Play Time 23h 37m
Shop Rank 10
Mr. Champloo 45
Asuka Cranekick 31
kyoko Needleworker 29
Play Time 23h 37m
Shop Rank 10
Mr. Champloo 45
Asuka Cranekick 31
kyoko Needleworker 29
It’s time to look at a DBZ game that I’ve had for a very long time. Part of why I kept it in the backlog is because the game just wasn’t very interesting. I would play it a bit from time to time but the controls were confusing and since there wasn’t even really a story I didn’t see the need to keep on playing. Well, I gave this one another whirl and the game is as confusing as ever. It’s hard to ever make any headway here.
The game is based on the actual card game. Unfortunately it is hard for that to translate well to video game format. Unlike Yugioh or Duel Masters this game feels very clunky with matches that go on forever. Literally almost all of my matched went to time, which is the full 7 turns that a duel can take. Matches should not be going to the equivalent of sudden death every round. That tells me that there is something at least a little weird with the game. Since I don’t get it then the A.I. should at least be able to beat me up pretty quick.
Here’s the gameplay in the simplest way I can describe it. When you start the game you draw 5 cards. If you go first then you get to play any non combat cards you have. After that you choose to attack or pass. If you pass then you discard all but one card and draw a fresh 5. Once the opponent has done so as well then they will attack and you will pick a card to defend with. You have to try and take down all of the Life cards that the opponent has and they will do the same to you. You can win in one of 3 different ways. You can take all of their life cards away which will be a complete victory. You can also win via technical win by exhausting the opponent of all cards or maybe you can even grab the Dragon Balls and win via super victory. A final way you can win is also by raising your power level and anger level to the max setting. If you do any of these things then you will have claimed victory.
The problem is that the opponent will never let you do this. They block all of your hits and always seem to have more cards than you do. They don’t run out despite playing so many and every time you raise your anger level they reset it back to 1 using a spell card. As a result you just can’t claim the advantage and the rounds take forever. I was somehow able to beat Krillin and the second guy, but Guldo is where I met my match. After dozens of fights I still couldn’t conquer him and that’s where my DBZ card adventures concluded. It was time to throw in the towel. After all the only way to improve your deck is to keep on re-fighting the first two opponents, but I was only able to beat them once after a ton of tries. Doing so again just to hopefully get a useful card to make a comeback feels like such a long shot that it is barely worth it.
Then you’ve also got the fact that the game has no real effort put into it. There is only one piece of music in the entire game which keeps on looping over and over for every action that you take. You can only hear the same song so many times before you just have to take a break for it. How is it possible that the game wasn’t able to get more than one tune? It’s just crazy to only have 1 in the entire soundtrack if you ask me. There’s not much to say about the graphics either since there barely are any. You’ve just got the one illustration for each character as the squares match up with each other over and over again. The cards don’t look all that flashy either.
This game feels like a total cash-in and that’s not too surprising considering how long the loading times are. Each match takes forever in part because you can’t go through the turns quickly enough. You can spam the A button to at least get rid of the drawing phase and it speeds up the attacks but it also skips card effects so then the catch is that you’ll lose further track of what’s going on. It’s a pretty unfortunate situation all around. The length of the game is quite long as a result although it feels artificial. In theory you can probably get a good 20 hours out of this one and maybe more depending on how often you lose. There won’t be any real replay value, but at this point you wouldn’t need any since the campaign is so long.
Overall, Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game is the weakest of the DBZ games. It’s hard to picture any game losing to this one although since the DS also had a title based on the Card Game it is possible. What the title really needs is a better explanation of the rules and to speed up the gameplay a bit. I know the computer was able to use his avatar card at some points when the tutorial never even referenced how to do so. I tried using mine a bunch but every time I tried the game said that it wasn’t the right situation to do so. That’s not entirely helpful to be honest but it may not have mattered much. My deck simply wasn’t strong enough to beat my opponent’s so no matter how many times I would draw some cards it just wasn’t going to make up the difference. The only way you should get this game is if you are a really big fan of the official card game.
Technically, I played through this game many years ago, but my Wii broke before I could grab the review. We got a new Wii shortly afterwards but never really got around to replaying this game. I figured now was as good a time as any so I booted it up and went through a few tournies. I grabbed my team from Pokémon Diamond which included fighters from Pokémon Ruby. With Groudon and Blaziken at the ready I was prepared to take names. Unfortunately this game still doesn’t hold up as a spiritual successor to Pokémon Stadium.
When you start the game you are introduced to your limited amount of modes. The main one is to jump right into the Colosseums as you try to conquer them all. Every time you defeat an arena you get some money which you can use in the local shop to buy some clothes. The idea is that your character will look fancier and fancier as you win tournaments and by the end you will look like the champ. There’s not a ton of outfits to buy at the moment so it seems easy to get them all, but I’m guessing that you unlock more outfits as you progress during the game. It’s a quick but nice way to add replay value I suppose. Hopefully you enjoy this because that’s really the extent of the replay value.
For the Colosseums the game makes the odd decision to add a lot of luck and chance to the equation. Before I get ahead of myself though you may be wondering how you get Pokémon. Well, you start the game off with a “rental pass” which gives you access to 6 Pokemon that the game chooses for you. You can also connect one of your portable Pokemon games to bring over a real team which I highly recommend. Once you’ve done that, you enter the colosseums which all have different rules. There is the standard 1 vs 1 battles with 3 Pokémon each and the doubles battles with 4. These are classic and work well.
Then the game decides to get sneaky and introduces the Neon tournament. This one throws in a wheel of fortune and the gimmick here is that your Pokémon as well as your opponent’s are thrown into the wheel and both of you throw darts at it. Whoever it lands on is the Pokémon you will use and each of you do that until you have a full team at the ready. Of course the computer got my Groudon right away…. I don’t see the point of putting this level of luck into the game. Part of the point of Pokémon is to fight alongside the Pokémon you’ve trained up, not some random ones.
Another problem with this one is the colosseum length which makes losing pretty punishing. The tournaments are mainly 7 rounds and you have to win them all back to back. You can do a quick save to take a break from the game but if you lose any of the 7 matches then you have to start the tournament all over again. That means for the luck based one you have to be fortunate many times in a row. That’s not really something you want to bank on. Personally I would have either shortened the tournaments to 3-4 battles or I would have just made it so you continue from where you lost. Either option makes for a much more enjoyable gameplay experience. As it stands the colosseums are too punishing and not rewarding enough.
The game also suffers from how long the matches take which is something that affects most of the big console Pokémon games to be fair. There are a lot of animations in the battles and they can’t be turned off so you have to watch each attack. Even Pokémon Colosseum was affected by this so I’m guessing it is difficult to speed up the games. The portables do it though so there’s got to be an answer. That’s actually one of the things I’m hoping Pokémon Sword can fix. If any Pokémon game can get around this it would be the latest installment in the main series. I’ll give the developers of Battle Revolution props for adding so many unique effects to all of the characters since I’m sure it was visually challenging. There should just be a way to toggle it on and off. Graphics is one of the strongest points of the game and they aged very well. All of the character models are on point and stages look quite solid. The soundtrack is also pretty iconic at this point. As soon as I turned on the game I was hit with the nostalgic tunes. Battle Revolution did a good job of creating its own soundtrack and it holds up quite well. It does lot have the scope and variety of the main games but is still a solid collection in its own right.
I think another part that hurts the game is that aside from having no story you don’t even have the classic Gym Leaders to help out. We do have Colosseum leaders, but none of them are particularly noteworthy and since you have to make it past a full gauntlet to see them you won’t really get to savor the experience for long. There’s no real hook beyond the fact that this is a Pokemon game and that’s not enough to carry a title for very long.
Overall, Pokémon Battle Revolution is one of those games that should have been much better than it actually was. I feel like it’s hard to mess up with a Pokémon game but this one threw away a bunch of opportunities through its Colosseum format. I really don’t understand why the game did that. Pokemon Stadium already created a very nice format for how you would handle a home console Pokemon game. Battle Revolution should have focused on that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. That was their big mistake and while they may have been trying to be innovative it completely backfired. It’s still entertaining, but only in small batches and you could always be playing a better Pokemon title.
The .Hack series continues with this next game. Getting Outbreak was no easy task given how expensive these games are, but I knew that it was time. It took a little while to relearn the mechanics and weird element system (Fire beats Water?….) but once I got those out of the way I was ready to dominate. It’s a really fun game even if it’s the shortest one.
