While we may have a new name nothing is changing right now. We'll still talk about dumb stuff for way too long. This week we ramble on about Risen, Witcher 1 has a lot of sex, The Last of Us Multiplayer, Burnout: Paradise, Fractal: Make Blooms not War, DIVEKICK, Dragon Ball Evolution has one good joke, Gone Home, Dead Space 3, Isaac Clarke has a shitty apartment, Risk of Rain, Maxwell is your god, BAZONGAS!, more Tales of Xillia, SolForge, Saints Row: IV, I left the podcast but the show must go on, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, The top ten hottest female Sonic characters, Knuckles is pretty hot, Stubborningingly,even more SMT IV talk, spoilers for SMT IV, tons of SMT talk, Baldur's Gate 2, fuck spiders, space hamster, BABY, BABY, BABY, Persona 4 Anime Chie voice is bad, P3P, Lesbian sex, XCOM: Enemy Within, Atlas does a Brad Shoemaker, Game of the Year talk, Fire Emblem: Awakening, more Europa IV, Gamescom news, Nyx kills himself, EA is trying to be good, You should play Dark Souls.
Never bet on DBZ... but sometimes bet on DBZ. That's been my mantra for most of this week as I've spent countless hours betting fake salty money on AI controlled MUGEN fighters. Saltybet.com is the place that has been home to me for this week and it's been a magical experience. Credit must be payed to Jeff Gerstmann for hooking me up on it as I'm sure most of us first heard from Doctor Tracksuit himself. If you don't know, M.U.G.E.N is a free fighting game on pc that has many fighters available for download in a completely obtuse way. Some of these fighters include your obvious Ryu's or DBZ characters. Some of these are insane beings that are completely balanced such as Omega Tom Hanks, Sad Claps, Rare Akuma, and so many more. Most of these fighters are ripped from game models like many of the Capcom fighters. Others are mad purely for MUGEN-only affairs. The latter are the reason why MUGEN is incredible.
MUGEN is great and all but it has now been enhanced due to Saltybet's ingenious fake betting system. The system is automatic and runs 24/7 most of the times. Saltybet was famously used during this year's EVO 2013 tournament that was used to bet fake money on fighting game tournaments. Real life FGC tournaments don't happen often so Saltybet has now created a way more interesting avenue to bet fake money on. Once you create an account you are given 400 Salty bucks to bet on whichever fighter you deem worthy of you cold hard Salty bucks. You get 40 seconds to see both fighters and are given 40 seconds to pick one. Once the bets are over, odds are calculated based on how much money both are getting. Playing the odds is a difficult task as this stream has well over 1400+ MUGEN characters. It gets even more complicated as some of these characters even have clones of themselves that can trick you. You have to spend a lot of time watching fights play out and seeing how each of them perform. This process is even more difficult to analyze when you factor in cheap characters. One of the first rules of Saltybet that I learned the hard way was to realize that MUGEN is not a balanced game. Going with your gut is not an option for rookie betters.
Betting fake money on these competitors just amplifies the intensity and upsets that occur during each match. It's truly something that I'll be spending a lot more time on unless I loss all of my bucks. I still haven't done well in Saltybet but I'm getting smarter about it each and every day. Someday I hope to crack into the big leagues but until then I'll still be working my rounds in the salt mines. All of you should give it a shot at saltybet.com, or you probably shouldn't if you want to get other things done. OFF TO THE SALT MINES WITH ME I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Coffee and eggs are staring at me while I get ready to go to work. I grab everything I need before heading off to the rest of my day when I suddenly remember that a new villager is coming to town. I pop up my 3DS and turn on Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I'm greeted by the adorable Isabelle that gives me the run down on what's going to happen on that particular day. Once in the game I remind myself that I'll only play it for 10 minutes as I don't want to be late for work. You probably guessed that I was late to work on that day.
I've told myself to never get hooked on Animal Crossing as it looked like the sort of game that would ruin my life. I kept telling myself that it was a game for girls only and that it's childish nature could never win me over. After countless hours and weeks spent on this game I can say that I'm hooked on this social experiment. New Leaf could very easily be a horribly addicting game on Facebook. Nintendo really did create one of the first social games that are now rampant in the games industry. What I mean by social is a game about doing certain daily tasks to better improve your home or clothes. Each day you can dig fossils and either donate them or sell them for a quick buck(bell would be more appropriate). You can talk to your friendly neighborhood animal citizens who idolize your every action since you are their mayor. The game has to be played at least once a day to constantly keep your town schedule going and making your self-conscience feel better. Heaven forbid anyone ever misses a day in their own town. I've promised myself to never give up on my town as I am their mayor after all.
