All posts by destinyzx1

A young man who has but one simple desire; to go back in time and relive his youth.

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.

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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.

Steamworld Dig 2 Review

Steamworld Dig 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Image & Form Games. Special thanks to them!

Four years ago, a little game called Steamworld Dig was released upon the world. Developed by Image & Form Games, it focused on a robot named Rusty who explores the world below to find treasure, challenge and a sense of mystery. The game’s favorable reception would soon give way to two sequels although it led to the game being ported many times for players to get a chance to experience it. Four years later, the game would finally have a sequel in the form of Steamworld Dig 2. With a new protagonist and a new story to tell, does this game carry the same charm and feel as the original?

The story of Steamworld Dig 2 takes place some time after the first game. Rusty, the protagonist of the last game has gone missing. You play the role as Dorothy McCrank (aka Dot) who moves to the town of El Machino to find him. Along the way, she gets help from a mysterious creature who has his reasons for joining in. Together, the two will discover something sinister that may affect their home and the entire planet. The story in the game has me curious and they mostly happen in many instances as you explore through the area. By the time the game ends, you can’t help but feel bad for Dot and everyone. I won’t spoil it but yes, this game really made me have the feels for it.

Like the first Steamworld Dig, this game is a Metroidvania-style game where exploration is the main focus. All you do in the game is head underground and with your trusty pickaxe dig your way down. How Dot goes depend on you and that’s the whole gist of it. The game does have an objective based format but you are free to explore at your leisure. As you do so you collect treasure that can be exchanged for money, the money in turn can be used to purchase upgrades for Dot’s gear and stats. But there are also collectibles that can be exchanged to get special upgrades. Her skills are also tied to cogs that you find as you explore. Cogs are used to make modifications that can help Dot in various situations. They can also be swapped to other perks, offering a lot of options. There’s also a level up system but it’s used for obtaining bonus pay when you trade jewels for cash. Of course if you end up going down, you suffer a small penalty. It isn’t much and you can recover the stuff you collect but good luck trying to find it if you are way down on your journey.

All of this provide the game a lot to do and it’ll be needed to progress. Like Metroid, the game will take you quite a while to achieve 100% completion. But if you simply want to beat the game it can take you roughly 6-8 hours. There is some replay value since you have to collect everything to achieve 100% while maxing out Dot. It’s a lot of work. The game isn’t hard either but it can be if you choose to do so. There are boss battles and many require strategy to beat them. Thankfully they aren’t at the point where it can get real intense. It also has one of the best fast-travel systems ever meaning at certain points, you can find a shaft you can use to move from one area to the next quickly. Or if you want you can use it to head back up above to restock. Then once you’re set, you use the fast travel to return where you left off. Simple.

Steamworld Dig 2 is a sight to behold. Each environment stands out while adding something to set itself apart. Whether on the PS4, Switch, PS Vita or PC, the game is amazing. It’s easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple yet easy and as you play and unlock new gadgets and upgrades, it gets better. The characters look good and even the enemies stand out. Image & Form Games deserve all the praise they can get for delivering on a sequel that surpasses the original and in some ways tie things to another game in the Steamworld series.

If I were to find any problems with Steamworld Dig 2, I feel that at times trying to get all the upgrades can be a grind. Yeah, you can be able to max yourself out if you put the effort but good luck with it especially since trying to find everything underground and in some areas a challenge onto itself. I could be wrong. Also, a lack of a New Game + limits replayability a bit but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this.

Steamworld Dig 2 is an impressive sequel to the first game and one you should definitely get a chance to play. It has everything you ever want in a game like this: exploring, combat, platforming and puzzles, you name it. The addition of RPG elements add a bit more to an impressive game and the fact that it’s $20 says a lot. For $20 you get all this. This is amazing. If you want a little something to pass the time, this is it. Steamworld Dig 2 is one dig you don’t want to miss out on. I guarantee it.

I give Steamworld Dig 2 a 9 out of 10. It’s a must buy.

Mario Sports Superstars Review

Mario Sports Superstars Review – Written by jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

Mario & sports games go hand in hand ever since the days of the Nintendo 64. It’s proven fact. However with the more recent sports games such as Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash not being up to par, Nintendo along with Camelot Software needed something to hopefully get people into it. The end result is Mario Sports Superstars. Similar to Mario Sports Mix, released in 2011 for the Wii, Sports Superstars is a compilation package containing five different sports games in one cartridge. The question is… does it carry the same feel as Sports Mix or is this one set players should pass up?

