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First Impression: Project Zero 2 – The Crimson Butterfly (PS2) ~ A Sisterly Bond

Fatal_Frame_II_-_Crimson_Butterfly

Wikipedia entry

Ah Fatal Frame, a series I found quite interesting when I was a little child but fell in love with a few years ago when I was able to get my hands on a collector’s edition of the Wii U entry in the series. It was the 5th entry in the series and I loved it so much, I started to hunt down all the other entries in the series. Last year, I was able to get myself all the European released games on PS2, in a physical copy! While testing them out, I enjoyed myself quite a lot with Fatal Frame 2. So, I kept playing that game. It’s no secret that I enjoyed myself with this game since I gave a spot on my top 10 games I played in 2018. So what are my actual opinions on this game? Well, let’s find out! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment down below with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

PS: The article was originally going to be published this Sunday, but because today is my 26th birthday, I decided to publish it today as a birthday special.

A sisterly bond

fatal frame II screenshot 2The story starts out with two sisters running around in the forest playing. Suddenly, the pass a stone and it looks like the duo entered another dimension. The two get terrified that there is no easy way out and even worse, the two split up. Not willing, mind you. One of the two sisters gets mesmerized with a crimson butterfly that she keeps following.

So, you need to go look for your sister in a creepy and haunted town while you need to escape ghosts and try to find an exit of the city. The setting for this horror game is excellent. The voice acting in this game is really well done, the voices of the two sisters are excellent. I also loved the performances of the ghosts since they kept me on the edge of my seat in certain battles.

The story is mostly told through notes, cutscenes and the environment.  There are moments you are together with your sister and there are moments she sees that damned butterfly again.  She really likes these red butterflies. Now, the story so far has been quite enjoyable. While sometimes I feel that the story is mostly used to string levels and areas together, it’s executed extremely well. I really felt that something strange was happening and that there were higher powers at play.

Now, I am quite curious about where the story of this game will go. The mysteries are getting unrevealed slowly but I still don’t have any answers. Now, do you need to play the first game before you can understand the story of the 2nd game? Well, not at all. The story is totally independent of the first game, while a lot of story mechanics return in the second game, all the characters are new.

Also, I haven’t beaten the original game myself. Now, you might wonder why I have chosen to play this game on the PS2 and not go for the director to cut on the XBOX or Wii. That has two reasons. One, I don’t own an XBOX and two, the physical copy of the Wii game is extremely expensive. Now, when I was finishing up this review, I discovered that the game got released on the Nintendo eShop, so I bought myself a digital copy.

Anyways, we are getting off track here. The story itself is interesting. It’s two-fold actually. In one part, it’s about how to escape the village and in another part, it’s about saving your sister. So, I have the impression that this game has multiple endings. But, I have to beat the game to know that for sure!

Spooky Camera

project_zero_2-6Because this is a Fatal Frame game, the Camera Obscura shows itself again. If you have played any other games in the series, you know how this game plays. In this game, you have to explore an area that’s filled with ghosts. Some ghosts aren’t hostile but most of them are hostile. In order to defeat the ghosts, you have to take pictures of the ghosts. The better they are in the frame, the more damage they receive. The damage also depends on the film you use. There is an aspect of survival horror to this game since the amount of film isn’t infinite. The stronger films are really hard to find and quite rare.

Combat in this game is an awkward dance with the ghosts. You have to come close to snap a good picture. But, if they are too close, they can grab you and you get damage. So, you have to move backward. Now, the camera you use is quite old. So, it needs to recharge after each use. You have audio and visual cues to see when the camera is recharging.

To be honest, I found the combat controls better in the Wii U game I played. In my review of Resident Evil 4, I mentioned that I had difficulty with aiming my gun on the PlayStation 2. The same thing applies here. So, each play session, I have to get used to the controls. It doesn’t take too long, but it makes me miss the Wii U controls. Maybe when I play the Wii version, I won’t have this issue too much.

Now, this game doesn’t have an autosave. Much like Resident Evil 4, you can save at certain locations. In this game, it’s a red lantern on a pedestal. You have a limited amount of save slots, but that doesn’t bother me too much since it helps me to get more points. Side note, there is an improvement over the save system of Resident Evil since there is a small picture accompanying the save file.

Yes, the better the image, the higher the points you get. These points can be used to upgrade your camera. Upgrades like shutter speed or damage output. You can also find upgrades in various, sometimes hidden, locations to get certain things up to a higher level. There is a safer way of earning points as well. If you are able to take a picture of the scripted harmless ghosts, you get some bonus points. So, it’s highly advised to explore around and not go to solve the puzzles straight away.

Oh yes, this game has puzzles. Some of the puzzles require you to analyze a photograph and try to work out where it came from. Other puzzles require you to find a certain key item to open a door or to lift a curse on a door in order to progress.

Like a lot of other survival horror games, this game also suffers from some jump scares. Now, I find the build-up to the jump scares pretty good. Most of the jump scares happen a bit off-screen when you haven’t encountered a ghost for a while. In the Wii U game, the jump scares were way worse. Also, it’s quite possible to miss some jump scares if you didn’t explore certain areas of the room.

Exploring the city and the buildings is made much easier with a great map system. The map draws itself while you are exploring. The area only adds itself when the area is discovered. Also, when a door is locked, the door isn’t shown in blue but in red. Now, if you unlock a door when solving a puzzle that is somewhere else on the map, I don’t know for sure if the door also changes to blue. Since, to be honest, I haven’t paid attention to that.

There are a few additional things to the combat and gameplay I’m going to keep a secret for this article. The only thing I’ll say about it is that there are a combo system and a few other features. The camera is used in so many different unique and creative ways, it keeps the mechanic from being repetitive.

 The atmosphere in the dark

fatal frame II screenshotThis game is totally worth to wear the title of a horror game. The atmosphere of the game is done extremely well. While this game first released on the PS, this game still looks amazing to this day. Some models and textures do show their age, but the lighting and visual design give an extremely creepy atmosphere. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat during most of my play sessions. I even went as far as closing the curtains of my room or to play this game at night with a good pair of headphones and in the dark. Only the dim glow of my darkened LCD television to keep me company.

I have played this game without and with my headset on. I found the game better when I played with a headset or with a good sound system. I wouldn’t listen to most of the soundtrack outside of the game but in the game, it helps to build a scary atmosphere so well. Some tracks sound like wind blowing through the room or that something is chasing and/or following you. Together with the amazing sound design of the ghosts, this game is just creepy.

The ghosts don’t sound either human nor otherworldly. This is especially creepy because the ghosts moan and speak in Japanese. Well, most of them speak Japanese. Some ghosts also speak English and hearing that suddenly makes it even more creepy. They even managed to make picking up items scary with playing animation and a creepy sound effect each time when you reach down to pick up an item. You also never know what the item will be since it’s a glowing white orb on the ground. It’s also possible to find some items in various drawers and household items. So, explore away!

Now, the bulk of the story is told through the locations you visit. There are some cut scenes where somethings are explained, but the visuals help to tell the story. There are also some moments where you find a stone that tells some additional story to flesh out the story even more. Earlier in this first impression, I talked about how the two sisters entered a cursed village and they are trying to find their way out. In this game, you explore various locations. From a graveyard to a scary forest. You also explore various typical Japanese homes to a big shrine. While I was exploring, I really felt I was exploring an abandoned haunted village. The realism and attention for detail in the visual presentation is amazing.

Something I really want to praise this game for is that lighting. The lighting in this game is one of the strongest points. Of course, the game takes place during the night. It’s never light outside. At least, so far. I haven’t finished the game after all. The various candles littered around the village help to sell the atmosphere even more. The flashlight that you can control with one of the joysticks of the PS controller works flawlessly.

So, I think it’s quite clear that the atmosphere of this game is solid. When you want to play a good horror game, I highly recommend this game. The game also provides you with some good challenges. From tricky ghost encounters to clever puzzles. Now, you can run away from the ghosts, but you’ll lose points. And if you don’t get enough points, you might not be able to defeat certain bosses easily. Since, points = upgrades.

The controls are something that some people don’t like about this game. Personally, I got used to them after a while. I already talked about the struggle I had with the aiming of the camera. But, that also helps in the immersion department in a way. Remember, you are playing as a young Japanese girl trapped in a cursed village looking for your sister and a way to escape. Of course, you are scared and you are looking frantically for a way to defend yourself.

I’m almost forgetting to talk about the animation of this game. The animation in this game gets extremely close to the uncanny valley. I’m convinced that it’s in the uncanny valley for some. Especially how certain characters react and express their emotions. For example, how the two sisters like arms when they are witnessing something scary for the first time. They are looking for comfort with each other. It still blows my mind that there was such lifelike animation on the PlayStation 2.

I could continue to talk about this game for a while longer but most of it will be praising the game. If you are a horror fan, you really owe it to yourself to check out this game. The quality of the Fatal Frame series is up there with Silent Hill and the original Resident Evil games. I’ll talk a bit more in-depth about the game when I write my review. Consider the things I haven’t talked about in this first impression review as nice surprises when you decide to play this game.

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

First Impression: Project Zero – Maiden Of The Blackwater (Wii U) ~ Snap Those Ghosts

project zero.jpg

Official website

While I know that Halloween is over and that we are extremely close to another holiday, that is supposed to bring happiness and joy to people, that doesn’t stop me from talking about a scary game. I had heard a lot about this game and also a lot about the franchise, Fatal Frame. In fact, this is the 5th entry into the series. Thankfully, you don’t need to know about the previous games in this series to enjoy this game. When I saw in my local game store that I was able to pick up the collectors edition with everything in it for a cheap price, I don’t hesitate. I mean, I’m a game collector after all. In any case, I think it’s time to take a look at this game since this game did something with me. Do I regret buying this game or have I been enjoying it? Let me explain while I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Scared-y cat

Project-Zero-V-2.jpg

So, I’m not that good with horror games. I get spooked too easily and generally, my play style doesn’t fit the more careful way of planning and strategizing that you need to survive in horror games.

Now, in recent memory, there were a few horror games that actually made me want to play horror games. First, there was this psychological horror game called 999: 9 Hours 9 People 9 Doors then there was this, somewhat over the top, horror visual novel adventure series called Corpse Party. Then I noticed something if I’m able to get invested in the story, I tend to enjoy myself. Also, I tend to enjoy Japanese horror games more than western horror games.

That’s what happened almost right away in Project Zero. The story is pretty well written and takes various twists and turns. Some I had seen coming, but the pacing and execution are great.

