Well Dtoid I'm getting close, while I'm still not quite caught up on writing, I'm almost caught up on my video game challenge. I'm still at 55/60, but I assume that will change this coming thanksgiving weekend. So while I'm thankful that my challenge will soon be over for me, for now enjoy the games that reached me to 3/4 the way there.
Game 43: Onimusha: Warlords Ė Date Beat August 26
So this game was made for the PS2 right? Because it sure doesnít feel like it was. Starting out the biggest problem with this game is the controls. Why is there no analog support? Why does my character move like a tank? Why canít the camera angles make up their mind at where they want to be? And why must I endure such bad voice acting? There were just so many questions starting out with Onimusha that I didnít know what to do with, and once I finished the game, I still didnít get any answers. If anything it makes me wonder why this really exists. The game is very short, with me clocking a bit above 4 hours on my first playthrough, and for what is supposed to be a survival horror game, it did not scary me at all. Not scaring me is pretty hard, considering I donít like a lot of things and I scare easily enough, but this game was just full of a few ďjump inĒ enemies that try to scary you, but really they just get annoying. The enemies donít really try to attack you either, but with the camera angles working against you it kinda balances out the difficulty of the enemies.
Aside from all the bad, the actual concept is very interesting; zombies/ demons in the feudal era could make for a really good game. Course, we just got Onimusha, which is just not a good game. Is it a bad one? Iím not sure; it certainly doesnít last long enough to give a big impression on me. I mean, I liked the orb absorbing, leveling up items, playing as two different characters from time to time, and some of the puzzle solving. But really I donít think Iíd play this game again. There are just so many other better games to play, so itís like, why play one thatís rather average, when you can play a good one again? This is what I constantly asked myself when playing Onimusha, and why I probably wonít go back to it.
Conclusion: Onimusha, while it has a good concept, just falls apart at the seams. Camera, and control issues hinder it from being an enjoyable experience, and the story doesnít exactly make you want to stay either. Perhaps, Onimushaís only real defining feature is that itís short.
Game 44: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Ė August 29
I started this game a while ago, and the very reason I stopped playing it was because I couldnít beat the black knight. And for those that donít know, itís a fight during the game that you have the option to win or draw at and then progress through the game. You also have to have the ability Aether to have a clear chance for victory. I didnít have Aether though, and while I wanted to beat the black knight, I decided it be best to just suck up my pride and move forward. So I did and wouldnít you know it I was close to the end of the whole game. So I proceed forth and beat it in record time.
Path of Radiance was perhaps the first fire emblem game to have me actually care what happened in the storyline. Iíll admit that I never really cared about the story so far in fire emblem games because they were often bland to me, and the characters themselves were just far more interesting. Thatís not to say that Path of Radiance didnít have good characters though, in fact this is the biggest cast of characters that I have liked in a Fire Emblem game as well. There were just so many people that I wanted to use that in the end, I couldnít fit them all in the final battle, nor have them all properly trained. But Path of Radiance literally made me stall at beating it because I wanted to beat the black knight; I wanted to give Ike his rightful victory. PoR made me feel that I was actually fighting for something, something no other FE game has really made me consider. Everything just feels bigger in Path of Radiance, the battles, the characters, cutscenes, and story itself. I suppose this was true because it was the first console game in a while and most certainly the first one in the states. But PoR made me care.
Path of Radiance didnít get everything right though, and it certainly isnít my favorite fire emblem. For one, the 3d models are just boring and feel so lifeless compared to the sprites they used to use. I really did like to watch every battle take place on the GBA fire emblem games, but Path of Radiance quickly had me turning off the battle animation in favor of the quicker battle animations on the map. As well, PoR wasnít a pick up and play type of game that Iím used to in the fire emblem series. I have always been fond of the fact that fire emblem was very portable and even turning off the game still kept you in your place without saving. But PoR doesnít exactly have that option and while itís understandable why it doesnít, it doesnít change the fact I still want that type of playstyle.
Course, I donít hate everything that PoR offers, and the fact it gives so many tools makes me love it. For instance, I loved all the little extra abilities the characters had, and it often gave more strategy to the game than anything else. I also liked the new way the support system was laid out, with supports going by battles and not by turns, so I no longer had to waste a lot of turns to get the supports I wanted. The base was also an amazing addition giving the option for extra battle experience points, conversions, and shops all in one place. The base just makes planning in do much easier than it has in the past FE games. And for gameplay thatís where PoR shines, introducing all these little mechanics that make life easier.
Conclusion: Path of Radiance feels like a much grander Fire Emblem than I am used to playing, and it added a lot of new welcomed additions to the original Fire Emblem formula that I would love to see continue and improve on. While the battle animations are lifeless and the game is no longer ďpick up and playĒ; Path of Radiance still makes for a grand time and I would recommend any fan of strategy games to play it.
Game 45: Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen -date beat September 11
Iím always surprised about how much I love Dragon Quest games. I mean I have never liked RPG games when I was little, and growing up I have learned to tolerate them to the point where I can play them. However, Dragon Quest always seems to draw my attention like no other RPG can, it makes me like to grind, it makes me want to get equipment, advance the story, and any other thing that it will ask me to do. Iím sure fans of RPGs probably understand this fetish, but to me itís still new and awkward. I never really thought Iíd like a RPG series like this, and especially not something as JRPG as DQ. And after I beat Dragon Quest VIII I knew I had to continue my dragon quest high so I decided to begin the Zenthian saga, or Dragon Quest 4, 5, and 6 for those that donít know.
