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ARMS Review

ARMS Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the sake of this review.

Nintendo has always been known to make games that can attract an audience and they always have been for quite a long time. So when it was announced that they would be making their own fighting game for the Nintendo Switch console, people were intrigued to see if they could pull it off. In time this new fighting game would come to be known as Arms. Taking the idea of boxing and adding a twist to it, can Nintendo’s first foray into fighting games deliver a guaranteed knockout?

Arms is packed with content both online and off. There are 10 different characters for you to choose from, each providing something unique. Also, each character has access to 3 armaments or “Arms” that provide many different advantages in battle. You can pick and choose which arm to have on your character, leading to various combinations and possibilities. This also helps when they go in a powered up state and unleash heck on the opposition. It’s awesome. You can also charge up your arms to deliver powerful effects. Some have elemental properties, giving you a chance to either blow them away or shut down your foe completely. Speaking of which, the game has many modes of play such as Grand Prix, Party, and Online. Grand Prix is your traditional arcade mode where you pick a character and have to go through many battles to reach the end in order to become Arms Champion. Party is where either you battle against AI opponents or up to 4 players can have fun and play the game. It can range from either Fight or Team Fight where you can go either 1-on-1 or 2-on-2. Other game modes include V-Ball where up to 4 players have to score points by sending a large ball to the other team, Hoops for 1-on-1 b-ball action in the Arms’ sense, Skillshot where you and an opponent hit targets to get a high score or 1-vs-100 aka survival mode.

Online play really deserves a lot of praise here. They are straightforward but how you connect to matches is interesting with a hub world where up to 20 players are moving about as it chooses whom you will face. Of course, while you wait, you can take part in some activities to pass the time. Sometimes you fight 1-on-1 and other times you team up for 2-on-2. All the modes are there in online as well. Ranked matches are included too. You can also set up player matches with your friends via group and they can get hectic. Yes, a lot to take in I know but for a game offering a lot, it’s worth it. The game’s controls are well executed and precise. Sure you can use the Joycon motion controls and they’re really good but if you feel that it isn’t your thing, there are a total of four control options: Motion Controls, Joycon controller, Switch Pro or individual Joycon. So no matter what you choose, you’ll have what you need to enjoy the game.

Presentation-wise, the game is impressive. The characters look great and all of them stand out real well. Stages are well done and they each provide some atmosphere when you battle. Music is good with some songs addicting to listen to plus they help set the game up nicely. There is some voice acting and like the music, it’s good. No complaints on that. There are no microtransactions thankfully. Instead, there’s in-game currency that you earn by playing the game. You use the currency to access a mini game where you can unlock new arms for your characters. Everyone can be able to access arms that belong to other characters. Replay value is high and it’s one that wants you to come back and play another round, not to mention all the different combinations you can have for your character really offers a new level of strategy.

Although I do praise the game for being something different, I feel that there are some faults with it. The motion controls may be spot on but I feel that they can be problematic at times when you want to do something and then it does another. Thankfully with multiple control options, it alleviates this negativity. At higher difficulties, the game can be really hard and it’ll kick your butt especially when the AI can sometimes shut you down. It’s expected but in my experience playing this game, I didn’t have any problems but why would you if a game like this offers a lot at full price.

For Nintendo’s first attempt at making a fighting game, Arms delivers with its many modes, various characters, multiple control schemes, great online, high replay value and strong presentation. We hope that Arms can become the blueprint for future fighting games on how it should be done on the Switch. Only time will tell but for now, Arms delivers on some good clean fun. Put up your dukes for this game delivers and then some. It’s worth your money. That’s a promise.

I give Arms for the Nintendo Switch an 8.5 out of 10. It earns my personal Seal of Approval. Worth your money.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the sake of this review.

