Dragon Quest, Nintendo Switch

This is an exciting review for me to write, I first played this game years ago when at a friends house on the original NES when it was called Dragon Warrior still.

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Yes, I am as old as hell itself, but it is exciting because as I write this review I can say, I finally finished a game from my childhood that has escaped me all this time. Even with the updated graphics and translations and all on the Switch the game is very basic. Much of the game is actually just grinding out levels and money. It maxes out at level 30 and if you look up a walkthrough you can seriously finish the game in probably 5 or 6 hours.

The battles are all one on one and it’s pretty much all using attack or one of the heal spells. If you are a fan of retro games it is a good time, or if you have some sort of grudge against childhood games you never finished like I do this is the version to pick up. Truthfully tho if you are just a random person looking for a good time and a cheap game to play, keep moving. You get one time, essentially no story outside of you are the chosen one and go kill the great evil with little explanation. I don’t regret my time with the game, but many of you will. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Dungeon of the Endless (Nintendo Switch)

First and foremost with all these things, huge thank you to the folks over at Playdigious for hooking me up with a review copy of this one, it’s always appreciated. I also discovered they made Cultist Simulator which is a pretty interesting game as well. So they have a history of trying new things and Dungeon of the Endless does in my opinion.

This game is a combination roguelike and tower defense, both of which it does well. You start in one room guarding a crystal and your job is to search the floor for things that will help you survive just a little longer. I don’t want to get into the story too much, but it is pretty basic but serves its purpose.

The game however does have certain flaws, most notably the tutorial is one of the worst I’ve come across in a while, and by that I mean it is almost non-existent. Luckily Youtube has plenty to cover it enough to get you going, and once you understand what is going on the game is a joy to play. The roguelike elements combine nicely with the tower defense as you build things up to keep your crystal safe but find the elevator to the next level.

The characters are also done amazingly in pixel art and are an awesome assortment of characters from random mercenary types to a pug, as in the dog. Yes, a dog with a weapon in its mouth. He was my favorite.  The game is simple to understand yet hard to learn and almost impossible to master, but it truly is a joy to play and is pretty much perfect for the Nintendo Switch. I found myself whipping this thing out to play whenever I could.  The game is a great 8/10 and to me is one of those games you have to own if you like these kinds of games. It is just a fun game it jump into for a bit and the graphics and sound are great. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen (PS4 Review)

As always we need to say a big thank you to the folks over at NIS America for tossing us a review copy of this one. I will be referring to it as Prelude from here on out so nobody has to try to figure out how to pronounce the actual name, which I am still unsure of. Don’t let the awkward name or the simple yet pleasing graphics fool you tho. Under both of those things is a compelling story that will make you wonder at times what is being implied.

The main character, Hakuowlo, wakes up injured and with no memory. He is being tended to by a young lady, Eruruu, with a tail and ears and her kid sister Aruruu. They nurse our hero back to health and he will slowly start helping out around the village to repay his debt. It won’t be long before in true JRPG fashion he is at odds with the local lord and he is leading a rebellion that will set you on a quest of love and death and of course destiny.

The battle system is a turned based tactical style system with a nice twist in that after pretty much any turn you can rewind the battle and I haven’t found an actual limit to how far back you can go, tho admittedly the furthest I have gone is about 20 turns. This resets the entire thing with no real punishment. Any moves you or the enemy has made will be gone, any defeated characters on both sides will be returned as for any zeal (used to use special attacks when the zeal gauge is full) or items, all of it will be reset to that turn. This is an easy system to abuse but I imagine you could back yourself into a corner, tho the few times I’ve used it I was saved by it.

The game itself isn’t bad and the complaints I have are pretty minor. For example, the entire voice acting is in Japanese (it is however done beautifully) and most of the names from the title to in characters in-game are beyond anything I can pronounce which while small did take away from my enjoyment a bit. The rewind for battles while interesting also took away most of the real challenge which even playing on hard didn’t feel very challenging to begin with. The game also is also at times a lot of reading and not much else as it is very story-heavy at times with no battles to break it up most notably in the early game.

I do have to say while I do have those small complaints from a technical standpoint the game is solid. The sound is nice and graphically the game is solid. It won’t win any awards but it is nice to look at with no real glitches to speak of. Fans of JRP’s and NIS America will enjoy this one and the plenty of playtime it brings, tho if you are new to the genre of RPG’s this one won’t bring you onboard or change your mind. It is a good 7/10. It is worth buying for fans such as myself, but if you are trying to break into the genre there are better gamers out there to do it with while you wait for a sale. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

World War Z GOTY (PS4 Review)

The first thing is first, as always. Huge thank you to both Saber Interactive for hooking me up with not one but two review codes so I could review this one and enjoy the multiplayer and my daughter, Kaitlin for joining me on this adventure in her free time. I couldn’t have given this game the review it deserves without her.

