All posts by Oscar Perez

When I emigrated from Cuba and arrived in the States the first thing I was introduced to by my Uncle was Pizza, the second was his Sega Genesis. Since that day I’ve been an avid gamer and have been collecting systems as old as the original Sega Master System and Atari so that I can pass on my love of gaming to my Son and we can grow closer together by having a great common interest to grow up with. With such a growing collection I enjoy just about every kind of game genre and can’t wait to see what comes next.

.hack//G.U. Last Recode Review – Switch

Off to dive into The World for my third playthrough of .Hack//G.U Last recode; this time on the Nintendo Switch. I reviewed this what feels just last year but it was in 2017.  What has changed in five years since its last release you ask? To put it simply, not much. Yet again Bandai and Cyberconnect2 have given us not just one remaster but a package deal of three remasters and one new mini epilogue “game” that’s difficult to consider as an epilogue game due to how quickly it can be beaten; roughly 3-4 hours and it’s very linear as “Reconnection” was created as an ending to the installment. The .Hack//G.U series takes place in the far future where we have perfected VR technology to the point you can actually be the character you have created in games. “The World” is the name of the MMO you play in as our titular hero named Haseo.

.Hack//G.U. Last Recode or simply Last Recode allows you to play any of the original games from the G.U. series and either choose the standard story mode or activate “cheat mode” where, if you simply want to replay for the story aspect, you start out at max level and best items equipped. I personally did “cheat mode” just because I didn’t want to grind out anything and just wanted to remember some of the story as I went along. If you’ve never played this series and want to enjoy the combat I recommend playing normally, but if you simply want story elements, do C.M. and just enjoy it.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a single player MMO-RPG simulator, so when you play the game and party up with characters you don’t get to control them; they are all their own characters in the game.  When I say “play” the game I have to also mention that you will also be doing a ton of “watching”, as this series is based on an anime and manga series as well. You’ll be spending a fair bit of time watching cinematics and talking to many NPC characters in-game as well. The cutscenes all look amazing compared to the PS2 days and if the game was a show, I could watch I would certainly do that any day.  Last Recode has kept the increased FPS of 60 that was part of the last remaster for PS4 and PC, but there’s only so much that can be improved upon, as background locations still looking pretty lackluster in comparison, I suppose that’s a sacrifice they just had to make since it’s not something in the forefront. Dungeons in Last Recode have about 3-5 varieties during the game all consisting of the same backgrounds of a church, a plain and a few other basic locations. Surprisingly, the Switch has kept up well with all of these improvements and runs the game as well as it did five years ago.

As with the last remaster released, they kept all the previous improvements to all three games regarding the quality of life such as combat has been vastly improved with characters doing more damage, battle speed has been increased and the inventory has been expanded, unlike the original games where you could only hold 30 items it has been upped to 90 pieces of equipment and 90 items as well. With the change from PC and switching to the handheld Switch, I noticed a significant change to the gameplay in regard to blocking, as I was back to having to take a chance on timing just like back in the PS2 days where input lag got you killed pretty much anytime you tried blocking attacks. Combat takes form in you controlling Haseo and only his attacks; the party members you bring along all do their own thing but the A.I does a decent job of knowing what attacks will be effective against enemies. In most MMO games if you lose in battle you had to resurrect at either the entrance to the dungeon or a town and come back and start all over.  Thankfully another improvement was the addition of a “retry” option if your whole party is wiped out during battle, saving you some travel time.

The final addition is the fourth volume titled :Resurrection which takes place months after the end of the third game and lasts roughly 3-4 hours.  It’s not a remaster but a complete new game created to close out the .Hack/.G.U series once and for all and it follows Haseo returning to “The World”, which is about to be shut down and reunite with some old friends and even encounter new ones, I won’t spoil the premise of Resurrection but as someone who thought the series needed just a little bit of closure this does very well in doing that.

I’ve now played the .Hack//GU series three times and while I’ll always be a fan of the series and understand trying to bring it to more markets with the Switch, there are just too many aspects of these games that don’t translate well to a handheld like the Switch. My biggest complaint at this point is the parts of the game where you must be on the “forums” while playing to scour and search for in-game messages. It pretends to be an online experience without being online and the size of the screen detracts from the experience. If Bandai is going to do another remaster, just let give us the original four games and be done with it.

While I only got the digital edition, Bandai has also released the “Begins Edition”, a physical deluxe version that includes the full game, official soundtrack as well as Manga and artbook. I do miss the days of getting goodies with your physical copy, but I’ll have to make do with digital.  It’s more fitting for a game about a virtual online word anyways .Hack//G.U Last Recode released on March 11th 2022 for digital downloads on the Nintendo Store.

