Tag Archives: Xbox One

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-fueled Review

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

Activision has been on a roll and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Two years ago, they released the Crash N. Sane Trilogy, a remastered compilation of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy. It was well received. A year later came the Spyro Reignited Trilogy and it too gotten praise. What can Activision do to top their recent successes? Teaming up with Beenox, Activision decides to try their luck with Crash Team Racing. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the game’s original release, they bring Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. Is the remake worthy of its namesake or is this one trek you should pass on?

If you have played either the original or Crash Nitro Kart, then all of this will feel familiar. For those that haven’t, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is comprised of several different modes of play. The Adventure Mode has players picking a character and then they explore four different areas, taking part in races where winning rewards you keys so you can use them to take on the boss and it repeats. Not only that but it also has a series of challenges such as collecting tokens via “CTR” letters or relic races where you have to break crates and be skilled to get the fastest time. Fast times mean relics from Sapphire all the way to Platinum. Not only that but there are also Gem Cups where winning 1st overall nets you one of five colored gems. In the case of the remake, players can play it in two ways: there’s the Nitro-fueled mode where you can choose any of the 25 characters that are in the game and choose one of three difficulties or if you wish to go old-school, there’s the Classic mode. Adventure Mode, length-wise will take roughly about 8-10 hours to complete, if you want to simply 100% the game. With 3 difficulty settings, the length can depend.

As for the rest of what this game has, there’s plenty. You have the Local Arcade where up to four players can take part in a variety of modes: Single Race, Cup Challenge, Crystal Grab and Capture the Flag. There’s also online races where up to 8 players can race to see who’s the best. You have a choice of 25 characters, each coming in three different difficulties: Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Some characters have to be unlocked whether via Adventure Mode or through the Pit Stop. The Pit Stop is where you can go to unlock new characters, vehicles, paint jobs, skins, etc. As you complete races whether online or off, you earn Wumpa Coins, the currency of this game. You use them to buy stuff at the Pit Stop. In addition there are time trial challenges where you have to beat certain times such as the N. Tropy & Nitros Oxide challenges. There’s a lot for you to do for a $40 game and it shows. The game also features added content via Grand Prix, seasonal content that adds new tracks, characters, vehicles and more. This extends the length further.

Story-wise, it’s similar to the original. Nitros Oxide heads to Earth, wanting to challenge the best racer on the planet. It’s up to Crash and his friends to race in hopes of stopping Oxide from turning the planet into a parking lot. it’s a simple story at best. It’s presentation is a step-up from the original. Everything whether it be the characters, the locations, vehicles, tracks, they are all great. Not only that. The game also runs well at a solid 60 frames per second. As this is based off the PlayStation 4 version, it’ll be similar to Xbox One. As for Switch, I can’t say. It also controls well. Players can choose one of two control schemes to suit their liking. Voice acting is in this game too and it’s solid too.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled does have plenty of things that make it an enjoyable experience but there are some issues. For starters, the Adventure Mode can be really challenging due to the AI. In higher difficulties, the game can be a real challenge. Not only that but the online can be really finicky. Sometimes you may get a good race or two, other times players may just disconnect from your game. During races, you may end up getting hit by something even if you know you won’t expect it. Beenox have already made a few updates fixing these issues but it’ll be a while before things improve. Another issue is that grinding for Wumpa Coins can be time-consuming. Despite the addition of Daily and Weekend multiplier bonuses, it’s still a bother, mostly. Thankfully there are no microtransactions in this game whatsoever. Activision knew it wouldn’t work so at least that is a plus.

In conclusion, Activision and Beenox have delivered in making a really good remake of a classic Crash Bandicoot game. Amazing presentation along with various game modes and solid controls make it really solid. However its flaws such as the online and the major grind just to unlock characters, skins and vehicles can be a real drag. Despite this, the game is a lot of fun. Veterans will get a kick of nostalgia while new players will get to experience a fun yet challenging game. Is it worth your time? Absolutely. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is one ride you don’t want to miss out on.

I give Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled an 8.5 out of 10.

Team Sonic Racing Review

Team Sonic Racing Review – Written by Jose R. Vega

Product provided by SEGA.

It had been seven years since Sonic got the chance to go kart racing with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed. Since then, things have been dormant with SEGA putting their focus on other games. Last year, SEGA announced that Sonic would return for another round of racing. It would be known as Team Sonic Racing. Instead of Sonic racing alongside characters from other SEGA franchises, it’s between Sonic characters. Playing it safe but does this change translate to a good racing game?

