Tag Archives: Switch Review

Octopath Traveler Review

Octopath Traveler Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

When you think of Square-Enix, you think of role-playing games. Nowadays the company isn’t the only one that put their time on the genre but they are one of the first that helped revolutionize it. Last year, Square-Enix announced a new game that would come exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. It began under the codename “Project OCTOPATH Traveler” with a special demo coming later on in 2018. A few months after that, Octopath Traveler would finally be released. Being a brand new franchise hoping to break ground on Nintendo’s new console, does it deliver?

Octopath Traveler is a really unique game, giving players the opportunity to play the game however they like. When the game begins, you have the option to choose one of eight different protagonists to start with. Once you choose, you get to experience the start of their tale. As you progress through the game, you will meet the other protagonists and see their tales unfold. Each tale differentiates from one another but all the while, the game provides a solid experience. Some tales follow themes such as family, redemption, revenge, and etc. but all of them connect in some way. The connection is best seen for yourself.

I like this concept. The idea that you can choose a protagonist, go through their journey and then travel to another area and meet up with another character to start their tale. You have a lot of freedom deciding whom you can meet next and it does help that if things get tough, you can go to a Tavern and pause the story so you can grind to get stronger and continue. It does offer a lot of freedom for players and I wish that more games implemented this method. Being an RPG, it simply works.

Now what about the gameplay? Is it any good? Of course. The gameplay is your standard RPG faire. You control a party of up to 4 characters and though you have 8 playable characters, you can only have 4 so choosing the best is crucial. Each of the 8 characters represents specific class types such as Warrior, Thief, Black Mage, etc., complete with skills exclusive to their class. In battle, enemies will have a shield with a number on it meaning how many hits it can take before their defense break. To break their defenses, players must figure out the enemy’s weaknesses. Once the shield breaks, they get stunned allowing your party to deal greater damage. In some cases, prevent enemies from attacking the party. This is what makes the game not only challenging but fun. In addition, Octopath also borrows a bit from Bravely Default where the more Battle Points you have, the more you can use to do a variety of actions such as attacking, defending or using special skills. It is an impressive system that works so well.

But it isn’t the only system that this game has. Each character has their respective job and they get new skills by acquiring Job Points in battle. Accumulating them not only gives them abilities to use but also support skills that are implemented in a variety of ways. Later in the journey, you’ll encounter shrines that give your party the ability to obtain sub-classes, offering more variety to your group. This allows for various combinations for all 8 protagonists and it doesn’t end there. There are also Path Actions, giving each character the ability to do different things on the field such as challenging civilians, stealing from them or having them join as temporary allies. It has a bit of a risk/reward where if you are careless with some skills, your reputation in said town would suffer. Visiting a tavern and meeting the owner to fix things will restore your rep but it can also be a hit on your wallet. Each town also has side quests and they lead to many rewards upon completing them so tackling them is crucial too.

Octopath Traveler is a long game and being that it’s RPG, it’ll take you around 50-60 hours to complete, especially if side-quests are counted along with any extras. It’s amazing how Square-Enix is able to deliver in its presentation, especially for a game like this. The game is 2.5D with the sprites being 2D and everything else is 3D. The backgrounds are amazing to look at, coming to life in some cases. Music is phenomenal with the battle and boss themes being a highlight. Plus each character has a respective theme that leads into a boss fight that helps build up tension and anticipation. It’s one of many things that I love about the game. Voice acting is great. Many well-known talents such as Patrick Seitz, Greg Chun and Christina Vee lend their voices to this game. They didn’t disappoint. In fact, I can say that they delivered. If you are expecting the game to be at 1080p with 60fps, prepare to be disappointed. The game runs mostly at 720p at 30fps. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made to assure the game would run smoothly and well enough. I personally didn’t find it an issue.

