The Wonder of Lost Odyssey

I was told when I started playing Lost Odyssey a couple of months ago that it was essentially a modern version of Final Fantasy 6, which is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. Now I've had many RPGs recommended to me over the years, and I've found that rarely do they ever live up to the strength of their recommendations. In this case, the game completely exceeded its recommendation beyond anything that I would have ever expected. As I write this I have finished Lost Odyssey completely: I've beaten all of the optional bosses and have gotten all of the achievements (I am not typically an achievement hunter by any means). I don't mean to write a full fledged review for this game just yet, so let me tell you a little bit about what, in my opinion, is easily the best JRPG of the 360/PS3/Wii generation, if not even further back. Continue Reading

New Super Mario Bros. U – The Second Coming of Super Mario World?

In all honesty, New Super Mario Brothers U is definitely not the game that sold me on buying a Wii U shortly after the Japanese launch date. I had eyes only for the HD version of Monster Hunter 3G, with absolutely no intention of even buying this new entry in the Super Mario series until it dropped in price a bit. But then I heard the words that made my heart leap and brought back feelings of wonder once felt by my 11 year old self: "It's like Super Mario World." Continue Reading

Dragon Ball Z for Kinect: Throwing Kamehamehas at Your TV

I've played a few sub-par Kinect titles on the XBox 360 at this point. Most of then have spotty motion detection at best, and many of them aren't even much more fun playing with the Kinect instead of a regular controller. Though it's hardly a must-play, or even worth spending much more than a couple of hours with, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect is neither spotty with its motion detection nor without its amusements while Kinect-ing it up. Continue Reading

Monster Hunter

Reviews
Monster Hunter Title Screen Image
Playstation 2
03/11/2004 (Japan), 09/21/2004 (US), 05/27/2005 (PAL)
モンスターハンター
There was a time (namely before the HD era of gaming) that big game companies like Capcom were not afraid to take a chance on new franchises. Taking heavy inspiration Sega's Phantasy Star Online series as a base for its game play, it was in 2004 that the modern day Japanese gaming powerhouse began: the first entry in the Monster Hunter series was released. Though Capcom invented a brand new genre for this game called "Hunting Action", it was similar to its predecessor in many ways, with just enough different twists to feel like a brand new experience. The basic flow of the game involves accepting specific quests from within a hub world, then setting out into separate areas to complete objectives for that quest. The difference is that in Monster Hunter you're dropped into a prehistoric National Geographic Explorer where your opponents are dinosaurs, dragons, and other creatures that come right out of their natural environments. Though weapons and armor are constantly being upgraded throughout the game, in Monster Hunter there is an added sense of realism: It's done using parts carved right from the carcasses of the monsters themselves. Continue Reading

Akumajo Dracula

Reviews
Akumajo Dracula Title Screen
Famicom Disk System/NES
Released: 09/26/1986 (Japan, Famicom Disk System), 05/1987 (US), 12/19/1988 (PAL), 02/05/1993 (Japan, Famicom)
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil's Castle Dracula
Castlevania
Castlevania
When you think about the first entry in the Castlevania/Dracula series, you probably think about two things: The incredible atmosphere  and the high level of difficulty. Neither of these things change when you go from any of the western versions to the Japanese one, though some qualities of the Japanese version alter the difficulty slightly. A common point of frustration in the Western versions of the game is that you can't save your game at all, unless you're playing on one of those fancy emulators. But how would it change Castlevania's difficulty if you could save your progress each time you got a game over? Continue Reading