Kirby: Planet Robobot

Kirby: Planet Robobot

A Robotic Revolution

When Kirby: Triple Deluxe was released in 2014, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of creativity and charm went into the game. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but in my opinion it’s the best Kirby game to date…… or it was. Kirby: Planet Robobot is Kirby’s latest outing on the 3DS, and it somehow improves on everything Triple Deluxe did well, while managing to add new, fresh features to the Kirby formula that never got old. Kirby really has returned, and he’s better than ever.

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Kirby looks ridiculously cute in his mech.

A Charmingly Robotic Tale

Planet Robobot definitely doesn’t go out of its way to tell a deep story, however, it does go out of its way to be charming, adorable, and beautifully simplistic in style. It truly is a Kirby story, told in Kirby fashion, and I’d have it no other way. The game opens up with a cutscene to show the Haltmann Works Company slowly turning Dream Land into a mechanised hulk of a planet. Having defeated Meta Knight and King Dedede, Haltmann must and can only be stopped by Kirby. There is minimal story telling from there, one or two more cutscenes are present, along with some dialogue, but you don’t play a Kirby game for the story, no matter how charming it is, and in Robobot’s case, thank god for that.

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It should go without saying that Robobot does feature Amiibo support.

True Mechanics

Kirby: Planet Robobot might seem like it’s very similar to Triple Deluxe at first, and that’s because it is. You’ll run, jump, explore, and eat enemies in order to gain specific abilities. Speaking of which, new powers such as Poison and ESP Kirby are new, inventive, and incredibly fun to use, unfortunately the same can’t be said about Doctor Kirby. However, Planet Robobot proves it doesn’t need to rely on new powers in order to keep the formula fresh. Gone is Kirby’s Hypernova ability, which is now replaced by a giant mech that Kirby can use in certain levels.The mech can use certain powerups, and it definitely felt like there were more than enough to keep the mech fresh and fun to use whenever you encounter it. The one gripe I have with Robobot’s gameplay is that I found the main campaign very easy, but thankfully the same thing can’t be said about it’s other modes.Throughout each level, Kirby can find three code cubes hidden around the world, along with various stickers and collectibles. Once you collect all the code cubes in a world, an extra stage unlocks, making for plenty of incentive to collect them all up. Robobot’s boss fights are extremely entertaining, and are very well made. This carries over to The Arena where Kirby can fight all the bosses from the main story with whatever powerup you choose. It’s challenging, and rewarding, trust me, it’s worth doing. Robobot also features two other game modes, being Team Kirby Clash and Kirby 3D Rumble. Team Kirby Clash consists of four Kirby’s teaming up in an RPG like adventure, with different classes and familiar bosses to face. Kirby 3D Rumble drops Kirby into a 3D plane, where all he can do is suck enemies up and spit them out, in order to clear all the enemies in the stage. Meta Knightmare Returns is also unlocked once you complete the main story line, allowing you to play remixed stages as Meta Knight, which is incredibly fun.

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There are four classes in Team Kirby Clash, and the later stages are quite hard.

A Mechanical Dream Land

Planet Robobot certainly doesn’t fail to run incredibly well on a technical level. Not once did I encounter any bugs or glitches (as expected from Nintendo) and the game runs phenomenally at a solid 60FPS the whole time. Robobot runs on the same engine as Triple Deluxe, but that’s no complaint, because it looks amazing. The mechanisation of Dream Land becomes more and more prominent as you travel through the various stages, and it’s really cool to see.

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The art style is bright, and colourful! Just the way it should be.

Verdict: 9/10

Kirby: Planet Robobot is in my honest opinion, the best Kirby game to date. It’s new, inventive, and incredibly charming. Although the main campaign might be easy, the game definitely doesn’t lack content that makes up for it. Robobot is simple, charming, and incredibly fun to play, if you’re a fan of Kirby, I can’t stress to you enough to pick this one up, and if you enjoyed Triple Deluxe, the same applies.

