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First Impression: Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl (3DS) ~ Dungeon Crawler with own maps

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Back when the 3DS wasn’t released, I played an overload of DS games. More then I care to admit. There was one series I wanted to get into but actually never gave a fair chance. That was Etrian Odyssey. So, two weeks ago, I decided to pick up one of the 3DS games. Since the core game mechanic interested me. Now, I haven’t played many other games besides this the last two weeks. But why is it so good to me? I will explain in this first impression. I hope you are ready, since we are going to the labyrinth. Wait, no… This is real life, not the game world. So, I have to say my usual sentence. Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Going old school

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Alright, first of all. I’m blown away by the story. Most of all, I think this is one of the best writing I have seen since I played Corpse Party. Sometimes the writing is as if you are reading a book. While nothing that much happens on screen, the short yet extremely powerful descriptions you are given are enough to immerse yourself in the world and give you the feeling to be there in the world.

The characters are also memorable. The story goes about a girl that lost her memory. But, strangely, the story wasn’t the main focus of the story until the point I played. It was something different. There are other side stories that are all leading up to one interesting setup. It’s almost like a real life as an explorer. There are so many things going on and you try to make the best of it.

The characters are what makes the story even more interesting. They might be your typical hotheaded mage, wise healer, strong (female!) tank and silent main character. Yet, they have been written in such a way that it doesn’t bother the story. The characters even get fleshed out and thrown in day to day situations.

But enough about the story. I can’t praise it enough. What I love the most about this game is the fact you have to draw your own map on the touch screen. This takes me back so many years, when I was first playing The Legend Of Zelda on my cousin’s NES. We both started to draw maps together and tried to find and share secrets that way. The wonder I get when I find an unexplored part on a floor I thought I completed is just amazing.

Music to enjoy.

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So, this game has a very nice map creating tool. It doesn’t punish you by not allowing you to the next floor until every square has been discovered, it rewards you to try and get to hard to reach area’s with amazing treasure.

I’ll talk a bit about the gameplay later. First, I want to talk about something else. The music of this game is really well done. In fact, I even replaced my main ringtone with one of my favorite tracks from the game.

Another thing that also shines in the sound department is the voice acting. The voices are really well done and add a lot of character … to the characters. They also are really helpful. The shout what they think is the enemies weakness in battle. This is where I have some minor nitpicks. The battle system is where some polish of this game … well, I has some minor mistakes.

The “auto” feature doesn’t always chooses the best option to attack and looking up a monster while fighting can’t be done in sub menu’s. That are just two examples of issues I have with the battle system. The randomizing of the characters don’t bother me that much, since that brings some element of luck to the game… Which I really like.

The presentation of this game is what I really think doesn’t need an upgrade. I have barely anything negative to say. Apart from some lazy recoloring of some enemy models, I think they made some eye candy to enjoy while playing this game. If only the added some more ambient sound effects into the game to make it a bit more alive then it already is.

Enjoying this game like mad

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To say that this game is perfect would be a lie. There are some minor annoyances, like the deleting of icons is kinda tricky to do… But most of the things I find are mostly minor. Even the controls, I can’t seem to find any major issues. They are responsive and work pretty well.

I could argue that there isn’t anywhere to heal your party for free, but that just adds the strategy element of this game. You need to keep exploring and find enough items and treasure to sell so you can keep healing.

That price always goes up, from what I understand… along with the levels of your party members.

Is this game for everybody? Well, that seriously depends on what mode you play. I’m playing classic mode. That means I get the full story yet the game is a bit more challenging. I wanted to play a game that could kick my ass if I wasn’t ready for a battle or if I wasn’t paying enough attention. It delivers on that front. With some well placed traps and the introduction of really strong enemies really early, I’m always on my guard.

From what I read, the story mode is much more forgiving. But I wanted a challenge and I’m getting it for sure. And I’m enjoying it. That much, that I had trouble with writing a really coherent article. So, I tried to talk like an excited friend that tries to sell you on this game. I hope I succeeded in that. Even when you aren’t interested in this game, I highly recommend you watch a let’s play episode or something since the game is so well put together, I think it’s a shame if you would to miss out on this. So, I’m going to wrap up this article right here. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And hopefully, I would like to welcome you at another article. Until then, take care.~

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Review #023: Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine (PC) ~ Overdosing Childhood Nostalgia

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Wikipedia entry

“Time to go to work” is the opening of the game. Indy slides down a slope and lands on stone platform overlooking a canyon. Now you’re ready to start the game’s tutorial. Well, I can try to write a billion introductions for this game but I will never really be happy with it. I will always restart writing this article and after many tries, I just decided to write it. Since this game is filled with childhood nostalgia for me. I always try to replay it but with all broken copies, bad compatibility with later operating systems,  it’s a big pain. If you want to play this game, your safest bet is to either go and buy a truly old pc that runs Windows 98 or be lucky and play in a virtual machine. But the third option is that you go and buy the N64 version. I can’t talk much about that version since I only played the PC and gameboy color version. I still remember that one morning I woke up on my birthday at my aunt’s place and she gave me Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine for my gameboy. Okay, enough nostalgia. Feel free to leave me a comment with your opinion on this article and or game. Let’s dive right into this. 