Starting out Dragon Quest IV I already knew I liked it more than VIII. I just have a thing for ported RPGs, but IV was also able to draw my attention by the chapter system it used to tell its tale. I love the chapter system, and itís one of the main reasons why I love Paper Mario so much. I feel that it provides a show of progress while still having a combined story with other smaller stories in it. Itís a bit artificial, I know, but it makes the game feel fast, and for RPGs thatís a need for me. The fact that these chapters are also like origin stories makes me feel all the more connected to the characters as well. Iím not really sure which chapter I like the most, but Tornekoís chapter was perhaps the most interesting. And thatís another thing I like about this game, the characters. Most RPGs fall on a lot of archetypes, but Dragon Quest IV just feels like itís different. I know some of the cast are typical archetype RPG characters, but the introduction of Torneko was really the one that kept me off guard. The majority of his chapter is just getting money, but the way it presents itself just makes it feel fresh, and I understand why he got a few spin-offs.
I really donít have a lot of bad things to say about DQ4 though. Sure, sometimes I would be at a loss of what to do, mainly the magic key bit, but there were enough clues that could have lead me to it eventually. Perhaps, why I never really felt lost in this game is because I never felt hindered to just explore the world, and thatís another thing I like about this game. While you are restricted through all the side stories, the main game is pretty much exploring the world and getting team members back and looking for legendary armor. It really brought back memories of Final Fantasy VI and was probably the inspiration FFVI had. The only few problems I have with this game is the soundtrack, and the fact that dark moments arenít emphasized enough. I know I donít like my RPGs to be fully serious all the time, but there are several points in the game where things get really dark, but the music just doesnít drive the point nor does some of the dialogue. It took me a while to soak in some of the events that were happening in DQ4 and its like ďdamn that was actually really dark and sadĒ, but the music and dialogue just donít drive it home. Itís a minor problem though, and easily over looked considering all the fun that is had throughout the game though. Also long final boss is long.
Conclusion: Dragon Quest IV knows how to push all the right buttons with me, and for that I found it to be one of my most enjoyed RPG ventures. While the story isnít always present, the exploration, and characters are, and for that DQ4 certainly deserves all the attention it gets.
Dtoid, its been a while. Ya, I know I don't write to you often, but you know what I'm doing very important gamer business, I think. Look, beating 60 games in a year is hard, and well I still got a lot to write about. Thankfully we are almost to the point where I am at for my challenge. So for now, please accept this offering of games 40, 41, and 42 of the now currently 55/60 games I have beaten this year.
PaRappa the Rapper 2 Ė Date beat August 18
I have beaten the first game and seen some of Unjammer Lammy (the spin off to parappa) and to watch and then play this game, I am disappointed. Not only are the songs not nearly as catch, quirky, or anything particularly capturing, but itís far too easy. I bought the game the day before, and I have just now beaten it the day after, took me less than 3 hrs, if not 4. The game just gives you far too many chances to pass the song, and while I didnít like how unforgiving the first was, making things easier isnít exactly better either. The answer is usually somewhere in the middle, and PaRappa didnít really hit anywhere near that. The story is ridiculous, corny, and even more childish compared to the first one. While the first one wasnít anything really serious, it was still about PaRappa going on a musical journey to better himself for the girl he loved; this one however, is about how he hates noodles and being called a baby.
This game just misses everything that the first gives with charm. I know that compared to games now, PaRappa was a horrible game, but the way it presented itself like it didnít care and it did its own thing gave it the kind charm you could love. PaRappa 2 just feels like here is another game featuring PaRappa because you guys missed him. Not to say that PaRappa 2 is all kinds of horrible though. There were some improvements, like how you can save a replay of your awesome rapping style. There are also a number of different difficultly levels, which may explain why itís so easy the first time. And there are more stages to play through too, 8 instead of the original 6. Still these are just too little improvements and there is just less heart in this game to say itís something worth getting.
Conclusion: PaRappa the Rapper 2 misses everything that made the original so great. It lacks the charm, originality, and awesome music the first had, and does little to nothing to improve on the formula to make it better than the first. Frankly, itís better if fans stand away from this game to keep it from soiling memories of the original PaRappa the Rapper.
Rhythm Heaven Fever Ė Date beat August 23
Rhythm Heaven Fever first caught my attention at a local gamestop where I would play it on occasion and try to beat some of the levels that were unlocked. I certainly wasnít the best at it, but the overall challenge and fun attitude of grading really got me into it. I did, however decide to pass it up because, while the game was fairly cheap, I was cheaper and didnít have that kind of money to spend on just any game I wanted. Course, a wonderful best buy sale came along, and I was able to snag this game for 5 dollars by price comparing it at Walmart, Twas awesome. Anyway, I made sure to play it as soon as I was able to, and boy was it hard starting out. I donít know what it is, but that golf mini-game took me so long to get the hang of, just something about the swing and rhythm didnít get along with me. After what seemed like 30 tries I was able to finally move on and play the rest of the game.
Once I was done fine tuning my rhythm I was able to blast through the majority of the game thanks to the ability to skip ones I just wasnít getting and practicing my heart out on ones I wanted to pass, mainly the remixes. The game is somewhat forgiving when it comes to passing the levels, but getting superb medals are brutal, not to mention perfects. I really do love how quirky this game can be, but sometimes it can be your worst enemy. The majority of feedbacks donít really help, and the fact that you think you are doing great only to find out it wasnít nearly up to par with what the game wanted from you makes things quite annoying sometimes. This is especially true for Remix 10, which I took a lot of time on just passing. Having to learn the motions it goes through, and thinking I was good at it only to find I needed to try again was disheartening. Still, for what this game is, it does what it says and delivers it with charm. RHF is all about the rhythm, and for such a simple amount of controls it has, it really does deliver a lot of action and thought to what simply comes down to pressing a button at the right time.
