Category Archives: Reviews

Sonic Mania – Reviews From Around The Web

Sonic Mania

The review embargo is up for Sonic Mania and we’ve got links to reviews from around the web for you here. So far the game looks to be getting pretty good to great scores. It’s current Metascore is 86 on PS4 & 82 on Xbox One. There’s not enough reviews yet for the other versions for a Metascore to be compiled. GameRankings has it at 86% on PS4 & 80% on Xbox One with no rankings yet for the Switch or PC versions. Here’s some links to Sonic Mania reviews as of this writing. Interesting to note, many Nintendo outlets are reporting that Sega has delayed review copies of the Switch version, so that is why there’s little to no Switch scores just yet.

Source: Various

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – Reviews From Around The Web

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

The reviews are coming in for Ninja Theory’s hack & slash PS4 & PC game, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Read on for a look at reviews from around the web for the game. For the most part Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice looks to be getting pretty good to great scores. It’s current Metascore on PS4 is 81, PC is still pending. On GameRankings the PS4 versions is averaging 81.92% while the PC version is a bit lower at 78%.

Source: Various & Metacritic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Splatoon 2 Reviews From Around The Web

Splatoon 2 Japanese TV Commercial

Nintendo has lifted the embargo and Splatoon 2 reviews are coming in from around the web. Here’s a list of some of the reviews so far. Be sure to head over to each site at their link to read the full thoughts on the Switch sequel.

Source: Nintendo Everything

Kirby’s Blowout Blast Review From Nintendo Life

Kirby’s Blowout Blast Review

Nintendo Life shared a Kirby’s Blowout Blast review over on their site.  Kirby’s Blowout Blast is the latest entry in the Kirby series, though not exactly a full fledged title. The 3DS eShop title is based on one of the minigames in Kirby: Planet Robobot, also on Nintendo 3DS. That minigame is called Kirby’s 3D Rumble. Here’s part of Tim Latshaw’s review at Nintendo Life.

“Whereas 3D Rumble took place in arena-like stages, those in Blowout Blast are more linear, beginning-to-end setups. Kirby can inhale enemies along the way and spit them out at others, and inhaling multiple enemies will increase the power of the attack. Inhaling enough enemies will turn Kirby into a lumbering land-dirigible of destruction, capable of taking out swaths of enemies in point-racking combos. That’s not only satisfying; it’s important.”

For the full Kirby’s Blowout Blast review, be sure to head over to Nintendo Life below or by clicking here.

Source: Nintendo Life

Super Mario Bros. Review

Super Mario Bros. Review

Super Mario Bros. is without a doubt one of the best known games and most revered games in the history of the video game industry. But how does it compare with more recent entries in Mario’s illustrious franchise? Read on in our Super Mario Bros. Review to find out.

So most of you have probably played Super Mario Bros. (or SMB) at some point in time. If you haven’t what are you waiting for? Even if you never finished it, you probably at least played part of the game. From the opening theme, one of the most memorable pieces of music in gaming history it’s clear that this is going to be an entertaining adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom. Yet, despite SMB being so highly thought of, the game is not without its flaws, especially when looking at it with a modern perspective and what Nintendo was able to do with later entries in the series.

For example, you can’t backtrack in this game. You can go right and that’s it. Well that’s not entirely true, you can go left to an extent. But you will eventually hit an invisible wall which prevents you from going further left. Later games in the SMB franchise don’t have this limitation. This could’ve been done simply to save space for the game as it was one of the earliest NES titles. Another thing that happens in newer Mario games is that if you get hit when you have a power-up, you go back to being Super Mario or Big Mario if you prefer. Not so in Super Mario Bros. If you get hit, you downgrade all the way to Little Mario. This can be quite frustrating at times. Especially if you had just gotten a Fire Flower and then proceed to get hit by an enemy almost immediately.

Speaking of being hit by enemies, the hit detection in the game can be suspect at times. In playing through the game again for this review, I had several instances where I got hit when I wasn’t even touching an enemy or projectile. There were other times when I was clearly touching an enemy and didn’t get hit at all. I guess if you consider both of those, it’s kind of a wash, but it’s still noticeable and if you get hit by something that clearly shouldn’t have counted as a hit, it can be pretty annoying. For example, I got hit by a hammer from a Hammer Bro when I was nowhere near the hammer.

Fortunately though, even if you do suffer some cheap deaths because of this, there is a built-in checkpoint system in SMB. Though this is not visually indicated, you just have to know where it is, or hope you pass it before you die. Later games in the Mario series have physical checkpoint markers and even give Mario a free Super Mushroom when passing by if he’s small.

