Tag Archives: hack

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 computer’s needs. When a computer breaks or has malfunctioned, 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 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, the 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 hardware of the computer.

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.

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 took 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 into 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 than 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 at creating levels with the tools. So, if you are looking for a review of the tools, I think you are in 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 layout 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 open 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 aside. 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 backward rolls 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 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

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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 backward. 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. As 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 of 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 levels were merged into one level.

Overall, a 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 a 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 where 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

Poseidon’s 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 Turbo 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 at the custom level than 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 underwater.

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 at various TRLE levels. I enjoy them quite a lot. Seeing these new levels makes my retro heart 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 about 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

 

Publishing: NetherWorld: the sinister dimension of excesses shows up on Kickstarter

logo_Netherworld.pngMadrid, 1st March 2018 Independent studio Hungry Pixel has launched a Kickstarter campaign, to fund NetherWorld, a dark and crazy adventure full of excesses and outlandish characters.

NetherWorld creators hope to raise 5.000€ to finish its development. If the Kickstarter campaign overcomes the initial goal, the studio wants to make this PC game compatible with other platforms as Nintendo Switch, among other new features such as new scenarios, characters, and storylines.

In its first week on Kickstarter, NetherWorld has raised more than 45% of its main goal and has exceeded 140 backers.

town_screenshot

THE GAME: NETHERWORLD

 NetherWorld is a 2D horizontal side-scrolling pixel art adventure game, with an irreverent and sinister plot. Its protagonist will be involved in a surreal story after being abandoned by his wife and handling his misfortune with alcohol, drugs, and lust.

The player will be able to discover the sinister land of NetherWorld; explore its darkest corners, get along with weird NPCs, use flames and handguns to battle horrific bosses or just get drunk in a bar.

 From the beginning, the main purpose of NetherWorld developers was to create something different, an unusual story with deeply eccentric characters and a pile of -apparently- ridiculous situations.

This adventure will have multiple references to great videogames franchises such as Dark Souls, among others.  However, some of them will be only visible for sharp players.

In NetherWorld, most of the fights will be against final bosses, focusing on the story progression, dialogues, and relationships between the different characters.

Each final boss will have unique mechanics, ensuring epic and intense battles. To defeat them and help our black squid-like hero to get over his depression, we’ll have all kinds of weapons. However, sometimes we’ll have to use nearby objects or just flee as fast as possible. In broad strokes, NetherWorld’s dynamics can remind us of Shadow of the Colossus.

concept_art

 General features

  • Dark, bloody and twisted world
  • Large variety of scenarios
  • Deep (and surreal) story
  • NPCs with their own behavior and evolution
  • Epic battles against huge and grotesque bosses
  • Tons of weapons and accessories
  • Humor

Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1522665641/868540078?ref=417359&token=7f9332a2

Youtube trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8jjUg-zq04&t=1s

Screenshots / GIFs: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1v41r8tekQxir7GfB8j7H7nYd–yYE0Kn

Web: http://www.netherworldgame.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NetherWorldGame

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

Contact: info@netherworldgame.com

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International media press:

frontpage_Netherworld

Spanish media press:

 About Hungry Pixel

HungryPixel_logo

This mad idea came up from Daniel Barreno’s mind, creator and developer of NetherWorld. A short while after, Isabel Armentero joined the project to provide the game with her amazing art and design abilities. Together they founded the indie studio Hungry Pixel, where they work hard to make NetherWorld a reality.

Preview: Ama’s Lullaby (PC) ~ Explore and Hack

AmasLullaby_Art_6.jpgKickstarter Page

Today I want to talk about a game that has still a Kickstarter running. The name of the game is Ama’s Lullaby and I have to thank the developer for notifying me about it since this game shows some great promise. This game is an adventure and puzzle game. But, enough stalling, let’s take a look at the currently released material. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

 

What is this game?

AmasLullaby_Art_2.jpgAma’s Lullaby is a point-and-click adventure game taking place in a cyberpunk environment. In the shoes of Ama, a high potential teenager, you will explore an off-world colony created by machines. By using her laptop’s command-line based system you will be able to hack any network of the city. But every action will have consequences, and Ama will become an easy prey once her identity is unveiled.

That’s the 50-word description the developer gives. As a student in network engineering and a big fan of adventure games, this premise interests me a whole lot. I’m going to be honest, right away. I wish there was a demo of this game already. I want this game in my life, like right now.

From what I have seen in the trailer footage, this game has quite interesting gameplay. But I’m going more in-depth in the next section of my article.

My thoughts

7e97c0d6c91d53a54faee47ddaea309c_original.jpgThe game features very pretty pre-rendered environments. That was something that caught me off guard when I saw the teasers. If this is the alpha stage of the game, consider me hyped. This game is going to look amazing if it has the quality from the teasers throughout the game.

What amazes me more, is that this game is a one-man project. I have a lot of respect for people who create their own games and use mostly or all original assets and content. Speaking from own experience, it’s not easy to create a game from scratch. It requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication.

I admire the honesty of the creator on the Kickstarter. He tells the whole story of the development of the game. He admits trying to get this game from the ground once in the past, but he didn’t succeed. Admitting failure isn’t always easy to do, but the professional way he does it is worth its weight in gold.

In any case, let’s talk about the game again. Something that looks really interesting is the hacking mechanic. In this game, you can also get hacked. And that’s something that made me smile. That mechanic is going to make the game for me. Since it adds that dash of realism to the game that I miss in the hacking mini-games I played in the past.

This game is going to have dialogue trees. This is something I expect more in a RPG-game. But, it might give some interesting puzzles in this game. There are also going to be fight scenes. Here is me hoping that the game doesn’t rely on QTE (quick time events) for the battles.

