Mario and Luigi: Dream Team Review


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Mario and his brother have had a number of forays into the RPG genre of gaming, whether it be the (mostly) lovable Paper Mario series, or classic Super Mario RPG, though the younger Mario bro was left out of that one.  Though one of the best adaptations of the brothers in this genre is the Mario and Luigi series of RPGs, starting with Super Star Saga on the Gameboy Advanced.  The series was well known for it’s simple yet fun battle style, and quirky characters and scripts to entertain the masses.  A Mario and Luigi game has been released on every hand held since it’s inception, with Partners in Time and Bowsers Inside Story on the DS, and now it’s time for it’s welcoming onto the Nintendo 3DS with Mario and Luigi: Dream Team.  The question remains though, does it hold up to it’s predecessors?

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Mario and Luigi: Dream Team stars, you guessed it, Mario and Luigi, as they’ve been invited to vacation on Pi’illo Island by not-so-renowned Professor Snoozemore.  As they arrive on the island they’re greeted by a grand celebration, it seems the Professor has been traveling to spread word of the island to bring in tourists.  There they are greeted by French block connoisseur Broque Monsieur (who you may remember from the last game, Bowsers Inside Story) who takes you on a tour of Pi’illo Castle.  There the gang learns of the mysterious Pi’illo race and find a mystical stone pillow.  Upon sleeping on it, Luigi opens a gateway to a dream world, and as is tradition with Mario games, Peach gets snatched up and dragged inside.  After taking the plunge inside Mario finds a figure by the name of Dreambert, who turns out to be the same pillow Luigi is sleeping on!  Dreambert is the prince of the Pi’illo people, and he asks your help in rescuing his people who have also turned to stone, while also seeking the one who kidnapped the princess.

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The  writing for the game is nothing to shake a stick at, it’s all pretty par for the course and the story doesn’t really involve any big surprises.  Characters are as quirky as they usually are, whether it be the work out prone Massif Bros or the ever tired Professor Snoozemore.  The jokes usually fall flat, but occasionally they’ll strike a chord and churn up a chuckle from me.  The full story is about 40 hours long, and there are some mini games and side quests you can do to extend the amount of time you spend playing the game.  While the story doesn’t really do anything to captivate the player, it’s still good enough to keep the player’s interest for the full 40 hours it takes to complete the game.

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Gameplay is where the game really takes it’s shine.  You traverse the main over world similarly to how you do in past games, with the camera giving a sort of isometric perspective.  The environments in the main world are all 3D, while the characters are all sprites, but the art is done in such a way where it’s not an eye sore, and the sprites sometimes give off a sort of 3D model vibe.  When you’re in the dream world sections, you travel about in a 2D platforming way similar to the sections you controlled the brothers in Bowser’s Inside Story.  There is one big difference between the two worlds, other than the perspective, and that is Luigi.  In the main overworld you control both Mario and Luigi similarly to past games, where Mario is controlled with the A button and Luigi with the B button.  The difference this time around is instead of past games where pressing the R button would put Luigi in the forefront, Mario is always the lead this time around.  In the dream world, obviously you don’t have Luigi because he’s sleeping, however you do have access to “Dreamy Luigi”.  Dreamy Luigi works just like regular Luigi, except that he can jump into the background to transform into various objects that will help you in traversing the land scape.

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Battles play out exactly the same as past games.  Enemies appear on the map and battle is engaged when you come in contact with them.  You can get the upper hand on an enemy by jumping on them or smacking them with your hammer, dealing a bit of damage right from the start.  In battles Mario is controlled with the A button and Luigi with the B button, and each bro takes turns dealing damage.  You have access to a Jump attack, a Hammer attack, and Bros moves, which are special attacks that can deal massive damage.  When an enemy attacks you have the opportunity to dodge the attack, or even deal counter-damage.  In the dream world, you only have control of Mario, however Dreamy Luigi joins in by boosting many of Mario’s attributes, such as his Health and even attacks.  For example, in the real world, Mario’s hammer only deals damage to a single enemy, but in the dream worlds his hammer deals damage to all enemies on the ground!  The bro moves, or Luiginary attacks in the dream world, are controlled in various ways, either by simply pressing the A or B button, or even by moving the 3DS system as a whole, using the gyro scope to move something in the game.

