Game Reviews: Lego Ninjago Movie (PS4)

IMG_2784.JPGI am not exactly a connoisseur of the Lego video game franchise. I’ve dabbled in mostly Star Wars and enjoyed some of it, but never quite was the one that needed to collect every achievement or beat any of the games for that matter. They mostly collect dust in my gaming cabinet of all the different systems I have.

I went to the ol’ Redbox at the grocery store, and rented Roman J. Israel, Esq and as I went to check out, it offered a free game rental.

“Sweet,” I said.

I touched the kiosk touchscreen and viewed the options. There were 4.

“What the hell,” I said.

One was PES 2017. I already play Fifa, and as we all know, once you go Fifa you don’t go to PES. This is like a cardinal sin of gaming.

The other was Assassins Creed: Origins. I am fairly interested in this title, however, I didn’t envision me having enough time to really get into the story, especially since I already was renting a movie.

Then there was a game, that appeared to almost be a ripoff of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

The last was Lego Ninjago Movie. I remember my son wanting to play this for our Nintendo Switch, so I said, “maybe he can test it out.”

I came home and told my 6 year old the treasure I got. He was excited as can be until we popped in the game and had to go through Master Wu’s dojo game tutorial. It was essential for the game, maybe, but a bit long. I was hoping to just leave after the game began and let him on his campaign, but something happened.

Garmadon attacked the beach and all of a sudden it was an aerial attack with the green dragon to defend the city. Wow. This looked actually pretty fun. The graphics were pretty good and it felt almost like an arcade game from the 90s. I’m using actual pictures from our gameplay.

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I stayed at my sons side. He began his quest and I learned how to play and navigate the more difficult challenges. We beat the first couple levels taking turns, then dumb me finally noticed the icon in the top right of the screen.

This game was 2 players!

With a split screen, we played as Vader intended for Luke … at his side, father and son, ruling Ninjago Island together. We battled countless obstacles. Found lots of gold bricks. Fell down into countless waters. But somehow, someway, always found a way to the end of the stage. The graphics are rather good and the obstacles are not too repetitive. Some of the bosses take a little time to beat, but that should be expected. The developer really did a tremendous job making it suited for kids (and parents) with very little gaming skill. They want it to be fun, and a little challenging.

I woke up today, and my Ninjago warrior woke us up. Not the 6 year old.

My 3 year old.

“Ninjago!” he said, in his 3 year old voice.

“What?” I said, rolling over in bed.

Minutes later, my 3 year old runs back into my bedroom with something in his tiny hands. It’s the Redbox cd case with the game inside (I did eventually watch Roman J. Esquire).

“Ninjago!” he said again.

Wow. What a creative Lego game developer bunch. My 3 year old watched with Ninjago envy. He wanted to be like his big brother. We popped in the game again, and all of a sudden, looking at the clock, he has played another 8 hours straight.

Maybe my parenting sucks.

Maybe I like having to get him past the more difficult puzzles. Gamer Dads look invincible when they can beat anything in Ninjago.

But now, my son is halfway through. We have 3 hours to return the game, or I face the the stiff $3 late additional day fee.

Damn you Redbox … Damn you and your marketing tricks!

Clash Royale: Update Review

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It’s been a while since my initial review of Clash Royale. Okay, so now I’m level 10. Supercell’s plan to dominate the late minutes of my day as well as every 3 minute break I get has worked. The higher you go, the harder it is to get 3 chests, and quite frankly, half the people are pretty darn good, so I lose a ton. On some days, it takes me 15 tries to get my 10 wins to get my chest.

Do the math.

I have become a slave to the game.

Not only that, but I have been duped buying all those awesome “deals” that come around for a limited time … every week.

100,000 gold pack? Sure, I’ll do that twice.

500 gems for a legendary card? Okay. Sure.

Oh wait, I just got my third lava hound and not the archer. Let’s keep spending 500 gems on every offer.

Don’t get me started on the new cards each week. I refuse to buy yet another card only to get an opponent using a level 4 version of it on me on launch day.

All for what? To get to legendary? (Already did that). To get to the highest in my clan? (I’d have to climb to nearly 4000). To spend the most (um, probably already did that).

So thank you supercell. You have roped me in once again, but thankfully, I’m now playing clash of clans only 2 minutes a day instead of 2 hours like I used to.

As for tips. I use two decks. One, I just put all the legendary cards in there and just spam to get my quick wins or quick losses. The other deck I use involve a golem, sparky, minions, and the defensive flame balls. It annoys the heck out of people. If you want beat me, just put everything on air and I won’t defend.

Do any of you have tips or tricks? Let me know. An alarmingly high number of my readers now come from India, so let me know what you all think too.

Game Reviews: Grand Theft Auto V

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Grand Theft Auto V

I eagerly anticipated this game from the moment it was announced. I wasn’t sure how it would play based on the news leaks; three concurrent storylines in one story? Being able to swap characters in the middle of a mission? Okay, I trusted Rockstar Games to get the job done because Grand Theft Auto IV was so damn good.

I purchased the game and and took the day off of work on launch day.

After 20 minutes of uploading updates to the game (What updates are required on a game on launch day? ugh?) I was ready to play.

The game opened with an epic bank heist. Nice. Then a flash forward to Mike, a retired thief trying to live a domesticated life. Awkward. Then we jump to Franklin, living in the hood (reminding me of San Andreas). Then we jump to Trevor (reminding me of where some of my High School friends probably ended up). I was confused for a while, being forced to swap between different missions. I enjoyed Mike’s storyline the most, mostly chilling in his cool LA pad and robbing the expensive rides in that part of town (and one weird bike mission with his son).

Then the stories converged.

The game is so much more dynamic than Grand Theft Auto IV. The missions are more more creative. The graphics are better. The missions are harder and there are more things to do. Underwater-check. Skydiving-check. Helicopter-check. Plane-check. Jetski-check.

My personal favorite mission is the jewel heist. It was a pain to get all the stuff required to set it up, but the actual robbery was fun.

The last 3 missions were almost like a movie ending, which was good, however part of me felt the game ended too fast. With a game this size, I think the story could have been twice a long.

I’m not a completist, so I wasn’t obsessed with getting all of the achievements. I tried playing online for a while, but kept getting sniped by people randomly sitting around the city waiting to attack. To me, GTA will always be about the story mode.

I can’t wait for GTA 6. I’ve tried playing LA Noire and Red Dead Redemption and it just isn’t the same.

Game Rating: 9.5/10

GUEST REVIEW: GAMERDOG69
What kind of G-rated review was this? Is he getting soft? Why did he not talk about the drug dealing in the game? Or the strip club? Or taking the strippers back to your pad? Or Beating your therapist up? Or the weird Yoga instructor? What about Trevor and his antics?  Or how about this? The game is called Grand Theft AUTO buddy. I’ve robbed 2000 cars in the game. What the hell have you been doing? How many garages did you fill up? Or how about this you damn poser, did you rack up enough cash to buy the country club? No? Yeah, that’s right. You ain’t no baller and you certainly didn’t truly beat the game.

 

Game Reviews: Techmo Bowl (NES)

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It didn’t get more real that this in 1989 in which Techmo Bowl, the first NFLPA licensed game, was released. This was around the same time I began rooting for my team, the Washington Redskins.

Except in this game, I separated loyalty from awesomeness and seldom played with them.

Out of the 12 teams, there was only two real choices in a game that offered two pass plays and two run plays each time, in which I would only use master half of them: The off-tackle run, and the all go pass.

The team I would pick would be the Chicago Bears. Why? Because it had the best player in the game, Walter Payton. He was fast as hell and could rarely be stopped. If he got out in the open, watch out because he was going to take it to the house (and make a ton of players miss) For the pass play, I would roll back and off to the side and throw a bomb down the sideline every time, without seeing the receiver at all. The game had this little highlighted flag at the edge of the screen that told you approximately where the receiver was and you had to have faith to let your players make a play.

That’s what playmakers do.

On the season mode, I would beat it pretty easily. I think I beat the game with half the teams, including the Washington Redskins just to see if I could do it.

The real rivalry, was when I played my father. He used the only team that could really rival the Bears, the Raiders. You see, if you couldn’t play Techmo Bowl with Walter Payton, you would play with Bo Jackson. He was fast a hell too.

I don’t remember the final tally of who won the most. Most of the games would come down to the final possession, or one rare interception from one of my throws … because I’m sure even my father figured out that I ran only two plays in my offensive playbook. It was essentially a 50/50 guess each time.

It was awesome and fun, and I hope to find another copy of it someday.

SEE ANOTHER NES GAME REVIEW

 

Game Reviews: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

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This was the second game I ever beat on the Nintendo. Well, when I say “I” that means it was really a group effort. You see, this was a game that took a little time to beat. One couldn’t merely load a checkpoint and continue from a previous day. Nope, back in those days we had to blow on our cartridge, stick in the game, and hope for the best.

Some things in life don’t change.

The game was famous for allowing players to switch between Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. If you lost one in combat, you would start the stage over, less one turtle, but no matter, you could rescue them during certain stages (I believe the long stage 3 come is the first opportunity).

Back to the group effort. You see, I was pretty good at the first couple stages. We had this thing where my brother and I would test to see if we could beat the swim stage without getting hit once. This proved pretty easy. Then we would test if we could beat it on a single breath without getting hit, and we never could. I dare you to try. It wasn’t until stage 3 that we had some difficulty.

This is because of the fucking scrolls.

I looked online for some pictures of a turtle actually throwing one of these weapons of mass foot soldier destruction, but couldn’t find one in 10 minutes of searching. You see, the scrolls were the only weapon that could beat Shredder, so my brother and I loaded each turtle with the max (I think 99).

Then, this is where the plot thickens, because the biggest gamer in the house happened to be my father, who actually seemed to play this game more than us. So on stage 4, we would hand the controller to our father, who had come the closest to beating the game on a random Saturday.

The goal was simple.

We wanted to beat the game as a family. So over and over, my brother and I were essentially tricked to becoming my father’s scroll mules as we essentially became his restart button. I can’t blame him, this is what I would do today if there was no save function. Just truck the kid that it was a quest together, and they would do the hard work getting the turtles prepped for the harder stages to come.

In any case, I still remember each time “we” would descend down to Shredders lair, which was the most boobytrapped place since King Tut’s tomb. The walls would collapse in with spikes and there was this maneuver where you had to drop three levels just in time. If you lost a turtle, you were fucked, because you needed four turtles to beat Shredder.

This is where my father came in. He had a certain sense of timing. So on the day of reckoning, my brother and I watched as he made the drop and we finally saw Shredder for the first time. My father then unleashed a shitload of scrolls on him, in a deadly battle of wills. My father didn’t have the full compliment of scrolls, but he had enough to win, in which we all jumped in gamer glory.

Then the hard part happened. My brother and I wanted to beat it by ourselves and never could. We tried and tried but always hit a wall (pun intended).

I’m sure there was some gamer trick to it, but eventually, we reached the conclusion that my father and the secret touch. So whenever the time was at hand, we would give the controller to our father, or run outside and tell him to stop mowing the lawn, because we were near the end of stage 6. He would stop whatever he was doing and pull the miracle.

I forget how many times we beat the game, maybe 7 to 10 times or so, but I’ll never forget the father would answer the call to arms.

MY REVIEW ON A SNES CLASSIC

Game Reviews: ActRaiser (SNES)

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I got this game as a christmas gift. When I opened it, I said, “Cool, another Super Nintendo game to try out.” I thanked my Uncle and went on to play Super Mario World for the next week. To me, that is why I wanted the system in the first place. You see, Mario had this new sidekick Yoshi that he could ride … well, I digress.

