Tag Archives: konami

First Impression: Castlavania – Portrait Of Ruin (DS) ~ No Stars For Mario

castlevania portrait of ruin

Wikipedia entry

Back in the day, when I just got the Nintendo DS, I decided that I wanted to try out a horror game. Castlevania was one of the only horror game series I knew about so when I saw this game on the shelves, I decided that I had to have it. Now, I have never really beaten this game, but recently I returned to it. I wanted to beat this game. Now, did I just want to relive a nostalgic game or did I really want to beat this game since I was having so much fun? Let’s take a look at this game and give my opinion about it.

No Stars For Mario

castleruinrev4

In this game you play as Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin. They are childhood friends who are going on a journey to protect mankind from evil. When an evil vampire artist revives Dracula’s Castle, the duo springs into action.

There is also an interesting twist in the story. Notice that I started explaining the story with the last names of the characters. Now, look to the cover-art and you might notice that Jonathan wields the legendary vampire-killing all evil defeating, Master Sword… whoops, wrong series. I mean, the Vampire Killer.

But Jonathan is part of the Morris family, the son of John Morris from Castlevania: Bloodlines, and not a Belmot. So, he can’t fully use the abilities of the Vampire Killer.

Now, the story looks like your generic Castlevania story at first, but the more you go into it, the more complex it gets. Most of the story is told through in-engine cut scenes and dialogue boxes. The “voice acting” in the game are various grunts and sounds to give the story more “umph”. There are spoken lines in the game, but those are mostly sound effects or lines spoken by enemies during combat.

I actually don’t mind that the story isn’t voice-acted. The only thing I really miss is a sort of log. To keep track of what story elements happened. Since, when you pick this game up after a few months and don’t remember where you left off; well, you are going to have to spend a time to find out where you need to go.

Which is, on the other hand, not such a bad thing. The difficulty in this game is pretty high for people who aren’t used to this style of gameplay. So, exploring the castle is a great idea to level up Jonathan and Charlotte.

I find the story really interesting and it actually motivates me to try to beat every monster that comes my way. If you decide to play this game, I really advise you to put a lot of time into exploring and learning how each and every enemy works. Also, there is no shame in avoiding enemies, but do know; if you do that, you will have a lot of trouble with bosses.

So, I’ll go more in-depth about the bosses in a moment. But first, I want to talk about paintings. Since, the main antagonist is an evil vampire painter, you discover various paintings in the castle. These transport you to various locations where you can advance the story. There are no “missions” like Super Mario 64. When I played this game back when it was released, I was convinced that there was an easter egg where you could jump into a painting and come out in a sort of corrupted version of Princess Peach’s castle. Yeah, my childhood imagination is interesting to say the least.

“Charlotte” – “Jonathan”

tumblr_inline_nlekqyfoxY1rspbo8_400

If you can’t tell from the screenshots, the game looks amazing. To this day, I find this game one of the best looking action/adventure games on the DS. The details in the background are what I find the most impressive in this game. The world really feels alive.

I find this game not that scary. There is a lot of gothic and mythic imagery, but the game doesn’t get under my skin. At the other hand, I wouldn’t give this game to younger kids. There are some bosses that can cause nightmare fuel to young minds.

Like the boss in Land of the Fools. I won’t spoil it, but I can see how this can become nightmare fuel. If you can stomach basic horror elements, you will be fine.

The atmosphere in this game is just amazing. I really like how all bosses are based on real life myths and various enemies have an interesting spin on them. Together with really nice looking animations and a rarely a dip in frame-rate, you can’t complain.

Personally, I like to have the map on one of the screens. The map is extremely handy to have. The blue squares are teleports, the red squares are save points and the yellow square are paintings or locations of extreme interest. The only thing I really miss is that you are unable to place any notes on the map. A feature where you were able to pin locations like in The Legend of Zelda – Link Between Worlds would be been such a blessing. Since some area’s contain loot that you can only access with a certain ability, and marking them would be a great way to support your mind.

Speaking off abilities, some require you to control both characters. With just a press of the button, you can switch between the two. When you are playing as Jonathan, you switch to Charlotte and vice versa. Now, for some reason I find it pretty enjoyable to switch between both characters. They shout each others names each and every time. I’m sometimes easily amused.

You can also have both characters on-screen. The AI to control the other character is decent, but sometimes makes some pretty questionable decisions. You can also use a support ability to avoid more damage. While this sounds overpowered, know that the damage to the 2nd character also counts! So, yeah. Be careful with that.

The castle and such

castlevaniaaa

If you have played games like Monster Tale and Metroid, you know what you are getting into. This adventure isn’t that long, it can be beaten in an afternoon if you really know what you are doing. Yet, I’m not that good with the combat, so I think it will take a bit longer.

Currently, I think I’m halfway done with the game. I have died quite a lot in this game, but each time I’m making a bit more progress. The biggest flaw in this game is how slow you go from the game over screen back into gameplay.

You get a “Game Over” screen with a barely readable font, that slowly fades into the main menu. Speaking about the main menu, you might find some interesting features there. The only thing I’ll say is that there is a boss rush mode that might help you in the main story line.

The music in this game is really good. When I want to listen to Castlevania music, I always listen to the soundtrack of one of the DS games. I honestly can’t pick my favorite but, all three are my favorite Castlevania soundtracks. Together with the sound design, this game is a joy to the ears. Playing this game without sound takes a lot of the atmosphere away.

Yet, there are a few things that aren’t that good in this game. First of all, you can only attack sideways. You don’t have an attack to hit smaller enemies easily. Unless, you use a weapon like a mace. You can’t attack on top of you either. This caused a lot of unneeded damage.

Actually, that isn’t really a flaw in a way. It’s choosing the right weapon for the job. Now, if only you could swap between weapons a bit more easy, this wouldn’t be such a big problem.

There are a lot of neat touches I really enjoy. The fact you can an opening and closing sound-effect when you open or close the DS is one of them. Another one of them is, how the interface changes to blue when you are equipping items and armor to Charlotte and to pink for Jonathan.

All-in-all, this game is really solid. If you are looking for a challenging Action/Adventure RPG on the go, I can’t recommend this game enough. I’m glad that I picked up this game again since with the skills I have now, I’m able to beat parts that I had a lot of trouble with as a child. This game is a blast to play, but can be very frustrating too when you die over and over again.

Before I close off, I hope one thing. If you are interested in this game; don’t let the publisher’s name scare you away. This has been published when Konami’s reputation was a bit better.

That’s everything I wanted to say about the game for now. I’ll go a bit more in-depth about the other aspects when I review this game. But, the review will only happen if I beat this game one day.

Thank you for reading this article 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.

Advertisements

First Impressions: Metal Gear Solid V – The Phantom Pain

Due to delivery issues in my country, I had to wait until the ninth of September before I could get my hands on the PC version of MGS V. I’m someone who prefers physical media, so even though I could’ve bought it earlier on Steam, I wanted the actual disc. The wait was worth it. Something really great happened in the first fifteen minutes of the game that just got me hooked. It may be the greatest thing I have ever seen in a game. Beware: SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST THREE HOURS OR SO AHEAD.

As some of you may know, I am a big fan of the series. I’ve been waiting for this game for a long time. Years even. It’s almost as if the setting of this game has been perfectly altered to my preferences. It’s set in 1984, my favourite year in history, also in my favourite decade. The year that in my eyes epitomises the ’80s. You also play with my favourite character of the series: Big Boss.

After the events of the previous prologue game (that was only about 90 minutes long), MGS V: Ground Zeroes, Big Boss wakes up in a hospital from a coma he’d been in for nine years. This is where something great happens. I don’t know if people have been picking up on this and I haven’t been looking around on the Internet, since I am trying to avoid any and all spoilers. Any content whatsoever.

MIRROR

About fifteen minutes into the game, the doctor tells you people are still looking for you, wanting to kill you. For your own safety, you should change your appearance. This is when we get a very well done character creation screen where we get to change our face. There are a hell of a lot of options, almost as if you are creating your own Sim in the Sims.

Now here’s what makes this great. I was worried about this. I wanted to play with Big Boss as I knew him, so I tried to create a character that kind of looked like the older, grey haired Big Boss. After I was done, though, I was pleasantly surprised. The doctor gets killed before he can carry out the operations. You are still Big Boss.

