Pokemon Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon [Game Review]

Title: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon
Developer: GAME FREAK, Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
RPG, Adventure
Release Date: 
November 17, 2017
How we got the game: 
We preordered physical copies

krismii
Of course we’re going to buy and play the newest core Pokemon game! Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out almost literally a year after their predecessors Sun and Moon, and… were extremely similar to their predecessors, in my opinion. They were still a lot of fun to play!

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Story-wise, super similar! However, I felt as though they added a good amount of side quests as well as other things here and there to make the game enjoyable. In my opinion, more enjoyable than Sun and Moon.

gameplay

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Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon play much like every other core Pokemon game. Your main objective is to travel the land, catch and raise a team of Pokemon, and aim to become the strongest trainer in the region, all the while having the world’s fate rest on your 11-year-old shoulders.

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It’s easy enough since the game, in a way, holds your hand throughout. Your Rotom Dex is also the map on the bottom screen of the 3DS. There’s an arrow that shows where you are and where you’re going along with a red flag for where you’re supposed to go. Not to mention in Pokemon battles, if you’ve battled a Pokemon before, everytime you battle it again, your Pokemon’s moves will tell you if it’s effective or not. Though, none of this is different from Sun and Moon.

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Thus, the gameplay itself is fairly linear, with clear goals in mind and your opponents always being around a similar level as your Pokemon team. While there is plenty to explore, you always know where you’re supposed to go. A strategy is usually involved when it comes to battling — with type weaknesses and strengths, using items effectively, etc. — but it becomes a bit of a moot point when your Pokemon’s moves tell you if they’re super effective or not against Pokemon you’ve already fought. It helps to speed battles up and is great for newer fans, but some challenge is taken away.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, they definitely catered it to younger players or first-time players. It is a cool feature, but I’d still like to learn it myself. A new gameplay mechanic was added and that was going through the Ultra Wormhole. It uses tilt controls on your 3DS to gain speed and head towards or away wormholes. You should always see how far you can get, but there are things in there that’ll slow you down. It’s one of those things that takes getting used to.

krismii
Using motion controls was a bit odd in a Pokemon game, but I didn’t mind it the few times I did it. I think I would have enjoyed the Ultra Wormhole aspect more had they been given more of a purpose. They seem to be just extra “pockets” of areas to catch rarer Pokemon. I would have liked to have more land to explore, such as the Ultra Megalopolis city. It was interesting to see and a great battle took place there, but that seemed to be it — granted, I’ve played enough to beat the main storyline, so perhaps there’s some post-Champion aspect of Ultra Megalopolis that I haven’t seen yet.

graphics-music

krismii
It’s utterly amazing how far the graphics and music for the Pokemon series has come since the original Blue and Red versions! Animated cut-scenes and battle stances, both for Pokemon and people, are fluid and crisp, and the scenery in the games are so pretty!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
While this is also in Sun and Moon, I love how they added actual backgrounds to the Poke Refresh as well as the battle sequences depending on where you are. They updated some of the music for certain battles where were upbeat and a lot of fun to hum to; especially the Rainbow Rocket music. It was very nostalgic.

krismii
I noticed the Poke Refresh backgrounds as well, and was impressed — I wonder how much data and programming it took to be able to create so many individual backgrounds like that? Some of my favorite music was the Champion and Elite Four battle tunes, having come much farther than the original games.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, they did such a great job. It really makes me wonder what they’ll come up with next. Though, I will admit, they should have let your Pokemon follow you. I’d rather that than the backgrounds changes. But I’ll take what I can get.

krismii
I do miss that from HeartGold and SoulSilver! I don’t know how it would work with the different graphics style of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but it would have been a nice aspect, especially since Hau always seemed to have his starter Pokemon out with him, haha!
story

Rachel Mii Double Jump
As far as story goes, it’s not much different from Sun and Moon. You help Lillie and Gladion stop their mother, Lusamine, from opening the Ultra Wormhole. Of course, you fail, but then you end up getting to go into the Wormhole itself.

