Review – Nintendo Land (WiiU)

Nintendo Land is a collection of mini games based on various Nintendo franchises. The world is presented like a theme park with a huge bustling plaza filled with Miss from across the world. You can also fill the place with lots of fun prizes. Really gives it the whole theme park feel.

The Bad

2 of the games require motion plus support for non Gamepad play, not all of the games support full proper multi player mode and some don’t have a single player mode. This limits what you can play and can be annoying if you want to get everything.

Strange choices and odd absences of Nintendo series. One of the strangest is the absence of Star Fox. One of the biggest reasons why that is the inclusion of a Japanese only game and FZero which hasn’t had a sequel for a while now. Just seems a little on the strange side considering.

The OK

You can spend coins you earn playing the mini games to try to win prizes. You can’t control what prize you get and some prizes aren’t as impressive as others. Some of the prizes specially monster ones have an animation to go with it. Some have only 1 meanwhile other shave 3 maybe 4. Some prizes effect entire plazes. You get switches that change to day/evening/night and a joke box that plays music. None stay on when you enter and exit a mini game. Biggest issue is when a prize first appears s a ? block you aren’t directed towards it. You will want to get all the prizes regardless. They make the plaza so much more fun and better. Even though they are minor irks with them they are all still fun and interesting. Far superior to a huge empty plaza with train going around it.

Some of the games are easier or more difficult based on number of players and whether you’re using gamepad or not. While there are compensations when doing 2 player for VS games it’s still not the same level of difficulty as when playing with more people. In Co-op ones you don’t get one for 1 player for 2 of the games. If you have 3+ players the difficulty is more balanced. The biggest change in difficulty comes down to how well you work as a team though.

The Good

It can become insanely addictive. You will want to win all the prizes and replay all the mini games. It’s one of those games you don’t think you will enjoy till you get playing then your hooked and can’t stop. Just a few more coins to win this prize or just few more tries on this mini game. It is that kind of game.

3 of the games play much like mini versions of said series. Pikmin, Metroid and Zelda games respectively. I could easily see these games getting people to try out the actual full versions of those mini games. In a way it gives you a preview of what it might be like to play them on WiiU. In that way it is a better introduction to the gaming console the Wii Sports was for Wii.

All those Miis in the plaza just bring the whole thing to life. Watching them running around and eyeing up the prizes. It’s nice to see their comments they posted appear in game. Some have drawn really fantastic stuff. Makes me too embarrassed to even try to match their greatness.

The game isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s one of those games you look at and think you will win no problem. It will be so easy it takes you a weekend to finish it all. It’s all a deception. The game lures us all in with false sense of how easy it will be. This game can be very cruel at times. It’s by no means an easy game but it has that sort of difficulty that lulls you in because it’s not impossible. Not once have I felt any would be impossible so I keep trying and failing.

To Buy?

If you’re a Nintendo fan no reason not to pick this up. After something with variety which can play alone or with 4 others and potentially has long-term goals as well as shorter easier ones. This is a good game to play. If you really hate Nintendo you probably won’t consider this anyway.

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Hyper Japan

First time I went to Hyper Japan was last year during Summer. It wasn’t as busy as MCM Expo but it was also less about anime and video games and more about Japan itself. This made it a much more refreshing event. I got to see live concert which I really enjoyed.

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Second time I went to the Hyper Japan Christmas and first time cosplayed at event. Cosplaying is a lot of fun but stressful when trying to get ready. Depending on outfit chosen and character cosplaying as depends on amount of attention you get. I went as Ranka Lee but wore her newish and fairly unknown dress. I wasn’t recognised by many. During event I got chance to play WiiU which was a lot of fun. This time around I feel much more push for market side of things. It was also a lot busier but I think this is because event has gotten lot more attention and there was less competition due to timing of events. Both events could have done with more seats around the stage area. Annoying this time around I couldn’t enter cosparade because of timing of event. I have to leav fairly early to catch train home. If I was to go to another event in London I would probably stay over weekend at a hotel so I can fully enjoy the event.

