TheatRhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played: 3DS
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Score: 9.2/10

Theatrhythm_Final_Fantasy_Curtain_Call_US_coverCurtain Call is the TheatRhythm game that the first should have been!
This is the second version of TheatRhythm to hit our shelves and comes jam packed full of goodies. Not to say the first wasn’t good, on the contrary it’s great! I played it for 60+ hrs and every now and than I would still pick up and have a quick blast.

My gaming background covers 90% of the Final Fantasy games released.  I own at least 1 version of every numbered series and have completed nearly every one at least once.  One of the aspects I absolutely love about the series is the music within the games. I don’t just love the music I have bought some of the official and LE soundtracks and have watched Distant Worlds at the London Albert Hall.

Taking this in mind you can see why this would be an entertaining game for me.
The game is much like the first but with a hell of a lot more tracks, 221 to be exact!. The layout of the tracks have been improved and it’s now easier to navigate through tracks, you can also place a heart against your favorite tracks and than sort through that way.  A Co-Op mode has also been added however I’ll come back to that a little later. Airship sections have been added into the field music which are okay but not as good as the normal Field levels.

The game flows a lot better than the first however issues still remain.
On ultimate difficulty I found that sometimes the touch screen doesn’t pick up your taps or strokes, this maybe due to the speed and sensitivity, it’s an improvement on the first game but seems to sometimes still happen. The other issue is with the EMS, the sections you tap does not seem to be in sync with the music at all.

theatrhythmcurtailcallheaderThe game really is just a tap and swipe in time with the music game along to Final Fantasy music but boy is it addictive!

The Co-Op is a nice addition.  It does seem to take a while to load up and find an opponent but the battle offers a different style of play with the ability to dish out status effects on your opponent which disorientates them by speeding up the symbols or blanking them out completely but while you are dishing them out so is your opponent so watch out!

The three difficultly levels are open from the start, offering you a chance to chose between Basic, Expert or Ultimate. The step up in difficulty between them are quite big so you may want to watch yourself however I find the once you have played a few of the tracks on Ultimate it’s the only way to play!

Few other mentions
– The RM is no longer capped at 99999 as I currently stand at 171248rm
– if you don’t feel you have enough tracks there are 50 more for you to download through DLC and a few more characters too! This is more justified over the first game as you have over 200 tracks built into the game already.
– 65 Characters to unlock and play as.  Once you hit level 99 you can reset them and start again
– Tracks of the day! there will be 5 Tracks of the day to chose.  These give you small bonuses

The Quest medleys are separated into 4 sections including Short, Medium, Long and Inherited.  These are sections where you travel along a path playing random field or battle tracks to progress.  At the end you have a boss who will drop items or crystals to unlock new characters.  This is a good way to play new tracks but once completed and the next one is unlocked I found the difficulty spiked very quickly.  Not an issue for me but may be to difficult for some.

All in all over 80hrs of happy gaming and I still go back for more.  Personally this type of pick up and play game never gets boring.  You will find yourself humming along to tracks, hording items you will never need and sometimes get frustrated but I promise you if you are a fan of Final Fantasy and you have a 3DS this is a must buy!

Enjoy

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Persona 4

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  Vita
Publisher(s): NIS America
Developer(s): Atlus
Release Date: February 22, 2013
Score: 9.5/10

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After the incredible experience I had with Persona 3 I was really looking forward to playing the 4th instalment but I was advised to play it on the Vita. The issue at the time being that I did not own a Vita and really wanted to get the PS2 version, however like a good boy I decided to wait.

And wait I did!

Persona 3 had a fantastic story, it was dark and humorous and the battle system was new and fresh however its main downfall was the repetitive dungeon, it was so boring that towards the end not even the battle system could stop me dodging enemies and running up and up flights of stairs. I should mention at this point that I played the PSP version.

Anyway jump forward a couple of years and I pick up a brand new Vita along with Persona 4. From what I heard from a close friend of mine and a forum I visit was that this game is worth owning a Vita for so when I had the funds I bought a Vita…………..Just for this game!
There are other benefits to owning a vita especially if you have PS+ but I’ll leave that for another review.

Persona 4, from the off the story really grips you, the game looks beautiful on the Vita’s OLED screen the music oh man the music sticks in your head but in a great way! The music is catchy and although it repeats it never seems to get boring!
Every character you meet is instantly likeable even if you don’t think you will ever warm to them at first and as this game spends so much time with character development you grow attached to them. As my friend told me once he finished the game, “it’s like losing an old friend” and that’s what happens when it’s all over, you feel so close to them that when it’s all over you feel an empty space where they used to be. This is the power of great story telling and character development and Atlas does it perfectly!

title34The battle system is more of the same if you have played Persona 3 Portable which is no real bad thing but the best thing that has been improved is the dungeons. No longer are you walking around endless corridors all looking bland and the same but different colours. Persona 4 takes place inside a TV world and each dungeon has its own original designed, music and humour, I didn’t mind level grinding in this game at all and never once wanted to rush any of the dungeons.

