I’m not really big on gaming headset as I don’t need to use them often as I have my own place, but when I do I want something amazing, something that can deliver the quality and power of large speakers inside some cans. After having the Razer Man O’ War for about 18 months I switched over to some wired headphones and moved brands. Why Kingston? Well, the reviews are great and it’s plug and play, which may say iffy to some, but it works out well in the end.
Some people want fancy software, RGB lighting, and crazy controls, but Kingston went a different route here. Most PC headsets are not compatible with a console, but these are thanks to a proprietary USB 7.1 audio card built in the cable with Dolby. Now the downside is that these are only stereo headphones with the 3.5mm jack adapter, but they still sound amazing. The USB part has a three-part equalizer for flat, bass boost, and vocal. For gaming and movies, you can activate the Dolby 7.1 surround sound with just a button allowing the headphones to control everything and no need for any software.
The mic is completely removable which is a nice feature and works just how you would expect. There’s a button to mute the mic on the control box, but for consoles, you will need to remove it completely to mute it through the hardware. Outside of these features the headset itself is extremely comfortable and feels like a cloud sitting on your head. Instead of adjustable bands, we get a tension-sensitive soft band under a hard outer band. This means the band adjusts to your head shape easily without any fiddling. The earcups are super soft and no sound escapes. Since these are wired headphones I had to figure out where to clip the control box which wound up going on my keyboard cable to keep it nearby and so I can access the controls easily. The cord behind that is rather long which is needed for console use.
Here’s the big question: How does 7.1 audio sound in games and movies? Well, it works surprisingly well. The built-in sound card does a good job decoding the audio and making it sound incredible. I could hear gunshots behind me, people talking next to me, and explosions sounded epic and amazing. Games with 7.1 options sound even better and more realistic, but sadly there aren’t many games with this built-in.
With that said the HyperX Revolver S is a solid wired headset without the flash and fancy software accompanying most headsets these days. They are extremely comfortable, give an amazing sound output that is crisp and clear, and also have great 7.1 audio capabilities. There are a few minor gripes like the control box being in a weird spot on the cable, only three equalizer settings, and missing software for those who like to fine tune, but what’s here works surprisingly well straight out of the box and being plug-and-play. This is a versatile headset for any gamer, but sadly the 7.1 only works through USB and the 3.5mm jack is strictly stereo. For the price point, you get bang for your buck that you won’t get with most other headsets.
While I’ve played the arcade original, there were many Spy Hunter games released when I grew up and all of them were terrible. This version is no exception as somehow it doesn’t translate to 3D very well.
With the power of the Vita, and being a launch title, I figured Spy Hunter could finally be done right, but boy was I wrong. The game starts out by taking a photo of you for your license and throwing you out onto the street with four weapons. Each weapon is assigned to a face button and I started out with a flashbang, flamethrower, machine gun, and shocker. As I drove along I was ambushed by generic looking cars that rammed me, some that dumped explosive barrels, and some that had machine guns. The action itself was quite dull with little going for it as the game already looks extremely ugly and boring.
Even with new upgrades and morphing into a boat things did not get any more interesting. Driving the car feels like sliding on ice and crashes are uninteresting. For a game that is supposed to be so high octane, it doesn’t feel that way at all. The story is also pointless and pretty stupid as there are no established characters or reason as to why you are doing anything in the game.
If only the game looked better and felt more polished I feel it could have been something. As it is, this feels like a beta or an incomplete game. Physics are awful, the weapons seem cool but the results are uninteresting, and then when you repeat this dozen of times it’s enough to make your brain melt. I can’t recommend this game even to hardcore racing or action fans. This isn’t even worth a bargain bin purchase because there are other bargain bin games worth buying instead.
Oh, Pikachu, you’re so cute and cuddly and one of the most recognized characters in entertainment history. Nintendo sure does plastering your cute yellow face all over their consoles, and the 2DS XL version is the best yet. Nintendo went all out and went simple, just stick to Pikachu’s. With a raised 3D nose and cheeks on the top lid and is lightning yellow all around the system that gives it a simple, minimal design, and isn’t so over the top that it looks like a child’s toy. This is a nice elegant way to show your love for Pikachu and Pokemon in general.
