Trinity Souls of Zill O’II Review

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Be warned, there are quite a lot of spoilers in this review. This game has been on the backlog for me since as long as I can remember. I always winced as I saw the low 2% trophy collection hurt my overall average. Well, I decided to finally take the plunge and finish the game. It was as great as I could have hoped although it did have an issue or two that prevented it from getting a 9. There are some artificial means that the game uses to extend the campaign, but I’ll expand more on that in a second. Lets go over the plot first.

Areus is a half elf who has a tragic past. His father was murdered and his grand father is the King of evil, Balor. Areus now lives with his mother and step brother at an abandoned cabin. He earns money by fighting in the Colosseum and he has lived out his life solely to get revenge. He figures that the best way to get revenge is to pretend to join Balor’s army and rise in rank until he has an opportunity to meet with him in person. Then Areus will take him down. Complicating matters is the fact that Areus meets up with Selene and Dagda. Both of these figures have secrets of their own, but teaming up with them will let Areus achieve his goal quicker. Areus’ best friend Dorado is also around and he’s thrilled about Areus joining the army because he’s a big fan of Balor. Areus decides to keep secrets from everyone in the meantime.

Lets start with the positives here first. The graphics are pretty solid. This game is definitely a big budget PS3 game. It spares no expense with the big cutscenes as they even have fight scenes included. It was always a lot of fun to look forward to the cinematics. The in game graphics may not be as impressive, but they are still at PS3 level. The soundtrack is also very good. It can be a little limited as the same fight theme plays for just about every boss. Fortunately it is a catchy one. We also get a lyrical song that plays during a lot of the emotional moments and that one was also handled pretty well.

The gameplay is also a lot of fun. It’s simple, but addicting as you can use many different attacks. Essentially, each move is treated like a special ability. There is no magic meter to worry about so you can use them whenever you want. You can only have 3 abilities equipped onto one menu and you can equip two menus that you shift through with R2. The actual spells you can learn are closer to 15 so you’ll have to make some choices. I played as Areus for about 90% of the game and mainly relied on his sword combos. They seemed like the best bet if you ask me, but I also really liked the fireball ability as well as the Dark Meteor. Find out which attack is best against the enemy you’re facing and then put it to good use.

It feels like a beat em up most of the time as you enter large areas and try to get to the goal while smashing as many minions as possible. I would typically avoid most of them to be honest as I dashed to the exit. If there’s a cheese strategy to be found, I’ll find it. Fighting them is pretty fun though. I just love the 3D action genre so it never gets old. That’s a good thing since the campaign is quite long. It’s a little over 20 hours and the post game content will last you for even longer than that. Getting all of the trophies should bump this up to close to 50 hours unless the grinding gets a whole lot easier all of a sudden.

You can also unleash team attacks. I recommend doing that whenever you want free hits as it doesn’t do a lot of damage, but it’ll temporarily stun the opponent. The only exception to this is the final phase of the final boss so use the tactic as much as possible until then. I’ve covered the basics of the gameplay, but play the game to really get the full picture. The characters are fairly reasonable and the plot is solid. Throw in the replay value and you can see why this game is easily 8 stars. However, it’s time to talk about the game’s limitations.

First is how long it takes for the story to really get going. I mean, it’s a bit of a staple for many RPGs to have a slow start as you get used to the characters and all. I get that, although it is possible to have a much quicker start like The Last Story, KH Chain of Memories, or World of Final Fantasy. The problem is that it feels like almost nothing has happened for the first 15 hours of the game. That’s over half of the campaign feeling like filler. It’s also not particularly good filler. The point is that you’re supposed to really get used to all of the characters and just enjoy seeing them hang out but it didn’t work well. The dreary landscape of the olden days doesn’t help with that and it’s also that the characters aren’t quite that amazing. Areus makes a ton of mistakes all of the time, Dagda’s constant laughter is incredibly annoying and Selene’s plot was basically dropped for no reason. The amount of times you have to do random quests and beat the exact same recycled boss is a bit much. Once the story actually get going it is quite engaging, but it could have sped things up a bit.

Another issue is that because of this, we didn’t get to explore the lore as much as we should have. The final act of the game actually felt a little rushed if anything. We were introduced to some of the big villains quite abruptly, like the mad scientist. He was one of the big legends, but we just walked in and destroyed him in the span of 2-3 cutscenes. Balor went down pretty quick as well. Did we need to fight Sheelah’s group 3 times when we could have fought the others more? Not dissing the Sheelah fights though as they were actually the highlights of the game. Not sure if that’s unintentionally sad though.

Selene had a big subplot where she was looking for someone and would mysteriously vanish a lot. Well, that plot was probably the most anticlimactic as it turns out her sister was a miniboss with a recycled design. You destroy her and Selene gets over it. The plot had a ton of build up and ends in an instant. Dagda is afraid of going to the arena so we take him to the arena. That plot was just boring. Finally, we have Areus and his quest for vengeance. This one confused me a bit as usually the moral is that you ultimately let go of that right? You forget about getting revenge and just think about justice. Well, the story decided not to go down that path for whatever reason. Instead, Areus went through with his revenge and paid a high price. He never had any regrets and I felt like the narrative never even tried to paint this as a bad thing. It was just a “Good for him” kind of vibe I got from the game.

There’s also the mysterious cloaked Angels who have made a pact with Balor. It’s hard to tell if they’re a fanatical group (Most likely) or actual supernatural beings who would have done something in a sequel. (This game’s actually a prequel by the way. I did not know that) Either way we will never know because they appear as minions in one brief level and then never appear again. Granted, the level was awesome and very atmospheric as we break into a church and start beating people up, but that plot line felt like it had so much potential. The story as a whole had a ton of potential and it completely squandered it.

Back to Areus, he’s an okay character but you can see why he’s not great. He talks an incredibly good game and is always overconfident, but then he ends up losing. Sheelah beat him in a fair fight multiple times which is uncanny. She just kept getting him into choke holds. She even had to save him towards the end because he has no reflexes. Areus is a bit of an embarrassment to the caricature that he is supposed to be. You can’t be the strong, hot headed rival character if you’re always losing. Don’t even get me started on his plan. As if giving Balor the strongest sword of all time that would give him immortality was ever a good idea. I don’t know what that guy is thinking sometimes.

Selene was a good main heroine. She likes insulting Areus constantly and reminding the other two that she is way older than them. One cutscene that was fun was where she woke up from her nap just to insult Areus for no good reason and then go back to sleep. Her mysterious personality also works well even if it never leads anywhere. Dagda is the strong member of the group so naturally he’s not quite as clever as the other two. My only problem with him is that he laughs nonstop and is always trying to boss Areus around even though he’s not the leader. I’m never a fan of insubordination unless the character is doing it for heroic reasons (Wolverine, Superman, Huntress) or to go all the way and become leader. (Sting) Dagda’s has no purpose. (I’m seeing a pattern here)

Dorado is the best friend of Areus, but you’d be hard pressed to guess why. Areus is always being very mean to him and lies to his face throughout the whole game. He also ends up murdering Dorado to which Dorado points out that Areus should have just told him. I do think Dorado would have teamed up with him and Areus was just being short sighted. Instead Areus waited until a point where Dorado could not refuse a fight. Is it any wonder why I don’t like Areus much? Honestly, I’m disliking him more and more as I write this review. Taking down Dorado absolutely did not need to happen.

