Hello there, I'm just some teenage kid who likes games, and likes to talk about them. I plan on mostly doing reviews of newer games and opinion pieces on the current going-ons in the industry.
I have another blog at NigmaBox Where I do random game and anime reviews. No longer posting them here, because I like writing, but not posting. I also am doing a narrative that is somewhat fanfiction with some Dtoid people, somewhat internet critique, but mostly insanity, check it out Here.
I am winging everything that I do, so if I mess up please tell me, although please be kind about it. Since I always assume the worse when I read text from another person and have to force myself to read and respond you the comments of you lovely people, because I am a wimp like that.
I want to preface this piece by saying how I am writing this piece after midnight, so I might not be mentally sound, and I might go off and not make much sense, while feeling the need to post this up immediately. Not even bothering with pictures.
As the title implies, Game Freak's eShop title, Harmo Knight, more specifically the demo, made me spend about five minutes crying in the corner and five minutes before that hitting myself because of how horrible it made me feel on the inside. I’ve gotten upset about games in the past, but Harmo Knight made me feel bad as a human being while playing it. Why? Well, the simplest way one could put it was that the title, a cute little rhythm game, was too hard for me to get past it’s third freaking level.
I’ll admit to not being super good at games. Sure, I beat Ms. Splosion Man with par time on most of the levels, and got every pink doodlebob in Rayman Origins, as well as eventually beating the semi-optional final baddie. Sure, I died a lot in both titles, but I managed to get through them. If I messed up, I tried once more. But never before have I been determined to keep going, while thinking there was no possible way for me, and only me, to not beat a game. Even Dark Souls did not induce this much depression, as I could find flaws with the challenge I was being presented, namely how exiting the game as I was about to die was the best option, and it shut a door I spent two hours opening.
But through a mix of a charming and colorful art style and actions that are extremely simple in theory, I could not shake the impression that the fact that I was messing up was solely my fault, and it was an isolated issue, seeing as how I was alone, with the Patron Saint, Jonathan Holmes, praising the title along with everyone else. To be blunt, it made me feel like I was retarded.
And I do mean that I actually was developing some form of mental retardation as I kept on playing, the world around me changing to a point where my thoughts, my ideals, or anything would be viewed as simplistic, or not be able to be viewed by anyone else. Which is essentially my idea of hell in a nutshell. My most valued trait of myself is my mind. My personality, thoughts, insights, the whole spiel. And out of all the media I consumed in my life, and even every aspect of school I can recall encountering, I can not recall a single thing that made me feel so horrible and useless.
And to make it all the worse, Pokemon was more or less how I was introduced into this medium. And having a title from the same company produce this feeling, is kind of like being pooped on by the family dog, as everyone around you blames you for being pooped on. Or maybe I am just spouting off a wrong opinion, and I am just the one person who is woeful at a game that I would’ve assumed to be enjoyable by individuals of all skill level. Which I guess I would be removed from, seeing as how I was left feeling bad for even trying to touch a controller.
I just felt like sharing that. Sorry if I messed things up.
Oh, and sorry I haven't written anything, I didn't have the confidence to post my stuff after whatever I posted here last. You lovely people make me feel like I'm not good enough for that.
I always feel bad when someone talks about how a title is a spiritual successor to a beloved classic, when I do not know much of anything about the original title. Sure, I played the demo of Guardian Heroes, but I found it to be a bit too slow for a beat-em-up. However, I still preordered it. Why? Because Atlus is the kind of company who would rather understock than overstock, and it was $30 now, or $50 later. And it came with a CD and neat box, so that at least supplies the cushion. Yet, as someone who has little experience with anything like Code of Princess, what do I think of it? Well, let’s just say I’m a bit torn on the subject.
Not that it matters much, seeing as how this review is already past the relevant posting date, meaning the game is over a week old.
Code of Princess Review
Release Date: 09/10/2012
Developer: Agatsuma Entertainment
Before I begin, I realized that I forgot to mention multiplayer upon my proofreading, mostly because I forgot about the feature. So, yeah, I’m reviewing this as something I got for $30 and is solely single player, okay? Moving on now!
Taking place in medieval fantasy kingdom #85,973, monsters suddenly start attacking people after centuries of peace, with some great ancient evil controlling all of them via an even more ancient artifact. Nothing is really new, yet we all can forgive samey plots. Yet, while the story is basic, focusing on a team of mismatched adventurers. Ranging from a princess who is nearly naked and has jiggle physics up the bum, a thief who literally locked her breasts up, a soul possessing a bunch of corpse parts, which I think still classifies her as a zombie, despite her insistence otherwise, and a wise cracking bard, sorry, I mean sage.
However, this is one of my favorite narratives to come from a game where it could be good without a good narrative, and for one reason, it is wonderfully written. I made it clear that while I can appreciate a serious story, I always like something that makes me laugh, which this game did in 75% of its one to three minute cutscenes. The story is aware of things being cliche, mention exp and stats, and know this fantasy rigeromole like the back of their hands. Yet, what really seals the deal is this game’s voice work. Every line is delivered about as well as they could be, and they definitely got some grade A voice actors together.
