Super Smash Bros Ultimate Review

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It’s time to look at a game that could go down in history as the greatest of them all. That may sound like hyperbole, but at the moment the Super Smash Bros Wii U title currently holds that spot so it’s not unreasonable to imagine a world where this one surpasses it. I’ve been hyped for this game for many months now. A new Super Smash Bros title always brings with it a certain level of expectations like that and even more so for this one since it was touted as being the ultimate Smash title. It’s effectively an upgraded port of the Wii U game while bringing in all of the previous characters and most of the stages. I’ve already put in close to 50 hours here and that number’s only going to keep on rising.

First off lets talk about the gameplay even though by now it is fairly iconic. The goal of the game is to get the opponent’s damage% up. The higher it is the farther they will be launched when you attack them. Once you’ve knocked the opponent off the stage entirely they lose a life. Once you’ve taken all of their lives away the match is over and you will have claimed victory. While the goal is simple, it’s still a fairly complicated game. I imagine that if this is your first Smash title that you’ll have a pretty steep learning curve at first. Nevertheless you’ll definitely get the hang of it.

Multiplayer is definitely where you’ll spend the most time in this game. The battles are legendary here and with over 70 playable characters and 100+ stages you can keep the matches feeling fresh the whole time. Online definitely helps the replay value even further if you have no friends. Fortunately even just fighting the computers can present a really nice challenge. There are certainly some online issues you will want to be aware of though. Currently the match settings allow you a preference but you can still be sent into types that you did not ask for. If that happens watch out because it will still affect your GSP which is effectively your online rank. I wouldn’t get too attached to it though because that may make you afraid to keep on playing when you see your score go down. It’ll definitely go up and down as you go through more matches, but the important thing is watching your skills improve which won’t happen if you are too nervous the whole time. What you should be most excited about is the fact that this will ensure you fight tougher and tougher opponents as you get better.

Meanwhile there are a ton of other modes to play. While we sadly don’t see the return of a story mode like what Brawl had, we do get a new adventure mode which is similar to Melee’s in the sense that there is a basic story but not too many cutscenes. You are placed in a large overhead map where you have to get to the end. You do this by freeing all of the fighters who have been possessed by the cosmic being. Each fight you go through has some kind of gimmick or element that makes it unique. These can be quite challenging for a new player so I recommend taking a look at the spirits. They will help you overcome these battles but they can be a little overwhelming at times so take it slow.

There’s also the Spirit Board mode which lets you get new spirits by completing more event battles. It’s basically the same as Adventure Mode but without the story behind it. There are over 1200 spirits in the game so this should definitely help you get a lot of play time in. The actual story is around 10-11 hours if you rush it and to 100% the story you’ll probably need more like 20 hours. There are also a few other single player modes like All Star and 100 Man Brawl. You fight hordes of enemies in this mode and see how quickly you are able to finish them off. The single player options are a little more limited than in past options, but compared to the average game it is still a ton of content. As mentioned, most of your time will probably be spent in multiplayer mode anyway.

As expected the graphics are absolutely top notch here. Everything looks really clear and pristine. It’s all so colorful and amazing. A lot of things are always happening on screen at once but you’ll never feel lost. Super Smash always shows up as the best looking Nintendo game on each console and the Switch looks like it won’t be an exception. You’ll be hard pressed to find any game that looks better than this one. The soundtrack is also extremely impressive as there are over 800 songs to be found. I think its safe to say that this game easily has the best ost of all time. There are just so many songs to choose from. You’ll start out with most of them and then you get to unlock the last few hundred. I will add that I think the developers did a good job of letting you start out with all the stages and most of the music while leaving all the characters to be unlocked. The challenger approaching screen has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the game after all.

Between all the spirits and gameplay this title has unlimited replay value. At the time of writing this review I currently have 4 challenges left to complete. I expect to have those done by the end of the week. I’ll certainly still keep on playing this title daily but I guess it may be time to tag in another title. It won’t have much time before the Christmas batch gets in though which is why I’m still pretty undecided on how to go about that. Ah well, I’ll have time.

I guess the question you may be asking now is..why hasn’t this game passed the Wii U one yet? We can ignore all of the modes and just get to the gameplay because that’s the deciding factor when it comes to Smash. This game series is in a league of its own to the point where all modes are thrown to the wayside in favor of the gameplay. Whoever has the best gameplay wins, it’s that simple. Smash 4 prioritized combos over everything else. Once you learned each character’s combos you would try to get in place to land them. It made you have to learn how to study everything and get into position. In comparison, Smash Ultimate is all about the neutral game. Attacking is now prioritized over defense, but most hits don’t combo into other moves so you simply have to keep out thinking your opponent until you land enough hits for the win.

This results in both players throwing out quite a lot of attacks as most of them are safe now. As someone who likes playing aggressively this is definitely a lot of fun. It’s really tough to fight against though as it can sometimes feel like there are no openings (Especially when fighting a quick ranged character like Roy) but there will always be one somewhere. It’ll take some getting used to. I do think eventually this game will likely surpass the Wii U one, but I don’t think it’ll happen for a little while. I put in over 2200 hours into Super Smash Bros Wii U so it makes sense that I can’t drop it so quickly. I also just prefer doing a lot of fancy combos to the one hit moves but again, I think that’ll change.

I really have no meaningful negatives about the game at all. As mentioned, the online is definitely lacking at present. You’re thrown into matches that you didn’t want and there is no way to team up with a friend locally against other friends online. Hopefully they will be able to resolve that as well as adding in other features like stage morphing and Squad Strike. The latter is something I had been particularly looking forward to in the game so it was a shame to see that it is offline only. In the meantime I’ve had fun growing my GSP with the characters. I got most of them to over a million with my only elite fighters currently being Bayonetta, Marth, Lucina, and Pac-Man. Naturally they are also my 4 mains at the moment since I figure I’ll let the game help me decide that. Usually I end up maining a bunch of characters so this will help me whittle that list down a bit.
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Meanwhile I should also talk a bit about some of the new items and assists. For the items, my favorite new weapon is probably the Death Scythe. I believe if you hit someone with it when they are over 100% they will instantly lose a stock which is cool. Likewise, I like the Rage Blaster for its similar function although in this case it gets stronger as you grow weaker. The banana gun is also a fun weapon that may not be super powerful or anything, but it’s just a great concept. I think unlike the characters and stages we did lose a lot of items over the years, but I guess it makes sense not to make the list too huge or you’ll never see some items.

