Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for review.
Activision has been on a roll and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Two years ago, they released the Crash N. Sane Trilogy, a remastered compilation of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy. It was well received. A year later came the Spyro Reignited Trilogy and it too gotten praise. What can Activision do to top their recent successes? Teaming up with Beenox, Activision decides to try their luck with Crash Team Racing. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the game’s original release, they bring Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. Is the remake worthy of its namesake or is this one trek you should pass on?
If you have played either the original or Crash Nitro Kart, then all of this will feel familiar. For those that haven’t, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is comprised of several different modes of play. The Adventure Mode has players picking a character and then they explore four different areas, taking part in races where winning rewards you keys so you can use them to take on the boss and it repeats. Not only that but it also has a series of challenges such as collecting tokens via “CTR” letters or relic races where you have to break crates and be skilled to get the fastest time. Fast times mean relics from Sapphire all the way to Platinum. Not only that but there are also Gem Cups where winning 1st overall nets you one of five colored gems. In the case of the remake, players can play it in two ways: there’s the Nitro-fueled mode where you can choose any of the 25 characters that are in the game and choose one of three difficulties or if you wish to go old-school, there’s the Classic mode. Adventure Mode, length-wise will take roughly about 8-10 hours to complete, if you want to simply 100% the game. With 3 difficulty settings, the length can depend.
As for the rest of what this game has, there’s plenty. You have the Local Arcade where up to four players can take part in a variety of modes: Single Race, Cup Challenge, Crystal Grab and Capture the Flag. There’s also online races where up to 8 players can race to see who’s the best. You have a choice of 25 characters, each coming in three different difficulties: Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Some characters have to be unlocked whether via Adventure Mode or through the Pit Stop. The Pit Stop is where you can go to unlock new characters, vehicles, paint jobs, skins, etc. As you complete races whether online or off, you earn Wumpa Coins, the currency of this game. You use them to buy stuff at the Pit Stop. In addition there are time trial challenges where you have to beat certain times such as the N. Tropy & Nitros Oxide challenges. There’s a lot for you to do for a $40 game and it shows. The game also features added content via Grand Prix, seasonal content that adds new tracks, characters, vehicles and more. This extends the length further.
Story-wise, it’s similar to the original. Nitros Oxide heads to Earth, wanting to challenge the best racer on the planet. It’s up to Crash and his friends to race in hopes of stopping Oxide from turning the planet into a parking lot. it’s a simple story at best. It’s presentation is a step-up from the original. Everything whether it be the characters, the locations, vehicles, tracks, they are all great. Not only that. The game also runs well at a solid 60 frames per second. As this is based off the PlayStation 4 version, it’ll be similar to Xbox One. As for Switch, I can’t say. It also controls well. Players can choose one of two control schemes to suit their liking. Voice acting is in this game too and it’s solid too.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled does have plenty of things that make it an enjoyable experience but there are some issues. For starters, the Adventure Mode can be really challenging due to the AI. In higher difficulties, the game can be a real challenge. Not only that but the online can be really finicky. Sometimes you may get a good race or two, other times players may just disconnect from your game. During races, you may end up getting hit by something even if you know you won’t expect it. Beenox have already made a few updates fixing these issues but it’ll be a while before things improve. Another issue is that grinding for Wumpa Coins can be time-consuming. Despite the addition of Daily and Weekend multiplier bonuses, it’s still a bother, mostly. Thankfully there are no microtransactions in this game whatsoever. Activision knew it wouldn’t work so at least that is a plus.
In conclusion, Activision and Beenox have delivered in making a really good remake of a classic Crash Bandicoot game. Amazing presentation along with various game modes and solid controls make it really solid. However its flaws such as the online and the major grind just to unlock characters, skins and vehicles can be a real drag. Despite this, the game is a lot of fun. Veterans will get a kick of nostalgia while new players will get to experience a fun yet challenging game. Is it worth your time? Absolutely. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is one ride you don’t want to miss out on.
I give Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled an 8.5 out of 10.
Team Sonic Racing Review – Written by Jose R. Vega
Product provided by SEGA.
