Tag Archives: XL

First Impression: Ever Oasis (3DS) ~ Sunny Desert Adventure

Ever Oasis.pngOfficial website

So, Nintendo released a new IP. It’s called Ever Oasis. I honestly pre-ordered it and currently, I’m over half way with this game. In this article, I’ll tell you if this game is worth to be bought and be in your collection. I pre-ordered this game since I got very interested when I saw it in the E3 2016 and E3 2017. But enough introduction, is this game a good or a bad purchase?  As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Sandy Dunes

Ever-Oasis-Preview-Shot-(2)

In this game, you play as an Oasis Chief. The main character has no real name since you can decide it for yourself at the start.

When I started this game, I was disappointed by one thing from the start. This game has no voice acting nor any sounds that the characters make while they speak. This is a true shame since a bit of the charm of this game is lost because of it.

Anyways, the story itself. You start out in the oasis of your brother. You learn some basic things about what an oasis is. The oasis is a very calm and peaceful place. But, that all changed when the fire nation— I mean Chaos attacked. This “Chaos” turns innocent creatures into nasty monsters and expand the desert. Your brother transports you to safety while he deals with trying to his oasis. You end up at the last Water Spirit and you start your own oasis together. Your main mission is to try to defeat Chaos before it does any more harm to the world.

The writing in this game is really enjoyable. Due to the lack of voice acting, I wasn’t too immersed into the story. Well, there are some sound effects when the characters talk but it isn’t enough to give character to the characters. It just didn’t click enough with me.

Also, during most of the game, the story plays it a bit too safe. I wish a bit more things happened instead of the repetitive nature of the story. At first, I had trouble explaining why the story wasn’t clicking with me. The writing was enjoyable, so that couldn’t be it. Then, I suddenly realized it. There are two big issues with the story.

There is a serious lack of character development. You barely get to know the people of your oasis. There is no real struggle that can happen in your oasis. No shop keepers that can get jealous of other shop keepers or arguments you have to fix. When you finish a quest for somebody, they rarely to never ask you something again. This makes characters somewhat forgettable and that’s a shame.

The second problem with the story is the pacing.  I’ll expand on this a bit later, but due to the pacing, the story always continues forward in a straight line. Like I mentioned in the previous part, there is no character development. Each time you solve somebody’s problems, a new character gets introduced.

Too short?

Ever-Oasis-Preview-Shot-(6)

Due to the pacing, you got through this game at a pretty fast pace. This gives me the impression that this game is rather short. But it isn’t too short. An average playthrough of this game can last you 30 to 40 hours to complete the game.

The pacing could have been better if there was more downtime between the main story elements. Since then, I could explore more of this game at my own pace. But, that main story arrow is always grabbing my attention.

Something I really like about this game is that this game looks amazing. The animations of the game look amazing as well. The visual presentation of this game is just great. You really feel you are in some oasis-type area with a lot of Egyptian-looking areas and caves to explore.

Also, the map of this game is rather big. Thankfully, you have some quick travel points that you can use to quickly travel to some place if you need to be somewhere for a quest and you don’t want to go the long way.

When you play this game, you will quickly realize that this game took inspiration from the old-school Zelda dungeons to make its own dungeons. When you are a big Zelda fan, you will feel right at home in these dungeons. The only big difference is that you have to make use of each character their special abilities if you want to find each secret chest.

Yet, the exploration could have been improved by two things. The first thing is a sort of ‘note system’. Like the beacons in The Legend Of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Like, I want to explore this part of the cave later with another character. Thankfully, there is the Aqua Gate mechanic. This warps you and your two allies to the oasis so you can switch characters easily and warp back to the spot you warped from. So, this isn’t too big of an issue, but it would be a lovely feature.

But the second thing that could improve the exploration is to get rid of the only 2 allies limit. You can only bring 2 allies on your journey at once. But, the caves and areas you explore have sometimes more than three things that can only be activated by special abilities at once. So, I have to use the Aqua Gate too much to finish a dungeon.

Hiya!

Ever-Oasis-Preview-Shot-(4)

This game allows you to play every ally you have during your exploration. By simply tapping down on the D-pad, you can take control of the other character.