Positives

-Charming story

-Mech is fresh and new

-New powers are awesome

-Technically flawless

-Tons of content

Negatives

-Main campaign is easy

Thanks for reading guys! Up next is Monster Hunter Generations, which wont be out till next month so it’ll be a bit quiet. I might still do an article on my thoughts for E3 though.

Harry

 

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

The Real Catalyst

There was a cult following of speed runners, avid gamers, and casual gamers that formed not too long after the release of Mirror’s Edge in November of 2008. Mirror’s Edge managed to do something that almost no other game could, and that was a complete and smooth parkour system that was completely unrivalled. Years later, EA announced that Mirror’s Edge would be getting a sequel, after popular demand. Mirror’s Edge 2 was kept under wraps for a long time, and it was only before E3 in 2015 when fans found out the game would release in 2016, with the title; Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. So does it live up to the hype of all its fans and players around the world?

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The Kruger Sec look really futuristic.

Slow Storytelling

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst serves as a prequel and origin story to the original. Catalyst makes an effort to delve into Faith’s past, and to explore what got her to where she is today as a runner. After some backstory about the death of Faith’s close family, Faith is released after one year in juvenile detention (If you want to know why, I recommend you read the Mirror’s Edge Exordium comic). The main story follows Faith throughout the dystopian City of Glass. Glass is run and controlled by various corporations, the most relevant being Kruger Holding. Faith gets mixed up in some trouble with Kruger Holding, after trying to pay off a debt she owes to a black market dealer she used to work for, called Dogen. I don’t won’t to go any further to avoid spoilers, so I just want to talk about the story as a whole. I found that Catalyst’s story as a whole was a very mixed bag. Some things were done well, like Faith’s character and background story, but others such as stereotypical characters and an underwhelming plot twist that had much more potential bring the experience down. I really liked Faith’s character, and it was really cool to see her past, and to see what made her who she is, and characters like Icarus and Dogen I grew to like quite a bit. Other characters were extremely stereotypical, and when emotional moments were supposed to affect me, they didn’t. The story isn’t anything special, but some of it is enjoyable. Thankfully, the comic book style cutscenes of the original are gone, and are now replaced by proper cutscenes. Unfortunately, Catalyst’s story isn’t the only mixed bag in the game.

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Faith’s model looks really good. 

A Restrained Dystopia

When it comes to gameplay, Catalyst strikes more rights than wrongs, and it does all the right things to improve the formula of the original. Mirror’s Edge is all about free running, and finding various ways to your objective. It feels great to nail long jumps, slides, wall runs, and leaps of faith, and in my honest opinion it never got boring. There are however, a few fundamental changes to the formula, some of which are great, and others….. well, not so much. The grapple hook is a fantastic addition to Faith’s arsenal, and it makes for a reliable and fun tool used to traverse Glass. Faith now unlocks skills for combat, traversal and gadgets through a skill tree, which you can move through relatively quickly, and it gives a real good sense of progression. Glass is a big open world, where Faith can get to her destination by her choice. It’s nice to have such a large sandbox to explore and run through, but it feels sparse, barren, and lifeless. There are minimal NPCs and the world is scattered with repetitive side quests like deliver this or deal with these guards. It got really stale, really quick, and I wasn’t motivated to find any of the collectables either, because they simply slowed down the pace i’d built up over time. Glass had so much more potential, but now I just wish they’d stuck with the same system as the original, where you can go from mission to mission without a hub. The combat system has also been vastly changed in Catalyst. Gone is the ability to use firearms (thank god) and the combat system is comprised of dodging and directional hits. Dealing with minimal amounts of enemies is always fun, and it’s quite exhilarating. The ability to jump off walls and kick Kruger Sec guards in the face feels immensely satisfying, but once the combat slows down, the combat becomes a pure drag. It becomes mindless button mashing and dodging, and sometimes that is simply unavoidable. I really wish all of the combat was optional, simply because traversal attacks feel and look awesome, and they would’ve been more than enough to satisfy a need for combat. You can also leave your mark on the world by creating time trials and races for uses to compete in.

