Also available on Wii U via Virtual Console
Advance Wars seems like the first in the series to those of us in the West, but it's actually an entry in a long running series called Famicom Wars; this is just the first entry that got localized. It's a turn based strategy game, but don't confuse with a SRPG like Fire emblem because Advance Wars has none of the traditional RPG mechanics such as levels or experience or changeable weapons. It's much closer to a 4X strategy game; you take control of cities and factories, manage your resources, and build up your units while balancing power and cost.
One of the big differences between Advance Wars and most strategy games like it is the tone of the story. It's story is inherently fairly silly. The nations involved are Orange Star, Blue Moon, Yellow Comet, and Green Earth. The COs are all unique and have their goof eccentricities, but none of them really give off a "serious" realistic vibe you would expect from an army general. While it's obviously understood, the concept of death is never mentioned explicitly; your units just fly off screen during the battle animations, and when a unit is defeat, it just explodes and disappears. No blood, no gore, no remains. It's about as non-offensive a presentation as war could possibly have.
The basic story is that you play as Orange Star fighting off an invasion from Blue Moon. As you're pushing back Blue Moon's advance and retaking Orange Star territory, you end up a couple of skirmishes with Green Earth. Eventually, you find yourself fighting Yellow Comet, too, and start to realize that something's off about the whole situation. That's as far as I'll go into the story, but it's a pretty decent story despite being fairly silly all around. The characters are likable, and the frivolous world minimizes the importance of lore. While I personally consider that to be a negative, it does allow one to jump straight into the action without worrying about each nation's background or anything.
Advance Wars is a fun, fairly light hearted strategy game. It starts off extremely easy, but the last three or four missions will provide some legitimate challenge (especially the last one, dear god). It's not a gritty, serious war story, so if that's what you're wanting, look elsewhere, but the strategy gameplay is solid, and it's definitely a lot of fun to play. You can also save in the middle of battles, so it's perfect for short bursts (or save scumming if you're like me and suck at games). Given the ease of access on Wii U, I'd definitely recommend a playthrough for folks who enjoy strategy games especially if you're also a general fan of Nintendo.
My Rating - 4 Neps
One of the great things about my Everdrive GBA is that someone made a Game Gear emulator for it. I have a Game Gear as well as the Master System/Master System card/Game Gear adapter for my Retron 5, but what I don't have is the ability to acquire some of the prohibitively and out of reach Game Gear imports - Panzer Dragoon Mini, for example, a Japan-only Game Gear exclusive that seems to fetch prices around $300 and up on eBay these days.
Panzer Dragoon Mini plays almost exactly like its Saturn counterparts just scaled down to fit the capabilities of Sega's handheld. I'd heard all sorts of gloom and doom about how bad it is online, but having played through, I can't imagine why. It's not a masterpiece or anything, but it's quite a competent game for the system, and I had a lot of fun playing through it. It's broken into five stages each of which is composed of random enemies that attack you, usually a mini boss with some more enemies following, and then an end boss. The final stage is largely a boss rush with an extremely brief interlude and a handful of enemies before the next boss.
I'll be the first to admit that my experience with the Game Gear isn't particularly extensive, but of the Game Gear games that I have played, this is definitely one of the better looking ones. The sprites are fairly simple as are the backgrounds, but the scaling gives a nice impression of a three dimensional environment, and the colors and animations are all well done. I was playing this one in public without headphones, so I can't speak to the sound effects or music, but as far as the visuals and gameplay go, it's a great game. The criticism it frequently gets online is totally bizarre to me.
Panzer Dragoon Mini is a seriously good handheld game to play if you have an hour or two to kill. My playthrough took just a bit over an hour - maybe 70 or 75 minutes if I had to guess. The visuals are nice and colorful, and while the artstyle does takes a super deformed approach to the dragons, it fits with the handheld and looks totally fine. It plays well and controls fine, and with a password after each stage and three difficulty settings, it's a very accessible game for players of varying skill levels. Given the hefty price tag, most folks won't get to experience this one, but if you're open to emulation or Everdrives, then I strongly suggest playing this one if you're a fan of on rails shooters. For me, at least, Panzer Dragoon Mini did not disappoint.
My Rating - 4 Neps
When I recently bought an Everdrive GBA, the very first thing I did was start loading promising-sounding Pokemon ROM hacks, and of all the ones I downloaded, Pokemon Vega looked to be the most promising. One of the things I was looking for was a hack with well designed Fakemon, the community-given name for new Pokemon a hacker creates and puts into his or her ROM hack. From what I'd read, Vega was pretty much the best of the best as far as Fakemon go, so that's where I began. Fortunately, there's an English translation that's readily available given that the hacker is Japanese.
It's obvious from the first few minutes that Pokemon Vega is an exceptionally well made fan hack that had an enormous amount of care and skill put into it. It's an all new region, about half of the Pokemon in the game are Fakemon, and something like a half or a third of the real Pokemon had to be added in by the hacker as they're from DS and later generations (I think they're all or mostly Gen IV). Not only that, but the game features a handful of entirely new moves. Despite all this, it feels completely natural; one could be forgiven for mistaking it for a legitimate Pokemon game made by Game Freak. No half-assed sprites, no only-somewhat-tweaked world map, no obviously self-insert characters. It all feels completely natural and organic. The best part, though, is undoubtedly the creation of the most glorious Pokemon past present, or a future, and the TRUE evolution of Pikachu - the almighty Electric/Fighting type, Machu (pictured above from the intro sequence)!
Story-wise, Vega picks up where its predecessor, Pokemon Altair and Sirius, left off. As such, there are references to the protagonist's exploits in Hoenn from Altair and Sirius, but there are never any tie-ins major enough to necessitate playing the previous game; I've never touched it, and I had no problem following what was going on aside from not knowing what the "Hoenn Catastrophe" referenced a few times was. I've also seen a lot of folks on Pokemon ROM hack forums suggest just skipping straight to Vega as it's apparently a FAR superior game (which makes sense given that the hacker would have honed his skills a lot during the production of Altair and Sirius).
You start the game immediately encountering new Fakemon as your starter choices are all new. Your fire starter ends up Fire/Steel, your water starter ends up Water/Poison, and your grass starter ends up Grass/Flying. I won't go into details of the story as it's actually one of the more interesting ones I've seen in a Pokemon game (although not quite as interesting to me as Diamond/Pearl or Black/White), but be warned - this game is BALLS hard. Expect gym leaders to be 10 to 15 levels above you when you get to a new town while the surrounding Pokemon are going to be 10 to 15 levels below you, making grinding a pain in the ass. There also exists a fan hack of the fan hack called Vega Minus that is essentially exactly the same except that gym leader and Elite Four levels have been lowered so that they're only 5 to 10 levels above you. That's the version I played because I'm impatient when it comes to grinding, and even with the lower (read: less brutally high) difficulty of Minus, it's still an extremely tough Pokemon game that took me about 68 hours to beat (and by beat, I mean clear the Elite Four and become the new Champion).
While Vega is extremely difficult, it's absolutely worth while. It's a hack of FireRed which I, personally, consider to be the best game in the Pokemon series (although it FireRed/LeafGreen and HeartGold/SoulSilver always swap for #1 every few weeks for me), so it's already got that going for it. Even with those, though, I'd still say it's a better Pokemon game than any of Game Freak's Pokemon games after the GBA era (except for the aforementioned Gen II remakes). It's not for the faint of heart or those unwilling to bash your heads against a brick wall grinding, but it's absolutely worth the struggle if you have the patience. Everdrive, emulator, reproduction cartridge, whatever - however you do it, just play this game if you're a Pokemon fan.
My Rating - 5 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
I have a lot of feelings about the Kelvin timeline in Star Trek. I've been watching Star Trek literally my entire life. I don't like prequels, and I don't like alternate timelines; Jar Jar Abrams' reboot film is both, and this game takes place shortly after that movie. So how does this 2013 Star Trek game stack up for a long-time Star Trek fan and a Prime timeline elitist? Well...it's not terrible.
Have you played Gears of War? Imagine that with the steroids and chainsaws removed and replaced with space ships and Vulcans. Throw in a pinch of unpolished game mechanics, and that's basically Star Trek. It's a third person cover based shooter geared towards co-operative multiplayer in the same fashion as Resident Evil 5 - two protagonists one of which is AI controlled if playing solo. Unlike Shiva in Resident Evil 5, however, Spock is not helplessly stupid and a bigger threat to you than the final boss. Also unlike Resident Evil 5, Star Trek is actually rather fun to play.
Unfortunately, being a licensed movie ti-in game, Star Trek is just pretty good. It's not great. It's not memorable. It's not innovative. It's fun, but it's little more than a decent way to pass time. It doesn't offer an experience of any true depth. I only played solo, so it may well be a fantastic co-op experience, but from my time with the game, it was good, but not amazing. It looks nice. It plays decently although the cover mechanics are annoying and not nearly as smoothly polished as Gears of War or Mass Effect. If you're a fan of the Abrams movie, then you'll probably really like it. If you're a fan of real Star Trek, you'll probably find the game decent but annoying.
