Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst Review: Ya Gotta Believe It!

Naruto Image 1
This is the face that even my sleep paralysis demons are afraid of…

Naruto is a series that has been around for ages and will never truly disappear. This anime series revolves around the titular Naruto, a young Ninja with demon fox sealed inside his body. Using the powers of this fox, Naruto is granted abilities far beyond that of an average ninja. He uses these powers to fight against evil villains, pass his tests, and to a turn into a scantily clad woman for no reason.

Naruto is a series that just cannot die, since it’s already gotten 4 different anime and nearly a dozen motion pictures. There’s also the games, of which there are too many to count. By far, the most popular series of games in this franchise are the “Ultimate Ninja Storm” games. The Ultimate Ninja Storm games spun-off from the Ultimate Ninja Series and quickly overtook them in popularity.

The idea behind the Storm games is that they are fully 3D arena fighters that cover the ENTIRE Naruto story and give you an insane amount of characters to play with. Today, I’ve decided to talk about the third numbered game in the series, the aptly titled “Naruto: Ultimate Nina Storm 3”.

Naruto Image 2
That’s too many Naruto’s for one fox to handle!

I know I should probably cover the games in the order they were released, but I decided I’d go backwards this time around! So, let’s talk about this game! The plot of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is that our titular hero has just defeated a member of the Atasuki named “Pain”. After tangling with this terrible tyrant, Naruto is hailed as a hero in his hometown.

Unfortunately for the young ninja, a war is looming over the horizon. With the villainous Akatsuki planning to use the moon in an evil scheme to mind-control everyone, it’s up to Naruto and friends to put a stop to it! I’m oversimplifying the plot quite a bit, but that’s the general gist of it.

The game’s story mode is rather lengthy, which is surprising for a fighting game. It has 7 hours worth of cutscenes alone, which makes the already long campaign much longer. I’m not an avid Naruto watcher, but I hear that the story mode covers the story of Naruto quite well.

That’s a lot of content already, but it gets better! The game features over 80 playable characters, along with a ton of alternate costumes for a bunch of them. You can unlock every character by simply playing through the story mode. Several fighters have their own unique gimmicks or abilities, adding some variation to the characters you play as. For example, Kankuro is technically two characters in one: A puppet-master and his puppet. You control Kakuro and have to move your puppet in the direction of the enemy to attack him.

Naruto Image 3
“Don’t mind me, just destroying your village.”

While fighters like that can certainly mix up the roster, too many characters feel a bit too similar to one another. Doesn’t help that the game has a jillion different versions of both Naruto and Sasuke. Still, there’s enough unique characters on the roster that the game never really feels too stale.

The game plays like most other 3D arena fighters, but with a few things to mix it up. You have two opponents going at each other, but each combatant can summon two support partners to attack the enemy. You also have a wide range of items you can use in battle, which can sometimes turn the tide in a sticky situation. You have your standard healing items, but also secondary weapons and traps that can do some minor damage.

While the game has many arenas for one to do battle in, they don’t offer any unique stage hazards or gimmicks. They’re sadly just the typical arenas you’d find in this kind of game. Regardless of the lacking arenas, the combat and general gameplay loop is still quite a lot of fun.

Graphically, this game is impressive for something that came out 7 years ago. The cell-shaded visuals bring the animated world of Naruto to life, to the point where some cut-scenes in the game look better than the anime scenes they were based on! These scenes are spectacular, though the quick-time events that play during these segments would sometimes distract me from fully getting into it.

Last thing I want to touch on is the music and voice-acting. The soundtrack for this game is pretty solid and perfectly mimics that of the TV show. The entire voice-cast of the anime returns to play their characters here, which is pretty common for Naruto games. It’s become less common for anime games in general to have English voice-acting in this day and age, so it was definitely great to see it here.

This was definitely a solid fighting game experience, at least in my eyes. It’s just such a well put-together fighting game, something the Switch definitely needs more of. Oh yeah, did I mention I bought the Switch version of this game? I’d say it’s probably the best way to play this game, due to being able to take it on the run. Couple that with the fact that you can buy it in a trilogy pack (which includes the first 2 games as well) for a rather cheap price, and you have a recipe for an incredibly accessible gaming experience.

Sure, the game isn’t all that unique when compared to other anime fighting games. On top of this, the amount of quick-time events is pretty excessive. Regardless of those minor things, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3: Full Burst is truly an amazing experience. With a wide roster spanning over 80 fighters, a lengthy story mode, and fun combat, Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is certainly a wild wind that’ll carry you through its amazing world.

Snack World Review: A Tasty and Rather Fun Game!

Crystal Sword

Japanese games are some of my favorites! Don’t get me wrong, I’ll love the occasional game made in America or Canada. However, a lot of major game companies have become hard to trust as of late. Due to shady business practices, unfinished games, and the inability to treat the customer well, I’ve become disenfranchised with major game publishers and developers. However, Japanese game studios tend to be a lot better on this front.