My loot from this time around…

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Miku Art Book, Vocaloid mini racing figures, stuffed llama, Kingdom Hearts Dream Eater Meow Wow, Final Fantasy Playing Cards, Clamp keyring and badges, Neo Mug, Owls on Moon, Sweets and Drink

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The Miku art book is really pretty. They had others there but this one has some really pretty artwork. Some full-page coloured manga no text but it was really gorgeous. It has some other vocaloids too but it was mostly Miku. The Miku racing mini figures I really cute. There are couple or problems though. The car needs you to cut out the decals so it’s blank white. It was also a huge pain to put them together with their items. Already damaged one but can’t really tell. They are cute and have a good amount of accessories though. Best part is they use same stand parts as my Choco Minto Macross F figures. If I wanted to could use the podium for them instead.

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The drink was really nice. Supposedly Strawberry is best flavour but was sold out. I got Orange instead. Really yummy.

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These chocolates…. If you buy some you won’t like them so send them to me instead. I’ll eat them. ūüôā

Review – The Last Story (Wii)

A rare traditional JRPG on Wii. When it comes to JRPGs this game ticks most if not all the boxes for it. It doesn’t really do much outside the traditional JRPG norm. It does have a really interesting combat system.

The Bad

The game is chapter based. There isn’t anything hugely wrong with that alone but like with all chapter based games much content is only available during certain chapters. Miss out and you end up losing out on an event or side quest. Some are easier to miss than others. Specially sick girl story because the character relating to it are hidden around back of Arena which won’t visit a lot. Then they are kids that steal from you that hide around back streets. The game lacks in sidequests that have a dungeon attached to it. Majority are minor ones that take place in the city. Also is very story heavy game. If you don’t like the characters or story you won’t like the game. The characters are very chatty and gameplay is divided through lots of cut scenes. There is a skip button but I enjoy the story so hardly every use it.

Fun extra weapons and special dyes can only be found through online play. Online play is divided into Co-Op monster battle and VS Arena. If you want to get some fun weapons have to go play online. Special dyes can only be gotten through VS mode. It’s disappointing no way of getting those special dyes outside of VS mode.

The Good

Armour alteration is fantastic. Being able to dye parts and remove pointless armour parts that ruin the look is great. It does take a bit of tweaking to get armour from artwork save Calista’s armour. Calista gets her two dresses however her armour is fixed along with knight armour you get. You can’t dye it so while the dress is exactly like the white one shown in artwork its coloured black instead.

The combat system is a lot of fun. It has a strategy side to it so unlike other more action type RPGs this one does require some thoughtful thinking. Being able to shoot monsters with crossbows. Ordering character to destroy parts of building. Can also command character to use different attacks or support which comes in handy with elemental weaknesses.. Although the game is relatively easy. Only final boss may prove too much of a challenge. Second play through passes on levels and armour. Only bosses increase level. The most difficult parts are solo parts and dungeons. Specially on 2nd play through.

The game only has one major city so it’s easy to find where to go next after a while. This is your hub town which changes as story progresses. The city is one of the best hub towns I have seen but I also know many might feel it’s a bit empty compared to other games. It lacks the countless nameless roaming NPCs. The art style is wonderful. While sometimes it lacks colour I feel it works really well with the feel of this being a story. Design of dungeons are well thought out with strategy in mind. You can replay a lot of the dungeons for extra treasure.

To Buy?

If you’re a huge JRPG fan and like the characters and storyline you will love this game. If your only interested in gameplay might want someone else to finish story so you can just do the dungeons at the end.

Review ‚Äď Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

Since just finished the game felt I should give the game a proper review. It feels like timing is right to do so. Xenoblade is an Action RPG featuring huge locations. The story revolves around Shulk who is a homs who can wield the Monado. Monado is the only weapon that can destroy mechons easily. A tragic event occurs which sets him off on a quest to destroy a faced mechon and end an on going war between homs who live on the giant Bionis and mechon who live on the giant Mechonis. The two said giants battled each other in far past. He journeys up the Bionis encountering new allies for his quest. He also has ridiculous amount of side quests he can complete.

The Bad

The worst aspect of this games comes in the form of side quest markers. Save ones for NPCs and one off items there are no indications for anything else. Even with markers for NPCs finding them can still be a huge pain. Specially in later locations which feature much bigger towns and NPC is only given a vague description. There are few things making finding NPCs easier. All named NPCs appear on relationship chart. Even if it doesn’t give the closest Landmark you can travel to you at least know time they will definitely be available. With monsters and random misc items you collect your not going t be so lucky. Some monsters I was never able to find.