Sonic Team Racing’s story goes like this. Sonic and his friends get an invitation to take part in the Ultimate Test of Racing Skill. It gets Sonic curious and before long, they meet a strange Tanuki named Dodonpa. Noticing his similarities to Eggman, they are cautious. Despite this, they take part where teamwork is the key to winning races. All the while, Eggman along with his team have plans of their own. He seeks to use Dodon Pa so he can obtain the Ultimate Energy Engine and use it to become an unstoppable force.

It’s interesting that this game actually has a story but what I also like is that this one puts more focus on the Sonic characters and their world. It’s pretty good. Sumo Digital gets props and it shows. Although I wish we had gotten much of the story in the form of animated cutscenes rather than what with we have here.

But if you wonder how the game plays, don’t worry. If you have played either Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing or the sequel, you will feel right at home with this one. The game plays very similar but with a few differences. Team Sonic Racing emphasizes on teamwork, similar to that of Sonic Heroes. You have a choice of 15 racers that follow in one of three classes: Speed, Technique and Power. Speed characters are well balanced and fast, they have a Radial Burst that protects them from projectiles. However they have poor defense & acceleration. Technique falls in the middle with good handling and acceleration. They also can attract rings while tackling rough terrain with no slowdown. Power is all about strength with strong boost and defense. They can also smash into obstacles or other racers. The only drawback is that their top speed and handling is subpar. Choosing the best racer in a team & working together is optimal for success.

Races have teams of 3 working together to win while contending against rival racers. The use of the slipstream allows teammates who are falling behind to catch up all while getting a big burst of speed. A useful feature. Items come in the form of Wisps and they provide racers many options. Some wisps though are exclusive to a specific character class but they can be used by any racer if it is acquired via Item Exchange. Item Exchange is another feature added to the game. It isn’t just limited to you. Even your teammates want to send items and accepting them can help turn the tide of a struggling race to your favor. Teams also have a Team Ultimate and depending on the character using it have their own individual theme. It’s pretty clever too. In terms of customization, there’s plenty with the various car parts you will acquire. You get them by spending coins in a slot-machine that will net you a different part. In some cases you’ll get a Legendary version that gives your ride a gold sheen. With 15 different characters, expect to spend a lot to get all the parts along with various items and decal to make them look to your liking.

The game has both single and multi-player. Single player comes in the form of the Team Adventure mode. You take part in various challenges such as single races, grand prix (a collection of 4 races) and there are also mini-games that require high scores to get the highest rank. Each challenge also comes with multiple objectives to complete. Some are simple like winning 1st place while others are a bit complex. Not only that but acquiring keys can help unlock more challenges. If players simply want to beat the game, it is not long. At Normal difficulty, it’ll take you roughly 7-8 hours to complete but for completionists, it’s twice as long. Replay value is plentiful with multiple difficulties, cranking the length up further. Winning races will net you coins that you can use on the slot machine to unlock parts. Online play is available where up to 12 players can race each other. Time trials are also available where racers can post their best times while trying to prove your skill to the rest. There’s much to do whether online or off.

With it’s presentation the game looks great. At 1080p it’s intense and colorful but depending on the console, it can run either 60fps or 30fps. For PS4, especially at Pro, it runs at a solid 60fps and it’s great. It’s amazing though on other consoles, especially at Nintendo Switch it runs at 30 fps. It could be due to limitations but you get what you got. Music is awesome with composers such as Jun Senoue returning to do the soundtrack and others such as Tee Lopes ready to make their mark in their own way. Voice acting is good too. No complaints there though Silver’s voice will take a while to adjust.

Although I do praise the game for its many positives, there are some issues. Some of the challenges in Team Adventure Mode can get repetitive. In a few instances, you race in mirror tracks and it’s probably to make up for the limited number of tracks there are. At higher difficulties, the game is brutal mostly since the AI doesn’t play around. It plays for keeps. At least the game is NOT a full price $60 game. At $30 now, it does give you plenty for your money’s worth though if it were full price and it offered so little that would be a different story altogether. I commend SEGA for not having it at that high a price. However if you are playing this on the Nintendo Switch, the opening movie is removed. Why they did that? I will never know.

