Sonic Forces [Game Review]

sonicforcesartwork

Title: Sonic Forces
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Platform:
Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Category:
Platformer
Release Date:
November 7, 2017 Worldwide
How we got the game:
Received it for Christmas for the Nintendo Switch

krismii
My interest in Sonic the Hedgehog grew mainly from comics rather than the video games. Growing up, my main source of Sonic the Hedgehog video games was from an arcade cabinet in my childhood dentist’s office. I would be able to zoom through the first couple of levels of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before I got called for my turn in the dentist’s chair. Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for the GameCube were some of my favorites after that, even if they haven’t aged that well. Since then, Sonic games have been… meh. Sonic Forces, though, wasn’t that bad.

gameplay

Sonic Forces consists of levels that star Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, or the Avatar. There are a few where the Avatar teams up with Modern Sonic as well, allowing you to use the skills of both characters. Levels with Modern Sonic consist of the 3D game play style while Classic Sonic is mainly side-scrollers that do well inducing nostalgia within the player. Most of the Avatar levels are similar to Modern Sonic’s.

It was pretty simple to get into the game control-wise, yet I will admit dying more often than not because I decided to hit the Stomp attack button rather than Jump/Homing while flying over an abyss. The levels in general were decent, but most were not very challenging. In true Sonic form, zipping through a level was usually enough to reach the goal, even if a few levels had a couple of hiccups when it came to moving on.

The Modern Sonic levels were probably my favorites just because they’re Sonic. He’s the guy the games are named after, the reason why we pick up the games in the first place, however misguided the past few Sonic the Hedgehog games have been. His levels emphasized speed and were awesome to just breeze right through! There were a couple of issues when he went too fast and ran right off a cliff once or twice but, overall, they weren’t bad.

I didn’t mind the Avatar levels. There were a handful of weapons that you can unlock for the Avatar to use in the levels, such as a flamethrower and one that throws around lightning, and each were fun to use,  that allowed you to create plenty of strategies in how to best the level, but there could have been more variety. The Avatar had a grappling hook-like tool that allowed them to mimic Modern Sonic’s Homing attack, which was useful. They were, however, extremely similar to Modern Sonic’s levels.

Classic Sonic was… eh. It was fun seeing him appear and completing his levels, but he was definitely slower than Modern Sonic and had no Homing Attack. On that hand, his levels were more challenging than Modern Sonic’s and the Avatar’s, but being a Sonic game, I wanted to go fast. Aside from that, I don’t think Classic Sonic really brought anything to the game. He had a bit of a narrative part to Tails’ part of the story, but another established character could have played that role (or, hell, let Tails stand on his own for once with the ability to carry out what Sonic would have done).

graphics-music

The graphics in this game, especially on the Nintendo Switch, were amazing. Honestly, the Switch has yet to let me down when it comes to the graphics and designs of the games on the platform, and Sonic Forces is no exception. The character designs, while familiar, looked great on the Switch (even if the Avatar’s facial expressions sometimes looked dorky enough to be funny).

The music, though? The music was so much fun to listen to during the levels. Both vocal and instrumental tracks were awesome, reminding me that the music tended to be my favorite part of the games. The songs got you pumped up for the level, especially the boss themes, but didn’t distract you enough from the level to mess you up. The game was fully voice acted as well, which was a delight to me. The voice acting and writing were well done, even if there were corny lines about friendship and love being the ultimate reason as to why the heroes prevailed.
storyThe story starts out a little darker than most Sonic the Hedgehog games. We begin with Dr. Eggman and some of his “allies” — antagonists from previous games — taking over the world. Eggman’s newest partner Infinite is a creature able to create illusions via virtual reality, having power enough to enable the virtual reality to harm the protagonists. Infinite takes out Sonic, leaving the world defenseless enough for Eggman’s robots to swarm.

With Sonic feared dead, a resistance is created by Knuckles, one that includes Amy Rose, Silver the Hedgehog, and the Chaotix. Rouge the Bat plays the role of spy for them, while Tails is too busy mourning the loss of Sonic to be of much use to the resistance right away. The Avatar — nicknamed Rookie — joins the resistance as well and plays a crucial role in freeing Sonic and, ultimately, the world from Dr. Eggman and Infinite.