The controls itself are excellent. I rarely had problems controlling my character nor would I change anything.

The difficulty of this game isn’t too brutal. If you know what you are doing and how each character fights, you beat each enemy you come across. But, use your healing items wisely. Since they are a bit too grindy to craft and they are pretty rare to come across in the wild.

There is a mechanic that makes a fainted/dead character more interesting. As soon as a character runs out of energy, it gets healed back up automatically. But, you can speed up this process by spamming the “A” button near the corpse. This is dangerous to do however since you leave yourself open for enemy attacks. Something I truly like in this game is that it isn’t an automatic game over when the main character dies. You automatically switch over to another character.

One of the most interesting features of this game is how much health you have and how a character gets stronger. Let’s first talk about health. Each character has his or her own base health. But, you get some additional health depending on how well you clean up your oasis and how stocked you keep the shops in your oasis. The better you upkeep your oasis, the more additional health your characters get.

Let’s talk about how characters level up or better said, get stronger now. You only get experience points when you return to the oasis. This makes grinding a bit more annoying since you don’t know when to stop. But, this makes it more interesting since you don’t know when you need to stop.

Lastly, I want to talk about the soundtrack of this game. I really enjoy listing to it. I even consider adding it to my soundtrack playlist. It fits the theme perfectly. It adds so much additional character to the game.

In conclusion, at this moment in time, I think that this game is worth a playthrough if you like adventure games like the Zelda series. But, this game isn’t perfect. It’s sad to see that there is so much potential with this game. Maintaining the oasis feels more like a side part of the game than an actual part of the game. I honestly think that I expected more from this game and also I expected more focus on the oasis than on the exploration.

I do have to beat this game before I can form a final opinion on this game. There are two save slots so I can restart this game easily when I want to mess around a bit in this game.

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

Rant #010: The New 3DS announcement.

newnintendo3dsIt has been quite some time since I facepalmed with an announcement of Nintendo. This was one of those moments. In my opinion, Nintendo didn’t do the right thing with this announcement. Long time readers know that I’m a big fan of handhelds. I even did a special month about (3)DS games last month. I wasn’t planning to write an article about new stuff, but this just takes the cake perfectly. I do realize that I’m going to get some hate for this, but I’m prepared for it. I do still love Nintendo and I wish them best of luck with their new 3DS, but I think that this is going to give problems in the long run. Because I want to continue blogging about handhelds, I will buy the system for sure. But that won’t stop me from ranting about it. Anyways, I’m repeating myself. Let’s dive right into why I think the new 3DS’s announcement isn’t all that great. Feel free to leave a comment on this article. Be warned! This is my opinion and I delete harsh and trolling comments. 

DS – DSi

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So, in the previous generation, something similar happened. The old DS got an upgrade. The DS Lite was mostly a visual improvement. The system became much more fun to hold. After that, we got the DSi. Apart from a better menu system and a camera, nothing big changed. Even when we got the DSi XL. Apart from a bigger screen, nothing big changed under the hood.

Because of that, it came as no surprise to me when we got the 3DS XL. Even when they released the 2DS, I expected that. Because the handheld is marketed to kids and for people who can’t see 3D (that well). It’s cheaper as well.

Now, they are going to release the “new 3DS”. When I found out the news, I was on the train home. I actually facepalmed when I was reading the various articles. I was disappointed to hear when people are hyped about this and that they don’t see the issues that are currently at hand.

Let me first start about the confusion that this device will create. Let us first talk about the elephant in the room. The name! The “new 3DS”. I seriously hope that they are going to change the name. Because if they release it like this, the old model’s sales will drop. Not only that, the word “new” doesn’t fit in a title for a console or handheld. It just feels awkward to me.

Visual issues

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Let me get some design mistakes out of the way. The little button you see above the “A”, “B”, “X” and “Y” buttons, is actually a joystick. It’s one of the main selling points of this new system. It will function like a C-stick. Now, it looked first as the power button to me. A small round button like on the DSi. Such a small joystick, well, that explains itself.

They also moved the start and select buttons. So, for what reason are those buttons moved? Why couldn’t you put a bigger additional joystick there? Instead of moving those buttons?