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Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection Review – Switch

It’s 2009, you finished Assassins Creed two weeks ago after finally catching the hype bug from watching so many of your friends play it and talk about how great it was to be an assassin back in the 1100s and the ridiculous conspiracy theories about how it “could be real man, it makes so much sense” and the newest installment in the series, Assassins Creed 2, just released and you went to the oh so fabulous midnight release to pick it up. If that sounded oddly specific that would be because that is exactly what happened to me so many years ago. It’s now 2022 and we have another release of Assassin’s Creed 2 for the Nintendo Switch, this time bundled together with the full Ezio Collection developed by Ubisoft Montreal Virtuos and published by Ubisoft, named after the protagonist, and my personal favorite character from the whole series.

The Ezio Collection spans across the life of Ezio Auditore da Firenze and I mean that quite literally, in the intro for the first game in the collection you witness his birth, and it teaches you how to control him as a newborn child and follows his journey, as he becomes the master of a newly formed order in Assassins Creed: Brotherhood and takes you all the way to the end of his journey at age 52 with Assassins Creed: Revelations. The inclusion of the Assassin’s Creed: Embers animated video where we witness his death and see a much older Ezio at the ripe old age of 65 where, after all the ridiculous things he has encountered, dies of a heart attack in the middle of a market, is a sad end to one of the coolest characters to come from the series.

The Switch collection covers all three major games and includes three single-player DLC and two short films, one of which was the Embers previously mentioned where we see his final days. In the first game you witness him take on the role of an assassin after witnessing his brothers and father get killed by the Templars and leads to him uncovering the secret of the garden of Eden, where a vision shown to both Ezio and his descendant witnessing his life speaks to them and tells them about a civilization that created humanity and a great catastrophe is about to happen.

The second follows Ezio after becoming a master assassin and re-establishing the assassin’s brotherhood and uses a new mechanic of calling on disciples to dispatch enemies you fight as well as a turf battle mode where you can level up characters and fight off waves of Templar attackers; not the smoothest gameplay but still fun. The final game in the Ezio Collection is Revelations and rounds out the series by bringing it full circle and giving us a glimpse of the original game’s main character, Altair, and how he lived out his days preparing a library that held the knowledge of the ancient ones.

Thankfully there was one item that did not make it to the collection and that is the multiplayer mode that debuted with Brotherhood.  I say thankfully because it was a huge mess; everything was stuck behind a ridiculous grind which nobody enjoyed, and I couldn’t imagine the issues it would encounter trying to play on the Switch multiplayer.

I was really hoping for some big improvements in the Ezio Collection, not just in the better lighting and reflections, but also some much-needed quality of life improvements, the biggest one being the ability to skip the cutscenes. Let’s be honest, this is a 12-year-old game; if someone is picking up this collection then it’s assumed that they have played it at least once and even if they didn’t, why not let us skip? I appreciated the fact that all of the in-game rewards are unlockable via the Ubisoft Club but noticed some content is still locked under those damn Ubisoft coins.

Aside from the fact that you might have already seen the story and just want to play, the cutscenes are not the prettiest to look at compared to the other console remasters with issues such as being able to see some polygons on characters to very muffled audio. I ended up having to get my headphones out just so I could hear it clearer, as turning up the audio didn’t really help the problem. With this being a port of the PS4 versions of the collection I expected a consistent experience and found that even between the three different versions the Switch seems to have gone for a more consistent performance experience by removing some visual features, which makes it look different across them all. It’s not “bad”, but it just looks off, and this trend of bringing back old games with remasters and collections just proves that some things are better left untouched or just get the PC version and mod it yourself. Ezio might have aged well but the games in his collection did not.

The Ezio collection released February 17th, 2022 on Nintendo Switch and retails for $39.99 which, for the replayability and nostalgia, is a fair price for such a great story and having all the games in a single bundle and is the best way to enjoy some of the best games in the series if Switch is your only option. One day I hope to see a true remaster and replay Ezio’s life one more time, but this isn’t the one.

Monster Hunter Rise Review – PC

A staple of our gamer generation, Monster Hunter has been around for years; a proven formula that fans can’t wait to get their hands on, almost like Call of Duty where it’s the same gameplay but either looks better or they add some razzle dazzle to keep you coming back for each new iteration. Monster Hunter Rise for PC originally came out on Nintendo Switch March of 2021 but was upgraded and released on PC January 12th of 2022 to kick off the New Year with a mighty roar.

