Kurayami Monogatari

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Playstation Home June 3, 2015

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 6:12 pm

pshome

Overview

PS Home is a social network created by SONY in 2008 and lasted up until its closure in 2015.  The idea was to give players a way to interact with other gamers in a sort-of Sims-way, but adds a lot of customization like the Animal Crossing series as well.  Of course, many developers also dipped their toes into this really interesting mash-up.  There were also MANY different spaces (kind of like chat-rooms back in the day) that was themed different with each one.  Also, Europe and Asia had their own versions albeit they had different spaces than each other.

Gameplay

Gameplay is rather easy, once you start it up, Home introduces you to an avatar (a character that you can edit) and gives you your first private space (Harbour Studio) in that, the game gives a quick tutorial over how the game works with walking around, messing in your inventory and wardrobe (though you’ll be pretty bare bones at first).  Then it sends you to the Hub (yeah, it used to be Central Plaza, but I joined in 2012 so I was a bit late to the party) and you’ll finally get your first experience with what Home is all about, socializing.  Really from this point on, you get to choose what to do (from making new friends, to buying stuff, to even traveling to other spaces to start off.  Really, Home is what you make of it and the choices are infinite.  Along the way you’ll get items to customize your avatar with and Locomotions (which makes your character faster or gives you more dances)…so much!

As time grew on, Home kept being updated with new things to do or more things to buy (I wouldn’t try to get all of them because it grew to high amounts).  Plus there was glitching and ending up with free stuff.

Once clubs became a thing, a new idea, fams started to happen…they really were cliques within the game and most of the time the people were trying too hard and being “the best” there ever was, but for people it was easy to make friends with (though just as easy to lose them too).

Add in minigames through most of the spaces and you’ve got a LOT to do.

Graphics / Sound

  • Graphics – While I wouldn’t pair it next to gorgeous games like Uncharted and Final Fantasy XIII, Home felt more like it had PS2 graphics which isn’t so bad and the various spaces really take control of the colors which meant it wasn’t boring to look at considering how much of it there was.  Some companies (like Granzella) took advantage and made REALLY pretty spaces whereas something like the Hudson Gate was vivid and brightly colored to the dark and dingy SIREN space.  The items and private spaces also had a lot of cool detail especially the clothing (there was just so many though!).  The avatar themselves look pretty basic, unless you take the time to edit and mess around with it.
  • Sound – When it came to sound, it bounced back and forth.  The Hub features songs, but they’re of indie artists and fused a lot of pop, hip-hop, rock, and electro (but sounding almost bland after a while).  Some of the other spaces do have licensed music (Konami Penthouse & SIREN for example had songs from their games).  I think what disappointed was the lack of choice of having your own music (in your private space) I feel like that was a huge loss and would’ve made sense to include (especially you can buy a free radio, but stuck with a selection of songs from LOOT).

DLC

Of course there was weekly updates and with that came technically DLC with additions of WAY MORE items and clothing on top of adding in new spaces and private spaces as well (even clubs).  To be honest, I never spent too much on the stuff (and when the final months were happening, they were releasing a BUNCH of free stuff).

Overall: 9/10

While I’m pretty sad to see SONY close Home down (due to the company focusing their ideas with the PS4), Home was a pretty amazing experience (well for the 3 1/2 years I was active).  There was so much to do and I don’t think I ever completed everything there was to do, but that’s because Home was a social experiment.  I mean yeah, there were people who’d troll or lie or even steal on there, but the friends you did make and see so much on Home last forever so that I commend SONY for pulling this off.

There would’ve been so much more I would’ve talked about, but that would just make this a hard read xD.  Let’s just say I had fun while it was active.

 

Mario Kart 64 June 1, 2014

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 8:41 am

Mario_Kart_64_(NA)

Overview

Mario Kart 64 is the grand sequel to one of the most successful games on the SNES and was one of the first games for the N64!  It was quite a feat for the game because it was the first Mario Kart that was done in 3D as well.  Now came with depth and more identity to the characters and courses this time!  Let’s attack this legendary game shall we?

Characters

At that time with the evolution of the game, I was expecting more, but we ended up with 8 characters again but there’s some slight changes.  For some reason Koopa Troopa and DK Jr. were dropped for well….Donkey Kong and Wario (in betas, Kamek was going to be in the game, but was shot down for regular DK at the last minute).  It was an OK list, could’ve had a little more to it, but what could you do.

Also, the characters all now use regular items, so no character specifics.

Items

A lot of the items from the original make a return here like the Banana, Lightning Bolt, Green/Red Shells, Boo, Stars, and Mushrooms, but we got a lot of new ones too!

  • Triple Red/Green Shells – Well it’s easy to figure out what these are right, three shells that circle around you and you can throw them back or forward (Green shells cannot be laid down, they’re just shot backwards).
  • Triple Mushrooms – Same idea, but with 3 lol
  • Banana Bunches – You get 5 bananas following you and you can lay them wherever or let your opponent run right into them.
  • Fake Item Boxes – The first legit real item is Fake Item Box which is there to show some trollingness.  Replace the spots with the regular item boxes but place one of these in its place and daaaaamn.
  • Golden Mushrooms – So when you far behind in the pack, get one of these and you have a set time to boost your way to the front, as in repeated speed boosts!!!
  • Spiny Shell – The infamous blue shell makes its first appearance!  It sends itself forward and attacks the 1st place player.

If you’ve noticed they took out only two items, Cons and the Feather.  The former because the coin system was actually dropped for the game and the Feather because I’m sure it would’ve been too cheap (or very unruly to use).  Also CPUs lose the ability to use just one item and now can use them all.

