The Legend of Heroes:Trails to Azure (New review)

NIS America was kind enough to once again toss us a review copy of this one,much like they did the first installment of the Crossbell series, The Legend of Heroes Trails From Zero Review and that is always appreciated.

The first thing you need to know about getting into this, you don’t technically NEED to play Zero to play Azure. You can read through much of the in game text and such to get a general idea but to be honest you are much better off playing these two games in order.

The second thing you need to know,if you want to play them both you are probably looking at 40-50 hours each. And it is worth every hour of it.

The story starts up about a month after zero ends and continues the saga of a corrupt government, admittedly seemingly less so at first. It doesn’t take long for things to go bad however. This isn’t strictly true, there is a lot of lore packed into this one. Long conversations and some of it is quite heavy. I don’t say any of this as a bad thing, the story is quite amazing and easy to get into.

Graphically the game does show its age and the sound does leave much to be desired at times. The voice acting and the music could be hit and miss, nothing that takes away from the enjoyment of the game but it does exist and would be dishonest to pretend it didn’t get up to some weird things at times.

As we all know any RPG is only as good as the combat. The combat reminds me a lot of the original Grandia. You walk around the map,and touching an enemy changes the battle screen and from there you can move around to fight enemies. It isn’t quite a tactics style battle, the battle maps are way too small for that but it is turned based and and positioning does matter for a lot of reasons. It is really well done and a lot of fun, but depending on how you play it can feel a bit slow. Thankfully quality of life improvements have been added that have taken care of that.

To be short and sweet about it,the game is highly recommended especially to anyone that enjoyed the Cold Steel series. 8/10, best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

New Redemption Reapers on the Nintendo Switch Review.

As always with these things I like to start out by saying a huge thank you to Binary Haze Interactive for tossing me a Redemption Reapers review copy for this one. I always appreciate it, and it is always a lot of fun playing a new game from a new company.

Redemption Reapers is a tactical role playing game that takes on a darker tone than most. The game starts out with you playing as Sarah, who is attempting to make up for some past mistake. This mistakes makes her and the Ashen Hawk brigade hated, for some reason. They are also one of the only groups fighting the Mort. The Mort are simply put a group of creatures hell bent on destroying basically any living thing it comes across.

I will admit, I do not really know what the Mort are or why they are killing everyone. You sort of just get dumped into that, and they never really explain it very well. It is ok though because in games like this the combat usually makes up for it.

I say usually but this time that isn’t really true. You will be limited in characters, five them. This is really a good thing because weapons upgrades are expensive and require resources and money all of which are mostly found during battles. These battles can be long, with one little mistake making you start all over again. This isn’t because they are all that hard exactly, each character can only heal once unless you have them use these special spots on the map, which usually don’t have more than two.

These problems with combat are made worse since the main way the game gets more advanced is it simply tosses more enemies in the way. Thought you had problems keeping your starting three characters alive when it was six enemies? Try it with ten enemies and four characters.

The game isn’t all bad however. The game is beautiful. The cut scenes are well done, the character images are probably some of the best the Nintendo Switch has to offer. That isn’t enough to make me say hey go buy this game. At the $50 price tag, you are going to want to wait for a sale. This one is a 5/10, best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

 void* tRrLM2(); //Void Terrarium 2 Playstation 4 Review

Oh NIS America I love you guys, and as always they have sent me a copy of this game as they did with void tRrLM(); //Void Terrarium! PS4 Review many years ago, and it was a fun-filled game that despite its flaws kept me diving back in for more. Has the sequel changed anything however is the question however?

The game takes place after the first one, once again we are taking care of our cute human Toriko who is the last human on earth. While the games are directly connected you don’t need to play the first Void Terrarium to understand this Void Terrarium as the start of the game does a solid job of filling you in on the details without spoiling the last game. Just know you will end up caring for Toriko in a new tank in a new section of the same contaminated world, as the same robot with the same A.I. partner.

This time the game adds a bit of a twist to the story, as the A.I. figures out a way to send you into a sort of VR representation of what the world used to be in order to discover more about our dear Toriko whose health isn’t exactly great. Along with this new section of gameplay you will still be decorating her tank, growing plants in it as well as crawling through the wasteland attempting to find food and supplies to create new items from the blueprints you are supplied with or find.

The combat is simple and straightforward. You will move around a large map, and each move counts as a turn with you and the enemies going back and forth much like many other dungeon-crawler roguelikes. Each time you return home all of your items are transformed into materials for creating things, however, each time you create something most things have a permanent stat buff that applies to your character, Robbie the Robot. This makes getting further into the dungeon easier each time even if the random drops aren’t in your favor.

