LEGO Worlds Review

Traveller’s Tales have used the LEGO license perfectly by building Lego Worlds as a rival to Minecraft. The game is loosely tied to some rules but has a nice structure in itself to keep the players interested. The premise has the player as a space traveller who gets bumped onto the world and has his ship broken. So, he rebuilds his ship and sets off in pursuit of new words. In the way, he finds out various devices which help in building, replicating and demolishing.

There is Discovery tool which is largely used throughout the game. Just point it to a new object, hit X when it gets highlighted and the item will be added in your vast library of parts and people. You can then deploy these parts and people whenever their need arises. Going on in the game you will also get the opportunity to build an entire world from the scratch. But before that, you will get introduced to and well versed with all the rules, options and controls of the game.

You get to do amazing things and go on adventures including fighting to save a queen or saving cavemen from the wrath of volcanoes. The most amazing thing is that everything that is part of the game world is made of LEGO. So, you have almost entire control and can copy, paint, build, destroy, almost anything you want.

You can do anything you want to. Create a mountain, replicate a castle, or dig out treasure. Sometimes you may get guided by the game, sometimes you will just want to get your hands dirty and create something amazing. But learning to use the tools and getting used to its not so intelligent input manipulation is hard. Your buildings may get fiddly in the beginning, put some time into and you become an expert.

The only flaw in the game is its issue of frame rate and the camera which gets upset in congested areas. It gets especially annoying when you are moving too fast and the game loads up the terrain slowly. In local co-op mode, the game gets really patchy and may feel like everything is just disconnected from each other. But with the gameplay being of a very relaxed nature, it never becomes much of a problem.

The game has a feel that it is the first towards a much greater game. Just some tweaks here and there and Traveller’s Tales might get something outstanding in line. Still, kids can get easily lost in its world for hours and the offline and co-op mode further complement those possibilities. This game is easily a 4 out 5 for its unique experience.

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Build or Boom review

The object of Build or Boom is to be the first player to build the plans on the Blueprint Card. Once your building is done, smash your Boomer and your opponent’s structure comes down. If your tower matches exactly what’s on the card, score a point. Replace the blocks in the middle of the table and play again with a new Blueprint Card. The first Builder to reach 10 points wins.

Sounds simple, but is it really? At times, it can be, that is once the game has been played with for a while. Playing the game with my 5 year old, she and her friends struggled to get the pieces set up as pictured and it isn’t so easy to stack quickly with accuracy. For that reason, younger kids 5 to about 7 shouldn’t try to race until they really understand the game. It can be a super fast paced game that helps young children learn to react quickly and come up with some unique ideas, which is a great skill to learn. But, without the dexterity that older children have, it might make it downright frustrating to accomplish.

There’s 50 structures from the Blueprint Card deck to make. Build with speed but keep your buildings balanced. Some of these structures take some pretty careful balance. Ever build something several stories high on top of a cone before? You will now. Or boom goes the dynamite.

The game is well made from strong plastic and the packaging is sturdy. To optimize the game hopefully in future releases, they should rethink the platform by making it a flat concrete looking base and make the box from a cheaper material to cut on cost.

If you love games that are truly interactive, I give build or boom 3.5 out of 5 stars!

Video Game Reviews: Moto Racer 4

If I’m honest I’d forgotten all about the Moto Racer franchise and with good reason, it’s been over 15 years since the third game was released (although there was apparently a Nintendo DS version of the game from the same developers as this). Since then motor racing games have come a long way – be it as side-scrolling stunt games a la Trials HD; or more arcade titles like MX vs. ATV, another survivor of the PS2 era that has been resurrected (somewhat successfully, at least in terms of gameplay) by THQ Nordic; and even motorbike simulations like Ride 2 and Valentino Rossi: The Game – which means Moto Racer 4 has a lot of ground to cover.


Developed under the supervision of the original Moto Racer designer Paul Cuisset, Moto Racer 4 delivers high-speed races and a white-knuckle ride that gleefully ignores the rules of fair play in favour of ruthless aggression – think Tron‘s light cycles meets Road Rash! I mention those two icons of motorbike racing as those have seemingly had a huge influence on this new racing title: the action is as fast and furious as Road Rash and in a strange design choice, hitting turbo (activated by pulling a wheelie, aka a simple one button press) sees weird light beams fly out the back of your racers outfit a la Tron. And ehen it comes to racing outfits… well, the suits look like they’ve stepped straight out of a Power Rangers/Super Sentai show, right down to a very familiar red body suit and mask!