As for the system itself, this is Nintendo’s latest iteration of its 3DS hardware that has come through some drastic changes. Just like its DS cousin, the 3DS went from small to big to new over the last several years. We saw the original 3DS turn into the 3DS XL which was expected as the DSi XL was a huge deal back in the day. Then we got a weird 2DS system that stripped away the foldable efficiency and the 3D mode. So people were left wondering if it was an all new system and if there are 2DS games just for the system. Then came the New Nintendo 3DS and XL which was the best version yet as it included a C stick for camera control, better screens, sound, and overall design. So, here we are at the end with the New 2DS XL which is a much lighter and slimmer version of the New 3DS XL just without the 3D effect.
Honestly, I hesitated on the 2DS XL as I love my 3D effects, but as I play more and more games I realize there are very few that utilize this feature well and it just turned into a huge gimmick. The 2DS XL also has better-looking screens, more comfortable form factor, and the weight was cut down. The New 3DS XL was a heavy beast and would leave hand cramps just for the sheer weight pulling on your wrist. The 2DS XL just feels so good in the hands and feels more sturdy. The 3DS XL had issues with loose hinges, weird feeling buttons that kind of felt loose, and an overall clunky design despite looking nice. The 2DS XL has great feeling buttons with the shoulder buttons having nice soft clicks, the face buttons have small hard clicks, and it’s just a good system to play for long periods of time.
There were some things moved around, and not all of it was good. The stylus was shortened by half and has a weird tab that allows you to pop it up next to the headphone jack. The top of the stylus is curved as the same shape as the DS almost like it was an afterthought. The game card access is now behind a door that worries me as these things break over time. At least the SD card is here too instead of behind a panel you have to unscrew like the New 3DS XL. The speakers were moved to the outer bottom edge where the card slot is as little slits rather than on the top screen. It seems to sound better and a little more clear, but the location means it will get muffled when playing if you aren’t careful. The volume slider is now on the left side on the bottom half rather than on the top screen like before, and obviously, the 3D slider is absent.
Software-wise, nothing is new here. It’s just the same as the New 3DS XL and that’s perfectly fine. There are no new additions to the firmware or anything special for this system expect the exclusion of any 3D stuff. The system also includes the AC adapter which is strangely missing from the New 3DS XL systems, so that’s a plus. Overall, the New 2DS XL is the definitive version of the system and cuts out all the experimentation and issues that were found in the earlier versions. If you like your 3D effects than the New 3DS XL is your system, but if you don’t care, this is definitely it, Pikachu or not.
Highly ambitious open world RPGs don’t really exist on handhelds. There just hasn’t been the technology to support them. Porting an open Wii game over to the 3DS was a bold move and nothing that has never really been done before. Using the more advanced CPU in the New 3DS, Xenoblade Chronicles shines and becomes a nearly perfect port.
The game has actually quite an entertaining and deep story, definitely something you will want to stick through and see to the end. The story of Xenoblade Chronicles starts off by showing the battle between Mechonis and Bionis, two gods fighting for all eternity. They continue to fight until Bionis cuts off Mechonis’ left hand, and then both of their swords pierce each other at the same time. Over time, life flourished on top of these gods, but the battle waged between Mechonis and Bionis would be continued by their progeny, Bionis’ Homs and Mechonis’ Mechon.
Eons later in Sword Valley, the Homs army is fighting off a Mechon invasion. The Homs are quickly losing ground and are forced to retreat to Colony 6 where they will put up a last stand. Dunban, the current wielder of the legendary Monado, decides to ignore orders and engages the Mechon forces with Dickson and Mumkhar. Mumkhar runs away and plans to return after Dickson and Dunban have died to collect the Monado; however, he is killed by the Mechon after running into their base. With the Monado, the only weapon that can pierce Mechon armor, Dunban and Dickson are able to push back and destroy all the Mechon, leaving the Homs victorious and earning Dunban the title of “Hero of the Homs”. Unfortunately, Dunban was not able to fully control the Monado, and after the battle, he was unable to use his right arm and almost died from his injuries.
