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Mario Sports Superstars Review

Mario Sports Superstars Review – Written by jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

Mario & sports games go hand in hand ever since the days of the Nintendo 64. It’s proven fact. However with the more recent sports games such as Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash not being up to par, Nintendo along with Camelot Software needed something to hopefully get people into it. The end result is Mario Sports Superstars. Similar to Mario Sports Mix, released in 2011 for the Wii, Sports Superstars is a compilation package containing five different sports games in one cartridge. The question is… does it carry the same feel as Sports Mix or is this one set players should pass up?

Similar to Mario Sports Mix, Mario Sports Superstars contains five different sports: soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and horse racing. They aren’t mini-games per se but rather full recreations down to the core. There is no story to the game. You can just pick up and play rather easily. Each sport offers a different experience and challenge. Elements from previous Mario sports games take full effect here. Soccer is 11-vs-11 gameplay with two teams battling to score the most goals. Soccer also has access to various options and strategies to accommodate the actual sports’ rules. Baseball has two teams of 9 characters playing against each other. Sadly it’s all pretty basic like the sport itself. Golf is just like every other Mario based golf game where you tee off for 9 holes to get the lowest score. There’s also a Ring Challenge mode for players where they can send the ball through large rings dotted around the course. It’s in training mode unfortunately.

Tennis is just like in Mario Tennis with various features taken from the more recent installments. Players can take part in either singles (1-on-1) or doubles (2-on-2). Many various shots such as Chance Shots, Jump Shots and the powerful Ultra Smash make a return as well adding for fast paced action. Horse Racing is one of the games’ new modes. You take control of a Mario character as you race against several opponents on horseback while dodging obstacles and leaping over hazards. You can choose your horse, what build it can be and even customize it in a variety of ways. They can also be groomed, petted or fed to boost bonds that can help in the races. All of this happens via Stable Mode done and controlled in first person. You can do many things in the stable mode and find rare items along the way. Competing in races and winning net you reward food that you can use to boost bonds along with moods. For a compilation, this is the best out of all the modes since it offers so much to do.

Mario Sports Superstars has both single and multiplayer for all game types. Tournament is the game’s single player, a 3-tier system where you and 7 opponents battle each other to reach the top. Beating one cup unlocks the other until you reach the highest difficulty, the Champion’s Cup. Beating it unlocks the character’s star version. Star characters are improved versions of them & it has to be done for every game. It can be very tedious and repetitive. Training Mode is also available. Each of the five games have a mode where you can practice and improve. Ring Challenge is available in all games and has four difficulty settings, offering a lot of time and fun. Length for the game depends on how much they want to put into it to unlock everything. There are characters you can unlock by winning 1st in the tournament modes. Multiplayer is also available via local or online. Depending on the game mode, you can have up to 4-6 players play local or 2-6 online. It’s acceptable but I wish in regards to local multiplayer that the option to Download Play should be included for people that don’t own the game. Overall, pretty standard stuff for Mario Sports games and I’m thankful it’s included otherwise the game would just be a bore.

The presentation is rather average at best. Nintendo took elements from previous Mario sports titles and integrated them into this one. There isn’t much to say about it. Controls are good, easy to work with and simple for people that want to pick up and play. The old adage still follows here, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Music is okay at best. Some tracks are good but not as much.

There are a few issues. Most of the games aside from horse racing don’t offer anything interesting, as in no gimmicky features that the previous Mario sports games bring. The tournament can be a repetition and the harder difficulties don’t help matters especially when you wish to unlock the rest of the characters, especially the star versions. It also doesn’t help that if you want to play with other players they need their own copy of the game. Another misstep, I say.

Like every Mario game, this has Amiibo support and they come in the form of Amiibo cards. Using these unlock star versions of specified characters. They can also be used power up characters to unlock superstar versions. It’s nice for people that don’t want to grind up so much to unlock them. Tapping three Amiibo cards accesses the Road to Superstar mini game. You need to defeat the boss in order to complete the game to unlock the superstar version. Speaking of which, the game has a collection and they need to buy packs of cards with coins to complete whole set. All this does is unlock the credits and sound test.

