Tag Archives: download

Publishing: How to Tell a Hardware Problem From a Software Problem

Jonez note: This article has been written by the fine folks over at: https://businessservicesweek.com, if you are interested in various topics you should surely take a look at their site. I found this guest post article quite interesting, so I decided to post it. I found it so interesting, I might revisit this topic in the future with my personal advice.

A computer is made up of various different layers and components, all put in place to perform specifically for the computers needs. When a computer breaks or has malfunctions, it can be a big pain and cause various different issues – especially if you use the computer for work.

save

When we are subject to a computer issue, it can be hard to determine where the problem is coming from. We have been groomed to just instantly turn it off and on again and pray for the best. But, it is more than likely a hardware or software problem. But, to anyone that isn’t very educated in a computer makeup, it can be tough to know which is causing the problem.

The Difference Between Hardware and Software

Computer hardware can be defined as any physical attribute used in or with your machine. So, the hardware inside the computer, or the components on the outside such as your mouse, keyboard, server and workstation. Hardware is anything that can be physically touched. Without these components to your computer, software wouldn’t have anything to run on.

Software is a collection of code installed onto the computers hard drive, that allows the device to perform. Many systems will divide software into 3 different categories. These are system software, programming software and application software. These major classes are sequenced in a way that will be able to change the state of the computers hardware.

Common Hardware Problems

Most common hardware issues are actually caused by your device overheating, and not being able to dispose of that heat to cool down. This can cause issues with all the components and their performance inside of the computer, disrupting workflow. Other than the underlying cause being heat, another way many hardware issues occur is because of physical damage. For example dropping or smashing your device can cause the component to shift or even break themselves.

Some noticeable hardware problems can be as follows.

Blue Screen

A blue screen occurs when your computer encounters a failure called a ‘stop error’. The coding of this error causes the computer to completely crash and stop working. They can come onto your screen and produce all manners of information and coding that is being saved into your hard drive disk as it is happening. If this happens, the only way the laptop can be saved is to restart it entirely. This can lead to a lot of data loss, as the applications that may be open as the blue screen happens, do not have enough time to save all of their data.

Noisy Hard Drive

Hard drives, unknown to many, have a limited lifespan and these are something you do need to update every few months or years to have optimum performance. So, if there is clicking or disruptive grinding sounds coming from the inside of your computer, then it is highly likely the hard drive needs to be replaced.

Blank Screens

Having a blank monitor is one of the most common hardware problems. A blank screen is something that is most likely to occur at least once in your time when using a computer. This can be an annoyance if the computer is being used for work purposes or important work, so it’s an issue that would really need to be fixed fast. This problem can usually be caused by loose cables in the back of the computer such as the supply cord or video cable. A simple fix would be too check all of these and ensure they are securely plugged in, to decipher if these are the culprits.

Common Software Issues

Most common software issues are caused due to a bug in the coding sequence or because the system is not working as expected due to an external issue. Software problems can cause a lot of frustration as the software coding in your device is what runs your hardware to work smoothly.

Computer Freezing

A very common software issue in many devices is the incessant freezing of applications or the screen whilst it is in use. As the laptop will now not be able to be controlled by the mouse and no clicks are doing anything, the only option left is to restart the computer.  But, instead of flicking the main supply to rid the laptop of complete power, just holding down the power button for 5-10 seconds will allow the device to restart without losing power – hopefully leaving any opened work untouched.

App Command Not Working

Another confusing and troublesome software problem that could occur is apps on the device are not loading or responding when opened. This can be caused by the software trying to load too many applications at once, and it just doesn’t have the power to configure them all. On the other hand, it could be the app compatibility with the strength of the software in your device. It may be possible that the device being used does not have the appropriate coding or sequence in its software to run the app.

Ways around these issues will be to either reboot your device and start on a clean screen with no additional applications running in the background – then start up the app you want to see if it loads. Or, it will be to research the chosen application and the environment it needs to work, and compare that to your own device.

Your Computer Boots Extremely Slowly

Although a slow computer can be much of an annoyance, it is luckily one of the easiest problems to fix. The most common cause of the system taking its time to boot up is because there are too many applications trying to load at once in the background as your computer is trying to start too. The best way to avoid this issue would be to set all of the applications on the computer to only load when they are being used. This will stop new downloads sticking to their factory settings and loading as soon as the laptop starts – hopefully allowing your device to start a lot faster.

Conclusion

It is an annoyance for almost everyone when a device has problems or isn’t working properly – especially when it is of great importance to everyday life. It is hard to be able to configure by yourself why the problems are happening and find the cause. Therefore, the most beneficial decision would be to take your device to a repair shop, if the issue continues after reading through the tips and tricks of this article.

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Publishing: Heralds of the Order – A New Handdrawn Turnbased Adventure!

Heralds of the Order is a turn-based strategy game boiled down to the genre’s core principles. Utilize positioning and abilities with elaborate patterns to achieve victory! Featuring hand drawn art and over 20 story chapters.

Story

Maala, the realm without gods, finds itself on the verge of catastrophe.  Objects of ancient power resurface, triggering a race to claim them, one that promises to engulf the world in war. It is your duty as a Patronus of the Order to go forth and restore balance. Along the way you will find new allies and face countless foes, as the line between myth and reality shatters.

Key Features

  • Turn-based tactical combat boiled down to its core priciples.
  • A sprawling story that will take you on a gripping journey across Maala.
  • 8 party members each with their unique motivations and abilities.
  • Hand-drawn art and traditional rotoscoped
  • Over 20 handcrafted missions taking place in 6 unique environments.
  • Adapt your strategy! Customize your party‘s stats and choose from the numerous God Powers to overcome the challenges ahead of you.
  • Unique boss fights with devastating attacks.

Combat Features

  • Abilities with elaborate patterns.
  • Positioning, flanking and countering the enemy’s defences are the key to victory.
  • Elaborate battlefields with various boons and hazzards.
  • Unique energy management system that determines the ebb and flow of combat.
  • Devastating God Powers which can alter the course of combat.

Media

Videos

A video of me playing trough our free demoHere’s an interview we did with Eddie from Playing Indies

Character Art

Articles

“Let’s save the world of Maala in this new turn-based strategy game inspired by The Banner Saga. ” – TURN-BASED LOVER

“”Heralds of The Order” by @ArcheanGames promises richly detailed turn-based strategy. ” – CaptainD, Indie Game News

Downloads

GameJolt Archean Games Download

https://gamejolt.com/games/herald-of-the-order/366356

About the team

archean games.png

We’re a three man team, consisting of two programmers and one artist, based in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. We spent our high school years dreaming of a career in the games industry, learning the basics of game-making. When we began university we decided that it was the perfect time to try our luck in the indie scene. And so we began developing Heralds of the Order – our first major project.

Twitter – FacebookItch.io

 

 

Writers Raid: Tomb Raider Level Editor ~ Lara Raided Fantombs

Tomb_Raider_Level_Editor

Today I want to take you on a journey. Together with various other writers, we decided to celebrate the Tomb Raider series. While a lot of people look at the early Tomb Raider games as games that didn’t age well, I don’t mind that much. True, the games aren’t the best to play nowadays, but I still enjoy them. I knew that there was a level editor as a child but I never taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the tool. In the past, I thought that it was a cheating tool that allowed you to edit levels to give you an advantage. Anyways, the level editor, that’s the theme of this article.

History

Now, what’s the TLRE? What’s the Tomb Raider Level Editor? Well, it’s the actual tool that Core Design used to create the first 5 Tomb Raider games. This tool was released to the public in 2000. Included in the package were beta versions of various levels and a couple of completed levels. A bit later, Eidos Interactive released another few levels. You can dig deeper on the details of those levels on the Tomb Raider Wiki.

If you want to mess around with the tool itself, you can find it here. Out of personal experience, I can say that the tool works on Windows 10. There are various tutorials you can find online. On YouTube and on various forums. Here are a few links you could use:

http://www.tombraiderforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=16

https://tombraiders.net/stella/trle.html

http://www.trle.net

https://www.aspidetr.com/en/tools/tomb-raider-level-editor/

There is also an updated fan version of the tool called Tomb Raider Level Editor Next Generation. It’s quite a mouthful, but it has more features then the original tool. It also has widescreen support and various other features. More information can be found on this website: http://www.trlevelmanager.eu/ng.htm or you can read about it in detail on this forum thread: http://www.tombraiderforums.com/showthread.php?t=216848

Before I continue with this article, I have to admit that I’m not that good in creating levels with the tools. So, if you are looking for a review of the tools, I think you are at the wrong place. In this article I want to take a look at some random levels I played. Most of these levels are created by other people and the download link will be provided. If you want to play any custom created levels yourself, the best website to find them is: http://www.trle.net

Do keep in mind that all of these custom levels run on one the engine of Tomb Raider I, II, III, IV or V. So, don’t expect HD visuals or anything that the engine can’t handle. So, if you aren’t into the original Tomb Raider games, you might not get into these levels. But, if you are a Tomb Raider fan or enjoy retro adventure games, do give them a try. And don’t worry, there are reviews on almost every level on TRLE.net so you know if a level is good or not.

To play the custom levels you don’t need to have the level editor itself installed or any of the Tomb Raider games. The way how you play these levels is quite simple. After downloading a level, you unpack them and click on the exe file. In some cases, you can hold the CTRL key down to adjust some options like the visuals and things like that. Sometimes there is a readme file included by the author to aid you when certain problems occur. Do read them, since sometimes there is useful information in there. Uninstalling a custom level/game is quite simple. Since you didn’t have to install anything, you can just remove the files.

For beginners

Now, if you decided that you want to give these custom levels a try and you haven’t played Tomb Raider in the past or it was too long ago, let me give you some advice to better enjoy these custom levels. This might look like a lot to take in, but you will get used it to when you play more levels. Start with the highest rated ones. Those are really well built and rarely have cheap traps or overly difficult jumps in them.

First of all, if you run a level that’s made in TRI, II or III, you are able to change the controls from the main menu using the option with the arrow keys. If you are playing a custom level created in TRIV or V, you are able to do so using the “P” key during gameplay. Here is the basic lay-out for the keys:

TRLE1

Feel free to use these pictures as a reference in case the game is in a different language. The sequence of this list almost NEVER changes. To my knowledge, you are unable to rebind the keys in levels created in TR I, II and III. In other cases you can select the action using the arrow keys, press enter and press the key you want to bind it too. Pay attention while you are doing this since the game won’t complain if you bind two things to the same key.

Alright, now while playing this game, know that the game never autosaves. You can save by using F5 and load by using F6. You can save at any location you want, apart from when you are in a cutscene. You can’t pause the game using esc during cutscenes either.

Remember that Lara never automatically grabs ledges. You need to hold down the action button. So, if you jump towards a ledge, hold that button or you will fill. The same button is used to flick levers, pick up items, press buttons and so on and so forth.