Tracks

The best upgrade in this game is the fact that all the tracks are different from one another, albeit there’s less tracks than in the original game (strange right?).  Still the tracks were so unique and such a stretch of the imagination at the time that I just was awestruck with the 3D tracks.  Let’s be honest, we had a LOT of memorable tracks to the point that with MK8, all but one track has been reimagined.  If you must know, Wario Stadium, Bowser Castle, and Rainbow Road were favorites. of mine.  There was some tracks that felt a bit meh, but they’ve gotten better in time.

Gameplay

Being as the first 3D Mario Kart, MK64 pioneered this system quite well.  Overall, the main thing hasn’t really changed too much.  The formula is mostly the same with some new ideas like drifting to boost, and a lot more shortcuts to boot and take advantage of more of the items.  That being said, the game feels harder with these new inclusions and in fact the 150cc is just brutal for me, but not impossible to defeat.  The rubberbanding is still kind of annoying but it isn’t craptastic at least to me.  The driving aspect felt more slippery and kind of odd to get used to at first (worse for veterans).

Graphics / Sound

  • Graphics: For being an early N64 title, it actually looked decent back in the day and with how Super Mario 64 was impressing everyone with its look, MK actually did the same for the kart racing genre (and really set off the motions for future wannabe titles).  Today, the game does look like it’s starting to show its age and the looks of the tracks are kind of looking polygonal (thank god they’ve been redone, cept Wario Stadium).  Still bright colors and the atmosphere is just quite awesome.
  • Sound: I think that the sound is good, even today….of course the muffledness is there but the tunes were memorable in its own way (not as memorable like SMK’s).  Plus they’ve started using actual noises for the characters which is a nice plus.

Other Things to do

  • Cup Races – Just like the previous game, the main idea is to win these in the 50, 100, and 150cc, but really the interesting part is that when you do win all of them, you get Mirror Mode in which the tracks are basically switched from right to left and etc.
  • Time Trials – Really, no difference, just try to get the best time!
  • Vs. Races – Mostly the same, but with the included fact that up to 4 people can race!
  • Battle Mode – Like the courses, the battle mode got a nice facelift. Sadly it’s still relegated to just 4 tracks, but I really like all of them and brought some interesting style over SMK’s selection.

Overall: 7/10

You can’t deny that Mario Kart 64 really propelled the series with it’s sequel and boy did it fluorish throughout my childhood.  Taking off my nostalgic glasses, it can’t be denied either that it really hasn’t aged well.  The game’s control really makes the karts feel clunky and slip-slidy and the drifting is kind of hard to get used to (especially if you’re used to the way later iterations use this technique.  Still, you gotta love the 3D tracks finally making each track their own identity.  Battle Mode, while still very thin, was still loads of fun and even better with the multiplayer.  I kind of wished there were more unlockables besides mirrored tracks, but I guess the had limitations.  I wonder what the next installment will turnout like.

 

Battlefield 4 (PS3) February 28, 2014

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 9:14 am

battlefield4

Overview

Battlefield 4 is a FPS (First-Person Shooter) that was released not only for the PS3, but for the XBOX360, PS4, XBOX ONE, and PCs as well.  Even though it says it’s the 4th it really isn’t but hey whatever works and catches peoples eye right?  The series is pretty well-known for its gameplay and focus on other things besides gunning down people xD.  Now I will say right here that IT’S MY FIRST GAME UNDER THIS GENRE…yeah I played Halo but never owned it so it really doesn’t count so bear with me!

Story

The story begins in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku where you are recognized as Sgt. Recker who belongs in a tag-along team named Tombstone.  You meet up with your teammates Dunn and Pac (and soon after Irish).  As you find your information, they all try to escape, but the building they were standing upon got attacked and it fell.  Of course you survive the fall and manage to try to escape but during it, their vehicle gets attacked and they swerve into the water and they had to shoot the window out to survive, but sadly Dunn died as he was stuck in the seats (and also was dealing with a missing leg).  Tombstone is next sent to Shanghai to meet with another guy and to protect a lady and her “husband”.  They manage to do that but China freaks out because they think their leader is dead and the unseen antagonist basically blames the US for doing it and Russia joins China’s side.  They escape only to find their fellow ship is being attacked and they searched it but returned and that was attacked as well.  After fighting off the Chinese, Tombstone goes into Singapore to try to signal their teammates but unfortunately one of their own, Hannah double-crossed them and seemingly Pac dies leaving Irish and Recker in a jail in the Russian mountains.  Recker meets another guy, Dima and both would find Irish and Hannah (admits to being a double agent to protect her “husband”, Jin Jie who was to be assassinated by Chang) and they try to escape via a tram.  Unfortunately that was shot down and killed Dima as it crashed.  The remaining members travel down the mountains and meets up with a team trying to get into their base in Tashgar which was being attacked by both the Chinese and Russians.  They get through and are tasked to blow up the dam (which they do) and they get to fly back to the Valkyrie (their ship).

As they get to their ship, they see it’s being attacked again and fight through to the inside to meet up with their allies (and Pac who survived Singapore).  They have a conversation and Jin Jie shows himself to the Chinese troops who didn’t think he was alive and they stop attacking, but Chang starts attacking the boat to try to “bury the truth” and Tombstone (minus Pac as he stays behind) decide to blow the ship up with C4.  As they get to the boat, they stick the bomb on and go up on grappling guns, but when they try to detonante, it doesn’t work so Recker has to choose between sending Hannah down or Irish (also you could do nothing and let Chang blow up the Valkyrie).

======================================================

That ending was shady as all hell: I’m not well-versed in FPS stories, but that ending was a little racist to be choosing between Irish (black guy) and Hannah (Chinese chick)…it felt so wrong to do it and I really wished there was an option that Recker could’ve died.

Recker, y u so quiet, qorl?: Honestly, he says ONE word in the entire story and it’s at the beginning where he says “fuck”….I really don’t know why they decided to make Recker mute but lord I wanted him to say something of importance…

Short story though: For as long as that story is, it’s laid out in 7 parts which is surprisingly small for a game like this…what happened?

