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My favorite gaming music #18: Chilling with music

gaymersMore gaming music articles.

So, I wanted to share some tracks that I love in the games I have played. One of my favorite music genres is soundtracks actually. At work, I listen to various streaming websites that play gaming music 24/7. And in this series on my blog, I pay tribute to my favorite tracks. The rules are simple. In each article, I’m allowed to talk about only one track per franchise and I only talk about the original track that you can hear in-game. Oh, feel free to post a comment when you see me posting a song twice. In any case, feel free to also post a comment with your favorite music and/or your opinion on my chosen tracks for this article. So, enough introduction. It’s time to talk about some new music tracks! The theme of this article will be clear very soon. Ready? Go!

Pokémon Gold / Silver / Crystal (GBC) ~ VS. Lance

Pokémon_box_art_-_Gold_VersionMy co-op review with MiseryLC

So, back in 1999, you are sitting in your most comfy gaming spot. With a new pair of batteries in your Gameboy Color and with your favorite drink and snack besides you. You prepare for a big event in your Pokémon Journey since you have beaten the 8 gym leaders. Then you go and fight the Elite Four. After a tough fight, you finally end up at the Champion. After you chat with Lance, the battle animation starts. You slide in from the right, and Lance slides in from the left.

This is the final challenge of your amazing journey through the Jotho region. The intro of the song gets you ready for a tense fight. But after a few notes, the song gets more intense. You try to focus on the battle and meanwhile, the song playing in the background is making the battle even more memorable.

Your young brain is so focused and drawn into this fight thanks to the atmosphere this track brings. Even when you notice that this track has some repetition in it, you ignore it and you get drawn into the fight more and more. When you defeated Lance, you continue your journey.

Then almost ten years later, when the remakes of these games come on the market, you do the whole journey again. But when you hit the fight with Lance, you get that strange feeling. Nostalgia. The remade track is all too familiar. You start to tear up thinking back of all the memories this game, the remake, the journey and the experience brought you. Well, that’s how it went for me at least.

The Legend Of Zelda – Skyward Sword (Wii) ~ Zelda’s Lullaby

ZeldaskywardswordlogoFirst impression

I always played games on the latest Nintendo gameboy or I played games on the PC. I fell in love with one series. The Legend Of Zelda series. I remember it well, I was in a big convenience store. I was in the games section and I saw the GBA port of the first Legend Of Zelda game.

I heard rumors about a game series that took the player on an adventure. An adventure to slay evil creatures and rescue the princess. They said it had a big open world full of secrets and dungeons.

The game was on sale. I begged my mom to buy it for me and after I went home, I didn’t play any other game until I had beaten that Zelda game. After that, I tried to collect all Zelda games. Let’s skip ahead a few years until my graduation from high school. As a present, I got my very first console, the Nintendo Wii. I wanted to buy it since I was extremely hyped for the Zelda games that were coming out for it. I pre-ordered Skyward Sword, and admittedly; I didn’t regret it. I enjoyed myself a whole lot but something happened. When Zelda’s Lullaby started playing in that amazing orchestral version, not only my nostalgic bone got hit… My emotions as well. All the joy & memories I got from the Zelda series got to me. I placed the Wii remote in front of me and I just started at the scene. Tears coming up my eyes. That moment is one of the most memorable moments I got with the Zelda series.

Mirror’s Edge (PC) ~ Edge and Flight

250px-Mirror's_EdgeGames I wished I finished (2013)

I bought this game a long time after it has been released. I bought it almost three years after release. I was in college studying Computer Science. During a break, I went into the city together with a few students. When we went into a toy and games store, we saw three copies of this game for 5€. We decided to buy it.

One of the students is actually still one of my best friends. His name is MiseryLC. Well, his nickname at least. We both played this game in school during breaks on our school laptops. They were just strong enough. While we felt that the laptop was clearly overheating, we didn’t care. We played this game.

MiseryLC is pretty good when it comes to parcour in games. I’m a complete failure when it comes to pretty complex gaming puzzles. But strangely, this game drew me in. I started to get better at parcous. The game got it hooks in me. But then, I started to encounter the more graphic heavy sections and my laptop started to struggle to run the game. So, I set the game aside.

But this year, I bought the sequel to this game. Called Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. So, I think it’s time to play through both games again. Just to get to complete Mirror’s Edge experience. It still surprises me that I play a game where the main mechanic is platforming and parcouring around. So, to honor this game because I like it a whole lot, I selected one of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack! Thank you EA & Dice for this excellent series.