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My biggest gripe with this game is that it’s just a little too easy.  Battles were never really a problem, and according to my end game stats, I only got a game over 5 times in my 40 hours of game time (2 of which were against the final boss, 3 were against a monster I didn’t want to escape and was too foolish enough to heal at the start of battle).  The bros attacks really make the game just a little too easy, as they can deal massive damage to all foes.  There was a time where I even did over 1000 damage to a boss with a bros attack, no stat boosting involved.  The bros attacks require BP to use, so that’s whats supposed to balance them out, however you can get a perk that cuts the cost of Bros/Luiginary attacks in half, allowing you to do twice the damage for the same cost.  I rarely used any of the items I bought until the later portions of the game, where a mistimed dodge can cause big health loss, and since I rarely used items I rarely bought them too, leaving me with over 20k in coins just wasting space.  It felt as if the game was just being a little too lenient on the player, when it could have been just a bit more challenging.  Most of the monsters in the game have no real quirks to defeating them, mostly either just you can only use hammers or can only use jumps to deal damage (with the exception being the virus enemy that’s common in this series, where you can kill a group of them instantly by matching three or more of the same color).  Upon beating the game you do unlock a “hard mode”, but I don’t really think it’s worth it to go through the whole game again just after beating it.

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With those two big problems aside, the game is still a pretty fun adventure.  Despite the low difficulty the battles are still pretty fun and engaging, and while the story is nothing to write home about, there is enough substance to not turn the player away.  For a 40 hour game, I feel Dream Team does it right, giving the player a steady stream of stuff to keep their interest on the game until it’s all completed.  If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll probably still enjoy this game to some degree. If it’s your first time jumping in, then you’ll have a good time experiencing one of the best Mario series on the market.  While the game has its flaws, it’s nothing so bad that I wouldn’t recommend the game to anyone, so I give this game a solid 5/6 on the NUReviews Scale.

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Dragon’s Crown Review: An Ode To Gygax


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If you get your video game news either by word of mouth from your friends or through TV commercials, you likely haven’t heard of Dragon’s Crown.  However if you peruse the internet like the rest of us, chances are you’ve seen some facet of this game.  Whether it be the game’s incredibly gorgeous art style, the outrage about the game’s portrayal of women from tumblr users and feminists withing the gaming community, or perhaps you’ve seen one of the many adult comics of the female characters that, strangely, existed far before the game was announced.  If you’re uninformed about the game, then strap yourself in, because there is a lot to praise about this game.  Since we at NUReviews like to focus on the things that really make a game great or not, our insight and personal views on the controversy of this game will not be affecting our review score.

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Let’s start with the presentation of the game, because when it comes to the presentation, there is nothing that I don’t love about this game.  All the art is classic Vanillaware style, which if you’ve played Muramasa or Odin Sphere, you know what I’m talking about.  Hand drawn, beautifully colored backdrops and characters that animate as fluidly as a flowing river.  On the Vita’s screen everything looks amazing, and once upscaled to your TV screen on the PS3, everything just pops that much more.  All the effects in the game look as good as the characters and backgrounds, though when you can have four playable characters on the screen with all those enemies, things get a little blinding.  The story is told in a fashion similar to a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons, and by similar, I mean exactly.  The story is told through cutscenes of barely static characters against backdrops, all voices and text are read by a singular Narrator entity like a Dungeon Master painting the scene for their players.  In Dragon’s Crown you play as a random adventurer who has come to a new land with their thief sidekick Ronnie in search of adventure and treasure.  You learn that the king of the land has gone missing searching for the Dragon’s Crown, a mystical crown that gives one the ability to control dragons, in hopes that it will help him defend his kingdom from encroaching war.  Meanwhile, an evil group of magicians have been attempting to revive the Ancient Dragon, a powerful creature who has supremacy over all magic, and threatens the life of the entire world.  Aside from the six playable classes and your rouge side kick, there is a cavalcade of NPCs that you will meet along your journey, some run shops or other places that aid you on your quest, others are simply mission based and provide you with information about your current mission or an alternate route after a certain point in the game.

