I’ve long avoided the Earth Defense Force (EDF) franchise.  The idea of it sounded interesting but the few videos I’ve seen of it always looked bad and the review scores for most of the franchise seemed worse.  I lumped it in with Dynasty Warriors—a franchise that I never wanted to touch. But a friend roped me into playing Iron Rain, so here we are. While Iron Rain isn’t as bad as I initially anticipated, that still doesn’t make it a “good” game.

EDF places you in the shoes of a soldier you create at the start of the game.  The “Aggressors” (aliens) are attacking per usual and it’s up to you and your somewhat ragtag squad to stop them.  I have no idea why they don’t just call them “Aliens”, but I digress. You then spend about 50+ missions blasting apart giant bugs, robots, spiders and alien spacecraft.

There are four classes of soldier for you to play as. Two are unlocked from the start while the other two are unlocked gradually in the story.  They are:

Trooper – This is the default class and the most baseline.  It can wield most weapons, has decent defense and the special move is a dash to get out of danger, quickly.

Jet Lifter – Aka “The Flying Class”.  This soldier has wings so it can somewhat fly around the battlefield, dealing out damage.  Unfortunately, the controls aren’t exactly great for this activity.

Heavy Striker – This is the tank class of the 4 available.  You can use two weapons at once which means it deals out more damage but you do have to be aware of your ammo.  The special ability is an energy shield that stops damage at the cost of energy.

Lastly, my personal favorite the Prowl Rider.  The PW has slightly more armor than the Jet Lifter but less than the Trooper and far less than the Heavy Striker.  The hook with this class is it literally has a grappling hook that can attach to buildings, or even the ground, to zip around the level with.  It’s a lot like the grappling hook in the Just Cause games.

Each class also has an “Overdrive” mode that is akin to a super-mode for your soldier.  The Trooper shoots/reloads a lot more quickly, the Lifter can fly infinitely a short time/shoot quicker, the Striker’s shield increases in diameter and the Striker summons a friendly insect to ride.  I should say “attempts” to summon, since this feature didn’t seem to work half the time.

The enemies you face in Iron Rain leave a lot to be desired.  There are around 15 enemy types total, and that’s about it for the entirety of the story campaign.  Enemies include: giant ants, giant spiders, a beetle that can rush at you, giant robots, tiny ships that can teleport, and so on.  There are a few variations as well, such as one enemy called a “Scourger” which initially is red. Later in the campaign, you come across a blue variant that is the same basic model, just more difficult to kill.

There is also an enemy human faction but they matter so little in the story as to barely merit a mention.  I think you only fight against them in like 4 of the missions (if that), so they aren’t a big threat.

Missions typically follow the pattern of you being dropped off in an area, the bugs are there, and you have to “kill’em all”, to steal a line from Starship Troopers.  Once you destroy the initial wave of bugs, a second wave will pop up, and then usually a third. Most of the time it will be against a new enemy type, but after a while it begins to repeat.

A few missions change up this formula but only ever so slightly.  A couple levels involve you having to defend a building against alien attack.  Some other missions don’t have an open-area at all but confine you to a cave system, going through corridors and smashing bugs.  Also, some levels have boss fights in them but they don’t exactly feel epic when you are fighting them.

Seemingly, the impressive part about EDF games is the scale.  The old games had large environments and could fill levels with a lot of enemies.  Iron Rain tries to do this but only the first part is successful.

Most levels can overwhelm you with enemies but it doesn’t seem fair.  A lot of the weaker enemies can go down in one or two shots (depending on your weapon), but stronger enemies can become bullet sponges and can take forever to go down.

It really doesn’t help when there are over 10 enemies on screen and the framerate takes a massive hit to what is going on.  The ants are one thing, but certain enemies like the giant robots can really tank the framerate and overwhelm you, if more than two get on your case.  Enemy behavior falls into about two categories of “shoot” or “follow you relentlessly” which makes fighting most stuff not fun.

Enemies do drop crystals though and you’ll need them and money to buy new weapons/gear for your soldier.  There are three crystal colors (blue, red, yellow), with green crystals being a health pick-up in the level.  When you complete a mission you’ll also get some cash which you can use to buy new stuff. I’m not quite sure why you need money in a game world that is all-but destroyed with only a single force (EDF) to prevent total annihilation but maybe that’s explained in an earlier game?

There are a lot of weapons and gear you can unlock, but most of it is pretty meaningless.  There are rocket launches, machine guns, laser guns, swords, grenade launchers, shotguns, etc. for you to wield against the bugs.  Here’s a tip: use a rocket launcher and laser rifle once you unlock them and only them. The laser rifle has limited ammo but can destroy most enemies easily, while the rocket launcher is useful on bigger things.

You can also use money to buy upgrades to your health but at a certain point it becomes ridiculous.  It is an exponential increase in how much money it costs. So to go from level 2 to level 3 health, it might cost 5,000, but to go from level 3 to level 4, it will cost 20,000.  You don’t get a ton of money from doing missions either, so you’ll really have to repeat them and grind it out if you have an eye on a new weapon or health upgrade you want/need.




Items involve health packs, decoy traps, grenades, rebooters (resurrect a friendly soldier) and the like.  There are also vehicles that you can use and they are awful.

I have no idea why the vehicle controls are the way they are, but it’s like a blast from the PS1.  Instead of the traditional “Use R2 to accelerate, L2 to break, R1 to shoot”, they put all movement on the left analog stick.  So, you actually have to hold up to go forward. So you have to hold in a diagonal direction to turn right or left. There are some tanks and mech suits that are (theoretically) useful in fights, assuming they weren’t really low health, but there are also “joke” vehicles like trucks that just make a horn noise.

This applies to ground vehicles.  There are also air vehicles but I have yet to figure out how to even drive them correctly.  The ground vehicle controls are bad, the air stuff is unusable.

The story, such as it is, is barely there.  The game starts off and there is an escalation of alien stuff with a “Hivecraft” ship, and then other unique alien enemies that you have to destroy.  After every mission, you might get some light banter between your teammates or a radio show from a slightly ditzy female DJ. The problem is, all the voice over is during your mission results screen.  That’s it. There’s no cinematics with your teammates, or really, any cinematics at all, to make you invested in the story. Once you finish the campaign there is a montage of pictures of (presumably) the characters in the campaign, but considering they are never shown in the actual game, it becomes a farce.  The pictures could be characters from a Mobile Suit Gundam series, and I wouldn’t have known the difference.

So, are there any positives?  Well, like I said above, that Prowl Rider class is kind of fun to use.  It’s a weird mix of Just Cause and Vanquish with how you can get around a level quickly.  Also, as a co-op game it’s “passable”. It would be better if enemy health wasn’t boosted when you’re in a co-op game, but that’s me.

[post_title] => Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PS4) Review [post_excerpt] => Marc Morrison takes a look at Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain in his full review. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => earth-defense-force-iron-rain-ps4-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-25 00:20:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-25 04:20:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=604680 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 598695 [post_author] => 419 [post_date] => 2019-04-25 00:00:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-25 04:00:04 [post_content] =>

