Is that Pacman’s Liver You’re Wearing?

thepinmans.jpgLondon, United Kingdom: The Games Collector, a UK-based producer of both modern and retro gaming-related products is running a crowdfunding campaign to bring the music of Mel Croucher to the masses.

Who is Mel Croucher? Only the father of the British gaming industry. At a time when most computers were being used to calculate the compound interest on the revenue from a year’s worth of potato sales, Mel was selling his eclectic range of games for the ZX Spectrum through eye-catching adverts on the back pages of the popular computing magazines of the day.

What made Mel’s games particularly memorable (for those who do actually remember them) was that they often included audio tracks on the reverse side of the game cassette. From original compositions to hilarious parodies, there was something for everyone. Leider of the Pac told the tragic tale of Pacman’s lover, who wears the yellow character’s internal organs as a memento after witnessing his death in a car crash (yes, really). Put Cat Out Mother, It’s on Fire Again surprised no-one with its mention of a cat on fire, and Three Point One Four Two sounds vaguely familiar but none of us actually remember it.

Now The Games Collector has decided to inflict these sonic gems on anyone willing to part with a reasonable amount of their hard-earned wages, making the collection available on vinyl, CD and even a cassette tape for real fans of the era. In total there are five albums (two are in fact doubles) that make up Insπred: The Collective Works of Mel Croucher.

The sequel to Mel’s most famous game – Deus Ex Machina – featured a cast including Christopher Lee and Joaquim de Almeida, and one of the highlights of the collection is a real life ‘Evil Laugh Off’ between the two of them – almost but not quite justifying the asking price by itself.

Interested parties can reserve their collection through the campaigns crowdfunding page at https://igg.me/at/pimania A preview of Mel’s music is available on Soundcloud at http://bit.ly/2oHZlae

About The Games Collector

The Games Collector Ltd is the result of decades of playing and creating games and the obsessive collecting of memorabilia by its founders. With a product line-up featuring exclusive, exquisite and highly desirable collectibles, the company aims to bring fans the items they long for, and maybe even a few they didn’t know they wanted!

First Impression: Prey (PC) ~ Pew Pew – Indian Style.

Prey_(Xbox_360)Wikipedia entry

Usually, I rarely play shooter games. There are the odd exceptions like TimeShift and Prey. I have never talked about this game haven’t I? That’s simply because I actually started playing it just recently. I got my copy when a friend of mine got this for his birthday but he doesn’t like to play shooters. Since he knew I collected games and played a lot of them, he gave it to me. I think I own this game for over 5-6 years now and I never played it. I’m quite surprised I didn’t, since yeah. It’s worthy to get an article! Anyways, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on my article and or the game in the comment section. 

Pew Pew – Indian style

prey2

So, why did I choose for the title “Pew Pew – Indian Style”? Since this game is at it’s core a shooter. The game also borrows some elements from horror since at certain moments it keeps you at the edge of your seat. But believe me, while there are some moments that hint at horror, it is no horror game.

That explains the first of the title, but not the second. It’s simply that this game also has an Indian theme. While there is in America a game called Police and Robber, back in the day I used to play Cowboy and Indian…. You guys too? Anyways, that’s why it’s so crazy to me that a shooting Indian is the main character in this game.

As the standpoint of a writer, the story is actually pretty neat. It’s a story of somebody who doesn’t want to accept his family roots and he wants to save his girlfriend after being kidnapped by aliens. There are some flaws in the consistency actually. Suddenly you can see the translation of the alien writing and the can suddenly speak English. Maybe this gets explained but I was rather confused when it happened. Oh, let’s not forget how our hero is able to suddenly fire alien weapons, quite strange.

But the story isn’t perfect. I feel that some characters aren’t used at their full potential. Also, there is barely any development in the characters as far as I have seen. And I have played I until somewhere in the middle of the game. I have just beaten a boss.

Alien scum

11396062341So, let’s look at the other things in this game apart from the characters. The setting of this game is an alien ship. I’m so pleased that they didn’t went for a stereo-typical design.

The creatures all look alien, a bit scary and out of this world. Sadly, they look humanoid. This is something that I don’t really like, since then my mind wonders off sometimes that it are mutated humans, like in Half-Life. Oh well, the curse of my creative mind I guess.

 The weapons are actually quite fun to use. While it’s not clear if some weapons do more damage then others, I just enjoy using them. The fact that they made such animated guns is just amazing.

The level design is extremely linear. You go from point A to B. But the game is challenging. Some obstacles come back and can catch you off guard quite easily. This game is one of the few games where I see that weaker enemies from earlier levels come back. This gave me the feeling that the ship was somewhat alive and that you were at an actually alien ship. The atmosphere can be easily broken if the enemies only get stronger and stronger. The game gets more difficult, but doesn’t only rely on new strong enemies, they get more crafty with them.

The gameplay is just one of a kind. There are quite a few games where you are able to change into someone to solve puzzles, but the take Prey took is quite unique. You can actually leave your body to attack enemies unseen. Also, barriers won’t stop you and you can’t die while in spirit mode.

I haven’t seen the game over screen yet, since if you are quick and you can shoot moving targets quite well, it’s impossible to die. Does this take the challenge away? Not really, it makes the game more accessible to non-veteran shooter players as myself.

Just wow

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So, the game controls quite nicely. If you press the button, the happens on screen. Something that amazed me is that this game still recognizes the additional buttons on my gaming mouse. For a game this old, I wouldn’t have imagined it would work.