For the Assists, we finally have Knuckles! Along with the fact that most assist trophies can now be destroyed they feel more like pseudo fighters than ever. Some are incredibly flashy as well like the Moon from Majora’s Mask. I can see how fans get a little upset when their fighters shows up as an assist, but never lose hope. All they need is a patch at some point and the character can be playable at any moment. For the Pokemon we also have Solgaleo who is one of the strongest creatures in the game. It’s very hard to dodge his fire charges while avoiding the other players. In general I think the game has heavily buffed these assists so now most of them are lethal. That’s a good thing as it is a lot more rewarding to grab them. Don’t worry, you’ve still got the trolls like Goldeen.

Finally, lets talk about the newcomers. First off we have echos which is the official term used by the game for the clone characters. This was a great way to bolster the character size with requested characters who are similar to their main counterparts. Two very good ones are Dark Samus and Ken. These echos have some slight differences from their main counterparts while being similar enough where you can easily use both versions. My only regret is that we didn’t get more echos. I think this could be a landmine of cash for the company if they reconsider their stance. Imagine having over 50 echos in the game? I’d certainly break out the cash for them.

Then we have the full blown newcomers. One has gotten a lot of hype and naturally that is Ridley. After Project M was able to get him into the game Sakurai had no more excuses so he relented and allowed him to join the party. His moveset is a blast. He may be pretty heavy so getting stuck in repeated attacks will happen, but his massive power is a good counter to that. The game seemed to like adding heavyweights as we also have King K Rool. He’s an iconic DK villain who also looks pretty good. His moveset is pretty fun and you won’t want to underestimate him in the ring.

Repping the newer Splatoon is Inkling. She’s a speed character who is looking incredibly good, but also very complex. I think once players master her various ink gimmicks she will be even more of a force to be reckoned with. With Bayonetta being severely nerfed it will be tough for any character to stop this squid kid’s reign of terror. As a surprising addition we also have Simon and Richter from Castlevania. They are as annoying to fight as you can imagine with their projectile spam being even tougher to get around than Link’s. They’re fun to play as though. Isabelle feels like an echo but is actually treated as a full character. She’s a nice alternative to Villager and her fishing rod is a fun attack to use. It’s pretty hard to avoid when you’re on the ledge.

Finally we have Incineroar. He’s a pretty tough boxing Pokemon who has a lot of power and a pretty cool revenge mechanic. With it he can deal massive damage with a single blow. All in all, I’m pretty happy with our new characters so far. It’s hard to be upset when we already have so many options to choose from. The characters all have their fans for sure. While I would have liked some other characters to make the cut as well like Isaac and Waluigi, maybe DLC is their chance. The first 2 DLC characters we know of are Piranha Plant and Joker. They will definitely be great additions as well with the latter especially being very exciting. I can’t wait to play as him, I’m thinking that his moveset is going to be amazing. With that said though, while the new characters are super cool for now I’m still going for the wins with my classic Marth.
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Overall, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is indeed the ultimate experience for Super Smash fans in terms of content. It’s got just about everything here. While we had to say goodbye to some fan favorite modes like Target Attack and Home Run Contest, I wouldn’t be surprised if those are added in at a later date. With how patches come into play nowadays you wouldn’t want to rule such things out. We also have more characters and stages coming through DLC as well so this game is going to stay active for a very long time. If you’re afraid of getting into the series because of the high learning curve, I’d say not to worry about it. We all have to start somewhere and you’ll definitely be having a blast before long.

Overall 9/10

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Driver: You Are The Wheelman Review

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Driver is one of the first racing games that I ever got to play and it was always a fun one. It was certainly the first open world driving game that I had ever played. The game really holds up well and honestly you can entertain yourself for many hours just by driving around. Even without the story this game has a lot of depth and with it…well this ends up being one of the greatest driving games out there. I can see the appeal of Grand Theft Auto’s driving aspect if it’s anything like this and I look forward to checking out the Driver sequels.

The plot can be a bit hard to follow but you seem to be a double agent for the cops. You infiltrate the mafia by pretending to be one of them and from there you work on getting their trust. By the end you have to try to put an end to their plot. In many ways this feels like the basic synopsis for one of the Fast and the Furious films. As you might have guessed the plot wasn’t exactly the more interesting aspect of the game. I’m glad the game had it of course and it wasn’t bad, just a bit on the generic side.

The gameplay is where this title really shines. The driving is incredibly smooth. Dare I say that this may be one of the best titles in the whole genre on that regard? You can’t even compare this to a lot of the other big titles like Need For Speed. (Although I haven’t played the more modern ones yet) You never have to worry about quick turns or anything like that. If you want to drive somewhere or dodge obstacles you will be able to do so without a problem. It’s these basic things that help make Driver so good. The fundamentals are all completely on point.

This may be a given, but I also like how the battles with the cops play out. You can choose to either run away from them entirely or engage. If you engage then you need to total their car without getting totaled yourself. You can take out 2-3 police cars before you eventually have to stick to running. It’s fun to try and get your crime meter all the way to the top and then see how long you last. Once the police start throwing out the roadblocks then your time is nearly up. Those things are really hard to get around although sometimes there is a slight gap for you. Otherwise you have to try and do a quick 180 but that’s usually just about impossible in that situation.

