Before I start I would like to state very clearly that this is not a hate or a bash against the Smash Bros. series and its fans, I am genuinely interested in why you enjoy playing these games and compare each your tastes.
The goal is very simple; tell me how you first got into the series and what you most like about it. I've only ever played Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Nintendo Wii, I dislike fighting games and I dislike Multiplayer games but regardless I found myself enjoying Brawl for a small quantity of time. I will admit that I did not experience the game to its fullest potential obviously since I did not play the game "as intended", but hopefully that will change when I give the series another shot when the next game comes out for 3DS/Wii U.
I want ask, do you treat Super Smash Bros. like a fighting game? Are there any of you that like Smash Bros. but dislike fighting games? I can definitely see the appeal of Smash Bros. since you're competing against up to three other opponents in a large arena with various hazards, items and whatnot. Is the random aspect of each stage part of the charm? I understand that learning each and every characters' moveset, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses can be extremely satisfying~
I can also see the series being fun at a small party or event with a whole group of friends (which I don't have), there are both elements of skill and luck involved and I can picture each round getting more and more intense the longer they play out due to the health system.
Anyway please let me know how accurate I am with my assumptions and share with me your personal experiences with the Super Smash Bros. games in the comments.
Mixing two popular visual-novel style gaming franchises together and forming a crossover game is definitely a unique and exciting concept. One which I believe has never been done before until this game. Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright is a collaboration project between Level 5 and Capcom, combining gameplay and characters from both seriesí to form a huge, thrilling story full of twists and turns, and an adventure that you will likely never forget.
It should not come as a surprise to you when I say that Layton vs. Wright is, quite literally, a combination of the two seriesí. Youíll be exploring locations and solving puzzles in town, while in court youíll be questioning witnesses and presenting evidence during cross-examination. This game even takes soundtracks from the Ace Attorney games and ďLaytonisesĒ them, as well as introducing some new tracks to give the game a more unique feel.
Layton vs. Wright really does feel like the next Ace Attorney game most of the time; youíll be spending a lot more time in court than in solving puzzles. However this isnít necessarily a bad thing, the trials themselves are extremely intense, while the puzzles acts as pleasant bite-sized breaks of gameplay in between to mix things up.
As stated before, when youíre not defending a witness in court, you are out and about exploring the world. As you have probably guessed this exploration is presented in a style that is identical to that found in the Professor Layton games; you will drag a magnifying glass around an environment to talk to people, look for hint coins, and locate hidden puzzles and to navigate to different areas. The art style of the locales and characters are a nice blend of both games and are incredibly charming to look at. However; the animation can lag during the final trial of the game due to the large number of characters on the screen at the time, but on the whole everything looks extremely smooth and natural.
If youíre a fan of the Ace Attorney games youíll find a nice change of pace during the Witch Trials in the fantasy medieval town of Labyrinthia. Stakes are incredibly high during those trials as Phoenix is in a world completely different to the real one, and must abide by the laws of a world where witches and magic exists.
Alongside the familiar courtroom gameplay mechanics from previous Phoenix Wright games are some new ones. While youíll still be pressing witnesses, presenting evidence and pointing out contradictions within statements, one of the major introductions in this game is that Phoenix is now able to question multiple witnesses.
This gives you the opportunity to question other witnesses while one witness is giving his or her testimony, as they may yield more information or point out an inconsistency in the testimony they just heard.
Should you ever feel stuck during cross-examination, you can spend a hint coin to point you in the right direction. This hint will tell you which statement to press or present, and grey out a number of evidences during the present phase to narrow down the answers. The hint system is completely option, but itís nice that itís there for anyone who finds themselves stuck (and can safely be ignored for those who wish to figure things out themselves).
I cannot review Layton vs. Wright without mentioning the amazing soundtrack in this game. Each and every track is of extremely high calibre, especially those which are played during the Witch Trials, providing high tension and an intense atmosphere which, in turn, sets a certain tone within the world.
The plot itself is a fantastic mystery that keeps you guessing and speculating throughout. I cannot comment on the specifics without giving too much away, so you will have to play through the game yourself if you wish to know, it is a visual-novel style game after all. But I can safely say you will not be disappointed with the outcome.
Layton vs. Wright took me 20 hours to complete, which is around average for a game of this style. If you find this game for £30 I definitely say pick it up, especially if you enjoy either or both of the Professor Layton and Ace Attorney series.
It's the final day of 2013, so I'm going to tell you about my top games of the year, whether you're interested in it or not.
