Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time Review


Mario’s certainly had quite a few RPGs over the years. It’s always been interesting to see Nintendo balance having both the Paper Mario series as well as the M&L titles. It used to be that the former would have the darker plots while M&L would have the hype dialogue. Gradually the Paper Mario games turned into the more fun titles without much of a plot and I’m not deep enough in this franchise to see if it’ll go the same way. Well, this is definitely a fun sequel and I would put it above the first game. The story is a little on the short side for an RPG but at around 15 hours I can’t reasonably say that it’s super short either. It’s long enough and gets the job done.

The game starts with the team deciding to time travel to the past for fun. Apparently that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re bored now. Peach heads to the past but when the time machine returns there is a monster in there instead of Peach. The Mario bros are able to barely take him out and head to the past. There they are quickly defeated by the Shroobs. Fortunately they are saved by Baby Bowser as well as Baby Mario/Baby Luigi. Now these guys are going to need to team up to find out where the present Peach is and save her. The stakes are high because this group is also looking to conquer the kingdom in general. They already own the Mushroom Kingdom in the past and Mario must now stop this from happening in the present.

Of course along the way a lot of hijinks ensues and you know Bowser will want to have a word in. Surprisingly Bowser’s role here is rather small. He gets a solid role at the end of the game though which was pretty tense. I was definitely not expecting things to go that way. The game does not disappoint with the climax. It’s pretty high-end as you would expect from an RPG experience. The boss has more than one phase and it’ll take everything you had to win. The game is rather difficult if you don’t stop to get some extra level ups along the way. I spent a few hours just going back to get level ups and the final boss was still pretty tough.

The best advice I can give it to really spam the Copy Flower and the Mix Flower. These are really your best options if you ultimately want to score the win. You can deal hundreds of damage just by using the flower once and at the same level my standard attack would do around 70. I don’t see how you can beat the final bosses without these items. I ran out of items the first time I tried to challenge the final boss and ultimately that put me in a real spot. I wouldn’t lose since I was good at dodging the attacks but I couldn’t deal enough damage to ever win. See, the boss has 3,000 HP and she is protected by a lot of other parts. The idea is to destroy the shields and then attack her but the shields regenerate every few turns. So by the time I would destroy 2 shields another would pop up so I would never get to the actual villain. You need the items for this fight. I can tell you that right now.

Also, it’s important to use the roulette to increase other attributes. Initially I was putting everything into Health but I didn’t realize that the roulette gets worse and worse if you focus on just one stat. You’ve got to increase them all to really put yourself in a good spot. It’s the only way to get far here. I recommend always increasing HP, Attack, or Defense. They’re the only 3 stats that really matter if you ask me. Earning XP isn’t super easy in this game though. Enemies don’t respawn unless you time travel so it can take a while to get anywhere. Additionally the EXP amounts just aren’t great. I beat the game at Level 25 and just getting to that point took quite a long while.

The gameplay is classic turn based although it’s fairly interactive. Pressing buttons at the right times will allow you to extend a combo or deal extra damage. You are also given the option to dodge enemy attacks if you time the buttons correctly. It’s a nice little touch that keeps you sharp the whole time. You can’t just space out as the enemy uses their moves. It’s not quite as crisp as your average RPG but I’ll give Nintendo props for keeping things different here. I do think it’s a pretty good idea.

As for the graphics, I’d say that the game looks pretty clear. The character sprites are on point. The animations are a little limited along with the sound effects so you’ll see and hear the characters do the same things a lot but at the end of the day it always feels pretty in character. The soundtrack is okay but the game was really lacking a danger theme. As a result even during the really serious moments you would have a happy theme play and it could dampen the mood a bit. The game could have really used a dark theme or something with a little rock for these moments.

There isn’t much replay value in this case because there isn’t anything to do after beating the game. You can earn more level ups I suppose but there isn’t much of a reason to do so with no post game. It’s short for an RPG as I mentioned but you can get it for a decent price nowadays and 15 hours is nothing to sneeze at. Additionally, the game is just a lot of fun. The dialogue is on point. Now, Luigi does get thrown into the dirt quite a bit as the series always love making fun at his expense. If you’re a big Luigi fan then this could be a rough ride for you. For the most part it’s all done in good fun but you may have doubts.

Overall, Mario & Luigi Partners in Time is a solid sequel to the first game. I thought that the story was a little better and I do love time travel adventures. It’s not a game that will stick with you for long as it’s off to the next thing right away but it’s a solid title nonetheless. I look forward to playing the next one soon. I feel like back in the day Bowser’s Inside Story was known as the best game in the series so I’ll be interested in seeing if that’s the case. I’m definitely expecting another really solid adventure. Mario hasn’t let me down before and I don’t expect he’ll start now.

Overall 7/10

All You Need is Kill Review


It’s time to look at a pretty interesting story about time travel. What if you could keep on redoing a day until you had perfected it? It’s an interesting idea for sure and if you could master the concept then I could see why anyone would want to do it. Keep replaying the day where you took a test to get the right answered or entering a tournament until you won. There are no limits to what time travel can help you do and that’s why it has always been such an amazing concept. One difference here compared to most that it isn’t exactly all fun and games for the main character. The time travel is quite serious.

