember how it took me a few tries to jump on a tree in the tutorial. The controls could definitely use some work and it’s a little sad to say that some Wii platformers have done a better job of this. How bad do you have to be to lose to something like Flip’s Twisted World in pure gameplay?

Finally, Frogger is one of those games that doesn’t give you a lot of advice for when the puzzles show up. It’ll just say “Find a way out” and leave you to your own devices. Couple that with the iffy controls and you could be stuck at some of these puzzles for a very long time. Trust me, you’ll constantly be hoping that the next level is a linear one. The game had most of those towards the middle of the game and that was the best part. Each level only took about 3-5 minutes and it was great. Any level that was huge or had a puzzle would force you to brace yourself for what was to come.

Overall, Frogger: The Great Quest could have certainly been a lot better. It made the mistake of not being very polished and taking the easy way out at every opportunity. The level designs were sloppy and the glitches were annoying. Puzzles slowed down its momentum and “Frogger” was not a very good main character. I did enjoy the ending though and the actual story wasn’t half bad. It was entertaining because of how crazy the whole thing was. When it all boils down to it, the gameplay itself wasn’t too bad. It was imprecise and flawed, but I can’t say that I didn’t have any fun with it. It’s short, but if you find it for a dollar or two, then you may as well check it out. Otherwise, I’d recommend sticking to the old Frogger titles.

Overall 5/10

Mighty No. 9 Review

k2-_edf88591-528c-4185-94e1-a0e37af8b52e.v1
It’s time to take a look at the controversial Mega Man homage game. This is also game number 2 from the Christmas batch. It’s definitely a very solid game when we look at pure gameplay, but it could definitely use some work in other aspects. The main culprit here is the level design as some just don’t make a whole lot of sense and are pretty unfair. The game has a habit of not telling you anything either, but I’ll take some very slight blame on that since I guess I could have experimented with the controls a little more. Given that the price crashed so quickly though, it is definitely worth purchasing.

The game follows Beck, The Mighty number 9, one of the last robots who is currently not corrupted. His fellow Mighty numbers have also started running amok and are causing terror in the streets. Doctor Sanda and Doctor White instruct Beck to save the day by defeating the robots and clensing them of the violent bug. It’ll be tough, but Beck is the strongest robot ever created so he should have the edge here. Who is controlling these robots though? Doctor Blackwell is a suspect since he has had many iffy crime dealings in the past, but he is currently in prison. With only one other actual character in the game, that means that we have 2 suspects. Well, lets start taking back the city!

Beck’s a decent lead although it’s hard to say what his personality is. He seems kind of sassy during some brief points, but for most of the game he is basically Mega Man when it comes to personality. He doesn’t like fighting and he’s super heroic to the point where you have to wonder if he’s faking it. He’s a good guy, but there just wasn’t much to him and you would barely even guess that he doesn’t like fighting if Call didn’t mention it a few times. Call is basically the Roll of this game. She gets one level to herself, which is cool since you get to fight as her, but she is given a terrible moveset. Her blasters deal next to 0 damage and she can’t power slide so you have to crawl the old fashioned way. Her level was also one of the very bad ones when it comes to design. She was a good main heroine though and I am glad that she isn’t reluctant to fighting.

All 3 of the doctors are fairly bland. Blackwell is easily the best of the three. He was framed and arrested so maybe the guy isn’t all that bad, but Doctor White certainly doesn’t like him. The game seems to be setting White up to be the villain of a sequel, which would certainly be interesting. White is even hiding the fact that he is related to Blackwell by changing his last name. Blackwell doesn’t like robots, which seems to be how the game is leaning him towards the dark side, but he doesn’t seem like a bad guy yet. The sinister design is probably an indication that he will do something drastic at some point, but he’s certainly no Wily yet. Sanda is the comic relief guy who constantly panics and stutters throughout the whole game. He definitely won’t be turning evil, but I wouldn’t want to see too much more of him. He doesn’t really serve any purpose in the story and is just there to be there.

The Mighty Numbers are fairly decent. They all have different personalities and none of them appear to be all that bad. They’re like the classic robot masters, but the game did a good job of not making them too identical. There is an obvious Proto Man homage, but we definitely did need a rival in the game. All good franchises develop one at some point. He was easily the best one in the game of course. Trinity was also pretty cool though and she is easily one of the stronger bots. I’d expect her to play a major role in the sequel unless they nerf her for some reason. Now that would be a shame.

As I got the PS4 version, it came with the free Ray expansion pack. I’ll definitely play that at some point, but for now that’ll go on the backburner. The character definitely looks cool though and I expect that he’d be a really good antagonist or rival figure. When I play that mode, I’ll upload an update post so that I can discuss it properly. I need to do the same with Shovel Knight at some point although this game certainly feels a little quicker so it would be higher on the list.