TOP THREE 3DS GAMES †
#3 - Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2 - I love rhythm games, Project Mirai 2 is perfect for those who enjoyed Theatrhythm and wanted more. The gameplay is challenging and some of the more difficult songs require keen perception and quick-reactions.
#2 - Bravely Default - For those seeking a classic Final Fantasy-like experience with jobs and skills, look no further, Bravely Default is an excellent JRPG that will keep you busy for a long time. The story and the dungeon design can do with a little work, though.
#1 - Monster Hunter 4 - What can I say? It's the introduction to the next generation of Monster Hunter, and it is awesome. In love with the new mechanics, no more underwater combat, and the Charge Axe is extremely fun to use.
TOP THREE VITA GAMES †
#3 - Dragon's Crown - I've been aching for a fun sidescrolling Streets of Rage-style game for a long time, add RPG elements to a game like that and I'm all over it.
#2 - Tales of Hearts R - One of the most solid Tales game I've ever played, all the characters are fun to use and the battles are extremely fun, worth importing if you're a Tales fan.
#1 - Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f - See "Project Mirai 2" above.
(Please note that I played Persona 4 Golden LAST YEAR and that was my #1 pick)
TOP THREE CONSOLE/PC GAMES †
#3 - Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U) - My Wii U became my Monster Hunter machine for a very long time. Online is extremely fun, taking on large monsters in a group is one of the best experiences in gaming for me.
#2 - Rogue Legacy (PC) - A fantastic Roguelike ish game that combines the best elements of Dark Souls and Castlevania. If you haven't played it, I highly recommends you go pick it up. The combat isn't anything deep, but the gameplay is fun nevertheless.
#1 - The Guided Fate Paradox (PS3) - Another Roguelike game that plays very similarly to the Mystery Dungeon games. An awesome dungeon-crawler with excellent artwork and soundtrack.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS †
Games that didn't quite make it to my GotY lists, but you should still definitely check them out.
Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies (3DS)
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan (3DS)
Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl (3DS)
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PC/PS3)
Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
The Last of Us (PS3)
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
Papers, Please (PC)
Pokemon X/Y (3DS)
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS)
Ridiculous Fishing (IP)
Shadow Warrior (PC)
Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
The Stanley Parable (PC)
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Tales of Xillia (PS3)
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Multi)
ANTICIPATED GAMES OF 2014 †
Games I will definitely be getting.
Dark Souls II (PS3/360)
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd (Vita)
Metal Gear Solid V (PS3/360)
Persona 5 (PS3)
Persona Q: Shadows of the Labyrinth (3DS)
Tales of Symphonia Chronicles (PS3)
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is the fourth game in the Mario & Luigi RPG series, the first game was on the Game Boy Advance and the previous two were on the Nintendo DS, being the first entry for the Nintendo 3DS meant that Dream Team Bros. had to raise the bar even more and give a good first impression for both newcomers and veterans of the series alike, read on to find out if they did.
As with any RPG, there are two main types of gameplay sections in Dream Team Bros.: exploration and battle, like the previous game, Mario and Luigi must solve puzzles during the exploration part of the game in order to not only proceed the plot, but to access optional areas to find items and equipment. Monsters can be seen wandering around the field during exploration and getting the jump on them (literally) will give you a starting advantage in battle, however, the same can be said for the player, while exploring, you should take care not to let enemies sneak up on you, or you will start the battle off with a disadvantage.
The main gimmick of Dream Team Bros., if you couldn't tell from the name, is that you have the chance to explore Luigi's dream world, dotted around the world are a number of creatures known as Pi'illos that have been turned into stone pillows (haha, get it?), when Luigi sleeps on them, a dream portal opens up, allowing Mario to explore his dream world. Whereas exploration around the real world is viewed from a top-down angle, exploration in the dream world is viewed from the side in a traditional, 2D platformer-style angle. Exploring the dream world is very much similar to exploring the interior of Bowser's belly in Bowser's Inside Story, with the help of Luigi's infinite possibilities of powers, you can summon a whole army of Luigis to help you access areas you couldn't before, such as turning into a stack of Luigis or turning into a cone shape to make tornado jumps or even turn into a ball and roll down slopes to destroy obstacles and enemies.
