First Impression: Blue Dragon (XBOX360) ~ Helpful Shadows

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It has been quite some time since I have written an article about a game on the XBOX360. Which is quite surprising to me, since I bought my XBOX360 from an old classmate of mine three-ish years ago. Anyways, I’m glad that I bought the system since when I moved in September of last year, I had a lot of issues with getting my internet up and running, so it was my DVD player. Besides that, I kept playing games on it since it was on anyways. Anyways, earlier this month I felt like browsing the XBOX360 Online store and I wanted to play an RPG. When I found Blue Dragon, a game I thought released only on Nintendo DS, was actually a series that started on the XBOX. I didn’t hesitate and bought the game for 20€. And, because you guys and girls voted for it on my Twitter, here we are. I’m going to talk about my first impressions of this game after playing this game for about 2-ish hours. Let’s dive right into this while I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section with your thoughts and opinions on the game and/or the content of this article.

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Blue-Dragon-XBOX-360In this game, you take on the role of Shu, Jiro and Kiuke. These three young kids live in a village that gets attacked yearly by a mysterious landshark. This landshark not only destroys almost the whole village but also caused several victims. During one attack, these three children want revenge on the landshark and try to trap and fight it. This doesn’t turn out so well and they get dragged away by the landshark. 

After a small exploration of the resting place of the landshark, they discover that the landshark is being controlled by somebody else who is taking great pleasure in seeing the destruction and panic. Our three heroes are able to escape this evil person but they also eat a special light orb which transforms their shadows into beats that make them not only stronger but also give them magic abilities. 

Now, allow me to be blunt and direct for a moment. If you expect a deep and rich story from this RPG, I’m afraid to say that you are barking up the wrong tree. The writing and the pacing is perfect for an children anime series. But, to be honest, I think it fits the game well. If the writers would have written a more grim plot with the whole “your shadow gives you special powers” plot you would either go more in the lines of a Persona game or risking that the story becomes too silly to be taken seriously. 

Yet, on the other hand, this does put the game in a weird position for me. When I play RPG games, I expect more from the story then a simple story for the young kids. Granted, I can enjoy the stories in a Pokémon game and those aren’t too special, but the story in this game is just a bit mediocre. If I have to pin point why I feel that the story in this game isn’t the best, I think I have to say that the story in this game is like a small rain puddle. 

A small rain puddle that is quite enjoyable to jump into and kick the water around but it’s just that. A puddle. It has no depth and it doesn’t provide you with more enjoyment than the surface layer. A perfect example is that the resolution of some missions can be skipped completely. In one of the first missions, you have to save the “bravest warrior” from a sheep village. After you have done so, the exit to the next section of the game is right there and you never see the “bravest sheep” return home and lie about him defeating the monster that was trapping him. 

There is just not enough reaction on the situation by either the NPC’s or even the playable characters. When they get trapped in a big machine with no way out, there is no panic, no plan meeting… Nothing. Anything would be nice to provide more depth. 

The voice acting of this game is decent. I have heard better voice acting but I have also heard a lot worse. But the voice acting has the same problem compared to the shallow story. I feel that some scenes should have been voice acted or at least have some more sound effects to draw you in more but alas, we get silent textboxes. 

Missing: Depth

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So, the story isn’t the strong suit of this game. Granted, I have only experienced a small part of the story and maybe the story improves quite a lot when I continue playing this game. Since, I’m seeing a lot of amazing mechanics and idea’s in this game that show the potential of this game. 

I really like how you can choose which character is the character you explore this game with. There are no real difference in terms of gameplay doing that, apart from one minor visual one. 

But then there are things that are quite flawed. A great example is the map system. Explain me why it’s possible to see the locations on the map in the teleport system but not on the world map? The world map in this game is the most useless map I have seen in a RPG. Apart from a location pointer and an icon where all teleport places are, you have no further information. You can’t even see area maps apart from the small compass in the bottom right corner. 

Thankfully, not everything is as broken as the global map. There are minor flaws in the game as well. They can be distracting but they didn’t ruin the game (too much) for me. For example, I think it’s hardcoded in the game that after cutscenes, every character joins Shu to continue the adventure… even when you selected another character to explore the world with. And after a small second, you transform into the correct character. 

Now, let’s talk about something good about this game for a change. I really enjoy the battle system. While I would have loved a better animation for the start of a battle, that nitpick doesn’t take away that the battle system has some unique and fun mechanics. Every enemy can be seen during exploration. So, there are no random battles in sight in this game. You can also bring up a circle in which you can choose which enemies to group together to attack in one battle. And while you’re exploring, weaker enemies will flee from you while stronger enemies try and chase you down for a while.

So, you can assign classes to your shadow. These classes dictate which spells and attacks you can use. This adds a layer of complexity to the game that I enjoy quite a lot. In addition to that, the battle system also has a timing mechanic. Unlike the Paper Mario games where you have to time a button press with the attack landing, in this game you have to hold the “A” button and if you land in the “critical” red zone, your spell or attack is more powerful BUT it might need a turn to charge up. The risk/reward system is excellent. 

Let’s power through

538217-blue-dragon-xbox-360-screenshot-activating-warp-devices-willFrom the previous section of the article, you might get the idea that this game is mediocre or isn’t worth your time. Now, that’s something I personally disagree with. I think this game is worth at least a try if you enjoy playing RPG or adventure games and you want to play something more lighthearted. 

Maybe the amazing visual presentation of this game might pull you in like it does with me. While some animations aren’t the best and a bit silly, like some walk cycles. The game looks well crafted and apart from some minor animation hiccups during cutscenes with the mouths not moving during talking, I don’t see too many major issues. The biggest issue is that some unskipable attack animations have some minor slowdown or tearing in them. But, that might be because I’m playing this game on a very new TV and maybe the high refresh rate and the big size might be overloading my poor XBOX360’s GPU buffer. 