Conclusion: Rhythm Heaven Fever lures you into what appears to be a simple, quirky, and somewhat cutesy game. But in reality itís one of the most challenging games I have ever played, and one that requires a lot patience and devotion to master. Still RHF always manages to keep the mood light, and one can hardly stay mad at it for long, and really the cheery, upbeat attitude is what makes RHF what it is.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Date Beat Ė August 25
I got Dragon Quest VIII due to how much I liked DQ9, and the fact I like to collect a lot of games. And when starting out, well, you can tell it isnít the exact same game has DQ9 lets on. At the least, everything looked and acted the same, but it certainly was more JRPG then I come to expected, but I knew it wasnít going to be exactly the same game as 9 was. Still, I had a lot of trouble playing it in the beginning. DQ8 just didnít get my attention like 9 did. In fact, I can say that I fell asleep playing it, as it was just that boring starting up. But once you get your third party member things really do pick up, and eventually it hooks you in to playing hours on end. That would be my major complaint for DQ8 as it takes too much time to get to the meat of it. DQ8 has so much to offer any given player, and while I understand that it doesnít want to ransack me with loads of information it still doesnít grab my attention as much as it should in the beginning.
Still, once you get to the heart of the game, it is quite light hearted, and filled with characters that you can relate to and actually feel for. While the voice acting may not always lend it to be the best it at least gets the job done. Characters are given a certain personality as well, something you can latch on to, and establish a relationship with. And when everything is said and done, you really will miss saying goodbye to these characters in the end. The story itself is also the same as the rest of the game, as you never quite know what is going on till you are actually wrapped in the story to the point where you want to keep seeing what happens next. And perhaps, thatís the main drive of DQ8, everything hits you without you really realizing it and in that regard, I think it makes it a good game. Aside from that though, many of the Dragon Quest tropes are all back in action, and stronger than ever. Youíll see, hear, and play the same game you have always been playing throughout the series. Good or bad, it really is nice to have a game that can be so in touch with its roots, but be completely different from past games, story wise.
Conclusion: Dragon Quest 8 starts off slow and steady. And while that may drive some players off, if you stick with it, DQ8 will win your heart with its endearing characters, and larger than life story. 8 still contains much of the same tropes of the Dragon Quest series it is a part of, but this proves to be much more of a good element to the series, then a tiring one.
Hello again Dtoid, I know its been a while. While I haven't been posting on here as nearly much as I should, I'm still giving it my all to beat 60 games in the matter of a year. While it certainly doesn't look like I'm close to reaching my goal here I am far more along my actual challenge, I just haven't written it up for ya. So without further stalling for time, I present games, 37,38, and 39.
Retro Game Challenge Ė Date beat July 23
Boy is this game a call back to the NES era. If anything this game is more like a simulator for the Ď80s than a game. Just the world Retro Game Challenge creates is impressive, and that alone is worth a look into this game and makes my nostalgia tingle. Thereís a memo system to write down codes that you get from in-game magazines, the magazines themselves feel like a literal blast from the past with news mock ups of delays and reviews. There is even gossip talk about released video games that you witness throughout the story. Just everything about this game makes me feel like itís the good old days of gaming where things were creative and whimsical. Where the internet wasnít around to damper your spirits about playing a game, and the only information you got was from magazines and kids that were lying. In other words, Retro Game Challenge lives up to the name retro.
RGC also gives the player 8 retro games to play from, and 6 of which that can be defined as completely different games. All the games feel fully fleshed out for the time of their supposed release, and could have very well been old classics companies never released till now. The sounds, graphics, and gameplay are just so similar to retro games of old that itís eerie sometimes. They also captured the harsh difficult of past games, along with plenty of cheat codes to make the game easier.
The first game available at the start is called Cosmo Gate, and itís a shooter that resembles the likes of Galaga. The game itself is pretty straight forward kill enemies, gain points. Itís not very noteworthy, but it certainly captures the past.
The 2nd and 5th games available are Robot Ninja Haggle Man 1&2 respectively. Both appear to resemble arcade games like Flicky, and are about killing enemies and finding the door to move on to the next stage, with the 2nd going further by adding a boss at the end of the game. While it certainly is more fleshed out than Cosmo Gate and Rally King / SP it feels more generic, and is probably the weakest game(s) in this ďretro collectionĒ.
Rally King, the 3rd RGC game, and its special edition: Rally King SP, the 6th RGC game, are the top down racing games of RGC and are similar to games like Pole Position. Itís a simple race to the finish and get first place, the only thing really noteworthy is that Rally King has drifting involved with its game mechanics, which is something I donít remember having in most top down racers. While Rally King itself is good, the fact RGC adds another game that is pretty much exactly like it, but harder certainly feels like a rip off to the player.
By far my favorite game though is Star Prince, the 4th game, as it feels like an awesome shmup that was lost in the early Ď90s. Itís a more fleshed out Cosmo Gate with a lot of cool power ups, backgrounds, and enemies, although the bosses are all pretty much the same. Star Prince honestly doesnít have much going for it, but it charmed me in its way to pretty much duplicate any given arcade shmup you saw in theater arcades in the early Ď90s.
The 7th game is actually a full blown RPG called Guardia Quest that requires constant grinding and actually has a decent story to it. Guardia Quest is actually pretty long too, about 10-15 hours give or take. The fact they were able to fit a whole RPG in RGC impressed me enough to say that Guardia Quest is probably the best in terms of quality, but my favorite in this collection still goes to Star Prince.