You can save while hanging from a ledge, but press the action button right after the game loaded or you will fall. But, the action button is useful for so much more. From pushing boxes to opening trapdoors. If you are stuck, look for a place where the action button does something. Also, when you are trying to open a trapdoor, always try the action button while standing in the middle of a side. The final useful thing to know is when you press action in front of a keyhole and you have the actual key, your inventory will automatically open.

Do experiment with Lara’s jump, since she is quite acrobatic. Something I love using is backwards roll, when I press a button and quickly need to run away. This can be done by pressing the up and down key together while you perform a jump. In one custom level I have to jump back and forth between platforms to make it to the other side.

In some cases, Lara will be able to climb up. Whenever she needs to pull herself up in a tight spot, use the duck key while pulling yourself up. That way she will squeeze herself into the tight space.

Here is another hint. If you need to jump from a ladder to something behind you, don’t jump from the top. Lara will bump her head on the ceiling and loose height. You can jump from a ladder by pressing the down arrow and jump (while letting go of the control key), and then hold the up arrow and control. This technique will proof tricky at first, but practice makes perfect.

Now, I could keep explaining the whole move set Lara has. But that’s something you will learn when you play custom levels. Whenever you are stuck, simply google the name of the custom level and add “Tomb Raider Level Editor” behind it. 9.99 out of 10 chances you will find a walkthrough on it. Unless the level just released, in that case, you can either use the TRLE.net forums or wait a day or two.

Or you can experiment by downloading the level editor and playing the first two included levels. These have very easy levels that aid you in learning how the game is played. The download link can be found earlier in the article.

Oh, and it’s maybe handy to know how to exit a game. If you don’t find the quit button easy, just “ALT+F4” always worked for me.

Now, one annoying thing I want to mention is that “ALT+TAB” doesn’t always work. Be careful if you want to look at a walkthrough or something. Since, it’s possible that you are unable to open the game again. It might either crash or black screen. If that happens, use task manager to kill the process of the game and load it up again. That’s why I use the F5 key to quickly save before “Alt+Tab”. If you use “Alt+Tab” the safest way to get back to the game is to “Alt+Tab” into the game again. It’s possible that it has two open windows, the best best is choosing the window that has a title displayed. In most cases, that’s the name of the engine that’s used.

You can quickly load your game using F6, this is very handy. Since you can save everywhere, you can also save while on ladders or while hanging from a ledge. If you press the Action button (usually the CTRL key) during loading, you won’t fall off the ladder or edge. So, be careful with that.

With that said, it’s time for me to look at a few randomly chosen levels over at TLRE.net. I’ll give my opinions on the levels and a small score. If you know of some amazing levels, please do share them in the comment section down below. Footnote, every rating is on a max score of 10. Be aware, I’m not going to give these levels an in-depth review. Just some quick thoughts.

The Wolf Pack – Part 2

Image00001

Created by: JesseG

Created in: TR4

Rating: 9.25

Released: 23/08/2018

http://www.trle.net/sc/levelfeatures.php?lid=3065

This is at the moment of writing this article, the most recently released entry. This level isn’t beginner friendly since it requires some precise jumps from ladders. Especially backwards. To more experienced players, this level is a nice challenge.

In this level, the character model of Lara is replaced by a wolf model. This model is very nice to look at and the visual presentation fits the visuals of Tomb Raider 4 nicely. The custom music and sound effects are decent. It was quite unexpected to find more MIDI-sounding music in a Tomb Raider level.

At first, I found that the music didn’t fit the Tomb Raider universe at all, but the more I played the game and the more I heard the music, the more it grew on me. I’m adding the music to my game OST library since I like it that much.

This is quite a lengthy game. In a matter of fact, this game can take up to an hour to complete the three levels. In these three levels you play as two different playable characters. Yes, you have two playable characters. You can swap between them using swap points you find at certain places. Both characters have different unique abilities. This is something I rarely see in TRLE levels and was a pleasant surprise to see.

Since I have played the second part before the first, I think it would be handy if the creator included some sort of link to download the first part of these levels in the download.

The only points of criticism are as follows.  First of all, while almost all sound effects have been changed, I found it strange that the sound effect to falling to your doom hasn’t been changed.

Secondly, I found the first jump from a ladder you had to do pretty annoying. I think it would be better if the platform had a different color or a bit more identification that you are supposed to jump there.

Thirdly, I think that the levels were either too long or too short. The first level was too long and the two other levels were over before I knew it. I think it would have been better if the first level was cut into more levels and the 2nd and 3rd level were merged into one level.

Overall, very creative level pack but needs some minor polish to get perfect. This level pack does a lot of unique things in the TRLE community and is really recommended for veteran players or new players looking for a challenge.

Personal score: 9/10

Wolfpack screenie

Lost in Temple

Created by: Sal

Created in: TR5

Rating: 5.98

Released: 11/10/2015

http://trle.net/sc/levelfeatures.php?lid=2873

This custom level is according to the TRLE.net walkthrough a remake of Fenician Temple 4 from Tomb Raider 3. Something that I didn’t like for this model is the outfit Lara is wearing during this level. I felt that it didn’t fit the theming of this level at all.

Lost in Temple screenie

While this level impressed me at the start with some amazing camera angles and two big rooms filled with jump puzzles, the issues with this level became clear to me quickly. This level has quite a lot of backtracking.

This level honestly got a bit boring in my opinion. For example, to solve one block puzzle I had to run from one room to another so many times.

Also, I was unable to play this game in full screen. I had to fix the broken shortcut to the setup tool, which was easy to do. Just replacing the path where the EXE of the game is located. I had to play windowed. But, from the reviews I have read, this might be an universal issue with Tomb Raider 5 and Windows 10.

This level would have been better if there was a bit more direction as well. I had to consult a walkthrough since I didn’t find were I was supposed to go. It turned out that I was able to grab a wall. The thing is, it used the same texture as the bottom part of the wall where the wall isn’t grabbable nor climbable.

Also, I found the walkthrough of the actual author of this level. And he had to speed up some parts of his video. Looking at that video, this level goes on for quite a while. I have quit playing this level when I had to fight enemies in the dark. I just felt done with the level.

Looking at the reviews on TRLE.net, I’m happy to see that there were people who enjoyed this level. Since, I have seen much worse. This level is balanced and very detailed. But, it’s unpolished and isn’t fun to play in my opinion.

Personal score: 4/10

Poseidons Sanctum

Poseidons Sanctum screenie

Created by: Sarikman

Created in: TR3

Rating: 8.94

Released: 21/11/2011

http://www.trle.net/sc/levelfeatures.php?lid=2478

This level was quite a good one. This level is created in an unofficial editor called DXTRE3D created by Trubo Pascal. This level is also pretty tricky but it’s doable. You will have to think old-school Tomb Raider to find every secret and the way forward in these levels.

I had a great time playing these levels. If you decide to play these levels, I have a tip for you. At first, you might think that the camera does some weird things but pay attention when the angle changes. What is it showing you? Seriously, it shows some extremely helpful things.

Visually, this level looks amazing for using the Tomb Raider 3 engine as a base. I started Tomb Raider III right after playing this one to compare and I like the visuals a bit more in the custom level then in the original one. Sadly enough, there were some minor texturing issues here and there, but they weren’t too noticeable.

The music selection in this level pack is top notch. I really liked how the music went more silent when you were under water.

While this level pack has a few bugs, the author provided some screenshots and explanations on how to fix them or how to avoid these bugs. The author also provided a text file with some interesting advice for people who got stuck and not only that, it’s written in a way that Lara is talking to you. Very interesting and fun read.

I won’t talk too much more about this level since if you want to play an amazing example of what people can do with the level editor, just play this level. It’s one of the best I have played in a long while. I haven’t finished this level but I’m going to play this over my next break.

The only advice I could give to the author for this level is, if you create bug pictures and such, use more than an arrow to point out ledges. If possible, give them a color or make it a bit more clear which ledge you mean.

Personal score: 8/10

Final words

Thank you so much for reading my entry for the Tomb Raider Writer’s Raid series. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this one. I play from time to time various TRLE levels. I enjoy them quite a lot. Seeing these new levels makes my retro hart happy.

While I completely understand that there is a crowd that dislikes the old Tomb Raider, I’m not part of that crowd. I enjoy playing retro games quite a lot and I’m always curious what adventures I’ll find myself in next.

I have been in various unique situations while playing Tomb Raider Level Editor. I wanted to write about this tool for quite a while now. It has been on my “to write about” list for three years now. So, the ultimate excuse was this project.

If you want to read some nostalgic articles from other writers about the Tomb Raider series, feel free to go to the hub article where various amazing writers talk about their experience of the Tomb Raider series. You can find a link here.

With that said, it’s time for my usual outro. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to meet you in another article but until then take care and have a great rest of your day.

Tomb_Raider_raid

The logo for this project is created by The Well Red Mage

 

Review: Age of Mythology Extended Edition (PC) ~ And on the 7th day he gamed.

ageofmythologyextendededitionSteam store page

Ah, Age of Mythology. I got introduced to this game when I wasn’t able to understand English. It was at a co-worker of my mom’s house. I was playing the games on the PC I didn’t own. The first time, I played with the Egyptian culture, since I have quite a fondness for the old Egyptian culture. A few years later, I found Age of Mythology in a garage sale. It was a French version, but I didn’t mind. I was finally able to play that one game I played for myself. Back then, my French was better than it is now. It didn’t take long before I found a copy of the Gold Edition with the Titans expansion pack. I played the game quite a lot back then. I even dabbled in online play. Fast forward to 2014 and Age Of Mythology Extended Edition releases. Overjoyed, I start it up and have a nostalgic wave. But, is the game any good and does it still hold up. Let’s find out. 

Tale of the Dragon

To my surprise, in 2016, the game received new content. This new content isn’t too well received if you read the Steam reviews. But, I’m running ahead of myself here. First, let’s take a look at the story of this game. In this game you play as Arkantos, an admiral from Atlantis. Something strange I have to point out is that the Atlanteans were added with the expansion pack “Rise of the Titans”. 

Anyways, Arkantos gets a mission where he has to help Agamemnon in the Trojan War. Things go south right away and Arkantos’s fierce enemy Kamos tries to boycott him. The story of this game is quite long. It has over 30 missions and it will take you 30 hours to finish the main campaign. If you decide to play the additional campaign the DLC brings, you get an 10 hours additional playtime.

694637-age-of-mythology-extended-edition-windows-screenshot-ordering.png

During the story, you come across various allies and go on a big adventure. The writing in the game is good. Personally, I prefer the stories in this game more than the stories that were told in Age of Empires I & II. The way how they used the mythologies and stories to create one huge story is just amazing.

Something that still holds up from the original is the voice acting. During the story, you come across Greek, Egyptian & Norse missions and each character feels and sounds unique. My favorite missions were the Egyptian missions. The reason for that might be because I’m really fond of the Egyptian mythology.

But, would I say that the voice acting is actually good? Oh, no. The voice acting is cheesy and over-the-top. And to be honest, I love it. It adds to the craziness of the story and atmosphere. I get the impression that the voice actors had an amazing time in the recoding booth. The voice acting just clicked with me and actually made me laugh out loud sometimes.

