First Impression: The Legend Of Zelda – Breath Of The Wild (Wii U) ~ Hyping Hype

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Hype, hype and even more hype. That was the internet right before this game dropped onto store shelves. While many reviewers already finished the game, I’m only 10 hours into the game. But, I have played enough to talk about this game. While this game was in development, I tried to read as little press material as I can. To avoid spoiling myself. But I couldn’t avoid it, every social media I went to was full of the latest rumors and articles about this game. In any case, I picked up this game right after the launch weekend. During the launch weekend, I was out of town. For those who missed it, why I’m not playing this on the Nintendo Switch. Well, that’s because budget reasons and I’m waiting to buy the Switch until more games have been released on it. At the moment of writing this article, there are too few games being released on the Switch that I actually want to play. And because I already own a Wii U and the game has been released on the Wii U, why not.  Also, this article will be spoiler-free. Since, honestly, I haven’t finished the game myself. So, yeah. No worries about that. So, enough rambling… two weeks after the release of the game, it’s time to talk about my first impressions of this game. And as usual, feel free to leave your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below.

Stop that hype train?

 

When this game was announced, the hype train was real. Everybody and their dog were hyped for this game. An open world Zelda game that took inspiration from games like FallOut and Skyrim, what’s not to love. Well, To be really honest, I wasn’t hyped. I honestly was disappointed.  At first, I was afraid that Nintendo was making a Skyrim-clone in a Zelda coat of paint.

Maybe I’m unable to let go of the past, the at first, this game didn’t feel like a true Zelda game. In my eyes, a typical Zelda game was like the old-school Tomb Raider games. A linear adventure game with a big central world that you could explore. But after a few hours of playing this game, something started to click in me.

If you are skeptical of this game and you are afraid it changes way too much from the Zelda-formula; don’t worry too much. Since this game changes a lot of things but some changes are for the better. Something I truly love from this game is how you can do dungeons and quests out of order.

But, something that was truly lacking, a more alive overworld. Everything has been made more interesting in this game. But, I’ll talk more about that later in the article. Let’s take a quick look at the story first.

I was pleasantly surprised how this game is able to tell an interesting Zelda story. Especially since you can explore wherever and however you want. The story of this game has all your typical Zelda lore. The narrative is present wherever you go. You decide the pace of the story. When you want more story, you do the main quests. When you want to take a break from the story, you do side quests or explore.

Something I was both hyped and let down by is the voice acting. While the voice acting is very well done, I’m let down that it’s underused. It feels like every voice actor only had one or two sheets of papers with lines, and that was it. And so far I have seen, it’s all a monolog talking to Link. What a missed opportunity there. But, maybe I haven’t advanced far enough into the main story yet, but so far, I find that the voice acting is underused. But when it’s used, it’s amazing.

Run around

In the past, I stopped playing games like Skyrim because I was too overwhelmed by the skill and tech trees. Where was way too much to do in that game. But, in this game, you get a sort of tutorial in the first area. You get your first taste of the shrines, the world, the story, the gameplay and the controls. Right after you have beaten the first four shrines, you get the paraglider. And then, you can go out into the world and explore your heart’s content.

So, in this game, you play as Link. And in this title, he is equipped with a lot more abilities than before. You don’t have to wait to unlock the spin attack or something amongst those lines, Link can do them all from the word GO.

Honestly, I was able to learn the controls quite quickly in this game. The more advanced tricks were learned naturally or with a quick tutorial. The controls of this game are quite responsive and I rarely have trouble with them. Apart from some gyroscope puzzles in some shrines, I don’t have any issues with them. The only thing I always confuse are the buttons for your inventory and your map. I can’t count on one hand anymore how many times I have opened my map in the middle of a battle when I only wanted to change my weapon.

That reminds me, the combat in this game is almost perfect in my eyes. Apart from some weapons doing way too much damage, it’s quite alright. Something that frustrates be beyond believe as well is that some weapons do so much damage and when you pick them up, they are weaker then your current weapon. Annoying spears, ugh.

Time for nitpicking

 In general, I think this game is pretty great. While it’s not 100% Zelda in my eyes, it’s growing more and more in my heart every hour I spend on it. I start to notice the attention to detail the developers put into this game. To create a living and breathing world that every Zelda fan would feel home in.

Something that also helps are the gorgeous visuals and the amazing soundtrack. Seriously, the presentation of this game is perfect. But, it does come with a price. The frame rate isn’t always stable. In some cases, the game drops under 30fps. And one time, I almost had a game crash. While the game always quickly recovers itself, it’s a letdown. Maybe with patches in the future, this improves.

Oh, that reminds me. Something I wish is also improved in a patch is the loading times when you enter and exit a shrine. The loading time isn’t that long, but it breaks the immersion. If those loading times could be improved, I would be so thankful. Something like an unskippable animation like in the older 3D Zelda games would do just fine.