The stages are also huge. It’s fun driving around the city. You can stop by the park if you like or head to the highway for some fast driving. You won’t need to pass by the same place twice for a very long time unless you want to. The weather also changes as you go from day to night and sometimes it will also be raining. The effects are pretty fun even if they don’t change the actual gameplay all that much. Unfortunately my TV still can’t handle old gen games too well so I really couldn’t see much of anything while playing these sections. It’s why I was unable to handle the final level in the game. Trust me, this game can be super difficult if you are unable to see where you are going or anything like that.

The difficulty is nothing to sneeze at either way though. Some of the levels are reasonably difficult here even if you can see. I think you can take off a point or two from the difficulty level once you can see but don’t underestimate the cops or the mafia chasing you. Practice makes perfect and just work on your turning skills til you can shake them without even thinking about it. That will be the moment when you can really take off. Alternately just see how long you can follow the rules in free roam. I would try that for a while, but eventually I would go back to driving at top speed and just having a blast running around. It’s really hard to go slow for long.

As for the graphics, they are top notch for the PS1. This game could easily pass for a PS2 game. The models for the cars and levels are excellent and there is a lot of attention to detail here. The soundtrack also isn’t bad although it is a little less impressive. Between the fairly long story and the fee roam this game has a ton of replay value. It’s a car game that you will find yourself going back to time and time again. It took me over 10 years to finally get back to this game, but it was certainly worth it. I have a PS3 Driver game, but I think I’ve got to go through a few others before that one so it still could be a little while til I’m back with this franchise.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. There aren’t a whole lot of open world car games. I think it would probably get old if too many people did it, but as this is my first experience naturally it was a whole lot of fun. Of course, the game is quite old so it’s understandable if you don’t want to go that far back. Maybe it’s on the PSN or something. Now there are only 2 more PS1 games for me to go through and since Tarzan isn’t working I basically just have one left. That’s definitely not too bad if I do say so myself!

Overall 8/10

Kromaia Ω Review

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Kromaia is a game I got thanks to the big Toys R Us sale. Otherwise I don’t think I ever would have gotten to play it so this worked out well. It’s a pretty fun shooter game. The title is a little short and won’t be revolutionizing the genre, but it’s a very unique game and one that you will enjoy. Even as I type this I am tempted to go back and complete the other levels again so I can unlock the true ending. Perhaps at some point I’ll get on that. If this game ever gets a big sequel I’ll be on the lookout for that.

The game starts off with a little lore. I’m not sure I got the correct meaning from it, but what I understood is that there are 4 gods which rule this universe. They seem to have wiped out humanity in the process, but we are able to put a soul into our last spaceship. This spaceship must now go into each of the 4 corners of the universe and wipe out the deities. Fortunately as each one is content with their victory they have no way to communicate with each other so you can take them all out. If you destroy them all then you can get the key to the universe!

Each level starts off with a little message about this and your A.I. will warn you when the bosses show up. It’s a pretty fun story and the mystery angle is handled quite well. I think the story is what helps bump the game to the next level. Without it the gameplay would still be fun but the story always adds a little something extra. There are 4 levels in the game. The first part is about getting through 20 rings. Doing so will summon the boss for the big end of level fight. Each boss is unique in how you will handle them. The first one is about taking down all of the weak points while the 4th one must be overheated so you can reach them. They’re all unique and this game follows the correct standard of not reusing bosses.

Each world has a unique armor and once you’ve beaten all of them the first time you can use whichever one you want for each level. Plus if you want to unlock the final level you’ll need to beat all 4 levels with all 4 armors. It adds a little replay value and the game is just short enough where this doesn’t feel like a big grind. I do think the bosses seemed to get harder when I went back to beat them again, but maybe that’s my imagination. I only went back to the first boss to beat it the additional times so far. My favorite armor is probably the sword one. You’d think that having a close quarters combat mech in a bullet hell game would be a bad idea, but it’s really op. Pretty much any opponent will go down in a single swing to that armor. That’s how good it is.

To go a little more in depth on the gameplay, it’s 3D as I mentioned. Each armor has 2 weapons, the main attack and a charged one. Typically you’ll be focusing on the main weapon, but I recommend using the charge as soon as it’s ready. You also have a boost option which will boost in the direction you are moving in so sometimes you can use it as a full retreat option or to go towards the boss if you wish. The controls are pretty smooth once you get the hang of it. Focus on mastering each armor and you’ll be unbeatable. My least favorite was probably the green one. It’s not bad, but it felt like the weakest option.

The graphics are quite solid. There’s always a lot happening on screen and the game has a ton of character models so you can see how much heart was put into it. The level designs are really fun. You feel like you’re in another version of outer space as everything is futuristic. I also thought the soundtrack was good although it can be a little hard to hear among the constant blasting. In particular the green armor is very loud with his attacks. Kromaia went above expectations for sure. Especially as my initial impression on it wasn’t great as I first played the level earlier in the year and died. I remember putting the game down at that point and only just got back to it. The game can be a little vague on where you have to go and how to get there, but once you get used to the compass you’ll be set for the rest of the game.

There is a level up system here. I made it to level 12 but it’s hard to tell when you’re getting exp or not so I didn’t actually fight too many enemies. I’d just fly over to the boss. Apparently there are 100 levels though and I imagine that you will be incredibly powerful by that point. It helps add to the replay value. While the campaign is quite short it should still take you quite a while to reach the Platinum trophy. I got the game for around 5 or less with the 75% off at Toys R Us but 20 wouldn’t be bad. If you have to spend 30 or more then I would think twice about it. Take a look at the gameplay videos and see how it looks to you.

Overall, Kromaia was quite a bit of fun. It was more enjoyable than I thought it would be and while some games tend to be less enjoyable in hindsight it is quite the opposite for this title. There aren’t too many big 3D bullet hell games right now so if you have yet to check this genre out then Kromaia is a great way to start off. It can be a little challenging but never unfair. There are also frequent check points so you’ll eventually make it through. If any section seems impossible then try going at it with a different approach. The bosses can be deceptive but they can all be soundly defeated with the right strategy.