As typical of all Monster Hunter games you start off as a lowly new hunter who has to make their way up the ranks to be allowed to hunt bigger and badder beasts. Until you get to HR, or high rank, you will be up against some average monsters; a lot of Monster Hunter staples such as the giant chicken-like Kulu-Ya-ku, the sky terror Diablos and of course the disgusting Pukei-Pukei. As a standard of all Monster Hunter games, you will of course fight the art box big bad as party of the story; it’s what they do. If you played Monster Hunter World, you remember your loveable companion, the Palico, a Felyne friend that is your buddy through thick and thin and would assist you in fights. This time around you also have the Palamute, a Canyne friend to make your group a trio and take the role of damage, heals, or utility so you can have your own party even when your friends aren’t around. In case you were wondering; those were the correct spelling for those terms too.

For the most part, combat in Monster Hunter Rise has not changed.  All the weapons behave the same, a bow shoots arrows, a sword and shield slices and blocks, and an insect glaive lets you be a trapeze artist in the air; you get the point. I say “for the most part” because if you are like me who primarily played Monster Hunter World when it came out and only very little of the Gameboy variants you are introduced to wire bugs; nifty little bugs that are on a recharge mechanic in game that you can throw out and grapple onto for some nifty aerobatics. The wire bugs also come with combat skills for every weapon, they really allow for higher mobility and fancier looking attacks. The change to PC really makes those attacks that much better with the higher FPS allowing for, in my opinion, quicker reactions. You start each quest with two bugs but can find more temporary ones flying around the maps, you simply walk up to them and collect them to increase your maximum capacity and allow even more freedom to traverse.

As you progress and take on the monsters of the world you will collect their bones, skins, and other pieces to craft your armor and weapons. Armor is about more than looks in the Monster Hunter series; they come with skills or abilities that will make you stronger.  It can be something as simple as increasing your yield from mining to making it easier to break off monster parts but building the right armor that goes with your playstyle and weapon is what is going to keep you playing this and any other game in the series. I personally love a good crit bow build, unlimited arrows, and the ability to shoot from a distance has always been my preferred method of combat.  Let my friends be the ones to get in their faces. There is a fun little function called “layered armor” that allows your sometimes amalgamation of colors and spikes to look like something else.  A lot of these are earned from in-game events that happen every so often.  My companions currently look like Rush the dog from Megaman and Tails from Sonic.

Monster Hunter Rise had a huge upgrade to make it look that much better on PC, going from 30 FPS to 60 or even uncapped with 4K graphics makes even the Switch native look pretty good on PC but at its core, it’s still a Switch port. You can tell there are some limitations they had to deal with such as the lack of destructible environments in world. I don’t want to simply compare it to Monster Hunter World because it does play well overall but it’s hard not to compare those small details. The maps are big and allow you to traverse it pretty easily either by using your wire bugs or riding your Palamute friend around. One cool thing since we are on the topic of the maps is that scattered throughout there are these different colored glowing birds called “Spiribirds” that grant you a permanent bonus to either your health, stamina, attack, or defense until the end of the quests. I believe to make it easier on the player to roam around solo they introduced these little guys to help us out as we completed quests.

Here is where I have an issue with Monster Hunter Rise. During the game there are two quest givers you can choose to do missions for in the Village and the Hub. Who can tell me which is the story one? I was going off doing quests in the Hub raising my rank, gathering materials to upgrade my armor and weapons for myself and my Palamute and Palico buddy.  I even got to high rank levels and was fighting off against some big boys, including the box art monster a few times! Imagine my surprise when I see my friends getting achievements for things I’d killed a few times already and me being extremely confused, so I decided to go back and finish some of the “Village” quests that were, to put it bluntly a lot more boring than the Hub quests that I was completing for the guild and getting lots of goodies for, plus the village quests were much lower rank than I was currently fighting; no scaling at all. At one point I was thrown into what is called a “Rampage” where you fight multiple monsters by setting up archers, traps and defend your gates from waves of monsters finished off with a boss monster at the end, there was no tutorial for this mechanic or anything; I had to learn on the fly.  Turns out that this is part of the story that I had skipped, so, I kept going.

Lo and behold I fight the title monster AGAIN after finishing some village quests and suddenly see credits scrolling. I had beaten the campaign. I had no idea. Monster Hunter Rise presents these two quest givers at the same time, so I thought I was doing as I was told and raising my rank with the guild the whole time. Turns out, the Village quests are the story of Monster Hunter Rise and it’s a short campaign; probably took me all of 7-10 hours to complete; that’s taking it slow too. I understand there is a ton to do after post game, but this felt way too short when compared to how much I completed that wasn’t part of the story. I fully understand that this is on me, that I got too far in what I suppose is the “multiplayer” portion, and so I lost out on a lot of tutorials for things I encountered and banged my head into to complete. Was it frustrating? Yes. Could it be improved? Sure. But did it take away from my accomplishments so far? No, not really, but at least make it more obvious that things I’m doing don’t matter.