The GOTY Edition of World War Z contains the base game along with the new Marseille missions in France. There are also so premium weapons and character skins included, and a ton of content that has released since its initial launch. There is also cross-play between PC and Xbox. There is also a free update to come later on this year with a new character class and abilities and so much more I haven’t even gotten into yet, mostly because I know you guys are here for the gameplay and to see if I think this is worth buying.

Graphically the game looks great. There is a certain joy to watching a zombies head pop off when you get that perfect shot and the environments just fit perfectly to an apocalyptic hellscape. As you walk around wondering which people are zombies and which are just bodies lying around the lights from fires just dance across the street nicely. That isn’t to say they are perfect. When the pile on each other in hordes, for example, they all sort of blend in together then just sort of splitting apart as you kill them, it doesn’t look bad and I understand what they were going for I just didn’t care for it.

The sound also did leave something to be desired, it wasn’t bad by any means it just wasn’t anything to write home about. The guns and zombies sound nice, but they are all pretty standard. I am however ok with that because let’s be honest, nobody is playing this game or games like to it to see beautiful graphics and hear amazing movie quality sounds. We play them for fun.

Now the fun is the most important factor here, and I don’t say this lightly. If you enjoyed Left 4 Dead, you will probably enjoy this one. There is a very real comparison here. It has less humor but the concept is the same. Four people start in one spot with a general set of weapons, you will move through a level shooting zombie finding new weapons as you go and fight a horde occasionally. There are special zombies like screamers and some that explode or will charge you that you will also have to deal with.

The huge difference is the class system. Each class has a different set of abilities such as starting with claymore mines or medkits. As you level those classes up you will get new abilities and you will level up your weapons which you will pick from to start with or find throughout each level. That is a big part of where the replay value of this game comes from, just messing around with your friends killing zombies, and leveling up the different classes.

This game for me is all about the multiplayer, The PVP wasn’t much fun for me and I rarely played it, I didn’t enjoy it at all but the PVE took me back to a time I would stay up late with friends and my girlfriend, shoot zombies, drink beer (I was 25 don’t get any idea kids) and just let all of likes problems just drink away for awhile. For me, this is worth buying and is a solid 8/10. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

SnowRunner (PS4 Review)

First, as always, a HUGE shoutout to the fine folks over at Saber Interactive and Focus Home Interactive for hooking me up with a review copy of this one. I should also note I did buy a copy as well for myself because I wasn’t sure if I would get one, so quite a bit of my game time was also spent in multiplayer with my brother.

I will handle this review a bit differently and break it up into phases, I want to touch first on visual and sound then move on to my single-player time then talk about multiplayer before I talk about issues with the game.

First, the sound and visual. The game is beautiful. It won’t win awards beautiful, but it is beautiful all the same. The trucks getting covered in mud, snow getting tossed around the paint jobs. It all looks great. Even the smoke coming out of some of the trucks looks like smoke would as it gets in your way and then dissipates into the wind. It was truly a joy to just drive around and look.

The sound is also pretty top-notch. Each truck and engine revving and the wenches pulling down trees. And you owe it to yourself to slam your vehicle into a few things just to hear the crunch it makes when you bottom out or slam into a guard rail.

Second the solo play. You will start out with an old beat-up pickup truck. This class is known in-game as a scout and truthfully this truck is awful. Even doing the tutorial with this thing can be frustrating if you don’t pay attention to what the game says about how to use the wench. The game directs you how to use that, explains pretty much why this truck is horrible and gets you into a bigger truck so you can fix a bridge and move on to your garage. The game will then teach you how to switch zones and such.

From there much of the game is up to you. Do you want to drive around and unlock towers to see more of the map and get some of those hidden upgrades? Do it. Want to do side missions and fix up bridges that’s an option. You can also just do the main contracts and watch the world change. I wouldn’t recommend doing that tho, much of the game is about building your fleet up and upgrading it which requires experience and money.

