Pokemon Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire Review

More than ten years since the original Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire landed on the Game Boy Advance, long-term series’ fans can revisit the Hoenn region infused by nostalgia on the 3DS. But these aren’t just straight-laced remakes, Game Freak has reinvigorated and honed the games, delivering what may be the most interesting features yet.

For fans whom have been there since the glory days of Pokémon Red and Blue to newcomers from the X and Y generation, Game Freak’s audience is certainly far-reaching on a worldwide scale. With its ever-growing fan base, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire bolster a sweet balance of new and familiar features which endeavour to aid in the fluidity of nostalgia for those who played the originals, as well as keep the franchise fresh.

Yet the games are not without fault and are still plagued with the problematic frame rate drops from X and Y when encountering Horde battles and flying Pokémon – albeit, much less noticeable. The Experience Share item is once again given to you almost immediately after starting your adventure and, while this feature can simply be turned off, it presents players with a startlingly easy approach to the games, fizzing out any challenge from gym leaders or the Elite Four. Alternatively, refraining from using the feature will still grant you a team two to three levels higher than your adversaries, so your avatar will never frantically pass out and become a victim of daylight robbery.

pokemon_dexnav_art
The DexNav gives you the ability to sneak and capture wild and occasionally rare Pokemon.

Building upon the features seen in X and Y, it’s never been easier to train a team of Pokémon in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Pokémon Amie and Super Training are back to soften the gruelling Effort Value process and friendship building, along with an abundance of mega stones scattered throughout Hoenn to crank up the heat in battles. But it’s the arrival of the superb DexNav feature that elevates ORAS to the next level.

A fantastic companion app for the in-game breeder, the DexNav will alert players to roaming wild Pokémon in the grass, water or caves. You may see an adorable tail pop up from Zigzagoon or Skitty, a silhouette with ears for Plusle, and its individual cry or greeting. Once you’ve located the Pokémon, players can sneak with a slow tap of the circle pad while the DexNav relays its ability, first move and its IV potential – improving the more you encounter each species. Practically eliminating the arduous hunt for a perfect IV Pokémon, it reintroduces fun to otherwise stale, mundane and largely ignored gameplay.

pokemon_oras_delta
The Delta episode is endearing, powerful and a superb addition to Pokemon ORAS.

Though it’s substantially overshadowed by the excellent ability to control your flight over Hoenn with the Eon Flute, the fly HM has had a substantial upgrade. Players need only tap the Area Map on the PokéNav Plus to fly to a selected city or route, so whether you fancy picking up some berries for PokéBlocks to aid in contests or to re-battle a couple of trainers, it’s quite literally on your doorstep. But, as was the case in the originals, ORAS pins much need on HM use and you’ll almost certainly need a HM “slave” to carry out the laborious work for you. And while most water routes are optional, players can alleviate the cumbersome journey by picking up a Sharpedo which boosts surf speed, making the dive exploration and intriguing side stories at Sea Mauville – or many of the other islands dotted around Hoenn – much more enjoyable.

Depending on which version players choose, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire’s storyline will pit players against Team Aqua or Magma, with a goal to revive the legendary Kyogre or Groudon. What it lacks in originality is more than made up for with its intensity from the raging weather and the overwhelming pressure to save the world from utter annihilation. Yet it’s not until players defeat the Elite Four and enter post-game territory where the storyline really springs into action. The tightly packed Delta episode – a mission to save humanity from a meteoroid hurtling towards Hoenn – features enchanting music that cuts you to the core and dialogue to make your heart melt. It’s essentially Armageddon, but better.

cosplay_pikachu_art
It’s show time with Cosplay Pikachu in beauty contests – just mind the thundershock.

With engaging post content, including the Battle Resort, Battle Maison and those fun capture-the-flag secret bases, contests have also had a boost in design. Now players can set their living room as centre stage with the 3DS’s gyro sensor and camera – it’s both delightful for youngsters and an interesting slant. Players will also receive Cosplay Pikachu, so whether you prefer cool or cute, it comes with a switchable fourth move depending on the costume it wears. It’s a neat design that just begs to be utilised more thoroughly throughout the game.

Oozing with an evocative storyline and building upon the features introduced in X and Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are immediately accessible, solid remakes. With just a touch more refinement, both titles could easily charm newcomers into returning and whip up an inferno with long-term fans. Either way, Pokémon is an encore that never truly ends.

