Its been a long time since I’ve blogged about my gaming fun. For a few months, I have been busy with work, and had little to no motivation to blog about video games… a friend has recently unintentionally inspired me to start blogging again though, so look forward to new write ups from me sometime soon :)
Hey there! I saw your post about playing Fatal Frame 2 Wii edition. By chance are you from Europe? Or from America? If America can I ask you how you played the game. Sorry to bother you!
Hey there, sorry for a long time to reply! I am from North America and have a North American Wii. I played a legitamately bought copy of the European version, and use a program called Gecko OS to boot my imported games. You need to soft moddd your wii with the Homebrew channel to be able to use Gecko OS first. Its fairly easy to do (I was freaking out when trying to do it, because I thought it would be hard and I’d break my wii before Xenoblade came in the mail) but it really only took about 2 or so minutes to actually do. I won’t say how to do it on here, but its very, very easy to find out how to do it :) Good luck if you do try to go about doing it!
My friend was kind enough to purchase this game for me on steam as a gift during the steam summer sale this year (along with two other games, which I will play and review in the future). I decided to play Chantelise first, since it was a game I had my eye on for a little bit, and it looked like a fun and simple hack and slash game.
Technically, the game I’m reviewing is called Project Zero 2 wii edition, since this is the European version of the game, as there is no current US release date for the game as of yet. With that out of the way, this game is seriously a wonderful remake of an old PS2 classic.
Between this game, and Ys Origin, I have been playing lots of Ys games lately… and why not? They are really wonderful, and fantastic games that are just a lot of fun to play. Despite it being a somewhat bleh port of a great game, I enjoyed myself with the PSP version of Ark Of Napishtim.
Ever since getting into the series two summers ago with Ys Oath in Felghana, I’ve really wanted to play Ys origin, since it looked like more of the same as Oath, which was a game I absolutely adored. It was only ever released on PC in Japan, so its chances of coming here were very low… until XSeed continued to be the awesome company they are, and localized the game, and placed it conveniently on to steam, for a low price of only 19.99!
For the longest time, I’ve always heard that Radiant Historia was a huge gem, a really great RPG. I unfortunately never got to get a hold of the game back when it was released, and it was unfortunately released in small quantities. Prices for the game skyrocketed due to its rarity and I just couldn’t afford it. Luckily, this past March, ATLUS reprinted the game, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of the game. After playing it, I’m really happy that ATLUS was kind enough to reprint the game, as it was a really great RPG!
The Max Payne series has always been a soft spot for me, in the world of shooters. I don’t really buy (or even play) shooters, except for averyselect few, and Max Payne is one series that I have always came to for my shooting fix. Its extremely well written drama stories, and its music, mood, and fantastic satisfying gameplay just set it apart from the rest (in my eyes) and the third game lived up to that standard, while also being very different, but familiar at the same time.
Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse final thoughts
This game is kind of special for me. Plans to release this game outside of Japan were canceled, and then some very awesome fans decided to create their own translation of the game, and patch it into the game. Ever since the completion of the fan translation of this game, it has been extremely difficult to get a hold of a copy of the game for a decent price. I finally managed to do so, after waiting for a little over two years!
Its been awhile since I’ve played a new Zelda game. The last Zelda game I played and finished was Twilight Princess on the Gamecube. I’ve really been craving a new Zelda adventure, and despite having some issues with it, the game as a whole did satisfy my Zelda crave.
When I played and finished the original xbox version of Ninja Gaiden many years ago, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t really hate it eithereee. Somehow, with this re-release of an old game, I found my self enjoying it a lot, and it is probably one of the (if not the) best game available for the Playstation Vita right now. (In my opinion).
When I first got my Playstation Vita on release day, I didn’t buy any games. I took it home, played with it for a little bit, and downloaded some game demo’s off of the network. One of them was Rayman Origins. After playing through the demo, I was so charmed and giggling from thee games funny opening cutscene and music, I went out and got it the very next day.
Last year, at the end of my review for the first Neptunia game, I mentioned how I got see a bit of the Japanese version of second game in action, and that it really looked like a huge improvement over the original. After playing through this game and finishing it, I can definitely say that my initial impressions were right!
Before its release, I was expecting to enjoy this game, but I had no idea that I would enjoy it as much as I did. I knew I would love the gameplay, which builds on the battle system from the previous game. I was however, not expecting to enjoy almost every aspect of the game as much as I did.
Its been awhile since I’ve wrote about any games, but now I have a few new games to ply and write about! First off, is a wonderful game called Dark Souls, which is a spiritual successor to Demons Souls, which I also wrote about earlier last year!
I originally played this game back in late April / early May of this year, but due to me being lazy, I never wrote about it. Recently, I decided to replay it, so it could be fresh in my mind again, since I will play Totori in a few months. Now that its fresh in my mind again, I can also write about it!
I’m a little late to this game, as its been our for several years now, but I really liked this game a lot. I haven’t played many Tales of games, and most of the ones that I have played only released in Japan (Rebirth, Destiny remake). This write up however, is based on the English Xbox 360 release of Tales of Vesperia.
