Play Time 9h 7m
PS4 Trophies 33/43
Green Symbols: 9
Power Ups obtained 100%
Play Time 9h 7m
PS4 Trophies 33/43
Green Symbols: 9
Power Ups obtained 100%
It’s time to look at a recent game known as the Messenger. This one takes your classic 2D platformer genre and throws in some Metroidvania mechanics. It’s also part parody so it pokes fun at a lot of the usual tropes. It’s a pretty solid game, but one that would have risen up to great status if it had just not added in the Metroidvania aspect. The title didn’t really need it to be a complete title as the story and length would have still been pretty sufficient.
The game starts with the main character’s village being attacked by demons. The lead had been complaining about how boring the place was so he starts to feel a little regret as everyone is slain and he is powerless before the Demon King. Fortunately there is a prophecy that a legendary hero will arrive to save everyone. Unfortunately the hero was late so he gives you a letter to deliver to someone on top of a mountain to really save the day. You are now the Messenger and the fate of the planet rests on you. If you don’t deliver this letter then everyone is truly doomed.
That’s the basic plot but of course there’s a lot more to it than that. The second half of the game in particular really throws in a lot of other elements like time travel and other dimensions. It’s all explained pretty well though so you’ll have no trouble getting what is going on. There is also a long cutscene near the end of the game to explain the origins of how this all happened. It’s pretty interesting and the game has a nice vibe to it. The main character has more personality than I would have expected.
The writing is particularly strong here. As I hinted at earlier with the parody elements, the script is a lot of fun. The characters are constantly throwing shade around and insulting each other. For the soundtrack, it’s pretty calming. The best theme in the game is the shop tune. There are 2 themes that are randomly selected when you go to the shop, but at least 50% of the time. You’ll be hearing the really hype tune. Then for the graphics it’s all very clear. It’s got that classic sprite vibe, but it’s not blurry or retro in the slightest. It’s like a very modern version of a sprite game and that’s definitely okay by me. You always feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.
Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. You run and jump through the levels and are armed with your sword as well as Shuriken. Those are the only weapons you have, but they get the job done. Then you have the interesting air mechanic which is basically an extra jump you get whenever you hit an opponent or an obstacle while in the air. This leads to some pretty intense platforming sections during the later parts of the game. You’ll actually have to try quite a bit if you want to clear those levels. It’s no longer a walk in the park. It’s a satisfying level of difficulty and there are constant checkpoints so you are never worried about being sent too far back. The game design was quite solid.
So far this is sounding like an amazing game right? Well, that’s because it was quite great throughout. From the start of the game all the way to the big confrontation with the demon king’s right hand man it was a fast paced adventure filled with great platforming and a solid level up system. After that is where the game hit a big hurdle. Up til this point it was a straight forward adventure, but after beating the demon you are sent back to the time chamber and must now go back through all of the old levels to find some music notes. Keep in mind that going through these levels took hours the first time. You are given some portal shortcuts to jump around, but not nearly enough. Get ready to spend 4-5 hours just running around collecting. To get a music note you must first do other things like helping explorers and dragons.
This part was pretty tedious. It’s handled far better than a game like Metroid since you at least know where to go thanks to hints from the shop owner. Of course that will cost you quite a few shards so it’ll keep you from buying other power ups for a while. You’ll be crossing the same levels over and over again multiple times as you try to near the end. This part just felt like it was here to stall for time and I think it shouldn’t have done that. I definitely prefer when things are linear or if you’re back tracking with a purpose. At the very least you should have the ability to quickly get to where you want to go instead of having to hoof it the old fashioned way.
Ah well, that’s really the only gripe with the game that slows it down quite a bit. Once you have the music notes then you enter the climax and things get pretty exciting again. All in all, the game had a lot of really fun ideas. The shop owner was definitely one of the best characters in the game but I also liked the lead a lot. The game throws a quick fake ending at you twice and both times it worked really well. I actually think it would have been awesome if the game ended with the first ending as it would have subverted everything so convincingly. It still works without ending there of course, but it shows that the writers really knew what they were doing. They made the game in a way where you would be satisfied no matter what.