Game: Out of the Park Baseball 20

Developer and Publisher: Out of the Park Developments

Platform: PC

Genre: Sports Simulation

Release Date: March 22, 2019

  We are almost 70 games into the 1996 baseball season and my Texas Rangers are up six games in the West. It wasn’t easy and I am sure I must come off like a gambler to my fellow GM’s. Recognizing the staff was weak, I have been intensely pulling off moves to try and get us a stronger staff. I dealt a prospect to Pittsburgh for Danny Darwin. That failed. I dealt another prospect to the Mets for Rick Reed. That has worked thus far. Then I pulled off the biggest deal of the season yet: I sent Will Clark (and his expensive 3-year contract), Mickey Tettleton, Ed Vosberg and a couple of two-star prospects to Pittsburgh, my old friends, for Zane Smith, Dan Plesac, Orlando Merced and AA reliever Elmer Dessens. My fans hate to see both Clark and Tettleton leaving. I somehow fix my lineup with this deal and I feel happy about it. Finally, I can get Juan Gonzalez out of right field and to DH. Finally, I have a solid left-handed reliever. I also added another arm to my staff. Then I turned Danny Darwin into a reliever. Then I nabbed David Cone and his 6.68 ERA off waivers (sorry Yanks).  I win 10 straight games. Pudge and Gonzalez sign their extensions and the fans are thrilled to have the two biggest stars in for the long haul. Of course, this is followed by a five-game losing streak and a season ending injury for Rusty Greer. Such is life in the majors. Such is life in Out of the Park Baseball 20. What can I say about OOTP 20 that I can’t say about the last 3 entries in the series? It I still the deepest, most ambitious, realistic and comprehensive baseball simulator out there. It still has over 100 seasons of baseball that you can replay, with real-life rosters and the most accurate simulation engine for all baseball eras.  The simulation engine allows you to see the action unfold on the field. You can play as just the GM and carry on with the big picture stuff, or you can also be the manager and tell your guys to bunt, steal bases and pitch around that dangerous cleanup hitter. You can be as involved as you want, or simply set a lineup and sim everything. It doesn’t matter your style of play, OOTP 20 will burn those hours away and before you realize it is 3am and you are debating whether a trade for Jacob Brumfield might be enough to offset that Rusty Greer injury. The sheer amount of customization options is ridiculous. You can replay every season exactly as it happed (great for historical replays) or let it play out as the AI and the simulation engine take care of it (my choice of style) and change history. Heck, the tools are there for you to start your brand-new baseball universe from scratch, with fake players and teams. Want to create the Premier League of Baseball? Well, you can! If you like the modern game better, then you can play the current season either, from scratch or, thanks to the new live integrated services, on today’s date with accurate rosters, injuries and transactions as they have happened during the season. Maybe you can turn around the Boston Red Sox or keep the Mets pumping wins. The modern game also includes 12 international leagues and several US independent leagues as well. Not only can you play the MLB games, but you can choose to manage any minor league team or any team from any of the independent and international leagues as well.  You could literally buy OOTP 20 and never have to buy another baseball game again.  I have already put over 40 hours into it and have not even reached the halfway point of my 1996 season save. Another mode in OOTP Baseball 20 is Perfect Team, which is the typical collectible card game mode found in most sports titles nowadays since Madden introduced the mode. This mode allows microtransactions as you can buy currency used to buy player packs and cards in the auction house, but I have found that I can field a good team without spending any money. Since achievements, accolades and milestones, not only in Perfect Team, but also on every single player mode, gives you coins (and some of them packs) and the prices of the auction house have stayed fair, you probably wont need to invest any real-life money if you play the game enough. Cards from modern players will even see their scores raise or lower due to the live-integrated services according to how the player is doing in real life.  I like perfect team as a fun diversion that I can invest 15-20 minutes a day in and then resume my single player experience. Graphically speaking, the menus are clean, and the interface is well designed. It is one of the prettiest text-based games out there. The 3D animation engine is miles better than it was a few years ago, although it still has a few hiccups. For example, sometimes a ground out to third base is animated incorrectly with the ball going all the way to left field, which causes the runner to walk his way to first in order to allow the animations to catch up to the actual simulation engine.  Worse still, sometimes the shortstop or third baseman walks all the way to the field to retrieve the ball and do the ground out throw to first. Sure, when this happens it throws you off from the realism, but it only happens once every few games.  Still, seeing a home run go over the green monster in Boston or a shortstop make a great diving stop is much better than reading about it. Only Football Manager has a better animation engine and with the work OOTP has done over the years I am sure they will work out the kinks and smooth it out over time.  Also, major props for the animations team, as this year not only do you get diving catches, jumping to steal a home run or head first slides, but different pitching motions have been accurately captured, which is amazing for such tiny figures. OOTP also boasts a comprehensive sound effects package that truly captures the atmosphere of the ballpark. The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the umpires yelling “Out!” and Take me Out to the Ballgame playing in the middle of the 7th inning are among the highlights. Not only are you reading what’s happening, but you can see it and hear it too. That’s why OOTP is my favorite baseball sim. The game’s AI has also been vastly improved and always posses a challenge, especially during trade negotiations. Every deal I have made has made me second guess my decision multiple times before the trade button is pressed.  AI managers will also propose some ridiculous deal (sure, a 1-and-a-half-star prospect for my best catcher) to see if you bite. In game they make accurate substitutions and utilize relievers and pinch hitters effectively. The AI also recognizes the era you are playing in, for example, leaving starters longer during the 90’s and using more relievers per game in modern times.  You will also see teams in win-now mode dealing prospects for veteran help and teams rebuilding dealing all their vets for prospects and cash. Now, there is a learning curve to this game. If a rule exists in MLB, then it exists here too. Careful management of waivers, minor league options, Rule 5 drafts, rehab assignments and more is necessary to get the most enjoyment out of the game. Luckily, the game has plenty of FAQs and explanations online and as always, you can get as involved as you want to, designating some of the more cumbersome tasks to the AI and just managing games if that’s what you want. [post_title] => Out of the Park Baseball 20 (PC) Review [post_excerpt] => Out of the Park Baseball 20 is back, but is it better than ever? 411's Armando Rodriguez checks in with his full review. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => out-of-the-park-baseball-20-pc-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-04-25 00:41:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-04-25 04:41:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=598695 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 590769 [post_author] => 2286 [post_date] => 2019-03-20 00:04:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-20 04:04:26 [post_content] => Supplement Type: Rules & Setting Expansion Setting: Eberron Lead Designers: Keith Baker, Ruty Rutenberg Available at DM's Guild. While each of the Dungeons & Dragons settings have their appeal, for my money Eberron tops the list. The Keith Baker-created world, which was introduced in third edition, takes the traditional high fantasy of D&D and tilts it just enough to where it's a different, unique world that plays on noir and pulp adventure. When Fifth Edition was announced in 2014, fans began clamoring for Eberron's return. And it finally happened late last summer with The Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron, bringing warforged, Dragonmarks and the Mournland into the latest edition of the game. It was clear though at that time that Baker wasn't done. While Wizards of the Coast has yet to officially release or announce additional content for Eberron, they opened it up for creators to make new content on the DMs Guild. Baker has been open about his desire to introduce more content that Wizards might have the time to spend resources on, and since then has begun producing an adventure path for the setting, as well as writing his own content. The latest of those releases, Morgrave Miscellany, takes the cake. Co-designed with Wayfinder's Guide co-author and Inkwell Society DM Ruty Rutenberg, the 162-page book dives deeper into the world of Eberron with a host of character options, world-building material and everything else that a DM and their players could need to build the best campaign they're able to. Mechanics Many players open up a new supplement and jump straight to the system stuff, and for those players Morgrave Miscellany is going to be a delight. The book offers a new archetype for each of the twelve classes, drawn from some of the Eberron prestige classes of earlier editions. There's everything from Extreme Explorer Barbarians, who run on adrenaline and not rage, to the Wizard School of Antiquities, which use their knowledge of ancient history to give them tactical advantages. In between there are a options that include Monks of the Silver Flame, a new (and terrifying) Warlock Pact, a Paladin oath that harnesses the character's own divinity and so on. Each of the classes is distinctly flavored to fit perfectly into Eberron, sliding right into the pulp noir fantasy zone with minimal fuss. Races also get a bit more variety here, with some new Shifter and Tiefling subraces. But the big toy in this category is the Dragonforged. Similar to