yakuza kiwami 2 review
March 6th, 2019 by Vega Montanez

The saga continues…

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.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

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.

STORY: 2/2

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.

AUDIO: 1/2

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.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

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.

FUN: 1/2

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.

SCORE: 8/10

That’s a wrap for reviewing remasters.



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super smash bros
January 7th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Super Smashed, Bro

Everyone’s favorite definitive “who will win” fighting game is back and it’s the biggest ever. It has all of the original stages, characters, and weapons from all previous games. Then it decided to add even more. Super Smash Bros Ultimate, developed and published by Nintendo is one of the fighting game league’s favorite games. With an aboslute massive set of characters and stages, they have outdone themselves. For fans of Smash Bros, this here is everything you ever wanted and more. For new player, good news, there’s a single player campaign and it’s not bad. I personally have never played Smash normally. And in fact, I hate the series overall. But only one person on my team has a Nintendo Switch. Guess who? Yeah, thought so. Anyway, how is the whole thing?

GRAPHICS: 2/2

Every old map as been fully modernized and updated to look amazing. Old stages perfectly blend in with the new ones with a very consistent art style. And the characters themselves have never looked better. Older smash bros gave a knockoff of your favorite characters, but Ultimate has the absolute best out of everyone. The customizable skins help too. Solid design overall, does exactly what was needed to be done. It also shows off the switch’s capabilities with flying colors.

STORY: 1/2

The single player campaign, “World of Light” is serviceable enough. It encourages the player to run around a big map. Like a chicken with its head cut off. All that was given for the plot is that this creature made all Nintendo characters evil and the only way to get them back is too free them on the map. Or alternatively, get a random battle while playing with friends. It’s just good enough that there’s nothing particularly wrong about the game’s structure. It’s more of an affirmation that people absolutely love this game and will sink hours into it, no matter what. Either way, the campaign results in a bunch of matches vs bots that have many different variables both on stages and on the character behavoir.

AUDIO:1/2

I can’t remember a single song from the game but all of them aren’t very intrusive. A lot of the songs are edited versions of original tracks, only to be blasted by an unfamiliar theme that stresses you out. Other than that, the game hasn’t much wrong with the audio. Gameplay vocals are minimal, all characters sound exactly how they are supposed to. And of course, the attack sounds, a long with the vibration on the controller, is a great role to fit. Perfect hits and well times launches make for a fine experience.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

The plot is “stop the bad guy” but in a multiplayer focused game is hardly irrelevant. I haven’t yet wasted my own time by putting myself in danger of a 12 year old who’s great at it. But anyway, you just run around a path of multiple roads to get to find certain spirits that updrade your abilitiles. It has the pair of rock paper scissor into its gameplay of several games. Over all, I can’t see what’s especially good of this. Mt gripe is still the controls. I can absolutely own people in hack and slash games, and regular fighting games. But just a little later, add all just rust me and upstairs and find it. Otherwise, all I can do is just stand around in front of people and they all think I’m crazy. Alternatively, I can use this better button combo. Glad they offered control over not only inverting but the buttons too.

FUN:1/2

I’m still not seeing this ever expanding work. I had fun when I won but playing is either a slog or random. The specific move sets off different character make it hard to pick someone you like. And its even worse when you get to a dead guy. Spoilers, btw. But yeah, I can’t bring myself top find anything relatable with the the characters. I was absolute glued to the sceen the first few days, but after several orther games dopped out, I just skipped out. I wish at this point that there is a master unlock. Even if I have to pay for it. I’d like to play as the characters I’ve been trying to play.

Get this game if you’re a person who digs couch coop and once again wants to see which people will remain free. That’s just mumbo jumbo, tell me why I’m wrong in the comments. Looking forward to hear what everyone has to say. This is not a popular opinion to have. Then again, it’s not my opinion. It’s my mostly objective experience.

SCORE: 7/10

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soul calibur vi
December 20th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

A legend as old as time.