Hello everyone :) My wife Tiffany is now writing video game related articles too! Please check her out if you like :) She just wrote her very first article, a review for Fate/Extra for the PSP! (Major spoilers, just fyi!) You can check her out at:
I’ve had Valkyria Chronicles 2 sitting on my back log shelf since Christmas last year. I had been putting it off for a while for the silly reason that the first one (I loved the first one a lot) gave me a hard time. I’m not good at strategy games, though I enjoy them sometimes. After finishing Valkyria Chronicles 2, I feel my reason for putting it off for so long was silly and I could have started it much sooner!
Ever play a game… that just pushes all your buttons in the most perfect, and satisfying way? Everything about the game just clicks with your personal tastes, and reminds you everything you loved about gaming in the first place? Xenoblade Chronicles was like that for me. I don’t think I’ve come this satisfied out of a single player RPG in a long time. Maybe not since playing Persona 4.
I was laying in bed last night, thinking about what games that are currently out, and coming out soon that I am hyped for, and plan on playing & writing about of course. I thought it would be a good idea to write down those games, and a little bit of what I’m looking forward to in them!
Super Hyped for:
Silent Hill Downpour: I love Silent Hill, even the newer ones. Downpour is looking really good. This one seems heavily focused on exploration (huge town to explore this time!) and atmosphere (return of fixed camera angles!). I’m really hyped. Atmosphere wise, I think this looks like the best Silent Hill since 4.
White Knight Chronicles 2: I’m mainly hyped for this because it will be a game to play with my lover. I also am a big fan of games by Level 5, so thats also a plus. The game also comes with an enhanced version of the first game, so I can catch up on what I missed. Big environments, JRPG gameplay, I think I’m going to like this one!
Phantasy Star Online 2: No idea when this one will come out, but it looks so good. I absolutely adore the Phantasy Star series and every time I play one of the online ones, its always a life changing experience, with the people I meet on these games. I had one hell of a ride with this series over the past decade, and I can’t wait to see what new friends & experiences PSO2 will bring.
The gameplay looks fantastic, especailly now that we can jump. Randomly generated fields, and the return of dynamic music, I really think PSO2 is going to be the perfect game, for me.
Zelda: Skyward Sword: I have been wanting to play a new console Zelda game for a long time now, and this one is looking really good. The wii motion + controls look very cool. I don’t have a motion + yet, but Nintendo just announced a Gold controller bundle (with built in Motion +!) that comes with the game and a Zelda 25th anniversary orchestra CD.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin: I already played the original Persona 2 Innocent Sing for PS1 about 2 years ago, and I really enjoyed it. The gameplay wasn’t the greatest (nor was it the worst) , but the storyline really made up for it. The PSP version seems to be a capable improvement over the original, and it has a new remixed soundtrack, with the option to listen to the original soundtrack as well. Its looking to be the ideal version of Innocent Sin!
Dark Souls: I loved Demons Souls, so its obvious that I am hyped for the spiritual sequel. It looks like more of the same, but better! I haven’t really been following it that much, other then a few gameplay videos and screenshots, and its looking great. I don’t plan to look to much more into it because I’m just going to go in clueless. I like to do that sometimes, I find I really, really enjoy the games I do that with!
Atelier Totori: I enjoyed Atellier Rorona on the PS3, so I’m also looking forward to its sequel! I don’t have too much to say about it because its another game where I’m just going to go in blind. I did that with Rorona, too.
Want to get, but unsure if I will right away:
Idolm@ster 2 (PS3 port): I’ve always wanted to play the IdolM@ster series, but I lack a Japanese Xbox 360 to do so… and now since its getting ported to the PS3, I definitely want to try it out. I’ve been watching my friend stream the games for a few years now, and its definitely something I’d like.
Super Sentai Battle Ranger Cross: Well, this one came out of left field for me. I back into Power Rangers / Super Sentai this year, thanks to my girlfriend. I saw a trailer for this game and thought it looked really cool. Since I’m able to play import Wii games now, I may import it at some point.
Kirby Wii: Haven’t played a Kirby game in a long time, and this one is looking pretty awesome!
Games that are out now, that I want to play: Catherine Alice: Madness Returns
Those are the games I am looking forward to playing this year. I don’t think I’ve forgotten any, but if I have, I’ll be sure post them later. Right now I’m currently playing through the European version of Xenoblade Chronicles, which I recieved in the mail last friday, and I am loving it so much so far! Will do a full write up once I have finished it :)
I mentioned this game earlier this year in my Trinity Universe, and just recently got around to playing it, despite having had this game since the end of March.
When I wrote about Trinity Universe, I had mentioned that this game looked a lot like Trinity Universe, and it does, but it also has some features / design choices that set it apart from Trinity Universe as well, for better or worse.
I’ll start off by saying I liked this game a lot, but it certainly has a lot of flaws, and it is without a doubt, not for everyone.
