After the reveal of a novel to finish the story of Final Fantasy XV after 3 years, I needed to rant! Alot! Enjoy..
The final stop, a glorified demo or short experience that was a part of the Kingdom Hearts II.8 -Final Chapter Prologue- collection on PS4, which… Was something, it’s the newest piece of KH content, and now III will replace that title and will be out tomorrow. But, it still has some story significance and acts kinda like the “prologue” of III: Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep -A Fragmentary Passage-. Now, what else can you call this thing? Well… technically a follow up to the PSP entry itself, but not quite. You play as Aqua, go through some worlds that were swallowed up by the darkness, meet Mickey later on, and help in locking up the door to Kingdom Hearts from the first game, even if it’s such an insignificant role that definitely felt just thrown in there. On top of some… very confusing contradictions to past events shown in Birth By Sleep, it can be hard to follow, and even will throw off the most veteran of KH fans.
Thing is, I’m not gonna lie, this wasn’t the most “worth it” thing to have gotten brand new, I obtained it at the time because I’m a Kingdom Hearts fan and I at least have Dream Drop Distance(review here) with it, despite how much it’s not my favorite of the series. It tested me as a fan in both gameplay is fairly well done for the series, and it REALLY tested me in trying to keep up story wise. I eventually got it, however, it took a moment, and a really weird oversight to get over. But is it a fun experience? Well… yeah, the game definitely looks nice, you’re back to old school combos and magic, but with the recharging MP gage from KH II. The cool thing is this experience showcased all the good aspects of the past games, and how good they can work together, making this experience that is amazingly fun! It still is a bit floaty, but it feels so refined. Like the past 7 games were experimenting ideas just for the climax of the saga being Kingdom Hearts III.
You have a charge meter similar to Birth By Sleep, with
It definitely has some content, past the customization you can do visually for Aqua, the chests, exploration, and even a boss rush you can unlock, its something I can recommend as now a part of the $40 “Story So Far” collection on the PS4. It’s a great value as it includes everything I’ve covered for the series for that much, given the countless hours you can waste away in these action JRPGS, it’s worth every dollar for just the original Kingdom Hearts -Final Mix-(review here), Kingdom Hearts II +Final Mix+(review here), and Birth By Sleep ~Final Mix~(review here). However… if you bought this new for $60, eh, only if you know you like the series anyway. But tomorrow, we will finally have that next piece of the ever-evolving puzzle for Kingdom Hearts, III after 13 years past II’s release… what a hell of a day it’ll be.
Kingdom Hearts Coded, a game that most fans and a good chunk of the public, may deem to be a useless game and even pointless with the rehash nature of its story, being essentially a retread of the original Kingdom Hearts from the PS2, which was already done with Chain of Memories for the GameBoy Advance and PS2 itself. It seemed redundant, to say the least, and the only significant story wise is around the very end of the game, and a cutscene added into the PS4 remastered cutscenes from the DS remake of Coded, which was originally just for Japanese Mobile Phones. The game was then retitled as “Re: Coded”, and is the version most people have experienced if they talk about the actual game itself. If anyone was to share experiences from the original phone game, they are most likely fans that lived inside the Japan-exclusive market, and for those that want to even look out of curiosity, there is no way to emulate the original game either. “But why would you?” Most may ask to just a desire to play the DS game in general, well
SLIGHT spoilers for the original PS2 trilogy(if you count Re: Chain of Memories)
The “story” starts with Jiminy recollecting over the 2 main journeys Sora had embarked on, looking at the original still being blank, except for the note “Thank Naminé”. Upon inspecting the journals one last time, he then came across a new message in the journal, that surely wasn’t there before hand. So upon telling King Mickey, they decide to digitize the journal into raw data to see what is going on, discovering bugs that impedes their progress, and they decide to employ a digital Sora’s help in the world itself, to rid the worlds of their bugs, and return the journal to a more “readable” state in some sense. In the game you simply play as the digital Sora, and go through all the worlds from the original game, except Deep Jungle, Atlantica(THANK FUCK), Halloween Town, Monstro, and Neverland. The 100 Acre Woods isn’t even saying hi, so it’s safe to say there is significantly less to go through.
