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Monster Hunter World Review

Monster Hunter World Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

Monster Hunter… a series that is all about players teaming up to take down monsters all while working to get stronger. For almost 15 years, the series thrived on this style starting on the PlayStation 2 before it would explode in popularity with Monster Hunter Freedom on PSP. In fact, the series would be a hit on handhelds with its later entries. In Japan it was a popular franchise but overseas, not so much until Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in 2012. The next few games would go to have much success on the 3DS. But it wasn’t until 2017 when Capcom announced they are bringing Monster Hunter to the newest generation of consoles, in the form of Monster Hunter World. For the first Monster Hunter game on PS4, Xbox One and PC, did it deliver?

The story centers on a continent called the New World, where monsters roam and where researchers are intrigued by its mystery. You play as a Hunter who’s a member of the Fifth Fleet and is with the Research Commission on an expedition into the New World. The trek goes downhill once an elder dragon named Zorah Magdaros shows up, causing the Hunter to get on the move. They do arrive in the New World, in a makeshift base called Astera with one goal: explore the world and find the truth regarding Zorah Magdaros. But even with Zorah Magdaros, the New World is home to many challenges, requiring the Hunter to expect the unexpected.

Monster Hunter World’s story is intriguing but at the same time, the pacing of the game is solid. Most games don’t have much of a story but here, there is since you are part of an organization with an objective. You see it transpire as you play and even after contending with Zorah Magdaros, there is still more. There is some voice acting but it mostly occurs during specific missions. At least it’s considered okay at best.

Now we reach the meat & potatoes of things, the gameplay. If you have played any of the previous Monster Hunter games, you will feel right at home. Since this is the first Monster Hunter game released on the newest consoles, the game is more streamlined to accommodate new players. It actually works. Players start by creating their own Hunter and Pailco. After a while, they go through several tutorials getting them accustomed to the controls and then their journey can begin. The game is an action-RPG with players having to complete jobs in order to gain money and materials needed to either buy armor & weapons or upgrade the gear they currently have. And speaking of which, this game has 14 different weapons for players to choose from. Each of these 12 weapons has their own abilities and attacks, offering different advantages in battle. Plus the weapons and armor you craft and upgrade can offer numerous effects for your hunter. The same is said for the Palico as well. There is a lot of customization here and how it goes depends on the player.

As for progression, the game follows a mission structure where raising your Hunter Rank, or HR, is required. You raise your Hunter Rank by completing quests and they can depend on the main objective. Whether it is collecting items, slaying smaller monsters or even defeating big monsters that roam the lands, they are what’s needed to rank up. Not to mention missions are split between several categories. Assigned are main story missions that are needed to progress further while optional are useful for players to grind money and experience. Completing them nets you money, items and experience. The experience is used to not only level up your rank but also your Palico. Playing solo lets you have a Palico as your ally in your journeys. He is a big help support-wise. There is a catch to it all. Dying in a mission cuts those rewards and failing 3 times results in a mission failure. Preparedness is required if a player is to succeed. Players can also go on expeditions to find materials, battle monsters and so on. For anyone that wants to grind for stuff so they can prep themselves, there you go. The game really offers you a lot for a full price game.

The length of Monster Hunter World is outright ridiculous. Expect to spend hours upon hours completing missions to unlock the best gear and weapons needed for the challenges aside. Not only that but the game offers a lot of additional content with free updates. The free updates bring in new monsters for players to tackle and with it, new gear for players to get. Sometimes they hold events where you can attain exclusive gear such as the Devil May Cry outfit, Horizon Zero Dawn gear, etc. Even after beating the game, there’s still a lot to do. One thing that should be mentioned here and it’s that this game is best played if you have friends. This game is mostly online and you are allowed to ally with whoever wishes to help and sometimes you have to help them. It’s a game like this where people of all kinds can team up to take down monsters. Simply awesome!

Capcom really delivered in terms of its presentation. The game is beautiful and compared to the previous games, it’s a huge step up. At 1080p running at 60 fps, it’s awesome. The environments are stellar, as if this world has come to life in the game. All the monsters look great and at some cases scary. Music is great, offering the intensity the series is known for. The victory themes especially are good since it provides satisfaction after a job well done. Gameplay is familiar and streamlined. It does a good job teaching players the controls and how to handle each weapon. You can turn it off in the options if you like. Voice acting is great with talents such as Richard Epcar and Matt Mercer. They deliver in their performances and I find them well.

As far as negatives are concerned, there are very few. Capcom delivered in making the game balanced in terms of difficulty. Sure things start simple enough and it builds up as you progress. And if you get stuck in a quest that’s hard, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The game doesn’t penalize you if it happens so it never hurts to send an SOS. Other than that, the game is incredible, almost perfect.

Capcom took a gamble by bringing Monster Hunter onto the PS4, Xbox One and PC and it paid off big time. The game looks great, plays great and feels great. It’s also satisfying when you have friends and the feeling of you taking down a tough foe is all the more rewarding. And since the game does add more via free updates, there’s much to do. It’s without a doubt one of the best games in the series not only introducing new players to the series but also bringing in veterans looking for a challenge. If you have a group of friends and in need of some fun, Monster Hunter World is it. The hunt begins again!

