Tag Archives: PlayStation 4

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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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!

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Review

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of review.

Marvel & Capcom… they are two different companies that have one thing in common: a franchise where many of their franchise’s best duke it out against each other. In 2011, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was released. Though it had a pretty positive reception, it wasn’t enough and the series would enter hibernation. Marvel was under the grip of Disney and before long, Disney would get involved making games of their own, only to call it quits after Disney Infinity bit the dust. Five years later, it was announced that Marvel and Capcom would be back at it again with a new entry into the Versus series. The game in question was Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite. Now that it has been released, does this game hold up to the hype?

The plot for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite involves Ultron Sigma using the Reality and Space Stones to merge the worlds of Marvel and Capcom together. This creates a world where he is ruler but a legion of heroes from both Marvel and Capcom worlds unite to not only defeat Ultron Sigma but also find a way to undo and restore their respective worlds.

Many previous entries didn’t have much of a plot but this is the first time in the series where the plot takes precedence. Sadly I feel that it isn’t as interesting. Capcom had hyped the game’s story as being the main focal point. All it did sadly was only damage the overall presentation, especially when the demo was released a few months back. Compared to the final version it isn’t as much helpful and though it did improve when it came to the character models, having something that wasn’t as good in the beginning only serves to hurt the game, not help it. If anyone likes the story, more power to them. However I believe that a story had to be made in response to Netherealm’s games like Mortal Kombat and Injustice having story modes that provide a lot.

Gameplay has always been the Versus series’ strong point and this is no exception. Going back to basics, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is a 2-on-2 fighting game where you choose two characters and then duke it out either with the computer or online against other players. It also is a 4-button fighter with 2 punches & 2 kicks respectively, similar to Marvel vs. Capcom 2. One noticeable feature is the Infinity Stones, brought back from Marvel Super Heroes. They provide a nifty addition by adding an advantage that can change how your team handles the battlefield. By pressing either the left or both shoulder buttons, you can activate an Infinity Surge for a quick effect or go full throttle with an Infinity Storm after filling up your Infinite meter. This adds a lot of variety to the game, as each of the six Infinity Stones offers different effects. You have a choice of up to 30 different characters to choose from. More than half of the cast is from the previous game and unfortunately it hurts the overall game. You have new characters such as Mega Man X, Jedah, Gamora, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) and some that are coming down the line as DLC but I feel pretty disappointed that the roster is lackluster. Simply lackluster.

The game does offer a lot and compared to Street Fighter V, at least that’s better than having a barebones product. You have your traditional arcade and versus modes but there’s also Story. Story Mode will take you probably 2-3 hours to complete, more if players plan to do it in a higher difficulty. Mission Mode is back from Marvel 3 and it offers players a set of challenges they need to complete with each character. Online mode is also included with ranked and player matches. Players can also set up lobbied where up to eight players can play against each other. Interestingly, up to four games can happen in a lobby at once. It’s pretty cool. Compared to SFV, this game really offers a lot for your money’s worth and if you have friends then you’ll have a fun time. Also the game has an Easy Combo System that you can thankfully turn off in the options menu. It’s a neat addition for newcomers to get into the game without having to worry about anything complex. It also applies for Easy Hyper Combos as well, which like I mentioned can be turned off.

Though it has many positives, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite has many things that hurt the game. The presentation isn’t that great. Character models may look good but most of the time, they feel off. Compared to the demo where they looked real hideous in some cases, I am happy that Capcom took the liberty to improve on the models after much feedback. The story isn’t as great and can sometimes be real jarring. Since story had been focused on a lot, it also means there are no arcade endings. A bummer. Music is also a bit forgetful. Many of the tracks don’t seem to hook you compared to previous titles and though the game uses techno, it doesn’t click. I mentioned that the roster was lackluster. Several well-known characters such as Wolverine, Magneto and others aren’t in the game. This is mostly due to legal stuff behind the scenes between Marvel/Disney and Fox over the film rights. It’s upsetting that they aren’t in and I can understand why but on the other hand, all of this is just one big advertisement for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Another big nitpick is DLC and it seems Capcom hasn’t learned their lesson from Street Fighter V. Unlike SFV, this issue is minor at best. There is DLC in the game and it comprises of six new characters as well as some alternate costumes. A season pass for this can be purchased but I feel that their business model will only do more harm than good for the overall game. Made no better that the game has a $90 deluxe edition and a $200 collector’s edition that is outright poor. It didn’t help that the game had pretty poor PR especially with Peter “Combofiend” Ross as well as Pete Rosas and Michael Evans saying stuff like characters are functions or saying that there’s no X-Men because fans don’t remember them. It’s poor PR on not just Capcom’s part but also Marvel and Disney. No wonder the game had controversy from the get-go.

