El Hijo: A Wild West Tale Stealth and Mischief

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale developed by Honig Studios and Quantumfrog and published by HandyGames is an adorable adventure strategy game geared towards stealth players. The game was released December 2020 on Playstation, Xbox, Switch, Windows, and Google Stadia.

The story of the game follows a young boy who lives alone with his mother on a farm in the Wild West. One day a group of bandits burns their home to the ground and his mother takes what few possessions they have left, packs them on a horse and they leave. To protect her son she put him in a monastery and subsequently gets kidnapped by the bandits. It’s up to you as a young 6-year-old boy to escape the monastery and save your mother using stealth and the toys and items found on your journey.

If you’ve met me you know I love puzzles and this game is a puzzle in every step. There are many ways to achieve your objective and having a good strategy can be the deciding factor between freedom and getting sent back to your room. There are little things in the game to increase difficulty like engaging with the children of each level while trying to stay unseen. The further you get in the game the more challenging the game becomes and your strategy becomes very important to keep safe.

The graphics of the game were beautiful. Similar to a Saturday morning cartoon t and just as colorful. The transitions are very well done and keep you looking for more. The gameplay is simple and they give you a tutorial at the beginning to get you used to gameplay as well. Using the tools to distract watchers and to give you access to new areas and puzzles. Keeping to the shadows and using the light to your advantage to save mom.

I enjoyed playing this game and I can’t wait to complete it. I’m always trying to find a new strategy to get through each level without being seen and unlocking new scenes and areas. This game was really fun and I think it will be great to play for the entire family.

DVS Game Rating 8/10

Black Legend: A Steam Review

Turn-based is one of my favorite genres in gaming because of how the gameplay ranges in such a broad spectrum. You can go hardcore into turn-based strategy and play legendary titles like Civilization and Age of Wonders, or even maybe dive into a more tactical setting like Fire Emblem. The genre even branches out into Turn-Based RPGs like Final Fantasy, and Persona, which are iconic franchises that have been around for over a decade. Black Legend, however, takes an interesting turn in mixing a free roam setting with tactical gameplay. I did not get to spend as much time as I had wanted in this title, but overall I found it to be very lackluster. While the gameplay feels very satisfying in a tactical sense, there are a lot of areas that can use a lot of improvement when it comes to the free roam standpoint as well as overall performance. This game can be purchased on all platforms for $29.99 and was developed and published by Warcave.

Black Legend takes place in the city Grant, which is cursed by a dense fog and infested with the fanatical Mephistian cult. You create your character and lead a band of mercenaries to aid the resistance and take back the city by uncovering the dark truth behind the cult’s activities. The concept for the story was greatly executed, and the atmosphere did well in drawing me into exploring the dark and deadly city. The game gave an overwhelming feeling of desperation and curiosity with cultists lurking around every corner. One of my biggest issues lies with the free roam part of the game. As I previously stated it did a good job in enticing players to explore, but with any free roam RPG a sense of direction is extremely important.

The game tells you where to go via cutscene and quests, but there is no direction on where the objective will be. The game fails to provide players a map or compass, leaving players to memorize street signs or wander until they land upon the objective. RPGs with free roam need these features if they are going to have location-based quests. I do like that you can engage any NPC in the game and that they will give you random side quests or bits of information to aid your investigation of the cult. This aids in drawing players more into the environment and helps to take away the navigational frustration in a way. I do wish that they would organize the menu more as far as class and quest information goes. I also wish the shops were more customized and showed the player items that are already in inventory.

The gameplay was a huge redeemer for this title because it gave you endless options for character placement and development. The combat system was very well designed and adds a sense of difficulty even in normal. You get the freedom of having a small area to preemptively place your characters before the real combat begins. Then you get gameplay that mirrors Fire Emblem or XCOM on a smaller scale, taking turns with each character and enemy. You can pick from 15 different character classes to assign your mercenaries such as sharpshooters and alchemists, and stack different humors, or actions, in one turn to strategically take out your enemies or move your characters. The possibilities for combat are abundant, and if that isn’t enough for players you can change to a high difficulty which includes permadeath.