I give Monster Hunter World a 9.5 out of 10. It’s worth your money & it earns my personal seal of approval!

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Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for this review.

Last year, Kingdom Hearts celebrated its 15th anniversary & Square-Enix made several announcements. One was that Kingdom Hearts III would finally be in development after it was announced in 2013. The other announcement was two compilation games that would get fans up to speed with the series. One compilation takes two PS3 compilations and put them as one big package on PS4. The other served to help set things up for the eventual third Kingdom Hearts game. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. Like 1.5 and 2.5, it’s a compilation but does this get people excited for the upcoming third game?

Final Chapter Prologue is a compilation game like the others. What’s different from the others is that almost all the content provided here is entirely new. It comes with three different games: HD Dream Drop Distance, 0.2 ~A fragmentary passage~ and a short movie called chi Back Cover. For a full price game, this provides plenty but now, at around $30, it’s still worth it.

Up first is Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. This game was released on the 3DS back in 2012. Here, Square-Enix decides to take this handheld game and give it a facelift, updating the presentation. It pays off, allowing the game to run at 60fps at 1080p. Also they improve some gameplay aspects such as the Reality Shift to accommodate the PS4 and the Dual Shock 4 controller. It works but if you played it on 3DS, you will find this to be a familiar yet different experience. Reality shifts have been modified, or in some cases changed, requiring you to use either the touch pad or face buttons. Sure it’s simplified but it doesn’t hinder the game all that much. Most of the game follows the formula that Birth By Sleep and Re: Coded had but it stands out on its own thanks to the Dream Eaters. Speaking of the Dream Eaters, you have access to all of them available including the ones that were in 3DS that required special cards. It’s pretty nice for those that wish to collect them all.

As for the other two, they are entirely new to this package. Birth By Sleep 0.2 ~A Fragmentary Passage~ takes place after the events of the Secret Episode of BBS Final Mix. Centering on Aqua, it focuses on her time in the realm of darkness, meeting Mickey and how she played a role in the events that would end the first KH. This is all new and it also serves as a sneak peek as to how Kingdom Hearts 3 will go, using the combat system as a platform. It takes bits from various Kingdom Hearts games and combines them to make a definitive style. It works. In addition this game has a variety of objectives for players to complete, a total of 50. Completing them unlocks cosmetics for Aqua to customize in. It’s pretty nice and does give players something to accomplish and complete. Plus the replay value is good.

The last one, Chi Back Cover is a one hour movie that details how the Master of Masters give five of his six apprentices a copy of the Book of Prophecies and how the Book and his actions set in motion events that would lead to the inevitable Keyblade War. It’s very well done and enjoyable. Plus for those who played the mobile game, Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi/Union Cross, they get to see events that would lead to the story’s end. The voice work is pretty good with some well-known talent lending their roles in this movie.

As for length, they depend on the game. Dream Drop Distance will take about 12-15 hours, A Fragmentary Passage will last you 3-5 hours and both games unlock a harder difficulty upon completion. With Dream Drop Distance, there are several mini games and challenges that extend the length, especially when it comes to collecting the Dream Eaters. As for A Fragmentary Passage, there are the challenges and a hidden boss rush. It extends by about an hour or two. That’s quite a lot for a compilation package and at an affordable price too.

All of it looks amazing, especially Dream Drop Distance and A Fragmentary Passage. It amazes me how Square-Enix took a 3DS game and pretty much gave it a graphical overhaul. If we are to compare the two versions, the HD one is without a doubt better. It looks better and some of the gameplay changes such as the Reality Shifts help make it streamlined. Did I mention that the game is upscaled at 1080p, running at 60 frames per second? There’s that & Square should be commended for pulling off such a feat. For A Fragmentary Passage, it’s beautiful. That mode’s presentation is insane. Yes I mentioned that this is pretty much a preview of how Kingdom Hearts 3 will be but the fact that everything in that mode is good is beyond me. The voice acting is still a delight although Willa Holland’s performance as Aqua feels a bit forced. Music’s great. Yoko Shimomura delivers on the soundtrack, especially for A Fragmentary Passage. As far as negatives go, there aren’t that many. Some stuff can be difficult but it’s nothing you can’t handle. The Dream Eaters can be a turn off for some people and the fact that you have to train them to unlock abilities can be really repetitive. No joke. Regardless, it shouldn’t stop players one bit.

Overall, Final Chapter Prologue is what it is, a compilation that helps get players prepped up for the eventual Kingdom Hearts 3. Dream Drop Distance is a big improvement while A Fragmentary Passage is a preview of what’s to come while offering a fun experience. Chi Back Cover is a nice movie and combined, all three deliver one good package. The wait for KH3 may have been a long one but I feel that compilations such as this are enough to keep people waiting. Want to experience what’s yet to come? This is it.

I give Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue an 8.5 out of 10.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix Review

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

Purchased product for the purpose of reviewing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yakuza 0 Review

Yakuza 0 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yakuza Kiwami Review

Yakuza Kiwami Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of reviewing this game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gravity Rush 2 Review

Gravity Rush 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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