I can’t give a great previously segment since I’m hazy on that myself but more and more people are starting to behave oddly. The World appears to be having an impact on the players’ minds. The Mods have decided to shut it down, but doing that would ensure that the people in a coma stay that way which would be unfortunate. Kite decides that the team should strike one last offensive at Cubia and the army of Databugs, but the only way to succeed is to have Helba, Wiseman, and the Mod on board.
Beyond the main plot there are a ton of subplots looming in the background. The Cat user from the previous games is deteriorating more and more as the games go by. At this point she doesn’t have long until she is completely corrupted. Her friend is worried but there really isn’t a whole lot that he can do about this situation. Then you have other characters who are trying to get treasure or other rare items and want Kite’s help with this. One character is even planning to leave the game which would be tragic. I did a few of the side missions. They’re not all that long so it wouldn’t be a problem to do them, but I’ll just put them off til the final game. Then I may have fun saving all of them if I need more rare items or I’ll just try and take the final boss head on.
The gameplay is exactly as you remember it with the unique mix of real time and turn based combat. As I mentioned, it will take you a little longer to get used to it if you haven’t played the game in a whole because there are certain nuances that make this game more complex than others. You will have to keep switching your party tactics since your A.I. Allies are completely dependent on this. Then you’ve also got to remember the types. Basically there are many pairs of two elements and both elements are good against each other. Water beats fire but fire beats water. Using the elements is absolutely required and will help you take down bosses. If you don’t use the elements then I’d say that you are really in a pinch.. It’s just such a massive game changer.
Level ups are important as well of course. While I was still relearning how to play I quickly focused on level ups. I got about 20 right away and that left Kite at level 70. That’s high enough for you to beat the game. Perhaps not easily, but it is achievable. You’ll still be a bit of a glass cannon without good equipment, but that is hard to get. I barely even notice the difference to be honest so just get used to carrying a lot of potions and revives around. You’ll absolutely need them and when your partners are running low on inventory you should give them some as well. Sharing is caring after all and if everyone is properly equipped it will make the whole journey a lot more manageable. The game’s difficulty is intense, but not unfair. Just have every element on hand even if it means lugging around extra equipment that you could have sold for more money. You can always find more ways to get money, but good equipment is hard to come by. Data Draining powerful enemies is probably the most efficient way of getting effective inventory.
The graphics are about the same as the other 2 which makes sense since it’s practically the same game from a technical standpoint. It looks good and the graphics have aged quite well. The glitch effects that occur when a databug shows up are still genius. It looks as if an actual glitch has appeared as the screen will go crazy and it sounds like a computer shuts off. It’s all very meta and really well executed. I’d like to see a modern game take a stab at something like this as well. With other big data games like Digimon and Sword Art Online still going, one of them should try to have an interface like this. I think it would work really well. There aren’t really any new tunes here or maybe there are and they just weren’t memorable. Either way, it’s very nostalgic. You’ll certainly remember hearing these themes from the first two parts and they’re still a lot of fun. I would like to have an extra theme or two, but the ones in the game are satisfying enough.
When it comes to the story length this game is a lot shorter than I was expecting. The first game was 25 hours long, the second was 15 and this last one was 12. I guess we’ll see how long the 4th game was but if it’s any shorter then it’s really going to breeze by. I also think I did more of the bonus content in the 1st game which helped its case. After beating the game there are a bunch of side quests to do here so there’s a ton of replay value. Leveling up and getting new equipment isn’t exactly a fast process either. It’s certainly worth the normal price. Granted, this game goes for around 50-80 dollars nowadays so you’ll want to think carefully on if it’s worth it or not. The game’s a lot of fun so I’d say it is, but don’t spend too much on it. Know your limits. It’s why I likely won’t be getting the final game for a while since it’s well over 100 dollars. That’s just way too much money for a single game and hopefully the price will go down at some point.
I have to mention one last time that it’s really cool how the game feels like an online MMO. There’s just so much to do here and the game keeps track of every little thing. How many objects you break, enemies met, etc. It gives you an incentive to just keep playing the game and you could easily cross 100 hours just by doing all of this. One slight improvement the game could make would be to allow you to get to the main menu without having to log out every time, but I guess that is for the added realism of being on your computer. It’s definitely pretty meta.
Overall, Outbreak is a solid addition to the .Hack series. While it is a little on the short side, the gameplay and story are on point as always. We’re one step closer to the climax now and I can definitely say that I’m a big fan of the franchise. I’m also looking forward to the GU titles as those definitely seem pretty action packed. Who knows, maybe I’ll do some of the side quests at some point while waiting for the 4th game. At least I leveled up a bunch ahead of time so when the 4th game comes out I should be ready to rock and roll. I just need to remind myself that type advantages are key and by putting that in this review I will definitely be prepared.
It’s time for another installment from Limited Run games. It’s had a pretty good run so far and this is probably the best game they’ve ported yet. It’s a classic RPG with all of the old elements in tact. It started out as a mobile game which explains why they didn’t mess around with the formula too much. Maybe it’s just me, but I think you only need the core aspects of an RPG to do well. A solid leveling up system, a map, and a convenient way to heal/save. As long as you have that then you’re okay. Modern RPGs sometimes get lost in all of the extra features that take away from this basic concept. This title pulls it off flawlessly.
The game starts off with the Light and Dark gods fighting it out. (Okay, a little cliche, but who doesn’t like a classic Good vs Evil theme?) The Light god is defeated and falls to Earth where she possesses a cat. This takes us to our heroes Zack and Stella. They grew up in an orphanage and are now getting ready to head to the outside world so they can earn money and support the other orphans. As they traverse the forest, they notice their cat change. It wasn’t very subtle since the Light goddess loves to talk. They call her Felix since that was the cat’s name. They also don’t believe her story about being all powerful after all, but I don’t blame them since Felix basically has no power for most of the game due to possessing such a small animal. The fate of the world now rests with these two teenagers and their pet cat goddess. Can they really stop the Dark god from destroying the world?
There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot, but I’m trying to avoid them to you can see for yourself. In short, the Dark god has his reasons for doing this even though the two gods used to be best friends. I don’t agree with them at all though as even being sympathetic is a stretch. It’s one of those cases where the whole game would have been averted if there had been a little more communication between the characters. I’d also say that he went off the deep end either way so you just can’t defend him. Felix was surprisingly shady as well, but she finally learned the values of friendship.
The gameplay is your classic turn based combat. You can use physical skill attacks or magic against foes. I used magic for the first 70% of the game until I found out that skills are actually far more powerful. I recommend focusing on those but always have a magic stone equipped so you can learn new spells. Uriel and Stella’s are especially helpful since they weaken a boss’ defense and attack. It’s a simple gameplay style but you always learn new things. I had been using Stella’s final smash throughout the game since it restores everyone’s HP and MP, as well as increasing all of their stats to the max, but little did I know that Uriel’s is even better. I used it against the Final Boss and he was frozen for almost 20 turns. It was crazy and that Final boss was definitely unforgettable. He had a similar move where he’s paralyze you for the whole fight so it was merely a question of who used the ability first.
Be warned that whenever you flee a monster encounter you lose some final smash meter. (9% to be exact) My strategy was to run until I made it to the end of the dungeon. There is always a save point near the end which tells you that a boss is up ahead. Then I’d quickly fight a bunch of monsters to get my full meter back and then fight. The save point heals your HP and MP as well so this way you don’t have to waste any items on the way. You will almost definitely need to do some serious grinding before you finish the game, but it goes by pretty quickly here. The enemies give you a lot of EXP.
Also, make sure you break any rocks that you see by the enemies. They have a chance to have 3 AHP points within them. You can save up to 20 of those to buy a 20% up EXP item for a character or save up to 100 points so you can have a full team revive during a boss fight. I went the whole game without getting 100 so I’m glad I just went for the EXP right away, but it depends on how you play. I’m sure there is a way to find more rocks, but you can’t find out much from the game online. It’s just trial and error so these are the paths that worked for me. As you can see, the gameplay was simple, but pretty detailed. I could spend a while just talking about that aspect, but you get the idea.
Zack is a solid main character. He’s your classic adventurer who rushes into danger and is always confident in his skills. He’s a nice guy but doesn’t tend to be very formal so all of the characters call him out on this. I’d think that formalities wouldn’t matter much when the planet is at stake, but evidently it is still a priority. He has to make some tough calls at the end, but chooses the right ones. I definitely have no qualms with Zack and he was an engaging protagonist to follow.
