My Name: Chad Nickell
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
Super Smash Brothers Brawl
Fire Emblem Sacred Stones
Final Fantasy IX
Shadow of the Colossus
Brave Fencer Musashi
Knights in the Nightmare
Well, a month ago I decided to hold a contest to see who would win my spare copy of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. 29 days later, and here are the results: Only one person entered. Unfortunately, that doesn't make much of a contest. And, the prerequisite was that at least 5 entered in order for there to be a winner. Obviously, it wasn't much of a turnout.
So, where does that leave Nocturne? Well, it's very likely that I'll find someone else to give it to. I could extend the contest, but that didn't really work the last time I tried it out. I could just trade it away, too. It was unfortunate that no one else decided to enter. I'm not happy cancelling it, but it was in the rules and clearly stated. It's quite unfortunate.
As most of you know, I am holding a contest for a copy of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. Perhaps one of the best RPGs ever made, in my opinion, I wanted to make sure that the contest for it was fitting. After some time, I finally hammered out some details.
Here's what you have to do, in case you need a reminder: Review a game. Almost any game will do, but do try to make it something different. Reading the 1,000th review of Skyrim is no fun. It can be a text or video review. Try to make it as entertaining as possible, but don't try to force it. Text reviews should be around 500-700 words long, at least. Video reviews should be at least 5 minutes long, if you go that route. The blog post, or video, should have the title "A piece of my mind" and then followed by the game you reviewed. Reposts are NOT accepted. The review must be made specifically for this contest. Sorry if it seems like a pain, but I want actual effort to be put into the contest.
1. I might have to restrict it to US only, unless people outside of the country are willing to split the bill. International shipping is pretty outrageous, and I'm kinda poor.
2. The deadline for the contest will be January 24th.
3. Up to 2 entries per person. This is mostly for if you feel your first entry was not up to snuff.
4. Entries can be on Youtube, Blogger, etc if you do not want to post on Destructoid. Just PM me a link to the entry. Or post a link to it here in the comments. I will post a list of entries here.
5. At least five different entries must be posted a week before the deadline, or the contest is over and no one wins. I want there to have to be a difficult choice, and having only 1 or 2 entries is kinda sad. I doubt it will come to this, though.
6. Try to incorperate pictures, or clips, of you playing the game into the review. It's not necessary, but it makes the review seem so much more entertaining. There are plenty of programs out there for this purpose, and there are a few free ones.
7. Depending on the amount of entries, and my financial situation, there may be additional prizes up for grabs.
Oh, and the game comes in the case and has the manual. Just in case there was any doubt. I also tested it to make sure it works, and it does.
So, Mr Sterling posted a nice little article about some of the most controversial reviews of the year. It seems that many people were not happy with the scores the games got, and lots of shit storms erupted. I figured I'd share my take on it.
First, allow me to say that I believe that all reviews are mostly subjective in nature. How can you truly decide if a game is good or not? There's no real way to make an objective set of standards of what constitutes a good or bad game. A game could be technically great, with all the mechanics working as intended and without any glitches, but it could still be considered a bad game simply because the game is monotonous to play or the mechanics of the game just aren't appealing. What about the games' stories, soundtracks, or graphics? The quality of those also fall under what you would consider good. A game can be modeled with great care, but still be considered generic in design and art direction. Soundtracks and stories are the most obviously subjective elements.
Another point I want to make is that if you do not like the score, why not enjoy the game anyway? A score should not determine your enjoyment of the game, as well as others' enjoyment of it. Should the game you like get a good score, that'd obviously be great, but it has never stopped me from enjoying the games I like. People who were really interested in the game will likely get the game anyway. If they are disuaded from the purchase by just one negative review, then the game was obviously not that important for them to get.
If you do not like the opinion, why not type up a blog about your opinion of the game instead of wasting energy complaining? I know it sounds like a rude thing to say, but it's true. The more opinions there are of the game out there, the more input potential buyers will have to make their decision. There seems to be this consensus that video game reviewers' opinions are more valuable than a gamers. The thing is, it's not. Of course, there are bad user reviews out there, but so long as the review is well written, then it's as valid as any reviewer's opinion. That's the truth, no matter what anyone would want to try to say.
