Tag Archives: written

Review: Rayman Legends (Wii U) ~ Amazing Platformer Gem

O1353925798.jpegfficial website

As a kid, I had a PC game called Rayman M. I enjoyed it from time to time, but my real interest with Rayman started when I heard so much about it from the YouTubers I watch and the other blogs I read. When my family was asking me what I wanted for Christmas, I gave them a whole list of Wii U titles I’m interested in. Honestly, I placed this game as an afterthought. But on the 1st of January, my grandparents surprised me with actually buying this game for me. I played a few levels just for fun, but then I stopped playing. But at the start of February of this year, I was together with my friends for a whole week and this game… Man, it changed the whole week. I think it’s time to take a good look at this game and talk about what I think of this game. Oh, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the review and/or the game in the comment section underneath this article. 

Teensies & lumps

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This game is a platformer. I haven’t played a lot of platformers, so in this review, I’m going to judge this game purely at what experience it gave me.

This game’s story, was in my opinion, a sort of an after-thought. The story is rather absent. Because this game is a sort of gallery of smaller separate games. Compare it to Kirby Super Star on the SNES. It has a compilation of different Kirby games which each have a separate story.

If you are into platformers with a decent story, you aren’t going to find it here. But it’s no negative for this game. The reason for that is, the game’s charm and presentation is enough to make a fun experience.

Everything in this game has meaning. Every collectable, every level and every challenge. When you beat a level or collect a certain amount of teenies and/or lumps, you unlock something or something happens. And sometimes, more then just one thing unlocked.

This makes the game very replayable. Since it’s very easy to miss a teensie in a level. They are hidden quite well. Too bad that missing one doesn’t stop you from reaching a golden cup on the level.

That touchpad

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This game is made with multiplayer in mind. Since in some levels, you can really benefit from a helper character.

Also, this game is one of the few games I have played where the Wii U gamepad isn’t used as a sort of second screen for the game or something among those lines.

When you play with more then one person, the person playing with the gamepad is a sort of helper character that needs to pull switches, move platforms or keep the characters from harm. And honestly, this can get pretty though. Sometimes, you need to react very quick.

At the other hand, the people who are playing as the non-helping characters have some separate levels that tests their reflexes. These are mostly time challenges or stages where a whole building is collapsing.

The two completely different playstyles is something I haven’t seen before that much. Surprisingly, it works flawlessly. I have beaten most of this game in multiplayer. And I can’t imagine how the singleplayer plays in some levels. Since this game is better played with at least one friend.

Something I really liked about this game is the presentation. Each area plays and feels very different. You have stealth sections, you have fast moving sections, you have sections where you need to “eat through candy” and so much more. Every area is extremely colorful and some stages felt very creative.

The animations of the stages and characters reminded me of the previous times I saw a Rayman game. They are really well done. I have no complaints there.

There is one part of the design that I didn’t like that much. While you have a lot of playable characters, there are just too much clone characters. They don’t play a lot different on the surface. They are just the same character in a different skin to me.

Jump that music

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The levels that were the most creative to me are the levels where you needed to you were playing through a music song and famous songs at that. Black Berry by Ram Jam is one of the first I came across. They were so much fun to play.

Speaking about music, the soundtrack and sound design of this game is very well crafted. The help to build the atmosphere of the game. In some levels I was actually sitting on the edge of my seat, cheering my friends on.. so we could beat that one level.

The difficulty is something I’m on the edge about. Some levels are pretty cruel and are impossible to win when you make one mistake. But there is a problem in there. Sometimes the controls work against you. But then again, the punishment for dying is just restarting the stage or starting for the last checkpoint. I always felt like we could try again when me and my friends failed a level.

Something that also provided hours of fun was the one true mini-game in the collection. The soccer game. It’s truly chaotic and it makes for hours of fun matches with friends. While I struggled with the controls sometimes, when I got the hang of them… It was extremely fun.

Until now, I was mostly praising the game but there are some things that could use some improvement. The digital manual is way too basic in my eyes.This is something that could help inexperienced players. But the biggest issue I have with it, is that it’s so barebones. I miss the color, screenshots and various other interesting things that other companies put in those manuals. Like Nintendo and Hylure Warriors or Super Mario Maker.Also, why is there a separate help function in the game and the manual. That help function gives information that isn’t in the manual…

And honestly, that is the biggest “issue” I have with this game. While the main campaign might be a bit short, the content that unlocks during the main campaign and the things you can collect gives this game a big replay value and makes the game have an amazing length.

The last thing I want to say about this game is that for 20€ here in Europe, this game is a steal. The amount of content is just mindblowing.

