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4:07 PM on 01.05.2014  

New Years Resolution 2014: Friendly Gaming Year Challenge!

Its another year and it may be off to a bit of a crappy start (I got sick) I'm optimistic about this years challenge! As mentioned several times before hand, once or twice here on Dtoid and a few other places around the internet, along with mostly friends recommendations; this years challenge is what I like to call the FRIENDLY GAMING YEAR CHALLENGE!



Why call it the friendly gaming year challenge? (its a pretty corny name, I know) Well because I want to actually start experience more of what my friends have experienced through their time playing their favorite games. While I personally haven't played and/or beaten these games, my friends have and suggested I do just that this year! So as per year challenge I will be trying to beat at least 2 games that each person recommends me! I already asked a good amount of my friends about what I should play, and I'm kinda waiting on a few others to finish this list up. Otherwise here is the list so far!

Hannah:
VVVVV
Cave Story +
Sonic Riders
Skies of Acadia

Janielle K. :
Golden Sun
Golden Sun TLA

Captain Bobbos:
Tales of the Abyss
Xillia
Tales of Symphonia
Ni no Kuni.
Disgaea 1, 2, 3
Phantom Brave

Travis S. :
Grim Fandango
Monkey Island series
Bioshock
Star Ocean 2
Suikoden 3

Travis N. :
Revenant Wings
Jak 2
Jak 3
Eternal Darkness
Sonic 06

Jish
Psychonauts
Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix

Mcgaggles
Prototype 2

Skippy:
The Thing
Jaws Unleashed
Predator Concrete Jungle
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.

JASON!
Dead Space
Bioshock Infinite
Mass Effect
Batman Arkham

DevilDogX2:
Mass Effect Series

yourunderwaterskies:
Golden Sun
Golden Sun TLA
SMT IV

Anonymous:
Layton games (of which only the prequel games I would need to beat)

JawshButturBawls:
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

If you have anything to recommend me I be more than willing to try to beat those games, but for now this is what I want to concentrate on first! Anyway here is to another New Years Resolution!

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1:56 AM on 01.04.2014  

8 game series challenge: AND THE REST




Ya this is pretty much were the series challenge ended itself, Metroid and Final Fantasy. A big part of this challenge was to simply finish Final Fantasy, but it turned out I can avoid that pretty easily. I certainly will try to extend this challenge personally for myself in 2014 (not that most of these are personal). But for now here is where I ended.

To be fair I was able to beat around 84 games last year, and I already plan to do something a little more different for next year. Hopefully it will all work out, and maybe I can even just carry this challenge into 2014? Maybe even get the rest of my thoughts on all those other games I've beaten? For now though, I'm finished with this, and almost done with my set up for the next challenge. In the mean time, my thoughts all the rest of these series I tried to beat.

Series incomplete: Metroid



Metroid I actually completely beaten save for the actual first game. I consider myself to have beaten the whole series because I have beaten Zero Mission, but not completed this challenge because I didn't write my thoughts on everyone of the games I beaten. At the very least though I beat 3 games I have never beaten before in this series, and well, I guess I'm glad for it. For what its worth, my favorite games in this series are Metroid Prime and Zero Mission. †

Metroid Prime Pinball ~ Date Beat 4/16/13



Thoughts:

Pinball games tend to not have a lot flare to them. Aside from Pokemon Pinball, I never really pursued other pinball games, just classifying them as ďjust another pinball gameĒ. Course I know this isn't completely true, but the idea that Metroid Prime would be in Pinball form didn't really have me excited for it. I love Metroid Prime, but I have never really liked pinball so I figure it wasn't for me. Eventually though the game went right around my price range, and I decided to buy it because it was still a Metroid game and frankly it did look like a lot more fun than my other gaming options at the time. The game sat on my shelf for about 2-3 years not really being play with, save for a few times when I really wanted to play pinball. Heck, I didn't even know you could beat it till a few weeks before hand. But once I did I was adamant to actual beat the game, and knowing that I could beat it I could put the Metroid series within this challenge.

Metroid Prime Pinball is perhaps the 2nd best pinball game I have ever played, 1st being Pokemon Pinball on the game boy color. But being 2nd best at a genre I don't like is still pretty good if you ask me. A lot of the reasons why I don't like Pinball is because there isn't a lot of action to it nor any kind of story or goal to work toward save for a highscore. In all honesty I didn't really know about the mechanics of pinball games, save to constantly hit your balls away from the dead zones. But Metroid Pinball really made me learn that there is a lot more to pinball than I previously had thought. Metroid Pinball really makes you learn that you have to time your shots and see where they are going, as well as deciding what your next goal should be. It also helped a little more that Metroid Pinball gave me more of incentive that just scoring higher points. Essentially Metroid Pinball put in a lot of things I don't normally see in pinball games, like mini-games, bosses, and even a story. Sure its loosely based on Metroid Prime, but it follows it nonetheless. And with that extra incentive to hit the right targets in order to advance the game I learned how to play pinball correctly.†

As mentioned before Metroid Pinball adds a lot of new elements to the whole pinball routine. Not only are you fighting for a highscore, but you're also trying to get all 12 artifacts to advance to the final stages of the game where you face both Meta-Ridley and Metroid Prime. This extra distraction really helped enhanced the overall gameplay and importance of extra balls. Not only would you've ended your high scoring record, but also all the artifacts you collected. Which meant that you had to do all the things to get them in the first place again, which could be quite tedious if you don't know what you are doing. Artifacts also helped spice up the boards by giving you a bunch of little mini-games to play in order to earn them. There's the classic muti-ball round where you'd score as high as you could with 3 different types of balls. The phazon ball mini-game, which two different balls are placed on the field and you have to hit these pieces of phazon in order to rank up a high enough score with. Shooting mini-games where you control Samus outside of her morph ball form and shoot various creatures that inhabit Tallon IV's over world. And varies rounds where you had to clear the map of certain creatures that were on the board, some of them including Metroids. Then if you are lucky enough to be able to move to another stage you could chose to go to one where you get a new ability and fight a boss too. Metroid Prime Pinball just added a lot of neat things to the pinball formula.

The only thing I really didn't like about Metroid Prime Pinball was the fact that it was too hard to collect all 12 artifacts. It's not really that I couldn't collect all 12, but I tended to get a couple of bum balls and was unable to continue because I had so little lives left. This really could have been fixed by adding a difficult setting or just giving me an extra life a little earlier than in the 2 million point mark. But overall Metroid Prime Pinball really does make pinball a little more fun with its cool looking graphics and awesome music from the Metroid Prime series.

Final Thoughts:

Metroid Prime Pinball is the 2nd best pinball game I have ever played and for good reason. It adds a lot of new elements to the pinball formula that keep it from getting trying, and is able to be just as aesthetically pleasing like Metroid Prime was. If it weren't for the fact that extra balls were hard to come by or more boards to try my luck in I would probably like it more, but as it stands its still a nice game.


Metroid Prime Hunters ~ Date Beat 4/29/13



Thoughts:

When I first got a DS and got first hunt, the demo for Prime Hunters, I was excited. The idea that Metroid Prime could come on the DS was amazing to me. There really didnít seem like there was anything inherently wrong at the time. Sure the demo was a bit, eh, but I'd figure with as much time as they gave it for it to come out the game itself would be really good. Much time past since I actually decided to finally buy Metroid Prime Hunters and even more so when I actually decided to play it. And boy was it just bad, and I bought, played, and beaten Metroid: Other M when it first came out.

Really it just makes me mad at the whole thing. Prime Hunters took a long time to come out and even longer for me to get and actually sit down and play. I knew the control scheme hurt your hands, I knew that it took some getting use to, but overall the game just doesnít work. Not to say that it couldn't have worked, they had enough to make it work, but it just doesnít. The control scheme is even worse when playing for extend hours of play, the controls are often wonky and constantly makes it so even the simplest jumps can be missed because you didn't angle yourself correctly. Whats even worst is the fact that the majority of the gameplay is incredibly the same formulaic bull that makes an awful games worse. You constantly go around each planet finding three artifacts to open the portal the the boss room, and are only then greeted by some generic lameness. †All the bosses save for the last are the exact same two bosses only made harder, totem pole and ball guy. Then after each boss you are subjected to having to leave the planet in a hurry before it explodes for some unknown reason. What makes even littler sense is that you do this twice per planet! The Hunters themselves aren't even present like I thought they would be. They might as well be generic enemies or metroids for all I care because they really add nothing to the story. Nothing is just done with them, they are just there to be an annoyance. Seriously, why make all theses hunters only to waste them as generic super enemies? Why not make them bosses themselves? Was it really that hard? Instead of recycling the same 2 bosses you have 6 other potential candidates to work with! And thatís what Prime Hunters is, a waste of potential.†

Aside from all its faults, the game does provide with a lot of fun areas to explore, and that alone makes a worthy notion that it should probably be made into something better. The music is even like the Metroid Prime games. But really this game is just crap.


Final Thoughts:

I never thought I say it, but there is a bad Metroid game; Metroid Prime Hunters is that game. It had a lot of potential to be good, with the areas it provides to explore, the lore built within the game, and the interesting new hunter characters. But it just overall fails the process with its horrid control scheme and terrible formulaic gameplay. Stay away from this game!


Metroid II: Return of Samus ~ Date Beat 11/5/13



Thoughts:

The idea of hunting down the rest of the Metroids is certainly a fun one at least, and the fact they have so much impact on the environment that you actually change it by killing them is cool. It really brings a different sense of exploration to the Metroid series and honestly its really fun to hunt them all down, despite the ability to easily get lost in this game. Metroid II also gave Samus her more iconic look of today, and the handy dandy, spider ball, which is a really cool ability you get early on and makes exploring through the planet a lot more fun. The majority of the game is fairly linear though, but more often than not feels like the opposite with all the twists and turns the game gives. But perhaps what makes this game actually good is the semi-look at the Metroid cycle as we experience the same way Samus does. Despite the lack of any actual narrative, Metroid II is a bit of a nice experience to watch a species grow as you hunt it down through the depths of its home planet, only to find the final form defending itself from extinction. And that's what perhaps makes Metroid II so compelling, it tells its story through gameplay, and it gives us a look into what a Metroid actually is.†

Despite this though, Metroid II does feel like it lacks a lot and a remake is what this game truly needs. Its still a good game though, but the majority of what could make it really stand out were elements that were barely being realized in the past. Metroid II has a lot of good qualities, but the majority of the bad ones could have easily be solved if it were from another time or simply had a remake. The two biggest complaints being the lack of map and the fact that the game uses templates to design areas, largely making a lot of the areas look the same. This however can be solved by a remake so that areas are designed differently, and the ability to check on a map is added. Metroid II is very much a small game, and simply on my first run where I kept getting lost constantly and had no idea where I was, I managed to beat it in under 6 hours. As well, the major enemy in this game is rather dull to fight after a while; after learning the patterns of the given Metroid forms it simply becomes routine to fight them and not at all challenging. The only interesting fight in this whole game is the Queen and honestly is what helps make it remember-able. Even that aside though, it never really feels like the planet is alive or mysterious till the very end. The majority of routes consistent mostly of obstacles getting in the way of your jumping and the very few enemies in this game are fairly spread out. And because everything looks nearly identical it often feels like you're exploring a void. All these problems honestly just keep coming to my head as this game needs a remake and honestly with its premise it make a good one.


Final Thoughts:

Metroid II is a compelling entry in the Metroid series for its ability to tell its narrative through gameplay only, while still making it a fun experience. However the game has aged incredibly, and the need for a remake feels dire. The ability to use a map and graphical enhancements to areas alone would make this game far better than what it is right now, but despite all that Metroid II still remains a fairly good game. †

Series incomplete: Final Fantasy



For what its worth, I have beaten Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy IV before I beat II and VI in my previous challenge. So effectively enough I beat the 8 and 16 bit series, minus IV's completed addition. I still don't know exactly what makes me stop playing this games so much, but I think the way Final Fantasy handles game overs is discouraging. The fact I can play Dragon Quest or Pokemon without worrying about all progress being lost if and when I game over really helps me continue playing it. The way that final fantasy just throws you back in the last save point, with the same levels, its just backwards to what the game truly wants you to do. Anyway here are, sadly, the only two Final Fantasy games I was able to beat.


Final Fantasy V ~ Date Beat 12/12/13



Thoughts:

Final Fantasy V is a good RPG, but I can't really say I enjoyed it as much as previous Final Fantasy games I have played (I,II, IV,VI). I'm not completely sure why that is, but I think the main villain and story just wasn't that interesting. Despite FFI and FFII 's limited abilities to actually tell a proper story, I just think that their stories were more interesting than V's was. The idea of an infinite loop against a paradoxical bad guy or a rebellion against an emperor that conquers both Heaven and Hell just seem a whole lot cooler than a dude turning into an evil tree. I know I'm simplifying far too much, but really I do think †FFV's story was just weaker compared to the rest. It's a very basic story about a mad man's power lust , and the merging between two worlds, which I suppose is cool and all, but IV and VI did it so much better. The only thing I can really say FFV has in terms of story is the characters themselves. While the †main story certainly isn't interesting, the main cast very much is. Coming from completely different backgrounds as a rag tag group reminds me a lot of FFVI's cast, and I assume was inspiration for it. Each character is just different from each other in terms of both personally and background, and it makes an otherwise boring quest a little more interesting.†

The main thing that helps FFV's case of being a good game though is its job system. On top of the ascetically pleasing look a lot of the team members get pending on what jobs they have and who they are; the game makes it easier to level and support team members mastering or transitioning jobs. With the ability to use two different abilities, one being the job class ability you have,and the other an ability you learned from another job, it makes the difficulty of having a healer or magic caster a breeze. It isn't as big of pain to have your whole team be exactly the same job class either, and later on gaining jobs becomes much easier in the last dungeon. As well, FFV gave the series Gilgamesh, a dude with a bunch of swords and words, but not a lot backing up either. He's really a good character all around and actually gets some good character development throughout the story, and is pretty much responsible for anything really memorable in this game. But really aside from the job system and characters (mainly Gilgamesh), FFV doesn't really offer much else to the typical Final Fantasy fare. The game still has a good soundtrack and the graphics, for their time, are top notch and still pleasant to look at. But honestly looking back at this game, its just like the void in the last dungeon, you remember bit parts in it, but mostly forget the rest of it. FFV just isnít that remember-able, and the majority of its ideas were pretty much done already and better.


Final Thoughts:

Final Fantasy V is perhaps the least remember-able Final Fantasy game I have played so far; the story was rather generic and the game is a typical Final Fantasy affair. It's still a decent game, but aside from the job system and Gilgamesh, I wouldn't really be able to tell ya much about it.


Final Fantasy III ~ Date Beaten 12/23/13



Thoughts:

After doing a bit of research on this game and hearing horror stories from a friend, I was very considered with my adventure through Final Fantasy III. Having only played it for an hour made me even more worried as the directions in the beginning just aren't clear, but after sometime and some walkthrough looking, FFIII sprung from being a huge pile of mess to a fairly enjoyable experience. Ill totally admit that FFIII doesn't really have a lot going for it, aside from the introduction of the job system and some mild humor, FFIII just doesnít impress. Its really a very average experience, and the game doesn't really lend itself to even core gamers out there. Its a game more so for the fans who want to simply enjoy some franchise history, and not much more is really going for it. The game is just too average to really forgive any short comings it has, and the things it offers are done better in nearly any other game. The story itself is very basic, and doesn't have many interesting characters or concepts. On top of that, the remake just doesnít add enough or fix enough of the problems to make it anymore desirable from the original.

It really is just hard to sell this game as something to play even to a final fantasy fan out there, and its completely understandable why. The game is just so outdated for its time, and the remake just doesn't fix these problems well enough. For starters, the remake tries to add in a little more storytelling in the beginning of the game, but really it just starts out fairly confusing and easy to get lost in. In all honesty, the beginning's remake feels like it needed a lot more work to really make the changes it wanted to make. All the characters are given distinct enough models, and semi-different personalities compared to the original, where they were all the same, but what it really boils down to is some more half-hearted dialogue that you have to sit through compared to the original opening. Its not that I don't admire the effort, but its fairly obvious that this was more of something they forgot to fix before release. As well, the remake still has a lot of issues with difficultly spikes still being rampant throughout FFIII. Some parts of FFIII you are simply not prepared enough nor are given enough warning to warrant the sudden spike of difficultly. So this can easily led to mindless grinding and failed run attempts all in the vain of precious hours of your life lost forever. This wouldn't be nearly as bad however if it weren't for the fact that switching jobs makes your stats go to crap till you ďget the hangĒ of your new job. I understand that they didn't want to make jobs too overpowered, but using a transition period merely ruins the fun of trying out different classes as it takes far too long to switch between jobs and being able to run properly in battles. So because its far better to stick with the job you are given, it is almost essential that you never switch jobs till near the end where you get the more powerful jobs in the game. As for the remake, apparently they were trying to rebalance a lot of the job system, but simply to say, it just didnít work well enough. A lot of the jobs are still very one sided and only a few, mainly the last jobs you get, are honestly worth any time to put into. But because most of these jobs are near the end of the game, and start at the basic level it makes for another mindless grind to getting up to a proper job level before the final boss. On top of that, the remake, mainly the DS version, makes one of the more powerful jobs and weapons you can get a sidequest that requires waiting several hours or timeskipping via DS clock to get them along with the use of Friend Codes and WiFi connections. This is also without discussing the horrible boss battle that takes place in a town castle that can easily be engaged without any warning to the player. Not only does this battle nearly require that all your player characters be Dragoons so they can take down the boss easily, but the boss simply does too much damage to go about it any other way, aside from mindless grinding. Put all of this on top of the transition period for jobs makes for a lot of grinding for only one boss in the entire game. On top of all this grinding, marks another horrible thing about FFIII, the last dungeon, or more specifically the world of darkness. The world of darkness is the point of no return for FFIII, and Iím sure the bane of manyís existence. The world of darkness has no easy save point, the closest being right before the dungeon before it and between the dungeon before that, meaning you have to travel roughly 3 full dungeons relatively unarmed enough to fight the final boss. On top of all this the player must defeat Xande, 3-4 Xande's clones, 4 dark crystal bosses, and then finally the final boss itself. All of these battles must happen while no save is present and you still have to go through the dungeons with normal enemy encounters. I personally don't know what I would have done if I didn't fully prepare enough to beat the final boss in one try, but thank goodness I did because all those cutscenes and boss fights were not something I wanted to see twice over.