The story just gets deeper and more involved as the story goes on and it’s fantastic. Outside of the story, this is an open world RPG that allows you to traverse massive areas around Bionis. These massive areas have stunning vistas and can sometimes take up to 10 minutes just to walk across from end to end, and again, that’s just one area out of dozens. One of the game’s biggest downfalls is that there’s not much to do or see in the massive areas. In towns you can pick up side quests, however, these suffer from standard JRPG tropes and become almost too monotonous and repetitive to do them all. There are spots you can get to know your characters better, but you have to meet weird conditions to do so, there are items to pick up all over the place to sell and that’s about it. I loved these open areas, but they were so boring to traverse through. There are enemies spread all over the place, and that’s when combat comes in.
The game has quite a unique combat system that revolves around executing set moves in a strategic way. You can control any one character at a time and executing moves that range from passive, defensive, and offensive is key to winning boss fights. This is one tough game, and I have had it for nearly a year and I still haven’t beaten it. The game requires an insane amount of grinding and finding skill books to level up your powers. Characters learn moves through combat and you can level them up, but each skill has a cap and you have to increase that by buying books at certain stores to make them more powerful. Nowhere in the game does it explain this and I learned the hard way later on. Finding these stores is nearly impossible on your own and requires internet research. This type of JRPG is just frustrating and annoying and makes the game less enjoyable.
While the combat system is fun and fast paced it just feel limited in scope. You have to balance out your party members or you will die often. You need a healer, and at least one power heavy character or you will be annihilated. However, you can’t just spam moves and win as you need to hit enemies from certain angles. There are linked chain attacks, but the Monado is your secret weapon. You can use the power to protect allies from main attacks, and most of all, predict when an enemy will use a powerful attack, and it will tell you who it will hit and how much time you have. It’s then your job to warn that character or use the Manado to protect them. The downside to this is that it messes with the flow of battle as it stops everything dead, shows you the attack in slow motion, then goes back to the battle. The battles get interrupted over a dozen times and it drove me insane as I had a good flow going and the controls would get yanked from me.
Battles also tend to drag out as this isn’t an easy game. Some monsters will actually be 10x your level and show as red health bars so you know to stay away and come back much later in the game. This is just a hardcore RPG through and through and you must devote several dozen hours of your time to finish this game as it is quite long. This isn’t exactly designed for handheld gaming sessions, but most fans of the genre will appreciate what is being done here.
Actually knowing where to go is also not a problem as you always have a quest arrow and if you hit a level wall you can backtrack and grind which is the worst part about the game. Outside of all that the graphics are quite nice with huge draw distances and lots of detail, but everything was just ported over and smushed down rather than being remastered. The game has muddy ugly textures that are some of the worst I have ever seen, and the character models are just so bad. From a distance when you’re playing normally you won’t notice, but during cut scenes, the ugliness ensues and it’s cringe worthy. There are some nice street pass options that will transfer items to your collection and you can save anywhere which is another plus.
Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a game that is too ambitious for its own good and you can clearly tell. With beautiful open vistas and nothing to do in them to heavy level grinding and slightly clunky combat that is a bit too involved for this type of game. The game is butt ugly up close and the added 3D effect is completely useless and doesn’t work with the game at all. The story and characters are pretty amazing, but the length and investment in this game is so over the top for a handheld that only hardcore JRPG fan s will carve out time for it.
Monster hunting games have always been a niche genre. Running around linear levels with limited combat gameplay to take down ferocious monsters is just tough. I could almost say it’s as hard as roguelike game without the rogue. Monster Hunter has been a very difficult game to get into for the common gamer. It’s hard, has a very high learning curve, and takes a lot of grinding to get the better gear to defeat a tough monster. Monster Hunter 4 is the first game in the series where it feels more accessible, fine tuned, and fun while still keeping what made the series so tough.
I have played previous games in the series, but not for very long as they were cumbersome, somewhat clunky, and not quite enjoyable. Monster Hunter 4 has finally started to get the formula down. Right off the bat the game has a much easier tutorial and feels more cinematic thanks to the added combat elements and new locations. You aren’t just stuck in one area like in MH3, but get to travel to new towns and even fight on ships.
