Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

No. I'm not even going to review A Tale of Two Sons in depth, I wouldn't do it justice. Just buy it. Buy it and play it. What a brilliant piece of gaming.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bravely Default

For Christmas I got Bravely Default, which is great because I've been wanting to play it since it came out. So far it's been enjoyable. The art is reminiscent of Tactics, which I adored. The music, while not up to the immersion standard found in the Final Fantasy title (yet) is still wonderful, granted this is not a Final Fantasy title. The story has been fabulous, yet very Final Fantasy-esque (harmonious crystals and impending darkness, etc.) which seems a little strange given how mindful they were to set the titles apart. Not that it's a bad thing.

I won't go into too much detail pertaining to the story because A: spoilers, and B: I'm stilling playing it. While it has many Final Fantasy elements despite not part of the franchise, it also has a lot of JRPG elements similar to Tales games and Silver Star Story which isn't a bad thing. It may take you by surprise though. There is also a story-related mini-game that has a lot of potential.

What's really unique about the game is the combat system. It's based on a job system a la original Final Fantasy, Tactics, FFXIV, and so on. You obtain new jobs by defeating bosses and gaining their job Asterisk. Each job has its own unique skills, attributes, and costumes. During combat you have all the basic options: attack, magic, items, skills, escape, etc., but you can also either Brave or Default. This is where things get creative.

You can Brave to get more turns at once or you can Default to defend (taking less damage) and then Brave later without going into the negative. If you Brave without Defaulting, you have to wait however many turns you Braved for afterward. So depending on what/who you are fighting you may want to incur the wait penalty and Brave right away or you may want to Default to avoid a big incoming attack and then Brave later. Really depends on preference and situation!

If you put the 3DS into sleep mode with the game running rather than turning it off, you can also gain 1 SP every 8 hours this way for a maximum of 3. You can expend SP to immediately have your turn in combat. Whenever you want. This has the potential to be game changing if used correctly, it is, however, not necessary at all. So if you'd rather just turn your 3DS off, you won't feel entitled to leave it on.

The game makes use of the internet in fun ways. You can call upon friends for help during battles, you can fight people you've passed on the street gaining Nemesis, you can borrow friends' skills, you can gain villagers. Entirely optional, of course. The game seems to have a lot of neat, optional content. Which is also nice. You can partake, or not, and it's totally fine either way.

I have to say though that, as per usual, Square's English voice cast is... bad. However that is easily remedied by going into the settings and either turning the voices volume all the way down or setting it to Japanese with English subtitles just so that not everyone sounds like a emotionless 8 year old boy who had been raised by robots except for the women who sound like sexy 5 year old girls (???) who were otherwise also raised by robots.

You'll want to mess with these settings regardless because by default all the volumes are set to 8, which means they are all competing for your attention. All the time. It's not really problematic until there is a cutscene and you can barely make out what anyone is saying. I found turning the music to 5 and leaving the voices at 8 was a workable solution. Except then I could tell just how horrible the English voice acting was and had to go back in to make the previously mentioned changes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To The Moon

To The Moon
is an interesting little morsel of a game. Only about 3-4 hours in length, but really any longer than that would've been unnecessary. You see, the people at Freebird Games had a story to tell and it is good enough all on its own that it doesn't need any time sink bells and whistles. I absolutely LOVED the story in this game. It was unpredictable and intriguing.

The music? Nothing short of brilliant. It puts you right where you need to be while playing: in the game.

The mechanics were a little simple, but this game isn't about wading through hordes of enemies and random encounters, in fact it's an entirely noncombat game, so you don't need complicated key inputs to proceed. The focus is on the characters, their development, and the world they inhabit though, so this makes perfect sense.

Graphically, cut scenes aside, you may find it lacking by today's standards. It is reminiscent of something you may have played on the Sega Genesis or SNES with charming 16 bit sprites and colorful environments that are 2D. But trust me when I say this takes absolutely nothing away from a game, let alone this game.

Freebird spent a lot of time making sure that what they were putting out made certain that you (the player) would pay attention to the right thing: the story. Because it would be a great disservice to you for your attention while playing To The Moon to be anywhere else.

It doesn't have much re-playability, no more than a good book you may wish to dust off and read again might, but that's okay. They aren't charging an unreasonable amount of money for the enjoyment this game will give you, even if just the once.