Wrapping up

Thank you for reading this article. If you haven’t already guessed it, in this article I selected three tracks that mean a lot to me. Three tracks that have some history to me.

These three aren’t the only ones that have some history to me. But, the other tracks are for another article. I’m curious, what tracks have a personal meaning for you and why? Feel free to leave that in a comment too.

In any case, thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading 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; take care and have a great rest of your day!

Game Quicky: Feeding Frenzy 2 (PC) ~ Shipwreck Showdown

header.jpgSteam page

This week, I was sick, so I didn’t have time to fully prepare a new article. But since I didn’t want to skip this week, I decided to take a look at a casual game called Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown. Since this game isn’t that “big”, this is going to be a game quicky. So, I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article in the comment section.

Gameplay

3.jpgIn this game, the goal is quite simple. You start out as a small fish and you have to grow. You can only eat fish that is smaller than you.

When you eat enough fish, you grow to your next form. Then you can eat bigger fish. When you have grown three times, you can go to the next level.

But be warned, while you are looking for other fish, you are being hunted as well by bigger fish. That can eat you.

The faster you eat smaller fish, the bigger combo you make and the bigger score you get at the end.

Positives

feeding4.jpgThe game has no tutorial. This game might explain itself but that’s not the positive here. The game learns the mechanics to you through playing.

Visually, this game still holds up. This game was released 10 years ago. (Funny enough, on my birthday. The 7th of February 2006). This game is still nice and colorful to look at.

You won’t need a strong PC to play this game. This is a cheap (10€ at the time of writing) game that can provide some fun when you are bored.

This game gets challenging, in the later stages. The early stages are easy enough to get used to the mechanics but the later stages won’t be that easy.

There is a reset all scores button in the high scores menu. While this might look like a small and unimportant thing… I think it’s very nice to have this.

Negatives

1.jpgOne of the negatives is that I can’t ALT+TAB out of the game. I had to restart the game because it didn’t show me anything after the ALT+TAB. This is something that should be fixed since it made writing this article such a pain.

A small help file would be kinda nice. Since techniques like dashing and tail biting or when you earn an extra life… Well, it’s not always that clear.

This game isn’t for long time play. Since it’s very repetitive. There is some variation with the different fish you can play, but it’s always the same thing.

After a while, I actually muted the music. In my honest opinion, the music was kind of bland.

Conclusion

This is the sort of game I play when I have nothing to do or don’t feel like playing big triple A games. Games that I play when I have some time to kill.

PopCap, the publishers of this game, made some amazing games and this is one of them. If I had to give this game a score, I would give it: 7/10.

The big thing that is keeping this game back is the repetitiveness of this game. The other things are things you can fix with a sequel and/or a patch.

In any case, thanks for reading this short article about Feeding Frenzy 2. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope to welcome you at another article in the future! But until then, have a great rest of your day.

Gaming Music – Number 7: Moar good tracks

EletronicSuperJoy

More music articles

Oh yes, it’s time to write a new article for this series again. In this article, I didn’t look for artwork that has to do with game music but I used the first screen from Electronic Super Joy. A game that’s good because of the music. Anyways, I’m a huge fan of game music. I admit that I listen to it nearly all the time. Even when going to work. It’s just addicting to listen to the amazing tunes they create for games. The atmosphere is just so… amazing thanks to the music. Now, I do have some rules. I can’t pick two tracks of one game in each article. Also, I avoid picking two tracks from the same series in one article. I hope I never slip up and pick one track twice. If that happens, feel free to leave a comment. Oh, and do feel free to comment on my music picks for this article. Anyways, here we go!

#1: The Legend Of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds (3DS) – Lowrule Overworld Theme

1382344384Link

Such a shame that I haven’t finished this game. Yet, the music is amazing. I really enjoy the melody of this tune. Yet, I have written a first impression of this game.

You truly recognize the melody of the overworld from Hyrule. This theme gives a more acapella-remix, one where the major leading instruments are taken out.

To be honest, this was my ringtone while I was playing the game. It happens frequently that a track from a game I really like becomes my ringtone.

Something I dislike about this track is how it doesn’t fit the mood of Lowrule as I image it. I honestly think it should be a lot darker. Then again, this track might be in such a light mood since our hero is bringing light and peace to this realm.

