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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment Review

Product provided for this review by Yacht Club Games.

Three years ago, a little game called Shovel Knight was released. It was praised both critically and commercially for not only being fun but as a tribute to the games of yesteryear. A year later, Yacht Club Games releases its first expansion, Plague of Shadows, serving as a what-if story with Plague Knight as the protagonist. It was a great expansion that offered something different. Now Yacht Club Games is back at it again with the second expansion called Specter of Torment. The focus shifts on the scythe wielding Specter Knight but can this second expansion deliver just as well as the last one?

Unlike the previous two campaigns, Specter of Torment is a prequel to the original Shovel Knight. It centers on Specter Knight as he’s ordered by The Evil Enchantress to gather knights from all over the region to form her Order of No Quarter. In addition, the campaign details on Specter Knight’s origins. It is an interesting premise and adds more to the lore of the Shovel Knight world.

Shovel Knight has always been best known for its gameplay and presentation. The gameplay still is excellent in the case of Specter of Torment. Since Specter Knight is the focus, he plays differently than the previous two. He packs a scythe that can be used offensively against foes and is also used as a means to move about. He can do a dash strike either diagonally up or down and it doubles as a dash. He can walk up on walls for a few seconds, allowing wall climbing. He is fueled by darkness and in turn, has access to several “curios” or relics that offer unique advantages. To get those, he has to collect red skulls in each level and exchange them. The abilities can also be upgraded too. Like Shovel and Plague Knight, he can get garb that can change how he plays. It adds more variety to a character that can provide so much.

There is no world map for instead you have the castle that serves as a hub for all your needs. Similar to the Mega Man series, you have the option to choose your stage. It’s good in case one level is tough, you can try another that’s easier. As far as length goes, it’ll take you 4-6 hours to beat and New Game + adds more hours into it along with the challenges providing a lot for your money’s worth. I’m serious. For $10 (or $25 if you get the Treasure Trove Pack), it offers a lot.

The presentation is simply a sight to behold. Though it’s old school, the detail is amazing. It amazes on how a game like this provide so much and fact is, Yacht Club Games captures the feel of old school games for the modern era. Specter of Torment should get praise for its music. Jake Kaufman is back at it again delivering music that makes your ears fill with excitement. They are remixed, yes but they also feel original. Good much alongside great gameplay and a strong presentation really makes this a surefire hit. I love it personally. Now I only wish that we would get the soundtrack for this.

As for anything negative, I couldn’t find any that hinders the game. Absolutely none. The game can be hard but it’s a good kind of hard, something that is sadly missed nowadays. I’m happy that it can be challenging and it doesn’t punish the player as much. From my experience, I say that it is a game that’s worth playing plus it does detail what would soon follow in the events of Shovel Knight’s campaign. People that couldn’t get it on the Switch will have to wait a month before this comes out for all the other consoles. If you purchased the Treasure Trove Edition, the game also comes with the option to body swap in Shovel Knight’s campaign. You can mix the genders of all the characters involved for some crazy possibilities.

Specter of Torment offers a lot at a reasonable price giving us a new playable character, hours of replay value and other additional features. Yacht Club Games hits it out of the park yet again with another expansion to an otherwise amazing game. With King Knight’s expansion on the horizon, I can say that Spectre of Torment is one that is worthy to be knighted… with a shovel of all things. You know what they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

I give Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment a perfect 10 out of 10. This game is worth your money, that’s a fact.

My Top 10 Games of 2016

2016 has been a rather unexpected year when it comes to gaming. We’ve had good games, bad games, disappointing games and games that end up getting canned for one reason or another. Regardless, it’s time for a list and it’s not going to be an easy one. I’m not limiting this to just Nintendo games. I’m involving all sorts of games so without further ado, these are my Top 10 Games of 2016.

Word of warning for everyone… if you find that a game you like isn’t on the list, you are welcome to make your own and share it. I won’t judge you and remember, the only opinion that should ever matter is your own.

Let us begin.

10) Song of the Deep – PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Kicking off the list we have Song of the Deep, developed and published by Insomniac Games. Song of the Deep is basically Metroid but in an underwater style. I will admit. This game had me intrigued because of its design and presentation. When I got to play it, it was a sight to behold. The presentation for it is incredible with the level of detail to be intense. It’s gameplay leaves a lot to be desired but it fits the world that this game is. Not to mention it’s a bit too simple and short, around 4 hours. I’ll cut some slack since the game is rather cheap and there’s replay value to back it up. This game deserves a bit more appreciation. Sure it’s not the best but for what it’s worth, it’s a soothing and satisfying experience. I recommend that you pick the game up, at least to see for yourself how good it is. It’s $10! It’s not the best but I feel that it deserves to be #10 on my list.

9) Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS – Nintendo 3DS

To think that Nintendo would take a risk and bring a game like this to their best-selling handheld is a challenge onto itself. But for its shortcomings, I say that they did a good job. Mario Maker for 3DS is what it is, a port of a game that was on Wii U now fit on the handheld. Nothing more. Nothing less. The only problems I have with the game is that there’s no Amiibo functionality, you can’t play others courses or share courses online and the only way you can share them is through its Streetpass function. But despite its negatives, the game is still really fun and can even push your skills as a gamer/level creator to the test. Had this game allowed you to share courses online and play others’ from the get-go, it’d be rated higher. I recommend playing this on a New 3DS XL because, on a regular 3DS, you can experience crashes. I just want to give you a heads up.

8) Final Fantasy XV – PlayStation 4, Xbox One (PC coming soon)

We waited a long time for this game. It originally was going to be part of the Fabula Nova Crystalis as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Unfortunately, it was scrapped and then replaced with this. The wait was long but in the end is worth it. Final Fantasy XV is a great game. Its strong points are the gameplay, the open world location and the many things you can do in this said world. My problems with the game are its lackluster story and the characters. The four protagonists are fleshed out well enough but everything else feels flat. Made worse is that in order to better understand this, you need to watch stuff that’s outside the game like the film Kingsglaive and OVA Brotherhood. Other than that, I couldn’t find anything else wrong but at least Square-Enix is dedicated to making the game better while filling up story bits that should have been added. Thankfully I’m happy with that and it shows that they really want to make the game feel complete. I recommend giving this game a chance. Besides once the negatives are pushed aside, you have a game that’s very satisfying.

7) Overwatch – PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Blizzard has a lot of balls for trying their luck in the first-person shooter genre and it paid off considerably with this game. Overwatch is just that: a first-person shooter game where you and five others can take the fight against the opposition in various modes. They range from escort/stop the payload to capturing defensive points/objectives on the map. Okay. It’s a bit small but that’s not why it’s on the list. Overwatch’s strong points are its setting and characters. No two characters are similar. Each character offers something different and that’s what makes it good. Coupled with the fact that there’s a lot to do in this game, it’s nuts. We already got two new characters, a whole bunch of new modes and events and knowing what 2017 has in store, it’s going to get better. This game is better played if you have friends because it’s all the more satisfying when you achieve victory. I ask you… are you with me?

6) Paper Mario: Color Splash – Nintendo Wii U

I know what you’re thinking. Why is this game on the list? Let me explain. Sure this game uses the same style as Paper Mario: Sticker Star but that’s pretty much it. Why it’s on my list because it is a much better game. Design wise, it is awesome. It is a step up from the previous game and the theme involving paint and colors adds it in perfectly. You can tell when you travel through Prisma Island. The addition of restoring the world through paint offers something different. Using cards instead of stickers is a lot better. The humor this game has is spot on with some being very funny to listen. Color Splash offers a lot here and I say it is miles better especially since it’s released on a system that’s on its deathbed. I only wish that Nintendo could go back to its roots with the game offering what it should be, instead of this. But for what it’s worth, I say it’s a must buy. Truthfully it is a must buy and I recommend this game.

Enjoying the list so far? Good because we’re now reaching the halfway point of this list. There’s no going back for us now.

5) Fire Emblem Fates – Nintendo 3DS

Three years after the release of Fire Emblem: Awakening, we get a game that not only is good but offers so much. I’m talking about Fire Emblem Fates and I speak on behalf of everything the game offers. What’s different from the previous games is its branching campaigns. You play as Corrin, a young noble who was born in the kingdom of Hoshido but was raised by the kingdom of Nohr. When both kingdoms declare war on each other, you have to make a choice on whose family you would side. Should you side with Hoshido, the kingdom you were born in as your Birthright. Should you side with Nohr, the kingdom that raised you and follows the side of Conquest. Or will you choose neither side and instead work to have both kingdoms unite under one banner and learn of a Revelation that threatens all. That is what makes the game stand out. The three campaigns: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation offer hours of gameplay and customization that can drive you nuts. Replay value here is through the roof, along with additional content via DLC drives it even further. I won’t go into too much detail but if you haven’t picked up this game, you should. I recommend trying your luck to get the Special Edition of the game, which has all 3 campaigns in one DLC. But if you are getting either Birthright or Conquest, expect to spend a lot just to get the rest. It’s why this game gets the #5 on my slot on this list.

4) Gravity Rush Remastered – PlayStation 4

In 2012, a game called Gravity Rush was released on the PlayStation Vita. It was a game that was fun, different and offered something new. Sadly not many people got to play it due to being released on a handheld that Sony never gave a damn about. Four years later, SCE Studio and Project Siren bring this game over to the PlayStation 4 and my god, it is incredible. Gravity Rush Remastered is marvelous. Seeing the game in glorious HD is jaw dropping. It’s nuts! What’s even better is that it runs at a solid 60 frames per second. Flawless 60fps. It is perfect. They also refined the game’s controls making things such as sliding across the city seamless. You can use the back buttons on the PS4 controller but there’s also the option to use the DualShock 4’s motion controls so it offers some variety for players. What’s even better is that the Remastered port includes all the DLC for the game and at a price of $30, how can you say no to that? You simply can’t.