Being the mayor in New Leaf is a new change to the series. In previous games you were just some nobody that wound up on a mysterious town that values bugs and fish over anything. Being the mayor gives you many new abilities such as creating constructions such as new bridges, streetlights, and other complex creations. You can also set ordinances such as being able to keep shops open later at day or earlier in the morning. I've kept it as being able to sell things for more bells. Animal Crossing has always had a strange mantra about everything. It's very Japanese as it emphasizes the importance of nature. It's mostly a zen-like adventure that anyone can really enjoy. This lifestyle is contrast by a dark, secret capitalistic sort of mantra that deems that the economy should be based upon selling anything that you can get your hands on. I don't know how anyone can appreciate having beautiful creatures be trapped in nets and sold of to whatever horrible future awaits them beyond the transaction.
New Leaf is a game that only young people can really enjoy. The commitment that it asks of you is probably too much for an adult with a full-time job. People that say that it's a game that you can play in quick burst are crazy people. To fully appreciate and love all the New Leaf has to offer you really do have to explore all that it has. Whether it's planting fruits, fishing big fish, or catching grand bugs, it all combines to be a peaceful little game on your 3DS that is hard to put down. The only problem with it is that the best events are always happening tomorrow. It's a game that you just can't beat or rush through. It's a rare game that will always have something new for you to do every day. This could mean a new construction to build or a new animal friend living in your town. Not to mention the big holiday events that I have yet to experience. It's all so very novel and not for everyone as people like to say it is.
I felt shitty after missing the Bug-Off due to being busy on Saturday. New Leaf doesn't wait for anyone and if you aren't there to experience one of it's timed events then it'll be heart breaking to discover that you did. I almost changed my 3DS clock but decided that it'd be a bad idea to do so. It would ruin the purity that is New Leaf, a game that relies upon your honesty with it. It's a rare game that you have a never ending relationship with. Like any relationship it has it's ups and downs. Not being able to automatically have all of your fruit to stack is just awful and most of the interface is clunky and unresponsive. The strict limitations on pocket space is also a shame. It's all very deliberate and admirable but it's ultimately a chore to have such limitations. The online system of having a gate open for people to join just reeks of Nintendo being too overprotective. Still, most of these complaints can't keep me too mad at it. It's far too adorable for me to stay mad at New Leaf for long.
Go buy Animal Crossing: New Leaf if you haven't already. It truly is a rare gem of a game that is still unlike anything else. I almost forgot to mention how great it looks. I never knew that 3DS games could look this good. Everything is polished up and done better then any other animal crossing game ever. All of it amounts to a charming game that can take over your life. So go be a mayor and prepare to deal with the responsibility of taking care of all of your virtual animal pals. Except Tom Nook, screw that guy.
I talked about Animal Crossing: New Leaf in a video. Check it out!
I didn't believe that Irrational could surprise me like they did with Bioshock. I came into Bioshock Infinite expecting some sort of surprise twist. This left me with an attitude of not being surprised by whatever Irrational intends to do. I'm happy to report that I was left with the the same feelings that I did when I originally finished Bioshock. That's not to say that these games are identical. It simply means that both of these games are unlike most games. Irrational has a knack for creating a dream-like world that could seem plausible. They made a city in the sea seem like it actually existed. Irrational accomplsihes this by only giving us a small peek about the world that we play in. The world doesn't reveal all of it's secrets up until the end. Even after that there are still many questions that the player has. Irrational also creates a past, present, and future for each of their worlds. With enough context and backstory worlds like Rapture and Columbia feel like real places that we've all been to. That is a very hard thing to do with much success. In many ways Bioshock Infinite is a landmark achievement for video games. It's one of those games that'll be talked about for years to come.
The opening of it pretty much kept my attention for long stretches at a time. I could not stop playing it. It's also one of those rare games that I wanted explore every single thing about it. If I could I would ingest everything that this game has to over because it is done with incredible production. It really is unlike any other game that I've ever seen. The art direction is just unbelievably good. The statues and posters across the world tell better stories then any conversation. The art defines what the story is and informs the player about many different things that words simply could not express. The amount of detail that is bound to be in every path in this game is remarkable. I would spend hours at a time just looking around the environment in order to take in whatever it had to offer.