You play this game in chapters, called “drops” in this game where you visit a cursed Japanese mountain. You can play as a few different characters, but there are no big differences between them gameplay-wise. The difference is in the story.

In this game, you can choose between English and Japanese voice acting. I honestly tried both and I think they are both great. For my overall gameplay, I tend to choose the English voice acting since I enjoy looking at the cutscenes on my big TV and the subtitles are just a bit too small on there.

So far, I’m at the 5th drop and I have been enjoying the story. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the game has to throw at it. I also like how you can get some backstory with the various notes you find. While some people don’t enjoy reading huge walls of text, in this game there aren’t too many and they aren’t too long to read either.

Snap those ghosts

project zero 2

Something I really like in this game is that this game doesn’t have a limited amount of ways to defend yourself and still stay challenging.

In this game, you solve different cases related to the haunted mountain. While you can explore the mountain, most of the game is somewhat linear. You can do some exploration but not too much.

During your exploration, you can get attacked by different ghosts. Now, you can choose to avoid most of them, but others you will have to “kill”. This you can do by snapping various pictures of them. The better you get the ghost and it’s face into the frame, the more damage you do.

There is also a point system and these points can be crucial to your survival. The better pictures you take and the better combo’s you make, the more points you earn. You can use these points to not only upgrade your camera to do more damage and defeat the boss or the stronger ghosts more easily. You can also use your points to buy various healing and supportive items at the start of a chapter. So, if you need more healing items or supportive items AND you want to upgrade your camera, you better make good pictures of the ghosts.

There is a “risk and reward” system here. If you let the ghost come close, you will get damaged, but you also do more damage. So, you really have to think wisely when you get in to combat.

While you are exploring the area, you can choose if you have your screen mirrored on the Wii U gamepad or if a map is shown. Something I really like during combat is how the game shows a more general view on the TV screen and a more zoomed in view if you look through the Wii U gamepad. You really get the feeling you are snapping pictures of those ghosts using the Wii U gamepad as a camera.

The camera is a game mechanic used to it’s fullest in the game. You will also need to use it to bring items from the ghost world to ours. There are a few other mechanics too, but I leave those for you to discover if you decide to play this game.

Shivers

Project-Zero-Maiden-of-Black-Water-Screenshot-21.jpg

The visual presentation of this game is extremely well done. The game looks amazing on the Wii U. The game really drew me in with its visuals and animations.

While I have seen some clipping in the animations, when it comes to humans picking up objects, there are a few moments where I thought the game could use just a bit more visual polish. Especially the animation of the hair I found lacking. Almost everything on the body is well animated, even down to a shaking hand to simulate shivers in the characters when they are picking up objects. But, the hair mostly stays static, as blobs to the head of the characters.

Also, there are some invisible walls in this game. While I understand that there are some invisible walls to avoid players running off cliffs, sometimes they are used in places I think they weren’t needed. For example, there was one place where you had a room with an altar and a pool in front of it. You were unable to go to the altar since in the middle of the pool, there was an invisible wall.

Those are the only complaints that I have when it comes to the visual presentation of this game. And most of them, don’t really bother me that much. I really think they did a great job when it comes to the visual presentation. It even creeped me out sometimes.

Besides the visual design, the sound design does a lot to creep you out too. In most cases, when a spook happens, some loud noise or sound effect plays. That’s not always the case in this game. This game can play tricks on you with moving dolls or just putting silent ghosts just right around the corner.

The sound design also helps out in the cutscenes and regular gameplay. You get additional sound effects playing through the speakers of the gamepad, making some situations even more creepy.

Overall, I think it’s quite clear with all the praise I’m giving the game, that I’m enjoying this game. But, there is one thing that I think really brings this game down. Sometimes, the controls in combat aren’t as smooth as they are supposed to be.

I had times where my gamepad lagged behind what was happening on the screen or the other way around. Also, the gamepad didn’t always follow my movements when I went from side to side. This caused some damage that could have been avoided. While I write it off as my character packing and being flustered, I can see some gamers being frustrated at this and stop playing the game altogether.

The game has two difficulty levels. You can play this game on easy and on normal. Maybe, you unlock a higher difficulty when you beat this game, but I haven’t done that yet.  In addition to that, I assume that you unlock the costumes also at the end of the game. Since I’m at the 5th drop and not one costume unlocked. Maybe, I’m overlooking something here.

In any case, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game for now. There are a few things I left out in this review since I think it would be more fun for you to discover while you are playing the game for yourself. This game is totally worth playing if you enjoy adventure games and games with a good story. But beware, for spooky moments.

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, take care and have a great rest of your day.

 

Review: Nintendo Pocket Football Club (3DS – eShop) ~ Let’s Play This Match

Nintendo_Pocket_Football_Club_(GER)Official website

From time to time, I tweet about a match I’m watching or I just watched. I’m a casual soccer fan. When a game is shown on TV, I go to my grandfather to watch. Apart from that, I don’t follow a lot of soccer. When I saw a Nintendo soccer game a few years ago on store shelves, I was interested but never bought the game. Until a few weeks ago, when it’s was on sale in the Nintendo eShop and I bought it with the money I had left over. And now, it’s time that this game plays it’s most important match, the review match. I’ll be the referee of this game, so I hope you are ready! If you want to shout something to the referee; especially your opinion on the game and/or my decisions in this match, go ahead in the comments! 

The goals

Nintendo_Pocket_Football_Club 2

So, this game scores a few goals. Let’s take a look at what goals this game scored.

In the first few minutes, this game scored with the visual presentation of this game. The artwork and the sprites blend together quite well. While the animation during the matches can be somewhat lacking sometimes; I think that changing them would destroy the charm of the presentation. That makes the 1-0 for the game.

The game scores a 2-0 with the overall gameplay during matches. Each match can go in many different directions. One time, I didn’t save after a match, restarted the game and replayed the same match. I did this five times, each time I got a different outcome. You will never know what you will get. During the matches, the game can be very tense. It’s a balancing act in when to substitute players, changing tactics and hoping for the best. There is an additional layer of strategy since you can only change your strategy when you substitute your players or during the break period of the match. And during the break period, you have more options to change your strategy so your decision will count.

Not only that, you need to balance your team as well. The 3-0 goes to the training system. This is done with trainer cards, which I will expand more on later. But, you need to make sure that you don’t lose players since they rarely played or played too much. To manage your team well and who knows, you might be able to transfer more expensive players to your team.

The 4-0 is scored by the random element in this game, called the trainer cards. During a match, you gain a certain amount of random player cards. You can use these player cards to improve your players. If you combine them, you can make special combos which improve the player’s stats more than if you would use them separately. Also, you need to think about what stats you need to improve. For example, you don’t need to learn a keeper how to dribble, since he almost never needs to dribble. But, it’s a great idea to improve the jump stat of your keeper.

Surprisingly, the game scores a 5-0 with the sound design. Personally, I wish that there was music playing during the matches, on the other hand, I’m glad that they didn’t. Since it adds to the realism of the game. The only complaint I have about the sound design is that the goal scoring jingle doesn’t always play when your team scores when you are the “away” team. Minor nitpick really.

The game also scores a 6-0 with an interesting in-game manual. The game also explains some terms for players who aren’t that well known with soccer. Neat.

The 7-0 is a goal with the customization of the game. You can design the shirts of your team, the logo, and the name. When you want to redesign or rename your team, you can do that when you want, when you aren’t playing a match.

The kicks to the woodwork

npfc_13

So, this game could have scored more points but they missed a few chances in this game. Let me start with the first one.

The backing system is where they had a missed opportunity. While I really like the concept, I’m really displeased with the fact that you loose backing when you play either a draw or lose a game. Personally, I think that you shouldn’t lose backing when you draw a game. Also, I think that you shouldn’t lose backing when you lose a game on certain occasions. For example, when you lose 1-0 from a team that is placed in the highest league when you are in the lowest league, that’s a big accomplishment of your team that shouldn’t go unnoticed, since, in the real world, fans would be happy with the play of their lower ranked team.

The game also hits the goal post with the trainer cards. While they are quite interesting to use, you don’t have a list of what cards make a combo. When you select a card, other cards will sparkle if you used them to make a combo in the past. But, when you have never made that combo, you won’t see them sparkle. Also, on my playthroughs, I noticed that I get a lot of the same cards each and every match.

Something that isn’t present is an autosave feature. Which can be a be a blessing and a curse. To me, it’s a blessing since I can restart a game when I’m not happy with the outcome of a match. But this can be considered cheating too…

The goals of the opponent

nintendo_pocket_football_club

Sadly enough, the game got a few goals in their own goal as well. Let me talk about those.

The 7-1 is scored due to the lacking controls sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this game has unuseable controls in any sense of the word. But, sometimes the controls are so picky that you lose a lot of time with it.

For example, you need to confirm when you change players from a location in the field. Also, on the screen where you decide to swap players, the “L” button bugs out sometimes. When you go the bench with using the down arrow, the prompt of the “L” button changes when I’m at the 3rd player.

The 7-2 is scored because the UI lacks some information sometimes. While the UI is very well put together, I really wish I was able to see the stats of the player I wanted to replace. But, you can only see the stats of the player your cursor is on. In addition to that, when you use the “Y” button to swap players, you can’t see the stats of the players.

Outside of the matches, the UI can be annoying sometimes. I think that the biggest issue is that the game lacks some information screens. Like, how many times a player scored in the “players to watch” screen. Or on the screen where the players ran, you can’t see where the keepers ran.

The 7-3 is scored because I think that the offside rule is programmed a bit strangely. I’m under the impression that when a ball is going towards another player and when a player is running offside, the fault of offside is given. This is very frustrating.

After that, this game suffered another goal; making the score 7-4. This is due to the lack of options for the game. You can’t change the length of a match. When you leave a match early, you don’t get a lot of player cards and most of the times, your team automatically loses. Also, you can’t see in the history of a rival team to see how strong other players are and who to watch out for. You need to base your judgement on the stats of the players that you can only see at the start of a match. Oh well.

It can be very repetitive when you need to sit through each and every match. The 7-5 is made by the lack of “simulating” the match or just give you the result.

But, the biggest flaw of this game is the 7-6, that’s the extremely harsh difficulty curve. What I mean here is that you don’t get enough information out of the game to improve your team and find out where your team is lacking. Minusworld says that’s it’s an uphill battle sometimes.

The game can be very difficult and unforgiving sometimes, to the point that I wish there was a rollback feature. Sadly enough, this isn’t present.