Gameplay

For what it is, it’s a shooter so you already have a guess to what kind of gameplay it calls for.  There are things that make it standout too.  From the Campaign point of view, you collect weapons and various gadgets along the way and they steadily get better and you start to get a feel for what you like. Of course you’re dodging enemy bullets and helis and etc. but it’s really a kind of get from point A to point B without dying.  That said, it did feel a tad linear, but with FPS’ you’ve got to deal with that.

Multiplayer is a totally different fest.  How that works is that you have 4 kits to work with: Assault, Engineer, Recon, and Support and they have their pros and cons about them so you should look for one that you would be solid on (of course you can bypass and use Carbines which can be used in all 4 maps).  Also the more you play, the higher your level and the more guns and gadgets and abilities you get!  Also there are more vehicles available in multiplayer like jets and more 4-wheeled excursions.

Also there’s different styles of gameplay which I can explain

  • Conquest: Basically, it’s taking over certain spots of the map and try to not let your opponent taken them.  Now the most for the PS3 is 32 but in the newest generation of systems and the PC, it’s racked up to 64 on one map (totally jealous).
  • Domination: Smaller mapped version of Conquest.
  • Team / Squad Deathmatch: Simply a small part of a map where all you need to do is kill your opponents.  The difference between the two is a matter of Team has more members while the Squad is more like 4/5 people against each other.
  • Rush: It’s a bit hard to explain, but it’s like whoever takes the most objectives gets more of the map?  I don’t know, but I haven’t played it enough to really say much.
  • Obliteration: You have a bomb in the middle of the map and you have to blow up your opponent’s objective with it and vice versa with them.  Also it’s a new style of gaming introduced to the series here.
  • Defuse: Another new style, it’s a small map and one bomb, however, once you’re killed in a match you out for that round, so it plays more to the strategic side of FPS’.

Maps

So not counting the DLC, multiplayer comes with only 10 maps and I was pretty surprised it was so low given that I would’ve expected DICE/EA would’ve had enough space to put more in.  Some of the maps in the game are really nice (Dawnbreaker, Operation Locker, Siege of Shanghai) and some that just wasn’t good (like Zavod 311).  Biggest thing added though is the Levolution which is essentially changes to the map that are subtle or huge which is pretty good but sometimes causes unnecessary deaths but some are reasonable lol.  Still I could’ve had more maps to play on then just the 10…but I suppose that’s why the DLC is there, but it does make me wish some of the places in Campaign were maps >.>

Graphics / Sound

Graphics: For being a late PS3 game, it looks really good!  It looks real almost and seeing things like rockets and explosions and seeing stuff like the hightower in Siege of Shanghai falling down just impressed me for what it’s worth.  For the Campaign it was pretty good, there were some odd movements and syncing issues with the voiceover but overall it was nice (and Irish looked a bit….odd).

Sound: Even though there isn’t a whole lot of music to be had, the voiceovers sounded really good here especially with the main characters.  Beyond that the voices in multiplayer kind of just meld into one another and I couldn’t care less because I was too focused on not getting shot.  BTW, yeah the gunfire and explosions are all great too

DLC

Well, I cant speak too much about it, but there are 5 different DLC’s but only two of them have been released: China Rising and Second Assault.  So far it’s really just new weapons, two new playstyles: Air Superioriety and Capture the Flag, and new maps so really it’s what it is.  Though in February, it was a month of free unlockables and downloads for free weapons which is to make up for the problems this game has had since being released.

Overall: 6/10

I’m surprised big-named sites are giving this game such high markings without really diving into its issues.  For a novice to shooters, I kind of was expecting a lot more than what we got.  I know FPS gamers don’t come to a game for its story and granted BF4’s was quite weak and short of one…something I never expected (even Goldeneye 64 was longer >.>).  Into the real complaint though is the abnormally HIGH amount of bugs and glitches this game has and still has even when it does update.  The biggest one is if you have a save for Campaign and go into multiplayer…it’ll delete your progress…that’s totally not right and a HUGE flaw for me.  Sometimes the game freezes which is absurd (but Playstation All-Stars has the same problem too) and there’s just other odd issues.  I know EA is doing Fan Appreciation month to kind of apologize for it, but really fix it!

Otherwise if it didn’t have those problems, I probably would’ve rated it slightly higher because multiplayer kills time and when you have friends playing with, it just makes the experience better as teamwork goes a long way in multiplayer.  Overall it’s OK, but for the amount of hype it got…it’s definitely disappointing.

 

Pokemon Y (SPOILERS!) December 1, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 10:58 am

pokemony

Overview

Pokemon Y (and X) are the first games released for the 6th Generation for this VERY long-running series.  They are also the first main Pokemon RPGs on the 3DS.  If you are new (at this point I think everyone has heard of this series), Pokemon is an RPG where you train monsters and become the No.1 around.  Let’s dive right in!

Story

Stories in the main PKMN series has never really been the highest point of its game, although Black/White & Black2/White2 tried to do something a little more since its story was a bit more stronger.  The story in X/Y is a bit more convoluted than one would expect.  It begins with Sycamore asking 5 kids: You (the main guy/girl), your Rival (Serena or Calum), Shauna, Trevor, and Tierno to go on an adventure and fill the Pokedex out.  After you beat the first gym though and get to Lumiose City, Sycamore introduces you to Mega Stones and wants the 5 to learn more about how it works, shortly after you meet Lysandre (the leader of Team Flare, which are your antagonists and Diantha (the Elite 4 Champion, though it’s not known at this point).  Team Flare’s act of evil this time is to awaken the Legendary Pokemon, Xerneas or Yveltal to bring eternal youth and beauty, but at the same time destroy those who aren’t worthy, as we learn later.