I really hope this never gets brought up, ever again in the game. Not because I don’t want to change Big Boss’s appearance (which is also true), but because this would make it the single greatest joke I have ever seen in a game. If this is never mentioned again, the creators of the game spent a great deal of time coding a character creation screen that works really well, and all of that for a joke. Possibly it’s a tool they created in-engine to make their own characters to make development easier, but still. I’m a little afraid it’s going to be brought up again, but I remain hopeful.

I feel it’s maybe a nod to MGS 2, where you start the game playing as Solid Snake, but the second part (and majority) is played with Raiden, an all-new character. This displeased many gamers, so it would be funny if that is part of why this was put into the game. For a second, it looked like they were pulling a similar kind of trick; making us think we’re going to play with Big Boss, but forcing us to change his appearance. Then they pull the rug out from under us. “Nah, we’d never do that to you again.” It feels like they’re saying with a smile.

But what about the game itself? I played through the entire prologue, the hospital section, in about an hour. Truth be told, it is not the best gameplay ever, and it uses a trope I don’t very much care for. I’d describe it as a playable cutscene, where you take a few dozen steps or perform a few little actions and the game takes over for a few minutes, showing us more of what’s going on with the story.

I remember people complaining that MGS 4 had too many and too lengthy cutscenes. This was something that never bothered me, since I love the story, but I can understand the complaints. The ending cutscene was a little shy of an hour, so I feel like in MGS V, they have made a compromise. Instead of having the first hour be an hour long cutscene, it has some sort of gameplay. All in all, despite not liking this trope in general, I was deeply engrossed in what was going on, making this still very enjoyable.

After that, the game really starts and we are dropped in a very expansive, open world. You wander around Afghanistan looking for a captured friend. How you tackle this mission is all up to you. Will you visit a few outposts first, gathering intel, or will you go to where he’s captured right away? It’s all up to you. This is where the game really comes to life. The amount of player choice and agency is incredible, and perhaps a stark contrast when compared with the first hour, but I understand why that had to be done. It’s like the first act of a movie: you need to establish the world and the situation, so I’m not upset at all.

So gameplay is great and the visuals? They’re stunning. Digital Foundry did an article about the PC version, which is incredibly well optimised. (This is also pretty much the only content on the Internet about MGS V I looked at.) Even low-end CPU’s like an i3 can run this game, no problem, provided you have a decent GPU. The standard graphical settings come very close to the PS4 and XBone settings, but when you bear in mind that most of those are set at “HIGH” or “MEDIUM”, you can imagine how gorgeous this game looks at “ULTRA” settings.

Fortunately, my GPU’s are beefy enough to handle the highest possible settings. A high draw distance, loads of post-processing effects, high quality lighting and textures, and even volumetric clouds. The first three hours seem very promising. I love the visuals, the gameplay is great and the story already has me hooked, so guess what I’ll be doing today?

My top 25 DS games of all time. (Part 3/3)

25 – 2019 – 10

Welcome to part 3!

#9:  Monster Tale

Monster_Tale_CoverartI didn’t know what this game was going to be about. I just bought it blindly. The cover was interesting enough to me to actually buy it. But was I taken by surprise. This game is all levels of awesome.

This game is a more kid-friendly version of the Castlevania series. The gameplay is nearly exactly the same. The only difference is that you have a pet monster that follows you. That monster, well, you need it to solve the various puzzles.

Something I’m really thankful for is that in this game you have an pointer to where you should go. But the game won’t punish you for trying to explore beyond the path you are supposed to go. Since you can find toys to train your monster.

There are various different forms of the monster which makes it pretty replayable. Now that I’m writing about this game, I feel like replaying it really soon. The memories are pretty great.

And also, the soundtrack is so good that it’s even on my SD for my mobile phone. I really enjoy listing to it. But a more in-depth look shall be for another time. In conclusion: this game comes highly recommend.

#8: Layton series – Favorite: Unwound Future

Professor_Layton_and_the_Unwound_Future

I simply can’t believe what LEVEL-5 has done with this series. They combined two of my favorite genres and made an awesome game series out of it. Professor Layton is an amazing series of puzzle and visual novel adventure games.

I love how there is always a debate on forums between fans of the Ace Attorney series and the Layton fans, since they are kind of similar. You play a detective by solving puzzles.

There are 6 games now in the series, 4 on the Nintendo DS. Out of them, my favorite is Unwound Future. The story is just the best out of the series. I think it’s one of the best. It’s the one I remember the most.

You can really see the evolution the series goes through. That’s why I advice people who want to play through this series to start with the first game. Because if you play the newer games first, you will get annoyed by some missing features like a notepad.

I still have to beat the last 3DS entry in the series, so I’m pretty curious how the series ends. But secretly I’m hoping that they continue the series with a new trilogy. Come on LEVEL-5, go for it!

#7: Castlevania series (Best: Portrait Of Ruin)

Portrait_of_Ruin

It will be a sin talking about Castlevania earlier in this list and not giving the series a well deserved spot in my top 25 list. Because these games have a lot of memories to me.

I started playing Portrait Of Ruin before I discovered Monster Tale. I was hooked in a matter of minutes. I loved the Metroidvania gameplay. Exploring a vast “open” world in a setting where mythological creatures are your enemies…

These games use enemies from mythologies and myths. Long time readers know this about me, I didn’t start as a game reviewer, I started as a hobby writer. Seeing stories used so powerful always puts a smile on my face. This is the best game when it comes to vampires.

I do warn you guys, this game can be quite hard. But the people who love to grind, this game won’t be a big letdown, because with a lot of grinding you will be able to finish these games without a lot of problems. But I’m not somebody who likes to grind. So, the challenge in this game is quite high for me. Even more enjoyable. Since the game’s controls are near pitch perfect!

#6: Pokémon series (Best: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Explorers of the Sky)

250px-MD_Sky_EN_boxart

This game got me to cry. Yes, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon hits my emotional spot each and every time. They are even continuing it on the 3DS. With some cuts and adds though.

The Pokémon series are one of the earliest gaming memories I have. Looking back, my mind is blown, how that as a young child, I was able to understand and (almost) beat a RPG. One with some depth.

On the surface, Pokémon looks to be made for children, but in reality, it can be quite deep and enjoyable to play.  I’m still working on beating the Black & White games, I’m currently about midway in Pokémon Black 2. But I think I might restart with the white version. Or delete my save file. The reason why, well, I lost my notes and I wanted to write an article about it.

Or I might not delete my save file and enjoy the game. Since it was also one of the first games I played on my Nintendo DS. Yeah. Memories.

#5:  Okamiden

Okamiden-title

So, I have written a first impression of the Wii game in the series, Okami. Wouldn’t it be a shame if one then didn’t like the DS version?

The DS version blew me off my socks in how it was able to port parts of a Wii game to the portable market. (No need for a new 3DS, more ranting on that … later this month)

This game takes place a few years after Okami ended. Now you play the son of the great Japanase sun god. The humor in this game is just excellent.

Best of all, you have more then one partner! Each partner has their own personality and character trades, which makes the game diverse and fun to play.

It was even able to touch me on an emotional level with it’s ending. Not all games can achieve that.

#4: Suikoden Tierkreis

suikoden_tierkreis

First Impression

If you are able to ignore the sometimes bad voice acting of this game, you get an amazing deep story of a group of teenagers fighting against a civilization that believes that the future is already known.

This RPG, I played it more then once. It might be a bit outdated by today’s standards, but it’s still amazingly fun. It even got me into the Suikoden series. I must play Suikoden II. I have heard so much about it.

A little fun fact, I nearly write the title wrong every time. I switch the “k” and the “d” so often. Before I published this article, I double checked if I didn’t make that mistake.

So, read my first impression if you want to know what I recommend this game. That will avoid me having to write an extremely long explanation in this article. Check it out, but forgive the voice acting. It isn’t all that good. It truly brings the game down.

#3: Ace Attorney series

Phoenix_Wright_-_Ace_Attorney_Coverart

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney review – First Impression: Ace Attorney – Miles Edgeworth – Investigations 2 (Fan Translation)

What can I say about this series? It moved me various times and I’m one big Ace Attorney fan. I even took a look to two 3DS titles. If it wasn’t clear already, look at how high on the list I place this series.