The 7-7 is scored because I feel that the game doesn’t explain some mechanics enough. How do you make a player not have the “balanced” play status? What’s the best combination for a midfielder? Those things are for you to find out and you don’t get any hints for the game about this. This should have been handled better.

And that concludes the match, now it’s time to give the final analysis of this game.

Final analysis

So, due to the structure of this review, I won’t be listing off the positives and negatives like I usually do in other reviews. I’m going to close off this review with my overall thoughts on this game.

I think that this game isn’t great nor bad. The game sits somewhere in the middle for me. If I would need to give points, this game gets a 65/100 for me. While I expected more about this game, I really had a fun time trying to survive with my team and try to find out what works and what doesn’t work.

Each playthrough, you learn more about the pitfalls of the game and you learn more mechanics. While the game can be repetitive from time to time, watching those matches of your team makes the game exciting.

A very important thing to remember is something that MinusWorld also said in his article about this game. You need to remember that you aren’t 100% in control of your team. You can set the general strategy and such, but you don’t play the matches themselves. If you look at this game more as a sort of casual-ish football club manager sim than a football game, I think you will get more enjoyment out of this game.

This isn’t a bad game, but the harsh difficulty and the lack of explaining certain game mechanics can be a real deal breaker for some players. Give the demo a chance and decide then if the game is for you or not.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

First Impressions: Suicide Guy (PC  – Steam) ~ How Do I Die This Time?

Suicide Guy 1Steam page

In most games, your goal is to accomplish a goal alive. Yet, there are a few games that challenge you to do the exact opposite. This is one of these games. Your goal is to try and die in your dream to hopefully wake up and catch the beer you dropped. So, will this guy be able to drop his beer before it hits the ground? Full disclosure, I got a review code for this game. So, with that said, it’s time to talk about this game. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion/thoughts on the content of this article and/or the game.

Note: for this review, I haven’t fully beaten the game, that’s why it’s the first impression. Also, I have played v1.2.1 released on September 18th.

The tavern hub

Suicide Guy 2Like I said in the introduction of this article, the goal is to die in each dream to try and wake up so you can catch your falling beer. The story is basic but it fits the theme rather well. This game is a hybrid of a puzzle, action, adventure and platform game. The story takes a backseat for most of the game and honestly, I’m glad for that.

I expected much worse things when I heard the title. I expected the story to be about a highly depressed man who wanted to die as quickly as possible. But the story is lighthearted and that makes the game even more enjoyable.

So, after the first dream that acts like a tutorial, you get sent to the hub world. The hub world is a big tavern with all the tables a separate level. The level you have to beat will have a light shining on it, all the beaten levels will have their icon without said light. I really like the hub world since on the monitors you still see your main objective, wake up and catch that beer.

The hub world also helps build the character you play as a bit more. I’m under the impression is a somebody who owns his own tavern at the side of the road who is on holiday watching TV. Or perhaps, I might be looking way too much into this.

The icons you see on the tables is also a quick representation of what the level is going to be about. You can also see if you have collected the statue of that level. When you have found the hidden statue in the level, it will be displayed on the table. I really like the design of the statues, since the pose has always something to do with the level theme.

I have two issues with this hub world and that is the in some occasions, the sound effect for the level doesn’t start playing when you quickly walk between levels.

The second issue I have is with the placement of the levels. Levels 1 to 7 are placed in such a strange order; levels 1,2,3 and 7 are placed on one row and 4,5,6 are placed on the other row. I personally place them in a more linear order. The reason why I talk so much in-depth about this is that from level 7 to level 25, it’s all placed in a linear order. So, why not the first few levels.

How shall we beat this level?

Suicide Guy 3The goal of each level is simple. Find the end of the level to try and commit suicide. Like I said before, in each level, you have a statue to find too. This is optional as far as I know.

Once you collect the statue, it stays collected. So, if you didn’t find the statue the first time, you can enter the level and find it. You don’t have to beat the level to keep the statue. Most of them are in plain sight and if you explore just a little bit, the statues are easily found.

I really love the theming of each level. Some levels are even a reference to other popular games or movies. There is even a level based on Indiana Jones, my favorite movie series!

Visually, this game is very pretty. I think it’s a quite impressive display. The only thing I don’t like about the visual presentation when you crouch and you look up, you see what I think are the tops of the arm models. I have seen this for the first time in the 8th level.

The animations are also great. You can see a big visual difference between the graphical settings. I ran the game on high settings since the normal settings had some elements that I didn’t like too much. The shadows for example where too blocky. If you can avoid it, don’t use the lowest graphics settings. The lighting engine goes banana’s then and makes the levels too bright. The game has rather low system requirements, so I think not a lot of modern computers will have trouble with it.

There are a few areas that could some polish visually. Some parts of decorative walls aren’t solid and sometimes the skybox is shown in-doors. Most of the times, these problems are quite minor and will only annoy you if you look for them. I have notified the developer of all instances I found.

Shall we catch that beer?

Suicide Guy 4This game has controller support. I haven’t tested it out with my controller, but I have played the game using a mouse and keyboard.

One annoying thing about the controls is that you can’t rebind them. This isn’t such a big issue if you use QWERTY-keyboards. Sadly enough, here in Belgium, we use AZERTY keyboards so I was annoyed that I had to change my keyboard language to QWERTY to easily play the game. If this could be fixed, I would be a very happy camper.

The UI of this game is pretty good. I have only one complaint, I think that the “select level” button in the main menu is not needed. The hub area covered that already.

The biggest problems with this game are the awkward items and jump controls you must get used to. The problem with the item controls is that the “pick up items” button is a physical button and the “use items” button is the left mouse button. I think it would be better if either both are buttons or both actions use the mouse.

The problem I have with the jumping is that you don’t always know if the character is going to grab and climb up a ledge or not. Maybe a bit more of a visual indicator would be helpful. In most levels, there isn’t a lot of jumping that you must do. So, it isn’t that big of a problem since you get used to it quickly.

Each level isn’t too long. If you know what you are doing, some levels can be beaten in 1 or 2 minutes. In addition to that, if you screwed up and got stuck somewhere, you can easily restart the level without losing too much progress.

If you commit to it, you can beat this game in an afternoon. The game doesn’t take longer than 2 and half hours to beat. This makes the game ideal for speed running. I think that this game would be better if there is a “speed running mode”, where there is a timer in the bottom of the screen and after you have beaten the game, you see a results screen that you could possibly share online, on how fast you beat each level and the entire game.

One thing that I missed in this game is a sort of hint system. One time, I was really stuck on the Mario level. I didn’t want to look up a walkthrough, but I did want a hint. It took a bit too long to figure out what I had to do to climb up to the second ledge.

The soundtrack of this game is excellent. You also can get the soundtrack for the game data folder. If you enjoy the soundtrack, you can listen to it everywhere you want. Something quite unique is the fact that the music plays through the radios scattered around the level. You can pick up those radios to take the music with you or shut them off if you don’t want to hear the music. Pretty great mechanic.

This game isn’t too difficult, once you figure out what you should do, it’s straightforward. This game can be challenging when you don’t see the solution, but overall, it’s quite simple.

There are also Steam Achievements and Steam Trading Cards for those who are interesting in those.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I can’t wait to fully beat it myself. Currently, I’m halfway done. If I had to give a score of what I played so far, I would give the game a 7/10. This game is a very fun game but it’s rather short. It’s ideal for casual players or gamers who want to play something quick and different. Also, for the cheap price tag of 5€, you can’t complain. This game has a lot of polish and soul put into it and it’s a bargain for that price.

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, take care and have a great rest of your day!

Game Quicky: Galatic Warrior (Android) ~ This is for EARTH!

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Official website

Today, I’m taking a look at a new Android game called Galatic Warrior. This game has been developed by two brothers from Spain. It started as a hobby and after seven months, this is their result. I have to applaud them since game development is hard. So, they mailed me and asked to give my opinion on their game, and as usual, I’m going to give my 100% full opinion on this game! Also, feel free to leave a comment on this article with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

The good

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For a game that’s developed by mostly 2 people, this game looks amazing. The visual presentation of this game is top notch. I really love the artwork in the game. The only minor complaint I have is that the current icon isn’t in pixel art.

The UI of this game is very easy to use. I only have one minor complaint about it. When I’m in the upgrade menu during gameplay, the buttons in the settings tab and the shop tab overflowed at the bottom. The other minor complaint I have is that in the credits menu, the Twitter icon looks ugly in my opinion due to the bird not looking right. But, that’s nitpicking in my opinion.

This game controls quite nice. The only advice I would give to the developers is making an option to flip the buttons. What I mean is that the joypad is on the right side and the attack buttons on the left side. I think left-handed people would be happy to see that feature.

This game is fun to play in short bursts. To play one quick round and try to earn some coins to upgrade your character. This game also auto-saves, so no worries about loosing progress. Your goal is to kill all enemies that come to you in waves. They get spawned in random places in the area. When you kill an enemy, you get coins that you can use for upgrading your character.

This game is free! This game has microtransactions, but in a surprising twist, the microtransactions aren’t way too expensive. For 8000 coins, you would pay 4€ in this version of the game. Compare that to other titles, and you would pay 20€ or more easily.

You also keep your gold when you die. That way you can grind yourself to better armor and gear in order to better survive the arena.

There aren’t too many ads in the game. This is a big plus in my book! I know that it’s one of the only ways to earn money with your product, but if you overuse it, gamers can get turned off. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue in this game.

This game is still in development, so that means that each negative I say can be improved in future versions. The developer told me that they aren’t only creating more content for the game but also working on improving the game.

This game has achievements that let you earn XP for your Google account. Neat. And the XP you get is quite a lot, and you can earn each achievement by playing the game.

The bad

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The opening story always plays when you boot the game. I know you can skip it, but I think that this should play when you start a new game. And only once.

The difficulty in this game isn’t the best. In my playthrough, I wasn’t able to beat the first world after trying each level at least 20 or more times. I think the following suggestions would help to fix this issue:

  • A pouch slot, where you can store either one health or mana bottle.
  • Make the enemies do less damage in earlier waves. The further you are in the waves, the more damage the enemies do.
  • Introduce a new type of enemies in a more “safe” environment. What I mean is that it should be the only enemy on screen. This way the player can get used to the behavior and the pattern of said enemy before mixing the enemy types.
  • Archers are pretty OP in my opinion. I know you can roll out of the way to avoid getting shot, but when you are fighting, you can’t roll out of the way in time. Also, when you are walking towards them, they seem to be able to hit you at least once or twice. I think it would be fairer if they miss their shot in the early levels once or twice. Also, speaking about the archers, they can shoot in a diagonal line, but you can’t.
  • Give the player a rest period after 5 waves. So, thoughts can be collected before he/she continues. Or at least, give them a chance to heal for eg 50% of their coins.