The other big part of the presentation of this game is the audio. Apart from the game needing a bit more sound effects during cutscenes, I think the audio does a decent job of giving this game more character. Yet, I do have some complaints. I noticed that in some spots, the audio mixing wasn’t the greatest and the sound effects sounded too loud compared to the music that was playing. Speaking about the soundtrack, I enjoy most of it but there are some tracks with vocals. And these miss their mark completely in my opinion. Not only is it hard to understand what is actually being sung but combined with the sound effects of the battle, it gets even worse. Also, these songs don’t fit at all as a boss battle theme. 

Something I feel on the edge about is the fact that this game doesn’t have an autosave system. All the saving happens manually. So, don’t forget to save when you get the chance since a “Game Over” sends you back to the main menu where you have to load your save. Thankfully, this game isn’t too difficult but loosing progress is never fun.

And I’m not saying that this game is too easy. If you aren’t careful, you will loose and “Press A” to win doesn’t apply in this game. You will have to use some strategy or else you will be defeated. 

So, if you would ask me if I would recommend this game… I would say “Yes, but know that this game is not for everybody.”. While this game is quite enjoyable, I don’t think that this game aged quite well. While I heavily disagree with the 90+/100 scores that some reviewers gave this game, I don’t think this game is a bad game. 

While I haven’t gotten too far into the game and according to a small peak at the walkthrough, I currently finished 10% of the main story, I’m quite curious to see what this game is going to throw at me. So far, this game is quite enjoyable in my eyes despite it’s childish nature and the various flaws this game has. But, it puts a great battle system, enjoyable worlds and various other things to balance the flaws out. 

Normally, I wouldn’t score a game in a first impressions article but I’m going to do it because earlier I said that I disagree with the 90+ scores that this game is getting. I would give this game 70/100. This game has a lot of good elements but the lack of depth and polish in this game is something I would love to see improved in the sequels when I get around in playing them. 

And with that said, I think it’s high time to wrap up this article before I find another way to talk about the same point again in another way. There are a few things I’m leaving for the review when I have beaten this game but I have mentioned the most important things. Thank you so much 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, have a great rest of your day and take care. 

A Pokémon Retrospective – Creator’s Catch Hub

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It has been 25 years since the Pokémon series started its life on the Gameboy in Japan. When the series came to the west together with an anime, a huge phenomenon happened. The west got hooked to Pokémon so hard that it even got a name. Pokémania, which even got a French Wikipedia page about it. So, if you have read my blog in the past you might have seen that I sometimes do a huge collaboration with various other content creators and/or fans of the series to look to the history of the series together. Today, I want to present to you a group of people who looked back with me to various Pokémon games, and this time, we also looked at some of the spin-off games. Just like the Zelda and Tomb Raider collab I did, this collaboration will take you through various other websites with amazing articles by amazing writers. So, pack your bag and grab your Pokéballs and go on a journey with me through the various Pokémon regions and let’s take a look back together at the Pokémon series, and let’s celebrate the 25th anniversary together.

How does this collaboration work? Well, this is the hub article that leads you to all the games we have covered in this collaboration project. If you click on the name, you will find a page on Bulbapedia with information on the game. If you click on the underlined text, you will be taken to an article written by somebody who was a part of this collaboration. All of these articles will link back to this hub article where you can go to other games as well.

1996 – Pokémon Green/RedPokémon Red/Blue & Yellow (Gameboy) + 2004 – Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (Gameboy Advance) + 2018 – Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee (Nintendo Switch)

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The Gaming Omnivore takes us on a journey where it all began.

Like I told you in the introduction, 25 years ago we were able to set foot into the Kanto region for the first time. For many people, this game was their first introduction to the series, and what an introduction it was. A lot of those people have very strong nostalgic feelings about the first generation that there is even a name for it. It’s all “Gen One’s”.

But does the first generation still hold up today or should it be left as a relic of the past? This game is the most remade game in the Pokémon series with two remakes under its belt. Is that justified or should Nintendo focus on other games in the series to remake? Let’s take a look at the memories that our friend the Gaming Omnivore shares with us on his blog.

1999 – Pokémon Gold / Silver / Crystal (Gameboy Color) + 2009 – Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver (Nintendo DS)

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Krista takes us on a double journey. Literally, through two games and two regions.

What a surprise it was when the second generation came out. Let’s just say that the number of improvements that the second generation brings blew a lot of minds.

To name just a few: genders, berries, day and night cycle, rematching trainers, events on certain days… And let’s not forget to mention the fact that we got another journey through Kanto in these games.

Before I hand it over to Krista to talk about her memories with the 2nd generation of Pokémon, I want to talk about a personal story. I remember one time I was on holidays in France where somebody shows me how that the cloning glitch worked. How I was able to clone Pokémon and items. Sadly enough, that glitch did a number on my save battery and my save file. It corrupted on the way home. Thankfully, I got the saved battery replaced and all is fine now. Apart from the battery running dry recently when I was playing through my Gameboy Color collection. Oh well, the memories are huge for this generation and I’m curious what other people are going to share about this generation.

2002 – Pokémon Ruby / Sapphire & Emerald (Gameboy Advance) + 2014 – Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire (Nintendo 3DS)

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L-One-X takes us on a journey of secret bases, oceans, and volcanic lands.

The 3rd generation of the Pokémon series was something special. It was one of the biggest visual upgrades we have ever seen so far. The biggest difference between the first and second generation was mostly color in terms of the visuals.

The third generation also got a more involved story and if you research the message and the inspiration of the story, you will be quite surprised at the message of this game. I learned about it from Tama Hero.

This generation is one of my personal favorite generations. I still remember how people were drawing maps and sharing them during recess since bringing your own Gameboy to school wasn’t allowed. Man, those were the days. Just talking about Pokémon with kids you barely knew. But hey, those are just a few of my personal memories with the 3rd generation. Shall we take a look at what our friend L-One-X remembers?

2006 – Pokémon Diamond, Pearl & Platinum (Nintendo DS)

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McKenna takes us on a journey through Sinnoh. Where there are places where space and time can get wrapped.

Man, I still remember how I got introduced to the Nintendo DS and the 4th generation. I heard about the Nintendo DS through the Legend of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass but through “The Gameboy Club”, I was able to play on a friend’s DS and I learned about how good the game was.