In any case, I think I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time for my conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

 – The manual isn’t the best in this game.

– This game loses a lot of its value in singleplayer.

– Some clone characters.

The good:

+ The amazing replay value.

+ This game has an amazing design. From the visuals to the sound design.

+ You get a lot of content for your money.

+ The gamepad isn’t used as a gimmick.

+ …

Final thoughts:

This game is one of the best and creative platformers I have every played. It brings some new ideas to the table for me. This game such serve as an example as an amazing platform game.

Most of the issues I have with this game are nitpicks. I honestly had trouble saying any negatives about this game.

If you want a real fun game for you and your friends, dust off that Wii U (or the console you have this game for) and play some Rayman Legends. For the cheap price of 20€ here in Europe, this game is truly a steal.

I wasn’t expecting this much polish in a Raymam game of 20€, but I was more than surprised. Play this game for yourself! I highly recommend it to each and every Wii U owner.  It’s really good.

Score: 99/100

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First Impression: Venture Forth (PC) ~ Alpha Peek

logoOfficial website

First of all, this is an impressive project. This game is made by a small indie developer and has been in development for over two years. They mailed me because they wanted me to take a look at this game after I wrote about Delver. Since this game is in the same style, they thought I might be interested in it. Indeed, I am. While it took me a while to take a look at this game since I was extremely busy, I finally found the time recently. So, let’s dive right into Venture Forth. This article is written on an unfinished build of the game, this is also mostly meant to hype the game a bit and give some feedback to the developers. Ready, let’s go! Alpha build of the 4th July, here we come!  (And as usual, feel free to give me a comment with your opinion of this game and/or the content of the game.)

Warning: This game is in one of my favourite genres. Also, I wasn’t able to make time to write this article, so I had to push it back for almost two months. And also, when I’m asked to write an article, I try to give the best feedback possible. So, prepare yourself for a longer article then you are used of me.

What needs more work?

Labyrinth 2015-03-02 00-47-36-09

The developer said to me that some of the visuals are place holders. So, I’m not going to talk too much about that. While I honestly think that some items and 3D textures look mighty fine already, others like a potion is just an arrow in this current build.

Most likely, the fact that we are missing a menu for options like key-bindings, starting a new game and all that is something that is still in development. If it’s not, please would it be possible to give the player the option to change how they want to control the game? I live in one of those weird keyboard countries where the lay-out of my keyboard is not qwerty, but azerty.

An annoying bug I found in the game is that when you want to switch from full screen to windowed mode, it kept running in full screen. This game uses the usual enter+alt method, which is no big deal. But they might want to look into this bug. Hopefully it’s not because of my own made pc.

This is just a feature suggestion of mine. The map is set up quite interestingly, but what if you give each area a different colour on the map. Makes it easier to see which area ends where. Just a minor thing.

Something that’s not that minor is the lack of lighting in some areas. Don’t read me wrong, I think it’s nice that they went for the realistic approach and make the areas where natural light can’t come through, it’s extremely dark. But when you use a torch, it gives off barely enough light to even properly navigate the dungeon. The area “The Nest” was a perfect example of this.

Labyrinth 2014-10-22 02-49-56-15I could complain about the lack of a tutorial yet, the game controls and plays like any other typical dungeon game. One thing I think they should really change and that is the starting area. You start out having to jump down a ravine. Not once, but if I recall correctly, about three times, you loose some health and this will set off a handful of players to not play the game. It’s not really inviting and it gives the game the first impression of using cheap tricks. At least in my opinion.

Same with some puzzles. This game uses a few puzzles where you barely get any hints. Without spoiling too much, let me tell you. When you are stuck and have nowhere to go, try a staff. It took me way too long to figure this out. I’m not saying it wasn’t rewarding to find this out, but a subtle hint when you enter the area would be nice. But really subtle. In the current version of the game, it was a nearly see-through wall. Hinting that there is something at the other side. But before you got there, it was a long hallway. Maybe put in the rocks an image that looks like the staff somewhere in that hallway? That’s what I mean with subtle, something you wouldn’t notice or easily miss.

Before I move on to the more positive parts of the game, I want to talk about something that won’t help with the first impression as well. The first enemies you encounter are a bit too strong in my taste. Actually, that’s just a nitpick, since if you know what you are doing, the enemies can be quite the pushovers.

What is already good?

Labyrinth 2015-06-04 19-04-46-54

I’m not going to give criticism on the music. Well, honestly, the ambient music that’s playing in the background. The reason is that it helps building the atmosphere quite well. That there is only one melody/track that plays, I can understand. It’s an Alpha after all. If they weren’t planning to add some more music, then a problem could arrive. Some players would get annoyed by the repetitive music and this would turn up as a negative in various reviews.