Three years ago, Mario Kart 8 was released on the Wii U and though it was a great game, it was on a console that not many people bought. When Nintendo announced their new console back in 2016, it was hinted that there would be a possible Mario Kart. Those hints prove to be true when it was announced that a port of the game would be coming to the new console. But it isn’t just any port. This is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, taking the original Wii U game and adding a whole bunch of new features. Is this game worth getting on the Nintendo Switch? The answer is yes. Absolutely.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is filled to the brim with content that is fun with friends or solo. You can take part in the Grand Prix, consisting of 12 cups spanning 48 courses. Many are new, some are revised classics from previous games and the rest are of the DLC cups that were in the last game. As you play through each track in the cups, you can collect coins that can be used to unlock new stuff. In Mario Kart 8 you would unlock new characters and parts. Deluxe makes this less of a grind by having all the characters unlocked from the get-go. For one thing, it’s awesome that you have everyone unlocked including the DLC characters.

What makes it better is that MK8 Deluxe introduces some new ones: Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo and the Inklings from Splatoon. It raises the character count to 43, which makes this the biggest cast for a racing game. You also have access to difficulty modes from 50 to 200cc, unlocked from the start, including mirror mode. There’s also Time Trials for those that want to test their skills and Versus where up to 4 players can race each other. Also in races, you can now hold up to 2 items, similar to Double Dash. It adds another level of strategy but at the same time it leads to some crazy shenanigans especially in multiplayer.

One of the biggest negatives Mario Kart 8 had was its battle mode being lackluster. Nintendo seem to get the message and decided to do a complete revamp. Battle Mode in this game has been redone, implementing a scoring system and providing players with 8 battle courses, 5 new, three retro. In addition there are 5 mode types: Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners and Shine Thief. Renegade Roundup is like “cops and robbers” where players are split into two teams. One are the cops, the other are the robbers. All of this now adds more to a game that truthfully feels like a complete package.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also has Online Racing where up to 2 players can race together against players from all over the world. You can compete either in Worldwide or Regional in both Racing and Battling. As far as stability goes, it’s good. There are times where connection errors happen but overall it’s a pleasant experience. Players can set up online tournaments easy and up to 12 players can take part in races or battles. A lot to take in and the replay value for the game is at an all time high. No joke. Also you have access to three different control schemes: Switch Pro Controller, Joycon Grip or individual Joycon. With two Joycon controllers, they count as having two players. That’s incredible but a little tough to adjust for some people.

Compared to the Wii U version, this port of Mario Kart 8 delivers an improved presentation. It looks a lot better with the game now running at 1080p at 60 fps. A big improvement compared to the original running at 720p. With the improved 1080p, the visuals get an upgrade where even the small details can be seen. Loading times are reduced from 22 to 9 seconds. Better if you just want to race and have fun. The music is still a delight to listen to with many tracks having very good tunes. The controls are refined and spot on. Fun to use whether using a Joycon or a Switch Pro Controller. There’s also wireless play where with 2 Switch consoles, you can have up to 8 players playing it. Though it isn’t easy to do, having a lot of people together for a game makes it truly a delight. Like the previous game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has Amiibo support where you can scan them to get costumes for your Mii. This time around, they now expand beyond Mario & Smash characters and into stuff like Splatoon. It’s simply cosmetic but nice to see.

In conclusion, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes everything that makes Mario Kart 8 great and turn it into something better. Containing all the DLC, an improved battle mode, good online, tight controls, great music, amazing presentation, what else is there to like? Everything. If you haven’t gotten a chance to play it on the Wii U and you have a Switch, this is a must-buy game. Since it is now the fastest selling Switch title, you can’t deny that it’s good. In fact, it’s excellent. Get some friends, buy this game and you’ll see just how amazing Mario Kart can be. You won’t regret it.

I give Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a perfect 10 out of 10. It is worth the full purchase price.

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.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

Since 1987, the Legend of Zelda has been a franchise that has endured the test of time. It introduced many things that would be mainstay for the series and would serve as inspiration for other games to follow. Now on it’s 30th anniversary, Nintendo decides to pull out all the stops to deliver a game unlike any other… that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Funny since it is not only the last game released for the Nintendo Wii U but also one of the first on the Nintendo Switch. Despite this, the game is everything that Zelda has to offer and then some.

The game’s story takes place 100 years after a calamity destroyed the kingdom of Hyrule. Link wakes from a long slumber, guided by a voice telling him that he must go out and save it once more. However he suffers from amnesia. Despite this, Link heads out into Hyrule, hoping to save it from a threat named Calamity Ganon but also learn the truth about what happened. It’s a story that has me intrigued and at the same time fills me with a lot of questions. Sometimes stories in Zelda take a back seat in favor of gameplay but not in this case. Here, Breath of the Wild provides a story that pays tribute to the franchise while offering something very intriguing. I loved it and by the time I finished the game, it left me with a satisfying feeling and a sense of hope.