Overall 7/10

Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review

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I remember pre-ordering Spyro a long time ago. I’ve played most of the games in the series and they were a lot of fun so why not right? After this trilogy I’m only missing one other trilogy and then I’ll be caught up with the franchise. The only real catch is that Spyro games are typically best when played one at a time. When you play all of them back to back like this then the issues start to show a little more. Still, this is a trilogy that has a lot of content for you to explore and it looks/plays pretty well. Certainly a must have for any big platformer fan.

The first game has all of the dragons get turned into stone. It makes for an intense start since if everyone else was taken down how does Spyro have a chance? Also you have to keep in mind the fact that Spyro’s basically just a kid and the villain beat everyone with ease. Still, Spyro never backs down from a fight and prepared to win right away. It’s part of what makes him such a quality character. Enjoy the intro though as this game’s plot takes a back seat for most of the game.

Spyro 1 has aged pretty well. Unlike Spyro 2 and 3 you won’t really need to back track in order to beat the game as long as you did a good job grabbing a lot of dragons and Gems. It didn’t feel like much of a grind at least. The 3D gameplay is quite solid and the level designs are on point. As this is the first game it got to experiment quite a bit and the sequels would tweak it all. The gameplay is pretty similar across all 3 games so I’ll mainly be tackling it here. You can glide for short distances and also shoot fire at enemies. Finally you have a ramming attack which can take down any enemy who has armor. Learn these combos well and you’ll be ready for the big time.

Spyro 2 ramps up the plot as our hero finds himself in a new world when his portal generator didn’t work as expected. Here we have Ripto who has decided to conquer this planet since no dragons are around to save it. Well, Spyro won’t be having any of that and he quickly gets ready for action. Compared to the first game the dragons get a lot more respect here. Spyro alone is able to turn the tides of a planet wide invasion. How’s that for power? We also get introduced to a slew of supporting characters who will stay important for the rest of the franchise like the Cheetah and a new heroine.

Spyro 2 is very similar to the first game in just about every thing from the level designs to the gameplay. It’s a fundamentally sound game, but the forced repetition starts to show up a bit here. If you want to beat the game you’ll probably have to go back to old levels to get a few more orbs. I like collecting things and earning trophies, but I always think that this should be a voluntary thing. When you start forcing players to go back and get various collectibles just to see the ending then the game starts to go a little too far. Still, there’s a good amount of content here and the controls are a little more streamlined.

Then we have the third game. Spyro is back once more, but now a mysterious villain named Bianca has appeared along with her master. They rule the original Dragon World and Spyro has to stop them to show that justice always prevails. This game has a full story that has even more cutscenes than the first two. It easily has the most enjoyable plot and the gameplay is at its tightest. Unfortunately it has the most forced grinding in the game. You’re going to have to grab a whole lot of collectibles if you want to see the ending here. Not necessarily the kind of thing you want to hear in a platformer to be honest. You won’t be able to enjoy the levels as much as you would like since you have to be focused on grabbing all the gems and eggs.

Throughout all 3 games the graphics are on point. Everything looks very sharp and modern. The developers did a great job modernizing the game without altering what makes it a classic. The soundtrack is less memorable, but it has some reasonable tunes thrown in. You’ll probably just forget almost all of them by the time you get through the game. On a technical level the game is good, but not amazing. As this is a collection is goes without saying that there is a lot of replay value though. The price is quite solid and it took me close to 13 hours to complete the game. If you go for all of the Platinum Trophies across the trilogy I expect you’ll be playing this game for close to 30 hours. The collecting will also be a lot more fun once you are doing it intentionally.

Again, the trilogy does suffer from a lot of repetition. All 3 games are basically the same game in many respects. Unless you’re a really big fan of the game this could easily impact the score for you. However, if you take a break between games that should help considerably. I doubt I would even notice the repetition much if I had played them individually when they first came out. It’s not enough to lower the score or anything, but I still hold my position that being able to just blast through to the ending would have been pretty nice.

Overall, The Spyro Trilogy is pretty fun. The game ultimately holds itself back from being great due to not being ambitious enough, but ultimately does what it sets out to do. The level designs are on point and you’ll be introduced to all of the big characters. I don’t think you’ll be able to find anything wrong with the level designs and the controls are quite easy to master. At the end of the day you may leave this trilogy feeling a little empty, but satisfied nonetheless. I still look forward to getting the final trilogy for Spyro one day, but it’ll probably be a little while. It was close between this game and the Crash trilogy, but I have to say that Crash ultimately did win the day. What it lacked in plot it made up for in gameplay.

Overall 7/10

Has-Been Heroes Review

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It’s time to look at what is likely my first Rogue game. The genre is definitely pretty interesting since it’s so unique compared to others. Here if you die you lose everything. Forget about keeping things like items, level ups, money, etc. If you die you start from scratch with nothing to show for it. It’s an interesting dynamic. Honestly I think I would prefer it if you got to at least get level ups or something since you would eventually be able to power your way to the end. Still, it’s steady stream of quick levels can be pretty addicting and you’ll find yourself wanting to keep playing “1 more round” over and over again.

The plot is pretty basic. There are a group of heroes who used to be quite impressive back in their day. Unfortunately for them they have grown old and people barely even remember them anymore. Well, they’ve been given one last mission. They have to escort these two princesses over to another kingdom. That should be easy enough but the world is overcome with monsters so maybe this won’t be quite as easy as they thought. Don’t worry about the plot much though as it doesn’t return again until you’ve beaten the game 6-7 times as you get the true ending. The rest of the endings don’t even finish the plot as they just unlock another character.

The gameplay uses a 3 lane system. You have a hero on the top lane, middle, and bottom. Each one can attack when his gauge is full. This is how you drain away at enemy’s stamina and then their health. You have to time it just right so you finish off the stamina and then damage the opponent in order to chip away at the gauge. Otherwise you won’t be making a whole lot of progress in the fights. It’s a very interesting system for sure and a complex one. Throw in the spells and then you’ve really got a lot to think about during the fights. Fortunately you can pause the game to think about your options but pause too often and you’ll just be taking up too much time. That’s the way I see it at least.