Earlier I talked about the map system. As a fan of these style of games, I could start complaining about the difficulty to see rooms and all that… Honestly, I think the map is one of the best features in this game. It’s a fully 3D view of the world you play in. It also shows some hidden things in the map, most likely put there from the developer to control the game. (read: spawning enemies or helping with the lighting of an area.) Which is a really cool touch.

That the enemies aren’t shown on the map is something I’m on the fence about. On one hand, you could say it’s annoying since you can’t plan your strategy. On the other hand, it really helps build fear into the game. You never know if an area is safe to cross or not.

The game runs quite smooth already. I got a steady 60fps, which is quite nice. The sound effects are actually perfect for this game. There weren’t many sound effects I would change. I would add a few here and there like for when an enemy switches equipment.

Yes, that’s a thing. Later in the game, the enemies will switch weapons. Long range combat, they will use a bow. Short range? Well, prepare for a sword fight. In this game, you can also prepare a few load-outs. Choose carefully though, since this game doesn’t offer an inventory system. So, that means, when you want to use your potions, you will have to use a load-out. You can also equip two items and armour. Logical, since we only have two hands. This is the reason why you need to plan out your strategy quite well.

Labyrinth 2015-05-10 05-04-07-93

So, the actual controls are mighty smooth. While I think they should add a run button in the full release, the aiming and such is extremely nice for an alpha. Also, this game would benefit from a crouch move where you can’t fall off ledges, like in Minecraft.

I think I talked about everything I wanted to talk about so it’s time to wrap up this article.

Conclusion

I really love where the game is going. I understand that this game is still in alpha and needs some polishing. But truth to be told, the base game is there. The core idea is present and it puts a new spin on exploration. It’s not simply a clone or just an explorer game. It tries to do something new with the different load-outs you can easily switch between and the amazing map.

It can become a great game, if they worked on expanding the first impressions that the game gives you. If I would give it a score in it’s current state, while keeping in mind that it’s an alpha build, it would be around a 7/10.

Thanks for letting me play this game, I actually enjoyed myself. Don’t be afraid to send me a review copy when it’s fully released guys, I will for sure write a full review about it then.

Anyway, I think I will leave it at that for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed preparing and writing it. And please, give their official site a look, they deserve it.

First Impression: Europa Universalis IV (PC ~ Steam) – Thank you Mizari.

EuropaUniversalisIV_Packshot_editedLink to the official website

For the people who read my blog often, they might know that one of my best friends is Mizari. I often call him MiseryLC or anything among those lines. One of his favorite games is Europe Universalis IV. Recently I decided to give it a try with him myself. The gameplay and the genre looked interesting to me, so I bought it while it was on sale. After playing almost 40 hours in about a week or so, I think it’s safe to say that I’m having quite a lot of fun! So, shall we take a look at this game and what first impressions it left on me? The issue is, in order to write a review for a game, I have to beat it. While you can “beat” this game, you can restart it with and play it in another way. So, I think I’ll write a review after I played around 150+ hours of this game. So, that said, it’s time to start talking about this game, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment on the game and or the content of this article. 

Age of Empires?

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When it comes to games where you need to build your own empire(s), I prefer the gameplay of Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. So, when I first started to play this game, I was quite confused. I might have looked over the tutorial but I haven’t seen one. Thankfully, Mizari is showing me the ropes. It’s quite handy to have a friend to play this game with.

When you start to get the hang of the game, it gets quite interesting. There isn’t any story in the game as far as I have noticed, since it’s one that you can make yourself. In our multiplayer sessions I play as Russia and he plays as the Ottomans. I don’t think that the Russians and the Ottomans ever formed a friendship.

 Numbers game.

2015-03-08_00001At first, I thought that most of this game would be a number game where higher stats would mean a better country. Let me tell you that it isn’t the case. Your goal is not only to manage a country but also you need to manage the relationships with other countries and such. When you don’t improve it at frequent intervals, you could get into trouble.

In my early multiplayer sessions, I regularly got attacked by other countries. I wasn’t that careful in managing my military points so I got attacked. But when countries that were afraid of MiseryLC’s empire also started attacking me, all I had to do was improve the relationship with his country and the attacks stopped. This makes it more then just a numbers game. It gives a realistic vibe to the game where time is just indicated by numbers.

The big issue is, that when you are just a beginning player there is way too much to play with. I found the tutorial when I wrote this part of the article, and only seeing three lessons, made me facepalm. The depth of this game, you can’t really explain that in three sessions. Well, you could but you might risk that you overflow the new player with too much information at once.