Perhaps the only thing that Final Fantasy III really has is the soundtrack, the introduction of many series main stays, and the fact that its one of the †hardest, if not the hardest Final Fantasy game of the series. But unfortunately its a rather dubious award as a lot of this difficult is due to poor design and limitations of the system it was made for. But if you are really looking for what old school Nintendo hard was like, Final Fantasy III has just the view for ya. † †



Final Thoughts:

Final Fantasy III is a very outdated, average, and difficult game. The game really has little to no redeeming value to it, and only serves as a reminder of how Final Fantasy, as a series, has progress. To be fair though, I'm sure a few more hardcore Final Fantasy fans will enjoy it, and the soundtrack is pleasant to listen to, but that is really all I can say about that.


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2:51 AM on 01.03.2014  

8 game series challenge: Kirby review



Kirby is a series I never really played before, I mean I know I have played it as a kid, but I just didn't like it when I was younger. There was just something about it being to easy, mixed with a lot of bad experiences with it. I suppose it was because I felt it was tedious busy work over actually being a fun game, but once I actually started playing the series without my original thoughts about it, I actually enjoyed it. I'm sure its a little more obvious for some people, but I never really relax with a lot of games, and Kirby is just that series that you just need to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. While the majority of Kirby games are like this, some of the ones that spin off from the original formula require you to really be open to new experiences with Kirby. I suppose, Kirby is just a series that really makes you open up as a person and introduces you to as many things as you like. It's a series to just enjoy and I think thatís what makes it really great as a series, but a lot of the games aren't exactly that great though. While Crystal Shard and Return to Dreamland certainly stand out in my mind as THE Kirby games to play, the majority of Kirby is fairly the same repetitive enjoyment throughout. Dreamland 3 in particular feels very tedious as a game and it really just takes to long to really get to the point. What makes Dreamland 3 the most annoying though is that a lot of the levels look amazing, but the game is just too slow to really get anywhere. The majority of the other Kirby games can be fast paced if you wanted them to, but Dreamland 3 is just a constant crawl to the next level and it just ends up making it very boring. I mention Dreamland 3 a lot because honestly its the only Kirby game I feel is the weakest. While a lot of these games are pretty much the same, they all are still very enjoyable. Whats even more interesting though is that a lot of the games that deviate from the original formula still very much feels like a kirby game. Epic yarn and Mass Attack are very big examples of what makes Kirby games Kirby without the original mechanic. Basically what I'm trying to say is that Kirby is a great series, and virtually speaking you can put him in nearly any kind of scenario and make it fun.




What I want the next game to be like?

I just want Crystal Shards ability to combine abilities to return. While Return to Dreamland pretty much has Kirby the way I want it, combining abilities would have really made it tops. The new 3DS game looks good so far and really I can't say there is much else I want out of Kirby.†



Series ranked

Kirby 64: Crystal Shard > Kirby's Return to Dreamland > Kirby Squeak Squad > Kirby's Dream Collection / New challenges > Kirby Mass Attack > Kirby Super Star > Kirby's Adventure > Kirby's Epic Yarn > Kirby's Dreamland 2 > Kirby's Dreamland >= Kirby & the Amazing Mirror > Kirby Canvas Curve > Kirby's Dreamland 3

Games Omitted:

Kirby Super Star Ultra: Its a remake on the DS with only a couple more add ons. The way I figure it I already played the game with the SNES counterpart.†

Nightmare in Dreamland: Same as above. Its a remake that doesnt add too much to really consider it worth adding to the list.

Kirby Air ride: Technically its not apart of the main series, and its surprisingly hard to get a copy of it for a price I want. Mind you I will still be on the look out, but this is perhaps the best spin off Kirby game out there, or at least that the majority of people enjoy.

And the rest of the spinoff games:
Mainly didn't play them because they didn't have much to actually beat, aside from highscores. The rest of the games were just Kirbified versions of mini type games like Pinball, golf, and that one game with the ball being knocked into those blocks.



Kirby's Dream Land Ė date beat 3/10/13



Thoughts:

When I was younger I used to play this game and its sequel quite a bit. Enough to have the nostalgia flow back into me when I was playing it, but not enough to say that I actually remembered it. I remember always giving up when I got to the cloud boss because he seemed too hard at the time, course when I play it now I realize how easy this game was, and was a bit disappointed that my younger self had actually gotten quite close to the final boss before. Thankfully enough, my older self is well equipped with beating this game, and I pretty much beat it with in an hoursí time. Honestly I was quite surprised that I was able to do such a thing. I did buy the Dream Collection so I have a more reliable way to play these older Kirby games, but I really didn't imagine I'd start knocking out these games so fast.

Kirby's Dream Land was quite enjoyable, but fairly easy as well. Dream Land provided to be a very simplistic game, even by Kirby standards, as he couldn't even copy abilities yet. The game had roughly 4 levels and an extra boss rush stage right before the final boss, so it still had some challenge to it, but overall was an easy affair. Dream Land really was just a pure bundle of fun, platforming, and pattern memorizing that I welcome so much more now. The game also has a wonderful, cheery soundtrack that is even more remember-able then the game itself with its upbeat tunes. †The only real downfall to this game is how short and easy it is, but for what itís trying to deliver, it actually works quite well for a small package. While it certainly won't blow anyone away, at the least you'll be walking away with a smile.


Final Thoughts:

While a short ride, Kirby's Dream Land was still a fun, sweet venture. Although I wouldn't say itís a mind blowing experience, itís still a fun game to play, and the music will always be there to remind you of the good times you had with this nice game. † †

Kirby's Adventure ~ Date beat 3/11/13



Thoughts:

Having just beat Dream Land I decided to go on to Kirby's Adventure because I wanted to stay on my Kirby high and see how far I can take it. Starting out it really felt like the full fleshed out Kirby experience many have come to love, and more nostalgia came back to me as if I played it before. I think as a child I rent this game when I had a NES and played on other files instead of starting my own. †I was rather young so I didn't quite understand the game as it really isn't too forward about where to go. But having my Kirby high I figure it was time to finally beat this game and boy was I surprised when I pretty much beat it the same day I beat the first one. I suppose Kirby games aren't that long, but I really didnít expect that to happen.

I really don't know what it is about the simplistic NES graphics, but they always get me excited to play any game and with how colorful Kirby's Adventure was it drew me in more. A lot of the game is rather pretty high end on the graphics for a NES game. I mean there are a lot of small cut-scenes, flashy animations, and a lot of really cool power ups. It really is a wonder how far we came when the game itself gets slowed down by just a few amount of enemies on the screen compared to this day and age. And yet I really just liked how it looked and loved the music and sounds. This is pretty much where all the generally remembered Kirby music comes from, butter building specifically. So it really is nice to hear the NES chip-tune version of the song, it really brings you back to the ye olde NES games.

Kirby's adventure adds a lot of new features that the original dream land doesn't have, mainly being able to copy abilities. A lot of the abilities are really cool and can help deal with difficult boss fights and obstacles along the way so the game never gets too challenging, but still provides to be challenging. The addition of mini games adds a nice little break every now and again as a lot of the mini-games are fun to mess around with, and lives being somewhat more precious in Kirby's Adventure make it all the more worth it. †Kirby's adventure also happens to be far longer than the first game, most likely taking somewhere between 6-9hrs to beat compared to Dream Land's 40mins to an hour. †Kirby's Adventure also has a bit more of an understandable story behind it, and has a few surprise twists in the end that make Adventure really remember-able down the road. Overall Kirby's Adventure is just a colorful wonder of bliss and pure joy.


Final Thoughts:

Kirby's Adventure manages to set up Kirby's franchise quite well, with the addition of the copy ability, Kirby was able to set the world on fire and climbed into many gamerís hearts, even mine it seems. While it certainly isn't the greatest game out there, it certainly is a classic, and base that sets up a wonderful series. All around Kirbyís Adventure is a good game that provides a lot of entertainment for anyone.

Kirby's Dream land 2 date beat ~ 3/15/13



Thoughts:

As a kid I played this game a lot and remember starting it over and over again, a lot. I don't know what it was, maybe I just didnít understand the save system or I just didn't like my current file. Either way, I remember always getting about half way there and something would happen to make me start all over again. But now thanks to the dream collection, I was finally able to beat this blasted game that haunted my childhood.
To say the least, itís by far an improvement over the first dream land and with the addition of the animals, coped abilities get a bunch of new powers and itís really cool to see how each power affects each animal. The game itself is basically another version of Kirby's adventure but portable and with a different story. Something is wrong in dream land and Kirby plans to stop it, and much like Kirby's adventure there is a dark twist in the end and itís what really makes me love this game over the original. The game sticks true to the Kirby formula; copy abilities, go through a bunch of stages fighting mini-bosses, solve simple puzzles, and eventually fight the boss of the world. Itís not boring per se, but it certainly isn't new, and really the only added ingredient to this game is the addition of animals. †It can get quite challenging getting all the rainbow pieces to get the true ending, but aside from that, the majority of the game is a cakewalk. But really itís just there to have fun and thatís all anyone can really ask for a game, and Kirby delivers it quite well in this venture.


Final Thoughts:

Itís another return to Dream Land with Kirby's Dream Land 2, and while it adds animals to help you along your venture, much of the game is the same as the series everyone has come to known. Sure itís not really new, but not everything needs to be new to be fun, and Dream Land 2 provides enough fun and joy for any Kirby fan to give it a go. Although anyone despising the series will probably just see it as Kirby with animals. †

Kirby & the Amazing Mirror date beat ~ 3/24/13



Thoughts:

I am one of the un/lucky individuals that got the 3DS the first day it came out and about 6 months later Nintendo decided it didnít sell well enough and gave a bunch of games for an apology. While itís not exactly a fitting one, it was at least one, and by that apology I got Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. By the time I did actual get this game I didnít care for Kirby at all and by all means didnít really care to try this game. My past Kirby experiences were meh at this point and it wouldnít be a while till I could tolerate playing through this game. And then when I could tolerate this game and playthrough it became rather irritating to me. Then during my 8 game series challenge I played it again because I figure itís time to get into the Kirby series and even though I beat it, I still had problems with it.†

Look I don't have anything against Kirby and the Amazing Mirror per se, but I really hate how they tried to make it metroid-esque. I just really donít think Kirby works well with exploring; just the whole aspect of it becomes a lot more confusing when you constantly use doors to transfer to the next screen. Each of these doors work more like a teleporter, and when you have something like that in an exploration game it makes things even more annoying to play because the door may not lead you exactly where you want to go. Add this in with a simplified map instead of a more detailed one and you get a very annoying game to navigate. †I don't deny that Kirby can work as a metroid-esque game, but the way amazing mirror does it, doesn't work. Itís just like that horrid maze at the end of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, itís just annoying rather than fun. Amazing Mirror turned into something I hated rather than what I came to know Kirby games as, a fun little game where you go stage to stage getting power-ups and fighting mini-bosses. Add in this annoying mix of mazes with a rather shoe-horned co-op and you make me an unhappy gamer.

Now is this to say Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is bad? No, itís just not my cup of tea, and I'd imagine a lot more people would agree with me when I say Kirby was better back the way he was in the NES days. Still, Amazing Mirror isn't a game changer, and the game can still be quite fun, that is if you know where youíre going. The story is rather simplified, but for the way Kirby games always go dark toned in the end I really wish they explain the story more, but with the few cutscenes in there you can piece together whatís happening. The visuals and music are thankfully much of the same of past Kirby games, with Kirby sticking to his guns of cuteness and upbeat music. But Amazing Mirror simply wasnít what I came to know Kirby games as, and for that I just didnít like it.


Final Thoughts:

Kirby and the Amazing Mirror was not a fun game for me, but more so it annoyed me with its confusing metroid-esque gameplay. But this alone doesn't make it a bad game for other players, just a bad experience for me. Still I wish the Amazing Mirror would stick more to the Kirby basics, but for what it does, it does well enough to not damper the Kirby name that most have come to know and appreciate.

Kirby Super Star ~ Date Beat 4/4/13



Thoughts:

I would be lying if I didnít say I fell in love with Kirby just a little more after playing this game. While most Kirby games I have played have rather forced co-op, and thereby make me hate it even being there, Super Star co-op just seems right. Ya, its nearly the same in every regard to every other game in the Kirby series, but for some reason Super Star just feels like it needs to have 2 players in order to have a lot of fun. Like it knows that you are going to show this game off to your friends and be like, ďya it has more than 8 games on it, pretty cool uh?Ē This game was just made to show off a bunch of neat little things, while pretty much introducing anybody into the Kirby series. All the games it has on it provide something different and fun, while at the same time keeping everything basically the same. Kirby still sucks on enemies, he still has his powers, and for the most part, a friend can join in on the fun.†

Spring Breeze, for all purposes, is an abridged version of the first Kirby game. While it doesn't have the 3rd stage and boss rush at the end of the game; it does have the copy ability and co-op. Everything else is pretty much the same and just like the game it mimics; Spring Breeze is a very short, but sweet game.

Dyna Blade is another †really short game that could have probably been merged in with another mode, but it stands well on its own nonetheless. There isn't a lot of levels, and its even easier and faster than spring breeze. Overall its another short and easy game, but nothing to write home about.

Gourmet Race is a simple racing game where you race king Dedede to the finish while trying to get as much food as possible. Its a rather decent mode, but its more of a time waster and not nearly as good as the other games that are on here, being only one player, and not lasting as long as either of the above mentioned games.

The Great Cave Offensive is one of the more interesting games within this collection as it provides Kirby with a more exploring style of play much like its spiritual sequel, Amazing Mirror. Basically you and a partner go around a big cave looking for a bunch of treasure and then escape the cave with the loot you found. This mode is certainly more co-op based, and is really a interesting take on the Kirby name. I can certainly see why they wanted to try the exploration gameplay again with Amazing Mirror. Overall its a fun little game as long as you know where you are going.

Revenge of Meta Knight is another interesting game within Super Star as the majority of this game is timed based, leaving players to have high scores on how fast they actually beat the game. The game is basically just faster paced then most Kirby games, so it has more of a sense of Urgency that really isn't presence in most other Kirby games. Although this game is still pretty easy mainly due to only losing a life if the timer reaches zero rather than losing the whole game, which frankly I think would have been a much more suspenseful and fun aspect. Still, its a fun mode, and battling Metaknight again is still pretty cool, especially at the end where you have to flee a exploding ship.

Milky Way Wishes however is the star of the whole package has it pretty much combines everything experienced in this whole game within this game (weird sentence >.>;). Pretty much Milky Way wishes is what I imagination was what Super Star was supposed to be, but it kinda just evolved into a pile of different games. Still though, Milky Way Wishes can easily be its own game, unlike any of the other games with in this collection. But what truly makes Milky Way Wishes awesome and stand out from any other Kirby game is that you pretty much have to find all your copy abilities. Once you find them however, you keep them forever and can select them at any time. This makes for a lot of cool potential puzzle solving as powers are never really lost and you can always have your favorite power with you, that is if you have it. What makes this game even cooler though is the the boss at the end of the game. Marx not only has some really awesome music, but he is pretty awesome for the creepy boss that appears at the end of any given Kirby game.

Arena is pretty much the last thing you unlock, but really its just boss rush mode so nothing else can really be said for that. Although if melee fans ever wanted to know what inspired All Stars Mode, this would be it. As for the last two games I have yet to mention, Samurai Kirby and Megaton Punch, both are just small mini games for 2 players and are just fun little time wasters.


Final Thoughts:


Overall, Super Star is a good package of what I assume was a bunch of experimental Kirby games. While the game does hype the fact it has 8 games in one, when it really turns out to be about 4, all the games in it are at least good to some degree, although quite short. But for what these games provide are a lot of fun times with friends with a lot of interesting twists on the old Kirby formula.

Kirby's Dreamland 3 ~ Date Beat 4/21/13



Thoughts:

Dreamland 3's formula for Kirby simply doesn't work. Its not so much that Dreamland 3 is a bad game, but its a boring one. While a lot of Kirby games hit you with a lot of levels and abilities to copy, Dreamland 3 just makes this feel tedious. The majority of levels last far too long and overstay their welcome way too often. The only actual seeming improvement of the Kirby formula was the side missions and these often come off as too vague to even get the first time around. Combine this with the longer levels and the tediousness of backtracking, and it really creates a system that just doesn't feel rewarding enough to complete. The additional animals are a nice touch as well, but a lot of the abilities the new animals give just aren't as interesting as the animals that are already established. Co-op is rather lackluster with the 2nd player acting more as a dubious player rather than actually working together with the 1st player. Overall Dreamland 3 brings nothing worthwhile to the table to really shine past other Kirby games. †

Although its not to say that Dreamland 3 doesnt have some charm in it either. Compared to other Kirby games, this is perhaps they most atmospheric Kirby game yet. With the majority of it looking like it was colored in crayon that gives it a Yoshi's Island vibe to it. As well much the music is very calming and relaxing throughout, and if you like that kind of thing, you should like Kirby Dreamland 3. Course a lot of this screams a kids game, and in many ways Dreamland 3 is exactly that and it doesnít try to hide that. Course as usual with most Kirby games, a nightmarish boss and music come to life at the very end turning a cutesy game into quite the creepy showdown.


Final Thoughts:

Dreamland 3 does very little to impress, and a whole lot to make the player bored. While the visuals and music make Dreamland 3 one of the most atmospheric Kirby's yet, the tedious gameplay holds it back. While it may not be a bad game per se; it certainly isn't a good one, with a lot of problems steaming from unnecessary long levels, †vague side-missions, seemingly useless additions, and mindless co-op.

Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards ~ Date Beat 4/22/13



Thoughts:

In all honesty the only reason I bought Kirby's Dream Collection was for this game alone. Even when I didn't like Kirby as much as I did I knew I'd like Crystal Shards. I don't know what it was about it, maybe the fact that you could combine to abilities, or that the game looked rather good when it came out. Whatever it was, I wasn't able to get it at the time and I just never ended up playing till now.†

Crystal Shards is very much like the past Kirby games before it. While it does have a lot of 3D models and environments it really is more of a rouse, Kirby 64 is very much a 2D platformer. Kirby still does the same stuff like copy abilities, jumping, sliding, and hovering, but the main thing that sells this game is the new way to combine abilities. Just something †really exciting to see when you combine two elements to see what you get, it really makes for a more interesting experience. And while I'm sad there is no umbrella this time around, there is at least a lot of cool new abilities like fireworks and lightsaber. I'm also kinda pleased that the game tone down hovering a lot more by giving Kirby a certain amount of times he could actually stay afloat. It provides the game with a much needed challenge, and makes you time your jumps more carefully compared to other Kirby games. Also the levels this time around are fast and to the point, so the game never gets to boring seeing the same background over and over again. The other thing that keeps Crystal Shards more interesting than other Kirby games is finding all the shards throughout the levels. While the levels themselves may be short, finding all the crystal shards is not. A lot of the shards require you to be on your toes and make sure you have the right combination of abilities with you at the time. †Add this in with a few really good hiding places and you get a really crystal shard hunt. And finding each crystal shard really makes completing the level even more satisfying. †

The story for Crystal Shard however is quite non-existent, even for a Kirby game. While the intro explains about a big bad taking over and leaving worlds in darkness, this is almost never mentioned again aside from the first and last world. Much of the cut-scenes are just little visual gags held mostly at Kirby's expense and overall it really just feels like the villain just appears out of nowhere. Graphically the game was a marvel in its day and age, but now it just looks like some sort of beta for a Kirby game. Its still pleasing to the eye oddly enough, given its polygon like charm, but it can really be seen how far the graphics have come when looking at Crystal Shard. Much of the soundtrack also resembles much of Kirby's adventure.