Back to where we were, you continue on your jounrey (which is mostly still obtaining the gym badges and and become the best).  You meet Korrina (the 3rd gym leader) and she introduces the Mega Ring / and Mega Stones which initially said was passed down by bloodline (OOP).  After going through and defeating more gym leaders, you meet a mysterious TALL character named AZ.  When you first meet him, you really don’t know much.  Further on down the line, Team Flare’s issue becomes more of a problem and you learn what they’re planning to do and Lysandre has imprisoned AZ.  AZ finally explains his place in the story.  Basically, AZ was the King of Kalos and he and Floette was his partner (best friend).  A war happened and Floette died in the ensuing war.  In his sorrow, he went and created a tower (or weapon) to revive it and it worked!  Though he was still pissed about the fact that Floette had died in the first place and unfortunately turned the revival machine in to a powerful weapon and ended the war with one use.  Due to that, Floette deserted AZ and disappeared.  With all that said and down Lysandre was going to use this machine with the use of Xerneas and/or Yveltal for his use and the Trainer defeated and stopped it all before it came to be.

After all that’s said and done, you return onto your final badges and finally make it to Victory Road and defeat the Elite 4.  In the ending, AZ approaches you and wants a battle after you’re done celebrating the fact you’re the Pokemon League Champion.  After the battle, he says he finally let the pain and anger go and his Floette comes back to him and well…the end.

That’s out of the way, let’s get down to thoughts.

  • The Mega Stone/Ring – You know, this was a pretty cool thing to integrate into the story, but it was kind of clunky when it became the focal point.  Initially, Korrina’s bloodline are really only the ones that should be able to wield it…but you learn that not only you, but your rival possibly, Diantha, and Lysandre could use it (which makes the meaning behind this a bit odd.
  • Lysandre & Diantha – They never really specified how these two really knew each other, though I suppose they both had different thoughts about things and Lysandre did try to persuade Diantha to think about eternal beauty and youth.  Still, I can’t help but think that there was more to their relationship IMO
  • AZ and his damn Floette – While his story actually felt more emotional than any other Pokemon story in the main games, I did feel like it kind of shoe-horned a lot to make the story even more based on the history of Kalos that was left kind of bleak and unknown really.  I would’ve loved to have understood what caused the war where Floette died and what this machine REALLY do and how Zygarde ties in with it.  It’s a nice story though, but maybe a little more could’ve been elaborated on certain things, though that ending was a bit cheesy…great for AZ, but cheesy XD.
  • Kalos, why are you filled with mysteries >.> – Honestly, this game has so many more mysteries than it should!  I mean AZ was a good mystery, the creepy girl from Lumiose City, the Strange Souvenir you get from the guy that isn’t from any of the 6 main regions, 3/4 of the Kalos Power Plant is locked, the hedge mazes in Parfum Palace…honestly there’s just too many things that we don’t know and I find that to be annoying (at least the Power Plant and Strange Souvenir).  I hope that we’ll get SOMETHING by the end of the year detailing one of these!

Gameplay

I’ve already talked about this when I reviewed White so I’ll re-quote it “As with all main Pokémon games for the handhelds, they are a Strategy/RPG game and the core of the game is essentially a glorified rock-paper-scissors kind of deal (I know many other people have explained this with previous games so I’ll assume everyone knows about it).  However some old moves have been shot down and some powered up and added on with the new abilities of the game, things have changed once again for the now 718 (721 including the Kalos’ events) Pokémon.  However there’s many things that have changed in the gameplay!

  • Fairy Type LET’S GO – The big gameplay change is the addition of a new type, Fairy.  They were created to even out the Dragon type but also effect Fighting and Dark types too ^_^.  A lot of the older Pokemon like Jigglypuff and Whimsicott got retyped as well with this new type!
  • Mega Evolutions, since when did this become Digimon? – Certain Pokemon in the game can further power themselves up with the Mega Evolution in which all have raised stats in some form (and some even changing types).  I don’t know if they’ll stick with this idea in future generations, but it’s neat!
  • The New Battles, hmm… – Well like in the 5th Generation, 6th came with some new types of battles.  The first is the Horde Battles where its basically 1 vs. 5.  Seems unfair, but luckily when you get into these battles, the horde is very low-level and you can only catch one if you defeat the other 4 >.>  Such BS xD.  The other are the Sky Battles where only Flying Pokemon (sans a lot of ground based ones like Dodrio, Farfetch’d, and Hawlucha) and Pokemon with the Levitate ability can partake in it.
  • PSS…SO MUCH TO DO – To take the place of the C-Gear, we get the PSS and it has a lot of things to do.  Battle against friends, trade, and even more new things as well!
  • Pokemon-amie, to bring Nintendogs to Pokemon, and make fanboys wanna rub Machoke senseless X.x – Yes, Pokemon brought in a new feature called Pokemon-amie which is pretty much like said above, Nintendogs.  You pet, play with and feed your Pokemon and keep their happiness high.  There’s also mini-games to get more PokePuffs (to feed) and eventually your Pokemon will have a lot of things going on.  Though most people will use it to get Sylveon because its necessary.  Also it’ll effect the metagame a bit since if you overdo it in Pokemon-amie, Critical Hits and evasion stats go up which might affect battles a lot.
  • Super Training, dumbing it down for dem players! – A thing that comes with every main Pokemon game is the Competitive side of battling and there were ways to train (though not really stated in the previous generations) and having that perfect Pokemon team by manipulating stats.  Super Training brings this idea to the front and is pretty easy to follow and a lot simpler than when it used to be.
  • Mr. Bonding, WHY YOU SO CREEPY?!? – Another new thing, O-Powers are abilities you can activate on the field and have different effects (like more money from trainer battles, more EXP, more encounters).  Though you get them from Mr. Bonding and he is creepy because he wants to bond and when he does, the screen goes black…HM is he the Pokemon version of a whore?  I think so xD
  • Customizing your trainer, FINALLY – Another new thing, you can customize your trainer to many things in-game, though you do have to buy things XD.  It’s definitely cool and the many looks you can have are impressive (though the Female trainers get more things).

