Plans For The Summer

This summer, I’m getting two weeks off of college where I’m planning to do something. Not quite sure what yet, making go on vacation, maybe go on a trip with a friend. Maybe I’ll just walk around in circles, walk around in circles, walk around in circles… I freaking love that song, BTW. Nah, I’ll probably just go on vacation or hang out with my good friend 92Days. Whatever I do, I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

Been Playing Chroma Squad As Of Late

About a week ago, my brother-in-law got me a Steam card for my birthday. I don’t use Steam all that often, but when I went on this week I noticed a very awesome-looking game on sale. This game was Chroma Squad, a tactical turn-based RPG which is heavily inspired by Power Rangers. I used to love Power Rangers as a kid, so I snatched up the game without hesitation. It’s a very fun game and I look forward to reviewing it very soon on this blog! I highly reccomend getting the game if you are a fan of Power Rangers or Final Fantasy Tactics. It’s a bit on the short side (It takes about 10-12 hours to beat) but it is still a lot of fun!

Good Night, Sweet Prince

Prince was a great musician. I didn’t know him personally or know a lot about him, but from the few songs that I listened to that he sang I could tell he was amazing. A lot of people loved his music and I was no exception. It was a terrible thing to lose another great musician this year and I will forever remember the great tunes this man has played. Good night, sweet prince and may your tunes be forever remembered.

Birthday Weekend Was Great!

Yep, my birthday was just a couple of days ago and it was fantastic! In fact, the whole weekend surrounding my birthday was great. I got to see a friend I haven’t seen in months and hung out with him, went to a Chinese restaurant, and even got to see Spider-Man 1 which I haven’t seen in years. Then on Saturday I got to hang out with two of my other friends and was played some Scott Pilgrim on my X-Box. And today I got to see my sister and brother-in-law and had some general fun with the family. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Sweet As Syrup: Dust An Elysian Tail Review

Sometimes, a game comes along that is both unique and fun. Something that when compared to other games of its genre, fills you with a strange sense of joy while playing. In this case, the game would be Dust: An Elysian Tail. This interesting and quirky little Indie game features anthropomorphic animals, lots of sword-swinging, and an enjoyable (yet somewhat generic) story more to play through. I present to you all an Indie game that you won’t soon forget and let’s see if Dust is worth sweeping through.

Need To Know Information

Dust was originally envisioned as an animated film titled “An Elysian Tail”. While in the planning stages of the film, the man behind the project (Dean Dodrill) decided to create a game to go along with it. This game became Dust and was planned to only take three months to complete. Dean worked on the project mostly on his own and it ended up taking three and a half years to complete. The game was eventually released in the summer of 2012 to critical acclaim. Despite this, the animated film still hasn’t been finished or completed. The game is available on several platforms, but I’ll mainly be looking at the PC version of the game.

DustAETbox
From Dust to Dust and Ashes to Ashes. (Dust is property Humble Hearts and Microsoft Studio)

Plot

In this game you play as this squirrel-like character named Dust. Our titular hero awakens with no memories of his own. Alone in a strange land, Dust must find out who he is and what his purpose is. Dust is joined by a talking sword named Ahrah and a cute flying creature known as a “Nimbat” who happens to be named Fidget. The three of you set out on a quest across the land as you discover the secrets of an ancient war and uncover startling secrets about Dust’s past.

Generally, I enjoyed the plot a lot. However, it felt a little generic and predictable at times. Certain characters that gave you quests felt flat or generic and some story-based missions were just really bland. Despite that, most of the plot to the game is satisfying and is punctuated with some fairly good voice-acting and writing. Still, just be warned you won’t be getting an epic movie-styled story and that some of the writing in later parts of the game can a bit stale.

Gameplay

The game plays similar to Castlevania or Muramasa: The Demon Blade. You control Dust as you move around on a side-scrolling 2-dimensional plane. You attack using Ahrah and can use a variety of a different attacks. On top of this, you can use Fidget’s magic powers to amplify your attacks. The combat is easy enough to get hang of and you’ll find yourself doing 1000 hit combos in no time. On top of this, the game also employs an equipment system. You can acquire many healing items, equipment pieces, and even enhancements for your weapon over the course of the game. By acquiring blueprints, you can use the items you find in the world to create new equipment.

Likewise, the game also has an item shop that cane supply you with materials or healing items to aid you on your mission. The game also has some challenge missions that can get pretty grueling at times. Completing these challenges nets you much better rewards then the ones you earn in the main game. The game itself takes you through 5 different chapters which would most likely you collectively 8-10 hours to complete. The game features a fair amount of platforming sections, which get annoying if you aren’t used to this style of game. Some of these I found to be a bit irritating, especially the ones in the ice-caves.

After completing the main quest, there’s still a lot of areas to explore. The game is packed with secrets and side-content, which you can only access by gaining special abilities in the main quest. It provides enough incentive to go back and try to 100% everything. Something else I want to touch on is that the game employs a leveling system. Unfortunately, it’s pretty bare-bones in terms of character progression. You can only invest points into a set number of stats. In some cases, trying to max a single stat will make you so overpowered the game stops being fun. An example of this is when I maxed out my magic skill and all of my fireballs and lightning attacks became insane overpowered. All in all though, I found the gameplay to very satisfying.

Visual Stimuli

The game looks fantastic! Areas are luscious and a treat to look at. On top of this, the in-game character models look fantastic and each character looks amazing. Sadly, the cut-scenes do not feature this trend. The talking-head cut-scenes feature the characters in a kind of generic art-style. These cut-scenes make the characters look like somewhat amateurish fan-art. Despite this, I still think the game looks fantastic.

