Category Archives: Game Reviews

Pokemon Y Review

Hey guys! I disappeared for a while because I was playing Pokemon Y. In the last 5 days I clocked 59 hours, and caught 247 Pokemons. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game that much before.

I stopped after beating the game, but I’ll probably keep going back to it every once in a while, since it seems like there’s still a lot left to do.

Instead of writing a structured review, I’m just going to make a list of everything good and bad about the game.

(WARNING: KINDA SPOILERS)
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THE GOOD:

It’s a Pokemon game.
The 3D graphics make the game feel very fresh, even though the gameplay isn’t all that different from previous games.
I actually liked most of the new Pokemon, especially the cute first stage evolutions.
I can dress up my character! Makes shopping so much more fun, and personalization is very important in a massive game like this.
You can use TMs as many times as you want!
Mega-evolutions are kind of cool!
You still get experience for catching a Pokemon!
You can encounter a lot of Pokemon (400+ I think?) before even finishing the game. Some previous games limited you to a lot less.
Lots of stuff for old fans; including 1st gen starters, Viridian Forest, and Pikachus early on.
Dungeon designs were interesting and reasonably varied.
I can make random character videos! Not useful but still cute.
The major story cutscenes were actually quite good.
I can give my dog a haircut!
Quick Balls are overpowered. Kinda cheap, but speeds things up nicely.
I can give myself a haircut! But the hairdresser usually butchers it.
Lots of new player animations! You can sit on chairs and beds, and kneel down when talking to kids.
Gym and Elite 4 interior designs are awesome.
Mirrors actually work!
Roller skates!
You can ride Rhydon, Skiddos and other things!
You get ambushed by a ghost for no reason!
Competitive training/breeding is apparently a lot more accessible now.

THE BAD

The game’s too easy! My Pokemon were always at much higher levels than the opponents. I’ve heard that EXP share is to blame for this.
Lumiose City is too easy to get lost in, mostly due to the camera spinning around and every area looking the same.
The developers didn’t try very hard when creating road-blocks. There’s a power cut? The lights are on behind you!
Pokemon still don’t have their actual voices, except for Pikachu. Really ruins immersion when you’re still listening to Gameboy-quality sound effects.
You still can’t skip battle animations by pressing a button. It’s either all animations on or all off.
You can’t disable boring text in battle. Yeah, I know Charmander just used Ember, I told him to!
You don’t have to explain to me that I can use Strength to move a boulder every time I talk to a boulder. I learned that the first time.
Status effects are still incredibly annoying, especially due to their random nature.
Status effects should be healed after battle. Healing them is just time consuming, not challenging.
Hordes of Jr Mimes take like 5 minutes to finish their turn. Double Slap’s animation is so annoyingly slow.
Quick Balls are overpowered. I caught the box cover Pokemon without even weakening it! What!
The paintings in the art museum are too small! Some of them looked really interesting and it would have been nice to see them all in higher detail.
Everyone on the GTS tries to trade crap Pokemon for legendary ones. If you do this: Fuck you! Stop cluttering the system!
Wonder Trade also has a lot of totally worthless Pokemon floating about.
Too many buildings have the exact same interior layout, and it makes exploring them kind of routine and boring.
It’s too hard to get 5-stars in that jigsaw puzzle minigame.
The game gives you tips long after you probably already figured things out. Most notably, you need to use Rocksmash to get to a tip about how to use Rocksmash.
The word-filter wouldn’t let me call my Bidoof “Beaver”.
But calling a Pokemon “DiIdo”, “Herpes”, or “8=====D” is still considered acceptable.
The “Items” category in your bag contains too many items. Needs more categories.
I couldn’t find a wild Pikachu! I had to trade for one.
All of the trashcans in the game are empty!
You can’t take off your hat.
The Pokemon Champion isn’t as cool as the ones in the first two generations.

