Review: Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (GBA) ~ Here Come The Horns

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Bulbapedia entry

My family and I take yearly trips to the seaside. I remember on the trip of 2003, we stopped in a big toy store. There was a Gameboy SP present with a demo version of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. I played it in the store and knew what I wanted to buy at the end of the trip. I wanted my own Gameboy Advance SP with the new Pokémon games. It didn’t take long before I got my very own copy of the games and that I started playing it. Now, after I have finished all three games, it’s time to take a look back to the games and decide if it was a good decision to buy and play these games or that these games actually belong in the trash. So, let’s review these games. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the article and/or games.

Plot and such

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This game starts like every other Pokémon game starts. You move to a new town where you are asked to help the professor to set out on a journey to explore the new region. In this game, the characters are rather interesting. For some reason, the rival characters and various other characters are one of the most memorable in the whole Pokémon series.

Truth to be told, I think most has to do with the fact that Pokémon was right at it’s absolute peak where I lived then. Everybody was talking on the playground about the latest Pokémon they caught and how the new anime season was running at the same time then you progressed in the game. This made the game more memorable to me. So, it might possibly be nostalgia blinding me.

So, I really think that the writing in this game is really well done. Also, the secrets you could discover in the game were fun too. There was a way to catch three new legendary Pokémon in a complete side quest. In this side quest, you had to read braille to enter a door. And I didn’t look it up on the internet, I actually used the guide provided to me in the manual to translate the braille into readable letters and figured it out that way.

What’s even more interesting, you can use these three Pokémon to trade them into the next generation and unlock a special Pokémon that way. That’s a big positive in my book!

Horns & flutes

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This game has quite amazing presentation. I dare to argue that even to this day, this game holds up quite good. Just think about it, this game’s engine is the basis of most Pokémon Rom Hacks.

It’s the last 2D Pokémon game, since the 4th Generation went into 2,5D. But, Pokémon Platinum, Pearl & Diamond are for another review.

Something a lot of people point out about this game is the soundtrack. In nearly every track, there is a (French) horn and/or a flute present. While I enjoy listing to the soundtrack, I have to admit that this soundtrack lacks variaty in its instruments. But back in the day, I didn’t really mind it. The jump in quality from the previous generation was just too big.

Visually, this game is bright and colorful. I really love exploring the Hoenn region. I love exploring it so much that I even explored it several times. Yes, I played through this game several times. Something that added even more life to the game are the animations in the overworld. Things like the rain and the sandstorm or the tracks you made riding your bike in the sand made the game come more alive then ever.

A lot to do

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So, this game introduces quite a lot of interesting new mechanics to play around with. Let’s first start with the new battle mechanics. This game introduced double battles. This is such a great addition to the series that to this day, spin off ideas are put into the main series Pokémon games.

That reminds me, the gameplay of this game is really good. The whole adventure in this game is one of the best adventures you can have on the Gameboy Advance (SP). But honestly, isn’t that a given with a main series Pokémon game?

So, in this game you also have secret bases. I have to admit that this was one of my favorite features ever. I wish they implemented into more Pokémon games. I had high hopes when they were re-introduced in the next generation as bases in the underground side-game.

And let’s not forget about the Pokémon contests, berry mini-games and the truckload of changes to the battle and breeding system. This game brought so much new things to the table, there is a lot to do in this game before you have seen and done everything.

Do I have something negative to say about this game? Honestly, one thing. That this game works with a battery. Now-a-days, the battery will have run dry and time based events won’t happen. If you can look passed that, you have a great game ahead of yourself.

This game’s difficulty curve is pretty great. Apart from the rematches of trainers. I rarely lost those. But that’s a nitpick, since you can choose when you do those rematches and I did them when my team was overleved.

The last thing I want to talk about is the controls. And guess what, they work brilliantly. I have nothing to complain here.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time we go to the conclusion of this article.

Conclusion

The bad:

-The internal battery can run dry.

-No multiple save slots.

-A bit more instrument variety would have been great….

The good:

+ … yet the overall soundtrack is pretty great.

+ Good writing and pacing of the story.

+ Good difficulty curve.

+ Interesting and fun side adventures can be had.

+ Trading with the next generation!

+ Secret bases

+ Pokémon Contests.

+ …

Conclusion

If you would ask me which generation is the best Pokémon generation. I would honestly doubt. Each generation has something I really love about it. And this game is no different. When I was preparing and when I was writing this review, I had trouble finding flaws in this game.

