Hey what's up guys my name is Michael Troina. Future GameInformer or IGN editor
I am a hardcore avid video game player, I love watching anime and reading manga.
My full walkthrough/playthrough's are found on my youtube account here
Youtube page I am also an athlete I play baseball, basketball, and football; I appear sometimes on my friends college sports radio show
I also blog a LOT (I'll put the links below) ranging from myIGN video game blog to my just Kingdom Hearts blog.
The systems I own are: SNES, N64, Gameboy-GBA, DS lite, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360, Dreamcast, GameGear, SEGA Genesis, PS1-3, Gamecube.
My favorite series/games are: Legend of Zelda, Super Mario (Bros 3 is the best but all the games), Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy IX, Uncharted, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Banjo-Tooie, Phoenix Wright, and Kingdom Hearts
Favorite animes: Code Geass, Gundam SEED, Durarara!!, Fairy Tail, Bleach, DragonBall Z
Here is my live stream video game account:
Twitch Here are my other blogs:
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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, is the 5th installment of the Donkey Kong Country series and the second done by Retro Studios, following the massive hit of its 2010 Donkey Kong Country Returns. It is the first DK game in high definition, as well as the first for the Big Ape on the Nintendo Wii U. The game focuses once again on mainly its platforming levels, spanning 6 worlds with different themes. Some changes from DKCR are made to DKCTF, such that Diddy Kong is not the only character you can team up with; as Dixie Kong makes a triumphant return as well as making the legendary Cranky Kong playable for the first time ever! In addition, the blowing mechanic is gone from DKCR and the game allows you to play with either the GamePad, Wiimote [and Nunchuk], or Pro Controller.
Tropical Freeze actually has a story, like DKCR, though it obviously take a huge backseat to gameplay, not meaning as much as this element means to other games. As the Kong's are celebrating Donkey Kong's birthday, the Pointy Tucks (the enemies) and their mysterious shaded figure, notice Donkey Kong Island and intend to inhabit the home. Using a magic horn, an Ice Dragon appears and freezes all of DK Island, allowing the Pointy Tucks to invade the area, and in turn blowing Donkey Kong away. Now, with his homeland taken, it is up to Donkey Kong and his friends to get back his island!
Mentioned before the gameplay of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a platformer, meaning you play as DK and a partner of your choosing, and you travel to the end of each level, avoiding baddies, making jumps, and of course completing each course. The first thing to notice about the gameplay is Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, and Cranky Kong; be it you are playing co-op or single player. The Kong's are not balanced like they are in the DKC SNES series, as each now has his/her own special trademark ability, making them more of power-ups for the player's choosing. Diddy has a jetpack (though this returns from the DKCR game) to keep the player floating for a time period, Dixie has a the ability to increase the players jump (rather than her old float mechanic), and Cranky Kong is a rip from the infamous DuckTales video game, using his crane in Scrooge McDuck fashion. Overall, you will find Cranky Kong to be the most useless of the three, which is a bit of a shame because Cranky Kong is a legend among true DKC players; always remembering his rants and crapping on the player how he was so good. The next change that is more noticeable to veterans rather than newcomers, as the underwater mechanics took a full change in this game compared to the former games. The first thing is, Donkey Kong and friends can no longer breathe underwater for however long they like, instead you must use Sonic-esque bubbles to regenerate your oxygen bar so you do not die. The second thing is you can now attack underwater and "swim"; meaning your roll exists underwater as well as the Kong's help you swim faster in their unique ways.
Making a return is the collection of the KONG letters, as well as Puzzle Pieces, and the Temple Artifacts. Throughout each level their are 4 KONG letters to find, as well scattered puzzle pieces that require you to fulfill a task (like collecting all bananas in a certain area), do a special bonus game, or just find in the open! Collecting all the KONG letters in every level of the world will open up the Temple or K-Levels in DKCTF, which are suppose to represent the "hardest levels" for the player. Upon their completion, you are rewarded a Artifact and by collecting all 7 artifacts you are rewarded a secret bonus world. Though the Puzzle Pieces lead to cool things such as a in game OST and concept art, they are unfortunately hidden by tedious tasks or repetitive bonus games. The Bonus Games in past entries, though had similar goals, were always different and represented a challenge, but in this Donkey Kong every single one is the same, so they just become habit by the 3rd world. The tasks in the game for Puzzle Pieces in the game are more annoying than they are skillful, as most of the time it will be something like get all the Banana Coins in this area or destroy every enemy in the area, though it really is up to the player to know when to do this. This kind of works against the 200% people because it makes you stay longer in a level because you are constantly straining yourself to collect basically every single banana. How would you feel trying to collect every coin in a Super Mario Bros. level? While this idea works in the vehicle levels for the Barrel Rocket and Mine Cart, it doesn't work on land platforming. If the idea of this was to make the game hard, then it clearly derives from that point. Another point that derives from the game's overrated sense of difficulty from the community is the fact that you constantly have 999 Banana Coins and 99 lives; so don't worry about ever being short of lives like it's Donkey Kong Country 1-3.