Bunch of Short Game Reviews

Before my trip to London, I was taking a lot of time off work, and just sitting around playing video games. So here’s my thoughts on some of the games I played recently.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn

Amazing, just like every other Kirby game I’ve played so far. A lot of people told me that it was too easy or childish, but that’s exactly why I played it; so that I could enjoy the unique art style and relax a bit. And the art and animation really is amazing.

But it turns out that getting 100% completion was still reasonably challenging. Even though you can’t die, the scoring system means that you can’t take very many hits, if you want to earn all of the medals.

I’d also like to point out that this game does Wii controls right. It only using them in a few areas, and they’re fun in all of them. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this game. :D

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It’s so pretty! The Wii’s graphical limitations aren’t noticeable at all.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

This could have been a really fun platformer, but the way the Wiimote controls were implemented is just really stupid. Why do I have to shake the Wiimote when pressing a button would have been so much easier and more intuitive? Ugh. I should have gotten the 3DS version.

Besides that, the game’s great. The most notable thing is the amount of detailed background animations; Tidal waves, pirate ships, big enemies etc. They usually don’t effect the gameplay much, but they make the game way more exciting, and show that a lot of work went into the graphics.

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You’re really only dodging those moles, but having a train loop around you makes things way more exciting!

Excite Truck

Got this for cheap and wasn’t expecting much. It’s a very simple game, but it’s still really really really fun, and I had a great time with it. Strangely enough, the Wii controls didn’t bother me, like they usually do. I hated trying to play Mario Kart with the Wiimote, but here they seemed to work okay.

Anyway: Rocket powered trucks + Heavy metal + High speed and huge jumps = Awesome fun. :D

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You probably spend more time in the air than on the ground!

Forza Motorsport 4

I always wondered why people enjoyed realistic racing games. I picked this up just to see if I could possibly enjoy the genre. Using the “easy mode” controls, the game was incredibly boring. It was just like playing Mario Kart, but on very boring stages and with no items.

But then I changed the controls to “realistic”, and it became a totally different game. On my first attempt at realistic controls, I damaged my engine by not using the clutch, lost control of my car on the first turn, barrel rolled a few times, and then couldn’t start my car again, because it was wrecked. Simply controlling your car becomes the biggest part of the challenge, which contrasts quite heavily with less realistic racing games. A bit frustrating at first, but I found it surprisingly fun!

I’m sure that people who are seriously into cars and motorsports would enjoy the game a lot more than me though. There’s a lot of customization you can do on your car that just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know about tire pressure, suspension, gearing, and all that. :P

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I also wanted to play this for the shiny graphics.

Under Defeat

Here’s another Shoot em up! The controls are a bit strange in this one, but to me, that’s what makes it stand out from others. Your helicopter turns sideways when you move, unless you’re shooting. And the whole game is tilted forward a bit to give it depth, and isn’t completely flat like most shmups. So that takes some getting used to.

I love shmups, and this was no exception. It had massive bosses, lots of explosions and a somewhat interesting power up system. It’s also nice to see a vertical shmup that fully supports widescreen. Most of them usually only use a 3rd of the screen. I’m also glad that the Deluxe version comes with a soundtrack CD, because the soundtrack is amazing!

A few major complaints though: Enemy shots look very similar to yours, so it’s easy to not see them if they’re overlapping. Ugh! Smoke often covers enemies, so you think you’re safe and then some shots fly out from a smoke cloud. Urgh! The game also looks quite cheaply made, overall. Just a little.

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Did I mention the bosses were massive?

Catherine Review

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any games, since I haven’t played much lately, but here’s an interesting one.

Catherine got my attention because I’ve seen quite a lot of cosplays and fanart from it on DeviantArt, and a lot of people have been mentioning how great the game is. I just assumed it was a dating sim, and wasn’t interested until I watched a short review on YouTube. Turns out it’s some sort of mix of the puzzle, horror and dating sim genres. Seemed interesting enough, and it was cheap on Amazon, so I bought it.

