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

CSI4_screen_0

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!

Review #018: Fury Racing 3D Real Speed (Android) ~ Still In Alpha

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Google Store link

So, I got the honor of the developer actually mailing me to review his Android game. It made me speechless for some time. When I got home from college and when I had some free time, I tested this game for a few hours. Honestly, I don’t like racing games. Yet, for this special first request, I did an effort. While this game is it’s alpha stages, I had some troubles with it. Maybe my tablet wasn’t strong enough, but it ran extremely laggy and I had to use my Android emulator that I had laying around from the time I was still studying computer science. The app ran a bit more smooth on my gaming laptop. And it’s not the emulator’s or my laptop’s fault since it can run games like Alan Wake or Minecraft at 100+ FPS. The game also crashed various times on my tablet and it consumed memory like it was it’s only feature. My cleaning app suddenly said that 90%+ of my memory was in use. And I closed EVERYTHING. Besides that, there was a light issue. The game was dark. And still on my emulator it had some problems with it. Since I haven’t finished the game and since it’s an Android game, this article might be shorter then you’re used of me. Also, this is an exclusive article for my personal blog. No reblogging on BSB this time. Yet, I’ll write another article for BSB soon. Anyways, let me think what your thoughts are on the game and/or this review in the comments.

Issues

unnamed (1)Let’s dive right into the issues first. Honestly, for a game looking so impressive as this, the menu’s are just terrible. They are straight forward, yes, I give it that. But I can’t help at think that this game would benefit so much from a much more clean menu. It looks a bit cluttered. With an options bar to the side. And since the Android games their first impressions are the ones of the menu or the first few minutes, this game’ll loose a lot of it’s customers.

Also, maybe this is a bug, yet the first two tracks are unlocked from the first stage. If this is intentional, that’s a pity. Since smart players are going to play directly the 2nd track instead of the first. Since it wouldn’t unlock anything more.

Also, when you wait long enough, the music on the menu just dies. I had the game open on my 2nd screen and it just stopped when I started writing this paragraph.

Sadly enough, the menu isn’t the only biggest problem with this game. There is a problem that I often see returning, on the Android market, Reddit and various other locations. The controls aren’t smooth. Even when playing it on my tablet, the controls to move to the sides didn’t respond. I’m maybe guessing that this game doesn’t support multi-touch very well.

Bad impressions

unnamed (2)This game feels and looks like that it has extremely big potential. The graphics are extremely well done and the gameplay is interesting. Yet, the game needs a lot of work. An awful lot. At the state the game is at now, this game is a disaster. Full of great idea’s yet not worked out.

Another example of the issues are the fact that they talk about power-ups. Besides the speeding up one I haven’t seen any other one. And this is a big problem. This feels like false advertising. And I swear that my ship flew through various items without getting a bonus.

The timer is also lagged. It jumps. And it bugs the crap out of me. I feel that the timer in a racing game should be the first part that works flawlessy. And I checked if it wasn’t a problem of my emulator, my tablet does the same thing. Also, I truly advice the developer to move the health bar of the ship. Since when you speed up, you barely see it. And makes for much confusion.

The game has a low FPS. It wouldn’t surprise me that the graphics eat too much resources which doesn’t leave a lot left for other processes in the game.

In short, this game needs a lot of work. From more music tracks to a radar, those are features I feel this game would benefit a lot from.

And that’s all for this review, let’s go on to the conclusion!

Final verdict

The good:

+ It’s free.

+ It’s looks extremely nice for on Android.

+ No too annoying ads.

The bad:

– It’s released too early which makes the game lacking a lot of features.

– Extremely ugly menu.

– Low FPS.

– No pause menu.

– Bad controls.

Conclusion:

I want to thank the developer for giving me this chance. And I wish I could have given a more positive review for my first review request from a developer here. I think they are really courageous to ask reviewers like myself to ask to review their alpha product. It’s a move that more developers should do. 

Yet, this game feels extremely unfinished and that’s such a shame. It needs a lot of polishing work before it can be called a final game. I’m not going to score it since it’s an alpha version yet I might revisit this game after a year to see how it has grown.

Thanks for reading and hopefully until the next time!

First Impression: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 5 – Dual Destiny’s (3DS – eShop) ~ Silence!

The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.
The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.