Speaking about loading times, I wish you had an option to have to press a button when you want to re-enter the game. I had more than once, that I was reading the tips and the game loaded and I was thrown right into the game. I wasn’t done reading those tips just yet.

While I have a lot more to say about this game, I think I’ll leave those things for the review when I have finished the game. But in conclusion, give this game a chance. Sure, this game has flaws and changes a lot of the traditional Zelda formula, but it presents the original Zelda formula with a lot of improvements. Veteran Zelda players will feel right at home and enjoy themselves with the setting and the story. Everything feels so alive and much more realistic. I recommend this game already, but I’m curious if the game holds up when I have beaten it. Like I told earlier, at first, I wasn’t a big fan of the concept of this game. But, it’s winning me over. The charm of this game, it’s something I didn’t know I was missing from my Zelda gaming life.

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

Gamer’s Thoughts: Why RollerCoaster Tycoon ruined Tycoons for me.

RCT 1 (1)Link to my review

Lately, I have been playing the old PC games in my collection. While I’m highly enjoying myself. Some thought is actually popping up here and there. It’s a feeling that the Tycoon games could have been so much better. But when I played Zoo Tycoon, it actually hit me. RollerCoaster Tycoon spoiled me with features so that I start to enjoy myself less and less in other tycoon games. And in this article, I’m going to try and explain why. Why do I enjoy the original RollerCoaster Tycoon that much and why don’t I enjoy other tycoon games? Also, fair warning, I haven’t played a lot of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, and I bought the expansion packs years later. So yeah, I always played the vanilla version of the game. Feel free to leave a comment on the content and/or your opinion on this article. Do you have a similar thing with Tycoon games and/or with a different game & genre? I’m curious to know. In any case, enough stalling. Time to put these thoughts on paper.

What are tycoon games?

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I haven’t, to be honest, played a lot of Tycoon games throughout the years. But before we continue, we have to agree with a tycoon game actually is. Even the Wikipedia article on Tycoon games gives a pretty vague definition.

So, let me be clear for this article. With tycoon games, I mean games where you are an owner of a company where you need to run it. So, for example: in Game Dev Tycoon, you are the owner of a game development studio and you need to make games and manage the finances.

A few games I have played that it that played that fit that bill are RollerCoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, Game Dev Studio, Game Dev Tycoon, SimCity 3000 and Lemonade Tycoon. And honestly, I don’t think I have played other Tycoon games. The genre honestly interests me, but why don’t I play a lot of it? I blame the excellent game RollerCoaster Tycoon.

Addicted to RCT

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So, I have been playing a lot of RollerCoaster Tycoon lately. I have finished 7 missions so far. I’m playing with the two expansion packs installed. Something I wasn’t able to do when I played this game in my childhood.

I have rarely played the sequel RollerCoaster Tycoon 2. I remember one time picking up an expansion pack by accident before I knew how expansion packs worked. Yeah, I didn’t know that I had to own the base game. I have played the game recently, but I was let down by the interface. The interface of the original was more accessible than the sequel. But, that’s an article for another time.

After RollerCoaster Tycoon, I played RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. But that game interests me less than the original game. But the game has a ton of features I would love to have in RCT 1, but I enjoy myself a lot more with the original.

Why is RCT so good in my eyes?

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Why do I love RollerCoaster Tycoon so much? Maybe it’s because it’s the first game that introduced me to the Tycoon genre. And let’s be honest, it’s one of the best games created in the Tycoon genre.

I remember playing Zoo Tycoon and always comparing it to RollerCoaster Tycoon. “Oh, you can do research in this game too.” That’s one of the sentences that went through my head. Other similar things did as well.

I was also disappointed with the fact that your guests were able to go off the paths and walk to other animal cages/exhibits.

The building system is the best system I have seen in tycoon games. There a lot of things you can’t do with it, like curved paths. And that’s the charm of it, it’s simple and easy to use. You don’t need a lot of buttons to create something amazing. I rarely had to struggle with the controls. Something I had to do with the recent games in the franchise.

The biggest reason why I enjoy RCT so much, I think, is the simplicity of everything. Most things are just one click away and/or one button press away. The interface has all the options you could wish for and I love to use it. Also, the game is easy to play but difficult to master. The game has just enough depth to be challenging & fun and to avoid being overwhelming.

In the more modern Tycoon games I played, there are way too many little things that I can do and/or have to pay attention too, I rarely remember checking them. And that makes the game more difficult for me and less enjoyable.

I have only two complaints with the game. And that is that some missions are ridiculously difficult and some better mod support would be great. You can add custom scenarios but it’s difficult to create your own custom scenario. Thankfully, there are a lot of tools floating around on the internet to aid with this.

In conclusion

Writing this article has been interesting. I honestly can’t explain why I compare the tycoon games I have played with the original RollerCoaster Tycoon. Possible factors are nostalgia and the gameplay, but I can’t pinpoint it.