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The gameplay is a mix of simplistic beat em up gameplay with RPG mechanics, similar to the D&D beat em ups like Shadow Over Mystara.  You control your character’s movement with the left control stick, allowing your character to move both left and right, and into and out of the foreground, similar to Castle Crashers.  Pressing the Square button unleashes a normal attack, while the X button lets you jump and the Circle button triggers a special.  The special depends on your character, for instance the Wizard can use Circle and a direction with the control stick to unleash different magic spells based on their staff, while the Dwarf simply slams his hammers into the ground in a manly fashion.  Holding the Square button will also perform some form of character trait, in the Dwarfs case it hardens your defense, while the Sorceress and Wizard use it to recharge mana.  You can use any items in your inventory by scrolling to them with the left and right buttons on the d-pad, then using the down button to use the item, however this happens in real time, so be sure not to get hurt while you’re doing it.  You can access and change your equipment any time you’re in town, but you’re stuck with that set the second you enter a dungeon until you finish.  In town you can also buy items such as potions, which allows a limited use in each given dungeon, but will automatically refill themselves up to a certain point upon your return.  This however leads to my biggest problem with the game, the menu system.  By yourself, the menus are of no concern, however the more players you have the more of a hassle it becomes.  Only one player can access each menu at a given time, and every other player must wait for their turn to do what they need to do.  This becomes specifically troublesome when buying/repairing items (which uses gold from the same pool that every player uses, better hope your buddy doesn’t use the last of the gold to repair his weapons before you get a chance to), changing equipment, learning skills, and accepting quests, which each player in the party has to do individually else they won’t get the rewards.  This is easily the hugest problem the game has, for as a four player co-op beat em up, everything in the game should be fluid and match the flow of the action segments, not cause everyone to stop in their tracks for a few minutes while they wait on their friend to decide between repairing their belt or buying a defense up potion.

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The action segments of the game are fairly linear, it’s essentially like any other beat em up where you have to move from point A to point B while scrolling to the right side of the screen.  Some rooms in dungeons will have secret passage ways that you can access by touching (or on the PS3 version, clicking using the right analog stick and the L2 button) something in the background or fulfilling certain requirements in the room.  When you come across a chest or locked door, simply touching/clicking it will command your rouge to go unlock it.  Doors will lead you to alternate rooms where some enemies or treasure will be waiting for you, while treasure chests will give you random amounts of gold and a treasure rank.  Each treasure rank (which ranges from E to S) turns into a single equip-able item at the end of the dungeon, which you have to appraise to learn the true abilities of, costing you a handful of gold to do so.  By picking up coins and other trinkets that fall on the ground, you increase your score, which gets turned into the group experience points once you finish.  At the end of each dungeon is a boss fight, and after a certain point in the game, each dungeon gets a harder, alternate path that you have to complete to further the story.  Along the way you’ll encounter piles of bones that you can pick up with the Triangle button (or if you’re a Sorceress and posses a certain skill, you can turn these bones into an undead minion).  If you take these bones to the church in town, you can resurrect them into AI controlled allies to accompany you into dungeons when playing solo (which, if you don’t have friends or are playing on the Vita, you’ll be doing until about 5 hours into the game).  The AI for these characters isn’t the best AI in town, but they get their job done…sometimes.

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Now you may have been wondering what I meant when I mentioned the controversy around this game at the beginning of the review.  Well let me give you a quick run down, basically there was a huge upheaval about this game when it came out due to it’s portrayal of women.  There were claims that the game’s depictions were “sexist”, and reviewer for Polygon Danielle Riendau claimed it to be “distracting…It’s obvious, one-sided and gross”.   One of the writers from our “favorite” site Kotaku even called the Sorceress, who is depicted as a young woman with a slim figure and massive breasts, as a “lolicon fantasy”, because that’s what lolicon means all right.  With just as many arguments and claims that it is sexist, there have been just as many defending the game.  Many point out that it’s part of Vanillaware’s art style, in which large breasts are used as a symbol of fertility and life, and often associated to characters who dabble in Necromancy such as the Sorceress.  My personal opinion on the art style that most of it is within good taste, a lot of the character art used for cutscenes or unlockable art match a certain artistic theme similar to medieval paintings.  While the Sorceress and Amazon’s proportions might be to the extreme, I would never call this game sexist, as it treats men in an extremely similar fashion, drawing many men in unreasonable shapes or proportions (such as having a chest three times the size of their head).