It had been seven years since Sonic got the chance to go kart racing with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed. Since then, things have been dormant with SEGA putting their focus on other games. Last year, SEGA announced that Sonic would return for another round of racing. It would be known as Team Sonic Racing. Instead of Sonic racing alongside characters from other SEGA franchises, it’s between Sonic characters. Playing it safe but does this change translate to a good racing game?
Sonic Team Racing’s story goes like this. Sonic and his friends get an invitation to take part in the Ultimate Test of Racing Skill. It gets Sonic curious and before long, they meet a strange Tanuki named Dodonpa. Noticing his similarities to Eggman, they are cautious. Despite this, they take part where teamwork is the key to winning races. All the while, Eggman along with his team have plans of their own. He seeks to use Dodon Pa so he can obtain the Ultimate Energy Engine and use it to become an unstoppable force.
It’s interesting that this game actually has a story but what I also like is that this one puts more focus on the Sonic characters and their world. It’s pretty good. Sumo Digital gets props and it shows. Although I wish we had gotten much of the story in the form of animated cutscenes rather than what with we have here.
But if you wonder how the game plays, don’t worry. If you have played either Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing or the sequel, you will feel right at home with this one. The game plays very similar but with a few differences. Team Sonic Racing emphasizes on teamwork, similar to that of Sonic Heroes. You have a choice of 15 racers that follow in one of three classes: Speed, Technique and Power. Speed characters are well balanced and fast, they have a Radial Burst that protects them from projectiles. However they have poor defense & acceleration. Technique falls in the middle with good handling and acceleration. They also can attract rings while tackling rough terrain with no slowdown. Power is all about strength with strong boost and defense. They can also smash into obstacles or other racers. The only drawback is that their top speed and handling is subpar. Choosing the best racer in a team & working together is optimal for success.
Races have teams of 3 working together to win while contending against rival racers. The use of the slipstream allows teammates who are falling behind to catch up all while getting a big burst of speed. A useful feature. Items come in the form of Wisps and they provide racers many options. Some wisps though are exclusive to a specific character class but they can be used by any racer if it is acquired via Item Exchange. Item Exchange is another feature added to the game. It isn’t just limited to you. Even your teammates want to send items and accepting them can help turn the tide of a struggling race to your favor. Teams also have a Team Ultimate and depending on the character using it have their own individual theme. It’s pretty clever too. In terms of customization, there’s plenty with the various car parts you will acquire. You get them by spending coins in a slot-machine that will net you a different part. In some cases you’ll get a Legendary version that gives your ride a gold sheen. With 15 different characters, expect to spend a lot to get all the parts along with various items and decal to make them look to your liking.
The game has both single and multi-player. Single player comes in the form of the Team Adventure mode. You take part in various challenges such as single races, grand prix (a collection of 4 races) and there are also mini-games that require high scores to get the highest rank. Each challenge also comes with multiple objectives to complete. Some are simple like winning 1st place while others are a bit complex. Not only that but acquiring keys can help unlock more challenges. If players simply want to beat the game, it is not long. At Normal difficulty, it’ll take you roughly 7-8 hours to complete but for completionists, it’s twice as long. Replay value is plentiful with multiple difficulties, cranking the length up further. Winning races will net you coins that you can use on the slot machine to unlock parts. Online play is available where up to 12 players can race each other. Time trials are also available where racers can post their best times while trying to prove your skill to the rest. There’s much to do whether online or off.
With it’s presentation the game looks great. At 1080p it’s intense and colorful but depending on the console, it can run either 60fps or 30fps. For PS4, especially at Pro, it runs at a solid 60fps and it’s great. It’s amazing though on other consoles, especially at Nintendo Switch it runs at 30 fps. It could be due to limitations but you get what you got. Music is awesome with composers such as Jun Senoue returning to do the soundtrack and others such as Tee Lopes ready to make their mark in their own way. Voice acting is good too. No complaints there though Silver’s voice will take a while to adjust.