This game made me love visual novels. It was one of my first visual novels I ever played. As you might know, I started as a story writer. Seeing how strong stories can be in games, well… yeah… I have a hard time explaining this but I could feel the passion the writers have put into this series. You can feel those kind of things as a writer.

For every announcement of a new Ace Attorney game, I get quite hyped. I’m even going so far as playing a fan translation of a game that isn’t released in the west. Maybe I should write articles about the other games in the series in the future, maybe that might show my love more clear.

#2: 999: 9 Persons 9 Hours 9 Doors

999

So, why is this game so high on my list? If you read my review and saw the score I gave to it, I don’t have to explain myself any further.

In the previous entry I explained how Ace Attorney pulled me into the visual novel adventure genre. Everything that Ace Attorney did right and presented with a more humorous tone, 999 did with it’s grim yet enjoyable tone.

This game isn’t for the faint of hart. And I really mean what I say here. If you have a vivid imagination, this game might even scare you. It’s that well written.

I totally disagree with some complaints, that this game is too repetitive. To me, it’s not. But I can see where they are coming from.

I enjoyed this game so much, I even bought it on a trip to the USA. It never came to Europe. Yeah.

Honorable mentions

Before we take a look to number one, I must have my honorable mentions. A few slipped already into the article but I want to list the other games that didn’t make the list but where great to play through as well. Maybe in the future or if I ever do a (3)DS month again, you might see these games in articles. And various games, well, it was hard to leave them out. But I had to drop games.

Kirby games, Soul Bubbles, Bookworm, Giana Sisters, Lost In Blue series, Henry Hatsworth and the puzzling adventure, Dragon Quest 9, Super Monkey Ball, The Settlers, Age Of Mythology DS, Make 10, Lego Battles, Magical StarSign, Elebits, Dream Chronicles DS (PC version let’s play) and Contact.

It was pretty though ordering the top ten. But I think it’s quite clear which game series is going to be number one. So, yeah. Here we go I guess.

#1: Zelda series (Favorite: Phantom Hourglass)

The_Legend_of_Zelda_Phantom_Hourglass_Game_Cover

The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks review

So, who hasn’t seen this one…. miles coming? Yeah! The first game I played on the DS when I got it… It just stuck with me the most. If you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, read my article about gaming nostalgia: my history of the DS and 3DS handhelds.

Oh, for this entry I also count the fun spin-off: Tingle – Rosy Rupeeland. That game is quite interesting. It’s like trying to play as Tingle.

But back to the subject, I was already a big Zelda fan before I bought the DS. My love only grew thanks to these games. It’s a shame that I haven’t written an article about Phantom Hourglass, but don’t you worry, it will be written eventually. Be warned, it will be filled with nostalgia.

I would like to know what your favorite Zelda game on the DS is. Since I’m sure that there will be debate over which game is the better game. Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks. I’m really curious what you guys have to say. (Or girls for that matter)

Closing words

I hope that you guys enjoyed these 3 articles. I think it was an awesome way to close this month’s theme. So, if you aren’t following me on other social media, let me tell you here. I posted a whole list of articles I plan to do. I basically posted the possible scheduling for this year.

Anyways, enough about that. I’m not going to write a whole emotional part about how much I love the Nintendo DS. I think that’s clear enough. It’s my favorite handheld. Period. If you are able to look past the shovelware that some studios released, I think you can find a gem of a handheld.

But to further prove my point, read Lpgardian’s article why he thinks that the Nintendo DS is the best handheld. So, yeah. Feel free to leave a comment on this article what your best DS games are. And hopefully you guys can forgive me that I didn’t put big named games on this list.

So, I hope to see you soon. When my next article releases. Until then, take care!

My top 25 DS games of all time. (Part 2/3)

25 – 20

Welcome to part 2!

#19: Might & Magic: Clash Of Heroes

MMClashOfHeroesBoxshot

Look! There is a dragon on the box-art. Best game ever made! 10/10. Next game.

My love for dragons has nothing to do with this game. It was only a lame joke to start my explanation for my pick for the 19th spot.

I do love playing puzzle games sometimes. But when there is a battle element involved, I enjoy it even more. It has also been released on Steam, so you can enjoy it on the PC as well.

I have to admit that I haven’t beaten the game. But I’m really trying to find time to play this game. Sadly enough, this is a game I can only play in short bursts. That’s mostly due to the nature of the gameplay. But I’m sure that some people might be able to keep playing this game for hours on end.

What I have seen from the game shows that this game is a very good game. Further proof is that on some lists of forgotten gems on the DS, this game appears. So, I don’t have to further proof myself… I think.

 #18: Orcs And Elves

Orcs_&_Elves_Cover

Sometimes, I love myself a good dungeon crawler and adventure game. This game nails most of the things I was looking for in these kinds of games. The game feels old, which made me love it even more. Yet, I was surprised how this game is a port of a mobile game. And this port is actually pretty well made. iDSoftware and EA worked on it after all. (And there aren’t any microtransactions from EA, thankfully.)

In this game, you play an elf that is fighting the orcs to stop corrupting the land. You fight through various dungeons and explore them. Best of all, it’s in 3D. So, that makes the atmosphere even better. What I love most of all, is that this game is turn based. If you make a move, your enemies make a move as well. This makes the game very tactical.

I haven’t beaten this game since the final boss is pretty brutal. At least, to me. Maybe, when I restart playing this game and thought out the evolution of my character a bit better, I might be able to defeat that boss. We shall see. And maybe then I’ll write a review about it! So yeah, we shall see.

#17: Ghost Trick

Ghost_Trick_EURecently, I have beaten a game called M.U.R.D.E.R.E.D. – Soul Suspect. My buddy, Seraph made a great video review for it. I highly recommend you guys watching it some time.

But this game is how it should have been. This visual novel and adventure game puts you in the role of a ghost. You have to avoid the death of a character by going a few minutes back in time. Then you have to poltergeist items to change the course of history.

The game became really memorable to me because one of the characters is a black cat, one that reminds me a lot of my own cat, Sparta. If only, my real life cat could talk to me.

When I started writing about this game, I actually wanted to replay this game. Since the memories are getting vague. Which is a good thing, because I remember enjoying this game a whole lot. Maybe, one day, I might write an article about it.

#16: Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

lego-indiana-jones-the-original-adventures-cover548534

It would be a shame if I hadn’t put an Indiana Jones game on this list, right? Well, here it is! Lego Indiana Jones. I know that there is a sequel and an other game of my favorite hero on the DS, but I don’t think they deserve a spot on this list (yet). Because, I haven’t played them enough.

This game is simply one of the best LEGO games I have ever played. In 2014, there is an overdose of LEGO games with all a similar formula.

This game is pretty fun to play. It follows the plot of the movies pretty close. It helps introducing the movies to a younger audience, since it doesn’t contain the graphical scenes which made the movies not meant for their eyes. The humor of this game makes it even better. I actually laughed with some jokes they made with the characters I love.

I hope that the sequel can bring me the same joy. I finally got myself a copy, so fingers crossed!

#15: Wario games (Best: Wario: Master Of Disguise)

Wario Master Of Disguise DS cover

I know what some readers are already thinking. Isn’t this cheating? Putting these games on spot 15, while I put all the Mario games on spot 23? No, it’s not cheating. The reason behind it, is that these games are pretty different from the Mario series in my opinion.

The honorable mention for this spot is WarioWare D.I.Y., which helped DS gamers to make their own mini-games. That was simply an amazing experience.

But if this spot has to go to one game, it has to be Wario: Master Of Disguise. Because I think that this game has a brilliant idea behind it.

You play in the role of Wario. He just stole a magic wand that gives him the ability to transform in different suits that give him special powers. Maybe, I should take a closer look in a review or something?

 #14: Super Scribblenauts

252px-Superscribblenautsboxsmall

In the past, the Scribblenauts series was criminally overlooked. Because the game was on the DS, it looked like a kids game. While in reality, it’s one of the best games to be creative in.

I could have put the original too in this spot, but there is a reason why I don’t. Super Scribblenauts is just a better game then it’s original. It surpasses the original by so much.

While the user interface isn’t the best I have seen on the system, it’s highly addictive to play. Oh, you might be wondering what this game is about? Let me tell you, it’s about writing things to helps people. The people in Maxwell’s (main character) area aren’t very smart. So, you have to write words on your magic notepad.