Although, I have issues with the actual plot. The game follows a series of level based set of scenarios with our heroes exploring the countryside and trying to figure out their next course of action. With plot cutscenes shoved in to provide more of a framing device than anything for some levels, and others being worth replaying solely for the dialog made by the boss or playable characters. However, the group of heroes eventually decide to destroy all magic in the world in order to get rid of the monsters. Say people needed to destroy all electronics in the world in order to stop robots, most of which are made of tin, from attacking people who are only dealing with them due to one guy. Sure, you would be happy about it for the first few days, but if you live with technology as much as we do today, you’d be pretty depressed if you lost all of it, everyone would!
They do make the idea plausible later on, with one of my favorite moral choices in games, because they are both equally valid choices. Even though, the weighing of pros and cons when the subject first comes up gives me the impression that the writer was just stumped. Which is surprising when you consider the very cool plot twist they used near the end, even though it makes me wish the game’s story for all of the seven main characters were just as developed. Seriously, where’d the space samurai come from? Or does he just like astronomy? It might be bonus content, and I just missed it, but I already logged in enough time to delay this review once, and I’m not going to do it again.
Moving to the gameplay, I came to a bit of a problem with reviewing this title. I do not have much experience with the type of combo focused enemy juggling and staggering brawler, or really this entire genre. Then I realized that those 200 hours of Smash Brothers was enough experience, seeing as there are really just two attack buttons with their variations being moving them in different directions that never get more complex than a hadoken. You see, this game does not have a very good tutorial, in fact it is pretty bad. I had a lot of difficulty with figuring out how exactly I was intended to play the game for my first couple of hours, where I just pressed buttons while following a list of combos the game displays at the bottom screen, with no indication of what they do.
I'm still not sure what the thief’s whistle is suppose to do, and did not know that I was suppose to juggle baddies by doing a teleporting dash move until I saw the gameplay in the credits. There are only seven main characters, they could at least tell me how they work, rather than just giving me the group and trying to figure out whether or not they are balanced on my own time. Yes, experimentation is important, but a tutorial where I watch the game play itself, is not a good tutorial
The game has six visible and alterable stats that can be changed as you level up form completing and replaying the game’s story based or side levels, along with finding or buying equipment from a pharaoh cat. I kept my stats flat across all the board, even though speed seemingly did nothing, and some characters still had way higher attack than others. The Nun’s mace heavy attack where you just press one button while not moving the D-pad, was able to kill a giant robot in two hits, while it took the scantily clad Princess a good thirty, while dealing double damage. I would not mind that as much, except for how the Nun lacks any real disadvantages other than her awful running speed, which just eats up time when going from group of baddies to group of baddies.
And don’t even get me started with the bard, who, if you just press one button, does and area effect move that hits both sides, stagers them, and does not even consume any of his magic power. And what is the monk suppose to do? Most of his moves are just pushing back enemies, dealing minor damage while having a pretty limited range when he is not performing his attack that is a mix between a Hadoken and a Kamehameha.
Onto a more positive note, I like the system where there are either three or five 2D planes you can fight on, with some attacks going across the screen to enemies that were either up of the character or below them. It addresses one of my biggest problem with most beat-em-ups, where it can be hard to get one the same plane as your foes. Even if there are times when enemies forget you exist id you leave the plane, causing them to get confused, which always makes me smirk a tad. I am also a fan of the damage multiplication system they utilized. By pressing Y, you do a move that locks onto an enemy, displaying their HP and letting you do double damage, with the only downside being how it often is not a very useful move otherwise, so you must be strategic about it. At the same time, pressing X uses up your ever replenishing magic meter, which also fills up as you inflict or block damage, to stun the enemy for a second, and doubling your attack power with a depletion rate that also seems to vary for every character.
I really do like the system, because it can really get you out a of a pinch when you learn that pressing X to enter the double damage mode, you can replenish your health that has lost its defense. Let me explain, as you deal damage or take it, health bars start to become both green and red, when the green is gone, their defense is crap, and they go down very easily. Or at least I think that is what happens. Although, I do not like how powerful the guard is, because it pretty much allowed me to max out the main seven character’s levels if I just navigate menus. About the fourth or fifth final level is a scenario where you do not need to kill enemies, the only one I can think of in the entire game, where you get about one level’s worth of experience everytime you beat it, even if you do it ten times in a row. How do I survive, I placed some tape of the left shoulder button, and my guard rarely ever broke, and went back to blocking after the character automatically got up. I gained 20 levels for all seven, with the stage and menus taking up about 2 minutes each time, all because I wanted to do some optional levels where you needed to deal damage faster.
Now, that’s a pretty big flaw, and I would mark the game down for that, but after beating the final boss, I unlocked about 40 characters to play as, the enemies I have been fighting for most of the game, even the slimes and exploding chickens could be theoretically leveld up to the point where they could fight the final boss and win. They provided a reason why the monk and samurai could not equip the normal armor, because most of them could just equip a sword that raised their defense by 15, and not a trinket more.
And most of them can not block like the main seven, so they need to be strategic throughout. I am so grateful that they let me play as a little girl who fights ghosts that fire electro-balls, that I am hesitant to complain about anything. That, and I think the game is still a blast to play through. Which is surprising when you consider how combat is the best kind of mess. With my favorite moments being where I hit some dudes, they explode, their explosion causes other guys to explode, which causes the original guys to explode, which causes the second wave to explode, which causes me to join the pile of explosions.