Stella is the main heroine and she’s pretty nice. Her unfortunate tendency to try whipping the main character when he’s being nice is a little suspect, but she actively tries to control herself as the game goes on. She’s a little more timid than the other main characters which is another part of her character arc. Based on her design in the sequel, she has learned to be more independent so it’ll be cool to see how she is there. She’s a good character even if she’s not a great one.
Celine is a high priestess who ends up joining the cast and becoming a main character. The fact that she knows hand to hand combat is certainly helpful. She also objects to Zack being nice to everyone all the time but gradually learns that he doesn’t mean it as an insult. I’d probably rank her last among the main heroines, but they’re all rather close. She just didn’t seem to bring as much to the table as the others and her subplot about lacking confidence didn’t really help matters.
Uriel is a mysterious girl who claims to know Zack from the past even though he doesn’t remember her. To pay Zack back for saving her life, she will now help him save the world. Her dark magic is incredibly useful in combat and she is the most loyal of the allies. She was my favorite member of the team and I relied on her Final Smash attack for the final boss. If I’d known it was so good, I would have used it sooner.
Felix is an intriguing character since she acts nothing like what you’d expect based on her role in the universe and character design. Instead of being a wise old lady who brings peace, she’s always insulting the humans and picking fights. She talks quite a lot and doesn’t follow any orders even if they’ll save a lot of trouble. It’s all about her pride here. She’s a fun character to have around since this results in a lot of banter. It was unexpected, but certainly in a good way. I already talked about the Dark god. He comes across as very whiny and completely unsympathetic so you’ll just think of him as another obstacle in the road. I preferred his two Legion generals.
Finally we also have the Dark Copies. The heroes end up travelling to a Mirror World towards the second half of the game where they meet evil copies of Zack and Stella. They were definitely interesting characters. I don’t like either of them, but they make for really good villains. It always ups the stakes when you find an evil version of yourself. They were also quite powerful and had some of the more challenging boss fights in the game. They were a great addition to the cast. You need human opponents like that once in a while because just having monsters isn’t as personal. Throwing in the humans shows that you can’t trust anyone in the mirror world.
There are a few supporting characters like the Queen, Lars, Luna, etc. They are fairly good. They add to the plot and come in handy, but aren’t really main characters. There are 3 different levels of characters here. The main characters who appear frequently and go on the missions. The supporting characters, these still have full character portraits like the main ones, but don’t get on the front lines. Finally, the non characters, the ones with names, but no accompanying picture. It was a pretty good way of knowing who was important and who wasn’t right off the bat.
The graphics look really clear and smooth. One positive for mobile games in general is that they don’t have the budget to add in the fancy stuff so they make the fields clear so the sprites that they do have look great. Throw in the PS4 resolution and this game really looks modern. There is absolutely nothing dated about the graphics and the character portraits are also high budget as opposed to the interesting Street Fighter V ones. I enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s noticeably limited as there are only 3-4 themes in the game for the most part, but fortunately they are catchy. I really enjoyed the main battle theme which plays for virtually all of the bosses. The game also did throw in a unique theme for the final boss which was definitely appreciated. I have no qualms with this area of the game.
There is a good amount of replay value here as you can try to get all of the PS4 trophies. During that process you can try to hit Level 600 with all of the characters and unlock the various endings. I got the normal ending, which I’m pretty satisfied with, but it would have been nice to have gotten the others. I thought I had enough of a trust level to get one of the bonus endings, but apparently not. The main game will last you over 25 hours as well so it’s not like the game even needed bonus content at all. It’s well worth the price.
Overall, Asdivine Hearts was a really fun game. The plot starts right away and even the intro which is probably the slowest part as you get the feel for the game was fun. A lot of that is due to the smooth gameplay, but the characters and story deserve a nod here as well. I definitely love RPGs since turn based combat/grinding is fun and you spend so much time in the story that you’re almost guaranteed to get to like the cast. The map in this game is also perfect so you’ll never get lost which is huge. I’m not going to say that this was one of the best RPGs ever, but it actually is pretty high up there. I hope the sequel ends up getting a PS4 release as well.
Time to look at a movie tie in that came out for the DS. I actually miss these games. For a while (The Gamecube era) just about every movie got a video game adaption almost instantly. They were usually short and fairly low budget, but there were some really good ones like the Spider-Man games and the Matrix. Typically none of them were downright terrible or anything either so it fun to have them around. Lightning Thief is one of the last movie games left or at least comparatively so. It’s naturally not a AAA title, but it is pretty fun and I enjoyed playing through it.
The plot starts off with a bang as Percy is chased by a Minotaur. It ends up destroying his Mom and Percy is taken to a school for demi gods like himself. Percy doesn’t care about fitting in with the other kids and doing his studies though as he wants to go to the under world and save his Mom. The problem is that he has been framed by someone for stealing the Master Bolt. If he doesn’t find it within 24 hours to clear his name, Zeus will start a huge war among the gods and millions will perish. Percy decides this is important enough to make a sub goal on the way, but saving his Mom is the priority. Mission start!
The gameplay is a pretty simple turn based system. You have to tap on the screen at the right time to reduce damage from enemy attacks so that makes it a little interactive. If you land a critical attack then you draw on the screen to increase the damage. Each character can have 3 different attacks equipped and instead of everyone getting a turn, each party gets a turn. This means that you can just stick to using one character and the other 2 can act as shields in the meantime. Interestingly, Grover was the strongest character in the game so I rarely ever used Percy. I’m assuming that was an accidental game design choice.
To progress through the story, you go from level to level via a map. There are no random encounters like in a traditional RPG as you see each circle before you cross it. You’ll only be forced intro a non story encounter once in a blue moon so for the most part you’re always progressing through the story. That being said, the game does add a lot of henchmen and random bosses for you to fight in the story to pad the game out a little. It’s still not a terribly long story and you’ll probably end up beating it in around 10 hours or so. It feels a little artificial when you’re fighting the same enemies over and over again, but fortunately I like turn based combat so it wasn’t too bad.
There’s not much in the way of replay value though. You can level yourself up to 99 I suppose. There’s not much point to doing so, but I suppose it’ll feel good. There are post game bosses that you can track down as well and eventually you can clear the map. It doesn’t personally interest me, but it’s better than not having any post game stuff to do.
The soundtrack is rather limited, but it isn’t bad. I liked the main theme well enough. It may not have been quite as high effort as the average title, but I like to think it tried its best. The graphics are also rather underwhelming as the sprites can be really blurry. It looks slightly worse than the average PS1 game, but I like to think that it would have looked better if the developers had been given a few more months to work with.
One thing to keep in mind during the game is that items are extremely valuable. They usually don’t count as a turn so you can still attack afterwards and they also deal as much, if not more damage than your best attacks. I ended up saving all of the items I had earned until the final 3 bosses and I’m really glad that I did. I was able to beat them extremely fast thanks to this strategy as I just spammed the items. The final boss was only able to get in one shot thanks to my item spam. You get items with each level up so just follow that strategy. In the meantime, use your upgrade points to improve strength and accuracy.
My favorite combo that I used for the whole game was Percy’s Accuracy increase ability on Grover and then I’d use his heavy slash to take out the opponents. It’s full proof and will work without exception for the first 80% of the game. After that you may need other strategies at the ready since the villains really love to spam status effects against you. They’ll blind you, burn you, etc. You just gotta press on or use the overpowered healing ability which cures you of everything and also restores a bunch of health. Clearly this game wasn’t balanced all that well.
The game did a good job of making Percy a really likable main character in this game. He doesn’t back down from a fight and is always making the right calls. He goes to save his Mom even when everyone else tells him to back off and he handles the traitor twist pretty calmly. He’s pretty much the ideal main character and while in part that may be due to the game’s limited level of story telling it worked out well so I can’t complain. The other characters were around, but none of them were as likable or charismatic as Percy.
Overall, The Lightning Thief was a fun game. It’s not a masterpiece and the story is stretched out a little too much at times, but you won’t get bored. It’s repetitive, but after catching over 50000 Pokemon in Go, I chuckle at the average game’s repetition. It’s pretty easy so it’s not much of a challenge, but it doesn’t feel insulting either. I wish the game would chill a bit with the status effects as they barely hurt you and just stretch the battle out. At the end of the day though, it’s a solid portable game to keep you entertained for a few hours. I’d recommend checking it out and maybe it’ll inspire you to watch the movie.
