Scarlet Nexus Review

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As the new console generation was launching, there was a variety of starter games to be released early in the life cycle of the PS5. Scarlet Nexus is an action-role-playing game developed by Tose and published by Bandai Namco. Released in 2021, the game takes the meaning of “brain power” to a whole new level offering two different playable storylines. Would this game be a brain teaser or would it become brain dead? We find out in this Scarlet Nexus review!

Scarlet Nexus Plot:

Like brain untapped brain power? You’re going to love this Scarlet Nexus review. Taking place in the future, humans have discovered a unique hormone in the brain that gives people intense powers with their senses. As humans honed in on their brain power, mutants that were called “The Others” came from outer space and feasted on human brains for this hormone. Regular weapons and firepower were ineffective against these mutant visitors and the only ones who could battle them were the humans with intense brain powers.

The Others still roam Earth often invading cities, but humans have put together a force known as the Other Suppression Force (OSF) to combat the mutants. Most of the people in the force are humans with special brain powers, so they are at the frontlines protecting cities or going on missions to kill Others. There is also a looming threat of the extinction belt that is creeping toward Earth destroying everything that it comes into contact with.

You may play as two different characters, each with unique plot arcs that intertwine with each other. You’ll need to play the game twice to properly gain perspective on their overall arcs. I chose to play my Scarlet Nexus review at Yuito, the male character. He’s cheery, helpful, and on the naive side. There’s also the option to play as Kasane who is reserved, no-nonsense, and would rather attack first than ask questions.

Yuito has been recruited to join the OSF and help protect humanity. Kasane has already been in the ranks for a bit but is still relatively new. On one of their first missions together, Kasane’s sister gets turned into one of the Others while Yuito’s best friend, Nagi, becomes traumatized from the event. Kasane struggles with the reality that her sister is no longer a human, while Yuito tries to help a reluctant Nagi who has undergone rehab to help “forget” the event making him mentally unstable.

Meanwhile, the OSF is breaking up into fractions, and each platoon is unsure of who is on what side. After witnessing another event where someone is transformed into a Other like Kasane’s sister, they begin to suspect an inside job from the OSF. Nagi continues to go off the rails due to his fragile mental state and shows up to a mission killing his platoon leader. The stress of the events activates the power between Kasane and Yuito that opens up a dimensional gate called the “Kunad Gate”.

Kasane and her squad are sucked into the hole and travel 50 years into the future where she meets an older Yuito who explains to her that his powers are very dangerous and the more he uses them, the more the Kunad Gate sucks everything up destroying the world. He wants Kasane to kill him in the past to prevent the destruction of the world.

Back in the present day, New Himuka is under attack by the Others, where Yuito witnesses his father being murdered as Kasane stands over his father’s body. Kasane then tries to kill Yuito as instructed by his future self. The battle ends in a draw and both units go their separate ways as the OSF continues to fracture under a rebellion.

Yuito and his platoon take shelter at an old abandoned hospital where it is learned the OSF conducted experiments on children and citizens that created the Others. While at the hospital Yuito learns that was was someone who was experimented on as a child because he was a “dud”. A dud is someone who is born without powers but because of all the experiments on him, he inherited brain powers.

The two platoons set aside their differences for now, and venture to Hieno Mountain for more information. It is revealed that Kasane and her sister were Design Children, or artificially created humans with the goal to return their people to the Moon by manipulating the Red String’s ability that Kasane has to control the dimensions and world around them. These Red Strings are attached to specific people from the past, and once untangled, they can achieve the desired result of closing the Kunad Gate to prevent the world from being destroyed.

Kasane travels through time to kill people who are entangled in the red strings to help shut the Kunad Gate, including Yuito’s mother. Karen, who has been a member of the OSF and a huge part of the rebellion has been trying to save a girl named Alice who he loves. He’s been trying to use the Red Strings for himself to save her but because of this, he has been causing more entanglements in the Red Strings making it impossible to shut the Kunad Gate. Yuito and Kasane defeat Karen and he agrees to help them close the gate.

Just before the gate is properly closed, Karen uses his copying ability to copy the power of the Red Strings and travel through time one last time to travel through time and attempt to save Alice as he disappears for good. The Kunad Gate closes and with it, the extinction belt disappears as the world is saved.

Scarlet Nexus Gameplay:

The tone for my Scalet Nexus review was set right away with the fast-paced action and EDM soundtrack that pushed you as you fought. I don’t know many games that implement EDM into the soundtrack, but it fits very well with Scarlet Nexus with how quick and smooth the combos in the game are. There’s a small tutorial section that I highly recommend before taking on the main story of the game. It will teach you the basics of combat and how to chain combos and use alternate attacks. Once mastered, the combat is the most satisfying element of Scarlet Nexus.

One thing I hate about games that are made from the year 2016 to the present, is that they try and tone down or change how guys “talk” with each other. It’s very politically correct now, which makes in-game conversations not accurate. During my Scarlet Nexus review, I was pleasantly surprised to see the dialogue between the male characters authentic. It was just dudes talking about chicks and who they thought was cute. Being a guy, this is what we do when we are alone with our guy friends! It was refreshing to see this and it made the male characters much more fun as they discussed topics that normal, everyday dudes talk about.

There were aspects of my Scarlet Nexus review that I felt were cheap. I hate panel discussions, and that’s how the dialogue and conversations were presented. They looked cheap as opposed to making the characters speak with each other and made me feel like this was a budget title. The one perk was the character profiles for the panels. Kasane’s portrait for her panel was hilarious. While cheap in design, some of them were at least entertaining.

Some of the best conversations were from the gift-giving system. There are trinkets, items, and gifts you can bestow upon your fellow squad while at the hub. This leads to new sub-missions where you partner up with that character and learn a little bit more about them. It will increase their attitude toward you as long as they like the gift. There are hints as to who likes what and it’s fairly easy to tell. It was fun to find items and then give them to the correct characters during breaks and it helps change the pace of the game if you don’t want to continue the main story.

The absolute best thing about my Scarlet Nexus review was the combat. All battles are quick and fluid. You’ll destroy enemies within seconds as you chain combos together. Switching between characters is easy and you can set their behaviors up to match how you want to fight. Different characters have different powers and it’s fun to use them or see their styles. Besides the combat, the enemy designs were very interesting and eye-catching. There were a lot of bizarre combinations but they all looked good and had different styles of fighting. Sometimes, your best bet was sheer physical strength, while other times you needed to use psychokinesis.

Psychokinesis is a big part of the game as your character can develop new powers with the brain map as you earn experience from every battle. One of the cooler aspects is chaining your powers together with your team to make super attacks. This helps a ton with bringing down bosses along with using the environment to hurl objects at enemies. It all goes very quickly and when you’re in the zone, you feel like a badass.

Scarlet Nexus is not overly challenging. I think it leans more on the easier side as save points seem to come every 10 seconds. The final bosses and levels were challenging, but with some practice, it became easy to figure out the combat. Once you beat the game, you can replay it again as the other main character giving you a dual sense of plot and understanding the story from the other perspective. It’s a good idea, and it works well for those interested in replaying the game.

One thing I found a bit annoying was how nice and pleasant the characters were to each other. The main male character, Yuito, is just way too nice to everyone. He gets reamed out all the time or people are very rude to him and he just acts like it’s okay and that he’s very sorry for being himself. I played as him during my Scarlet Nexus review and found him to be annoying at times due to his nice and forgiving tendencies.

Kasane on the other hand was fiery, vicious, and aggressive. At one point, she nearly kills Yuito just for him to brush it off. They definitely play off each other as extremes.

Overall, it was fun to explore the different environments and interact with different objects on multiple runs within a level. The enemy placements generally stay the same and you can see them coming so battles are a surprise. There are plenty of items to find and little secrets in nooks. Exploring was satisfying and it was nice to return to the hub base and sort out my side quests or just talk to other characters.

Great combat and enemy designs along with a killer soundtrack highlight the gameplay of Scarlet Nexus. Cheap dialogue panels, some annoying character traits, and constant saving tarnished the game a bit, but it’s worth a playthrough. It’s on the easier side, but you can raise the difficulty I’m sure.

This was the first PS5 game I found myself enjoying after the stinkfest that was Immortal Fenyx Rising. While I had fun at times with Scarlet Nexus, it wasn’t my “OMG THIS IS WHAT THE PS5 IS ALL ABOUT”. I had fun for two weeks during my playthrough but I don’t feel the need to replay it despite the option to play as the other storyline.

Scarlet Nexus Review Score:

Scarlet Nexus was my first enjoyable game with my PlayStation 5. It scratched an itch but it still didn’t show off what the PS5 could do. The story kept my attention, and putting together the combos during the fast-paced combat was fun.

If you need a filler game while you wait for a new release. Scarlet Nexus is a good distraction. It won’t blow the doors off your PS5, but it was a solid experience overall, especially for those who enjoy action role-playing games.

Scarlet Nexus scores an 8 out of 10.

What would you write in your Scarlet Nexus review? What’s your favorite JRPG on the PS5? Who was your favorite character in the game, and what path did you choose? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Scarlet Nexus. I’d love to read them.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Review

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Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday launched on the PSP in 2011 on the PSP. The series took another step away from the beloved model it had created with the original. Would this new action shooter live up to the franchise name or would it suffer an unchangeable mistake? We’re jumping through timelines in the Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review!

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Plot:

Oh boy, are you ready for this? Starting on Christmas Eve, 2010. Aya and Kyle are set to be married in New York. For a full recap of Parasite Eve and Parasite Eve II please read my reviews on them. Ruining their wedding are these giant monsters who have invaded New York and the government calls these creatures the “Twisted”. During the chaos, Aya loses her memories, and Kyle and Eve disappear and are erased from existence. Already, off to a wild start in this Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review, eh?

Well, two years later the U.S. government formed the CTI (Counter Twisted Investigation) to help combat the Twisted and try and save Earth. New York City remains a mess (just like real life!) as it’s been completely destroyed by the Twisted which uses a mammoth tower that arose from the ground as their headquarters. All humans have left New York or have been killed by the Twisted.

Ready for more bizarre elements? So the CTI determines that Aya is the only viable option for their new machine that can take over the conscience of others in the past. Aya is able to control people in the past and through this, hopefully, change the events that happened when the Twisted attacked New York. Through these means, Aya can control different soldiers and help them fight off the invasion.

Now the entire plot of Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday is extremely convoluted. I will do my best to recap it but this is the bare-bones version because it is wild. Here we go.

Aya is being held semi-captive by the CTI with the man in charge named Hyde. He directs Aya on various missions to defeat the Twisted, alter time, and rescue key figures in the CTI. Aya continuously alters timelines and seems to be traveling through many different ones. She slowly regains memories of her wedding day when the Twisted invaded and Hyde continues to instruct her on missions.