Team Sonic Racing is an overall fun experience that is satisfying, albeit a challenging one. Presentation is pretty solid and the gameplay is really addicting. Not to mention having single and multi-player action is enough to get you hooked for hours. But some of its issues can hinder the game from reaching its full potential. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a pretty awesome and I commend SEGA and Sumo Digital for pulling off a really awesome game. I only hope that they learn from this and that hopefully the next game where Sonic gets to race is even better. Team Sonic Racing is worth your time and money, I guarantee it.

I give Team Sonic Racing an 8 out of 10.

Devil May Cry 5 Review

Devil May Cry 5 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

It has been more than a decade since the last Devil May Cry game was released and the franchise would go dormant since then. Though Ninja Theory would make their take on the series as DmC: Devil May Cry, fans wanted to see what happened to the main Dante. They didn’t need to wait long. Capcom would announce the next chapter of Devil May Cry during E3 2018. A few months later, fans would finally get to experience the next chapter in the form of Devil May Cry 5. After a long wait, is this the game that returns the series to form?

Taking place five years after the events of Devil May Cry 4, Dante along with Nero must deal with a new threat called Urizen. Urizen unleashes a massive demonic tree known as the Qliphoth, bringing forth demons. Together with a mysterious individual called V, the three must trek through a ravaged Redgrave City and into the demonic tree to stop Urizen and destroy the Qliphoth. Many truths would be revealed in this journey and one will realize what’s important and obtain a power far greater.

Its story is well done, putting focus on not only the main characters but also pay tribute to the franchise. Much of the cast gets some screen time with some getting a few appearances here and there. The main characters all get equel time to shine so there’s that. Plus the game is also nice enough to provide a detailed summary of events for the entire series. It’s nice to help get people up to speed with the series so they don’t get lost. It’s pretty good and it’s also at the edge of your seat too with a few twists and turns.

Devil May Cry has always been known for it’s fast hack-and-slash gameplay and this game carries it real well. In this game, you have access to three different characters, each with varying play styles. Dante returns and he’s every bit as he was in Devil May Cry 4, having access to all four of his gameplay styles from the get-go along with his signature weapons Rebellion and Ebony & Ivory. He also has access to new weapons such as the Balrog gauntlets and can acquire new ones to boot. Not only that but he can go Devil Trigger to boost his strength while laying the smack down on enemies. Nero also makes a return, playing similar to how he was in Devil May Cry 4 but with one change: the Devil Breaker. Due to events in this game’s story, Nero no longer has his Devil Bringer arm. Instead he has access to special prosthetic arms that provide him a variety of abilities in battle. They can range from letting out a blast of energy, slowing time in a set area or even powering up the Red Queen. Nero can carry multiple Devil Bringers and can even find some on the field and can detonate them to not only damage enemies but also get Nero out of a sticky situation. Versatility is what Nero is all about,

New to Devil May Cry 5 is V, a mysterious individual who has his own unique style of play. He has access to three animal companions, or famiiars: a raven, a panther and a behemoth demon. They serve as his way of attacking enemies by either long range projectiles or close range strikes. Using the Devil Trigger, he brings out the behemoth demon to dish out major damage. Compared to the raven & panther, the third demon is autonomous and attacks whatever is in the way. But they can’t finish off enemies and that’s where V comes in. V can deliver a strike with his cane to finish them off and if multiple enemies are around, he can do it in rapid succession, building up a high rating. V prefers to keep away from battle yet he isn’t afraid to deliver the blow if needed.

Players will require to use the three characters as they trek through 20 different missions. Many missions let you play as a specific character and some missions allow you to choose who you wish to play as. Thankfully the game offers an equal amount of time for Dante, Nero and V to explore and battle foes. Much of the game is a mix between action and exploration. The action occurs when the player encounter demons that gets in the way while exploration has the player moving while finding secrets such as hidden missions or items. Boss battles are Red orbs are the game’s currency like in previous games and they’re needed to unlock new abilities for Dante, Nero and V. They can also be used to buy items such as health upgrades or Devil Bringers. Its length is as you expect from a Devil May Cry game, taking around 10-12 hours to complete. Replay value is high with multiple difficulties and it increases the length further, especially if players wish to max out the characters, acquire all abilities and obtain all the trophies. The game also rates you for how skilled you are and being at your best nets you the high S rank. It also includes not dying & the game will penalize you should it happen.