Speaking of graphics, they are Moto Racer 4‘s biggest downfall. Whilst ths game has been released on current-gen consoles (and works with PSVR for those lucky enough to afford it) it doesn’t even slightly push current technology – in fact graphically this racer looks like it has been ported over from iOS or Android platforms, it’s that simplistic. In fact Gameloft’s Asphalt 8, made for mobile and tablets, looks more impressive! And the graphics are nothing compared to the terrible controls – oversteering is COMPLETELY unavoidable – and odd physics, which mean that sometimes your bike feels like it’s floating above/off the road and out of your control.


Thankfully, if the graphics leave something to be desired there is at least plenty of game modes, besides the standard career and quick play/arcade, to go at (not including the VR aspects of the game available to those with PSVR):

  • KING OF THE HILL – Each rider starts with the same time on the clock. While time runs down for the leader, the other racers get extra turbo. The first player to get their counter down to zero wins the race.
  • LAST MAN STANDING – The last player to pass each checkpoint is eliminated.
  • SURVIVAL – The race starts with very little time on the clock. Players gain time by passing the checkpoints. In single-player mode, the aim is to survive for a specific length of time. In multi-player mode, the winner is the last player with time left on their clock.
  • CATCH-UP – The player’s opponents begin the race with a head start and the player must be in first place at a specific time.
  • WOLF PACK – The player begins the race with a head start and must maintain it for a certain length of time without being overtaken.
  • GHOST BIKE – The player starts the race in last place and is not allowed to deviate from the road or collide with others. Finishing in a specified minimum place.
  • GOLDEN HELMET – Competitors must earn the one golden helmet up for grabs during the race. To do this, they must be first past the initial checkpoint. If the player wearing the golden helmet is knocked by another player, s/he surrenders it to that player. If a player falls off their bike, s/he loses the helmet and it is automatically sent to the next checkpoint.

Unfortunately – thanks to the games simple graphics, bizarre physics and dodgy controls – it would seem Moto Racer 4 might be the end of this just-resurrected franchise. If you’re a motorbike game fan and REALLY want to give this one a go, wait till it hits the bargain bins at least.


Moto Racer 4 is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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Final Fantasy XV Review

At its heart, Final Fantasy games have always been about what makes us human.

While wrapped up in bombastic and grandiose storylines, the themes of love, family and companionship run deep throughout the beloved JRPG series.
Final Fantasy 15, arguably the most anticipated entry since FF7, is a game about friendship and the importance of the ties that bind.

You play Prince Noctis, a King-in-waiting, on a road trip with his four bodyguards to his wedding with a childhood friend – an arranged marriage meant to bring peace between two warring nations.

Things, of course, don’t go to plan and soon you’re left fighting for survival and all that’s important to you. And throughout the course of FF15’s 30-hour long main campaign, you’ll be doing plenty of fighting.

In an effort to appeal to a wider fanbase, developer Square Enix have ditched the series typical turned-based combat, which has been bit-by-bit phased out, for a more action-orientated approach.

Battles play out like something out of a Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden game – with a furious flurry of attacks delivered by pressing down and holding one button.

However, that only deals so much damage – so you have to make use of buffers to increase the power of your blows like hitting an enemy from their blindspot and linking blows. During fights you only control Noctis but you can shout orders to your friends Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis – then launch a powerful follow-up strike with a well-timed button press. It’s simple to pick up and play, but harder to master, with the nuances to combat making fights fast, furious and frantic – especially when swarmed by huge numbers of enemies. The bold changes means FF15’s combat system is one of its best features – unlike other entries in the series random battles are no longer a chore you have to labour through to level up but a joy to play.

The world of Eos, where Final Fantasy 15’s adventure is set, is also one of the main highlights – a vivid, gorgeous place that is teeming with life and has locations that will leave you breathless.

One such area Noctis’s journey takes you to is the city of Altissia – a Venice style location full of canals, waterfalls and gondolas which is jaw-dropping to behold

Each area, whether it is a sprawling capital or quaint town by the beach, is full of life around every corner – with random conversations you can overhear that help draw you into the setting further.