It’s a standard story to go along with the game. Sonic is freed fairly early in the game and joins the resistance, as does Tails and Classic Sonic when the pair figure out the weakness in Dr. Eggman’s plan for total world domination. While playing the three main characters, you’re immersed in the story as important pieces to freeing the world.

However, the only character in my opinion that is truly “needed” in the story is Modern Sonic. Classic Sonic appears very conveniently to rescue Tails and appeared to just be a catalyst in bringing Tails back into the story line, considering he ran off in his grief about Modern Sonic. If they needed another character as a partner for Tails, the developers could have easily used E-123 Omega, the robot character that Tails was fixing when Classic Sonic appears.

As for the Avatar… it was fun, I’ll give it that. Fifteen to twenty years ago, I would have been wicked excited about creating my own character to join the heroes on their adventure to save the world, and it was great to do so this time around. However, the Sonic universe has plenty of unique characters that could have been in that third “main character” slot if it needed to be filled. Being able to pick your character before each level, a character from the resistance force, would have been an interesting twist to the story.

Let’s infiltrate the Death Egg as Rouge. Let’s destroy the power core as Amy Rose with her hammer. Let’s rescue civilians in Park Avenue as members of the Chaotix. The story could have been more intriguing with different takes on the levels with all the characters the Sonic universe already has.

replay-value

Sonic Forces has some replay value if you enjoyed it enough to turn it on a second or third time. There are daily missions and plenty of challenges for you to continue playing, as well as the ability to create more avatars to explore the levels with. There is also the free Episode Shadow DLC that launched with the game that acts as a bit of a prequel to the main game, and gives a bit more insight to the new antagonist’s, Infinite, origins. And, honestly, the music in this game is enough to make me want to turn it on again.

Sonic Forces was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. It was fun to see these characters again in a game that I enjoyed, for the most part, playing.

Sonic Forces gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Debate: Digital vs Physical Games

Debate Digital Vs Physical

krismii
When you get a video game, do you prefer physical or digital copies? Myself, I prefer the physical copies. Sure, the boxes of the games can take up some space, but they’ve slimmed down some in the past couple of years. To me, physical copies are nostalgic — I’m old enough to have been gaming before the online and digital trend of games became available.

rachmii
While I’ll agree it’s nice to have a collection of box art, I enjoy digital copies. I’ll admit it took me a while to hop on that trend, but it’s got me hooked now. I love being able to want a game, log onto my console, and buy and download the game right then and there. I don’t have to leave the house or get out of my pajamas. I can have the game in a matter of minutes.

krismii
Okay, sure, digital copies can be readily available, but cost-wise, they almost never go on sale unless it’s once in a blue moon, and Nintendo has never discounted their premier titles. Physical copies in stores can get all sorts of deals, especially around the holidays when many major games are released. Not only that, but to stick all those digital copies onto your Switch, you may need a decent SD card, and those aren’t that cheap.

rachmii
They do go on sale once in a while, yeah. And yeah, the SD card can be pricey but I’m willing to invest. Not to mention digital copies have more of an array of games. A lot of indie games come out on the eShop, not necessarily in physical form. So, it’s easier to branch out more and those indie games are pretty easy on the wallet.

krismii
Indie games can be fun, I’ll give you that. But, like the other games, they’d all be stuck on your Switch. Physical games give you the ability to share with your friends, as swapping cartridges are simpler than swapping Switch consoles. And if both you and your friend are done playing with the games? You can get some of your money back by reselling the game, and save a few bucks while purchasing pre-owned games. When you’re done with a digital game, it stays on your Switch until you delete it to make room for a new game… if you don’t mind the fact that you had paid for the download in the first place.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
First, I would never delete a game… unless it was utter crap. Second, sure, you can resell games and make an extra buck or two depending on where you go. I’ll give you that one, but most serious gamers don’t resell their games. Not that I’ve seen, anyway. They keep them for a collector’s sake. Third, the whole point of the Switch is to take it around with you. Yes, it’s easier to carry a small cartridge around, but people are bringing their Switch’s everywhere now. If you have the game on the Switch, you can play it whether your friend has it or not. Speaking of tiny cartridges, I know plenty of people who have misplaced their games. You can’t play the game if you don’t have the cartridge.

