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I’M BACK!!!

I have returned, Kweh!

I have returned, Kweh!

Greetings everyone, and welcome back to my esteemed blog.  It has been quite a number of months since my last post.  I have been very busy with the job search and seeking possibilities of returning to school.  I am very happy to say that I have not only acquired a new position, but I am also in the process of applying for school.

Now that the wheels are in motion, I am happy to get back to my favorite past time; that being sharing my insights and reviews with you.  I will be back on Wednesday 3/18 with my full review of Final Fantasy Type 0 HD.  Until then everyone, be safe, and happy gaming!

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Tales of Xillia 2 Review: Take me back to Rieze Maxia

The new antagonists, Ludger and Elle

The new antagonists, Ludger and Elle

Welcome back everyone to my esteemed blog.  The crickets have been chirping quite a bit on the blogging front, but there are a couple of reasons for this.  First, my company recently had their annual meeting, which really took it out of me.  So, after the conclusion of that successful meeting, I took a few days off and just relaxed.  I also had to attend a wedding or two, which involved quite a bit of traveling.  Now fans can rejoice, for I have returned.  Let us begin.

Bandai Namco is best known for the Tales series.  Now they have brought us the direct sequel to Tales of Xillia.  Tales of Xillia 2 takes place one year after the events of the first game.  With the huge success of the first installment, does this sequel measure up to it’s predecessor?  Let’s review.

Graphics:  There isn’t much to be said about the graphics of Tales of Xillia 2, reason being, it looks exactly the same in and out.  The characters both new and returning still retain the same design and art direction, minus a few wardrobe and hair changes (it has been a year since the first game ).  Score:  8/10

A little of the new mixed with the old.

A little of the new mixed with the old.

Sound:  Tales of Xillia 2 brings back some familiar tunes along with some new tracks to spice up the roster.  Motoi Sakuraba brings his delicate touch back to what is already a great franchise.  The voice acting is done fairly well, with the original cast returning to compliment the new characters.  On a sad note to some, Teepo is back.  Ayumi Hamasaki brings her vocal talents back with the intro theme “Song 4 U.”  Fans of the first Xillia title soundtrack won’t be disappointed with this second dose of gaming music excellence.  Score:  8.5/10

Gameplay:  As with most Tales games, this is where it all comes together.  Tales of Xillia’s core gameplay is in the fighting system.  When you’re fighting monsters, it feels more like a fighting game and less of a “select your attack and wait” kind of game, which is pretty cliche in most JRPGs.

Outta my way!

Outta my way!

The story, which is excellent, picks up one year after the events of the first game.  There is a twist, you don’t get to play as two separate protagonists, instead you only have one hero, Ludger Kresnik.  I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed with Ludger as a protagonist.  Although his story involving his brother Julius is well plotted, his portrayal as the more often than not silent protagonist is very off-putting, and while you make selections on Ludger’s responses and choices-it feels bland all together.  Elle is the other protagonist, a non-playable character who is also a huge element of the story, although not being able to use her caused me to disassociate myself from her almost entirely.  I much preferred Jude and Milla.

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The story progresses smoothly, except for times when you are forced to pay off your ridiculously exorbitant debt.  This results in you having to sidetrack your mission to accomplish fetch and monster slaying quests.  Except for the “elite” monsters, I found the remaining quests to be very tedious.

Battle of the brothers!

Battle of the brothers!

The orb system has had an overhaul as well.  I was a huge fan of the “Illium Orb” system in the first Xillia game.  The new orb system called “Allium Orb” is something that I am not too fond of.  You equip each character with an orb that slowly levels up and earns you new and upgraded skills and artes.  Think of it as a Final Fantasy 6 esper system, but much more detailed.  The only downside to this system is that with everything going on in this game, you are forced to do some severe micromanaging.  To some this is ok, but for others, it can be somewhat of a burden.

Meet the new Allium Orb system.

Meet the new Allium Orb system.  I’m a fan of the japanese version, sorry folks.

One addition that I thought was an excellent touch is the character story lines.  This allows Ludger and Elle to go on separate quests with each of the original characters from the first game, thus learning more about that individual character and increasing the bond you have between them, and you can earn a costume accessory here and there.  Score: 9.0/10

Tales of Xillia 2 is an incredible story that brings this tale to a wonderful close.  Any Tales fan should definitely add this to their library.  One thing, if you never played the first Tales of Xillia, I would recommend playing that one first.  It helps bring events of the sequel to better light.  Thanks again for following my blog.  I am reviewing a niche title called Fairy Fencer F.  Stay tuned for my review coming soon.  Thanks everyone!

