Upcoming Titles To Look Out For!

Welcome back everyone to my esteemed blog.  It’s been an idle couple of weeks, mainly due to the preparation of my Clicker costume for ACEN next month.  There is also work and the gym that seem to intervene.  That being said, it’s time to keep the gaming news and reviews going.

Many gamers I assume have had their hands busy with several new titles, including Dark Souls 2, Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster, and Bravely Default.  I’m here to give you an update on what’s coming up in the next few months.  Without further adieu, let us begin.

Three games on the radar:

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Conception 2:  This is a unique dungeon-crawler RPG from the creators of Persona.  It’s a rather unique title, one that will be next on my to review list.  If you’re familiar with Persona 4, then you will definitely have to check this out!  Conception 2 launches April 15th for the Vita and 3DS.

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Child of Light:  Ubisoft is bringing a visually stunning RPG entitled Child of Light available for digital download on PS3, PS4, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox 360 at the end of this month.  It is literally an interactive poem that you are in control of.  You play as Aurora a princess on a quest to restore the lost sources of light from the sun, moon, and stars-and put an end to the culprit, the black queen.  Child of Light is available for download on April 30th.

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The Last of Us Remastered:  Yes folks, the game that won 200 game of the year awards is now being remastered exclusively for the Playstation 4.  The Last of Us Remastered will be brought in 1080p with better character models, shadows and backgrounds, and the complete expansion sets, including Left Behind.  It is scheduled for release this summer, but no exact release date has yet been given.

We have quite a few games to look forward to this spring and summer, so start planning on breaking your piggy banks over the next few months.  I will definitely be reviewing these games upon their release so stay tuned, and as always-thanks for your continued support and spread the word about my blog.  Happy Gaming!

 

Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD Remaster Review

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Welcome back fellow readers to my esteemed blog.  I must apologize for my long absence, but circumstances have severely limited my blogging time.  But now we can press on with the gaming goodness.  It was 13 years ago when Square-Enix (back then Squaresoft) released Final Fantasy 10 for the Playstation 2 game console.  This title would be hailed as one of the greatest installments in the franchise’s history.  Now in 2014, Square-Enix has bestowed Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD Remaster for the Playstation 3 console.  The question on everyone’s mind is, can a title that is over a decade old still strut it’s stuff in HD?  Let’s find out.

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Graphics:  Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD Remaster is absolutely gorgeous on Playstation 3.  This is the makeover that fans have been waiting for.  The polygons and pixels have been thoroughly smoothed out, and the colors in both the character and background art have received a nice polish that really pops on the screen.  The CG cutscenes are just as beautiful as the day they premiered in 2001.  The character’s facial models also received a bright overhaul, but seem rather awkward looking especially in cutscenes.  The menu screens received several touches that really stand out, and the sphere grid remains true to it’s prior 2001 release.  There are titles that often suffer from graphical clashing (i.e. Tales of Symphonia HD Chronicles), but thankfully Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD Remaster has received the perfect HD upgrade that truly does the game justice.  Score: 9.5/10

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Sound:  Final Fantasy X received a completely remixed musical score courtesy of Masashi Hamazu.  Some of the tracks are very vibrant and catchy.  I did however prefer some of the original musical tracks by Nobuo Uematsu as opposed to their remixes.  Not having an option to select between the original and remixed musical score during gameplay is very disappointing.  It will be hit or miss with fans of the original.  Final Fantasy X-2 did not receive a musical makeover, and thus remains the same, which isn’t a bad thing at all.  Score: 9/10

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Gameplay:  The story of Tidus and Yuna trying to save Spira from the evil of Sin remains true and just as beautiful even today.  The many additions to both games will be a joyful treat to fans.  First off, both of these titles are the international director’s cuts that were never released in North America.  This of course means more content, story, and of course hidden bosses for those of you looking for bigger challenges. For those of you trophy hunters, I am happy to say that both titles have fairly robust trophy listings.  While some are easy to obtain, others will take quite a bit of skill in order to obtain them.  Unfortunately, the poor syncing of voice acting and lip movement of the characters still run rampant in both titles.  