krismii
It took much longer for the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon stories to appear different enough from the original Sun and Moon than I thought it would, and I was a little disappointed at that. I thought it would be a brand new adventure rather than a rehashed version of the original story, and I honestly wasn’t sure if the money was worth it. The wormholes have more of a purpose in these versions and there are a few more post-Champion events for you to do, but they seemed as if they could have been DLC for Sun and Moon rather than an entirely new game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It definitely seems like just an “updated” version of Sun and Moon, but I found it different enough. I enjoyed collecting the Totem stickers (even though I didn’t really care for the Totem Pokemon, but I like collecting things). I expected Team Rainbow Rocket to be part of the story instead of an afterthought. I enjoyed their time, but I wish they had a bigger part.

replay-value

krismii
It’s Pokemon. Of course we’re going to keep playing these games. With how many creatures you can raise, each with customizable move sets, as well as being able to set your own challenges as you progress throughout the game, the Pokemon games generally have a high replay value.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I will not stop playing until I raise every single Pokemon to level 100. Then there are shiny Pokemon, of course.

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

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

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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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Death Road To Canada [Game Review]

Death Road to Canada Game Review

Title: Death Road To Canada
Developer: Rocketcat Games
Publisher: Rocketcat Games
Console: 
PC (Steam)
Release Date: 
July 2016
How we got the game: 
We bought it

krismii
Death Road to Canada was one of those insanely popular games when it first came out last year. Rachel and I were skeptical of it, especially since many of our favorite YouTubers were playing it around Halloween, thinking that it was some horror game. However, it’s actually rather silly, even with the slightly gruesome thought of your character being eaten by zombies.

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And it’s not even gruesome at that… the graphics are very cartoony and pixelated that it makes the game look almost cute. It took us a while, but we finally sat down to play the game ourselves.

gameplay

krismii
In Death Road to Canada, you take control of a character trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. The levels of the game are trying to maneuver around and survive against zombies while looting houses, buildings, and other areas on your way to Canada. In between the levels, your character is in their car (or walking if the car breaks down), allowing them a brief moment of respite to attempt to heal any wounds, chat for a moment, and for random events to play through.

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As you’re looting, you want to be on the lookout for various weapons, as they can break and some swing harder than others, as well as food, gas for your car, and medical supplies. The various scenarios that play out are random chat snippets, but can also sometimes be multiple choice. For example, you may come across a cabin in the woods. Do you have a member of your team stay on watch all night? Or do you all go to sleep? Or maybe you just keep driving.

 krismii
Characters can also have different perks and traits that will affect their personality, which can in turn affect the consequences of events and multiple choice scenarios. Perks also affect the characters with their starting equipment and stats, such as morale, loyalty, fitness, and mechanical. Many of these effect how hard your character can attack, how many hits it’ll take for them to fall, and how well they can use certain weapons.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
In a way, it helps you strategize, but it’s hard to strategize for a game that’s completely random. You can certainly determine which character in your party would be better for the decision ahead, but it might not always work. Still, it’s fun to customize a character as yourself.

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Even as yourself, however, you never have full control of their stats and personality. There was one play-through that Rachel and I were playing where Rachel thought it was a good idea to steal not once but twice from random NPCs. Due to that, my Kris character got fed up enough to leave during a random event, taking half of the food with her. The two-player mode turned into a single-player game without our input! It was definitely a unique gameplay element.

graphics-music

krismii
Both the graphics and the music are rather quirky. The graphics are pixel-y, which is paired nicely with a game about zombies. Despite the setting of the game being the zombie apocalypse, there isn’t much gore except for some cartoon-like zombie brains and guts. Being a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, the graphics don’t seem to take it too seriously either, and it works.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
If this game had realistic graphics, I probably wouldn’t be playing it. It adds a certain charm to the game, though it’s hard to customize your character. There are face, hair, and clothing options, but they’re hard to see because everything looks grainy. And it’s also easy to lose your character in a swarm of zombies all the same size as you.

