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06 June 2009 @ 10:13 pm
 


Review:

Knights in the Nightmare is many things. For one, its a strategy game for the most hardcore of strategy game lovers. You know the ones. They've got Advance Wars: Dual Strike on them at all times. You can practically see their brains working as they quickly formulate plans in their heads. Those kind of people. Next, this game has probably some of the best storytelling in a DS game that we've seen in quite a while.In this game, you play as Wisp. Wisp is a disembodied spirit that must possess soldiers in order to interact with the physical world. It is guided by Marie, a Valkyrie with unknown motives. To sum up the story, it is Marie and Wisp's job to save a kingdom that is threatened by a demonic entity. All the while, the backstory (which expertly weaves political intrigue along with human emotion.) plays out through cutscenes. To achieve this goal, Wisp must recruit the spirits of fallen knights and use their skills in order to defeat the monsters that are lurking around.

Which brings us to the gameplay. To start off, I'll give you a warning: If you take your games with a side of easy, you will quickly become frustrated. Even on the easy mode, the difficulty of this game definitely takes a little bit of getting used to. It honestly takes quite a bit of planning in order to get through each round. And with this game, the enemies are the least of your worries. You have two things working against you during each round: time and projectiles. Time is definitely not on your side. Each round lasts around 50 sec., with actions shedding away a little bit of time, each time. To combat this, I can offer a little bit of advice: know your knights. Your knights add another layer to your strategy: Most of them are basic melee fighters, while others can use attacks (or cast spells) that affect a wide area of the map. Couple that with the different elemental weapons that each class can use, and the possiblities are infinite. Projectiles are another problem that your Wisp has to deal with. This aspect of the game definitely brings an element to the strategy-roleplaying genre that we haven't seen before. Just like in a shooter game, the Wisp must dodge projectiles that the enemies shoot out at him. Truly, Wisp's only enemy in the game. However, getting hit with these "bullets" does not cause you to die, rather it will cause you to lose precious seconds. In some of the later matches, not only do you have to kill the monsters, but you must also be constantly dodging bullets. Wisp will definitely have its hands full.

To help, the game has introduced a rather interesting system. At any given time during a match, the map might be in one of two phases: Law or Chaos. The weapons that you collect along the way are divided into two groups: ones that work in the Law phase, and ones that works in the Chaos phase. In order to change the phase, the player must change it by drawing the stylus on the touchscreen in a counter-clockwise manner. While tricky and needs some getting used to, once you get the hang of it, it allows you to quickly change the phase and attack on the fly. Also, the phase changes affect the way your knights can attack; certain units can attack within a wider radius when in a certain phase than in the other.

Last, but certainly not least, we focus on the graphics. Simply put, they're gorgeous, and can be seen as almost a spiritual successor to Riviera: The Promise Land (which would make sense, since this game is a part of the Dept. Heaven saga.). The only complaint that I would have (which is a miniscule one) is that it is quite easy to lose Wisp among the darker levels. But like I said, its a small complaint, and it doesn't detract from the game at all.

So, if strategy is your cup of tea, I would definitely think about picking this game up. While it's difficulty level might be jarring for some, the game lends you a hand by giving you a in-depth tutorial at the beginning of the game. And with the infinite possibities concerning weapon customization, you can spend hours playing the game and barely scratch the surface. Make sure to play the other games in the series (Yggdra Union and Riviera: The Promise Land) as well.

Score: 98 (A2)

Next Review: Pokemon Platinum
 

 
 
01 March 2009 @ 01:08 pm



Review:

Big Bang Mini is a game with a very interesting concept. It doesn't rely on a plot to grab players; it relies on the game play. Come to think of it, there really isn't that much of a story at all. You play as a three-dimensional triangular ship. Your job is to shoot enemies in order to gain stars and progress through the stage.  At the end of the stage, you can unlock the bonus level by successfully completing a game of connect the dots; these connect the dot puzzles form a picture that pertains to the level. The game is divided 10+ worlds, and each world has 10 stages, for a total of 100 levels.

