All posts by destinyzx1

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

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Review

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of reviewing.

What do you get when you take the charm of Disney with the role-playing fortitude that is Square-Enix? You get a series like this. Since 2002, the Kingdom Hearts series has attracted fans far and wide with its story, characters, and gameplay. It evolved into a franchise that spanned numerous prequels, sequels, and spin-offs. In 2013, Square-Enix announced that Kingdom Hearts III would finally be in development and the wait for it began. During that time, they would release compilation games onto Sony’s PS3 in the form of HD 1.5 Remix in 2013 and HD 2.5 Remix a year later to get people busy. Three years later, we would get them both in the form of a super compilation on PS4 called Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix. Containing final mix versions of 3 KH games, two movies and an updated GBA to PS2 game, is this THE definitive Kingdom Hearts compilation to recommend to new fans?

This game is pretty much that, a compilation of several Kingdom Hearts games that were pretty much given the HD treatment. You get a total of six games: Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, RE: Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Birth By Sleep Final Mix & RE: Coded. Six in one disc, that’s a lot. All six are similar to how they are on the PlayStation 3. The only difference is that Square decides to upscale the games at 1080p at 60 fps. That’s impressive. The fact that they’re able to pull this off is astounding. Not to mention with the PS4 hardware, the load times are a lot shorter making them seamless. Still, an impressive feat has given that they were able to pull this off well with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.

All of the games play well and if you’ve played any on the PlayStation 3, you will do fine here on the PlayStation 4. There are however several differences between the two. One difference is that since it’s on the PS4, there’s a lack of a Start & Select button. It’s substituted for the touchpad and option button on the controller. Pretty good. In addition, all of the changes and improvements from the PS3 version are in the PS4 version. It makes them all streamlined but depending on what game you choose to play can differ. There’s also trophy support like in the PS3 version. Unlike the PS3 version, however, they fixed it so that you only have to beat it once at the hardest setting to get most of the trophies. A major reprieve since truthfully, nobody wants to go through all that hassle.

Length-wise, each of these games will take you hours to beat, longer if you plan on trying to complete them at 100%. Since most of these games are Final Mix versions, more content is included such as new bosses, keyblades, challenges, etc. Not only that but KH2FM also included additional voice acting for the added scenes. That’s a lot. As for 358/2 Days and Re: Coded, they are pretty much full movies clocking at 3 hours each. They simply summarize the events that go on in those respective games. Square did take the liberty of updating Days by adding more scenes and in a way it does help. Though it makes you wish they were playable to see how much it has improved graphically.

The presentation on all six games is well done. Being that they upscaled all six games to 1080p at 60 fps helps a lot. They all look great and play great too. Voice acting is still solid with a robust cast that nails their lines well. Even the likes of Mark Hamill, the late Sir Christopher Lee and the late Leonard Nimoy help add a lot of weight to the series. Music is similar to the PS3 versions with KH1 and 2 Final Mix having their soundtracks completely redone to add more oomph to the games themselves. They are all good but I wish there was an option to allow players to have the original PS2 soundtrack and to switch between them. It would have made this a definitive package and a recommendation.

As for any negatives, there isn’t much. Almost all of the playable games are the Final Mix versions meaning that they are more challenging than the originals. Not to mention that games like Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix & BBS Final Mix had problems where the game would have a tendency to crash. It hurts even worse if players forgot to save, causing them to lose a lot of progress. They have since been fixed with updates but it was a big issue at the time. Also, some games had some censored changes when they come overseas. It was done to prevent controversy but it shouldn’t hinder anyone one bit.

So in conclusion, this compilation offers so much content on one disc that it isn’t funny. Upscaled graphics and frame rate, familiar controls and the fact that this takes 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix and put them together in one package. The best part about it is that it wasn’t a full price game. In fact, you can get it now at around $30 so it’s a steal. With Kingdom Hearts 3 coming in a matter of months, if you want to get into the series and don’t know where to begin, this compilation is it. Be ready because a series like this isn’t an easy journey for sure.

I give Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix an 8.5 out of 10.

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Hollow Knight Review

Hollow Knight Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of review.

