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Review: Bioshock 2 (PC) ~ Daddy, please!

BioShock2_box.png

Wikipedia pageOfficial website

Back in late 2015, I wrote an article on Bioshock. Then, in middle of 2016, I wrote my review of Bioshock Infinite. Now, today I want to talk about the 2nd game in the series, Bioshock 2. It’s no secret that I love the Bioshock series. It’s one of my favorite game series. Weirdly enough, this game is pretty well received by the press, yet some Bioshock fans and gamers hate this game. Now, in this review, I’ll tell you my honest opinion. Is this game good or is it bad? So, let’s go to Rapture again to try and crack this case. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of the article. 

Footnote: for this review, I played the original version. I have beaten the original but I haven’t beaten the remaster yet.

Daddy, please!

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8 years after the events of Bioshock, Subject Delta is woken up by little sisters. You thought that all little sisters were saved in the original Bioshock? Well, some things happened and now, you play the role of Subject Delta and you have to save the day. Not only that, you are a Big Daddy without a Little Sister.

This time, the plot is quite different from the original Bioshock. Personally, I think it’s well written. It touches on some subjects that make the story quite interesting. There is also a section where you play through the eyes of a little sister. This was a great idea. It made the setting of Bioshock more real to me.

The voice acting was, to be honest, hit or miss. There were moments that the actors delivered the line perfectly. But some lines could have been directed better. In those moments, the voice acting missed the soul of the character or the game. But, this problem might be because, like many others, I compare it to the original Bioshock. The voice acting in that game was exceptional.

The biggest issue with the story is that it’s bland at some points. I remember the introduction and the ending part of Bioshock 2. But, I don’t remember a lot of the middle section of the game, in terms of the story that is.

A bit more of Rapture

BioShock2

In this game, you discover a bit more of Rapture. You visit locations that you haven’t visited in the first game. Some locations are quite memorable. Yet, like I said before in this review, I don’t always remember what happened in those sections of the story.

One thing I don’t remember is multiplayer. Simply because I haven’t played any match online. But, when I read on the Bioshock Wiki, it sounds interesting. The only thing remember is that there aren’t a lot of players online though.

Visually, this game still looks great. If you find that the game needs a visual upgrade, the remastered edition. But be warned, the remastered version of this game lacks the multiplayer.

The animations in the game look amazing. The animation quality of the original Bioshock has returned and still looks as great as ever in this game. If it works that is. What I mean here is that sometimes, the animation bugged out for me and repeated three or four times before ending. Especially when the Splicers opened a door with a blow torch. In various occasions, the animation kept playing where it ended.

Overall, the visual presentation is pretty great. If you can stand the occasional visual glitch, that is. I especially love the design of the Big Sisters. This is a new type of enemy that you encounter in this game. They are pretty scary enemies to deal with since they are even more powerful than the Big Daddy’s. They can hurt you pretty bad.

If you want to beat this game, you will have to give or take 15 hours of game time. If you rush this game, you get 11 hours. This game has some replay value since you can explore various areas for missed tonics and plasmids.

Gameplay-wise, this game plays very similarly to the first Bioshock.  This game is a shooter as well. You will have various tonics at your disposal to play around with. There is also a new gameplay section in this game. Since you play as a Big Daddy, you can drop off your Little Sister at “an angel”. At this moment, you drop off your Little Sister while she collects ADAM. Then this game turns into a “defend the point” shooter. A lot of enemies come in various locations and attack you. If they reach the girl, she doesn’t continue to gather the ADAM. I think this would have been better if you had the possibility of losing your little sister then. That would make this section tenser.

You are a Big Daddy now

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There is one gameplay change I like but hate at the same time. I’m happy that they changed the hacking mini game into something else. But, I hate what they changed it into. They changed it into a reaction based

You have to press a button while the arrow is in the green section to continue hacking the machine. The issue I have with it is that the landing areas get so small, it gets very hard. I don’t have the best reflexes or rhythm and I tripped more alarms than necessary.