If you want to start playing this game, I highly recommend that you first play the game with a sort of guide. Don’t play in IronMan mode, since you can’t “roll back” choices. Speaking about that, there is one thing that is disappointing to me. You can only unlock achievements in IronMan mode. I think it would be better otherwise. I might be looking over a logical reason for why it’s ‘Ironman only’… but I hope that isn’t the case.

Nitpicking

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This game updates a lot, which can be annoying sometimes. During my play sessions I had a few nitpicks. Recently, MiseryLC and I started a new game where we would play content from the quite recently released DLC “El Diablo”. It’s kind of neat that somebody who doesn’t own the DLC is able to play the game and it’s content then as well. But you play with a very unstable game then. My game crashed 3-4 times in 20-ish minutes.

I was able to fix it by buying the DLC myself and then play with him. While there is a lot of DLC for this game, various ones are simply cosmetic. Now that I think of it, a handful are just music packs.

Talking about that, the music for this game is outstanding. In my previous (music) article I actually talked about a track that I really liked. But often, I had moments where my country was in war and relaxing music was playing. This actually took me out of the experience. But a neat kind of hidden feature is that when you hover over the date, the title of the song actually is shown.

So, this game is amazingly polished and I already lost various hours to it. I plan to play it for even more and probably write a more in-depth review of game. But there is so much to cover, the length of my usual “first impression” articles don’t quite cut it.

Apart from some irritating bugs, that sometimes get patched a few hours after they have been found, and some odd things here and there… The game is quite fun. Also, the search option to look for provinces is such a god send. Without it, I would had more rebels in my country then there are M&M’s in a M&M bag.

Anyways, I think I have said most of the things I wanted to talk about this game. I hope you enjoyed my first look at this game and if you are interested in the game, I advise you to not buy it with the DLC included. Since those can add some new gameplay layers that might make the already quite overwhelming game even more overwhelming. But once you get used to how the game plays, the hours can fly by really quickly. Just giving you that warning.

NekoJonez: Game Diary #4: Sick day ~ PSP Games

It’s finally back! The blog game created by yours truly NekoJonez. I came up with this game when one day I realized that some game titles were generic words and they could be hid in a story. So, I played around with the idea in my mind and I forged this game. In this game, your goal is simple. I have hid 10 game titles in a made up story. Can you find them all? Don’t worry, I always mention a list from where I got the names so there can be no real debate. If I left one in that I didn’t mention in the solution, feel free to drop a comment. In this entry of Game Diary, I hid 10 PSP games. I created my list using this WikiPedia list. I admit this list is going to be tricky. Keep in mind that I used words that can be hidden in a sentence. That is a great tip to find some. So, feel free to leave a comment saying how many you found and which ones. And if you enjoy this, hop on over to my blog, I have more of them there. Anyways, here we go! 

The story

Dear diary

Today, I think I got infected with a virus. Not on my computer, thankfully. I got really sick today. Finally some rest after all these days. I was getting sick of the rush of every day. Trains, cars, motorcycles… It was giving me a serious headache. Besides, they had a strike in Brooktown High today, I couldn’t go to college anyways.

I couldn’t get into the flow of things. Of course, I was sick. My temperature gone up big time. I decided to try and play some games. But I couldn’t do it. My concentration was there. I switched on the TV and I noticed that I got some background noise.

The beats from the music from the neighbors next door was loud enough to play through my movie. The movie was about cars without a driver. A simple idea but I wish I could crush the music installation of the ones next door. But I wasn’t able to exit my home today to actually do it.

That’s all for today. I hope to write more later. When I’m healed.

Blaire.

Solution

Wow, this story was short. Well, that makes it a bit easier I think. Here follow the games in order of appearance.

  1. Infected
  2.  Rush
  3. Cars
  4. Brooktown High
  5. Flow
  6. Up
  7. Beats
  8. Driver
  9. Crush
  10. Exit

So, I hoped you enjoy this article and this game. I enjoyed writing this one a lot. It’s an old series that made it’s return. Hopefully I have new idea’s for future ones soon. Tell me from which library I should write a new article in this series.

Anyways, I’m going to try and write some nice new articles in my break so keep an eye on my Twitter feed for updates!

CreepyPasta: Player 2 not found – Written by: NekoJonez

Player 2 not found

If my story is ever read on a channel where they read or discuss creepypasta’s I’m quite sure they might shout at my story that it has some clichés and that it killed the experience. Sadly enough, I wish I could convince those people that this story is quite real. And I’m finally ready to tell it. I don’t speak English, but given that I want a bigger audience for my tale, I’ll try my best to translate. I’m trying to talk about a big life change event here.

