Welcome back long time readers, and welcome newcomers. We’ve reached the number 42 we’ve done it, the meaning of life is captured in this blogg. All Joking aside I have some great content this month. It’s lacking in anime but there’s plenty of games, ranging from the old school, to the just released and some indie titles. In fact it’s a little longer than normal because 42 can be divided by 7 (I hope I did that incredibly basic math right). Anyway have some remixes my friends.
A steam game I got this Halloween sale, Home was recommended by the YouTube series called Extra Credits. Considering it was only 90 cents I decided it was worth a try. This game is scary but it’s not exactly horror. In fact it’s more of a thriller with the fear being a product of the unknown rather than just jump scares. There’s not much of a soundtrack to speak of but the game uses sound brilliantly to produce fear. As for how it looks,well it has that 8-bit retro style that a lot indie games choose, and it works for this game. By doing things this way you get a beautiful game that also leaves a lot to the imagination. In terms of gameplay it’s a fairly linear point and click affair. All you can really do is move around, point your torch up, and examine objects. This game is pretty much a one time thing only deal. Throughout the game you’re given a lot of choices and all of these options have some effect on the narrative. Each experience is unique and the story varies so much that trying to figure out what actually happened is the key feature of the game. It’s an tense experience that leaves you trying to answer a large mystery, which involves a more realistic case of amnesia one that is much more frightening than what we are normally used to. To be honest I’m little worried that I’ve spoiled too much, but I can easily say this is a game worth playing. Even if it is just so you can form your own theory about it’s storyline. (You should wait for another sale though).
Pokemon White (DS):
The pokemon craze is sweeping through the world yet again, and why I am currently working on the latest entry I decided that before I played that game that I would at least finish the story mode of this one. So lets start with an easy one, the music. The music in this game is good however it never quite reaches the level of awesome of the classic games. It’s also a slight improvement over gen 4 and gets rather epic towards the end. One of the major praises that people seem to give this game is the story. Now the story in pokemon hasn’t ever been the main focus and the games often let you use your imagination to a degree. In fact it’s more about building a world rather than a cohesive narrative. Of course if we look at gen 2 there are some great narrative elements, including the slowpoke tail incident and that spoiler. However once gen 4 came around the narrative had become formulaic and completely boring, that’s probably why they tried to have a more focused and unique plot. While in theory it sounds interesting this story is rather poorly written and it didn’t make me feel much of anything at all. In fact game-play wise it detracts somewhat from actually having fun as your final “victory” feels nowhere near triumphant (having two final battles with no breaks is the biggest cock-up of the story if you ask me). So yeah the story just felt too forced and annoying, I didn’t really give a rats ass. Now major complaint with the game has to be the new pokemon, it’s not because they’re all “garbage” but it’s because the drop in quality is obvious at this point. A lot of the character designs feel bland and lifeless including the two starters Oshawott and Tepig. What makes this fact so much more apparent is the removal of all the other pokemon from previous entries, the game forces you to use its new monsters and in doing so takes away the magic and fun out of the experience. This is the FIRST pokemon game where I struggled to find pokemon I wanted to use. Somehow I managed to get a team together though with the likes of Snivy, Electross, Swanna, Archeops, and Krokoodile. Luckily once you pass the credits you get the entire roster available to you which makes the game really shine, with lots of post-story battles and collecting. Really it’s just this forced “new slate” that holds the game back. In an attempt to revitalise the series they made the fantastic game-play seem lacklustre. However I will say I kept playing to the point where I had over 200 pocket monsters collected so it’s certainly a great and addictive game, but it’s not one I wanted to KEEP playing after I found the legendaries (the ice dragon one was the last I caught). I’m expecting some criticism for this review but you avid pokefans should be delighted by how much I’m enjoying the latest game. Make sure to stay tuned for that review.
