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11:33 AM on 08.26.2015

Wii REVIEWS: Trauma Center: Second Opinion:

For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

S4- Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Year: 2006.
Genre: Medical Simulation, Visual Novel.
Publisher: Atlus.
Developer: Atlus. 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The launches of the DS and the Wii brought with them a number of different genre's to the market, genre's that thrived on the possibilities offered by styles and wiimote control scheme. On of those genres is the medical sims, and perhaps the best of those sims is the Trauma Center series.

Second Opinion actually symbolizes that DS/Wii influenced jump by being a game featured in both system. First published as Under the Knife on the DS, Second Opinion is a remake of the game on the Wii.

As the first title in the series, this game does a good job of setting itself apart from everything else in the market, and in being a darn fun game to boot.

"A doctor's hands are heavy with responsibility"

Finally, a game where saving people's lives does not include taking others lives. Simply, you control Dr. Derek Stiles, a surgeon, in treating patients and potentially saving them from certain death. Additional to the Wii version, you also control another Doctor, Naomi Weaver, and the storyline is expanded.

Initially, Dr. Stiles is simply an up and coming surgeon who is not taking his job super seriously. Only after his new assistant admonishes him for his carelessness does he begin acting like a "true" doctor. Then, it is discovered that he has access to the magic-like "healing touch" ability which marks him as treasure for medicine.

Unfortunately, the beginning is a ham-sounding as it, well, sounds. It feels forced, and issues of real ethical concerns such as euthanasia and doctor's responsibilities are handled with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In fact, I felt the entire first two chapters to be underwhelming affairs.

However, the story picks up tremendously once a new disease, the laughably named GUILT (Gangiliated Utropin Immuno Latency Toxin), is introduced. At first, it seems like a natural super-disease. However, it turns out to be the product of new global terrorists pioneering medical terrorism. Once GUILT bursts into the scene (quite literally), the story picks up, and characters all around start becoming more interesting as a result.

With all story progression happening in Visual Novel-like segments, it offers up a context for the large number of medical procedures (gameplay segments) you are asked to do. Rarely does the story sag, as it develops as quickly as the disease spreads, and your medical skills are put frequently to the test.

While the plot begins mundanely, it manages to puck up steam and be quite interesting by the end. There isn't any groundbreaking stuff here, but the refreshing take of tackling the terrorist's through treating their victims makes the unique perspective worthy in itself.

Humdrum Start: -2
Interesting Story: +3
Some Cool Characters: +2

You are responsible for the life of many, one patient at a time

"Those patients are depending on you"

Real life surgery requires a lot of education, experience, stamina, accuracy, and a whole team of support. Surgeries depicted in the game that are actual real-life surgeries typically take from 2 to 4 hours to complete. It is a stressful job, with the knowledge that the patient's life is in your hands.

The Trauma Center series tries to emulate that by being bloody hard.

Typically, you are given five minutes for each surgery, and you are asked to be both fast and accurate. Also, you need to multi-manage both keeping the patient alive, and healing him as fast as you can. Failure doesn't cause any change to the story, it is only a game-over, but the stress of repeating the procedure, and the fact that a small mistake can undo all your work, does grow.

Often, I found myself repeating a procedure for the fifth time, each attempt bringing me closer to the goal but the patient's lifeline depletes as I make another mistake. I can't decide whether to stutter (surgical sewing) a wound that just opened, go after the source of those wounds, or attempt to buy a few more seconds by applying a medical syringe. Ironically, it is the indecision that then cost me the game, because probably anything I would have done was better than wasting seconds thinking about it. This difficulty builds really well throughout the game, and I rarely found it overwhelming. Always, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished a particularly difficult procedure.

This is because the game simply controls really well, such that I rarely feel cheated by a loss. All actions depend on the wiimote pointer for direction, which I found to be always accurate. The Nunchuck analog serves as a very fast and reliable way of switching tools. Sure, in the heat of the moment you could switch to the sensors instead of the scalpel, but here is where the tool placement shines. The most essential tools are given the core four directions, and harmless (they don't cause you to stab the patient) tools are either side of those.

Each tool has their specific use in treatment, and there are many different treatment procedures you are going to do. For those concerned about repetition, I can't say it bothered me much. Sure, there are repetitive tasks such as always starting an operation by making a surgical incision (cutting open their chest) and ending it by closing it. However, once inside, there is a surprising variety of procedures you are going to do. I found almost all different cases to be fun, with a few notable exceptions.

Whenever the game tries to be cute with motion controls, it falls flat on its face. For example, a few missions (I think two) ask you to use a defibrillator to revive a patient. To this day, I have no idea what is the specific motion I am supposed to do with both wiimote and nunchuck tp activate it. I simply flail my arms about until it works. Another also limited procedure asks you to rotate stuff by rotating your wrist. Here's a medical tip to the devs, the wrist only has 200 degrees it can rotate comfortably in; you cannot ask the player to rotate their hands to that 160 degree's blind zone and expect them not to get "misses". Thankfully, these instances are very rare.


Unique, Tense, Gameplay: +5
Very Good Control: +4  
Some Rare Use of Awful Motion Stuff: -1

Success after flailing your arms about, only realy issue with control

"You need to see the consequences of your carelessness"

Every-time you get a gameover, you get a hilarious prompt (that you can skip) about how Dr. Stiles could no longer handle the responsiblity of being a doctor (After he just killed this patient) and then goes on to disappear, "never being heard from again". Due to the difficulty of the game, many would probably memorize that prompt.

Yet, because the game can be mastered, it offers two difficulty levels that up the ante considerably. With even one of them being dubbed as "harder than real surgery". I dabbled with hard in the earlier cases, and I enjoyed the increased rush. However, I can't see myself managing the latter ones at all. Some of which I completed through the brink of death.

In the other end, the game offers an easy mode for those who are mainly interested in the story. I don't suggest playing on easy, because tension is an integral part of the game. However, the fact that you can change difficulty levels at any time means that you won't get stuck. In fact, I changed to easy mode for the last two cases.

Satisfying Challenge: +3
Different Difficulty Levels: +3

If you can't handle it, lower the difficulty

"You fixed my broken wings, and now I m ready to repay the favor"

First major issue you are going to notice is that the game is limeted to a 4:3 aspect ratio with no option to change. This at once introduces two ugly black ribbons in most of today's TVs. Second major issue is that the game is limited graphicaly, not ugly, just limited.

Take the interior of the human body for example. Possibly to streamline the operations (the human body is mess internally), or even so as not to get an M rating, it is simply clean and non-realistic. It feels more like images taken through some medical device rather than Dr. Stiles directly looking in.

Outside of the human body, the character's are all well designed, with unique looks and different facial animations. It is the usual anime drawing used in visual novels, but with the extra details and careful charectrizations Atlus is known for. Nothing super spectacular, but soid nevertheless.

Musically, I cannot say I payed much attention. It facilitated the mood during surgeries, and it probably helped me through the repetetion. Yet, no track stood to me in particular. Only the music in the "boss" cases felt different, and those I enjoyed, only to think that I maybe should have also enjoyed the music selection in all of the other cases.

Locked Aspect Ratio : -2
Boring Body Graphics: -3
Character Design: +2
Limited Music: -2

Bone splinters don't travel that far without rupturing the skin

In Conclusion:

Second Opinion sets the stage for the series. It introduces a very solid gameplay system, and a potential for greater stories to be told. For those seeking something different, something potentially really challenging, this game is a perfect intro to a series I hope improves on this game.

Final: 37/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

Destructoid did not Review this game.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

Atlus are known for making profit with sales biggere companies would cringe at. They are good at cutting corners, budgeting, and generally have a loyal niche audience. Second Opinion is the second highest selling Trauma Center game after the DS game that it is a remake off. It sold 340K units, while the DS game sold 350K units. If you combine the two, then this makes the first Trauma Center to be on of Atlus's highest selling games outside of the Shin Megami Tensai series. Which is great for a title with such humble production values.