If I were to legitimately provide a complaint with this game, it’s the difficulty curve. In some instances the game will ramp up the difficulty, making things challenging. Unless you are prepared with the right party and equipment, you will get your butt kicked hence why grinding is needed. Expect to grind a lot and also expect each of your party members to have the right skills and abilities to tackle the game. It’s an RPG, like I said and the game will spare no expense in taking you down.

Overall, Octopath Traveler feels like a breath of fresh air for RPGs. It offers a familiar experience while giving players something new to enjoy. With 8 different protagonists and the ability to start with whomever you want and whoever you choose offering variety. Amazing presentation, addicting music and satisfying gameplay make it a title worthy of being on the Switch. If you are in need of an RPG craze, this is your best choice. Now I ask… who will you start on your journey?

I give Octopath Traveler a 9 out of 10. It’s worth your money and earns my personal seal of approval!

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Hollow Knight Review

Hollow Knight Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of review.

Last February, a little game called Hollow Knight was released on Steam to critical acclaim. It actually started as a Kickstarter campaign that raised $57,000 AUD (or $42,054 US) in 2014 and took three years to develop. Team Cherry Games would also announce that the game would come to the Nintendo Switch. After a year of waiting, it came to Nintendo’s new console complete with all the expansions that were released as well as whatever yet to come. Now that it has reached the Switch, is this game worth the wait?

The plot focuses on a knight who goes on a journey to uncover the truth about Hallownest, an insect kingdom that has long been abandoned. But it’s depths brought many adventurers who wish to seek out its treasures and mysteries. But as this knight journeys through these depths, he will uncover many secrets and obstacles that dare to get in the way. All of this culminates in a battle to save Hallownest from a deadly plague that is consuming and corrupting the kingdom and its inhabitants.

Most of the story is told as you play through the game along with interacting with the world’s inhabitants. It’s similar like Metroid Prime in some ways. I kind of like it. As you play, you learn what happens in the world and what you can do. Not only that but the game delivers on its atmosphere and you can feel the sense of dread and loneliness that exists. This gives players a drive to see what happens in the end. It’s good stuff.

Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania-style game, emphasizing on exploration, discovery and challenge. It has many features that have it stand out from the rest while providing a good amount of challenge. You play as a small Knight who starts off weak and as you explore Hallownest in its many areas, you find a variety of items & abilities that can make the experience easier. The game has currency in the form of Geo and you use it for a variety of things such as buying charms and upgrades for your character, getting new attacks, expanding the world map, etc. It’s a double edged sword however since this game also has a bit of Souls mentality meaning that when you die, you lose your Geo and you need to recover your shadow to get it back. If you succeed, you get your stuff but fail again and it’s gone. It can be gutwrenching to see all the Geo you earned be lost but it should let players know to be wary and not be careless.

Equipping charms can customize the Knight itself to your liking. Charms provide a variety of buffs depending on their effects and how much they require equipping. This I feel is what makes Hollow Knight stand out since you can pretty much have him any way you like. He can have more health, consume less Soul to unleash attacks, have the range of his weapon, the Nail extend its range, etc. How you have him depends on the player and it’s pretty awesome. It also has access of Soul, the MP of the game. You get Soul by attacking enemies. Soul can be used either to restore your health or to unleash magic based attacks and there are many it can use to defend itself from enemies & players will need to use everything the Knight has at its disposal. In addition there is Essence you can collect that can upgrade the nail as a Dream Nail of sorts. Finding them requires a lot of exploring. There are boss battles aplenty with some requiring a lot of careful timing and skill & all of them are good.

Since the game follows the Metroidvania-style formula, it also reflects on its length. The game can be completed at around 8-10 hours but those who wish to 100% it expect it to rise up by about 5-6 hours. Replay value is strong since after beating the game, unlocks a tougher difficulty called Steel Soul. Plus there are achievements with some requiring players to beat the game at a faster time. Yep. Speedrunners will have a field day with a game like this. It’s also a collectathon, so expect to spend time trying to find everything too. As someone who has spent over 20 hours with this game, it says a lot since the game is just that enjoyable.