Last February, a little game called Hollow Knight was released on Steam to critical acclaim. It actually started as a Kickstarter campaign that raised $57,000 AUD (or $42,054 US) in 2014 and took three years to develop. Team Cherry Games would also announce that the game would come to the Nintendo Switch. After a year of waiting, it came to Nintendo’s new console complete with all the expansions that were released as well as whatever yet to come. Now that it has reached the Switch, is this game worth the wait?

The plot focuses on a knight who goes on a journey to uncover the truth about Hallownest, an insect kingdom that has long been abandoned. But it’s depths brought many adventurers who wish to seek out its treasures and mysteries. But as this knight journeys through these depths, he will uncover many secrets and obstacles that dare to get in the way. All of this culminates in a battle to save Hallownest from a deadly plague that is consuming and corrupting the kingdom and its inhabitants.

Most of the story is told as you play through the game along with interacting with the world’s inhabitants. It’s similar like Metroid Prime in some ways. I kind of like it. As you play, you learn what happens in the world and what you can do. Not only that but the game delivers on its atmosphere and you can feel the sense of dread and loneliness that exists. This gives players a drive to see what happens in the end. It’s good stuff.

Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania-style game, emphasizing on exploration, discovery and challenge. It has many features that have it stand out from the rest while providing a good amount of challenge. You play as a small Knight who starts off weak and as you explore Hallownest in its many areas, you find a variety of items & abilities that can make the experience easier. The game has currency in the form of Geo and you use it for a variety of things such as buying charms and upgrades for your character, getting new attacks, expanding the world map, etc. It’s a double edged sword however since this game also has a bit of Souls mentality meaning that when you die, you lose your Geo and you need to recover your shadow to get it back. If you succeed, you get your stuff but fail again and it’s gone. It can be gutwrenching to see all the Geo you earned be lost but it should let players know to be wary and not be careless.

Equipping charms can customize the Knight itself to your liking. Charms provide a variety of buffs depending on their effects and how much they require equipping. This I feel is what makes Hollow Knight stand out since you can pretty much have him any way you like. He can have more health, consume less Soul to unleash attacks, have the range of his weapon, the Nail extend its range, etc. How you have him depends on the player and it’s pretty awesome. It also has access of Soul, the MP of the game. You get Soul by attacking enemies. Soul can be used either to restore your health or to unleash magic based attacks and there are many it can use to defend itself from enemies & players will need to use everything the Knight has at its disposal. In addition there is Essence you can collect that can upgrade the nail as a Dream Nail of sorts. Finding them requires a lot of exploring. There are boss battles aplenty with some requiring a lot of careful timing and skill & all of them are good.

Since the game follows the Metroidvania-style formula, it also reflects on its length. The game can be completed at around 8-10 hours but those who wish to 100% it expect it to rise up by about 5-6 hours. Replay value is strong since after beating the game, unlocks a tougher difficulty called Steel Soul. Plus there are achievements with some requiring players to beat the game at a faster time. Yep. Speedrunners will have a field day with a game like this. It’s also a collectathon, so expect to spend time trying to find everything too. As someone who has spent over 20 hours with this game, it says a lot since the game is just that enjoyable.

From a presentation standpoint, it’s well done. Hollow Knight has a presentation that delivers. Each area you visit is different and they all stand out whether it is the Crossroads you start traveling in or other places like the Abyss. They all feel different, each with their own gimmick and challenge. It all builds itself on atmosphere, the feeling that you are traveling deep within a forgotten kingdom and all you can do is to survive against whatever comes your way. It’s also in 2D and it’s the way it should be. The music is good with some pretty good tracks. Intense moments like the boss battles change things to one of tension and the feeling that you will be up against an impossible obstacle is amazing. Even the feeling of taking down said challenge makes it rewarding too.

Hollow Knight has additional content in the form of free updates. The updates add features such as new boss battles, items, quests and even balance fixes. The Switch version thankfully has all of this included from the get-go & with the next update coming in the form of Gods & Glory, it’s all the more reason to go in for another round.

As far as any flaws go, the game is a challenging one. The Souls mentality is there but it doesn’t hinder you as much. Thankfully the map tells you where you last died and after a few hits you regain what you lost. My only negative that I have found from my experience is that some boss battles can be a pain unless you are more prepared. They emphasize on strategy as well as trial and error. Though having the right gear can help, most of the time it’s all trial & error. Also save points are few and far between and sometimes not having enough places to save can be a bother especially if you are deep into an area. Fortunately you do get the option to teleport and if used right can lead you somewhere safe. Though expect a while to travel back to where you were.

