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Recent reviews by AXM

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52 people found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
I'm fine with being forced to run the game as Admin to play in full screen.
I'm fine with having black borders on the sides while playing in full screen.
I'm fine with every in-game icon being huge.
I'm fine with the new sprites and the out-of-place Amano artwork.
I'm fine with the horrible bilinear filtering.
I'm fine with every single flaw this lazy iOS port has.

But the choppy scrolling, oh God, the choppy scrolling. Every single time you move, the camera moves at such a low framerate that my eyes legitimately started to hurt after only a few minutes. The thought of playing thirty, forty hours of this sends shivers down my spine.

Dang you, Square, all you had to do was zip a folder containing FFV Advance and a random GBA emulator and upload it to Steam, that's literally all you needed to do.
Posted June 24, 2018.
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38.2 hrs on record
This is one of many times where a "Thumbs side-ways" option would have been greatly appreciated.
Star Ocean - The Last Hope is single-handedly held up by its battle system. Were it slightly less enjoyable, I would never recommend this game to anyone.

Mediocre plot, bad characters
Honestly I liked the story, or at the very least its premise. Unlike most other JRPGs, this can be best described as a "space opera", kinda similar to Star Trek. Flying from planet to planet, meeting new people and stopping new, dangerous threats was rather enjoyable, though in the end it unfortunately devolved into your generic "villain who wants to destroy the universe to save it is defeated by the power of friendship".
The main problem with this game are its characters. In one word, they are insufferable. Pretty much the entirety of the ship's crew consists of awful stereotypes, whose terrible dialogue and incomprehensible actions make each cutscene painful to sit through.

Decent battles, boring exploration
As I said, what saves this game is the combat system. Fighting various monsters in real-time with your diverse party members is a blast, also thanks to the Blindside system, best described as a "perfect dodge", which leaves enemies temporarily vulnerable and open to lengthy, flashy combos. Unfortunately your MP pool is so limited for the first ten, fifteen hours or so, that all you can do is spam regular attacks.
Speaking of dungeons, they're all dull, repetitive, overly-long series of hallways. Save points are also incredibly sparse, meaning that short sessions are virtually impossible. The open areas are slightly less annoying, fortunately.

Other stuff
  • The inventory is a bit too small. You can only carry 20 of each item, including ones used for crafting. Considering areas are filled with gathering points, which are "wasted" when you're full, you'll find yourself discarding or selling very often.
  • The targeting system is pretty bad. It targets automatically the enemy that's "at the center of the screen", and there's no way to switch manually. Sometimes I wanted to Blindside the enemy that was in front of me, but the game thought I wanted to attack whoever was outside of my view, on the other side of the battlefield.
  • (Some) Private Actions are funny and enjoyable. They're short, optional cutscenes that you can watch when you're waiting to reach the next planet. A few of them actually made laugh out loud.
  • Not enough bosses. You'll only fight a dozen or so in the entire main story.
  • Full screen "breaks" easily. Plugging a USB drive, alt-tabbing out, having a window pop up, or even starting the game will turn it into a window. And considering you can only activate it on the Options menu, it's annoying, especially when you're watching a cutscene.
Posted March 16, 2018. Last edited March 16, 2018.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
3.7 hrs on record
(Note: this review is a "sequel" to my review of Episode I )

Wow. Color me more than impressed.
This game is pretty much the Street Fighter II of Sonic the Hedghehog 4 games. If Street Fighter was an episodic title that disregarded everything about its 20-year-old predecessors and if II was little more than a small upgrade as opposed to one of the most well-regarded games of its genre.
Anyway, let's just pretend that Episode I never existed and enjoy II instead until the end of time instead, shall we?

A joy for the eyes
I would like to start off with what you'd usually notice first: the graphics. I didn't mention this in my review of Episode I for some reason, but yes, that game looked terrible. Hideous pre-rendered 2D backgrounds and foregrounds and cel-shaded PSP-tier 3D characters can't look good. At all.
Episode II looks... amazing. Beautiful. Wonderful. As soon as I began the first Act, I knew I was in for a great-looking journey. 3D graphics everywhere, and good ones at that. Sonic's running animation still looks odd, unfortunately.

Sega remembered what Sonic's all about
As I mentioned, Sonic Team and Dimps listened to the fans' complaints about the first episode, and tried to fix most of its problems. "Tried" and "most" being the key words here.
First of all, yes, Sonic does have momentum here, now jumping and running and spinning around actually feels somewhat good.
A newcomer to the Sonic 4 "saga", Tails isn't actually a dead weight like in his debut game: you can perform special moves together with the press of a button, namely the 69 ball of death, which allows the two to spin dash very fast and destroy more durable obstacles, and being able to fly for a short period of time, a la Sonic Heroes. Unfortunately, the latter kind of breaks the game, as you can easily fly above obstacles or reach certain optional areas you'd normally get to in more "traditional" ways.
Also fixed, in my opinion, at least, was the level variety. Not only does every Act look different, but the Zones are certainly more original than the ones in Episode I. Well, they still are mostly rethreads from the classics (mainly Sonic 2, this time), but at least they tried to make them even slightly different. Like, Sky Fortress is yellow, while Wing Fortress was kind of sort of beige. Totally different.
This game finally has something resembling a structure: you don't have every Zone available from the start, though the three Acts in each Zone can still be played in any order, this time in a more "incomprehensible" manner. Let me explain: Sky Fortress begins with Sonic and Tails flying the Tornado to reach Eggman's huge battleship. In fact, the entire first Act is about them getting there. So why can you play Act 2 and 3 first, which are set on the fortress itself?

