Tomb Raider (2018) Review

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It’s time to look at the new Tomb Raider film. It had a lot to live up to since the first two movies in the series were quite solid. It would also be starting at a disadvantage since the first two took place when she was a pro while this was a prequel where she was just starting out. Origin stories are never quite as good as the hero’s later adventures but maybe this one would be an exception. The first trailer was pretty solid after all. While the movie isn’t quite as good as it looked, it’s still a decently good movie. It just needed more scenes of Lara actually taking down the villains as opposed to letting her friend do most of the work.

The movie starts off with Lara losing a boxing match against who I assume must be the regional champ. She tries to pull herself together in time to win a race of catch the fox but loses there as well and is brought to the cops. Fortunately her family is rich so she gets to walk out with no repercussions. Her aunt tells her that she needs to sign the power of attorney to give the aunt all of the power within the company. Lara thinks that this is ludicrous. Not because the aunt will effectively be stealing the company away but because she resents the fact that her father died so early and wants to make it on her own. Still, money troubles don’t just go away so she made the tough call to accept the money. Her father left one last message in a puzzle with the will and it shows an island on it. Lara quickly jumps on this and dashes over with the help of a local guide. They have to stop an evil company from destroying the world by bringing back a plague with them. The issue is that Lara is just one person against a private army and her father certainly isn’t going to help. He’s not dead anymore, but his spirit is broken and that’s effectively the same thing.

We get quite a few action scenes here where Lara challenges the main villains in hand to hand combat. As a boxer she certainly does have some moves. While she can’t go up against groups of fighters anymore she can still manage some 1 on 1 fights well enough. The fights are close and there’s nothing fancy about them as it’s simply a fight to the death. The fights can be a little dark so it’s hard to see what’s going on, but they’re all right. A little below average compared to the average action film, but they serve their purpose. Seeing Lara use the bow and arrow briefly will definitely remind you of the Hunger Games.

As for Lara herself, she’s a good lead. At times the accents for some of the main characters including her can make it a little tough to understand them, but it seemed to be a realistic accent I suppose. It’s good that she’s always ready for a fight and is rather headstrong. I don’t really have any complaints about her. Hopefully for the sequel if we get one there will be a time skip just so she can be more powerful to keep up with her confidence. Her father is definitely irredeemable at this point though. Richard is annoying through every scene that he’s in. He leaves behind a tape with a ton of confidential blueprints that will help out the villains immensely and then blames Lara for bringing it along. What else did he actually think she would do? He references that she never likes doing what she is told so that wouldn’t change here. The worst part is that the villain organization already had an inside agent and there was a huge chance that they would have gotten the tape instead of Lara. Richard’s plan was just heavily short sighted from start to finish.

The main villain Mathias was very generic. He’s just another guy who works as a lackey for a richer guy in order to get an early retirement. He tries to have a mild sob story about how he can’t see his kids until the mission is done, but the film doesn’t even try to make him sympathetic. That’s a good thing since it never would have worked. He can’t really fight but has a lot of raw strength so he gives Lara a good match. There just isn’t too much to this guy and you just won’t remember him a few years down the line. He probably should have finished off Lara from the start since she was clearly a threat to his plans.

Finally we have Lu. He has a shaky start as he gave in to his drunk tendencies and doesn’t come across as very brave but mans up when the going gets tough. In the climax he actually does most of the work as he shoots down a bunch of guards and even takes down more fighters once he is out of ammo. The guy definitely seems like the low key MVP here and hopefully he got paid pretty well by Lara afterwards.

There is a cliffhanger at the end to set up the sequel. It’s fairly open ended though so while we know who the villains will be the plot can still revolve around anything. I think a sequel would be pretty solid so I’m game for that to show up soon. In theory we need a good rival for Lara soon though so maybe the corporate villains will hire an adventurer of their own in order to keep up. The film can really do anything at this point although Lara is certainly to blame for the villains getting a better foothold since her decision at the end didn’t really make any logical sense.

Overall, Tomb Raider is a film that’s very by the numbers. The action scenes aren’t all that good and while the main character is fun, she really doesn’t feel like Lara Croft for most of it. Ironically her first scene would have felt the most like her except for the fact that she was getting her boxing gloves handed to her in the fight. It’s based on the newer Tomb Raider game which is the weakest one in the series so it’s most likely due to the game’s influence but since the next movie might go its separate path things might be different. I’d still recommend this movie if you’re looking for a good action title though. You won’t be bored as the pacing is fairly good.

