Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas

Platform: PC
Genre: Online TCG
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2014

A different review today. I will be reviewing the popular game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. To be more exact I will be reviewing the very first expansion for this game. This will be reviewed differently since it is a card game based in the Warcraft Universe.

Hearthstone: Curse of Naxxramas is the very first expansion set for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and it is a single player adventure. This expansion comes with 30 brand new cards including golden cards as well as a single player addition to the game. There is a new tab on the home menu which has been renamed from "Practice" to "Solo Adventures". When you access this option it will give you the choice between practice mode and Naxxramas. Naxxramas introduces us to 5 wings just like in World of Warcraft where you have to take down each boss in each wing. The first wing which is the Arachnid wing is open and
free to all players for the first month. Each other wing will open the following week after each other. You can spend real money to open these wings or spend your hard earned gold. It is 700 gold per wing or $6.99 each. It will cost you 2800 gold to get access to all of the wings, including the Arachnid wing when the free trial runs out.

My personal battle! Also a look at the naxx board.

Curse of Naxxramas offers a very fun and difficult challenge. Like in a typical raid in World of Warcraft you start off by facing each boss in normal mode. Defeating each boss will reward you with new cards to add to your collection. Defeating the final boss of each wing will reward you a legendary of that boss. So when you beat Maexxna you will be rewarded with the legendary card of Maexxna. Normal mode is not overall to difficult. After you beat normal mode you unlock two class challenges. I believe these are random classes. Right after you beat the class challenges you unlock the heroic mode version of the bosses
in Naxxramas. These are much harder with higher health (45 instead of 30) and a much stronger player power. The challenge is definitely there and might make you punch your monitor a few times.

The only issue I have with this expansion is that when you beat the heroic bosses you do not get nothing out of it. Personally I would have loved to gotten golden cards from defeating them. The only reason to beat heroic mode right now is mainly bragging rights, and nothing more. But if you're looking for a good challenge then please try to conquer heroic mode. For any new players out there with just the basic cards there is always a way to beat these bosses even on heroic mode without purchasing
new cards. There are a lot of guided out there you can follow that show you how to build your deck with the basic cards in order to beat these bosses. I am looking forward to conquering the other wings and highly recommend this expansion. It is free, so why not?

Just SOME of the cards that can be earned.

Overall Rating: 9/10

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Shovel Knight

Console: 3DS, Wii U, PC
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: June 26, 2014
Date Reviewed: July 4, 2014

Shovel Knight takes another whack at the classic plat forming genre. The style for Shovel Knight takes place in the NES era. With classic 8 bit graphics and 8 bit sounds/music. It has a mixture between Megaman, Castlevania, and Mario. It mixes these three great games together to make its own step into the classic plat forming series. The game plays just like you would expect it if you've ever played an NES plat forming game before. Feels exactly like the three games I mention above. Shovel Knight feels like a fresh entry overall. The basic principle of the game is going through different levels; beat each knight to advance forward and save the Shield Knight from the evil Enchantress. You are a knight that wields a shovel as his weapon of choice. You attack with your shovel and perform certain tasks to venture through each level with this mighty shovel. From downward thrusts so you can bounce on objects and enemies to swooping your shovel to deal with enemies, the shovel has many uses.  Each boss knight has its own special attack and abilities. Just like in Megaman you need to find out what their patterns are to defeat them. Some of these bosses are not the easiest.

Ahhhh Classic.

In Shovel Knight you can even upgrade your shovel to perform new attacks. Shovel Knight can also purchase new armor that has different effects to the player. Just like in Mario you are on an over world map and you are able to choose any level, any time. Sometime on the world map there are random events as in mini boss battles, and treasure to grab by using certain items. If you are the type of person that needs to collect everything than you can even collect music notes. Return these music notes to the bard in town and he will buy them off of you for 500 gold a piece. When you give the bard these music notes he will add them to your collection so you can go back and speak with him at any time and listen to the music you have unlocked. Shovel Knight provides an excellent difficulty level as well just like in the classic plat formers. It starts off moderately easy and then picks right up and ups the difficulty level. Some levels make you want to pull your hair out but in the end are very rewarding when you finally beat it.

Shovel Knight is an 8 bit plat forming adventure. It takes place during the NES generation of plat form gaming. The visuals and style of artwork is outstanding. Very colourful game, great looking backgrounds, fantastic looking enemies, great animations and NPC’s. All in all it is a very nice looking 8 bit game and a fantastic edition to the NES plat forming series.

Epic Boss Battles!