Leveling up is now done traditionally(thank fucking god), and ability acquiring is slightly different from the usual. In this game, you get a stat matrix, and it’s like a circuit board where you add in upgrades to certain stats and a line towards each ability you can manually turn off if desired, on top of settings to increase the challenge for better rewards or even change the game’s difficulty on the fly. Consider it similar to the sphere grid from Final Fantasy X, and you may find enjoyment out of this system, definitely miles better than what 358/2 Days did with its stats and inventory especially. It also adds to combat with an “overclocking” system, akin to Birth By Sleep and its finisher gage, but no style commands, as each keyblade simply has an ability tree you go through with each level you gain, going up to 4 as the max, and at the end able to unleash a devastating finisher, arguably more powerful than the best of them in Birth By Sleep itself. It feels refined and tweaked in a way to keep it distinct, but using the best that the PSP entry did gameplay wise, this game isn’t bad at all to play.
The one of two times this game really does get experimental is with “back door” areas you have to discover when there is essentially a glitch in the world you’re in, where you can fight heartless that are bugged out and more unpredictable due to it, and with challenges that you can wager a certain currency, that you spend at the end of your exploration into the area itself, that can be upgrades or greater. The other times will be spent on the other side of the keyhole, in each world you access to get to the boss, and most the time vastly changing up gameplay, from a side-scrolling 2D platformer and fighter, a never-ending runner with magic shooting mechanics and spell power-ups, to even calling back to Square-Enix’s roots in the Olympus Coliseum where you have Hercules and Cloud Strife in a party clearing floors of auto-generated dungeons and old school turn-based combat! FUCK YEAH!! It has so much to do gameplay wise, that if you can find that fun, then you’ll enjoy your time here. The music sadly doesn’t add much though, not like 358/2 Days added a fair amount of its own original tracks, but maybe a small handful of its own tracks, primarily being its rendition of Dearly Beloved that I REALLY love, and the themes for when you’re in the back door areas, glitched or otherwise. In the end though, it’s fine if you don’t wanna play this game, not bad if you wish to skip it, but if you’re simply looking to have fun, its harmless and can only serve to be just a fun Action JRPG for the DS, and its fairly cheap too, so pick it up if it interests you!
How can I possibly introduce Castlevania with the respect and credit it deserves? Its one of Konami’s most popular game franchises, with many releases spanning across quite a few platforms, having started on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and expanding out to the PC Engine, an arcade machine, the Super Nintendo, the original PlayStation, the PSP, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, and the PS3, 360, and PC. Holy shit, has this series been through the years,
Fear not, that you may never see the continuation of the gameplay, ideas, and potential this series has, to not be put to use! A spiritual successor that is on Kickstarter called Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, made by Koji Igarashi, a former Konami employee since 1990 and was the scenario programmer and director of Symphony of the Night. A game I am sure many Castlevania fans know and love very dearly.
This has PLENTY of potential
But for those that may want something more traditional, this spiritual successor series has got you covered with a more NES styled entry, fairly similar to the original trilogy, knock-back and all, although not many claims its as hard as the originals, however, that may vary per player. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon will give something most fans can enjoy greatly and with fantastic production values to give you something similar to that original trilogy, but leaning more towards Castlevania 3. If interested in more information, please watch SomecallmeJohnny’s review of the game.
In the end, I hope this can be something fans of this now vacant series, something to enjoy in the future, and I wish the team and Mr. Igarashi good luck in their endeavors!
Now I know that not many people like to credit the Kingdom Hearts side games, as much as they would the mainline games of the original and Kingdom Hearts II, as they are the games in the spotlight the most on a main platform as the PlayStation 2 at the time. In my past reviews for the series, I’ve covered how the first “side game” to be released, had no one even recognizing it initially. This game was on my radar after years of enjoying the PS2 titles, and I was focused on it for having the ability to play as the villains of KH II, Organization XIII themselves, with a story focused straight on Roxas and his life, filling in the blanks for him from his inception near the end of the first game, all the way to the beginning of II.
SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL GAME, CHAIN OF MEMORIES, AND THIS GAME IN ITS ENTIRETY!
Now most people would probably ask what there is to even cover, and there are some tidbits, but it mostly serves as a backstory to Roxas, making him a much more tragic character if you take these events into account and upto II. The game would take place over the year gap in the timeline, and it would be called: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. Yes that title looks dumb, and it’s pronounced: “Kingdom Hearts: three hundred fifty eight over two days”, hopefully that will help, as I know many people ask about that.. But what kind of tragic story could there be to tell about Roxas? Sure, in the end he was already tied to Sora and had to make his sacrifice for the good of the entire realm of light, but this story is written more personally, and I think is done well because of that. This was a story actually written by the director of the series: Tetsuya Nomura, and it does really help make you feel for the character who supposedly has no heart to begin with. It starts off making sure Roxas and Axel were acquainted at the beginning of his life, and establishes a semblance of a friendship in this way that can come off awkward, because well… They have no idea what that feels like with no heart of their own, but they bond by eating sea salt ice cream on the clock tower of Twilight Town, after every day filled with work from the organization they work for. This is about the structure of the game and story, doing missions each day, and then ending it at the clock tower and eat some ice cream. It creates this dynamic that feels like everyday life, and with these two bonding closer and closer, and as you think back to KH II, well… now you get why Axel was so determined to keep Roxas alive, they were genuine friends.
It only adds to as there is a new member introduced near the beginning of the game, no. XIV, Xion. Once Axel leaves with around half of the Organization members for Chain of Memories events to take place, Roxas begins to grow close to Xion, as she soon opens upto him and even forms another friendship, and with time passing as she is revealed to have a Keyblade of her own with Roxas, on top of even looking like a black haired Kairi, and we all know Axel didn’t die in Chain of Memories, so he eventually comes back and also becomes a friend of Xion’s. So fair to say that there is a decent amount of plot going on, and as it progresses you go to a mix of Disney worlds from the first game and II, with only some slight layout differences. But as the story continues on, Roxas ends up discovering just how much information the Organization is keeping from Roxas, and even from Xion too about her origins, and you end up over time seeing these friends fall apart through all the manipulation, with Axel trying to stay friends to both of them, while knowing plenty and keeping it from them. It just gets deep as eventually even Riku shows up in the story and interjects as he is trying to wake Sora from his sleep soon, with issues arising from Roxas and even Xion due to her connections to both Roxas and even Sora, taking the form she does due to Sora’s strongest memories being of Kairi, the 7th princess herself. It adds onto the story of Kingdom Hearts, showing just how much sacrifice is even done, all to end with Xion forcing Roxas to take her life, due to both being a replica made by Vexen in almost the same vein as the Riku replica from Chain of Memories, and taking so much power from Roxas and Sora through the memories she absorbed. It was a choice she made for the ultimate good of things, which is pretty shit given how much was out of her control, just like Roxas eventually when II begins. With his memories of what life he DID have being completely gone, and having no choice at all himself in what his eventual destiny means for him. This game, is ultimately why so many Kingdom Hearts fans got invested, it was because of how much these games hold your heart hostage over the heart wrenching stories and tragedies. I know, tragedy, in a game where Mickey Mouse wears an anime esq hood with a game face and giant fucking key, it’s hard to imagine.