Yeah, this must be it.

#2: Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright (3DS) – Objection Theme

250px-PLvsAA_BoxartLink

Remember my extremely long review of this game? Or my first impression. The game is amazing in my eyes. It really deserved all the hype and it totally met all my expectations. As usual, I ignored the posts with new screenshots to avoid spoilers. This way I can totally hype up myself.

I’m still enjoying the additional content for this game. Maybe one day, I might write a game quicky about it. Who knows. I’m changing the formula of game quickies anyways.

But I really enjoy this theme, it’s one of the best in the series. I’m hoping they are making a sequel for this game in the future since it deserves one. This is one of those kind of games where you’re sad it’s over. And be sure that I put the music of this game on replay. Just like this track. No question about it.

#3:  Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald (GBA) – Legendary Pokemon

downloadLink (extended)

When this track played when I found the legendary Pokémon for the first time in Ruby, I was hyped. While I think that the second generation is the best Pokémon generation, the 3rd game is the actual game I really got into the series.

This track still stays with me until this day. I fondly remember decoding the braille marking on the stones on get the Reggies.

I love listing to this track when I’m riding my bike home through the rain. I get the same vibe then from fighting a legendary Pokémon.

What kind of memories do you have with this track? Please let me know in the comments. Since I’m really curious.

#4: DuckTales: Remastered (PC ~ Steam) – The Moon

DuckTalesSpritesLink (extended)

I haven’t played a lot of this game. Yet, this track got posted on my forum by one of my friends who finished the game. He says that they keep this track until the end of the game. And dayum, is this a track to close off the game.

I really liked the music in the original but the remix for the remastered version is really amazing. Thumbs up for the creator of this track, or the remixer. It’s really well done. It’s almost perfect. I feel a new ringtone coming up. Yeah, I think I might take this one as a ringtone for a while.

#5: Okami (Wii) – Giving Kushinada A Ride

Okami-wiiLink

Man, I’m so bummed out that I saved over my save file. I need to restart this game. Now, this game isn’t too hard so it’s no real pain. The biggest issue is that I have to restart. And this game is pretty long.

Strangely, I haven’t written any article about this game. Well, I have mentioned it in an article of games I want to finish. But that has been an article of last year. Now, I added this game to the list to write a first impression about in the future. Maybe you will see this game appearing on my blog in August.

This game has beautiful music. That’s why I’m mentioning a track in the article of course. The music is very amazing. You really can image giving somebody a ride (to safety). Through a beautiful painted landscape, this moment is really memorable.

The rest of the soundtrack is pretty amazing, but none is so memorable to me as this one. Yeah, when you play it and get to this moment… You will understand what I mean.

And yeah, this track is my alarm in the morning. When I need to wake up and go to work. It really wakes me up. (And my mother, who is in the room next doors.)

Final words

There we go, another music article. I hope you enjoyed this one. For my next article in this series I have an amazing idea. I’m listing the remixes and game-related music tracks I love to listen to.

I have a few great tracks in mind. And it might not be the only one of it’s kind. So yeah, keep an eye on my social media for more updates on the releases.

Anyways, I think I’m going to end this article here. Thanks for reading and until the next time!

Review #026: Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright (3DS) ~ This Puzzle Has An Objection!

250px-PLvsAA_BoxartWarning: this review is longer then my usual reviews! WAY LONGER. For reasons. 

Ace Attorney Wiki entry link

First Impression link

So, this game. After a month, I finished it. And honestly, I feel sad. I’m going to directly say that I think that this game is amazing. I’ll defend this game in this article. My newly ordered mind hasn’t arrived yet sadly enough. But I might write a longer review then usual? Why, since I find that this game totally deserved it. So, yeah! This game gets the longer review for a reason. I feel ashamed that you guys in America can’t play this game yet. So, I’m avoiding spoilers as much as I can! But before we start, the usual. Feel free to leave a comment on the game and or this article. 

Writer versus the story

largeIn my first impression I talked about how I can predict the ending of stories from games or movies. I was able to predict the ending of other Layton games and Phoenix Wright games in the past. Yet, this game has taken me by surprise.

I have to say, that the ending took me off guard. All the plot twists and how the story wrapped up, just was an amazing ride. If a story can do that to an experienced writer, then you can be sure you have a solid story.