As for replay value, there are some things to do here. When you beat the game you can start a New Game +. Additionally you can work to getting the Platinum Trophy in this game which certainly won’t be easy to do. I managed to get most of the trophies in the game but there are 2 tough ones that I feel would take a long time which is the dark cave one and another where you have to beat most of the game without dying. That’s a pretty tough thing to do, but if you’re dedicated to clearing the game then you’ll manage. I definitely recommend getting as many of the upgrades as you can early on. Earning money isn’t very tough so you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Getting the upgrade that gives you triple attack is extremely handy.
Overall, I’d recommend checking out The Messengers. It’s around 10 hours long so it’ll definitely last you for a while and it’s just a fun look at the platforming genre. Keep in mind that the second half of the game will slow things down, but all in all the first half and the climax should still keep things up. The game does end with a “To be Continued” message so maybe someday we’ll get a sequel. I’d be down with checking that out and it would be interesting to see where the plot goes from here. The ending was fairly definitive if you ask me so I’m thinking it’ll either be a totally new main character or he is just thrown into some crazy situation that the blue cloaked warriors didn’t tell him about.
It’s time to take a look at an RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for an extremely long amount of time. It’s been several years since I started this game, maybe even a full 10. Regardless, it was time to finally go through it and it’s a unique experience. I hadn’t played a first person RPG title before. I definitely prefer third person, but I’m always up for trying something new and this was quite the experience. The game has several weak areas though which prevent it from being a truly solid title.
The game starts by showing us a cutscene of someone fighting a dragon a long time ago. We then cut to the present where the king’s advisor sends his son off to a mysterious island to find out what’s going on. There had been something called an Eternal Ring planted in that island a long time ago. The king sent many soldiers to the island, but they never returned. The Hero arrives and things are not looking good for the army. Most of the members have succumbed to monsters and demons lurking on the island. The captain of the guards was personally consumed by the Eternal Ring and now exists as an undead who wants ultimate power. The lead will have to steel himself as he heads through this island to locate the Eternal Ring and complete his mission.
The plot is as vague as can be in the beginning so you get to piece together what is happening along with the others characters as the lead goes on. I tend to like this intrigue style and the more you withhold from me the better. Still, there isn’t a whole lot that happens here til the end. Then we learn about the infinite prison, the child of one of the gods being trapped, and other such things. The lead takes all of this in stride as he doesn’t bat an eye whether he is fighting ordinary lizards or taking down demonic tyrants. It’s all the same to him, he just wants to grab/destroy the ring and head home. It’s really all he is focused on and doesn’t even talk to anyone. Truly a tough man, but he gets the job done.
Eternal Ring is rather tragic with the plot as just about everyone dies though. I especially feel bad for the soldiers who have been trying to uphold the rebellion for years only to be completely left to fend for themselves. They did good to last this long, but when just one of the big villains can solo the whole army you know that things won’t go well. The ring is also too powerful for their mortal minds to just being near is an issue for them as well. There’s really no winning for the army grunts this time. The overall plot concept is still really cool though. There’s a lot you can do with it. It’s pretty simple at the core, a mysterious island exists with monsters protecting a jewel of ultimate power. It’s just all about the execution and the story is the strong part of the game.
As for the gameplay, as I mentioned it is a first person title where you swing a sword and fire magical spells. Think Call of Duty, but without the guns. You go from area to area as you collect keys and slay monsters as you get closer and closer to the heart of the island. Key spells include the recovery spell and the anti-poison one. They will save you much needed gems on potions and antidotes so you can buy the important things like MP crystals instead. When in a fight it is very important to strafe as much as possible to dodge hits. Almost all boss fights can easily be won by strafing while slicing the entire time. The matches will take an eternity if you’re under leveled, but they simply can’t hit you.
I ended up beating the game at level 27 which is way under leveled compared to where I should have been. That being said, I had obtained enough gems to get the wind summon which can easily destroy even the final boss in 4-5 hits. The summons in this game are ridiculously broken to the point where once you get one you have effectively conquered the game. It was smart of the title to keep them locked away for so long although if you knew where to look ahead of time you could have gotten the summons quite a bit earlier than I did. I didn’t grab them until right before the final few areas. They’re risky against minions since there isn’t a lot of space to use them so stick to fighting the bosses with them. Why does space matter? Well, summons actually deal friendly fire so they’ll destroy you in one hit if you’re close by when they strike.