Third, the multiplayer.  The multiplayer is honestly where this game shines and I truly think it is made to be played. Don’t get me wrong, you can 100% absolutely play it alone and do everything the game has to offer. But the multiplayer just felt special to me. To be perfectly clear, the game itself does not change. You will do all the same missions drive all the same trucks and everything. In fact, you will load into someone else’s game (or them into yours) with all their progress and help them make more. You get money and experience for doing so, then you just go back to your own game sadly with none of the progress. (you will keep money and experience)

I know I said it felt special and that sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? I agree. That does admittedly suck. However, there is a certain joy to seeing someone finish a job they otherwise wouldn’t have because you helped out. When you see a friend take a turn a little to close and tip on their side so you use your wench to right them. Even better is when they can’t quite get a truck unstuck but you manage to be just that little extra help they needed to get that new vehicle they needed. Yes, it is the same game in both but admittedly the multiplayer just makes the whole game feel amazing to play.

Now for the downsides, of which there are more than a couple. First, the starting vehicles are pretty bad. There is a DLC scout truck and heavy truck that are essentially game breakingly overpowered. For less than $7 you can basically drive anywhere you want in the first area of the map. The balance there is just non-existent and I wanted to quit using the starter vehicles until I got some of the upgrades. My brother spent the cash on the paid vehicles the day he got it and had a HUGE advantage. I would actually suggest buying them if you have the means, they make the game more fun.

Another downside, the game crashed a couple times on me and my brother in multiplayer when we switched areas, and those DLC vehicles I mentioned, he lost one. We have no clue where it went. We checked the garage and the area we loaded from and into, but we just can’t find it. Now I should say crashes are rare, as in the two that lost his vehicles are the only two we ran into. But they did lose him some stuff.

My last real thing to point out is this is absolutely a simulation game and it plays like one. It is slow and you will need to put time and effort into it. You don’t need to be a car person and the game will teach you everything you need to know, but you will need to use it. This game isn’t for people that want to just drive everywhere as fast as possible. You will be switching gears and outfitting the right tires and such. This isn’t bad, it just needs to be known by people.

Now should you buy this game? In short maybe. Did you like MudRunner? If you did it’s a must buy. Are you a fan of the Farming Simulator series? You will probably like this one, its why I was interested in it. The game is a bit rough in areas but the game will be supported down the line just like the rest of their games and while there are bugs here and there I have no doubt they will be fixed. Like any game of the genre, it isn’t for everyone, but my brother that hates the genre hasn’t out the game down which says a lot to me. I will give it a 7/10 because of the lost vehicles in the crash, but it would be higher without that. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

My Issue With Peppa Pig

Let me start by saying this, I have no true issue with the children’s tv show Peppa Pig. All 3 of my kids watched it, they enjoyed it, and outside of randomly throwing out an English accent nothing bad happened. I am by no means trying to persuade anyone to go home and toss out their kid’s DVD’s or not let their kids watch the show. What you let the kids watch is all on you, you know them better than me obviously.

I have heard a few complaints and let me start by saying, they are basically bullshit. For example, Peppa Pig herself is a bad influence and bad for kids. Most of us grew up watching the muppets. Here is a video of Miss Piggy slapping around multiple people including her boyfriend Kermit.

So let’s not pretend kids shows are somehow suddenly insane shows we compared to what we watched. Thanks to my kids I have seen pretty much every episode of this show,I haven’t seen Peppa smack anyone like Piggy yet.

Now I have also heard the argument that there are no consequences for their bad behavior. Here is another example of why this is an idiotic argument.

There you go, 17 videos of Daffy getting blasted in the face with a shotgun, no harm no foul. Just puts his beak back. and who can forget Bugs getting arrested for murder when he shot a guy in the crowd.

Wait, that didn’t happen to bugs or the dude in the Pink Panther. Cartoons rarely have consequences for things so to use that as an excuse here is horrible.

No, for me the real reason to be upset here, is the treatment of Papa Pig. This poor bastard is treated like dirt, but he works hard with cement. I don’t know what he does besides plan stuff but still. They constantly call him fat, like somehow the other pigs are skinny I guess. Worse, they give away his favorite chair to a charity trying to repair the perpetually broken school roof without telling him. Peppa convinces them its an antique and the poor bastard buys it thinking it matches the chair he has at home not knowing it was the same chair.

Speaking of the school roof, Peppa volunteers her mother to parachute out of a plane to help fix the room that once again broken. Pappa Pig being the loving husband he is, goes in the plane with her and gets DUMPED OUT OF THE PLANE without a chute. Momma big makes a desperate leap out to save him and after catches him, drops him at the last second through the new school of which now requires him to make a second jump to fix the roof.

The show is full of examples were Papa Pig is treated like garbage and insulted by his family and even tortured in one when they pick his car up with a helicopter and flip his car all around with him inside of it instead of just moving him to safety and being done with it.