"Tips"

1- Make smart use of mydical syringes.
2- Don't depend on activating the medical touch, it fails half of the time.
3- If you se a lot of cuts, the patient's health will deplate rapidly.
4- Learn to stuttur wounds super quickly.
5- Learn when you are able to heal the patient without complications ruining your day.
6- In some instance, you cannot afford to heal your patient, and you should focus in avoiding more damage.
7- Learn what each GUILT series is able to do, and counteract accordingly.
8- If a case is too difficult for you to move on, try it on Easy mode.
9- Listen to the diagnosis, it will help you cure any case.

"Next Game"

Second Opinion is a solid start to the Traum Center series. Now, I am excited about playing the other two games. Unfortunantly, I won't play the direct sequel to SO, because they did not remake that for the Wii

The next game is not a direct sequel, but is a Trauma Center game in the same univese. It is actually the first game in the series to built from the ground up to be on the Wii. Hopefully Traum Center: New Blood is an imporvment because of that.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Wii game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

Screenshots

  read


3:52 PM on 08.23.2015

DS REVIEWS: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective:

For those reading one of my DS review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The DS is one of the greatest consoles ever, and it had a massive games library. Despite playing a lot of DS games a huge number of great underappreciated games flew under the radar. This series attempts to review those game and see if they should have had more time in the spotlight.

Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective:
Year: 2011.
Genre: Adventure/ Graphic Novel.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.

 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Creating one hit game can be attributed to luck, but managing to create a second hit is proof of skill. If you consider Shu Takumi's first hit to be the Ace Attorney series, then Ghost Trick is the second hit that proves both his ability and eye for the ridiculously sublime.

Reportedly, the idea for the game took five years to materialize, and those five years probably are the reason such an intricate plot managed to be.

Without exaggeration, Ghost Trick is one of the best games of its genre.

"Use your powers of the dead to find out the truth"

Right at the beginning, you are dead. A simple blue flame symbolizes your soul, the only attachment left in this earthly realm. With no form, no memories, you are tasked in answering the most existential questions about yourself.

Who are you? Why did you die?

Thankfully, your soul is unique among souls as it can influence the world of the living. Greeted to the world of the dead by a desk lamp (you read that well), you realize quickly that you have the ability to manipulate the world of the living, and that you should use that ability to find the truth about yourself.

One catch, you only have till dawn to find out before you disappear, and its 7PM now.

DON'T YOU DARE GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW

This sense of urgency propels the plot at breakneck speed. Yet, it always manage to entertain and surprise all the while keeping its pace. Along with the ability to manipulate simple objects, you are also able to rewind the death of others, to see if you can save them.

As you can imagine, your ability to save people who just died plays well into the story, as you change the fates of a host of different characters. Characters that are all well developed, likable, all the while being completely insane. I am talking about detectives that walk around dancing, and Pomeranian dogs (that can talk to you in the spirit world).

Thankfully, once you save any person, you are able to communicate with them (hence there is a lot of dialogue between the dead as well as the living). Which is great, because the dialogue is funny, smart, and all around just top-notch.

There is also a lot of dialouge you just eavsdrop in

All of these elements combine to create a truly wonderful story. A story that manages to be thrilling, funny, and heartwarming all at the same time. Throughout all chapters, the mystery of yourself is being slowly solved. Yet, it is connected in significant ways to the mysteries each of the other characters are pursuing.

Twist and turns are plenty, and sometimes surprises spring like a landmine. However, the plot does not depend on those surprise. On the contrary, it is all crafted with the wonder, precision, and love of a perfect Rube Goldberg machine.

Great Story: +5
Great Characters: +5
Story Presentation: +5

"But what can I do? She is already dead"

The central conceit of Ghost Trick is preforming said "Ghost Tricks". Because of your ephemeral form, you are allowed to posses certain inanimate objects that posses "cores". Which objects posses cores? It doesn't really matter, because the game basically lays out a bunch of stuff that you are able to posses with all other stuff being background objects.

As a "ghost" you are supposed to manipulate objects to do two things: get around, and help people.

In the world of the dead, you are only able to be of influence to objects with "cores" and you can only travel through using them. Additionally, to can travel from place to place using phone lines (provided you know the number). Also, you only have limited travel distance between any two objects. Therefor, you will need to manipulate the environment in order to travel about. For example, you can slide a wheel chair from one end of the room to the other, or simply swivel a desk lamp to be nearer to another object that you can posses.

To help all the other people, and to help yourself in the process, you are frequently asked to rewind their death. Then, you see exactly how they died, and get a limited amount of time to save them. You can always rewind again if you fail, and sometimes you are forced to rewind if you do a serious mistake. You can even make things worse; its generally a bad idea to substitute a bullet with a hard hat.

You can even save characters from "natural" death

For the casual reader, this might suggest a number of trial and error approaches, as you grind through the text you have already read (even though there is a fast-forward button). However, that is not the case.

Simply, while a brute force method can work, I found that most of the puzzles are intelligent and can be solved through careful examination of what you can do. In fact, it can be argued that its a little too simple

It is rare that any given puzzle gives you a false solution, and only latter in the game does you options expand beyond simple manipulation of inanimate objects. That is not to say that the gameplay becomes a chore at any stage, just that it doesn't often reach the heights it manages to occasionally reach itself.

Thematic Unique Gameplay: +3
Fast and Easy: +2
Not Challenging Enough: -3

"I feel like a top Pomeranian"

Honestly, I doubt the game's story and characters would have worked as well if not for the amazing style in which it was presented in. At first, the lower resolution graphics might make you wonder at Capcom's decision in using purely 3D animations in a 2D plane. Once those character's move, however, you will start realizing exactly how great this game looks.

Characters don't simply walk into a scene, they swagger in, they dance, they showcase their entire personality through their exaggerated body language. It says a lot that two similar looking characters are fleshed out entirely not only through their dialogue, but their completely different poses and animation.

It looks much better in the DS screen

Of course, the characters being animated are as well-designed as any Ace Attorney game. Ironically, despite the big personalities, the designs are actually a little more conservative than Ace Attorney games. Don't get me wrong, there is a guy with a pigeon for a hat, but you won't see whales testifying in court though.

What you are going to see a lot of is Missile the dog. Perhaps this is the single greatest side-kick character in videogames. Not only is he unbearably cute, but his whole design and personality is simply perfect.

This showcases that a game can look great despite low-res graphics, and again, we see how smart art direction than make use of the weakest of consoles.

IT's MISSILE

As for the soundtrack. Initially, I thought it manages to lend to the atmosphere to the game without excelling too much. However, I started to appreciate it more as the game went on. Each character have their own theme that complements them well, and the puzzle sections are underscored with suitable music depending on the urgency of the situation.

Far from a truly memorable musical collection, the soundtrack manages to excel well enough to enhance the gaming experience without being a standout addition.

Great Animation: +4
Good Character Design: +3
Low Resolution: -2

In Conclusion:

Rare is a game that manages to grab my attention from start to finish, all the while consistently being engrossing and fun. Ghost Trick is perhaps one of the best games I played of the genre, and I am not sure I want a sequel.

The reason is that Ghost Trick is simply near perfect, especially in its conclusion, that a sequel cannot actually move forward much. Shu Takumi wouldn't have been able to make this game if the Ace Attorney games were not as successful. As a result, the idea stayed with him for a while, which is why the final product is such a well-crafted gem.

Also, it made me completely rethink my attitude towards dogs, which makes it one of the few games that affected me in some tangible way. Go Missile, we all love you, you brave lovable dog.

Final: 47/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

One of the shorter Destructoid reviews, Nick Chester gave Ghost Tricj it an 8.5 back in 01.11.2011. Nick liked the game and sums it up really well at the beggening: "For a game about death, Ghost Trick is full of life, with a unique cast of characters, genuinely sharp writing, and fresh gameplay. It’s a great way for Capcom to kick off the New Year, and an instant classic that’s bound to be a cult favorite".

Going on with the lively nature of the game (despite its subject matter) the comment's section was lively as well, with many excited about that type of games such as Script:

"Great, I can`t get enough of these types of games! I was afraid the puzzles could lead to frustation for being complex or illogical, but looks like they`re pretty straightforward, while not being TOO simple."

Also in the comments is someone who played the game and really liked it, as Hasney did:

"Just finished this. Amazing game, played for 2 days straight because I could not put it down. And what am end game.

Totally stunned by how it turned out. Even better than Ace Attorney."