I was about to complain about the Circle Pad addition to the 3DS, but I’m glad that I researched this a bit. It’s now rendered useless. Just great! You bought this additional joystick for nothing! You will be able to use that tiny joystick as a 2nd one.

If you don’t see the problem yet, let me tell you. It’s the size. The circle pad is bigger then the new joystick, so more comfortable to use.

The fact that the buttons now have each a different color, like the SNES controller… Well, I don’t have a big issue with that. It isn’t that visually pleasing in my eyes, since apart from nostalgia, I don’t see the point of it. And why do they to fully color the buttons on the white version and not on the blue version?

Another issue I have is that they moved the cartrigde slot into the front. If the issue isn’t clear yet, take your 3DS and hold it like you would be playing a game like Zelda. Notice where the palm of your hand is? Close to the location of where the cartridge will be. So, this might cause some problems for people who get really sucked into a game and then by accident touch the cartrigde. A solution for this problem might be a sort of latch you can pull to prevent this.

Developer issues

Here is the biggest issue of them all. The new 3DS is going to be a more powerful machine then the original 3DS. It will be able to run ported Wii games. While that sounds great on paper, it has a big issue.

So, image that you are creating a new game for the 3DS. Now, since they are going to release the new system along-side the old model, you will have to make sure that the game runs on the old models. Not only that, you won’t be able to use the power in the new 3DS to it’s full potential. So, what’s the point of the better processor? Faster menu’s? Jeez, how low have we fallen? That a wait of a few seconds is too much for us?

I could try to prove that this is going to create a mess to develop for both systems. But I think it’s quite clear that when you have so much differences in terms of the CPU and such, that you don’t need any further explanation.

Do I think the new 3DS is a bad handheld? Heck no! I honestly think that the new 3DS has everything that the original 3DS should have had in the first place. I just think that it’s a mistake from Nintendo marketing this as a 3DS. I really feel that this should be the successor of the 3DS. The new generation of handhelds. Also, are they going to release an upgraded version of the 2DS in the future?

So, that’s what my thoughts are about the new 3DS. I honestly think that the device has a lot of potential, but there are some flaws that Nintendo should fix before releasing it. I think this article will become a part of a podcast, so we might talk more in depth about it in that podcast. I hope to see you guys then, because I think I’m going to close this article. Thanks for reading and hopefully until the next time!

First Impressions: Magical Starsign (DS) ~ An RPG that I like.

250px-Magical_Starsign

Wikipedia entry.

Thou shall not say anything bad about Magical Starsign. No, ehrm. Maybe, you can’t say anything bad about this game. Nope, that doesn’t feel like me. Ehrm, well, let’s do it the easy way then! Hello there reader, I’m NekoJonez and I am not good at writing an intro for this game. Well, that was cheesy. Hold on, why am I writing these thoughts actually down? My readers don’t have anything to do with this. If only I had magic to erase this. That would make that delete key so obsolete. Ha! You didn’t see that one coming didn’t you? Well, enough playing around. I realize that I play too many games at once and rarely ever finish one. Why I do try to change that fact, I started to play this game a while ago and I got distracted by other things and I never finished this one. I regretted it and thought here and there to restart this RPG and finish it. So, that’s what I’m doing now. Taking games I started and finish them before I look for new titles. And when I restarted this game, man was it adjusting to this. The oldschool DS RPG’s. Sure this game has some flaws but there is no perfect game out there. So, after this messy introduction, let’s talk about my first impressions with this game. 

Underrated

magical_Starsign_1This game is an extremely underrated game. I can’t believe how few people know of this game. It’s an extremely well made game. Something I extremely like is that you can choose your play style at the start. Your character can be dark or light. And this will affect the gameplay an awful lot.

Also, the fact that I can rename all of the hero’s made this game have more value in my hart. Now all my characters have names of my fellow Arpegians and that makes the story more personal.

And speaking about the story. Man, is it written how I like my stories. You don’t get a whole boring backstory in how the magic got discovered and how the different planets work. No, it’s straight to the point. The tutorial though is badly written into the story but it works.

