Hi I’m Chet Harrison and this is my pawn shop. Okay just kidding this a review page. Anyway, I like karting games but our pal Dale Desimone (Zeke) is an expert on these things and can tell us what we’re really dealing with here. Team Sonic Racing is a multi-platform kart racing game smart enough to release before Crash Team Racing pops up and takes over. Is this any good? YES*
*mainly for couch multi and it being multi-platform. It’s better than Mario Kart anyway. ^_-
Despite what some online comparisons indicate, the remaster is the superior version of the game.
Let’s preface this one differently. I was a big Assassin’s Creed fan but AC3 greatly reduced my love for it. And Unity murdered it. When I played that game all those years ago, I was disappointed on all fronts. I was also setting really high expectations that could not be reached. And I wanted to beat the game before the real life “December 21, 2012” end of the word scenario so I rushed through all of it. Hated the difficulty, the setting was underused, Connor wasn’t a good protagonist, and lots of bugs and grievances with the detection settings for NPCs.
Well, I either completely sucked back then, or Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is a much better experience. This re-release comes with a remaster of Liberation HD (a remaster of a remaster?) as well. This remaster came out March 29, 2019 and either is free with your Assassin’s Creed Odyssey season pass or in the store for $40. The season pass for Odyssey costs $40 so you have almost no reason to not have that marvel of a game and its DLC packs. So, is it worth a revisit after so many years? Or perhaps, for those who haven’t played it, a decent entry?
There will be a video on this in the near future but this title is the subject to a bit of controversy. If you look for graphical comparisons on Youtube, you will see that some of them imply it to be superior, yet others imply that it is worse. Whether it is misrepresenting the game on purpose or not, this review is from the “Xbox One X” version of the game, so the most graphically powerful console release. I can personally confirm that the release is highly superior in the graphical department. With the exception of a handful of faces, you’re getting better looks across the entire board. You have better color with HDR, lively landscapes, and incredible textures.
You can’t really change an entire story in a remaster, can you? What you CAN do is try to engage your player more this time around. AC3 tells the story of… Haytham Kenway? Yes, the game pulls a reverse Metal Gear Solid 2. A sizeable chunk of the game has you playing as a character who is completely absent from all of the marketing materials. After a while, you do finally get to Connor or Kanien’kehá:ka (don’t try to pronounce it, just give up). The problem with this character is the game gives him a very rich setup due to the events of the first hours of gameplay. Yet at every turn, Connor manages to remain as dull as humanly possible. More on that in audio.
The other issue is that the setting doesn’t really do a good job at expressing the ins and outs of the Revolutionary War. Sure, there’s a lot of text you can read, but in terms of the game on its own, you basically just jump in and out of several world-famous events. Funnier is that it implies that Connor was at the front of all of them. Paul Revere? Connor? Boston Massacre? Connor. Boston Tea Party? Connor. The freaking battle at Chesapeake Bay? Connor.
Really stretching the believability, but then again this series more firmly expresses itself as alternate history. This makes the second time around a lot more enjoyable. Not to mention, I personally was able to focus more on a lot of content I had to pass on because I was so eager to finish.
It’s not every day you come across a voice actor who is a direct descendant of American indigenous tribes with a fine understanding of their languages, but here we are. Noah Watts, of the Blackfeet nation, voices our protagonist Connor. He speaks English and… not English. #OnlyTheFacts | Now, as said before, Connor is a dry and wooden protagonist. This is really not the fault of the actor. The dialog given for his character contains little in the way of flair or emotion. He speaks very directly at all times. He comes in two flavors, deliberate and agitated. That’s it. The rest of the cast wasn’t too great either. As for SFX? They’re mediocre. Nothing wrong about them but nothing to grab your attention.
I must make it painstakingly clear though, this game has one of the GREATEST original scores in the entire Assassins Creed franchise. That genuinely made the game a good experience overall. Quite emotional too, making up for some of the acting.