The weapon wielding fighting game franchise has returned. Soul Calibur 6, is the latest entry in a fan favorite franchise. Developed and published by Bandai Namco and produced by the internal team Project Soul, Soul Calibur 6 delivers a fighting experience like no other. Released on October 19, 2018 , Soul Calibur 6 is determined to reignite the flame of the fighters’ soul.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

If there is anything that Bandai Namco has locked down over the years creating fighting games, it is visuals. Soulcalibur 6 looks incredibly amazing. The greatest display of it’s visual prowess is undeniably found within the super powerful character creation. Allowing the creation of iconic characters from all walks of life. This much power could be terrifying but in this case it’s amazing. The possibilities are endless and every single asset used looks just as high quality as the original characters in the game. Frame-rates are incredibly smooth and consistent and load times are nearly non-existent. Even the terrible idea to use visual novel style cutscenes to move the story along, look fantastic. Soulcalibur 6 is magnificent to look at in action.

STORY: 2/2

How does a long standing franchise with a plot involving a war between good and evil keep things fresh? Simple, reboot. Soulcalibur 6 has easily one of the best reboot concepts since Mortal Kombat 9. (Remember that reboot, it was amazing.) Soul Calibur 6 brings fans back to the roots of the story. Much like Bandai Namco’s other super series, Tekken, the story of Soul Calibur is experience through the eyes of every playable character in the game. Each character experiences a different perspective of this world threatening plot. Unlike past games in the series, however, it appears the development team decided to make every story official canon. This makes some of the endings a little lack luster on their own but, as part of the bigger picture, every piece of the puzzle fits perfectly.

AUDIO: 1/2

The music composed for this game is stellar. It does an incredible job of boosting adrenaline with its heavy orchestration. Every stage has a theme song that plays to the uniqueness of the stage. These subtle design choices are amazing and the menu sounds are just present enough to be interesting. Where Soul Calibur 6 continues to excel is in character creation. Even the voices available to the created hero feel exciting and fresh in a weird way. Maybe these are the normal grunts and theres nothing special about them at all but for whatever reason in this game they felt great.

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

Much like it’s spiritual brother, Tekken, Soul Calibur 6 is a very technical game. With a roster of nearly 30 characters, before including created characters, there’s a gameplay style for every gamer. The return of Critical Edge, the one button super move, was extremely welcomed. As was the brand new introduction of Reversal Edge, a new type of guard that can lead to auto blocking any attack. Guard Impact and Soul Charge also returned making some classic mechanics feel fresh and updated. There wasn’t anything groundbreaking or incredibly surprising but the gameplay was always fluid and smooth.

FUN: 2/2

Fighting games are one of the last standing same room multiplayer experiences left in gaming. A good fighting game can be hours of fun for a group of gamers. A great fighting game offers months of fun for a single player and groups of gamers. Soul Calibur 6 is absolutely on the high side of great fighting games. Even if everything else about this game was sub par, the freedom of the character creation is outrageous. Individual story lines for every character adds hours of semi-adventurous fun. Seriously, A quick Google search will show how much fun people are having playing Soul Calibur 6.

Although the previous entry wasn’t a disaster for the series, it was not without its flaws. And those flaws were strongly addressed with the release of Soul Calibur 6. Load times minimized, graphics still top notch, character creation returned and made even better, it’s really amazing. Most notable of all is the slight reboot to the story. Long time fans will find the story has been rebooted and become much cleaner and interesting. Overall better told. Soul Calibur 6 is a must have for any fighting game fan and a great recommendation for anyone else.

SCORE: 8/10




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assassins creed odyssey 80 dollar
November 2nd, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

The 80 Dollar Experience

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.




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September 16th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Doctor Acula

Vampyr is a game that flew under the radar, coming right before E3. And it was June, which is the front side of the gaming deadzone where not to many major releases pop up. But still, despite the review I gave it, here’s some videos on the game. Decide for yourself.