Also, in some parts you can walk on walls and such. The camera follows you excellent. Also, the voice acting in this segments is just excellent, it’s just how you would react yourself. One minor nitpick is that the voice for the grandfather sounds a bit too young to me. But that might be just me.

Through-out the game, you can play mini-games. When there is a slot machine in a bar, you can actually stop your adventure and play a round. That’s some attention to detail there.

Oh, I’m almost running out of time. The final thing I wanted to talk about is the music. It sets the mood so nicely. The orchestrated music makes me tense and on my toes. You would expect from horror games a more slow, creepy soundtrack. The soundtrack for this game is anything but. It gives a Two Steps From Hell-vibe. It’s quite nice.

In any case, I think I’m going to close off this article right here. I haven’t said everything I wanted about this game but I think these things are better said in the review. You may be sure that I will write a review of this game when I have beaten it. I’m enjoying this game quite a lot. I only wish they didn’t cancel the sequel. I just cross my fingers that they return one day to make a new game in the series.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have a great rest of your day and hopefully until your next visit!

First Impression: Fantasy Life (3DS) ~ Strangely Fun.

Fantasy_Life_box_artNintendo.com entry

I was very surprised that Level5 published a game like this. While I was silently hoping to a sequel of Professor Layton, or a spin-off, they published a game with similar graphical vibe. But don’t let it fool you, the fantasy and the life is quite different in this game. After playing 3-ish hours of it, it’s time to write an article about it since I’m quite enjoying myself. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Graphically Layton?

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Maybe it’s only me, but this game gave me a Professor Layton feeling. At least, on the surface. Possibly the used some assets from the Layton game. But hey, let’s not think about the biggest series this developer created, in this article we are talking about Fantasy Life.

This game must have been a nightmare to develop. Since all the different classes play differently. I’m quite curious if the overall story stays the same in the different classes. Also, the fact that you can change your class in mid game, is just mind-blowing and quite a risky move of Level5. I hope the game stays challenging and doesn’t make the mistake that The Legend Of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds made. That game was also more free then other games, yet the difficulty curve was off.

While the story has some plottwists, I was able to see some coming. But I’m quite sure that to a child or a casual gamer, the plottwists might come more as a surprise. Overall, the writing is excellent. The characters can be a tad bit generic in some cases, but they are written so well that I had a few moments that made me smile, not only as a critic but also as a writer.

Quests

112518_3DS_FL_Character_UK_01

I was on the fence for buying this game. I actually had it pre-ordered but cancelled my pre-order since I lost interest in the game. But now that I gave it a chance, I was quite surprised. The gameplay is nothing what I expected. If you aren’t doing a story quest, you can roam around freely and solve people’s daily needs.

The quest system, while quite fun, isn’t 100% perfect. Sometimes quite important information isn’t in the quest log, the quest log is out of order and you can’t have a map where all the accepted quests are located. The quest logging could have been done better in my opinion. While I’m beating it, I’ll surely try out all features of the quest log. Maybe I’m overlooking some things and bashing it, while it’s not needed at all.

You have three sorts of quests. Each give you a different reward. From dosh (currency) to stars (allow you to grow in your class) and bliss (expand the game.). The different quests yield so many different yet satisfying rewards that I explore the world in quite more depth then I usually would. Then my coin dropped. (Dutch expression for releasing something.) This was totally the designers intention to help you explore the world. It’s quite deep honestly. Apart from some aspects that is.

At the moment of writing, I’m in the magic class. They actually passed on a great oppertunity for the magic combat. When you use fire attacks on forest mobs, they don’t increase the damage. Also, your mana replenishes so slow, it’s painful. And the quite expensive potions only give you 10 mana back. Yup, only 10 mana. And the free water bottles you pick up, give 5. That’s so not enough!

So, the magician is long ranged combat. What I love about this game is that the target system works so nicely. I can easily circle around my enemy while trying to defeat it. If only there was an easier way to switch weapons. It would have been less of a pain when I would have been able to quickly switch to my dagger if my mana ran out.

Gamesystems

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In the last section of this article, I want to talk about the overall game. I can’t judge on the box and such, since I own this game thanks to the eShop.

The game controls quite fine. While I sometimes have the impression that they switched some buttons around from similar games, I can easily adjust.

Graphically, this game is just amazing. This game gave my impressions of Professor Layton, while it’s really nothing similar. The look, the animation, color pallet and level design is just really well done. Maybe they should have planned out the shops a bit better. Like the furniture shop closer to the wallpaper and flooring shop. Also, why can’t I sell furniture?  I bought by accident two items when I needed one. -sigh-

Something I would have done differently is the icons on the touch screen. They take up quite a bit of space on the map. While it’s not a big deal, I honestly don’t like various icons on my map. I would have made a bar at the bottom of the touch screen with the buttons on it. That would have been way easier to organize. Speaking about the map mode, it’s quite handy. I can safely say that it helped me out of some tricky situations. It’s clear and you can’t get lost thanks to it. If only you were able to have an overview map. Since if you tap on the map button, you get an overview of the map of the whole game. Thankfully there are buttons to quick travel.

Anyways, I’m nearing my usual article limit. So, it’s time to wrap this article up. I still have quite a lot to talk about, but I will keep that for my review if I beat this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I can honestly recommend this game to you. Also, feel free to drop by on a later date! I try to publish an article each week. So, maybe until next week.

