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In Before it’s Out: Persona Q

28 Feb

The next installation in the Persona series by Atlas will be Persona Q: Shadow of the Labryinth, an RPG that mixes the cast of Persona 3 and Persona 4. Made for the 3DS and 2DS, the gameplay will be similar to Etrian Odessy, including chibi character versions of the casts.

Being a huge Atlas fan (and a bigger one of the Persona series) I was super excited to find out that Persona Q will be brought to the U.S. Continue reading

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

Paper Mario: Sticker Star – Bang, Fizzle, Bored

3 Dec

paper_mario_sticker_star_logoThe newest title in the Paper Mario franchise by Nintendo, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, is on the 3DS. It starts out just like every other Mario game ever – Bowser crashes the party and runs off with Princess Peach. To be more specific, he touches a sticker comet and goes insane – then runs off with the Princess. The comet gives him super sticker powers, letting him run around Mario’s world, sticking toads to walls and manipulating the world. It’s Mario’s job – of course it is – to set the world right again, by unsticking everything and defeating the empowered bad guys.

The tutorial for the game is one of the most creative I’ve ever seen. It slowly eases you into the game, removing from walls and freeing toads, gathering battle stickers and random pieces of the world to get Mario from the starting area, to the world map. After finding all the hidden toads in the area, you can move on, but to do that you have to explore every nook and cranny, learning about the hidden passages and areas. Throughout the rest of the game, you have to do that to get from place to place and beat the game.

Once you clear this area, you let out into the rest of the game. In a cross between a normal platformer and RPG, you take Mario around several different areas, defeating bad guys and discovering hidden areas while collecting special stickers and objects. These objects are used to create powerful stickers and effect Mario’s world in unique ways. Like finding a fan, turning it into a sticker, then using that sticker to turn a windmill’s fans to open a hidden door.

7344842894_790333b210_mAll these stickers are collected and stored in your sticker album and can be pulled out during the game, or during battle. Battle isn’t your standard turn based RPG system, but it’s similar. Each sticker has its own effect, each enemy their own weakness. You can use up to three battle stickers a turn to attack up to three enemies each battle. If you manage to bounce on an enemy or hit him with your hammer before combat starts, you get to deal bonus damage. Fans of the Mario franchise will recognize all these items from fire flowers and ice flowers, to POW blocks. Players can find all sorts of combinations and uses for the stickers that deal extra damage.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this game. Then I got bored. It’s a good game, but after unlocking the third area I just wasn’t interested any more. The boss battles are literally impossible to beat if you don’t prepare before hand. Thing is, there’s no way to know how to prepare without going into the battle. Then if you return and prepared incorrectly, you’re left coming back again and again until you get it right. And if you managed to beat the boss, but not the way the game wants, it actually criticizes you. I felt like Nintendo was telling me that I had to use a guide to get through their game to play it right.

All and all I have to give Paper Mario: Sticker Star 3 screaming Jan’s cats out of five. It was a good game and exceptionally creative so I don’t regret spending the money on it. It just wasn’t an amazing game. I hope that future Paper Mario games continue to be as creative and only get better.

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Persona 4 Golden: Still Amazing

2 Dec

Persona-4-GoldenIf you don’t know what Persona 4 is, that doesn’t surprise me. When people say “JRPG” most people thing of Final Fantasy. Not me. I’m a self proclaimed, loyal and dedicated follower of the Shin Megami Tensi franchise made by Atlus. Screw Final Fantasy. You want a good story that will take your mind on a trip it never expected, pick up any game with those three words above the title.

Persona 4 Golden is their newest game in the setting on the PS Vita, taking place in a small town called Inaba in Japan. You play as a young, second year high school student (equivalent to an American Junior) just transferred in front the big city after your parents shot off to the U.S. for work. You’ll be staying with your uncle, a detective in the small town, until they come back next year. Things seem perfectly normal, scandal in the news, bad weather, nothing that special; at least until you learn about the Midnight Channel. 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

Nintendo E3 News – All about the Wii U

8 Jun

The second part of my E3 news coverage is solely about Nintendo. They came out quirky, as always, with a lot of news about their new console. Their second press conference (on the 6th) was completely about the 3DS. To read the news from Sony, EA, Ubisoft, and Microsoft’s press events, check out my other blog And Ubisoft Takes the Prize – E3 News.

Opening with a demo for the new Pikmen 3 for the Wii U, they did their best to push how innovative the new Wii U Gamepad would be. If the system was set up to just use the Gamepad, I wouldn’t be complaining, but after repeated references to not only the Nunchuk but the Pro Controller and the Balance Board, I’m wondering just how many peripherals Nintendo wants their customers to purchase. Is this everything you’ll have to buy to play all of the games on the Wii U?

And how many will you need? Since the system is being catered towards families, owners may need more than one of each and the only controller announced to be packaged with the Wii U is the Gamepad. The lower priced tag system could be concealing a lot of hidden costs. Continue reading

And Ubisoft Takes the Prize – E3 News

5 Jun

E3 over the last two days has been a flurry of news and information. While it’s not over yet, all of the big press conferences are over. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, and Ubisoft held major press conferences and wowed, or bored, crowds with their presentations. Here’s what I thought stood out during each.

Microsoft came out with a presentation for the next Halo. My opinion is the game will be mediocre now that the old team is no longer developing it, but time will tell how good it really is. They also announced the release date, November 6, so we won’t even have to wait that long.

Next was the announcement of the new Splinter Cell which attempted to demo voice commands via Kinect. It didn’t come off so well. The developer playing the game knew the commands, but it’s going to take some heavy tutorials to get players using them as smoothly as a button press. The guys from Madden came in afterwards, though, and they showed how Kinect voice can really be utilized. 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

In Before It’s Out – Persona 4: Golden

29 May

Inaba — a quiet town in rural Japan. A normal teenager arrives at the station to begin his year-long stay in the countryside, only to be welcomed by the news of a dead TV announcer. Shortly after, another body appears, mysteriously hung from the top of a telephone pole. The cause of death is unknown, with no leads on the suspect… As the peaceful community is thrown into turmoil, the urban youth and his classmates wander into a strange, surreal place covered by a thick fog…

AHH IT’S PERSONA 4 ON THE VITA!!!!!!!111!one!

Alright, now that that’s out of my system, let me tell you about the original game. Overall Metacritic score of 90, several “Editor’s Choice” and “Best Of” awards, Persona 4 was my favorite of the Persona series to date. I spent over 100 hours immersed in the story and combat, destroying demons in the various levels, and collecting/customizing my demons. As with all Atlus games I’ve played, the story is brilliant, engaging and twists about at the end. Updated from Persona 3, creating bonds with the memorable characters had bonuses outside of unlocking the highest tier of demon fusion. Continue reading