Welcome to Rocky’s Reviews where we briefly review some of the old and new games we’ve played. The games are listed in the order we’ve played them. They’re more a reflection of personal experience and less like a proper review.
Here’s how Rocky rates games:
All games are marked out of five paws
Games that receive a ham are must owns! A list of the Ham games can be found here.
Avoid anything that receives a broccoli!
Persona 5 Strikers
PlayStation 4 – 2020
Originally released as Persona 5 Scramble in Japan in 2020, Persona 5 Strikers would eventually make its way worldwide in 2021. The game is a collaboration between Atlus and Koei Tecmo, developed by Omega Force and P-Studio. As a result, the game has a lot in common with the Dynasty Warrior series. Gone is the turn-based combat of Persona 5, instead we have a hack‘n’slash action RPG where you have to mow down hordes of enemies. Set across the month of August, Joker meets up with his companions in Tokyo to spend his summer holidays. While in Tokyo, Joker, Morgana and Ryuji accidentally stumble a “Jail”, a cognitive reality similar to the “Palaces” from Persona 5. This kick starts the Phantom Thieves adventure as they travel across Japan to discover the true power behind these “Jails”. You’ll be joined by the original Phantom Thieves from Persona 5, along with two new companions. Each character has their own elemental style, with Joker being able to obtain personae with different elements, similar to how Persona 5 operated. Despite being a hack’n’slash action RPG in the vein of the Dynasty Warriors series, the combat never feels repetitive. You can ambush Shadows to give you an advantage in combat, there’s a wide variety of spells to use, as well as your melee combat and gun. The game also features “All Out Attacks”, which can be used to devastate large groups of enemies. Also added are “Show Time” attacks. These are built up through combat and can be unleashed to great effect. The game’s “Jails” are inventive and fun to explore, even if they are a bit linear. The art style of Persona 5 returns and looks as beautiful as ever. The game does offer a Framerate or Graphics option but while playing in Graphics mode I never encountered any framerate drops, something which does happen in Koei Tecmo games. The confidant system is gone, instead you have a “Bond” bar that levels up through side quests, main quests and combat. This can be used to unlock new abilities for the team. The side-quests are scaled back from Persona 5 but there is still a decent amount here, including ones that see you assist your team mates with different “challenges” (such as gathering sweets for Ann). The fantastic music of Persona 5 returns, along with some new tunes to sink your teeth into. The only issue I had with sound was that sometimes the background music would drown out the voice acting. It’s a great game and my favourite of the “Dynasty Warriors” style so far. The story is excellent and it’s nice to see the Phantom Thieves one last time.
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Xbox 360 – 2012
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is another entry in TT Games long running Lego series. All the familiar tropes are here such as secret characters, minikits, red bricks and gold bricks. The game’s hub takes place in Gotham City. Here, you can explore the city to find new characters, red bricks that unlock cheats and even vehicles to drive or fly. The map is a nice size and there’s just the right number of collectibles where it never feels overwhelming. You can also access the Batcave. From here you can progress the main story. Unlike the first Lego Batman game, this one’s main story is a single narrative. You’ll play as Batman, Robin, Superman and some of the Justice League as you attempt to stop the Joker and Kex Luthor. The levels have a little variety to them, from the standard side-scrolling smashing levels to on rail shooters. Each level also contains its own set of items to find that require at least two visits. The game looks crisper than the first one, with Gotham’s gothic setting well detailed. The music is great, if a little repetitive. It features some recognizable Batman tracks as well as the Superman theme whenever you fly as him. The game is the first in the Lego series to feature voice acting. The voice actors all play their roles well and the kookiness of the non-voice acted games is still here, if dialled down a little. Gameplay can be fun or frustrating. During the levels, the characters control well, with flight easy to master. In the hub world, it’s a different story. Flying is frustrating, with acceleration controlled by the A button and altitude and direction controlled by the right stick. This can be frustrating as your character can accelerate suddenly, making some of the gold bricks frustrating to collect. The game features split screen, which is a great improvement over the first game. Now you and a friend can explore the different areas without the game dropping you out randomly. Glitches are back and in our playthrough we had the game freeze, a level award us an extra minikit (we ended up with 11/10), a random gold brick just popped up with a glitched message and an Achievement unlock without us actually fulfilling the criteria for it. The game is fun, especially when played with a friend. It’s one of the finer entries in the Lego series but the controls just let it down.