I know that this game should be hard, due to the story and setting of the game. The story goes like this:

“In year 2370, when fighting in the arena was universal sport, a boy from planet Earth dreams of fighting in it. He wants it since he was a child, he admire great fighters like his father. But since the day he became 18 years old… he could fight in the arena! It was time to carry out his dream…”

But, this shouldn’t mean that this game should have a very steep difficulty curve. Ease the player more into the game, so this way they get more interested in the game.

Something I think this game really lacks is a total wave counter. When I played the first level, I kept continuing in waves and I never know when the level would end.

Conclusion

So, should you play this game? In my opinion, yes! At the current version, the game lacks polish in the difficulty curve and some very minor issues. But, like I said, the developers are still creating more content for the game and they are going to improve it. So, the game can only improve from here. Also, it’s free! So, you don’t have anything to loose!

There is a lot of potential for this game to become a very good game. The current version (v0.212) I played isn’t even finished. Also, the development is quite active of this game, the last update releasing on the May 30th. I’m really curious to see how this game is going to develop. I’m going to keep an eye on this game and play it again when the game reached a future stage in development.

If you want to follow the development yourself, here are the links:

Google Play – Twitter – Facebook

In any case, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then have a great rest of your day and take care!

Score (of this version): 3/5

My TOP 10 games of 2016 – Part 1: 10 – 6

2016.jpgJust wow, 2016 flew by so fast. I barely noticed that December started. So, it’s time to look back on a great year in my life. 2016 was something else. Both on my blog and in my personal life, a lot of things happened that will make 2016 extremely special to me. In my opinion, it’s one of the best years I had so far. So, this week I want to take a look at the bottom 5 games of my top 10 games  I played this year. Oh, one major footnote here. These games are games I started this year. If I started or played a game in another year, it’s not on my list. Also, since I play a lot of retro games, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2016! In any case, enough stalling with this intro. It’s time to take a look at a difficult to make top 10!

 #10: Ratchet And Clank (PS2)

RachetandClankOriginalPS2Cover

First impression article

Past summer, I took two weeks off from work and I was home alone. In those two weeks; I chilled, updated my blog, worked on some personal things, watched some anime, spent some time with friends and family and above all… I played a lot of games.

My goal was mostly to play the games I had bought in the last years at garage sales but never really gave a chance. One of the best titles I played in that summer was Ratchet and Clank.

This game is a platformer, but honestly, I don’t really like platformers all that much. So, it’s double surprising to me I enjoyed it that much. I haven’t finished the game just yet, but I’m planning to do that in the near future! Also, I heard a lot of good things about the sequels of this game, so I’m looking forward to playing those. Now, I have to look for a copy of the second game in the original trilogy since I don’t own that one. So, I can’t wait to continue to play this enjoyable and charming game.

 #9: Lego City Undercover (Wii U)

lego_city_undercover10Article on the 3DS sequel

Back in 2013, I watched a let’s play of this game. I watched it from the first episode to the last episode. I enjoyed it that much that I decided to go and buy the game… Three years later. The main reason that I delayed my purchase was because I knew all the plot details and I thought that I wouldn’t have as much fun with the game when I bought it. So, three years later, I see the game at my local game shop for 10€ and I thought to myself, why not.

So, when I returned home, I started playing this game and honestly, I enjoyed myself a whole lot. Thanks to the open nature of this game, I can explore and play the game how I want. And I discover new things and have a unique experience.

I’m halfway through the game and I dare to say that this is one of my most favorite Lego games I have ever played. The humor and charm of this game are just so well made, I have a tough time putting this game down. Here and there I play for a few minutes and those quickly turn into a play session of two or three hours. So, yeah. Oh, and during the play sessions of this game, various memories come back of me watching the playthrough. This game is so worth it to play it!

 #8: Rise Of The Tomb Raider (PC)

2000900263Link to my review of this game

So, this year a sequel came out of the reboot of the Tomb Raider games. The Tomb Raider franchise is one of my favorite franchises ever made. Since they are an amazing adventure and exploration games. I love exploring caves and having a big kick-ass adventure. It’s one of the reasons why I’m thinking about upgrading my video card.

But this game has personal meaning for me too. I reviewed this game to celebrate my 3rd year of blogging on this blog and my 6th year of blogging.

If you want to know my thoughts about this game, I recommend that you read my review of it. Since I go more in depth on this game in that article.

But this game is one kickass ride and I can’t wait until my desktop is fixed later this month so I can start playing the DLC and finish up this game. But seriously, this game is one of the most kickass games I have played all year. It’s only surpassed by one…

 #7: Mirror’s Edge – Catalyst (PC)

mirrors-edge-catalyst-pc-pc-boxTalking about the original

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is one of the first games that nearly flew under my radar. If I didn’t check the pre-order list in one of my local game stores, I might have missed the release of this game completely.

Now, if you know me, I’m very bad at parkour. So, now you might wonder why I play Mirror’s Edge and it’s sequel. Well, that’s quite simple actually, the gameplay is just amazing.

I have gotten quite far into this game, but then the problems with my desktop started happening. Sadly enough, when your PC shuts down and you haven’t saved in this game, your save file corrupts and you have to start over from the beginning. So, yeah. When I get my fixed desktop back, I’ll surely start playing this game again.

Playing this game gave me a liberating feeling. I started improving my parkour skills and I started to miss fewer jumps. Even outside this game, I started improving in the parkour sections. After I played this game for over 10 hours, I was convinced. This kick-ass game had to get a spot in my top 10 games I played in 2016! So, that’s why it’s here. It’s just a very enjoyable game in my opinion and it gets a recommendation from me!

#6: Rayman Legends (Wii U)

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Link to the review

Each year, we do a secret Santa in my family. This game was on my wishlist. Honestly, I had hoped that I got one of the other games on my wishlist. Since this game didn’t interest me that much.

But, when I got it as a New Years present, I was happy and thankful that I got it. But, the moment I started playing it with my friends, then… my whole opinion changed.

The game started to grow on me. The charm, the visuals, the gameplay, the excellent use of the gamepad and the soundtrack are just a few things that make this game great. Honestly, I think that this version of the game is one of the best to play with friends. Since you have two playstyles that perfectly complement each other.

The most fun with this game, I had on my trip to Germany this year. The countless soccer matches we had, the adventure through the whole game, the music levels and so much more. The memories with this game are going to stay with me for a while! So, playing this game is truly worth it!

The end of part 1

Oh yes, the top 5 games I played in 2016 is even harder for me to make. But, you will have to wait until next week in order to find out which ones I think were the best games I have played in this year.

I’m so disappointed that 2016 is nearly at an end. Since this year wasn’t only filled with great games and amazing things for my blog, it was also filled with a lot of amazing personal things. Just scroll through my Twitter feed and you will see why.

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

 The rest of the list can be found here

My favorite gaming music #17 – Jamming Tunes

video game illustrationMy previous lists

So, this week I have been playing a lot of games. But sadly enough, I haven’t gotten far enough in most of those games in order for me to write about them. But, I got caught in some music tracks and even hummed them while going to work. So, I think it’s time for another article about my favorite gaming music! Remember, in this series, I only talk about the track how it is in the game. I restrict myself that I can only select one track per series in each article.  And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your favorite gaming tracks and/or your opinion on the ones I picked here. I look forward to see your selections. Oh, one quick note before we begin; in this list I only talk about games I have played. In any case, enough stalling! I hope you are ready since here we go!

Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney (DS) ~ Logic and Trick

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My review of this game

So, on the 6th of September, we get a new Ace Attorney game. I try to stay away from trailers and promotional material to avoid myself getting spoiled. But from what I have seen, I have been trying to puzzle together what the main focus is going to be in this game.

And believe me or not, this track was playing in my mind. This track plays when you are trying to build up the logic to disprove somebody in court or while investigating.

It’s a really amazing track that fits the mood well. You really feel like you are putting all the pieces together. I’m so glad a variation on this track returns in every game and here is hoping that it returns in the 6th main game in the series, Spirit Of Justice.

Stella Glow (3DS) ~ Battle (Amatsu)

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My review of this game

If I wasn’t clear last week in my review; I love the soundtrack to this game. I had truly a hard time picking just one track for this article. So I ended up listing to the whole soundtrack twice in order for me to pick just one track for this article. So, then I decided to pick this track since it introduced one of my favorite characters in the whole game.

I’m talking about Nonoka, she is a shinobi with a cardboard box on her head. You can see her in the middle of the right hand side on the box-art. Her personality and locality to her master is written so well. But not only that, her abilities in battle were a blessing to use.

On top of that, her voice actor (Cristina Valenzuela) did a pretty stellar job of voicing her. It brought the writing to live and made me fall in love with the character even more. And her introduction with this track was just amazing. Seriously, one memorable moment that will stick with me for years to come!

The energy of this track is just fantastic. The first time you hear this track is in battle in an Asian-themed town. It fits the setting extremely well. It makes me excited to win the battle and try to fulfill the special conditions of the battle as well. In all seriousness, go give the full soundtrack a listen, it’s truly worth it in my opinion.

Zero Time Dilemma (3DS) ~ Blue Bird Lamentation 2nd Mix

zero time dilemma box

My first impression of this game

The finale of one of my favorite visual novel series ever made did not disappoint. It’s sad to see the Zero Escape series go. I’m crossing my fingers we will see another game in the series or a new project by the mastermind Kotaro Uchikoshi.

The composer of this track, Shinji Hosoe, did an amazing job composing this track. The moments when it plays in the games is always spot on. It really made me cry in Virtue’s Last Reward. But this remake for Zero Time Dilemma made an even stronger impact on me. Yes, there were waterworks.

When I preparing, and again while writing, for this article I got distracted by all the people who played covers and remixed this song. It such an amazing track to listen in certain moments.

I truly am lost for words to describe this track. It’s one of the tracks I really advise you to play the games and enjoy. It’s really that good!

Bioshock Infinite (PC) ~ Will the circle be unbroken?

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My review of this game

I don’t play a lot of shooters. But when a shooter comes around that present an amazing story, I can’t stop myself from giving it a try. The BioShock series took me by surprise. I remember reading a previous about it when I bought PC Gameplay. That was almost 10 years ago. I was around 13 years back then.

I started playing this series in 2015 and I finished the last DLC not too long ago. If I’m really honest, this game might be one of my favorite games I have played in 2016. I’m actually considering to replay the series from start to finish in the near future.

