Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of this review.

The Nintendo Wii U may have been an utter failure but it was home to games that were pretty good. In 2014, Nintendo and Retro Studios released Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. The sequel to 2008’s Donkey Kong Country Returns, the game had a mixed reception. Not only that but it was hampered due to being on a console few people were interested in, as well as some controversy. In recent times, Nintendo has been on a roll releasing updated ports of Wii U titles in the hopes of garnering interest. It paid off with games like Bayonetta 1 & 2 as well as Pokken Tournament DX. Now another game joins the Switch library as Tropical Freeze makes a return. Will the addition of Funky Mode make the game any better than it already has?

Since the game is a port of a Wii U title, the plot hasn’t changed. On DK Island, Donkey Kong is celebrating his birthday with his family. Everything’s going well until the arrival of a threat that brings in the chill. The Snowmads arrive, driving the Kongs out of their home and turning the island into a winter wonderland. Far from their home, it’s up to DK and his family to travel from island to island in hopes of driving the Snowmad tribe away and restore their home. It’s a simple plot that serves to get the game going. Nothing special.

Gameplay in Tropical Freeze is similar to the Wii U version except with the Switch, you have access to three different control options: Switch Pro, Joycon Controller and individual Joycon. The controls are similar in all three so you don’t have to worry about any additional changes. It’s simple to the point where you can just pick up and play. Co-op is also in the game. The good news is that each player can use any of the following three control options to play. Way better than how it’s done on the Wii U in my opinion.

Funky Mode is this game’s exclusive mode. Since Tropical Freeze is a very hard and challenging game, Nintendo decides to ease up on the difficulty by having an entirely new mode. It’s similar to the 3DS port of DKC Returns where they added New Mode. Funky Mode adds a bunch of changes along with the addition of a new playable character: Funky Kong. Funky serves as a jump in for new and experienced players. He has so many abilities that he pretty much serves as an Easy Mode. From my experience, he’s really fun to use and helps alleviate some of the difficulty the game has. Funky Mode isn’t just limited to a new character. Similar to DKCR 3D’s New Mode, you can still play as DK and his family but they’ll not only have an extra heart but you get access to use items while in a level. For anyone who feels like the game is too difficult, consider this a needed reprieve. There is still the Original Mode for anyone that is interested in playing the original Tropical Freeze.

The game isn’t long, clocking in at about 6-8 hours if you just want to beat it, with a couple more hours thanks to Funky Mode. For those who want to beat it 100%, expect it to be longer by a few more hours. This also includes hard mode as well. The game offers a lot not only for single-player but for co-op as well.

Compared to the Wii U version, this is a step-up. The game goes from 720 to a solid 1080p at 60fps when docked. Its presentation is incredible. The visuals are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. Retro Studios really took great care in keeping the game, as it should be without making sacrifices. The load times are faster too. On Wii U, it takes 20-30 seconds to load but on the Switch, it’s reduced to 8-10 seconds. It’s a big improvement. The music is still just as great to listen to. David Wise delivered on the soundtrack and he should be praised from now to the end of time.

But although there is much praise on the game, there are a few flaws. The game is still hard. Even if you are on Funky Mode, the game will push players to their limits. Not only that but Retro decided to give players a bit of leeway. Should you lose more than 9 lives, you have the option to move on to the next area. But there’s a catch: should you choose to move onto the next level, the level you exited counts as incomplete. It’s a risk/reward but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be included. It’s a simple nitpick… a minor one at best.

Tropical Freeze is still just as good as it was in the Wii U. The addition of Funky Mode adds something new to a familiar experience. Not only that but bringing the game up to 1080p gives it more clarity. Everything else is just as you remember but better. Despite the increased difficulty, the game is still fun whether by yourself or with a friend. For anyone who had played this, you will feel right at home but for those who didn’t, it’s a game you don’t want to miss out on. I guarantee it

I give Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth your money!

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Kirby Star Allies Review

Kirby Star Allies Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of review.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It’s an adage that the Kirby series has stood by for more than two decades. Whether on a Nintendo console or handheld, this franchise never disappoints and each game brings something new while having the same familiar style. One year after the release of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo brings us a new Kirby game onto the new console: Kirby Star Allies. Does this game still follow the adage or does it decide to try something different to set it apart?

Let’s get the plot underway. The story involves a ritual gone bad, sending strange dark fragments, Jamba Hearts all over the cosmos. Some end up on Planet Popstar, affecting many of its inhabitants such as King Dedede & Meta Knight. It affects Kirby but in a different way. Sensing trouble, he heads off, making friends along the way. Eventually they learn that Popstar isn’t the only place that was affected by Jamba Hearts. Kirby and his friends travel from planet to planet, taking on anything that’s in their way, as they must fight to save the universe against a dark force that threatens everything.