It might be because a lot of nostalgia, it might because this Pokémon game is that good. If you are a Pokémon fan and you haven’t play this game, I urge you to check this game out. It’s really good. I might not have mentioned a few things in my review, but you’ll find out soon enough. The post-game content is the best in Emerald by the way.

In any case, thank you for reading this review and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to see you in another article on my blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

Score: 100/100

First Impression: Tomb Raider 5 – Chronicles (PC) ~ Is Lara dead?

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Wikipedia entry

If my nickname doesn’t give it away, I’m quite a big fan of Indiana Jones. When I played Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, I wanted to play more games where I raid tombs and have large adventures. It didn’t take long for me to find a cheap copy of Tomb Raider 5 and install it. And, I wasn’t good at playing this game as a kid. I barely survived the first level. Yes, shame on me. But several years later, I decided to put the game in my Windows98 machine again. And I have to say, my feelings towards the game changed. But I’ll go more in-depth about that in my article. Nowadays, I’m a big Tomb Raider fan and I keep up-to-date with the latest releases. So, is this game any fun and good to play. Let’s take a look at it! And as usual, feel free to write a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below.

Let’s tell stories

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Usually, each Tomb Raider game has an overarching story. You go searching for a treasure and visit a ton of interesting locations. But in this game opens right after, what appears to be, the funeral of Lara Croft. Winston, her butler, and two of his friends recollect and tell stories of her adventures. Now, you might have guessed this, but the stories are the levels you play.

This is a very interesting way of telling the plot of this game. Since you go on little side adventures that might never get a full game. It almost feels like the developers had so many ideas for this game, they threw it all together in one nice flowing narrative.

The voice acting in this game is really excellent. As a kid, I was convinced that the characters were real. The voice acting is that good in my opinion.

While I know that the technology and animation were very limited back then, but the mouth animations weren’t that good in this game. Games like Half-Life and Deus Ex had better mouth animations. This might look like a detail that I’m talking about, yet there were moments that it distracted me from the game.

Less ropes!

tomb-raider-5-screen-2 Something I truly didn’t like in Tomb Raider 4 was the parts with the ropes. Thank god, this is way less present in this game. But, let’s focus on the gameplay of this game. In this game, you explore 13 levels filled to the brim with puzzles of the solving and jumping variety.

All levels are quite lengthy, apart from one…. and that one was quite difficult to finish in my eyes. Something I truly liked in this game is all the differences between the levels. You play through 4 different adventures and each adventure has its own gimmick. Like the levels I’m currently at, you play as a young Lara. So, she doesn’t have any guns.

Visually, this game looks dated. But, it looked dated in some places back then. But, if I compare games from that time period to this game, the reason why this game looks so dated are the character models. If there is anything that could have been improved back then were the character models.

But hey, the setting of the game and animation look all quite nice, apart from the mouth animation that is. Also, if you think that this game looks ugly, well… if it would be released today, it would. But, it doesn’t look ugly in my opinion. Even nowadays.

This game can be quite challenging. I have to admit, I have used a guide in some places to finish the level. If you play this game, I highly recommend that you save often. You will thank me for that.

If you look at a let’s play of this game, you might think that this game is quite difficult with all the jumping. But take it from me, an amateur when it comes to jumping puzzles, it’s possible and it’s so rewarding when you get a jump from the first try!

Pew pew pew

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As a kid, I always dreaded the rope sections in this game. Walking on the tightrope is a new ability of Lara Croft in this game. But, somehow my kid brain wasn’t able to beat the rope. I was so happy when I crossed it successfully. But when I played through this game as an adult, I have no problem with it.

The controls are almost always very responsive. I had a few times that Lara didn’t grab a ledge or didn’t jump in time. Perhaps, I didn’t press the right buttons in time.

Something that made me replay the levels I had finished are the secrets in this game. In this title, various golden roses are hidden throughout the levels. The sound that plays when you find a secret is as addictive as the sound of Link finding a new item.

Speaking of sounds, the sound design and the soundtrack of this game is excellent. I felt rewarded when I got a music cue or some music. Actually, that’s something this game lacked as well. There wasn’t enough music in this title. I can understand that this is done to build the atmosphere of the game, but I personally would be happy with a bit more music. The whole soundtrack is about 25 minutes long. And that’s quite short for an adventure game like this.

So, the sound design of this game is pretty well done. Like I said earlier, the voice acting is very well done. Also, there isn’t one sound effect I would have changed or that would improve the game. I played this game using a headset and thanks to the sound design, I was really pulled into the game.