You may be reading this and thinking I must really dislike Monster Hunter Rise, quite the opposite.  I really enjoyed it. The gameplay is as fun as always, I love the buddies you get and how much armor and weapons there are to make and customize. But as someone with over 500 hours into its predecessor across both console and PC, I have higher expectations. I look forward to the new Sunbreak DLC releasing later this year, as well to put more hours into it. Monster Hunter has turned into one of my most-played games in the last five years and one I look most forward to whenever I hear a new one is coming out.

Break Arts II Review – PlayStation 4

Break Arts II is a Mecha builder’s dream with Wipeout-esque racing thrown in for some high-speed thrills to heighten the game experience. Developed by MercuryStudio and published by PLAYISM Break Arts II lets you take on the role of a character living in a world that has a VR-Style world racing league that uses mobile suits to battle and race to become champion of the Break Arts Grand Prix. Originating as a mobile game it was initially released in 2018 where it sits at a mostly positive review score.

You as the main character are only showcased as your mobile suit itself, there isn’t a pilot that you create or anything to identify with, which is strange, but I suppose in a virtual world people would see you as your avatar and not your real persona. Story wise there is the Grand Prix that you are trying to become champion of where you progress and unlock more races and parts as you gain money. Money is your experience in your build rank, and it is easy to earn as you can repeat races and keep winning to increase your standings further. There is a multiplayer option as well that you can play, but as writing this I was never able to find anyone to play with, so I can’t confirm what rewards you can gain.

The customization of your mobile suit is very in depth where the parts you choose aren’t just bolted on in a predetermined slot, but you control where they attach and even the angle at which it is applied. The parts you choose determine your armor, speed, energy cornering ability and boost capacity; you name it you can probably adjust it by customizing your parts. By far my favorite is the weapon system because again, you don’t just choose a weapon; you build every part of it yourself. Your weapon can start off as a rifle and by continuing to add barrels and some scopes it’s suddenly a sniper rifle. Have a single missile launcher but want a missile pod, just attach more launchers to it; boom missile pod. You have quite a lot of control over it, but you don’t want to go overboard or suddenly you will find yourself having no speed due to the weight of your weapons. It is really about finding a good balance until you can further increase your capacity.

Races are straight forward in Break Arts II due to the fact all you control is your boost, firing weapons and cornering. The game plays much like a rail racer where you don’t press a “go” button; you just go all the time.  This seems to be stemmed from the fact that Break Arts originated as a mobile game and that explains why you don’t even have to aim almost any weapon, as they all use a sort of lock-on system and all you do is fire them to take out the other “racers”.  I’ll explain why I say “racers” a bit later. The main skill you are going to want to master is going to be boost control because that is going to determine if you are going to slam into a speed reduction wall or make that last clutch turn and keep up your momentum. I won almost every one of my races while playing by utilizing boost and non-stop shooting the other racers to knock them out temporarily while you overtake them, but unfortunately the same can happen to you, so be prepared to load up on armor to protect yourself.

One of my biggest complaints is that during the races your HUD aka heads up display, is extremely cluttered with information such as your speed, armor, A.I assist active and weapon cooldowns boost meter and the “override” function that allows you to bypass all safety meters for extreme speed for a short burst of time. I felt like it did not have to all be centered in the middle of the screen and detract even further from the races and visuals I was hoping to see.

After all that in-depth customization I bet you are hyped to see what other people have come up with either online or during the Grand Prix, but you are going to be quite disappointed, probably as much as I was when the races started to find out that all I saw in-game are colored diamonds zooming past and shooting you. To be fair I only saw this in the solo races because I was never able to find any other players online to race with.  If I did I bet I would have gotten destroyed. The only time you will see what other suits look like is at the end of the race when they show the top three finishers from the race, and they do look great, but it defeats the purpose in my eyes for having such an in-depth customization system just for you to never see them in-game. I was able to find others who were showcasing their builds on online forums, and I was impressed by how much people put into games like these where you can take control of a customization system with so much creative control but only made me more disappointed that you don’t even see them in-game.

