kingdom hearts 3 review
March 2nd, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Disney & Final Fantasy Forever

Kingdom Hearts 3 was developed and published by Square Enix and let’s just jump on into it.

GRAPHICS: 1/2

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.

STORY: 1/2

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.

AUDIO: 2/2

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.

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

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.

FUN: 2/2

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.

Score: 8/10




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magic belong in assassins creed
January 12th, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Is it really a stretch that the main character fought mythical beasts?

An interesting topic was brought up in a thread about the latest Assassins Creed. A commenter said that the inclusion of magical elements and legendary beasts we a step too far. Sure, by now we all know that the AC franchise take many creative liberties with history. But in a game where you can relive the memories of ancestor via DNA sample isn’t really hard sci-fi, is it? But yeah, the jump between pre-movie AC games and the newer post-movie AC games does mark a striking change in some of the established lore of the series. (BTW, don’t watch the movie, just using it as a point of reference here.)

Very minor spoilers for Odyssey, but there are optional boss fights with beasts of legend from Greek folklore. But it’s not that surprising is it? After all, we do know that the people of the “first civilization” enjoyed messing with early humans. But is it a step too far anyway? It’s still the memories of the ancestor, so you should see what really happened, right?

No, actually. Coming up toe to toe with the Minotaur actually might make a bit of sense. The key operating word is that we are exploring memories. The game already likes to throw around the “memory glitch” or something as a handwave to issues. But that’s a weak excuse and there’s a better explanation. Memories can be distorted over the years. Some things aren’t quite how you remembered them.

Like how to spell the BerenSTEIN Bears or whether or not Sinbad was a genie. No, I’m not trying to invoke the Mandella Effect but… Well, yes I am actually. The stories are stories for a reason. Do we remember who killed Medusa? Was it the gods or just that Kassandra person?

Okay, so why is it okay then?

But really what it comes down to is this. It’s perceptions that paint these memories the way they do. When Kassandra defeats the legendary beast, the moment she takes the artifact, the ‘monster’ quietly transforms into a little Sackboy, basically. Were the ‘gods’ just messing with Kassandra’s head? There’s no way to know for sure.

But we do know that Kassandra believes she defeated these beasts. It is what she thinks she did. So when you’re in the animus, exploring her memories, its going to show you she actually felt about the fight. Maybe the Minotaur was just a slightly oversized bull that she had a hard time with. Maybe Medusa was just a sickly woman using superstitions or herpetology to fight back. Maybe she ate some psychedelic mushrooms on her way to the Sphinx?

In the film 300, the bombs that the Persian army chucked at the Spartans were referred to as magic. As is the case here, I believe. Whatever happened, Kassanda had her very own explanation for what transpired. Simply a matter of what she believes. And if she truly believes that she fought mythical beings, then that’s what the animus is going to show you. It’s not magic, just perception.

MALAKA! Chet has played about 90 hours of Assassins Creed Odyssey and doesn’t expect to stop any time soon.



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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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October 30th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Monster Hunter meet Gods!

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.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nK2z9kYUdmQ

God Eater 3 will be available for PS4 and PC on February 8th, 2019. Will you be done with Monster Hunting by then? Let us know in the comments section below.




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valkyria chronicles 4
October 19th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Tactical Anime Action

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.




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October 12th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

It’s like your favorite board game, but better!

The long awaited fourth installment in a fan favorite series has finally arrived. Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Sega. And Sega has been on quite a roll this year releasing the games fans want. Released on September 2018 on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, Valkyria Chronicles 4 delivers on the promise of continuing a war story. It’s been a long time coming, so the question is does Valkyria Chronicles 4 meet the expectations of the people? Or has the ship of greatness it was long sailed?

GRAPHICS: 1/2

Cartoon graphics are no excuse for characters breaking. In fact, cartoon graphics should theoretically bring this issue to a major minimum. Regardless Valkyria Chronicles 4 suffers pretty often from this issue. The vibrancy of the playing field and landscaping quickly become muddied by mixing of terrains. In some areas the distinction between grass and dirt is beautiful in other areas it’s awful. Characters cut into environments so often that it wouldn’t be hard to believe that was an intentional thing. With all that said Valkyria Chronicles cartoon style is absolutely fun to look at. It’s hard not to enjoy the way the development team at Sega brings the 2D manga look to a 3D realm. It’s a constant battle between love and hate which more often falls in the love category. Unless you hate manga/anime. 

STORY: 2/2

Although the presentation can be quite annoying, the story is worth the trouble. Valkyria Chronicles 4 continues the story of the Imperials vs the Federation in a war started over the ownership of Ragnite. On the surface it is a very basic premise. The thing that drives the story is the way it is told through the experiences of childhood friends, separated for various reasons, coming together as adults in the military. The intensity grows as the stories of what separated them as children continue to unfold. Each interaction between the four lead protagonist gives another insight into falling outs and reconciliations. These little moments make every painful bit of broken up cinematic worth while. Seriously, most of these cutscenes should have been bundled together way better. 

AUDIO: 2/2

Once again, a rock solid audio performance. Every member of the cast present realistic tones that truly represent the emotions in the words. It is very easy to fall in love with the personalities of each character, to the point where watching them die in battle really hurts. The cell-shaded manga art style is coupled together excellently with the Saturday morning cartoon sound effects. Gunfire, explosions, footsteps, and motion all feel perfectly in place to feel threatening yet humorous. The only time the audio isn’t a good time is when the progression system shows what’s been unlocked or traversing the menus. These are probably the most annoying sounds of this console generation. Small criticism against what the rest of the audio delivers, but a criticism none the less. 

GAMEPLAY: 1/2

Tried and true mechanics of tactical RPG’s are hard to change, but in no way is that bad. Valkyria Chronicles does manage to do a few things differently from it’s predecessors however. The first major change comes in the ‘let’s up the challenge” style. This is the first installment that allows units, on both friendly and enemy, to attack when it’s not their turn. This mean positioning characters after an offensive and navigating the field are even more critical then ever. Simply put, if the unit is within range it will be attacked by other units out of turn. This brings the level of strategy necessary to an even higher level. The second major update is the addition of the new Grenadier class. The Grenadier can launch grenades significantly far and do a significant amount of damage at the same time. 

Fans of tactical RPG’s will find these new inclusions incredibly fun, challenging, and strategy altering for sure. However, the lack of an autosave feature is still a major downfall. Very few things exist as infuriating as completing an hour and a half long mission just to have to repeat it. Part user error, part design flaw, but completely annoying. 

FUN: 2/2 

There is something undeniably satisfying about playing games where the task is to outwit the enemy. This innate desire to be more intelligent than everyone else becomes even more apparent while navigating the battlefield. Valkyria Chronicles 4 does an excellent job of pacing the challenge, so every battle remains fun. Things get progressively harder, but Squad E gets equally better. By never forcing the player to feel unmatched in power, the focus remains on being more strategic. The humorous banter between characters and the graphic novel visuals further the entertainment. Seriously, how could anyone not hate to love Raz’s personality? Even with his frequent bone head decisions.

The game that long time fans of the series patiently waited for has arrived. Valkyria Chronicles 4 delivers exactly what the fans wanted. Could it use a little more to make things a tad bit more exciting? Possibly, regardless the game delivers. It does everything right that Valkyria Revolution did wrong without losing the few things Revolution did well. Fans of strategic RPG’s can comfortably place this amazing game alongside XCOM and Fire Emblem. As well as past games in the series. Valkyria Chronicles 4 tells a great story with fun gameplay nestled beside it. 

SCORE: 8/10




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