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Review: NG – Spirit Hunter (Switch) ~ Let’s Play A Ghostly Game, Shall We?

Official Nintendo subsite

I have to admit that this year was an extremely crazy year in terms of games for me. So many amazing games have been released and still have to release. When I reviewed Death Mark last year, I was extremely hyped when I learned that a sequel was in development called NG. It was extremely difficult to find even a shred of information about this game since the abbreviation NG stands for various things like a name to companies. In any case, I didn’t have high hopes that this game was coming to the west. Image my surprise when I saw this game in the “Coming Soon” section of the Nintendo Switch eShop. I patiently waited until the release date and when the release date came, I bought it during my break and let it download while I was at work so I could play it right away when I came home. Now, was it worth it? Is this game as good as the previous game or should you skip this game? Let’s take a look at this game, while I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

Let’s play a Ghostly Game, shall we?

This game is the 2nd game in the Spirit Hunter series. The first game was Death Mark. This game isn’t a sequel of that game nor is it a continuation. This game just takes the whole gameplay concept and puts it into a new story and setting.

The story of this game is quite interesting. You play as the protagonist, that you can name yourself. His mother died a few years prior to this game and now he is living alone. His aunt took him in. She is a horror novel author and she runs a bar on the side. Her daughter became quite good friends with the protagonist. One evening, the protagonist finds a black postcard at his doorstep inviting him to play a game with a Princess. He simply ignores this because he thinks that it’s a simple prank.

But, that’s a mistake he is going to regret since not too long after he encounters his first ghost. After that, a ghost kidnaps his cousin and invites him to play a game. If he doesn’t play along, the curse will kill him.

Now, if you have played Death Mark, the curse works quite similar to the Death Mark of the original game. This curse is a sort of time limit in which you have to solve the case of the spirit you have to defeat or purify. Unlike the previous game, the protagonist doesn’t have one evening to deal with the spirit, but he has a bit more time.

While I would love to tell you more about the story of this game, I don’t think that’s a great idea. Since the story is that more enjoyable the less you know in advance. The twists and turns of the story are just amazing. The writing, the jokes, the pacing, the horror… everything comes together quite nicely in this game and I’m bumped out that I have finished this game.

There are some mechanics in this game that even give some replay value to this game. Now that I have finished this game, I want to replay this game and take it in a totally different direction to see where I end up.

This game has some minor Japanese voice acting as well. This isn’t overused at all and it’s used to add some punch to certain dialogues. The voice acting itself is done quite well, the voice acting of the ghosts are personally my favorites. The creepy effects and distortion the developers added to the voice acting is just amazing.

The slider of spooks

An extremely nice feature is the different modes you can play the game in. Like Death Mark, this game contains some jump scares and spooks. They are extremely well crafted and in most cases fit the story nicely. Also, they trigger when you investigate certain sections so it’s quite possible to miss multiple spooks. Some spooks mess with the text or the screen instead of a ghost popping up.

These different modes affect the amount of jump scares and spooks that happen. When you dislike these spooks or jumps scares, you can tone them down and even turn them off completely. I played through this game with all the jump scares intact and I have to say that it added quite a lot to the atmosphere of this game.

The atmosphere is quite creepy, to begin with. The writing draws you into the game and the amazing artwork and illustrations make the world come alive. There isn’t a lot in terms of animations but the beautiful artwork more than makes up for it. For example, the artwork of some death scenes is just extremely well done.

The character portraits, the design of the spirits, the design of the environments… It’s clear that quite a lot of thought and detail has been put into it. I’m quite thankful that the developers added a button to hid the on-screen UI to take screenshots of those amazing scenes to make them even more memorable.

Something that I find a tad bit irritating was the decision to make the “L” button the skip dialogue option. I think that another button like one of the arrow keys on the D-pad would have worked better. Since I can’t count on my two hands anymore the number of times I accidentally pressed the button and skipped a bit of the text. Thankfully, there is an easy way to bring up the log and you can re-read what you skipped.

Everything goes in that log that appears on the screen. From you trying to use an item to decisions you have to make. For some reason, I wasn’t always able to bring up this log easily. In most cases when the log refused to open, I was trying to investigate something. So, quickly going out of investigation mode was the solution.