The story of Bioshock Infinite has many themes that are similar to past games in the franchise. The basic summary is that you're Booker DeWitt, an ex-Pinkerton agent that is in heavy debt. Your main task is to go to a city in the sky called Columbia in order to find a girl called Elizabeth. The story is more complicated then just that as it deals with many different subjects that games barely ever tackle. Columbia is a city that dedicates itself to religion which is the belief in extreme American values. The game deals with issues of religion, faith, racism, love, acceptance, and much more. It deals with these issues with a lot of greatly written dialogue but it also does so with the enviornment. For example you can explore restrooms that are segregated so guess which bathroom is the clean one? Going to the whites only bathrooms and you'll see a clean area with the level of polish that the city has. The other races bathrooms on the other hand are filthy and completely different from the whites only bathroom. There are other examples that I won't spoil here but all of these subjects are handled with confidence.
Elizabeth is your companion for most of the game. She's an important character story-wise and also in combat. She's one of the most impressive game AI's that I've ever played with. She reacts differently to many things in the game such as getting cotton candy when offered or getting Booker money at random times. The game reminds you that she can handle herself during combat so don't think of it as an escort mission. The relationship that is built in the game between her and Booker is an important one. They both play off each other rather well. It's a rare relationship in games as both of them aren't ever a romantic couple. BIoshock Infinite is a mature game that treats their relationship as one of dependance. In order to work together they have to get over their differences. Conversations between them is one of the games many highlights.
Bioshock Infinite is also a video game so there is still combat. Infinite is very similar to the original Bioshock with concepts like Vigors returning. Gunplay feels very tight and unlike the previous Bioshock. Using your vigors which are basically plasmids is also key to combat. There are 8 vigors in all which range from shooting fire out of your hand to summoning a murder of crows that literally murder your enemies. All of these powers are important in there own way and using them smartly in combat is crucial. There many different guns such as sniper rifles and assault rifles in the game. The strange thing about it is that you have to pick up new weapons from dead enemies or around the area. You don't have a weapon wheel in Bioshock Infinite(at least in the 360 version) which is very disappointing.
There are also many new things that introduced to combat in Infinite. Elizabeth as the ability to open tears. Tears are portals to other dimensions that can be used in combat. Tears are important to the story but I won't spoil it for you. Tears are vital in combat as they can summon different things in the enviornment. For example you can summon weapons like sniper rifles. In other cases you can summon ally turrets or med packs. Theses tears should be used often in combat. The only downside is that you can only use an active tear once in combat. You can't have a med pack and a sniper rifle. Chose a tear that you think will help you best.
Shields are also a new addition to Bioshock. They work like most video game shields. They're a nice new bonus to combat since health doesn't regenerate. Sky-lines which are all over Columbia are also new additions to Bioshock. They aren't always in most firefights but when they you should use them to get to higher ground or to just keep moving. The good thing about them is that you can slow down whenever you want and be precise with you shots. You can also go in the reverse direction easily. The sky-lines are also good ways to get the drop on enemies in satisfying ways. The combat in Bioshock Infinite is good overall but it isn't the reason why your playing Bioshock Infinite.
I had a great time with Bioshock Infinite in general. There aren't many glaring issues that I had with the game. The middle section of the game isn't that great when compared to the start and end of it but it's still better than most video games. The story and characters are what make Bioshock Infinite worth it. The world of Columbia is a fascinating world to explore and seeing the events that occur in it are memorable. Everything about Infinite was done with incredible amounts of detail. The music, voice acting, and even sound effects are world class. It's rare to see a game pull of everything with such confidence. Bioshock Infinite will surprise you and make you compare your experience with it and other games. It isn't a perfect game for sure but you have to respect the amount of thought that went into it. The ending in particular is one that'll be a topic for a long time. As I'm typing this down I'm still thinking about what that ending is all about. Whatever type of gamer you are you have to play Bioshock Infinite. You just have to experience all that it has to offer.
Tomb Raider was once one of the most important video game franchises. After several reboot attempts from Crystal Dynamics it seemed like Tomb Raider would become another franchise that retired. Fast-forward several years and a new Tomb Raider is announced, this time a reboot, focusing on developing Lara as a person, not a big-breasted caricature, and people quickly called the game an Uncharted clone. But sometimes clones prove to be better than the original. Sometimes Uncharted outdoes Tomb Raider, and this time Tomb Raider has outdone Uncharted, for the most part.