The two base campaigns of the game are a blast to play through. I’m also glad that the downloadable short campaign “The Golden Gift” is also added in the Extended Edition. This was a 4-mission long campaign you were able to download from the official website as a short of update/free expansion.

So, I also played a bit through Tale of the Dragon for this review. While I can understand the negative reception of this DLC, I would still recommend it. Now, there are some balancing issues and the multiplayer with the new Chinese civilization is sometimes quite unstable. But, it provides some new and fresh challenge in the game. I have to admit that I haven’t experimented with them too much, since I love playing with the Egyptians the most, but from what I have played; the Chinese look like a lot of fun to play with. If you want a more in-depth review of the DLC, I would recommend that you read Moshfish’s review on it. It’s an amazing summary of what’s good and what’s bad with the DLC and I agree with a lot of it.

I want to add one thing to the Tale of the Dragons review. I don’t know if it’s just me or if other people experienced it as well, but in some missions I didn’t have background music. Also, I found it a missed opportunity to add additional Asian tracks to the soundtrack.

Something minor that I experienced as well is that when you use a God power, usually a name is display who uses it. In the main campaigns, that’s Arkantos. In Tale of the Dragon, it’s nobody… No name is displayed.

God powers and such

age-of-mythology-extended-edition-windows-screenshot-arkantos

This game plays like your typical RTS game. If you have played games like Age of Empires II or Rise & Fall – Civilizations At War, you will feel right at home. Your main goal is to build your civilization. You do this by assigning villagers various tasks to collect resources or create buildings. With these resources you can create more units to improve your economy or create an army to defend from enemies or attack them.

There are, including the DLC, 5 different civilizations to play with. The Norse, Greek, Atlanteans, Egyptian and Chinese. Each civilization has it’s unique units and quirks. For example, the Norse has a special cart, the Ox cart, that is a sort of movable drop off point for resources. The Greek need to have villagers praying to great favors while the Egyptians need to build statues of their gods to create favors. 

The best way to learn how to play with these civilizations is to play through the campaign. By the end, you will know the basics and some advanced mechanics with each civilization. But, if you are totally new to RTS games, there is a “Learn To Play” map where you get the basics of RTS gameplay. You learn how to play with the Greek civilization. The unique elements for each civilization are explains in a cinematic. Now, there is no Greek one and in the Chinese one, some bits take a bit too long.

If you ever want to know more about an unit or a building, you can just click on the portrait. You get a very detailed screen with a lot of information. This information contains the unit’s or building’s things like: strengths, weaknesses and uses. You can also click on “contents” to read a full in-game Wiki. Too bad it doesn’t have a search feature or a better menu system. If this was expanded upon, this would have been an even better tool.

You can play through the campaign on 4 difficulties. I mostly played through the campaign on the normal (moderate) difficulty. I would recommend that you play the game on the normal difficulty first and decide if the game is too easy to too hard for you and switch if needed. Overall, the game is quite balanced and I rarely had moments where I found the AI was quite unfair.

There are few unique mechanics in this game. First, let’s talk about a new unit class. Besides your typical triangle of sword, bow and horse; there is a 4th unit class. Myth Units. These units can be trained in temples and are effective against human units. Each civilization has unique to the mythology of that civilization. For example, centaurs for the Greeks and sphinxes for the Egyptians.

The second unique mechanic are the Titans. When you reach the last age, you can start building a Titan Gate. When this gate is completed, a titan unique to that civilization is summoned. These are huge and powerful units that can be used as tank units to attack the enemy. Now, you can only place this Titan gate once, so if it’s destroyed, though luck. Also, the Titan is quite weak to Hero Units and siege units. So, be careful if you use the Titan.

Now, if you have played Age of Empires III, this mechanic might be sort of familiar. When you advance to the next age, you can choose between various advisors who give you a certain reward when you advance. This isn’t different in this game. When you advance to the next age, you can choose between two minor gods. The god you choose decides which myth unit you can create at your temple and which god powers you can use.

Yes, the final unique mechanic are the god powers you can use. Each civilization has it’s own unique god powers which range from offensive to defensive powers. You can summon earthquakes, spy on the enemy for a limited time, summon a healing spring, have a moment where nobody can attack… There are a lot of them. Most of them can only be used once during gameplay. Some can be used more than once, but they all have a limit.

If you want to read more in-depth about how this game works, I recommend that you take a look at this website: http://aom.heavengames.com. It’s a huge website containing very detailed information and strategies on how to play this game.

Most of my time has been spend in this game playing random matches versus the AI of this game. In the past, I was quite skilled in this game. I knew most of the keys to quickly and efficiently create my base and build up my army. While I love the economic play in this game, I’m horrible when it comes to balancing my army. Since I played a lot with the Egyptian civilization, I don’t know a lot about the other civilizations.

If it’s not clear by now, I think that the gameplay in this game is excellent. The campaign has quite a lot of challenges but just playing on a random map versus the AI is quite a lot of fun as well. There are some things I would love to change about this game but there is a very active modding community providing a ton of mods in the workshop fixing bugs and fixing most of the issues I have with this game.

Let’s dance

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The soundtrack of this game is amazing. The soundtrack is orchestrated and uses an amazing mix of various instruments.

Each civilization has it’s own unique theme and unique tracks. Also, the developers enjoyed themselves way too much with naming these tracks. The main theme of this game is called “A Cat Named Mittens” and one of the most relaxed and chillest tracks is called: “Eat Your Potatoes”.

Together with very good sound effects, the audio of this game is a hit. To this day, when I listen to the soundtrack casually, I remember how the villagers sound and other sound effects. Something I really like is how the sound effects are played in stereo. So, if you move an unit from the left to the right, you will hear your unit in your left speaker.

Now, the rest of the presentation of this game isn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks great and the theming is very well done but some character models look out-dated. While I personally don’t mind that much, I feel like this extended edition could have done a lot more than just a simple wide screen support. The additional visual polish isn’t much to write home about. Just look at this Imgur library created by NecessaryDerp from 2014 where the graphics from the original are compared to the Extended Edition: https://imgur.com/gallery/L8WEE

Am I saying that the game looks ugly? No, I’m not. Like I said before, the game still looks great. The improved visuals for the liquids like water and lava are quite pleasing to the eye. And to be honest, the only moment I find the graphics dated is when you are extremely zoomed into the map. Also, thanks to the magic of Steam Workshop ingratiation, you can use a lot of mods to improve the visuals to your liking.

In the past, the online community of this game was quite alive. There were a lot of people playing this game. I remember that were at least 100 different lobbies. Now-a-days, the online community of this game is dying. The day I publish this review, there were only 5 lobbies. It’s a shame, since I played some great game mods online. From King of the Hill to a sort of Dota clone.

There is one thing I really dislike in this game and that’s the save and load menu. Now, it works fine but I wish it displayed more information. For example, if you were playing a random match or if it’s a save in a mission/scenario. I haven’t found a mod that’s able to solve the issues I have with it.

A nitpick I have with this game is with the map. I love how you can rotate the map holding the CTRL-key down, but there is no identification on what position it was originally in. It’s a minor thing.

Something that frustrates me the most is that this game doesn’t receive additional patches. The updates stopped in 2016. Yet, the developers keep updating Age of Empires II HD. This game could use a lot of minor polishing updates but the focus of the developers is on their other products.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I think it’s time for a conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

-The visuals are just okay.

-The Tale of the Dragon DLC misses some polish.

-The in-game wiki could have been so much better.

-The save menu should display more information.

-Dying online multiplayer community.

The good:

+ A lot of unique mechanics like Titans and God Powers.

+ You can use mods.

+ Amazing and addictive RTS gameplay.

+ Amazing soundtrack & sound design.

+ Cheesy and over-the-top fun voice acting.

+ Good story.

+ …

Final thoughts:

I might be blinded by nostalgia and quite biased while reviewing this game. But, I think this game still holds up well. Yet, I fell in love with this game the first time I played it. I have a lot of fond memories with this game and reviewing the game just makes me want to replay the game some more.

This game isn’t perfect and could use some polish to fix those last bugs and improve some models, especially the human units. Yet, the charm of this game is something else. The over-the-top voice acting and endless replay value make this game a must play for every strategy and RTS fan.

The original reception of this game was poor, but thanks to the patches, this game has improved quite a lot already. If only Skybox Labs kept updating the game, then I would give this game a higher score.

Now, that’s everything for this review. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 70/100

 

 

Review: Kirby Star Allies (Switch) ~ Let’s Be Friends

KirbyStarAllies.jpg

Official website

I enjoy the Kirby games quite a lot. The atmosphere and gameplay are the biggest reasons I’m drawn to the series. So, when I learned that a new game got released on Switch, I placed it on my “To Buy” list. Earlier this month, I bought myself a copy of this game on a small sale. So, today I want to give my honest opinions on the game. Is it any good or is it not worth your time? After playing Kirby Triple Deluxe and Kirby Planet Robobot, I was quite interested to see what the new offer on the Nintendo Switch will bring. As usual, feel free to leave your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. 

It’s raining hearts

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Kirby is peacefully sleeping in his house when he gets a rude awakening. Some dark hearts are raining down on his homeland, the land of Popstar. Of course, Kirby goes on an adventure to save the day.

As usual for a Kirby story, the story isn’t the big reason you play this adventure. If you played Triple Deluxe or Planet Robobot, you have seen and experienced this story line and structure before. The writing is solid and together with the character noises, the story comes somewhat alive. But, again, the story shouldn’t be the reason you play a Kirby game.

If you do care about spoilers, don’t highlight the following part. But, I want to tell some things about the ending of the main story. So highlight the rest of this paragraph if you don’t mind spoilers or have already beaten the game. … Okay, while I was playing the final levels of this game, I got a déjà vu. And I had to look it up. This ending has actually been done quite a few times before, but the reason I got a deja vu is because this ending is so similar to the ending of the Kirby game on NES. Seriously, watch a video from the final boss of Kirby Star Allies and than Kirby on the NES. You will be surprised. But, I guess it’s a reference or easter egg? 

Alright, the spoilers end here. Before I continue any further, I want to say that this game is extremely short. You can finish this game in an afternoon since the main story will take you only 6 hours. If you want to complete the whole game, you can do this in 14 hours. This was a huge let down, since the 3DS games were longer than that to fully complete. If you wanted to fully complete those games, you have to put aside 26 hours for each game.

I honestly don’t understand why this game is so short. Since the worlds you explore are fun to go through. Yet, there are only 4 worlds, well 5 if you count the one-stage world to fight the final boss in.

Besides that, there are a few mini-games and a co-op mode and that’s it. The post-game content isn’t anything special. I’m sorry, but Nintendo, why is this game priced at 60€? Are we for real? You can get the 3DS games for less money. Also, other Switch games like Super Mario Odyssey have a lot more to do in it for the same price tag.

