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Beta Review: The Flame in the Flood

30 Jul

In October of 2014, I found the Flame in the Flood on Kickstarter and gave them all my money. Okay, I gave them some money because the game demo looked phenomenal. Now, after spending a few weeks with the Beta, I cannot wait for the finished product.

So far, the game delivers on nearly everything developers, The Molasses Flood, promised. The art is even prettier than the demo suggested and the music always sets a perfect tone. The rafting is different every time I start a game, the items I find to help me survive change, and the islands I can land at vary so much I’m never bored no matter how many times I have to start over. Survival depends on what you collect, how well you can steer down the river, and whether you avoid the black wolf or not.

Honestly, the game is hard –  Continue reading

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Alan Wake – First Impressions

30 May

The darkness is alive. Shadows stir and possess townsfolk, turning them into monsters and murderers. The light is your only hope, but it can last for only so long.

Alan Wake by Remedy Entertainment is an action psychological thriller video game for the Xbox360 and PC released in episodes. In it, gamers play as Alan Wake, come to Bright Falls, Washington on vacation with his wife Alice after two years of nightmares and writers block. Continue reading

First Impressions – S.P.A.Z.

4 Oct

S.P.A.Z. – Space Pirates and Zombies. The name really says it all and convinced me from the start that the game would be amazing. How could you go wrong with space pirates and zombies? I don’t think you can, but MinMax Games capitalized on this idea and made a brilliant game.

I picked up S.P.A.Z. with the Humble Indie Bundle 6. Thanks to the name, it was the first game I played and my initial play through can be found here. The game starts out with you and your crew on Earth, just after you’ve finished building a giant mother ship that you’re planning on taking to the core of the solar system. Why? Because money, duh. You’re SPACE PIRATES. There’s just one teensy problem, the pathway between you and the core is blocked by gates that are guarded by the UAD. The UAD are basically the government, if you consider a group that is based solely in the system it’s in and at war with civilians a government. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who they are, they stand between you and payday and you ARE a pirate. So, like any good pirate, you get your space ship and go out and take what you need.

Since S.P.A.Z. is a top down, space combat game based around skill, battles against anyone standing in your way are pretty intense. You against the UAD or the Civilians pits whatever ship you’ve cobbled together with your limited resources against wave after wave of enemies that, frankly, can aim a whole hell of a lot better than you. Thankfully, the full physics simulation makes every successful battle a glorious explosion. This, along with the new hulls that drop every time you destroy a certain number of ship types, convinced me to fight more and only make friends to get new blue prints. After all, who needs friends when you can fly every type of ship? Continue reading

First Impressions – Tera Online

11 Jun

A few months ago I lost my World of Warcraft, 2v2 Arena partner to Tera Online. The game was amazing! he said. It’s so pretty and the game play is so much fun! he said. It’s another WoW clone I don’t care about! I thought. Well, guess who ate their words last weekend? I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t him.

Friday night I purchased and downloaded Tera Online, a new MMORPG by En Masse Entertainment that strives to give “true action combat” to players as well as give an active and interactive community. Currently a level 22 Sorcerer, I think they’ve succeeded, though I am tempering my enthusiasm for this game after the last half-successes of Rift and SW:ToR. I cannot give my full backing to Tera Online until I’ve seen the end game content, because an MMORPG is all about the end game content.

Story

The world of Tera Online is torn by war and strife. The Argons attack for no known reason and the armies of all the races have come together to keep them from destroying their world. Unfortunately, this has left the home front vulnerable to old enemies and new threats. Recently, an island has suddenly appeared off the coasts of the two continents, never before seen and holding its own powerful secrets.

Continue reading

First Impressions: Game of Thrones RPG

30 May

Game of Thrones is an action RPG for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 published by Atlus and co-written by George R.R. Martin, the brains behind the books that have spawned all this craziness. My first criticism of this game is: Not as many boobs as advertised. Moving on from my tits fetish (Don’t judge me, you have one too), this game is phenomenal story wise, okay game play wise, but crashes and burns with animation.

See this?

Apparently people hate staring at that guy. The biggest criticism of this game is the animations during the multitude of cut scenes. This head (and the others belonging to people you talk to) doesn’t move much, has one expression (or has an intense expression that doesn’t match the dialogue), and his lips don’t match his words. In other words, it’s Elder Scrolls: Oblivion all over again. But people loved that game! So why do they hate this game?

My opinion is the criticism from this game come from people expecting more action from their action RPG. I can’t blame them for that, nor can I say that the animation isn’t shitty, because the animation is shitty. What I can do is call them immensely silly for expecting anything that has even the loosest ties to the Game of Thrones franchise to not have expansive dialogue, story, and cut scenes. Atlus would have been better off comparing this game to L.A. Noire or Heavy Rain as it’s closer to that style of game play than the Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age.

So far, this game is mostly what I expected: lots of people talking, less so me killing things. I actually cleaned my living room, set up my file cabinet and organized my files all while listening to the fully voice acted dialogue during cut scenes for the first three chapters. All this chatter is broken up by your own conversation selections and combat, but there’s still so much that it’s like listening to T.V. (I don’t watch T.V., I listen to it – stop judging me). Continue reading

First Impressions – Devil Survivor Overclock

15 May

Shin Megami Tensi: Devil Survivor Overclock is a tactical RPG for the Nintendo 3DS. Published by Atlus, it is an enhanced port of the DS game, Shin Megami Tensi: Devil Survivor. For those who aren’t familiar with Atlus, the company commonly re-release their games, but always gives players who enjoyed the original content a reason to spend their money again. To do this, they enhance the original game with slightly improved graphics,  new story lines, and new music. New features for Overclock are: an added 8th day, as opposed to 7 in the original release; improved, higher-resolution visuals; full voice acting; the ability to choose different difficulty settings; and an increased 20 demons to fight with.