Speaking of vehicle levels, they of course make a triumphant return to the game with no major changes at all! The idea is the same, where you get two hearts, and basically have to survive. On the topic of things that return is Banana Coins and the shop. Though largely forgettable and unimportant compared to the first DKCR, where it was important to visit Cranky Kong to unlock the key to get the other level; this time Funky Kong is running the shop and has items which I really don't know what they do. I believe they are close to the Mega Man shop system we see in MegaMan 9 & 10. Mentioned just before, hidden levels, are now actually hidden as there are multiples of them in each world and require the player to really keep his eye out. Most of the time it requires you to have a partnered specific Kong with you, to find these Jak & Daxter like portals. The last bit about gameplay has to do with the return of DK's animal friends, or I should just say Rambi because none of his animal pals make a return AGAIN. Rambi plays largely the same, though it is disappointing to not see Squawk come back.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hits a very high note in its term of replay-value, music, and graphics. Honestly, all three parts are astonishing and provide the player with gorgeous visuals with amazing levels themes composed by the legendary David Wise. Though Hard Mode provides the player a new and obviously a harder way to play the game; it is a bit disappointing in the fact that it just turns into a Diddy-fest (well Dixie for most). It would have been better for the Hard Mode to feature classic SNES rules so you can still play as the multiple Kong's except only have 1 heart, rather than just choosing one Kong for every mission.
To tell you the truth the score would have been better, but everyone I've heard played the game overrated it to the extreme for me and it didn't match up any of those expectations. The music is good not great, the game is moderate not hard and honestly it's fun but short. I enjoyed my entire time with DKCTF, which spanned about 10-12 days before I hit 200%, the game is good and definitely frustrates a player. I think the best levels were the K-levels and the secret Temple World at the end, 2-K, 5-K, 6-K, and the temples are how a game should be made! When it came to hard mode I just used Diddy for everything and I did feel like I was cheating a bit, but it kind of went away because that is how this game is designed versus it's past games. Once I realized that this game was not DKC2, I moved on and enjoyed it for what it was and a damn fine game at that.
The best thing about my two week adventure with DK was beating that hidden level and putting it up on the Miiverse and getting some kid to say "You are a gaming god"
It's finally over, the series that is filled with the worst gameplay, worst story, worst characters, and amazing music is finally over. Funny though, my hate for this series (not Final Fantasy just the XIII series) is not as bad considering Square-Enix did us a favor and made Final Fantasy XIII-2 great in all aspects, except the box-cover art; in turn my three day 1 purchases will never be justified. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, is the third and final installment of the XIII series, and features the return of the worst main character to garner anyone's attention, Lightning Farron. Asides the return, many changes were brought to the game, majorly focusing on the gameplay. The first major change brought is the fact you only control and play as Lightning, getting rid of parties altogether and the other main change, you will notice, is the combat play is slightly more action-rpg orientated than their first two installments, though it still is not classified as an action-rpg.
The story of LR:FFXIII takes place about 500 years the events of Final Fantasy XIII-2, with only thirteen days the world has left before it's extinction. Because after the events of FFXIII-2, where the Chaos was unleashed unto the world, time has stopped, and all the humans, who cannot age, yet are not immortal (murder and disease can still kill), now live on a set of isles in Bhunivelze called Nova Chrysalia. Lightning, who has awoken from her crystal slumber, is tasked from God/Bhunivelze, that she will be known as the savior, and will harvest and free the souls of humanity from the burdens of their heart, to lead them towards the new world that Bhunivelze will create. Helping you in your quest from the Ark, your "home-base", is a familiar face to the FFXIII series, Hope Estheim, who has been regressed to his 14-year old, first game appearance. A funny note, that Square-Enix tries to pull for Lightning's lack of emotion, is that Bhunivelze took away their emotions/feelings, however, for anyone who has played any of the XIII games, Lightning is exactly the same. Now, deemed as the savior for the world, it is up to Lightning to save the humans of a crumbling world. Throughout her journey, she will travel across lands, meeting old allies, who may have changed in the 500 years she's been away, and must help do Bhunivelze's bidding in order to save her sister, Serah Farron. However, is always doing what you're told the right thing to do, and can you always trust the gods? Lightning's quest brings you and her around a giant apology-fest to every character, where Lightning, once again, robotically tries to shoulder the blame. The game tries to implement many anime cliches, but honestly, these aren't bad things per se; it's just this voice-cast and story-team are so bad at portraying it that it's just annoying and/or boring. What trying to die, because you are running away from the pain and given up the right to live, so you get the anime one punch to the face? That's fine I've seen it many times, almost every GUNDAM, but wow does this game do it horribly.