The premise of the game is pretty unique and quirky. The world of “GameIndustri” is governed by four goddesses that reside on four land masses, engaged in the never endign conflict known as “the console wars”, based on the video game console wars you often find on video game related forums. You have a land that represents the Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, and Sega. There are a ton , and i mean a ton, of video game references in this games dialogue. From Phantasy Star, to Resident Evil, Gears of War, Halo, etc. There is a reference for every kind of game in here. Honestly I laughed very hard at some of the jokes and references in the game. I was honestly not expecting to see a nod to the old classic Phaxentasy Star games, but when I did, it sure made me smile, as I love Phantasy Star. The games dialogue is really funny, especially if you’re heavily in to games.
The games characters are very likable and cute, too. Their interactions with each other are well done and well written. I should also mention that I think this is the first RPG I’ve played where the entire cast is female. There are no men in this games cast, except for black silhouettes of NPC’s, which I’ll get to in a moment.
The cut-scenes in the game are exactly like they were in Trinity Universe. A static background, with text boxes, and really, really smooth and nicely animated character portraits that have a very fluid “breathing” animation. This is the only way scenes are presented, and it works well for a light hearted game like this. Only the main characters and main antagonist get these nicely animated portraits, however. Every other NPC will be represented by a small black silhouette of a character that doesn’t animate. They even make a silly joke at a character at some point, for being a black silhouette, stating hes an NPC, and isn’t important.
Overall the story is silly, fun and charming. I enjoyed it a lot. Its very cutesey and if you don’t have a sense of humor, then this is not the game for you. The abundance of references to video games new and old, along with the references to video game culture, were awesome. Try to count how many you can notice!
Gameplay wise, its very similar to Trinity Universe. You’ll have your main screen outside of a dungeon, which is the current landmass you’re on, and a list of things to select. You can chose explore, which will let you see if there are any new story scenes to view, which will sometimes unlock a new dungeon to visit, or take on a side quest, that always involves you going to a dungeon. You also have a “blog” option, which lets you read the blog of the Goddess of the current landmass you are on. Other then that, you can chose to Shop, or to goto a dungeon. Lastly, theres also an option to chose to go to a different landmass. The only problem with this , is that, to go to a different landmass, you’ll have to pass through a short and easy dungeon to get there. Its not that big of a problem at first, but you have to go through the same dungeon every time you want to change landmasses. You won’t change landmasses incredibly often or anything, so its not a game breaker, just a minor inconvenience.
In dungeons, much like Trinity Universe, its just very uninspired bland corridors withi a square shaped room breaking it up every now and then. Though, I would say Neptunias dungeons do look and flow better then Trinity Universe’s did. The dungeons are never too large, and you always have entire dungeon map at your finger tips, for every single dungeon in the game. Its a nice feature, because without having the maps, I don’t think I would have enjoyed dungeon crawling in this game as much. Each of the characters has their own ability to use while dungeon crawling as well. Neptune, the games main character, has a hammer which will break down specific walls that block your path. Compa has an ability that can call groups of monsters to fight, or when standing in a specific looking circle, will summon a strong monster to fight against. Lastly, IF has an ability that will scout out hidden treasure chests much like the ability in Trinity Universe (though I can’t really remember if they were hidden chests in TU).
Battles are random in this game, and the battles play out similar to TU, but there are a lot of things different in Neptunia. The game still has the combo button system from Trinity Universe (example: square square triangle circle) but Neptunia atually lets you make your own combos in the main menu. You basically get a long list of empty tree’s that you can fill up with from a list of all the attacks and skills that your character has learned. Its a nice feature at first, but I never bothered to fill up every single one on the list, because there are just so many that you can create. The game also lets you name the combo you create, which is a fun option.
Somewhat like Trinity Universe, the game also lets you link combo’s, but not all attack’s will allow for it. Some attacks in the menu will say that it can link combos, transform your character, or switch a character in battle. If you happen to use one that links skills, you’ll do more damage on the next attack and also gain a little bit more AP, which will let you do even more attacks that round. You can loop attacks for quite a good while, until running out of AP.
Transforming characters is something that only the main character, Neptune can do. (And some hidden characters later). Which essentially let Neptune transform into a much more powerful state, that you can also power up with new equips in the main menu. You can transform as much as you like, there isn’t any bar to charge up to have to do it, you’re free to any time you like, and it comes in handy!
Also like in Trinity Universe, defense breaking returns. Which essentially, under the enemies HP bar , is a green bar which represents their defense. With each attack you do, that bar decreases a little bit, and when its empty, the enemy is weakened and you can do more damage. You also get a nice AP bonus for doing so, which will allow you to attack even more while the enemy is down!
I think what will make or break this game for everyone though, is that it all comes down to how much fun you think watching a health bar go down is. I say this because, the animations in this game, while not terribly long, will take up a lot of time, because of how many times you get to attack in one turn for each character. Thankfully, there is a “skip animation” button that you can press. I found myself pressing this button almost always, so in the end, it boiled down to just seeing numbers flash, and health bars go down. Honestly though, I love seeing health bars go down, and I love seeing lots of numbers all over the screen. I couldn’t tell you why, but seeing health bars go down, is one of my favorite things when gaming. It wasn’t a problem -for me-.