One such moment was when I ran past an upset child with his father, who was asking why his mum wasn’t able to come to dinner that night – a heart wrenching little touch that made me feel like I was in a real world. To get between these impressive locations Noctis and his friends travel the vast map of Eos in his dad’s luxury sports car, the Regalia, but these journeys aren’t just a matter of getting from A to B. Long journeys can take almost ten minutes, and during this time you’re able to take in the sights of FF15’s impressive locals, stumble across side quests and learn more about your friends/bodyguards.

Large parts of the character building occurs during these scenes, with your three musketeers talking to you and revealing more about themselves and the camaraderie between the quartet. During these road trips I learnt about Prompto’s love of photography, Gladiolus’s passion of reading and how Ignis always likes to be the one driving. These little moments, along with the banter between the ragtag bunch of heroes, helps to flesh them and their relationships out – making them some of Final Fantasy’s most vivid characters yet. Their friendship, which turns into a brotherhood, is the driving force in a story which at times feels a bit muddled and vague. A number of big story beats fail to resonate as powerfully as they could have done because what’s happening is not explained clearly enough.

While that is an issue, Final Fantasy games often have stories that can seem impenetrable or hard to grasp – it’s the experience as a whole that makes it worthwhile.

And with FF15 the awesome combat system, beautiful world and memorable characters all combine to make it one of the series best entries in years.

Like with the revered Final Fantasy 7, Noctis’s adventure in Eos breathes new life into the JRPG genre and is set to draw in a whole new audience of players. Square Enix have shown that you can teach an old dog new tricks – and with it created one of the best games of this generation.

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WWE 2K17 Review

After playing the game for about 5 days, I can honestly say I’ve played enough of this game to give some final thoughts on it. I doubt anyone personally cares what I think, but I decided “hey it’s the internet so ill post it because I can”. I’ve divided everything up into a few sections so can individually go over everything with some detail. prepare to read huge walls of text as i begin my review.


Out of everything that was hyped for 2K17, My Career Mode took the cake. The addition of Promos and the Paul heyman guy challenge shown in the trailers seemed to show us that the game was heading in the right direction. Upon actually playing the mode, however, you find out that its just as bland and grindy as the last two games. The lack of progression feels so awful when your fighting the same people every week, putting on the best matches you can with the likes of Fandango and Bo Dallas, attempting to create 5 star watches with jobbers just so you can move up the ranks. My career mode feels like a crappy version of Universe Mode where you have to grind until the end of time to increase stats, attributes or even to buy a decent finishing move pack. Overall, it’s a huge disappointment.


Throughout all the wrestling games ever made, the last 3 have had the best gameplay by far. The addition of Roll outs, a better ladder setup system, new mini-game for ladder matches and the new OMG moments, have all created a very realistic feel to the game that is much needed. Many glitches do occur here and there and the overall pacing of the matches still seems a little too fast for my taste, none the less it’s the best gameplay we’ve had thus far.


This one seems to be a very debatable issue as certain aspects of the game look great, while others seem to fall very flat. I noticed pretty quickly that certain characters had more attention to detail then others, as if they just couldn’t afford a budget for other characters. The likes of Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Finn Balor and some others have amazing lighting, attention to detail and overall great textures/models. Other characters, however, have gotten the “PS2 Graphics” treatment where they look like they were made in the character creation tool but look far worse. I’m not entirely impressed with the graphics nor am i really that disappointed in them as these most sports games have meh visuals.


Out of everything that is wrong with 2k17, Universe mode seems to be what saves this game from being put in the bargain bin. Universe mode provides endless customization, playability, and overall player control. Where Career Mode seems to have its faults, Universe seems to provide the fix for them along with providing loads of content.


Usually, this is something I could really care less about in most games, however, this interface is just awful. Universe mode specifically seems to be harder to navigate through, not to mention that once you start a show, you can’t go back to change any universe settings, check the calendar or reach basic universe functions like who holds the current title.


