Nostaljourney is a retro gaming podcast that features an new cast every episode. Each episode is based on discussing a particular game or series, then finding people who are nostalgic for it and people who have never played it before. If need be we go so far as to donate all the necessary gaming hardware to the newcomers. We compare the experiences of the two groups to find out how well a game has really aged as well as discuss its history.
For younger community members it may be a chance to learn what gaming was like in the past. For older community members it may be a chance to discover what games are truly classic and what games are not. In general the show exists to evaluate and discuss the nature of nostalgia and for everyone in the community to get to know each other better. Because the show involves giving out free games, it only records once every couple of months.
Recent changes to the game plan will hopefully entail the show recording every 2 weeks.
Wryviews are my personal review series where I try to do things different from the norm by asking myself how well the game achieved its goal, instead of if I liked the game or not. Wryviews are a personal challenge to stay objective and identify who would enjoy a certain game, rather than complain about who wouldn't. I feel that being a good reviewer entails being able to identify each game's audience.
Gemnalysis is a series where I hunt down lesser known or neglected games and make a case for playing them despite the fact that they're older. Instead of flat out reviewing these games I look at them from the perspective of a collector and go over the game's history, and special trivia it may have.
Fatal Impact is a series of community tournaments revolving around SNK fighters; rather, it was. I happen to host the tournaments, but only once in a blue moon when I have the free time. I accept any and all callers, though I am not an entrant. Instead I am a trainer who organizes my entrants and helps to improve their game while introducing them to new and lesser appreciated fighting games.
The Fatal Impact tournaments will likely not continue until SNK releases games with better netcode. With recent promises from Atlus, King of Fighters XIII is likely to become the next big Fatal Impact game.
The King of Fighters Love Letter is a series dedicated to the storyline and history of SNK fighting games. Many people don't know anything about SNK in general, and with King of Fighters XIII on its way I'm going to bring everyone up to speed on the story in the series thus far.
Now that King of Fighters XIII has an actual release date this series may continue beyond the first story arc (Orochi Saga), but it's difficult to find solid information on the series' backstory.
Podsumaki Episode 09: Mortal Kombat Special Podsumaki is a fighting game podcast that I hosted on and organized. There was a lot of random smack talk but it was a fun show. Currently it's on hold and none of the hosts are sure if it will ever come back. Our last episode was our highlight, where we spoke with three of the best Mortal Kombat players in the US and discussed the Mortal Kombat community and the upcoming game. If you were to listen to any one episode of Podsumaki, I'd recommend it be this.
The Top Three Things "Gamers" Should Care About Less Somebody on Call of Duty: Black Ops screamed at me for not being good enough at the game, even though I wasn't on his team. Thanks to that I decided to write an article on some of the biggest problems with the gaming community, mostly their inability to care about things that actually matter.
Tainted Beauty: The Death and Rebirth of a Genre What we have here is an article revolving around the 2D fighting game genre, the path one must go through to become good at the games, and all the obstacles in the way of this that I feel eventually led to the temporary death of the genre prior to the release of games like Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue.
Wry Guides: Goozex Training Manual Wry Guides are a series where I try to educate the people of the community by writing about something that I in particular know a lot about. More than anything else though, it's just me unleashing a bad pun upon the world.
Top 11 Dreamcast Games You Probably Didn't Play In this article I recap my experience as a guy who loved the Dreamcast, because he grew up with it as one of his primary forms of entertainment. The games listed aren't the popular and trendy choices so much as the lesser played B-list and C-list games that only true Dreamcast veterans touched.
Hey, I liked it: Mega Man VII Hey, I liked it was a series where I reflected on games that I'm fond of that weren't appreciated by many people. As opposed to Wryviews which are meant to be impartial, this was a much more personal series. This series might continue some day but I could really not think of a bigger black sheep game than Mega Man VII.
Wry's Dreamcast Homebrew Guide: Pre-Brewed There was a time when I was extremely, extremely into my Dreamcast. I didn't just play tons of regular games that I found on sale, I also researched the wealth of bootleg Dreamcast programs. These days I'm a collector and I'm not concerned with unofficial software. I'm too busy playing games I actually own. Still I created a quick guide to some of the easiest and best programs available for the Dreamcast that can be used with no hassle.
Two things stand in the way of this game's success that are entirely not its fault: Change and the pedestal Phoenix Wright fans have often placed the series upon. I've already heard various negative rumbling about this game and I've likewise already got my theories as to where those rumblings came from. The types of complaints I've been seeing so far lead me to believe that people are both ignoring this game's differences, yet faulting it for those differences at the same time. That sounds like something impossible; and for those of you who would object to my statements: I've been playing a murder mystery game, son. Your insane pleas that I don't make sense fall upon the deaf ears of someone who has seriously contemplated the practicality of a basketball hoop as a murder weapon.