A unique mechanic of the 3rd generation was returning in this game in a more evolved form. We got secret underground bases that allowed a sort of multiplayer capture the flag mode.

In any case, shall we take a look at what McKenna is going to share with us? Let’s dive right into the interesting story that McKenna has written about the 4th generation. The first generation that brought online functionality to the series.

2010 – Pokémon Black & White + 2012 – Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 (Nintendo DS)

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Khinjarsi takes us through the lands of Unova.

It’s a shame to admit, but I skipped the 5th generation at first. I can’t really say why exactly I skipped this generation at first.

Now, I did play the games a few years ago when Pokémon Sun & Moon was in development. And I’m so glad I did. This generation brought so many enjoyable moments, I can totally understand why this game was quite well received.

Now, at this moment in time, this is the only main series Pokémon game that got a direct sequel that expanded on the story of the original game so much. Now, was this sequel well deserved or should Nintendo just made Pokémon Gray or something and called it a day?

Well, that’s an interesting question to ponder upon while we take a look at the article that Khinjarsi shares with us.

2013 – Pokémon X and Y (Nintendo 3DS)

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TriformTrinity takes us on a journey through the first “3D”-region.

The first game on the Nintendo 3DS and the shortest names in the series. Pokémon X and Y.

I was so surprised to see that this game took heavy inspiration from the French region. That region hits quite close to home since I live in one of the neighboring countries Belgium.

When I was looking for writers for this collaboration, TriformTrinity picked up this game. He has never played these games and wants to share his opinions on these games without having nostalgic feelings towards the games. So, let’s find out what his opinions are, shall we?

2016 – Pokémon Sun & Moon + 2017 – Pokémon UltraSun and UltraMoon (Nintendo 3DS)

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DanamesX takes us on the bittersweet final journey on the Gameboy / DS line of systems.

I still remember the bittersweet feeling when it was announced that this game would be the “final” main series Pokémon game on the GameBoy and (3)DS line. After these games, Nintendo would move on to console Pokémon. So it’s the final portable game.

Well sort of, kind of. Granted, the Nintendo Switch is portable so technically it wasn’t the final portable Pokémon game but on the other hand, I felt that it was the end of an era. But it was the end of an era in more ways than one. Since this game also flipped the who Pokémon formula up its head.

In this game, we took a “vacation” to a new region with a new adventure that takes us to several islands and gives us several challenges. It also did something quite unique with the day and night system. If you bought Pokémon Moon, the whole day and night cycle was flipped from your real-life location.

Now, I think it’s high time to take a look at the article that DanamesX wrote about the 7th generation. Shall we join in on exploring this holiday? I have already packed my bags and I’m ready to go and just waiting on you to click that link above to read the article.

2019 – Pokémon Sword and Shield (Nintendo Switch)

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NekoJonez takes you on a tour of the country, old chap.

Oh, is it my time to shine? So, just like with the Tomb Raider collaboration, I took the final main series game.

When this game released, I tried several times to write an article about this game but I never wrote something I felt that would tell my opinion on this game.

Now, I challenged myself to write a nice article for this collaboration and I’m quite curious what you are going to think about it while I am a bit bummed out that two of the neighboring countries of my home country got Pokémon regions based, France and England, upon them now while Belgium is sitting in the middle forgotten. Oh well, maybe one day. (In before our German neighbors get the 9th generation.)

It’s spin-offs time

Sadly enough, we didn’t find enough writers and enough time to take a look at all the spin-offs. So, I’m very sorry if the spin-off you wanted to read about isn’t in this collaboration. We mainly focused on the main-series games and we wanted to give these spin-off games an article to give a nice bonus to this collaboration.

1999 – Pokémon Stadium (Nintendo 64) + 2001 – Pokémon Stadium 2 (Nintendo 64)

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The Gaming Omnivore welcomes us in the stadium to watch the Pokémon battle.

It’s not a secret that when the first Pokémon games got released, we all wanted a 3D version of the Pokémon games. And in 1999, we got exactly what we wished for.

A 3D-battle simulation of the Pokémon games. Not every Pokémon was included but hey, just seeing these Pokémon in 3D was enough to blow our minds. So, shall we let our friend the Gaming Omnivore talk about this experience? I’m ready to cheer him on from the sidelines of the stadium.

2004 – Pokémon Colosseum (Nintendo GameCube) + 2005 – Pokémon XD Gale of Darkness (Nintendo GameCube)

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DanamesX takes us on a very special journey that spans two Pokémon games on the Nintendo GameCube.

While I love playing the Pokémon games, I have to admit that Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon Gale of Darkness XD flew under my radar.

Sadly enough, they currently cost an arm and a leg on eBay to buy and play for me so, I’m waiting to pick them up for a more reasonable price. But, I’m quite curious to see what people think about this game. Should I still try to hunt these games down or should I let it slide? I think that the article of DanamesX will help me greatly in deciding that.

2016 – Pokémon Go (Mobile devices)

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Eric Fellner takes us on a walk through our neighborhoods.

To say that Pokémon GO was a hit is an understatement. Pokémon GO still is quite popular, I see various people on the train and students at the school I work for play Pokémon GO.

It wouldn’t surprise me that this game is less popular now than before but it hasn’t died just yet. Now, when Eric Fellner contacted me to talk about this game and told me his personal story about the game, I was hooked. So, without spoiling anything, I think it’s time to give the spotlight to Eric so he can talk about his story with this game.

1999 – Pokémon Pinball (Gameboy Color) + 2003 – Pokémon Pinball Ruby & Sapphire (Gameboy Advance)

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Andrew Fisher plays the first pinball game.

Andrew Fisher also goes to the Hoenn region for the second pinball game.

So, Pokémon Pinball. I still remember getting the big box for Christmas and being surprised that the games now needed batteries to function.

Little did I know that battery was meant for the rumble feature inside the cartridge and not a replacement for the save battery.

Now, this battery didn’t take away the number of hours I spent playing pinball in this game. As a kid, I wasn’t able to get quite far but I kept on trying and trying.

And years later, I learned that this game got a sequel about the Hoenn region. I was only able to add that game quite recently to my collection so, I haven’t played it too much. Thankfully, Andrew Fisher is here to talk quite in-depth about the two Pinball games. Let’s see what he has to say about the games!