The games Japan puts out aren’t always winners, but at least there’s more effort put into them. Case and point: Level-5. These are the guys behind awesome games like Yokai Watch, Ni No Kuni, Professor Layton, Fantasy Life, and many others. If you play a lot of Japanese games, then you’ve probably bumped into this developer at least once or twice.

One of their most recent games has finally made its way west after being in “localization hell” for 2 years! This game finally came to North America and slipped under most people’s radars. This obscure gem was released on Valentine’s Day and it’s probably one of my favorite Switch games so far! Without further adieu, let’s talk about “Snack World”!

The game takes place in the titular Snack World, which mixes sci-fi with classic fantasy. In this world, half of the economy seems to be based around selling trading cards of Princess Melonia, a stuck-up and selfish daddy’s girl who has half the kingdom swooning over her. You play as a custom character and wake up in “Tutti Frutti”, a nearby city that just happens to house Melonia and a gaggle of other silly characters.

3 Genies
You ain’t never had friends like these!

Working alongside a silver-haired wannabe hero named Chup, you set out on quests to fulfill Melonia’s seemingly pointless requests. While this happens, a maniacal villain looms in the background and you eventually have to rise up and defeat him. It’s typical fantasy stuff, nothing too revolutionary or extreme.

However, there’s one thing that makes the story and its characters excel beyond the kind you’d find in a typical kids game: The writing. This game is stuffed with adult jokes and fourth-wall breaks, which is probably its strongest feature. The writing even carries over into the side-quests, which are some of the most ridiculous quests I’ve ever taken part in.

There’s a quest that involves a romance subplot between two ant monsters, another quest where you beat people up and then hold a concert for a mermaid pop idol, and even one where you discover a forest ranger’s “forbidden passion”. The game is just so over the top in how it delivers its content and I love every second of it!

Honestly, I could just ramble about the writing all day, but I do have to discuss the combat and gameplay. The game is your typical dungeon-crawler, but with a few twists. For one thing, you keep all the items you’ve gathered if you die on a quest. I can’t tell you how much of a god-send this is, because it means that I’ll never lose a really good item if I mess up!

Speaking of items, the game is SWIMMING in loot! There’s tons of weapons to collect, armor/clothing to craft, and accessories to equip.  The game doesn’t hand out a lot of these at the start, so you’ll need to grind to get most of them. The game’s constant grinding is both its strongest and weakest element at the same time.

It’s strong because it’s fun to grind, especially due to the randomized dungeons giving a lot of replay value. It’s weak because the game’s RNG seems to be all over the place most of the time and the randomized dungeons tend to get old after a while. Thankfully, the game does things to circumvent the grind a bit. For example, some weapons can boost rare item drop rate. You can also boost your Luck skill to help with drop rates.

The game’s combat is pretty basic, but fun. You have access to a number of weapons called “Jaras”, which you can switch to on the fly. The game lets you auto-equip these Jaras before a mission and lets you switch to them in combat with a single button-press. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me in a pickle!

From there, you just bop enemies with a weapon they’re weak against until they fall down. The game has an insane variety of enemies and bosses to do battle with, making the combat always feel rewarding. On top of this, various NPCs and monsters can join your side as “Snacks”.

You can bring up to 3 of these Snacks into a battle and they’ll help you in combat. While this is a great feature, it can be somewhat broken at times. Some Snacks are just way too overpowered to the point of breaking the game. For example, you can basically become unbeatable in most scenarios if you have 3 “Spritely Old Men” on your team.

Graphically, the game looks pretty good. It is pretty easy to tell that this game was ported over from the 3DS, but the visual fidelity was increased to fit better with the Switch. While I have never played the original version, I can definitely say that the developers did a good job at giving this game a new coat of paint.

If I had any major problem with this game, it’d be the voice-acting. The voice-acting isn’t the worst, but each character and monster only has a few recorded audio lines each. They’ll repeat these few voice lines several times, to the point where you’ll want to rip off your own ears after a few chapters.

While the repeated voice lines are annoying, they aren’t a deal-breaker. What may be a deal-breaker for a lot of people is the price. This game is 65 dollars Canadian, which I feel is a bit excessive. While the game definitely has enough content to warrant its high price, it just lacks the polish of most 60 dollar games.

Regardless, it is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend. The gameplay is fun, combat has a nice rhythm to it, and the online multiplayer is pretty damn good. If you’re on the fence about this game, then it’s best to wait for a sale. I’d say that this game is a pretty solid dungeon crawler with good writing and fun characters, but it sadly doesn’t offer much beyond that. There’s no gameplay mix-ups here, just good old-fashioned slashing and looting. However, that’s all I was looking for when it came to this game, so it definitely filled that void!

Miitopia Is A Bizarre and Awesome Social Experiment of A Game

Why yes, that is Princess Bubblegum dancing with the Powerpuff Girls, Captain Falcon from F-Zero, Rock Lee from Naruto, and Bowser from the Mario games.

