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Gamer’s Thoughts: How do I write my first impressions and reviews?

Arpegi BackI have written a lot of first impressions and game reviews. In today’s article, I’m going to talk about how I create one of those articles. Consider this article as a sort of “behind the screens” look into my creative process. How I try to get an article ready every week. The focus of this article will be how I analyze a game. How I look at it’s nuts and bolts and how I translate that to words. In any case, feel free to leave a comment with how you prepare for your articles and/your thoughts. So, I hope you are ready since here we go! 

Preparations

380kvPersonally, picking a subject for the article is one of the hardest parts to me. I have a lot of ideas but often I change my mind at the last minute.

Quite common is that I write an article about the game I have been playing recently. It’s easier since the memories of the game are quite fresh in my mind.

Sometimes, when I don’t have an idea; I look around in my collection for a game to take a look at. And when I don’t feel like writing about a certain game, I try to find an interesting subject to write about. In most cases, I write an article in one of my series like Gaming Nostalgia, Gamer’s Thoughts or Gaming Music.

When I decided which game I’m going to talk about, I start playing it. I always have my tablet or a notebook close to me. Truth to be told, I don’t take many notes. Since I feel that writing an article with the impressions you have gives a stronger article.

So, my notes are mostly things that I don’t want to forget. Like certain moments or certain frustrations.

This way I find that you can give a more general impression of the game. This way I can focus more on the game instead of going too much in depth about one aspect.

The research part

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So, right before I start writing the article, I thinking of a good title and look up some other articles about the game.

I always give my own opinion on my blog. Even while other critics disagree with me. Besides, I’m not that good of a liar anyways.

But, it’s always interesting to see what other people write about the game. It gives me another angle on the game. It can also give me some ideas on how I should write the article.

It also gives me some background information about the game. This is rather helpful for finishing the article. To check if all my facts are correct. Also, I’m extremely interested in the history of gaming and the development. So, yeah…

The analyzing of the game

logo_samaxreviewsmoviesStory

How does one judge a story? Well, that’s very tricky. I used to write a lot of stories in the past. But nowadays, I write a lot about games.

So, I look at a story in a very different way. I look at how it’s written, how it’s structured, how it draws in the player and how it actually works. A good story must make you smile here and there and/or put you on the edge of your seat.

In my early gaming days, I used to never play games without a story. When a game didn’t have a story, I skipped it. With some exceptions like Tetris and Pac-Man of course.

The story is something that is the most important to me in a game. The better the story is, the more fun I have playing the game.

Presentation

The presentation of a game is something I can look past that, to a certain extent. I honestly don’t really care of some enemies are generic. I see it as a positive if they try to do something new with it.

Yet, there are two aspects of the presentation that I pay a lot of attention to. That are the menus and the controls.

A menu in a game should be easy to navigate. Also, a certain task shouldn’t require a “million” clicks before you can perform it.

And about the controls, it’s quite self-explanatory I think. Would you play a game with bad controls? Controls that work against you? Not a lot of people would enjoy themselves!

Difficulty

I love games that are challenging but aren’t too difficult. The more brutal a game is, the less fun I have with it.

Don’t understand me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with difficult games, I just don’t like them.

Truth to be told, reviewing the difficulty of a game is pretty tricky. Something that I find difficult in a game can be easy for somebody else. And it can work in the other way too.

Music and sound

The music of a game is quite important to me. The prove of that is the fact that I write a series about gaming music. Sometimes, some of my favorite songs are actually my ringtone.

At work, I listen to a lot of gaming music as well. Since it helps me concentrate. But in some cases, it can be a distraction since the memories come back from the game.

That’s why I listen to the soundtrack of the game while I’m reviewing or writing the first impression of a game. It helps me remember the game. 🙂

Closing off

So, yeah. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I tried to give a general idea how I make my articles. If you guys and girls want to know more, feel free to leave me a comment. Maybe could turn in a new article.

While I love writing articles like these, I love writing about games more. This makes it quite hard to pin down exactly what I look at while reviewing or writing a “first impression” article.

In any case, before I ramble too much… I think it’s time to wrap up this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it! I hope to welcome you another time on my blog but until then, take care! Have a great rest of your day.

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Review #028: Lili: Child Of Geos (PC ~ Steam) ~ Is this a port?

Lili Child of GeosSteam store page – Official site

A member, well more a friend of mine, from Arpegi recommend to me this game. I had this game on my wishlist before she even told me about it. So, then I decided to buy it. I didn’t do any research apart from watching some screenshots and the trailer. I only found out that this game is a port of a mobile game. And it’s not released on Android. According to the site of the developers, it only released on iOS. Now, people who read my blog often will know what I’m going to say about me, but in case you are a new reader I have something to tell about my reviews. Because I don’t have an iPhone, I won’t compare it to the original. But the most important thing here is that I’m going to take a look at this version. Since this is the version I played. (If I play other versions of the game, only then I compare.) This introduction has gone on for long enough. Let’s dive right into this game. Also, feel free to leave a comment on this game and or my article. 

Inspiration

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So, the developers try to sell this game with a daring statement. They say if you enjoy games like the Zelda series or Broken Age, you will have a blast with this game. Now, the “problem” I had because of this is that I had high expectations going into this game.