Now, this is a game after all, what are we looking at here? Well, its a mission structured Kingdom Hearts experience, you visit worlds from the original game and II with slight variations in their level structure itself. But, the best thing is how much this game’s combat is a mix of the original Kingdom Hearts and II in ways, you got a traditional command menu, none of that card bullshit, but magic in this game are simple single casts when equipped, that can only be refilled with items. What makes the magic a bit interesting in this game, is each tier up has its own attributes and are meant to be used in different ways, and even in tangent together. In addition, you have the limit-break ability, where if your HP gets low enough, you can go at it with an attack that can feel like breaking out a limit from II. With all this combined, original abilities making a return with a few new ones for mobility, and a relatively alright looking DS title, this game can be a joy to play. At the end of the day, its the classic KH formula, on the go! It looks great for the system, plays great, performs great, and has all the worlds you have enjoyed from the original game and II. Some worlds may be… slightly tweaked with rooms taken away and added in to compensate as you are after all a part of the Organization, so you don’t interact with any Disney characters in the worlds.
What can hinder this game, however, are a few things, such as the mission structure IF you are trying to marathon this game, don’t even THINK about trying to beat this game in preparation for III on the 29th, you will regret it FAST. I enjoyed this game as a kid, and still can, in increments. This game was released at a time when KH has few entries at the time, and as a kid with time after schoolwork, it was a good time, when you take your time. I ended up probably beating it well over a few months, and only went back to unlock the extra mission mode characters being King Mickey and Sora. In addition, if you have the right gear, you can even be dual wield Roxas for them as well, which can be admittedly fun. His dual-wielding this game can also use magic AND block, take some notes Sora, you and your baggy ass clothes! The mission variety can be a little tedious if you play this game back to back so much, there are “fitness” exams that are more so platforming challenges to collect as many emblems in the level as possible, and close to each other to rank high. There are also investigation missions where you… Examine the world in its entirety, which I got no defense for, those missions are a little bit stupid. Then there are missions where you follow someone and try to not get caught, or sneak around world inhabitants, which can be just as annoying. This is only just a small portion of the many missions that are more so focused on heartless being hunted and taken down, focusing on the combat of the series, which is its strong suit for gameplay. Each day of 365 can just add up how many missions you have available to you, and by all means, its a lot of content, but… dear lord can it also be too much.
However, the biggest issue I say the game has is how it handles inventory and equipment management. It.. for some reason is the only aspect this game HEAVILY experiments with, and for the worse, as you have a grid of slots where you install panels, which can take up 1 to 8, maybe 9 slots. The issue is, that these panels are uniquely shaped, and you have to somehow make your abilities, backpack, items, accessory(being a single ring), weapon, magic spells, AND LEVELS ALL FIT TOGETHER AND EFFECTIVELY TAKE UP THE ENTIRE SPACE ALLOCATED TO YOU! To make it simple, it’s like playing Tetris for all essential RPG stat, inventory, and ability management in full, just so you can be on the edge. Its flat out tedious, and no one can argue for this system, it would have been better in the end if it was structured more like traditional Kingdom Hearts, you just have a magic meter, you have slots for items that grow over time, you equip abilities with AP, etcetera. I mean, just look at this, multiple pages too can be made eventually to house all these panels that you use for stats, which… is tedious, especially with level ups.
As inventory and stat management may not be so awesome, and the mission structure may be tedious, there is no denying I wasn’t enjoying the music and setup as things went on. Most of the music is slightly altered compositions of past themes, while there are still plenty of original songs in the game. I’m not quite as cynical as others can be towards the eating ice cream dynamic as I find it as more so a part of life for them, and the piece accompanying it “At Dusk, I Will Think of You” just makes the bonding moments all the more heart-warming and endearing to me. In Neverland’s case, I absolutely loved my time as it was not quite on the main island, but in more open areas to utilize the flying mechanics to their fullest, along with an amazing overworld theme “Secret of Neverland” and the battle theme “Crossing to Neverland” easily capturing my favorite tone for the world itself in the whole series. But my favorite pieces revolve around the new character of the game Xion, not only is she built up into this friend to Roxas and even Axel, but she becomes one of the most tragic characters in the entire series, to not try and spoil anything. Her theme “Musique pour la Tristesse de Xion” makes me tear up(players should know why), and the battle theme against her being one of my all-time FAVORITE pieces Yoko Shimomura composed “Vector to the Heavens“. That boss theme, will not only make me wanna cry, but has so much emotion in it, and epicness, it properly sets the stage for the tragedy this game unfolds before you.