So, at the time it came out, AC3 had a bit of a difficult learning curve. A lot of the combat mechanics, controls, and gameplay style of the game change in the transition from the Ezio trilogy to III. However, coming directly off of AC: Odyssey, the game is retroactively easier to come to grips with. If anything, the game feels more limited. No dedicated stealth mode button. Combat is the old style of “counter-attack kills” that were prominent in most of the series. The simplicity of the game in comparison to the new game actually made it feel a bit more streamlined. It was almost arcade-like to play this game after every game we’ve had since.
It also seems as thought a lot of changes streamline the overall experience. Some redundancies were eliminated. Enemy detection appeared to be slower. The ship combat was easier to handle. Every step of the way, quality of life improvements are there, on every front. Oh, and the load times, those are some short load times. Especially for fast traveling and desynchronizing.
The fact that I took my time to play through more of the game is a very big deal. This time around, I bothered to unlock all the fast travel locations in the underground. It was a bit grindy, but manageable. The silly “homestead” missions actually felt like they were worth the time. That is despite the fact that the “convoy” system of the game was an absolute waste of time and needlessly complicated. I did all the district liberations and recruited all 6 support assassins. I did several of the optional naval battles. Not everything could be helped. The almanac pages are still dumb, as are all of the other fetch items the game throws at you. But I must stress that above all else, I had a much, MUCH better time playing this game again. I was supposed to be playing other games, yet I kept coming back to this re-release time and time once more.
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered is a huge improvement on the original iteration. Between the streamlining of gameplay elements, the simplicity, and the visual quality? This is a good remaster that has been released at exactly the right moment. If it has been a while since you last played, give it another shot. If you’ve never played it, also give it a shot. And ignore the real world plot, it’s still crap.
If I find time, I would like to play the Tyranny of King Washington DLC as well as Liberation, but that will have to wait.
Yakuza. The name brings fear into the hearts of many. One of the longest running games in history is the center piece of the game with the same title (feels like this has been done before). Yakuza Kiwami 2 is the latest remade title in the franchise serving as a remake of the sequel originally on PS2. Released worldwide on December 7th, 2017, the remake carries a lot of updated visuals and a few updated gaming mechanics. Published by SEGA and developed on the dragon engine, Yakuza Kiwami 2 continues the adventure of Kazuma Kiryu.
One of the most powerful components of Yakuza when it originally released on PS2 was its graphical fidelity. It looked more stunning than 90% of the games on the market. Yakuza Kiwami 2 keeps the long running series history of incredible graphics very much alive. As an official remake it is exciting that the development team used the same engine as the most recent release. Everything in the background pops with just enough vibrancy to coexist with the forefront objects. Emotions can truly be seen in the faces of every character including the useless NPC’s on the streets. Cutscenes transition to gameplay incredibly smoothly.
The game picks up immediately after the events of first. It continues to build the relationships established in the first game with little room for new comers. Without spoiling the events of either game, Yakuza Kiwami 2’s story really starts to flesh out who Kazuma Kiryu really is. It also gives the player a lot of back story to some of the major antagonist who were involved in the first piece of the story. From start to finish the experience is emotionally captivating.
As an American gamer with interest in Japanese storytelling, the lack of American voice-overs is still a bit of a disappointment. The subtitle translation is still nearly flawless. The sound of the city is slightly lacking and in many points can feel lacking and hollow. When the ambiance gets it right though, it gets it perfect. The chatting of people on the street corners about the fight that just took place really fills in the liveliness of the world. It’s pretty clear the development team has mastered the art of carrying assets.
One thing that has to be addressed is that most Japanese game developers have an obsession with trying to fit in every possible gameplay mechanic in one. Yakuza as a series is no exception. Kiwami took the original and packed it with all the flavor from the newer games. While Kiwami 2 took the first remake and swapped out the story line. The over abundance of mini games still exist. The dynamic fighting styles are even more exciting with new over the top finishers. Kiwami 2 does feel a little bit faster paced in between the action, but that could be very subjective. Either way, It’s a remake that delivers on all its promises.
