Mike’s February Gaming Update

*Disclaimer: This Post may contain spoilers for Kingdom Hearts 3, so either leave this post and go play the game or scroll past it. *

As the month of Love, Presidents and a rat telling us how much longer the snow will cover the ground comes to an end, it’s time for me to attempt to summarize the games I played over the past month and give my opinion. So, let’s start with my Final report on Kingdom Hearts 3.

Final Report

Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4):

I am a big Kingdom Hearts fan and finally being able to play the last installment of this saga is a great feeling though can’t say the great feeling carried through the entire game. Overall, I really did enjoy the game and had a good experience with it. Playing as Sora and couple of the other characters felt great and the presentation of the game was awesome. Most the worlds were huge and were fun to explore and after finishing the missions in that world I would go right back in and see what I missed the first time. Personally, the worlds that told their own story I enjoyed more than the ones were just retold the story of the movie/show they were based on. The keyblade designs and transformations were awesome and added variety to the combat as get keyblade had it’s own unique shotlock and bonuses. Plus, rather than just going with the strongest keyblades at the time, keyblades can be leveled up so you can continue to use them later in the game. My favorite keyblade was the Wheel of Fate, the spear and flag combat were awesome. It was also nice that we got some segments of playing as other characters and it was nice that each had their own style that differ from Sora. Performance wise, I didn’t see many drops in quality or had random glitches and what not. Lastly, I thought the game added a few nice things to collect and look for. The gummi phone loaded with a camera that was used to find lucky emblems among the worlds and play the classic kingdom games were a nice break from the game. Even though I thought the camera thing was a bit odd to add it was nice to see how characters reacted to having their picture taken. Lastly, were the changes to the Gummi Ship sections. This I think is the best Gummi Ship gameplay in the entire series as you can freely explore that section of the galaxy and can unlock treasure pods and you can choose to enter battles with enemy ships or go around them and avoid battles. Battles with the Gummi Ship are still on rail style of shoot ’em ups and will be given a score based grade and will be given rewards based on it. Now even though I think they had quite a few things right, the problem I feel for most people was the story.

To start off, I am in the camp that despite their efforts to make this game accessible to everyone, Kingdom Hearts 3 is not for everyone. The story expects to have a good grasp of what the status of current events are. Now, I don’t think the craziness of this story is a problem as much as the pacing in this game is. The pacing in this game can feel sluggish at time and I feel that is due to the lack of urgency from the characters in the game and may be a few too many side stories to keep notes on also didn’t help. The lack of urgency to me is the main reason the pacing game can drag, but it also kind of makes sense as the requirements for this grand saga ending battle HAVE to be met. There has to be 13 pieces of Darkness and 7 pieces of Light for this to end. So, when a good part of the story feels like a slow burn to make sure that all the pieces are in place, I can understand why some people were not happy about it. Also, this may have killed the worlds as most of them were complete in 1 visit and unless you were going for 100%, there is no reason to go back to them which sucks cause most these worlds were huge and with a few things added could be fun to run around in. I think it suffered trying to make sure that this saga ended with most of the loose ends tied but leave some for another game in the series. I think in attempting to do this, it had to change focus many times as they it had to shift it from Sora getting his powers back to “hey is there a way to save X” and hurt some of the mini-games as they were extremely short and repetitive. However, after you get though the world jumping part, the pacing picks up and the rest of the story finds a path and sticks with it. As I got closer and closer to the end though, my feelings for the game was quickly shifting. This was a bitter sweet experience; one side I am happy to finally see this saga in the series come to an end. It has been a long and crazy 17-year journey and I really wanted to see how it would end and what comes next. However, it also has left a bitter taste with me. Sure, it wasn’t how I thought the final chapter would unfold and I wish they handle some things better but it still hit me hard once the credits began rolling.