The last game RGC offers is Robot Ninja Haggle Man 3, a sequel to the rather generic Haggle Man series of this collection; however this time it comes back as what seems to be a Ninja Gaiden inspired sequel. The game focuses on tricky platforming and grinding for power ups so you can become more powerful to kill your enemies. The game itself is alright, but with the lack of creative bosses and the odd leveling up system, RNHM3 ends up being rather barebones when it could have been something much more.
Conclusion: Retro Game Challenge is a trip to the past in the most literal sense to gaming. Even if youíre not a fan of nostalgia, these games stand on their own merit, and deliver fun gameplay, while mimicking retro gaming to an eerie level. If youíre a fan of Retro Gaming this game is certainly a must.
Okamiden Ė date beat July 28
I love Okami just so very much. It gave me so much to go through within a game. The art style is amazing, the story is wonderful, the characters are awesome, the gameplay is nostalgic, inventive, clever, and basically Okami is just all kinds of awesome. Okamiden, however, is not so much like its predecessor. Itís heavily the same game as Okami is, but cuter and shorter. Chibitersu is adorable, and some of the newer characters are interesting, and for older characters it builds on them. But overall Okamiden feels a bit more like a side story within Okami, then an actual sequel to it.
I know Iím making Okamiden out to be a bad follow up, but really it is quite ambitious in its endeavors, and following up Okami is no easy task. At the least Okamiden brings a few new things in to the mix, and the partner system is a good edition. Also the ability to use the stylus throughout the game makes game play much smoother than Okami ever could make it. The story itself is pretty interesting as well, especially when it starts to interact with the first story, but it also dampers playthroughs of Okami if the player played Okamiden first. This game is also plagued with a lot of tedious puzzle solving that just makes you question the game. Like why do I have to press 3 different switches when the action could have been completed with one switch? But it still has good puzzles in it, just too many filler puzzles that outweigh the good.
Really though, Okamiden just never really captivated me enough to love it as much as I did with Okami, it just felt like it was simply building on what Okami did. I want to say Okamiden was a lazy game, but I donít think thatís what it is. It just doesnít offer enough to build itself as a sequel, but relies on Okami to succeed as a good game. And in that regard it works, and it works well. But as a standalone, Okamiden just doesnít offer much to those that havenít played the original.
Conclusion: I canít say Okamiden stands on its own, but when played after Okami, itís a game that wets the appetite of those that wanted more from Okami. While a lot of the game is stuck in Okamiís shadow, it still offers exactly what Okami offered, and really thatís enough to give it a play. Also chibitersu is cute, so whatís not to love.
Legend of Zelda - Date beat August 5th
Iím a bit ashamed to say that I never beat Legend of Zelda till today. Considering that I was a big fan of the series ever since one of my grade school friends introduced me with Linkís Awakening. But I canít say the first Zelda really pulled me in either, while I did miss out during the NES era, I was given a chance to play it during the gamecube era, thanks to the collectorís edition. Zelda provided to be too hard for me, and because I had no idea where to go I decided to give up and move on to other games. The fact that it was just so wide open, and gave you no direction of where to go was just off putting to me. But when I got Zelda via the ambassador program, I decided to just go for it, for the sake of this challenge and my gaming honor. With me playing Zelda on a portable handheld, the help of a ďsave stateĒ, and the internet, I was able to finally beat this game.
Usually Iím against using the internet for helping me game, or at the least, ashamed of it, but Legend of Zelda is just too open ended to not ask for or seek help. There is just so much to this game, and the NES is only able to store so much information to tell you where to go or what to do. I may be a bit of an old hat in gaming, but I had a lot of trouble finding some of these dungeons. I also had to use the ďsave statesĒ the 3DS gives you to beat this game. It still proved to be too hard for me not to. Just some of the enemies in this game, mainly wizarobes, give out so much damage for one attack that you are down like 10 hearts in a matter of seconds. And is it just me, or is the heart drop rate really small in dungeons? I swear I could kill 10 enemies, and get maybe 1 heart if Iím lucky. I really just donít understand how kids younger than me had an easier time with this game, maybe we were just tougher back then? Games nowadays tend to hold our hands quite often too, so I guess I just got soft. But either way Zelda certainly is Nintendo hard in my book.
I know Iím complaining a lot about it, like ďya, games back then were hardĒ, but in the end I did find Zelda to be quite an enjoyable game. In fact, I would say that it gets better with each play through. I mean despite my hang ups with my first playthrough I know I can go back to this game and play it differently than I did last time, and that excites me. I canít exactly say that about other Zeldas, no matter what, I still have to beat all the dungeons as a kid first before I become an adult in Ocarina of Time, canít exactly go to turtle rock right away in Link to the Past, nor can I get anywhere during the 2nd half without my horse in Majoraís Mask. I mean when was the last time you could say you beat the 3rd level before you beat the 1st? Sure Mega Man gives you that kind of option, in a way, but itís not inside a full blown world. This type of exploring is really fun, and needs to be a little more present in video games. I mean everyoneís first playthrough of Zelda may not be exactly the same as others. No one person gets the exact same experience. As well when you are actually done with this game you can change your routes, were you go, what you do, etc. You can effectively make speed runs in any way you want, make challenges like the no sword run. The actual end to Zelda is just your imagination on how to play it, and I think thatís what makes it such a great game.