Warforged, they're creations given life but left adrift in the world. There are also subraces for those with Aberrant Dragonmarks and some new racial feats specific to the Eberron races like kalashtar and changelings, while Dragonmarks get heavil expanded on with new power levels and a lot of new information on Aberrant marks. The new character options are thematically appropriate, but how do they play? I have not had a chance to test them out yet, obviously. But the short answer is that they play much like other Eberron content: with new systems that are intriguing and powerful, yet mostly balanced against the power levels of other Eberron content. Dragonforged are undoubtedly tough, with a very high armor class, but they also have a some narrative aspects that help balance their combat power. Several of the classes introduce the concept of spending hit dice and taking damage from them in order to boost a roll or gain other mechanical benefits, which is the right kind of thematic mechanic for Eberron games. Chapter Three contains a couple of other optional mechanics in Injury Saving Throws (allowing you to stay active when brought to 0 hp at the cost of lasting wounds) and how to play a zero-level campaign that is rewarding and fun for the players. Both of these are interesting options that won't work for everyone, but they're balanced nicely and for people who want them, they're nice bonuses. Flavor While mechanics are always appreciated, the real appeal in Morgrave Miscellany is the rest of the content. Baker, Rutenberg and the rest have done a fantastic job in this book of exploring what it means to play in Eberron, and how you can fit traditional character concepts into the world. Eberron is a unique setting and with that comes a lot of potential caveats. It's one of D&D's greatest settings, but a lot of players can be uncertain about how to fit within the expansive, somewhat non-traditional environment. For those players, there is a lot to work with here. The book goes through each class and offers ideas for potential concepts set within the power groups, governments and nations of Eberron. Want to play a Barbarian who isn't all Conan-esque? Try an Eldeen Champion. Have a need to play Cleric but you're out of ideas for a new one? There are ideas for how to play the class differently using all of the core backgrounds. There's information on the nomadic halflings of the Talenta Plains, the various faiths and how they play into divine classes and plenty more. And impressively, it's all written in a way to have value for old hats at Eberron and newcomers alike. It's not just player options, either. Chapter Three, "Fantasy Noir," has a ton of great information for Dungeon Masters seeking to strike the right tone of an Eberron campaign. There's information on running "session zeros" and what noir means in the context of fantasy roleplaying. The final chapter is DM-focused as well, looking at a series of zero-level adventure encounters that fit smoothly within the setting. Layout One of the trickiest parts of the DMs Guild is that you never know what you're going to get. Nowhere is that more clear than when talking about layout and editing. These are elements that are not necessarily part of the package that makes a great designer of RPG content. Fortunately, this group has a lot of experience with content and things are laid out fairly well. The whole book is laid out like a collection of lectures and lessons from Morgrave University, the somewhat-disreputable college of exploration in the city of Sharn. This allows Baker, Rutenberg and their fellow designers to mesh the flavor nicely in with the mechanics for a text that flows effectively. If there's anything that earns this a ding, it is that it references material not contained within other official D&D books. It is a very minor quibble, but I don't yet have the DM's Guild product Xanathar’s Lost Notes (although it's next on my list to buy). I don't begrudge designers the idea of drawing from their other published works for new material, but there is a little disappointment to be had there, however minor. Outside of that a few typos occur here and there, and some rules are not quite worded as well as they could be. But all in all, this is a professionally put-together book thanks to Baker and his team's editing, with some stellar art to boot. And at 162 pages, $14.99 is a very good price for it. [post_title] => Morgrave Miscellany (D&D 5E) Supplement Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Jeremy Thomas checks in with his full review of the new unofficial Eberron supplement co-written by Keith Baker, Morgrave Miscellany. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => morgrave-miscellany-dd-5e-supplement-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-20 13:48:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-20 17:48:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=590769 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 589057 [post_author] => 3744 [post_date] => 2019-03-13 12:00:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-13 16:00:38 [post_content] => From the first trailer of Jump Force, I thought the game was going to be a disaster. There has never been a good 3D Dragon Ball Z game, and the Naruto ones aren’t much better. The inherent problem, at least with a DBZ fighting game, is that flying around is at odds with the camera, usually making a completely terrible experience. To its credit, Jump Force does side-step this problem but the things surrounding the actual fighting are baffling. To start with, Jump Force is a Shonen Jump infused 3D fighting game. There are over 40 characters from series of Dragon Ball Z (obviously), Naruto, One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh, Bleach, to lesser known ones (to me anyway) of Bleach, City Hunter, Black Clover, etc. Some franchises, like Yu Yu Hakusho only have one or two characters, while DBZ and One Piece top out with 6 characters each. So, if you are into any reasonably big Shonen Jump franchise, you’ll likely find someone in here to enjoy. The controls are somewhat simple but that is because the fighting engine isn’t too complex. X and Y are used for light and heavy attacks. A is used to jump and B is the throw/grab button. LT is used as the tag in button, RT is used for charging up your power/doing special attacks. Finally, LB is used for dashing around while RB is used for guarding. Pressing the right analog stick in, when your “Awakening Gauge” is active also lets you enter in the Awakening Mode, which I’ll get into down below. There are a few things to break down when it comes to the controls. First, there isn’t any flying at all. Characters can jump but they don’t zip around the stage while the camera tries (and fails) to follow them, so that is nice. Second, when you hold RT you do power up but it is THE only way to do special attacks. When holding RT, the face buttons become your special move buttons, X is usually used for a beam attack, Y is a melee attack and B is something of a utility attack, but it depends on the character. This isn’t a rule for every character but just kind of a general guideline. The A button move is your super move and can only be used when you’re in the Awakened State. Awakened State is a powered up form you can activate once you’ve taken a certain amount of damage. You become a bit faster and stronger but really you want to use it to do your super move. This move is pretty analogous to the X-Ray move from the recent Mortal Kombat games. This is the big, flashy, (generally) character specific move, like Goku hitting an enemy with the Spirit Bomb or Vegeta doing his Final Flash. The tag system in the game is….weird. This isn’t like a Marvel vs. Capcom or Dragon Ball FighterZ system, where each character had their own individual life bar. In this game, everyone shares a life bar so if you are playing as Cell and you swap in Boruto, the life bar doesn’t change. With this in mind, I’m baffled as to WHY this is a tag game. I mean, most (if not all) characters play the same. Some might have an occasional different move but they’re all pretty similar. The characters that are the most different are the few JoJo’s characters and Yugi Muto because they have stands (or in Yugi’s case a card monster) that does most of their attacks. Your character in the game is basically a blank slate. The story has you playing a regular human who gets blasted by Frieza. You get then resurrected with an “Umbra’s Cube”, which not only restores you but gives you super powers. Then you join the Jump Force, which is sort an inter-dimensional police agency to stop some bad guys using evil Umbra’s Cubes to infect people and destroy everything. What this really means is that the game is giving you somewhat free reign in how you want to make your character. If you want to give him or her all the moves from Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece, you can. You just have to purchase them from the store. You can buy and swap out your four main special attacks, it just requires you to buy them. This also goes for customization, there are a LOT of clothes and accessories for your character to wear, either general items or franchise-specific stuff, you just have to buy them. There are two *really* weird quirks with the story, which can annoy a player. The first is that at the start of the game you are told to pick a Jump Force team: Alpha, Beta or Gamma. Alpha is about defending territory from the bad guys, Beta is about attacking the evil group (Venoms), and Gamma is about being stealthy and gathering info. Each group is headed by a main different person, Alpha = Goku, Beta = Monkey, Gamma = Naruto. You are told this is an important decision that cannot be changed once you make it and it will have repercussions for the story. It’s a hill of beans. While it does alter what special moves you start with, that’s about it. There are a lot of story beats that still require you to talk to each team member to actually progress through the story. The missions might be different for each team but the end goal is really the same. Also, each team has their own separate area which leads into the second problem. There is a hub world where you progress through the story, buy stuff, take on side missions, and is also a social space for you and other players if you want to play online. THE GODDAMNED HUB WORLD IS MASSIVE! It doesn’t seem so big at first glance, it’s basically a main room with 3 team wings and a fourth where the commander is but my god does it take forever to get around. You even have vehicles to help you get around: a bike, a frog (don’t ask), a boat, and a Frieza chair (if you pre-ordered the game), and even this stuff is too slow. After the intro sequence I literally spent 20 minutes roaming the empty halls (this was before launch) of the hub world because I couldn’t figure out how to start the next story sequence. There’s no mini-map at all, just a rudimentary chat window. The team wings just have the same things: mission, store, and ability kiosks. You can talk to a few of your teammates but they have almost nothing to say. 9 times out of 10, to start the next story mission you have to talk to the Jump Force commander, who has his own little office. There is a lot of side stuff you can do, optional missions, really customizing your character with passive abilities, playing online, and so on, but the game just never feels fun. It’s not as bad as I initially feared but that still doesn’t make it a good fighting game. Side note: Why the hell is there a buried, Planet of the Apes-esque Stature of Liberty in the Namek fighting stage? I’ve watched all the Namek/Frieza sagas and I don’t remember seeing that around. Last note: There has been a lot of criticism about the game for how it looks. While the animation is rough, the plastic sheen some characters have is really off putting. They should have just done with Smash Bros does and go “This is all in a toy box and the characters are dolls”. That would have helped a lot. [post_title] => Jump Force (PS4) Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Marc Morrison jumps into Jump Force and gives his full review. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => jump-force-ps4-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-12 22:48:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-13 02:48:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=589057 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 582956 [post_author] => 3744 [post_date] => 2019-02-13 00:00:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-13 05:00:34 [post_content] => The original Tales of Vesperia was one of my gaming white whales when it originally was released on the Xbox 360. I got the game and played around half of it but then got overwhelmed with all the side content and lost where I was even supposed to go in the game. Thankfully that didn’t happen again as I played this version but you can clearly tell this s a game from a somewhat different era. From a story perspective, I think Vesperia is one of the best Tales games, but I haven’t played every single one of them, so perhaps my opinion is moot. First, the thing I like about this game is that aside from one main character, all have normal names. Yuri, Rita, Estelle, Judith, these are all names that are real. It’s none of this Laphicet (Berseria), Sorey (Zesteria), or Muzet (Xillia) crap. The only questionable name in the game is Karol, for a male character, and that’s not even that bad in the grand scheme of things. As for the actual story, it’s pretty solid. Yuri is a pretty classic anti-hero but is still heroic. He joins up with Estelle, a princess with a lot of power, Karol, a young hunter, Rita, a talented mage, and Judith, a dragon rider, and they all have some adventures. To be honest, the actual plot of Vesperia is a tad schizophrenic. You’re introduced to bad guys, take them out, and then an even worse bad guy shows up who reveals he was pulling the strings for a while. That’s not to say it’s bad at all, it just meanders for a while and takes a really long time to get going. The combat is probably one of the ways the game hasn’t aged that well. You have a melee attack button and an arte (magic) button. You can change the properties of these attacks by holding on a direction. So holding up on the analog stick means you’ll do upward attacks. This works for artes also, but you can select whichever arte you want in the menu. The reason the combat hasn’t aged that well is the presentation. You are in a 3D combat environment but generally locked to a 2D plane when it comes to attacking. There is a button that you hold to activate 3D movement, so you can run around the level, but then this disables your directional attacks. This feels weird! I say that in bold to get this point across. You’re either locked to the 2D plane where enemies can (and do) gang up on you from all sides, or you can evade them by running around but then you don’t have access to as many powerful attacks. It just feels really strange to actually play. There are two other systems that make this game seem like it’s from a different time: the map and the inventory. As far as the map goes it is barely helpful. There’s only an overworld map, which only tells you visitable locations. It doesn’t tell you where you need to go to start the next story point. There is an in-game journal to kind of bring you up to speed if you’ve lost your place, but it’s not that helpful. There isn’t a dungeon map, or even a basic arrow telling you where to go, which would have been helpful. Along that, there is a quirk with the inventory system. You can only hold 15 of any consumable item at once. So, let’s say you to buy every Life Bottle (Phoenix Down) from the store, you can’t because you can only hold 15. Once you beat the game, you have the option to boost your inventory up, but this is still a pretty bad system. One system I did like in the game how you gain new skills and level up. Your weapons will have various skills on them like “Guard” or “Backstep” that will become available to use while the weapon is equipped. You will also gain proficiency in the skill as you battle. Eventually, you can learn the skill which means you can then equip a different weapon but still keep that skill. When you level up, aside from gaining some small increases to your HP and TP (magic), you’ll gain skill points. For the skills you gain through weapons, you can turn them on or off in this menu, provided you have enough points to use them. Say you want to have Taunt and Item Thrower on, Taunt requires 2 points and Item Thrower requires 7, but you only have 8 points available, you’ll have to pick and choose which is the more valuable skill to have. Also, some skills add active abilities like said Backstep or Combination, while others are more passive bonuses like adding damage to your attacks or increasing your magic ability. There is a lot to do aside from battling and leveling. There is a whole synthesis system where you can make new items and better weapons for your characters. There is also a cooking system where you can gain temporary buffs from eating meals, assuming you don’t fail at making them. Finally, there is a whole lot of side stuff to do, like I said above, if you want to partake of it. There are special monsters to hunt down, a secret casino to visit, a mini-game involving your dog party member peeing around the world, etc. If you mainline the game, you’re still looking at a 30 to 40 hour JRPG at the least but with the extra stuff, it can double the time. To be sure, this game certainly looks better than the old 360 version. It is sharper and the framerate is a lot faster than it used to be. The problem is the audio in the game. This version of Vesperia used the PS3 version of the game as its base for the upscale. The PS3 version only came out in Japan, so it never got translated or had voice acting from the American actors. So, there are some inconsistencies when going from an originally voice acted scene to a new one, because the actors are different. Most of them do match up reasonably OK but the guy they got to replace Yuri really sounds different and isn’t great. [post_title] => Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PC) Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Marc Morrison checks in with his full review of Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tales-of-vesperia-definitive-edition-pc-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-02-12 23:55:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-02-13 04:55:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=582956 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 582934 [post_author] => 3744 [post_date] => 2019-02-10 00:00:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-02-10 05:00:12 [post_content] => I’ll admit I’ve basically never played an Ace Combat game. My only experience with any of them was playing Ace Combat 1 on a few PS1 demo discs I used to have as a kid. Those were quite fun but At its most basic, Ace Combat 7 is a dogfighting/air combat game. In most missions you either have to attack ground targets or enemy aircraft all while keeping your own plane safe and (optionally) the mission objective alive. At the core, it’s a fairly simple game but honestly that is why it works pretty well. Controls are simple but can take some getting used to. L2 and R2 are used for decelerate and accelerate respectively, while L1 and R1 are used for wing turning. X is used to fire your machine guns, Circle is used to fire your missiles or bombs. Square cycles between your special weapon types while Triangle is used for changing the selected target. Finally, R3 lets you change cameras, either outside your plane or a few cockpit views, and pressing L3 and R3 at the same time drops some flares to confuse enemy missiles from hitting you. Frankly, the above control layout is 99% of what the game offers you. The only other real maneuver you can do is by pressing L2 and R2 at the same time you can execute a “High-G turn” where your plane can make a sharper turn than usual to line up a shot. The downside is that it really burns your speed if you do a long one and if you lose too much speed you’ll stall out. I actually didn’t end up using this move too much in my time with the game but maybe that is just me. Most missions follow a fairly typical structure: you’ll fly along for a minute, come across your target (either on ground or air) and begin fighting. That’s kind of about it. For ground targets you’ll come across A.A. Guns or SAMs that can hit you, and for air, you’ll come across a large amount of aircraft to fight up against. Missions generally just involve blowing things up but there are some occasional ones that are more varied. One early mission involves you having to pilot around enemy radar bubbles and if you get spotted the mission ends. So you had to go kind of slow and stealthily, well, as much as a plane can get stealthy. Another later mission just involved you trying to cause as much destruction to an enemy base as possible. It wasn’t the deepest mission but was pretty fun. In the game is the “Aircraft Tree” which is a fancy term for a shop