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Mario Party Star Rush - A Review by Jose Vega aka DestinyDecade of the Angry Army Product provided by Nintendo. Special thanks to Nintendo for giving me this opportunity to cover this game. Mario Party has always been known to be a game where you and a few friends can sit back, have fun and see how much hilarity can ensue amongst each other. The franchise hasn’t had much success in recent years. It started being a turn based game and has stuck from the first game all the way to Mario Party 8. However the game went in a different direction with the use of vehicle based movement in Mario Party 9 and the overreliance of Amiibo functionality in Mario Party 10. The franchise wasn’t limited to consoles. They tried their luck with handhelds. After the mixed reception of Mario Party Island Tour, Nintendo and Nd Cube try their luck with Mario Party Star Rush. Will it suffer the same fate as its previous entry or have they got something up their sleeve that’ll make it a well-needed hit? Mario Party always had a formula that worked while adding little things to improve the game experience. In the case of Star Rush, the turn-based gameplay that has been a staple since the beginning has been removed completely. Instead once everyone roll the dice, they all move at the same time. You can also determine where you go before you move. This adds a layer of strategy but at the same time you need to be aware of what your opponents will do. It’s a matter of predicting the best course of action on the playing boards. If you want to make sure to have an advantage, careful planning is key. At first I didn’t like that they removed the turn-based gameplay but it grew on me over time. I like it. It saves me a lot of time while providing something fresh, new and fast paced. Future Mario Party games should implement this style. Imagine the craziness that can ensue with everyone moving at the same time, trying to reach where they need to be. Star Rush has multiple modes for you to tackle with Toad Scramble as the main mode. Up to 4 players can play as a Toad and trek through various boards, gathering Mario characters as allies and taking on bosses in mini games to recover Power Stars. Each character has their own unique ability and dice and it can help turn the tide. You can have up to 4 ally characters in one time and having more allies mean more of an advantage. Bear in mind that it can be a disadvantage if your opponent has more allies than you so be careful. Items are aplenty in this game though not as big as in the previous games but they do add something to the game that can be good or bad. It’s random and it’s what Mario Party boils down to in a nutshell. Mini games are also the name of the game in Mario Party and there are many. They depend on the control scheme. Some are simple using buttons and an analog stick (or d-pad) while others take advantage of the touch screen. It works, giving it variety. However some mini games can be a bit of a pain to do than others and depending if you either have a regular 3DS or a New 3DS XL then some can be without a doubt annoying due to the microphone. In addition to Toad Scramble, there are other game modes. Coinathlon is a race where up to four players collect as many coins as they can in minute long designated coin mini games to progress through three laps. They get hectic and it comes in two modes: Free Play and Rival Race. Mario Shuffle is a two-player game that uses Amiibo functionality. Using Amiibo figures, players race across a one-way board to the goal with one going right, the other left. If you don’t have Amiibo, cardboard cutouts are used. Balloon Bash is like Toad Scramble but you collect coins and stars in a mini board with a turn limit and mini games. You can also play as any Mario character so that’s a plus. Rhythm Recital is where up to four players work together and play classic Mario tunes using the Touch Screen. Challenge Tower is a single player game where you have to climb a tower with LED Spaces on it. There are varying difficulties with some being harder than others. Last but not least is Boo’s Block Party, a puzzle game where you spin sides of a number block to earn points. If you move enough of the same block, they get sent to the other player. It’s addicting and challenging if you want to get the high score. There’s a lot to do in the game and let’s face it. Half of the time you’re going to be spending it trying to complete the modes to level up. Star Rush has a leveling system where as you play, you earn points. Once you gain enough, you level up and unlock either a new mode or a new character. It’ll take hours trying to unlock everything and it can be quite a challenge. It can get a bit repetitive too having to do it over and over just to unlock everything. The game offers a lot but I wish there’d be something to alleviate things. But if I had any issues with it, it’s that most of the time you’ll be playing it in single player. If you want to play multiplayer, each of you must have your own 3DS and a copy of the game or the free Download Play that you can get on the eShop. It’s like Smash Bros. for 3DS. Overall, I can say that Mario Party Star Rush improves the formula in some ways. Having a fast paced style where everyone plans their moves adds layers of strategy. Various modes add replayability plus with 4-player co-op equaling insanity. What else can I say? I know games should try to implement new things but this is a step in the right direction. If you have friends and a few 3DS handhelds, then you will have a fun time. I give Mario Party Star Rush an 8 out of 10. It earns Angry Joe's BAD-ASS SEAL OF APPROVAL.