Nintendo is a company that most people who have played video-games have heard of. They’ve been leading the pack when it comes to game development for decades now and it’s not hard to see why. Of course, Nintendo is also no stranger to experimentation. A ton of their video-games and consoles have been experiments of some caliber, some of which are successful and others not.

However, one of the most interesting things they did with their video-games was introduce the “Mii”. With the release of the Nintendo Wii, the company created a new concept entirely for said console. The Mii was and still is a custom avatar created by the player, one that could be inserted into games to act as a playable character.

While this was a cool concept, there sadly wasn’t a game that made proper use of it for the longest time. Tomodachi Life and Miitomo were sadly gimmicky versions of this concept and both of them failed to make good use of the Miis as characters. The Miis were thrown into games on newer consoles, only for them to end up as mediocre affairs. This all changed with “Miitopia”, which may be the most interesting game Nintendo ever put out.

I certainly don’t remember this happening in a Nintendo Direct!

Miitopia was a pretty average, yet surprisingly solid turn-based RPG. It had everything you’d expect from a JRPG: Taking turns in combat, leveling up, getting new gear, staying at inns, choosing from weird character classes, etc. However, there was one thing this game did that set it apart from any other game on the market. The game had you casting Miis as your playable characters, allowing you to fill the roles of the game’s characters with real people. Heck, you could even cast other fictional characters from different franchises as the game’s cast!

I think this was the game’s most interesting appeal: The ability to have any character in fiction play the role of any character in the game. The crossover potential for this feature is INSANE. This gets especially crazy if you use “Mii Central”, which will put random custom Miis in the roles of all the game’s side characters. For example, I ran into a travelling food connoisseur played by SPIDER-MAN! I also got several villagers who were characters from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Star Wars, and the Legend of Zelda games.

In essence, this is what Miitopia is all about. This was the key selling point, especially for a game as simplistic as this. If Miitopia had released as just another turn-based RPG, then nobody would’ve touched it. The ability to cast characters as your heroes gives it this level of replay value undreamed of.

The game runs on its player-made content, giving it a wealth of potentially interesting characters to pull from. The fact that you can actually vote on which characters you’d like to see get cast gives it this feeling of being a part of a “community”. This is surprising, especially when you consider the fact that this game has no multiplayer compatibility to speak of.

This is honestly what makes the game so great, the fact that it unites us when we’re not playing together. These are OUR custom characters that we made and let loose into this Nintendo service, and seeing them end up in a silly 3DS game certainly warms my heart. I think that’s where Miitopia shines, feeling like this great experiment on how to unite players without actually bringing them together.

This is why I consider Miitopia to be more of a “social experiment”, rather than just another game. It allowed the creativity of millions of goofballs around the world to coalesce into this collage of craziness. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever anything quite like Miitopia again, which is a shame.

Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid Review

Would you believe me if I told you that wasn’t a Megazord?

Time to talk about Power Rangers, which is surprisingly a topic I’ve never gotten into on my blog. I love Power Rangers, or at least I used to growing up. The original series and several of its sequel seasons were near and dear to my heart. Power Rangers was one of those series that just never ended, which resulted in it jumping from copyright holder to copyright holder.

The franchise is currently in the hands of toy manufacturer, “Hasbro”, who have been making some fun and interesting changes to the series. For one thing, we have “Power Rangers: Beast Morphers”, which may be the single best season of the show in nearly a decade!

With yet another film reboot of Power Rangers coming soon, it only made sense for Hasbro to commission a new Power Rangers game! This is where game the studio known as “nWay Games” comes into play. They developed the Power Rangers game, “Legacy Wars”, and were brought into both develop and co-publish this new game.

What we got was “Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid”, a fun and somewhat bare-bones fighting game. Battle For The Grid is a set in an alternate version of the show’s very first iteration, “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers”. Our heroes are attacked by “Lord Drakken”, an evil version of Tommy Oliver (The Green/White Ranger) from an alternate timeline and his evil goons.

Green Ranger: The only guy badass enough to use a dagger as a flute.

The original Rangers are then pulled into a struggle that involves a bunch of Rangers from other teams as well. The Rangers must now work together and stop Drakken from destroying everything! This is the plot of the game’s story mode, which is sadly really lacking. For one thing, a lot of the cheesy charm of Power Rangers is lost in this story, due to it taking a backseat to a darker narrative.

While Power Rangers had been dark before, this was mainly exclusive to the films and shows. The games often played off the light-hearted elements of the early seasons. I get why they went the darker route, since this was based off the extremely dark “Shattered Grid” storyline from the comics. While that comic was definitely great, it sadly does not translate well to a story-mode that is only about 2-3 hours long.

It’s not a terrible story, but it feels lacking for something that’s bringing together over 20 seasons (and a recent motion picture) together into one big crossover. That’s enough about the story, let’s talk about how this game plays! The thing about Battle For The Grid is that its combat system is pretty simplistic.