I also considered the fact that I don’t really like tycoon games and that RCT is just an exception. It was a rather interesting question to think about. And this article was the best way I could explain it.

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

First Impression: Ace Attorney 6: Spirit Of Justice (3DS-eShop) ~ Emotional Trip

ace-attorney-spirit-justice-logoAce Attorney Wikia entry

Of course! I was going to talk about this game. I kind of spoiled that on my Twitter. Actually, I was going to write about this game last week. Yet, my schedule didn’t clear up enough to be able to write this article. In any case, if you have read my blog before; you should know that I’m a big fan of the Ace Attorney series. It’s one of my favorite visual novel/adventure games ever made. I was hyped for this game. I tried to avoid the news about this game so I could go in without any spoilers. I’m currently mid-way the game. If you worry about spoilers, don’t worry. I tried to make this review as spoiler-free as possible. Oh, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

Go and visit (trouble)

pwaa_spirit_of_justice_screens_06_bmp_jpgcopy_thumbIn this game, Phoenix goes abroad and visits the kingdom of Khura’in. Phoenix is goal is to visit his old friend Maya after she finished her special training.

But you guessed it, it doesn’t take long before Phoenix finds himself in a courtroom. But in the country of Khura’in, there is a lot of hate towards lawyers.

The plot of the first and second case are amazing. While it’s a shame that the killer is spoiled in the first case in the intro, the build-up is very good. I loved the set-up of the second case. And the start of the third case made me tear up. If you played the whole Ace Attorney series over the years and then play the third case, you will understand what I mean. The character reveal and the music that starts playing is just lovely.

The writing in this game is very good. If you like how the other Ace Attorney games are written, you will love the writing of this game for sure.

Compared to the previous game, there is a lot less voice acting in this game. The voice acting is mostly reserved for some small scenes, the “hold it”/”objection” shouts and the anime cutscenes. The voice acting is superb in this game. Yet, there is one voice that I didn’t 100% like. It’s the prosecutors voice of the first case. He sounds too feminine to my liking. But hey, that’s nitpicking. So far, so good in the writing and voice acting department.

Familiar yet fresh

20160512_005526_thumbThe soundtrack of this game is in my opinion good. It offers a lot of remixes of older tracks, but it also offers some new tracks. So far, there isn’t one track that I didn’t like.

I think I might try and hunt down the soundtrack of this game to add to my collection. It’s lovely to listen to while I’m writing or researching for articles.

The sound design of this game is top-notch. The music sounds great and all the sound effects sound great too. They both add a lot to the atmosphere.

If you play this game, I personally recommend headphones. Since it adds a lot to the atmosphere of this game and it makes the impact of some scenes even better in my opinion.

Something I have to praise this game for is the visual presentation. The characters and environment are just eye-candy. The animation in this game is very good as well. There are even little details in the animation that make it even better. I have played only a little bit with the 3D feature on, so I’m not going to comment about that.

The only thing I would have changed is that some text boxes display their text a little bit too slow. I was mashing the buttons of my 3DS to try and speed it up. Thankfully, there is a message log so I can read the text again if I skipped it too fast.

The controls of this game are almost perfect. I would only add an option to move the investigation cursor with the D-pad, but that’s a nitpick. The controls in the Ace Attorney game have been and are always great.

Is it this statement?

010330s007There are two sections to the gameplay. You have the investigation section and you have the trail section. This is like every other Ace Attorney game. The special abilities of every character return in this game.

I’m so glad that this game doesn’t force experienced players to read and sit through an explanation of the mechanic. You get the option to get a “refresher course” or not. I personally choose to have the refresher course each and every time. The way the writers wrote the tutorial in… well, it made some rather funny dialogue.

There is one new game mechanic. I honestly think it’s a great addition. It mostly helps to build tension in the story. I’m looking forward to play around with the mechanic in the rest of the game.

I have one nitpick with the investigations is that some spots are so tiny and easily overlooked, I got stuck once for almost an hour because I missed one spot. But hey, after I found it… I could slap me on the head for overlooking it.

The difficulty in this game is very balanced. Each case gets more complicated and each case gets more difficult. When you are stuck during the trail, you can get a hint. Your partner will tell you which statement contains a lie. It’s for you to figure out which piece of evidence proves that the witness is lying. And if you don’t want this feature, you can disable it in the option menu.

The last thing I want to talk about in this game is the UI. And it’s good. The only complaint I have is that I don’t find the option easily to apply the costume DLC.

To wrap up, I think that the things I would change in this game are rather minor. So far, this game has been a blast. But, this game is not for everyone. If you dislike reading long dialogues between characters; stay away from this game. Because it has lots of that.

So far, the game is amazing. I hope that the second part of this game doesn’t ruin it. But hey, if it does, I’ll complain about it in my review.

So, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you at another article on my blog. But until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Review: Kirby – Return To Dreamland (Wii)

Kirbys_return_to_dreamland_boxart.jpgWikipedia entry

It has been quite some time since I looked at a console game. Well, honestly, I do play console games here and there… But mostly, I play games on my handhelds and my PC. In any case, a few days ago, I have finally beaten a Kirby game I have been playing on and off for the past few years. It’s called Kirby’s Return To Dream Land on the Nintendo Wii. Before I begin the review, I first want to address something about the name of this game. In Europe, this game has a different name. It’s called Kirby’s Adventure Wii. This is really annoying to me since the first Kirby game on the Gameboy is called Kirby’s Adventure. Why didn’t we Europeans got the same name as the Americans? Such a shame. In any case, enough stalling. Time to get into the review. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. Thanks in advance for that. 

The story of Kirby

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In this game, Kirby’s adventure has two big parts. In the first part of the game, Kirby helps a stranded alien to repair his ship. In the second act, Kirby helps to defeat the evil overlord in on the alien’s home planet.

That’s all I’m explain about the story. You rarely find deep story lines in a Kirby game. From all the Kirby games I played, the story is just there. Yet, the twist at the end is nice. While I honestly saw it coming, I didn’t mind. The story is fun enough to play through. In my opinion, the story isn’t that memorable. It doesn’t bother me since the game has a lot more to offer than just the story. I found that the journey was more fun than the actual story.

The writing of the story was great. I’m so glad that they used text boxes in this game since I feel that’s how Kirby stories shine the most.

4 players

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A moment of honesty here, I haven’t played this game with 4 players at once. But I have played this game with two players at once.

Together with my cousin, we have played this game a lot. This game is what I call a “sibling game.” The difficulty of this game is just right. It’s challenging for the younger players but it’s not too hard. Yet; it can be challenging to the older sibling if (s)he let’s his or her guard down.

Speaking about the difficulty, the last boss battle is rather brutal in my opinion. Since it’s mostly in a totally different gameplay style which I’m not an expert in. Then this game can become rather difficult.

In any case, the gameplay of this entry in the Kirby series is what you can expect from any other Kirby game. It’s a fun platformer where you can copy (some of) your enemies powers. The powers in this game are fun to use and every single one of them are useful. Apart from one, the sleeping one. Still as unuseful as ever.

In certain points of the game, you can receive a special powerup. This one transforms Kirby into a powerhouse. The way this powerup is used makes for some fun(ny) situations. But, that’s something I’m going to leave up to you guys and girls to discover.

Also, in each level, you can find some wheels. With those wheels, you can unlock power-up rooms. In these rooms, you can easily get any copy ability you want. On the top of those rooms, you have a doll where you can practice them.

With those wheels, you can also unlock challenges. In these challenges, you have to complete a course using one copy ability in a certain time.  These are fun to play since I love that kind of challenges.

Actually collecting the wheels can be rather challenging since some of them are very well hidden. Also, in some levels, you have a sort of bonus stage where you fight a boss at the end to receive two or more wheels. Those are really difficult and some of them, I wasn’t able to beat in few tries.

Since this is a Kirby game, I have to mention the mini-games. And man, they are a real blast to play. I have lost hours playing those with my niece. Mostly the ninja star throwing one is a real blast to play in my opinion. I had a lot of fun with it.

In any case, I think I prove my point that there is a lot of fun gameplay in this game. But I still have to talk about different aspects of this game so let’s do just that.

Kirby and more Kirby

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So, first of all, the length of this game is perfect. This game has 7,5 worlds. Each world contains around 5 levels, with the final level being a boss.

The 8th world is actually a long level with the final boss of the game. It doesn’t have multiple levels. That’s why I count it as a half world.

In Kirby tradition, each world gets a funny name. And yes, most of them have to do with food.

The presentation of this game is one of the strong points of this game. I really love the art style in this game. It’s very bright and colorful, yet sometimes the game uses a way darker pallet to suit the story.

The animation is really top notch. I have no complaint about them. The world design and the animations are really well crafted. Combined with some amazing level design, this game is almost perfect.

The music in this game is really catchy. I wish I was able to buy the soundtrack somewhere since it’s that good in my opinion. But hey, I didn’t expect anything less from Hall Laboratory.

The controls are very responsive and I have nothing to complain about there. If you doubt about the controls, you can see them in the pause menu.

Up until now, it seems that I haven’t anything bad to say about this game. Well, there is one nitpick. That’s that the first player always leads. When the first player dies, the second player dies as well. That’s the only negative I have with this game.

It’s time to wrap this review up. Here comes the conclusion!

Conclusion

The bad:

-The first player dies -> Everybody dies.

The good:

+ Amazing presentation. (Visuals & animation)

+ Very nice controls.

