marsy: Pokemon Alpha Sapphire

Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby have been out for almost two weeks now, so it’s been enough time for me to play through quite a bit. Here are my thoughts.

Contests make me angry. My pokemon are the best and I will tolerate no disagreements. Had to sit my 3DS down for a while after yelling at another pokemon for using a beautiful move and getting that fifth star for the special move that was MINE!! I’m calm. So calm. Right. Anyway, contests mean berries. I’ve never really cared much about berries in previous games, but in this one I’m super into them. Got to harvest all the berries and make some pokeblocks. Soon all my pokemon will be perfect. I am maybe a bit too into the contests, but oh well.

As for the rest of the game, I always did enjoy the Hoenn region. Needs more water stones though. Really liking the pokemon search function thing (forgotten what it’s called. Something nav maybe?). Also love the fact that you can fly to places other than the towns – makes my obsessive berry gathering easier.

I must also confess that I am amazing at nicknaming pokemon. My team members have some truly majestic names. So beautiful.

lorekai: Shin Megami Tensei IV First Impressions

It only took them more than a year, but Shin Megami Tensei IV has finally made it to Australia! Yay! What a reasonable amount of time to wait, when it made it to the US less than two months after it’s Japanese release, that small bitterness aside, I’m glad to finally play it, and it’s a pretty excellent game so far.

Good:

The first thing I noticed about this game was the quality of the soundtrack, it’s very atmospheric, and well put together. The voice cast is also of high quality, and none of character voices, that I’ve encountered so far, seem ill-suited.

The story seems very promising so far, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on choice, which leads me to believe that there may be multiple endings, if not story routes, which is always a good thing, especially for replayability. Furthermore it looks like it setting up to explore some interesting issues, though they do seem a little standard for the genre, I have high hopes that it will handle them well and that there will be more to it, there almost always is in a SMT game.

Bad:

So far, graphically, this game seems all over the place, for the most part it’s it’s an aesthetically pleasing game, with pretty in town backgrounds, character portraits and models, however the character sprites, when you are choosing which characters to talk to, are downright awful. They clash horribly with the aesthetic of the game, it looks almost like they ripped them from a much older game, they look that dated and out of place. It’s a minor irritance, but it’s served to make me much more aware of other aspects of the graphics which bother me.

Indifferent:

Gameplay so far seems pretty much like standard SMT-fare, you explore a dungeon, there are turn-based battles, and you recruit demons to fight for you. It’s fun, it’s addictive, and anyone familiar with the series knows that it works well, but thus far this game is missing one of the key elements that I enjoy most, and that is, the difficulty. I should not be able to stumble into a boss, even an early game boss, with my main character on 2hp and win without healing, that is not why I play Shin Megami Tensei games. I’m still early in the game though, so hoping that the difficulty will increase as I proceed.

 

That’s all, I’m off to play some more now, thanks for reading.

lorekai: Fantasy Life Review

This week, thanks to life finally not being in the way of gaming, and wordpress finally cooperating, I’ll be reviewing Fantasy Life, a 2012 RPG from Level-5, that only very recently made it’s way out of Japan.

post632290127372001402508315tT748

Story:

While suffering a little from predictability, overall Fantasy Life’s story is fun, lighthearted, and enjoyable, I would also however say that it is one of the weakest parts of the game. It is in no way a bad story, the characters are fun, and there is a good sense of self awareness, as it sidesteps the major story tropes of the genre, however due to this, and the game’s lighthearted nature, there is never any sense of urgency, even when plot events suggest that there really should be. Furthermore the story itself seems somewhat overly blatant in the themes it explores, which I would attribute some of the source of the predictability to, and while I would have no problem with this, it becomes a little tiresome when most of the major plot events feel like the same conflict being reiterated over and over again.

Gameplay:

Everywhere I look on the internet I see people trying to compare this game to Animal Crossing, and I can understand why people, without having played the game, would think that way, personally however, gameplay-wise I would sooner compare this game to Rune Factory, Dragon Quest IX, or even Skyrim, before Animal Crossing. As while this game does have a fairly similar customisation aspect, it makes up such a small part of the game, there is really no basis for the comparison to be made.

Gameplay-wise this game has a lot to offer, especially if you are a completionist, you have a fairly substantial world to explore, a large number of quests to complete, the wonderful distraction that is customisation, of both your home(s) and your character, secrets to uncover, and twelve different jobs to master. These jobs can be divided in to three different categories, combat, gathering, and crafting, each with their own different skills and gameplay elements, and while you can switch jobs whenever you like, I would definitely recommend starting with a combat or gathering based job, instead of a crafting one, unless of course you have lots of people available for multiplayer, as getting the necessary items, for crafting, will be quite irritating and costly initially, making it difficult to improve your rank.

