Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hoshigami: Remix (NDS)

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Hoshigami is a remake of PSX classic that wasn't so classic. So let's go.

Story: The game's story is similar to the original with a few tweaks here and there. There is some good character development and a nice feel of depth without being to overwhelming. 4/5

The game plays like most tactical RPGs with an AP system different classes yada yada. Hoshigami though is a bit limited most characters and skills are all the same. There aren't really classes just whatever type of weapon you slap on someone. You can choose deities which help you learn magics but they don't do much for you in the long run. 3/5

It's a nice looking game not the all time best but definitely nice. 3/5

Hmm...the audio didn't jump at you it was a little to background elevator music like. It could have lent itself to the development of the story so much better. 2/5

Hoshigami isn't too long and to my knowledge there is no plus game stuff and if there is there just isn't enough in the game to warrant playing it. 2/5

Hoshigami has 1 fatal flaw causing it to sink its par at best. It has no striking elements, nothing that jumps out and makes you go "Yay! I love that!" It falls short simply by being to average. 3/5

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Etrian Odyssey (DS)

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Welcome boys and girls to another Sunday at Game Ranters. Today we'll be looking at this DS dungeon crawler from Atlus.

Story: The town of Etria has a mysterious and huge forest next to it that adventurers are invited to explore. You take the role of a new person in town who also wishes to explore this labyrinth. Your first step is make a guild where you can recruit as many people as you want, though your party can hold only five. After that you must receive an adventurer's certificate by performing missions for the main office in town. Once you have become a true guild, you do quests and missions and make your guild a great one. 2/5

Audio: There was nothing particularly inspiring about the music. It was there, it was decent, it was forgettable. 3/5

Graphics: The graphics are a bit lackluster at times, but they don't look bad. Every character has a drawn portrait that you picked when you created them, as do the NPCs. And these are all very attractive, in a cute sort of way. The dungeon is viewed in a first person, and while nothing is spectacular, you can see werhe you're going. 3/5

Gameplay: The game is a dungeon crawler, so you will view everything in the dungeon at first person. The game focus's on the idea that you will explore the map, which then fills in on the bottom screen of the ds. You can also add notations onto this map to indicate where events/treasures/gathering spots/certain monsters are located. Once you enter the dungeon, the only way out is through the entrance, which can be hazardous. Money is generally short, so after you stock up for the first time, be prepared not to have any for a while. You need money to rest at the inn and revive your fallen comrades. Monsters do not drop money, but rather they drop items which can be sold to the gear shop. These items in turn can be used by her to create new gear for you to buy. The monsters attack at random, and there is a time clock running in the corner that indicates day or night, or a new day when you can use your gathering skills again. The game runs on a fair steep difficulty. For the first few levels you should stick near the stairs because the monsters are less than friendly even for beginners. As your character's level up you get skill points which you can distribute to customize your character as you like. It's an interesting gaming style, but certainly not forgiving to those who are new to genre. 3/5

Replay: Replay would be based off if you wanted to go through it again with different characters, but as your guild can hold as many as you want, there's no reason. 2/5

Overall: The Game has some unique and interesting qualities, and I'm sure there are a handful of gamers out there that would truly appreciate them. I'm not one of them. I'd say if you're somewhat masochistic and want a good throwback to the old days of first person dungeon crawlers, this is for you. Otherwise, you might be better off finding something else. 3/5

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Touch the Dead (NDS)

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So this game is called "Touch the Dead" and you do...the end.

Gameplay: You're basically a guy who apparently moves along a track like a Disney ride and while doing this you use your stylus to shoot zombies in the brain. Frequently you run out of ammo and have to drag the little ammo bar from one end of the screen to the other. You'll have to practice it to get it right because if you miss the ammo bar and attempt to fire your empty gun you have to go through the whole..."Crap! Why won't my gun fire I'm apparently to stupid to remember I burned up the clip killing these things..." animation and die. 1/5

You're a prison inmate and suddenly all the doors open and you can escape...oh look conveniently placed gun and infinite supply of ammo. After that is just gets hazey and annoying. 1/5

Not bad could certainly do a lot better but I'm betting this games production team was a small group of ducks...underpaid lazy ducks...2/5

Crap music, bad voicing, and the game had no real ambiance. I again refer to the team of ducks...1/5

I couldn't even bring myself to finish it the first time and I'm not that self destruction to ever play it again. 1/5

Bad games have two uses in my mind. 1 So I can review them and inform you how terrible they are in a colorful manner, again the ducks. 2 So you can feed them to an annoying neighbor kid, pet, or salesman in hope that they mistake it for candy and choke. 1/5

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dawn of Mana (PS2)

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Welcome back, and let's begin with today's review of Dawn of Mana :D

Story: It all began when the elementals started telling each other the story of the world and the mana tree, though they had lived through it already. They tell of the boy who possessed the mana sword and the girl who became the mana goddess. You take on the role of Keldric, or as he's annoyingly known as, Keldy. Yes, he is the boy with the mana sword. He and his friend Ritzia wander the forest when their village is attacked. Deciding to go find the sacred beast that protects the petrified mana tree, they wander into a dungeon. Stuff happens, Kelpy fights monsters. They find a weird seed that attaches itself to Kelpy and turns into a sword. They fight a monster that is not the sacred beast, and Ritzia is taken prisoner by the invading force. So Keldy goes on a journey to save his little friend. Of course you are aided by a magical fairy who will cast spells for you when you need them. The story has some interesting aspects, and there's certain appeal to the background of the mana series. 4/5

Audio: The voice acting isn't bad, but I found the accents for all the mana spirits a bit unnecessary. Apparently the mana spirits all emmigrated from Europe. The music is also nice. Nothing outstanding, but soothingly beautiful. 3/5

Graphics: The graphics are 3d and manage to look good. The characters are well detailed as is the interactive world. Almost everything on the map can be messed with in some way (usually destroying or throwing) and the graphics seem to have accurate physics on it all. 4/5

Gameplay: And this is where it all comes crumbling down. As I mentioned the world is interactive, and you're expected to make use of it all. Use your somewhat awkward to control whip to grab objects and throw them at monsters. Push logs down hills, though they seem to turn before hitting the monsters more often than not. Besides your sword turning into a whip, you can shoot seeds from your hand, and when you meet some of the mana spirits, they'll give you more seed types to help hurt monsters. Finally you can fight with the sword, which is really just spamming the attack button. Each dungeon is laid out like a stage, so your accomplishments in each don't really carry over. You're expected to panic monsters but hurting them with the environment. This way you get medal drops that restore hp/mp or increase stats. The camera is awkward and it's hard to get good views sometimes. After each dungeon you're rated. To get prizes you must do really well on the stages. I found the whip horrible to control, and the panic mechanism annoying. It was almsot always easier to just attack than to try and send rocks at the enemies. 2/5

Replay: No thanks. Awkwardly making my through the first time was enough. 2/5

Overall: The plot of the game is somewhat interesting, at least the parts where the mana spirits are talking. Keldy isn't interesting and neither is Ritzia. The music is decent as is the voice acting (again...foreign spirits). The visuals aren't necessarily impressive but definitely appealing. But as said before, the gameplay kills it. If you like it, more power to you, but I wouldn't recommend it. 2/5