Wow, even giving it a thumbs up over Ace Attorney.

Of course, being Dtoid, there was some cynicims courtesy of none other than Chris Carter:

"Can't wait for the impending cheaper iPhone version, with promises of DLC."

Capcom actually released the iOS version at the same time in Japan, and had the chapters as DLC with the first few as free. It was not a bad model, and it actually fit in well with iOS. Still, according to Capcom's statment, the DS version made more money despite having a fraction of the install-base.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

I don't know why visual novel games didn't sell very well in the DS despite the instal-base, popularity of the games among its fans, the prevalance of the casual gamer, and the fact that they fit really well with the system. Outside of Professor Layton games, the best performing games  are the Ace Attorney, and Ghost Trick did comparable to the AA titles by selling 380K Units. It actually did well financially for Capcom, but this is a game that deserved much more.

"Tips"

1- Hold B to fast forward.
2- You can always hit the rewind button if you are stuck.
3- If you feel you cannot get anywhere, listen to the hintsitio.
4- If you feel you still cannot get anywhere, maybe you need to wait for something n the environment to move.

"Next Game"

Ghost Trick is the reason I am doing these reviews; the hope that I play something truly fantastic and memorable.

Now, I am going back to RPGs with one game that perhaps five people know that Nintendo developed. Glory of Heracles is such a little-known game, Nintendo probably forgot they made it.

Stay Tuned

For Previous DS game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

There is no screenshots in mobygames for this game.

  read


8:17 AM on 08.13.2015

DS REVIEWS: Black Sigil: Blades of the Exiled.

For those reading one of my DS review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The DS is one of the greatest consoles ever, and it had a massive games library. Despite playing a lot of DS games a huge number of great underappreciated games flew under the radar. This series attempts to review those game and see if they should have had more time in the spotlight.

Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled:
Year: 2009.
Genre: RPG.
Publisher: Graffiti Entertainment.
Developer: Studio Archcraft.

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

These days, retro inspired games are so widespread that you could pick five random indie games, and one of them will be one. Back when the retrofication of games was novel, Black Sigil was in development. However, it only managed to release in 2009 after being in development for at least 3 years.

Looking at the end credits, we can see why. This is the work of few committed individuals who loved the RPGs of the past.

Being inspired by the 16bit era RPGs, Black Sigil is at once familiar and nostalgic. In fact, it might be too familiar for some. While this is a modern game wearing 16bit cloths, it feels like it also brought with it some of the undesirable elements of the past. How far you enjoy this game depends on how much you can tolerate those undesirable elements.

"Cleanse your cursed blood and wrest yourself from darkness"

The game begins with the main character, Kairu, getting a beatdown in training because he cannot use magic. He might be great with a sword, but that wouldn't help him against a fireball to the face. In the world of Bel Lenora, everyone can use magic, with the exception of Kairu, which marks him as a cursed being.

Because being cursed generally sucks, Kairu is soon exiled from the only world he ever knew, into a world that is in the edge of chaos. Luckily, he is accompanied by his half-sister, Aurora, who wasn't about to fall into the prejudice against her brother.

This starts off a fairly familiar RPG storyline, with a militaristic empire, an ancient evil, and a mysterious history.

What sets Black Sigil apart from both its peers and the RPGs of the past is not its main storyline, but the very smart dialogue and interaction between its characters. Both funny and endearing, I couldn't but enjoy the interactions between these interesting characters. Even when a character portrays a well-worn cliche, they still manage to bring something new and emotional to the mix.

The cast manages to be endearing by the end

That's not to say that the main storyline isn't interesting at all. Even though it does not break any new ground, the main story of Black Sigil still manages to have enough surprises and some genuinely exciting moments.

In order to get the best ending, you are expected to do some side-quests. Thankfully, many of these quests are highlighted by one character that your encouraged to visit, and none of them is miss-able. Many of those side-quests are fulfilling by themselves.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't end well, and I am not speaking about the ending itself. It is just that so much care have gone into the buildup, that I wish the finale had more effort put into it. In some way, its actually par the course for SNES RPGs, but not so for 2009.

OK Story: +3
Great Characters: +4
Smart Dialogue: +4
Poor Ending: -2

"Do you think you can stand my overwhelming power?"

By a wide margin, your ability to enjoy Black Sigil depends on your ability to withstand its frequent random encounter rate. As a general rule, random encounters gives gamers pause these days. Mostly a relic of the past, even in the SNES era, some games tries to give players control over the encounter rate by establishing enemy icons in the field. However, many of the most popular RPGs of the past did have Random Encounters (FF6), some of them quite frequent (FF4). Even today, games from Atlus such as Etrian Odyssey and Shin Megami Tensai are loved despite the frequent battles.

What makes Black Sigil's Random Encounters a problem is two things. First, the fact that its a modern game. Second, the fact that it has no control over the Random Encounter rate at all. Games like FF6 and Etrian Odyssey usually have items (repels) that sharply decrease the encounter rate. Unfortunately, Black Sigil does not have such an item.

As a result, while going through a straight path might be tolerable, getting lost in a dungeon can be seriously frustrating. Yet, even with as high an encounter rate as it does have, Black Sigil manages to be tolerable due to the fact that you can finish most battles in under a minute, and escape the rest in under a minute as well.

Employing an ATB-like turn based system, the battles in Black Sigil can either drag on forever if you have no idea what to do, or be done in less than a minute. For starters, you have a generous amount of Magic points to fuel your skills, which recovers slightly after each battle. Also, you have a highly diverse set of skills, which are all useful throughout the game. In order to finish any battle quickly, you only need to use the right skills at the right time. Especially the dual skills, which are team moves including two characters.

Get used to the battle screen, you are going to see it a lot

The number one time waster is going to be statues effects. Unlike many RPGs, statues effects can seriously hurt and help you. In the beginning part of the game, you will get random statues effects at the start of the match due to Kairu's curse. At that stage, equipping statues protection items is a must. Mostly, you need to keep your healers from getting silenced or paralyzed, particularly the latter.

Fortunately, you can use statues effects against your foes. Starting with a move that paralyzes most of your foes will ensure a fast victory, while poison and burn effects ensure a rapid decline of any boss.

What I seriously liked about the battles is how any combination of three characters work well. Some are obviously better, but its all well-balanced.

Outside of battle, its the usual SNES RPG style world traveling, mostly in a linear way despite having the freedom latter on. In dungeons, the puzzles would be interesting and fun if not for the fact that you are interrupted every 7 steps.

The airship adds some non-linear adventuring to the game

Be warned though, you will need to save often, which you can do in save points and the overworld. Because this game is reportedly glitches. According to my own play-through, the game crashed twice, and I was locked into a room when I tried to save one character's mother. Needless to say, I ignored the mother the second time, and the game didn't glitch then. It might have been a heartless decision, but it didn't actually matter, because she gets saved anyway.

Frequent Random Encounter Rate: -8
Nice Battle System: +4
Glitches: -2

"We be feedin' ye ta the sharks. If the sharks be full we be feedin' ye ta the whales"

As a game wearing its retro influence with pride, Black Sigil needed to realize that the retro badge is not about pure mimicry of the past. It needs to intelligently invoke Nostalgia through its design by doing something that couldn't have been done in the past. It needed to look like a 16 bit SNES RPG, while realizing its visually competing with the cream of the crop of that era without the nostalgia to back it up.

The result is one of the finest 16 bit RPG aesthetics that I ever seen, even with a lackluster soundtrack.

From the get-go, we realize that this couldn't have been done on the SNES. The character portraits are too animated for the SNES, and the amount of dialogue and animations would have take on too much space in those ancient cartridges. Each character has several facial animations, and several sprite animations. Both of which convey emotion and humor really well. Enemy sprites are not as varied an imaginative as they could have been, but bosses are generally good.

The stars of the graphical departments are the towns and backgrounds though. By far, the towns in Balck Sigil are one of the most varied, unique, and lively places in RPG history. Not only through the engineering design of the town, but also the interior, NPC placement, and general sense of life. Few games featuring as many towns manage this feat.

The attack animations are not at all possible in the SNES

Clearly, much care has been out into the graphics of the game. As a result, this is a game that looks like a 16 bit title, but is probably impossible to build on the actual hardware of the SNES. At least not with all the dialogue and locations.

