Paper Mario: Sticker Star Review

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Paper Mario has always been pretty ambitious for a Mario series. The plots could get pretty serious and were certainly darker than the main series as they selves into Luigi’s psyche and had Peach turn evil. The Thousand Year Door was the peak of the series and could hold its own as an rpg against the mainstream ones like Final Fantasy. Then….this game came out. It’s basically a Mario game masquerading as a Paper Mario title.

The plot is paper thin compared to the old ones as Peach is kidnapped. Bowser has taken her away to his castle and Mario is going to need some help if he wants to save her this time. Fortunately he had a pal named Kersti who is some kind of Princess I think. I can’t remember to be honest but she talks a really good game and insults anyone who gets in her way. She reminds Mario that he will need to obtain the 6 World Crown Stickers to save the world and stop Bowser’s evil plan once and for all. Can Mario do it or will he end up panicking throughout the entire game!?

Right away the game’s main problem presents itself in the form of the stickers. Not only is the entire game built around them, but the mechanics aren’t even fun. You need them to perform any kind of action in combat from jumping to using your hammer. This means you really do need to take the time to pluck them off the walls or you’ll run out during a boss fight. The stage will throw you a few extra ones when you’re empty but only cheap stickers that won’t do a lot of damage. This gets very tedious very quickly. It doesn’t help that the bosses have an enormous amount of hp so the fights drag on for eternity. That’s also why running out of stickers becomes a legitimate concern since you will need a lot of stickers to finish them off.

The final boss in particular has around 5 phases and keeps healing between each phase. This just drags on the fight more and more as opposed to being exciting. You can’t jump on this opponent either so even though I made it to the final phase with a lot of stickers left, I couldn’t do anything. None of my jumps would do anything but hurt me and so I had to watch as my efforts went to waste. The game is built around trial and error to a large extent which is certainly not how a game should be if you ask me. You should be able to reasonably guess what to expect and win if you thought about it enough as opposed to just needing more stickers from the shop.

You’ll likely need to farm some coins at one point or another so I’d recommend 4-1 for that. There’s a shiny goomba right when you enter the level and a ice flower in the box next to him. Grab the flower and you can beat him in one hit which will get you around 100 coins. You can do this very quickly so just keep at it. I saved to about 2500 coins for the final boss and it was certainly worth it. The super stickers do have cutscenes that are unskippable which is unfortunate but they are worth it for the damage they dish out.

Another massive problem with the game are the puzzles. You probably know this if you’ve been reading my reviews but one thing I’m really not a big fan of are poorly made puzzles. It’s to the point where they can easily lower a game’s score on their own like Final Fantasy VII, Metroid, and Majora’s Mask. The same thing happens here but to a larger extent. Some puzzles require you to go all the way back from world 5 to 2 for example as you look for an ice sticker that can freeze the volcano. I had to resort to Gamefaqs a few times here because these puzzles are absolutely terrible. How could you possibly think to search a new world? Why would the ice be in the desert world instead of…..the ice world? The game is actively trying to troll you which I don’t appreciate and there are so many puzzles here that don’t make any sense. I think the only way you would figure some of these out is if you were planning to 100% the game anyway so you investigate every book and cranny. Even then, the same thing happens with the bosses as you have to try and figure out how to deal with them. My sticker “pal” mocked me after every fight as she pointed out that I used too many stickers so certainly don’t use my tactics.

This game just wasn’t all that fun and it’s a shame because the gameplay minus the stickers was good. Some of the levels had a little platforming so you would jump around and try to reach the goal. It gives you a small glimpse of what the game could have been like without the odd gameplay style. It also makes you wonder what the point of the stickers was because at the end of the day it is still basically a turn based style of gameplay. It’s just far more limited than the usual ones since you always have to worry about running out of stickers which is a really pointless feature. Throw out all of the many, many puzzles and this could maybe will be a good game even with the sticker system. Of course, then we are looking at a completely different game since this one was really built with all of those puzzles in mind.

As far as the characters are concerned, this Mario game plays it by the books. Mario is your classic lead who is always ready for a good time but really does panic at just about everything. Peach gets kidnapped as per usual, but gives a pretty nice speech at the end so that was cool. Bowser essentially gets controlled by the stickers so it wasn’t his best appearance. Seeing all of the old bosses was pretty cool like Gooper Blooper and Petey Piranha. Bowser Jr and Kamek also has pretty solid roles. The main heroine Kersti was also pretty decent even if she was rather generic the whole time. The big sacrifice at the end was certainly a pretty emotional moment when you think about it. Mario didn’t really put up much resistance to the plan but I guess we can assume that he knew about the true power of the stickers and figured it would all work out. The climax was pretty intense and in a main Mario game it would have looked awesome since Mario effectively got Super Saiyan mode at long last. If you ask me, it’s about time.

As far as the presentation goes, Paper Mario’s graphics hold up pretty well. They’re certainly. not amazing or anything like that, but they are good enough and get the job done. The character models are solid and the level environments are pretty striking as well. It’s a oh as good as I’d expect a modern Paper Mario game to look. The soundtrack is certainly less impressive compared to the average Mario games but it’s not bad. At the very least the main menu theme is quite iconic after hearing it so many times. I’m not likely to forget it anytime soon.

In terms of the replay value Paper Mario is fairly decent. There is a set amount of large stickers to obtain so gathering them all would be an accomplishment. You can also try to find Luigi in his 5 appearances which will hopefully trigger some kind of cutscene. The main game is around 15 hours of more if you get stuck so that’s a very good amount right off the bat as well. So technically there is a lot to do here but you probably just won’t be all that tempted to accomplish all of this since the fun factor isn’t quite there. The post game is st least more enjoyable than the main game since the puzzles are already taken care of. It becomes a little more of a straight job from start to finish while you complete everything. Prepare for a lot of back and forth either way.

Overall, it’s rare for me to say that a game is actually bad. Over 90% of the games I’ve reviewed at least make it to 5 and most are over 6. This one just goes way too far with the sticker mechanics and the problem that the game isn’t fun. It’s not really a title that you look forward to playing which is the problem. It has its moments but every time you think the game is hitting its stride it comes back at you with another puzzle. They just keep on coming and never stop so the game could not save itself. I highly recommend playing the other Paper Mario games first as this one will really give you the wrong impression of the series. I can only hope that the next Paper Mario game has improved a lot from this one.

Overall 4/10

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Sonic Forces Review

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There has been a lot of hype and negativity surrounding this game ever since the first trailer. Some thought the idea of a dark Sonic game would mark the return of Sonic 06 (Great game btw) while others thought it could finally be the next big Sonic Adventure title. For me, this was a good sign because the plot heavy Sonic games of the GameCube era were amazing. While Sonic Forces is a great game, it’s not quite as downright amazing as I had expected. A few areas hold it back from that.

The story starts off with a bang as Sonic heads to the city to help the others take down Eggman as per usual. Instead, he is greeted by all of his old foes and a new one known as Infinite. They defeat and presumably destroy him. A level or two later you find out that Sonic is alive and has been kept prisoner for the last few months. Classic Sonic also shows up from a portal to help out. Meanwhile, Terry (The name of my avatar) has decided to realize his potential as the ultimate life form. He frees Sonic and basically leads the charge against Infinite. Can the heroes defeat this opponent who effectively seems unbeatable?