I played through nearly every normal quest with all of the seven main character, and I still had a blast, with the notion of playing as every single model in the game just making me all the more tempted to try and spend 100 hours on it. Except that I have over 200 games on my “To Play” list, so I just cut it off about two hours after I properly beat it. Yeah, you think you have a big backlog, I have made it a goal to review nearly every game I own! Yeah, most people are getting fat off of games, I’m getting to the 400 pound level of obesity from trying to go after every good one I can find. What was I talking about? Right, the gameplay. As a whole it is very flawed, but it manages to remain enjoyable if not a little repetitive after I went through my 25 hour run with it, even though you could still beat it in less than five, if you just focus on one of the four characters who are playable in the story mode, excluding the last three due to... Reasons?
Sifting into the audio, as previously stated the voices are great right down to the oft repeated clips during gameplay, even though I would have liked to hear the Japanese voices just to compare. The sound effects are very satisfying and all carry the proper weight of hitting a creature. While the music ranges from the a-bit-too-loud title screen music, to the fierce and booming battle music of the gameplay where it really does help you feel like a badass, even when fighting a living tree for five minutes straight. Even though I heard the normal battle theme at least 150 times, I’m still not sick of it.
At the same time, the visuals are nice, assuming you do not look too closely at them. I have stated that I prefer 2D images over 3D models for most 2D games, and if it gives me smooth animation and a ton of characters, I am willing to compromise, yet the game still looks very rough. The actual models for the characters are devoid of faces during combat, with only their really cool looking visual designs separating them, which is fine due to how they have portraits from the waist up in the cutscenes, but something just feels off. The animations are actually pretty jerky when you look really closely, and there is some kind of filter over most of the game, causing the models to not look very sharp when you are shoving the 3DS up to your face to see them.
Even then, the game seems to be trying to look 2D while using the models, through a process I can’t really describe beyond cel shading of some sort, and when I analyze it, the game actually looks pretty subpar. But that is only when I am focusing on the quality of the visuals up close. When you are just comfortably holding your 3DS away from you, which is about 25 cm for me, it is actually a bit hard to notice the models’ shortcomings unless you are looking very closely at it. Also, the backgrounds still use sprites, making me really think they wanted to do sprites early on, yet production costs, time, universal animations, all that jazz.
In a rainbow colored shoebox, I do really enjoy Code of Princess. Great and funny dialog all around, frantic gameplay, and a ton of content to explore, but I still have a number of issues with it. While I love the mechanics in the gameplay, the characters and stats can feel unbalanced, the visuals are blurry when you look closely at them, and the actual plot’s outline seems like it was made during a lunch break, with the personality being added afterwards. There are indeed issues, but I can overlook them due to how much simple fun can be had from the title. Besides, I only really noticed them when I looked closely enough.
Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
Like my work? Check out my personal blog, NigmaBox, if you want to see more. I do reviews of older games and anime, along with a very... Interesting narrative that I am writing, it is called Intertoids.
Okay, going for yet one more! I have plans to make this into a series, and now to reuse one of my ideas for lore! This time it is centered around Tara Long of the Destructoid Show, because it is easy to do these when the person is seen doing video work. Also, I am really not saying much about her, I’m pretty much just using these people as framing devices... Just read my words!
Sorry for the lack of pictures, but if you have some you think would fit, please direct me to them via link, or email them to me at Electnigma@gmail.com. And if you are wondering where the second one is, I will only post Intertoids relating to Destructoid member. I did one on Yahtzee, and it, along with all other posts, can be found here I will post one every Sunday for probably nine more weeks.
It was the aftermath of yet another live stream of the Destructoid, and the cast of Max Scoville and Tara Long were returning home. There are two stories here, but let us stick with Tara for now. After taking her commute back to her home, she was surprised to discover a package addressed to her. The package was about the size of a DVD case, so it might be a game someone forgot to tell her she would be playing for a review during this crowded holiday season. But something about the package was unsettling it her. Namely how it was a deep shade of purple as opposed to the orangish tan normal packaging. Also, why would it go to her house, and not Revision3 studios? After all, she worked there and it would be safer if the publisher was afraid of their games getting leaked.
After getting comfortable at her home and making a little something for dinner, she opened the package and it revealed not a game, but a rectangular black tome of sorts. It felt as light as a game case, yet was still oddly uncomfortable to hold. She examined the tome further and she uncovered a gemstone that, upon touching, caused her to pass out on her couch.
Tara woke up in a daze, her body felt stiff and her surroundings replaced by that of a cabin made of stone and wood and her couch replaced by a bed full of hay with a thin piece of cloth over her. This confused her, how did she go from San Francisco to what looked like a house from the middle ages. Also, what happened to her clothes? She now had a white robe on, which felt very irritating on her skin. She then left the small bedroom she was in and found what looked like a medieval armory. She thought this might be a museum, but the lack of plaques describing every item made me abandon that idea.