krismii
Perhaps you wouldn’t like to delete a game, but if you wanted to download a new title and had no other room on the Switch due to your other downloads, there goes your first point — you’d have to leave the house to buy a new SD card, at least. I’ll give you that the Switch is perfect for carrying around to a friend’s house. Nowadays, one of the joys of being a gamer is connecting with others, after all. Yet, if your friend doesn’t have a Switch dock themselves, it’s not going to be very comfortable staring at the small screen. And are you going to let them borrow the entire console if they wanted to continue playing one of your games? Swapping physical games is a simpler way to connect with fellow gamers. And, if you’re really a serious gamer, you wouldn’t go around losing your cartridges. You’d keep them to resell those that aren’t your favorites when you’re done because gaming is an expensive hobby. Physical games are my choice because they’re cost-effective and simple to share with others.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’d buy an SD card through Amazon and it would arrive the next day. Problem solved. I’ll take your points but still deem you wrong. I’m going with digital games because they’re convenient and there’s more to offer.

Which do you prefer? Physical games or digital downloads? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Next Penelope [Game Review]

We’re over at Miketendo64 today with another Nintendo Switch game review!

Check it out here: The Next Penelope

Still No Hookshot For Link [Breath Of The Wild]

Happy Thursday!

The Game Awards were a week ago and they put out more DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The DLC looks great and while we haven’t had a chance yet, Kris and I are looking forward to playing it. Still, there’s something missing.

The DLC looks as though they added new shrines for Link to explore as well as more background information on the Champions and Zelda herself. (She looks adorable in her winter outfit!)

Link also gets a cool motorcycle which, as was explained, is sort of like his own “divine beast.” It looks pretty cool and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

It was hard to tell if there were any new weapons for Link from what they showed. There’s one weapon in particular that they never added and they still haven’t added.

The hookshot.

According to My Nintendo News, IGN got together with the developer team of Breath of the Wild and asked about the hookshot.

Apparently, they had originally tried putting the hookshot into the game, but it just didn’t seem to fit in. In past games, Link always needed a target to attach the hookshot to. They would have needed to scatter targets around the entire open world and, I’m sure you can agree, that would take away the look of the natural environment.

They were planning on adding a double hookshot, but it just didn’t work out because then Link would have been able to go anywhere. The climbing was a new mechanic and they wanted players to use that rather than swing everywhere like Spider-Man.

The hookshot is one of my favorite weapons in the Zelda series, but I do have to agree. Breath of the Wild has a lot of brand new mechanics and ways to play. Sometimes new is better because honestly, I haven’t really missed it.

Do you still miss the hookshot? Do you agree with their decision to leave it out? Let me know in the comments below!

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Top Tuesday: Favorite Kingdoms In Super Mario Odyssey

Happy Tuesday!

Hype from Super Mario Odyssey has gone down a little bit. I haven’t had a chance to go back to the game and find the rest of the moons, but I did want to talk about some of my favorite levels from the game.

5. Cap Kingdom

This kingdom isn’t very large and, especially in the beginning of the game, you don’t do too much here. Still, I think it’s a cool place. It’s unique as far as Mario games go and I enjoy the atmosphere.

4. Bowser’s Kingdom

Bowser levels are usually one of my favorites in Mario games. While I enjoyed this one, it didn’t make it too high on the list. It was certainly different and not at all what I expected. I missed the lava pits, but it was a cool level anyway. The music was excellent.

3. Snow Kingdom

This was a pretty level. I especially loved the many doors you could go through to get to smaller levels within the main level. Also, crushing the snow was the most satisfying thing ever.

2. Sand Kingdom

I’m not one for the desert levels, though this didn’t feel like a typical Mario desert. The Sand Kingdom is the second main kingdom and it’s so big that it’s almost overwhelming. But I felt like I was playing Breath of the Wild again because it was so open and there were so many things to do. Of course, the other kingdoms were big as well, but the Sand Kingdom felt the biggest and had the most stuff to do.

1. Mushroom Kingdom

Call me cliche, but I really enjoyed the throwback to Super Mario 64. The way they did the castle and the outside were awesome as well as the music and the various paintings that you could find and hop into.