 

The battle system is just as fast paced and fun with similar and new opponents aiming to challenge you at every turn.  The storyline progresses rather smoothly, and the option of open-exploration as the game progresses is a great thing to have.  The storyline for Final Fantasy X is timeless and among one of the most touching love stories ever within a Final Fantasy title, while it’s sequel offers a very distorted storyline, but ultimately (provided you get the correct ending) brings the story to a fitting conclusion.  Score: 10/10

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Whether you are a fan of both titles, or looking for a fantastic RPG, Final Fantasy X/ X-2 HD Remaster is definitely bang for your buck!  You are getting two uncut RPG titles, each with over (and I stress OVER) 50 hours of gameplay.  I urge any RPG or Final Fantasy fan to add this title to their collection.  You won’t regret this investment. 

 

Final Score: 9.5/10

I am in the process of reviewing Dark Souls 2, and a niche RPG, Atelier Escha and Logy.  These will be posted in the next week or so.  Be sure to follow my blog and tell your friends about it, until then, happy BlitzBalling!

Bravely Default Review

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Welcome back everyone to my esteemed blog.  The JRPG genre has been faltering in recent years, leaving some fans wondering, will there ever be a true JRPG that can remain true to the old-fashioned mechanics while blending new intuitive elements?  Square-Enix, of all companies makes an attempt to answer that question with their newest RPG Bravely Default for the Nintendo 3DS.  So, does Square-Enix still have what it takes to bring out a good JRPG?  Let’s review.


Graphics:  
Bravely Default sports a wonderful array of graphics.  Character models are very well done with Akihiko Yoshida taking the lead on the character artwork.  Monster designs are very impressive, with some creatures being cutesy, and others fearsome.  The most outstanding aspect of Bravely Default is the world itself.  Locale in this game, especially towns have hand drawn backgrounds that really pop.  The characters sprites seem to blend in beautifully with these environments.  This is something that is often attempted, but rarely executed well.  Square-Enix attempted and delivered.  Score: 9/10

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Sound:  Naotaka Hayashi and Sound Horizon’s Revo combine their talents to bring an excellent musical score that blends compelling music to draw you in and keep you there, especially in over world and battle scenes.  The voice acting is fairly hit or miss.  Some voice actors actually take their roles seriously, while others sound as if they are just being a mouthpiece to get a paycheck.  Score 8.5/10

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Gameplay:  Bravely Default features a typical RPG storyline.  You play as Tiz Arrior, a young man who loses his entire home after the wind crystal is taken over by a malevolent force.  It is then you run into Agnes (Ah ness) Oblige, the Wind Vestel that everyone is after.  You, Agnes, Ringabel and Edea run into each other fairly early in the game.  This is a good strategy, because it allows you to get acquainted with these characters, know their individual stories, and eventually become attached to their personalities.  The gameplay of Bravely Default is amazing because it blends traditional RPG elements, such as the job class (approximately 20 classes) and a new aspect to the traditional RPG battle system. Enter the Brave Default system.  This element gives players the option to choose “Brave” an offensive approach that allows them to act multiple times at the sacrifice of AP, or “Default” a defensive approach that allows you to gather extra AP to unleash attacks on your foes without penalty.

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Some of you may think about just going all out brave the entire time, but the more your AP goes into the negative numbers, the more times you are unable to act with that character until it replenishes.  This brings a refreshing tune up to the traditional turn-based RPG engine, while keeping the nostalgia alive.  You can also use skills that other players who are further in the game have already obtained via the abililink feature, and link with friends to help rebuild your shattered village.  This game has a huge amount of features and a challenge to match.  Score: 10/10

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Bravely Default is the JRPG fans have been dying for.  The story is great, the characters are fun, and the battle system is among the most fun and challenging gaming mechanics I have ever played in a JRPG.  Don’t miss out on this game folks, this is a keeper!