Star Trek is an enjoyable game, but it's an extremely okay game. It's a run of the mill cover based third person shooter that doesn't really do much wrong, but it also doesn't really do much right. It's an enjoyable enough romp for Star Trek fans, but for folks who aren't fans of the franchise, there really isn't a lot to offer as there are much, much better cover based third person shooters. If you find it for less than $5, then it's probably a worthwhile play, but otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, iOS, OSX, and Windows
Let me preface this by saying that I've neither read nor seen any of Game of Thrones. Aside from the internet's saturation of "Winter is coming" memes, I had no exposure to the series whatsoever before this game. With that said, it's important to note that my impression of Telltale's Game of Thrones series comes from a total newcomer to Game of Thrones rather than established fans who are familiar with the source material.
If you've played any of TellTale's series, then you know how Game of Thrones goes from a gameplay perspective. You make some choices, talk to a bunch of people, realize that your choices were stupid and kick yourself mentally for the next four hours, do some quick time events, and repeat. Game of Thrones is entirely keeping with the established norm for TellTale's narrative series, and that's what makes it so damn good. Like their other series (at least the ones I've played), the character development is so incredibly well done that you really do grow attached to them, and because it's Game of Thrones, their inevitable gruesome deaths hurt all the more because of it.
You play as some random soldier dude - I don't remember his name, so we'll call him Greg - on the eve of some big event (I think maybe the apparently infamous Red Wedding?) when you're attacked out of nowhere by ninjas or something. Well, it was just another regular army attacking your army, but it was a cripplingly effective surprise attack, so I'm going with ninjas. Anyway, after you escape from the ninjas, you make your way back home just to be told "Hey, you're our scapegoat. Off to the certain-death exile place with you!" to serve on a suicide mission. From there, the story revolves around the noble family that Greg was serving and the lord's children through their various exploits. At one point or another, you play as all of the kids except for the adorable younger daughter. You learn about the world, the politics, the places, and the characters that inhabit that world. Then you scream, cry, and sometimes throw your controller in rage when they meet their inescapable and tortuously well voice acted demise.
As is the case with the Game of Thrones novel and TV series from what I've been led to believe, this game plays with your emotions and revels in putting your heart through an orange juicer. Good luck putting the controller down, though, because the characters and story are just too damn engrossing to stop playing no matter how much pyschological turmoil the game causes you. I have absolutely no attachment to Game of Thrones, and I was still ensnared from the first half hour. It was begrudgingly that I turned off my Playstation after episode four to go to bed. I can't speak for how much long-time Game of Thrones fans would feel about the game, but for a total newcomer who loves a good story and well written characters, this game is a near masterpiece.
TellTale's Game of Thrones is perhaps their best work yet. At the very least, it's second only to their Walking Dead series. It's masterfully written and pulls the player in with or without any previous exposure to the IP. My only complaints with the game (only one of which is a legitimate gripe about this particular game) is that there were some performance issues - I had several instances of crashing - and the fact that season 2 has been delayed multiple times although TellTale insists that it's still happening. Eventually. I cannot recommend this game highly enough. It's worth noting, though, that my friend, Jerome, took exceptional umbrage to the game's toying with his emotions.
Jerome's Rating - 2 Romes
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Xbox One and Windows
Life is Strange is one of my absolute favorite choice-driven narrative games, and the prequel, Before the Storm, absolutely did not disappoint. I picked it up on Prime Day when it was like $10, and it quickly proceeded to devour the next three days of my life. It adds a TON of backstory for Chloe and really fleshes out her character, making you appreciate her all the more in the original game.
If you've played Life is Strange, then you know what to expect from Before the Storm. It plays pretty much exactly the same albeit without the time manipulation mechanic. Because it plays, looks, and sounds almost exactly the same, this is going to be a pretty brief review. You play as Chloe going through events about a year before the original game took place. Your choices and interactions with people through each episode affect elements of the story down the line. Some choices have a negligible effect whereas other choices will have severe and widespread consequences. It's that kind of agency and impact on the game world that really take immersion to the next level in my opinion, and the only folks who I've seen do it better than the Life is Strange dev team is TellTale, and being second to them is by no means a bad thing.
In addition to getting a firsthand look at the events that took place immediately prior to Life is Strange, there are several flashback sequences that do a lot of elaborate on the strained relationship between Chloe and her step-father, David, as well as the childhood experiences that helped shape Chloe into the dynamic character she later became. Those flashbacks really help you empathize a bit with Chloe and go a long way towards explaining some of her more questionable decisions. The writing, in addition to being able to evoke some strong emotional responses from the player, is brilliant with its humor both in design and in execution. Not only are there some fantastic joke lines, but they're delivered in a manner and with the timing to maximize their effect whereas such lines are often misused and ruin the mood of a scene.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is everything that a prequel should be. It tells a gripping story, it fills in the backstory of its predecessor while answering some of the lingering questions with which players were originally left, and it tugs at the heartstrings with some incredibly emotionally charged scenes. It doesn't quite reach the stunningly impressive impact of the original game in my opinion, but it is nonetheless a superb follow-up and a definite must-play for any gamer who appreciates well-developed characters, a powerful narrative, and engrossing world-building. I absolutely recommend it.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Xbox One and Windows
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is DLC for XCOM 2, but it's really more "XCOM 2 Plus" than traditional DLC. The core storyline is the same, and all of the content from the base game is untouched, but there's a bunch of extra stuff. Extra abilities, extra missions, three entirely new optional mission lines with end bosses that give some seriously dope weapons. All in all, though, it's really just the base game plus some extras.
Most of the game is the same as XCOM 2, so this is going to be extremely brief; read my review of the base game if you're curious. The visuals haven't had any kind of adjustments nor has the sound design. There is some new voice acting, though, for the new enemy characters, and that's done extremely well. The additions here are all gameplay, and there are three big additions - the three "Chosen" optional bosses, the three resistance factions, and The Lost. The Chosen are naturally the biggest of the three since that was the name of the DLC. The Chosen are three specialized assassins sent to kill the Commander and destroy XCOM, and each of them has a unique fighting style. When defeated, they each drop unique and obscenely powerful weapons; one drops a sniper rifle and pistol, one drops an assault rifle, and one drops a shotgun and sword.
As for the other changes, the Resistance factions tie in with The Chosen. Each Resistance faction gives you some bonus "orders" that are basically passive buffs that you can apply - things like cheaper weapons, faster research, more likely to be incapacitated as opposed to outright dead, etc. You can also send each faction's operatives on missions that run in the background. These missions will give you more credits, speed some research, unlock new research, etc. Among these missions are ones required to find the hideout for each of The Chosen. Each faction also has its own unique soldier class, so it's definitely worth investing some time and attention into each of them.
Despite being arguably the less prominent of those three big additions, my favorite addition is The Lost. Did you ever find yourself playing XCOM and thinking "You know what this game needs? Zombies."? Well, the gods have heard your prayers. The Lost are like a cross between your traditional zombies and the husks from Mass Effect. No one really knows why, but something about the alien technology left over from the war started turning people into creatures that look like zombies, act like zombies, and attack and swarm indiscriminately like zombies. You don't, however, have to worry about turning into one if you're bitten; the cause seems to be some kind of chemical or radiation, not a virus or spore. The Lost serve as a sort of rogue "third" side in battles where they're present. While they definitely go after you harder than they do ADVENT troops, they'll attack whoever's nearest. Another horde is also summoned by any explosion, so try to aim away from cars and keep your grenades on the ship.
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a truly fantastic expansion to a truly fantastic game. Unfortunately, it suffers from big issues; just like the base game, there are a LOT of crashing issues on PS4, and I feel that the DLC is a bit overpriced for what it is. $20 or $25 would be more appropriate in my opinion (hence why I waited until it was on sale for $23 to buy it). Despite that, however, it's still a fantastic experience and makes and already fantastic game incredible. Without a doubt, I recommend downloading it. I'd get it on PC if you have the option as I suspect it's more stable, but no matter how you play it, War of the Chosen is definitely the definitive way to experience the XCOM 2 story. Just be prepared for it to crash. A lot.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Windows
Nurse Love Addiction is basically the perfect visual novel for me (as far as what would actually make it onto a console), and I mean that in all of the creep ways you're probably thinking. Post-secondary students at a nursing school in a story filled with lesbian pseudo-incest (basically the whole "step-sister" trope) and a surprisingly interesting plot albeit one that's a bit slow to get started. Best of all is that there are nine endings, so for super ecchi lords like me, there's enough here to keep you busy for a decent little while.
The basic story of Nurse Love Addiction is that two sisters enroll at a nursing school together for reasons that I can only describe as "anime af." The older sister enrolled because she wrote in a book "I want to be a nurse when I grow up!" when she was a little kid and spend the rest of her life thinking "Well, I wanted to do it when I was a kid, and I don't want to do anything now, so I guess I'll do this!" The younger sister enrolls because she seems hellbent on following the older sister everywhere for the rest of her life. I'm not kidding. When they're there, they meet two particularly bright personalities, a rich girl with a hoity-toity attitude that wouldn't be out of place for a family with a nine digit income and her girlfriend, a blunt-to-a-fault tomboy from a poor family and a motorcycle.
What adds the bit of plot point foreshadowed early on is that your main character has amnesia. As a kid, she at some point hit her head and lost her entire memory. Something something plot devices. I won't say anything more than that because it is a pretty cool story once it gets going, and with the different branches that it can take based on what waifu you pick. Each of the game's five core characters have unique and interesting personalities, and while they do hit the big anime tropes - you've got your tsundere, you've got your borderline yandere, etc - the characters themselves are pretty well written. Unfortunately, the game crashed on me a couple times leading to a couple hours' worth being lost between the crashes.