I almost did Snow
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII decided to "overhaul" (if they want to call it that) the gameplay from its predecessors in the Final Fantasy XIII series. Instead of the new type of turn-by-turn based battle system, which had the infamous "auto-battle" feature, they decided to keep the player more integrated with the fighting. Battle Gameplay mechanics require you to play as Lightning, but as three different "forms" of Lightning, that you customize using your personal Schemata. Schemata simply is what you choose for Lightning to wear and what abilities you want her to have. By wearing clothes, like a flamed-theme dress, you get a locked ability and possibe bonus stat of a type of Fire-Spell in one slot, and the other 3 slots are for your choice of: Attack, Magic, Defend, or Status. Your set-ups are entirely up to you, if you've played FFXIII or XIII-2 you'll know what to put, if you haven't it is pretty easy to figure out what to set for most garbs. Besides main garbs. the only other parts of customizing Lightning's looks are with accessories and a non-ability item like sunglasses or a pumpkin head. After setting up your Schemata, the fights in LR:FFXIII essentially play the same, you have to stagger the enemy using magic based attacks until you can actually hurt the enemy with physical attacks. Although you can "move" around the battle field, Lightning only slowly strafes to whatever direction you hold your stick to, making it required for you to defend (or evade/counter whatever ability you equipped).
All enemies have automatic Libra, meaning you don't need to find out the stats for the enemies after you kill them once, or fight them for a bit. While fighting, you are constantly alternating from the garbs you have; the reason this is important is because your ATB charge is now more of a refill gauge rather than a wait-it-out standby. As you switch garbs, the ATB charges for the garbs on standby at a faster rate than if you are wearing it and/or obviously doing commands which take ATB. As previously mentioned, the Stagger bar is back but this time in all new more confusing manner of frequencies. The stagger is now located on the enemy name and will show a frequency line going up and down from blue, to yellow, to red. Sometimes you will see multiple frequency waves but that is never explained in the game; however good news is some enemies require you to stagger them, multiple times! (/end sarcasm) All in all, battles require the player to be more focused and integrated with them, but in essence they are still the same boring and broken system from the previous entries with a new look.
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Overworld Gameplay is basically an American RPG. So, if you like GTA or whatever, then you'll love LR:FFXIII design! The game has main quests, that you can fulfill at anytime, though those main/story quests only take about 5-10 hours gameplay MAX. The rest of the time you are running around as Lightning doing sidequests because this is an RPG that doesn't give EXP. If you want to make Lightning have better stats, then you have to do sidequests, such as getting a ball from a roof, finding fireworks, or killing monsters. There are tons of sidequests and they make the game does a good job making the player feel like they have to complete them all with great time management, due to the constant running clock that Lightning Returns imposes on the player. However, by the Eighth Day you will realize that you do need to waste all your EP and manage the clock well, because you will have completed everything or nearly everything and nap all your days away at an Inn. In the main world, you run around as Lightning, where you can talk to NPC's, who sometimes give items, quests, or hints on where to go. Lightning has a stamina bar so you can sprint around, though you will constantly have to recharge it; this bar also serves as your power to preemptive strike the enemies in the overworld. Striking enemies unnoticed give a 25% HP decrease vs a 10% decrease if they notice you. Monster battling is important because it serves as an important part for the most important thing in the game: EP!
EP is Lightning's special power, she can stop time, teleport, or do massive damage to enemies in a short amount of time. EP can only be recharged by rare items or by constantly killing monsters; which you are going to have to do, although there is nothing else to it but a small monetary reward. All quests are split up into 3 parts: Main Quests, Side Quests, and Canvas of Prayers. While the other two were mentioned, Canvas of Prayers Quests, are similar to the town quests found in Xenoblade Chronicles; where a sign would ask for the player to get X amount of item and it becomes magically given to them for stats. All quests are important, though some just have ludicrous stories to them. Finishing out gameplay bits are the scattered treasures and mysterious items found all over town and the ability to upgrade your abilities or weapons, however this feature is not available until AFTER you beat the game; so in turn it is pretty useless.