2001 – Pokémon Pinball Mini (Pokémon Mini)

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Andrew Fisher takes us on a journey to the Pokémon Mini and playing Pinball on that.

So, in 2001, Nintendo released the Pokémon Mini. An extremely small handheld with cartridges where you could play various Pokémon mini-games on.

Surprisingly, this handheld also got a pinball game on it. So, should Andrew Fisher took a look at this pinball title and let’s see if it’s worthy to add to your collection or should you ignore it? Well, you will be able to find out thanks to Andrew’s amazing article.

2006 – 2020 The Mystery Dungeon series (Gameboy Advance, Nintendo (3)DS and Switch)

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NekoJonez takes a look back at the Mystery Dungeon series.

So, one of the biggest spin-off series is Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. In 2006, we got Red & Blue Rescue Team which got remade in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch under the name of Rescue Team DX. In 2007, we got the Explorer of Time, Darkness, and Sky Mystery Dungeon games. 5 years later, we got our first 3DS game called Gates to Infinity in 2012.

In 2015, we got what we thought was the final game in the series Super Mystery Dungeon on the 3DS. But yeah, a remake on the Switch happened in the first game. But why are these games so popular to get so many sequels? Well, I’m going to tell you in a nostalgic look back on the Mystery Dungeon series.

2006 – Pokémon Ranger + 2008 – Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia + 2010 – Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs (Nintendo DS)

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WCRobinson is taking us on a journey through the land of the friendship circles.

I never imagined that drawing circles around Pokémon could be so much fun that Nintendo was able to make a trilogy of games about it.

I have to admit, that I got cramp in my hands and almost destroyed a touch screen while playing these games. I got into this game way more than I expected. If there was one series I wanted to have covered in this collaboration, it was the Pokémon Ranger series. Now, I was already taking the Mystery Dungeon series and the Sword and Shield games to cover so the Ranger games would be a bit too much. Thankfully, WCRobinson picked up these games and wanted to write a piece about them.

So, thank you WCRobinson for covering these games. Now, I’m curious to see if those loops of friendship influenced you in your opinion on the games or not. Let’s find out together and join WCRobinson on his journey as a Pokémon Ranger.

1998 – Pokémon Trading Card Game (Gameboy Color)

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Solarayo takes a look at the card game… on Gameboy.

One of the biggest pieces of merchandise that this series gave us is the Pokémon Trading Card game. It’s still quite popular on YouTube and worldwide.

Now, it does surprise me that Nintendo and Game Freak only made two games about them. And on top of that, the sequel to this game was only released in Japan.

In any case, I think it’s high time to let Solarayo talk about the game and if you should just stick with the physical game or if you should consider playing the Gameboy Color game as well. Maybe I should pick it up for training since I barely know anything about the card game… Hrm, there is thought while I start reading her article.

1999 – Pokémon Snap (Nintendo 64)

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Solarayo takes pictures of Pokémon and gets judged by Professor Oak.

So, while we were preparing for this collaboration we had no clue that a new Pokémon Snap game was going to come out in 2021.

It’s a nice surprise to see a spin-off getting a sequel on modern hardware. But, how is the original? Is it any fun or should we skip taking pictures of Pokémon in the Nintendo 64 game? Well, Solarayo is going to tell us all about it in her article on this game.

2015 – Pokémon Shuffle (Nintendo 3DS / Mobile devices)

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TriformTrinity swipes the Pokémon away.

There was this one game called Pokémon Trozei on the Nintendo DS that is a sort of Bejeweled clone with Pokémon.

In 2015, Nintendo released a free-to-play version and not only released it on the 3DS but also on mobile platforms.

So, let’s swipe Pokémon to safety together with TriformTrinity while he tells us all about the game.

2015 – Pokémon Picross (Nintendo 3DS)

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Khinjarsi puzzles away with the Picross game on 3DS.

Man, do I love solving Picross puzzles. They are so much fun to solve. I don’t have any drawing skills but seeing a drawing come together from just solving a puzzle is such a rewarding feeling!

So, I’m curious to see if Khinjarsi also feels rewarded by solving these puzzles, or was there something wrong with this game? Or did I just make up the last question to create some tension to try to get you to click the link to read the article? Who knows? Well, you would know if you read the article!

2000 – Pokémon Puzzle League (Nintendo 64)

And on the day of this collab releasing, the Gaming Omnivore streamed this competition.

Long-time readers of my blog know that I’m a game collector. One day, I was walking around on a garage sale and found a ton of amazing games.

When I was almost out of the budget I had set aside for that garage sale, I went to eat a burger with my mom who walked with me in that garage and yard sale.

Then, I suddenly saw in the corner of my eye a boxed and complete copy of Pokémon Puzzle Challenge for the Gameboy Color. The guy who was running the stand didn’t know the value of that game I was able to pick it up for 2€. I was so happy to add that game to my collection.

Now, why am I telling you this? Because I didn’t have a Nintendo 64 and I always wanted to try and play the Pokémon Puzzle games. And when I saw it for the Gameboy Color, I was so happy that I was able to grab a copy of it in that yardsale.

So, when preparing this collaboration, the Gaming Omnivore said in one of his streams that he wanted to stream the N64 version of the game on Pokémon day. So, let’s take a look at how this game plays? I loved watching the stream while I was counting down for this collab to release.

Closing words

This collaboration was a lot of fun to put together and do. I met so many wonderful writers through this collaboration and I’m so happy to be able to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pokémon with such an amazing group of writers. I want to thank everybody who helped in this collaboration and make it turn out amazingly.

I want to thank: Gaming Omnivore, Krista, L-One-X, McKenna, Khinjarsi, TriformTrinity, DanamesX, Eric Fellner, Solarayo, Andrew Fisher, and WCRobinson.

The impact that the Pokémon series has on today’s gaming culture and climate can’t be understated. This collaboration showed me that I’m not the only one who has so many amazing memories with the Pokémon series.