Lets talk about the gameplay. The positives are that they worked with the classic Mega Man style and improved it in some ways. Being able to air dodge is a lot of fun. It can be a little sensitive, but nothing too crazy. You may only slip and die a handful of times. I also like how strong the normal Mega Buster is. You’ll rarely want to use anything else, although the missile is certainly a very handy backup weapon. One thing you should know is that pressing on the PS4 touchscreen will let you use a health pack that you may have obtained during the level. If you see a blue icon under your health bar, then that’s what it means. You’ll lose them when you lose a life so use them before you die. I didn’t know about this until I was at the final boss. If I had only known earlier, I could have beaten the game way sooner and the final boss wouldn’t have been so difficult. The game never really mentioned anything about it though and I wasn’t going to surf the tips section until I found something. Again, I won’t blame the game too much, but this was a fairly important detail. You can also do back jumps while shooting by hitting the R2 button and that’s also very useful for the final boss. It only has niche uses though so you won’t be using it all that much.

One area where the gameplay failed is switching between weapons. Why wouldn’t they leave it simple like in the Mega Man games by just hitting L1 and R1 to instantly switch? Instead, that allows you to cycle through and then you have to activate the switch with triangle. It’s too many steps and will likely cause you to get hit once or twice during a boss fight. I also have to take a shot at the level designs. Purple spikes KO you instantly, but some levels have a Mario Maker esque moment where you’ll fall down and just bump into them. There’s no way to know that they’re there so you’ll always lose a life the first time that you encounter this. As the game is pretty short, there aren’t too many of these moments, but the ones that are there will certainly get on your nerves. Some segments have various jumps around the purple spikes and one death can send you pretty far back. Some of the checkpoints simply weren’t placed well.

The graphics are definitely pretty sharp and this is how retro inspired games should look if you ask me. It has the retro side scroller feel to it, but you can still see the updated graphics through the character designs and level layouts. Everything looks pretty smooth and modern, especially the aerial boosts. The game definitely looks quite good and that also helps get you into the game. The actual plot may have been somewhat underwhelming and the graphics never looked good for the cutscenes for some reason, but the actual gameplay visuals were always on point. The soundtrack is also pretty solid. Some of the themes are rather generic, but they are generic futuristic themes, which is still a win for me. The themes go very well with the moderate to fast paced gameplay. There were no “bad” themes in the game, which is always good as well.

There is a good amount of replay value to be found here. Getting that Platinum Trophy will take a very long time since the trophies are very hard. Can you imagine beating the whole game in 30 minutes or completing it on hard without any continues? Those two in particular sound crazy and there are a slew of others that will be just as hard. It would take dozens upon dozens of hours to do this unless there is some kind of save stalling technique that I’m not aware of. It’s certainly possible I suppose, but it would still take quite a while. Getting all S ranks on the normal levels will also be tricky and then you’ve got challenges and online leaderboards to worry about. It’s quite a lot of content so that’s a good thing considering that over 70000 people backed the game and that it got way more money than it ever needed. The controversies surrounding the game were certainly interesting to follow along back in the day.

Overall, Mighty No. 9 is a solid game. The level designs and the plot help to keep it from getting an 8 though. The main story won’t last you all that long either so if you’re not a big fan of the bonus content, then this game wouldn’t really be worth the 30 dollars for you. It currently goes for 10-15 though so that’s a very reasonable price if you ask me. This will also help alleviate the wait til the next Mega Man or Mega Man X game since it seems like it’ll be a very long time before Capcom gives us another one. I don’t get how a company can drop the ball so hard on one of their franchises, but that’s Cashcom for you. So, I definitely recommend this game and it was about what I expected, if not a little better. This is controversial, but I think it’s even better than Shovel Knight so that would make it my top indie game. It’s a little murky as to whether or not it counts anymore I suppose, but given that it was from kickstarter, I think we can still call it that. We’ll see if Shantae can take the crown though. The gameplay is pretty sharp and the plot is much better, but Mighty No 9 does have some advantages like the soundtrack and the graphics. Only time will tell and that review shouldn’t be too far off either!

Overall 7/10

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Review

ps2_star_wars_revenge_of_the_sith-110214
The Star Wars marathon continues! The last game was exceptionally good and set the bar quite high. Unfortunately, this one is not able to quite reach the same level when it comes to the pure gameplay, but the exciting story and multiplayer turn the tables. There are some obvious problems with the gameplay that hold it back just a bit, but it overcomes those odds. While it could be more polished, the rough gameplay actually helps to make the multiplayer mode more interesting. Just press some buttons and hope for the best!