Overall Mario Sports Superstars is a pretty decent game. It’s decent but not enough to get you hooked onto for hours at a time. The games are all right with horse racing being the best out of them and it has single and multiplayer. However the game does have its issues. With many being its repetitive grind in the tournament mode, lack of gimmicks and multiplayer woes. Does it hurt the game? A little but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a pretty good game. Nintendo should hopefully learn from this and maybe provide a better game, especially with the Switch now being out and all. Mario Sports Superstars is fun, just not for long sessions.

I give Mario Sports Superstars a 7 out of 10.

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Layton’s Mystery Journey Review

Layton’s Mystery Journey Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.

For more than a decade, the Layton series has graces fans with challenging puzzles and stories that get people intrigued and on their seats. It is quite a franchise with 6 main games, an animated movie, a spin-off and a crossover with the Ace Attorney series. In 2016, Level-5 announced a new entry into the Layton series starring a new female protagonist. It would eventually be revealed as Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle & the Millionaire’s Conspiracy. The game would be released first on mobile devices in July with the 3DS not receiving it till October. It has been a month since the game’s release. Does this game deserve the title of being part of the Layton series?

The story centers on Katrielle Layton, daughter of the famous Prof. Hershel Layton, who runs a private detective agency along with her assistant Ernest Greeves. Meeting a talking dog named Sherl or “Sherl O.C Kholmes”, it asks Katrielle to help it regain its memories. Upon solving a case of one of Big Ben’s hour hands disappearing, Kat, Ernest and Sherl soon get involved in a series of cases related to the “Seven Dragons”, seven of London’s most rich and influential people leading to an unexpected conclusion. All the while, Katrielle hopes to find out what happened to her father who had disappeared.

This story got me hooked and intrigued from start to finish. Unlike previous Layton games, its story isn’t one continuous tale. Rather its split between 12 cases with each of them sharing an overarching theme. Its theme makes sense for the game and by the time it’s over, you’ll pretty much feel more of an appreciation for the characters.

If you played a Layton game, you will feel right at home here. Layton’s Mystery Journey has you investigating each case in various locations, trying to find information, solve puzzles and get clues needed to solve the case. It’s split into two sections: Investigation and Puzzle. Investigation is where you’ll spend most of the game on. You use the touch screen to look around and search every nook and cranny. It’s needed to find stuff like hint coins, collectibles and puzzles. Hint coins help when you tackle tough puzzles whereas puzzles themselves are what the Layton series are best known for. Collectibles are mostly for completionist purposes. There are also fashion coins that can be used to unlock many outfits for Katrielle to wear. It’s for cosmetic purposes but it helps give Kat a bit of variety in what she can wear.

Puzzles are the second section and each case has a multitude of them for you to tackle. Each puzzle will award you Picarats for solving them. The higher the Picarats, the more difficult the puzzle can be. But honestly, the puzzles aren’t that hard. The game does provide hints at the expense of hint coins but most players can figure them out without much difficulty. You do get penalized if you fail by means of reduced picarats but it’s not as bad. The game also has additional mini games you unlock as you progress through the story. They offer some variety and in turn, you unlock more puzzles for you to solve via Kat’s Conundrum.

Layton’s Mystery Journey isn’t a long game. Overall it’ll take you probably 14-16 hours to complete and the mini-games and added puzzles will add an hour or two more. The good news is that it gives you the option to go back to previous cases you completed to find any puzzles or hint coins you missed. It’s a needed relief for those that want to get full completion. Not much else to say about it since it’s a Layton game and all.

As far as its presentation goes, it’s exactly what you’d expect for a Layton game. Although it did come out on mobile platforms, for a 3DS port, it’s pretty good. It keeps the charm and feel of the Layton games to a T. The characters are easy to like, many having motivations that are relatable. I felt they helped the story out and there was a character that I didn’t like. Music is pretty good, with some carrying a sense of Ace Attorney familiarity. The voice acting is nice with the talent being well done for a Layton game. Cutscenes are aplenty here, courtesy of A-1 Pictures. It’s impressive to say the least.