To put it simply: This game is amazing. The art style is varying and colorful (there's an Arctic stage, graveyard stage, and so many more that I haven't even begun to get to) and will quickly get you hooked. The main draw of the game is the fireworks. They're going to be both your best friend and your worst enemy. In order to kill the wild and crazy enemies that come after you, you must shoot fireworks by making slashing motions with your stylus. However, you must hit your target, or the ammo will explode into colorful fireworks and come back at you! So, you definitely need healthy doses of skill, timing, and precision. The difficulty ramps up very smoothly as you progress, so you must constantly switch around your tactics; later levels will introduce you into barriers that block your projectiles, walls that quickly close in on you, and other environmental hazards.

It's hard out here for a ship!

No complaints about this game. Definitely pick up this game. It's a great way to kill some time while on the bus, train, or boring meeting.

Score: 100 (A2)
 

 
 
23 February 2009 @ 01:31 pm
Today is going to be a rather long post since I'm going to review not one, not two but three games!!

As you know, the Pokemon series have spawned two popular spin-offs: Mystery Dungeon and Pokemon Ranger. So first up, I'm going to review the complete Mystery Dungeon series:



Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time & Darkness


Mystery Dungeon: Blue & Red Rescue Team(GBA Companion)

Review

The Mystery Dungeon series strays slightly from the typical Pokemon fare. Instead of you being a trainer that catches and trains Pokemon to defeat trainers (and in the process saving the world), this time around you actually become a Pokemon. In both games, you wake up as a Pokemon (you determine which Pokemon you become by a personality test when you start the game. This kinda reminds me of Dragon Warrior III) by your partner (again, chosen by you). From there, the game picks up rather quickly. Both series mostly on dungeon exploration. I happen to like this aspect from the game. It takes a rather minor part in all of the Pokemon games and does a successful job of expanding and fleshing it out. Like typical dungeon-crawlers, everything is connected via a base and town. In town, you can accept missions, buy items, and more. With your base, you can receive mail and save. These features work very well, and don't feel tacked on. The two games (well, four if you want to count) only differ in their plot. In Rescue Team, you and your partner form a rescue that's main mission is to help Pokemon in need (a lost Caterpie, a Houndoom that forgot to eat something before he went into the deep dark dungeon are some examples of missions). While completing your missions, you discover the origins of your present predicament (I don't know if becoming a Pikachu is exactly a predicament, since it would definitely get me out of doing homework), not to mention locking heads with a rival Rescue team. In Time and Darkness, the player and partner join a guild and explore the mysteries of  a legendary lake and in the process develop the ability to hear and see things from the past and future.

Overall, the gameplay is a refreshing change. Sure, the graphics are little bit dated (Blue and Red Rescue Team graphics look like they should belong on the GBA, and the same goes for Time and Darkness), which is only a minor gripe, the new innovations out-weigh the one negative. If you like your dungeon exploration with a healthy dose of strategy and cuteness, definitely check these games out.

Score

 
Blue & Rescue Team: 92 (A1)
Time & Darkness: 90 (A1)

Next Up: Big Bang Mini

 
 
 
15 February 2009 @ 08:01 pm
This week on DS Review Hub:
 

Pokemon Pearl and Diamond





The next two games in the Pokemon series brings new elements to the table and improves on the ones already there.


Gameplay

Nothing has really changed from the previous entries in the series. You fight Pokemon. You collect Pokemon. You fight an evil corporation bent on taking control of a mystical Pokemon. What else is new? Well, I will tell you. Pearl and Diamond introduce new abilities (from increasing the critical hit rate when your HP is low, to causing damage to opponents when you faint from a Physical Attack), new attacks, the introduction of the Pokeradar and swarming Pokemon, not to mention new Pokemon evolutions.  But these points are not the most important addition to the series is the use of the DS' wi-fi capabilities. This basically opens a whole new world to the average Pokemon trainer. Now, you can battle people from different countries, not to mention trade your Pokemon with them. Quite frankly, this is the most important part of the game. If they just packaged this as "Pokemon: Wifi Edition", people would still buy it. Hell, I would! The addition of this feature adds another layer of strategy to Pokemon battles, not to mention another niche is filled in the Pokemon universe: the Breeder. With some skill, time, luck (or an Action Replay), you can breed some highly customized Pokemon for battle. Another noteworthy addition is the Sinnoh Underground. In certain spots in the game, you can dig down for buried treasure (fossils, evolution stones, and gems that you can sell for mines and traps). You can also set up your own underground base and fill it with furniture, dolls, etc.

