Review: Yakuza 0

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Developer: SEGA
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Played Platform: PS4

This game was never on my radar, but was exposed to it through the podcast Dropped Frames. After listening to a couple of episodes where they talk about Yakuza 0, I decided to pick the game up and see it for myself.

This game takes place in the late 1980’s Japan, when Kazuma Kiryu (living in Tokyo), a Yakuza member, is doing a job by teaching a businessman a lesson to pay up his dues. However, due to unfortunate events, he decides to leave the Yakuza life. At the same time, Goro Majima (living in Osaka), an ex-Yakuza member, is currently running a cabaret club called “The Grand” in order to get back into the Yakuza family. Likewise, due to unfortunate events, he is forced to do what is right for him.

There are a lot of things that I enjoyed, but there are a lot of things that felt like it was lacking. Yakuza 0 lets you play with two main protagonists that have different play styles and different story lines. Each character gains three different fighting styles that they pick up throughout the game and are able to upgrade the style through a skill circle. Additionally, the game is very rewarding when completing different tasks and missions by giving you Completion Points (CP). You are able to redeem the CP at a shrine in order to progress the mission faster and also help buff your character.

It took me about 32 hours to complete the main story line and was only able to get to 13% completion. There are a ton of side missions that expands from funny to sad and it accompanies with background music respectively.

I was hoping this game to be more like Mafia II where it is not fully open world. You will be walking/running around a lot although there are some fast travel taxis. These taxis are only on the corners and you still need to walk/run a good amount to get to your destination. I only wished that they provided you with some sort of a scooter to go faster instead of just running. Also, it would have been nice if they added a way point feature in this game because I was constantly checking the map even though they provide you with a mini map on the screen. Additionally, you will often have to constantly run away or encounter people around the city wanting to fight you and after a few encounters, it was getting on my nerves.

Another thing, the items in your inventory will get full, then you can either go to the item box located in the payphones across the city to switch items or sell them. However, the pawn shop is the only place that you are able to sell items. Lastly, there are a lot of cut scenes throughout the game and you will need to watch them in order to understand what the story is all about.

The voice overs in this game are amazing, but something that was bothering me is the fact that they had to add voice when I talk to someone through in-game; the person says the first syllable and stops. Additionally, the mini games are a fun way to pass time when you are tired of doing the main missions. The protagonist gets so dramatic when entering a game. Lastly, the karaoke in this game is funny when they go over the top in the singing, but on the other hand, the dancing game (disco) is one of the games that I hated it.

———SPOILERS———

  1. There is actually a hidden fighting style that you can get by completing the side missions Real Estate Royale (Kiryu) and Cabaret Club Czar (Majima)
  2. Parody of Steven Spielberg (Stephen Spining) and Michael Jackson (Miracle Johnson) appears in the game through side missions
  3. Able to defeat Mr. Shakedown that appears around the city to earn more money and then transfer money between different characters through Mr. Moneybags at the end of the game
  4. Able to change characters in the end from their respective offices
  5. Wished I could have fought the other lieutenants more instead of beating Daisaku Kuze three times
  6. Can’t get back inside The Grand after completing the game, but I am still considered the owner of the cabaret club

Review: Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition

 

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Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: February 28, 2017 | December 5, 2017 (Complete Edition)
Played Platform: PS4

I was hesitant in purchasing this game when it first came out because I did not want to spend many hours in one game. However, when the complete edition came out, I pulled the trigger. I have not played the DLC section of the game, but I beat the main game.

The game starts of somewhere in the year 3021 where machines and humans coexist on earth. You begin playing as Aloy as a child mentored by Rost, an outcast of a tribe. After multiple events as a child, the game jumps to when Aloy is eighteen (18) years old and she is trying to figure out where she came from and who her mother is.

The game takes a few seconds to load, but afterwards, you are free to go anywhere. You are able to replenish your health through medicine plants spread across the map or by consuming potions that you can craft or buy from merchants. After completing a few main quests, you have the ability to override machines that can help you in combat and/or able to mount.