+ You can play with up to 4 players.

+ While this game can be rather easy, some challenges can be challenging to veteran players.

+ Great level design. And it’s fun to play more than once through some levels.

+ …

Final thoughts:

If you are looking for an amazing Kirby game, look no further. This Kirby game is one of the best in the series. The gameplay returns to its roots (like in the first Kirby games) and it’s a blast to play.

I had so much fun playing this game with my family and friends that I would love to recommend it to every Nintendo fan.

When you like what you saw on the screenshots, give this game a shot! I also heard that this game came out on Wii U Virtual Console, so there is no excuse to not pick up this gem of a game. It’s released in the summer of 2015. So, go ahead and pick up this game. It’s totally worth it.

Score: 100/100

Review: Rise Of The Tomb Raider (PC) ~ Sequel of the Reboot

2000900263Steam store page

I have to talk about this game. It’s the sequel to the game I started this blog with. On the 20th of March 2013, I reviewed Tomb Raider. Now, three years later in 2016, the PC port of the sequel finally arrived. I would have reviewed this game sooner, but due to the patches, my performance was going down the drain. The weakest link in my PC is my graphics card. My CPU, RAM and all other parts of my PC are up to speed with this game, but my graphics card gave me issues. So, after experimenting and trying out different things, I was finally able to play this game with a fluent FPS. Thanks to windowed mode and normal graphic settings. In any case, that’s enough of the behind the scenes stuff! Time to rate this tomb, is it really worth the adventure or is this one better left forgotten? And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. 

The divine source

Riseofthetombraider.jpgAt the center of the story, is the divine source.  Something that Lara wants to find to prove that her father wasn’t crazy. The story uses a lot of cliches this time around. Also, some people can see some plot twists coming from a mile away.

That’s why the story wasn’t all that interesting to me. It was enjoyable but bland. In my opinion, it could have done a lot more with the story. My biggest issue with the story is that some characters didn’t get any development. Thankfully, the writing is very well done which makes up for the middle of the road story.

Something that was truly lacking, in my opinion, was the ending. The ending didn’t convince me why Lara wanted to spend her life raiding tombs. Another thing I didn’t like about the story is that at the start, it jumped around. When I got used to the desert area, I was back in the snowy area. That was a let down for me. Mostly because I feel that I’m unable to go back to check the area out after I finished the chapter. (Just found out, you can fast travel there. Odd thing, when you play the chapter… You have unlimited ammo. When you fast travel there, you don’t have unlimited ammo. That’s a strange issue)

Something that’s even better is the voice acting. The voice acting made some characters come alive! Guys and girls, if you are ever to make a sequel to this game, more of this top notch voice acting, please.

Look at that!

rise-of-the-tomb-raider-pc-scr-image-4173.jpgI have explained in the introduction of this article that my graphics card wasn’t strong enough to run this game at it’s highest settings. But, at the normal settings… This game looks jaw-dropping.

The visuals have improved an awful lot from the previous game and drew me even more into the world the developers created. Yet, I do that to point out that I had some visual glitches with the hair and bow. Here are some screenshots I took of these visual glitches:

2 arrows and the bowSnow forgot to render/how it worksLet’s shoot that climbing axe

But I have to say, that in the latest version of the game, I rarely saw these odd things happening.

The design and the animations of this game are amazing. Yet, this game had issues with performance. Between the release of the PC port in late January and today (mid-May), there have been 6 big patches to the game, mostly all to improve performance. Strangely enough, each patch, my performance wasn’t improving. But, since then, I didn’t have any PC/game crash. Yes, this game crashed so badly that it shut down and rebooted my PC.

Anyways, I’m not going to let this become a long rant about performance. The game is visually stunning and looks great. The animations are amazing as well. Also, the game feels bigger and bigger than the reboot.

There is one thing I didn’t care about in this game and that is the card collecting thing. It bugged out on me several times and I stopped caring. Why do I bring this up now? Since it’s the only negative when it comes to menu design. Such a shame, since we got such a great menu system. I really like how the game reloads your textures while you are playing when you set the visual settings higher and/or lower. It’s fun to see in my opinion. Also, I have to applaud the fact that everything is explained on the side when you tweak your options.

More of the same?

tomb_raider_pc_8.jpg

In this game, most of Lara’s abilities return from the previous game. Apart from some differences, every weapon in this game is the same.

One huge difference is made in this game. And that’s the health system. You can speed up the regen. Well, you can heal yourself. This eliminates the waiting to heal up and makes the combat a bit more intense.

This game has a very similar gameplay to the reboot. Which is great, since I really loved the reboot. But in this game, there are side quests and challenge tombs. While I have beaten the main story, this game has still a lot to offer. The main game is around the 20-hour mark, but in my playthrough, I got 60% completion. So, it’s time to go looking for the things I missed.