Overall 6/10

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City Connection Review

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I realized that I had a ton of coins on MyNintendo Rewards and they were all about to go to waste so it was time to make a move. I don’t buy digital games all that often, but when I do you can bet that they will be quality titles. Well, City Connection isn’t all that good to be honest and it’s not very well known for a good reason, but the actual gameplay is fairly unique. With modern tech it probably could have even been very good. As it stands, the game is very forgettable and won’t be remembered as well as something like Mario or Legend of Zelda.

The game starts you off right away as you drive through town. The levels are all on what is essentially 3 screens worth of ground to cover. You have to drive on everything to make the stage all white which clears the level. The stages typically have 3-4 levels of height to go through and you will have to dodge the cops and an evil cat as you do this. All you can do is drive back and forth as well as jumping. Once you master the controls you will also find that jumping and then changing directions is incredibly handy. The game is rather fast so it is very difficult not to bump into anything. One bump costs a life though so be careful as 3 bumps means that you are out.

The game has roughly 5 levels before it starts looping back to the beginning forever and ever. There is no story or ending to be found so watch out or you’ll be playing old levels. I was nearly done with beating the game a second time before I realized this. It’s rather disheartening since it means that the game was really slapped together without a care in the world. I only made it through the game because of the save points that you can exploit with the Wii U. Prepare to save it every other second here as cars will teleport out of nowhere and the cat likes to move around as well. The cat is invincible so just don’t mess with him. He will chase you if you stay on any layer of the stage too long so do a lot of jumping. Of course, when you jump you are vulnerable as a car can easily jump out of nowhere to intercept you so watch out for that.

You only counter to the cars is that you can fire back with some oil bullets. This won’t work on cars that teleport though so watch out for that as they aren’t fully materialized into this plane of existence. Again, I like the concept of having to paint a whole town. It’s sort of like De Blob, the execution just wasn’t on point. The Police Cars just seem unfair with how they teleport around and there is almost no way you can win without the extra save points. There isn’t any incentive to win either since the game has absolutely no replay value or even a real ending to congratulate you on a job well done.

There isn’t much to say about the graphics either. They are just really old and I suppose you can’t fault the game for that. It’s all right I guess, but probably one of the worst animated games that I have seen in a while. The little screencaps after each level are okay if not for the fact that they reuse them very quickly. Those couldn’t have been very expensive so I think the game could have added many more of them. There is really only one theme in the game so you better enjoy it or that will hurt the game as well. It’s not bad, but there isn’t any real personality to the theme either so it’s just there. It’s kind of like elevator music in that respect. This game needs a modern reboot to help restart the franchise.

Overall, I can’t say that the game is very fun. It’s unique and is good to play for a few minutes, but it’s not a game that I would recommend spending money on. It just isn’t worth that kind of attention and I’ve seen free games that had a lot more heart and depth to them. If you really want a good challenge then I guess this could be the ticket for you, but there are better options out there like Ninja Gaiden. I’d never heard of this game before I bought it and I can now see why.

Overall 5/10

Sword Art Online: Integral Factor Review

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Sword Art Online has always been known for having video games where the plot seems like a bit of a backdrop. Sometimes nothing actually happens until the very end as the characters just hang out and have a lot of fun. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I have enjoyed the last SAO games to an extent. At the very least the gameplay is always a lot of fun. However, that’s the catch. If the plot isn’t too engaging then you need the gameplay to be top notch and I’m afraid that this one just didn’t quite make it that far. Part of me feels like I needed to give it more of a chance, but considering how long I’ve had the game I think it is just that the gameplay didn’t pop out enough. It could have done better.

The premise of the game is what if Arc 1 happened, but you were around to save everybody. While Kirito is usually known as the hero of this world, what if you were the one actually responsible for saving it? You play as a bland character with no real name who shows up one day. Naturally there is a new heroine as well and since she isn’t used to fighting games like this one she is counting on you to lead the way. So far…that’s really all that’s happened. I made it up to somewhere around the halfway point of episode 1, but the game refuses to progress. The task master keeps sending you into the forests to grab a bunch of plants and potions over and over again. Rather than sending you to get all of them at once he is doing it one at a time. By the 10th trip back and forth you will be wondering what the point of all this was. I just want to go ahead and fight the boss. The current mission I’m on is to grab more plants.

