Smite Game Review From a Girl That’s Never Played MOBA Games

I began playing Smite with a friend last week. It’s my first time playing a MOBA game. I’ve avoided them because I heard how competitive they can be, such as league of legends. I’ve been playing it for a few weeks, but only last week for any real length of time or effort. Sorry if you played with me the last few weeks; I’m sure that I cost you to lose some matches, because I had no idea how to play for the first few weeks. I still don’t really, but I’m getting at least a little better. It does have a kinda steep learning curve, well for me at least. You have to understand, I typically go for “artistic” games which emphasize story over action – in fact some have no action at all, while others have “turn based combat” – so for me to be in real time combat and have to be “situationally aware” also known as “standing in stuff is bad” lol, well it takes some getting used to!

But eventually, you do get used to these things. And when I stopped dying every five seconds, and learned how to play, and also, bought a mouse (I was playing only with keyboard at first), well then I began doing better, and having fun.

After learning WTF to do in this game, I was able to score highest player damage (against
After learning WTF to do in this game, I was able to score highest player damage (against “gods”) and highest “minion damage” (against lesser monsters) in one of my recent matches.

Title: Smite

Genre: MOBA

Platform: PC, PS4, Xbone

Developer: Hi-Rez Studios (they’re also the publisher of this game)

Geeky: 5/5  – High marks for achievement systems, variety of characters, classes, game modes, UI system, fluid controls, skill system, items and inventory, and production values.

Sweetie: 3/5  – High marks for character customization and “cute” graphics and characters. Loses a few points for no story (not that games like this need one).

Overall: 69/90 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 After about “20 hours” of play time, here are my initial thoughts on this game. First off, it’s free which is great! There’s lots of different game modes which makes it fun. You can play with people online, which could mean, you can group up with your friends, or join a search to get matched with random users online, and then also either play against friends, random users, or even AI computer controlled opponents. There are a ton of different characters, fitting different “roles” such as tanks (called guardians), mages, rangers, assassins, melee DPS, or hybrid roles. Not only are the roles diverse, but so are the characters’ appearances, and made even more diverse by unlocking or purchasing dozens of different “skins” for each character. There are achievements, both within the game, as well as steam trading cards, and different ways to progress through the game. You get rewards even just for logging in every day (like a lot of free or mobile games give to their players), so you could unlock different characters and/or costumes without having to purchase from the cash shop if you wanted.

Gameplay: 8/10 – As I mentioned, there is a tiny bit of a learning curve if you’ve never played a MOBA, or if you’re not used to fast paced competitive and action oriented gameplay. However, through trial and error, you’ll quickly learn to play (and not stand in stuff) (and learn when to run back to base to heal lol).

In the game’s defense, there is a really nice tutorial that walks you through many different game modes. I should have spent more time in the tutorial before rushing out to play with other people online, but let’s be honest, playing with other people is more fun.

There are different game modes including Arena, where you kill gods and minions or escort your minions to the other team’s “goal” (which is a giant portal), while defending your own portal. The other game modes all involve pushing past the enemy defenses by destroying their towers and defending your towers. The other game modes differ in how many “lanes” each map has. Some only have one lane, while others have 2, or 3 lanes.

Some game modes allow you to choose which character you want to play as, while others randomly assign a character to you. You have to be fast to select your character, for one thing, you’re timed, but more importantly, if someone else chooses that god, it becomes unavailable to you for that match, first come, first served.

The different characters all have different abilities and different strengths and weaknesses, so finding one that matches your play style, can be a bit of trial and error at first. I prefer rangers because I can attack and be mobile at the same time, and I can let others take the brunt of the damage.

Anyways, gameplay typically consists of dividing up who to go where in the “lane style” games. You’ll likely be asked to help defend and push through one of the different lanes. Since most matches have more players than lanes, you might have another player to assist you, but not always. The game however, will spawn minions for you (as well as for your opponent), and you can let them charge ahead to take the damage from the enemy towers while you help destroy their towers, gods, and minions.

If at any time, you find yourself overwhelmed, your minions defeated, or low on mana or health, you can return back to your base to heal and also to purchase items, equipment, or upgrade your skills (you can also upgrade skills outside of the base too but inside the base you can take a few minutes to plan your next move.). You can also set skill and item purchases to “auto” which is the default setting. This allows you to not have to worry about remembering to spend skill points or gold, but forces you to give up the customization aspects of building your own character. Because of the fast action nature of this game, I find it easier to just leave everything on auto which lets me focus on the action instead of worrying about the particulars of my character.

These “lane style” games end whenever one team’s “Titan” has been destroyed. To reach the titan you must focus on defeating towers and phoenixes. There are also smaller camps of monsters that award various buffs to your team members.

Arena is much more “free for all” – it’s a small map with no lanes, no towers, no phoenixes, etc, just you against the other team, in an almost olympic sport like event as you try to feed minions into the opponent’s portal while keeping minions out of your own, and killing as many enemy players as possible to earn more points. The arena matches end whenever one team’s point total is taken to zero. The team who still has points remaining is the victor.