For a game that has now reached Nintendo’s newest and successful console, Hollow Knight is great. Hollow Knight delivers in its challenge while offering a game that is heavy on its atmosphere, strategy and replayability. It does have a little bit of Dark Souls in some cases but it’s more Metroidvania than anything else. At only $15, you can’t go wrong with a game like this. Team Cherry Games made the right move in bringing it to the Switch & with Gods and Glory coming, it’ll convince me to give the game one more go around. I recommend Hollow Knight. It’s worth it.

I give Hollow Knight a solid 9 out of 10. It earns my personal Seal of Approval & I highly recommend this game.

Yakuza 0 Review

Yakuza 0 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

In 2016, the Yakuza, or Ryu Ga Gotoku, series would go on to celebrate its 10th anniversary. SEGA then makes the announcement that to commemorate this event, two Yakuza games would be released. One would be a retelling of the original Yakuza called Yakuza Kiwami. The other would be a prequel to the first game putting its focus on not only Kiryu but also Majima. A prequel focusing on the game’s two most memorable characters… is Yakuza 0 worthy of telling the series’ very beginnings?

Yakuza 0 takes place in Japan in December 1988, 8 years before the events that would set in motion the first game. The plot centers on an empty lot and that whoever obtains the deed would decide the fate of Kamurocho. It centers on two characters: Kazuma Kiryu & Goro Majima as they try to not only get to the bottom of this but also contend with their respective predicaments.

In Kamurocho, Kiryu’s charged for a crime he didn’t commit and must not only prove his innocence but contend with his former clan who are after him due to his connection to Dojima. In the town of Sotenbori, Majima is in charge of a nightclub called Grand but in truth, he is under constant watch due to his exile. But he then takes a hit that would guarantee him back only to find that the target in question is a defenseless blind woman. Hoping to find answers, he decides to protect her while having to deal with the wrath of the Tojo Clan.

The game’s story is just amazing. From start to finish, you see how their tales go and how they reach their conclusions. Since it is also a prequel, we see the main characters being very different from what they are now and the decisions they make would shape them into being who they are today. I love it. There will be moments that’ll fill players with emotion but by the time it’s over, you can’t help but feel bad for some characters as the later games detail their inevitable fates. That’s what happens in a prequel game after all.

If you’ve played any of the previous Yakuza games, you will feel right at home with Yakuza 0. It’s an action RPG game where you pretty much do whatever you like, depending on what happens in the game. Most of the time will be spent going through missions to continue the story. But during those instances, you’re allowed to explore and do various activities. Sub-stories make a return where you can help people with their many issues. At times they reward you with items and money. Side activities are aplenty such as mahjong, baseball, bowling, and even you can go to arcades to play games such as Outlaw and Space Harrier. And if that isn’t to your liking, you can still take the chance to beat up bad guys that cross your path. Most of Kamurocho is still accessible for you to explore but some stuff like the Millennium Tower isn’t there.

Yakuza 0 offers a lot of new additions to the game. One of the biggest is a secondary protagonist: Goro Majima. In later entries, he’s pretty much an anti-hero with an obsession for fighting Kiryu. Here in this game, he’s different and this is before he became the Mad Dog of Shimano. He has his own hub to explore, Sotenbori and his own problems to contend with. In addition, he has his own set of fighting styles that offer a different experience. Both characters each have three fighting styles they can use in battle. Kiryu still has his styles from the first game but Majima’s are new. Thug is similar to Brawler, being balanced. Breaker focuses on breakdancing to deal damage to enemies and Slugger specializes on using a bat or other weapons to give foes the smackdown. It’s a nice change of pace and it does help set the two apart. Both of them also have a fourth unlockable style but that requires a lot of work to unlock it for each of them. Like the first game, the yen is the game’s currency and since this is Japan in the 1980s, the people spend it like there’s no tomorrow… literally. The yen is not only used to help buy items and supplies but also to level up your characters. Fortunately, the game gives you plenty of ways to acquire yen to make it possible. In addition, there are several mentors that will assist Kiryu and Majima in unlocking new abilities and attacks they can use in battle. Want to be the best? Seeking them out and learning from them is the best choice.