Sheelah is one of the main supporting characters. She’s a bounty hunter who just wants to get rich, but during the game you learn more about her backstory. I don’t know if it was optional or not since during the game I had a hard time telling the sub quests apart from the main ones which is also why the game took a while. Either way she got more personality than most of the gang and I dare say that she may have been a better character than either of Areus’ companions. Her partners never really got to do anything though.

Balor is the big boss, but he barely ever gets to appear during the game. All we know is that he is smarter than Areus but that isn’t even a feat at this point. He has a pretty good design and makes for a good villain. What he lacks in dialogue he makes up for with a good boss fight. The bosses in general were a little unimaginative with the designs so Balor ranks pretty high up by default. The dragon that showed up near the end was the real hero though. He kept on saving the day and ended up being more productive than the heroes. My favorite villain though may have been the first Dark Knight. (Actually she may have been the only one since the rest couldn’t be squeezed into the game I guess) Her armored form was pretty hardcore. The crazy dual personality may have been more weird than hype, but it wasn’t all that bad.

Come to think of it, maybe the reason the game didn’t delve into almost anything was because it was a prequel. I’m still not going to let that go so easily, but at least it’s a reason. Lets talk more about the terrible plan that Areus has though. He is going to capture the heroes (We meet a legendary golden hero by the way who comes out of nowhere. I was expecting him to be a traitor right from the start but surprisingly nothing came of it. He was just a noble hero right up til the end so not bad I guess? He seems not to mind murder as his team tries to destroy us without warning when we first meet, but I’ll let that slide) Areus brings in the group and is going to stab Balor as he gives him the medal. The plan itself is pretty bad as I never like having to essentially trap your allies just for a chance, but it’s not downright terrible.

The ceremony goes as planned and then a villain runs through the doors yelling about how Areus and the others are traitors. Areus seems to go deaf and just turns to the side. I guess he figures that if he ignores the villain then it’ll all go away. Balor just tells the guy to get out and the guards grab him. Unfortunately, he breaks free from the guards multiple times and keeps on spelling things out for Balor. Areus still does nothing so Balor trolls him by taking unsheathing Areus’ sword for him. Areus seems stunned as he has basically given Balor an extra weapon now. Then they are all locked up and the dragon has to save the team again. Why is Areus such an inept main character? He just keeps outdoing himself throughout the game with this moment taking the cake.

It’s too bad that all of the hype scenes are at his expense. As I mentioned earlier, the story can be slow so I always get super hyped when something really happens. The Sheelah fights were always exciting, the brief bout with the gold hero, the dark knight, Balor, etc. It’s just that Areus looked terrible in all of those cutscenes as he apparently can’t beat anyone outside of gameplay mechanics. Even his clash against Balor naturally had him need help from everyone else. He was only able to land the big blow at the end when Balor was weaponless and literally could not move. That’s our hero for you.

I should also mention that Areus failed to save his Mom and brother when they needed him the most. I don’t know why it took him so long since he got there late, but it just reminds you that he should have told Dorado everything. I doubt Dorado would have just went over and murdered his family if he had known. At the very least if he planned to do it anyway, Areus could have taken him down there. The game can be a little overly tragic at times and I think the game could have let them live, but it was all to remind Areus that he couldn’t show mercy at the end. The game was actually kind of edgy if you think about it.

Overall, The last few paragraphs may have sounded really negative, but it’s just that Areus is easy to mock. The guy failed time and time again. I didn’t even realize that I didn’t really like the character until I began writing this review. The game is definitely a complete package of quality though. The grahpics and soundtrack are on point, the gameplay is rock solid, there is a lot of content within this title, the Platinum trophy is also attainable as long as you put in a good amount of time. It’s not an elite title, but it is a great one and I absolutely recommend checking it out. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the story as unintentionally funny as I did at times.

Overall 8/10

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Fire Emblem Heroes Review

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It’s time for a new App game! Since I got to Level 40 in Pokemon Go I figured it would be fine to finally check out another free game. This one got a lot of hype back in the day, but I think I got on the gravy train before it completely passed me by. After playing it for a few days I can definitely see why everyone loves it so much. The game is incredibly polished for a free game and it has helped make me a much bigger Fire Emblem fan than I was before. There’s so much to do here that if I took it seriously I would be here a while. It’s going to be more of a side project as new levels come in I’ll complete them and all but I won’t bother going for the more competitive goals.

The game actually has a plot which is already cool. Terry (Your original character protagonist) is summoned into the World of Fire Emblem. The realm is under attack by an evil sorceress with immeasurable power. She has enslaved whole worlds and almost the whole cast is under her power. Terry can tip the balance because he can summon heroes of his own to combat her and he is immune to mind control. You have to team up with the ones who summoned you to stop this foe and rescue everyone who has been enslaved. It’ll be tough though as you’ll have to defeat tough combatants like Lucina, Roy, Ike, and many others. Also, there are so many worlds that as soon as you leave one, the sorceress goes back to reclaim it.

It seems like new levels are added every once in a while, but I don’t expect the game plans to end the campaign anytime soon. The most recent level did end with a big plot twist though. It was one that was certainly expected, but it still counts as progression. There are 12 Story chapters I believe and 10 Protologues, with 2 Xenologues. It’s a pretty good amount of content. I beat the story part of the game in about 2 days, but there is a lot of other content to explore. There are online Arena Battles where you fight other players, Training Stadiums to level up and collect gems, Special Battles where you can fight new matches every day to get more characters and items, Voting Gauntlets, and several other modes.

This game is not lacking in content in the slightest and I probably didn’t even get to try all of the modes for about a week or so. It’s actually very overwhelming at first, but you gradually get used to it as you play more and more. Too much content is never a bad thing after all. If I don’t want to play a mode, then nothing is forcing me to do so. The main currency in the game are Orbs. You get around 5-8 every day for logging in. You can use 20 to purchase a full set of 5 characters. You can also use 1 to replenish your energy each time you run out and you can use 1 during a fight to restore all of your characters and they all get an extra turn. You don’t want to be too frivolous with the Orbs when you start because they get more scarce as you go on.

I mentioned the energy earlier and that determined what you can do every day. Each action costs energy and when you run out you have to use an orb or just stop playing for the day. That’s how they get you as you can purchase extra orbs. I know quite a few people online who’ve spent hundreds on orbs so they could get their favorite character. I definitely won’t be spending any money on this game though. In part it’s because Pokemon Go was my only exception to that rule and also because the game is quite generous with the orbs. I have never been in a spot where I was out of orbs and needed energy or even been in a situation where I was close to that. You would also need to play quite a lot in a single day to approach that limit. It should be a non factor for most players.