So, I’m quite curious to see what is going to be next for the franchise. Will we finally see Pokémon 2? Sorry, I just wanted to make that silly joke somewhere in this article. But for real, what will we see after New Pokémon Snap releases in late April? Will we see a special celebration game for this big anniversary? Sadly enough, we can’t be sure with the current pandemic throwing a lot of schedules in disarray.

Now, I might go and repeat myself here but the amount of memories this series created with the main series games and the spin-offs is something that can’t be understated. This series is one of the biggest series that my generation grew up on. And since the 25th birthday was coming up, I wanted to gather other Pokémon fans to do something special together.

Did you enjoy this collaboration? What did you think of it? Did you find new bloggers and writers to keep an eye upon? Currently, I want to say in name of the whole group who worked together to create this collaboration: “THANK YOU SO MUCH! Thank you for reading and enjoying our content. We hope you enjoyed reading this and feel free to leave a comment on our articles so we can talk together and reminisce together about our memories on the Pokémon franchise.”

And with that said, I want to thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this hub article and I hope to see you in a future article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care! And happy 25th birthday Pokémon! Thank you for all of the amazing memories and here are for all the memories to come!

Gaming Nostalgia: What hooked me on Pokémon?

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Ah, Pokémon. The game of my childhood. I grew up playing Pokémon Blue on my Gameboy and watching the anime. When I was a young NekoJonez, I always looked forward to what the anime and the games will bring me next. So, today I want to take a look back at a few Pokémon games and what hooked me into playing them? Let’s go 100% nostalgia mode and let’s take a trip through memory lane. Also, if you guys and girls have your own stories about what hooked you on Pokémon, please tell them in the comment section below. Also, feel free to give me advice on this format, if I should do other articles like this or other game franchises. In any case, here we go. 

Pokémon Gold, Silver & Crystal

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I think it isn’t a secret to a lot of you that I have never finished Pokémon Red, Blue & Yellow. I have come close to beating the final boss, but I was always unable to beat him.

Now, Pokémon Gold & Silver were the first Pokémon games I have fully beaten. For some reason, I enjoyed myself a lot more with the 2nd generation than the first generation.

The 2nd generation had more things to do and had more roleplaying in the game. It was also the first game I started to make friends with. I discussed the first-gen regularly with my cousin, but I have more memories of discovering the 2nd generation together with friends.

The day & night cycle, a visible XP bar, genders, berries, special Pokéballs and a whole revisit of the area of the first game were such amazing concepts to me as a child. There was more to do and more to enjoy then first thought possible.

It was also one of the first times I experienced the odd feeling of nostalgia. I touch upon t in the previous section, the whole revisiting of Kanto, the area you played in, in the first game. It blew my mind so much that I wanted to relive that feeling multiple times. Yes, Pokémon Gold and Silver are actually one of the games that made me decide to start collecting games. Since I wanted to replay them when I grew up and experience my childhood all over again.

Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire & Emerald

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Good lord, am I going to make some people annoyed at me with saying this. My favorite gen is the 3rd gen. If the 2nd gen actually made me start talking about Pokémon with friends, the 3rd game we actually discovered together. We helped each other when we got stuck and we battled each other often.

Behind the schoolyard where nobody saw us since playing on your Gameboy Advance (SP) wasn’t allowed during school.

But a feature I adore in this game is the secret bases. I have spent too much time decorating the whole secret base and buying things for it. I always pretended they were little gyms. Back then, my imagination ran wild and I actually imagined that they will release a patch where you were able to run around in each other’s world to try and discover each other’s bases. I had no clue what underground feature the next generation would bring.

Besides that, I was just immersed in the world. I just loved exploring and walking around in this world. I have no clue why, but I love the 3rd generation Pokémon a lot. I still remember figuring out the braille in those secret caves to get the Regi’s and unlock the stronger legendary Pokémon.

Also, the amount of Pokémon ROM hacks created in this engine, is just amazing. I have played such amazing Pokémon ROM hacks using the gen 3 games as a base. But, talking about those is just for another article.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Explorers Of Time/Darkness/Sky

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When I had beaten the first Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, I was extremely impressed with the game I played. Nothing was able to prepare me for the amazingness that was the sequel to this game.

The sequel had a more interesting story. But, what hooked me on the Mystery Dungeon formula. Well, I might have an idea.

I always wanted to play something else in the Pokémon universe. And that was this game. Thanks to this game, I got introduced to Etrain Odyssey and other dungeon crawlers.

While these spin-off games aren’t the best games in the respective genre, I love playing them because they have amazing stories.

It’s a bit sad to see that these games won’t have another sequel after Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon since GameFreak doesn’t have any ideas about where the series should go next.

But, back on topic. What actually hooked me in this game? For once, the personality test. For some reason, I always got different Pokémon as my main character but rarely to never another aura reading. I always got the starly silver one. Just funny how my favorite color is, in fact, silver and I was playing the game on a silver-colored DS.

Also, I have another story to tell about this game. One time, I ordered Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Explorers Of the Sky from a trusted online website. They deliver it and I put it in my collection. I already owned Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Explorers of Darkness. When I was actually cataloging my collection 2 years later, I actually discovered that they put the wrong copy inside the Explorers of the Sky box. So, I re-order the game from that website; guess what happens. They deliver the correct box but the wrong game again >.<

Thankfully, I was allowed to send the wrong manual and game card back and now I have the actual Pokémon Explorers of the Sky in my collection. Now, it’s time to complete that game since I want to find out what happens in the additional story.

Pokémon Ranger – Shadows of Almia

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I have played a lot of the Pokémon Ranger games. But I remember the 3rd one the most. Since that’s the only one I have currently finished.

The 3rd one is the most polish game out of all three of them. Also, it deals with an interesting story that takes place in two worlds, making the gameplay even more interesting.

If I would have to explain what hooked me on this game, I can only tell that you should look in the previous paragraphs of this article. I wanted to play something different than the usual main adventure. And that’s what this game delivered.

Catching different Pokémon and trying to figure out which Pokémon to capture to overcome the obstacles. For some reason, just writing about this game makes me want to replay this game. That would be perfect since I haven’t written an article about this game and I think that will be a better place for me to explain why I love this game so much. Or maybe a 2nd playthrough will reveal some flaws I overlooked in my first playthrough.

