Friday, November 26, 2010

Turok: Evolution (GCN)

What a mess this game is.  Take a decent series from the N64 and bring it to the next gen.  This was multiplatform but I will be rating just the Gamecube version.

It is pretty standard in FPS to have many unique weapons and some difficult sections.  This game itself is a difficult section.  The flying parts of the game are often unfun and bogged down by terrible controls.  The worst part about this game is the difficulty.  It is wrong for all the wrong reasons.

Having ungodly AI is a difficult thing to get past.  No matter what you were doing, the AI enemies could see you and worse yet.  They had better weapons most of the time.  Glitchy puzzles and awful platforming are another plague.

The topper that put this game over the edge of bad to terrible for me was the ending.  You spend the whole game working your way to some epic last boss battle.  What happens?  You resolve the whole plot in a confusing cutscene instead of actually fighting the main villain.  Worse yet is you don't know if you actually won or not.

Disappointing game especially since the N64 game of the same series was very, very good.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Atelier Annie: Alchemists of Sera Island (DS)

This was a recent completion for me.  A fun little RPG.  Even though it was bogged down by too many scenes of friendship, numerous interruptions, and an annoying system for getting things done.  The alchemy system makes up for it.

Let me get it out of the way, I like making items.  I like taking junk I've collected and turning it into other junk or great weapons or whatever.  That's why I liked this game.  I could take dirt (in three different colors) and make glass balls)

One thing that really hurt the experience though was the lack of any real challenge.  It's not a difficult game.  Even though I didn't get the best ending because I didn't bother to befriend everybody, I was not punished.  I did get a good ending because I had mastered my Alchemy.

Another thing that bugged me was the constant interruptions by NPCs.  Every time I tried to do something, they would constantly bug me for useless items I had no way of making.  Often, I would have to buy the item just to give it to them.  Sure, I could have figured out how to make that item but buying the recipes was expensive and often not helpful because a lot of the stuff needed to make upper level things were very rare.

The last complaint I have is the fact that I can't make weapons, only make them better.  Making a weapon from scratch is not an Alchemists job but it would have made the experience a little better by making me work for the weapons I used in battle, instead of just buying them.

Not a bad experience with this game.  Although, if you don't like Japanese voice acting, you are out of luck.  No translated voices.  Which isn't bad except some of the voices can be a little annoying.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Super Mario 64 DS (DS)

Now, I own both the N64 and the DS version of Super Mario 64 and I have to say that I prefer the DS version of it.  Why?  because this game just lends itself to being portable.  Even though there is little added, they did manage to make it unique with the way characters are set-up.  You start as Yoshi and have to unlock the other three: Mario, Luigi, and Wario.  Each has a unique skill.

Now, let me get this off my chest.  Some of this game was far too challenging.  Tedious levels were infrequent but they were there.  I am fortunate in the fact that I found numerous workarounds to the harder levels.  Including one that lets you skip most if not all of a difficult section.

All that said, I have all the stars in this game.  It's safe to say that I enjoyed it.  In fact, it was the first DS game I ever had.  I ignored the touch controls, which proved to be very smart.  Touch controls had not been perfected yet, so it was safe to just ignore them to enjoy the game.

I did enjoy this.  Platforming at its base form.  I love making difficult jumps or finding little secret ways around difficult sections.  A good launch title for a new system that has proven to be the largest collection in my library.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Final Fantasy VII (PS)

I have to be very careful when I write this review.  This is the most polarizing game out there.  If I say that I hated it, I am instantly branded as a "terrible" gamer but if I say this game was good, then I'm branded a "fanboy."

So I'm going to go between the two and say it is average.  It has good parts and bad parts.  The good parts include the story, fun side adventures (Gold Saucer is easily a game in itself), and pacing.  The bad parts include the battle system and difficulty.