Similar to Mario Sports Mix, Mario Sports Superstars contains five different sports: soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and horse racing. They aren’t mini-games per se but rather full recreations down to the core. There is no story to the game. You can just pick up and play rather easily. Each sport offers a different experience and challenge. Elements from previous Mario sports games take full effect here. Soccer is 11-vs-11 gameplay with two teams battling to score the most goals. Soccer also has access to various options and strategies to accommodate the actual sports’ rules. Baseball has two teams of 9 characters playing against each other. Sadly it’s all pretty basic like the sport itself. Golf is just like every other Mario based golf game where you tee off for 9 holes to get the lowest score. There’s also a Ring Challenge mode for players where they can send the ball through large rings dotted around the course. It’s in training mode unfortunately.

Tennis is just like in Mario Tennis with various features taken from the more recent installments. Players can take part in either singles (1-on-1) or doubles (2-on-2). Many various shots such as Chance Shots, Jump Shots and the powerful Ultra Smash make a return as well adding for fast paced action. Horse Racing is one of the games’ new modes. You take control of a Mario character as you race against several opponents on horseback while dodging obstacles and leaping over hazards. You can choose your horse, what build it can be and even customize it in a variety of ways. They can also be groomed, petted or fed to boost bonds that can help in the races. All of this happens via Stable Mode done and controlled in first person. You can do many things in the stable mode and find rare items along the way. Competing in races and winning net you reward food that you can use to boost bonds along with moods. For a compilation, this is the best out of all the modes since it offers so much to do.

Mario Sports Superstars has both single and multiplayer for all game types. Tournament is the game’s single player, a 3-tier system where you and 7 opponents battle each other to reach the top. Beating one cup unlocks the other until you reach the highest difficulty, the Champion’s Cup. Beating it unlocks the character’s star version. Star characters are improved versions of them & it has to be done for every game. It can be very tedious and repetitive. Training Mode is also available. Each of the five games have a mode where you can practice and improve. Ring Challenge is available in all games and has four difficulty settings, offering a lot of time and fun. Length for the game depends on how much they want to put into it to unlock everything. There are characters you can unlock by winning 1st in the tournament modes. Multiplayer is also available via local or online. Depending on the game mode, you can have up to 4-6 players play local or 2-6 online. It’s acceptable but I wish in regards to local multiplayer that the option to Download Play should be included for people that don’t own the game. Overall, pretty standard stuff for Mario Sports games and I’m thankful it’s included otherwise the game would just be a bore.

The presentation is rather average at best. Nintendo took elements from previous Mario sports titles and integrated them into this one. There isn’t much to say about it. Controls are good, easy to work with and simple for people that want to pick up and play. The old adage still follows here, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Music is okay at best. Some tracks are good but not as much.

There are a few issues. Most of the games aside from horse racing don’t offer anything interesting, as in no gimmicky features that the previous Mario sports games bring. The tournament can be a repetition and the harder difficulties don’t help matters especially when you wish to unlock the rest of the characters, especially the star versions. It also doesn’t help that if you want to play with other players they need their own copy of the game. Another misstep, I say.

Like every Mario game, this has Amiibo support and they come in the form of Amiibo cards. Using these unlock star versions of specified characters. They can also be used power up characters to unlock superstar versions. It’s nice for people that don’t want to grind up so much to unlock them. Tapping three Amiibo cards accesses the Road to Superstar mini game. You need to defeat the boss in order to complete the game to unlock the superstar version. Speaking of which, the game has a collection and they need to buy packs of cards with coins to complete whole set. All this does is unlock the credits and sound test.

Overall Mario Sports Superstars is a pretty decent game. It’s decent but not enough to get you hooked onto for hours at a time. The games are all right with horse racing being the best out of them and it has single and multiplayer. However the game does have its issues. With many being its repetitive grind in the tournament mode, lack of gimmicks and multiplayer woes. Does it hurt the game? A little but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a pretty good game. Nintendo should hopefully learn from this and maybe provide a better game, especially with the Switch now being out and all. Mario Sports Superstars is fun, just not for long sessions.

I give Mario Sports Superstars a 7 out of 10.

Layton’s Mystery Journey Review

Layton’s Mystery Journey Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

For more than a decade, the Layton series has graces fans with challenging puzzles and stories that get people intrigued and on their seats. It is quite a franchise with 6 main games, an animated movie, a spin-off and a crossover with the Ace Attorney series. In 2016, Level-5 announced a new entry into the Layton series starring a new female protagonist. It would eventually be revealed as Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle & the Millionaire’s Conspiracy. The game would be released first on mobile devices in July with the 3DS not receiving it till October. It has been a month since the game’s release. Does this game deserve the title of being part of the Layton series?