I found the combat to be much better which is what kind of held the series down for so long. Animations are cleaner, interruptible, more varied, and it’s now easier to dodge and move around. However, without the Circle Pad Pro or New 3DS, you’re still controlling the camera with one button and is why the PSP versions put me off. Thankfully I played with a New 3DS XL so I didn’t have that issue. Being able to control the camera is just so amazing and makes the game more enjoyable. Circling monsters and keeping track of the environment has never been easier and I felt like I was better at the game and learned quicker.
The whole point of Monster Hunter is simple: Kill monsters, gather their parts, use those parts to create better armor and weapons. Missions are dealt out in ranks starting with one-star missions. There are also guild missions you can complete with friends or players online. This is the first handheld Monster Hunter that’s truly online and I had a blast. The game uses the StreetPass features by transferring guild cards to one another that have quests and acquiring items. It adds to the longevity of the game including the frequently updated, and free, DLC.
The game’s combat isn’t much different from previous games. You have a light and heavy attack button, but the added aerial combat is great. You can jump from walls or heights to try and take down enemies with heavy attacks. This isn’t just a hack and slashes either as you have to carefully plan your items, how you use them, and taking down main monsters isn’t a breeze. Each level is divided up into sections and each section has items unique to it so there’s a pattern and you can start to remember where certain resources are. The main monster will randomly show up and that’s what your main target is.
There are so many awesome items in Monster Hunter to help you take down this monster, but you have to learn their weaknesses, strengths, attacks, and how much health they have. Items range from various traps such as electrical, fire, bombs, and snares. There are health items and various other drinks for environments that drain your stamina etc. Some monster is small and fast that require a different weapon while some are big and slow and can take massive damage. It’s so satisfying to take down the main monster that you just want to go back and fight it again as you learned new things about it.
The downside to all this is that it requires a lot of time investment as you may have to play the same areas multiple times to gather enough materials to make the next best weapon and armor set. Thankfully there are various buffs you can acquire such as eating from the feline chef that can make you food. This can give you temporary stamina or health increase, attack power, and even defense. There’s a lot of sstrategiesinvolved in the combat so it’s smart to play around and experiment. Sticking to just one method will get you nowhere in this series.
Outside of fighting you can visit a store, blacksmith, customize your felines that fight alongside you, and various other activities. There’s a lot of meat packed into this game for a handheld title so you won’t get bored anytime soon. Thankfully this game is more accessible, and while not easier, it is more manageable and easier to chew. There are still issues with the game that persists over the years and that is the same UI, multi-part levels, weapons, and even some recycled monsters. The core game has actually never changed, but thankfully this version has enough newness and enough polish to not consider it a rehash of previous titles.
The visuals in the game are some of the best you will see on the 3DS despite the muddy textures. However, even as refined as this title is, it is still not for everyone. I only recommend this to hardcore gamers who are into roguelikes or games that you grind in. It can still feel overwhelming and too much for the average gamer today, but if you give it time you will have dozens of hours of amazing gameplay that you can’t get in any other handheld title.
Colors: Black, Red, Silver (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate), Gold (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D)
MSRP: $199.99, $229.99 (bundles)
Nintendo is one for constant hardware iterations, and they finally got the 3DS right with the New XL. Despite the confusing name, it actually does feel all new. The entire system is streamlined and it feels like Nintendo finally wrapped their minds around how they want the 3DS to be, and this is the final (hopefully) result. All of the features implemented into the 3DS up until now are present on the 3DS from hardware changes to software.