Wrapping up

So, that’s all I wanted to talk about for now. There are a lot more Pokémon stories I still want to share but those are for another time. I always wanted to do an article similar to this one.

Tell me what you think I should improve or change in the next edition. But for now, I’m going to end the Pokémon nostalgia here. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this article 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.

 

Review #022: Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows (PSP) ~ This Isn’t Right…

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Official website

Am I safe here? This darn school man. It’s haunting me. I’m trying to relax on my hiatus and getting my real life work done but this school is stopping me from progressing in my goal. I simply don’t understand. I have to fight this. The creepy ghost children aren’t helping. Wait, wait, wait… Haven’t I seen this before? Like some first impression I have written a some time ago. About Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows: First Impression. Nah, that can’t be. This must be an unlucky coincidence. Otherwise I could simply say that people could leave a comment with their opinion on the game and or this article. Hah! That would make life a lot easier. But no, I have to be trapped down here in this school. Again. Maybe my fate is different. Since I haven’t found the secrets. (Read, I haven’t played the secret episode. But I have finished the rest of the game.) So, I’m going to try to make a fair attempt here. Deep breaths. Avoiding spoilers and here we go!

Story

corpse2Now I’m quite sure I have … seen this before. This has an amazing story. Plot twists around every corner. This game actually got me off guard a few times and made me actually feel somewhat scared. And scared, as in it crawled under my skin.

It’s for sure better then the original. I feel that it has more depth and more interesting use of character. As if it were a sort of expansion pack for the original. You explore this hell forsaken school once more with different characters and their backstory gets more fleshed out. But where I truly applaud the creators here, is how one chapter actually took place outside of this Heavenly Host Elementary.

One remark has to be made though, some story parts are way too long. It asked nearly one full hour from me before I could start playing. While I adore long stories, this game could have dosed it a ton better. But with a healthy dose of humor, horror, heartwarming and thrilling parts… It’s forgiven.

The fact that you see unanswered questions get answered and how the characters are used to their full potential is just  mind blowing to see.  I said it before and I’ll say it again. This here, it nailed the story perfectly. I have barely any remarks to the story. And even if you have experienced the previous installment… This will have some quite unexpected turns.

Wait, what was that?

screenshot_0001_thumbSon of a gun! I’m quite sure I heard something. Maybe it was one of the amazing music tracks from the amazing sound track. Too bad that some of them are quite short.

Or might it be one of the voices? Like the amazing voice acting some have. Which brings amazing atmosphere to the table. What am I talking about? Reviewing voices? Am I going insane?

But those sounds, they are crisp and clear. Yes, they make me feel extremely scared. I’m afraid to move. It’s almost like the sounds got me extremely drawn into the game…

Damn, I saw a ghost.

Corpse-Party-Book-of-Shadows-3Maybe I’m seeing things. Maybe I’m not trapped in this school! Maybe I’m too drawn into this game. That might be it. It was such an amazing entry into the series.

And the visuals in this game blew me truly off my socks. Creepy hallways and “nicely” decorated classrooms. Every place was nicely designed.

None of the places felt unfinished. Every location had such attention to detail and some had some neat additional dialogue.

The cutscenes, are underused. The game has only a nice cutscene at the start where there a lot of images used. Here is the hard part, I barely can’t say anything about the animation of this game. Unless you take one new element into a count. The “corruption” level shall we say to avoid spoilers.

The more wrong moves you do, the longer you do to escape (a dangerous situation), the more red your screen becomes. It’s almost like you see a wave of blood passing in front of your face. And that is an amazing touch.

Gameplay

gallery_6_15_1819I think I’m safe. Thankfully. I knew that writing this article would have helped me. Now I’m sure that I’m a big fan of the Corpse Party series. And I waited on purpose with this article to give this game a special number.

And the gameplay of this entry didn’t disappoint one bit. Where you have a big limitation how you can move, you can explore every single bit of the school. Thanks to the new investigation system. It was truly such a nice thing to see.

There were also many tweaks to the game. Like the ability to replay voice acting! Yes, when you’re inside the menu, you can let the characters say their lines again in the “history” menu.

In addition to that, the amount of save slots. My lords, are there a lot of save slots. Maybe a bit too much, but I’m not complaining that much since you will need it. With the addition I mentioned earlier, you will need to save on certain locations since a screw up can be easily made.

The game can be a bit hard, but exploring each and every room to make sure you haven’t missed anything is a great way to progress. Another helpful tip I give is, explore the previous game also extremely well. If you do that, there will be additional content waiting for you in this game.

The length of this game is just mind blowing. I’m not going to lie that I was able to play this game for nearly a month. Admitted, I played various other stuff in that month in order to write some interesting articles for my blog. But to have it completed just recently, is just a great sign.

Where I have to applaud the developers here is the interesting addition of the bonus content. There are no extra chapters this time around, apart from one, when you have seen ALL the endings; including the wrong ones. You can listen to all in game music, with a sort of clunky player, and you can hear some behind the scenes commentary from the voice actors.

And with that, I’m going to leave it here for this article. While I realize that I have been vague on certain parts, I encourage you guys to play this game to find out how big of a master piece this game truly is!

Conclusion

The bad:

– Sometimes story parts are a bit too long.

– Some music tracks should have been a bit longer.

The good:

+ Amazing story.

+ Epic audio work in both the music and sound parts that will really draw you in.

+ An amazing game with stellar visuals.

+ Great voice acting.

+ Nice bonus content.

+ Challenging.

+ ….

Final words:

This game truly held me in it’s grip. I can’t wait to replay the original Corpse Party in order to unlock everything in this gem. While I tried something different to present this 20th review of mine, I had a tough time reviewing this one. This game was perfect in my eyes and I could only nitpick.

I truly cross my fingers that xSeed games ships more of these developers over seas since they are truly worth the time and money. Since these two games were spot on classics for me. It even got me into watching anime and reading manga again. Something I stopped doing because of games.

This game series is one of my favorites. It deserves a spot on “my most influencing games of my lifetime” list. And pretty high on this list!