Kirby games aren’t always best known for their stories and it’s no exception. It’s pretty much a good vs. evil plot. Evil force threatens the world and it’s people, good guys go on a journey, they take down the bad guys and save the day. Not much to say on it. Compared to previous Kirby games, this story is a bit tame and traditional. Power of friendship huh?

If you have played a Kirby game, then the gameplay for it is straight to the point. For anyone who hasn’t, this is a platforming game where you take control as Kirby and you go from start to finish completing stages while dodging enemies, solving puzzles and taking on bosses. Kirby plays as you expect as he can run, slide or float. He can suck in enemies and acquire their powers to provide versatility, giving him access to 28 different abilities. New ones are introduced such as Water, Artist, Spider and Festival. He also has access to the game’s nifty gimmick. The gimmick is of course Allies and by throwing a Friend Heart at an enemy, they become their ally. It’s similar to Kirby Superstar where with a button press, Kirby can create an ally to join him. Here, you can have up to 3 allies at your disposal with each enemy having different advantages & disadvantages. Not only that but depending on what allies you have, with a simple press of the Up button, Kirby can also change whatever power he has and enhances it, boosting attack and its properties. It’s not limited to Kirby as certain allies can also access this as well. This offers players a lot of options to choose from and having the best set of characters can help make some parts of the game a cakewalk. You can even jump on allies to do team-up attacks that can really hammer it home.

In addition to regular friends, you have access to Dream Friends. They are special allies that can be unlocked as you progress through the game such as King Dedede, Metaknight and Bandana Waddle Dee. You can obtain one by entering a Dream Palace and using a Dream Rod. Of course you can have Kirby form a party of all Dream Friends. How you go about it is up to you. With the release of the 2.0 update, new Dream Friends are added, offering players even more allies to choose from. Characters such as Marx, Gooey, Rick, Coo and Kine add more to the overall game and pay tribute to the franchise that still goes strong.

Kirby Star Allies isn’t a long game. It’s story mode will take roughly 4-5 hours but it goes up to a minimum of 6 if you plan to complete it 100%. The game has a lot of unlockables in the form of paintings. You find puzzle pieces scattered in each level with the big pieces ranging from 1-4 pieces. Completing the puzzle unlocks the picture for you to see in the game’s Gallery. This raises the length to a couple hours more since there are many ways to acquire pieces. In addition to the story mode, there are mini games as well such as Chop Champs & Star Slam Heroes. They’re mostly fun short games and they include different control options. Guest Star Allies lets you choose an ally and complete it all while facing off against familiar and new bosses. With over 20 different characters, including the Dream Allies, this adds a lot of replay value especially if doing it with friends. The Ultimate Choice is this game’s version of The Arena, a boss rush mode and it has multiple difficulties with the hardest being like The True Arena in every other Kirby game. For a $60 game, the game offers a lot.

Presentation-wise, the game is well done. For a Kirby game on the Switch, it’s great. However it runs at about 30 frames per second. Not that it’s a bad thing. Whether you play this game solo or with friends, it’s still enjoyable. Although you can play the game by yourself, up to four players can play all this game has to offer. Not only that but it’s easy for a friend to jump into a game without interrupting. The AI for the allies is very good and responsive and they can handle situations fine. But personally if you plan on playing this game, do so with friends to get the most fun out of it. The music is good. Most of the game uses music from previous games on certain occasions, but it does have original tracks that are nice.

Although this game is fun, there are some flaws. The game is too easy. You can get extra lives rather easily meaning a game over is just pointless. Skilled players can fly through the game in one sitting. Having the right combination of allies and powers can even make the game be a joke. Most of the bosses you face aren’t as hard but there’ll be that one who can take you out. Personally there should be an added hard mode to give players a challenge. Hopefully in the future Nintendo adds it in.

For Kirby’s first outing on the Switch, Nintendo decided to play it safe. That’s not a bad thing mind you. This game is enjoyable and does provide much to do. It’s presentation is solid and charming, the gameplay has a familiar feel and it does give players much to do. But its flaws kind of hinder it a bit from being a great game. Kirby Star Allies is really fun and with friends is a blast but do expect this to be a cakewalk if you go in alone. The power of friendship truly triumphs over all.

I give Kirby Star Allies a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good game and I do recommend it.

Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon Review

Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purpose of review.

In 2016, Nintendo & the Pokémon Company announced the 7th generation with Pokémon Sun & Moon. They were well received but suffered a bit of criticism for its underwhelming plot. A few months later, they announced that players would return to Alola for another adventure in the form of Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. It’s fitting that they are also the last Pokémon games on Nintendo’s series of handhelds. Do these two games help the series go out with a bang or with a whimper?