You do attacks with each individual button and guard by pressing the opposite direction on the D-pad. You also have your typical special attacks, which you activate by filling up a bar. You then duke it out with your opponent in a 3-on-3 battle! If all this sounds a lot like the “Marvel Vs. Capcom series”, then that’s because Battle For The Grid takes a lot of inspiration from it.

From the crossover aspect to the selection of 3 team members for a match, it’s clear that the developers have played a fair bit of MvC. While a 3-on-3 fighter isn’t a bad thing for this game to be, it’s lacking roster harms this concept. You only get 12 characters in the base game’s roster, while 3 others are included with the season pass.

Man, Rita’s really aged well over the past 25 years!

This lacking roster is one of the game’s biggest weaknesses. While the combat is fun, the lack of variety in playable characters hurts it in the long run. The minuscule roster means there’s less choices for meaningful team builds. While all 15 characters do play differently, the lack of options definitely hurts it in the long run.

There’s also the fact that the roster only covers a select number of Power Rangers shows. Most of the characters are from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, or the comics based off the show. All the other characters are random picks from across the franchise, most of which being sixth rangers or one-off characters that only appeared once or twice.

It feels less like the roster was picked based on what fans actually wanted, and more like the developers just picked random Rangers from a hat. I’ve harped enough about the roster, let’s move onto the game’s graphics and sounds! The game looks pretty nice graphically, especially for a game I played on Nintendo Switch. All the characters are designed very well and are true to how they look in the shows.

The game’s story mode also features some cool “comic book” styled cut-scenes, but these are far and few between. The music is what you’d expect from a Power Rangers game, which includes a lot of heavy rock. However, the game designers didn’t include any of the original songs from the show. There’s no “Go Gold Ranger”, “White Ranger Tiger Power”, or any theme song from the original shows present here.

It’s a shame, since I’d love to finally hear all those jamming tunes put in a game! With all that being said, let me sum up my thoughts: This game is middle-of-the-road. It’s not a terrible game, but it’s lacking a lot of meaningful features. While there are a fair amount of modes on offer here, there’s no real reason to indulge in a lot of them. Arcade Mode is the biggest offender, offering no real substantial rewards for beating it with each individual character.

The story mode is only a few hours long and the roster is way too small. Regardless, I had fun with this game! While the story mode was short and repetitive, it did bring back a lot of the original cast and some good soundalikes. While the combat is simplistic, it’s still very fun and easy to get a hold of.

If you’re a Power Rangers fan, I highly suggest checking this game out! However, do not buy the season pass! It’s a bit overpriced, especially since it doesn’t give you that much new content. I honestly regret buying it, and I feel that I should’ve just got the base game on its own instead.

Considering the base game is only about 20 bucks, it’s not that expensive of a purchase. It’s a fun budget game, but not much more than that. Still, it’s definitely one of the better Power Rangers games to come out of the franchise! That’s my thoughts on the new Power Rangers game. It’s fun, but lacks a lot in many departments. Oh well, at least it’s still better than that crummy Lightspeed Rescue game!

This better not be a remake of “Agony In Pink”!

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: Black Order Review

Spider Squad
Wait, I don’t remember Venom being in Spider-Verse…

Comic books are a medium that will never truly die. Sure, the sales for comics are lower than they have ever been right now, but that hasn’t stopped a stream of film adaptations being made every year. This is especially true for Marvel Comics! Despite the fact that their comic imprint is pretty much dead, they are still making billions at the box office with their “Marvel Cinematic Universe” films.

The MCU has become the biggest money-maker in Hollywood and is a giant interconnected web of over 20 films and numerous TV shows. Of course, these aren’t the only things that spawned from the films. There’s also Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, a sequel/reboot to a classic game series that merges the comics with the films very well! With that being said, let’s talk about this game and what makes it so great!

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order is the third entry in the franchise, while also being a definitive reboot for the series as a whole. It ditches established continuity in order to take elements from the many other Marvel continuities. The game focuses on the “Infinity War” plot-line from both the comics and the past couple Avengers films.

However, this game does a lot things different than its comic and film counterparts. Instead of making a straight-up adaptation of Infinity War, the quest for the Infinity Stones is used to take the players on a fantastical journey through the Marvel universe.

You fight numerous villains along the way, many of whom possess the fabled Infinity Stones. It’s your job to beat up the bad guys, join forces with over 30 classic Marvel heroes and villains, and stop Thanos from making the universe “not feel so good”. The story is basic, but it has a couple interesting twists that manages to make the main quest entertaining throughout.

However, the story isn’t the big draw of the game, that award goes to the game-play! Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a dungeon-crawling action RPG at its heart. You pick a team of 4 superheroes from a list of over 30 and then fight through hoards of henchmen and super-villains. With each of the 36 heroes having different powers, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, it makes choosing the right team a daunting task.

The game-play is pretty basic and is generally easy to get a hold of. You have your four superheroes, which you can switch to at will with a single button tap. Each hero has regular attacks and a set of four upgradable special attacks. The abilities for each hero tend to be distinctive and helps give each hero a unique flare. For example, Spider-Man can web enemies up and keep them from attacking, while Doctor Strange has several magical spells that are good at crowd control.