Sadly, the game didn’t deliver enough on that front. But is this a bad game? Well, in my opinion, this is a pretty neat game. Let me explain.

As usual, let’s start with talking about the story. I do very well know that this game is a port of a mobile game and because of that, I can safely say that the story for this game is pretty sweet. It won’t blow you off your socks or it isn’t a masterpiece but it gets the job done quite nicely.

One thing took me by surprise. This game might have multiple endings. I don’t know for sure but I have a strong feeling this game does have more then one ending. In the middle of the game you have the option to return home. I might have to play the game again to find out about that.

That is a positive thing for this game. There is replay-ability in this game. And you can make each playthrough different. I honestly think that with 2 to 3 playthroughs you can see everything in that game.

It would be quite unfair to say that the story could have been better. Since it wouldn’t benefit the game. The gameplay would be ruined if there was a deeper storyline then there is. The story is about you saving an island from an evil mayor. Every action you take will have a reaction. So, the story kind of wrote itself. The writing is pretty solid and the characters, while mostly flat, can be memorable at times.

Anyways, enough about the story. Long time readers of mine know that I can talk hours about stories, but we have a game to review!

Trying to hard?

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When I was playing this game, I felt like they tried a bit too hard when creating this game. Often I fell under the impression that they went for a huge amazing adventure. But in the end, it didn’t turn out that way.

I have beaten the whole game on the normal difficulty setting in 6-7 hours. This game is rather at the short side. With only 4-5 area’s to explore, this game falls into the category of a “game snack”.

The gameplay is rather interesting. While you explore, you have to fight enemies. To defeat them, you need to pull the flowers from their head. The later guardians have certain defenses. They can put thorns and bombs to try and shake you off. Lili can hang on these guardians as long as the meter doesn’t run out. The more hits you take, the faster that meter runs out.

Now, there isn’t a game over screen. Since there is no possibility to die. Thankfully the game autosaves since there is a spot where you can get stuck. At the stall where you can buy keys, there is a vase hidden behind some barrels. I was playing with my controller and kept pushing forward. Somehow, I got stuck behind the barrels. I couldn’t get out due to invisible walls.

Speaking of those, some area’s have invisible walls. I have no idea for what reason. My best guess is to avoid some minor graphical glitches. Like a hat clipping through a stair or something. For that reason they blocked off some small area’s. But it isn’t that big of a deal.

The user interface is pretty neat. It helps you to keep an overview of some achievements and is pretty good to use. I don’t have any complaints with it. They even thought of listing your side quests! Great move guys.

Mistakes

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What exactly are the negatives of this game? I already talked about the game being at the short side, but with the possible different outcomes, there can be a replay. This will double the playtime. So, yeah, a 12-14 hour adventure game… not bad.

Visually, the game looks stunning. Even on the low graphics. The higher settings weren’t too friendly on my old machine. So, let me know how this game looks at it’s highest settings.

The music is okay, but not good. The problem is that it isn’t catchy. I wouldn’t see myself looking to download the soundtrack of this game and listing to it while I’m on the go. Even when the theme in homes is a remix of the track they use in the Zelda games.

A big negative is that playing with a mouse makes this game way to easy. When I tried to defeat the guardians with my controller, it was actually challenging. But as soon as I started to use my mouse to pull out the flowers, the game got a lot easier. I was able to defeat the final boss with great ease.

Do you guys remember my rant about my 10 most hated things in gaming? Number ten was mistakes in the controls. And they made one of the biggest. They forgot that there are also AZERTY keyboards in the world. And the keybinds on AZERTY keyboards aren’t converted.

The biggest issue I have is with the achievements. They are broken. From buggy achievements to just silly achievements. Breaking 1000 vases? No, thanks.

Anyways, I think I’ll go to my conclusion. There are a few other things I don’t mention because I want to leave some surprises when you decide to play this game. Isn’t that a kind gesture of me?

Conclusion

The good:

+ Decent story.

+ Interesting gameplay.

+ Different outfits.

+ Visually stunning game.

+ Good user interface.

+ …

The bad:

– Forgettable soundtrack.

– Achievements need to be fixed.

– The difficulty is unbalanced between the controller and the mouse.

– AZERTY keyboards are left out.

– You can’t max out all stats when you beat the game.

– …

Final thoughts:

Alright, time to wrap up this review. So, this game isn’t one of the best games I played but it kept me entertained. It has it’s fun moments but as soon as the novelty of the unique gameplay wears off, the signs of it being originally a mobile game start to show.

The game got a an amazing upgrade to become a PC game. But, in the end, it’s nothing more then a port with a pet and hat collection quest as extra. If that’s your only addition besides updating the UI and graphics, professional reviewers won’t be very kind to the game.

While I enjoyed the game myself, I need to be objective and admit that this game lacks a whole lot of gameplay. That’s the biggest problem with this game. It’s way to short and way to repetitive if you don’t do the side quests as well.

So, I can score this game on two ways. I can give it a rather high score because I enjoyed myself and I liked the game. At the other hand, I can give the game a rather low score because of the reasons I said before. To give a fair score, I decided to score this game between the two scores. Yeah.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I enjoyed writing this one. And I hope to see you in another article! Take care~

Score: 60/100