One nice thing about the game being so complex is that you can feel yourself improving as you go through the game. I lost my first 10 games before finally reaching one of the endings. From there it took me about 5 more tries to get the 2nd ending and then another 3 or so for the third one. There are 12 endings but if I kept up that pace maybe it wouldn’t have taken much longer. At the same time, it’s like Pac-Man as the more endings you get the longer the game becomes. That’s because the levels stack on top of each other so at first the game is 3 areas long, then 4, then 5, etc until it reaches 8. Naturally you can see why losing when you’re at area 6 or 7 during a late playthrough can be pretty rough. The bosses shuffle each time so you never really know who you are going to be up against.

There is also some luck involved as the shops and chests change each playthrough. On my final victory playthrough I got a good line up as I got the mind control spell, 2 water spells, and 2 little minions who would help me blast the enemies. On other playthroughs I just didn’t have enough money to do much of anything so I ended up falling behind the curve. My best recommendation is to fight as many battles as you can on the way to the boss to stock up on money so you can get as many items as possible. If you run out of money then you’re basically sunk. Always have a plan when going into a boss fight as well and don’t be afraid to pause if necessary. How you start a fight could very well determine how you end it. For my tip of the game I would recommend getting any spell that does direct damage to the opponents like the water blast. It’s incredibly different and can make all the difference in a fight.

The graphics aren’t bad. I like the illustrations we get for each ending. There was a reasonable amount of skill put into the drawings. The actual animations during gameplay aren’t anything amazing, but it looks pretty clear. You can usually tell what is happening. The only exception is the status effects that play whenever you hit a villain. There are way too many words and they go too fast so you can’t really tell what they are saying. That seems to maybe be intentional but certainly worth mentioning. The soundtrack is actually quite solid though. It has a good variety depending on the levels and is soothing enough to enhance the gameplay experience. The later levels seem to decline a bit based on the tracks I heard online, but it’s still quite good all around.

Naturally there is a lot of replay value here. If you want to get all 12 endings prepare to be here for over 20 hours. It depends on how quickly you get used to the gameplay and learn the tricks of the trade of course, but I wouldn’t expect to get the hang of it too soon. I can’t stress enough that this is a pretty difficult game. It’s no walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. You’ll learn best through trial and error. There are also bonus modes like Challenge Mode, Seed Mode, etc. Getting through with everything will take a long time. I believe I got this game for around 10 bucks so that’s a lot of value for that price.

Overall, Has-Been Heroes is a pretty fun game. The story certainly takes a back seat as this is the kind of game that barely even has a plot, but the gameplay is the main thing here. The gameplay is smooth and a lot of fun. It may not be the most enjoyable experience at the very beginning if you just don’t get what you have to do, but as soon as you figure it out the sky’s the limit. I’d be up for trying more Rogue games out, but I still believe that they would be more fun with some actual progression. I want to feel like I’m getting closer to the goal with in-game features as opposed to just mastering the style more and more. It makes the whole experience just feel more rewarding.

Overall 7/10

Ridge Racer 7 Review

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It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while. Ridge Racer always looked like a lot of fun and to already have 7 games it must be quite successful. As soon as I put the game in I was impressed because the graphics are out of this world. It might not be a stretch to say that this is the best looking racing game that I’ve played although F-Zero is naturally up there as well. It’s a really fun racing game although I think it could have done a better job of explaining the confusing layout of the menu and advanced mechanics.

The main mode here is naturally the Grand Prix. When you step inside a bot gives you your current stats. This happens every time you enter the mode which may be excessive but I do like the fact that the game keeps track of everything. That even includes play time which is nice as I now know that I played this game for about 4 hours. That’s a pretty reasonable amount of time considering that a lot of big games tend to be that length nowadays like Sonic Forces and Black Clover. Of course there is a lot more to do here that will take you over 4 hours. There are 14 Grand Prixs to deal with. Aside from that you also have a bunch of corporate companies who will challenge you to single races and exhibitions. Clear them all to get your completion % to 100%.

Aside from this mode you also have the shop, event mode, and some kind of super event mode. I usually cover replay value at the end, but since I’m talking about content already I may as well address that. This is the kind of racing game that you can play for a very long time. It also has online support to back it up and local multiplayer. Think of any kind of content that a racing game would typically provide and this game has you covered. It’s really quite impressive when you think about it. Now, whether you will have enough driving skills to tackle all of that content is another thing.

That brings me to the cars aspect. I was only able to clear the first 5 GPs in this time frame because of how this part works. So, you have cars for various categories 1-4 and you use them to clear the events. You start with 1 car for each category and gradually work on obtaining more. The problem is that the ways in which you unlock cars are rather vague. Is it from the corporate sponsorships or should I be doing a different mode for that? The layouts aren’t very user friendly so if you want to find the right car you’ll have to cycle through a bunch of them. All of the cars can also have upgrades and modifications done to them but you can’t see how the stats change for the car. I guess you gotta find that out the hard way? It’s little things like this that will make you wonder if it couldn’t have been done a little better. Personally I found it to be a little hard to understand.

Perhaps there is a better way of upgrading your car but I couldn’t find one. Then everything is also super expensive. Buying 2 cars and 2 packs of boost were enough to make my character bankrupt. I guess I would need to keep replaying the old events to get more money or something, but that seems like it would take a lot of time. Towards the second half of the game the cars just got way too fast and my little car just couldn’t keep up. I prefer when the cars don’t change speeds like in F-Zero or Mario Kart. Have the tracks get harder and the A.I. more intricate but don’t mess with the cars. That just seems like an unfair advantage to me. Also, the game quickly started to re-use tracks which I found to be a bit dubious. I think the grand prixs should not reuse tracks unless it’s the final one or an “All Star” cup of sorts. Otherwise the game is just attempting to pad out the time.

As mentioned the graphics are extremely good. The cars look very lifelike and the tracks are polished to perfection. Whether you’re playing a daylight stage or driving through the night the levels are very well made. There’s one level where you drive next to a waterfall which was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s a little limited compared to other racing games but the tracks are very fast paced and filled with energy. It really allows you to cut loose and jump into the fray.