Some time ago, I had a great friend. He was one of the only guys who looked after me. We were both into the same style of games. Which is surprising, mostly you and your friends have a few games in common, but Eric and I, we both had nearly exactly same tastes in games.

One day a sad truth came falling into my letterbox. That winter will be forever ice cold to me. Get it… Winter, cold..? Never mind, I might be ruining the mood here. Anyways, I got that letter. It was a letter to tell me that Eric died due to a stupid accident. He slipped with his bike and broke his neck at the street pavement. And that in front of our favorite gaming store.

I was shocked and mad. Mad because I told him so many times that he should go cycling when it had frozen. And shocked because Eric was dead. My best friend. I had him for nine years. I went through one of the roughest periods of my life. I went insane for a few weeks. I saw things move for no reasons and various other things. It was like I took drugs, while in reality I didn’t take any.

But when I finally came back to my senses, I was wishing that I had that pen from the Time Hollow game. Ethan, the game’s main character, was able to open a time “portal” there and change the past. I could have saved him. Thinking about that game made me remember my Nintendo DS and my flashcard. For the readers who don’t know what that is, it’s a card which you can use to play roms on the actual device. So, I haven’t downloaded any roms from shady websites. Don’t worry, my story doesn’t have any of that.

When I booted up Phantom Hourglass, I started to notice something strange. At the part where you needed to meet-up with Linebeck, there was a character at the docks. That guy who is normally there to say: “Hey, do you have a canon already.” I don’t remember the exact lines. The ship was missing. And Linebeck of course as well. The character at the docks said to me that he was gone. Because his friend went missing.

I scratched my head. Linebeck and friends. I looked it up in my Hyrule Historia book I got and I couldn’t find any information. Did I download a bad rom by accident? Was I going to be tricked into a scary game where blood and gore is going to come? I shook it off. It might have been my fantasy going wild again.

Then I started playing Spirit Tracks on the flashcard. First I saw that the train controls where missing. I got a little annoyed. Again something missing? But before I let out some soft curses, I remembered that the anti-piracy protection was that the train controls didn’t appear. When I patched the game and tried it out quickly in my emulator, the train controls where there. I sighed in relief.

I sent over the save file from the emulator and the patched rom to my flashcard and I started playing. To my surprise, my save file was corrupt. Did I close the emulator while it was still saving? Or did the coders of the emulator derp and bugged the save files? I didn’t really mind since my game was at the very start anyways.

Before I even could start the train exam, the track were already gone. This was supposed to happen later in the game. I got confused. I didn’t understand at all. I closed my DS and shut it down. I checked my flashcard for any damage. I wondered to myself if something broke which made my game glitch so bad. I put my DS aside. I’m kind of lazy and when I need to fix something I look at it a week or two later. Or after so much time that I don’t even know what I’m supposed to fix.

I took my 3DS and booted up my copy of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. I don’t really know if there is already a flashcard for the 3DS but I don’t even care. The 3DS is too awesome for me to download the games. Sadly enough they are expensive. Anyways, this is off topic. I’m saying that my copy is the legal deal.

I started up the save file and my character was named Eric. It felt a bit awkward to me. The game was at the final battle. I won’t spoil who it was for you, but when I beat the game, the main character didn’t return. I was surprised. Did Nintendo really went this way? Did they really made this twist to take veteran players by surprise? It seemed as such.

In the town, all characters of the game, except Eric, were present. They were all in a sad mood. The partner, having my name, was the saddest of them all. He couldn’t believe that his friend was gone for real. I closed my 3DS. The story was a bit too personal and brought back a bit too much memories.

I played some soccer outside with my friends to put my mind on something else. That night when I played a bit on my PSP under my sheets. Okay, I might be 25 years old but we all did that when we were still young okay? Remember? With Pokémon Blue? Those were the times.

I beat an interesting visual novel game Corpse Party. In that game, a group of teens are captured in a horrible school were many murders happen. Many gruel things. Writing a creepypasta with a lot of blood and gore wouldn’t make it since the game is already so bloody and gory. And that for a 2D game!

So, a spoiler warning now. At the end, a part of the group is able to return to the real world. But the ones who died are forgotten by everybody. Nobody remembered Eric, expect the male lead character. It took me a second but when I realized I totally freaked out. There wasn’t any character named Eric in that game. I didn’t understand it one bit. I put my lights on and looked to a picture of Eric. I haven’t forgotten him and nobody has.

At the soccer match earlier today, nobody was allowed to play at the spot Eric normally plays. Which caused my team to have a disadvantage without good midfielder. But hey, it’s the thought that counts.