Final Thoughts:

Crystal Shards is a fun little ride that brings a lot of new additions to the table I like. Combining abilities is always fun and interesting to do especially when you can get a light saber, and finding crystal shards is much more fun than completing side missions. The game may not be graphically pleasing, as well as fairly short, but it brings all the wonderful Kirby bliss fans have come to know and love.

Kirby Mass Attack ~ Date Beat 4/26/13



Thoughts:

When I first saw Mass Attack I was actually really interested in this game, and this was before I even really liked Kirby. It looked so much like what a Pikmin game would be if it was a platformer, and in general looked like a really fun game. Thankfully when I got it from amazon, it was exactly what I thought it be and actually a lot more too.
I've obviously not been a fan of Kirby till recently, but mass attack I think is what makes me really like the series. Sure Kirby does a lot of gimmicky stuff, but honestly Kirby can pull it off, it just works for him. And seeing a Pikmin-esque platformer is something that I never knew I wanted. Kirby honestly does adapted the Pikmin style of gameplay quite well, and mixes wonderfully with his own universe. Fighting enemies in Kirby games has never really been more satisfying till you beaten them down with 10 Kirbys, and the way puzzles are solved are a lot more inventive then just pressing some buttons like in most Kirby games. †Not to mention there really is always something to do it Mass Attack that can really you put yourself on the edge of your seat. Having to constantly maintain 10 Kirbys at once, directing them where they need to go is always a challenge and getting through any stage with a gold ranking of not getting damaged at all is a real challenge. Then there are medals that need to be collected throughout the levels, sometimes its 3, most of the time its 5, but you always have to be on the look out on where the medals might be and double goes for the rainbow coated ones. Once you collect a certain amount of medals you also unlock a bunch of cool extras, like galleries or subgames. A lot of these sub-games are surprisingly in-depth for an extra thing, and most can actually be beaten like a regular game. In a lot of ways, Mass Attack is a bit of a successor to Super Star having 3 other sub-games to play and 3 mini-games. Personally like the shooter kirby sub game the most, but the pinball and mock rpg kirby games are really fun too.†

Course, Mass Attack isn't without its flaws. For one thing, if you are hoping to keep your DS bottom screen safe, thatís just not going to happen. Mass Attack is a real screen killer, one of the worst I've seen, and I've played a lot of Meteos. This is of course without mentioning the the downside to controlling 10 kirbys at once. There is just a lot of lag when controlling all 10 kirbys, and when you have them all it can be a real disadvantage compared to having 3 or 4. Sometimes the kirbys just don't respond correctly or the platform or area you tap at doesn't let all the kirbys fit snuggly. Grabbing all the kirbys at once is also a handful as most, but not all the kirbys get taken and the one or two left cause a lot of problems with the camera. Which brings me to the next major flaw to this game, the camera. While camera angles have never been an issue in previous kirby games, in this one its a plague. Its not so much that the camera doesnt focus, but it focuses incorrectly. While playing the game and having several kirbys out at once, the camera seems to pick a favorite and stick with it, this leads to a lot of problems when you happen to throw a kirby the wrong way. The camera switches all its focus on to that kirby and you're left wondering how the other kirbys are doing. Worse yet is when you try to backtrack with a †group of kirbys and when you try to move forward again the game only gives you the tinest space to see where you are going, and this can often lead to a kirby or two getting hit or possibly dying. Not to mention that many of the levels can just be very trying and tedious throughout this game. While some levels certainly are shorter, the majority over state there welcome when playing this game for an extensive period of time. Course this usually means to just take a break rather than being a major flaw. While there are certainly are a hand full of flaws with Mass Attack, it still provides enough fun to make them more so annoyances then clear game breaks though, and really it just works out in the end.


Final Thoughts:

Mass Attack is a wonderful new light on the Kirby series, and proves that a pikmin-esque platformer can work. While there are a few flaws with the touch controls lag and camera issues when there are a lot of Kirbys around; Mass Attack still shines through with its robust Kirby throwing/ solving gameplay and medal fetching side-quests. With a bunch of mini-games and a lot of levels to explore, Mass Attack is an excellent and highly replayable addition to the series. †

Kirby: Canvas Curse ~ Date beat 4/28/13



Thoughts:

The DS really didn't have a lot of good games during its launch window, so something like Canvas Curse was a life saver to people that bought it early. I personally didnít get to experience †such a drought with this game, but I'd imagine I would have played it a lot if it was the only game for the DS I had. Canvas Curse isnít exactly something I call a great game though. If anything the game is rather average, but with the large amount of content it has on it, it certainly is made to be played a lot.†

Canvas Curse is a simple get Kirby to the goal sort of gameplay, but with the twist that you can only really guide Kirby there, rather than control him. To say the least I'm not a particular fan of this kind of set up, and the game did constantly get on my nerves. The game wasn't really hard, more so it was just irritating to get from one point to the other when considering that there always was an easier option. I understand that they wanted to make the Stylus a big part of the game, I really do, but it really just makes things counter intuitive. The same kind of goal could be brought over by controlling Kirby to, and to simply make it harder would be adding more obstacles in the way and enemies. That is a fair challenge. What is not a fair challenge is having to fight a control scheme to something that really isn't accustomed to the lay out to begin with. A lot of Canvas Curses just felt empty and void of any kind of content I've know the Kirby series for in the long run. Gone where the pretty looking backgrounds, and secret doors and such. Canvas Curse is just so out of line with the Kirby series, I just don't see why people would like it that much opposed to just playing a regular Kirby game. Thatís what really upsets me about this, they are just using the Kirby name to sell a game that really as nothing to do with Kirby. Sure Kirby still does this kind of thing, but really it just doesnít feel like its really Kirby in this one. Even the abilities are counter intuitive when you copy them, and that is really what makes this so sad. Not to mention that the majority of the bosses are not all that creative and very boring to boot. I don't know what it is with really old DS games and repetitive boss, but it certainly is a thing.

That being said, Canvas Curse still isn't all that bad, and again this is probably the biggest amount of content out for any kind of DS launch title. From the main story it doubles with the extra courses gotten once a world is complete and add that in with a bunch of medals to find through each level you get a lot of bang for your buck. The story isn't really that impressive either, but it does have a cool looking villain. And the ability to use someone other than Kirby is really interesting too as you could adopt styles that are more suited to your tastes when it comes to reaching each goal. The music is also fairly calming and adventurous, and in general is another great addition to the Kirby soundtrack. But it still feels a bit awkward to call it a Kirby game.

Final Thoughts:

If Canvas Curse released at any other time other than the launch window for the DS, I doubt it would be looked at as a good game. Its fairly average, and makes a simple task of getting from point A to point B into a bit of annoying one using unusual means of guiding Kirby through the level. It certainly isn't as bad as I make it out to be, but it really doesn't deliver much to the Kirby series aside from having a fairly large amount of content and good soundtrack. Overall Canvas Curse is a product of its time than anything else. †

Kirby's Dream Collection ~ Date Beat 5/3/13



Thoughts:

Honestly I think getting this game prompted me to make Kirby apart of my challenge. Seriously, I never really thought about playing Kirby as much as this game has made me. This collection pretty much gave me a second chance at liking Kirby games. Having some bad history with the first two dream lands I honestly thought I never appreciate Kirby as much as other people do, but by having the ability to play both the dreamlands and adventure made me into a new gamer.

If it isn't obvious before, this is a game collection of various Kirby games, mainly his first ones, and a few extra features. The game basically comes with 6 older Kirby games, including all 3 dreamland titles, adventure, superstar, and Crystal Shard. The majority of the games will appeal to pretty much anyone, and overall are good games. Although I don't think getting this collection would be a good idea for someone that truly despises playing Kirby games. There isn't much here that can fully convince someone that Kirby is a series they should pick up. Course, on the other hand, Kirby fans should love this collection as it not only has 6 different Kirby games, but history of Kirby and a small extra known as the New Challenge Stages.

The New Challenge Stages are a really neat concept that comes from the extra stages of Return to Dreamland. Basically they make you go around each stage collecting a bunch of coins for high scores, and testing your gaming abilities with Kirby's copy abilities. Its a bit reminisce to Milky Way Galaxy in Super Star, but this time you have the chosen ability permanently throughout the course. Then after completing a level you get graded on how well you did, ranging from bronze to gold medals. It really is a wonderful extra that could have easily been a wonderful concept for a Kirby game, or at least extended a little more. Alas, this is not true however, and the game ends with a mere 3 worlds and a few stages to pit against your skill with. Still this extra acts pretty much like any full fledged Kirby game and is a wonderful addition for those that have already experienced some or all of the Kirby games within this collection.


And while New Challenge Stages can spark some interest for those that have experienced any of the Kirby games in this collection, I wouldn't say its a fine selling point. The game is by no means worth the price tag if any player has experienced all the Kirby games on this collection, and only wishes to experience New Challenge Stages, nor is the museum that interesting after a few looks. The only other real selling point to this collection is the OST disc that comes with it. Kirby has been known quite well for its music and the CD appears to have some of the best contemplation of the series. Still though, if you truly do love Kirby, and even have every game within this collection its not so much a bad thing. The Dream Collection is by far the best collection Nintendo has ever turned out their doors, and with that note if you haven't experience Kirby and always wanted to this would be an amazing game to get.


Final Thoughts:

Dream Collection's fun really comes to how much you like Kirby and have played from his series of games. Even if you have experienced all that Kirby has to offer, the Dream Collection even comes with a new little game called New Challenge Stages, these stages are quite fun and challenging at testing your ability to be the best Kirby you can be. And with a soundtrack, a museum of Kirby history, even some Kirby anime episodes, Dream Collection still has a lot to offer, and that's what makes it Nintendo's best collection yet.

Kirby's Epic Yarn ~ Date Beat 5/9/13



Thoughts:

Nintendo certainly likes to make Kirby do a lot of experimental things. Pikmin platformers, tetris games, pinball, block games, even that touch screen only game where you directed Kirby via lines; Kirby has been through a lot more game mechanics then almost any other character out there. And while a lot of the previous games mentioned didn't really give off a Kirby game vibe, I feel that Epic Yarn does actually achieve that. Epic Yarn is just so cutesy and whimsical that it just feels at home with Kirby, and by that sentiment I feel that Epic Yarn is perhaps the best ascetically pleasing game to feature Kirby. Everything about it just makes Kirby a little more Kirby. Not to mention the game does actually look surprisingly like yarn. Its as if someone made these animations of yarn in front of you, its just that smooth and just looks so well done. Even the smallest things like fabric and stitching are constantly present to show more of an effect on any given level.†

Epic Yarn isn't all visuals though, as it still provides with some classic platforming fun. Its a simple platformer where you can run, jump, and spin enemies or items into a big ball of yarn to hurl at other enemies or objects. Epic Yarn also has several different transformations throughout certain levels. Kirby transforms into a penguin, ufo, train, monster truck, tank, and even a rocket. While they are too big an impact on the game itself, these transformations offer a nice break from the usual platforming, focusing more on collecting gems, timing jumps, or even shooting enemies. Aside from that though, there really isn't much Epic Yarn offers differently aside from mini-games like playing hide and seek or a somewhat tacked on Co-op mode. Perhaps the real objective to the majority of Epic Yarn's levels however are finding all the various items scattered throughout the levels and collecting enough gems to obtain a gold rank. Its very true that Kirby can't die throughout the whole game, but that doesn't mean all the challenge is taken out of Epic Yarn. Epic Yarn is more so focused on obtaining better rankings via medals. If Kirby collects enough gems he gets a gold, silver, or bronze medal, but if you get hit any time you lose gems. So the real goal in Epic Yarn is to not get hit at all so you don' lose all your gems, thus keeping a your ranking toward the sought out gold medal. But even with this challenge tacked on to players minds, the game is still very easy, and I doubt anyone would actually have difficulty beating it. With that note I don't think this game would be really worth mentioning either if it weren't for the fact it is very ascetically pleasing. While it does have decent gameplay and challenge, the overall appeal is about the flash this game offers. In a lot of ways, and I'm surprised I'm saying this, the yarn out does the actual gameplay behind it. Its basic gameplay patted with a neat looking look to it. If this looked like any other game I doubt people would give it a second chance, but for what it is, its nice to look at. Its not all flash, but the substance isn't all that good either, its a pretty game to look and nice to spend sometime with, but I wouldn't say its really much of a game worth playing.


Final Thoughts:

Kirby's Epic Yarn is one of the most ascetically pleasing game this generation, the way Nintendo works yarn into a gameplay mechanic is really cool, and makes for a very visually appealing experience. However, Epic Yarn really isn't that challenging, even when going for gold medals, so it really just ends up being a very basic game under the guise of a very visually appealing effect. By no means does this make Epic Yarn a bad game though, but more so its a pleasant experience of seeing a visual style collide with gameplay mechanics, its different and thatís whats worth noting.

Kirby Squeak Squad ~ Date Beat 5/23/13



Thoughts:

Squeak Squad probably has the lamest storyline I have ever really seen so far in a Kirby game or any game for that matter, if anything it only confirms that Kirby is a royal jag to everyone he meets. Essentially the game is about getting back Kirby's piece of cake he wanted to eat at the very beginning, and mysteriously goes missing when he's about to eat it. Being a renegaded cop that doesnít play by the rules, Kirby takes swift justice on King Dedede, beating him up and taking is money only to find out, kinda, that the Squeaks took it, and overall being a pretty lame excuse to start an adventure.

Despite this rather stupid opening for an adventure though, Squeak Squad manages to have everything I like about Kirby. Its very much like Kirby's adventure for the NES, much of the game is based on simple exploration, and finding all the treasures in each level. The game is nice enough to tell you how many treasure are in each level, and the length is never too long or tedious to actually become boring to look for all of them. Each level lasts long enough to keep you entertain, but never really drags on either, which is something that I really like because its very much a pick up and play type of game. The game also tries to add functions for the DS as well, but overall they seem rather pointless and lame. Basically you get 5 slots to put any kind of bubbled item or chest in and keep with you throughout your playthrough, till you turn the game off. While it is nice to have powers and health at your finger tips they often get in the way of treasure collecting from time to time. See, because of the 5 slot limit the treasure chests have no where to go if all 5 slots are filled up, this makes getting some of the quicker treasure chests harder to get if you don't prep correctly. Honestly this could have easily been fixed by simply giving each chest their own slot for inventory bubbles, it doesn't break the game, and overall makes it easier for the player. Although Squeak Squad is fairly easy, lasting about 5 or so hours for any given player. So any kind of treasure hassle isn't really much of a game breaker, just annoying. The new powers this time, animal and bubble, ghost, and metal are all pretty neat and rather unique to the already vast amount of powers Kirby can get. Although Metal is pretty much crap because it slows you down way too much, and can't be used as well as rock could. The game also lets you combine certain abilities together, kinda like Crystal Shard did, but its not nearly as interacted as they were in Crystal Shard. Mainly due to many of the abilities having to have scrolls found first, so you can then combine them to make something better, like fire + sword into fire sword. Overall though this is simply a basic kirby game, it may not be as original as most of the newer Kirby games that include some sort of gimmick, but its full of pure fun and fast paced levels and exploration. Frankly this is a lovely game to play when you just want to take a relaxed break.


Final Thoughts:

Kirby Squeak Squad may not rattle any cages with its non-sense story line and simple gameplay. But what it does provide is a fun few hours of fast paced levels and exploration. This is Kirby at its simplest, just you, the game, and a few new copy abilities looking for treasure and playing a game. It may not be the best thing ever, but its entertaining enough for anyone.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland ~Date Beat 11/16/13



Thoughts:

Kirby's Return to Dreamland is honestly a bit of a blur to me, but from what I can easily remember I had a lot of fun with it and it was over the top in a very good way. It was pretty much Kirby to the extreme, something only really seen in the American covers honestly, and it really is one of the better Kirby games out there. After such a long while, since about squeak squad really, do we get a full fledged Kirby game, and for the consoles the wait for a regular Kirby game has been far too long. †While Epic Yarn and Mass Attack are fun additions to Kirby, there is just something pure and fun about how the original formula goes about it. This time Kirby is set out to collect a lot of gears and ship parts to help a fellow out and with that starts probably the only Kirby game to have a decent storyline.†

Return to Dreamland has a few new additions added to the formula, like 4 player co-op, the ability to play different characters, and perhaps the most important the super special abilities Kirby gets every now and then. What particularly makes this Kirby game set apart from others is the way it establishes a set formula throughout and yet somehow always seems like its fresh and challenging each time. Maybe its the fact that you or your friends can play as king dedede, waddle, or meta knight along with the other kirbys, but just in general every power out there is just given so much to work with that it never feels like you †get a useless ability, well rock still kinda sucks. Anyway with the newer characters they get their standard weapons, Dedede with his hammer, Metaknight with his sword, and Waddle with a halberd. What makes them a little more interesting than just permaweapons is the fact they are treated as there own character, and for the first time ever in a kirby game it actually feels like there is more to co-op then before. See in the past Kirby games all the extra characters usually just acted like Kirby with a different skin and a lot of the animations were awkward at times, mainly the enemy partners, on top of that the first player had a lot more control over the other players, no matter where the 1st player was the camera would always focus on them. In Return to Dreamland however it actually feels like a co-op affair, the camera simple follows whoever is in first and you can set up teams that rely on the permaweapon counterparts. Kirby loses his power for the gear we needed? Just switch to Dedede and suddenly you can get it! Just a lot of these neat little touches that actually make Co-op, Co-op in Return that just makes it better than the other times Kirby claimed to have Co-op. Course I haven't actually gotten to the actual powers yet either.