The story is easily the most memorable out of all the Final Fantasy titles out there.  I still remember most of the details about this game and it sticks with me.  It also contains one of the most heart-wrenching moments in my gaming history.  I will not spoil it because these are spoilerless reviews but let's just say.  I shed a tear for this game.  The story is well paced.  Broken between three discs, it is easy to tell what you are doing and where you are supposed to be going most of the time.  Even if you don't feel like playing the story, there is so much side-story and minigames to this game.  They could be their own games.  Chocob Breeding and Racing while tedious reaps many benefits.  Gold Saucer is an awesome place to spend an hour or two.

This brings up the bad parts nicely.  The difficulty starts out quite alright.  Pretty standard, until you start getting godly equipment and materia.  I often had no problems with difficult bosses because I either had an uber spell or equipment.  In fact, for a good half of the game, I didn't even have materia on the main character.  I just spammed attack and took everything down.  This brings up the battles system.  While it was revolutionary for its time (limit break system anyway), it is not very engaging.  Pretty standard if you compare it to current games.

I'm not going to finish this game with a score or even a summary.  I'm just going to say that I enjoyed it but it isn't the best game I've ever played.  I don't think I've even played the best game I've ever played and I don't want to.  If I ever do, I probably won't play games anymore.  Why play games when you've played the best game ever?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Super Paper Mario (WII)

Now for a platformer, this would be mediocre.  For an RPG, this would be mediocre.  So what does that make this game?  Mediocre at best.

Issues riddle this game.  Things like boring story, way too much text, and slow-pacing.  In fact, I feel that the amounts of text were far too much for even an RPG.  When I have to press A 100 times to get a hint for the next puzzle, only to get wrong information, I get a little frustrated.

Of course, this game has some good things too.  The mix of platforming and RPG elements is quite well done.  Actually, it is incredibly fun.  Despite having to sit through what seems like War and Peace levels of text, this game is well polished.  I ran into no problems while playing the game and it was very fun for the parts I was playing.  Even though the game was bogged down by its own text, I know I keep bringing it up but there is FAR too much text for this game.  It really hurts to think about playing this again just because of that.

Anyway, the story isn't really memorable and the ending is nothing to write home about.  In fact, it is quite predictable although there is a major twist at the end.  Which I honestly didn't see coming.  Other than that, it's a decent game.  Text HEAVY but decent.  The cave of 100 trials is fun at least.  I never did the alternate and harder one but I will eventually.  Plus the cards are a nice replay feature.  Trying to collect all the cards is something that would take a while.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (GB)

This was one of, if not the first, Gameboy games I ever beat.  Something about this game stuck with me through my life.  The memorable music, the awesome items, the Wind Fish, everything.  Heck, it's been over 10 years since the last time I played this and I still remember where most of the Secret Seashells are.

I loved this game.  Every aspect of it was awesome.  From the secret side-quests, to the hidden cameos, to the incredibly funny things that happen.  I remember all the frustrating bosses, the annoying parts, and of course where the hidden item was.

Let me begin by saying, they did a great job with this game.  It is very solid, very polished, and very complete.  You start weak and grow stronger.  You are rarely ever lost on where to go and often you will purposely get lost just to find things.

I still remember the first time I made it to the last boss.  It was incredibly satisfying.  Of course, I was young and I was easily beaten but I tried many times to beat it.  I still remember the first time I beat it.  It was after numerous attempts, my lunch of Top Ramen was cold and very mushy, and my parents were very angry that I hadn't eaten lunch with them.  I just remember how much joy I got watching the ending on my TV (I beat this on the Super Gameboy) and eating those awful noodles.

One of my favorite Zelda games.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quake 3 Arena (PC)

This will be short.  Actually, this is it.  I neither hated or liked this game.  In fact, the only reason I played it because I got it when I bought the Quake collection off of Steam.

The guns are fun, the computer AI ranges from godly to sand-filled skulls.  It is often frustrating when an opponent can snipe you with the worst weapon in the game from half-way across the map but you can't hit him with the best weapon and close range.

