Category Archives: Video Game Reviews

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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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.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

Crash, Crash, Crash… for over 20 years, this Bandicoot has been in our hearts with games that offer a challenge while providing satisfying experiences. But after 2010 with Mind Over Mutant, no one ever thought that another Crash game would be possible. That changed. Last year, Activision announced that Crash would be playable in Skylanders: Imaginators but in addition, Vicarious Visions would be working on a remastered port of the original three Crash Bandicoot games, in the form of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Did Vicarious Visions do justice that Naughty Dog has done all those years ago?

For a remastered trilogy, the presentation is a huge step-up compared to the originals. It’s marvelous. I’ll be fair. The original three still hold a lot of memories to players but you can’t deny how this port did them justice. All the characters look amazing. The locations look vibrant. Even the voice acting is a step up from the originals. It’s a delight seeing many scenes, especially the openings of each game to find that they are just as good, if not better and I like it. I like it greatly. The music is simply amazing to listen to. Every single song from all three games has been given a facelift. Honestly what more can I say? I’ll be honest. I was blown away when I first heard it. It’s a delight. They are all very addicting to listen to, especially for the bosses.

Now for the gameplay, and if you played the originals back on the PS1, you will feel right at home here. Unlike the originals, there are some features the remastered trilogy has that set it apart. For example, Coco is a playable character in all 3 games. With Crash 1 and 2, you need to defeat the first boss to unlock her whereas, in Crash 3, she’s unlocked from the start. She’s similar to Crash if nothing else but it’s nice that his sister is playable in not one but all three games. I commend Vicarious Visions for improving on Coco’s design and like Crash, she is also expressive especially in her death animations. The games are similar to the originals, minus a few changes they made to make the game feel accessible.

The controls are similar to the originals so if you played the game before, you’ll manage. There are some things that make this feel different from the originals. One example is the jumping. The jumping feels heavier. It can have its issues especially on levels where platforming is key. Not only that but I feel in sections like Crash 3’s jetski, the controls for the ski feel a bit rough. I believe that Vicarious wished to add realism to how you actually ride a jetski. Personally, I prefer the original in terms of controls since the physics feel close to perfect. Guess some sacrifices have to be made huh?

Speaking of accessibility, the N. Sane Trilogy has some tweaks to make the game less of a pain, especially in the first game. Originally if you die on a level, you have to restart it in order to get the gem. Here, unless it’s a colored gem, all you need to do is break all the boxes. This is a much-needed change for people that just want to play and complete everything. With Crash 2, they made changes to the hub area by having the boss room included and the option for you to access the hidden area where the secret levels are. It’s pretty nifty. As for Crash 3, there are no added changes. The game also includes time trials for Crash 1 and 2 so you can now try to get the fastest time and collect relics. Leaderboards are also included so you can compare times with other players, as well as the requirements to get a specific relic. Saving the game is easier as you can pretty much save on the overworld or level hub. It’s another welcome feature.

It will not make a difference since each Crash game will take quite a while. Depending on what game you play, the length can take around 6-8 hours each, longer if you want to complete everything. With all of this, your skills as a player will be tested especially for new players that have never played a Crash game. Expect some trial and error if you wish to complete each game and get 100%. There is trophy support for all 3 games as well so that adds length to a complete package.

But if I were to have any nitpicks, it’d be this. Since this is pretty much an updated compilation of three classic games, the difficulty is one thing I find to be the most problematic, especially in Crash 1. Some levels like Road to Nowhere & The High Road can drive any player into madness. At least the sequels alleviate the difficulty by toning it down and making them less stressful. It still doesn’t excuse the fact that some levels will have you throwing the controller in a state of rage. My advice for players is to take it nice and easy. At least the game will not punish you if you lose lives or anything. The boss battles are still easy if you figure out their patterns. Some can be tougher than others. There is paid DLC in the form of a level that was never completed called Stormy Ascent. Stormy Ascent was a level that never got into the final game due to its intense difficulty. If you plan to tackle the level, be warned. It will show no mercy.

The N. Sane Trilogy does the original trilogy justice in so many ways while adding and refining them to make the games better. The presentation is amazing in all categories, the game feels familiar while challenging and it overall feels like a big improvement to a series that is considered classic. Though there are some issues, it shouldn’t stop anyone from picking it up and playing it. Whether you are a new player that wants to experience it for the first time or someone who wants to relive memories, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a package I feel that’s worth the purchase price. The best part is that this is $40. You get 3 remastered games that have been given a lot of love and respect at an affordable price. How can you say no to that? You can’t! Get this game now! Show Activision that we need more games like this and maybe we may get a remastered Spyro trilogy! Get this game now! It’s worth the full price.

I give the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy an 8.5 out of 10. If you haven’t gotten this game, you should. Do it. Now!

Fire Emblem Warriors Review

Fire Emblem Warriors Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review was made possible by Nintendo.

Since 1997, the Musou or Warriors series are known for their games that specialize on fast, intense button-mashing action. They range from the main series of Dynasty Warriors to even spin-off titles that cross over into other avenues such as One Piece and in some cases, they take characters from franchises and put them together to make something new. In 2014, Nintendo, Koei Tecmo, and Omega Force collaborated together to bring Hyrule Warriors, a game that offered a lot of fun despite some flaws. Three years later, they’re back at it again with Fire Emblem Warriors, bringing the Fire Emblem franchise into the Warriors series. Does the game deliver?

