Sunday, June 30, 2013

Month Overview: Game of June

  Games completed in June:
Chrono Cross                                 8                                              
Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2                 6
War of Monsters                              8
Dynasty Warriors                              5
Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore                    8
Injustice: Gods Among us                       8
Robotech: Battlecry                            7.5
Bushido Blade 2                                  9
State of Emergency                                 5
Rival Schools                                       9
The Legend of Dragoon                            9
Justice League Heroes                            7

 Awesome month. The only real stinker was Dynasty Warriors, leaving that one aside, they were mostly great games or games that were quite fun(State of Emergency was not very good, but it could be fun). Actually, there were two real shockers:
 A) I no longer love Chrono Cross as much as I used too
 B) I now love The Legend of Dragoon.
 Guess I gotta update my E-mail adress, eh!

 Game of June:
 This was actually hard to pick, since I had a blast with some of the other games, but all in all, Legend of Dragoon trumpted them all. Gotta admit I never thought I'd be giving The Legend of Dragoon accolades, yet here I am, considering it one of the greater PSOne RPGs, no the greastest, but above some the better of them.

 Runner-up:
 I almost chose Bushido Blade 2 or Robotech Battlecry. I almost created a "Runner-up Honorable mentions" section, but I didn't wanna cheat, so I had to make a choise.... and Rival Schools was above them. Sure, Bushido Blade 2 is quite unique and very fun, but RS is as fun as BB2, and unlike that game, has a memorable cast of very distinct characters. Robotech Battlecry was also a fantastic game, but unlike Rival Schools, sometimes it felt unfairly hard, plus the numerous sound glitches....
 My point is, Rival Schools stood on top of them, both in technical prowess and in the amount of fun it delivered. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Archview #37: Justice League Heroes

 Since Marvel did it with Ultimate Alliance and Xmen Legends, DC had to get it's own RPG'em up!
 As much as fanboys would love to deny it, DC and Marvel are constantly borrowing ideas from each other, and it seems that trend applies to their games as well. Justice League Heroes is a beat'em up with a couple of RPG elements thrown in, in the same vein as Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Except on a smaller scale, but I'm not here to compare them, so let's get on with it.
 A meteorite rock falls upon the earth, and at the same time, a army of killer robots runs amok the city, and it's up to the Justice League to deal with it. Eventually the plot deepens, and many familiar faces, among some a bit more obscure like The Key, make their appearance. The Story is very Comic-y, there are alternate dimensions, missile silos and, of course, men in tights, but there's nothing to ground breaking about it, yet it gets the job of tying all the levels together done.
 Players take up to two characters on each missions, and there's a pretty respectable roster, albeit a bit small. Sadly, most of the time the game picks the characters for you. On some levels it makes sense, as there are puzzles based upon the characters, but they are the minority. Worst part is, all of the unlockable characters go unused, only usable on the few missions where you can select your heroes, and they will fall behind in level, as you don't get to use them as often.
 Each character has access to 5 different powers(The unlockable characters get screwed, with only four), while sharing the basic weak and strong blows with the rest of the cast. Thrown about the levels are many objects that can be grabbed, but some of the physically weaker can't grab the bigger ones(Neat detail, although they kinda forgot that Aquaman is supposed to be of the stronger ones...). Characters can also jump, and by double jumping some get to fly, glide dive with a kick or simply jump again(How Aquaman pulls another jump on the air continuis to baffle me).
 As mentioned before, there are RPG elements included. When enemies are defeated, they drop experience points, get enough experience and you level up. Every time you level up you get a couple of points to spend in a variety of stats, Health, Combat, Energy or the abilities of your hero. Even better, sometimes enemies drop "Boosts", you can use these boosts to customize your skills! Maybe add a Duration boost to Green lantern's shield? Or a Range Boost to Aquaman's sword... It's a very engaging system.
 The controls do their job, but sometimes using skills can be a bit unresponsive, specially in the heat of battle. Also, the game is meant to be played with another player, drop in-drop out cooperative play is an awesome addition, as the CPU can be dumb as bricks. The tend to get stuck on walls, they love to get ganged up by enemies, and they refuse to use their skills. Take Zatanna, for example, she can heal... but the CPU will refuse to use said skill until either character has 10% HP left or less, usually getting itself killed.
 Visually, it's a very nice looking game. There's a lot going on at the same time, with very little slowdown. The physics are also very nice to look at, destroying vases, boxes and plates can be quite distracting. The models used on the CG cutscenes however... They don't look altogether right, the ladies have huge breasts and the faces? They are a bit unsettling. The music? You'll barely notice it due to all the grunts and noises, but it's nothing worth humming. Voice acting is totally overdone, like a Saturday Morning Cartoon, although Perlman's Batman could use some work. The lines, fitting the voiceacting, can get quite cheesy, but on the brightside, there's lots of dialogue, even from the unlockable characters and they pertain the mission they are in!.
 The game is a bit on the easy side, if you play with a human player, but with a CPU it can get a bit vexing, but you do get regenerating health, and going back to any checkpoint revives your teammate, should they fall in battle. There's a slew of unlockables, from costumes to heroes, but the unlockable heroes don't get much love. They don't have alternate costumes and they lack a fifth power. Surprisingly, Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner are in, and although they each have a spot on the character select screen, they play just like Jon Stewart(Which means they are the only unlockables with 5 abilities).
 All in all, it's a decent game, though keep in mind that it can and it will get a bit repetitive after a while, so play in small doses!.
 7 out of 10.

First Archimpressions: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

 Look at that beautiful box art. It looks much better in person, trust me.
 I've never been much of a Zelda fan. My first Zelda was Ocarina of Time, and afterwards I played through Link's Awakening DX, Majora's Mask, A Link to the Past and Twilight Princess, but I never saw what everyone else saw in the series. To be fair, after my second playthrough of Twiligh Princess, I did love the game, but that's another story. Regardless, Skyward Sword was the first Zelda game I got excited about in the "I need to play this" kind of way(Before I even learned to love Twilight Princess), and here I am.
 First impressions? I just clocked two hours, and I'm loving it. I'm still torn on which opening to a Zelda game I prefer, this one or TP's. In this one, you are introduced to a wide variety of unique NPCs, and I'm loving th setting: People in the sky, a lifelong animal partner, a academy of Knights... I'm really digging it. What I'm not digging are the motion controls for the sake of having them. After the beautiful scene between Link and Zelda atop the statue, I was forced to land on a circle. Said scene was soon ruined by frustration at having to retry the fall, since falling is now controlled with motion controls. Fun, except not.
 Also, controlling Link sometimes is a bit sloppish due to the camera, nothing major, but it's a bit annoying. On the other hand, the soundtrack is downright epic, and the graphics? EHRMAGHEDDDDD, characters look very appealing, all featuring unique bodies and face types. And they are VERY expressive, I love them. All in all, despite my annoyances at the controls, I'm looking forwards to it, I hope it doesn't disappint.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Archview #36: The Legend of Dragoon