We open up the story by being introduced to a very different world. We have been at war with aliens for decades now. They’ve always been one step ahead of us so no matter how many improvements we make to our mechs they always win. There is only one soldier who has been doing well against them lately and her name is Rita. She is able to take down dozens of attackers with the greatest of ease. The rest of the soldiers just watch in awe. Well our lead here is Keiji and he is promptly murdered as soon as he sets foot on the battlefield. The only issue is that he then wakes up back to the start of the day. He then repeats the day and dies again, which sends him to the beginning of the loop. He can’t find any reason as to why this started or how to get out but he suspects that it has happened for a reason. Can he now find a way to win this war and save humanity?

Of course you gotta take it one fight at a time but winning this battle would be huge. Keiji quickly realizes that every action that he takes a little differently affects quite a lot. The only worrisome part is that the aliens never act the same way so it seems like they are aware of what he is doing. Well, no matter. Keiji still aims to win this fight and he may need Rita’s help for that. It’s effectively Groundhog Day but in the middle of a war so the stakes are pretty high and it’s not like he can just have fun. Of course, living the same day over and over again for too long in any circumstance would get old quickly.

Keiji definitely makes for a good main character. He may not be thrilled at what’s going on but what I liked is that Keiji gets with the program right away. He quickly sees the benefit of this and trains as hard as he can to be the perfect soldier. He’s a very determined main character and doesn’t get distracted so easily. At one point in one of the timelines someone offers to “console” him and Keiji quickly turns down the random 1 night affair. Even though he could have done so and just went back to business the next day he kept his eye on the prize. Keiji wasn’t going to walk away without getting more knowledge on the enemy. It seems like he went through the loop hundreds if not thousands of times and never lost his sanity. For sure it did take an emotional toll as he would look terrible but he always said and did the right things anyway.

When a plan would fail Keiji would try the next best option. I definitely had no issues with him here. He fought til the end. There isn’t really much of a cast here. There are supporting characters of course but the only other important one would be Rita. She’s definitely a very solid character as well. As the ace fighter of the whole army her abilities greatly exceed those of anyone else. The only one who is able to keep up with her later on is Keiji thanks to all of the looping. Rita is a very no nonsense character who is always ready to fight. Even when the aliens try surprise attacks she doesn’t fall to those and just regroups. At the same time, she would like to have someone she could talk too, but just doesn’t see the point. It’s not like anyone can keep up and most are too scared to even talk to her. Her quiet confidence and overwhelming talent makes her quite memorable. If the army did not have her around then even with all the resets in the world I wonder if Keiji would have ever been able to make any real progress here. Perhaps, but it would take such a long time that his psyche would be in even worse shape.

The idea behind the story is just excellent. The idea of being able to keep on trying over and over again until you can solve things is brilliant. The manga also touches on other aspects of this. For example, even if you can figure out how to win that’s not enough. You then have to keep on going until you find a method that can save the most lives. If you assume that you have endless tries then you don’t need to worry as much but that’s also a big assumption. You have to ultimately figure things out as fast as possible so you don’t risk too much. Make the wrong call and it could blow up in your face. The writing will definitely remind you of something like Death Note where you have to consider all the implications that a single action can have.

The artwork is definitely excellent. There’s a lot of detail put into each of the pages. The characters really stand out and the artist does a good job of helping you feel the dread they experience when they get out into the field. This isn’t the kind of series where you can expect everyone to have a happy ending. There’s a war going on after all and the humans are just trying to survive as best they can. The ending is very solid though and you could reasonably continue with a sequel at some point. I would say that there is still as lot more you can do with the concept although I suppose the series was trying not to be redundant. It’s the kind of ending where you can easily picture how things will go either way. Whether the heroes or aliens win the war is up to you.

Overall, All You Need is Kill is definitely one of those titles that you’ll probably need to take a second look at to make sure you read it properly. The grammar might not really make sense but you’ll still get the idea right away. At the end of the day the kill is really the important part to the characters here. This is a very well crafted story with a fun premise that the writer takes advantage of. Everything is executed well and it’s a title I could recommend to anyone. It can get a bit violent as it’s in a war with aliens stabbing people to death but it’s nothing too crazy I’d say. The alien designs were definitely intense and the manga did a good job of showing how fierce they could be while highlighting that there is no room for hesitation there. You either land the first blow or you won’t be around to see the next one.

Overall 7/10

Deadpool: Samurai Review


It’s time to take a look at a quick one shot that came out for Deadpool a while back. It’s always nice to see Marvel have some collaborations with Shonen Jump. It definitely breaks the wall quite a lot as you would expect from a Deadpool comic and definitely delivers on all the action you would expect. It’s pretty entertaining and at only one chapter you’ll be breezing through this story real quick.