The combat in this game is pretty simple, press “A” to attack which whatever weapon you have equipped, and run around to dodge enemy attacks, with different weapons and jobs adding other options, such as equipping a shield, or using a special attack. It’s nothing unusual, and it works well, particularly in multiplayer, furthermore each action has a skill level, and the more you do something the better your character becomes at it. Overall combat is fun and intuitive, though perhaps a little easy.

Sound:

It’s a Nobuo Uematsu soundtrack, need I say more? If I do then, it’s a fantastic soundtrack, with a good range of tunes, appropriate for the setting and themes in game, and contributing well to building the lighthearted atmosphere of the game. Perhaps not one of his strongest soundtracks, though that could be due to my continued playing of Theatrhythm creating an unfair comparison, but still one that is far above the average, but again it’s Nobou Uematsu, need I say more?

Graphics:

Graphically this game shines, true there are games out there that are prettier, but this often seems to come at some form of cost, like the severely limited towns in Bravely Default, whereas Fantasy Life has consistent quality across all areas, and uses colours well to create a detailed, vibrant, and sometimes quite beautiful world to explore. Furthermore the character designs are downright cute, and there is a huge range of character customisation available, I’ve streetpassed more than fifteen people with this game and I’ve yet to come across any characters that look the same.

Overall:

Fantasy Life is an excellent game and one I would recommend that almost anyone should give it a try, regardless of their interest or experience with jrpgs, it has a lot to offer in terms of gameplay, as well as a fun story, all of which is extremely well presented both visually and aurally. Also you can have pets and take them on quests with you, and who wouldn’t want to go adventuring with their cats?

Thanks for reading!

lorekai: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Released in 2012, the original Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was the game that convinced to look past the reservations I had regarding the 3DS, so it seems only right that I review it’s recently released, and pretty awesome sequel. Before I begin though, I just want to say, if you played the first game and liked it, you should definitely pick up Curtain Call.Theatrhythm_Curtain_Call_LogoStory:

It has one, sort of, or at least there is a prologue when you start the game, and as it’s a rhythm game I wouldn’t really expect much more. It has characters as well, so many characters, multiple from every Final Fantasy game with music present, they say various things relevant to their game of origin, and pull various faces when you start a song, it’s cute.

Gameplay:

As mentioned previously, this is a rhythm game, so you input commands in time to music, based on what is scrolling along the screen. The songs are sorted into three different types, battle, field, and event music stages, they each have their own minor differences, but the gameplay is pretty much the same.  It’s fun, addictive, and is one of those gameplay styles that is simple to grasp, but a challenge to master. Unlike it’s predecessor, this game offers different options for inputting commands, you can use the stylus, the buttons, or a combination of the two, it’s is a nice addition as it increases the portability of this game, as with it’s stylus only controls the original game was quite unwieldly for use on public transport or the like.

This game also offers several different modes of play, all of which are pretty fun.

Music Stages offers you the chance to just select a song from any of the games and play, it’s also has a handy random option, if you are like me and have trouble making decisions, especially considering the extensive range of songs.

Quest Medleys are the the equivalent of the Chaos Shrine in the previous game, except vastly improved. It has a better range of difficulties and you are guaranteed to get shards at the end, making unlocking new characters much less of a chore, the only downside being they are comprised of several songs it does take significantly longer to go through one compared to a Chaos Note.

Versus Mode allows you to play battle stages against AI, people locally, or people online, in order to win collectacards, which can be used to improve your characters. Local and online play pretty much the same, you each pick a song you want to play, the game will then decide which one (if you are playing against marsy it’ll always pick her choice), and then you play. As you play it will build up a gauge, and once that is full it will unleash various things to hinder your opponent. Versing the AI is very similar except that you don’t get a choice in the song you play.

Sound:

Is excellent, I don’t think I need to say much else.

Graphics:

Graphically this game is very much a polished version of the previous one, it also seems to have been better optimized for the larger screen of the 3DS XL, and while some people might criticise it for it’s simplicity, I think that it is a design choice that works well for the type of game that it is, and not one made out of laziness. It’s colourful and visually appealing, but not in a way that detracts focus from what you need to be paying attention to, and I love the chibified characters, they’re so cute.

Overall:

The only things about this game that I really have to complain about are, that the event music stages from the previous game aren’t making a return, that the menu screens are less aesthetically pleasing, and that it’s somewhat annoying that you can’t edit your party in the Music Stages area, and these are all fairly minor things to me. This game is excellent, and if you like Final Fantasy music, I would definitely recommend picking it up, even if you have no sense of rhythm, trust me I don’t.

Also if you have the game already and would like some easy ranking points, I’d be more than happy to verse anyone, I’m no good, but it’s good fun. Thanks for reading.