We also can’t forget the actual gameplay of course. This game is all about drifting which makes it a little different from the average car game. There are a lot of turns and the only way to get through them is to drift. To properly drift you have to stop accelerating by either braking or simply letting go of the ignition. Once your car starts to turn then you have to gun it once more to correct your path. It takes practice for sure, but after a few levels you will likely be able to handle it. You’ll need to be self taught though as the game isn’t too helpful in this regard. Beyond the boosting it is a pretty straight forward racing game that isn’t too out there. I’ve always been a big fan of the racing genre so it was definitely a lot of fun. This genre is one that can get old if played for too long though so I do recommend taking a few breaks. Don’t try to clear everything in one shot.

Overall, Ridge Racer 7 was quite good. It lives up to its reputation and I was certainly satisfied with the game. I’m not sure if I’ll be getting any other installments in the near future but if I do it would certainly be the Gamecube spinoff. After all, that one actually has a story mode which is really impressive for a racing game. I don’t think I need to tell you readers that this is quite rare. Need For Speed is really the only big racing series I can think of that has consistent plots at this point. If you like racing games then I definitely recommend picking up Ridge Racer. It’s a very by the books title that polished all of the technicals to a T. Its only failing is that the game can be a little too ambitious without letting you know what is going on so prepare to learn everything on your own.

Overall 7/10

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon Review

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It’s time to look at a recent Final Fantasy spinoff I got to play. This game has been sitting on the back burner for a very long time at this point. It always looked pretty fun, but I figured it would be pretty long so shorter games kept jumping it in line. Well, no more! I finally took the plunge and it’s definitely a fun game. While I’m not a fan of all the mechanics, I can say that the game was pretty well made. It certainly does the Chocobo character justice.

The game starts with Chocobo and Cid trying to grab the Timeless Power stone from some kind of ruins. Unfortunately Cid’s rival shows up and nabs it first. Before she can gloat, the whole group is transported to another dimension and the rival vanishes. This town is a little odd as nobody remembers anything including what their names are. A bell rings every few hours which makes the memory loss even worse. Fortunately, Chocobo seems to have the ability to go inside someone’s mind which allows him to restore their memories. There is also a baby named Rafaello who seems to have something to do with it. Chocobo starts on his mission to get everyone’s memories back, but everyone keeps telling him that this is a bad idea. Even the gods of the world tell him that he will only bring despair. Is this really the right thing to do?

Chocobo’s Dungeon is the kind of game where a large part of the story doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot. You go around restoring memories, but beyond that nothing much happens. Still, it’s a pleasant enough game. Right away you can see how much content is here as there are a bunch of side missions and sub quests to fulfill. The towns people seem nice enough as well. Still, you get the sense that something isn’t right since as I mentioned everyone is against Chocobo. The bosses you have to defeat in order to save the memories are also characters like the guardians of Light and Flame. Are they really villains or are you the villain?

All of these questions are answered in the climax which is definitely intense. It’s a climax that wouldn’t feel out of place in a main installment like Final Fantasy VII. The Destroyer, who is the final boss even looks a little like Sephiroth. We get a nice cutscene towards the end where this character even takes on Chroma and I wasn’t expecting such a fight. It was cool and I’d be up for seeing this game get a remake or be turned into a movie. I know there is a sequel for the DS so maybe I’ll get that one pretty soon.

Now lets talk about the gameplay as that is the bulk of the game. It’s a 3D turn based dungeon explorer type game where you have to navigate through the many floors until you get to the boss. Each step you take counts as a turn so you will have to quickly decide whether you want to move, attack, or use an item. I do really enjoy the strategy here. Most dungeons are only 8-10 floors while the larger ones are around 20. The final dungeon is 50 floors so get ready for that. Fortunately there is a check point every 10 floors so you don’t have to worry about starting all the way from the beginning. That would have been annoying.

The game does add in some stakes here though. For one, if you die you lose all of your money and all non equipped items. This encourages you not to take unrealistic risks. Make sure you have an exit strategy in mind or at least store your money in the bank before going on a tough quest. You’ll definitely want to do some leveling up before you get to the end of the game since the final bosses see a considerable increase in difficulty. Don’t underestimate them or your items will be sorry. When going into a dungeon you also have to choose what class you want to play as. Each new dungeon unlocks a new form for you. I highly recommend the Knight and White Mage forms. The Knight has great special attacks and gives you extra defense which is always good. I used him for the first 3 and a half chapters. However, eventually he simply wasn’t cutting it so I switched to the White Mage and never looked back. This form has a lot of great healing abilities so you no longer have to worry about carrying potions. Then he also has the best ability in the game which is the fact that he can cast a revive on himself. You can also use the escape ability to just get out of the dungeon if things look impossible. The Dark Knight is typically considered to be the best, but by the time I unlocked him the game was almost over so I couldn’t really verify that.

Now, I mentioned that not all of the mechanics were my favorite. In particular I am referring to the fact that enemies can rot your weapons. It works like in Breath of the Wild where your weapons just get weaker as you use them. They don’t actually break in this version but they do get weaker which is annoying since the only way to power them up further is to spend more money. What you want to do is find a weapon with an anti rust upgrade and then fuse that to your main weapon to ensure that nobody can weaken it. At that point you are all set. There are others for extra EXP and money, but I never found the former. It would have certainly come in handy though.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s certainly a step below most of the other Final Fantasy games, but it still looks pretty good I’d say. It’s just using a different style. It’s sort of like World of Final Fantasy but not quite as polished. It does have each character keep up a motion throughout the game which is cool though like Chocobo’s power squats. He is doing squats during the entire game which is pretty impressive. Then we have the soundtrack which is pretty ordinary for the most part, but I do like the Chrome boss theme. That one’s definitely hype and will pump you up for the actual battle. It’s just that kind of high energy theme. So this game ultimately definitely delivered when it counted.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a pretty fun RPG and one where you really feel like you got a lot of value for the price. The story took me 18 hours and that’s certainly a good amount of time. As I mentioned, the plot does take a while to get going, but as long as you’re fine with that then this is a slam dunk. With this game gone now I’ll be eagerly awaiting the Spyro trilogy. In the meanwhile I’ll work on Ridge Racer, but those turns are definitely real tough. I need some more training before I can be a master at the game like Chocobo. They always start out tough, but get enough level up and any RPG is cake. Sadly there are no level ups in something like Ridge Racer.