It starts with a bunch of samurai gangsters attacking a girl. Fortunately they are interrupted as Deadpool shows up inside of a baby carriage. He decides to stop these guys and save the girl while hurling insults the whole time. The gangsters have never dealt with anyone quite like Deadpool so as you can imagine they are definitely not too well equipped to handle this guy. They’ll have to try using all the weapons at their disposal, but against a guy who is basically immortal all this will ultimately do is prolong the inevitable. The victor is never in doubt in this title.

The artwork is certainly pretty nice. The action scenes are on point and there is a lot of detail here. Whoever drew the comic definitely gave it their all and didn’t phone it in. I could easily see this getting some more chapters and doing well as an ongoing series. There’s just a lot you can do with Deadpool and the art would be able to keep up.

The actual story may not have a lot of stakes since it’s obvious that Deadpool will beat up on these humans, but for a one shot it’s not like you’re trying to build up any big plots anyway. It’s really just about introducing people to Deadpool and throwing in some one liners. There are a lot of third wall breaking moments as Deadpool keeps plugging in the comics. I’m definitely fine with skipping his origin story here since as he mentioned most people will likely know it anyway. Even if he was a brand new character, I feel like the origin story isn’t something that you worry about for the pilot. It would take too much time away from everyone else.

Most of the story is Deadpool just owning everyone and reminding the audience that he isn’t a total hero like the others. Ultimately he is protecting the girl but he is murdering everyone else so think of him like the Punisher. His goals align more with the average hero’s, but he doesn’t go all in on trying to save everyone the way that they do. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. The manga can get a little violent even with the parody nature so that’s something to keep in mind when you’re reading of course. Pretty much everyone gets bullets and stabs into them before the day is through.

Overall, It was a little surprising to see Deadpool as one of the first characters to get his own manga one shot, but I suppose he should have a lot of international value. I wonder if the movies did well in Japan. The final scene of the manga is definitely pretty fun and it’s something I would like to see more characters do. Since nobody in this world knows who Deadpool is he can really go crazy with trolling everyone. We get a quick guest star near the end which was fun. I think the artist could definitely do a good job with this character as well. If you haven’t read this story yet then you should check it out. It’s quite fast and a solid enough read on its own.

Overall 7/10

Valley of The Dragons Review


It’s time to look at an old film with a pretty misleading title. The beginning had a good premise but once the time travel occurred it quickly fell out the window. Now, I do like time travel but I prefer to go forward in time rather than backwards. If you ask me it’s just a lot more fun that way. There’s not much in the past that interests me, at least not when you get into the caveman era.

The film starts with two guys about to have a duel to the death. Apparently, they seem to like the same maiden and naturally one of them has to die for this. They ready their guns and move a few paces to take their shot but that’s when an earthquake occurs and scatters them to the winds. When they get back up they appear to be on a new planet. They’ve done their first dimension jump and are in the distant past where “dragons” currently roam. Now, you can make the case that it’s past Earth or another planet but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a scene where they notice that the stars don’t match so it’s probably a new world. They each end up going to different cave factions that have been warring with each other for eons. Can they help the two teams make peace or will they all die against the monsters?

As far as the dragons are concerned you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. Their appearances are few and far between. If we’re being honest the big one doesn’t appear til the end. Most of the little creatures running around are the kimono dragons which are basically just lizards. They aren’t exactly all that scary. The big one is fun enough but definitely pretty mindless and lets the heroes attack him over and over again until they eventually take him down. If he had done just about anything else then he could have won. The monster still did rack up a decent body count I suppose.

One weakness with the film is definitely the whole caveman element. I’ve never cared much for the trope of having the main guy try to teach English to these guys. For one thing, Hector isn’t all that understanding and gets frustrated pretty quick. Does he really expect them to learn English overnight? His voice can also be a bit annoying but that part’s not bad as it fits the character. He’s supposed to be annoying.

The other guy (Michael) is a lot more patient with the cave people and becomes the leader real quick. I suppose I would probably say that he is the better character of the two as he had more personality. He also became a leader real quick and did most of the hard work in the climax. I wouldn’t say either character was all that great, but he got the job done.

The writing was reasonably solid I suppose. The scenes with the ancient people weren’t that good but the banter with the two leads was pretty decent. It’s always god to have a dynamic where the two characters initially want to destroy each other but are then forced to work together. It is a bit clichéd I’ll admit but as this was back in the 60s it pulls this off unironically.

Then it almost goes without saying that the romance element is very weak here. The cave women basically throw themselves at the main two guys since they dominate the pack so easily but it’s all so fast and doesn’t feel real. We even get jealousy plots and also see why the two factions are warring from the start. Without the main two guys keeping them in line it is pretty clear that the two factions can’t control themselves and would be picking fights constantly. Having one “strong but not smart” character is enough for most films, make that the majority of the cast and then the movie has really got a big problem to deal with.

I can’t really say that the pacing was all that good either. While it almost goes without saying that a boring plot will drag on, this one really goes as slowly as possible. One scene in particular that really takes forever is when the heroes are trying to stab the giant monster. It’s the same action over and over again for at least 10-20 minutes with no variation. After a point it just comes across as having no real meaning and the scenes are complete filler. The action isn’t filler, but redoing it over and over certainly is. You could tell that the writers had run out of material by the end.