Now the most controversial thing about this game is its healing system. Its in a league of its own. You can not manually heal your self in battle (you must meet conditions to do so), and you cannot heal your self at all outside of battle (unless you leave a dungeon). When you level up, you will sometimes learn “item skills” and also gain points to invest in each item skill for each character, making the item use chance anywhere from 0%-100%. Its kind of confusing at first. In addition to having a % of how often the skill activates, you also have conditions to meet to actually MAKE the item skill happen. Example, for a healing item, the condition is “50%HP or less”, so your characters HP needs to be at 50% or less to heal (there are other healing spells that offer higher and lower %HP needed) and what triggers the item to be used could be something like, upon defending, at the start of the battle, or after getting hit. Its a really weird healing system. It works, but its not convenient, and it is luckily has been ditched in the sequel, for a traditional item system. The item system can really make you feel helpless sometimes when you don’t have many diverse item skills learned, especailly when a character gets KO’d. After the battle they will revive, but with only 1 HP, and at the begining of the game, when you don’t have skills that will restore HP when defending, it kind of made me feel like, ok, so all hope for that character being healed is gone. Its not so much a problem later. Fortunately, the game is extremely easy for the most part, but you will run into this problem at least once.
The music in the game is somewhat catchy, a lot of it is forgettable, but the few songs that are catchy, will definitely stay in your head for a bit, though its mostly nothing to write home about (in my opinion).
Honestly, this game is very flawed, but that doesn’t mean its not enjoyable, because I had quite a fun time with it and will likely play it again in the future. If you have played Trinity Universe and liked it, or like Japanese RPG’s and think you could get passed this games short comings, definitely give it a look, because its worth checking out if you have an open mind about video game design. The games premise alone makes it worth playing!
Looking forward to playing Neptunia MK-II when it comes out in English! I was watching a stream of it last week, and it really does look like a HUGE improvement! The battle system looks a lot like Eternal Sonata, and super fast! Even if you didn’t like the first one, I think the second looks like it might be worth looking into!
Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky final thoughts
I was reluctant to try this game at first. I have the first Legend Of Heroes game for PSP, which was called Tear of Vermillion (its actually the second game! But it was released in America before the first!) and I just did not like the game. I didn’t have fun playing it, and I certainly didn’t have fun reading the terribly translated story that was littered with awful grammar, typos, and even some sentences that just didn’t make any sense at all. Still, being the masochist that I can sometimes be, I finished the game and never bothered with the sequals (The first three games released on PSP were a trilogy).
I remember before this game even came out in Japan, I looked at screenshots and thought “wow that game looks way better then the one I played” Years went by, and we unfortunately never got the game, but thanks to XSEED, we now have the game.
To say the game is an improvement over the original trilogy released on PSP is a huge understatement, because its so much better. Every single aspect about the game is better, most notably the battle system, and an excellent translation and script from XSEED (I expect no less from XSEED, along with ATLUS, they are teh kings of quality when it comes to localisation.).
The game is setup in chapters, and each chapter has its own hub town with shops, and a guild in it. In the guild, you can take up side quests, or just take the quests to progress the main story. Quests, be it main or side, are your only means of making money (other then selling old items you don’t need anymore) so you’ll definitely want to do some of the games side quests.
The battle systems a really fun one. You see all your enemies on the field, and when you touch them, you engage combat. You may want to wait it out for the enemy to turn their back, so you can get a pre-emptive strike in battle. (On the contrary, if they touch you while your back is turned, they’ll get pre-emptive strikes.)
In battles, its a turn based game and you can see the turn order on the left side of the screen, to see who is going next. When its your turn, you can chose to move around the field, to get closer to your enemy, or to even get your self out of range of an enemies next attack, or if an enemy is charging a magic attack, move out of its range. Though, if you chose to move, thats it for your turn. It should be known , that this is not like a strategy RPG where you need to move next to an enemy, then use attack, etc. If you simply just chose attack and click on an enemy, your character will automatically move to the enemy and attack (So long as they are in the large circle of attack range). It works well, and its nice to see an enemies health bar go down.
Magic works in a similar fashion, except your character will have to charge up for a turn and then on their next turn, the spell will release. Some spells take longer then others, so if you use say a healing spell, it may bump your characters next turn right up to the turn right after their last.
Magic is also assigned to characters through gems called Quartz which can be equipped in the main menu. I liked this system, it was kind of like a stream lined materia system, in a way. Each character can unlock more slots at a shop ,which let them equip even more quartz to themselves. Its a nice and simple system, and as well as giving your characters magic, their are also quartz that can up your characters stats, and some that add elemental damage to your physical attacks, and show nearby enemies on the mini map (the most useful one, in my opinion!).