WWE 2K17 provides more content then the previous game and delivers gameplay that certainty out matches any of the previous games. However, i don’t think this should be something 2k should be praised for. Many of the “New additions” aren’t even new at all. Backstage brawling and crowd fighting were done long ago with even more content included with it and in much more detail. The creation suite has loads of content to deck your character out with, however, past games have had a pretty fair amount of customization until 2k15 came out with its new gameplay engine. The honest truth is that a wrestling game like SVR 2007 and 2008 had loads more content then the current games do and even delivered massively in the My Career mode with full-voiced characters, customizing locker rooms and the ability to go through a full-blown story with a created character or current WWE Star. WWE 2k17 is playing a long game of catch up with older games and that’s disappointing. The only area 2k17 seems to evolve and capitalize on is its realistic gameplay, even then though it has trouble keeping it afloat. I will give this game an final score of 6/10

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Dark Souls 3 Review

The “Dark Souls” series has become synonymous with one thing: punishing difficulty. But the series isn’t just for masochists who crave a more difficult brand of video game. “Dark Souls 3” has a comparable difficulty to its predecessors, sure, but the experience is much more than a rigorous loop of trial and error. 

The “Dark Souls” experience is about discovery, progression and success that grants a sense of satisfaction that is severely lacking in much of the adventure genre. “Dark Souls 3” impeccably improves on the structure of the original “Dark Souls” and “Dark Souls 2” all while managing to make the experience more accessible to newcomers. 

“Dark Souls 2” introduced players to a vast open world, but one that suffered from flaws in its layout. In an otherwise excellent game, it had several new areas to explore that all branched from the central hub area. Having the hub at the center of everything meant that the player had to do a lot of backtracking, and never ventured far from home. There’s a psychology to that design that doesn’t mesh with the game’s tone. The “Dark Souls” experience is about exploring areas that feel inherently foreign. Each new environment welcomes the player with hordes of dangerous creatures and numerous twisting paths that lead to parts unknown. By design, each new area is supposed to feel alienating. Some of that feeling is lost when the warm, welcoming hub world is nearby. 

In “Dark Souls 3” the hub world can’t even be accessed on foot. It’s far away and can only be accessed by bonfire travel. The knight, or warlock or thief that you’ve created is on his or her own in the uninviting and terrifying world. Every step journeys farther away from a place of normalcy. “Bloodborne” perfected the art of an interconnected open world; one where progressing to new areas somehow linked to previous ones. “Dark Souls 3” shows that From Software recognizes that perfection. Discovering new areas in this game conveys a mix of reward and fear of what lies ahead that isn’t found in other games. 

The “Dark Souls” series usually has a front loaded difficulty. That’s especially the case with “Bloodborne.” The beginning areas are the most difficult while the player figures out what works and what doesn’t. Then things finally “click” and the player can breeze through future areas. “Dark Souls 3” is more balanced. The beginning isn’t as punishing. Actually, it is, but no more punishing from the rest of the game. 

The balance of “Dark Souls 3’s” combat is one of its most underrated achievements. Balance is as important to a game like this as it is to something like the “Street Fighter” series. There are many ways to approach its action. The game offers dozens of weapons to choose from throughout the journey, all which have different attack speeds and unique abilities. Different characters can rely on spells or arrows for ranged attack. It’s possible to make a character who relies on counter punching after a successful block or parry. I got hooked on “Bloodborne’s” style and never relied on a shield, and instead crafted a character with good agility for dodging. 

There isn’t a right or wrong way to approach a character in “Dark Souls 3.” Every type has their own strengths and weaknesses. There’s no exploitive easy button character. “Dark Souls 3” is designed to be challenging for every character class. My advice is to choose one path and continue it. Don’t start with a mage and change it to a knight halfway through the game. Don’t become a jack of all trades and a master of none. Specialization is key. 
“Dark Souls 3” is an excellent jumping off point for the uninitiated. The lore isn’t connected to the first two games, at least as far as one could tell during the review process. The “Souls” series is lore heavy, so there may be some deep-seeded connection between all three games, but newcomers won’t miss much in that department. More importantly, “Dark Souls 3” doesn’t assume the player knows the gameplay mechanics from the previous games. That’s partially because much of the core mechanics have been altered in the sequel. 
Hollowing is gone. The biggest annoyance and arguably the most punishing aspect of “Dark Souls 2” is no more. Hollowing used to mean the player’s maximum health decreased with each death. In a game like “Dark Souls” where one dies a lot, this can be a serious hindrance on progress. I always viewed it like the game was punishing me for even attempting a new area or boss. Fortunately, that mechanic is gone in “Dark Souls 3.” Well, it’s mostly gone. The player will lose some health upon death, but it doesn’t stack with subsequent deaths. The process can be reversed with ember items, which are comparable to human effigies from the previous game. Restoring humanity (it’s called harnessing the power of the Lord of Cinder in “Dark Souls 3”) with embers is also tied to the game’s co-op gameplay. 