In seriousness what I'm referring to is poor observational skills. The process of which you lump a game together with others of its ilk and find reason to complain, yet lack the insight to realize that sometimes it's the subtle things that make a world of difference. Basically I'm talking about people who complain because they don't understand details. Such people are the main reason I even write Wryviews, actually.
Right off the bat let's get out of the way the fact that this game is not a sequel of any sort. As such while it might be nice to have played the previous games for a little bit of backstory, I don't see any problem with recommending this as a standalone game. For those that don't know; in its most basic form the Ace Attorney games are interactive novels that take advantage of the DS touch screen to manage the wealth of information required to follow the plot. You traditionally play as a defense attorney who has to defend innocent clients accused of murder. The odds were always stacked against your client to the extreme and the only way to save them was through keen observational skills. With the evidence provided to you your job was to spot inconsistencies, uncover lies, and track down the real killer in a back and forth struggle to win the case. Two simple words describe the games best: courtroom drama.
Ace Attorney Investigations is basically the same in premise. These games are entirely plot driven so there's only so much gameplay to speak of. Ace Attorney Investigations is an entirely separate story from previous games featuring Miles Edgeworth: a prosecutor who had previously acted as one of your strongest enemies in court. The tone of the series changes significantly by placing Edgeworth as the protagonist. The Ace Attorney series at its heart is all dialog and menus. What this means is that if you change the type of person driving the story the entire feel of the game changes. The previous main characters fell into the "loveable loser" category. Edgeworth is distinctly different. He's cold, formal and insensitive. More importantly though he's witty, stylish, and confident. Simply put: he's not an underdog. Despite being something of a prick you can still tell he's a good guy at heart. If nothing else he relentlessly protects innocent people from harm.
The entire game doesn't take on this serious tone that Edgeworth projects. The supporting cast of the Ace Attorney games has always been famous for colorful, funny, and and silly design. These characters contrast Edgeworth and help bring out different aspects of his character. Some of the cast make it easy for Edgeworth to snap witty remarks, some of them prove to be capable opponents who put his skills to the test, and others yet make him uncomfortable and awkward to the point that his character flaws become obvious. Two of the earliest character you'll meet are recurring characters Maggey Byrde and Dick Gumshoe. Dick Gumshoe is a large detective whose incompetence leads to his pay being regularly cut. Thanks to this he lives on a diet of instant noodles. His incredible lack of money is even a key piece of evidence in one of the game's cases. Maggey Byrde is simply the unluckiest girl in the world who constantly finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both are dumb as bricks, but always fun to see in action thanks to their cheerful personalities.
Among this supporting cast are Edgeworth's new sidekick and rival and I really do stand by saying just about every character stands to compliment Edgeworth. This brings up one of my gripes with other reviews of this game. Because many of the game's characters have appeared in previous games there have been assertions that Ace Attorney Investigations is an act of fanservice. When you call something fan service you're implying that it's done simply for the sake of pleasing an audience. It discredits the authenticity of the work in question. I really don't understand where people are getting these assertions either. About half of the game's cast is new and half of it is old. Most Ace Attorney games are like this and nobody was calling any of them fanservice when they were released. It really seems to me that because the main character has changed that people no longer consider this a legitimate Ace Attorney game. I can't think of any other reason why people would make such odd statements. All these characters serve a key role in the story, just as they always have.
The main feature of the game that's been hyped is the fact that characters actually walk now. If you've never played an Ace Attorney game before, I'm well aware how stupid a feature this could sound like. The Ace Attorney series previously gave you almost no physical control of the character and an extremely limited viewpoint. The fact that you can now see everything and more easily interact with objects in the game helps bring it farther from the classification as a digital novel and closer to its roots: old point and click adventure games. It's really all cosmetic. This game could have used the old methods and it would have been perfectly fine, but I really applaud this bit of experimentation. The simple fact that you can see and talk to everyone in a room is just nice. It adds a small but noticeable extra layer of fun being able to physically walk around the room. Navigation is much simpler now that you can simply walk between rooms, and the fact that you have some genuine control of the situation helps you feel more like a part of the action. You can really take for granted how much this lets you visualize cases in order to solve them too.