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September 10th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Announced at E3 earlier this year, Tecmo Koei has finally let the cat completely out of the bag. The next installment in the long running franchise, Dead or Alive, will be coming to a console near you on February 15, 2019. What better way to enjoy the day after Valentines Day then embracing the new characters in Dead or Alive 6. Check out the initial announcement trailer below.

Keep it locked to HMG for more cool gamer news!




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April 28th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, is the send-off title for series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. Developed and published by SEGA, the action-adventure PlayStation 4 exclusive was released on April 17, 2018. Technically the seventh main entry in the series, Yakuza 6 is an open-world adventure with a heartwarming and enchanting story to tell. As well as an incredible story to finish. Set in modern day 2016 (due to localization timing it’s actually two years behind) Yakuza 6 continues the series history of providing a look into Japanese culture and locations. Does Yakuza 6 do the series justice as a closing chapter? 

Graphics 2/2

Running on the all-new Dragon engine, Yakuza 6 is one of the most beautiful games of this generation. What makes the game even more beautiful is the transition away from the massive amount of loading screens in previous series entries. The fluidity of the game mixing cinematic moments and gameplay is stunning. The game takes the player to various cities throughout fictional Japan that represent the various environments that represent real Japan. The fictional city of Kamorucho is just as vibrant, commercial filled, and beautiful as the real Tokyo city. The biggest area to appreciate the graphics overall though absolutely goes toward character models. Every major character in the game looks inserted directly from real life. In some moments the facial expressions are so powerful, it was nearly impossible to resist tearing up. Even secondary characters, who obviously receive less attention, looked stellar. Nothing ever falls flat against the background, which makes the world feel truly alive and fully immersive. There may be a few games out there that look better in some areas but very few pull together all the elements in such a glorious way. 

Story 2/2

The final entry in the adventure of the Dragon of Dojima does an excellent job of bringing this narrative full circle. All the things that are loved and hated about Kazuma Kiryu appear to boost him or attempt to destroy him. His Yakuza past is just as damaging as it is protective of his family at the orphanage. Civilians, Yakuza, and the newly included Triad and Korean gangs all get a sense of the man that has been built over the past 20 years. From start to finish, this game is about how the life and choices of one man can have a larger impact on the world around him. This story shows growth, evolution, and humanity in a world shrouded in darkness. It brings hope for a greater future for everyone by testing the resolve of a man many wish they could be. His lifestyle has made it possible for him to explore things others never could as well as things others never want to. The biggest impact is Kazuma’s commitment to his own rules and regulations. He even comments on it while struggling with an insane decision. This is the type of story that needs to be adapted to other forms of media because it needs to be experienced by that many more people. If this is the final time we see Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima in action the send-off was perfect. Honestly, the story is told so perfectly that even someone who has never played a game in the series before can appreciate it. 

Audio 1/2

It’s always tough to look at voice acting for Japanese voiceover games and give it a solid review because it’s a completely different language. Although the voice acting sounds great, who knows how cheesy it really sounds at home. What really gives this game a strong shine is the way the sound effects of the city pull the world together. Everything happening on screen can be heard and everything that can be heard serves a purpose. Walking past the arcade, the sound of all the games can be heard, just as walking by schoolgirls provides the annoying giggles. Menu sound effects are short and sweet. The one major issue with audio was the lack of any option to alter the levels of dialogue and sound effects. It does, however, have a really cool speaker placement control system. Making sure all the angles of sound and voices are perfect.

Gameplay 2/2

The Yakuza series has always been a quirky series filled with outlandish mini-games and Japanese cultural references. Although not as heavily jam-packed with mini-games as some of the later entries, in this case less is more. Batting cages and karaoke return alongside newcomers like gang building and underwater spearfishing. Contrary to the last two non-remake entries’ wide roster of playable characters, The Song of Life is strictly about Kazuma. The gameplay does an excellent job embracing that by also limiting fighting styles that older Kazuma uses to one style he’s mastered over the past two decades. This focused approach makes the game more about character building and really creates a strong relationship between player and antagonist. The quirkiness of the gameplay definitely isn’t for everyone but for those who know what to expect, the surprises are endless. 