Co-op phantoms can only be summoned if humanity is restored to the player. In other words, you’ll have to use an ember in order to summon help from a friend. Ember availability is close to how plentiful human effigies were in “Dark Souls 2.” They can also be purchased in exchange for souls in the hub area. Defeating any boss will also restore humanity without having to burn an ember usage.

Online play of the “Souls” series has always been unique. Summoning a friend is an easy way to get through a boss that has been beating you to a pulp for ten or more attempts. It’s the same in “Dark Souls 3.” There should be a limit on how many times one can summon a friend. It takes away from some of the game’s difficulty, which takes away from the satisfaction once victory is achieved. 

The game’s message system thankfully returns, which is one of the most genius uses of online play in any adventure game. Message senders are limited to what words they can leave for other players, but the game gives enough options to be descriptive. Each message is a helping hand from a nameless player going through the same tribulations that you are. It’s like the players are bound by the fraternity of “Dark Souls” and feel compelled to leave helpful messages to others in need. There’s hope for internet comments yet!

The “Dark Souls” series has an undeniable learning curve. There’s absolutely no way anyone will pick up a game controller for the first time and begin with a “Dark Souls” game. It’s an acquired taste that requires patience and appreciation for what the game asks of its players. Once that “eureka” moment happens, the game becomes one of the most rewarding experiences in the medium. Give it a chance, stick with it and make each death a learning experience. It might just become your new favorite series. 

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Megaman X8 Review

As challenging as it is dated, Megaman X8 is an old-school style action game that will please longtime fans of the series but may leave some newer gamers frustrated and wondering what all the hype is about.

Capcom is known for having created many classic video game franchises over the years, but none quite equal the sheer size and scope of their Mega Man games. The popular action-gaming franchise debuted in 1987, and over the past 20 years, there have more than 50 different titles bearing the hero’s name, including a handful of spinoffs that have gone on to spawn subseries in their own right. The first of these was the Megaman X series, a futuristic spin on the series which made its Japanese debut in 1993. The most recent release in this spinoff series, Megaman X8, came out for the Sony PlayStation 2 in 2004, and while some things have changed, this is one game that is clearly worthy of its predecessors in just about every possible way.Gameplay

If you’re a fan of previous Mega Man titles, you know what to expect out of Megaman X8 in terms of gameplay. This is a side-scrolling adventure game that features plenty of running, jumping, dodging and shooting action, and as always, this is a challenging game. It may not be as brutally hard as the old-school 8-bit Mega Man games, and it does feature three selectable difficulty levels as well as customizable controls. Even so, this is one title that will put most gamers to the test and will pose a serious challenge to casual players even on easy.


The game features three main characters, each with different abilities. There’s Mega Man, known as X in the game, who uses a charge shot, as well as Axl, who can fire his weapon in a 360 degree arc and glide in the air for a short period of time, and Zero, who uses a sword for melee based attacks and can double-jump. Following an introductory level in which you control all three at various times, you need to select two characters for each mission. Over the course of the game, they will gain new abilities, and you can also purchase upgrades for them back at their headquarters as well. Furthermore, they can also utilize a powerful double attack move, and each level features multiple routes and another series staple, fun and challenging boss battles.


The Megaman X series as a whole takes place in the 22nd century, as humans and robots named “Reploids” live in peaceful co-existence. Well, for the most part, as every once in a while these Reploids turn rogue and are then branded as Mavericks. X, Axl and Zero are part of a group known as the Maverick Hunters, who work to quell Reploid rebellions and keep the peace. At the start of X8, we learn that people are working to build an elevator into space as part of the “Jakob Project” which is being led by a series of new-type Reploids.

All is well until X and his team come across an old nemesis, a former hunter named Vile who betrayed them earlier in the Megaman X timeline. Vile, as it turns out, has kidnapped Lumine, the Reploid in charge of the Jakob Project, and has vowed that “A new world will be born!” It is up to the Maverick Hunters to find out exactly what Vile is up to and put a stop to it, but as is usually the case in video games, things are not always as cut and dry as they may seem. As the plot progresses, there will be plenty of twists and perhaps some more familiar faces making their returns. The story is mildly interesting, and does a good job of tying the action together, but unless you’re at least somewhat familiar with the previous games in this series, you might feel a little lost at the ballpark.