Yakuza games, by non-fans, have always been treated like the Japanese version of Grand Theft Auto. This comparison is a bit deceiving though. With a slew of different gameplay styles, the complexity of the game may be discouraging to many. Those who find themselves deeply ingrained in the story will enjoy exploring everything it has to offer. The fun factor in this particular series comes from the amount of depth to the Japanese culture that can be explored. As a pick up and play for a few minutes probably not the best option as it is hard to really get anything out of that. However, the game is fun enough to make the 3-4 hours of gameplay per sitting to get anything done is more than worth it.
Yakuza Kiwami set the standard extremely high for the remake world. Updated visuals put a brand new spark into the entry of an amazing series. Well balanced gameplay and outrageous unique elements keep the game exciting and fun during every session. The most powerful element of the game however is absolutely the story it tells. Loyalty, conviction, self development, and growth are all just a few of the topics that the narrative covers. Yakuza Kiwami 2 is proudly more of the same.
Kingdom Hearts 3 was developed and published by Square Enix and let’s just jump on into it.
Kingdom Hearts 3 is a game 13 years in the making. It kinda shows. The game doesn’t look bad. It’s a cartoon design how could it? But it doesn’t have any huge flair either. It lacks the Pixar sheen thats makes the 3D animated films outstanding. On the other hand, it does have the illustrious color of the classic 2D Disney films. It just doesn’t do anything to really stun the player. Although, the way the team managed to recreate environments from some of the greatest movies of all time is incredible, the initial wow factor fades quickly.
Where to begin? Quite literally might be the single toughest question the development team had to handle. And boy did they miss the mark. There is no way to get into Kingdom Hearts 3 without having played the series before, assuming Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 are enough. The game immediately throws a bunch of characters in without any introduction. Not necessarily to who they are, as most are Disney icons, but rather how they impact whatever is going on. And because of this there is hardly any explanation of what’s going on. It’s probably a great finale to a great series, but as a standalone title it opens with way too many questions.
Similar to the graphics, the development team’s ability to recreated classic sound effects was astonishing. The hours and man power that must have went into this absolutely paid off. The family film feeling was in every valuable sound bit. Coupled with the incredible voice acting, the world could not have felt more alive. Sure the menu sound suffers from the Square Enix gold standard of using annoyingly sharp chimes for menu navigation, but worth the trade. The sound design makes for Kingdom Hearts 3 to be a truly immersive experience.
Kingdom Hearts 3 has an incredibly balanced combat system. The key blades weapon setup that gives each keyboard two nearly opposite play styles adds an incredibly strategic layer to the game. Coupled with the magic skills, it moves the needle way past the hack and slash threshold. Exploring the universe, rather the “Ocean Beyond”, quickly turned itself into it’s own super fun fast paced minigame. There are so many elements to explore, nearly every gameplay aspect could be its own game.
This game makes itself very easy to keep playing. Battle after battle, the combat felt exciting. Some players might want to adjust the control setting for their preferences. It’s hard not to want to be a part of the adventure even though the game makes its so damn hard. Inclusion is the only barrier for newcomers. With that said theres no way that anyone who understand the story aren’t going to enjoy the hell out of this. The combat system is great, flying the ship is way more fun than it should be, and the worlds are colorful, oozing imagination. It really feels like a major Disney event. All major Disney events are fun.
Kingdom Hearts 3 might be the greatest finale to a long running series to date. However, it ignores all new players by providing no welcoming entry point. The game is a ton of fun to play, so it’s hard to imagine anyone who loves the series being disappointed at all. The only real way to fully enjoy Kingdom Hearts 3 is certainly to play all the games before it. Or at least watch the recaps on Youtube.
Game development studios go out of business all the time. It’s the unfortunate part of the industry that keeps every on their toes. What does not happen often, if at all, is a game publisher going out of business. Then there assets and trademarks being purchased at auction. And finally, one of their biggest franchises gets brought back to life by the new owners. However, crazy it sounds, this is the story of Darksiders 3. The release date was on November 27th 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It picks up where the previous games left off and puts you in control of the only horsewoman of the apocalypse. Developed by Gunfire Games and Published by THQ Nordic (remember the story) the third person hack and slash action adventure game hopes to build on the foundation laid before it. Does Fury get an adventure as awesome as War & Death?