The story centers on Katrielle Layton, daughter of the famous Prof. Hershel Layton, who runs a private detective agency along with her assistant Ernest Greeves. Meeting a talking dog named Sherl or “Sherl O.C Kholmes”, it asks Katrielle to help it regain its memories. Upon solving a case of one of Big Ben’s hour hands disappearing, Kat, Ernest and Sherl soon get involved in a series of cases related to the “Seven Dragons”, seven of London’s most rich and influential people leading to an unexpected conclusion. All the while, Katrielle hopes to find out what happened to her father who had disappeared.

This story got me hooked and intrigued from start to finish. Unlike previous Layton games, its story isn’t one continuous tale. Rather its split between 12 cases with each of them sharing an overarching theme. Its theme makes sense for the game and by the time it’s over, you’ll pretty much feel more of an appreciation for the characters.

If you played a Layton game, you will feel right at home here. Layton’s Mystery Journey has you investigating each case in various locations, trying to find information, solve puzzles and get clues needed to solve the case. It’s split into two sections: Investigation and Puzzle. Investigation is where you’ll spend most of the game on. You use the touch screen to look around and search every nook and cranny. It’s needed to find stuff like hint coins, collectibles and puzzles. Hint coins help when you tackle tough puzzles whereas puzzles themselves are what the Layton series are best known for. Collectibles are mostly for completionist purposes. There are also fashion coins that can be used to unlock many outfits for Katrielle to wear. It’s for cosmetic purposes but it helps give Kat a bit of variety in what she can wear.

Puzzles are the second section and each case has a multitude of them for you to tackle. Each puzzle will award you Picarats for solving them. The higher the Picarats, the more difficult the puzzle can be. But honestly, the puzzles aren’t that hard. The game does provide hints at the expense of hint coins but most players can figure them out without much difficulty. You do get penalized if you fail by means of reduced picarats but it’s not as bad. The game also has additional mini games you unlock as you progress through the story. They offer some variety and in turn, you unlock more puzzles for you to solve via Kat’s Conundrum.

Layton’s Mystery Journey isn’t a long game. Overall it’ll take you probably 14-16 hours to complete and the mini-games and added puzzles will add an hour or two more. The good news is that it gives you the option to go back to previous cases you completed to find any puzzles or hint coins you missed. It’s a needed relief for those that want to get full completion. Not much else to say about it since it’s a Layton game and all.

As far as its presentation goes, it’s exactly what you’d expect for a Layton game. Although it did come out on mobile platforms, for a 3DS port, it’s pretty good. It keeps the charm and feel of the Layton games to a T. The characters are easy to like, many having motivations that are relatable. I felt they helped the story out and there was a character that I didn’t like. Music is pretty good, with some carrying a sense of Ace Attorney familiarity. The voice acting is nice with the talent being well done for a Layton game. Cutscenes are aplenty here, courtesy of A-1 Pictures. It’s impressive to say the least.

If there is anything that I find to be negative, it’s that the game can feel a bit too simple and predictable. Since Layton’s Mystery Journey follows things in a case-by-case basis, the way in which it goes does get repetitive after a while. The puzzles are in some cases real easy to beat compared to previous games. Also the game has DLC and it’s in the form of unlocking additional costumes and puzzles. The costumes are cosmetic but fun while the puzzles are a step-up making them harder versions of puzzles you completed. Unlike the iOS version, you don’t have to spend much so that is a sense of reprieve. There are also free bonus puzzles, as Level-5 has stated that the game will provide a new puzzle every day for an entire year. Great for those that wants to try their luck.

In conclusion, Layton’s Mystery Journey is a worthy addition to the Layton franchise, despite a few issues. The story is easy to get into, the characters are likeable and the gameplay feels like a Layton game should. Despite some negatives, the game is an enjoyable experience and I recommend this. If you are new to the series then this is a good place to start. However if you have played a Layton game then you’ll find it to be a bit too simple. Regardless it’s one mystery you should solve. I only hope we get a sequel.

I give Layton’s Mystery Journey an 8 out of 10.

Super Mario Odyssey Review

Super Mario Odyssey Review

Written by Jose Vega
Edited by Max R, aka OneOneTwo

Purchased copy for the sake of review.

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
ESRB Rating: E10+

For every console Nintendo brings out, there will be a Mario game that stands as the pinnacle of each console generation. When Nintendo announced their new console the Switch last year, fans wonder if a Mario game would follow suit. At E3, a few months later, Nintendo announced Super Mario Odyssey. After a lot of waiting, the game is finally released. It would go on to sell more than 2 million copies in 3 days. Does this game deliver on the hype that Nintendo provided?

