Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Pokemon Red/Blue/Green/Yellow

Available On: Game Boy

Story: This is the game that started Poke-madness in the late 90's. You play as an 11-year-old boy who is summoned to your local Professor's lab to become a Pokemon Trainer, and to help him complete his Pokedex (Pokemon Encyclopedia). You then travel the Kanto region, battling the 8 Gym Leaders, taking one a gang know as Team Rocket, and battling other trainers along the way. You also have a rival (who is also the Professor's grandson). Once you have beaten the Gym Leaders, you must take on the Elite 4. The goal of the game is to beat the Elite 4 and capture all 151 Pokemon to complete the Pokedex.

Game Play: This game plays like your standard RPG where you travel from area to area battling and leveling your team. An added feature that was new at the time is trading and battling your Pokemon with a friend using the Game Boy Link Cable. Pokemon Yellow added in features from the TV show like starting off with Pikachu, being able to talk to your Pikachu to see how he is, a surfing Pikachu mini-game, and fighting Jesse and James from Team Rocket.

Look: This game has a look that is similar to other RPGs released at the time for the walking part of the game but set in a more modern time. The big difference is when it gets to the battles. Once a battle starts, you are introduced to the Pokemon or its Trainer. The view at this point looks like you are actually have your Pokemon in front of you, unlike other RPGs where you do not see your team members sprites at all or a side view.

Sound: The soundtrack is really memorable, and each of the 151 Pokemon have their own call. They even made a symphony out of the music from the game, and the theme to Lavender Town even inspired a Creepypasta about it.

Replay Value: Once the main story of beating the Elite 4 is complete, you still have to complete your Pokedex. Once you complete the Pokedex, the only thing you can do is trade or battle friends using the Game Boy Link Cable, or fighting the Elite 4 again and again and again.

Pros: At the time of this game's release and for the fact it was a portable game, this was an amazing amount of content. It normally takes me around 23 hours to beat this game from start to finish without completing the Pokedex. If this is your first time or your twentieth time playing it, this game is still a blast to play.

Cons: Until you get the BICYCLE or have a Pokemon that can use FLY, it takes forever to get around the map. Eventually RUNNING SHOES would be added to the series and made it less of a hassle walking between towns at the beginning of the game.

Overall: I am still a huge fan of this game. It was a classic for the Game Boy and definitely worth checking out if you have never played it before (I have actually met people who haven't), or if you want to take a nice journey down memory lane. If the internet was as big as it is now back when this game was release tons of children (myself included) would have logged fewer hours on our game chasing schoolyard rumors of secret Pokemon and areas. That was all the fun though, trying to be the very best like no one ever was, and trying to catch them all. That still holds true almost 20 years later.

Score: B

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Batman: Arkham Knight

Available On: Mac, PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One

Story: On Halloween, Scarecrow forces an evacuation of Gotham City after threatening to unleash his potent new fear toxin. You must stop him, or die trying. Going into this game, I had very little knowledge of the "Arkhamverse" being I had played Batman: Arkham Aslyum, but had not played the other games in the series. Batman: Arkham Knight came with my Playstation 4 and it was the only game I had so I gave it a try, plus the Red Hood (Jason Todd) is one of my favorite Batman characters and they hyped him being in the game. I was not prepared for how quickly all hell would break loose in this game and all the twists this game would take. 

Game Play: This is an Action Adventure game that puts you in the role of Batman. You glide, grapple, run, and drive your way around Gotham, hunting down the Scarecrow and a host of other Batman villains. There are a ton of missions to complete, and in order to get the true ending you must complete all the missions.

Look: I love how this game looks. Being a fan of Batman comics, this game is like seeing the comics come to life better then any movie has done yet. There were some classic Batman comic scenes that were remade into this game, like the infamous Killing Joke scene involving Barbra Gordon. I also love the design of the Arkham Knight in the game.

Sound: My biggest gripe I had with this game was how much dialogue was reused with the thugs. I can only hear the same lines about Two-Face, the Penguin, and Scarecrow so many times before it gets repetitive.

Replay Value: The game's main story clocks in at about 15 hours, and all the side missions add another 10 hours. That brings the game up to 25 hours, which isn't terrible. The current DLC of Harley Quinn, Red Hood, and Batgirl add about 2 more hours to your play time. There is also a DLC mission staring Nightwing but it has not been released at the time of this review. Finding all the Riddler's Trophies and Challenges will take the most amount of time to find over any of the other missions.

Pros: The story was great, and your "Spiritual Guide" helps keep the game flowing. I had a great time hunting down some major Batman villains but I do wish that a few others were included (at least the ones they picked were great). It was also fun having the A.I adapt to your take-down techniques (If you used grates to take down guards, they will try to flush you out with grenades).

Cons: Besides the reused dialog, finding all the Riddler Trophies and Challenges (over 230 to find scattered all over the city, in every possible place) to be able to fight the Riddler was an annoyance more then a challenge. At times the Batmobile's turning felt sloppy, especially during the Tunnel Chase with the Arkham Knight, which caused some unneeded annoyance. The last thing that I felt was a problem with the game was the Cobra Tanks. These are tanks that you must track from behind to destroy, that's not the problem the problem is when they have 6 of these and they all stay in the same area together (this seemed to happen more when Batman had Alfred raise the bridges to prevent a person from escaping the area), so every time you go near them to try to destroy one, you get blown to hell instead. 

Overall: I really enjoyed playing Arkham Knight. I was not expecting the twists that happened in the story, so I was always on edge when a cut-scene happened.

Score: B+