November 9th, 2017 by Kurt "Chet" Christel
Heroes Generations &Knuckles Forces is the newest 3D Sonic the Hedgehog videogame from Sonic Team and SEGA. It is the second Sonic game of 2017, following up the publicly lauded Sonic Mania, a 2D game that bases its roots on the old SEGA Genesis titles. Forces is intended to be a semi-sequel to Sonic Generations and once again features “Classic Sonic” and “New Sonic” in the same game, with different gameplay styles for both characters. Also featured for the first time ever in its 25+ year run, Forces allows you to also play as a custom character.
[Reviewed on Nintendo Switch]
To say that the framerate is unstable is an understatement. That said, it’s not as if every frame is crucial to your success in a Sonic game, especially the modern sonic stages where there are times where you can pretty much hold down a button and zip past everything while the motion blur cranks it up. While not technically impressive, the game does well enough to look decent, especially the backgrounds. There may not be a whole lot going on in the foreground but the background animations and skyboxes are alive and full of color. Just don’t expect anything cutting edge.
Okay, so this game’s story was bad. Really, really, REALLY BAD. To that effect, you could actually say that the plot is so bad it’s ironically good. It looks and sounds like a child with ADHD wrote the whole thing during classes in middle school. Doctor Eggman has finally taken over the world, and you can tell he has… because everyone says so and nothing is explicitly shown ever. The amount of time the vast cast of characters deliver exposition in place of showing you anything is astronomical. Yet this awfulness is practically an artform. The entire extended cast of Sonic characters, including the ones nobody cares about, are all present and accounted for. There are some scenes in the game where I’m not sure if they were supposed to be funny, but watching Sonic get his ass kicked by the new villain of this game made me chuckle. That and some of Sonic’s one-liners are genuinely good.
The sound effects are pretty weak in this game, but that’s really not important. I cannot stress this enough: the OST to this game is not only a spectacular soundtrack for a Sonic game, but a great soundtrack overall. Boasting tons of high energy tunes featuring rock, drum n bass, and even some house, it is absolutely a blast and can be enjoyed on its own. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Seriously. A+. More soundtracks need to be this good. Beside the soundtrack, you have got to admire the voice actors’ commitment to their roles. As stated earlier, the dialogue is as stupid as possible, but the sheer force and dedication to being as in character and serious as possible is admirable.
SEGA, we need to talk. Your game was a train wreck. Seriously, it was. There are so many bugs and glitches that you’d find in older Sonic games, you’d expect Sonic Team would have learned their lesson by now. Very old issues like falling off the track or missing a rail grind should not be things that are still happening in your game. This game has the opposite problem Sonic Mania had. Limited lives and difficult checkpointing were tough, but manageable. Here there are no lives and dying initiates an instant jump back to your checkpoint. However, more often than not you’ll find yourself dying repeatedly not due to the challenge or the courses. The game is actually quite easy, but the physics engine is so flimsy and floaty that some of the very mild platforming sections turn into a nightmare. There’s also a ridiculous difficulty spike that happens at the very final boss fight, where this easy game turns into nearly Dark Souls levels of suffering.
It wasn’t fun. The game was 3-5 hours long at best, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a single memorable moment in the entire game. It’s funny that the soundtrack features about 3.5hrs of music, because just listening to the soundtrack all the way through is probably a more enjoyable experience than playing this game. You will also save a lot of money, as there’s very little value to the game even at its 40-dollar price point. The very second I finished this game, I had to fire up Sonic Mania again just to make sure it wasn’t nostalgia goggles that made it good. Nope, Sonic Mania is just a superior game in every conceivable way. It’s sad that this game was the “big budget” one because it feels a lot more like a half-assed clusterf*ck that was slapped together in a couple of months.
After emerging from the ashes of its slew of awful 3D games, Sonic Mania breathed new life into the franchise. This new life was very short-lived, however, as Sonic Forces fires the hedgehog right back into the gutter. Sonic Generations showed the team everything to make a decent 3D sonic game and yet Sonic Team still found a way to screw it up. Uninspired levels, mundane graphics, poor physics, and an idiotic plot kept this game from being worth any attention. If you’re an absolute fan of Sonic and have been dreaming to have your very own original character fight alongside him, you might find something to like here. But even then, please wait for it to go on sale, it’s nowhere good enough to be bought at full price.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: action, editorial, fail, first person shooter, hedgehog, knuckles, platformer, review, sadness, sonic, sonic forces, sonic the hedgehog, tails
September 4th, 2017 by Vega Montanez
Don’t you know that you can count me out?