Also, in this game, you can learn foreign languages. So, sometimes you can’t decipher a scroll since you aren’t strong enough in ancient Greek. This little mechanic makes the game even more fun.

This game can be pretty difficult from time to time. I remember one area, I had to redo a couple of times. I have to mention, that I didn’t play on the hardest difficulty. If you are looking for a challenge, this game can give you one.

Before I forget, this game has an additional story DLC. I haven’t beaten it yet, but from what I have already played, it’s very interesting and fun to play through.

The controls of this game are excellent. Lara controls fluently and I didn’t make many changes to the default control scheme. I only had minor issues in the menus, but after I got used to them, it didn’t bother me too much.

To close off this review, I have to talk about the music and sound design. In last week’s article, I have already talked and praised the music. The music in this game is amazing. It really sets the mood for the game. Also, the sound design is nice as well. I have nothing to complain.

I played this game with a headset and sometimes I felt like I was really there. The visuals and the sound design are that good in my opinion.

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. Time for the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

-Minor visual glitches

-Annoying performance issues with weaker graphic cards.

-Game crashes can cause a PC reboot.

-The story uses a lot of cliches this time around.

-The card game part. WHY?

The good:

+ Amazing visuals.

+ Great music and sound design.

+ The game is a good challenge. Both in combat, puzzle solving and feeding goodies.

+ …

Final thoughts:

This game is so close to being perfect. There are some parts of the game I haven’t reviewed. Like the 2nd game mode. The expeditions. That’s because I haven’t played enough of it to review it. So, that’s a surprise for you if you are interested in this game.

If the story was a bit more fleshed out, I would have given this game full marks. Most of the visual issues I had were fixed in the various patches this game got.

I recommend this game, but check before you buy since this game requires very high PC specs. And when you buy and play this game, be ready for a thrill ride from start to finish!

Score: 95/100

Game Quicky: Bookworm Adventures (PC) ~ Battle… with words!

Bookworm_Adventures_Cover.jpgOfficial siteSteam page

Today, it’s time to look at another casual game from Popcap. In the past, I used this game to learn new English words. So yeah. It’s a very nostalgic game for me. In any case, it’s time to take a quick look at it. For the people who are new to my blog and don’t know what this series is, well… In this series, I take a look at a game where I can’t write a full review on. In that case, I write a short article about it with the positives and negatives and my conclusion. So, yeah. It’s time to take a look at this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article and/or the game in the comment section down below. 

Positives

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While the story is really basic, it does work. The fact that there is a story in this game is a positive in itself. It’s even better that it doesn’t take itself seriously.

The humor in this game from the menu options and the explanation of certain things gives this game an enjoyable charm.

This game works with alt+tab, it’s slow to switch, but it doesn’t crash like a few other casual games I played.

The gameplay is where this game shines the most. You have a 4×4 square filled with letters. With those letters, you have to make a word. Depending on the length and the letters used… You harm your opponent. Your opponent doesn’t use the letters and attacks. The special attacks some enemies can use are interesting and mix up the gameplay.

You can get stunned (loose a turn), letters can get cracked (do less damage), you can get poisoned (slowly lose health) among a few other things.

When you defeat a boss, you get a treasure that gives you certain buffs. But you can only take three in each level.

There are some different mini-games and a different game mode, but I won’t spoil that one.

Also, this game can be rather difficult and isn’t that short. These are two big positives for this game.

When you mouse over certain things, like your health bar or the minimap, you can useful information. This doesn’t clutter the screen and makes for a very nice looking game.

Negatives

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This game isn’t widescreen. So, on modern monitors, this game will have black edges. It’s pretty bad on my 24- inch screen.While this doesn’t bother everybody, it’s distracting for me.

Something that might be the direct result of that is, that some textures don’t look good on widescreen monitors.

This game would be a lot better if there was a sort of dictionary in-game. Since I’m not a native English speaker, I know for a fact that I look over so many words.

Some enemies spam sometimes their stunning attacks making you loose turn after turn. This frustrated me many times.

Conclusion

This game is a very polished game. If Popcap releases a patch to make this game look better on bigger screens and add a dictionary, I would consider this game as a perfect casual adventure game.

While the spamming of special attacks is a negative thing, I don’t think they should remove it. Since it adds to the challenge of this game. That would make the game even better.

I have almost beaten this game, so I’m looking forward playing the sequel. I’m quite curious how it holds up to the original.

Score: 9/10

  In any case, I think I said everything that I wanted to say about this game. Give this game a chance, since it’s very nicely made.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to meet you in another article, but until then… a happy Easter and until the next time! Have a great rest of your day and game on!

First Impression: Fantasy Life (3DS) ~ Strangely Fun.