 

marsy: Tomodachi Life

I became the proud owner of Tomodachi Life for the 3DS the other day (yesterday, I think. I’ve lost all track…). First impression – it’s hilarious! For those who don’t know, this game involves caring for an island full of Miis you’ve created/got from someone else. So, I have an island populated by my family, some friends, and three Nintendo staff because I need more islanders (if you’re reading this and have Tomodachi Life, please give me your QR code!). It’s really quite entertaining watching people you know doing all these strange things, like rolling about on the floor when bored, ninja running with friends when they come over, meeting up to put makeup on together, having some of the most bizarre dreams, rap battles, etc.

My only complaint is that you can run out of things to do quite quickly unless you have lots of islanders (I assume). Also some of the problems can only be solved by getting an item from another islander, but they aren’t always forthcoming (I need a disposable camera, damn it!).

I would recommend Tomodachi Life to people who are entertained by watching representations of people they know doing stupid things. I am one of those people. Speaking of doing stupid things…

sillykitten

Animal Crossing Adventures!

 

lorekai and marsy had an adventure in Glitter (the other Angry Alpha Nerds weren’t invited)


HNI_0019

Fauna and marsy waiting for the action to start!

HNI_0052

Dance party on the bench, we’re so cool!

HNI_0021

“It’s so mellow!”

HNI_0059

“It’s so mellow!”

HNI_0064

Jitters warned marsy of this attack, but she didn’t listen. Or attempted axe murdering gone wrong.

HNI_0065

Drum duet, yeah! Rocket didn’t clap, the bitch.

HNI_0068

marsy is good at tidying? Good thing lorekai has an eye patch.

HNI_0069

Wheat! It’s so mellow!

HNI_0082

marsy’s Animal Crossing room is like her real room.

HNI_0025

“Push your furniture to the walls!” “But I like it like this”

HNI_0024

The great light battle of our era, lights go on, lights go off.

HNI_0084

“Check my fabulosity!”

HNI_0028

Groucho wanted a friendlier greeting, the fool.

HNI_0027

“We can do it!”

HNI_0091

“Check out my aurora dance!”

HNI_0094

“Wait, you were taking photos?”

HNI_0097

Going out clubbing on a Friday night!

HNI_0030

Don’t like almonds or salad…

HNI_0005

“Stop watering the ocean, you’ll get it wet.”

HNI_0007

Really? So modest…

HNI_0037

This is why marsy can’t have nice things, also known as, lorekai likes to vandalise signs!

HNI_0099

Some of you might get this reference…

HNI_0040At least lorekai posed!

lorekai: Bravely Default Review

Today I’m reviewing a game that has been taking up the majority of my free time recently.

bravely_default_boxart_europe

Story:

The story, while somewhat generic, is well written with some interesting twists and added depth keeping it interesting. The characters are also a little on the safe and generic side, with each of the standard jrpg tropes being represented. They are again however well written with none of them feeling superfluous to the story, and with the addition of the optional Party Chat conversations they are given enough depth and personality that they don’t feel flat.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is fairly standard jrpg fare, you explore dungeons, visit towns, traverse the world, and fight lots of battles, or not many battles as this game comes with the wonderful option of switching random encounters off. You can also increase them and switch on auto-battle for grinding made easy. The battle system in this game is a fairly traditional turn based one, but with the interesting twist of the Brave and Default options, which allow you to defend and save turns for later use or use turns in advance. This game also has a job system very reminiscent of Final Fantasy V’s, allowing for great variety in party composition and for some very fun combos. Aside from the main story quests, there are also a great deal of side quests and the streetpass based village rebuilding, which offers unique items and optional bosses.

Sound:

The game has a very pretty soundtrack and excellent voice acting, with many of the scenes being fully voiced. My only complaint about the sound would be the lack of variety in the soundtrack, as while it is good, it gets very repetitive about 20 hours in, and as this is a game that could easily go past 60 hours for a single playthrough a few additional pieces of music would have been much appreciated.

Graphics:

Bravely Default is a very beautiful game, the background art for the game’s towns is particularly outstanding and detailed. When I initially saw the first town, I was quite stunned by how pretty it was and the level of detail. The dungeons, world map, and battle screens, are also very well presented and pretty, though the battle screens do lack somewhat in variety and I would of liked if the inside of shops and inns were shown.The character models in this game are another thing it does well, the art-style is cute and well fitted for the overall aesthetic of the game. The huge range of different costumes is also quite impressive, with each character having a unique costume for the 24 different jobs.

Overall:

Overall I’d say that Bravely Default is an excellent game and definitely worth picking up. While it does play it safe in some areas, it is a great deal of fun and an great callback to the earlier Final Fantasy games.