The first thing you will notice, obviously, is how big the unit is. I had a DSi XL and while it as bigger the larger screen made games look pixelated. The New 3DS XL isn’t just a 3DS on steroids like the 3DS XL, it has all new features. Secondly, is just how sleek it looks. This is probably Nintendo’s sexiest handheld since the GBA SP. The rounds edge accompanied by the slim form factor just made it look sleek and impressive. Once you flip it open you will notice something…what the hell is that rubber nubby thing on the top right corner? It’s the “C-Stick” and I put quotes there because it’s not a stick but a nub, hell not even that. It’s like a rubber nipple. The addition of a second stick is an absolute #1 must have on the 3DS…I can’t make this point any clearer. Nintendo pretty much took the Circle Pad Pro and melted it onto the New 3DS XL as it includes the ZR and ZL buttons as well. The first handheld with two shoulder buttons built in…now we just need more games that support them! More on that later.
Everything else is pretty much in its proper place button wise except there is no longer a WiFi switch on the side. WiFi is a software toggle now and the power, wifi, and charging lights are all grouped up in a row on the bottom right corner. You can see them easily with the lid flipped down. One of my favorite features is the SpotPass LED located on top of the right hinge. It lights up green when a SpotPass notification is available and is also your low battery light. The Game Card slot is tucked away on the bottom of the device along with the stylus and power button. The power button is a small button under the LED lights so you don’t accidentally hit it.
I actually like the new 3D slider on the right of the screen. It’s symmetrical to the volume slider, like older models, but is more flush with the system and doesn’t feel so cheap. One minor gripe is that the New 3DS XL does not use a standard SD card so the one in your older system is useless here, instead, it comes with a 4GB microSD card and it is not accessible from the outside. You must unscrew the bottom plate to get to it near the battery. That part I don’t really care about as most people will either never need to upgrade because they buy physical games, or you will upgrade once with a 32 or 64GB card if you are a digital person. There is also an NFC battery in this thing for the amiibos, but everyone will use that feature. That’s pretty much all there is to the new hardware…well it’s actually a complete 90% overhaul but for the better.
Let’s talk about the screens. They look great, while not as high resolution as you think, they work fine for 3DS games. For people with bigger hands the XL size is perfect and honestly, the 3D is much easier on your eyes as it’s a bigger target. The 3D effect is much-improved thanks to the head tracking built into the system via IR sensor. Now it’s not flawless, it doesn’t work well when you are laying down and gets finicky in the dark if you move around too much. The hardware has a faster CPU, mainly doubled that of the original model, as well as double the RAM and 1GB internal memory. The CPU is clocked at 268Mhz and is dual-core with one core reserved for OS operation. It also has 256MB of RAM and 10MB VRAM. You may laugh at this compared to say the Vita, but Nintendo is known to keep older hardware for cheaper prices. That’s not to say the New 3DS could have benefited from an entirely new chipset as seen in newer phones, which makes this the biggest downfall of the New 3DS.
Playing games on the system using the C-Stick is weird at first. It doesn’t move around as it reacts to pressure. You just push it…mush it? You move your thumb around on it and the camera turns, it’s hard to explain but it works well and after an hour you forget it’s not a moveable stick. Playing games like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate andResident Evil Revelations with it make the games that much more enjoyable. The extra shoulder buttons are a little hard to get to as they aren’t contoured into the system, but rather just sit on top and are rather small. The other complaint is that this system does not come with a charger. Yeah, you heard me. Nintendo banked on previous 3DS owners buying this system, so you’re going to have to throw down $10 or so for a generic charger if you have never owned a 3DS before. Stupid move on Nintendo’s part, but there’s nothing we can do.
With all that said the New 3DS XL is what the 3DS should have been in the beginning. The larger screens look crisp and bright, the battery lasts a whopping 7.5 hours (with WiFi off and power save mode on) during most games, the faster CPU will bring in better-looking games, and the entire form factor is sleek and gorgeous.
So here I was thinking this game was going to be something completely new and exciting when I realized it was pretty much a port of A Link to the Past. That’s not really a bad thing since many younger gamers have never played that game before. What I also didn’t like was just how easy and short the game was. The dungeons themselves aren’t really all that hard but more confusing and some puzzles are really hard to figure out. With that said the game is enjoyable but some may not like it.