While you're in the dream world, on the touch screen is Luigi's sleeping face, by manipulating certain parts of his face you can affect what's going on in the dream world, for example, you can rub his nose to make him sneeze and blow background objects into the foreground, you can pull his moustache to fling Mario into different locations, or you can even spin around the object he's sleeping on to manipulate gravity, it sounds very strange on paper, but once you see it, it will all make sense. These powers only appear when they are needed, so for example, in an area where you only need to make use of gravity manipulation, you won't be able to utilize his other powers, this is a bit of double-edged sword, for one, you won't confuse one gesture for another when using these powers but for another, you'll be able to figure which powers to use right away when you see the puzzle, it takes away a small amount of guesswork, but I understand why they made that decision. The dream worlds can vary greatly in size, some are just one-screen locations, others act as mini dungeons while some of the story-focused dream world locations are huge, complex dungeons.
Battles are all about timing and pattern-recognition, players with top-notch hand eye coordination and timing can make it through every battle without a scratch, in keeping with the series, pressing buttons at the right time when attacking will allowing you to deal extra damage, when you are being attacked by enemies, you must press the buttons at the right time to avoid their attack, every enemy has an attack that can be countered, you just need to know which attacks they are and when to press the button, every enemy has a unique tell before or during an attack, if you can recognize those tells, you will know whether they're attacking Mario or Luigi, or even both of them but in a set order, and you will be able to avoid their attack. Of course, some attacks are a lot more difficult to avoid than others, some enemies have really tricky attack patterns that require a lot of practice and patience to avoid them, there is no shame in getting hit for the first few times you encounter a new enemy, it can be frustrating, but once you go through a battle without getting hit once, you will feel like a king.
Battles in Luigi's dream world function a little differently, for one, you only control Mario, but Dreamy Luigi appears to help you in every battle, providing a HP and BP boost and dealing extra attacks after every standard attack you do, whether it's with a jump attack or a hammer attack. Bros. Attacks make a comeback from the previous games where you attack with the combined powers of Mario and Luigi, they have their own unique set of Bros. Attacks in real world battles, whereas in the Dream World, Mario has access to "Luiginary Attacks" which takes advantage of the legion of Luigis in order to deal huge damage to his foes. These special moves act as the "spells" of the game and requires BP to use, each of them acts as a short minigame, the better you perform, the more damage you deal.
Badges also make a return to help you in battle, you have a selection of badges in your inventory and you can make a combination of any two for different effects such as restoring your HP or BP, or making you immune to attacks for a short while, it is up to you to experiment and see which combination is best for you. As you deal attacks with perfect timing, your badge meter will be charged and once fully charge, it will stock the effect of the badge combination for you to use at any time in battle without having to use up a turn (you can stock the badge effect up to two times).
As you explore the world and progress through the story, Mario and Luigi will learn special maneuvers, allowing them to reach places they couldn't access before. The game encourages exploration and you will be rewarded for doing so, there are a lot of collectibles in the game, such as beans you use to increase your stats, Pi'illo folk that requires your rescue, or Attack Pieces that teaches you new Bros. Attacks when you collect ten of them from an area. The characters are fun, the game has some good bits of humour here and there that doesn't feel forced, the locations and mini-games are varied and the boss battles are unique, to the point where some require you to hold the system book-style and use both screens to attack.
I must point out that the soundtrack for this game is absolutely fantastic, especially the boss battle theme, just when I thought the music in Bowser's Inside Story couldn't be topped, I was proven wrong with this game. Even little things with the sound, where your footsteps sound different depending on the ground you're walking on was considered, it's truly an amazing touch of detail that puts a smile on your face.
The game took me a grand total of 36 hours to complete, and that is without rushing or collecting all the collectibles in the game, the game does not require a lot of grinding and you should be able to go through all the boss battles just fine as long you don't skip enemies and miss out on EXP, should you fail any battle however, you are given the option to retry the battle on Easy Mode which severely boosts Mario and Luigi's stats to the point where they become next to invincible and deal stupid amounts of damage. Upon completing the game, you unlock Hard Mode, which some players may find welcoming, especially for veteran players seeking a challenge on a second playthrough.
In conclusion, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team Bros. is a worthy addition to your 3DS collection and is a definite buy, you are getting a huge adventure that is going to last you a while, thrown in with lots of enjoyment, comedy, satisfying moments and challenging battles.
Tales of Xillia 2 is the fourteenth mothership title in the "Tales" series, a Japanese Role-Playing Game series developed by Namco Bandai Games. This game is a sequel to the original Tales of Xillia, which was released in 2011 exclusively for the PlayStation 3 in Japan, and will be released this year in August for America and Europe. The game puts the player in the role of Ludger Will Kresnik as he fights through monsters, explore dungeons, complete quests, meet characters from the previous game and travel to alternate realities in order to pay off a 20,000,000 Gald debt.
