January 31, 2017

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam Review

Filed under: Nintendo — Tags: , , , — Yukino @ 8:56 PM

When it comes to Super Mario Bros spinoffs, I’ve always been a Paper Mario girl. I’ll take that franchise over Sunshine, Mario & Luigi, and New Super Mario Bros any day of the week. It was due to my love of Paper Mario that I decided I needed Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam in my life, and after spending 45+ hours in this 3D world, I have thoughts. Many thoughts.

First of all, poor Luigi. The guy does his best to be helpful but somehow ends up knocking loose a book containing Paper World, unleashing every paper toad, guy, and Bowser. Now he and Mario need to scour the Mushroom Kingdom in order to collect every scrap and get them home safely.

But this is a Mario RPG, and things never go that smoothly.

Early on, our adventurous brothers run into that rascally Nabbit who absconds with several of their battle and map actions. As you progress through Paper Jam, opportunities arise in which the Bros give chase and earn back new moves to help them clear new obstacles. One of my favourite combo battle moves comes from catching this sly minion, requiring Mario and Luigi to work in tandem and tests your hand-eye coordination as you lob bombs at your enemies.

Eventually, the Princesses Peach find themselves in the same old predicament as always (seriously, they even comment on how it’s “that time in the story”, because even they know it’s a tired, played-out plot device at this point). The Bowser Jrs flee with the ladies and thus add “Rescue the Princesses” to their To-Do list.

The real hero of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam is Toadette. She rallies the collected Paper Toads to help her create the Papercraft battle horses used in several mini-boss battles. This lone female toad is always positive, not afraid to venture out on her own, and has some of the best dialogue.

Let’s talk papercraft. This is one of the new mechanics in Paper Jam and I absolutely loved these battles. Each battle features a new giant Mario ally, atop which your three heroes ride and command the Toads carrying you. Most battles require knocking your opponent off balance (dashing away at the right time works, too) and launching your papercraft to attack. There are Toad pads on the ground to recharge your energy, which is a musical mini-game in and of itself. If your health is running low, take a look around for a ? block, which will reveal a paper mushroom when bashed.

Battle cards were another new mechanic for me to work with. Working with decks of 10 cards, each turn reveals a new card which can be used at the start of each Bros turn, so long as you have the required amount of Star Points to activate them. You can buy cards from the shop or earn them in battle from the occasional drop. Ones that are super helpful are the ones that lower Koopa Jrs and Bowser levels. I also made sure to have HP restoration cards handy in my deck.

You can also create cards with your amiibos using special cards purchased by a Toad not behind the shop counter (or earned as battle drops). Unfortunately, I don’t have a New 3DS XL or the NFC reader so that was a feature I have not tested out.

But at the end of the day, if the story isn’t up to par, it can make the game drag. Which is sadly the case with Paper Jam. It lacks the fantastic humour I’ve come to expect from my exploits with Paper Mario. Instead, there are far too many Toad collecting sidequests, some of which caused bouts of rage quelled only by ingesting handfuls of chocolate and taking a breather from the game. To be blunt, the story is flatter than Paper Mario.

If you’re a huge fan of either the Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi RPG series, I suggest waiting for this one to go on sale before picking it up. 

*This review was previously published on The Daily Crate.

March 23, 2012

Fable 3

Filed under: Xbox — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 11:37 PM

Status: Finished once and then it all went to hell
Achievements: 46 of 60
Gamerscore: 910/1250
DLC Purchased: nada

I thought that with time I’d be able to finally write about Fable 3. Hope that the memories of what happened to me that fateful afternoon burned in my chest for months, but now I know and have come to accept that this will never be. (more…)

January 23, 2012

Fallout New Vegas DLC – Dead Money


Status: Completed and unlocked all 5 achievements
Achievements: 51 of 75
Gamerscore: 1035/1655

Of the two bits of Fallout New Vegas DLC I have played so far, Dead Money had to be the dullest and most pointless of them both. Hell, I wouldn’t doubt if it ends up as my least favourite of all the DLC for this game. Set in a closed area which can only be accessed one time via a Brotherhood of Steel bunker, you follow the signal of an old broadcast offering the time of your life at the new Sierra Madre Casino. Turns out that the radio broadcast was just a trap to lure adventurers so as to do the dirty work for a crazy old kook called Father Elijah. (more…)

January 10, 2012

Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim

Warning: This review will most likely contain a few spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Status: Completed in 29 days (minus glitched quests), reached Level 62, 179hrs 17mins 37secs
Achievements: 47 of 50
Gamerscore: 940/1000
DLC Purchased: None