At first, I would say that there are a few plot holes in the story. Yet, the unexplained plot holes in the main game will be explained in the bonus content you unlock after finishing the game.

The writing of the story is the best I have seen for a cross over from this format. It’s quite clear that each company has written his or her part. The parts where you play as Layton, feel like a real Layton game. And the writing in the parts of Phoenix, truly feel like you are playing an Ace Attorney game.

I didn’t expect that when both styles get crossed would work so well. The two styles blend in each other without notice.

One question people asked me is what meaning the “versus” has in the title. A minor spoiler, it has different meanings in the game. There is a part where you actually have a battle between Layton and Wright but you have moments where Layton and Phoenix work together to solve the case.

Do I have complaints about the story? Yes, thanks for asking. I have no complaints about the writing. It’s just spot on. Yet, it’s the voice acting. Now, don’t get me wrong! The voice acting is top notch. People who hate dubs of anime’s, you won’t be disappointed with the voices and the casting of this game. But there is a major issue with the voice acting.

The moments where the voice acting is used is a bit strange. There are moments where one person is voice acting and the others are just plain text. Or there are moments in the game where the voice acting just suddenly stops. You will have to play the game to understand what I mean but it’s truly annoying.

This menu has an objection?

largeA fair warning, it’s quite possible that the rest of the review might be nitpicking if I talk about the mistakes of this game.

Let’s take a look to the user interface. And here I have my first complaint, you can’t delete save files. While this is a minor annoyance, I don’t get why they didn’t program a feature in where you can delete a save file when saved by accident on the second slot.

The main menu, well, it’s good and bad at the same time. While I miss the options button, that you can find in game, it’s not cluttered. Only the bare essential buttons are in the main menu. This is actually good because you don’t need to waste a lot of time to the main menu.

So, let’s take a look at the in-game menu’s. Thank the lords they took a combination of both games for this! The lay-out of the menu’s in Layton is excellent but you have to operate it all with the touch screen. In the Ace Attorney games, you can open things with pressing the buttons. While you can’t do much, besides closing the menu, inside the menu with the buttons, it’s a neat feature!

Also, you have a notepad for the whole game. Yes, you have a memo feature for the whole game. That’s simply mind blowing. I admit that I haven’t used it but I think that the idea is simply great. Since some people aren’t that good at remembering and having a space where you can write notes is pretty good.

But with every good thing comes a bad thing. While it’s great that you have an items menu where you can look at the items you have, it’s so bare bones that it’s actually kinda bad. When you have a letter, you can’t read it’s content or when you have a book, you can only stare at the cover.

And if I may be extremely nitpicky, the mysteries. Okay, I understand that this feature comes from the Layton games but why is this ‘Layton exclusive’? Let me explain. The button for this option shows Phoenix and Layton with a speech bubble with a question mark in it. But in the whole menu, only Layton talks about the mysteries. Phoenix isn’t allowed to talk about the mysteries? That was a bummer. It’s clear now that I’m a bigger fan of Ace Attorney, I guess.

Also, the story button is a perfect addition to the game. With this you can somewhat relive parts of the story. What I mean here is that you have the “View Story” button when you press on an entry in the story menu. This games you a brief overview of what happened then. And it’s different then the entry itself.

So, I mentioned a bit about the controls of this game. How you control the menu’s. Now, the controls outside of the menu’s is just way better then the Layton games. One complaint I always have with those games is that the touch screen is used too much. But in this game you can use the buttons more. The controls, no real complaints there.

Now, let’s game.

large (1)Oh my, so much to still talk about and so far in the review we are already. But thankfully I don’t have a big limit for this review so I can still write a bit.

Let’s talk about the gameplay. The meat of the game. The bones is more the story. Anyways, the gameplay is just well balanced and fun. It’s quite clear that this game is aimed mainly at fans of both series.

The game switches between both gameplay types quite nicely. And they managed to blend the investigation moments with puzzles without them being annoying. I applaud the developers for that!

It’s quite fun exploring around in the town. Sadly, your are restricted to one area because the story forces you too but there are many opportunities where you visit every place in the game.

At first I thought that the area of the game would be too small. But as soon as you continue to play, you are proven quite wrong quite quick.

Something that helped me a lot is how the map shows how many hint coins or hidden puzzles are in the area. That way I was sure that I didn’t skip any hint coin or puzzle. But this concept needs some minor tweaks. One tweak they could do is show how many coins or puzzles are at the place you are currently at. Since that’s not possible. And another tweak they could have done was showing the amount of hint coin or hidden puzzles somewhere on the top screen maybe? So you know if you found everything in that area or not.