Crystal Dynamics' latest introduces a new Lara Croft. Much like Casino Royale did for James Bond, Tomb Raider looks to humanize Lara Croft, taking her away from being the over-the-top action star she had become, to an archaeology student who has never fired a gun. After convincing her research team that they were headed in the wrong direction, Lara's ship is torn apart in a freak storm, leaving her to wash ashore a mysterious island inhabited by some less-than-savory individuals. After a frightening near-rape situation, Lara finds herself forced to kill her would be attacker. This becomes Tomb Raiders strongest and weakest aspect.
Lara can barely stomach the fact that she was forced to kill this man. She's crying and nearly vomiting, but she understands that what she did was necessary for her own well-being. Then, in order to escape to her friends, she has to kill a few more guards. She later makes a comment about how she had to kill a few guys to escape. Here's my problem: this is a video game that controls very much like every other third-person-shooter out there. I, the gamer, have hours and hours of experience slaying foes using all sorts of weapons. I have no issue taking out thousands of bad guys (hell, I've even killed good guys) to beat a game and my fingers are well trained in aiming rifles and pulling triggers. Lara is not. She's just a college-aged girl, forced into a situation to survive which thus forces her to kill, run, and hide. She shouldn't have the aptitude to pull this off, yet she does because I'm controlling her.
There's a disconnect between game design and story in Tomb Raider that is some times distracting. Lara is somehow able to climb cliffs, fight enemies, and fall great distances while barely taking a moment to gather herself. One of the first scenes shows Lara fall directly onto a rusty steel bar, puncturing her side. She gets up, pulls it out, says "ouch" (or something to that effect), and walks on. I don't think this is at all the fault of the developers, but rather the structure of games in general. Lara is frankly an unbelievable character.
Luckily, the game more than makes up for these shortcomings with some of the tightest platforming ever to be released. Every moment within Tomb Raider feels right, and rarely like a video game. Set pieces aren't set up just for Lara to climb/fall/shoot through, but are completely natural given the setting. Puzzles are similar, rarely feeling artificial. I'm also fairly disappointed by the lack of focus with tombs in a game called Tomb Raider. There are a few tombs that only have a small puzzle in them. Games like Assassin's Creed Brotherhood had better tombs than this.
What you'll spend the most time with is shooting, which, aside from my issues mentioned above, is standard but solid. The left trigger pulls up your weapon, the right shoots, while clicking in the right thumbstick zooms in a bit. Weapons are well-balanced, leaving Lara in situations where each feels appropriate. The best weapon to use in the game is actually the bow. You can stealth through some sections by using the bow which silently kills enemies. My year of the bow award has an early favorite already.Tomb Raider tasks you with collecting salvage from around the island that is in turn used to upgrade your weapons (increase damage, reload speed, etc.). Similarly, Lara has some abilities that can be upgraded as well, which can allow her new fighting moves, faster climbing speeds, and abilities to see animals which helps in the strange hunting part of the game, something that feels wasted after the first hour or so. It seemed like the game wanted to have a survival aspect with the hunting that would be akin to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Instead, hunting is just a task that you can do but it never feels important.
Story progression is always top notch, placing Lara in more and more perilous situations and as situations grow more outlandish, the story doesn't ever feel forced, like I feel it did in the Uncharted series. As soon as Uncharted turned that corner into supernatural, I always felt like it didn't belong, but when Tomb Raider takes a similar turn, I didn't once feel like it was the wrong choice. Tomb Raider begins feeling mysterious, much like the TV show Lost, and when things amp up into crazy-ville, it feels right at home.
Multiplayer rears it's ugly head, and frankly it's pretty boring. It's very clear that the decision was made late in the development cycle. Multiplayer modes are pretty standard, including Deathmatch options and the like. The most interesting, or better yet the least boring, was called Rescue. Heroes are required to gather five gas canisters while villains are attempting to stop them. The mode is unique because in order to win the heroes must gather 5 canisters, but the villains can win by killing the heroes 20 times. This adds a new dimension to what would otherwise be Capture the Flag, making the mode the only thing I spent much of any time with. Luckily this is barely the focus of Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics has pulled off a great reboot. My small problems with the story aside, Tomb Raider is a successful reboot that makes Tomb Raider important again. Hopefully, we can get another sequel for Tomb Raider again.