If there is anything that I find to be negative, it’s that the game can feel a bit too simple and predictable. Since Layton’s Mystery Journey follows things in a case-by-case basis, the way in which it goes does get repetitive after a while. The puzzles are in some cases real easy to beat compared to previous games. Also the game has DLC and it’s in the form of unlocking additional costumes and puzzles. The costumes are cosmetic but fun while the puzzles are a step-up making them harder versions of puzzles you completed. Unlike the iOS version, you don’t have to spend much so that is a sense of reprieve. There are also free bonus puzzles, as Level-5 has stated that the game will provide a new puzzle every day for an entire year. Great for those that wants to try their luck.

In conclusion, Layton’s Mystery Journey is a worthy addition to the Layton franchise, despite a few issues. The story is easy to get into, the characters are likeable and the gameplay feels like a Layton game should. Despite some negatives, the game is an enjoyable experience and I recommend this. If you are new to the series then this is a good place to start. However if you have played a Layton game then you’ll find it to be a bit too simple. Regardless it’s one mystery you should solve. I only hope we get a sequel.

I give Layton’s Mystery Journey an 8 out of 10.

Super Mario Odyssey Review

Super Mario Odyssey Review

Written by Jose Vega
Edited by Max R, aka OneOneTwo

Purchased copy for the sake of review.

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
ESRB Rating: E10+

For every console Nintendo brings out, there will be a Mario game that stands as the pinnacle of each console generation. When Nintendo announced their new console the Switch last year, fans wonder if a Mario game would follow suit. At E3, a few months later, Nintendo announced Super Mario Odyssey. After a lot of waiting, the game is finally released. It would go on to sell more than 2 million copies in 3 days. Does this game deliver on the hype that Nintendo provided?

The story in Mario games tends to be simple with a few twists here and there. This game is no exception. The plot involves Mario having to stop Bowser yet again. However, there is a twist, it’s that he kidnapped Princess Peach for the sole reason of marrying her. But Mario isn’t alone. He teams up with a Bonneter named Cappy who’s along for the ride to save his little sister Tiara. Together the two of them travel all over the world to stop Bowser, save Peach and Tiara and deal with a gang of rabbit wedding planners called the Broodals.

It’s the same as with every Mario game with Mario having to save Princess Peach from Bowser. This is no exception here, but I for one like it. What’s interesting is that now there’s an actual premise with a wedding and Bowser bringing along a new set of minions to keep Mario occupied. It’s familiar but I feel it’s fresh. It’s what you are used to when playing a Mario game.

What about the meat and potatoes, the gameplay? The game feels familiar yet offers something new in the process. If you have played a previous 3D Mario platformer, then you’ll feel right at home. Mario plays exactly how he should and Nintendo has taken great care in having it feel familiar. But like every Mario game, they always offer something to make the experience rewarding. Cappy is an excellent example of this. Cappy is Odyssey’s main gimmick and he is useful in a variety of ways. For example, you can throw Cappy at anything whether it be enemy, creature or object to possess it. Cappy also provides a secondary function, serving as a platform used for extending jumps or taking down enemies from afar. This also serves to replace Power-ups for this game. It has a variety of features and they’ll be needed whether to solve puzzles, attack enemies or find Power Moons. Power Moons are like the Power Stars of Odyssey. Like in previous Mario games, collecting them is needed. This time, they serve the purpose of powering up your ship, the Odyssey so you can travel from one kingdom to the next. There are a total of 17 kingdoms to explore. Each kingdom also has special currency called Regional Coins that you have to collect in order to get clothes native to the respective place. You can also use regular coins to buy items as well such as Power Moons and increased health.

As for the controls, there are many ways on how to play the game. For the best experience, it’s recommended that you play with the Joy-Cons in each hand. The motion controls for it are precise and they provide a lot of additional features. Other options such as the Pro Controller are allowed but either way, you have many options to choose from. There’s also co-op where one player plays Mario and the other Cappy and you can team up to play through the game. Odyssey is one of these games that will have you spend a long time finding everything. It’s a collect-a-thon yes but a very good one. Length-wise, the game will take you 15-20 hours to complete but if you plan on trying to 100% the game, it’s much longer around 40-60 hours. The replay value for it is very high and even after beating the game, there is a lot to do. There are plenty of boss fights with each area offering a challenge. It’s not too hard or too easy, it’s the right amount of challenge. Sometimes you even have to rely on the environment around you to win.