In this game, you also play with a lot of new weapons compared to the original game. Of course, you are a Big Daddy in this title.  The same counts of plasmids and tonics. I loved the “Hypnotize” and “Electro Shock” plasmids a lot. I have used them the most.

The “Decoy” plasmid was pretty handy as well in the sections where you needed to protect your Little Sister. Switching between plasmids and weapons is pretty great. Like the controls of this game. I didn’t have any issues with them.

Something I didn’t need to complain about was the UI of this game. Every option was easy to find and everything that needed to be displayed was displayed. You can also disable parts of the UI if you want a more immersive experience.

The difficulty curve in this game is pretty good. There were some sections that were pretty tense, but I enjoyed the gameplay a lot. While the adventure itself might be short, there are so many different ways to kill your enemies making it a somewhat unique experience each playthrough. You can also research Little Sisters after you killed the accompanying Big Daddy.

Sadly enough, the whole ride isn’t enjoyable. Some moments of the gameplay are quite boring. There are sections where you need to go from point A to B under water. I hated those parts since they felt as filler gameplay. But, I can understand the inclusion for two reasons.

One, the add to the character of a Big Daddy. You saw them repairing broken parts of Rapture in the original game in the ocean.

Two, they can be used as what developers call a “Loading Gate”. These moments give the game time to unload the old part of the game and load in the new part of the game. This is a trick to save resources.

The soundtrack of this game is pretty decent. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the music from the time period that Bioshock takes place in, but the themes played during the combat and exploration sections are lovely.

The sound-effects of this game are pretty well done as well. I played this game with some gaming headphones and I have to say, that they really helped to immerse me into the game. Thanks to the sound design, I jumped out of my skin quite a few times when I didn’t see an enemy coming or when I was battling with a Big Sister.

Also, this game got a DLC with one additional story. It’s called Minerva’s Den. This DLC adds a 5-hour campaign to the main game and it’s pretty decent. I have seen and played worse DLC’s. I haven’t completely beaten it yet, but I’m near the end of the DLC. If you are planning to buy and play this game; I highly recommend that you buy the DLC as well. You will get more out of your game.

That said, I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time to get to the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

-Sometimes the game can be pretty buggy. Mostly the animations suffer from this.

-The voice acting is not good.

-The new hacking minigame is just bad.

-Parts of the story aren’t memorable, which is a shame since it’s an interesting story.

-The multiplayer is removed in the remaster.

The good:

+ Addictive gameplay with the new plasmids, weapons, tonics and Little Sisters.

+ The game looks still pretty great visually.

+ Amazing sound design and a great soundtrack.

+ Longer than your typical shooter.

+ …

Final Thoughts:

Is Bioshock 2 a bad game? Not in my opinion. Let me explain it this way, Bioshock 2 isn’t like Half Life 2. The sequel isn’t better than the original game.

Sidenote: let me be clear with calling Half Life 2 better than Half Life 1, I hear more praise for the second game compared to the first. That’s all.

Bioshock 2 has problems, it lacks polish in some areas and you can hear that in the voice acting and see that in the various minor bugs left in the game. On the Wikipedia article, you can read an interesting development history of this game. The developers had quite a big task ahead of them. How are you going to follow up the amazing Bioshock?

I personally think that this game is an amazing sequel that has some flaws. If you enjoyed Bioshock, there is a chance you might enjoy the sequel. Give it a chance, since this game has some amazing moments. And if you want the best visual experience, you can play the remastered version. About the remastered version, Drakulus wrote a pretty interesting article on the remaster of the original. You can read it here.

That’s everything for this review folks! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for reading and I hope to be able to welcome you in another article. But until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 70/100

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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!