Being a visual novel, there aren't any moving 3D character models to animate, so some of my pet peeves like hair clipping through shoulders are avoided. As a result, the 2D character images are absolutely fantastic, and the voice acting - all in Japanese, by the way - is great. My only real gripe with the visuals is that there aren't many backgrounds, and for a visual novel that took me around 25 hours to get through, it would have been nice to see a little bit of variety in the image backdrops. Other than that, it looks great. Unfortunately, it does suffer from a bit of the game fatigue problem that a lot of Shin Megami Tensei games have with me - it just lasts too long. It's a really good story with great characters, but it just lasts longer than it probably ought to.
Nurse Love Addiction is a very enjoyable visual novel and one of the few good ones that I've played on Vita. It gets a bit tedious and drags on a bit longer than it should, but it's still a really enjoyable story, and since it's on a handheld that you can just put in sleep mode and then pick up whenever you have five or ten minutes here or there, it's a perfect fit. It's one of the best pooping games I've ever played on Vita. It's not without its flaws, though. I had some crashes, and as I said, it wears out its welcome. I absolutely recommend giving it a download if you see it on sale, though. I wouldn't dish out the money for the Limited Run release like I did unless you collect LRG releases (like I do) or just LOVE ecchi VNs (like I do), but definitely give it a download.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Super Mario Sunshine is, for me, for the Mario IP what Majora's Mask is for Zelda. It's that one game in the series that it seems like most people love but that I just detest. I've got a couple of friends who also didn't enjoy Sunshine, but the general consensus seems to be that this game is fantastic, and I just don't see it.
My most immediate issue with Super Mario Sunshine is that it just feels awkward. Like, maybe it shouldn't, but so many things about this game make me just uncomfortable. Mario's short sleeves. Peach in a short sleeve dress. The fact that Peach, Toadsworth, Bowser, and Bowser Jr all have fully voice acted dialogue. Like, maybe I'm just a crotchety old man who's stuck in his ways, but that stuff just made my skin crawl. The game's mechanics themselves and the setting aren't bad, but the whole thing just felt a little off, and I think that mostly stems from FLUDD. It was a cool gimmick for a while, but it started to feel like it took the emphasis off of the platforming somewhat to focus on that gimmick.
When I think of a Mario game, I think of a platformer that has interesting power-ups that, while extremely helpful, are all completely unnecessary to complete the level. Sure, some level specific gimmicks are great, but that's a level built around a gimmick; the game itself remains pure platforming. Sunshine seemed to replace some of the platforming with the FLUDD gimmick, and nothing highlights that better in my opinion than the complete lack of power-ups. Sure, you can swap between a hover, rocket, and boost nozzle for FLUDD, but those didn't even come close to feeling like actual power-ups. A lot of the levels also felt more like the focus was "squirt this thing with water until this one thing happens" rather than "do this platforming." There are some totally straight up platforming levels, and I loved those even though they got really tough, but most of the game just felt like it had lost its identity.
The game does, at least, look absolutely stunning. It's obvious that they were showing off the Gamecube's hardware prowess with Sunshine because this game looks better than some PS3 and 360 games I've played if you take into account the difference in resolution. The presentation is bright and color, aspects that are core to Mario's identity, and the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic. It's just a shame that the game mechanics fell short of the audio and visual performances. Well, the voice acting was also a major negative mark for me because was just creepy and uncomfortable, but that's much more subjective an assessment for me.
I really tried to like Super Mario Sunshine. I played it years ago and hated it, so I let some time pass before trying it again because I really WANTED to like it. I wanted to say "Wow, I was crazy years ago! This game is great!" But it's not. It's definitely not a bad game, but with a pedigree like Super Mario, this isn't up to par. The gimmick takes emphasis away from the platforming, Mario's controls feel less responsive and tight than both past and previous titles, and the bizarre choice to have every major character minus Mario himself fully voice acted with dialogue just comes off as awkward. I think it's a game that every dedicated Nintendo gamer has an obligation to play at least once, but I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on Windows
Omega Quintet is another love-it-or-hate-it Compile Heart JRPG that, as anyone who's familiar with Compile Heart's games in the past decade or so can tell you, plays exactly like every other JRPG Compile Heart has made. I, personally, think that's a fantastic thing. It also means, however, that you didn't like one of Idea Factory's and Compile Heart's other recent JRPGs, you probably won't like this one, either, since it's basically the same game with different characters.
So the story of Omega Quintet is pretty familiar for Idea Factory fans. There's this world-threatening evil phenomenon that's spawning seven or eight different monsters each of which have approximately half a dozen palette swaps and destroying human civilization, and only a small group of scantily-clad young girls possess the ability to fight this evil. These "Verse Maidens" have the ability to weaponize their voices...or something...which allows them to slay these monsters and sing the portals spawning them out of existence. Yep, it's exactly as stupid as it sounds, but for the specific type of weeb that loves Idea Factory's shenanigans (read: me), it's gloriously stupid. Leading this group of ladies is their "manager" and the main playable protagonist, Takt. I say playable, but that's only technically true; he's "your" character and who you run around as in your home base, but he isn't usable in dungeons, and he's only usable in battle in a support role, adding an occasional weak bonus attack or taking some of the damage of an enemy attack for your party characters.
The gameplay is your pretty standard modern turn based JRPG. You pick a character to be the "leader" of the group who becomes the character you see while running around, and you explore dungeons to find items, plot flags, and bosses. There are no random encounters instead opting for Idea Factory's recent norm of having contact with monsters in the dungeon start a battle. When you get in the battle, the combat is pretty standard. Rather than having a "your turn/enemy turn" format, the turns are based on each individual character's stats and actions. You get a certain number of action points each turn, and the more of those you use, the longer it will be until your next turn. If you just use one action and then defend, your character's next turn will come a lot sooner than if you used all four of your hypothetical action points to attack. There are some other nuances - using "Harmonize" to have all of your characters attack repeatedly one after another in a giga-combo of death - but that's the basic. You have four basic types of attacks. First if your regular attack that doesn't use any energy. Then you have magic attacks which use special energy and have particular elemental affinities. Third are your "mic" attacks which also use special energy but are based on the type of weapon you have equipped rather than a specific element. Fourth are a kind of special or super attack. These are technically still mic attacks, but in addition to using a large amount of special energy, they also use "Voltage" which can be charged up to 5 points by dealing and taking damage. These aren't attacks you'll use often because of the voltage and energy requirement, but they deal devastating damage when you do use them.
When I mentioned the mic attacks, I mentioned that they were based on what type of weapon you're using. There are six (but really five) types of weapons. The type that I don't really count is the sword because only Takt can use that weapon type, and that's also the only weapon type that Takt can use. The other five types, however, can be used by any of the five girls and can be changed at any time though each weapon has an affinity stat with each girl that can be leveled up by using that weapon type and determines how many action points they get. These five weapon types are the battleaxe, the spear, the sniper rifle, the brass knuckles on steroids, and the fan. Each of these weapons have varying levels of effect based on distance between the character and the enemy.
Your battles are broken down into 8 "levels" with regards to field positions. There are five rows on which enemies can be, and your characters are on three rows. In general, you'll want your longer ranged characters like those with sniper rifles or spears on the back rows, but that's not always the most advantageous place as battles get more complex. Suppose that your enemies are all on the fifth row of the enemy plane causing a serious drop in damage and accuracy for short range characters even if they're on the front row. That would be too much distance to have your sniper on your back row, so in that case, you'd want to move them up front even though that opens them up to more damage. On lower difficulties, this isn't as much of a concern, but it will make or break a fight on higher difficulties. You can tell a certain weapon or attack's ideal range by the color of the enemy field when you have the attack selected and are choosing a target; green indicates the ideal range, blue indicates a good effective range, yellow indicates a sub-optimal range, and red indicates that it's a seriously out of range attack. Even in the red ranges, your attacks will still do damage, but they'll suffer big penalties to accuracy and damage upwards of 25%. Likewise, if your attack is in the green range, it will enjoy a boon to accuracy and damage upwards of 25%.
My biggest problem with the game is the character development. They're almost all ass holes. Seriously, like they're all total jerks to each other. They'll have moments now and then of being cute or sweet, but for like 90% of the game, they're dicks. I'm totally cool with having one or two characters with generally rude personalities, but it's pretty much the entire cast of the game. The only one who's mean a minority of the time is Otoha, and that's mostly because everyone's always being mean to her so she's the target more than the one doing the targeting. It just kind of put a damper on what would otherwise have been a cute harem titty anime game. >_< The game DOES, however, feature a separate set of hit points for your character and your character's clothes, and when those outfit hitpoints reach zero, then you've got a cute anime girl fighting in her underwear. I love this game. :') There's also a music video choreography minigame of sorts, but it didn't seem to have much effect on the core game, so I never really messed with it.
Omega Quintet is a pretty standard Idea Factory/Compile Heart JRPG. Have you played Megadimension Neptunia VII? Then you've pretty much played Omega Quintet. There are a couple of little gimmick differences along with the character and setting differences, but in terms of mechanics and actual gameplay, they're pretty much exactly the same. Idea Factory doesn't really push the envelope far, and its games are pretty niche, but if you're like me and dig that niche, then you already know that this is a great game. My one big complaint is the ending. There's a normal ending and a true ending, and the normal ending is...not really an ending. It's basically "After the final battle, nothing changed, so let's keep killing monsters to protect the city!" That's it. No resolution whatsoever. Other than THAT, though, I had fun. I'm probably being a little more generous with this score than I should be, and I did start to feel a little bit of game fatigue towards the end, but all in all, I really enjoyed Omega Quintet and the few little unique elements it had. I'd recommend it for fans of titty anime games.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4
Red Dead Redemption is a game that I hear about all the time and have for years, but I never hear much the predecessor, Red Dead Revolver. What little I had heard was "It's not nearly as good as Redemption" and "Just don't bother with it." Well, that sounds like heresy to me, so I stubbornly insisted on playing the first game in the series despite the lack of narrative connection to Redemption and despite the near-universal suggestions to skip it.
