Metroid : Samus Returns

Metroid_Samus_ReturnsDate Completed: 11/23/2018

I wasn’t a Metroid person when I was younger.  I knew a few people who owned it for the NES but I never had access to it long enough to accomplish much.  Metroid Samus Returns is a re-make of the Gameboy game ‘Metroid II’ which according to one random internet ranking I read is ranked 9 out of 13.  Since getting this game for Christmas last year I had been looking forward to playing it unfortunately I was in the middle of Bravely Second and would be so for many, many months.

I finally got to start the game a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.  My youngest son also really enjoyed it and irritatingly insisted on hanging off my shoulder whenever he noticed that I was playing it.  He had borrowed it from me a few month ago and made it about 20% of the way into the game before being distracted by something else so he was very helpful at first.  Afterwards he kept bugging me “Are you done yet?  When can I play it again?” so I was fairly motivated to finish the game so that he’d stop bugging me.

My favorite part of the game was upgrades.  Samus starts pretty tough but by the end of the game has picked up some many upgrades that you feel like a total badass.  It’s really satisfying to run through rooms blasting and destroying where you once had to tread carefully.  I’m pretty sure most of the upgrades weren’t in the original ‘Metroid II’ but they were awesome.

I had a lot of fun with this game and my son had a lot of fun watching.  He is no longer bugging me asking when he can borrow it and is now bugging me asking how to get to the next area.

According to the same random ranking ‘Metroid : Samus Returns’ is ranked 5th out of 13 which is quite an improvement!  Well done!

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  ~8 hours
  • System: 3DS
  • Genre:  Action / Adventure
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Bravely Second : End Layer

Date Completed : November 9th, 2018

Bravely Second is the sequel to Bravely Default, the game that almost certainly is responsible for triggering tendinitis in my wrist and making me realize that I am now old.  It’s hard to remember what I was thinking when I decided to subject myself to that again but I somehow ended up with a pre-order of the collectors edition which I accidentally paid for and brought home so I suppose I felt that I probably had to put the time into it at that point.

The game has been out since 2016 so it took me quite a long time to get through it.  I wanted to finish the demo first and I took several long breaks while playing the game.  I had set the difficulty of the game to ‘Hard’ which turned out to be very difficult and I was always under-powered for whatever challenge was ahead of me.  I probably would have stayed more engaged if the game had been easier, but what’s the fun in winning?  Eventually I resorted to a ‘cheat’ to power-level my team to maximum and afterwards I had no issues staying motivated to play.

The game had some nice enhancements over the previous title and a lot of the same type of humor.  The story was pretty good, although I preferred the original.  I will say that I thought the entire ending sequence was fantastic and a lot of fun.  There were a lot of creative moments in this game and if you’re a RPG fan it’s worth the time.  Bravely Default has provided the kind of experience that Final Fantasy games used to provide back in the day.  I really hope they continue to make Bravely Default games although I’m not sure my wrists will survive many more titles!

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  100 hours
System: 3DS
Genre: RPG

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

June 17th, 2017

This game is a smaller, 3D version of Donkey Kong Country Returns which I have already reviewed.  Nothing has changed, except the game is a lot smaller.  A LOT smaller.  When I originally bought the game I owned a standard Nintendo 3DS and it was hard to see so I upgraded to a larger 3DS XL.  Sadly the 3D wasn’t very stable so I sold my 3DS XL and replaced it with a ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS XL with super-stable 3D.  The 3D doesn’t really add much so I ended up playing most of the game with the 3D off.

If you don’t have a Wii or Wii U it’s worth picking up but if you have the option I found the experience to be superior on a Big Screen.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  ~8 hours
  • System: Nintendo 3DS
  • Genre: Platform

Bravely Second Demo – The Ballad of the Three Cavaliers

Date Completed: January 16, 2017

Not much to say about this game, it was just a demo.  I normally wouldn’t write about a demo but this demo was over 10 hours long so I figured it warranted a mention.  Even so you can probably tell by the fact that I’m posting this almost a year late that it wasn’t a high priority on my list of things to write about.  I highly approve of the strategy of creating demos that are separate and supplementary to the full version of a particular game.  I enjoyed the original Bravely Default Demo quite a bit and I found this one similarly enjoyable.  I’ve been playing the full version of Bravely Second off-and-on since beating the demo and if I ever get to the end of that I’ll do a proper writeup.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Final Fantasy Explorers