If I was allowed to change one thing, that is the loading of save points right after death. It’s so annoying that the main menu first has to load and right after that, the default option is “new game”. I can’t count on one hand how many times I have started a new game when I wanted to load a game. Yet, I wish I was able to change two things. The second thing would be the autorun feature. It’s broken. It autoruns the game yet you are unable to save your game. That’s an annoying bug!

Also, I have to praise the game for something. The optional tutorial section is such a great idea. At the start of the first level, you can go straight ahead or to the left in a building. If you go to the left, the basic controls are explained in a quite safe area. If you go straight ahead, you continue on with the level. If my mind severs me correctly, there are no secrets hidden in the tutorial area. Yet, there are various useful items hidden there. So, I advice you all to go and explore there.

That is everything I wanted to say about this game for now. I have some other things I want to talk about with this game but I’m leaving those for the review. So, it’s time to wrap this article up. Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

First Impression: imprint-X (PC) ~ Press That Button

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Today, I’m bringing you something special. Earlier this month, the developers of this game send me a mail with a review copy of this game. But due to a very busy week, I was unable to get this article out in time. Thank you Morgondag for providing me with a review copy of this game. So, in this article, I’ll tell you guys and girls my honest opinions on the game. Oh, as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts about the game and/or the content of this article.

Side note: This game is also available on iOS & Android

2nd side note: I wrote this article as a sort of feedback/review article for the developers and let you guys and girls know about the game!

Puzzle and reaction game

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So, the story of this game is rather interesting. The Steam Store page description tells us this:

A robotic virus is raging! Nano Bots called Wardens are enslaving people! You are one of the hacker clones, saving intellects by hacking into infected brains and defeating the mysterious Wardens; figuring out their correct button sequences.

The only issue I have with the story is that it should be more present in the game. I didn’t really know that this game had a story until I read the Steam Store page. I was able to make out some parts of the story with the visuals, but somethings make a bit more sense when you know the story. A little introduction movie could add so much in my opinion.

Something I really have to praise the developers of this game for is the UI. First of all, there are 6 worlds. The main menu’s background looks different when you beat a world. I seriously love that touch! Secondly, the developers use symbols instead of words in their options menu. Apart from the gameplay options, you won’t find any words! I would only change a few some minor things in the options menu and they have to do with the language options.

  1. I would sort them alphabetically.
  2. I would show the name of the language in their native name. Like my own mother language is Dutch, I would display that as “Nederlands”.
  3. The Chinese Traditional language doesn’t fit right in the box. The “L” is dropped off, this could be fixed by making that box just a bit larger.

But the rest of the UI is pretty well done. So, apart from the things I mentioned above, it’s perfect!

In this game, you have 100 levels to conquer. So, to win a level, you have to press the buttons in the right order. When you do it out of order, you loose a life. The goal of this game is to press the buttons in the right order and/or at the right time. In most levels, the visuals give you a hint in what orders to press. But this game is pretty forgiving. If you fail a level, you can give it another shot right away. So, this game isn’t frustrating at all. Some levels can be pretty difficult to get the timing right, but once it clicks, the solution will come to you.

Chilling with this game

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For a small developer team, this game looks amazing. The space theme that’s used in the game looks quite nice. It fits the story and atmosphere the game is trying to tell.

In terms of the visuals, I would make one change. You are able to zoom in and out with the scroll wheel. But, you can zoom so far out, that the background stops and you can see the edges of the level. I would restrict the zooming so you are unable to see that edge. Just look at this screenshot if you don’t understand what I’m trying to say.

The music in this game is really relaxing. I consider adding this game to my music library. This music is great to listen to when I want to relax or just chill out. Thanks to the music, I was in a sort of trance while playing this game. The music and the visuals click so well. It didn’t bother me that much that some sound effects sounded generic and sounded like stock sound effects, almost the whole sound design is pretty well done.

Something that is a big positive with this game is that the developers really listen to the players of their games. When I was preparing for this article, I sent them a bug report. And they fixed it before the game released. Also, when you write something on the Steam forums, they will reply and interact with the community! And that’s a big plus in my book.

Clicking away

screenshot16.pngThe controls of this game are quite simple. You only need the mouse for this game. I recommend playing this game with an actual mouse, since I tried this game with a laptop trackpad and it’s just too difficult to play. But, trackpads aren’t designed to play games with in the first place.

In this game, you have various powerups. So far, I have played with one powerup. And that’s the slow down time powerup. Honestly, this is one of the biggest issues with the game. The powerup system. In my opinion, it’s quite unclear when and how you receive a powerup. Sometimes something floats over the screen and when you click it, you receive the slow down time powerup.