Anyways, it’s how I said before my conclusion, play it for yourself and you will understand that this game is made with the gamers in mind. This adventure is one that will grab you and don’t let you loose until the end!

Score: 99/100

Top 10 games I played in 2013

masterengineeringtop10Alright, let’s do this. I have my favorite music playing in the background and it’s time to write some articles. 2013 is nearly over and I need to study. A lot even. But anyways, in this top 10 I’ll write about the games I played this year. There is one catch though. I’m not allowed to list games I have played before 2012. So, games I have finished and I’m now replaying don’t count. Anyways, I want for lay-out sake that this introduction is as long as the image here. And since that’s the case already, let’s start with the list. Leave me a comment from your thoughts of the games I have choosen. And try make a list yourself. I’m quite curious. 

#10: Delver (Steam)

imagesThis game. It took me by storm. I bought it on Steam because it caught my eye. And seriously, I don’t regret it in the slightest. I even wrote a review on it. I love playing this game because it’s simple.

You can pick it up from time to time and continue where you left off. I also get the feeling of freedom I get from Minecraft. It’s just mindblowing.

There is a similar game out on Steam, called Eldrich. Yet, I think Delver is clearly the better game.

#9: Pokémon Y (3DS)

3DS_PokemonY_pkg01Oh yes, this might piss off some people. Why is Pokémon X & Y on such a low spot. I think I might see a rage incoming.

Yet, while I haven’t written an article about it yet, I do think that this game has some flaws that made this game not the extremely nice title it’s supposed to be.

I have to give it to Nintendo. They did a lot of things right with this game. The improvements they made are well placed and work perfectly. Yet, there are some parts I think that they should have presented differently.

I’m not really done just yet with this entry in the series but when I’m done I’ll review this game. Although that the planned co-op won’t be happening since college got in the way and I was unable to finish the article in time and I delayed it and I started to be distracted by other games…

#8: Legend Of Heroes – Trails In The Sky

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This game is my favorite RPG on PSP. I’m so glad I discovered it. I’m nearly playing this game non-stop as soon as I start my PSP.

The writing in this game is excellent. The story is interesting and the gameplay is just great. The story comes close to a story I was writing on my forum in the past. I sometimes miss those days. Oh well, I’m glad I can write here on my blog and write for other things as well.

In the last months of 2013, I have been looking for games to play. And when I saw this game on the shelves, I was so glad I picked it up.

I even mentioned this game in my previous music article. The music is even worth listing to. Yet, it isn’t my favorite PSP game. I’ll talk about that one later.

It pains me to put this excellent game so low on the list, but oh well. I’m happy that I can include it. I would be ashamed if I forgot it.

#7: Broken Sword 5 – The Serpents Curse (PC – Steam)

gaming_brokensword5Okay, this game was fully fan-funded. And I haven’t beaten it yet. I’ll soon though. I’m trying to finish a lot of games now. And I’m replaying a lot of games to write an article on my blog for.

This game got some recent updates as well. Yet, there are some things that should still be worked on. Like I told in my first impression.

This point and click game proves that Revolution Software has still the making of these style of games mastered. Their way of coming out to their fans is just excellent. I love how they made this game happen.

I’m enjoying this game quite a lot and I’m ashamed that I don’t give this game the love it deserves. And I secretly hope that I get the collectors edition for Christmas so that my whole collection of this series is complete.

Next year, the second episode will be posted. When I finished that, I’ll surely write a full review about it!

#6: Tomb Raider (PC)

This game. It’s the game I used to come back at the world of blogging and reviewing. Read my review about it here.

I still play the game here and there to make sure I’ll reach the 100% one day. And I’ll also replay this game next year in order to try and beat this game on hard.

This game was such a blast from start to finish and I was so sad when I had beaten it. It went by a bit too quick for me.

But thanks to this game, I have discovered my love for a bit more creepy games and I learned to play games I thought I would have hated.

Still, my urge to replay some old Tomb Raiders is big now. And I might start playing some old classic Tomb Raiders in the near future.

#5: The Legend Of Zelda – Link Between Worlds (3DS)

The_Legend_of_Zelda_A_Link_Between_Worlds_NA_coverWow! Hold your horses. NekoJonez is such a big Zelda fan and he doesn’t put the latest Zelda title on the number one spot?

Yes, I don’t. Since there are some games that changed my gaming life for good and this game didn’t do that.

While it’s one of the best Zelda titles to date, I have my doubts about some things in this game. And when I beat it, I’ll talk about it in my review. But I talked about my opinion already in this article.

Still, this game takes the spot for best game that didn’t change my gaming life. And congrats on winning the award of “Game Of The Year” on Gamespot guys. It was such a surprise!

#4: Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney 5 – Dual Destinies (3DS – eShop)

This game changed my gaming life. It changed my views on DLC for good. I might have talked about it in a bad way in my review and my first impression. Shame on me for thinking all DLC is bad.

The additional case really added a nice case that makes this game worthy of a higher score. I wish there is a new case in the make for this game. One where we don’t have Simon as the opponent. Please, another one would be great!

If you haven’t played this title, it’s a great way to start the series. I restarted Miles Edgeworth actually after playing this and I might just write a review of that game soon.

#3: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity (3DS)

PMGTIThis game is just worthy of a review. Oh wait, I already wrote that article. I finished this game already. And I wrote that long review off it.

Yup, this game got a more lengthy review from me and I think it was worth it. It learned me how a sequel can be both disappointing yet fun as well. There were some parts I thought they shouldn’t have cut out but hey, they gave us some great other options as well.

I still have to finish the post game. But you know me, other games that start to distract me. But what didn’t distract me was the ending of the game. I succeeded in making me cry once more.

Even when I could predict the ending of this story, I still ran into the trap of the ending being such a hit on my “FEELS”. Aw man, I wish I could restart this game without knowing what happened to experience that feeling once more.

#2: Corpse Party (PSP)

cover_largeWithout a doubt, this is the best PSP game ever made in my opinion. Although I might have lazily placed the box-art of the sequel here, I think it’s worthy to mention it as well.