Review #022: Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows (PSP) ~ This Isn’t Right…

Corpse-Party-BOS-Box-art

Official website

Am I safe here? This darn school man. It’s haunting me. I’m trying to relax on my hiatus and getting my real life work done but this school is stopping me from progressing in my goal. I simply don’t understand. I have to fight this. The creepy ghost children aren’t helping. Wait, wait, wait… Haven’t I seen this before? Like some first impression I have written a some time ago. About Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows: First Impression. Nah, that can’t be. This must be an unlucky coincidence. Otherwise I could simply say that people could leave a comment with their opinion on the game and or this article. Hah! That would make life a lot easier. But no, I have to be trapped down here in this school. Again. Maybe my fate is different. Since I haven’t found the secrets. (Read, I haven’t played the secret episode. But I have finished the rest of the game.) So, I’m going to try to make a fair attempt here. Deep breaths. Avoiding spoilers and here we go!

Story

corpse2Now I’m quite sure I have … seen this before. This has an amazing story. Plot twists around every corner. This game actually got me off guard a few times and made me actually feel somewhat scared. And scared, as in it crawled under my skin.

It’s for sure better then the original. I feel that it has more depth and more interesting use of character. As if it were a sort of expansion pack for the original. You explore this hell forsaken school once more with different characters and their backstory gets more fleshed out. But where I truly applaud the creators here, is how one chapter actually took place outside of this Heavenly Host Elementary.

One remark has to be made though, some story parts are way too long. It asked nearly one full hour from me before I could start playing. While I adore long stories, this game could have dosed it a ton better. But with a healthy dose of humor, horror, heartwarming and thrilling parts… It’s forgiven.

The fact that you see unanswered questions get answered and how the characters are used to their full potential is just  mind blowing to see.  I said it before and I’ll say it again. This here, it nailed the story perfectly. I have barely any remarks to the story. And even if you have experienced the previous installment… This will have some quite unexpected turns.

Wait, what was that?

screenshot_0001_thumbSon of a gun! I’m quite sure I heard something. Maybe it was one of the amazing music tracks from the amazing sound track. Too bad that some of them are quite short.

Or might it be one of the voices? Like the amazing voice acting some have. Which brings amazing atmosphere to the table. What am I talking about? Reviewing voices? Am I going insane?

But those sounds, they are crisp and clear. Yes, they make me feel extremely scared. I’m afraid to move. It’s almost like the sounds got me extremely drawn into the game…

Damn, I saw a ghost.

Corpse-Party-Book-of-Shadows-3Maybe I’m seeing things. Maybe I’m not trapped in this school! Maybe I’m too drawn into this game. That might be it. It was such an amazing entry into the series.

And the visuals in this game blew me truly off my socks. Creepy hallways and “nicely” decorated classrooms. Every place was nicely designed.

None of the places felt unfinished. Every location had such attention to detail and some had some neat additional dialogue.

The cutscenes, are underused. The game has only a nice cutscene at the start where there a lot of images used. Here is the hard part, I barely can’t say anything about the animation of this game. Unless you take one new element into a count. The “corruption” level shall we say to avoid spoilers.

The more wrong moves you do, the longer you do to escape (a dangerous situation), the more red your screen becomes. It’s almost like you see a wave of blood passing in front of your face. And that is an amazing touch.

Gameplay

gallery_6_15_1819I think I’m safe. Thankfully. I knew that writing this article would have helped me. Now I’m sure that I’m a big fan of the Corpse Party series. And I waited on purpose with this article to give this game a special number.

And the gameplay of this entry didn’t disappoint one bit. Where you have a big limitation how you can move, you can explore every single bit of the school. Thanks to the new investigation system. It was truly such a nice thing to see.

There were also many tweaks to the game. Like the ability to replay voice acting! Yes, when you’re inside the menu, you can let the characters say their lines again in the “history” menu.

In addition to that, the amount of save slots. My lords, are there a lot of save slots. Maybe a bit too much, but I’m not complaining that much since you will need it. With the addition I mentioned earlier, you will need to save on certain locations since a screw up can be easily made.

The game can be a bit hard, but exploring each and every room to make sure you haven’t missed anything is a great way to progress. Another helpful tip I give is, explore the previous game also extremely well. If you do that, there will be additional content waiting for you in this game.

The length of this game is just mind blowing. I’m not going to lie that I was able to play this game for nearly a month. Admitted, I played various other stuff in that month in order to write some interesting articles for my blog. But to have it completed just recently, is just a great sign.

Where I have to applaud the developers here is the interesting addition of the bonus content. There are no extra chapters this time around, apart from one, when you have seen ALL the endings; including the wrong ones. You can listen to all in game music, with a sort of clunky player, and you can hear some behind the scenes commentary from the voice actors.

And with that, I’m going to leave it here for this article. While I realize that I have been vague on certain parts, I encourage you guys to play this game to find out how big of a master piece this game truly is!

Conclusion

The bad:

– Sometimes story parts are a bit too long.

– Some music tracks should have been a bit longer.

The good:

+ Amazing story.

+ Epic audio work in both the music and sound parts that will really draw you in.

+ An amazing game with stellar visuals.

+ Great voice acting.

+ Nice bonus content.

+ Challenging.

+ ….