My first impression of this game is pretty good. This game might look and sound boring and repetitive, but believe me… Once you give it a chance, it might grow on you. Like it did with me. At first, I wasn’t enjoying myself, but the more I played, the more I enjoyed this game. And I honestly think that with a bit more polish; this game could be even better. Also, if you like what you see and read, this game is pretty cheap to get… So, what are you waiting for?

So, that’s everything I said everything, I wanted to say about this game. I want to thank the developer again for giving me a review copy. I enjoyed the game a whole lot. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Award: One of the best gaming blogs on the internet (According to FeedSpot)

video-game-coverSo, something surprising happened this week. I got a mail from a website that I have been put on a list. I was selected for the “Top 100 best gaming blogs on the planet” list that has been written by the people over at FeedSpot. Here is a link to the article. I also got a badge to display on my blog at the side. So, yeah. This is something special.

The honor

First of all, I want to thank the people over at FeedSpot for putting me on this list. Honestly, my placement on the list doesn’t matter to me that much, it’s the fact that I’m on the list. I’m number 96. While I wrote the most content for this blog, I have to give a small bit of credit to LpGardian and MrLiamMills for the articles they wrote on my blog.

Writing is in the first place a hobby of mine. But I will talk more about that later. It just feels amazing that I get recognised by somebody. It’s difficult to describe how this feels. But one thing is for certain, I have to continue to write and provide the best content for you guys (and girls) that I can write.

Me & blogging

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So, I might have talked about this in an earlier article… But the reason why I blog is because I want to share my experiences in my gaming and collecting life with the internet. In the past, I was toying around with the idea to expand my blog to also talk about other things. Things like movies, IT-stuff, anime and so much more.

But I decided against the idea. I mostly wanted to continue and write a gaming diary. Because gaming is a big hobby of mine. Hrm, maybe it’s a good idea that I talk a little bit about my blogging history.

My blogging story starts about, give or take, 5 and a half years ago. After a few other projects, I decided to start creating my own website. Where I have a place to talk about things and share it with my family and friends and also with the world. At first, I created a Dutch blog. After a month or two, I was watching a game-news show on TV. It was around the time that the 3DS was presented at E3. I highly disagree with some statements of the hosts and I wrote a whole article about it.

It didn’t take long before the hosts actually had seen the article. One of the hosts actually wrote a whole comment on that article and invited me in the studio. Sadly enough, I had to prepare for exams, so I wasn’t able to go. But I have the comment and the article on one of my hard drives. So, when I watched the next day to the show, they mentioned my article. Then, I saw a huge traffic spike.

Since then, I have continued blogging. After two years, I decided to remove the Dutch blog and go on a small hiatus. Yet, I started to miss blogging about games. When I was playing games, I kept thinking on what I would say in a review. So, on the 20th of May 2013, right after I finished the new Tomb Raider game; I decided to write a review for it. I logged in to my WordPress account and started writing.

After some time passed, I got in contact with LpGardian. He is the owner of ButtonSmashers. But, that’s a story for another day. Maybe in one of his podcasts. Who knows?

So, that’s my blogging history. Well, in a very short version. Since I could tell so many more stories. While I don’t have a big following, the fact people follow my blog and read my content makes me happy. I enjoy writing these articles. I enjoy playing these games and then writing an article about them to talk about my opinions. I’m quite happy with the growth my blog has made over the past three years now. I’m quite curious what the future will bring. I’m planning to continue to write new articles about games I have played or my opinion on something in the gaming industry.

Anyways, here is the actual award:

But, before this article goes on for too long. I want to thank everybody who has supported me or my blog. Thank you for reading, linking to my articles, talking about my articles, commenting, replying to my tweets… Thank you guys and girls for everything. And don’t worry, I will continue to write articles.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then have a great rest of your day and take care~!

First Impression: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) ~ I’m An Angel!

dq_ix_esrb_dsLink to Wikipedia entry

Lately, I’m playing a lot on my old Nintendo DS. The game that I’m playing is Dragon Quest IX. I have played this game right when it came out, but then I stopped because other games got my interest. I played this game right around when I started playing Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. In any case, this article will contain mostly my current opinion of the game. I’m currently 10 hours into the game. But, enough stalling. It’s time to talk about this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment down below with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article.

Slow start

Dragon Quest IX 2In this game, you play as a character you design and make yourself. Your character is a guardian angel of Angel Falls. At the start of the game, you get a small combat tutorial and introduction to the world.

Everything was peaceful until suddenly disaster strikes. Something happens in the sky palace and you fall down to the world and lose your halo and wings. You fall in the town of, you guessed it, Angel Falls.