Making 36 playable characters distinct is truly a tremendous feat! What’s more tremendous than the amount of playable characters is the insane upgrade system in this game! You have special magical crystals called “ISO-8s”, which boost your stats and abilities. There’s also a large upgrade tree that’ll take months worth of game-play to fully fill out!

While the upgrade and equipment system is pretty fun, the game is way too grind-heavy. All of the characters in the game have to be leveled up individually, which means you’ll have to replay a lot of repetitive quests to get new characters up to the level of your current party.

Unfortunately, that’s the game’s biggest problem: It’s repetitive nature. The game offers a campaign that’ll run you a dozen hours at most, and it re-uses all of its boss fights and story missions in the “Infinity Trials”. These are special harder versions of missions in the story mode. While this sounds cool, they don’t do anything too new or different from the story missions. They just function like harder versions of pre-existing missions, while lacking in distinctive variation. While the Infinity Trials can offer new objectives and toss in a couple distinct challenges, these missions still lack in meaningful changes.

Let’s move onto the game’s presentation, which is stellar for a game of this ilk! The graphics are nice and cartoonish, which give the game a fun “comic book-y” feel. The game’s music is the kind of music you’d normally hear in a superhero game, nothing too special there. However, the game’s voice-cast is what truly sells the game’s presentation!

Nicholas Cage
I can’t help but read this line in Nicholas Cage’s voice.

If you’ve grown up with any Marvel cartoon, video-game, or animated special in the past year, then you’ll definitely recognize the voices on offer here. Marvel and Disney went all out and hired back voice-actors from hundreds of different projects to come back to voice their characters. It’s one of the most stellar voice-casts ever assigned to a licensed video-game! Yuri Lowenthal as Spider-Man, Steven Blum as Venom and Wolverine, and Nolan North as Deadpool are just a few standout pearls in this ocean of amazing talent.

While the game looks and sounds awesome, it unfortunately has quite a few performance issues. For one thing, the game chugs when there’s too much going on. Whenever action fills the screen, expect your frame-rate to slow down considerably. Worse still, the game’s demanding graphics tends to kick the fans into over-drive. This causes the fans to go into over-time, which does burn through quite a bit of power. I’m hoping this does get patched later down the line.

With all this being said, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a fantastic time! The insane amount of characters, fantastic voice-acting, great visuals, and fun game-play definitely sell the title. However, it is hampered by its repetitive nature and occasional performance issues. The game is pure fun, but don’t expect anything “unique” or “life-changing”. It’s just a fun action game, which is all I could ask for!

Doctor Octogonapus
Never thought I’d see Doctor Octopus’ original design again! We need MORE classic Doc Ock action!

Dragon’s Dogma For Nintendo Switch Review

Fantasy adventures are the best kind one can have, at least in my opinion. Nothing beats a good old swords & sorcery quest over an ancient land, while fighting off giant monsters and collecting tons of gold. I’ll take a good medieval fantasy adventure to a sci-fi space opera any day! That’s why I dig Dragon’s Dogma, because it’s an epic fantasy adventure in its purest form.

This was an open-world RPG that focused on having great action, characters, and lore. The game started off obscure at first, but quickly gained a large and dedicated fan-base. As a result, this RPG has been ported to every gaming platform imaginable! This resulted in the game being brought over to the Nintendo Switch, which is currently the hottest console on the market.

Dragon’s Dogma is a hard game to describe to those who have never played it, especially for people who just look at videos or screenshots of it. A person may be fooled into thinking that this game is some kind of cheap cash-grab RPG made in Europe, due to its dated graphics and low price-tag.

However, Dragon’s Dogma isn’t really like that at all. In fact, it’s one of the most immersive and entertaining modern Japanese Role-Playing Games made in a long time! It does have its faults, but they’re outshone by the amazing feats the game displays. I feel it’s time for me to do a detailed review of one of my favorite RPGs of all time. After all, I need to do something special for this 400th post!

So, what makes this game amazing? Well, let’s start off with the game’s plot. The game kicks off with your custom character living in an average fishing village. A dragon comes by and attacks your village one day, prompting you to rush to defend it. The dragon easily takes you out, rips out your heart, and devours it. You survive and awaken much later, now lacking a heart and cursed with a magical ailment.

With an army of expendable magical humanoids called “Pawns” now backing you up, you set off on an quest to defeat the dragon and reclaim your heart. The game starts off as your typical “Chosen One” story, but evolves into something much greater near the end.

I definitely dug the story, even if parts of it felt a bit too obtuse or needlessly dark. However, the true appeal of the game was in its gameplay. The ability to grapple onto monsters in combat adds a level of verticality that most games wish they could achieve. Leaping off a cliff and jumping onto a griffin’s back in order to attack it is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in a game.

