Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Odin's Sphere Leifthrasir Review

Odin Sphere, Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Dragon's Crown are sort of a trinity of Vanillaware games people actually care about.  All three use George Kamitami's fantastic artwork and tell classical stories using certain mythological inspirations.  Among the trinity, I've always considered Odin Sphere to be the best one overall, even after playing Muramasa, a faster-paced game on a stronger system.

I got the original Odin's Sphere on a whim.  I was at Gamestop to buy a copy of The King of Fighters 11 and 13, but since there was a buy 2 get 1 free sale on used games I also got Odin Sphere, which I remember being referenced in Nintendo Power as one of the Muramasa creator's previous games.  Essentially I walked out of a store with the two greatest fighting games ever made and a decent action game.

There was a lot to like in Odin Sphere, but technological restraints of the time weighed it down a bit.  It could get too unforgiving, loading times for the pretty graphics added up, some of the enemies required exploiting some kind of arbitrary flow-breaking weakness and the final part of the game, without spoiling anything, is bullshit at worst and vague at best.

I beat it, but never got the best ending, as that required doing repeating a certain set of missions, refilling the success-critical items for each time and having to wait through several loading times.  If it weren't for all the little problems Odin Sphere had I would've finished it fully.

Even with those gripes it's still my favorite Vanillaware game thanks to its story, a classical mythological tale of dueling kingdoms, dragons, forbidden magic and the underworld told across five different characters with their own play styles.  With the wrinkles ironed out it could almost be considered a masterpiece.

Lo and behold, Vanillaware promised to make it the fantastic game it could be with Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, an HD update to the game for the PS3, PS4 and Vita.  With my fond memories driving me, I got the Vita version, because with Muramasa Rebirth and Dragon's Crown on there, why not complete the set?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends Review

The feats modern technology can achieve is amazing.  It feels like only yesterday I saw Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt on the original Nintendo DS and was blown away by the 3D graphics it could achieve.  Now with the 3DS and Vita, there are entire console games you can fit in portable systems.  Ocarina of Time, Super Street Fighter 4 and Tales of the Abyss are all on the 3DS while the Vita has games like the Blazblue games, Injustice: Gods Among Us and the God of War PS2 games.  That would have made my teenage head explode!

Handhelds have their setbacks, of course.  It almost never looks as good as a game's console version and the processing power doesn't match up, which is why a lot of gamers were skeptical about Hyrule Warriors Legends, the updated portable version of the hit WiiU game. Hyrule Warriors is a hack and slash crowd brawling game with a heavy emphasis on murdering enemies by the hundreds with flashy and fancy moves.  Unlike the far superior Sengoku Basara, a lot of these games from Tecmo Koei take place in many wide open areas, meaning a lot has to be rendered at a rapid pace.  The 3DS can do a lot with enough time, money and effort, but can it really pull off a game like this and keep all the elements that make it so fun?

The answer is a surprising yes.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

10 Game Soundtracks Suited for Guitar Hero

Who doesn't still get a kick out of Guitar Hero?  Average gamers may not have the dexterity to hold cords in specific fashions and tune real guitars, but we sure know how to rhythmically press buttons, and Guitar Hero used that to emulate a guitar's feel as well as challenge us with some of the most iconic guitar-heavy songs in music history.

Guitar Hero was a major party game franchise back in its heyday and is still a big favorite to this day even if all the old peripherals are no longer officially sold and all that's left is the new Guitar Hero Live.
I think the problem the original Guitar Hero games had was that they released too many games too fast and ran out of big-name songs to use, but that's only looking at the music industry.  If the eligible songs expanded to games, there's an entire medium they could use, full of challenging, catchy guitar jamming up there with the best of them.  Entire franchises are built on rocking tunes.  Look at how puny all the sections on this TVtropes page are compared to the Video Game one.

It's not like music needs lyrics.  Cliffs of Dover in Guitar Hero 3 and Frankenstein in the original game are both classics.

It's sad that the only thing qualifying for game music in a Guitar Hero game is recreations with the music creator and the Halo theme.

That's why to demonstrate the musical strength of games and just for fun, I'm making this list of 10 game/game franchise soundtracks that should be in a Guitar Hero game.  To show how impactful and challenging they are, for each I will pick out what I think would be the most difficult song to play and the most iconic song that every fan should know (usually opening or credits music).  There's only so much you can say about music in words, so this won't be especially text-heavy.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus Review

Senran Kagura 2 was my 2015 game of the year.  It enhanced everything that made the original game great, refined everything and packed it full of content and polish.  It had a huge assortment of costumes and accessories to play around with, the series first playable male character, an epic story with great enemy designs and the best soundtrack in a Senran Kagura game to date.

I recommend Senran Kagura 2 to any and all Nintendo 3DS owners.  It has some room for improvement, but is still an absolute must-buy.

Such a game is a bit of a tough act to follow, so I wasn't nearly as excited for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on the Vita, especially since it follows the more competitive aspect of Shinovi Versus.  I still got it, of course, in the Endless Summer Edition that came with a third 2-disc soundtrack, second art book and holographic cards.

That increase in content is indicative of Estival Versus itself, because it's definitely the biggest, fanciest Senran Kagura game yet.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review

Oh boy.  This game looks like a fun and interesting one that I would like to buy and own.  I shall go to the store and buy it to put on my shelf instead of getting it digitally, because Playstation Vita memory cards are expensive and fully-priced retail games take up several gigabytes in addition to the fact that digital distributors can take the games away at any time.  I am glad that I have a choice and the worst option is not being forced on me by a shitty, shitty company deserving of an eternity of being torn apart by flaming barbed wire on a regular basis.

That's odd.  I've gone to every store looking for the Vita version of the game, but I can't find it anywhere.

What's that?  I can't hold the game in my hand and have to suffer more wasted memory space like with J-Stars Victory Vs.?