Mechonis is a huge let-down considering the amount of stuff on Bionis. It feels empty at times even though it’s crammed with enemies. There is little sense of night and day there as well. It feels like one huge dungeon with little in-between. It is very draining to playthrough this part. I can imagine many will quit before reaching the top. Really should have added few more bits to Mechonis that weren’t dungeon like.

The OK

The world is beautiful the character models aren’t the greatest. There aren’t many gameplay moments you will on purpose zoom into a character. It only becomes a problem during cut scenes. Even then only some suffer from it. The beautiful world definitely takes your mind off it though. Some of the locations are very impressive. The time of day can effect the locations as well. Lighting and weather changes throughout the day.

The game has a New Game+ carries over a decent amount of stuff. Only complaints are side quests fully reset and Landmarks are lost. I can understand why as some locations aren’t available till after an event later in the game but it does make it a bit tiresome. While I understand that some of the side quests had multiple endings it would have been nice to have those side quests up to that point.

Some of the side quests serve no purpose at all meanwhile others become short mini stories as game progresses. The huge number of side quests is great but at same time off putting. Specially if your like me and want to help out where possible. I feel somewhat obliged to take on all the side quests even if some I might never complete. Thankfully can view the quest information whenever although some are timed. Have to do them before a certain event.

The overall story itself is mostly your typical JRPG affair. A young hero’s home is destroyed and he goes off on a quest of vengeance to end a war. Certain aspects are unique to the story and it can be heart breaking at times as well as really funny. Although some parts feel pushed in at times as opposed to having a natural progression of events. Overall it’s an enjoyable if not slightly typical storyline.

The Good

Battle system is fun. Each character can assign artes as well as a bonus one. With Shulk this is a whole set of new artes connected to Monado. You also get visions which show a potentially devastating attack and a timer appears to stop or lessen the damage of the attack. Mostly this is done using Monado but other ways to alter the future. During the battle you get a bar on top. Once filled you can perform a unison attack. Basically go from one character to next performing a chosen arte. The best aspect of this is being able to set your own team. This means if you don’t like Shulk you can play as another character and even not have him in the party. It’s pretty fun to here what certain party members say to each other during the battle.

When it comes to character affinity in most games this has limited effects. In this game it unlocks heart to heart events which reveal more about the characters. Which I always like. It also allows for character to skill link with another. This allows them to learn a skill another characters has learnt. For example one of the later characters can’t equip heavy armour however can use skill link so they can equip it. It makes it more interesting because can set certain skills to boost a character or alter it so they affectively carry out a role they might not be suited to otherwise.

No matter what level you are at there will be monsters somewhere in the world that can challenge you. I find in some RPGs this isn’t the case. You have a gap where certain level of characters can’t level up effectively because monsters are far too difficult or far too easy. A little hunting around the world will find you a monster that is just right level to take on. If can’t find any there is always side quests to do or potentially should be moving on with the story.

One of the best things about this game is how big locations are. You can find plenty of hidden spots to gaze at scenery. I definitely¬† know of some really nice chill out spots just to watch the day and night cycle. It’s amazing how big some locations are but don’t feel empty. If anything really crammed with stuff. One place mentioned before is a let down the rest is great.

To Buy?

If you want a game which has huge locations to explore and love doing side quests this is game for you.  If your after a more traditional JRPG The Last Story would be a much better choice. That said both are great games in their own rights.

Review -Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS)

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is music game featuring music from across Final Fantasy series. Battle Music, Field Music and Event music are three main modes of gameplay. You can choose to play music separately in Challenge. Can also play all three in Series mode which adds in Opening and Closing optional mini levels so you get a brief look at the game music is from. The final mode is for streetpass and is called Chaos Shrine. In it your given a random Dark Note which contains 1 Field and 1 Battle music. They can be very difficult but when you completed at least 1¬† you can trade your Dark Notes via streetpass. All this is done to collect Rhythmia which acts as an overall score which given random rewards for. Crystal shards which eventually unlock character depending on it’s colour and amount of said colour collected. Also music for music player, video(slightly different versions of event one) and cards which let you see characters and monsters animated. Worth noting defeating bosses in Chaos Shrine can give you crystal shards as well.