You should buy Tomb Raider.
Be sure to watch the video below in order to view my thoughts on Tomb Raider in vlog style.
I've never played a Fire Emblem game before playing Fire Emblem: Awakening(which we will now refer to as FEA for this review). So keep this in mind while I talk about my love for this game. That said, I do have some experience in the SRPG genre with games like Final Fantasy: Tactics and Tactics Ogre. Ultimately, FEA is a game for newcomers that haven't had a chance to play this franchise. It doesn't require prior story knowledge in order to fully appreciate. The game has a helpful tutorial that fills you in on most of the details that you have to know in order to succeed. The game doesn't hold your hand to much so veteran players can easily avoid it. It's a game that gracefully introduces players into it's world by having impressive production values. I haven't played a handheld game that has felt this content rich in a long time. I loved my time with FEA as it delivered nearly everything that it has to offer brilliantly. This game dominated most of my life for several weeks. I couldn't get a good night sleep as I kept playing for hours and hours. This is all due to a number of reasons that I'll address.
The story isn't that important in FEA. It's a serviceable way in order to give you a reason to keep playing. That's not to say that the story is bad or anything. It's a tale of kingdoms at war and trying to make peace with one another. It's a also a bizarre story of time travel and trying to save the future from a grim end. The story that you should care about is the interactions between characters. It's easy to scrutinize the story if you view it overall. The time travel is never fully explained in the game and it seems to be an easy way to achieve the concept of your children joining your party. The dialogue between characters is well done and quite often hilarious. Kudos to the localization team at 8-4 for doing an exceptional job of making these characters come to life.
Character interactions are also key to this game beyond story cut scenes. A new system is introduced in FEA which is called the support system. You can pair up characters in order to deal more damage and get better stat bonuses. Doing this will also increase their social rank with you. Every support relationship starts off with C and can eventually lead to getting an S with a character that is the opposite sex from one another. Once you S rank with a character you'll automatically marry them which then creates a child for both of these characters. This child will have stat bonuses depending on the stats of their respective parents plus the skills that they acquired. They also get separate exclusive support interactions with one another. Pairing characters up and marrying them is key to fully enjoying this game. It truly expands the story of your characters and hopefully gives you a strong new party member.
The gameplay is your typical SRPG with grids and percentages. There aren't any key additions to combat that are unique to the game. What it does add instead is a high level of polish that is rarely seen in these types of games. From the character portraits to the music it's all done in a way that impressed me. The combat itself is also different as it shows 3D polygonal combat whenever you attack an enemy. The game still has 2D sprites while on the map but once you enter combat you're treated to great looking action scenes each time. This added flare amplifies combat and improves the game overall. Other than that combat is mostly intact from previous Fire Emblem games.
In combat you have to worry about your weaknesses when facing certain enemies. For example, your winged rider should always avoid an archer or else they'll probably die. Once you die you're dead for good. This is the other aspect that makes combat thrilling. Most characters can die and not end the game so characters like Lissa can die and never factor into the story again. The tragic thing is that most people will probably at least one character in the game. This is the reality that you have to face when playing FEA. It's especially heart breaking if one of the characters that you've been relying on dies early on in the game. You still get a healthy batch of characters early on in the game so even if you lose a few you'll probably be fine. I lost several characters in my 30 hours of playing the game. I also went back and saved a couple that I simply couldn't let die. Gameplay in FEA is tense and exciting which is rare for the genre.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is an incredible game that devoured my life for weeks. I throughly loved my time playing FEA as it truly impressed me with its production values. The art style has its own style that isn't your typical anime art style. The cut scenes are especially great looking and look even better with the 3D on. It all looks and sounds great in most aspects. The game also introduces new players well enough without being too long. As someone with no experience with the franchise the tutorial was a good way to help me. I could also develop my own play style and do most of what the game has to offer with ease. FEA doesn't revolutionize the genre but it accomplishes nearly everything with incredibly amounts of polish and brilliance that I love. It's a great reason to own a 3DS so I highly recommend that everyone checks it out. I'm hopefully for the future of the franchise as a new fan to the franchise. It'll be tough to see where this franchise goes from here but I'm sure that I'll continue to enjoy it for years to come.
Be sure to watch the video below as I talk about Fire Emblem: Awakening.