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And now we get down to brass taxes, the final summary and score of the game.  In the amount of time that I’ve had to play Dragon’s Crown I’ve had a blast.  It’s been great fun playing single player, and when I played local co-op with my friends we all had a good time (when we weren’t dealing with the menu system).  I’ve just gotten to when the game opens access to the rest of it’s goodies, such as online play and the expanded, harder dungeons, but I can tell I have much, much more in store for me in the coming hours.  Despite it’s couple of flaws, the game’s art style, story presentation, and gameplay are beautifully done and make for a game that exceeds many expectations.  However, I probably wouldn’t recommend this game to everyone, if you wouldn’t get committed to it you’ll likely get tired of it quickly.  With that in mind, I give Dragon’s Crown for the PS3 and PlayStation Vita an edited score of 4 out of 6 stars.

So Bad It’s Good: Godzilla Vs. Megalon


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Sitting alone in my room with a freshly delivered pizza and a half-full liter of root beer, I wonder what my life has become to have wound up watching Godzilla Vs. Megalon.  This classic, campy romp was originally titled Jet Jaguar Vs. Megalon, but poor screen tests pushed Toho to hastily add Godzilla and Gigan to the movie’s roster at the last minute.  Supposedly the whole thing was shot in less than three weeks.  Alongside Jet and Godzilla for this adventure is the scientist who created Jet, the scientist’s more athletic and daring friend, and the scientist’s young nephew.

Even though no one watches Godzilla movies for the human characters, I’ll take a moment to talk about the trio featured in this installment of the franchise.  The English dubbing is surprisingly well done.   It’s clear and not too poorly synced with the lip movements of the actors.  However, I am curious as to why so many young, Japanese men are given the strong, smooth voices of anchormen and radio hosts.  The young nephew on the other hand, is as annoying and unnecessary as, well, any other child character in old Japanese science fiction and action movies.  The most grating part of this movie is the nephew’s high pitched, awkward, half-shouting of the obvious.  He manages to be so annoying that I found myself rooting for one of the movie’s human villains when he full-force kneed this kid right in the stomach.  Twice.

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After ten minutes I wanted to do this too.

On the topic of the villains, the plot of this movie is like the plot of any other Gozilla movie with the exception of maybe the first film; nonexistent.  Apparently an ancient country sank beneath the waves centuries ago.  This “Seatopia” suffered severe damage from recent underground nuclear tests.  The Seatopian king, an uncomfortably hairy man in a toga, decides the best course of action is to send a diplomatic representative to inform the surface world of Seatopia’s existence and rights as a sovereign nation in a peaceful and respectful manner.  I’m just kidding; he shouts at a volcano until Megalon, a giant, drill-armed, bomb-spitting, laser-shooting beetle pops out and sets off to destroy the world above. I would have been more intimidated by Megalon’s arrival were it not for the fact most of the costume is pretty bland.  The whole thing is one flat color, and the drills always seem slightly askew.  Considering he is the title monster, it would have been nice to see a less half-assed design.

Hey, Megalon, can you open this jar of . . . oh.  Probably not.

He looks like a turd with a horn. A turdicorn, if you will. Poop jokes, yay!

At least now we are getting into what Godzilla movies are really about, monsters and robots and aliens.  Jet’s costume and overall design is clearly a product of its time, the early 1970s.  Jet Jaguar was an adaptation of a schoolboy’s winning character design in a contest sponsored by Toho in 1972.  He has a strong Ultraman vibe, with a silver body and flamboyant bright red accents that make it hard to take him seriously.  This is especially true when his costume bunches up, making Jet look like the world’s first quilt-based robot.  In dramatic contrast to his childish body, Jet’s face features dark, soulless eyes and a mouth fixed permanently into a cartoonish grin of death.  For a children’s hero, Jet looks disturbingly hungry for mortal souls.

Ever felt like there was someone watching you, but no one was there when you looked?  It was Jet.

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While the military attempts to stop Megalon with what appear to be left over bottle rockets from a backyard barbecue, Jet Jaguar heads off to the aptly named Monster Island to fetch Godzilla.  Godzilla himself looks pretty sharp.  He has a brand new costume for this film with a surprisingly expressive face complete with uncanny blinking eyes.  His overall design is a bit more child-friendly for this era of films, complete with soft eyes and spines and a more human like posture.  The way he walks, as a result of this new design, is a bit bothersome.  I’m not a huge fan of Godzilla walking around like he’s just some average guy who was out grocery shopping only to look down and realize he’s a 100 meter tall giant lizard with atomic breath.