Final words:

This game truly held me in it’s grip. I can’t wait to replay the original Corpse Party in order to unlock everything in this gem. While I tried something different to present this 20th review of mine, I had a tough time reviewing this one. This game was perfect in my eyes and I could only nitpick.

I truly cross my fingers that xSeed games ships more of these developers over seas since they are truly worth the time and money. Since these two games were spot on classics for me. It even got me into watching anime and reading manga again. Something I stopped doing because of games.

This game series is one of my favorites. It deserves a spot on “my most influencing games of my lifetime” list. And pretty high on this list!

Anyways, it’s how I said before my conclusion, play it for yourself and you will understand that this game is made with the gamers in mind. This adventure is one that will grab you and don’t let you loose until the end!

Score: 99/100

NekoJonez is alive! An update blog after my exams.

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So where have I been? Didn’t you guys know that I had a lot of exams to go through? No, then you know now. But I’m finally through all of them. And in this update blog I’ll let you know what I see for the future! Because a lot of things have been going on. Oh, and a helpful tip is to look to my Twitter feed since I post small and quick updates often there. Even when I update my forum or when I’m about to write a new post. I have a few other posts to write, so yeah, couple of new posts will be released in the near future! I’m really excited for them. I hope they can entertain you guys as well. But enough stalling, let’s get on to the actual updates!

Prizes and podcast guest

With my blog, I recently won a prize. After receiving a few awards with the ButtonSmasher family, I won another award for my personal blog. That’s extremely sweet! I’m about to write an article about that after I’m done with this update blog. I won the Liebster Award. Which is basically a sort of chainletter award in the WordPress community. But in a good sense of the word. It’s basically a prize to say: “Hey, I like your blog! You are a great blogger and I think you earn a label to show your users that you publish quality content!”. (Oh yeah, here is the post that gave me my award! Link)

And that feels amazing. Being recognized by a community. Talking about that, I am a guest in a podcast. Several podcasts actually. I’m in two episodes of Allahweh’s Gaming Goddess podcast and I’m going to be a guest in the upcoming Retro Nick Podcast! I’ll be on at Wednesday 5th of February at 10AM EST. You guys will be able to follow the live stream of the podcast right here: youtube. The podcasts with me and Allahweh will be reblogged here of course. She said that in the upcoming week it will be published. I’m quite thrilled to see the end result.

Fyrecraft & live streaming

Sadly enough, the owner of FyreCraft had some money issues which made him stop the server. That’s the last I have heard of it. That’s quite sad to hear. That means that I’m going to live stream some other games and Minecraft single player. It’s quite possible that FyreCraft returns but if it does, I will let you guys know.

Thanks for the support of FyreCraft, I’m really going to miss the server. We might be able to work something out since Sam got the world backed up. So, I might live stream my single player experience or I might host it. But then I’m unable to live stream since that would lag the server quite bad. (Hosting and live streaming is bad for my internet, yo.)

Real life stuff

While my exams were happening, a bunch of stuff happened behind the screens as well. First of all, I have no access to my gaming laptop for a while. I know that I sad various times on Twitter that my gaming laptop is going to be fixed and such but today my aunt came and picked it up and my uncle is going to repair it and give it back to me next week! That means I won’t be able to play various games, but I rather try to finish all my other games as well.

Also, I have placed a bunch of new people at my friends page. It’s really worth to check them all out. I honestly forgot who I promised to give a shot out in this update blog so forgive me. Take a peek at my partners and friends page if you want to see who I really recommend to check out!

Besides that, I have a lot of catching up to do in terms of real life stuff. My birthday is in the near future. I’ll become 21 years old then! I’m going to get myself a new mobile phone, and I might post some quick articles with it. Who knows. Other then that, my room got quite messy thanks to my exams and I had to delay some things due to exams.

To close off this segment, my theater group is getting back in action. We selected a new play and I’m about to play a role in it again. I’m super excited to play with them again. Even with the new guys. I can barely wait. It will be great fun and that means around May the articles will come down to a crawl. Since I have the shows then, plus my exams are rather close then as well.

Updates and upcoming stuff

And now to close off this whole lengthy update article, I’m going to talk about updates and upcoming stuff. I might have told you guys that I have a controller for my laptops now. So, I’m able to play various games better now. This will improve my reviews as well.

Arpegi, my forum, as gotten a big update. Arpegi 3.0 includes a mini-game and various updates to nearly every part of the forum. I’m so happy that the update happened without creating a lot of new problems. There are a few but I’m going to patch them in the near future.

I’m also asked to write a new mod for a forum. I’ll get on that this weekend. And when I’m done with it, I might talk about it here in a quick blog. It’ll be a modification for a new button in the Simple Machine Forums.

Quite a lot of articles will be coming to my blog in the near future. A new first impression, a new review and most likely a new game diary. Yes, I have one planned. I have high hopes that I going to finish it!

So, that’s everything for this big update. But a whole 1,5 months went over this exam thingy, so logically I got a big update. Thanks for reading and I hope I can welcome you another time on my blog.

First Impression: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 5 – Dual Destiny’s (3DS – eShop) ~ Silence!

The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.
The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.