I didn't have big hopes when I first started playing MGR. I have as much respect for Platinum as any gamer does. The concern that I was having was Konami's input in the game. Keep in mind that Konami's incompetence ended with this game first being cancelled. With it's revival there were certain concerns coming into it such as which developer had control in the overall project. I should also mention that I'm not a big fan of Metal Gear Solid 4. I didn't much care for the overly long cut scenes that weren't that interesting. I was worried that this game would continue MGS4's story telling. I'm happy to report that my worries were for naught. MGR is a weird game that combines some of Kojima's and Platinum's sensibilities in regard to the story telling.
Story is good and all but the best part of this game is the combat. It isn't as complex as games like Bayonetta. However, it isn't too simple for everyone. The combat system relies on a parry system instead of focusing on lengthy combos. In this game you don't have a dedicated blocking button. You have to parry to defeat enemies in this game. In order to do that you have to press the action button and point the stick to where an attack is coming. Doing this will let you be able to do Zandatsu(cut and take) which lets you slash opponents into tiny little pieces. This is also one of the few ways to get health during combat. The basic combat can also be upgraded with more health, more attack, etc. You can also use weapons from bosses that you've beaten such as a Sai. These extra weapons make combat more interesting as it changes that way that you usually fight in combat.
Oddly enough, MGR can actually be played stealthily. Like previous Metal Gear games in the franchise you can sneak across areas and actually avoid combat. You can use classics like the cardboard box to achieve your stealth run a lot easier. However, you have to fight some enemies to continue with the story as well as defeat bosses. While in stealth you can also 1 hit kill enemies by sneaking up to them and pressing the action button. The game has a weird mix of both action and stealth which makes it stand apart from other action games. The enemy encounters are also satisfying as most are strong enough to be challenging.
After The Patriots
The takes place four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. After the death of the Patriots is what is most of the story revolves around. Raiden starts off the game by joining a PMC called Maverick. Your main objective at the start is to protect the Prime Minister of an African country. Things take a dark turn and most of the story is about Raiden's revenge. The story isn't your typical Metal Gear story. It isn't as bizarre as most Metal Gear stories or as huge as they regularly are. In fact, it took me around 7 hours to finish MGR which is short for a Metal Gear game. The length of games is a touchy subject so I'll let you decide on whether it's worth it.
For me personally I don't believe that the mechanics in this game can be engaging for long. It's the perfect amount of time for me as I had my fill with the combat by the end of the game. I'm mostly disappointed by how much of a side story this game is. It doesn't change the Metal Gear universe that much. It does feel like a game that was always going to be a one of thing that wouldn't have any real input in the Metal Gear universe. There are still enough cray characters to make the story worth playing. In particular the last boss is a mix between Kojima and Platinum games story telling. I won't spoil it as it's worth seeing. All I'll say is that it made the game much better in the end.
I had a blast with Metal Gear Rising. I loved the combat, some of the story, the music, and a whole lot more. It's quite a pretty game that has a solid frame rate overall. The length of the game is a tough argument to have but there is enough content in there to satisfy most people. There are also extra things like VR missions, hard modes, and more if you want to keep playing more of it. There are some things that I wasn't a fan of in the game such as the voice acting. Raiden's voice actor tries to sound tough during a section in the game with his history as Jack the Ripper which sounds awful. The other characters also don't have any interesting voice acting overall which is disappointing. The camera is also a sticking point for me as it isn't as precise as I'd like it to be. There is also a lack of big set pieces through out the game. There are several boss fights but some aren't as crazy as they could be. I still recommend this game for both Metal Gear fans and Platinum fans. There is enough content to satisfy both which is surprising. It'll be interesting to see what happens from here with Metal Gear but for now it's enough.
Be sure to check out the video below which is me talking about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
I'd say that I'm a big Dead Space fan. I'm still one of those people that vastly prefers Dead Space 2 over Dead Space 1 so take that how you will. I'm in the camp for more action in Dead Space so it's no wonder as to why I liked it more than the original. Both games are still fantastic so you should play both if you haven't already. My expectations for Dead Space 3 weren't that high to be honest. Video game trilogies usually follow the pattern that the third game in a franchise will mostly likely be disappointing. I also didn't have high hopes for the initial presentation for Dead Space 3 with it being presented with co-op. That didn't mean that I was going to skip Dead Space 3 but that my expectations were low for this game.
After beating it I can safely say that it surprised me with the innovations that it introduced to the franchise. Most of it is smart and proves that Visceral Games isn't just making the same game again. However, some of these additions like micro transactions and the removal of credits made my experience with Dead Space 3 flawed overall. I like Dead Space 3 overall but it isn't as great as it could have been. The ending left me disappointed since it sort of ended everything that the franchise had started poorly. The ending sequence and the story fall off a cliff and never come back. It leaves me uneasy for the prospect of another Dead Space game.
You're not alone anymore
I mostly played Dead Space 3 by myself as I wasn't sold on the co-op at first. After playing several chapters by myself I finally decided to play co-op with my friend. I found the co-op experience to be enjoyable for the most part. It wouldn't be the ideal way for me to play Dead Space 3 but it was still a different way to play the game. You may want to play the whole game with a friend as there are certain missions that are co-op only. These missions involve Carver(the character you play as if you aren't isaac) and his back story. Those co-op missions aren't crucial to the story but they are a nice addition to an already length campaign.
Speaking of the story, I have to say that the story overall is terrible. The story in previous Dead Space games weren't that good to begin with. However, they weren't as important to the game when compared to Dead Space 3. The story and lore in previous Dead Space games was mostly ambiguous with concepts like Unitologists and markers being left in logs or in movies about Dead Space. Dead Space 3 is different as it tries to wrap everything up. All of your unanswered questions are tackled in Dead Space 3. The question I ask you is if you really want these answers? Do you really want to know about the origin of the markers and necromorphs? Isn't that stuff fine without some stupid explanation that ruins the mystery of Dead Space? I was fine without the answers to some of these questions but Dead Space 3 insisted that I really should learn the origin of all of these things. It's all mostly crap though.
It's more Dead Space but with more bullshit
The combat still feels like Dead Space. If you enjoy killing necromorphs with dismemberment than you'll be satisfied for the most part. The new things to combat that Dead Space 3 adds is with the ability to craft weapons. The system for crafting weapons is pretty complex at first. It certainly took me a while to finally understand how the whole process works. It mostly comes down to finding parts for certain weapons like a plasma core(for plasma cutters) and fitting them into the right frame. You can only make a plasma cutter with a single-handed frame and you can only make a shotgun in a two-handed frame. You have two slots for a single frame so you can make a plasma cutter that has a flamethrower at the bottom of it. You only have two slots to carry two weapons but with the bottom section of a frame you really are holding 4 weapons. At first you don't have many materials to craft weapons.
This is why seeing a download content inidcator at the bottom of a bench so offensive at first. If you can't find the part to a ceratin weapon you can try your luck by buying different packs with real life money. You can also buy these packs with in-game credits that are called ration seals. The more sinster aspect of the materials is that they act as your currency. Dead Space 3 removed credits which were the only way that you could buy health packs and ammo at shops. The shops are replaced with benches so the only way you can buy health or ammo is with materials that you either find in the game or buy with real money.
Aren't microtransactions the best?
I actually came close to buying these packs as I spend most of the material that makes health packs on upgrading my rig. Near the end of the game I couldn't make a lot of health packs so I had to rely on finding health packs in the enviornment. This scenario isn't the end of the world as normal difficulty isn't too hard to beat the game on but it proved to be a challenging ordeal. I was left with a playthrough that was mostly me dying repeatedly due to not having enough materials to craft health packs. There is an even more evil aspect to the microtransactions in Dead Space 3 that I've failed to mention.
So you get these little material robots that help get you materials in the game. You can have 5 robots that you can deplot by searching the area with a sensor. There are certain areas that'll have an audio cue which tells you that these areas have a lot of materials that can be collected by these robots. The problem with this whole system is that it takes each robot 10 real time minutes to go and collect these materials for you to use. You can speed up the process by paying real money in order to shorten the delay. So in short Dead Space is now Farmville. It's all gross and makes both Visceral Games and EA desperate for your cash. Keep in mind that this isn't a free game. You still have to pay 60 dollars for this game. The amount of times that you're pressured into paying for these things is despicable and it really hurts the immersion that you have in the game. You don't have to pay for any of this to beat the game so most of this stuff can be ignored.
So should you buy it?