Unfortunately, the music is not as memorable. Sure, some tunes are really nice, and the battle music doesn't grow old despite being repeated several hundred times. It feels like a 16 bit title music, but it feels like it didn't go far enough. Its not as melodic as an SNES RPG, and perhaps its too clean. I enjoyed much of it, but none of the tracks felt particularly memorable.

Great Graphics: +5
Good Character Design: +3

In Conclusion:

I think Black Sigil have not been given enough chance. Many jumped at it due to its high encounter rate, without putting the fact that some great games had an even worse encounter rate, with a battle system that wasn't as smooth.

Honestly, I feel that if Black Sigil was released back in the 1990s, it would have been considered one of the RPG greats. Yet, in a modern time, where we expect more modern sensibilities, it stumbles a little.

Random Encounters are this title's worst weakness. If you can live with that, then Black Sigil is trip down 16bit memory lane, with both the good and the bad included

Final: 36/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

I need to come out and say that I seriously disagree with Jim Sterling's review of this title, which he gave a back in 6.26.2009. He sums it up: "Of course, there will be people who enjoy this game. As I said at the top of the review, some people will accept any grinding, boring RPG if it looks "old school" enough, and Black Sigil is definitely old school at heart. The trouble is that it's now 2009, and old school grinding with very few save points and such a high demand for commitment simply doesn't cut it in this day and age. Black Sigil simply isn't worth the effort it requires, and with so many better RPGs on the DS, there simply is no reason for it to exist."

I dislike this review for two reason. First, that Jim didn't even finish the game, which frankly leads me to thing he should have pased it on to someone else. Second, because Jim prremptively attacks anyone who enjoyed the game by calling them: "some group of nerds willing to lap it all up".

With this game being such a niche, the comments section wasn't actually filled with anyone who played the game.

Nic128 points out one of my gripes against professional reviewing:

"I can understand you hate it. When you don't like a game, you just stop playing it. Jim had to continue playing to review it.

How long did you suffer, Jim?"

Apparently, someone played the game and is actually liked it, as aolas says:

"Honestly, from what I've played this game is nothing but improvements over Chrono Trigger. And I hate grinding.

But that's just me."

Some people like Naim Master expected a hate storm to pas by:

"I see a shitstorm coming ..."

But this was such a niche title, most left dissapointed at that.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

As a niche title from an extemely unknown developer/publisher duo, I didn't expect this game to do well. Indeed, it only managed to sell 50 Thousand units in North America, which was the only region it released on. I think this was a labor of love, and I hope one day they rerlease the game as an Indie title. As it is, I have no idea if the developers or even publishers are still around.


"Tips"

1- Hold B to escape.
2- If a certain group of enemies takes too long to defeat, just escape that group.
3- If you are not able to defeat most groups in under two minutes, rethink your strategies.
4- Hold R to freely move then use a skill (instead of holding position).
5- Save often.
6- Reportedly, changing the dialogue speed to 6 (the maximum) gets rid of some glitches.
7- Sell obsolete weapons to get some cash.
8- In order for two characters to learn a team move, they need to battle together to learn it (only if both have the pre-requisite skill).

"Next Game"

It turned out I actually liked Black Sigil. Sure, I wish I could control the Random Encounter rate, but it didn't kill the game for me. I feel like it would have been better defended if released by Atlus. Oh well, different folks with different strokes. Still warrants a chance though.

For my next game, I am going to the Visual Novel genre with Ghost Trick: Phantom Detectives, which is one of the visual novels that went down the radar because they are not Ace Attorney or Professor Layton.

Stay Tuned


For Previous DS game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

There is no screenshots in mobygames for this game.

  read


2:51 PM on 08.11.2015

These quickposts are burying the hard work of bloggers in the main feed. Please have separate feeds for both. A quickpost takes 10 minutes to make, while a blog can take 5 hours. It's not fair for both to share the same feed.

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4:13 PM on 08.09.2015

GTA V Sucks More

  read


3:28 PM on 07.31.2015

Wii REVIEWS: Fragile Dream: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

39- Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon:
Year: 2010.
Genre: Action RPG, Survival.
Publisher: Xseed.
Developer: Namco Bandai, Tri-Crescendo. 

 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

When it comes to videogame narrative, I am usually skeptic. Usually, games that try to mimic other forms of media in their storytelling end up delivering an experience that would have been better as a film. Which is why I always approach games renowned for their emotional power like Fragile Memories with a degree of caution.

Turns out, Fragile Dreams manages to tell a gripping story while trying to involve gameplay into the narrative. Unfortunately, while the game succeeds in establishing a wonderful story, its gameplay leaves much to be desired.

"I just want someone to be with"

Company is a powerful thing, we take it so much for granted that once we miss it, and we feel sad, we sometimes do not recognize where our sadness comes from. In a post-apocalyptic world, where more than 99% of population disappeared, the rest of humanity survived in very small groups, and sometimes only as individual loners. Seto is such a survivor, left in the world by himself after his "grandfather" dies.

While there is an overarching story in Fragile Dreams, it only shows itself at the end. Most of the tale is of Seto's attempt to find anyone to be with. In the beggening of the game he sees Ren, a mysterious (since she is only the second human he saw) silver-haired girl. This acts as proof that he is not alone, and therefore Seto tries to find her again.

Through Seto's journey to find Ren, he learns more about himself and his own need for company. This is not a protagonist who is on top of things, but a vulnerable 15 year old boy. From the onset of the tale, we learn the meaning of living in a dying world, and Seto's emotions are mostly subtly conveyed.

Strong Story: +5
Strong Characterization: +4

Beauty in top of ruin

"At that moment, I was truly alone in the world"

Central to the emotional impact of the story is all the background information, the memories of the departed, which Fragile Dreams attempts to emphasize. Much of the game's gameplay consists of walking from place to place, occasionally picking up objects on the ground. These objects contain the memories of people that already left the earth.

Such memories vary from those of parents mourning their sons, to messages of regret, proclamations of hope, and even the sad pathetic thoughts of pet. When collecting these objects, Seto "reads" the memories included whenever he rests at a checkpoint bonfire.

Regularly, these memories painted a powerful image of the world as it approached its doom. In many cases, the consistent theme of companionship and loneliness is touched upon, and we feel as Seto probably feels, alternately hopeful and depressed.

The best of these tales are ones that are divided into several parts that tell a "complete" stories" Usually, I would be frustrated if I was asked to find several objects to get one full story. However, here the memories are not numbered and each doesn't betray the existence of another part. As such, when a story grabs my attention, I find myself wishing for a better conclusion that I got.

For instance, in one particularly great story, it is divided among scraps of a torn picture. Every time, I wish there is another scrap for me to find. Even by an end which I am still unsure is the end, I am hoping there is another scrap that I didn't find; a scrap that had a happier end.

Great Micro-Stories: +5

The most surprising of things can keep you copmany...WILSOOON

"Whatever happens in the future, I will always have this moment"

So far, I have only covered the narrative elements of the game, which is normal for a videogame that doesn;t inspire much through its actual gameplay. In a few words, Fragile Dreams gameplay is simply busy work. As proof by its own amorphous genre definition, this is not game that is easily classified. However, that is not because it does so much from very different genres, but because it does so little.

In order to reach his objective, Seto must walk, walk, and walk some more. Generally, most of the game involves a lot of walking, which is occasionally interrupted by bland combat. Seto might be lonely, but he has a lot of ghost company to deal with. Adding to the busy work is weapons that break and inventory management.

None of this is particularly offensive, but the fact that all of it is basically designed to keep you busy as you progress the story feels like a placeholder for something that should have been better. True, the long walks establish a sense of scale and loneliness that truly works for the story, but then why the pitiful combat.

Combat is basically an excuse to "level up" which gives you more HP and ATK, and an excuse to break your weapons and the manage your inventory. Its a dull, brain-dead system that is neither annoying nor rewarding. While some found that weapon breakage to be annoying, I thought it as a non-issue, especially since you can simply run away from all conflicts. In fact, you shouldn't feel compelled to kill every ghost you see, simply move along.