Wikipedia entry

After my anger towards Capcom for not releasing Ace Attorney: Miles Edgeworth Investegations 2 on the DS, I finally got my hands on a new official Ace Attorney game. And this in brand new 3D! Pokémon Y has to wait, I have a client to defend. Yes, you read it correctly, I choose a 3rd party game over an official Nintendo game. But don’t worry, I’ll write my review of Pokemon X & Y soon. Anyways, this game is excellent. And this article is meant to convince you even more to download and play it. It’s cheap, extremely cheap in fact. You pay half of the price you would pay for a normal Ace Attorney game. So before I start this first impression, I’m at the start of the 3rd case. That’s the mid-way point. If you take that all cases are of the same length. Yet, comparing it to previous installments, the later the case, the longer it is. Anyways, in the Ace Attorney series you play as an attorney or a prosecutor in the spin-off Miles Edgeworth: Investigations. Your goal is to search crime scenes, question suspects to get enough evidence to be able to defend your client against everything the prosecution throws at you in court. It’s a visual novel adventure game, and it’s a hidden gem series to be honest. So, before I continue, let me know in the comments what you think of this game and/or this review. Anyways, let’s start!

Wright is back!

Phoenix_wright_ace_attorney_dual_destinies_screenshotFor real, Phoenix Wright is back in full force. In one of the previous installments we learned that Phoenix Wright actually stopped being a lawyer. If you play Apollo Justice, you’ll learn why. I won’t spoil anything here. But one thing is clear, this game is filled with references to anime’s and older Ace Attorney games. Yet, you don’t need to have played the previous installments to enjoy the extremely well done writing.

The writing is funny at time and makes for a great laugh. The characters are memorable and well done. They are believable and are a great addition to the great cast of characters. I’m a bit bummed out that some characters won’t appear in this new installment, yet I might speak before my turn. (And an objection will be raised in my face).

And not only the extremely well done writing is back, it’s now presented in an extremely better way. Gone are the days you skipped over text, you can now scroll back in the dialogues. A long awaited addition. Thanks for finally adding this. I’ll directly mention the extremely handy fact that the save feature is better implemented. Now you have a button to save on the touch screen and wait… what’s this? Two save slots?! Yes, you have two locations to save your progress. And it saves extremely fast! That’s neat.

Anyways, back to the story part. This time around, some parts of the story are presented with anime cut-scenes and they look brilliant. I love when one comes on and the voice acting is how it should be! Well done and on the spot good. I love how you now hear more of the voices of the characters outside the “objection” and “hold it” phrases. All in all, the story and it’s presentation is top notch.

Pretty neat!

Ace_Attorney_5_screenshot_18Besides the story, the game got a graphical update that blew me off my socks. It’s a game where I don’t mind having the 3D slider on. It’s visuals look sharper and pop out even more with the 3D. The art style is what the series needed all along.

This game is a visual eye candy for anime games. The animation is superb. I like how some locations look alive when you come to them, like flags blowing in the wind and various other details. It makes the game have more immersion.

The UI (= User Interface) got an upgrade as well. It controls a lot smoother and it’s how it should be all along.

The character animation itself is just a tip of the mountain of amazing design that this game has. The fact that this game looks more realistic like seeing the crowd behind the defendant makes the scene much more alive. The camera often zooms out to show a view of the whole court room and when you have the 3D slider on, this game blows you away.

The gameplay just got some neat tweaks as well. Your partner will tell when you have everything at a certain location and that makes getting stuck a lot less frequent. Also, the notes that Apollo uses makes for a great check list if you may get stuck. You also can call in help of your partner who’ll say which statement is the one you’ll need to present evidence on when you failed several times in the cross examination.

Is there something bad?

Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney-Dual-Destinies-3DS-Announcement-Screenshot-5Of course, I’ll continue to praise this game. But there is one thing that I dislike. The fact that there might be future DLC. Why Capcom, why? -Sigh- If this is the only bad thing about this game, I can let it slip.

The music is like expected top notch. And before you all get mad, if a DS game series gets it’s music in a concert, that’s something. If a DS game series get it’s own movie… Yeah, then you have a great game on your hands.

I already explained how everything got better compared to the previous entries and it really is that way. The better UI, nicer visuals, improved animation, anime cut-scenes… I can’t get enough of this game. My college work might suffer if this game continues to be this good. So yeah, I might need to give my 3DS to someone so I can still concentrate on my college work.

This game’s price is a steal. It’s only 25€. Just wanted to mention that.

Also, some old elements with Apollo return from his installment. Yet, the new mood matrix gameplay, which I didn’t have the luck to play around with it often, is extremely interesting. It provides a new and refreshing element for the new and veteran players.

In terms of length, this game is pretty lengthy, yet I’m hoping that the 3rd, 4th and 5th case keep me playing for a long time. Since this game has been released 3-4 days ago and I would love it if this game lasted me more then a week or two. Oh well, if you play on a game as often as I do on this game, I can’t be helped I guess.

So, that’s going to be it for this first impression. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Give this game a chance and you’ll understand why this game is worth it’s purchase. Now, I’m going to sit down and continue to play this wonderful gem of a game.

NekoJonez: Are digital downloads really a benefit for the market?

steamos_2_web-100055303-large_thumbAre platforms like Steam and Origin really a benefit for the games market? Must everything now go digital or is that something that might doom the market? Let’s think about it. I think that this movement is a double edged sword. It’s good but there is a big “But”. Cap was intended. I can’t deny that platforms like Steam and other have many advantages. But clearly, I have also a blaming finger to raise. I talked and discussed with many of my friends about this. From people on ButtonSmashers, Arpegi and outside both of them. And after many rewrites I think it’s time to voice my view on this. Feel free to debate with me on this in the comments. Flame comments will be removed of course. 