Ultimately Break Arts II would make any Mecha builder lover happy with its in-depth build system and the freedom it gives you in how your Mecha looks.  It just doesn’t have anything else going for it that would pull anyone else in with its on-rail race system and lack of community. Break Arts II released December 2nd 2021 for an MSRP of $19.99.   Hopefully more people will check this out so the online community will start to grow and online racing becomes possible.

Evil Genius 2: World Domination Review – PlayStation 5

Want to be an evil mastermind with the single goal of world domination? I didn’t think I would be until I started playing Evil Genius 2: World Domination. Evil Genius 2 is part of the apparently popular Evil Genius series developed and published by Rebellion Developments and is a single player real time strategy and simulation game that I should have started playing long before this. The Evil genius series allows you to take control of a criminal mastermind and ready your lair to take over the world.

I’ve never played an Evil Genius game myself, but I love base build games where you make your own world, city, factory, and office-space; you name it I enjoy it. I love the simplicity of the idea coupled with the complexity that you can get to with your own ingenuity of how to use the space you have. Evil Genius 2: World Domination allows you to choose one of four evil geniuses, each with their own specialization.

You start the game and select your master mind; I personally went with Zalika which is the mastermind who specializes in science since I’m always a fan of increasing the pace at which I research upgrades for early head starts. Zalika allowed me to increase my scientists research rate by using one of her special abilities to cast an aura around her, I do this best by positioning her in a way that my aura would affect the most minions possible. After you select your mastermind, you select one of three islands to build your secret base on and start your nefarious deeds. Each mastermind has their own perk and there is no wrong or best choice; it all depends what you want to focus on.

As I have never played an Evil Genius game I started the campaign mode with the help section enabled so that I could learn as I play. Evil Genius 2: World Domination slowly introduces you to everything from room creation so that you can allocate your limited space for each specific room such as barracks so that you can increase your minion capacity, cafeteria to keep them fed and break rooms so they don’t go insane from being overworked, which I try to not do because I am a nice evil mastermind. The game walks you through not just building your base but also hiring more diverse minions such as mercenaries, valets, scientists, and engineers. I really like the fact that you can just hire minions from some apparent minion temp agency that exists in the world and then train them to specialized roles. The way that you unlock said roles is also something you must accomplish in game via a mission to kidnap someone of that role and then interrogate them, usually with death being the result, until they teach you how to be as good as them. The quirkiest ones are the entertainers and valets, you couldn’t just read a book or two for that one?

While the game hand holds you for the major plot points if you play with the help enabled it also allows you to make mistakes without stopping you, which I found out early on when I didn’t take the space I had and the power I was generating into account and started to invest in a ton of rooms such an armory, surveillance and intel room only to realize I had just thrown my base into darkness due to not having enough power, so there I go building generators to make up for what I had just done. You can easily go overboard if you don’t think ahead in your planning. Only about five hours into the game did I realize I could build stairs to reach the lower parts of the island I had chosen and further expand my lair, albeit after I researched the proper technology to help me dig through bedrock and such.

Research is another part of Evil Genius 2: World Domination because without selecting a research item your technology and weapons will never improve and the spies entering your casino front will start to infiltrate your secret base and attack. Research not only allows you to gain weapons and new rooms but also improves stats on your minions that you have recruited and trained to make them that much stronger, so it is a key part of World Domination and shouldn’t be left behind.

I mentioned each minion can be trained and you will have to pay them all which is where missions start to come in. Missions are located on the world map after you send off some scouts to create an outpost.  Those minions are gone for good, as they retire after every mission completed to enjoy their riches or infamy they have garnered via completing them. Missions also have requirements of intel needed and specific minion roles that can complete them.  Don’t have enough specialized minions; you aren’t even getting to attempt those missions then, which is why it’s important to keep training them. Evil Genius 2: World Domination 2 does a great job of doing this for you by allowing you to set parameters like always having X amount of Y minions, as the game progresses though you will find having to increase that as costs go up which is why building your base properly is so important, every inch matters especially your vault space, which is where your gold is stored on your island.

As I mentioned, when you progress you will start getting spies checking out your base, so you must start defending yourself and your island. Depending on the island chosen you may have limited capacity in the beginning, so training your minions and researching is important. Each mastermind has an endgame they are aiming for with the ultimate goal of world domination to win the game. From my experience Zalika has a “V.O.I.D” device which will brainwash the whole world to serve her; the others are much more straightforward like a doom device for world domination. As the spies get smarter you will have to start using different tactics to either keep them from ever infiltrating your base or “stop them from leaving” if you get my drift. You kill them, that’s my drift. You can arm your guards with weapons or create traps such as laser grids, giant punching fists that come out of the walls or flame throwers if you like them crispy. Keeping your “HEAT” down is going to keep your island safe but inevitably you will get attacked so be ready.