The fifth installment in Bethesda Game Studios’ epic role playing franchise, Skyrim offers players an exceptional adventure in the northern most province of Tamriel. Home to the Nords, Skyrim is in the midst of a civil war, a war in which you are unintentionally dragged into. Imperial guards believe you to be a member of the Stormcloak uprising, and bring you to Helgen for your execution. As your head rests on the chopping block, you witness a terrifying dragon land on one of the battlements, sending everyone into a panic and giving you the chance to escape. (more…)

October 27, 2011

Fallout New Vegas DLC – Honest Hearts

Status: Completed and unlocked all 5 achievements
Achievements: 49 of 75
Gamerscore: 965/1655

After previous experiences with Fallout 3’s add on content suffering major release issues, I decided that I’d wait a while before picking up new quests for New Vegas. I didn’t want to be burned again with purchasing content on release day and being unable to play it. So when Bethesda had a recent Xbox Live sale, I picked up Honest Hearts and Dead Money. I polled my friends, and heeding their advice, chose to venture into Zion and deal with the White Legs in Honest Hearts. (more…)

July 14, 2011

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion (Project Backlog)

Filed under: Project Backlog,Xbox — Tags: , , , , , , — Yukino @ 1:24 PM

Status: Finished everything but the Mages’ Guild quests
Achievements: 54 of 60
Gamerscore: 1150/1250
DLC Purchased: Every last bit of DLC, including that ridiculous Horse Armor (only because it was on the GOTY disc)

Somehow I find it very fitting that the first game from Project Backlog that I am crossing off the list is actually the first Xbox 360 game I ever finished. Let me clarify that – the first game I finished before I had an Xbox Live gamertag. (more…)

April 5, 2011

3rd Birthday

Status: Completed one playthrough on Easy reaching level 21 in 11hrs 37min, the second on Normal reaching level 29 in 11hrs 21min

Over a decade has passed since gamers last saw Aya Brea and her clone/daughter/sister Eve (a relationship that confuses many). 3rd Birthday begins with Aya having no recollection of her past, found in a blood stained wedding gown outside St Peter’s in New York. She is recruited by the Counter Twisted Intelligence team and using her special Overdive ability, they hope that her special skills can help the world defeat the Twisted Invasion as she relives past events, that with each Dive she alters history for the better. (more…)

March 2, 2011

Dragon Age: Origins

Filed under: Xbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Yukino @ 6:22 PM

Status: Completed 3 times
Achievements: 57 of 76
Gamerscore: 1225/1750
DLC Played: Awakening

Dragon Age wasn’t on my watch-list when it was announced. Probably because I didn’t end up enjoying Mass Effect as much as I was hoping to which turned into lukewarm feelings for BioWare. It wasn’t that I thought Mass Effect was a bad game, more that I just didn’t find myself feeling as submersed into the universe as I thought I would. But months later my newly minted husband decided he wanted to pick it up after hearing good things from friends. I still wasn’t really feeling the Dragon Age mojo, so I watched him a bit as he played figuring I might one day get around to it. (more…)

January 28, 2011

Fallout: New Vegas

Filed under: Xbox — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — Yukino @ 6:56 PM

Status: Completed three endings, working on the last
Achievements: 38 of 55
Gamerscore: 690/1140
DLC Purchased: None

Welcome to New Vegas

After the extreme disappointment that was Fable 3, I needed something to get me back on my 360. And even though I had a difficult time with Fallout 3 (mainly the DLC and it’s release day issues), I was pumped to sink my teeth into Fallout New Vegas. I love the open exploration that Fallout offers, and the addition of Factions you could choose to side with meant there would be more variety in the story. Throw in casinos and gambling and I was all psyched up for another trip through a post-apocalyptic USA. (more…)

July 15, 2010

Persona 3 Portable (P3P)

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Yukino @ 3:09 PM

By far one of the most-loved JRPGs of the Playstation 2 era, Persona 3 Portable (or P3P) gives us the opportunity to re-visit the Dark Hour and discover the various Personas that our mind is able to call upon in the fight against the Shadows.

By day, you are a typical high school junior. You go to class, make friends, participate in school clubs and work part time for some extra spending money. By night, you and your dorm-mates enter into a time known as the Dark Hour where you battle your way up the looming tower Tartarus in hopes that you can right wrongs belonging to those who came before you. The story of Persona 3 still holds up as one of the best and most enjoyable titles I have had the pleasure of wasting away my time with the JRPG category over the past few years.