This song is one of the first songs you hear in the game. The scenery is just so strong that when I close my eyes while listing to this song, I’m able to see the scenery of this game. How the game starts.

At first, I thought this was an original written song for the game. But, while writing the review, I discovered that this version is inspired by a song made by Johnny Cash. And it’s just perfect for the setting of this game. I really love how the developers used famous music from the period this game has been set in. The game takes place in late 20th century. But hey, IGN made wrote an amazing article about the music in this game. So, I advise you read that if you want to know more.

Wrapping up

I want to keep this wrapping up short this time. Usually, I talk about some stuff here. But this time, it’s straight to my usual closing sentences. Here they come:

I hope you enjoyed listing and reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this. So, I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. So, until then: have a great rest of your day and take care!

First Impression: Golden Sun – Dark Dawn (DS) ~Sunny Weather

Goldensun3.jpgWikipedia entry

It’s time that I talk about a Golden Sun game. I have been putting this off for way too long. After I listed it in my favorite DS games ever made, I never talked about it. Apart from some music tracks here and there. It’s time to correct that. This week we are going to take a look at a game, I honestly thought I talked about before. In any case, the title and the box art here already gave it away.  It’s the 3rd game in the series, Golden Sun Dark Dawn. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article. 

(Note: to make this article more readable and understandable for everybody, I didn’t to use the lore of this game and used a generic term.)

Special powers

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The story of this game takes place a few years after the original two games. The story starts out simple with two children getting into some trouble with a sort of magical hang glider. But rather quickly, this story changes into your typical “save the world from doom” story.

While the story is your typical RPG story, it’s the journey and the writing that makes it memorable in my eyes. Each main character and side character has his or her own personality.

But what I really like about the story is how all the lore is explained in a non-intrusive way.  As you may have guessed, this game is a JRPG and because it’s the 3rd game in the series, there is a lot of lore.

But instead of the characters explaining the lore in some dialogue or some boring exposition dump, it gets underlined. When you tap that word, you get an explanation on the top screen to get you up to speed. Also, all those words go in your encyclopedia so you read them at your own pace. This is something that all other RPG’s should do! That way, there can be more focus on the story instead of explaining everything so newcomers can enjoy the game. This mechanic can also serve as a nice reminder for hardcore fans when he or she has forgotten the meaning of a word.

Fighting like on the GBA

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The gameplay, in general, hasn’t changed a lot compared to the GBA games. But in this game, some mechanics are tweaked for the newer hardware.

First of all, I want to talk about the exploration part of the game. The world this game takes place in is huge. I love exploring in this world. Since each town has it’s own unique feel to it.

The puzzles in this game are amazing in my opinion. The puzzles use the special powers you have in creative ways. I had to think outside of the box sometimes. And when you are stuck, one character gets a special power which allows you to see what objects you can interact with and which powers you should use.

Secondly, the battles are quite interesting as well. Since you have three possible attacks. You can fight with your weapons, use your magic and/or Djinn. Djinns are special creatures you find all over the world.

The mechanic of Djinn is one of the most interesting things in this game. I love trying to find them in towns, dungeons and in the overworld. But after you found them, a rather tricky meta-game starts. Depending to who you equip which Djinn, you can make a character even stronger or even weaker. Not only that, which magic powers they can use will also change. This makes for an interesting balancing exercise to make sure you have the perfect build to advance the plot.

When you use Djinn, they go into, what I like to call, the summing pool. When you have enough Djinn of a certain type, you can summon a more powerful creature. But beware, when a Djinn is in the summoning pool, the character it’s attached too, will lose its perks.

If this sounds interesting to you, this page on the Golden Sun wiki will explain it in more depth.

This world is golden

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The presentation and design of this game are top notch. While some animations take a little bit too long, I have no other complaint.

The world looks colorful and really pops out. The visual presentation in this game is one of the best I have seen on the system.

There is one issue I have with the design. And that’s that the menu system can sometimes be very annoying. It’s difficult to explain, but I felt that could have been done a lot better with more traditional menus. An example is the inventory system. It’s quite messy in my opinion. When you are looking for example for some herbs and you forgot to which character you have given them too. But it’s something I got used to.

The music and sound design of this game are excellent. The sound design gives this game the right charm it deserves. And the music, well, I have the soundtrack in my music library and I play a track here and there. It’s a very nice soundtrack.

The controls are great as well. Since you can use both buttons and the stylus. So you can choose and use the playstyle you prefer.

This game isn’t easy but isn’t difficult. But, I will give my final verdict on that when I finish the game. Since I know that there is another DS game that is rather easy but the final boss is extremely hard.

Something that could have been improved in this game is the frame rate. In some parts of the game, I saw some great frame rate drops. It mostly happens when there is way too much happening on screen at once. But it doesn’t happen very often thankfully.

Something I have to mention is that I had this game crash on me twice at the same spot. In the first cave you visit, I had this game crash on me. It was a great lesson in saving this game often. Also, thumbs up for having three save slots. Really helps!

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game for now. When I beat this game, I might write a review. I hope you enjoyed reading this first impression as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you at another article on my blog, have a great rest of your day and until then: take care and game on!

First Impression: Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS) ~ Tactics Galore

PS_3DS_FireEmblemAwakening_enGBOfficial website

So, the start of 2016 brings a boatload of amazing new (3DS) titles. But one game got me addicted to my 3DS lately. It was that one game I wanted to try out but never gave a fair chance. I always thought that strategy games like these weren’t my thing. But why, does it bring me so much enjoyment? And is the game a guilty pleasure or something I could recommend to anybody. Well, it’s time to take a look at this game and what I think of it. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or of the content of this article in the comment section down below. 

Tactical RPG

Fire_Emblem_Awakening_gameplay

After hearing so much other content creators (bloggers and YouTubers I watch) talk about this game, I decided to give it a chance. First, I played the demo, and almost right after finishing the demo, I bought the full game.

The first thing the game does right is the character creation. You decide how he or she looks and how his or her voice sounds. Finally, you can play a character that isn’t a silent one. A character that actually is a part of the story.

About the story, you can play this game in two different ways. Classic and normal mode. In classic mode, when a character dies, it’s gone for good. In normal mode, you can keep the character. It returns after the battle is over. This is something I really like. I’m not that good in tactical RPG’s. I’m afraid that one or two stupid mistakes might screw up my progress and put me in a battle I might never win. That’s why I love the normal mode so much. After I finish the game, I might give classic mode a try since I honestly feel that I’m missing the entire point of the series.

So, the story I have seen until now is quite decent. I finished the first part of the game and I’m having the impression that it’s structured in a sort of anime show format. Like each battle is a separate episode of an anime. And a good one at that. But where the story really shines is that you can influence parts of it, yourself! How you fight your battles will decide who marries who. Oh yeah, that’s a thing. Shipping is totally a thing in this game.

Different and unique

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So, thanks to the “shipping” mechanic, each playthrough of this game are pretty personal. I might pair up my characters differently than somebody else. But enough about that, let’s talk about the gameplay.

And in this game, it throws in so many options for you… I’m amazed at how accessible this game is. If you use only your powerful characters, you don’t level up your weaker but very useful characters. I’m now in a situation where I have to be very careful with my archers since I haven’t used them a lot. This makes me very weak against certain units and is my current weak point of my army.

In this game, you are the tactics master of the kingdom. So, you decide who runs where on the battlefield and when to attack or fall back. This game also works in turns. So, after you moved your character, it has moved. After you moved all your characters, your turn ends and your opponent’s turn starts.

Once your unit has moved, you can’t undo the move. I wish I could do that sometimes. But the game has a solution for that, it’s the dancer. They dance to motivate your warriors to give them one additional turn.

Explaining how this game works could take me a while. But compare the battle system a little bit to how the battle system in Pokémon or any turn based RPG works. Only two differences, your enemy attacks back when it can in YOUR turn and weapons can and do break after repeated use.

While I haven’t played many tactical RPG’s, I want to try out more. Thanks to this game. The gameplay is a lot of fun when you like planning ahead but sometimes changing your strategy to get out of dangerous situations. If you like to play games like Age Of Empires or Advanced Wars, this is game for you.

The Fire Emblem

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So, there are still a few things I want to talk about. First of all, the voice acting is something I have a love-hate relationship with. It’s extremely well done but it falls short sometimes.

When a cutscene plays, only some of lines are spoken. And sometimes, a random line is said to give the emotion more meaning. This can be distracting for some people when the voice acting is saying something completely different than the lines on the screen. While it annoys me here and there, I don’t mind it that much personally.

Visually, this game looks amazing. Graphically this game is really nice done. A good example is that the character portraits change depending on how they are doing in battle. Or better said, how much health they still have left.

But what I love the most about the visual presentation is how the game is animated. When your characters level up, they do different moves. It’s something I can’t explain and you should see for yourself to understand. It really helps to immerse me into the game.

The sound design and music is something… well… It’s one of the best soundtracks I have heard in quite a while. I actually want to buy the soundtrack to add to my collection. I like it that much. It really helps to set the mood.

I think I’m going to wrap up my first impression here. While I have some minor issues with the menu design, they are really nitpicky. In any case, I feel that I can fully recommend this game to any person who likes to play strategy games, RTS, Tactical RPG’s… This game is something I wish I tried sooner. Since it’s a series I’m becoming a fan of.

2015: A Look Back

ano-2015-3294.jpgWell, 2015 is nearly at an end. As usual, everybody is doing (or preparing) their best games of 2015 lists. And I think I should join in the party. What games have I played and/or finished in 2015 and will stay with me? Let’s find out. Let’s look back to my gaming year of 2015. This list isn’t in an order, so all these games are my favorites in 2015. Keep in mind that this are MY favorite games. This isn’t a TOP 10 most popular or anything. Oh, yeah… Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section with your favorite games or your opinion on my picks. 

Note: For this list, games didn’t had to be released in 2015. I had to play them in 2015 in order for them to count.

Majora’s Mask 3D (3DS)

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Official site

Not that far from my birthday, one of my favorite 3D Zelda games got its remake released. As a kid, I loved the rings that turned you into monsters in the Oracle games. I wished you could attack other monsters using that monsters power… but alas, that wasn’t possible in the gameboy color games.

A friend of mine had a copy on his N64. I didn’t own a console until mid-way the Wii’s life. Yeah, I played handheld games and various PC games when I was a kid. But hey, that didn’t stop me from marveling at the games on consoles.