Graphics and Sound

Considering this game is now more than four years old, I’m going to cut it a little slack, but the graphics and sound quality isn’t all that great, to be honest. You probably won’t notice much in the heat of battle, but the character designs, while large, lack detail. The environments aren’t all that bad, and both the anime cutscenes and the character portraits that appear during conversation are fairly well drawn. The voice acting seems fairly lifeless on the whole, and the music reeks of 1980s stadium rock. All in all, it’s no better than average.

In terms of overall quality, Megaman X8 just barely eeks out a Five-Star ranking from me. Despite what I said about cutting the game slack due to its age, the fact is that this is a very old looking game in terms of presentation. On top of that, it will likely be too hard for many gamers out there, even considering the fact that there are multiple difficulty levels to choose from. That said, if you’re the type of gamer who thrives on challenge, and you enjoy a good old-school style run-and-gun type of action game, this is definitely right up your alley. It is definitely a worthy successor to the Mega Man name, and is worth at least a rental if you still have an Playstation 2.

final rating: 4/5 stars

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Retro Video Game Review- Final Fantasy XII

Although the Final Fantasy series is known to shake things up with every release in the numbered series, it’s hard to believe without playing Final Fantasy XII that the formula would be shaken up so much. The game is largely polarizing among the series’ audience, some love it, some hate it, all for a range of different reasons.
Unlike its predecessors, Final Fantasy XII’s combat system works in real-time.
The classic and heavily refined turn based combat system that was once a staple of the Final Fantasy series is gone, with a real-time combat system similar to that of an MMO in its place. The combat system works by placing each command on a timer similar to the ATB meter on previous games, a command is selected, it charges up for a set amount of time and is then executed by the character. The game takes full advantage of the real-time combat system by removing battle arenas and making the world of Ivalice a combat area, the game no longer drags you out of the overworld to fight seemingly random appearing enemies instead, you can avoid combat if you like.

Alongside summons which are a returning feature in the series, Final Fantasy XII features abilities call quickenings as a replacement for limit breaks in previous titles. The quickening is a large-scale attack from a character that can be continuously chained using other members in the party. The system gives the player a mini-game with quick time events to keep the chain up with an increasing difficulty to keep the chain going. When used, quickenings drain the characters mana points meaning that a last-ditch attempt to bring down a boss with quickenings fails, there is no way for party members to cast magic without the lengthy process of spamming ethers.

Both quickenings and summons become relatively underpowered further through the game and are pretty useless to use late game, this results in a limited options for combat in the later portions of the game and does take some of the fun and depth out of the combat.

It’s hard to say that the gameplay has aged in any particular way, the combat feels fast and responsive and because of the limited nature of movement in the game, it doesn’t feel floaty or fiddly like older game tend to do. There are some occasions when trying to face an object like a chest at the right angle so that a prompt appears to open it but this is rarely difficult to the point of it being annoyance.

Both quickenings and summons become relatively underpowered further through the game and are pretty useless to use late game, this results in a limited options for combat in the later portions of the game and does take some of the fun and depth out of the combat.

It’s hard to say that the gameplay has aged in any particular way, the combat feels fast and responsive and because of the limited nature of movement in the game, it doesn’t feel floaty or fiddly like older game tend to do. THere are some occasions when trying to face an object like a chest at the right angle so that a prompt appears to open it but this is rarely difficult to the point of it being annoyance.

With the real-time aspect of the combat system, the Gambit system has been introduced to allow you to keep party members in order and doing exactly what you want them to as party leader and when. The system works by giving the player a set amount of conditions and actions to correspond with them. A simple example of this would be to have a character automatically use a potion if a character in the party has their hit points drop below a certain percentage. The gambits are listed in order of importance to make sure a character doesn’t prioritize DPS over healing a party member if they are your primary healer. The system can be complicated to get a grasp of but results in a sophisticated and effective party if mastered. The system can be made more thorough in terms of increasing the amount of things a party member can do further into the game, it allows the party to be ready to counter the large amount of status effects enemies later in the game can cause with ease.

The gambit system can result in a dysfunctional and potentially catastrophic party set up if you don’t have the full grasp of the system though, for characters can start fighting enemies on full health while being attacked by those that can be easily finished off with a few hits because of the gambit that sets party members to attack the enemy closest to them and not the one the partly leader is targeting. This can result in heavy damage to the party when it can be avoided. Thankfully, the game features an effective tutorial to explain how everything works.