For being a strategy game on a console device I have top say they did a top-notch job of making sure nothing felt clunky and the game played smoothly. I didn’t run into any issues when utilizing the build menu or controlling my evil genius and moving them around the map or even minion management. The cameras were very versatile and allowed me to see exactly what I wanted without any weird boundary or angles that I couldn’t access.

Evil Genius 2: World Domination released on November 30th, 2021, for PlayStation 5 and is also on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PS4 for $39.99, which is personally a deal in my books after being introduced to it. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a strategy game as much as I have Evil Genius 2: World Domination on console and look forward to any DLC or updates they put out.

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Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation Code Fairy Vol. 1 Review – PlayStation 5

It’s almost 2022; why aren’t Gundams and mobile suits already everywhere in society? Toonami really got me back in the 90’s with all those ads for “in the near future”. Guess I’ll make do with the release of Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operations: Code Fairy Vol 1 developed by B.B Studio co and published by Bandai. Thank you, Bandai, for not giving up on us fans, in fact, give us more! Code fairy uses the Battle Operations 2 engine from the game of the same name released for PS4 and PS5. It’s been adapted to give us a single player experience in the form of Code Fairy.

The story is given to us in a multitude of ways such as audio snippets, anime style sequences including previews and opening and closing sequences. I found the anime sequences the most interesting because every chapter had an opening theme, a closing them and a preview as well, just like something you’d watch on T.V or more likely your favorite streaming service. I won’t deny that I got over those parts of it around the 3rd chapter when I realized it was going to happen at the end and beginning of each chapter. They had a great color; characters were appealing, and I could see them making a compilation of them and calling it a side story show or short movie.

You take the role of Alma, a rookie thrust into leadership of “Noisy Fairy” a covert all female squad under the Zeon side of the war. Code Fairy takes place during the one-year war from the original Mobile Suit Gundam anime, and the battles are in North America. As you progress through the story you will start to understand that Alma isn’t just your regular pilot.  It’s my understanding that she has some sort of special ability that makes her so good at piloting mobile suits. She is supported by two other pilots; an engineer called Mia and Helena who you pretty much leave to their own device the first couple of chapters until they introduce the ability to mark units for them to focus and pilot abilities which are special skills on short cooldowns such as instant repair of your suits, decreased damage taken and increased mobility to name the basics. As your pilots level up they earn more, but I hate to say it, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” really came into play with these.

Beating missions and completing certain objectives unlock parts to increase the stats of your mobile suit, so I was excited to try out the hard mode that you unlock when you beat the game the first time, hoping it would give me the chance to earn a new suit to pilot, but aside from making the enemies harder by having them take less damage and dodging more, nothing was to be earned. The part I did like was unlocking side perspective missions that you could play the same missions from the perspective of Alma’s compatriots, so you could play the game in a sniper role and in more of a support role. It gives you more insight into what was going on with them while you were off doing your own thing in the main story and also fight in a much different manner than what you were used to.

The battles consist of your typical kill all bad guys, defend the location and one where we got to destroy a convoy. At a few different points you did finally get to fight someone in the titular Gundam suits but nobody canon from the shows that mattered, and frustratingly I’d defeat them in one battle just to have them come back later in a newer suit.  Those named bad guys that never die sort of battles are frustrating and really took all the glory out of beating them. As this is based on the B.O games the battle triangle still exists of mobile suits being categorized as three types, Raid, General or support with each having a weakness and a strength against another, something I’ve never understood because if I get stabbed with a freaking beam saber it shouldn’t do any more or less damage due to my typing.

As I’ve said, the anime style visuals are great when you aren’t in battle, then it switches to the Battle Operations 2 engine that they have been using for the game that this is based on. I’ve played Battle Operation both on PS4 and PS5 and Code Fairy doesn’t really seem to improve on any part of it. The mobile suits, because that’s what they are actually are, that you pilot are essentially custom grunt unit models that the pilots utilize the whole first 5 chapters that Volume 1 is comprised of, near the end one of them gets a newer model but you as the protagonist/main character use the same suit the entire game with the ability to change your primary weapon from a rocket launcher to a machine gun after the second chapter.

Do they look good? I can’t deny that they look good, but compared to what is the question? They look the same as they do in Battle Operation 2. The issue that I’m getting to is that being called a Gundam game, hell even a Battle Operations game, I expected the ability to customize and change my suit or get a new one at some point, but I digress. Gundam Battle Operations: Code Fairy Vol 1 and Vol. 2 are out now with Vol 3 coming Dec 3rd.