Let’s begin with the plot. The plot is similar to that of Pokémon Sun & Moon but with a few noticeable differences. One being that the main focus is on Necrozma, as the game’s antagonist. You play the role of a Pokémon Trainer who arrives in Alola and begins their island challenge. As they travel through the region, you face many challenges including opposition with the likes of Team Skull and the Aether Foundation. It all culminates with Necrozma, fusing with the legendary Pokémon and absorbing the world’s light and you traveling to a world named Ultra Megalopolis to fight for the fate of the world. It’s a much better story compared to the previous version and it does give players a desire to see it through to the end.

Another change is the Ultra Recon Squad, a group of individuals who are from a world where their light was taken from them. They have a role in the plot and at times they battle the trainer. Depending on what version, you’ll encounter a different duo with one of them battling you. I find them interesting but I also feel that they deserve more development as characters since once their story ends, there isn’t much.

The game is similar to Sun & Moon but is more tweaked. For starters the presentation is a step up. Many familiar locations now have improved visuals and changes, some of them containing brand new areas. Even the HUDs have been given an update and it makes sense since things are taken to the next level. The character modes are similar to Sun & Moon but I feel they have improved. Heck, everything about these games is a big step-up. The music is good. Many of the songs are remixed to show that things are quite different now, while others are reprised from the previous game. They also include a few new tracks that are really good, to the point where they are just catchy.

Gameplay is similar to Sun & Moon. You start off as a new trainer, you get your starter Pokémon and you travel on a journey to get stronger. You also have to capture Pokémon and train them so they can be stronger. That’s pretty much all there is. Many of the gameplay mechanics that were in Sun & Moon are present in this game such as the Island Challenges, Z-Powered Moves, Ride Pager, etc. If you played Sun & Moon, you’ll feel right at home with this. There are a lot more to do in this game. Some get replaced in favor of other activities that make it less of a grind, such as the Totem Stickers. Collecting them will give you access to Totem versions of various Pokémon. There are more Pokémon to catch with each game having some Pokémon exclusive to that version. On top of that, there are some new mini-games. For example, Mantine Surf where you are on top of a Mantine and you have to build up energy within so you can perform tricks and getting a high score. It’s pretty fun and you get rewarded if you do well enough. There’s the Ultra Warp Ride where you get to ride on a legendary Pokémon such as Solgaleo and you collect energy so you can go really far to reach a world where rare Pokémon can be found. In some cases, you can even find legendaries from previous generations and this adds a lot of time to the game’s overall length.

Speaking of length, Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon completely destroy what Sun & Moon has. In total, the game will take you around 20 hours if you just want to beat the game. But if you plan on putting 100% into it, it takes even longer with the post-game content taking a huge majority. Yes. One of the problems that Sun & Moon had was the lack of post-game content. Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon fixed it by offering a lot to do after all is said and done such as Episode RR and the Ultra Warp Ride. You are getting a lot for a $40 game and it’s worth it.

If I were to find any negatives with Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, it’d be the following. First is the lack of a National Pokedex. Considering that Ultra Warp Ride allows you to catch Pokémon from previous generations, the lack of it really hurts it and the only way you can obtain its data is via Pokémon Bank. Another fault is Ultra Megalopolis. It was hyped as an alternate world where Necrozma took the light and plunging it to darkness. But what we got is a letdown. I wished there was a way to explore the place and see what it’s like and how the people are affected but I think Nintendo & The Pokémon Company kind of dropped the ball on it. Also it’s recommended for players to experience the game on a New Nintendo 3DS or New 2DS hardware. Regular 3DS/2DS handhelds can cause the game to chug considerably in the frame rate department, especially in battles. It’s another nitpick but what can you do since these games push the 3DS to their limits in the graphics.

I like to think of Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon as upgrades to Sun & Moon. The games are still fun to play but they offer so much more in terms of activities. You have similar gameplay but the game puts more focus on its story and I feel it was an improvement. Nintendo & The Pokémon Company put out all the stops to make this be a game that players won’t forget. Sure it has its issues and they did learn from their mistakes. In the end, it’s a game that serves as a tribute to more than 20 years of catching pocket monsters. If you never got to play Sun & Moon when they came out, pick this up. It’s pure satisfaction.

I give Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon a 9 out of 10. It’s worth the full price.

Bayonetta 1 & 2 Review

Bayonetta 1 & 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of reviewing.

Nintendo’s announcement of Bayonetta 3 as a Switch exclusive got a lot of people excited. Not only that but they announced that Bayonetta 1 & 2, released on the Wii U years ago, would also come to the Switch with improved resolution and features. For almost a decade, the series has been known to deliver high-octane hack & slash gameplay while giving players a challenge. Any game developed by PlatinumGames offers this. But do these two games together offer satisfaction or disappointment?