Mario Odyssey is home to many kingdoms for Mario and Cappy to explore. From a presentation standpoint, the game is amazing. Each kingdom offers something different and how they look is marvelous. Whether it is the desert locale of Sand Kingdom or the big city of Metro Kingdom, Odyssey never disappoints. The main characters like Mario, Cappy, Bowser and Peach are very expressive. Many of the world’s inhabitants also look well and depending on where you go, it offers something new. The music is amazing, with each world having several tracks that represent the many areas. Jump Up, Super Star, the theme of Mario Odyssey is catchy and addicting. Pauline’s voice actor, Kate Higgins nailed it and it shows.

Honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong with a game like Super Mario Odyssey. It felt as if everything from previous Mario games has been put into a blender delivering something that is fantastic. To be fair, one nitpick that I have with this game is that they removed lives, which has been a staple in every main Mario game. It’s the first and only game I know where it’s impossible to get a game over. When Mario dies, he loses 10 coins and since as you play, you’ll get tons of coins making it pretty much an afterthought. I feel that this streamlines the game to make it more accessible and I feel it was the right choice. Like every Nintendo game, there is Amiibo support and using any of the Mario line of Amiibos unlocks new costumes for Mario to wear. Mario Odyssey also has its own special line of Amiibo in the form of wedding variants of Mario, Bowser and Peach. Using any of them unlocks some wedding costumes for Mario to wear. Seeing Mario dressed in a bridal gown is a bit funny but kind of weird. Note that Amiibo are not required and one can still 100% the game without them, albeit it is a little trickier to do so.

Super Mario Odyssey is everything that you would love about 3D Mario games, taking everything that made the previous games great and perfecting it in every way. You have incredible gameplay, a presentation that’s second to none, responsive controls, high replay value, great music and tons to do. It’s insane how Nintendo is able to pull something like this off and they did. They did the impossible and I can honestly say that Super Mario Odyssey is the best Mario game ever made. If you’re looking forward to owning a Nintendo Switch and you can’t decide what game you want first, get this one. You will not regret it. This is one journey you don’t want to ever miss out on.

A tough decision, I know. I give Super Mario Odyssey a flawless 10 out of 10. It’s a must-buy for anyone that either owns a Nintendo Switch or plans on getting one.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

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

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Emblem Warriors Review

Fire Emblem Warriors Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review was made possible by Nintendo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I give Fire Emblem Warriors an 8 out of 10.

Monster Hunter Stories Review

Monster Hunter Stories Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review was done by Nintendo.

Monster Hunter… known to be a series where players team up to take down monsters that would normally tear them apart. It’s one of Capcom’s profitable franchises and is been going strong. A spin-off of the series titled Monster Hunter Stories, was released in Japan last year to great success. Its success would lead to an animated adaption called Monster Hunter Stories Ride-On. A few months later, Capcom brings the game overseas. Now that it’s released, does it carry the tradition that the main series has always had?

Let’s start with the story. The story is set in Hakum Village, an isolated place where riders coexist with monsters. You play as Lute, a child living in the village until a monster infected by the Black Blight attacks the village causing much tragedy. Now much older and having earned the right to be a Rider, Lute must venture the outside world, alongside his companion Navirou to seek out and befriend monsters known as “monsties” and find a way to deal with the threat of the Black Blight.

The story is basic but easy to get in to. Most of the stuff can be a bit predictable but it’s not in a level that’s considered bad. It’s more light-hearted but it does have its dark moments. Personally, it kept me intrigued and I wondered how things turn out so the story is a positive for me.

Monster Hunter Stories is a departure from the main series in terms of its gameplay. For starters the game is an RPG adventure. As a Rider, you battle monsters, explore Dens to steal eggs, hatch eggs and train Monsties to make them stronger. The game splits between two sections: Field and Action. On the field you can explore and do many things like travel to towns, find items, accept side quests and so on. It’s standard stuff. Sometimes you find eggs in Monster Dens and you head to towns to hatch them. In turn you can choose up to 6 Monsties to have in your party, similar to Pokémon. But you only have one to have with you and you can change at any time. Monsties also have skills that help in various areas. With Quests, they come in two varieties: Story and Side Quests. Story Quests are accepted automatically and they’re needed to continue the game. Side Quests however can be done anytime and they depend on the request. They can be accepted via bulletin boards or by the NPCs you meet in towns. Completing them nets you money and experience, which can be used to buy gear and strengthen your party.