 And so I lay my demons, err, Dragons to rest.
 The Legend of Dragoon was an JRPG released towards the end of the PS1's life cycle. It had a massive 100-hundred man team(That was a large team, at the time) and a very ambitious goal. It was released to a very mixed reception, some called it average, some called it good. Me? Well, back then I wasn't a fan...
 Regardless, LoD tells the story of Dart, a man in pursuit of the "Black Monster", the creature that killed his parents, who eventually finds out he is one of the selected "Dragoons", men who harness the powers of the Dragons. Of course, there are many other nuances to the story, it is a four disc game after all.
 When exploring, the game plays like any other JRPG, you go from towns and dungeons to towns and dungeons to advance the story. The overworld here is a bit more streamlined, as Dart can only walk through predefined tracks that lead from place to place. Combat is where the game adds it's own twist. For starters, after you get their Dragoon Spirit, every character can turn into a Dragoon after increasing their SP above a hundred, which you get by attacking, every hundred of SP you get another Dragoon turn, up to five. Dragoons have only two commands, Attack and Dragoon Magic, which make seem little, but humans have no spells of their own, what's more, Dragoons have a higher attack power and defence rating than humans, so early in the game, they are fantastic.
 The real "hook" of the game, however, are the additions. When you attack, characters don't simply execute an attack, nope, every attack is a rythim minigame in which you must press the X button following certain visual cues. Sometimes enemies may "counterattack", which has you pressing O instead, unless you want your addition interrupted and recieve some damage. As you level up, each character gets anywhere from 3 to 7 different "additions", with different number of button presses, which must be selected in the Status menu. I must admit I was afraid it would get tiresome in the long run, but they never grew old. As stated before, humans have no spells of their own, to use magic they must use items, and since item capacity is limited, you must choose wisely.
 LoD has a very mixed visual presentation, while characters are very jaggy, they are quite detailed, and the designs, while basic, are pretty cool, specially when they go Dragoon. On the other hand, the spells, particularily their particles and transparencies look very good. The Pre-rendered backgrounds themselves are pretty interesting too, and it's pretty clear where you can go and where you cannot. The soundtrack is the presentation's strongest asset, there are many different pieces, and they all sound so good. There's a bit of voice acting too, and it's passable at it's best, and hilarious at it's worst, it kinda ruined one of the scenes during the ending where I found myself laughing, but it's not that bad. Not always.
 Now onto my gripes, first of all, backtracking. Every time you need to go from point A to point B, you have to go through every town and dungeon in between, you do get... means of quick travel on the fourth disc, but only for a little a while, and a little bit too late. Speaking of backtracking, some cities are only found on some discs, which means that you may need to switch between discs if you missed any optional sidequest, I found this one to be a minor annoyance, but worth noting anyways. Also, I found some of the plot points to be a bit cliche'd, even for it's time. But I did find the characters to be very well defined, and each had their own personality, even if some got shifted a bit to the sidelines. Lastly, items. There is a limit, as stated, and as bothersome as that could be, if you try to open a chest with your inventory full you won't know what's in th chest. Which means, if you want to check the contents, you need to make a gamble and discard something.
 To sum up, The Legend of Dragoon is a bit different. It's not unique, but it has it's own unique twists on the Combat, and in my opinion, they work. I did have find some annoyances with the game, but they didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of it. I really don't get why I didn't like it back then, maybe it wasn't the game I needed, but the one I deserved...
9 out of 10.

First Archimpressions: Kirby's Epic Yarn

 I don't think this is my kind of game...
 Yeah, I don't like it too much. I applaud Nintendo for trying something different, but this is not for me. And it's not like I hate "cutesy" stuff, I adore Yoshi's Island and Yoshi's Story, and I think the look of the game is pretty neat, it's the gameplay that fails to attract me. For starters, Kirby borrows some of Wario's classic mechanics, namely, he can't die. Instead, when he get hits he losses some of the gems he has collected. However, unlike Wario, there are no puzzles here, sure you can manipulate some of the backgrounds elements, but it's very straightforward. Then there's the music, it's too relaxing. Kirby always has upbeat "happy" music, the music in this game is way more "laid back" so to speak. I don't like it.
 The gameplay feels repetitive. I've only played two levels, but.... I don't think I'm gonna enjoy this one. It's different, that's for sure, but not my kind of different.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Entry Number 100: Archile's Top 10 Favorite Games

 This is so happening. But first, honorable mentions, I really wanted to put these two in, but there simply was
no room for them. Eternal despair.

 Honorable Mention #1: Zone of the Enders 2(Playstation 2, ZoE HD Collection on PS3/X360)
 I've played this game many times, and it never gets old. It has some of the most amazing set pieces I've ever played in my life, like the air battle in which you must take down the Battleships with the cannon, the epic battle on the dessert or just how badass using 0 Shift makes you feel. Epic falls short when describing this game.

 Honorable Mention #2: Gundam Extreme VS(Playstation 3)
 Everything I love in a game is here. Basically a fighting game, has a very arcade-like feel, pick-up-and-play but with many nuances to master, loads of playable units(Over 60!) and loads of content. This game is a blast to play, every time.

 Honorable Mention #3: Resident Evil 4(Nintendo Wii, also on PS2, PS3, X360, PC, GC)
 Everyone knows about this one, but why do I like it so much? Let's just say I didn't like Resident Evil(And I played all of the numbered ones, including Code Veronica) until I played this one.

 Honorable Mention #4: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne(Playstation 2)
 What I love the most about JRPGs is character developement, so I was a bit scared, with the HitoShura being the only playable (demi)human character, and he being a silent protagonist... Well, it didn't matter, the whole story of the game was incredible. From the world getting devastated, to how the few surviving humans saw the world and how they were motivated... it was a fantastic RPG from beginning to end.

 And now that that is out of the way, onwards with the list!