The plot for both games goes a little something like this. In Bayonetta 1, the story revolves around Bayonetta, a woman who was born from an Umbra Witch & Lumen Sage, a product of both. She travels to the city of Vigrid hoping to regain her lost memories while having to contend with the angels of Paradiso, who seem to be after her. The sequel, Bayonetta 2, has her traveling to reach the mountain of Fimbulventr so she can head to Inferno and save her best friend Jeanne. Not only that but she also has to contend with both Paradiso & Inferno, as a much greater evil is on the horizon. That and the balance between the two sides is out of whack.

Individually, each story has the wackiness that you’d expect with Bayonetta doing what she does best and the other characters she encounter all have roles to play. I don’t mind it since this is Bayonetta we’re talking about. No complaints there.

Let’s get right to the gist of things. Both Bayonetta games have an amazing presentation. Compared to their Wii U counterparts, they look so much better. Whether it be the backgrounds, characters, enemies, etc., everything about them is a huge step-up. Both games also run at 60 frames per second in both docked and TV mode and that’s awesome. If anything, it makes the Switch versions feel superior. The music is still enjoyable, to the point where they become ridiculously catchy. It fits since you’ll have a lot of fun playing the game and getting your butt kicked while listening to these tunes. In fact, I can say that they are just divine.

As for the gameplay, they are just as intense as the original Wii U version. However the Switch version of both Bayonetta 1 & 2 take the liberty of incorporating touch screen controls. It’s a neat feature, plus taking down enemies with them is simple yet fun. There are also traditional controls via controller for all who want to play the game the way it should be. Fortunately the controls are great and depending on which one you’re playing, you will feel right at home. Personally the second game is the best due to them being refined and feeling just perfect. All the features that were in the Wii U version such as additional costumes for Bayonetta are included in both games. Surprisingly in the second one, there’s Amiibo functionality. Using specific Amiibo will allow you to unlock costumes for Bayonetta to wear as well as weapons for her to use. They can be unlocked normally but for those that want them right away, there’s the alternative.

Each game offers a good amount of challenge and length, though depending on which game you will be in for quite a fight. The first game will take about 10-12 hours while the second is around 9-10. Fortunately they are multiple difficulties, adding more length and replayability. They offer a lot to do in each game whether it be hack-or-slash, driving, shooting, etc. If anything, I enjoy when they offer a lot to do. Boss battles are in full force in both games and your skills will be tested. There’s also Tag Climax (in Bayonetta 2), a co-op mode where you and a friend can team up to battle enemies. The good news is that you can play either locally or online so that’s a plus.

I honestly can’t find anything negative regarding both Bayonetta games. Both are truly satisfying experiences. However, I only have one complaint. It’s in regards to the first Bayonetta. That game can be unfair at times. Not to mention that some parts are difficult, especially in quick-time sections that can punish you if you make a mistake. Even in the Normal difficulty, carelessness can lead to failure. Bayonetta 2 fixes some of the problems but it shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying what started it all. Also, I am disappointed that the first game didn’t come in a physical release. Rather when you buy Bayonetta 1 & 2, only Bayonetta 2 comes physically with the first via digital code. A bummer yes, but like I said, at least you are getting 2 games for the price of one.

Bayonetta 1 & 2 are both amazing games and with the two now on the Switch, this will give fans a chance to enjoy something they’ve missed. It isn’t for everyone and it will test players to their limits but for anyone that desires a challenge, they’re getting it. With Bayonetta 3 coming, if there’s any opportunity to get into the series and it’s hijinks, it’s now. It’s one ride you don’t ever want to get out of.

Considering that I’m reviewing both Bayonetta games, there’ll be ratings for both along with a combined overall rating.

Bayonetta 1 gets an 8.5 out of 10. Bayonetta 2 gets my highest rating. A perfect 10 out of 10!

Together, I give a combined rating of 9 out of 10. It’s a must-buy and the best part is that you get 2 games for the price of 1! It’s worth your money for sure!

Dragon Ball FighterZ Review

Dragonball FighterZ Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of the review.

What do you get when you take a popular franchise such as the Dragon Ball series and involve one of the greatest fighting game developers in the business? You get Dragon Ball FighterZ! Namco Bandai announced last year that a new fighting game involving the Dragon Ball franchise was coming out. To make it better, the game would be developed by Arc System Works, the company responsible for Blazblue and Guilty Gear. It was a match made in heaven. Fans were excited and even well known fighting game enthusiasts such as Maximilian took interest. Now that the game is finally out to the public, does it live up to all the hype that had built up?