The story is the games strong point, it has darkness it has a ton of humour and it has twists and strong characters which all make up for a perfect game.

My first playthrough took around 80 hours and not once did I want to finish playing. Persona 4 was worth buying a Vita for

Jak III [HD Collection]

•August 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Release Date: November 9, 2004
Score: 6.2/10

Jak_3_CoverartAfter the awful Jak2 I went into the third with low expectations! It wasn’t too long until my first disappointment! the guns were back but what’s this? a slight improvement with the auto aim! wow at least that’s something but wait! also improvement with health packs in missions and checkpoints glorious checkpoints!

While being in the new area the game really steps up from Jak2, the transportation around the wastelands using these dino creatures (I really didn’t pay that much attention to what they actually were) handle pretty well and when you knock into someone you don’t get hordes of enemies come at you.  Then you get a road vehicle to travel around the outside of the wastelands, these handle like a wet tampon! they slide for no reason, you get attacked from all areas and cars drive under you which manage to flip you over! The worst of the worse is the landscape which has bits where your vehicle gets stuck or you climb up the wall or you get flipped up by rocks.  As bad as this is it’s no way as bad as the hover vehicles from the second game.

Everything seems to be going fine than you have to go back to the city! FFS why. WHHHHHHHHHHHHHY I really hate it here. It’s better however than the Jak2 because the security isn’t all around and you don’t have to do any silly races with the hover things which are still bad to control.  The missions here become worse and this is where the game nosedives for me.  As much as an improvement of having the city in ruins it still makes you travel from one end to the other to get mission however it’s not as far.

There were some difficult main missions again but with the aid of checkpoints and extra health packs this made the game flow a lot better and more to the point I wasn’t getting as angry!

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******SPOILERS******

My biggest issue with this game comes with the section before the end boss! you have to take him down from this giant walking alien spider looking craft with 6 legs.  Each leg has points to shoot however you have to do it in one of those cars which I complained about earlier.  The thing moves pretty fast and also fires shit at you not to mention that if one of the feet comes down it can kill you in one hit! Also things that can kill you instantly are driving to quickly at it’s legs and driving into water.  As well as bumpy terrain to deal with and the fast pace of the enemy my biggest issue is the car.  The aim of the guns are out of your control and half the time they are shooting down at the ground which means you can be right next to what it is you need to shoot at and just hit the floor!  Wouldn’t an autolock be of use here? I mean how simple would it have been to add one!  Not only this but some of the points to shoot are at the front which means you have to get in front of this thing and turn around, bu the time you have managed this it’s already past you.

Not really difficult but a pain in the ass none the less.

The end boss himself is no way as bad as Jak2, I rather they made him harder and got rid of the car level!

*****END*****

The side quests are too many, 600 hidden eggs for gold! luckily like 2 there is a glitch that can be abused if you wish.  The Metal Heads Gold Gems are everywhere and you can get the Gold Trophy pretty quickly which is a bit of a shame as there is no challenge like the previous game.

All in all an improvement on Jak2 but again it’s not a patch on the first game.  Story holds up pretty well and it’s funny in places but I wont be playing it again!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

•August 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Score: 8.7/10

The_Legend_of_Zelda_A_Link_Between_Worlds_NA_coverI loved A Link to the Past on the SNES! The music was catchy, the world was immersive and the dungeons provided some thought and skill to get through as well as a dark storyline.
A Link between Worlds feels very much familiar which is no bad thing, having the ability to hire every weapon from the start of the game lets you chose your own path and also stops you having to see something and remember it’s there until you have that certain item or weapon to achieve it.  My only issue with the game is it’s too easy! just under 20hrs of gameplay I managed to collect everything and die! um 0 times! not one death, at first when it popped up and told me I was feeling good about myself and only once i thought about it I was a little saddened by the lack of challenge the game provided.  In games like Zelda there should be puzzles that make you stop and think about it! challenging area’s that make you do it differently when you fail! I think even kids need some sort of challenge in a game otherwise how will you learn or get that sense of achievement?

Something new that the game brings is the ability to turn into a painting on the wall, this opens up more possibility for puzzles but I don’t think Nintendo used it’s full potential which is a shame.  Having said all that the story is great, the game can be picked up and played by absolutly anyone and you don’t even need to have played any other Zelda game in the series.