Although I do praise the game for its many positives, there are some issues. Some of the challenges in Team Adventure Mode can get repetitive. In a few instances, you race in mirror tracks and it’s probably to make up for the limited number of tracks there are. At higher difficulties, the game is brutal mostly since the AI doesn’t play around. It plays for keeps. At least the game is NOT a full price $60 game. At $30 now, it does give you plenty for your money’s worth though if it were full price and it offered so little that would be a different story altogether. I commend SEGA for not having it at that high a price. However if you are playing this on the Nintendo Switch, the opening movie is removed. Why they did that? I will never know.
Team Sonic Racing is an overall fun experience that is satisfying, albeit a challenging one. Presentation is pretty solid and the gameplay is really addicting. Not to mention having single and multi-player action is enough to get you hooked for hours. But some of its issues can hinder the game from reaching its full potential. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a pretty awesome and I commend SEGA and Sumo Digital for pulling off a really awesome game. I only hope that they learn from this and that hopefully the next game where Sonic gets to race is even better. Team Sonic Racing is worth your time and money, I guarantee it.
I give Team Sonic Racing an 8 out of 10.
Jump Force Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for review.
Last year, Namco Bandai announced a game that would be ambitious and exciting. They said that characters such as Goku, Naruto, Luffy, Yugi and many others coming together in a manner similar to Marvel’s Avengers. As time went on, people were excited and then the game finally comes out in the form of Jump Force. Jump Force, a game that has the makings to be something great becomes nothing more than a disappointment. And even if the game was good, is it worth your time?
Jump Force’s story focuses on an organization called Jump Force and their job is to save the world from an evil organization known as Umbras. Players take control of a character they create in this game and it serves as the game’s protagonist. Many characters that you meet such as Goku, Naruto, Luffy and others serve as supporting characters. Together your character teams up with them to fight the Umbras but it ends up becoming a fight to save all realities from an evil that wishes to wipe the slate clean.
The story isn’t that great. It’s your traditional good vs. evil story but the difference here is that it follows in the veins of films like Avengers where heroes unite to save the world against evil. My issue with it is that it feels predictable, to the point where you can figure out who the big bad really is. It’s not that great and it feels underwhelming. By the time it’s done you feel like it could have been better. So yes, the story is a disappointment.
But what about the gameplay? It’s a 3D fighting game, similar in the vein of Dragon Ball Xenoverse and the Naruto games. However it follows in the vein of Marvel vs. Capcom where you choose a team of 3 characters and do battle but you can only have one on the field at a time, unless you do a team up attack. Your allies can either be swapped or used to do assist attacks. With a roster of 40 characters, players will find the right combinations to dominate the game whether online or off. Battles can be intense and it has a lot of mechanics that players should take advantage of like high-speed dodges, awakened status and team up attacks. Skilled players can be able to succeed in battles but it’s not an easy task.
As for your created character, it’s one of the good things that this game has. Not only can your character be customized on how they look but also how they do battle. Players can equip special attacks to mix and match, offering variety. They can purchase these skills and abilities in the market along with the ability to buy outfits. Abilities can also be upgraded by means of using materials and they can help provide advantages and disadvantages in battle. There are also traits and by using SP, you can give your custom character additional traits that can do a variety of things like boosting your stats, giving you advantages if your health is low, etc. Plus it has some RPG elements where you level up as you play the game. It isn’t limited to your created character but also every character in the roster. Some instances you’ll have to take part in limitbreaker missions and completing them allows you to continue leveling up until you reach 100 or so. It can get grindy but personally, it’s the one thing that I find to be good about this game.
Jump Force is mostly a mission-based game where you take part in missions whether you are progressing through the game’s story or if you simply want to have fun. There are four kinds of missions: Free, Extra, Key and Tutorial. Free comes in five different difficulties and here, you can choose any character you want and take part. Extra is where you tackle bonus missions. Key Missions are story based while Tutorial simply teaches what the game is about. It is what it is but it’s also one of the game’s many faults. Those who want to simply go in for the story, it’ll take you around 10 hours to complete. Post game extends it a lot more for those that want to complete everything and have their characters be much stronger. Plus the missions come in 5 difficulties for added length.