As Jet and Godzilla begin their separate journeys back to mainland Japan, Gigan makes his entrance.  The image of a diamond appears in a darkened sky, only to be shattered to pieces over and over again in a series of violent explosions from which Gigan emerges.  It’s very subtle.    At least Gigan is a truly threatening creature with dynamic wings, menacing spines, and strong coloring.  His large, sickle-like claws are also impressive, but they tend to end up in anatomically awkward positions.  I was disappointed to not see Gigan using his chest saw though (well, he used it once but it wasn’t spinning).  What’s the point of including him if you aren’t even going to have him use his signature weapon?   That’s like casting William Shatner and telling him he’s not allowed to make overly dramatic pauses after every sentence.

Hey Gigan, can you open this . . . Jesus does nobody have any hands?

Is it cold out, or are those just saw blades on your chest?

The final fight is a long one, packed full of reused footage from both previous movies in the franchise and from this very fight scene.  Jet Jaguar decides the law of conservation of mass is for chumps and “programs” himself to grow to be the same size as Megalon.  The two then go toe to drill in a struggle that evokes images of the most savage of cage fighters; it begins with a flurry of punches and ends up ultimately in an uncomfortably long, homoerotic embrace between machine and beetle.  Eventually Gigan joins the fray to aid Megalon, and Godzilla soon after joins up with Jet Jaguar to kick off an old fashioned two versus two monster brawl.  During the battle Jet gets his robotic butt handed to him over and over while Godzilla does most of the heavy lifting.  Once our heroic pair starts gaining the edge in the fight, things truly get weird in ways only a 1970s Godzilla movie can.  With the help of Jet, Godzilla sets up a full-horizontal, flying kick that belittles the laws of physics.

This is why we have the term "willing suspension of disbelief"

Is he trying to form the Megazord?

While certainly not the highest quality Godzilla film in the franchise, this film is still worth a watch.  Even with all of its faults there is a certain charm in the movie’s silliness and eager youthfulness.  It’s worth watching at least once with a few friends and a couple of beers, simply for the chance to make fun of its lack of sensibility and multiple production shortcuts.  You can even play my new favorite game, “spot the Japanese centerfold posters on full display in a children’s movie” to help get you past some of the lamer parts of the first half-hour or so of the film.  Oh, and of course there is the infamous Jet Jaguar theme song at the end of the movie.  This song echoes across time and space to spread the word of Jet.  It is the lullaby to my sanity and the march of my new life.  A life touched by Jet Jaguar.

(fake subtitles from Mystery Science Theater 3000)

Project X Zone Review: WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOR!? No, really…


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Chances are if you own a Nintendo 3DS, you know of Project X Zone.  The big collaboration title got a massive following when it was announced for release in Japan, and similarly to Xenoblade Chronicles or Pandora’s Tower, hoards of fans begged for it to be brought over to the west.  Well their cries were heard and their wishes granted, for Project X Zone has breached our shores for about a month now, so the question on your mind may be: “Is it really worth it?”

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The story follows a cast of characters whose size would make the Game of Thrones cast look like as small dog, and that’s before R.R.Martin wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.  The cast is comprised of characters from across numerous series owned by Bandai Namco, Capcom, and Sega, some of which never even made it stateside.  As with many cross over games, the story REALLY follows a handful of original characters designed solely for the game, in this case it’s Kogoro Tenzai and Mii Koryuji.  Mii is a cheerleader and youngest member of a rich family, and Kogoro is her tutor/private detective/ninja…yeah, I couldn’t make that up if I tried.  A treasure of the Koryuji family, the Portalstone, has been stolen, and due to it worlds from across space and time, reality and virtual reality, are crashing together.  Allies and Villains alike clash in a battle for the stability of the multiverse.  Needless to say, the story isn’t the strong point of this game.  It’s hardly enticing and really only picks up in the later chapters of the game, I didn’t find myself caring until 10 chapters away from the end, and only then I was wondering what the non-original villains were up to.  And with a lackluster story comes similarly lackluster writing, while it’s still better than most of the fanfiction universe (a place where something like this would seem to fit right at home) and the entirety of the Twilight series, it still leaves much to be desired.  Gratefully all the established characters talk and act similarly to how they would in their own series, and there are a number of little nods to their respective games.  For example, when ever Frank West encounters a new, female character that is, how should we say, top heavy, he snaps a picture of her and the “Erotic!” label from the Dead Rising game will pop up over the female.