The first thing most gamers will notice is that Darksiders 3 looks a lot like Darksiders 2. For reference, DarkSiders 2 looked a lot like DarkSiders 1. So yeah, the graphics are nothing to really be blown away by. The impressive part of the graphics feeling dated is (with the remasters in existence) the timeline of events feels super coherent and natural. In a weird way, rather than feel like the graphics are outdated it feels like the game is bringing the player to a specific point in time. Whether this was intentional or not it makes it super easy to overlook the minor graphic issues. And the game development team did an excellent job at making sure there were no glaring graphical faults. Not the prettiest tool in the shed but not ugly enough to ruin the experience.
The Darksiders series tells an incredible story when all three games are put together. Individually, each games story is really good but it’s very clear something is missing without the experience with the previous games. Fury is on a mission to take down the seven sins that have taken over earth. That reads interesting but not quite enough. It’s missing the flare of knowing everything that led to this point. Like War being framed for causing the battle that destroyed earth and ruined the balance. Or that Death is on his own unapproved mission to prove his brother War’s innocence. Or perhaps the suspicious story from the Char Council that Strife is off on a mission and he can not be reached. See now the story is much more interesting, however all those pieces come together from playing every game. Great story spread across three good games.
Similar to the visuals, the audio in Darksiders 3 sounds very much like it’s predecessors. Again this does an incredible job of creating the feeling that the events of the game are indeed taking place simultaneously with Darksiders 1 and 2. For anyone who’s played the previous games the roars of monster and the destruction of items in sight will sound very familiar. For those new to the series, it’s a hit or miss. Some menu sounds are absolutely annoying with their sharp chimes. However, most of the sounds in game, from sword swinging to landing from a large jump, are pretty action packed. The adrenaline inducing sound effects and music add to the fast paced excitement even if it sounds like a last generation soundtrack.
This is where each game in this series really separates. Each development team for the Darksiders series has had the privilege of working with nearly identical environments with a different protagonist. In Darksiders 3 the player takes control of Fury, often recognized as the least predictable of the four horsemen. Fury specializes in using her whip and magic to overcome most battles. This makes her similar to Death in that she more effectively dodges than she does block. Yet, similar to War, she is very up close and personal, using her whip and magic to close the distance more often than end the fight. The introduction of a few new enemy types and the strengthening of others makes the experience unique to Fury. Enemies that could barely hurt the hulking War are a larger threat to Fury. Learning to play to each Horseman’s strength and weaknesses is what has every fan of this series asking, when do we get the 4 player co-op DarkSiders game?
Fast paced hack and slash third person action. That sentence is the literal definition of a fun game. The Darksiders series does a great job of combining puzzle, platform, and adventure game mechanics. Darksiders 3 is no different. It embodies basic RPG elements like growth and skill charts but it’s mostly about reflex reactions. Battles involve accurate timing for both attacks and dodging. Puzzles scale in size from small levers and dials to entire environments that need to traversed with precision. All these great pieces of other fun games make Darksiders 3 the type of game that requires effort to stop playing.
Darksiders 3 does a great job of being exactly what fans of the series want at the small risk of being too much for newcomers to handle. The team at Gunfire Games have done an excellent job of providing a solid hack and slash adventure during the genre’s major drought. Any fans of fast paced action, unique gameplay mechanics, and challenging puzzles needs to get their hands on this. Or any of the games in the series, honestly.