Story

One of the more weakier points of the series. The story is pretty much throw-away as always. Honestly, I wish that they would have a storyline that doesn't revolve around an evil corporation bent on controlling all Pokemon. The writers should look into expanding the story (fanfics would be a good start).

Graphics

The graphics have definitely upgraded with the times, but to be honestly, aren't really something to get all excited about. The sprites are nicely detailed though, and there aren't any instances of graphic hiccups.

Score


93 (A1)


Coming Up Next: Continuing with the Pokemon series, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series and Pokemon Explorer series!!

 

 
 
So let's get this ball rolling!

Next up is a double dose of Final Fantasy goodness .

Final Fantasy IV

A remake of the GBA classic gets updated graphics, new mini-games and more!


Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift



A series with a well-established storyline and mythos comes to the DS.


Story


Final Fantasy IV:

The story has not changed since the GBA game. You play as Cecil Harvey, a Dark Knight in the service of the King of Baron. At the start of the game, you have just finished your latest mission- retrieving the Water Crystal from the Mage Village of Mysidia. The normally complacent knight starts to think that his king is not in his right mind. And when he voices his concerns, he is sent on one more mission, accompanied by his childhood friend, Kain. When the two of them realizes that it was a suicide mission, and that they're responsible for the murders of an entire village, Cecil's true mission really begins. I've always thought that the Final Fantasy series has some of the best storylines in any RPG series, and Final Fantasy IV is one of its shining achievements. It expertly weaves elements of intrigue, betrayal, and humor. It is a benchmark in which writers should strive to achieve. It weaves raw emotion into the story and helps to pull the player in.

  Tactics A2:

The story picks up quite a few years after the first Tactics Advance game left off. The main character of this game is a young boy named Luso Clemens. Sent to the library as punishment for being late to class one too many times, he is whisked away to the world of Ivalice after committing a mild case of vandalism (seriously, who hasn't written in a library book at least one time in their life?) on a book in the library. From there, Luso meets up with Cid, the leader of an up-and-coming clan (you get to rename the clan shortly afterwards) and then you quickly jump into your first battle. From there, Luso must discover how he got to Ivalice, what the Grimoire he holds actually does, who he can trust, and how he can eventually get back to the real world. A2 also seems to take place after the events of Final Fantasy XII, so expect some characters from that universe to pop in from time to time.

Gameplay


Final Fantasy IV:

Along with the graphics (which will be discusses later), FF IV's gameplay got a major overhaul. The difficulty was ramped up quite a lot. This will definitely be frustrating for new players. If you do not have a strategy, expect your gamer arse to be handed to you repeatedly. Even some of the earlier bosses can be just as tricky as the later bosses. This is my main gripe about the game. Sometimes, you are forced to grind to get enough levels to make it past the boss, only to get stomped at the next one. The DS version also introduces a new component called Augments. These abilities, which are scattered throughout the game (some can't even be accessed unless you give certain party members other Augments), are helpful in battles (such Augments include Counter, Auto-Potion, and Dual-Cast). However, these don't really add any strategy to overall gameplay. This version includes some new mini-games (each main character has a mini-game, which in turns earns you costumes and updates Whyt's stats.).

Tactics A2:

The lastest entry into the Tactics Advance series definitely got one thing right- If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Hell, the latest game even manages to fix one of the major gripes of the previous game. Now like said game, the gameplay is turn-based RPG with heavy leanings on strategy. I would like to say that it takes some quick thinking in order to get through some of these battles, especially in the beginning. A key point that plays into battles (or as the game calls them "quests") is the Loot system. Loot basically consists of rare items that can be used to make rare weapons via the Bazaar (which can be accessed via the Shop). Most of these weapons contain powerful skills that aid greatly in battles and also allow for deep customization of your characters. Want a Black Magic-wielding Ninja? Or a Fighter that doubles as a White Mage? Anything you can think up, you can do. And with the introduction of two new classes into the game (the Seeq and Gria), you can now customize your team and plan out your strategy before each battle. Another important aspect of gameplay is the introduction of Clan Skills. The four areas (Teamwork, Adaptability, Negotiation, and Aptitude) are key in accessing most missions and its levels can be updated in two ways: completing missions or going through Clan Trials. The above mentioned Clan Trials are actually a pleasant deviation from the main story line, and are quite challenging.

