Monthly Archives: September 2016

Award: One of the best gaming blogs on the internet (According to FeedSpot)

video-game-coverSo, something surprising happened this week. I got a mail from a website that I have been put on a list. I was selected for the “Top 100 best gaming blogs on the planet” list that has been written by the people over at FeedSpot. Here is a link to the article. I also got a badge to display on my blog at the side. So, yeah. This is something special.

The honor

First of all, I want to thank the people over at FeedSpot for putting me on this list. Honestly, my placement on the list doesn’t matter to me that much, it’s the fact that I’m on the list. I’m number 96. While I wrote the most content for this blog, I have to give a small bit of credit to LpGardian and MrLiamMills for the articles they wrote on my blog.

Writing is in the first place a hobby of mine. But I will talk more about that later. It just feels amazing that I get recognised by somebody. It’s difficult to describe how this feels. But one thing is for certain, I have to continue to write and provide the best content for you guys (and girls) that I can write.

Me & blogging

capture

So, I might have talked about this in an earlier article… But the reason why I blog is because I want to share my experiences in my gaming and collecting life with the internet. In the past, I was toying around with the idea to expand my blog to also talk about other things. Things like movies, IT-stuff, anime and so much more.

But I decided against the idea. I mostly wanted to continue and write a gaming diary. Because gaming is a big hobby of mine. Hrm, maybe it’s a good idea that I talk a little bit about my blogging history.

My blogging story starts about, give or take, 5 and a half years ago. After a few other projects, I decided to start creating my own website. Where I have a place to talk about things and share it with my family and friends and also with the world. At first, I created a Dutch blog. After a month or two, I was watching a game-news show on TV. It was around the time that the 3DS was presented at E3. I highly disagree with some statements of the hosts and I wrote a whole article about it.

It didn’t take long before the hosts actually had seen the article. One of the hosts actually wrote a whole comment on that article and invited me in the studio. Sadly enough, I had to prepare for exams, so I wasn’t able to go. But I have the comment and the article on one of my hard drives. So, when I watched the next day to the show, they mentioned my article. Then, I saw a huge traffic spike.

Since then, I have continued blogging. After two years, I decided to remove the Dutch blog and go on a small hiatus. Yet, I started to miss blogging about games. When I was playing games, I kept thinking on what I would say in a review. So, on the 20th of May 2013, right after I finished the new Tomb Raider game; I decided to write a review for it. I logged in to my WordPress account and started writing.

After some time passed, I got in contact with LpGardian. He is the owner of ButtonSmashers. But, that’s a story for another day. Maybe in one of his podcasts. Who knows?

So, that’s my blogging history. Well, in a very short version. Since I could tell so many more stories. While I don’t have a big following, the fact people follow my blog and read my content makes me happy. I enjoy writing these articles. I enjoy playing these games and then writing an article about them to talk about my opinions. I’m quite happy with the growth my blog has made over the past three years now. I’m quite curious what the future will bring. I’m planning to continue to write new articles about games I have played or my opinion on something in the gaming industry.

Anyways, here is the actual award:

But, before this article goes on for too long. I want to thank everybody who has supported me or my blog. Thank you for reading, linking to my articles, talking about my articles, commenting, replying to my tweets… Thank you guys and girls for everything. And don’t worry, I will continue to write articles.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then have a great rest of your day and take care~!

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Game Review: Mad Max

Some of you may be familiar with Mad Max, but some of you won’t. So what is Mad Max? In one word: glorious.Image result for mad max

I mean that in the truest sense of the word. It feels out of this world. At first glance, one might think it’s they are over-the-top movies, but they’re much, much more than that.

Everything in this world feels painfully real. The suffering, the tragedies, the characters, the wasteland, … The films have a very distinct style that has influenced pop culture more than you might think: it launched Mel Gibson’s career, the raiders in Fallout are heavily inspired by those in Mad Max and it spawned countless rip-offs by Italian and Turkish directors, as well as American ones. I feel like I need to discuss the films briefly before getting to the game. After all, that is what inspired its creators to make the game.