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The grapple hook provides new and refreshing options for traversing Glass.

Is it really a Dystopia?

There’s no denying that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst runs well. The game ran at 60FPS for the entirety of the campaign, which was delightfully smooth to play. This 60FPS is at the sacrifice of graphical fidelity, but it’s a sacrifice i’m willing to make. The game looks decent, and it shares a very similar art style to the first game. The sound track is absolutely awesome, simply because it’s once again done by Solar Fields. I experienced a few game breaking bugs where I had to restart the game in order to fix it, and that annoyed me quite a bit.

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Looks pretty familiar to the original right?

Verdict: 7.5/10

There’s a simple way to define whether or not you’ll like Catalyst. If you liked the original, you will no doubt like Catalyst. It’s really nice to play another Mirror’s Edge game again, and i’m eager to look forward to future instalments. It definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s the Mirror’s Edge we know and love.

Positives

-Runs smoothly

-Fantastic parkour system

-Solid Progression

-Faith

Negatives

-Dead open world

-Repetitive side quests

-Boring story

-Bland combat

Thanks for reading guys, I might do a post on my E3 thoughts soon. Up next is Kirby though, so that’ll be up later today or tomorrow. Have a great day guys :D. Harry

 

Overwatch

Overwatch

Big Promises

It’s been a long 17 years since Blizzard have released a brand new IP. They originally had Titan in the works, but when Titan came crumbling down due to development issues, Overwatch was salvaged from the rubble. Overwatch is Blizzard’s brand new team based hero shooter. The hype surrounding this title was real, and for good reason too. After countless closed betas and a free open beta, the full game is finally out, but does it fulfill the promises it made?

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Overwatch was an organisation of all kinds of weird and wonderful heroes, consisting of all kinds of oddities, robots, and humans.

The Omnic Crisis

When robot manufacturer Omnica made a technical breakthrough, it seemed the world of Overwatch was about to enter another golden age, not too long after the last. Omnica’s automatic construction machines had complex software algorithms, that could be self improved, and soon enough most automated machines on every continent would have this software. These automated machines were known as Omniums. After a short while, these Omniums started to break down, and independent analysis discovered that Omniums would never meet the full potential of growth and output that Omnica had promised. With this fraud discovered, Omnica was shutdown, along with all the Omniums. It didn’t take long for the Omniums to reawaken, and launch a campaign against humanity. The self growth of these Omniums became too much for any army to handle, and their motivations behind what they were doing are unknown. With humanity on the brink of losing the war, and with all hope seemingly lost, a small nimble team of scientists, engineers and soldiers took on the Omnic threat. This group carried out multiple highly secretive missions, that ultimately led to the end of the Omnic armies, and the Omnic Crisis as a whole. This team of 6; Morrison, Reyes, Amari, Liao, Lindholm, and Wilhelm went down in history as legendary, and more importantly, as the founders of Overwatch. Over time, Overwatch grew, acquiring more and more talented agents in its mission for global stability. Overwatch was a symbol of hope for humanity, and an entire generation was raised to see Overwatch’s agents as the heroes among us. Epidemics were solved, medical breakthroughs were made, and crime rates were at all time low. Overwatch wasn’t without it’s critics, but most criticism was dismissed as paranoia or fantasies. After the discovery of a division called Blackwatch, and internal problems to do with leadership and methods, Overwatch fell, and the Overwatch initiative as a whole was shut down and deemed illegal. Years passed without Overwatch’s presence, and in the process tensions and crime has worsened, and Overwatch is needed more than ever. Which is exactly why Winston, a former member of Overwatch, relaunches the initiative, regardless of the consequences.

Overwatch doesn’t have a campaign or story mode, but I wanted to give some insight into the lore and origin of Overwatch. I find it really interesting, deep, and unique to look into.