I’m fine with a slow boiling plot but the missions should at least feel slightly relevant. These just don’t make any sense and usually a mobile game should try to suck you in at first. You need to start off with some big events and then tone it down and throw in the filler missions to buy time. This game just didn’t have the balance right and the story is the main reason why I finished so quickly. It just wasn’t even trying.

Then we have the gameplay which fortunately was on point. This part is actually the most impressive bit. The screen adds a little control pad onto it that is actually interactive. Meaning that for once you can actually move around and fight in 3D. The gameplay is the same as your average beat em up which is something that I didn’t really expect to see on the mobile side of things. It’s pretty impressive and that’s the highlight of the game. In terms of pure gameplay it is probably the best mobile game to date. It helps take away the repetitious nature of the game a bit. I have heard that the gameplay gets repetitive though and since there are only 1-2 attacks I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case. Still, at the moment it hadn’t had that affect.

The animation looks really stunning for the main menu, but in game it’s a little less impressive. I’ve heard that the game also diverges a little further from the actual arc as characters like Leafa show up. Essentially think of this as an alternate version of the arc where all of Kirito’s friends from the future also got to appear. That should make clearing the game a whole lot easier right? Unfortunately the game doesn’t really have a soundtrack. Just another element that hurts this game quite a bit.

As with Dragon Ball Legends there are a lot of features here that I don’t really understand but the game doesn’t even try to spell them out for you. It’s like a big mystery, but one that the game doesn’t want to help you out with. I didn’t really try to get into all of that stuff. I figure that I’ll still be strong enough to beat whatever bosses go my way right? The Story Mode is really the only mode to play here, but you can choose to fight the levels with online players helping you out or doing it offline. I’ve heard tat it gets near impossible to do it all solo by the end so we’ll see if that’s true. (If I ever go back)

The campaign seems like it’s quite long and the game has a ton of replay value so you don’t have to worry about a lack of content here. Really, the only issue is whether the game will hold your attention long enough for it to matter. See, mobile games are good for short sessions on the go or when you don’t have time for a normal game. Online Mobile games already destroy the first part and if they are too intricate with long levels than it beats the second one as well. This game is unfortunately in both categories as I believe even when playing solo you need an internet connection. There’s also not much that you can do in a short play through. This game would have ironically been a lot better as a full fledged SAO game. Not to mention that the plot would be perfect for it as well.

Overall, I do applaud how ambitious the game is when it comes to the gameplay. The way it is set up this game could last for quite a while. Still, it just isn’t interesting enough to play when there are so many other options on the field. Perhaps that will change and I still have it downloaded so perhaps I will check it out at some point when I have less games to juggle, but that will be a long ways away. If this sounds like it’s up your ally then check it out, but my recommendation isn’t quite as confident as for most of the other games. This one just isn’t on quite the same level.

Overall 6/10

Sword Art Online Calibur Review

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As I am currently playing through the Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet game, I figured that I should finally go and wrap up one of the spin-off manga titles. This one shot is based on the mini Asgard arc and has always been known as a relatively weak story. Unfortunately the manga makes it even worse by adding in a ton of fan service so you can probably already tell how this review is going to end.

The manga starts off with Suguha letting Kirito know that some players have finally found out the location of the hidden sword Excalibur. The heroes had found it about a year earlier but because they were so slow the rest of the world caught up. Kirito has to form a group of 7 people in order to conquer this quest but it may prove more dangerous than expected. If the heroes don’t complete the mission quickly than the whole virtual game will turn from a happy fairy based one into an apocalyptic ice land. Fortunately Kirito is up to the task.

This is Sword Art Online so I should probably bring up the unfortunate fan service right away since we all know that it’s coming. The manga sets the tone for how this is going to play out right from the beginning as the very first panel on the first page is a fan service shot. The author even mentions at the end that he added more than usual. It is constant enough during the volume where it probably happens every chapter. Some of the scenes are totally made up for the manga and really don’t help the overall case. It really limits what the rest of the manga can hope to accomplish.

At least the general art looks pretty good. The characters are very detailed and this translates well into the fight scenes. The quality here is high so it’s too bad that this artist couldn’t have picked a better arc than this one. Of course, this manga also has to have a quick flashback to a certain scene in arc 2 just to fit that extra bit of fan service in. So, very solid art but it’s used for scenes that really don’t help the overall manga.

