Tag Archives: popular

Review: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Explorers Of Time / Darkness & Sky (DS) ~ Expansion Dungeon?

PMD3

Wikipedia entry

So, remember when Nintendo released an enhanced version of each generation? Games like Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and Platinum come to mind. Well, they also did that once for their Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. When Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness released, a year later Nintendo released Explorers of the Sky. I have beaten Explorers of Time but I haven’t beaten this updated version yet. Why did I decide to write a review then? Well, the core mechanics haven’t changed in this version. In any case, it’s time to take a look at this game, what do I think about this entry in one of my favorite game series? As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article and/or the game. 

250px-MD_Time_EN_boxart

Note: In this review, I will focus mostly on the Sky version of the game. But my thoughts in this review apply to all versions of this game except the exclusive stuff in the Sky version.

Note 2: To avoid mentioning the full title of the game every time, I refer to the games by only using the last word in the title.

Let’s form a guild

Pokemon mystery dungeon explorers of the sky 2

So, you start up a new game and you get a personality quiz. This will decide which Pokémon you will be during the whole adventure. For some reason, I love doing this quiz. I have played it various times and I always end up with the same Pokémon.

So, the story of this game. You play as a human that got turned into a Pokémon. You meet your partner on the beach. After your partner gets his special artifact stolen from some rival gang, you and your partner go and reclaim the stolen artifact. After you have helped your partner, both of you team up and go join the local guild.

When you join the local guild, you learn that somebody is stealing the time gears and which controls time in that given area. So, you set out on an adventure to stop this madness and restore peace to the land.

And that’s just the basic part of the story. This story goes much deeper. You go on various quests and adventures, it’s great. The writing in this game is great, but some jokes are more aimed at the younger audience. In the Sky version, there is additional backstory added to the game. There is also a longer epilog added to the game. I still have to finish the epilog, but I love the added stories so far.

The visual presentation of this game is, as you would expect from a Nintendo game, excellent. I can understand that the visuals might turn some people off since they aren’t upgraded too much from the original GBA title. Still, the detail in the artwork is well done. Also, the gorgeous full-screen pictures are an amazing touch. A common criticism of this game is that

A common criticism of this game is that the dialogues go on and on for too long. I honestly didn’t mind this too much, but I do understand why people complain. This game could have benefitted from some cutscenes, even when it’s just a big picture that goes over the two DS screens.

Was this needed?

620279-pokemon-mystery-dungeon-explorers-of-sky-nintendo-ds-screenshot

The expanded Sky version has a very mixed reception. While some reviewers hated this version, some reviewers loved it. The biggest issue is that the things that were added in this version were somewhat minor at first. Why do I say minor at first? Well, this version has much more polish than the original versions.

Why do I say minor at first? Well, this version has much more polish than the original versions. Also, there are some many things added like: new dungeons, new story, more starters, new places and shops… But most of them appear after a bit of playtime or is post game content.

I think that this could have been handled better. I think that the Sky version should have been the only one that got released. It’s the superior version of Time and Darkness. So, if you haven’t played these games yet, don’t bother with Time and Darkness, play the Sky version.

Another interesting idea would be a sort of “save file transfer” feature. So, that you transfer your save file from either Time or Darkness to Sky and you get direct access to the new features without having to replay the whole game.

If you have played Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Blue or Red Rescue Team, you know what you can expect in this game. You go through randomized dungeons while fighting various other rogue Pokémon. Your goal is to reach the end of the dungeon so you can continue to the story.

Sometimes you have sentry duty over at the guild. Then you have to guess which 250px-MD_Darkness_EN_boxartPokémon wants to enter the guild. I think this mini game would be pretty tricky if you aren’t familiar with Pokémon. But, if you are familiar with Pokémon, this shouldn’t give you too much trouble.

When you aren’t exploring a dungeon, you can go and visit the local town to buy items and upgrade your Pokémon. You can also go on various side quests and/or hunt after wanted criminals.

The core gameplay can be repetitive, yet enjoyable. If you play this game more an extended amount of time, it might get boring. But, if you spice things up with some side quests and trying to progress the story, the game stays enjoyable.

In Sky, there is a new Spinda Café added, which adds some new mechanics into the game. But, I’ll leave that for you to find out. One of them is a recycling mechanic and another is the lottery mechanic. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Check it out since it will help you in your journey.

When you die in a dungeon, you get kicked back to the start of the dungeon or the mid-way checkpoint. The catch is that you lose some items and almost all your cash. So be careful what you take with you since you can loose it when you aren’t careful.

The music for this game is excellent. There is one song that almost every time hits a cord with me. That song’s name is “Don’t Ever Forget – I don’t want to say goodbye…” and it plays near the climax of the whole game. To avoid spoilers, I’m not going to say too much about it, but it still gives me goosebumps while writing this part of the review. And I’m not the only one. Just go on YouTube and read the comments. Yeah, you will understand what I mean.