The great thing about the Mad Max films – and the game – is that they all feel different. The first film was very grounded in reality and quite slow-paced, though that is not a bad thing. The second film, The Road Warrior, was generally considered to be the best one. It established the character as he is still known and loved. He’s deeply flawed and haunted by his past, but that makes him feel very real. The third film, Beyond Thunderdome, has its problems; most of them caused by Hollywood mingling. And then there’re last year’s Fury Road, now regarded as the best of all four films. Tom Hardy plays Mad Max, not Mel Gibson, and his performance is excellent.

Now Max is a bit of a difficult character to talk about, because he is both simple and complex at the same time. He’s simple, because most of his actions throughout the films and game are selfish. Even helping people is often because it makes things more convenient for him, but at the same time he won’t harm the innocent. He doesn’t really care about who lives or dies, as this is a harsh world and survival is key, but he won’t just kill anyone for the sake of killing or just for fun. It is a very hard thing to explain. It’s almost instinctive. You just understand him on an emotional level, not an intellectual one. You just know if something is in-character for him to do or not, but you can’t really explain why. I say this, because there’s something I want to discuss at the end of this article after the SPOILERS warning.

Now onto the game! I’m not exactly sure when the game is set in the timeline, but it feels like it takes place right before the events of the fourth film: Fury Road. But, like with the entire Mad Max saga, the exact time has never been important. You start off the game losing the famous Interceptor, the car Max drives, and battling Lord Scrotus. You put a chainsaw through his skull, but he survives and throws you off a fast moving truck. You then set out on a very simple quest: get your car back and kill Lord Scrotus. This is very much in theme with the films, where the story is often quite simple and just a structure for strong characters.

And strong characters is what this game has. The portrayal of Max is pretty much spot-on (except for a little thing that bugs me in the ending). You find a hunchback named Chumbucket who is a car nut and believes you are some sort of Saint sent by the Angel to clear the wasteland. He offers you a car that you can upgrade and change the appearance of during the game. He is a fantastic character, obsessed with cars and fixing cars and thinking you’re some sort of deity. And of course, Max goes along with it, because it helps him. Where in other games having a companion around can be frustrating, Chumbucket is nothing but helpful. He brings you the car when you signal him with a flare gun, fixes the car when it’s damaged and most of his dialogue is really entertaining.

Visually, the game encapsulates the look and feel of the films very well. It’s a gorgeous game with a wonderful art style. The graphics won’t blow you away, but it’s not trying to either. It’s aiming for aesthetics rather the latest and greatest in graphical settings.

The story is very simple, as I mentioned before. There isn’t that much to talk about here, other than that it’s very much in theme with the films. The end goal is to get your car back and kill Lord Scrotus, but it can take you a while to get there. You can choose to just follow the main quests and do the bare minimum to unlock new upgrades for your car, so you can continue with the missions, but that will make the game a lot more difficult. Still, you’ll probably have to put in twelve to fifteen hours to beat this game in a hurry.

As a sort of side story, you can try to loosen the grip that Lord Scrotus has on the different regions by doing certain mini missions. You can clear out camps, destroy their totems and sniping towers, clear minefields, et cetera. Lowering the threat levels in regions unlocks more upgrades for Max and his car. This is where the game really shines in my eyes, as it makes the gameplay more varied. Clearing the camps requires more combat, destroying the totems and sniping towers is mostly done from inside the car and you need a special buggy that can carry the mine-sniffing dog to clear out minefields. Some camps have difficult bosses or certain things you have to destroy. Having done almost everything there is to do in this game, I racked up a very respectable 54 hours in this game. Not bad at all for having paid less than €15 for it in a Steam sale.

There aren’t a whole lot of negative to this game, I feel. The driving controls could’ve been tighter, but most of the time they’re just fine. Two locations in the game are locked off after the mission is over, which means that if you didn’t pick up the collectables or scrap, they’ll be lost forever. This is odd, since none of the other locations become inaccessible. Lastly (and I’ll get into more detail in a bit) there’s one thing that happens right at the end that I feel is out of character for Max, which makes the ending a bit less enjoyable for me.