Overall, Valley of the Dragons is a film that was pretty decent for the most part but the actual plot holds it back quite a bit. It should have been a film about the leads getting trapped in some kind of vicious world for sure, but not one this far back in the past. If it was more modern we could have gotten around all of the scenes of them trying to teach the people everything and more banter instead. Of course by this point I am describing an entirely different film, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. If you don’t mind the past element then I think you’ll reasonably like this movie since it’s the main thing holding it back. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of actual dragons.

Overall 4/10

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus Review


It’s time to look at a classic short about the origin of Santa Claus. It involves cosmic beings and a debate on if mortals should become immortals. It’s a pretty fun special but one where the length works against it to an extent as it ends so quickly. The plot appears to be on turbo mode the whole time so you’ll stay entertained, but Santa doesn’t get to properly prove himself. By the end of the special you’ll be on the fence about making him an immortal. If anything you may want to give him the thumbs down.

The short has a time jump near the beginning but essentially when Santa was a boy he was raised by a tiger. After that he was stolen by a fairy god and taken to the realm of the gods. They showed him how to live and eventually showed him how sad Earth was in comparison. Still, Santa decided that he needed to go there and help those who couldn’t help themselves. He was given a few holy beings to help him as well as some sprites. At last he could make the world a better place for those who didn’t have enough. He would make Christmas fun for everyone. Unfortunately, some cave trolls don’t like this and decide that they will rob all of Santa’s presents for themselves. Can Santa stop them or will he needs the gods to save him?

Naturally you’ll hope that it’s the former right? Unfortunately, Santa is able to do very little against these guys. He barely even tries to come up with a good plan and just does the same things over and over again. He insists on just walking through this dangerous valley over and over again to no avail. Santa is a nice guy of course, but he just doesn’t seem all that capable. Without all of the magical beings helping him I feel like he would have been absolutely doomed. The guy wouldn’t have even known how to live on his own since he was raised in a world where food is unlimited.

I will admit that the scene where the gods show up to fight the trolls was hype though. In particular, the Great Ak (The main god) shows up and basically tells the trolls to surrender or die. They choose the latter option and that’s it for them. In stories like this the high above beings usually just watch from afar and do absolutely nothing. I’m glad that this wasn’t the case here as they should be willing to come and help Santa out. They were his friends for a while after all and want him to succeed. Maybe they should have prepared him a little more before sending him to Earth.

Also, why should Earth have all of these supernatural beings anyway? You’d think that the gods would have wiped them out or established some rules as otherwise the normal humans are basically doomed from the start. These are all world building questions though and the special is way too short to deal with all of that. These aren’t really negatives, just observations. At the end of the day I thought this special was pretty fun. It had a little more action than I had expected and the premise is pretty interesting. It’s really not what you’d think of at all when you picture a movie about Santa Claus’ origin.

I’m still not a big fan of the animation style, but what else is new right? You either like it or you don’t by this point, but it won’t really hurt the film. It does limit how good it can be from the get go, but the movie stays in the positive area. I think if it had been just a little longer it could have possibly earned an extra star, but as it stands the movie ends up losing to most of the big Santa Claus titles or the more iconic Rankin/Bass productions. There’s a reason this one isn’t very well known.

Overall, This film will certainly teach you a very interesting way to look at Santa’s origin. I’d recommend checking it out if you’re curious. You certainly aren’t very likely to see the story play out like this again. It’s not their best production but it gets the job done and since it is fairly short it’s not like it’ll take a whole lot of time out of your day to check it out. Maybe one day we’ll get another Santa origin and it’ll draw inspiration from this one.

Overall 6/10

Dragon Ball Side Story: The Case of Being Reincarnated as Yamcha Review


The manga trilogy has finally ended so it’s time for the review. This mini series only got three chapters so it’s pretty short. That’s too bad because the premise just had a whole lot of potential in it. The basic plot is that a kid in the human world is a big fan of Dragon Ball. Unfortunately in the real world he’s just a really unlikable guy who has no redeeming qualities. One day, he decides to fall even lower on the moral totem pole when he falls down a flight of stairs and breaks his neck. It’s surprisingly a happy moment since he felt like the main antagonist. Instead of dying, the kid wakes up as Yamcha in the Dragon Ball series. He must now find a way to become a better character and avoid dying. Since he knows the events in advance he has a real shot here, but can he do it?

You can probably see why the premise has potential. There’s so much you can do with this kind of story since you know what is going to happen and can take steps to avoid it. Yamcha may not be able to do much against the final threats like Cell and Buu but even those are things that he can get past if he knows the origins. For Buu, just eliminate Spopovich and the other ally before they can get Gohan. For Cell, attack him in his first form or tell everyone where he is and that should be easy enough. You can escape almost any scenario.