...Or did they?
As you can probably tell, fixing each problem led to new ones, and that's if they fixed it in the first place. For example, the homing attack still leaves you vulnerable whenever you use it, leading you to, again, unfair hits. The game still shoves extra lives into your throat. There still is pretty much no story at all; no secret ending if you collect all the Emeralds either.
Though boss fights are actually original this time around (I laughed so hard when they teased one of Sonic 2's bosses before smashing the pillars with huge mechanical tentacles), they're dragged out way too long, including their introductions.
Finally, a certain stage was pretty terrible. I'm talking about Sky Fortress Act 1, which is one of the most tedious and boring stages I've played in a long time.

Episode (Scrap) Metal
If you bought both Episode I and Episode II, you're able to play the so-called Episode Metal as soon as you finish the first level and restart the game, which tells the story of Metal Sonic's return after its defeat in Sonic CD and is set before the events of this game. What this means is that you'll replay four of Episode I's Acts, bad graphics and level design and all, with the addition of countless falling platforms and bottomless pits.
Yes, Metal Sonic plays exactly like the blue hedgehog he's trying to emulate - down to some of the animations - even though he's clearly able to fly during the handful of cutscenes that are present in this short side story.
It's not worth playing.

It took me a little over two hours to finish this game, and this time I didn't get stuck on a stupid unfair boss. For some reason I had the urge to collect all the Chaos Emeralds, which is done by collecting 50 rings and getting to the end of the stage. The special stages play almost exactly like Sonic 2's, main difference being that you can actually see what's ahead of you. Once I found out that you can select retry on the pause menu before failing them, I "broke" the game.

I enjoyed my time with Episode II. I really did.
Or maybe I like this game only because I love night stages and Sylvania Castle Act 3 made me scream with pleasure about three times.
Final score: Sure can't wait for Episode III / 10
Posted August 11, 2017. Last edited August 11, 2017.
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4 people found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
I have mixed feelings about when I first got a decent Internet connection, back when I was just a little kid. On the one hand, it made me discover dozens and dozens of free (!) fangames all over the World Wide Web. On the other hand, many of them were, honestly, pretty bad.
What I'm trying to say here is, this feels and plays like a bad Sonic fangame. One of those with very, very low ratings that you downloaded anyway because there was the word "Sonic" in the title.

Sega forgot what a sequel is
Supposedly the fourth game in the main 2D series, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 doesn't feel at all like the continuation to those games, but rather a terrible rehash of the original. Gone are the different shields introduced in Sonic 3, gone are the multiple playable characters, gone is even the slightest bit of story or continuity between the various stages. All that's different from the 1991 classic is the presence of the homing attack introduced in Adventure, and the awful controls.

Sega forgot what playing as Sonic feels like
And it's the awful controls one of the biggest flaws that this game has, most notably the complete lack of momentum. As soon as you stop pressing left or right, the titular character immediately stops, even in mid-air, even after being launched by a cannon, leading to unfair losses of rings or, at worst, deaths. Speaking of unfair, the homing attack has also changed for the worse: as soon as Sonic hits an enemy, or even as soon as the forward momentum given by the attack ends, he "cancels out" of his rolling animation, meaning that he's vulnerable to any enemy that may happen to be near him.

Sega forgot how to make new and exciting stages
The lack of effort put into the controls reflects the low-quality level design. Not only there are merely four Zones that consist of three Acts and a boss battle each (plus a final Zone), but they're all bad clones of pre-existing stages from the first three games in the series, with only a handful of differences here and there. The same applies to the fights against Eggman.
They did try to change things up a bit, but most of the new gimmicks end up being not fun at all: for example, Lost Labyrinth Zone's second Act is almost completely shrouded in darkness (as in, 70% of the screen is nothing but black), and Sonic has to light up torches and blow up dynamites to continue.
What's also not fun at all is the inclusion of a couple of section that were probably meant to be played with motion controls during Lost Labyrinth and Mad Gear. Taking control away from the player doesn't feel good at all, especially when there are almost-invisible spikes you can and will touch.
Also baffling was the decision to make you take on any Act in any order, despite the later Acts and Zones being obviously harder than the first ones. Well, "harder" probably isn't the right word: the entire game is all but a stroll in the park, one that likes to hand you lives as if they were rings, before wanting all of them back during your last encounter with Eggman, which is an exercise in frustration that requires an excessive amount of trial-and-error to finally top.

It took me less than two hours to beat this game - only seventy-five minutes outside of the final stage - and I highly doubt I'll ever touch it ever again.

Final score: Avoid like the plague / 10
Posted August 10, 2017.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
23.3 hrs on record
If you can survive the first, boring, slow, mind-numbing two chapters, you're in for an incredibly fun adventure. Amazing graphics, great enviroments, epic, yet unmemorable soundtrack, fun combat system, really good length (it took me 20 hours to barely finish it). Its only cons are, as I mentioned, the boring beginning, and the omnipresent "Uncharted" climbing sections. You might not enjoy it if you are a big fan of the old Vanias, but give it a shot, expecially when it's on sale.
Posted November 11, 2015. Last edited November 11, 2015.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 entries