Fortunately Kirito is a pretty solid main character as per usual. He comes up with the plan to save the day and even uses a new skill that is game breaking. He is always surpassing his limits so it should really come as no surprise. Even when everyone tries to mess with Kirito like putting him on the spot by asking if he would pay for the meal, Kirito takes it in stride. He was happy to pay and comes across as a solid team player.

Klein unfortunately looks about as bad as ever. He is still a very desperate character who will try to ask out a computer program and he is also super weak. The guy doesn’t even work well as a comic relief character but he does help to make Kirito look even better. That always seems like the real reason Kirito keeps him around. Klein just can’t go one page without humiliating himself.

Sinon gets the biggest role from all of the heroines. Unfortunately the author uses it for the wrong reasons at times but at least her fight scenes are solid. Since her bow and arrow skills are double that of the usual max, her weapon is actually pretty overpowered. Her reaction times are likely second only to Kirito’s here so that is very useful as well. Considering that she has apparently had the account for a day (if I recall correctly) Sinon must have trained a great deal.

Leafa is around just to feel bad for the creatures getting destroyed by the other players but doesn’t do much beyond that. If anything she can be a little on the annoying side since she knows about the Asgard myths but conveniently forgets about them until right after the fight. Asuna, Lizbeth, and Silica don’t actually get to do anything. They are basically just here to fill up the party.

Then we have the main villain who is certainly a terrible character. He’s a very sketchy villain whose goals are terrible and so there is absolutely nothing to root for in his character. There is also the prisoner who has a big plot twist which does not help her character. That’s because her actions up until the plot twist are extremely manipulative and she was basically using the heroes. Certainly not a very nice thing to do if you ask me. Not that it would have been much better without the twist but the character was having too much fun with her role. The plot twist is pretty obvious but the manga does a good job with it since the characters are self aware about it. They all know the twist but decide to play along anyway. Even then they only play along because Klein essentially forced them into doing so.

I think the only positive change that the manga did was give Sinon an extended fight. At the very least I don’t recall that happening in the show. It’s not much, but it shows that the manga did something right. With the artist’s skills he/she should still do well in a future SAO manga provided they focus on fight scenes and not adding anything else that would be tragic for the manga’s score.

Overall, This was definitely not a good SAO volume and it doesn’t do this wounded franchise any wonders. It just continues to make the same mistakes that the franchise has always made. It had great fight scenes, but is bogged down by all of the fanservice. I’d recommend just sticking to the original Sword Art Online manga instead of checking this one out. You’ll thank me for it someday.

Overall 4/10

Sakura Wars: So Long My Love Review

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This is one of those games that has been on the backburner for a very long time. I don’t even know how many years its been since I first bought the game but there were just so many that kept getting ahead of it. Well, the game finally made it to the top and I managed to complete it. I haven’t played too many visual novels, but it definitely can be a fun genre when handled well. The story is good and the characters are fun so it’s a good experience. Of course, the genre can only go so far without too much gameplay.

The story starts off with our hero Shinjiro Taiga. He has arrived in New York to be an usher at a famous theater. It turns out though that this theater is actually the headquarters for the New York Combat Revue. This team fights off all of the giant robots and aliens that threaten the planet. After the first mission goes terribly for the team, Shinjiro steps up to be the leader in place of the injured Ratchet. He may not have experience and the team may not respect him yet, but he will give the mission his all! As the game progresses he gradually begins to learn about his teammates and their tragic pasts. With a new sense of unity within the team, they will have to stop a fearsome demon known as Ranmaru from awakening the ultimate evil!

You can argue that the most important part of a visual novel is the cast. This is the one genre where the gameplay isn’t really the focus. There is gameplay of course, which I will talk about later but with bad characters it just wouldn’t matter. Fortunately the cast is solid for the most part. There are only a handful of characters that aren’t all that good and most of them are minor supporting characters as opposed to being the leads. Naturally we should start off with the main character.

Shinjiro is the main character and he’s a nice guy. He doesn’t really have any personality beyond being a nice guy who works hard. I suppose that’s all he needs though and I’m only judging him from the decisions I made. You have the option to make him into a fairly sketchy character if you wanted too. He’s not going to be remembered as one of the best main characters out there, but he’s a good guy and that’s good enough I’d say. He wants to protect his friends at any cost and is always quick to jump into a fight. That’s the kind of vigor you want in a main character.