The main character actually does do quite a bit of this at first. He trains hard so he is able to actually help against Frieza and the foes before him. He basically gives up on doing this by the Cell arc and decides to just watch which is fine I suppose. He knows he’ll come back to life anyway. You just can’t explore this concept as much as you could have if this was an ongoing series. Additionally, the series throws in the twist of having another human being warped into the series and the lead has to find out who he is. Naturally, this character is evil so they have a fight but the power of being a DBZ fan wins him over. This is all so rushed and unnatural that you have to wonder exactly why it was added.

Again, this could be a really interesting concept especially when you find out that if you die you get to retry your time in the universe. It could have been like a Groundhog Day where they explore many different avenues. Instead the whole second human plot is finished in one chapter. The ending was certainly an interesting twist as we at least get a reason why the human got into the world. Unfortunately, even the ending is wrecked as the main character immediately goes back to his old shady ways of being a creep. I thought the whole point was that he was going to learn a lesson…not that he would use his newfound abilities to be even worse in the real world.

Really, this manga is only held back by the main character. Otherwise, it’s pretty solid. The art is quite good and really does resemble DBZ at some points. It isn’t as consistent and has some flaws in that respect, but I would say that the art is quite good. It’s certainly a lot better than I would have anticipated from a short title like this one. I wonder how many people even know that this manga exists.

Overall, it’s a fun concept but you can only do so much with it. I’d recommend checking it out as many fans have always wanted a fun little alternate universe story like this one. You can even argue that the story could be cannon and wouldn’t make a difference. It would raise a lot of questions of course, but it could work. Hopefully we get more Dragon Ball spinoff mangas. Despite its overwhelming popularity we haven’t gotten as many titles as I’d like. We need to keep it rolling and get the Saiyans in a bunch of different adventures. Just resist the urge to add a human original character to the mix and then we’re golden. If you do add one, just keep in the death from the first chapter without actually bringing him back, now That would be funny.

Overall 5/10

Ratchet & Clank Into The Nexus Review


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

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time Review


This game was on the backburner for many years, but I finally got around to completing it. The story takes a while to get good and honestly it is probably the weakest game in the series, but it was still pretty good overall. I just think that the game should have been a little less formulaic and should have gone for a more connected and changing story. It would have made the whole thing a lot more interesting and Ratchet and Clank is always adapting like this. It would have been simple enough for Sly to have copied that approach. Well, it is what it is.

Sly had finally gotten his happy ending after the third game. He pretended to lose his memories so he could live a peaceful life without having to force Carmelita to choose a side. Unfortunately, someone is messing with the timestream and Sly can’t just let this go unpunished. He must bring his thieving skills back to work with his old gang as they time hop to find the source of the problems. The trust that has been lost between him and Carmelita may be hard to repair so this case is going to be a very personal one. Is Sly up for the job?

As always, this Sly game is a 3D platformer. You use stealth for most of the game as you get from point A to point while getting past obstacles. You can also fight enemies and take them out easily enough, but it’s usually faster to slip past them or use the one hit KO stealth attack. Each area is very large so you have a lot of room to maneuver and you can also use that time to grab some extra collectibles. They’ll all come in handy by the end if you want to earn the shiny Platinum to add to your collection. You can never have too many trophies right? This is the only Sly game that I have not Platinum’d yet so I aim to fix that at some point in the future.

Aside from playing as Sly, you get to play as a lot of other characters this time around. That’s because one of the gimmicks in this game is that you finally get to meet Sly’s ancestors. Each era in time has a Cooper and they all have their own special abilities. One can climb walls and another has a gun. This results in some new twists that are added to the usual gameplay and that’s a good way to make the gameplay more diverse which was good. Bentley also gets his own minigames as one is like an overhead version of Tron and another is a 2D shooter. His minigames were always fun so I was glad to have them around. Murray’s is probably the least exciting as you just go around punching people. Finally, we can’t forget the short driving levels as you play in the mini car. Those were a nice change of pace as well, but in the end, the classic Sly gameplay is still the best.

As always, the gameplay is handled really well and the controls are very smooth. It makes the cases fun and going around the city is so streamlines that it makes the grind for all of the collectibles very manageable. The quick time event bosses were always handled well and they always feel great no matter how many games use them. Final Fantasy XIII-2 still did the best job out of all the games, but it’s a little hard to match the level of epicness that title was able to attain.

Graphically, Sly looks good. It may not stand out the same way that something like Super Smash does, but it holds up well on the good ole PS3. When it comes to the soundtrack, that part is a little more bland. You aren’t likely going to remember a lot of the tunes once you’re done. They’re passable, but just aren’t anything all that grand when you really get down to it.

There is a good amount of replay value here as you can go back to all of the chapters to grab treasure, collectibles, and open the safes. Buying everything from the shop will take some time as well and each story level is roughly an hour or longer. It’s certainly a game that gives you a lot of content for the money that you paid, which sounds good to me. It’s not artificial length like some other games either as you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you go through.