The original Crackdown game came out in 2007 and received a lot of attention after it was revealed that you would get access to the Halo 3 multiplayer beta if you bought it. That’s one way to get attention, and as a result, a decent number of Xbox fans got to play it. Crackdown 3 was originally teased at E3 2014 and has finally been released. It is a freeform sandbox action game developed by Sumo Digital and published by Xbox Game Studios. You play as an agent of “The Agency” a group of super-powered police, with extraordinary strength, aim, jumping, running, and others. Your goal is to take down a crime syndicate, and in this third installment, an oppressive corporatist regime. This particular game lets you play as, basically Terry Crews. Xbox fans have waited a long time for this console exclusive game, so how is it?
graphics in the game are a bit odd. It seems like they were trying to
be cel-shaded while not being cel-shaded. Some elements have that
cartoon look while others have some very defined textures. Absolutely
a mixed bag. But it’s not just the textures and bright neon lights,
the cutscenes are inconsistent as well. In the beginning of the game
you get a full animated, pre-rendered primer, which gets cut short.
After that you get motion-comic cutscenes that seem rather
low-effort. Then you also get in-game cutscenes here and there. The
last are the worst. I’ve frequently had animations fail, with my
agent glued to the air while a guy in a mech threatens you. Other
in-game cutscenes stutter. And this is on the Xbox One X. The
playable agents also appear to be a little lacking in quality. Terry
Crews as Jaxon looks fine, but the rest of the characters look like
they just used a face generator from Mass Effect. Andromeda. But with
that weird inconsistent cel-look.
I don’t know how you can do worse with a story like Crackdown, but they managed to do the unthinkable. They added a plot to the game that actually made it less enjoyable. In the original games, the plot was basically “Here are the bad guys, go get ’em”. This game gives all the enemies their own stories, but they are all really half-assed and emotionless. I cannot remember a single character’s name or what their deal even was. This guy is the chemicals guy because reasons. This guy is the guards guy because reasons. This guy has captured monorails cuz reasons. That moonshine stand needs to be destroyed because reasons. It would genuinely be better if I were just told to go at it.
But they try to characterize it so hard, it becomes cringe inducing, with motivations that don’t make any sense and asinine monologues. Worse off is the over-arching plot. Short spoilers for the very beginning of the game, the Agency is sent to a city to fight some kind of “blackout” but get killed in the process and time passes by a few years (I think). Next, a character revives your agent of choice and unleashed you into the city. The story is simply that the blackouts caused everyone to flee to the city because it still has electricity. No really. And then it turns out the city is run by a ruthless corporation, TerraNova, who immediately enslaves all the refugees. Yeah, makes perfect sense to me.
If you don’t particularly like it when you hear a lot of useless banter over the radio while you’re doing stuff, you are going to have a bad time. The legendary “Voice of the Agency” played by Michael McConnohie returns with a vengeance. The whole shtick with his character, is he’s sort of the real protagonist of the story since your agent doesn’t talk much. Both in the original games and this one, he frequently says dumb things over the radio based on what you’re doing, such as:
Skills for kills, agent!
Sounds like there’s a hidden ability orb nearby, you should look for
Burn baby burn.
Wow, now that’s an explosion.
In the original game, this quirk was done every once in a while, and it has a certain charm about it. However in 3, he has something to say every five minutes. It would get annoying real fast for most players. I like it personally, but objectively, it’s super obnoxious. Still, his voice is amazing, and he needs to do audiobooks. As for the other characters? Largely forgettable. They did very little with Terry Crews other than the opening cutscene. The soundtrack sounds like a royalty-free selection of faux-dubstep tracks that fail to impress. Most of the guns and explosions are pretty satisfying. Also, the iconic sound of the agility orbs are still there.
Rather than having any campaign missions whatsoever, the game has you just complete a series of objectives. You just do this until you clear enough to fight the boss in charge of those battle locations. So, no real campaign here, you basically just make your way around the map, playing section after section. To give it some credit, the main map isn’t full of empty spaces between objectives. All challenges are located relatively near one another. You won’t spend a lot of time driving because it’s so easy to jump from one to the next. Honestly, it’s a welcome change to have a more tight-knit experience than most sandbox games. But a sandbox it still is, and it has plenty of flaws.
activity has you liberating militia members by freeing them from
holding cells around the city. This activity will literally take you
one minute or less, as there aren’t that many guards, but even if
there are, all you have to do is jump over to the prisoner release
panel and hold LB. That’s it, you’ve freed the prisoners, and any
enemy in the area freezes in place while you get a “mission
success” screen. In another location, all you have to do is blow up
either machinery or storage tanks of a substance called “Chimera”.