She alters enough timelines where Kyle exists again but she remembers shooting Eve at her wedding. It is revealed that Hyde wants the Twisted to succeed and that Eve was the “mother” of the Twisted. Aya and Hyde face off as they continue to travel between timelines back to her wedding day. Aya and Kyle are able to defeat Hyde but Aya knows that Eve’s body still needs to be destroyed so the Twisted not to invade. She forces her soul and Eve’s soul to swap with each other so Eve is in Aya’s body, and Aya is in Eve’s body. “Eve” then shoots “Aya” killing Eve’s body along with Aya’s soul. Before disappearing, Aya has some comforting words for Eve.

Kyle realizes at the wedding that Aya is no longer herself but in fact, Eve and says that she needs to be her own person. (Probably for the best since Eve is 13 and was about to marry a full-grown man). Kyle then decides he is going to look for “eternity” and find Aya. He encourages Eve again before leaving. Eve is seen walking by herself at the end and living her life when a woman who looks like “Aya” walks by and wishes her a happy birthday before disappearing.

I assure you the story is much more complex but man, I don’t have time to divulge it all because I get confused myself. Lots of timelines, lots of chaos, lots of “is she dead” etc.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Gameplay:

My Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review kicked off with a stellar opening video. I miss when video games had incredible openings, and almost feel that it is a lost art now. Despite being less than enthused with Parasite Eve being part of the plot, I loved the intro. It sucked me into New York again, which is where the original Parasite Eve takes place.

New York is back, and so is the Christmas theme! The first takes place on Christmas, and the third game follows. It was a fun throwback to the series but that’s about all as far as resemblance goes between the original and my Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review. In the original, Parasite Eve was more of a JRPG with combat. The sequel was more of an action RPG, and the third transforms into a third-person shooter.

Don’t get me wrong, this was wildly fun. The combat is very satisfying and you’ll take on tons of enemies as you blast them out of the sky, hallways, and buildings. Aiming was easy, and changing between targets was smooth. You’ll be able to build up a meter for a massive attack too.

Death has an interesting twist in my Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review. Aya’s essence will take control of a soldier and as long as there’s a soldier standing on the battlefield, you’ll be okay. You can transfer your spirit between them if your health is running low. If you die before switching bodies, it’s game over, so it’s opportunistic to change around soldiers during battles. There were only a few times when I died.

Ammo is all around you, but there were times when I ran out of the good stuff and had to switch to my minor guns. When this happens I struggled. It’s important not to waste your powerful ammo or weapons on meager enemies and save them for bosses or huge encounters. You’ll be carrying machine guns, pistols, and some launchers. All of them have different damage and rates of fire. You can upgrade the weapons between missions at the control hub with the experience that you earn in battles along with a DNA board that acts as the superpowers that Aya has.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday has some of that old-school video game feel to it. I LOVED this, but what exactly do I mean? Well, Aya’s clothes get torn up and ripped off when she’s damaged. You may see some cheek or side-boob when after a battle. Nothing wrong with that. One of the characters (Maeda) is a HUGE perv. The stuff he says and the way he says it made me laugh just because of the sheer ridiculous nature of it. I miss when video games didn’t take themselves so seriously or when games could make a joke without offending Twitter. Just take a look at the cover of the manual if you want to be offended. Man, I miss manuals!

The dialogue during my Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review was incredibly hilarious. At one of the most important sections for wrapping up the plot, Kyle wishes everyone a “Merry Christmas”, and Aya a “Happy Birthday” before saying he is going to “Find Eternity”. One of the bonus “perks” to beating the game is unlocking new costumes for Aya to wear during her playthrough including some scantily clad ones that are revealing as well as unlocking a new “view” mode.

I bought this from an ex-marine who sold me a ton of PSP games from his collection. He told me he played these while in Iraq to pass the time and he gave me a hell of a deal on them. I was so EXCITED to get all of them in my collection. He told me he was selling his PSP collection to get his Thai girlfriend to America and wanted to cover the costs. He seemed like a good guy, but I remember buying this game more than my actual experience with it.

When I did play it, it took me about a week to beat. I remember being shocked at how fun I was having while being equally disgusted at what Parasite Eve had become. I kept thinking, just make this a new IP and it would be a smash hit. Parasite Eve needs no involvement in this. Oh well, it was a good time.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Review Score:

During my Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review on my PSP, I loved the gameplay and combat. The levels were well-paced and kept my interest with near-perfect length. Unfortunately, you can’t stick a legendary IP like Parasite Eve and completely change the gameplay and expect fans of the series to be receptive. It’s like making Final Fantasy a first-person shooter. Fans don’t want that or expect it. Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday never had a chance due to the severe change in the direction of the gameplay compared to the first two titles. The series is now dead, congrats. It’s too bad because this is a fun game, but you can’t put Parasite Eve with it. Make it an entirely new IP, and you’ll have a hit. Instead, we have a dead franchise.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday scores a 6 out of 10.

What would you write in your Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday review? What other series completely flamed out that you loved? How do you feel about the direction that Parasite Eve went? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday. I’d love to read them.

Trigger Witch Review

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One of the most underrated games in gaming was released in 2021 when developer Rainbite Limited teamed up with Eastasia Software Limited to produce Trigger Witch. This little-known title is superb from start to finish with the gameplay and insane plot twist. My Trigger Witch review was completed on the Switch and I found the controls excellent on the system. Strap up and bring plenty of ammo, you’ll need it for this review.

Trigger Witch Plot

Trigger Witch follows the journey of Colette, a powerful witch, who embarks on a mission to uncover the mysteries behind a world in which firearms have replaced traditional magic. The game is set in a fantasy world where magic and technology coexist. Magic no longer is used by the witch kingdom, Evertonia. It has been forgotten with the convenience and use of guns. Almost all citizens of this land use guns or worship the religion of guns.

The game begins as Colette wakes up and needs to pass her final test to graduate from “The Stock”, a tough program that trains witches into gun-toting protectors of Evertonia. She soon meets up with her friends Shelly, a gentle witch who is compassionate, and Remi, who acts as a jealous rival. Before taking on the final test, Colette visits the Ordnance Rift, a strange and mystery dimensional rift that can give powerful weapons to those it deems worthy. When Colette visits, she is gifted a pistol, making her worthy. Together they all take the gauntlet but only Colette passes. The final boss in the gauntlet is Colette’s high school bully! I can’t believe they were able to get that to fly in today’s age but it’s a fun fight.

Remi becomes increasingly jealous of Colette while Shelly is supportive. A man in black soon appears and Colette wants to investigate who he is as he’s been causing trouble. Evertonia is split into two kingdoms, there’s the witch kingdom, and then there’s the Goblin Kingdom. The witches have ceased to use magic as they use their firearms for everything, while the Goblins still use magic as they were not blessed with guns from the rift. The problem with this is that both kingdoms grew suspicious of each other and stopped talking. There isn’t a war between them but the nations don’t talk and are not friendly.

Colette’s investigation leads her all around both kingdoms, with some missions in Goblin land leading to her being arrested or needing to help Goblins to gain their trust. Shelly helps her out when she can, while Remi becomes increasingly hostile eventually leading to a fight. Once Remi is defeated she begins to support Colette and realizes that she shouldn’t be upset at Colette’s success.

As Colette hones in on the mystery man in a black cape that has been causing trouble in both kingdoms, she learns how powerful magic used to be for the witches. She takes on more quests to unseal portions of the kingdom that have been previously protected by magic. She finally catches the man in black who jumps through a portal as he encourages her to follow.

This is where the game gets WILD in this Trigger Witch review and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW OFF THE RAILS IT GOES.

Colette is transported to another realm through a portal and soon discovers the man in black is none other than JOSEPH STALIN the former Premier of the Soviet Union and the architect of Socialism! He has been searching for a way to gain power for the Soviet Union and he believes the magic from the witches will help turn his kingdom into a superpower.

Stalin says he will spare the people of the witch kingdom in exchange for the magic. Colette doesn’t care as she just blasted half of the Soviet Union army away but Stalin has a trick up his sleeve and blasts Colette’s mom in front of her forcing her to fight him as he hopes she’ll use magic and he can steal it.

After a brief fight, Stalin says he will use the power of Goblin levitation to power rocket ships and control the solar system. He then hops into a rocket and blasts off landing on the moon. Colette is hot on his trail flying her broom into space where they crashland on the moon. Stalin then becomes Mecha Stalin and faces off with Colette in the final showdown. As Colette defeats Stalin, he insists that she is a fool and that her empire won’t stand against him. Just as he is about to warp into another dimension, Colette puts a bullet in his head ending Stalin’s reign.

Colette rushes back to her mom and heals her with a potion and they decide that despite the amazing weapons and guns that Stalin has stashed in his hideout, they need to destroy the dimensional rift. They escape through the portal and land back in Evertonia. Much to their surprise, it has been decades since they left as time passes differently in the other realm. All of Colette’s friends are very old now. Remi has become the oracle and Shelly the Queen. Your mother is healed and Shelly and Remi take you to an overlook of Evertonia as the game ends.

Trigger Witch Gameplay

When I first started my Trigger Witch review, the color palette stood out immediately. It was pastel colors and almost made me think of Easter, but the gameplay is far from family-friendly. The game features fast-paced, top-down shooting gameplay, mixed with puzzles, exploration, and crafting mechanics.

The game is played from a top-down perspective, with the player controlling Colette, the main protagonist, as she battles her way through various levels filled with enemies and obstacles. Colette can move around the environment using the left analog stick and aim her weapons in any direction using the right analog stick. You’ll be able to also use the game’s auto-aim feature, which targets the nearest enemy in Colette’s line of sight but I rarely used it during my Trigger Witch review. I went in freestyle aiming and I left tons of bodies in my path. The aiming was quick enough that I didn’t feel the need for the auto-aim.

Colette can carry up to two weapons at a time, each with its own unique attributes and ammo type. The game features a variety of weapons, including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and even a flamethrower. Colette can also use a melee attack with her broomstick, which deals a significant amount of damage and can be used to break open crates and barriers. It was so satisfying to level up the weapons by collecting gems off the bodies of my enemies. There wasn’t a weapon I didn’t love in my Trigger Witch review, and each of them is designed to better destroy certain enemy types but even the pistols which I used a ton were efficient enough for most shootouts. There were times when I was surrounded by tons of enemy hordes and I found that the machine guns were best suited to take out large numbers. There’s plenty of gore to go around with blood and guts emptying out on the floor after all the chaos. I loved the clash of dark red against the pastel environments and enemies.