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This game offers you a skill tree similar to Borderlands or The Witcher 3 to enhance Aloy in combat. The combat mechanic adds variety in how to approach an enemy. You can either fight head-on or doing a stealth kill (after getting the upgrade). Also, there are different types of weapons that you are able to wield. You can buy better weapons through merchants and the weapons can give you different attributes to assist in killing the enemies; fire/cold/poison arrow. Additionally, Aloy attains a device called the focus that she is able to use it to see weak points in machines, highlight a target, etc.

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Personally for me, I am not comfortable using the analog stick to aim so I had trouble aiming precisely on enemies. Additionally, I have trouble when I am trying to aim at a machine that is jumping towards me while changing to a different ammo because I ran out. Lastly, when you are in the focus mode, Aloy cannot run for some odd reason. Besides these problems, I believe is a solid game.

Here are some things that can help you if you are planning on playing this. I suggest to always over-level before doing a mission so that it would be easier. Stock on potions by getting ingredients and crafting them or by buying them from merchants. When meeting a new merchant, get the free loot box that contains things that may be useful. Last but not least, get the golden fast travel pack so that you are able to go to different areas without wasting currency/fast travel pack.

*If you want to fully grasp the environment, I suggest to change the HUD under settings to dynamic so that HUDs that you do not necessarily need disappear while walking around.

 

Quick Review: Uncharted The Lost Legacy

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Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Release Date: August 22, 2017

Played Platform: PS4

This game takes place 6-12 months after Uncharted 4.

Things I liked:

  • Stunning graphics
    • Some sections it seems like it’s a cinematic, but you’re actually playing
  • Playing as Chloe Frazer
  • Can choose to either hold the button or tap when doing QuickTime events (QTE)
    • Change it under the settings option
  • The ammo from enemies you killed before you died still on the ground
  • Stealth encounters improved
    • AI is highly improved – reminded me of Assassin’s Creed alert
    • Allies able to take down enemies as well
    • Able to mark enemies to see where they are while walking around
  • Lock-picking special crates

Things I did not liked:

  • Allies either helps a little bit or don’t at all during combat
  • Little to no navigation – not sure where to go (in some sections)
  • Has a smartphone to take pictures, but no GPS when traveling to the different places in the map
  • Wished we could play as Nadine Ross
  • Camera angles sometimes messes me up when trying to go to the next cliff or when trying to take cover

Things I noticed (I know that it’s just a game):

  • The smartphone still works after all the events she went through
  • The treasure is still secured after all the events they went through

Quick Review: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

 

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Developer: Vicarious Visions (originally from Naughty Dog)

Publisher: Activision (originally from Sony Computer Entertainment)

Release Date: June 30, 2017

Played Platform: PS4

 

I managed to get all the clear gems and crystals on all three games. Additionally, got all gold relics on the third game.

Things I liked:

  • Nostalgia feeling of playing this game with updated graphics
  • 3D platformer depth on horizontal maps
  • Playing as Coco Bandicoot and/or Crash Bandicoot
  • Different types of maps (left to right, up to down, on rails on top of an animal, etc.)
  • Gives you Aku Aku (tiki mask) when you die a lot and often in a certain area of the map to help you
  • Add additional checkpoint if you keep dying before the next actual checkpoint
  • Can dash to kill enemies and to jump higher (except for the first one)
  • Need to backtrack on maps to break all the boxes in order to collect the clear gem (certain maps)
  • Replay-ability to collect gems and/or relics

Things I did not liked:

  • Hard to calculate the depth of the gap when the map goes vertically compared to horizontally
    • Need to see the shadow instead of the character when jumping
  • Should have added a restart option on maps that needs to be completed without dying on the special gems maps
  • If you’re a little too close to the edge, you can’t dash
  • Precise jumping is required when jumping over chasms and/or on top of certain enemies
  • It would have been nice to add a subtitles option and able to skip the splash screen before the main menu

Quick Review: inFAMOUS: Second Son

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Developer: Sucker Punch Productions

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: March 21, 2014

Played Platform: PS4

 

A good sandbox game if you enjoy superpowers and cause havoc. Especially for the price that I paid for this ($10).