A few weeks before this game released on the 3DS, I actually bought it on the Nintendo eShop for my Wii. But then I got my hands on the 3DS remake. It’s so beautiful. Finally I can play this game without fearing that I need to give it back to a friend later. I finally own it. And I also own the special collector’s edition which makes this Zelda fan ever more happy.

It’s a small shame to admit, but I haven’t finished this game. It’s on my “TO DO” list, but I have the same issue I had on the DS. There are just too many good games coming out and I get so easily distracted.

Europa Universalis IV (PC)

EuropaUniversalisIV_Packshot_edited Link to my article

I always thought that these kind of games weren’t my style. I’m not that good at managing big countries and fighting wars with other countries.

But after a good friend of mine helped me and learned me the ropes of this game, I have been playing this game from time to time and spent nearly 300 hours on it.

It’s challenging and it actually broadened my horizons. This game is actually a lot of fun and the soundtrack of this game is even one of the best soundtracks I have heard this year.

Now, I need to try and play this game on single player without Mizari’s help. Then I just might loose myself in this game even more. But that’s for next year, I think.

The Etrian Odyssey series

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Link to an article about an other game in this series.

Man, I have tried to get into this series a couple of times in the past but when I was able to pick up a copy of one of the games for cheap at a garage sale, I was hooked.

The gameplay is what hooks me the most. It’s a RPG with a very nice story where you explore a dungeon. The best mechanic of it all is that you have to draw your own maps. Also, there aren’t any random encounters. Since you can somewhat predict when you get attacked.

Lately, I have been playing two games in the series. I recently got myself a copy of Etrian Mystery Dungeon. The reason for that is, I enjoy the formula of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon that much, I wanted to play a game to took a different approach on the formula.

Now, I play these games off and on. But not on the train anymore. Since I can get very lost into the world and the game that I once almost missed my stop. I should finish one of these titles so I can actually review them. But they are very lengthy. So, yeah. I haven’t come close to beating one.

The Legend Of Zelda – Triforce Heroes (3DS)

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This game recently got a free update to expand this game even more. But I’m running ahead of myself.

This game actually proves that you can have a multiplayer Zelda game and enjoy yourself quite a lot.

This game doesn’t take itself quite seriously. The story is in my opinion laugh-worthy, but in the good sense. The story is there just to explain one of the main mechanics of this game. Since this is a spin-off Zelda game, I’m rather glad that the big N didn’t make a story that tried too hard.

While this game has its problems, it’s a quite enjoyable game. The game is challenging (and cruel in some places) and actually feels like a “real” Zelda game (minus the overworld) to me. The update promises to always link you up with players that have a similar playstyle. If that works, one of my biggest complaints with this game would be fixed. I’m still playing around with the updated game. So, when I have beaten the game, I will write a review on my blog. So, stay tuned for that!

Honorable mentions

I don’t want to make this article too long, so I list a few games that I enjoyed this year and don’t want to leave out.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U), Fantasy Life (3DS), Golden Sun Dark Dawn (DS), Giana Sisters – Twisted Dreams (PC), BoomBlox (Wii), Tomb Raider IV (PC), Typoman (Wii U), NES Remix (Wii U / 3DS), The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Wii U), Terriara (PC)

And there are a lot of other games I’m leaving out.

Wrapping up

The reason I didn’t write a top 10 this year is because I didn’t want to make a the harsh decisions of which games to place where. I play and enjoy games as a hobby. But this year, I played so many games I honestly lost track of it all.

That’s why my overview of this year is quite different. Because I forgot what games I played. I had to look in my logs which games I forgot. In any case, I have been working on some fun articles for next year.

Also, I build a very strong gaming computer. So, I replayed a lot of games just to see them in higher quality and enjoy them even more.

2015 was a fun year for me to blog. I have been doing this for over five years and I look forward what my 6th year of blogging will bring, next year.

2016 will be an amazing year for games. There are a ton of games I’m looking forward to. Both on PC, Wii U and the 3DS. Yeah, I play mostly on those systems. But I’m planning to write articles about consoles games as well. In any case, I hope you enjoyed my articles this year. Thank you to all my readers and the feedback I got. I really helped me grow. But prepare yourself for a year full of new articles about old and new games since I don’t feel like stopping anytime soon.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I also hope to welcome you in another article. But until then, have a great holiday season and take care~

First Impression: Giana Sisters – Twisted Dreams (PC) ~ Rip-off With A Twist

Giana-Sisters-reviewOfficial website

Sadly enough, my week off is nearly at an end. I enjoyed my time off quite a lot. But at the other hand, I did some work for my personal life. The consequence of that is that I could barely play games… But hey, I will have more time in the (near) future to write articles again. I also promised to write two articles this week. Perhaps three even. In any case, before I’m going to take a look to this title, first some small history lesson. This game is a spiritual successor to the original Giana Sisters. Why is it not the real sequel? Well, it’s more of a reboot of a controversial series. The original PC game was a Mario rip-off. It was called the Great Giana Sisters. I linked to a Wikipedia article that explains the gist of the history behind this game. When I saw this game on Steam (a while ago), I was impressed. I thought it would be a sort of HD remake. But it’s far from that. This is a reboot with new gameplay ideas, story and it’s own personality while not loosing the charm of the original. But what did I think of it…? Let’s find out, time to write a first impression after playing the first few levels. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Kickstarter

2015-10-11_00002Like a more famous game called Shovel Knight, this game started out on KickStarter too. From what I read, this game was actually a re-imaging of a remake that was made of the original Giana Sisters. Which makes this even more interesting, since the remake was released on my favorite platform of all time: Nintendo DS.

When I found this game on Steam, I was quite interested since it was different from what I played on the DS. In the DS game, it was more a sort of hard Mario-ish game with sisters instead of brothers.

The atmosphere was something else, the story was kind of basic… well, it was so similar to your typical Mario story it kinda hurts. But in my opinion, platformers like these have no real need of a story or can be excused when the story is rather at the generic side. Yet, the story in this game threw me off the hook. Like in the original, the story is barely explained. You had to make it out from the scenery and from the introduction cutscene. This left a lot open for the imagination of the player. How they did it, probably just good game design, the developers of this PC game made it work in Twisted Dreams.

The big twist here is that you can play as both sisters without having to depend on a power-up. In the original game, you had to find a candy hidden in a block (like a mushroom in Mario.) to change into the other sister that could shoot fireballs. Well, in this game, with a simple tap of the button… You change into the other sister.

Changing

2015-10-11_00001Changing in the other sister changes up the gameplay quite a lot. Not only the visuals change from bright & happy to dark & gloomy… The music changes and the whole atmosphere. I got the urge to try to look for a deeper meaning. If a game can pull this off, that means it’s drawing you in. Which is a damn good thing. I usually get easily bored of platformers. But when there is an interesting mechanic involved, well… That gets my attention.

Yet, there is a major flaw with this game and the are the keyboard controls. It might be a lot better on an usual QWERTY keyboard, but on an AZERTY keyboard it bugs out. The following issues I have with the keyboard controls:

  • The up arrow is JUMP. (Which is a crime in itself.)
  • The “W” key is to swirl around. On my keyboard that’s the “Z” key… Why display the “W” and confuse me?
  • A very handy feature to switch from sister to sister is missing from the keyboard controls. (It are the trigger buttons on a controller.)
  • The game showed the wrong buttons often. And what I mean here is that the tutorial showed how you can control the game with a controller…. While I was playing with a keyboard.

At first I thought, you weren’t able to change the controls. But it appears you can. You can change them from the splash screen. Kind of hidden, but okay… I might have gone off on a ramble there. In short, this game is best played with a controller.

The other stuff


2015-10-10_00001This game has two styles. This is a very interesting concept. From the games I have played, I haven’t seen many games do this. First let’s start with the visuals. This game looks very nice in my opinion. Both the colorful and dark side. It gives each sister their own personality. While I would have switched the styles around for the sisters… It works real well.

The level design is brutal in some areas. This gives the player a nice challenge. The developers where kind enough to not work with a life system but with a death counter. The amount of times you died, counts to your final score on that level.

Gameplay wise, this game is a platformer where you switch between two sisters. Each sister has her own abilities and uses. Sometimes you need to switch between the sisters to solve interesting puzzles.

This game has also a mindblowing soundtrack. It’s something I would seriously listen to from time to time. It’s catchy and melodic. I love how one song can sound so good in two different tones. (Like I said earlier, the music also changes when you switch between sisters.)

I would like to say a bit more about this game, but I’ll leave that up for the review. What I personally think of this game right now is that it’s an amazing game and that I can’t wait what they do for the sequel. But I truly hope that they don’t mess up the controls. If you like a platformer with some good challenge and an interesting switching mechanic, this game is right up you alley. I just hope that only AZERTY keyboards got this many issues with the controls… If I’m wrong, play this game with a controller, just to be on the safe side. Oh, and I reported the controls issues to the devs on the Steam forums. Who knows, maybe it’s fixed in a patch rendering my issues with the controls something of the past.

In any case, I think I’m going to wrap up this first impression here. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you and another artilce. Also have an amazing rest of your day and game on~!

What games do you play?

Arpegi Back

A friend of mine asked me recently when I was showing him my collection: “What games do you play?”. That question was followed by the most annoying question for me as a blogger, “What is your favorite style of games?”. After thinking about it for a bit, it actually gave me the idea for this article. It’s part a rant and part a gamer’s thoughts. So, yeah. Typically me, trying out new things. Just a side note, this article might be a bit longer then my usual stuff, and it also contains links to previous articles if you are interested in my opinion of the game I mentioned. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the subject with your opinion and or the answer to the questions.

Reply – part 1

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So, what games do I play? The easy reply is anything that catches my interest. But hey, let’s not be lazy here. If you scroll through my blog you see clearly that I play a lot of different sort of games. From adventure games like Monkey Island to strategy games like Europe Universalis 4.

In the past I said that I play games that have a deep story and take you on an adventure. On second thought, that isn’t always true. Since I’m not a big fan of the Walking Dead series which would be a game that would fit my fancy easily.

But I also play other games that haven’t anything close to a story. Like Minecraft or the RollerCoaster Tycoon series.

One thing is pretty clear, I play almost every genre of games. There are few genres I actually don’t like. The two biggest of them are racing games and fighting games. The reason for that is that I don’t really enjoy racing that much. Since I’m not interested in cars at all, I feel that a lot of content and such is… Well, not understood by me.

Fighting games, I don’t tend to play them since I have a bad memory when it comes to sequences. I rarely remember button combinations. When there is a certain order to complete a task in a game, I “program” my brain for it. So, my fingers do the job without thinking. Besides that, I have two other “issues” with the genre. I feel that it’s repetitive to me. Yes, to me. If there are fighting games that offer some variety from nearly always having to battle, feel free to tell me. The other issue I have is that my reaction time is more set to RTS and tycoon games. I can react more quickly in those games instead of fighting games.