The Bad

Collecting Rhythmia is fairly easy to do but in order to get all characters this way is to get max amount. This will take ages and so your forced to play Chaos Shrine which if your really bad like me may take you many tries before you defeat first Dark Note. Dark Notes are a lot of fun but it’s frustrating getting ones within doable difficulty level. Since no way or limiting the level or fixing what you get going to have to deal with it.

Event music I find more difficult to do. Even if it is just a single line having to follow this line increases or decreases speed which makes it difficult to keep in time with music. What’s worse is that I find a lot of the event music is a lot slower then music found in other modes. In series mode it feels a bit weird suddenly going from a faster field or battle music to suddenly the slower paced event music.

Some of the music you unlock have fixed difficulty. You don’t get to pick how difficult it is. All music unlocked won’t be available in series mode at all. No bonus series option for the extra music as well. All extra music is either first available only through chaos shrine or appear in challenge mode.

The OK

Streetpass mode could have been a lot better. Trading Dark Notes is OK but would be nice if there was more to it. Like trading cards or battling another’s party. It just feels a little short changed all things considered. Then again not exactly feeling like I missing out due to lack of streetpass hits.

Music doesn’t include ones from spinoffs. While series mode gives a balanced impression for music selection in Chaos Shrine and later unlocked in challenge mode some games do have more music then others. There is paid for DLC for extra music. I don’t see it as an issue but it can be really annoying if your a fan of a game or particular music. Wouldn’t have minded some Crystal Chronicles music though.

The Good

Being able to create your own made up Final Fantasy party. There are at least 2 from every main game in series and an extra one. Some of the characters with long dresses and no weapon look hilarious in action. The stats and abilities do make the gameplay more interesting than just a music game. However only Chaos Shrine really needs you to mess with character’s abilities and items.

Game play itself is fun and easy to learn. Battle and Field modes are the better modes though. I have noticed that during Chaos Shrine some of the Field backgrounds are slightly different. I find myself watching background now and then to see if I can recognise part of it.

Dark Notes is best part of the game even if they are difficult. I’m not entirely sure why that is though. It could be the suspense of finding out what music you get or maybe the strive to defeat the boss during the battle for extra item or hopefully a crystal shard to unlock new character. The varied difficulty might be part of it too. There are good in-between difficulties from the series and challenge difficulty options. At first I couldn’t do anything beyond initial difficulty but after doing Dark Notes I can do.

To Buy?

If your a fan of the series or a good few games within the series this is a really good trip down memory lane. If your not fan of series but like music games this could be interesting take on genre for you however you won’t get as much out of it. If your really bad at music games like me this might be one of the few that you can do.

Review – Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance (3DS)

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance is a side story game for the main Kingdom Hearts series. It features a few weird additions that probably won’t make it to the main games within the series.¬† I call it a side story is because it has importance within the main game storyline. It’s not something that is entirely separate nor is it something that is fully part of the main series.

The Bad

I find the default controls to be really bad. Having to press both shoulder buttons to lock on is difficult and uncomfortable to do. Thankfully can change it to being just the R shoulder button. Much easier but the camera now only works with L shoulder button. The camera itself can be a bit of a hindrance during battle as well. Most of the time you press attack button you head towards enemy even if you don’t lock on I tend to find that happens. The Dream Eater pets that fight alongside the characters can add to the confusion. More than once I have attempted to attack one.

Not happy with New Game+. Not enough useful stuff gets carried over to the New Game. From what I played I can’t see a way of getting out of creating the Dream Eater so if you replay a lot your going to get ton of that Dream Eater. The tutorials and event reports are reset. It basically means you are prompted to see a cut scenes to further explain something even though you played through it. You can skip tutorials and cut scenes though. Even so I would have thought more stuff would have been brought over for 2nd play.¬† However you can keep playing the game after the end so you would only replay it for higher difficulty challenge.