Gravity Rush Remastered Review Written by Jose Vega NOTE: I imported my copy from Play-Asia. In 2012, Gravity Rush was released for the PlayStation Vita. Back then it was well received for its presentation, gameplay aesthetics and taking full advantage of the handheld’s capabilities. While it did attract a following, it didn’t sell well enough due to Sony’s lack of support for the handheld. Four years have passed and fans were asking to see if there would be a sequel. They got their wish last year with the announcement of Gravity Rush 2 as well as an updated version of the first one, titled Gravity Rush Remastered. Now on a more powerful console, does this game hold itself well or has its weight come crashing down? Story If you are familiar with Gravity Rush then the plot is straightforward. The game takes place in the floating city of Heskeville. You play the role of Kat, a young girl with amnesia. She then meets a strange cat that gives her the power to control gravity. Kat uses these powers to protect the city and its people from many threats ranging from the gravity storm to a strange band of monsters called the Nevi who plague the city. At the same time, Kat learns more about her home, her powers and ultimately her origins. For a story, it’s pretty simple. I have no complaints with it and it’s told between cutscenes, text between characters and pictures. The pictures are done similar to a comic book, moving in many directions and giving it a unique style. I like it. It’s pretty good and the music also adds atmosphere. It has some moments that can shock you, surprise you and makes you want more. Gameplay Now if you’re looking for something complex, it isn’t here. The game is a mix between action adventure, open world and platforming. Of course it isn’t a game unless you have ways to defend yourself. This game has plenty and there are many ways how to do it. They can range from physical combat to even using gravity to lob objects at foes from a distance. But it’s not just limited to the ground. You can take the fight anywhere, as enemies will attack you from all sides. This is where the gravity aspect kicks in. Kat is a Shifter, someone who can shift and use gravity. Her powers allow her to move anywhere depending on where you want her to go. It’s also used to attack airborne enemies and most can go down fast. Heck with gravity, she can slide adding a means of fast movement you can use to travel around. She also can stick to walls and ceilings with no problem, adding not only a layer of depth to combat but to exploration as well. Bear in mind however that all of this comes with a price, her gravity gauge. Using all of her gravity skills take up energy and if you run out, she has no choice but to fall down. It refills over time so make sure you use your powers with care. Of course the game gives you the option to strengthen Kat and you do it with Precious Gems. They are the currency for the game and carry various uses, ranging from restoring Heskeville’s many areas to leveling up your character. Yes. This game has RPG elements. You use Precious Gems to level up your character in four different categories: Gravity Powers, Combat Powers, Core Powers and Special Attacks. Gravity Powers relate to moves involving gravity use, Combat Powers involve how strong your attacks can be, Core Powers relate to stuff such as increasing health, recovery time and shifting speed and Special Powers determine how strong your special attacks are. You start off with not much to use but the game’s end, you’ll see just how powerful Kat can be. I like that since you can be able to make Kat however you like but do bear in mind, if you want to survive, you have to get stronger. All I’ve told you will be needed if you want to tackle this 10-12 hour campaign. In addition, this game also includes all the DLC that was released for the PlayStation Vita and they total an additional 2 hours. In short you’re getting more for your money’s worth. I say this because the game costs around $30. To me, that’s well worth it and I feel that anyone who buys that is going to get his or her money’s worth. One of the most notable features that Gravity Rush Remastered has is that most of the stuff you can do on the Vita can now be done with a simple controller. Sure you can still move the DualShock 4 about while you gravity slide but personally it’s a good thing. Helps make things easier for people that didn’t like the controls on the Vita. Design I will say that the game looks absolutely amazing on the PlayStation 4. Sure, for its time on the PlayStation Vita, the graphics look well done. But when it’s brought onto the PS4, the graphics underwent a massive upgrade. It looks phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal! Made even better when the game is run at 60 FPS (frames per second). It truly Is something. There isn’t much in terms of flaws but I feel that the game is perfect. There is some voice acting but its better to watch what happens than having to hear it. Not much to say since it’s basically a remastered port of a Vita game but hey, the guys behind it delivered and they should be praised. Conclusion It’s a rare thing where an updated version of a game does a lot better than the original port. Gravity Rush Remastered is proof of that. Amazing updated graphics, refined gameplay and improved controls help make the experience satisfying. That and at a $30 price tag is even more rewarding. Gravity Rush 2 is on the horizon so if anyone wants to prep up for when it comes out, this game is it. Gravity Rush Remastered is a must buy. You will be coming out happy. I give Gravity Rush Remastered a 9 out of 10. This game is a Must Buy! Additional Notes This review is long overdue as I was busy with other priorities. Fortunately I want to get them all out of the way so I can focus on what's happening right now especially with the games that I hope to play and cover.
Are there any more Rush fans in the Angry Army? What is your favourite song/songs? Favourite album/songs? Have you seen them live? What songs would you recommend for someone who haven't heard Rush before? One of my favourites (and they are a few...)