That doesn’t mean I hate or don’t play those genres. As a kid, I played a lot of Mario Kart and I have fun memories of me playing Mortal Kombat in a store and a crowd of children gathering around me because I was able to beat opponents that they had trouble with.

A genre I don’t like as well are those games that are either meant to be a joke or have these clumsy physics like Octodad or Goat Simulator. I simply can’t stand them. They are just a novelty thing. As soon as the joke starts to fall flat, the game starts to show it’s flaws. So, I avoid those games like the plague.

I got distracted from the subject, didn’t I? The games I play are games that look interesting to me. Games where you get the feeling that they could be a distraction from life. Ugh, this is such a hard question to answer.

Reply – part 2

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What is my favorite style of games? There is also an easy answer to that. I could argue that my favorite changes from time to time depending on the games I’m playing at that moment. But in reality, there is always a genre that will get more love then others.

Surprisingly, I’m actually able to give a proper answer to this question. I have two genres that get a whole boatload of love from me. If you haven’t guessed it yet, let me tell you.

I adore adventure games like Alan Wake, Tomb Raider, Zelda and so many others. I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I grew up with Pokémon and Zelda. I can’t forget the point-and-click adventure games! Broken Sword and Monkey Island being my favorites.

My 2nd genre has to be the visual novel. Corpse Party, Virtue’s Last Reward or Ace Attorney are just some examples. My biggest hobby is writing. It’s quite true that writers actually read a lot as well. I don’t read books, but I read almost all of the text a game presents me. The visual novel genre surprised me countless times with deep stories, memorable characters and an unforgettable experience.

Kinetic novels, no thank you. Those novels are a cross between a comic, anime and a game. I just miss the interaction. To me, it’s just a story with a skin. I’m not saying that these games are bad, don’t misunderstand me here. I’m just saying that kinetic novels aren’t my thing, at all.

 So, why those genres then? I actually replied to it already. Because the games from those genres had the most influence on me in the past and they haven’t let me down ever since. If I’m writing an article about a game that comes from those genres, it has always an advantage.

s35009_wii_9What where my first interactions with my favorite genres. My first adventure game has to be Zelda – Oracle of Ages. I think, I’m not a 100% sure. Depending if you count Pokémon as an adventure game, I think that it was my first adventure game.

My first point-and-click game has to be the Freddi Fish series. Aw yes, I love those games a lot. When I found out that the studio that made them are still in business, I’m hoping that they create a new entry into the series. In the Freddi Fish series or in any series that they developed, since they are masters of child entertainment.

My first visual novel was Ace Attorney. After I read so much references online, I gave it a try. Man, I wasn’t prepared for that. I played all the games without getting distracted by another game once. Yeah, that rarely happens!

 Ranting

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So, the annoying side effect of this question is that people assume you like or play every game in a certain genre. I had people who actually said bad words to me because I wasn’t that good in a RTS.

You shouldn’t be judged on the games you play. I admit that I even play games meant for children. As long as it provides me a fun experience, why shouldn’t I be allowed to play it. I actually have a great excuse myself. My blog and my younger relatives are a great way to not make a fool out of myself.

Honestly, I think that the question “what kind of games you play” is actually a bad question. It should better be: “What kind of games you like to play?” Since then you can explain what you look for in a game. If somebody asks me the question what games do I play, I actually use a trick that I learned while I was still studying to become a teacher. Replying with the correct question. I reply, “What games do I like to play… well…”

And now, I can actually give them a link to this article. To explain that I play all sorts of games. From platformers to puzzle games, from sandbox to RPG’s. From adventure games to visual novels. I even play mobile games. Wait, talking about mobile games…. There is actually something that needs to get off my chest about mobile games.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I think I went over everything I wanted to say about this subject, so now I can focus on something bigger. Something that is starting to annoy me to no end. The mobile market needs some good bashing. Prepare yourselves, because next time on my blog, I’ll actually try to explain why I think that the mobile market is going too far…

Review #040: CSI – Hard Evidence (PC ~ Steam) ~ Strange Case

256px-Csi4boxcoverSteam store link

So, today I want to take another look at this very old case. Wait, scrap that. If I try to be too original in my introduction, I might ruin the beauty of my previous CSI article. Yeah, remember that first impression article I wrote about that CSI PS2 game? I tried to set the mood in the introduction and if I repeat that in this one, it might get boring. Yup, I’m rambling on instead of writing a decent introduction for this game. I just finished it and I want to review it. Before I actually start to review it, I’ll come clean. I enjoyed the other CSI games I played. In total, I know there are 3-4 games like this about CSI. I think that this game is the latest in terms of trying to go for realism instead of a more cartoon-y approch they did in the DS games. In any case, I enjoy the tv-show a lot myself. Too bad that my local channel broadcasts the series out of order. As usual, feel free to leave a comment on this article with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Mediocre game? 

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I know that this game was also released on the XBOX360 and the Wii. But for this review, we take a look at the PC version of the game. It’s developed by TellTale Games, who you might know from the Walking Dead series. One might think that this game must be good. I mean, they make all sorts of amazing adventure point-and-click games.

If I look around the internet to what other people think about this game, I read mostly negative reviews. But is this game a cheap cash-in of a very popular series? Let me play devil’s advocate and say no. Sure, there are some problems and you might rest assured I’ll address them in this review but overall, this game is a nice one.

The evidence for that is in the story. Each and every case feels like a CSI episode. The characters are quite memorable and the voice acting is decent. I have to disagree that the voice acting is the best the game has too offer since I sometimes don’t feel the emotion in the voice. I also had moments where I felt that the emotion was acted or forced. But that might be because I act on stage myself.

Addressing the criticism

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The negative you see popping up in each and every review is that the graphics look outdated. This is quite vague in my opinion. The area’s you visit and objects look quite clean and decent. They aren’t the best the genre or the system can offer but that’s not the issue here.

The issue here is in the animation of the models. That’s quite flawed. If this game had a rushed development schedule you can see it in the animations. I didn’t had many visual flaws on my gaming laptop but on my desktop with a much stronger graphics card/CPU/RAM… the mistakes are coming quite clear. Mostly around the mouth area, that’s the worst. In the 4th case, I even saw gaps in the mouth were the model wasn’t finished.

 It’s a shame since the visuals of the cutscene video’s give another impression of this game. This game might have looked so much better if they polished up the animations. They could have looked a whole lot better, since you know that TellTale is able to create amazing stuff.

Why did I play this game?

I can be rather short about the music. In this game, the music isn’t meant to be memorable or catchy. It needs to set a certain mood. The music does this job perfectly. It gets me in the right mood to try and solve a murder case and to catch bugs. If you watch the series, you might know that one of the characters is very interested in bugs. In each case, there are several bugs hidden and if you find them all, you get a bonus.

Talking about the bonus content, while it’s a nice addition, it’s quite lackluster. When the title of the bonus material says: “storyboards of case 3” for example, you just get three storyboards of a fragment that took 5-6 seconds in game. They are quite underwhelming and they wouldn’t add to the experience if you want to 100% the game.

CSI4_screen_4

You might start to wonder why I even beat this game. I point out mistakes in almost every category. Well, this game is a good game but it mainly lacks polish. The sound effects create a great feeling of actually being a CSI but not all the time thankfully. It also gives you the feeling that it is fake, created for a TV-show.

All elements of this game blend together quite well and if you put the time into this game instead of focusing on the negatives of this game, you get a nice experience. Before I forget, I have a few things to mention before I go to my conclusion.

First of all, the saving system is just wonderful. Thanks to the automatic save system, I didn’t need to worry that my progress would be lost.

The difficulty of this game is right in the middle. While this is one of the easiest games I played in the series, it can be challenging and puts everything you learned in the tutorial case to the test.

Anyways, I think I talked about most of the things I wanted to talk about, about this game. So, let’s get on with the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Animations can be quite bad.

– The interface isn’t always good to work with.

– No cloud saves.

The good;

+ Acceptable visuals.

+ Nice experience for a CSI fan.

+ Easy but sometimes challenging game.

+ Decent length.

+ Nice and responsive controls.

+ Great voice acting.

Final thoughts:

I said it in my last paragraph, this game lacks polish. If TellTale put a bit more time into the animations, the interface and the game as a whole… I think this game wouldn’t get such a bad rating.

This game can be quite a fun game in the right hands, but if I need to look at it objectively: this game is a mediocre one. But as a fan of CSI and point-and-click games… it isn’t half that bad.

If you start to play this game, don’t set your expectations too high. It isn’t a masterpiece and it’s flaws show quite clearly. If you look passed them, you get 5 interesting cases to play through that each CSI and crime story fan will enjoy.

Score: 70/100.

Gaming Nostalgia #4: (3)DS month

ss (2012-10-24 at 11.45.23)Looking to my blog, you might have realized that I review in general handheld games. So, logically, Q didn’t realize that this month was a special month for my blog. I focused only on DS and 3DS games. I wished I could have written more articles about it. Sadly enough, I was able to predict that this month was going to be busy. In general, the amount of articles I write in one month dropped. But hey! Quality over quantity, am I right? Anyways, maybe next month I might write about games that aren’t on handhelds. That will be hard for me for sure. In the future, you might be sure that I’m going to release around 7-10 articles a month. When I do have the time though. I think the best idea is that you follow my twitter. Since I talk about my updates a lot there. Okay, that has been a quick blog update. Now that, that is out of the way, let’s write a new article in the game nostalgia series. A series I wanted to write a new entry for quite a while. I said multiple times on my scheduling Tumblr updates that I was going to write a new one. So, because this month is the special DS and 3DS month, let me tell you a story. A story about how I got the handhelds. Also, feel free to leave me a comment with your thoughts on this article. 

My first DS.

Nintendo ds reparatie groningen

Me and my family were on a trip. It happened on that trip where I was a leader for the first time, remember that story? On that trip, a boy had a black Nintendo DS Lite with him. The game he had on it, was Pokémon Diamond. When I asked kindly if I would be allowed to play on it, he agreed. In exchange, I had to give my GBA to him, because he never played Pokémon Ruby.

It wasn’t until I saw a commercial on TV about the Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass, I wanted a Nintendo DS. This very commercial. Keep in mind that it’s a Dutch video. So, you won’t be able to understand anything if you aren’t English. The other commercials, I wasn’t able to find. It showed Link following the stylus on a white background.