Breath of the Wild is a departure from many other Zelda games. Although it does kind of borrow elements from games like Elder Scrolls, you can’t deny that Nintendo actually took a chance to change something that has worked and make it better. For starters, the world of Hyrule actually feels like an open world, not to mention a lot bigger. Though you are quite limited at it in the beginning, once you get the Paraglider then the real fun begins. You aren’t limited to just following objectives. It’s up to you to decide what to do from here. This is the freedom this game gives you and I like it. Not that it’s a bad thing. The game introduces a nifty item, the Sheikah Slate. It is a tablet that allows Link to do a variety of functions like forming bombs, ice platforms or even trap things. It can also get upgrades that add more to the device. Pretty nifty. It also replaces items that we’ve used many times in the Zelda series.

As you progress, you have the option to collect gear such as weapons, shields, bows, outfits, etc. You need them to survive the harsh environment. Unlike previous Zelda games, you don’t use hearts to restore health. You use food. They can be collected, eaten up or cooked to create dishes that provide various effects. Speaking of effects, they can range from resistance to various elements to providing temporary health. The possibilities are endless and they even work on elixirs too. With all this, the game offers a lot to do and how you do it depends on you, again the freedom. You can move about either on foot, horseback, swim if you’re in water or you can glide. If there’s a wall or mountain, you can climb. Know that doing any of it drains your stamina. If it runs out while doing any of it, you have to wait until it’s filled up.

Every Zelda game always has dungeons that put your skills to the test. Breath of the Wild has plenty of them in the form of shrines. Shrines are mini-dungeons and there are 120 of them. Some require simple puzzle solving. Others involve a test of combat. Tackling them is simple but finding them is the challenging part. Completing them nets you Shrine Orbs, which you can exchange for more health or stamina. As for the actual dungeons, they take the form of the four Divine Beasts. They require a bit of puzzle solving, culminating with a boss battle at the end. The bosses are a challenge and depending on your equipment can determine the outcome.

Breath of the Wild has additional new features. Link can now jump with a button press. It can be useful for exploration or in battle with the Flurry Rush. If you time your evasion well enough, you go into a matrix-style slowdown and then follow it up with a series of strikes that can damage your enemies. It’s nifty and for anyone that masters this can be unstoppable. Another thing they included and one I feel isn’t the most useful of additions is durability. No weapon lasts forever and they’ll break. When that happens, expect to switch to a new one fast. You can always throw the damaged weapon to an enemy for double damage so there’s a workaround. It’s not limited to weapons like swords, axes or bows. Your shield can also break if it absorbs too much damage. Gear can get upgraded too with the help of the Great Fairies. You need to trade items in order to do so.

Breath of the Wild’s length depends on the player and how he goes about it. Since it does depend on the player, there is an insane amount of replay value. On average, the game can be beaten in roughly 16 hours but to complete everything, it goes beyond into the hundreds. Even now players always find ways to go around and that’s really cool. If you wonder about Amiibo support, there’s plenty. Scanning Amiibos like the Legend of Zelda line can net you stuff and they depend. If you’re lucky, you’ll get rare garb that you can use to dress up.

Presentation-wise, the game is fantastic and colorful. It is a marvel whether playing it on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch. It is marvelous. The music is amazing. I recommend giving a listen to some tracks so you can see how great they are. Character models are pretty good, with Link being my favorite since he can express himself in many ways. Also, a first for the Zelda series, the game has full voice acting. I was surprised they included this. Link is still mute but as for some of the other characters, they are pretty good. It’s a nice addition and one we waited for quite some time. The game is also on the Wii U but it has some problems on the frame rate department. They are minor at best but if you’re on the Switch, it’s consistent and flawless. Overall, both Wii U and Switch are similar if anything.

