June 5th, 2019 by Zeke Gonzalez

Is it worth more than Mario Kart?

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. ^_-



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June 1st, 2019 by Kurt "Chet" Christel

Kart racing mayhem with slightly less cheating BS.

Mario Kart forever held the crown for mascot kart racing games, with Crash Team Racing and Sonic All-stars Racing trailing behind. Team Sonic Racing doesn’t really do much in the way of innovation. It feels a lot more like they just added a new gameplay mode to a multiplayer game that’s already been out. TSR stays literally grounded without the “transformed” shenanigans, and this time all the SEGA “stars” didn’t get any invites. Sad. But this one is actually worth your time!

Team Sonic Racing Graphics

GRAPHICS: 1/2

  • Rock solid 60FPS in single player mode, but frame drop increases in local multiplayer. Split screen also tends to make the other NPC cars look a bit on the jittery side.
  • Brilliant recreations of classic sonic levels. I think. Sonic has had a lot of games, who knows, maybe some were pulled out of their butts?
  • Everything looks internally consistent, but in terms of overall quality, this game does absolutely nothing special to make it shine.
  • Lighting FX and color palettes are incredibly spastic on the casino circuits, with a couple sections that look half-finished.
  • All that said, the car detail is surprisingly thorough. All cars have mods that change the cosmetic looks of the karts (and performance). But even better, the paint schemes are complex and each individual color comes with 15+ different shaders.
  • TFW I can make Tails drive a faux-Batmobile.
  • Sky Road is an absolutely unapologetic Rainbow Road knockoff.
Team Sonic Racing Story

STORY/IMMERSION: 1/2

  • Once again we have a racing game with a plot that it didn’t need. I can’t tell you what happened, I skipped the cutscenes after watching a few.
  • This game practically encourages skipping the cutscenes, as there’s an option on each race in the campaign to skip all the dialog and go straight to the race. Major props for doing this.
  • What’s really egregious is how the plot is carried out. It’s just a blurred out JPG of the track you’re on with PNGs of Sonic characters saying their lines. It’s like watching a kid wave paper cutouts of the crew while mimicking their voices.
  • The script quality also leads me to believe that this was not only written for children, but was in fact written by a child.
  • The campaign itself has a neat little overworld design with normal races and special challenges to keep things fresh. Albeit the CPU drivers get a bit cheaty towards the middle of things.
  • Also, the challenge races were dumbfoundingly challenging. Me and my friend had to take turns playing the same challenge over and over until we both gave up. The vague instructions and tip section didn’t help.
Team Sonic Racing Audio

AUDIO: 1/2

  • It’s a Sonic OST, of course it’s going to have some absolutely kickass tracks. Music tracks, not race tracks (those are fine too).
  • Try to keep playing this game with “team comms” turned on. Every character has about 8-10 phrases total and will say them early and often. Many times they will actually say the same quip twice in a single race.
  • Oh and every single “quip” is the most cringe thing possible. It’s painful. Just imagine Big the Cat saying literally anything ever.
  • Now, when I went into the Garage in the main menu, I heard a remix of the game’s theme song that I absolutely loved. Little did I know, that it was done by The Qemists, a band I love. And DAMN is it good.
Team Sonic Racing Gameplay

GAMEPLAY: 2/2

  • What’s different about this iteration of SEGA’s mascot kart game? This time around its the team gameplay mechanics, which add a lot of neat twists. Races can consist of up to four 3-person teams. Doing several team actions will lead you to victory.
  • Team actions include driving behind your team’s leader to get a “slingshot” boost, sharing/receiving powerups from your teammates, and skimming real close to a teammate who’s been hit gives them a boost. Basically there are a lot of boosts.
  • This feels less random than some of the other mascot kart games. The powerups aren’t very original but some of the more overpowered ones in other games aren’t present.
  • The only real BS factor is the enemy AI, so far playing against them on normal feels far too challenging, as it seems like the CPU team will just magically get an ultimate boost if you’re ahead for more than 10 seconds. This can be remedied by playing the game with real people.
  • Speaking of real people, that’s the best way to enjoy this game. Local multi supports 4 players. Three of you can be on the same team in a team race or all race with their own teams with CPU support. Or, you can go classic with a good ol’ fashioned singles race.
Team Sonic Racing Fun

FUN: 2/2

  • If you’re interested in popping the game in and playing with your friends, you’re in luck. The multiplayer starts with all 15 characters and 18 of the 21 tracks available right from the get-go. No unnecessary grinding in the campaign.
  • There’s plenty of variety to keep things interesting. I ended up playing this game for somewhere around 6 hours straight. Me and a buddy played a for a while, he left. I played by myself. Then a different buddy arrived and we played again. I did not get bored.
  • This game has the dreaded loot boxes in the form of a gacha machine. Only, you can’t buy them for real money, so no exploitative practices here. SEGA actually has ethical standards apparently.
  • Interestingly enough, it’s very easy to earn enough coins to open tons and tons in one go. I opened 41 consecutive boxes from time all by myself, and another solid 30 when playing with friends.
  • There are SOME upgrades in the loot system, BUT all upgrades come with a downside (sacrificing speeed for handling, etc). The prizes you win in the machine do seem to be based on which character you play with. I got back to back to back to back upgrades for Tails early on.