Final Score: 9.5/10

 

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 Demo Review

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Welcome back friends to another edition of the gaming angel.  Things have been quite frigid in my neck of the woods, so frigid that my internet was blown out.  I also celebrated my birthday so that took up a large majority of my weekend.  Now that my internet capabilities are restored, I can get back to the gaming goodness, and give to you all my unbiased feedback.  Without further adieu, let the blogging begin.

Square-Enix or Squeenix, as they have been referred to in recent years has suffered a lot of financial setbacks.  They are not only suffering financial setbacks, but they suffer from a deficiency of bringing quality games to fans.  Early this week, Square-Enix released the very small downloadable demo of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 for the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 gaming consoles.  As many of you know, this particular installment of the once amazing franchise has been called the worst of the entire series.  Most complained about the extreme linearity of the first, whilst complaining about the very defragmented and confusing story of the second.  Now, we have the third installment of the Final Fantasy 13 saga.  The question is does this installment look like a worthy follow-up?  Read on to find out.

Graphics:  LRFF13 is beautiful in terms of presentation.  The few areas of the demo were very vibrant and impressive.  The characters are similar in design, and of course the CG movie sequences are as amazing as before.  This is definitely a sugar overdose in the eye candy department.  Score: 10/10

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Sound:  Masashi Hamazu does a very admirable job with the musical score but, it will never be as beautiful as the work of Nobuo Uematsu.  Score: 8.5/10

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Gameplay:  The battle system of the game has had a very shocking makeover.  It has been remade into a more real-time battle system consisting of using only Lightning.  You can actually move her around the battlefield in a defensive pace.  Lightning possesses an ability called schema (job class).  To those who are familiar with the garb system from Final Fantasy 10-2, you will be more than acquainted with the schema system.  You can equip up to three schemas for battle purposes, each with 100 ATB.  You have set skills assigned to a particular button.  You can use these skills until the ATB for that schema is depleted.  Once it is, you must quickly switch to another schema while the depleted one replenishes.  It allows for fluid gameplay, while adding a strategic element when fighting an opponent with a particular weakness.  This is a vast improvement over the battle system of the previous installments.  The storyline is still difficult to grasp this early in the game.  We can only hope that Square-Enix will give us an impressive story to make up for the previous two games.  Score: 8.5/10

Demo Final Score: 9/10

Since Final Fantasy 13 has not been doing well, I say give the demo a shot.  By all means let me know what you think.  Stay tuned when I review Bravely Default.  Until next time dear gamers.

New Year’s Video Game Resolutions

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Hello everyone, and a very Happy New Year to you all.  As many of you know, 2013 has come and gone.  For some of us the year was alright, but for some of us it was a very trying year.  Thankfully, 2013 was the year for great video games, Bioshock Infinite, The Last Of Us, Ni No Kuni, just to name a few.  So, what were your favorite games of 2013, and which 2014 titles are you excited about?  Here is my list.

2014 Most Anticipated List

-Destiny
-Infamous: Second Son
-Thief
-Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Collection
-Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13
-Watch Dogs

Let me know what games you’re most excited about.  Tune in next time with my next review.  Happy New Year!!!

Ys Memories Of Celceta Review

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Happy Holidays dear readers, and welcome back to my esteemed blog.  I must apologize for the hiatus but, I recently acquired a new position, and that combined with a somewhat lengthy commute makes my time for blogging scarce, but I am back and the blogging will go on.  

25 years ago, an action role playing franchise graced us with it’s presence.  Unfortunately, it debuted on the Turbo Duo CD, a great console that was too expensive at the time to own.  It was also competing with the already popular Zelda series, which is why this franchise never got the recognition it deserved.  Now the Vita get a taste of the Ys franchise with Ys: Memories of Celceta for the Playstation Vita console.  This is a reimagining of Ys IV: Dawn of Ys for the Turbo Duo CD, which never saw a North American release.  So, does this reimagining succeed in giving gamers what they want?  Let’s find out.