In all game modes, your character will always start at level 1 and then quickly gain experience and gold. As you gain levels your character becomes stronger and you can spend skill points to upgrade their abilities or use the money you’ve earned to buy new gear.

There are ranked matches and “tournament seasons” as well for more competitive players – I’ve not tried these features yet.

As mentioned, the game lets you play online with friends, with random users, or with, or against, artificial intelligent “bots”.

There are also special in-game events that unlock gods for you to play temporarily or award you with new skins, icons, and achievements.

Story: 1/10 – There’s really no story, which is no surprise given the nature of the MOBA genre. There is some loose overarching theme and a bit of backstory for each character – the main idea being that they are all different gods from different cultural mythology, ranging from African, Egyptian, Roman, Chinese, and many more. This concept is rather interesting, but by no means has any real impact on the game.

Characters: 8/10 – Although there is no story (aside from a brief blurb about the mythos that your character represents), so no character driven dialogue or much personality here (aside from each character being voiced and having numerous taunts and sayings that they will repeat as you play), there are a ton of characters.

Character customization is also fascinatingly high in this game, both from a visual standpoint (if willing to spend money in cash shop or work to unlock skins), but also from a technical standpoint by allowing you to choose your characters’ skills and progression as well as equipment each game.

There are dozens of different character classes as I mentioned above, ranging from melee, to tanky types, to ranged or magical DPS. Each one, although maybe similar to some of the others within their “class”, also displays it’s own unique abilities and strengths and weaknesses.

Many characters will be locked and unavailable to you unless a special event is going on, or you choose to purchase the character via the cash shop or with special in-game currency.

Graphics: 9/10 I’m giving this high marks due to the different skins, also the animations and effects are cute and clever. The graphics aren’t amazing by any means, but they’re not bad either, about average, or what would be expected of “next gen” games these days. The graphics show a lot of personality and endear the characters to the players.

Music: 8/10 The music is actually pretty good! But I have to deduct a few points just for a lack of variety in the soundtrack, either through a low number of tracks available, or a general feeling of “sameness” between a lot of the music. However, the music is fitting well with the theme, of mythology and gods and mystery. It has a large and vibrant feeling like you might expect when walking through temple halls dedicated to Zeus or Ra or some other long forgotten god.

Voice Acting: 7/10  The characters are all uniquely voiced and it adds more personality and charm (something this game has in spades). Your characters will spout off short one-liners when you take down an enemy, when they get defeated, or when using different abilities. There’s not a ton of voice acting, and there aren’t any deep, emotionally driven lines delivered here, but the charm that it adds to the game makes it that much more fun and unique.

Replay Value: 10/10 – This is a game that you pick up and play for 20 minutes, or easily sink several hours into at once. There are so many different characters to try, as well as different ways in which to customize the abilities and equipment of those characters. Combine that with the several different game modes and the ability to unlock achievements, skins, and new characters as you continue to play. This keeps the game fresh, exciting, and accessible which makes replaying the game very enjoyable.

Overall: 69/90 77% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Smite Game Review From a Girl That’s Never Played MOBA Games was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

The Letter, a New Horror Visual Novel Kickstarter Campaign Half Way to Funding With 5 Days Left

I got an email today about a kickstarter campaign for a new horror visual novel inspired by Japanese horror films such as Ringu and the Grudge. It’s currently half way to funding with only 5 days left.

It features 6 playable characters, fully animated sprites, and quick time events similar to telltales gaming mechanics.

There’s a playable demo also on the kickstarter page.

There’s a number of trailers and visuals for this game, and it looks great. So if you like anime, visual novels, or horror, please consider donating to this project so that we can all play the finished game when it comes out.

There are numerous bonuses for those who back the project on kickstarter, as well as several awesome stretch goals related to the game as well.

For $13 you will receive a digital copy of the game (only 5 left at this price) and for $50 you can get a physical copy (on a disc).

Check out all the cool rewards here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yangyangmobile/the-letter-2?ref=project_tweet

 

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The Letter, a New Horror Visual Novel Kickstarter Campaign Half Way to Funding With 5 Days Left was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Valkyrie Profile Review

Valkyrie Profile Review:
Title: Valkyrie Profile
Publisher: Tri-Ace and Squaresoft (Square-Enix)
Release Date: PS1 2000; PSP 2006
Platforms: Playstation 1, Playstation Portable

Overall Score: 51/70 72.86% C- Good Game For Girls

Where to Buy: The Playstation One Disc is Regarded as a Collector’s Edition and goes for upwards of $400 on places like ebay and amazon. You can see the current value of this edition here: LINK

Meanwhile, the PSP version is a more reasonably priced alternative, at just $50 – It’s also very rare, at time of this writing only one copy was available on Amazon which you can track here: LINK

Geeky Factor:  geekygeekygeeky

Sweetie Factor:  sweetiesweetie

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Overview: Valkyrie Profile is an old playstation 1 rpg, which later got remade with additional cutscenes on the playstation portable. The game focuses on collecting different characters and leveling them up before sending them to Valhalla to battle in Ragnarok. It is steeped in Norse mythology and each character has it’s own little side story. The trick is that time is passing as you explore the dungeons and if you want to get as many characters as possible you’re going to be hard pressed to complete everything in enough time. This also increases the replay value of the game allowing you to meet new characters each playthrough. You play the game as Lenneth, a valkyrie who is responsible for guiding the souls of brave warriors after their death. Lenneth herself has a troubled and tormented past which is slowly unveiled as you play through the game.