Things I liked:

  • Sandbox game in Seattle
    • Explore around and doing side-missions
  • Travel around the map with superpowers
    • Reminded me of the game Prototype
    • Different types of attacks
  • Can switch powers by draining their respective attribute
    • Each power is somewhat unique
  • Can choose to be the good or bad guy
  • Interesting use of the Dualshock 4
    • Holding a spray can and spraying walls – need to get used to it because I’m left-handed
    • Using the pad in the middle as a touchpad to do various actions
  • Able to 100% without a walkthrough guide

Things I did not liked:

  • Can’t use the melee attack while mid-air
  • Can’t swim
  • Can’t reset the camera while running around while trying to kill enemies
    • Or at least have a lock on feature
  • Accidentally kills civilians in the middle of battle
  • Can’t skip cutscenes
    • The developers said that it’s either cutscenes or a loading screen to load the map and such
  • Encountered bugs in the last mission
    • Went through the wall while climbing the building
    • The final boss disappeared when battling
  • It’s a lot easier to build up the special attack as an evil person compared to a good person
  • EDIT (8/6/17): 
    • You can’t use the smoke special skill (Arial drop) with a low ceiling
    • Checkpoints in this game on some missions are far apart

Quick Review: The Last Guardian

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Developer: SIE Japan Studio

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Release Date: December 6, 2016

Played Platform: PS4

 

This is an amazing game with beautiful scenes, but not my style of game-play.

Things I liked:

  • Interesting concept for a game
  • Cinematic
    • Scenes when Trico helps you when you’re about to die after jumping off
    • Should be made into a movie
  • Trico acts like a pet, although his big size
  • The FOV can see yourself and Trico with the scenery behind
  • Become invested into the characters while going through the game

Things I did not liked:

  • Had trouble in the very beginning
    • No guidance of what to actually do
  • Button smashing mechanic
    • Need to smash buttons in order to “wake up” after death and break free from the enemies
  • Trico
    • Had trouble controlling him – didn’t know that he needs to see you so that he’ll do the action
  • Camera
    • Angles makes your character movement weird and hard to control
    • Clunky movement controls
    • Some parts of the game becomes a plat-former, but due to the camera, it’s tough – constantly falling off after a jump

Quick Review: The Last Of Us [Remastered]

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Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Release Date: June 14, 2013 (Remastered: July 29, 2014)

Played Platform: PS4

 

Things I liked:

  • Stealth mechanism
    • Use of shiv to kill clickers
    • I always used this method before relying on guns
    • Using bottles and bricks to distract them – realized later in the game that bricks are stronger than bottles
    • Listen mechanism to see what enemies are around you
    • Moving the analog stick slowly so that clickers won’t hear you
  • Ammo and equipment are sparse
  • Upgrade-able weapons and stats
  • Different types of weapons
    • Build different types of creative weapons
    • Need to find recipe first in order to build them
  • Play as Ellie (main story and DLC)
  • Good Guy Naughty Dog – Keeping your loot after an event (unlike the Uncharted series) [didn’t want to spoil what event]

Things I did not liked:

  • Melee could be improved
    • When I swung the first strike, it looks like it’s going to hit, but it doesn’t
    • Can’t choose to use fists if you’re holding a melee weapon
  • Can’t backtrack to see what loot you can get
    • The path is blocked

Things that came to mind:

  • ON THE FENCE – use of the Dualshock 4 to recharge the flashlight’s battery (same as Uncharted 4)
  • Would have probably enjoyed more of the story if I didn’t know that there would be a sequel coming out