The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

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The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is considered to be a hidden gem for the PlayStation 3 by many people who have played this game.  While The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel was also made available for the PlayStation Vita there were many complaints about its frame rate in comparison to the PlayStation 3.  Despite, the quality differences in both versions Trails of Cold Steel has the same amount of exhilarating RPG action with the inclusion of seven chapters that make up the story for this game.  One of the exciting features in Trails of Cold Steel involves the grid based battle system this game utilizes.  Even though, some of the monsters & bosses in this game were tough players at the opportunity to have up to four characters in their group during battles.

In most games during the 2000’s such as some the 3D Final Fantasy games players can have only up three characters battles with bosses or monsters.  Some people might compare this game to the likes of Suikoden where players were generally allowed to have more than three characters on the field during trivial battles.  Another feature that stands out about Trails of Cold Steel includes it in depth battle mode which gives the players multiple options on what to do with their characters.  The BGM for Trails of Cold Steel also adds a nice touch to the game especially when the action takes place during those exciting monster battles.  The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel was definitely a great title that was developed by Nihon Falcon considering the fact that it was the first in the series.

While some might argue that this game is not perfect many others would say that it was a top notch RPG title with great storytelling, fantastic visuals, and nice gameplay.   When this game was first released in Japan during late 2013 many people had to wait about two years for it to be released in America during the end of 2015.  The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II was also the same in which the actual game was released in America about two years after it inital release in Japan in 2014.  As of right now Trails of Cold Steel III will definitely be in the works and has many people wondering what to expect prior to ts release.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue

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The Kingdom Hearts series is one of the best RPG’s of the 00’s and the early 10’s.  When the original Kingdom Hearts game made its debut many people were impressed by the concept along with many other features of the series including the characters of series.  Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter features remastered version of Dream Drop Distance along with Kingdom Hearts X Back Cover and Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage.    Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop had an awesome soundtrack  on “The World Ends with You” OST including  “Calling”, “Long Dream”, and “Give Me All Your Love”.  While Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue would be consider an excellent prelude to Kingdom Hearts III many people have been waiting since the mid 00’s  for Square Enix to officially release the long awaited sequel following the KH II series.

Another cool thing about Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter includes the fact that it will utilize the Unreal Engine 4 which will also be featured in Kingdom Hearts III. Sometimes its hard believe that the original Kingdom Hearts II was released in 2005 back when the PlayStation 2 was still popular.  During the mid 00’s many people had probably expected Kingdom Hearts III to be released for the PlayStation 3 shortly after it made its debut in late 2006.  The fact that it has been almost a decade since the release of the original Kingdom Hearts II game means Kingdom Hearts III is definitely going to be something special. As of right now many gamers are looking forward to the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue since it provides a more refined version of of Dream Drop Distance for the Nintendo 3DS.  Those who never got a chance to play Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance will have the opportunity to play it for PlayStation after its worldwide release coming up in December 2016.  As of right now we have know that Kingdom Hearts III will be released in 2017 but on the plus side fans of the series will have a nice Christmas present to look forward to during December courtesy of Square Enix.

Odin Sphere Leifthraisr- HD Remake

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It was pretty cool that Odin Sphere Leifthraisr was re-released for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and the Vita back in January 2016.  What was great about Odin Sphere Leifthraisr during the late 00’s was that it was different from most of the games that were popular during that decade.  During the 00’s first person shooter games were very popular along with titles in the fighting genre while Odin Sphere Leiftraisr was an RPG game that diverted from the traditional three dimensional gameplay format.  Odin Sphere was a side-scrolling 2D game that featured fantastic combat, great soundtracks, smooth frame rates, along with awesome graphics & artwork.  Vanillaware did an excellent job with the storytelling aspect of the game which interconnects five separate stories of the main characters Gwendolph, Cornelius, Mercedes, Oswald and Velvet.

When Odin Sphere Leifthraisr was first released in 2007 many people more than likely enjoyed this game because it was something that seemed very different from a traditional RPG game.  Odin Sphere had included basic elements that are normally seen in other Role Playing games while being a 2D side scrolling which really brought back feelings of nostalgia in relation to classic games of the early 90’s for Super Nintendo.  When the remake of Odin Sphere Leifthraisr was released the graphics for the game looked better than ever since it featured 1080p.  As fun as Odin Sphere Leifthraisr was one has to wonder if Vanillaware have any plans on making a sequel to this RPG classic; it so it will probably be a while before we hear about any plans in regards to its development.