 Number #10: Orcs And Elves(Nintendo DS also on Mobile Phones)
 I first came across the series when I played Doom RPG(A Mobile Phone game). It was fantastic, a grid turn based, first-person RPG based on the Doom series, and it fit the mobile platform so well. On Mobile Phones, controls always suck, so being turn based, you never never handicapped by them. You could save anywhere and anytime. Needless to say, I played it many times, and never grew tired of it. Eventually I saw a trailer for a new game that would be coming out in a couple of months, Orcs and Elves, "Oh! Reminds me of Doom RPG", so I did some research and it turned out that Orcs and Elves were made by the same people and using the same engine, and this DS game was an enhanced port of the mobile version, which meant, I had to get it!. I played the hell out of Orcs and Elves Mobile, I liked it even more than Doom RPG.
 I bought the DS version at launch, and never regreted it. While I played and finished the mobile version way more times, it's due to it's more "I take my cellphone everywhere" nature, I finished the DS version loads of times on all difficulties.If I were to choose between versions, I'd go with the DS version anytime. Everything that made the original so good is here(Even the save anywhere anytime feature) but with better graphics(way better) and more content, it's a no brainer. It also had a sequel on mobile phones, and I also played it many times, however, making it work on my phone was a bit of a pain in the butt, so I never grew as attached to it as I did with the first one.

 Number #9: Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga(Playstation 2)
 SMT: DDS(Known simply as Devil Turner in Japan) is a two part game, so I picked it as one game. However, I find the first part to be more enthralling. The first part is the set up, you are introduced to a cast of entraniable characters, you'll soon grow fond of each every member in your party, even Cielo. In this first part, you take the role of Serph, the leader of Embryo, one of the many tribes fighting for dominance in a crapsack world. At the start of the game, everyone gets branded with a Demon Virus, which makes them turn into demons, and now have to devour each other if they are to grow stronger. The story is very interesting, and the way they are presented is incredibly memorable. One of my favorite scenes is during the ending, when a really short, but fantastic, musical piece plays as the whole cast gets separated... it's one of the best scenes I've ever scene, and I doubt I will ever forget about it!
 Part 2 takes off right after the first game ended, and provides characters with incredible moments of badassery and tearjerker scenes. It's, emotionally, a much stronger game, but I kinda missed the world from the first game. Also, I felt the last parts of the game got a little too insane, but it hardly blemishes this fantastic game. The second part also rebalanced all the skills, so you can't cheap out the extremely hard optional bosses like you could on the first game, heck, even the main game is more challenging.
 Digital Devil Saga is highly recomendable as a whole, but no part should be played without the other!

 Number #8: Half-Life 2(PC also on PS3, X360)
 I really don't know why I bought this game. I wasn't fond of the first part(Now that I've played it, I can say that it was quite good, but at the time I felt it was meh) so I don't know what got into my head, but thank god it did. This game has one thing in common with entry #5, which is something I love... It's one huge world, and you are  constantly moving forward, with no "breaks" or stage transitions. It's hard to explain, but it feels epic, it feels like a nonstop adventure!
 To be fair, I was never an Alyx fan or whatever, I just loved the game. The weapons, the setting, the gameplay, everything felt so good, I still have fond memories of bringing down the barriers that cut your way through the water. And the Magnum? My favorite weapon in an FPS, heck, it made me favor the Magnum in every other game I play. And who can forget the beginning of the game, when you are unarmed and must escape from the guards? The fact that the game never takes you away from Gordon's eyes helps get you invested in the game, even when the NPCs are talking and you've nothing to do but wait until they are finished, but hey, you can run around and throw things at them while they run their mouths. The game started with a bang and it only got better.

 Number 7: Pokemon HeartGold(Nintendo DS also on GB/GBC as Pokemon Gold)
 Look at that cover. It's one of my favorite covers of all time(It looks better in real life, trust me). I've said many times what Pokemon Gold means to me. I dare say that it was the best Pokemon game until Heart Gold came out. Sure, Ruby/Saphire/Emerald/FireRed/GreenLeaf and Pearl/Diamond/Platinum introduced many new things and commodities, but did any of them have two big regions to explore? Did any of them have better pokemon than the second generation(This is a matter of taste, and in my opinion, no they don't)? With every new Pokemon generation, you get more ZigZagoons and the value of legendary pokemon diminishes(Seriously, there's like 30 legendaries now).
 Regardless, I'm here to talk about what makes Heart Gold so awesome, and that I will. For starters, Pokemon Gold in it's entirety is here, looking better than never. All the commodities that the games after Gold introduced are added. And, for the first time since Yellow, you can have a Pokemon follow you around. This is the only Generation to include two regions, and if you grew up with Pokemon, there's the whole Nostalgia factor of seeing it again. Heck, it also worked for Pokemon Gold, going back to see what happened to the world you had explored in Red/Blue/Yellow!
 If you ever liked Pokemon, or had a passing interest in it, this is the game to play.

 Number #6:  No More Heroes(Nintendo Wii and PS3, X360) / No More Heroes 2(Nintendo Wii)
 I remember reading about this game even before I had a Wii, but I didn't really care about it, seems it was touted as the next big Wii game or something, and it had fairly divisive reviews. Eventually, I bought it and I played it... and I fell in love with it. Never had I played a game with so much personality. Every boss had an introductory secuence and a death secuence, and in just a couple of minutes, the game managed to make each one very memorable. And the main character, Travis? He is my favorite video-game character of all time, from his look to the fantastic work done by Robin Atkin Downes as his voice actor. This game just oozes style everywhere.
 It also got a Sequel and... I loved it as much as the first one. To be fair, No More Heroes 2 lost a bit of it's personality, the bosses are not as memorable(Not to say they are not, but I'm comparing it to the first NMH) but the gameplay got better. Heck, even the graphics got better, probably one of the best looking Wii games. I really couldn't pick one above the other, sure No More Heroes 2 lacks some of the style and personality( The game has so much of it that I just can't stop saying the word) the first one had, but it feels much better, as a game, it's better.
 Eventually, the first game was ported to the HD consoles, alongside some of the bosses from the second game and... I'd pick the Wii version over them. As incredible as it sounds, the motion controls on NMH feel very responsive and satisfying, while the analog sticks on the PS3 didn't feel as such. And while NMH Wii had slowdown... the HD port has it too, and it's simply inexcusable here, the game doesn't even look that good. Oh, and they gave Travis abs. Travis is a nerd, he doesn't have abs. Unforgivable.