From a presentation standpoint, it’s well done. Hollow Knight has a presentation that delivers. Each area you visit is different and they all stand out whether it is the Crossroads you start traveling in or other places like the Abyss. They all feel different, each with their own gimmick and challenge. It all builds itself on atmosphere, the feeling that you are traveling deep within a forgotten kingdom and all you can do is to survive against whatever comes your way. It’s also in 2D and it’s the way it should be. The music is good with some pretty good tracks. Intense moments like the boss battles change things to one of tension and the feeling that you will be up against an impossible obstacle is amazing. Even the feeling of taking down said challenge makes it rewarding too.

Hollow Knight has additional content in the form of free updates. The updates add features such as new boss battles, items, quests and even balance fixes. The Switch version thankfully has all of this included from the get-go & with the next update coming in the form of Gods & Glory, it’s all the more reason to go in for another round.

As far as any flaws go, the game is a challenging one. The Souls mentality is there but it doesn’t hinder you as much. Thankfully the map tells you where you last died and after a few hits you regain what you lost. My only negative that I have found from my experience is that some boss battles can be a pain unless you are more prepared. They emphasize on strategy as well as trial and error. Though having the right gear can help, most of the time it’s all trial & error. Also save points are few and far between and sometimes not having enough places to save can be a bother especially if you are deep into an area. Fortunately you do get the option to teleport and if used right can lead you somewhere safe. Though expect a while to travel back to where you were.

For a game that has now reached Nintendo’s newest and successful console, Hollow Knight is great. Hollow Knight delivers in its challenge while offering a game that is heavy on its atmosphere, strategy and replayability. It does have a little bit of Dark Souls in some cases but it’s more Metroidvania than anything else. At only $15, you can’t go wrong with a game like this. Team Cherry Games made the right move in bringing it to the Switch & with Gods and Glory coming, it’ll convince me to give the game one more go around. I recommend Hollow Knight. It’s worth it.

I give Hollow Knight a solid 9 out of 10. It earns my personal Seal of Approval & I highly recommend this game.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purpose of review.

In 2010, a little game called Xenoblade Chronicles was released for the Nintendo Wii. It was a game that wouldn’t come to America until 2012. It met with not only critical acclaim but also commercial success. Last January, Nintendo announced that a new Xenoblade game would be coming to their new console, the Nintendo Switch. It would be known as Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It would come out 11 months later, serving as a sequel to the first game. The question now is this… does it hold up well against its predecessor?

The game’s story centers on Rex, a 15-year old salvager who is offered a job to recover a large, ancient ship. Accompanied by several Drivers, he wanders off only to find a strange sword and a mysterious girl. Approaching it, he is killed by Jin but then the girl, Pyra offers him a second chance. The only catch is that he takes her to a place called Elysium. He accepts and soon become Pyra’s driver. After a clash, Rex and Pyra go on a journey. They meet many friends, foes and people in their travels, culminating in a fight against good and evil for the fate of their home in Alrest.

Games like this offer much in terms of plot and this is no exception. The game’s story was intriguing, intense and it had me wanting more. From start to finish, it was great. By the time it’s over, you’ll be shedding tears. From my personal experience, it already had and then some.

Xenoblade 2’s gameplay is similar to the original in many aspects. You control a party of three characters traveling through the world of Alrest. It’s split between two styles: field and battle. In the field, you travel around many places where you can accept quests, go to town to buy supplies, find treasure, salvage and in many cases encounter monsters. Sometimes when you explore, you unlock areas that you can be able to travel to quickly. The game has fast travel and it’s a welcome feature in case the journey becomes a slog. Battle is where things play out similar to the original. Your party attacks anything automatically but you have to manage how your character performs. Since you have a total of five party members, Monolith Soft decided to compensate by giving each party member, or Driver, access to specialized being called Blades.