Gaming Consoles- Sega Genesis: (1988)

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We all remember how cool the Sega Genesis was when it made its debut in Japan during the late 80’s.  The console wars throughout the 90’s is what made gaming  an exciting experience during that time period.  One of the coolest things about the Sega Genesis was that it was a backward compatible console that could also utilize games from the Sega Master system that was originally released in Japan in 1985.  When we think about the Sega Genesis the first thing that comes to mind is Sonic the Hedgehog who is considered the mascot Sega.  The Sonic the Hedgehog games developed between 1991 and 1994 were legendary not only because it helped revolutionize the platform gaming genre it also provided a great alternative to most of the titles released by Nintendo’s Super Mario series during that era.  Along with Sonic the Hedgehog the Sega Genesis also had many great titles including Streets of Rage 2, Sega Outrun, Golden Axe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist.

One of the many features that stands out about the Sega Genesis includes the sound chips used for this game console. The Yamaha YM2612 along with the Texas Instruments SN76489 had allowed the Sega Genesis to produce some great soundtracks for many titles especially the ones produced by Yuso Kushiro such as the Streets of Rage series and Revenge of the Shinobi.  Along with having great soundtracks for many games Sega had developed add on hardware for the Genesis known as 32X which was available in both Japan and America in late 1994.   The 32X was unique because it allowed people to play 32-bit games on the Sega Genesis which was originally a 16-bit console.  In terms of high quality graphics some might argue that the 32X was Sega’s response to Super Nintendo’s Super FX Chip which provided enhanced 2D visual gameplay in certain game cartridges such as the original Star Fox.

While online gaming is predominate in today’s generation in the early 90’s it was not such a big thing.  In fact many people who were children were probably unaware that the Sega Genesis had provided online service for a brief period of time.  The online services were accessed using Sega Meganet which was only exclusive in Japan along with Sega Channel and the XBAND modem.  While the development of online services appeared to be good in theory but there were some issues in practice.  One of the issues for the Sega Channel had included a high subscription fee along with having a few playable games such as Mega Man: The Wily Wars which is considered an underrated classic by many people.     When the Sega Genesis was originally released in the late 80’s many people where blown away by the graphics and gameplay it provided with the inclusion of the Motorola 68000 and the Zilog Z80 CPU.  The visual design & sprites for various games such as Phantasy Star series was incredible and seemed ahead of its time during the early 90’s.

Since its release the Sega Genesis had sold at least 30 million units worldwide with the best selling game being the first two Sonic the Hedgehog games with a combined total over 21 million buys.  It should be noted that the Sega Genesis game consoles were being manufactured and sold in retail stores throughout the entire decade as it was discontinued in 1999.  Some might say that the reason way the Sega Genesis sold more units worldwide than Sega Saturn & Sega Dreamcast was because it was discontinued almost a decade after it was released while the other two were available for only a few years.  Either way, the Sega Genesis along with Super Nintendo helped revolutionize the landscape of gaming during the 90’s during the console wars and is seen by many as one of the best game systems of the 16-bit era.

Gaming Consoles- Super Nintendo Entertainment System: (1990)

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When we think about gaming consoles of the past the Super Nintendo Entertainment System is always one of the first systems that comes to mind in regards to the 16-bit era.  When the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in the early 90’s it exceeded the expectations of many people who were fans of the 8-bit NES game console.  It was almost impossible to be a gaming fan during the 80’s and not being familiar with the Nintendo Entertainment System released in 1983.  Almost seven years later when the Super Nintendo was released in 1990 many people around the world were blown away by various features that this console had included.  One of the many great features for the Super Nintendo included the S-SMP which was the audio processing unit this console.  Even though, many people often compare the sound system to Sega Genesis in terms of quality the audio for many games involving the SNES were actually pretty good.

One of the cool things about the Super Nintendo included its ability to produce games that appeared to exceed the capacity of what it was actually capable of doing.   An example would include the Super FX chips included in certain SNES games such as Star Fox, Doom and Super Mario Bros 2: Yoshi’s Island which enhanced the quality of each title.  The Super FX chip had utilized 3D polygons in order create awesome 2D visual effects for a handful of games released for the SNES in the early 90’s.  Even though there were some unreleased SNES games for the Super FX including Star Fox 2 it would have been interesting to see how great titles would have been.  The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was also known for releasing some memorable RPG titles during the early 90’s including Chrono Trigger, The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy V, Breath of Fire II, Tales of Phantasia and Star Ocean along with many other games.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System produced many exciting games but similar to the NES Super Mario sold the most units worldwide.  The two games Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart as sold over a combined total of 28 million units worldwide since its release.  One of the best non Mario games to sell millions worldwide included Street Fighter II: World Warrior which sold over 6.3 million units since its release in 1991.  One of the most interesting things about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was that this console was still being manufactured despite the release of the Nintendo 64 in 1996.  It has been reported that the Super Nintendo Entertainment system has sold over 49 million units worldwide since its initial release. Even though, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was very innovative in variety of different ways it still managed to sell less then the NES.