The game draws its inspiration from Bladerunner in a way. Fun fact, the game is going to be released in 2019. That’s the year the movie was set in too, in a similar ship. Also, taking inspiration from any movie with my favorite actor Harrison Ford is a plus in my book.

Kickstarter

So, at the moment of writing, the game’s Kickstarter is still running. In 12 days, the Kickstarter will be closed. So, if you are interested in seeing this game before everybody else OR supporting this game, go to the Kickstarter page right now!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005143815/amas-lullaby-a-point-and-click-game-in-a-cyberpunk

 There are also a lot of updates written by the developer and more video’s to see the progress of the game. So, go and have a look to that! I’m keeping an eye on the game as well. Since this game looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see where this game goes. If there is interesting news, I’ll tweet it out! Here are the links to their social media:

Facebook & Twitter

If you still have any questions about the game, go to their social media and ask a question. The developer will reply to your question.

To wrap this article up, I think I have to say in conclusion that this game has a lot of potential. Since it’s a point-&-click adventure game. And those aren’t made often. I can’t wait to see more of this game. Since what I have seen so far, is really good. All the concept art and trailers are getting me hyped!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then; take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impression: Hyrule Warriors (Wii U) ~ Zelda with a War.

WiiU_HyruleWarriors_Boxart

Official website

During my two week break, I got my hands on a Wii U. Honestly, it wasn’t really a break; I just didn’t had time due to various reasons. But let’s put that aside, since I think it’s time for a new article. Today, I’m going to give my first impression of one of the games I bought the Wii U for. Hyrule Warriors. It’s was so hard to not watch any video or read any review of it. Honestly, it paid off. The other games I bought are Zelda – Wind Waker HD and Bayonetta 1 & 2. Fun fact, when I told this to my buddy MiseryLC, he said: “Wow, I thought that those games were totally not your style.” Hehehehe. In any case, let’s begin with this article. As usual, feel free to write your opinion on the content of this article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

It’s a blast

maxresdefaultI expected a sort of hack-and-slash game. I got what I ordered. But what I didn’t expect was the amazing story.
Minor spoiler here,  but it feels like it’s the story about the big Hyrule war for the triforce that’s often mentioned in other Zelda stories.

While Nintendo published this game, the developers made sure to use the Zelda lore to its fullest extent. Koei Temco Games & Team Ninja used a lot of Zelda characters and none felt out of place for me. The new characters introduced could as well be Zelda characters, they are that good designed.

The voice acting of the narrator is a okay at best. I like my stories told with a bit more emotion. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very  well done. What I really like about the game is that they didn’t give the Zelda characters voices. They used text boxes to tell the story. Very good job, since you didn’t disappoint the fans with possible badly chosen voices.

Also, when you buy the DLC for this game, it adds background stories to some characters. I haven’t played the DLC stories yet, but that will come soon. Since the game has it’s hooks in me. Since I bought my Wii U, I have played this game more then I like to admit.

Slash those enemies

WiiU_HyruleWarriors_57_Adventure_Mode_01The gameplay is easy to explain. You are in war with one or two other armies. You need to conquer keeps. You do that by first defeating the guards and then the keep boss. A keep spawns more allies. The more keeps you have, the better. In some scenarios, you have to avoid the death of some characters. This “defeat condition” made me seat on the edge of my chair various times.

The game uses some nasty tricks sometimes. When you think the character you need to protect is safe, a horde of enemies come and attack. Not only attack, but they charge towards the character you need to protect.

Various maps also have special situations that can occur. Like in Death Mountain, if you don’t conquer two keeps, the enemies throw rocks at your main base. When your main base gets destroyed, it’s game over. Same counts for the enemies. When you destroy their main base, it’s game over for them.

The only thing that they could improve on in the gameplay department is that the enemies might be a bit more intelligent or the allies for that matter. I encounter them sometimes just standing there. But truth to be told, writing code that would put AI to each and every enemy would be should a pain. You would think that the game is easy then. Well, if you keep paying attention and fight the right enemies or fight the right battles… this game isn’t that hard. Granted, I have only played on the normal difficulty now so I still have to play the “hard” difficulty.

In some other reviews I read a very valid point, this game can be repetitive. Honestly, it is. After a few hours, the game is repetitive… But I enjoy this game so much that I always want more fights and battles to play. So, I don’t mind the repetitiveness of this game.

Another complaint is that this game is a “mash buttons to win” game. Well, I have issues with that statement in general. The negative I see is that you have a way to win where there is no skill involved. But hey, using the combo’s makes a nice visual thingy too look at.

I want to talk more about the gameplay, but I will leave that up for the review when I finished the story mode and played a bit more of the other modes.

Is it good or is it great? 

maxresdefault (1)So, in the previous part, I touched upon the graphics of this game. And let me tell you, they are amazing. The areas you visit look colorful and/or have the right atmosphere. The battlefields are so well designed that the keeps are real strategic points that armies would use in a real life battle.

Apart from the game being eye candy, it’s really amazing how this game has such a fluent animation. Often, there is a lot going on, on screen but it rarely drops to a low framerate. And when it drops… It drops to 15-20 frames, which isn’t that bad. But in general, this game runs at a steady 60fps.

What blows my mind even more are the animations. There made me feel being a real bad-ass hero several times. I really like the combos you can pull off.

To wrap up, let me talk about the soundtrack. It’s one of the best soundtracks I have heard this year. I adore the soundtrack of mainstream Zelda games and this game is no exception. The soundtrack is so well done, that I want to hunt down a CD of it.

So, I think I’m going to wrap up my first impressions here. I actually want to talk a lot more about this game but I’m leaving that for the review. And also, long time readers know that I often leave some parts out since I want that some parts are for you guys to figure out.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I also hope to welcome you in at another article on my blog. But until then, take care and game on!

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