Trust me when I say that there are many subtle improvements brought about by the simple fact that the game's characters are more animated now, but some more subtle changes have come about in this game as well. I said that Edgeworth changes the tone of the game, but it's not just his presence that does so. Edgeworth is present at the scene of every crime and in a Sherlock Holmes fashion he relentlessly pursues the truth. Edgeworth doesn't rely on a jury. Instead he has to investigate the crime scenes and find enough evidence to pressure the real criminal into confessing. The cases are somewhat less dramatic than previous games, possibly because they're entirely lacking in the supernatural element and in general are just more believable. Despite this fact the change of scenery allows Edgeworth as a character to be caught up in some really fun scenarios. My personal favorite case must be where Edgeworth is personally accused of committing murder on board an airplane. It's only through the characters' wit that he convinces the flight staff he is not guilty, and those are the sort of scenarios you can't really get when you play as an underdog character.
The Ace Attorney games were very static and they relied heavily on music to set the tone and mood. This much is still very much so true and this series is very famous for its melodies. With all the remixes the older games have seen a lot of people may not realize something, though. The original Phoenix Wright trilogy was created on the Gameboy Advance and then ported to the DS. The newer DS exclusive games like Ace Attorney Investigations have significantly higher sound quality. Just as the plots are sometimes less explosive than before, the music is likewise often more subtle. I'm personally really fond of the music included in this game and feel it stands up to any other entry in the series easily.
Now as nice as the change of scenery, new visuals, and increased sound quality are I don't think they're the most significant change brought about with Ace Attorney Investigations. That honor I feel belongs with the game's approach toward difficulty. While I certainly would have called the previous Ace Attorney games difficult, at the same time I would have called them occasionally infuriating. Sometimes you genuinely understood every mystery behind a murder and yet you couldn't get the game to acknowledge that fact. Like I said, everything was menu driven and sometimes your options were vague. The big problem was the fact that your health was so limited and sometimes you could be forced to make educated guesses. If you got too many guesses wrong you lost and you had to start an entire segment of the game over again. Imagine being forced to read the same chapter of a book three times in a row before you could move on. Not a fun concept.
Three things help circumvent this issue: the new logic system, the increased linearity of the game, and the much larger health bar. The details behind them I don't feel need to be delved into, just trust me when I say they help things move along much more smoothly. Some people will inevitably argue that this game is simply too easy; but I don't think any Ace Attorney player is objectively able to say whether this is true or not. Many people have already played four of these games. The hours put into these murder mystery games have quite possibly given us the time and practice required to think more abstractly than before. We might just be better at solving murder stories now. Besides, I personally found myself still making guesses at least on some occasions. If the game reduced us back down to only being able to fail five guesses maybe people wouldn't be arguing it's so easy anymore.
In honesty I did feel the game was wearing a little thin near the end. It might have been my own fault because I really, really wanted to experience a final climax in the courtroom that never quite happened. At that time I wasn't entirely satisfied. Still, once the credits rolled and I saw the epilogues explaining what had happened to each character after the game I realized I was happy. I was reminded of the fact that I found each case in the game memorable and some of the new characters had come to be among my favorites in the series. All the colorful and cheerful characters were putting smiles on my face one after another and I realized anything I could have said would have been nothing more than a nitpick.
For me the entire game was consistent in quality, but what really got me was first half of the game where Edgeworth was a key component in each case. I found it to be a brilliant twist being personally involved in many of the murders somehow and I felt it gave the game a more adventurous tone. The only genuine recommendation I'd make to the creators of the series is that switching back and forth between investigation and testimony can feel a little bit tired after a while, but by no means does that mean I don't think the game is worth it. Rather I'd just advise that they find a way to include a little more variety in terms of gameplay.
When it came down to it I thought Ace Attorney Investigations did a lot of things to improve upon the formula previous games had set. Before this no game had ever made genuine attempts to tinker with the core concepts behind the series, though admittedly it still very often feels like you're in a courtroom when you gather testimony from the game's characters. Either way this is a good place to reboot the Ace Attorney series. The idea of various characters having their own standalone adventures gives the series more creative breathing room, and in a way helps keep the series from becoming stale. Swapping out a new protagonist really does wonders for games as heavily plot driven as the Ace Attorney series, and the fact that the games aren't tied down by so much backstory helps give new people a chance to try out the series. Again, this isn't a sequel. Ace Attorney Investigations is its own game and it deserves a lot of respect for what experimentation it takes with a previously very rigid formula.
Five out of Five Stars
A 5 is a mark of a game that stands at the very top of its genre and gets just about everything right. It stands apart as unique and interesting without being bogged down by its own ideas. While a 4 is still a well regarded game, Wryviews do not hold a 5 as an unobtainable mark of perfection. No creative work is without flaws. In short: The reviewer's calling this a wholly satisfying experience, if not just because objectively there's very little he could suggest to make the game better at what it seeks to be.
By no means is a Wryview score a gauge of how much you should or should not buy a game. Wryviews score based on how well the writer feels the game achieves its intended goals, and how much improvement he feels could be made to the product. Nothing short of genuinely constructive criticism is allowed when creating the final score for a game.