Conclusion: Legend of Zelda is not for the light hearted, it can sometimes be unfair, frustrating, and confusing. But Legend of Zelda is a classic for a reason, and if you give the time of day to play it, it will give you something fun and unique to play over and over again
I'm getting closer and closer Dtoid. While I still haven't fully caught up with my present self in writing these articles, I can say right now that I'm a little over the 3/4th mark on my 60 game year challenge. I just need to write my thoughts on the latest games I beat, and tell you about them Dtoid! For now here's some catch up commentary of games 34, 35, and 36 that I beat during this challenge
Professor Layton and the Unwounded Future Ė date beat July 8
Layton games have always been an odd form of addiction and torture. Sometimes I know the answer right away, and other times I have spent an hour just trying to figure out one puzzle. Despite this, Layton games always catch my attention when I play them, and I can beat them within a weekís time because of how addicting it can get. Unlike other games I get addicted to though; Layton games donít leave me with such a heavy impression, Unwounded Future however did. Unwounded Future is, for all purposes, about how Layton got his hat. I know that sounds really stupid at first, but when you played the game all the way through you should understand where Iím getting at. Pretty much all this game centers on is how and why Layton is the way he is. You really do feel for Layton in the end, and honestly the ending got me to smile in a bit of a bitter sweet moment. We want Layton to be happy, but that simply isnít possible. I think that ending, that moment, will stick with me the most. But as for the rest of Unwounded Future, well it certainly is filled with a lot of twists, and turns that I honestly doubt anyone, aside from Layton himself would be able to figure out.
Aside from the story, Unwounded Future gave the Layton series a few new key features and overall the game had a diverse amount of puzzles. Rarely, I felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again, and that was something the previous two Layton games were suffering from heavily. The hint system is even more robust with super hints that can often just solve the puzzle for, and I will honestly admit I used it for quite a few puzzles. There was also a new feature in Unwounded Future that I would like to see more of in the rest of the series, and for the best way I can describe it, it was a battle of wits. This really gave Layton a lot more conflict, and climatic moments that really not present in the other two games. I mean Layton had some pretty awesome moments in the other two games, but when you see the pictrats appear, and then that calming music turns on it kinda ruins the mood, you know? The pacing just felt better in Unwounded Future because it felt like you were in on the action, instead of in calm music land solving puzzles while a movie plays for you afterward.
Despite all this though, I canít really say I liked Unwounded Future more than Diabolical Box though. There was just something about diabolical box that made it a bit more interesting, that it was a bit of a tighter package of mysteries together. Unwounded Future's only real flaw I see is that the plot itself is all over the place, I mean I beat it, but I still canít make much sense of it. I understand how everything took place, but I think Diabolical Box simply had better transitions compared to Unwounded Future. Still though, Unwounded Future is a close runner up as the ending alone gives it a lot of impact on the player. Honestly felt like crying at the end, but I couldnít help, but smile as I learned I truly cared what happen to Layton and Luke. At some point these two characters climbed into my heart.
Conclusion: Unwounded Future may not be my favorite Layton game, but I think Iíll remember it the most. The characters are just far more endearing this time around, and somehow I care about them so much more. Puzzles can still be hit and miss, but the pacing is far better this time around, and overall the ending really just makes this game so special.
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors -date beat July 12
If there was anything that blurred video games, and how they fit into any kind of media, 999 would be the best example. I have to say playing through this ďgameĒ really made me confused for what makes a video game, a video game. The story started out rather dull, if only for the constant explanations, but as I learned more and more about each character I became compelled to keep playing this game. The characters just had so much depth to them that you get lost in their stories and explanations. Like how did they learn about this? Who is this person really? And why is this all happening to them? The story had a pretty awesome idea behind it too, that quite frankly Iím rather interested to see if any of what was mentioned in the story is actually real. And after a while I wanted to desperately get past the puzzles it gave me just to continue the story. Beyond this point the puzzles just werenít cutting it; the story was far too good and the puzzles were in the way. I was just so tied up in 999ís story to realize that what I was playing was actually a game. And I have to wonder, did I read 999? Experience it? Or played it? The only thing I truly know is that 999 had an amazing story and concept to it.
Whatever 999 is, it still has puzzles in it to break the story together, and give you some interaction with the game. The puzzles themselves were often clever, but rather frustrating to execute. It took me far longer to get these puzzles done then I hope to care for, and it tended to break tension with how long it took. If the puzzles actually took place in real time I would have been dead twice over just because of how long these puzzles can take to figure out. Knowing that, I still think an actual timer on the puzzles would make this game far more interesting and tense. At the very least the puzzles were challenging, but not so hard that I couldnít figure it out on my own. 999 also has multiple paths, but you really only need to play it twice to get the true ending, and luckily for me thatís exactly what I did. The first ending I actually got was amazing, tense, and confusing. It pumped me up so much that I just had to play 999 again to get the true ending. And although Iím still trying to make sense of the true ending in my head, 999 will stick with me with its great story and characters. Thankfully I wonít have to wait long for the much needed sequel.
Conclusion: 999 is one of the best things I have ever read, and as a game it certainly has put a hold on me that not many games can say they have. I like to think of 999 as more of an experience then a game, something that can be taken with you into real life, but perhaps that isnít all true. Either way anyone that plays this game will likely fall in love with it, its characters, and the ideas that it shows. I know I did.
Wild Guns Ė date beat July 21
While browsing through the interwebs I came across this little gem called Wild Guns. It was in a list of games that people probably havenít heard of and I certainly never have. Once I saw this game I knew I had to get it; so through a quick search on Amazon I saw the game was heavily priced. Down, but not out I decided to just watch some more gameplay of this game, and see exactly what I was missing. Then I stumbled on a review of Wild Guns that mentioned it was on the Wii Virtual Console, and me having an extra 800 wii points knew it was destined to be! I hooked up my Wii as soon as I could and started playing it. It amazed me so much, the music, the high risk gameplay everything about it just made me stand in awe. What turned out to simply a play test turned into something a little more, and before I knew it I wasted 2 hours just learning the ropes and passing two levels, and going on a third. I knew I wasnít going to be able to beat it then, so I decided to save it for another day.