The powers this time around just do a lot more than they usually would. Sword alone does different types of cuts and actions pending on how you press the special button and D-pad. In other words, powers actually require some skill to wield, granted its not a lot of skill, but the fact that you can learn how to use powers properly is very much a big thing in a small skilled game like Kirby. Now it actually feels like a challenge when you can run through the game using your new acquired skills with your weapon and even more fun in the challenge stages they provide when you collect enough gears. Not to mention that the addition of the super abilities, which pretty much sets Return as the over the top adventure I mentioned earlier. Certain abilities throughout are given super abilities and act as a sort of screen killer in the way that the Mic used to in older Kirby games. Save for the fact that a lot of these powers acted differently, and attacked in different ways. The majority of these super abilities are usually used because they're is a chance to get into a dimension that houses a mini-boss that has two gears within the level. About every 2 or so levels in each world have these dimensions and the super abilities are always used to access them. While it may seem like it gets rather old the more and more you do it, its further from what you would think. For the most part, the super abilities are used in different ways each time, and you usually don't get the same ability twice when opening a portal. On top of that, instead of just fighting the mid-boss you must first out run the dimensions wall that are closing in to kill you. These segments where you run from the dimensional walls are probably the hardest Kirby games have ever gotten and what makes it all the more interesting is that you lose your abilities as soon as you enter in this gray dimension. Thus a lot of this running and quick puzzle solving relies on the players knowledge of Kirby's basic abilities making it a lot more fun and a much needed break from having super powered abilities throughout a level. In general, Return to Dreamland really is the most challenging Kirby game to date, with many of the bosses, and mid-bosses changing their pattens every now and then when they have lower health. As well, the final boss himself really makes for a great ending as all your abilities are put to the test on top of having the return of the darkest before dawn type endings Kirby tends to have at the end of his games.

Course Return to Dreamland isn't all sunshine, rainbows, and really cool wicked powers. Its a very formulaic game and while it tends to spice up the formula each time, its really hard not to notice that you are doing the same thing throughout the entire game. What makes it all the more noticeable though is the mid-boss in the dimensions rift, as all them are simple recolors of the first one and it never really spices things up like other bosses do. Aside from that though, there isn't too much to complain about the game. The music is great, the graphics are put to good use, and all in all its a great Kirby game. † †


Final Thoughts:

Kirby's Return to Dreamland is certainly one of Kirby's best and challenging outings to date. It may be quite formulaic with its levels, but there usually is something to spice them up each time you enter a new one. With a fully functional Co-op in hand, a massive collection of gears to collect, and bonus stages to unlock, Return to Dreamland really brings back Kirby the way he used to be.   read


12:43 AM on 01.02.2014  

8 game series challenge: Ratchet and Clank

Series: Ratchet & Clank



A friend of mine recommend this series to me, and I pretty much fell in love with it like he did. Everything in this series is just stellar. Although Ratchet and Clank is a series that I think had some real growing pains, but it managed to make the most of the lessons it had. While there isn't much doubt in my mind that the first game is the worst game in the series, even that game showed what potential the series had, and to see all that potential happen in the next game really made me enjoy this series all the more. While it did have some minor hiccups with the PSP and PSN games, they were at least enjoyable to play and it never felt like a chore to go through any of these games. If anything they just proved that Ratchet and Clank was pretty much need on consoles with enough play time to enjoy them fully. †As time grew on the characters, humor, and gameplay constantly grew with it and it never really seemed to miss a beat with growth. Into the Nexus gives a lot of hope for the future as R&C seemed to had an identity crisis with Full Frontal Assault and All 4 One, but Nexus assured us that Insomniac will always know how to make a proper Ratchet and Clank game. Overall this is just an amazing series, and I suggest everyone play these games or at least most of them.

What I want the next game to be like?

Honestly Nexus really want me to have more emotional Ratchet and Clank games like Crack in Time. Insomniac seems to know how blend emotion with humor so well and the while the length of Nexus was a bit annoying I really did enjoy the game a whole bunch. Crack in Time will always be my favorite though because of all the satellite exploring in each galaxy and thatís something that needs to return. So I suppose I just want the next Ratchet and Clank game to be like Crack in Time when it comes down to it. Although a movie tie in game would be pretty great to see to, but I'm worried it won't be great because of how often movie games are rushed.



Series ranked
R&CF: A Crack in Time > R&CF: Tools of Destruction > R&C: Up Your Arsenal > R&C: Into the Nexus > R&C: Going Commando > R&C: All 4 One > Ratchet: Deadlocked > R&CF: Quest for Booty > R&C: Size Matters >= R&C: Full Frontal Assault > Ratchet and Clank

Games Omitted:

Secret Agent Clank: Reason: really seemed like a spin off game in the series compared to others, and I was never able to get a hold of it.

R&C: Going Mobile: It was a cell phone game that didnt look good and I honestly dont think Ill be able to acquire

R&C: Before the Nexus: Its an endless run game on top of a phone game that won't work properly on my phone. When I get a better phone that can run it Ill probably play it, and it does look fun to play.

Individual Thoughts on each game:

Ratchet & Clank: date beat 1/16/13



Thoughts:

Having now played all three of the trio of platforming games for the PS2, Ratchet& Clank, Sly Cooper, and Jax & Daxter, I can safely say that Ratchet & Clank is the weakest of them all. Look, the game itself isnít really bad per say, but there certainly isnít anything grabbing about it. Everything in this game is just almost, but not quite with it. The story is there, but it certainly does have a very formulaic and somewhat forced funny side to it. The combat is there, but itís often sluggish and hard to control. The music is there, but itís mostly drowned out by the SFX noises. †The platforming is there, and well, actually the platforming is probably the best part of Rachet & Clank honestly. Just a lot of Ratchet & Clank felt like they had it going for them, and just kinda dropped the ball somewhere.

Please donít take these comments as such a threat to a series mind you, Iím well aware that it gets better and that its formula works well. Much of the game is still the same kind of platformer I remember growing up with, but with a lot of extra toys that are throw in to help spice up gameplay. You still visit different levels or planets in this case, you still find your main objectives, you still have collectibles, and you still have secrets to unlock while playing the game. Thatís really about it. I suppose the fault I actually have with Ratchet & Clank is that itís just rather average. Save for the weapons you actually get throughout; youíre really just playing another platformer. A lot of the weapons are neat and interesting, but they never really do much to make an impact on the game. I was using my wrench the majority of the time just hitting enemies like I normally do because frankly it was just easier to deal with. The weapons that you get, while more powerful than the wrench, are simply too difficult to really deal with. Aiming simply isnít that easy while being shot at and without a sidestep or strafing it just means I have to take a moment to adjust my view, fire and hope it hits, then dodge. Such work is just too much the majority of the time, and the wrench is simply better at handling most problems youíre dealing with because it doesnít use ammo.

The major thing I have to really complain about though is the constant need to go back and forth between worlds. While I can easily agree with the idea that R&C doesnít make you back track a lot during the missions, I disagree that R&C has †little backtracking. In fact, I say that a lot of the game is devoted to going back and forth between planets just to find new paths because you acquired a new item. Itís not so much that it feels like bad level design or anything of the sort, but itís just a constant thing that happens and it gets annoying seeing the same loading screen, err, ship again and again. I like to just get everything in a level and be done with it and move on, but for the majority part of R&C youíre always coming back to find more stuff if you want to 100% it. Also the music selection in the game is just rather disappointing; from what could have been really good sci-fi action music ends up being just a few notes of bleeps and boops that loop incorrectly. Perhaps the biggest problem I have with the music though is the fact that the boss battles arenít reflected in them. Nothing just really feels big in Rachet & Clank and that just makes me wish there was. Itís a game that could have had it all, but it just fails to build up all the way there, and they had all the tools for it too.

Final Thoughts:

Rachet & Clank is so close to being something really awesome, but it just never quite makes it there. Everything is almost with it, and while itís a decent platformer in its own right, the game itself needs a lot of fixes with combat and atmosphere to make it really stand out. Thankfully this is only the start of a series and not what the series has become, and if this is its starting point, Iím sure it will get better. †

Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando: Date Beat 1/23/13



Thoughts:

Having beaten Ratchet and Clank and then playing a little bit of Going Commando I knew for a fact that this game was miles and above better than the first. Everything about the first is improved and made better. The weapons are better, the combat is better, the story is better, everything is just better. I feel like I shouldnít play the 1st game ever again because I know that Going Commando is simply superior. It really just amazes me that Insomniac games was able to make a far better game within a yearsí time. All the problems with the first are nearly fixed and made better, as well Going Commando tends to introduce new variations that make me glad the series kept going. Everything that was also good about the first was also made better in context and overall itís just a really good game. †

Gameplay in Going Commando certainly is more combat focused and less frustrating thanks to the upgrade system and the ability to strife. The weapons you get are often varied enough that each handles differently and anyone can get their own personal favorite because of it, personally a fan of the mr. zurkon bots and mini turrets. The puzzle solving minigames this time can be a bit tedious, but they often provide to be a nice little challenge overall. Although I have to say that the gadgets this time around werenít used as often as I remember from the first game, but I canít really say this is a good or bad thing. Going Commando is simply a different game, and geared more to combat then puzzle solving. But it does seem like gadgets were put aside this time in favor of weapons. The enemies in this game though, especially in the end, really just require too much time to take down then they really should have. I really think this could have been solved easily enough if the player was either given more ammo per weapon, the weapons actually did more damage, or the enemies simply didnít have so much health. The game kinda guides you thru 70% of the game, but once you hit that percent, the game just spikes up in difficulty. It gets really annoying how many enemies can be on screen at once, and you can hit them over and over again only to see them get back up. Course this is countered by having a lot of weapons in your arsenal, which I didnít have the majority of the game because I was foolishly trying to get the Ryno II on my first run.

The atmosphere in the game was far better than its predecessor and a lot of the worlds simply have more personality compared to the last game. The music is actually noticeable this time around too which made for a much more enjoyable experience. My favorite time actually playing through this game though would be going through the ice level and collecting all the moon rocks. Just something about exploring the area with a bunch of enemies felt right and really made me wish that ratchet and clank would focus there levels to be more like that then going from planet A to get to planet B.

Final Thoughts:†
Music, atmosphere, story, combat, weapons, anything Ratchet and Clank did, Going Commando did better. Aside from still sticking to a formulaic design of going from planet to planet, and an enemy difficultly spike near the end of the game; Going Commando proves that some games just need a sequel to truly shiny.

Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters Date beat 1/24/13



Thoughts:

Going into Size Matters I kinda knew it wouldnít be good, itís still a decent game and all, but the early PSP games that received a lot of ďamazingĒ scores were often over-exaggerated because the PSP simply didnít have that many games. Again, itís still a decent game, and frankly I find it to be a bit more fun than the first Ratchet and Clank game, if only slightly. But Size Matters only really considerable selling point that it makes to the R&C series is that itís the ďfirstĒ decent portable R&C game.

Size Matters simply has too many flaws with it to even say itís a good game however, and certainly shouldnít be passed as one. For one, itís pretty dang obvious that the game is not designed for a PSP control scheme. There are just too many buttons that the R&C series uses to make it work on a portable system without giving something up; this causes a lot of problems by mixing and matching buttons that were originally not supposed to work the way they do in Size Matters. Honestly, the camera is the least of the playerís worries because the bigger problem to address is the strafing mechanic. Switching from the D-pad to the Circle pad or vice versa just to strafe is often confusing and annoying. Itís really just a hassle that shouldnít be and pretty much makes the same mistake the first R&C did. Also why they have racing in this game I will never know, the least that can be said for it, it doesnít work. The story too is rather bare bones, it resolves just enough to make it watchable, but it certainly is nowhere near the story telling of the other R&C games. Really it just feels like Sony was grasping at straws here just trying to get the PSP some legs to stand on rather than actually trying to make a good game.

That being said though, Size Matters I donít think is a terrible game, I find it rather decent. Sure the controls are a bundled of mess and the story isnít good, but itís still a portable adventure. The combat is light, the areas are somewhat smaller, and the platforming is even lighter, but just having this mini adventure feels just a bit nice to actually have. As well, a lot of the guns in this game arenít all that bad, and some are rather creative, and in my honest opinion better than the 1st R&C weapons. †The graphics themselves look really nice on the small PSP screen and make all the smaller worlds pop out at least enough to make it enjoyable on the eyes. The areas themselves can often be forgettable, but they at least yield for a small amount of exploration, and atmosphere. All the classic sounds are still here and the music, while somewhat forgettable as well, still stands out.

Final Thoughts:

Itís a shame that Size Matters seemed so rushed out of the door, if given enough time I think it would have made for an excellent addition for the Ratchet and Clank series. However, what we are left with is pretty much a semi decent game with a baffling control scheme and mediocre story. But hey, itís a portable Ratchet and Clank game, at least.

Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal date beat: 2/4/13



Thoughts:

Having now played a fair share of Ratchet & Clank and hearing praise about up your arsenal, Iím glad to report that it is all that with some chips. While I canít say for sure, Up Your Arsenal may be the best Ratchet & Clank game out there. They finally got the mix of combat and platforming well enough that it produces great results. The game truly felt like Isonomic learned from their mistakes and just made everything better. While Going Commando was a huge improvement on the first game, Up Your Arsenal is a great improvement on Going Commando.

Simply starting out this game just feels great and it really does get quite addicting. All the levels have atmosphere to them, and feel different enough that you never really get bored going to another planet. The weapons this time around are all pretty much useful in some way and are just really interesting. The characters finally play off each other well with already established relationships and great delivery. The story is far more interesting this time around too as it introduces Dr. Nefarious, a great humorous antagonist. All the RPG elements introduce in Going Commando also come back with a huge improvement with the ability to upgrade weapons more throughout the game. They even added a couple of neat little power up boxes that make you invincible or double the amount of bolts you get. Frankly, itís all the little changes that truly make Up Your Arsenal worthwhile. †

Some may not like Up Your Arsenals new features like the tower defense style play, but I personally think itís a wonderful addition to the series. It just makes Ratchet & Clank more focused on combat rather than platforming and with some of the missions you can still explore the area which makes it all the more fun. It really just feels more like a battlefield then some sort of platforming game, and I think thatís where the other two games failed to deliver. Up Your Arsenal just offers more combat goodness then the other Ratchet and Clank games and really thatís where it has always excellence at. Sure this makes the game a far more linear experience compared to the previous two, but I really donít think Ratchet and Clank works well in that regard. And aside from one or two levels that have some bad checkpoint placing, the majority of Up Your Arsenal is very forgiving.

Final Thoughts:

Up Your Arsenal is, perhaps, the defining Ratchet & Clank game. It focuses far more on combat, weapons, and humor then any of the past games did while still having enough platforming to spread it out and thatís what makes it better. With multiplayer to deal with and challenge mode being double the fun as the first run was, makes this great game greater.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One - date beat 2/6/13



Thoughts:

This game was technically the first Ratchet and Clank game I played because my friend wanted me to join him in beating it along with a few other friends. It turned out to be a really fun time, and we decided to keep playing it till we beat it. Aside from a few hiccups and when and where people were able to meet we were finally able to beat it today.

All 4 one is a bit of a long Co-op game, but certainly is entertaining enough to not drag on. The game can be a bit hard at times near the end too, but this point becomes moot once people upgrade the zoni blaster and most importantly, the critter strike. At which point the game becomes laughably easy to manage and there really is no need to use the vast majority of weapons anymore. While the game does have a lot of cool new weapons, along with a few returning ones, there really isnít much of a point to use half of them as they are just rather hard to manage compared to the others. The weapon balancing in this game is simply too broken and only about 5 of the weapons are ever really worth using. As well the individual weapons were a nice addition, but overall just didnít impact the game as much as it probably should have. On top of that, a lot of the puzzles were simply 2 people press buttons at the same time or using each other to launch them to a place where you normally couldnít. Overall it just felt like the Co-op for this game was more so forced in then actually made for it. This is a shame because the game practically sells itself as a Co-op experience; when it could have just been better with a more defined single player experience. By simply taking out or focusing less on Co-op it could have been possible to make the game a lot more about exploration or full engaged combat fields compared to a bunch of players must get from point A to point B to finish the level.

The story itself is also quite entertaining and does have its funny moments throughout, but the majority of the music is really just lost between the louder, more iconic sound effects, and friends shouting at you. The graphics and overall atmosphere in this game is astoundingly pretty, and really lets you see the PS3ís power if you would just pay attention to some of the background or look at some of the cutscenes, but is easily lost through the heat of battle.

Final Thoughts:

All 4 one seemed to sacrifice what could have been a far better single player experience into a rather average Co-op experience, riddled with simple puzzles and an unbalanced weapon arsenal. But not all is lost in transition, and the game still provides for an entertaining story and a somewhat long, but enjoyable co-op run.

Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault ~ Date Beat 3/29/13



Thoughts:

Ratchet and Clank has been through a lot of games, but Full Frontal Assault seems a lot less like their previous adventures together. Sure, a lot of games have been going through this new multiplayer craze and been adding them to all their franchises, Mario, God of War, and even Portal, but Ratchet and Clank has never really felt fitting for the multiplayer experience. Itís nice to have the ability to play against friends and such, but the art of single player is getting lost more and more. And I for one consider Ratchet and Clank to be best in a single player experience. I'm not saying the multiplayer is bad, but it certainly isn't a necessity to sell such a game.

The game plays decently like a tower defense game, with the ability to go out and explore a bit against the enemy or get money for upgrades. Then when the time comes the wave phase happens and you have to defend yourself against it and vice versa for your enemy, hence tower defense. But really it just feels like a tower defense game with Ratchet and Clank characters than a Ratchet and Clank game. The weapons R&C usually have are kinda held back in favor of more defense oriented combat rather than fun combat solutions and really it feels more like a big tease than anything else. Like its probably good as a tower defense game, but its selling itself to the wrong audience. It looks like a duck and talks like a duck, but it aint no R&C game. †

Seriously, we haven't had a good Ratchet and Clank experience in a while and to see a game series I have come to like turn into this saddens me. There are just some problems with this game that I just have with it, like seriously, why was this game tower defense? R&C had some elements of defending areas in their games, but nothing like this, and certainly not to this degree. R&C was all about combat and the unique weapons you got to kill others with. This is just using the same old weapons in a somewhat new way. Really it just saddens me that this is considered a major game in the series. I mean, even the single player is only 5 levels long. Thatís not nearly as half as full of an adventure as the previous R&C were. And while I understand that this game is originally only sold for 20$, why make it a retail release? Why not make it downloadable? Wouldn't that be the wiser option here? Why not just sell it for a little less and not even bother with single player. For all purposes, this is a multiplayer game, and the single player campaign is rather pathetic in terms of what they use to be. Just a lot the single player campaign fell so short in comparison that it really doesnít feel like this was suppose to be a Ratchet and Clank game at all. It just feels like a game made to sell. Also why can't I fight my buddy on the couch? What is happening to all the local multiplayer games? Ya I know I have co-op, but what if I want to fight my friend on the couch? Or what if I want to fight a guy online with a friend on the couch with me? Why do I need to have a friend go to his house, go online, and play with me that way? Just ugh, all this Ratchet and Clank game does is make me mad at how this generation of gaming is screwing my generation of gamingís way. Sure, it might be for the better, but I strongly oppose that Ratchet and Clank is ďone of the games that need to change with itĒ. It was better the way it was, as a single player slug fest of combat and destruction.