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This is Commander Morrison, the former leader of Overwatch.

Not Quite a MOBA

There was a common misconception that Overwatch was a first person MOBA among consumers when Overwatch was originally announced, but the truth is that it’s far from it. Overwatch is a 6v6 multiplayer hero shooter, making it Blizzard’s first attempt at an FPS, and I can assure you, they’ve done a damn fine job. Overwatch feels great to play, each weapon is individual and unique, and each hero has a different feel when you use them, they truly are the star of Overwatch. There are currently 21 heroes, and they’re all unique, individual, and bursting with character. They contribute so much to Overwatch’s overall atmosphere and gameplay, whether it be the lines they come out with, what they say to each other based on previous lore encounters, or screams of victory when using an ultimate ability. Each hero has 2 normal abilities, and an ultimate abilities that are gained by dealing damage, playing objectives and more. These ultimate abilities have potential to change matches in the favor of your team, and are easily the most influential part of Overwatch’s short but sweet matches. Heroes are split up into 4 different categories, and they all explain themselves fairly well; Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Each map and game mode will be played with a different hero, and Overwatch encourages switching heroes on the fly in order to counter enemy teams. It’s a refreshing  way to play a hero shooter, and it keeps games varied and interesting. One thing that isn’t varied however is the fact that Overwatch comes with a grand total of 12 maps and 4 game modes, being Escort, Control, Hybrid and Assault. You’ll experience all the game has to offer in 3 to 4 hours, and without competitive play, the asking price can seem a little too much. However, Blizzard have promised that all future maps, heroes, and game modes will be offered as free updates, and competitive is to be released sometime this month. If you’re willing to keep playing Overwatch until more is added, the asking price is well worth it, and free content isn’t the only reason to keep playing. Overwatch has a solid progression system that rewards players who consistently play. You earn EXP for each game you play, and when you level up, you earn a free loot crate. Said loot crates can give you skins, voice lines, icons, and in game currency, all of which is purely cosmetic, which is the reason why micro transactions in Overwatch are perfectly acceptable in my opinion. You can pay real money for these loot crates, but all of it’s cosmetic, so Overwatch never becomes pay to win. Earning a new portrait border every 11th level also sweetens the deal.

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Soldier 76 is designed to play like a standard Call of Duty character, but even then he has some unique differences.

The Future Is Now

If there’s one thing you can rely on when it comes to Blizzard, it’s polish, and Overwatch is no exception. I haven’t encountered one game breaking glitch throughout my 40 hour experience. Connections have been perfect, and apart from the odd server disconnect (which are quickly fixed) the game never crashed once. Overwatch looks beautiful, from the snowy map of Nepal to the sun scorched Temple of Anubis, Overwatch never fails to be a treat for the eyes with its bright, cartoonish art style. The game always ran at a solid 60 FPS for me without any drops, no matter how hectic fights got. Overwatch doesn’t have high system requirements either, making it widely available and playable for many.

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Particle effects all look fantastic and unique.

Verdict: 8.5/10

In my opinion, Overwatch delivers on most of the things it promised it would. It’s a fantastic game, an incredibly well designed shooter that I can’t stop playing. I keep on coming back for more, and i’d have it no other way. I just hope it can keep me hooked until we get some free content, and until competitive is released to the public. I’m going to be honest. If you’re the type of person that gets bored of a game easily, I can’t recommend Overwatch to you right now. It’s simply not worth it, but, if you’re willing to stick with it and keep playing it, or revisit it when future content is added, it’s well worth the asking price.

Positives

-Interesting lore

-Fantastic shooting mechanics

– Unique Heroes that are bursting with character

-Extremely polished, with strong visuals and performance

Negatives

-No competitive play yet

-Not enough content on launch

Thanks for reading guys! Up next is Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, and that should be up tomorrow. -Harry.