krismii
That may be the point, actually, to give the game an extra challenge. You’re fighting in a zombie apocalypse, you’re not supposed to look pretty, haha! The music and sound effects go well with the graphics, keeping the tone of the game generally lighthearted despite the situation. It’s easy to focus on the game and not get too distracted by the music which, considering you’re trying to survive against zombies, is a plus.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The music is definitely lighthearted, yeah. It’s got a fun beat and I think it’s a perfect match for the kind of graphics it has. Plus, you wouldn’t expect it from a zombie game, but it works.
story

Rachel Mii Double Jump
This game is pretty simple when it comes to a “story.” Zombies have overrun the United States, but Canada seems to be zombie-free. You’re trying to travel from Florida to Canada without dying.

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Ideally, you’ll have a car to help shorten the travel time and to get to abandoned houses and buildings to loot for weapons, food, and gas. You can meet up with and help strangers and companions alike, but while they’re useful in helping against the zombies, they may stretch your resources thin.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s like a “choose your own adventure” kind of game where every decision you make can either make or break your chances to win.

replay-value

krismii
This is a fun and, oftentimes, ridiculous game. With so many random events, traits, perks, and character attributes, no game is alike. It’s difficult, but not frustratingly so, making you want to keep going rather than rage quit. It’s a game that I don’t mind picking up for a quick round at any time!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, this game is easy to say, “One more round!” as it makes you so determined to win and get to Canada! It’s a fun game to pick up at any time and doesn’t take too long to play (unless you actually win).

Death Road to Canada gets…
4-lives4 out of 5 lives.

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

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Pokemon Stadium Memories

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Title: Pokemon Stadium
Company: Nintendo
Console: 
Nintendo 64
Release Date: 
February 29, 2000 – NA
How we got the game: 
We bought it

krismii
Pokemon Stadium was revolutionary for us Pokemon fans back in the day. To be able to have Pokemon battles on the big screen of a television — in 3D models, no less — was amazing! It gave Rachel and me the ability to play our Pokemon together without the cables and wires that were necessary back then.

rachmii
It was one of the best games. You could battle each other by picking your own team and just going at it, or there were tournaments you could enter and attempt to make it to the top defeating CPUs with a random team the game gives you.

krismii
While we tended to pick our own teams to go head-to-head, there was also the option of importing your Pokemon from the Red, Blue, or Yellow version of the core games. Pokemon Stadium 2 allowed you to do the same with Gold, Silver, or Crystal. It was a treat to see your Pokemon in 3D for the first time!

rachmii
I remember we used to get the roaster up, at the time it was only the main 151 Pokemon, and we would leave the room while the other picked their team. That way our opponent’s team was a surprise to us. If I recall, we often ended up with a lot of the same Pokemon.

krismii
Yes, we tended to stick close to our favorite Pokemon, or ones that we believed would be really powerful. We didn’t know much about strategy when it came to types and move-sets back then! I also remember us randomly picking types out of a hat to comprise a type-specialist team to surprise the other with. Those were fun!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, I remember that as well! I used to always pick Charizard and then the three legendary birds… Though I think we, at one point, made a rule that we couldn’t use any legendaries. Lapras was always a big hit with us.

krismii
Yes, we loved Lapras for some reason. I don’t believe I ever trained one in the core games, though… Perhaps I should try to go for one soon! I remember you always having the Legendary birds, haha! Considering that Pokemon Stadium was one of the best-selling Nintendo 64 games, it’s a wonder that it never made it to the Virtual Console. I suppose Pokken Tournament is the spiritual successor of the Stadium games, but it would be nice to see an updated, free-for-all Pokemon Stadium at some point. It’d be code-heavy with all the Pokemon, but it’d be fun!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The Switch may be able to handle it, who knows? It can handle Breath of the Wild, after all. It would just take up all the memory space! Still, I hope we’re able to play the same again at some point.

Do you remember Pokemon Stadium? Have you ever played it? Let us know in the comments! 

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