It all comes down to feeling like every other Zelda game out there. There’s not much to set this apart, and when you’re done with it you will just shrug and move on to the next game. The dungeon layout and the bosses are clever and fun but I just wish there was more to this game. One thing I also didn’t like was having to buy the equipment to keep it. If you rent equipment and die it will be sent back to Rovio’s shop in which you have to go back to your house and rent it again and return to the dungeon you were at. At least there are warp spots which are a serious lifesaver. In all honesty, if these weren’t here I doubt most people would be able to stomach getting around.
Most dungeons involve a certain element or weapon. The boss in each dungeon also requires this weapon to defeat it. The sand rod, fire rod, ice rod, bomb, and various other weapons from past Zelda games make an appearance. However, the story involves Sages being turned into paintings and that’s where the whole “Link Between Worlds” thing comes in. This feature is actually quite gimmicky and the game would have been fine without it. It’s used as a segue between puzzles or just used briefly to get around. Flattening against a wall and shuffling side to side isn’t exactly a game selling feature and I felt it was poorly used here.
The game’s 8 dungeons may actually be enough for most people, especially Zelda fans. The most frustrating part was how to get to each dungeon since you can easily get lost or spend hours just wandering around aimlessly. The lack of direction has been abundant in the Zelda series and I feel needs to change. However, once again, some fans may be happy with this and that’s fine.
Overall, A Link Between Worlds is one of the best games available on 3DS and a fine Zelda game. It’s the only issue that it’s the same type of Zelda we have played numerous times and not the revolutionary Zelda we have come to expect from games like Phantom Hourglass. The 3D effects don’t really do much for the overall experience (like 99% of 3DS games) and can be just as enjoyable with the 3D turned off.
Luigi’s Mansion was a cult hit back on the GameCube but didn’t see much commercial success. The 3DS seems like a perfect home for the sequel so Nintendo went for it. You play as Luigi who is tasked with dispersing a small town of ghosts with the help of Professor E. Gadd. You take your Poltergust 5000 and suck and blow anything in your path. Be it cloth on walls, rugs, pulleys, or using your other powers to reveal hidden objects or even your flashlight to help battle ghosts. There are quite a few elements in play here and they are done fairly well. Ghosts don’t just stand around and let you suck them up. Some are protected by objects or are inside other objects and require coaxing out in various ways. This with the inclusion of puzzles makes Luigi’s Mansion a fun trip.
It isn’t without its problems and there are more than meets the eye like most recent Nintendo games. Sure the game looks great and plays well but it gets repetitive half-way through and gets frustrating. You’d expect tougher ghosts to come into play at some point, but instead, you get the same ghosts with bigger life bars and more thrown at you. As you progress you find cash throughout the game to upgrade your equipment so this isn’t a problem. I was nearly maxed out towards the end of the game. The issue is redundancy and constantly revisiting the same areas just to fight different ghosts. Some puzzles are hard to figure out and some require insistent backtracking that gets very dull. The game had the Mario charm thrown in, but I expected more variety. After the third area, you really start getting tired of the game, but that doesn’t mean its terrible.
There are some hidden items in each area and they aren’t too hard to find if you explore every little area. These range from gems to cash to a hidden Boo in each level. It feels less like a collectathon and more like exploring an area. The objectives are clear and your map is useful. With that said, many objectives are also repeated throughout like chasing down a ghost dog to find a key and getting back parts from various ghosts. It just got old and I just kept telling myself, “Not this again!”
Dark Moon is one of the best looking 3DS games out there. The game has high-resolution textures, great looking models, and some impressive lighting effects and physics. I almost felt like I was playing the Wii U. The 3D effects are nice but don’t add anything to the gameplay. I loved the attention to detail from Luigi’s voice to his animations. The game has great production values but could have used a better variety of gameplay elements.
Final Fantasy has had some strange offshoots like Chocobo Racing, Kingdom Hearts, and the TBS Tactics. A rhythm game is probably the only genre Final Fantasy hasn’t touched and it’s one that the game belongs in. Final Fantasy is full of some of the best video game music ever created. While later titles aren’t exactly up to par, there are plenty of songs here that fans will love across all 13 core titles.