Pokemon

X & Y does boast the biggest regional dex with 450 Pokemon in it before you get the National Dex.  Unfortunately 69 (72 with events, but they aren’t in the Kalos dex) are new which is the lowest of any generation to get new Pokemon which many will say it’s not bad considering the wide amount, but it still kind of sad that it’s that low. Many of them do bring in unique typings which is great though and only a couple felt redundant.

Graphics/Sound

  • Graphics – I thought it was going to be great even with the first scenes we got. Everything got updated and I was blown away.  The camera looks so dynamic and full of angles and with the new 3D look, it’s pretty nifty.  About that, the game mostly DOESN’T use the 3D much and it’s a bit odd, but at the same time, makes sense since it takes a lot for the effect.  Which brings to one of the glaring problems (for me).  The battles look great first off and the Pokemon really look like living things and not sprites which is a big jump, but with that, sometimes on certain angles the framerate drops to a NOTICEABLE level which suuucks (have a horde battle with Trevenants and tell me how BAD it moves).  The characters look quite good and now we don’t look like balls which is so cool!
  • Sound: The music of X/Y isn’t as strong as Black/White was (and Lumiose City’s theme got ANNOYING after a while).  Though there are a lot of strong tracks like the Boutique, most of the Town themes, and the Gym Leader battle theme.  Overall it’s solid and nothing too wrong with it.

Post-Game Activities

  • Search for them Mega Stones! – After the E4, and doing a battle at the Battle Maison, and beating your rival, and talking to Sycamore, you are able to seach for the remaining Mega Stones that are shined upon for AN HOUR at 8pm because of Anistar City’s shining sundial.  They’re all over the place and it’s gonna take more than one day to get them all.
  • Battle Maison – Basically this is where the compettive training will help and you can win a lot of different items (some being used for evolving).
  • Legendaries! Though one of them are new >.< – Yup, you can obtain Mewtwo, Zygarde and one of the Kanto legendary birds.  Really isn’t a whole lot, but I suppose its good for completion.
  • Booker returns! – The truly story-driven activity is the returning Booker and he sends you to do some sleuthing and in the end have to battle someone quite strong.  It’s alright, but I kind of wished there was more

Also, there’s the typical completionist of finishing the Kalos Dex (since you can’t complete the National dex, yet.) because we’re getting the PokeBank and PokeTransfer to complete that test as well.

OVERALL: 7/10

I have to say, there’s a lot of loopholes and unexplained things with in Pokemon Y (and more than likely X) that kind of left me wanting in someway to have been explained more in depth when it came to the history and their characters.  Though it did make up with the graphical advancement that came with the game that really look good (though they could’ve worked the 3D in better and not half-assed it, but the slowdown is already evident with certain battle shots and horde battles).  Another meh point is that even though the amount of Pokemon is great, having it be the least amount with around 70 is kind of a bummer.

Though I did like how much they did put into the game and the idea of that there’s going to be more going on already has me excited when could befall the game once PokeBank starts.  Still, I can’t shake the feeling that some of the game was rushed and there was more ideas that didn’t make it.

Overall good game, but not better than Gold/Silver or Black/White IMHO.

 

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale August 15, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 9:02 pm

PlayStation-All-Stars-Battle-Royale

Overview

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royal (or PSASBR for short) is a party/fighting game released last year for the PS3.  It also came with a free downloadable version for you Vita players out there as well.  At first glance, the game immediately signals that this is Playstation’s version of the grandeur Smash Bros. series but actually it’s quite different once you really get into the mechanics of it all.

Story

Well, there really isn’t a heavy amount of a story but in Arcade mode, each character basically has an intro (basically getting an invitation to the battle ahead), a kind of rival scene (which is mostly the same, you offended me, I defeat you deal), and the ending (which is more of well we fought, but my story continues).  It’s very generic sounding and it should because I would think there’d be more going on…but whatever

Characters

Probably one of the most important factors, was actually looking at the faces of Playstation’s past and seeing who actually made the cut.  It was pretty obvious that some were chosen as they were current known faces like Nathan Drake, Kratos, Sly Cooper, Cole McGrath (though two forms???).  Some were a bit odd choices (Fat Princess, Nariko, Toro, Raiden (though Snake was in Brawl…), and Big Daddy and there were some that were just pure nostalgia like Sweet Tooth, Parappa, and Sir Daniel Fortesque.  All these faces were great, but they seriously had so many more to choose from and the lack of a certain bandicoot and dragon was REALLY unfortunate as they were THE faces of Playstation.  It was a pretty unusual cast and frankly, even I didn’t know some of the faces like Radec, Emmitt, Kat, Fat Princess…(though it’s probably because I’m not too involved in the PS3 world yet lol).

Stages

There isn’t a whole butt ton of stages (about 14 with like 5 extra practice stages) but that seems to be a good enough number.  The way PSASBR did it was to fuse two series together to have a stage. I mean Dreamscape was a fusion between LittleBigPlanet and BUZZ! which was cool and they have different things going on like the addition of extra platforms while the BUZZ! announcer asks a question and you have to stand on the right area.  There are similar things in each of the other main areas so that’s pretty cool.

Gameplay

So after all that, we get into meat and bones of the game.  The main controls are easy to follow.  The square, triangle and circle buttons are attacks and are different with directions (like Smash).  The X button is for jumping, press it twice to double jump of course.  L2 is to taunt, L1 is to dodge, and pressing left or right is a dodge roll.  R1 is to pick up items and L2 is used for supers.