Aside from the main story we also have a 3 level Shadow The Hedgehog prologue. It’s pretty fun as we see Shadow head off to help Omega fight Infinite. We also learn Infinite’s origin story. It’s very short since there are only 3 levels and they are pretty fun since playing as Shadow is always great. That being said, after playing the main game it can seem a little lazy. They reuse at least one of the levels from the main story as well as the final cutscene. There also aren’t any boss battles to be found here. It’s extra content and context for the story so I can’t complain about it too much but the story aspect also doesn’t make sense.

Many spoilers on the story will follow from here so skip the next 7 paragraphs if you haven’t played the game yet. Shadow is talking to Rouge towards the end of hiss prologue and she tells him not to bother going to help Sonic since he has the situation under control. That’s fine. Then she tells him to forget that because the situation has changed and Sonic is up against a squadron of lethal foes. The cutscene ends here and presumably Shadow dashed off to help. Despite this, in the main story he doesn’t show up until months after this event as he helps Sonic against a fake Shadow. Why did he not make it in time with his speed? At the very least he should have been informing the team about Infinite and had a more active role in the story. I feel like with his prologue they created it after the story so they were stuck by that point.

The main story is also a little…strange. It’s not like there are a bunch of plot holes or anything but the random time skips have you feel like the game is on fast forward. For example, Sonic loses and suddenly 3 months past. Why does everyone immediately assume he is dead? Why did it take 3 months for anyone to do something about it? The characters act like Tails has gone crazy or cracked since Sonic left but he seems perfectly okay to me. Classic Sonic popping up was also one of the most random moments in the game. He doesn’t have any real reason to be here and while I don’t mind crossovers for the sake of crossovers, I feel like he doesn’t even look that good. He clearly has no idea what is even happening and just goes after Eggman like it’s the good ole days. If they could have squeezed in a fight with Infinite that would have been awesome. Otherwise it’s really just a waste.

A cool part of the story was when Silver fought Infinite. Now that was a really cool battle and it’s a fight that was always fun to think about. Silver got wrecked of course but it was a cool visual. Of course for every positive, there is another limitation that pops up. The fights in the game are all made up of a singe homing attack of a bump. At the end of the game we get to see everyone taking on the army of Sonic villains and Shadow is just swerving from side to side and somehow he is knocking his opponents out with his hips or something. Keep in mind that these clones are supposed to be as strong as the real ones and yet, Shadow beat his clone in a single hit. I think the writers just added that line to add some drama and suspense but it didn’t make sense.

I think the first moment I knew something was wrong was when Chaos got one shotted by classic Sonic. Not only is this disgraceful to Sonic DX fans, but it was a perfect chance for a boss fight. The fact that they didn’t do so was rather alarming. Then the same thing happened with Shadow as mentioned above. It gets to the heart of the issue which is that Sonic Forces’ story feels like clickbait at times. You’re waiting for something really awesome to happen and then it never does. The only clone who really got a good role was Zavok since at least he got some hype lines and talked a good game. I would have been pretty upset if he had actually defeated Sonic though. I just wouldn’t be able to wrap my head around that. Another example of this is at the end when you beat Infinite. He starts yelling about how he can’t be defeated and flies off….never to be seen again. Yes, there could be a post game mission to solve that, but I wanted him to show up in the main story. Why did we not get Super Sonic? He should be a staple in the series and yet he hasn’t made the cut lately. I thought for sure that he would show up here since Infinite was so powerful.

Another very odd moment was when they said that Eggman had been torturing Sonic for months. That came out of nowhere and was there purely for edge. Sonic still makes one liners and walks out of his cell like it was nothing. It’s cool that Sonic never lets things get to him, but the torturing reference should have been cut out, especially since the game barely acknowledges that it even happened. Another weird moment is when Eggman has Infinite hit Sonic with a new Null weapon which will trap him inside of an indestructible void. Sonic…then breaks out so fast that it’s not even a level. It’s practically back to back cutscenes where he’s out instantly. It hints even further that a big chunk of the game was simply cut out. I feel fairly confident that this isn’t the original Sonic Forces that we were supposed to be getting.

Lets talk about the Avatar. Terry is legitimately amazing. I gave him a really cool design so he looks like an evil Sonic. He takes charge of the situation and even holds his own against Infinite. The cutscene where he stands his ground is handled excellently as well as his quick save towards the end of the game. He’s a great character and while it may be a little cheesy with how he is the chosen one and all…I could get behind it. Pro tip, don’t switch away from his flamethrower. You can beat levels really quickly with that one although the whip isn’t bad.

Infinite is also really cool, but admittedly not as great as he could have been. I felt like his origin story was actually made after people started making fun of him. He basically gets wrecked by Shadow and starts trembling. He tries to psych himself up by yelling about the whole thing, but it doesn’t work and Eggman kidnaps him later on to give him the new power. With it Infinite talks a good game and has a great voice so I can get behind that. All of his lines are quite awesome as well. The origin story could just have been better, but I’m glad we got to see a glimpse of his old self. Surprisingly we didn’t see that in the main story, but budget cuts and all that. I hope he appears again someday because the character has a lot of potential. We just should have seen a fight between him and the Super Hedgehogs. Maybe the Shadow vs Infinite battle since they teased it in the prologue and the two have a history. It makes no sense why Infinite wouldn’t fight him. Of course, it makes no sense why he would let Sonic live every time aside from plot convenience as well.

There are 3 gameplay styles in the game. Lets start with the best one, Modern Sonic. The levels are really awesome and you’re always moving at a high speed. I actually really like the boost mechanic since it feels good to actually enjoy using the speed that Sonic is famous for. The levels are unfortunately a little on the short side as a result and you can finish basically all of them in under 2 minutes. There are some annoying traps where a hole will suddenly pop up thanks to spotty level design but it’s not enough to really hurt the style. That’s why we need another fast Sonic game without a gimmick. No Werehog, No Wisps, No Classic Sonic. I just want a 3D Sonic game where you can zoom from start to finish the whole time and enjoy yourself along the way.

Then there is the Avatar levels. They’re actually quite good and are basically what people would have wanted Sonic Boom’s gameplay to be like. He still feels like you’re playing as Modern Sonic half the time, but you also get a weapon now. The controls are pretty smooth unless you’re using the thunder wisp in which case you’re doomed. Using your grappling hook is always very satisfying and it’s just handled great all around. It’s another reason why I am ultimately glad the character made it into the game. If his inclusion is the reason why the rest of the game suffered then I’ll take that back, but otherwise I am all for it.

Unfortunately there was one gameplay style which did not work. That would be Classic Sonic and he is the only character where I would actually get disappointed if I saw his level coming up. Whoever added on his gameplay style did so at the last second as it isn’t polished at all. The controls are slippery and the levels aren’t all that fun. You can’t go fast because you’ll just fall and you’re left wondering for the 100th time why he is in this game. He just should not have been here and you can tell that the developers didn’t care by this point.

To point out some more laziness on the game’s part…they reuse boss battles. Yes, you heard that right. One big example that is impossible not to notice is Metal Sonic and Infinite. Both of them are the same boss fight and they simply recolored Metal Sonic to make him look like Infinite. It’s why Infinite also looks huge during the whole boss fight for no real reason. The game also reuses level designs throughout under the guise of Classic and Modern as well as the Avatar. Honestly this just doesn’t feel like a AAA game would would be double at the most. It explains the reduced price, but I fully expected and wanted my Sonic game to be as high budget as it can get.

As expected the graphics are really solid. The colors may not be as striking as Adventure 2 Battle but it has some pretty solid moments. Any scene with Infinite usually has a pretty good color palette. I don’t think the game looks as good as it could have, but I still can’t really complain about it either. It’s at a high enough level where I am definitely still satisfied.