I do want to take a second to say that all of the past Coopers were annoying. I felt like the game wasn’t even trying with them as they were all super gimmicky. The cave man Cooper was the most annoying as you couldn’t understand what he was saying and he just wasn’t that smart. All of the Coopers had a lot of attitude, but it wasn’t deserved as we had to save them all from the villains. None of the Coopers were able to do anything on their own so you have to question how they got such a famous legacy. Evidently, Sly is the only cooper who can hold his own. It just makes you wonder.

Sadly, the classic banter that we had in the previous games is gone in this one between Sly and Carmelita. It’s an unfortunate side effect of their dynamic completely changing thanks to the third game. I’ll definitely miss it since the Sly games had the strongest dialogue from the three main Naughty Dog series for a while. The writing’s still good, but it’s just not as clever. Sly’s still a good main character even if he made a lot of the wrong decisions. Carmelita’s also good as the tough rival who is always making threats although this is not her best portrayal. Murray and Bentley are around as usual. I can’t say that they’re my favorite characters though. The villains are all right I suppose, but while they all technically have personality and character thanks to their origin stories, I never got too attached to any of them. The main villain is also a Skunk who is comic relief so he isn’t meant to be taken seriously either.

Overall, Sly Thieves in Time is a good installment to the series, but it’s not the game that I want to be known as the final in the series. It’s certainly a step down from the other games and that’s partially why it took me so long to complete it. I was never able to play the game with the same gusto that I tackled other titles with. It was a good throwback since a game hadn’t come out in a very long time for this series, but the plot did hold it back quite a bit. The supporting cast just weren’t all that good and this game lacked the impact that the first three did. It really survives on the gameplay alone because every other part of the game was either not that great or simply could have been better. To be fair, gameplay still is the most important quality in a game so that is enough to justify a good score. The cliffhanger for the game is pretty intense although to fully see it you better get that Platinum Trophy ready. It does make you wonder about some things though. All those months…what was Sly doing? It depends on how you interpret the ending I suppose, but another game would clear that up. This is certainly a must buy for Sly fans and generally, I think any platformer fan will be able to appreciate this title.

Overall 7/10

Terminator 3 Rise of The Machines Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
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It’s time to take a look at the third Terminator film! The second one was very enjoyable and really captured the feel of what a Terminator film should be like. The villain was impressive and the time travel aspects were handled well even if I had some questions on it. The third film wasn’t quite as big as the second film and certainly not as legendary, but it actually holds up to the second film. They’re very close and while I may give the second film the slight edge….it’s very close. Both of them outdo each other in various ways and I’ll compare them again towards the end of the review.

Sarah Conner is gone and John must now fend for himself. The problem is that John wasn’t prepared to attack the world on his own. He has managed to scrape by somehow, but now Skynet has sent another Terminator after him. The original Terminator is around to help John against the TX, but can the older model really prove to be effective at this point? Judgment day is at hand and the humans will have to get ready for what is about to happen. Only John can save the world, but can he even save himself?

As with the last film, John makes for a very poor protagonist. It’s hard to root for him when you consider the fact that one of his very first scenes is him getting locked up in a cage and swallowing some intriguing pills. He doesn’t get much better than that as his personality is simply unlikable. It’s like he was only half listening to Sarah’s warnings and he barely even seems to remember the Terminator from the second film. Granted, it’s another version of the character, but I expected more of a reaction although he clearly does remember the cyborg since he references the second film several times. I don’t know, he just didn’t feel consistent in that area and he never became likable.

Kate is the main heroine and she probably gets the saddest role in the film. The TX naturally takes down her fiance so that she essentially has no choice but to hook up with the main guy. She moves on from the Fiance in about 5 minutes so I don’t think that the relationship was that serious anyway, but it still makes her look bad. She really had no reason to like John since they hadn’t seen each other in years and the Hollywood effect (As I like to call it anyway) should have just let her off the hook here. As just friends, it would have worked out a little better.

Enough about the humans though. John and Kate are really the only two important ones. Kate’s father does have a role involving Skynet though and the fan favorite Dr.Peter also makes a quick guest star appearance for another fun scene. Beyond that, the Terminators really take on most of the important scenes so let’s talk about them. The classic T-800 is still a very likable character. He remembers what happened in the second film thanks to a sort of unified mind or something like that.

The fight is certainly tough for the Terminator since he’s really outgunned at this point. The TX is supposed to be superior in every way so only plot hax can protect the T-800. He’s still the best character in the film, but I have to admit that the fight scenes were really stretching logic at times although I’ll go into that more in a second. If you liked The Terminator in the first two films, you’ll likely enjoy him here. He gets more than one great burn and most of his scenes have him doing something cool like “Talk to the hand!” or “You’re Terminated” There was definitely a lot of memorable material here.

The TX is the first female cyborg to be shown and she makes for a merciless villain. Technically, she is easily the strongest Terminator that we have seen at this point and her weapons are very impressive. A single hit from her energy gun can destroy most Terminators and her instant regeneration is about as good as the T-1000’s. She can take over other pieces of technology and just acts more like a modern robot villain in general. She was certainly an imposing figure and made for a good enemy to the T-800. Even if she was a little overpowered to be honest.