In addition to weapons, I used magical spells during my Trigger Witch review, such as a shield to block incoming projectiles, a teleportation spell to move quickly around the environment, and a time-slowing spell to gain an advantage in combat. These spells require a certain amount of magic energy, which can be replenished by picking up mana orbs dropped by defeated enemies. While it was nice to have these magic spells, I didn’t overuse them and relied more on the sheer power of my guns and the nimbleness of Colette to speed around and avoid enemies. The quick burst spell was the most helpful as it got you out of pinches in a hurry.

The Stalin boss fight is as much ridiculous as it is fun. It was such a blast and was an excellent final fight in the game. You have to defeat him as he has bullet deflectors on his body which cause bullets to curve around him. Once you defeat that portion, you’ll hop on a broom and the game turns into a shoot ’em up. It was so much fun and a solid challenge.

Once you defeat the shoot ’em up portion, you’ll land on the moon and Stalin will enter a mech. This is the last segment of the fight and it’s just as good as the rest. Fighting a mech Stalin on the moon… was just a beautiful moment. I didn’t struggle with the final showdown but I can see where it could be difficult for some.

One thing I didn’t get to experience in my Trigger Witch review was the co-op. Trigger Witch can be played entirely in co-op which would be tons of fun with this type of gameplay. Maybe, someday?


I bought Trigger Witch from PlayAsia and honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it might be a cute game to play for a few hours but after seeing all the gore I knew this was going to be a sweet game. Making my way to the end stages was berserk. My jaw was on the ground when the game not only took a left turn but drove off the cliff. I LOVED the twist and had no idea it was coming.

Trigger Witch Review Score:

Trigger Witch was a super sleeper hit. The controls are fluid, the weapons are satisfying to pull the trigger on, and the level layouts are welcoming. My jaw hit the floor with the plot twist and I was laughing at how ridiculous it got, but it was all for the best! Overall, this is a hidden gem that should be played and supported.

Trigger Witch scores a 9.5 out of 10.

What would you write in your Trigger Witch review? What other games go completely off the rails at the end? Are there other games like Trigger Witch? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Trigger Witch, I’d love to read them.

Days Gone Review

Some games fly under the radar, some games are deemed a failure, and some split public opinion right in half. Days Gone from 2019 on the PlayStation 4 fits that narrative. Developed by Bend Studio and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, those who played Days Gone enjoyed it while Sony seemed to be disappointed with the sales numbers. Hop on your hog, we’re going for a ride in this Days Gone review! 

Days Gone Plot:

Days Gone features the ultimate rescue mission. A man, desperately searching for his wife who may or may not be alive. He’s given up almost all hope and is ready to accept her death until one small clue gives him insight that she may still be alive. Days Gone has a wide cast of characters, some well-written, some not. I’ll be diving deep into the plot of Days Gone so full spoilers will be ahead and I’ll be giving some insight into some decisions made with characters, something I don’t typically do. But let’s start at the beginning with Deacon St. John, our protagonist. 

At the start of the outbreak which was caused by a virus made in a lab, (Not in China, Can I make that joke yet?) Deacon is part of a motorcycle club. He previously served in the army but has since found fellowship with a motorcycle gang. They partake in illegal activities but he has a good heart. When the virus overtakes the world, his wife Sarah is stabbed by a child who is turning into a freaker. Deacon pleads with a helicopter to take her away as she won’t survive without immediate medical attention. The helicopter takes off while Deacon and his biker buddy, Boozer, are left behind as the city burns. The two escape and go into hiding as the world falls into chaos. At first, they try and head to the camp where the helicopter was taking Sarah, but when they arrive they find it destroyed by freakers with bodies everywhere. 

Days Gone takes place in Oregon, in the forests of the Northwest, although the outbreak has claimed the entire world. Now, Days Gone retells some relationships through flashbacks, especially Deacon and Sarah’s relationship and how they fell in love. Sarah was a botanist who inadvertently helped create the virus that destroys the world. They ended up getting together as Deacon helped her on the side of the road one day as her car is broken down. She starts to ride on his motorcycle and a relationship is created as they get married after some time. (Yes, I loved the ride me like your motorcycle line)

While Deacon is in the motorcycle gang, he must abide by strict rules or risk losing his membership. One gang member, named Jessie kills a man over a drug deal gone wrong. Jessie is then stripped of all his connections to the motorcycle gang including the numerous tattoos on his body which are burned off by a blow torch by Deacon and Boozer. As Deacon and Sarah become more involved, Deacon decided to become a Nomad of the gang, and spend less time with them and more time with Sarah. It upsets most of the gang, but Boozer still remains close friends with Deacon. 

Deacon and Boozer adjust to their new life making runs for camps and taking on special missions that are dangerous. They split their time between two camps including one run by Ada, a former warden of a prison, and Iron Mike who runs Lost Lake. Iron Mike is a man who is trying to rebuild and bring people together to fight off the horde. 

The horde of freakers decimates most of civilization but there’s a cult that has started up who semi worship the freakers. These cultists are called “Rippers” and are led by a man named Carlos. Rippers aren’t afraid of the freakers and often feed their victims to them. The Rippers shave their heads and mutilate their bodies with numerous cuts. They kidnap people and brainwash them by torture to join their cult. So, there’s a lot of hostility going on in the world of Days Gone. 

Deacon and Boozer are attacked by Rippers who severely damage Boozer’s arm, so much so that his life is in jeopardy. The two of them escape, but Boozer needs time to heal so he is couped up in a defense tower while Deacon continues to do runs for the camps. This isolation begins to take a toll on Boozer as he becomes paranoid, aggressive, and lonely. He falls into a deep depression, and Deacon does his best to keep Boozer positive about the outlook. While Boozer is recovering Deacon starts doing runs for different survivor camps until he comes across a NERO helicopter. 

NERO stands for National Emergency Restoration Organization. The goal of this organization is to study the freakers and learn as much as possible about them and the virus. Deacon tracks the helicopter and infiltrates a study zone full of NERO employees who are in hazmat suits. As he secretly holds one of the NERO members against their will for some questioning, Deacon realizes that the man he is speaking to named O’Brien is the same man that took Sarah in the helicopter the night of the outbreak. O’Brien reveals that the helicopter that Sarah was on was diverted to another camp, making it possible that Sarah could still be alive. 

Boozer’s arm continues to worsen so Deacon takes him to Lost Lake camp where the doctor amputates the arm to save Boozer’s life. Deacon continues to stay in contact with O’Brien who requests help from time to time in exchange for information on the potential outcome of Sarah. The Lost Lake camp where Boozer is now stationed has a truce with the Ripper Cult but is on the verge of breaking. One of the main characters in the camp is a white-trash wannabe gangster named Skizzo. Deacon and Skizzo do not see eye-to-eye and Skizzo goes behind everyone’s back and trades Deacon to the Rippers who were interested in Deacon. It turns out that the leader of the Rippers is Jessie, the man that Deacon and Boozer tortured and burned when he was removed from the motorcycle gang. 

Deacon escapes the Ripper camp and with the help of Boozer, blows up a damn that floods the Rippers killing most of them including Jessie. Skizzo is deemed untouchable despite his betrayal, and instead of being killed, is exiled from camp by Iron Mike. Continuing to dig up information on the possible whereabouts of Sarah with the help of O’Brien, Deacon heads to a militia camp where he discovers that Sarah is alive, and is working for the militia as a researcher. Deacon shows up at the camp, but he and Sarah can’t reveal that they know each other.

Sarah has been working on a bioweapon to stop the freakers once and for all as it’s been revealed by O’Brien that the freakers are evolving and only getting stronger. While she works on the bioweapon, Sarah refuses to leave the camp until it’s done so Deacon does work for the militia in the meantime. He meets the leader, Colonel Garret, who essentially is holding most researchers hostage as he prepares for a mass war against the freakers. Sarah tells Deacon that she isn’t working on a bioweapon, but a cure that might stop the spread and save the lives of those who have been turned. 

Skizzo has made his way to the militia camp and lies about Deacon’s past getting him arrested while the militia attacks the Lost Lake camp killing Iron Mike. Deacon is freed by a member of the militia who believes him and Deacon heads to Lost Lake to warn the camp that the Militia will be back in bigger numbers. Boozer, Deacon, and a few others go on a suicide mission to blow up the militia base. They succeed and Deacon is able to kill Skizzo and rescue Sarah. 

In the epilogue, Deacon is living at Lost Lake Camp with Boozer and Sarah when O’Brien contacts him. Deacon meets with O’Brien who lets him know that the virus is continuing to mutate and that more people are becoming freakers with advanced intelligence. O’Brien then unzips his suit and shows Deacon that he has become a freaker before leaping 20 feet in the air back on the helicopter announcing that NERO is coming. 

I enjoyed much of the plot during my Days Gone review, but there were a few things that bothered me. When Skizzo heads to the militia camp and clearly interacts with Sarah, was he not aware that she was the wife of Deacon? Deacon had been quite open at the Lost Lake Camp with a few members about wanting to find his wife named Sarah. Along with that, he has a GIANT neck tattoo of “Sarah”. Did no one at the militia connect the dots? Kouri was an officer at the militia camp where Deacon tells him his wife’s name is “Beth”, but did Kouri not see the huge tattoo of Sarah? Come on. 

It was poetic justice that Iron Mike was killed because of Skizzo. He let Skizzo go and is repaid by Skizzo again betraying the camp. That was a frustrating decision to watch, but Iron Mike is more forgiving than I am. 

Throughout most of the game, you are trying to get Boozer to want to live again. He is so depressed and you spend many missions trying to get him to want to continue his life. When the suicide mission came up, I was very annoyed that I spent so much time trying to get this man to live only for him to blow himself up in the truck bombing of the militia because the way it was shown, there was no chance he was surviving that blast. He does survive thankfully, but at that moment I was quite annoyed that he just blows himself up anyway after hours of trying to get him to live. 

For much of the majority of the game, the lesson of “teamwork” comes up and Deacon continues to say he can’t do this alone in destroying the militia in the finale. Meanwhile, the actual gameplay is Deacon by himself climbing up the militia mountain entirely by himself, killing 50 men, and then rescuing Sarah all by himself. I thought it was kind of dumb that the whole “I can’t do this by myself” angle was pounded into our heads just for Deacon to go alpha male on the militia anyway. 

Days Gone Gameplay:

Days Gone is an open-world adventure game where portions of the world are unlocked through a progression of missions. Deacon will do various quests ranging from bounty hunting, fetch quests, exploration, and clearing out hordes, as well as doing large-scale combat missions that involve killing many enemies. 

