Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review (3DS)

I really enjoy the Sonic Boom television show. I think it’s fun, clever and just a really enjoyable experience to watch with my kids. I thought the first game on DS wasn’t that bad either. It felt like the developers at Sega were trying to get back to what made Sonic fun. There were hints back then of things that really made the game feel like a Sonic game and I thought with another go at it the series could be really good. Well, the developers are back at it with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice on the 3DS, and unfortunately it feels like more of the same, yet again.

The game goes along with the animated series of the same name. Sonic and his crew of friends spend their days fighting Dr. Eggman and his group of robotic baddies. In this case Eggman has found a new source of power called ragnium and he’s mining the world for the element. It’s causing fissures to open up on various islands around the world. Sonic, Tails, Amy and the rest all have to team up and work together to close those fissures so they don’t destroy their home.

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Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X Review (PS4)

Rhythm games come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. From the screen tapping, stylus swirling game play of the Elite Beat Agents game to the frantic, sweat-inducing dancing of they DDR games to the pulse pounding drum play of the Taiko no Tatsujin games to the straight up button mashing of the Hatsune Miku series. There’s a rhythm game out there for everyone. I’ve played a lot of them because I really like music. I like rhythm. I like the combination of the two. Project Diva X is the most recent game in this vocaloid series.

The story of the game is just cheesy. I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it needed to be there. Sure, it’s fun to see the characters interacting with each other; Miku, Rin and Luka get very excited about the idea of forming a rock band together, but ultimately it’s just there to provide some reason to break the songs in the game up into different styles. See, in the game you’re supposed to reconnect five different clouds of music together and to do that you have to “learn” about each of the different styles and how to best embody that type of music. I found myself groaning at the saccarin-sweetness of the whole thing. It’s really, cheesy y’all. In it’s defense many rhythm games try to inject a story where one isn’t really needed and most of them revolve around saving the world through the power of dance. This one is no different.

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7th Dragon III Code: VFD Review (3DS)

It’s a rare thing to be three or four entries deep into a video game series before finally getting one released in a new territory, but that’s exactly what’s happened with Sega’s most recent RPG release 7th Dragon III Code: VFD. This game, despite being titled the third in the series is actually the fourth game to be released, and the first outside of Japan. It takes place in the near future in a world where the return of dragons has more or less forced humanity into hiding.

Story wise, there’s not a lot going on here that’s just going to be something you could call a classic. The world is nearing its end. Humanity has been nearly destroyed and it’s up to a small band of heroes to rally, save the day and rid humanity of the dragon plague. It’s good enough to keep you going, but I didn’t find anything that was overly compelling or something I’d remember for years to come. You start the game going into a virtual reality video game called 7th Encount. What you don’t know is that the game is being used as a recruiting tool by the game’s developer, Nodens Corporation, to pick a team of people they think are capable of taking down the impending dragon invasion. Nodens Corp gets tangled up with a group from the ISDF (International Self-Defense Force) who are also trying to fight the dragons. From there it has a few twists and turns, some of them pretty radical twists.

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7th Dragon III Code: VFD Demo Now Available

Sega has dropped a demo for their newest RPG in the eShop today. It’s called 7th Dragon III Code: VFD. The game is a dungeon crawling RPG in the vein of games like Etrian Odyssey and you get to fight dragons. You get to create and choose your own party members and make them fit to your style of play. If you play the demo … Continue reading 7th Dragon III Code: VFD Demo Now Available

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Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Review

Odin Sphere was a game that was originally developed by Vanillaware and released on the PS2 back in 2007. Back then it was considered a cult classic, now they’re hoping it gets more mainstream attention. While I did play the original game a few years ago, I really only played about an hour of that release so I’ll be treating this as if I’d never played the game before. I couldn’t talk in depth about many of the changes that were made, but from the people I’ve talked to who played the original there were some things that were desperately in need of a change.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is a from the ground up re-working of the original game. The visuals and story stay mostly intact, but everything around it has been redone to fall in line with some of their more recent releases like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragon’s Crown. Combat is fluid and fast paced, built mainly around the idea of stringing huge combos together. While not really necessary to be successful it is really satisfying to see that combo number go up, entering the realm of 2-300 attacks in a row on a pretty regular basis.

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Valkyria Chronicles Remastered Review (PS4)

Everybody has games from a previous generation that they never played for whatever reason, but really wanted to. Maybe you didn’t have the money at the time to pick up a new game. Maybe you didn’t actually own the system it was on. It could be any number of things. One of those games for me was Valkyria Chronicles, which was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2008. I remember seeing the trailers for that game and being very interested in playing it, but disappointed because it was only coming to PS3, a system that I didn’t own.

Fast forward to 2016 and the game has been remastered for a new generation. The PS4 remaster is done brilliantly and beautifully. If you didn’t play the original game now may be the perfect time to try it out. If you did play it on the PS3 there’s no reason not to relive the experience, because it’s a game that’s going to stay with me for a long time.

Valkyria Chronicles tells the story of the nation of Gallia. It’s part of a continent (loosely based on our own real world Europe) that is controlled by two main super powers; in the east you have theEast Europan Imperial Alliance and in the west the Atlantic Federation. The countries rely on a material known as ragnite to power almost everything and the Empire is very quickly running out of this resource so they invade the small nation of Gallia, which just happens to be rich in this resource. The game opens up as Welkin Gunther is heading home. It just so happens the Empire begins their attack at that same moment and he gets swept up in the conflict along with a local town watch captain named Alicia. The two join the militia and lead the fight against the invading Empire.

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Life of a Santa – Yakuza 5

Yakuza 5.3.1Running through the snowy streets of Tsukimino, I chanced upon a man in a Santa suit lying on the ground.  He informed me a gang called The Santa Hunters.  Apparently they are infamous amongst the Santas as they have waged a literal war on Christmas.  The man lying on the ground was merely a casualty of that war.  Though his body was beaten, his heart still shined brightly as he still hoped to bring joy to the hearts of kids everywhere.  He knew he was outmanned in this battle and begged me to join the ranks of the Santa. Continue reading “Life of a Santa – Yakuza 5”

Life of a Taxi Driver – Yakuza 5

Yakuza 5 Cast

In the Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan lies the lesser-known city of Nagasugai.  One of the big allures of Nagasugai is that people are allowed to actually drive in town.  Lucky for you, you’ve got your license in order and are employed by a local taxi company.  You may only have six months of training but, being ex-yakuza, you know how to follow the rules.  Do not go past the speed limit, stop at all stop signs and – for the love of all – be on the lookout for pedestrians!  Seriously, they’re like deer.  They’ll stand at crosswalks and wait until you’re just about to pass through before making their move.  And when you see one pedestrian mow through a crosswalk you should be prepared to stop because there’s bound to be more that follow.  I recommend driving around with your high beams at night so you can have a bit more time to react when pedestrians dart across the road.  And don’t try to give the police officers the excuse that the pedestrian hit you because no matter what it will ALWAYS be YOUR fault.

Sometimes you get to pick up pedestrians and take them for a ride.  Then they can see first-hand what it’s like trying to avoid these collisions, but when you look back they’ll be staring down at their cell phones and not paying attention to what you’re doing.  Case in point!

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Contest: Win a copy of Yakuza 5 for PlayStation 3!

EDIT: The contest submission window is closed. The winner will be announced on episode 293 of the Nintendo Okie Podcast. Our friends at Sega of America were kind enough to provide us with a copy of Yakuza 5 to give away to one lucky winner! All you need to do is submit a Yakuza-themed haiku to: Here is a short podcast where we explain the … Continue reading Contest: Win a copy of Yakuza 5 for PlayStation 3!