Once you’ve beaten the available story chapters in the game, I’d say that the main focus is now to collect all of the Fire Emblem characters. There are currently 168 and I have about 60. The ultimate final goal would be to get all of them to Grade 5 and max them out to Level 40. Of course that increases your time exponentially as doing that is really a long term goal. As such I won’t really be gunning for that. At most I’ll log in every day for my new fighter and eventually maybe I’ll have them all. Even if they’re grade 2 or 3 that’s fine. To improve their grade you have to level back to Level 1 with that character and spend 20,000 Feathers and 20 Shields which are not easy to come by. It can take weeks to obtain that and I personally can’t say it’s worth it unless you’re super competitive in the game.

The gameplay is extremely smooth and highly customizable. It’s classic Fire Emblem gameplay as you position your pieces on the map and attack. All of the characters have special abilities and there are 3 types, Green, Blue, and Red. Each type is good against another one and week to another. There’s also a blank class, but I’m not sure where they fit into all of this. Different characters have different styles of attack like close range or long which you need to take into account. If you want to fight and know that you’ll win anyway, you can set the game to auto fight and let the computer handle the fight while you get a bite to eat or something. I admit that I started doing this quite a lot after I beat the game to save time. You can also turn off the animations for each attack which saves a bunch of time and I wish more games did that. It would be very useful.

Fire Emblem Heroes really shines when it comes to the graphics. They are exceptionally good and easily the best that I’ve ever seen in a mobile game. It spared no expense with the character portraits and attacks. It’s one of the things that really drew me to the game when I first started. It’ll be really cool if they can grab more animated cutscenes by the end of the game, but even if they don’t I’m still pretty satisfied. The soundtrack is also solid. The themes are limited, but memorable. All in all I’m sure a very large amount of money was put into this game and I’m sure that it has made it all back quite easily.

It’s time to go back and rank all of the mobile games. In 1st is clearly Pokemon Go. The game’s amazing and I’ve put in over 1000 hours by now. You just can’t overestimate just how influential the title is. Truly a legend. 2nd is Fire Emblem Warriors. The immense amount of content and reasons to keep playing speaks for itself. I also like the generous log in bonuses as you really feel like it’s worth it to keep showing up. 3rd is Marvel’s Contest of Champions. It was a fun game, but a big step down from the first two as the gameplay was very repetitive. It also had a very long story mode but it was considerably lower budget and you never felt like you were making any progress. Honestly it’s a very similar style to Fire Emblem Heroes but think of the difference being like Mario Galaxy vs Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. 4th is Ingress. It’s basically just like Pokemon only without the Pokemon and the Gyms. It may go up as some point, but my whole area is owned by the opposing team and I need to reach Level 6-8 in order to actually do anything about it. I dunno, it’s fun enough but I always can’t help but think of how many Pokemon I’d be catching if I had Go open. Finally in 5th is 1010!. It barely counts when placed with the others since it has no plot and it more of a very simple game app. Still, I did play through it so counting it is fair. It’s a lot of fun at first, but actually gets less so the higher your score gets. After all, who wants to spend 30 minutes trying to top your score only to come out short in the end? Definitely not me! That’s 6 App games that I’ve tried out now. It could be a while before another one so we’ll see how that does in the end.

Overall, App games are very addicting. It’s easy to see how this one got so far. For every great title like this one there are probably 100 low budget mobile games that are pretty bad, but I’ve done a good job of avoiding those so far. I hope Nintendo comes out with a Super Smash app at some point as you just know that would be really awesome. I finally got Roy, Ike, and Lucina in this game so I’m definitely very satisfied with my turnout. I’d like to get Marth at some point, but I suppose it could be a while. If you’re interested in the game, I recommend downloading it as soon as possible. Even if you don’t want to play it yet, download the game just so you can start receiving your daily rewards by logging in. That way you’ll be extra prepared with a bunch of extra items and characters by the time you really do start. There are still a bunch of features that I don’t fully understand or have barely scratched the surface of and we’ll see if I ever do. At least it’s nice knowing that they’re there if I ever need them. It may be time to get a real Fire Emblem game, but I’ve heard mixed things on the newer ones and the old ones are so expensive. It’s definitely a tough call.

Overall 8/10

LBX: Little Battlers eXperience Review

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I’m always up for a good robot game. Mega Man and Custom Robo were always exceptional titles and so naturally LBX looked like a winner from the get go. I actually got to watch the TV show way before the game so if anything this version feels pretty nostalgic while playing through. The anime adapted the game pretty faithfully to be honest and the quality is sharp since it’s by Level 5. Those guys really do a great job of completely building a game around its concept. Layton is the perfect puzzle game and this is the optimal robot experience. You just can’t go wrong with buying this title.

The story follows a kid named Van. He’s really interested in the new game that everyone is playing. It’s called LBX and you buy a mini robot that you can use to fight with other people. Think of it like those classic Rock em Sock Em toys that used to be around, but 1000X cooler as the robots have weapons with live ammo and you control them with your phones. Unfortunately his Mom is against it for reasons unknown and Van’s Dad may have created the LBX franchise, but he died in a plane crash. A mysterious lady gives Van a one of a kind LBX one day though and after he stops some burglars from stealing it, he ends up joining a private faction who is trying to stop the villain organization from using it for their own means. They tell Van that his Dad is actually alive and being held hostage so Van quickly goes on board. His two friends Ami and Kaz agree to help as well. They’ll have to win multiple tournaments, break into enemy territory, and hone their skills. The risk is high, but there are lives on the line so the heroes put on their game faces and get ready for action.

It’s a pretty long game at 15 hours so that’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the plot. There are 12-13 episodes in the game and the length varies for each one. There is also a lot of replay value as you have many parts to buy and quests to complete. I did a few quests here and there and got a bunch of weapons, but getting them all would take a long while. There are also online battles that you can play so content is certainly not lacking in this title. You can have fun playing the game for a very long time and it’s worth the full price.

The soundtrack is stellar. It was pretty cool hearing the tunes from the anime even if they technically came out in this game first. It was still nostalgic and most of them are quite memorable. LBX spared no expense in this department and the same goes for the graphics. Not only are the in game graphics sharp, but there are a number of fully animated cutscenes at the ready as well. They really help you dive into the game. It used up a bunch of these cutscenes early on and I would have preferred for Jin to get more of them, but it’s how it goes. It’s really impressive that they added so much in and I feel like we got more animations than Layton. It just feels that way so I can’t confirm it, but a quick Youtube search would give you the answer to that.