Graphics remain Final Fantasy XIII's strong point, though the areas in this game are not as memorable as the ones found in FFXIII and FFXIII-2. There is a lot of depth put into some of the dungeon design, however, this does not mean many of them require much thought. While music has always been Final Fantasy XIII's strongest point, Lightning Returns falters in this one, with bad and forgettable new themes or just rehashing old themes (not a bad thing) from its previous entries. Replay-value of the game is moderate, if the story wasn't so bad you can replay the game to enjoy tougher boss battles and gaining newer items or sharing your boss battle scores online!
Score: 6.0/10 [b/c of Japanese audio] English VA Score: 5.0/10
Lightning Returns is a bad game that has...or had some potential. The problem is the story, the main character (who isn't even the most important character), and just how poorly executed everything is. I enjoyed my time trying to do every sidequest, but the more I think about it the more I never want to play the game again. The entire time you play as Lightning, you have to hear her manly, robotic err monotonic voice, just constantly say the same thing or try to say something funny when it doesn't work. In addition, I got tired from hearing her apologize or here how she's missing something for the entire game; okay once is enough! The game just shows no character growth, disappoints me in the music because I love FFXIII music and is overrated in its gameplay, which people think is good. There was nothing different about pressing x and o for my magic attacks and then switching to my other garb to do that, to FINALLY STAGGER like we always did in the previous two. Why do I need to stagger to kill? Why do I need to always do the weakness to be effective?
I did have fun with impossible to beat bosses Aeronite and Ersh....something but other than that challenge it takes no skill to beat this game or customize for it.
Uncharted is arguably the biggest franchise for Sony in its wave of next generation games, so in turn to make the PS Vita sell better Sony decided to bring Uncharted to its owners and prospective buyers. Thus, Uncharted: Golden Abyss was born, it was developed not by Naughty Dog but by Sony Bend Studios, marking the first Uncharted game not created by its original studio. The game features Nathan Drake before the PS3 trilogy, as we all know and love him, in addition to changing bits of the Uncharted-style gameplay to accompany the many specs you can find and use on your Playstation Vita.
Uncharted Golden Abyss has just as good a story as the Uncharted games before it. In this adventure, you play a young Nathan Drake searching most of South America for the lost remains and the hidden whereabouts of the Spanish Conquistadors. The game starts off with you running from a bunch of hired mercenaries, hired by rival explorer Dante, and seemingly in a no-way out kind of situation, before it flashes back to how Nathan got into such a predicament. Over the course Nathan runs into old friends, like Sully, meets a female archaeologist and gets run up with a former General; as they are all searching for the Lost City of Gold. The story is good enough to keep the player wanting to see more, though doesn't quite live up to the billing as we experienced with Nathan's first games.
The gameplay is the best thing UC: Golden Abyss has and the biggest problem it has to offer. Uncharted Golden Abyss still keeps everything the same as previous Uncharted games, a 3rd-person shooter, with melee attacks, climbing ancient buildings, finding artifacts, etc. Aside from the usual Uncharted antics, is a few new bits of gameplay that are accompanied by the extensive use of the Playstation Vita's Specs. The problem with them is that they are all annoying, in the way it hinders the gameplay with its gimmicks, especially in important moments in the game. The first new implementation is the "Drake Balance" or using the Vita to fix a Nathan Drake who suddenly loses who balances in random areas. The problem is that this happens too much and in addition, if you are laying down to play the game on your handheld device, well you better pause and sit-back up straight for the 5 seconds this happens.
The next problem is the idea of touch screen fighting, in addition, to Uncharted's regular combat system. Fighting in Uncharted games usually responds to pressing Square and Triangle, to attack, finish, and/or dodge. In Golden Abyss, you must use the touch screen, when told by a giant arrow in which direction to swipe, during enemy dodge sequences, or cliche broken ladder sequences. What's the point of allowing the player to combat with buttons and then dodge with the touch screen? Why make the boss fights of the game, the most stressful touch-screen swipe direction fight of all-time? Fighting bosses could possibly be the worst thing in Uncharted: Golden Abyss because these swipes require a full-100% swipe through your Vita Screen.