What are your favorite kingdoms in Odyssey? Have you completed the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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Nintendo Switch Games To Play With The Whole Family

Happy Thursday! Happy Thanksgiving!

Here I am doing another list on a Thursday… but it’s Thanksgiving! We all gather together with family and friends during this time. So, here are some games that can be played with the whole family.

A whole bunch of games has come out this month and the month before. It’s crazy and it’s hard to keep up with them all!

But that aside, there have just been a lot of games in general for the Nintendo Switch that are new and exciting. I know the Switch is meant to be played with others, but I’m sure we all know a few people who don’t play games. Yet, there’s still something for everyone.

Even if you don’t have many people in your family that are gamers, there are still games out there that everyone will enjoy.

Snipperclips

You can play with up to four people infuriating each other as they try to communicate with one another about how to solve the current puzzle. I don’t know about any of you, but Kris and I would get quite annoyed with each other playing this game. It’d be hard to explain what we wanted to say and then we wouldn’t understand each other. There were a few times one of us would just take both Joy-Con and show the other what we meant. I’m sure this game would be way more fun and chaotic with others. Turkey with a side of swears, please.

1-2 Switch

Okay, I haven’t really come across too many people who enjoy this game. I don’t even enjoy this game. Yet, I typically have a great time depending on who I’m playing with. It got pretty boring with just myself and Kris, but when we played with our cousins, we had a great time competing with each other. It’s 2 players, but definitely more fun with others.

Splatoon 2

Admittedly, I’ve never played this game. I couldn’t get into the first one so the second one hasn’t interested me. I’m sure this would be great fun with the family though, especially if you have two Switches and then you can go head to head in two teams of four.

ARMS

Come on, you know you want to see your parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles duke it out.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Forget the racing, just battle it out in the various battle modes. Shine Thief is a great one to get competitive with. Though the races are great too.

Just Dance 2017/2018

My dad used to play this one a lot when my cousins were younger because they found it hilarious. Now that they’re older, I doubt I’d be able to get him to play again. But if you have any younger kids in your family, this will be a fun one for them. And they would most likely be able to convince any old geezers to join in, which would be a lot of great laughs for you.

Are there any other games you can think of? Maybe not just for the Nintendo Switch? Let me know in the comments below!

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Fire Emblem Warriors [Game Review]

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Title: Fire Emblem Warriors
Developer: Omega Force, Ninja Team
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform:
Nintendo Switch (also available for the 3DS)
Category:
Hack-and-Slash Action RPG
Release Date:
October 20, 2017 worldwide
How we got the game:
Pre-ordered a physical copy

krismii
Fire Emblem Warriors is a crossover game between Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series and Intelligent Systems’ Fire Emblem series. It’s the second such crossover since Hyrule Warriors — using characters based on the Legend of Zelda franchise — for the Wii U back in 2014. I had enjoyed Hyrule Warriors and playing with some of my favorite characters in a new game style back then, and being a sucker for the Fire Emblem series, I was looking forward to Fire Emblem Warriors as well.

gameplay

Being a hack-and-slash game, the gameplay consists of the player taking control of up to four characters on a given map and demolishing the opposition. Each character attacks by the player more or less button mashing, but if you wanted to be more precise, there are combo attacks that you can trigger by pushing buttons in a certain order (generally the Y and X buttons). The more enemies one defeats, the quicker one can unleash a special attack that can be particularly devastating on hoards of enemies and even the sub-boss characters, such as Fort Captains. The controls themselves were fluid and responsive, which is excellent considering how quickly one is dropped into the fray of the battles, even if there were times when it seemed my character was running too quickly for me to make a turn!

Characters can be given orders on the battle map, such as directing one person to fight a certain enemy or to guard a teammate. While the player can switch between four characters, there is usually four additional teammates on the map to aid the playable characters. The AI of NPCs was well-done, in my experience, as the majority of them were eager to complete the goals and sub-quests that popped up with the map.