The words you write however, come to life. In this version they added adjectives! So you can write “big blue truck” and you will get just that. You can basically write anything, as long it’s PG-13 and it isn’t trademarked. The game is a lot of fun, and if you are interested, there are a few titles of this series on Steam. So you have no excuse to give this series a try!

#13: Club Clubhouse_Games_coverHouse Games / 42 Game Classics

This game blew me off my socks. I think that this is one of the best games in it’s genre. This is how you should make a game about card and board games. I barely have anything negative to say about it.

The multiplayer is quite fun and I mostly remember this game because I played it a lot with my sister while we were young. The hours we spend on this game secretly playing this game while we are supposed to sleep. I really enjoyed those times.

I recently got this game back, since I lost my first copy. And I play it from time to time. In the present, I play this game while I’m on the train towards work. But I’m afraid that I’ll miss my station one day because I’m too addicted to this game. So, fingers crossed that it never happens.

Actually, I should write a review or something about this game. Maybe next month, since in September I will write about games I wanted to write about for a long time.

#12: Another Code: Trace Memory 

Another_Code_Two_Memories_cover_artAlso known as “Trace Memory” in Europe, this visual novel game is quite an overlooked gem. The story of this game touches me on personal levels. There are some things that happen in the game that make it quite memorable to me. I won’t give the details about them, since they are personal.

A while ago, I actually took a look to the sequel of this game on the Nintendo Wii. If you are interested, you can follow this link to it: Another Code – R. In this game, Ashley is on a quest to look for her father. While she is on that quest, she will unravel a mystery about her dead mother. It’s a quite thrilling story, actually.

Ashley has a sort of PDA-ish device that looked like a DS. Her father developed it. It might be an easter egg or not, it’s quite an amusing touch.

Sadly enough, the developers of this game went bankrupt. Cing made also the smash hit named Hotel Dusk. Before you ask yourself which spot that it’s going to have on the list, let me save you this disappointment. I couldn’t really get into the art style.

#11: Time Hollow

Time_Hollow

I wrote a review on this game not too long ago! I praised it enough, so you guys might have seen this entry coming.

So, the reason why this is one of my favorite games, it’s simply because the story, theme song and gameplay kept my playing until the very end.

While the game’s length is criminally short, the actual content is highly enjoyable. The soundtrack is one of the ones I have heard in a visual novel game.

That themesong, that’s the most important factor in this game. The memories that are connected to it, that’s what I gave this game such a high spot on my list. Some memories about it might be personal, but they sometimes come all back when I listen to the song. At once.

I still remember playing this game, with my back to a radiator. It was quite cold. It was in the middle of the winter and it had snowed a whole bunch. A part of the wheels of my mothers car where even stuck in the snow. But I couldn’t be bothered, I was too drawn into this gem of a game.

#10: Retro Game Challenge

Retro_Game_Challenge_Coverart

xSeed, I’m sorry to hear that the sale of this game didn’t went all that good. For that reason, you couldn’t release the sequel in the west.

I urge everybody to start playing this game. If you love challenges and retro games, it’s right up your alley. If you liked games like NES Remix on Wii U, this game is something for you.

The humor, references and actually pretty accurate evolution of the video game industry… It makes for a gem of a game. I really wish it was more successful then this.

This game appears on various overlooked / underrated and top DS games, and it has every right to do so. This game has multiple games into one. And they aren’t simply mini-games, no! They are in itself full games.

They were even able to get a story into the game. Before, I sound like I’m trying to sell this game to you, I actually am. I’m not being payed by xSeed, but I think you should give them your money for this game! Or check it out at least!

End of part 2.

9 – 1

My top 25 DS games of all time. (Part 1/3)

NinDSLiteSilver_BoxBack

I have a gut feeling that one day, in a comment or a podcast, somebody will ask me one of the most terrible questions I can be asked. What is my favorite DS game of all time? Also, to avoid that I make it myself easy, I have decided that I’m not allowed to pick two games from a series on this list. I’m allowed to put a series on one spot though. For the rest, I’ll write this list as usual. Before I start, I want to tell you guys that this is one of the hardest lists I ever put together. Also, there are a lot of DS games I haven’t played yet, so this list might not contain games you truly enjoyed. Please don’t hate or beg to me in the comments why I should play a certain game. I’ll also link when I wrote an article about a certain game in the past. That way you can read a more in depth look on the game. Since I want to avoid that this article becomes too long. As you all know, my favorite gaming system is the Nintendo DS, due to it bringing me the most memories out of all the games I have played in the past. Anyways, this has been a long enough introduction. Let’s start the countdown. Also, feel free to leave a comment with your top best DS games, your opinion on this article and or my selection. 

 #25: Lux Pain

luxpain_2

Alright, Lux Pain. A game with a very interesting gameplay. I have beaten this game twice and I still enjoy it. The writing of this game is excellent. You play as a secret agent for a special kind of infection. This infection makes people go crazy and mad, eventually killing themselves.

That’s the plot. But the further I got in the story, the more I got attached to the characters, music, setting and the game.

I didn’t expect the gameplay. It’s hard to explain and best to experienced by yourself. It’s a visual novel with a sort of mini-game. It’s extremely challenging and some “battles” require some practice.

I honestly didn’t research this game at all before I started playing it. I found out about it on a list of visual novels on the DS and I started playing it. After two hours I was drawn into the story and it was the only game I was playing at the time.

Keep in mind though, that I played this game when my parents put me on limited computer time, so I had to find other ways to entertain myself. This game did the trick quite well.

#24: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn

Golden_Sun_Dark_Dawn

Yes, that’s true. I placed a Golden Sun game at number 24. I know, you might wanted it to be higher. B-but, there are other games I enjoyed more…

Q! Come on, it’s not because you enjoyed the GBA games as much, I have to put the DS game higher on my list…

I know, it’s my list… and that’s ButtonSmashers is yours. But I don’t feel like making this an exclusive article for my personal blog.

True, Golden Sun is amazing and I enjoyed the gameplay quite a lot. But I don’t think it’s the best RPG on the system for me.

More reasons, well, ehrm… It’s the game that started my love for collecting strategy guides. Mind you, I didn’t use my strategy guide while I was playing this game.

Note: Lpgardian (aka Q) didn’t know about this. I wanted to joke around a bit, using the fact that he adores the Golden Sun games on GBA. So, yeah. Creativity ^w^ . 

#23: Mario games – Best one: Super Mario 64 DS

Super_Mario_64_DS_Coverart

And now, I might piss off a lot of my readers. I place the Mario games on number 23. That includes: Mario Kart, Mario and Luigi, Mario Hoops: 3-on-3 (Which are honorable mentions by the way.)

To have “one” game each number, I decided that I pick my most favorite game out of the series. That has to be Super Mario 64 DS.

This title improved on the game quite a lot. Making it portable and adding new characters. This makes for some interesting gameplay.

And this is the reason why I put this game (series) so low on the list, is that I don’t fully enjoy platformers where the goal is, go from left to right and avoid enemies.

I still remember playing the N64 version when I was on a trip to a theme park in the neighboring country here. It wasn’t my first 3D game, but it was the first time I saw Mario in 3D. So, nostalgia caused my buying this title… And I enjoyed it. (But never beaten it.)

#22: Picross 3D

Picross_3D_CoverI love myself some Japanese games. But when I discovered Picross, maybe better known under the name of nonograms, I was hooked. My aunt actually bought my a puzzle book full of them, and I took it everywhere with me.

To this day, I still have that puzzle book. But I haven’t solved a lot of puzzles in it. Since I wanted to keep it as empty as possible so I could remake the puzzles over and over. The reason for that is that here in Belgium, you can’t buy many puzzle books with nanograms in them.

Anyways, when I saw this game on the DS, I doubted a bit. An amazing 2D puzzle, going 3D? That must bring with it a lot of problems!

But I was proven wrong. This game is really challenging and proves why these puzzles are my favorite puzzles ever created. This game even appears on various overlooked DS games lists, so yeah.

#21: Puzzler World series

puzzler_world_dsThe Puzzler World series is everything a puzzle game collection needs to be. Portable, enjoyable and fun. And best of all, you can choose which puzzle you want to play and when.

