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Kingdom Hearts 3D Review

Kingdom Hearts 3D

Square Enix has poured from their reservoir Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the next entry in the hack-and-slash RPG series that has won fans the world over, it's number of Disney crossover references only rivaled by the number of newcomers confused by the series' plot.As a reader and potential first-time buyer, one might be skeptical that Kingdom Hearts 3D, the seventh installment in the franchise, might be a worthy purchase. Anyone who has even heard of Kingdom Hearts is sure to be aware of the confusion surrounding the series, and as such, may be dissuaded. The assumption that one's enjoyment of the game would be significantly diminished had they not played the previous entries is likely; one could guess that Square Enix had the jitters about this, as well! And yet, Kingdom Hearts 3D's rich offerings and plethora of flashbacks and mini-encyclopedias are the nigh-perfect package for any 3DS owner to feel comfortable picking up. Thus, this review will be grading Kingdom Hearts 3D as much as possible as it's own game, as fans of the series have undoubtedly picked this one up anyway.

Kingdom Hearts 3D

The main draw of the series has been it's unlikely coupling of Square Enix's characters with Disney's atmospheres, a combination so bizarre that it actually works- quite well, in fact. In each game, the player visits famous Disney locales, usually taking on the role of Sora, the Haley Joel Osment-voiced protagonist. The main series antagonists are a group of people known as Organization XIII, and each trip to these Disney worlds sort of revolves around stopping the Organization from being evil. The series features one heck of an engrossing story, top-notch hack-and-slash combat, with RPG leveling thrown in as the icing on this hodgepodge cake. In theory, nothing about the series should work, but the formula is great, and it feels right! So, in Dream Drop Distance, it's more of the same, with a few game-exclusive concepts introduced to shake things up a bit. Sora and Riku (another series regular) are at the brink of becoming Keyblade Masters, which will allow them to circumvent the return of Organization XIII's Master Xehanort. They must awaken sleeping Disney worlds, and rid each world of creatures known as Dream Eaters. This is an incredibly watered-down summary, and if the player is at all confused, natural progression through the game unlocks helpful flashback cut-scenes and encyclopedia-like entries to read through. These two additions exhibit wonderful foresight on behalf of Square Enix, and are truly helpful in bringing newcomers up to date as close as possible.

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June 10, 2012 Posted by Evan in 3DS, Reviews

Mario Tennis Open Review

Mario and friends are back for another tennis match.

Mario Tennis Open

It's been 8 years since a new Mario Tennis game has graced our Nintendo consoles, and frankly, that's 8 years too long. Mario Tennis games have been unanimously fine-crafted, and the portable entries in the franchise are no exception. When a Mario Tennis game is featured on a portable console, it's expected to be an excellent tennis-RPG hybrid, a combination that is just insane enough to turn out awesome. And regrettably, with the release of Mario Tennis Open, the trend of RPG excellence that portable Mario Tennis games offer has been broken. That said, Mario Tennis Open is far from being a bad game. Camelot, the game's developer, have been at the helm of the series ever since Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, and they've done a fantastic job at creating a tennis game that feels downright good to play. However, the approach they've taken with this title is significantly less Mario-like than other entries in the series. Nothing about the main game is over-the-top or whimsical. In fact, the removal of the physics-breaking “Power Shots” introduced in Mario Power Tennis have left the game feeling like a beautiful, enhanced port of the Nintendo 64 entry. Fortunately, Mario Tennis is a great title to grasp inspiration from, and Open plays and feels just as great as the other entries.

Mario Tennis Open

Mario Tennis Open features a few additions to the series, the most important being color-coded shots. When the ball is returned by the opponent, a colored circle may appear on the player's side of the court. Each color, six in all, correspond to either a single button, or a button combo, and in order to fully take advantage of the shot, the player must stand within the circle on the court. The addition of this new play type is certainly a game-changer, and with the subtraction of Power Shots, it brings the series back to relying on the skill of the player rather than over-powered games of chance. Following the course of the first game, each of the sixteen characters fall into different class types: All-Around, Technique, Speed, Tricky, and Power. These categories define each character's play style exactly as they sound, and the difference between each is definitely noticeable. The second noteworthy addition is the option to play as one's Mii. Rather than falling into the aforementioned classes as the other characters do, Mii's are a blank canvas to be painted by different outfits, each containing skill set variations. These outfits are comparable to Mario Kart 7's different kart parts, allowing for complete customization and a Mii that truly reflects the player's preferences. In a way, this feature is a shadow of the RPG elements in the Mario Tennis portable offerings of yesteryear, but a shadow nonetheless.

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Super Monkey Ball 3D Review

Super Monkey Ball 3D

Super Monkey Ball makes its 3DS debut.

The Super Monkey Ball series has been slowly but steadily releasing new iterations each and every year. The games have crossed various platforms over the years and with the recent launch of the Nintendo 3DS, Sega has added another platform to its repertoire.

Super Monkey Ball Screenshot

The main mode of Super Monkey Ball 3D is the classic mode that fans are familiar with. The player is in control of a moving platform and must maneuver the monkey ball around the area. Each level has various bananas to collect and some feature hidden secret items. The levels are timed so there is definitely a level of skill involved. With 7 worlds to play and multiple levels in each, there is a lot of rolling to be had. The 3D effects on this game mode are very well done. The world sees depth and you can have more precise movements with the added angle.

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