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Monday, February 18, 2013

Record of Agarest War Zero

A sequel that's really a prequel to its sequel


This piece has no image! Why not suggest one?


Story

The game starts with you, Sieghart, commanding a small group of soldiers with your lieutenants Eugene and Friedelinde as you fight the forces of darkness, however this battle has been going on for quite some time and has come to a stalemate. However, while resting in a small village, it is attacked my some goblins. After the squad defeats them and Sieghart gives chase, he meets a creature known as a Larva and a young mysterious girl, Mimelia. After being killed by the Larva, something happens to Sieghart that brings him back from death, with tremendous power and is able to ward of the Larva. Now Sieghart must uncover who this girl is and what this new power means.


Graphics 

The game intentionally has a bit of a dated feel (an old school look) while in battle and a anime style outside of battle (such as talking with people), which uses more animation than most games. Characters who are on screen will have small, natural movement to them, such as the diaphragm moving, blinking and hair swaying. In battle, characters will exhibit various types of skills and special effects that accompany them look very well done as do the battle fields.


Controls

The controls are, at first, a bit wonky (if you ever played Q'Bert, you may be able to adjust more quickly), as the battle field is not a straight up, down, left right setup. After a few battles though, you'll adjust and other than that there's no real use for anything else. Each character has a certain number of slots that skills can be allocated to, the number of slots depends on the character and weapon (some weapons have additional slots). Each slot has a type, ie. fire, water, wind, earth, physical, dark and more, only the right skill can be placed in the respective slots.

Music/Sound/Voice

For whatever reason, the voices are always in Japanese, there are no English dubs, only subtitles, which I believe are incorrect every now and then (I know what 'Konnichiwa' means, and it's not that). Music is pretty good, about what you'd expect from a JRPG game, dramatic during boss fights and more relaxed outside of that. Sounds are pretty generic for the most part, you'll hear the same 'sword hitting the bad guy' sound many times, but it's not terrible, and when you get injured, your character will make a grunt reminiscent of Link form The Legend of Zelda series.

Other

If you have a save from Record of Agarest War, you can use that to get some nifty items later in the game (not sure what they are as I don't have one). There's also a unique combat mechanism called 'Linking', which is utilized by having characters stand within another characters 'Extended Area' (these are simply smal squares that are unique to each character) and using the command list to pull of several attacks at once, occasionally resulting in unique skill combinations.

Once you've beaten the game, you'll start the next game, or more correctly, you didn't actually beat the game at all. There are 2 generations, what that means is you'll play as Sieghart, the hero, and then play as his child. Your child will change depending on who you decide to.... mate with and what 'combo cards' you have (combo cards are the unique cards you use near the beginning to create your Sieghart and earned through events in game).

After you've REALLY beaten the game, you'll be able to start a NG+ and/or play in the new unlocked dungeon that has much tougher monsters and carry those items over to your NG+. However, if you bought the DLC, only a small number of things carry over, which really sucks and is, in my opinion, asinine (why allow this MS? It's theft!)

Overall

Record of Agarest War Zero is a rather unique feeling game, even if it is a bit tough.

7.5/10.0

Pros
- If you want an RPG for Xbox, there aren't many to choose from
- Looks nice
- Will take a bit of your time

Cons
- Can be a tough game for those who don't like to grind
- Not a fan of the controls in battle
- Battles get repetetive
- If you buy any DLC, don't be surprised if it doesn't carry over from your New Game to New Game+, only New Game+ to New Game+ carries that stuff over

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dark Souls

PREPARE TO DIE



Story

Dark Souls doesn't really have a story, that is left up to you. The basics are that when the world was formed, dragons ruled. Humans eventually were born, found 'The Flame' and rose up against the dragons. They were successful, but at a price. The flames that supported them soon began to die and humans began becoming creatures that are simply called 'Hollow', mindless husks of their former self. You, like all undead (those who are not Human nor Hollow), are imprisoned as to try and stop the spread of the Darksign and set out on a pilgrimage to relight the flame.


Graphics

The graphics in Dark Souls are dark, depressing and dank. Which is good for this game as it gives you the feeling of dread and despair, which fits perfectly with this world. Textures look well done and special effects are rare, but done well. Foliage is done very well also, and you'll spend a fair amount of time in it.


Controls

Controls are rather basic, you get a few slots for spells, while other buttons will have you attack, roll, defend, etc. If you've played any sort of action adventure RPG game, you'll feel comfortable with the controls.


Voice/Music/Sound

There isn't much with voicing here, a few NPCs will talk when talked to, but they aren't frequent. Music and Sound however, are commonplace and are pleasing. Music can range from a low background sound to dramatic when facing bosses, but most of the time you'll be able to play without suffering from overbearing music. Sounds, such as walking, running, water, etc are also done to the same quality.


Other

There is a small amount of online play in Dark Souls as well. This comes in two forms, the co-op and versus. Co-op is playable after obtaining a certain item and allows other players to summon you into their world (or them into yours if you are human), this allows for more than one person to fight bosses. HOWEVER, if you've already beaten an areas boss, you cannot summon in that area.

Versus varies, normally, anyone who is a human can be invaded by another player, the two fight until one dies. Joining certain alliances will give you the ability to fight others who attempt to harm that alliances key members or protect an alliances territory. This is only possible though if you are in human form.


Overall

Dark Souls is a very tough, yet very rewarding game for those who have the skill to conquer it. Memorable characters and gameplay have earned it many awards and a sequel in the making.

9.0/10.0

Pros

- Tough and rewarding
- Unique gameplay
- Worth the frustration

Cons

- Tough (but rewarding)
- Weak online
- Sometimes feels TOO distant, deserted

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Death of A Series

So it's been forever since I've posted anything (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year), and after seeing a certain game on sale for $20, I thought I'd make another little opinion post.

As many know, I love the Resident Evil series, or what it used to be. It brings me great joy to say that RE6 was a huge flop, it sold at least 1,000,000 (one million) less than RE5 and has recieved mixed to bad reviews. Capcom took a big hit both financially and creditibilty wise. While I have never been happy to see a game fail, I am oddly satisfied by the failure of Resident Evil 6. Why? Let me list the reasons:

- Obviously, it deviates from what made the series great
- They are trying to appeal to the mindless fans that flock to the CoD series (yep, I'm a CoD hater too)
- They ignore true fans and give us crappy shit like Leon's Story, which is just god awful
- They haven't even bothered to REmake RE2 and RE3, which are the best in the series, but will make this crap without a second thought

Destructoid said it best, 'not just a step back for the series, it's a step back for commonplace, unassuming action-shooters' This is still an understatement, I will set it straight,

'This is a step back for both the [Resident Evil] series and any shooter in general. What's worse is that Capcom doesn't care, fans have made their desires clear, they want a reboot, a return to what made the series famous, yet they do nothing and only appeal to the mindless 12 yr olds that flock to the FPS genre.'

Feel free to use this if you want, I encourage it.

While you're at it, sign the petition to get RE2 remade. The devs have seen it, and have even hinted that if enough support is given, they'd strongly support making it. REmake Resident Evil 2 also, try signing this one, maybe if we get people to sign both we can get their attention REstore Resident Evil