PlayStation 4 – 2016
Atlus’ long awaited fifth entry in the Persona series is a wonderful experience. A turn-based JRPG with a compelling story, you step into the shoes on a young student who’s been wrongly accused of a crime. As a result, he’s been sent to live with a coffee shop owner in order to keep him out of trouble. As he begins his new life, he discovers there’s a hidden world built from people’s cognitive desires. Here, he and a group of friends will steal these people’s treasure and stop their distorted desires. Persona 5’s play style is slightly different from other JRPGs. Here, everyday life, such as school, friendship and hobbies are as important as dungeon exploring. In the real world, you’ll interact with several characters, call confidants. Building your bond with these will help you to understand the world but also unlocks cool features that will help you in battle. Taking part in hobbies and school helps to build up your skills and in turn, these will help you to advance confidants, make tools and unlock items. The dungeons are large and involve you making your way to the treasure before sending a calling card. The idea behind the dungeons is that you don’t do it all in one go but instead mix it up with real world activities. As the loading screen says, “take your time”. The combat is turn based but the main protagonist, Joker can persuade the games enemies, called Shadows, to join him. They each come with their own strengths and weaknesses, abilities and stats. These shadows can also be fused together to make even more powerful persona. The game looks amazing, from its in-game presentation to its anime cutscenes, and even its wonderful menu screens. The music is catchy, if a little repetitive. The heist music will get you pumped though. Persona 5 was my first entry in the series and it is a jaw-dropping experience, if a little slow in places. Overall, it’s a fun adventure that leaves you wanting more when it’s over.
Xbox One – 2017
F1 2017, similar to Codemasters’ previous entries, is a visually stunning game, from the details on each car to the track and even the race weekend presentation. TV Presentation is here, with commentators going through the Grid order and podium celebrations after the race. The career mode now features a paddock type hub, similar to how the first entries in Codemasters’ F1 sims. Here, you’ll interact with a laptop to go to the next session, change engine parts, see the championship standings and develop your car. Other characters will approach you to tell you of a new rival, how a new part has progressed or to invite you to a classic car event. It looks fantastic but the only downside is it increases the load times. The car development is much improved over the previous entries. Using a system F1 2016 introduced, you complete objectives over a race weekend and earn resource points. These are then spent to improve your car’s performance or reliability. These accrue slowly as a way to encourage you to remain loyal to a team rather than jumping around. Replacing car parts may incur a penalty, similar to how it would in real life. My issue was I found my car parts to wear very quickly so I ended up investing most of my development into durability to avoid grid penalties. When you start out, you create a character, customise their helmet (some helmets allow you to change individual colours) and pick your car number. Then you can choose any team to start with along with your teammate. The career mode is 10 years long but unfortunately other drivers don’t switch teams. This was an issue with all of the F1 games until recently. Classic events will pop up every now and again but they can’t be skipped. It’s a nice addition to be able to play as old McLarens, Ferraris or Williams but after a while I just wanted to get on with my season. Outside of career mode there’s Championships, which allow you to partake in different championship events such as Classic Championship Season and Sprint Challenge, as well as the Invitational Events you’ll encounter in Career Mode. The game has the usual wealth of options from assists such as Pit Limiter to weather setting but now you can change the time of day and difficulty is a sliding bar so you can find the driver AI just for you. There’re also a few variances on tracks such as Bahrain or the USA. On the track, the cars feel fantastic. With the right set-up, you will be gliding around the track with ease and thanks to the track acclimatization programme in practice, you’ll soon pick up how to manoeuvre around each course. Overall, it’s a great experience, even a few years after its initial release.
Lego Batman: The Videogame
Xbox 360 – 2008
One of TT Games earliest releases in the Lego series sees you take control of the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder as you smash your way through Gotham’s villains. The game is split into two parts, the Hero side where you’ll control Batman and Robin, and the Villain side where you’ll play as the likes of the Riddler, the Penguin and the Joker. Each side has three chapters with five missions in each chapter. The game isn’t long, with 100% competition easy enough to achieve. The game does feature collectibles in the form of Mini-kits, coins and hostages to rescue. Most of the game is played on foot but there are some levels where you’ll fly a plane, drive a car or control a boat. The game features a decent list of characters to unlock but nothing on the scale of the later Lego games. As it’s an early entry, there is no voice acting. Instead, the plot (if you can call it that) is told through the characters’ expressions and set pieces. The game can be played alone or with a friend but most of the achievements are only unlocked for the main player. The game does have some annoying faults. In two-player, there’s no split screen. This often means that the computer will drop a player out if another goes too far ahead. It appears to decide which player to drop randomly as there were times that I was the second player who didn’t progress quick enough but player-one was dropped out instead. In other cases where it doesn’t drop the player out, it drags them across the screen, sometimes into danger. The game does sometimes freeze (during our playthrough it crashed three times) and achievements can be glitchy. One achievement forced us to start a new game to unlock. It also has one of the worst bonus levels in the series to date – Wayne Mansion. It requires you to get 1,000,000 studs but there’s only that exact number in the level and if you miss one, you’ll spend some time trying to find it. It’s a decent entry in the Lego series but feels incredibly dated as a result of how much the series has progressed. It’s fun to play with a friend but you’re probably better off sticking with the newer entries.