Battles however are where the game differentiates from the main series. The combat is traditional RPG-based with you and your monsties fight opposing monsters, sometimes up to 3. You can attack, choose a kind of attack and see what happens. You can also choose Skills to have your character do various things. As you battle, you have access to three kinds of attacks: Power, Speed and Technique. The game follows a rock-paper-scissors on how battles go with each type having an advantage over another. Sometimes using some attacks can result in combos dealing more damage. Getting the advantage in battle is a necessity especially for your side because you get a boost in damage and kinship. The fights also have quick time moments, depending on the monstie, where motions or button presses are needed to win the fight and deal damage. There’s a lot to do and they help make the fights feel intense.

Speaking of which, the Kinship Stone is an important feature. As you battle against monsters and succeed in clashes, the kinship gauge fills and when it’s full, you can ride on your chosen Monstie boosting your attack but making you susceptible of falling off if you fail too many clashes. Succeeding levels up the Kinship and when the time’s right, your monstie can let off a powerful Kinship attack that can deal major damage, especially in boss fights. It also has a secondary use and it can be leveled up so you can be able to befriend Monsties of higher levels and rarities. The game has its fair share of boss battles with many having more than one section to attack. Focusing on each part and taking it down can help make the battles less stressful.

Another important feature is Monster Genes. Each monster has a 3×3 grid that contains various abilities. To add them, you can channel genes from one to another offering a plethora of different combinations. Matching three of the same kind causes a Bingo effect that boosts the Monstie’s stats. It provides unlimited possibilities for your Monsties to have all sorts of abilities and advantages, adding more to an otherwise huge game. Your player character can also be customized with various weapons and armor. With armor there’s a lot of different kinds. Weapons however, you are limited to four: Greatsword, Sword & Shield, Hammer & Hunting Horn, each with advantages and disadvantages. They can also be upgraded in exchange for money and materials just like in the main series.

All of this adds up to a game that offers a lot for your money’s worth. The game will take you a really long time, upwards to around 40-50 hours if you plan on completing every story and side quest. So there’s a lot to do and there’s more even after beating the game. You can also battle other players either via local, online or by Streetpass so you can put your skills to the test against others. The game is a wonder to look at. It’s presentation is to the point with each area being different to set themselves apart whether it be the plains, inside a volcano or even on a tropical island. Characters are expressive more in scenes where they talk with Navirou and the main character being very expressive. Cutscenes are good as well. The monsters are faithful to how they look in the main games with the Monsties being cute. Music is good to listen to and can get you pumped, especially in battles. There’s no voice acting but the cast like Navirou speak in a gibberish tone. It’s all right since their expressions can pretty much speak for them.

If there were any negatives, I’d say that the game doesn’t have multiple save files like in the main game. There’s only one file and if you want to try again and start differently, you got to delete it. In addition there isn’t much else in terms of post-game content aside from a tower you must trek making the replay value stagnant. Sometimes the game can get hard but grinding and leveling up can help. Like most Nintendo games, Monster Hunter Stories comes with Amiibo support. Tapping Amiibo from this game can net you bonus items and materials that can help with your quest. However they are only available in Japan and Capcom hasn’t decided on whether they’ll bring them overseas. Thankfully they are region free so if you are lucky to get them, they can be usable.

Overall, Monster Hunter Stories may feel like a Monster Hunter game but it offers a different experience. With RPG elements thrown in along with the ability to hatch and train Monsties, it offers a lot. The presentation is solid, the challenge is there and though there are some faults, Capcom did a stellar job providing a game that anyone can jump into. For anyone that’s new to the Monster Hunter series and want a first hand experience, this is the game for you. Be prepared to spend hours upon hours on this as once you start, it won’t stop until the journey is over. This game is a journey that’s truly well earned.

I give Monster Hunter Stories a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth the purchase and you will not be disappointed.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions Review

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for this review.