First Impression: Venture Forth (PC) ~ Alpha Peek

logoOfficial website

First of all, this is an impressive project. This game is made by a small indie developer and has been in development for over two years. They mailed me because they wanted me to take a look at this game after I wrote about Delver. Since this game is in the same style, they thought I might be interested in it. Indeed, I am. While it took me a while to take a look at this game since I was extremely busy, I finally found the time recently. So, let’s dive right into Venture Forth. This article is written on an unfinished build of the game, this is also mostly meant to hype the game a bit and give some feedback to the developers. Ready, let’s go! Alpha build of the 4th July, here we come!  (And as usual, feel free to give me a comment with your opinion of this game and/or the content of the game.)

Warning: This game is in one of my favourite genres. Also, I wasn’t able to make time to write this article, so I had to push it back for almost two months. And also, when I’m asked to write an article, I try to give the best feedback possible. So, prepare yourself for a longer article then you are used of me.

What needs more work?

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The developer said to me that some of the visuals are place holders. So, I’m not going to talk too much about that. While I honestly think that some items and 3D textures look mighty fine already, others like a potion is just an arrow in this current build.

Most likely, the fact that we are missing a menu for options like key-bindings, starting a new game and all that is something that is still in development. If it’s not, please would it be possible to give the player the option to change how they want to control the game? I live in one of those weird keyboard countries where the lay-out of my keyboard is not qwerty, but azerty.

An annoying bug I found in the game is that when you want to switch from full screen to windowed mode, it kept running in full screen. This game uses the usual enter+alt method, which is no big deal. But they might want to look into this bug. Hopefully it’s not because of my own made pc.

This is just a feature suggestion of mine. The map is set up quite interestingly, but what if you give each area a different colour on the map. Makes it easier to see which area ends where. Just a minor thing.

Something that’s not that minor is the lack of lighting in some areas. Don’t read me wrong, I think it’s nice that they went for the realistic approach and make the areas where natural light can’t come through, it’s extremely dark. But when you use a torch, it gives off barely enough light to even properly navigate the dungeon. The area “The Nest” was a perfect example of this.

Labyrinth 2014-10-22 02-49-56-15I could complain about the lack of a tutorial yet, the game controls and plays like any other typical dungeon game. One thing I think they should really change and that is the starting area. You start out having to jump down a ravine. Not once, but if I recall correctly, about three times, you loose some health and this will set off a handful of players to not play the game. It’s not really inviting and it gives the game the first impression of using cheap tricks. At least in my opinion.

Same with some puzzles. This game uses a few puzzles where you barely get any hints. Without spoiling too much, let me tell you. When you are stuck and have nowhere to go, try a staff. It took me way too long to figure this out. I’m not saying it wasn’t rewarding to find this out, but a subtle hint when you enter the area would be nice. But really subtle. In the current version of the game, it was a nearly see-through wall. Hinting that there is something at the other side. But before you got there, it was a long hallway. Maybe put in the rocks an image that looks like the staff somewhere in that hallway? That’s what I mean with subtle, something you wouldn’t notice or easily miss.

Before I move on to the more positive parts of the game, I want to talk about something that won’t help with the first impression as well. The first enemies you encounter are a bit too strong in my taste. Actually, that’s just a nitpick, since if you know what you are doing, the enemies can be quite the pushovers.

What is already good?

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I’m not going to give criticism on the music. Well, honestly, the ambient music that’s playing in the background. The reason is that it helps building the atmosphere quite well. That there is only one melody/track that plays, I can understand. It’s an Alpha after all. If they weren’t planning to add some more music, then a problem could arrive. Some players would get annoyed by the repetitive music and this would turn up as a negative in various reviews.

Earlier I talked about the map system. As a fan of these style of games, I could start complaining about the difficulty to see rooms and all that… Honestly, I think the map is one of the best features in this game. It’s a fully 3D view of the world you play in. It also shows some hidden things in the map, most likely put there from the developer to control the game. (read: spawning enemies or helping with the lighting of an area.) Which is a really cool touch.