The soundtrack is also really solid as we get a bunch of remixes and lyrical songs. Not all of the lyrical songs are a hit, but most of them are. There are definitely a lot of up beat ones in there and the intense Infinite theme also shows up. Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of the sound didn’t really do a great job as the effects will often drown out the actual music. This can be pretty unfortunate when you want to hear the tune but can’t focus on it with all the background noise.

Well, the main area that does hurt the game somewhat is it’s lack of replay value. The main story isn’t very long as it is so not having a multiplayer mode doesn’t do it any favors either. You can get all of the S ranks and clothes for your avatar but if you actually try that shouldn’t take very long either. That’s because there is a new system involving daily missions. Essentially you clear the mission and unlock a score boost which makes it easier to get S ranks. I don’t even know what you get for obtaining them all but hopefully it’s something epic. Grab your Platinum Trophy on the way back of course.

I could go on for quite a while, but lets get this into perspective. Sonic Forces is still a great game of course. The gameplay is tight and the technical aspects are on point. The story is awesome and epic even if it feels like someone cut out 80% of the game to speed things up. There are a number of weaknesses, but many of them are only so large because I’m a big Sonic fan. It also couldn’t have had many of these negatives if it had chosen to go with a retro plot of Sonic simply stopping Eggman with no real cutscenes throughout and then we wouldn’t have expected so much out of it. The main menu interfaces are really clean and sleek. They’re some of the best out there and Sonic always sets a high bar for this. The game feels modern in many ways like that. You just won’t be playing it for a long time compared to the average game.

Overall, Sonic Forces is better in concept than in the execution. It’s just a little too short and you can’t help but think that it got rushed out of the gate or was given low priority for some reason. There were so many reasons why this game should have been just about perfect which is why it is disappointing that the game didn’t live up to its potential. It’s still a great game so at least it’s not like Star Fox Zero or anything. It’s a small consolation at least. Infinite and the Avatar were good additions to the cast. Maybe Sega will take another shot at this game in the future and get it perfect this time around. I’ll still hold out a lot of hope for the next Sonic game and I eagerly await seeing what Sega will do from here with the 3D titles.

Overall 8/10

Super Mario Odyssey Review

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It’s time for a legendary game. This one got hyped to no end as the big Mario game to end all Mario games. It was in development for ages and the developers were putting a ton of effort into it. That being said, could it live up to the hype? Well, I definitely think Nintendo really outdid themselves this time and it really is one of the best Mario games. It’s probably the third best platformer, after 64 and Sunshine. It has all of the elements that you’d want in a Mario game and even does its best to add in new features.

The plot is fairly basic as Bowser has kidnapped Peach once again and Mario tries to save her. Mario doesn’t act as if it’s an emergency though as he looks rather calm and happy during the cutscenes. Even when he occasionally gets serious, Bowser just one shots him once more and the cycle begins anew. Mario spends a surprising amount of time getting defeated by Bowser in this game. Still, he never gives up so Bowser better prepare for a big confrontation.

There’s a lot to cover here so lets start on the technical side. The graphics look absolutely great. The colors pop out and the level designs are fantastic. There is a little something for everyone here. Whether you want bright, green hills or a more realistic Final Fantasy esque level, this game has got it. There are many worlds and the game makes sure that no 2 worlds look the same. The Switch may not be as strong as some of the other modern consoles, but the game reminds you that you can always make a game look good regardless. A big piece of the puzzle are the character designs and how much time was put into the levels.

The game also has a pretty solid soundtrack. There are many remixes here from the Mario 64 game as well as many of Mario’s older titles. The intense theme for the final Bowser battle was also really good. We can’t forget the big lyrical song during the climax either which was excellent!  There is a lot of music to listen to in this game so make sure you hear it all. While it may not be quite as hardcore or rock based as some other titles, it makes up for this with variety and skill. I’d definitely say that it passes with flying colors in this aspect.

As far as the gameplay is concerned, it plays like your classic Mario platformer. You run, jump, and interact with the level in order to reach the end and get your Stars. (I still call them Moons but all Stars are Moons apparently) One of the big focus for marketing in Odyssey was the cap. With it, Mario can take over anyone, whether it be Yoshi, A T Rex, or a Goomba. Each transformation has a special ability for you to master and they will allow you to get more Stars. It is pretty fun to take control of the enemies which is good since it is often mandatory to complete levels and take down bosses. The game was built around this system and it worked out well. I dare say that as a gimmick it probably does beat Fludd, even if Fludd was the more likable character.

That being said, you will also feel relieved whenever you have a mini level without the cap. It feels nice and retro and you have to rely on your platforming skills. There are also actual retro levels where you turn into your 16 bit version and play through more small levels. They are a nice distraction from the main levels and the different gameplay styles are all handled quite well. I can’t say this enough times but Odyssey was clearly developed with a lot of passion and effort.

The world variety is quite strong. There are a few spooky worlds like the Ruined Kingdom or the one with the Large Dragon. Then you’ve got the amazing Mario 64 homage which does an amazing job of recreating the classic Peach castle. There are also a few post game worlds that I have yet to unlock which are sure to be a blast as well. Start saving up your money from the start because it will really come in handy for buying all of the stars that are at the shop. There are likely hundreds of them to buy there.

There are also fun mini games to play like jumping rope, Volleyball, or connecting a puzzle. Going for a high score and trying to master them is sure to be entertaining. They’re pretty fun games.
Since there are over 900 stars, you’ll want to inspect every part of each world. Stars are basically around every corner and it’s up to you to find them all. Toad is available to give you a hint for 50 coins but I recommend not doing so until you’ve bought all of the stars and not until you’ve gotten as many stars as you could for the world. It would be a shame to waste 50 coins on a game you probably could have found yourself.

I suppose I should reference the ending right? Well, there isn’t a whole lot to say on that end for me. It’s a classic Mario ending although longtime fans may not appreciate it. It’s essentially Nintendo’s way of reassuring fans that they will always get the Mario that they grew up with. It won’t change and get older as they do and in a way that’s what a lot of fans will also want to see. At the very least, Mario got a good shot in at Bowser.

Well, unlike some games that are overhyped to no end, I can definitely see why some would call this the greatest game of all time or why they would at least put it into the conversation. I mean, there’s really not much more Nintendo can do with the concept or the genre. It’s basically been taken to its absolute limits here and that’s pretty impressive. While I personally don’t put it in the conversation for best game of all time since Super Smash has that without a doubt, I can definitely say that it should be in the conversation for best platformer of all time. I’m fairly confident that Nintendo also won’t be able to top this for quite a long time. Perhaps not until the next console.

There is a ton of replay value here. While you’ll beat the game with around 200 stars or less if you didn’t travel much, then you still have around 700 to go. It’s an incredible amount of stars to be sure. While a lot of them you have to purchase from the shop, money isn’t an issue. I suppose if you’ve been buying a ton of hints then it’ll be a little difficult for you though. Try not to buy them until you’ve gotten the easy ones first or the hint will essentially be a waste. You can also try to get high scores in the minigames and on the way to getting all of the stars you’ll get a bunch of costumes. I have no doubt that this is a 20+ hour game when you consider all of this and that might be severely low balling the amount.

Now for some miscillanius thoughts. I didn’t care much for the Broodals. They’re not bad I suppose, but they feel like absolute throwaway characters. I dare say that the Deadly Six from Lost World were cooler since at least the leader was good. That’s a start in the right direction. I didn’t talk much about the boss battles but they were all pretty solid. The Mario vs Bowser ones in particular are very satisfying, but another really good boss battle is when you’re zooming through the air with your water powers and stopping the fire octopus. The only missed opportunity in the game is that you can’t play New Donk City at night once you stop the monster. The scenery was awesome in the dark and the rain just amplified this affect. You just can’t win them all though and day-time New Donk is still as hype as it gets.

