Oculin, known in the realm of the living as Benjamin Toy Yoder, is a college student majoring in journalism and professional writing. He likes to pretend to be a vidjya game journalist and, at the very least, has successfully tricked a few people into believing him, landing him gigs at VGChartz, Classic Game Room Empire and TheSpeedGamers.
Digging for gems in unknown or poorly received titles is what Oculin games for. He places a large emphasis on entertainment, rather than just polish. He also has an unhealthy interest in rather strange and creepy Japanese games, like Dream C Club.
Animu, visual novels and mango are also hobbies of Oculin, although he is incredibly picky and very rarely takes recommendations.
In short, Oculin is a weeaboo in denial.
Oculin wrote his first review in 2008 and has been writing video game related content ever since, including reviews, news stories, editorials and more. He started working at Default Prime and TheSpeedGamers (volunteer) as a news blogger and video game reviewer in 2009. He was promoted to editor-in-chief of TheSpeedGamers (volunteer) in 2010, which he finally left in early 2012. Throughout 2011, he worked as a contributor for both Classic Game Room Empire (volunteer) and VGChartz' gamrFeed.
While all the hardcore gaming ladies and gents were verbally exploding about the mastery of BioShock Infinite this week, I started Style Savvy: Trendsetters. Good heavens, what did I get myself into?
Initially I was only able to scratch the surface of Style Savvy, but I sunk a full 5 hours into it at my first chance of doing so. Usually I feel like playing large portions of a game at one time tends to have a negative effect on my opinion of them. Eventually I'm just waiting for the next save point so I can say, "that's good enough for today" and move on. In Style Savvy: Trendsetters' case, I had to pull myself away from it.
What drew me into the game? I'm not sure if I can say for certain yet. I've always liked playing dress up in video games, despite my real life attire being fashionably stale. Ten to twenty dollar polo shirts and khaki pants fill my closet and dressers. However this was the first time I played a game that was focused almost entirely on dressing up the ladies, as well as men now in Trendsetters.
There's a significant variety of clothes available from what I can see so far, and rarely have my outfits felt the same. The title may seem straight forward at first, but problems will start to arise that require you to get more creative with choosing different pieces of clothing. Managing your stock in specific creates many challenges, especially if you're an all-purpose clothing store. If you have a customer who wants some punk rock gear and you're running short, you have to get creative on how to make an outfit work. Otherwise, you'll have to turn them away.
Style Savvy: Trendsetters is a nice breath of fresh air in the rank and dusty bullet-filled mouth of gaming. It's far from the first title of its kind, but it has a level of polish that seems rare in the genre.
I plan on cuddling up with the game much more from this point on. I haven't even gotten to the fashion contests yet, so I think I have a good bit more to look forward to.[center]
After nearly two years, the final title in the Operation Rainfall trilogy, Pandora's Tower, will be receiving its North American release, thanks to Xseed Games. It's easy to see why Xseed is bringing it over, as The Last Story became their best selling title, despite being on a system that has been arguably dead for quite sometime. I have yet to experience The Last Story myself, but I do see it gasping for air while being crushed by my mountainous backlog. I've continued to neglect it as I, instead, ended up putting a good seven hours into a European copy of Pandora's Tower.
Pandora's Tower is essentially a 3D hack 'n slash dungeon crawler, with some simple puzzle solving elements. The player starts with only a sword, but gains other weapons from later dungeons, including the speedy twin blades and and the slow yet powerful scythe. They effect not only attack power, but attack range and character movement. However, there's no way to quickly swap equipment, so players aren't intended to switch weapons on the fly during combat. While each weapon initially has a basic combo and a single special attack, additional combos for each weapon can be unlocked via upgrades. However, these additional combos are based off charging the main attack, and feel like they disrupt the game's flow. Combat often boils down to the player running around an enemy while charging their weapon.
Players do have a second weapon always available to them: a chain. It's largely used to traverse the games' dungeons by grappling onto objects or swinging off hooks. However, it can also be used in combat. Pointing at enemies with the Wii Remote and pressing B will latch the chain onto them. This then leads into a variety of other actions, like throwing enemies, swinging them around to deal damage to other foes, binding them to other enemies and objects, and pulling on them to remove armor or deal damage. But like the charge combo, the chain doesn't feel seamlessly integrated into combat. Aiming the Wii Remote in the heat of battle doesn't feel intuitive and the character feels strangely unresponsive before and after many of the chain-based moves.
So why are you running around and killing monsters? It's a video game. What are you talking about? You don't need a reason, but Pandora's Tower gives you one. It's all for your BFF Elena, who has been cursed. She's slowly transforming into a monster, and time continues to progress while players are in dungeons. Feeding her raw beast flesh staves off the effects, but only eating Master Flesh obtained from the each tower's boss can actually cure her.