The story in Mario games tends to be simple with a few twists here and there. This game is no exception. The plot involves Mario having to stop Bowser yet again. However, there is a twist, it’s that he kidnapped Princess Peach for the sole reason of marrying her. But Mario isn’t alone. He teams up with a Bonneter named Cappy who’s along for the ride to save his little sister Tiara. Together the two of them travel all over the world to stop Bowser, save Peach and Tiara and deal with a gang of rabbit wedding planners called the Broodals.

It’s the same as with every Mario game with Mario having to save Princess Peach from Bowser. This is no exception here, but I for one like it. What’s interesting is that now there’s an actual premise with a wedding and Bowser bringing along a new set of minions to keep Mario occupied. It’s familiar but I feel it’s fresh. It’s what you are used to when playing a Mario game.

What about the meat and potatoes, the gameplay? The game feels familiar yet offers something new in the process. If you have played a previous 3D Mario platformer, then you’ll feel right at home. Mario plays exactly how he should and Nintendo has taken great care in having it feel familiar. But like every Mario game, they always offer something to make the experience rewarding. Cappy is an excellent example of this. Cappy is Odyssey’s main gimmick and he is useful in a variety of ways. For example, you can throw Cappy at anything whether it be enemy, creature or object to possess it. Cappy also provides a secondary function, serving as a platform used for extending jumps or taking down enemies from afar. This also serves to replace Power-ups for this game. It has a variety of features and they’ll be needed whether to solve puzzles, attack enemies or find Power Moons. Power Moons are like the Power Stars of Odyssey. Like in previous Mario games, collecting them is needed. This time, they serve the purpose of powering up your ship, the Odyssey so you can travel from one kingdom to the next. There are a total of 17 kingdoms to explore. Each kingdom also has special currency called Regional Coins that you have to collect in order to get clothes native to the respective place. You can also use regular coins to buy items as well such as Power Moons and increased health.

As for the controls, there are many ways on how to play the game. For the best experience, it’s recommended that you play with the Joy-Cons in each hand. The motion controls for it are precise and they provide a lot of additional features. Other options such as the Pro Controller are allowed but either way, you have many options to choose from. There’s also co-op where one player plays Mario and the other Cappy and you can team up to play through the game. Odyssey is one of these games that will have you spend a long time finding everything. It’s a collect-a-thon yes but a very good one. Length-wise, the game will take you 15-20 hours to complete but if you plan on trying to 100% the game, it’s much longer around 40-60 hours. The replay value for it is very high and even after beating the game, there is a lot to do. There are plenty of boss fights with each area offering a challenge. It’s not too hard or too easy, it’s the right amount of challenge. Sometimes you even have to rely on the environment around you to win.

Mario Odyssey is home to many kingdoms for Mario and Cappy to explore. From a presentation standpoint, the game is amazing. Each kingdom offers something different and how they look is marvelous. Whether it is the desert locale of Sand Kingdom or the big city of Metro Kingdom, Odyssey never disappoints. The main characters like Mario, Cappy, Bowser and Peach are very expressive. Many of the world’s inhabitants also look well and depending on where you go, it offers something new. The music is amazing, with each world having several tracks that represent the many areas. Jump Up, Super Star, the theme of Mario Odyssey is catchy and addicting. Pauline’s voice actor, Kate Higgins nailed it and it shows.

Honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong with a game like Super Mario Odyssey. It felt as if everything from previous Mario games has been put into a blender delivering something that is fantastic. To be fair, one nitpick that I have with this game is that they removed lives, which has been a staple in every main Mario game. It’s the first and only game I know where it’s impossible to get a game over. When Mario dies, he loses 10 coins and since as you play, you’ll get tons of coins making it pretty much an afterthought. I feel that this streamlines the game to make it more accessible and I feel it was the right choice. Like every Nintendo game, there is Amiibo support and using any of the Mario line of Amiibos unlocks new costumes for Mario to wear. Mario Odyssey also has its own special line of Amiibo in the form of wedding variants of Mario, Bowser and Peach. Using any of them unlocks some wedding costumes for Mario to wear. Seeing Mario dressed in a bridal gown is a bit funny but kind of weird. Note that Amiibo are not required and one can still 100% the game without them, albeit it is a little trickier to do so.

Super Mario Odyssey is everything that you would love about 3D Mario games, taking everything that made the previous games great and perfecting it in every way. You have incredible gameplay, a presentation that’s second to none, responsive controls, high replay value, great music and tons to do. It’s insane how Nintendo is able to pull something like this off and they did. They did the impossible and I can honestly say that Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario game ever made. If you’re looking forward to owning a Nintendo Switch and you can’t decide what game you want first, get this one. You will not regret it. This is one journey you don’t want to ever miss out on.

A tough decision, I know. I give Super Mario Odyssey a flawless 10 out of 10. It’s a must-buy for anyone that either owns a Nintendo Switch or plans on getting one.