Also, this game isn’t your standard RPG. It brings in one element that makes the battles totally different. In this world, planets need to be in a certain area of the sun. When that happens, people with that kind of magic get a power boots. This makes battles so much different. You need to check your planets to know when it’s better to stay in a safe area or when you better use magic.

Also, the repeat button is one of the features I applaud the creators of this game for. It’s so useful. It makes battles more easy. Like you slowly getting back your MP, it makes the battles more interesting. Also, you see the enemy you are going to fight at the top screen. Nicely done.

Flawed

magical-starsign-1While I do feel like praising this game an awful lot, this game has several things that made me not liking this game as much as another RPG. One thing is the running. Since this RPG is released early in the DS lifespan, it shows of the touchscreen. And there they made a fatal flaw, nearly ALL buttons are for moving your characters. Your A,B,X and Y buttons are basically a 2nd D-Pad. And you nearly always run while using the touchscreen.

Graphically, this game is pretty. I like the design of the area’s and all the locations. The names of the planets and people make the game feel that more alive. But, in some area’s you don’t have a map of the area but you see the whole planet. This is a drawback in my opinion.

The sound effects are great expect one thing. The enemy sounds are either absent or too similar to all other enemies. I don’t like the sound design in this game very much. Like the cut scenes. They feel dated, even for the Nintendo DS. They are really out of place and they look a bit PS1-ish. They seem created with one timeline like there can’t be a rocket flying over the screen while having water coming out of the land.

Also something that brings the battles down is that you can’t look to what an item does in game. This is such a big pain in the but since you need to either remember or guess the right item to use in the fights. Thankfully, the fights aren’t annoying like every 10 steps. You actually get some decent time to explore the area.

Magical-Starsign_3Easy?

Is this game easy? Well, in a way it is. This game feels like it’s made for young teens. But, that doesn’t mean an experienced game can breeze through this. That isn’t the case at all. You really have to be on your guard since a few wrong moves and it could mean game over.

You can save nearly everywhere. And the fact that you have several slots to save in is for me another sign of a game aimed at families or the younger crowd. But I’m so glad that there are several save slots since now I can do the light and dark playthrough side by side. Or play one if I’m stuck in the other one.

But getting stuck in this game isn’t that easy to do. After some time, one of the characters will give you a hint that will help you a lot for progressing.

What I also like in this game is that this game doesn’t hold your hand in every step of the way. The only thing the tutorial does is learning the way of how the fighting system works. And for the rest, it’s your way to explore the mechanics of the game. But every useful thing said in the tutorial is in your diary.

To finish this article, I want to talk about the music. Which isn’t the best nor the worst point of this game. It isn’t memorable but it isn’t forgettable. It’s that kind of music that will be stuck in your head while playing the game and for a few days but after that, you will most likely forget it.

Oh and before I forget, for the people who have played this game. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game and/or on this article in a comment.

So, that was my first impression article of this game. But wait, I’m also playing Elebits on my DS. Do you want to read what I think about that? Well, go to ButtonSmashers and read my article there. A link is here: Elebits – The adventures of Kai and Zero (DS) ~ Collect all the WATTS!

Review #009: James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes (3DS) review ~ A lot of cheese!

James-Noirs-Hollywood-Crimes-cover

Wikipedia entry of this game.

Before I got myself the latest Professor Layton, I played this game on my 3DS. It’s one of the first games I finished on my 3DS. All over the internet people find this a mediocre game. In this review I will tell you if I agree or don’t agree. Let’s try to look at this game separate from Professor Layton. In  my previous review of Corpse Party on the PSP, I compared the game way to much with Virtue’s Last Reward and thankfully a forum member pointed it out. Thanks for the feedback BloodCatNS. Anywho, this game is created by Ubisoft, the guys behind the load of pet games on the DS and the very successful Assassins Creed. Did they create a great game here or are the reviews pulling at the right end calling it mediocre? Let’s solve this bad-boy and crack the codes. Time to review this game on the 3DS. Oh, the game has it’s own site, but I didn’t link it since it’s inside a collection site of all 3DS games Ubisoft made. But the Wikipedia article contains all your information needs. 