I had finished this review up by the time that GIRS Crisis had finished, but the episode count kept on going so I decided to keep the next season under the same review. I already had the review done though so I decided to keep it instead of scrapping it. As a result, the first half is essentially still a review of the G season with its own rating. I’ll just add onto it once the next season is finished and then add the final rating. Think of this like a doubleheader review!
It’s time to take a look at the big Cardfight G sequel. This is what G had been setting up for after all. To an extent, this season is also mostly set up as well, but the plot does begin to start up. Think of this as the second film in a trilogy where the villain finally makes a move so more heroes are called in to come up with a plan. The big confrontation hasn’t happened yet, that will be for the third season. The main draw for GIRS Crisis is that the heroes have finally acknowledged that they can’t win on their own so pretty much the whole cast from the older seasons return. The crossover appeal is always strong and we get to see how Try3 handles the likes of fighters like Q4, Dreadnaught, Asteroid, etc. This season is a big improvement from the last one as it keeps all of the positive things from G and throws in more hype moments.
Chrono and friends may have stopped Kanzaki, but the hunt for the Depend Cards is still on. Chrono has 3-4 of them in his possession and he can only awaken them through strong emotions. He must engage in powerful duels to do this so he decides to enter the G quest with his team. They will need to conquer 6 areas to get enough points to be known as Generation Masters. Chrono will use this to learn what he wants to do with his life. Shion has been in a difficult situation as well. After losing to the mysterious fighter known as Ace, his family was thrown out of his company. Shion went from being very rich to barely scraping by and his parents had to move away. Shion wants to get revenge and to exonerate his family. He is entering the G quests to get closer to Ace and also just to keep up appearances. Tokoha has decided to go aboard so her goals are set. As a result, she can enter the G quest with a clear mind.
Meanwhile, the GIRS Crisis has begun. A mysterious man named Myoujin has started to summon monsters from Planet Cray to the real world as slaves. They will be his personal army for some kind of master plan. Kouji has started amassing a group of skilled cardfighters of his own to counter this. Mainly, his group consists of the best and brightest Cardfighters from the original series. To determine if Chrono and his friends are up for this task, they decide to test them through and G Quests and Cardfights. Can they prevent Myoujin from summoning his final units and bringing the world to ruin?
As you can tell just from the summary, things are really happening now. In a sense, the filler episodes now are the ones where the heroes go through the G quests, but those are technically important. Not to mention that they are all tournaments in one shape or form and those are always hype. You know a series is doing well when the tournament matches aren’t always the hype moments. Also, the tournament sagas are always the crossover episodes as Chrono’s team duels with the likes of of Ren, Leon, Kai, Kamui, and other big shots. Each tournament is definitely great.
As for the non tournament episodes, those typically follow the trials that the heroes are facing individually. For example, Shion decides to gather information on Ace the old fashioned way. He beats up a lot of thugs and keeps on breaking into strongholds until he gets the answers that he is looking for. He starts to get a little unhinged and Kai also takes him down a few pegs to remind Shion why he is doing all of this in the first place. Kai helps Shion shed his former self and just start from scratch. His riches are gone so Shion has to adapt or fail. Shion does a great job and I don’t mind him getting into a slump again because it is for good reason. Anyone who goes from being insanely rich to losing it all in a day would be crushed. Not to mention the fact that you know it was all your fault because you lost a duel when everything was on the line. Shion gets back up and is poised to be a much better character than he was. I already liked him in season 1, but I can safely say that he is much better now. His upcoming fight against Ace is definitely going to be great. They’ve both taken a win so the next and probably final encounter between the two is surely going to be something great.
With the black coat that he inherited from Kai, Shion’s also able to pull off this new personality quite well. He’s suddenly become the “expert” of the group and you could argue that he may have surpassed Chrono. I’m tempted to say that Chrono’s still the best since he keeps dispatching incredibly strong Card Fighters, but I feel like Shion should definitely be the strongest after all of the training he’s gone through. He’s been put through the ringer, but these tough scenarios have only made him stronger.
As for Chrono, he’s heading into a dangerous spot now. Being Miyoujin’s adversary can be fatal if he truly did have something to do with his Chrono’s father’s accident. Chrono warns his friends as well, but he had to deal with a more personal ally. His mother was never thrilled about Chrono starting to Card fight and lets him know that she’d rather he doesn’t do this. Shin backs her up and challenges Chrono to another serious duel. It’s a tough battle, but Chrono decides that he has to go further and his Mom ultimately gives him her support. It can definitely be tough letting someone know that you’re about to go into an extremely dangerous situation, but it is the right thing to do and Chrono knows it. Now that Chrono’s sure of himself it’s been good to see him just get set in his duels without having to worry about anything. He can really go all out at this point and he continues to be a strong lead character.
Tokoha doesn’t really have any more trials left at the moment. She wondered briefly about what she should do in the future, but after deciding on her goal that was basically it. As a result, she’s sure of herself in the duels pretty much from the get go. One source of drama may be coming up though once she found out about Ace’s plot twist. I don’t think that she’s handling it very well, but I suppose it is good to have an optimistic approach. She just needs to be careful not to let it become a liability and endanger the team. That’s where you have to draw the line.
Kamui returns as a regular once again. He even gets his own episode where he attacks an enemy strong hold. It was one of the big plot episodes so it was cool to see Kamui getting such a big role. He did good when it counted. His duel with Chrono was particularly intense as he did all that he could to win. If he won, then Chrono would not be allowed to join them to fight Miyoujin. Kamui doesn’t want to put Chrono in danger so that’s why he has to win. Yes it is a bit of a selfish wish since Chrono has decides to fight on his own, but it is one that I can definitely get behind. After all, who doesn’t want to keep their friends out of trouble? Kamui had to watch Aichi and Kai go through a lot of trials and even turn evil during them. It makes sense that he would do everything that he could to stop that from happening a third time. Plus, he was just trying to win. He didn’t try to do anything crazy like kidnap Chrono the way that Chris tried to nab Sonic in Sonic X. Kamui may be around a lot so it can be easy to underrate him, but as he showed in this series, he is still one of the best.
Kouji’s role is surprisingly small in this one. He doesn’t have a whole lot to do here, but he is technically the mastermind behind Plan G so that is a good enough role I suppose. He has embraced his role as another mentor figure to Chrono so there is no case of mistaken identity this time. He is still not as cool as he could be though. There is just something about him that I can’t take seriously. I dunno what it us, but at least he isn’t a bad character though.
Kai is pretty epic as per usual though. He is the hardcore rival that I remember and he managed to take down Shion rather easily. Seeing him take Shion down numerous times was definitely impressive and awesome. He still proved that he is still a nice guy as well though as he did all of that to help Shion get out of his situation. Kai has always been good at encouraging people after all. He is great and still my favorite character. Having him back as a main supporting character is definitely going to be awesome and nostalgic. The other guest stars are cool as well, but their roles are a lot smaller. Ren and Leon are among the big characters who show up.
The only problem with these guest stars is that they are a little underpowered to make the new fighters look better. For example, Chrono actually manages to defeat Ren and Leon. I don’t really think he should be portrayed as quite that powerful at this point. Kai lost to Shion as well. I get that they’ve got to hype the main characters up, but it goes a little far. Still, it was awesome to see the old cast and the crossover factor was handled really well in G. I look forward to all of them getting serious fights soon the way that Kamui did.
Luna is the new beginner of the show. She’s a pop idol, but she wants to learn how to play Cardfight so she can duel with her friend Am. Luna has improved quite a bit. She’s not a big threat just yet, but dueling a lot always helps out and she’s at the point where she is no longer a novice. She really wants to be friends with Am and as a result she is quite hyper. Ultimately, I’m sure that they will become friends and Am is lucky to have Luna around. That being said, hopefully Luna is brave enough to stand up for herself once the plot entangles her in its web as well.
Am is much more laid back and keeps to herself. While on the job Am will throw on a smile and get to work, but she can be a little too serious. It’s often hard for Luna to get Am to relax and Try3 has to have a little chat with Am as a result. Am gets a lot of character development and she will likely have a major role in season 3. Her role will be even bigger than Luna’s and 90% of the supporting cast as well depending on how they go with this. Hard to say what I think of her here without spoiling the twist. Before the twist she was a solid character and I prefer her to Luna. After the twist, she is still a cool character…but in a different way and I’m hoping that the mask doesn’t come back on so to speak so the post twist Am sticks around. That version is cooler.
