Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review: Future Imperfect

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review: Future Imperfect

Radiant Historia was a game that never truly earned its glowing reputation, as far as I’m concerned. The time-travelling RPG released on the Nintendo DS in 2011, garnering swift comparison to Chrono Trigger—an honour which, in retrospect, was bestowed upon it only for the temporal elements central to each game’s plot—and igniting a critical frenzy that doomed it to forever live in Chrono Trigger‘s shadow.

Read moreRadiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS) Review: Future Imperfect

Top 5 Hand-Held Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday

Top 5 Hand-Held Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday

Black Friday has come and gone, but it’s not too late to set your friends up (or simply treat yourself) with a fantastic handheld game to keep you occupied throughout your holiday travel this year. Check out CGMagazine’s Derek Heemsbergen’s recommendations for the most immersive, addictive, and flat-out gripping handheld titles available now on a portable console near you!

Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth

Top 5 Hnad-Held Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday
Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth – gameplay image via Atlus and Nintendo

A massive dungeon-crawling adventure, Etrian Odyssey V blends Dungeons & Dragons-style character-building with distinctly Japanese RPG sensibilities.

Why They’ll Love It: They’ll spend hours upon hours creating a party of super-powered custom adventurers…and then tens of hours more braving the treacherous Yggdrasil labyrinth! Etrian Odyssey V is one seriously dense game, with tons to see and do. Its signature map-making gameplay should appease old-school gamers looking for a meaty experience with a slightly analogue sensibility.

 

Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

Top 5 Hnad-Held Games to Give Your Friends (or Your Greedy Self) This Holiday 1
Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon – gameplay image via Nintendo

Like Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, Emerald, and their other “third version” counterparts before them, Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are the latest and greatest way to experience the addictive Pokémon phenomenon.

Why They’ll Love It: It’s Pokémon, but bigger and better than ever. Chances are, if your would-be recipient has even a passing interest in Pokémon, they’ve probably already checked out 2016’s Sun and Moon. Why not get them this year’s updated version so that they don’t have to drop the cash? Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon‘s myriad tweaks and additions are welcome, though perhaps not substantial enough to justify buying the game yet again, making it an excellent stocking stuffer for the financially conservative Pokémon fanatic.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

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Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana – gameplay image via NIS America, Inc.

The latest entry in the Ys series is a blazing-fast action RPG perfectly suited to the pick-up-and-play nature of the PlayStation Vita.

Why They’ll Love It: With its origins squarely back in the 1980s, Ys is a storied game series with some serious street cred. Lacrimosa of Dana continues in the proud tradition of its predecessors with swords, spells, and mystery aplenty. Because most every Ys game is a self-contained adventure, Lacrimosa of Dana stands on its own as a fast and frenetic adventure that should make any RPG fan happy. As a bonus, NIS America is currently at work on a revamped localization for the game, which should give it a renewed lease on life sometime next year. Did somebody say New Game+?

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

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Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – gameplay image via Spike Chunsoft

The thrilling conclusion to the Danganronpa series brings another bizarre tale of high school murder to the small screen on PlayStation Vita.

Why They’ll Love It: There are few series out there more morbidly compelling than Danganronpa. With a grim, high-stakes story and excellent music to keep their blood pumping, your lucky recipient will be drawn into Danganronpa‘s bloody world in no time flat. Despite being a new entry in the series, V3‘s connection to previous Danganronpa games is a little more subtle, making it a fine entry point for newcomers. Chances are, though, they’ll want to go back for more.

Tobu Tobu Girl

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Tobu Tobu Girl – image via Tangram Games

A hyper-retro blast from the 8-bit past, Tobu Tobu Girl is an adorable, arcade-style Game Boy platformer freshly released at the tail end of 2017.

Why They’ll Love It: Whimsical and challenging, Tobu Tobu Girl hearkens back to classic Game Boy titles that were bursting with imagination. Plus, because Tobu Tobu Girl‘s physical edition is a limited, independent release, it’s sure to become a rare collector’s item. You’ll be giving a fun game and the gift of a financial investment! How’s that for a one-two punch?

Still unsure about what to get that special someone this Holiday season? For more suggestions, check out the CGMagazine Buyers Guide – Best of 2017 Edition, available for pre-order now, in print and digital formats. Get yours here.

EDITORS NOTE: A retail versions of some of these games were provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more of Derek Heemsbergen’s  reviews, such as  Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth and his second look at Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

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CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review – Slumber Party

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review - Slumber Party

Mario Party is a series that I have long been at odds with. I personally think Mario Party 2 was the last good one, since it was the last game that required actual skill to succeed; each game to follow would become more reliant on dumb luck. And yet, whenever a new one is announced I’m optimistic that the franchise will be good again.

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review - Slumber Party 9
Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) – gameplay images via Nintendo

When Nintendo announced Mario Party: The Top 100 during a September Direct, I initially thought it was strange considering that the minigames really aren’t the reason anyone plays Mario Party. However, a nostalgic throwback to some of the great minigames might’ve be a novel idea—but that’s really all Mario Party: The Top 100 offers.