Blades are Xenoblade 2’s main focus. You obtain them from using special items called Core Crystals. When you use one, it goes into a lottery-like system where some cases you get a common Blade and sometimes, you can get a Blade that is rare. Rare Blades are beings that not only have personalities but also provide in terms of battle and on the field. They come in three categories: Attacker, Healer and Tank. They provide support for Drivers and in some cases assist in delivering powerful attacks. Players who devote time in building Trust with the blades can unlock improvements to their respective stats via Affinity Chart but also access to quests that go deep into each Blade. Blades also have a use on the Field with various techniques that help their Drivers do a variety of things like solve puzzles, find hidden areas, etc. They’re also helpful when Blade Combos and Chain Attacks go into play. Blade Combos are powerful attacks that can deal heavy damage and with the right combination can seal away effects that can be beneficial to the party. Chain Attacks return from the previous game but it also integrates into Blade Combos. Dealing the right elemental damage can lead to an Orb shattering and causing an Elemental Burst. This extends the chain attack and it can lead to serious damage if used well enough.

Blades also have another use and it’s in the form of Merc Missions. You can send out Blades that are not in use on missions where they can go and complete jobs. They lead to not only good rewards but also boosts toward their stats. Missions also depend on a town’s development level so if you want access to more missions, you need to do more things in the town you’re in.

A game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is going to take players hours to beat. Truth be told, expect to spend more than 100 hours, maybe more. DLC is included as well but unlike other games, the DLC for Xenoblade 2 offer not only more quests but also items that can be helpful on your journey. New Game + extends the length even more, offering players even more to do to the point where players can get special Blades. Xenoblade 2 offers so much for a $60 game and that’s saying a lot.

As far as presentation goes, the game is truly amazing. Although the game doesn’t run at 60fps, only 30, it’s still just as good. The transitions from field to battle are seamless and immediate. Characters look good with some though feeling like they cater to people who like anime and such. Not that it’s a bad thing. Voice acting is good in some areas though sometimes it can lead to some questionable things. Thankfully the game also comes with dual voice acting, English and Japanese. Japanese came as a free DLC. Again, not a bad thing but if you feel the English isn’t your liking, there’s an alternative. Where do I even start with the music? The music is awesome. Yasunori Mitsuda along with ACE, Kenji Miramatsu and Manami Kiyota deliver a soundtrack that is gold. Pure gold. Some tunes are outright addicting to listen to and gets you pumped for more. I personally love it.

But for as much as I enjoy the game for all its positives, there are also a bit of criticisms. This game will make you grind to get stronger… a lot. The game’s difficulty can go from being normal to difficult at the drop of a hat. There are many instances where it happens and for players, it can turn them off. Sure a bit of planning can help but yeah, that I feel is one thing that disappointed me. Also the game kind of follows some of the many tropes that are seen in stuff like anime and manga. It’s not bad but I feel it hampered the game’s plot a little. This shouldn’t stop players from enjoying a game as grand as this.

Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 took everything that made the first game great and multiplied it ten-fold. The story intriguing, the gameplay and battle system are easy to get into and in some cases really addicting, it’s presentation is solid with bonus points going to its rocking soundtrack and then some. Had it not be for its criticisms, I would say the game would deserve all the praise and more. Regardless if you own a Switch, this is one journey you don’t want to miss out on. I promise you that.

I give Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a 9.5 out of 10. This game is worth the full purchase price and then some. It earns my personal seal of approval hands down!

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of this review.

The Nintendo Wii U may have been an utter failure but it was home to games that were pretty good. In 2014, Nintendo and Retro Studios released Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. The sequel to 2008’s Donkey Kong Country Returns, the game had a mixed reception. Not only that but it was hampered due to being on a console few people were interested in, as well as some controversy. In recent times, Nintendo has been on a roll releasing updated ports of Wii U titles in the hopes of garnering interest. It paid off with games like Bayonetta 1 & 2 as well as Pokken Tournament DX. Now another game joins the Switch library as Tropical Freeze makes a return. Will the addition of Funky Mode make the game any better than it already has?