Fun 2/2

Yakuza has been a ridiculously fun game from the beginning. Yakuza 6 takes advantage of technological advancements and continues the legacy. Whether playing through the powerful main story or getting involved with a ridiculous side story like “I, Hiji,” putting the control down is hard. The only thing that’s always gotten in the way for many players is the lack of English voice acting. It becomes easy to fall out of the story when cutscenes begin and the reading part ensues. Outside of that everything else that takes place is amazing. Want to hit up an online chat room? Go for it. Want to spend the day chasing and beating up thugs around the city? Go for it. So few things are off limits that it’s really hard to not enjoy the time spent in fictional Japan.  And if for whatever reason more excitement is needed, visit any of the Sega arcades and switch to a number of games. Heck, invite a friend over and beat them up in the B version of Virtual Fighter 5 right inside of Yakuza 6. Tell me where this game lacks fun again. 

There are maybe a couple dozen video game series and characters that have attempted to bring the story arc to a complete close. There are even fewer spanning a length of time as long as Yakuza. And even less that have done justice to the story that was started. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is the perfect ending to a story that has been a part of the PlayStation legacy almost as long as the PlayStation itself. Yakuza 6 is fun, unforgettable, and unique. It packages the end of an era with the beginning of the next so well, it leaves nothing but awe-inspiring appreciation. 

Score: 9/10




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April 7th, 2018 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

She’s everything that’s right with Platinum Games.

There is no better female-let beat-em-up game then Bayonetta. Prove me wrong. Protip you can’t. Okay maybe 2B.




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February 10th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Just like you remember it!

IMPORTANT QUESTION:
Who is the best character from this game? Top 3 results from multiple posting platforms will become our “ultimate team” and we will follow up with a Let’s Play video featuring the top choices as a team.

But seriously, Dragonball FighterZ is all of your childhood dreams come true. Unlike the bizarre counterfeit pseudo fighting game that was Dissia Final Fantasy NT, DBFZ answer the question you’ve been asking. Who could beat who in a fight? Even if you’ weren’t a big fan DBZ, this game is absolutely exhilarating.




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February 5th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Z  Warriors Assemble!

Undeniably one of the most popular and memorable anime/manga of all time, Dragon Ball Z makes its way once again to the video game space. This time is a bit different though. Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 2.5D fighting game developed by Arc System Works and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Since its release on January 26, 2018, on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Dragon Ball FighterZ has already garnered mass attention from both the casual and professional gaming communities. Can the fresh new coat of paint be enough to sway those who disliked the previous Dragon Ball Z games into paying for this one? Let’s find out.

GRAPHICS: 2/2

The fast-paced action is made incredibly beautiful to appreciate because of the wonderful art style. In most instances, the game feels like an episode of the anime being controlled by the player. By keeping the combat locked to a 2-dimensional plane, a lot more attention was paid to the background scenery that of course has its own thing happening. There is almost nothing negative that can be said about the decision to use a more cell shaded look. It allows for the game to look stunning and fun while also keeping the cost of development very controlled. At any given point the vibrancy of the game design really pops the colors into your memory. With an art design like this, there really is no way for this game to not look amazing. Cutscenes in the storyline make the visual work a little less interesting. However, that is not due to graphics but more so due to poor cut scene design. There is no reason at all that can justify why there isn’t an Autoplay option, instead, gamers will have to get comfortable tapping the X button a whole lot.