Overlooked gem

Infernal_Machine_MeroeIf you look around the internet, you find mostly an overdose of content about it. But this game got overlooked. My best guess is that it’s mostly compared to a cheap Tomb Raider clone. Whilst this is somewhat true, I think that if you look at this game as an entry into the 3D adventure game genre, it’s a pretty solid entry.

Let’s talk about the story. While it isn’t a deep story, and it only has enough characters to count on your both hands, I think it actually works in favor of this game.

All the characters are flat and you barely got to know them. If I need to put aside my nostalgia, I have to admit that the story is weak. But then again, this is an action adventure game, so it’s a bit forgiven. Action games don’t need to have a deep story. While adventure games, a deep story is a must!

The story brings us through various locations. From Egypt to a boat in the middle of the sea. And every location is nicely introduced at the end of each level. And that’s the main function of the story, tying the levels together nicely.

The infernal machine

Indiana-Jones-and-the-Infernal-Machine-indiana-jones-35225169-800-600Thanks to some great voice acting, I personally can forgive the weak story. But the gameplay is where this game shines. And it truly shines.

First of all, there are around 15 levels in the game. Each level has a decent length. At best, you can finish this game after a few weeks of play.

Most area’s wont give you any trouble. Not that this game has low difficulty, not at all. But the game is pretty straight forward. While some puzzles can stump you, it’s not that you can get stuck easily.

Each level requires you to kill enemies, jump from platform to platform and try to find the exit to advance to the next level. Basic adventure game stuff. But the execution is amazing. Since each area, while falling into the cliche area’s, feels unique and feels true to the Indiana Jones movies. It’s almost like you are playing an Indiana Jones movie.

A volcano, jeep, boat, pyramid or a tropical island level are present in the game and tons more. And the main objective in each area is different and fun. While some have fetch quests, they don’t feel boring or lazy in any way. Plus, the game isn’t extremely linear. Some area’s can be finished with doing things in a different order.

Recommended

map14So, in each level you can find 10 treasure items. With these you can buy ammo, health packs and various other items at the end of every level. Some treasures are in plain sight, but some treasures ask some exploration of the open levels. A tip that I give to you guys is that in the Olmec Valley (level 10), there is a treasure hidden in a pond. That was one that took me a long time to find.

Visually, this game has aged quite poorly. The animations and graphics will look terrible to the modern gamer. But truth to be told, the design of every place is beautiful. For a retro gamer, this game is a jewel. A pearl in design.

The level design is just pretty and provides quite the variation in gameplay and will not easily bore you. Even a couple of easter eggs are hidden. I will reveal two of them. Both extremely close to each other. In one level, where you need to enter the mines, you will visit a control room. On the desk of the control room there is a picture of the Young Indy. If you press the action button, Indy will give a nice comment. After that, try to get on top of the control room. It’s tricky to do, but the boxes outside will help you. Once on top, light your lighter and somewhere in the middle you will see the name of one of the designers edged into the wood.

So, what haven’t I talked about? Oh yes, the music. While it’s mainly absent, I think that it’s a missed opportunity. The game could have benefited from a more extended musical score. But the sound design isn’t bad at all and gets a thumbs up from me.

Oh, before I forget, there is a big reward if you collect all the treasures. You will be able to buy something really special that will put a big smile on your face if you have seen the first movie. Just saying.

And to finish, let me talk about the cheats. Yes, there are cheats. From god mode to have each and every weapon in the game. But there are even easter eggs in the cheats!

So, I think I am going to leave it here for this review and go on to the conclusion. Don’t forget to draw everywhere on the walls with your chalk in the game! I haven’t talked about everything inside the game as usual, since I want you guys to have some discoveries in the game if you’re interested!

Conclusion

The bad:

– Tricky to get to work on modern system.

– Some weapons can crash the game if you have Windows XP or higher.

– The story is weak.

– This game could have benefited from more music.

The good:

+ The easter eggs are truly worth finding.

+ The replay value is high.

+ The length is very great.

+ Nice sound design.

+ Epic visuals for retro gamers.

+ Nice voice acting.

+ Addicting gameplay.

Conclusion:

Dayum, this was harsh to do. My nostalgia was always taking the better of me and pushing every bad thing I wanted to say, was pushed out of my head. The old warning I have to give is that this game is a pain to get working properly on modern systems. It even acts funny from time to time on my virtual machine. So, please, keep that in mind.

But this game was the cause I got truly addicted to gaming. It’s a very influential game in my eyes and I often reference it in my head when I’m reviewing or writing. Somehow it gives me inspiration.

Let me reveal a few things I haven’t talked about in my review. Like the adjustable difficulty, boss battles and a map system. Yeah, the game is pretty deep when I think about it. I had enough material for a long review for sure, but just because I felt like writing a review about this game and finally publish it, since I was always somewhat displeased, I kept it to my usual length.

Anyways, I’m writing a longer final thoughts then I should. Play this game for yourself and tell me what you thought of this game. I truly think it’s a master piece with a few flaws.

Score: 90 / 100