In conclusion, Breath of the Wild is a game that offers many firsts to the series. It does borrow stuff from other games but it brings it’s own flavor into the mix. Fitting that this serves as a farewell to the Wii U and a welcome to Nintendo’s new Switch console. Despite some shortcomings, you can’t deny that this game is truly one to behold. Great combat, amazing presentation, addicting gameplay and high replay value all add up to a game that just screams perfect, despite some faults. Nintendo nailed it and it’s going to be a game people will be talking about for a very long time.

I give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a perfect 10 out of 10. It is worth your money whether on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch.

Blaster Master Zero Review

Blaster Master Zero Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of the review.

During the era of the NES, a game called Blaster Master was released made by Sunsoft. It was a fun game that got a lot of praise but sadly not a lot of love. It was overlooked but it did have a legacy that lasted almost 20 years, spawning a sequel, spin-offs, and a re-imagining. In November 2016, Inti Creates announced that they plan to try their luck on the franchise with a retro 8-bit remake called Blaster Master Zero. The guys at Inti know how to deliver good titles such as Azure Striker Gunvolt as well as the Mega Man Zero & ZX series but could they pull it off with this? The answer is simple. Yes.

Blaster Master Zero is an 8-bit remake of the original and since it is, the plot is similar. The story is set on Earth, set centuries after humanity was able to restore the planet after it plunged into an ice age due to endless wars. It focuses on a scientist named Jason Frudnik who finds a frog-like creature, calling it Fred. One day, Fred escapes and heads to a strange hole. Jason gives chase only to end up inside and discovers a weaponized tank called Sophia III. Seeing that the underworld is still around, Jason uses Sophia III to explore in the hopes of finding Fred and anything else that comes his way.

It’s straightforward but unlike the NES version, it includes stuff that was in the original Japanese incarnation, Metafight. I like how it ties the two together, despite it being a reboot. But in a way, I find it enjoyable seeing how Inti Creates pays tribute to the franchise as a whole.

Being that it’s a reboot, Blaster Master Zero’s gameplay is similar to the original NES game. Piloting the tank Sophia III, you explore 9 different areas while battling enemies and acquiring upgrades for your tank. Sophia III can shoot in three directions, jump really high and can contend with any situation. I should mention that the game is a Metroidvania-style game, hence the exploration. But you aren’t limited to just Sophia III. Many of the areas contain small caves for Jason to explore. The game then shifts to an overhead view where you explore said caves, shoot down monsters and find items. Your gun has a total of 8 different types and each work well depending on the situation. Heck, some gun types can be more effective than others. Boss fights are there too and strategy is important because just shooting may not be enough.

As far as length goes, the game will take you roughly 5-6 hours if you are going for 100% completion. If you are playing the game on the Nintendo Switch, the game also has co-op multiplayer where you and a friend can team up and kick butt. A nice welcoming feature indeed but sadly it isn’t on the 3DS version. Not much of a bad thing but regardless, the game is still enjoyable. Unlike the NES version, this one actually have save points and checkpoints. The checkpoint system is superb and in case you go down, you can continue where you left off either at a save point or in a cave entrance. Amazing. A sigh of relief for people that felt the original was too hard. Presentation-wise, the game is amazing. Inti Creates did a great job reimagining the original Blaster Master and making it better. It’s vibrant and lively, not to mention colorful. The music is amazing with some really addicting tunes and they also help add more to each area. Controls are spot on and precise. Perfect would be too appropriate of a word to say how good they are. With a recent update, the game also supports the Switch Pro Controller so to anyone that has this you have another option to play the game. Blaster Master Zero has a fair amount of challenge. It isn’t too hard or too easy but if you know your way around, the game isn’t difficult.

If I were to find any negatives, it’s that some levels have way too many hazards, forcing you to either find a way around or go for what’s obvious. It can get difficult especially with enemies firing at you and one mistake can lead you to an unexpected death. It would be nice if the game wouldn’t have sections that require you to improvise but since it’s a reboot, I only wish it can be alleviated. But honestly the game is that good, I see it as a minor negative at best.

Blaster Master Zero is a game that brings new life to a franchise that has a lasting legacy. Sharp controls, great music, amazing presentation and the addition of co-op on the Switch version adds a lot to an otherwise impressive game. What’s even better is that the game is worth $10. For $10, you are getting a game that offers so much and more. If you haven’t played the original NES game or any of the others, this is a perfect start for you. Bottom line, Blaster Master Zero is worth your money. I guarantee it.