Perhaps the best part of my Day Gone review is the incredible feeling of riding your motorcycle through the wilderness and post-apocalyptic world. Deacon will ride his bike on every mission getting from point A to point B. It’s very satisfying to ride through the forests, or on the open road. The sound effects of the bike are realistic from the screeching of the rubber on pavement, sliding around in the mud, to the muffler backfiring on occasion. Days Gone serves as a perfect example of how to craft a fun way to travel on a large map. You can upgrade your bike throughout the game with credits at camps, but be careful on your long journies as you’ll need to fill up on gas whether that’s at a camp or an abandoned gas station. There’s no greater feeling in Days Gone than being on the open road or weaving your way through a horde of freakers on your bike.

When Deacon is in conversation with other characters, I came away impressed by the facial animations. If there was an inside joke or something he found funny, he’d give a smirk or smile. Voice acting is another positive for Days Gone. Each character has solid acting, especially Deacon and Sarah. The cut scenes felt dramatic and it was a nice change of pace to watch them unfold throughout my Days Gone Review. (And Yes, I’m one of the people that loved the line “Ride my like your motorcycle” during the vows) One character in particular that I found hilarious was Taylor. He was a millennial druggie but acted like a complete jackass in his humor, openly mocking or making jokes at Deacon. He was well-written and made me laugh. 

Combat is satisfying as you take on hordes, camps, or single enemies. Deacon makes good use of his military background and is proficient in guns. I enjoyed picking off enemies one by one with headshots as I snuck around the camps. When I infiltrated a camp, I knew that I would be the last one standing despite the numerous traps that were littered throughout the campgrounds. Combat in Days Gone is best done with a mixture of stealth and precision with guns. It was rare that I felt armed enemies had the upper hand or an unfair advantage. Some fights with major characters like Skizzo and Jessie were jokes. They took less than 10 seconds and were very disappointing fights that were not satisfying after making these characters so hateable. 

What I did not enjoy were the hordes. These massive trains of freakers were a pain to deal with and I avoided them at all costs. “Thinning out the horde” is a common statement in Days Gone and I wanted nothing to do with it. They made me uneasy and gave a slight horror element to the game as you would have to sneak around them, careful not to disrupt their slumber. While it made me uneasy, that wasn’t why I hated facing them. Horde battles take a long time, sometimes 15 minutes, with the longest horde battle that was required taking me almost an hour to defeat as I picked them off slowly, baiting them with me and then running away using guerilla tactics. It was not fun but instead felt like a very long chore. I can understand some people LOVING this gameplay element, but it just wasn’t for me. 

While I disliked fighting off hordes, I thought the realism shined through when I approached random camps and they were under attack by random freakers, cultists, or drifters. That seems like something that would happen in a post-apocalyptic world, so when I approached camps that were under attack, I gladly defended them. It wasn’t just freakers or drifters, sometimes you’d come across hungry wolves trying to get into camps. All of these encounters felt realistic and their inclusion was noted in my Days Gone review. 

One element of Days Gone that I adored was the connection to the Syphon Filter universe. It was created by most of the same people and they left a few easter eggs as surprises. The air taser may be the greatest weapon in video game history and I can’t tell you how many enemies I fried as a kid with it. It was a great nod to include it as an unlockable weapon. 

There were both many positives and negatives that I experienced during my Days Gone review. I’ll detail them as much as possible, with some being small complaints, to larger concerns. One of the smaller complaints I had, was the load times. On occasion, loading can take longer than expected, especially for a game released in 2019 on the PlayStation 4. 

Saving was a bit of another issue. When I saved the game, I expected it to be saved in that exact location but there were times when I’d save the game and it’d reload me at the point before a mission. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but I made a mental note to be careful when saving. 

Unfortunately, glitches occurred somewhat often in my Days Gone review and this was almost three years after the game came out. One NPC had his legs shaking all about and got stuck in a door that opened. Another dead body was pinned against a wall and eventually fell through, so half his body was inside the house and half of it was outside. Another glitch had an enemy’s body launching 20 feet into the air and then staying there like he was being possessed. 

The worst glitch I ran into, was during a crucial mission fighting a horde inside a cave. This part of the game was very difficult and it took me multiple tries to make it this far in the mission. I needed to completely clear a wave of a horde to trigger the next wave. During this part, you are in a tiny cave. You can set up boobytraps in preparation for the horde coming. The first wave, I was off to a great start barely using any traps and my health was in great shape. The problem was after the first wave was killed, the second wave didn’t trigger. I kept walking around for five minutes in this tiny area seeing if there was a freaker left but it was empty. The sounds of a freaker horde were there, but there were none to be seen. After searching for over ten minutes, I looked up on YouTube this section to see if I had missed something and that’s when I knew that a trigger wasn’t happening. 

I had to restart that mission which really pissed me off because it was the most difficult of the game. As much as I hate glitches, I can forgive some but when it comes to a huge title with a lot of testers, debuggers, and patches, I expect the game to be in good shape. Replaying a difficult level and losing all progress because something won’t trigger was beyond frustrating. 

Some enemies just felt cheap. I hated riding my motorcycle on the highway or roads and some random sniper just picks me off. There were times when it was just one guy, a lone wolf out shooting at me. When gangs attacked in groups, I understood it but when there was a lone gunman, it was more frustrating. 

Other enemies that were cheap were the grizzly bears. I often invaded camps and raided them for supplies or to collect a bounty. Sneaking around the camp was fun until a giant bear would sneak up on you! I don’t have a problem with the bear sneaking around and attacking you but the bear only chases you. If you run into the camp it will chase you but only seek you out instead of causing chaos and attacking the other humans. It didn’t feel realistic that a bear would just chase one person in a crowd of 20. 

There was a bit of an issue with smoothing and loading full textures. When I entered militia camps, on occasion the flags were pixelated. These might not seem like big deals but when you want to be immersed in a game when you notice that objects haven’t loaded correctly, it takes you out of that mindset. 

Days Gone Review Score:

really wanted to love Days Gone and went in with a positive mindset that I was about to experience an amazing game. While there are a lot of good things about Days Gone, there are numerous nagging issues in the gameplay that stopped it from becoming a megahit in my book. It’s a good game, but not a great one. 

Days Gone scores a 7.5 out of 10. 

What would you write in your Days Gone review? Do you feel the game was under the radar or were the critics justified? Who was your favorite character in Days Gone? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Days Gone, I’d love to read them. 

Cool Spot Review

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Advertising at its best gets consumers interested in their products or puts a positive view on a company. In 1993, 7up did just that with the release of Cool Spot on the Super Nintendo. Developed and published by Virgin Games, Cool Spot is a side-scrolling action game that sees the red spot from 7up rescue other little spots from cages. It’s considered one of the best product games and today we crack open a bottle of 7up and drink this Cool Spot review!

Cool Spot Plot:

Cool Spot doesn’t have too much plot, and that’s okay but it does have a silly story in the manual. Let’s investigate and see what all the fuss is in Cool Spot.

Breaking News: SPOT and his friends, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, SPOT, and SPOT are in trouble and they need help…FAST!

Old News: For years, Wild Wicked Wily Will has been trying to capture a real live SPOT to prove to the world that they really do exist. (Up to date, they have never been ‘spotted’!)

Hot News: Now, Will may ‘be about to get his wish.

Bad News: Will, in a moment of true wickedness, put cunning SPOT trap cages in all of the fun places where other SPOT friends would be hanging out.

Really Bad News: The traps have worked all too well! There is now a SPOT caught in every cage!

Truly Awful News: Will will be back any minute to take them into captivity forever.

Good News: You’re here to save the day! You can help SPOT who has got “SPOT Cool Shots” to spot the cages, free his fellow SPOT friends, stop Will and be totally “COOL SPOT!”

SPOT TO THE RESCUE: Due to incredibly good planning (okay, you were actually out surfing at the time) you are the only SPOT character that is still free to have a good time. All the other SPOT characters have been trapped in one of Wicked Will’s cages.

So, there you were, being totally cool as usual, when a sign caught your eye. On it was pinned hurriedly scribbled message: “HERO WANTED”.

You, as Cool SPOT, must rescue your friends before it’s too late! You’ll need to use your cool wits and your Cool Shot of bubbles in a race against time (good thing Will is a little slow) to free your friends from the traps. Are you up for it? Will you be cool enough before Will gets his wicked hands on them?

Cool Spot Gameplay:

Cool Spot… is well… a cool game! It just gives those vibes off starting with the music. It’s upbeat and keeps you going as you make your way through the platforming and rescuing the other spots. During my Cool Spot review, I noticed little animations of Spot whether he was just hanging out on screen or doing action moves, everything is smooth and detailed. The sound effects also help give that classic cool vibe. When a video game doesn’t have much plot, the gameplay is the core of the experience, and the music, sound effects, and animation are top-notch for Cool Spot.

The core mechanics of Cool Spot come down to three elements. You’ll need to collect a specific number of spots that are scattered throughout the level. They will be guarded by enemies, tough to reach, hidden, or out in the open. Once you collect enough spots, you can rescue one of the Cool Spots that are locked away in cages. You need to rescue the Cool Spot before the timer on the stage runs out. Collect the little spots, to unlock the cage and rescue the Cool Spots before the timer runs out. That’s the basis of Cool Spot. The timer can be a factor as it pushes you to rush through a level. Numerous times I failed because I ran out of time.

There are seven levels in Cool Spot, each uniquely themed with environmental hazards, enemies, and obstacles. For instance, my favorite enemy was the mice that threw cheese at you. They were cute but tough! To help fight off the enemies, Spot can shoot bullet bubbles with the tap of a button. They are infinite so you can go wild and obliterate anything that moves.

When you take damage, Spot’s face at the top of the screen will begin to show damage and deflate. It was a nice touch and gave you some wiggle room to take damage because Cool Spot is no easy game. You’ll need to master the controls and layouts of the level if you wish to progress, especially with that timer ticking away. By all means, this is not a kid’s game despite its happy-go-lucky nature. It’s tough To help you combat the tough nature of Cool Spot, you’re blessed with checkpoints throughout levels. These help a ton, and I gladly welcomed them as I made my way through my Cool Spot review.

What makes Cool Spot such a great game is the controls and graphics. It’s For 1993, the level design was amazing from the nails in the woods to the glass bottles, and the mouse traps. All of it works well and fits into the bigger picture of the level layout. Combined with catchy music, addicting gameplay, and great sound effects, Cool Spot is a tough challenge that is worthy of your patience.

While the majority of the game is great, the ending left me with more to be desired. You are treated to an end screen that says congrats and tells you to send a photo of this screen to the address in the manual to what I can only imagine would earn you a free pack of 7up. A flat ending to an otherwise delightfully fizzy experience.