The majority of the characters in Fire Emblem Warriors are sword-users, but there are a few who use lances, axes, magic tomes, bows, and dragonstones, which are a special item to some unique Fire Emblem characters to transform into a dragon. Like the Fire Emblem games, characters are able to level up in their weapon rank, allowing them to use stronger weapons and attacks as the game progresses. In Warriors, this is achieved by crafted crests, which are used for attacks, defensive purposes, and enabling special skills. Crests are crafted with materials that enemies drop as well as collecting items from characters themselves when they increase their Support rank with one another. The more two characters fight together — by being on the same map, helping to guard one another, healing each other, or by literally pairing the two up as a support pair — the higher their Support will be. A Support Conversation between the two characters can be unlocked once they reach an A-Support rank.

The major flaw with the gameplay is how little diversity there is amid the weapons and characters themselves. Slashing away at enemies with swords is fun and all, but having more variety would have definitely helped me explore the maps of the game multiple times and giving it more replay value. Daggers and shuriken, lance-users on the ground instead of being regulated to Pegasus Knights, more axes and magic, beaststones for laguz from the Radiant series…

To go along with the lack of weapon diversity is the character roster. It mainly focused on the cast from Awakening and Fates, along with Marth as one of the Fire Emblem series’ first protagonists. Fire Emblem Warriors stars a pair of twins who both use the sword as their preferred weapon. The Heroes that we must track down as per the story mode all use swords as their preferred weapon. While I have nothing against any of the characters that are on the roster, I would have loved to see characters from more Fire Emblem games.

Let’s get Ephraim from Sacred Stones as a lance-user Hero. Hector from Blazing Blade can be the axe-wielding Hero. There are laguz characters from the Radiant series — Ranulf, Lethe, Tibarn, Naesala — who could be Heroes in their own right. Lilina from the Binding Blade as not only a mage Hero but also another female.

Perhaps it would have been a little too much to throw so many different timelines into Fire Emblem Warriors, but there was so much more weapon and character variety that could have been packed into the game!

graphics-music

One of my favorite things about the Nintendo Switch is the graphics. The graphics of every game we’ve played so far on this little console have been crisp, clear, and beautiful, and I loved seeing the dynamic Fire Emblem Warrior battles on the Switch. The animated movies were fairly well-done, being on par with most of the animated scenes in most of the more recent Fire emblem games.

I’ve always been a sucker for Fire Emblem music, and Fire Emblem Warriors would be no exception… except for most of the, erm, “suggestions” that continued to pop up in the first half of the game. Since everything on the battlefield happens quickly, so do character dialogue boxes popping up with someone talking about someone else being trouble or telling you of a new quest that has arisen. The cacophony of the battle was interrupted much of the time for the game to continue on, which threw me off a bit at times. It was tolerable especially when I reminded myself that it went hand-in-hand with the chaos that was supposed to be the battlefield. It was quick and exciting, even if the voice acting had me rolling my eyes once in a while.
storyLike most Fire Emblem games, the story was a bit cliche, with it being way too focused on bonds and support among one another, and you defeat a dragon at the end.

The story opens with the royal twins of Aytolis, Lianna and Rowan, sparring with their friend Prince Darios of Gristonne. Monsters appear from Outrealm portals, attacking the castle, separating the twins from their mother, and starting the twins on their journey to protect their homeland. They journey across the land to find Heroes that have been displaced in time, Heroes that have Gleamstones to power up the Shield of Flames to defeat the evil dragon Velezark.

The characters spend much of their time focusing on friendship and their bonds with one another, which is a bit corny but sweet message. The twins work and grow together with the help of the other heroes to ultimately succeed in the end. The story itself had a few plot holes or threads that could have used more closure — such as the Darios subplot — but it wasn’t too bad for game.

replay-value

Fire Emblem Warriors has the story mode and a history mode. The story mode has about 25 “chapters,” or battle campaigns, in it while the history mode allows players to battle in scenarios from past Fire Emblem games that were re-imagined for Fire Emblem Warriors. Each has different levels of difficulties and goals, giving one a few more challenges if one wishes to replay the game.

While I wish that the roster wasn’t so sword-user heavy — really, seeing a thief character or more axes and lances would have been wonderful — and had characters from more Fire Emblem games rather than focusing mainly on Awakening and Fates, I did have a lot of fun with Fire Emblem Warriors. There’s something so satisfying about the hack-and-slash aspect of the game, and I know I’ll pick it up again.

Fire Emblem Warriors gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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