While there are boss battles that must be fought, stacking up on healing items and stronger weapons does the trick. Especially since weapons only break after the fight. Just a note, ranged weapons are much preferred in the final boss fights.

Busy Work Gameplay: -10

You can't say that they are not well-designed enemies though

"The world is over, but it might wake up again"

When games try ton convey the desolation of the post-apocalypse, they usually go with cold color palettes and images of ruin. In that regard, Fragile Dreams is not different, but it is different by its own character art style, and that imposing beautiful moon.

Despite being an anime fan, I didn't care much about the specific style used in the game. Seto and friends are all uniquely designed, but I found that they were distracting more so than compelling. For instance, nothing would compelling any sane character to dress as Ren does, it is simply a poor excuse for a dress.

Outside of the characters, the environment doesn't break any new ground in presentation. Yet, it shows a really gorgeous skyline, especially when the moon is visible. It also showcases a variety of distraught locations, from a theme park to a hotel. Unfortunately, the latter stages of the game take place in industrial tunnels and buildings. It lacks the beauty and variety of the earlier sections.

Complementing the post-apocalyptic theme is a minimalist soundtrack that attempts at invoking loneliness and desperation. While Riei Saito's work is, as the graphics are, not groundbreaking, it manages to be a little more memorable. Especially the battle music which makes combat a little more bearable than it is.

Of special not regarding minimalistic soundtracks is the excellent use of natural sounds. Usually, games that intentionally limit their musical input in a minimalistic effort tend to rely on unrealistic silence. In the contrary, Fragile Dreams use nature's sounds as a better substitute of silence.

Good Graphics: +3
Good Sound Design: +3

At its best, the graphics can be truely stunning

In Conclusion:

Fragile Dreams is a game that you simply cannot play again. Its a one-time experience. While this experience might be hampered by some sub-par gameplay, I don't think its annoying enough to subtract from an otherwise great story.

This is exactly the sort of title which I feel greater care in its gameplay elements could have elevated into another level. As it stand, Fragile Dreams is still worth experiencing, even if it involves a lot of busy work.

Oh, and there is a merchant wearing a chicken head who you will end up sympathizing with. Not many games can say that.

Final: 35/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

Here we have a review by Jim Sterling, who revied the game back in 03.21.2010 and gave it a 6. This would suggest that Jim didn't like it much, however his review was very conflicting as summed up by him: "How do you review a game that has simultaneously brought you endless frustration and endless wonder? A game that has made you want to throw the controller and keep your eyes glued to the screen with a dropped jaw all at once? Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is a conundrum. A deep, dark, desolate and thoroughly beautiful experience married to an aggravating, repetitive and lacking game."

Generally, I found the comment's section to be more optimistic about the prospects of enjoying the game.

A 6 is not so bad in Dtoid, says GoldenGamerXero:

"If the terrible parts come up that often and yet the game is still above average I'm willing to give this a try.

This is why I love Destructoid. A 6 or Above Average rating genuinely means something."

Current Dtoid employer Kyle MacGregor hoped the gameplay wasn't so crap:

"I've been looking forward to this title for ages. The art direction made me fall in love at first sight. It makes me so sad that the game aspect of it is so crap."

What's funny is a consistent theme laughing at FFXIII for getting a lower score than Fragile Dreams, as aptly said by janoDX:

"Agreed, but a 7 is more a fair score... Well, this is better than Final Fantasy XIII"

Which actually makes sense, becase FD is the better game.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

I don't think anyone would think this game would do well. Its an emotional game about a 15 year old effiminate boy with very limited gameplay. Its also a game asociated with the "weebo" culture, and the sort of game Japanes companies like Sega are afraid of localizing.

Turns out that's mostly right. FD only managed to sell about 360K units, which is actually not good for a project with such production values. However, it sold 280K units in the use compared to 60K in Japan, which suggests that the common idea of the overly Japanese games not selling well in the west to be ludicrous. In fact, the Japanese market is sometimes more cutthroat on those titles than the west.

"Tips"

1- Have an additional weapon in case yours break.
2- Use bonfires frequently to save and read memories, as well as store stuff.
3- In the final bosses, a ranged weapon is a much better choice.
4- You can always ignore enemies to speed things up.

"Next Game"

Few game narratives worked on me, but the story of Fragile Dreams, as well as all the micro-stories were presented very well and in more ways the regular cut-scenes. It was a worth-it narrative experience.

The next series of games are also narrative focused. Atlus's Trauma Center series focuses on the lives of doctors, and the player is put in the role of surgeons. Only the third game in the series, Trauma Team is on the list at #37. However, for better context, I will play the other two first. So my next game will be Trauma Center: Second Opinion.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Wii game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

No screenshots at mobygames

  read


10:07 AM on 07.27.2015

Better with Age: Actually Finishing Mega Man

Actually Finishing the Damn Game:

I have been a fan of Mega Man games for a long time. Yet, I never actually managed to finish any one of them before I played them in the Mega Man anniversary editions that included all the original 8. Before that, the farthest I would usually go to was reaching the final stages. In most games, the Yellow Devil or some similar monster would be my end.

For the regular 8 Robot Masters, one of them at least would be a pushover that I can defeat after some difficulty. Afterwards, it is just a matter of using that Master’s weapon against another until all 8 are defeated. However, the bosses in the final stages usually do not have the same weakness, and my younger self couldn’t deal with them.

The Derpiest Picture I could find

After playing Mega Man anniversary and reaching the final stages for the first time, I thought I will have the same problems again. However, I found that I had more developed more skills as I grew up, and that my attention wasn’t grabbed by other games. Donkey Kong Country 2 wasn’t around anymore to entice me away from the tenth defeat against that one eye bastard.

As I grew up and accumulated more gaming experience, the quality of Mega Man did not suffer at all. Its simplistic 8-bit graphics (or amazing 16-bit graphics for the X games) looked as bright and colorful as ever, and the tunes were super memorable as well. Additionally, you cannot fault the game’s mechanics which evolved well from game to game while maintain the core precision Mega Man demands.

With time, not only did I grow but also my appreciation for the simple yet sublime gameplay of Mega Man. By actually managing to finish the game, I discovered more ways to play it. More ways to enjoy it, some really due to the modern tools incorporated into the game.

The Ability to bend the laws of time and physics, AKA as Loading a Save State

Namely,

Save States:

Let me start by saying that I agree with the common argument that finishing an old game using save states doesn’t really count. For example, a speed run of a game should use the same rules that have been used to play the game in the past.

However, save states have had a number of positive impacts on my Mega Man experience. First, I could use them right behind memorable boss battlers that I want to more easily relive. Second, I can use them to make my run easier if I wanted a relaxing time. Third, I can simply use them instead of the redundant password system as a saving option.

Yet, the best use of it by far is to train myself to get better.

It's not like Mega Man uses anything other than his Buster Cannon (or a gun) in all of that Terrible Art Work

One of the most coveted ways to finish a Mega Man games is by a Buster gun only run. Which would usually require a lot of practice to master, especially in the boss fights. In the past, such practice would usually entail going through the whole stage to fight the boss, and repeat the process after each game over. With save states, you can simply accelerate the whole process by saving before the boss, and fighting them over and over again with the neutral weapon.

I wouldn’t say a game run that uses that technique before every boss is that impressive, but it gives you the training that you need to actually make a valid run through.

Using save states in such a way, I was able to finish most of the original Mega Man games with only my neutral weapon. It was hard, at times painfully so, but by the end, it was very much worth it.

Nostalgia:

The power of memories is astonishing. Simple pockets of information stored in your mind that influences not only what you think, but how. Often, I see people complaining about the effects of “Nostalgia Goggles” on people’s perception, as if that is a necessarily bad thing.

Listening to the distinctive sounds of Mega Man can trigger a wide variety of emotions, emotions that wouldn’t be triggered in a carbon copy game of Mega Man. Seeing all those now iconic sprite movment. Removing these emotions from enjoying these classics is an impossibility.

Especially that epic jump

When I go back and play these Mega Man games, I remember all the past times I played it. I remember the time I stumbled upon a password in Mega Man X that transferred me to the final stages. I remember the distinctive Proto Man whistle. I remember thinking Zero was just a Proto Man redesign, a memory that continuous to resurface despite knowing its wrong.