Although the gambit system works great, it does take a lot of effort out of the combat, I found myself turning off gambits for my primary character and setting the other party member’s gambits to correspond with my actions so it felt like I was actually doing something. It’s a small gripe of my own that may not be shared but a gripe all the same.

Final Fantasy XII also features a very deep character progression system, this is done with the licence system which allows the player to progress each of the characters in the party in any way they see fit. This results in a beautiful amount of freedom when it comes to party organisation. The licence board works as the way characters learn new abilities as well as learning how to use different pieces of equipment, each checker on the board represents a different weapon, piece of equipment, ability or augment which can be learned by spending points dropped by fallen enemies.

Each party members licence board is identical to each other with very slight differences when it comes to the positioning of abilities call quickenings. This means that every character is able to equip any weapon, wear any armour and use any spell if they’ve gained the licence for it on the board. While this does add an exceptional amount of depth, it does take away from the personality of party members when it comes to using them in battle. It’s possible to have Basche, a disgraced member of the Dalmascan military as a full magic based character in battle. While this is great from a gameplay perspective, it contradicts the narrative around the characters somewhat.

The game’s art style also vastly differs from its predecessors taking in a lot of visual influence from middle eastern cultures such as ancient egypt with the use of statues similar to that of the statues of Pharaohs for its more ancient areas within the game. The game’s art style is not free of the trademark grandeur and beauty that the Final Fantasy series is known for though. even the games mines are intricately detailed and grand in terms of architecture. The games characters in terms of design also feel much more grounded in this iteration in the series, each of them are distinctly japanese in terms of style but their weaponry and clothing feel much more based in reality for a game in a fantasy setting (bunny eared characters make an exception to this).

The game in terms of its visual fidelity has definitely aged, the serious lack of anti aliasing makes the game look like a pixellated mess on a high-resolution screen, as the game is practically impossible to buy new, I’d recommend that you play it through an emulator on a much higher resolution with anti aliasing turned on, with this, the game tends to look much better than a lot of early Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 titles because of its art style.. The cut scenes on the PS2 version are still stunning in their own right and hold up well to modern games, While they are beautiful, they are also frequent and tended to pull me out of the game, cut scenes have never been a thing I’ve particularly liked, while they are absolutely beautiful in the game, I would have preferred something real-time or at least a storytelling method that is a little more immersive.

The voice acting in the game is pretty top-notch and is a vast improvement over previous titles in the series, with Final Fantasy X’s voice acting paling in comparison. The voice acting on the english dubbed version avoids the stereotypical anime voice acting silliness that is prevalent within a lot of english dubbed titles for the east, not that there is anything wrong with those but it does have a bit more grab with a broader audience from the west because of this.

The story feels much less character driven than previous titles, with more of the feel of a massive space opera or fantasy epic, Vaan kind of fits the mould of previous Final Fantasy protagonists but he does have a lot less character than previous protagonists have, instead, he feels like a hollow shell for the player to use as a vehicle through the game. This isn’t inherently bad but it is different from its predecessors and may be a turn off for certain fans of the series. The game can draw comparisons with Final Fantasy VI by including a large cast of characters each with their own motives for being involved in the plot however, it lacked an emotional drive to push me through the game. Instead, the political and militaristic based plotline was what kept me interested. The game picks up and drops small plot points throughout the game but overall, the story is pretty solid and engaging and its cast of characters is equally as solid with a few exceptions, Baltheir and Basche being highlights in the cast.

Overall, Final Fantasy XII is a fantastic RPG and a highlight to the PS2 era of gaming, it’s combat system is deep and responsive, it’s party management mechanics are top-notch and hold up to modern standards, its graphics when emulated are still beautiful and beat a lot of games from the early 360/PS3 lifespan and it’s story is engaging end epic. I would definitely recommend playing this game.

WWE 2K16 review 

WWE’s highly anticipated annual game, WWE 2K16 released today, and I’ve had an opportunity to play through this year’s edition. It’s refreshing to say that 2K and WWE didn’t eliminate much, if anything from last year’s title, something 2K15 couldn’t say. The additions, however, are noticeable. Although it isn’t without flaws, WWE 2K16 is a major leap forward for wrestling fans everywhere.

