Video Game Review: Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet

Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet were developed by the video game development company called Game Freak and published by The Pokémon Company and Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch on November 18, 2022. They are reported to have sold more than 10 million copies combined in the first 3 days of sales. These games are completely different from all the previous installments in the series and considered the first role playing games in the 9th generation of Pokémon.  

The games have 3 separate story lines, each of which you can explore however you want and in any order you want. These open worlds allow you, the player, to travel wherever you want to, which is a first in a Pokémon game. It seems though that this feature may not have been fully though through, because as soon as you start the game and travel to somewhere far away from where you started, all of the Pokémon are at a higher level and can easily defeat you.

After playing through the game, I realized that there was a designated path that the player should have followed in a certain order. When you do this, in the correct order, then when you get to the higher levels, you are much more able to handle the stronger Pokémon and trainers. A major problem with this new release is the massive amount of performance issues, bugs, and frame rate issues. Many times, textures do not load properly and Pokémon models pop in and out constantly. There are also lighting problems, and crashes happen, more so than normal.

The idea of an open-world Pokémon game is very good in theory. I actually love the idea, but the execution of it did not turn out that well. I really liked everything else that was added into the game. If you look past the technical glitches of the game it is really fun and enjoyable. It’s definitely a different take on past versions of the Pokémon franchise and I do like the direction they are heading with the open world concept. I would recommend this game to anyone who already enjoys the Pokémon games have perhaps played some before and want to move further through the series. However, if you are new to Pokémon games in general, I would recommend that you play some of the other games available in the series prior to Pokémon Scarlet and Violet first, so that you can get a true feel for what the series is really all about and experience the game play that has made Pokémon a worldwide phenomenon.

Subnautica

Subnautica is a survival game that takes place on an alien planet called 4546B. The planet is covered almost 100% with either shallow or very deep ocean. This amazing game contains many different types of fauna, flora, and locations for you to discover.

It is the late 22nd century, and humans have began to colonize space. The Aurora, the large spaceship you are on, was assigned a mission to construct a phasegate for hyperspeed space travel. While performing a slingshot maneuver around planet 4546B, the Aurora experiences a large energy pulse (basically a laser beam) coming from a mysterious source within the planet. Only half of the 50 lifepods aboard launched, as the other half were completely destroyed. 9 of the 25 lifepods launched made it to the planet, but only one was undamaged. You are the one in that lifepod.

With the backstory out of the way, now lets talk about the game content. After landing in your lifepod, you have to immediately find resources on a planet you are unfamiliar with in order to survive. You can craft many different things with one machine due to the insane technology they have in the 22nd century. In some point in the game, you will receive radio S.O.S. signals from the other 8 lifepods, but by the time you get to the pod, the survivors have already been killed by the planet’s creatures.

In the game, you can craft submarines that aid in you in going deeper into the ocean, which is one of my favorite aspects of this game. However, my absolute favorited thing about this game would be the biology/ecology within it. There are vast biomes that contain many unique creatures and plants that has specifically adapted to that biome for them to survive, from things like fins for them to swim faster, to plants removing pigments due to the lack of nutrients in an area.

Now you may be asking: How do you escape the planet and go back home? Well, you’re going to have to play the game on your own to find out 🙂

I simply cannot tell you every single little thing about the game in this one article because there are just way too many. But there are many different lores and aspects to the story I didn’t cover, so I 100% recommend you to try this game on your own, especially if survival games are your type of thing.

-Torres H.

ESPN Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football - Leagues, Rankings, News, Picks & More - ESPNMany of you probably enjoy watching sports, whether it’s basketball, football, baseball, or even hockey. Now, what if I told you that you could have your own virtual team including your favorite players that help you get wins every week? Well, actually, you can!

ESPN Fantasy Sports is an app that allows you to play fantasy football, basketball, or any other major professional team sport in America (except soccer). 

To get started, you just need to create an account with ESPN Fantasy. Then, you can join a random online league and/or create your own league where you invite your friends to join. After creating a fantasy league of your choice, you need to send the invite link to your friends who you would like to join the league. Then, you can arrange a draft time when you and your fellow fantasy players will be able to draft your fantasy team. You can choose any player, from any team, to draft. 

After the draft, you can drop and pick up players onto your roster. You can also do trades with other teams, exchanging players, sometimes multiple at a time. 

I definitely recommend making a fantasy football league when the next season comes around (It might be too late now for this season) as it is extremely popular and fun to play. Since I enjoy basketball, I am also in a Fantasy Basketball league, but I suggest you make/join a fantasy league based on the sports you like. If you like hockey, maybe join a fantasy hockey league. If you enjoy baseball, maybe create a fantasy baseball league. In addition, the WNBA also has a fantasy league, so if that’s something you’re interested in, go for it! 