Graphics:  For being a Vita exclusive title, Ys Memories of Celceta delivers graphics that are good but still remain true to nostalgia.  The character sprites, animations and creatures are fairly robust, but still manage to keep a nostalgic look to it.  The world is vast however, there is little to interact with in this massive re-imagined world, which is somewhat of a disappointment.  Score: 7.5/10

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Sound:  The Ys series has always been faithful to delivering a fantastic musical score, and Memories of Celceta does not disappoint.  Fans of Ys music will be having multiple eargasms listening to the amazing musical score.  Plus, for those of you who can shell out the extra bucks, the collector’s edition comes with a three disc soundtrack featuring three to four tracks from each of the Ys titles.  Score: 9/10

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Gameplay:  The meat of the package in Ys Memories of Celceta comes from the combat.  From the moment you begin the game, you are instantly thrown into battle.  In this title, our protagonist Adol is suffering from amnesia, and begins a journey through Celceta to regain the memories he has lost.  The combat is pretty fast paced, and boss battles are epic.  The side-quest options consist of fetch quests or hunting a creature (some of which can be difficult if unprepared) and killing it.  You spend most of your time traversing through the world of Celceta while completing a quest that sadly tends to drag sometimes.  Voice acting is present but, they are so rare that the story suffers as a result.  Fortunately, the combat manages to keep the blood pumping enough to keep you from boredom.  Score: 9/10 

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Ys Memories of Celceta is a great addition to the already minimal selection of Vita exclusive RPGs.  Longtime fans, or if you’re seeking a new adventure, look no further than Ys. 

Final Score: 8.5/10

The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds Review: Portraits of Nostalgia and Perfection Beautifully Captured.

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Welcome back everyone to my blog.  Twenty one years ago, the Zelda franchise reached a new pinnacle of greatness with the release of Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past for the Super Nintendo entertainment console.  Now, Nintendo has released the highly anticipated sequel, Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds for the Nintendo 3DS console.  Ever since it’s premiere, people have been very skeptical, as to whether this new installment would be a worthy follow-up to the 1991 phenomena that graced the SNES.  I have had the honor of spending the weekend playing through this title, and now I am prepared to give my review.

Graphics:  It is often very rare to blend beautiful graphics while maintaining the nostalgic feeling that fans have come to grow and love, and thankfully, Nintendo has succeeded in accomplishing this feat.  Fans will be overwhelmed by the nostalgic feeling and fantasic graphics that are present in this beautiful title.  The character designs remain true to the charm of the Zelda franchise.  The world of Zelda is designed exactly like it’s 1991 predecessor, with a lot of new additions to add some spice to the old formula.  Score: 10/10
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Sound:  Ryo Nagamatsu is the mastermind behind the beautiful remastering of the classic SNES musical score.  Koji Kondo, the original composer of the SNES classic did not do any work in this title, which is quite odd, but Nagamatsu does a beautiful job in recapturing the classic musical score that still remains in the hearts of fans both old and new.  Score:  10/10

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Gameplay:  Zelda returns to the traditional roots of gameplay that fans of old and new generations will enjoy.  The story takes place 600 years after the events of Link to the Past, with our hero Link trying to stop a flamboyant villain named Yuga after he transforms the Seven Sages, Princess Zelda, and Link himself into 2-D portraits.  Fortunately, after receiving a leather wristband from a “unique” ally, Link gains the ability to escape and merge himself into walls at will.  This opens a new realm of exploration and puzzle solving that only adds to the already lengthy quest.

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Of course, what would a Zelda title be without side quests and exploration.  Link Between Worlds offers so many mini-games and side quests for players to enjoy.  Cucco dodging, rupee treasure hunting, gambling, and hunting for all 100 of a pink octopus’ children are only a few of the many mini-games and side quests that will keep players entertained for many hours to come.  Score: 10/10

Zelda fans all over should definitely add this worthy sequel to their collection.  The story is very well done, the characters are fun and quirky, and the soundtrack and worlds remain true to the franchise.  It is a very good holiday treat that everyone should indulge in.