Ace is a fairly hardcore villain and one of the better characters in the show. Since Shouma barely appeared, I’d say that Ace took over the spot as the best villain. This is partially due to the fact that he came out of nowhere and took over Shion’s company like it was nothing. His successful mind games are also impressive since Shion was supposed to be over the whole thing and their first big duel was one of the best in the series. After all, it doesn’t get much more high stakes than having millions of dollars on the line and your whole financial future along with it! While Ace may not have done quite as well in the rematch, he didn’t completely crack either. Rest assured, Ace will likely continue to have a powerful role in the next season although his confidence may not be as absolute since his standing in the villain organization is in jeopardy after the loss.
Myoujin is the big villain who will make his move in the next show. He hasn’t done anything as of yet though. His design isn’t that good as he is very old so I don’t think he can be a very menacing villain. Still, I am glad to have a villain who is lasting a while and for all we know he isn’t the mastermind behind the operation. With someone like Shouma still in the fold, I could definitely picture a betrayal. Shouma doesn’t play well with others after all. Still, I want Myoujin to put up a fight if that happens. Shouma’s role is small as he just makes a few cameos to remind us that he is still around. I was rather annoyed that Kouji stopped Shion from beating him up though. Shion was winning and taking a villain out of the picture this early would be incredibly helpful. Ironically, it seems like he’ll be the first boss of the third series. It’s not as if Shion was going to destroy him or anything. The heroes could have quickly captured Shouma and that would have been awesome. At least they forced a retreat though.
The animation is solid as in the last show. The characters all stand out and the battle scenes are fun to watch. There may have been one or two low budget episodes where physics started to get a little wild, but for the most part is was all consistently good. I’ve always liked the animation style of this company. It feels modern and I think the animation will hold up quite well. It’s not overly flashy, but that’s why the fundamentals will age well. The soundtrack is better than the last season’s. Perhaps it is because the stakes are more intense, but it could also be the crossover effect. For example, Kai’s theme returns briefly during his fight with Shion and we finally also have a bit of a villain’s theme for some of the duels. It’s still not quite at the level of the original Cardfight, but we’re definitely getting there. Good themes can always elevate a series.
Overall, GIRS Crisis added the excitement and stakes that I had been waiting for. This series was still more set up for the big battles to come, but it set the more interesting plot elements as well. Shion’s ongoing fight to restore his company (Although that isn’t really his goal anymore or so he claims) and Chrono’s quest to find his father should be pretty interesting. The father better have a good excuse for just wandering around unless he is a friend of the Dad or something. Seeing the old characters actually get to duel should be awesome and I’m fully expecting Aichi to finally get in on the action as well. The return of Psyqualia would be a nice added bonus as well. There’s a lot to look forward too and the third season should end up being the best G adventure.
Well, not all of that ended up happening in the next part, but we did finally get all of the big battles and the epic climax that I was waiting for. The heroes made their big move and the GIRS Crisis finally ended. It definitely was the best part of Cardfight G so far. If the first season of Cardfight G was to establish all of the characters and the world building and part 1 of this season was to bring back all of the old characters and get the main characters some training, then this is the big payoff where the heroes finally confront the villains.
Just about the whole second half is a gauntlet of battles against Ryuzu’s chosen warriors. Things don’t go well for the heroes at first as the season couldn’t be around 26 episodes if the heroes just won everything right? Chrono and Shion may have reached a really high level where they can fight with the best of them, but the side characters like Taiyou and Mamoru still want to help and that gives the villains some opportunities. Plus, the main characters can’t be everywhere all the time.
Unlike the last half, there is also an immediate sense of danger. The villains go as far as to blow up all of the empire branch headquarters and seriously injure all of the leaders as well. As part of Ryuzu’s plan, they also use Luna as a power source and prepare to destroy the world of Vanguard. The heroes have to move fast this time and while Chrono is the first to take charge as per usual, the others aren’t far behind. The climax involves a giant laser knocking everyone out as they prepare to enter a never ending dream state so it comes down to the main heroes against the big villains. They each get their own episode which makes for a lot of epic fights.
Not much has changed for some of the characters so I’ll keep those brief. Chrono is still a very solid lead. Ryuzu comes close to tricking Chrono, but the young hero stays strong. Shion stayed on his vengeful path, but ultimately decided to help Am and the heroes to rescue Luna. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but at least he made the right call. Shion’s still really close to Chrono with who the better main character is. I may have to say that Shion has the slight edge and likewise in terms of dueling skills. It’s always cool to have two leads at similar strengths.
While Tokoha didn’t have too much of a role in part 1, she gets thrown into the fray here since the situation with Luna and Am is personal. I think she was probably a little naive with how she handled it though since at least Am was actually evil for a while. It turned out okay since Am had a change of heart, but she could have put everyone in danger by meeting up. A hostage situation would have been sad. Kamui doesn’t really have a role this time. He maybe gets 1-2 duels, but part 1 was really his final hurrah.
Taiyou gets a big role here since Hiroki is his rival. He’s gone through a lot in the series and has become one of the sleeper members of the team. The show treats him as a semi weak-strong fighter depending on the episode. I consider him to be underrated considering how skilled he was back in his evil days. He does a good job of taking on his opponent. He’ll likely never become an outstanding duelist the way Shion and Chrono are, but he’s definitely a guy that you can root for. His rival Hiroki was also a decent villain although he came across as completely delusional. At first he would stand up to bullies, but then he became the bully. After that, he convinced himself that everyone who opposed him was evil while he was the true hero. It was an interesting point of view, but one that didn’t follow any logic. It made for a lot of nice crazy ramblings though. I’d say that Hiroki was one of the weaker villains, but he was tough enough to still be a threat.
Luna is an example of a nice character who allowed herself to make a bad friend. Trying to save Am only led to her being turned evil and being put in a bad spot. I definitely prefer AM a great deal to Luna. Luna isn’t bad, but she’s just not all that tough and lets everyone use her. She never really gets a moment where she stands up for herself or becomes a great duelist. Am was a great villain as I mentioned earlier, but I felt like the writers dropped the ball with her character a little. I just don’t see how she was so naive with the villain’s true agenda when her whole gimmick that she knew the world better than Shion since she wasn’t rich. Her turning to the hero side was a little cheesy, but now that it’s the status quo she could potentially become a cool hero. It’ll be hard to match her days as a villain though. She was easily one of the best villains in all of G.
Kouji still tries a little too hard to be the mysterious character, but I suppose he’s not bad. He’s just not very good at the role, but he spends less time on that here since he ends up focusing on actually fighting this tie. He puts up a pretty good fight against Ryuzu and more importantly, he’s able to give Chrono a new card which is critical in the final fight. Ryuzu doesn’t change much from part 1. Perhaps you will sympathize with him more after the back story, but I dunno. He just ended up going off the deep end and probably still would have done so even if not for Chrono. Chrono’s Dad probably should have done more to stop him though. Ryuzu is a cool villain whether he’s in his kid form or adult mode. I missed the latter, but the former was pretty catchy. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him return some day.
Shouma remained a really epic villain. His gimmick about chaos and discord seemed rather plot convenient as the villains had the whole thing sewn up otherwise, but seeing him sabotage everyone was pretty entertaining. He’s definitely not the kind of guy who blindly follows orders. That’s Wakamizu’s job and he’s probably the blandest villain of them all. He just wants to see what will happen to satisfy his scientific curiosity. There really wasn’t much to his character and he wasn’t a particularly strong duelist either so I was never all that interested. He’s probably the most evil of the members though as most of the others had their reasons for doing this or had some conscience about the whole thing. Wakamizu was happy to go along with all compared to the rest.
Finally Enishi was the last member of the group. They tried to make him sound noble as a villain with his whole “I’ll protect you” attitude towards Luna. The problem is that he still allowed her to be used as a power source and wasn’t going to do anything about it. That’s a pretty lousy way to protect someone and she would have died if the heroes hadn’t stepped in. It’s a little hard to see him hanging out with everyone as a good guy after that. How I see it, Enishi let the villains push him around and didn’t have the strength of character to stop them. I definitely was not a fan of this guy.
My only real disappointment here was that the old characters didn’t get to do anything. Apparently, they only showed up to train the next generation and to get their cameos in, but that was it. There’s no real narrative reason for them not to help. The heroes should have been protecting the Empire branches. Of course, the villains would have been stopped right away if that had been the case, but it’s still something to think about. It would have certainly made the whole thing even cooler. I’m waiting for the day when the old characters are heavily involved with the plot again or at least get some more fights in a serious setting. The tournaments were awesome of course and I could always use more of those, but seeing them help against a world ending event is what I want to see next.