The player's relationship with Elena goes beyond just rolling chunks of flesh down her throat. Interacting with Elena plays like a basic dating sim, asking the player to chat with her and give her gifts to increase their bond. In response, she will frequently give gifts to the player or use the materials players bring her to craft things. Keeping yourself nice and cozy with Elena is sort of the point of the game, which only makes it more potent when you accidentally neglect giving her beast flesh for too long, causing her deep suffering as she turns into a seizure monster blob thing. The game also has that lovely British localization that other Operation Rainfall titles were treated to. I've really enjoyed it in Pandora's Tower and Xenoblade, and hope it's something Nintendo continues with.
Elements of the game regarding Elena are actually pretty interesting, but unfortunately the gameplay itself is lacking. The fun factor feels missing whenever you dive into the dungeons, as the game doesn't have the fluidity to be all that engaging. It's a neat title and definitely one desperate Wii owners should keep an eye out for when it launches on March 26(whoops, no release date yet). But based off the time I spent with it, I wouldn't expect to come into some stellar action game.
I don't have much to say about Dishonored.(What a attention grabbing first sentence!) Part of that is due to playing it almost three months after release, and partly because, despite being a new I.P., there's not much really going on with the title. Dishonored is your typical stealth action adventure game, and it forces that significantly early on, which can be an issue if that's not an enjoyable play style for you. However, thanks to having a variety of powers that are geared towards different styles of play, your character's stats and abilities start opening up after the first few hours.
Outside of character progression, quality voice acting and a striking visual style, the game is fairly bland. Most of what the title offers we’ve seen plenty of times before in this generation from releases like Assassin's Creed, Mirror's Edge and BioShock. Is that bad? Not at all. The title is well polished and does a great job integrating aspects from various titles into a single game. But instead of blending these elements to make something that feels new or different, it feels like it's just stitched together with each piece acting on its own. The fact that it's a new I.P. is almost just a novelty, acting as a new shell for these old experiences.
However, it's easy to find enjoyment in Dishonored, and fans of first person stealth games are bound to love it, if not already so. But as a new property, it does little to impress.
I'm just kind of posting this here cause I can. I'm aware Destructoid did their own review already, but yeah. VIDEOGAEMZ>
To give some perspective before I even start talking, I'm a horrendously casual fighting game fan. My idea of strategy is learning a few short combos, guarding occasionally, and then panicking and slapping my hands all over the controller as I get beaten down. So if you're looking for a hardcore fighting game fan's opinion on Dead or Alive 5, I won't be fulfilling that here
What I can tell you is how user friendly Dead or Alive 5 is for the more casual player, and that's where the title really stands out. Despite my controller drumming during gameplay, moves seem to smoothly flow into each other, even if you don't entirely know what you're doing. Many of the attacks, while they may not be full fledged combos, will chain from one to another, eliminating some of the start/stop gameplay lower skilled players might experience with more complex fighters. One thing that I can point out for those more familiar with the genre is that the PlayStation 3 version would occasionally stutter, which is a big no no in the fighting genre. I can't speak for the Xbox 360 version, but this rarely interrupted my highly strategic flailing.
The series multi-tiered levels make a return, letting players knock each other into other rings within a single stage for bonus damage. Despite being an old franchise feature, it remains impressive in Dead or Alive 5 and still adds strategic depth in terms of character placement.
Speaking of franchise staples, the nonsensical story campaign is here as well. It's a bit tough to follow, but is saved by the wide variety of personalities in Dead or Alive 5. This makes the plot flexible, with major story characters like Kasumi, Hayate, and Ayane of the Ninja Clan delivering the more serious aspects, and more light-hearted characters like Hitomi, Tina and the always lovable womanizer, Zack, adding a lot of humor and overall weirdness.
Dead or Alive 5 is just a fun game to sit down and play a few rounds with. The lack of a high skill bar ensures that most players will get some level of value out of the title. For those who do want to take the game further, there's clearly at least a healthy level of depth here, as well as the ability to compete online, either head-to-head or through leader boards. While I only spent a very limited time online, the few matches I did play were running smoothly with no noticeable lag. Although, beware the need for an online pass for rentals and used purchases.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword! Sure it may not be terribly old but these days, but it's definitely a backlog item if your copy is still sitting around after the holiday rush. The title is one of the few releases to actually make full use of the Wii's Motion + controller. While there's definitely some good content here, the game's pacing and length is a bit questionable.
Carrier is a 2000s Dreamcast survival horror title developed and published by Jaleco. The survival horror title was one of the first 3D titles in the genre .There was a planned PS2 sequel that was later canceled.
I apologize for some of the darker scenes. I tried to brighten it, but it didn't do much.