Anyways, I’m not going to ramble about the price & length for too long. Otherwise it will overtake this whole review. Let’s be friends and review this … short … adventure.

Let’s be friends

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Each Kirby game has an unique gimmick that sets the games apart. In this game, you can recruit 3 enemies to fight along your side. These characters can be controlled by either a pretty good AI or a friend.

I haven’t played this game with a friend so, I won’t comment on that but, you can play this game with up to 4 players. Since the game is quite short, this game would make for the ideal late night gaming session to play through with your friends.

Now, this game goes further with the gimmick and sort-of reuses a gimmick from a previous entry in the series. Remember Kirby 64 – The Crystal Shards, where you were able to combine two different powers to create one unique power? Well, that returns in this game. Sort of.

For example, when you get the sword ability, you can hold up your sword up in the air. When some elemental friend sees this, they will infuse their power with the sword. So, you can get a flame sword. This leads to some unique strategies and puzzles to get the collectibles.

I found it quite enjoyable to see which unique combinations I could make by mixing powers. While some combinations create the same outcome, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t too many joke combinations in this game. That was part of the charm in Crystal Shards. Where a combination could turn Kirby into a fridge.

Each time you combine a power, an animation plays where Kirby shows his new weapon/ability in a short of Smash Bros style. Surprisingly, you can change this in the options menu. You can choose between “always show them” or “show them only once.”. If you pick the last one, it will play the animation for each combination one time and when you make that combination again, it won’t play that animation.

There are various new unique abilities in the game as well. For example, the spider and art ability. To be honest, the art ability is overpowered, even for a Kirby game. It can spawn in various healing items with a short cool down. So, you can heal yourself and allies very quickly.

Now, I might be a bit too harsh on this game now. While the game is too short and could have been expanded a bit more, the level design was a blast to play through. The various abilities and friend combinations you can have make for a very replayable game. Also, in the puzzle rooms, the abilities you need are usually inside the room. And if the AI kills them, just walk off screen, wait a few moments and go back and they will have respawned.

The collectibles this time around are puzzle pieces. The hunt for them reminds me of the puzzle mini-game in the Mii Plaza on the 3DS. There are two types of puzzle pieces inside the levels. The normal blue ones and the special rainbow colored ones. The special rainbow colored ones unlock the pink pieces. The blue ones unlock a random piece of a picture. These pictures are just for having something to collect. I think they unlock new characters in the Dream Palace, but I’m unsure. Since I got every character unlocked by beating the game but I haven’t got all puzzles unlocked. The message after unlocking a puzzle stats: “You will be able to meet legendary characters”. So yeah.

It’s no secret that the Kirby games are easy and have a more challenging mode for more experienced players. To fully complete the puzzles, you will have to look around in the various levels. If you would have missed an unique piece, you can see that right from the level select screen. Included on the level select screen, you can also see if there is a hidden switch in the level that opens a hidden level. Including the hidden levels, there are 40 levels in total.

Press X to revive

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These 40 levels take you through 4 different chapters. During these 4 chapters, you explore various locations presented with an amazing visual polish.

The artwork in this game is really good. Together with great animations, the game’s visual presentation is top notch. I don’t have anything to criticize on that front.

In terms of the music and sound, I do have something to say. The soundtrack of this game is pretty good. For those who love nostalgia as much as myself, you will be happy to know that there are a lot of musical references in this soundtrack. Now, there are a few tracks of this soundtrack I disliked. These play in the final moments of the game. Thankfully, it’s only for one battle.

Now, speaking about battles and combat, the controls for this game are good. I did had some minor issues here and there. With some abilities I was unable to easy switch directions, like with the bird ability. When I started attacking, I felt I was locked in that attacking animation. Giving my enemy the chance to put in some damage.

It’s a minor problem since I finished this game with 85 additional lives. You only loose a life when Kirby dies. When an ally dies, you can hold “X” for a short time to revive them with a 1/2 health bar. Speaking about those friends, like the music there are some amazing references there too. My favorite reference is the return of the animal buddies from Kirby’s Dreamland 2 on the gameboy. That game was one of the first Kirby games I ever played.

Anyways, I was talking about the minor issues I had with controls. Another minor issue is that when you have a certain ability and you want to release that ability as a friend… Well, though luck. I haven’t found a way to do that.

The gameplay in this game is like any other Kirby game. It’s a 2D platformer-adventure game where you try to get to the big door at the end of the level. Now, another unique gimmick appears in some levels. In some levels, you will need to have 3 friends before you can progress. You can come across pedestals where you can “merge” together to from a bridge for an ally with a key to cross or you can form a boulder to roll down smashing rocks. I know that it’s a kids game, but the names the developers gave for some of these things are just… “The Friendship Bridge”… Do I have to say more?

The game is still a blast to play. I enjoyed myself quite a lot and rarely got annoyed with the level design. The final level gets a bit tricky with moving blocks. I lost a handful of lives thanks to being squished by those blocks. But, I was rushing things where I needed to take it slow.

Besides the music and various returning characters, the game has other references to previous games in them. Just look at what statues Kirby can change into using the stone ability. The Kirby dance makes a return as well and is adorable as ever.

In this game, there are also various puzzle rooms where you can get bonus stars, puzzle pieces and various other things. By default, the game tells you which abilities you need to use to solve the puzzle. You can disable this in the options menu, from the main menu. Why are the options you find in the main menu not able to be changed during gameplay? I can understand that it’s tricky to code while you are in a level but I think it would serve no big problems on the world map right?

The post-game content is decent but I expected a lot more from it. The two new modes are fun to mess around with but I feel like they are more designed for multi-player than for single player.

Anyways, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I think it’s time for the conclusion of this article and my final thoughts on the game.

The conclusion

The good:

+ Fun new gimmicks.

+ Fun to play.

+ Great visual design.

+ Great soundtrack.

+ The nostalgic references.

The bad:

-Way too short & too expensive at 60€.

-Minor control issues.

-The story…

-Useless collectibles.

Final thoughts:

Is this game a bad game? No, this game is a decent game but it’s too light on content. This game has the usual Nintendo polish and there is nothing really game breaking wrong with the game.

My big problem with this game is the length and the price they ask for it. In addition to that, some parts of this game are more designed for multiplayer. I feel that this game could be more fun to play with friends or family.

I do recommend this game, but wait for a price drop or buy it on the cheap. If you pay full price for this game like myself, the shortness of the game might be disappointing. I was able to beat this game in 2 days. This game just needed a longer development time.

That’s everything for this article. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 65/100

EDIT: This post got a “Nice Job” badge from NormalHappenings. Read more here: https://normalhappenings.com/2018/09/14/nice-job-badges-for-september-14-and-a-guide-to-making-the-most-boring-game-show-ever/

 

Publishing: NTales is on its way for New Server. Be prepared Saviors!

[1] Soft Launch in Australia

Due to insistent public demand, the newest, epic and nostalgic 2D Pocket RPG, NTales: Child of Destiny is hereby fulfilling players’ request of opening a new server, Martina. Yes, you read it right! NTales is on its way for opening another server to cater more players. With this, more and more players from PH and Australia can access the game. Watch out for the server release as it will be posted in our Official Facebook Fan Page and plug Community.

Also, don’t miss the exciting and spooky event offer of this hit 2D Pocket RPG entitled NTales’ Spooktacular Treats! Get to take home exciting reward and prizes. Catch it as you visit our posts on Official Facebook Fan Page and plug Community as you log in to the game.

NTales, your 2D Pocket RPG, offers a multitude of battles, exploration, and special features. Save the kingdom with different sub-quests while exploring and defeating various monsters through its over 200 maps! Collect and summon cute and powerful pets to fight along your side. Challenge the Boss Dungeon with your friends! Various costumes, wings, and unique equip and items to obtain! 3 Special Hero classes to choose! Make them even powerful by choosing from different subclasses you want!

There will be a big announcement for our 2D Pocket RPG. Watch out for the coming weeks!

For more information and updates about 2D Pocket RPG, NTales, feel free to visit our plug Community and Official Facebook Fan Page!

Official Links

Download the game, NOW!

Google PlayStore: https://goo.gl/mWGaqk

NTales: Child of Destiny Official Website: https://goo.gl/1w26z9

NTales: Child of Destiny plug Community Link: https://goo.gl/onQ64q

NTales: Child of Destiny Official Facebook Fan Page Link: https://goo.gl/ZAgKFM

NTales: Child of Destiny Youtube Link: https://goo.gl/yfQMHW

About NTales: Child of Destiny

Landscape

NTales: Child of Destiny is a complete take on MMORPG.

This new game offers a multitude of battles, exploration, and special features. Enjoy this new 2D Pocket RPG style! A linear story line or get distracted with interesting sub-quests. NTales added twists of MMO by implementing Raid Parties, Guild War and PvP. Fighting along your side are adorable and powerful monsters with a PvP Mode of their own! A 2D Pocket RPG you surely can’t get enough!

Summon Pet, enjoy various PvE and PvP game modes! Classic hero classes to choose from but a wide variety of class builds to your preference.

Game Features:

  • Accomplish impossible missions and side-quests!
  • Gear up your class with great costume, wings, unique equipment and items!
  • Challenging Battle Modes – Boss Dungeon, Infinity Tower, Time Dungeon and Pet Island
  • Summon cute and powerful pets to fight along your side!
  • Tag along your friends to defeat Boss Dungeon, join guild and party with peer!
  • Choose from 3 Classic Hero Classes: Warrior, Magician and Cleric!
  • Journey to over 200 Maps – Sharpen your skill to defeat the monsters!

NTALES: CHILD OF DESTINY RELATED LINKS:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NTalesGlobal/

Plug: https://www.plug.game/Ntalesglobal

YT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDTeO9ZirCg

ABOUT RULEMAKR

Rulemakr is a Korean Development Company recently established and aims to bring forth quality and new games from Korea worldwide.

First Impression: Rise and Fall – Civilizations At War (PC) ~ RTS with First Person Twist

_-Rise-Fall-Civilizations-at-War-PC-_Wikipedia entry

This game brings back so many memories. But recently, I fixed an old computer that runs Windows XP. I was looking in my collection for some games to play and I came out in this game. I installed the game without a second thought and started playing it again. So, in this article, I’m going to share my opinion on this game from my latest playing sessions. I tried to not be nostalgia blinded for this first impression. So, it’s time that we gave this RTS game a shot. I could have reviewed this game but I played more free games instead of the campaigns, so since I haven’t finished all the campaigns, it’s a first impression. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Who do you wanna play?

Rise&FallScreenyIn this game, you can play as different major historical figures like Julius Caeser, Cleopatra, Achilles, Sargon II and 4 others I won’t spoil for you. I have now played the first introduction campaign and a handful of free games. So far, my favorite character to play as is Cleopatra.

The voice acting of the characters is pretty well done. But something I noticed while playing with Cleopatra, is that the heroes don’t have taunts or speak when you aren’t in first person mode. That’s a shame because the voice clips of the first person mode could have been easily used in non-first person mode.