Overall, Cardfight Vanguard G GIRS Crisis does a good job of improving on the first and making its way to the original series and its level of greatness. Essentially, everything that G did, GIRS Crisis did better and upped the ante. Better fights, more intensity to the duels, higher stakes, better animation, better soundtrack, etc. It did exactly what a sequel is supposed to do. It’s not quite ready to beat the original Cardfight series yet, but lets see where it stands after 4 full seasons. The first season was a lot of fun, but my one complaint was that it didn’t have a huge climax like the other seasons. This one fixed that and just generally had a lot more action and intensity. The tournaments for part 1 and then the big battles in part 2. That’s a great way to pace a season. The animation and soundtrack were certainly on point. I dare say that they got even better during part 2 and at the very least, I’m positive that the soundtrack improved. It’ll be tough for the next season of G to top this one with the new animation studio and all, but I’m sure that it’ll give it a fair shot. NEXT has a pretty interesting premise and plot at the moment. Plus, I’m sure that a lot of elements have yet to even appear. I highly recommend this show and you can get into it even if you haven’t watched the original G. Of course, you’ll be missing out on a lot of character introductions and development since that was the point of the original. Also, you won’t understand why it’s so hype when Kai keeps on crushing Shion. Allow for a little plot hax at the end of that subplot, but it’s pretty real otherwise. The show also ends with a big status quo change so prepare for that!
It’s time for a game that was on the back burner for a very long time. I got this game years ago, but better late than never right? Since I saw the TV shows not too long ago, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally play the game. It has some unique concepts when it comes to the gamplay, but unfortunately the puzzles, boss designs, and the plot hold this game back a little. It’s still a fun little adventure, but it certainly could have been a lot better. Having to play the game 3 times over to see the true ending was a bad sign from the start.
Orphen is a sorcerer and currently travels along with his apprentice and a heroine who is seeking adventure. Two trolls tell them that a boat is heading to their next destination, but unfortunately, Orphen never learned that you should not trust trolls. The boat is actually heading to a haunted island. The mystery thickens when the ship is attacked by monsters and Orphen is forced to land on the island. From here, you have the option of helping out one person out of the three individuals. You can help out the tough warrior who is searching for his daughter. You could help out the girl who is trying to find the grave of her fiancee to properly mourn him. Or, you can help a kid find his mother who is lost on the island. You can only help one person per playthrough though and then you have to start the game again to help the next person. There will be some slight changes as Orphen partially remembers that he has gone back in time, but quickly forgets after the first cutscene since the game doesn’t know which story you’d pick first and a lot of the dialogue would change if Orphen remembered. No matter who you help, you’ll eventually try to find the Crystal Egg which lets you pass through time. You’ll need to do so in order to locate the missing people and keep the giant monster at bay. Once you’ve helped everyone out, you can finally fight against the true boss of the island.
Unfortunately, the plot goes off the rails by the time you finish it. For starters, the three stories can’t seem to agree on anything. In the kid’s story, the old lady is actually a hero who is trying to keep the beast from waking up and destroying everyone. However, in the lady’s story, the old woman is the one kidnapping kids and aging them into teenagers to further her own ambitions. Likewise, in the warrior’s story, she is also the main villain. The ending sheds some light on this, but makes the rest of the story more convoluted as well. See, this island was actually one big illusion. It may be more accurate to call it a theater stage though. The robot would animate the bodies and have Orphen live through fake quests based on old stories from ancient times. That’s why the characters kept switching roles and personalities. It’s because the actors were playing different characters at that point. Luckily, one of the souls was still wandering around and inhabited the robot’s A.I. assistant and summoned Orphen to destroy him once and for all.
This leads to some painfully long cutscenes with the robot talking very slowly and panicking while the assistant also dies because their lives are linked. Orphen takes this in stride though and the gang is back to their normal cheerful dispositions after leaving the place. They did save the bodies from being used in an endless puppet show so that’s something to feel good about. It was a fairly unnecessary twist though and the whole final act was just really boring and random. Seriously, the plot is definitely not this game’s strong point and it just won’t keep your attention after a while. Seeing the heroes bicker all the time can be endearing I suppose…
Graphically, the game is all right. The character models are good for their time and the boss designs are fun. The levels are also quite big and there are a nice variety of them even if a few like the tower and the boat are overused. My TV has a very tough time playing any PS2 game without the lighting going down to its minimum levels. This made seeing the game a little trickier than it should be, but it has happened so many times that I’m pretty sure its an issue on my level rather than with the game. Nonetheless, I was always happy to see a rare daytime level as most of the stages took place at night. Day-Time levels are better 99% of the time as a good night level is quite rare. Still, they are possible of course, you just have to make sure that it is still light out like in the good ole Shadow The Hedgehog game.
There are actual anime cutscenes in the game which was really impressive for its time. I still get excited to see that nowadays since it is as rare now as it was 10 years ago. There may not have been a lot of them, but it was better than nothing. As for the soundtrack, it is very limited so I wouldn’t expect much from the title here. The minion theme is boring, but the boss track was fairly good. Those are really the only two big themes in the game although a few more will pop up here and there. It’s certainly sub-par though and I expect better from a game like this one.
All right, lets talk about the actual gameplay. There are two different styles to be found. When you’re not locked in combat, it is your standard 3D platformer. You walk through the levels and try to get to the end of them. Sometimes you will have to find items, step on switches, break objects, or solve puzzles. You have an energy sword, energy blasts, and you can jump in this mode. The energy blast is never used once, but it is fun to look at I suppose. The sword is useful once in a while for breaking towers. This part of the game is fun for the most part, but the puzzles are extremely annoying when they pop up.
One puzzle has you reconstruct a music piece using 6 tunes, but only 4 of them are in the pass code. It sounds easier than it is as the combinations that sound right don’t work. You assistant will let you know which 4 notes should be used in the combination, but I spent over 2 hours trying out every possible version and none of them worked. Why is that? Well, to see if it really worked, you actually have to hit the retry note which will apparently play your combination against the lock. What this means is that I actually did get the right answer a few times, but it didn’t count in each instance because I didn’t hit the white note. Now that was just terrible and very annoying. There were other such puzzles that got old very quickly. Even chasing the bunny was a pretty sad minigame as you apparently had to walk slowly to catch him, but the game never even hints at it until someone mentions this fact.
Ah well, at least the combat section is mostly fun. You can equip up to 4 spells to use and one of them is a barrier. You must time your attacks well so that you can block and retaliate while not getting hit. This gets tricky when a lot of villains show up so at that point I recommend just blasting away at them all. The bosses can be a bit long at times, but most of them are fun as well. The only cheap boss is the final one which is very poorly designed. He’ll block anything you throw at him when he feels like it and will occasionally send in minions to attack you. There are so many minions and they attack so quickly that you are sure to get hit by them. I just kept on trying and trying until I somehow landed enough blows to win. A lot of luck was involved and the boss would just randomly not block at times while he would on other occasions. One helpful tip is to remember that you can retry the battle if you are about to lose. That way you won’t have to go back to your last save point. Trust me, it will save you a lot of time considering that the cutscenes can’t be skipped and that they are quite long at times.
There is absolutely no replay value unfortunately. Once you have beaten all of the stories and obtained the true ending, there really isn’t anything more to do here. The main campaign is fairly long though since it is over 10 hours. That will last you long enough to justify the purchase and the game probably would have really dragged on had it gone any further. I can’t say that I was too pleased about having to play the game 3 times over even if it did a better job of making all the stories unique than most titles. I guess the fact that the game could keep on switching everyone’s roles without worrying about plot holes probably helped quite a bit.
Overall, Orphen certainly could have been a better game. The combat gameplay was very unique and it was fun to play around with. The game probably could have done more with it since most of the bosses and minions were a little too similar. For being a puzzle game, there luckily weren’t a lot of puzzles, but some of them were still extremely annoying so that is definitely a good thing. Fans of the Orphen TV show should definitely check it out. Just seeing the gang again should be nostalgic even if the voices are way different here. Orphen’s meanness is also exaggerated quite a bit here, but it was fun to listen to his lines so I was pretty cool with that. To the average video game fan, I recommend it, but cautiously. You can certainly do better and find a game that will grab your attention more, but this still isn’t a bad game. You’ll just slowly find that you lose more and more interest in the title as you get closer to the end.