I have seen people calling this game shovelware, but I respectfully disagree. Since this game is well made and produced with a lot of love.

The fact that you have to beat additional puzzles to win hint coins is a nice concept. This makes the hint coins pretty valuable. The early puzzles are pretty easy, but the later puzzles get really crazy and require your puzzle solving skills, to the max.

Before the smart guy or girl comments what my favorite game is of the series, I can’t tell. Since they are all pretty similar. Only the puzzle selection is different.

#20: Nintendogs

ds_nintendogs_lab_and_friends-110214

Relax please. The cats are added in the 3DS version. For the people who didn’t catch my little joke, my nickname NekoJonez has the Japanese word for cat in it. And since this game is about dogs.

I’m a bit cat fan, but I always dreamed of having a dog and a cat. Sadly enough, due to family allergies and such, we can’t keep a dog. Also, my house isn’t really fitted for having a dog.

So, the best solution was a virtual dog. I still remember how I got my DS before my sister. She was pretty jealous. She wanted to play this game the most. At that moment, I decided to take some of my pocket money and buy it together with her.

This game holds a ton of memories for me. When I first made YouTube video’s, this game was one of the stars of my “show”. I made videos showing off hidden tricks, glitches and my skills with the game. And yes, my English was even more broken then it currently is.

So, I think it’s only fair to put it on my list. But there are games that I ended more then Nintendogs, so let’s take a look at number 19.

End of part 1.

19 – 10 / 9 – 1

Review #032: 999: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors (DS) ~ Zero Escape

999Wikipedia entry

How can I forget to write a review about this game? I have reviewed the sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward quite some time ago. I might have talked about this game here and there, and I might even have selected a track or two for my favorite music tracks ever in games. But, I never wrote a full review on it. Let me fix that. The reason why the title says “Zero Escape” is because this game is the first game in the Zero Escape series. I’m truly crossing my fingers that there will be a third entry into it. I remember that they are actually working on it. So, to support this series and to celebrate this month’s theme: (3)DS games, let’s take a look at the game that started this series. And feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article and or your opinion on this game. Warning, this game is a visual novel puzzle-adventure game. Because of the game being very plot-driven, I have posted screenshots and wrote this article with avoiding spoilers as much as I could. 

Numbers

gfs_174053_2_60The story in this game is simply the best part in this game. I already said in the introduction, that this game is very story driven. So, I will only give you a brief introduction. You play as Junpei, who is kidnapped and trapped in a room. As soon as you wake up, you have to solve a puzzle to escape your room. When you run into the main hall, you discover that you are trapped with 8 other people. You are able to be part of the Nonary game. And if you break the rules of this game, you will die or rather, explode. Oh, and don’t forget, the actual mastermind behind all of this is one of the group.

If you read the intro, you might have a lot of questions. But do yourself a favor and don’t look up more of the story then what I just told you. The story is really tense, memorable and a blast to read through. The best part is that this game is replayable. Since you will need to make crucial decisions that will change the ending of the game.

When you have a certain ending, it’s quite possible that you get some sort of cryptic bonus video. But, here is a small tip. That video is more then just a bonus video. Analyse it well, and you will understand what I mean.

What can I say about the story without spoiling it? I already said that it was very thrilling and a blast to read through. The characters are really memorable and there will be some you will start to love and others you will start to hate. The most fun thing in this game is trying to discover who Zero is. Since you have to play through this game multiple times, you will have more information then Junpei, but I have to admit, that I was off when the actual conclusion came around.

The game in a game.

51427-9_Hours,_9_Persons,_9_Doors_(U)-5

So, the gameplay. This is how escape games on Android should be. In each room, you will be presented with a puzzle. In this puzzle, you will be challenged to escape the room. Even when you played through this game several times, it’s quite possible that you can get stuck on a puzzle you solved earlier. Because there might always be that one item you look over each and every time.

I had a lot of fun playing through this game when it was released and I had a lot of fun playing through this game when I was replaying it for you guys. The puzzles keep being challenging. They are one of the best puzzles I have seen in a visual novel game in quite a while.

The major issue, that was thankfully fixed in the sequel, is that when you want to try and go for another ending. Then you have to replay the whole game. The story tree of the sequel is an amazing help. Since it’s a bit confusing because some routes end up at the same ending.

I do recommend playing through this game to unlock all endings. Even when you have seen the true ending. I have heard people reaching the true ending on their 2nd or 3rd try. I have my doubts that’s possible, but I think I’m wrong on that. Thankfully, there is a handy way to keep track of which endings you have already seen in the game on your save file. That’s a handy feature.

Perfect?

999_screenshotYes, this game comes so close to be a perfect game on DS. I already talked about how the game has some issues when playing through for each playthrough beyond the 2nd.

The final puzzle of the true ending is very anti-climatic. I won’t spoil what it is, but the build up of this puzzle is just lame. If you see it, you will totally get what I mean. I actually face palmed when I saw it.

What shows that this game is nearly perfect is the music. I totally love the soundtrack of this game. It’s really tense and it builds the right atmosphere. When I hear it today, I get the chills. The memories of what happened in the game. Man, it’s nice. If the music of a game can be that strong.

The game can be a chore for people who don’t like to read long dialogue parts. If you are somebody who skips cutscenes or goes to the bathroom while a dialogue happens, this game might not be for you.

Also, when maths isn’t your strong point, you might want to use the calculator that’s build into the game often. Since various puzzles require solving a math problem.

Anyways, I have said everything I wanted about this game. Let’s get on with the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Replaying through the whole game just to get the other endings.

– The final puzzle is very anti-climatic.

(- The voice acting in the sequel just builds the atmosphere that much more.)

The good:

+ Memorable soundtrack.

+ Epic story.

+ Fun gameplay.

+ They made a visual novel replayable!

+ Memorable characters.

+ ….

Final thoughts:

Since I listen often to the soundtrack of this game and I look forward for more news on the Zero Escape series, I think it’s well deserved that this game gets the highest score. Since all the flaws are crushed by the positives elements of this game! You owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this game and give it a try. Any good gameshop now-a-days has warranty on their products so if you don’t like it, you can give it back.

The story, the music, the setting, the puzzles and the design. These things just all fit together to make an excellent visual novel experience worth every penny.

I can understand that people find the game repetitive in some areas or that the game is too full of talking, but I honestly think that the game is one of the best games ever made on the Nintendo DS.

Score: 100/100

Game Music: My Favorites – Numbero 9: Nintendo (3)DS Month Special!

KorgDS10NA

Read more gaming music articles.

Since this month’s theme is the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS, in this new music article, I will list some of my favorite tracks of the system. New readers, in this series I talk about my favorite tracks in the games I have played. So, when I haven’t played a game, I won’t talk about it. I will explain also why I selected the track or I talk about the feelings and history it has with me. I have a few rules though. I only select original tracks. So, I don’t select remixes of the tracks. Also, to limit myself, I only select one track per game per article. So, if I want to talk about 2 tracks of the same Kirby game, I have to do that over two articles. My biggest fear is always that I might have talked about a track in the past. When you ever notice that I talked about a song twice, feel free to leave me a comment to let me know. In that case, I will add an additional track to my next article in the series to make up for it. You could leave other comments as well of course. Like what your opinion is on the games, music and or the article. Also, for anyone wondering, yes this game is real. There is really a synthesizer on the DS. 

#1: Time Hollow – Friends

Time_HollowLink

I recently reviewed this game. So, why not included one of it’s tracks in this article? When I publish everything according to how I planned it for this month, it should be the previous article!

So, this track is very lighthearted and pretty upbeat. I do have to admit that I sometimes place this track to the wrong game. Such a shame. One day, I confused it with another track from the game Lux Pain called Pumpkin Pon. It has similar elements.

From now on, I will try to avoid getting the two mixed up. Because I wrote an article on this, so I have to remember right?

I was planning to write something unique here, using the elements of the game. But when I read over it twice, I noticed that I might spoil a bit of the story. And I want to avoid that. Like I said in the introduction of my review. Anyways, give this one a listen. 🙂

#2: Suikoden Tierkreis – By the pride of the sword

suikoden_tierkreisLink

I was amazed when I found out that I haven’t talked about this track yet! I wrote an article about this game in the past, a first impression. Since I have been playing it again lately, it has been keeping me up at night. Yeah, I fell in love with this game. The concept, the story, the gameplay… I love it all.

