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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

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Game Quicky: The Legend of the Dark Witch (3DS) ~ Also on PS Vita!

TM_3DSDS_TheLegendOfDarkWitchChronicle2DACTOfficial website

A little while ago, I posted about this game coming to the PS Vita. Now, I played this game on the 3DS. So, now that the game is released on both the 3DS and the PS Vita, it’s time to take a look at the game. Is it worth a purchase or is it should you avoid this game? Let me give you my opinion. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your opinion on the article and/or the game. 

The good

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The soundtrack of this game is quite good. There isn’t any music track that I didn’t like in this game. If the developers would sell a CD with the soundtrack on it, I’m quite sure I’ll buy it.

Visually, this game has quite a lot of charm. Every world you visit has a certain theme and is decorated quite nice. The game is in my eyes, eye-candy.

This game has a lot of replay value. This is because you can choose the order to tackle the stages. There are 8 stages which you have to beat twice to beat a certain stage. Also, each stage has two hidden power-ups. So, you have a reason to go through each stage more then once.

Each stage is themed. And like I said earlier, the visuals are pretty nice in this game.

The controls of this game are tight and responsive. I rarely had any problems that I could blame on bad controls. The game isn’t the easiest of games, but all my deaths were my fault.

You can power up your character with points (called Tres) you earn during the stages. Something I really love is that you don’t loose your points when you die in the stages. This gives the impression of character growth.

You can downgrade the difficulty once. You can’t go back to the normal difficulty when you are on the easy difficulty. So, if the game is too hard, you can go from the normal difficulty to the easy one.

This game is extremely cheap. It was 3€ when I bought it, and you get your monies worth!

There is a challenge mode in the game. In this challenge mode you get a challenge like “Defeat boss X without taking damage.” So, more replay value for you!

You have infinite continues in this game. So, when you get a game over, the worst that happens is that you need to restart that stage. You don’t loose any Tes nor any overall progress. That’s a big plus in my book.

The in-between (not good but not bad)

darkwitch.jpgIt’s quite clear that this game is inspired by games like Megaman on the NES. And the difficulty shows that. On the hardest difficulty, I died so many times to very cheap enemy placement. Yet, when I started to memorize the level, I was able to avoid the enemies.

Something they also implemented in this game from the Megaman games are the knock backs when you get hit. Believe me, when you die on the same spot several times because you get knocked back into a bottomless pit, it’s annoying beyond believe.

The title screen isn’t a mixed bag in my eyes. The title card is very pretty but the bottom touch screen only shows “version 2.0” and it totally black. That’s a shame, since that’s a lot of unused space.

The bad

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There is voice acting in the game, and it’s done pretty good. Yet, it’s all in Japanese and there is no translation. I wish there was either a dub or English subs.

Due to the lack of an intro cutscene explaining the basic story, I find myself skipping the dialogue when a boss battle starts. It’s a shame, since what I have read so far, the story looks interesting.

In normal difficulty, health pick ups are so rare to non existent, it’s a shame. I played this game on the easy difficulty, and the health pickups do exist.

If you pick this game up, I advise you to read the in game manual before you start playing.

Conclusion

This game is a very good game. If you have a bit of money to spare on the 3DS eShop or on the PS Vita, go and buy this game.

When you enjoy old-school Megaman games and want a new challenge, this game is one for you. While the game is quite a lot of fun, it can be very irritating sometimes. This game lacks some polish in the enemy placement but overall, you get more then your monies worth.

The negatives of this game can be game breaking for some people. But, for each negative, there is a positive.

I haven’t finished this game yet, but I’m enjoying myself so far. This game is perfect to play while waiting for the doctor or while I’m on the train to work. If I have to give the game a score now, I would give the game a 3/5.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this one. 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!