So, to finally wrap this up, do I think Kingdom Hearts 3 was an awful game? No, for me it was a good game that plenty of things working for it but was held back by the pacing of the story and some things needed a bit more work or could of been spread out. One example is even though I enjoyed the new Attractions powers but it would have been awesome to select which ones I would of like to use and maybe slowly earn them was the story went on.  As far as Kingdom Hearts 3 goes, I can only recommend this to fans of the series that are pretty invested into the story as they will be the ones to get most out of it. This isn’t the end of Kingdom Hearts for me just yet as I do plan to do a write up in April going through the entire story and giving my thoughts of the story from beginning to end and what may come with the next Kingdom Hearts game. You can learn more about Kingdom Hearts 3 here.

Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Strikers (PS4):

Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Strikers is a multiplayer focus game set in the series world. You build your own ninja and grow in power thru learning new Jutsus and equipping gear to gain bonuses to make combat easier. The point of this game is to become the strongest ninja. There seems to be a bit of a story as you can take to some familiar faces around the village to gain a quest from them and once you complete the required number of quests an outro cut scene voice by Naruto is played and the credits begin to roll. These missions are more of recaps of some battles seen in the show/manga. The main part of this, I think is to drive home the point that this is determine who is the strongest.

You start by creating your own ninja. The character creation has plenty of options to start off with and there is an option to use a recreation scroll if you ever want to change your character’s gender, body style and what not. Though keep in mind that the gender specific items will not carry over but will still be there if you decide to switch back. After making you ninja it is time to find a role to play. There are 4 roles in the game: Attack for close combat players, Range for players that like fight from a distance, Defense for players that want to take hits and build walls and other defense and Heal for those that like to play support. Each role has their set of weapons, ninja tool and Jutsus to select. You have access to a base set for each one and as you earn more gear and Jutsu you will increase your options. Currently you have 4 pages and each page has 4 slots to set up for different loadouts. Each load out contains: a weapon, a ninja tool, outfit top, outfit bottom, accessory, 2 regular Jutsus, a substitute Jutsu and 1 ultimate Jutsu. During combat you will be able to swap loadouts before you respawn but you only have access to 1 page of slots so keep that in mind when you select a loadout. Now you have armed your ninja now it’s time to go out and battle.

The gameplay is ok but there are a few things that can improve the experience. I feel that the game’s combat and movement feel good. Combat is easy to understand and moving as a ninja from the Naruto world feels smooth and not hard to master. However, what can you do in this game? You can complete missions either with friends or solo. The missions are not extremely long but several of them are reskins of the base mission so it can get repetitive. Not as repetitive as the multiplayer. Currently there are 5 game modes to play. The first four: Capture the Flag, Team Battle, Base Battle and Barrier Battle are only accessible through Quick Play or World League and all are 4 vs. 4. There is an alternate to Quick Play, called Beginner Match which is for players that are LvL 30 or under. Quick Play just throws you on a team and pits you against another team. There is some time before the match to see which game mode you are playing and can either select a loadout for your created character or you can even play as a character from the series if you have them unlocked. World League is season base game play that you play in matches to increase you rank to earn better rewards. However, World League, in my experience selects 2 game modes and you play 1 of those 2 games modes for that season. This can get extremely repetitive after several rounds. The last game mode is Ninja League Face-Off. This is also season based but it only has the game mode of a 6-man battle. It was called survival exercise during its beta test but this one is mainly first player to score over 500 points or have the most points after the time limit wins. Points are earned by knocking other players out and a bit for the time you survive. Not sure if this will be available during the off season and it was just released this week. I think the main issue it can feel that the time put in doesn’t give you much rewards.

So here is how you earn various things in the game. The main thing are scrolls to unlock new gear for your character. The better the quality of scroll the better gear you can get, though it seems that there are a few base items that were reskin several times and given a slightly different buff. The next thing to unlock are Jutsus. To get new Jutsus, you have to select a ninja master and level them up and at each new level earning either a new item or Jutsu. Each master gives you 3 to 4 Jutsus. 2 regular Jutsus, an Ultimate Jutsu and maybe a Substitute Jutsu. However, after completing the first 5 levels, the master rewards are pure cosmetic so once after the 5th level it’s time to move on to the next master. Even though it may not feel rewarding, I have more issue with some design choices.