Overall 7/10

RWBY: Amity Arena Review

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It’s time to take a look at the recent RWBY game that came out. No, not the super awesome Chinese one that arrived this year, but the watered down Tower Defense game that America got. I had pretty low hopes for this one from the start because Tower Defense just isn’t my cup of tea, but I figured I would give it a shot just in case it was good. Well, unfortunately it is not and the game is incredibly bare bones. There is little to no content to be had here so if the gameplay isn’t particularly fun then it’s dead on arrival. Lets look at the missed opportunity that is Amity Arena.

So what is a tower defense game? Well, you start off my assembling a team of 8 characters based on the cards you have. A typical starter pack is Ruby, Jaune, Yasuhashi, and a bunch of Grimm and Atlas soldiers. The game then loads you onto a small map. There are two mini generators and one big one on your side of the field and the same is on the opponent’s. You can your cards into battle to watch them run over to the opponent’s side while they do the same to you. You win as soon as the main generator is defeated, but if the time runs out then whoever destroyed more of the mini ones wins. If it’s a tie then nobody gets any rewards. That’s the whole game in a nutshell there. The matches don’t have a lot of variety since you’ll be using the same cards over and over for a very long time until you can buy others. Unfortunately you don’t get a whole lot of money per win either. This is definitely more of a P2W title than the other mobile games that I’ve played as of late.

There’s nothing wrong with a P2W title, I just want to put that out there. However, it can still be a little rough to see how small the rewards are. There’s not too much reason to keep playing if you’re F2P. Of course, I’d argue that there isn’t much reason to keep on playing regardless since there’s just not much to the game. Lets get away from the PVP mode for a second. What else is there to do? Well….nothing. There are no other modes aside from a practice mode where you just play against the A.I. to test out strategies. That’s the entire game. This is a game that is made for PVP. You can go to the shop and buy stuff, but that’s also it. There’s no story mode or galleries or anything like that. This game seems to have been made with no real budget which is a shame.

There’s only one good thing about this game and that’s how great the technicals are. First is the soundtrack. There are remixed themes for many of the songs from the first 4 volumes and maybe even some from volume 5. You at least get to hear a lot of cool tunes while playing. Still, if I wanted some music I would just boot up Youtube. Then we’ve also got the fact that the game looks really nice. There’s a lot of cool artwork here and the character models are on point. The aesthetic of the game makes it easy to look at and the colors are very vibrant. I feel like most of the effort went into making sure that the game looked veyr fancy and appealing. That’s certainly nice and I’m glad that the game doesn’t look ugly. Still, there isn’t a good reason to keep on playing this game if we’re talking about the gameplay. That’s what I’d say the disappointing part of this is. Even if you’re a tower defense game, couldn’t the developers have added a story mode? I’d keep playing if there was a story, but without one the game is sunk. Not all app games need a story of course, but if not then you have to have a lot of other modes to keep you busy. Say what you will about Pokemon Go, but there is enough content to keep you busy there for years. Not so for Amity Arena.

It doesn’t help that Amity Arena was completely glitched out for the day of release. Not a particularly good look although I’ll give the developers props for fixing it up with a patch by day 2. I’m sure they were all super stressed at that point. I’m sure the game will still make a reasonable amount of cash given how many micro transactions are in the game. People tend to eat that stuff up. I also do like that Pyrrha and Penny are currently the two top tier characters in the game. It’s a nice way for the fans to be able to remember those two at their best.

Overall, Amity Arena did not impress me. I dare say that it may be the weakest app game I’ve played since the Domino’s one and at least that one gave me real points so I could order a pizza pie. Amity Arena is just one of those games that seems to be made to earn a quick buck and doesn’t strive for much beyond that. You always want to make money as an app developer of course, but at least put in the effort to make this a complete title. Who knows, maybe they’ll improve the game and I’ll find myself back here one day, but as of right now the app is getting uninstalled as soon as I’ve finished uploading my stats page. Hopefully we can get the other RWBY game to show up soon since that one looks a lot more fun. It’s a fighting game for starters and does have an actual story. That’s two checks for that one. It may not have full voice acting and such like this one had, but there’s not all that much point to it with no story. There is a mysterious mode that is labeled as “Coming Soon” so lets keep our fingers crossed there.

Overall 4/10

Dynasty Warriors 2 Review

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It’s time to look at one of the original beat em ups out there. Dynasty Warriors has really created a name for itself over the years. When you think of a beat em up it is certainly one of the first ones that you think of. It’s almost unfortunate though as I consider it to be one of the weakest ones. The reason for this is that I’m not a big fan of the characters. They are all rather forgettable to me and I feel like they all act the same as well. They pop in to talk tough but ultimately just don’t do much. I still like the gameplay a lot, but it’s the only thing holding the game together. What I wouldn’t give for another Hyrule Warriors type of game right about now!

So, I couldn’t even tell you much about the plot. Essentially the feuding nations are once again at each other in mortal combat. You have to pick which side you want to help and you lead them to victory in the 5 battle Musou Mode campaign. Each level is very long so you will be glad that it is only 5 levels. Any more and the game would have really dragged on. No matter which team you pick your character will be the one doing all of the work. Your allies can’t really handle even one named opponent. You’ll look on with a bit of sadness as you rack up 250 kills while your teammates are still struggling. Ultimately you have to be a one man army.