These feelings are one reason I frequently revisit older games I fell in love with. They remind me of myself at the time I did. Today, I frequently play older games that I missed before. Other than the graphical and musical style, those games do not contain the memories stored in my brain like Mega Man.

In the future, when I remember for the umpteenth time that Cut Man’s weapon beats Electric Man easily, and when I go through each level. Mega Man will not be alone traversing the level; he will be accompanied by innumerable phantom sprites trudging through with him. Some will play like him, others would beat the boss with only the buster cannon, and many others would simply die in the way.

Games do not change with age, only our perception of them change. For those classics that resist all negative perception and only hold on to the best of both memory and actual gameplay; they stay on our minds. As we play them, we play as adults, as children, as parents, and as we are now.

All of us, together, enjoying that jump through the boss’s door.

Would Mega Man be such an iconic character in Smash if they didn't use so much from his heritage?

  read


8:55 AM on 07.24.2015

Wii REVIEWS: MadWorld

For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

45- MadWorld:
Year: 2009.
Genre: Action, Beat-em-up.
Publisher: Sega.
Developer: Platinum. 

 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

MadWorld is a game that strongly wants to stand out among its peers. With a bold black and white graphical style, accompanied by bright red splashes of color made frequent by its bloody premise. This is a game that stands out as not only one of the few rated-M titles on the Wii, but also as a unique Action game.

"Like Polo, with chainsaws"

Before talking about anything, the readers should be aware of how different this game is from the usual Action games designed by Platinum and others. MadWorld's action is not as much in combat as it is in the simple actions of murdering your enemies. Your main character, Jack, is not usually bothered by the pawns he has to kill. In fact, they offer very little resistance, and Jack himself has a limited repertoire of moves in which to deal with them.

These pawns exist for Jack to kill and rake in points depending on how he killed them. Simply using your chainsaw to slice and dice around will do the job, but it only counts for little points. Better still, you can beat the fodder up before executing them with some pretty graphic attacks for more points.

However, for the high scores, you will need to be more creative and use both your skills and the environment. For example, you can slam a barrel on top of someone's head, stick in 2 signs and a candle, and then throw them into a grinder. Or, you can stick some pumpkin heads into a few idiots, line them up, and then launch them into a spike wall with a baseball bat.

As Jack, you are asked to be creative with your kills, and you are scored accordingly. Which is why the action is not in subjecting the pawns as much as in killing them. In fact, the combat is very basic and is only used to push enemies around and stun them. Which is okay because combat is not the goal of the game, execution is.

Unfortunately, the game does not prove to be as varied as it should be. While both execution animations and environmental hazards are varied, the actual mechanics are not. Sure, signs, candles, poles, and fans are different, but all of them are stuck into pawns heads in the same way. Similarly, most of the environmental hazards are either activated by the same push of a button or by throwing some pug into them. Its like if Mortal Kombat's entire gameplay is the fatalities. Sure, they look cool, but its becomes repetitive after a while.

Unique Gameplay: +3
Its Repetitive: -7

There Will Be Blood

"It's either kill or be killed "

I can seriously imagine the guys at Platinum first coming up with both the gameplay idea and the graphical style. At that point, they probably realized they needed a plot to go along with it. Which is why the plot in MadWorld feels both forced and it fits really well.

Take the gameplay for instance, kills are allocated points depending on how gruesome the kill is. In the game, you are a participants in the Death Watch games, which grade players based on how creatively they kill the competition.

This might seem like a violent game then, but the violence is ramped up to such an extreme it became more slapstick comedy than gritty murder. Sure, you split a guy in half with a chainsaw, but that is equal to Tom getting chopped in half by Jerry (which happened a few times).

Whoever is in charge of Death Watch has trapped an island resembling Manhattan and forced them to take part in the games. As Jack, you are a participant in these games, but there is more to you than meets the eye. The Death Watch games serve as both the creative thrust for both the gameplay and the plot, which manages to be cool in its cliche.

Like with many Platinum games, the overall plot is ridiculous and over-the-top. Yet, it is carried out in such a way as to make it exciting. Not only are the characters interesting and fun, but the entire presentation as well. Take the two game announcers for example, they hammer in the idea that this is some sort of game for the masses to watch.

Cool Story: +3
Excellent Presentation: +4

I have a chainsaw for a right arm, no need to worry about me

"Just throw a Motherfucker into this jet engine and watch his ass accelerate to hell"

Each level in MadWorld is structured around gaining enough points to meet the boss of that level. You usually get points by murdering pawns, but each level has a mini-game of sort that helps you get to the end total faster. Those mini-games, dubbed Bloodbath Challenges, usually require you to murder cannon fodder in specifically hilarious ways.

For instance, one of these challenges require you to launch some worthless hooligans into a large dartboard, and it scores it as if in a real dartboard game. Another asks you to run over aliens with your pimped up motorcycle.

Generally, these are not deep affairs, but they add a little variety to each stage.

The boss battles however, are dull an unimaginative, as opposed to their excellent design. These battles usually devolve into Wii specific quick time events, meaning you will need to swing the Wii mote or shake it violently. Ironically, the actual swinging around with the Wii is not problematic in the actual gameplay, and is intuitively integrated.

However, in the boss battles, where sometimes you get the same QTE for 4 times in a battle, the swings get annoyingly repetitive, and the vigorous shaking downright offensive. I think each boss battle required me to shake my hands like a madman at least twice. I had to remove my watch because it started hurting my wrist.

Unfortunately, MadWorld's bosses only offer spectacle in their design and in the cut-scenes. Yet in the actual battle itself, they are simply pedestrian.

Bloodbath Challenges: +2
Boring Boss Battles: -4

Go pick on somone your own size, or I will cut you down to size

"Whatever makes the audience happy"

After finishing the game, I asked myself the question: can this game work without the visual style?

I seriously doubt it could. Everything in the game from its plot presentation, to its gameplay elements, is enhanced by the Sin City inspired graphics. I decry the gameplay for being a little repetitive, but the visual style kept it from being unbearably so. I loved the plot presentation and style, but that owes as much to the graphics as to the writing itself.

Through its use of the two contrasting colors, the game world devolves into a unique perspective not encountered much in videogames. It immediately becomes something unique and its flaws are therefore more easily forgiven.

Similarly, we see the game's soundtrack being influenced by its graphical presentation. With a number of original rap songs, the game has an energetic style to its music that helps you around while dismantling hapless foes. I do wish however, that you could switch around the songs as if in a radio, because it makes it less repetitive in the longer stages.

Of special not is the Voice Acting, which delivers a top-notch performance in all its roles, especially the two bickering announcers who manage to make Death Watch a believable dude-bro sport.

Excellent Visual Presentation: +6
Good Sound Design: +3

Would you mind getting reamed by her?

In Conclusion:

By many standards, MadWorld is among the weakest of Platinum's games. Which is not saying much knowing how well regarded Platinum is. I find myself agreeing with that sentiment, while acknowledging that even at their worst, Platinum still made a damn fun game.

Perhaps lacking the usual depth of Platinum's games, MadWorld nevertheless still retains their trademark fun and exciting style.

Final: 35/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

Destructoid's review of MadWorld was one of their two reviews experiments in 03.24.2009, featuring a review by former Editor-in-cheif Jonathan Holmes who gave it an 8.5 and a nother by former Dtoid writer Anthony Burch who gave it a 6.5; averaging a total score of 7.5.

Holmes sums it up: "It was only after playing it for about a half hour that I figured out that MadWorld isn't a beat-'em-up; it's a "kill-'em-up." Not judging it against prior beat-'em-ups really went a long way towards helping me appreciate the game. It was also at about the half-hour mark that the game went from being "sort of weird" to "totally batshit insane," which also did a lot to win me over."

While Burch offers an alternate tak: "MadWorld is an odd beast. Its violence and core controls are remarkably pleasing on a visceral level and its sense of humor is so startlingly unpretentious that it's difficult not to admire, but its over-the-top premise is rarely exploited to its fullest potential."