My biggest problem

Many people see this as the way of the future. Everything needs to go digital. It makes things so much more easier. Yet, there is a big issue that comes with this. Security. Image that your account is hacked and you lost all your progress and games. Or worse, they got hand of your bank information. I have no doubt in my mind that this is something hackers in the future will be able to achieve.

Another issue is the fact that privacy is gone. Some people want to hide that they game since for some companies that is a big no if you want to be hired. Gamers have a big reputation thanks to some events that the media blew out of proportion. So, you have to hide. In addition to that, you can’t really hide your “guilty pleasure” games anymore. You know, those games that make your reputation of “hardcore gamer” go poof as snow for the sun.

And don’t get me started about abusing the system. There are some many ways to cheat the system and make fake money that can be used to buy games then. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good percentage of the sales on those digital platforms are actually illegal purchases gone undetected.

Android market feel

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I’m not going to lie, I bought a ton of games on Steam the past month. But I really man, a lot of them. And my fear got actually confirmed. I felt like being on some online app store. Where you can easily download games and install them. And I kept playing a part of the game and when I got a bit bored of the game, I downloaded the next one.

Isn’t that a bit harsh? There can be boring moments in a game but when you wouldn’t have this Steam or Origin, it was your newest game and then you motivation was higher. At least in my case.

Also, as a retro gamer, I saw that nearly all the games I played in the past are on Steam as well. I’m afraid I won’t survive any sale if one happens of a game on my wishlist.

My point here is that it became too easy to find new games and you start to think less about your budget. It’s not new that I hear people say that they got a ton of games from a sale but if you really look to it, how many games are actually played and or finished from the ones they bought? Probably not all of them.

Big dogs smelled money.

imagesBefore I explain my next point, I want to talk about another thing. I’m a big time collector. If I’m at a garage sale, my mood is like: “Buy all the games!”. If I had the money for it, I would. Yet, going to a garage sale and trying to hassle or look for a game. That feeling of going home with a new stack of games felt so rewarding. And that’s a feeling I have lost with Steam and Origin. You just push in some numbers and do one or two clicks. You can’t hassle or try to lower the price. And looking for a game is just a search away.

But this is actually a nightmare for collectors. Physical copies are a thing of the past. I love being able to hold a game in my hands and showing it off to my friends and being like: “Hey, look I got this new game.” That might be a bit bragging but hey, who doesn’t do that from time to time?

But what in the name of the good games are big companies like Atari and Square doing on Steam? Selling their big titles like Call of Duty, Final Fantasy and various other franchises. Honestly, I don’t think it’s good for that. If I would be Steam, I would have only allowed indie or start-up developers to make their big entree in the market.

Scary

I’m also afraid that the ease of DLC for developers on Steam might slowly be the new norm. The satire game DLC Quest might become the future reality one day. In this game, you can’t even go left at the start of the game. You have to buy the DLC for it when you have enough in-game coins. And I have this one game called Tomb Raider that has a big load of DLC and yeah, I bought it all. Just because I hate when I don’t have the complete package.

One of the final issues I can come up with is maybe one of the most scary things. The fact you and those developers become independent (Edit: Thanks for noticing my mistake here BloodCat.) from one company. Image how big of a catastrophe it would be if Steam went bankrupt. Or when they couldn’t handle the server load and much data is lost. Scary thought no? Or that they become so big that local game stores go out of business. Many jobs lost.

In conclusion

I can’t deny that platforms like Steam or Origin are great things. Many indie developers can show off their games. You can also buy games that your local game store might not offer. And if those stores are too far away, you can easily buy them on those platforms.

But if you look to it, there are big flaws with this system you can’t deny. I won’t go explaining them again, since I talked about it in this article. I’m sure that I forgot some things in my article but I’m sure that I got the most crucial written down.

Maybe a good message is that you shouldn’t forget that there are retailers and various other things to get your games outside of Steam and Origin. It’s such a nice thing in our gaming culture so let’s not go to a culture where we sit in front of a computer and don’t much a muscle to get our games since you can easily get them on Steam.

First Impressions: Pokémon Ranger (DS) ~ All These Circles Make Me Dizzy.

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Wikipedia entry. (Since the official site is updated to the latest entry in the series.)

Sometimes games have a lot of potential. And this game surely has potential. This Pokémon spin-off is based on one of the opponent types in the main series. Yet, some games then fail horribly to deliver. I was planning to make write this article in a story-ish thing-y but I wanted to be direct for this game. It made me think about something. If you ever ask yourself why I don’t review that many bad games on my blog is because the games I play are the games that catch my eye and I think are interesting to play. I also look beyond the graphics and other things while I’m playing. And I trust my instinct in order to avoid bad games. Yet, it happens that a bad game slips in here and there, but when I’m having fun and when I’m enjoying myself, that makes the game a lot better. Remember that I judge my games extremely personally. That might be a flaw of my reviewing skills, since I should actually review my games more so that I look if it would be for everybody. Anyways, I thought this was important to say since there are a lot of fans for this game. So, to avoid flaming in the comments I better explain myself. But feel free to leave me a comment to tell me how I did or what you think of this game. Anyways, here we go!

The first isn’t always the best.