I’d tell you more about it, but I can’t because I missed the one
point where they said what the stuff was and it’s not really brought
up again after that. Then in another, you have to capture monorail
stations because an evil AI is using them to… move drugs? Don’t
Had a hard time with glitches that were rather annoying. I’ve had input lag in sections where the screen gets busy, and other sections where the controls weren’t even responding. Also ended up getting an OP assault rifle in the middle of it the game. Once that happened, the game was barely a challenge. I might have to play it on harder modes to see if it’s better. Even then, once you piss off enough of the 3 different police factions? You get a city lockdown and are immediately inundated with enemies that are 4X as tough. When that happens, I just let myself die. It is more fun than dealing with that mess. The game’s idea of “challenge” is having you fight a boss while dozens of enemies spawn in at the same time.
I had fun in the 3 days it took to complete this game. Every achievement I got after the first boss was a RARE ACHIEVEMENT. That’s sad. The game is just out and I’m getting rare achievements because not enough people bothered to finish it? Oy. Anyway, playing Crackdown 3 felt like a retread of the original game. It was enough to take me back to when I had just started College and got the original game. But by the end of it, you get tired of the game. You may get bored after finishing a few bosses. It’s a pretty low effort affair. Then again if you just decide to start jumping around, collecting agility orbs and doing side activities, you may find a sort of Zen. Seriously.
Saints Row 4 took to this sandbox super-powers type game and made it an absolute riot. But this new title feels like it’s a huge step backwards. It’s less of a modern Crackdown and more of an Agents of Mayhem experience. Which also wasn’t very good (and that was the same devs as SR4). My roommate found the game fun because he had never played it before. So, don’t pay full price for this game. Don’t bother with it unless you have Game Pass. It’s cheap enough to get a three month pass for the amount of titles you get to play. It’s a mediocre experience but if you “rent” the game by getting game pass, you will find yourself with far superior titles to play afterwards.
Everyone has been upset over a particular mission. Nordlys depicts a woman and her mother opposing German troops who are transporting a nuclear compound known as hard water. This event actually took place under several men trying to sabotage the plans. All the complaining about misrepresenting history has made something clear. We now all know what really happened.
In recent times, it seems as though 60 dollars does not actually pay for the “whole experience”. With pieces missing from the game should you choose to buy the “base version” you are forced to miss out on certain perks and benefits. Sometimes it’s big, other times it’s small. But this, this is egregious. Ubisoft made a perfectly functional game and then chose to make it a bit on the grindy side, compared to other AC titles. There’s a boost pack than increases your money and EXP by and extra 50%, and then they have the nerve to charge 1500 helix points for it. It costs $20 to buy enough of these transaction credits and you’ll have some left over, but you can’t afford the upgrade on the lower tier. AC: Odyssey is an amazing and LARGE game. But, essentially, they are selling it for $80 by making you feel obligated to purchase this pack. Unless you really want to be a completionist and don’t mind random crap between missions, this is necessary. Not just side missions, you need to actually go to random ? points on the map and do just a very basic encounter to earn the EXP needed to progress in the story. It’s crap. Have a look.
The God Eater series has always rode the line between Monster Hunter clone and it’s own game. Both were successful on PSP. Both are hunting games more focused on gameplay than story. And both are super Japanese.
It’s no surprise than that Bandai Namco is ready to talk God hunting. Not monster hunting, major difference. Don’t believe me? Check out the trailer below and see for yourself. Huge difference.
Valkyria Chronicles is a Japanese RPG. But instead of turn-based, it’s a tactical RPG and heavily based in rudimentary first person shooter setups. And the cel shading looks astonishing. Vega has played tactical RPGs for a long time, but Chet has only played Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle.