<![CDATA[NinjaParrot - Gaming Reviews, Discussions and Philosophy. - Recent Reviews]]>Wed, 06 Feb 2019 23:19:16 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Super Smash Bros Ultimate Review 9/10]]>Mon, 07 Jan 2019 10:48:55 GMThttp://ninjaparrot.com/recent-reviews/super-smash-bros-ultimate-review-910Okay, so this review is coming a little late, as I got the game for Christmas like many people! However, that's not going to stop me reviewing it, even if pretty much every person in the world already owns it! Of course, Smash Bros Ultimate is talk of the Video Game world at the moment. It's a landmark title in the series, as every single character that's been released before, along with some new faces, is present in the game. Similarly, it's on one of Nintendo's most successful consoles ever, the Switch! This means that a lot of people can play it, a lot of people will be playing for the first time and there aren't any complaints about the controllers or hardware this time, either! A Smash Bros game without any glaring issues means the game is off to a brilliant start already, even before people had actually experienced it. Not to mention all the old school fans of Smash Bros are happy due to the GameCube controller being released! It's safe to say that this is going to be a well remembered and much loved game! However, is it truly a perfect game? I'll attempt to answer this now, with my review of Super Smash Bros Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch! 

​First off, the sheer amount of fighters in the game needs to be pulled into the spotlight. Nintendo has already done so for sure, it's a major point in the marketing of the game. The tagline for the game is 'Everyone is here', so it's no surprise that it's a major selling point. However, there's good reason that it is such a marketing tool and that I would focus on it first, even though everyone is aware of just how many fighters are in the game! The reason, is that it is a big deal. More so than it seems on the surface. Because of MOBA games like League of Legends and DotA2, we've become accustomed to having lots of playable characters in competitive games, even into the hundreds. So at first glance, 74 fighters in Smash Bros seems like a good amount, but not as many as some games. However, when compared with other fighting games, it's a massive amount. For example, its over twice as many as Mortal Kombat X, which only had 29 fighters. They're very different, granted, but however you look at it, 74 characters in a fighting game is an exceptional amount. Not only are there so many fighters, but they all feel very unique despite sharing characteristics in their move sets. It's true that aside from animations, the basic abilities of characters all feel a little similar because of jab moves, smash attacks and some special attacks are similar too. However, due to the different animations, sizes and speed of characters, all the similar attacks have their own weight and feel to them, meaning every character truly does feel unique. For example, a simple jab attack by Mario and Marth pretty much do the same thing, but because of Marth's sword's reach and the different styles of the characters, they both feel like they accomplish very different things, even if it's not that much different. Besides, many characters abilities and move-sets, most notably their special attacks, are all very different and give each fighter an incredibly distinct play-style. Donkey Kong and Rosalina for example, are incredibly unique experiences are require very different strategies and strengths to use them properly. Perhaps most incredible of all, is that no character truly feels overpowered and the game is almost perfectly balanced. Even the Pros are having trouble creating unchallenged 'tier lists' of the strongest characters. Yet best of all, is that there is a character out there for everyone, no matter what games you are a fan of. The amount of fighters best feature, is that you're always going to find a character from a series you love. Even if you wish there was a certain fighter in the game that isn't there *cough* Rex *cough*, you're bound to find a fighter that you do like from a series you love *cough* Corrin *cough*

Whilst not enough can be said about the fighters that make up Smash Bros, a game isn't great just because of it's characters, though it certainly helps. The actual combat of Super Smash Bros is something that the game rests on and is definitely considered one of the best features of the games. The combat is certainly simple, push in a direction and press a button and you'll be well on your way to understanding how to play. However, there's obviously far much more to it than just this. Smash is the epitome of easy to learn, hard to master. There are lots of advanced techniques that I'll probably never use and so many different ways to maximise the potential of different characters, but most importantly, it's easy to get to a stage where you're good enough to have fun playing and feeling like you're amazing. I've played Smash before this game, but not that much, and already I feel amazing at times when I pull off a great special, or hit a smash attack just perfectly in the air. I know for a fact that I'd get hammered by most people, but it doesn't stop me feeling great when I do pull off something cool! The reason for this, is that somehow the developers have made it both accessible and wildly competitive, whilst being fun on both ends of the spectrum. There are very few games that can accomplish this to such a level as Smash Bros. Especially the new one. Smash Bros is one of those games that it's easier to understand once you've played it. Otherwise, it's quite hard to explain why it's so fun. But, the gist is that it really makes you feel good about yourself, as you're playing as a character you love and generally kicking ass while you do so. You're constantly learning and improving and just enjoying yourself unreservedly. This truly is a game anyone can play, and everyone should play! 

Most people know Smash as a party game you play with friends, or a game you go online with to play against people. The general consensus has been that Smash is a game you play with other people and despite previous instalments having single player elements, it's never been a huge focus of the game, or what people associate with Smash Bros. However, with Smash Ultimate, there's a huge single player experience just waiting for those of us who aren't as interested in playing online or playing with friends. The main focus of this single player mode are the 'spirits' you collect from the spirit board, or from the story mode. The spirits are the spirits of different characters that aren't playable characters, meaning you can get Pyra and Mythra from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, or a Waddle Dee from Kirby, Caeda from Fire Emblem and many many more. There are around 1300 spirits to collect, mostly from battles but also other options such as summoning or purchasing them. But still, over a thousand battles to collect all the spirits is a lot of time spent playing single player! Plus, most of the battles have some sort of quirk to them, such as the floor being lava, or there being multiple enemies to fight. The strongest spirits usually feature harder battles, too. However, the main single player attraction is a 25 hour story mode called 'The World of Light' that features an over-world where you move from battle to battle, entering dungeons to solve simple puzzles, and working towards fighting the bosses! There is a small amount of story, so I won't spoil it by going too far in depth on what happens as you move along the board and get to the end. But I will say that the Master Hands make a return and are great fights and that there are lots of mini-bosses to shake up the gameplay! The world of Light was a lot of fun, as you go around fighting characters, collecting spirits and unlocking new characters to play as. You only start with Kirby as a fighter and unlock more along the way if you fight and beat them! It really is perfect for new players, as the battles start easy and get progressively harder, plus it gives you chance to try out lots of new characters without getting overwhelmed. The story mode makes this feel like the most complete Smash Bros game I've ever played and it's certainly one I'll remember! Even after I finished the story, I'm still on the Spirit Board most days trying to pick up Spirits I haven't gotten yet. I don't think I'll rest until I've managed to get all of them! The game just keeps pulling me back to play for a few hours most days, it really is fantastic and worthy of all the praise it has got. 

Despite all this glowing praise, I must admit there are a few small problems I've had with it, but they are very small problems. The biggest issue I had was a lack of proper tutorial. I've played Smash before, but never much of it, just played at friends houses and I had the 3ds version. Because of this, whilst I knew the very basics, I didn't fully know how to play. I was hoping that would all change with this version, which it has, but it didn't start off that way. There is no official tutorial and you're kinda left to figure everything out by yourself, so I'd feel very sorry for those that have never played before at all. It turns out you can find everything out by searching for the 'help' button, which explains everything in text, such as what all the button presses do, but it's a little lazy and confusing. For example, I knew you could 'smash attack' by flicking the controller and pressing A, but I had no idea you could do it by moving the right stick in a direction. The tutorial text merely says that you do your smash attack by pressing the smash button, which is less than helpful. It seems strange that a game so polished and well made has overlooked this. Not just having no tutorial, but having the teaching tool be worded so strange and nonsensical. There will be a lot of first time players and whilst the game is simple, some of it does require learning and some of the more advanced techniques would have been nice to learn in game, without visiting a reviewer. Obviously there can't be a tutorial for every character, though there is help text for all of them, but some kind of proper tutorial wouldn't have been missed. 

The other issue I have with the game is one a lot of others have had, which is what happens after you win a battle on the Spirit Board. When you win a battle, you're taken to a screen where your character has a laser gun and you have to shoot the character you fought against to get the spirit. The issue is there's a circular barrier than spins around them with only a small window to shoot the gun. All you have to do is press A, but guessing the right time is a little difficult. Especially on harder battles, as the circle spins incredibly fast. Anecdotal evidence I have, is that in the story mode I really struggled on the Pauline Spirit. I struggled so much I had to skip it, as I just couldn't do it. After I'd finished the story, it showed up on the spirit board and gave it a go. I just barely managed to complete it right at the end of the time limit, only to mess up on the shooting and not having enough SP to have another go, meaning I didn't get the spirit. After a hard fought battle, it is so disheartening to mess up on the shooting and it really ruins the achievement of managing to get through a hard battle. 

I didn't have any game-ruining issues with the game, just a few little niggles that annoyed me. So, even though I've complained a little, please don't get the wrong idea, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is a truly fantastic experience and a must buy for all Nintendo Switch owners! If you've never played Smash before, this is definitely the game to get started with! Even if fighting games aren't your thing, Smash is a unique experience all of its own and doesn't really fit with being a 'fighting game' because of its uniqueness. Smash really is just its own thing, and its perfect that way. I guess the final question is whether or not I truly enjoyed it, and the answer is a resounding yes! There's something so thrilling about picking one of my favourite characters, like Corrin, Chrom or Donkey Kong and fighting against Bowser, Ridley or even Villager! It's a literal Video Game dream team! There's no game like Smash and it's the definition of an instant classic. I think this is now THE Smash to play, even outshining Melee which has been the norm for so long. If you're unsure whether to purchase or not, just remember that it's a game you can play again and again until the next one comes out in like 10 years or so. It's never going to be a pointless purchase, and you'll always have something to play with friends! 

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy this game as much as I did! And I hope I get to play against you one day! Make sure to leave me a comment letting me know if you enjoyed the review, or how you felt about the game! 

-Ninja Parrot
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<![CDATA[Pokemon 'Let's Go' Pikachu/Eevee Review. 7/10]]>Thu, 29 Nov 2018 12:14:30 GMThttp://ninjaparrot.com/recent-reviews/pokemon-lets-go-pikachueevee-review-710So, Pokemon 'Let's Go Pikachu' and 'Let's Go Eevee' was released not so long ago and the response has certainly been mixed, to state it lightly, with some praising the altered direction and the way it has shaken up what was expected of a Pokemon game. Though some are feeling understandably upset that some essential features of previous Pokemon games have been changed or removed, losing some of its previous identity in the process. With such a high profile franchise such as Pokemon, any big alterations to core features are going to be met with mixed reactions, it was unavoidable that some would feel disappointed and that some would love the changes, but a lot of people seem to be missing the key question of "is it fun?". The short answer to this, is that yes, it is indeed fun. However, the 'Dark Souls' series and the 'Mario' Games are both fun, they're just completely different experiences and not really comparable. The same issue can be said of 'Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee' and the older Pokemon games. The divide is nowhere near as severe as that of Dark Souls and Mario, but the same concept still applies. It should also be noted that Pokemon's President said that "we did this for the Pokemon fans" and that it is a "completely new product” meaning that Nintendo is fully aware of the breaking of tradition, but that it is attempting to keep it in line with past games. To sum up, if people are happy about this game or upset by it, then it is understandable on both sides, as the game is, for all intents and purposes, a tradition Pokemon game, but a few key features have been changed to complement the Nintendo Switch console. The question that everyone wishes to know the answer too, is whether or not these changes are good and improve the game. It's quite unanswerable, as some people will enjoy the new mechanics, whereas some just want more of what they already like. However, we can speculate that Nintendo will likely not abandon the 'traditional' format of Pokemon and that we will see a game more like what we are used too at some point, but that the company are trying new things, as Pokemon has been largely unchanged for many years. To answer this point concisely, this is a new kind of Pokemon game and I don't believe it is meant to replace tradition Pokemon at all, meaning we will get traditional Pokemon games as well. Pokemon Let's Go is a new style of game that embraces the traditional format, but does not follow it completely.

In spite of this, the question of whether this game is 'good' or 'fun' has not been answered yet. To do this, comparing it with the old games has to be kept to a minimum so it can be reviewed as it's own game, as opposed to an extension of the old games. Obviously there must be some comparison, but it needs to be limited. So, here's where the actual review of Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee begins! 

So, the game I played was Let's Go Eevee, so my experience is mostly based on that, though I have also watched my partner play most of Let's Go Pikachu, so I have some experience with both versions of the game. Not that it matters for the most part, after all it is still a Pokemon game and so both versions are incredibly similar, except for the interactions with your partner Pokemon, either Pikachu or Eevee. The game starts just like any other Pokemon game, you're a young wannabe trainer who gets their first Pokemon, then travels the region beating up other people's Pokemon, taking their money and using it to fund your desire to beat the Elite Four, after beating the Gym Leaders. I won't go too far into the story as to avoid spoiling anything, but the game is a remake of Pokemon Yellow for the GameBoy, so the story pretty much follows in the exact same way. Of course, a huge part of the game revolves around Team Rocket and foiling their plans to abuse Pokemon in search of power. After fighting Rainbow Rocket in the Ultra Sun/Moon, it was certainly fun to revisit the original Team Rocket and re-meet old characters, such as Jessie & James and Giovanni. The story is definitely traditional for Pokemon, as it's just an updated version of the original Pokemon Yellow, complete with obtaining the three starters from Red/Blue and the rivalry between you and your childhood friend. Though, it should be mentioned there are some differences, such as your rival not being a variation of 'Blue' and featuring more in-depth story elements to fit with industry standards. There'll be some fun Easter Eggs for long-time fans of the series, along with some surprises, but they're best left to be discovered!

Now, on to the most important part of Pokemon Let's Go! The Gameplay! The most prevalent change in the game is part of this and possibly what has garnered the most attention and criticism. Of course, this refers to the way Pokemon are caught. Unlike previous Pokemon games, where you would battle wild Pokemon and defeat them, or whittle their health down so you could catch them, in this game there is no such thing. There are wild Pokemon, but for the most part you do not battle them, merely catch them. This in itself would fetch criticism, but what has really upset many people, is that the catching is done by motion controls, either by using the 'Joy-Cons' that all Nintendo Switches come equipped with, or by purchasing the PokeBall Plus as an add-on controller for the game, that you can play the game with, by utilising a control stick and 2 buttons. When it comes to catching Pokemon, whether you use the Joy-Con or PokeBall Plus, you have to move the controller as if you're throwing a ball and aim it for the centre of the Pokemon on screen. It's quite hard to explain the full movement, but it's something that is fairly easy to do, provided you're facing the centre of the screen you're playing on. Motion Controls are always divisive and criticised, but usually there is a way around them. For Pokemon Let's Go however, there isn't a way to play around the motion controls, unless you play the game in handheld mode, where you can play the game without them. Unfortunately, as it stands right now, there is no way to turn off the motion controls when playing in docked mode. It's strange that this would be limited in this way, however the motion controls do not make the game worse at all and certainly make the game a lot of fun to play. Despite this, it can be a little frustrating sometimes if you're not in the mood to use the motion controls; luckily, they're not particularly strenuous or difficult to use, so even if you're feeling lazy, all you really have to do is flick your wrist. It should be noted, that whilst this is the case for most people, those with disabilities or other afflictions may not be able to use the motion controls properly, or for very long, meaning they're forced to play in handheld or not at all, though this issue is better discussed another time, due to the complexity of the issue. 

Another point of note on the Gameplay, is that because of the motion control gimmick, there is no battling wild Pokemon, you just catch them as soon as you run into them. This isn't an issue as such, though it does take away some of the Pokemon identity. As we have said though, this isn't a traditional Pokemon game. Besides, mostly in a Pokemon game, all that happens is you either beat the Pokemon, or use false swipe to catch it. Nothing of too much heavy value has been lost. Whilst this may be an unpopular opinion, it's not completely without merit. Besides, the Legendary Pokemon in the game work differently and you'll have to battle them first before you can catch them, so you don't miss out on the fun of a battle with the Legendary Birds and Mewtwo! Aside from the change to the catching system, the game has remained mostly the same. The only other big change of note, is that you no longer encounter wild Pokemon through a random encounter system, but instead you see them roaming around the world, spawning from the familiar 'long grass' and then moving out onto the roads and waiting for you to run into them for an attempt at catching the little buggers. Battling remains the same, walking around remains the same and the game has built on the Alolan system of abandoning HMs in favour of using abilities to achieve surfing, fly, tree cutting and rock pushing; this is not dissimilar from the use of 'Ride Pokemon' in the Sun/Moon games. Whilst there are certainly some big changes to the Pokemon formula in this game, much of it really remains the same and it stills feel very much like a Pokemon game! There is one other big change to the game, in the form of your partner Pokemon, but I'll discuss this later on.

Whilst not hugely important, it should be noted that the game looks great graphically. The game looks like an improved, smoother and High Definition version of Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon. There really isn't anything more to say on the graphics; they look great and the animation really absorbs you into the world of Pokemon, feeling as if you are your character, not just watching from the sidelines. The Pokemon graphics have certainly come a long way since Pokemon Yellow and it's everything we always wanted it to look like as children. A big plus to the game! 

Now that the facets of the game have been outlined, except for discussing the partner Pokemon, which I'll discuss soon, my opinions and thoughts about the game should be mentioned! In all honesty, I enjoyed the new catching system, as catching in previous games was enjoyable, but past a certain point it just becomes about making sure your Pokemon that's learned 'False Swipe' is a high enough level to take everything to 1HP in one or two hits and throwing Ultra Balls until you catch the Pokemon. Obviously that process was different for the Legendary Pokemon, but they are a small part of the game compared to filling the Pokedex or catching Pokemon to create your Dream Team. In this game, the battling of Wild Pokemon isn't there, so you can get straight to the catching, with the added challenge of throwing the Pokeball yourself and attempting to throw it at the right time and at the right angle. It's a fun, different challenge that feels much better on the console, than it did when playing Pokemon Go, which had a similar catching system in place. In regards to battling, it's the same as always and I've always found it enjoyable, so I'm a little biased, but it's as fun as it's always been, though admittedly it feels less challenging in every game. I'm unsure if Nintendo happen to be making the games easier, or if I've just been improving throughout the years, however I didn't 'black out' in my entire play-through, including against the Elite Four, so I'm not even sure what happens when you do lose a battle. One great thing about the battling feeds into my next snippet. 

​I've saved this bit for now, as I wanted to include it when speaking of things I enjoy about the game. It's one of the biggest changes and possibly the biggest draw of the game, is your partner Pokemon, which will either be Pikachu or Eevee dependent on the game you purchased. I personally played Let's Go Eevee, though my partner played Let's Go Pikachu. Surprisingly, this was my favourite part of the game, as they didn't just feel like your 'starter Pokemon' that mattered for a while and then dropped off. Instead, they were a huge source of fun, laughter, gameplay and as if they really are your best friend. It felt almost like having a real pet Eevee, that was always there to brighten your day. I can tell you, it made my Parrots feel very jealous. Also, if you had the luxury of the Pokeball Plus, hearing them throughout the day always gave you a good laugh, as if you really are a Pokemon trainer, with your Pokemon waiting patiently for you. It's what a lot of us have always wanted since we were children, and it feels like a reality now! What makes this part of the game great is also based on the in game interactions between trainer and Pokemon. Without ruining some of the fun surprises, your partner Pokemon will surprise you with gifts, give you high-fives and even has some fun battling interactions with their 'sure-hit move'. On that topic, the unique moves Eevee could learn were a little overpowered, but ultimately a lot of fun to use, with some great effects to come up with fun strategies. To sum up, the partner Pokemon were my absolute favourite part of Pokemon Let's Go and I'd be very happy if a similar system was used again. Just to clarify, Eevee was definitely a cuter Pokemon than Pikachu, though Pikachu also looked like a fun partner. If you chose to play either game you'd enjoy your time with your partner Pokemon, but it was great to see Eevee being praised for being the fun mascot that he/she deserves! Though again, I'm a little bias on this point. Not so bias to say that it was great that they're allowing another Pokemon to stay in the spotlight for a little while, as Pikachu has been number one for a long time now. I'm looking forward to what they do, if they create a Pokemon game like this again! 

So, I certainly enjoyed the game, but don't let me praise lead you to believe that it was a perfect game, as it certainly had some flaws. Whilst it's true I didn't have much of an issue with the motion controls, I did have some issues with the Pokeball Plus itself. It seemed to have a habit of disconnecting, being unresponsive for short periods of time and just generally not working as intended. Granted, this wasn't often or for a long time, but it certainly pulled you out of the game waiting for the controller to catch up or start working again. It was simply frustrating as it shouldn't have been an issue and often made me regret spending so much money on it. But, it certainly wasn't enough of an issue that it ruined the game. Another issue I had, is that I sometimes got a little bored during long bouts of playing, which is an issue I haven't had with a Pokemon game before. An example of this would be the SS Anne section of the game, which was certainly enjoyable, but close to the end I had gotten a little bored of walking into each room, battling the people and finding an item. With so many rooms and so many people, there wasn't enough variety to stop it from becoming a little tedious towards the end. In my opinion, the reason for this was the aforementioned lack of variety. As it was a remake of Yellow, they've tried to keep it as close to the original as possible, where there were no double battles. In fact, the only double battles I remember were with Jessie & James of Team Rocket. As they've existed since Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire, it's become a staple of the series to run into double battles, but they were not included in Pokemon Let's Go aside from the ones mentioned. I think if they had been utilised in long stretches of the game, such as SS Anne or the Silph Co segment, it would have gone a long way to adding variety to the game and making it feel like a deeper and more fulfilling experience. It's a shame that they weren't featured much, but I never got bored to the point of turning the game off, but just enough to start hoping the segment was coming to an end. 

Another issue I had that made the game feel a little stale, was the 'dumbing down' of Pokemon. What I mean by this, is that there are no Pokemon Abilities, such as (I believe) Magnemite having 'Magnet Pull' which stopped Steel-Type Pokemon from escaping or switching out of battle. All Pokemon had some kind of 'ability' which was essentially a passive ability that usually assisted in battle without any trainer input. They were excellent additions, and as Pokemon had the potential to have different abilities, meant for a further depth to your strategy. A lot of ideas like this seem to be missing from the game, such as Pokemon no longer being able to hold Items, and a few other seemingly small parts of the game that added depth to it. It's a shame that many of these things are missing, as it seems as if there wasn't much of a reason for it to be this way.

Despite these issues, Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee is a very fun game, that's bound to make you smile the first time you see your newly caught Pidgey following behind you, or when your Partner Pokemon hands you a marble they found on the floor as a gift. Despite it's issues and flaws, the game is thoroughly enjoyable for those new to the series and long time fans of Pokemon. Some long time fans are sure to be a little disappointed, especially if they're comparing the game to previous entries in the series. However, if those fans are able to appreciate Pokemon Let's Go as the new experience that it is, without letting their bias get in the way too much, then they're definitely going to have a good time. That's why, despite the few issues here and there, I would certainly recommend this game to anyone that appreciates Video Games and not just Pokemon fans. With all of this in mind, I'd definitely rate the game a 7/10, but it could definitely have been higher if just a few little issues were dealt with. I imagine the next entry in the series, if it follows the same dynamic, could easily be one of the best Pokemon games we'll ever see. But, that remains to be seen. 
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