Another addition is the special side activities. Real Estate has Kiryu going around, buying up land in Kamurocho in the hopes of raising money and driving rival gangs out. Cabaret is all Majima and your job is to make your club the best in Sotenbori by not only making your guests happy but growing your ladies to ensure they make it possible. These activities require some skill to complete but the rewards are worth it.

Yakuza 0 offers a lot to do in one game. With two protagonists, the game’s length can get ridiculous. To be fair, if you plan on just beating the game, it’ll take you roughly 15-20 hours but to complete everything raises it to around 70-80 hours. Replay value is high since after beating it, you have access to Premium Adventure and Legend difficulty aka New Game +. As for progression, the game lets you control Kiryu or Majima for 2 chapters. After 2 chapters, you shift to the next character with a recap that details what happened in their story. It’s a good way of getting players up to speed on the story. There will be times you will switch between the two characters but eventually, you will have the option to switch between them whenever you like. It’s useful in case you missed out on some things with the other character. There are a ton of other activities you can do such as collecting tapes that can unlock some softcore videos, places where you can phone chat with girls that can lead to dates if you’re lucky, singing karaoke and others but yeah… stuff like that is one of many you can do in this game.

This game looks good. For a PlayStation 4 game, it’s awesome. SEGA did a fantastic job showing Japan in the late 1980s, during a time when they were in an economic boom and it reflects on it. The characters look good in cutscenes and can be really expressive but when you go to the game itself that leaves a bit to be desired. It also has a stellar soundtrack and what’s more is that in battle, the music changes depending on what style you use. But the game also has some tunes that happen in the more important bits like in boss battles. There are boss battles aplenty and it’ll get you on the edge of your seat with some being awesome. Yakuza 0 is also on PC and personally, if you want the best experience, the PC version is a recommendation.

For all the good that Yakuza 0 has, there are some negatives. Most of the presentation seems a bit dated but I feel it makes sense. Yakuza isn’t about how good it looks, it’s about how good it plays. Not that it’s a bad thing. Also, the game can be unfair in some instances with enemies carrying stuff like firearms. It kills the momentum at times… like in Yakuza Kiwami.

Overall Yakuza 0 is a welcome addition to the series, being that it’s a prequel that helps set up the first game. Two protagonists having two stories that intertwine into a plot revolving an empty lot, gameplay that is good with a lot to explore and do and so much more. Despite some minor hiccups, it’s a solid game. Very solid. What else can be said that hasn’t already been said? If you wish to experience how two legends got their start, this is it. Every series has a starting point and this is that one. Just be ready because this is one journey you don’t want to miss out on.

I give Yakuza 0 a solid 8.5 out of 10. It’s worth your money whether on PS4 or PC.

Yakuza Kiwami Review

Yakuza Kiwami Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of reviewing this game.

Back in 2005-2006, SEGA released a game called Yakuza or Ryu Ga Gotoku (Like a Dragon) to the world. It would go on to be a big success for SEGA and would spawn a franchise. Many sequels and spin-offs would soon follow from its success. A decade later, the franchise would celebrate its 10th anniversary by releasing two games in the Yakuza series. One was a prequel called Yakuza 0 and the other would be a remake of the original. The remake, Yakuza Kiwami is a retelling of the original Yakuza. Does this remake do the original and the series justice?

Being that it’s a remake of a PS2 game, its story is largely unchanged. The plot centers on Kazuma Kiryu, a Yakuza lieutenant who takes the fall for a crime his friend Akira Nishikiyama committed in 1995. Ten years later, he is free on parole to find that his home of Kamurocho has changed. 10 billion yen ($90 million USD) has gone missing from the Tojo Clan, causing an all-out war between various factions and the only one that has any answers is a young girl named Haruka. Kiryu now makes it his goal to not only find his childhood friend Yumi, the missing 10 billion yen but also to protect Haruka from anyone and everyone that’s after her, including his old friend Nishiki who has become his sworn enemy.

The story is great. Everything about it is just well done but at the same time, you can’t help but wonder what happens next for all the characters involved. It has enough twists and turns that make your head spin. Being that it’s a remake, SEGA has taken the opportunity to add more to the game. An additional 25 minutes of cutscenes were added focusing on Nishiki and how what happened in the beginning shaped him to be what would end up at the end. It’s well done and you can’t help but feel bad for him. It adds more to his character than just having him be like a traditional bad guy in the original. It was what the original lacked.