Wow. Shovel Knight has one of the most amazing soundtracks I have even heard in the 8 bit era. Each and every song is unique, different, and makes your ears sing. You can tell they put their heart and soul into this game, into the music. The music is so good that it’s making me unlock and find all of the music notes hidden in the game. I often find myself going back to the main town just to listen to the music I have unlocked. Each boss, each level, and zone has its own unique soundtrack and every single one of them is a breath of fresh air. You can even get the entire soundtrack on download; it is very well worth it. Some people even got this game just because of the amazing soundtrack.

Epic Soundtrack!

Final Thoughts:
Shovel Knight is a breath of fresh air to the 8 bit plat forming series. It feels very familiar yet very new. With a mixture of the greatest plat forming NES games with a hint of its own style, Shovel Knight is a fantastic addition. Beautiful music, addicting and challenging game play, and beautiful art work, Shovel Knight is a must purchase. In fact I purchased it for all three platforms! My recommendation is to buy it on the 3DS or the Wii U just because you can quickly switch between all of them items with just a tap of your finger. The PC version provided no quick select tool.

Overall Rating: 10/10

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Mario Golf World Tour

Console: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Sports
Release Date: May 2, 2014
Date Reviewed: June 30, 2014

Ahhh good ol’ Mario Golf. I have fond memories from playing the very first Mario Golf game for the Nintendo 64. I was so into the game than I even remember one of the cheat codes from when it first came out 10+ years ago. KPXWN9N3 was the code me and my brother memorized and for some reason it is still stuck in my head. Mario Golf for the Nintendo 3DS is another great addition to the series.

First off there is so much to do in Mario Golf. You can’t decide which mode to choose from first. I personally started with the Mii Castle Club. This mode allows you to gold with your personal Mii character in the game. The point of this mode is to challenge the three different course tournaments and try and get gold on each one. Doing so will reward you with an award ceremony cutscene with the Nintendo characters as well as a gold cup for that course. Winning one of these will also allow you to unlock the use of these courses in the challenge mode and all other modes. On top of that for completing certain goals in any golf game you will unlock a new piece of gear for your Mii character. These pieces of gear are used to upgrade you Mii. It could be to increase your Mii’s power, their sweet spot or control of the ball. So choose wisely and pick the gear based on how you play the game. You can even unlock character costumes to add to your collection for your Mii to wear. Wearing a Princess Peach costume as a man with a beard looks kind of weird. Once you complete the course tournaments you can then take to some challenge competitions to unlock more things for your Mii. Some of them are very challenging but worth it in the end. One other thing I would like to add is when you play in the Mii Castle Club you also earn a handicap rating depending on how well you do. This handicap is very smart because it allows the game to figure out the difficulty for the tournaments.

Great courses.

Another mode is the “Quick Golf” mode. This mode has other modes inside of the selection. Such as challenge mode to earn star coins. When you earn a certain amount of star coins you will unlock courses, and even new playable characters such as Birdo and Kamek. The other options are just basic modes to play if you’re in a hurry. It can be Vs. mode with a CPU character, Stroke Play to play a quick 9 or 18 hole round of golf by yourself and an offline point tourney mode. If you really want to test your golfing skills there is even an online mode where you play against other players. The online feature is really great as you can set your own rules, enter tournaments created by Nintendo to win in game prizes, and even community tournaments that other players make themselves.

In order to purchase the unlockable gear for your Mii characters you will need to buy them with coins. Coins are extremely easy to earn in Mario Golf. You earn them by simply just golfing. There are even courses that you can play where you need to get coins floating around the course which adds to your overall coin pool. With Mario Golf: World Tour there is an option to buy some DLC packs for the game. I highly recommend this because each pack adds a new character and a brand new course to play on. If you buy the season pass you get Gold Mario as a character which is a great way to earn some extra coins. Fantastic buy and really fun, especially for casual players.

The graphics and visuals in Mario Golf are actually really good for it being on the 3DS. All of the character models look fantastic with great animations. Each character has their own unique animation which really adds to the game. The environment on each course is very unique and is never the same. Each course has their own them like bowser’s castle or cheep cheep beach. You will always know which course it belongs too. Costumes look very nice; the customization option for your Mii also is great with a large variety of golf clubs, shirts, golf balls, etc…

Great Items Selection.

The 3D also adds a very nice effect to the game. I personally don’t really care for 3D but I was impressed by it. It adds a whole new perspective when you are golfing and is sometime breath taken. The best times to use the 3D feature are during the golf matches. It gives you a whole new view and the environment surrounds you. I find it really absorbs you into the game more than playing in 2D. Other than that the 3D doesn’t make too much of a difference while walking around or navigating the menus. It is still a nice feature overall.

Not really much to say here due to it being a golf game. The music is pretty standard and quite. Nothing really unique about the in game music. The in game sounds are great overall and the menu music is really nice as well. Other than that it’s pretty average, not in a bad way just nothing the really WOWS you with the music.

Overall Rating: 9.0

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