Eternal Ring makes your journey a little more tedious than necessary though. For starters, there is only one shop in the entire game. If you want to go buy some supplies to help you out in the final sections then you’re going to have to run all the way back to the army base in the forest. This can take you an insane amount of time since most levels are constructed to be mazes. If you don’t have a map nearby then all I can say is “Good Luck!” because you’re going to need it. Then you’ve got the fact that save points and level ups don’t restore your health or MP so if you don’t have your health ring ready then you’ll be burning a lot of items very quickly.
The game also doesn’t help with finding out how to create the rings you want. You have to put the attribute in the left and the type on the right, but with 6 slots and over 100 possibilities you could potentially go throughout the whole game and not get the cure ring. I would have been sunk without it and that’s just unnecessarily difficulty. Nothing in the game is properly explained so you’re just left to your own devices. The story doesn’t need to be explained, but the same cannot be said for the gameplay. I absolutely need to know how to do the things so I can plunge through and claim victory!
It can be hard to see where you’re going because of how dark the game is as well. I have to attribute some of the blame to my TV since it’s always had a very tough time with PS2 games in general. Still, I could have done with more light levels as opposed to almost all of the stages being inside a very dark cave. It’s not even as enjoyable as being outside because at least in the latter scenario you can always see what is happening no matter what. Caves all look the same after a while.
The soundtrack isn’t bad. There’s a decent blend of tunes here and the themes are more extensive than I would have thought. As I write this review I’m listening to the soundtrack and it all sounds so nostalgic since I just beat the game. It’s not amazing, but it’s better than I would have expected. It helps make up for the game’s sub-par graphics. As for replay value, there really isn’t much at all after beating the game. You could try to grab all of the magic rings and such, but there isn’t really much to do with that newfound power once you’ve beaten the game. At that point it is just time to take a step back and head for the next title.
Overall, Eternal Ring was definitely put on the bench for a reason. It’s a game that the me of 10 years ago would have probably been really confused by. As it stands I still think that the game makes itself overly complicated at times and needlessly grindy in other sections. Leveling up isn’t very convenient and the lack of healing and shops in the game make you have to backtrack and run around a lot. Getting lost is also rough because if you lose then you’ll be sent back a long ways away to the last save point. You just never want to go out that way. If you really like the idea of a close quarters monster brawler then this could be the game for you. Just know that you are going to have a lot of exploring to do so the gameplay may not be as fun by the end of your struggle. First person style may not be my thing, but I’d be down with a sequel to this title if they gave it some more polish.
All right guys, it’s finally time to take a look at one of the newer Madden titles. Madden is easily still my favorite sports title out of all the big EA games and 17 continues to impress. While this installment isn’t quite as impressive as some of the older ones, it still had all of the positive fundamentals that we have come to expect from the series. It’s certainly a steal considering it was only 3-4 bucks.
The gameplay is the same Football mechanics as the older ones at least in a grand scope kind of view. The goal is to score more points than the other team by getting a player with the football into the opponent’s end zone. Alternatively you can just kick the ball in. You’re really going to need to be able to survey different parts of the screen at once especially when throwing passes. It’s a very intricate game and you do need great reactions to pull this off. Part of why the game is so satisfying is because it needs all of those skills. You can’t pick up the game and suddenly become good, you’re going to need to work on it. There’s definitely a lot to learn too since you’ve also got other sides of the ball like defense, kicking, and running.
While not much has changed since the last Madden they did retool the kicking gameplay once again. Now you’ve got a meter that goes up and down which you have to stop twice. I definitely preferred the old system where you would just flick a lever up and down. I suppose this one is a lot trickier though, but I don’t think you need to over complicate field goals. It also makes the meter pretty crazy when you increase the difficulty. That’s not new, but I still disagree with it since I want a challenge on the field when upping the stakes, not a challenge to fight myself!