Unfortunately, this film has more plot hax than the first two by a long shot. As mentioned, the TX is supposed to be superior to the T-800 in every way and she proves that in several scenes. Yet, the T-800 is able to physically overpower her during the big showdown and he actually lands a number of hits. It’s like watching a Mario player in Super Smash fight someone who doesn’t know how to DI. The Terminator simply keeps hitting and flipping her and she doesn’t really try to fight back. Eventually, she just seems to realize that she’s in a fight and disposes of him rather quickly. Perhaps she was toying with him since the Terminators do have a little personality at times, but the film didn’t play it off that way. She also had many opportunities to destroy John, but didn’t. One example is when she was on the car that he was in. Simply firing her energy blast would easily destroy him along with the vehicle. Such a minor explosion would barely harm her after all, but instead she tried throwing some punches and got knocked off of the car. Rookie mistake TX….

While the plot hax was around, the fight scenes were still the best in the franchise. The film producers/directors must have realized that CGI is the way of the future as the battles are like watching the Man of Steel if it was made a few years ago. The characters are really landing heavy blows on each other and they even have some decent speed feats. The action scenes are certainly ahead of their time and while you won’t enjoy them if you don’t care for CGI, CGI fans like myself (Only for live action) will definitely get a kick out of the bout. The TX should have won without much of a fight, but it’s more entertaining this way I suppose. Their battle was certainly the highlight of the film.

I found this film to be less violent than the second one and it feels like the series is getting a little tamer with each installment, which is always good. Of course, keep in mind that I am reviewing the edited version. The film can also still be intense at times like when the TX impales someone and drives while in that position. That scene was definitely pretty gruesome and the body count does get rather large at times. The implied violence can also get to you so naturally, you should know that you are about to watch a pretty intense film when you start this one. The soundtrack is also great and I have to say that it might even be better than the second’s. It’s very fast paced and the classic theme also shows up to increase the intensity. Most of the tracks really fit the scenes and while you won’t remember them for long, they are enjoyable while present.

In the end, how does this film stack up against the second one? Well, T2 has the edge with the main protagonist as Sarah is much better than John. T2 has less plot hax in the fight scenes and it was also a lot more epic as the stakes felt more real and theatrical. T3 was really epic as well, but in a way, you could tell that it was the sequel that was meant to be more comic bookey. Not a real word, but that’s a good way to describe it. While T2 was more of a thriller, T3 felt like a comic book film with super villains fighting the main lead. Even just looking at how the Terminators teleport onto the scene. T2 had the much cooler entrance as the Cyborgs just appear while T3 has a black bubble that appears first, which looked decently interesting, but it wasn’t quite as epic. T3 easily had the best action scenes of the trilogy and I dare say that it had better one liners for Arnold although most of his lines tend to be really cool. As such, it’s a close battle and both films are neck and neck, but I’ve got to give T3 the slight edge here. It’s hard to say whether T3 will always have the lead or not as one may age better than the other, but it’ll be interesting to see.

I’ve also got to give T3 props for the ending as it was fairly incredible and the kind of ending that you don’t see very often anymore. At least, not without a “Part II” or a direct sequel. While Salvation would end up rolling along, this was still an ending to a complete film and one that was fairly surprising. I was expecting more plot hax to be honest like the bomb plan actually working, but I loved every bit of the ending. It was all part of the plan and the heroes were just being led along. I’d love to see another ending like that sometimes, but it’s hard to handle correctly. We’ll just have to see if anymore films have it in them.

Overall, Terminator 3 was better than I ever could have anticipated. The fights were a lot of fun and the humor was handled well. It felt like a complete film and a very interesting one that used time travel to its fullest. Skynet never gives up and the quick pacing of the film keeps the audience guessing. The pacing isn’t quite as good as T2 as it slows down sometimes, but it’s typically fast enough. If John had been a better main character, the film would have been that much better. I definitely recommend this film to Terminator fans and you may be pleasantly surprised upon watching it. I wonder if the upcoming Terminator film will manage to have a stronger Terminator than the TX. Somehow, I doubt it, but that would be interesting to see.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Universe Volume 7 The Silver Saga

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It is time to look at another Sonic Universe arc. Unlike the Journey one, this proves to be an epic of immense proportions. It is no exaggeration to say that this very well could be the greatest Sonic comic that I’ve read. That’s quite the feat considering that Sonic and Shadow don’t really get a role here. You will be on the edge of your seat for this story!

200 years from the current Sonic comics, Silver is still trying to find a way to save his future. All he knows is that a traitor from the Freedom Fighters will do something in the past that destroys his world. While he tries to unravel this mystery, Silver learns how to harness his abilities. Suddenly, an intruder breaks into his universe and attacks. Silver manages to defend himself and follows the opponent back to an alternate past where a demi god known as Enerjak rules. Enerjak has destroyed most of the inhabitants on the planet and now plans on ruling every planet in the multiverse. Can Silver defeat a being of unlimited power?