Dustwind – The Last Resort Review – PlayStation 5

Dustwind – The Last Resort originally appeared back in 2017 as a PC team deathmatch/real time tactics game published and developed by Dustwind Studios and Zsoftware. Perusing the store page, it’s got mostly positive reviews and it’s gotten quite a few improvements over the years including the addition of single player, which the Last Resort version for consoles is based on. The Last Resort is set in a post-apocalyptic world whereas described you must make “quick tactical decisions if you want to survive”; never mind the fact you can pause the game and set up your commands and actions in advance right? Last Resort was ported from the original PC game simply named “Dustwind” and then stripped to focus on single player action. You’ll get about 10 hours of gameplay in the 16-mission campaign so don’t rush too much to get to it.

Since I never played the original Dustwind I decided to, of course, do the tutorial and what a nightmare that was to follow with so much going on with a controller. I understand why this game originally came out on PC; there is way too much to do without a keyboard at times.  Sure you could pause the game and plan your attacks, but that is if you can remember which button accomplishes what. I went through it and learned the basics and quickly was shown how to do all sorts of spiffy and crazy kills that I started to forget what exactly I had learned that mattered just a few minutes ago.  Call it old age but I call it trying to oversell a product with explosions. By the time I finished the tutorial I decided to put it away for a few hours before trying again because I was already so frustrated trying to remember everything that was shown and trying to make sense of it all during the campaign.

For a game that came out in 2017 on the Unity engine I expected it to look nice on the PS5 but really what could they even do to change it without a major graphical redesign? From the moment it loaded in I thought I was playing Fallout back on my Windows ME pc; it’s not a pretty sight. The UI, the terrain, almost every part of this says it. I’m not one to judge a game solely on the way it looks but this certainly isn’t what I imagined being released to utilize the power of the PS5 and still have ridiculously long load times on an SSD of all things, just to fight like 15 enemies and get to the next one.

You play the campaign following the story of an unknown woman who wakes up with no memory other than the fact she needs to get revenge on those who hurt her. You start doing missions with objectives to complete that may or may not always match up to what you expect and mostly end up just killing enemies as you get from one point to another while looting and scrounging for weapons and items to help you accomplish your goal. You certainly have many weapons to choose from as in some missions I finished it using flame throwers and rocket launchers and others just your good ole AK to bust up some bandits.

Gameplay wise I can see where the tactical aspect comes in with the weapon system allowing you to either shoot, melee, and even in some cases use vehicles to accomplish your missions. You will have the capability to choose what limb you are targeting as you mow down baddies and utilize terrain and buildings to your advantage to make sure you don’t get hit as well. You’ll be joined during your story by fellow mercenaries, but my favorite is the Dog who you can also assign to be your driver when in vehicles because THAT makes sense to me. You can command each of these characters to do specific tasks during combat or command them directly and play as them.

Would I recommend this game to my fellow PS5 buddies? No, not at all. Why would I when there are so many more better-looking games to take advantage of the PS5’s power? I want them to like their console, not wonder if it’s broken when they load this up. Dustwind: The Last Resort released on PS4 and PS5 September 15th, 2021, at a price tag of $17.99.

Boomerang X Review – PC

As I get older and older some games just make it obvious that my skills are starting to wane, my reflexes not as fast as they used to be, and yet I still thought I could handle that which is Boomerang X. Developed by Dang! and published by Devolver Digital, Boomerang X is exactly what it says it is; a game about a boomerang, specifically a magical boomerang with physic-bending abilities, but a boomerang nonetheless. Obviously targeted to a quicker demographic than I am Boomerang X shows off how even the simplest ideas show potential to be used in a video game environment when handled right.

There is no story that I could adequately relay aside from you showed up in another world after you wake up from being shipwrecked and find a magical boomerang that you must use to complete arenas standing in your way. As you progress through the game you unlock abilities that the boomerang bestows upon you such as instant recall of the boomerang regardless of location, a dash skill that sends you to your boomerangs current location and slowing time, just the usual hero abilities.

As you progress through the arenas, they get more complicated and the enemies more difficult to kill. The enemies are called The Mantid and as far we find out they are not native inhabitants of the land you are in. The Mantid are these black blob monsters that come in variety of shapes and sizes ranging from bee looking things to humanoid monstrosities, what their goal is I’m not sure, but they have conveniently set themselves up in arenas for you to kill and marked themselves with yellow targets saying which of them are the most important.