I don’t really have memories of Cool Spot growing up, but I do have a friend that has an adorable video of herself receiving Cool Spot as a Christmas gift in the early 90s. I’ve asked her about it a few times, and her fondness for the game made me want to give it a shot. I’m glad I did, it turned out to be a pretty tough but fair game. It’s unlikely she ever beat it as she can’t play a game longer than 10 minutes without being distracted. Oh, and she’s not very good anyway. Wink. Wink.

Cool Spot Review Score:

While there’s plenty of action that accompanies a great soundtrack, Cool Spot offers a tough challenge for platforming fans. Seven levels will give you spurts of difficulty but the real fun is the journey, not the lazy end screen. Cool Spot will quench your thirst when it comes to challenging platformers as it has plenty of fun to offer on the Super Nintendo.

Cool Spot scores an 8.8 out of 10.

What would you write in your Cool Spot review? Did you play the Sega Genesis version of Cool Spot? If so, what are the differences between them? What other games that feature products are well done? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Cool Spot, I’d love to read them.

Shenmue Review

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In 1999, Sega gave gamers one last console launching the Sega Dreamcast on September 9th. The console would ultimately cease production just a few years later but it did come with some unique experiences that would shape the landscape of video games. Shenmue is one of the most unique games ever created as it combines a life-simulator with quick-time events, and beat ”’em-up action to give gamers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Developed and published by Sega, Shenmue was released on December 29th, 1999. Let’s look for some Chinese sailors in this Shenmue review!

Shenmue Plot:

Shenmue is a story of revenge and mystery. Our hero, Ryo finds himself thrown into an intricate plot filled with twists and turns and plenty of questions. Where do I begin in explaining the first Shenmue plot? Let’s start with Ryo Hazuki, a young martial artist living in Yokosuka, Japan in 1986. Ryo’s father, Iwao Hazuki, is murdered by a mysterious Chinese man named Lan Di, who is searching for an ancient artifact called the Dragon Mirror in the opening scene.

Determined to avenge his father’s death and uncover the truth about Lan Di and the Dragon Mirror, Ryo sets out on a journey to find the killer. He begins by questioning people in his neighborhood and investigating the local area. To help him along the way, Ryo lives with the housekeeper, Ine Hayata, and Masayuki Fukahara, a student of Iwao who gives him emotional and financial support.

As Ryo’s search progresses, he discovers that Lan Di is a member of the Chi You Men, a powerful criminal organization with ties to the Chinese underworld. Ryo also learns that the Dragon Mirror is part of a larger artifact known as the Phoenix and Dragon Mirrors, which are said to have immense power.

Throughout the game, Ryo faces many challenges and obstacles as he tries to uncover the truth about his father’s murder and the Dragon Mirror. He meets a variety of characters, most of which try and help the headstrong Ryo. Let’s briefly discuss some of these characters and their relationships with Ryo.

Ine-San: She’s the housekeeper who helps Ryo out by giving him money each day. This comes in very handy as Ryo can spend it on items to help him on his quest or blow it on little toy vending machines. I did both.

Fuka-San: He’s a student of Iwao but lives with Ryo. He can help spar with Ryo to sharpen his skills but doesn’t offer much more. At times he wants to tag along with Ryo but Ryo turns him down.

Tom: This reggae Asian with dreadlocks runs a food truck in the town. He is really friendly with Ryo and gives him advice or information on quests or items. Tom ends up leaving Japan and flying away in a surprisingly heartfelt moment as Ryo wishes him well and hopes to see him again in this lifetime. There are some emotional moments throughout my Shenmue Review that left me impressed.

Nozomi: She’s a close friend and classmate of Ryo and has a crush on him. Ryo might be a little too daft to realize it and puts his father’s revenge as a priority over Nozomi. Throughout the game, there are some touching moments between Ryo and Nozomi although Ryo clearly has bigger things on his mind with the need to avenge his father.

Chai: He reminds me a lot of Golem from Lord of the Rings in his mannerisms, voice, and dialogue. Chai sneaks around and is a formidable foe who attacks Ryo throughout the game. He is spying for Ryo’s enemies.

Yaowen Chen: He’s a wealthy man in the trading business originally from China. He helps assist Ryo in putting together information and moving forward in the investigation.

Guizhang Chen: He’s the son of Yaowen Chen and an expert martial artist. He tests Ryo from time to time in a friendly rivalry. There are some missions that Ryo and Guizhang take on together and they generally make a good team when beating up thugs. Guizhang was originally supposed to depart with Ryo to China but is critically injured in the final duel. Needing rest, he stays behind as Ryo takes off.

Lan Di – A master of a powerful form of martial art that was supposed to have disappeared long ago, Lan Di’s chilling stare alone is enough to intimidate most opponents. But those brave enough to ignore his state usually forfeit without a fight once they see his deadly moves. Evil to the core, he is capable of showing no mercy and will stop at nothing to bury anyone who dares to cross him.

These characters along with many others help shape the plot of Shenmue. In a series of investigations, Ryo begins to search for Chinese sailors and begins working at the docks as a forklift operator as he discovers the Mad Angels, a local gang that has their hand in many illegal activities. As Ryo continues to try and dig up information on Lan Di, he discovers that Lan Di is soon planning on traveling to China. With time running out, Ryo and Guizhang head to the ship docks in hopes of finding Lan Di.

Ryo and Guizhang pursue Lan Di but are confronted by Chai in a final battle. In the end, Ryo is able to defeat Chai but is left with many unanswered questions about the Phoenix Mirror, the Chi You Men, and his father’s true past. Guizhang is wounded and is left unable to travel at the moment to China. The game ends with Ryo vowing to continue his search for the truth and to avenge his father’s death, setting the stage for the sequel, Shenmue II as he hops on a boat and heads to China.

Shenmue Gameplay:

Shenmue is an experience like no other, something I had no previous resemblance to in my gaming history. It was a journey that was immersive, casual, and at times comical as you search for Lan Di. The small details are everywhere and it’s hard to fathom this came out in 1999. Shenmue combines many genres to make one of the most unique experiences I’ve had in gaming.

The opening movie was beautiful and set the stage for Shenmue to captivate me for the three weeks I played it. While the animation is smooth and the environment detailed, the voice acting is absolutely atrocious to go along with the comical facial features. Usually, I would knock a score down because of this, but it was “It’s so bad, it’s good” with Shenmue. Every character is voiced whether they are main, side, or NPCs. You can strike up a conversation with anyone and the results are hilarious. Some people just want to be left alone, while others will give you clues or hints.

There is so much to do in Shenmue aside from finding Lan Di. This could be considered a life-simulator as you live a virtual life walking and wandering around the town and streets visiting people, conversing, and shopping. Almost everything you come into contact with is interactable. If you see a dresser, you can open up all the drawers and search for things. There’s a Sega Saturn you can plug in and play and later on earn games for it. The majority of the game is played in the third-person view, but you can use a first-person view and search for more detailed items in a room. You could play Shenmue ten times and discover something new each time. I wish I had time to experience and write more Shenmue reviews, but alas, I only have so much time.

As somewhat of a life simulator, you’re free to do whatever you please. Lan Di can wait as you visit the local arcade and play real Sega games preserved perfectly. I can’t express enough, how real it felt to me that I was in 1986, Japan. It was a feeling that I rarely experience in my gaming, but I felt so immersed in this game. It felt like I was there, saying hello to the neighborhood kids, feeding the orphan kitten, watching shopkeepers open up, and bumping into citizens living their lives. There’s a time cycle that starts each day you wake up and continues to bedtime. People will live their days. Shops open and close at certain times. Events happen during specific times and the days will pass on by. When the holidays come, the town puts up decorations and lights. I saw men dressed as Santa Claus walking down the street, one of them was drunk. It was incredible.

During your investigation to get information on Lan Di, Ryo will be involved in different quests. Sometimes, you’ll be waiting a little too long for events to happen but to pass the time, you can find music to listen to in your walkman, play at the local arcade, or just explore! One segment of Shenmue has you becoming a forklift operator, a real 8 to 5 job where you move boxes from warehouse to warehouse. I got into a groove and was an expert after a few days. It sounds stupid and maybe boring but it was just so different from other games, I didn’t mind doing it for a few days. When you aren’t working jobs in Shenmue, you’ll be asking a lot of questions to people. Searching for clues is a huge part of the gameplay and you can ask different subjects. It feels like one big cat-and-mouse game as Lan Di or whoever you’re searching for is one step ahead.

My Shenmue review featured plenty of other gameplay elements including quick-time events that were somewhat groundbreaking at the time. There will be cutscenes in that you will be an active participant in pushing buttons when they come up as Ryo chases someone or fights off thugs. They aren’t too difficult, and if you fail you can repeat them in a quick manner.

Aside from quick-time events, there’s a portion of the game that has you brawling with martial arts moves you’ve learned in the game. Button combinations pull various moves and combos. Ryo can kick, punch, throw and dodge during fighting segments. It all combines for fun action and there were only a few times when I would have to retry a fight during my Shenmue Review. One of my favorite parts of the game was when I had to make my way through the Mad Angels in a massive gang brawl where I beat up well over 50 thugs.

Shenmue is part life-simulator, part brawler, part investigation, part quick-time events, and part cinematic experience. It sounds silly but it blends together and works. During one segment of the game in which the love interest of Ryo, Nozomi gets kidnapped you’ll find yourself rescuing her at the gang’s hideout. Nozomi and Ryo didn’t get much screen time together but you could tell they cared for each other. One of the single most powerful cinematic experiences I’ve had in gaming was the rescue of Nozomi. I thought to myself, now would be a perfect time to have some type of cinematic experience as Ryo and Nozomi ride off on a motorcycle under the city lights at night. Sure enough, I was treated to a beautiful scene of the two of them riding the motorcycle on the highway as a love song played as Nozomi held Ryo tight as the city lights glowed. It was powerful and touching. One of my favorite moments in video games.

The cinematic experience didn’t stop there but continued as Ryo got on the boat to China. It felt like an end to a chapter in a huge story. Very rarely, do emotions stir in me for characters, but I felt for Ryo as he boarded the boat, unaware of what would happen next to him but cheering him on silently.

Shenmue Review Score:

It’s hard to describe Shenmue. The combination of so many genres blends together to make an incredible experience that I wish everyone could have. I felt like I was living in 1986, Japan. The voice acting is terrible, but it has its own charm. Truly, Shenmue has some type of gameplay that everyone would love and a world full of characters to move along the plot. One of the greatest gifts Sega gave us before dying was Shenmue, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Shenmue scores a 9.7 out of 10.