The game plays quite similar to Tales of Graces and exactly like Tales of Xillia, however, unlike any of the Tales games before Xillia, the game world is viewed with camera angle behind the main character with free camera control so you can see and interact with the environment much clearly than before. Every town, dungeon and outdoor location has something to do and you never feel like you're spending too much time doing one thing or another, if you're not exploring, you're in engaging battles, if you're not in battles, you're looking for treasure out in the open, there's a lot to do in this game.
As you pay off the 20 Million debt little by little, new areas will open up allowing Ludger and his friends to progress with their exploration as well as continue on the story, it doesn't usually take long to rack up large amounts of Gald, as battles and quests are extremely generous in the amount of Gald they reward you with, the quests are your usual "look for x amount of item y and bring it back to the quest board" and "slay x amount of y monster and report back", making a return from Tales of Vesperia are the Giganto Monsters which are essentially optional minibosses that roam the overworld, if you manage to fall one of them, you can turn the quest in and get massive reward.
The battle system is identical of that to Tales of Xillia, you control one of four party members in battle and you move left and right in a line, while pressing up or down or forward while pressing the artes button will unleash one of your artes, which are basically special moves that consumes TP, if you hold down the L2 button, you can free run around the battlefield, very much like all the modern Tales games; the Character Link system returns from Tales of Xillia too, in battle, you can link up with one of your party members who can support your every action as well unleash Link Artes with your character, the Link Artes are all very flashy and unique knowing which do what really gives you the upper hand in battle.
A slight addition to the Tales of Xillia battle system is the main character himself; Ludger can switch between three different weapon types: swords, hammer and guns on the fly, each weapon type has a different moveset and knowing which one to use on which enemy as well as when to switch makes winning battles a lot quicker, but it's fine if you don't wish to micro-manage, Ludger also has the ability to enter his "Corpse Shell" when you unlock that ability, by pressing L3 and R3 together when the gauge fills up, Ludger transforms and pulls himself and the enemies into a separate dimension where he will have infinite HP and TP as well as buffed stats and a completely different moveset, this ability is very useful against some of the tougher bosses and can be considered rather overpowered, on top of the fact that Ludger is a rather overpowered character himself without Corpse Shell, being able to use abilities of every element (sword, hammer, guns, fire, water, wind, earth, light and dark) and being extremely fast in battle too.
Another addition to the game are "Character Episodes" which are side quests that focuses on one your party members, some of these episodes are rather short and just consists of dialogue, but most of them require you to go to different areas and do battle with enemies, while in a Character Episode or a Storyline Chapter, you are typically forced to bring one or two certain party members along (You must always have Ludger in your party at all times), but outside of that, you can freely switch between your party members in town from the menu. On top of that, anyone who's not in your present party will also gain EXP so no character will ever be underpowered.
Throughout the scenes in the game, as well as the various skits you view, dialogue options may come up, prompting you to choose what Ludger will say, or do at that moment, they are chosen by pressing either L1 or R1, some of these prompts are even timed, forcing you to think quickly, there are no penalties for choosing the "wrong" thing to do, but sometimes, there are benefits for choosing the "correct" choice, whether its improving your relationship with one of the party members, or avoiding needless battle.
The Lilial Orb level-up system is absent from the first Tales of Xillia, instead, you equip E. Cores on certain characters which can teach them new artes, improve their artes and/or give them new passive abilities, and improve their elemental strength, these can be switched at any time from the menu and is rather simple to understand.
There's a fair bit of customisation in the game, especially after the disappointing amount of attachments in Tales of Graces f outside of purchasing additional content from the PSN store, each character has a wide array of costumes and hairstyles which you can change at any time, you can also add up to three attachments to any one of them, such as party hats, glasses, shades, dolls, etc. they can also be fully customised, you can place them anywhere on their body, change its direction, increase and decrease its size and even change the colour of it.
In conclusion, Tales of Xillia 2 is a very satisfying experience, it takes everything Tales of Xillia did and improves it massively, it's a JRPG with a great plot, interesting characters, fantastic music, engaging battle system, addicting progression and customisation, best of all, there are no random battles and no backtracking as the game gives you a quick-travel system almost right off the bat.
Go buy it, especially if you like Tales of Xillia or any Tales game. If you're into JRPGs but have never played a Tales game before, I recommend you try out Tales of Xillia first.
How many times did I say "party member" in this review?