Many fighting games are filled to the brim with content and this game is no exception. Players can be able to go in right away and choose from many different modes such as Arcade, Story, Online, Training and so on. Yes it does have an arcade mode with four different courses for you to compete and get the highest score. Speaking of which, this game offers a very good tutorial that teaches new players how the game works with its fighting system. It’s a 4-button fighter similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 2 & 3 with three attacks and a special button for energy blasts. The rest of the buttons specialize in use for super moves and calling out allies for either switching or assisting players. Also it offers several ways of dealing with opponents such as deflecting, rush attacks and the vanish move where you can teleport behind the opponent to deliver a savage hit. The game does borrow some elements of Capcom’s Vs. series having 3-on-3 battles and it makes sense. Since it’s a Dragon Ball fighting game, it makes battles fast-paced and exciting. Comparing to other fighters, this one is more accessible, providing everything needed for both casual and serious players. It’s something that some fighters lack nowadays.

The game has a roster of 24 different characters, representing much of the franchise from the original to the most recent iteration, Dragon Ball Super. Each character plays different from one another and the need to find the right team is vital to ensure victory. On top of that, the many stages that players can duke it out on pay nods to the franchise in many ways. Plus they are destructible so when character unleashes powerful supers, it can go from calm to outright intense in an instant. Destructive and Dramatic Finishes help liven up battles and in some cases, the characters can re-enact scenes from the anime such as Goku destroying Frieza on Namek or the epic beam face-off between Cell and a Teen Gohan. It’s amazing. Even the Dragon Balls have a role to play when you battle and collecting all of them and summoning Shenron can give you an opportunity to make a comeback.

As far as the different modes, they offer a lot for players. For starters, there’s the Story Mode. Its story is split between three different Arcs where you take control of various characters as you go from one chapter to the next to reach its conclusion. Along the way, you get into the game’s plot. The plot in the story mode involves the DBZ crew having to deal with a new threat and in some cases, heroes and villains must put their differences aside to take on a greater evil. It also has a bit of RPG elements put in. When you battle and win, you’ll gain experience to level up your Link Level. The higher the level, the stronger your character will be. In some cases, it can be an opportunity to level up characters you like. You can go back and play previous chapters should you choose to. It isn’t long, taking you about 8-10 hours with a few more hours added in with Hard Mode. A lot I know but for anyone that wishes to achieve 100%, there you go.

The online for the game is great. You have your usual ranked and casual matches, lobbies can be set up where up to 8 players can join in and battle other players. It even has team battle where 3 players can each choose a character and team up against other teams. It’s incredible. The game also has a lot of customization for your profile along with various unlockables. Thankfully you don’t have to spend any money. Dragon Ball FighterZ has its own currency system that you earn by playing the game. You use the currency, Zenny to buy capsules that let you unlock various things such as titles, profile cards and alternate colors. Any duplicates are converted to Hercule Coins and they’re used to get rare unlockables. I’m happy that Namco Bandai has chosen not to follow the same route as other developers have done. It’s a step in the right direction. There’s also DLC in the form of 8 upcoming characters and they can be eventually obtained via FighterZ pass.

Dragon Ball FighterZ delivers in a lot of ways, especially in its presentation. Arc System Works did a fantastic job taking the anime and bringing it into the game. The characters are very faithful in terms of looks and movement. Everything feels familiar and right at home. The voice acting takes props as well and the good news is that the game includes both English and Japanese voice acting. Many of us who watch the anime will enjoy it a lot. If I were to list any negatives about this, it’s the following. First there is no option to turn off the auto-combo since it’s integrated into the game as a means of attracting new players. Also you can’t change the voices for each character individually. These are minor nitpicks and it shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying an awesome game like this.

In conclusion, Dragon Ball FighterZ is pretty much Marvel vs. Capcom but with Dragon Ball characters and that’s a good thing. The game itself is awesome from both a presentation and gameplay standpoint. It offers a lot of content, fast-paced gameplay and a story mode that is quite fun. What else can I say about this? Namco Bandai and Arc System Works delivered a game that is awesome on all fronts. If a game like Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite made you disappointed, Dragon Ball FighterZ will leave you satisfied and wanting for more. I guarantee it.

I give Dragon Ball FighterZ a solid 9 out of 10. It is worth the full price and earns my personal seal of approval.

Top 15 Best Games of 2017

Top 15 Best Games of 2017

If you thought that 2016 was good in terms of gaming, 2017 simply tells you to hold my beer. 2017 in gaming has had some ups and downs, especially downs in the terms of behind the scenes. But regardless, this year alone has been home to a number of great games. Nintendo’s arrival of the Switch bringing the company back to providence and the PS4 bringing in games that only show why it’s the console of choice. I sadly can’t say the same for Microsoft since well this year has been a disappointing year with games either being delayed or cancelled for one reason or another. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about right?

2017 game-wise was an awesome year and this list culminates the very best that gaming has to offer. This here is my Top 15 Best Games of 2017.