 Number #5: Dungeon Siege 1(PC)/ Dungeon Siege 2(PC)
 Since I let NMH 1 and 2 take the same spot, I just had to make another exception for Dungeon Siege. So, without further ado, here's my story with Dungeon Siege. So I was young, and I saw this cover with a redhead holding a flaming sword and I said "I need to play this" so I bought it. This was the second RPG I ever played online and did I have adventures. I hold many memories of Dungeon Siege 1, I've played it a dozen of times, and I tried to replay it last year before the bugs, due to it's conflict with Windows 7, made me abandon the game. Sad times. But what sets it apart from other hack and slashes? The same thing I love so much about Half Life 2, you are always moving forwards. Sure, you can go back, but enemies don't respawn. There's no central Hub, there's nothing, it's an epic adventure to stop the Krugs.
 Dungeon Siege 2, just like No More Heroes 2, is a better game. They polished up the engine, made it prettier, added new weapons, new companion times, new spells and added special skills. It's a much better game... however, now it's just another Diablo 2 clone. The towns, one per chapter, act as hubs, and every time you reload your game, everything respawns. DS 2 is a better game, but it lost DS 1's personality... still, I had a blast playing it, and that's what matters.
 There's a PSP game, that I haven't played, and a third game, which I own but have yet to play. I did play the demo, and I liked it a lot, but I felt it was a Dungeon Siege game in name only. Still, they made a reference to the mules, so you gotta give'em points for trying.

 Number #4: Tekken Tag Tournament 2(Playstation 3 and X360, WiiU)
 The most recent game on the list, and the only fighting game(And I call myself a Fighting Game Lover!) featured here. Tekken Tag 2 is the ultimate Tekken game. My story with Tekken is a bit... odd. The first Tekken game was 2, and I didn't even know it was Tekken, I just knew it as "that arcade game with the guy that has the head of a tiger((It's a leopard, by the by)) and the robot with the hat" and I never payed much attention to it. Then I played Tekken 3, and it was one of the reasons I decided to ditch Nintendo, and instead to upgrading to a Gamecube, I jumped ship to the Playstation 2. I loved both Tag and Tekken 4, but since my PS2 was KIA, I never got to play 5 until much later. By the time I played 5, 6 was already out, but I only had a PS2. I didn't really like it too much, so I never cared much about it. Fast forward a couple of years later, a friend got a 360 and I played Tekken 6, and suddenly my love for the series returned, Tekken 6 was the reason I decided to get a next gen console.
 Tekken Tag 2 is the culmination of everything that is and was good about the series. Almost every character that appeared in the games is here, with rare exceptions( And they would've been clones anyways). It's also the second game to have tag mechanics in more than 10 years since Tekken Tag 1. And, hate the tag mechanics? You can play as one versus two. Or one versus one. This game has it all. And I'm not even mentioning the stuff that is a given on any Tekken game, the great character designs and their incredibly long movelists. The graphics are great, with each character having it's own unique musculature. There's also the tried and true gameplay that has been forged through over 7 iterations of the series....
 Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is, quite likely, the best Fighting Game that came out of this generation, and I doubt it'll be topped any time soon.

 Number #3: Super Mario Bros.(Gameboy Color and virtually every Nintendo console has it in some shape or form)
 I'm pretty sure this is the first game I've ever played, but seeing how I was about 3 and we had many of those bootleg 400-in-1 carts, I could be wrong. Super Mario Bros is a timeless classic, it doesn't matter how old it grows, it will never be obsolete. There's something elegant to the simplicity of it's premise and controls, this game comes from simpler times, and it's fun in it's purest form. To this day, at least for me, the game keeps being as fun as it was 20 years ago, and at this point, I seriously doubt I'll ever grow tired of it.
 As for why I picked GBC version, I feel it has the most content. Sure, I could've gone with All-Star Super Mario Bros+Mario World, but seeing how I never really owned it, I'm going to go with the version I actually own. Super Mario Bros Color has extra features, like racing against boo, or 3 hidden red coins on each level. Super Mario Bros 2(AKA The Lost levels) are also included, so really, what's to hate about it? Oh yeah, the screen was compromised, since the GBC's screen was a wee bit too small, but it never bothered me.

 Number #2: Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4(Playstation 2 and Playstation Vita)
 This was my introduction into the Shin Megami Tensei series, and what an introduction it was. Confession time, I got so hooked into it, that I would actually lock myself in my room, close all curtains and turn off every light source in order to better enjoy the game. I would actually tell my friends that I was "Busy" or "couldn't go out due to X reason" in order to play this game. I soaked in a good 80+ hours in my first run, and I enjoyed every last one of them.
 What made it so good? The setting. The believable characters. The mechanics. The presentation. Everything. Unlike other JRPGs, this one was set in a highschool. Every character in the main cast, heck, some of the minor characters too, got a lot of developement, and they were very believable, they made sense. And the mechanics? Brilliant. The One More was a fantastic idea, which I later found out was borrowed from Shin Megami Tensei 3(And Digital Devil Saga too). Then there was the presentation, from the JPopish music, to the bright colors everywhere, the game was very loud, in a good way.
 For a time, this was my favorite game ever, until I replayed Number 1 and realized that, nope, I liked number 1 a tiny bit better...

 Number #1: Final Fantasy VII(Playstation and PC, PS3)
 Was there any doubt? I mean, seriously. I've mentioned my love for this game time and time again. I've mentioned my story with the game time and time again. So I'm just gonna leave some closing words here.
 Final Fantasy VII is a game that I know almost by heart. I can recognize almost every song, I know almost every step in the game from memory, few secrets escape me. Last year, after I finished the game, for many days there after, I'd think to myself "Ah, I'll play some FF7 now" only to remember, and disappoint myself, that I had already finished it.
 I adore Final Fantasy VII.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"First" Archimpressions: The Legend of Dragoon

 I liked it more than I remembered liking it. Actually, I think I liked it more than I thought I did.
 I'm almost 3 hours in(2:57), with Dart at level 7 and both Lavitz and Shana at 6 and about to enter Indels Catle at Bale's. It's... fun, the additions system is interesting, but I feel it may make grinding a bit of a pain later on, since for optimal damage output, your brain's going to have to be on all the time.
 Things I like? You start with small number. You start at level 1, with 60 HP and deal less than 10 damage per attack. That's cool. Few RPGs work with the full spectrum of numbers, often times starting you at level 5 to 7, and with hundreds of HP. I also dig how the game starts with a bang, no silly caves or forests, oh no, the first dungeon of the game is a Prison Escape.
 Things I dislike? Limited item capacity. The worst part, is that you won't even know what's inside the chests, a simple "Inventory is full" prompt will pop up and that's it. You have to discard something and hope that whatever is inside is better. Not cool. Another thing I dislike, but haven't encountered yet(But I remember it!) is how in order to backtrack you have to traverse the whole dungeons again, if they stand in your way. And the game will have you backtracking, I remember it so.
 Ah well, so far it seems like a pretty decent game.