Each time you level up you will be given the option to choose abilities for these runs, some are extra item slots, stat buffs, or increased healing abilities. Which skills you pick can vastly change how you play, and often you will pick and choose which item to bring and which one to simply leave behind.

This was one of my main issues with the first game that is still an issue in this one, item management is far too difficult and because of it, you will end up making far more runs than I would have liked just to make something simple like a chair. It felt like they were trying to really stretch it out by making you run through the same sections over and over. You will be doing a lot since for the most part, you have to repeat each section each time you want to get to a different section. This is understandable since enemies get stronger as you go it was repetitive and very fast.

Graphically and the sound of the game weren’t very different from the first one. It is an upgrade, and both set the tone and serve the game well. There is nothing wrong or any sort of glitches with them, they also aren’t amazing or anything to brag about. All in all, if you enjoyed the first game this one is an upgrade and you will enjoy it, but you won’t suddenly like this game if you didn’t like the first. I enjoyed my time with it, and I feel safe recommending it to fans of the genre. A sold 7/10. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Choice of Life: Middle Ages 2 – Switch Review

So I was at home when I got an email this morning from the company Red Black Spade. I don’t know a ton about it, but Slava Gris was kind enough to toss me a review code for the upcoming title Choice of Life:Middle Ages 2 for the Nintendo Switch.

Before I get into that however, I did discover this isn’t the first game from Red Black Spade I have played, they are also responsible for Catmaze Xbox series S/X Review which was another title I covered.

That brings me to Choice of Life which is essentially a series of choices given to you on cards. Starting as a baby you are given simplistic things, some of them as amusing as simply trying to communicate by saying goo goo or gah gag. As your young prince grows the decisions also grow. Do you want to sleep through class? Throw a tantrum on your birthday? Or do you want to study hard and learn even when it isn’t the most fun time.

The repercussions for these decisions can be anything from getting scolded by an Aunt or Uncle, to losing an item like I don’t know,your crown getting stolen (not that this happened to me…) Or death. Ok these aren’t random examples, I enjoy screwing around and seeing what happens. This prince probably doesn’t like me very much.

The graphics these play out in are simplistic and have no voice acting which is fine because this isn’t some massive AAA experience,in fact when I mentioned I got an email from Slava Gris, he happens to be the one guy in the company and it might be a bit odd if he were doing all the voices. They serve their purpose well and I actually believe the game is better because of it.

I sank more than a few hours into this game today, much to the dismay of my family because I wanted to see what happened to this prince,and what sort of bad things I could make happen to him. The game thankfully makes this quite easy because unlike most games like this death doesn’t send you back to the start,it simply lets you make choices again. If you simply want to play a stress free story, this one is great. 8/10, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Wanted:Dead Xbox Series Review

When developer Soleil and publisher 110 Industries tossed me a copy of this one to review I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about this one, and I am grateful they took me out of my comfort zone with this one. Thanks by the way guys and gals. The makers of Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive also created this one, so I knew I was getting into something special, even if I was about to hate my life for a while.

LT Stone

You play as LT Stone, leader of what is known as a Zombie Squad ( don’t worry you aren’t actual zombies) and the game takes place over about a week in Hong Kong. while the game is a combination hack-and-slash third-person shooter there are plenty of mini-games to pass the time between missions. I want to get this out of the way first because honestly they are pretty minor but range from interesting such as the crane game and the many different options to play in the shooting gallery to the more annoying or nonsensical such as eating as much Ramen as possible. Don’t worry though you can’t get stuck at them and they don’t change the story it is simply a do-your-best sort of deal and many can be outright ignored.

I just like this cat

Graphically the game is nice and gory. It won’t be long before heads and arms are flying off. There is even a chainsaw at some point and they actually censor bar parts of it. It is actually rather refreshing. This isn’t the only thing I loved, setting off a sprinkler system and watching the water just cascade down was a nice touch. The lights on the water were also fantastic I thought.

The sound was also pretty great, I wasn’t exactly fond of the music but the guns sounded nice and powerful, and swords slamming into each other or cutting through was excellent.

The part everyone is here for however is how-is the gameplay and I will not lie you can tell the Ninja Gaiden creators were involved. It is very fast-paced, whether you are dodging strikes, grenades, or bullets. Taking cover is quick and intuitive, and for me, it didn’t even matter. The game offers two difficulty settings, essentially normal and hard. So the first level I was doing ok until I hit around halfway and I died. Over and over again. Then something pops up, in true Nina Gaiden style, and asked if I wanted a hidden difficulty setting and made the game even easier. I of course said no and died over and over again. countering and dodging and I still could not get the hang of it.