The OK

The menu system is huge list basically. It’s like list after list of random stuff. That isn’t a problem but the problems come in with organisation of the list. For starters because most abilities are in huge lists it’s difficult to find a particular one and this can become annoying when you want to remove the “new” label that kindly tells you something new is in there. Still not entirely sure which are the best attacks but guessing the ones taking up two slots are most powerful ones. That said I don’t think menu system is all that bad even if for most part it is basically a selection of lists of random stuff.

The story is bit on confusing side. They are stuff within game to help give details on parts don’t fully understand but I would say you would need some knowledge of Disney worlds in the game and previous Kingdom Hearts games in order to fully understand the story or the individual world story. The drop system doesn’t help with the story. Some of the worlds it feels like it should be at specific moments you should be playing as different character. One world from what I remember really works well for random swapping. There are only the star and final parts of the game have fixed drop moments. I really enjoy the drop system and I think it is severely under used within the game.

The Good

I really like the Dream Eaters. They act as a sort of virtual pet mini game.You can choose to do some mini games to help raise your Dream Eaters. Most of them are fun but the treasure hunt one I struggle at. The Dream Eaters are just fun to watch and mess around with. You can only raise three at a time per a character. So that’s 6 total. You have to make them though but it’s worthwhile getting ones you like.

Some of the cut scenes and worlds are really great in 3D. Only 1 world is a disappointment (The Grid) in regards to 3D and general visual style. Most of the worlds are fantastic though. Really colourful and fun to explore. However that just aren’t enough worlds to explore. It’s very disappointing one world is really out-of-place when I can think of a lot more deserving Disney movies that would have been a much better choice for the game. Specially when so few are in the game. It still the worlds included are a lot of fun even if 1 is out-of-place.

The combat system is the best element of the game by far though. Even if it’s not the greatest it is a lot of fun. Flow motion makes things interesting but not many key locations for flow motion battles. The reality shifts mix up the battle as well but I rarely use them because you have to switch to touch screen for them. They also change depending¬† the world you are on. Some are more fun then others and some take longer to pull off. I like the Musketeers world reality shift the best. The battles outside of reality shifts are fast paced and a lot of fun.

To Buy?

It really comes down to if your OK with drop system. I enjoyed it but I know and can understand why many would be annoyed by it. Obviously when you get going within the game with one character once timer runs out and you find yourself as another it can be really jarring experience. I didn’t find it to be so. I really like the hectic feel it gives just before a drop. If you want to continue as the other character you can press start and click on drop on bottom screen to swap straight back. I really enjoyed this game but it’s not going to be for everyone. I would give it a decent go before deciding to buy or not.

Thoughts so far…

Just random thoughts after playing some games.
Harvest Moon Tale of Two Towns

Just got to end of 1st year. Really enjoying quest system. You often get requests in HM games but it’s very easy to forget what you need to do. Only downside is a lot of repeated or similar requests. Also the ones for one off items such as tools and clothes are only put up 1st of the Month/Season. They stay up all month but have to wait till next month for next one on. The characters in Konohana are a lot more fun. Foxes are cute as always. Only real issue I have is how end of Winter seems to always drag in HM games. Looking forward to growing some trees. It saves me problem of having to water crops.

Theatrythm Final Fantasy

I wasn’t expecting to do as well with this game as I have. As music games go I am having a lot of fun and not finding it too difficult although it will take me ages before I can do any on ultimate and I still struggle with Dark Notes numbered 70+. My party is mostly mages and support but I think that works better in some ways. Some of them are slower so it’s easier to get 1st boss on Dark Notes. I find it really funny seeing Cosmos going for a walk. Would have been better if there was a proper story mode in game though. Just really random when you suddenly have to fight a boss because you got a certain overall score.

Kingdom Hearts 3DS

Really enjoying this action RPG. Storyline outside of the worlds can be confusing if you have no knowledge on previous games in the series. There are descriptions but it’s not an encyclopaedia so not all information you may want/need is not there. However the game is still a lot of fun regardless. Only world I really don’t like so far is the Tron one. Pretty sure I am on last or second to last world. The carnival one and fantasia one are my faves right now. It’s unfortunate the game isn’t longer. The only complaint I have regarding the game is the Drop between characters is timed but in a lot of the worlds it feels like it should be event based. The actual swapping over itself is fine. I enjoy swapping between characters. It’s great you can do so on start menu as well. It’s going to be hate or like the drop system for many.