Before I begin, this here is a list consisting of games that I have played and experienced. This is also an opinionated list so you are free to disagree with me. If for whatever reason a game you expected isn’t on this list, it’s either I haven’t played it or never knew about it. Also since many games released this year are remasters of previous games, I will be limiting things on this list for the sake of things… or not because I didn’t get to play that many games and the rest turned out to be letdown after letdown. I vote with my wallet.

15) Gravity Rush 2 – PlayStation 4

We start off this list with a game came out on the first month of the year, Gravity Rush 2. A sequel to the original, which had a remastered version last year, the game focuses on Kat and Syd in a new place, as they must find a way back home. Along the way many secrets are revealed, along with an origin tale for our favorite Gravity Shifter. The game is an improvement over the first, fixing many problems while adding new gameplay elements, such as the Gravity Styles. They also provide a lot not only on backstory but also on the world and its characters. It’s an amazing game that offers a lot and it also comes with free DLC, detailing a tale about Raven. The tale involving her is just as good as Kat’s tale and plus you get to play as Raven as well.

It’s #15 on my list since I never thought we get a sequel but I’m happy that it’s now possible. The people behind it should be proud to deliver a game like this. Now if only they don’t shut down the online aspect of it because it’s going to feel a bit stale without it.

14) Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – PlayStation 4

Let me explain first. It’s on this list for two reasons. First is that we finally get an HD version of Dream Drop Distance. The second is A Fragmented Passage and it serves as a sneak peek for what to expect in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III, if it ever comes out. But regardless the game is incredible to look at. The presentation is a huge step-up with the game running flawlessly at 60 frames per second! I mean it, purely flawless. The inclusion of Chi Back Cover adds some backstory for the mobile game and it’s pretty good.

For a compilation it’s amazing and you can get it now in a cheap price. Unlike the 1.5 + 2.5 Remix that had some problems when it came out and they had eventually been fixed, this had absolutely no issues and felt like a well deserved upgrade. I feel Square-Enix should have put a bit more time in checking before they released that. So yeah, this game is #14 since it’s a compilation that does offer new stuff alongside a remastered 3DS game from 2012.

13) Fire Emblem Warriors – Nintendo Switch/New 3DS

The Warriors series are best known for hack-and-slash fun and when Nintendo franchises are involved, they ultimately become fun experiences. It was like it with Hyrule Warriors and the 3DS port, Hyrule Warriors Legends. But then they decide to try their luck with Fire Emblem and the results are great. Fire Emblem Warriors is what you’d expect; it’s simple hack-and-slash fun. This game offers a lot in terms of content with a campaign, having multiple difficulties and a history mode where you relive certain moments in FE history. Elements of Fire Emblem such as the weapon triangle are implemented, adding a level of strategy for players.

Although the game does have some issues such as the roster and the fact some characters are only unlocked in the History Mode, it does offer a lot and for a Switch title, it’s impressive. There is DLC and like in Hyrule Warriors, it’s done right offering new characters and maps to play in. The game is also released on the 3DS handheld but only as a New 3DS exclusive, probably after how Hyrule Warriors Legends fared, having it on the New line is a good alternative. Personally the Switch version is the best one.

12) Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – PlayStation 4

Celebrating the 11th anniversary of the PS2 release of FF12, Square-Enix brings the twelfth entry of their beloved franchise to the PlayStation 4, in the form of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. It’s a remaster yes but thing is, this game uses the FFXII International Zodiac Job System. For the first time, players can experience a version of FFXII that is quite different than what they once played back in 2006.

The visuals are a big step up, the music is great while the gameplay is just as you remember. It’s a perfect way for fans to celebrate a game that is part of a series of games taking place within the continent of Ivalice. For anyone that has never played a Final Fantasy game, it’s one place to start and for those who have experienced it, it’s going to be one ride you should relive. Why it’s #12 on my list since you know it would be obvious but hey, I enjoyed FF12 back in 2006 and I enjoy this even more now that it was given the upgraded treatment.

11) Metroid: Samus Returns – Nintendo 3DS

Amazing how in one year a franchise can go from have an uncertain future to a ray of hope. With Federation Force being a massive dud, fans wonder if this was the end for Samus Aran. Nope. Nintendo not only announced a new Metroid Prime game but also a remake of a Game Boy classic, Metroid: Samus Returns. A remake of the original Metroid, this game retells Samus’ journey through Planet SR388 as she’s ordered by the Galactic Federation to hunt down and eliminate all the Metroids while having to contend with everything the planet has to offer.

If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the old adage and it shows here. In addition to what makes Metroid great, they add a bunch of new things to help streamline the experience such as the Melee Counter and Aeion System. But the only gripe the game has is that the DLC for it is restricted to it’s exclusive Amiibo line. Despite this, Samus Returns is Nintendo saying I’m sorry for Federation Force. The fans have accepted this apology but let’s only hope that the upcoming Metroid Prime 4 can deliver on all fronts.