She wandered off through this unfamiliar place, looking for clues regarding her location, or just something more comfortable. After nearly fifteen minutes of walking along stone corridors and occasionally walking up stairs, she felt one of the rocks supporting her bare feet sink downward. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this was a trap. Tara was still startled as the room was sealed by iron doors, and she saw the walls leak a green gas and liquid. Running to the corner and using her uncomfortable robe to block out the gas, she was horrified to say the least. Unfortunately, the robe was not enough to keep the gas out of her lungs, and when she inhaled a decent puff, she fell.
She awoke once more, in the same room as before. Tara lifted herself up with surprising ease, and noticed that her robe was replaced by a white pelt of sort that covered her torso, upper arms and upper legs. It was more than a little awkward to wear, yet it was refreshingly comfortable. As she was examining herself, she realized how her body was far more tone and fit that it was before. But upon examining her clothing, she found that it had a mildly large hole in the crotch region. Perhaps this was a man’s clothing that someone put her in. however, when she tried to determine whether or not she had any underwear on, she discovered something very disconcerting. A penis.
After the initial shock, Tara tried to think it away, and, well it did. She thought for it to come out, and it did, except this time it was about a foot in length, and she could manipulate it so it was barely sticking out, or it could be the size of her legs. It could move in any direction she wanted to, and was really more like a Tail. So she decided that would be a better and less embarrassing name for it, so she want with that.
After getting a tad used to the Tail, she continued through the stone caverns, pushing pressure plates to open one-way doors, and as if the universe was yanking her chain, she was outside in a lush green field after two minutes. Fan-freakin-tastic! Outside of the small visible section of the dungeon she was in, she found a brown horse with a white mane. Well, calling it a horse was a bit rash. Namely due to how it lacked any eyes or had a saddle with sockets for limbs built into its body. Tara attempted to interact with the creatures, which did notice her, but did nothing but move its head. She looked around and only saw more greenery, meaning that no one was nearby to claim this horse. And since there was no way into the dungeon that she could find, she decided that nobody would mind if she used this horse for a bit.
She had ridden horses before, so getting on was not overly difficult, even then the horse did not react as she got on it. After trying to use the odd saddle, she found something near her crotch reason, a hole. With much discomfort, she brought out her tail and stuck it in the whole, only to have her body sink into the sockets and be locked in.
After a brief second of darkness, she was now viewing the same field through a different angle, that of the horse-like creature. She backed up in confusion, which was oddly natural, and then heard a voice. It was oddly her Mother’s, with the same inflictions and wording, but the gist of it was that she needed to follow a trail that the horse-like creature, which she referred to as a Centaur-set. With no other leads, Tara thought it was best to follow the anonymous entity that was mimicking the voice of her Mother, because that is always a good sign for a trustworthy individual. But seeing as she could not get out of this horse, she was pretty much stuck
She rode through the prairies, wind in her mane, her large heart beating a pleasing rhythm. And when she found a small pond, she looked down and realized that the Centaur-set she was controlling had morphed into one that was a light tan with a red mane, oddly enough. Meanwhile, her body was lying there, in some form of temporary coma. Her body looked so peaceful, but was a bit uncanny looking, seeing as how Tara had not seen her normal form since the gas altered her. Yet, the changes were all positive, with a better body than her original one waiting, she rushed through the easy going and windy field and made it to her destination by sunset. She was not sure when she left eh cave, time seemed to fly as she was galloping about.
After searching around for a bit, a flash of darkness hit her again as she was back in her human body. Except, she was no longer in a pelt, she was in some form or light metal and leather armor. How this came about was of little concern to her, due to the immense rumbling of her stomach. After all, she had not eaten anything today as herself or the horse, and who knows how long she was out for, since who knows how long the gas knocked her out for. She loosened her limbs from the sockets, and the Centaur-set stood there, with its only motion being the same rhythmic breath she’d been making for a few hours. Although, he normal breathing was still more natural to her.
Her destination was a small home at the foot of a small mountain. After landing a few audible knocks, a young woman who was in armor that looked just like Tara’s, opened the door and invited her in. Apparently she’d been expected, since there was a small feast of sorts lying out for her and presumably the greeter. The greeter said that talking can wait, now it is time to eat. And they did, they dug in with little regard for table manners, because who really gave a damn? But as an odd note, Tara found herself digging into the meats on the table despite how she never used to be big on any. Perhaps it was due to how it was the only real source of protein available. After the two finished their feast, Tara glanced around the house, it reminded her a lot of Skyrim, with animal hides, wood and cobblestone making up most of the house.
After the meal, the woman told Tara that they would be going to the city to conclude their mission. Despite never hearing about this, Tara somehow knew where the city was, and that these women had been traveling for several weeks to do... Something. The four went to bed shortly after, Tara feeling oddly comfortable while resting in the skin of an animal.
They woke up at the crack of dawn and all got on a Centaur-sets, feeling as invigorated as ever. The two galloped across the plains and around the mountains until by mid day they reached a massive city. Neither talked much, and this was presumably just business for the young woman, who revealed her name to be Raine. What, with how easily and emotionlessly she want between the rock formations.
