Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon UK Review

Adventure and secrecy await players in Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon as you pit yourself against tough foes within the rogue-like dungeon crawler. But with a weak storyline, odd pacing and character development that feels all too hollow, the game just fails to dazzle.

As the tenth release in the Pokémon spin-off series and developed by Spike Chunsoft, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon is distinctly average rather than super; as its title suggests. By choosing one of 20 starter Pokemon, including those from all six generations, players will be able to pick one which suits them best or one that is established by answering a set of pre-determined questions. Keeping in the spirit of its predecessors, you’ll be sent down into the world of Pokemon and suffer from a severe case of amnesia – yes, that old chestnut. Upon waking up, you’ll be cornered by three Beheeyem until your fellow guardian Nuzleaf chases them away.

Comprising of 22 in-game chapters, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon sets the scene in Serene Village – a quaint, humble town with nothing more than a school and a few houses.  While its opening sequence and the meeting of your partner provide some highlights here, the lengthy and mundane tutorial session dilutes the experience entirely. From the daily school sessions to the monotonous field trips, it’s a three-hour lesson in drab and dreary land. Fortunately, Super Mystery Dungeon brightens up after the game’s basic chapters as you enlist within the Expedition Society. Working side by side with your partner and by encountering a number of legendaries that have mysteriously turned to stone, you’ll have to defeat the dark matter that’s threatening to usurp the Pokémon world.

pokemon_super_mystery_dungeon_fennekin
My chosen partner for the adventure, named Oliver. Cute but annoying. But very, very cute – especially with that awesome scarf.

With five continents to explore of grass, mist, air, water and sand, Super Mystery Dungeon isn’t short on gameplay. Each area will require you to pick up a pass from the Kecleon Shop before you are able to take on quests via the Connection Orb – given to you when joining the Expedition Society – and hunt down foes in the various dungeons. And while the dungeons deliver enough variation from their randomly generated layouts, the quests all bear the same resemblance as they did in the previous games in the franchise. From the simple treasure fetch quests to the save a companion and fight an enemy quests, there’s just not enough spice to warrant playing past the main storyline.

Though, with that said, the title does present a wonderfully robust selection of characters to team up with on your adventures. While not every Pokémon in the world is playable, you can at least speak to or see all 720 characters to date in the franchise; an impressive feat for the game. Of course, Super Mystery Dungeon also showcases a number of new elements to get to grips with. Players can use alliances to deal great damage in succession against one enemy, while there are also new items such as Looplets and Emeras.

Attaching a looplet to a party Pokémon will allow the wearer to receive certain stat buffs, while nullifying various status ailments. However, these depend entirely on which emeras you attach to the looplet; you can boost attack, defence or remove confusion for example. And though you can only attach one looplet to each party Pokémon, you can use up to eight emeras on one looplet at a time, depending on how many slots they have. Both alliances and looplets are a superb addition to the overall strategy of the game and remove the usual mundane, sluggish feeling from level grinding.

Food and hunger has always been considered to be a necessary part of the dungeon-crawler. In Super Mystery Dungeon, players have the ability to pick up and eat apples once their belly starts to deplete. Apples are the game’s go-to for filling up a belly and, although these can be found scattered across the dungeons in abundance, they are also quite an annoyance – particularly when trying to explore a dungeon in full. Since most of your pack will be filled with these luscious treats, looplets, and healing items, there isn’t much space for those more intriguing and rarer orbs. Though players have the ability to expand their pack’s hold limit throughout the storyline, being able to stack apples in sets of five would be more adequate and less of a niggling frustration. But then, I’ve never been any good at packing the necessities for long-haul adventures.