10) Cuphead – Xbox One, PC, Steam

It started as an ambitious project, made by three people who were willing to risk everything to make this possible. Three blossomed into 19 and once it got some help from Microsoft in exchange for exclusivity, their dream and ambition became a reality. Cuphead is one of the few games that is just spectacular. All you do is take on bosses while trying to study their patterns and survive. There are also some run and gun sections and it helps balance the intensity of this game.

Cuphead is hard, a very hard game that offers a lot of challenge. It’s presentation is phenomenal, paying tribute to the 1930s and 40s era of animation. The music is some of the best I’ve ever listened to with tracks that are so addicting and the gameplay is simple but there’s a level of depth that can have you using various weapons for different strategies. It’s hard yes but it’s the challenge that makes it rewarding, as it’s a nod to old school games that were hard but rewarded you for persevering. For a $20 game that’s on Xbox One, PC and Steam, you can’t say no to a game like this. Absolutely not! This game deserves to be in your collection and I highly recommend it.

9) Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – PlayStation 4

2017 is the year where classics that we grew up on in the 90s and 2000s get a needed HD makeover for a new decade. Some were well received while others were so and so. But Activision and Vicarious Visions delivered on a compilation that hit for all the right reasons, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, released on the PlayStation 4.

This compilation takes the original three PS1 games and giving it a serious facelift on all sides: presentation, sound and gameplay. It serves not only to celebrate the series but also introduces new players to the lovable marsupial Crash Bandicoot. At around $40 (or cheaper), you get three games for the price of one with trophy support and there’s even DLC of a level that is so hard, you will be pushed to your limits. It’s nostalgia kicking you in the rear end right here for all the right reasons. It’s a must-buy for anyone that grew up with the franchise or for someone that wants a first-hand experience.

8) Splatoon 2 – Nintendo Switch

In 2015, Nintendo released Splatoon for the Wii U, their take on the shooter genre that Call of Duty would claim popularity over. It didn’t had much when it launched but in time it would grow to be a game that people loved. Two years later, Splatoon returned for another round except this time it would be taken to the next level. Splatoon 2 improves so much on the original that it’s considered better than the first in every way.

You have a single-player campaign with a lot of replay value, an online component that can have you going back for hours on end whether it be co-op or multiplayer and continuous updates that would add more such as splatfests, new weapons and refinements that make it feel like a complete package. Honestly what else is to say about Splatoon 2 that hasn’t been said? It’s enjoyable whether you play alone or with friends. It deserves the #8 spot and if you haven’t gotten this game, you should because it’s worth it.

7) Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon – Nintendo 3DS

Wait one minute! This game at #7 and you ask why?! Here’s why!

Pokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are considered to be huge improvements to the originals in so many ways. The story is better with the introduction of new elements such as Necrozma and the fact you travel through different worlds via Ultra Warp Ride. The game is still the same as it always has been but that isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s good, very good. Plus since they are the last games on Nintendo’s handhelds, it’s a fitting yet beautiful way for it to end.

The game is the same as Sun & Moon released last year but with a lot of improvements while fixing some of the problems that plagued the previous game. Not to mention the post-game is incredibly massive with you being able to catch every legendary Pokemon from the past sixth generations. It’s truly the last hurrah for the franchise on handhelds and the future for it is going to be really bright.

6) Steamworld Dig 2 – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PS Vita, PC

2017 is the year where Indie developers were able to do what Triple-A publishers can’t: deliver great games. Image & Form Games, best known for the Steamworld series of games hit this one right out of the park. Steamworld Dig 2 is the sequel to the original Steamworld Dig released four years ago. Focusing on Dot as the main protagonist, her job is to find out what happened to the previous protagonist, Rusty.

It’s a Metroidvania-style game but it excels on it in so many ways. The presentation shows as you explore the underground, finding treasure and using what you earn to upgrade your character. It’s gameplay is solid and the music is soothing to listen to as you explore. The game has replay value but overall, it’s one you shouldn’t miss out on. Show your support and get this game! It’s available on almost every current system.

5) Persona 5 – PlayStation 4

This is one game that I really should put more time towards because there were so many other games that came out this year, I’ll keep it short and brief.

Atlus has done it again with the fifth main installment of the Persona series. Persona 5 takes everything that makes the other games good and goes full throttle. Everything about Persona 5 is awesome: the characters, the gameplay, the music, the story, it has enough twists and turns that it has you on the edge of your seat. Not only that but bonding with your allies help boost your confidants’ strength and in turn makes you stronger. It’s one of the best Atlus has delivered and it’s one that makes you want to go back. Persona 5 deserves its spot at #5 and I’ll say this, you never saw this coming.