Speaking of this mode, this is the only mode that allows you to save your game. You are unable to access the save menu while in a dialogue section. Thankfully, the dialogues aren’t Corpse Party Blood Drive long, so an investigation section can be right up the corner.

One thing that I found a real shame is some minor bugs in the UI of the options menu. In one option, the text overflows its checkbox and in another option, they forgot to remove a character at the end of the description. These are minor mistakes that can easily be patched out.

Gameplay-wise, this game is quite addictive. You have to explore the different area’s to either purify or destroy the spirit haunting the place. In order to do this, you explore at night with a partner and search for different subsections of this area.

You explore parts of a town, an office building, and various other locations. You search these locations for clues and items to learn more about the spirit and try and defeat/purify them. The better you explore and investigate the area, the more information you have in the fight with the spirit. If you have played Death Mark, you will feel right at home since it looks quite similar.

I found the gameplay of this game quite addictive. I wanted to keep playing and experience the story to it’s a full conclusion. And yes, now that I have beaten the game, I’m considering playing through the whole game again and trying to take a different route to see where it leads me. I know that this game has multiple endings, but I would love to see how much endings there are.

One extremely welcome improvement over Death Mark I have to mention is that when you want to swap partners, you can do that more easily now. You don’t have to go the whole way back to the mansion, you can easily go to the start of the place you are searching and ask the person directly.

Think quick!

There are some more things to do in this game compared to Death Mark. The items you choose still decide the outcome of purification of the spirit of destruction, but there are more things that matter now. Speaking about that in more detail would spoil certain story sections.

The whole spirit fighting mechanic has been reworked. Now, you don’t have to combine items anymore to attack the spirit, but you have to use your items in the area and analyze the situation. I love these spirits fights a whole lot more compared to Death Mark. The improvements these fights bring to the table are just amazing. It brings a bit more challenge to the table.

On top of that, there are now 2 styles of quick decision-making sections. Both work extremely similar and have the same outcome when you fail. A Game Over. One of these styles is a crisis choice, as you can see in the screenshot in this section of the article. Like Death Mark, the “1000” ticks down as soon as you are able to make a selection. Unlike Death Mark, you can’t find charms to increase this time and it also resets back to 100 each and every time you encounter that section.

Now, this game is quite lengthy. To beat the game, you will need to put give or take 20 hours aside. Let’s not forget to mention the fact that this game is somewhat replayable due to the “emotional reaction system”. Now, you can react with different emotions in certain sections. I have no idea if this makes a difference to the story. But, I have tried it one and it makes the characters react quite differently.

Something that does matter is during some sections you have to make harsh decisions that affect the story to a big degree. I wish I could talk about them, but that would spoil the big parts of the story and that’s something I’m trying to avoid in this review.

Another interesting game mechanic is the “D-Man”. This strange man texts you riddles that you can solve to find cards. These cards contain throwbacks to the previous game or add to the lore of the game. These are a joy to read but contain some spoilers of the previous game. Thankfully, only about the DLC bonus case, so it isn’t THAT bad. Now, the search for these cards works in a very unique way. As soon as you get the text, you have to look around in the area you are in. As soon as you exit the area, you will be unable to search for that card again. You’ll also lose the items you obtained and needed to find the said card. So, be careful.

An easy question to ask is, how difficult is this game? Well, this game is tricky. There are some sections that took me several attempts. In most cases, it was because I overlooked one item or didn’t check my area thoroughly enough. Thankfully, the game is quite forgiving with checkpoints and when you fail a crisis choice or spirit encounter, you can easily restart the whole fight by selecting the wanted option in the “Game Over” menu.

One of the biggest mistakes in this game is the save system in my opinion. I feel that it’s a downgrade compared to the system of Death Mark. There is no autosave, there are fewer save slots and there is less information on the save/load screen compared to the previous game. This is something I wish that will be improved in the possible sequel. Yes, a sequel has been sort of announced/confirmed. You can read more information on the article that Gematsu published a month ago.

The controls of this game are quite simple. They are easy to grasp and master. The only minor thing is that in some areas the spotlight isn’t bright enough to see where the spotlight is on the background art. Thankfully, this happens in only a few places, so it isn’t THAT bad.