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon’s gameplay, then, certainly makes up for the title’s less than appealing storyline. Taking anywhere between 25 and 30 plus hours to complete the main tale, most of which can be attributed to a heavy grievance with lengthy and unskippable cutscenes, it’s actually Spike Chunsoft’s unfortunate script work that causes many a pained expression. Most of the character dialogue on offer feels like it was written by children and for children. And while this isn’t a problem for youngsters, older fans that have grown up with the franchise may be wearing a permanent grimace. It’s cheesy rather than endearing and painful instead of entertaining. Couple that with characters that echo the world is doomed but run themselves ragged chasing after an Ampharos that can’t walk straight, it’s a typical hollow and empty affair.

Visually, Super Myster Dungeon is really quite lovely to view and play within. Carrying the same visuals as Gates to Infinity, many of the dungeons have their own quirks, with some even depleting your HP as you progress through. It also helps that each area comes with its own distinct music, keeping the battles quite fresh with a good beat in the background. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help matters when the game’s pacing is slightly askew. While you’ll have ample opportunities to explore the same area in the beginning, your freedom to take out quests towards the end of the storyline is practically obliterated as your party is locked into back-to-back dungeons. It’s this pacing that can severely knock players into game over territory if they are not careful, culminating in a fruitless search for your team in Super Mystery Dungeon’s separate world located on the home menu.

Though there are moments when Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon shines during its gameplay with the neat addition of alliances and looplets, the title’s storyline just isn’t up to scratch. Perhaps newcomers should throw caution to the wind here, while die-hard fans are welcome to bite. But for now, it’s best to dig our way out of this mystery dungeon.

6.5/10

*Based on the PAL Version

Famitsu: Shin Megami Tensei IV Final Given High Marks

This week’s Famitsu reviews are in and the one that you’re probably most interested in is the score for Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final. As with all Famitsu reviews there are four reviewers and in this case the reviewers awarded the game 9/9/8/9 which gives it a total score of 35/40. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final is due to be released in Japan on February 10th.

  • Adventures of Scarlet Curiosity (PS4) – 7/7/7/6 [27/40]
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer (PS4) – 8/7/8/8 [31/40]
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer (PSV) – 8/7/8/8 [31/40]
  • Eikoku Tantei Mysteria: The Crown (PSV) –
  • Friends in the Same RPG (3DS) – 8/7/7/7 [29/40]
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final (3DS) – 9/9/8/9 [35/40]

Source / Via

 

 

Xenoblade Chronicles X Review – Revised & Updated

*Revised and Updated version after 78 hours of gameplay. You can view our previous review after 28 hours of gameplay here


Years in the making, Xenoblade Chronicles X finally lands on the Nintendo Wii U console. With a visually stunning backdrop and battle mechanics that permeate the surroundings so beautifully, the JRPG is simply made for franchise fans.

Developed by the renowned Japanese company Monolith Soft and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, Xenoblade Chronicles X is an intensely enjoyable but highly complex action RPG. Pitched as the spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii and New Nintendo 3DS, players will be placed in the year 2054 on planet Mira to discover and explore its six distinct locations. Following the battle between two alien races that caused Earth’s destruction, American civilians evacuated on to the interstellar ark known as the White Whale. Yet due to an intergalactic battle with the alien race, the White Whale’s doom is sealed and crashes, spreading debris far and wide over Mira. In the six months after, Earth’s evacuees establish New Los Angeles, living and breathing alongside the planet’s monsters – or indigens as they are more widely known – and other alien races.

XenobladeChroniclesX_scrn_038
New Los Angeles (NLA) as it stands after crashing on Mira. It’s actually a large iced doughnut, masquerading as a city.

As a complete beginner to the franchise, Xenoblade Chronicles X is somewhat difficult to get to grips with. The JRPG feels similar to a beautiful blend of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series and James Cameron’s Academy award-winning Avatar, with its main focus on arts and skills for battle mechanics rather than traditional button-pressing play. The sheer size and scope of X’s gameplay is absolutely staggering, perhaps even intimidating, for newcomers and fans alike that it’s easy to lose all sense of time and your bearings when in Mira. While there are numerous moments to be lost for words when looking over at the highly detailed and huge monsters that roam the planet, Xenoblade Chronicles X is almost like wading through mud.