The point of the match is to defeat your opponent with you Supers and there’s 3 different levels to them.  The higher the level the better it is (but for some characters it’s quite the opposite).  You also have the normal Time battle and Stock battle, but PSASBR has an extra mode, Kill battle where you have to kill to a certain amount and you win lol.  Now this sounds a bit edgier because it actually makes you focus on your opponents since there’s no ring outs to be had (though in certain stages, if you fall off the stage, you’re placed back on it and put into an automatic dizzy state.

However, the flaw of this idea comes with the unbalanced characters.  I mean if you are Dante, Kratos, Kat, Nariko, and Raiden…you’re pretty much going to win (unless you’re REALLY bad with them).  Though it doesn’t mean it’s entirely in their favor because you can be quite good with all the characters and manage to kick some ass.

Graphics/Sound

  • Graphics: For being a PS3 game, it actually looks quite good and the intro to the game was pretty nifty (though why darken them out?).  The fighting is smooth and there’s not a lot of issues in this department.  Though I will say that for the “story mode” they shouldn’t have done still shots…that was a bit of a copout IMO.
  • Sound: Minus the menu theme (gets annoying), the stages’ music was actually a nice collection.  Though I’m not too familiar with a lot of the music in the first place but some were really cool!

Other Things to Do

  • Trophies – Of course this is with EVERY game on the PS3…most of them have to do with Arcade Mode though
  • Arcade Mode – It’s not the most exciting thing to do because while each character has his or her own prologue/epilogue and the final boss is a cool nostalgic trip, Polygon Man (old PS1 mascot).  Though this mode is primarily used to level up characters and gaining trophies.
  • Online – Of course this is the main reason the game has replayability because it’s online is quite good (SO MUCH BETTER THAN BRAWLS) though if there’s a connection issue, bars will pop up to warn others of what is happening.
  • Practice – There is a practice mode, but there is also an intro to the mechanics of the game and it really does help and you unlock tokens to go further in and learn more (and even then, each character has their own set of techniques to learn).  Another good thing to keep in mind basically if you wanna learn the intricacies of the game.
  • Customization – There’s also costume customizing (not a big deal), changing your loading emblem and such, having a minion (still don’t exactly see the point of them are), and customizing intros, winning theme and victory pose in battles.  So that’s another interesting thing about it.

There’s also some minor things like option changing and character profiles to read but that’s basically it for the game lol.

DLC

What is surprising is the DLC that came out.  Of course there’s your alternate costumes and many other minions to be had, but the important things are the stages and characters.  There’s actually four character (Kat, Emmett Graves, Zeus, and Isaac Clarke) and to be honest none of them really piqued my interest at first glance (because besides Zeus, I didn’t know them) but in game…they look like they’d be fun characters.  There was also 2 stages as well: Fearless (Heavenly Sword+WipEout) and Graveyard (MediEvil+TheUnfinished Swan).

There was supposed to be more (Abe from OddWorld and Dart from Legend of Dragoon) and a stage based upon the mix of Gravity Rush and Journey) but it was cancelled with SONY announcing the end of content for All-Stars).  All that’s left is costumes and patches for characters now sadly.

OVERALL: 6/10

I actually really wanted a PS3 for this at the time, but after having played it…it quickly waned.  I mean the idea is nice and surprised it hasn’t happened sooner after how big Smash Bros. had become, but the problem here is that I think Nintendo has a lot of nostalgia and popularity in their characters whereas SONY’s hasn’t stuck on as much (plus shunning Crash and Spyro was in bad taste, but not their fault).  I just don’t feel like this cast was as complete as it should’ve (because there are SO many more they could’ve added like Abe and Dart….maybe Croc….I-Ninja, Ty…I mean there was a LOT even some big series weren’t even brought in like Resident Evil, Final Fantasy (anything Square-Enix for that matter)…and etc.

I did like the gameplay and it did lead to some pretty edgy battles online which is good…but beyond online modes and with friends, by yourself…this was a weak package.  I mean the menu screens look so terrible and single player mode was just vague and bland to deal with.  I mean you can go on for so long in Practicing your characters before you get bored.

Worst of them all, I experienced during some battles (at the end) that the game freezes, forcing you to reboot.  THAT SUCKS…something needs to be fixed about that kind of thing TBH.

It’s not a terrible game though and the intentions were quite good, but there were some flaws for sure and sometimes felt like it was a tad unfinished as a product, but for what we got…it’s not bad…but Melee and Brawl still topple it miles wide.

 

Katamari Damacy April 21, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 8:48 pm

katamaridamacy

Overview

Katamari Damacy is the first for a long-going series of games from NAMCO!  The game is definitely known for its original concept and overall wtf-ness xD.

Story

The story goes is that The King of All Cosmos had gotten drunk and in his stupor ended up destroying the universe (talk about advertising how bad drinking can get when you’re an all powerful king xD).  So due to that, he decides to make his son (The Prince) to clean up the mess and rebuild the universe. There’s also a B-story as well with the Hoshino family dealing with all this randomness and seeing the Prince here and there and the daughter having some strange power of the Cosmos.  Very odd stories, but they were unique and gave some interesting moments in the game lol.

Gameplay

So how do you recreate something so large like the universe?  By rolling up the most random things into a big ball of wtf-ness xD.  Yeah the main goal of the game is to roll a Katamari up to a certain size (or in some cases certain amount of the same or similar object).  A katamari is just a ball with some kind of substance to make objects stick together and it has to be slightly relative to the size so anything tiny will be picked and gradually be able to pick up things like buildings and giant animals.

There’s technically three major places, the House, the Town, and the World (though that’s still kind of relegated to the area so it’s not like the later games).  Add in there are certain tasks.  Most of the time it’s to get the Katamari to the size presented (which is in Metric sizes, so us Americans might have a little trouble).  Once you get into the stages based on the astrological signs, there mostly based on said sign (like Cancer’s mission is just getting the most crabs and Gemini to find pairs of objects).  Even one is based off of just getting the biggest bear or cow in one grab!