As you can imagine, the gameplay is really sharp. It’s in full 3D like Custom Robo and you can equip two weapons at a time. I always went with a good Machine Gun and an electric sword. Even if it’s not the strongest, I like the electric sword because it stuns the opponent so you get more hits in. More hits = More damage or at least that’s how I saw it. The gun can be safer, but the opponent can use the downtime between rounds to get in close and take you down. You have to use a lot of strategy here. You can carry health items to help yourself out as well. There are also a number of final smashes that you can equip. You can use a weaker one to try and get some damage in, but the catch is that the enemy might dodge it. You can instead use an ultra attack which is impossible to dodge, but you can’t move for around 5-8 seconds which is a long time and if an opponent deals enough damage during that time you will lose the attack. I was able to use it successfully in the final boss which was helpful. It seems to always happen that the boss gets me to my last bit of health and then I clutch it out. It’s an amazing feeling, but also super stressful. The final bosses were definitely incredibly powerful so I recommend training a lot so you’re prepared for it.

I still think the concept of LBX was borrowed heavily from Megaman Battle Network, but it certainly did a good job of making a name for itself. It had a lot of its own unique features which differentiated itself from Megaman. It’s also a good move to be like Megaman since Capcom isn’t making any new games at the moment so we can get our Megaman fix this way. Imagine a Megaman game that was 3D like this one with a bunch of hype cutscenes. Hopefully Capcom can learn a thing or two from this title and incorporate it into future titles.

The cast is basically the same from the anime, but I’ll briefly mention some of the big ones. Van is a solid hero as you’d expect. He’s always ready for a fight and is very proactive in trying to save his Dad. He has a brief lapse in confidence, but gets over it right away. At times he can almost seem too happy like when they arrive to the toy store to buy things which felt like a contrast to his rather serious self, but at the end of the day he’s still just a kid. It’s hard to say if he beats Lan Hikari or not as they’re both very similar. He’s a lead you can get behind.

His two friends aren’t bad. Kaz is always low on confidence which can be a little grating, but he still helps out when he can. Ami is always supporting Van and doing her best to get in on the action. The school friends are pretty bland and underwhelming though. I can see why they got such tiny roles in the game since they didn’t add anything to the dynamic. Jin is a great rival and his LBX has an excellent design. He’s pretty reasonable throughout and does a good job of balancing this while still acting really confident the whole time. He’s an ideal rival and his team up fights with Van at the end are a blast.

Dak and Gouda are two other characters who help out a bit. They’re a step below Jin and Van when it comes to ability, but the more allies the better right? I thought Dak was an enjoyable supporting character, but Gouda is a little too weak to be taken seriously. He was good as an opening boss though. Mr. Kaido is a solid main villain. The fact that he can actually fight goes a long way since he doesn’t have to hide when the fighting starts. His robot is also really cool and has a great design. One villain that came in towards the very end was Kirito and he was exceptionally good. Taking out almost the whole cast on his own was certainly a hype moment and the fact that his LBX had a Super Form was really cool as well.

I have to say that I liked how the super forms were incorporated in this game. When you get below 25% health you can activate it and heavily boost your attack power. It helped a lot in the final boss and just looked really cool. When an opponent would use it, it would up the stakes as you had to focus on defense a lot more. Since some fights would give them all of their health back, the game really didn’t hold anything back. You need to be pretty good at the game and be at a high level to win. It always feels fair and balanced with just the right amount of difficulty to make things interesting.

Van’s Dad is okay at best here. I still think he tends to run off too often and leave Van behind for no reason. He gets a lot of hype so he’s a good scientist, but seems like a bad father. I wasn’t impressed with the Red Haired guy and his Team Rocket homage members. They’re the only part of the cast/plot that I couldn’t take seriously. I just never liked them for some reason. The true final boss of the game was great though. His origin story was definitely pretty intense and his LBX even more so. It was a pretty nice/explosive way to end the game. It’s great to see Level 5 get to go all out with the ending here as most of their other titles are a lot more down to Earth. Now we know what they can do with a good action title. I didn’t even totally get how the final boss worked and just had to keep on buying time and using hit and run tactics. You can probably see why I just barely defeated him.

Overall, LBX is without a doubt an excellent game. There are absolutely no negatives with it. The gameplay was completely on point. It felt balanced and it was easy to lock on to an opponent. The levels were huge which was a lot of fun but you can move fast so you don’t have to worry about matches dragging out. The plot was really engaging and kept you alert with all of its twists and turns. You felt like you were playing a big RPG and I think this probably would fit in the genre considering that you do have to backtrack to various areas and you explore as you go through the game. The cast of characters was a lot of fun. It’s a little hard to get used to the American names so in this review I mainly used the ones I was familiar with but not all of them were downgrades. The main case where the English name definitely loses is with Justin though. The graphics and audio were definitely well above average and there is a lot of content in this game. It’s the definition of a AAA title and I’m convinced that Level 5 is one of the best studios of all time. It’s hard to see them churning out a game that isn’t great at this point. I highly recommend buying this game. You’ll be glad that you did.

Overall 9/10

Gormiti: Lords of Nature Review

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I’ve never heard of Gormiti before, but I’m a sucker for this kind of Wii game. When I saw it in the 5 dollar bin I knew I had to snag it fast. The cover promised me an action game and it did deliver. The game isn’t high budget or anything, but it is a solid step above some of the recent cash in titles that I’ve been playing. It’ll hold your attention a little while as you power your way through the game.

The title follows 4 kids who are your normal citizens by day. What is different about them though is that these kids can teleport to a mystical world where they are actually Lords of Nature. Everyone respects them in the other world and they get a lot of hype. They have to stop the evil monsters because the things they do there affect the real world as well. The villains are trying to merge several amulets so they can open up a portal to Earth in order to destroy it. The heroes must stop them at every turn, but the villains have the numbers advantage and always seem to get back up no matter how many times they are defeated. The heroes are going to want to be careful in this round.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the Legos. It’s mostly overhead but the camera is low enough where it can give the illusion of a 3D game at times. Each character can activate different gimmicks. Blue gets water, Green gets grass, etc. You have to activate various switches and break all of the flashlight statues to get through a level. Interestingly enough, beating the enemies is never mandatory aside from boss fights. As a result, I figured I’d cheese my way through the game and it worked pretty well. Why stop to fight the minions when you don’t really get anything out of it? There are no level ups so it’s not as if I’d miss out on EXP. You can just jump over them.

Honestly, I beat the game in probably half the time I was supposed too since I skipped all confrontations. I would just run to each obstacle, activate it, and then dash to the exit. It was pretty fun even if it was a little insensitive to the hard work that the developers may have put into the level designs. I just couldn’t help myself. You also get infinite lives and you respawn right where you died so the game isn’t really challenging either. For all boss battles you can just keep attacking because even if they knock you out a few times, it doesn’t matter. Just spamming the hit button is the fastest way to win.

You only have two attack options anyway. You can fire a projectile, or throw a punch. Those are your only options so make the most of them. It’s basic and it’s fairly low budget, but at the very least you can’t say that the gameplay isn’t tried and true. I’ll take this kind of gameplay any day over low budget minigames. It’s still action after all and I’m all for combat. Just keep it coming is my motto.