The difficulty, well, that’s something that this game has some trouble with. The game isn’t very easy but it isn’t very hard either. If you pay attention during the game or when you have played other games in the series, this game isn’t a big challenge. I had a lot of hint coins to spare at the end of the game.

In my first impression I have said that it’s strange that you can’t earn hint coins during trails. While I understand that it would be awkward trying to hide them in trails, I still found it strange. You can use hint coins in trails and thank the lords that they don’t “solve” the puzzle for you. They show which statement needs pressing or presenting, and if you need to present evidence, you can pick out of three options. Also, when you need to answer a question, one hint coin actually hides a wrong answer. And you can’t use more then one hint coin at one time.

The last part of the gameplay is the actual length. In the case of this game, we have to talk about how much each character is on screen AND how long the game takes before you have beaten it.

The balance between Layton and Phoenix, no complaints. Honestly, I enjoyed the parts more where they were both together. It just felt right.

And the actual length of the game, well… according to my save file you can beat this game around 30+ hours. Which is great length for the game. They provided enough plot twists so that there is never a dull moment and I think that’s one of the strong points of this game.

Reviewing the other parts.

Layton-vs-Wright-5So, the last part before the conclusion of this review. We have the music, design, sound, post game content, replay value and animation left.

Let’s begin with the easy one. This game has some replay value. It might be fun to replay to challenge yourself to get more points or to see what dialogue you get when you pick different answers. But since this is a visual novel, adventure game; the replay value is almost zero.

The post game content, well… ehrm… How to say it? It’s perfect. When you load a finished save file, you can either play the final chapter(s) of the game again or you can start at a part where you can look for puzzles you have missed.

Maybe I looked over it but the points you gain after completing a puzzle or finishing a trail aren’t used anywhere. Maybe something for the additional content?

Anyways, the additional content is great! You can download galleries where they show concept art and you can download bonus episodes. In those episodes some plot holes are explained or some background information about Layton or Phoenix is revealed and you get some additional gameplay. The writing is just beyond excellent.

The music and sound is next. The sounds, I have no complaints. No dull or overused sound effects. I’m glad that they used the sound effect library of both games. The fans feel right at home! But the soundtrack, if they ever release it on CD, I’m so going to buy it. I love listing to it and it has the right mood all the time.

And now let’s talk about the last part of this game; the design, graphics and animation.  Do I have complaints? Yes. Are they big? No.

As far as I know, I have one complaint. And that is in the animation area. The movement of the mouths is the weakest link. I found that the animation there isn’t as solid as the animation in the other parts of this game. But the rest of the animation, the graphics and the design… is extremely solid.

The anime cutscenes, the world this game takes place in, the animation of (nearly) everything… It puts this game so well together. You truly feel as a spectator of this game. In other words, the immersion of this game thanks to the visuals is perfect. It’s hard to put the game down.

So, I think I’m going to my conclusion. I talked about almost everything there is to talk about in this game. But don’t worry, I have still left some things as a surprise. Let’s wrap up this ‘journalistic review”

Conclusion

The good:

+ Amazing story line.

+ Eye candy graphics.

+ A solid cross-over.

+ Great length.

+ Beautiful soundtrack.

+ …

The bad:

– Some minor nitpicks with the menu.

– Some small nitpicks with the save files.

– The difficulty could have been better.

– The moments they used voice acting could have been improved.

Final thoughts:

So, I have written this extremely long review for a couple of reasons. As I said before, I wanted to give this game what it deserves! A great long review. Don’t worry, the length of this review won’t be my new standard. This review is twice as long as a normal review.

Another reason why I wrote such a long review is to challenge myself because I wanted to try writing a review as long as in a magazine or on a game website. I think I succeeded.

Anyways, my final thoughts about this game are simple. This game needs a sequel. Yes, this game is so well done, I’m hoping that they create a sequel. Nearly everything is solid and I the complaints I have are mostly nitpicks. It’s clear that this game is polished to near perfection.

If you are a fan of the genre, the series or the 3DS you owe it to yourself to play this game. I love how it’s clear that the cross over of this game is taken serious and that the final product we got was worth the wait. That’s why I give this game the points it deserves!

Score: 100 / 100