What would you write in your Shenmue review? Who was your favorite character in Shenmue? Which type of gameplay did you enjoy the most? What secrets did you discover during your Shenmue playthrough? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Shenmue, I’d love to read them.

Wave Race: Blue Storm Review

In 2001, Nintendo developed and published Wave Race: Blue Storm on the GameCube. It was a follow-up to the wildly successful hit on the N64, Wave Race 64. Sadly, this is the last entry in the series but not because it wasn’t a great game. Let’s hope on those jetskis one last time and take a spin around the lake in this Wave Race: Blue Storm review!

Wave Race: Blue Storm Plot:

Well, as this is a racing game there’s not really a plot but instead a wider variety of characters to select to race with. Some racers return from Wave Race 64, while others are new. Let’s take a look at the playable racers in Wave Race: Blue Storm and the perks of each of them.

Ryota Hayami: As an 18-year-old, he’s from Japan and his pit chief is his coach. Ryota’s signature color is red and is great for beginners and experts alike as he has great top speed and handling.

David Mariner: He’s a 32-year-old from the United States and a bit round in the middle. His pit chief is his buddy, Ray, and his signature color is green. David is recommended for experts only as he has the best top speed and great power but handles very poorly.

Ayumi Stewart: She’s a 21-year-old from the United States with his signature color being purple. Her pit chief is her coach, Robin. Ayumi is great for both beginners and experts alike as she has moderate skills across the board from top speed, acceleration, handling, power, and pulling off stunts.

Akari Hayami: She’s a 17-year-old from Japan with her signature color being pink. Akari is perfect for beginners as she has the best acceleration and is great with stunts but beware that her top speed and power are very weak. She’s coached by her pit chief, Kyoko who is also her roommate.

Nigel Carver: A 28-year-old from England, Nigel’s signature color is black. He’s best used for advanced and expert riders as he has good acceleration and stunt power with his handling being perfect. Nigel’s pit chief is his coach, Terrence.

Rob Haywood: This 20-year-old from the United States is quite buff and for experts only. He has a near-perfect top speed, and his power is the best. This muscle man’s signature color is blue and his pit chief is his friend and coach, Doug.

Ricky Winterborn: He’s a young rider at only 14 years old, but this Canadian can still hold his own. Ricky’s signature color is teal, and he’s coached by his Uncle, Russ. He’s great for beginners as he accelerates well and has tremendous stunt skills.

Serena del Mar: A Brazilian who is 19, Serena’s signature color is orange. Her pit chief is her coach, and boyfriend, Luis. Serena is suggested for advanced and expert riders as she has great acceleration and handling but not much power.

Interestingly enough, the only rider not to return from Wave Race 64, was Miles Jeter, who was my main racer of choice! For my Wave Race: Blue Storm review, I chose to play as Ryota Hayami. He had a solid skill set across the board, but Ayumi Stewart is also a great choice for a well-balanced rider.

Wave Race: Blue Storm Gameplay:

Wave Race: Blue Storm offers a variety of gameplay modes including the championship, free roam, time attack, tutorial, multiplayer, and stunt mode. Similar to my playthrough of Wave Race 64, I stuck to the bread and butter of this game by playing through the championships in which you’ll race against seven others. I did experience the free roam which I thought was an excellent idea to give players an idea of the course and just a fun option to explore. It’s a great inclusion for young racers just to drive around and have fun.

I’ve never been good at stunts, and that was the case in my Wave Race: Blue Storm review. I like to race, not do kickflips or shimmy shammies in the air. (Are those even tricks?) I appreciate the inclusion of this mode in the game, but it just wasn’t for me. There’s a great tutorial and section on stunts in the manual so if interested, check it out to help learn button combinations for stunts.

In Championship mode, you’ll collect points and race seven computer-controlled opponents for three laps. You score the most points by finishing the race in first place and so forth. At the end of the series of races, the one with the most points wins. There are three difficulty settings to race on from normal, hard, and expert. Normal has five races, hard has six, and expert has seven. When the difficulty goes up, your rivals’ techniques will improve, the routes on the course will change, and the location of the buoys or number of obstacles on a course will change. Buoys play an important role in the races as you need to weave in and out of them to pick up speed. If you keep missing buoys you are disqualified. One thing that is very much lacking from Wave Race: Blue Storm is the cheery announcer from Wave Race 64. I had a wonderful interview with him on my Retro Video Game Talk Show but he doesn’t return for the sequel. Instead, racers are coached through the radio in their helmets by their pit coach. It still works, but I missed the announcer screaming “Maximum Power!”.

The courses and lakes that you race are beautiful on the GameCube. They were beautiful on the N64, and the GameCube continues that tradition with excellent water mechanics from the wave physics, to the design in environments. Weather can play a factor in courses and wave height and you’ll need to prepare to race in clear, cloudy, partly rainy, rainy, and stormy weather. The worse the weather is, the higher the waves are.

If you’ve read any of my reviews or watched them on YouTube, you understand how crucial small details are for me. I’m happy to say that in my Wave Race: Blue Storm review, I found plenty of them to keep me happy. Each character has unique music and their designs of them are excellent. Sound effects are supreme with the revving of the engines, happy dolphins chattering, and the sounds of the waves crashing against objects. Small things like the lights being frozen on the ice course create an immersive experience as you race.

There are plenty of shortcuts to find as you race and obstacles to avoid. Each lap may have something different in store for you as you progress through the race that keeps you on your feet. Ice began to fall in during the frozen course and cargo started to leak onto a course during a race. These are great inclusions that keep the racer guessing while they maneuver a course. The key to everything is the control of your jetski and I did find that the joystick was surprisingly sensitive to the touch of water and turning. Sometimes it was a bit too sensitive, but after some time I was able to get used to it.

Wave Race: Blue Storm Review Score:

Wave Race: Blue Storm is a fully upgraded sequel with more content, racers, and even free roam! The water physics is incredible and the sound effects are near perfect. There’s a lot to love in this edition of Wave Race and I’m disappointed to say this is the last entry in the series, and quite frankly, I wonder why? It’s a great racer, and I recommend it more so than Wave Race 64.

Wave Race: Blue Storm scores an 8 out of 10.

What would you write in your Wace Race: Blue Storm review? Who was your favorite racer? What was your favorite course? Would you like to see the series return? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Wave Race: Blue Storm, I’d love to read them.

Calling Wii Review

In 2010, Hudson Entertainment developed and published “Calling” for the Wii. This horror adventure featured four playable characters as they explored an abyss in hopes of solving the mystery of how they got there and how to calm the angry spirit that haunts it. Calling features great motion controls from the Wii and an innovative way of using the controller but does the confusing plot and jump scares pay off? Pick up the phone in this Calling review!

Calling Plot:

Calling’s plot revolves around four separate characters who are all sucked into a purgatory-like dimension called the Mnemonic Abyss. These people have been brought here by the “Black Page” an internet rumor site that is cursed. Are you familiar with the term “Creepy Pasta”? It’s the dark rumors and spooky superstitions that originate on the internet. That’s a real term but it perfectly describes the vibes of the Black Page in Calling. On the Black Page, visitors can connect to a chat room and speak to strangers. Some visitors to the Black Page are transported to another dimension as they are called to the darkness for various reasons. Calling features four main characters who have been sucked into the Mnemonic Abyss. Let’s take a look at the characters in the Calling.

Rin Kagura – A 21-year-old responsible and confident college girl. Some might say she is overconfident at times.

Six years ago, she made a promise to a girl she met in a chat room. She promised that no matter what, they would meet in person. Before they could meet, the mysterious girl vanished. Rin has searched for her ever since. She thought “The Black Page” might give her some clues about the girl’s whereabouts, and accessed the page.

Shin Suzutani – A 17-year-old high school student who loves anime and the occult.

Learned about “The Black Page” from an article in his favorite occult magazine, “Samsara.” His favorite anime is “ARMED SOLDIER MAKO” and he loves collecting action figures and other goods related to the show.

Chiyo Kishibe – A 67-year-old grandmother who likes to surf the web.

Seeing her struggle after the death of her husband 5 years ago, Chiyo’s grandson gave her a laptop. While exploring the internet, Chiyo heard rumors about a website that lets you “meet the dead,” bringing her to “The Black Page”.

Makoto Shirae – A passionate 34-year-old man, unafraid of danger.

An editor at “Chinami Publishing.” After his colleague mysteriously died, he started investigating and his research led him to “The Black Page”.

You’ll play as all four, although Rin is the main character. Calling can become confusing if you don’t pick up all the pieces to the plot but let me do my best to give you a short summary with an opinion on the overall tones of the game. Reiko is a little girl who has a terminal illness and is placed in the hospital. Her mother gives her a cell phone so they can keep in touch throughout the day but as the weeks go on, her mother stops visiting and taking her calls altogether making Reiko depressed and unwanted.

Reiko begins to visit online chats and starts a friendship with Rin. The two chat regularly and Rin promises to meet Reiko in person. Reiko’s nurse, Kayoko is a motherly figure to the sick girl and worries for her overall health as it declines due to the depression from the abandonment of her mother. Kayoko does her best to comfort Reiko but it’s no use, instead, Reiko takes comfort with an elderly man at the hospital who turns out to be Chiyo’s husband who ends up passing away. Again, this upsets Reiko and causes her to count on Rin’s visit to cheer her up.

Rin makes her way to the hospital to see Reiko but a block away from the hospital she’s hit by a garbage truck and is put into a coma. Reiko believes Rin stood her up and Reiko commits suicide by jumping out a window and is transformed into an angry spirit. Shin, Chiyo, and Rin are sucked into the Mnemonic Abyss and are haunted by Reiko as they try and find a way out. Makoto enters the Abyss to search for his detective partner who died mysteriously. He’s much less afraid of everything and is only concerned about discovering the truth behind his partner’s death. Makoto ends up finding his partner but is killed by him and stuck in the abyss. There are two endings to Calling, one has Rin and Reiko becoming stuck in the abyss together in Reiko’s angry state and the other has Rin calming the spirit of Reiko and returning to the real world. You’ll need to play through Calling twice to get a better ending.

The overall theme of Calling is an obvious overtone of loneliness and the crippling feeling it can inflict on people and the desperate measures they go to avoid it. The super nerd was looking for friends online to share his passion for anime with as he clearly didn’t have real friends. The elderly woman missed her deceased husband and wanted to reunite with him in the afterlife. Makoto searches for his fellow detective not wanting to continue his career without him. Many of the users who log onto the Black Page seek friendship through chat. The little girl was abandoned by her mother in the hospital and wanted attention and companionship. When the promise to meet between Rin and her is broken, she passes away in an angry and hopeless manner as her spirit haunts the hospital. Calling deals with serious emotions and the natural feelings that humans go through. It just goes to show you that we all feel lonely from time to time.