The amount of cool and interesting skills you can buy in this game is staggering, which allows for even more ways to customize your playstyle. Speaking of customization, there’s a ton of that in this game! You can customize your player character and your “Pawn”. The height and weight of your character determines their level of competency in the game. For example, shorter characters can run faster, and larger characters can carry more.

This is something that most games will never try with its customization. This means that that almost every character you create will have defined strengths and weaknesses, depending entirely on how you design their body. On top of designing your own Pawn, you can also recruit the Pawns of others to help you through the game’s various quests.

The pawn system is one of the most fun concepts introduced by the game, due to how unique it plays out. You’re constantly switching out new Pawns as you level up, while gaining many party members over the course of the game. It’s not uncommon for a player to have gone through hundreds of Pawns by the time the game ends.

One of the best elements of this game is its exploration. Being an open-world RPG, there’s a lot of locations to explore in this game. From giant caves to sweeping dungeons, there’s a lot of variety on offer here. It also helps that locations are well designed and most of them even have realistic layouts.

Dragon’s Dogma on Switch plays like all the other versions, but on a portable device. Being able to un-dock the Switch and bring it anywhere means that you can play Dragon’s Dogma on the go! Having the game finally be portable is definitely a great thing, since now I can play it on the John!

To me, Dragon’s Dogma is what I want in an action RPG. It has a fairly solid story, good characters, great customization, and tons of areas to explore. Sure, the graphics are old and dated, getting to places is annoying and frustrating, and there’s a lack of direction in the open hours. In spite of the game’s many flaws, it’s still one of the most engaging RPG experiences I’ve ever played. The fact that I can now take it on the go just adds to its greatness! This truly feels like the definitive version of the game.

The Return of Dragon’s Dogma

There’s nothing I love more than a good medieval fantasy setting! I’m a huge fan of swords and sorcery, so pretty much anything involving the two always gets me interested. I love a good fantasy adventure, especially when it’s in video-game form! My favorite fantasy games include Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Risen 1, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

However, there’s one game that stands above them all as my favorite fantasy game of all time: Dragon’s Dogma. The game was similar to a lot of other fantasy RPGs at the time. It had you leveling up, defeating giant monsters, and slaying a dragon. However, Dragon’s Dogma sets itself apart from its competition in a number of interesting ways.

For one thing, the story revolves around your heart literally getting ripped out by a dragon! Your custom hero doesn’t die, but rather becomes an undead warrior known as an “Arisen”. You are then given a “Pawn”, which is a secondary custom character that acts as your sidekick. You can then recruit Pawns made by other players, who will help you in combat and exploration.

Your Pawn can also be recruited by other players, which will often result in her/him coming back with a ton of awesome items! Another unique feature of Dragon’s Dogma was its epic boss fights, which usually revolved you jumping onto a monster and grappling them. Once you’ve clung onto a monster, you can then slash at their vulnerable areas.

Taking down monsters in this game felt both epic and gratifying at the same time! Toppling the fowl beasts over and taking them out was one of the most satisfying aspects of the game. Couple that with the massive open-world, great character designs, and fun combat, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic game!

Dragon’s Dogma was one of those fantasy games that just felt right and worked well. Despite this, the game initially sold poorly in America. However, it was saved by its sales in Japan and the “Cult Classic” status it accrued over time. Despite low initial sales, the game eventually gained the attention it deserved.

As a result, the game evolved into a franchise. It received an MMO spinoff called “Dragon’s Dogma Online”, a standalone expansion, and several ports to many other consoles. Not only this, but an anime and sequel were also announced. With Dragon’s Dogma making a comeback, it was only natural that it would make its way to the hottest console available right now: The Nintendo Switch.

Yes, the extremely popular fantasy game is finally going handheld! To me, this is a great thing for the series. Having a handheld version of Dragon’s Dogma is going to bring in so many new fans, which would be a fantastic achievement for the franchise. Having a larger playerbase would definitely help for when they churn out the sequel.

I’m glad Dragon’s Dogma is coming back. The series definitely needs more love and attention, which it has slowly been garnering for over half a decade now. I’ve been looking for a reason to get back into the series, and I think Dragon’s Dogma for Switch is going to be that reason. Here’s hoping it’s a fantastic port like the PC version is!

Why Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition For Switch Is A Bad Idea

I’ve spent the last couple weeks gushing about the Nintendo Switch I got. I love the Switch and it’s definitely become one of my favorite consoles, but I’d be lying if I said it was perfect. The Switch’s online game store is bloated with too many games, the “Joycons” that come packed with the console don’t last long, and the amount of really good first-party games is surprisingly low.

Worst of all, I’ve recently gotten word of a game coming to Switch, one that I feel wouldn’t fit on the console at all. I’m talking about Neverwinter Nights, a game that I’ve gushed about quite a bit. Neverwinter Nights was an old-school RPG made for the PC back in 2002. It was Bioware’s third attempt at a big RPG, and was definitely a daring one.