I will give the game some credit for being a little difficult though. This beat em up was made before the current days where the enemies only exist to inflate your stat sheet. If you rush off by yourself to fight a big group of opponents you probably won’t last long. You’re encouraged to just stand and fight with the rest of the crew. It takes a little longer of course, but it’s the most efficient way to go about it. I did manage to ditch my army once as I ran in for the win but I nearly died quite a few times. It goes without saying that dying is something you really don’t want to do in this game since you have to start the super long level from scratch. You can find save points inside of vases sometimes but it can be difficult to find those. I suppose you can go after the vases but that could take time so usually I didn’t bother.

You have your basic attacks and charge attacks in this game. You can also use your ultimate move. Again, the destructive capabilities of your attacks are a lot milder than something like Fire Emblem Warriors. It’s just a different kind of beat em up. I went into more detail with this in another review but essentially you won’t be just mowing down dozens of opponents with a single hit here. You can still take down like 300 opponents, but it will take much longer than in other games. I prefer the other type, but I also understand that this game is really old. We’ll see if the system changes as we enter the modern day. I own games 4 and 5, but not 3 so I will have to wait a bit before re-entering this series. I look forward to that opportunity arising though.

The graphics look pretty decent. The character models are on point and it does accurately show off how the era looks. It’s not particularly fun to look at since all of the battle fields look the same, but it’s more of a design choice than a graphical limitation. Unfortunately the soundtrack is rather bland so that part I’ll blame on the game. The only good theme is the one that plays during the credits as we get a quick look at what this game could have been like. The cool visuals and emotional lyrics just make you feel like this game was ultimately meant to be a lot quicker paced than it was.

There is certainly a lot of replay value here though. Each story mode will probably take you around 3 hours. By the time you play everyone’s stories you will be looking at 20+ hours of content. That’s really not bad although we’ll see how exciting beating the enemies will be by that point. There really isn’t much in the way of actual rewards either so the satisfaction will have to suffice. Of course, I guess that should always be enough.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 2 delivers on the beat em up action that it promises. Beyond that there isn’t a whole lot of exciting content to be enveloped in though. It’s pretty much just a beat em up with a story that you won’t be invested into. Taking down the enemies is the only reason why you’re here. If you’re such a big fan of the gameplay that this doesn’t bother you then you are certainly in the right place. If not, then I recommend looking at a better title in this series like Pirate Warriors 3.

Overall 6/10

Dagedar Review

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It’s time to look at a very obscure racing game known as Dagedar. I’ve had this one on the backburner for a very long time because it was just hard to get into the game. I couldn’t even beat the first level for a super long time. It doesn’t help that the only way to clear a level/tournament is to win at least 3/5 races. The game doesn’t really help you out with learning the controls so that’s something you’ll need to figure out on the fly. Interestingly it’s the kind of game that gets easier as you play it since you just need a fast car in order to win. It had a very shaky start, but I suppose it was okay by the end.

So there aren’t too many modes to play in this one. You can jump into the Grand Prix adventures or go to Time Attack. I believe there is also a multiplayer option but good luck finding someone else who has the game. Time Attack can be fun if you want to train and it also helps you unlock Dagedar along the way. I was able to unlock one by beating one of the levels which helped me go back to the Championship. Naturally the championship mode is where you will be spending most of your time as you aim to become the best of the best. There are 7 tournaments which each have 5 races so that’s a lot of track to cover.

Technically each stage is only around 2 minutes long so you could theoretically beat the game in less than 3 hours. However, as I mentioned the game is extremely difficult. It probably took me about 5-7 hours just to beat the first tournament. I had significantly less trouble with the other tournaments. They finally got tough again near the end, but by then I had played enough of the game to have a pretty good idea of what it was all about. I had taken the game to the brink of what it could offer me. The levels also started to become pretty similar by then and the only way it could get tougher was to mess with the tracks. Eventually they would start reversing or you would have to do very precise jumps. Mess one up by hitting the electricity and catching up to the other car would be nearly impossible.

Lets backtrack to the gameplay real quick. You move by moving the control pad of course and you can jump with the B button. You also have access to a boost button which you get from orbs in the road. I recommend using them for the big wheels you have to enter like the song games as the extra speed will make them a breeze. Once you get a fast enough car as long as you play well victory will be guaranteed. That’s where the tight turns and such come in. At the end of the day it will all be about your fundamentals and how good you are at the stage. Just try them out in Time Attack until you’re comfortable enough to win. Since there’s no story mode or anything like that I didn’t feel much pressure to do so, but if you really want to prove yourself then this is a good game to do so.

As far as the graphics are concerned I would say that the game looks pretty decent. It’s nothing award winning or anything or that nature, but it gets the job done. You can typically see what is going on except for when the game is being cheesy and you don’t see a trap until it’s too late. The soundtrack is super generic though and I guarantee that you won’t even remember a single tune by the time you finish. Naturally the budget just didn’t seem to go into the music department at all which is a shame. Perhaps for a sequel. (Heh…as if a sequel would come out)

I suppose the game does have a good amount of replay value though. You could easily get 10+ hours in this game trying to get all of the Dagedar and clearing all of the tournaments. If you take to the gameplay better than I did you could certainly clear the game quicker, but don’t underestimate the difficulty level of this title. It’s not the kind of game that you can just pop in and clear with your eyes closed. It will definitely take a lot of skill and finesse to get the job done here. It’s a good challenge though and one where practice is rewarded.

Overall, Dagedar is one of those racing games that takes a lot of time to really get going. At first your car is simply too slow and the computer goes through the course almost perfectly. In fact, I’d argue that the A.I. plays at the same level for all tournaments. The only difference is that once you get a car that is faster than the A.I.’s it no longer matters quite as much. Don’t worry about the control stat since it doesn’t matter much and just go for pure speed. As long as your reaction times are on point you will then be able to blow your opponents out of the water. You’ll also enjoy the game a lot more. If you can find this game for a few bucks then it’s worth taking the plunge. If not, just buy a better racing game like Mario Kart that also has a lot more replay value.

Overall 6/10