That the enemies aren’t shown on the map is something I’m on the fence about. On one hand, you could say it’s annoying since you can’t plan your strategy. On the other hand, it really helps build fear into the game. You never know if an area is safe to cross or not.

The game runs quite smooth already. I got a steady 60fps, which is quite nice. The sound effects are actually perfect for this game. There weren’t many sound effects I would change. I would add a few here and there like for when an enemy switches equipment.

Yes, that’s a thing. Later in the game, the enemies will switch weapons. Long range combat, they will use a bow. Short range? Well, prepare for a sword fight. In this game, you can also prepare a few load-outs. Choose carefully though, since this game doesn’t offer an inventory system. So, that means, when you want to use your potions, you will have to use a load-out. You can also equip two items and armour. Logical, since we only have two hands. This is the reason why you need to plan out your strategy quite well.

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So, the actual controls are mighty smooth. While I think they should add a run button in the full release, the aiming and such is extremely nice for an alpha. Also, this game would benefit from a crouch move where you can’t fall off ledges, like in Minecraft.

I think I talked about everything I wanted to talk about so it’s time to wrap up this article.

Conclusion

I really love where the game is going. I understand that this game is still in alpha and needs some polishing. But truth to be told, the base game is there. The core idea is present and it puts a new spin on exploration. It’s not simply a clone or just an explorer game. It tries to do something new with the different load-outs you can easily switch between and the amazing map.

It can become a great game, if they worked on expanding the first impressions that the game gives you. If I would give it a score in it’s current state, while keeping in mind that it’s an alpha build, it would be around a 7/10.

Thanks for letting me play this game, I actually enjoyed myself. Don’t be afraid to send me a review copy when it’s fully released guys, I will for sure write a full review about it then.

Anyway, I think I will leave it at that for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed preparing and writing it. And please, give their official site a look, they deserve it.

Review #027: Tomodachi Life (3DS) ~ Compare That Review

TomodachiLifeOfficial site – Forum review

Note: this review is longer then my usual ones. 

A while back, I was planning to take a break with my blog. A hiatus as it were. I would use the reviews the amazing people of Arpegi wrote and give them a nice place on my blog. Yet, it has never come to that. Yet, I have not forgotten about it. I had too much fun writing my article about Bravely Default and comparing it to the opinion of my friends over at GamersHive. Now, I’m going to compare my opinion of this game with Inu’s. So, I’ll be quoting her review through-out this review. While I haven’t beaten this game, I think I’m allowed to review this game. Why? Since you can’t really beat it. There is always something you can do. It’s like a sandbox game. Agreed, I don’t own this game for too long yet. Actually, I own it for 3 days now. But by then, you have seen most of the game. So, I hope you can understand why this isn’t going to be a first impression. Don’t worry, I played this game for over 10 hours. So, I think that’s a solid base to review it too. Anyways, time to get reviewing. Feel free to leave a comment on the article and or the game. And if you really liked it, consider making an account on our forums so you can talk to us. (Ps: all screenshots I use, are the screenshots made by Inu. They are amazing Inu) 

Is that me?

WoASG3QWhile Inu was writing her review of this game, she noticed that my Mii was on the box-art. It’s true. The Mii eating a hamburger next to “Life” looks a whole lot like my Mii. I don’t think I should look for a reason behind this, since I think it’s nothing more then a pure coincidence.

Story

Anyways, that said, let’s go on with the review. First section is the story. Yeah, the story. So, about the story…

Though there’s not much to the game in terms of backstory, there is one thing. You own an island.

– Inu

Thanks Inu. That’s exactly it. In this game you own an island. Compare the idea to a game like Animal Crossing. In that game you own a town. And that’s it for the story. You create the rest of the story yourself.

Now, the big difference with Animal Crossing and Tomodachi Life is control. You are more of a observer then a major in this game. You can control some things like if two Mii’s should start a friendship or not, what they eat or where their room is. But that’s really it.

