Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Part 2 – Game review

Kingdom Hearts is back and bigger than ever!

Kingdom Hearts 2 was original released on the PS2 in December 2005. You play as Sora who travels to different worlds in search of your friends Riku and Kairi. The story grows ever more complex with the introduction of new enemies and plot twists.

  • Gameplay: Just like the previous title, the FPS has been cranked up to 60. The combat is super fast and engaging which makes it a blast to play. You constantly have to watch what attacks your enemies are doing and learn to best avoid or guard them. The HD version which is a special “final mix” version of the game adds lots of new content such as a new drive form, tons of new boss fights, and new abilities to make combat more engaging.
  • Graphics: Graphics have been smoothed out but amazingly still goes toe to toe with the original on PS2. Below is a great comparison of the difference in graphics.

  • Sounds: Music most notably sounds much clearer, however the overall sound is pretty much the same. There are some cases of boss voice lines not playing like they should however it does not majorly effect boss fights.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 is a great HD remake that adds more features and feels better than the original. If you have never played Kingdom Hearts 2, this is the best version to play and I would consider the best one in the series.

I give Kingdom Hearts 2.5 a 9/10.

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 Part 1 – Game review

Disney and Square Enix make a child

Kingdom Hearts was originally released for the PS2 on March 28, 2002 and developed by Square Enix (SquareSoft at the time). It is an action adventure RPG set in Disney and Final Fantasy worlds. You play as Sora who wants to travel to different worlds with his friends Riku and Kairi, but get more than they expected. Because this review is for the HD version of Kingdom Hearts I will be comparing the original to the new.

  • Gameplay: The frame rate has been increased to 60 FPS which makes the combat and movement much smoother and better to look at. This unfortunately does not always apply to everyone and thing in the game. Some enemies are still in 30 FPS and this is obvious if you sit and watch some enemies for a few seconds. Otherwise, nothing major has been changed to the combat system other than an extra ability or two. This to me is a bit of a problem because the combat can feel slow and not fair at times.
  • Graphics: As mentioned above, not only has the game been cranked up to 60 FPS but the graphics have been upgraded as well. Every character model and environment has been smoothed out to make it easier to look at and not as choppy. Below is a video showing these differences using a PS3.

  • Sounds: The sound quality overall has been improved. Music doesn’t sound compressed and sounds from enemies and abilities are easier to hear.

Overall, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD for the PS4 has greatly improved graphics and sound but no real changes in the gameplay area. If you are a Kingdom Hearts fan or someone who played them years ago and wants to play them again this is the perfect opportunity.

I give Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD an 8/10.

 

Ori and the Blind Forest – Game Review

Beautiful environments and heart warming story

Ori and the Blind Forest is an adventure platformer created in 2015 by Moon Studios. Moon Studios also released the Definitive edition in 2016 which added more content like new abilities and hidden areas. You play as Ori, a spirit who lost her home when the life tree lost its light and the forest died. It is now up to you to restore the light and bring the forest back to life.

  • Gameplay: The game is a fast paced platformer that keeps you on your toes with a variety of enemies and tight controls. Enemies respond instantly when you attack or get near them which makes you learn to dodge effectively. You learn the story through ominous dialog as you explore to each elemental area.
Story told through ominous dialog.
  • Graphics: Everything about the graphics are incredible. The background, particle effects, character design, all have a unique style unlike any other.
The beautiful environment
  • Sound: I could listen to the music all day, its soothing and makes you feel at home while listening to it. Sound effects are intense, your attacks sound strong and environmental sounds are powerful.

Overall, Ori and the Blind Forest is a damn good game. To be honest, in my first playthrough I expected to play a couple hours but ended beating it in one sitting which took me about 8 hours. The story is enticing, the exploration is engaging, and the story gives you feels for days. I can’t recommend this game enough, its a ton of fun and its worth ever penny!

I give Ori and the Blind Forest a 10/10.

 

Horizon Zero Dawn – Game Review

 Machines and nature in one world

Horizon Zero Dawn is a 3rd person action adventure game developed by Guerrilla Games. You play as Aloy, a born outcast, raised by another outcast named Roth, who wants to discover who her mother is and where she came from.

  • Gameplay: Combat wise the game bring nothing new to the table. You have two weapons, a bow that fires different types of arrows like fire or explosive arrows and you also carry a spear for melee which is also used to override different machines to give you control of them as you travel throughout the world. Horizon Zero Dawn is an open world game so you can explore and do quests whenever you want.
Bow and arrow weapon
  • Graphics: The environments and character models while exploring look amazing. Some examples you will come across are forest and desert biomes. Environments have tons of little details that bring out each biome’s unique atmosphere. However, cut scenes, specifically side quest cut scenes, can make many of the characters look very robotic, which for me personally ruins some of the immersion for the world.
The beautiful environment in Horizon Zero Dawn

 

  • Sound: Music is tribal style with drums and chanting that makes the world much more primitive than it really is. The sounds of the environments, weapons, and machine animals are fantastic. Each different sound lets you instantly know what you are up against and brings out the environments to their absolute best.

 

Overall, Horizon Zero Dawn feels like many of the more recent open world games. Follow this main quest to a village and get 5 different side quests. Find the tall object and climb it to see more of the map. Very basic skill leveling system that adds minor to moderate upgrades to your damage or already known skills. However, even with the seemingly cliche nature of the gameplay, the story and world are well made and interesting to explore which keeps the game from becoming too unoriginal. You can purchase Horizon Zero Dawn for the PS4.

I give Horizon Zero Dawn a 7/10.

The Talos Principle – Game Review

Puzzles and an existential crisis!