Something I’m a bit mixed about is that this game doesn’t have a lot of music. Most of the music is also re-used from the previous game or sounds extremely similar. The music is amazing in this game and I wish I able to buy the soundtrack somewhere. Since I want to add this soundtrack to my music library when I’m relaxing or writing other articles.

And with that said, I said everything I wanted to say about this game. I have left out a few things so they can be surprised at you when you play this game. I think it’s high time for the conclusion of this article, don’t you think?

Conclusion

The bad:
-Some minor UI elements that could easily be fixed.

-The save feature could have been expanded quite a bit.
The good:

+ Amazing writing and story.

+ Great visuals.

+ The ability to disable the jump scares if you dislike them.

+ Great challenging puzzles

+ ….
Final thoughts:
This game is quite an improvement over Death Mark. Last year, Death Mark was one of my favorite games of 2018. This game is one of my favorite games of this year. This game is the perfect game to play during Halloween. I can’t recommend this game enough for fans of Death Mark, fans of horror games and fans of visual novels. I would even recommend this game to fans of adventure games.

This game is one of the best visual novels I have played in a while. And it’s up to high competition like Ai: Somnium Files. This will be quite interesting in my “Top 10 Games of 2019”. Take it from me, give this game a try. Because it’s totally worth playing and experiencing this game.

Of course, this game has some shortcomings like the bare bones save system and some minor annoyances with the controls but these are easily overlooked and don’t hinder the enjoyment of the game too much or even at all.

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

Score: 100/100

Review #028: Lili: Child Of Geos (PC ~ Steam) ~ Is this a port?

Lili Child of GeosSteam store page – Official site

A member, well more a friend of mine, from Arpegi recommend to me this game. I had this game on my wishlist before she even told me about it. So, then I decided to buy it. I didn’t do any research apart from watching some screenshots and the trailer. I only found out that this game is a port of a mobile game. And it’s not released on Android. According to the site of the developers, it only released on iOS. Now, people who read my blog often will know what I’m going to say about me, but in case you are a new reader I have something to tell about my reviews. Because I don’t have an iPhone, I won’t compare it to the original. But the most important thing here is that I’m going to take a look at this version. Since this is the version I played. (If I play other versions of the game, only then I compare.) This introduction has gone on for long enough. Let’s dive right into this game. Also, feel free to leave a comment on this game and or my article. 

Inspiration

Lili_ScreenShot_01_web

So, the developers try to sell this game with a daring statement. They say if you enjoy games like the Zelda series or Broken Age, you will have a blast with this game. Now, the “problem” I had because of this is that I had high expectations going into this game.

Sadly, the game didn’t deliver enough on that front. But is this a bad game? Well, in my opinion, this is a pretty neat game. Let me explain.

As usual, let’s start with talking about the story. I do very well know that this game is a port of a mobile game and because of that, I can safely say that the story for this game is pretty sweet. It won’t blow you off your socks or it isn’t a masterpiece but it gets the job done quite nicely.

One thing took me by surprise. This game might have multiple endings. I don’t know for sure but I have a strong feeling this game does have more then one ending. In the middle of the game you have the option to return home. I might have to play the game again to find out about that.

That is a positive thing for this game. There is replay-ability in this game. And you can make each playthrough different. I honestly think that with 2 to 3 playthroughs you can see everything in that game.

It would be quite unfair to say that the story could have been better. Since it wouldn’t benefit the game. The gameplay would be ruined if there was a deeper storyline then there is. The story is about you saving an island from an evil mayor. Every action you take will have a reaction. So, the story kind of wrote itself. The writing is pretty solid and the characters, while mostly flat, can be memorable at times.

Anyways, enough about the story. Long time readers of mine know that I can talk hours about stories, but we have a game to review!

Trying to hard?

Lili_ScreenShot_09_web

When I was playing this game, I felt like they tried a bit too hard when creating this game. Often I fell under the impression that they went for a huge amazing adventure. But in the end, it didn’t turn out that way.

I have beaten the whole game on the normal difficulty setting in 6-7 hours. This game is rather at the short side. With only 4-5 area’s to explore, this game falls into the category of a “game snack”.