After those events, a lot happens. The plot only thickens and gets quite interesting. Yet, the only negative is that the start is quite slow. I was 2-3 hours in before the main quest started.

The writing is very well done. The characters are memorable. While I noticed some minor spelling mistakes here and there, I didn’t mind them too much.

The story feels episodic. When you finish one quest, another path opens and you go to another village to go on a new quest. This works very well in this game. This game is pretty long. If you want to beat the main story, you will have to put in around 50 hours. So, I’m looking forward to the stories I still have to play.

In any case, enough talking about the story. The difficulty of this game is almost a negative in my opinion. If you have read my blog before, you might know that I don’t like grinding for levels that much. It gives the impression that the game is longer then it actually is. This game contains some grinding, but it isn’t too bad. But, the grinding gets old real fast for me.

Buy and wear this shield

dragonquest9_218826In this game, there is something that really every RPG should do. When you buy new equipment, you see your character visually change. Not only in battle, but also in the overworld. This is a great touch, since it gives you the feeling of progression and growth of your characters. I can understand that this could be annoying to some people, since they prefer everything to look a certain way. But I honestly like it.

Visually, the characters and enemies look very well designed. Sadly enough, this RPG suffers from what I call the “multiple paint bucket syndrome”. There are various recoloring of enemies to make new enemies.

While I can understand that it’s hard to always make new enemies for each new area, I believe there are other methods. If you give the recolored version some minor visual changes like make them longer, shorter, wider, bulkier… That would go a long way.

Or you use the same enemy, but you buff them up. Wait, scrap that. Game design wise, this wouldn’t be the best solution. Since that could confuse a lot of players.

So, we were talking about the visuals of this game. The world design is something that is deserves praise. Every area has charm and feels alive. The animation is stellar. In short, I really love the presentation of this game.

One thing to note is that in some battles, I experienced some frame drops. This happened mostly when there were a lot of graphic heavy attacks in a row. Outside of battles, I rarely got slowdowns or frame drops.

You have two options in the control department. You can either use the touch screen for everything or you can use the buttons. Both control schemes work every well. The only feature you miss in the touch screen controls is the ability to swing around the camera a little bit in the overworld. But I rarely use it, so I don’t mind it that much.

This game is a full blood RPG and it has a big world for you to explore and adventure in. A big plus in this game is that you can see the monsters running around on the overworld. This makes it a lot easier when you need a certain item drop or when you need to defeat a certain enemy to complete your monster index.

You can design your own party in this game. You can tweak your party to your heart’s and playstyle’s content. Take your perfect party in to battle!

I can only say one negative thing about the battles. If they would added a health bar for the enemies, that would be amazing. I found it very frustrating that I had to hope that a boss died when I was at low health. It would be very handy to change your tactics.

There is just too much

dragonquestIXIn this game, there are also side quests. I haven’t done many side quests, so I won’t go in-depth. But you can get a quest from a character when a blue speech bubble appears above their head. Most quests I encountered are fetch quests.

But that is just one thing of many things that can entertain you in this game. You can also do alchemy, complete your monster guide or collect party tricks. There is a lot to do in this game. According to some websites, to 100% complete this game, you would have to devote months to this game. According to various sources, you would have to spend over 770 hours. That’s overkill in my opinion. There is just too much to do in this game. But the positive about is that there is always something to do in this game. You shouldn’t get bored with this game if you love playing RPG’s.

The music and sound design in this game is good. It could have been better if there were two or three more tracks in-battle. Since always hearing the same battle music gets a bit old. It’s still a great track, but I wished I heard some other battle music in normal battles from time to time.

In this game, you can only save in churches. You can quick save, but the quick save gets deleted as soon as you restart the game. I don’t know what happens if you quick save and then don’t save. Honestly, I don’t feel like finding that out. One thing, there is only one save slot.

This game offers multiplayer. But, I’m not going to talk about that since I haven’t played this game in multiplayer. And without experience, it would be hardly fair to talk about it.

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Besides, if I forgot certain things, I will talk about those if I ever review this game. So, it’s time to wrap up this article.

This game is a very fun game. It’s one of the best RPG’s out there on the Nintendo DS. It does some things that every RPG should do but it also does some things that shouldn’t be in every RPG.