P3P strikes a wonderful balance between grinding in the randomly generated levels of the Tartarus dungeon and enhancing your Persona-wielding life-style with extra-curricular activities. Exploring Tartarus and defeating the Shadows lurking around each and every corner brings you closer to ending the Dark Hour for good. Making friends and creating strong bonds with them is what brings additional power to the Persona you create to assist you in your quest.

Unlocking Personas is like catching Pokemon. Once you start, you just can’t stop! When you first enter Tartarus you’ll only have the inherent Orpheus available. As you defeat Shadows you’ll be able to hold more Personas acquired by obtaining special tarot cards. The further you climb to the top of Tartarus, the more powerful the cards you can find. Visiting the Velvet Room, a mainstay of the Persona franchise, you’ll want to fuse as many new Personas as possible, with some instances requiring up to six Persona cards in a fusion.

Featured in this new handheld version of the game, P3P now allows you to chose between a male or female main character. Social Links with classmates and other residents around Port Island will differ depending on which you choose. While the overall story is the same, it’s the little things that impact you will remember your high school days.

Social Linking with Yukari strengthens the Lovers Arcana

This being my second time through the story of the SEES group, I chose to experience life at Gekkoukan High School as a female student. Choosing the female option, your cursor and other icons are a soft shade of pink as opposed to the blue for the male option. I joined several clubs, including the volleyball team and student council, making a lot of wonderful female friends. I also spent time after school hanging out with fellow SEES members Junpei and Akihiko in an attempt to get closer to them. With the female character, you can also choose if Igor’s assistant in the Velvet Room is the beloved Elizabeth or the new male option, Theodore.

The one aspect of playing with the female character that I was most interested in exploring was seeing if it was possible for her to date the guys around her much as the male character could in the original. I spent nights slaving at Chagall Cafe either working or just having the Pheromone Coffee so that I could increase my Charm to a level that would allow me to build my Social Link with the dreamy and sought-after Akihiko-senpai. Sadly, there was no smooching or hand holding to be had. Once I had maxed out the Social Link, Akihiko was not to be found in his usual spot Monday and Friday afternoons in the Lab Hallway. I was unable to find any information to see if I had done anything incorrectly, which means my poor high school crush on Akihiko will forever remain just a crush.

Atlus has also included the part-time job option which allows you to earn some money while increasing your Academic, Charm and Courage skills. Before you could only enhance these skills by studying, correctly answering questions during class and spending money at certain establishments. While you can still simply spend some money and do so, working at a shop helps boost two of these areas at a time as well as pocketing some money to help by that fancy new weapon you’ve got your eye on.

My favourite new additions to P3P are the outrageous outfits to stuff into my wardrobe. It’s an added bonus that your characters really do wear these in Tartarus. My favourite was the Battle Panties, a white bra and panty set with matching knee-high stockings giving the wearer a plus two stat bump to their Magic skills. Santa suits, bathing suits and maid outfits are other special apparel you can collect.

Other tweaks to P3P include bringing two new difficulty modes, meaning you now have five degrees of difficulty at your fingertips, as well as the much desired battle command control as was offered in Persona 4. Using the Tactics option from your in-battle menu, you can now set parameters for those members currently part of your team. This option can only be accessed when you are controlling the main character and gives you a much better handle on those tough bosses.

Use the Battle Menu to set Tactics for your AI characters

P3P is not a perfect port of the original PS2 title. Due to the limitations of the PSP disc, the anime cut-scenes have been replaced with game graphic voiced over scenarios. I do miss them, but it is a small sacrifice to make in order to have everything else introduced to this version of P3. Also excluded from P3P is the additional content The Answer which was released with Persona 3: FES.

Overall Opinion

Since P3P arrived at my doorstep I have done nothing aside from spend all day on my PSP. Even in my sleep, I am thinking of what extra-curricular activities I want to do over the next school week, figure out how many floors in Tartarus I want to climb and which types of Personas I need to create so that I can get the best of the best for the inevitable final battle. Looking for something to waste countless of hours on? Then this is your game, as you can grind and grind to your heart’s content. There is so much content on this disc that it’s about to burst at the seams. Do yourself a favour and buy this game now. Buy it for a friend, too. Share the love of the twisted darkness that is Persona with as many people as you can.

Buy Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable from Amazon today!

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