Team Sonic Racing really surprised me. Given Sonic’s poor track record, the game could have been terrible. Instead, I got a slight nostalgia kick after playing for a couple hours. If you’re a big fan of mascot kart racing games and have some friends around, it’s a solid game for parties and easy to pick up. It’s already well priced at $39.99. With summer on the horizon, it’s possible it will go on sale, many games do after a few weeks. I might say wait for a sale, but if you’re a fan of the series, go for it.

SCORE: 7/10




Wait I just gave Rage 2 a 6/10, does that mean this game is better? Guess Team Sonic Racing is the way to go.

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April 1st, 2019 by Vega Montanez

Standing Amongst Olympians

Sega has been a player in the video games business for quite a few decades. And yet, they still never really manage to get a strong grip. They almost had a huge run with Sonic, but he was quickly bested by the plumber in the red overalls. Enough with the past, Sega is back and ready to rise to the occasion. 

The 2020 Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo next year. Besides already holding the licenses, Sega is taking this opportunity to try to make waves. First headlines were made with eh announcement of “Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game”. Coming to Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch worldwide. Sega has gone on the record calling this new title “A fun-filled sports action game where you create your avatar and compete in olympic events. That’s right, you too can go for the gold from the comfort of your living room!

https://youtu.be/YbC_L7dnWIU
Our original linked video was taken down so here’s some NHK program. -Chet

Next, they announced the release of a brand new Mario & Sonic at the Olympics. It’s been a long 4 years since the last time we’ve seen these athletes on the field. Mario & Sonic at the Olympics 2020 looks much like past iterations but this time will have mini-games for your Joy-Cons. The only real question here is; will this game feature the movie versions of our two cover stars?

For those of us who have become avid mobile gamers Sega’s got something for you too, because mobile gamers count. Mario & Sonic will be attending the Tokyo Olympics on iOS and Android as well. Assuming the game will borrow some Joy-Con features and optimize for touchscreens, this will most likely be super casual. I’m predicting for sure at least one Temple Run style track and field game. Actually, bets are open.

Not excited about the Olympics!? Fine.

Fear not friends who could careless about professional sports or sports simulations. Or emotionless monsters who can’t find the humor in the “world’s fastest hedgehog” racing against the “most hard-headed plumber of all time”. There is some retro based good news. Sega is bringing a new challenger to the mini console revolution. 

The Sega Genesis Mini will be available on September 19th, 2019. Retailing at the great price of $79.99 the mini console will feature 40 classic games including Sonic (of course), Castelvania, and Ecco the Dolphin. For the record, Ecco the Dolphin is the second most exciting part of this for me. What’s the first? Well I’m glad you asked. So far, 10 of the 40 games have been announced and one of those game is, Comix Zone. Need I say more?

The console itself is reportedly about 55% smaller than the original and comes with two usb powered replica three button controllers. Also packed into the box is a USB to Micro-B cable for power and an HDMI cable for graphic fidelity. Because as we all know, it’s not a retro remake unless it’s in HD. 

What are some of the found memories you hope to relive with the Sega Genesis Mini? And for those excited for the olympics, what’s your favorite thing to have Mario beat Sonic at? And for everyone else, sorry you stuck around for that Vanquish sequel reveal. Believe me, you are not alone.

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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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November 13th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Yakuza Fanboy Returns

In this video, presented in DANKVISION, Chet and Vega talk about Yakuza Kiwami 2, and whether or not they should make a Kiwami version of all of the Yakuza games before the next generation of consoles. Just imagine having all 6.5 games on one console! Rampant speculation time agogo! Double KIWAMIIIII!




Meanwhile, Chet the Xbox Fanboy needs to play Kiwami 1. How soon should he play it to further is submission to being a Playstation fan?

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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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September 11th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

The Yakuza team had previously teased the announcement of a brand new IP and the time has finally come. The new game is “Judge Eyes” an action game driven heavily by narrative story telling but including ridiculous mini games.

Judge Eyes see you playing as detective Yagami attempting to unravel a series of murders connected to one of his past cases. It is said the game will feature many familiar elements from the Yakuza series while bringing new investigation elements as well.

Currently scheduled for a 2019 release, we’ll have to patiently wait and see where the Yakuza team is putting their talent next.




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June 5th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

Tons of news before E3 and I’m on Tour! Ugh!