Final Thoughts:

I really wish Ratchet and Clank would stick to what they do best, single player. With what full frontal assault offers as a single player campaign is pathetic compared to previous games, and it really just feels like R&C are moving too far away from their formula that full frontal assault doesn't even feel like a Ratchet and Clank game anymore. Certainly a disappointing game for older fans of the series.

Ratchet: Deadlocked ~Date Beaten 3/30/13



Thoughts:

After playing Full Frontal Assault, Deadlocked was like butter to my ears, or some kind of metaphor that means I liked it. Ya, itís not classic Ratchet and Clank, but it at least knows what R & C are good at, combat! I always have liked the premise of heroes having to duke it out because an even eviler villain had them playing by their strings or some jazz like that. But deadlocked, well I honestly think it really missed a lot of opportunity with what it had going on story wise. It played a lot of things off for laughs, and while thatís all good, I think they could have just made the characters more interesting. Really this game feels more like a one-off than actually apart of anything, and overall the series probably doesn't need this game. But still for what it delivers, it does deliver well enough that fans of the series can still enjoy it. †

From what I heard from a friend of mine, this game was quite different from other R&C games, but honestly, itís a bit more of the same then I think most people give it credit. Itís not a bad thing mind you, and frankly I like the way Deadlocked is set up. I actually like it a lot more compared to the past R& C games, as itís a lot more objective ready then the others. It sets up for a lot of cool combat scenarios and a bunch of interesting courses to play through. But because the way deadlocked is set up, it doesnít really give players the chance to explore the areas around you compared to the previous games. Itís not so much about platforming, but fighting to survive. And while I know that R&C was never much one for platforming, over combat, I canít help but feel I miss a part of that R &C mix gameplay that I have come to know and love. I also have to say that getting dread points is an annoying hassle. I don't mind doing side missions to unlock certain things, but having to play the side missions in order to move forward through the story really seems like padding to me, rather than actual good game design.
Which brings me to my next point, this game is pretty dang short. While I personally clocked a little over 3 hrs. on the easiest difficultly I can't help but feel they could have done just a little more to make this game bigger. Short games aren't bad by any means, but going back to my point earlier, this game could have had a lot of potential to be better than it was. This could have been improved by having a better plot line, adding more character development, exploring the areas within the game, or making the challenges a bit longer. I don't know what would have worked, but I do know they could have added a little more than they did. And while itís not a bad game because itís short, it certainly isnít a great game because it missed out on a lot of neat things they could have done to it. Really this game just ends up feeling more like a glorified arena from the previous Ratchet and Clank games than what could have been a really great game.

Final Thoughts:

Deadlocked isn't the black sheep of the R&C series that I thought it would be and for that I'm glad. However, with how short the campaign was, the fact the new characters were pretty bland, and how they missed a lot with the premise they were †dealing with, I can't say deadlocked lived up to its potential. There's a better game in there, but for what it is now, itís just good. †

Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction ~ Date Beat 4/7/13



Thoughts:

All those feelings I had when I play Up Your Ursenal pretty much returned when I started playing Tools of Destruction. Finally playing a game that Ratchet and Clank is suppose to be like after a long string of playing games that modded it in some way really makes you appreciate just returning to formula. It was also a nice surprise to see the little furball in HD without a chibi influence, Ratchet just looks better to me this way compared to Full Frontal Assault. All the characters in this game to are all worthwhile and have enough time to shine within this game. Personally was a fan of all the pirate levels in this game. The story is also the best its ever been, what with Ratchet learning about his past or at least trying to, and Clank dealing with some really weird cosmic stuff with the Zoni. The whole plot really sets itself up pretty well and nothing really feels forced or unwanted. Plus this game's ending has a surprisingly bitter sweet ending to it that just makes me want to play the other future titles.

As mentioned before gameplay stays true to Ratchet and Clank formula that was ever present with the first trilogy. You go planet to planet searching for your objective while also sometimes having a side mission that you can do while you're there. Golden bolts and Gadgetron's secret plans are also hide on various planets so there is usually something to be looking out for too. Some planets even have bigger areas to hunt down big monsters called leviathans and claim their soul so you can trade them for bolts. †You still get a bunch of neat guns, most of them work really well and are different from each other that they provide some sort of use that the others do not. Some of the weapons you get are inspired from past Ratchet and Clank games, but there are plenty of new ones out there to match them. The gadgets on the other hand are a bit more useless this time around, and are mainly there for some one time puzzle solving devices. While some of the devices are a bit more fun than others, the majority of them feel tedious. †In addition to gadgets and weapons, Ratchet also gets a bunch of new devices which are a bit like bomb-esque weapons that have a small supply, but create a big impact on the battlefield. A lot of the devices are rather niche though, and aside from the Groovitron and Mr. Zurkon they are hardly useable in most situations. Leveling up weapons however is a little bit different from previous Ratchet and Clank games as there are two different ways to level up weapons. Either you upgrade them with certain mods or you kill enough enemies to level them up like it previous games. The only real downside to Tools of Destruction is its constant use of the six axis controller. While I understand that this was the time where Sony was trying to justify the six axis controller, the game uses it far too much when a simpler and more enjoyable solution would be just using the joy stick like you usual do. Pretty much anything the six axis uses, the joy stick would be better at. In fact, the only thing the six axis really does is make the puzzles a bit more annoying, and the drops from sky just a little more fun. Which honestly is a rather bad trade off.

As for the way Tools of Destruction presents itself overall. Well, its a much needed improvement. Honestly, this is the first time I could really hear the music over the sound effects and really the soundtrack for tools of destruction is pretty dang awesome. Graphically it looks wonderful, and makes use of the PS3 software much more than All 4 One did, in my opinion. The cutscenes are also well integrated, but †I find it a bit of an annoyance that there are some I can't skip during a challenge mode run. But when it comes down to it, this is the best I have seen Ratchet and Clank be.

Final Thoughts:

While it may suck that Tools of Destruction used too much of the six axis controls, overall everything else is just as good or better than Up Your Arsenal. I especially like the way they went with the story and soundtrack as it was a much needed improvement on the Ratchet and Clank series as a whole. Overall Tools of Destruction is something I want to see more of, and makes me glad to have played this great game.

Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty ~ Date Beat 4/11/13



Thoughts:

When I first looked at Quest for Booty I thought it would be a neat little side venture of the future series that helped explain a few things between Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time. However, this was not the case for Quest for Booty as I left it far more confused than I would be if I didnít play it at all. Having played a good amount of A Crack in Time before writing my thoughts I have to say that much of what happens in Quest for Booty doesn't make much sense. I don't know where that girl that Ratchet was hanging out with went too nor the robots that where with her. The game only lasts about 2 hours and it really just feels more like standalone download content for Tools of Destruction rather than a filler between ToD and A Crack in Time.

The story was resolved far too quickly and pretty much all the characters introduced in it meant nothing. The characters that did reappear had no real change at all either, and overall it was just a meaningless transition from Tools of Destruction to A Crack in Time. Heck, I don't even remember the scene where Crack in Time mentions how Ratchet found out where he was suppose to go. And while the gameplay resembles much of Ratchet and Clank, the formula it was trying to go with just didn't fit with what it was trying to do. Sure Deadlocked was rather short too, but it used a different game style that Ratchet and Clank is still accustomed too. Quest for Booty tries to explain what could be a full fleshed out game in a matter of 2 hours. Really the best way to put Quest for Booty is that its abridged game of what could have been a better one. I really do like the space pirates that were introduced in Tools of Destruction, but the way they hatched their scheme, how fast it fell apart and overall the pace in this game is rushed. Just really the whole thing seemed like a really rushed job meant only to feel a void for a deadline.

Final Thoughts:

As a game, Quest for Booty fails to really be its own, and really just ends up feeling like a copied, short extension of Tools of Destruction. †Its not exactly bad per se, but it fails to deliver anything different to Ratchet and Clank, nor provide the extended adventure it has come to be known for. Its just bare and minimum, and honestly makes no sense within the future series.

Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time~ Date Beat 4/14/13




Thoughts:

It really does feel like everything that the Ratchet and Clank series has done has led up to this. In both story and gameplay, A Crack in Time just combines everything that was great in the past games. I'd go as far as to say that this is the defining Ratchet and Clank game. Aside from a few flaws, like incorrect music looping and not being able to skip certain cutscenes. Crack in Time delivers the finest in characters, challenge, exploration, story, and gameplay Ratchet and Clank have ever seen.

The way the story sets itself up is wonderful and basically ties up any loose ends in the Ratchet and Clank universe. Both the origins of Clank and Ratchet are found, and both have other characters that help them find out who they truly are. The way each character plays off each other is wonderful as well, and I really got teary eyed in the end of it all. Its amazing how Isonamic can tug my heartstrings while also hitting my funny bone. Pacing in this game is great as well as it never really feels like anything is being rushed or being put in for filler, it has everything hit at the right moment.
Gameplay is also at its finest as both Ratchet and Clank get different playstyles added to them that make it even better than ever before. Clank gets a bunch of new, rather unique, time mechanics added in for puzzle solving and it really can leave any player itching their head at what to do. Ratchet, on the other hand, is added a full space field to ride along in his spaceship to both explore and fight in. Space battling this time around is rather simple with just shooting and dodging mechanics. You are also given a bunch of smaller satellites to explore that just make Crack in Time all the more enjoyable. These new Satellites make for a nice change of pace between each major level and often have goodies for players exploring them. As for the rest of the gameplay, its pretty much kept exactly the same. Point your given weapon and shoot to make the bad guys dead. Weapons upgrade the more enemies you kill, and minor puzzle solving is abound. And you still go exploring to collect bolts, Ryno plans, and this time, Zoni. The more stuff you get the stronger you are and the more stuff you unlock the easier it is to play, and really thatís what is so wonderful about this game. It sticks to its guns, and delivers the same amount of stuff fans have come to know and love while adding a little twist to the formula.

This game is also very beautiful from both cutscenes to just in-game combat. Colors are vibrate, graphics are crisp, and ascetically each planet just looks wonderful. The soundtrack however, is the better attraction of the two, and really it just blows other Ratchet and Clank games away. Each track just has such a sci-fi vibe to it, and brings a lot of cheery, eerie wonderfulness to it. And it doesn't just have music either, while traveling in your spaceship you can also use the radio that works almost exactly like the radios in Grand Theft Auto, where each station has there †own bit of dialogue to listen to along with great music. Overall this is just the best Ratchet and Clank has ever been to your ears and eyes.

Final Thoughts:

A Crack in Time is ultimately what the Ratchet and Clank series as led up to. It combines everything that made Ratchet and Clank did right, and adds space exploration and time solving puzzles to help improve on what was already a great formula into something even better. The music is perhaps the best its ever, the game looks wonderful, the characters will still have you laughing, and it can even be a bit emotional. A Crack in Time is truly the defining experience for the Ratchet and Clank series. † † †

Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus ~ Date beat 11/16/13



Thoughts:

For a lot of people that started this series long before me, Nexus is practically a God sent for all the past Ratchet and Clank games we have been getting, but for me it's a friendly reminder why I love this series despite only knowing about it within a year. While the phrase, ďlike the old Ratchet and Clank games, but shortĒ was certainly scary to hear at first as having another disappointing Quest for Booty type game would suck; Into the Nexus is far from that DLC blunder. Into the Nexus certainly is shorter than the majority of Ratchet and Clank games, but given the amount of content they usual give and the quality of this game, I have to say I wouldn't mind more of these Ĺ of a R&C sized adventures. Admittedly I did get a bit peeved that my time ended so fast or that there wasn't that much screen time for certain characters, but in the long run, this was R&C at its purest form without any of that filler mess that tends to happen. You are only given about 4 worlds to go exploring through, but these worlds are fairly massive, and so well design that its often better than the majority of worlds you would've found in the older PS2 games. Granted, of course, that this game doesn't really top ToD or CiT, but they are close to that quality. Speaking of which, Into the Nexus goes right back to the mix of comedic and dramatic storytelling that the Future series was known for. Opting out instead this time for a tragic villain team, rather than a funny one like nefarious.
As for the new gameplay elements, well, Clank gets a whole new play mechanic to work with, but this time it †deals with gravity rather than time. †Clank is sent to the Nexus, where he must use gravity powers to move around and find a nexus creature to lure back to the exit so it can destroy an obstacle in the way. Clank controls fairly simple in this mode as you only need to use the control stick and L1 button from time to time in order to direct Clank and his means of puzzle solving. †While the objective is fairly redundant each time, the actual mechanics are very fun to mess around in, and honestly wish they give this more game time as its a very neat idea with a lot of potential. †As for the weapons, they are all pretty inventive and fun to use, but the leveling system was hindered a bit for a more favorable, or at least I'd say favorable, form of upgrading. Instead of simply grinding constantly with a weapon, weapons are now upgraded through skill tree-esque system that requires you to purchase the upgrades with raretanium ores that can be found among the levels and enemies. This new form of upgrade helps give the tedious moments of grinding your weapon a more effective approach to suit players needs.

However there are also some slight changes and hiccups I still had with Into the Nexus. The entire removal of space travel was a downer considering how well Crack in Time had that going for it; instead opting out for a more simplistic cartoon map. As well, the game appears to be fairly wonky despite being patch the first week, and having the game installed. Often my game would freeze on the weapon dealers screen simply because I was trying a weapon or wanted to hear dialogue. There were a few other glitches here or there with the arena or during fighting, but these were mostly fixable and a minor problem. But perhaps the biggest trouble I had with this game was the sound itself. I don't know why, but this game just wasn't build for sound. Often when having a lot of items that made sound effects on screen I have the actual game audio lag about 4-5 seconds. Sometimes even cutting out the world's music completely less I activated something. Honestly this really gave me the impression that this game was a bit rushed, but at the very least it wasn't game breaking. Some of the character development, and usage of them in Into the Nexus was also a bit, well to put it in one word, missed. The potential for the two new villains certainly was high, having them fairly dark and menacing for a series that has always been so upbeat and lighthearted seemed like something that could have worked rather well, but they just were kinda pushed to the side for just something less. When you first play this game it really gets you going when you first meet these two villains, but it just kind falls apart after playing through the game, and its not that they are bad characters, but rather the set up for them being villains is loose. Perhaps it wouldn't feel so cheap if we actually had more time with characters, but we simply don't get it, and it really would have made the game a much more emotional and great ride. As well, the returning characters, for the most part, just aren't used very well. It's such a shame too because the game really has you going in the beginning, but you just don't really get to see them for too long. Again its just the way characters are utilized that get me mad about how this game could have come out differently, and while I like the dynamic of Ratchet and Clank's friendship shown throughout, you really see it shine when they are around these other characters, but they just don't get that much time with them.

Final Thoughts:

Despite the game's audio faults, the occasional freeze, or shortened story; Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus really does deliver what fans have been wanting for a while now, getting back to the roots of what makes Ratchet and Clank, Ratchet and Clank. With a lot of good music,graphics, heartfelt stories, great new characters, weapons, and Clank solving mechanics; Into the Nexus is a great game and great addition to the Ratchet and Clank series.   read


12:13 PM on 12.31.2013  

8 game series challenge: Viewtiful Joe Series Review

Series: Viewtiful Joe



Viewtiful Joe as a series was mildly interesting, and while I didn't get around to playing the fighting game that it also created or watched the anime it made, I have to say I had my fill. Perhaps I just don't care for Viewtiful Joe because its based a lot on movie tropes or perhaps because I just didn't have a ďgoodĒ experience my first time around; I can't say for sure. What I can say is that as a series I see Viewtiful Joe as a game that at least tries to innovate each time it was released, and it always seemed to be bursting with ideas on how to make gameplay better. In time, I think Viewtiful Joe would have produced something truly amazing that would grip any player to succumb to its quirky battle mechanics, but because it was cancelled that prediction won't come to any light on what would actually happen. Am I sad about the cancellation? Well ya, despite not being a fan of the series, I have to say that it really did go out of its way to be as quirky as it was and always tried to be different in some way. Capcom is a fool to realize how much actual potential this series had. Sure the story structure was too formulaic for my taste, but the combat was rich and it was something that could have been continued to be perfected. Just maybe next time make it a little more obvious on what I should do, you know? Personally I wouldn't recommend this series that much unless you're already interest in it, otherwise these games can simply be avoided. It's not that they are bad, just kind one less thing to do I, and honestly I don't think people are missing much. †


What would I like the next game to be like?:

I would honestly hope for a episodic DLC type package for the next game. Something like Viewtiful Joe: Direct to DLC as a title or some other lame movie pun like that. I can really see this game working in the vein that Capcom is squeezing Phoenix Wright into or Ghost Trick on iPhones. Giving people a small taste of this combat system and making it very affordable would really spike this series interest. The episodes work well enough on there own, so there isn't much reason to just sell them individual or in a package, and its not like this isn't down Capcom's alley. I really think something like a DLC adventure for Joe would work well enough to save this series and make it look like a low risk to Capcom; I mean we still need the 3rdpart after all!

Game series ranked

Viewtiful Joe 2 >= Viewtiful Joe > Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble





Individual Thoughts on the games


Viewtiful Joe ~ Date beat Mark's Birthday



Thoughts:

Having heard constantly about how amazing Viewtiful Joe is, I can't really say I was that impressed with it. I mean, during the time of its release it was given such praise and admiration from game critics that it seemed like it was going to be the next big franchise. But in reality its just a good game with some original ideas that work well. I suppose in this day and age where originality and quality are fairly rare I suppose it was a big find for critics, but for people that play a lot of games or are looking for something truly great, well I can't help but feel a bit cheated. I suppose I am making this out to be fairly bad, and really I shouldn't. Viewtiful Joe is a good game; it has a lot of vibe to it and so cheesy that it's hard not to love it for that. But Viewtiful Joe, I feel just doesn't always express itself well enough to players.