The basic story of Red Dead Revolver is that you're the son of a Native American woman and a rugged white cowboy fella, but some bad dudes come to kill your folks. Naturally, being a video game protagonist, you set out on a quest to kill everyone involved in your parents' murders and find out the truth of why they were killed. From there, the game consists of a series of levels that involve shooting a bunch of bad guys with the occasional boss fight as well as a quickdraw duel every now and then. The problem with the quick draw duels is that it just feels abrupt and kind of shoehorned. Y'all remember how just awkward and out of place the katana fights felt in Red Steel for Wii? Like, why can't I just shoot him with this SMG I have? That's how these duels felt to me. I already have a lever action rifle out, and I'm already hiding in cover. Why am I going to get out of cover, square off with this guy, and do a quick draw?
Visually, the game looks great running in 480p over YPbPr, and it sounds great, too, although the voice acting is a bit hit or miss (more misses than hits). The controls can be a bit touchy and finicky especially where taking cover is concerned, but it's nothing that will kill the game for you. There are, however, a fair number of rather silly bugs and a few irritating bugs (and features that really ought to be considered bugs despite being intentional). Things like aiming three inches past a wooden wall and yet still shooting the wall, trying to climb up onto a rock and grasping the air in front of the rock, etc. The rest are just really questionable design choices. Why can this guy survive six bullets to the face? Why does this Mexican general sound like Ol' Bubba from the trailer down the road? Why am I fighting an army of midget clowns? Why are random civilians running around like chickens with their heads cut off while I'm chasing this one dude around this small down exchanging gunfire instead of hiding which causes them to run RIGHT in front of my gun, get themselves killed before I even realize what happened, and force me to restart the damn level? I'm a little salty.
Red Dead Revolver really isn't as lackluster as my friends had made it out to be, but I can't say I disagree with their conclusion of "skip it." It's a fun Western shooter, but there's as much frustration as there is fun. I'd still recommend it for fans of third person shooters or of games set in the American West, but for the average player who just wants a good time and is neutral about the genre and/or setting, there are better ways to scratch that itch (I recommend Red Steel 2 on Wii). Overall, though, it's definitely not a bad game, and there's absolutely some fun to be had, but it only barely rises above "okay."
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation Vita, Ouya, Android, iOS, Linux, OSX, and Windows
When I was in elementary school, my favorite days where the days that my teacher would take us to the computer lab and let us play Math Blaster or Oregon Trail. I loved Oregon Trail, and I still think it's a fantastic game 25+ years later. When I was in college, I discovered Super Amazing Wagon Adventure on the Xbox 360 indie storefront, and I wasted dozens of drunken hours on that game with friends. Now we have the zombie apocalypse parody take on Oregon Trail - Organ Trail.
The basic goal in Organ Trail is pretty much the same as that of Oregon Trail; you have to make your way westward across the United States to get to Oregon because there's supposedly a safe haven from the zombies in the northwestern United States. There are huge chunks of the country that are irradiated from what I assume to be nuclear containment attempts, and during your journey, you'll get choices on which routes to take. Do you take the shorter route through the irradiated zones, or do you take a longer route that uses more resources and exposes you to more zombie risk in favor of not having to deal with radiation sickness? It's that kind of cost/benefit analysis element that REALLY makes the game intriguing for me.
The visuals are done in a pseudo-8-bit style, but given that it's supposed to be a parody of an early 90s PC game, it works brilliantly. As you travel from landmark to landmark, you have to keep an eye on your supplies, and that's more than just gas, food, and bullets; you have to consider spare tires, spare car batteries, medkits, and the overall HP of both your party members as well as your station wagon. You also, naturally, have to contend with illnesses like dysentery and typhoid but also radiation poisoning and - of course - zombie bites. All in all, it does an EXCELLENT job of capturing all of the gameplay functions of the original Oregon Trail. Instead of fording rivers, you have to drive through hordes of zombies, and instead of hunting, you have to scavenge for supplies while fighting off zombies.
The fact that there are so many risk vs reward choices to make with regards to your pace and route give the game a lot of replayability, but each landmark also provides you with optional missions to complete. Some of these aren't at all worth it - a mission ranked "suicidal" with a reward of one tire - but some of them are fantastic - a mission ranked "moderate" with a reward of $80. It's all about how confident you are at shooting zombies and how much you need whatever resource it is that the mission gives as a reward. It's really a fantastic take on Oregon Trail that seamlessly integrates the zombie theme. A lot of "-insert game- but with zombies!" games feel haphazard and like the zombies are shoehorned in just for the sake of the fad, but that's not the case with Organ Trail. If you'd never played or heard of Oregon Trail, this would feel like a simplistic but completely competent indie game.
Organ Trail is, at its heart, Oregon Trail with zombies. It's for that very reason that it's fantastic. The difficulty settings make it a little more approachable to total newcomers than the original Oregon Trail, but given that those difficulties range from "Don't an idiot, and you'll live" all the way up to "Abandon hope all ye who enter," few will find themselves lacking challenge. It's a seriously addicting game, and given that it's available on just about every system except Xbox's and Nintendo's, there are few who are without a way to play this gem.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Game of the year 2018 right here, guys. I had been curious about the "free game" included with Shaq Fu that the cover advertised, but I didn't think much of it after I finished the game. Let me tell you a story about how greatly I underestimated that little inconspicuous part of the cover. I usually lie in bed scrolling through Twitter or Facebook at night, and one night, I evidently fell asleep while scrolling through Twitter. I woke up around 3 or 4 in the morning, and thought "Man, what a crazy dream I had. I dreamt that they added Barack Obama DLC to Shaq Fu. Weird." So I got up to make a sandwich like I always do when I wake up in the middle of the night, and that "dream" keeps nagging at me, so I decide to grab my Switch and just check. Just in case. Lo and behold, it wasn't a drunken fever dream but a glorious reality! I'd apparently read a tweet about Barack Fu right as I fell asleep, so upon waking, I thought it had been a dream. I've never been so happy to be wrong.
If you've played the base Shaq Fu game, then you know how Barack Fu plays. It's not long - only about an hour or so - but you play as Barack Obama going to the "Paris Fashion Weak" to find American rapper and eternal pain in the ass of thinking people everywhere "Con-Ye" and force him to shut the hell up. Along the way, you're forced to fight a veritable army of stereotypical Frenchmen wielding baguettes, absurdly dressed models, and even a sub-boss parody of Marine La Pen, Emmanuel Macron's fascist opponent in the 2017 French presidential election. Throughout all of this, Obama drops the most amazing puns and one-liners I think I've ever heard in a video game.
In terms of gameplay, while it may play just like Shaq Fu, it's a bit tougher with harder enemies, longer sections between checkpoints, and less forgiving health drops. That's not to say that it's brutally difficult - I only died once in my playthrough, and I suck at games - but it's a good challenge that I found IMMENSELY satisfying. While it doesn't have as many power-ups as Shaq Fu (being, like, 20% of the length), it does have one totally amazing power-up - "Dirty Barry Mode." With this power-up, Obama dons a pair of aviators, pulls out two Uzis, and mows down hordes of enemies. It's...simply beautiful.
Visually, it's obviously identical to Shaq Fu, and while it doesn't have Obama versions of the hella catchy songs the base game has about Shaq, the voice acting is fantastic. It's obviously not the actual Barack Obama voicing the character, but the guy they got to do it sounds JUST like him. All of the speech quirks and mannerisms are there, too, from the frequent pauses to the "Uhhs." It's perfect. I don't know who voiced Obama's character, but whoever it is did a fantastic job.
The game's strongest aspect, as was the case with the base Shaq Fu game, is the writing. It's comedic genius. It's not as excessively meta as Shaq Fu was which I personally find to be a good thing, but the puns and humor are no less brilliant. The story is ridiculous and outlandish in all the right ways, and the dialogue is fantastic. It pokes fun at President Obama's less popular features as well as his endearing ones, and while it's pretty obvious that the developers were Obama supporters, the game is silly and absurd enough that even those who vehemently opposed the 44th president should be able to get full enjoyment from the writing.
Barack Fu: The Adventures of Dirty Barry is pure brilliance as far as humor goes. It looks and plays just like Shaq Fu, but that's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. It's currently only available to those who purchased a retail version of the game which, while kind of screwing over digital folks, is a big plus in my book because screw digital downloads. Physical games for life, yo. It's only an hour or so long, but it's an hour that could give any stand up or sketch comedy routine a run for its money. I cannot recommend this highly enough, and this is ABSOLUTELY a reason to go buy a physical copy of Shaq Fu right now. I struggled really hard with whether to give this a four or a five, and I was tempted to break my no-half-points rule. In the end, the only thing keeping this game from getting full marks from me is that it's just so short at only two levels. This is too brilliant to be this brief, and it really does deserve its down full length game. Hopefully that will come sometime in the future.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Xbox 360 and Windows
Although I never played the first Just Cause game, I watched a friend of mine from high school play Just Cause 3 a few years ago and thought it looked fantastic. I picked up Just Cause 2 on a whim a while back because it was cheap, and while I have Just Cause 3, I figured it would be better to play this one first so I don't go from 3 to 2 and end up disappointed (god help me, I guess, if I ever end up playing the first one). While there's naturally not as much wanton destruction in this game as I saw my buddy create in the third installment - they are, after all, different console generations - there's still a GLORIOUS amount of carnage and havoc to wreak in Just Cause 2.