Archview #35: Rival Schools

 Moero Moero MOEEEROOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
 Played on: PS1 game played on a PS2
 Rival Schools is a 2-disc, 3D 2 on 2 fighting game in which you pick a team of highschool students(Or teachers. Or one of each.) and are tasked with finding out the mistery of the disappearanced. Obviously, this being a fighting game, the only way you are going to find out anything is by punching the living hell out of everyone in the most badass way possible. Interestingly, there is no tagging mechanic, but you can change to your partner character, if you want, after every round and there's a team up attack(Each character has his/her own unique team up move) too.
 Unlike most Capcom fighting games, there's only four buttons at play here: Weak Punch, Strong Punch, Weak Kick and Strong Kick. Obviously, there's your assortment of Special and Super moves for each character. By double tapping forward you can dash, and double tapping back you get a small backdash. Throws are done by pressing both punch buttons, and you can even grab crouching opponents! You can dodge moves by pressing both kick buttons, time it right and it gets you right on your enemy's back. This is a very fast paced game, it has it's own physics which give certain weight to the characters and it feels awesome, heck, air and ground recovies, while being a shared animation among all characters, looks incredible, and it borrows a lot from the Marvel VS Capcom series, you launch your opponent into the air by pressing diagonal forward and down+SP or SK(Depends on the character, just like MvC!). Lastly, by using two energy bars and pressing a punch and kick button, you can use the Team Up attack, if you land it, you call upon your partner and execute the move.
 As mentioned before, it is a 2-disc game. The first disc, dubbed the Arcade Disc, touts itself as being an Arcade perfect convertion of the game. This disc has three Play modes, Arcade mode, Versus(2P only) and Training. In Arcade Mode, if you pick two characters from the same school, you actually get voiced dialogue before and after every fight that help tell the story of said school, voices are in japanese, but the dialogue is kinda interesting. Each character also gets two ending, both voiced unlike the Arcade Version.
 The Evolution Disc is a more multiplayer friendly disc. The Booklet mentions that it has been "adjusted for optimum balance" but I didn't notice any different property on the moves. Training mode is gone, but Versus Mode and Arcade mode remains, however, all dialogue in the Arcade Mode is now gone, and while the endings are still here, they are not voiced, but there are two new animated endings that play every time you beat the game and they are pretty decent. This Disc includes many modes like Group Battle(2 Player only), League Battle(Team vs Teams on a round robin format), Tournament battle, Cooperate Battle(2 Player only, each character takes control of each character of the team) and finally, Lesson Mode, which is a 1 Player tutorial of sorts. Finally, this disc has many extras, each female(But Akira and Sakura) gets a new costume(Costume, not pallette), there are four minigames and 24 "Students"(Generic characters that borrow moves from the main cast) to unlock.
 Graphically, characters are extremely blocky, although a bit charming, but they have a lot of personality, hands are huge(Like the official art) and the faces are pretty expresive in spite of being so simple. Regardless, the official art by Edayan is amazing and is easily 50% of what makes the cast of Rival Schools so appealing, they are all school stereotypes, you have the Delinquent, the Jock, The Cheerleader and so on. Voice Acting is amazing, albeit in japanese, further making each character stand out from the others. The music is pretty upbeat and lends itself to the action niceley, and the SFX are very Capcomish. If you've played other Capcom games from the era, you know what I mean.
  Rival Schools is the Bancho of all fighting games, it may not be the best fighting game, nor prettiest, but it has so much soul pourn into it, from the characters to the setting. Sadly, it was probably a bit too japanese, and therefore fell off people's radars... which is a shame, Rival Schools needs to Return!
9 out of 10.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Archview #34: State of Emergency

  Viva la revolution.
 Played on: PS2
 State of Emergency, even though it has the Rockstar Games logo, was developed by VIS, but many suckers bought it thinking it came from GTA III's daddy. This led many to disappointment, not me though, not back then at least. In this arcadey action game you play as 1 of 5 identical(Minus the appearance) characters, taking part of Freedom a rebel group that fights for... freedom against the evil corporation known as... The Corporation. Yeah, the game's sense of humor is similar to that of GTA.
 There are two different modes, Chaos and Revolution. Chaos is a very arcade-like mode, with focus on points, while Revolution has a bit of story as you free the city from the Corporation by taking missions from NPCs. In both modes you have the same 4 medium sized areas, but they are not too different from each other, nor memorable in the least. Stages are filled with running citizens, it is a state of emergency after all, that do nothing but run and the Corporation enforcers. There are also many pieces of furniture that can be used as weapons, such as benches, and on Chaos Mode, there are a multitude of weapon spawn points through each stage.
 Of those two modes, Chaos is the most fun, you can pick from: Kaos(Start with three minutes, killing enforcers or time pick ups gives you extra time), fixed 3 minutes, fixed 5 minutes, Last Clone Standing(Hundreds of harmless clones run amok the stage and you must off them), Timed Last Clone Standing and Unlimited time. In this mode, every now and then small missions will pop up, like "Destroy X building" or "Kill X NPC" which grant you even more points, and certain events like "Murderous citizens" or "Corporation Riot Control Squad" will pop up, it's a very frantic and arcadey mode. It's no surprise that this is the mode highlighted whenever you boot up the game, as it's the most fun.
 Revolution Mode on the other hand... There are about 50 missions per stage, but they are very repetitive. Most of them consist of escort missions or protection missions. Both kind can get very frustrating, as you are usually to protect an unarmed ally, few times do NPCs give you weapons(And there are no weapon spawn points in this mode) agains many armed enemies. There's also the fact that some missions, specially the "Follow" missions tend to get bugged. If you have to follow an enforcer NPC and there's a fight close by, there's a high chance they will get involved, die, and the game will say "You killed X before he bla bla" when you did nothing wrong! Needless to say, many missions feel like a matter of luck whether you succeed or not.
 Even worse, the controls are passable at best. Y'see, there's no real targeting. You can strafe by holding L1 or R1 or aim to the sides by holding R2 or L2, but it's not precise, there's no targeting reticule, no feedback of where your shots are going to go. Even worse, to hit a downed enemy you must press Punch or Kick while being above them, but sometimes you'll hit the air. And sometimes, when fighting a mob, your character might, out of the blue, start hitting a downed corpse as you get hit. Even worse, every now and then the camera will do a 180 turn when you least need it to. It's a rare ocurrance, but it happens.
 The presentation is also bad, but supposedly, it was a budget game. Regardless, characters models are very simple, NPCs rarely have more textures than their faces. On the bright side, thanks to it, there can be hundreds of NPCs on screen, still, every now and then there is slowdown. The few voiceacting there is is but serviceable, and the music is quite forgettable. As for unlockables, nothing much, 3 out of the 5 characters and most of the submodes in Chaos Mode must be unlocked.
 State of Emergency is not a good game, but it's not too bad either. Chaos Mode can actually be kinda fun, when the controls are not messing with you.
 5 out of 10