The graphics are okay. It’s sort of like a really old cell shaded style or its CGI. The game’s one or the other, but it’s hard to place. I can roll with it and the character models aren’t bad, but the level designs need some work. There’s just too much orange the whole time. Surprisingly, the soundtrack is actually pretty decent. The boss theme that plays over and over again is nice as it’s very fast paced and gets all of the right beats in. I can’t remember any other tunes, but that was the main one so it did good.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though. The actual game you can likely complete in about 3 hours or so. I guess you can try to get all of the collectibles so you can unlock a bunch of puzzles, but that is honestly one of the worst incentives I’ve seen in a while. You can keep your puzzles man, I’ll just move onto a Layton title if I want to challenge my mind. There isn’t a multiplayer vs mode either so after beating the game there really isn’t much point to playing it again. At the most you may want to tackle some of the tournaments but I don’t see why.

As for the plot, it’s a little too formulaic and generic for its own good. The stock footage of everyone yelling to the chair is easily the most annoying part. Beyond that, the kids are okay. They all seem like classic 80’s-90’s kids with their contrasting personalities and at least all of the villains have designs as well. They’re all fire villains which limits the variety a bit, but I guess I can live with that. The ending is a little rushed though and I wonder why the game chose to have the final boss be one of the older bosses. Not just that, but they chose the easiest one as you just keep hitting him til he dies. At least the others force the fight to be tedious by retreating for a few minutes every time you shave off 1/3 of his health bar. This guy just stays there, but that works for me I guess.

I will give the game some serious credit for having a bunch of animated cutscenes though. You unlock them all after beating the game and it’s a pretty significant amount. It at least shows me that the game had some amount of budget put into it and separates it from the more generic titles. It’s still not exactly Street Fighter, but after the game I feel like I know the Gormiti cast well enough.

Overall, Another Wii 5 dollar bin game has been conquered. I probably would have played this one a lot sooner if I’d known how short and easy it was. For some reason I just never thought of it before. If you can find it for the same price that I did, then it’s worth checking out. It is a fun game, but its biggest problem is that it is incredibly short. It’s hard to justify any game for around 20 dollars if it’s only 2 hours right? Even 10 dollars get to be a stretch, but you can make a reasonable argument with that one. One last tip, use the Blue Gormiti for all boss fights, he has an infinite combo where he just keeps punching forever. Watch out for glitches though.

Overall 7/10

Wing Island Review

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It’s time for yet another Wii game. This one is a classic plane game but instead of being your average flight simulator you get to help out around the farm. It’s a pretty unique style of gameplay and it’s one that I can get behind. It does have some issues and the game is a little too short if you ask me. Fortunately the going price is only around 2-3 dollars so that’s really not too shabby.

The basic plot is that these two birds own a plane repair shop. You can bring yours in for repairs or you can hire the pilot out to help you out on the farm. The latter is typically the option that they go with. The main character is never eager to help, but he knows that it is ultimately the only correct choice. Can he transport the logs and help the farmers or is this rural life too much for the kid?

The plot certainly isn’t the most engaging and there isn’t really a sense of danger in this game. The only time we get anything close to an action scene is the final level as pirates attack one of our clients. We never actually see these pirates of course, but their ships are around. We don’t believe in violence so to take them down you just have to cut the ropes that they attached to your friend’s ship to drive them off. Those pirates won’t want to mess with you again after that am I right?

The two main characters aren’t bad, but I wouldn’t say that they’re very good either. The main character is very timid and constantly forced into these situations by the main heroine. He just doesn’t come across as heroic aside from the very last mission where it is brought up. The main heroine is all right as I’m glad she’s tough but why doesn’t she go help out as well? She is likely a big shot pilot just like the main lead so there is no excuse. I guess she just likes calling the shots.

As for the gameplay, the plane part should be easy to picture as you fly straight, up, down, and all around as you fulfill the mission. You have no weapons of course but pressing B will let go of whatever cargo you have or activate the steam to get rid of the small fires all around. You can also press up or down on the Wii Remote dpad to speed up or slow down. I actually didn’t know about this until I was pretty deep into the game, but I wish I had known sooner. It’s pretty hard to win without it since you’re just coasting along at a slow speed otherwise. It can be pretty hard to get used too, but you’ll get the hang of it. Just don’t connect the Nunchuk, the controls get a whole lot more complicated if you do.

The various missions that you undertake are things like “Drop the Logs” “Put out the Fire” “Pop the Balloons” etc. Most of the missions end up repeating themselves. There are 15 missions in Story Mode and then you unlock a few extra ones. I think it ends up being 20 total give or take a little. I just focused on the Story Mode levels and completed the game in around 2 hours. As I mentioned earlier that’s pretty short, but given the low price it’s not a deal breaker. You should still enjoy it just fine.

What hampers the gameplay a little are the controls. I don’t need to say much about the Wii Remote as its limitations speak for themselves. Turning is more of a hassle than it should be and especially if there are strong winds. The winds aren’t really the Wii Remote’s fault as it’s a game feature, but it’s one that definitely should not have been in the game. If you crash too much you’ll die and there is a tough level where you have to blow up a bunch of rocks. The game can be deceptively difficult in some levels but you’ll definitely conquer them if you just keep at it. Some levels took me more lives than I care to remember but if you’re getting stuck, make sure to buy some upgrades from the shop. It’s incredible how much difference a new engine or a lighter plane can make. The winds won’t be able to stop you. Or if you accelerate, I didn’t know how to do that at the time and I’m sure it would have helped quite a lot.

Graphically the game holds up pretty well. We do get a few fully animated cutscenes and the level designs are all very bright and thought out well. You’ll never get lost as the map is quite good and the screen isn’t cluttered. The developer made the most of what I can only imagine was a very limited budget for this game. The soundtrack is less memorable. I would guess that there were only about 5 different tunes or less in the game as it seemed like they kept repeating. Nothing bad, but you’ll forget the music almost instantly. I suppose the soothing music will help you stay focused though.

For replay value, the game does have a few other modes like Free Play and Advanced. The multiplayer will keep you busy and the game is just pretty fun. It’s easy to pick up and play even if it doesn’t have a lot of depth. Even with the replay value I guess the game is pretty short but it helps a little bit. I wish the medals were easier to see as well in the stages but the way they calculate the score felt pretty busted so I’m sure I didn’t miss a whole lot.

Sadly this is one of those games that doesn’t really have an ending. The game just very abruptly stops and the credits roll. I guess I didn’t want a big sappy ending anyway, but a little closure would be nice. Even something brief like the island finally acknowledging the main character would have been cool. At least the credits said “Thanks for playing” so that was always cool. I did feel like this game had more heart than most of its rivals.

Overall, Wing Island is a fun game. It may not have been exactly what I had expected, but I always like a good plane game. It feels like a cross between something like Top Gun and the Toy helicopter game I got a while back. It should entertain anyone for a little while and even a kid could play it since the controls are pretty easy. It’s worth checking out, but just make sure you pay a fair price for it. It’s definitely not worth anything too expensive.