Accelerating is a little less obvious here so the game is a little more like a simulation than arcade style. I miss zooming around the field, but I do get the logic and it works well enough. The tackling is still on point and you can see how the game is really well polished in all areas. The gameplay is just a lot of fun provided that you like the sport of Football. It accurately portrays how the game goes down. When you’re playing you feel like you’re in total control so the game succeeds here.
It goes without saying that the graphics are pretty incredible as always. Everything is just so lifelike and while EA may not have the best reputation they do always deliver on this front. As for the soundtrack, it’s less obvious than usual. You’re really not going to be paying it much attention anyway since you’ll be in the game by that point. Now the presentation is where its at and the game is stunning there. It really feels like a real game with how the announcers introduce the teams and we get a nice pre game set up. Likewise you get a good set up for the playoffs and super bowl.
There are a lot of modes beyond the quick games of course. You can practice or jump into the online modes. There are a lot of ranks to go through so if you play online then you’ll probably be around for quite a while. Learning all of the playbooks will take a while and naturally obtaining the Platinum is quite difficult. These games may come out every year, but one title is enough to hold you for several years to be honest since there is just so much to do. There’s also the fact that every game is different so like a fighting game there is basically unlimited replay value here.
Due to the nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot to say but I’ll end off with my tips on how to take the computers down a few pegs. I was able to take them down until All Madden difficulty after all although at that point they cheesed me out. One thing I don’t like about All Madden is that your players start to choke. They begin dropping passes and fumbling all over the place which doesn’t feel like a real difficulty spike. It’s more like your players start breaking down as if they’re 1st year rookies going into their first playoff game. So ignoring that, my strategy for winning was a bland but effective ground game. I’d run it on 1st and 2nd down and then pick up the final 3 yards over the place. Then I’d mix it up with a first yard pass sometimes. I would win in very low scoring games like 17-10 or something like that. The computer has a hard time fully shutting down the run so you’re almost guaranteed to get 2-3 yards up the middle each time.
On the other hand, if you go around then you’re more likely to lose yardage but you have a decent shot of getting a big gain. I prefer consistency so I go up the middle and you’ve also got the shot of making a big gain so the way I see it there isn’t much of a downside to this. Just keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get some kind of win. Defense is also important, but I don’t really have any tips for that. What’ll happen will happen with that one.
Overall, Madden 17 is definitely a game that you’re going to want to jump into. It’s only 2-3 dollars so there is really no downside to making the purchase. By the same token you can also just skip to 18 which is basically the same price and have close to the same experience. It’s really up to you to see what you want to do, but there’s no bad option. While I do think they should speed up the gameplay a bit like in the old days it is still very balanced. I think the problem of the low acceleration is that the running back feels like just an ordinary player as opposed to the speedster. It also gets rid of the quarterback advantage which is too bad because I loved scrambling for every play and getting a bunch of yards. I guess it was pretty broken to be honest though. The quarterback was unbeatable in some of the older games.
Play Time 13h 20m
PS4 Trophies 25/36
Science Orbs 5/5
Yellow Ghosts 3/5
Red Ghosts 4/5
Green Ghosts 4/5
Blue Ghosts 0/5
Purple Ghosts 2/5
It’s time to look at a platforming game that I’ve been aware of for a pretty long time, but just hadn’t picked up til now. I have to admit that the game didn’t look/sound amazing. It seemed like it was probably going to get bogged down by puzzles and such, but the price wasn’t bad so finally I got it. It’s definitely not the best platformer and the first world is one of the worst playforming worlds I’ve ever seen. Still, after that the game got a lot better so even though I wouldn’t call it great by the end I did think that it started to redeem itself. Hopefully the sequel will start on a higher note and soar to new heights.
The plot of the game is pretty basic. Laylee’s book is stolen by Captain B. who is going to use it to rule the world. Laylee decides to ask Yooka for help and together they now need to get all of the pages for the book. Why not just get the book right away? Well, B refuses to see them until they collect at least 100 pages. Rather than question this the heroes decide to oblige. This makes them about as smart as Crash and friends which isn’t great, but at least Laylee is pretty self aware about this. Yooka should be a little worried though. So begins the plot.