Monday, June 17, 2013

Progress Report 6/17/2013

 Status:
 Rival Schools: I'm playing through the Arcade Mode, getting both good and bad endings for all characters. I love the story mode and how they made it. So far, Batsu, Hinata, Kyosuke, Hyo, Raizo, Sakura, Akira(Helmetless), Hayato and Daigo done. Also, I played the evolution disc for kicks and finished it with Batsu, not that it matters.

 State of Emergency: I'm halfway through revolution mode, gonna do the third stage in a few minutes. I will probably finish this one this week

 Justice League Heroes: Well, I might have to replay it later, since I'm playing it co-op with my sister, it means we are skipping cutscenes and paying no attention to other stuff. I know the characters are talking, we make fun of what they say, but I'm not paying attention to the delivery nor anything! It also means that it could take a while before I finish it...

 Next gamez: SMT: Devil Survivor 2, I swear I'm gonna finish you one of these days! I'll play The Legend of Dragoon after I'm done with either Rival Schools or State of Emergency.

First Archimpressions: Tekken Revolution

 I'm so doing this.
 First things first, the Theme Song is amazing, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KeKGVpMJnI, you're welcome. Second of all, what is Tekken Revolution? A free to play online game.
 The first question that popped into my mind, as I saw the trailer, was "Why do I want this if I have Tag 2?". After playing it, the same question remains. Almost 90% of the assets are from TTT2, even the menus look familiar. Character models are almost the same, I've seen some sort of cell-shading on screenshots, but I guess you need an HD TV to notice them( I could see some very thin lines, I think, but you have to search for them). I think Asuka actually has a different face.... Anyways, stages look the same as TTT2, but they have new lightin effects, not enough to feel different though.
 So, what's the difference between this game and TTT2? You only have 6 characters(At the moment) to pick, and some are unlockable by amassing points. The tag and bound mechanics are gone, instead, there are new unblockable and special moves, and they look fantastic. I only played Lars, and most of them are older existing moves, but they have some amazing FX that makes them look powerful and pretty. Are the new mechanics better? As a matter of fact, I like them, they make the game more approachable, due to their usefulness(Plus, characters with alternate stances are nowhere to be seen, dunno if Kazuya kept the Demon transformation, guess I oughta check!) plus, the effects are pure eye candy.
 Negatives? You enhance your character. So that will give unfair advantages to higher level players. Also, you can't play as much as you want. Arcade mode is governed by Arcade coins, up to 2 of them, and you get a new one every hour. Player matches consume Tickets, and they too refresh every now and then(And you get new ones by clearin arcade mode). And you there's no offline Multiplayer, plus, you can't play offline, not even Arcade mode.
 So, first impressions? I like the new special moves. I like the new lighting effects, makes the game a whole lot more colorful. I don't like the online requirement and the limitation on play time.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Archview #33: Bushido Blade 2

 There's nothing like this out there.
 Bushido Blade 2 is a fighting game that prides itself on it's uniqueness. You take the role of a swords-man, and must duel your opponent in a 1 on 1 match, where each blow may be your last. Y'seen, this game has no life bars of any sort, it tries to go for a more realistic approach, slash or stab a vital part and the match is over. Other limbs may sustain damage too, if arms get hurt your attack speed decreases and you lose access to sub weapons, if legs get hurt, you will run slower.
 Surprisingly, the game takes place in modern times(Or what was modern at the time), so don't be surprised if certain bonus characters use guns, or if a stage is set in a parking lot. Regardless, the game tells of two clans that have been at odds since ancients times. There are no clear good guys or bad guys, it's just the Shainto wanting to retrieve the sword that was taken from them and end the Narukagami clan, and the Narukagami just want to crush the Shainto once and for all..
 Characters may pick from 6 weapons, with each clan having a unique pole weapon(Yari for the Shainto and Naginata for the Narukagami). Each weapon can be held in three different stances, which you switch by pressing the square button. Stance provide different movesets and ranges, so you may switch your stance to battle your opponent's stance more effectively. X and Circle are the two different attacks, press them with the direction pad and you may use different moves, depending on the weapon and moveset. Every character has a weapon the specialize in, with which they have a couple of extra unique moves.
 Characters can also jump and crouch, and you may throw dirt in order to throw the enemy off balance. There's also a unique special sub-weapon for each character, ranging from deadly sword throws to slightly damaging shurikens. There's no real defense in the game, instead, you deflect slashes with slashes. If you parry an attack with the opposing attack(Press O to counter the enemies X or vice versa) and you'll execute a perfect defense, which throws the enemy off balance, use the same time of attack and you'll block the attack but get thrown off balance.
 Stages are very large, and using the free run button, you can freely move around. Some stages feature elevations that can be climbed, though some also feature huge gaps, fall into them and it means death. There are no time limits, and the game feels very metodical, you can't throw moves around willy nilly, as any opening could mean death, few games manage to make you feel this tense so easily. There's a first person mode too, but it's almost unplayable, so it's better left as a curiosity.
 As for modes, there's the Story mode, you pick a character from one of the two schools and proceed through a number of stages. You must defeat a certain number of generic ninjas and then one of the playable characters from the opposing school. Here you will get to play as two other characters from the same school, win their stage without dying, and they become selectable on all modes. There's Versus and Training modes too, but most interestingy, Group Battle. In Group Battle you play as a school versus the other one, with bamboo swords. Instead of death, you score points. You can also unlock Slash Mode, where you must face off against 100 opponents.
 Graphics are good, characters look a bit too blocky, but not too bad. The designs however are a bit hit or miss, some characters look quite silly or boring, few actually look decent. The animation is quite good too, but until you get the hang of the movelist, they may seem a bit stiff, heck, the game feels a bit stiff until you get into it's slower paced groove. There's almost no music, at all, and the voice acting is all over the place. Some are really bad, and the rest are passable at best, the dialogue is not too bad, luckily.
 It's not the prettiest game, the character designs are ugly, and it can become a very slow game, but it's the only game of it's kind(well, it and it's sequel), and it excels at what it does.
9 out of 10