So, in terms of story, Inu said it perfectly. She said, and I quote:

You made a resident that looks like yourself. You can make more residents. Everyone calls you <your Mii’s nickname>’s look-alike. Fun is to be had. But seriously, most of the “story” comes from just watching the Miis interact with each other and have fun. They make friends, go on dates, get married, play with the things you give them…and maybe, someday, have children of their own.

– Inu

Gameplay

gEr5xCqHonestly, this is part Sims, part Animal Crossing, part ‘sit and watch to see what they do’. A lot of the fun just comes from watching them.

– Inu

So, how to describe this game? Honestly, I would describe it more as a sort of Island Simulator – Nintendo Edition. This game is not for everybody. Like Goat Simulator, this game is only for you if it looks interesting to you. If it looks boring with reading reviews or looking at video’s, don’t buy it. You won’t have much fun with it.

I enjoy looking at how my actions and suggestions to the problems of my Mii’s influence my inhabitants. Now, is there more you can do? Well, honestly, I feel like this game has a solid foundation but didn’t build further.

There is quite a lot you can influence, but I feel that this game is lacking quite a lot. What is lacking you might ask? First, the fact that kids go on a part time job. How crazy is that? Well, that’s not really a lack of something, but it’s a complaint at least.

So, this game got a day 1 patch. And yet, I was able to find a strange bug in the game. After a few minutes of play, I saw that my clock was running a minute or two behind. So, I adjusted my clock in-game and continued playing. When I closed my 3DS, I noticed that my whole system clock was messed up. It was suddenly 1st January 2005. And the game adapted that.

To add to the confusion, the game didn’t like me changing the time. And here who go at a strong point of this game. You can’t simply cheat with time in this game. You will get punished. From not receiving new items to not having donations. That’s a great addition to the game.

A great feature in this game is how there is no real “dead time”. What I mean here is not that there aren’t any moments there is nothing to do with your Mii’s… rather, there is no time in the day where every Mii is sleeping OR where every shop is closed. Thank you Nintendo, this made the game trip friendly. This way you don’t have to wait to play this game when you are travelling by car to somewhere.

Lacking?

XIpVQqLSo, first of all, the treasures. It’s nothing really more then a way to earn money. You simply sell all your treasures at the pawn shop and done, you have a ton more money. Come on Nintendo! This is really lame. At least in Animal Crossing you have a museum!

A minor complaint is that you can’t use the down arrow to go your max amount of items in the pawn shop. Oh well, that’s a small annoyance.

Another thing that I really find lacking is in the controls. The controls aren’t very good.

The game controls about as fantastically as you can expect from Nintendo. Since the game is mostly menus, there’s not much you can screw up, though. They use the gyrowhatsit in the 3DS perfectly, too.

– Inu

Like I said earlier, I disagree Inu. The big issue here is that there is no button to take a screenshot of both screens. This makes you having to make a screenshot of the top screen and the bottom screen just seconds after each other and hope they match up. While this shouldn’t be that big of an issue, it still is an annoyance.

Also, I wish you could control the menu’s with the buttons. Yup, without a stylus, you’re pretty much screwed. Or you don’t mind pressing your touch screen with your fingers. There are some menu’s you can use with the buttons, but not everything. But in terms of the menu’s there is one huge issue. If you made a mistake, eg: giving the wrong present to a Mii, you can’t revert it. That’s a big annoyance.

Quickly about the rest

kPnJHnMOkay, before I end off this review, I want to quickly talk about the other things in this game. I can’t talk about the difficulty and the length since that’s not playing a major part in this game.

The game is pretty cute. The synthesizer voices add a lot of character to the Mii’s on your island. The graphics are quite nice too. But the strong point here is the animation. The Mii’s act just like a real person would react. And I admit, I believed once or twice that this were real people.

Now, the music is pretty basic. Don’t get me wrong, the music is quite well made but I have heard Nintendo do a lot better with it’s music. It’s just that this music isn’t memorable at all. It’s not as catchy as their other tunes.