When you enter an arena, you are shown how many waves you need to complete and targets; not every enemy needs to be killed, only the ones marked with a yellow target. As the arenas get more complicated you are forced to use the abilities to reach your targets either in higher locations or more spread out. Once you complete the waves you are allowed to proceed to the next area. The areas where you aren’t in an arena are usually where you will find the story as told by a giant centipede character but there isn’t much else there to do, no hidden chests or secret areas or anything to really do other than just walk around and explore.  Anything that is important will be explained by your centipede friend called Tepan, which makes it pretty easy to keep track of if you can make it that far.

Boomerang X art looks great, the world looks straight out of a beautifully drawn canvas, but it is unfortunate that there isn’t anything to explore between arenas.  You can look at it and admire it but there is no hidden meaning or secret to any of it which is a shame, as I thought it was underutilized.

Gameplay wise I’d say you could complete it in about 5 hours going at a slow pace; something that is pretty obvious is not the intention here. Boomerang X is a speed runners dream, little story content and all action and movement. I do not see a casual gamer picking this up after the initial completion, if they even get that far, to play it again.

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Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town Review – Switch

Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is a third-person adventure game where you are thrown into a 10-year-old mystery after you, Willy Morgan, receive a letter from your long lost father of 10 years telling you that something has gone wrong and, wouldn’t you know it, you need to go to Bone Town to figure it out. Developed by imaginarylab and published by LeonardoInteractive now comes to the Nintendo Switch on June 8th, 2021, after its initial PC/Steam release on August 11th 2020 to very positive reviews. Willy Morgan and the curse of Bone Town prides itself on its non-linear gameplay; once the game starts you can explore what you want and solve whatever puzzles you encounter along the way. This is very much a 90’s formula trying to resurface in an age where most gamers’ primary concern is graphics, time played and story.

As I mentioned, you start the game with a quick sequence of events that throws you right into solving the mystery of the note you received from your missing father.  Let me say this, Willy doesn’t bat an eye at the fact he got a note from his missing father at all; he instantly heads to the location dictated on the note and doesn’t once question at all why his dad hadn’t reached out before or anything that a normal person would do.  He just dives right into it no questions asked. You are given a tutorial on how to interact with the world at large, click everything, and fast travel which you will be using non-stop because who wants to walk back and forth when you can just teleport?

The world of Bone Town is inhabited by a whopping 15 NPCs, which you will interact with as you explore the town, the shops and homes are riddled with little Easter eggs such as Captain America’s shield sitting on a shelf while the blacksmith has Thor’s hammer sitting on the floor. The very pirate-like inhabitants of Bone Town seem out of place in a world of computers and science, their dialogue is pretty subpar and their jokes fall flat 99% of the time and don’t really push the game in any direction; they are just “alright”. Every interaction is just point and click so you can’t really divert from the story path too much, but there are a lot of clickable items and parts of the scenery that add humorous flavor to the experience..

Aside from the occasional cutscene every backdrop and location was a pre-rendered 3D picture that just kind of popped. The Aesthetics of Bone Town are wacky, a leaning Lighthouse across a ravine, most buildings are crooked in a way that just says, “something weird is going on”. To give credit where credit is due, never once did I enter a location and think, “bleh copy paste”; every location is detailed in a way that you can’t help but look at every part just to see if something is amiss, something you can use later on in one of the many puzzles Curse of Bone Town has to offer. Your character and the NPCs around Bone Town really stand out and the focus is on them when you see them in any area.

Speaking of puzzles, that is what you will spend much of your time doing while traversing the town…puzzles galore.  Items can be in the weirdest locations, so I found myself clicking everything searching for something I might be able to use later in hopes of moving forward with the story.  Lazy gamers can also hit a button to reveal all the interactive areas within a scene.  The one part I notice people looking up solutions for, which I did end up doing, was bicycle pieces, one of which ended up being in a dream catcher I had to click on.  A dream catcher was holding a bike piece, nobody said it had to make sense I guess; mind you this was one of the earliest puzzles and I’d already had to look it up due to just how uninviting it seemed.

At the end of the day Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town is summed up simply as “alright”.  It’s not mind blowing, nothing would ever have me replay it, but it was “alright” in visuals, story, humor you name it.  Nothing jumped out at me; it just was what it was. With a total playtime of roughly 8-9 hours you can break it up into two days if you want but it’s doable in a single sitting or a long road trip. Fans of the genre will enjoy the classic 90’s style aesthetic and gameplay design, but with puzzles ranging from overly simplistic and sometimes too over the top, Willy Morgan and the Curse of Bone Town  is unlikely to bring in new fans who might stumble upon this in the Nintendo store.