For all the good this game does have, Jump Force has a ton of issues. The story is unimpressive and in most cases predictable. It isn’t that great. Not only that but the presentation isn’t impressive. Sure the characters look good but in cutscenes, they don’t show much in terms of emotion. It has you wondering what happened during development. Even Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite did better in terms of its cutscenes and that’s coming from a game that is a disappointment in its own right. Music is forgettable and uninspiring. Voice acting is okay but it’s only in Japanese dub. No English dub sadly. Gameplay can be repetitive especially with the mission structure. That’s basically what it’s about: missions. It goes like this: you accept a mission, see a cutscene, load time, see another cutscene, load time, battle, load time, cutscene. It gets old really quick. Not only that but the load times are unacceptable. Load times can go up to 45 seconds and for a game like this, it’s unacceptable. Sure they did release an update that reduced load times but it’s still unacceptable. Online is at least alright and Jump Force will be having DLC in the form of additional characters. Personally I feel that they should focus on improving the game’s many issues. It’s a game that feels like an injustice to the many franchises that it represents. All these characters deserve better than this. The game is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. PC Players will have a lot more enjoyment since people will mod the game to make everything better. Console players get the short end of the stick.
Jump Force is a game that was hyped as an epic crossover game only to crash and burn when it reaches the end. A forgettable story, repetitive gameplay structure and a not-so-great presentation mars what otherwise would have been an ambitious product. The roster of 40+ characters feel wasted on this. Namco Bandai and Spike Chunsoft should have put more time to make this game worth your while. What happened? What went wrong? The game isn’t for everyone and there is some good deep within. There are some good ideas but the execution was a major letdown. It really is.
I give Jump Force a 5 out of 10.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for review.
Back in 2016, Activision released the Crash N. Sane Trilogy, remaking the first 3 games starring Crash. To say that it was a success is an understatement. It was a massive hit and a year later, the game would then be ported over to the Switch, Xbox One and PC. People wonder if Spyro would join suit and the good news is that they didn’t need to wait long. In April of last year, Activision announced that the original Spyro trilogy would be remastered with help from Toys for Bob. It would take a few months and a few delays for it to come, as the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Does this trilogy deliver justice and give new life to the Spyro the Dragon franchise?
Like the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy consists of the first three Spyro games: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. They had their work cut out for them remaking the Spyro trilogy, despite having the game delayed twice. You got to at least commend them for trying. Presentation-wise, all three games are awesome and consistent. You can tell that Toys for Bob put a lot of heart and soul when remaking the Spyro games and it shows. It’s fantastic. Even the voice acting is good. Tom Kenny reprises his role as Spyro and he does a fantastic job portraying him. Even the music and sound is improved. Everything has improved and like the N. Sane Trilogy, it’s done with the intent of providing a proper experience for players new to the series and for those who grew up with the old school PS1 games. Fun fact: the original 3 Spyro the Dragon games were developed by Insomniac, who would go on to make the Ratchet & Clank games for PS2.
What about the gameplay? Thankfully the game not only looks good but plays good too. If you’ve played the original PS1 Spyro games, you will feel right at home here. Movement is done either with the D-Pad or Analog Stick and all of Spyro’s basic moves such as gliding, breathing fire and charging with your head are there too. Depending on each games, Spyro will also obtain additional abilities that help in terms of exploration and battle. Speaking of which, all 3 games specialize in being collect-a-thon kind of games, having players travel to many areas collecting gems, relics, dragons and in some cases freeing dragons. Not only that but the game has free-flying sections where Spyro flies about. It also became a time-attack mode where you need to hit 4 objects or enemies for a total of 8 times. Some of these also have additional missions as well. For completionists that want to find and unlock everything, there are also skill point challenges. Completing them unlock access to a collection of concept art so it’s a nice bonus. You are getting a lot for a $40 game and like the Crash N. Sane Trilogy, it’s one heck of an experience.
As for length, each of these are long in their own right taking 10-15 hours but those who not only want to complete everything, get all the trophies and acquire all skill points, expect to add a few hours more to each. Again, it’s a lot for a $40 game and you got to commend these guys for putting the effort. Not only that but they also include the option to allow a map for players to see where they are. It’s a nifty feature but people most likely won’t need it. Now based on my experience, the compilation is well done. There were some bits that prove to be challenging, especially in the first Spyro game but at least it has the right amount of difficulty when it comes to the rest. And if you plan on buying the game physically, expect to wait a while. The physical disc only contains Spyro 1, not all 3. Yes. People were expecting to have all 3 Spyro games in one disc but Toys for Bob and Activision were unable to make it possible because of how big the games are. At least they tried and they should be commended for what they could. Oh and all three games are complete games too.