Each character in the game also has a few attacks that use up whats called CP, which you gain every time you attack, and every time you get hit by an enemy. These attacks are usually a lot stronger, and have some nice range. There is also super attacks, that I *think* were called S-Skills. They can only be used when you have 100 or more CP, and they will user up all your CP when you use them. I had two S-Skills for each character by the end of the game, and they were all quite fun to watch, and they do some massive damage to the enemies.
The game was pretty balanced to go through the first time. Most of the time, you don’t get that much experience points from random enemeis, which kind of makes fighting them feel pointless (unless you want to grind for some gems, which you need to trade for new quartz!) , and you get even less experience from older enemies as you level up, which is fair. The game is balanced with this in mind though, so it doesn’t really ever become too much of a problem, and its nice to go into areas, fight a couple monsters, level up once or twice, and then feel that I don’t have to fight these guys anymore. Also, the escape rate is 100% in the game, so you don’t ever have to worry about the annoyance of “failed to escape from the battle!”
The game even incorporates an awesome retry system if you fail a battle. If you fail a battle, the game will just let you retry it, and the enemies stats will even be lowered in your favor. Its an awesome, optional system (you can just chose to go back to the title screen if you don’t want to lower enemy stats) that I think is just perfect for a portable RPG. I believe (but am not 100% sure) each time you fail a battle, the enemies stats will just keep getting lower as you retry, so you could potentially go throughout the game without grinding at all.
The story in the game is what surprised me the most. It wasn’t really a save the world story. For a large portion of the game, it was just chasing mystery after mystery, which I actually like a lot. Near the end of the game it does sort of become a save the country type plot, but its just done and developed so well that it really does feel fresh, and quite exciting, especially when you learn what is really going on in the story.
All the characters in the game are extremely likable, and their interactions with each other are great and often funny. I don’t think I can praise the script enough, cause XSEED did such a good job with the translation. I think Estelle, (the games main character) may be the greatest RPG heroine to ever exist, for me. Shes extremely likable.
The game was an extremely long one too. I took 71 or 72 hours to beat the game (thats with all the side quests done, and man, there are a lot of side quests in the game) and I may play it again one day. The game does offer new game +, that lets you carry over your items and money (I think).
Honestly, this was one of those games that made me remember the reason I love playing Japanese RPG’s. Everything about it was just done so well, and was a joy to play. I usually get fed up with RPG’s that go on for more then 50 hours, but their are a select few that I don’t mind being as long as they are, and this game was one of them.
Bottom line, if you have a PSP and like turn based Japanese RPG’s, definitely look into this one, because its a fantastic one.
From the moment this game was announced, it had me interested. 3 of my favorite Japanese designers were attached to the title. Suda 51 (Killer 7, No More Heroes), Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil) and Akira Yamaoka (Composer of Silent Hill). Its like a trio of badass that I feel secure giving my full 60$ to for their game. All 3 of those, I woulda trust with my money, but all 3 together? Thats just a recipe for amazing. Suda 51 is a nut, I love everything he does. He has a great and bizarre sense of humor, and that certainly shows up in this game almost always. Mikami is great at making just really fun games, that I love going back to. Akira Yamaoka…well… hes my favorite composer of all time. His music and ambiance are so great, especially his music with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. All those traits of all three of those guys are present in this game, in full force.
The game plays a lot like Resident Evil 4. Having loved Resident Evil 4 to death, this is an awesome thing to me. You play as Garcia Fucking Hotspur (yes, he actually adds the “Fucking” part in his sentences) and his flaming skull sidekick, Johnson, who also acts as Garcia’s torch to light the way in the underworld, and also transforms into guns. These two characters are probably my favorite duo I’ve seen in recent memory, or even ever. Their dialogue is so goofy, and sexual. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you’re probably going to dislike them, and this game in general. Its littered with toilet humor, and other goofy jokes. I personally loved the jokes, they’re silly and just what I’d expect of Suda51. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As I said, Johnson is both a torch and all the guns in the game. The game starts you off with “The Boner” which is the name for the standard handgun in the game, as well as the shotgun, which I think was called the Monocusionor, but I don’t remember. The handgun works well and fires pretty fast. Getting head shots with it is a total blast. If your aim is perfect, the games camera will shift to the bullet going towards the enemies head, in slow motion, as the enemies head just explodes. Its a very satisfying headshot, though sometimes it can be tough to pull off. I don’t know if it was me or the actual game itself, but sometimes the aiming felt a little off, I don’t quite know how to describe it. I may just be bad at aiming, but I don’t know. Its not game breaking, but it is noticeable and worth mentioning.