If the review is so bad, then spend time pointing out any errors they may have made. Do not attack the reviewer personally. It only serves to make you look ignorant, and people will more likely side with the reviewer. Find mistakes they made, and error in information or contradictions. If the review is truly that bad, then there are sure to be many mistakes that you can point out in the hopes that readers can catch them.
Do I agree with all the reviews on Destructoid? No, but in a majority of them I respect that it is their honest opinion. If they truly enjoyed the game, and they feel it deserves a high score, then I respect that. Conversely, I feel that they have a right to grade a game poorly if they feel it was not up to snuff. It is their opinion to make, not mine.
Reviews are truly a great thing. Each one is different, and so many different view points are presented to us. If all the reviews for a game were high just because reviewers wanted to pander to the fans of the series, then so many of us would not be able to truly discern what games are for us. Do not get angry over a review that stands opposite from yours. Instead, appreciate and respect the fact that there are people who have different likes and dislikes. I know I have.
So, today I managed to come across the coolest thing: A spare copy of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. In its box, with a manual. The CD is in good condition, as is the rest of the package. I jumped on that so fast, as you'd imagine. So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, I'm telling you because I plan to give it away in a community contest, of course.
So, what are you gonna do for this contest? Well, it's quite simple, actually: Review a game. Almost any game will do, but do try to make it something different. Reading the 1,000th review of Skyrim is no fun. It can be a text or video review. Try to make it as entertaining as possible, but don't try to force it. Text reviews should be around 500-700 words long, at least. Video reviews should be at least 5 minutes long, if you go that route. The blog post, or video, should have the title "A piece of my mind" and then followed by the game you reviewed. Reposts are NOT accepted. The review must be made specifically for this contest. More specifics later, but this should be all you need to know to make a valid review for the contest. It's by no means super final or anything. If you have a better idea, tell me. You can do that instead of making a review if I think it's a good idea.
Some bare bone details of the contest:
1. Anyone can enter.
2. The deadline for the contest will likely be mid January, at the earliest. This is not the deadline for suggestions, but the deadline for actual entries.
3. Up to 2 entries per person.
4. Does not have to be posted on Dtoid. Can be on Youtube, Blogger, etc. Just PM me a link.
5. At least 5 entries must be submitted before the deadline, or the contest is over by default. Only one entry from each person is counted in this case. I want this to be fun, and to be a difficult decision. The rule can be modified or erased if you REALLY want it to be.
So, that's it for now. I'm looking forward to suggestions and, ultimately, entries.
Dark Souls and Skyrim, two entirely different forms of RPGs, have recently been compared to each other by more and more video games sites. Fans of both series are already getting annoyed by this, and I count myself as one of them.
First, let me start off by saying that I believe that, for me, Dark Souls is going to be the only one of the two that I will play. I cannot claim to be unbiased here, but even I know when not to compare two completely different games. Both will be great in their own ways, Iím sure, and this trend with comparing them has really got to stop.
Personally I'm looking so forward to this.....
First off, they are both entirely different games. Skyrim aims for immersion in its story and lore, while Dark Souls aims for challenge and gameplay to motivate its players. Each appeals to a different crowd, and while both sides can definitely enjoy the other game, they generally do not need to be competing. Dark Souls also puts an emphasis on multiplayer as part of the experience, while Skyrim is aiming for a completely single player experience.
Another thing that I see is people comparing the length of the two. Letís be clear, both games are going to be long. Each has their own ways in creating their length, as well. Skyrim will have tons of quests, dungeons and dialogue to discover. Dark Souls will make people have to learn the system and many of the hours spent will be from intense fights, multiplayer battles, and trekking through the many dungeons you must complete to beat the game. Each has their own appeal for people seeking a time sink, and hundreds of hours can be spent on both.