Anyways, I think it’s time for the summary.

Summary

The bad:

– The music could have been better. More catchy.

– Gameplay, it’s a bit lacking… (See positives for the rest of this sentence)

– Issues with the time settings.

– Some more use of the buttons would made the controls perfect.

The good:

+ … but what you get is really addicting.

+ Amazing atmosphere. You really feel that you’re living on an island.

+ A build in screenshot feature!

+ …

Closing thoughts: 

Inu and many others give this game a high to a near perfect score. Now, I find this a bit too high. This game isn’t a bad game, far from it! But this game lacks depth. I wish I could change the music of the lyrics of the Mii’s singing or see the pets run around while actually interacting with the Mii’s. (Once you enter their room, the pets disappear in thin air.)

We got a solid game by Nintendo, but I think they could have done more with it then what got got. Maybe they are making a sequel already with more things to do and more to explore and experience. I’m crossing my fingers at least.

Notice how I haven’t talked too much in depth about this game in this review. This is because I want some things for you guys to find and experience without being spoiled here on my blog.

Anyways, this is the end of the review. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy this one. I really loved writing this one. I hope to see you another time here on my blog. Until then!

Score: 70 / 100

Gaming Nostalgia #2: A story that started my career as leader

downloadWell, it seems that I’m sick again. Thank the lords that I’m able to do various things. I have mostly a pretty stuffy nose and sometimes a heavy headache. But I’m healthy enough to go to college and write articles. Thanks to my medication. At these times I try to write a ton of articles or I look back to the past. In this case, I combine both. This second article in my gaming nostalgia series will be quite different than the original. Since I’m telling a quite personal story. Let’s just start the story I hinted at various times. All while I’m listing to amazing music. So, without further ado, here is the second gaming nostalgia article. 

My life as a child

Nintendo GameboyBefore that trip my life was extremely simple. I wrote small stories I rarely shared with friends. It was a kind of secret hobby. I was obsessed with creating my own games. Back then, the stories I wrote were more in the style of a series, movie or game. When I look back at the drawings and notes I made, I’m blown off my socks how simple and great the ideas are. I even made my own Pokémon game named Pokémon Black, White and Grey years before the actual games came out.

My biggest addiction was, and somewhat still is, the gameboy. I played the crap out of every game I owned. I’m now 21 years old and I still own nearly every game I owned back then. So, I was that child who made amazing things but had just a few friends. Somebody with a much potential but it wasn’t used. Why that is, let’s say that those things are rather private. M’kay?

I didn’t know that I was actually a natural born leader. Somehow, I’m able to lead a group of people who share the same passion or some similar interests. I wasn’t aware of it myself until that trip. My life changed then. I went from that child who barely made any friends to the most popular kid in the hotel. Sadly enough, I don’t think anybody remembers the time from back then. But if you recognize yourself in this story, feel free to contact me.

The trip

tumblr_mdlu4cepy01qh0t50o1_500You probably had it happen to you several times in the past. Your family takes you on a trip to a place a long distance away and you decide to travel by car. As a kid you were allowed to buy a new game you were allowed to start when the trip started. I still remember a few games I played at the backseat of my dad’s car back then.

When I arrived at the hotel after a 15 hour car ride, I finally settled in. I played a lot on my Gameboy Advance SP. Since I remember that I didn’t own a DS. Somebody there owned a DS and he was so kind to lend it to me. I was hooked and I tried various things and times to get one myself.

After the first day, I started playing with some friends I made in the bar on our gameboy’s. By our surprise, some kids came to us and asked if they could play along. We agreed and we played as long as we were allowed on our gameboy’s. At the end I asked to meet again the next day. They agreed and they said that it might be possible that they bring other friends. I agreed and I had no single clue what I actually agreed too.