The game bolsters a great soundtrack that really helps amp up the feeling of this fantasy world. The voice acting in this game could use a little bit of work though. Most characters were well voice-acted, but there were sadly a few VAs that I felt soured the experience. I barely experienced glitches and found the frame-rate to be very solid. Generally though, the game looks and sounds great though despite the little hiccups.

In Summation

The game has extremely fun gameplay and a solid experience. The graphics look great despite some of the cutscene models looking kind of terrible. The game features solid action, yet has a rather bland leveling system. Despite some shortcomings though, I found myself thoroughly enjoying my time with Dust: An Elysian Tail. That’s why I can say without a doubt that the game is as sweet as syrup and definitely worth of an 8/10. I highly reccomend Dust if you’re a fan of Metroidvania-styled games and awesome hack-and-slash gameplay.

Sweet As Syrup: Fate Review

Believe it or not, for the longest time I had not played a single dungeon-crawler. I love RPGs in general but never tried a single dungeon-crawler until Dec 31st 2013. On that day, I got my first ever Steam card as a Christmas gift. I had never really used Steam until that point, but was undoubtedly interested in what Steam offered. So, I nabbed this game for about a buck to see what it was all about. This was the first dungeon-crawler I had ever played and man it was an enjoyable experience!

Need To Know Information

Fate was originally released for Windows PC and Mac in 2005. The game was developed by WildTagent and designed by Travis Baldree. The game has several expansions and sequels, all of which were released onto Steam with the original game.

Plot

In Fate, you play as a random adventurer sent into a large dungeon with multiple floors. At the final floor you encounter and ancient evil and destroy it. The ancient evil is always different every time you play the game as the game employs random generation. The story isn’t anything to write home about, really. Upon beating the game the first time, you are given the option of continuing to play the game with your current character or to retire him. If you retire him/her, you will gain a new character who will “inherit” a super strong item from the previous character you played as. It’s a simple story with a simple setup, yet it is not the real focus here…

Gameplay

Gameplay is where Fate excels most as the game boasts some rather entertaining dungeon-crawling. You play as an adventurer and gain new levels and skills by defeating enemies. On top of this, you can gain all kinds of different weapons and items. You can also enchant items using an enchanter who lives in town or a special anvil that can be found in the dungeon. The enchanting is always randomized though, so you may run the risk e of your item becoming insanely worthless.

The game is your typical hack-and-slash game. You click to attack, you can press hot-keys to drink potions, and you gather gold and equipment as you journey to the depths of the dungeon. What makes this game interesting however, is that you have a pet. Your animal partner can carry items for you, attack enemies, and can even be sent back to town to sell all the stuff you don’t want. It’s a really good system and it makes dungeon-crawling far more convenient. On top of this, you can feed your pet different kinds of fish to transform him into more powerful forms. Unfortunately, fishing is overpowered in this game and you’ll find yourself gathering transforming fish really fast.

Also, the game features special encounters in the dungeon that can reward you with rare items. The game always gives you the option of trying to nab the item or not as it could cause you extra trouble if you decide to do so. The game has no multiplayer, which is rather surprising. Usually dungeon crawlers have a mutliplayer feature which helps add to the replay value. Unfortunately, this game does not possess that feature. Generally though, I find this game to be solid despite a few shortcomings.

Visual Stimuli

I’ll be blunt here, this game has not aged well. The graphics look really dated as do the textures. On top of this, some of the character designs just seem really generic or boring. Heck, you can ever make a custom character that looks like Harry Potter! I’m not saying it is something that is completely awful, but it’s something that just draws my attention away from the game. Generally, I did not encounter too many glitches or frame-stuttering, which is something I really liked.

The part of this game I didn’t like was the music. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I generally found the music to be very bland. I felt like I was watching a commercial for Devry Institute every time I heard a track. It wasn’t anything awful, but it was just so bland it was forgettable. All in all, I felt the visual and audio elements of the game to be fairly lacking.

In Summation

Fate isn’t a terrible game or even a bad game, but it has its problems. It lacks any sort of multiplayer mode, the visuals are immensely dated, and there just doesn’t like there isn’t enough replay value. Still, I found myself enjoying the game quite a bit. It had its problems and hiccups, but it wasn’t enough to keep my from playing the game. That’s why I’m giving this game a 7/10. This game is definitely as sweet as syrup and I reccomend grabbing a copy on Steam if you interested. You can get the game dirt cheap on sale!

Started Playing Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days

I’ll be honest, when it comes to Kingdom Hearts I have not touched much of the series. I’ve only really played Birth By Sleep, yet know most of the plot for 1 and 2. Would I play Kingdom Hearts 3? Quite possibly. Now you’ve got all the Kingdom Hearts games being re-released in HD, so there’s a good chance I may go back and play some of the older games. Right now, I’ve been focusing on 358/2 Days. This is the Kingdom Hearts game that has a lot of people divided.

For one thing, the game focuses entirely on the villains of the series Organization XIII instead of on Disney or Final Fantasy characters. On top of this, the game featured a mission structure with rewards given to you at the end of each mission. This gave the game more of a Monster Hunter-styled structure to it. But hey, if you love the Organization you’d probably get a kick out of it. I’ll definitely have to play this game some more before giving it a full review!

Remembering Admiral Ackbar

Most of you have probably heard about the recent death of a Mr. Erik Bauersfeld. While the name might not sound familiar, the character he played should. Erik was best known for portraying Admiral Ackbar, the fish-like alien admiral from Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi and who also returned to play his character in last year’s Episode VII: Return Of The Jedi. Ackbar is a character most infamously known for his line “It’s a trap!” Ackbar doesn’t have a whole lot of scenes, but became known for his singular catchphrase. Since then, Ackbar has become something of a cultural icon. I love this character and it’s a shame that the man who brought life to him is no long with us. Rest in peace, Erik, may that galaxy you rest in far far away be a peaceful one.