Graphics

Final Fantasy IV:

One of the most noticable differences between the GBA version and DS version of Final Fantasy IV is the graphics. This time, they get a major upgrade into 3D. The art style is very similar to Final Fantasy III DS; all of the character are rendered chibi-style. It suites the game perfectly; all the facial expressions are rendered quite well and fit with the subject matter.

Tactics A2:

Again, another aspect of the first Tactics Advance game that ain't broke. I personally loved the art style of the first game. It was vibrant and had many intricate details. The same with this game. The graphics are bright and interesting. The character designs, backgrounds and the tiniest details on the items, are beautifully rendered and are just as intricately detailed.

Conclusion


Final Fantasy IV:
My only axe to grind about this game is the slightly ramped up difficulty. Everything else about the game makes it highly recommended. If you've played this game before, it's still a great game to try and master.

Tactics A2:

Another great addition to the Tactics Advance series. With its vibrant colors, two levels of difficulty, and (if you have this strange obession) hundreds of items to collect, thousands of abilities to master, and endless character combinations, it will keep you hopelessly sucked in for hours at a time (I put in about 100 hours, and I've still not completed all of the missions). A perfect game to play on a long trip, if you can get past the fact that the main story lasts only a few hours.

Score

Final Fantasy IV: 98 (A*)
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: 96 (A*)
 

Coming Up Next: Pokemon Diamond and Pearl!!
 
 
 
05 February 2009 @ 06:40 pm
Hopefully, this will get this community jump started! I will try to do at least one review a week!!

This week:

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime





Story:

Dragon Quest Heroes revolves around the most well-known figure in the Dragon Quest world: the ever squishy and blue slime. In this game, you play as Rocket. He's a young slime living in Slimenia, a rather small kingdom. His town is quickly turned upside down when the Plob, a bunch of bumbling monsters, invade and kidnap all of the townspeople.

Except Rocket, whom the Plob goon mistakes for a worm. Did I mention that the Plob are rather bumbling? From Rocket's slightly rough landing, he starts his adventure to both defeat the Plob and rescue the other 100 townspeople.

Gameplay:

Here is where the other part of the story comes in. Right in the beginning of the game, Rocket manages to unearth the legendary Schleiman Tank from its rather sandy confines. With this giant tank, Rocket can take on the Plob in epic tank battles.The tank plays a huge role in the game; you can get rare items from winning battles, not to mention mostly all battles result in the freeing of your fellow slimes. And behind its rather simple aesthetics, there is a healthy amount of strategy. Once you rescue certain slimes, they will join you in your tank battles. Also, any items that you pick up while playing (not to mention recipes that you can use to create even more powerful items) can be used as ammo for your tanks. You can even have monsters as crew members. The difficulty of the tank battles are well-balanced, and increase steadily as the game progresses.

As for the exploration part of the game, Rocket moves around the world very well. The game uses very simple controls to get Rocket moving. His main move, Elasto Blast is used almost exclusively to get around, defeat monsters, and solve puzzles. There are other moves that Rocket can use, but they're only used exclusively in certain areas.

Graphics:

The graphics are one of the best things about this game. While other Dragon Quest games have darker graphics to convey its more adult subject, Rocket Slime is the complete opposite. It's graphics consists of vibrant colors and a more cartoon like art style. This game is definitely marketed for a much younger crowd, but will definitely suck in much older players once they sit down and play for a few hours.


Wrap-up:

With it's vibrant colors, fast-paced tank battles, and equal doses of humor and adventure, this game will appeal to gamers of all ages. Definitely a game that will suck up large amounts of time.
 
Score:

92 (A1)
 
 
I promised someone that I would review FFTA2 when I could finally get a chance to actually sit down and play it. I managed to find a copy from the black market *coughEbaycough* and here's what I can say about the game so far.:

 
 
09 February 2008 @ 04:44 pm
We don't have a list of members who want to play over Wi-Fi.

I think we need one.