Overall 6/10

SPRay Review

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It’s time for another Wii cash in. I’m afraid that you can’t really expect too much from this game. It has a pretty interesting premise with regard to the gameplay but it isn’t very polished so there are quite a few bugs and issues with the gameplay. It gets off to a decently good start and has a nice end, but the middle of the game can be tricky with some levels that don’t always feel very fair. It’s a decently good game but one that could have certainly been a whole lot better.

The plot revolves around a Prince. His kingdom has been taken over by sludge monsters led by a giant monster. His father may have been murdered in the process as now he is a ghost with no form. He tells the hero to call and slay all of the monsters while grabbing all of the jewels so he can save the kingdom. He is given two guides to help with that. One of them is a mean guy who fights with vomit and the other is a nice girl who attacks with water. With these dependable allies at his side, the Prince is ready to make some waves.

You don’t gain any new members during the game, but you do get more powers. Soon you are able to shoot out sticky material, ice, and even the powers of Darkness which can open up portals. It’s important that you understand what each power does since they will all be necessary to complete the game. Each world has 6 levels and there are 5 worlds in total. The levels start out pretty basic and gradually get harder by the end. At one point, the levels were taking me close to an hour to beat each one. Once I got the hang of the abilities and missions though, I greatly reduced the time and could even beat some missions in around 15 minutes. It just really depends on if you know what you’re doing. There is a compass, but it tends to be pointing in the wrong direction half the time so you really can’t get used to trusting it. Fortunately you’ll notice that the levels basically start to repeat themselves or are at least very similar by the end.

The graphics are okay. The colors all look different so you can always tell what is happening and the game is able to keep the colors that you’ve already shot on the board so that’s good. It’ll remember your colors even if you go to a different world and come back. There isn’t really a soundtrack to speak of so that area of the game is significantly less impressive. It can’t quite match up to the graphics at any rate. Throw in the glitches and this game isn’t ready for the big time. You’ll fall through walls quite a lot and you’ll randomly slam to the ground in other moments. See, the main character has a ground pound technique which you can use by double tapping the jump button but it often happens on its own which is kind of rigged.

Naturally the gameplay is hampered by the Wii remote. The game would be a lot smoother with a proper controller. It’s like Mario Sunshine or De Blob in a way with you shooting paint everywhere but the other two games just handled the concept a lot better. I like 3D platformers in general so I still had a good time. There aren’t many bosses here, maybe only 3-4. You really have to figure out to handle them on your own since the game naturally won’t even give you much of a hint. Once you figure it out though, the bosses become child’s play to defeat. You’ll have them down in no time.

The story’s pretty forgettable but make sure you pay attention to the ending. It hints at a sequel and even hints that the main character’s mother may have been the main villain. It’ll give you some doubts about your supposed father since it’s not as if we ever see the guy right? It raises a bunch of questions so it’s really a shame that a sequel is likely never going to happen. I’m sure that the gameplay would have been a lot more polished as well so it would have been nice. I guess we’ll just have to rely on fan theories for this one.

The game is pretty long to be honest. It lasted me over 10 hours and that’s always a reasonable time. There really isn’t much to do in the way of post game content though since you had to get all of the jewels to challenge the final boss. There’s no real multiplayer either so this is definitely one of those games where you beat the main campaign and then call it a day. At 10 hours that is reasonable and the going price is really cheap last time I checked.

One thing the game did pretty well was its use of the dynamic levels. As mentioned earlier, it’s sort of like Mario 64 where you have one level and then multiple objectives within it. This game goes into even greater depth as the level grows for each level as you unlock new paths and it keeps track of what you’ve done in it. This means that the level will be a mystery at first, but by the 3rd and 4th levels you’ll really have the place’s layout down and can progress a lot faster. The levels aren’t being reused in a lazy way, but a progressive style where you really feel like you’re accomplishing. This is probably one of the main reasons why the game got a positive score in the end.

The other is that at the end of the day it is pretty fun to shoot the elements all around. In particular I liked the ice ability as moving around at top speeds was just really great. Once you got a new power, it became hard to think about how you used to go on without it. The abilities are just necessary. Fighting enemies could be annoying as they kept respawning over and over again and some were too durable, but the annoyance wasn’t too bad. The controls are tougher than the enemies after all.

Overall, SPray is another game that fell well below the radar. I can understand why as it clearly didn’t get the same amount of effort a AAA title has, but it isn’t bad either. It has some good ideas and while the execution isn’t on point all the time, the game really grows on you. By the end you’ll almost wish it could have had a few more levels. For a sequel the game mainly just needs to fix the compass or make the levels a little more straight forward. In particular, tracking down the invisible enemies was always a real hassle. It’s just hard to keep track of them in the giant levels. I’d recommend checking the game out for a unique experience.

Overall 6/10

Pirate’s Quest: Hunt for Blackbeard’s Booty Review

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It’s time for another Wii party game. It’s actually been quite a while since I got to play one so this was nostalgic. The actual games are better than most in this genre although that is fought back by the limited content in this game. Seriously, the game only has 5-6 minigames which is significantly less than pretty much any other party game. Name a title that has less minigames, I’ll wait. I give the game some kudos for actually getting a story together with actual cutscenes though. It’s not much but it shows that this game has more of a budget than the rest.

So the main mode is story mode of course. You can also just play the minigames freely in multiplayer mode as well which is where you’ll likely spend most of your time after beating the game. After all, there is nothing else to do. The main story mode has 3 worlds which each have the 5-6 minigames. It’s just the same ones that get recycled so this is an obvious ploy to extend the game without actually coming up with new content. It’s a little sloppy and forced if I’m being honest, but at least it’s only 3 worlds so it could have been much worse. The cutscenes explain how Blackbeard found his treasure. They’re fairly low budget, but not half bad. The story should last you for a full 2 hours. Multiplayer can be infinite but considering that you’ll likely switch to Mario Party before long, I doubt you’ll be sticking around. There’s really almost nothing to do in this game so buying it at full price would have been crazy. For only around 2 dollars though, it’s really not a terrible bargain.

The graphics are pretty underwhelming but what else is new right? It’s what I’d expect from a Wii game of this caliber. There isn’t much of a soundtrack either so just focus on the minigames. On a technical level the game does not surpass expectations and merely meets them half heartedly. So far this review has been pretty tough on the game eh? It’s time for the actual games then to see if they can save the title. First off is Poloball which is actually my favorite. It’s like Golf, but actually exciting and with more stakes. Essentially you have to hit a ball through about 10-16 checkpoints. Once you cross them all, then you get a poison ball and want to hit all of the other balls. Whoever gets the poison ball first naturally has a huge advantage over the others. The game can theoretically take a long time if everyone is good though. This is because the gates are narrow and if you bump another ball then you can shoot it far away. As a result, everyone could keep shooting each other’s balls away for a while which would make for a big stalemate. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.

The swordfighting game is probably the weakest one. It’s about swinging your Wii remote as the sword so you can see why this didn’t work out too well. The remote just won’t listen to you half of the time and it feels like the computer always has the edge. You’ll just want to keep swinging and hope for the best, but it doesn’t make for a very balanced minigame. It was generic at best. We had the tag team boat racing where one character controls the cannons while the other steers. This one is pretty fun although I don’t like the fact that if you get too far ahead of the opponent he is brought up to where you are. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of the minigame don’t you think? That felt like a big flaw.