Wild Guns was obliviously a game I loved the moment I started playing it, but really whatís not to love about it? There is literally a guy named Clint and a girl name Annie shooting at robots in the Wild West! The game itself seems to be based off true grit, but with a more parody, '90s video game take on the movie. Itís also really hard, like you get hit once and you die hard. Itís also somewhat short too, but donít let that discourage you; there is plenty to replay as I doubt anyone will get good at this game right away. Wild Guns is very high risk, high reward, the better you play the more likely you build meter for your super mode which makes you invincible and rack up more points. You also get power ups, and bombs to aid you as well. You can either plan cautiously and dodge enemy fire, or go the more offensive route, and counter attack them when they throw things like dynamite at you. There is a lot to learn and do in this game, but by all means this game is more than fair. While you have to go through a whole stage on one continue, you can go through the game with as many as it takes, but leaving you on the stage you were last at.
The only real bad thing about Wild Guns is the control scheme, while it certainly works and works well I might add, the game only uses the d-pad and three buttons. The SNES had three other buttons, but they do nothing at all, while one button, shoot, is needed for three separate things. Hold shoot to, shoot, tap constantly to use your lasso, and tab shoot and dodge to perform a side dodge. Why couldnít they button the lasso and side dodge as a separate button? Itís not like I donít like the layout, but it certainly is odd that they donít consider it an option. Aside from that, Wild Guns is amazing gem from the SNES era, and well worth the 800 wii points it will cost on the virtual console.
Conclusion: Wild Guns is certainly one of those gems of a game that you see every so often. Itís wonderful, executed well, has a great premise, and its only fault is not getting enough attention. The music alone is worth a look, but the game itself is an amazing high risk, high reward arcade shooter. Seriously get it if you can!
lostleader here, and still as ambitious as ever to getting through my 60 year game challenge done! Finally making it to the end of June, but I still have the rest of the summer of games that I have beaten that need to get up here on Dtoid! Here are the games I beat for 31, 32, and 33 of my 60 game year challenge!
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia date beat June 19
Order of Eccelsia certainly is an oddity in the castlevania series, not that itís different ,but that it combines two different things to make something new all together. Itís like combining Simonís quest and Symphony of the Night, it has the challenging gameplay and exploration of SotN along with visiting different locations like Simon's Quest. I donít know how to exactly describe it ,but a lot of this game makes sure that skill wins overall. Sure there are RPG elements from the older metroidvania games, but if you can't beat the boss because you lack the skill, grinding to higher levels won't make it easier to beat the boss. There are also plenty of new areas to explore ,but a lot of the exploration is more like traveling to different locations then actually exploring them. In fact the vast amount of these areas are pretty straight forward and some of them donít even have a save point, which can be rather bothersome your first time playing through them and hoping for one. Thankfully enough the game designers werenít so cruel to leave you stranded ,and they give you a magic ticket that lets you travel back to a village you frequent so you can save and plan your strategy for the stage youíre at. That may seem like it makes the game too easy, but you will be needing those tickets throughout the game. This is mainly due to the game throwing too much at you at once, and gives you no save point in sight to make sure you are actual progressing through the game. Course this leads to a lot of backtracking throughout the same areas you been through so while it can be tedious, it never gets quite so tedious as Simon's Quest did.
Speaking of biting off more than you can chew, the bosses in this game are impossible to beat! Or at least it seems that way at first. The majority of OoE is just figuring out boss patterns, adjusting your play style to them ,and living long enough to beat them. And frankly I love that about OoE. Sure I didn't like it at first, but I kept pressing forward and when I finally beat that boss I've been struggling with it, it gives me a certain sense of accomplishment that is rather rare in games these ages.I remember screaming phrases like "oh ya I beat you, but you didn't think I could do it, did you?" or like " hell yeah I won!" Just bursting out with joy when you beat a boss, not the game, a boss? Ya I haven't had that feeling in a while. Course OoE isn't all about beating bosses as it does have a story to it, and while
the story itself can be heartwarming at times itís just not really there. In all honest the game really only focuses on one character throughout the game, and unfortunately itís not the main one. It would be nice if they actually treated Shanoa as an actual character rather than a tool throughout the game that the player uses but itís just not the case.In the end I truly do like Order of Ecclesia, it just gives you that ďI did itĒ moment and frankly that is rather rare nowadays.As well it even borrows a page from SotN ,and pretty much has a second game to unlock after you "beat it". Still though, I really would have liked Shanoa to have explored better, but I suppose that was just asking too much.
Order of Ecclesia brings back old Castlevania toughness with some metroidvania style gameplay. While it can be tough grinding now and again, a lot of this games fun comes from overcoming what you thought was impossible at first, and thatís something every game should try to offer!
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon -date beat June 21
After playing Order of Ecclesia I have to say this is quite a disappointing bunch of bosses. I know it's rather harsh to judge past games because of what the newer ones had, but in truth the old castlevania games also had some of the best bosses. But CotM? Save for a Dracula that can pretty much K.O. you in one go, these bosses are really easy. Throughout most of the game I was a bit under leveled yet I had no problem taking any of them down, in fact the toughest time I had with this game is just walking to the next location to progress.There are just many reasons why these bosses just don't work, and for one there actually aren't a lot of bosses compared to other castlevania games. The majority of the game is just traveling around, and finding equipment to get better at moving around the castle instead of fighting a bunch of bosses. Second, the bosses are just honestly kind of dumb, playing a majority of castlevania games throughout this challenge, I have to say these are pretty weak bosses and references compared to the rest of the series. A lot of the other castlevania games have a lot of references to mythological creatures, but this one just kinda dropped the ball. The difficulty was a big problem too, all the bosses patterns are rather easy to get down, and the "boomerang" weapon easily breaks this games difficulty. I seriously killed death on my first try simply because I spammed boomerangs, it really gets to the point that no other weapon should be used. It is not so much an issue of a broken weapon, I love those in single player games, but the fact it just distracts so much attention to actual strategy in a castlevania game is sad. One of the bigger parts of Castlevania is fighting "monsters and demons" from different myths and having a difficult time till you finally nail a pattern down and beat them. This castlevania however was all about boomerang spam.