where you can unlock new planes. There are three basic types of planes: fighter (good against air to air combat), attacker (good against ground targets) and multirole (decent against both). You unlock new ships using “MRP” which are basically Military Points. You gain them from doing either story missions or playing in the multiplayer, which I’ll get into a bit below. Aside from new ships, you can purchase new special armaments for those planes, or unlock new systems for all planes, like improving missile power or enhancing aircraft maneuverability. Playing the multiplayer breaks the economy is a really funny way. After playing three story missions, I had about 110,000 MRP to spend. After playing three multiplayer rounds that got bumped up to 400,000. So…if you want to unlock everything quickly, play some multiplayer online. Planes you buy are used in both modes, so there isn’t a divide between them like in most games, which is great. Multiplayer in the game is solid even if there aren’t a ton of people playing. There are two main modes: Battle Royal and Team Death Match, and they are what you think they would be. Playing against and with other people is a lot more challenging than the single player mode and if you have a good crew with you, you’ll have a ton of fun taking to the skies with your friends. Playing this mode brought back some memories of Starfox 64, which is really nice. The story in Ace Combat 7 is…uh….fine? It’s weird, but from what I gather isn’t as weird as it has been in the past games. Your primary character is “Trigger” a pilot within the air force who eventually ends up in prison but still flying around. A concurrent character is Avril, who was trying to repair a plane to honor her grandfather but gets embroiled in a war. These characters eventually meet up, as well as others, amidst the war between Erusea and Osea (your nation). I guess my weird feeling is that this is a made up land and story but is still using real aircraft (including names) for plane battles. Like, is this supposed to be some parallel world, or what? I guess it’s moot in the grand scheme of things, but is still kind of weird. The only real negative I can think about for this game is that it’s pretty specialized. I said above that it reminded me a bit of Starfox 64 but in no way is it really that. Starfox 64 was (generally) an on-rails shooter that was campy and easy to pick up and play. While Ace Combat 7 isn’t as hardcore as a DCS game or a Wings of Prey, it still has a semi-steep learning curve associated with it. If flight games are completely not your thing then this game won’t change your mind any. But if you have even the faintest interest, then this should keep you busy for a while. [post_title] => Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (PS4) Review [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ace-combat-7-skies-unknown-ps4-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-02-09 23:13:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-02-10 04:13:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=582934 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 576556 [post_author] => 3744 [post_date] => 2019-01-10 00:11:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-10 05:11:40 [post_content] => Just Cause 4 is a game of asking one question: Why? Why did they do this? Why did they introduce these new gameplay systems? Why did the game come out in this state? I have yet to come up with an answer to any of these questions while playing the game. The actual gunplay of Just Cause 4 is good. Rico is able to take a lot more damage than in earlier games. Also, there isn’t the screwy dual-wielding system to worry about. Plus, the core shooting is just better. That’s all well and good because almost everything else about the game is a regression from Just Cause 2 and Just Cause 3. From a story perspective, Just Cause 4 is entirely boilerplate. Yet another nation is being held by a dictator, only this one has a weather machine and Rico’s dad might be involved this time. Also, Rico isn’t a member of The Agency anymore, so in some ways, he is sourcing more of his gear from regular folk. Although in practice, it amounts to more of the same. Only this time, there is almost zero humor in the game and sadly there is no David Tennant doing increasingly crazed radio announcements. Just Cause was formerly a sandbox game mixed with a destruction engine. In Just Cause 2 and Just Cause 3 you went around towns and bases, destroying army supplies or propaganda with the goal of taking them over. Almost every town or base had things for you to blow up, which became overwhelming in spots. You would go to every town and have a list of crap to blow up. All while guys are shooting at you. Just Cause 3 somewhat helped by at least giving you a map where destroyable stuff was, which was really useful. Just Cause 4 eschews this very simple mechanic. You can still destroy bases full of gas tanks or radar dishes. However, it barely nets you anything. The stuff eventually respawns and there is no actual sense of completion if you do destroy everything in a base. Towns also have nothing for you to really do. Instead, you are given three gameplay tracks and told to complete them: 1. A Hollywood director wants you to do stunt/speed challenges, going through wingsuit rings quickly, or hitting a speed through a ring in a car at a certain speed, etc. 2. Rico helps out a fledgling rebellion. These are the most traditional side missions since they usually involve you killing a bunch of people or blowing up some stuff. 3. Lastly, there are tombs you have to uncover. These basically boil down to you guiding a large ball down the path to a pressure plate to unlock the tomb. They play out in a pretty boring and misguided way. Trying their best Tomb Raider impression and failing. Completing these activities does two things: Firstly, it gives you more Chaos points, which unlock more rebel squads to take over more of the country sections. Thus netting you better rewards, such as better weapon or vehicle drop-offs. Secondly, each school has a different grappling hook item associated with them, and doing more of their missions unlocks more mods for your hook. For locomotion, the grappling hook is exactly the same as in Just Cause 2 and Just Cause 3. You can scale mountains, swing on the ground to gain momentum, use your parachute and wingsuit to get around etc. What Avalanche Studios changed in Just Cause 4 is the tether system. Instead of the basic “attach two items together” system from JC2 and 3, they added this kooky mod system, the point of which still eludes me after 20+ hours into the game. There are three basic mods for the grappling hook. Traditional tethers, which seem primarily associated with the tomb mission/guy, since you have to use them to guide a big, stupid, rolling rock around the environment. Next, are rockets, where You use the grappling hook to attach rocket boosters to items/enemies. This is in-line with the Hollywood director wanting spectacle. Finally, there is the Fulton tether. This causes a balloon to carry an object up into the air, with additional balloons enabling you to raise heavier stuff. The rebel guy is associated with this mod. In addition to the actual mod systems, you can specify how strong you want the mods to be, and when you want them to activate. But it’s all really pointless. They also removed grenades for this grapple hook mod system, which isn’t good. To be fair, there are some pretty cool weapons in Just Cause 4. Each weapon has an alternate fire, usually a grenade or missile launcher. One pretty fun weapon has the standard fire of a machine gun but can be transitioned into a stationary turret with better aim. The downside of the guns is the ammo situation. You BURN through ammo way too much, and I’m not sure why. Most guns only have a max ammo of like 200 or so, if that, which is too low. I can understand a sniper rifle only having 20 or 30 shots. However, when an assault rifle only has 150 shots, it gets annoying. A lot of the time, I would pick up a rocket launcher or grenade launcher because it was the only weapon around. Heck, I even ran out of ammo in the intro mission, if that tells you how bad it is. As a showpiece, the biggest thing added to Just Cause 4 is the weather system. Occasionally tornados, sandstorms, or thunderstorms can sprout up. But they are more nuisances rather than hardcore gameplay systems. These natural disasters may look visually impressive, but most of the time they are just a hassle to deal with and the quicker they can resolve themselves, the better. I really can’t overstate how profoundly misguided Just Cause 4 is, from a design perspective. It reminds me a lot of Red Faction Guerilla and Red Faction Armageddon. In Red Faction Guerilla you are given a hammer and let loose to destroy as much crap as you can with it, along with other weapons in a big open world. Armageddon, by contrast, is a fairly tight corridor shooter where you are supposed to repair walkways and such to proceed, amid just fighting endless amounts of bugs. It’s almost as if no one who worked on Armageddon thought to play Guerilla because of how different (and bad) it is. Just Cause 4 follows this same path, almost directly. It truly feels like no one who worked on the game actually played Just Cause 2 or Just Cause 3 to discover what made them fun. I’m not going to say either of those games were perfect, because they were not. There WERE a lot of settlements for you to liberate. Not to mention, finding the last generator in a massive base to destroy, which could be a real headache. But they were at least something to do. Those games also included a ton of dumb side content as well as races, challenges, finding collectibles and so on. It doesn’t make sense why they built this (mostly) beautiful world for Just Cause 4 and barely filled it with the blandest content imaginable. I played this game on PC and discovered some oddities. One notably weird one concerns hair. There’s a character named Tom Sheldon, who was also in the prior games. When he shows up in JC4, I legit thought my graphics driver had crashed or was out of date (it was neither, actually). His beard was not textured correctly on his face and looked half finished. I took screenshots (as you can see below) that show this odd effect. There are also some other peculiar graphical issues going on as well. The game doesn’t look “bad”, but I think Just Cause 3 is a better-looking game than this one and that’s strange. By far the biggest issue though is with gamma/brightness. There is no menu for adjusting either in the game and it’s terrible. Here’s a shot of Rico inside a tomb: Uh, how are you supposed to see anything that is happening? You can barely see three feet in front of you in certain locations in the game, or at night time. I’m not the only one who noticed this as there are a lot of threads on Steam discussing this very issue. [post_title] => Just Cause 4 (PC) Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Marc Morrison checks in with his full review of Just Cause 4 on the PC. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => just-cause-4-pc-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-10 01:21:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-10 06:21:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=576556 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 572647 [post_author] => 1623 [post_date] => 2018-12-12 00:04:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-12 05:04:43 [post_content] => Cover Title: Sega Genesis Classics Publisher: Sega Developer: Sega Genre: Collection Players: 1 - 2 Rated: T for Teen Retro games have never been more in style. Due to the success of “mini consoles” like the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, it seems like everyone in the video game industry has been dusting off their old collections, trying to find ways to sell old games again. Sony is out there with their PS1 Classic. SNK put out a 40th anniversary collection. Capcom has been re-releasing their arcade brawlers and Mega Man games in loving collections. It was only a matter of time until Sega got into the mix with something. Selling nostalgia is nothing new for Sega. They were selling bundled Sega Genesis games back in the Sega Dreamcast era. But for all the re-packaging Sega has done over the years, they have continued to find new ways to bring their old games back to life. And with the Sega Genesis Classics on Switch, they’ve put together their most impressive package yet. Gunstar Heroes Sega Genesis Classics brings over 50 Sega Genesis games to the Nintendo Switch, and besides an eshop version of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, this is the only way to play these games on the Switch. And considering the increasing unlikeliness of a true Virtual Console on the Switch, this may be the only way to play most of these games on your shinny Nintendo handheld hybrid console. This is a shame, since many of these Genesis games hold up extremely well, and even the ones that don’t are typically well-known games that will provide a quick nostalgia fix for any former or current Sega fan. The full list of Genesis games are as follows: Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle Alien Soldier Alien Storm Altered Beast Beyond Oasis Bio-Hazard Battle Bonanza Bros. Columns Columns 3: Revenge of Columns Comix Zone Crack Down Decap Attack Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine Dynamite Headdy ESWAT: City Under Siege Fatal Labyrinth Flicky Gain Ground Galaxy Force 2 Golden Axe Golden Axe 2 Golden Axe 3 Gunstar Heroes Kid Chameleon Landstalker Light Crusader Phantasy Star 2 Phantasy Star 3: Generations of Doom Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millenium Ristar Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi Shining in the Darkness Shining Force Shining Force 2 Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master Sonic the Hedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Sonic 3D Blast Sonic Spinball Space Harrier 2 Streets of Rage Streets of Rage 2 Streets of Rage 3 Super Thunder Blade Sword of Vermilion The Revenge of Shinobi ToeJam & Earl ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron Vectorman VectorMan 2 Virtua Fighter 2 Shinobi One thing that’s become apparent across the various Classic consoles and old game bundles released today is the need for variety. It’s become obvious that there are no 20 games that define the PlayStation 1. Ask SNES fans to name their favorite 20 SNES games and you’ll get very different lists depending on the person. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. The same goes for the Genesis. Even though the Genesis Classics collection boosts 50 games, there are still obvious favorites missing from the collection. A lot of them are likely missing due to music or other licensing issues, but they’re still missing. So, the best course of action is to simply have variety. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, you can sink your teeth into Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Columns. If you want some beat-em-ups the Streets of Rage and Golden Axe games are some of the best the genre has to offer. RPG fans will get their fill in Phantasy Star, while action game fans will get their fill in Vectorman and Gunstar Heroes. And last but not least the Platformer genre is well represented with Sonic 1 and 2, Kid Chameleon, and Ristar. Even the bad games on the Genesis collection such as Virtual Fighter 2 and Altered Beast are remembered fondly and associated with the Genesis by classic Sega fans. While most of those games have been released before in other Sega collections, this is by far the most feature-rich and stylish package yet. Not only is the emulation of the old Genesis games great, but the amount of ways to tweak the emulation is really impressive. There are all sorts of options for stretching the screen, choosing different borders and backgrounds, and adding old fashioned CRT scan lines. There’s something off about the scan lines that don’t accurately emulate how they looked in the 90s on actual CRT TVs, but it’s a welcome addition for those who want to mess around with different looks. Even better are the more modern emulation options not previously seen in other Genesis collections. Sure, there are save states, but now you can re-wind and even fast forward the emulation. This is crucial and a welcome addition for those trying to beat some of these more difficult Genesis games. Unfairly fall to your death in Golden Axe? Simply rewind and be back in the action in seconds. Online multiplayer is also available, which is a welcome addition for those who are tired of beating their friends in Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine for the 1000th time. Menu Sega Genesis Classics is wrapped up in a real nice-looking package, with the home “hub” menu being a recreation of a child’s bedroom in the 90s. Nostalgia is dripping all over as you select a Genesis game from a shelf, pop them into a Genesis, and watch them load up on a retro CRT TV before becoming full screen on the Switch. You’ll play multiplayer by selecting the old-fashioned telephone, mess with a stereo for audio options, and get VCR style wobbling effects as you rewind or fast forward time. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way while playing a collection built on nostalgia. Classic challenges, basically in game achievements, also add replay value for the old games as well. There really aren’t any major suggestions I could make regarding the emulation itself. The games run fantastic in both handheld and docked mode, the online multiplayer works great, and the ability to rewind and fast forward in game makes old games feel new again. The only criticism with the collection itself are the games that aren’t here. Previous Genesis collections included Sonic the Hedgehog 3. It appears to be a music licensing issue, but how can you release a Genesis collection without Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles? It’s not surprising to see Virtual Fighter 2 on here, but that port is trash. Why not put a little effort into getting some 3rd party games on there? It’s not like EA is doing anything with the Road Rash or General Chaos IPs, why not put those old games on there? Or Contra Hard Corpse or Castlevania from Konami? Just as puzzling is that some games from the Xbox One and PS4 ports have been removed and aren’t going to be added back later. Why did 2 of the Wonder Boy games get removed for seemingly no reason? The PS4 and Xbox One collections were just released earlier in 2018. Streets of Rage 2 [post_title] => Sega Genesis Classics (Switch) Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Mark Samela checks in with his full review of the Sega Genesis Classics collection on the Nintendo Switch. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => sega-genesis-classics-switch-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-12 00:10:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-12 05:10:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=572647 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 569759 [post_author] => 419 [post_date] => 2018-11-19 00:02:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-19 05:02:38 [post_content] => Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition Developer: Digital Dreams Publisher: Digital Dreams Players: 1-4 Rated M for Mature After 25 years we finally have a spiritual successor to Mutant League Football! Like many from my generation, I spent way too much time in the 90’s in front of my Sega Genesis with Mutant League Football, a game that asked “What if we take EA’s Madden, replace all the guys with monsters and allow them to kill each other in the field?” and turned it into one of the most unique and fun sports titles of that generation. Mutant Football League (sounds the same but it’s not, see what they did there?) comes with big expectations since one of the original designers of the classic 90’s game is involved in this one.  In some respects it surpasses those expectations while falling short in others. The gameplay is a very lose 7 on 7 rendition of football that plays fast and is easy to pick-up and play, not unlike NFL Blitz.  I spent literally five minutes with the game before everything became second nature, so even beginners will have a blast. The only difference from a traditional football game is the level of violence (and that we have monsters instead of humans in the field). You see, it is very possible (and highly encouraged!) to kill your opponents. Every player has a health bar and the insane hits, attacks and hazards that player is subjected to will lower said health bar. When it reaches zero, the player dies and needs to be replaced.  It is not uncommon to see all the players in your team replaced during a game, so you better have some good backups! You can land dirty hits after the play ends like in NFL Blitz. Also the stadiums are littered with hazards, ranging from saws to a giant woman who can eat players in one gulp.  