For some weird reason, there are no comments at all on the review, which probably means they were not ported from whatever comment system Dtoid used before.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

This one game that I am actually intrested on the history of its sales. MadWorld is infamously used as one of the Mature titles that do not sell on the Wii by Sega, who even went on record by saying it might have done better on the PS3. After the dust settled on this tale, we find that MadWorld sold 770K units world-wide, performing noticably bad in Japan. When compared to other Sega-Platinum titles, MadWorld actually sold more on one console than any other game besides Bayonetta.

In fact, MadWorld is among the best selling 100 for Sega despite being on one consol only, and in fact outselled similar games in its genre.

Frankly, given how Sega operates, their complaint against the performance of MadWorld is just them being full of shit, especially when it outsold both Aliens Colonial Marines and Aliens Isolation (in one Consol) despite having a divisive art style and no known brand to back it up.

"Tips"

1- Each stage has some unique objective that is not necessary to win, but gives a lot of points.
2- If you are surrounded by enemies, dispatching them with the chainsaw is an easy exit strategy.
3- Try and save the weapons you get for the bosses, instead of breaking them.
4- Explore around the stages to find some more killing traps.
5- Some enemies always drop some health, know which do that and look for them when low on health.
6- The game's visuals are not problematic at all, everything is clear and fine.

"Next Game"

I am still surprised by how good Platinum are at making games. Even their worst titles are enjoyable to play, and highly polished as well. The next game in the list is going to be something very different from the mindless violence of MadWorld. At #37, Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon promises to be a deep and emotional story.

Usually, I found almost all videogame's "emotional and deep" stories to be largely inferior to their counterparts in all other media. However, I am hoping to be proven wrong here.

Stay Tuned

For Previous Wii game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

Screenshots

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1:29 AM on 07.23.2015

As Your New Royal Reservist: Ask Me Anything

Finally, my plan to infilitrate Dtoid's community circles have worked, and now I am reshaping this crazy website into my image and......

Shit, I uncovered a lot of my plan. You can safely ingnore that.

I am honored at finally being able to repay back the community that I belonged to for some time now. Destructoid is actually only the second online community I ever belonged to, and is my only interaction with other people online along with the football forum I am part off. I never was attracted by social media, and my facebook page has long died and went the way of the dodo, and I never could see me being part of Twitter.

Generally, I am more of a face-to-face kind of guy, but Lord Spencer has long been another face of my personality that doesn't find many kinderd souls to interact with.

The little blurb I have in the side does say a lot about me, but I felt you might wanted to know more about your new Reserve Recapper. Mostly so you can send me bribes and gifts.

So, come on fellow kinderd souls, Asky Me Anything. If you dare...

  read


12:59 AM on 07.22.2015

My Blogs:

Hello all, I have been blogging here in Dtoid since the start of 2014. In the beginning, I really did not think I would continue blogging for such a long time. At first, I only started with the goal of finishing up my SNES reviews series, which is still ongoing now (that’s a long time coming). However, I managed to branch out into other Review series now, as well as other blogs and topics.

In an effort to keep all my writings organized in one place, I am going to categorize all my blogs here for now and the future.

Total Blog Count: 65

Personal:

Here is my more personal blogs. Mostly, these are simply off-topic blogs rather than actual personal writings.

Attempts at Humor:

Whether these attempts work or not is up to your judgment; some of the readers seemed to enjoy them.

Bloggers Wanted:

Here is where I am putting my responses to the Bloggers Wanted topics Dtoid usually puts out. Each blog has the BW title before it, so you know exactly what the theme is.

Something Something Videogames:

Here is where I discuss things related to videogames, from game mechanics discussions to angry rants.

Reviews:

Since I have a lot of reviews, I am just going to put in the review list link which then links to all the other reviews.

The SNES Stuff:

The Wii Stuff:

The DS Stuff:

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2:48 AM on 07.16.2015

Why I Cry for Satoru Iwata

Why I Cry for Satoru Iwata:

The news of Mr. Iwata’s death hit me like a brick. I was loafing around at work, wasting time, and suddenly see Mr. Iwata’s face which always brought the widest smiles to my face under the most ominous of titles. I clicked on the article’s title hoping I read it wrong, hoping I was simply mixing two articles together. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t do anything else at work. I was struggling not to tear up, knowing I wouldn’t be able to explain it to my non-gaming peers.

Mr. Iwata passed away. That singular thought continues to ping in my mind at each unguarded moment. Realization that someone I admired so much is not here anymore. Realization that for all the sadness I and many fans feel, it must be that much worse for his friends and family.

Today I realize that Iwata, and a lot of what he stood for, are major reasons I love videogames and love Nintendo so much. Simply put, nearly every time I saw his name at the end game’s credit, it was after a much rewarding and fun experience. And this guy had so much to do with it, across the board.

I never could help smiling whenever I hear him talk. He was the embodiment of Nintendo’s purest form, that of joy, wonder, and the many smiles.

Iwata laughs

Dedication, Perseverance, and Confidence:

For anyone familiar with Japanese culture, they would realize that your day-job is a very important part of who you are. It is both a declaration of statues and input in life. After graduating from college, Mr. Iwata joined the small upcoming company HAL laboratories much to the chagrin of his father. Jokingly, Mr. Iwata used to mention how his father first tried to convince him to get a normal job, and then stopped talking to him all together in an effort to sway his mind.

Young Satoru Iwata, who was the eldest child, was not planning in displeasing his father. He knew HAL was going to be a success, and he planned to stick to it.

We are familiar with the smiling and pleasant face of the man, but he became Nintendo’s president because of the same qualities that led him to defy his father and make a success story out of the small HAL studio.

This is a man who consistently took on difficult tasks upon himself only to solve them in a short manner of time. Earthbound was a mess by all accounts; an over-budget title that had troubled development. When Iwata came into the project, the code was all over the place. The short turn around in programming is one reason the game saw the light of the day, and Iwata and Itoi continued to be friends.

As CEO, Nintendo persisted in their unique ways, only to reap dividends with the Wii and the DS. Similarly, Nintendo persisted in the handheld market in the face of the doomsayers of the smart-phone boom, and while the 3DS had a rock start it is now a success.

In Mr. Iwata’s tenure, Nintendo recorded the most profit in its history, and it propelled its previous president Hiroshi Yamauichi into becoming the richest man in Japan for a year or so.

Through the latter year’s hardships, Iwata planned to continue in Nintendo’s path, convinced that the company would reverse its fortunes (as it started doing) but will still play with its own terms.

Reggie never stood a chance

Humility:

Not many CEOs would admit to their mistakes, but Mr. Iwata was not any of your run-of-the mill corporate headshots. He worked upwards in the core business of Nintendo, and he was empathetic towards his employees. As we hear from those he worked with, Iwata pushed them as much as he pushed himself, all the while making himself as accessible as possible.

Most famously, Iwata halved his own salary when Nintendo posted their first loss in more than 20 years. He was quoted as saying he would rather not get paid than to fire his employees, as people fearing for their jobs would not be able to perform it the quality Nintendo asks for. People little know that he halved it again the next year, effectively reducing it to one quarter of what it once was.

Ironically, this actually did little to help Nintendo’s financials, because his pay was simply not that much for a CEO. In a world where Don Mattick makes millions by essentially failing at two companies, Mr. Iwata was one of the least paid CEOs in the gaming business.

Iwata was not afraid to show he is as human as the rest of us

It’s All about Fun:

Back when computers used to fill in a room or two, tech enthusiasts like Iwata used programmable calculator to play around with code. In high school, the young Iwata started programing games, and the smiles his games brought to his friends were pivotal in his decision to use his programing skills in working for Nintendo in the future.

For him, the fact that his work managed to bring some fun to another person’s life was a goal in of itself. This was the basis Iwata started his career in HAL lab, and the basis he in which he run Nintendo. The promise of making fun-filled games. While game technology have exponentially grown in the past two decades, Nintendo has always stuck to its roots as a toy company.

The pursuit for fun did not stop at the game development stage though. What Nintendo aimed for was to create an entire experience for its fans that is fun, weird, and simply Nintendo. What other CEO shows up at your video game console as a weirdly shaped avatar, asking you to enjoy e3?