8.5/10

*Version played – Alpha Sapphire

Super Smash Bros Wii U Is Currently Sitting At 94 On Metacritic

It sounds as though the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros has been a resounding success with critics. Super Smash Bros Wii U currently has a Metacritic score of 94 which is very impressive. This score is based on 13 critics so the score could drop or alternatively go up. Destructoid says that if you can only get one version of Super Smash Bros then the Wii U version is the definitive one.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U delivers all of the rock-solid mechanics that the 3DS version gave us, with the joy of playing on a big screen with friends and a heap of worthwhile modes. It certainly doesn’t negate the greatness of the 3DS edition, but for those who have a bunch of friends anxious to Smash and can only get one, this is the version to get.

Thanks N Dub Nation

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker Scores 34 Out Of 40 In Famitsu And Here’s The Details

The Famitsu review is now in for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and the adorable game scored a decent 34 out of 40. As with all Famitsu reviews there’s four reviewers who give the game a different score. So for Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker the game received an 8, 9, 9, and 8 which gave it a total of 34 out of 40. Here’s what each reviewer had to say about the charming game.

Reviewer 1 – 8

Captain Toad and Toadette are irresistibly cute with their uncertain walking (laughing). The stages which rotate in the 3D space as you progress have various mechanics and routes packed in, and while they aren’t very big in size, they are still produced neatly to be enjoyable. As game mechanics have many gimmicks which are familiar from the Super Mario Bros. series, anyone can play. There are over 70 stages and replaying is fun, too.

Reviewer 2 – 9

The stages are like three dimensional puzzles which you can observe from all directions. When you get the grasp of the route and gimmicks, it feels great. It is convenient that there are several ways to control the direction of the camera. Every course isn’t just about getting to the regular goal since if you aim to obtain the super diamond and a title of achievement, the difficulty increases which is excellent. Variety like hopping on a rail car and seeing the stage from Captain Toad’s viewpoint is also fun.

Reviewer 3 – 9

This is a product that everyone can play regardless of age or gender. While puzzle elements are strong, the game creates an original combination of action and mechanisms. It is fun to clear the stage after trying repeatedly by trial and error. There are boss fights and shooting scenes, so the variation is abundant. When you rotate the three dimensional world, visible things change so it is easy the get confused and feel like you are straying into another world.

Reviewer 4 – 8

Even if the size of fields is small, it is very fun to progress your way towards the goal by rotating the viewpoint and by understating gimmicks of each field. A pleasant aspect of the game is that you can play stages easily one-by-one without losing interest. Taken measures for giving help at the times when you are stumped are also welcome. There may be a feeling that the volume is insufficient, but because the price is also reasonable, I’d say it is enough.

Thanks, Maanwel

 

IGN Reviews Pokemon Alpha Sapphire & Omega Ruby And Gives It 7.8

The reviews for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have started to come pouring in and the first to review the games is IGN. The publication has awarded the remakes a solid 7.8 out of 10 stating that Nintendo has done a fantastic job of recreating Hoenn. However the site says that there’s just too many water Pokemon and too many HMs. Here’s their verdict and you can read the full review, right here.

As a 3D remake, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby do a fantastic job of reintroducing Hoenn. Little details, like characters turning their heads to look as you pass or flocks of Wingulls flying overhead, make the region really come to life, and small updates and tweaks help make the journey smoother. Still, a few of its flaws are even more glaring in 3D, especially the excess water Pokémon and often dull navigation of their habitats. The added online features could help mitigate some of the type imbalances — I’m a huge fan of Wonder Trade — and there are even a few post-game surprises to encourage you to keep training well beyond the 25-hour main story.

Thanks, Jester

Bayonetta 2 Review

As stylish, sultry and oozing with confidence as before, Bayonetta returns to her Umbran Witch roots exclusively on the Wii U. And with a varied choice of weapons, individual combo sets and heart-thumping boss battles, Bayonetta 2 plays just as beautifully as it looks.