Final Score: 8.5/10

Anime Central 2014

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my esteemed blog.  I must apologize for the delay on my Child of Light review, but Anime Central was in my hometown of the windy city this past weekend, and that took a redonkulous amount of my time.  Now that another awesome year at ACEN has passed, I thought I would take a moment and show all of my followers a few snippets of the epic event that was ACEN 2014.  I was so fortunate enough to not only see a free (provided you registered) performance of A New World (Final Fantasy Concert), but I unexpectedly bumped into none other than Mr. Nobuo Uematsu himself (yes, I was starstruck like a Beetles fan).  It was indeed an amazing year at ACEN.  Not sure what the hoopla is all about?  Click here to learn all about ACEN!  I will be back on Tuesday with my review of Child of Light, and this weekend with Transistor.  Until then enjoy the pics!

Shiva was putting everyone on ice!

Shiva was putting everyone on ice!

 

Sephiroth!…and camouflage person.

Sephiroth!…and camouflage person.

 

Princess Peach is armed and dangerous!

Princess Peach is armed and dangerous!

I had to take pics with my favorite Sailor Scout!

I had to take pics with my favorite Sailor Scout!

Oh…the ocarinas!

Oh…the ocarinas! Thank you to Songbird Ocarina for permission to take the picture.  Love your products!

Check out more products from Songbird Ocarina!

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!

My Clicker costume was a hit!

My Clicker costume was a hit!

Don't mess with Chie!

Don’t mess with Chie!

Izanagi will smite you!

Izanagi will smite you!

LET IT GO ELSA!

LET IT GO ELSA!

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Gotta Catch Em All!

Gotta Catch Em All!

 

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!

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!!!

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.

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

Beyond Two Souls Review: Is it more than just fancy polish?

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Welcome back and happy Friday dear readers.  I wanted to get this review up and running because Pokemon X and Y will be launching tomorrow morning, and that review is going to take me some time.  Quantic Dream has been known for their unique approach to video games, making it more of an interactive movie experience.  They are best known for previous titles like Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain.  Now they have released their newest title, Beyond Two Souls.  This title has been highly anticipated since Heavy Rain was a huge hit.  Does this newest title live up to the reputation of previous games?

 

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Graphics
:  To say that Beyond Two Souls’ graphics are amazing is an understatement.  Quantic Dream achieves graphical perfection in this interactive cinematic game.  The character models and animations are beautifully executed, and the locations that are explored through Jodie’s eyes are lush and quite beautiful to see.  When you take control of Jodie’s spiritual companion Aiden, you see a different perspective that is again beautifully executed.  Quantic Dreams even went as far as to model the characters after the actors who played them.  This is something that is rarely seen in video games, and Quantic Dream should be highly commended for it.  Score: 10/10

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Sound:  Lorne Balfe along with Hans Zimmer bring a fantastic soundtrack that draws you into the game.  From intense action sequences, to even a simple dating scenario, Balfe and Zimmer bring forth a fitting musical score that fits every situation perfectly.  Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe give fantastic performances.  Score: 10/10

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Gameplay:  The gameplay of Beyond Two Souls can be described as a “love it or hate it” situation.  You are more or less a companion that watches Jodie’s life unfold from childhood to adulthood.  During action sequences you make decisions throughout the scenarios that dictate what Jodie will do, or whether or not an action she performs will be successful.  For example, in a fight scenario Jodie picks up a pipe and swings at a foe.  You must press the right analog stick based on Jodie’s body movement and where she is going to swing from.  Therefore, if she is swinging to the right, you press the analog stick to the right.  This applies to even mundane activities such as cooking dinner and eating.  It is a mechanic that is unique and may not appeal to gamers that are well adjusted to intense action and nonstop button mashing.  You will also assume the role of Aiden, Jodie’s spiritual companion and assist Jodie in both mundane and intense situations.  You utilize Aiden to make objects move or break to impress or scare other people depending on your situation.  In intense situations Aiden uses his abilities to choke enemies, or possess them in order to kill others.  This is a unique approach to gaming which can be fun, but at times it can be tedious.  

The areas in Beyond Two Souls are so gorgeous, and it is a huge shame that the game is linear, and exploring locations is scripted and severely limited.  It’s a downer, but still a joy to look at.  Unfortunately, the story in Beyond Two Souls tends to jump around far too much, which results in a person asking questions of how Jodie landed in the situations that you find yourself in.  There are also points in the action sequences that can be very cumbersome.  Jodie’s body movement is fairly easy to understand at first, but as the game advances her body movement becomes a bit too difficult to read, which results in making a wrong choice.  This wasn’t a big deal, but other gamers out there may find this very frustrating.    Score: 7.5/10

Beyond Two Souls is as I said earlier a “love it or hate it” title.  Fans of Heavy Rain may not be as impressed by Beyond Two Souls and it’s shortcomings.  However, the characters are deep, the story although fragmented is very well told, and it is an experience that every gamer should have just once.  

Final Score: 8/10

Thanks for reading everyone!  Be sure to follow my blog and tell your friends.  Tune in next week when I give my full review of Pokemon X.