Date Completed: February 28th, 2017

Holy dull game Batman!  This game was unbelievably boring.  It’s almost not even a game.  It was really more of a tech demo than an actual game.  The game consists of exploring a continent by completing a series of missions.  Once you have completed a mission you are automatically warped back to the single town that is available in the game where you can select a new mission that let you explore further away areas.  There is no real story to follow that was discernible,  Something about crystals.  Square-Enix offered a collector’s edition of the game when they released it and I am SUPER glad I didn’t sink any money into it.  They’ve offered collector’s editions of several games now that turned out to be total duds.  I think this game could be turned into something interesting with more development effort but this release was barely a real game.

  • Is it fun: No
  • Score: 3/10
  • Length:  ~20 hours
  • System: Nintendo 3DS
  • Genre: RPG

Metroid : Federation Force

Date Completed: July 8th, 2017

I thought this would be a fun game to play with my kids.  In spite of the goofy premise we had all enjoyed playing Triforce Heroes together and this game appeared to offer a similar dynamic.  Sadly it fell short on that account.

The game includes download play so you only need a single cartridge for multiple players but what they don’t tell you is that download play only works for the ‘Blast-Ball’ mode and not the main story.  So this ended up being a mostly single player experience.

I actually enjoyed the level design and found it to be better than I expected.  Not award winning but the detail was pretty good for a game of this type.  It’s clear the game was meant to be played by multiple players – some of the areas have four distinct wings that were clearly meant to be cleared by four distinct individuals.  I tried playing online and they were a lot more fun with randoms than playing alone.  Unfortunately it was hard to find partners online.  I seemed to have the best luck around 6-8  PM.

Missions were about 10-30 minutes each if I was playing alone.  This time could be cut drastically if I was playing online.

The only other thing I could mention is that neither of my boys were able to manage the controls.  I didn’t find any of the control options particularly intuitive which is especially strange since I thought first-person shooter controls were basically a solved problem in 2017.

Overall the game wasn’t awful but wasn’t especially memorable either.  I think it would have been a lot of fun as a local multiplayer game but without download play the cost of entry is just too high.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 5/10
  • Length:  ~10 hours
  • System: 3DS
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter, Co-op

Pokémon Yellow

pokemon_yellow_cover_art_by_comunello76-d4xfrr5Date Completed: December 28th, 2016

One day one of my college roommates said unto me “Mike, you should try playing Pokemon.  You may think it’s just a game for kids, however I think you will be surprised to find that is is a surprisingly good RPG.”  I trusted my roommate’s opinion so went off to the store to purchase a copy.  The nearest used video game story was a place by the name of ‘Funcoland’ (Since purchased by GameStop) however due to several bad experiences there we usually pronounced the name without the first ‘n’.  My roommate owned Pokemon Blue so I decided to purchase Pokemon Yellow.  After buying the game we went to the adjacent store and found Pokemon Yellow on sale BRAND NEW for 10$ cheaper.  So I bought Pokemon Yellow again and returned the first copy.

 

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Pro Tip : Never type ‘Misty Cosplay’ into Google.

I was surprised to find that Pokemon was a surprisingly good RPG and I played the crap out of that little cartridge.  With my roommate’s help I managed to catch the first 150 Pokemon ( I didn’t know about the Mew glitch so I sadly never caught 151 ).  I really got into Pokemon after that.  I bought Pokemon Gold when it came out, and we had copies of Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Snap in the apartment.

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Morbid much?

I don’t own my original cartridge anymore so when Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow came out for the 3DS virtual console I jumped at the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane.

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Sometimes it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad…

Something I learned about the past is that you can never go back.  Pokemon Yellow has not aged well.  Lots of frustrating mechanics have been ironed out in the many, many games released since generation I.  I forced myself to play all the way through to the end, although I ended up taking many breaks.

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I remember these guys…

I had taken my kids to one of the Pokemon card events at Toys R Us and overheard a portly nerd in the line in front of my discussing the recently released Pokemon virtual console games.  “Of course I bought all three of them!” he explained to another portly nerd.  I’m happy to say I’m not that guy anymore.  I enjoyed the nostalgia but I’m only going to stick with just this one game.

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Charizard FTW!

 

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 5/10
  • Length:  ~20 hours
  • System: Nintendo 3DS
  • Genre: RPG