The next day, another friend of mine came over. He wanted to play a bit of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon on my 3DS. He was planning to buy the game. But when he played, everything was normal. Even the main character returned. I sighed in relief. It was my paranoia playing tricks on me. I was so glad.

The freaking things started to get worse since then. When I played with friends online, I won each and every match. With some major luck each time. I was able to pull off things I wasn’t able too before. It went as far as my friends accusing me of cheating. But I wasn’t cheating. I don’t even know how to get cheats working in multiplayer for most of the games I play.

Also, in various games, things started happening. Like in Animal Crossing. Everybody living around Eric’s home started moving within a week. And in Minecraft, Eric’s name was everywhere on signs.

I went to my shrink but she started to think that I really was losing it. Nobody could see the signs, nobody was able to see the letters in Animal Crossing of the characters moving.

When I analyzed various things, it became clear to me. Eric was trying to get a message to me. But what is it? Is he lost in the spirit realm? Or are his powers just not strong enough to make a message reach out to everybody.

I wanted to know more but I couldn’t research more. I was taken to a mental hospital. Declared insane because I supposedly couldn’t get over the loss of my best childhood friend who saved me from various suicide attempts.

First I was pissed off that I couldn’t research this case but after some time I was able to put it aside and well, between quotes, get over it. I took the newspaper after a year staying in the hospital and I started reading about a serial killer who killed his victims outside of gaming stores when they wanted to return a game.

I got confused. But tears started to flow when I saw the author’s name. Eric R. My death friend is now able to follow me outside of games. The article’s author was different too people, yet the story was surprisingly true.

To this day, I’m trying to convince people that my friend is killed by that serial killer. I started to study to become a lawyer. I want to catch that crook. Before he makes more victims. And hopefully Eric’s powers grow stronger so I have him at my side to solve this case.

–          Several years later. –

The latest edition of the newspaper has an interesting article.

“Yesterday, Blaire DV, a famous lawyer died today at a strange accident. He slipped and broke his neck. The accident happened in front of his favorite video games store where he was investigating the case of a death friend. Who he believes is murdered by the Ice Video Game Killer. Witnesses claim that they have seen a man, identified by the name of Eric R., push the victim.

Today witnesses claim to sometimes see Blaire lurk in a side street next to the shop. But the police doesn’t believe in ghost stories. Should they?

–          Blaire VD”

 

The end?

First Impression: The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (PC – Steam) ~ Mediocre Adventures

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Read my new creepypasta here. I let it publish on a friend’s Tumblr.

Note: I’ll publish the creepypasta in a few days here.

Page on official website

I recognize mediocre games as soon as I play them. This game had a lot of promise when I watched the trailer. Yet, this game falls flat on it’s face in some departments. While I’m mid-way through the game, this game has some charm for me in order to keep playing it. In this article I’ll talk about what the game does right and what it is wrong. I did play the Steam version of this game. I’m surprised that there are also XBOX360 and PS3 versions made of this game. The adventure / point and click genre’s home is on the PC, DS, Wii and portable devices. Not the XBOX360 and PS3. But that’s a rant for another day. Let’s dive right into this “meh”-fest. Feel free to leave a comment what you think of this game and or this first impression. 

Laughable animation

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IGN gave this game a 8. Honestly, I think this game doesn’t really deserve that. One reason is the animation. For a game released by FrogWare, who has a good catalog of adventure games, the animation is just bad.

To explain my point, when a lady needs to get out of her chair to get the prison director, the fade to black and then they show an animation of the woman walking through the door. Hold on a moment here, did she just magically teleport?

Also, when I needed to sound an alarm, the arm didn’t even visibly move towards it before I got the reply of Watson that the alarm was busted.

The running animation is just pretty lame. It’s more like a walking really fast with waving your arms back and forth. With bend arms.

And something I saw just recently, before I went back to studying for my college exam is the lazy scene where you need to let a cart roll towards a broken bridge so the cart can connect the bridge back together. The cart wasn’t properly on the bridge but Holmes didn’t care, he walked right over it as if it were solid. And when the animation of Holmes dropping down needed to happen, they go to your point of view.

While this game has some interesting visuals, these visuals aren’t great. For a game released just last September, the visuals could have been a whole lot nicer. Compared to more recent games, this game’s visuals are just running a bit behind.

In conclusion, I think that the visuals and animation are the big weak point of this game. It’s one of the biggest things annoying me in this game. Maybe the quality might improve near the end. And if it does, I will surely mention it when I decide to write a review about it.