The game's story follows the same protagonist from the first Just Cause, Rico Rodriguez, as he travels to the fictional southeast Asian island nation of Panau to overthrow an anti-American dictator. He does this by destroying various government installations, thus creating "chaos," and riling up and empowering the three rebel factions on the island. These factions are the ultranationalist Ular Boys, the communist Reapers, and the mafia Roaches. You pick one of these factions to side with in the final battle, but you'll be working with all three factions during the rest of the game.
Visually, the game looks good for the PlayStation 3. It doesn't push the hardware as hard as The Last of Us or Uncharted 3, but it's still a lovely game graphically. The music is good and fits the feel, but the start of the audio design is the sound effects. Dear god, the explosions sound SO satisfying. Just find a tank or minigun and destroy everything in sight. I could put William Sherman to shame with the destruction I left in my wake. Unfortunately, the voice acting doesn't always match the explosions; the acting is really hit or miss here. Some of the characters are totally fine, but some of the characters - especially the random NPCs - are just bad. Like, not 90s cringe bad, but "this is obviously a white guy trying too hard to sound Asian and it just comes off as kinda racist" bad. Also, while I definitely sided with the communist faction (workers of the world, unite!), the voice actress for the leader made me want to stab myself in the ears with an ice pick with every line. It was terrible.
Just Cause 2 is an absolute must-play for PS3/360 gamer fans of open world murder simulators because it's not just a murder simulator - it's a full blown American-backed terrorism simulator. Yeah, Grand Theft Auto may have hookers and murder and its share of explosions, but Just Cause 2 has quality explosions, not just quantity (although it definitely has the quantity, too). The voice acting is kind of meh, but the story is pretty good, the gameplay is obscenely addicting. You'll be exploring the map, see a previously undiscovered military base, and immediately say "WELL, I GUESS I BETTER GO KILL EVERYONE WITHIN 5 KILOMETERS." Seriously, this game is dirt cheap, and it's a bloody good time (literally).
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Switch, Linux, OSX, and Windows
This review is a few days late, but this was my yay America game last Wednesday. To celebrate Independence Day for the United States, Jerome and I played through all of Broforce start to finish. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, but after all of about thirty seconds, I was saying "Dear god, literally everything about this game is perfect." And it's true. This is the most perfect and accurate portrayal of the core of the American spirit. And I don't necessarily mean that as a compliment.
Broforce is a pixel art run and gun shooter that brilliantly caricatures American foreign policy and our general "shoot first, ask questions maybe sometime but don't get your hopes up" attitude. It's fun no matter what, but it's definitely best enjoyed with local multiplayer. The plot is absolutely amazing. You're part of an elite American military unit going around the world to deliver freedom and democracy whether folks want it or not. Just as you're starting to run out of terrorists to kill, ALIENS SHOW UP AND INVADE. Of course, being the world's enforcer of justice, America steps in and deploys the Broforce to kick some alien ass. BUT THEN SATAN SHOWS UP. It's stupid. It's beautifully, brilliantly, gloriously stupid.
The visuals are pretty plain being pixel art and all, but they get the detail right in all the right places. Each "bro" on the Broforce is a parody of an action movie hero. You've got Bronan the Brobarian, Brochete, The Boondock Bros, Brommando, Rambro, Broheart, the Brolander, Double Bro Seven....it's amazing. All of the characters are extremely fitting representations of the people they're based on, and the fact that you don't get to choose your bro - you just spawn as a random bro - can be annoying at first but ends up forcing you to use all of the bros and really makes you appreciate the comedic effort that went into the game's development.
The music and sound effects are amazing. Guns have satisfying effects, the music is over the top and awesome, and the explosions look and sound glorious. The gore and blood spray from dead enemies is absolutely fantastic and will definitely please your inner psychopath. As great as the gameplay is, though, the best part is definitely the writing. Each mission has a short blurb giving you some context for why you're going there. They start off sounding reasonable - terrorists are trying to steal weapons or something - and then quickly descend into (depressingly accurate) ridiculousness like "These people are different from us! Kill them!"
I really can't heap enough praise on Broforce. It truly is the greatest multiplayer experience I've had in a LONG time. It's fun, it's hilarious, it's challenging but not (usually) outright BS, and it's a perfect couch co-op game. I can't recommend this highly enough. Download it. Doesn't matter if it's PlayStation, PC, or - once the port is finished and released - Switch. Just buy it. Play it. Love it. BROFORCE!
My Rating - 5 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 3 and Windows
People who know me and my gaming and collecting habits know that I like to collect and play through really notoriously horrible games. Part of why I do it is to be able to judge these games for myself. Part of why I do it is because I hate myself and think I deserve to be tortured (just kidding...but not really). Most of why I do it, however, is because I find them entertaining in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 sort of way. If you don't get that reference, you're too young to read this; kindly close the tab. Ride to Hell: Retribution is perhaps more infamous even than Shaq Fu or ET for 2600 and currently holds the second lowest Metacritic aggregate score with a 16 out of 100 (the lowest is Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade for Wii U with a score of 11 out of 100).
Oh god, where to begin with this game? It's an absolute clusterfuck. "Unmitigated disaster" doesn't even begin to describe it. It truly, literally, legitimately is the worst game that I've ever played, and I've played a lot of trash. I guess let's start on the surface - visuals and audio. The game looks like a hot mess. Keep in mind that this game launched in 2013, the same year as the Xbox One. We'd already had Halo 4 and Gears of War 3 completely blow our minds with the amazing visuals that the Xbox 360 could produce, and then we get this mess that could be outperformed by the Wii. I promise that if you used composite cables for both and set both to run 480i on the same TV, you would find stacks of Wii games that look better than this. When you've got a console capable of 1080p against a console that can't do better than 480p, you should never have a game on the former outdone by one on the latter especially not the same year that its successor releases.
Not only does the game look worse than Arnold Ernst Toht's face at the end of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the disaster of its audio design surpasses its visual failure. The music is...okay...but it's unbearably repetitive. Every track is the same three or four measures repeated ad nauseam. The real crime here - and as far as I'm concerned, it constitutes a crime against humanity - is the voice acting. Even if we include early 90s voice acting and FMV acting, the voice acting in this game is abhorrent. When I reviewed Chasing Dead, I SLAMMED that game for its downright insulting acting, but Ride of Hell blows that game out of the water. I didn't think such a thing was possible in a game actually sold for money on major platforms, but the acting is even worse than Chasing Dead's. Some characters' voice acting is physically painful to hear. The audio balance is so bad in some places that the music completely drowns out the dialogue, and some lines are just totally silent despite the character's lips' moving although those things might be more a blessing than a curse given the quality.
The story, while mundane and cliche in concept, had some potential to be at least passable. The execution and lack of any character development whatsoever ruined that, though. You play as Jake, a soldier who's just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam, on a quest of vengeance to - single handedly - destroy the entire Devil's Hand biker gang. This gang controls literally almost the whole state (whatever state it is; from the environment, I'd guess Arizona, New Mexico, or Nevada, but the game never specifies), and this one pissed of veteran on a motorcycle kills everyone in it. I'm all for suspension of disbelief in games, but having no actual help? That's...a bit much.
Even with how crappy the game looks, how awful it sounds, how horrible the voice acting is, and how pathetic the story is, none of those are even the worst aspects of the game (although the voice acting does come pretty close). The game's worst aspect is the performance. The damn thing just doesn't work half the time. I mean, technically it's playable, but it's an absolute broken mess. Sonic Boom and Assassin's Creed Unity both look like competent, well polished games next to this mess. Some enemies' arms will inexplicably stretch like Mr. Fantastic when they're killed, dead enemies will start to have seizures, and explosions' splash damage seems completely arbitrary. Riding the motorcycle is a complete crapshoot if hitting something will make you restart or just let you clip through it, aiming is a pain with how jerky and stiff the controls are. The load times are reminiscent of the Neo Geo CD, and textures just pop in whenever they feel like it. Or they don't. Sometimes they don't, and characters will just go through a whole cut scene looking blurrier than an early Nintendo 64 game. Sometimes the game will just - perhaps mercifully - get fed up with its own incompetence and crash entirely. The frame rate hits an ABSOLUTE maximum of about 25, but it normally hovers between 15 and 20 fps. Even with a frame rate that low, dips are extraordinarily common. You'd think you're trying to run Crysis 3 on Windows XP. I mean, yeah, technically it works, and it's possible to play the game, but dear god, good luck keeping your sanity through the plethora of control issues and downright inundation of bugs and performance problems.