Overall, Mario Odyssey is certainly a must buy. I’m definitely glad that I ended up grabbing a Switch so I could pick this game up. I know that it might be fighting with Breath of the Wild over the Game of the Year award but personally I think Odyssey destroys it many times over with no real effort. you can’t even compare the two in my mind, but granted I didn’t enjoy Breath of the Wild quite as much as most. I only thought it was a good game while I consider this one to be an elite. If you haven’t checked Odyssey out yet, then you should fix that right away!

Overall 9/10

Fire Emblem Warriors Review

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After all these months I finally went and got the Nintendo Switch. Now I’m playing with power! I’m still not a big fan of the console, but it’s not bad or anything. I do like the fact that it’s essentially a portable console that you can stream to the tv. It’s one of those brilliant ideas where you can barely believe that nobody has thought of it before. Mark my words, if Sony ever makes another portable console they are going to borrow this concept. Let’s take a look at my first Switch game.

I became a big Fire Emblem fan pretty recently after downloading Heroes. Its a franchise with a lot of potential and has a fan of sword fighters in general it was right up my alley. The plot focuses on a prince and a princess. Their kingdom is attacked by an army of monsters and everyone is imprisoned within its walls. Only the two main characters and their reliable friend manage to escape. Before they return, the heroes will need to uncover the 5 legendary Hero Gems. Since dimensional rifts are opening up everywhere, it shouldn’t be too hard to find them, but time is of the essence.

It’s a really fun story. I probably would have preferred the game to have focused on characters from the older games since I know the modern characters pretty well, but the crossover aspect still makes it all a blast. There’s also a lot of room for a sequel as a result since they could explore the rest of the universe. The original characters made up for the game may have been rather generic, but they weren’t bad. Monster fans will love the Chaos Dragon and I didn’t mind the guardian of the main characters until he basically cracked. Not much to say about the blond heroes, they’re super heroic and that is their personality in a nutshell. Even with 20+ chapters, the story never feels like it’s stalling for time or going nowhere. It’s pretty well paced.

There is also a History/Legend mode. I forgot the exact name, but essentially the overworld looks like an old 8 bit Fire Emblem game. You have to move across the field and whenever you bump into an enemy it triggers a level. There are challenges like beating 500 enemies in 20 minutes. It seems like a decent mode, but I can’t say it’s too appealing compared to the main story mode. I’d probably use it for grinding level ups and at least it does help the overall replay value.

As expected of a new Switch game, the graphics are quite good. The interface is also cutting edge so everything feels very smooth and streamlined. There’s a lot on the menu at any given time but the game does a good job of not letting it get overwhelming. The final smash attacks are also very satisfying to unleash. The soundtrack is also really good. Longtime fans will remember most of the sound effects. In fact, they are the same as in Heroes so I wonder if it’s just a Fire Emblem staple or they’re aiming for a lot of synergy with the new games. Either way it can feel nice and nostalgic at times.

One of the aspects of the game that was promoted before the game came out was how it was a beat em up, but it was going to incorporate Fire Emblem mechanics. The game does this by bringing in the weapons triangle where Sword Fighters beat Axes, Axes beat Spears, and Spears beat Swords. Unless you play on hard mode though, it won’t make much of a difference. You will have the enemies begging for mercy very quickly regardless. You can also give orders to your allies for retreats, advancing, or just ditching them in the middle of nowhere so they won’t get hurt. It’s definitely useful if you think they are just going to hurt themselves. They typically can’t hold their own against opponent fighters after all.

If you’re familiar with the genre then you’ll definitely know what the gameplay is like. If not, essentially it is a 3D fighter where you destroy hundreds of opponents in each level as you head for a boss somewhere in the map or secure a retreat route. You have quick attacks, power attacks, special moves, a grab, final smash, and an awakening mode. As a result you can see how you have a bunch of options. This means you can have fun mixing up your attacks. Sometimes I even forget to use my awakening since I’m waiting for the right moment and just end up beating the level before it occurs.

I feel like there are 3 kinds of beat em ups. There is the Dynasty Warriors style where you beat a lot of enemies, but it’s not an insanely large amount. It’s slightly more realistic and also the worst of the 3. Next there is the Sengoku Basara/Anime titles like Bleach or One Piece which have a lot of enemies and you take them down. They are essentially the beat em games that come to mind. Finally there are the crazy good beat em ups like Hyrule Warriors and this game. Somehow Nintendo really gets the company to take it to the next level. The amount of enemies around at one time is crazy. I thought Hyrule Warriors was just about perfect and this game manages to improve on it even further. One incredible feature that this game brought to the table is that you can now switch between allies instantly. This makes it much easier to attack and defend. For example, you can order Lucina to attack a base, Marth to stay and guard yours, and you go after the boss. If your ally starts to lose the battle, you can quickly become the ally and fight back while the character you were controlling earlier will continue the mission. It’s brilliant since one of the only annoying aspects of the genre is that protecting all of your bases can be difficult since your A.I. compatriots just hold you back. Now you can really feel like you have complete control of the battlefield. It’s also perfect for when I go maverick and just disobey direct orders. They want me to retreat or protect the base? Nonsense, I’m heading straight for the big boss!

The game also did think up more ways to prevent you from essentially cheesing the level like that though. Sometimes the areas can’t be accessed without using a flying ally to go past the pits and activate portals. Other times the base is simply locked down until you beat all of the bases. I do think it’d be nice to have more levels where you were just able to rush up the middle but I can kind of get why the developers wouldn’t want you to just rush through everything. As it is, I went through the story at a normal pace and I still didn’t get to explore most of the customizing options. It can all seem rather overwhelming since you have crests to level up and actual level ups to buy. I’d definitely be content with the game sticking with Level 100 as the cap and not raising it. It would be quite the grind, but at least I can actually imagine getting everyone to level 100 at this point.

Overall, There is a lot to love here. This game is basically a masterpiece and I’d consider it to be the greatest beat em up out there. It would be very hard to improve on the gameplay at this point. The patch that the Switch got even allowed me to play the game with the greatest controller on Earth, the Gamecube controller. The story was impressively long for a beat em up and a lot happened along the way. Lucina got to look really cool in her debut appearance and the other heroes had their moments as well. There’s a ton of replay value here as you can tell like beating all of the levels on all difficulties and getting everyone to the max level. I think there is actually one possible way that you can top this game within the genre. Imagine this game, but multiplayer where the 2nd player plays as the opposing army. That would be a blast as you both try to take over the map. I do think it’d work best online so that you wouldn’t know who each player is playing as. That would add to the depth as you wonder which base to protect. I can’t imagine that would be an easy game to product since it would probably take a lot of memory and be tough on the A.I., but it’d be awesome. Well, with LoZ and FE done, I’d like a Metroid beat em up next. It’d be cool blasting through waves of Metroids, but the developers will have to get creative about which other heroes to have playable.

My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review

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It’s time to take a look at a Picross game. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve never played one before, but there is a first time for everything right? I earned a bunch of MyNintendo points for playing Fire Emblem Heroes, but there wasn’t a whole lot in the rewards section. I figured that this game would be better than nothing so I took the plunge. It’s a relatively simple game that can be pretty addicting as you’d expect from this kind of game. It’s very similar to Sudoku in many ways and it’ll really test your brain power. Throw in the Twilight Princess backdrop and you’re all set for hype.