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I guess the focus of the game is the story, and a huge part of your time will be spent watching cutscenes or listening to dialogue. Basically, the main character is cheating on his girlfriend, and he’s having nightmares due to guilt. And then a bunch of paranormal stuff starts happening, and people start dying in their sleep and all that. I found the plot quite entertaining.

Despite appearances, Catherine is actually a sort of block-puzzle game where you have to climb a tower of blocks by building stairs out of them, and doing all sorts of complicated climbing tricks. I actually found it very challenging towards the end, even on the easiest difficulty setting (I suck). The mechanics allow for a lot of different strategies, and the game gives you plenty of optional tutorials to teach you some of these. On top of that, there’s also boss levels, where you’ve gotta solve the puzzles while being chased and bombarded with projectiles. The levels actually happen inside of the main character’s dreams, so the bosses are things that scare him, like his girlfriend in a wedding dress, or his future baby. I think seeing the various bosses was one of the highlights of the game.

A lot of the plot seems to change based on the player’s choices, including the ending, and which secondary characters die. I don’t care enough to play the game more than once, but I did watch the other endings on YouTube, and it seems that I got the worst ending possible (no girls, no money). :P

My only major complaint is that there’s a bit too much gameplay between story sessions. Puzzle games are exhausting on the brain, and I’d like more frequent breaks. But maybe that’s just me.

Another minor issue is that the game wasn’t actually as mature as I was expecting. There’s nothing close to nudity or anything like that; just a lot of swearing and bloody violence.  The box cover is probably more explicit than anything in the game!

Anyway, if you’re looking for something unusual to play, you should check it out. Took me around 10 hours to beat, so it’s not a huge time investment, but there’s plenty of extra stuff to do if you want to play longer. It wasn’t super-amazing, but it was a unique and memorable experience.

 

List of current events

I’m currently sitting through jury duty! It’s literally a complete waste of time!
They invite us into the court, then ask us to sit in the waiting room, and then send us home after an hour or two because we’re not needed. Plus traveling time, that’s three hours a day wasted on average, for no reason at all.

Tomorrow will be my fifth and final day, unless I actually get picked to sit on the jury, in which case I could be stuck there for a few more days…
It’s like a lottery where you can only lose! The stress!

Well, at least I’m getting up early and making friends in the waiting room.

Started learning to drive again! Gonna stick to it this time.
Almost ready for the theory test, but haven’t had too much practice on the road yet.

Tried mining Bitcoins just for fun. I’ve got 0.01 BTC after like 2 days!
One of my friends is considering getting some Bitcoin mining hardware. I’m interested to see how that works out for him.

For those of you who don’t know, Bitcoin is the latest craze in speculation!
Some people have gotten very rich off of it, others not so much.

Continuing my research into tower defence, I played through Orcs Must Die, which was pretty fun.
I don’t really have much to criticize there, except maybe that the same strategies worked too often. It didn’t really encourage experimentation so much.
Pretty much always picked knights, archers, flame traps, spike traps, wall spikes, barricades, sword staff, and whatever magic works against the current enemies.

Anyone know how Orcs Must Die 2 compares to the first one?

Played through the Warcraft 3 expansion.
I cheated to get through 2 of the levels; It got too hard towards the end!

Played through Trine 2. It’s too similar to Trine 1 to stay interesting, in my opinion.
Some of the new puzzles with the pipes and water were interesting, but they also removed the collectable power ups from the first game, and replaced them with pointless poems! Wut!
They were also a bit generous with the checkpoints right in the middle of battles. Why should I even try to stay alive if there’s literally no penalty for dying?!

The graphics were pretty though. <3

Currently playing Final Fantasy 13-2… I didn’t expect it to be good or anything; I just wanted something I could play without thinking while I cycle, and it’s pretty good for that. It’s a pretty crappy game though. Most of the monsters are recycled from FF13, the plot is even more confusing, the difficulty seems pretty unbalanced (or maybe I just suck), and it expects me to remember the events of the previous game, which I don’t… oh well.