As for gameplay, Yakuza Kiwami is an action-adventure game with elements of the open world, RPG and a bit of beat-em-up on the side. The game follows a chapter format where within each chapter of the game, you can do many things. Doing the story is one option but there’s a plethora of activities and mini-games for players to do. Kamurocho is a town that offers various doings such as bowling, pool, darts, karaoke, mahjong and so forth. Players can go to Hostess Clubs and woo beautiful women that work there. If they’re lucky and do well, they can take them out to dates. It’s as if SEGA took a piece of Japan’s heart and soul and integrates it into the game.

Not only that but players will encounter trouble in the form of punks. Things shift into a beat-em-up. Kiryu has access to three different fighting styles: Brawler, Rush, and Beast. Brawler is balanced, Rush specializes on speed and quick punches and Beast is all about brute force. You use these three styles to take down anyone that gets in your way. Taking down foes give you experience and you use the experience to unlock new moves and techniques for your three styles. There is an additional fourth style: Dragon and that is unlocked with a new feature that’s exclusive to Yakuza Kiwami: Majima Everywhere.

Majima Everywhere is pretty much a mini-game where you must encounter and battle Majima in order to fully max out the Dragon style. It can range from a variety of activities but they all have one simple goal: building up the fourth style. Being that it is an open-world game, players will have to prepare themselves for survival. The city offers plenty of places to stock up on supplies for the trials ahead. The yen is the game’s currency and you get it by completing sub-stories and selling stuff. Not only that but the game also has various sub-stories that detail life within Kamurocho and it’s people. Completing them offers plenty of rewards like goods and experience. But overall the game really gives you a lot to do.

All of this is enough to drive players to spend hours on completing the game. If you focus on story alone, the game will take about 20-30 hours but to 100% the game, it extends to the hundreds. Beating the game also adds more replay value with the Premium Adventure and Legend difficulty. As far as presentation goes, the game is a step up from both the PS2 and PS3 versions. It’s seamless and fluid with no load times to get in the way. The game also is amazing at 1080p running at 60fps. The character models are good and show a variety of expressions to boot. As for the voice acting, SEGA decided to give it an overhaul dropping the English dub in favor of a Japanese one. It’s very good. Fortunately, there are English subtitles but for those that would want to see the 2005 dub come to this game, expect to be disappointed. The music has some remixed tunes that were in the original but it’s a bit mixed. Some are really good while others are a bit of a miss. It shouldn’t stop players from enjoying the game.

Though there is a lot of good with Yakuza Kiwami, the game has some faults. The combat can get hectic at times when there are a lot of enemies. Fortunately, the game fixes some of the issues and lets you automatically attack the nearest enemy. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that at times, enemies can pack heavy artillery and you’d be really screwed. Also, the Majima Everywhere can be a repetitive grind, all for the sake of maxing out the fourth style, Dragon.

Yakuza Kiwami is a Yakuza game redone for the modern generation of gaming. With a stepped-up presentation, solid gameplay and plenty of content, what more needs to be said? Plus it has a story that gets you invested in the characters. SEGA put a lot of love towards the franchise and it shows with Kiwami. With SEGA announcing remasters of the other Yakuza games, now is a good time to get into the series. Want a starting point, go with either 0 or Kiwami but Kiwami is a good choice to see where the series began.

I give Yakuza Kiwami a 9 out of 10. It is a must buy game and earns my personal seal of approval.

Shantae Half-Genie Hero Review

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased copy for the sake of this review.

Why do franchises survive? Why do they endure? That’s a question many people wonder about. How can a franchise be able to survive despite not having much recognition? Such is the case of one called Shantae. It began in 2001, released for the Game Boy Color that was well received but was released during the end of the handheld’s life cycle. Despite this, Shantae would continue to thrive with two more sequels: Risky’s Revenge and The Pirate’s Curse. Come 2013 and WayForward announced that a new Shantae game would come. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, they succeed and in 2016, WayForward releases the 4th entry in the series, Half-Genie Hero. Does Half-Genie Hero do what Mighty No. 9 could not?