Thor: The Dark World (Movie):
Did you like the movie Thor? Well I know I did… somewhat. If you’ve known for some period of time, you would know by now that I do enjoy the avengers movies. Hell I like watching a lot of comic book based movies for someone who is not much of comic book reader. The movies have created their own world and it’s evident from the whole TV show thing that is/was airing. Of course it’s not been smooth sailing as the quality of the movies vary quite substantially. From the highs of Iron Man, Captain America, and The Avengers we ended up with The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor. Wait why is Thor one of the low points? well dear reader that’s because it’s half crap. Thor has some pretty amazing stuff happen in Asguard and there’s a pretty neat story going on up there but once the plot ends up on Earth everything just fizzles out. Everything on Earth happens way too quickly that it loses a sense of realism and the romance plot was utter crap. Anyway luckily for me Thor 2 was a huge freaking improvement. It’s well written in that it’s both dramatic and laughter inducing, it also feels like it learnt something about character chemistry from the avengers film. The music is still a little ‘meh’ but it does it’s job. The sound effects are clearly ripped from various star wars films but they’re used superbly and make everything a little more badass. Really I had so much fun watching the movie I couldn’t find much to complain about, in fact it’s just a purely enjoyable experience and one I highly recommend. (Note: I am currently drinking alcoholic beverages).
Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou (Anime):
The basic premise of this anime is that a guy who loves to read books ends up becoming a dog and finds himself able to communicate with his favourite author who happens to be a young female in her twenties who wields a pair of scissors. The premise seemed interesting enough, so I figured I might give it a try. However it just didn’t deliver the kind of laughs I’d expect, in fact it was just quite bland. There’s some humour to be had here but there’s nothing truly worth mentioning. It’s not even bad in terms of blatant fan-service. So I can’t recommend this to perverts either. It’s a shame but all this series amounts to is an interesting premise that never delivers. While this is not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, it is so mediocre that I recommend avoiding it. The Animation is ‘bleh’, the characters are bland and so is the music. I will give some credit though and say that the two leading characters are at least somewhat interesting and maybe even like-able.
Castlevania (3DS VC):
I had seen a couple of lets plays for this game and despite that I felt an urge to play it for myself rather than simply let it bet. In other words I wanted a challenge of some sorts. I had obviously bit off more than I could chew, and I found myself using too many saves states (mainly around bosses but still…). For NES game castlevania looks pretty good and it holds up decently to this day, kind of like how Super Mario Bros. 3 still looks good. The game exudes charm and this is in part to the amazing soundtrack. The 8-bit tunes of Castlevania are pretty amazing, I mean just listen to them, of course the highlight has to be “Vampire Killer” a musical piece that has become symbolic for the series (along with “bloody tears” from castlevania 2). The story is, um, you’re basic NES game story I guess. Go kill all of Dracula’s minions and then kill Dracula. So let’s just move onto gameplay, castlevania is a linear action platforming game. I would describe it as a slow horror themed megaman but I don’t think that does the gameplay justice at all. My previous Castlevania experience was with Symphony of the Night and while some of the core gameplay and themes are the same these two games play so very differently. I won’t go into details but I’ll simply say that Castlevania has 3 subcatergories: Vintagevania, Metroidvania and Godofvania (vintagevania being the games following the gameplay style of the first game in the series). You go through Draculas castle and fight your way through his minions, each stage presents some unique challenges and ends in a boss fight. The gameplay is mostly solid although I found it frustrating and addicting. The game has some huge difficulty spikes and there’s issues with enemy knockback, and staircases. For starters there’s the Medusa heads which have infamous attack patterns that often see you falling into the pits, and then there’s the fleamen who can easily swarm you and kill you if you’re not prepared. The game is therefore highly strategic as well as reflex based and you’ll often find experimenting with items helps you progress through the game. Thankfully there’s infinite continues. Also the bosses are probably the toughest part of the game except for the first two who can be handled fairly easily. If you’re clever you can also beat the second last boss the grim reaper using a certain item very easily. Dracula on the other hand is a pain in the ass and it took me way too long to defeat him in fact you could ask the MyIGN streamers about that since they were listening to cries of agony through skype. Anyway this is kind of rambling on, so I’ll just say that this is an awesome game that you might want to check out one day if you want to test yourself.
Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies (3DS):
I would consider myself a huge Ace Attorney fan at this point in time. Having played all the games made available in my country and even going as far downloading fan translations for the never to be released Ace Attorney Investigations 2. Suffice to say Capcom haven’t been giving the series the best treatment in the west and it clearly shows by the fact that this is a download exclusive. Hopefully the game sells well so we can encourage Capcom to invest more effort into the series instead of wasting their money on the next RE6. This translation has some issues with spelling a grammar ironically enough, but it keeps the sense of humour that the series is well known for and you might notice some current slang (there’s not much but there’s the occasional nod to Internet culture). This new entry is the first time the series has used 3D models and they’ve done an amazing job of translating the sprites into 3D models. The characters still look quirky and charming, in some cases it’s more amazing because there are now more detailed animations and such. The gameplay has been streamlined since one complaint people had about the series was that couldn’t figure shit out. I’m personally annoyed by this choice since the investigation segments are now lack characterisation elements. Before you could look around every location and read interesting dialogue, but your kind of stuck to crime scenes now. Luckily they manage to fit a large amount of content in the investigation portions and for the most part the streamlining has stopped the game dragging on. Just don’t expect any intense logic challenges unless you’re a newbie to the series. The two big selling points of these games are the music and the story. The music track is slightly bellow my standards for the series, not in that it sounds bad but that most of the tracks seem like remixes. Now I love remixes of past tracks but they’re kind of meant to be used sparingly like in Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. This means that’s not a lot of new classic tunes to add to the ongoing library of Ace Attorney hits. However there are some truly exceptional themes added for a few of the new characters. I can’t get enough of Athena’s theme and it gets me feeling all pumped. So yes musically it’s about the series average which is excellent but still a little disappointing. (Hopefully time will make me like it more). Now the story, well it’s absolutely freaking amazing and it’s probably the most heartfelt entry since trials and tribulations. The last case takes up a huge portion of the game and it picks right up just before it starts to get stale and predictable. I was legitimately surprised by the story and with these games that hasn’t happened in a while (certainly not in Apollo Justice). The new characters are lovable and are very charismatic, I found Athena Cykes to be a brilliant new character and the game even made Apollo more like-able. There’s just so much I loved about this game that to continue writing further would probably spoil the experience for you all. Just check it out if you have a 3DS, this goes for newcomers and veterans alike.
Papers Please (PC):
Papers Please is one of the strangest games I’ve played. It’s pretty much a paper-work simulator with very minimalist game-play. Of course it doesn’t really do the experience justice. The art-style is a strange with weird colour choices and lots of pixels, it’s not something I can easily describe but it evokes a very 1980’s political feel, It feels a bit eastern European as well. The music is limited to 3 tracks and most of the time there’s no music playing. The tunes available are great though and the end credits theme really brings it home. I found no issues with the lack of music until the end of my playthrough where I needed to play some of my own library to get through that last hour or two. The story and premise is rather political and seems to be based around the Berlin wall. Of course no real countries are mentioned and this game takes place in the fictional country of Arstotzka, your job in the game is to act as a guard of the border. You let people in, or you deny them and the game gets more and complex as you go. It’s surprising how interesting this game is, and how catchy people out for their mistakes on their paperwork can be so fun. There’s some political commentary though and sometimes you’re encouraged to go against your rule book. There’s multiple endings and many of them are bad, but the main 3 endings require you take 3 different approaches and I thought it was worth exploring the game to this degree. If your curious go check it out, it shouldn’t be too expensive or you could wait for a sale. If you need further persuasion the game was recommended by Extra Credits and wasn’t shat on by Yahtzee when he did his review of it.
Here’s a picture.
So I hope you enjoyed that blogg, since I’ve started doing polls for my backlog I figure that I might as well attach them to other posts so I don’t lose track of them. The last poll has pretty much ended with Super Meat Boy and Quantum Conundrum being chosen, I’m looking forward to playing those. So yeah make sure to vote.