Other, less important, aspects have been used to compare the two as well. From oneís inclusion of the DLC scheme to the inclusion of dragons in both games. These comparisons are petty, and ultimately pointless. People do not really care about if they have DLC or not, or if there are certain types of monsters in them. People should only care if they will be enjoyable to them, and any other comparisons are obviously only to garner unnecessary attention and conflict.
...but that doesn't mean that I should care if it's "better" or "worse" than Skyrim.
Ultimately, these types of comparisons are bad for both series, really. They arenít really competing (well, in a general sense they are but, you know what I mean), and fans of both games can enjoy the other, Iím sure. The only end result of this is immature comparisons and a pointless flame wars. In the worst case, it can cause a person to lose interest in the games while the best case results in both sides looking immature. Expressing one's opinion is fine and all, but doing so in a what that causes such an immature argument should not be commended.
Authorís note: I apologize if I offend anyone interested in Skyrim in any way. While not a game I plan on getting, I do not want anyone to get angry or think I was trying to insult the game they are looking forward to. I honestly hope both games are great.
Disgaea 4 is the latest sequel to the Disgaea series. Disgaea 3 seemed to have left a few fans feeling a bit disappointed with the characters, and the fact that the series has not seen any significant evolution in its visuals since it was created. Disgaea 4 seeks to remedy these two complaints, and more. Does it succeed? Read ahead and judge for yourself.
Disgaea 4 tells the story of Valvatores, a Prinny Instructor situated in Hades, and his rise against the corrupterment (which is obviously the netherworldís version of the government) after they issue an order to exterminate all of the Prinnies. Accompanying him on his righteous quest is his loyal steward, Fenrich. Along the way, Valvatores shall also gain help from various other eccentric personalities. Among them is Fuka, a human soul who failed to become a Prinny; Emizel, the Presidentís son; Desco, a supposed Final Boss; and Vulcanus, the ďAngel of AvariceĒ. The story is pretty tongue in cheek, and only rarely attempts to take itself seriously. The characters are also pretty entertaining, and each has their own little quirks (Fuka thinks this is all a dream, for example). The interactions between the characters tend to be quite amusing, and the dialogue is relatively well written. Some of the sections arenít as amusing as the game attempts to make them out to be, but they are few. There are multiple endings, similar to previous games. Some are obtained through game overs, others are through more obscure methods.
The game itself is the same Disgaea we all know and love. Battles take place on a grid, and are turn based. Characters can be lifted and thrown to reach areas the would be otherwise impossible to reach by simply walking to. Attacking the same target with different units also leads to combos, and team attacks can be initiated by having other units adjacent when attacking. Magichange returns, as well. This feature allows a monster to change into a weapon (for three turns before exiting the battle) and equip itself to the character you chose. The unit the monster equipped itself to gets access to some extra skills, and the monsterís innate evilties. Evilties are passive skills that provide beneficial effects to the units they are equipped to, or provide detrimental effects on enemy units nearby. Weapon skills are now learned by leveling a character up, instead of using Disgaea 1 & 2ís weapon mastery system. In order to learn all the skills of a weapon, the units must be proficient in that weapon type, though. Monsters will learn skills by leveling up, as in previous games/ You can also spend mana, which is obtained by defeating enemy units, to boost these skills. Each skill has 9 levels, and increasing the levels will increase damage done by these skills, and sometimes even the range. Other returning features are the item world, which allows you to boost the strength of the items you explore, and character world, which grants bonuses to certain aspects of the unit you use to host it. The Dark Assembly, which you use to unlock various other characters and features, also returns as well as the ability to bribe senators into agreeing with you. Almost all of the features of the previous Disgaea games return, with the same absurd depth as the previous titles. Itís a bit much to take in for new players, but most of the aspects are explained well in the game.
You can ask call of the aid of other players, but that doesn't mean you'll get an answer.