Ratchet is a character who felt like she would be really important in the story, but surprisingly doesn’t get much of a role. She appears a lot more than the two girls by the front of the theater, but her actual importance is barely any higher. Still, Ratchet seems like a nice character even if I disagree with her decisions. She does care about the team and what she lacks in fighting ability she makes up for in tactics. One of the game’s paths apparently has her fight again towards the end which is cool, but in my story she never got back into the mech after the opening level. A shame since it would have been cool to have had her fight.

Gemini is definitely the main heroine of the game. She’s in the center on the cover, the game’s subtitle is referencing her, she’s the character Shinjiro ends up with in my story path, her subplot is the most important one and shows up in various chapters, etc. She is definitely the main protagonist aside from Shinjiro and she gets a ton of character development. She moved to New York to try and succeed in the Big Apple. Gemini grew up on a farm and has to adjust to the city but wants to prove that with hard work you can succeed anywhere. The other half of Gemini moved to New York to avenge her master who was murdered by the demon Ranmaru. See, Gemini was born with two hearts because she was supposed to be twins, but there was a complication during the birth and so the twins share one body. They are able to change places depending on which will is stronger. It’s an interesting take on the plot since usually it would just be that Gemini’s split personality isn’t actually real.

Here both Gemini are real people who are simply trapped in one body. I liked Gemini’s twin quite a lot and so officially I would put her as the best character. Gemini would be the second best though so it doesn’t matter too much compared to the others. The twin’s quest for revenge is just handled really well and she can actually fight without a machine which gives her a step over the others. It’s just a great plot and while of course it does throw in some romance you can avoid it for the most part. I chose to use Shinjiro as a good friend who was helping her through a tough time. The only rough patch of her arc is that we learn that her mentor was actually a pretty bad person so it turns out that Ranmaru was doing everyone a favor. Sometimes it is good to have villains around I guess. Gemini also owns a horse which gives her extra bonus points.

Sunnyside is the director of the team and definitely the shadiest character around. He jokes around so much that it’s hard to know when he’s serious. Perhaps he really would have destroyed one of the main characters in order to stop the villain. It’s just hard to say, but either way I can’t say that I’m a fan of his. He just isn’t a likable character and I can’t say that he did a great job of leading the team since he is always withholding things from them. Letting Shinjiro be the captain of the team was probably his best decision.

Diana is the weakest member of the main fighters. Her story arc is about how she doesn’t value life at first. She feels like since everyone dies eventually they may as well die right away. Definitely a rather grim way at looking at things. As a result, she lets the villains destroy a lot of birds in the process before she gets ready to fight. It’s just such a terrible plot because birds were the one creature that she was always really fond of and she still wouldn’t get up to fight. By the time she does it is simply too late. I couldn’t respect her as a character and there wasn’t much she could do to save herself at that point. Honestly, we don’t have to stop at main characters. She’s the weakest character in the game for sure. Her chapter with the birds is also what caused the game to lose one star with all of the animal violence.

Rosita is a fun character and probably the only main character that the game doesn’t try to pair you up with which is a nice change of pace. She’s basically just a kid so the bond with her is more of a father figure. She is a bounty hunter so Rosita is a tough kid. She wields two guns which she doesn’t hesitate to use. I still question how she was able to apprehend so many criminals but I guess if your gun skills are good enough then age quickly starts to become irrelevant. I feel like the voice actress probably had a lot of fun laying it on thick with the accent. It sounds rather fake, but is pretty fun. When used well accents can definitely make a character more memorable and I doubt I’ll be forgetting her voice anytime soon. Rosita is also very useful during the fights since her attack range is so long.

Then we have Subaru. She’s the quiet, but mean character who thinks she is above everyone else. I say “she” because I think it’s obvious, but a mild subplot is that nobody knows which gender Subaru is despite the character trying to make it obvious to everyone on several occasions. The game even forces you to ask her directly at the very end of the game to which she naturally doesn’t bother telling you. Honestly, who would in such a situation? Subaru isn’t a bad character, but I’d probably consider her to be the second weakest of the main 5 behind Diana. She just isn’t as interesting as the others and her episode wasn’t quite as fun. At least she can fight in hand to hand combat which is cool. The quiet character archetype can work well, but usually the livelier ones will end up being more enjoyable.