So overall I highly recommend it if you like the Mad Max films, but even as a general gamer, it’s a very fun game. The combat is fun, modding the car gives you lots of options and the characters are very enjoyable. The highest praise I could possibly give it is that if  I were to rank this game alongside the films, the order would be (from best to “worst”): Fury Road – THIS GAME – Road Warrior – Original Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome. So yeah, very close second 🙂

 

 

–SPOILERS FOR THE END OF THE GAME BELOW–

 

 

This is what happens at the end of the game that bothers me a bit. After the final boss battle, we see the truck that Lord Scrotus is driving close to the edge of a cliff. Max decides to ram it with his car and Chumbucket, still believing the car is the sacred tool, sent by the Angel to be used by you, doesn’t want you to destroy it. While charging at the truck, he climbs on the bonnet of the car, trying to convince you to stop. Max tells him to jump of and Chumbucket says he’s willing to die with the car. Max then proceeds to jump out of the car, right before it hits the truck and both vehicles fall off the cliff. I know Max is a character who will do pretty much anything to achieve his goal, but I feel like killing Chumbucket was very much out of character. Max doesn’t hurt people, unless he feels it’s absolutely necessary and I feel like killing Chumbucket was not. You may disagree with that, but it’s how I feel about it.

First Impression: Ace Attorney 6: Spirit Of Justice (3DS-eShop) ~ Emotional Trip

ace-attorney-spirit-justice-logoAce Attorney Wikia entry

Of course! I was going to talk about this game. I kind of spoiled that on my Twitter. Actually, I was going to write about this game last week. Yet, my schedule didn’t clear up enough to be able to write this article. In any case, if you have read my blog before; you should know that I’m a big fan of the Ace Attorney series. It’s one of my favorite visual novel/adventure games ever made. I was hyped for this game. I tried to avoid the news about this game so I could go in without any spoilers. I’m currently mid-way the game. If you worry about spoilers, don’t worry. I tried to make this review as spoiler-free as possible. Oh, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

Go and visit (trouble)

pwaa_spirit_of_justice_screens_06_bmp_jpgcopy_thumbIn this game, Phoenix goes abroad and visits the kingdom of Khura’in. Phoenix is goal is to visit his old friend Maya after she finished her special training.

But you guessed it, it doesn’t take long before Phoenix finds himself in a courtroom. But in the country of Khura’in, there is a lot of hate towards lawyers.

The plot of the first and second case are amazing. While it’s a shame that the killer is spoiled in the first case in the intro, the build-up is very good. I loved the set-up of the second case. And the start of the third case made me tear up. If you played the whole Ace Attorney series over the years and then play the third case, you will understand what I mean. The character reveal and the music that starts playing is just lovely.

The writing in this game is very good. If you like how the other Ace Attorney games are written, you will love the writing of this game for sure.

Compared to the previous game, there is a lot less voice acting in this game. The voice acting is mostly reserved for some small scenes, the “hold it”/”objection” shouts and the anime cutscenes. The voice acting is superb in this game. Yet, there is one voice that I didn’t 100% like. It’s the prosecutors voice of the first case. He sounds too feminine to my liking. But hey, that’s nitpicking. So far, so good in the writing and voice acting department.

Familiar yet fresh

20160512_005526_thumbThe soundtrack of this game is in my opinion good. It offers a lot of remixes of older tracks, but it also offers some new tracks. So far, there isn’t one track that I didn’t like.

I think I might try and hunt down the soundtrack of this game to add to my collection. It’s lovely to listen to while I’m writing or researching for articles.

The sound design of this game is top-notch. The music sounds great and all the sound effects sound great too. They both add a lot to the atmosphere.

If you play this game, I personally recommend headphones. Since it adds a lot to the atmosphere of this game and it makes the impact of some scenes even better in my opinion.

Something I have to praise this game for is the visual presentation. The characters and environment are just eye-candy. The animation in this game is very good as well. There are even little details in the animation that make it even better. I have played only a little bit with the 3D feature on, so I’m not going to comment about that.