First Impression: Bioshock (PC – Steam) ~New DNA

BioshockBoxOfficial website

So, I have been through the usual “end of the year” articles. So, why did I pick this game? Does this game have a special reason to be the final article of 2015? Well, surprisingly enough, it actually has. If you follow my blog or know me in person, then you might know that I’m fascinated by stories that are about people staying people but getting superpowers. That’s one of the main reasons I love games like Majora’s Mask so much. Anyways, what’s the main mechanic in this game? Apart from the little sisters and their … ahum, big daddy’s? That are the plasmids. They allow you to attack your foes with electricity or fire. The concept is just amazing in my opinion. But back when it released, my computer couldn’t handle it. My CPU wasn’t strong enough but I had enough RAM. Then the game went a bit under the radar for me. I mostly got into adventure games like Broken Sword or RTS games like Age Of Empires series. In any case, I think it’s time to take a look at this game. Since in this Christmas Sale of Steam, I finally bought the whole trilogy and the DLC. So, yeah. Enough stalling, let’s dive into Rapture! As usual, feel free to leave a comment on this article with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Story – Two kinds of them

bioshock1So, in this game there are two kinds of stories. Depends on how you look at it. While the audio logs and the actual story of the game are kind of “one and the same”… I see them as two different stories. The audio logs are more a back story to the game. This is something I wished the game handled a bit better. I’m not saying that the audio logs or the story is bad. No, not at all. The main issue I have is that some dialogue of the audio tapes can overlap with the dialogue of the enemies. You could argue that you don’t listen to the audio tapes when you near enemies, but you can’t avoid that. But that isn’t a problem exclusive to the audio logs. I missed some story dialogue due to the enemies talking way too loud.

Because of this reason, I’m more fond of diary entries to build a world instead of audio tapes. While I’m a big story guy, I found myself skipping over the audio logs. The world of Rapture drew me in enough already. I wanted to fill in the backstory myself. Here and there I played an audio tape, but not every one of them. I think they were placed to close to each other and too many in one area. In nearly each and every section of the game, I recall finding 2-3 audio tapes.

The last thing I will say about the audio logs, is that you can re-listen to them. But, in some cases… It’s about something in the room. Or a hint how to continue in the game. Then the power of audio logs is lost since you aren’t in the right context anymore. (Unless you go back to the room you were in when you found the audio log.)

So, let’s talk about the actual story now, for what I have experienced (I’m mid-game), it’s a decent story. The build up is quite nice but I have to praise the voice actors for this game quite a lot. Since they did an amazing job creating this world. It’s one I get lost in.

Moral things

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Something I really like is that this game has quite the replay value. Since this game offers a moral choice system. Do you harvest the little sisters or not? If you harvest them, you can buy stronger perks. If you don’t harvest them, you get here and there some really handy perks. Both paths have some really nice rewards.

Currently, I’m saving the little sisters. It’s an interesting path really, but I wish that the story reflected it a bit more. At the moment you get the first choice, a guiding character is telling you to harvest it. But, after you save the girl… That character doesn’t change in personality.

Let’s talk about the visual aspect of this game. Because that’s something that’s in my opinion, it’s good. This game shows some traces of early HD textures. The biggest issue is some humans look strange. Like the hands of some characters, the fingers are two blocks. While the world design is quite nice to look at, some minor polish on the details would have been welcome.

 

Negatives?

bioshock-01Now that we are talking about the negatives in this game… Why is there a warning on some parts of the option menu that you will lose your progress? I have that never happen to me. This message made me paranoid the first time.

Also, there is no autosave in this game. Well, there is; after you finished a level. I have to manually save. But after playing this game for a little bit, you will get used to it. At least, I did.

Oh, some things are quite unfair. When I was looting a present left behind by the little sisters I saved, an enemy threw a bomb while I was in the menu to put a perk in one of my character slots. The menu closed and I lost the perk. I had to reload my save file. This issue happened to me twice.

One other minor complaint is that the map was a little bit at the confusing side for me. Mostly when you switch between floors in the same room… It gets confusing since you jump to another map.

Oh, and here is a minor annoying thing… You can’t skip the harvesting/free-ing of the little sisters. At least, I’m not able too.

The last complaint I have is that the elite Big Daddy’s are a tad bit overpowered. What I mean here is, when they back you into a corner… There is a big chance you get stuck. This issue can cost you your life. It’s also seriously annoying when you hypnotize a big daddy and it gets in your way.

In conclusion, this game is a very fun and enjoyable experience. While some parts could have been improved and would have benefited from some minor polish. I realize that I haven’t talked about everything this game has to offer; but I have to leave something for the people interested in the game and for my review.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you on another moment on my blog. Have a great end of the year and until 2016! Take care~:)