From running through Primordia, Noctilum and Oblivia in the beginning, clawing your way through the amount of customisation and upgrade menus available, to surveying the land through data probe placement, it’s more than a little daunting. Simply put, both new and veteran players will need to dip in to the game’s instruction manual repeatedly to learn its complexities and incredible depth. And that’s not to say X is off-putting for those new to the series, in fact, it’s far from it. It just requires patience, effort, and a willingness to face niggling frustrations due to its lack of comprehensive explanations.

First and foremost, Xenoblade Chronicles X focuses on your customisable avatar and two other main characters, Elma and Lin, alongside an adorable dancing Nopon named Tatsu. Aside from slight adjustments to the game’s avatar customisation, including the removal of a breast slider from the Western version, players will find plenty of opportunity to stylise a character to their liking. Though, pre-made avatar faces in a game so intrinsically detailed will no doubt be a sore spot to fans of the series. Once your avatar is complete, players will be launched into the storyline and follow commander Elma to NLA in a three-chapter jaunt in learning the game’s basics. Continue reading “Xenoblade Chronicles X Review – Revised & Updated”

Famitsu: Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem Scores 34/40

The latest scores from Japanese gaming publication Famitsu are in and the big title this week is Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem. As with all Famitsu reviews, the game has been reviewed by four reviewers and the four scores are totalled up. The long-awaited game received 8/9/9/8 which means it gets a extremely good 34/40. Here’s the rest of the reviews!

  • AlphadiA (3DS) – 6/7/8/7 [28/40]
  • Chou Kagaku Gear Detective (3DS) – 7/7/8/7 [29/49]
  • Dogimegi Inryoku-chan Love & Peace (PSV) – 6/7/7/7 [27/40]
  • Fat Princess Adventures (PS4) – 7/7/7/7 [28/40]
  • Genei Ibun Roku #FE (Wii U) – 8/9/9/8 [34/40]
  • I am Bread (PS4) – 7/8/8/8 [31/40]
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: Game de Kaigan! (3DS) – 6/7/8/7 [28/40]
  • Momonga Pinball Adventure (Wii U) – 6/6/7/7 [26/40]
  • Runbow (Wii U) – 8/8/8/9 [33/40]

Source / Via

Thanks, takamaru64

 

TIME Says Xenoblade Chronicles X Is The Best RPG Of 2015

TIME recently reviewed Xenoblade Chronicles X and have come away with the startling conclusion that it is easily the best RPG of 2015. There’s been plenty of notable RPG’s this year including The Witcher 3 and also Fallout 4, but the reviewer sounds confident when he says that it is the “best role playing game of 2015 hands down.” You can read the full review here or alternatively check out the conclusion, below.

The good: Huge and beautifully realized world to explore, excellent gameplay systems work well together

The bad: Insufficient documentation—and this is a game that could use a better manual

Bottom line: Hands-down the best roleplaying game of 2015

Metacritic: FAST Racing NEO Has Average Score Of 82

Reviews have already started to roll in for Shin’en’s technically impressive FAST Racing NEO on the Wii U eShop. The futuristic racer currently has an average review score of 82 on Metacritic out of 12 critics, which isn’t bad at all. Online gaming publication Destructiod even goes as far as to say that its one of their favourite video games this year. FAST Racing NEO launches on the Wii U eShop on December 10th.

Fast Racing Neo made a strong impression right off the bat, and is easily one of my favorite games this year. It’s fast, it’s responsive, it has a compelling color-switching mechanic, and Hero Mode provides a stupidly fast-paced challenge that’s going to last me quite some time.

Xenoblade Chronicles X Review

Years in the making, Xenoblade Chronicles X finally lands on the Nintendo Wii U console. With a visually stunning backdrop and battle mechanics that permeate the surroundings so beautifully, the JRPG is a timeless classic made for franchise fans.