The Gameboy Club

The first night, I was in a group of, let us say… a 5 kids. Myself included. The next day, we were suddenly with 10. Alright, that’s epic. But the following days, I couldn’t believe my own eyes. The number kept growing and growing. By the 4th day we had over 40 children playing together on their gameboy.

Everybody brought their own gameboy, games, batteries and cables. Believe it or not, we even got an extension cord from the hotel management since there weren’t enough outlets.

Our group had a place at the bar. The people at the clubs that were looking over me and my original friend group allow us to leave a few minutes before the activity was over. That way we were able to prepare our spot at the bar. It was a big circle with tables in the middle so everybody had a place to put their stuff.

On the 6th day we had almost every kid who had a gameboy or something to play with in the “Game Club”. I remember some parents coming to talk to me for information. For some reason, I was seen as a leader. And when one day a game was missing, I was actually questioned by the hotel staff in order to find it back. Thankfully we found it back thanks to my list.

Wait, what list are we talking about here? Well, the day before I started to make a general list of the games everybody brought. It was a big chunk of work but I didn’t care. I felt it was pretty useful and that way kids could see who had which game. So, if they wanted to play an old Pokemon game, they just had to look to the list.

From the 6th day on, kids came to me and asked when we started with the “Game Club”. It was an extremely sweet experience. I still remember walking around in the group checking if there weren’t any arguments that needed to be solved. I also explained to new kids how our system worked. Parents were extremely happy to see how such a big group of kids actually came together without them having to do one thing.

The final days

Although, I had some things that parents didn’t like. I still remember some parents being displeased that their child was looking forward to play games with us. They said those typical things like “addicted to games” and “it’s not good for you, playing so much.”. I still have the same motto from back then. I even made it into my current tag line. “Addicted? Nah, passionate.” What I mean with that, is as long as you know when to stop and where the limits are, is that’s a big passion.

Near the last days of my trip, I had to ask somebody else in order to manage the group. I still have papers were I wrote questions about games. Back then, I already knew more then I normally should about games. I knew small things about programming and gameplay. I even dare say that I was a young reviewer already back then. But keep in mind, I was around the age of 10 back then.

The questions I asked were about things like: “How many Pokémon games do exist?” and “Name me three platformers”. I was less crazy back then it seems.

Sadly enough, it’s all I remember clearly. Here and there I have some vague memories. Like I know that one time a parent actually purchased me and my crew a drink for all our hard work. I also remember that I didn’t had much time to actually play and enjoy the games at the last days since I had too much managing to do. Somehow it didn’t bother me. It felt natural.

But I know for sure that since that day, I wanted to entertain people. I started to talk about my stories with friends and a few years later I even started blogging and making my own games. While I don’t have any files of those games I created myself anymore, those experiences helped me learn quite a lot about the gaming culture.

I think it’s time to wrap up. I don’t want to write an additional part where I talk about how this changed my life. I think it’s quite clear. My passion grew and grew. Maybe in another article I might talk about other influential events in my life that made me start blogging and such.

So, that was the story about my first leadership. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this article and remembering those fun memories. Thanks for reading and until the next time.

NekoJonez: Are digital downloads really a benefit for the market?

steamos_2_web-100055303-large_thumbAre platforms like Steam and Origin really a benefit for the games market? Must everything now go digital or is that something that might doom the market? Let’s think about it. I think that this movement is a double-edged sword. It’s good but there is a big “But”. Cap was intended. I can’t deny that platforms like Steam and other have many advantages. But clearly, I have also a blaming finger to raise. I talked and discussed with many of my friends about this. From people in ButtonSmashers, Arpegi and outside of both of them. And after many rewrites, I think it’s time to voice my view on this. Feel free to debate with me on this in the comments. Flame comments will be removed of course. 

My biggest problem

Many people see this as the way of the future. Everything needs to go digital. It makes things so much easier. Yet, there is a big issue that comes with this. Security. Think about this, that your account is hacked and you lost all your progress and games. Or worse, they got your bank information. I have no doubt in my mind that this is something hackers in the future will be able to achieve.