In the end, can I recommend this game to someone who wants to start with Kingdom Hearts? Well, no, you definitely need to be a fan to enjoy this game. But can I recommend it to those that even just played the original game and II? Well, yes. I think this game does enough to be engaging, even with some of its downfalls, yes there are some weird additions wholeheartedly, but it has a fantastic story, and at the core of it all, it is Kingdom Hearts as you enjoy it back on the PS2-er… PS4 these days. You can check out the cutscenes for it on the collection for PS3 and 4, but it doesn’t quite do the same justice as playing through the game itself, if you want to play it, you will need a Nintendo DS or 3DS, with a copy of the game. If you can get 3 others with copies of the games and DS systems too, you can do mission mode up to a party of 4, either competitive or cooperatively, and it’s a fun time. Thanks to my best friend, I got to experience this in my high school years and every now and again when we feel like it, I promise, that if you’re just looking for a good time, this game can deliver, even despite its flaws. Here’s to a new year! Now Birth By Sleep is done on my channel and a review in the works, all that is left is Dream Drop Distance and 0.2 done before III comes out…
Sonic The Hedgehog, back then this name had respect and admiration for it from all over, today… His reputation isn’t the most spotless you could find, having numerous games that lives in infamy, being a fan of this franchise can be difficult on so many levels. You have people that could try to make the assumption about being a “furry”, you have some that just simply will clown you for it due to the past failures like Sonic ‘06, or some that just can’t give the series any respect or love that it CAN deserve. My personal relationship with the Sonic franchise had started mainly in the shows like The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic X, until I played my first game being Sonic Unleashed on the PlayStation 3. Say what you will about the Warehog being arguably the only downfall of the game, but the daytime stages everyone can agree was the best part, no contest. The now modern boost gameplay has always been so appealing to me as someone who finds the speed in Unleashed to be, simply put, breathtaking. Sure future games used the formula too and did their own spin on it, but along with Jason Griffith from that point forward no longer being in the role as the blue blur, none of the games really captured me quite like Unleashed did. As a fan however, I have usually stayed pretty loyal, went back into some of the past games, recently finished the original Genesis/Mega Drive title even.
Now… What if a fan, that loves all the best of the Sonic franchise, just made a game out of pure love and passion for the series, and for fun? You get Sonic Dimensions! A 2D fan title created by “Phantom-Radea”, no story, boost gameplay, 7 acts, and you play as Sonic and Shadow going through each act. Sounds simple? Well because it can be! Sonic always benefited from staying more simple than complex, and this game simply shows that by even forgoing a narrative for the entire experience, it’s just you and the acts themselves, and that’s totally okay! Each act is either taken from an existing title in the franchise’s history or is just a spin on an existing act trope or theme.
For starters there is Radiant Falls which is a very clear Green Hill (insert random version number here for being so many of them), but it rocks out with some music from Sonic Heroes 2nd act. The second is Radical Highway from Sonic Adventure with… the modern remixed Chemical Plant Zone theme, Aquatic Terminal with Aquarium Park’s act 1 music from Sonic Colors, Digital Track which has no immediately distinguishable songs to be noticed by it, however having the most unique design and theme in the game, then Cool Edge my favorite stage from Sonic Unleashed with its kick-ass music, then Cosmic Tempest being a ruins themed level with Crisis City’s music from Sonic ‘06(at least it had good music), and to top it off is Astral Station, the finale space level of the game and with some amazing music too.
You cannot deny the dedication here for this fan game in the levels and gameplay, truly a fun and FREE experience, with fantastic music that I both can recognize and is at the very least new to me. Now about the gameplay? Fucking perfect! They took the gameplay from Sonic Rush and streamlined it with other modern abilities and some of its own twists, like how Sonic and Shadow differ one another, Sonic is naturally faster on the ground, has a double jump, and a slide kick to deal with enemies on the fly, Shadow is more combat focused and has greater air distance along with his own version of the ground pound move, and both also have their spin dash for free use! In addition, the stages have classic item capsules with ALL classic power-ups found in Sonic 1-3, including elemental shields!