The music adds so much to this game. There are so many memorable moments that are made so much more powerful with the soundtrack. So, I highly recommend playing this game with a good pair of headphones. Thank me later.

A quick note about the sound design, it’s great. But honestly, due to the amazing soundtrack, it didn’t pay too much attention to the sound design to comment too much about it.

Snatch that jewel

Pokemon mystery dungeon explorers of the sky 1

This game can be pretty difficult in some places. But, most of those moments can be defeated with some grinding. Yet, sometimes you have or can get lucky and finish a difficult dungeon by finding the stairs on each floor.

In Sky, there are various tweaks at the difficulty. But the random monster houses can be so cheap. I died more than once because of this.

The controls for this game are great. I didn’t have any problems with them. The only annoying thing is that you attacking diagonally is a nightmare. I had to struggle with the controls more than once to do that. Also, attacking at a corner doesn’t work. Your attack always misses. This is fixed in later entries in the series.

Due to the randomized nature of the dungeons you enter, there is a lot of replay value in this game. But, you will miss a skip button for skipping the story bits.

Speaking about that, something that annoyed me was the end of the day after you finished your missions. You go through dinner with your guild and it takes a bit too long. I honestly think that a skip button for this would help. But, that would be tricky since sometimes at night time, you get important story bits. So, I can understand why it isn’t added.

This game’s length is great. If you play through the game to just beat the main story, you will have 30-ish hours of gameplay ahead of you. But, I have read that when you want to complete this game, you have over 150 hours of game time ahead of you.

So, that’s everything I wanted to talk about in this game. I didn’t talk about some parts, but hey, that means there are still surprises for you to find when you decide to give this game a try. So, it’s time to wrap up this whole review in the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

-Some minor issues like not being able to attack at corners aren’t fixed from the previous entry in the series.

-The bad reception for the Sky version is understandable. Due to the release of Sky, the Darkness and Time versions look unpolished.

-This game could have benefitted from some cutscenes.

-A skip button for the story isn’t here. This would benefit 2nd playthroughs so much.

The good:

+ Great story and writing.

+ Great visuals.

+ Amazing music.

+ Fun, yet sometimes repetitive, gameplay.

+ …

Final thoughts:

If you want to give this game a shot, I highly recommend playing the Sky version. If you think the games are worth a replay, you might give the Time & Darkness a chance. But remember, like I said in the review, the Sky version is better since it has much more polish than the originals.

This game is excellent. This game is one of my favorite games in the series and I can’t wait to finish the additional content. I have beaten this game at least 4 times, so that’s why I wrote a review instead of a first impression.

I can understand people who are let down by the Sky version since they played Darkness and/or Time first. But, don’t let it discourage you to not play this game. You would miss out on a great Pokémon spin-off that is slowly growing into an amazing series.

This game doesn’t have too many flaws, but the flaws it has aren’t too big of a deal in my eyes. They didn’t stop me from enjoying the game and having a great time.

In any case, thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. 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: 95/100

Review #019: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 5 – Dual Destenies (3DS eShop) review ~ How Do You Feel?

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

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

Ace Attorney Wiki entry

So, it has come to this. This case is the hardest to crack. I want to prosecute this game and get a “Must Play” verdict. Yet, I’m up against some serious competition. So, let’s see. What is in my court record? A lot— What? Oh, that’s great! You have the perfect man for this job? What’s his name? Reviewer NekoJonez? Okay. We will give this a shot! 

16 November 2013 – 9 PM

NekoJonez’s Gaming Room

Ahn, mister Introduction. What? You want me to review this new game on the eShop I just finished? Okay, I was planning too… What?! This review will decide your verdict? -Gulp- Okay. I hope that the comments will tell me how they liked this article and or the game…

Opening statement

download

So it has come to my attention that this game will receive DLC around the time the new Zelda game is going to be released. Yet, I have to study as well. So it’ll be a busy period for me as a reviewer. Yet after several years of absence, how ironic that Phoenix Wright was also absent from the story in the last games, Phoenix Wright is back. In this new game, he shines. Like I made clear in my first impression article of this game.

Now that I finished it, I’m going to review it. After looking to a disappointment in the first place, which is the DLC, I think I’m going to take that back. A totally new case is going to come and I’m rather excited for it. As usual, I’m trying to read up as little as I can about it. Here is Nintendo World Report’s article about the new case.

In this game, we get 5 new amazing cases. Each with their unique story like all previous Ace Attorney games. Capcom’s writing is again top notch here, and it’s surely a prime example to visual novels and adventure games. Yet, I have to point one thing out that kind of bugs me.