It’s been a while, but I finally got to go back and complete one of the old Yugioh games that I’ve had on the back burner for a while now. It feels good to finally take it down for the count. It suffers from the usual problem that Yugioh games have on the home console and that’s the long loading times. Still, that’s really the only main problem for the title as it still does a good job of capturing the Yugioh enjoyment that I’ve come to expect from the series. It’s long and it’s difficult, but the game can also be very satisfying. After all, what’s more fun than having a quick round of Yugioh?
This title also does have a plot which is something that you can’t really say for many of the other Yugioh games. Where this takes place in the anime is a little vague, but all that you really need to know is that many of the world’s greatest duelists have been trapped inside of a large tower. The only way to get out is to duel everyone and prove yourself to be the strongest. The problem is that there are no pushovers here and some of the villains may decide not to play by the rules. You control an original character who has arrived at this tower. He may not have a rep yet, but he is actually the greatest duelist of all time. Not too shabby eh? Can Terry (That’s what I called him) save the world or is he doomed? Time to find out!
We may as well go over the technical aspects of the game first. The graphics look fairly good here. Everyone is a little pixelated, but in retrospect, a lot of the Wii games had similar issues with the character designs. It still looks rather well considering. I also liked the designs for the new characters. They stood out and were original. Odin had a cool armor and his true identity was also pretty intense. That definitely worked well for the final boss. As for the soundtrack, it is fairly solid. A theme will come up if you are close to winning and likewise if you are close to losing. There are quite a number of good tunes here although the soundtrack definitely could have been larger. It’s mostly all fast paced and fits well for the duels.
Time to quickly explain the gameplay system in case you have never had a duel before. Each player starts with 5 cards and then you draw another one each turn. You summon monsters to the field (1 per turn although you can special summon others) and use them to attack your opponent’s life points. Spell and Trap cards are also allowed into the mix of course. The first person to land at 0 life points loses the round. The concept is simple enough, but there are many rules and complexities surrounding this so you’ll still have a lot to take in when you first boot up the game. I recommend working on building your first deck to start things off. Choose each card yourself so you know exactly what they do and when to activate each card.
I recommend holding down the B button during the turns if you know that you won’t be using a Trap Card. Otherwise, it will ask you this question throughout every phase of the turn, which can slow the game down considerably. I ended up going with a deck that was heavy on trap cards and anti trap cards. My deck was a little larger than most people would recommend it be, but this served me well twice. There is one character in the game who has an incredible defensive strategy. Her name is Luna and she won’t hesitate to time you out. Our duel went into the 80s I believe, but luckily my deck was a lot larger than hers so that ended up earning me the win. She tried the same tactic later on and I used the same counter. Don’t underestimate trap cards. They are extremely valuable in this game.
You will need to really enjoy the duels to get any fun out of this title. That’s because the game is over 20 hours long and that equals a lot of duels. There are roughly 13-15 levels in the game, but each one has up to 5 duels and sometimes even more. You also shouldn’t expect to coast by either as these guys tend to put up quite the fight. Many of them took me several tries to defeat, but naturally none of them could ultimately stop me from reaching the goal. Ironically, the second last boss is probably the easiest in the game. I happened to get a really good hand, but even considering that, a perfect 8000-0 battle is pretty rare.
As for replay value, there is a lot of that. After beating the game, you will unlock a few more levels where you can fight opponents with incredibly strong decks and get more cards. There are hundreds, if not thousands of cards in this game so collecting them all will be a very tough thing to do. That is sure to buy you a lot of time. One thing that I don’t like is that you can’t use some of the cards that you obtain because they are deemed illegal. If that’s the case, why put them in the game at all? Even if the computers keep on using them anyway, we shouldn’t be able to buy those cards if they are just going to sit around.
The gameplay’s a lot of fun as you can tell, but the game did have one thing holding it back. The long loading times. I can’t stress this enough. If a game takes a while to get through each duel, then the adventure will start to feel a little too much like a grind by the end. For some reason, this always happens to the home console version of these titles. The DS World Championships and the PSP Tag Force games are always lightning fast and I dare say that they are more intuitive. After all, in those games, you could activate magic cards whenever you want. Now, you have to wait until it’s your turn.
Overall, It feels good to have finally completed Duel Transer. That game was certainly on the backburner for a long time so this is a big moment. Next up, I aim to take down the Yugioh game for the Gamecube. The plot is definitely very odd (and boring) and the game is even slower paced than this one. Ah well, we’re just going to have to wait a while before we get a really fast title I suppose. At the very least, this just goes to show how popular Yugioh is. It’ll always have more games to play. If you’re a big fan of Yugioh, then I definitely recommend this game quite a lot. You may never get to Synchro Summon since the rules seem more complex than usual, but at least you’ll get to fight many powerful foes. If you’ve never played Yugioh before, then you may want to start with World Championship instead as it does a good job of easing you into the challenge.
Digimon has always set the bar very high for its games. I’ve played quite a few of them and they have all ranged from good to amazing. Digimon Data Squad was an all star title for the PS2. I actually only gave it a score of 7 back in the day, but now (With the power of nostalgia goggles I suppose) it’s easily a 9. Looking back at it, that was really the first big Digimon RPG that I played. Digimon World DS followed suit and that one was a lot of fun thanks to the fast paced turn based style. That one’s easily at least an 8. Digimon Racing was more on the mediocre side, but we had Digimon Rumble Arena 2 and World 4 to compensate. (I’ve still got to go back to World 4 at some point) I wasn’t a huge fan of Digimon Dawn back in the day and ended up selling it because I didn’t like the concept of having to devolve my Digimon before Digivolving them. I still don’t like that mechanic, but I’m mostly over it since I do enjoy grinding up the levels nowadays. Cyber Sleuth is another excellent installment in the franchise and you can make a solid case for it possibly being the best Digimon game.
Part of what helps Cyber Sleuth really rise up the video game charts is how long it is. The story mode took me around 48 hours to complete although I did spend a good amount of time leveling up and finding new Digimon evolution routes. Through the course of that time, it’s easy to get used to all of the characters and become more invested in the plot. It’s an advantage over shorter games like Knack. I’d like a sequel to this game although the next Digimon title seems like it’ll be a stand alone story once again. I’ m sure that I’ll grow to like the new characters by the time I beat that game, but I will miss these guys for a while. I still don’t have the Platinum trophy yet, but I’ve got my sights on it and I’m definitely getting closer. The toughest one is definitely going to be the 30 online wins trophy since I don’t have PS+. I’ll have to wait for the next free weekend, but that should happen soon.
Cyber Sleuth fully embraces the futuristic sci-fi feel that comes with the concept of Digital Monsters and it greatly enhances the overall experience. The soundtrack is easily the best one that I’ve seen in Digimon and ranks as one of the best video game soundtracks ever. Prelude to a Bloody Battle, Royal Knights theme, and Eater theme are three in particular that I recommend looking up. They really steal the show. There are also several themes that play during the mystery moments to help build up the hype. As I’ve always mentioned in the past, a good soundtrack can always help a game make it to the next level of quality.
Meanwhile, the graphics are solid. I wouldn’t say that they are amazing of groundbreaking this time, but everything looks fairly sharp. There is a noticeable lack of animated cutscenes though and I would have liked to have seen more. We never really got to see a fight in the middle of a cutscene and that would have certainly been a blast. Ah well, I suppose that’s something that can be improved in the next game that’s coming up.
As for replay value, there is certainly a lot of it. Not to mention that the game also has a lot of initial value considering how long the main campaign is. Once you finish that, you can work on grabbing all medals and trophies for the PSN. There are also many bonus missions that you can grab from your Digimon or a few more side missions where you help people out. There’s also the 8 part DLC mission pack where you help a girl save the world from the 7 Deadly Sin Digimon and also find out a twist about your computer correspondent. There’s even a Colosseum cup challenge where you can fight many characters that you’ve met through the game in very challenging matches. Yes, a lack of value is something that you’ll never hear regarding Cyber Sleuth. It’s a game that will last you quite a while.