The story focuses on twins Rowan and Lianna in the Kingdom of Aytolis. On one unexpected day, the kingdom is covered by darkness and strange gates appeared out of nowhere, bringing with it monsters. In time, the kingdom would be consumed by darkness but not all hope is lost. Rowan and Lianna escaped and now they go on a journey, finding allies from other worlds in the hopes of saving their kingdom and the world from the darkness that threatens all.

I really enjoyed the story of this game. It’s one that is easy to get into and follow along. The main characters are likable but they have this predictable cliché that they got to save the world and all that. It got a bit stale by the end. Don’t get me wrong. The plot is simple to get into but I feel that maybe that’s how the Warriors series. The story is an afterthought since the gameplay is most important but in my honest opinion, it should have a balance. Having it guarantees that players will be invested.

Since the game follows the Warriors-style of gameplay, it’s straightforward. If you played any of the Warriors games, you’ll have a very good idea of how it goes. All you do is mash the button to beat down waves and waves of mooks while you trek through a map and complete objectives. You have access to 19 different characters to choose from, each having different advantages and disadvantages. Having the right amount of characters can help a player handle any situation but it never hurts to ensure they are strong as well.

Elements from the Fire Emblem series are implemented into the game such as the weapon triangle, where characters wielding certain weapons have an advantage against enemies who are weak against what they have and vice versa. In addition, characters have access to skill trees where they gain new attacks and skills at the cost of materials that can be farmed in battle. Characters can level up to get stronger and can also promote to advanced classes that offer additional skills and abilities. Weapons can be forged by transferring attributes from collected weapons for a fee and in doing so offer different bonuses. Items like vulneraries and healing staves give characters the ability to heal themselves or other units over a range. Like in Fire Emblem Awakening & Fates, characters can pair up offering some support in the form of Dual Attacks and Vanguard. A lot I know but for a game like this, it delivers.

The game offers three different modes of play but overall, the overall length is through the roof. Story Mode consists of 23 chapters, giving an overall playtime of about 6-8 hours, depending on difficulty and even after beating the game, the lengths skyrocket since you can go back and play any chapter with any character of your choosing. Like Fire Emblem, there is Permadeath in the form of Classic style where if a unit other than the main character goes down, they don’t come back. You can revive them at a temple but for a very hefty fee. It’s one addition I feel is a benefit to the game but if that isn’t to your liking, you can switch to Casual where units that have fallen come back after a battle.

In addition to Story, there’s the History Mode where the game recites battles from Fire Emblem’s history. It’s split into maps based on various moments and in here, you take part in battles where you complete objectives to get high ranks and unlock new items such as characters, weapons, and items. Also added maps can be unlocked by collecting Mementos from Anna. All of this adds the length of the game to insurmountable heights. There’s also a Coliseum mode where you can take on Fire Emblem characters. Nothing fancy. The game also has some local co-op where you and a friend can team up so that’s a plus.

Another good point is the game’s music. Many are remixes of songs from previous games and I like how the use of rock helps the game considerably. In a way, it adds a bit of flair to a game that offers this intensity. Compared to Hyrule Warriors, this game has full-on voice acting and it’s done pretty well. The voices for Rowan and Lianna are pretty good and the same can be said for all the other characters. They’re faithful and well done and I feel that they delivered on that front.

However, despite the game having many positives, it has a few flaws. The presentation is one of them and I feel it’s one thing they should have put more effort on from the get-go. I’m reminded of how Hyrule Warriors looked on the Wii U. Don’t get me wrong. The characters look great in cutscenes and stills when they talk but on the field, I feel as if they could have put a bit more effort. Same for the environments but it fits for a game like this.

Another complaint is the roster and I feel this is one of the game’s biggest shortcomings. The Fire Emblem series is home to hundreds of characters that could have helped make the game feel like a serious hit. It can even introduce people more to the series. However, they only brought along characters from Shadow Dragon, Awakening and Fates. It’s a problem because yes, you need characters that people can recognize but would it hurt if the game could bring in characters from Binding Blade, Sacred Stones or Genealogy of the Holy War. Heck, even the Tellius series. That would help the game big time. In addition, some characters like Lyn from Blazing Sword and Celica from Shadows of Valentia can only be unlocked in History Mode and they have no importance to the main story. That is a bummer. At least in the 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors, they added new characters that have a role in the plot.

Like Hyrule Warriors, the game also has Amiibo support. Mostly it’s done to provide players stuff needed to help like weapons, items or currency. The game also has 2 exclusive Amiibo: Chrom and Tiki and they unlock exclusive gear. Also, the game has upcoming DLC that will add new characters, gear, and additional content. Fortunately, you can get a Season Pass and it’s one of the few things I find that’s done right just like in Hyrule Warriors. The game is also on the New Nintendo 3DS. I’m thankful it’s exclusive to it for if it came out on the 3DS, the game would have suffered big time.

Does Fire Emblem Warriors hold up compared to Hyrule Warriors? Yes. Does it have problems? A bit. Should it stop you from buying the game? No! The game is all good fun and if you put the time into it, it’s satisfying. Sure the presentation and the roster needs work but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a great game. Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force collaborated to give us a game that’s enjoyable in the long run. I only hope that if a sequel is possible that they should learn from this game and provide players a better experience. Fire Emblem Warriors is really fun and if you want to get into the fight right away, you can. It’s worth it.

I give Fire Emblem Warriors an 8 out of 10.