There are two main campaigns, and that’s about it. But, there is a very big campaign editor in the game that’s easy to use and has a lot of tools to play around with. So, you can download and install additional campaigns easily. It’s a shame that there aren’t too many custom campaigns floating around on the internet. I have to admit that I haven’t played any custom campaign, but I will fix that in the near future.

In the two main campaigns you play as either Alexander or Cleopatra. So far, I have only played parts of Alexander’s campaign and the story is rather interesting. You play through his journey to the throne. I wonder how Cleopatra’s is going to be.

The presentation of the past

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 Visually, this game looks quite nice. While you can see the game’s age in the graphics, I think that they hold up quite i well to this day.

I love the menu of this game. It’s quite easy and simple to use. Also, the demo movie of this game is playing in the background while you are browsing the menu. That’s genius.

I have played this game both on a machine that can handle the minimum specs and on a machine that can run this game in HD twice. On the minimum machine, I noticed some slowdown in the animations when there were too many things on screen, but the game seems to not go in “not playable” mode.

The animation are quite nicely made. I especially love how the game looks in first person mode. It made me miss the ability to rotate buildings. Since I like to build statues at the edge of my city and walls around that, so I can’t see them in first person since I can’t turn them.

But the soundtrack, let me tell you, it’s one of the best ever soundtracks in a PC game I have ever heard. I love to put the soundtrack on to write articles or to just casually listen too. It’s one of the best soundtracks I have heard in years for RTS games. It might be one of my favorite soundtracks ever made to be honest.

Charge!

304997-rise-fall-civilizations-at-war-windows-screenshot-main-menuSo, in this game you have a RTS game with a first person view mode. You can watch and control your hero when he/she reaches a certain level. Then, with one easy press of the button, you can control your hero and do their special moves.

Each hero has her/his special abilities and weaknesses. When you are selecting your hero, you always get a very descriptive textbox telling you what they are. Each civilization has two heroes you can pick from.

There are a few other things that are handled differently in this game then in your typical RTS. First of all, you don’t have to collect food. Secondly, you don’t have to go through the ages to unlock technology, you have to upgrade the level of your hero. Thirdly, there isn’t any siege workshop, your villagers build your siege units. There is also an adviser and glory system. But, I leave that for you guys to figure out.

Something I really love in this game is that you can place units on top of your walls. Also, your regular units can’t attack nor destroy walls. You need the special ladder units or siege units for that.

You can also climb any ladder in first person mode. So, when you see an annoying siege tower in your enemies base, go in first person mode to climb up it and kill those archers.

There are so many details and things I love in this game, I could continue for quite a bit more, but I’m convinced that when you enjoy RTS games, you will enjoy the breath of fresh air this game is.

Also, something that threw me off guard is the fact that each map has a special goal you can meet for winning the scenario. So, be warned, some are economic goals and can creep up on you before you know it. But, you can disable these goals before you start the single player match.

I’m certain that this game has me hooked. Apart from the slowdowns on the older machine, there isn’t a lot that I think this game does wrong. I do have some nitpicks, but I have mentioned them all in this article. When I finish both the official campaigns, I think I will write a full review of this game and give my final opinion on this game.

But for now, I think it’s time to wrap this article up. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much I enjoyed writing this article. Thank you for reading and I hope to welcome you in another article. But until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

Preview: Asylopole (PC) ~ Press Release

retest4 2 blanc taille ks 1024.jpgOfficial website

Today I have the honor to take a look at an adventure game, that’s still in development, called Asylopole. I wanted to write an article earlier about this game, since the developer mail me in the beginning of this month. In any case, before I give my own opinion, I first of all want to link you guys and girls to MrLiamMills his video about it! Go and check it out here. In order to talk about this game, I took at look at the DRM-free playable teaser. Because this is a teaser, I also took a look at all the material published by the developer. So, enough stalling. Here we go. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

Keep in mind that the game is still subject to change, since it’s still in development. 

Postives

01magasin94 2adam.png

The story is described by the developer himself:

The game take place in a dystopian future where it’s a daily struggle for the population just to stay sane. Under the huge dome that covers the megalopolis and all its inhabitants, you play the role of Adam Murdock, a psychiatrist working in an insane asylum, a gigantic building that supports the center of the dome.

When treating patients, you are able to access their inner most thoughts and help fight the phobias and other mental problems that exist in a virtual world that’s known as Mentalis.
Get inside your patients’ heads to find out what’s gone wrong. Experience totally new universes and fight your patients’ worst demons…

 I love adventure games and I have played my fair share of them like Broken Sword and Monkey Island to name a few. There are a lot of adventure games I have started but never finished. The reason why I choose to finish an adventure game is the story. Without a good story, I can’t find the motivation to continue.

The story that’s currently shown in the playable teaser and in the press material sounds very interesting. While at first glance, it looks like a story that has elements thrown together from popular adventure games, I honestly think this can be very epic. The basic idea for the story reminds me of an underrated shooter called DreamKiller.

It’s quite impressive that this game is created by one person. Of course, he got some help from other people, but most work is done by one person. I’m honestly always impressed when somebody designs a game from top to bottom. Many years ago, I tried to create games myself and I didn’t get any further than simple 2D-casual games. So, it’s quite impressive.

The atmosphere & soundtrack is very nice too. The animation and visual presentation fits the story and setting quite well. From what I have seen from the press materials, I honestly think that this game has the potential to pull me in when it’s finished. And not only that, the developer went out of his way to make the world a bit more alive. Things like a social network and references to the latest popular trends are all pretty nice to see.

Improvements?

rue9pnj53 US.pngSo, what do I recommend to the developer to improve or take a look at? Well, here are a few suggestions from me. Things that the developer should improve in a demo version and/or the full version.

First of all, I would honestly take a look at the UI. While it’s still in development, I haven’t seen where you would place the options menu. Or is the plan to only put that in the main menu? Just a side note, I got a crash while trying to save my game in the playable teaser.

What I would improve the most in terms of the UI is the fact that most menu sections lack “back buttons”. I know that you can press the “escape key” but those things aren’t always common knowledge. What I’m trying to say is that you should make the UI as accessible as possible. A good UI doesn’t need any explanation from a manual or an in-game tutorial. The developer is already doing a great job by using universal icons for most functions.

Also, try to implement support for screen sizes. My laptop resized the game to a screen as big as a screen on the Nintendo 3DS. I wish I was able to play in a bigger resolution.

While I know that developing a game is hard and asks a lot of time, I wish you had a bit more to do in the playable teaser. One mini-game, one inventory puzzle and/or a bit more action would have been lovely. Since now, I’m a bit bummed out. I want to play more. Since this game certainly caught my attention.

And honestly, that’s all I can say about this game. I encourage you guys and girls to support this developer. Since it’s quite clear this game is a work of passion and I see that there is a lot of potential in this game.

The foundation is already present, so dear developer, build on it. And I’m looking forward to in a more finished build to test out. And if you want, I’m willing to take a look at it and write another article about it.

Before I forget, congrats on the award man. I can say out of my own experience that getting a reward for your hard work is really motivating.

This game is one I’m going to keep an eye out for. I followed the developer on Twitter and I like I said earlier, I can’t wait to see more.

So, that is everything for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again to the developer of this game for giving me this chance to write about this game. This will be another game I’m looking forward too in 2017! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then: take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impression: Golden Sun – Dark Dawn (DS) ~Sunny Weather

Goldensun3.jpgWikipedia entry

It’s time that I talk about a Golden Sun game. I have been putting this off for way too long. After I listed it in my favorite DS games ever made, I never talked about it. Apart from some music tracks here and there. It’s time to correct that. This week we are going to take a look at a game, I honestly thought I talked about before. In any case, the title and the box art here already gave it away.  It’s the 3rd game in the series, Golden Sun Dark Dawn. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article. 

(Note: to make this article more readable and understandable for everybody, I didn’t to use the lore of this game and used a generic term.)

Special powers

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The story of this game takes place a few years after the original two games. The story starts out simple with two children getting into some trouble with a sort of magical hang glider. But rather quickly, this story changes into your typical “save the world from doom” story.

While the story is your typical RPG story, it’s the journey and the writing that makes it memorable in my eyes. Each main character and side character has his or her own personality.

But what I really like about the story is how all the lore is explained in a non-intrusive way.  As you may have guessed, this game is a JRPG and because it’s the 3rd game in the series, there is a lot of lore.

But instead of the characters explaining the lore in some dialogue or some boring exposition dump, it gets underlined. When you tap that word, you get an explanation on the top screen to get you up to speed. Also, all those words go in your encyclopedia so you read them at your own pace. This is something that all other RPG’s should do! That way, there can be more focus on the story instead of explaining everything so newcomers can enjoy the game. This mechanic can also serve as a nice reminder for hardcore fans when he or she has forgotten the meaning of a word.

Fighting like on the GBA

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The gameplay, in general, hasn’t changed a lot compared to the GBA games. But in this game, some mechanics are tweaked for the newer hardware.

First of all, I want to talk about the exploration part of the game. The world this game takes place in is huge. I love exploring in this world. Since each town has it’s own unique feel to it.

The puzzles in this game are amazing in my opinion. The puzzles use the special powers you have in creative ways. I had to think outside of the box sometimes. And when you are stuck, one character gets a special power which allows you to see what objects you can interact with and which powers you should use.

Secondly, the battles are quite interesting as well. Since you have three possible attacks. You can fight with your weapons, use your magic and/or Djinn. Djinns are special creatures you find all over the world.

The mechanic of Djinn is one of the most interesting things in this game. I love trying to find them in towns, dungeons and in the overworld. But after you found them, a rather tricky meta-game starts. Depending to who you equip which Djinn, you can make a character even stronger or even weaker. Not only that, which magic powers they can use will also change. This makes for an interesting balancing exercise to make sure you have the perfect build to advance the plot.

When you use Djinn, they go into, what I like to call, the summing pool. When you have enough Djinn of a certain type, you can summon a more powerful creature. But beware, when a Djinn is in the summoning pool, the character it’s attached too, will lose its perks.

If this sounds interesting to you, this page on the Golden Sun wiki will explain it in more depth.

This world is golden

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The presentation and design of this game are top notch. While some animations take a little bit too long, I have no other complaint.

The world looks colorful and really pops out. The visual presentation in this game is one of the best I have seen on the system.

There is one issue I have with the design. And that’s that the menu system can sometimes be very annoying. It’s difficult to explain, but I felt that could have been done a lot better with more traditional menus. An example is the inventory system. It’s quite messy in my opinion. When you are looking for example for some herbs and you forgot to which character you have given them too. But it’s something I got used to.

The music and sound design of this game are excellent. The sound design gives this game the right charm it deserves. And the music, well, I have the soundtrack in my music library and I play a track here and there. It’s a very nice soundtrack.

The controls are great as well. Since you can use both buttons and the stylus. So you can choose and use the playstyle you prefer.