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The battle system is really where the game shines.  Project X Zone is a Strategy RPG with a battle system that focuses heavily on combos and special attacks.  Each playable character is divided into pairs of two, such as X and Zero from Megaman X, Chris and Jill from Resident Evil, and Dante and Demitri Maximoff from Devil May Cry/DarkStalkers.  Along with these pairs are solo units which you can group up with your pair units, and while you can’t control these solo units directly, you can summon them to deal extra damage and extend your combos.  Examples of solo units include Tron Bonne from Megaman Legends, Ulala from Space Channel 5, and Totally-Not-Bruce-Willis Bruno Delinger (PS. It’s totally Bruce Willis).  Battles are separated into two “phases”, there’s the over-world and the battle screen.  In the over-world you have an isometric view of the whole battle field, where you’ll be able to see all enemy and ally placements.  Everyone moves on a grid based system within a pre-determined range, and can attack any unit within a pre-determined attack range.  When an enemy unit attacks one of your characters, you can expend some of their XP to either lessen the damage done to you, or counter your opponent with some attacks in exchange for taking full damage.  When you choose to attack an enemy, your current active unit and any solo unit paired with them are pulled into battle, also, if you’re standing next to another pair unit, you can summon them into battle as well to extend your combo and deal more damage.  The battle screen is set up on a 2D view similar to most fighting games, with the enemy on the left side of the screen and your controlled unit on the right.  By using any combination of a directional button and the a button, you can unleash one of 5 attacks against your enemy, building up XP as you do so.  If you use all of your available moves once, you’ll be granted an extra attack, so once your full array of attacks is available you can perform a maximum of 6 attacks.  By pressing L or R you can bring in the solo or extra pair unit to attack, and if you land an attack at the same time as them you’ll perform a X-Attack.  Once activated, your opponent freezes in place and you generate more XP than usual.  Once your XP is 100% or greater you may press the Y button to perform a unique special attack which will do massive damage to your opponent.  I absolutely love this battle system, it’s very similar to the system in a DS game by the name of Super Robot Taisen OG Saga Endless Frontier (in fact, some of the characters from that game make it into Project X Zone).  However, as much as I can praise the battle system, it still doesn’t shine as much as one would hope.

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The game offers very little in terms of difficulty, and reaches more the realms of frustration.  Never was I really challenged by the difficulty of an enemy, since their all pretty much the same through out the game, just with scaled health and damage output.  Most normal enemies can be taken out easily single battle with proper  combo management (and some even improper combo management), while bosses are just a matter of ganging up on them with super attacks.  Often you’ll start a level feeling as if there’s a proper amount of challenge, then three turns in the field will be swarmed by new enemies and bosses, often surrounding your current units and putting your team at risk.  Even with that however I only ever lost a unit maybe three times, the cause of which being me just neglecting their health.  When a unit loses all it’s health, it’s simply out for the rest of level and will be back in fighting shape next level, so there’s no fear of perma-death like in some other strategy games.  Item management is also not a big issue, while I often felt as if I didn’t have enough of the items that heal greater amounts of my health/XP, I never found myself in a situation where I needed an item I didn’t have.  Combine this with the bad story and lack luster writing, it doesn’t lead to a very favorable start.  All in all the game is decent enough, in my eyes, but it’s not something I would recommend to everyone.  If you really like the characters, then you should probably wait till it’s on sale before you pick it up, at least 50% off.  If nothing really turns you on about the game, but you still might pick it up, wait until you can get it REALLY cheap, otherwise you’ll probably feel as if you wasted your money.  I give Project X Zone for the Nintendo 3DS, a NUReviews rating of 3 stars.

 

Thoughts on Iron Man 3 (Spoiler Free)


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Iron Man 3 Director Shane Black had a tough act to follow. The hype that surrounded the Avengers and the praise it got after being released was massive. But I’m glad to say that Iron Man 3 was not only a great follow up to not just the Avengers and the Iron Man Series, but it’s just as good as the first Iron Man in my opinion.