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This game made me doubt my instinct of choosing great games. I’m going to be extremely honest here, this game is flawed. Yet, it’s a game I’ll finish since I want to beat the first one in the series before I continue to play the other games in the series. I did play the sequel and the 3rd game in the series and I really enjoyed my time there. I never beaten them though. Okay, Guardian Signs I had beaten but not 100%, since I had a part of the epilogue left to beat.

I’m going to dive into the parts I didn’t like of this game first. Honestly, I don’t like the overworld animation. Some Pokémon seem a bit jittery when they move and the running animation of your character is way to fast for your friend Pokémon to keep up. And this causes a lot of issues. Pokémon will no clip through walls and various other locations to reach you. When they can’t cross a certain river or other place, they will spawn next to you after a short while of being off screen.

The graphics in this game look really neat though. It’s another take on how things can look in the main series. I’m so glad they took it in an other direction yet, similar. But the level design don’t look very pleasant. Not that it looks ugly or anything but I really don’t feel the polish of the other Pokémon games that go into cities.

Bad?

ds_pokemonranger_ss03 copyBut there are other things really makes me want to rip this game apart. First of all, the map screen is a total joke. It’s actually useless. Your map is more like a radar with an arrow representing you and squares if there is a door you can enter. Also, it displays Pokémon nearby. I actually found a glitch in the map. Before the sewer part in Fall City, you need to try to get on top the entrance of the sewers, that road, and look at the map then. It’ll appear that a lot of Pokémon are there.

Secondly, I really dislike in this game is the music. It’s bland and forgettable. I actually had to play the OST to remember the music. I really hope that the music in the rest of the game makes up for the music in the first section of the game.

Thirdly, while the capturing of Pokémon is an awesome idea and it works in the game as well, it’s the only really enjoyable part of the gameplay. The locations to explore are bland and generic. Also the capturing can be really frustrating since sometimes the Pokémon will run on the side of the screen which makes drawing your circles around them a real pain to execute. Not to mention the possible damage to your touch screen if you get a bit to … circle-happy? Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the possible interruption you can have in mid-capture when your styler levels up. Yeah, it can happen.

But the biggest let down has to be the extremely weak story. Even the first Pokémon game had a better story. It suffers from cheesy-ness, generic characters and basic plots. The plot can be summed up easily by: “Superstyler is stolen by bad guys to cause evil.” No character gets depth and stay dolls on strings to play a certain role. Such a lost opportunity. This makes predicting the story extremely easy and ruins the thrill of the story.

Why do I still play this?

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By now you might think that I have given up fate for this game. But surprisingly, there is a charm in this game that keeps pulling me in over and over again. Even with the obvious flaws of this game, it remains fun. Exploring the, linear, places to progress is fun.

Finding the right Pokémon to assist you in destroying a big rock is sweet. Also, you really need to think about which Pokémon you have to take along since you can’t have them all at the same time.

The controls of this game is a major plus. You can use the D-Pad and/or the stylus to move. And it actually works extremely well. Yet, I managed to find a bug in the controls. When you have a ladder that goes down, try walking at the side. When you are in middle at the side, the screen will shake while your character continues to walk in front of him.

But in conclusion, this game is good but not great. This game plays it extremely safe to introduce us to a new spin-off that is a lot of fun. But it needs a lot of polish to make the game more fun. This game might have some serious flaws but it doesn’t destroy the game and it’s still playable. But I’m going to leave it here. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. Until the next one. 🙂

First Impression: Nicktoons – Spongebob and Friends – Battle For Volcano Island (PS2) ~ Thou Are Summoned

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(Little blog news: Sorry for not writing a lot. I’m extremely busy. Follow me on my Twitter for updates.)

Wikipedia entry

Back when the gameboy advance SP was the latest of the latest gameboy’s from Nintendo, I could rent out games from a local game store. The same one I buy most of my games at today. I love those guys. They are extremely friendly, talk with you about games, have an amazing helpdesk… Lot of advantages. For those who are interested in some Belgium culture while learning about my opinion of the games I play, here is the site of my game store. But be warned, it’s in Dutch. Game Mania is just awesome. I rented the latest Zelda game, which was the Minish Cap, and a few other games. The GBA version of this game was among them. Bummed out that I had to return the GBA version because it was so awesome I looked all over for this game. Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to find a copy for myself. Until one day I passed by and saw this in the 2nd hand PS2 games shelf. I was thrilled. Finally a copy of this game for myself. Not the one I wanted but hey, it’s a start. My expectations where high. I tried to set them really low to avoid a major disappointment but I was happily surprised. This game is pretty great. Why, I’ll explain in this article. But don’t let you get fooled by the fact it’s a kid’s game. Don’t judge a book on it’s cover, or a game on it’s box-art. Who knows, there might be a great gem inside. Anyways, let me know in the comments how I did in this article and your views on this game. Even when you didn’t play it. So, here we go. 

Open yet closed?

blaup2006Expect it, I’ll make a lot of references and comparisions to the GBA version of this game. Something I really liked in the GBA version is the fact you could walk around and pick the order of the levels yourself. Of course, parts where locked away until you reached a certain point of the game, but you didn’t had to finish all the levels in one section before you could advance to the next section.

If this game works with the same idea, I can’t tell just yet. From what I see now, it’s a tad bit more linear. But there is a central hub. And here is the neat thing, you are free to explore the whole thing. The restrictions from the GBA version aren’t there.

But what I really like in this version of the game is how the story is presented to you. It’s a big improvement above the GBA version where the story was somewhat absent. Your goal in this game was a bit unclear, since it was only explained at the start and the end of the game. The cut-scenes in this game really aids to bring character to the story and really makes the game more fun.