I'm a really progressive guy in most cases, but I usually make pretty generous exceptions for video games at least with regards to violence and characterization. Some characters are ass holes, and that's often necessary for the plot. A character is a raging racist? As long as the game's entire point isn't "black people suck" or something, I'll overlook that because usually, a racist character is in a game to make a point or provide a character foil or something. Some of my favorite games could probably be considered downright chauvinistic with how severely anime girls are objectified. Seriously, Gal*Gun and Moe Chronicle alone are enough for people to be justified in saying that I'm a shitty feminist, and I can't disagree. With all of that in mind as context for this next statement...dear god, this game has just about the most screwed up and offensive portrayal of women that I've ever seen in a game (except, of course, the infamous Custer's Revenge and Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em). Every single girl in the entire game (except for one at the end) is half naked, and they all end up sleeping with Jake (although this is, quite awkwardly, done while still fully dressed). They ALL play the "damsel in distress," they're all submissive to the men in the game, and none of them seem capable of doing anything for themselves; they have to have a male character to help them with everything. Like, dear god, at least the objectified anime girls in the games I love have strong and pretty independent personalities. These girls are like worst of both worlds - half naked 24/7 AND entirely dependent and submissive.
There's literally nothing redeeming whatsoever about Ride to Hell: Retribution. It might be entertaining to make fun of if you're drunk and playing it with friends who are also drunk, but in terms of objective critique, there's literally absolutely nothing about the game that can possibly be praised. The graphics are crap. The voice acting is crap. The story is crap. The characters are crap. The gameplay is crap. The combat is crap. The driving is crap. Everything is crap. This is literally the worst game I've ever played.
My Rating - 1 Nep
Also available on PlayStation 4 and Windows
Assassin's Creed Syndicate was Ubisoft's first foray into making a main series Assassin's Creed game on 8th gen hardware that isn't more broken than Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations. It's still pretty Ubisoft (that's not meant as a compliment), but it doesn't have the catastrophic bugs that plagued Unity, and it's second most fun Assassin's Creed game to date after Black Flag.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes place in London in the late 1860s during the reign of Queen Victoria. The Templar Grand Master in London has complete control of pretty much every aspect of British life and government, and despite repeated pleas from the Assassin watching over London, Henry Green, the Assassin council seems adamant that it's not yet time to strike the Templars there. So, being stubborn and impulsive young adults, twin protagonists Jacob and Evie Frye say to hell with the council and go to London on their own to start killing Templars and undoing their allegedly sinister machinations.
Syndicate managed to hook me by giving me the one thing I crave most in games (other than waifus) - the ability to conquer territory from rival gangs/nations/factions and command squads of gang members/soldiers/lackeys to fight with me. I LOVE that, and when it said "Hey, conquer the various boroughs of London," I squeed audibly. You don't NEED to conquer London, but it makes things easier by having Templar goons replaced with your goons, and...I mean, who DOESN'T want to murder hundreds of bad guys and conquer a city in the process? It's also a great way to earn experience to unlock new skills as well as money and resources to upgrade your gang, craft equipment, or upgrade your equipment.
The actual story in the game is decent. You're going after this Templar Grand Master, and to do that, you need to take out his underlings to weaken his hold on London and find out how to get close to him. You COULD just do these missions and skip the others, but you'd be missing some pretty awesome content. In one game, you can please your inner believer in science by helping Charles Darwin, your inner literature nerd by helping Charles Dickens, your inner healer by helping Florence Nightingale, and your inner communist by helping Karl Marx. It's...a beautiful cast of ancillary characters. There are a couple of other characters that I either don't remember or don't care about because who needs anything else when you can help Marx and Darwin? Assassins of the world, unite! You can also help Queen Victoria in the post game, but whatever, she's an imperialist and a capitalist, so who cares? Oh, and there's a hidden portal to World War I in case you want to go help Winston Churchill during his pre-Prime Minster days.
Now that I've gotten my Marxist enthusiasm out of the way, I can talk about how the game stacks up against the train wreck of a game that was Unity. Syndicate is an improvement in literally every way, thank god. Well, almost every way. I though Unity's story had a lot more potential if the execution hadn't been so damn awful, but while being a less interesting concept in my opinion, Syndicate's execution was waaaaaay better from a narrative standpoint. The characters in Syndicate are MUCH more interesting, though. Jacob is a WAY wittier and more sarcastic protag, and Evie is both gorgeous and a perfect foil for Jacob's reckless impulsiveness and his habit of going straight to "kill everything" as the default solution for a problem.
Syndicate also fixes almost all of my issues with Unity's game mechanics. The parkour and auto-jumping are INFINITELY more refined and appropriately responsive than in Unity, and the addition of the zipline in Syndicate makes three dimensional movement a lot easier and more fun. The jumping up and down still aren't perfect, but it's not even in the same league as the mess that Unity had. The combat is also a LOT more fluid than Unity's, and it's more satisfying as well. Visually, Syndicate is a big improvement over Unity. Textures are more detailed, character models look and move much more naturally, and - most importantly - the frame rate is a lot more stable. Again, the performance is still far from perfect, and there are still a lot of very minor Ubisoft bugs, but it's an indescribable improvement over Unity.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate is the Assassin's Creed game that Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players wanted and deserved. If Unity was a slap to the face, then Syndicate was a hot stone massage with aromatherapy and a live violinist. Unity still had a lot of fun to be had if you could overlook the major bugs and glaring flaws (even after having had four years to patch and fix), but Syndicate is just plain fun on its own in spite of its bugs. Assassin's Creed Syndicate is a genuinely fantastic game, and I'd readily recommend it even to gamers completely unfamiliar with the series.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on Xbox 360
I'm a sucker for B-movie style games. The "so bad it's good" kind of games. To a certain extent, that's what Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard is. Unfortunately, I found the game to be more "bad" than "so bad it's good." The potential for a fantastically terrible game is, but they missed the execution, leaving off the "fantastically."
Eat Lead is a cover based third person shooter, and unfortunately, that's where its problems start. I absolutely love third person shooters, but the gameplay here is extraordinarily dull and monotonous. Pretty much the entire game consists of "run into a room, take cover, kill everyone, walk through the newly opened door, repeat." That's it. The only variation is the boss battles which are usually just short quick time events. The only boss battle that felt at all interesting to me was the second to last boss that you had to trick into shooting itself. Even the final boss sucked - it was just three or four MASSIVE hordes of enemies with a control panel to activate between them. You don't actually get to fight the boss himself at all; it's just a cutscene.
The game's story is....interesting. It's a giant parody of video games. You have "Nuke Winters" instead of Duke Nukem, the Master Chef instead of Master Chief, the Mace of Mourning instead of the Hammer of Dawn, etc. In that regard, it's actually pretty clever. Unfortunately the game stars a self-aware video game character whom a pissy corporate CEO is trying to kill off my spawning random swarms of enemies into his new game to force the character to die permanently. I'm all for suspending my disbelief with even some outlandish situations, but this one is just a stretch. Just delete the game files. Poof, character gone. Archive the character and stop making games with the IP. Sega is BRILLIANT at doing that. It basically feels like if Hyperdimension Neptunia were a shooter with all the waifus replaced by machismo guys and made by Americans who try waaaaay too hard to be funny.
The music is good, and the voice acting is actually pretty good with a decent cast featuring a few fairly well known actors. Unfortunately the visuals don't match the audio. It looks like any random Wii shooter just upscaled to 720p. That's not a knock on the Wii, but given how much more powerful the PlayStation 3 was than the Wii, you'd expect more of a visual improvement than a 30% resolution boost. It looks fine, but it's not even close to living up to the PS3's graphical capabilities. Normally when a game looks far below what a system is capable of, it's because the developers wanted to go for solid performance. If that were the case here, the visuals would be totally understandable, but the game runs like crap, too. Sometimes it keeps a good 30 fps, but at seemingly random times with little happening on screen, it will start to just churn, dropping to around 10 fps. I get that frame rate drops aren't uncommon especially on consoles, but for a game to look "meh" and still have severe performance issues in even low stress situations, there's not much excuse.
For fans of super cheesy B-movie games like me, Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard had a lot of potential. It just LOOKS fantastically terrible, like a Steven Segal movie with more machine guns. Much to my dismay, it lives up to very little of that potential. The script is on point, but the execution overall is a mess. It looks bad, it plays bad, and the one thing that could have redeemed this into a fun experience - co-op play - is nowhere to be seen. So close, yet so far, Vicious Cycle Software. You know the phrase "Shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" you often seen on posters in schools? Well, they shot for the moon, but instead of landing among the stars, they're spinning out of control through the void of intergalactic space.
My Rating - 2 Neps
Also available on Windows
Once upon a time, there a franchise that seemed to revel in screwing over American fans. Dozens of fantastic (and even more not-so-fantastic) games were released over in Japan, but somehow, few seemed to make their way to American shores. American fans had either to go without or to go through the obnoxious and often pricey process of importing these games, and naturally, almost none were in a language they could read. But wait, what's this? A localization appears on the horizon! Gundam fans, rejoice! After paying an arm and leg for Asian imports with English subtitles, Bandai Namco FINALLY saw fit to grace American shores with a localized Gundam Breaker game! Except unlike the MASTERFUL Gundam Breaker 3, New Gundam Breaker is a garbage excuse for a Gundam Breaker game that disappointed so badly that it physically hurts.