That not enough? How about the red rings in each stage to act as more collectables and to extend the game? Still not enough? How about special stages to earn extra lives, or the big thing being Chaos Emeralds as usual? However, as most who are familiar with the struggle of the Sonic games, this is usually the most infamous part to complete, but this game even fixed that by rewarding you with them by each of the 7 acts you S rank! That’s right, you only need to S rank each of the 7 acts to get the Emeralds in this game, and in addition for those looking for a real challenge, you can try your hand at getting the new X ranks! Truly there is just so much to do here, it’s like an official Sonic package all on its own, and it delivers! For those that are disappointed by Sonic Forces and any more modern games, I recommend you download Sonic Dimensions and try it out yourself from Phantom-Radea’s Deviantart post here!
Sonic and Shadow logo for the mockup I did was made by Tails-and-Silver-Fan on Deviantart!
Hope you enjoyed this, though it was a cool new idea I could run with, what’s your favorite Sonic fan game? Comment below and feel free to suggest other ideas, catch you all later!
I just thought I would make a quick post about something interesting I found out about today! So I’m someone who really enjoys video game soundtracks, it’s used to create an atmosphere for multiple situations, as does the same for movies and many other entertainment mediums that benefit from a score.
For example everyone knows the Star Wars theme that John Williams did, along with countless other timeless pieces created for the galaxy far far away. Many people who has indulged in gaming knows of Jeremy Soule and his score for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but what many are less aware of is another group of 5 games he composed more scores for. Surprisingly, it was for a licensed game, made from a book series that would later on have movie adaptations of that were all major successes. I’m talking about Harry Potter!
Yes! Turns out he composed the video game adaptations of Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire! In addition he also composed the score for the Quidditch spin off title. These games were first made actually before the movies came out, so they mostly go off of the book for all its source material, so it’s art style is very similar to the early art made for the original books, in addition the games even have Peeves the Poltergeist, who played a major role in the books, but never made it into the movies, and of course the biggest change being Jeremy Soule composing the score instead of John Williams.
What do you all think about finding out about Jeremy Soule’s early composer days for Harry Potter? Want me to review the games? Let me know in the comment section, and I’ll see you all later!
Hey there to anyone who stumbled upon my blog, welcome to The E-Sport Players Club! I’m Night Ninja, and my part here is to provide reviews, articles, and news to any and all gamers out there! I’m someone who has been a gamer most my life, thanks to my first console the PlayStation 2 back in the day and growing a little bit up on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, although I am someone who will be focusing on all the generations and platforms I can! Speaking of which, you can expect a review of Shadow of The Colossus, since the remake is now out on PlayStation 4.
Now, what kind of a gamer am I?
Some may ask. Well, I am someone who can at the end of the day enjoy a great variety of genres and games, but my personal preference is RPGs. Some of my favorite game series are RPGs, like Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, even Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. I am someone who is known to be very outspoken about my opinions and views, including the recently noticeable industry greed that has surfaced thanks to big publishers like EA, if you’d like to hear more about the greed of the industry, please go check out my first article on the site here! I am also someone who has a great interest in Japanese animation, also known as Anime, so you can expect me to be giving reviews on various anime games, including the likes of Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball, FullMetal Alchemist, Sword Art Online, and many others as time goes on.
Whats my goal?
To offer reviews and other various gaming information and news to the general public in an accessible way, but I will be tackling both old and new games, so for anyone who is looking for something older than the current generation, you can count on me to give any thoughts and opinions about games even going back to the Atari 2600! You can probably expect me to be also giving a great deal of focus to the PS2 as well with its vast library with plenty of titles also available on other platforms and generations, and if you are curious about my thoughts on something specific? Please leave a comment below and give requests for specific consoles, games, or accessories. With that, I’d like to thank you for taking the time for reading this post, and I hope you enjoy your visit at The E-Sport Players Club!