Other new add-ons to the game is the not-usable Black Market which coincides with the random drops of enemy-AI's "bounty cards". This is useless for the game unless going for the platinum, like myself, and honestly a very annoying feature. Others is Drake's camera, a very fun, different style to the Drake's Journal Collections, where you must find scenes/areas in a game that match up with pictures displayed in Drake's Journal. By seeing the pictures, you can take out Drake's Camera, zoom in or out, and get the perfect picture of South America.
Uncharted Golden Abyss has fantastic graphics, with gorgeous scenery, and full voice acting throughout the entire game. Traversing rivers, forests, or cave-dungeons, all look on par to the first Uncharted game. The music is a fully orchestrated track and honestly, make's you feel like you are watching a Steven Spielberg movie, which is a damn good thing. Replay-value wise I would say it's on par with the Uncharted games, as Survivor mode is unlocked again, after completion of the game; so it's up to you if you want to relieve the story.
Uncharted Golden Abyss is a good game, but not a good Uncharted game. Small gimmicks ruin the flow of the gameplay, that not even the alright story and great musical score can save. The game is very funny and engaging though, with a great scene with Sully and Drake having a game of "that's what she said" and constantly has the player wanting to collect all artifacts or location data. If it weren't for forcing the touch-screen moments in vital parts of the game or the random drops for the platinum hunt, the game would definitely be better. Unfortunately, this is not the game to boost Vita sales, it's another good entry into a great franchise though.
Dangan Ronpa, the soon-to-be PS Vita released in February, was originally released in Japan on the PSP nearly four years ago. The series has gained much popularity as of late, spawning many sequels and even an anime as of late! With its growing popularity, NIS has decided to localize it and share it with the rest of the world. Dangan Ronpa is a murder mystery visual novel (similar to that of 999: Nine Hours Nine People Nine Doors) [side note if anyone wants to see one of my mega old crappy reviews here ]but also draws unreasonable comparisons to the Ace Attorney series. Though what makes this game unique is its free and vast variety of play-styles.
Dangan Ronpa takes place in the elite high school located in Japan known as Hope’s Academy. Hope’s Academy is filled with the best of the best; as their students are known as Super High School Level/Ultimate in a variety of fields ranging from Idol to even Otaku. The game has you take control over the character Makoto Naegi, who was recently accepted into the elite high school by raffle, being known as the “Super High School Luckster”. Upon arriving at the high school, Naegi loses consciousness and reawakens inside to meet fourteen other Super High School Level students who had a similar experience. It is then a despair-loving, remote-controlled bear named Monokuma appears before them, telling them they are all imprisoned in the academy for the rest of their lives. Monokuma though offers a single way for students to leave or “graduate” the academy and to do that is for the student to murder another student and not be identified as the culprit.
What makes Dangan Ronpa special is the vast styles of gameplay it has to offer. Dangan Ronpa is split up from its time as a visual novel with tidbits of a dating simulator, where you can increase characters like/love level towards Makoto Naegi giving him bonuses, followed by a type of Ace Attorney/999-type investigation of areas. Of course the biggest of them all is the Class Trial at the end of each episode/chapter. Most of the game will require you to read and interact with the entire school cast; each person will provide you either hints towards solving the murder-mystery or just say something usually funny or off-base. Important discussions are further advanced the Re:ACT system, which is triggered by pressing triangle on the respective keyword. The best and most memorable moments of the game usually happen when Monokuma (the main villain) is talking to the students. One of my personal favorite lines were "It doesn't matter how negative something is just add an 'lol' and it becomes positive!"
If you aren't talking to the characters when trying to solve a mystery you are either exploring Hope's Academy or "hanging out" with a character of your choice. "Hanging out" is basically the interaction portion of the game, where you decide to accompany a character who will tell you more about themselves. Sometimes the characters will ask you questions regarding facts, so answering correctly will affect that person's view of you. After hanging out with a character, you have the option to present a gift to them, which can be obtained by finding Monokuma Coins (scattered everywhere in the game). The coins are used in a Super Smash Bros Melee type vending machine. The gift you give should depend on the character's personality, the better suited it is towards that character, the more they will like you. For example Aoi Asahina is a Super High School Level Swimmer, so bathing suits, goggles, are some of the many things she likes.
The previously mentioned exploration aspect is key and similar to the 999 and Gyakuten Saiban games. As you play as Makoto, you can walk into any room in the school and observe almost anything using your cursor. You will either find things you find important to the case, which then become recorded as "Ammunition" or you find Monokuma coins in useless, random things. The best part of exploration is the total freedom you have in the game. You can explore nearly anything as long as the area is open in addition the game allows you to everything! If you wanted to analyze a chair or every TV in the room because you want to, then go on ahead!