Overall, Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite isn’t a bad game. It truthfully isn’t. The game has really good gameplay, addicting if you put the time and effort into it. However great gameplay doesn’t equal a great game if the overall presentation is lackluster. A poor roster of familiar faces with little new appearances, a story that doesn’t seem to grip you in, questionable choices behind the scenes and you get a recipe for disaster. Should you buy this game at full price? Absolutely not. Wait for a price drop or better yet, wait till Capcom releases a complete edition for this. Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite may be a game that would get the series out of hibernation but it’s not the game we’re looking for.

I give Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite a 5 out of 10. You want a fighting game that feels like Marvel vs. Capcom but plays well? Wait for Dragon Ball Fighter Z.

Sonic Mania Review

Sonic Mania Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by SEGA. Special thanks to them.

For more than 25 years, Sonic the Hedgehog has been one of SEGA’s flagship franchises. It had humble beginnings during the 90s console wars between the Genesis and SNES but after SEGA went 3rd party, the journey got a bit shaky. 2006 would be the year Sonic would enter a dark age with many of their titles getting mixed to negative receptions. Things would pick up in the following years, despite some flops, and last year SEGA announced that Sonic would return with 2 more titles. One of them, Sonic Mania has been hyped for some time. Does the hype pay off?

Sonic Mania takes place after the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The plot centers on Sonic & Tails returning to Angel Island, learning that a strange energy source was sighted there. Unfortunately, a legion of Eggman’s robots has got there first, getting their hands on the Phantom Ruby. However, it whisks Sonic, Tails, Knuckles (unexpectedly) and the Egg Robots to a familiar locale. Seeing the danger & the evolved Hard-Boiled Heavies off with the jewel, Sonic along with Tails and Knuckles must team up to prevent the Phantom Ruby from falling into Eggman’s hands.

It’s simple Sonic storytelling. Eggman enacts another of his world domination plans and it’s up to Sonic and his friends to stop them. Surprisingly he’s not the only threat they have to deal with. Eggman’s personal squad, the Hard-Boiled Heavies are also involved. This makes things a bit intense but what do you expect in a Sonic game. I have no complaints with it honestly.

Sonic Mania brings Sonic back to its 2D side-scrolling roots and it’s one that works, taking inspiration from the 16-bit Sonic games that made Sonic what he is today. If you’ve played many of the old school Sonic games, you will feel right at home here. You have three playable characters: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. All of them play the same but with a few differences. They can jump, run, spin dash, etc. You get the idea. Sonic has a peel out move that lets him be on the move quickly. Tails can fly to avoid enemies and find hidden secrets and Knuckles can glide, climb walls, has a jump that isn’t as high & can access areas that Sonic and Tails can’t go through normally. You will need their strengths to conquer the game’s 12 zones. As far as length, you can beat the game in just a couple of hours and with three playable characters, it adds a lot in terms of replay value. There’s also Time Attack where you can race to get the fastest time and Competition where you and a friend can go head to head offline to see who can reach the end of a stage first. It’s great.

There are 12 zones in this game, each with two acts. More than half of the zones are classic levels from previous Sonic games but they’re given a revamp when it comes to level design. The rest are brand new to the game and offer so much to the experience. What’s interesting is that each level offers many paths for the player to come from. It’s still simple enough going from start to finish but how you go about it depends on the player. Sometimes there are secrets you can find such as item boxes or giant rings. Like the classic games, there are bonus stages and by hitting checkpoints or finding giant rings, you get access to them. Checkpoint bonus stages are of the Blue Spheres from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and completing them net you medallions and they’re used to unlock various secrets. The Giant Ring bonus stages have you chasing after a UFO that carries a Chaos Emerald. Your skills will be tested, as you must collect blue spheres to increase your speed and rings to extend your time. Beating them will be a challenge but worth it in order to get the Chaos Emerald. There are 7 of these and they get harder as you progress.