I highly recommend this game if you are looking for a challenge, a big adventure and/or an interesting story. But be prepared to put a lot of hours into this game.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope I can welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

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

Goldensun3.jpgWikipedia entry

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

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

Special powers

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

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

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

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

Fighting like on the GBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This world is golden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Rayman Legends (Wii U) ~ Amazing Platformer Gem

O1353925798.jpegfficial website

As a kid, I had a PC game called Rayman M. I enjoyed it from time to time, but my real interest with Rayman started when I heard so much about it from the YouTubers I watch and the other blogs I read. When my family was asking me what I wanted for Christmas, I gave them a whole list of Wii U titles I’m interested in. Honestly, I placed this game as an afterthought. But on the 1st of January, my grandparents surprised me with actually buying this game for me. I played a few levels just for fun, but then I stopped playing. But at the start of February of this year, I was together with my friends for a whole week and this game… Man, it changed the whole week. I think it’s time to take a good look at this game and talk about what I think of this game. Oh, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the review and/or the game in the comment section underneath this article. 

Teensies & lumps

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This game is a platformer. I haven’t played a lot of platformers, so in this review, I’m going to judge this game purely at what experience it gave me.

This game’s story, was in my opinion, a sort of an after-thought. The story is rather absent. Because this game is a sort of gallery of smaller separate games. Compare it to Kirby Super Star on the SNES. It has a compilation of different Kirby games which each have a separate story.

If you are into platformers with a decent story, you aren’t going to find it here. But it’s no negative for this game. The reason for that is, the game’s charm and presentation is enough to make a fun experience.

Everything in this game has meaning. Every collectable, every level and every challenge. When you beat a level or collect a certain amount of teenies and/or lumps, you unlock something or something happens. And sometimes, more then just one thing unlocked.

This makes the game very replayable. Since it’s very easy to miss a teensie in a level. They are hidden quite well. Too bad that missing one doesn’t stop you from reaching a golden cup on the level.

That touchpad

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This game is made with multiplayer in mind. Since in some levels, you can really benefit from a helper character.

Also, this game is one of the few games I have played where the Wii U gamepad isn’t used as a sort of second screen for the game or something among those lines.

When you play with more then one person, the person playing with the gamepad is a sort of helper character that needs to pull switches, move platforms or keep the characters from harm. And honestly, this can get pretty though. Sometimes, you need to react very quick.

At the other hand, the people who are playing as the non-helping characters have some separate levels that tests their reflexes. These are mostly time challenges or stages where a whole building is collapsing.

The two completely different playstyles is something I haven’t seen before that much. Surprisingly, it works flawlessly. I have beaten most of this game in multiplayer. And I can’t imagine how the singleplayer plays in some levels. Since this game is better played with at least one friend.

Something I really liked about this game is the presentation. Each area plays and feels very different. You have stealth sections, you have fast moving sections, you have sections where you need to “eat through candy” and so much more. Every area is extremely colorful and some stages felt very creative.

The animations of the stages and characters reminded me of the previous times I saw a Rayman game. They are really well done. I have no complaints there.

There is one part of the design that I didn’t like that much. While you have a lot of playable characters, there are just too much clone characters. They don’t play a lot different on the surface. They are just the same character in a different skin to me.

Jump that music

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The levels that were the most creative to me are the levels where you needed to you were playing through a music song and famous songs at that. Black Berry by Ram Jam is one of the first I came across. They were so much fun to play.

Speaking about music, the soundtrack and sound design of this game is very well crafted. The help to build the atmosphere of the game. In some levels I was actually sitting on the edge of my seat, cheering my friends on.. so we could beat that one level.

The difficulty is something I’m on the edge about. Some levels are pretty cruel and are impossible to win when you make one mistake. But there is a problem in there. Sometimes the controls work against you. But then again, the punishment for dying is just restarting the stage or starting for the last checkpoint. I always felt like we could try again when me and my friends failed a level.

Something that also provided hours of fun was the one true mini-game in the collection. The soccer game. It’s truly chaotic and it makes for hours of fun matches with friends. While I struggled with the controls sometimes, when I got the hang of them… It was extremely fun.

Until now, I was mostly praising the game but there are some things that could use some improvement. The digital manual is way too basic in my eyes.This is something that could help inexperienced players. But the biggest issue I have with it, is that it’s so barebones. I miss the color, screenshots and various other interesting things that other companies put in those manuals. Like Nintendo and Hylure Warriors or Super Mario Maker.Also, why is there a separate help function in the game and the manual. That help function gives information that isn’t in the manual…

And honestly, that is the biggest “issue” I have with this game. While the main campaign might be a bit short, the content that unlocks during the main campaign and the things you can collect gives this game a big replay value and makes the game have an amazing length.