This game isn’t easy but isn’t difficult. But, I will give my final verdict on that when I finish the game. Since I know that there is another DS game that is rather easy but the final boss is extremely hard.

Something that could have been improved in this game is the frame rate. In some parts of the game, I saw some great frame rate drops. It mostly happens when there is way too much happening on screen at once. But it doesn’t happen very often thankfully.

Something I have to mention is that I had this game crash on me twice at the same spot. In the first cave you visit, I had this game crash on me. It was a great lesson in saving this game often. Also, thumbs up for having three save slots. Really helps!

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game for now. When I beat this game, I might write a review. I hope you enjoyed reading this first impression as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you at another article on my blog, have a great rest of your day and until then: take care and game on!

Review: Ace Attorney – Miles Edgeworth – Investigations: Prosecutor’s Path (DS) ~ Not Guilty

AAI2CoverenglishAce Attorney Wikia entry

Some time ago, I wrote a first impression on this game. I know it has been way too long, but I finally finished this game. So, the readers who know me; know what that means! No need to shout an objection! Is it actually good or is it bad? Keep in mind, this game isn’t officially in English. I played a fan translated English rom. If you want to play this game as well, I won’t help you finding it. Piracy is something I don’t want to promote. In any case, let’s get this trail started! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Objection!

uQFCT

Would it be wise of me to talk about the story when it’s translated by fans? I think it’s actually quite fair to do so. After all, the English players will most likely play this game using the patched rom. Like I (should have) said earlier, I won’t provide information on how to get it.

In any case, the story is written quite well. I actually enjoyed reading and experiencing it. The care and love put into the translation is mind blowing. I haven’t seen any typos as far as I can remember. (And that’s an impressive feet since the main games actually have typos in the game.)

The characters are quite memorable and they have a nice personality. Some old characters return and a few new ones are introduced. In Ace Attorney 5 – Dual Destinies, the actual character development happens mostly in the 5th and last case. But in this game, the character development happens in every case. More then in the 5th game.

Every case was fun to play through. At certain moments, it was tough to keep track of everything since the final case actually somewhat connects to the previous four. If you would play this game, either play it in one go or take notes so you can remember. Otherwise some parts of the story actually get a bit lost.

What really surprised me is that they actually replaced the Japanese voices with the English voices. The voice acting of Miles was simple to get I assume. Just from the previous Miles Edgeworth game. But for the other actors, well, congrats. You did an amazing job. The quality of the voices is also extremely well done. Almost as if they were made in a professional studio.

Gameplay wise, this game is almost the same as in the original. There is one addition, which is logic chess. This is a sort of logic battle where to try and get information out of somebody. It’s more fast paced and it’s the only thing that is timed in the game. Compare it to Phoenix Wright’s breaking of psyche locks or Apollo’s bracelet. The good thing is that it’s well used, but not overused in the game. Truth to be told, it are the most challenging parts in the game in my opinion.

A scoop of a story.

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Alright, visually this game is what you would expect from an Ace Attorney game. Nicely crafted visuals. Again, thank you to the translation team to actually put in the effort to photoshop the art and make it in English. The game is nice to look at. It makes the game that more memorable.

Animation-wise, this game is one of my favorites. While I know for a fact, some things won’t be possible in the real world, the creative approach that the designers took payed off. It really makes the game pop a bit more. It also felt a bit more alive and polished.

The controls, well, if you have problems or complaints in the previous game… They will be here too. If you got used to them, you will feel right at home here. They are responsive and I have nothing to complain about. Only one minor thing and that is in the translation, some controls get explained a bit too late. But that’s only a very minor nitpick.

The music and sound effects, well, they are in my opinion, the weakest link in this game. Don’t get me wrong, it is enjoyable music. But when I’m listening to music from the series, I rarely to go the soundtrack of this game. It just doesn’t want to stick with me enough like with the previous games. The sound effects add to the atmosphere and none stood out as a sore thumb.

No creativity anymore for subtitles.

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Length wise, this game hits that rare butter zone. Apart from the 5th case which was a bit too long, I have no complaints about the length.

Until now, I have been praising this game. And in the end, apart from some minor text issues with the translation like the text that sometimes not appears when you load your game or open your DS or that you can already skip most of the dialogue that you haven’t read… Those issues might all get fixed when the patch isn’t in beta anymore.

The game is a bit on the easy side if you played a lot of Ace Attorney games. Even then, I got stuck on some parts and rethink everything. I could try the “save and try out everything technique” but that’s lame. If you find things out by yourself, its way more rewarding.

Before I go to my conclusion, I think the translation team did an amazing job. I would like to thank them for the amazing translation they did. They also added their names in to the credits. Which is a really nice touch.

If you know how to patch roms and find translations online, I really recommend patching this game to English and playing it. Hopefully, Capcom never does this again with any Ace Attorney game. In any case… I think I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. So, let’s go right on to the conclusion.

Conclusion

The good:

+ The visuals are amazing just like the last games.

+ Perfect translation of this game. The care and love put into this project really shows.

+ Lovely and thrilling story with a true unexpected end.

+ ….

The bad:

– The music is a bit so-so

– Some minor bugs in the translation.

– The game didn’t come over to the west. Such a shame!

– The 5th case was a bit too long to my taste.

Final thoughts:

So, I think this patch was really well done. They replaced all the voice work, the artwork and the text into English. Not only that, they made it bit more interesting to the Western audience. Besides from some minor glitches and one freeze, I think this game is really well crafted.

While I played the beta version of the patch, I didn’t encounter any major issues that would stop me from enjoying the game. Besides the things I mentioned in the article of course.

If only, they release this to the west one day. So, I can buy this game and that I can recommend this game to my readers. It’s really worth it! As any Ace Attorney game actually.

So, I think it’s time to wrap this one up. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. And I hope to be able to welcome you in another article. But until then, game on!

Score: 90 / 100

Tutorial: Install games on your Ubuntu Server 14.04 using VirtualBox

ss (2015-01-28 at 04.30.24)I only got two lessons of Linux in class and I got kind of hooked. I wanted to do more with Linux. And because I’m a gamer, I decided to try and install games on Linux. After some trying out and fiddling around I was finally successful in installing a few games on my Ubuntu 14.04 server. So, in this tutorial I’ll also teach you guys how to install the Guest Additions. I installed it to, but I don’t know 100% if it’s actually needed. Anyways, enough stalling, let’s start. 

Needed stuffs

  • A working VirtualBox installation. If you don’t have that yet, get it here.
  • A working Ubuntu 14.04 or later server. If you don’t have that yet, get it here.
  • The GuestAdditions ISO. If you don’t have it, you can download it for version 4.3.20 here.
  • Your Ubuntu install should be able to connect with the internet. I use NAT in the settings and it works. Also your Ubuntu VM needs a cd-rom drive. If you don’t have it yet, the error that pops up then explains it quite clearly how to add one.

How to do this?

Part 1: Guest Additions

Step 1: Update apt-get

After you log in into your Ubuntu server, type in the command:

sudo apt-get update

Then give in your sudo password and wait a while until you can give in commands again. This updates the apt-get program in Linux. This program is used to install, update and get software from the internet. I might be wrong, but that’s what I used it for.

Step 2: Install 2 pieces of software to get Guest Additions running.

After you updated apt-get, let’s use it to now have install two pieces of software that you need in order to run guest additions.

sudo apt-get install dkms

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Together they take around 50-60 MB if I remember correctly. You will have to allow both installations by simply hitting the “y” key. This installation takes a minute or five.

A good suggestion is that after the two installs, you reboot your virtual machine. You can do this in two ways. You could either shutdown the VM and restart it by using:

sudo shutdown -h now

Or just let the VM do the job for you by:

sudo reboot

I didn’t need to enter my password, most likely since it still remembers it from the install of the programs.

Step 3: The CD.

After you downloaded the Guest Additions ISO file (I linked it more above in this post), you go to your VM and under the “Devices” tab, you pick “CD/DVD” and click “Choose a virtual CD/DVD file”. (note: I don’t know if it’s going to say that. My installation is in Dutch, so if it’s not 100% that, but something similar, forgive me.)

Then locate where you downloaded the Guest Additions ISO and click it so you can insert it in your Ubuntu. If there is an error message that VM doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive, read it and fix it. Be careful, in order to change those things you will need to shutdown the VM, otherwise the changes won’t be saved.

If there is any other error, try to allow it. Since I inserted the CD before I installed the two programs in step 2, I was a bit too quick, I got an error. I don’t remember what it said but I accepted it and I got it still working.

I know that the bottom says: “Install Guest Additions”. But when I used that, my installation wouldn’t find the CD after I mounted it. (I’ll explain that in the next step.) So yeah, that’s why I do it this way.

Step 4: Mount the disc.

ss (2015-01-28 at 04.55.22)After you got the disc in, you should go to your root and then to the media folder. I don’t go it the quickest way, but it’s the way I know it works. To experienced users, feel free to leave me a comment how to do it more efficiently.

You can see how I got there in the screenshot here. Ignore the first command to change my directory, I typed it wrong.

Confirm that there is a directory named cdrom. When you don’t have that directory there, make it. With mkdir cdrom of course. If you are having trouble, this tutorial is a great way to help you out.

Then you mount the ISO file you added in the previous step. This you can do by entering this command:

sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

When it’s successful, you should get the message: “mount block device /dev/sr0 is write-protected, read only.”

Step 5: Install the Guest Additions.

Now, get yourself into the directory /media/cdrom. When you list (using the ls command) the file there, it will list various files that start with VB. A few other files too. Those are all in the ISO you just mounted.

Now in order to install the guest additions, you simply do this command:

sudo ./VBLinuxAdditions.run

And you hit enter. Then it installs. For me, it took 2 minutes. The final line will most likely say that it couldn’t find X.org and such. Just ignore that. Since it’s the part of the guest additions when you would have used a GUI interface. Since we are using a command line interface, it isn’t working of course.

Part 2: Installing games

When you are going to install games, you will need to search online for them. While I have no clue (yet) how to install games you downloaded from an external website, I found out that many websites gave a command how to install it.

When you installed a game, you can run it by simply entering the name. You can also see a list of your installed games when you enter the command:

cd usr/games/

ls

The directories with a yellow color behind it, are executable games. Just enter the name in order to run. When you want to uninstall a game, you remove the directory as a superuser. If an experienced user facepalms, feel free to leave a comment how to do it better.

Update 29/01: I found out how to uninstall games. It’s with this command:

sudo apt-get remove <gamename>

Then your game will be removed.

I also found out that when you list, not every executable game is highlighted in yellow. So, that trick doesn’t work.

Anyways, that concludes my tutorial, thanks for reading and if you have issues, feel free to leave a comment. Even while I don’t know a lot about Linux server yet, I’ll do my best in order to help you out. It will be a nice learning experience for me. In any case, enjoy!