4) Nioh – PlayStation 4

What do you get when you take Dark Souls and combine it with the feel of Japanese tales and folklore? You get Nioh! Nioh is a game that I have spent hours upon hours on trying to be as strong as I can be. It’s that addicting. Nioh is such a marvel to play and even more of a marvel to look at. The Dark Souls mentality exists but in turn, the game is more fast-paced requiring you to be on your toes against enemies that will spare no expense in taking you down. In addition you can customize the protagonist William “Anjin” Adams however you want, adding more replay value to the game.

Replay value for the game is through the roof with New Game+ and even after beating that, you unlock New Game++ and so on. The DLC for the game add hours into an otherwise complete package, with new weapons, guardian spirits, balance tweaks, etc. It’s incredible. Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja should be praised for giving us a game that is not only challenging but fun. If you are in a fix for a game that’s like Dark Souls but intense and action-packed Nioh is it. Take it from me. This game is awesome. Hard, but awesome!

3) Sonic Mania – PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC

A Sonic game made by fans for the fans and it shows. Sonic Mania is 2D Sonic at it’s absolute best. Sonic, Tails & Knuckles return for a new adventure, journeying to stop Dr. Eggman who has gotten his hands on a gem called the Phantom Ruby and uses it to do some crazy stuff like turning a pack of Egg Robos into the Hard-Boiled Heavies. You travel through 12 zones, eight of them being retreads of zones from previous games while adding something new and making nods to all things Sonic.

Christian Whitehead and Tee Lopes should be praised all the way to high heaven for their contributions. Whitehead especially for the gameplay! He understood how a Sonic game should be done and it shows. Tee Lopes nailed it on the music with many tracks being so amazingly good. It’s a game for fans who grew up with Sonic and for people that want to get into it but don’t know where to start. Sonic Mania is the game of choice. The only sad thing is that this ties in to the disappointingly Sonic Forces but regardless it shouldn’t dissuade you from playing this. No way.

The last two entries on this list is just so hard to decide. Both of them came out on a console that has become a massive moneymaker for Nintendo. If I wanted to, I would have both of them fit the #1 slot but I can’t. I honestly can’t.

2) Super Mario Odyssey – Nintendo Switch

People say that this banks heavily on nostalgia. I disagree. Super Mario Odyssey is the definitive 3D Mario Game taking what made the 3D Mario games good like 64, Sunshine and Galaxy and improving on them. It’s a celebration of the Mario franchise while offering an adventure like any other. The biggest addition and one that’s considered a major game changer is Cappy. Having the ability to possess anything it comes across adds a whole new layer of gameplay I have never seen. In addition the game is so much fun with exploration being it’s highest point. There is so much to do in Mario Odyssey that it’s nuts. It’s completely nuts.

The gameplay is refined and almost perfect, its presentation is just delightful with each world being able to stand out offering something different with the Metro Kingdom being my personal favorite. The music is what you’d expect in a Mario game: a joy to listen to and combined with the fact that the game has massive replay value. It’s incredible. This here is a game that anyone who owns a Switch should have. If you have a Switch, get it. NOW! You won’t regret it.

1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch

You all knew that this game would be on the list! You all know that this game has won numerous awards and has gone on to become one of the greatest games ever! What else needs to be said about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that hasn’t already been said. It’s one of the best Zelda games hands down. An open world experience that offers so much to do and it depends on what you do. You could go straight to Ganon if you want or you can pretty much take your time exploring Hyrule and getting yourself stronger. This game offers a freedom I never thought I’d see and it’s so good.

 

I don’t have much else to say about it. Breath of the Wild is a game that says farewell to the Nintendo Wii U and hello to the Nintendo Switch. A game that earns it’s praise and the added content via Expansion Pass offers more to an otherwise incredible game. People can say I’m biased about it but no, I don’t think that way. Breath of the Wild is the definitive Zelda game that is a celebration of the franchise but also one of the best games of 2017! Hands down.

 

Honorable Mentions

  • A Hat in Time
  • ARMS
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
  • Fire Emblem Heroes
  • Hey! Pikmin
  • Horizon: Zero Dawn
  • Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  • NieR: Automata
  • Super Mario Run
  • Uncharted: Lost Legacy
  • Yakuza 0
  • Yakuza Kiwami
  • Yo-kai Watch 2 Psychic Specters

January 2018 New Year’s Update

Before I begin, I want to let you know that this blog is devoted to all things video game reviews. This is an exception to this because I want to at least get this out of the way.

A new year means new beginnings and this update is a very important one so I wish for everyone to watch it. Besides, it’s high time that my YouTube channel get itself out of the rut it’s in.

Reviews re going to be coming since yeah, I have my work cut out for me this year.

My new and improved YT Blog