Another issue is the fact that privacy is gone. Some people want to hide that they game since for some companies that are a big no if you want to be hired. Gamers have a big reputation thanks to some events that the media blew out of proportion. So, you have to hide. In addition to that, you can’t really hide your “guilty pleasure” games anymore. You know, those games that make your reputation of “hardcore gamer” go poof as snow for the sun.

And don’t get me started about abusing the system. There are some many ways to cheat the system and make fake money that can be used to buy games then. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good percentage of the sales on those digital platforms are actually illegal purchases gone undetected.

Android market feel

 

Best-Free-Android-Games-Of-2013I’m not going to lie, I bought a ton of games on Steam the past month. But I really man, a lot of them. And my fear got actually confirmed. I felt like being in some online app store. Where you can easily download games and install them. And I kept playing a part of the game and when I got a bit bored of the game, I downloaded the next one.

Isn’t that a bit harsh? There can be boring moments in a game but when you wouldn’t have this Steam or Origin, it was your newest game and then your motivation was higher. At least in my case.

Also, as a retro gamer, I saw that nearly all the games I played in the past are on Steam as well. I’m afraid I won’t survive any sale if one happens of a game on my wishlist.

My point here is that it became too easy to find new games and you start to think less about your budget. It’s not new that I hear people say that they got a ton of games from a sale but if you really look to it, how many games are actually played and or finished from the ones they bought? Probably not all of them.

Big dogs smelled money.

Before I explain my next point, I want to talk about another thing. I’m a big-time collector. If I’m at a garage sale, my mood is like: “Buy all the games!”. If I had the money for it, I would. Yet, going to a garage sale and trying to hassle or look for a game. That feeling of going home with a new stack of games felt so rewarding. And that’s a feeling I have lost with Steam and Origin. You just push in some numbers and do one or two clicks. You can’t hassle or try to lower the price. And looking for a game is just a search away.

But this is actually a nightmare for collectors. Physical copies are a thing of the past. I love being able to hold a game in my hands and showing it off to my friends and being like: “Hey, look I got this new game.” That might be a bit bragging but hey, who doesn’t do that from time to time?

But what in the name of the good games are big companies like Atari and Square doing on Steam? Selling their big titles like Call of Duty, Final Fantasy and various other franchises. Honestly, I don’t think it’s good for that. If I would be Steam, I would have only allowed indie or start-up developers to make their big entree in the market.

Scary

I’m also afraid that the ease of DLC for developers on Steam might slowly be the new norm. The satire game DLC Quest might become the future reality one day. In this game, you can’t even go left at the start of the game. You have to buy the DLC for it when you have enough in-game coins. And I have this one game called Tomb Raider that has a big load of DLC and yeah, I bought it all. Just because I hate when I don’t have the complete package.

One of the final issues I can come up with is maybe one of the scariest things. The fact you and those developers become independent (Edit: Thanks for noticing my mistake here BloodCat.) from one company. Image how big of a catastrophe it would be if Steam went bankrupt. Or when they couldn’t handle the server load and much data is lost. Scary thought no? Or that they become so big that local game stores go out of business. Many jobs lost.

In conclusion

I can’t deny that platforms like Steam or Origin are great things. Many indie developers can show off their games. You can also buy games that your local game store might not offer. And if those stores are too far away, you can easily buy them on those platforms.

But if you look at it, there are big flaws in this system you can’t deny. I won’t go explaining them again since I talked about it in this article. I’m sure that I forgot some things in my article but I’m sure that I got the most crucial written down.

Maybe a good message is that you shouldn’t forget that there are retailers and various other things to get your games outside of Steam and Origin. It’s such a nice thing in our gaming culture so let’s not go to a culture where we sit in front of a computer and don’t much a muscle to get our games since you can easily get them on Steam.