I liked Dead Space 3 overall. I was surprised by how much fun I had experimenting with new weapons. I had fun killing enemies with a shotgun rocket launcher. The weapon crafting system is a new aspect that I hope is kept for the next game in the series as it does change the quite a bit. I still like the combat and really enjoyed some of the side quests early on in the game. It's one of those games that starts of well but than falters in the second half of the game. The space ship debris area at the start is the best part of Dead Space 3 as it doesn't have human enemies and is most reminiscent of the older Dead Space games. Once you get to the ice planet the whole journey stops being all that fun. I'm still impressed by how much content there is in this game. It took me 20 hours to beat this game so there is a lot for you to do. You can also keep beating the game to unlock more difficult modes and even unlock a retro skin for the whole game which sounds interesting.
I didn't like the story in Dead Space 3 as it answers all of the questions in series poorly. The ending sections in particular left me disappointed in Dead Space 3. I wasn't a fan of human combat since that sort of combat felt unnatural when compared to regular combat. It feels like the engine wasn't made to handle human enemies. Seeing Isaac crouch just doesn't feel right to me. I didn't like the copy and paste side missions that were in the ice planet. It felt like I was just playing the same areas in order to get more materials that are in a loot chest. The microtransactions are also a sticking point that I wasn't a fan of. With all of that said I still liked Dead Space 3 and I recommend that you check it out.
So yes you should play Dead Space 3.
Be sure to check out my video review of the game below as it better explains my thoughts on Dead Space 3.
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is lost potential to me in many ways. I don't think that both the story and characters are given enough to time to evolve. I never really felt much of a connection with any of the characters besides Oliver and Drippy. After 50+ hours of being with my party, I didn't ever feel much of a connection with anyone. I still love Drippy, but the rest of the cast isn't that memorable to me. Ni No Kuni is best described as a traditional JRPG. It reminds me of the halcyon days that these types of games used to have. It's made by Level-5 Inc. so it makes sense that I'd think this way. I'm not a big JRPG guy, though I have played many JRPG's like the Tales series and more. I fairly enjoyed this game but I feel that it has some major flaws that kept it from being a truly special JRPG for this generation.
The most impressive aspect of this game is the look of it. The art style, the colors, the environment, and all of it look fascinating. It really does look like a Studio Ghibli film. Speaking of that, most people should know is that this game is being worked on with Studio Ghibli. It's evident in the 2D cutscenes that are mostly in the beginning of the game. It kind of feels like a way to sell people on the game by attaching such a prolific animation studio, but it works for the most part. The overall presentation of the game is incredible. The music, the english cast, and more are well done that it makes the lacking parts of the presentation that more disappointing. There just isn't enough voice acting in the game overall. I want to hear Drippy's voice in most lines but that isn't the case in most situations. The game has a few proper cut scenes that are jam packed into a long JRPG journey. Unfortunatley, most of the story is conveyed in text boxes without any voice acting. This is even done in end game content with some important story being told without a voice. I wouldn't normally complain about this as the logistics of VO work and the amount of effort but into it is beyond me but I would at least expect voice acting to be present in the end of the game.
So the combat…. Uh, I like it. If it wasn't for the awful team AI, I'd probably like it a lot more. At first you can't even defend your whole team that well. Also you need to grind a whole lot or else your whole party will die easily to any enemy. I didn't want to deal with grinding so I beat this game on easy as I realized that you had to grind in order to win. I'm personally not a fan of grinding for hours, but I don't hate it. I just chose to not partake in it anymore. I just find the whole process to be mundane and a waste of time. Your allies also tend to just hit enemies for 1 damage instead of doing magic or using stronger familiars which can be annoying. The ally AI isn't the worst I've seen but their incompetence has lost me a few matches. Other than that, I'm a fan of the Pokemon-like familiar system. Collecting different monsters and trying to make a great party certainly took a chunk of my playtime with this game. I liked the monster design in general as I kept catching them all. The combat in general which is active yet turn-based(think Xenoblade) is fairly enjoyable.
I really liked Ni No Kuni overall as it does remind me of the great era of JRPG games that used to be in the gaming industry back in the PS1 and PS2 era to an extent. It's a beautiful game that has a ton of fantastic things that make it stand out from many other JRPG's. One of the most impressive things about it is the english localization and how well done it actually is. I like the story and some of the characters but it certainly could be better. Most of my problems stem from my own gaming experiences and dealing with a genre that I don't have much experience in. I also don't think the AI is all that good generally. I feel that this game could have been something better but overall I had a good time with it. I'd highly recommend that you play it as you may enjoy it more than I did.
Be sure to watch the video at the top of this post as I talk about Ni No Kuni in video vlog form. At least watch it to hear how I pronounce Studio Ghibli.