Fantasy_Life_box_artNintendo.com entry

I was very surprised that Level5 published a game like this. While I was silently hoping to a sequel of Professor Layton, or a spin-off, they published a game with similar graphical vibe. But don’t let it fool you, the fantasy and the life is quite different in this game. After playing 3-ish hours of it, it’s time to write an article about it since I’m quite enjoying myself. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Graphically Layton?

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Maybe it’s only me, but this game gave me a Professor Layton feeling. At least, on the surface. Possibly the used some assets from the Layton game. But hey, let’s not think about the biggest series this developer created, in this article we are talking about Fantasy Life.

This game must have been a nightmare to develop. Since all the different classes play differently. I’m quite curious if the overall story stays the same in the different classes. Also, the fact that you can change your class in mid game, is just mind-blowing and quite a risky move of Level5. I hope the game stays challenging and doesn’t make the mistake that The Legend Of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds made. That game was also more free then other games, yet the difficulty curve was off.

While the story has some plottwists, I was able to see some coming. But I’m quite sure that to a child or a casual gamer, the plottwists might come more as a surprise. Overall, the writing is excellent. The characters can be a tad bit generic in some cases, but they are written so well that I had a few moments that made me smile, not only as a critic but also as a writer.

Quests

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I was on the fence for buying this game. I actually had it pre-ordered but cancelled my pre-order since I lost interest in the game. But now that I gave it a chance, I was quite surprised. The gameplay is nothing what I expected. If you aren’t doing a story quest, you can roam around freely and solve people’s daily needs.

The quest system, while quite fun, isn’t 100% perfect. Sometimes quite important information isn’t in the quest log, the quest log is out of order and you can’t have a map where all the accepted quests are located. The quest logging could have been done better in my opinion. While I’m beating it, I’ll surely try out all features of the quest log. Maybe I’m overlooking some things and bashing it, while it’s not needed at all.

You have three sorts of quests. Each give you a different reward. From dosh (currency) to stars (allow you to grow in your class) and bliss (expand the game.). The different quests yield so many different yet satisfying rewards that I explore the world in quite more depth then I usually would. Then my coin dropped. (Dutch expression for releasing something.) This was totally the designers intention to help you explore the world. It’s quite deep honestly. Apart from some aspects that is.

At the moment of writing, I’m in the magic class. They actually passed on a great oppertunity for the magic combat. When you use fire attacks on forest mobs, they don’t increase the damage. Also, your mana replenishes so slow, it’s painful. And the quite expensive potions only give you 10 mana back. Yup, only 10 mana. And the free water bottles you pick up, give 5. That’s so not enough!

So, the magician is long ranged combat. What I love about this game is that the target system works so nicely. I can easily circle around my enemy while trying to defeat it. If only there was an easier way to switch weapons. It would have been less of a pain when I would have been able to quickly switch to my dagger if my mana ran out.

Gamesystems

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In the last section of this article, I want to talk about the overall game. I can’t judge on the box and such, since I own this game thanks to the eShop.

The game controls quite fine. While I sometimes have the impression that they switched some buttons around from similar games, I can easily adjust.

Graphically, this game is just amazing. This game gave my impressions of Professor Layton, while it’s really nothing similar. The look, the animation, color pallet and level design is just really well done. Maybe they should have planned out the shops a bit better. Like the furniture shop closer to the wallpaper and flooring shop. Also, why can’t I sell furniture?  I bought by accident two items when I needed one. -sigh-

Something I would have done differently is the icons on the touch screen. They take up quite a bit of space on the map. While it’s not a big deal, I honestly don’t like various icons on my map. I would have made a bar at the bottom of the touch screen with the buttons on it. That would have been way easier to organize. Speaking about the map mode, it’s quite handy. I can safely say that it helped me out of some tricky situations. It’s clear and you can’t get lost thanks to it. If only you were able to have an overview map. Since if you tap on the map button, you get an overview of the map of the whole game. Thankfully there are buttons to quick travel.

Anyways, I’m nearing my usual article limit. So, it’s time to wrap this article up. I still have quite a lot to talk about, but I will keep that for my review if I beat this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I can honestly recommend this game to you. Also, feel free to drop by on a later date! I try to publish an article each week. So, maybe until next week.

Review #030: Legend Of A Ninja – A Shadow To Remember v1.5 (PC ~ Download) ~ Vapor Wills

Shad to Remember WebsiteOfficial website

So, this game will be my only exception on my theme of this month. Anyways, the developers of this game asked me to review their game. Before I start, I want to thank them for giving me this oppertunity. They praised me for my fair reviews. So, yeah. Let’s give this game a fair review. Also, feel free to leave a comment about what you think of this article and or the game. 

Bad omens

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Before I start talking about the story, I want to talk about the menu. The option menu is a big disaster. Key rebindings don’t work and looking at the option menu, you get the impression that the game is controllable with a controller. I tried with my wireless XBOX360 controller, and it didn’t work.