Another minigame is treasure hunting. It’s also 2 on 2 which the game seemed to love. You have to dig for chests while the other team tries to whack you on the head. Then you switch placed after a certain amount of time or it happens instantly if they get both of you at the same time. This game has a lot of strategy behind it and I definitely enjoyed the game. You really have to try and stay one step ahead of your opponent throughout the game. Teamwork is also important because if both players go after one person then the other one has free reign. It’s pretty well done for the game. As you can see, in general the minigames are actually pretty good. They’re just really limited and you can only play a minigame for so long before you grow tired of it. I doubt I’d want to play too many games of poloball back to back after all.

Technically there are a bunch of a costumes, weapons, and characters to unlock. You’ll just notice very quickly that they don’t make for much of an incentive to grab them all. I was happy to grab some along the way with the in game currency but they’re way too pricey. I would have to play the game for a very long time to get them all and I’m not willing to make such an investment in time. Not on this game anyway and especially without any trophies for my efforts.

Overall, This game ranks up there with Casper as one of the shorter games. Perhaps the campaign is longer than the others since it is 2 hours, but in terms of actual content this one is way shorter than that. The lack of minigames just can’t be ignored. While there are unlockables they seem purely cosmetic so it’s not as if they really add a dimension to the game. If you find this title for 2 dollars then you should probably snag it but otherwise I’d advise getting a better party game instead. There is no shortage of other options to be honest as even the newest Mario Parties are better games than this one. Sorry Blackbeard, but my treasure is in another title.

Overall 5/10

Kawasaki Quad Bikes Review

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It’s time for a racing game that has really fallen to the side of the road. Nobody really knows about this game and that includes me. I just happened to run across it at Gamestop one day and thought that I should pick it up. It was only two dollars after all so that sounded like a steal to me. It plays out as you’d expect with really choppy Wii sensor controls but I can live with that. It’s pretty basic but you’ll quickly find that it has some replay value.

There as really two main modes, Tournament, and Free Play. Fortunately the game is multiplayer enabled so you can ride the tracks with a friend. It’s not 4 player so you can already feel the budget limitations. There are also a very limited amount of stages. There are 3 Cups with 8 races each but instead of 24 levels, a bunch of them are reused. I didn’t count them all since the screencaps are deceptively similar to each other to prevent you from even trying to undertake this task. Once you complete all of the tournament cups, you can try to do so again under a different difficulty setting. I didn’t bother with that since you can easily earn enough money to unlock the extra characters from the first three, but if you really like the game then that’s a good option.

You won’t be playing this game for very long, but the content is fairly reasonable. Multiplayer already adds replay value and the different difficulties should last you a while. The computers are fairly good even on default, but they tend to crash into the obstacles. Assuming that they don’t in the other levels, it’ll be extremely hard to beat them. This is partially due to their skill and partially due to the level designs and controls.

As I mentioned, the controls are rough. In the game you are constantly shaking since the ground is riddled with holes and bumps. You will barely be able to keep going straight during this time and turns are really tough without slowing down. If you go too fast or too slow during a hill then you’re probably going to lose valuable seconds from crashing. If the game doesn’t want you to crash just yet, you’ll simply get stuck. That happened to me a few times and it certainly gets pretty intense. I didn’t ask for this….but it’s how it goes. I like the concept of the game and bikes always make for a very dynamic gameplay style. This title just didn’t really make use of that.

However, while the gameplay is pretty bad, it’s bad in a fun way. I never had a problem replaying the levels because they are all pretty short. You can also restart a level as many times as it takes to win it so if you’re worried about having to restart a tournament from the beginning if you lose the last level, don’t be worried. Just replay the level (Before you cross the goal line though or the trick won’t work) and you’re all set. It’s a nice little trick that makes the game a whole lot better. Without this trick the game could have certainly gotten very dicey.

The graphics are all right. They’re certainly nothing special of course, but they’re not as bad as you may have expected. The soundtrack is also pretty bland but what else is new right? You’ll definitely need to be playing this game for the gameplay or just to laugh at it. Regardless of what your plan is, the game should be reasonably enjoyable for a weekend. You won’t be playing it long-term but what could you get that will last you for hours on a 2 dollar budget? It’s a pretty good deal for the price.

One addition that would have been fun for the game would be more bikes. There are only 6 bikes if I can recall them correctly and you unlock the extra ones almost instantly. That leaves nothing else to use your stars on so they quickly become pointless. Even if they were just color swaps, I would have liked to have gotten a bunch of other bikes to spice up the gameplay.

Overall, The name of this game is hard to recall and people may not really remember it, but I think the game’s about as good as you could expect. It’s certainly not going to worry the Need for Speed developers anytime soon, but I like to think that this game will inspire other companies to give the bike genre a shot. The main thing to learn from this is to have an even ground. The game would probably get a 7 if the path was smooth since that is really the main obstacle that hurts the game. So many things would be fixed if they just did this. I’d recommend picking the game up if you see it although odds are that you’ll be in the same room as a better racing game.

Overall 6/10

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future Review

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Time for the next Layton game. This is the big one folks. We assemble all of the characters from the first two games and throw in the most fantastic plot yet for epic results. While I don’t really care for some of the final twists in the game, I can’t really go into detail or else it would spoil everything. Needless to say though, the series has always been very grounded in reality which is something to keep in mind for this game. I like to think about what could have been had the twist not occurred, but it is what it is. It’s still a fantastic game and the best Layton title.

The game starts off with the Prime Minister being kidnapped. Layton and Luke head over to investigate when they are told a fantastic story. The Minister has been taken 10 years into the future and they can go over there as well to find him. Layton is skeptical, but he always keeps an open mind about these things so he heads on over. In the future we meet up with Future Luke who is now a genius who can compete with Layton in battles of the mind. He lets them know that Layton has turned evil in the future and rules the city with an iron fist. His gang is in control and the cops are no more. Layton wants to meet his future self and save the Prime Minister, but it will require some brawn as well as brain this time.

It’s just a very ambitious game and the new setting was a lot of fun. All of the usual supporting cast members got to come to the future as well which made for some fun interactions. The cop and his bumbling sidekick are here, Flora is here, the main villain from the first two games is here, etc. Everyone is back which makes the game feel pretty grand and the old villain even gets a backstory. I think the game maybe tried a little too hard to make him a nice guy all of a sudden who Layton treats as a rival, but I can roll with it. The standout character here is definitely future Luke. He had the perfect voice for the character and we just haven’t seen a really overconfident genius until now. They were either all very polite like Layton or not the genius type. Luke was just a nice contrast and any scene he was in was pretty great. It’s no exaggeration to say that he is my favorite character in the series. He was just really awesome.