To explain what was meant by Ammunition we need to explain the most integral part of the gameplay, The Class Trial. Class Trials occur at the end of every chapter and only when you have received all the Ammunition for the case. Once, you get all the facts, the class bell will ring and bring you to the Class Trial. Class Trials ARE NOTHING LIKE Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney cases. The cases are broken down into many types of games and you can set it to any difficulty you want to before the trial. The first style of gameplay is the Nonstop Debate. The Nonstop Debate consists of you listening to characters talk about the incident and you as the player try to find a contradiction to the facts. To contradict a someone, you must aim your cursor to a highlighted text and select the right ammunition (if playing at a higher difficulty). Listening to the debate can be done for up to fifteen minutes, though it will take you a much shorter time to figure it out. During the trial you will then run into another type of gameplay called the Epiphany Anagram. The Epiphany Anagram is simple, it has Makoto thinking of the answer with random words floating around and an empty chart displayed, asking the player to figure out what the word is and an answer to a case mystery.
Not enough was the inspiration of the games listed above, but Dangan Ronpa likes to take a little something from beat rhythm games in this next segment of the Class Trial: The Machine Gun Talk Battle or MTB. The MTB has you pitted against a student who argues your logic, though you don't need contradictions to defeat him, you just need good button pressing skills. As words come up, you press X to lock onto his statements, Triangle to destroy them, and Square to reload, although this must be done in sequence/with the beat. Lastly, the way to end a Class Trial is with Climax Logic. Climax Logic requires you to use all that you've figured out during the case and assimilate a comic, depicting the murder and the culprit all in one go. The gameplay for the Class Trial is very fun and keeps you on your feet; in fact as you get further in each chapter the gameplay expands more and more bringing a thrilling experience to the Class Trial.
Dangan Ronpa has graphics that aren't the best but were touched up for the Vita version. The areas will remind you of PS2 type graphics, though the character art and design are very good. The music is fitting for a horror visual novel, but it really is at it's best during the class trials. The intense sounds go well with trying to solve a mystery with your life on the line. The replay-value for Dangan Ronpa originally is not the high, though the PS Vita adds a new version to the game called School Life, where you can experience the game without the murders; in other words a whole new type of game. I would say it has moderate replay-value only because the main allure factor of the game is its story, but if you want to explore the new mode, find some hidden endings, or see other relationships go on ahead.
I only gave Dangan Ronpa a chance because of how much the internet overrated the series. Honestly, everyone was talking about how great reading a playthrough was without even playing it and then an anime came out for it so, I decided to give it a shot. The beginning of the game I was hooked, always wanting to know what happens next, though personally I found the mysteries pretty easy to solve. The characters are well developed but I don't see why this game is compared to Ace Attorney, 999 is the closest example but Dangan Ronpa is its own game. As the game went on, my interest died down and I don't see this being as good as people said, even if they didn't even play the game. The ending left me wondering even if I wanted to play the sequel Super Dangan Ronpa, only time will tell!
In 2012 the Playstation Vita received a brand new IP, with Sony hoping that this would become one of the Vita's showcase games to finally entice sales. This game was showcased as Gravity Rush, a unique cel-shaded action game with many ideas, all possible due to the PS Vita's unique specs. A little over two years later, I've finally gotten to picking up the game through being a Playstation Plus member, as it has been free along with another Vita showcase, Uncharted: Golden Abyss. For those of who you who own a PS Vita without Playstation Plus, you will still be looking at a sales price of $40.00
Gravity Rush is located in the fictional floating town of Hekseville, where in turn you meet our protagonist, Kat, who wakes up in the opening cinematic with no memories whatsoever. Upon waking up, you see a strange cat where, with the aid of your magical cat Dusty (Kat names it), you control Kat and can alter gravity to your will. As far as the story goes, upon waking up in this town, you realize you have no memories but you decide, with these powers, you are able to help citizens and the government and possibly find out who or what you really are. As the story progresses, you find out there are evil creatures called "Nevi" that are invading the town of Hekseville, in which the government is trying to stop; as well as another female, Raven, who like you can bend gravity, possibly knowing who you truly are.