Developed by Croteam, most notably known for their work on the Serious Sam series, The Talos Principle is a first person puzzle game for the PS4 and computer released in 2014. You play as a robot who solves these puzzles to try and figure out why you exist.

  • Gameplay: You are required to use your critical thinking skills to solve each puzzle by using items found in each area. Items vary from using boxes to activate switches or using wind turbines to jump over obstacles. As you solve each puzzle you receive a tetris piece which you use to unlock new areas. Also, as you solve puzzles you use terminals to ask questions about where you are and who you are to progress through the story.
  • Graphics: The game has an amazing realistic art style that brings out the detail in each puzzle. Each level is bright and vibrant with varying themes such as Egyptian and medieval.
  • Sound: Most of the noises are ambient sounds or background noise like insects and birds. The music that does play is ominous yet inviting which makes the world a more mysterious place to be in.

Overall, The Talos Principle is a complex puzzle game with an even more complex story. Every puzzle feels unique and always gives that sense of gratification when beat. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who wants a good and challenging puzzle experience. You can purchase the game for the PS4 or download it through Steam.

I give The Talos Principle a 9/10.

Final Fantasy XV – Game Review

It’s bro time!

Final Fantasy XV is the newest console Final Fantasy game for the PS4 and Xbox One created by Square Enix. It is a real time action/adventure J-RPG that takes place in the world of Eos. You play as Noctis and travel the world with your three friends Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto to find the ancient weapons called the weapons of Lucii and reclaim the throne in Lucis.

  • Gameplay: Combat has a mix of being fast and slow action. Fast in the sense that you rush in and do several attacks quickly then slow to back off and dodge attacks. Sadly the game likes to be more slow than it does fast. This mix works well but sometimes makes the game feel sluggish and tedious.
  • Graphics: Environments are breath taking. Combat is visually complex and bright which makes combat amazing to watch even with the occasional slow downs. Some boss battles are so intense; I personally wanted to stop playing to simply enjoy the incredible detail that went into these fights.
  • Sound: The ambient sounds of the world make the world feel alive and huge. Every large step from an enemy feels powerful and feels like a large battle. The music is calming yet makes you ready for an epic adventure. Mixed with the jukebox which lets you listen to many different songs from previous games; you will have hours and hours of epic songs and nostalgia.

Overall, Final Fantasy XV is a pretty game that has some shortcomings in combat that can slow the game down but still makes you want to play just to discover more of the gorgeous world Square Enix has created. You can purchase Final Fantasy XV for the PS4 and Xbox One

I give Final Fantasy XV an 8/10.

Terraria – Game Review

Minecraft in 2D

Created by Re-Logic in 2011, Terraria is a 2D action survival game, which can be played solo or with friends through multiplayer. It is about building your fortress and finding the next great item!

  • Gameplay: Terraria is a game that revolves around combat and building your own fortress to survive the world as you travel through it to find new areas which are called the biomes. Each biome has its own distinct features such as a forest or a castle or the underground. Your main goal of Terraria is to find and discover these new biomes and to discover their secrets. Each biome has its own unique armor and weapons you can discover. Unlike similar games, such as Minecraft, Terraria has an “ending” where there is a final boss to the game. However you are able to continue playing but does not introduce anything new to the game.
  • Graphics: Terraria has the aesthetics of a 16-bit game. Each biome has a very distinct look that gives the whole world a lot of character and makes the world feel more alive. Weapons, spells, and armor all have varied looks to please any kind of player.
  • Sound: The music is unique for each individual biome and enemy you face. This allows you to instantly recognize where you are and who you’re fighting before you even see them on screen.

Overall, take caution when playing Terraria, it is very easy to sink many hours into this diverse game. The game will always have replayability with new ways of playing solo or with friends. You can check out the game for PC on Steam.

Overwatch – Game Review

Team Based Fun!

Created by Blizzard Entertainment, well known for games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, Overwatch is a 6v6 team based first person shooter where you play as one of 23 different characters, each with their own unique role.

  • Gameplay: The game has fast combat which requires quick reactions. There are multiple different roles such as a damage dealer who dishes out consistent damage, a tank character who helps block incoming enemy fire, a defensive hero who has traps or deals support damage, or a support character who provides healing and utility for the team.
  • Graphics: Characters are realistically drawn but with a cartoon style much like Team Fortress 2. Maps are also made with a cartoon like style with great detail in each area which gives each area unique and varied designs. Character abilities are flashy and interesting that show off the power of each one’s unique skills.
  • Sound: Music is heroic which gets you ready to save the world! In-game sounds such as footsteps and firing weapons are clear and distinct to allow for good surround sound gameplay.

Overall, Overwatch is a addicting to play both solo and with your friends. With the amount of characters and play styles you will always have new experiences and new ways of fun every time you play! You can purchase the game here at the Official Blizzard website.

Nioh – Game Review

Dark souls in Japan

Nioh is an action RPG set in 15th and 16th century Japan. You play as William as he travels to Japan to save what he lost.

  • Gameplay: Fast paced gameplay with tight controls requiring constant attention to dodge and attack enemies. The game’s brutal single difficulty makes the game challenging for anyone who wants a casual experience, however, offers great accomplishment at every boss defeat.
  • Graphics: Visually impressive with fluid character animations and atmospheric environments. Each level has its own unique dark theme that shows your transition throughout the world.
  • Sound: Dark foreboding music mixed with an old traditional Japanese style makes an interesting combination.

In conclusion, Nioh is a hard and satisfying game for anyone who wants a fun and exciting challenge while beating the crap out of Japanese demons. You can purchase the game here.