Before The Match
Right out of the gate, there were some unfortunate things that caught my attention. The audio on this game left plenty to be desired. In-ring commentary has never been good on a pro wrestling game, so that was no surprise. However, the ring announcing by Lillian Garcia was chopped up, and didn’t go together well as it should have been. That, coupled with the fact that the audience pops aren’t where they should be for entrances, it takes away from the experience before your character even gets in the ring.

Inside the ring
Once inside the ring, there were improvements and setbacks. I’m all for a simulation, based game, but the pace in which 2K has set for WWE 2K16 is incredibly slow, maybe the slowest of any pro wrestling game ever. I was glad to see that they seemed to increase the size of the ring, after reducing it last year.

Some of the movements are a little weird, and simple things like stomps can sometimes take too long, but an addition I really liked was that of the usage of the ropes. Wrestlers back one another into the ropes out of headlocks, lock ups, and things of that nature. You can choose whether or not you want to make a clean break, as well. Also, characters pull their opponents back towards the ropes before using an Irish whip, which was something I never knew I’d wanted in a game until WWE 2K16.

The referees are slow in this game. Really, really slow. Frustratingly slow. It sometimes takes three seconds for the ref to get on the ground to make the three count. It’s also pretty hard upon first play, for me at least, but I don’t consider that a negative in any way, shape or form, even though it did take me five tries to beat Sami Zayn with Seth Rollins, and he kicked out of three Pedigrees. I digress. The reversal system is a welcome change, as you now have a set number of reversals (you can earn more), and matches aren’t just an endless chain of reversal, reversal, reversal. There are also small things, like characters remaining in a seated position to sell after a kickout that really helps and adds a realistic nature to the game. Top rope moves also land with more fluidity than past incarnations.

The roster speaks for itself, the largest ever. This was something that had to be done after 2K peeved a lot of fans last year with the lackluster roster. Still, the exclusion of Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch is inexcusable. Regardless of the weak reasons 2K offered fans for this, they have tons of NXT talent in the game. Fortunately there are 100 created wrestler slots, so I’m sure someone will make spot-on versions of these women to download.

I’m a big fan of having as many moves as possible in a video game (Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, y’all), and WWE 2K16 did an excellent job of adding that. Although moves like the piledriver have been banned from WWE TV, they remain in the games, and the Curb Stomp got the same treatment, which was nice. Many of the missing match types from last year have returned as well, giving the game a much more complete feel.

Customization and Career
Customization is a really cool part of WWE 2K16. If you want to throw a mask on Sami Zayn and make him relive his indy days, go for it. If you’d like to create your own supershow, have at it. Create-a-title is also back in the game, as well as create-a-diva. Create-a-finisher has not returned, but that mode had so many issues with it, there probably wasn’t much worth saving. You can also build your own arenas that compliment your custom shows, and use logos that fit them. The creation suite is worth checking this game out in itself.
The Steve Austin mode is fun. I won’t spoil anything, but you play through the story of Stone Cold Steve Austin all the way from his WCW days right up until today. Nothing has matched WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain’s story mode (which had infinite flexibility due to it being text based, without commentary holding it back), but this is a pretty cool mode and worth playing through.

WWE Universe mode doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere, and a not a whole lot has changed with it. Fans have clamored for the return of GM mode, as well as the aforementioned Here Comes The Pain career mode, but it appears that WWE Universe mode will have to do for now. There’s nothing wrong with it, it just turns into an endless cycle fairly quickly.

My Career mode is a giant improvement, but that isn’t saying a lot, as last year’s edition (and the game as a whole) was one of the worst ever put forth by WWE. This year, you won’t work and work and work, only to have your game abruptly ended after reaching your goal. There’s plenty of improvements to be made, but it’s a way better experience this year.

One of the most infuriating things about WWE 2K16 is microtransactions. After you pay 63 bucks for the game, 2K asks you to spend upwards of 30 dollars more for additional characters, moves, features and things of the like. That’s just the way things are these days, but $100 for a complete game is a little too much to ask.

Closing Thoughts
All in all, there were significant improvements and fixes to this game. Last year’s edition was an all-time bad pro wrestling game, and WWE 2K16 is more than solid choice. I enjoy the realism of the game, but sometimes the gameplay gets too slow due to selling, which may end up being a good thing, since you can’t spam German Suplexes anymore. I’d recommend this purchase, even if you were jaded by last year’s terrible output.

Graphics- 8.5

Replayability- 7.5

Audio- 7

In-Ring- 8.5

Online- 8.5

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