Graphics / Sound

Graphics: The graphics in this game is really something.  I mean the art style is pretty bright and colorful and kind of have this pastel/cel-shading look to it without being either of them.  Mostly everything is angular (which shows tons on the people and animals) while other objects are more rounded out like fruits and other objects.  The scenes of the story are a bit jagged, but fitting for such a thing.

Sound: The series really shined bright with its soundtrack.  Mixing in a bit of technopop and J-pop and some really experimentive stuff, the music of the game was really different and unique.  I mean I’ve reviewed the soundtrack so you can tell I was a big fan of it.  Add in that a lot of the objects you can pick-up have sounds to em (mostly the people and animals with some other things).  There was even some voice active (mostly the King and the Hoshino family scenes, but it happened and it was good!)

Post-Game Activities

There’s quite a bit of stuff to do after you Make The Moon which I can talk about!

Get every item! – Yes to fill that completionist mind of yours, you can collect every item in the game that you can roll up with the Katamari and you can check them all out in the Collection area and read ALL of them (though it’s great to check what you’re missing and even get some funny commentary on most of the items as well!)

Get all the presents! – In every level there’s a present that you can put on your Prince to make him look a bit more snazzy.  One in particular, the camera lets you take photos in game, I thought that was pretty cool.

Get all the cousins! – Like the presents, there are one cousin per level, HOWEVER you won’t be able to use them because their only use in the game is for multiplayer…but still, getting them will fill your completion.

Multiplayer fun, sorta… – Yeah there’s multiplayer but not in the sense most of you think it is.  You basically go against each other to get the most of a certain item…yeah it does get old after a while, but I guess it’s good enough to do.

Beat your own score! – I mean the game has a score system based on how big the katamari is, so the best thing to do is to make it bigger and get a better score overall!

Listen to the soundtrack and watch the cutscenes!!! – There’s an area where you can do all these things as well when you just want to take a break from the game.

OVERALL: 6/10

As the first of the series, Katamari Damacy did a lot at the time with its innovative concept and just overall quirky look to it.  However, it didn’t come without its problems.  The camera is probably the worst offender and it still is to this day, but it’s not like you can really do much with it considering the point of the game being picking everything up in sight.  It’s also quite short of a game, being able to complete it in less than 12 hours and the game can get really repetitive considering there isn’t a lot of variety in the missions.

On the good side, this is probably the most difficult of the series even though it really doesn’t come off as tough (but compared to the other games of the series, this actually had some challenge).  The music is also a really awesome thing and becomes a standard here lol.  Still it was a great beginning for an awesome series!

 

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy February 14, 2013

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 3:52 pm

theatrhythm

Overview

Celebrating the 25 years Final Fantasy as a series has been active, they thought to release something a little special and that is Theatrhythm which is a Music/Rhythm game (kind of like Elite Beat Agents/Ouendan).  It was also a pretty big nod to Nobuo Uematsu who created such memorable and beautiful compositions for the series (minus 13).

Story

Yeah, do you remember DISSIDIA?  Well take that story…water it down and try to make sense with it with music (the points you get are called “Rhythmia”).  Also when you get to 10000 of these points you get to fight Chaos and that’s pretty much it…nothing in between to really tide it over til you get there…bone-dry on the story.

Gameplay

The main gist of the game for being a Rhythm game is quite self-explanatory, meaning that keep the rhythm and do what the game tells you to do like tapping, sliding, and directional swipes.  Point of the game is to complete the stages!  Yeah, easy right…well let’s talk about what’s up.

There’s 5 songs to represent all 13 of the core games of the series!  So most of the time you’re going through Series mode at first completing this task at hand.  There’s four styles of gameplay which I will talk about

  • DMS (Demo Music Stage) – Let’s just get this one out of the way, this is the MOST BORING of the stages.  Basically you’re supposed to tap the crystal in the middle of the screen matching with the notes that swirl around said crystal.  You can’t lose here and you can also skip these stages.  The bad thing is that we see this kind of stage twice in all 13 games which is even more pointless and shoots down the game by a good margin.
  • BMS (Battle Music Stage) – As the most difficult of the four (personally), BMS are structured like the classic FF battle scenes with the enemy on the right and the characters on the left (of which you can have four characters out at once).  They all each get a line and with the music you have to keep up with it since it’s moving from the left to the right lol.  Of course when you have abilities on said characters you get extra things happening.  In this case Summons take over and get one line and yeah easy xD.  On the flipside of that coin if you don’t have abilities on you get a nice Stoic bonus (which I’ll get to later in the review).
  • FMS (Field Music Stage) – The next one seen the most is the FMS which n the outside looks like all you’re doing is waling the landscapes of the various FF games (and there’s some unique ones for certain tracks not in the main core games).  Here there’s one singular line that moves a bit faster than BMS but the new trick here is that when you have holding line, you can move it up and down to follow the line which is the trick of these stages.  Just like the BMS, you have feature drives to kind of worm you’re way…though it’s only transforming your character into a Chocobo for a period of time.  Once again no abilities = Stoic bonus.
  • EMS (Event Music Stage) – The last and least seen stages, the EMS is only seen once in each FF category so it’s bit of a bummer because this is the closest to Elite Beat Agents you will get.  Basically there’s a mark that follows a path and you have to input the right marks and such.  In the background though is various memorable scenes of the games (though some are odd which I’ll talk about as well).  Once again feature drives are present and completing those correctly will garner you an extended ending of the EMS and like the previous two, Stoic bonus is here.

Initially you start out with nothing basically except Series mode and you’ll eventually start to unlock things here and there.