The gameplay is a bit open-world, as there are story missions divided into chapters, with the option of doing many side-missions, to increase your stats or collect crystals. Kat is constantly learning new moves, so that your experience never gets boring when you decide to fight hordes of Nevi. The game map is very user friendly, despite its odd, yet unique controls. Every mission you select will always have a marker to indicate how far you must travel; in addition to your free gravity roaming ways, there are sewer shortcuts to get you across Hekseville, considering the town is massive. As you progress in your play, more areas that were lost to the Nevi, become available thereby creating a whole new world, where you could see different districts and how the city really runs.
To explain the open-world part specifically is that you control Kat and gravity, without the care for any civilians (just dropping them at several hundred feet) where you can freely travel the town to either main-story related missions or sidequest missions, all indicated on a marker you select on your pause screen menu. In terms of the battle and RPG components of the game, it is simple, yet addictive. For the RPG parts, you gain crystals everywhere, be it floating in town or just completing missions, in which turn you use these crystals to upgrade your stats such as Kick, Gravity Control, Gravity Speed, etc. The more you upgrade Kat, the better time you have in the game; because as time progresses more and more enemies spawn and you're gonna need to upgrade.
The battling uses every part and spec the PS Vita has to offer. By pressing R, you send Kat into a Zero-G mode where then you decide which way the flow of gravity should be. Enemies/Nevis usually have a giant red glowing dot on them as their weak spot, so you are going to want to adjust the camera with either the Right Stick or using the Gyroscope the Vita is capable of doing. Personally, I used the right stick most of the time, but later on I got used to the Gyroscope where it became a more accurate option as I practiced! Kat has two moves: kicks on the ground and kicks using gravity. From all of Kat's abilities, the developers try to use the Vita in every aspect, as swiping across your screen consists of Kat dodging, or holding both fingers to your screenlets Kat Gravity Slide (a fun and hectic way to travel). Most of the time you will be floating around or being pissed up from you trying to stop on a dime and then accidentally landing on a building in a horizontal manner; throwing yourself off. This will be a very common occurrence, because all the side missions in the game are broken down into Time Attacks, or fighting hordes. However, you get used to it and that's what makes Gravity Rush fun.
One thing that really bothered me in the game besides it's horrible story, was the character design; Kat is just ugly (along with everyone else) and to tell you the truth every character is pretty forgettable. Heck, the game barely has a consistent flow later on, that you are just playing hoping to get answers that are, eventually, never answered! One feature, which I thought was fantastic was the small "cinematic" comic strip parts, explaining events. The comics looked great and best part allowed for gyroscope and in a sense a stereoscopic view, so you could enjoy the art. The music is fantastic, however it does not fit the motif of the game and most of the time, you enjoy it during your long Zero-G travels of town. Don't get me wrong I love the OST in the game and its symphonic songs, it's just the game seems like a pseudo-steampunk and well, Ni No Kuni like songs don't work.
One thing the game does have is replay-value, if you skipped the sidequests or you wanted to hit them after you completed the game, they are always there waiting for you to complete them. While they may get a bit repetitive and tedious, there are tons of cool things to explore, even hidden Nevi bosses!
I probably would have never played this game if it wasn't free and to tell you the truth it definitely isn't worth full retail value. Besides being very disconnected with the characters and their horrible design, Kat is annoying and the story is a mess. I did find the combat to be very unique and fun, although the most fun I had was at the end when I learned the game and mastered most of the abilities to a higher level. Some of the side missions make you want to pull your hair out, like accidentally hitting a side of a building while Gravity Falling, in turn shifting gravity to the left and ruining your score for a 3-star! The game is a big rinse-and-repeat that can't hide how limited it truly is.
It's that time of year...the end of the year! Now's the time you look back on all the games you played since 2013 and realize that you probably only played a few games that actually came out in 2013 and have to somehow decide which was the best of the best. The first thing I wanted to say before I went into my awards is probably how disappointing 2013 was in terms of gaming; a pretty weak year with more overrated titles than one's eyes can read past. From the mainstream directly influencing everything it was hard to find few real gems out there in a year of many releases.
