Thursday, August 19, 2010
In 2001, Capcom launched yet anohter new era in the Megaman legacy, this time turning the Blue Bomber into an RPG star. Players found out it was more than that, though; it was more like the crazy child of Final Fantasy and Yu-gi-oh. Players could select 30 different Battle Chips out of 200 total, each wildly different and could be used strategically. Unlike most RPGs, though, you had a 3 by 3 grid you could move around in, and so did your enemy. It all seems confusing at first, but with a bit of practice, the battles became second-nature. In a 6-year period, Capcom releaced, you guessed it, 6 different versions of the game. From 3 onwards, each game was split in 2 different versions (a la Pokemon). This Battle Network was the last one in the series, and Capcom went all-out making it the most enjoyable installment in the series.
The story is much more enguaging than the previous iterations. Lan Hikari and his netnavi Megaman Exe move to the wonderful city of Central Town, so every location is brand-new and look great, plus a bunch of new folks join the party. Things seem normal then onwards, but suddenly a Cyberbeast takes control of Megaman (Different for which game you have). After a bit, you gain control of the monster within you, and you get to "Beast Out" for 3 turns each battle, and your stats rise considerably. The Beasting Out feels underutilized story-wise, but in battle, can be used in a variety of awesome strategies.
The biggest feature BN6 adds is the Cross System, a massively improved version of the Soul Unison from 4 and 5. At any time you can fuse with one of 5 Navis (once again, different for each version of the game), and gain different strategies that seem small at first, but can mean the difference from victory to defeat.
This game also takes out some of the flaws that made other instalments in the franchise annoying. Besides the aftormentioned improved Cross System, the insanely hard Liberation missions from 5 are taken out, and replaced with small story moments that highly resemble them, but are MUCH more fun. The Navi Customizer also feels more fluid, the Graphics spiced up, the Audio restored to its glory days from the 2nd and 3rd game, all the Chips are excellent, the pacing is drastically improved, and the VS mode is at its finest.
Some of the Fatal Flaws have remained from the other games, though. Random Virus Battles, though not as frequent, still happen far too often, and some of the Requests on the Request Board are monotinously annoying. A minimalist run is considerably easier than the other games, but it makes up for this due to the insanely hard Post-Game.
Gameplay: Capcom polished it to near perfection. Some flaws keep it from reaching that goal, though. 9.25
Graphics: The Sprites have been polished up enough, but it stil isn't the greatest-looking GBA game, despite a variety of cool effects. 8.25
Audio: Stellar. It sounds as good as the 8-bit installment's legendary scores.
Overall: If you're new to the series or are an Battle Network expert, this is the one to get. With an insane ammount of content and fun, me and my friend haven't put this one down for weeks.
9.25 out of 10
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Let's face it: the first couple of launch games for the DS weren't that good. The biggest one, Super Mario 64 DS, while fun, was just a demonstration of the graphical power of the DS. No game for a few months was a real must-have for the system... until WarioWare: Touched came around.
This game had a lot to live up for: not only was the first WarioWare for GBA a killer app for the system, it was one of the most innovative games of the decade. So, hence the title, the game uses the DS' Touch Screen and its other features. For those who are new to the series, WarioWare is the ultimante ADD game. It throws at you a random game that lasts 4-8 seconds. In that time period, you have to do a certain task, for example: there's a guy and a girl apart from each other. A small message says "Hook up!", so you have to draw a line to connect them, and the game is beat. When you re-encounter the same game later on, it gets harder by placing objects between the guy and the girl, and the timing in which you have to do it speeds up drastically. You only have 4 lives, and when you loose a game, you loose a life. Every 10 microgames or so, a Boss Stage appears, which lasts much longer than the other microgames. They are usually more complicated and harder, but if you beat them, you get an extra life. This is the perfect pick-up and play game, where you can play for 3 minutes or 3 hours at a time.
Each of Touched's 180 Microgames is split up into different sections, hosted by different people. One batch may require you to make circles on the Touch Screen for each of the games, the other may having you do slicing motions with the Stylus. The most enjoyable ones, though, are 9-Volt's games, which are all based off Retro Nintendo games. Some microgames are insanely strange, bizzare, and hilarious, which adds to the fun-filled time you'll have with the game.
Beating certain objectives in the game unlocks you different applications, which are almost similar to most of the freeware stuff on Apple's own App Store. Like that, they probably won't hold your interest for over 2 minutes, but some games (like the Pyroro Challenge) take good advantage of the Touch Screen and are insanely addictive.
The Graphics are excellent, and are a massive improvement over the GBA games. The music is infectiously catchy, and the game even features full-length tracks that are sung beautifully (like Ashley's Theme). The voice acting is spot-on, too, without being too obnoxious.
Like the other WarioWares, though, this game suffers from the problem of being far too short. The Story Mode won't take a seasoned gamer over a day to complete, but the game makes up for it with its replay value: playing each section over again until you've unlocked all the games for it. Also, the unskippable Story Mode cutscenes last far too long and can drag on.
Gameplay: There are barely any games that are a dud, and are very fun to play and replay. 9.5
Graphics: Uses both the handheld's 2D and 3D to a beautiful effect. 9.0
Audio: Beats you'll be bopping your head to in seconds. 9.0
Overall: Besides DIY, this is easilly the best entry in the series. If you want a break from all other games, this should be a must-buy on your list.
9.25 out of 10