Aside from boss fights though I do like this game a bit, and I have to say its one of the better GBA castlevania games.The story is sub par, really isn't there the majority of the time, but the music is a nice call back to the old school games. I like the fact you can use a whip, but this is probably due to using a lot of different weapons in the games I have been playing before it, either way it makes a nice design choice as a lot of the game really does make use for the whip itself. I also really like the fact this game plays a bit more like metroid then it does castlevania compared to the other ones. See in castlevania its simple grind and exploration, but with metroid your always looking for something to further your progress. CotM however works more like metroid making its main focus on exploration and movement, compared to bosses and grinding, which I suppose is the trade up for what was mentioned earlier. Nonetheless I have to say I enjoyed this game quite a bit, especially considering I played through it within a matter of two days. While the game is indeed short, especially for those a little more skilled, CotM does have a nice niche of replay value as you can play through the game again focusing on different aspects of the games mechanics. If your more into spells you can be a magician instead, or if you want to focus on strength then you can do that. Its an interest bonus for sure, and frankly should be added to more castlevania games. But for now I think Castlevania is better off following the lead of Order of Ecclesia then Circle of the Moon.
Conclusion: What it lacks in creative and challenging bosses, Circle of the Moon makes up for pure exploration, nostalgic music, and interesting ways to replay the game. While I can't recommend this over most of the Castlevania games I played, it still as the addictiveness of any castlevania game, and that should be a good enough sale for anyone.
Pokemon Conquest date beat Ė June 27
When I first saw Pokemon Conquest I realized it was the type of game that was ďjust so crazy that it might workĒ. And wouldnít you know that phrase matches this game perfectly. I never would have guessed I like playing a game with as much micro managing as conquest gives you. Literally the whole main game is a tutorial to teach you the basics of what you are going to do post game. This kinda makes post game a big downer in the way just like cakes feel like lies. I just grew so attached to my units, and having to start over from scratch really doesnít feel worth it, but overtime with two post game episodes under my belt I have to say it could be worse. Sure I may have lost all linking percentages, and everything may feel like a lie, but it is for the greater good. If I had all my broken units there be no challenge in the game, and post game certainly offers so much more then what the main game lets on. See in the main game the AI is terribad, nearly never responding to empty castles or putting up a great fight. In post game everything changes, enemies are more aggressive and strategy is a lot more involved. As well I barely scratched the surface of post game, with nearly 4 pages full of side missions and already 25 hours under my belt you beat this would take a large amount of time to complete all the episodes.
As for the main game itself, itís a little disappointing that it ends up being one big tutorial, but it does give you the opportunity to do what you want and leave you room for grinding. That can help in post game if you plan things correctly, but only if you actually plan it. Really wish a lot more strategy games did make you play through a main story like Conquest did though, as its an easier way to not baby a player, and actually adds to the game more than it hinders it. In a way itís like Lynís story in FE7, it pretty much is its own game, but sets up for the bigger adventure, without just throwing you in the deep end. The story itself is also a little bit interesting as it provides for a nice little history on Nobunga, but blends ruthless dictatorship with cutesy pokemon sprites so it ends up being a lot more light-hearted than what history would like you to believe. But that's probably why Conquest is so interesting, blending two things that shouldn't match make for an interesting recipe, it could end up horrible like Street Fighter in 3D or wonderful like Kingdom Hearts.Conquest's gameplay is also quite addictive, just finding each units best link or as I like to call it, OTP (one true pairing), and managing units to go to certain castles really burns a lot of your time and you find yourself picking it up for 10 minutes only to find a hour has gone by. And really that's something that doesn't happen to me often, but Conquest is just one of those games that gets you wrapped up in itself.
Conclusion: Pokemon Conquest works so well that it wraps you into things that may seem tedious at first, but makes them come out as fun in the end.With tons of episodes for post game, getting the best out of resources, fighting and defending from enemies, and making sure you make your army the best they can be, conquest gives you so much to handle that you will never be truly bored of it. Conquest is also the best spin-off Pokemon has had since Pokemon Snap, and while itís a bit of a shame it took so long, it is well worth looking into for any Pokemon fan or tactic RPGer.
Howdy Ya'll. I've been awfully busy doing nothing and updating my backloggery. Ya, decided to finally updated it, although I got it a long time ago, I never updated it. So without further Apu, My backloggery: http://www.backloggery.com/lostleader . Also ya finally posting the midway point of my 60 game year challenge! I assure you though, I have gotten much further and continue to strive to complete this challenge! Also will try to update this little blog a little better, but I'm sure we all heard that one, ya?
Ďsplosion Man Ė Date Beat May 13
Ďsplosion Man was simply a game I heard about amongst forums, and honestly didnít pay much mind to it. That was till a faithful holiday season when it was on sale for 150 MS points. I mean, itís a game worthy of praise being sold for pretty much a candy bar, hell ya Iíll try it! And well I didnít like. Well that is to say when I played through it, I didnít like. I mean it seems from the 1st set of levels that its pretty much just Ďsplode and venture through some random labs. Certainly not something that gave me much to look forward to or care about. So I decided to just drop it, and move on with other games and pay no mind to it. Then during this 60 year game challenge I picked it back up, and learned to love Ďsplosion Man.