So, this game takes place 8 years in the future from all other games. But somehow the humans evolved to killing people using the “stab-y stab-y” method. Come on writers, I know you can be more creative! Gunshots, pushing people over the edge… are just examples of what you could have used. I just wish the DLC isn’t going to be a case where the victim is going to be stabbed. Another thing is that in most of the cases, the prosecutor is the same guy. While it does help get the personality of him very well explained, I felt like he was overused. And that the returning characters got underused. Like Pearls or Edgeworth. Such a wasted potential.

Yet, every returning character is presented in a beautiful way. The story is now supported with anime cutscenes which make the game as beautiful as -bleep-. I extremely enjoyed reading them all. And I do admit that I often presented some of the wrong evidence since the reactions can be so extremely funny.

Whilst you get more out of the game’s plot when you played the previous games, newcomers won’t be weirded out by it. Since they explain a lot of things with flashbacks or “This reminds me of…”.

It’s quite clear that the character development is quite up there. Yet, some people found Athena Cykes a boring character. I tend to disagree. She is a well-developed character. And the case where she is the attorney is one of my favorites in the game. Yes, in this title you don’t play the whole game as the same attorney. That makes up for the prosecutor flaw. But let’s leave it here for the story since otherwise, we are still here tomorrow. But let’s not forget several typos’s in the game. Hopefully, they patch this!

New yet not better

wright-dual

So, the new gameplay mechanics. The mood matrix is such an interesting idea. It adds to the game a lot. It’s less difficult than the locks from Phoenix or Apollo’s bracelet. It’s something I actually imaged coming to the series while playing the previous games.

Taking the lessons learned from the Miles Edgeworth spin-off games, the whole scene is now searchable. But this time in stellar 3D graphics. You can turn and move around easily and the controls are extremely nice.

The game presents beautiful locations in each and every game. And they are all really interesting since we haven’t visited them in the previous entries in the series. Like a murder in college. It blew my mind. Ugh, I’m talking again about the story.

I have to give credit where credit is due. The user interface is above amazing for this game! Now you have a save button right in front of your face. Also, you can skip the dialogue from the get-go. I do admit, this brings the possibility that you miss some dialogue. But Capcom has thought about that, they have a button where you can check on the past dialogue.

A change that has mixed opinions for me is the fact that you can “try again” right if your meter drained. But you get a full bar, and you start at the question you failed at. While this takes away the problem of spending too much time with re-playing the case, it does take away from the difficulty. Yet, I have to admit, I saved all the time before these kinds of questions. So, it’s like I said, a mixed feature.

I truly missed the feature where you can view the evidence in 3D. It’s not present in this version, only once or twice. But the features which are present are lovely. Like a notepad where they keep a sort of “To Do” list. So, getting stuck isn’t a problem anymore. Also, now they inform you when you are completely done with a scene. So, missing anything isn’t a problem any longer.

But enough about the gameplay mechanics and such, next!

B-E-A-UTIFUL

Phoenix-Wright-Dual-7If you play this game without the 3D slider set to max, SHAME on you. The new graphics are beautiful and aid a lot with the new feel of the game. While for some critics, it feels a bit too different from the old Ace Attorney games, it’s still top notch. What I am saying here is that it’s one of the best looking games in the series but not the best in terms of story.

In the cutscenes, the beautiful graphics continue. And the attention to detail is amazing. The animation of this game has blown me away. And how lovely that you can view the cut-scenes again when you 100% completed the game. So, you don’t have to play through the game to see the cutscenes again.

Speaking of the animation. It’s superb! The attention to detail is amazingly well done. And the game feels much more alive now. And the animation is so much better in 3D. You feel like you are really there.

The sound effects help an awful lot with it as well. They are tight and on the spot. And they feel new and not stolen from the best sound library around.

But the music is something you can applaud this game for. The Ace Attorney games always had amazing music and this game isn’t an exception. The tracklist has some new and old remixed tracks which make this game a blast to play.

So, the game’s length is extremely decent. Around 20 hours of play, you’ll get more than the crazy price they ask on the eShop for it. Which is at the moment of writing only 25euro’s.

So, let’s go on with the conclusion right here. Since this game deserved a longer review, and if I would write it to the length I wanted it to, I would be still writing till I go to sleep and we don’t want that right?

Conclusion

The bad

– Some spelling issues.

– Mixed “Try Again” feature.

– Underused characters.

– STAB-Y STAB-Y STAAAAAAAB.

The good

+ Extremely improved UI.

+ Great length.

+ Lovely music.

+ Great story.

+ Nice voice acting.

+ DLC is better than I expected.

+ Graphics that put the 2D ones to shame.

Final thoughts:

So, this game is perfect. Some minor flaws but we can’t rip a game apart for it right? It could have been a lot better story wise for me but it was still a better story than the last visual novels I played. (When I don’t count Corpse Party, that is.)

Let’s keep these final thoughts short. When you love Ace Attorney, play this game. Otherwise, play it. This is a must-have gem on 3DS! (And let’s ignore that I totally blew the theme of this article in the second part since I wrote this over two days).

Score: 95/100