There really isn’t much of a story beyond this. Still, that’s pretty expected for platformers in general. Typically you just get a very quick story like that with minimal cutscenes. In many ways this game is trying to just be a normal platformer so of course it doesn’t want to have an elaborate story. That means that the gameplay needs to hold its own. In that sense the gameplay is reasonably solid. Running around and swiping at enemies is fun and you learn a lot of handy abilities. Flying is more annoying than it should be though as the camera just keeps on shifting. Simple turns take a lot longer and more effort than you would have ever dared expect.
I think the camera can be blamed for a whole lot. Also, you’ve got the level designs which aren’t so good. The worlds are downright huge and in part that is impressive of the developers but you have to take a lot of credit away for the fact that everything looks the same. You should never get lost in a world but that will happen many times. It’s why the game got off to a really stormy start since the first world is the guiltiest in this regard. There’s also the fact that most of the pages can’t be captured yet since you don’t have the necessary powers yet. You get 2 powers in each world and then one power after each one. So the game forces you to take the path of doing every world, going to the next one, and then going back to the first world with your new powers. What I did was I got the minimum amount of pages in each world to unlock the next one, rinse and repeat. Regardless you will definitely have to go back and get more pages at some point.
I made it to the final boss level with around 50 pages so I had a whole lot to try and catch after that. Going back to the old worlds isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t like being forced to do so. The page requirement for the final boss should have been considerably lower if you ask me. The final boss was pretty challenging though so the game did do a good job of making him a struggle. The boss is also pretty long since there isn’t a way to beat him much faster. You have to watch as he goes through his motions and if you lose then you have to start all over from the start. So I recommend not losing too often or the level is really going to start dragging.
One annoying part of the game is also how everyone just makes crazy noises to talk. It’s definitely a little dicey after hearing it for a super long time. It’s also pretty suspicious how everyone completely ignores Laylee. It’s almost like she was added into the game after the fact because aside from Yooka none of the other characters acknowledge her presence 99% of the time. It’s a shame because she gets all of the best lines in this game, but nobody reacts to her savage burns. That kind of takes away the point of her stings. She especially gets into it whenever we head to the shop owner. I guess he has to have a thick skin since he’s a professional scammer, but I wanted his conversations to be a little more interactive.
Ah well, ignoring Laylee aside I would consider the writing for this game to be really good. the script is clever and Laylee sees through all of the usual tropes and traps. Yooka is a little less aware and is basically your average protagonist. There’s nothing that separates this dinosaur from someone like Mario for example. I’d like to see Yooka get more personality in the sequel or if not then maybe it is time to join Team Yooka. Meanwhile the villains have even less character. B seems like a nice enough guy for a villain I suppose, but he is completely comic relief so it’s not like you’ll be taking him seriously. Then you’ve got his right hand man who may be more important than we could have ever guessed thanks to the ending. It’d be nice if the sequel game would expand on that, but I suppose that isn’t super likely.
There are a lot of little arcade games held within this platformer and most of those are good. They don’t have much of a middle ground though as the first ones are excellent, but too easy and then the latter ones are challenging, but way too drawn out. You just can’t win I suppose. Well, if we’re talking overall value then this game definitely does give you a lot of bang for your buck. The story will take you at least 10 hours since it forces you to grab a lot of pages. There are also a lot of trophies to nab and for the most part they’re actually pretty easy. This is definitely a Platinum that you can grab if you put your mind to it.
Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a game that gets better as you play it. The more abilities you get, the more the levels become convenient and less of a chore to travel through. This especially applies once you are able to fly as that is a true game changer all the way through. It’s always risky to make a game feel so limiting at the beginning even if it is to show you how useful the upgrades are at the end. Some games do it really well, but I wouldn’t consider this to be a great strategy either way. Still, there are enough things wrong with this game to keep it from getting the solid 7 score. The level designs aren’t good, the plot isn’t that good, and in general the game isn’t super interesting. You’ll complete the game, but then you likely won’t go through it again. It’s a solid one time playthrough so I guess you should buy it, but I’d recommend just about every other platformer first so definitely keep that in mind. I hear that a new Yooka-Laylee game is coming out so I look forward to seeing how that one stacks up.