EBF4 on Greenlight is going pretty slowly; at this rate it will probably take nearly a year to get through! ):
I might actually start working on the new content soon, just to generate more interest.
If that still doesn’t speed up Greenlight, I guess I’ll try some alternative services to Steam, like Desura or GOG or whatever.
At the very least the new content should boost sales on Kongregate.

Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

Woop! Finished Skyward Sword! Nintendo tried really hard to ruin this game, but it was still pretty awesome, despite being designed for 5 year olds.

I had two major problems with the game, and you can probably guess what those were.

So I didn’t end up completely hating the motion controls; they actually work pretty well for the sword fighting aspects of the game. It takes a while to get used to the motions you have to make for sword swings, and even then it’s still quite hard to do them correctly if you’re panicking. But it’s a pretty fun control scheme for some of the boss battles, especially that one part with the thunderbolts. It also works okay for throwing and rolling bombs.

However, every other use of motion controls was retarded. They just don’t feel right for steering a bird, jumping off ladders, playing the harp, doing forward rolls, or all the other gimmicky uses. All of these could have easily been implemented with the analog stick and some buttons, and there was really no reason not to support both control schemes anyway. Flying was so frustrating that I didn’t bother doing any exploration at all; I only visited the areas that I had to. I ended up doing zero of the optional content. Feel free to tell me what stuff I missed. I didn’t even have a shield for 95% of the game.

The motion controls are also damn inconsistent. You swing the wiimote to use the bug net, but you can scoop things up with a bottle by just pressing A. Surely they should be used in the same way? Sometimes I couldn’t even remember whether I was supposed to use the analog stick or motion controls (for example, when controlling your fall direction), so I would try both at the same time while screaming at the TV. Even by the end of the game, I still wasn’t familiar with the controls.

I guess Nintendo has to push their hardware, but if they had only used the wiimote for sword controls, then I probably would have been okay with it overall.

The second super huge problem was your fairy helper thing. She just doesn’t stop talking.

She literally spent the first 3 dungeons telling me that my wiimote batteries were low. There’s already a flashing red battery icon on the screen at all times telling me that. You think I don’t fucking know already?! How did Nintendo honestly think this was a good idea?
And why the hell does she feel the need to tell me when my health is low? Does the HUD just not exist or something?

She even repeats tutorials for stuff that I’ve done several times before! You don’t need to tell me how those spirit trials work every single time! You don’t have to mock my failure by saying words! Just stop talking!

At least she had the decency to tell me how to defeat bosses when I couldn’t figure it out. Except she usually let me take a beating first, before offering any advice. What a bitch.

Urrrrghhhhhhh….

So that’s the really bad stuff out of the way!

Don’t really know what to say about the good stuff. It’s a Zelda game, so it’s good in the same ways as all the other ones: interesting dungeon designs, new art style, lots of collectables, fun boss battles, references to the other games, etc.

I actually quite liked the stamina system, as it makes running around and climbing more interesting. It’s also a good way of stopping you from spamming sword spins, compared to randomly getting dizzy or whatever they did in previous games.

The cutscenes were pretty awesome. The musical parts, the villians messing things up, Zelda being adorable, and all that stuff. I wish there were more of them though. Sometimes you’d finish a dungeon, and all you’d get was a boring conversation with your dumb fairy thing.

It was cool that a lot of traditional items like bombs and arrows have added features. In the case of bombs, you can now put bomb flowers into your bomb bag, you can roll them, you can throw them accurately, etc.

Flying around looks like it would have been fun too, if it weren’t for the controls.

Some more minor complaints:
• There were too many lava and sand areas. There was no ice or snow area! Pffft.
• Most of the music wasn’t too memorable in my opinion. The only music that really got my attention was Zelda’s Lullaby, and that was for nostalgia reasons.
• A lot of the bosses were impossibly difficult until you figured out the trick to beating them, and then they became really easy. This is especially true of the last 2 bosses. They were still fun, but the difficulty felt a bit cheap.

tl;dr: I still hate the Wii. This game should have been on a real console, and should not have to speak to me like I’m 5 years old.