Disgaea 4 also managed to add a few new features to the mix, as well. One of the first of these that you will encounter is the fusion aspect. Fusion allows you to fuse two monsters together to create a giant unit (the unit will be that of the monster you select to fuse into). Giant monsters can gain a boost to their stats, and the range of their special attacks increases. They also gain the ability to knock other units out of the way when moving. The downsides to fusion is the loss of 20% of the monsterís SP (used for special attacks) and the fact they are a larger target. Once the monster runs out of SP, it will split back into the two monsters used to fuse it. Giant monsters also have the ability to magi change into giant weapons. These increase the range of all the weapon based skills. There is also the inclusion of dual magichange as well. None of these features are particularly necessary to use to beat the game, of course, but they allow for countless other strategies to be implemented in order to tackle a particularly tough stage. Although, Giant and Dual Magichanges probably wonít be used until late or post game, due to their requirements for unlocking them.
One of the more interesting additions, though, is the inclusion of online functionality. After encountering their first pirates in Item World, the player is given the opportunity to create their own pirate ship and crew to invade other peoplesí item worlds or to duel them. Pirate ships are created from numerous parts that you will be able to collect from defeating other pirates in the item world, or through treasures that you find by coercing captive demons to divulge their locations. Once you have the ship and crew assembled, you can upload your pirates to the network and check in on them every once in a while. Pirate duels, as mentioned before, also become accessible. Both pirate crews are AI controlled, but have multiple ďtacticsĒ that can be set for them. You can change these during battle, but the other side is completely AI controlled. The side with the most points wins (obtained by boarding their ship and killing their units). Players can also upload their own senators onto the network to attend other playersí assembly meetings and receive bribes. You can also create custom maps for other people to battle in, and even change the base map that you use to shop and travel to item world. You can even set the main characters as NPCs in the base, and they all have something different to say depending on what you assigned as their job. These features, while not ground breaking in any way, add some extra fun to the game. None of them are required, and are more of side activities to be honest. Still, duking it out with another pirate crew is quite entertaining, and certainly is a welcome addition to the game.
Good news: Magichange will now never weaken a unit when used.
The change to hand drawn sprites has really made the game look a lot more modern. Animations are more fluid, and the characters have more detail in them. Attack animations have also seen a slight rise in visual quality, but not nearly as much. The game looks great for a strategy RPG, but there are some areas that could have used a bit more attention. Settings and maps donít look quite as good as the sprites, for example. And a few of the visual effects are a bit too simplistic. But, that is about all I have in terms about complaining about the visuals. And, for those of you who like the old style of spites, there is an option to turn all the in game sprites into their 16 bit counter parts (with a smooth and crisp setting, as well).
The soundtrack in the game is great. The songs played in the game all fit very well in the areas that they were used, and no one song sounds the same as the other. A few of the tracks from previous games return, but itís mostly new stuff. The variety of tracks is quite diverse, as well. Sound effects used in the game are mostly of the cartoonish sort. Voice work is also really solid (although you can change to the original Japanese audio). The actors play their roles well, most of the times. Their portrayal of the characters are believable, and at no point did I feel the urge to change the audio to the Japanese voice track. There are a few moments where the voice work isnít quite up to par with the rest of the game, but these moments do not occur often enough for it to be a major issue. Over all, Disgaea 4 sounds great.
Fuka keeps thinking this is all a dream. Pro tip: It isn't.
In terms of length, Iíd have to say that Disgaea 4 is definitely up there in the series in overall gameplay time. The story took me about 30 hours to complete. Most of the story maps were quite challenging, and it wasnít always so simple to clear the map. The post game content has, so far, racked an additional 60 hours to my gameplay time. There are a number of additional characters you can unlock, alternate challenge maps called X-dimensions, and the Land of Carnage has returned (all the maps get way stronger enemies, and a few other additions). Add in the Item World shenanigans and pirating, and you can easily lose 100s of hours to this game.
Overall, Disgaea 4 was a great addition to the franchise. Itís not a revolution of the series so much as a refinement. Those interested in the series will find the game to be quite accessible, and long time fans will find that it is just as deep, if not more so, than the other games of the series.