At the end of each act, there is a boss. Many pay nods to previous Sonic bosses. If anything SEGA really puts a lot of heart when it comes to the game and it shows. It also helps that Sonic Mania has a truly stellar presentation. The graphics are just what you expect for a retro 16-bit game and they did a job keeping it faithful to them. All of the levels offer something different and they are vibrant, full of colors and if you look hard enough, there are many nods and references to various SEGA related stuff. Sprites are detailed and authentic as well. They’re also expressive. Controls are very precise. Perfect would be too appropriate of a word to describe how good the game plays. I mean it. It’s perfect and easy to pick up and play. Whitehead Productions should be praised for giving us a Sonic game that feels like the old school games but in a new environment. I only hope SEGA can get him involved in a possible Mania sequel.

Although I want to praise the game for its presentation, what really nailed it in for me was the music. Tee Lopes went in and delivered a soundtrack that is godly. I kid you not. All of the music in the game is amazing to listen to. Whether it’s remixed versions of Green Hill & Flying Battery or songs from the new stages like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon, this game has it all. A game that has a stellar presentation, topped with a superb soundtrack. What more needs to be said?

I do have one minor issue with the game and it can be quite a challenge. The game feels like the old school Sonic games and new players who may experience this can find it to be one that requires them to get good. The difficulty is a bit balanced but there will be some moments of unfairness. It shouldn’t dissuade anyone though. Sonic Mania has a lot of content and high replay value that anyone can be able to enjoy no matter what. But yes, it is challenging but there’s a good amount of reward for those looking to complete everything.

It’s surprising how fans of the Sonic franchise were given the go ahead by SEGA to produce a game that’s not only fun but serves as a love letter to the Sonic franchise, it’s fans and SEGA as a whole. Sonic Mania is a special kind of game. Being at around $20 is enough to convince anyone that it’s worth a definite buy. Everything about the game whether it be its presentation, controls, music, etc. delivers on all fronts. Sure it can be a challenge for those that have little idea but it shouldn’t dissuade anyone otherwise. If you haven’t played a Sonic game or if you feel you want something that reminds you of the good old days, Sonic Mania is THE game. The blue blur isn’t going anywhere and this game proves that he’ll be around speeding through for many years to come.

I give Sonic Mania a 9 out of 10. I want to make it a perfect 10 but I feel this rating is more than enough.

Nioh Review

Nioh Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of the review.

In 2011, a little game called Dark Souls was released that brought players a game that was gloomy and challenging. Since it’s release there have been games that felt similar to it or provided their own take and offered something new while keeping it familiar. So what do you get when you take Dark Souls and combine it with Japanese folklore, mythology as well as its history? You get Nioh. Nioh is Team Ninja’s take on the series but don’t let it deceive you. Behind its similarities is a game that offers so much and provides just as much of a challenge as any game they’ve done.

Nioh takes place in the year 1600, during a fictional Sengoku period of Japan when the country was in the middle of civil war before the rise of the Tokugawa shogunate. You play as William, a sailor who travels to Japan in search of a foe that has captured something important to William. He ends up meeting Hattori Hanzo, servant to Tokugawa Ieyasu who requests him to deal with yokai that have been coming about due to the chaos of war. What follows is William encountering many historical figures as he travels to Japan and stop an alchemist who wishes to bring ruin to Japan and eventually the world.

I like that Team Ninja has the game touch on actual Japanese history and it shows. They really did a good job. Most of the story reminded me of the films directed by Akira Kurosawa, since yes, part of Nioh was based on a script that he made but it underwent many revisions. Also it’s based off the real western samurai William Adams, minus the supernatural elements. It’s pretty interesting since after beating this, I wanted to learn more about William Adams, his history as well as some Japanese history.

