Welcome everyone, to my semi-daily rantview: Pixelvista. Pixelvista is where I will be sort of reviewing games, but not to the extent of a review. More so, giving impressions of it but at the same time finalizing the opinion with detailed justification. So welcome to Pixelvista: The Art of the Gaming Horizon.
I know I really half-assed it with my Knights in the Nightmare "post". For those who have been waiting for it, I present to you Pixelvista Vol.1: Knights in the Nightmare.
Publisher: ATLUS USA
Developer: Sting Inc
Knights in the Nightmare, is without a doubt, one of the the most elegant, beautiful and innovative games that I've ever played. Outside of the classic, The World Ends With You, no other DS game has come close to providing such a fresh, innovative experience and taking complete advantage of the system's hardware until now.
KitN is the result of when you toss real time strategy RPG, bullet hell shump, tic tac toe and a slot machine in a blender. Sounds complicated, right? Not really. Knights opens up with a tutorial that's about an hour or so long to teach you the necessary steps of playing the game. However, in this Pixelvista entry, it will not take that long. I will do my absolutely best to explain this game in words.
As Episode IV, of the Dept. Heaven series that was preceded with Riviera: The Promised Land and Yggdra Union, which were both released on the GBA and PSP, you take control of a wisp, a flying spirit that has the ability to possess things, more specifically, your units. The game is divided up between the touch screen and the top screen. You use the stylus to control the wisp on the battlefield, possessing units at will. Before each battle turn, you will have a predetermined number of units to set in preselected slots. The units are Warriors, Lance Knights, Priestess, Wizards, Archers, Hermits and Duelists. Each unit has different attack properties. For example, the Warrior can only face northwest and northeast, and the Hermit can only face southwest and southeast. You have quite a bit of strategy here when placing your units.
Once your units are set, you equip up to 4 items. Weapons are class dependent as expected, and you also obtain in the game, key items. Key items are items used to recruit new knights for your roster(the game has up to 100 to recruit) Recruiting new knights is a definite must.
Now here come's the really confusing parts.
Once all units and items are set into battle, it begins. You have something called an Encounter Reel. Think a slot machine. It appears before each battle(sans the first turn) and allows you to "strategically" place where your enemies will and what they will be. The objective of the game is to defeat the enemies and score KILL horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in the FOR VICTORY table that appears on the top of the screen in battle.
Every time you defeat an enemy, KILL is crossed off on the table. Once you defeat all enemies that turn, the turn ends and you go back to the Encounter Reel and select more enemies.
Knights attack and move dependent on the order of the universe. Law, in blue, and Chaos, in red. In battle you have the ability to switch between Law and Chaos at anytime. Most weapons can only be used in either or, but some weapons have the ability to be used in both, but with different effects. For example, the Lance Knight on his or her horse, will attack with a lance stab in Law, but when charging and attacking in Chaos, he or she will move forward two spaces and attack. Law and Chaos bring an unprecedented amount of depth to an already deep game, so you will have to plan strategically accordingly based upon your units and enemy situation.
The actual gameplay you ask? Oh yeah, of course. Using the touch screen to control the wisp, you float around the battlefield, possessing your units at will. You can do ordinary attacks and special attacks by selecting them and holding, which begins charging. Once you've finished charging, they will attack enemies and obstacles in their attack range. However to do a special attack, grabbing of the item in the 4 slots is required, then dragged onto the unit, then charging. Using charged special attacks take up MP. You have up to 9 MP you can store. Every time you attack an enemy, gems and materials will come out. Gems restore your MP and materials are used to strengthen weapons to make them stronger.
Enemies attack by shooting bullets and other things. Most of the time the screen is littered with so much stuff, it gets really ridiculous. So not only do you have to attack with your Knights, you have to dodge bullets as well. Every time you are hit, your units will lose Vitality and time will go down. You have 60 seconds per turn to defeat the enemies. If you fail to do so, enemies will gradually recover health(ESPECIALLY during boss battles) and you have X amount of turns to achieve victory. Depending on how many enemies you fight and how large the board is, you can get up to 16 turns down to about 4.
If you win the battle, you gain EXP. and items, which are used to level up your knights, and make your weapons stronger. Your weapons however, have a set amount of Duration. So of course, use it too many times and "break". So you really have to use your items wisely.