The shotgun they start you off is extremely powerful, and will tear up enemies most of the time in just one shot, but its ammo is limited (at first, but later you’ll have tons of it) and it only holds one shot. After each boss fight you’ll get a blue gem to “insert” into Johnson, which will unlock a new powered up gun. The first one you get is the Teether, which is a machine gun, and probably one of my favorite weapons in the game. It shoots fast, and its just very satisfying to shoot with. After unlocking the teether, the blue gems will give you upgraded versions of the 3 guns that Johnson can transform into. (Examples: The teether gets several barrels added to it, and it gets pretty destructive. The shotgun can hold more bullets, etc)
The game has a darkness mechanic too. Since the game takes place in the underworld, there is a mechanic where sometimes all the light will go away, and the area around you is bathed in a blue tinted darkness, that will kill you if you stay in it too long. Enemies are also invincible while you’re in the darkness. Fortunately, there is almost always an exit to safety where you can safely stay for a moment before going back into the darkness to try to find a Goat head to shoot, which will expell the darkness. Once the darkness is expelled, the enemies that were in the darkness, are still covered in a blue tinted darkness, and cannot be harmed. However, you have to options to fight this. One is the light shot, which you have an unlimited number of. All guns can use this shot, and will expell the darkness from each enemy you aim it at. It will also stun an enemy who has no darkness protecting it, allowing you to shoot it, or simply run up and do a melee finisher (if you’ve damaged it enough).
Your second choice is to use the Johnson torch, which basically lets you slap an enemy in the face with your Johnson. You can also charge this attack up, which will make for an extremely powerful melee attack, and sometimes even a finisher.
Boss fights in the game are very simple, but very fun. It uses the old hit the weak spot technique, and it works well. All the bosses are pretty easy, but really fun, even on hard mode. (Though some bosses on hard mode are tougher then you’d expect) One of my favorite aspect about the bosses is that every major boss in the game has a little story book that describes some back story, in a twisted, but also goofy manner. Garcia and Johnson will read the books out loud and make funny comments about the happenings in the story. All the stories were interesting, and also highly ammusing.
I really liked the visual style of this game too. It uses the unreal engine, but it actually has color diversity, and not washed out shades. I always love it when games running on the unreal engine have nice colors, because its kind of a rarity (at least from what I have personally seen, there might be ones I don’t know about). The game also runs very smooth. I don’t think I ever experienced any slow downs at any point during my 2 full playthroughs (so far) of this game. The game does have a ton of texture loading during gameplay, which is basically the game shows the raw textures and then quickly loads the layers on to the texture to make it look pretty. Its a common occurrence with the unreal engine, and I don’t really mind it that much.
The music in this game is so good. Like I said, I’m a total fan girl of Akira Yamaoka. His music in the game is top notch. It fits the theme and mood of the game, ranging from crazy screaming mixed with ambiance, eerie ambiance, goofy music to fit the goofy mood of the game, and even some stuff that sounds right out of Silent Hill. There are 3 songs in the game I noticed which Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (the singer for the Silent Hill songs) and they all sound great. One of them even has the voice actor Troy Baker as well, and he sounds great as well. According to Grasshopper (the games developer) the full soundtrack will be available late summer this year, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!
I absolutely adored this game. I always love it when I can find a shooter that I actually can get into. One thats not the typical military or things like that. Just something really out there, and different. This was probably one of my favorite games this generation, so far. Much like 3rd Birthday, I played this game twice in a row, on Normal, and Hard mode. That’s really something I almost never do, but this games humor, gameplay, and just overall everything are too good to me. I really love it, and I think the only complaint I can really think of, is that you can’t skip cutscenes. I love the scenes, however, when I die in the game, I really don’t feel like rewatching cutscenes. Especially when its a part I die on multiple times (Looking at you, Chapter 4-1). Perhaps it could be patched in later. Its just a minor complaint.
If you have ever enjoyed any games / music by the three involved, enjoy whacky humor, or even enjoy games with guns, give this one a look. Its a short game, but very, very fun and worth your time. I know I’ll be replaying this game again again, even if it has no new game +. It doesn’t bother me, because I feel the way the game is balanced, there really is no need for a new game plus.
I’m over a month late writing this one, and I have two more reviews coming relatively soon as well. I have a bit of a backlog on my reviews here, but I’m working on it! I played and finished this game back in like…April I think it was. So I’m writing this from memory, (my memory is not that good… which is actually the reason I started to write these reviews! To help me remember what I played, and how much I liked / loved them) so I may have forgotten some things.
Ever since I got my back in 2009, I’ve been reconnecting with my favorite Nintendo franchises. I had forgotten how much I really love Mario games, and Nintendo first party games in general.
Mario Galaxy 2 is so addicting. Its a lot like Mario Galaxy 1, but so much better. The levels are better, the music is better, and its just generally more fun overall.
I think one of the best changes from Mario Galaxy 1 (which I loved) was the removal of the over world. There is a mini hub world which is basically a mini Mario head that you can talk to people on / find little extra things like a 1up or extra star bits. Beyond that though, you just have a generally straight forward map screen where you select a level on, kind of similar to Super Mario Bros 3 / Mario World. It just makes for easier, faster navigation.
There’s something really addicting about playing this game. While I may have loved Mario Galaxy 1, I certainly did not get into as much as I did with Mario Galaxy 2. I think its for a number of reasons. For one, the difficulty in this game. Its absolutely perfect. Every star in the game isn’t too hard, nor too easy to get. I’ve heard a lot of reviews say its a really hard game, but I felt it was just right. None of the stars that you collect to be able to move forward in the game made me feel like “Theres no way I can ever get this one” which to me, thats “hard”. Some stars took me multiple tries to do, but it was nothign that made me feel “I can’t handle this”, which really did make the game that much more addicting.