Wikipedia entry

After my anger towards Capcom for not releasing Ace Attorney: Miles Edgeworth Investegations 2 on the DS, I finally got my hands on a new official Ace Attorney game. And this in brand new 3D! Pokémon Y has to wait, I have a client to defend. Yes, you read it correctly, I choose a 3rd party game over an official Nintendo game. But don’t worry, I’ll write my review of Pokemon X & Y soon. Anyways, this game is excellent. And this article is meant to convince you even more to download and play it. It’s cheap, extremely cheap in fact. You pay half of the price you would pay for a normal Ace Attorney game. So before I start this first impression, I’m at the start of the 3rd case. That’s the mid-way point. If you take that all cases are of the same length. Yet, comparing it to previous installments, the later the case, the longer it is. Anyways, in the Ace Attorney series you play as an attorney or a prosecutor in the spin-off Miles Edgeworth: Investigations. Your goal is to search crime scenes, question suspects to get enough evidence to be able to defend your client against everything the prosecution throws at you in court. It’s a visual novel adventure game, and it’s a hidden gem series to be honest. So, before I continue, let me know in the comments what you think of this game and/or this review. Anyways, let’s start!

Wright is back!

Phoenix_wright_ace_attorney_dual_destinies_screenshotFor real, Phoenix Wright is back in full force. In one of the previous installments we learned that Phoenix Wright actually stopped being a lawyer. If you play Apollo Justice, you’ll learn why. I won’t spoil anything here. But one thing is clear, this game is filled with references to anime’s and older Ace Attorney games. Yet, you don’t need to have played the previous installments to enjoy the extremely well done writing.

The writing is funny at time and makes for a great laugh. The characters are memorable and well done. They are believable and are a great addition to the great cast of characters. I’m a bit bummed out that some characters won’t appear in this new installment, yet I might speak before my turn. (And an objection will be raised in my face).

And not only the extremely well done writing is back, it’s now presented in an extremely better way. Gone are the days you skipped over text, you can now scroll back in the dialogues. A long awaited addition. Thanks for finally adding this. I’ll directly mention the extremely handy fact that the save feature is better implemented. Now you have a button to save on the touch screen and wait… what’s this? Two save slots?! Yes, you have two locations to save your progress. And it saves extremely fast! That’s neat.

Anyways, back to the story part. This time around, some parts of the story are presented with anime cut-scenes and they look brilliant. I love when one comes on and the voice acting is how it should be! Well done and on the spot good. I love how you now hear more of the voices of the characters outside the “objection” and “hold it” phrases. All in all, the story and it’s presentation is top notch.

Pretty neat!

Ace_Attorney_5_screenshot_18Besides the story, the game got a graphical update that blew me off my socks. It’s a game where I don’t mind having the 3D slider on. It’s visuals look sharper and pop out even more with the 3D. The art style is what the series needed all along.

This game is a visual eye candy for anime games. The animation is superb. I like how some locations look alive when you come to them, like flags blowing in the wind and various other details. It makes the game have more immersion.

The UI (= User Interface) got an upgrade as well. It controls a lot smoother and it’s how it should be all along.

The character animation itself is just a tip of the mountain of amazing design that this game has. The fact that this game looks more realistic like seeing the crowd behind the defendant makes the scene much more alive. The camera often zooms out to show a view of the whole court room and when you have the 3D slider on, this game blows you away.

The gameplay just got some neat tweaks as well. Your partner will tell when you have everything at a certain location and that makes getting stuck a lot less frequent. Also, the notes that Apollo uses makes for a great check list if you may get stuck. You also can call in help of your partner who’ll say which statement is the one you’ll need to present evidence on when you failed several times in the cross examination.

Is there something bad?

Phoenix-Wright-Ace-Attorney-Dual-Destinies-3DS-Announcement-Screenshot-5Of course, I’ll continue to praise this game. But there is one thing that I dislike. The fact that there might be future DLC. Why Capcom, why? -Sigh- If this is the only bad thing about this game, I can let it slip.

The music is like expected top notch. And before you all get mad, if a DS game series gets it’s music in a concert, that’s something. If a DS game series get it’s own movie… Yeah, then you have a great game on your hands.

I already explained how everything got better compared to the previous entries and it really is that way. The better UI, nicer visuals, improved animation, anime cut-scenes… I can’t get enough of this game. My college work might suffer if this game continues to be this good. So yeah, I might need to give my 3DS to someone so I can still concentrate on my college work.

This game’s price is a steal. It’s only 25€. Just wanted to mention that.

Also, some old elements with Apollo return from his installment. Yet, the new mood matrix gameplay, which I didn’t have the luck to play around with it often, is extremely interesting. It provides a new and refreshing element for the new and veteran players.

In terms of length, this game is pretty lengthy, yet I’m hoping that the 3rd, 4th and 5th case keep me playing for a long time. Since this game has been released 3-4 days ago and I would love it if this game lasted me more then a week or two. Oh well, if you play on a game as often as I do on this game, I can’t be helped I guess.

So, that’s going to be it for this first impression. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Give this game a chance and you’ll understand why this game is worth it’s purchase. Now, I’m going to sit down and continue to play this wonderful gem of a game.