Iíll admit, it took me some time, playing this game time after time and barely just reaching the midway point in the game, and it clicked! The game is tough as nails but its forgiving, challenging but fun. However there was so much more to just the Ďsploding. Really what first turns out to be a simple mechanic turns out to be a wonderful device for some very clever platforming. I canít imagine another point in time in my life that I had this much trouble with a game, let alone a platformer. It wasnít really that it was annoying me, or it felt unfair, but rather it was just, in general, challenging. Like I was back to the old school days of games and all the charm was packed in a newer coat. Really there is so much quirkiness to this game and charm that it just ends up growing on you. It really captures a spirit and some of the music is just really, really catchy! I have to say by the end, I love Ďsplosion for what it is, quirky over the top platforming goodness. And frankly I wouldnít want it any other way.
Conclusion: Ďsplosion Man captures the spirit of old school platformers by both being hard and incredibly quirky. Luckily its far more forgiving compared to its older cousins, but sometimes it does feel rather trying and the fact it doesnít really explore any other environment, save for a lab, is rather disappointing. But mostly Iíll remember the laughs.
PixelJunk Shooter Ėdate beat May 18
Having a few extra bucks from buying Skull Girls on the PSN I occasionally look to see the daily deals and when I saw the PixelJunk games for a dollar I was shocked and interested. So, of course, I bought them all, and for a mere 3 dollars no less! 4 new games, all from the PixelJunk series, a series I didnít really know about but I was interested in. After playing them for about 20 minutes each, I came to realize I wasnít exactly ecstatic about my purchase, maybe I needed to play them more? Maybe I just donít get it, but then I finally played PixelJunk Shooter! This is the PixelJunk game that clearly stands out as the best. The story is interesting, the gameplay is fun, and the puzzles are inventive. Just everything about it just stands out to you and says play me! The music will also get you in a bit of a bouncy mood, which is nice compared to the other ones, which currently seem absent in my mind.
There isnít much too really complain about with PixelJunk Shooter, aside from nitpicking, but it does have problems like every game does. For one thing, the game doesnít really punish you, itís pretty much a walk in the park compared to the rest of the PixelJunk series, and itís not a hard series to begin with. You can literally kill the people you are trying to save and still move on, and even if you donít save enough you simply restart from the same screen you were at. There doesnít seem to be a real game over screen either because you can just keep dying and it doesnít matter, you respawn at the same point and try to solve it. This really takes down the challenge a lot in this game, and to have some sort of punishment may have made this game last longer artificially and given it more of a sense of accomplishment, but perhaps that isnít exactly better for some. As well the game is rather short, it honestly didnít take me that long just saving the survivors at all, and getting most of the treasure only held me back for another hour or two. But really itís a great game, and any complaints I have donít really matter much to me, I had lots of fun, and I think everyone that plays this game will too. It's a simple game that uses the elements to solve puzzles, simple concept, but effectively making it an good game.
Conclusion: PixelJunk Shooter is certainly the one PixelJunk game you want to play if you only play one of PixelJunk games. With an easy difficulty, a lot of fun, and inventive puzzles this game will make anyone have a good time, and especially make them bounce to the music.
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin -date beat June 12
Portrait of Ruin continues what SOTN, and Dawn of Sorrow left off, Classic 2-d Metroidvania goodness. There is a new cast of characters to play as like Charlotte, and Jonathan as well as a few that are unlocked once you beat the story, like the sisters and Richter from bloodlines. But all in all itís pretty much just another Metroidvania game. Other than the fact there is additional character with you at all times and there is some team work it's just more of the same. Teamwork stuff and power moves affect the game so little that it really isnít as noticeable as you would think. In fact most of the time I left my partner on the side lines because it was far more useful to have them come in for a power attack rather than have them drain my meter to perform special attacks. Overall I donít understand why they tried to make this mechanic and just instead developed the characters more then what they did. Both characters seemed interesting at first, but they just donít interact throughout the story like you think they will, no real bonding points or cutscenes really make it clear. Other characters in the story have this problem too, but the main characters where really lacking in development and its sad because they did have the potential to be interesting.
I also have to wonder why Dracula was really involved with this game, the story didnít really call for it and frankly I would have loved to see Charlotte and Jonathan just travel the world rather than thru portraits. Its fun going to places other than Draculaís castle for once, and PoR really did bring that part out. However all these segments do end up suffering in lack of detail or exploration and in turn make Draculaís castle the same. There doesnít seem to be much detail in either sections and thatís because they are trying too hard to deliver two things at once to players when really they should have focused on one or the other. I didnít feel like I was exploring Draculaís castle once again, but rather just jumping from point A in the overworld, and finding point B in it only to do the same thing I did in A, but in a different location. Also save points were often scattered far too much and that tended to make the game annoying when exploring newer areas. But not everything is all bad, once you beat the game youíre reward with tons of new stuff to play with, like a sisters mode, cap levels, hard mode, boss challenge, and a bunch of other cool stuff. It can at least be said that Portrait of Ruin does deliver content and for that I admire it. I canít say Portrait of Ruin is my favorite Castlevania game, but itís far from the worse.
Portrait of Ruin really could have been better if we didnít actually return to Draculaís castle. However that is not the case, and while itís not a bad game, a lot of potential was missed. Still Portrait of Ruin offers a lot to players and I think if youíre even remotely interested in Castlevania you will have fun with this game.