However as previously mentioned the menu layout is not well designed by any means with the lack of information for important areas such as weapon assignment per class. A lot of the unique abilities for the different classes felt useless in combat as well. I often found myself turning to guides because of the lack of information and viable classes in general as well as ability set-ups. The combat can also take ridiculously long regardless of difficulty right off the bat, leaving players bored until more abilities and combos surface. 

One other issue I take with the game is the optimization and performance. The game runs well on PC, but on consoles and Steamlink the optimization suffers tremendously. The button mapping is more geared for keyboard and mouse as opposed to a controller which is leaving many players frustrated. Frame rate issues and glitches are rampant on consoles as opposed to PC depending on build. There is also a game-breaking bug that forces the player to restart the game completely. Crashes are a plague on consoles both with new generation and old generation. The only issues recorded with PC regardless of build tend to be installation issues, which are generally fixed by reinstalling the game.

It’s not that I would not recommend the game, but I encourage players to look into it before purchasing. I would urge console players to refrain from playing it until these performance issues are addressed period. The game has good qualities and a lot of potential, but it suffered from poor execution. The combat is great as well as the story, but all the issues overshadow what the game has to offer. I hope the developers can take this as a learning experience if there is to be another entry for the title.

DVS Score: 5/10

Why the Time Is Right For a Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Remake

2021 could very well be a big year for The Legend of Zelda.

There’s been all sorts of whispers that Breath of the Wild 2 could get a big reveal this year – and maybe even a release over the holiday season. But there’s also been talk about the return of some of Link’s earlier adventures for the Nintendo Switch, like the Wii classic Skyward Sword.

But the big talk revolves around a remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, the legendary adventure that made its debut on the Nintendo 64 in its heyday. Still regarded as one of the best games in the series, a remake would hit the spot for the Nintendo Switch, even all these years later.

So why is the time right for this game to get the remake treatment? Well, there’s a lot of factors to consider. Let’s take a look.

It worked for Mario

Back in September, Nintendo shocked its community by releasing a three-pack of Mario’s greatest adventures for the Switch, including a fantastic looking edition of Super Mario 64 from his Nintendo 64 days. The game became a colossal hit, and will likely sell a few million copies more before Nintendo “retires” the three-pack by the end of March 2021.

Its sales indicate that players don’t mind pouring down some cash for a well-made set of remakes, so that shows great possibility when it comes to doing the same for good ol’ Link. A three-pack featuring Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess and, yup, Ocarina of Time would do the big N some good, and boost sales for the system as the company continues to try and make new games in the midst of COVID-19.

So don’t be shocked if we see some sort of Zelda pack announced alongside some form of update for Breath of the Wild 2, just to keep fans content. And, hey, it’d be great to see Skyward Sword embrace a traditional control scheme to boot.

Nintendo loves nostalgia

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Nintendo, it’s that it truly embraces its nostalgia. Take a look at the company’s releases for 2021 so far. We’re getting Super Mario 3D World this coming week, with a new expansion that’ll push it beyond its original Wii U release a few years ago. And then there’s New Pokemon Snap, the long-awaited follow-up to the Nintendo 64 cult classic that had us printing out pictures so long ago.

Yeah, it seems that Nintendo isn’t likely to pass up an opportunity for players to enjoy a classic experience on a new platform. And that’s why an Ocarina of Time re-release just makes sense. Players could easily revisit favorite parts of the game, all while taking in the slightly refreshed visuals or enjoying the controls working so well on the Switch format. And, hey, it would bring in a boatload of money for Nintendo, which isn’t the worst thing out there.

Nostalgia sells, and Nintendo knows it. So don’t be too shocked if it considers a cash-in to give players a new taste of Ocarina of Time.

It could tie in with the Nintendo 64 Classic

There have been rumors for the longest time about Nintendo giving its N64 platform the same treatment that it gave the NES and Super NES in terms of plug-and-play value. While that has yet to be confirmed, they continue to build up feverishly; and the re-release of Ocarina of Time could help generate more interest in its release.