[note: sorry no PS4 or Xbox One nothing out for them really and/or didn't really play them otherwise it would be Resogun and Killer Instinct]
[note 2: don't steal gifs if you want to use mine go right ahead just credit per usual]
PS3: Winner: Ni No Kuni Wrath of the White Witch [Review] Ni No Kuni was clearly the best PS3 game that one could get, from its gorgeous soundtrack, beautiful Studio Ghibli animation, to fantastic story and gameplay; the game was a delight for anyone decided to play this instant classic. The best thing about Ni No Kuni was how diverse it was and how free you felt, even with its homage to "old-school JRPG's". Constantly, I found myself drawn by the story wanting to know what awaited Oliver and his friends in this new found magical world, only to be shown more plot twists and tricks to keep this fantasy going. In addition, "grinding" wasn't a hassle at all considering the game's action-RPG nature, with your constantly switching out familiars or doing sidequests non-stop. Things that stood out most to me were: the great characters, especially Lord High Lord of the Fairies Mr. Drippy and the very smooth gameplay, with a simple leveling up system that was more advanced than the eye could see, and how in-depth the sidequests were. For the player to actually have to read the Wizard's Companion that is given in the game, really shows the detail put forth.
Nintendo Wii U: Winner: Super Mario 3D World [review coming soon] Super Mario 3D World is exactly what you want for a Mario game, especially one you had no idea what to expect. Nintendo shows us all that they still got, even when they force the idea of co-op multiplayer onto us, and this game shows why. SM3DW not only is gorgeous to look at, but the soundtrack could possibly be one of the best ones Nintendo has brought to us since Super Mario Galaxy. From the diverse gameplay (YES there is a difference when you play as Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Toad), fantastic level design, hidden difficulty (some of those sticker spots like wow 100% doesn't come easy), to amazing co-op, and just overall fun this game is the absolute must-have of any person wanting or getting a Wii U. You know a game is great when you can just pick it up, anytime, anywhere, with anybody and just have a blast.
Runner-up: Wonderful 101
Nintendo 3DS: Winner: Mario & Luigi Dream Team [review coming soon] Mario & Luigi Dream Team is the fourth entry of the Mario & Luigi series and one of the best RPG's a person can have for a handheld. From the clever story writing and overall hilarity, to its open-world with tons of minigames, the game offers more than just an RPG with a point A to B objective. The Mario & Luigi series didn't have the strongest titles on the DS and I believe they lost the charm of what made SuperStar Saga one of the best games ever, but Nintendo proved us wrong with this awesome adventure of the Mario Bros. One thing that makes this game great is really how much post-game stuff there is to do, besides the normal 30 hour adventure, in fact there even is a new game + or Hard Mode to challenge those who may have thought it was too easy.
Runner-up: Pokemon X/Y
Multiplat/Anti-Game Multi-platform Winner: Rayman Legends [review coming soon] Remember when people were threatening not to buy this game because Ubisoft decided to make this game multi-plat and not a Wii U exclusive? Well, those people missed out on one of the best games of the year. Rayman is back with the sequel of the fantastic 2011 Rayman Origins and this time he's just as good. The platforming is beautiful and makes old-school and new-gamers rejoice, the new style of graphics is joy to play/watch, and its charming and funny ways still tug at the players heart. Rayman Legends is showing the world that 2D-platformers still rock and only get better.
Runner-up: Assassian's Creed IV: Black Flag
ANTI-Game of the Year Winner: The Last of Us (PS3) [review] Did you ever want a game that was so overrated that every internet comment has to mention it this game like it changed the landscape of gaming a la Super Mario 64? Well then, Naughty Dog does just that with their survival-horror game called The Last of Us. TLOU is a game that is meant to be realistic and show grueling horrible nature of humans in a decayed world, but in turn we get a snooze-fest with horrible gameplay and a very bad story.
The idea of this game is to bring realism into gaming, and yet Naughty Dog sets their own rules just to constantly break them leaving the player scratching his head why even bother trying to understand or even play the game. In addition, many features of this game were not at all new, unless you count Joel's swaying from his "gun skills", the idea of swimming and horse-back riding were already used in their previous franchise Uncharted. One last gripe has to be the soundtrack, barren and when heard boring just as the game, so in turn it fits the motif of TLOU. The great multiplayer can't save this game from being the worst of the year.
Runner-Up: Sonic Lost World (Wii U)- Why SEGA? [review here]
THE WINNER SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD! *Mario yells WHA-HOOO then the piano from the opening starts*
This game was the game to have no play in 2013. From it's fantastic gameplay, be it solo or with friends or even strangers, to it's constant challenges Nintendo shows they still have it, even if everyone decided to bash them when this game was first announced. It's been a while since a Mario game was so fun, appealing, challenging, and just simply fantastic in every sense. Maybe the plan of filling our plates with New Super Mario Bros. games so much, would make this game so much better just returning to his "3D roots" (in a new sense). If you ever wanted a game that provided more and more each time you played, or gave you the option to play in many different ways, then look no further.