First Archimpressions: Rival Schools

 This game is awesome. Seriously, what more can I say?
 This game. Jesus. THIS. GAME. For starters, I love the physics, characters feel heavier than in other fighting games, it's hard to explain, but if you play it you'll notice. Another thing, it's incredibly fast and flui, even the recovery techniques add to the speedy feel, as characters place their hands on the floor, before touching it, and recover from the fall. Even neater, pick two characters from the same school, and you get chapter introductions. Even more neat, there seems to be two "Roads" depending on which partner you picked! Serves just right, as there are two endings per characters.
 It has to be mentioned, the game is hard, even on the easiest settings... until you learn how to play. There's a dodge mechanic, learn to use it. The CPU will block most of your attacks, but time the Dodge right when they use an special move, and you'll get right behind them, with an extra energy bar! Learn to abuse it and you'll outcheap the CPU.
 So far I got the good ending on both Arcade and Evolution discs with Batsu, but Evolution doesn't save the endings you get, so I'll just settle with the bad ones. Hey, they don't even have audio and getting the good ending requires some special measures which aren't necesarilly so easy.
 Almost forgot, the art. There are a 100 art pieces, 50 per disc, and they are shown while the game loads, they are awesome, even if they are in japanese. The art style of the game is also fantastic, the character designs have a very unique style, with big hands and expresive faces. The translation is not as fantastic. You can tell that characters sometimes speak way more than what the subs would have you believe, and if you recognize the japanese words, you can tell took some liberties.
 ONCE I WAKE UP, BUSHIDO BLADE 2 REVIEW, EGADS!

"First" Archimpressions: State of Emergency

 My kind of game.
 This game is amazing. Kinda. Maybe. Maybe not. So, this game is VERY arcadey, specially Chaos mode. Revolution, which is the mode I'm gonna tackle first, feels like GTA on a smaller scale. Certain NPCs give you missions, you complete them, rinse and repeat. The protection missions are a pain in the... they get really hard, as they are relentless. Still, I feel as if that's not the meat of the game.... oh no, that would be Chaos.
 Chaos mode has no story, just different modes. Time Attack(3,5,10 minute variations), Last Clone Standin and unlimited time. In this mode, there are no real missions, but objectives, and weapons spawn on various points throughout the map. This mode is much more fun, but I feel it might be a tad more time consuming(Even though there are a lot of missions in Revolution mode), which is why I left it for later.
 Oh well, first Impressions? I like it a lot.

Archview #32: Robotech: Battlecry

 I tried to draw a Veritech, I really did. But the only image I had, the cover, had it obstructured by the beam rifle. So I gave up. Sorry.
 Robotech: Battlecry is a third person shooter made by the people who would develop the western Earth Defense Force game. Based on the Anime-ish series(Robotech is a mixture of three different anime series, true story) in which you are put in the shoes of Jack Archer, a character created for the game, as he takes on the Zentraedi forces, giant aliens that want to conquer the earth. How would Jack, the giant killer(He actually says this in game), face off against giant enemies? The Veritech. Veritechs are vehicles that can turn into three different modes: Fighter, an airplane, Battloid, takes up on a humanoid shape and Guardian, which is, basically, an airplane with arms and legs.
 If Jack is to survive the game, he will have to make the most of all three forms. The Fighter is the speediest form, and has acces to missles, decoys and barrel rolls. The Barrloid is the slowest and less manuverable of the bunch, but it can shoot missiles with it's machinegun and use a sniper mode. The Guardian  can actually stay on place, which the Fighter can't, and has access to missiles, albeit weaker than the fighter's. All three forms have their uses, and you'll find yourself switching through them as you fight, you will need to. You'll also need to keep an eye out for your rifle, while ammunition(Both missiles and lasers) are unlimited, both are governed by a gauge, so you can't go trigger happy.
 The game is no walk in the park, thankfully you can change the difficulty settings whenever you want. The game starts off easy enough, but later, the enemies get more agressive and smarter. There are 5 chapters with many missions for you to tackle, and the objectives are pretty diverse. Sometimes you may need to hold off a bunch of enemies, protect allies, slaughter all your enemies, carry stuff from one point to another, or just get to the end of the level, so variety is never an issue. The controls will take some time to take used to, boosting while shooting lasers and missiles will never feel truly comfortable, but you'll learn to make do.
 Not only is the game pretty lenghty, there are many unlockables. You can unlock other head models, which actually affect your stats and paint schemes, both original and from the anime series. There's also a multiplayer versus mode with unlockable stages, while little more than a divertion, it has some exclusive units that can only be used in that mode. Finally, there are interviews with the cast from the anime dub, also unlockable, they did go the extra mile.
 Graphics consist on very simple cell shaded forms, but they are incredibly colorful and detailed. The 2-D explotions, while on screenshots they may look awful, in gameplay, they fit the game fantastically. The music is good, nothing too impressive, but the voice acting feels a bit overdone. Every now and then, the game will have some exposition hand-drawn scenes narrated by Jack, these can get quite boring. Sadly, there are audio bugs everywhere, sometimes the audio may skip, sometimes the portraits will get stuck on the screen and the such, they are actually quite common, a put a slight damper on an otherwise neat presentation.
 All in all, Robotech Battlecry is a good game. It's hard, and the audio bugs are impossible to ignore, but there are plenty of extras to keep players interested.
 7.5 out of 10.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

First Archimpressions: Justice League Heroes

 This is no Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
 So I just started the co-op mode with my sister and played a bunch through it. It's fine, but it gets a bit repetitive. It's cool how you can customize the different skills, but you will stick mostly to mashing X and O. The worst part about the game, is how most stages forces a certain team on the player, it makes sense, since sometimes there are puzzles related to the character, but these missions are the majority, not the minority, so it's a bit annoying when you want to play as a certain character.
 I didn't really pay much attention to the music,audio or story(It was co-op, who's paying attention to the story?!), but I could tell certain quotes are repeated a bit too frequently(Superman, stop saying Super!) and Batman's deffinitely not voiced by Kevin Conroy.
 As a whole, it feels like a decent time waster, but I believe MUA is the superior game, and both games are very similar, so they can be compared. MUA has a bigger roster(MUA takes character from Marvel itself, JLH from the Justice League(Which means no Nightwing)), MUA has more powers per character and more costumes per characters. Speaking of costumes, unlockable characters get none, and I fear they only have 4 skills instead of 5. And what's up with Hal and Kyle occupying different slots when they play exactly like John?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"First" Archimpressions: Bushido Blade 2