A few examples of games

Review #030: Legend Of A Ninja – A Shadow To Remember v1.5 (PC ~ Download) ~ Vapor Wills

Shad to Remember WebsiteOfficial website

So, this game will be my only exception on my theme of this month. Anyways, the developers of this game asked me to review their game. Before I start, I want to thank them for giving me this oppertunity. They praised me for my fair reviews. So, yeah. Let’s give this game a fair review. Also, feel free to leave a comment about what you think of this article and or the game. 

Bad omens

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Before I start talking about the story, I want to talk about the menu. The option menu is a big disaster. Key rebindings don’t work and looking at the option menu, you get the impression that the game is controllable with a controller. I tried with my wireless XBOX360 controller, and it didn’t work.

The option menu is pretty confusing, and if people who aren’t very familiar with games like myself would try to work with this option menu, it’s just going to end bad. Terms like BGM (background music) and BGS (background sound) show up. Also, what’s up with the “reduce character flickering”? My final issue with the option menu is that when you launch this game in full screen, it doesn’t launch it in widescreen. So, prepare for black bars.

So, I want to start the actual game.  While I was creating the name of my character, I noticed that the background that is scrolling in the background is cut-off. You can clearly see when a new one starts. It takes you out of the experience.

 The person I mailed back and forth with said that the story is the most important aspect of the game. You play as a ninja who is about to meet a legendary ninja. Yet, as soon as you start talking, you have the impression that the guy is not what he appears to be.

The story is rather interesting, yet there are some flaws with it. There are some parts of dialogue that don’t sound very grammatically correct or have some flaws in them. Like words missing or plurals missing. Also, the writing isn’t really consistent. Some words sometimes appear in color, and sometimes they don’t. Also, at certain points it’s too consistent. Dear developer, if your character does something while he is talking, don’t write “*he looks at the door.*” Since, we already know that he is a he!

Also, the story has some holes in it. There are some inconsistencies in the writing. Another flaw of the writing is that all of the characters are forgettable. There isn’t much that is really memorable of this story. It’s just another ninja story. Because the developer used too many different terms, you don’t have time to emerge as a player.

RPG or adventure game?

punch-to-the-stomachSo, this game is marketed as a RPG. I know that the engine used limits the game. But I do feel like there could have been done a lot more then what I played. Why am I saying this? That’s because the RPG elements in this game are totally broken.

 The first enemies you encounter can easily kill you. But don’t worry, the game is programmed to be forgiving. So… you get your health restored like nothing happened? Sure. Okay, fine. That isn’t very broken isn’t it?

Oh, but I’m not done yet. The creator tried to make an interesting twist in the battling of enemies. After 3 rounds, the battle is over. If you win, you get XP and gold. If you loose, you get healed. Yes, you get healed. That’s way to forgiving.

Also, the amount of XP and gold you get is just laughable. When you level up, you aren’t able to defeat other monsters at all. If I counted how many battles I won compared to the amount I lost, I think there would be a 20 – 80 ratio. Yes, I lost more battles then I won them.

This makes me to believe that this game would be better if they dropped the whole RPG elements from the game. I honestly get the impression that they are just there to make the game be longer to beat. If only it was actually thought out, it wouldn’t be such a big issue.

Breaking the game

dangerous-mission

Sadly enough, I was able to “break” the game. What I mean by that is that I was able to make actions that stopped me from progressing. Yes, killing progress. If you kill either one of two characters, you can’t finish a side quest and you can’t finish the story. Meaning you have to grind and defeat the final boss. And this is pretty early in the game. Because you just left your own town.

There are some places where the triggers for some events are placed wrong. Like when you move up or down at the side of an area, you move to another area. It’s weird to explain but if you play it for yourself, you will understand what I mean.

I even had one time, in the northern woods, I was able to leave the map.  Speaking about the map, you aren’t allowed in some of the towns if you don’t have anything to be there for. “Port Town looks calm.” And you back away. Or “You need a guide to travel here” at the mountains. Such a real shame if the “dungeon” is easy enough to conquer in one try easily.

This game has more problems then what I have talked about in this article. The music is pretty interesting and there is quite a lot potential for this game to grow. But in the state it’s in now, it feels unfinished and broken. Weather without any sound effects, random encounters in towns? Yeah, those are two other issues.

In the summary I will briefly talk about the things I haven’t talked about yet in this review. But I have one question for the developers to think about. How are you going to give updates to your buyers? Are you going to mail them after you uploaded them to Amazon?

Conclusion

The good:

+ Turning the story of a writing into a game.

+ The music is quite nice.

+ The idea behind the game has quite a lot of potential.

+ You can choose different options that make each playthrough different.

The bad:

– Various grammar issues in the story.

– Generic design of the characters and enemies.

– RPG elements are broken.

–  You are able to get stuck with one action.

– …

Final thoughts:

Is this game worth it? Maybe, depends if you like homemade RPG’s. Is it worth the asking price? Honestly, I don’t think so. I played version v1.5 and I based my review on it.

I honestly think that this game misses a lot of polish. Something you can only achieve by play testing over and over again. Trying out very single thing that a player might do.

This game is one that has to grow. The website as well. The screenshots used in this review come from the website. That way I discovered that the website is running WordPress, and I know that you can do a lot more then what’s the current state of the site at the time of the review.

If the game gets an update and fixes some of the issues I have talked about, I surely would love to give it a go and write an update article on this. But the current state of the game is just a mess. There is so much potential here, but the negatives of the game are way worse then the positives.

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this. Thanks again to the developers to send me a review copy for reviewing this game. I’ll look forward to any future updates that might fix the game’s problems.

Score: 35/100

Review #021: Pokemon X and Y (3DS) ~ Various Opinions.

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Official Website

Wow, it has been quite some time since I reviewed a game. According to my sources, it has been since early November last year that I reviewed the latest Ace Attorney game. But today I’m back with a brand new review. I know that this game has been out for such a long time but I just got around finishing it yesterday. I took my time in order to review this title. I talked to a lot of people who have played the game as well and I was surprised of their replies. But before we start this review, I fixed my flaw in the numbering. I had two number 17 reviews. Now that’s said, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game. Or your views on this review. Anyways, let’s go! 

Iz verry pretteh

24So, dear fan boys, I’m going to warn you right now. I’m a Nintendo fanboy as well and I wasn’t extremely happy with the game. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is an excellent game but it has some flaws that people too quickly say it’s awesome because it’s made by Nintendo.

One thing I have to give to them is that this game is extremely pretty. The visuals in this game are extremely well done. The attack animations are just well done.

The pokémon are very nicely presented in nicely finished 3D. But one major irritation pops up here. Why have all bad guys a 3D model for their trainer sprite and why do the other trainers simply have a 2D sprite? Not even the champion or the elite 4 got a 3D model. This is a major oversight in the game’s design.

In terms of route design, in this game it’s clear that they went visuals over quality. The first route is laughable. It’s just a straight line to the next town. You are able to cross it in under a half minute. Admitted, it looks pretty amazing. Another sad cave is the victory road. At this road, the cave looks neat and well organized but it’s not difficult to get through it from your first try. Were are the days when the dungeons had puzzles? When you need to try to slide over ice or when you needed to push bolders down to ice to stop you? I felt quite a lack of that in this entry.

This game went visuals and action over exploration. While this game is extremely beautiful, the exploration is  not even worth it. Take for example the cave where MewTwo is hidden. As soon as you enter, you need to run straight ahead and he is in front of your face. Lame with capital L.

Mixed feelings

imagesFrom the start it’s quite clear that the geographical location of this game is France. The main city has a  big Eiffel tower in the middle. But you are blocked from doing the gyms out of order. Or even explore the whole city. There is always a problem with the road or power.

The main city, that’s one of the best places to explore. It’s a huge city and there is a lot to do.

Maybe what I’m trying to say is that this game is quite linear. Yeah, that’s it. But what strikes me as odd is that this game is quite less subtle. You are given items by talking to anybody. And if you simply talk to everybody, your inventory will soon fill up with nice TM’s and such.

But something that took quite a drop is the difficulty. I was blown away by how easy this game is. Honestly, I haven’t battled every trainer and I’m quite sure I have fled more from battles then finished them. And I was able to beat the elite four from the second try. Champion included.

I often had feelings that this game was lending elements from earlier games in it’s story. But they finally started to use more then just one character and your rival. Each character has his or her personal “mini-story” line which makes finishing the game quite interesting. But I didn’t like the sections where somebody followed you. I mean, it’s unique and refreshing to see but why did they give them the powers to heal your Pokémon? -Sigh-

Not quite done yet.

imagesWhile it sounds that I’m ripping this game apart, I’m not quite done with doing that just yet.  The music is just “meh” at best. Some tracks sound quite nice but themes like the gym leader theme are just lackluster. It doesn’t pack the punch previous themes had. One of my friends who played the game more extensively then I did, agreed with my views on the music. It’s not that good compared to the amazing tracks we heard in previous entries. My favorite entry for gym leader has to go to the Black & White generation.

Also, Nintendo, why did we map rollerskates to the circle pad again? This is one of the few games where the dpad DOES actually something and you map the rollerskates which are at times a tad bit uncontrolable to the circle pad? Just no. My main complaint here is that you can’t have certain set items like, if I recall correctly, the item finder with the roller skates.

One of the biggest downfalls of this game is the lacking of post game content. The friend zone safari is an utter joke. Just a square patch of grass to run around in? Don’t make me laugh. You are now allowed to catch two legendary’s and fight in a tower with a “trainer spawner”. Could they have made it any more boring? The only reason you would return is for completing your Pokédex… … Don’t get me started on that.

In my honest opinion, the Pokédex is a failure. Splitting it into 3 different Pokédex’s make the information gone all cluttered.

To finish off this section, there are a lot of small and minor things that the developers took out of the game for some unknown reason. You can’t clean your badges and according to trustful sources, I’m too lazy to check at the moment, you can’t put a signature at your trainer card.

So, up to the next section. To make this review a special one since I’m back with a review!

THIS GAME IS SHIT?!?

Horde-Encounter-screenshot-3Alright, while I don’t feel like cutting out the borders of this image in order to save time writing this review, the most important question is… is this game shit? Well, no. Actually far from it!

Nintendo actually did some amazing changes. First thing is the story. While for some it will be a tad bit annoying that there is sometimes a big gap between gyms, I actually applaud them for it.

Think about it this way, they gave Pokemon more depth instead of always going from one town to the next in order to fight the gym and then rarely to never return to that village.

I have talked about the amazing visuals earlier. The animation is something where this game shines extremely. When a wild Pokemon jumps at you from the bushes or drops down from the ceiling, it just makes you feel that Pokemon might be real.

Something that took me totally off-guard is how extensive you can customize your character.  When you pick your gender, you have three different styles to chose from. And above all that, you can go get a hair cut and also buy other clothes. And those clothes aren’t just for show, they can provide you to area’s that are restricted for “casual people”.

Some tweaks have been made to make the game better accessible then the DS entries. But the big change is that these games have more depth. Look at the screenshot for example, now Pokemon can attack in hordes. (Inb4 the next generation has zombie Pokemon).