Cheiron is the law expert and she is always firm with everyone. She does lose a lot of credibility during her backstory though where she sells out to corporate and tries to destroy Harlem. The whole time this is happening you keep waiting for the twist where she is actually helping them out, but it never happens. She was apparently just brainwashed while getting her degree and forgot about the little people. It’s definitely well known that power corrupts, but it really hurts her character to see it happen to drastically. We put her back on the right path and she becomes a good character after that though. She’s quick to come to Shinjiro’s defense when the others take it a bit too far in their picking on him and she also serves as a mentor for Rosita. A rocky start is certainly better than a rocky ending as we at least got to see Cheiron improve during the game. She’s not the best member but at least she is a good one.

Ranmaru is the main villain of the game. He shows up in every chapter to mock everybody and keeps making threats. He’s technically very strong and so the whole team has to come together to stop him. I guess you could technically say that about most of the bosses though. While Gemini wanted revenge, she goes manage to spare Ranmaru as part of her development. I can get behind that, but it’s a bit of a stretch when the whole cast chooses to just let Ranmaru go. At least arrest the guy! This was a big mistake and is the reason why Nobunaga later gets revived. Ah well. Ranmaru is definitely a solid villain and he makes for a good enemy for Gemini. She definitely would have been outmatched without the others though.

Finally we have Nobunaga. He’s not nearly as interesting as he just shows up to say that friendship is fake before admitting that it’s the best thing ever. He doesn’t have a whole lot of time to appear so I guess it makes sense, but he could have been a lot cooler. Things also started to get a little weird when they brought reincarnation and time travel into the mix. Getting rid of that subplot would have probably been a good idea since it does come completely out of left field. That being said, he did give us some good fight scenes. Nobunaga’s design is on point and he is certainly a threat thanks to his high power level. It’s intense to see one guy taking on a whole squad of super powerful mechs.

So the gameplay mainly occurs at the very end of each chapter. There are minor quick time events during the chapter where you will walk a few steps from area to area or move a lever. There are of course many choices that you have to make, but I’m not even sure if I’d call that gameplay. I mean, it’s just pointing and clicking. Still, your choices will have an impact on the ending. I believe there are 5-6 endings so choose carefully as the game will force you to pair up with someone so it might as well be a hype character. I tried going for the friend zone, but the game denied me.

The main combat gameplay is Xcom style like in Mario vs Rabbids or other games of that nature. You control 5-6 robots and have to either destroy a bunch of generators, defeat all enemies, or take down a huge boss. Typically the big boss at the end will have several parts and you’ll have to decide which target to focus on. You can go straight for the boss core or try to take out the armor and limbs around it to make the boss weaker. It’s always a tough call and there’s no real correct answer. They can all be risky and you still have to watch out for the minions swarming you from all sides. It’s a really tactical game and you feel like a true leader. I definitely had fun trying out quite a few different strategies. The final level in the game is naturally the hardest and it took me quite a few tries to complete the level where you are protecting the ship. Just keep on trying out different tactics until you figure out which one works for you. Your allies’ strength will depend on how well you get along with them when you’re making decisions so it does actually encourage you to be nice to them. I got quite a few wrong answers with my partners which is probably part of why the levels were so hard towards the end. Still, I always have to give the answer that makes the most sense.

As it’s a visual novel the game does have some pretty iffy choices at times. We get the usual hot springs mixup as well when the main character forgets how to be smart. Even the falling on top of someone cliche happens. Still, the game was fairly tame in this regard. It may have been because I would always give the safest answer, but that’s part of why being able to pick your response is always a good thing. It’s a minor enough element where it’s not a big deal. The harem elements of this game are pushed to the backburner which is a really good thing. You can still choose to interpret the game as everyone (except your final decision character) just likes Shinjiro platonically.

The graphics are really good. This game actually has full anime cutscenes scattered within which is really cool. A lot of the game’s cutscenes are just stills with voice acting after all so this shows where they spent their budget. The illustrations do look good though and the character designs are on point. Mix this all together and I’d say that the graphics definitely did a really good job. It may not be the next big thing or anything like that, but it’s solid enough.

It almost goes without saying since I’ve never heard of a short visual novel, but the game’s length is pretty good. It should last you around 15-20 hours I’d say. There isn’t any replay value since once you beat the game that’s it so it’s all about the initial playthrough. I mean, there are multiple endings, but would you really want to play the whole game again just for that? If that’s your plan, then it’s best to make multiple save files once you’re deep into the game in order to experience them all. There’s definitely enough content here to justify the price and the difficulty also ensures that you won’t blast through it too quickly.