Honestly I think that's the biggest problem I have with it, is that it really expects you to just get it. Several properties of your moves or techniques are either not explained well enough or are just to brief to really understand it. For instance, when you crouch punch you will hit the enemy in the air if it lands successfully, however this same punch is also used to hit obstacles in the air, and you are expected to do this with in the second episode just after being told about the mechanics of your fast forward technique. This leads to a lot of confusion about how to actually get past a barrel right after you were just told about the fast forward technique because its a wooden barrel and you can set yourself on fire with it. Naturally I thought to get past the wooden barrel by constantly hitting it till I was set on fire and then it would burn up. Course this was not the case, and because I was not told about the properties of my crouch punch before hand I honestly had no idea what to do. And that's whats kinda wrong with this game, there are just certain parts through the game where you legitimately were never told something about a tech or ability you have, and don't know how to get past an area because you will only do this learned ability one other time at most. Just in terms of puzzles and brain teasers, Viewtiful Joe is kinda of an one hit wonder, the most any given puzzle boils down to is simply fast forwarding or more than likely slowing down time. Which isn't something I am mad at the game about, because the heart of this game is using these mechanics to create some really intense fights or scenes that look just Viewtiful. But this can often become a problem too, mainly because a lot of the boss fights themselves can strangely be repetitive and tedious. It doesn't exactly present itself has a big problem, because this game requires you to learn when to use the timing of your heshin techniques just right so you can maximum your Viewtifulness, but if you are just out there to beat a boss it can simply get down to doing two basic moves you know work for like half an hour because of how long these fights can take if you don't know your way around. And more often than not its the case the first time through, as you're not given much of a chance to figure out what works well or what doesn't with these bosses. There aren't a lot of big tells when you can hit a boss for maximum hurtatude. The game greatly benefits from replaying the game, and thankfully its short enough to be able to constantly replay it, but boy is it a lot more confusing fighting and scoring the first time around.

I suppose that's the charm of Viewtiful Joe though, its a game that is very much meant to be played again and again so you can learn the combat system and make yourself Viewtiful while doing it. The combat is honestly a blast to play too, thanks to the heshin techniques you learn. There is just something so satisfying seeing enemies getting beaten up in fast motion, dodging them in slow motion, and then going in for a close up for the much harder hits. The last boss battle was a great way to end the game as well, with much of it feeling like a bigger than life battle compared to the other bosses you face, although its a little more on the nose when you pilot a big giant mech the size of the moon. The story certainly won't win many awards, but at the least its cheesy enough to be endearing. The music and sound effects are satisfying to hear to throughout, especially when you hear the enemies crying out in slow motion. Really though, Viewtiful joe is just a different kind of game, and that's a good thing.

Final Thoughts:
Viewtiful Joe is a very demanding game at times that requires a lot of skill and know how about the game itself in order to fully be enjoyable. The combat system takes a lot of practice and some getting use to, but soon enough battling in fast forwards and slow motions feels more natural and even more satisfying when pulling off techniques correctly. The game can still be somewhat tedious when you don't know exactly what to do or how to defeat an enemy quickly, but half the joy of the game is learning how to take down enemies fast and looking Viewtiful while doing it! Overall, Viewtiful Joe is a very refreshing experience that many gamers looking for a little more action in there life should look into.

Viewtiful Joe 2 ~ Date Beat 9/1/13



Thoughts:

Viewtiful Joe 2 feels like an improvement on the first Viewtiful Joe game, but the changes feel fairly minor. Aside from the addition of Sexy Silvia and her new power of replay, the game plays nearly identical, and even have the same flaws as the first. The game is still very challenging, but this time around it feels a lot more manageable compared to the first. The store and constant save points mean the game doesn't make you constantly play the same sections over and over again, and lets you plot your purchases more effectively. Battles can still often feel tedious if you don't know how to hit the enemy for massive damage, but these areas are few and far between to make them a constant problem throughout the game. What is evident though is the games need to let you figure out how to do it all on your own though, often giving puzzles that are only solved once or twice in the game. Again these puzzles are puzzling not for the fact they are meant to be puzzles, but because the game doesn't give you enough tools to figure out how to solve it to began with. Trying a bunch of different moves and ideas till you exhaust any given option you know of till you either give in and look for advice or get a eureka moment. Viewtiful Joe 2's puzzles can often be like battles sometimes, being tedious, a bit confusing, and overall frustrating.

As I said before, Viewtiful Joe 2 is an improvement on the first game, and it improved the combat enough to make it all the more enjoyable. Playing as Sexy Silvia is different though, as she uses a pistol along with her kicks, and while it helps set her apart, it also takes away a lot of her combo potential out. This makes Sexy Silvia inferior to the already Viewtiful Joe, but what makes this worse is the fire mechanic that can only be put out as Joe. So if you are dedicated to using Silvia through out the reel sections, you will eventually be forced to switch to Joe to put yourself out when you're on fire. Buying items and moves aren't nearly as grind heavy as the first game thankfully, and you will usually be able to get a new move or item each time you visit the store in each given reel. The story this time is a bit more nonsensical however, but still cheesy nonetheless. The soundtrack also still manages to get the blood pumping and the fuel going, but its nothing to write home about. Really though, Viewtiful Joe 2 had a lot of potential to help get a franchise up and running, but with little improvements its understandable how this series just kinda died off unfortunately. There was a lot of missed potential with VJ2, and while I'd like to see more of the series, I can't say that gaming is missing much. VJ series is good as a whole, but it's not really that great as a series, and seems to not address its faults well enough.

Final Thoughts:
Viewtiful Joe 2 improves on the originals formula of controlled viewtiful fighting, but it does little to actually improve the flaws the first had. Fights can still be very tedious if you don't know how to hit the enemy properly, and the puzzles are nearly as bad as the first with a lot guess work and wondering what exactly you do to solve this puzzle. Viewtiful Joe 2 had a lot of potential to be great, but it just ends up being a good affair.

Viewtiful Joe Double Trouble ~ Date Beat 10/1/2013



Thoughts:

As much as I want to say that Double Trouble has a lot of really awesome and cool ideas; I'm more inclined to say its a very average game. In the other Viewtiful Joe games, the games were far more exciting and challenging because the A.I and puzzles were better. While at times they were also annoying to play against or hard to understand because of the unclear directions for puzzles sometimes, they at least give some memorable moments and challenge that is need in this day and age of gaming. The best way to really describe the combat in this game is that its a slightly better beat'em up style game, which maybe fine for some people, but it certainly isn't that great for Viewtiful Joe. Viewtiful Joe really differs itself as a game because the way you can use Joe's powers to spice up the combat or use to your advantage to get a couple more hits in. Double Trouble however doesn't seem to have a lot of enemies that actually need Joe's powers to take down however and a lot of the game can simply be played by button mashing and simple jump avoiding. That's not how Viewtiful Joe is supposed to be, and certainly made the games bosses suffer more for it despite having some pretty cool designs. Aside from slow, Joe's powers this time really aren't as responsive as I'd like them to be. Shaking, a new mechanic where you press one of the shoulder buttons to make Joe stop so you can start scratching the screen to cause things to get loose, is very unresponsive at times. Often when trying to shake an item on screen you usually hit it once or twice then suddenly make the shaking power stop in the midst of your action, usually by activating a different power, causing you to start the process all over again. Another action that worked much like close up from the older Viewtiful games was here too, but the way it actually worked seemed a bit counter intuitive to the whole control scheme. In order to close up on Joe or something Joe needed to touch you had to move your stylus or thumb vertically up then in order to exit said mode you move your stylus or thumb vertically down. While it certainly seems simple enough, when actually playing the game at a fair pace it became quite a hassle to active and deactivate, usually meaning that you just have to waste your Viewtiful meter. Finally the split mechanic is the only touch screen power that actively worked for me constantly and was overall impressive to use for puzzles. Often when getting stuck I just had to split screen somewhere and the problem would be solved. It wasn't used in combat very often though, so perhaps thatís why I found it easier to use as I wasn't panicking over pace.

Double Trouble's story however was fairly interesting compared to the past two Viewtiful games, but not nearly as fun as the past two were either. Its an odd mix of good idea, bad presentation. Unlike the past games, Double Trouble has little voice acting and movement during the cutscenes, although its more than likely due to the DS hardware. Either way, a lot of the life that Joe and his friends have seem to be fairly out of it without voice acting or movement. While I do think that a lot of ideas in Double Trouble are great, what basically it boils down to is that it doesnít have much of a life to it, and this is the exact problem with the story as well. Although I will say Double Trouble does end on a fairly good note compared to the rest of the game. The music and soundeffects are also there, but nothing really new or interesting to set it apart from the rest of the series. Overall Double Trouble just kinda feels like an experiment from Capcom rather than an actual attempt on a Viewtiful joe game, but with a bit more polish on it I think it could actually be fairly good like the rest of the series. But for now, Double Trouble is the bottom of the totem pole in viewtifulness.

Final Thoughts:
Double Trouble sets itself apart from other Viewtiful Joe games by having a lot more interesting powers and abilities to use via the touch screen however in turn it lost a lot of its life and style that the other two games present itself so well in. When it comes down to it, Double Trouble feels more like a half-hearted experiment of what could have been a good game, but just plays too much with the concepts rather than fixes the gears to really make them work. Thus it made what could have been a fun experience rather average with a lot of the enemies and items being rather dull or too easy to actually beat.   read


12:42 AM on 12.30.2013  

8 game series Challenge: Failure?



Well Dtoid, internet, and the fine folks that owned the Walgreens' bathroom at Sixth and Lincoln, I'm sorry. I really did try, then I didn't, then I avoided the problem, tried to hide it, and then manically tired to fix it like Parks and React did, but I simply wasn't able to, unlike that awesome show. From what was supposed to be beating 8 full game series, turned into about half of that and like 60 more games beaten this year. In truth, I have only managed to get about 3 series, and about Ĺ of one down in writing. I also managed to beat Final Fantasy V and FFIII, making the first 6 final fantasy under my belt and I little play time on FF7. Simply put though, I got half way through this challenge and I can't say I'll beat it within a whole 2 days when this was written. I also learned a lot about myself this year, got a part time job in what seemed like forever, and learned the true meaning of social justice blogging.



It was a pretty awesome year of Luigi internet, and while I didn't complete my New Years resolution like I did last year, I can't help but say I'm happier for it. From what was supposed to be a relaxing year of dedication turned into a full on venture bigger than last year's 60 game year challenge. Sure, I didn't beat 8 full game series, but I did manage to beat and roughly record 84 or something games this year. I even managed to gain a ton more games, a lot more friendships, and a 1,100$ debt in car repairs!



But more to the point here, while I didn't complete this year's resolution, I still want to keep doing these types of challenges and for that I may need some help with my next challenge. Rest assured that with what I recorded with these previously beaten game series will be put online, but for now I need some help ASAP. So while I finish up all my thoughts and editing them at least enough to where I find it acceptable, I'd like you people to help me pick which games you would want me to play for my next New Year's Resolution.

The basic rules are simple enough, recommend me a few games that you love a bunch, and that I have access to, and I will pick at least 1-2 of them to play and record my opinions on them. I want to expand my gaming knowledge and experience, and I know the internet is some of the best places to do that, or worse I keep forgetting which. But basically from my list of games that can be found here:

http://www.backloggery.com/lostleader

Try to pick games I havenít beaten yet and tell me to play them, of course you can just shout your own personal favorites, but please bare in mind that I only have so many resources. Afterward Ill go ahead and try to beat it and give you my opinion on what I thought about your crappy game.

Anyway THANK YOU for all thefish†your patience and recommendations

and stay tuned for the series that I actually did beat, in a the coming days.   read


8:30 PM on 01.01.2013  

New Year's Resolution 2013: Beat 8 game series

Itís that time again!



To complain about video games?



To blog about not having a sex life?



NOOOOooOo its time to learn the lesson of My 60 game year challengeÖ



Well I learned that I havenít played a lot of gaming series. I mean going through 60 games you tend to realize there are a lot of games apart of a series and you still havenít played them. So thatís exactly what I plan to do! While itís probably not as difficult as beating 60 games in a year itís something I need to do to increase my knowledge on gaming! So for this challenge, this New Yearís resolution of 2013, I plan to beat 8 whole gaming series. Why 8? I like the number, and whos going to stop me? you? I donít think so.

Anyway, 8 gaming series within a year, I think itís a very good challenge, and while I canít say I know how many games Iím going to play or what series I will play I know I will at least get done with the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy is a series I really need to beat and thus is automatically one of the series I will beat for this challenge. The rules apply a little differently for Final Fantasy because two of the main series games are MMOs, thus games I just donít want to play. But in their place are 3 other games that are semi-main game titles, FF X-2, FFXII: Revenant Wings, and FFXIII-2.

The Rules are somewhat the same, if not a bit modified for this challenge.

1) A series of games must be at least 3 games long and must have at least 3 games I havenít beaten yet.

2) It must be a whole series, so as long as there is one game I havenít played I have not beaten the whole series.
3) I have from Jan. 1 till Dec. 31st of 2013 to beat 8 game series.
4) I must shout out my thoughts to the unhearing people of the internets

4B) Any game previously beaten before this challenge must still have thoughts record on it like the rest.

4B1) Games beaten on my previous challenge, 60 game year challenge, are considered recorded.

5) Final Fantasy must be one of the series I beat; itís been far too long to not do so.

5B) Not counting 11/14 as they are MMOs, but including FFX2, FFXII:RW, and FFXIII2


Wish me look yaíll I fear this may end up being harder than the last one! I don't know when the next time Ill post, but Ill try to make it as quick as possible! Feel free to join in on the fight with your own challenges if you want!   read


2:30 PM on 12.29.2012  

60 game year challenge: COMPLETE

Well Dtoid, people of the internets I'm finally done! After almost but not quite a year I have beaten 60 games! It has been a long journey throughout, and sometimes I didn't think I was going to be able to do it. Thankfully though, I beat my challenge, I got rid of a good chuck of my backlog and increased my gaming knowledge by 20%. I'm rather surprised at all the games I haven't played yet, and picking games up throughout the challenge I have to say I still have a long way to go to beat the rest of the games I have. But i will continue to playthrough these games and hopefully still report my thoughts on the internet in hopes that someone cares. At the very least I played a good chuck of games that were awesome, and some that I would be extremely sad to have never seen me play. Will I do something like this again next year? Probably, but it will be different because I like to shake things up a bit. For now though I think I earned a little celebration, and for you people out there, here are the final 3 games for my challenge.

Special Thanks to PK493 for being one of the first to cheer me on, and any other commenter that said anything to me. While I don't always respond, I do appreciate the thought people have when commenting and makes me want to keep beating games.



Game 58: Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors Ė date beat November 30th



Impressions:

Despite my hate for the last Dragon Quest game I played, VI, I still love the series, and strive to play as many games from the series as possible. It really is quite charming, and even with its supposed bad titles they can still be miles more entertaining than most games. I understand why Dragon Quest Swords isnít really heard of, but to hear that itís really bad just makes me wonder what game people played. Sure, DQ Swords isnít great but for such an out of the box experiment, it works. Personally, I like DQ Swords a lot more than DQVI, and think that more people should play the game because its overall enjoyable, short and sweet game.

While I understand that people may be put off that this DQ game is short, it certainly doesnít make it bad. The fact that it changed the perspective and made the game work and even more enjoyable is great. While the controls arenít top notch, it gets the job done and it really makes you feel a little more immersive in the DQ world. As well, the game requires a lot more skill than most DQ games do and for that I love it. I just love when I can go through games unaware that Iím under leveled, only to realize that I was simply too good. Or the simple idea that any stage is beatable no matter what level you are, as long as you play well. This is what makes DQ Swords so enjoyable for me, skill matters more than grinding. Itís the type of action RPG I have come to love and respect. The fact that Square Enix was able to make such a bold move for a well-established franchise, and make it work impresses me and I really wish they continue this series again. The story was pretty good too, which is something I just donít understand is another gripe about this game. It held my interest throughout, didnít drag on for long, unlike a certain DQVI did, and it had some pretty good voice acting if you ask me. I also love that the stages are replayable and there is a scoring system to them. Where all the hate comes from for this game Iím not really sure, but perhaps I love this game so much because I bought it at a 5$ price tag; I mean if it was higher than 10$ I probably be mad at this game too.

Conclusion: Dragon Quest Swords certainly isnít a horrible game like some fans may claim it to be, but it certainly isnít a prize winner either. With a decent story, a unique take on a franchise, and somewhat decent controls, Dragon Quest Swords is a game that can captive any fans interest, as long as they are interested.

Game 59: Street Fighter X Mega Man Ė date beat December 17th



Impressions:

Like many out there I was very upset that Capcom cancelled Mega Man Legends 3. The fact they let fans participate and give feedback was wonderful and it really was going to be a way to get me into the Mega Man Legends Series. Sadly it didnít come true and in the coming months it seemed that Capcom really wanted nothing to do with Mega Man, with cancelling projects left and right and not letting Mega Man join in any Marvel vs. Capcom games, it really felt like the end for the blue bomber. Then they announced Street Fighter X Mega Man, and that it was going to be free to play and was inspired by a build by a big fan of the Capcom games. Sure, this isnít the greatest start to building a bridge to fans everywhere, but it is still a start. And I for one welcome this new genre that Mega Man has crossed into.

As for the game itself, it really was quite wonderful. I probably put this game somewhere along the lines of MM3 and MM2 in all honesty. Sure itís a fan made game that Capcom help build, but it really itís an apology to Mega Man fans from Capcom USA. It has the same classic feel of older Mega Man games, along with the same level design and boss patterns to memorize. The fact it combines two franchises style and makes them both work is very appealing as well. Street Fighter characters work well in a basic pattern mind set, almost following flow charts that are used to mock how some people play certain characters. Not to mention that, all the Street Fighter characters have cute little sprite animations that just work so well that it really feels like youíre seeing an 8 bit Street Fighter 4 game. As well, Mega Man still has the same tight controls as before along with the same challenging gameplay. It really is just fun seeing Mega Man and Street Fighter characters go toe to toe, and really makes me want to see more of Mega Man versus games. I also love the fact you can now use multiple weapons at once which makes for an interesting way to play Mega Man than it is originally intend. The game is also just so atmospheric and pays homage to SF and MM so well. The music and stages are all so unique compared to the rest of the franchise and make for an interesting treat. This game really feels like Mega Man moved up to the next level in sprite designs, and uses the 8-bit graphics as more of a charm rather than for graphics.