So leave your Friend Code details for games below and let's see what happens!!!

PS: I'd leave my details only I'm still in the process of trying to get my Wi-Fi to work!!! :( It works now!!!
 
 
06 October 2007 @ 10:38 pm


FANCY GOVERNING an 18th century New World colony for the queen of a fictional European country? Perhaps not, but it can be interesting to use a simulator to look at historical periods. Fans of the city-building genre may forgive a number of technical flaws and enjoy this game, but what of its depiction of history?

It's common in simulators such as this for the player to be given the option to be a pacifist or a warmonger. In reality, it is not the personality of the governor which determines foreign and domestic policy so much as the demands of the ruling class whose interests they serve – and sure enough, as rich merchants emerge they positively demand that the player conquers new territory to secure more resources for consumption and export. This class-based virtual economy, missing from many such games, provides an explanation of the causes of imperialist conflict; sadly, it is not without fault.

Rich merchants simply become aristocrats when given enough wealth by the player, which is a far cry from the conflict between early capitalists and the feudal ruling class. Indeed, the whole colony is a command economy with all decisions being made by the player, right down to population growth - which ignores the difficulty governments have in regulating the activities of the capitalists they represent.

The movement of goods and people is massively over simplified – unhappy residents simply leave the colony without protest, and islands can instantly import goods or access any allied warehouse without waiting for a ship, meaning naval blockades cannot occur; indeed, combat between ships is totally omitted.

The only threats faced by the player are invasion, natural disasters, and bankruptcy; there is no risk of any sort of rebellion. Anybody familiar with the American War of Independence will know that it is a major omission to ignore revolutionary movements against colonial rule!

The issue of the slave trade is never acknowledged – during nothing less than the 200th anniversary of its abolition. The grim reality of the displacement, disease and slavery suffered by the Native American people is also sanitised, replaced with a peaceful trading partnership.

Given recent scare stories about violent games, one can understand why developers would be reluctant to make a title which requires the player to kill natives, buy slaves and crush rebellions.

But the inclusion of the slave trade would have raised the possibility of casting the player as a leader of a slave uprising, which would have been most enlightening at a time when slavery's abolition is attributed mostly to politicians such as Tory MP William Wilberforce. As it is, the player's only choice is to be a governor, desperately trying to balance capitalist and feudal interests.

As long as the purpose of the video game industry is to make profit, developers will continue to either sensationalise violent and sexual content to grab media attention, or dumb down to avoid restricting the size of a game's customer base.

Historical games which honestly and soberly depict the violence inherent in the class system are thin on the ground, and whilst Anno 1701 goes farther than most it still falls far short.

My review has been published by a newspaper, so I'm linking to the website hosting it.

Tags:
 
 
20 September 2007 @ 10:28 pm
TGS Announce:
Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days for Nintendo DS appears to star Roxas from Kingdom Hearts II, but its main draw looks to be four-player simultaneous play using members of Organization XIII. It will be in full 3D.

Currently there is no Pictures/Release Date/Trailer. Will keep all of you update.
 
 
 
18 September 2007 @ 03:42 pm

"Luminous Arc 2: Will" for Nintendo DS, it is still unknown whether or not if this game is a prequel, sequel or an indirect sequel here are the scans:



Source: RPGamer.com

 
 
18 September 2007 @ 12:00 am

Game Title: Luminous Arc
Genre: SRPG

Review: Luminous Arc didn't really offer anything new on the table, very basic SRPG elements, but it still does its job!

Do You Believe In God?Collapse )

 
 

Harvest Moon game with fighting of monster? The game is still as good as previous Harvest Moon game but with fighing monster and the formula of Harvest Moon and Fighting mixed well. Recommand mainly to male. My Rune Factory ReviewCollapse )

 
 
17 September 2007 @ 04:41 pm

Game Title: Animal Crossing: wild world
Genre: Simulation/Virtual Life

Review: Uber cuteness and utterly addicting!!!

Uber CuteCollapse )

 
 
17 September 2007 @ 04:02 am

Game Title: Final Fantasy 3
Genre: Old-School Turn Based RPG

Review: Story's a little weak by today's standard, but still a great fantasy to complete.

BLACK HOLE!Collapse )