Eventually, I just accepted the difficulty setting whos name I can’t spell and won’t even try, I will just call it Savior Sucks at Life Mode. Now Savior Sucks At Life Mode made the game a lot more enjoyable, gave me some more heals, made the game a bit easier and let me die a little less. I still died, the game isn’t at all easy but it is fun. I love the characters and the 80’s action feel to it.

The game isn’t for everyone, but for fans of action games, especially those that want to relive their love of Ninja Gaiden, this game is for you. A solid 8/10. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Labyrinth of Galleria: The Moon Society PS5 Review

As always with this, huge thank you to NIS America for sending me a copy of this to play. I love working with these guys. Been doing it for years and hopefully will be doing it for years more.

With that out of the way, first person dungeon crawlers are always hit and miss to me. My first one was the original Phantasy Star back from 1987 (I didn’t play it until a few years later,I was about 4 back when that came out) and I remember being so lost and having to draw my own map,and I was horrible at it. Labyrinth of Galleria isn’t quite like that,they do give you a map that fills in as you explore and through the Witch Petition system you can unlock the ability for the map to mark things on its own and for you to create your own marks, both of which are very helpful.

The Witch Petition system is pretty interesting, it lets you change the game and make it easier or harder,unlock some new abilities. All sorts of things that honestly probably don’t even need to be in the game but make for a fun system to have. This is where the hit and miss comes in for me. A lot of things in the game will leave you wondering why it is even there,but also make it kind of interesting.

Graphically the game isn’t impressive by any means. It is basically serviceable and let’s you play. The monsters aren’t bad and the designs are interesting but at the same time it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. Unfortunately the sound kind of comes off the same way. It fits the esthetics and I never found it off putting,but I don’t remember it really either.

The story itself isn’t very memorable either. You play as a girl name Eureka (and I say that very loosely as technically you aren’t her) who is working for an old witch lady named Madame Marta. Together they use fully customizable puppet soldiers to explore the Labyrinth under the mansion and find treasures known as curios that the owner of the mansion wants.

Eureka and Marta

If you are asking if the battle system saves what sounds like a very mediocre experience,it does not. In a roughly 40-60 hour game depending on how many of the battles can simply be won hitting the triangle button and just letting people attack and the assortment of moves early game is abysmal anyway so really any sense of strategy wouldn’t exist anyway. This does start to change as you unlock more and more types of characters to create covens with different parts but that takes some time.

He looks familier

If you liked Labyrinth if Refrain you will probably enjoy this one, and Labyrinth of Galleria isn’t a bad game, it’s fully functional and there is plenty of enjoyment to be had from it. I did have an odd sense of joy each time I found one of the curios for example, and the crafting within in the game is quite a bit deeper than I expected. But outside of it’s niche audience, if you are looking for an entry place for this genre this isn’t it. 6/10, and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

GoldenEye 007 Xbox Review

GoldenEye is one of those classics from 1997 that most people seem to have fond memories of,and I am no different. I don’t even know how many hours were spent with Friends on my N64 playing with proximity mines on multiplayer and rocket launchers panic shooting each other in the face or taking turns seeing you can beat The Dam the fastest (nobody ever beat my friend Robbie,dude was a beast) and of course because we were teens and unlocked paintball mode we would make a penis on random walls.

When I saw this was coming to GamePass or course I wanted to relive the golden days, unfortunately Robbie lives in Europe now and many of my other friends from back then are dead or I have no clue where they are. I could still however enjoy the single player aspect.

You will hear mixed things about this port, because it is just that. It is a port of the original in all its 30FPS N64 graphics glory with modern controller support,and the only multiplayer in existence is the good old fashioned split-screen. I actually don’t have an issue with this,in fact it is all I wanted. Added in some achievements for unlocking the chests and beating the levels and I am happy. Others however are upset about what is not included,and I understand that to an extent. Online multiplayer would have been nice since I am told they did add that to the Nintendo Switch version.

Compared to many of the shooters out there now and since then this one didn’t hold up very well. As a kid I never noticed how bad the AI was or how bad some of the levels actually were, but it was still fun to play for a bit. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Slay the Spire, a Game I Love To Hate

Let me get this out of the way first, I’ve loved my time with this game. It has been fantastic. Just the ease of getting into it. Start the game, pick one of the characters then away you go. Play them in order to unlock the next, except the last one which you need to unlock the first three and complete a run.

Trailer for your enjoyment

I have come to the conclusion in my 30-plus hours with this game, I will never unlock this last character. I have made it to the final boss with the first three, more than once, Then I just get my ass handed to me. Stacks of 30 poison are laughed off as if they are nothing, walls of staggering levels of blocking that would seem impossible to break fall as if they were nothing. I have read guides, I have watched videos and I still can not seem to get through it.