As far as Nioh’s gameplay goes, you go about moving from one part of the area to the next taking down foes, collecting gear and trying to survive against anything that comes your way. You travel through six different regions in Japan and each one contains missions to go through and complete to acquire experience, money and new gear. Elements of Dark Souls are in the game but don’t let it dissuade you. Nioh’s fast paced, making the game intense as you progress. But how you go about it depends on the player itself. You have five different weapons to choose from: sword, spear, dual swords, axe and kusarigama or chain sickle. Each weapon provides a different style of combat and you can mix it up to provide an advantage. Made better is that you also have three variations: low, medium & high. You also have your Guardian Spirit, a spirit that provides various advantages to the player when activated. By relying on all of these in battle, you can take on any threat that comes your way.

Now like Dark Souls, Nioh has some familiar RPG elements. For example, you earn experience (or Amrita) by defeating enemies along with money and any items they drop. In order to level up, you need to a visit a shrine. Leveling up has you improving your character’s stats by adding points to them. There are 8 different core stats: Body, Heart, Stamina, Strength, Skill, Dexterity, Magic and Spirit. Adding points to any of the stats provides benefits to your character as well as whatever weapons you wield. This also allots to armor, having five different kinds: head, torso, arm, leg and foot. They come in different varieties, rarities and have stats that can improve the character. Some even come in sets and having all of the pieces provide numerous benefits but it all depends how you make your character.

You will need everything this game has to offer if you wish to survive. Nioh is a long game. It’ll take you approximately 20-30 hours and you’ll spend it completing various missions. There are three different kinds of missions: main, sub and twilight. Main focus on the story whereas Sub are devoted to providing you more experience and goods and Twilight are basically the same Main missions only harder. Main missions also have boss battles, requiring you to plan before striking. What makes this all work is that you have a hub menu to choose whatever mission you like. It’s the one thing I find that sets it apart from the Souls series. The hub is also used to access places like a shrine, blacksmith and even training grounds. Training grounds help you learn the basics and even challenge yourself against teachers in order to acquire new abilities. It’s perfect. Replay value in this game is high with exploration as you can find new gear and secrets such as kodama. Considering the game is having DLC with new missions will extend the length even more. You can also connect online and team up with other players in a PvE environment or take on others in PvP. It’s good but pray you don’t end up taking on someone who can kick your butt fast.

Nioh’s presentation is solid. It’s amazing to look at with the Japanese atmosphere, beautiful visuals and can be colorful depending on the area you visit. It does carry the dark omen in some areas and when you enter a Twilight Mission, the feeling of dread exudes all over. The game also has cutscenes that tell the story with voice acting to back it up. Surprisingly, Anjin’s the only character that is in English while the rest are in Japanese. Not that it’s a bad thing but it does fit the game’s atmosphere. Voice acting is great and the performances are well done. It’s impressive on all aspects. The music is awesome with an orchestrated feel especially in fights where you take on tough opponents. It’s exhilarating and a blast to listen to.

But though there are a lot of good things about Nioh, there are some minor issues. Yes, Nioh is a difficult game and the learning curve for it is strict, requiring a lot of practice, as well as trial and error. In some cases it’s luck based since the game can sometimes throw you for a loop & put you in a situation you can’t get out of. Thankfully you can always find ways around situations if you know the layout. Also the layout for your item box is a bit of a mess, made no better by the fact you don’t have an option to sort them all. Instead it slows down by having you scroll up or down until you find what you need. Nioh does let you search them via rarities but I feel a sort option would help. Since it shares elements with the Souls series, expect to die a lot. At least it isn’t as punishing. Plus the AI will ensure you go down, even if you are at a weaken state. Expect the unexpected.

It’s strange that a game that is brutal and challenging can be a lot of fun. Nioh perfectly fits this to a T with its superb gameplay, amazing visuals, great length and replay value, solid exploration as well as amazing music. The challenge is there and only those that have the skill to do it will persevere. Don’t let its difficulty fool you. Nioh is certainly a game that you want to have on your PS4 library. Team Ninja brought their own take on the Souls series. I can honestly say that it is very well done. If you have a PS4, get this game now. You won’t regret it.

I give Nioh a solid 9 out of 10. It is a must-own game for anyone that has a PS4 and earns my personal seal of approval.

Street Fighter V Review

Street Fighter V Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased my copy at full price for the sake of this review.