Leveling up items is by the use of materials gain in battle. When you level up your items, the damange percentage gets larger and you gain something called Rush Count. Rush Count is a table of 3 columns with random numbers. Depending on the number hit combo you do in battle, a special condition will come up in battle. So for example, if you had a Nameless Bow with a rush count of 44, if you were to do an attack that landed in 44 hits, you would enable whatever that Rush Count special ability is. Making weapons is also a game, as every time you upgrade your weapon, the trust level will go down. If you fail to upgrade the weapon, the duration will go down by 1, and if you keep doing it, obviously it will break. This is especially so for the rare and powerful weapons, which have like a duration of 3 by default. I've had a lot of weapons break on me because of this, so be careful.
You can also transoul units into another one. By sacrificing a unit into another one, the maximum level they can be leveled up to will increase, however dependent on the unit being sacrificed their L.I.(Law) and C.I.(Chaos, these two factors determine how strong they will be in the order) will variable. Also, the race of the unit will determine if the transoul will be successful or a failure. As stated earlier, there are 100 Knights to recruit in the game, so you have a large amount of options.
The game's story is very well done. This will be spoiler free, of course. Everything at the beginning is really disconnected, but as you play, everything will start to make sense. The art design is very well done, like most Sting games. The UI never feels cluttered, but "full", with tons of detail appearing on the screen at once. The audio is superb with nice classical "medieval" style tunes, and subtle, simple but very clear voice acting. The game is very linear with the story telling. There is no overworld to roam, everything plays out in scenes, and is very pacing. Knights has 9 different endings, and even though I don't know how to get them, I would assume they would be based upon your actions in the game. When you complete the game, there is a new game plus option where items and knights only appear in this mode, and you have the option to play the game again through a brand new storyline with a different point of view.
Knights in the Nightmare is a tremendous game in a small little package. It's a shame that most people outside of those who know about the game will play this marvelous wonder of a game. The gameplay is fresh, new and innovative, the storyline is great, the productions are superb, and if you have a copy of Yggdra Union for the GBA, plug it in your GBA slot for some surprises. Knights is hands down my favorite DS game of all time(for right now anyway), and I would totally recommend it. I hope I explained the game very well, as it's really difficult to elaborate on a lot of things, especially in a game as deep as this. I hope you all enjoyed this volume of Pixelvista.
Fill me in. After a long time of planning, I'm finally going to visit the Big Apple, 3 AM today. Obviously the first place of importance is Nintendo World, Times Square and the like. We'll just be there for a day and I don't know what to really expect or go to in a short period of time. I know this isn't much of a cblog less a "forum" topic, but I just want to know any awesome places I should check out on the first run before I go back a second time next month.
Serious and witty/sarcastic response are welcome.
And for those of you wanting a REAL Knights in the Nightmare c-blog, give me another week. I'm pretty far into the game and it's safe to say I'm at a point where I can finally make impressions on it.
Now chances are that your mind has been blown away by this hell of a surprise Nintendo and Team Ninja gave us. Some us find it enjoyable-others not so much. But I'm not here to talk about that.
No. I'm here to talk about what the name means, and how it can by synonym to all things Metroid.
Nintendo has confirmed this game to be set between Super and Fusion. We already see Adam and a young Samus at the Galactic Federation HQ. Flashbacks of her fighting Mother Brain are seen, alongside mysterious women and a black guy who no one remembers.
The title, Other M, is supposed to represent a variety of themes in this game. It isn't solitary-it's a multitude ot metaphorical meanings. And on top of that, everyone's saying if you rearranged it, it spells Mother. Here's a list of things that I've come up with that could possibly be represented.
The loss of Samus's mother during the Ridley raid when she was younger.
The Metroid larva that Samus found at the end of Metroid II that saved Samus's life because it saw her as it's "mother'. The realization of her not having a mother, in physical form, but to the spiritual aspect of the Chozo upbringing in a motherly state.
Perhaps Samus gives birth to a bunch of genetic clones in that Body Arms place in the trailer, or uses the Chozo technology in her suit to mother their technology.
On top of that, how did they secure a vaccine from the Metroid larva in Fusion? They had to get it somehow-maybe the Metroid that saved Samus's life wasn't dead after all. There are a lot of unexplained answers in the Metroid timeline. I know it's a bit too early to speculate based on the trailer, but hopefully this game will answer them all.