I think another thing is, that they removed pretty much all the stages that annoyed me in Mario Galaxy 1. For example, the stages in Mario Galaxy 1 that were entirely just using the Wii mote to make this weird…space plant thing (I have no idea how to describe it) grab Mario, and then quickly move the Wii mote to the next space plant thing to make it grab Mario. None of those stages. Those stages annoyed me, and I was glad they were gone.
There are some stages that involve moving the wii mote around to glide on a bird, and at first I really didn’t like them, but once I got used to the control style for those levels, I was really okay with them. These levels are few and far between anyway, and they make for nice breaks from the regular platforming. Also the slide themed stages from the original galaxy also return. I hated them in Galaxy 1, but not in 2. Either I got better at them, or they were tweaked to controller better, because I had no problem this time around.
Another great addition to the game is bringing back Yoshi. While riding Yoshi, you can use the Wii mote and target a few enemies by placing the cursor over them, and Yoshi will then eat them all. You can also use the Wii mote when you have an enemy in Yoshi’s mouth, and spit them out at another enemy. Its a lot of fun. Theres also spicey peppers that Yoshi can eat that make him run around like crazy. and lets him run up walls. Yoshi can also do his air hover when you press the jump button twice and hold it down, which is nice too. I think, Yoshi is probably my new favorite addition to the gameplay.
One thing that I truely hated about Mario Galaxy 1 was the Spring Mario power up. I didn’t think it controlled very well, and it just generally frustrated me when ever I had to play as it. Well, hes back in 2, but used very, very sparingly. Much like the slide stages that I mentioned earlier, I either got better, or they tweaked the controls a bit, because once again, I really had no problem. It could also have been the level design, because Spring Mario really never presented any frustrating problems this time around.
The bosses in Galaxy 2 are a load of fun. Theres some bosses lifted and modified from the firsit Galaxy game, but they were so much fun to fight it doesn’t bother me, personally. Most of the bosses are pretty simple, but are really well designed. They won’t puzzle you on how to damage them, but you’ll have a hell of a lot of fun doing hitting them. Most of them aren’t hard, but aren’t easy either. I think the hardest boss for me, is the dragon boss. Hes a hard guy to fight. His body is very long, and you have to hit the pink spots on his body. The catch is, you have to watch out, because since his body is so long, when you’re thinking your about to get a hit on him, he’ll sneak up behind you and hit you. Later on, there’s a version of him that’s on fire, that is actually pretty tough!
The levels in Mario Galaxy 2 are really awesome. They look great, are designed awesomely, and have very fitting, and very catchy music to go along with it. There are some levels from Galaxy 1 thrown in, which I assume are either fan favorites, or developer favorites (I have no idea, I’m just guessing here.) They even (as far as I remember) have the same objectives as the original games. Its not really a bad thing, because the levels in Mario Galaxy 1 were great. Besides, most of the games levels are brand new.
The new levels look really great, especially the beach / water ones. They just have this ambiance to them… thats really calm and pretty. The music those levels is really relaxing, and just creates a really nice mood while I’m playing. It almost felt like a calm adrenaline rush. It was one of those moments where I said to myself “this is that “defining moment” where I realise I love this game.
Minor spoilers for this next paragraph.
One of my favorite levels in the game, is actually a remake of an old Super Mario 64 level, Thwomp’s Fortress. It looks just as it did back in the day, but obviously graphically updated. It was a great nostalgic throwback to my days playing Mario 64 when I was only 9 or 10. The galaxy is even called “Throwback Galaxy”! Fitting! :) The level even has an AWESOME jazzy remix of the music from Thwomp’s Fortress. Though I have to say, Thwomp’s are pretty deadly now! If you’re not careful, they will kill you in one hit this time around!
End minor spoilers
The story of Mario Galaxy 2 is generally the same as it was in the first, Bowser goes into space to conquer the galaxy. This time around though, there is only an intro and an ending. Theres nothing in between, and theres no Rolsalina (in the story, at least). I actually like this approach. (Though, I did like the story, and cutscenes in Mario Galaxy 1, it was really cute!). The minimal story approach however, is a great idea that I certainly welcome. It keeps me playing at all times, being immersed in the games awesomeness!
I had such a wonderful time playing Mario Galaxy 2. It was a well balanced, and addicting platformer. I beat the game with 106 stars, which is oddly… how many I managed to get in Mario 64 back when I was a kid! I honestly can’t think of anything negative at all to say about Mario Galaxy 2. Its a wonderful game that deserves top to be played by any Nintendo fan, or anyone just looking to play a game that is exactly what we love about games: fun, with no strings attached.
I love your taste in games and your reviews are so genuinely real. Not some bull fact based, tech based, graphics based bullox. (sorry about the swearing lol) but yh. :)
Anyways I am surprised in the about me section you did not add Res Evil 1,2,3 (the new ones have become an action game and not a survival horror, not my thing). But why would you not add Jill Valentine in that list. Her and the Zombies in Res Evil 3 will always give me night mares.