As I’m nearly done with finishing the last chapter of the sequel, the original game made me start my first impression series. The article is here. And I reviewed it as well. That review can be found here.

This game is surely worth of a playthrough. This text adventure is actually scary. And yes, it’s even a freaking 2D game. It’s written in such a way it’s pretty scary. And I even had moments where I regretted playing this in the dark.

Even playing this game in full light, this game has the power to make people piss their pants. It once came to a close encounter for me.

But the sequel is on the list to review once I finished it. Man, I have a lot of games I want to play but I kind of refuse to play this game since I don’t want to end my adventure with this game.

#1: Alan Wake (PC)

Alan-Wake-PC-_capaLooking back on 2013, I have played a lot of games. 2013 was such a weird year for me. I had new experiences and learned a lot. But there was one game that made me love my passion of writing stories even more.

Alan Wake. It’s simply one of the best PC games ever made. The adventure is extremely well made and it even made me reading books again. And what a blast it is to read the novel based on this game.

It made me want to play the game without stopping. I have written two articles about it. My first impression and my review.

I’m so glad that I got this game as a gift from somebody of my forum. And yes, that’s a reason why this game might got the first spot on my list.

I’m playing the sequel now and I’m curious how the story will wrap up. I’ll keep you guys up-to-date.

Final words

This may or may not be my last article of 2013. Busy times are ahead. I’ll try to write a few new articles. I have some planned. And I hope that they get past the planning stage this time.

Anyways, I am glad that I finally was able to write this article. Since it was such a challenge to write this list. I played so many games, I didn’t want to exclude some games, but I had to not list some of my favorites.

I’m quite sure that there are a lot of games you guys haven’t played or never heard of. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much I had writing it. But before I leave, let’s list the games that just didn’t made the cut for the list.

Elebits (DS), Tales Of Monkey Island (PC), NickTunes Fight For Vulcano Island (PS2), The Stanley Parable (PC), The Novelist (PC), Animal Crossing – New Leaf (3DS), Ape Escape (PSP), Fragile Dreams (Wii) and various others.

Well, I might just wish you guys happy holidays. Since I’m sure that makes me cover everything you possibly could celebrate. And I hope to catch you in one of my further articles!

 

First Impression: Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows (PSP) ~ It’s not over just yet.

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Link to the official website

You thought it was over after Corpse Party? Well, think again, Corpse Party Book Of Shadows shows the tale extremely different. With the opening of this game, you get the impression that this game is a sequel but once you actually start with the game, it’s clearly far from a sequel. Corpse Party was an excellent visual novel horror adventure game for the PSP, I truly enjoyed playing it and directly got myself the sequel. And I have been playing it often. The game is extremely different from the original and in this article I’ll talk if those changes are for the good or for the bad. Be warned, this article is about my first impressions of the game. I have only played a major part of the first chapter. I’m also finishing up the bonus chapters in the original, since you can unlock content with it in this game. But enough talking in this introduction, let’s dive right into Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows.

Deeper story.

In the original game I would go far if I told you that the characters weren’t developed. While it’s true that you don’t get a lot of information about the characters themselves, the actions of the characters easily shape a picture of them. But this game takes it a step further. In the first part I played of this game, I have already gasped several times.

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In this game, things that you could suspect in the original return. What’s Seiko’s deal with Naomi’s ass anyways? Well, you get the answer in this game.

This game seems to have a deeper story. You can always check back on the previous conversations by the touch of a button. And here, it’s getting in the right direction. You can scroll up and down and get to the top and bottom rather easily.

A major improvement is the ability to save anywhere you want and there are even more then just one save file! The save system is greatly improved since the original.

One thing I didn’t like is that you have to watch the introduction movie if you start the game for the first time. I honestly admit that I forgot to save the game after the first time I played it and I couldn’t skip the long introduction. Before you can get to some gameplay you will have to go through huge parts of text. I’m sure that this first part took me more then a hour to get through. Man, I wish I had a speed-up button.

The original is a joke

617350_20130124_640screen001Yes, the original is almost like a joke to this game. The visuals are kicked up a big notch. You now run in a sort of 3D world. The graphics are extremely nice made for this game. You can see the cursed school from all it’s 3D glory. And this get a thumbs up from me.

The voice acting is extremely well done too. I have had the annoying part where you tapped the confirm button way to fast that the voices couldn’t follow. Yes, the original had that slight problem. This game doesn’t have that issue.

Also, the more the cure gets to you, the more blurry your screen gets. And this is such a nice addition. I actually don’t understand the mechanics of that just yet, but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time.

The controls aren’t explained but they are straight forward non-the-less. You can search each room easily and when you can get information about something, you cursor will turn blue. Also, the parts that are timed, don’t interrupt the gameplay at all. But those didn’t interrupt in the original game either.

Time to turn up the amazing dial. 

corpse-party-book-of-shadows-gameplay

I gave the original game already a high score, but this game seems to run past it with ease. And I have only played the first chapter. The music is tense, and memorable.

With hints to the first game everywhere, in the music and story, this game is an improvement of the first game. I can’t repeat that enough. With the save files you can now see when and what time you made that save file.

There is one step back though, with the name tags list, they were better organised in the original. There it was per chapter and you had a little picture for each corpse. Now, both aren’t there. Oh well, that’s a minor nitpick anyways.

I realize that my thoughts in this article are all over the place but what I forgot to mention with the story is that thoughts are now no longer simply between brackets. Oh no, they are now in a different colored box. That’s great for newcomers to the genre. What’s also better is that there are more visual pictures to look at while the story is unfolding. There is less use of a black screen with a box in this game.

Have I mentioned that this game is slowly growing towards my list of most influential games in my life of all time? Only my favorites get  on that list and this game is a big blast to play. I don’t mind the long waiting times between gameplay since the story is extremely well written. The voice acting draws you in even more. The sound design is one of the better ones I have heard in a game for a while.

Music that I want to listen daily too, memorable characters, great design and a challenge for every gamer. This game is getting a high score from me already, but is the game going to keep it this game throughout the whole game. That you will read in the review, when I am done with the game. But for now, NekoJonez signing out.