14 years ago, Nintendo and Alphadream released Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga for the Game Boy Advance. It focuses on the Mario Bros. as they journey to rescue Princess Peach’s voice from an evil sorceress. It launched a franchise with each sequel stepping up to deliver a satisfying experience, mostly. During E3 2017, Nintendo announced that the game that started it all would be getting a remake, with a twist. It came to be known as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, with the addition focusing on Bowser’s entourage of mooks seeking their master. On a handheld like the 3DS, does this remake stand tall alongside the original GBA classic?

The story centers on Mario & Luigi on yet another adventure. What starts as a goodwill meeting goes south when an evil sorceress named Cackletta and her assistant Fawful steal Princess Peach’s voice and replacing it with an explosive vocabulary. But they aren’t alone. They get help from Bowser who also wants in. Together the three head for the Beanbean Kingdom to recover Peach’s voice and deal with Cackletta and her cohort.

It’s the same as the original and I have no complaints with it. The story is just as enjoyable and in some cases, hilarious.

The game plays exactly like the original in both field and battle phases. On the field, Mario & Luigi play the same way with the D-Pad (or analog stick) moving them and both A & B buttons have the two do various actions such as jumping, using hammers or various other abilities. It’s needed to solve the many puzzles you’ll encounter in the game. In battle, it’s the same way. You use Mario & Luigi respectively in turn-based battles against enemies. As you progress and get stronger, you’ll have access to a slew of different abilities that can be used in both field and battle. They can also be upgraded to Super (Advanced) versions that are stronger, giving players a variety of ways to take down foes. With the 3DS hardware, the game offers a lot more features. The touchscreen, for example, provides a map of the areas you visit as well as shortcuts for the commands they can use on the field. In battle, the bottom screen details your characters’ stats and when you do moves, they provide instructions on how to use them. It’s great for beginners but an afterthought for those who have already experienced the game. The game also includes an Easy Mode for those who feel the main game is hard and it can be turned on and off at any time. It’s good for new players but for those who already played it, it’s an unnecessary addition.

In addition to the main game, you also have Minion Quest, a side-story that tells the story from the perspective of Bowser’s minions as they journey to seek their fallen master. It’s a mix between RTS and RPG as you lead a squad of minions to battle against enemies. You take control of a Goomba who becomes Captain and the objective in each fight is to take out the other captain before he takes the Goomba out. After completing each stage, you get experience used to level up your units. You can have up to 8 units in your group and hold up to a total of 40 units. It also follows a rock-paper-scissors mechanic in terms of advantages. You have three types of units: Melee, Ranged, and Flight. Melee beats Range, Range beat Flight and Flight beats Melee. Limiting your army to 8 units requires players to plan well for each encounter and if things go bad, you can retreat and try again. It’s a nice and enjoyable side game that adds to the story of the overall game. Plus you can go back to previous levels to strengthen your units.

Length-wise, the remake of Superstar Saga will keep you busy for some time. The main game will take around 15-18 hours to complete while Minion Quest is a 6-hour romp. You’ll have a lot to do in this game. Presentation-wise, the game is a step up compared to the original. The many areas of Beanbean Kingdom are amazing to look at. In addition, the same can be said for the characters and enemies. They look good and faithful just like the GBA version. Battles are especially funny when it comes to the characters and when Bros. Attacks fail, they lead to some hilarious stuff. There is some voice acting but most of it is simply gibberish. It makes sense since it’s a Mario & Luigi game and it does fit well. Music is just as good as the original. Being that it’s on a 3DS, it’s a step up from the original giving us familiar yet good tunes. The game also has Amiibo support, using figures from the Super Mario line. They can be used to get stamps that can be exchanged for prizes. Pretty nifty.

From my experience, I couldn’t find anything that is deemed negative about the game. There are times where the game throws a curveball and make it hard but honestly, it’s a game that can be challenging if you allow it to be. Items are plentiful and by the time you reach the end, you’ll be more than prepared. Also, the game plays in 2D by default and it’s a good thing since it’ll be easier on the eyes. Fitting since the GBA game is the same way.

For a 3DS remake, Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions is a very good remake. The game feels and plays familiar. Minion Quest offers a nice side game. What else is there to say? Nintendo and Alphadream brought the GBA classic to the 3DS and they did it well. If you were unable to play the original GBA version, this is your best choice. It’s a good starting point for people to get into the series and for those that want to relive it. Nintendo didn’t disappoint. This game is a certified winner.

I give Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth your money, I mean it.