Half-Genie Hero takes place some time after the events of the third game, The Pirate’s Curse. On one eventful night, Shantae gets word that the Genie Realm would be in danger. So she heads to town only for Risky Boots to invade and steal the design for the Dynamo. After driving Risky and her crew off, her uncle works on an invention that can help drive away evil threats. So Shantae goes on a journey to help her uncle get the parts needed for his invention, unaware that it’s all part of Risky Boots’ master plan.

It’s plot is what you would expect from a game like this and it’s alright in my book. It starts off simple enough but gets interesting when you reach the end. Pretty okay and a bit satisfactory to boot.

WayForward put a lot of care and love into the Shantae series and Half-Genie Hero is no exception. The game’s a platformer but has a few things that differentiate it from other games. Shantae still plays like she was in previous games and she has most of her familiar moves. Returning to the series is her morphing ability, allowing her to shape shift into one of many animals that she unlocks throughout the game. She does this by means of dancing and you can choose which animal to use. This time around, the transformations offer Shantae a lot of advantages and are necessary in order to beat the game. There are a total of 8 transformations for her to use. She also get access to additional dances that provide support.

Not only that but the game is more of a collect-o-thon than anything else. Gems are the game’s currency and you use them to unlock various abilities for Shantae. All of them are useful. There are also other items to find as well such as Heart Holders that increase your max health and a game like this wouldn’t be complete without trade sequences. Throughout the game, you will be tasked to return to previous areas to acquire items necessary for you to trade with others. All of it will culminate in access to the next area. It does get a bit tedious after a while but necessary if you plan on completing the game 100%. Boss battles are aplenty here with some requiring a lot of skill to win.

Half-Genie Hero isn’t a long game. If you just plan on beating it, you’ll complete it in roughly 6-8 hours and trying to reach 100% will net you about an hour or so more. The replay value is high here, especially for those that like to speedrun the game. For presentation, the game is awesome. WayForward did a fantastic job on it and it shows. Not only that but the game runs great at 60fps. A well done job if I do say so myself. The music needs no words. Jake Kaufman does it again delivering some great tunes. Some songs are just too good to listen to such as Tassel Town, Neo Burning Town and others. All of them are a delight to enjoy. There is voice acting as well. Christina Vee does a great job as Shantae but also as Risky Boots as well. Simply put, this game was made with a lot of love and respect and it shows.

Since this game was made possible via Kickstarter, the game also has DLC and there are several. First is Risky Boots’ Quest, taking place during the events of the game. You play as Risky Boots as she goes on her own journey to acquire what she needs so that he can rule Sequin Land. Next is Friends to the End, focusing on Sky, Bolo and Rottytops. In this mode, the three of them head inside Shantae’s mind to save her from her dark counterpart, Nega-Shantae. Last is a special costume set giving players access to three modes; Ninja Mode, Beach Mode and Officer Mode. These are what-if stories that detail Shantae in different situations and offer different gameplay. Basically this game has a lot to do and WayForward even added a harder difficulty called Hardcore Mode that will push players’ skills to their limits. You can buy all of it as DLC but for anyone that wants it all in one, they released the Day-One Ultimate Edition that contains all of it and more. The Day One Ultimate Edition is a major recommendation.

There aren’t many flaws in the game and yeah, the game requires a lot to do if you wish to complete 100% but overall, it’s a fun experience. Having played the game many times, it’s still fun. It really is though it makes you wonder if their Kickstarter did better so WayForward can bring out even more content. Imagine the possibilities.

Half-Genie Hero does everything that Mighty No. 9 could not. The game looks great, it plays great, it has great music and it offers a lot for your money’s worth. For the franchise’s fourth game, WayForward, Matt Bozon and Jake Kaufman delivered. The best part is that it’s not expensive but if you want to have everything in one, the Day One Ultimate Edition is a definite recommendation. It’s worth the full purchase price. Let’s hope these guys can keep at it and hopefully give us more… instead of ports of older games.

I give Shantae: Half-Genie Hero my highest rating… a perfect 10 out of 10. It earns my full on seal of approval.

Gravity Rush 2 Review

Gravity Rush 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

In 2016, Sony announced that Gravity Rush would be given a remastered on the PlayStation 4. It was a huge hit with fans finally getting the opportunity to experience a game that was once one of the Vita’s best titles. In addition, they announced that a sequel would come to the PlayStation 4. That would be known as Gravity Rush 2. Released one year after the remastered Gravity Rush, does the sequel deliver the same amazing experience as the original?