There’s not a lot of item options in this, the original entry in the franchise. There’s no Cape Feather, Ice Flower, Hammer Suit, Super Leaf, P-Wing, etc. The only power-ups present in Super Mario Bros. are the Super Mushroom and the Fire Flower. One thing you might know from newer Mario games is that they tend to feature item storage. That’s not the case here. You get an item and that’s it. Say for example you’re already Fire Mario and get a Fire Flower? In newer games you’d get a second Fire Flower in storage, but not in SMB. You get the points for it and that’s all.

Some people might consider this a difficult game. I don’t think it’s that complicated. Even if you do game over, you can start from your current world by holding A while pressing Start. Otherwise you have to start over from the beginning of the game, there is no continue option by default. If you don’t know this ahead of time, this can be quite the unwelcome surprise, especially if you’re far into the game when you game over. But overall the game could stand to be more challenging. Once you know the enemy patterns and paths to take it’s a pretty simple game.

As for, the replay value? It’s lackluster at best, with pretty much your only challenges being trying to beat the game without dying and going for a high score, but this was a common concept in the early days of gaming. There doesn’t seem to be any real benefit to getting a high score that I can tell. I broke over 600,000 and didn’t get anything for that score. Some games would give you extra lives or continues or something like that for a high score. In SMB the only ways to earn extra lives are by getting 100 coins, 1-Up Mushrooms, or by hitting enough enemies in a row (either with a shell or while jumping without touching the ground).

Another thing I would’ve liked to have seen in the game would be two player simultaneous multiplayer. Instead, in SMB it’s alternating. All-in-all though, this is a classic game and an all-time great. A lot of what I said could be consider nit picking and admittedly these things are rather minor flaws. Overall it’s a pretty fun game and if by some chance you’ve never played it, you really should.

So what’s the verdict on Super Mario Bros.? Here’s our scoring breakdown.

Pros

  • The game is pretty fun despite some minor flaws.
  • It’s easy to pick up and play.
  • It has a pretty simple concept and control scheme.
  • The music in the game is iconic in gaming and quite memorable.

Cons

  • It would really be nice if some of the modern features of newer Mario games were present in this entry, but they are not.
  • The hit detection can be a bit off at times, leading to some cheap hits/deaths.
  • The Flying Cheep Cheep stages can be a bit irritating in this regard, especially when Koopa Troopas are added.
  • The game is pretty short and there’s little to no replay value.

Graphics

6/10 – Let’s be honest, Super Mario Bros. is not going to wow anyone with its graphical prowess. But that being said, it’s not a bad looking game by early NES standards. Sprites are relatively easy to distinguish and you rarely (if ever) lose track of your character’s positioning on the screen. Some sprites are reused multiple times (the bushes/clouds for example or Bowser), but that could’ve been due to space limitations.

Sound/Music

9/10 – How can you not love the classic SMB theme? It’s one of the most famous songs in video game history. It’s quite catchy and memorable and suits the game perfectly. Sound effects are spot on too, with the coin sound in particular being a classic favorite. In fact, some even use it as a notification sound on their cell phone these days.

Gameplay/Play Control

7/10 – The gameplay is not bad by any stretch, but it’s not something astonishing by modern standards. But you have to remember, this game was released over thirty years ago. That being said, the controls are pretty good for the most part, though there were times where I narrowly made or missed jumps. But I’m not sure if that was due to my positioning or the controls themselves.

Story

2/10 – There’s not much story present in the game itself, but that’s to be expected. This isn’t Final Fantasy or even Zelda. This is a platformer and you play these games for platforming action, not epic storylines. But this is the one that started it all in the Mario universe with Peach (then called Princess Toadstool) constantly getting kidnapped by Bowser.

Challenge

4/10 – The game isn’t that difficult overall. Sure, the hit detection can cause some cheap hits/deaths, and if you misplace or mistime your jumps it can result in some unfortunate deaths, but overall it’s not that complicated. Once you know where to go and how to defeat/avoid enemies, it’s pretty easy.

Replay Value

3/10 – The replay value in SMB is practically non-existent. High score? Okay, sure, if you’re into that. Other than that, you can try to make it through the whole game without dying or without getting any power-ups. There’s also a “Second Quest” of sorts which unlocks once you beat the game. This adds Buzzy Beetles in place of Goombas and enemies in general move much faster, but it’s basically the same as the “First Quest.”