Activision and Toys for Bob did justice to the Spyro franchise with this compilation. Three Spyro games, rebuilt from the ground up with a strong presentation, familiar gameplay and a fair amount of challenge is something anyone should obtain. It’s enjoyable for those who have played the Spyro games but it’s also a welcome introduction for those who are new to it. If you never got to experience Spyro back during the PlayStation era, there’s no excuse now. The Reignited Trilogy is what does the trilogy justice and then some. Don’t take my word for it. Get it and play for yourself.
I give the Spyro Reignited Trilogy an 8.5 out of 10.
Purchased product for this review.
It’s always never easy to end a story and it’s the same way when it comes to video games. Last year, SEGA celebrated Yakuza’s 10th anniversary with the release of a prequel called Yakuza 0, a remake of the first game as Yakuza Kiwami and the announcement of an all-new Yakuza game. Come 2018 and the new Yakuza game arrives, serving as a final chapter to Kiryu’s story called Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Its theme is of family and how far one would go for family. Does this game serve as a farewell to a recognizable hero or come down as a fall from grace?
Yakuza, or Ryu Ga Gotoku, has always been known for it’s story, characters and gameplay and this game is no exception. The story takes place 4 years after the events of Yakuza 5. Kiryu returns to Kamurocho after serving time in prison but something seems off. Haruka is nowhere to be found and the only clue that he can find of his whereabouts is a young baby boy named Haruto. If that isn’t enough, Kiryu becomes the target of a rival clan. It’s up to Kiryu to find Haruka, protect the boy Haruto and find out what’s really happening. But what he’ll discover will lead him to a secret that may bring Japan to ruin.
From my own personal experience, the story is great. I was hooked to see how it would play out and how they would handle Kiryu’s final tale. There are some twists and turns that do surprise me at times and the ending is one it’s best you see for yourself. You will be in tears by the time it’s over. I am a bit bummed that some characters aren’t in this game but it’s mostly for the sake of the game’s plot. Not much anyone can do.
If you played any of the games in the Yakuza series, you will feel right at home with this game. Kiryu is the only playable character in this game and don’t worry, he’s just as good as you remember, if not better. Yakuza 6 is an action RPG game where you go through the story, complete side quests and take part in activities that can offer plenty to do. Yes. Yakuza games always deliver in terms of content. As for Kiryu, he kicks butt just as you’d expect and this time he’s packing new tricks up his sleeve. Instead of multiple styles, he has only one style that offers a mix giving him offense and defense. Not only that but he has access to a heat gauge that fills up as you deal damage to enemies. When it’s full, Kiryu can go into a powered-up state called Extreme Heat Mode that gives him access to stronger attacks. The heat gauge can also be used for Kiryu to pull off flashy attacks. It offers him versatility and how it goes depend on the player.
Since it’s an action RPG, players need to level Kiryu up and they do so in a variety of ways. Kiryu can obtain experience points that are split into 5 categories: Strength, Agility, Spirit, Technique and Charm. You get experience by completing various activities whether it is the main story missions, sub missions, eating or even awards. The experience you acquire go towards four categories: Stats, Battle Skils, Heat Actions & Other Skills and depending on the player can have Kiryu be upgraded however they wish. It offers a lot of versatility for players and in some ways, a necessity in order to go through the game itself.