Here’s a quick plot setup for the movie (again, spoiler free, don’t worry): Post-’Avengers’ Tony Stark is suffering from panic attacks due to the attack on New York (as seen in the Avengers). As a way to cope, Tony Stark begins to build numerous prototype suits for just about any emergency or situation in order to be sure that he’ll be able to protect his loved ones, especially Pepper Potts. However, a new terrorist threat emerges in the form of the 10 Rings, led by the Mandarin. At the same time, a mysterious person from Tony’s past, Aldrich Killian, surfaces with a vendetta against Stark.

When compared to the previous Iron Man films, this is much more of a character driven story. In fact, for a majority of the film, you’ll be seeing Tony outside of a suit rather than in one. But rest assured, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t as much action. In fact, I feel that the action choreography in IM3 is quite creative. The humor found in this movie is great as well. Tony’s snark/sassiness is set to maximum. As this is Robert Downey Jr’s fifth portrayal of Tony Stark (counting the cameo in The Incredible Hulk), all of his one liners and retorts feel quite natural, as we come to expect this sort of behavior out of him.

The rest of the cast do a stellar job with their respective roles. Major props go to Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the Mandarin, which surprised me as being a bigger role than I expected (leaving it at that to avoid spoilers).

However, there are certain aspects of the film that I feel that the comic fans in the audience would find controversial, since it’s a different interpretation of the Iron Man lore. But the movie was still good regardless, so the more open minded fans would be able to overlook it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, since in my eyes, it hit just about every mark. It doesn’t try to be  Iron Man 1 again (which was a reason why Iron Man 2 fell flat with audiences), but rather it continues the story that the previous films has set up. That might be something that Marvel Studios has realized. Sequels don’t have to be ‘bigger’ to supersede the previous movies, but now that all of major players of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been set up, they can make continuations and new stories for these heroes to venture.

I’m not going to give a rating on the film, but rather I’m giving this movie a heavily regarded recommendation to everyone. I assure you that you will not leave this movie disappointed.

Spring Season Anime First Impressions: Devil Survivor 2: The Animation


this-scene-was-retardedWell the Spring Anime season just started and boy is the lineup… well it’s a lineup. To start the season here on NUR and to keep in lieu with all things gaming, I give you Devil Survivor 2: The Animation. So this is the anime adaptation of the 2011 3DS game in the Shin Megami Tensei series. I personally haven’t played the game so I’m going into this show with no expectations. Thankfully enough the first episode was awesome and is now apart of my personal “to watch list.” Anyway, I may have not played this particular game in the series but I have played Persona 3 and the Megaten MMO and all of those games share similar cyber punk and demon summoning themes. The weird thing about the show for me was that I felt like I watching a darker version of Digimon and/or Pokemon. Yeah I know it’s really lame to compare shows just because of certain similarities but the Digimon vibe was strong in this show.

Now those of you who have played the game already know the overall plot, but for those of you not in the know or need a refresher well here’s a few things to note. This time around the protagonist is given a name, Hibiki Kuze. So you have Hibiki, his friend Daichi Shijima and their classmate Io Nitta get into a disaster that pretty much shuts down the whole of Tokyo. Before the event that pretty much trashes Japan, Hibiki is introduced to a website called Nicaea by Daichi. Nicaea is a website that’s popular among teens because of their “death face” videos. Videos that show how either you or your friends die. So it just so happens that Hibiki, Daichi and Io were waiting for a train in the subway then receive an update from Nicaea on their phones showing that they were about to die from a train getting derailed which oddly enough happens and they seemingly die. But they’re given a second chance at life as the Nicaea app on their phones ask them if they want to live. Choosing “yes” they manage to climb out of the rubble of the train crash somewhat unscathed. Just as they were to collect themselves, one of the train crash victim’s phone begins to emit an ominous light which summons a demon. They end up getting saved by  similar demons summoned from Io and Daichi’s phones, turns out that they have a new app installed on their phones for the sole purpose of summoning these “demons.” So that’s the gist of the first episode, I mean there’s more to it so why not check it out for yourself? If you don’t mind waiting a week for a new episode without having to pay for a membership, you could totally check it out on Crunchy Roll.

On a side note:

If you could have an app on your phone that could let you summon anything, what you would summon? I know what I’d summon:

Girls-Generation-10_1920x1200What? A guy can dream.

 

NUReviews Epi. 10: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Reviewgance!



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You can ignore that now exclamation mark now. No need to be stealthy when you have a sword that can cut almost anything. Get your revengance on with Metal Gear Rising: Revengance!