Everyone likes to bitch and moan about shit they played a thousand years ago being remade to today's technology. Remakes after remakes, sequel after sequel. Playing video games used to be an underground thing back in the 90s; Either you played games or you didn't, simple as that. There were no such things as "casual" gamers and "hardcore" gamers. Blasphemy, is what I call it. Video games have tremendously received a lot more double-edged praise over the past 10 or so years, but really only to expand their audience. Unless video games are a trend in today's minimalist society(yeah I said it), alongside stupid shit like iPods, Blackberries and whatever else the fuck morons are buying subconsciously because "it's the hottest thing", video games won't last very long. Why? Companies are focusing more on mainstream ideas and focusing on HD technology. Motherfuckers wanted better graphics, well look, we have them, but in sacrifice longer development times and one or POSSIBLE two iterations of a game per console. We're talking about how back in 16-bit days Square used to churn out RPGs on the SNES like butter. Now due to HD compromising and production standards, we get a possible ONE or TWO good games from them, mixed in with a bunch of half-assed attempts at a game. When we first saw the next-generation hardware, followed by "target renderings" and "bullshots", we were fooled that our favorite games we knew and love would be "totally awesome" in high definition. Man, were we proven wrong. I would say that the last golden age of gaming exists in the 128-bit era with the Playstation 2, GameCube and Xbox. Development times were shorter, and no one was really about "remaking" anything or rebooting franchises, per se. We've come to the age of gaming where everyone's running out of ideas, rehashing old game blueprints because saying "X game from 1970 something would look good right about now, we could make money off of it" is a totally great idea. Before the flames come, I do know that the media works like that. We see it all the time in movies and television shows, but in video games you can only do it so much without it getting old and stale.
The Nintendo DSi is a prime example of this. Now I love Nintendo, they've done a lot of great things but made a lot of mistakes in the past. The Nintendo DS is a great handheld and I don't believe there will ever be another one to surpass it[cue PSP fanboys], however the DSi is just a waste of time and money. Not saying it's a bad handheld, but 40 bucks for a marginal upgrade? Really? They could have at least made the screens widescreen or something. The online DSi shop looks a mess, the cameras really aren't needed, and the web browser still sucks ass. There's a larger screen, and better button firm, but that's about it. Nintendo should've went back to the cutting room floor with this, unless you don't already own a DS, there's no point of buying one. It's even become a thing with Nintendo, where they have to follow stupid trends such as this now. Now, thanks to the iPod Touch and PSP, they believe they NEED to have a handheld with multimedia capabilities. What happened to their motto of just being about games, and not about the latter?
Over the past few years, with every original idea comes about 10 sequels and remakes and reboots. I can name a lot of great original games, that game companies that are cult classics but due to the mainstream audience not accepting them, will never see the light of day ever again. Games such as Okami and Eternal Darkness come to mind. Rehashing a video game is like rehashing a good movie; it was great the first time until you see the remake and realize how many faults the original had, but because the rehash doesn't capture the spirit of the original, you enjoy the remake but have mixed feelings towards it, and despite the gap in production quality over the years, you would prefer the original.
Now don't get me wrong, there are SOME games that do deserve to be remade for today's generation. But once again, our standards are set too high these days. When the first trailer for Devil May Cry 4 was shown, everyone was stoked. When the final product came out, it was disappointing and doesn't even come close to holding a candle to 1 and 3. What is the missing substance here? Are development studios taking HD for granted and skimping out on the actual gameplay, using the illusion of "better graphics equals everything"? Or is it because we've played it all before, but now it's just under a fresh coat of paint?
Nostalgia ensues on a lot, and I've come to realize a lot of people are replaying classic consoles again such as the Dreamcast, PS2, Sega Saturn and SNES. Although it's quite sad that we've come so far in technology in gaming that we have to take a step back to play the games we really enjoy, even for a brief moment. The Wii's Virtual Console alone is a selling point. If my Wii weren't broken right now, despite me owning a 360, I could easily slide into a 20 hour session of Super Mario World or A Link to the Past right now. No questions asked. 2D never ages, but 3D will always age. I wonder what's up with that?
I suppose to close this off I'm just going to say it's really difficult to get excited about games anymore. Action Game 7 or Remake of a Remake 3 just doesn't cut it. They were cool back in the day, but now everyone is doing it. Whenever I see originality that isn't just a trend, I will be there.
Thanks for the great time everyone! I don't remember all of your names, but AgentMoo, Cowzilla, Topher, Andy(keener, my main n-word), Blindsidedork,girl from NYDtoid Narp, Shi, the guy who's name starts with an S[edit: Samtt] who's birthday was today, the awesome Mame arcade guy, and of course, Hito for of course letting us bums into his wonderful house playing his awesome video games. I still WOWed at his collection of toys upstairs. Nerdgasm, I know.
So yeah, if you were there, leave a comment! I wanna add you all to my D-Toid list and Xbox Live list. I had a shitload of fun meeting you all, and no, there's no chance I will get better at Power Stone 2. But I will kick Hito's ass at that puzzle game on of these days. Magical Drop, was it? Yeah Hito, better watch out. You got competition son!
On this note I'm out. Sexy Beach 3 FTW, Pterodactyl porn FTL.