This game is what made the PlayStation Vita stand out but now that it’s on a PS4, it’s the go-to game for anyone wanting this console. I highly recommend it. It is a must buy, without a doubt and it should prep anyone for the eventual release of Gravity Rush 2 coming in January.

3) Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita and PC

WayForward should be praised and commended for making a game like this. Not a lot of people are going to like having this as my #3 spot but this is a perfect example of a Kickstarter campaign done right, aside from Shovel Knight. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is amazing. There is so much good to say here such as the presentation. Design-wise, it’s a step up from the previous game. 2.5D at its finest with the character models being at its absolute best. Jake Kaufman does it again with the music here and all the tracks are addicting to listen to. Very addicting. The gameplay is similar to the first two games but it’s improved and easy enough for anyone to pick up and play. Hopefully, with the upcoming DLC like Risky Boots’ campaign, Half-Genie Hero is going to be one that’s worth every penny. Show love to WayForward. Get this game now!

2) Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice – Nintendo 3DS

The Ace Attorney series has endured for more than 15 years with a strong and devoted following. 2013’s Dual Destinies is one a lot of people were hyped for and though nowadays is a bit mixed it was a welcome addition. Three years later, Phoenix Wright returns in full force with the sixth game in the main franchise: Spirit of Justice. Similar to the previous entries, it’s a visual novel style game where as Phoenix Wright (or any of the others like Apollo & Athena) you must investigate witnesses, find evidence and discover the truth through the courts. This time around, the story takes Phoenix to the Kingdom of Khura’in and in that country, defense attorneys are outlawed. Spirit of Justice introduces the Divination Seances where it details the last thing the victim sees before they pass on. But the truth isn’t always black and white. That’s where we come in to figure out if what the victim sees is the truth or not.

Many staples that are prevalent in the previous entries return here but its biggest points are its story and music. The story is a bit dark and intense for a game like this and the music is still its shining moment. Believe me, there are some tracks that are incredible to listen to. Whereas Dual Destinies serves as a return to form for the well-respected attorney, Spirit of Justice serves as a passing of the torch for Apollo Justice, allowing him to take the spotlight he deserves. It’s reason enough why this gets the #2 spot.

1) Pokémon Sun & Moon – Nintendo 3DS

Some people like the game, others didn’t. To tell you the truth, I enjoyed the game. As a fan of Pokémon since Generation 1, I had a lot of expectations. They paid off when it came out. Nintendo, GameFreak & The Pokemon Company took a lot of risks in making this stand out over the previous generations. Removing some staples like Gyms, HMs seems crazy when you think about it. However, when I got to play it for myself, I can say is wow… they nailed it. The game does hold your hand a lot at times but you do get the chance to explore at your leisure. The Island Challenges are interesting and provide something different instead of going to a gym and earning a badge. It’s emphasized a lot and I like it personally. Z-Moves are also cool and how they look is amazing. But if I were to net any nitpicks, it’s the story. That leaves a lot to be desired. I wish it can improve but at least the game is still the way you remember it.

Pokemon Sun & Moon may not be for everyone but for those that put the time into it, it’s a pretty awesome game. I recommend it and yes, it’s one that I feel should be #1 on my list.

Honorable Mentions: Azure Striker Gunvolt 2, Pokken Tournament, Yo-Kai Watch 2 Bony Spirits & Fleshy Souls, Ratchet & Clank PS4, Kirby: Planet Robobot

That’s pretty much it for this list. Remember, my list is 100% opinionated and you are welcome to disagree with me. If you guys have a list of your own Top 10s or if you feel that a game you played should be on the list, let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from everyone.

 

December 2016 State of YouTube Address

I figure I would have to post this eventually but yeah, it’s time for the State of YouTube Address on my channel.

This is very important so if you haven’t seen it then go watch it right now.

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix – Eps. 35-37

Today’s the day and here it is. The main game of Birth By Sleep comes to a close. So here you go. All three episodes, concluding Aqua’s story as well as the Final and Secret Episodes.

Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix Eps. 25-26

Yep. That’s right. I’m back and I figure why not finish up Birth By Sleep Final Mix. I already have it saved up but right now I need to get all of these up for everyone to see. I have a lot of work to do getting the post-game stuff ready.

This is what the Post-Game of Birth By Sleep Final Mix will be about.

Birth By Sleep Final Mix Post Game

  • All Disney Town Mini-Games – Rumble Racing for Terra, Ice Cream Beat for Ventus, Fruit Scatter for Aqua
  • Locations for all Prize Pods. I will cover locations with multiple characters.
  • Unversed Battle Missions. Will cover with only one character but will provide all the locations.
  • Vanitas Remnant – All characters will be covered
  • Mysterious Figure – May cover with all but can depend
  • Mirage Arena Battles – Will only cover it with one character, Aqua and will include the extra events

Today’s Uploads – January 9th 2015

You know the drill folks.

Turnabout Sisters come to a close and we get 2 more episodes of Birth By Sleep Final Mix. Tomorrow starts Turnabout Samurai.