Overall, Sakura Wars was a fun game and definitely fun to play through. The length was good and the gameplay was fun when it happened. Most importantly, the story was good so it was like watching a fun anime movie. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the visual novel genre. If you really need gameplay or don’t like long cutscenes then this won’t be the title for you. So long as you know what to expect and like the idea of this game then I’d say that you’ll definitely like it since the execution is on point. It’d be cool if we got another Sakura Wars game someday. Also, I have to give the game one final shoutout for making the whole thing take place in New York. That was really cool and it’s the only anime type game that I can think of which takes place there. Unless I’m missing something, I’ve now played two visual novel games. This one and Guardians of the Galaxy. I guess we’ll see what the third is!

Overall 6/10

Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 13h 50m

Scrolls 59/222
Jutsu 23/35
Ninja Tools 23/51

Story Mode Level Ranks

Chapter 1 S
Chapter 2 S
Chapter 3 S
Chapter 4 S
Chapter 5 C
Chapter 6 S
Chapter 7 B
Chapter 8 C
Chapter 9 C
Chapter 10 C
Chapter 11 C
Chapter 12 S
Chapter 13 S
Chapter 14 S
Chapter 15 A
Chapter 16 C
Chapter 17 C

Mission Ranks

D Class
1 B
2 S
3 C
4 S

C Rank
1 B
2 S
3 A
4 B
5 B
6 B
7 B
8 S
9 B

B Rank
1 S
2 S
3 B
4 S
5 S
6 S
7 S
8 B
9 S

A Rank
1 –
2 –
3 S
4 –
5 –
6 –
7 –
8 –
9 –

S Rank
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –
5 –
6 –

Yugioh Ultimate Masters World Championship 2007 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Overall Duel Record 96-88 (I stayed in the green)
Duel Record against monsters W-L
Winged Kuriboh 5-0
Fox Fire 5-2
Des Wombat 5-2
Snipe Hunter 5-3
Eria the Water Charmer 5-6
Dark Red Enchanter 5-1
Ultimate Tyranno 5-4
Dark Ruler Ha Des 5-6
Tualatin 5-3
Hilta the Fire Charmer 5-6
Frostosaurus 5-8
Ancient Gear Beast 5-4
Yamata Dragon 5-7
Neo=Parshath the Sky Paladin 5-12
Allure Queen Lv 5 5-2
Infernal Dragon 5-5
The End of Anubis 5-4
Fusilier Dragon, The Dual Mode Beast 5-3
Levia Dragon 1-3
Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys 1-0
Cyber End Dragon 1-4
Horus the Black Flame Dragon Lv 8 1-0
Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch 1-0
Destiny Hero Dogma 1-3

Cards Collected 381

% of Decks completed below
Legend of the White Dragon 18%
Powerful Seal 14%
Established Chaos 7%
Shadow Magicians 61%
Scarlet Firestorm 10%
Summoning Thunder 9%
Ultimate Power 10%
Requirements of a Hero 98%
Confusion Envoy 5%
Toon Revenge 1%
Machines Unleashed 3%
Reboot Electronics 33%
Eternal Mentor 20%
Thirst for Victory 1%
Ominous Fiends 39%
War Against Dragons 75%
Gravekeeper’s Destiny 45%
Union Strength 1%
Sword and Sorcery Combo 24%
Messenger from the Sky 43%
Temple of the King 41%
Destroyer from Light 3%
Wrath of Evil 65%
Destruction and Rebirth 3%
Light into Darkness 48%
Deep Shadows 1%
Dark World Invasion 5%
Dark Collection 1 56%

Beyblade: Metal Fusion Battle Fortress Review

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It’s been a long time since I let a game play me instead of the other way around. It may sound impossible, but this is one of those games where you are encouraged to put down the Wii remote once the battle starts. There is even a bonus you get for winning rounds without using the controller at all. It’s really a unique way to play the game, but not in a positive way. If I wanted to watch the game I’d check out a Let’s Play or watch the TV show adaption. Fortunately the fun story and solid soundtrack help save the game, but this ended up being a real missed opportunity.

The main characters of the Beyblade Metal Fusion series have been kidnapped and brought to an alien spaceship. The aliens want to absorb their Beyblading abilities through matches so they can then destroy the planet. A lot of humans are also helping them in exchange for “Molecular Powers” which will apparently help them exceed the skill levels of the normal humans. Gingka doesn’t like this since he says that all a Beyblader needs is a determined spirit and prepares to stop them all.