I give Blaster Master Zero a PERFECT 10 out of 10. It also earns my personal Seal of Approval. Get this game now whether on the Switch or 3DS.

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment Review

Product provided for this review by Yacht Club Games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon Review

Pokémon Sun & Moon Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by Nintendo.

There’s an old adage we always say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Pokémon has always been like that for over twenty years, providing the same concept through multiple generations. Now we reach Generation 7 with the arrival of Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon. It has been said that the game is going to be different than the previous generations. Will the game carry the same enjoyable experience or will the changes make this be something else?

The story is set in the region of Alola, based off of Hawaii. It focuses on a young individual who just moved from Kanto with his mom to Alola. With help from his uncle Prof. Kukui, the trainer embarks on a journey to become the strongest trainer in the region. There’s also another plot revolving Lillie and a Pokémon of hers named Nebby who’s on the run from a shady organization. Most of the story’s told through scenes that occur during your journey. It’s done well though I feel the story regarding Lillie can be improved a bit, not that it’s a bad thing.

All Pokémon games have had the same gameplay since the beginning. But this time, Nintendo & the Pokémon Company decide to take a gamble and provide a different experience for players. The gameplay is the same where you travel all over a region to catch Pokémon and use them to battle, other trainers. If you’ve played previous Pokémon handheld games, it’s straightforward. In the case of Sun & Moon, how you go about your journey is different. Gone are the usual gym leaders and in its place comes the Island Challenge.

In the Island Challenge, you travel from one island to the next completing various Island Trials. The Island Trials are missions where you tackle specific objectives before you take on the Island Totem Pokémon in an SOS battle. The Totem Pokémon will sometimes bring ally Pokémon to fight alongside it. After beating the Totem Pokémon, you complete the trial. Some islands will have more than one Trial and they need to be completed in order to reach the Grand Trial. Grand Trials are like gym battles where you take on the Island Kahuna. Beating them will complete the trial and you will move on to the next island.

I personally love the Island Challenges. Instead of battling, you have to do objectives to move on from one trial to the next. It helps the game feel fresh and different while keeping everything the same and I hope that future Pokémon games can follow this style. Not only that they have removed gyms but also HMs. Replacing HMs is the Ride Pager, giving you access to Ride Pokémon that can help trek through Alola. A welcome addition to the game and one that is quite fun to have.

Another addition is Z-Moves. As you journey through Alola, you’ll acquire Z-Crystals that give your Pokémon access to super powered moves that can turn the tide of battle. However they can only be used once per battle, so be careful. A neat addition and can be helpful in a moment’s notice. You can also take pictures of Pokémon with your Pokedex and send them to get results. You get rewarded for it to boot.

The game is a long one and depending if players want to complete their Pokedex and have all the Pokémon, it can take a while. But for an estimate, the game will take roughly 30-40 hours, even longer especially when you can also trade and battle online adding the length to unbelievable levels. Speaking of which, the online has changed. You still have the usual GTS but the addition of the Festival Plaza allows players to meet other people and earn coins so they can use them to improve their plaza to make it better.

Presentation-wise, the game is a big step up from Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The characters look a lot better and the environment itself is vibrant and colorful. Battles are intense and though it reuses stuff from the previous game, I won’t complain. The Z-Moves themselves do look great. But if I were to find any nitpicks with the game, I feel the story needs a bit of work. Also the game can have a tendency to slow down when double battles occur. It mostly happens on a regular Nintendo 3DS but if you’re playing on a New Nintendo 3DS, the slowdown doesn’t happen. Considering that the game is pushing the 3DS hardware to its limits, it’s to be expected.

Pokémon Sun & Moon has breathed new life into the franchise, providing a familiar feel while also adding new features and innovations. Sure the story can be hit or miss but overall, it’s a satisfying experience. So much to do in the region of Alola that you can spend weeks or even months and with updates that allow players to transfer Pokémon from previous games to this one adds it even more. The franchise’s 20th Anniversary was a huge celebration and this game’s release certifies that this game franchise will be around for a long time to come.

I give Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon a perfect 10 out of 10. Legendary status and it’s worth your time and money.