We’ve already seen Super Mario 64 do wonders on the Switch platform, thanks to that 3D All Stars release; and there’s been talk that the Nintendo Switch Online service could get a taste of N64 goodness down the road as well. But, for now, re-releasing Ocarina of Time could gauge just how popular the format could be, either in a plug-and-play fashion or with digital titles. Or, hey, maybe even both – look at how well StarFox 2 went over when it took those routes.

It just makes sense that Ocarina of Time come out, as it could do well for its platform while still serving a mighty need to satisfy players. It’s just a win-win scenario all around – and that’s more than enough reason to give it to us, Nintendo. C’mon.

Not to mention that the game worked really well on the 3DS platform, as the trailer shows below. It’s a guaranteed victory on Switch, we assure you.

Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade PlayStation 4 review: quintessential fish shooting

So, a few days ago, we reviewed the Home compilation of Darius Cozmic Collection. And while it has excellent emulation and a few cool features (not to mention the sheer joy of shooting evil metallic fish), it does come up short with its heavy price tag and lack of variety.

Now, we come across the Arcade version of Darius Cozmic Collection, offering seven different versions of three different games, all favorites from the saga – including the timeless Darius Gaiden. And it’s got a few more options to choose from, along with, whew, a slightly lower price tag. But is it worth dipping into for just under $50? Well, that depends on your fandom. But if you love all things Darius, it’s worth a look.

What’s In the Package?

Here’s the full list of games that you can check out in the Arcade compilation:

  • Darius (Arcade, original version)
  • Darius (Arcade, new version)
  • Darius (Arcade, extra version)
  • Darius II (Arcade, Dual Screen version)
  • SAGAIA (Arcade, ver.1)
  • SAGAIA (Arcade, ver.2)
  • Darius Gaiden (Arcade)

Once again, it’s three games total, with Sagaia acting as a modified version of Darius II. But fans may notice the subtle little changes between the games, and feel the urge to take them on just to see what they have to offer. On top of that, they can play around with options, trying their luck with a Training Mode or going all out for a top-scoring run in an effort to save the universe.

Wait, what kind of fish is this? Screw it, shoot it.

I will admit, the team at M2 – which handles many of Sega’s retro titles among others – did a commendable job bringing these arcade hits to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Darius Gaiden in particular is dreamy, looking just like its arcade counterpart. We do wish that G-Darius came along for the ride as well, but Taito has already confirmed that for the next collection.

And though Darius and Darius II are on the wide side – they originally debuted in arcades with a dual monitor system – they look perfect. What’s more, they hunker back to the origins of the series, so you can see where it all began.

M2 also loaded the screen with various pieces of information, along with some slick looking wallpaper. So it’s handled pretty well, despite the fact that you have to get close to the TV to see what’s going on with a couple of these games.

It’s Fun To Shoot Robo-Fish

In spite of the small arrangement of titles – couldn’t Arcade and Console just been released together as a $60 bundle? – M2 and Taito bring the heat when it comes to gameplay. All of the Darius games are a lot of fun to play, especially as you collect power-ups or drop those sweet looking bombs on unsuspecting bosses in Darius Gaiden. What’s more, a friend can come along for the ride in two player, doubling the firepower.

Wait, did you say something?

There are more options included here than in the home collection, and this is more of an obvious choice given the smaller price tag of $44.99. But I can’t help but think that Taito could’ve done the aforementioned thing, or at least made them $19.99 apiece. This might be a little hard for people to swallow, though the die-hard players are on board.

A Great Collection Regardless of Price

Taito once again jacked up the price of a Darius collection through the roof, and that’s likely to turn a lot of people off. But those who don’t mind will find a lot to appreciate in this Arcade collection, especially if you want to see where the whole thing began. Plus, considering Darius Gaiden goes for a pretty penny on Sega Saturn anyway, you can get a perfect version here for a fraction of the price.

It just depends on how badly you want to shoot robo-fish. But we know some of you have that fetish, so dig in.

RATING: 8/10

A better-suited collection than the Home version, Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade will suit shmup fans.