Ragnarok Odyssey ACE
Sony PlayStation 3 (PS Vita)
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 3.0 stars
“Ragnarok Odyssey ACE” is a fast-paced action RPG that’s actually an upgraded version of 2012’s PlayStation Vita exclusive release, “Ragnarok Odyssey.” Now players can enjoy slaying gigantic monsters on the PS3 with many new additions. Too bad the game play is still monotonous on both systems.
Just like before, players assume the role of a promising monster hunter sent to defend a small town from hordes of monsters large and small. Slaying monsters awards players with items used to upgrade their equipment, as well as cards that offer stat boosts. New missions and powerful new weapons have been added, but the most notable new feature is the Tower of Yggdrasil.
Rather than trying to pronounce the tower’s name, just keep in mind that it’s a gigantic structure filled with hundreds of randomly created levels to plow through. The Tower of Yggdrasil is awesome for farming materials, and it offers many challenges, but several enemies are repeated from “Ragnarok Odyssey,” and the repetitive game play has not changed.
Herein lies the biggest drawback to both titles: The game play is nothing more than a “carrot on a stick” lure similar to that found in “World of Warcraft.” Players fight enemies so they can gain items to craft new weapons and armor in order to fight more powerful enemies that drop better items, etc.
This is exacerbated by the lack of a leveling system and limited environments, so I feel like I’m endlessly farming for materials by fighting the same enemies in the same locations. Fortunately, the combat is fast-paced and enjoyable for the first few hours before it degrades into little more than dodging and attacking.
“Ragnarok Odyssey ACE” offers hours upon hours of monster slaying, but this gamer wants more substance to offset the constant slaughter.
Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition
Sony PlayStation 4
ESRB rating: Mature
Review rating: 3.5 stars
“Dead Nation” was originally released as a PS3 download back in 2010, and now it’s been resurrected on the PS4 as “Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition.” While I really enjoy playing this game on both systems, I only recommend purchasing the new version if you don’t own the original.
The reason is because they’re nearly identical. “The Road to Devastation” expansion from the PS3 is included in the new edition, visuals now run in 1080p, and a quick weapon select is now included. Other than that, the only differences are social. Players can challenge others to beat their score on each level or vote on altering other players’ games when they play in Broadcast mode.
When a deadly virus sweeps the globe, every city becomes a ghost town filled with zombies. Players take on the role of a generic male or female protagonist armed to the teeth and ready to liberate thousands of undead citizens.
It’s cool that the game is played from an old-school, top-down view that lets players see a large portion of the environment, because zombies spew forth from everywhere. Some move slowly while others sprint right at the player, and a select few even wait in dark areas to create an ambush. These brutal attacks are highlighted by excellent visuals, accurate physics and spooky sound effects.
Many devastating weapons are available to halt the undead threat, including a handy shotgun, a lethal flamethrower and a devastating rocket launcher. However, my favorite is the stock rifle that has a laser sight and a charged shot that can decapitate several zombies at once! Fortunately, all weapons can be upgraded with cash gathered during the game.
Co-op game play makes “Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition” even more enjoyable, because initiating zombie genocide can sometimes be a lonely affair.