Final Score: 10/10

Thank you everyone for your support.  Join me on Wednesday, when I review Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees for the Playstation Vita console.  Until then everyone, take care and keep on gaming.

Knack Review: Building adventure from the ground up.

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Welcome back friends to my esteemed blog.  As many of you know, the Playstation 4 console has been released and I have been very busy enjoying all that it has to offer.  Look at the image below for the launch line.  

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I want to start off by reviewing one of it’s launch titles, the new adventure game Knack.  Like most new consoles, the launch titles are usually hit or miss.  So, does Knack make the cut as a good premiere title?  Read on to find out.  

Graphics:  Knack delivers a very Pixar Studios like world with colorful characters and vibrant worlds.  The enemy designs are very well done, and you can’t get over how cute Knack is in his tiny initial form.  It all blends in to bring a cute package.  Score: 9/10

 

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Sound:  The music in this particular title really makes a stand above the crowd.  Each scene has a musical track that is fitting in exploration, combat, and story sequences.  The voice cast is equally awesome.   I was very amazed at the quality of music that was in this title, and I can assure you that you will be too.  Score: 9/10   

Gameplay:  Knack’s story is unique in it’s own ways.  War is rampant on humans as a result of Goblins led by their ruthless and cunning leader,  Gundahar.  A scientist and his assistant, along with the assistant’s uncle try to stop the goblin’s reign of terror with the help of Knack, the three-foot tall protagonist who is blessed with a unique ability.  Knack can utilize pieces called relics to attach to his body, causing him to grow anywhere from eight feet to three stories tall.  At the same time, Knack’s story tends to divide into fighting the goblins and butting heads with another antagonist Victor, along with his partner in crime Katrina.  This is all combined with beat ‘em up combat and platforming elements that bring together a fun-filled adventure.
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The battles in Knack can range from moderate to very difficult.  Some areas require Knack to combat very large enemies in his tiny form, which results in one-hit kills from most foes that attack him.  Of course, when Knack is giant-sized, he delivers the same one-hit kill style beat down to his now insect sized foes.  There are tanks and combat planes that can knock giant Knack on his big behind, so play your cards carefully.  Score: 9.5/10

There have been many critics who have given this game bad reviews, and I still can’t see anything wrong with this game.  Don’t be fooled by biased reviews, Knack is an adventure that is definitely worth checking out.  I believe critics were expecting too much from Knack, and decided to whine about it when they didn’t get what they wanted.  Even though writer Mark Cerny said initially that the game will be a blend of Crash Bandicoot, Katamari Damacy, and God of War.  In my opinion, Cerny delivered on his promise.  

Final Score: 9/10 

Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my blog, and spread the word about me.  This is going to be a busy week, but I will continue to keep the posts coming.  Tune in soon when I post my review for Contrast, ResoGun, and Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

The Guided Fate Paradox Review

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Welcome back friends to another edition of The Gaming Angel.  I hope your Halloween holiday was full of tricks and treats.  Over the last decade, Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) has become known for their very niche gaming titles such as Atelier Iris, Mana Khamia, Ar Tonelico, and of course their most famous franchise, Disgaea.  Now, we look at their latest release entitled The Guided Fate Paradox for the Playstation 3 console.  With NIS titles, it is usually hit or miss with their releases.  So is this another sleeper hit like Disgaea and Atelier Iris, or is this a title you should miss at all costs?  Let’s review shall we?