Gravity Rush 2 takes place sometime after the events of the original game. Kat along with Syd end up in an impoverished Banga Village. They end up meeting a girl named Cecie and work to mine Gravity Ore from various Rift Planes. Things then pick up in the floating city of Jirga Para Lhao where Kat must find a way to bring order back to the people while contending with a dark force. All of this and many others culminate in a showdown to save the world and a revelation involving Kat and her origins.

Whereas the first game delved on Kat and her journey to save Heskeville from the Nevi and D’nelica, the second decides to go deeper, taking Kat and Syd to a new location and with it, a new situation. Sure players do return to Heskeville at a certain point but the main focus is all about Kat who not only must save the world but also discover her true memories. This game had a prequel anime called Gravity Rush: The Animation ~ Overture ~ that served as a set up to the second game. All of this makes it feel like a three-act play with this game serving as the conclusion to the tale of Gravity Rush.

Gravity Rush 2 plays just like the first one and it feels great. Kat still has all of her gravity-based abilities but they are now expanded on. One of the most unique things about this sequel is the use of Gravity Styles. She starts off with her default style but as you progress further, she will gain access to two additional styles: Lunar and Jupiter. Lunar lets her be as light as a feather and gives her an increase in speed and jumping height. Jupiter, on the other hand, is the opposite, making her heavy as a brick and giving her attacks a lot more power and strength. The good news is that you can change styles by using the touchpad. It’s seamless and quick, making things like battling and exploring easier. You will be controlling Kat for most of if not, all of the entire game but in some instances, you will play as Raven, another Gravity Shifter who plays similar to Kat but has her own style to set her apart.

This game has a lot for players to do and explore. Story missions help progress the game along while Side Missions give Kat various quests for her to do and rewards to obtain. Some rewards range from Gravity Ore aka the game’s currency to medallions that offer advantages for Kat. There are also challenges where players complete objectives in a set time limit to get rewards. Those times can be shared on leaderboards online. The game also has a treasure hunt like mode that lets players post treasure on certain locations requiring other players to look for treasure to get rewards. It’s an okay mode for players that want to put the time on it. Like in the previous game, Kat uses gravity ore to level up her abilities and for anyone that wants to completely max her out, expect to put a lot of time towards the Rift Planes. Rift Planes are a place where Kat can go to get more ore while contending with Nevi.

Gravity Rush 2 is much longer than the original and will take players 25-30 hours to complete. It’s split into four chapters with a total of 26 episodes. Not only that but the game also has DLC. Raven’s Tale is a 6-hour side story that centers on Raven and her origins. Originally being paid DLC, the developers decided to make it free for players to make up for the game’s delay. A good decision! There’s also free DLC in the form of costumes for Kat to wear. It’s fashionable and good to see Kat dress up and to those who have a save file from the original Gravity Rush Remastered can get access to the maid, black Kat, and special forces costumes at no cost.

Being that it’s a sequel, the game’s presentation is a big improvement. The game also runs at 1080p at 60 frames per second, giving it a flawless consistent feel. Not only that but the controls are easy to get into. It isn’t as complicated as other games but at least once players get the hang of it, it’s second nature. There isn’t any voice acting though there is some in a kind of jumbled foreign language. It’s nothing to complain about though. The music is magnificent and at times addicting. There are many memorable tracks and even music from the previous games has been given an improvement to reflect the change. Truly something.

As far as negatives are concerned, there is only one and the fact that in order to max out Kat, players will have to put a lot of time towards grinding for ore. It can get boring pretty quickly. Sure you can go back to playing previous chapters but unless there’s a way to get more ore faster, it can be a slog.

Despite the negative, Gravity Rush 2 is a big step up from the original. It offers a lot more to explore, new Gravity Styles, challenges, and even free DLC make the game feel complete. If you never had a chance to play Gravity Rush, you should start with the first. But for anyone that’s in need of a satisfying single-player adventure, this is it. This is Kat’s swan song and it’s one that delivers on all accounts.

I give Gravity Rush 2 a 9 out of 10. Better than the original and worth your time and money.

Ratchet and Clank PS4 Review

Ratchet & Clank (PS4) – A Review by Jose Vega

Product provided by Insomniac Games for the sake of this review.