The Nintendo Entertainment System has sold at least 61 million units worldwide with people the Americas being the primary consumers.  While the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was far better in gameplay & quality the NES has been available since the early 80’s and was not discontinued until the late 00’s.  The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was made available in 1990 and was discontinued right before the start of the new millennium. The console wars between Nintendo and Sega during the 90’s left us with a wonderful gaming experience because it forced both gaming companies to produce high quality consoles and games that many people cherish to this day.  Even though,the Super Nintendo game console is over 25 years old some people would prefer playing some of the most popular titles of the 16-bit era opposed to many of the modern titles of today.

Classic Gaming- Breath of Fire II: (1994)

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We all remember how exciting 16-bit gaming was back in the early part of the 1990’s.  We had many exciting games in many different genres which made the 16-bit era of gaming unforgettable. The RPG games of the early 90’s were great especially titles such as Breath of Fire II developed by Capcom and originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994. It was incredible that Breath of Fire II was released only about a year after the prequel for the same console in 1993.  Also, there were various aspects about Breath of Fire II which made it an exciting RPG title.   The soundtrack for Breath of Fire II was great along with the ability to save progress made throughout the game on the cartridge due to the internal memory it included. Unlike some other RPG titles Breath of Fire II follows the prequel in terms of story which occurs 500 years later while most of the action takes place ten years after the game starts.

Many people would probably agree that the multiple encounters with Barubury in this game were sort of annoying but it was necessary in order to progress throughout the story.  Along with being an exciting turn based role playing game there were some cool features Breath of Fire II had including the “Monster Meter” which allowed players to detect enemies within specific locations. Another cool feature dealt with having the ability to utilize various attacks & spells along with leveling up main characters as you progressed throughout the game.  In Breath of Fire II the players had to overcome many obstacles to advance towards the end of the game where they face their toughest challenge.  As you get towards the end of Breath of Fire II you end up doing battle with Barubury who is considered to be one of the toughest bosses in the game even with a team four people.  Players have the option of battling Barubury alone with Ryu but it would probably be best to have as much back up as possible when battling him.  It would also be best for players to have their characters leveled in the 50’s before taking one Barubury since his attacks take a lot of damage.

Similar to the prequel Breath of Fire II includes multiple endings which created more anticipation as one made towards the end of the game.  Breath of Fire II along with Final Fantasy VI were two great RPG titles released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994.  The gameplay and graphics for Breath of Fire II was just as good as Final Fantasy VI along with some of the in game battle themes.  But one of the main differences between the two games includes the multiplayer feature in Final Fantasy VI opposed to Breath of Fire II which is single player only.  Both Capcom & Square were able to produce remarkable RPG titles in the early to mid 90’s and the competition between these companies made the gaming experience exciting for many around the world.  After its release Breath of Fire II has received many favorable reviews from gaming publications including IGN, Game Informer along with GameSpot which gave the game a near perfect score.  If there is any RPG game from the 16-bit era that is worth playing in this day and age Breath of Fire II would probably be ranked in the top 20 out of many games from the 90’s.

Retro Gaming- Samurai Shodown II: (1994)

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The first Samurai Shodown title released for the arcade system in the early 90’s was great because it was one of the many fighting games that spiced up the genre along with many other popular titles including Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Fatal Fury, and the King of Fighters series.  The first Samurai Shodown title released in 1993 was known to be one of the best multiplayer fighting games in arcade centers worldwide despite not being quite as popular as other gaming titles.  Shortly, after its release Samurai Shodown would receive a sequel in 1994 that included enhanced gameplay and a more in-depth story mode.  The cutscenes for each character in the arcade mode of Samurai Shodown II made this title  unique because it instantly drew the attention of players as they progressed throughout the game.    Some people would argue that the arcade mode in Samurai Shodown II is miles ahead of other fighting games such as Street Fighter II series where the arcade mode does not explain anything other than who you are going to fight next.

Samurai Shodown II was one of the many games that diverted from the traditionally arcade mode where characters travel to different parts of the world to fight their opponents without rhyme or reason.  The storytelling in Samurai Shodown was almost as good as other fighting titles released around that time period including Fatal Fury 3: Fight to the Final Victory in 1995.  Even though, the mechanics in Fatal Fury 3: Fight to the Final Victory appeared to be more superior Samurai Shodown II this title was also great game to play in the arcade centers because very rare to own this title for the Neo Geo following its release in the mid 90’s.  In fact, it was uncommon for many people especially in America to have a Neo Geo at all since it was very expensive and averaged around $650 when it was first released while the Neo Geo CD went for $399.   The Neo Geo version of Samurai Shodown was probably the best because of the arcade based quality that the game system was more than capable of producing.  If you were a huge fan of the series during the 90’s your best bet would have been to get the PlayStation 2 version of the game included in Samurai Shodown Anthology which was released in the late 00’s.  After Samurai Shodown II was first released it was praised by Electronic Gaming Monthly and received a nine out of ten for being one of the best 2D fighting games that one would ever play for any console.  Despite, not being a mainstream fighting title Samurai Shodown II is 2D game that is considered to be an instant classic among many retro gamers.