Set in the critically acclaimed universe of Valkyria Chronicles, Valkyria Revolution is a third person action game with RPG elements. Developed by Media.Vision and published worldwide by Sega, Valkyria Revolution is a story-driven game with tons of in game lore. Released on June 27th, 2017, Valkyrie Revolution tells the story of a band of misfits who exact revenge on an imperial ruler by sending the world into a revolutionary war.
Visually underwhelming, Valkyrie Revolution seems to have had no understanding of what it means to “meet the standard”. The overall imagery used in the game is very unflattering and bland. Character design is very anime-like cookie cutter pieces. It’s as if the formula for creating a JRPG was found covered in donkey poo. After finding the instructions, the development team happily grabbed said formula and did everything they could to follow it at the most basic level. Even the cutscenes look like they were pulled from an abandoned PS2 project and quickly slapped into the HD upscaling magic bullsh*t. Unfortunately, nothing about the visual presentation of this game is inviting, believable, or interesting. [Editor’s Note: It looks like a PSP game.]
The story of Valkyria Revolution is told through a very unique lens. Narration is shared between a student studying the events that took place during the war and the great grand daughter of a teacher to the princess during the war who he interviews. Although the character development isn’t very strong, the overall story told is incredible. “The Five Traitors”, as they are labeled in the game, take advantage of economic struggles and imperialistic strongholds over their impoverished, to mask their revenge plot in revolutionary war. The dynamic of playing through the story as a student’s text book is fascinating enough. Add in the recounts from the great grand daughter and it inspires twist and turns in all directions. At times is easy to understand the motives behind certain individuals while other times evoke terror knowing this could very well be what happens in real life war. Overall, ignoring the lack of connection to the cast, the plot was very well written.
Poorly written reason to connect with the cast is not the fault of the voice acting. Emotions were shown through heavily, even if the characters fumbled to have personality. The sound track was absolutely well composed enough to merit the collectors edition album that was included with the purchase. The orchestration on loading screens felt epic enough to keep interest levels high and direct enough to truly feel when one moment was ending and another beginning. And although the graphics struggled to provide a sense of realism, the sound effects did everything they could to make it feel like an actual war was taking place. Explosions, footsteps, and the sound of the people walking through the plaza, were all incredibly immersive.
Vakyria Revolution felt like a warriors game clone. Gameplay was very underwhelming, in the same way that most Super Smash Bros. clones fall short. It’s as if the development team played a few games of Dynasty Warriors and then decided they could replicate it based on their short experience. Characters move sluggishly and the active time battle slows down the fast pace action a warriors veteran would have expected. Battles are vastly underpopulated to account for the slower action events due to the battle system, however navigating the RPG element of having tactical skills wasn’t awful. Any character could conjure up a magic spell, pull out their assault rifle, or throw a grenade all from the same menu. One small gameplay element made things extremely interesting. Real death or perma-death. Anyone on the team, except the main character Amlet, could be killed in action and never return. That small element forces a tiny bit of strategy and awareness into a game that is completely lacking elsewhere. The flaw again returns to the lack of emotional connection any character which makes it difficult to care beyond losing the valuable time put into strengthening that character.
Is Valkyria Revolution fun? Truthfully, for the type of gamer that loves a well told story with interesting plot twist, this game is stellar. It will be super easy to enjoy the vast world that the development team obviously put tons of effort into. For anyone looking for an exciting gameplay experience with a great story to go along with it, stay far away. As described previously, the teams attention to detail was impeccable for the story gameplay fell way off the wagon. In fact it might not have ever gotten on. To sum things up: interesting history, deep story telling, lackluster character development, and mediocre gameplay mechanics do not a fun game make. Great movie though.
Originally a tactical strategy RPG, the Valkyria series definitely took a major turn for the worst with Valkyria Revolution. An incredible story was not enough to save this game from its boring and repetitive gameplay. The lack of graphical exploitation also makes it really difficult to remain interested in whats happening on the screen. To many standard RPG team tropes remove any possibilities of connecting with the cast on an emotional level. Ultimately, this game failed to keep the value of a great series alive by spinning into something it doesn’t seem like it was ever meant to be.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: disappointment, japan, jrpg, media.vision, playstation, ps4, review, sadness, Sony, valkyria, valkyria chronicles, valkyria revolution