So here are some things I would like to see come out in the future. First, unique game modes would be a nice touch. The current games modes are not really unique to the Naruto series and it would be nice if they could find a way add more game modes that feel like something unique to the series. Next thing, I am a little disappointment characters such as Kiba, Shino, Tenten and even Ino are not master. Ino, I understand would probably the hardest to make balance with her Jutsu but would have been awesome to have an animal companion to fight with or being able to summon and rain down weapons on my opponent. Lastly, I would rather have the ability to swap the Jutsu I am using mid-game rather than more slots. Jutsus can’t be spammed as each one has a cool down and having the ability to change one of the Jutsu for another one while I wait for it to either recharge or needing to make a slight change in my game plan.

Even though I have enjoy playing the game, I can only enjoy the game in burst and if I do play for a long time its mostly to unlock new Jutsu through the master system. Hopefully they will add more content and more unique content soon. Overall, I really can’t recommend this game to anyone and if you do want to picked it up, I recommend you wait for a price drop and maybe get a good bundle that includes the season pass. You can learn more about Naruto to Boruto Shinobi Strikers here.

Tetris 99 (Switch)

Tetris 99 was a surprise game that was release during the last Nintendo Direct. This game is pretty simple, you play a game of Tetris but in a competitive scene where by complete lines you send garbage blocks to an opponent filling their board up and hopefully knocking them out and be the last player standing. As far as targeting your opponents you can either use the left analog stick to select a specific board or use the right analog stick to select a category of targets such as target those who are attacking you or target other players with badges for a chance to take them when they are knocked out. There isn’t much explanation to the game so lot of it is trial by fire. For me, is extremely fun to play as a fan of Tetris and puzzle battle games and with the game being free there isn’t any warm trying it out. You can learn more about Naruto to Tetris 99 here.

RWBY: Deck Building Game (PC-Steam)

RWBY: Deck Building Game is a free game released on Steam and on mobile devices based on the animated series RWBY created by Rooster Teeth. This is Deck Building game where you select a Hero that adds some unique cards to the base deck and on each turn to play cards to gain power and use that power to either buy or upgrade cards or if you can summon enough to take out a boss and add it to your deck. However, adding the boss card to your deck does have an addition price to pay. There is an attack and defense mechanic in this game where you can play cards that will attack another player and if they can’t play a defense card, they suffer the plenty of the card like discarding a high-power card or discarding card from their deck straight to their discard. The game is played with 3 players and end once all the bosses in a boss deck are defeated and the player with the highest score wins.

The game is a fun time but the presentation could be better. The hero portraits and game board are nice to look at but the cards themselves are nothing more but snapshots from various scenes from the show. I understand unique art work would have been a lot of time but sometimes a little extra work goes far. It is a free to play game there are some micro-transaction but currently haven’t found a reason to spend a dime yet. If you are wanting to try out a new Deck Building game, I say this one is at least worth looking at. You can learn more about RWBY: Deck Building Game here.

In Progress Report

Wargroove (Switch):

Wargroove is a fun tactics game set in a fantasy world. There are 4 clans to choose from and each play a bit different and each have a set of champions with unique “grooves” or special power that can be harshness to tip the battlefield in your favor a bit. You select a champion of that clan and they have a unique power that not only figuring out which units to summon but figuring out when or if you should move your champion into combat because if they champion is defeated in battle you lose the match. I am still enjoying it and I am not very far in the story but hopefully will be able to put more time into it. You can learn more about Wargroove here.

Demo Talk

Nintendo also released a couple of demos for Yoshi’s Crafted World and Daemon X Machina. Starting with Yoshi’s Crafted World, the demo gave a brief look into some of the game mechanics, level design and some the different things you will do to complete the game. Though it really didn’t show much it was still nice to be able to get a look at the game.

The other demo was for Daemon X Machina and overall, I enjoyed it. I didn’t play through the entire demo I got a feel for the control of the game. I personally thought that piloting the mech was good and didn’t feel overly clucking. I will say the combat may have not been on full display as the enemies were not overly challenging as most of them moved slow and it would be nice if there was a better way to tell the difference land base enemies and airborne ones. This game is still pretty far out so these issues could be resolved before it’s summer release. You can learn more about the games by clicking here for Yoshi’s Crafted World and here for Daemon X Machina

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