From the developer who brought the original Bayonetta and The Wonderful 101 to Nintendo home consoles, Platinum Games has designed a true marvel of a game with the hack-and-slash sequel. While Bayonetta 2 may not revitalise the franchise’s core gameplay mechanics, Platinum chooses to refine them with a delicate touch. This isn’t a simple button bashing game, and it never encourages players to do so. Rather practice mode is displayed during loading screens to guide players to combo attack success. It’s by digging a little deeper, learning when to dodge to initiate Witch Time, or when to hold back to find enemy weaknesses to string combos together, that the game begins to knit impeccably. The initial sluggish, heavy-handed attacks from the start will eventually transform into smooth fluidity between movesets and taunting enemies. And as it becomes second nature, Bayonetta 2 evolves from its cocoon.

bayonetta2_demons
Take on intense battles and fight with huge bosses as Bayonetta’s demon. It may just take your breath away.

As was the case with the first Bayonetta, the story is diluted here to make way for the exhilarating combat sequences. But the various cutscenes and comic strip-esque sequences endeavour to bring the player into Cereza’s world and describe the main plot with linearity. The sassy dark witch’s character shines throughout too, delivering those tongue-in-cheek witticisms with more than a touch of class. Bouncing off familiar characters such as Enzo, Rodin and Jeanne, it won’t take long for first-time players to embrace the comedic episodes, while long-time fans will settle in just as comfortably. But before we can sit down to eat chicken and waffles in The Gates of Hell – Rodin’s choice, of course  – Jeanne is dragged mercilessly into the underworld, and it’s down to Cereza to bring her back.

Within story mode, players will be able to change the difficulty setting between easy, medium and hard whenever they wish. You’ll be able to customise your weapons on Bayonetta’s arms and legs – such as Rakshasha, Undine and the Alruna whip – before any battle, and also pop on an alternative costume, including the Hero of Hyrule and the Peach Mushroom Kingdom outfit. All weapons and their accessories, along with the different costumes, can be bought with Halos collected throughout the game in Rodin’s store: The Gates of Hell. New weapons can be picked up by exploring the various levels in Noatun, Inferno, Paradiso and so on, as well as moon pearls for extra magic, broken witch’s hearts for extra health, lollipops and crafting equipment.

bayonetta2_noatun
The gorgeous Noatun allows ample exploration for the inquisitive players.

The weapon variation and the movesets available are simply a joy to discover in Bayonetta 2. Each weapon is meticulously designed with individual combo attacks, so pairing different weapons together such as Undine on the arms and Rakshasha on the legs can make for a devastating string of attacks. But learning what works the best and what may be able to award you with the best combo score and that elusive – though not impossible – pure platinum medal at the battle’s end is what keeps the game fresh and the player hungry for more.

Throughout the 16 in-game chapters within story mode, players will be able to explore many locations during select chapters. In these segments, you’ll find the glowing spherical warp panels and a challenge awaiting in Muspelheim. Varying from air time, one combo restriction and defeating a number of enemies within a time limit, the Muspelheim challenges allow unfamiliar players to hone their skills. While they may not serve up much of a challenge for experienced gamers, these areas are a great change of pace from the main storyline. Miss one Muspelheim challenge, though, and it counts as a stone medal, so you’ll want to master them all to get the best scores.

bayonetta2_lumen_battle
Keep your fingers on the pulse during battles with the lumen sage.

The hack-and-slash game does have one minor flaw, however, and it lies solely at the feet of the GamePad’s touchscreen controls. While Platinum Games have utilised the GamePad well with off-TV play, there’s no incentive to use the touchscreen controls whatsoever. An afterthought to the main dish, the controls lack precision. And automatic triggers for combo attacks just sucks the fun out of those eclectic boss battles. Plus, in order to perform the crushing torture attacks or Umbran Climax, you’ll need to avert your eyes from the main screen to focus on the GamePad. The heat of the battle dissipates, and the sublime HD architectural designs are left behind.

The best section of the game comes, perhaps, with Tag Climax. Facing demons and archangels encountered throughout the story, you’ll be partnered up with strangers or friends in online co-op. Staking a higher number of Halos before the battle begins will ramp up the difficulty, but stringing impressive combos together may just clinch a victory. There’s not much room for error here, throwing players straight into the deep end to test their ability, but it’s a superb feature worthy of merit.