It was a game that focused less on its single-player content, and more on letting the fans create their own experiences. The game thrived on mods and player-run servers, which allowed it to foster a strong community. It also helped that it was based off a Dungeon & Dragons campaign setting, which already had a large built-in audience.

Of course, the game’s focus on multiplayer and modding weakened it a bit. The main-quest suffered greatly and ended up feeling stale, leaving the “Expansion Packs” and “Premium Modules” to pick up the pieces. While the add-ons had much better stories than the base game, it still wasn’t on the same level as Bioware’s previous entries.

So, what we have is a game that was built with multiplayer and modding in mind. This begs the question: How well would this translate to Nintendo Switch? My answer for this is a bit complicated, so let’s go over the basics. For one thing, Nintendo is adamantly against the modifying and altering of their products. They are against mods and fan-made projects of any caliber, so it’s doubtful that the game will have modding support on Switch. Unless Nintendo and Beamdog find a way to have the modded servers playable on the Switch, then they sadly won’t be able to bring the “pure” experience over from the PC.

Neverwinter Nights relies heavily on its fan-made content and support, and it would most likely flop without it. Gutting out the game’s mods and modded servers will just dissuade more players from wanting to give the game a shot on Switch. Worse still is the multiplayer, which will have to be heavily altered in its entirety. Without any sort of keyboard peripheral to use, there just won’t be any way to properly communicate with other players.

While there is an app for your phone that lets you communicate with other players in-game, I doubt this functionality would be available for the Switch port. After all, most people just tend to play their RPGs without voice-chat, so downloading the app may be seen as “unnecessary” to most. As such, it’s doubtful that there will be any meaningful way to talk with friends during gameplay.

So, is there any way they can craft a fun experience around the Switch port of Neverwinter Nights? Maybe, but it’ll require a lot of work. One thing I’d like to see included would be a bunch of fan-made modules packaged in with the game itself, which will allow non-PC players to experience what other fans have created. Also, it’d be great if they could find a way to somehow include the modded servers from the PC release. I know it would be impossible to include all of them, but it’d still be nice if we Switch owners could get a taste of Neverwinter Nights’ modding scene.

Furthermore, I’d like to see some good revisions to the multiplayer. Maybe find a way to include text-chat of some sort, or create a better voice-chat option. Lastly, I’d like to some new content exclusive to the Switch. How about giving us a new campaign based off the “Legend of Zelda” games? Or how about a module inspired by “Xenoblade Chronicles”? I’m not asking for anything too big, but I would like something that could help the Switch port of Neverwinter Night stand out.

Regardless, I probably won’t be getting Neverwinter Nights on Switch. I already own the PC version and don’t feel the need to take the plunge again. It would take a lot of additions to the pre-existing game to make me consider buying it twice. I hope that Beamdog can put something interesting together for the Switch release, but I doubt they’ll be able to make a port that perfectly captures what the PC version did. I’m holding out hope that they can do something good with it, but I’m going to remain skeptical up until its release.

Dungeons & Dragons Marathon: Chronicles of Mystara Review

I remember when arcades were something special, back when they were a fun excursion for people who just wanted to dump some quarters on a video-game. Arcades were one of my favorite things growing up, mostly due to how much time I spent in them. I’d spend several quarters on a single game, just in an attempt to see how far I’d get. One of the biggest quarter drainers for me were “Beat-Em-Up” games, which involved the player fighting through levels filled with hordes of easily beatable mooks.

Capcom seemed to be the king when it came to beat-em-ups, since they made so many of them back in the day. You had classics like Alien Vs. Predator, Knights of The Round, Captain Commando, and The King of Dragons! However, there were a pair of beat-em-ups that I felt were way better than all the rest. I’m of course talking about the classic “Dungeons & Dragons” arcade games!

Originally released in the 90s, these two games served as arcade interpretations of the classic D&D board-game. Now, I’m going to be doing things a bit differently for this review. While normally I would review these games separately, I felt like I should review them as a collective package. After all, the second game is basically just the first game with a different story, some new classes, and several new areas.

So, let’s tackle the “Chronicles of Mystara” games: Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara. The two games take place in the eponymous land of “Mystara”, which is one of the original settings for Dungeons & Dragons. Both arcade games plunge you into a fantasy world, and have you do battle against hordes of evil creatures. The two games feature typical fantasy stories, which are filled with typical fantasy characters. The game plays like your average beat-em-up game, but with a twist.

The game adds in RPG mechanics, as well as some rules from the board-game to spice things up. There are a lot of neat little touches, like The Beholder’s ability to block a magic user’s spell-casting abilities. I also liked that the game had a leveling up system, as well as abilities that can only be used a certain amount of times per level. There’s also an item shop available at the end of each level, allowing players to spend the coins they earned on a random smattering of items.

The Mystara games are best played with multiple people, as they were built from the ground up with multiplayer in mind. It’s fun to team up with your friends and fight back the endless onslaught of goblins, owlbears, and magic-wielding elves. One of the games’ most impressive features is the “branching paths” the story takes, which was something most arcade games didn’t have.