Since the game is a port of a Wii U title, the plot hasn’t changed. On DK Island, Donkey Kong is celebrating his birthday with his family. Everything’s going well until the arrival of a threat that brings in the chill. The Snowmads arrive, driving the Kongs out of their home and turning the island into a winter wonderland. Far from their home, it’s up to DK and his family to travel from island to island in hopes of driving the Snowmad tribe away and restore their home. It’s a simple plot that serves to get the game going. Nothing special.

Gameplay in Tropical Freeze is similar to the Wii U version except with the Switch, you have access to three different control options: Switch Pro, Joycon Controller and individual Joycon. The controls are similar in all three so you don’t have to worry about any additional changes. It’s simple to the point where you can just pick up and play. Co-op is also in the game. The good news is that each player can use any of the following three control options to play. Way better than how it’s done on the Wii U in my opinion.

Funky Mode is this game’s exclusive mode. Since Tropical Freeze is a very hard and challenging game, Nintendo decides to ease up on the difficulty by having an entirely new mode. It’s similar to the 3DS port of DKC Returns where they added New Mode. Funky Mode adds a bunch of changes along with the addition of a new playable character: Funky Kong. Funky serves as a jump in for new and experienced players. He has so many abilities that he pretty much serves as an Easy Mode. From my experience, he’s really fun to use and helps alleviate some of the difficulty the game has. Funky Mode isn’t just limited to a new character. Similar to DKCR 3D’s New Mode, you can still play as DK and his family but they’ll not only have an extra heart but you get access to use items while in a level. For anyone who feels like the game is too difficult, consider this a needed reprieve. There is still the Original Mode for anyone that is interested in playing the original Tropical Freeze.

The game isn’t long, clocking in at about 6-8 hours if you just want to beat it, with a couple more hours thanks to Funky Mode. For those who want to beat it 100%, expect it to be longer by a few more hours. This also includes hard mode as well. The game offers a lot not only for single-player but for co-op as well.

Compared to the Wii U version, this is a step-up. The game goes from 720 to a solid 1080p at 60fps when docked. Its presentation is incredible. The visuals are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. Retro Studios really took great care in keeping the game, as it should be without making sacrifices. The load times are faster too. On Wii U, it takes 20-30 seconds to load but on the Switch, it’s reduced to 8-10 seconds. It’s a big improvement. The music is still just as great to listen to. David Wise delivered on the soundtrack and he should be praised from now to the end of time.

But although there is much praise on the game, there are a few flaws. The game is still hard. Even if you are on Funky Mode, the game will push players to their limits. Not only that but Retro decided to give players a bit of leeway. Should you lose more than 9 lives, you have the option to move on to the next area. But there’s a catch: should you choose to move onto the next level, the level you exited counts as incomplete. It’s a risk/reward but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be included. It’s a simple nitpick… a minor one at best.

Tropical Freeze is still just as good as it was in the Wii U. The addition of Funky Mode adds something new to a familiar experience. Not only that but bringing the game up to 1080p gives it more clarity. Everything else is just as you remember but better. Despite the increased difficulty, the game is still fun whether by yourself or with a friend. For anyone who had played this, you will feel right at home but for those who didn’t, it’s a game you don’t want to miss out on. I guarantee it

I give Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth your money!

Bayonetta 1 & 2 Review

Bayonetta 1 & 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of reviewing.

Nintendo’s announcement of Bayonetta 3 as a Switch exclusive got a lot of people excited. Not only that but they announced that Bayonetta 1 & 2, released on the Wii U years ago, would also come to the Switch with improved resolution and features. For almost a decade, the series has been known to deliver high-octane hack & slash gameplay while giving players a challenge. Any game developed by PlatinumGames offers this. But do these two games together offer satisfaction or disappointment?