With a flutter of her eyelashes and her wings, Bayonetta’s flirtatious appeal is infectious. Twinned with addictive gameplay and cheeky witticisms, Bayonetta 2 will leave you gasping for more. It may take two to tango, but it only takes one to Umbran Climax.

9.5/10

Disney Magical World Review

The world where dreams come true lands on the 3DS with enough sparkle and pizzazz to feed all ages with joy. And though it’s a life simulation game by genre, its irresistible charm and humour will keep you playing Disney Magical World for hours on end.

Developed by h.a.n.d and published by Bandai Namco, Mickey and friends welcome players into a magical kingdom full of quests, mischievous ghosts who are more than likely to give Nightmare Before Christmas’ characters a run for their money, and alluring outfits to please every eye. With four main areas to explore through magical portals including the 100 Acre Wood, Cinderella, Alice and Aladdin’s world, there’s plenty of variation when it comes to fetch quests, mini-games and dungeons. But it’s not all enemy tussles and item hunting, you’ll also have real work to do as the owner of a café.

disney_magical_world_rabbit_piglet
Time for some carrot cake and honey tea with Rabbit and Piglet at the Cafe!

Rather than owning your own house and paying off pseudo-mortgages Animal Crossing style, Disney Magical World allows players to pocket their earnings from the café’s food produce and purchase new decorations from Chip and Dale’s workshop or themed staff outfits from Daisy’s Boutique. The near two-hour prologue will introduce players to the basics and, while it’s a little cumbersome, children will love getting to grips with gathering materials to make new recipes, as well as the introduction of firm-favourite characters. But while the café is your main source of in-game currency, collecting stickers is just as vital for progression.

Like any other achievement ranking, collecting stickers will unlock new areas within the game’s main hub, Castleton, along with opening up quests, new outfits and decorations. Completing the prologue will award players with 16 stickers, but collecting 77 will conclude the main storyline. These stickers can then be collected throughout the game under seven different sections –  including fishing and farming – which vary in difficulty. Levelling up your café by fulfilling the manager’s requests can also lead to new stickers; unlocking recipes allows players to pick up rarer meals with themes such as Peter Pan, Aladdin, Western, amongst others. Plus, you can even host special-themed parties and invite guests from the Disney universe, taking photos to fill up your album.

disney_magical_world_beauty_beast
Having a ball with Beauty and the Beast; curtsies at the ready.

While cruising through Disney Magical World’s main hub and quest areas, loading screens can become irksome. Sometimes it can be a mere five seconds, other times you’ll fear the game’s coding has lost its way in the Queen of Hearts’ hedge maze. Also of minor consequence are occasional frame rate drops while running or dashing through Castleton, rather than the top-down view of the quest areas, causing lag or blips during gameplay. Yet it’s mainly the game’s penchant for crash glitches in Alice’s World which delivers an odd, unsettling feeling for players. Whether it’s haunted cruelly by the threats of cutting off one’s head or just bad luck, encountering enemy Boingo’s and warp panels may trigger crashes, forcing players to restart from their last auto-save point.

Generally the game’s best moments lie within the quest areas. Enemies and bosses are varied enough to avoid monotony, while layouts are simple and require classic switches and levers to open up sealed off areas. Drop rates for rare items are primarily based on luck, so players will often have to replay quests to obtain certain materials – no qualms for seasoned dungeon crawlers. The automated aiming system, however, may even have the troublesome Stitch raising an eyebrow. Your wand will target the closest enemy or object in range, which can be perilously awkward when facing bosses with rotating teacups and illuminated lamps, hitting everything but the main target. Here, camera angles also become the enemy with strange zooms that distort your field of vision.

disney_magical_world_balls
Dancing with the Stars? Strictly Come Dancing? Er, no.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Disney Magical World’s ballroom dancing sequences might just end your friendship with Cinderella all together. Aside from throwing a curveball into the game, the musical mini-game can have you bibbidi-bobbidi-booing in utter frustration. Touchscreen tapping will rarely follow the rhythm of the beat giving you a string of misses and, coupled with the distracting background on the top screen, players may end up seeing stars rather than dancing with the stars.

Despite the game’s blips and hang-ups, Disney Magical World blossoms with its amusing episodes, excellent outfit and decoration choice, and character interaction. As in the words of Eeyore, it might not be much of a tale, but you do get sort of attached to it.

7.5/10