As for its presentation, the game looks great. Devil May Cry 5 is awesome to look at. Many of its levels are really detailed and expressive. Plus it rounds at a solid 60 fps to boot. The same can be said for the characters. Voice acting for the game is still top notch with people like Reuben Langdon, Johnny Yong Bosch and others help give life to the characters. The fact that they also do motion capture for them shows their devotion. Music is phenomenal with many tracks having a rock and roll feel. Some tracks have vocals and they are phenomenal to listen to.

But if there are any issues that I have with Devil May Cry 5, it’s that the game can really throw a curveball at times. Don’t get me wrong. Devil May Cry 5 is a fun game but the game can sometimes surprise you. It’s only a minor issue but players who understand the game inside and out will find it a minor inconvenience. Also the game has microtransactions but it’s mostly for those that want to have a head start. Not to mention DLC in the form of additional stuff that improves the experience.

After 13 or so years, Devil May Cry 5 is a return to form for the series. Having three different characters that have different playstyles offer a fresh experience. Not to mention the game looks and plays great. It’s everything fans can ever ask for and more. With additional content like the Bloody Palace out, hopefully Capcom can provide more for fans. Even if the company has no plans, the game is still a complete experience. What more needs to be said? Devil May Cry 5 is stylish and awesome!

I give Devil May Cry a 9 out of 10. The game earns my personal Seal of Approval.

Jump Force Review

Jump Force Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

Last year, Namco Bandai announced a game that would be ambitious and exciting. They said that characters such as Goku, Naruto, Luffy, Yugi and many others coming together in a manner similar to Marvel’s Avengers. As time went on, people were excited and then the game finally comes out in the form of Jump Force. Jump Force, a game that has the makings to be something great becomes nothing more than a disappointment. And even if the game was good, is it worth your time?

Jump Force’s story focuses on an organization called Jump Force and their job is to save the world from an evil organization known as Umbras. Players take control of a character they create in this game and it serves as the game’s protagonist. Many characters that you meet such as Goku, Naruto, Luffy and others serve as supporting characters. Together your character teams up with them to fight the Umbras but it ends up becoming a fight to save all realities from an evil that wishes to wipe the slate clean.

The story isn’t that great. It’s your traditional good vs. evil story but the difference here is that it follows in the veins of films like Avengers where heroes unite to save the world against evil. My issue with it is that it feels predictable, to the point where you can figure out who the big bad really is. It’s not that great and it feels underwhelming. By the time it’s done you feel like it could have been better. So yes, the story is a disappointment.

But what about the gameplay? It’s a 3D fighting game, similar in the vein of Dragon Ball Xenoverse and the Naruto games. However it follows in the vein of Marvel vs. Capcom where you choose a team of 3 characters and do battle but you can only have one on the field at a time, unless you do a team up attack. Your allies can either be swapped or used to do assist attacks. With a roster of 40 characters, players will find the right combinations to dominate the game whether online or off. Battles can be intense and it has a lot of mechanics that players should take advantage of like high-speed dodges, awakened status and team up attacks. Skilled players can be able to succeed in battles but it’s not an easy task.

As for your created character, it’s one of the good things that this game has. Not only can your character be customized on how they look but also how they do battle. Players can equip special attacks to mix and match, offering variety. They can purchase these skills and abilities in the market along with the ability to buy outfits. Abilities can also be upgraded by means of using materials and they can help provide advantages and disadvantages in battle. There are also traits and by using SP, you can give your custom character additional traits that can do a variety of things like boosting your stats, giving you advantages if your health is low, etc. Plus it has some RPG elements where you level up as you play the game. It isn’t limited to your created character but also every character in the roster. Some instances you’ll have to take part in limitbreaker missions and completing them allows you to continue leveling up until you reach 100 or so. It can get grindy but personally, it’s the one thing that I find to be good about this game.

Jump Force is mostly a mission-based game where you take part in missions whether you are progressing through the game’s story or if you simply want to have fun. There are four kinds of missions: Free, Extra, Key and Tutorial. Free comes in five different difficulties and here, you can choose any character you want and take part. Extra is where you tackle bonus missions. Key Missions are story based while Tutorial simply teaches what the game is about. It is what it is but it’s also one of the game’s many faults. Those who want to simply go in for the story, it’ll take you around 10 hours to complete. Post game extends it a lot more for those that want to complete everything and have their characters be much stronger. Plus the missions come in 5 difficulties for added length.