The premise of the Gundam Breaker games is that you're building Gunpla - plastic Gundam models - and using some fancy hella VR machine to simulate digital battles with them. Unfortunately New Gundam Breaker falls short of the standard set by Gundam Breaker 3 in pretty every criterion except "number of regions available." Visually, they're about on par although I think Breaker 3 looked a little better, and the audio has a few tracks from a handful of different Gundam series, but the biggest thing to make note of is the gameplay. The interface for New Gundam Breaker is MUCH less intuitive than that of Gundam Breaker 3, and either I never figured it out or there aren't as many customization options for your Gunpla as far as little frills, decals, and absurd paint jobs go. There may well have those same options there, but the interface is so convoluted that I got frustrated and gave up. It's also SIGNIFICANTLY shorter than Gundam Breaker 3. There are four sort of "intro" missions that you do before the game breaks into four or five different "character" paths, each with a different waifu as the central character, and each path has eight missions. That makes a single playthrough 12 missions long which took me somewhere between four and five hours. I didn't lose a single mission, and there's no difficulty setting. Considering that I managed to beat it without having to retry anything, and I suck at games, there isn't much challenge here for Gundam veterans.
Folks who know me will, by this point, be asking "How can you dislike the game so much? You said there are waifus!" Yes, there are waifus. Unfortunately, they're all meh-tier waifus. There's your token tsundere, your token childhood friend with a strong sense of justice, your token awkward and nerdy introvert, and a mystery character you have to unlock. Nothing outside of the literally-every-anime-game-has-them archetypes, and none of them have personalities at all interesting. Even in the context of visual novel-esque characters, they're like cardboard cutouts of anime girls. I'm basically a massive slut for anime waifus, and even I was like "Okay, these girls suck. I legit wish y'all had just omitted them entirely." In perhaps the most egregious crime against waifus, the game's dialogue is set up as if it had dating sim elements, but like 90% of the time, you only have one dialogue choice, making the entire format completely useless.
While story isn't really the focus of Gundam Breaker - it's basically just a frame to have an excuse to make a game about building model robots and using them to blow up virtual giant robots - New Gundam Breaker's story still manages to disappoint. You're a transfer student at a private high school (because of course you are) that is built entirely around building and battling Gunpla, but the student council has turned tyrannical and is acting more like a mafia than a student government, so of course you form a resistance team to challenge the student council and various supporting minion clubs to Gunpla battles and restore freedom and happiness and generally positive emotions to the school. That's it. That's the whole story. At least Gundam Breaker 3 had an underdog story about trying to save a local shopping arcade from an American megacorporation that ended with the world almost being destroyed. I mean, it's no Pulitzer winner, but it was decent enough. New Gundam Breaker's story is just....cliche crap.
New Gundam Breaker is bad. If you had never played a Gundam game before or seen anything about previous Gundam Breaker games, then you might get away with thinking it's okay, but I don't see how anyone can play this game and think "Wow, yeah, this is a great game." "This is okay" is about as generous as I can see anyone being. The mobile suit movement feels sluggish, the battle objectives are literally pointless, the interface is a mess, the story is crap, the characters are flat and boring, and the game is ridiculously short. There's just not much to love here, and the fact that it's selling for a full $60 is complete and total shenanigans. This game's worth $20 MAX. If you've never played a Gundam Breaker game before, do NOT let New Gundam Breaker be the basis of your opinion on it. It's like "New Math;" it sucks, no one likes it, and we all just need to go back to the "old" version and pretend this "new" one never existed.
My Rating - 2 Neps
Also available on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Windows
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia ends the AC Chronicles trilogy, and it also marks the closest to present day that the Assassin's Creed has come (talking just the main game, not the stupid frame story crap) taking place during the Bolshevik Revolution in late 1918 in which Vladimir Lenin's Bolsheviks overthrew Russia's last emperor, Czar Nicholas II, exterminated the royal family, and established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Russia is by far my favorite of the three Chronicles games with regards to narrative. You play as Nikolai Orelov, a Russian Assassin on his final mission to retrieve Ezio's Precursor box before he leaves the Brotherhood and takes his family away from the war-torn and collapsing Russian Empire. What sets Russia apart from China and India, however, is that there are two protagonists; in addition to Nikolai, you spend about half the game playing as Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II. While the real life Anastasia was killed by communist revolutionaries during the extermination of the Romanov family (despite persistent rumors to the contrary), this game has her rescued from her imprisonment Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg by Nikolai and, through plot device wizardry, awaken to latent Assassin talents. From there, the two of them try to escape from Russia to live a more peaceful life in the United States. The two protagonist perspective gives the game's story a great spin, and questionable voice acting aside, both characters are fantastic.
As was the case with India, the game plays mostly the same but with a couple of key differences. First and foremost, the throwing knife/circle blade has been replaced with an INFINITELY more badass rifle seeing as how rifles were pretty standard by 1918. In addition to that, the rope dart has been replaced with an electric winch. Not only does this serve the same purpose as the rope dart in getting you to climbable ceilings, but it also gives you the ability to overload electric control boxes and electrocute enemies standing in water. Because of that, Russia definitely deviates the most from the other two as far as puzzles go simply because of how different the Assassin gadgets are. The platforming and combat, however, works exactly the same. Except that you can just say "Screw it" and shoot people in the head. Speaking of shooting people in the head, there are a few actual sniping sections in the game that break up the gameplay a bit and add some fun variety to the experience.
Unfortunately while Russia takes what made the previous games great and doubles down on it, it also takes what made the previous game disappointing and doubles down on that, as well. I didn't experience any bugs as major as clipping through the world like I did in India, but the more minor bugs - characters popping in and out of the world, clipping through objects, platforms' and objects' textures not rendering at all but still having collision physics - were pretty frequent. Truthfully, the performance issues are what keeps me from giving Russia a perfect score; I loved every single aspect of it otherwise, even the few BRUTALLY difficult sections that provide no margin for error and took me literally a few dozen tries to get past.
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia is definitely the buggiest of the trilogy, but it's also the game in the trilogy with the most fun gameplay, the most interesting characters, and the most compelling story. Add to that the fantastic setting - the Russian Civil War - and the stylish af art style that adopts a largely monochrome scheme with the exception of parts you can interact with (reminds me a lot of MadWorld on Wii), and this is my favorite of the three by a large margin. Its positives FAR outweigh its negatives, and while it's not perfect, it's definitely worth playing. Even if you don't play China or India, it's worth playing, but China's story is directly and frequently referenced in Russia. India, however, being the disappointing one of the three, is never mentioned much to my delight. AC Chronicles Russia isn't perfect, and it gets HARD in certain parts, but I absolutely loved it.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Windows
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India is the second part of the AC Chronicles trilogy taking place in the mid-19th Century, a little over 300 years following the events of AC Chronicles: China. Mechanically, it's pretty much identical (as one would probably expect), but there are some key differences with regards to how stealth and combat are carried out.
The biggest difference is that instead of throwing knives, you've got one of the circle blade thingies like Xena had. It serves the same purpose as the throwing knives in China, but unlike those knives, this can ricochet, allowing for some added possibilities for puzzles and strategy. The only other really noteworthy difference - with regards to design, at least - is the increased difficulty; it's pretty apparent early on that, as the second game in the trilogy, Ubisoft expects that you've played through China first.
The story is...kind of dumb, frankly. You're an Indian assassin obviously, and you're trying to prevent the Templars from using some magic diamond to activate Ezio's Precursor box from the previous game. Oh, and your girlfriend is apparently a princess. The entire first level is sneaking into the palace to have a spiritual study of the Kama Sutra. And you can't kill anyone. It all has to be done non-lethal. Not a great way to make a first impression. The characters, at least, are likable enough, and it's cool that the British East India Company was the front for the Templars in this game, so you'll be killing a lot of Redcoats.
There's one more big difference, and this is one that I highly doubt Ubisoft intended; it's pretty buggy. There were a couple instances of guards spawning abruptly, disappearing, and - most hilariously/annoying - one instance where I clipped straight through the level and had to reload the previous checkpoint. Once or twice, okay, that's one thing. Games have bugs. But this was more of a "poor QA" situation. Granted, it wasn't NEARLY as bad as Unity, but it was still pretty bad.
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: India kept the same gameplay from China for the most part, but unfortunately, it doesn't live up to the quality of its predecessor. It's still a really fun game for fans of 2.5D action platformers, but the story is less interesting, the protagonist a bit is less likable, and performance took a serious hit with some pretty noticeable bugs. If you played China and enjoyed it, then it's definitely worth playing, but India definitely felt like a bit of a step back.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Windows
Assassin's Creed Chronicles is a trilogy of 2.5D action platformers set in the Assassin's Creed universe the first of which was China. These games have gotten a lot of criticism online, and most of the critical reception seems to have been lukewarm at best, but as one who not only often disagrees with critical opinions of games but who also loves modern 2D games, I was eager to give the trilogy a go for myself, and I am not finding myself disappointed.
AC Chronicles China takes place in China in the year 1526 and centers around the assassin Shao Jun. Having completed her training with Ezio Auditore, Shao returns to China to avenge the Assassin Brotherhood of China that had been wiped out by the Templar group Eight Tigers. To accomplish this goal, she takes a Precursor box she was given by Ezio and allows herself to be captured by the Templar in order to infiltrate their base and begin her counterattack. After escaping from her cell, she must make her way through various levels, navigating platforming obstacles and either avoiding or killing Templar agents, as she hunts down the eight Templar knights of the Eight Tigers.
In what was probably the polar opposite of Assassin's Creed Unity in my opinion, AC Chronicles China's weakest point is probably the story having been completely overshadowed by the incredible gameplay. The game's learning curve is almost perfect with the early levels being extremely easy to allow for learning the game's mechanics with the last levels being extremely difficult without careful strategy and precise execution. The game's graphics have a beautiful almost hand drawn aesthetic to them, and most of the story is told through still frames between levels that look as if they were painted in traditional Chinese style. The game's story may be just okay, and the game itself may be too short for some folks' taste, but it's not lacking in any way whatsoever as far as presentation goes.