Now there’s another aspect to the game and that’s the RPG-ish outlook to the game.  Now you choose 4 characters to start out with (from the 13 games there’s at least one from the get-go so your favorite mains are present!).  So if you want Cloud, Squall, Bartz, and Lightning together then DO IT!  Now they all (and the hidden characters) have different abilities and stats which is no surprise and you have to level them up to get the better ones (which to be honest is useful in Chaos Shrine, which I’ll explain later as well).  Sadly with all of the RPG elements at hand, they really didn’t seem to impact the game heavily (if not made it easier for the most part).  Though I can’t say much because people who probably suck at rhythm games would probably depend on it a ton more than someone (like me) who’s really damn good at them. Though there’s items too so you can get behind that too for the beginners! Plus it’s REALLY easy to level your party up (as of this writing 12/13 of the main characters are at Lvl. 99.

As for the stages, I did feel like tacking on the Opening/Ending DMSs was a lazy addition because you seriously had nothing to do except collect Rhythmia.  No idea why they did that to be honest (especially since a good portion of the opening DMSs were variances on the “Crystal Theme”.  I didn’t have many problems with BMS and FMS as they were actually pretty good choices.  EMS stages weren’t bad either, but with the early FFs…why is it Japanese text?  I mean for the American fans this is kind of absurd that they didn’t at least edit this area out and slightly breaks the nostalgic feel about said early games.

Graphics / Sound

Graphics: Even though this is no core FF game and we aren’t getting that sexy look that most of the recent ones have had, Theatrhythm goes into a more cutesy look.  I mean the characters are all drawn in this chibi-style art and almost kind of reminds me of LBP but a little less fluffy!  Everything is quite simplified and the enemies too have that chibi-look.  Menus are neat and easy to work with and even though the 3D is kind of pointless in this game it does work and watching some of the EMS of the later games looks surprisingly good!  I also loved the touches they did to fit the games through the various stages throughout…Not bad!

Sound: Well this is a music game…so the sound is the most important thing here.  The sound is really good though full taking the songs from their original forms and just sounds all kinds of good.  Of course the 13 games there are 5 tracks each in Series mode (though the DMS stages can NOT be played in Challenge mode).

Of course the selection of songs is amazing though with 65 initial tracks (and 12 that has to be unlocked with Rhythmia).  It’s a pretty big number and there was so much to choose from too!  There were a couple of odd things like some tracks (One-Winged Angel and Dancing Mad) where it’s not played in its entirety (but makes sense as they are LOOOONG songs).  Still it’s definitely an impressive amount of songs!

Post-game Activities

There’s a lot to go through so I’ll list it!

  • Challenge Mode – So after you get through all of Series Mode you unlock this and this is where most of the game from here on out will probably be at.  You can practice or tackle the songs singularly and of course songs that aren’t in Series mode are found here.  DMS songs aren’t for obvious reasons.  Of course when you get a good grade, you unlock harder versions of the songs and of course when you get to Ultimate and make SSS grade (that’s when you know you’re AMAZING).  So far I haven’t been able to do that with all of them but will do in time xD.
  • Defeat Chaos – Completing the story will need 10000 Rhythmia and he’s not difficult, but it does end the story here.  You do unlock “Dancing Mad” from defeating him but that’s it.
  • Get through the Chaos Shrine – The Chaos Shrine is how can I explain it…kind of like a series of 99 challenges to tackle and it depends on the average of the 4 characters in your party.  If everyone is a Lvl 1, it’s super easy…Lvl 99 is a total bitch because they throw in something unexpected which is spinning directional slides which if you don’t know where it is at the left of the screen, you’re screwed XD.  I haven’t defeated this yet, but damn 99 stages that consists of one BMS and FMS.  It does get repetitive because it just uses a couple of the songs and not a totally random fest.
  • Unlock Characters/Songs etc. – So there are unlockables in this game and some of them have odd ways to be unlocked.  Characters are unlocked by collecting 8 shards of a specific kind.  Sadly most of them can be found easily be farming in the Chaos Shrine, sometimes Rhythmia gives you one for passing a milestone (which late in the game happens every 500).  Songs are unlocked through passing milestones and there’s 12 of them!  The other unlockables include cards (which give information but otherwise meh, items to use in battle, characters for your StreetPass cards and the ability to listen to the songs without playing the game (only for the in-game songs).

DLC

I was shocked, but there are 52 other songs available as DLC…however they are only available through Challenge mode, extending the game so much more.  Though they are only EMS and BMS tracks, that’s OK since they were the more difficult kind of stages.  Great addition.  Though I’m slightly bitter at the fact that the iOS version has so many exclusive tracks that I wished Nintendo had put those on here too…>.<

 

 

OVERALL: 8/10

I have to say that this game is a must-have for music-buffs (who are or not into Final Fantasy) it’s just a collage of such great songs throughout Final Fantasy’s history that it’s hard not to admire such an anniversary present.  Even Uematsu was overtaken of this project…it was just such a nice thank you present not to only the fans but to the musicians.  The presentation was really nice and easy to go through and the gameplay is simple and fun to go through (though it could wear the screen out if you’re that person that shoves his stylus against the screen like that.  The content was definitely amazing and the giant DLC bonus makes it even better but it brings up the biggest complaint from me…..

…..

…..

Where are the other games?  I shouldn’t complain but considering the series has 25 years on it, you would think they would broaden things out.  Ok, the DLC has XIII-2, Versus XIII, and Type-0, but couldn’t we have a bit more of an addition to some of the lesser known ones.  You know like Tactics, Chocobo’s Dungeon, Dirge of Cerberus/Crisis Core/Advent Children….for fuck sake’s why is there no Final Fantasy X-2 here?!?  I know the iOS version of the game has fixed those issues but we’re talking the 3DS version…it just felt like there could’ve been more songs from the obscure FF games and XIII-2 could’ve had more representation as it was the newest released.

Beyond that complaint, I was definitely happy with this game and will for sure find myself playing this over and over until I have SSS all over the place!