 There's nothing like this out there.
 Sweet mother of jesus, this game knows how to get you tense. When your life could be over in your next attack, you really start being careful "Am I close enough?", "Is he gonna parry?", "What if he attacks now?!" and other questions. It's even worse when you are playing as a sub-character, where defeat means having to start all over, if you want to unlock him/her.
 What baffles me the most, is how the six default characters have a unique costume for Story mode, yet use another one on the other modes, Tatsumi's schoolboy costume is not as good as his story mode costume. Speaking of costume, the character designs are hideous. The art itself looks pretty amateurish, and the designs look as if they have no rhyme or reason! THERE'S A GUY WITH AN AFRO ON A RONIN GAME. Ronins? Eh, assassins fits the bill better, me thinks.
 Regardless, I'm loving the game. Onwards!

Archview #31: Injustice: Gods Among Us

 Also known as Batjustice: Batman Among Us.
 Injustice is the latest fighting game from NetherRealm, the developers of Mortal Kombat(And they will have you know it by writing "From the creators of Mortal Kombat: Injustice" every chance they get!). For this outing, they decided to try something different, instead of being your usual fighting game, they added stage transitions and interactives. The game is confined to the 2.5 D realm though, and just like MK, borrows attack strings from 3D fighters like Tekken or Virtua Fighter, while borrowing command specials from 2D fighters like Street Fighter or King of Fighters.
 There's four primary actions: Weak Attack, Medium Attack, Strong Attack and a unique Trait. Traits range from buffs to actual attacks depending on the fighter, admitedly, I expected something a bit more... unique, like Blazblue, as most Traits are merely buffs, but it's still a neat idea. Best of all, NetherRealm Studios made this game Arcade Stick friendly! Actions like grabbing no longer take up a button, you can press Medium Attack+Strong Attack to grab. Stage interactives are performed via their own button or Medium+Strong. There are two other buttons, Flip Stance and Meter Burn, press them together to use the Super Move(Which consumes the full Meter bar). Meter Burn is pressed after inputing a Special Move to enhance it, it's anything from adding knockback to adding attacks, and you can pushblock too, by pressing it while blocking. Flip Stance looks useless, but certain combos only work on certain stances.
 The game borrows the 2 health bars 1 round system from DarkStalkers, so fights can go by quite fast. It seems NetherRealm wanted to attract Street Fighter players, as blocking is now done by holding back, and the game is much faster than Mortal Kombat, and it's much more combo-friendly. You can also change the controls in order to turn the MK motions for Special moves into Street Fighter motions(Turn Down,Forward+Punch into quarter circle+punch).
 Interestingly, overhead moves are now universally performed by pressing Strong+Forward. Strong+Back has two functions, first it causes the oponent to rebound from the edge of the screen, providing juggling opportunities, but, perform it close to the edge of certain stages and you'll inititate a stage transition. Stage transitions are very damaging, but after a while tend to last just a bit too much. The game introduces a "Clash" mechanic, or wager, usable when you are on your 2nd life bar, by pressing Forward+Meter Burn when you are hit, you'll engage in a clash. By waging your meter you can regain health(If you outwage your enemy) or get damaged if you lose.
 The game uses MK's engine, so visually, it looks quite similar. The character designs can be hit or miss, some disliked the new armored look, I dig it. The models themselves get the job done, but couple of them could've been better, right Wonder Woman? Her official render is stuff from nightmares. Regardless, it shows that NetherRealm is getting better with animations, while there are a few stinkers here and there, most of the animations are really nice, and some are surprisingly fluid. The stages are very interesting however, and they get destroyed as you fight, which is kinda cool. While it's clear that they were going for a dark setting, there's a notorious lack of color. Every color is very light, even the Green and Yellow lanterns, and it haves an overall washed out look, it is a very dark game.
 I can't really comment on the music, since it's too low, you can barely tell it's there! On the other hand, voice acting is fantastic. They managed to get Kevin Conroy, and most characters are voiced by people that voiced them previously on other media! The sound effects sound as if they came straight from Mortal Kombat 9, and they get the job done.
 There are many modes, stand-out among them is the Story mode. While shorter, it feels a lot tighter than Mortal Kombat, though you might need to be a comic book fan in order to enjoy it the most(Parallel universes), and those that have been reading the prequel comic book might feel a bit disappointed with the direction they took. The next Single Player mode is called S.T.A.R. Labs, a series of 240 missions themed about the 24 characters. Some of the missions are actually mini games, like dodging missiles or flying through the air while avoiding flaming rocks, they are not exactly engaging, but their inclusion doesn't hurt. There's also Arcade, where each character has his/her own ending and Versus(Both online and offline).
 As for unlockables, there are loads. There's about 20 different Arcade mode variations, like "Heroes only", "Survival", "Mysterious buffs and debuffs per round", "Infinite meter" and a lot of others. You can also unlock concept art(Which is pretty nice, by the by) and alternate costumes. For the costumes themselves, while NetherRealm is providing paid DLC costumes, there are not many free costumes. Few characters get three costumes, while each one has at least a Regime and Insurgency costume. Problem is, on most characters, Regime and Insurgency are pretty similar. You can play as Flash or a slightly different flash. Aquaman or a slightly different Flash with beard. Armored Batman or even more armored Batman. Worst of all, alternate colors. There's only one alternate color per character, but the differences are in the shade. You can be Red Flash or a slightly different shade of red flash. It feels as a bit of a missed opportunity, as they could have made cameos with Colors(Dr.Zoom Flash? Red/Blue alternative for each Nightwing Costumes?).
 Lastly, each character has only 1 win pose, and they are a bit on the long side, so they might get a bit boring. The first couple of times Joker burns his opponent are awesome, the next couple of times where you have to sit and wait 'till he is done to pick rematch or character select are not. Also, unlocking stuff can get a bit long in the tooth, the game uses a "Level up" system, as you play you earn experience, every time you level up you are entiltled to 1 or 2 unlocks of your choice. Let's just say that there's enough stuff locked to last you a loooong time, from the costumes and arcade ladders, to galleries, avatars and music. But after you reach level 50, leveling up starts to take a long time.
 Injustice: God Among Us is a great game, there's few real complaints to be had, and everything it does, it does it very well. Easily the best fighter released this year.
8 out of 10