That being said there a bunch of little problems I have with SF X MM. For one, why do I have to do this all in one play through? Seriously, I thought we were passed the days in which progress saving was not an issue. While I personally donít have an actual problem beating this game in one playthrough I know most will. Despite its levels being somewhat easier than most Mega Man games, and that your weapon energy is always refilled when you die, the bosses themselves are still challenging. So for some to beat the bosses and not want to move on to the second course of stages is an acceptable thing. So when you donít have the option to save or use a password it can really suck. Thankfully though the game is fairly short so itís not a huge problem, but it is one that can easily be fixed. As well, the last sets of stages are quite short. With only 3 stages and 2 possible boss battles I have to say I was hoping for more of a fight. I mean, itís supposed to be an anniversary, why canít I face Sagat? Or like whereís bisonís stage? Why is Balrogís stage so short? It really just seems like the ending half of SFxMM couldíve been more, but itís just played as an afterthought.

Conclusion: While there is still a lot of untapped potential and small fixes that should be made to Street Fighter X Mega Man there is still enough there to give any fan a few glees of excitement over. With lots of good music, some great level design, awesome homage to franchises, and wonderful boss battles: Mega Man is back.


Game 60: The Last Story Ė Christmas Day



Impressions:


Finally at last! The last game in my 60 game year challenge, The Last Story. I have to say that overall I was impressed. Iím fully aware that if it wasnít for the efforts of Operation Rainfall the states wouldnít even have The Last Story, and that would have really sucked. I didnít play this game as my last game for this challenge for the sake of irony though; I truly did want to play The Last Story because it really did look interesting. The timing was perfect. I found a limited edition copy of The Last Story at my local gamestop, and it was selling for 40$. So I figured it was destined to be.

As for the way the game turned out though, well itís wonderful really. While I canít say that itís one of the best games I have ever played, it certainly is a great one at least. The way the stories told, the way the game is played, and the ways the characters act are all a little bit different than a typical JRPG. The Last Story, in a way, feels more real than a game in the sense that it works off characters rather than tropes in JRPGs. While I understand that most of the characters in this game are still very much a trope, they also have a little something off about them. I canít say I can really explain it without exposing the story, but for the most part all the characters are more than just one dimension. That is honestly what I think makes the game shine, and the cast of voice actors makes this game all the more fun to watch and play. The music is wonderful too and offers to set the mood throughout the game. This is especially true for the last few battles in the game and really makes me want to find the OST just to hear those last few battle songs.

As for the gameplay itself, well, itís much different than most JRPGs and RPGs that I have played. While there are still a lot of concepts that are borrowed from both, all around youíre just dealing with a different monster when you play this game. There is a little bit of tactics, a little bit of grinding, a little bit of mindless button mashing, and a lot of fun to be had. While the game tends to give out a lot of information all at once, and often stops the game so you can learn, itís still pretty simple to play and about an hour or two in youíll get the hang of things. Itís also interesting to note that throughout the game you play as different characters from your party from time to time; this mix up of play can sometimes make the game even more engaging due to it not feeling like only one character is in charge of the game. Not to mention there is a co-op online multiplayer to be had as well, which Iím sure makes for some rather fun runs than compared to most solo runs.

However, as much as I like a lot of The Last Story, its real fault is just taking a while to get really good and break away from traditions. While the chapters are a nice touch to help show progress throughout the game, it can also be a bit of a hindrance. Sometimes chapters just end up being misleading and may sometimes question whether or not a chapter has really ended because of how long or short they can be. As well, it really does take a while for The Last Story to build their characters and break away from their one dimension and make interesting character arks. Frankly, most of beginning chapters are just cutscenes and tutorials lessons so it can be very off putting for people that just want to battle a bunch of monsters. The Last Story may like to build its characters too much, and while this isnít a bad thing, more often than not, they lose an audience that doesnít want to stick around because it hasnít become good yet. Some areas are also repeated so it can be somewhat annoying when there isnít new scenery around, but TLS does divide the use of already used areas quite well that it isnít too over used, or all that noticeable in the long run.

As well, The Last Story isnít exactly the prettiest girl in the ball, and while it isnít bad to look at, it certainly is outdated. Often I heard my wii cry out in terror because so much was going on during the game that it just couldnít process it. The cutscenes also look more like they were from the PS2 era with how often the lip syncing can be off and the stiff character motions that are shown.

Conclusion:

The Last Story is a great edition to the RPG genre that mixes up story elements and gameplay elements often enough to differ itself from the rest of the crowd. While it may take long to build up, and the graphics may not be the best, The Last Story has a lot of heart to it, and proves itself to be a wonderful game throughout.   read


4:11 PM on 12.24.2012  

60 game year challenge: All I want for Christmas is to beat this challenge

Well Dtoid, its almost Christmas and soon enough it will be the start of new years day. With only one more entree to go and one more game to go I think I will accomplish my goal. Its been a long ride, and with the world not ending it looks like I truly have to finish this challenge. Still I only have a little less than a week left, its a bit surreal. But for now, my thoughts on games I have beaten.


Game 55: Castlevania Ė Date Beat November 1st



Impressions:


Castlevania is a wonderful game, but man is it challenging. The last boss alone took me about as much as the rest of the game to beat. Weíre talking like 5 hours ongoing, all just for one boss. Castlevania just demands so much from the player that it can often be overwhelming. I literally started playing around February during this challenge, but once I got to the final boss I just couldnít do it. 2 forms, only getting a chance to get hit 3 times, it was intense! But when Halloween drew near I knew I had to get back on the trolley. So during Halloween I spent several hours trying to beat Dracula. I still couldnít, struck with defeat I decided to turn in for tomorrow, and try again later. And well during school I decided, after a friend stated ďit was easyĒ that I had to beat it then and there. Focused, I finally won the battle, but as for myself I was still feeling adrenaline rushing through my body, and my hands shaking. To say the least, Castlevania gave me a challenge of a life time, and for that I thank it.

See Castlevania has this wonderful system of challenging you throughout the whole game. It never really stops testing you, and you always have to be on your toes and sharp as a whip. The fact the game bases everything on the direction youíre going through is amazing, and really something more developers should focus on. Itís just one of those games that give out tough love, itís not trying to sugarcoat anything for you, and thatís what makes it so fun. I tired as hard as I could, but when I failed the game simply said try again. Sure I was mad, but it still gives you the tools to get things done in the end. The way to the reaper, and the way to Dracula are paved with everything you need to take them down, so even if you die, you still have the tools available to you. So you still have to earn everything you do, but you fill so much more enjoyment when you actually beat it. For this reason, I say the first Castlevania game is the best I have ever played. Itís not just the monster lore, the catchy music or the visuals, but the game design itself. Itís rewarding, challenging, and thatís what makes it fun.

Conclusion:

Castlevania has everything going for it, and you can see the love the designers put into it. The visuals, music, enemies, power-ups, everything about it is just top notch. But what truly makes this game shine is the challenge it provides, itís never too difficult to get past, but just enough to always keep you on edge.


Game 56: Sonic Advance 3 date beat November 20th





Impressions:

As someone that is an avid fan of the sonic series and the advance series, SA3 just doesn't cut it. I understand that people like it, and ya itís not a bad game, but itís the weakest of the series. Just everything about it doesn't grab my attention like other advance games do. There are just a lot of little problems I have with it that don't make it fundamentally a good sonic game to me. Sonic thrives on fast place gameplay mixed with well-timed jumps and speed running tactics, and that's something I don't really see in SA3.

Zones are, for some reason, there to explore rather than acting as a nice way to divided all the acts. As well, the way these zones act are already a big turret for me to even play the game. I understand they were trying to go with a sonic adventure vibe, but the zones are just far too shallow and pointless to really make anything worthwhile by having them there. The game would have easily benefited with a quicker menu option.

Getting chaos emeralds are even more tedious than ever as well. While in the first two games getting chaos emeralds was simpler, you got the chaos emeralds by both collecting 50 rings and finding a spring to the special stage or collecting 7 rings scattered throughout certain levels. SA3 however, has you collecting all the chao's in a zone, and SA3 doesnt just stop there, as after getting the chao's you then have to find a key found in one of the acts of a zone to unlock the special stage and then past the stage in order to get the chaos emerald. This new way to get chaos emeralds is really off putting to me, and it just ruins the concept of skill in getting a chaos emerald, and replaces it with tedious treasure hunting.

On top of that, the majority of the ending levels are just too long for their own good. In my opinion, Sonic does best when each level is around 3-4 mins long around the first time beating it, and about 2-3 during speed runs, if not faster. During my playthrough however I sometimes got to around 5-6 mins. just trying my best on getting to the end. While I'm not the best sonic player, I have to say that a lot of these levels just drag on. It gets annoying when you keep dying at one spot only to realize you were only half way through the level. Not to mention that a few levels have small loops here and there that makes progress annoying as hell because if you mess up on one part itís pretty much back to start. I also want to know why partners are able to hinder your way through a level; its just really dumb to see the CPU use up a platform that will fall if you or the CPU land on it.

As for the other parts of the game, mainly the new partner system, not a fan. While I usually have something good to say or something of the like, SA3 just makes me mad at what might have been. The partner system just seems a bit broken to me. The way it gives advantages and disadvantages toward certain pairings just makes it control bad, and itís just awkward in the long run. Too many things change with each different character in order to play them like you usually would pending on your partner. For instance, having pretty much anyone but tails as your partner automatically makes sonic lose his tricks and his ball when he jumps. This makes for a lot of annoying mechanics rather than nice additional ones. I understand they donít want to make a truly broken pairing which breaks the game, but changing the way the character moves, runs, and walks makes playing a game based on physics really hard to adjust too. Frankly it just got to the point of just sticking to sonic and tails because they seemed to be the only pairing that actually worked.

Conclusion: Sonic Advance 3 is easily the weakest in the series, and this is due to a lot of interesting ideas being executed in a mediocre fashion. While SA3 certainly isn't a bad game, it really tries too many things at once to really create a robust system for any of the new ideas it wants to try. At the least, SA3 can be enjoyed by fans, but itís better if everyone else plays one of the earlier games in the advance series.



Game 57: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation Ė date beat Thanksgiving day




Impressions:


While I normally like Dragon Quest games, DQVI I have an utter dislike for. Everything about DQ6 could be right, but itís just not, itís just long, drawn out, boring, hallow, and dumb. The biggest problem I have with it is the constant padding throughout the game. There are just so many things this game could cut to make it shorter and thus less drawn out, but the game constantly insists to waste your time. Truth be total the padding wouldnít be so bad either if the random battle rates weren't that bad either, but that isn't true. My game clocked in well above 50 hrs. and it really got to the point of just wanting to stop for the longest time.

The story itself just isn't interesting either, and while it does try to get interesting it really just ends up being a hallow mess of interest. The fact that the game starts out with amnesia characters is bad enough, but the way they develop them is slow and then increasingly fast, then none at all. I personally had more emotion for side characters in DQ9 than I did for the main characters in DQ6. And you'd think that the idea behind a dream world and real world would be a little more interesting, but it just doesn't quite get there. And also the fact that there are even more areas to travel make me incredibly annoyed because there are just so much bloody space on the map, so itís like why donít you use all of it? On top of that, the game doesn't give you a strong sense of direction not even half way through the game; I'd say it took about an hour in to start wondering where you should go. But perhaps the worst part about this game is that it just doesn't end, and it goes so slow. Iím really not sure if I would have beat this game if I didnít watch all of the supernatural series while playing this game throughout the episodes.

Perhaps, the only redeeming note DQ6 has is the vocation system. While itís somewhat present in DQ8, I have been missing how great it was like in DQ9. While DQ6's vocation system isn't as robust as DQ9's vocation, itís still a fun system that can help boost characters and make them better than ever. Just something about making your characters your own personal healer or attacker or what have you, makes things a little more enjoyable to play the game. But overall, DQ6 is just really weak as a game, and I strongly suggest even fans to not play it, itís not bad, but man is it disappointing. What probably hurts more is that it was just now a recent port to the states.

Conclusion: Dragon Quest 6's only good contribute to the franchise is the vocation system, the ability to choose what class you want to be gives a sense of customizing and itís a fun, exciting system. As for the rest of DQ6, itís a pile of mess that is way too drawn out, and not nearly as in depth as it wants to appear to be. I strongly suggest scratching your Dragon Quest itch with a different game.   read


7:55 PM on 12.16.2012  

60 game year challenge: A series of wonderful events

We are getting down to the wire Dtoid! While I only have half this month to go, and still two games to beat, 6 to write about in total, I really feel like I'm going to beat this challenge! Its been a long ride, but we are getting really close! As such I like to thank this challenge for having introduced me to some new series I haven't even played before. The reason why I'm thanking my challenge now is because this post is packed with series I wouldn't have been playing if it weren't for my challenge. Thankfully I did this challenge and played these series, and well I have to say I really feel like I'm doing my gaming duty! Anyway this is what I thought about the inFAMOUS series and perhaps the best Dragon Quest game I have played to date!



Game 52: inFAMOUS Ė date beat October 17





Impressions:

I find it odd that both inFAMOUS and Prototype were released around the same time, with nearly the same concepts and gameplay. I mean, while I played inFAMOUS I was like ďthis is like Prototype but betterĒ. Itís just weird how two things can look the same, but one is clearly better. inFAMOUS is just far more realized and fleshed out. Heck, the story is actually interesting, and gave me a few surprises, but it was all in context and I could actually understand this story without any holes in the way. The bosses were actually more creative than Prototype as well, ditto for the powers that you get throughout. It just kinda makes me mad that Prototype probably stole some of inFAMOUSís thunder (pun intended) just because they were released around the same time.

I donít have much bad to say about inFAMOUS save for the lighting, ya, I suppose Iím being a bit punny today. Just sometimes you lose a battle with the enemies you fight simply because you canít see. It doesnít help when the overworld can literally be a shade of grey. It just got to the point where the contrast of lightning shooting from your hand and the nothing but blackish-greyish area in between really bothered me while I was playing that I just wanted to get the game done. I like to explore, but seeing the over world become like all grey? No thanks. Some of the missions can be pretty repetitive too, but itís nowhere near as bad as Prototypeís side missions. Also the whole good and evil thing seemed a bit pointless after a while, ya it did impact the story a bit, but it just wasnít nearly as present as it lets on. I personally think the game would be better off without the good and evil mechanics. Just make Cole out to be a hero that is perceived as bad I think thatís a better dynamic than just choose if youíre good or evil. Cole just seems much more complex than that, especially considering the ending of this game.

Conclusion: The best way I can personally describe inFAMOUS is the better version of Prototype, although I suppose itís exactly the opposite. While I personally have a problem with the lighting inFAMOUS provides, and the fact it wants you to stick to either a good or evil motive, inFAMOUS still lights up my spirits of new IPs making waves in the gaming world.


Game 53: inFAMOUS 2 - date beat October 21





Impressions:

After the first inFAMOUS I really did wonder how well the second one would improve on it. Not that inFAMOUS was that amazing though, just that I was wondering how much better it really got. Well as it turned out, inFAMOUS 2 is a great improvement on the first. For starters, the actual karma choice mechanic actually makes more sense now, and effectively enough to not see the series going anywhere without it. The things that happen, the choices you make, well they aren't always what you think they be, and for that I thank it. The first game was just too obvious, but thankfully the second one gave a much more subtle approach. Little things like finding blast shards, climbing up faster, and certain moves have been enhanced to make them far more useful than in the previous game as well. Not to mention that most of the main characters are actually developed more in the 2nd than the first one. Itís gotten to the point where I can't see myself enjoying the 1st inFAMOUS because of the marginal-able improvements the 2nd has.

The only things I really have to complain about this game are minor, and for the most part barely worth mentioning. The only true complaint is that climbing seems to be a lot stickier in the 2nd than the 1st; I just keep grabbing walls sometimes when I didn't want to. It was a bit annoying to only have two islands/cities as well, but both are varied enough to say that itís far more of an improvement. Each city has landscape and areas that are just a bigger contrast to one another. All the newer characters are interesting as well, same goes for the story too. While the first one took about half the game to actually get interesting, the second takes far less time, and makes for an exciting ride. The endings especially are better, and even though I only finished the evil side, I know that both are distinct and fitting. I haven't actually tired the UGC yet either, but the fact itís there to give you something new to play with makes postgame far more worthwhile than the first inFAMOUS.

Conclusion: inFAMOUS 2 is a great sequel to the first game, and truly makes me like this series for existing. The story itself is far more interesting, the powers are far better this time around, and the characters even have more depth. This is certainly an IP I want to see more of.

Game 54: Dragon Quest V: The Hand of the Heavenly Bride Ėdate beat October 25





Impressions:

I really do love the Dragon Quest series a whole bunch, and if it wasnít for this challenge I donít think I be playing any of the games at this point. DQ5 is a particular gem that I would be very sad to see myself not play, now that I have played. Itís just so different in terms of story in RPGs, and frankly it baffles me that Dragon Quest can be so revolutionary yet still the same to its predecessors. I mean, playing DQ5 still felt the same, the monsters, music, and battles are all similar to the previous 3 Dragon Quest games I have played, and yet the game presents itself so differently that I canít keep myself away from it. Just the fact that you pretty much play an RPG of your own life is awesome. You have a childhood and go off adventuring, become a teen and get married, then have kids and go off as a family to save the world. Itís so surreal and wonderful how itís executed. The characters, mainly the wives, add so much charm to it too, and doing this run on the DS version I pick Debora as my wife because Iím a softy for women that are tsundere types. Itís just amazing to watch her grow as a person when youíre with her as her husband, she changes, and you can tell she does throughout the story. Just little things like that that make me love DQ5 all the more.

Course, DQ5 has its flaws, but there is only a minor and major one I see, but they are tolerable. Minor problem DQ5 has is in one particular area where it really isnít made clear what youíre supposed to do. Like I literally had no problems knowing where to go till I got to this a certain point in the game, and bam! Stuck. The game just kinda loses ya because of how fast itís going. It got really annoying, but again itís a minor problem and it doesn't really happen again. The major problem I have with DQ5 though, the bias of the wives. While the game gives you a choice, it sure does guilt you do making the one it wants you to make. Like it really gets annoying with the amount of ďyou should marry BiancaĒ guilt, like is it really giving me a choice? Kinda like your parents giving you an option when clearly they want you to do one and not the other option. I mean, it gets to the point where itís shown in the gameplay, like the other two wives, Nera and Debora, you have to grind them to decent levels and even then they are then unusable for the majority of the game. Like why even give us a wife to use, when we canít even use her? I know it sounds like a lot of complaining for something so trivial, especially considering that this game pretty much invented pokemon, but I really did like the wives in DQ5. They were a really cool concept, and I suppose I didnít want the honeymoon to be over, perhaps I just have some issues to work out?