In Mutant Football League, death is the name of the game. You can also call plays like in any decent football game, but the playbook is short and sweet like in NFL Blitz. Don't expect a playbook dozens of pages deep that allows you to unleash your inner Vince Lombardi. The game and the action is fast and furious. You also have a limited set of “dirty tricks” you can execute per half. These range from brining the referee to turning one of your players into an unstoppable giant. While the idea is novel and fits the concept of the game, it can be game-breaking and frustrating.  There is nothing worse than being in a close, down to the wire game and losing because the CPU used a dirty trick at that point.  It feels very Mario Kart-like in that sense and the CPU tends to pull the come-from-behind thing way too often.  For example, in one of my first games as I was learning the systems I was down by 4 with 16 seconds on the clock. I throw a deep bomb and score the winning touchdown, start celebrating and…..the CPU uses the time warp dirty trick and erases the play. I lost. I have had similar situations happen dozens of times.  The CPU is very inconsistent with this as well since I have seen them used dirty tricks unnecessarily (such as in games were I have blown them out already and it makes no difference) while in other instances in which it makes sense and they could beat  me with it they don’t use it. Admittedly, when you are the one executing the dirty trick successfully is fun (such as having your giant LB intercept a surefire touchdown pass) but it is never feels fun or fair when you are on the other side of it. This is especially true in multiplayer as some of my friends have gotten so angry that they have refused to play again. Combine this with the natural hazards that appear during gameplay (ranging from chainsaws to holes in the ground) and the potential for something going awfully wrong are multiplied. Granted, the same was true of the 16-bit classic that inspired it, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating. Eventually, all the cheap tricks are fun but there has to be more meat of them bones.  The Nintendo Switch version includes all the DLC from the PC version and adds a surprisingly fun and deep Dynasty Mode. You start with 40 scrubs and have to build an elite team over multiple years. Everything you expect in a traditional game is here, like trades and free agency and there is even a skeleton of a story mode that ties it all together and changes depending on your success (or lack thereof). Teams and most players are based on real-life teams and players, so expect to see the likes of Bomb Shady (Tom Brady) and Airborne Dodgers (Aaron Rodgers).  Also spoofs on some NFL legends will periodically show as free agents. I came away suitably impressed as the mode was much better and deeper than I expected from this game. It is not quite Madden deep, but much deeper than I expected for a pick-up and play arcade football game. The game’s graphics are Ok, but look much better with the Switch docked. This is not the most impressive game ever, but it is a ton of fun seeing some of these monsters in 3D after using our imaginations in the 16-bit days. There is a lot of detail and the explosions and gore are suitably memorable. The frame rate surprisingly holds up even when there is a ton of chaos on the screen. However, I noticed some jagged polygons here and there which were more noticeable in handheld mode. Handheld mode’s visuals also look grainier than docked and I felt like there were way too many things on my limited field of vision. This is one of those games that perform better docked. The sound is suitable for the game, including the commentary which is full of witticisms and dark humor.  They have a style very similar to the commentary of NBA Jam or NFL Blitz which is fantastic for this type of game. Although it eventually becomes repetitive over the course of the long season it remains one of the game’s pluses.The sound effects for explosions and screams of pain are well done and so are the crowd noises. The music is generic but fits the vibe of the game. [post_title] => Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition (Switch) Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Armando Rodriquez looks at Mutant Football League: Dynasty Edition's arrival on the Nintendo Switch with his full review. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => mutant-football-league-dynasty-edition-switch-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-19 00:08:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-19 05:08:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=569759 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 568728 [post_author] => 3744 [post_date] => 2018-11-12 00:03:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-12 05:03:04 [post_content] => Honestly, what is there to really say about Diablo 3 on Switch? It’s a near-perfect port of the PC/console game just on a Switch. Everything is intact from the other versions, it comes with the latest current content (Necromancer DLC) and is a general joy to play. However, there are a few gameplay twerks that could have made this a much better deal for some people. For starters, “Yes”, this is the full game of Dablo (with Reaper of Souls DLC). It has the five act story, as well as the Adventure Mode unlocked from the start, which is nice. The seven character classes are here: Barbarian, Wizard, Witch Doctor, Monk, Demon Hunter, Crusader (Reaper of Souls) and Necromancer (Necromancer DLC), and play just the same as they did on PC or on XB1/PS4. In this version I played as a Necromancer since I don’t have that DLC for the other versions I already have and enjoyed myself. You can still pick your sex, so I went with a female Necromancer I named Zelda (you’ll see why below) and went through the Adventure Mode, collecting bounties, closing Nephalem Rifts and trying to get more gear. The loot grind is still strong in Diablo 3 and that comes across well on the Switch. Arguably the biggest draw for this version is that it’s on a mobile system. With the recent (and unfortunate) reveal of Diablo: Immortal notwithstanding, playing the complete Diablo 3 experience on a mobile device is superb. I WAS ABLE TO KILL DIABLO WHILE SITTING ON THE TOILET! This was pretty magical and I got a nice new pair of boots from the chest that spawned. There is a partial drawback to the mobile experience and that is the graphics. Now, the game runs flawlessly, it never had a dipped framerate and looks generally how you expect. The drawback is to your character. In mobile form, if you zoom in on your specific character, it can look somewhat pixelated and ugly. This is pretty much the only inherent negative I can think of for the game. Well that, and if you do play for long periods undocked, expect your Switch to get a little toasty the longer you play. null My positive feelings are also marred a bit with the Switch exclusive features. The two notable things are a Ganondorf transmog set and some Amiibo functionality. Oh, you also get a Cucco (chicken) pet, which collects gold for you. The transmog looks fine and the Cucco is alright but the Amiibo stuff is very lame. Basically, you scan in an Amiibo and it causes a random champion or elite monster pack to spawn in. That’s it. And you can do this only once every 22 hours. What the hell? Look, I know this wouldn’t work, there are far too many third party Amiibos for them to do it, but couldn’t they have found at least some interesting way to use them? Why not just give you a bit of some specialized loot? Like, if you scan in a Mario Amiibo, you get some type of flame hat, or if you scan in a Link Amiibo, you get a custom Master Sword piece of equipment? There’s two reasons why, one is valid, one isn’t. The valid one is because, as said above, there are a lot of third party Amiibos out there. I imagine Square might have something to say if you scanned in Cloud to get a Buster Sword in D3, or Sega could complain if you get Bayonetta’s guns if you scan in that figure, so I can understand the legal argument. The invalid reason is because it would take more time/effort to do so. Look at Yoshi’s Wooly World, that had support for dozens of Amiibos, to give Yoshi a new costume for his character. I would have loved to have seen Blizzard make the effort to do that, at least with the Nintendo-created ones. There is a Loot Goblin Amiibo coming to Gamestop at the end of this year but I think it might only open a portal to the Treasure Goblin map. That would be useful for farming, but it’s the only Amiibo that actually does this. Two last things I’ll mention: multiplayer and vendors. The multiplayer works as you would expect online. If you’re playing on a single Switch console, you may not have the greatest time with a friend with just one Joy-Con. This is just my opinion but a single Joy-Con is too small for my hand, and the concessions they make for the control scheme are gnarly. You have to hold down the move button and press other buttons to access the map or town portal. Plus, you swing the Joy-Con to do the roll move. You may eventually get used to it, but it never feels normal. As far as vendors go, I do wish there was just a kind of “cheat” vendor. I don’t mean like giving you infinite life or gold or anything, but there is a lot of really arcane stuff in the game that requires some research on how to unlock. It would have been really nice if there was a vendor that just sold you the materials to create the Staff of Herding, or the different Infernal Machines. I also really wish there could have been some sort of character import feature. Far and away my best character is on PS4 but I know that Sony wouldn’t have allowed that. Still, it would have been nice if there was some sort of Battle.net functionality where it could have brought in my PC character/inventory. This would have mitigated my desire for a cheat vendor and would have made this package for returning players even more attractive. [post_title] => Diablo Eternal Collection (Switch) Review [post_excerpt] => 411's Marc Mrorison gives his thoughts on the Diablo Eternal Collection, the Diablo III port on the Nintendo Switch, in his full review. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => diablo-eternal-collection-switch-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-11 23:17:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-12 04:17:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=568728 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 604680 [post_author] => 3744 [post_date] => 2019-05-25 00:00:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-25 04:00:20 [post_content] =>