One final issue with the show, why did they take the kids to prison for a field trip? Now they called it a zoo, but come on guys. They are ALL animals, and they make it a point to say all the dangerous animals are in cages. The teacher freaks when she sees a lion outside of the cage until she finds out he works there and isn’t supposed to be in a cage at all. Then they go look at all kinds of animals in cages. That kinda sounds like Peppa Pig and her friends were taken to some sort of scares straight program.

All that being said, my daughter loves it and the show doesn’t annoy me like many others and when you view it through the eyes of an adult, its good for a laugh. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Review

This review is odd for me to write. First I have to say, I have NOT finished the game yet. I am on chapter 14 and have put about 33 hours into it. I have been taking my time, doing all the side quest and just taking it all in. I have been for years for this game, I am not rushing it. I will follow this up with another review after I finish it and attempt to scoop up the platinum.

The second reason this is odd for me to write is I have to say I have been wrong about many things in the past about this game ( for example see Why A 2019 Final Fantasy 7 Remake Would Be Too Little Too Late For Me ) and right at the same time. I will have a lot of unpopular opinions here, some that will probably get me some hate mail, and some that I am sure will be almost universally agreed with.

Third, while this game isn’t perfect, it is great. Right off the bat, any RPG fan should pick this one up. It is a strong buy with a great story and despite a few issues I will soon get into, the gameplay is damn near as flawless as it comes at release these days.

First the good. Graphically the game is beautiful. The slums of Midgar have never looked better, and yes I am including the movies. You can see and feel the desperation from the citizens, the children playing as if they don’t truly understand how they live in poverty but knowing the adults aren’t quite sure of what they will do next. The Seventh Heaven bar looks like a place you could truly visit and spend some time, but maybe only if you don’t mind the possibility of a bar fight.

The music in the game is beautiful, much of the original soundtrack has been remastered and remixed but it hasn’t been changed to the point it has lost what made it special in the first place. The fight against Airbuster for example still holds the same iconic music and will have you wanting to rock along to it all the same. There is musical disk to collect that you can toss into any jukebox, and you will probably have a few songs like to unwind and listen to.

The combat system is also pretty nice, the real-time ATB system works nicely and makes you think, should you use all those ATB bars or save one in case you need to heal? I find the best strategy is to switch often since the bars fill slower for characters you are not controlling. 30 plus hours in tho and I am still having fun fighting and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Each enemy has different strengths and weaknesses to exploit or avoid, and some change throughout the battle as you would expect.

The story itself has become more of a reboot than a remake. There are entire sections that have been reworked are rebuilt from the ground up, or just tweaked. Others play out quite similar to the original, for example the legendary scene in Don Corneo’s bedroom when they threaten his favorite region does still exist pretty much as it always did but the entire relationship between Cloud and the minor members of Avalanche as changed.

With all that said I do have some complaints. For example, after being announced in 2015 we got a game that ends in Midgar and can be beaten probably in less than 30 hours if you rushed it. I make this assumption based on numerous people’s claims to have beaten everything in about 35-40. To me, that is insanely short for an RPG with a 5 year development time that they decided to make episodic instead of giving us the entire game they released years ago. It now feels like the game was locked in development hell and was released as a cash grab.

Another issue I have is double-sided. The materia-system from FF7 is technically still there, but I would rather it wasn’t. It is extremely limited and has been completely destroyed compared to what it was. There are far less types and combinations and many people are simply chalking it up to “Well you can’t leave Midgar” Don’t get me wrong, I have already praised the battle system and I stand by that, but if you are going to compare this materia-system to the original it is vastly inferior.

Another issue I have had is with lighting and characters occasionally just suddenly popping in and out. I don’t really mind as it will probably be patched out, but to not mention it would be wrong and there seems to be this weird idea that to say anything negative about this game is somehow just hating it. The game does a lot of things right. I love that Barret occasionally sings the victory music from the original or that Cloud actually moves his sword when he sits down. The world feels alive and beautiful.

The game is also about half filler. There are missions that will have you finding cats or rounding up kids. That is it, you will simply go find a little girl’s cats then later in the game go find some kids for a teacher. Another mission will see Tifa doing pull-ups. There isn’t any real reason for it, a guy from the story just challenges her to a pull-up contest. A large chunk of the side quest serves no real purpose at all, and the rewards many times are things you can just walk over to the Item or weapons shop and buy. This isn’t limited to the side quest either, there are entire sections of the main story that are basically added than simply disappear like they knew someday they would use it, so they added it now and hope people remember it down the road.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this game. But we deserved better for a game that spent this long being made and is being separated into multiple games we will have to wait years to see the ending to. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.