Loads of cheese

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Let me tell you, this game suffers from a lot of cheese. Wait, you aren’t following me? Well, the story is extremely cheesy. It’s a story you don’t need to take serious at all. The story was one I could predict nearing the end.

The voice acting added towards the story being cheesy. I’m glad to see that this story doesn’t take itself seriously and frankly, it helps in this game. The story feels a fresh change of pace instead of having a weak flat story that you barely remember in the end.

The consequence is that the story is somewhat memorable. It has been a few months since I played this game, and I still remember parts of the story. And that are signs of a good crafted story.

I’m not going to lie or praise a bad story too much, but it isn’t too bad that it takes you out of the experience. The point I’m getting across here is that it does it job but doesn’t go beyond that to try and impress you. But what’s unique is that at the start of the game, you have to take a profile picture of yourself and when your character looks in the mirror, you actually get a live feed from the 3DS camera, which is an amazing idea. This pulls you in the game even more since you feel involved.

Creative, yet done before. 

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This game gives me the impression to be a very creative one, yet I sometimes felt that some puzzles have been done before. This is mainly because of the unique use of the puzzles. There are sliding puzzles and many classics but there are also new puzzles I haven’t seen a lot in games like these.

Many puzzles are quite challenging. Like the puzzle in the screenshot, I even needed to take out a notepad to make notes. And if a game manages to make you do that, it’s a good game in terms of puzzles. I heard in other review that the puzzles feel fresh, and I agree. In the story, you play in a game show to look for a killer. And thanks to this, you can choose which puzzles you solve. This helps with the replay value of the game and when you don’t feel like solving a sliding puzzle, well, you can take other puzzles.

You also get fan mail and hate mail too. This is an extremely neat addition in the game. It feels a bit like the downloadable puzzles from Professor Layton but you don’t need to do the effort to actually download them.

The amount of puzzles is great too. As far as I know, there are about 150 puzzles you can solve. And this will take a great deal of your time.

The 3D doesn’t add a whole lot to the game but I think that isn’t such a big deal in these puzzle games.

Far from perfect.

JAMES_NOIR_3DS_Screen_1

Where does this game fall felt on it’s face? Well, that’s an easy question. The game repeats the story way to much. I rolled my eyes at the amount of times the game got stopped where you got an overview of what happened. I have seen games that do this way better. Another Code: R for example has a small quiz at the end of each chapter and Professor Layton displays a summery before loading your save file.

Also, the graphics is where I think they made a wrong turn. While the backgrounds and the puzzles look great, the characters actually don’t look all that neat. They feel like early green screen and quickly pasted on the backgrounds. They feel somewhat out of place. And I don’t like it.

Another part of the game that doesn’t do a great job is the music. Normally I remember the music of each game I play but from this game I can’t remember any melodies. Vaguely I might remember parts but the music is a missed opportunity.

Also, there is an issue with the length of this game. It might have 150 puzzles, this game can be easily beaten in a few days. The game is short, way to short for this style of game.

And what’s a big shame is, yes there are typo’s in the game! And not one or two, there are a few. Almost like they forgot to proofread this game. An example is this screenshot you can easily find some grammar issues. “TOUCH tiles tohighlight a path to cross the grid.” Yup, that’s this game for you.

I’m out of things to say about the game, time for my conclusion.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Unique puzzles.

+ Challenging.

+ Details like fan mail is a nice touch.

+ Your face in the game, man I have never felt more involved.

+ Great freedom in choosing your puzzles.

The bad:

– It’s over way to quickly.

– Graphically, the animation and characters feel dated.

– The music is generic.

– Typo’s in a visual novel?!

– Way to many times you get reminded of what happened.

Conclusion:

Is this a good game? Yes, it is. Is this a great game? No, it isn’t. The game has a certain charm that hasn’t been created in a long time. Yet, it’s too flawed to stand out. It also doesn’t do anything new. It’s just a puzzle game. I can barely bring up arguments to tell you why this game is better then the others.

Comparing this to Professor Layton isn’t doing it any good either. Then this game feels like shovelware. Yet, this game has enough value to not be a bargain sale.

This game comes recommended as a snack, to play between two game releases you are waiting for. But don’t expect an amazing game. It has too many missed opportunities for that.

Score: 68 / 100