The game does have it’s flaws though, yet the soundtrack isn’t one of them. Not at all actually! The soundtrack is one of the strong points in this gem of a RPG.

I used to RP in the past on my forum and I used this theme for my main character! I liked it that much. Up until now, I use to listen to this style of music when I’m writing a story about a hero that leaves on a journey. The music has inspired me to do all sorts of crazy twists in my stories.

Anyways, give it a listen for yourself. Since I’m blinded by pure love for this game.

 #3: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity – Ending

PMGTI

Link

Let’s pick one of the 3DS library. And this track of the soundtrack is just amazing. You finally finished the game and you have beaten the final boss. Now, you see the story play out. Like I said in my review of the game, the ending of this game will make you emotional.

Listing to this amazing piece of music while seeing the credits roll feels so good. I felt rewarded when I heard this song. Honestly, I’m considering making this my cellphone ringtone or my alarm clock. I love it that much.

Lately, all games are going for a more orchestrated version of their soundtrack. It still blows me off my socks to hear that they do this also for portable games. This gives me hope in seeing more amazing adventures coming to my portable systems.

I just don’t feel as rewarded as I finish a game on a console. Maybe it’s the nostalgia for portable gaming or might it be something else? Who knows?

Anyways, I think I have said enough about this track. I encourage you to listen to this amazing piece of music. But this music is “stronger” when you hear it in-game.

#4: Okamiden – Preparing for action

Okamiden-titleLink

Remember how I talked a while ago about Okami? Well, there is a sequel of that game. On the Nintendo DS! And it works great! I’m even planning to write a review of this game in this DS themed month.

If I don’t write an article about this game this month, you may be sure that one day I will write about this! Since this is one underrated gem on the DS. I’m really hoping to see a 3rd game in the Okami series. So, Capcom, get to work please!

About the music, this is another case of “sounds better in-game”. The whole soundtrack of Okami and Okamiden is amazing to listen too. If you would ask what my favorite track is in the game, I wouldn’t be able to answer. Since I do enjoy them all. I have some that I love more then others, but there is no track that really stands out for me. Yeah.

 #5: The Legend Of Zelda – Spirit Tracks – Realm Overworld

The_Legend_of_Zelda_-_Spirit_Tracks_(Europe)Link

I do remember the hate and trolling this game got when it was announced. Link in a train? A lot of people made fun of it. While at first it looked like a strange idea for a Zelda game, in the end, it worked out in my opinion.

While the game was exciting, I honestly think they could have done a little bit more with the train mechanic. But, hey, this article isn’t mean to review the game. That’s for later this month. (Or I might change my mind and review Phantom Hourglass).

Anyways, I was hyped for this game. When I finally got my hands on this game, I enjoyed it a whole lot. This game has several winks to previous titles. Even in the music. The overworld track reminds me a bit of the ocean theme and the Hyrule field theme.

I think the soundtrack of this game is one of the best soundtracks in a handheld Zelda game. While it’s dangerous to say that, since you have Ocarina of Time on 3DS (remake) and that’s a remake of many people their favorite game.

Closing words

There we go, 5 tracks picked from the Nintendo (3)DS library that I consider as amazing tunes. It’s quite clear that I can’t pick a favorite piece of music in games. I mean, I nearly wrote ten articles about it.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading and listing to the music. As I said in the introduction, feel free to leave a comment. I read them all! But this will do it for this article. I hope to see you in one of my next articles.

Review #029: Time Hollow (DS) ~ DAT Themesong.

Time_HollowWikipedia entry

Alright, in order to celebrate some milestones, it’s time to review a game that’s very special to me. I begged Konami to make a sequel of this game. But why? Is this game really so good that it deserves a sequel or am I just being hopeful because I love this game? Before writing this review I replayed the whole game. Just to be sure I wasn’t going to forget anything when I would review this game. I have beaten this game 3 times. I might have beaten it more then 3 times, I honestly don’t remember. This game is extremely memorable to me because I can relate with the main character. Not only that, the soundtrack just helps me write. And the main theme, yes, the main theme. I selected that once in an article about my favorite music tracks in games. So, I don’t have to explain myself there. So, before we continue, this game is a visual novel and adventure game. Like Ace Attorney or Professor Layton. So, because of that, this game falls into my favorite game genre ever. Because this game’s strongest point is the story, I decided to not have any spoilers here! YAY! Anyways, let’s get to reviewing this game. As always, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article and or your opinion on the game. 

I open my eyes, to another day.

time-hollow-1In this game, you play as Ethan. His birthday is the next day. After you meet his family and the basic characters are set, the story flips the tables on you and takes you on quite a ride. Yes, his parents go missing. They aren’t kidnapped. Since Ethan had a nightmare. In that nightmare, he saw his parents fleeing a burning building through a portal.

That’s all I’ll tell you about the story. Apart from my views about it, of course. So, the story is amazingly written. The build up to the final part is thrilling. The story has several chapters. As the title suggests, you will have to mess with the time and past events. I’m just blown away by how the problems you have to solve can build up to the actual villain of the game.

But here we hit on of the biggest weak points of the game. The game is short. Not as short as Lili’s: Child Of Geos, but I was able to beat this game in a week. Maybe my experience with adventure games helped me, but still, comparing it to other adventure games on the Nintendo DS, this one is too short.

At the other hand, this isn’t such a bad point. The story doesn’t get messy with too many events which makes the story really memorable. The writers truly focused on the personality of the characters. You see them grow and change with each change you make. In the end, you will start to hate certain characters and get attached to others. Mostly due to the brilliant writing. The story never feels; how to say this? Made longer on purpose so you have a longer game to play. It truly benefits the game since you get to know the location better!

Taking back what was mine.

Ethan_Vin_Chronos_dialogueAlso, CAPCOM, take notes please. In this game they nailed the voice acting perfectly. They didn’t use voice acting outside the cutscenes. While using it outside the cutscenes was rather interesting, you can create awkward breaks in it. While there aren’t many cutscenes in this game, they did place them nicely. After solving a big problem, being rewarded with a cutscene is such a sweet feeling.

Sound design wise, they did an amazing job. The sound effects make the game feel truly alive. While I would have used a bit more sound effects if I made the game, I have nothing bad to say about them. Even the voice acting is way better compared to another Konami title I really love as well, Suikoden Tierkreis.

So, the gameplay of this game. Well, it’s pretty interesting. You are presented with a problem. It’s up to you to solve it using Ethan’s special powers. It has something to do with time. Yet, you still want to find out what happened to your parents. The game requires you going to certain places and talking to people.

It doesn’t sound like much, yet it’s strangely addicting. Mostly because the story is really well made, I wanted to continue to play!

In the end

3196a

The difficulty in this game lies into if you are familiar with the style of gameplay or not. Like I said earlier, this game is rather at the short side for veteran adventure gamers. At the other hand, I do expect new players to the genre getting stuck at certain parts. To avoid that you get frustrated, there is a character that’s “training her psychic abilities”. She is basically giving you a clue what to do next or where to go next.

Visually, this game really shines. On this front, I honestly do disagree with the other reviewers. I have seen review where they give this game only a 5 or 6 on the visual aspect. And I don’t think that’s enough. Because most of this game is told through it’s presentation. This game is more like an interactive book. There isn’t a lot of animation to talk about, apart from the flashbacks and cutscenes. I honestly loved revisiting certain places just because of the visual polish this game got.

So, before we go to my conclusion, I do think I have to speak my mind about the replay value. This game has a small bit of replay value. Because there are two different endings. You can only unlock the 2nd ending once you finished the game. Also, the 2nd ending is more for… Whoops, I nearly spoiled a part of the game.

Yeah, because of the genre of this game, there isn’t any replay value besides the second ending. The only time you might replay it, is when you want to review it or just feel like replaying this game.

So, time to move on to the conclusion!

Conclusion

The bad:

– Way too short.

– Failed to bring innovation to the genre, where there was potential.

The good:

+ Amazing story.

+ Unique gameplay.