And FINALLY Nintendo and Game Freak made a smart move and used their old Pokemon in Kalos. Yes, the amount of silly and no creative Pokemon in a new generation has come to an end. While there are a few exceptions to this statement, nearly all the newly introduced Pokemon get my stamp of approval.

Something I’m on the edge about is how sometimes “super effective” attacks  can take up so much HP. But when thinking about it for a bit and comparing it to the anime series, it makes sense.

What I also liked is the fact that there are minor story differences between both versions. And you get way more involved into the story which is quite nice as well.

The amount of side content, like the castle where you can battle to get your rank up is such a fun idea. Or the ability to walk and actually pet your Pokemon. Totally worth it. While the head bashing mini game is actually head bashing for me since I barely get it working for some reason.

And according to my friend, with the new Fairy type, the moves are quite balanced.

Also, this game has amazing online features, or so I heard. I’m not a big online player so I haven’t tested that out. But again, from what I heard from 3 class mates, it gets them a real fun experience.

If you try to catch them all, you get a big game. This game will last you for quite a while. And since it’s an RPG, the replay value is extremely high. And with the cutscenes and all that, it’s really worth it.

But this review is really getting extremely lengthy here. Time to wrap this baby up. There are some things I haven’t talked about in this review, but I think you should play the game in order to find those out. I know this is a cheap move but if you think the game isn’t already something for you based on this review, well the things I now hold as a surprise won’t pull you over for sure. I think.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Music could have been better.

– 3D sprites for the bad guys.

– Some nice features are cut.

– The game is a bit too easy.

– Worst post game content ever.

– Pokedex isn’t one of the best out there.

The good:

+ Great use of old and new Pokemon.

+ Beautiful game.

+ Best story in a long time in the Pokemon games.

+ Very lengthy game if you try to complete it 100%

+ Online features are a great thing.

Conclusion:

What this game lacks is the finishing polish. Don’t get me wrong, this game is extremely well made but made some stupid flaws that pull the game down.

This game takes the Pokemon series in the right direction but it isn’t there just yet. If you are a fan of the Pokemon series and you are thinking about buying this game, my advice is: buy it. Yes, it comes recommend. But be warned, the game has some flaws.

And those flaws are understandable. Since this game takes risks in order to improve upon the formula. With this kind of feedback from fans the game can only grow and we might receive a more improved new generation!

Thanks for reading my lengthy review. I hoped you enjoyed reading my wall of text about this game. I have the game for my next review already selected. I hope to see you then.

Score: 70 / 100

Review #003: The Legend Of Zelda: Oracle Of Ages (GBC) ~ No need for a car.

260px-Oracleofages

Zelda Wiki link for more information.

This game is the game that got me into the Legend Of Zelda series. But it’s not the first Zelda game I played, that was the GBA classic release of the original NES game. When I saw this game collecting dust on a stall at the flea market at my beach holiday, I decided to buy it. And man, did I have fun with this game. I got so frustrated with the “To be continued” screen. Since I needed to buy the 2nd Oracle game, Oracle of Seasons, which I’ll review a later day. Maybe my next review. But this game is great, so I really needed to pay attention that my fanboy-ish love for this game didn’t influence this review. I tried to be as fair and square for each game as I can. So, let’s dive into this game and tell you what is good and what is bad so you might consider buying the limited re-release on the 3DS e-shop when it comes out.

Accept your quest.

The game starts off with Link riding Epona, checking on the Triforce. Once arrived, the Triforce teleports him to the lands of Labrynna. There you meet Impa, well the more gray version of Impa. And then after some other events, all hell breaks lose. The flow of time gets then disrupted and it’s up to you to fix what Veran destroyed.

zelda-ages-screenshot

In short, the story was good for a handheld game. It will end up like your typical rescue story but there isn’t anything wrong with that. As long as it’s interestingly executed. Yet, I like the story of this game over the Oracle Of Seasons one. Yet, it uses elements that were used in a SNES game before. Time travel.

As the name would suggest, insert here a “You don’t say”.jpg, the game revolves around time travel. A lot of puzzles in this game require you to go back and forth from the past to the present. This actually doubles the world map of the already big game area.

What I like so much about the story of this game is that it’s so simple, you don’t even notice it’s there to begin with. The Zelda games are and have been adventure games to the core, and those have always epic tales of hero’s who fight evil. This one is about a tree that wants to marry you.

There is only one minor issue with the start. I got stuck in the first few screens of the game. Since you need to talk all the animals and then again to the bear. Yeah, not that easy. And yes, it’s a sign for what to come. Don’t take this game too lightly. This game is actually a great challenge for each generation. The bosses in the dungeon are creative and require you to think up unique ways to use the newly acquired item in the dungeon.

This game is filled with puzzles. Puzzles where you need to move blocks, where you need to get a floor all colored and where you need to solve puzzles. Okay, scrap that last one. But it keeps the game pretty varied. Sometimes you need to fight the monsters in a certain time limit and other times you need to sneak into the castle. There is one puzzle I liked so much I tried to program my own version of it. I succeeded but the project died.

The big trading

zelda-oracle-of-ages-oracle-of-seasons-3ds-screenshots-1There is a lovely side quest to the whole game with a reward. That reward really pays off the effort you need to do for it. This side quest is actually sort of a standard in the portable games of The Legend Of Zelda, because as far as I know, it nearly appeared in each portable TLOZ game.

There is a trade quest where you need to trade items with other characters. What the reward is, well I’ll leave that up to you guys to explore.

The gameplay is your standard Zelda gameplay. You get an item, you go to dungeon, get new item, defeat boss, get a heart container, puzzle to open next dungeon and repeat. Yup, nothing new there. And it still holds up till today. The game is still extremely fun and pulls you in. Pay attention when you play this game, the hours will fly by. And the game is quite lengthy too, so you won’t finish this game in one sitting.

Once you finished the game, you can link up the sister game Oracle of Seasons with a password. This way you pass over the names you gave to characters and you can see the true ending. This game will tease you with a “To Be Continued” screen at the end of the game.

The animation in this game is basic but it works. Actually, I take that back. The animation is pretty neat but not really for the impatient type of people. Burning a bush can take a while. And you aren’t able to skip certain animations like time travel. Time travel can be annoying when you go to close to a portal and you go in it by accident.

The music is, as it always in a Zelda game, short of amazing. It was blasting through my speakers the entire time I was writing this review. I even have the music on my harddrive and I listen to it here and there.

The game looks extremely well. The world looks colorful and the past looks aged. I really enjoy both world and the colors given to it. The level desgin is nicely implemented.

But is this game perfect?

Legend_of_Zelda,_The_-_Oracle_of_Ages

As a big Zelda fan, which I am, I would tell you: yes it is. But that wouldn’t make for a fair review, wouldn’t it? So, let’s rip this game a new— oh, nope, let’s not finish that sentence.

What I didn’t like about this game is how basic the sound effects sound to me. The sound effects are most likely all pulled from a library of other gameboy games and fail to impress me. I even have trouble with placing some of the sound effects in this game. (Yeah, I can be into Zelda too much)

Also the GBA shop is in my opinion a cool addition but truth to be told, it’s a cheap marketing trick to get people to buy a GBA. Well played Nintendo, well played.

Also, I wished that Maple appeared a bit more. She nearly never appears and I often sometimes just pass by the screen and miss her. It’s even more annoying when you miss her and you needed her for your trade quest.

To finish up this review, I’m going to mention something positive. The controls are extremely well done in this game. Apart from the jumping that can be a bit annoying…

Conclusion

The good:

+ Great music.

+ Decent story.

+ Great, long adventure.

+ Lovely puzzles.

+ Nice graphics.

The bad:

– Cheaty Maple.

– The cheap “buy GBA” promotion.

– Weaker sound effects.

Conclusion:

I had an hard time finding bad elements in this game. I went searching around what other reviewers had to say and they gave it all nearly a perfect score. This game is one of the best gameboy color games period. It’s even one of my favorite Zelda games. Actually the Oracle games are my favorite in the series. 

As a Zelda fan, you really owe yourself to play this game. And if you love adventure games, you need to play this game. Don’t wait, play it. But first let me know in the comments what you think of this game.

Score: 99/100

Rant #001: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity (3DS): Cuts and Adds.

PMGTILink to the game’s site.

This isn’t a review, but a rant about something in this game. I played the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series a lot. I played all of them. I was so excited that I even got a 3DS in the hope that there would be a new entry in the series on the 3DS. And finally, we got one. But, now there is a major issue here. I’ll probably address this again in my review but I want to get this out of my system now. On my forum, there was a lot of discussions too, so I’ll add those complaints into this rant.

The adds.

The dungeons are way better now. You have parts outside and where you need to solve puzzles. It gives a unique twist to the game.

Now you can also farm berries. Yes, it takes some time though but it’s a neat addition. The Pokémon Paradise you are building is an amazing fun concept. It really gives the feeling of progression.

But wait a minute, this is becoming more like a review instead of a rant. Whoops, my bad. Let’s go ranting.

The cuts

First of all, a big let down is that you can only do 1 mission at a time. Yes, no multiple missions for you. You need to give the request to the Pokémon to open the request gate and after you are finished, the day ends. I can agree this makes the game a bit more realistic but it really gets annoying because of one thing. The game taunts you with a list of 5 pages long missions. Each page has about 4 missions. And when you finish a mission, the list doesn’t shrink. Oh no, one mission gets added. Oh, the joy of “infinity.” pokemon-mystery-dungeon-gates-to-infinity-screenshot-04

I often find myself trying to save by sleeping. But guess what, you can save now everywhere except in the dungeons. But they removed the ability to save while sleeping. For people who got used to the original formula, don’t change up the way how you save, please. I forgot to save twice thanks to this. But this is a minor annoyance.

Nintendo, why did you got rid of the hunger system? It made the game more challenging and now without the hunger system, you can get through dungeons as if it was a breeze. Agreed, the hunger didn’t really bother you in dungeons that much but it gave something to think about when you forgot to buy food.

DLC? Seriously now? 1,5€ for an extra dungeon. No thanks, I pass. This is a game where DLC is not really welcome. In my opinion, DLC should be for PC’s & consoles. Not handhelds. Let’s face it, how much credit cards do you have? Not much. But what annoys the crap out of me is the fact that the DLC is present as soon as you buy the game. DLC should come later as a sort of expansion. If this came later like when the game is nearly off store shelves, then I wouldn’t react this way.

This isn’t really a cut but a big annoyance. Which kinds of drugs have the Pokémon taken? They run extremely fast, nearly uncontrollable. And their dialogue boxes are so slow. And here is the best part. You can’t edit the speed of the dialogue boxes AND the running speed is already annoying on the normal speed. May the Lord help those who take fast speed.

Finish

I’m going to leave it here for this rant. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. I’ll write a review about this game when I find the time and when I’m finished with this game. But for now, I’ll get playing.

I feel odd when playing this game. so many nice new things, yet those cuts really bother my game experience. Maybe I’m judging this game too early. It will be very interesting. See you guys at the next post!