The city looked like something out of the Italian Renaissance, and odd departure from the stone filled world she’d seen thus far. But Raine did not seem interested in the shops or the painters and artisans on every corner. Instead she went to the center of the city, which seemed very... Rural in comparison. Well, that might be a bit generous, seeing as how it had naked people roaming around like cattle. Tara only now realized that there had been no men around in the city, and there were only women, she had almost even forgotten about her Tail that was, for all do respect, a multi-purpose penis.
However, the men were apparently in one place, this center farm-like area. It was nothing much beyond a loft of dirt and poo, which made it seem odd that they’d center their city around it. Unfortunately, Tara was too distracted by the appearance of these men, who were drenched in brown stained hair, and had no penis that was visible. However, they still had ball sacks, although they were pretty swollen. Well, it was more like there were ones with slightly larger ones, and ones where they looked to be holding basket balls as they dragged in the muck. Needless to say, the sight was pretty damn gross.
This was her destination, but for what? Shen she asked Raine, she said it was to procreate. Tara was shocked. How could she even have sex with what looked like homeless people if they had rolled in the sewers? But the very idea did something she had surprisingly not experienced. She was somehow aroused by that idea, yet it was most likely her Tail acting up, it wanted her to go.
After rummaging through the only clear trail in this, place, I suppose shithole is a bit of a pun, but it pretty much sums it up. The two found what looked like some kind of cheap motel, except made of cobblestone. And there was a female receptionist, who gave them both a room number after looking at a sheet. Tara was confused, although she felt compelled to go there and ask these disgusting men what is going on. Upon entering the room, she found it to be surprisingly nice, well furnished with fresh flowers emitting a pleasing fragrance. And a bed that looked to be filled with cotton, rather than hay. And the man she saw looked to be groomed. He was still hairy, but it was trimmed and looked presentable. He was also free of shit, yet still butt naked. And it was only now that she realized that it was these “men” had what looked like Vaginas, which made her Tail emerge from the crotch hole in her armor.
The tail bursted out and pounded the man straight to the wall. The pumping motion was uncomfortable , yet felt oddly empowering and comforting. After twenty minutes of pounding the man against a wall, keeping herself a good meter away, Tara felt herself zone out, as if she drank enough alcohol to make her pass out within the course of three seconds. Her vision faded out, focusing on her tail, and then something odd happened, she appeared to be looking at herself through a fleshy filter and from a lower viewpoint. She tried moving, yet could not in the slightest, her body left the room leaving the door open as cheers consumed Tara’s now far more sensitive vision. She couldn’t make out much, but it sounded like Raine and a few other young women were lifting up Tara’s body, with her tail still loose and looking longer than it had before, while shouting, “Tara the Longest!”
Tara tried to scream, but nothing happened. As she was struggling towards the door out of the room, she felt her entire body and her surroundings get up. As Tara saw a hairy hand appear, and she recognized her height, she realized something, she was not in the man’s testicle, not sure which one though. Apparently this was one majorly screwed up world where men were slaves and used as child carrying vessels, while women were dominant. Based on her mumbled hearings, she understood that she was going to have good blood upon birth, and would get to see the one they referred to as “The Longest”.
It was several months later, and she had forgotten about so much, her old life, old world, and even minor customs, as she was being reborn, her mind became blank, just forgetting information over the course of what was a year, until the one day, after months, of being so heavy and large that the Carrier, as she now knew these men as, had to sit to not disturb her growth, Tara was reborn, but not as someone resembling her former self, despite being the spitting image of the one known as “Tara the Longest”. She was just an infant with good breeding, and also had a brother Carrier next to her, who was literally thrown in a bin for not having the proper traits. It may seem wrong to us, while to this new Tara and her world, it was proper justice.
...Yes, all of these will center around the destruction of the self. And yes, this is probably the most deviant the world will become. Notice how I said world, and not story. Because trust me, we are just getting started. You know who is next, and it will be getting pretty Regulos if you know what I am referencing.
Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
Like my work? Check out my personal blog, NigmaBox, if you want to see more.
Okay, this post is pretty much a response to the latest episode of Extra Credits, Beyond Fun. However, this mutated into its own piece about the concept of fun, so I guess I'll do that as well. Now, even though I love the show and want nearly everyone to watch it, I am not really commenting on what they say, which boils down to, “Games can and should be more than just run, fire, kabowie, zoom, blop, save the world!” However, it is the use of the word “fun” within the episode that I disagree with.
You see, I agree with Borderlands 2 and former Destructoid writer, Anthony Burch, who once boldly stated that “Fun is not enough.” I also agree with Jim Sterling where in an old episode of the Jimquisition, that I could not find, where he said that fun is crucial. All while agreeing with Bhalspawn when he stated that fun is the point of gaming. I think that all four of them are correct, but not all of them share the same definition of fun.
Recently, I’ve been going through a second playthrough in Deus Ex Human Revolution, when I noticed that I had collected some flavor text that was an unsent email from a father to his wife. He was assuring her everything will be okay, and work is going great, with the email right next to some revolver ammo in his cubby hole of a hotel room. What was my reaction? It made the experience a lot more enjoyable. I would go as far to say that it made me have more fun searching through the city of Hengsha. Yet at the same time, I was silent for a moment, then wandered off and read more about the world. All while smiling like a kid on Christmas Morn. Not because I like things to be dark, because I like seeing them done well.