Alright, Sooper Vega here, just wanted to apologize real quick. The Lucky Gamer Recap has been real sloppy lately but fear not, its only because I’ve been really busy. Planning, and now being, on tour, because I’m still a Hip-Hop artist, has taken a lot of my attention. It’s cool though, it’ll all be normal again when I’m grounded. It’s also cool because we’re like a week from E3 so not much news. Well except for Pokemon! Here’s what the Lucky Gamer Recap has in store:

1. Let’s Go! Right into it!

Pokemon is finally making its adventurous debut on a home console. And no, not like the pessimist joked about it being on a Playstation console. And also not completely familiar in the way gameplay works. Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu & Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee were announced by Nintendo and will be available November 16th. These are technically not considered part of the mainline series even though they bear a lot of similarities to Pokemon Yellow. The game will fuse gameplay elements of the mainline and the mobile phenomenon Pokemon Go. On top of mixing mechanics, the two games will also be connected via bluetooth allowing for transfer of Pokemon between games and more. With the promise of a new mainline entry still on schedule for a 2019 release, this should hold most fans over till then. If not well…

2. There are other Pokemon Quest!

Nintendo and the Pokemon Company must really be tired of hearing people ask for Pokemon on Switch, because they came out swinging. According to the teams “Pokemon quest is a free-to-start game that lets trainers face off against wild Pokemon.” The entire game will take place on Tumblecube Island which the player will explore to gather treasure and befriend or battle Pokemon. The game will feature new cubed reimagining’s of all our favorite Pokemon. Well maybe not all but you get the point. I do want some to double back for a second and tell me what the hell a “free-to-start- game is? I feel like Nintendo just tried to make the term “pay-to-win” acceptable. It’s out now on Switch and coming to mobile soon.

3. Whisper whisper, Fallout 76, Whisper whisper.

Apparently the unexpected reveal of Rage 2 wasn’t enough for Bethesda. No they needed to really flex their muscles this year. So they pulled up in the foreign car and whispered “Fallout 76” before riding off into the sunset. Or something like that. Not much was said about the game but rumors suggest it maybe an online experience like Rust or DayZ. It’s good for the die hard fans to know they got some more Fallout on the way but I know far too many people asking a different question. Where is the next Elder Scrolls? (Editor’s Note: It’s coming out this month and it’s called ESO: Sommerset.)

4. Sonic’s back in the race, literally.

It’s been a long time since we last played a great kart game that wasn’t attached to Mario. There have been a few good ones along the way but none which stood the test of time. It seems like Sonic and friends felt the same way. And Sonic jumped into action bringing us the all new Team Sonic Racing. It’s going to be an indirect follow up to the amazon Sonic and All-Stars Racing that released so long ago. Sporting 15 playable characters, tons of our favorite modes, and power ups to turn the tide of the race, Team Sonic Racing is making a strong play for our hearts. 

5. Dirty move Xbox, real dirty move.

Alright so here’s a thing that’s rumored to have happened, that we really wish didn’t happen, but signs are pointing to it actually happened. Microsoft seems to have fired a bunch of paid staff and replaced them with volunteer staff who were trained by the paid staff. I’m going to give you a second cause that’s a merry go round of info to take in. Apparently 12 Xbox support staff lost their jobs after unknowingly training their volunteer replacements as part of the Xbox Ambassador program. The @xboxsupport twitter is now being handled by ambassadors. Microsoft hasn’t commented on the situation yet, but I’m hoping they do soon.

6. MegaMan 11 gets a release date.

There was a moment in time, a few years back, where the return of the blue bomber was extremely uncertain. It even Keiji Inafune to embark on a journey to create a spiritual successor. That game ended up being not very good. Capcom saw the opportunity and last year announced MegaMan 11. And now they gave us a date when we can play it. MegaMan 11 is coming to a console near you on October 2nd. It is set up to play just like the classic games fans are used to but it carries a brand new more bubbly cartoon look. Some could say inspired by Mighty No. 9 but I’ll say inspired by the cartoon designs of the past 8 years. Still looks like it’ll be a ton of fun, just weird to have done it without Inafune.

7. Days of Play PS4. 

Sony unveiled a limited edition blue PS4 releasing June 8th. The Days of Play edition Playstation 4 has the iconic face buttons printed largely in gold. As always a matching color, in this case blue, is included with the system. The system is being released to celebrate the Playstation Day of Play event that takes place every summer and sees discounts across numerous PS4 products and games. Days of Play runs from June 8th to June 18th so make sure you check in to see what kind of deals the days bring. 

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April 24th, 2018 by Vega Montanez

I say it all the time and I’ll say it again. Metal Gear Solid is the best franchise of all time. End of rant. The other thing I say all the time is I love the healthy competition between the two behemoth brands. And in my honest opinion, at the time of this writing, Xbox is bringing some heat this month.

May Games with Gold 2018

Super Mega Baseball 2 (Xbox One) Available free from May 1st – May 31st

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Xbox One) May 16th – June 15th

Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage (Xbox One, Xbox 360) May 1st – May 15th

Vanquish (Xbox One, Xbox 360) May 16th – May 31st

Can’t wait to play yet another Platinum Games game since I’ve now declared them the best developer of all time. -chet




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