The only thing I would have changed is that some text boxes display their text a little bit too slow. I was mashing the buttons of my 3DS to try and speed it up. Thankfully, there is a message log so I can read the text again if I skipped it too fast.

The controls of this game are almost perfect. I would only add an option to move the investigation cursor with the D-pad, but that’s a nitpick. The controls in the Ace Attorney game have been and are always great.

Is it this statement?

010330s007There are two sections to the gameplay. You have the investigation section and you have the trail section. This is like every other Ace Attorney game. The special abilities of every character return in this game.

I’m so glad that this game doesn’t force experienced players to read and sit through an explanation of the mechanic. You get the option to get a “refresher course” or not. I personally choose to have the refresher course each and every time. The way the writers wrote the tutorial in… well, it made some rather funny dialogue.

There is one new game mechanic. I honestly think it’s a great addition. It mostly helps to build tension in the story. I’m looking forward to play around with the mechanic in the rest of the game.

I have one nitpick with the investigations is that some spots are so tiny and easily overlooked, I got stuck once for almost an hour because I missed one spot. But hey, after I found it… I could slap me on the head for overlooking it.

The difficulty in this game is very balanced. Each case gets more complicated and each case gets more difficult. When you are stuck during the trail, you can get a hint. Your partner will tell you which statement contains a lie. It’s for you to figure out which piece of evidence proves that the witness is lying. And if you don’t want this feature, you can disable it in the option menu.

The last thing I want to talk about in this game is the UI. And it’s good. The only complaint I have is that I don’t find the option easily to apply the costume DLC.

To wrap up, I think that the things I would change in this game are rather minor. So far, this game has been a blast. But, this game is not for everyone. If you dislike reading long dialogues between characters; stay away from this game. Because it has lots of that.

So far, the game is amazing. I hope that the second part of this game doesn’t ruin it. But hey, if it does, I’ll complain about it in my review.

So, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you at another article on my blog. But until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Quick announcement: Upcoming article and Twitch

Hi everyone!

I’ve got two quick updates for you that may be of interest.

First and foremost: I’m writing a new article for this blog. It’s been a long time since I posted anything on this site, excluding this thing I wrote a while back, but more on that later.
It’ll be a fairly straightforward review of a game, but I felt the urge to write about it.

—-

The second thing I’d like to do is talk a bit more about the previously mentioned post that I wrote a while back. In reply to someone’s comment, I said that we were considering making some videos or streams in English and, well… That’s what we’ve done!

I try to stream multiple times per week, but I don’t really have a set schedule. I highlight most of the streams, meaning that anyone can watch them later. If you’re interested, you can always check out our Twitch channel.

After that, I also upload them to YouTube, where you can watch them as well. Some content is still in Dutch, though, but you can usually tell by the title.

And if you want to stay up to date, you can always check out our Twitter. Every upload to YouTube is posted there, as well as updates to when we stream.

That’s all for now.

Cheers

First Impression: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) ~ I’m An Angel!

dq_ix_esrb_dsLink to Wikipedia entry

Lately, I’m playing a lot on my old Nintendo DS. The game that I’m playing is Dragon Quest IX. I have played this game right when it came out, but then I stopped because other games got my interest. I played this game right around when I started playing Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. In any case, this article will contain mostly my current opinion of the game. I’m currently 10 hours into the game. But, enough stalling. It’s time to talk about this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment down below with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article.

Slow start

Dragon Quest IX 2In this game, you play as a character you design and make yourself. Your character is a guardian angel of Angel Falls. At the start of the game, you get a small combat tutorial and introduction to the world.

Everything was peaceful until suddenly disaster strikes. Something happens in the sky palace and you fall down to the world and lose your halo and wings. You fall in the town of, you guessed it, Angel Falls.

After those events, a lot happens. The plot only thickens and gets quite interesting. Yet, the only negative is that the start is quite slow. I was 2-3 hours in before the main quest started.

The writing is very well done. The characters are memorable. While I noticed some minor spelling mistakes here and there, I didn’t mind them too much.