Then I begged my parents to get me a Nintendo DS. It was around December of 2007. I still remember it quite well, how we went to the game store to buy me one. But, I wasn’t allowed to play on it until New Year’s Eve. A day or two before I was going to get it, I was at my aunt. She was charging it in advance so I could play on it. But I wasn’t allowed it touch it. Not even the box where it was in.

My family surprised me that day. They knew that I was a big Legend Of Zelda fan. When they went to a garage sale with me on our yearly trips to the sea side, I always said to them that they needed to look out for any stuff from the Legend Of Zelda. That day, I got two presents. I was quite confused, what could that second present be? Well, it was the Phantom Hourglass game. Yes, my family bought me Phantom Hourglass on the DS. I was so happy. My first game, a Zelda game. It couldn’t start any better.

On that moment, I was allowed to play on my DS. Apart from eating dinner with my family, I put myself in my grandfather’s office and played the whole night. I even missed the countdown to the new year. 2008 started with something I will never forget. Until this day, the Nintendo DS is the best handheld in my eyes. Without a single doubt in my mind.

Blast From The Past: The Legend Of Zelda – Phantom Hourglass

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Official site

I haven’t done this the two previous articles, but this part of the game nostalgia series will be a nice separation for the next part of the story. So, in “blast from the past” I take a look at one of the games that means a lot to me. A game that has a personal story behind it, more then “I simply bought it in a game store.”

You should have seen this one coming from paragraphs away. Get it? Since I mentioned it a few ones ago? Oh, it’s not funny? Ehrm, sorry. I guess.

Anyways, joking aside, this game was the game that gave me the feeling that my family accepted my gaming hobby and my love for the Legend of Zelda. It’s a shame that I haven’t reviewed this game or talked about it. In my review of the follow up, Spirit Tracks, I asked the question which my favorite game of the two would be.

After some careful thought, I think my answer is going to change a little bit. In terms of nostalgia, my favorite game is Phantom Hourglass. But the better game is Spirit Tracks. Since the improvements over Phantom Hourglass makes it a better game.

But this game is on my list to review for such a long time, I might just start writing a review after I finished all the articles I have planned for this month! So, keep an eye out for that.

Getting my 3DS.

royal_purple_nintendo_3ds_open_comparisonI can’t believe that the 3DS is 3 years old this year. The time flies even faster then I thought before. For me, the 3DS has still that “new” feeling. It isn’t old and mostly of all, my library and knowledge isn’t that big about the system.

When I look at the shelf of 3DS games, I think I own around 25 games for it. It’s actually not that strange. Since I got the 3DS, I started to expand my library of other systems as well. So, I’m not focused only on the 3DS.

Anyways, I’m missing the point of this article here. I wanted to talk about the time before I got my 3DS. Since that has a story as well. Back in 2009 – 2010, I saw a trailer of a man holding what looked to be a DSi in front of her. She showed it from side to side. On the screen, there was a 3D game playing. I looked around for this trailer like a mad man, but I wasn’t able to find it. Until now, I found this video back!  Thanks to me looking it up on another search engine.

I was extremely hyped. Since I first thought it was going to be a game. It looked so interesting! But I was afraid that it was going to be a Japanese exclusive. Remember, at that time the video leaked, there wasn’t anything known about the 3DS in my country. And since I only read Dutch news sources, I didn’t know about the 3DS until a year after.

Then the 3DS was announced. I was so jealous of all the journalists that were at E3 of that year. They could have their hands on the system before I was able to get my hands on it. While people started to say that the system had a bad line up for release games, I didn’t care that much actually. It was a new portable system by Nintendo and me being such a big Nintendo handheld fan, I had to get it.

So, I pre-ordered it. The system was going to be 250€. Quite expensive. It’s the most expensive thing I bought in my whole gaming life. When I saw Nintendo was having events at certain cities to be able to play on the device, I was planning to go to them. But in the end, I didn’t went to it. The simple reason is time. I didn’t had the time to go to one.

A few days before the system was released, I was at school. At the afternoon break, we were able to leave the school and go eating in the town. So, I went down to the town with my friends and we ate. When I looked at my mobile phone, I saw I got a text message. My local game store said: “Your pre-order of the Nintendo 3DS Cosmo Black is ready to be picked up at the store.” My mind was blown. I was going to be able to play the system a few days prior to it’s official release?

I called the store, asking when they close the store. After school, I even sprinted to the bus station so I would arrive earlier at the station to take an earlier train. My hype was growing even bigger. When I was home, I emptied my bad, took the money I saved up and jumped on my bike. I think I never rode faster on my bike. I was hyped.

NintendogsCatsBoxArt2When I arrived at the store, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The system was actually there. They gave me the box, I payed the money. I still remember giving it cash. Because I saved up all that money from jobs I had to do for my family.

I put the box in my bag and I walked out of the store. When I arrived home, I started playing on my 3DS. I still remember opening it in the living room and showing my mom.

I did forget one detail though, I didn’t had any 3DS games. Whoops, totally forgot about that. The same aunt who charged my DS for the first time, was actually so kind to me that when her daughter was going to get a new game, she picked me up and drove with me to another game store. At that game store, I was allowed to pick up my first 3DS game. Because there wasn’t any Zelda game released on the system, I bought myself Nintendogs + Cats.

I could have bought a ton of other games then, but I made up my mind. I wanted this game. Soon after, I bought the remake of the Legend Of Zelda – Ocarina Of Time. But why did I bought Nintendogs + Cats? Well, because there were cats in the game AND the Nintendogs series has a special place in my hart. Why is that? Well, you will have to wait until the finale of special month. I will talk about it in that article!

Closing thoughts

So, that has been a new article in the gaming nostalgia series. In this article I talked about how I got my two most favorite handhelds ever. I still both have my silver DS and my cosmo black 3DS. I play on them nearly every day. Sadly enough, my microphone of my DS recently stopped working. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but I’m talking to my friends over at Gamers’Hive to look for solutions.

Thanks for reading this article, hopefully you enjoyed reading it. What are your stories? Do you have any special story before you bought a certain console? Let me know, with a comment maybe?

Anyways, I think I’m going to end this article here. Until another time on my blog! Thanks for reading.

First Impression: The Legend Of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds (3DS) ~ The Future Of Zelda

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Official website

Well, some of you guys might have already finished this game. Yet, I have not. There are a few games I’m playing during my free time so this one I play in parts. I have also a link to another world. It’s called real life. College is bothering me as well. Read as, giving me loads of work. Yet, I enjoy it. I would love to succeed in my future profession as a teacher. Anyways, enough about that. I got with the pre-order a special bonus. A chest that could open and close at will. And when you open it, the melody plays. You all know what it’s. It’s the chest opening sound. Anyways, this game is highly praised. Will this first impression add to the praise or will I rip this one apart? Of course not that last one since I’m such a Zelda fan. But I have some issues with the game. Oh yeah, I nearly always forget to add this part. But leave a comment with what you think of this game and / or my article. Thanks in advance. 

Graphics?

The-Legend-of-Zelda-A-Link-Between-Worlds-screenshot-15To be honest, when I saw the original teaser trailer, I was put off from playing this game. The graphics looked so ugly. Thankfully the finished product looks a lot better. Yet, I don’t think this is a graphic style for on portable devices. It more reminds me of games on the Gamecube then on games on the 3DS.

To be fair and objective for a second, the graphics are amazing. But like I already mentioned they aren’t my cup of tea. At least, not on the Nintendo 3DS. I’m a bigger fan of the design of the previous games. But I give credit where credit is due. The design of the enemies are similar to the previous game. I’m talking about A Link To The Past here, since this game is a sequel.

Fans of my blog know that I normally write about the story first. But I wanted to tackle this graphics part first. Since I honestly don’t care that much about graphics. Yet, I think some things in this game don’t look like they should. They don’t blend in with the rest of the look of the game too well for my taste.

Anyways, enough about the graphics. The animation of this game is well done. It looks alive. Also, the throwing of the spears from the enemies is perfect. You see a downwards motion and that’s just mind blowing.

Story

imagesThe story in portable Zelda games is never deep as in the console games. But this game actually challenges my statement. It builds on the previous story unlike the sequel of Ocarina of Time, which is Majora’s Mask. Also, the story is what YOU make of it. And now even more then before.

Out of order dungeons. They are finally back! One of the last times I can remember that you could do that was in Zelda I. The very original. In all other games you have to go from one dungeon to the next since you needed a certain item. But about that more later.

The story is played out nicely. Ganon returns but not on the way I suspected it to be. Also, the other world isn’t the past. It’s a mirror version of Hyrule. And thank the triforce for that. Nintendo really knew that they should make the other world something different.

But I can’t give my full opinion about the story yet since I haven’t finished it. But I promised to talk about the items later. And now is the time. You can buy and rent nearly every item in the game from the get-go. While this has me still mixed, the mechanic actually works and provides additional challenge. Renting an item costs you 50 rupees.  And buying, well at this point in the game, 800. While it’s true that you can farm out rupees, it makes you think about spending them when you don’t farm them.

This makes the dungeons not having an item in them. So, it’s basically a rush to the boss. Is the game easier then? Well no. Some dungeons are extremely challenging. And some puzzles are as well. Thinking out of the box with the mechanic that you can merge into walls is just great. First I thought that it would make the game easier and give you the ability to skip puzzles due to being able to go over holes. Yet, with some well placed design, this isn’t possible.

New and old?

the-legend-of-zelda-a-link-between-worlds-screenshot-ME3050186199_2So, I’ll go more in depth in my review. But because this is my first impression, I’m going to try and keep it short. So next up is the music. And holy smokes is it beautiful. It might happen that the music makes it on my favorite game music lists. Yeah, those articles. For some reason, I really enjoy writing those. And this music truly inspires me to write more. Many Zelda tunes are in this game. New music as well. Also, the themes are recognizable from the older games while it still manages to keep fresh.

Also, when you merge into the wall, the music sounds like you outside of the game area. Like you are approaching the game world. And that you hear the music. Lovely touch.

While I hate the save points, it provides a nice challenge. They went from the ability to save everywhere to save statues like in the previous Wii title.

Backtracking is thankfully a thing of the past! You have now a bell for calling a witch that will drop you off at any activated save point.

Wait, I’m nearing the end of the article and I haven’t talked about the controls and the new inventory system. I try to keep these kind of articles at the same length and now I’m really nearing the end. So, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. When I’m finished with this game, I’ll surely write a review about it. So, keep your eyes open for that. But until then, let’s save Hyrule!