There is a lot to do in Yakuza 6. In addition to the city of Kamurocho, Kiryu also has access to the small town of Onomichi. Each of the areas offers many activities and missions to take part in. Kamurocho has access to places like arcades, hostess clubs, a gym, karaoke, online chat rooms, etc. It has a lot and it shows and Onomichi is no slouch either with its fair share of mini games like spear fishing and baseball. Yakuza 6 also gives us Clan Creator, a tower-defense like mini game that has you using a group of units to take down enemy groups. They are short but is very useful if you want to grind for yen, the game’s currency. There are also sub missions that show the daily life of both areas including some that are familiar but also surprising. One example being a quest where you must unite a bunch of people together to form a baseball team. For length, beating the main story will take you around 15-20 hours to complete, as it’s 12 chapters long but the side content extends the length to a lot more. Premium Adventure returns, letting players complete anything they missed out on and New Game+ with its Very Hard difficulty extends it further while testing players. You are getting a lot for your money’s worth and it shows.
The game plays great and it also looks great too. SEGA decided to incorporate a new engine for the game, the Dragon Engine. This allows Yakuza 6 to run seamlessly at 1080p with a stunning 60 fps. Not only that but battles also is seamless too. Compared to games like Yakuza 0 and Kiwami where battles start as enemies meet you, here once enemies spot you and race to you, it happens immediately and they end the same way as well. It’s well done. Voice acting is what you come to expect for a Yakuza game and it’s great. There is no English dub sadly but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the game. Music is awesome too with many great tracks, especially some that contend with boss battles. There are bosses in the game and they are without a doubt challenging. Plus it makes it all the more satisfying when you beat them too.
If I had any nitpicks, it’s that the game really does emphasize grinding. If you plan to max out Kiryu, it’s essential and thankfully there are plenty of opportunities to do so but players won’t be able to max out Kiryu completely unless they spend a lot of time on the game. Also Kiryu is the only playable character and it’s sad that we don’t get to play with anyone else. Characters like Shun Akiyama and Goro Majima are mostly relegated for the sake of the plot. But it’s Kiryu’s last tale so basically all the focus is on him and him alone.
Yakuza 6 serves as the final tale for Kazuma Kiryu and it holds up really well. The game not only looks amazing but plays amazing too, offering something new while feeling familiar. It’ll challenge you don’t get me wrong but by the time you are finished, you can’t help but feel good and wanting more. With SEGA announcing a spin-off entitled Judgment, it will not be the end of the Yakuza series. Far from it, to be honest. This is Kiryu’s last tale and it’s one you do not want to miss out on.
I give Yakuza 6 a solid 9 out of 10. It earns my personal seal of approval. A must-buy.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas Review – Written by Jose Vega
Note: Purchased product for review.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a action-adventure free-flight exploration game created by Ubisoft, the same company that give us Assassin’s Creed, Rayman and others. It has a lot of good ideas but the execution is a bit mixed. Ubisoft Toronto pitched an idea of a toys-to-life game in the same way that other games like Skylanders. It was given the green light but the only difference is that its main idea is the gimmick being to customize flying ships to however players want them to be. Starlink came about as a result. Does this game soar high or crash and burn?
As I said, the game is an action-adventure game and you get to play as a fighter pilot who flies on a starship traveling from planet to planet, freeing each one from a band of evil forces called the Legion, led by a prophet named Grax. It’s simple enough but that’s where the game takes it a step further. In each planet, your job is to free it from the Legion and you do so by driving the Legion back, build bases to raise your Alliance meter and explore. Yes. Exploration is the big focus as each planet is home to various sights, and wildlife. It helps for players that want to achieve 100% completion on each planet but it can get repetitive and boring quick. Having to do the same thing in the game 7 planets can get dull. The same can be said for outer space. Time is mostly spent on battling outlaws, traveling from one point to the next, finding supplies and in some cases battling giant capital ships called Dreadnoughts. Dreadnoughts do offer a bit of challenge but that’s about it. Though they also provide an advantage if they are destroyed and can help make the trek a bit enjoyable.
Starlink is also a toys-to-life game, and this game has plenty of customization in the forms of weapons, ships and pilots. Players can use toys that Ubisoft has provided along with the game to customize their ship however they like. New weapons are obtained with the toys they collect and having it physically means they can get it in the game. No fuss, no muss. The toys themselves do look cool and for collectors, it’s a nice touch. But for those who don’t want to waste money on buying toys, they can buy weapons in the form of DLC packs. The DLC packs, called Starship Packs, each consist of one pilot, their ship and two weapons. There are also weapon packs and pilot packs, providing new weapons and pilots. But to those that want everything from the start, they offer a complete $60 pack. It’s a lot and it does give people a choice but if they bought the $80 digital deluxe edition, that’s only an afterthought.