Recommended to all! fun and short with hours of entertainment I wasn’t bored once!

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Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

•August 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  PS4
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Score: 8.8/10

Assassin's_Creed_IV_-_Black_Flag_coverBit behind on everything I have finished this year so apart from the Jak2 review I just posted where I needed to get a lot off my chest this game I actually liked which normally means a shorter review!  As you guessed I find it easier to bitch about games than say “yep I liked it”

I really like the Assassin’s Creed games, ever since the first one which was a bit repetitive but I still actually enjoyed it.  I mean it has collectables, you can climb up to high buildings and look around and think to yourself that if you wanted to you can go everywhere you can see! Heck I even liked Assassin’s Creed 3 (well apart from the actual character)

Assassin’s Creed 4 looks outstanding on the PS4, the weather being one of the things that really grabs your attention when first playing.  When a storm comes you can see the rain dynamics change, palm trees blowing in the wind, viability minimizing and rain bouncing off the ground! for me this is a bigger leap forward on next gen than the actual graphics themselves.

Unfortunatly nothing has changed with the running mechanics, you can still get caught on things, you will still end up trying to run up walls when trying to escape from soldiers and you will most defiantly just fall off buildings! But hey! we have put up with it for 4 games so why change it eh!

Traveling around on a boat really does give you satisfaction, spotting a ship and deciding then and there that you want to board it and take it’s good is a fantastic feeling although it does get repetitive once you near the end of the game.  Again there are a whole host of sidequest but again there are a whole host of the same sidequests.

Story isn’t to bad either but something that has changed and that’s money! unlike previous AC games where after 10 hours you have more money than items to upgrade or places to purchase this version requires you to fork out a lot more.  In a way this is better as you don’t feel invincible after such a short time and you do want to do more sidequests in order to unlock extras for your character or ship.

You can send out ships for a small sum to retrieve money and items however to do this safely you will need to play a small mini game which I wasn’t too fond of and neither will you be after the 30th time!

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Sailing like I said above is actually quite fun and for those who don’t want to spend all your time on a boat shouting ARRRRR there is a fast track available to places you have already visited! but for me I love traveling by the boat, watching the weather change, avoiding enemies and looting ships and islands for money and items.

The other side of the game where you are out of the animus is a lot shorter after complains from previous games but I for one enjoyed the Desmond levels as it provides a welcome change.

All in all being a pirate is a welcome addition to the Assassin’s Creed world, not sure how I feel about going back to city based games however co-op assassins does interest me!

Jak II [HD Collection]

•August 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  PS3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Release Date: October 14, 2003
Score: 4.0/10

256px-JakIIboxI never got to play Jak II when it came out and I can’t remember why!  however I did play and love the first game.  I recently thanks to PS+ managed to get the HD collection and went back through the first one which I finished 100% and really enjoyed it.  This really set me up for the second game, along with the outstanding reviews this game got at the time boosted my excitement to play it.

However how wrong could I be! This has to be one of the most frustrating games I have ever played.  I like games that are challenging! Ninja Gaiden and Demon’s Souls being two of the hardest games I have come across where you get a sense of achievement once you have completed difficult patches! This isnt like that at all.  The game’s major issue is the lack of checkpoints and health packs.  You progress the game with the same health you have at the very start and most enemies will take off two bars of health leaving you just four hits to die! combine this with a lack of save points or even in some cases no checkpoints at all and you have a very challenging game.  Take one mission for example which doesn’t have any health packs, no checkpoints and to top it off it has instant deaths! for a platform game does this sound like fun to you?  Games like Mario prove you can have levels which are challenging but fun at the same time! you want to play on, you want to collect things but with Jak II all I wanted to do was get to the end and I feel bad for thinking this.

It’s easier if I just create a list of things I don’t like about the game!

* The Map
The map is just awful, I can see why they have gone for an open world with population wondering around especially after games like GTA but the open work is just too big.  They have a lot of missions in area’s which are too far apart and then add time limits! there are guards everywhere and just clipping them will have every one of them trying to hunt you down and the worst of the worst is the population! try doing a timed run where you have to go through rings around the city without knowing where the next ring will be and then have endless traffic blocking the ring you want to go through! very frustrating indeed!

* The Camera
The camera wouldn’t be an issue if enemies only came at you from the front but they don’t! sometimes you will have to protect people with enemies coming at you from all directions and you wont see them until it’s too late.  Games that have this sort of thing have a more far out view which offers you a wider area to see whats coming.  Another area see’s boulders coming down a mountain while you try to get to the top but again the camera isn’t far out enough to see what’s actually coming at you.  That as well as the boulders instantly changing direction on their decent sets you up for a fall!