I had similar experiences reading the short tragedies in Lost Odyssey, and throughout the entire run time of 999, well, after the initial hour of adjusting to the genre. Hell, even with Berserk, I cried three times during the night where I plowed through the end of the first arc, which featured disgusting rape, the complete destruction of a likable man, both physically and spiritually. And what I consider to be one of the most awful images of all time... However, I still can’t think of a single time where I had more fun reading something!
Yes, Extra Credits called this engagement, but looking back on 999, a game so bleak and miserable that the title of the Japanese version of its sequel is Extreme Escape Adventure: Good People Die. I can not think of a single word that describes my thoughts on the game more than “Fun”. In order for someone to be truly engaged in something, they need to be enjoying it, and if you are enjoying something, would you not say that you are having fun? After all, that is one of the many variants of fun’s definition, a source of enjoyment.
I am not trying to say that Extra Credits is wrong for wanting less of what I refer to as “Basic Fun”. In fact, they could not be more right. I think that “Basic Fun” is not enough for an entire industry to become something that could rival books, film, or music. Yet without any form of fun, you do not have an industry, you just have a bunch of boring collaborations of 1s and 0s. And as a whole, the entire point of art, or really any form of entertainment, is to have a good time. Who's to say that it is not fun to analyze something? I formally do it with nearly every game and show I encounter. Why do people want to hear a tragedy, get frightened, or see something unsettling? Because that is the fun of it!
There is nothing quite like being silent for a minute after you finish something and then fully dissect what made it enjoyable, and what made it fun to experience. Yet, to quote a show called Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, which is some of my favorite “Basic Fun” in recent memory “You know how there are those times when you go see a movie and think, I don’t care what that’s about. I just want to see something blow up for Christ’s sake and mind my own damn business. And is that so wrong? No. In fact, it couldn’t be more right.”
Fun can be whatever the hell you want it to be, it can be deconstructive, insightful, or it can be a guy getting shot 7 times in the face. Although, the game industry, and probably most industries should focus more on the first two, not that there’s anything wrong with it, its just a tad saturated. There are so many flavors in the world, that it’s silly to have the same one every single day.
Have a positive or Negative response? Please leave one in the comments, I really would love to get a discussion going! Even though I feel like this should have been said a million times by now, and probably better since I rushed to get this done.
I really like games that people rarely ever hear of beyond a cool trailer or two. Games that are given a box release and clearly have a budget of a few million, but are neither indie or AAA. And I got bored and want to revisit a game because I thought it would be fun! So I’m just going to talk about a game I enjoyed and see how it holds up, read on if you feel like it... God I’m crap at intros!
Solatorobo: Red The Hunter Review
Release Date: 27/9/12
The game’s protagonist is the titular Red the hunter, a fairly kind dog person in a world of floating islands and other dog and cat people. However, instead of hunters going out and killing animals, hunters in this game are adventurers who take up quests from a french maid. And during one of these quests, Red goes aboard a ship and finds a magical medallion and a young girl named Elh. Well, they have a subplot about Elh looking like a boy, but I have never seen a boy who wears something that looks like an apron as his default outfit. Anyhow, it turns out that both Elh and the medallion have some greater meaning, and have something to do with a giant monster made out of stone who, you guessed it, is a tool for a greater threat who wants to take over the world.
I originally praised the plot when I first played this game, but looking back, it hits so many notes it could have been produced by a random anime generator. However, it is not necessarily bad. If I had to pick an anime that it feels the most like, it would probably be Jyu-Oh-Sei. A relatively interesting idea, but a message that has been regurgitated to the point where it induces yawns when trying to describe it in full detail. Both have an interesting looking world, an oddly paced plot with a large derailing at the halfway point, and a twist that anyone could have guessed from fairly early on. But the world is more creative and vibrant than the average anime, with unique locals being introduced often, yet they are sadly lost after a chapter or two in their vicinity. Well, you do go back for quests, although they are still very small areas, with the area with flying fish being a large disappointment, since the town area only has 3 rooms in it aside from the dungeon areas.
And the actual artstyle is unique, with a very neat look on machinery, with mechs and aircrafts being the focus point of its usage. But throw in furred humanoid creatures in very odd looking outfits, at least for the main characters. Well, they might not be that odd looking, but we see them so rarely, since the dialog in this very dialog heavy titles has headshots of the characters as they emote, while the in game models choose to use the DS’s limited 3D capabilities. Well, that’s not entirely true, the game uses a mix of both 2D and 3D models to portray its world. A lot of backgrounds of cities are just drawings, NPCs who are not enemies are just idle sprite animations, and the dialog segments use sprites for facial expressions. The cutscenes on the other hand, use entirely different models, ones with a very cool looking mix of sprite bits and an actual models for the to go on. But if I had to sum it up in one statement, the game looks unique and is probably one of the best looking DS games to use 3D.
But now onto the actual gameplay, as if it was what the developers thought of second, because that is what probably happened. The core combat in the game is this, Red has a robot named Dahak that can lift up other robots, and throw them at other robots, or just the floor. So the action segments of this game is basically just playing Doki Doki Panic, except you grab from the sides, and it is a semi-overhead view. I say semi-overhead, because the camera is tilted down to show what is north of Red, making moving down very difficult, since your range of what is there is very limited, and your health bar helps obscure it.