Right from the get go, you can tell that this is not going to be your average Sonic adventure. For one thing, it’s a lot darker and more serious toned than the rest. The setting is a ruined city and only a few heroes are still alive. We really haven’t seen a Sonic comic that was this intense. Even my other favorite Sonic comics never had this much of a sense of danger. Now, the Silver Saga is fairly dark and intense, but it never goes overboard. Silver is still throwing around jokes through these turbulent times and the other characters contribute when necessary. It helps to prevent things from getting too intense and it is still in the usual Archie style so we get to have some incredible fights.

I don’t think that I’ve seen any better fights in all of the Sonic comics either. Silver and Enerjak’s battle could pass off as a DBZ battle as they hurl islands at each other and land some tremendous blows during their fight. It is incredible and I remember a big Silver fan commenting on the blog years ago about how much cooler Silver was in the comics than in the games. I can’t deny that he is very awesome here. I liked him a lot in Sonic 06 as well, but this is certainly the definitive Silver.

It almost goes without saying that the art is very good. The author does a good job of showing how different the alternate world is from the current one. All it takes is one small change and things can really go bad. Absolute power corrupts after all and it is one of the main themes in this graphic novel as the being who calls himself Enerjak was once a hero, but he was tainted by the powers of the Chaos Emeralds.

Silver is the main character of course and this comic should help fans draw a lot of similarities to Trunks from DBZ. These two characters have always been compared as their back stories are very similar. I even found myself reading his lines with Trunk’s voice as a result and their personalities are more similar than I could have guessed. Future Trunks was a great character in DBZ so this certainly helps Silver’s case and it is safe to say that he has moved up the character ranks for me. He’s still behind Sonic and Shadow of course, but after that, he may just be a few spots away from them.

I am certainly convinced that he is one of the strongest Sonic characters. Enerjak had the power of all 7 Chaos Emeralds and he was able to beat Super Sonic and the rest of the heroes. Silver wasn’t even using his Super Silver form and he actually had the upper hand against Enerjak. He remembers that he shouldn’t solve every issue by fighting and quickly changes tactics, but it is heavily implied that Silver could have kept on going if he wanted too. It seems like he has Chaos Energy within him and can access Chaos Emerald levels of power without actually possessing them. There’s a chance that Silver has unlimited power within him, which is being hinted and that would be really cool. He’s a lot like Superman as well since Silver always tries to find a peaceful solution and can take quite the beating. It’s just hard not to go on and on about how impressive Silver was.

Enerjak made for a great villain as well. His design is really good and he did defeat the heroes. Upon destroying them, Enerjak stole their souls and uses them to power robotic copies. He never uses Sonic’s, which is too bad, but we see almost everyone else. The robots don’t have the original’s experience and ingenuity so they aren’t quite as lethal, but they are still powerful. Although, Enerjak doesn’t need them to fight. He can sink continents with ease and throw islands around. Enerjak’s power is unlimited as long as he possesses the Chaos Emeralds and he’s another top tier Sonic character. I would have loved to have seen his fight with Super Sonic as that would have definitely have been a lot of fun. I want to see Super Sonic take on foes like this as it has been quite a while since I have seen him.

I am convinced that I may never see a Sonic comic that is this good ever again. The Silver Saga was simply exceptional. There is a cliff hanger which leads into the next Universe volume and that one should be fun, (The character gets a lot of hype as everyone could be in danger according to the cops!) but topping the Silver Saga is going to take a lot more than that. We’re going to need a Sonic and Shadow team up or something like that. Every series has an ultimate arc eventually though so I guess Archie finally got one. The scene where we see all of the fighters who Enerjak has defeated may be iconic at this point and it is when we knew that things would never be the same for Sonic and his friends.

I’m also interested in seeing Silver continue with his plot to find the traitor. I’m wondering who it is and if the plot is still relevent with the recent universal shakedowns that have been happening. Hopefully Silver got to find him/her in time or his adventure will have had an abrupt end. Meanwhile, I can’t say that the new Freedom Fighters were terribly interesting, but they didn’t need to be since they just acted as distractions for Silver in this fight. They weren’t bad either, which is great since I can safely say that this comic had no negatives. It was just incredible and the ultimate Sonic experience.

Overall, The Silver Saga is one adventure that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It really had just about everything that I could have wanted in a Sonic comic and I was not expecting it to be this good. It was amazing and felt like an epic arc that could have been in any show. I saw glimpses of the Justice League Unlimited Two Part episode, the Trunks special, and more. The idea of alternate timelines can still work. I don’t like when they get a whole movie or show about them that doesn’t seem to ultimately serve a purpose, but when it is similar to the original like with the Justice Lords, then there is more potential. This opens the door for good what if fights like Enerjak and Silver. This comic really had it all and succeeded in all areas. I highly recommend checking this out if you’re a big Sonic fan and especially if you want to see a dark Sonic adventure. Even if you’re just a comic reader, this is one of the best comics of all time so you should really check it out! Get ready for fights that will rock your world!

Overall 9/10