STORY: 1/2

The storyline for Dragon Ball FighterZ plays out across three chapters: the Super Warriors Arc, the Super Villain Arc, and the Android 21 Arc, each of which follows the story from the perspectives of Goku, Frieza, and Android 18 respectively. Each chapter holds critical information regarding what is going on in this all too generic story. Clones of all the best fighters in the world are popping up all over the place and some weird radiation is making all the real fighters weak. The cause of frustration is obviously the Red Ribbon Army and more directly connected is Android 21. Where the plotline falls short is in moving beyond the elementary level explanation of what’s going on and why the player should care. A lot of opportunities seem to be left unexplored throughout the adventure, many of which could have added some necessary depth to the mission.  The timeline suggests that Dragon Ball FighterZ takes place sometime between the “Future Trunks” and “Universe Survival” arcs of Dragon Ball Super, which could explain the difficulty in writing an overly in-depth story. Much of the same issues faced most of the Dragon Ball Z animated films. Is the story bad? No. Is it good? Debatable. Is it up to par with what should be expected from a Dragon Ball Z arc? Probably not.

AUDIO: 1/2

Sound design is a critical component of any game to really make players feel completely immersed the world. It is even more important when dealing with a licensed property that has to live up to the expectations of devoted fans. Dragon Ball FighterZ does a great job of capturing the fundamental sounds like the noise for charging Ki, the sounds of rock shattering all around the battlefield, and of course the iconic battle screams. Where the audio really drops the ball is in every area that had to be created from scratch. Menu sounds are outright annoying and painful to withstand. There are way too many “beeps” that can be very distracting, so much so that playing on mute until fights began seemed like the only solution to the problem. The voice acting in English was almost completely spot on. Again, however, that incredible voice acting is interrupted by the awful mechanic used to progress the storyline. Overall the audio isn’t terrible, but it’s just a grey area in the complete package.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

Welcome back to the iconic PlayStation 2 days of old. Dragon Ball FighterZ plays almost exactly like the original Budokai trilogy a lot of fans grew up on: three face buttons for varying attack strengths and one face button for energy blast. It’s a very entry level fighting mechanic that makes the game incredibly easy for newcomers to fighting games to enjoy. That does not take away that the combo system is just in-depth enough for serious fighting game aficionados to dive deep in to master the gameplay. The action is really fast paced so no matches ever drag on too long and the adoption of MVC style 3v3 makes things all the more interesting. Building up the dream team, whether it be a standard Z Warriors construct or maybe a little more villainy, allows for an additional layer of strategy to come into play during every match. The story mode gameplay mechanic is one of the most interesting aspects of the game and borrows heavily from the franchise’s past. Much like DBZ: Budokai 2 on the PS2, the story mode is played out as a board game in which the player’s avatar moves from space to space to challenge different fighters and make a clear path to fighting a boss battle. Each time the player moves there’s a possibility that other enemies on the board may become stronger. Also taking into account the movement limit, this adds an additional layer of unique strategy to break up the fighting a little bit.

FUN: 2/2

The high paced action makes this an easy contender for most fun game of the year and it’s only February. Couple that with the nostalgia of being a true Dragon Ball Z fan and there are very few people in the world who wouldn’t find this game fun. The simple nature of the control scheme, as mentioned before, makes it a very exhilarating party game where newcomers and veterans can still enjoy every battle, win or lose. Although winning is way more fun of course. When playing alone, the story mode provides a unique navigation system that provides the player with plenty of control over how they would like to tackle every chapter. Ignoring the menu sound annoyance, which may not even affect everyone, there is nothing major to complain about for this game. Unless we take in to account the less than stellar delivery of an original story. Still, even the poor storyline does not take a major toll on how much fun this game actually is.

Licensed games are always a major risk. Licensed games for properties that already have a ridiculous amount of games on the market are an even bigger risk. Who knows which direction the DBZ franchise will go next, hopefully an open world Infamous/Batman style game, but for now Dragon Ball FighterZ is delivering on all fronts. It’s tugging on the roots of nostalgia, pushing into the competitive game scene, and introducing a new generation to some of the most iconic characters of our time. Dragon Ball FighterZ is an absolute must play for any fan of fighting games or the DBZ franchise itself.

Score: 8/10




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