Set in Tokyo, players take control of the Hero (left) as he meets his friends Yuzu and Atsuro. You’re supposed to meet up with your cousin Naoya, but he never shows. Instead, he’s given Yuzu “COMPs” (which look exactly like your DS system) for the three of you to have. Atsuro (being the lovable, too-smart for his own good sidekick) decides to hack the devices which triggers an email telling the future being sent to the three of you.

Yes, email that predicts the future. This is an Atlus game and it is set in the Shin Megami Tensi universe, so immerse yourself and don’t ask too many question or your head will explode. Continue reading

First Impressions: Record of Agarest War X Rated?

10 Apr

The Record of Agarest War is a tactical RPG made by Aksys Games for the Xbox 360. I have spent three hours in this game so far and I think I will really enjoy the rest of it. That is, if I ever pick it up again as it doesn’t have a draw to keep me engaged.

The graphics are very simple with all animations done as sprites, no cut scenes, and the best art being anime style, 2D portraits that players collect as the story progresses. This is in no way detracting from the game, but compared to other games it is certainly lacking something. The game play is phenomenal and the difficulty level is steadily increasing. So far, the terrain is a simple, even, square grid. Combination attacks can be created by using certain moves as well as with multiple characters which allows for plenty of strategy with moving characters, getting them to attack sooner, and combine damage to kill enemies.

Unfortunately, the map and travel system is rather outdated with the main character’s sprite moving from point to point along a set line and the word “event” over the dots if something related to the main story occurs there. It is really a shame because the expansive world is reduced to a boring looking map and occasional bland backgrounds during “cut scenes.” It is a stretch to call the scenes where the characters interact cut scenes because Continue reading

First Impressions: Pokemon White

13 Mar

Pokemon WhiteI’ve been craving a Pokemon game for some time, so when I bought my 3DS and GameStop didn’t have the JRPG I wanted, I grabbed this instead. As I started it up, I couldn’t help but compare the opening scene to all the meme’s I’ve seen on 4chan and Reddit: The Professor introduced me to herself and my best friends as if I’d never met them before and after that, everything went just like in the original Blue and Red versions I played ever so long ago. Give a name, get told about Pokemon, get sent a Pokemon and begin your life journey!

There’s no gameplay differences I can see, though the graphics are moderately improved over the previous versions. I’m still checking every trashcan, every TV to listen to the silly programs that are on, talking to every one to hear what they have to say. It’s great and I don’t just mean because of the nostalgia factor. It’s the story that really gets me, though I’m not sure the developers meant for me to enjoy it like I do.

The story starts with you getting your Pokemon, dueling with it and destroying your bedroom. After that, things take a humorous turn and where I’ve been having the most fun. Continue reading

First Impressions – World of Goo for Android

9 Mar

World of Goo

I picked this game up because the Market Place has been telling me it’s such a great game for about two weeks now. And for $.50 I can’t really say I’m disappointed. It’s fifty cents, people! This game has been on the market for three months and while I haven’t played any of its counter parts on the PC or Wii, I’ve heard amazing things about this game and so far, it’s lived up to its reputation.

For those who don’t know, World of Goo is a puzzle game where you stretch little goo balls into patterns to create a structure that needs to reach a pipe somewhere on the screen in a certain amount of moves. Physics are implemented very well so if your tower is too heavy on the left side, it’ll bend and eventually topple over. Also, if you have to cross a gap, your structure will dip further and further into the hole if you don’t have a balloon to hold it up.

I’ve yet to do any patterns that are not a lot of triangles stuck together, but I would assume you can create squares and rectangles if you try hard enough.  Several gimmicks are used to make levels harder, such as goo balls “sleeping” on another part of the screen and you have to stretch your structure to reach them, or spikes that will pop your balloons when you’re trying to create a bridge across a large gap. These gimmicks have yet to be cheap or overly annoying, adding a nice level of challenge to otherwise static levels. Continue reading

First Impressions – Mass Effect 3

7 Mar

Mass Effect 3

As Mass Effect 3 loaded on my Xbox, I sat back, calmly waiting for the game to start. Of course, this was interrupted by three separate updates to the game and I got to sit for a long time before being able to click that New Game button. The first chime took me back to the very first time I played Mass Effect 1 and the excitement started. Who can forget that noise? Leaning forward eagerly, I waited for my port to go through but then my save from ME 2 didn’t port correctly and I got to spend ten minutes recreating my Jane Shepard from scratch (her nose still doesn’t look right).

So, finally, after nearly a half hour of waiting, the opening cut scene started – and I was hooked. As Commander Shepard once again, it was my job to smack the stupid Alliance Council into doing something about the nefarious Reaper threat. Did they listen to me? Well, they probably thought they should have all along when a Reaper blew the fuck out of the chambers we were in and killed them all.

Yes, that’s right, the game starts out with you nearly dying as Earth is attacked – no decimated – by the Reapers invading force. The little girl you were watching playing from your room? Oh, she’s dead. The friends and family of most of your crew? Them too. And in this game it’s not just being told, “Hey, we don’t stand a CHANCE against this enemy,” you see it firsthand. As I ran down the outside of the tower where I had been , I looked out to watch a Reaper ship zapping and blasting its way through a thriving metropolis, ship after ship dogfighting above me while molten meteors hurtled their way through the sky. Let me remind you, I’ve been playing for less than ten minutes thus far and ever since, the action hasn’t relented once. Continue reading