Only bad thing?

the-testament-of-sherlock-holmes-reviewIt might look that I’m ripping this game a new one. And I kind of am. I’m a big fan of this game’s genre. The Broken Sword series is my absolute favorite. But something this game tried, but failed at, are it’s controls.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. They controls are interesting. And the ability to switch between three modes is an amazing idea. But here on the PC guys, we have a mouse. Which gives us an arrow. Please use that instead of indicating hotspots for us. It kinda kills the feeling of freedom.

The mouse is used in another way. You can cancel with the right mouse button. Now that’s something neat. But why did it have to be cancel? Why couldn’t it be the button used for secondary features in puzzles, like turning a piece of paper.

Another thing that annoyed me is that you have the 6th sense. It’s your hint system. But it doesn’t really work that well. It only shows hotspots you haven’t interacted with when they are inside the screen area. I personally think this could have been implemented better.

One of the last points that made my irritation feelings rise is the stupid tracking AI. They move so much slower then you do which makes you sometimes being stuck inside a doorway. Yeah. Let’s not mention the extremely linear paths and the invisible walls. Otherwise the developers had to make more animations. Oh my God! The thought.

Not crap though.

TheTestamentOfSherlockHolmes_0001When you can look past the things I mentioned above, the game is actually pretty neat.

With charming voice acting and a great plot, this game caught my interested. You truly solve a crime the old fashioned way. You don’t have any gadgets that aid yourself to solve the crime.

The tutorial starts with a small case of a stolen necklace. You find it but moments later, you get tangled up in a new big case. A bishop has been murdered. Quite cruelly. And the game got rightfully it’s 16+ mark for that. Yet, from what I have seen now, 12+ could have worked as well.

The story is thrilling and with well done music and nice soundwork, this game is a pretty neat run. What I really like are the puzzles. They are fun. While they aren’t really unique, they are self-explanatory. Apart from the chemical analysis, I do think that this game works.

A minor flaw which the developers can still patch out is the freezing / frame drops whenever the autosave is saving or when you solve a puzzle. But after a small while you get used to it, so it doesn’t bother me that much.

The fact that this game has auto-saving is already quite great. And it doesn’t save over your last auto-save. Oh no, it saves in a new file so you can easily go back to earlier spots to get the achievements. Nice move guys.

There are various achievements, which makes the replay value have … well some value. Adventure games have actually zero replay value. Unless you really like the story, gameplay or something in the game. For me it’s the style of the story. It’s interesting and it’s a great introduction to the series. It’s the 6th game in the series. And looking into it, the last game wasn’t well received. This game gets better reviews so that’s a good thing.

So, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article and the creepypasta I added at the top. I promised my friend Inunah for a long time a creepypasta exclusive for her nice creepypasta tumblr. And I wrote “Player 2 is missing.” for her. Anyways, I think that’s everything for this article. I hope to catch you another time. And take care.~

NekoJonez: Hiroshi Yamauchi, why?

Hiroshi_Yamauchi,_former_Nintendo_president.jpgEvery self respected Nintendo fan… No, not good. On the 19th of September a big drama happened at Nintendo HQ. Wait, no! That’s not good either. -Sighs- Sorry, I am just not feeling all happy and good right now. I wasn’t planning on doing any content right now. Today is a day we remember somebody who left us yesterday. Hiroshi Yamuchi lost his final continue. He left us at the age of 85. For the people who think: “Why is there so much fuzz about this guy?” Let me enlighten you with some knowledge. This man is a revolution. He helped Nintendo save the gaming market with the big game crash in 1975. He helped Mario and Zelda get popular and house hold names. This great God in the game industry died of pneumonia. Which is an infection of the lungs for those who don’t know. He was in charge of the company from 1949 until 2002. Yesterday, he served his last day here on earth.

Goodbye

I changed my mind today. I decided to write an article to support the family and friends of Hiroshi. Also, to inform all Nintendo fans of this sad event. I admit that I didn’t sleep well past night. This man is a God in my eyes. He helped making various amazing games and he made the company I love big.

Image this. He made of a card trading company, a world leading video game developer. He made many revolutions, or at least took part in many of them. If we would talk about this man in depth, then we would be here for years. His Wikipedia entry is long enough to prove that.

I call upon all Nintendo fans to join in the mourning of Nintendo this weekend. His funeral is this Sunday according to an article I read on BBC.

I can assure you that writing this article is a difficult one. My mind is everywhere. I want to write something amazing to honor this guy but I can’t create good idea’s. I even got teary eyes while writing this.

Thank you.

I’ll just go with this then. This might be a short article, I just want to say to him, thanks. For all the work you have done. For everything. You showed the way how a small company can become big!

