Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dragon's Lair DS

"Dragon's Lair: The fantasy adventure where you become a valiant knight, on a quest to rescue the fair princess from the clutches of an evil dragon. You control the actions of a daring adventurer, finding his way through the castle of a dark wizard, who has enchanted it with treacherous monsters and obstacles. In the mysterious caverns below the castle, your odyssey continues against the awesome forces that oppose your efforts to reach the Dragon's Lair. Lead on, adventurer. Your quest awaits!"

That it is indeed. As the intro cinematic so enthusiastically states, Dragon's Lair puts you into the shoes of Dirk the Daring. Unfortunately, the action is closer to DDR than D&D. The player controls Dirk with the arrow keys and an action button, working off of the sometimes subtle indications in the scenes. The game shifts through the storyline through a set of scenes up to the final, climactic battle to save the princess from the evil dragon. The video is faithfully ported onto the DS, but there's nothing really new from the old arcade versions (game-wise). Once you beat the game, you can go back and watch each scene / the whole thing without interactivity. So no re-playability...

+ Fun Artwork/Video (Disney-esque animation, and a variety of death sequences)
+ Nostalgia

- No replay value

Final Evaluation: A fun distraction that'll last you as long as a bus ride. Not quite worth the 10-15 dollars. Find an emulator online and and play it if you're interested.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded

Finally, I've mustered the resolve to type up the review for Kingdom Heart Re:Coded. The game itself is definitely playable. I'm not to inured in the storyline of the KH series, so I won't go too in-depth with the story. Basically, you play a boy named Sora, who is tasked with clearing out Jiminy Cricket's journal after it has been possessed by viruses and glitches, represented by an infinite amount of cubes. Story elements are conveyed through either cutscenes (which look fantastic and are fully voiced acted), or slideshow-esque conversations. The action in the game is fairly straight-forward and designed well. Jumping from platforms is annoying sometimes; the auto-jump feature'll frustrate you. The enemies are varied, but they come in waves and battle can become quickly repetitive. There are several types of special moves that come in elemental flavors, which you can edit from the Command Matrix. You level up Sora through microchips dropped in battle or found, which unlock abilities and increase your attributes on the Stat Matrix. There's also a Gear Matrix for equipment (only the keyblade, overclocks and accessories can be changed). The touch screen is mostly used as a map, rendering it essentially superfluous.

+ Looks great, cutscenes, lore bonus for fans of the series
+ Customizable moveset
+ Battle system is fun
+ Disney humor

- Environments are somewhat lackluster
- Platforming is frustrating
- Battle is repetitive
- Boxes, boxes everywhere

Overall, the game would be fairly average on a console like the ps2, but on the DS, it's fresh and rather engrossing once you invest a bit of time into it. The boss levels add some new mechanics, but for the purposes of this review, I played through to the second boss. (The side-scrolling second boss level pissed me off.) Anyways, the game is fun enough, but I think fans of the series will enjoy it much more than I did.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light

4 Heroes of Light is a throwback to the old style of JRPGs that Square whatever became famous by. The premise starts with the "main" main character waking up and reporting for manhood duties or some such. To make a long story short, eventually the four heroes wind up being charged by a crystal presence to defeat an impending darkness. Familiar story, different system. The leveling up/class system in the game is affected by various crowns unlocked thought the events of the game, which can then be upgraded with gems the enemies drop. (Basically, two new hats per boss battle) The game is sometimes unclear when it comes to knowing where to go next, so you might spend a large amount of time soloing the Overworld in search of where to go if you don't talk to everyone and pay attention to what they say. (Also useful for the Storyteller class, which is based on how many people/animals you talk to) 4 Heroes of Light is a cute romp with a classic engine. Fans of old-style  JRPGs will enjoy.

+ Fun/cute art design
+ Plenty of classes and gear to choose from
+ Original enemies and plenty of variety in the towns
+ Nostalgia
+ Fire casting kittens. 'nuff said.

- May be difficult at first
- A lot of the game so far is soloing
- Lack of direction is somewhat frustrating. (The answer lies within the trees)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ghost Trick

This game - - - For the first time in at least five years, I booted up a game and played it for twelve hours straight.
+ The premise puts you in the boots of a recently deceased amnesiac man (although there are many occasions where they comment that ghosts don't need boots), trying to solve his own murder and has you beating foes with timed wrecking balls and saving innocents from giant chicken dinners.
+ The characters, though sometimes slightly generic and overly dramatic (Mr. Justice Minister) all stand out as individuals that mesh together the story.
+ Animations are fluid and honestly beautiful.
+ The music fits the title well and hardly ever gets old.
+ The puzzles are well designed and flow naturally from start to finish.
- One particular puzzle, Chapter 9, is painful to attempt.

I'm just now about halfway through Chapter 10 as a result of 9's difficulty, but Ghost Trick is managing quite easily to be possibly one of my favourite titles on the DS.

P.S. Ghost Trick and Phoenix Wright were directed by the same guy. woot!