Conclusion: Dragon Quest 5 did something I really donít see RPGs do, and yet it still was the same game from the same series I grew to love. Aside from a few hand selected problems, DQ5 charmed me with its life growing story, interesting characters, and inspiring monster/ally system.   read


6:06 PM on 12.13.2012  

60 game year challenge: Entering the home-stretch

Well Dtoid its coming close to the end of the year, and I've reached the home-stretch of my 60 game year challenge. We finally enter into the 50's and I personally only have 2 more games to go...and 9 more to write about. Thankfully, I'm done with my finals and now I can focus on the important things in life, video games! Anyway,here is the next batch of games from my challenge, and expect the next batch soon.


Game 49: Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn- Date Beat October 3



Impressions:

Radiant Dawn really is a fine example of storytelling through gameplay. Playing as pretty much each individual nation and then seeing each of them fight each other really makes you more emotionally involved then just seeing these characters through some sort cutscene. I really do love Fire Emblem because the characters help create the universe youíre in and make it feel just a little more real. Tellius is, perhaps, the most real Fire Emblem universe to date. Itís not just the fact that Radiant Dawn goes through several different parts showing different sides of opposition. Itís the fact that RD builds these sides based off the game that came before it, and largely owes much of its success because there was a predecessor.

Course, not everything is great with Radiant Dawn, and it does have a lot of glaring issues. For one, itís a hard game. Even Fire Emblem veterans like me donít have an easy time with this game because of how hard it can be in the beginning and near the end. Itís not just hard, but it also doesnít steady its difficulty, some chapters may take you forever and others will be a breeze. Radiant Dawn just never quite cuts the player any slack, and itís quite maddening to play through a whole chapter in one sitting just to see one little thing get screwed up, and making you start over again. Luckily, Radiant Dawn covers such a cruel fate with the new addition of battle saves, and something that truly saved my sanity. For the first 6 chapters I didnít use battle save, assuming it was only a quick save, but once I found out how useful it was, and the ability to abuse it was present RD suddenly did a 180 on difficulty. Now instead of getting headaches over chapters, I was getting them over leveling up my units, the way I normally play.

The other issue RD presents is the availability of units, something not present in most fire emblem games. The vast majority of your units wonít be around for most of the chapters so there is a lot of micro managing in terms of who gets to use who, which units should be used, and not always being able to use people that you want. The main problem, in all honesty, is that RD just has too many good units and you kinda want to train them all, but you only get some much time with each of them so then you have to quickly narrow down who you train. Many units even suffer greatly from their short usage, and end up being nearly improbable to use. Also thanks to the great deal of units, many of the supports that were once there to give great detail about characters are now nothing more than an add bonus and a generic dialogue tree. This really did disappoint me greatly as supports are one of the best aspects of fire emblem. Supports gave the characters depth, and reasons to like them more, so we get angry more when they die on the battlefield.
In spite of all these issues though, Radiant Dawn really just ends up being a different beast of a fire emblem game. Sure, RD still has the same old level up systems, the same old weapon system, and the same old animations. Pretty much everything that made fire emblem good, stayed good in RD. But the thing that is ever present in RD, and what separates it clearly from other fire emblem games I have played is how grand it is. Everything is set in a grander scale; chapters are far longer than they used to be; the amount of units you have far outclass any fire emblem game I have played; and the story expands even between two games. Radiant Dawn feels like it was an experiment of how big a fire emblem game can be, and for that I thank it and wish more of it.

Conclusion: At times Radiant Dawn can provide to be too big of a mess of sorts, with its odd sense of difficulty, support system, and choosing which characters to exactly use throughout the game. But if you invest time in Radiant Dawn it will provide you with a grand experience, with a story, cast of characters, and game that match that.

Game 50: Breath of Death VII: The Beginning Ė date beat October 7




Impressions:

Seeing many reviews mentioning Breath of Death VII, an indie game, as a great RPG to pick up for only a dollar peaked my curiosity into this game. Further through these reviews I saw that it was hilarious and had a battle system that could change RPGs forever. The battle system in question, having a limited number of random encounters, had me sold; this was the RPG for me. The fact it was humorous was just icing on a chocolate mountain. I bought the game, and began to sing praises of it throughout the land. I told many of my friends about this awesomely awesome game that was super cheap and funny. Then when it arrived on steam along with another charming game, Cthulu saves the world, I bought it again. I even bought a few for packs of BoDVII/ CStW for my friends because I love Breath of Death so much, and along with another game it was easy to give it to my friends to play. Course, I did all this without even touching Cthulu Saves the World or even beating Breath of Death, a game I had for well over a year. I overhyped this game so much to my friends whenever I mentioned it, and I didnít even beat it. If there were ever a game I personally needed to beat for this challenge, it be this one.

After playing through the whole game, was it worth all the praise I gave it? Well sorta, accounting everything like price, gameplay, story, and whatnot BoDVII was good. The game itself is a dollar and what it gives out is unique to its own genre, and effectively enough, BoDVII is revolutionary. Yet there is this slight distaste I have for it, perhaps I praised it too much, but needless to say it didnít live up to what I sold it on. Yes, the game can be quite funny and the battle system was everything I made it out to be, but for the largest part of playing through this game I kept fighting sleep. Perhaps I should blame this on the fact I usually played this game at the wee hours of the night, but the game could just not grab my attention enough to make me stay awake. There are a lot of moments throughout the game were the battles can get somewhat tedious, as many random encounters can end up unchallenging because how you abuse the battle system it gives you; one where you can just fight all the forced random encounters at once. Perhaps I made the game boring, but perhaps the game needed a little something more. I mean this game can get really challenging, and I did die from certain bosses numerous times. The combo and do or die battle system is also one of my favorite combat systems in RPGs. I like the fact that if I spend too long on a boss, or I use a wrong move the game will effectively kick my ass. I like the fact that I can grind easily enough and then go exploring without interruptions. But the thing I didnít like in this game was a constant need to grind to get rid of random encounters, this made the game just take too long, and what made me want to fall asleep.

Such a complaint however only tampered my experience for this game a little, and for what this game was, it was still enjoyable and funny. While it can be a bit repetitive, and the story can also be a bit lackluster, if only for the sake of humor, the game wins a lot of points for how cheap it is, how unique its battle system is, and for creating challenging, fast pace battles. Iíll still recommend Breath of Death even though it wasnít the God sent I was hoping for a RPG, I may down play my recommending this time as well, but needless to say Breath of Death does deserve praise.

Conclusion:
Breath of Death VII: The Beginning is an ambitious indie RPG that is not only cheap to get, but also has a revolutionary battle system to boot. While BoDVII is short with a mediocre story it also provides to be witty and replayable with its custom skill tree and score attack mode. To say the least you are getting a lot of bang for your buck.


Game 51: Bloodrayne: Betrayal date beat October 10




Impressions:

When I first saw Wayforward was making BloodRayne: Betrayal, I was ecstatic. Betrayal was looking to be like a Castlevania game, but with a badass female as the lead character. I really donít know much about the BloodRayne series itself, but if this was supposed to be there big comeback game Iíd say Wayforward delivered, well, mostly anyway.

Itís not really that I have a big problem with Betrayal, but there are a lot of things that kind of damper my spirits when playing this game. For instance, about 1/3 of Betrayalís levels have conflicting shades in the background that make it extremely hard to see your character and actions while playing through the game. I understand that itís largely there to be ascetically pleasing to the eye, but it also lowers my eyesight during gameplay, to the point Iím just guessing where Iím go. Some of the level design is also questionable, itís not really that itís flawed, but there are points in the game where you really question how it escalated so quickly. Whether itís a large wave of enemies, the death traps throughout the levels or a combination of the two, Betrayal will eventually let you know that itís not fucking around. Course these sudden spikes of difficulty are always welcomed with checkpoints, mostly in well placed areas. These checkpoints then allow you to practice these areas of difficultly over and over again till you get it right. This is, of course, I nice change of pace from the gaming industry as Betrayal doesnít baby you, nor does it ever become too difficult to pass. Youíll just have a few frustrating moments, but eventually youíll be able to pass an area of difficulty as it becomes easier and easier the more you learn it.

However, the bigger problem is the somewhat odd physics Betrayal has, at certain points Rayne will end up with unpredicted momentum and can easily screw you over and kill you. Rayne is also kind slippery as a whole, so itís hard to stop on a dime like you would normally want to in a platformer such as this. Rayne also tends to get locked up in whatever move she is currently doing so she canít always dodge the way you would want her too, and her recovery is horrible as you can recover at the exact moment that another enemy hits you, leaving you unable to retaliate. Overall though, much of Betrayals problems can easily be conquered with practice.

While Betrayal doesnít really have much of a story going for it, much of its art direction does. Many of the backgrounds, which can be annoying, are also stunning to look at. While playing the game I was sometimes just distracted because of how pretty the background can look. Also the fact that I canít really see Rayne is somewhat bothersome because the camera is always in a locked position that makes sure that Rayne only covers a tiny part of the screen. Bosses in Betrayal are also rather hit and miss, itís not that the bosses arenít challenging or different, but that they lack a certain appeal. Rankings were also rather lackluster as much of the ranking system just seems harsh. While it certainly isnít noticeable at first, the fact is that you have to play to near perfection if you want the highest rank possible. I understand that I canít get higher ranks my first run through, but sometimes I legitimately try to do well, and Iíll still get an F Rank because I didnít kill my enemies fast enough, collect treasure, or got injured. The game simply wants too much of me and in the end I donít care about the rankings because itís simply too hard.

I know I complain a lot about Betrayal, but I really did have fun with it. The music is stellar and the graphics are pleasing to the eye, for the most part. It also reminds me of my times with Castlevania and how hard it can be, and thatís why I like Betrayal, its challenging. Sure it has a lot of trial and error moments, but in the end it feels more so challenging rather than tedious. If you set out and play this game just donít look to play to perfection as much of it is just too demanding and youíll just end up being frustrated in the end. But if you look at this game as a mountain to conquer, youíll find it to be an enjoyable experience.

Conclusion:
BloodRayne Betrayal is far from a perfect game, aside from excellent music and visuals the game has many glaring issues with combat, level design, and ranking systems. But Betrayal also provides to be a challenging game that ends up feeling very rewarding in the end, and with that note Betrayal is still a good game.   read


11:27 AM on 11.27.2012  

60 game year challenge: Back to school blues

It's that time again Dtoid. While thanksgiving and black friday weekend maybe gone now and everyone gets back to work, I'm getting back to writing.And with that I am ever so much closer to completing my goal of 60 games in a year. Currently I am 57/60, so I'm at the home stretch, and I already know what game I will be making that 60. For now, here are my impressions of games 46-48.

Game 46: Mighty Flip Champs! Ė Date beat September 16



Impressions:

Wayforward is a company that crawled into my heart and laid a parasite there to dwell for all eternity, and Iím fine with that. Thereís just something about Wayforward that always makes me enjoy their games; Mighty Flip Champs provides for a great example about how awesome Wayforward can be. See MFC only has 2 buttons, the d-pad and a Flip button. Now, normally you wouldnít think you could make a game with such simple controls, but Wayforward goes out of their way to do just that. Heck, you canít even use both the dpad and flip button at the same time. MFC is just so simple, and yet it provides a lot of challenge and thinking. Thatís why I really like this game, simple concept executed in not so simple ways. Wayforward is just able to make such basic things enjoyable that it just makes me love this company so much.

There are a lot of stages in MFC, which at times can seem like it has no end. The game provides to be challenging throughout these stages so beating each stage can get somewhat tiresome, tricky, and frustrating to do. But MFC works best as a pick up and play game, and often you will find yourself spending more time than you thought you would because you want to beat a certain stage. On top of all the stages it has, it also has rankings you can get for each stage so there is even more to do when you actually manage to beat the last level. Beating a stage is a simple matter of reaching the goal while managing to collect any animals (sometimes none) along the way. This can get a little dull at first, but MFC always provides to throw in something that makes the challenge a little harder or trickier to do, and this is where the heart of the game shows up. Such a simple concept of flipping and collecting animals starts to get more confusing and challenging with simply adding different obstacles, different paths to choose, more layers to flip through, and even giving a time limit of how far you can go. Things start to get really challenging, and with only flipping as your main weapon it provides to make a wonderful brain teaser of a game.

Conclusion: Wayforward manages to make a simple concept harder and trickier to do with simply adding a few different hazards in the game; providing for an even more challenging and enjoyable experience on a simple concept. This makes Mighty Flip Champs such a unique experience in gaming because of its simple, but hard to master style of gameplay, and I recommend this to anyone that is a fan of having their brain pushed to the limit.

Game 47: Sonic Generations date beat Ė Sept. 23



Impressions:

I have a very odd chemistry with Sonic games. Just the way they are designed often frustrates me, and if you ever caught me playing one I probably be cursing up a storm if I made one little mistake. But by no means do I hate Sonic; itís just that I demand perfection when playing through the game, even when itís the first time Iím playing a stage. I usually do end up falling in love with most Sonic games because of how they are designed for speed runs, and finding ways to go through as fast as possible is always fun. So when playing Generations I did curse a lot, and I was constantly yelling at the game, but I have to say in the end it was pretty dang fun.

Generations certainly has a lot of flaws though, and while playing through it I made sure to tell the game what it was doing wrong, although that may just be me yelling at it. For one, playing as Classic Sonic just has some weird physics to it. You just canít jump pass a certain height, nor do you carry much momentum when jumping, and curling into a ball while running actually slows you down opposed to speeding you up like it used to. On top of that, Classic Sonic gets a very heavy knockback whenever he gets hit by enemies, which can be quite annoying when you get hit again when you are recovering from just getting hit.

Modern Sonic has some odd physics too, but it just takes some getting used to. Like his homing attack will pretty much cancel any momentum you had and drop you straight down after itís done with the attack. His other main feature, boosting, can help you get further than a homing attack, but its far harder to control and more often than not just send you dying if you use it wildly. Boosting is still pretty great as it still uses the unleashed physics, but it can get really troublesome when the stages switch from a 3D to a 2D layout. And thatís the main problem with Modern Sonicís stages, unleashes physics just donít work well with a 2D design as it was built for a lot of room and the ability to see where you are going. So when you are boosting as Modern Sonic this can often lead to some untimely deaths that where just not able to be seen. But 2D only happens a few times throughout levels and really isnít noticeable till the last few stages.

The story in Generations also failed to meet my expectations. What could have been a grand adventure through time and space just felt like ďhey, guys remember this level? Pretty awesome right?Ē For the most part, none of the stages were original, and often left me wanting something a little new and fresh. Perhaps, I would have like this game a lot more if at the least the story gave some kind of connection to each stage with like a cutscene or something. I mean, we are traveling through time and space right? Iíd like to hear a better explanation then, letís just randomly go to some of the best levels in the Sonic universe! Perhaps, Iím being too harsh on this game, but the story really left room for desire. Sure there are a few inside jokes, and a somewhat decent amount of cutscenes, but I just felt that they lost a lot of potential storytelling, something Adventure 2 excelled at.

Still, Generations is still a blast to play through, and it nowhere near has as much problems as the Sonic Adventure series, or Sonic Unleashed did. All the stages that come back are well picked, and are iconic to the games they are from, but unfortunately there are no space levels, despite being the usual last zone. The challenges the stages have are also some of the best challenges the Sonic series has ever had; with many of them being varied and never getting dull. One challenge in particular, the Episo grappling hook one, is something I want to see more of. Generations also has a well thought out design for online ranking called 30 second trials. I was very impressed with the idea of getting as far as you could in 30 seconds, and I would certainly like to see more in upcoming sonic games. Most of the bosses were also very fun to play against, and wanted me to play more bosses like them, especially the rival boss battles. The only boss battle I hated was the last one, because in the end it was just mindless boosting. But by far the best thing about Sonic Generations: all the new organized music. Just a lot of the remixes and remakes of the songs of past Sonic games make generations soundtrack stand out so much, and the fact you can play them on any stage once unlocked? Wonderful.

Conclusion: Sure, the Story is subpar and the physics require some getting used to, but Sonic Generations simply offers too much of the good than the bad. All the returning stages were well picked, and seeing them in new 2D and 3D renditions is a blast. The challenges for each stage are also the best any Sonic game has ever offered. The remixes of past Sonic music are also well done and are clearly a love letter to the fanbase. Overall, if you ever wanted a brief history on Sonic, Generations would be your first stop.

Game 48: Double Dragon Neon Ė Date Beat October 1



Impressions:

I really do love Wayforward, they are just able to do so many great things with games that it makes me wonder how much they love games. Double Dragon Neon really does feel like the biggest love letter to the Ď80s. The gameplay, music, and presentation are just so rad that they could have been in the Ď80s if they had the technology that we have today. This is especially true for the soundtrack, Jake Kaufman did just such an amazing job on the soundtrack that it made me fall head over heels with Neon without even having to play it. The levels and gameplay themselves are no push over either, beating down on enemies never felt this rad before. With a bunch of mixtapes and stances to make sure that you can adjust your playstyle to whatever you want, makes Neon one of the best beat-ups this generation.

The world that Neon creates is also radical with how many different places that you seemingly, randomly visit. You just never quite know where Neon is ever going. The Story is also just as ridiculous, in a good way, with what little dialogue that is there its sure to make you smile with one of their one liners. And while I have only just beaten it, Neon is looking to offer a lot more than just what I played. I still have to do a bro-op run, play on two other difficults, and get all my mix tapes together. While it may have not taken me long to beat Neon, it will take me far longer to complete it.

That being said, Double Dragon Neon is a rather short game, only expanding to about 10 stages total, and with half the stages actually having a boss. I literally beat the game within a matter of 4 hrs, including several repeats of stages, and a small amount of grinding. Neon also has some grinding mechanics as well, which isnít exactly cool. While the aspect of leveling up certain moves and stances are nice to have, having to upgrade with either random drops or store purchases in a select amount of areas is a bummer. It then becomes an extra pain when there are only two stages that have shops to upgrade your mix tapes. As well, both characters in Neon move slow, and it can often get annoying walking around like a tank everywhere. More often than not, youíll want to run everywhere rather than walk because of how slow the characters are. It also would have been nicer to have a little more to the story as well, as a lot of the dialogue that was shown was quite humorous, and it would have been nice to see a little more interaction between the villain, damsel, and hero. But these are all just really harsh nitpicks, and in the end Double Dragon Neon still shines brightly, and its soundtrack is quite amazing, really if you donít plan to buy the game, get the soundtrack at least.

Conclusion: While Double Dragon Neon maybe a bit on the short side, there are just too many things on the plus side to say that itís not worth your time. The game offers so much from different playstyles, Bro-op, and an amazing soundtrack that any nitpicking seems to be unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. Neon is a great game, and anyone looking for a beatíem up or a Co-op game or even to listen to some really good music should play it.   read







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