For almost 30 years, Street Fighter was the series that gave new life to the fighting game genre. Whether it’s the memorable characters, music or its tight gameplay, it brought us so much that fans still enjoy to this day. It’s previous entry Street Fighter IV provided so much, despite the game getting numerous updates and revisions. Last year, Capcom was ready to bring Street Fighter into the next gaming generation with Street Fighter V, released as a Sony exclusive for PS4 and PC. The question looms… does it deliver the same way SFIV had all those years ago or will this game crash and burn to the ground? Considering that it’s almost a year since the game’s release, I am going to be reviewing the game in its current state.

The Street Fighter series has never been known for it’ story. This game’s no exception. The story is split between “Character Story” and the Cinematic Story that was released in June as a free update. But to summarize, M. Bison of Shadaloo enacts his plan for world domination and he does so with the Black Moons. Now several groups are gathering to put a stop to Bison’s plans but many may be having plans of their own. The story is pretty predictable, your traditional “stop the bad guy before they take over the world” thing. Nothing fancy. Considering that this is set in-between Street Fighter IV and III, it does explain certain events that we would see in later games. The character story mode however consist of short segments that last 6-10 minutes but provide a bit of exposition for all the characters involved. They’re harmless fun but at least you get an idea of what the characters are and their motivations.

Street Fighter V doesn’t offer much in terms of content. Later updates did include modes like Challenges but when it was first released, the game provided little. It makes the game feel barebones. I find it disappointing. Many other fighting games like Mortal Kombat, Tekken and Smash Bros. offer a lot of content and variety at full price and the most important thing is having content for people that just want to pick up and play. To see that it doesn’t have that is upsetting and will only drive consumers away. I am aware that the game was released for the competitive crowd but unless there’s something for casuals, it’ll be a failure from the get go. There is online play but when it was first released, it had numerous server issues that hindered the experience. They did fix it eventually but overall, Street Fighter V is barebones on release and to this day, it still is. Capcom dropped the ball and they should have put a bit more time in refining the game to make it complete.

Despite the negatives, Street Fighter V is great in terms of graphics and gameplay. The game looks amazing, a step up from Street Fighter IV. From a design standpoint, it’s well done. The character models are better but for some reason, they seem a bit too muscular. All the stages are vibrant and colorful, backing it up with music. SFV’s high point also includes the music. The music is very good and some tracks are real addicting to listen to. Thankfully you have the option to switch between stage and character music so that’s a plus.

If you’ve played a previous Street Fighter game then you’ll feel right at home. The controls are the same but there are a few noticeable changes. For starters, everyone has a Critical Art, a V-Trigger and V-Reversal. They are the game’s main gimmicks. Each character has a specific V-Trigger and Reversal ability that sets them apart from the others. They depend on the character and can make matches pretty intense. I can say that Capcom did do a good job at making the controls easier for newcomers but can also be challenging for competitive players. Compared to Street Fighter IV’s battle system, this is a bit easier. Though I wish that the game could allow players to choose from a variety of V-Trigger/Reversal and Critical Arts. It can add more to the game and its characters.

I mentioned earlier that this game offers too few content but then they decide to include micro transactions. They can be obtained either by using real money or Fight Money, Street Fighter V’s currency and consists of alternate costumes, color palettes, stages and characters that would come as DLC. If that isn’t enough, Capcom has the gall to include a season pass… in a $60 full price game that offers barebones content. Just no. It’s unacceptable. If it were like Street Fighter IV then it would be okay but not here. I don’t accept it and even now that the place has been reduced to $30, it still isn’t enough. Had Capcom put more time and released it later down the line with more characters and modes, it would be better. But sadly it shot them in the foot and they paid the price for it.

Capcom may have dropped the ball big with Street Fighter V but it shouldn’t hinder anyone from taking the time to enjoy it. The presentation and gameplay are its high points but they can only last so long with its lack of content. Yes the game was released to please the competitive crowd and an audience is there for it but they did it at the expense of the casual crowd. Regardless, Street Fighter V is a well-designed game that anyone can enjoy… if only it could provide more for your money’s worth.

Had I reviewed this game when it was first released, my rating for it would be less than what it should deserve. For the time being, I give Street Fighter V a 6 out of 10.

BlazBlue: Central Fiction Review

BlazBlue: Central Fiction Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased copy for the sake of this review.