Calling Gameplay:

As a Japanese horror game, you can expect a few tropes in Calling. First, there are plenty of jump scares which can be a lot for my heart to handle. There wasn’t an overabundance of them but they kept me on the edge as I explored throughout the game. Japan loves school girls and they love creepy dead school girls almost as much. You’ll see plenty of ghosts and spirits of young girls who have decided to haunt the school.

To help see these spirits, and explore your way out, you’ll have a flashlight. This tool is a must as it’s far too dark to explore without it. The controls for the Wii handled well as the motion of your controller guided the direction of the light as you walked forward. Some motion control games are garbage, but Calling on the Wii worked well. The controller also acts as your cell phone and to answer you’ll have to hold it up to your ear. I loved this aspect and thought it was clever as there is a built-in speaker to the controller. Throughout the game, you’ll take calls from ghosts who will tease and haunt you via the phone as you make your way through the game.

Ghosts can grab ahold of you and increase your heartbeat meter. This is essentially the “scare” meter and if it goes up too much you presumable have a heart attack and die. You can decrease the meter by running away and hiding from ghosts but I didn’t struggle too much to keep it down. When the ghosts grab you, you are supposed to shake the Wii remote wildly to “shake them off”. It works, but sometimes you really have to work it to shake those clingy ghosts. There was one section where the ghosts grab you in a mandatory part to end the level. You need to shake free of them while pushing numbers into a cell phone and calling out. It was the most difficult part of the game and took me a few tries to complete it. The key was memorizing the number to dial instead of constantly looking at the note and then the cell phone. Overall, it was about a 3-minute portion where you had to be near perfect.

To help move along the plot, there are typical cut scenes which were little treats between the horror adventures. Complimenting the scenes were text messages depicting more of the story. Sometimes it was long to read but I didn’t mind it as it gave me more insight into the plot.

While there are ghosts and spirits to haunt you, there were other spooky elements to keep your heart racing. One instance was a complete ripoff of the “Saw Puppet” on a bike. It slowly peddled toward you before running out of batteries. There were also creepy dolls that would line up around the walls. I’m not scared of dolls or puppets so I wasn’t too spooked.

Most elements surrounding the plot of Calling are creepy but one aspect was bittersweet and sad. When you play as the old woman, it’s clear that she just wants to be with her husband again and is wandering around trying to find him. There’s a section where she’s in a forest full of spirits walking and she spots her husband. She desperately tries to chase him but can’t quite keep up. It’s a sad moment and made me feel for the character and her love for her spouse. Not all things in Calling are sinister.

Voice acting is not a strong suit for Calling. Some characters are fine, but others like the male doctor borderline on cringe and comical. The character arcs are for the most part adequate but some characters like the super anime nerd don’t have much of an impact on the overall plot. You’ll play as four different characters but for the majority of the game, you’ll be Rin. I didn’t have much difficulty progressing. Either a new door would become unlocked or I’d find a key item by thoroughly exploring a room. You’ll need to find certain items to trigger the next events. If you do get stuck there are numbers you can dial on the cellphone to give you hints or direct you to a certain area to go to. Save points are scattered throughout levels in the form of black cat statues. They have glowing eyes so they are easy to spot. Whenever I’d see one, I’d rush to it eager to save my progress.

Calling can be played multiple times and you’ll need to in order to receive the true ending. I enjoyed my time with it, but I didn’t seek out the true ending as it was a lot of work to get although I did watch it on YouTube. It’s a nice option for those who seek another playthrough with some new elements.

Calling Wii Review Score:

Calling has received a lot of negative scores, but I don’t think they are warranted. There are solid horror elements to this game including classic Japanese horror tropes. When I played this there were times I gripped my controller in fear of what was going to pop out behind a door or window. Overall, Calling offers a lot of replayability but a confusing plot hinders what could be a great horror game. Definitely give it a shot if you’re up for some creepy gameplay but go in with low expectations and you’ll find yourself having more fun than expected.

Calling scores a 6.5 out of 10.

What would you write in your Calling review? Who was your favorite character from the game? Did you understand the plot? What are some other hidden gems for horror games? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Calling, I’d love to read them.

Immortals Fenyx Rising Review

In 2020, Ubisoft Quebec developed Immortals Fenyx Rising, which was published by Ubisoft for the majority of major consoles including the PS5 for which this review was written. With the promise of epic battles against giant foes, a beautiful Greek isle to explore, and exciting new powers to earn, Immortals Fenyx Rising set out to conquer a crowded market. We take control of the fate of numerous Greek Gods in this Immortals Fenyx Rising review!

Immortals Fenyx Rising Plot:

The game is set in the mythical world of ancient Greece and follows the story of Fenyx, a mortal warrior who sets out on a quest to save the world from the wrath of the gods. The story begins with Fenyx, a young warrior who is washed up on the shores of the Golden Isle, a beautiful paradise that is home to the gods and their creations. Fenyx is discovered by the god Zeus, who tells him that the world is in danger as the other gods have been turned to stone by their own envy and pride. Zeus enlists Fenyx’s help to defeat the evil Titan Typhon, who is responsible for the gods’ transformation and plans to conquer the world.

Fenyx sets out on a journey across the Golden Isle, accompanied by the god Hermes, who serves as Fenyx’s guide and mentor. As Fenyx travels through different regions of the island, he encounters various gods and mythological creatures such as Athena, Apollo, and the Cyclops. Fenyx also meets the Forgeborn, a group of mortals who were chosen by the gods to defend the Golden Isle from Typhon.

Throughout his journey, Fenyx gains new abilities and powers, such as the power of flight, and uses them to defeat monsters and puzzles that stand in his way. Fenyx also gathers the gods’ blessings, which allow him to upgrade his weapons and armor and gain new abilities.

As Fenyx progresses through the game, he discovers that the gods are not as benevolent as they seem and are willing to use any means to defeat Typhon, including manipulating Fenyx and using him as a pawn. Fenyx must decide whether to trust the gods or forge his own path and find his own way to defeat Typhon. Fenyx discovers his brother is still alive and starts having friendly competitions about who can finish tasks or climb mountains first. This leads to his brother predictably betraying Fenyx in favor of Typhon who promises to make him a God. Despite his brother trying to kill Fenyx, he shows mercy on his brother and decides to fight Typhon instead.

The final battle against Typhon takes place at the top of Mount Olympus, where Fenyx must use all of his skills and abilities to defeat the Titan and save the world from his wrath. In the end, Fenyx emerges victorious and becomes a hero in the eyes of the gods and mortals.

Immortals Fenyx Rising Gameplay:

In Immortals Fenyx Rising, you can customization your character with a number of different aesthetics including playing between a male or female protagonist. I choose a male, although I doubt it makes any difference in the storyline or gameplay. While I wanted to enjoy my Immortals Fenyx Rising review, it was hindered right away by a glitch. Within the first ten hours of playing, I ran into a glitch that crashed my game and made me restart from my last save point.

When you open up the map, there are certain icons that if you put the cursor on them, will break the game. Now, keep in mind that Immortals Fenyx Rising was out well over a year before I fired it up. Any bugs or glitches should have been patched but instead, I was left with a very frustrating experience in an already tiresome game. I was not the only person who dealt with this glitch, and there was a forum about it but not too many solutions. Once I tweeted about the issue, someone who has experienced the same glitch told me to turn off the icons that were glitching the game on the map, and once I did that, I was able to visit the map without glitches. It’s never fun to start off a review trashing a game, but glitches and bugs are something I take very seriously as it takes away from the entire experience of a game.

Once I was able to avoid the glitches, I was presented with the bread and butter of Immortals Fenyx Rising, and boy did it disappoint. Graphically, the game isn’t impressive for the PS5 but it still looked pleasant. With so much land and area to explore, I was excited to begin my adventure and make my way around the isle but instead, I was greeted with tedious tasks EVERY INCH OF THE MAP. You couldn’t walk five seconds without some dumb collectathon, dungeon, side-quest, mini-game, or challenge popping up.

Sometimes there’s TOO MUCH to do in a game that distracts the player from the main quest and I felt that Immortals Fenyx Rising took the same five quests and just multiplied them by a hundred and scattered those icons over the map. Some were crucial to gaining new powers or leveling up your health so I did my best to complete those challenges, but others were just a waste of time and added nothing to the gameplay.

There’s a dungeon around every corner, and at first, I thought there would be different types, like puzzle dungeons, combat dungeons, exploration dungeons, etc… but instead, they were all just puzzle dungeons that acted like a toddler’s toy. Find this shape, or colored box and put it on this lever or platform to move into the next room and repeat 50 times before exiting the dungeon with little treasure. I cringed every time I entered a dungeon knowing that 20 minutes of puzzle-solving was in front of me. Some puzzles were frustratingly hard, not from a solving aspect, I knew what I had to do most of the time, but because of the controls. Some boxes were just out of reach and didn’t travel well when you selected them or pulled them with magic. The results minimized whatever fun I was having and completely changed the pace of the game.

Despite the open-world nature of the game, my Immortals Fenyx Rising review felt very empty. Sure, there were challenges and enemies everywhere you looked, but it didn’t have any substance. There were no towns, interesting characters, or anything unique. Once you walked five minutes over the map, you wouldn’t be seeing anything new for the rest of the game. The best point of interest was your hub station, which served as the communication portal with the Gods where you could level up and increase your power. Other than that, the world felt dull and littered with pointless elements.

The writing in Immortals Fenyx Rising ranged from having me chuckle out loud to cringe humor that added absolutely nothing to the game. For the most part, the writing was good, I’ll give credit where it’s due and the writing and character dialogue between Fenyx and the others were solid. Unfortunately, for the plot, it was quite predictable with Fenyx’s brother betraying him near the end.

Surprisingly the combat was more difficult than I imagined. It’s more than a hack-n-slash game although there’s plenty of that. Most enemies will have a style of fighting that you’ll need to adapt to in order to defeat them. Most boss fights were fun and not too much of a challenge but the final boss was a chore and you needed to be properly leveled up to take Typhon on.

Immortals Fenyx Rising was the first game that I played on my PlayStation 5. Probably not the best game to showcase the awesome power of my new console but I was curious about it as I had seen multiple advertisements for it. Much to my disappointment, I quickly lost enthusiasm for Immortals Fenyx Rising due to the glitchy map, cringe-character dialogue, and repetitive puzzle dungeons. It was a chore to play, and I couldn’t wait to be finished with the game to move on to something else with my PS5.

Immortals Fenyx Rising Review Score:

Overall, while the dialogue was clever, the combat was average, and the empty world filled with markers was quickly redundant. Immortals Fenyx had a tough task rising above all the other Greek Mythology hack-n-slash games, but failed to take off. The glitches shut it down right from the start.