There are 45 puzzles in the game and an additional 45 Mega Picross battles. I took a peak at the Mega Picross levels, but honestly they didn’t seem all that appealing. The rules were super convoluted and since I had just gotten used to the original ones I didn’t want to have to learn a whole new set of rules. As a result I stuck to the classic ones. The goal of each puzzle is to solve it in under an hour. Every time you make a mistake it adds on another 3-5 minutes to your total. I did fairly good for myself overall as most of my puzzles were conquered in under an hour, but some managed to persist.

In case you don’t know what Sudoku is, here are the Picross rules. You have 10 rows and 10 Lines. Each one will have a number at the start. The number shows you how many boxes in that line/row have to be filled out. You know the length, but you don’t know where it starts and that’s where the detective work starts. You have to cross check the numbers with the other rows and lines and that is how you’ll figure out what to fill out. It’s a pretty intense ame and this one tries to help by starting you off with some squares filled in. I don’t know how you could hope to solve it if you started with a blank board to be honest. That would be impressive though.

The graphics are good. I mean, there is almost literally nothing that you are using the graphics for so it would have been almost impossible to have been bad. Still, I’ll take what we can get. The music is also good since it is music from Legend of Zelda. That makes the puzzles more engaging and gives the game an extra bump. As I mentioned, the gameplay is a lot of fun as well. Since it is basically free, then that’s already a positive outcome.

There is only one weakness to the game and that is its lack of content. Since there are only 45 picross challenges you can finish that in a few days. Then that’s it. Of course, for the price this lack of replay value isn’t terrible. It’ll keep it from being a 7, but it’s still a good game in the long run. I wonder what a AAA Picross game would be like.

There’s not much more to say so I’ll start to close by giving a tip. When the hint roulette comes out to give you a row and a line, try to get them both in the same corner. That’ll give you a huge step forward into solving the Picross. The roulette moves very quickly so it’ll be difficult to do, but it certainly isn’t impossible. With enough practice you are sure to succeed.

Overall, I’d recommend getting this game. It is still the best prize on the MyNintendo Rewards site so you may as well. It’s also a good way to relive the Legend of Zelda adventures while stretching your mind as well. Solving these puzzles will make you think and that’s always a good thing. If you’re going to get some exercise, it may as well be while you’re having fun. Hopefully Nintendo adds some more game rewards to the site though as it is sad that Picross is all by itself the whole time. It needs a partner.

Overall 6/10

Naruto Ultimate Ninja 4 Review

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It feels like such a long time since I’ve played one of the Naruto Ultimate Ninja games. It’s a pretty nostalgic series for me because I remember playing Ultimate Ninja Heroes nonstop on the PSP back in the day and also sank a ton of hours into Ultimate Ninja 2. The games just had an excellent amount of replay value with tight gameplay to boot. It was almost sad to see how far my skills have deteriorated from those days. In time I could get them back, but it would take a while. Ultimate Ninja 4 is a fun sequel. I wouldn’t say it is strictly better than 2 because some aspects as a bit weaker, but it’s still a great game all the same.

The main story mode is called Master Mode this time around. Basically there are two chapters in the game. The first is an original story about Naruto helping a girl avoid her path to self sacrifice. You have to fight a giant monster and it’s pretty fun. I was surprised when it ended so fast though. Then the game adapts a little less than half of Arc 1 of Shippuden as you get to meet up with the fake Itachi. The main gimmick for this story mode is that unlike the main gameplay of the other modes, you fight in 3D here. It’s like a beta for the Ultimate Ninja Storm games. It’s pretty fun, but you’ll quickly realize that you’re just using the same combo a lot. It’s the only one worth using because it does so much damage. The game is fairly easy so you shouldn’t have any problem clearing it. It’s only around 3-4 hours long and probably a lot shorter if you really blast through it. I appreciated the experiment and it seems to be a popular thing to do as Tekken 6 also had a main story mode which was in 3D while the rest was in 2D.

There’s a backup story mode where you relive the original series. Most of it is told through flashbacks while you get a few fights. It’s not the most engaging way to re learn the story, but it does allow you to unlock new fighters so it’s worth going over. Aside from that you have the multiplayer mode and the shop where you can buy a lot of things. There is a ton to purchase and earning money takes a while at first so this definitely helps to add a bunch of replay value for a while. Either way, the multiplayer has you covered in that regard. One thing to always remember is that for fighting games, the story is the cherry on top, but not the cake. As long as the gameplay is really good, the rest will all fall into place.

The gameplay is different from many other 2D fighters. You can jump between the background and the foreground. You can launch opponents with up to 4 different directions per hit which results in numerous combos. Once you launch an opponent in the skty and gives chase, it becomes a matter of timing. You have to press the substitution button at just the right instant and it keeps on getting faster and faster. Hesitate too much and it’s over or press too quickly and you’ll meet the same fate. It’s pretty interesting and this is one game where it’ll get pretty advanced as you learn more and more.You’ll definitely be very engaged with the gameplay style right from the start and my favorite part of it is probably that every character has a homing attack. It’s always a lot of fun to use.

I don’t care for the new rock paper scissors gimmick they added though. Occasionally you’ll see this happen and the computer happened to win it virtually every time. You can’t really beat a computer in a “luck” game unless they allow it after all. As a result, the whole thing feels sadly futile at times, but you won’t lose much health even if you lose the round. I also don’t like the fact that they got rid of the triple final smash. In the older games you had 3 different levels of a final smash like in the Marvel vs Capcom games. Unless they just got rid of it for story levels, you are down to only one in this game and you either switch it in the main menu or you have to play a different version of the character to have another attack. Either way it is a bit of a downgrade.

Really, that’s why this game can be a bit of a downgrade from Ultimate Ninja 2 at times. The story definitely isn’t as good as 2’s which was a cool original plot and the new gameplay mechanics just don’t help. It’s still a very solid game as it kept most of what made the originals a lot of fun, but there probably isn’t much reason to play 4 when you can play 2. Unless you really like the Shippuden cast more than the regular one I suppose. It’s a shame that Ultimate Ninja 5 never came to America, I would have been curious to see how that one would have been.

The graphics look pretty good. They’re not amazing and the style doesn’t pop out as much as the Clash of Ninja series since they’re going for a more drawn look, but it works well. The final smashes are still flashy when they need to be and the game has held up well. The music selection is also pretty good. It reuses some themes from the older games, but I’m assuming that some of them are new as well. There is a pretty good amount of variety here so you don’t have to be worried about getting spammed by the same song too often. As far as difficulty goes, Ultimate Ninja 4 definitely isn’t too hard. Like I said it can get pretty difficult if you turn the computer all the way up or fight an opponent who knows what he is doing, but at the very least you’ll breeze through the story.

Most fighting games have at least one broken character and at least from my casual perspective I feel like that would be Itachi here. When he activates his slow mode attack, you can barely move. It also lasts forever so he can get a bunch of different combos in the meantime. Even if you jump overboard and re spawn, his attack will still be active. That was the only fight where I almost lost in story mode and had to quickly cheese him out with final smash attacks. The computers don’t seem to dodge it very often. They either block or get hit, there’s never an alternative.

Overall, Naruto Ultimate Ninja 4 is a solid game. I think they should have gone a more traditional route as far as the story is concerned, but it worked out all right. I’m sure they learned from this after all. The character cast is fairly decent even if it doesn’t look too impressive because of the wheel they set up. I think a character roster should always let you see all of the characters at once like in Super Smash. That one is basically the ultimate template for a fighting game. I am now one step closer to owning all of the Naruto games which is pretty impressive. I’d definitely recommend checking this game out. It’s old enough where it’s retro, but modern enough where the gameplay still feels pretty intense.