The basic gameplay is broken up into 3 stages that are randomized. BMS is Battle Music Stage. Usually, one song from each game is picked that was used in a battle, usually a major boss fight. Your four characters stand in front of bars similar to a horizontal Guitar Hero. The entire game consists of only 3 tap types. Hold, tap, and slides. The speed and combination of these 3 can make things really difficult on the Ultra mode but the standard mode is just way too easy even for beginners. EMS or Event Music Stage is a song picked during some sort of popular or well-known cutscene and the said scene plays in the background to the music. It’s great seeing Rinoa and Squall waltz in Final Fantasy VIII or watching Aerith’s death scene in Final Fantasy VII. The game is mixed up a bit where the ring you tap flies around the screen as you follow it to complete the required taps. The final stage, FMS or Field Music Stage, has your leader character walking down a re-rendered field from each game collecting chests and the field music from each game accompanies it. This stage consists of one bar that you can move up and down to follow waves. There’s a third boring stage where you tap a crystal in the center of the screen as bubbles fly into it, these are for the opening and ending themes in the main mode which are as boring as ever.
This may sound simple, but the other half is leveling up your cute chibi FF characters and equipping items and weapons to last through the harder difficulties. Characters with higher HP won’t die as easy (meaning you can mess up more) and this includes their armor (they won’t take as much damage when you do mess up). Characters with higher luck infield stages will find more items. This is a unique twist on the rhythm genre and helps push it forward in a way that’s never really been done. Thanks to the many extras such as fully rendered trading cards and DLC there’s a lot to be had in this package. If you like the lesser known songs in these games the Dark Notes mode will help you here. You can acquire new songs vita StreetPass or battling friends in multiplayer for the highest score. These are all set to the hardest difficulty so practice is needed.
With such a content heavy rhythm game is begs the question as to who this title is for. Rhythm game fans will appreciate the mechanics and use of the touchscreen, but may not care for the orchestra and chiptune heavy music. Final Fantasy nuts may love this game but not really like the fast-paced rhythm action. It’s something that can appeal to anyone who even hates RPGs, but the Final Fantasy only music may turn Rock Band and Guitar Hero fans away. Despite who this game is made for, whoever picks it up will enjoy a simple yet rich game full of detail, content, and attention to detail that hasn’t been seen since the earlier days of Final Fantasy.
Castlevania has struggled for years in the 3D department. Lords of Shadowwas the first solid Castlevania that was in the 3D that did the series justice. Some hardcore fans shame the game, but I think it is one of the best action games of this generation. Mirror of Fate brings that same awesomeness to the 3DS with great combat and solid platforming.
You play as four protagonists through the whole game. Simon, Alucard, Gabriel, and Trevor. The game has simple 2D platforming with jumping and swinging, but the combat is solid enough. You have two attack buttons and a special power button. The special powers vary from axes (CV1 anyone?) to passive powers like being invincible for a short time or turning into a werewolf (Alucard). The combat is punchy and powerful and feels great. However, the game is incredibly hard. It requires a lot of skill and mastering the combat to get through the game because it can just get downright tough, but it’s beatable. Apart from the combat you are mainly solving puzzles and finding secrets.
Puzzles involve pushing and pulling objects into right places, flipping switches in a sequential order, and some times even labyrinthine mazes. The map is very useful since you can place notes and it will tell you if there’s a secret or something useful nearby. Upgrading health and magic seems like a standard affair but you have to find these chests and make an effort, they aren’t handed to you. There was some annoying backtracking which felt a bit cheap, and the fast travel system is nearly useless since you never know which level you will end up in. I did get lost a few times and the puzzles can be real head scratchers, but platforming fans shouldn’t struggle too much.
The story is pretty short and there’s no reason to really come back. People who never played Lords of Shadow won’t really get the story since the ending is extremely sad. The graphics are amazing and these are the best 3D effects I have seen on the 3DS thus far. They pop out and just make the whole game come to life. I honestly didn’t see much that wasn’t in 3D in some way.
Overall, Mirror of Fate is a solid yet difficult platformer that will make any Castlevania or platformer fan happy. The story is interesting, the 3D effects are amazing, and the combat is solid. Just be prepared for some backtracking and short game time.