 

 

Fire Emblem Fates

Fire Emblem Fates

The Choice is Yours

Sticking to the roots of its series, Fire Emblem Fates makes a conscious effort to push the franchise in a new direction. Fates magically caters towards Fire Emblem veterans, newbies and those who got into the franchise with 2012’s fantastic Fire Emblem Awakening. Fates consists of three full length games; Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation (Even though Revelation is considered a DLC). I’ll be splitting up specific components of the review into three parts, in order to give my opinion on that specific component for the respective version.

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Xander is the Crown Prince of Nohr and one of the siblings the protagonist grows up with.

Hoshido, Nohr or Neither?

Fates is set in a land that is ruled by two rivalled kingdoms; Hoshido and Nohr. Hoshido works towards peace, and is generally a lot more happier and alive than Nohr is. Nohr is much darker, and are extremely violent in nature, especially towards Hoshidans. The first 6 chapters of Fire Emblem Fates are the same no matter what version you own. The story of Fates follows Corrin (or the name you prefer), a child of Nohr royalty. Corrin grew up in Nohr with his/her (i’ll be saying his because my Corrin was male) Nohrian siblings, and their father, King Garon. Garon sends Corrin on missions to prove Corrin’s strength and loyalty for Nohr, but after a mission goes awry, Corrin is taken hostage by Hoshido, who are the enemy of Nohr in the war that’s currently taking place. Corrin is told that he is actually Hoshidan royalty, and that he was kidnapped by Nohrian forces as a young child, meaning that King Garon and his children aren’t Corrin’s real family. Corrin meets a mysterious girl named Azura, who unveils to Corrin that she was Nohr royalty, but was kidnapped by Hoshido. After a string of events (that I don’t want to spoil) Corrin is forced to choose a side. Siding with Hoshido is the Birthright path, siding with Nohr is the Conquest path, and choosing neither is the Revelation path. All paths are extremely unique and different, each path with its own ending and plot. Fates as a complete package has a fantastic storyline, and here’s why!

Birthright

The Birthright pathway follows Corrin and his siblings as they try to win the war for Hoshido, deal with King Garon, and usher in an era of peace between the rival kingdoms. Birthright’s cast of characters is definitely the weakest of the three paths. Birthright only has one real standout character, Takumi. All the rest feel underdeveloped and very basic, and there were even a few I completely forgot were there due to minimal input in the story. All deaths in the storyline were impactful, and one in particular resulted in me shedding a tear or two, which definitely isn’t a bad thing in a Fire Emblem game. Birthright’s ending is definitely satisfying, and it’s by no means a bad storyline, in fact, it’s far from it, but in my opinion it’s definitely the weakest of the three pathways.

Conquest

Choosing to side with Nohr results in the Conquest pathway. Conquest follows Corrin’s decision to stay loyal to Nohr, and fight for them in the war alongside the false siblings you grew up with. Corrin attempts to overthrow Hoshido with his own, more merciful methods than Nohr’s current ones. I’d love to share more, but I won’t in order to avoid any potential spoilers. I found Conquest’s cast of characters to be much more lovable and likeable. I eventually cared for each and every character in Conquest and the deaths effected me quite a bit too, however, one death did feel a bit too forced. I was extremely satisfied with Conquest’s characters, plot, and ending after finishing Birthright, and it’s definitely the stronger story out of the two.

Revelation

Revelation is the third and final path of Fates. I say final because it’s highly recommended that you play Birthright and Conquest before taking on Revelation, and I couldn’t agree with that recommendation more. Revelation is the path Corrin takes if he decides to side with neither Kingdom. Revelation follows Corrin’s attempt to unite the two kingdoms in order to bring peace. The plot gets a lot thicker than that, but I really don’t want to spoil anything. Revelation melds characters from Birthright and Conquest to create the cast. Siblings from Hoshido and Nohr are prominent in this pathway of the game, which is fantastic because it takes the best from both sides. Characters like Camilla, Elise, Takumi and Azura are what make Revelation’s story the best of the three, with an incredibly satisfying, complete ending. Revelation also has impactful deaths, and a plot twist you won’t see coming.