*Guns
Who doesn’t love guns in games but here you get guns that you can’t actually target anything! just kind of aim in the direction of an enemy, pull the trigger and hope the AI finds you a target! I swear that half my ammo is wasted hitting just air and there is nothing I can do amount it!  Some lock on option should have been added!

*Too much
I like veriaty in games but it really should be added as side quests and not part of the main game.  I think JakII loses it’s platform style when forcing you to play mini games as part of the story.  There is a wack-a-mole game, Hoverboard tricks, Shooting range, Races (4 of them) and a game where you have to tap symbols as they appear.  All this could have been optional!

*Too difficult and too long
For a platform game 20+ hours just completing the main story is way too long.  If I was playing an RPG sure id expect 30hrs minimum but a platformer should be around 10-15hrs excluding sidequests.  It’s also very difficult for what it is.  I understand that completing it unlocks a Hero mode but there really should have been more options or as I said above checkpoints and health packs would have solved this issue.

*Music is dull
Says it all, there music gets annoying when walking around the city and even when you get caught although it does match the surroundings so there is an argument for the dreary music! But as I am spending most of my time in the main area something catchy would have been better

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So what are the games good points?
Well I am still playing it to the end but I fear that’s more committed then actually wanting to finish it.  There is still some humour to the game but again not as good as the first game.  The story isn’t bad.

That’s pretty much it! I am not sure if my feeling would have changed if I played this on release but as it stands it’s one of the worst gaming experiences I have ever had.  Even collecting the eggs isn’t fun as they are spaced out and there doesn’t seem to be any indication as to where they are!

Lightning Returns

•March 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Format Played:  PS3
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix & tri-Ace
Release Date: February 14, 2014
Score: 6.5/10

Lightning_Returns_Final_Fantasy_XIII_Cover_ArtTick Tock Tick Tock it’s all against the clock!
While I feel the series has gone downhill and that they should concentrate on releasing a new number rather than push lightning onto us for a third time (Although technically she wasn’t really a big part of the second game) this game isn’t really at that bad.

My biggest issue is the change from previous Final Fantasy games and how you level up. Now change is good if done correctly but I dislike the way that you have to do boring fetch side quests and awful side stories in order to gain EXP instead of killing stuff! I’d probably done the side quests anyway but I’ve always liked fighting to gain experience, it’s true to life that the more you do something the better you should be at it.
My other gripe comes in the form of a clock! I dislike timed based games; I don’t want to feel pressured into rushing through places especially in an RPG where you really want to explore. The timer can be stopped for brief periods of time so long as you have beaten enough monsters (which can be an issue later on for reasons I won’t mention here). Turns out that near the end of the game I had loads of time spare so unlike myself if you are reading this before playing just know that you have a lot more time than you expect especially if you do the side quests and save souls.

The game itself looks worse than the previous two. I don’t know if this is just going back to a PS3 game after playing the PS4 but I did put in the second game and that did look a lot more polished. I am not sure how they have made it look worse using the same engine, my only thought is that the game may have been rushed. There are also lots of glitches, within the first hour of playing I came across a chap trying to walk through a wall! Everywhere around the town are people bumping into each other, I also witnessed a kid falling down, getting back up and falling down constantly! One more on the subject and that’s the cut scenes, now it is nice to have a scene shown to you with in game graphics but when your character can be barged out of the way and sometimes out of camera shot by an AI is really bad game mechanics! One time my chocobo’s feathers was all I could see during one whole scene and the characters chatting were behind him!

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Having said all this it’s nice having big places to explore worlds back in Final Fantasy games. The battle system is excellent and I love having the ability to change what you are wearing during battle it brings back memories of the underrated Final Fantasy X-2 (which is now out on HD remastered). I do miss having other characters in my party but I can accept this in this game!

The game is designed for more than one play through but I managed to do nearly everything in one 65hour session. The only thing that annoyed me at this is an ability you only get during a new game + stopping anyone getting 100% of trophies on a single run through. Those last remaining 3 trophies for synthesize is what has stopped me get a platinum and that has annoyed me a little.

The soundtrack takes some memorable tunes from the previous two games which is no bad thing unless you are purchasing the soundtrack. The story isn’t very good at all. The start is very religion heavy which can be a turn off straight away and you just don’t get gripped about what is going on at all.

Reading through my own review makes it sound like I thought the game was rubbish but it really wasn’t I just feel that it was worse than the previous two of the series and maybe should have never really been made.

Take what you will from my review, I did play it to near on 100% so it can’t have been that bad right?
the battle system really is what kept me at this game and my love for Final Fantasy, I just hoped that the next game lives up to the hype!