Fantasy football (and other sports) is one of my favorite activities to share with my friends. Whether it’s negotiating trades, trying to decide which players to choose on draft day, or competing in a neck-and-neck battle between fantasy teams, fantasy is a great way to socialize with friends, while competing at the same time! 

FIFA 22

Although many people have heard of NBA 2K and Madden NFL, you would be surprised to hear about how less popular another sports-related video game is. FIFA 22 is my favorite video game, despite the fact that I don’t play or watch soccer. So, today I will be introducing you to FIFA, the soccer video game that allows you to play with many (and almost all) professional soccer teams in the world. Whether you want to play with a powerhouse like Real Madrid or a less popular team, FIFA will allow you to use your favorite players and replicate the most thrilling matches! 

Just like MyTeam in NBA2K and Madden Ultimate Team in Madden NFL, FIFA also has a game mode for you to create your dream lineup by collecting player cards. You can purchase these cards through auctions or pull them from packs. This game mode, FIFA Ultimate Team, makes you feel like a general manager! 

In addition, you can create your own player in the FIFA Career Mode. You can choose his height, weight, kit number, team, and position. Personally, the goalkeeper and striker (primary attacker) are some interesting positions I recommend trying in this mode. If you don’t want to create your own player, you can also play as someone who already exists, such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. 

There are other game modes in this video game, too. One of my favorite ways to play FIFA is through Tournament Mode where I get to choose a team and compete in their country’s league (Ligue 1 for French teams, English Premier League for English teams, La Liga for Spanish teams, and more). I like playing with Paris Saint Germain because of their super-team with Mbappe in the middle and Neymar and Messi at the wings. 

In conclusion, FIFA is an awesome game that I wish I had tried earlier than only a few months ago. If you ever need a new game to play, give FIFA a try! 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I started playing the video game Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the Nintendo Switch about a month ago, and I haven’t played another game since! For those who haven’t heard of it, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a strategy game where you recruit characters to join your class, then use them to fight in battles.

In the game, you play a mercenary with strange origins who takes a job as a teacher at the Garreg Mach Monastery. The first major choice you make is which house to join; Edelgard, Dimitri, or Claude’s. You can then recruit characters from the other houses for their help in battles, and teach them to level them up.

My favorite aspect of the game is that there are four major paths you can choose. You can join Claude, Prince Dimitri, Lady Edelgard, or Archbishop Rhea.

Every character has a different personality and an interesting background. You can learn more about characters by having personal interactions with them, or observing interactions between them and another character. My favorite characters are Petra, Bernadetta (nicknamed Bernie), Felix, Alois, Shamir, Lysithea, Edelgard, Mercedes, and Marianne.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an incredibly fun game and I would definitely rate it 5 / 5 stars! I love the unique stories of each character and the strategic game play; I highly recommend playing it!

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Terraria Game Review

Terraria is a 2-dimensional survival game where you explore and utilize the vast world you spawn in to upgrade your weapons and armor. The game contains many different monsters, animals, and bosses that all get progressively stronger as your progress in the game. The pixelated world has many different biomes that are all different in their own way, and the game easily has one of the best music tracks that switch up with each setting. 

When I first started playing this game, I instantly got hooked because of the thousands of different craftable items that you can make. You can make a wide range of items like magic wands and grappling hooks, all the way to weaponized yo-yos. Each item is unique and has its own special uses like how some allow your character to fly and teleport to different places.

One of the main components of Terraria is the boss fights. Each boss gets progressively harder to defeat, and they can be summoned by crafting items or by appearing naturally. Besides fighting against giant worms, bees, and sentient pieces of slime, I really enjoyed the game because it introduced a really interesting concept called hard mode. After going to the undergrounds of hell and defeating a boss called the wall of flesh, your character will enter hard mode and the world around you will change. Hard mode does a great job of keeping the player entertained by introducing new weapons, monsters, and bosses that get even stronger.

Terraria is a very fun game that I would recommend to people who enjoy playing explorer games like Minecraft. Its combination of vibrant graphics, challenging bosses, and a large number of weapons and items make it one of my favorite games and would most likely make it yours too.

Overall, I would rate this game a 9/10

-Christian P.

Cookie Run Kingdom: A recipe for success?

Cookie Run Kingdom was definitely my favorite game that was released during 2021.  I downloaded it in late September and instantly became addicted.

This game features a large cast of characters ranging from plain gingerbread cookies to wizards and even to wolves.  It has a very large campaign mode and a very intricate storyline.  It also has a gacha feature which you can use to acquire more cookies to add to your team.  