Thank you so much for that compliment, I really appreacite it!!! I love to enjoy games for what they are!!:)
As for the about me, I do love the old RE’s, a lot. I just wanted to keep the about me section short & about the series that I’m obsessed with on an unhealthy level lol :). RE3 is the only RE that still scares me, even after multiple playthroughs!! Nemesis really makes me feel powerless :D
Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity - Little tweaks go a long way
Today I got Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity in the mail. The wonderful expansion to the great Phantasy Star Portable 2. It has a few new areas, afew new bosses, tons of new weapons, a new (and as of right now, final story of PSU) and a handful of little gameplay tweaks that make PSP2 WAY more enjoyable.
I’m mainly going to talk about those tweaks. They may be small tweaks, but my god, they go a long way. Pretty much every minor / major annoyance I had with PSP2 was rectified.
I will start with what is probably my most favorite tweak. The NPC command “Follow Shift”. This wonderful command makes it so NPC partners will not use their Photon Arts in battle. This is so great because that means all the NPC’s will do is focus on adding to the attack chain, instead of constantly breaking it. (Chain lets you do more damage with your Photon Arts, the higher the chain, the more the damage.) This command goes a much longer way then you think. It does what I mentioned, but also, when I use Photon Arts like Spiral Dance, which previously was too long of a move to last for the entire chain, now can potentially take advantage of a chain for all 3 hits of the attack. So spiral dance hits for the first two parts of the chain, then the chain goes away. But the NPC’s keep attacking the monster, building a new chain, just as the 3rd and final hit of the attack is about to go off. This is something I almost never got to do in the original PSP2, and now in Infinity, I do it almost all the time, and its awesome.
The NPC AI seems to be a bit better, too. They heal me quite often, without even having to set them to the “Heal” NPC command. They heal my HP, they remove negative status effects ( a bit rarer then healing).
Next up, is swords. Swords are probably my second favorite weapon in PSU/PSP, but in PSP2, with the chain system, their slow speed felt a little to slow now. I still used them, but in the back of my mind , it just bugged me a little bit. Now, swords swing incredibly fast, and I just feel this want to use swords all the time now. They can chain real fast, and do big damage. The photon arts for the swords seem tobe the same speed, except for Grand Crusher, which seems to be slightly faster.
Axes have been upgraded too. They didn’t get a speed boost like swords, but they got a nice attack boost. Whenever you swing an axe now, each hit will hit twice. This goes a long way since axes are a bit slow, they can build a nice chain pretty fast, making for much more fun use.
Buff and debuff spells are better now too. Shifta and Deband last for a minute or two longer then they used to, so you don’t have to constantly recast them. Probably my favorite adjustment out of this section tohuhg, is the debuff spells. In PSP2, enemies have very high evasion, so you want to cast Zalure on them ASAP, so you don’t constantly miss your attacks. The problem thouhg was, that the debuff for evasion would constantly miss, and you’d have to sometimes spam the technique until it would stick to an enemy. No more! Every single tim I cast it, it lands on the enemy. This makes things so much smoother, and generally more fun and less tedious.
Twin handguns always had a bit of a problem when you used their charge shot in first person. It would always mess up the aiming a bit becaus the charge shot makes your character jump in the air, so it would sometimes be a bit disorienting, or sometimse the shot would go above what you were aiming. Now, as long as the enemy is in your aiming circle, the charge shot WILL hit them, as long as you’re standing still and not moving the camera around like crazy. Its nice, because I like to use my twin handguns when I’m fighting dragons, but I always had a bit of trouble with my shots going over their heads, but not anymore.
Another slight tweak that I’ve noticed so far is that Rods cast much faster. For me, as a hunter, that makes me happy. I don’t have interest in leveling force and equipping an ability that takes up precious ability slots to be able to cast Resta faster. But that was my attitude in PSP2, because resta casted a little too slow for me, and got me beat up sometimes. In PSP2i, Rods cast faster, and so does resta. I can now use my healing spells in the heat of battle, rather then restorting to healing items all the time, and only casting Resta when no enemies are around.
Thats about all the tweaks that I can remember, or have noticed for the moment. I really mean it when I say these little tweaks go a long way. They make the game so much more enjoyable, and make it feel more like the PSU that I loved, and really miss. I loved PSP2, but I always felt like it was missing something compared to PSU (the opposite of what EVERYONE else thinks, lol.) I find this game to be on par with *my* opinion of PSU. If you hated PSU thouh, don’t worry, you’ll still love this game if you liked PSP2. To me, PSU is one of my favorite games, the memories I have on that game, the fun timse I had with people just made it so much fun, and the gameplay in it was stress free and fun. PSP2 Infinity brought back t he feeling of stress free and fun gameplay, while also keeping the strategical challenge of PSP2. If you loved PSU or PSP2, get this, because its really worth it if you’re a huge fan.