For all the good this game does have, Jump Force has a ton of issues. The story is unimpressive and in most cases predictable. It isn’t that great. Not only that but the presentation isn’t impressive. Sure the characters look good but in cutscenes, they don’t show much in terms of emotion. It has you wondering what happened during development. Even Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite did better in terms of its cutscenes and that’s coming from a game that is a disappointment in its own right. Music is forgettable and uninspiring. Voice acting is okay but it’s only in Japanese dub. No English dub sadly. Gameplay can be repetitive especially with the mission structure. That’s basically what it’s about: missions. It goes like this: you accept a mission, see a cutscene, load time, see another cutscene, load time, battle, load time, cutscene. It gets old really quick. Not only that but the load times are unacceptable. Load times can go up to 45 seconds and for a game like this, it’s unacceptable. Sure they did release an update that reduced load times but it’s still unacceptable. Online is at least alright and Jump Force will be having DLC in the form of additional characters. Personally I feel that they should focus on improving the game’s many issues. It’s a game that feels like an injustice to the many franchises that it represents. All these characters deserve better than this. The game is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. PC Players will have a lot more enjoyment since people will mod the game to make everything better. Console players get the short end of the stick.

Jump Force is a game that was hyped as an epic crossover game only to crash and burn when it reaches the end. A forgettable story, repetitive gameplay structure and a not-so-great presentation mars what otherwise would have been an ambitious product. The roster of 40+ characters feel wasted on this. Namco Bandai and Spike Chunsoft should have put more time to make this game worth your while. What happened? What went wrong? The game isn’t for everyone and there is some good deep within. There are some good ideas but the execution was a major letdown. It really is.

I give Jump Force a 5 out of 10.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas Review

Starlink: Battle for Atlas Review – Written by Jose Vega

Note: Purchased product for review.

Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a action-adventure free-flight exploration game created by Ubisoft, the same company that give us Assassin’s Creed, Rayman and others. It has a lot of good ideas but the execution is a bit mixed. Ubisoft Toronto pitched an idea of a toys-to-life game in the same way that other games like Skylanders. It was given the green light but the only difference is that its main idea is the gimmick being to customize flying ships to however players want them to be. Starlink came about as a result. Does this game soar high or crash and burn?

As I said, the game is an action-adventure game and you get to play as a fighter pilot who flies on a starship traveling from planet to planet, freeing each one from a band of evil forces called the Legion, led by a prophet named Grax. It’s simple enough but that’s where the game takes it a step further. In each planet, your job is to free it from the Legion and you do so by driving the Legion back, build bases to raise your Alliance meter and explore. Yes. Exploration is the big focus as each planet is home to various sights, and wildlife. It helps for players that want to achieve 100% completion on each planet but it can get repetitive and boring quick. Having to do the same thing in the game 7 planets can get dull. The same can be said for outer space. Time is mostly spent on battling outlaws, traveling from one point to the next, finding supplies and in some cases battling giant capital ships called Dreadnoughts. Dreadnoughts do offer a bit of challenge but that’s about it. Though they also provide an advantage if they are destroyed and can help make the trek a bit enjoyable.

Starlink is also a toys-to-life game, and this game has plenty of customization in the forms of weapons, ships and pilots. Players can use toys that Ubisoft has provided along with the game to customize their ship however they like. New weapons are obtained with the toys they collect and having it physically means they can get it in the game. No fuss, no muss. The toys themselves do look cool and for collectors, it’s a nice touch. But for those who don’t want to waste money on buying toys, they can buy weapons in the form of DLC packs. The DLC packs, called Starship Packs, each consist of one pilot, their ship and two weapons. There are also weapon packs and pilot packs, providing new weapons and pilots. But to those that want everything from the start, they offer a complete $60 pack. It’s a lot and it does give people a choice but if they bought the $80 digital deluxe edition, that’s only an afterthought.

Speaking of the ships, weapons and pilots, they can be leveled up. You gain experience by doing many things such as defeating enemies, completing objectives, etc. Once a ship part such as a ship or weapon levels up, the respective pilot gets a skill point they can use to improve their abilities. In addition players can obtain mods to customize their weapons and ships. The mods can be upgraded as well to be more powerful. Players can also be able to upgrade their team abilities in exchange for Electrum and Cores. The only drawback is that unless you have every pilot, you are a bit limited on what you can upgrade. There’s a lot of customization here and Ubisoft does have some good ideas with this. It’s that the execution is, as I said, really flawed.