As you’d expect, the gameplay is your traditional turn based title. You get to have 3 Digimon on the field at once, but you can command up to 11 in your party. When 3 die, you throw in three more, but you can also substitute mat any time. You’ll want to have some fast Digimon on your side since having extra turns is crucial to winning. You can have the strongest Digimon in the world, but it won’t mean a thing if you can’t get a single turn. Towards the end, the computer may have 7 turns before you get one and that can get very dangerous. I had to completely re tool my team. One trick that you’ll want to be familiar with is the Tactician USB with Gold PlatinumNumemon. You can get hundreds of level ups in minutes with that strategy which greatly reduces the amount of time that you’ll need to spend leveling up. It’s a must.
I’ll basically skip Terry in the characters section since he doesn’t have much of a personality. To clarify, he doesn’t talk much, but you can tell that he is a hero. He tries to save the villains while risking his life and always comes across as a team player. He can act a little oddly at times like pointing out that someone was drooling over a good food item, but otherwise he is solid. Kyoko is Terry’s boss and she is the one who gets him into the detective gig. She has a lot of connections and likes to throw out some real world knowledge in the game. She’s a charismatic character and her coffee gimmick works well. An important thing is that she can also fight when necessary.
Arata is Terry’s friend and he is very similar to Sasuke. He starts off as the tough and aloof rival who has a tragic past. He helps out the team quite a lot and really want to get to the bottom of the mystery involving the Eaters. He wants to save his friends, but slowly he realizes that more power is necessary. He is being left in the dust of Terry and Nokia so he sets off and slowly starts to be corrupted. He goes as far as to eat one of Terry’s Digimon friends and it’s hard to see how he’ll go back to the side of good. Terry gives him some hero speeches and everything, but it is hard to forget what he did to the Digimon. Arata’s a solid character, but he really didn’t get a whole lot of responsibility for his actions. He got off a little too easy.
Nokia is another one of Terry’s close friends and she wants to be friends with as many Digimon as possible. When she finds out about the Digi Eaters and the Digi World going into ruins, she decides to amass an army to protect them. She gets a very large role in the plot as a result and even gets a Mega level Digimon before Terry and Arata. She becomes the heavy hitter for a while and that was unexpected. She’s actually a better character than Terry and Arata by the end. Her plan’s a good one even if it is a little naive since you certainly can’t trust everyone. Her one downside is that she can be way too overconfident about how attractive she believes herself to be and constantly rubs it in when talking to her two friends. Aside from that, she’s always eager to fight (When she has the upper hand) and sticks up for Digimon through to the very end.
Yuuko is another one of Terry’s friends although she joins in a little later. She starts off as a mysterious figure with another tragic past, but gradually she becomes one of the main characters. She is rich and has connections to the shady organization which helps the group out quite a lot. She’s more reserved than the others (Even Arata) so it takes her a while to get used to how everyone acts. By the end she starts to embrace her emotions a lot more, which makes things a little tricky for Terry at times since she threatens him quite a bit. Her character arc is a good one even if she sometimes has to slow her pace down to let the main characters keep up.
Matayoshi and Date are a Detective and Cop who help out from time to time. They can both be quite annoying though and usually their appearances are the signal for filler to come so you just want them to go away. They do nothing, but slow down the plot. Another problem is that they both have to obey orders so they put Arata in a bad spot and really set him up to turn into a villain. None of them have any Digimon either so they end up just being liabilities in the long run.
Kishibe is one of the main villains and she certainly gets a huge role. Whenever someone has a huge role, they typically get a big plot twist. Nokia, Arata, Terry, Kyoko, Kishibe, and Yuuko all have very big plot twists by the end. The twist certainly helped me take Kishibe a lot more seriously than I had. Post twist, Kishibe is a cool villain. Before that I couldn’t take her very seriously, but her plans certainly were well thought out. Suedouis the other big antagonist. He wants to remake the world so that there is no sadness, but to do that he has to erase free will and force humanity to evolve. He’s certainly a villain even if his motives aren’t the usual “Destroy the world.” goals. He’s an annoying villain since he is extremely weak, but the heroes never try to stop him and just tolerate his existence the whole time. He does help them unravel some mysteries after all, but it would have been nice to have seen the heroes try to arrest him or something. He gives out a lot of meta speeches by the end and explains the Digi Eaters origin. See, they are multi dimensional beings who have limitless power and even Digimon can’t stop them. It’s all decently interesting, but in the end it’s not as if it matters all that much aside from wiki purposes.
Zaxon is one of the big hacker groups who stand in the way of the heroes at times. Their leader, Yugo is reasonable, but most of the Zaxon members are corrupt anyway. Zaxon tries to stop the main villains on their own though, which makes for a very epic level since you had several groups fighting at once. Kishibe’s group, Zaxon, Terry, Arata’s group, and Nokia’s posse. It was certainly one of the best parts of the game and I always like to see multiple groups duking it out at once. It adds in an extra dynamic since it’s not just a classic 1 vs 1.
Jimmy Ken is an annoying villain. He speaks with a lot of slang which must come across very oddly in the original Japanese version. His theme is catchy, but he’s mostly just a thorn in the hero’s side. He never actually contributes to the plot either so you can think of him as a pre arc boss. The game is so long that it can afford to have a bit of a long pre arc while the plot slowly starts developing in the background. Even so, I was glad when he completely disappeared as the plot really started going.
We can’t forget about the Royal Knights either. Seeing as how the humans sent the Eaters into the Digital World where they started eating all of the inhabitants, it makes sense that the Digimon King would send out a counter attack. The Royal Knights mission is simple, they must destroy the Human World to stop the source of the Eaters. Let’s face it, the human world isn’t ready to repel this invasion so it is up to the main characters now. Once this plot started, the game had reached its Apex of hype. We got a lot of really cool themes and also some epic cutscenes. Naturally, I had already enjoyed the game quite a bit before they showed up as this was at around Chapter 11 I believe, but the game’s second half really took off. The Royal Knights are great characters and even if they always end up being on the antagonist side, they are quite the epic group. If they ever attacked as one, they would be nearly unstoppable. Plus, it’s hard to blame them being so upset with the humans after so many Digimon were massacred by the Eaters. The humans are always causing trouble on other planets.
Finally, we have the Eaters. They eat data so they are very dangerous for Digimon to battle. One hit can be fatal and their sheer numbers are impressive as well. The big Eater Queen is even more deadly than the rest and made for an epic final boss. I remember the boss being super easy though thanks to the super grinding and some of the earlier bosses had been trickier. Ignoring that though, it was a climactic way to end it all. The humans will be glad to have the Eater threat gone as well. A big of a running gag is that humans kept on dying throughout the game. Terry was always to slow to save anyone so the body count by the end is incredibly high. It was actually pretty funny at certain points, but the humans should have really ran a little more. The Eaters are incredibly slow after all.
Then we’ve also got the crossover characters. Mirei is actually a main supporting character as she gives out quests from time to time and is in charge of the Digi area where you can train your Digimon. She even gets some character development in the final DLC quest as she lets the power get to her head and temporarily turns evil. The power was simply too much for her. She doesn’t have much of a personality though so you may not have much of an opinion on her by the end. Sayo joins the cast thanks to the DLC missions as well. She’s the main rival in the Digimon Dusk/Dawn game (I still need to go back and complete that one!) and she gets a lot of hype as being very powerful. Her Dianamon did beat all of the Legendary Sin Digimon on her own after all. The fact that she wasn’t supposed to defeat those Digimon is still pretty baffling and I don’t buy it. Sayo seems like a good character even if she may be overconfident, after all..that’s a good quality to have.
Rina is the final big crossover character and she’s from one of the big Digimon titles that never made it to the U.S. She’s definitely very scatterbrained and overly cheerful, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t fight. Rina can hold her own against any of the big fighters in Cyber Sleuth and she is the only reason that the heroes were able to take down the fastest member of the Royal Knights. Her Ultra VForcemon (Close enough) proved to be the strongest Digimon of them all. Her world doesn’t look as interesting as Cyber Sleuth’s though, but it was cool to have her as part of the cast. The game went all out with the crossover effect.
Overall, Digimon Cyber Sleuth is a great way to spend 50 hours. The plot is very engaging and the game feels like a lot of effort was put into it. (Unlike Star Fox Zero) If you want even more of a challenge then you can always try out Hard Mode. I’m not sure that I would recommend it unless you have a lot of time to burn though. The game gets significantly harder and the opponent’s health bars go up as well. Boss fights can take around an hour and if you don’t have the best possible team with you, it could be game over. I’ve heard quite a few stories about how insane hard mode is, but you would definitely have some serious bragging rights if you can pull it off. I now await the next Digimon game and in the meantime, maybe I’ll finally get around to getting Digimon Championship!