All in all, if you are into FPS and's not the best but it's decent.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Final Fantasy: Tactics Advance (GBA)

What fond memories of this game do I have.  In fact, it was one of the first three games I got for my GBA when I first got it.  This, Knightmare in Dreamland and Metroid Fusion were the first three games I got when I received the wonder Gameboy Advance for Christmas.

When I first started this game, I was quite new to RPGs in general.  This was my first tactical or strategy RPG in fact.  So I might be biased a little bit due to nostalgia reasons but I will still give it a fair review.

First, the complaints.  The battles are often repetitive and pose no real challenge when you have a good set-up.  The last few missions were far too easy compared to some of the very early missions which were intense.  The biggest complain is going to be the law system.  Limiting the player to what actions they can use is a way to challenge them, yes.  Making a law for not damaging an opponent type and then making the whole screen filled with that opponent type is poor planning.  Anti-law cards often do not help because the best ones are impossible to find sometimes.

The sequel fixes the law system but for now, it is a big damper on the game.  Choosing to only fight random encounters in the law free zones was my choice every time.  Since I didn't have to worry about laws and the only risk was permanent death of a unit, which never happens because you have to end the battle with them knocked out.  Meaning you can heal them and they will still come back.  So I made sure to place the lawless places together as often as I could.  So I could not have to deal with laws.

The game has tons of depth.  The missions are fun, albeit some of them are boring.  The class system is very much streamlined.  Getting new abilities and leveling is easy.  Although, one other complaint arises with the outrageous items needed sometimes for quests.  Or the fact that you can only have a limited number of quest items at a time.  I'm currently stuck on 299 (out of possible 300 + 10 bonus) because I don't have Black Thread.  Where do I get Black Thread?  Well, I can't.  They only give you two in the whole game.  Both needed for two other quests.

What happened to the two you had?  I either dropped one for a more important item (because space is limited) or I used it on the same quest twice that was repeated.  Maybe an option to replay every mission would be nice.  I'm not going to restart my 200+ hour file just because I accidentally missed an item and can't complete the game fully.

I enjoyed this game, a lot.  It got me interested in other SRPGs, like Disgaea and Luminous Arc.  It's one of the genres I have a serious soft spot for now.  Like Platformers, SRPGs are one of the few games I usually enjoy to a certain extent despite poor design choices.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Summon Night: Twin Age (DS)

When first playing this I thought that stylus only controls would hurt this game.  Not only does it not hurt it, it was actually pretty fun.  First off, I will say, I love action RPGs.  Love them.  My all time favorite game is Secret of Mana.  Before Square Enix ran the Mana series into the sewers, it was all I would play.  Of course, they decided to use the Mana series as a dumping ground for bad ideas but that is another issue entirely.

This game was fun, annoying at times, but really enjoyable as a whole.  The music was good, the ability trees and such were awesome and gave some depth.  Although not all the skills were useful and once you have the best one.  Well you could spam it.  Spamming was a little bothersome especially when it became clear that the game wanted you to spam it.  I remember a couple of bosses that required spamming.  But I can forgive that.

The story is two things, not-memorable but not detracting from the game.  I remember few details about the story itself.  I do remember having fun and enjoying the story at times but also none of it stuck with me.

All in all, not a bad game.  Not Secret of Mana, but good to fill the void until a good Mana game comes out (which will be never because Square Enix ran it into development hell and left it there).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wario Land: Shake It! (WII)

Wario.  A man of few simple principals.  Money, women, junk, and booze.  He covets everything and needs nothing.

Wario.  Although this game is frustrating at times and extremely fun.  It felt too short.  Although I haven't completed this game 100%, I still liked it.

Wario.  If only the motion sensing was a little better.  Tilting the remote to aim throws is nice and in fact very intuitive...but there often came a question to your accuracy.

Wario.  A simple post for a simple game.  It's fun, the bosses aren't memorable but it's grand.  The music is also great but you won't be whistling it at the end of the day.

Wario.  If only people actually read this blog.  But they don't so what can I do.