As for story, it revolves around a group of individuals travel to the Atlas system on their ship, the Equinox only to get attacked by the Legion. Grax, leader of the Legion kidnaps the lead scientist in charge of Equinox in the hopes of finding anything regarding an extinct species called the Wardens. Now the crew of Starlink travel from planet to planet to send the Legion packing, stop Grax, save their commander and free the Atlas system. It’s a simple story at best with most of it told during the game as you play. For players who got the game on Nintendo Switch, there’s an added story where Team Star Fox appears to help the crew of the Equinox. But they also have a reason for being here, as Wolf O’Donnell of Star Wolf has been spotted on Atlas. So the two groups join forces to save Atlas from the Legion and Wolf O’Donnell, who’s here to seek power to rule the Lylat System. The Star Fox story is all right but it makes you wish there was more. Ubisoft does have good ideas and it makes you wonder what it’s like had they make their own Star Fox game.

Starlink isn’t a long game and players can beat it within 8-10 hours but to 100% everything, including maxing out all weapons and pilots, it’s a lot longer since exploration takes priority. As for presentation, it’s at least better than No Man’s Sky. The game does look good and plays good. Controls are simple, easy and intuitive. Voice acting is good and believable and it gets you interested into the game.

But although there is some good ideas in the game, there are various flaws. In fact, this would be summed up with just three complaints. First is the DLC content. Now to anyone who bought the $80 digital edition, consider it an afterthought. To many that didn’t are expected to spend money whether via the toys or the digital content. And considering that ships also count as additional lives, players start with 2 unless they get everything. Sadly you don’t get any new ships as you play so that’s a bummer.

Second is the gameplay and mission structure. Players go from planet-to-planet freeing them from the Legion. It does start off fun at first but as you keep going, it does get tedious. Nothing changes and no matter what planet you travel, it’s the same grind since it does help offer advantages down the line. If the game offers a bit more variety that would be fine and they do provide it with showdowns against Primes but it’s also the same grind. Of course destroying Primes does free the planet so it’s a bit of a reprieve. However, I wish that Starlink could offer more.

The last complaint is lack of boss battles. Primes and Dreadnoughts do count as boss battles but they can be dealt with if players know how to figure out the best strategy for them. Even the final boss feels underwhelming. It can be taken down with little effort, offering no challenge whatsoever. That alone also seems that Ubisoft didn’t put much effort in offering more. Also the Star Fox stuff is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version and it gets a pass because playing as Fox McCloud and his Arwing is simply satisfying.

In conclusion, Starlink: Battle for Atlas is a game that has good ideas. Very good ideas that if they put more time into it it would be a really great game. However several issues mar the game. Is it a bad game? Absolutely not. You can have a lot of fun with the game but the fun only lasts for so long. The Star Fox content on the Switch version does provide some variety but it makes you wish it’d be longer. But playing as Fox McCloud makes up for it. At least it’s better than No Man’s Sky since the game does feel like a game and not a bait-and-switch. If you plan on getting the game, get the $80 digital deluxe edition. You’ll have everything from the get-go and you’ll have a good time, especially if it’s on the Switch. Starlink is a journey, albeit one filled with a bit of trouble.

For the Nintendo Switch version, I give Starlink: Battle for Atlas a 6.5 out of 10.

For the PS4 and Xbox One version, it gets a 5 out of 10.

Mega Man 11 Review

Mega Man 11 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for review.

It has been eight years since Mega Man had his last adventure and that was a return to form. Since then, the franchise went into hibernation as Capcom shifted their focus onto other games while leaving Mega Man in the dust. Despite that, it would continue to live on in other media like the Archie comics and in various compilations that Capcom would create. Fans wanted a new Mega Man game. Mighty No. 9, meant to be the spiritual successor to the series was a massive dud. But then on December of last year, Capcom announced that a new entry in the series would come to celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary. It would come to be known as Mega Man 11. After eight years, does this game deserve the honor of being part of a long-lasting franchise?