Developed by the renowned Japanese company Monolith Soft and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, Xenoblade Chronicles X is an intensely enjoyable but highly complex action RPG. Pitched as the spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii and New Nintendo 3DS, players will be placed in the year 2054 on planet Mira to discover and explore its six distinct locations. Following the battle between two alien races that caused Earth’s destruction, American civilians evacuated on to the interstellar ark known as the White Whale. Yet due to an intergalactic battle with the alien race, the White Whale’s doom is sealed and crashes, spreading debris far and wide over Mira. In the six months after, Earth’s evacuees establish New Los Angeles, living and breathing alongside the planet’s monsters – or indigens as they are more widely known – and the Nopon race.

XenobladeChroniclesX_scrn_038
New Los Angeles (NLA) as it stands after crashing on Mira. It’s actually a large iced doughnut, masquerading as a city.

As a complete beginner to the franchise, Xenoblade Chronicles X is somewhat difficult to get to grips with. The JRPG feels similar to a beautiful blend of Capcom’s Monster Hunter series and James Cameron’s Academy award-winning Avatar, with its focus on arts and skills for battle mechanics than traditional button-pressing play. The sheer size and scope of X’s gameplay is absolutely staggering, perhaps even intimidating, for newcomers and fans alike that it’s easy to lose all sense of time and your bearings when in Mira. While there are numerous moments to be lost for words when looking over at the highly detailed and huge monsters that roam the planet, Xenoblade Chronicles X is almost like wading through mud.

From running through Primordia, Noctilum and Oblivia in the beginning, clawing your way through the amount of customisation and upgrade menus available, to surveying the land through data probe placement, it’s more than a little daunting. Simply put, both new and veteran players will need to dip in to the game’s instruction manual repeatedly to learn its complexities and incredible depth. And that’s not to say X is off-putting for those new to the series, in fact, it’s far from it. It just requires patience, effort, and a willingness to face niggling frustrations due to its lack of comprehensive explanations.

First and foremost, Xenoblade Chronicles X focuses on your customisable avatar and two other main characters, Elma and Lin, alongside an adorable dancing Nopon named Tatsu. Aside from slight adjustments to the game’s avatar customisation, including the removal of a breast slider from the Western version, players will find plenty of opportunity to stylise a character to their liking. Though, pre-made avatar faces in a game so intrinsically detailed will no doubt be a sore spot to fans of the series. Once your avatar is complete, players will be launched into the wonderfully immersive storyline and follow commander Elma to NLA in a three-chapter jaunt in learning the game’s basics.

xenoblade_chronicles_x_screen
The game’s stunning visuals are just astounding at times with perfect lighting and shade.

However, if you want to progress through X’s main storyline quickly, you’ll be in for a sharp surprise. All story chapters require players to hit certain levels, location survey rates and complete affinity quests before embarking on the next mission. While this is a fantastic way to explore Mira, as well as gain closer connections to the game’s well-voiced and three-dimensional characters, it’s also a little mundane. Tirelessly running through segments of the GamePad’s map to install the next data probe on a Frontier Nav site – primarily to increase the location’s survey rate and add to your miranium and revenue levels – can be a real chore.

After 28 hours of traversing the landscape on foot, seamless as it is with the map’s grateful fast travel mechanic, I’ve still yet to score my Skell, which is arguably the most intoxicating part of the game and one that I unfortunately cannot comment on. Those gigantic hulking masses of metal taunt players with every step you take in NLA, but it really is just a matter of time until we can get our hands on one and revel between the metallic sheets to take on bigger monsters and travel greater distances. For now, I can only imagine the satisfaction of controlling a skell will be akin to the smell of a home-cooked Sunday roast on a winter’s day; utterly to die for.