The game covers the events of the third movie. Anakin and Obi Wan continue to do their best to stop the Sith forces and all of the other villains who are around. The main problem is that the head of the Republic is also evil so the heroes have to watch out for threats from both sides and one of their ranks allows the pull of the Dark side to sway him. This game covers the birth of Darth Vader!

I have to say that playing this game again reminded me why Episode III is still the most epic and exciting Star Wars film to date. It may not be the best, but it does make sense why it would be the coolest. This was back in the days where there were many Jedi warriors and lightsaber battles were commonplace. The film had a bunch of awesome fight scenes within and the game adapts them all and then some. It’s something that all of the movies since have lacked and I’m hoping that Episode VIII gives us a bunch of hype battles. I could definitely get behind that and I’m expecting great things from it.

This game starts off rather slow, but quickly picks up once Anakin joins the dark side. Suddenly you’re fighting other Jedi warriors instead of mindless droids. This makes for more enjoyable battles and also an engaging plot. The banter between the characters is brilliant during the fights and you’ll actually like some of the characters more than you did in the film. One warrior who showed up and confidently took on Anakin is safely one of the cooler Jedi warriors. It was a quick moment, but one that separated her from the common masses who were all dying in an instant.

The game didn’t adapt the cool scene where Palpatine took down the 3 warriors though. I had to quickly watch that scene myself and saw a cool video explaining why the Jedi masters lost so quickly. It was simple, they lacked the speed needed to defeat Palpatine. Apparently that is his strongest skill and he can strike so fast that he barely appears at all. Mace was only able to hold his own because he used a forbidden technique that granted him the power of the Dark as well so it was definitely an interesting watch. Needless to say, despite the video hinting otherwise, I’d still take Anakin over them even at his current level.

There are 16 levels like in the other Star Wars game. In addition, there are 4-5 bonus levels and you can unlock Darth Vader for multiplayer mode. That will be your main source of replay value since fighting friends never gets old, but you can also go back to the levels and grab the secrets. Each level has secret health and Force power ups which permanently increase the size of each. I found a bunch of them by breaking things so I imagine that’s how you find them all. The campaign is only around 3 hours long, but couple it with these other factors and I’d say that the game has a fair length. It’s just a lot easier than the last game so it goes by a lot quicker.

The gameplay is purely about hand to hand combat. It may be more accurate to call it Lightsaber combat. You have standard slashes and power moves. There are also your Force abilities of course, which allow you to lift opponents, stun them, and even push them away. I didn’t properly learn how to use the force until the final 2 levels so I recommend trying to learn it a little sooner. Boss fights in this game are quite difficult as they will block or parry just about anything that you throw at them. Ironically, the final boss is easily the weakest one in the game as he refuses to block just about anything. For the others, I recommend whacking them a few times and then going off to heal. (Yes, you can heal yourself in this game) Then rinse and repeat until the job is done. You can usually run fast enough to get this strategy to work. Alternately, you can master the rock, paper, scissors gameplay, but it didn’t make much sense the whole time so I just reverted to classic button mashing. It’s never failed me before so I have always trusted this legendary technique. Your character will gain experience after each level and you can use it to improve your force abilities (Like healing. I highly recommend focusing on that one) and physical abilities. By the end of the game, your character will be close to being maxed out.

The graphics look quite good. The lightsabers really stand out the whole time and they did a good job with the blasts getting deflected off of the swords. It’s aged pretty well and I can definitely see why this game would be thought of as an older Force Unleashed. There are a lot of similarities to be found here and I look forward to trying that game out at some point. The soundtrack is just as good. It has all of the classic Star Wars themes that you may wish for and the battle themes are all intense. It’s definitely a rock solid game on a technical level.

Overall, Episode III may have gotten off to a rough start initially, but it really grows on you. I was sure that it would only be getting a 7 at first, but the plot really picked up and the gameplay is definitely a lot more fun when you’re fighting actual sword fighters. There is a lot less variety when it comes to the gameplay compared to the other title, but how can you not like a classic 3D sword-fighter styled gameplay? It never gets old and none of the levels are painfully long so that also helps a great deal. It’s the kind of gameplay where I also wouldn’t have pictured a multiplayer mode so it’s really cool that it was featured. The cast could be longer, but I guess we’ll save that for an official Star Wars fighting game. The series certainly has enough characters for it by now. I definitely recommend checking out this title. My Star Wars marathon will likely go on a brief break here since I’ll be getting some new games for Christmas, but it’ll be back at some point.

Overall 8/10