First Impression: Alan Wake (PC) ~ Questioning Reality.

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Official website

While doing research for this game I found something extremely odd. The official release of this game is 18+ yet the limited edition is 16+. Oh well, that’s the least of my concern. I don’t remember writing this first impression, yet it suddenly appeared on my blog. Alright, strange. Now something similar happened to me like to Alan. But thankfully I published some content on a blog that wouldn’t harm me as much as it did to Alan. He ran through the dark woods. Seeing a shack with a computer. On there, he bought a game for a friend of his on Steam. In return, he was allowed to choose out of a few games out of the inventory of that friend. He choose the Alan Wake Franchise since that was the game that interests him. (Personal note: that’s how I got this gem :3 ). Yet the nightmare started there. Scary things beyond his imagination started happening. He wasn’t able to finish a book in a long time. That poor writer. He felt he deserved a break and he set out to have a vacation. When his wife betrays that vacation and actually had a plan to get him back to writing, a kidnap happened. And it actually gets worse from there on out. (Feel free to leave a comment about your views of this game and/or your opinion of this “review”)

Legit scared

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Out of the introduction you get the idea to where I wanted to go with this first impression. I actually wrote this first impression again since I actually found that it was too forced. This game is all about Alan’s latest horror book coming to live. Yet, he doesn’t remember writing it. He often sees visions of him writing it and talking insane. This all happens while he is looking for his wife.

If that doesn’t sound creepy already, well then just start playing the game. Only one or two games made me actually nearly “piss my pants.” One great example is Corpse Party. But this game just did it before I wrote this article again.

I normally talk about the story first in my reviews and first impressions. And I have to applaud the presentation of the story here. During the play, you find pages of the manuscript of the story Alan was working on. This hides information like character backstory or things that happen or even happened. This sounds already like a nice set-up for a creepypasta. But the thought of you writing the future yet not being able to control it is scary.

The story is amazing. It might get a bit confusing since it uses a certain way of making it thrilling that not many people like. It doesn’t explain a lot. But seeing that this game is heavily story based, does that destroy the replay value? Lucky us, no. You can replay the game on the highest difficulty to gain access to some parts of the manuscript which rewards players that go for the hardest of the hardest.

Creative burst

507604-alan-wake-xbox-360-screenshot-after-taking-the-last-enemyWhile playing this game, I got a vibe from a game. The gameplay felt a little bit like the latest Tomb Raider. Yet, this game is extremely far from it. But both games give off a similar survival and creepiness factor.

So, the story is extremely well done with rich and deep characters, what else does make this game worth it? I must have my reasons to back this claim up. I don’t post just for the fun on my Facebook wall that this is one of my favorite games on PC.

The graphical presentation of this game is just pitch perfect. Details everywhere. Crows that fly around, shaking screens, barely visible traps… The game is creepy when it’s supposed to be and the transition is seamless.

I heard a lot of complaints about the animation on several forums. Yet, I actually disagree. I think the mood of this game and it’s animation is well done. There were only two things that bothered me. One thing is the, according to the developer unfixable, bug at the start on the boat where the scene starts shaking if you have auto aiming on. (Which is an extremely big help by the way). And the second thing is how the animals in this game doesn’t look as smoothly created as the humans.

Finish me

Alan_Wake_Screenshots_Xbox_360_44

I have actually one complaint with this game. I don’t really get into it’s soundtrack. The sound design is extremely well done. And it aids a lot when you play this game with a headset that supports good stereo sound. The further you go, the more faint voices become. But the music in some places is so cheesy I just wanted to finish and leave the area.

Okay, I might have yet one other complaint. And that’s how this game uses one or two jump scares. It made me jump. And in my opinion that’s cheap. Good horror shouldn’t relay on jump scares. I don’t see a monster waiting in the bushes thinking to him or herself: “Let’s wait for a second and jump in front of him and roar a bit and then attack.” Nah, it’s too cheap. And that is actually addressed in this game. The camera often zooms out when enemies are behind your back and you are at low health.

Adventure fans like myself will have to get used to some things like automatic opening doors and the jump being actually human. Yes, don’t expect being able to jump to ledges higher then you can in real life. This adds to the game an awful lot. This makes me think big time.

So, I haven’t finished talking about this game but I’m running out of time in this first impression. I try to keep these article around 1000 words to have a quick read if you are interested in the game. So, this means that for my opinion on the gameplay, length, difficulty, controls and voice work you’ll have to wait for my full review. So, thanks for reading and I hope to catch you with my next article. I’m going back to Alan, helping him finish his journey. I have spare pants ready neko’s. Don’t you worry!