Now I know what you are thinking, Dark Souls is not for me, and you would be wrong. I have gone through them all and loved them. ( except 2, nobody likes Dark Souls 2. Don’t be a liar and say you do.) Slay the Spire had been its own personal kind of hell for me, and I love it even more because of it. From every card combination that fails or works, this is one roguelike I can’t stop playing for some reason.

This guy can really go fuck himself

That 90’s Show Netflix Review

That 90’s show recently released on Netflix and as a huge fan of That 70’s show (and probably one of the 6 people on earth that enjoyed That 80’s Show) I was quite excited to see it. Admittedly I did not have much hope for it. The main cast was basically making cameos, Leia, Erik and Donna’s daughter, was essentially crashing with Red and Kitty and the new group of friends did not seem promising. In fact I watched it just to see Red and Kitty.

In fact I will die on the hill that Red and Kitty Foreman are the best part of That 90’s show,and possibly That 70’s show. This 10 episode run though was far better than I expected. They didn’t try to recapture the magic in a bottle from the original series, in fact if you pay attention it is very clear the original Point Place crew did not remain friends. I won’t go into details, but Kelsos son and Leia meet for the first time as the summer starts.

As the summer starts however and Leia is visiting you can tell there are some issues between Leia and Erik, not too different from Red and Erik despite the fact Erik is actually trying. She meets Gwen, the girl that lives next door where Donna used to live. They hit it off and after a couple days Leia wants to spend the summer, something Kitty is excited for,much to Reds dismay.

I won’t go on from here because I don’t want to spoil anything but we do get to see a new side of Red with this group of kids. A softer side in a way. This isn’t to say he isn’t the hard ass we know and love,but there are moments where you can see Red’s job as father figure is done and he embraces his role as grandfather. The show isn’t perfect, but in a lot of ways it gave me exactly what I wanted. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Chained Echoes PS5 Review

As always with these things I like to start out with a huge shout out to Publisher Deck 13 for tossing me a copy of this one to check out as well as Matthias Linda. I know it’s weird to see me toss a specific name out there but he actually developed the game himself, and for that he has my eternal gratitude.

In case you want to go into this game 100% blind like I was blessed to do, here is my quick opinion. Don’t walk to purchase this game, run. If you like RPG’s that will remind you of what many consider the golden era of the genre, this is your game. If you want to know why, keep reading.

The story starts off introducing you to what will basically be the main characters, of which there are many. There is Lenne a princess her friend and admittedly but obsessive guard Robb. My personal favorite Sienna whose one goal in life seems to be to steal anything that isn’t nailed down. This is a small portion of the characters admittedly.

Don’t worry,he doesn’t bite

The battle system is very reminiscent of Chrono Trigger in many ways, there are no random battles and you will see exactly what you are about to engage with with a few exceptions for boss battles. Another very nice thing is at the end of all battles your HP and TP will replenish completely and anyone that dropped will be revived.

This doesn’t mean you can just go all out with your best moves however. In the upper left hand corner there is an overdrive gauge. When it is yellow you will take normal damage and when it is red, that damage you take is increased. But that sweet green spot is where you want to keep it. When it is there you will take less damage and give more. Every action you or an enemy take will move that gauge. Defending will always lower it,and certain move types will also lower it but that move type changes often.

This is a level of strategy that does nothing to take away from the enjoyment of the game, in fact some of the best times I had with this game were losing a boss battle because I screwed up, trying again and winning with no issue because I managed to keep the gauge where I needed it while taking advantage of my ability to paralyze the boss with one character and attack that weakness with another. Each time I did this however it became harder to paralyze the enemy. The game doesn’t allow you to simply spam a strategy and rewards experimenting without making the game a chore.

The story itself isn’t as simple as it seems either. It starts out as a simple story of stopping the evil kingdom from taking over the continent. You however will start to notice little things intertwined that make you second guess what is going on even within your party.

By mid game I wasn’t sure if I should even trust my own people as an unexpected ode to Suikoden kicked in and I’m building my own clan and recruiting people to my island to provide various services.

I haven’t even touched on the reward system that will allow you to unlock bonus grimoire shards to help strengthen your characters and many other items. All of these are basically optional but mostly they happen as you play the game anyway and are worth doing.

This one doesn’t really bite either

There is so much to say about this game, and I am sure I missed a ton. The important thing to know here is that in about 6 years of reviewing games I have never given out a perfect score,and while that still stands this game has come closer than any other. This one is a 9.5/10 with my one and only complaint being there were a few times I managed to accidentally climb through the side of a wall while going up or down a rock ladder. This isn’t anything major and didn’t even interfere with game play,but unfortunately it does exist and it would be dishonest to not mention it. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.