Overall 8/10

Asdivine Hearts Review

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It’s time for another installment from Limited Run games. It’s had a pretty good run so far and this is probably the best game they’ve ported yet. It’s a classic RPG with all of the old elements in tact. It started out as a mobile game which explains why they didn’t mess around with the formula too much. Maybe it’s just me, but I think you only need the core aspects of an RPG to do well. A solid leveling up system, a map, and a convenient way to heal/save. As long as you have that then you’re okay. Modern RPGs sometimes get lost in all of the extra features that take away from this basic concept. This title pulls it off flawlessly.

The game starts off with the Light and Dark gods fighting it out. (Okay, a little cliche, but who doesn’t like a classic Good vs Evil theme?) The Light god is defeated and falls to Earth where she possesses a cat. This takes us to our heroes Zack and Stella. They grew up in an orphanage and are now getting ready to head to the outside world so they can earn money and support the other orphans. As they traverse the forest, they notice their cat change. It wasn’t very subtle since the Light goddess loves to talk. They call her Felix since that was the cat’s name. They also don’t believe her story about being all powerful after all, but I don’t blame them since Felix basically has no power for most of the game due to possessing such a small animal. The fate of the world now rests with these two teenagers and their pet cat goddess. Can they really stop the Dark god from destroying the world?

There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot, but I’m trying to avoid them to you can see for yourself. In short, the Dark god has his reasons for doing this even though the two gods used to be best friends. I don’t agree with them at all though as even being sympathetic is a stretch. It’s one of those cases where the whole game would have been averted if there had been a little more communication between the characters. I’d also say that he went off the deep end either way so you just can’t defend him. Felix was surprisingly shady as well, but she finally learned the values of friendship.

The gameplay is your classic turn based combat. You can use physical skill attacks or magic against foes. I used magic for the first 70% of the game until I found out that skills are actually far more powerful. I recommend focusing on those but always have a magic stone equipped so you can learn new spells. Uriel and Stella’s are especially helpful since they weaken a boss’ defense and attack. It’s a simple gameplay style but you always learn new things. I had been using Stella’s final smash throughout the game since it restores everyone’s HP and MP, as well as increasing all of their stats to the max, but little did I know that Uriel’s is even better. I used it against the Final Boss and he was frozen for almost 20 turns. It was crazy and that Final boss was definitely unforgettable. He had a similar move where he’s paralyze you for the whole fight so it was merely a question of who used the ability first.

Be warned that whenever you flee a monster encounter you lose some final smash meter. (9% to be exact) My strategy was to run until I made it to the end of the dungeon. There is always a save point near the end which tells you that a boss is up ahead. Then I’d quickly fight a bunch of monsters to get my full meter back and then fight. The save point heals your HP and MP as well so this way you don’t have to waste any items on the way. You will almost definitely need to do some serious grinding before you finish the game, but it goes by pretty quickly here. The enemies give you a lot of EXP.

Also, make sure you break any rocks that you see by the enemies. They have a chance to have 3 AHP points within them. You can save up to 20 of those to buy a 20% up EXP item for a character or save up to 100 points so you can have a full team revive during a boss fight. I went the whole game without getting 100 so I’m glad I just went for the EXP right away, but it depends on how you play. I’m sure there is a way to find more rocks, but you can’t find out much from the game online. It’s just trial and error so these are the paths that worked for me. As you can see, the gameplay was simple, but pretty detailed. I could spend a while just talking about that aspect, but you get the idea.

Zack is a solid main character. He’s your classic adventurer who rushes into danger and is always confident in his skills. He’s a nice guy but doesn’t tend to be very formal so all of the characters call him out on this. I’d think that formalities wouldn’t matter much when the planet is at stake, but evidently it is still a priority. He has to make some tough calls at the end, but chooses the right ones. I definitely have no qualms with Zack and he was an engaging protagonist to follow.

Stella is the main heroine and she’s pretty nice. Her unfortunate tendency to try whipping the main character when he’s being nice is a little suspect, but she actively tries to control herself as the game goes on. She’s a little more timid than the other main characters which is another part of her character arc. Based on her design in the sequel, she has learned to be more independent so it’ll be cool to see how she is there. She’s a good character even if she’s not a great one.

Celine is a high priestess who ends up joining the cast and becoming a main character. The fact that she knows hand to hand combat is certainly helpful. She also objects to Zack being nice to everyone all the time but gradually learns that he doesn’t mean it as an insult. I’d probably rank her last among the main heroines, but they’re all rather close. She just didn’t seem to bring as much to the table as the others and her subplot about lacking confidence didn’t really help matters.

Uriel is a mysterious girl who claims to know Zack from the past even though he doesn’t remember her. To pay Zack back for saving her life, she will now help him save the world. Her dark magic is incredibly useful in combat and she is the most loyal of the allies. She was my favorite member of the team and I relied on her Final Smash attack for the final boss. If I’d known it was so good, I would have used it sooner.

Felix is an intriguing character since she acts nothing like what you’d expect based on her role in the universe and character design. Instead of being a wise old lady who brings peace, she’s always insulting the humans and picking fights. She talks quite a lot and doesn’t follow any orders even if they’ll save a lot of trouble. It’s all about her pride here. She’s a fun character to have around since this results in a lot of banter. It was unexpected, but certainly in a good way. I already talked about the Dark god. He comes across as very whiny and completely unsympathetic so you’ll just think of him as another obstacle in the road. I preferred his two Legion generals.

Finally we also have the Dark Copies. The heroes end up travelling to a Mirror World towards the second half of the game where they meet evil copies of Zack and Stella. They were definitely interesting characters. I don’t like either of them, but they make for really good villains. It always ups the stakes when you find an evil version of yourself. They were also quite powerful and had some of the more challenging boss fights in the game. They were a great addition to the cast. You need human opponents like that once in a while because just having monsters isn’t as personal. Throwing in the humans shows that you can’t trust anyone in the mirror world.

There are a few supporting characters like the Queen, Lars, Luna, etc. They are fairly good. They add to the plot and come in handy, but aren’t really main characters. There are 3 different levels of characters here. The main characters who appear frequently and go on the missions. The supporting characters, these still have full character portraits like the main ones, but don’t get on the front lines. Finally, the non characters, the ones with names, but no accompanying picture. It was a pretty good way of knowing who was important and who wasn’t right off the bat.

The graphics look really clear and smooth. One positive for mobile games in general is that they don’t have the budget to add in the fancy stuff so they make the fields clear so the sprites that they do have look great. Throw in the PS4 resolution and this game really looks modern. There is absolutely nothing dated about the graphics and the character portraits are also high budget as opposed to the interesting Street Fighter V ones. I enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s noticeably limited as there are only 3-4 themes in the game for the most part, but fortunately they are catchy. I really enjoyed the main battle theme which plays for virtually all of the bosses. The game also did throw in a unique theme for the final boss which was definitely appreciated. I have no qualms with this area of the game.

There is a good amount of replay value here as you can try to get all of the PS4 trophies. During that process you can try to hit Level 600 with all of the characters and unlock the various endings. I got the normal ending, which I’m pretty satisfied with, but it would have been nice to have gotten the others. I thought I had enough of a trust level to get one of the bonus endings, but apparently not. The main game will last you over 25 hours as well so it’s not like the game even needed bonus content at all. It’s well worth the price.