As expected in a traditional RPG, Xenoblade Chronicles X displays an extensive levelling and upgrade system to really get your teeth into. Once you’ve passed the game’s beginning chapters, you can then select a weapon class, ranging in various offensive and defensive strategies, and choose from up to eight divisions. These eight divisions play a specific part in X’s online gameplay as well, giving player’s the chance to work towards a common goal in squad missions and division spoils, alongside boosting daily rankings and providing other in-game rewards. There’s a strong sense of community in X with its online missions, yet it’s never intrusive, allowing players to experience the storyline at their own pace.

 

xenoblade_chronicles_x_battle
Take the fight to indigens and increase your level, BLADE rank and upgrade your arts palette. Give them a good thwomping!

Working towards increasing your BLADE level – the game’s acronym for Builders of the Legacy After the Destruction of Earth – is one of your main goals in X. Depending on which division you choose, performing certain in-game actions will increase your BLADE level, which then unlocks new exploration abilities out in the field by improving your mechanical, archaeological and biological skills. With the game focusing heavily on exploration, you’ll find music is a key part of X’s feel. Luckily, the mix of rock, rap and ballad tones are rich and invigorating for play, though they may turn a little stale after 30 plus hours.

Keeping to X’s rhythm is the fantastic array of weapons, gear, art palettes and skill sets on offer. Battling against huge indigens is as wonderful as that delicious salty or sweet snack you’ve hidden in your desk drawer, forgotten about, and then found a week later. It’s an ultimate score, especially when there are so many varieties to battle. By using your art palette at the bottom of the game screen, you can unleash superb attacks that range from a flame whip to a lightning burst shot. With stat buff and debuffs to use, players can team up to slay an enemy with strategy in mind. And while skills can be equipped, upgraded, and take effect automatically, arts need a little more love. Reaching new class ranks will unlock new arts and are easily switched around in the upgrade menu. Complex, perhaps, but it’s a system RPG fans will adore.

With affinity missions and side quests seen as another strand to X’s core gameplay, there’s plenty of character development to witness. One of the many side mission highlights players will experience is the moment Tatsu – the friendly, jiggling Nopon – is reunited with his mother. It’s a touching and adorable sequence; one that is echoed throughout Mira and helps to keep the game electric and in motion, even through its level grinding parts. Other missions can be found in NLA’s administrative hub and are categorised into social, gathering and bounty quests – once accepted they will be listed under the missions tab on your start screen.

WiiU_XenobladeChroniclesX_char_03
The adorable Tatsu is just one of the many highlights in Xenoblade Chronicles X. Just, er, don’t put him in a stew.

Sadly, one of Xenoblade Chronicles X’s main flaws resides with its mission explanations. Gathering quests can be nigh on impossible if you’re not clued up on the game’s enemies, surroundings and item drops. Partaking in fruitless searching in an enormous map can be terribly frustrating, particularly if it’s part of an affinity quest and you’re locked into it – just like storyline mode. It’s in these moments, when you are running or swimming through barren wastelands with nothing but indigens and scenic plants at your side, that the game presents its difficulties. Couple that with storyline side quests that aren’t marked on your GamePad map screen and are only labelled with question marks within the on-screen mini map, it can really test your patience.

But we must give credit where credit is due as Monolith Soft has utilised the GamePad superbly. Using this as your in-game communication device, you can fast travel, change data probes, and switch fluidly from one map screen to another with a choice of segment or terrain view. However, X is enjoyed the most on a HD TV screen, a Wii U Pro Controller for longer play sessions and the GamePad by your side. Since the game relies heavily on exploration and map usage, off-TV play is a firm no-go zone. Besides, X’s stunning visuals were meant for HD screens.

Having merely scratched the surface of Xenoblade Chronicles X and its world, the sheer scale of gameplay is enough to satiate any franchise fans’ appetite. And while the game has sore spots, its visual and storytelling depth will keep you playing for days, weeks and months on end.

8 / 10

*Please bear in mind that this review and its score may change overtime due to the size of the game.