Fun Factor

8/10 – SMB is pretty fun in general. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s definitely a game worth playing through if you never have. And it set the stage for dozens, if not hundreds of future games in the industry. Nintendo & the Mario franchise have been cited by multiple developers as inspirations in their work.

Overall Average

5.6/10

Final Overall

8/10 – I bumped up the score for Super Mario Bros. quite a bit because the story and replay value were lower scores but shouldn’t be weighted as highly for a game like this. SMB is all about the overall experience and gameplay and in that regard it generally succeeds. It’s a great game and you should definitely play it if you haven’t for some reason. The game is available on a variety of platforms and I’m sure whenever Nintendo decides to launch Virtual Console on Switch, it’ll be available there too.

Buy/Rent/Borrow/Pass?

Buy It!

Image: Wikipedia

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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Game Informer Review

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Game Informer Review

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is scheduled to be released tomorrow on PS4 and reviews are coming in for the HD remake of International Zodiac Job System (which was previously only released in Japan). Here is part of the Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Game Informer Review by Joe Juba.

“Every numbered entry in the Final Fantasy series starts fresh with new characters and mechanics. That’s standard, but when Final Fantasy XII released in 2006, it went even further to establish an identity separate from its predecessors. Its real-time combat system and MMO-style world are unique, and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age highlights what makes this game special. With major improvements to progression and combat, Square Enix’s remaster reinvigorates the best parts of Final Fantasy XII while leaving the basic experience intact.

Everything that was good about Final Fantasy XII is still good in The Zodiac Age. The cast remains one of the best ensembles in the entire series, and I enjoy fiddling with the Gambit system, which allows you to automate your party members’ behavior using a variety of conditions and commands. The foundation is the same, but the whole package has received a nice performance overhaul, with crisp visuals and a smooth framerate that makes everything look great.”

Source: Game Informer

Image: PSU

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Eurogamer Review

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Eurogamer Review

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood was just released this past month for PC & PS4 and Eurogamer has a review up for the newest expansion for the MMORPG. Eurogamer’s review covers the PS4 version of the game and here is part of the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Eurogamer review by Simon Parkin:

“Stormblood is the second such world-inflating addition to Final Fantasy 14, a release which the game’s much-loved director-cum-saviour, Naoki Yoshida, has likened to the third season of a Netflix TV show. It’s a reasonable comparison. Stormblood continues the story of your hero protagonist and his or her band of warrior friends with unpronounceable names (Alphinaud, M’naago) while introducing a range of new locations with unpronounceable names (Rhalgr’s Reach, Yanxia).”

To read the rest of the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood Eurogamer review by Mr. Parkin, head over to Eurogamer by clicking here.

Source: Eurogamer

Image: Square Enix

Tokyo Xanadu GameSpew Review

Tokyo Xanadu GameSpew Review

Tokyo Xanadu from Nihon Falcom & Aksys Games was just released yesterday on PlayStation Vita in North America. You can check out part of the Tokyo Xanadu GameSpew review by Brandon Langrock here. Below is part of Mr. Langrock’s review.

“Have you ever wanted to play a game about Japanese high school students banding together with their unique abilities to vanquish an unknown threat?

If so, then you’ve likely played one of the recent Persona games, or even Nihon Falcom’s other series: The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.

What differentiates Tokyo Xanadu from the previously mentioned games is that, rather than following the traditional turn-based formula, Nihon Falcom opted for an action RPG. Aside from that, however, fans of the genre are bound to find a lot that is inherently familiar here.”

To read the full Tokyo Xanadu GameSpew review, click here to head over to their site. If you’re interested in picking up a copy of the game, you can do so over at Amazon by clicking here. Tokyo Xanadu currently has is receiving decent reviews with a Metascore of 75 and a GameRankings score of 73.75%.

Source: GameSpew

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy IGN Review

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy just released yesterday for PlayStation 4 and IGN has a review for the remastered game. Here is part of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy IGN Review by Jonathon Dornbush.

“As someone who played the first three Crash Bandicoot games over and over again, the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy delivers exactly what I wanted. The platforming, for better and occasionally worse, retains the demanding, and punishing challenge of the originals coated in a polished, modern sheen that makes even the most familiar levels feel fresh.”

For the full Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy IGN Review, be sure to head over to their site by clicking here. And in case you’re wondering, the game is getting pretty good reviews with a Metascore of 80 and a GameRankings score of 82.20%. You can purchase your copy of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy from Amazon by clicking here.

Source: IGN

Image: Amazon

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