Speaking of the ships, weapons and pilots, they can be leveled up. You gain experience by doing many things such as defeating enemies, completing objectives, etc. Once a ship part such as a ship or weapon levels up, the respective pilot gets a skill point they can use to improve their abilities. In addition players can obtain mods to customize their weapons and ships. The mods can be upgraded as well to be more powerful. Players can also be able to upgrade their team abilities in exchange for Electrum and Cores. The only drawback is that unless you have every pilot, you are a bit limited on what you can upgrade. There’s a lot of customization here and Ubisoft does have some good ideas with this. It’s that the execution is, as I said, really flawed.
As for story, it revolves around a group of individuals travel to the Atlas system on their ship, the Equinox only to get attacked by the Legion. Grax, leader of the Legion kidnaps the lead scientist in charge of Equinox in the hopes of finding anything regarding an extinct species called the Wardens. Now the crew of Starlink travel from planet to planet to send the Legion packing, stop Grax, save their commander and free the Atlas system. It’s a simple story at best with most of it told during the game as you play. For players who got the game on Nintendo Switch, there’s an added story where Team Star Fox appears to help the crew of the Equinox. But they also have a reason for being here, as Wolf O’Donnell of Star Wolf has been spotted on Atlas. So the two groups join forces to save Atlas from the Legion and Wolf O’Donnell, who’s here to seek power to rule the Lylat System. The Star Fox story is all right but it makes you wish there was more. Ubisoft does have good ideas and it makes you wonder what it’s like had they make their own Star Fox game.
Starlink isn’t a long game and players can beat it within 8-10 hours but to 100% everything, including maxing out all weapons and pilots, it’s a lot longer since exploration takes priority. As for presentation, it’s at least better than No Man’s Sky. The game does look good and plays good. Controls are simple, easy and intuitive. Voice acting is good and believable and it gets you interested into the game.
But although there is some good ideas in the game, there are various flaws. In fact, this would be summed up with just three complaints. First is the DLC content. Now to anyone who bought the $80 digital edition, consider it an afterthought. To many that didn’t are expected to spend money whether via the toys or the digital content. And considering that ships also count as additional lives, players start with 2 unless they get everything. Sadly you don’t get any new ships as you play so that’s a bummer.
Second is the gameplay and mission structure. Players go from planet-to-planet freeing them from the Legion. It does start off fun at first but as you keep going, it does get tedious. Nothing changes and no matter what planet you travel, it’s the same grind since it does help offer advantages down the line. If the game offers a bit more variety that would be fine and they do provide it with showdowns against Primes but it’s also the same grind. Of course destroying Primes does free the planet so it’s a bit of a reprieve. However, I wish that Starlink could offer more.
The last complaint is lack of boss battles. Primes and Dreadnoughts do count as boss battles but they can be dealt with if players know how to figure out the best strategy for them. Even the final boss feels underwhelming. It can be taken down with little effort, offering no challenge whatsoever. That alone also seems that Ubisoft didn’t put much effort in offering more. Also the Star Fox stuff is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version and it gets a pass because playing as Fox McCloud and his Arwing is simply satisfying.
In conclusion, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a game that has good ideas. Very good ideas that if they put more time into it it would be a really great game. However several issues mar the game. Is it a bad game? Absolutely not. You can have a lot of fun with the game but the fun only lasts for so long. The Star Fox content on the Switch version does provide some variety but it makes you wish it’d be longer. But playing as Fox McCloud makes up for it. At least it’s better than No Man’s Sky since the game does feel like a game and not a bait-and-switch. If you plan on getting the game, get the $80 digital deluxe edition. You’ll have everything from the get-go and you’ll have a good time, especially if it’s on the Switch. Starlink is a journey, albeit one filled with a bit of trouble.
For the Nintendo Switch version, I give Starlink: Battle for Atlas a 6.5 out of 10.
For the PS4 and Xbox One version, it gets a 5 out of 10.