Here is everything you can do in one of these combat sections: Lift an enemy into the air, jump and get to throw it four times, or grab it while you are on the ground and throw it three times, dash by double tapping the jump button, or flutter by tapping the jump button. It is easy if you are just fighting enemies, but hazards like fire, the camera, boxes that you end up lifting, enemies who are unliftable due to their displacement on another plane, and your movement speed. Let me explain something, I actually was able to keep everything from my previous playthrough when I started this one, so my upgrade to attack, defence, lifting speed, and movement speed all remained. But even when I was not focusing much on speed, it felt like I was moving too fast when it came to obstacles. In a game with a simple upgrading system, why is it okay to have the improvement of one stat be a negative impact on the game? And speaking of stats, why don’t I feel like i am doing more damage after I upgraded my attack. And why do I still lose the same amount of health when I upgrade my defense. I remove my upgrades and noticed a difference, but adding more did not create a difference that I could immediately notice.
Other than combat, you are pretty much just lifting things with your robot, and you can oddly get off of it to find expansions for your upgrade slots and money, which is hard to stockpile, since you keep getting near the same amount between the beginning and end of the game. There is also a problem with gaining levels, the most one enemy gives you in terms of EXP, is 105 from the final boss, and by the time you reach level 17, you need about 4000 EXP to level up, toss in the fact that battle don’t happen a lot and rarely give you the peak of 30 EXP per defeated enemy, and you have a game where you need to beat it three times just to get to level 20. Leveling up just gives you another hit point, so it does not need to be conserved as much as it is. Money is the same way, all you buy is cutscenes or upgrades for the Dahak.
But there are three alternate gameplay types, all of which the game introduces and then forgets about. The first is traversing a series of small islands over a sea of clouds, or a sea of fish. The problem is the fact that the camera is a pain to control, draw distance is crap, and throughout the game I have had trouble telling where I was on the map, so doing it while in a jetpack makes it all the harder. But if you fall, or your jetpack runs out of power, you just respawn on the last island you touched, with no penalty which is odd. Since the game desperately tries to make itself harder by adding cheap little picks at your health, when it is actually a breeze where I did not come close to dying at any point other than the boss rush in both of my playthroughs. Then we have a flight based racing game where you are in a tube, and it serves as a very soulless multiplayer function that only has a handful of samey maps, and 4 uninspired power ups that you can use while collecting boost icons. There is also battleship fishing, which is a fishing mini-game, which is as fun as fishing games tend to be. Even with a harpoon being fired on crabs, I couldn’t be bothered.
As a whole, Solatorobo has a lot of potential, and there is clearly a lot of work place into its world. Unfortunately, the same feeling plot diminished that. The areas are vibrant and look great in the game’s unique mix of 2D and 3D models, although they are used and then forgotten other than some dungeons that look bland by comparison. The gameplay is only difficult due to cheapness, and lacks variety due to the limited amount of techniques that you can perform on this dual campaign 20 hour long title. The secondary forms of gameplay that are suppose to add more life to the title all feel like they are still in beta, and none are worth going back to. However, the game is still fun due to the overall good writing, and the characters all function well. It is a bit of a mess, but it is a game made by people who wanted to make something different, and I can safely say that the result is above the set bar of average.
Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
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Let me just say that writing this story was a horrible idea, and so is reading it. At best, this is a writing exercise of sorts, at worse it is someone who cannot write a decent narrative if his life depended on it, trying to write a narrative. And I’m making it into a series, because I am insane like that.
Also, no pictures because I have no idea what I would put here, and I lack the knowledge to make images.
It is no secret that dozens of big names occupy every fourth quarter of every year, in the rush to release their title before the annual day of sales, dozens upon dozens of games are released. It is both cruel toward those with limited income, and those who must play all of them. One of the latter is Jim Sterling, who must do this on an annual basis. After Jim cleared through a title and wrote his thoughts on it in one mid October evening, he was both pleased and exhausted. After examining his work for any errors, he scheduled his review to hit sometime early tomorrow morning.
There was always a sense of dread he felt when he posted a review of a big title and his opinions were viewed as “wrong” by a small, yet vocal minority. He has been fighting this battle for several years now, surely these fools would learn how to act like adults by now. With 4 other titles to go through in 9 days, Jim promptly went to bed on this cool mid-October evening. A bit early for him, but Octobergeddon, as he likes to call it, always tired him out. He cannot think of a job he’d rather be doing, so it is worth the pain.
While in bed he debated a few ideas with himself. Maybe this review’s reaction will be a lot more accepting? It is Monday, so he has a lot of time before he needs to find a topic for the next week’s Jimquisition. He hopes there is not some form of political shitstorm that I’ll need to discuss, because it vaguely relates to video games. But within a minute, he was in deep slumber, with his wife, Alex, still finishing some tidbits that need to be done.