The rest of the characters are really good as well of course. Layton is still a great lead who always stays calm and collected no matter what happens. He just stays in control of the situation and always has a plan up his sleeve. Honestly, I could have done without his flashbacks, but I suppose this way we finally learned about his past. It wasn’t the most interesting of tales, but I guess it gave him his motivation for why he became a genius. Young Luke is the same as always. He’s pretty eager to help out with the cases and he is actually very smart, but still lags behind the others. He’s nice enough.

I definitely enjoyed the story and it certainly went by quickly. The game is of a pretty decent length as it will last you over 10 hours, but the pacing is just really solid. It’s also still funny how everyone will randomly challenge you with puzzles for everything so you’re always solving. It’s sort of like how everyone duels you in Yu-Gi-Oh. The more forced the situation the better. That being said, I did have some problems with the final twists. I’ll try to go about it in the least spoiler way possible. Just skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to learn about the twists.

So, the big twist is that there is no future and the characters were just taking an elevator which took them to the basement of a building where the main villain created an exact duplicate of London down to every building and street. I get that the whole future thing didn’t work since it wasn’t realistic…but is this any better? I just have a very hard time believing that a duplicate London could be built without anyone knowing about it. You’d need an incredible amount of resources and time to do it. It would take at least a decade and probably more. Not to mention that at least one worker would have likely squealed at some point. I feel like the entire story doesn’t work as a result and I could not wrap my head around the twist. It happened though, so I just gotta hold that L.

The graphics are pretty good as usual. It’s still very impressive how the game has complete animated cutscenes within it. The normal levels also look really good and the puzzles are pretty clear. The soundtrack is actually better than usual and it’s easily the best Layton soundtrack. Again, you can tell that the creators of the game really put their all into this one. It’s just very well done on all accounts.

If I had another minor gripe, it would be that the puzzles can be a little unclear at times. You just don’t know what they want you to do and that can naturally make them difficult to solve. On the other hand, the game is more generous with the hint coins than usual so you should usually have enough to help you out with the tougher ones. A lot of other puzzles you can also guess through as there are a limited number of answers so you’re bound to run into the right one sooner or later. All in all, it was a solid puzzle selection though. To help with replay value, you also have parrot minigames and a car one. I didn’t play around with those much, but they’re not bad. There’s also the extra puzzles that you didn’t solve during the story. If you count all of that, the game will definitely last you a long while.

Overall, This was a really fun game. Everything is smooth, from the interface to the controls in the puzzles. I’ve definitely enjoyed the Layton games a great deal and can’t wait to buy the next one. The next game is apparently the start of the prequel trilogy so for all intents and purposes, this was the big climax of the series. You should really play the first two games to appreciate this one more, but it’s pretty new gamer friendly so you’ll be able to get into it either way. I already own the next game so I’ll certainly be starting it soon after a quick break to play through LBX first. Imagine if all puzzle games were like the Layton series, I’d be playing them a lot more.

Overall 8/10

Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier Review

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The first three Jak and Daxter games were pretty great so I was always looking forward to finally playing the 4th one. Unfortunately it is a noticeable step down in terms of quality and ends up feeling a lot more like a cash-in title than a main game. It’s a little disappointing although the game is still fairly decent. You’ll just keep being reminded of what it could have been.

The first warning bell is the extremely light plot. Jak and Keira are flying around when pirates shoot them down. They are led by Phoenix who apparently knows Keira from way back in the day. She decides to help him and Jak comes along for the ride even though Phoenix is really mean the whole time. One thing leads to another and the fate of the world depends on Jak stopping these other pirates from using Eco to power themselves up and destroying the world. Jak has his mastery over light and dark but his powers are still too strong so he could blow up the world if he tries anything. He’ll have to be satisfied with simply using hand to hand combat. As you can tell, the plot is extremely forgettable so I may have missed a few details and nothing happens.

The game is pretty short so you can beat it in a day or two. That being said, what will help stretch the game out is the terrible map and lack of clear directions. The symbols on the map aren’t labeled so you’ll rarely know where to go. I got lost a bunch of times and wasted quite a bit of effort not actually going anywhere. There are also not many levels, only 4-5 I think so you just keep on going back there over and over again. You can even feel how the game was originally for PSP and not PS2 because the game stops as an unskippable cutscene shows up every time a door opens. This happens for every door which really slows down the pace of the game. If it’s lagging, then you have to wait a little while for the door to open..great.

Technically the gameplay isn’t too bad. It’s the usual 3D shooter/brawler gameplay but with less of a budget than usual. Instead of the really smooth running and running from Ratchet and Clank or the older Jak games, you have a little trouble aiming and switching weapons. You only get 4 weapons I believe and while they’re all decently strong, none are amazing. Some of the enemies sure can last a bit. Fortunately you have ECO abilities like stopping time and can also upgrade everything in the menu. The combat is the game’s most impressive aspect even if it’s not amazing. I can at least get behind it and compared to even lower budgets like the M&Ms or the Ninjabread Man it is actually good.

There is naturally no real replay value to this game because if you beat the game you’ll just want to move on to a better title. If you actually do like the game then I think there are a bunch of collectibles to grab so that’s something. There’s also the Hero Mode that you’ll unlock which should really test your skills. Considering that you can get the game for a pretty cheap price, it’s all pretty reasonable if you ask me.

The graphics also aren’t bad. I’d say they look comparable to the original games. What I really can count as a big positive is the soundtrack. There are quite a few opera themes which are really good and at least make the boss fights feel more grand. It gives you something nice to listen to during some of the tougher segments of the game. Very few bits are legitimately tough as the quick time events are either too extreme or you basically have to die at least once and then allow the checkpoint to give you a quick boost by giving you back all of your health even though you’re further in.

I can’t stress enough how poorly designed some of the interactive moments are. For example, when you jump on the rocket as Daxter, you’ll end up getting shocked a lot even though you’re using L1 and R1. It’s just not good and was probably the most annoying part of the game. The background characters are also annoying with their constant yelling and you have to wonder why they were programmed to have such bad lines.

I think a big part of what hurt the game was how boring the story was. It’s quite telling that I found SpRay’s story to be more engaging. At least this one did have cutscenes though which I suppose should be an instant improvement. At the end of the day, the game is good but just barely. Watch out for the lackluster plot, the bad level designs, the broken compass, and the clunky combat system. As long as you can get past all of that, then you’ll have a good time. Also, try not to jump much since the game clearly did not know how to handle that. Even simple jumps forward end up being a lot tougher than they should be.

Overall, The Lost Frontier got lost for a reason. It’s kind of sad that the Jak series had to end on such a sad note. The first three games were just so good. This game was ambitious in its own way, but it just needed more quality control. The air levels could be fun and were actually better than the ground combat ones. They also weren’t very balanced at times, but they gave it a good attempt. Just play this game slow and steady and you’ll be okay. At least you keep your parts whenever you lose so you’ll have a lot of upgrades to buy when you land. I’d sooner recommend buying the original three, but if you already have them then you should probably buy this one. It’ll at least be good for a few hours of entertainment.

Overall 6/10