Making certain choices in the game result in the player advancing through different levels, collecting rare and legendary items, or fighting new enemies. This gives the relatively short arcade games a fair bit of replay value. Sure, the choices don’t drastically change what happens in the game, but the variety they add is much appreciated.

Speaking of choices, the game offers a wide variety of playable characters. While the first game only had 4 character classes, the sequel upped it to 6. While most characters play near identically to each other, they all boast different abilities that set them apart. For example, Clerics can use healing spells and buff the party, Magic-Users can assault enemies with attack spells, etc.

There’s enough variety here to make the six characters feel unique, while also making them equally efficient in combat. Regardless of their abilities, every character will still primarily focus on hacking away at enemies with their weapon. Let’s move on to the games’ graphics and sound, which have aged remarkably well.

Despite the fact that these games came out in the 90s, their 2D graphics have aged very well. The soundtrack is also fantastic, while boasting some of the catchiest tunes in Capcom history. If I have any complaints about this game at all, it would be that the PC version is pretty bad.

This was the version of the game I played the most, and its lacking in several departments. You can’t change most of the controller bindings, the graphic options are terrible, and overall it’s just a bad port. That being said, the console versions of the game are much better in every aspect.

If you’re one of the people who never grew up on the original arcade games, I highly recommend trying out the console ports. The game is pretty easy to find in digital storefronts, while also being fairly cheap. If you want an arcade game that marries the old-school RPG elements of tabletop D&D with arcade goodness, then this is certainly the game for you!


No More Heroes: Into The Suda-Verse

Shared universes are not a new concept, especially since they’ve been around since the dawn of modern fiction. Having different fictional works co-exist in the same reality is certainly an interesting idea, one that has sparked the minds of writers for generations. The biggest example of a shared universe is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has been dominating theaters for over a decade now.

Now, you may be asking yourself: “Are there any new shared universes to indulge in?” After all, one may get sick of the constant barrage of formulaic and uninspired shared universes out there. However, by far the most interesting one would have to be Suda 51’s “Kill The Past” series. Suda 51 and his company “Grasshopper Manufacture” have been creating awesome and very weird Japanese games for over 2 decades now.

The “Kill The Past” series has been one of their trademark franchises for years now, while also encompassing most of their released titles. The titles in said series include: Killer 7, Killer Is Dead, an unrelated short story also called “Killer is Dead”, The No More Heroes franchise, Shadows of The Damned, Let It Die, Moonlight Syndrome, Silver Case, 25th Ward, and several others.

Most of said games are kept separate from each other, only containing slight references to each other. For example, there are baseball players from No More Heroes’ city of “Santa Destroy” in Diabolical Pitch. Likewise, the organization of “ISZK” originated in Michigan: Report From Hell, before showing up in several later games.

All of these games had small elements that connected them to each other, but were mostly their own stories in the long-run. This all changed with the release of the newest No More Heroes again, which goes by the name of “Travis Strikes Again”. This was the third game in the No More Heroes series, revolving around the anime-loving assassin named “Travis Touchdown”.

Despite being a sequel to No More Heroes: Desperate Struggles, it acts more as a sequel to all of Suda’s creations. The game focuses on Travis, who’s going through a midlife crisis of sorts. He now lives in a trailer in the woods, while ignoring his newfound family obligations. After being attacked by a new assassin named “Badman”, Travis finds himself once more thrust into a bizarre adventure.

Of course, Travis isn’t the only returning face. Kamui from “25th Ward” shows up to help him during the “Visual Novel” sequences. Travis also bumps into “Mondo Zappa” near the game’s end, while on the quest for more “Death Balls”. The game is full of a ton of these cameos and references, resulting it in feeling like one big crossover!

It’s nice to see all these mostly unconnected stories finally converge, while also setting up potential followups for their individual franchises. I can totally see them doing sequels to Killer Is Dead, Killer 7, and Shadows of The Damned after playing through this game! This isn’t too surprising, due to how much Suda loves these games. Considering how visually and thematically similar a lot of Suda’s games are, it was only a matter of time before they crossed over.

The thing I liked more about this shared universe is the fact that Travis isn’t that welcoming of all these “new” faces. In fact, most of them he distrusts or just doesn’t like. I like this more than other shared universes, where everyone will get along after having known each other for just a couple minutes. I like seeing protagonists who distrust each other, or who suspect each other of being more than they appear.

Considering the fact that most of the characters in these games are extremely flawed individuals with antagonistic aspects, it only makes sense for them to not get along with each other. That being said, Kamui’s interaction with Travis were truly entertaining. It’s nice seeing them form a sort of friendship over the course of the game, especially due to how entertaining their dialogue is.

Travis Strikes Again definitely did the right thing in crossing over all these games, while establishing and referencing the connections between them. I’m looking forward to seeing what Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture will do with their franchises next. It’d be awesome if they continued to expand on this universe, while telling awesome standalone stories!