Let us start with the game’s presentation and it follows a 2.5D style. Basically it’s a 2D game but has 3D elements that affect other areas like the enviroments and characters. This was first seen in Street Fighter IV back in 2009. Capcom did well in keeping the game grounded in 2D while giving everything else a needed facelift. In addition, this game has voice acting and unlike Mega Man 8, it is much improved. All the voice actors did a good job and this game has both English and Japanese voices. For those that prefer one or the other, there you go. Music is really well done and many of the songs are real good like the main theme. It looks and feels like a Mega Man game and with it, a return to form for the series. I also like how Mega Man looks in the game. It’s the same Blue Bomber we always know but Capcom updated his look and it’s just perfect. He does have a similar look to how Mega was in Smash Bros. 4 but hey, it’s good for me.

As for gameplay, if you’ve played any Mega Man game then you will feel right at home. It’s easy to pick up and get into and you can modify them at anytime. Even something like the slide can be set with a button and it makes the game better. Mega Man 11 also has multiple difficulties. The harder the difficulty, the more challenging the game is with Superhero being the hardest. Like in previous entries, Mega can collect screws that can be exchanged for items and parts. It offers players an incentive to stock up and acquire parts and is a necessity especially in harder difficulties. The bosses are challenging but since they do follow the Mega Man formula, finding the right weakness helps alleviate things. Fortunately every weapon that you get in the game is useful in one way or another. Also this game has the option of letting you use the right analog to switch weapons on the fly. Nifty. They also do get dangerous due to one of the game’s new features.

One of the biggest additions to the game is the Double Gear System. This gives Mega Man 2 different enhancements. Power Gear boosts his strength and his charge shot can be either 2 blasts or a full power shot. Power Gear also enhances special weapons though. Speed Gear slows everything around Mega Man allowing him to either use the time to take down an enemy or escape a dangerous situation. Each of them offers something new and thankfully it isn’t broken. There is a cool down that occurs after use so using it wisely is your best option.

Speaking of which, the game’s plot has Mega Man trying to stop Dr. Wily yet again. This time around, Wily has a new tool at his disposal: the Double Gear System. After using it to obtain eight new Robot Masters, Mega takes it upon himself to stop him and save the captured robots. The plot also delves into both Light and Wily and how their differing views and ideals drove them to follow different paths. It’s pretty nice and I like it. It helps add more to the game and the lore.

Mega Man 11 is not a long game. If you plan on beating the game normally, it’ll take you 2 to 3 hours to complete. Skilled players can complete it in under 2 hours. Replay value is high with the multiple difficulties and the game has other modes. The game has challenges, giving players a chance to test their skills in various modes. Leaderboards are also here too so any challenges you complete, you can share it with others around the world. Achievements are also in the game and trying to get them all will require players to pour a lot more time into it. Some are harder than others but still. The Switch version of Mega Man 11 has Amiibo support and using a Mega Man amiibo can provide you nifty items but you’re only limited to once a day.

For a lot of good that Mega Man 11 has, there are some faults. Length being one of them but I will give it a pass because this game is released at $30. If it were a full priced $60 game then that would be another story. Also the game is challenging. It isn’t an easy game but it’s not hard either. Having multiple difficulties is nice for players to choose but even with that, the level design can throw people off. Some levels can have a lot of bottomless pits where one mistake and you will lose a lot of progress. It can be really upsetting. Also the hardest difficulty, Superhero, will really test players and it doesn’t help that you don’t get any life or weapon capsules. Not even extra lives. It is a true test for players and anyone who beats it should feel rewarded. Despite the negatives, the game is fun and a return to form for the blue bomber.

After 8 years, Mega Man is back once more and this time he’s here to stay. Mega Man 11 is everything you would expect from a game in the series and then some. A fresh coat of paint with 2.5D graphics, familiar gameplay with new additions such as the Double Gear system, good music, replay value and a fair amount of challenge. There are some issues but it shouldn’t dissuade anyone. It’s as if Capcom realized they screwed up and decided to make amends to all they drove away with this and it worked. I hope that this will lead to more down the line and hopefully a return for the Blue Bomber.

I give Mega Man 11 an 8.5 out of 10. It is a must-buy and a fun game to enjoy.

Shantae Half-Genie Hero Review

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased copy for the sake of this review.

Why do franchises survive? Why do they endure? That’s a question many people wonder about. How can a franchise be able to survive despite not having much recognition? Such is the case of one called Shantae. It began in 2001, released for the Game Boy Color that was well received but was released during the end of the handheld’s life cycle. Despite this, Shantae would continue to thrive with two more sequels: Risky’s Revenge and The Pirate’s Curse. Come 2013 and WayForward announced that a new Shantae game would come. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, they succeed and in 2016, WayForward releases the 4th entry in the series, Half-Genie Hero. Does Half-Genie Hero do what Mighty No. 9 could not?