It is better than most RPGs in this category because it is more leaning toward a free-to-play lifestyle.  Meaning you can enjoy the game just as much without needing to spend a lot of money on it.  

I found this game on Youtube when I was scrolling through my home page.  I instantly clicked and fell in love with this game.  My favorite part of this game is the gacha feature which I do as much as possible.  So far I have collected all of the cookies except for 2 of the rarest ones which are Pure Vanilla and Sea Fairy, but I recently got them on my luckiest day ever in this game.  This game has a lot of fun things to do and can be played for hours on end.  Can be played does not mean you should play it a lot more than you should.  

In conclusion, if you like to play gacha games and don’t want to have to spend money to progress and have fun, then this is the game for you.  Just look up Devsisters in the App Store on Android and IOS.  

-Jasper D.

Forager

Forager is a game made by Hop Frog and is a very good game at that. It has a very simple 2D game design but the goal of the game is anything but simple. The objective is to buy all of the neighboring islands, unlock all the skills, and obtain all of the possible objects.

You start off on one tiny island with some rocks, trees, and berries. You use your pickaxe to mine the trees and the rocks to get resources. You eat the berries to replenish your stamina. When you get enough resources you can build a furnace if you get enough ore from mining the rocks. If you do not have enough resources, do not worry because rocks, trees, and berries respawn after a certain amount of time making it so you don’t need to worry about resource shortages.

Then once you start unlocking more items by leveling up then you can get access to markets which can help you buy rarer items and you can sell the items that do not have any use left for you. This helps with progression because of scrolls. There are a couple different scrolls that can spawn a lot of ores, animals, trees/berries, or digging spots. Digging spots have chances of giving rare items but when you combine digging spots with lighthouses, which give a boost to items gathered within the radius of the light, then you can get a lot of items from the ground.

If you like simulation crafting games then this game is definitely for you. You can get it on Steam for computers or on the App Store for mobile devices.

-Jasper D.

Tiny Tower

Tiny Tower is as it says in their own description, “the one and only building simulation that lets you manage your own tower, customize each floor, and the bitizens that inhabit it.” This is all true. The amount of customization that you control is amazing. You can change the color of the background, floor, and certain decorations inside of each floor of your tower. You can also change the people too. You can give them cool costumes and also change the colors of their clothes.

My favorite thing to do is pick an elevator, roof, and lobby design that all fit together, such as the pyramid set or the tree set. Then I change the colors of each floor to either brown or green for the tree set, then make all of the people in the tower wear a monkey costume so it is all one big tree! The possibilities are nearly infinite.

Another thing I like about this game is that the cost of the next floors scale pretty well so it gets harder and harder to get the next floor so you end up investing more time into the game which helps get money faster. And the best thing, NO ADS. I know most free games have ads that block you from playing the game and having fun but you only watch ads if you choose to and most of the time the ad rewards are worth watching the ads for. All in all this is a very nice game to play on the side while doing something else or having it be your main game.

-Jasper D.

Game Review: Pokemon Legends Arceus

Pokemon Legends Arceus is a Pokemon game unlike any other we have seen before. Published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch, this new take on the Pokemon genre completely changes the formula of all the games before it.  Pokemon Legends Arceus takes place in the Hisui region based upon the island of Hokkaido in Japan in ancient times. It serves as a prequel to Nintendo’s previous releases of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum set in the Sinnoh Region based on modern day Hokkaido. Pokemon Legends Arceus is an open world, action role-playing game in which the objective is to explore the entire region by riding different Pokemon, and to catch all 242 Pokemon available throughout all of the five different biomes in the region in order to catch Arceus who is the Pokemon that sets you out on your journey.

With Pokemon Legends comes a completely new battle and catching system unlike anything else. Instead of having to engage in battles in order to catch Pokemon, you can instead catch them in the environment with a variety of different Pokeballs. The Pokemon can interact with the environment, other Pokemon, and the player. In addition to this, instead of battles being turn based, the player can alter the turn order by using agile style moves, which makes their next turn come sooner but decreases power, or strong style moves, that are stronger, but makes their next turn come later. Some other features include alpha Pokemon, which are stronger and bigger Pokemon, Mass Outbreaks, which are swarms of specific Pokemon that occasionally spawn. 

I really enjoyed this game and have nearly completed it. The gameplay is so different from other Pokemon games and has many new features. I really loved the hub world, Jubilife Village, and the many side quests that you could accept. I also liked the starter Pokemon that you could pick: Oshawott, a water sea otter; Cyndaquil, a fire mouse; and my personal favorite, Rowlet, a grass owl. I would recommend this game to anyone who loves Pokemon or is interested in checking out why everything Pokemon has become an international phenomenon.

-Brandon G.