Lets dive right into the gameplay. Through the years the Beyblade games have experimented with a bunch of different gameplay styles. From Turn Based to Monkey Ball to the classic Gamecube Beyblade where you rotate your tops on a field and try to knock the others off, the series has been places. This one tries to be like the Gamecube one. Your Beyblades (Which are effectively tops) are placed on a field and you try to knock the other one off. When you have enough meter you can use a super attack which covers a fixed range which either comes from your Beyblade or from the center. Knocking your opponent out of the ring gives you two points while destroying it or outlasting the spin just gives you one point. Getting to 3 is the goal for most levels.

That’s no problem. This gameplay is what Beyblade is supposed to be. There’s just one big problem….You Can’t Move. That’s the only problem, but it is a massive one. Who thought it would be a good idea to make it so that you can’t move at all in the game? It’s like playing a DBZ game where you can choose when to use the special abilities, but otherwise the characters do whatever they like. It would get irritating very quickly since they keep getting hit by basic bread and butter combos that you know you would dodge. That is definitely the worst part about the situation. The fact that you know you could do a better job. As a result, you’ll find that your Beyblade is knocked out of the ring many times. I customized my Beyblade beautifully so that it could wreck all of the others quite easily. I basically never lost a head to head fight. The problem is that they would just knock me out of bounds instead and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. You can use a mini boost but it always just sends you off the stage as well.

One stage took me close to an hour at one point. I was able to get some good reading done in the meantime, but it’s not exactly the most entertaining experience. The game actually took quite a while because while most levels were quick and easy, the ones that were tough took many, many tries. The story could also get a little repetitive at times as they make the same speeches over and over again as you meet new bladers. It was a little funny just how often Gingka would start talking about a Blader’s spirit. He would mention it before and after virtually every fight. At the very least, you can’t say that Gingka isn’t serious about the subject. He will never hesitate to let everyone know what’s up.

The story will get you interested in the show since it seems to have quite a lot of “hype” characters. You’ve got Gingka’s first rival Kyoya who was tempted by the power but got knocked out of it. Hikaru who may have defeated Gingka in the past (Story was vague on that) but fights with honor. Hyoma, Tsubasa, Ryuga, etc. The cast is very solid and I’m sure they all get quite a lot of intense fights in the anime. Unfortunately, the story’s original characters weren’t all that great. I liked the designs for the robot killers and their various super forms, but there’s not too much to say about them besides that. Once you’ve fought one robot blader you’ve fought them all. The old man scientist wasn’t a very interesting villain either and it was hard to buy his character arc of turning good again so quickly. Mariko was okay as at least she had a character arc that was a lot more developed than the others. She was pretty shady from the start, but at least she fooled the heroes for a while. She’s also pretty powerful so she can hold her own in a fight.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s the kind of game where all of the cutscenes are just recycled pictures of everyone as they yell and point fingers, but the actual images look pretty sharp. The gameplay shots are also fairly decent although the quality certainly does end up taking a hit. As far as the music goes, that is even better. We really only have a small handful of tunes, but one of them is quite excellent. That really helps to seal the deal here since I got to hear it a bunch of times during the story. One good tune can always go a long way.

There is a pretty good amount of content here to keep you busy. The actual story has around 5 worlds and each world has 5-6 battles. I doubt you’ll beat them all in one go but even if you do that should last a few hours. I’d imagine that this game should last you 6-10 hours. There’s no real replay value after finishing the game but odds are that you’ll have had enough of the gameplay style by then. You’ll be ready for something new and fresh. At least there is multiplayer mode so with the luck system in place it should make for some pretty entertaining matches.

Overall, This is a good Beyblade game, but one that could have been so much better. You’ll mainly just want to play it to hype yourself up for the show. I’ve never been a big fan of luck based gameplay so a title where it is almost 100% luck is just not going to be up my ally. Especially as there is one event where you have to win 3 matches in a row or get sent back to the first and various 1 vs 3 rounds where you just need luck to save you. With enough time you will beat them all as a result, but I don’t really want to wait to get to the end. Skill should be the only thing to have to worry about. I’d definitely recommend the Gamecube game instead of this one as that is the definitive Beyblade game. That being said, if you really prefer the Metal Fusion cast to the old characters then it isn’t a bad one to get. Just focus on the story instead of the gameplay.

Overall 6/10