The plot for both games goes a little something like this. In Bayonetta 1, the story revolves around Bayonetta, a woman who was born from an Umbra Witch & Lumen Sage, a product of both. She travels to the city of Vigrid hoping to regain her lost memories while having to contend with the angels of Paradiso, who seem to be after her. The sequel, Bayonetta 2, has her traveling to reach the mountain of Fimbulventr so she can head to Inferno and save her best friend Jeanne. Not only that but she also has to contend with both Paradiso & Inferno, as a much greater evil is on the horizon. That and the balance between the two sides is out of whack.

Individually, each story has the wackiness that you’d expect with Bayonetta doing what she does best and the other characters she encounter all have roles to play. I don’t mind it since this is Bayonetta we’re talking about. No complaints there.

Let’s get right to the gist of things. Both Bayonetta games have an amazing presentation. Compared to their Wii U counterparts, they look so much better. Whether it be the backgrounds, characters, enemies, etc., everything about them is a huge step-up. Both games also run at 60 frames per second in both docked and TV mode and that’s awesome. If anything, it makes the Switch versions feel superior. The music is still enjoyable, to the point where they become ridiculously catchy. It fits since you’ll have a lot of fun playing the game and getting your butt kicked while listening to these tunes. In fact, I can say that they are just divine.

As for the gameplay, they are just as intense as the original Wii U version. However the Switch version of both Bayonetta 1 & 2 take the liberty of incorporating touch screen controls. It’s a neat feature, plus taking down enemies with them is simple yet fun. There are also traditional controls via controller for all who want to play the game the way it should be. Fortunately the controls are great and depending on which one you’re playing, you will feel right at home. Personally the second game is the best due to them being refined and feeling just perfect. All the features that were in the Wii U version such as additional costumes for Bayonetta are included in both games. Surprisingly in the second one, there’s Amiibo functionality. Using specific Amiibo will allow you to unlock costumes for Bayonetta to wear as well as weapons for her to use. They can be unlocked normally but for those that want them right away, there’s the alternative.

Each game offers a good amount of challenge and length, though depending on which game you will be in for quite a fight. The first game will take about 10-12 hours while the second is around 9-10. Fortunately they are multiple difficulties, adding more length and replayability. They offer a lot to do in each game whether it be hack-or-slash, driving, shooting, etc. If anything, I enjoy when they offer a lot to do. Boss battles are in full force in both games and your skills will be tested. There’s also Tag Climax (in Bayonetta 2), a co-op mode where you and a friend can team up to battle enemies. The good news is that you can play either locally or online so that’s a plus.

I honestly can’t find anything negative regarding both Bayonetta games. Both are truly satisfying experiences. However, I only have one complaint. It’s in regards to the first Bayonetta. That game can be unfair at times. Not to mention that some parts are difficult, especially in quick-time sections that can punish you if you make a mistake. Even in the Normal difficulty, carelessness can lead to failure. Bayonetta 2 fixes some of the problems but it shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying what started it all. Also, I am disappointed that the first game didn’t come in a physical release. Rather when you buy Bayonetta 1 & 2, only Bayonetta 2 comes physically with the first via digital code. A bummer yes, but like I said, at least you are getting 2 games for the price of one.

Bayonetta 1 & 2 are both amazing games and with the two now on the Switch, this will give fans a chance to enjoy something they’ve missed. It isn’t for everyone and it will test players to their limits but for anyone that desires a challenge, they’re getting it. With Bayonetta 3 coming, if there’s any opportunity to get into the series and it’s hijinks, it’s now. It’s one ride you don’t ever want to get out of.

Considering that I’m reviewing both Bayonetta games, there’ll be ratings for both along with a combined overall rating.

Bayonetta 1 gets an 8.5 out of 10. Bayonetta 2 gets my highest rating. A perfect 10 out of 10!

Together, I give a combined rating of 9 out of 10. It’s a must-buy and the best part is that you get 2 games for the price of 1! It’s worth your money for sure!

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.

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.