Graphics:  Fans of the Disgaea series will feel right at home with The Guided Fate Paradox.  The characters are bright and colorful, while the monsters have a very similar design pattern to Disgaea.  The art design of the environments and dungeons are very lush and colorful.  Score: 8/10

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Sound:  Yosei Teikoku does a brilliant job of bringing music that is fitting to the situation of the game’s story, while at times, some of the music is a bit too cheerful and perky for the dungeon environments.  Some of the english voice acting is on par, but there are others that make you want to turn the vocal option to Japanese.  Score: 8.5/10

Gameplay:  Like most NIS RPG’s, this is where the proof in quality comes into play.  The Guided Fate Paradox is a dungeon crawler RPG that has many similarities to the Chocobo’s Dungeon series.  You come across a dungeon and explore freely until you encounter a foe or foes, depending on the situation.  When you encounter an enemy, it becomes more turn-based and strategic.  You take turns moving around the map.  When you move, they move-when you attack, they attack.  Click on this link to view an example of the gameplay.  It is a nice change of pace that RPG fans will enjoy.

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The story of The Guided Fate Paradox is very interesting and definitely unique to say the least, but not unheard of by RPG standards.  You take the role of Renya, a boy who after winning the lottery, is chosen to be god.  Now he must answer the prayers of those that pray to him.  It is indeed an interesting twist to your standard RPG cliches of someone attempting to be a god and trying by any means to achieve it.  In this game, you simply spin a raffle cage and presto, you are now God.  Score 9/10 

NIS faithful fans and Disgaea fans will definitely love The Guided Fate Paradox.  Whether you are an NIS fan or a fan of RPG’s, you should definitely add The Guided Fate Paradox to your gaming library.  It takes a pleasant step away from the typical RPG cliche’s in both gaming and story.

Final Score: 8.5/10 

As many of you know, Playstation 4 comes out next Friday, November 15th.  So I will be back November 18th, with a review of the PS4, and Knack, one of the premiere titles.  Until then friends, be sure to subscribe, take care and Happy Gaming!  

 

Pokemon X and Y Review

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Happy Halloween dear readers and welcome back friends to my blog.  It’s been a very trying few weeks and I apologize for the long hiatus, but Halloween festivities, and creating my costume (see below) have really been syphoning my time as of late, but now the blogging can go on.  As many of you know Pokemon is one of the biggest franchises in Nintendo’s arsenal, we have seen the series go through many changes, and seeing many adaptations.  Now the franchise makes it’s way to the 3DS with Pokemon X and Y.  So, does this transition hold true to the series, or has it been lost in translation?  Read on to find out.

Clicker Costume I made for Halloween from The Last of Us.

Clicker Costume I made for Halloween from The Last of Us.

Graphics:  There are times when some games that transition from 2D to 3D are messed up in the process.  Thankfully, in the case of Pokemon X and Y, the transition was done beautifully.  The world of Pokemon has made a successful transition to the 3DS, sporting a beautiful world, great characters, and most importantly, the Pokemon look fantastic in 3D.  The colors are bright and plentiful, and the graphics on and off battle sequences are a complete joy to look at.  Score: 10/10

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Sound:  To say that fans of Pokemon will have an “eargasm” listening to the soundtrack of Pokemon X and Y is the biggest understatement of 2013.  Shota Kageyama, Minako Adachi, Hitomi Sato, and Junichi Masuda merge their talents together to bring a powerhouse musical score that stays true to the Pokemon tradition.   It’s a huge delight to listen to for fans both old and new.  Score: 10/10


Gameplay: 
This is the biggest chunk of the entire package, minus the transition from 2D to 3D.  Besides the great quest of becoming the best trainer and catching them all, so much more has been added to this package that makes the game soar.  Everything you could ask for is here from battling and collecting a mass amount of Pokemon, to exploring the massive Luminose City, to collecting trainer badges.  Pokemon X and Y will definitely keep you more than entertained.  The most amazing addition to this franchise is the Wi-Fi playability.  Players can now use the 3DS’ Wi-Fi capabilities to challenge friends who are within range.  So, if you want to strut your stuff, and a friend is nearby just sit back and show him or her who is really the best trainer of all.  Score: 10/10

Anyone who is looking for a great RPG, or Pokemon fans who have been waiting for a timeless Pokemon adventure should add this title to their library.  It is without a doubt the best Pokemon in the series.

Final Score: 10/10

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