The first issue with The Top 100 is how incredibly dull it is. There’s just really not that much to it from a gameplay perspective. Out of the five gameplay modes available, none of them offer any real variety or entertainment. First there’s the titular “Top 100” where you just choose a minigame and play it, however this is marred from the start considering not all 100 minigames are available and need to be unlocked via the “Minigame Island” mode.

“Minigame Island” might sound like a classic Mario Party board game mode, however it is just a fairly linear sequence of playing through all 100 mini-games until you reach the end. While this does give you a chance to familiarize yourself with all the minigames, it’s so incredibly boring since it’s a single-player mode and the AI is horribly inconsistent; starting at a laughably easy mode and fluctuating anywhere between grossly incompetent or completely unbeatable on the “harder difficulties.”

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review - Slumber Party 8
Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) – gameplay images via Nintendo

Also, for whatever reason, someone felt it appropriate to attach a lives system to this mode. Every time you lose a minigame, you lose a life and when you’re out of lives, you start back at the “halfway point” of the last island you’re on. But this is completely pointless since even when you lose a minigame, you still progress to the next one, and the game autosaves after every loss/completion. So even if you “game over,” you’re just kicked back to an arbitrary location and have to just walk to where you were.

Furthermore, each minigame has a completion rank of three stars that you can achieve depending on your position, so why would a lives system be necessary when anyone whose going for a high score will inevitably go back and try to complete it? It boggles the mind.

“Minigame Match” is an equally dull mode where an attempt is made to simulate board play. Players roll dice and move freely around a collection of squares and try to pick up balloons that award coins, stars, and even activate minigame play. It moves at a snail’s pace and it doesn’t even select minigames randomly—players choose a bundle of five minigames (N64 pack, Gamecube pack, Puzzle Pack, ETC) and if a minigame balloon is picked up, you choose one of the minigames in your pack. Whichever player picked up the balloon gets a larger space on a wheel, and if the arrow lands on your space, you play your minigame. It is pointlessly roundabout and in keeping with the series’ progress, more reliant on dumb luck than anything you actually did.

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review - Slumber Party 6
Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) – gameplay images via Nintendo

The “Championship Battles” and “Decathlon” Modes are geared more for PvP multiplayer modes. In Championship Battles players compete in three or five minigames, with the player who wins the most minigames winning the battle. In Decathlon, players compete in five or ten minigames, aiming for the highest score. Depending on where you finish (first, second, or third), you’ll be allotted more points. While Championship Battles could be fun if you have four friends to play it with, it feels unnecessary beside the Top 100 game mode where you’re already competing to see who can win the most minigames; and unlike the Top 100, you have to choose from a bundle, so there isn’t even the element of added freedom.

Decathlon might have been interesting, except for the fact that there is ZERO variety to it. Every time you play, you’ll be given the same five or ten minigames, so I hope you really like Slot Car Derby cause you’ll be seeing it every time.

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review - Slumber Party 4
Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) – gameplay images via Nintendo

The most glaring problem with The Top 100—ironically—lies in its multiplayer. While the game does feature 3DS to 3DS play in both download and cartridge play, that’s ALL it features. While this might be okay for some players, I challenge any adult/young adult fan to find four friends, each with a 3DS, and four matching schedules to sit down and only play the minigames in Mario Party. My entire experience with this game consisted of me crushing the pathetic AI who, even when set to “very hard”, offered no challenge. Had this game included an online mode where you could just jump into some minigames with a few other people, then it would’ve been the perfect serving of some quick, pick-up-and-play Mario Party fun.

Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review - Slumber Party 1
Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) – gameplay images via Nintendo

Honestly, all the game really has going for it is that it looks nice and sounds nice. The graphics have been cleaned up and tailored well to the 3DS and the sound quality of the effects and music have also followed suit. But the gameplay is lackluster and honestly, the minigame selection really isn’t that great either, further showcasing the series’ decline. There are maybe 15-20 good minigames from Mario Party, Mario Party 2, and maybe Mario Party 4. Every other game onward just feels so hand-holdy and devoid of any consequence or challenge. The kinds of minigames that come from an entry that thought it was a good idea to get rid of the board game element of Mario Party and stick everyone in a stupid car for some reason.

Unfortunately, like many of Nintendo’s attempts to capitalize on nostalgia, Mario Party: The Top 100 feels like a party Nintendo threw for themselves and blew the entire budget on banners, cake, and confetti. They forgot to spend on the one thing that makes a party worthwhile: the entertainment.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can find additional information about CGMagazine’s ethics and review policies and procedures here.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Jordan Biordi’s reviews of Metroid: Samus Returns and Pokkén Tournament DX for the Nintendo Switch!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, Super Mario Odyssey, and Cuphead!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!