The option menu is pretty confusing, and if people who aren’t very familiar with games like myself would try to work with this option menu, it’s just going to end bad. Terms like BGM (background music) and BGS (background sound) show up. Also, what’s up with the “reduce character flickering”? My final issue with the option menu is that when you launch this game in full screen, it doesn’t launch it in widescreen. So, prepare for black bars.

So, I want to start the actual game.  While I was creating the name of my character, I noticed that the background that is scrolling in the background is cut-off. You can clearly see when a new one starts. It takes you out of the experience.

 The person I mailed back and forth with said that the story is the most important aspect of the game. You play as a ninja who is about to meet a legendary ninja. Yet, as soon as you start talking, you have the impression that the guy is not what he appears to be.

The story is rather interesting, yet there are some flaws with it. There are some parts of dialogue that don’t sound very grammatically correct or have some flaws in them. Like words missing or plurals missing. Also, the writing isn’t really consistent. Some words sometimes appear in color, and sometimes they don’t. Also, at certain points it’s too consistent. Dear developer, if your character does something while he is talking, don’t write “*he looks at the door.*” Since, we already know that he is a he!

Also, the story has some holes in it. There are some inconsistencies in the writing. Another flaw of the writing is that all of the characters are forgettable. There isn’t much that is really memorable of this story. It’s just another ninja story. Because the developer used too many different terms, you don’t have time to emerge as a player.

RPG or adventure game?

punch-to-the-stomachSo, this game is marketed as a RPG. I know that the engine used limits the game. But I do feel like there could have been done a lot more then what I played. Why am I saying this? That’s because the RPG elements in this game are totally broken.

 The first enemies you encounter can easily kill you. But don’t worry, the game is programmed to be forgiving. So… you get your health restored like nothing happened? Sure. Okay, fine. That isn’t very broken isn’t it?

Oh, but I’m not done yet. The creator tried to make an interesting twist in the battling of enemies. After 3 rounds, the battle is over. If you win, you get XP and gold. If you loose, you get healed. Yes, you get healed. That’s way to forgiving.

Also, the amount of XP and gold you get is just laughable. When you level up, you aren’t able to defeat other monsters at all. If I counted how many battles I won compared to the amount I lost, I think there would be a 20 – 80 ratio. Yes, I lost more battles then I won them.

This makes me to believe that this game would be better if they dropped the whole RPG elements from the game. I honestly get the impression that they are just there to make the game be longer to beat. If only it was actually thought out, it wouldn’t be such a big issue.

Breaking the game

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Sadly enough, I was able to “break” the game. What I mean by that is that I was able to make actions that stopped me from progressing. Yes, killing progress. If you kill either one of two characters, you can’t finish a side quest and you can’t finish the story. Meaning you have to grind and defeat the final boss. And this is pretty early in the game. Because you just left your own town.

There are some places where the triggers for some events are placed wrong. Like when you move up or down at the side of an area, you move to another area. It’s weird to explain but if you play it for yourself, you will understand what I mean.

I even had one time, in the northern woods, I was able to leave the map.  Speaking about the map, you aren’t allowed in some of the towns if you don’t have anything to be there for. “Port Town looks calm.” And you back away. Or “You need a guide to travel here” at the mountains. Such a real shame if the “dungeon” is easy enough to conquer in one try easily.

This game has more problems then what I have talked about in this article. The music is pretty interesting and there is quite a lot potential for this game to grow. But in the state it’s in now, it feels unfinished and broken. Weather without any sound effects, random encounters in towns? Yeah, those are two other issues.

In the summary I will briefly talk about the things I haven’t talked about yet in this review. But I have one question for the developers to think about. How are you going to give updates to your buyers? Are you going to mail them after you uploaded them to Amazon?

Conclusion

The good:

+ Turning the story of a writing into a game.

+ The music is quite nice.

+ The idea behind the game has quite a lot of potential.

+ You can choose different options that make each playthrough different.

The bad:

– Various grammar issues in the story.

– Generic design of the characters and enemies.

– RPG elements are broken.

–  You are able to get stuck with one action.

– …

Final thoughts:

Is this game worth it? Maybe, depends if you like homemade RPG’s. Is it worth the asking price? Honestly, I don’t think so. I played version v1.5 and I based my review on it.

I honestly think that this game misses a lot of polish. Something you can only achieve by play testing over and over again. Trying out very single thing that a player might do.

This game is one that has to grow. The website as well. The screenshots used in this review come from the website. That way I discovered that the website is running WordPress, and I know that you can do a lot more then what’s the current state of the site at the time of the review.

If the game gets an update and fixes some of the issues I have talked about, I surely would love to give it a go and write an update article on this. But the current state of the game is just a mess. There is so much potential here, but the negatives of the game are way worse then the positives.

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this. Thanks again to the developers to send me a review copy for reviewing this game. I’ll look forward to any future updates that might fix the game’s problems.

Score: 35/100