I’ve long avoided the Earth Defense Force (EDF) franchise.  The idea of it sounded interesting but the few videos I’ve seen of it always looked bad and the review scores for most of the franchise seemed worse.  I lumped it in with Dynasty Warriors—a franchise that I never wanted to touch. But a friend roped me into playing Iron Rain, so here we are. While Iron Rain isn’t as bad as I initially anticipated, that still doesn’t make it a “good” game.

EDF places you in the shoes of a soldier you create at the start of the game.  The “Aggressors” (aliens) are attacking per usual and it’s up to you and your somewhat ragtag squad to stop them.  I have no idea why they don’t just call them “Aliens”, but I digress. You then spend about 50+ missions blasting apart giant bugs, robots, spiders and alien spacecraft.

There are four classes of soldier for you to play as. Two are unlocked from the start while the other two are unlocked gradually in the story.  They are:

Trooper – This is the default class and the most baseline.  It can wield most weapons, has decent defense and the special move is a dash to get out of danger, quickly.

Jet Lifter – Aka “The Flying Class”.  This soldier has wings so it can somewhat fly around the battlefield, dealing out damage.  Unfortunately, the controls aren’t exactly great for this activity.

Heavy Striker – This is the tank class of the 4 available.  You can use two weapons at once which means it deals out more damage but you do have to be aware of your ammo.  The special ability is an energy shield that stops damage at the cost of energy.

Lastly, my personal favorite the Prowl Rider.  The PW has slightly more armor than the Jet Lifter but less than the Trooper and far less than the Heavy Striker.  The hook with this class is it literally has a grappling hook that can attach to buildings, or even the ground, to zip around the level with.  It’s a lot like the grappling hook in the Just Cause games.

Each class also has an “Overdrive” mode that is akin to a super-mode for your soldier.  The Trooper shoots/reloads a lot more quickly, the Lifter can fly infinitely a short time/shoot quicker, the Striker’s shield increases in diameter and the Striker summons a friendly insect to ride.  I should say “attempts” to summon, since this feature didn’t seem to work half the time.

The enemies you face in Iron Rain leave a lot to be desired.  There are around 15 enemy types total, and that’s about it for the entirety of the story campaign.  Enemies include: giant ants, giant spiders, a beetle that can rush at you, giant robots, tiny ships that can teleport, and so on.  There are a few variations as well, such as one enemy called a “Scourger” which initially is red. Later in the campaign, you come across a blue variant that is the same basic model, just more difficult to kill.

There is also an enemy human faction but they matter so little in the story as to barely merit a mention.  I think you only fight against them in like 4 of the missions (if that), so they aren’t a big threat.

Missions typically follow the pattern of you being dropped off in an area, the bugs are there, and you have to “kill’em all”, to steal a line from Starship Troopers.  Once you destroy the initial wave of bugs, a second wave will pop up, and then usually a third. Most of the time it will be against a new enemy type, but after a while it begins to repeat.

A few missions change up this formula but only ever so slightly.  A couple levels involve you having to defend a building against alien attack.  Some other missions don’t have an open-area at all but confine you to a cave system, going through corridors and smashing bugs.  Also, some levels have boss fights in them but they don’t exactly feel epic when you are fighting them.

Seemingly, the impressive part about EDF games is the scale.  The old games had large environments and could fill levels with a lot of enemies.  Iron Rain tries to do this but only the first part is successful.

Most levels can overwhelm you with enemies but it doesn’t seem fair.  A lot of the weaker enemies can go down in one or two shots (depending on your weapon), but stronger enemies can become bullet sponges and can take forever to go down.

It really doesn’t help when there are over 10 enemies on screen and the framerate takes a massive hit to what is going on.  The ants are one thing, but certain enemies like the giant robots can really tank the framerate and overwhelm you, if more than two get on your case.  Enemy behavior falls into about two categories of “shoot” or “follow you relentlessly” which makes fighting most stuff not fun.

Enemies do drop crystals though and you’ll need them and money to buy new weapons/gear for your soldier.  There are three crystal colors (blue, red, yellow), with green crystals being a health pick-up in the level.  When you complete a mission you’ll also get some cash which you can use to buy new stuff. I’m not quite sure why you need money in a game world that is all-but destroyed with only a single force (EDF) to prevent total annihilation but maybe that’s explained in an earlier game?

There are a lot of weapons and gear you can unlock, but most of it is pretty meaningless.  There are rocket launches, machine guns, laser guns, swords, grenade launchers, shotguns, etc. for you to wield against the bugs.  Here’s a tip: use a rocket launcher and laser rifle once you unlock them and only them. The laser rifle has limited ammo but can destroy most enemies easily, while the rocket launcher is useful on bigger things.

You can also use money to buy upgrades to your health but at a certain point it becomes ridiculous.  It is an exponential increase in how much money it costs. So to go from level 2 to level 3 health, it might cost 5,000, but to go from level 3 to level 4, it will cost 20,000.  You don’t get a ton of money from doing missions either, so you’ll really have to repeat them and grind it out if you have an eye on a new weapon or health upgrade you want/need.




Items involve health packs, decoy traps, grenades, rebooters (resurrect a friendly soldier) and the like.  There are also vehicles that you can use and they are awful.

I have no idea why the vehicle controls are the way they are, but it’s like a blast from the PS1.  Instead of the traditional “Use R2 to accelerate, L2 to break, R1 to shoot”, they put all movement on the left analog stick.  So, you actually have to hold up to go forward. So you have to hold in a diagonal direction to turn right or left. There are some tanks and mech suits that are (theoretically) useful in fights, assuming they weren’t really low health, but there are also “joke” vehicles like trucks that just make a horn noise.

This applies to ground vehicles.  There are also air vehicles but I have yet to figure out how to even drive them correctly.  The ground vehicle controls are bad, the air stuff is unusable.

The story, such as it is, is barely there.  The game starts off and there is an escalation of alien stuff with a “Hivecraft” ship, and then other unique alien enemies that you have to destroy.  After every mission, you might get some light banter between your teammates or a radio show from a slightly ditzy female DJ. The problem is, all the voice over is during your mission results screen.  That’s it. There’s no cinematics with your teammates, or really, any cinematics at all, to make you invested in the story. Once you finish the campaign there is a montage of pictures of (presumably) the characters in the campaign, but considering they are never shown in the actual game, it becomes a farce.  The pictures could be characters from a Mobile Suit Gundam series, and I wouldn’t have known the difference.

So, are there any positives?  Well, like I said above, that Prowl Rider class is kind of fun to use.  It’s a weird mix of Just Cause and Vanquish with how you can get around a level quickly.  Also, as a co-op game it’s “passable”. It would be better if enemy health wasn’t boosted when you’re in a co-op game, but that’s me.

[post_title] => Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain (PS4) Review [post_excerpt] => Marc Morrison takes a look at Earth Defense Force: Iron Rain in his full review. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => earth-defense-force-iron-rain-ps4-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-25 00:20:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-25 04:20:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://411mania.com/?post_type=face3_games&p=604680 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => face3_games [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 0 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => 1 [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 956fb29a828a7444c717903ffc65f146 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) ) -->

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