Even with breaking for lunch and a nap, I finished Assassin's Creed Chronicles China in around eight hours, so it's definitely doable for an afternoon. Given that it's only got a $10 price tag, however, that's seems pretty fair to me considering that folks pay more than that for a single admission to a movie that lasts less than two hours. I may be in the minority here with this opinion, but I absolutely loved AC Chronicles China and found it to be a much better game in terms of quality than either Rogue or Unity. If you play games, you probably have one of the platforms it's on, so I highly recommend you give it a download.
My Rating - 4 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 4 and Windows
Imagine, if you will, that you're on vacation in France exploring the countryside by car. It's a beautiful day, and everywhere you look, flowers are in bloom. Now imagine that your companion and navigator on your drive is the paperclip from Microsoft Word. Now imagine that the engine overheats every 15 kilometers, forcing you to pull over and let it cool for ten minutes, and you have a tire blow every 50 kilometers. That's basically how it feels to play Assassin's Creed Unity. It's got the potential to be absolutely fantastic, but two key flaws make sure it will never even begin to approach that potential.
Assassin's Creed Unity quickly became a bit of a meme online for the fact that its plethora of bugs and major technical issues made it nearly unplayable. Unfortunately even four years after launch, it's only reached the level of "technically playable." It took me two days to play through Unity, and in that time, the game completely crashed six times - two of which resulted in having to hard reset the Xbox - and I encountered a cornucopia of more minor bugs from floating characters to clipping through objects to characters getting caught on objects not to mention the serious frame rate issues. Yeah, it's playable, but it makes a Bethesda game on launch day look downright stable. Even after sizable patches were released in the time following its 2014 launch, it's a buggy mess. As was the case when I played Sonic Boom with its 1.2 GB patch (and that was a 1.2 GB patch on Wii U), I shudder to think what this game was like before any patching.
The performance issues are bad enough, but that's only one of Unity's two major flaws. The other is an overzealous parkour system. Free running has always been one of my favorite things about Assassin's Creed. I love sprinting through the environment, climbing up and jumping off buildings, and jogging across ropes strung between structures. Unity does that a lot better than Rogue did, but not by much. What they did well with letting you climb pretty much anything is completely killed by the fact that the system seems intent on having your character do anything except what you want him to. Want to climb in a window? How about we have you just climb up above the window instead three times in a row? Want to shift your position in cover? Let's just stand up and wave at the guards who are trying to kill you. Want to perform a double assassination? Na, just kill one guy and shake hands with the other. Some of that stuff happens on occasion in every Assassin's Creed game from simple user error, but it's consistent here. You'll find yourself climbing everything under the sun regardless of whether or not you're even trying to, and actually killing who you intend with air assassinations is a crapshoot even with the game's red outline for your "targeted" foe.
The combat system is another missed opportunity albeit far less egregious than the parkour and general performance. There seems to be a certain amount of chance involved in whether or not your character actually parries or evades when you press the button. Sometimes, it seems, he just feels like standing there and getting stabbed despite your desperate button presses. Given the the fluidity of parries and ripostes was always my favorite part of combat in Assassin's Creed, this was a major source of disappointment for me. As far as visuals go, the game looks nice. Too bad those good visuals are hampered by a sluggish frame rate and textures that take their sweet time rendering, sometimes waiting until halfway through a cut scene to stop being a blurry mess. At least the voice acting is good. The story is pretty interesting, too. Good luck not being too disappointed to really appreciate either of those, though.
Assassin's Creed Unity is...okay. It's a really good game buried beneath layers and layers of caked on technical flaws and questionable design choices. Unfortunately that's caked on THICK. It's not nearly as broken as Sonic Boom, but it's not far off. The narrative and characters are a big redeeming factor for Unity, and my score would be lower if it weren't for that. If you're a fan of the Assassin's Creed series, then yeah, give it a play. If you're either a casual Assassin's Creed player or relatively unfamiliar with the series, however, skip Unity. Its problems are great enough that I can really only recommend this one to serious fans of the series.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows
I first dove into the Assassin's Creed series about three years ago. Over the course of a little less than two weeks, I played through AC1, AC2, Brotherhood, Revelations, AC3, and AC4. Needless to say, I was a bit burnt out after that. It took three years, but I finally got the urge to play Assassin's Creed again, and since I'm weird about insisting on playing series in order even if it's not really necessary, I popped Rogue into my PS3 and gave it a go.
There are some heavy references to Assassin's Creed III given that Rogue takes place just before the American Revolution, but they aren't important to understanding this game's story. It's more stuff that you'd notice if you played III and would give some context but that in no way would hinder a newcomer's enjoyment of Rogue. The story follows Shay Cormac, an Assassin who questions the ethics of the Assassins' methods and defects eventually becoming inducted as Templar. It's a refreshing look at the other side of things for the series and seeing things from the Templar perspective for a change. As for the present day frame of the game...ignore it. Desmond from the first few games was annoying, but the nameless protagonist and his interactions with Abstergo are just downright stupid in Rogue.
Rogue actually looks really impressive for a PS3 game. Character models are surprisingly detailed, the environments are gorgeous and look relatively lived-in, and the ocean - because Rogue incorporated IV's naval combat - looks fantastic. Unfortunately, Rogue ends up feeling pretty much like "Black Flag but not as good." The naval combat is awesome in Rogue, but Black Flag did it better. The story is great in Rogue, but it was better in Black Flag. The ground combat is fun and satisfying, but it's about the same as Black Flag. Overall, everything Rogue did, Black Flag had already done better. Couple this with the truly horrible voice acting for a few characters and the mediocre voice acting for the other characters, and it quickly becomes apparent why this game was widely considered to be the low point for the Assassin's Creed series upon its release.
Assassin's Creed Rogue is definitely the black sheep of the 7th generation Assassin's Creed games with regards to quality, but it's much better than I expected and absolutely still a good game. The story itself is really interesting even if the characters are rather dull and the present day bits downright pointless. The game plays well, looks great, and has enough optional side quests to give players plenty to do if the roughly 10 hour story missions leave you wanting more. It may not hold up against its five predecessors, but Rogue is still a good game and absolutely worth playing for fans of the series.
My Rating - 3 Neps
Also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows
Admitting that you're wrong is hard. Despite that, here I am, about to admit that I was wrong about something. DmC is not a bad game. I've spent years blasting it for making Dante look like an emo bitch - which I still maintain - but the game itself is actually pretty good. It's not great, mind you, and it doesn't hold a candle to the first three Devil May Cry games overall, I gotta give credit where credit is due; Capcom did an okay job with this one and definitely a better job than I had been giving them credit for.
The most important thing to keep in mind about DmC is that it's an alternate universe Devil May Cry; it doesn't tie into the established series in any way except title and character names. The fact that Capcom recently announced Devil May Cry 5 at E3 rather than calling it Devil May Cry 6 sort of reinforces that. Different Dante, different timeline, different tone and style. Dante in this game is a much rougher, more vulgar sort of guy who reminds me a bit of a more serious version of Bender from Futurama. He's crude and a man whore who starts the game totally apathetic to matters that don't concern him directly, but there's a lot of character development for him in this game. His character develops so much, in fact, that he's almost unrecognizable from the Dante at the start of the game. Also his physical design sucks a fat one. Thankfully you have the option of using a model based on the original Devil May Cry's Dante which I used, so aside from a few cut scenes that bizarrely (and jarringly) use the default model no matter what, I didn't have to look at this stupid emo face and his stupid emo haircut.
Aside from Dante's stupid face and stupid haircut, I actually don't mind the characters. Kat and Vergil look fine, and I can dig their personalities (including Dante's) although Vergil got a bit irritating at times. The game's story is fairly straightforward - encounter evil demon boss, remember forgotten childhood, complete short string of events intended to create opening to attack evil demon boss, kill evil demon boss. Pretty standard. There are, of course, some more nuances than that, but that's really the basic of it while avoiding spoilers. Oh, but one hilarious part I can't not mention - they definitely have a news channel in the game based on Fox News, and their Bill O'Reilly lookalike is DEFINITELY a soul devouring demon. That's probably my favorite part of the game to be honest.
While keeping in mind that this is really just an upscaled PS3 game, it looks nice. The fast pace of the combat definitely benefits from the bump to 60 fps that it got when ported to PS4 and Xbox One, and the character models all look good even if they show their 7th gen roots. I didn't encounter any slowdown during my playthrough nor did I find any bugs or crashes, something that's not always a given in games these days. The highlight of the game is definitely the soundtrack. Although it can be a bit hard to appreciate fully with the sounds of gore and carnage, there's a fantastic metal soundtrack that plays when you're fighting. I'm generally a sucker for good metal, but it really fits a game like this where you're killing hordes of demons.
DmC Devil May Cry is definitely the outlier in the Devil May Cry series both in quality and in style, but it's honestly not as bad as I used to think. Yes, whoever was in charge of Dante's character design should be flogged and ridiculed, and yes, the combat gets a bit samey after a while, but I really did a good bit of fun with this game. It's not terribly long - I clocked in around eight hours - but it's got enough meat there to sink your teeth into. It's pretty cheap these days especially if you go for PS3 or 360, and while it's not going to amaze you, it's definitely a fun game.
My Rating - 3 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.