Ratchet & Clank… one of Sony’s many franchises that have had success on PlayStation consoles for almost a decade. Insomniac had plans to bring the franchise to Sony’s next console, the PlayStation 4. How do they do it? They did it by bringing Ratchet & Clank to the big screen as an animated movie. It garnered a mixed reception but Insomniac also brought the movie in the form of Ratchet & Clank for the PS4. A game based on the movie based on the game… does this duo deliver on Sony’s newest console?

The story serves as a reimagining of the original Ratchet & Clank but with some differences. It still centers on the team of Ratchet, a lombax and Clank, a small robot. Together the two head on a journey to save the galaxy from the likes of Chairman Alonzo Drek and Dr. Nefarious.

Ratchet & Clank’s story is enjoyable for what it is. It isn’t the best but it does give us a tale of good and evil in its own way. Not only that but they took liberties in changing things up by bringing villains such as Dr. Nefarious, reimagining many characters that appeared before and in some instances, replacing familiar characters with others not making appearances. Not that all of this is a bad thing. The story is still enjoyable and good.

If you’ve played any game in this franchise, you will feel right at home with this one. The game is a 3rd-person action adventure where you control Ratchet and use him to explore various areas while dealing with anything that’s in his way. Controls play just like any R&C game but Insomniac decides to take it one step further. The controls are overhauled while giving Ratchet access to many new and familiar weapons and gadgets from the series. Health can be upgraded via nanotech while weapons can be leveled up the more they are used. Once they reach V5, it evolves into a stronger weapon. Clank also gets upgrades that improve Ratchet. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it but in a case like this, they simply made it feel familiar and better.

As for travel, Ratchet & Clank travel via space cruiser moving from one planet to the next. The main exploration occurs in the planets they travel in where you go in, defeat enemies, solve puzzles, help people and collect rewards that can be helpful on the journey. Most of the game you will get to play as Ratchet but some parts will have you playing as Clank. Here the Clank sections focus on puzzle solving in order to progress further. They can be head scratching but they aren’t anything too difficult. Some planets have mini games you can do to earn more Bolts and sometimes items. Bolts are the game’s currency and they’re needed to buy new weapons to use or in some cases gadgets. Raritanium also make a return and they’re used to add modifications to weapons. The game has a lot to do and a lot to conquer.

All of this is going to have players be spending quite a while to complete the game. Clocking it at around 8-10 hours if you just simply want to beat it but for completionists, it’s extended by about 2-3 hours. The game also has a Challenge Mode that is unlocked after completing the game. It’s pretty much Hard Mode but with a few advantages such as bolt multiplier and more powerful weapons, extending it’s length even further. Boss fights are there but they can be easy to deal with if you know what your doing. Regardless, you get a lot for your money’s worth and for a single-player game it nails it.

The game excels in its presentation and comparing it from the older games back on PS2 and 3, it’s a huge step up. It is amazing to look at. Each planet offers something different, providing a pleasant experience. The music has this orchestrated feel that does well on all fronts. Voice acting is still just as enjoyable, although some changes were made since not all the voice actors could reprise their roles from the game. But for what they have, it’s still good with many delivering great performances like James Arnold Taylor.

But as much as this game has a lot of positives, there are only two drawbacks. In previous Ratchet & Clank games, players are allowed to go back to previous worlds to grind for bolts and experience. In this instance, it doesn’t happen. When a player returns to a world they explored previously, they can find nothing. Just empty areas. A bit disappointing for those that wishes to take the time to make them stronger. The other negative is that the game has a pre-order bonus, a weapon called the Bouncer. That weapon is impossible to obtain unless you have an unused preorder code. Why Insomniac decided to do that, I’ll never know. But I feel that Insomniac should consider having this weapon as free DLC for those that couldn’t get it when it came out. It would be a good compromise.

In conclusion, Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 4 is a game that pays tribute to the franchise while offering a pleasant experience. Despite it’s negatives, the game is fun. It looks great, it plays great and it feels like you are experiencing the film in game form. Personally the game is the better choice because you won’t feel disappointed in the end. You will feel satisfied that you get to experience the series on the PlayStation 4. Let’s hope that Insomniac Games can give us a sequel to follow things up. It did do well sales-wise so why not.

I give Ratchet & Clank for the PlayStation 4 a solid 9 out of 10. It is worth your money.