Damage?

hqdefaultThis game got a lot of marks from me. But one thing makes me doubt if this game is actually worth all my praise. The absence of a proper health display is worrying. You have to guess how many hits you can still take before you die. And the only thing that happens after a lot of hits is that your green behind the still image of the character changes into orange and then into red. In the GBA version you had a limit amount of hearts. And that provided a bit more challenge. With the actual amount of health you have in this game, it gets a whole lot easier.

Another thing where this game loses points is that the music is forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s does it’s job but it’s actually not good enough to want to download the OST or get it stuck in your head. On the other hand, the voice work get a big thumbs up. I really like the sound effects and I think they add more then the music to the game. The voices really makes the funny story come to live. I also like the nods to previous games and to the series of the characters who are in the game.

Graphically this game is colorful and pretty. This helps a lot when you want to explore the world since it’s a blast to do. And here is where it gets even more interesting. Thanks to a whole ton of collect-ables and unlock-ables, this game’s replay value skyrockets. And then the possibility to take multiple paths helps a lot too. Exploring this colorful world is really fun to do. And this is backed up by a lovely short loading screen where great animations are displayed.

Speaking of which, the animation in this game is good. I really like the attention to detail in some parts. Patrick’s health display also changes the more hits you receive. I didn’t see it happening with the other characters though. I really like how this game all comes together.

Finish?

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I think I might finish this game in order to review this one. I actually think they deserve it for this game.

The level design is extremely well done. They added in spawners that pop out more enemies for you to fight until you destroy the source. The combat works great for a kids game but isn’t more then mashing the attack button.

The control scheme is alright. To my knowledge, there are two different settings. But I didn’t had any complaints about it while playing this game.

I also found out that this game might be short. After finishing two levels, the save file said I completed 20% of the game. Hopefully this is a mistake since if the game is extremely short, the marks will fall in the review.

Thankfully, the game is multiplayer too. You can play this game with two players. Or that’s what I can gather with the empty not used space and the mention of “player 1”. So, I have to check on that.

Anyways, that’s all for this game. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch you at a next read. But I’m now going to continue playing games to make new articles for you guys. Cheers!

(16+) First Impression: Overlord (PC) ~ For you, master.

Overlord_pc_uk

This game is just Pikmin for adults. Nah, that’s a lie. This game has some Pikmin elements but the game is way different. It’s a game that I tried to finish many times before but somehow other games distracted me. But now I told myself that I have this game finished by end of the summer. I have so many games in my collection I want to finish in order to make a proper review. In this game you play as the bad guy that needs to restore his (or her) tower. Which first impressions did this game leave on me? That’s all what this article is about. Let’s cut the introduction short this time and let’s dive right into Overlord and my thoughts on it now. 

Mainstream?

Many of my classmates and friends pick the latest games on the shelves and talk about them if they are the only games that are out there. It’s so disappointing how games like these don’t get a lot of recognition.

The first impression was a good impression. It made a big flaw in the start with the menu, but that’s forgiven. The way how this game handles it’s tutorial really makes up for it.

But I like to play games, regardless in how old they are. And for a game from 2006, this game really holds up. The story doesn’t really feel developed at this point. Actually, it feels like it’s a long string of quests. It works though but I really miss an overall story in the game. But the missions itself are actually really enjoyable.

Where this game truly shines is the gameplay. The game is mostly liniair in the area’s but you can go where you want as long as you can fight through the area or you have the right minions. This game really feels open. Plus, there are two styles you can play in this game. Corrupted and hero.

For you, master.

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You don’t feel like giving the food to the villagers? Sure, you can keep it and strike fear in their harts. But are you more of a gentle person, then you can give the food back.

One thing that breaks and makes the game are the minions. The concept is quite unique in how it’s handled here, but they can be so extremely big derps. Like they don’t run where you order them unless you move back and forth in front of the place. This happens sometimes and got fixed and fixed each patch that came out but it is far from perfect. But it doesn’t break the game till an unplayable point. It just leads to frustration and sometimes loss of minions.

Now to think of it, there isn’t an update button in the game as far as I know. I have to look into that for my review maybe.

What I still find funny is how the developers added a small map inside the gamebox. It’s such a neat extra as game collector.

The game can be a challenge. Not only because of the derpy AI but because of the enemies that are actually smarter and stronger then you might think. I truly advise you all to sometimes farm out life force. A minion more or less can make a huge difference.

Beautiful

overlord_puzzle2To this day, I’m amazed in how pretty this game looks. Everything looks so nice, detailed and amazingly animated. It’s truly advised that you play this game on a computer that can handle this game. The lag otherwise will ruin your experience.

The music, soundeffects and voice work is something I really applaud this game for already. You truly feel as a bad guy. And your minions will cheer in support for you if you burn somebody alive.

The enemies are partially generic but some have an amazing twist. Like there are, yes, unicorns in the game. But they are “Bloody Unicorns”. Yes, that’s how they are called.

Well, I know this is extremely short but I think I’m going to leave it here. Consider this as a sort of teaser of what I think of the game right now. Plus I’m quite busy with finishing my exams these days and I wanted to write an article about this game. So, I did. Once I finished this game, be sure to find a review on here. I might also review the expansion pack together with this game. But for now, happy gaming. And leave in the comments what your first impression was of this game.