No stats this time!
No stats this time!
1/50 PS3 Trophies
It’s time to look at another NBA 2K title. This one is a lot older than the others so was it as good? Honestly, this is the best NBA 2K game yet and I’m not just saying that because it’s the first one where I was finally able to take it to the computer. Not only did I win, but I won by 20 points. It felt pretty good to actually be in the lead for a change. Don’t get me wrong, losing is good sometimes and it definitely does build character, but I was definitely ready to be in the driver’s seat for a change. It’s a lot of fun and while the gameplay isn’t quite as deep as some of the newer games, it is deep enough for me.
I jumped right into the play now mode and I knew things would go my way when I was able to stop them from scoring 3 times in a row. I was quickly up to a 5-2 lead and from there the gap kept widening. It felt like everything was working this time. I would go for the 2 point shots or I would quickly pass it to my guy on the outside and he would hit the 3 point shot. It may just be some placebo on my end, but it seems like you have a better chance of making the shot if you take it right away. If you walk around for a bit before trying the 3 pointer it just won’t work. Of course I still did miss a lot of the 3 point shots, but I got the ones that counter. My strategy was to just run in and score and it worked pretty well. I was scoring at will and while they would stop me from time to time I was able to stop them more.
One gameplay mechanic that I still don’t understand is why my guy will randomly fire a shot at times. I’m just trying to hold R2 and accelerate, but my guy will throw the ball and naturally since I’m nowhere near the hoop then it basically gives the other team a free turnover. It just seems to happen randomly. I doubt it’s a glitch so it’s just something that I’m not doing right. Then you’ve also got players running out of bounds sometimes. That happened to me at least 3 times and it never occurred in the other games. I guess parts of the gameplay are a little unrefined, but all in all it still feels natural.
The biggest change which helped me win here was that my defense was finally going good. A good chunk of this is due to the fact that the A.I. seemed to be really good. Players would stick their hands up and stop balls from getting past them. I think my team got well over 10 turnovers in the game. I also got my share of steals (and fouls) which definitely helped out a lot. I’d then transition into my fast break offense and from there the sky was the limits. Nobody was going to stop me from making the basket and I don’t think any of them wanted to. Whenever they would jump in front I would still make the basket only now they had a foul so I was able to go for the third point. All in all, it was a pretty good deal.
There are the usual assortment of modes here so even if you get bored you can quickly try to spice up the gameplay. You can go through the franchise option or make your own player. Naturally there is also the option to just practice for a while or turn up the difficulty. After the win I did get a bit greedy so I tried another match only this time I intentionally chose a team with a very low rating to see how different it would be. I was losing this match by a few points so it was definitely different. It felt more like the other 2K games as I wasn’t getting any backup and the other team was stopping me more. I think the overall score seems to have a pretty big impact across the board with the various players. I didn’t actually get to finish the second game as I exited in the 4th quarter, but I wasn’t going to make it back at that point. Of course you also have the local multiplayer option at your disposal which is sure to add even more replay value to the mix.
The graphics are definitely as sharp as ever. They may not be as flashy as some of the newer games, but they do get the job done. You’ll be able to easily see the field and understand the situation at all times. Surprisingly the main menu didn’t really have a flashy theme this time, but I assume that the usual assortment of musical themes can be found somewhere in the game. At least the loading screens are also faster than the other 2K games I played so if you don’t like the presentation then you can skip to the game. Otherwise I do think the presentation was handled really well so you’ll probably enjoy it for the first few times at least.
Overall, NBA 2K10 holds up as well as the others. If anything it is currently my favorite NBA 2K game although I admit that it had the advantage of letting me win this time. It does feel pretty good to be holding the W instead of the L this time. On the other hand, the fundamentals are all on point as they are in the newer ones so it is basically like you’re playing the same game. If you liked the newer ones then I don’t really see any reason why you wouldn’t like this one. At the end of the day it’s all Basketball and the gameplay can only change so much. Considering that this game is only about a dollar I would definitely recommend snagging it.