Overall, Asdivine Hearts was a really fun game. The plot starts right away and even the intro which is probably the slowest part as you get the feel for the game was fun. A lot of that is due to the smooth gameplay, but the characters and story deserve a nod here as well. I definitely love RPGs since turn based combat/grinding is fun and you spend so much time in the story that you’re almost guaranteed to get to like the cast. The map in this game is also perfect so you’ll never get lost which is huge. I’m not going to say that this was one of the best RPGs ever, but it actually is pretty high up there. I hope the sequel ends up getting a PS4 release as well.

Overall 8/10

Metroid Prime Pinball Review

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It’s been a while since I played a Metroid game so what better way than to go back and finally check out Metroid Pinball? I’ve had the game for a long time, but the cartridge never worked. Well, it finally did so I wasted no time in scoping it out before it decided to break again. It’s a pretty solid Pinball game that fans of the genre will enjoy, but it’s not as if the title does a whole lot with the genre. Effectively it’s just the same old Pinball with a new paint job.

There’s not really a plot here although there could have been the first time around. See, I got this game used so it was already completed. For the sake of the review I just went through the level select and tried them out. It’s not as if there are a lot of levels so it was pretty easy. There are only 4-5 levels if I’m remembering correctly. There are actual bosses so that’s pretty neat. It means that there is certainly some kind of story here. I’ll assume that Samus has been charged with destroying all of the Metroids in her way.

If you don’t know how Pinball works, effectively you have a ball inside of a field and you have to keep it there as long as possible. You control two flippers that you use to block the ball from exiting the field. The longer you survive, the more points you get. There’s also a layer of strategy as you try to hit the ball at certain angles to get your points as quickly as possible. That’s how all of the normal levels play out, but with the Metroid background. This means that the levels are very tech based and there are even Metroids running around. You even get to turn into your robot mode to blast away at them once in a while if you hit the right switch. I think that could have made for a good game to be honest since those segments were always a lot of fun.

The graphics look pretty good. I feel like the company actually put quite a bit of effort into this one since the character designs are on point. You really feel like this is a Metroid Prime game and not some pinball game leaning on its legacy. The soundtrack is also quite good as a result. This game definitely benefited from the fact that it is from the Metroid Prime series as opposed to simply being a Metroid title. Since Pinball is fairly passive the matches can take a long time. While waiting for the ball there isn’t much you can actually do so it’s nice to at least be able to listen to good music in the meanwhile.

Back to the bosses, the gameplay for those is still like normal Pinball except you want to hit them with it. They’re not all that difficult but you’ll still have to get used to the ball and knowing where you’ll hit it before you can claim victory. At least there really isn’t much luck involved here as it’s all in the angles. In a rare occasion the ball will land perfectly in the middle so you can’t block it but that is extremely rare.

There’s not a lot of replay value depending on how you look at it. I mean, it’s Pinball so technically you can play it forever, but there aren’t a lot of game specific reasons to keep on playing. You can beat the “story” in 40 minutes and even if the levels take you a while it won’t be longer than a few hours. You can keep on trying to beat your high scores, but there just isn’t a lot of content in this one. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t own many Pinball games. It’s one of those games that’s a little more fun in real life than in a game.

Overall, There’s not much more to say about this title since in general there’s not too much for me to talk about Pinball. Pinball fans will get a kick out of this one. It’s certainly a lot better than the Pokemon Pinball game. Mario Pinball is still the definitive title, but Metroid is likely the second best portable Pinball title. I can’t imagine getting this for the full price back in the day, but it’s only a dollar or two nowadays so you can’t go wrong with that price. Once you purchase it, prepare for the nostalgia as you hear the classic Prime tunes again. We do have Metroid Prime 4 coming out at some point so the series isn’t dead yet! I’m not the biggest Pinball fan but don’t get me wrong, playing the game is fun. It’s one of those titles that you can easily pop into the console whenever you want and play a few rounds. It’s always nice to have an easy option like that one at the ready for whenever you need it. I’d love a Super Smash Bros pinball game someday. now that would be a lot of fun.

Overall 6/10

Genji: Days of the Blade Review

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It’s time to check out an old PS3 beat em up. I got this one at around the same time as Trinity so once I finished that game I knew that it was time to finally pop Genji in. Unfortunately it is nowhere near as good as Trinity. It loses in pretty much every single way. It’s not a bad game, but it does have a bunch of questionable design choices that limit the title. Depending on how the final boss battle had unfolded, this review certainly could have gotten more negative.

There are three main heroes, Yoshitsune, Benkei, and Shizuka. A cosmic entity inhabiting the body of the main villain from the first game also shows up, but he doesn’t really add anything to the story. The land is being overrun by zombies and mystical villains who can turn into vampires and other such monsters. There are even giant Crabs running around and a Kaiju. The heroes have to defend their turf and the whole world as well so they ready their swords and shields. Stopping the villains is as simple as destroying them all, but it won’t be so easy since these villains can certainly fight back. It’s essentially a war against zombies which is an interesting premise, but the characters don’t always seem to act as if they’re fighting anything supernatural. It’s just another day in Feudal Japan. (Or China. I think it’s Japan though)

Right off the bat you can tell that this plot isn’t going to be particularly exciting. The voice acting is pretty iffy and the story is only slightly better than Dynasty Warriors. The characters are as generic as can be, but don’t even have good character designs to save them. Yoshitsune is a poor man’s Sanada Yukimura. Shizuka never actually does much in the story and her health is so low in the game that you never want to actually play as her. Benkei is super powerful in combat, but I just didn’t like him either. There was no reason for the heroes to ditch him during his dramatic moment either as they should have just stayed together and fought off the villains.

While the graphics aren’t as good as Trinity, it’s not as if they’re bad either. It’s still PS3 level, it’s just that the level designs are really bland and there’s not much for the game to work with. There aren’t really even any colors throughout the game so it all appears to be rather lifeless. It doesn’t do anything to immerse you in the game. The soundtrack can also be rather annoying. I like the more atmospheric ninja themes that play during the game, but the one where the guy just keeps yelling over and over again just makes you want to turn the volume off. On a technical level, I’d say that the game was actually bad when you think about it.

Fortunately, the gameplay is what we’re here for and it’s pretty good. For an odd reason the game chose to go for a more cinematic style. This means that you fight in slow motion a lot of the time. Gradually you start to fight a little faster as the game goes on and by the end it feels pretty normal. I suppose you just get that strong by the end. There is no lock on system so sometimes you’ll find yourself randomly missing the enemy but you’ll adapt to this by the time you complete the game. Each character has a final smash attack which stops time and lets you unleash a flurry of attacks. It’s a lengthy quick time event which saves you a lot of time from fighting each opponent individually. It’s immensely helpful for bosses even if it can get rather repetitive.

There isn’t any replay value to be found here. No collectibles, no multiplayer, no trophies…etc. Once you complete the game you’re just going to put it down and you’ll probably never pick it up again. The game is about 10 hours long so at least it’s not too short or anything. It’s a reasonable length considering that you can pick the game up for about 5 dollars. Still, I always like to at least have some replay value at the ready.

Make sure you have some backup saves ready as you approach the end of the game. If you don’t have a lot of items or power ups at the ready for when you fight the final boss it’ll all be over for you. The final boss is basically 5 phases long and in that time there are no minions to fight so forget about getting any more EXP for your weapons. Fortunately I had saved most of my items and power ups til the climax so I was able to barely squeak by, but it does feel like a mean spirited game. The average player would have used the power ups by then since you’d assume that it’s the right move and there is no guarantee that they would save their items either. The 4th phase of the final boss is hard to even hit without the final smash since it’s limbs are so high up and the final, final boss takes a lot of dodging and tedious hit/run strategies to overcome. Ideally you want to have around 10-15 final smashes ready. A pro tip is that leveling up your Magic meter restores it completely so just don’t level it up until you’re at the boss. Then you can use the final smash, upgrade, use it again, and keep on repeating this strategy over and over again. It’s a sound plan and one that worked for me.