Eventually I got to ActRaiser, and at first, maybe due to my age, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. I mean, I would play a stage, and then it would give me some Tinkerbell type angel to help build a city.

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I didn’t know what the hell I was doing for the longest time, mostly because the game was brand new and my friends didn’t even have it (back in the day, most of the key gamer “tips” came on the bus ride to school in the morning and after). Without a key gamer support system, I went out and learned the game by myself, eventually, beating the whole thing. It was a game that could be saved, so there was little problem taking the slow approach. Someone mentioned on my Sim City blog that this was the first simulation they played, and to me, this was more of a mix-sim. There was some city building, but the options were mostly where to build the next section of town.

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I still remember attacking the fucker from above. He was like a swamp-gargoyle. Like every stage boss, he had a trick to beat him. To beat this particular foe, was to realize he acted like some programmed robot (for some strange reason) and just jumped up and down and then to the other side to slowly shoot fireballs at you. All I had to do was sit on the edge of the ledge and hack him down.

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My favorite stage was the snow stage. The big boss was this cosmic snow dragon who could be beat fairly easily (I think just hitting the attack button to get multiple hits on it everytime it swooped down did the trick).

Eventually, after you vanquished all the mini-bosses and build a town on the entire continent, it was time for the final challenge. You attacked some alien big boss with an “enemy” power bar that seemed to take up most of the screen. It was brief and exciting, but seldom did I want to play the big boss again. I would go back and play the snow dragon, possibly foreshadowing my love for Game of Thrones 25 years later.

CHECK OUT MY REVIEW ON A FULL SIM GAME

Game Reviews: Sim City (SNES)

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I remember my first time witnessing the madness that is Sim City. I was spending the night at a friends house and the teenage babysitter basically ignored us as she stared at the screen and built a city. I walked up and smoothly asked a question on what I was witnessing.

Me: What’s the game?

Babysitter: What?

Me: What are you playing?

Babysitter: (with disdain of speaking to a boy 4 years younger) Sim City

Me: Cool. What are you doing?

Babysitter: Building roads.

Me: Why are you building so many roads?

Babysitter: Kid, go get a sliced of pizza and chill.

Me: Ok.

This was my whirlwind introduction to Sim City. I was like 10 years old and a high school freshman chick with a rack was building shit and making stuff happen and looking cool doing it. I would sneak downstairs and get peaks at her city throughout the night until she would pass out on the couch with a controller on her chest, and the city would continue to grow. I was amazed as this “manager of the year” and put Sim City on my Christmas wish list.

It was my first simulation game. With the help of leaving on my super nintendo all night long, I would build grand cities of infinite funds and learn the basic concept of city management (My mother many times crushed many hours of work by “accidentally” turning off the Super Nintendo, thinking it was left on inadvertently). Early on in my Sim City education, I would wake up and check on my city and find half of it burned down. Fuck. The next day, I would discover half the city without power. Fuck. Sim City7.jpg

Slowly but surely, I learned the principles of city management and eventually created masterworks. If there was such a thing as utopia, I built it when I was 10. Yes, I burned down 50 cities in the process, but it’s no matter, I became a city building boss that could impress a girl 4 years my senior. I even did the strange peculiar things like bulldozing all the roads in my city and replacing it with a rail system and ensuring everyone was in walking distance of a nice park. Because, you know, that’s what we wall want, right?

Eventually, I was ready to show off my city building skills and made plans to impress the babysitter. It took longer than I expected, but a few months later I went over to my friends house to spend the night again, but was disappointedly welcomed by his mother baking cookies.

The babysitter must have been in another castle.

I was a master builder of cities and my only reward was chocolate chip cookies.

Sim City, damn you.

READ ABOUT THE DAY I BOUGHT THE XBOX 360