Half-Genie Hero takes place some time after the events of the third game, The Pirate’s Curse. On one eventful night, Shantae gets word that the Genie Realm would be in danger. So she heads to town only for Risky Boots to invade and steal the design for the Dynamo. After driving Risky and her crew off, her uncle works on an invention that can help drive away evil threats. So Shantae goes on a journey to help her uncle get the parts needed for his invention, unaware that it’s all part of Risky Boots’ master plan.

It’s plot is what you would expect from a game like this and it’s alright in my book. It starts off simple enough but gets interesting when you reach the end. Pretty okay and a bit satisfactory to boot.

WayForward put a lot of care and love into the Shantae series and Half-Genie Hero is no exception. The game’s a platformer but has a few things that differentiate it from other games. Shantae still plays like she was in previous games and she has most of her familiar moves. Returning to the series is her morphing ability, allowing her to shape shift into one of many animals that she unlocks throughout the game. She does this by means of dancing and you can choose which animal to use. This time around, the transformations offer Shantae a lot of advantages and are necessary in order to beat the game. There are a total of 8 transformations for her to use. She also get access to additional dances that provide support.

Not only that but the game is more of a collect-o-thon than anything else. Gems are the game’s currency and you use them to unlock various abilities for Shantae. All of them are useful. There are also other items to find as well such as Heart Holders that increase your max health and a game like this wouldn’t be complete without trade sequences. Throughout the game, you will be tasked to return to previous areas to acquire items necessary for you to trade with others. All of it will culminate in access to the next area. It does get a bit tedious after a while but necessary if you plan on completing the game 100%. Boss battles are aplenty here with some requiring a lot of skill to win.

Half-Genie Hero isn’t a long game. If you just plan on beating it, you’ll complete it in roughly 6-8 hours and trying to reach 100% will net you about an hour or so more. The replay value is high here, especially for those that like to speedrun the game. For presentation, the game is awesome. WayForward did a fantastic job on it and it shows. Not only that but the game runs great at 60fps. A well done job if I do say so myself. The music needs no words. Jake Kaufman does it again delivering some great tunes. Some songs are just too good to listen to such as Tassel Town, Neo Burning Town and others. All of them are a delight to enjoy. There is voice acting as well. Christina Vee does a great job as Shantae but also as Risky Boots as well. Simply put, this game was made with a lot of love and respect and it shows.

Since this game was made possible via Kickstarter, the game also has DLC and there are several. First is Risky Boots’ Quest, taking place during the events of the game. You play as Risky Boots as she goes on her own journey to acquire what she needs so that he can rule Sequin Land. Next is Friends to the End, focusing on Sky, Bolo and Rottytops. In this mode, the three of them head inside Shantae’s mind to save her from her dark counterpart, Nega-Shantae. Last is a special costume set giving players access to three modes; Ninja Mode, Beach Mode and Officer Mode. These are what-if stories that detail Shantae in different situations and offer different gameplay. Basically this game has a lot to do and WayForward even added a harder difficulty called Hardcore Mode that will push players’ skills to their limits. You can buy all of it as DLC but for anyone that wants it all in one, they released the Day-One Ultimate Edition that contains all of it and more. The Day One Ultimate Edition is a major recommendation.

There aren’t many flaws in the game and yeah, the game requires a lot to do if you wish to complete 100% but overall, it’s a fun experience. Having played the game many times, it’s still fun. It really is though it makes you wonder if their Kickstarter did better so WayForward can bring out even more content. Imagine the possibilities.

Half-Genie Hero does everything that Mighty No. 9 could not. The game looks great, it plays great, it has great music and it offers a lot for your money’s worth. For the franchise’s fourth game, WayForward, Matt Bozon and Jake Kaufman delivered. The best part is that it’s not expensive but if you want to have everything in one, the Day One Ultimate Edition is a definite recommendation. It’s worth the full purchase price. Let’s hope these guys can keep at it and hopefully give us more… instead of ports of older games.

I give Shantae: Half-Genie Hero my highest rating… a perfect 10 out of 10. It earns my full on seal of approval.