The part I was stuck at for the longest time was definitely a long tower level within a boat. You had to climb and jump through a bunch of obstacles. The problem is that the camera kept changing angles which made your journey that much more difficult and then falling would send you way back. You won’t fall for the same trick too many times as you’ll eventually manage to get through, but I feel like the developers just did a really bad job with the stage design and a lot of the game’s fundamentals. This game could have been so much better than it actually was. I’ll give it some kudos for the amount of cutscenes that it had though. I may not have particularly enjoyed the story, but at least it actually did have one. That’s better than nothing.

Overall, The gameplay may not have sounded great from how I described it, but it’s still a 3D beat em up. It’s fun to take on the legions of enemies and prove that you are the best fighter. The game can be rather difficult so you can’t just run into every pile of enemies and attack until they’re down. Sometimes you’ll need to lead them into traps or cross-fire between enemies. Other times you may have to retreat for a while. Be careful because save parts can be far apart so you can lose close to 20 minutes at times. The platforming in the game is also pretty rough so watch out for those sections. I think you’ll enjoy the game more if you know the tricks behind it since the game doesn’t explain it very well. Otherwise you’re in for a brutal time. Believe it or not, I recommend the game, but just be sure to take every precaution by having the backup files at the ready. It’s never too early to start saving your items either.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh Ultimate Masters World Championship 2007 Review

WC07-VideoGameEN
It’s been a long while, but now I can finally jump onto the next installment in the Yugioh World Championships. I believe I am only missing around 4 of them now. The games lasted for quite a while back then and it’s a shame that they’ve stopped. Imagine how many cards a World Championship 2017 would have had. I suppose that with Duel Links the franchise may be wondering how they can top that, but I’d still like to see an attempt. While I prefer humanoid opponents to monsters in the WC series, this game holds up as well as any of the others. It’s pretty well optimized and the load times are nonexistent so that’s a win-win.

The main mode you’ll be playing here is the campaign. Essentially you start off at Level 1 where there are 6 opponents. To unlock the next level you must defeat each opponent 5 times. Fortunately this is now the only requirement to unlock the next level as previous games forced you to achieve a specific victory ratio. That required you to keep on resetting the game right before defeat which was tedious so this is a big improvement. There were opponents in this game that I had a losing record against so I am definitely glad that I don’t have to worry about that now. It makes gathering money a little easier since you actually get to keep it even through defeat.

There are 5-6 levels in the game, but only the first 4 are accessible without having to enter other modes so that’s where I stopped. My final record at the end was 96 wins and 88 losses which isn’t so bad if you ask me. I was just glad to stay above a 50% win ratio so that was satisfying enough. This main mode will likely take you at least 10 hours, but it’ll certainly depend on the deck that you create. Naturally there is a large amount of luck involved on which cards you get and such, but mitigating the risk is part of what makes you a good deck builder. Try to build a lot of combos into your deck so that no matter what you draw it’ll be a good one.

I focused my deck on Elemental Heroes. Sure, it may be borrowed from Jaden, but that’s exactly why I went with the deck. If it was good enough for him to wreck everybody then it’s good enough for me. I added in some extra spells and traps to make the deck a lot easier to counter with so at times it did backfire. Let me say that getting a hand with all traps and no monsters is no good. You always want to have a monster ready to summon or you’re really going to be in a pickle. At the same time, the final opponents all have very cheesy summons and combos so having a trap that automatically destroys the monster and wastes the last 5 minutes of their effort is a must.

The graphics are pretty clean. It’s not as if they’re doing anything too special but it’s easy to look at. The duel field isn’t cluttered and it’s always easy to see what is going on. As for the soundtrack, it’s okay. I think Tag Force has spoiled me a little as the themes there were just super awesome throughout, but the peaceful World Championship score isn’t bad. Honestly I’m usually way too focused on playing my trap cards and going through memes in my mind to actually notice it all that much.

It goes without saying that there is a ton of replay value in this game. After beating all of the main opponents you can go to the other modes that I referenced earlier. One such mode is the Limited Duel. Essentially you have to beat an opponent while adhering to certain limitations. Another one is the Duel Puzzle. You’ll be thrown in the middle of a duel and have to figure out how to win it in one turn. Despite the fact that there are only so many ways you can play your turn, this can actually be extremely difficult. Seriously, don’t underestimate just how tough this is. It’s pretty entertaining though so while it’ll take a while, you’ll have fun trying it out. Honestly it could probably take you as long as an RPG’s game length to tackle everything in this game. I won’t even count collecting all of the hundreds of cards since that would be even crazier. I have around 400 cards and I don’t think I’m even halfway there yet. Not to mention that you buy them lottery style so there is some luck at play there.

You couldn’t really ask for a better Yugioh simulator. Since the game even has mini animations for the big monsters, you really feel like you’re in the duel. The music will also change if you destroy your opponent’s ace monster. As I mentioned, the controls are really smooth so you’re not going to attack the wrong person by mistake. The turns are pretty quick so it’s not as if the long loading times exist to deter you. The amount of cards at play is also pretty good and earning money is quick so you are always ready to buy your next pack. As such I don’t really have any complaints for this game. A minor nitpick would be that I’d prefer to have fought some of Jaden’s opponents from the show instead of generic monsters. The classic Yugioh games all had you fight with iconic characters like Kaiba and Pegasus. There weren’t cutscenes or anything, but at least it would feel more like you were fighting an actual opponent. As you went up the levels you would fight stronger/more popular fighters. Here…I guess having Cyber End Dragon in World 4 makes a lot of sense, but I didn’t even know a bunch of the other monsters. It was just an odd change although the last Yugioh GX game did that as well so maybe it’s just GX’s gimmick or something.

One of these days I’m definitely going to have to make a list where I place all of the Yugioh Games from best to worst. Such a list would be super hype and perhaps I should make that an article. Keep your eyes out for that even if it may not have the clickbait headline that I usually try to have accompanying it. The highest game for Yugioh on my backburner is Duelist of the Rose, which will likely come up pretty soon. It technically is pretty short since there are only about 7-8 duels as opposed to close to 200 in this one, but I’ve heard they are super tough to compensate for that.

Pro tip for when you fight the opponents. Stalling them usually won’t work. I was able to really take advantage of that in the Wii game, but here they always have some kind of fancy combo to wipe the field so they can usually outlast you. If you have the edge in battle, just throw out an attack. Odds are that it will succeed and you’ll be glad that you did. Surprisingly most opponents don’t have a trap card to punish your attack in the later levels as mostly it’s just the intro opponents who will do that.

Overall, If you’re into Yugioh, then this is a solid game to get. My personal favorite World Championship game may still be 2006 because I felt the gameplay was the best from all of them, but I also may be bias because that game had my favorite deck. I went through all of the options for hours in that game and finally came out with a really hype fire deck. Every card had a lot of power behind it and I cruised through the game. Still, I made a pretty solid deck in the end through this game as well and it would be fun if I could fight myself with it. 2010 is also a pretty great title since that one did actually have a main story as well. I’m not sure which WC game I’ll get next, but 2005 is definitely the cheapest one which sounds good to me. I believe it is the final classic Yu-Gi-Oh title that I have not purchased yet.

Overall 8/10