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Corrin (Male and Female) and Azura

A Conquest of Turn Based Strategy

Fire Emblem is well known for its difficulty as a turn based strategy RPG, and Fates is no exception. Birthright is considered the easiest, then Revelation, with Conquest being the hardest of the three. Fates’s gameplay isn’t terribly different from Awakening’s, and that is very much a good thing. The combat works off of the Weapon Triangle, which is now colour coded, making it easier to remember which is which. This of course influences which units you use and where you use them. Fates is filled with jump for joy, luck based moments, and they feel as good as ever here. While not in combat, you can build and improve your very own castle. You can build and upgrade structures, such as armouries, an arena, and a prison. You also get the opportunity to improve your castle defences against streetpass invaders, and you can attempt to seize castles too. Amiibo support is present, and it’s honestly really cool. The first time you tap any Amiibo, they show up at your castle and give you an item. The second time, they give you an accessory based on the Amiibo. The third time allows you to battle them and claim them as a unit for your army. Fates manages to improve on the gameplay of Awakening, even when it seemed perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s flawless.

Birthright

Birthright might be the easiest of the three, but don’t consider it a push over. Some of the later chapters proved to be quite difficult, with multiple attempts required to complete. However the difficulty is never unfair, and that goes for all three pathways. The one problem I have with Birthright’s gameplay, is that mission objectives aren’t all that varied. There are a few that stand out, but for the most part it’s rout the enemy or kill the boss.

Conquest

Conquest is no doubt the hardest pathway in Fates. Gold and experience is extremely limited, unlike Birthright. Conquest caters more towards those looking for a core Fire Emblem experience, much like the older games. People are going to have trouble finishing Conquest, much like I did, but it’s definitely well worth it. Conquest is a lot more varied with its objectives opposed to Birthright. It constantly changes between rout the enemy, seize, hold the zone for X amount of turns, and more. It’s refreshing, and always varied.

Revelation

In my opinion, Revelation’s difficulty was perfect, and this is coming from someone who got into Fire Emblem through Awakening. Revelation somehow finds a perfect middle ground, with the difficulty similar to the last and early stages of Birthright and Conquest respectively. Much like Conquest, Revelation varies in objectives, such as seize, rout the enemy, find and kill the boss, and more. Revelations has 1 or 2 objectives less than Conquest, but definitely more than Birthright, making it the strongest path for Fates in my opinion. However, I cannot stress to you enough, that you really should complete Birthright or Conquest if not both, simply to avoid spoilers, and to better understand and appreciate the story.

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This is the Before Awakening DLC. It’s currently free on the Eshop, and is definitely worth a download if you’re curious about what happened before the events of Awakening.

A Technical Revelation

Fire Emblem Fates has a charm that no other 3DS game does (apart from awakening). Maps are varied, unit sprites are cute, unique and identifiable and this is all while it looks very pretty. Much like Awakening, Fates has fully animated cutscenes, and while they are few and far between, they’re a treat to experience. Much unlike Awakening, is that Fates is always running at 60 FPS, making for a smooth experience for the whole journey.

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This is what Fates’s cutscenes look like. Impressive huh?!

Verdict: 9.5/10

Fire Emblem Fates is an amazing tactical RPG, and it’s a fantastic entry point into the series, even if Awakening is a little better. There’s a lot to love about Fates, and I can definitely see myself playing it in the future, and it’s definitely one of the best in the series. Fire Emblem Fates is a must have for any 3DS owner, even if you don’t like tactical RPGs, it’s worth a try.

Positives

-Fantastic story

-Tons of content

-Fun and addictive strategy gameplay

-Perfect difficulties

-Strong technical performance

Negatives

-Birthright doesn’t have enough varied objectives

Thanks for reading guys, just so you know, that final verdict is for Fates as a whole package. Up next is Overwatch which will be up tonight or tomorrow, then Mirror’s Edge Catalyst! -Harry