The gameplay is rather interesting. While you explore, you have to fight enemies. To defeat them, you need to pull the flowers from their head. The later guardians have certain defenses. They can put thorns and bombs to try and shake you off. Lili can hang on these guardians as long as the meter doesn’t run out. The more hits you take, the faster that meter runs out.

Now, there isn’t a game over screen. Since there is no possibility to die. Thankfully the game autosaves since there is a spot where you can get stuck. At the stall where you can buy keys, there is a vase hidden behind some barrels. I was playing with my controller and kept pushing forward. Somehow, I got stuck behind the barrels. I couldn’t get out due to invisible walls.

Speaking of those, some area’s have invisible walls. I have no idea for what reason. My best guess is to avoid some minor graphical glitches. Like a hat clipping through a stair or something. For that reason they blocked off some small area’s. But it isn’t that big of a deal.

The user interface is pretty neat. It helps you to keep an overview of some achievements and is pretty good to use. I don’t have any complaints with it. They even thought of listing your side quests! Great move guys.

Mistakes

Lili_ScreenShot_10_web

What exactly are the negatives of this game? I already talked about the game being at the short side, but with the possible different outcomes, there can be a replay. This will double the playtime. So, yeah, a 12-14 hour adventure game… not bad.

Visually, the game looks stunning. Even on the low graphics. The higher settings weren’t too friendly on my old machine. So, let me know how this game looks at it’s highest settings.

The music is okay, but not good. The problem is that it isn’t catchy. I wouldn’t see myself looking to download the soundtrack of this game and listing to it while I’m on the go. Even when the theme in homes is a remix of the track they use in the Zelda games.

A big negative is that playing with a mouse makes this game way to easy. When I tried to defeat the guardians with my controller, it was actually challenging. But as soon as I started to use my mouse to pull out the flowers, the game got a lot easier. I was able to defeat the final boss with great ease.

Do you guys remember my rant about my 10 most hated things in gaming? Number ten was mistakes in the controls. And they made one of the biggest. They forgot that there are also AZERTY keyboards in the world. And the keybinds on AZERTY keyboards aren’t converted.

The biggest issue I have is with the achievements. They are broken. From buggy achievements to just silly achievements. Breaking 1000 vases? No, thanks.

Anyways, I think I’ll go to my conclusion. There are a few other things I don’t mention because I want to leave some surprises when you decide to play this game. Isn’t that a kind gesture of me?

Conclusion

The good:

+ Decent story.

+ Interesting gameplay.

+ Different outfits.

+ Visually stunning game.

+ Good user interface.

+ …

The bad:

– Forgettable soundtrack.

– Achievements need to be fixed.

– The difficulty is unbalanced between the controller and the mouse.

– AZERTY keyboards are left out.

– You can’t max out all stats when you beat the game.

– …

Final thoughts:

Alright, time to wrap up this review. So, this game isn’t one of the best games I played but it kept me entertained. It has it’s fun moments but as soon as the novelty of the unique gameplay wears off, the signs of it being originally a mobile game start to show.

The game got a an amazing upgrade to become a PC game. But, in the end, it’s nothing more then a port with a pet and hat collection quest as extra. If that’s your only addition besides updating the UI and graphics, professional reviewers won’t be very kind to the game.

While I enjoyed the game myself, I need to be objective and admit that this game lacks a whole lot of gameplay. That’s the biggest problem with this game. It’s way to short and way to repetitive if you don’t do the side quests as well.

So, I can score this game on two ways. I can give it a rather high score because I enjoyed myself and I liked the game. At the other hand, I can give the game a rather low score because of the reasons I said before. To give a fair score, I decided to score this game between the two scores. Yeah.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing this one. And I hope to see you in another article! Take care~

Score: 60/100

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

PMGTILink to the game’s site.

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

The adds.

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

Now you can also farm berries. Yes, it takes some time though but it’s a neat addition. The Pokémon Paradise you are building is an amazing fun concept. It really gives the feeling of progression. But wait a minute, this is becoming more like a review instead of a rant. Whoops, my bad. Let’s go ranting.

The cuts

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

pokemon-mystery-dungeon-gates-to-infinity-screenshot-04

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

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

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

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

Finish

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

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