Since 2009, Blazblue is one of these franchises that bring something unique to the fighting game genre. For almost eight years, the series has been through a lot despite following the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Now in 2016, the fourth game in the series arrives with Blazblue Central Fiction. Originally released in the arcades, the game is now here on consoles. The question is if a fourth hurrah will be the one that will give the series glory or if this will be the last?

Blazblue is one of these games where the plot can be as ridiculous as its characters. Continuing from the events of Chronophantasma, the story centers on a mysterious embryo in the sky and signs that foretell the end of the world coming. Trying to explain it would be complicated but it’s what Blazblue is. It’s not much of a bad thing but there are some moments where it goes into the territory of absurdity. Longtime fans that have played the previous entries will have a good understanding of what will transpire. But for those that want to get into the series, the game provides a good summary of what happened, helping people get up to speed.

When you think about gameplay, it’s one of Blazblue’s high points. Fortunately it’s similar to the previous games so long time fans can feel right at home. However, this game has added some new mechanics while providing added changes. One such mechanic is the Exceed Accel, a kind of Distortion Drive that serves as a follow up to activating Overdrive. It deals a lot of pain but also ends Overdrive. Another feature they added is Active Flow, the opposite of Negative Penalty. Basically the more you attack and go on the offensive you get rewarded with boosted damage and Burst Gauge recovery. It also increases Exceed Accel damage. It’s a nice addition for players that put everything in their offense. Blazblue’s Drive system is still the staple of the series, providing each character with their own distinct skill. With over 35 characters to choose from, it can get hectic. But it’s a good thing obviously. All the cast from the previous games returns here along with some new ones.

Central Fiction has many modes for players to enjoy. You have your standard Arcade Mode like every other fighting game. However in the case of this, Arcade Mode is split into 3 acts. It’s because the Arcade version started with Act I and then updated twice, adding new playable characters and story. You have the option of choosing to do any act, depending on the character chosen. Story Mode takes you through the game’s story. It’s long and it’ll take you roughly 15-20 hours, more if you want to 100% it. Other modes include Tutorial, Training, Challenge, Versus, Score Attack and Abyss. They provide a lot more time into the game. Replay value is very high with some of these modes. Online Play is well done. You can either go to a Ranked Match, Player Match or a Lobby. Lobbies are easy to set up and can hold a lot of players. Sometimes online matches can lag but it’s seamless and well done. There’s also customization with so many different options you can have to set yourself apart from other players. So many things to unlock that it raises the replay value even higher. Design wise, the game is beautiful. Many of the stages are vibrant, colorful and add a lot to the areas you battle. Sure some of them are reused from previous games but seeing them all in 1080p is simply a sight to behold. For a 2D fighting game, it’s awesome. The music is real awesome. Some characters have themes that really rock and are addicting to listen to. It’s a game like this where I really want to buy the soundtrack for it and I recommend it.

There are some glaring faults Central Fiction has in spite of its positives. One of the biggest is of a lack of English Dub. Central Fiction is the first and only game in the franchise where at release there is no English dub, only Japanese. Rvery other game in the series always had both an English and Japanese dub. This doesn’t and it caused a bit of problems for fans. So much so that a petition was made to convince both Arc System Works and Aksys Games to release an English dub down the line. It’s disappointing there’s no English dub at launch but I hope that they’ll deliver it down the line. Also, it’s not a game like Blazblue without micro transactions. Most are purely cosmetic and minor but characters such as Es and Mai Natsume require money. They’ve done it before in previous installments with other characters but it’s upsetting that you need to pay to unlock them. I have nothing wrong with micro transactions if they’re done right but if its done in a way like that, no way.

Despite some negatives, Blazblue Central Fiction is a game that provides so much to do at full price. You have refined gameplay, a cast of over 30 characters, a story mode that can get you engaging, very strong online and various modes that offer a lot of replay value. Overall it’s a package that provides so much in one game. In a way, it feels complete. Truly. Had this game include an English dub from the start, I would rate it higher. Regardless for a fourth entry in the series, I can say that this is the best one. If you haven’t got a chance to pick this game up, now is the time.

I give Blazblue: Central Fiction an 8 out of 10.