Sunday, March 30, 2014

Luminous Arc (NDS)

Witches everywhere and they are evil.  But really they aren't.  Some are?  I don't know.  This game has a plot that is quite silly at times, often makes no sense, but ends up being decent.  It doesn't make up for the clunky battle system and the strange glitches that show up.

First off, I love Strategy RPGs.  This game was hard for me to get through for one reason though, it was paced very poorly.  At one point you are fighting enemies that are giving you little to no experience and then you jump into battle with things that will just eat you alive.  It made grinding a chore and a necessity.  Luckily, using any ability gives EXP to a character so you can spam healing or buff spells to level up.

The glitches do really detract from the fun though.  From characters that take forever to path find to their destination to characters disappearing after using a buff on them.  Only for them to return but with the sprite looking like it is in debuff state.  It makes the game seem really weird.  The voices cut in and out as well.  It is very jarring.

This was a good start to a series that we never got the end of.  I never got the next game in the series but I would hope someday I could.  This wasn't a terrible game.  It had some good ideas and the story ended up being quite nice.  It just needed a little more time for some polish.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Final Fantasy X (PS2)

It is very lucky that the randomizer I use to pick my games to review picked this game.  The date of this review is the same day the HD remakes of X and X-2 came out.  I haven't played X-2 so this will only cover X.

I have always been a fan of Final Fantasy because it blended wonderful battle systems and great stories. This game is now the exception.  The combat system in this game is very simple and very good.  Being able to switch out characters without being punished is great.  It gives the player a lot more choices in combat and can lead into some interesting setups.

The other good things about this game is the Sphere Grid.  It lets you grow the characters however you want.  Especially Kimahri who is almost a blank slate with Blue magic.  Not happy that Tidus is a terrible character and can't do that much damage?  Have him go through Auron's grid.  Wish that somebody other than Rikku could steal?  Put them through her grid.  It leads to some wonderful mixes.

Now where this game falls flat, the story.  Many, many people tout this game as having the last best story in the Final Fantasy series (I disagree cause FFXII has a wonderful story).  I won't disagree that it is a story that is framed well but it also has some really grating moments.  The major story plot twist is predictable, in fact, I picked up on it quite early.  Secondly, the characters (minus Auron and Rikku) are bland and uninteresting.  This is one of the few games that I actually wanted to see the main characters lose.

While this is a good game in it's own right, this is not the best Final Fantasy game ever. I know I will gather some hate from this (although only like 3 people will see this) but I stick by it.  By the end of the game, I was just glad to see it end.  Although, I do wish they would have done more with Auron.  Auron was a great character.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kirby's Dreamland (GB)

Kirby has always been my favorite simple platformer series.  This game is no exception.  Despite not having the ability system that the series is now known for, this game is awesome.  If you haven't ever played a Kirby game before, this is a good one to start with.

What is Kirby?  Simply put, Kirby is a simplistic platformer game that rarely challenges the player but is fun nonetheless.  In this series, you play as Kirby.  You have on goal, defeat King Dedede and get the snacks back to Dreamland.  You will run, fly, jump, and swim through various worlds.  The bosses are all fairly unique and fun.

One thing that I love about the series is the soundtrack.  Everything is upbeat and cheery.  Boss battle themes are intense but at the same time never make you feel dreadful.  This game is just a series about having fun and being carefree.  You never feel rushed in this game but every level builds on what you have learned in the past.  In all, this game is just a big, fun, happy adventure.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (NDS)

A deep, dark castle.  Very thin lighting.  Walking through a hallway, the eyes of the portraits following me.  It isn't a trick of the mind, they are actually following.  A crash of thunder and a flash of lightning.  All these things are what come to mind when I remember playing this game.

Castlevania is one of those series that I can get immersed in and really feel like I am in the castle itself.  This game is no different.  I enjoy the setup of this one quite a bit.  Taking place in a time where having Dracula around is not only convenient, it borderlines on destruction is great.  The characters are good and it fits into the timeline nicely.

Having essentially two characters to play as really does add to the puzzle solving that is a staple of the series.  It also introduces some interesting aspects to combat.  There are some frustrating fights, especially what you have to do to get the best ending but the switching gimmick and the two different combat styles are great all around.

This is a fun game and I wish that more games like it would come out.  From what I've seen with what Konami has done with the Castlevania series, I'm not too happy.  I don't mind them trying to expand their horizons but the Lords of Shadow series don't really appeal to me.  Give me more games like this and I would be happy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

As one of the first Castlevania games I played on the Gameboy Advance, I was a little surprised.  This game wasn't terrible but compared to the high point of Symphony of the Night, it is hard not to be hard on this game.  For one, it is incredibly dark.  Like the contrast between character and some of the backgrounds is not different to the point that you lose where your character is.

The other thing that was annoying was the card system was not explained in the game.  I bought this game without the booklet so I had no idea how to use the cards until I looked them up later.  This game was great though.  As the first GBA Castlevania's it set up the groundwork for later titles.  It opened the door and I have to say, despite my complaints it was a decent game with it's moments.  If you get the chance, find this game.  It is worth a playthrough for any fan of the series.