You deserve a spot among the biggest of biggest. You will be missed, that’s for sure. Your children and your wife, your family and friends. Your company and fans. We all will light a candle to remember you.

Thank you Hiroshi Yamauchi.

First Impression: Nicktoons – Spongebob and Friends – Battle For Volcano Island (PS2) ~ Thou Are Summoned

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(Little blog news: Sorry for not writing a lot. I’m extremely busy. Follow me on my Twitter for updates.)

Wikipedia entry

Back when the gameboy advance SP was the latest of the latest gameboy’s from Nintendo, I could rent out games from a local game store. The same one I buy most of my games at today. I love those guys. They are extremely friendly, talk with you about games, have an amazing helpdesk… Lot of advantages. For those who are interested in some Belgium culture while learning about my opinion of the games I play, here is the site of my game store. But be warned, it’s in Dutch. Game Mania is just awesome. I rented the latest Zelda game, which was the Minish Cap, and a few other games. The GBA version of this game was among them. Bummed out that I had to return the GBA version because it was so awesome I looked all over for this game. Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to find a copy for myself. Until one day I passed by and saw this in the 2nd hand PS2 games shelf. I was thrilled. Finally a copy of this game for myself. Not the one I wanted but hey, it’s a start. My expectations where high. I tried to set them really low to avoid a major disappointment but I was happily surprised. This game is pretty great. Why, I’ll explain in this article. But don’t let you get fooled by the fact it’s a kid’s game. Don’t judge a book on it’s cover, or a game on it’s box-art. Who knows, there might be a great gem inside. Anyways, let me know in the comments how I did in this article and your views on this game. Even when you didn’t play it. So, here we go. 

Open yet closed?

blaup2006Expect it, I’ll make a lot of references and comparisions to the GBA version of this game. Something I really liked in the GBA version is the fact you could walk around and pick the order of the levels yourself. Of course, parts where locked away until you reached a certain point of the game, but you didn’t had to finish all the levels in one section before you could advance to the next section.

If this game works with the same idea, I can’t tell just yet. From what I see now, it’s a tad bit more linear. But there is a central hub. And here is the neat thing, you are free to explore the whole thing. The restrictions from the GBA version aren’t there.

But what I really like in this version of the game is how the story is presented to you. It’s a big improvement above the GBA version where the story was somewhat absent. Your goal in this game was a bit unclear, since it was only explained at the start and the end of the game. The cut-scenes in this game really aids to bring character to the story and really makes the game more fun.

Damage?

hqdefaultThis game got a lot of marks from me. But one thing makes me doubt if this game is actually worth all my praise. The absence of a proper health display is worrying. You have to guess how many hits you can still take before you die. And the only thing that happens after a lot of hits is that your green behind the still image of the character changes into orange and then into red. In the GBA version you had a limit amount of hearts. And that provided a bit more challenge. With the actual amount of health you have in this game, it gets a whole lot easier.

Another thing where this game loses points is that the music is forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s does it’s job but it’s actually not good enough to want to download the OST or get it stuck in your head. On the other hand, the voice work get a big thumbs up. I really like the sound effects and I think they add more then the music to the game. The voices really makes the funny story come to live. I also like the nods to previous games and to the series of the characters who are in the game.

Graphically this game is colorful and pretty. This helps a lot when you want to explore the world since it’s a blast to do. And here is where it gets even more interesting. Thanks to a whole ton of collect-ables and unlock-ables, this game’s replay value skyrockets. And then the possibility to take multiple paths helps a lot too. Exploring this colorful world is really fun to do. And this is backed up by a lovely short loading screen where great animations are displayed.

Speaking of which, the animation in this game is good. I really like the attention to detail in some parts. Patrick’s health display also changes the more hits you receive. I didn’t see it happening with the other characters though. I really like how this game all comes together.

Finish?

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I think I might finish this game in order to review this one. I actually think they deserve it for this game.

The level design is extremely well done. They added in spawners that pop out more enemies for you to fight until you destroy the source. The combat works great for a kids game but isn’t more then mashing the attack button.

The control scheme is alright. To my knowledge, there are two different settings. But I didn’t had any complaints about it while playing this game.

I also found out that this game might be short. After finishing two levels, the save file said I completed 20% of the game. Hopefully this is a mistake since if the game is extremely short, the marks will fall in the review.

Thankfully, the game is multiplayer too. You can play this game with two players. Or that’s what I can gather with the empty not used space and the mention of “player 1”. So, I have to check on that.

Anyways, that’s all for this game. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch you at a next read. But I’m now going to continue playing games to make new articles for you guys. Cheers!