Aron Garst

aron garst

Aron Garst is a freelance journalist from Northern California. He spends his time cooking the best chicken in the Bay Area, watching the Arizona Cardinals play good football, and waiting for the day Super Mario Sunshine 2 graces whatever Nintendo console that's sitting on his shelf. You can follow him on twitter @GarstProduction

last guardian

The Last Guardian Review

Posted by | PlayStation 4, Reviews | No Comments

Available on PlayStation 4

After years and years of being stuck in development purgatory, The Last Guardian has finally hit the PS4s of everyone who is still willing to give it a chance. And as many expected, Fumita Ueda’s latest creation will be a big point of contention for the gaming industry.It’s filled with gorgeous moments between Trico and the nameless boy as well as stunning environments filled with color, but major issues with controls, camera movement, and AI put a real damper on all the fun.

The Story

Everything in The Last Guardian revolves around the relationship between a nameless boy and a giant griffin-like creature named Trico. It’s amazing to see that bond grow throughout the course of the adventure, and the last stretch of the game is one of my favorite experiences in gaming this year.

Much like Ueda’s other games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the overall story has a lot that is left to interpretation. Whether or not you’ll like what that sort of experience depends on what kind of narrative structure you typically enjoy, but I’d recommend the game based off the bond between the two characters alone.

What stands out is the particularly cinematic moments that leave flashes of brilliance throughout the game.Trico saving you a split second before a bridge collapses beneath your feet is just one of many moments that keeps The Last Guardian exciting.

the last guardian

The Gameplay

Puzzles and platforming take center stage as you navigate various temples and lush environments. You’ll need to do things like guide Trico toward a wall with stain glass windows so that he can destroy them. And that’s one of the most promising and frustrating parts of the experience. All throughout the game, you’re powerless.

You need Trico for almost everything, and it feels really good to develop a partnership with this giant beast. Getting past a rather challenging puzzle by instructing Trico or leading the various enemies you encounter to Trico leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. But Trico is also the reason why some of those puzzles are challenging, the commands you have don’t always register with Trico. Sometimes he’ll be facing the wrong way or unwilling to go to the exact spot you need him in. It creates some rather frustrating moments that really hurt the game’s flow.

The Rating

The ESRB slapped a Teen rating on this cooperative expedition due to some fantasy violence and blood, but there isn’t much to be wary of for younger players. I’d recommend playing this game with your kid if they’re even if they’re on the younger side.

Takeaway

In the end, I really enjoyed The Last Guardian. It placed itself among other strong narrative focused games that came out this year. But if you’re on a budget, Ueda’s latest creation isn’t the first game I’d recommend you spend your money on, especially if you’re a stickler for tight controls and intelligent AI.

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence

Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence Review

Posted by | PlayStation 4, Reviews | No Comments

Available on PC, PlayStation  4
We played on PlayStation 4

At first, Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence was as much my enemy as the warring factions in the game. The complicated tutorial only got more complicated as time went on. It seemed like hours passed before I began to understand the intricate gameplay mechanics of this historical strategic war. But once I did get my bearings straight I had a good time with Sphere of Influence. It didn’t grip me like other strategy games, but I was determined to bring peace to 16th Century Japan.

The Story

You can choose between nine historical campaigns where you take control of one of Japan’s’ warring elite families. No matter what you pick the goal remains the same: uniting a divided Japan. During different campaigns you’re presented with little vignettes that are specific to your chosen family’s history. It’s a nice way to give context to the tangled rivalries and conflicts you’ll encounter during your conquest.

nuba-screen1

The Gameplay

The extent of my experience with strategy games starts and ends with Fire Emblem, Age of Empires, and Civilization. I was not prepared for the depth of gameplay that Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence required. It took me a number of hours to get acclimated to the game’s deep strategic system. This was something I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t writing this review.

As expected, Nobunaga’s Ambition’s learning curve is steeper than Mount Everest. I was completely baffled during my first few sessions, not knowing what each command meant. I had to spend a lot of time reviewing instructions and going over text popups to understand basic gameplay mechanics. Beyond that, the game is obviously designed for PC, and those controls do not transfer well over to PS4.

nuba-screen2

The Rating

Nobunaga is rated T with descriptors for mild blood, mild language and viloence. The game deals with mature themes within Japanese history. Violence and death being at the forefront. Beyond that the game is incredibly difficult to understand. Younger gamers may have a hard time grasping its complicated system. Some of these are so comples, even older gamers would find it difficult.

It’s also incredibly text heavy. When starting out you’ll need to read what feels like pages of instructional information that’s vital to learning how to play the game. And it doesn’t let up much later on.

Takeaway

I didn’t enjoy Sphere of Influence as much as I do other strategy games. But if you’re big on tactical gameplay and East Asian history this title might be for you. It’s a tough game to learn but with enough time invested, it can be a rewarding strategy experience, one that we don’t see much of on consoles.

dragon quest builders

Dragon Quest Builders Review

Posted by | PlayStation 4, Reviews | No Comments

Available on: PlayStation 4

Even though I’ve always been interested in crafting a beautiful skyscraper from scratch, I’ve never been able to commit to the dull environments of Minecraft. Luckily, Dragon Quest Builders creates a beautiful experience with a lush world and approachable controls. It’s a simple joy to play. Read More

sonic boom fire and ice

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review

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Available on Nintendo 3DS

It’s been a rough few years for Sonic and company. They’ve learned that striking a balance between platforming and speed is a lot harder than it seems. Luckily, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice avoids a lot of the mistakes its predecessors have made, shaping itself into an enjoyable, if not generic, adventure with the blue hedgehog and his pals. Read More