Through the personality Mr. Iwata created, and all the jokes and weird humor that he showed in all the presentation, he became a larger than life figure. He wasn’t only the CEO of Nintendo, but also the guy holding the bananas, the guy surrounded by Luigis. He became another Nintendo character, one that will live on in our memory.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president and mascot

Both as a programmer and as president (of both HAL and Nintendo), Satoru Iwata has made providing fun experiences for all people his goal. He gave us many smiles, to all of us from all walks of life. Today, I am enjoying my time with the Wii U and the 3DS. Before that, I remember the first time me and my siblings ever played together with my parents on the Wii. In college, I saw the brawls that were taking place on the Gamecube. As part of some research I did, I saw old people in retiring homes reliving their sport days on the Wii. Till today, my Grandmother keeps her brain active with the Brain Age series on the DS.

Mr. Iwata, you gave me and many of us innumerable smiles. May your final smile last for eternity.

Thank You, and Good Night

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11:34 PM on 07.11.2015

Wii REVIEWS: Ivy the Kiwi?

For those reading one of my Wii review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:

The Wii is often mocked for its game library, yet, it actually has a solid list of exclusives that are unavailable anywehere else. Though only Nintendo games were avilable where I am from, I was always intrested on other games. Hence, I decided to play the top 50 Wii games as chose by Gamesradar in this list:

http://www.gamesradar.com/best-wii-games-all-time/

I decided to go back and play those 5o games and review them, atl least those that intrest me and those that I hae not played before. Origianlly, I post most of my stuff in a football forum "Goallegacy" which is the first online community I have ever joined. Which is the best place for a football fan (the REAL football, not handegg) to hang out in the internet.

Also, here are a number of extra rules for Destructoid:
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Gamesradar list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.

Without further ado, here is:

50- Ivy the Kiwi?:
Year: 2010.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Xseed.
Developer: Prope. 

 

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Ivy the Kiwi is one of those games that can easily be ignored and forgotten, and in fact, was largely ignored and forgotten sale-wise and only managed to grab any attention because it is a game designed by Yuji Naka; the man behind Sonic.

If not for that connection, I find it hard to see how gaming websites would even look at the game. Made by a nearly unknown developer, published by the little known (but very resilient) Xseed, and featuring a new platforming character in the console that is brimming with platformers.

Additionally, business decisions and pricing options also contributed to the low sales of the game. No one would buy the game at this high of a price, and the game itself could not justify it. Which is unfortunate, because Ivy is a nice enough game that could have succeeded if handled differently. Especially since it has a very solid mechanical base to build on.

"One day a polka-dot egg fell from the sky"

From the egg, hatched a red bird that couldn't fly. It looked around, and without a sound, it realized her mother could not be found. At that she began to cry, and as she looked around, to find her mother she must try. And so, the bird named Ivy (but what had named her so) began to run, beneath the snow, the rain, and the scorching sun. As Ivy ran, the player watched, her path he drew, with vines stretched. Because without the player Ivy may fall, and her mother she would not able to call.

Ivy is should be thankful none of those animals wanted to et her


Ivy the Kiwi is set up initially as a fairy tale, and from that set up comes the entire story-book design. Unfortunately, besides the beginning and end, the game does not uncover any pages throughout the chapter. Its not like I needed a narrative reason to go through with the game, but even little lines of dialogue to show you the game did not forget its roots would have been enough.

The story-book style is not unique to Ivy, and has been done before and in a bigger way in the Yoshi games. Even though, the Ivy story itself is nice enough that I can use as a bed-time story to the youngest members of my family.

Mainly, Ivy's search for her mom is just the plot reason for both her inability to fly, and for her run through the levels. Levels of which there are few off, too few for a full retail price.

Too few Levels: -4

"Ivy set off running, searching for her mother"

Since Ivy is a child, I am going to forgive her suicidal tendency to run without break like a road runner on meth. Because she cannot fly, Ivy thinks that running in a straight line would somehow compromise. She only changes direction if she hits a wall or something.

Here is where the game's unique platforming comes into play.

While Ivy is busy running without any control from the player, the player has the ability to draw vines with the Wii Pointer. These vines can act as both ramps and gap stoppers, but also should be used to cover dangerous obstacles and otherwise guide Ivy's path.

However, Drawing vines is not static, but is a dynamic activity. For instance, you can draw a vine behind Ivy, and as she runs, you can move the vine and push her with it to launch her forwards and upward. In fact, this dynamic usage of the vines is more important than the static laying of bridge vines.

Another use of the vines is as a sling of some sorts. By pulling on an already placed vine under Ivy's kegs, Ivy is then launched opposite the direction of the pull to destroy a number of obstacles and blocks.

These obstacles are periodically introduced to the game to switch things around. From rats that move right and left, to crows that move up and down. And of course, the most dangerous of all, droplets of what I can only assume is highly concentrated Hydrochloric Acid that dissolves Ivy completely on contact.

They may look like water drops, but the kill on contact



Hence, you have to worry about a number of different things, including collectibles, as you help Ivy navigate each level. Which is a both hectic and rewarding process that can be used in widely different ways.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't use the mechanics to their fullest potential, and would rather invite you to master the short campaign it has than to fully explore the possibilities within its gameplay.

Similar to Sonic, this is a game about mastering a limited number of mechanics that can make Ivy do widely different things. Using dynamic vine movements to throw Ivy from one side to another, all the while trying to keep her away from crows and rats, as well as draw shielding vines to keep the drops of Nightshade Poison from killing Ivy, is as a hectic as it sounds. But when you are able to pull it off, you feel like champ. Especially since there is probably no better way to do this than the Wii Pointer.

Great Unique Mechanics: +5
Varied Obstacle: +3

"The story of the bird who ran to the top of the sky"

Taking from its story-book inspiration, Ivy the Kiwi uses a story-book style in its graphical presentation. Its a charming style that fits the game, but there is not enough variety in locations. Hence, outside of the different backgrounds, and graphical filters, there isn't much here that suggest work from the developer.

Aside from the levels themselves, the storybook that is featured at the beginning and end of the game is very well drawn. It looks like what a real story-book would look like, and what the game aimed for in the start.

Good night blue sky


Similar to the graphical presentation, the music fits well with the game, even if it repeats itself more often than it should. With probably only 10 tracks, each track should have had a longer melody before it looped to give it more substance.

Sure, its a nice enough sound track, but the final two chapters shouldn't have had the same music.

Nice enough Presentation: +1

In Conclusion:

As a Wii-Ware game, or even an eshop-only title today, Ivy the Kiwi would be a game that is easy to recommend. However, as it was released; as a retail-game. The game, like Ivy herself, does not have the wings to carry it far.

This is why, even though it is a mechanically great game, Ivy commercially flopped. This should have been sold in the same category as Super Meat Boy, not with Super Mario Galaxy.

Final: 30/50

*****************************************************************

"Looking Back at Destructoid's Review:"

There was no review for the Wii version of this game in destructoid.

"Sales Data:"

I am generally not intrested in the sales of the games I like, and I don't measure my penis size through the sucess of games I like. However, sales data is intresting in studying market trends, people's general intrest, marketing strategy, genre effect, and other factors. Which is why I am going to check the sales data of every modern game I review (Gen 4 and beyond).

As Everyone probably expected, this game flopped commercially, only managing to sell 70 thousand units on the Wii. It also managed only similiar numbers on the DS and abysmal numbers on mobile devices. Which is a bummer, because this game could have had wings with smarter pricing and marketing.

"Tips"

1- Use Dynamic Vine movement to navigate Ivy around.
2- Collect all 10 Red Feathers to get a life.
3- If you want to get red of all your vines quickly, just draw dot vines on the outside quickly.
4- Sometimes it pays to put Ivy in a vine cage as you plan your next move.
5- Sometime it pays to destroy crows and rats so that you don't have to deal with them.
6- Time can be a real pain, so watch that clock.

"Next Game"


Ivy the Kiwi should be re-released on the eShop. It would be perfect as even a 10$ game. However, I cannot imagine paying 40$+ for it at all.

Now, I am going to play a game by the wonderful Platinum games, MadWorld. Which is at number 45 in Gamesradar list. MadWorld is a hyper violent game with a unique visual flourish that turned off more people than it excited, but Platinum are not known for their sales anyway.

Stay Tuned


For Previous Wii game Reviews:

The List

For More Screenshots:

There are no screenshots for this game at mobygames.com

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