+ Amazing soundtrack

+ …

Final thoughts:

The biggest setback of this game is that’s it’s short. Way to short. Because of that, I see how a lot of people won’t really get into this game. Honestly, playing through the game for a couple of times, I wasn’t able to find any other negative besides just the length of the game.

I honestly get the feeling that this game is polished to perfection instead of made longer. I might just be blinded a bit because my love for this game. Who knows? I invite you to play this game and tell me what you think. If you liked games like Ace Attorney or Trace Memory on the DS, it would be a shame if you missed out on this one!

Score: 75/100

First Impressions: Castlevania – Lords Of Shadow – Mirror Of Shadow (3DS) ~ It’s Just Fun!

castlevaniamof

Wikipedia entry

So, my best wishes for the holidays. I have something special to announce. I got myself a wireless controller for my PC. That means that I can now play even more games than before. In addition to that, it’s the 50th article I publish on ButtonSmashers. Yes, 50th! And I’m nearing a big number on my personal blog as well. So, I’m extremely thrilled about that. But this is totally beside the point, I told you guys that I wouldn’t write any new article in 2013. I kinda lied. This is a new article, I guess. While I’m waiting for a download to finish to use my controller on, I played a bit of this game on my 3DS. It’s surprisingly better then I expected it in the first place. That’s why I decided to write an article about it. It would be lovely if you left a comment with your thoughts on this article and or on this game. So, let’s go. 

Story

castlevaniamofs.jpgIt’s going to be a shame to admit this but I know next to nothing about the story in the Castlevania series. It’s a shame really since I quite enjoy the Castlevania games. It’s actually Castlevania game I’m waiting on downloading on Steam.

The story, for as far I can understand, is pretty thrilling. The writing is pretty neat. I think it’s brilliantly written.

While I was thrown off at first by the presentation of the cutscenes, when I placed my 3D slider to the max I actually rather enjoyed the art style.

From what I have heard, this game will take place from different points of view. You don’t have to tell that to me twice to know that I’m going to play an excellent story. I have played multiple RPG’s from Konami and I was never let down by the story.

The voice acting. Wow. I mean, it just blows my mind how good it was. And actually still it. In the cutscenes, the voices add so much to the game. Yet, I’m under the impression that the game sometimes has a bit of a slowdown in the cutscenes with the 3D slider on. But that might just be me though.

“Mash”

castlevaniamo4Let me be clear on this, I hate button mashers with a passion. It broke the shoulder buttons of my original DS and I’m still kinda pissed about that. Yet, I’m glad that I learned my lesson and I don’t have to make other devices suffer the same fate.

ButtonSmashers don’t demand skill. In a sense they do, the skill to be able to tap a button very rapidly. While this game sometimes has it quick time events and it’s “mash the attack button” moments, I never really felt that they were a “mashing fest”.

Since when you aren’t careful, you’ll die. And in typical Castlevania style, the hearts don’t give back your health. You have to find fountains. And they aren’t close together. You have to react quickly and try to save your health.

In terms of controls, it’s acceptable. It’s one of the more weaker points in the game. While there is no “tutorial”, the controls are displayed briefly on the screen. So, experienced players won’t be annoyed by them.

While researching for the article, I came across an article on this game which called the combat one of the negatives. Well, here lies a problem. Since this game is a sequel to a 3D game, the combat is, of course, less bloody and such. I give them that, yet when you look at how this game works well in terms of combat as a 2D game, I think it can be excused.

Yet, something I didn’t welcome with open hands is the fact that when you die, you can get respawned in a boss fight with full health. Yeah, when you killed the boss halfway, you will respawn there.

Verdicts

castlevaniamof2Besides the weird respawning, there is something else that bothers me. The animation isn’t that great in my opinion. And before you write angry comments, let me explain.

The animation on the characters and such is great. Yet, we can’t really enjoy it that well since it’s a bit too zoomed out. It makes the game feel unfinished and that they use this technique to hide that.

While I already said that the controls aren’t the greatest, I have to talk a bit more about them. After you got used to them, they are pretty nice quality. The big issue is the fact that you need to get used to them. I wished that special powers could be done with a touch on the touchscreen.

The game is a good challenge. It isn’t too hard to be frustrating, but it isn’t too easy. This is a pureblood action adventure game. And the adventuring is really present. While you can easily see where to go next, exploring around gives you additional content. And more monsters to fight.

Defeated monsters give you XP. And when you level up, when you have enough XP of course, you unlock new moves. You can quickly check the moves list in your inventory so you have no excuse that you forgot the controls when you didn’t play the game for a while.

Also, Konami didn’t use any excuses in the art style. The game is pretty. Too bad that the game is a bit zoomed out. Otherwise, the art would have more detail in them and shined through a bit more.

I’ll probably go more in depth with my review but I’m liking this game so far. The music is also really nice. I like the soundtrack. Such a shame that no real good quality versions are uploaded to YouTube, so I could share it with you guys. In the sound department, this game is really well put together.

So in conclusion, this game would have been a lot better with some minor tweaks at the controls and a bit more zoomed in. But I think I’m going to leave it here. When I’m reaching that milestone on my personal blog, I’ll write a long special article. Thanks for reading and have a safe Christmas.

Game Music Favorites #2: Bigger Sequel.

imagesAs I’m The Legend Of Zelda, Link Between Worlds and the Special Case of Ace Attorney – Dual Destenies along with Age Of Empires II HD on Steam and Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows on PSP, I don’t have a lot of games to review or make a first impression about. Surely I can write two about Age Of Empires and Zelda, but I need to play a bit more of them first. But before that, I liked my previous article enough to already make a new, possibly more lengthy, article. Let’s dive into a load of amazing music that I found during my adventures in game. Feel free to leave yours in the comment section down below. Or your opinions on my selections. I love hearing feedback. Anyways, orchestra is ready to go, so yeah.

#1: Alan Wake (DLC) –  Old Gods Of Asgard – Children of the Elder God

Alan-Wake-PC-_capaLink

Alan Wake is an amazing game. And various others told me that the soundtrack is amazing. And I totally agree. The music makes the game more tense.

At the end of each chapter, they have placed an amazing song. This is one of my  favorite tracks in game. The atmosphere is tense and I enjoyed it an awful lot. The other songs aren’t really my cup of tea. Honestly I don’t like game music where there is lyrics. Expect when it’s on important moments.

But the DLC has the best music! The fighting scenes are tense. And the music makes you sit at the edge of your seat. Totally wonderful.

I wish I could find time to finish the DLC’s. I started to write this article ten days ago and I finally finished this part of it. Yup, like I said in my previous article, I’m that busy.

Anyways, on the the next track!

#2: Corpse Party: Blood Covered OST  – Chapter 5’s Main Building Theme 2 (PSP Version)

Corpse Party (USA)Link

I have talked a lot about Corpse Party. I love the game to death. It’s near perfection in my eyes in the visual novel horror genre. I applaud the creators of the game like a mad man.

I’ll probably choose a lot of tracks in this series with my favorite game music in it, so stay tuned. I talked about the music in my review. And since I haven’t finished Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows, I think it would be silly to put a track on here of that game.

But the last chapter’s music is just amazing. I even had it as my ringtone for quite some time. It’s upbeat and it makes you want to finish the story. It motivates you to fight on and solve the final riddles that the game presents to you.

While it’s upbeat and very melodic, the creepyness of the game doesn’t go lost. The track makes you feel tense while ready to dive head on in the action. This track is proof how music in a horror game doesn’t always need to be scary.

#3: Rise & Fall: Civilizations At War – Main Theme

_-Rise-Fall-Civilizations-at-War-PC-_Link

Let’s fight aside famous hero’s of Rome, Greece or Egyptian wars. Much to my disliking, the in game music is extremely short. With each track being just a minute long, the music just loops too much.

Yet, it isn’t bad music. It’s tough to find it online though. Maybe Midway hunts down uploaders and stops them from uploading the music. Yet, the main theme is uploaded several times.

Truth to be told, I haven’t come near completing this game. I just like the mechanic of having a RTS game and where you can see the battles in 3D. And control the movement of your hero. But I was a bit too young when trying to take on the campaign.

This music is so lovely, the creators even made it that you can’t tell when you loop it where it ends and where it starts. I wish this style of music was in every adventure game. This track, I see it used in more then only this style of game.