The last thing I want to say about this game is that for 20€ here in Europe, this game is a steal. The amount of content is just mindblowing.

In any case, I think I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time for my conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

 – The manual isn’t the best in this game.

– This game loses a lot of its value in singleplayer.

– Some clone characters.

The good:

+ The amazing replay value.

+ This game has an amazing design. From the visuals to the sound design.

+ You get a lot of content for your money.

+ The gamepad isn’t used as a gimmick.

+ …

Final thoughts:

This game is one of the best and creative platformers I have every played. It brings some new ideas to the table for me. This game such serve as an example as an amazing platform game.

Most of the issues I have with this game are nitpicks. I honestly had trouble saying any negatives about this game.

If you want a real fun game for you and your friends, dust off that Wii U (or the console you have this game for) and play some Rayman Legends. For the cheap price of 20€ here in Europe, this game is truly a steal.

I wasn’t expecting this much polish in a Raymam game of 20€, but I was more than surprised. Play this game for yourself! I highly recommend it to each and every Wii U owner.  It’s really good.

Score: 99/100

First Impression: Bioshock (PC – Steam) ~New DNA

BioshockBoxOfficial website

So, I have been through the usual “end of the year” articles. So, why did I pick this game? Does this game have a special reason to be the final article of 2015? Well, surprisingly enough, it actually has. If you follow my blog or know me in person, then you might know that I’m fascinated by stories that are about people staying people but getting superpowers. That’s one of the main reasons I love games like Majora’s Mask so much. Anyways, what’s the main mechanic in this game? Apart from the little sisters and their … ahum, big daddy’s? That are the plasmids. They allow you to attack your foes with electricity or fire. The concept is just amazing in my opinion. But back when it released, my computer couldn’t handle it. My CPU wasn’t strong enough but I had enough RAM. Then the game went a bit under the radar for me. I mostly got into adventure games like Broken Sword or RTS games like Age Of Empires series. In any case, I think it’s time to take a look at this game. Since in this Christmas Sale of Steam, I finally bought the whole trilogy and the DLC. So, yeah. Enough stalling, let’s dive into Rapture! As usual, feel free to leave a comment on this article with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Story – Two kinds of them

bioshock1So, in this game there are two kinds of stories. Depends on how you look at it. While the audio logs and the actual story of the game are kind of “one and the same”… I see them as two different stories. The audio logs are more a back story to the game. This is something I wished the game handled a bit better. I’m not saying that the audio logs or the story is bad. No, not at all. The main issue I have is that some dialogue of the audio tapes can overlap with the dialogue of the enemies. You could argue that you don’t listen to the audio tapes when you near enemies, but you can’t avoid that. But that isn’t a problem exclusive to the audio logs. I missed some story dialogue due to the enemies talking way too loud.

Because of this reason, I’m more fond of diary entries to build a world instead of audio tapes. While I’m a big story guy, I found myself skipping over the audio logs. The world of Rapture drew me in enough already. I wanted to fill in the backstory myself. Here and there I played an audio tape, but not every one of them. I think they were placed to close to each other and too many in one area. In nearly each and every section of the game, I recall finding 2-3 audio tapes.

The last thing I will say about the audio logs, is that you can re-listen to them. But, in some cases… It’s about something in the room. Or a hint how to continue in the game. Then the power of audio logs is lost since you aren’t in the right context anymore. (Unless you go back to the room you were in when you found the audio log.)

So, let’s talk about the actual story now, for what I have experienced (I’m mid-game), it’s a decent story. The build up is quite nice but I have to praise the voice actors for this game quite a lot. Since they did an amazing job creating this world. It’s one I get lost in.

Moral things

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Something I really like is that this game has quite the replay value. Since this game offers a moral choice system. Do you harvest the little sisters or not? If you harvest them, you can buy stronger perks. If you don’t harvest them, you get here and there some really handy perks. Both paths have some really nice rewards.

Currently, I’m saving the little sisters. It’s an interesting path really, but I wish that the story reflected it a bit more. At the moment you get the first choice, a guiding character is telling you to harvest it. But, after you save the girl… That character doesn’t change in personality.

Let’s talk about the visual aspect of this game. Because that’s something that’s in my opinion, it’s good. This game shows some traces of early HD textures. The biggest issue is some humans look strange. Like the hands of some characters, the fingers are two blocks. While the world design is quite nice to look at, some minor polish on the details would have been welcome.

 

Negatives?

bioshock-01Now that we are talking about the negatives in this game… Why is there a warning on some parts of the option menu that you will lose your progress? I have that never happen to me. This message made me paranoid the first time.