Jim then opened his eyes, still groggy and with a light shining down on him. His vision took focus after a few seconds of examining what looks like a hospital room. This confused Jim, he has been gradually getting more fit and healthy, so what could have brought him here? He was still lying on his back, except he was now on a cot. As he tried getting up, he felt a series of straps keeping him in place. And when he tried to call for assistance, he discovered that his mouth was covered as well. His entire body felt numb, and his mind was still hazy. He tried to stay awake, and roll his cot to the door, hoping that it will be open. But as he began to nudge his body weight to make momentum, he grew exhausted far faster than usual. He eventually fell back to sleep.
As he awoke a second time, Jim found himself in the same cot, still strapped, still gagged, but now surrounded. As he looked past the lab coats three figures of varying height and weight proportions, he discovered that all three of them had the same face, the face of Jonathan Holmes. His mix of several ethnicities, odd facial texture, and sleepy looking eyes were undeniable proof of that. Something was odd about them. None of them blinked as he looked at them, none talked, of even moved their face in any way, just a blank expression of his friend and coworker.
After trying to mumble to them, Jim saw one of them move their right hand, revealing a syringe containing a green liquid. Jim was not so much frightened of the needle, but of the fact that they could be injecting him with pretty much anything, and he struggled once more, as he did, the other two Jonathan Holmes restrained him, while the third Holmes took the unknown substance, and injected it into Jim’s neck. It was a sharp searing pain that brought him into a deeper state of tiredness. The last thing he saw was his skin growing a slightly darker color than his pale exterior, and the feeling of his insides jagging against themselves. The pain was not enough to keep him from falling into a deep slumber.
He woke up in another room, except it looked like a proper bedroom, and almost instinctively pulled the chain of a lamp near the bed. The room was fairly minimalistic, but what struck him the most was the woman next to him. She wasn’t Alex, who was she? He had a sudden need to poop, and went to the bathroom connected to this bedroom. He could worry about where he was later, now he was tired, confused, and needed to do an activity that he disliked. He wasn’t sure why he briefly recalled pooping as that, but he lacked the energy to question it.
After doing his business, he went to wash his face, but wait, something was wrong here. He didn’t know what exactly, yet something about his bald head and rough face, and tannish skin tone seemed a bit off. He never thought of himself as attractive, his face felt weird, but why should it, he’s had it for all his 36 years. Wait, where’d that number come from?
As he was examining his 200-some-odd pound physique, he realized that he forgot to flush his poop, and when he went to look down, he realized it wasn’t a poop at all, it was a foot tall fat man in a black suit. With wide eyes, he lifted up the man, who was currently shouting at him with his somewhat effeminate voice. He couldn’t make out much, although he did hear a, “Goddamnit Jonathan!” Jonathan? That’s right, how could he forget his own name, he must be more tired than he thought. As he was crying off the fat man with a towel, he looked into his bedroom, it was 3:12 AM, no wonder he was so sleepy.
After giving the little man, who he recalled was named Jim, went back to their bed together, yet it didn’t feel right, isn't there suppose to be someone else with him? Wouldn’t that mean that he, Jonathan, was cheating on Jim? He loved Jim, his little muffin as he called him. He wasn’t feeling quite right with moving, or being in this bed, but he chalked that up to just being sleepy.
Jonathan awoke at 7 in the morning, feeling fresh as a daisy. After furnishing himself up and dressing in his regular suit, he went to the kitchen to eat the usual breakfast Jim made for him. He was never sure what Jim saw in him, but he wasn't complaining, loyal spouse, comfortable job as a doctor, and not a care in the world other than their happiness. After consuming his food, Jonathan kissed Jim goodbye on his chubby little belly.
After entering his expensive vehicle, he looked in the rear view mirror to make sure he looked just handsome enough, after all he was renowned for being a dashing young prodigy. Never with his head in the clouds or bothering with any escapism. Those clods always confused him, why bother doing something that wasn’t actually living. But his time was far too valuable for those underachievers or the sad crafters of that “art”, he had patients to see.
Once he arrived at his clinic, Jonathan met his first patient, a “cute” young woman who was sent here to get fixed. It was a standard procedure of injecting her with testosterone, because what could a woman do that a man couldn’t do far better? She screamed a lot, a trait he had grown to view as the subject’s final demonstration of weakness. She even tried to confuse him by claiming that she was his “wife”, hah, the stupid under-lifeforms. He couldn’t wait until he got to the fun part, “changing their minds”. He always lavished over the amount of power he had, to fix society’s ills, to alter those who were undoubtedly inferior, and turn them into proper examples of men, the true version of humanity.
After several more of the reworking procedures, Jonathan knew that he was helping his planet, and did not even consider anyone thinking him as wrong, without being wrong and retarded for doing so. But most of the mentally diseased have been fixed. All those retards and straights, and dames, and escapists, and artists were on their last legs, men like the honest, manly man Jonathan were the founders of humanity’s true golden age.
But he returned to his little friend, his servant, and the one who was made to love him, Jim. He was presented with his warm and delicious dinner, an expected result, but he was feeling generous, so Jonathan would just convert Jim into his flush-phase and let him enjoy his favorite white drink. All in another glorious day of his life as a wonderful savior known as Jonathan Holmes.
It was a parody that I had fun writing, of course it is shit, that was kind of my goal! And if this is inappropriate for the site, somehow, I'll remove it from here.