#4: Lux Pain – Pumpkin Pon

luxpain_2Link

Pumpkin Pon, is such a bright and relaxing place in Lux-Pain. In this visual novel, some darkness has taken over a town. You can see the darkness and how it eats away at people.

While trying to hide your special powers, you go undercover. This game is long, dark, gloomy and sometimes hard. But when this track starts playing, it always puts a smile to my face. Upbeat and melodic. Fun and inviting. Just like the bar it’s named after.

The game is underrated, but it isn’t for everybody. When I ever have time to replay it, I’ll surely review it.

#5: Time Hollow – Opening

Time_HollowLink

Oh. My. Lords. This theme song. It’s the definition of amazing openings. If you can, go find a version of the intro and watch it. And then tell me, you aren’t curious to play this game.

While the Japanese version is totally different, I prefer the English version of this one. I sing along with it every time I hear it. And yes, it even puts a tear to my eye thinking how well written this game is and what impact it has on me.

This game is way to short and I wish Konami made a sequel on this one. Where the game is longer. Since there are so many unexplained things left. And Konami, if you are reading, please make the sequel just a bit longer? Okay? Please?

#6: Monster Tale – Pressure’s On.

Monster_Tale_Coverart

Link

There is a lot of good music in this MetroidVania game. But this is one of my favorite tracks in-game. The music that plays with this boss battle is just so tense, that I was easily distracted by the music.

And when I finally could concentrate on the battle, the music helped me through the battle. I admit that I download music of games for tracks like this. Electronic rock. Sadly enough that this video cuts of the music midway. That, or YouTube must be glitching on me. Oh well.

This game is one I want to review. Yet, I has been some time since I played this game so I can’t give it a fair judgement. So, keep your eye out on a review of this pearl.

#7: The Last Remnant – Press to Victory

The_Last_Remnant

Link

Only recently I started playing The Last Remnant. I bought Broken Sword 5 – The Serpents Curse and I saw that this game was on sale. To make a nice round amount to pay at the check out, I bought it. I thought I earned some great games after doing some hard work in college.

And I heard some amazing music in this game. It blew me off my socks and I will surely play this game a lot more. It’s interesting and it got a story I can relate to. Well, relate as in, I saw it in different games as well and I wanted more of that style of story!

This music truly sets the right tone on the battlefield and I’m curious when it will be used again in the game. I have only played it for like a hour and I am attached to it. So, probably for Christmas I’m going to ask Santa to give me a bit more hours in a day since I want to play so many games besides studying and this is surely one of them.

I advice to get this game. It’s a cheap one and it’s made by Square Enix. Yeah, good stuff!

#8: Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney 5: Dual Desteny – Pursuit: Ambushed

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

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

Link

Objection! This music is totally awesome. It’s the best pursuit music I have heard in years. In all the series, this music is my favorite track in the game. It’s the moment you finally crack the case and place the suspect under high stress.

Ace Attorney looses a lot of it’s charm if you play it without the music. I mean, a big orchestra even played the music of this game. Think about it, people who care so much about a simple text based game on the Nintendo DS. It even started on the Gameboy Advance in Japan!

All the songs, and all the remixes of this series are worth listing to. Yet, this is my number one track in the whole series. Thanks for uploading the extended version!

Closure

So, I think I’ll leave this article here. I’m finishing up DLC of Ace Attorney 5 and Alan Wake. While I’m beating also games I have nearly completed. So, expect new articles in the future. While I try to fight through college as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading through this article and you enjoyed the music tracks I picked this time. I’m nearing the 100th article I publish on my personal blog. So, I’m truly excited. Anyways, back to Broken Sword 5. The update downloaded. 🙂

NekoJonez: First Impression: Suikoden Tierkreis (DS) ~ Great Childhood, Bad Adults.

suikoden_tierkreisWikipedia entry

Sometimes good stories are written in a book. By simply touching it, you can get involved with the magic that flows through the ink and the pages as simple as the characters get their power in this story. When I was younger and played this game for the first time, I felt the magic of RPG flowing through me. This gem made my love for RPG’s grow. Several years later, I started to replay this game, and man, do I regret giving it a high score on my blog. Now I really start to see the flaws of the game. The parts where this game is pretty much broken in some places. While this game still stays as one of my favorite titles on the DS, this game surely needs some improvement. It’s already determined. It can see all of the future, did you know that? Wow, that didn’t make a lot of sense. Anyhow, I’m nearing the ending of some other games to review and this game will be one where we take a look at it’s ink, and how the world came to live inside the realm of video games. Let’s go and take a look at how a game like this made a tumble in my opinion but still stands strong. But be warned, this is my “first” impression of this game. Feel free to leave me a comment of what you think of this game and/or of this first look.

Wait, this blog wasn’t here before.

220px-SuikodenteirkreisLet’s start with one of the most important things in a game. And if you have read other articles of mine, you know that the story is something I usually start with. And this story is amazing. The characters are deep, the plotlines are amazingly executed and the pacing is amazing. While this game is extremely long, you’ll explore each side character in depth and you’ll get to know all of them better by the end of the story.

Something that really helps to set the mood is the voice acting. While it’s cheesy and not that well done in some parts, it really helped me to feel a part of the story. While having to deal with my critic opinion. Some lines are underacted or are said in the totally wrong emotion. But you have to give it to them, they had to find a way around the names you can give to the main character and your base. They can’t have a robot voice said that. In addition to that, this lengthy and originally Japanese game is totally translated. Which went prefect expect…

… A few weird grammar and spelling mistakes. When you are running away from a battle, you get the message: “It feld successfully.” Wait, did the monster just ran? Or did they party ran? And some parts of the writing don’t feel like proper English at all. Which is a big shame since the writing of the characters is amazing. Some plot twists you can see coming but the fact that you can predict it while you get other things thrown at you is such a blast. Weird, no?

The story is about you getting magical powers and places appearing out of nowhere. Nobody believes your claim that these places came out of nowhere. And to make matters worse, a communism country is trying to take over the world. So you have to deal with them while you try to crack the mystery of the magical powers.

Such a shame

st2-thumbIt’s such a shame that this game actually made this many mistakes. It’s such a great game. An other flaw of this game is the fact that it’s missing a map. While being in dungeons, you don’t have a map. When you get lost, though luck. You’ll have to find your way out by yourself.

To make matters worse, sometimes you can easily skip information of NPC’s. And they won’t repeat it a second time. Thankfully, your current quest can be read again at your base.

The gameplay is repetitive. But not in a way that’s bothering actually. Surprisingly there is a lot to do. You can upgrade your gear and buy and sell items. And here is where something painfully comes above water. This RPG’s has barely no sidequests. And the sidequests that are present, you actually don’t do you yourself. You choose the characters who are going to have the fun.

In addition to that, I truly hate the glitch that skips cutscenes when you close your DS. Why? Just why? Couldn’t they program in a pause feature or activate the sleep mode after the cutscene was finished? Also, the amount of cutscenes are too few. I wish there more of them.

A minor nitpick I have is in the battle system. The automatic attacking system chooses only your basic attack and this is also a drawback.

WII36.rev_suikoden.Figth_2--article_image

Awesome!

There are a few other bad things about this game I have written down for the day I’ll review this game. So, I don’t have a complete article ripping this game a new a-hole. So, let’s get to the positive.

The music of this game is a real great gem. I still enjoy listing to it. When I use to write stories I even used a few tracks as themes for my characters. It inspired me an awful lot. In addition the sound design is extremely well done.

Graphically, this game is how a RPG should be. Colorful, detailed and pretty. I have a complaint here but I’ll come back on that in my review. The characters look lively and the humans look realistic. While this is a fantasy story, this game feels like it can happen in real life.

This game also controls extremely well. You can choose between the touch screen and the standard d-pad. It’s such a blast. The “Y” button for the menu asks a bit getting used to but it’s not that hard. The icons in the menu’s explain themselves and using it is a breeze. While it could have been made a bit more user-friendly for healing, I don’t think that’s a big complaint.

But to end this first impression, I suggest you play this game for yourself and judge it yourself. This game has a lot to offer. When you can ignore it’s shortcomings you will be in for quite a ride which won’t be over in a few weeks. I admit that I needed a few months to beat this RPG in my first run. I think this game might get also a long review at the day I finally finish it. But for now, thanks for reading and I hope to see you in a later review.