Also, there is no autosave in this game. Well, there is; after you finished a level. I have to manually save. But after playing this game for a little bit, you will get used to it. At least, I did.

Oh, some things are quite unfair. When I was looting a present left behind by the little sisters I saved, an enemy threw a bomb while I was in the menu to put a perk in one of my character slots. The menu closed and I lost the perk. I had to reload my save file. This issue happened to me twice.

One other minor complaint is that the map was a little bit at the confusing side for me. Mostly when you switch between floors in the same room… It gets confusing since you jump to another map.

Oh, and here is a minor annoying thing… You can’t skip the harvesting/free-ing of the little sisters. At least, I’m not able too.

The last complaint I have is that the elite Big Daddy’s are a tad bit overpowered. What I mean here is, when they back you into a corner… There is a big chance you get stuck. This issue can cost you your life. It’s also seriously annoying when you hypnotize a big daddy and it gets in your way.

In conclusion, this game is a very fun and enjoyable experience. While some parts could have been improved and would have benefited from some minor polish. I realize that I haven’t talked about everything this game has to offer; but I have to leave something for the people interested in the game and for my review.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you on another moment on my blog. Have a great end of the year and until 2016! Take care~:)

 

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

AAI2CoverenglishAce Attorney Wikia entry

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

Objection!

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

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

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

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

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

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

A scoop of a story.

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

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

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

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

No creativity anymore for subtitles.

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

The good:

+ The visuals are amazing just like the last games.

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

+ Lovely and thrilling story with a true unexpected end.

+ ….

The bad:

– The music is a bit so-so

– Some minor bugs in the translation.

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

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

Final thoughts:

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

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

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

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

Score: 90 / 100

Gaming Nostalgia: Skipper and Skeeto 1 – Tales from paradise park

Wikipedia entry

512ZFPC4MCLAs a kid, I played a lot of children’s and educative games. Well, not all the time of course, but I have a lot of fond memories of it. When I went to MiseryLC’s place the other day, he was actually so kind to lend me his copy of “Skipper en Skeeto 1 – Pretpark” which translates to “Skipper and Skeeto 1 – Funfair”. It’s a very nostalgic game for us both, and I decided to write an article about it. So yeah, here we go! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Rare game

61QY3X94DTLIf you are from America and you haven’t heard from this game, I won’t blame you. The creator of this game is actually from Denmark. While there is an English version, I grew up with a version in my mother tongue. I actually only just found out what the name of the game is in English.

I have fond memories of actually acting out this game with my sister. We hid objects to solve puzzles around the house and we played out the story with our own characters and objects.

Sadly enough, my copy got lost one day and I forgot about the game. After a couple of years, I started to play another game from my childhood again: Freddy Fish. Then, I wanted to play this game again. So, I went on a search on the internet to find a copy of this game. Then I learned how much this game went under the radar. I found various versions of this game in the original language, but I wasn’t able to find it in a language I could understand.

New copy

61AHHC15BXLIt’s a shame to admit that I haven’t played my “new” copy yet. I really should do that and write a sort of (quick) review of this game.

While the boxed version is extremely hard to find, the more common version you would find in Belgium is actually a version that was given away for free with a Dutch magazine for females. It still exists to this day. It’s called Libelle, and it’s full with topics ladies would read from the age of 18 and up.

It came in a jewel case with a little booklet telling you about how to install and the warranty. The usual stuff. Thankfully, the magazine hasn’t placed their logo all over the jewel case or disc (or in-game even.) The logo of the magazine is just in the top left corner once, and that’s it. Nicely done.

There are 11 mini-games in this game. All these games are optional and you don’t need to play them. But all the games are educational, for example, if you would click on the globe that you see in the screenshot (in-game of course), you would play a geographical quiz where you needed to guess where certain countries are. I actually remember some of them vaguely while writing this article. This is quite mindblowing if you realize that you haven’t played this game around over 15 years.

Wrapping up

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While I have memories of the sequel of this game, I think I said mostly everything I wanted to talk about of this game. It’s always difficult to write these articles since you want to write a quite in-depth look about a childhood game you remember, but there isn’t enough content for that.

While I could talk about the animation, voice-acting and other things, I think I will save that for the review I’m going to write when I have replayed this game.

 I wish I played more entries in the series or even bought more of them, since they are now quite rare and unrated. They are quite well done educational games. I even dare say that they rival the quality of Humongous Entertainment! So yeah. I hope you enjoyed reading this short article about Skipper and Skeeto. I also hope I can welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then game on and take care~