The story feels episodic. When you finish one quest, another path opens and you go to another village to go on a new quest. This works very well in this game. This game is pretty long. If you want to beat the main story, you will have to put in around 50 hours. So, I’m looking forward to the stories I still have to play.

In any case, enough talking about the story. The difficulty of this game is almost a negative in my opinion. If you have read my blog before, you might know that I don’t like grinding for levels that much. It gives the impression that the game is longer then it actually is. This game contains some grinding, but it isn’t too bad. But, the grinding gets old real fast for me.

Buy and wear this shield

dragonquest9_218826In this game, there is something that really every RPG should do. When you buy new equipment, you see your character visually change. Not only in battle, but also in the overworld. This is a great touch, since it gives you the feeling of progression and growth of your characters. I can understand that this could be annoying to some people, since they prefer everything to look a certain way. But I honestly like it.

Visually, the characters and enemies look very well designed. Sadly enough, this RPG suffers from what I call the “multiple paint bucket syndrome”. There are various recoloring of enemies to make new enemies.

While I can understand that it’s hard to always make new enemies for each new area, I believe there are other methods. If you give the recolored version some minor visual changes like make them longer, shorter, wider, bulkier… That would go a long way.

Or you use the same enemy, but you buff them up. Wait, scrap that. Game design wise, this wouldn’t be the best solution. Since that could confuse a lot of players.

So, we were talking about the visuals of this game. The world design is something that is deserves praise. Every area has charm and feels alive. The animation is stellar. In short, I really love the presentation of this game.

One thing to note is that in some battles, I experienced some frame drops. This happened mostly when there were a lot of graphic heavy attacks in a row. Outside of battles, I rarely got slowdowns or frame drops.

You have two options in the control department. You can either use the touch screen for everything or you can use the buttons. Both control schemes work every well. The only feature you miss in the touch screen controls is the ability to swing around the camera a little bit in the overworld. But I rarely use it, so I don’t mind it that much.

This game is a full blood RPG and it has a big world for you to explore and adventure in. A big plus in this game is that you can see the monsters running around on the overworld. This makes it a lot easier when you need a certain item drop or when you need to defeat a certain enemy to complete your monster index.

You can design your own party in this game. You can tweak your party to your heart’s and playstyle’s content. Take your perfect party in to battle!

I can only say one negative thing about the battles. If they would added a health bar for the enemies, that would be amazing. I found it very frustrating that I had to hope that a boss died when I was at low health. It would be very handy to change your tactics.

There is just too much

dragonquestIXIn this game, there are also side quests. I haven’t done many side quests, so I won’t go in-depth. But you can get a quest from a character when a blue speech bubble appears above their head. Most quests I encountered are fetch quests.

But that is just one thing of many things that can entertain you in this game. You can also do alchemy, complete your monster guide or collect party tricks. There is a lot to do in this game. According to some websites, to 100% complete this game, you would have to devote months to this game. According to various sources, you would have to spend over 770 hours. That’s overkill in my opinion. There is just too much to do in this game. But the positive about is that there is always something to do in this game. You shouldn’t get bored with this game if you love playing RPG’s.

The music and sound design in this game is good. It could have been better if there were two or three more tracks in-battle. Since always hearing the same battle music gets a bit old. It’s still a great track, but I wished I heard some other battle music in normal battles from time to time.

In this game, you can only save in churches. You can quick save, but the quick save gets deleted as soon as you restart the game. I don’t know what happens if you quick save and then don’t save. Honestly, I don’t feel like finding that out. One thing, there is only one save slot.

This game offers multiplayer. But, I’m not going to talk about that since I haven’t played this game in multiplayer. And without experience, it would be hardly fair to talk about it.

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Besides, if I forgot certain things, I will talk about those if I ever review this game. So, it’s time to wrap up this article.

This game is a very fun game. It’s one of the best RPG’s out there on the Nintendo DS. It does some things that every RPG should do but it also does some things that shouldn’t be in every RPG.

I highly recommend this game if you are looking for a challenge, a big adventure and/or an interesting story. But be prepared to put a lot of hours into this game.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope I can welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!