Immortals Fenyx Rising scores a 5.4 out of 10.

What would you write in your Immortals Fenyx Rising review? Who was your favorite God during your playthrough? What was your favorite ability? Were you sick of all the puzzles too? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Immortals Fenyx Rising, I’d love to read them.

Chrono Trigger Review

One of the most critically acclaimed Japanese roleplaying games was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo when Square released Chrono Trigger. It was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999, and the Nintendo DS in 2008. Almost all outlets and gamers agree Chrono Trigger is one of the greatest adventures in gaming. I had not played it until now… would I agree? Strap in for some time travel during this Chrono Trigger review! 

Chrono Trigger Plot:

The game begins in 1000 AD, in the medieval kingdom of Guardia. Crono, a quiet and reserved young man, is awoken by his mother on the day of the Millennial Fair, an annual event that celebrates the kingdom’s prosperity. As Crono attends the fair, he meets a young girl named Marle, who becomes separated from her group after disappearing through a strange portal. Crono follows Marle through the portal and finds himself transported to 600 AD, a time of great conflict and political unrest.

As Crono and Marle explore this new (old) time period, they meet a group of rebels led by a man named Frog, who is on a quest to defeat a powerful sorcerer named Magus. Magus, it turns out, is attempting to summon Lavos, a being that has the power to destroy the world. Crono and his friends join forces with Frog to stop Magus and prevent the summoning of Lavos.

During his journey through different time periods, including prehistory and the distant future, Crono and his friends meet other allies, including a robot named Robo and a powerful prehistoric warrior named Ayla. Together, they travel through time, fighting powerful enemies and uncovering the truth about Lavos and its connection to their own world.

Together, the group travels through different time periods, including the present, the future, and the past, as they try to uncover the mystery of what is causing the strange events that are occurring throughout the world. They eventually discover that an evil entity known as Lavos is the cause of the strange occurrences and that it plans to destroy the world. The group also encounters a group of cultists who are working to resurrect Lavos and bring about its destruction of the world.

The group eventually comes up with a plan to defeat Lavos by going back in time and preventing it from ever being awakened. They travel to the point in time when Lavos first emerged and engage in a final battle to defeat it and save the world.

In the end, Crono and his friends are able to successfully defeat Lavos and prevent its destruction of the world. The game concludes with a series of different endings depending on the player’s actions throughout the game, ranging from a happy ending in which the world is saved and Crono and his friends return to their own time, to a more tragic ending in which they are unable to prevent Lavos from destroying the world.

Overall, Chrono Trigger is a classic role-playing game with a compelling story, memorable characters, and a unique time-traveling gameplay mechanic. It is considered a classic of the genre and has gained a loyal following since its release.

JRPGs are all about character arcs and immersive storylines. Let’s take a look at the playable characters in your journey to return to your time period and stop Lavos from destroying the world. 

Crono – He is a young swordsman who lives in the kingdom of Guardia. He is a silent protagonist. Crono is kind, and brave, and is always willing to help others in need. He is a skilled fighter and is able to wield a variety of weapons, including a katana and a mace. Crono is also able to use magic and is able to harness the power of the elements to unleash powerful spells and abilities. As he travels through time with his friends, his fate is left to the player as there are multiple endings for the destiny of Crono. 

Marle – She is a princess from the future kingdom of Guardia and is introduced as a carefree and energetic young woman. Marle possesses the ability to control ice and has a close relationship with the main protagonist, Chrono. Throughout the game, Marle learns to take responsibility for her actions and becomes a strong and capable leader. Despite her royal status, Marle is down-to-earth and always ready to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Lucca – She is a young, energetic girl who is always full of energy and enthusiasm. She is a member of the Acacia Dragoons, a group of knights who protect the kingdom of Guardia. Despite her young age, Lucca is a skilled warrior and is always ready to defend her kingdom. She is also a close friend of the main character, Crono, and often helps him on his adventures. Lucca is a kind, compassionate person who is always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Robo – He is a robot who was created by a scientist named Dr. Lucca in the year 2300. He is a member of the main character’s party and is a powerful ally in battle. Robo has a strong sense of justice and wants to help others, but he also struggles with understanding and controlling his emotions. He eventually learns to embrace his emotions and becomes more human-like. Robo is a skilled fighter and has a variety of abilities, including the ability to repair himself and other machines. He is a valuable member of the party and plays a significant role in the game’s story.

Frog – also known as Glenn, is a knight from the Middle Ages who was turned into a frog by the wizard Magus. Despite this transformation, Frog remains a brave and skilled warrior, and he joins the game’s main protagonist, Crono, on his quest to save the world. Frog is known for his loyalty, honor, and sense of duty, and he wields a powerful sword called the Masamune in battle. He is also a skilled musician, and he plays the lute to lift the spirits of his companions. Frog’s ultimate goal is to find a way to break the curse that turned him into a frog and reclaim his human form.

Ayla – She is the leader of the Ioka Tribe and is a skilled warrior, using her fists as her primary weapon. Ayla is known for her brash and blunt personality and is often seen as a tomboy. Despite her tough exterior, she has a kind heart and is fiercely loyal to her friends and allies. She is also fiercely protective of her tribe and will stop at nothing to defend them. Overall, Ayla is a complex and multifaceted character who is a valuable ally in the quest to save the world.

Magus –  is a powerful magician and the main antagonist of the game, initially seeking to use the power of time travel to destroy the world. Magus is revealed to be the prince of the kingdom of Zeal, who was cast into the distant past after a failed attempt to defeat the entity known as Lavos. Magus is cold and distant, but eventually comes to understand the error of his ways and joins the party in their quest to defeat Lavos and save the world. He is known for his powerful magical abilities and his ability to summon powerful creatures.

Chrono Trigger Gameplay:

For my Chrono Trigger review, I had the pleasure of playing the Nintendo DS version of this JRPG classic which comes with quite a few perks. I was blown away by the opening video which had beautiful animation and got me excited for my upcoming adventure. While the SNES version of Chrono Trigger didn’t have the animated video, the PS1 and DS versions did and I think it was an excellent addition to the experience. 

As I’ve stated many times, I typically don’t take note of soundtracks unless they are incredible. My Chrono Trigger review was blessed by many impressive and fitting soundtracks throughout my journey that made the adventure special. My YouTube Show, “The TigerChainsaw Show” features musical guests, and many of them choose to perform covers of Chrono Trigger songs, and I can see why. They are beautiful pieces of music. 

Chrono Trigger’s combat is a bit unique in that it is partly turn based mixed with an action meter. You’ll be able to control three characters on screen and select the actions for them to perform whether it’s attacking, magic, defending, items, or escaping. Each character that you control will have a meter and when that meter is full, you can choose an action for them. Meters will fill up at different speeds depending on the stats you have for each character. Items can improve the speed, giving you more turns before your enemies can retaliate. The Chrono Trigger battle system requires quick thinking and there were times when I had to preplan my first three moves before walking toward a boss. Battles in Chrono Trigger can be a bit chaotic but there is a science to them. Combining your attacks with other characters is key to defeating extremely powerful foes. 

The time travel aspect of Chrono Trigger is pretty neat. During my Chrono Trigger review, I traveled throughout time, each period has unique features and it was fun to see how civilization advanced or crumbled depending on what period. Once you get the ship to travel through time, it was fun to explore. Each period will have a few quests that you’ll partake in to move the main storyline along. One weird mini-game that made its way into Chrono Trigger was the bike race in the future period. At first, I was nervous to partake in it, but I was able to win each time I did it. I’m not sure what it has to do with but it was a strange inclusion. 

I loved the twist with Magus joining your party. That’s an aspect that you don’t see much in JRPGs with one of the main villains joining you to defeat a greater evil. Throughout most of the game, you believe you need to stop Magus only for him to join your party (if you choose not to fight him). He’s powerful too, so it was nice to fight alongside him instead of taking him on. Another thing that shocked me was the “death” of Crono. About 75 percent through the game he is killed by Lavos. It’s up to you to properly bring him back or accept his death. This is where Chrono Trigger receives such well-deserved praise. There are multiple endings, ranging from disaster to reviving Crono where everyone lives happily ever after in their time periods. It gives Chrono Trigger an immense replay value. 

My main party was Crono, Frog, and Ayla. Ayla was extremely powerful with her physical attacks. I also liked the way she spoke which was in cave woman. Once Crono died, I used Magus, Frog, and Ayla for my final party. I regret to inform you that I did not receive the best ending and Crono remained dead in mine, but I did defeat Lavos and the party was making promises to find a way to revive Crono, so not all was lost. It may surprise you that I barely used Lucca, Robo, or Marle. I barely touched these characters and I know of a few pals who hold them dearly. 

Graphically speaking, Chrono Trigger still holds up beautifully to this day. The sprites, dungeons, and landscapes all are timeless. They will immerse your imagination as you explore forests, caves, and castles. It was a treat to play Chrono Trigger, and it didn’t wear out its welcome. The game can be beaten within a reasonable time. It’s fairly straightforward with your next mission, so you won’t need to look at a guide much. There’s not a ton to complain about, especially in the DS version. The dual screens are very helpful as one will map out every dungeon as you move along while showing stats on your characters. 

Chrono Trigger’s final boss, Lavos can be difficult if you are not optimized properly, but with steady grinding, you’ll be able to beat him. I had to grind for a few hours near the end to make sure I could defeat him. Overall, Chrono Trigger is one epic time-traveling adventure that I recommend to everyone. 


Well, this is embarrassing! I don’t have any memories of Chrono Trigger from my childhood because I never played it until this year! I was able to get the Nintendo DS version from a good friend on my Twitter feed who was selling off his collection for great prices. Once I bought it, it took me a few months to get around to it but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a bit worried that it was too overhyped but I found that the praise for the game was mostly warranted. I didn’t have any issues grinding and for the most part, I didn’t use a guide except for a few bosses on how to beat them if I was struggling. 

Chrono Trigger Review Score:

My Chrono Trigger review took a long time to get to but it was well worth it in the end. It’s considered a classic and for good reason. The soundtrack, combat, time-traveling mechanics, and plot all work well together to create a wonderful JRPG. Is it the greatest of all time? No, but it’s a can’t miss experience for lovers of video games. 

Chrono Trigger scores a 9.5 out of 10. 

What would you write in your Chrono Trigger review? Who was your squad that you rolled into battles with? What was your favorite character from the game? Where does Chrono Trigger rank among the greatest JRPGs? Which ending did you get? Let me know your thoughts and comments on Chrono Trigger, I’d love to read them.