Gameplay: 9/10 The gameplay is a combination of action-rpg / platformer while exploring the dungeons, but it turns to turn based rpg combat when encountering an enemy. Enemies can be seen on screen and can be avoided, or engaged early to try and get the upper hand in battle. The battle is fast paced even though it’s turn based. You can chain your characters’ attacks for big bonuses and hit combos. This makes combat feel fluid and dynamic. There’s also special finishing moves which can be executed if your group has enough energy when the enemy is knocked down. You command each character with the push of one of the buttons (Square, X, Triangle, or Circle), I do not believe that the battle animations can be turned off, and after awhile, they do tend to get repetitive and slow down the combat some. The dungeon exploration gameplay feels fun and intuitive. You will jump, slide, climb, and build while traversing the dungeons. It is reminiscent of castlevania in this regard. The dungeons also feel adequately large and have lots of hidden goodies for the would-be explorer. At save points you can divine items and save your progress, there’s generally 2 or 3 save points per dungeon. And for those looking for a challenge, the game offers 3 gameplay modes, easy, normal, and difficult. If you play on easy, you are penalized into only having a few characters available to recruit. Aside from the basics mentioned here, the other main gameplay mechanic is the recruiting of characters for Ragnarok. Time passes as you explore dungeons and so you must decide where to go and what to do. It’s almost impossible to recruit every character in a single playthrough which makes this game highly replayable since a majority of the storyline is told through these characters you recruit.

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Story: 9/10  The storyline has 3 different endings for you to achieve, and as mentioned above, depending which characters you successfully recruit you are shown different “side” stories which help bond and endear the cast to you as you play. Due to the nature of the theme, death, and rebirth, etc, there are lots of tragic melodramatic moments. The story borrows heavily from Norse Mythology while throwing in a few unique twists and turns along the way.  You control the story mostly through your valkyrie seal level and evaluation level (two separate features). The other story mechanic involves who you send to Ragnarok and when you send them, and if you yourself decide to go to the final battle as well. Many people consider the “good” (or happy) ending to be very difficult to receive without referring to a guide or walkthrough. There’s one I found on Google here: SPOILER WARNING IF YOU CLICK HERE http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Valkyrie_Profile/Endings

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Concept: 10/10 The unique blend of action and traditional rpg elements as well as the ability to find dozens of unique party members, and the replay value of this game, earn it a 10/10 for overall concept and design.

Characters: 8/10 There are many characters in this game, and some are more fleshed out than others or have more interesting tales, but I think by and large, each story is unique, and collecting all of the characters is one the main attractions of the game. Therefore I give the characters 8/10.

Graphics: 4/10 – I don’t want to be too hard on this game, really, I don’t. I love love love this game. If I was going simply by how much I adore this game, everything would get 10s. But sadly, I must try to be objective. The graphics are old of course, since the game is now 15 years old, and even it’s remake is 9 years old already. That’s not the real problem, my problem is that not only are the graphics oldschool/retro style, but just really low quality. the textures look bad, grainy, pixelated, the sprites don’t look much better. The portraits for each character are nice, they give it a storybook, or painted feeling, but the environment textures and character and monster sprites are just very low quality. I also dinged it a few points for not being able to disable the battle animations which can be lengthy and repetitive.  I also was personally not impressed by the remakes cut scenes, which other reviewers have cited as the highlight of this remastered edition. The textures also seem low quality even in these new cut scenes. I think they could have used more shading and some more details especially in things such as clothing or hair, or even her wings they just don’t have enough detail. And it’s not just a tell of the times/limitations of the hardware, as I’ve seen other PSP games with crisp and clean textures and more details.

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Music: 10/10 I really like the music in Valkyrie Profile – what can I say, it just works, it helps set the tone in the both battle and dramatic or heart-moving story sequences. It’s varied enough that it doesn’t feel repetitive nor annoying, and several tracks remain memorable even after you finish playing the game.

Voice Acting: 1/10: CRINGE WORTHY voice acting. You can find patches online to “undub” this game, and I highly recommend it! The english voice acting is so bad…. like… 80s/early 90s anime kind of bad. It’s Baaaaadddd….. lol.  The first warrior you meet to recruit, reminds me almost of william shatner with his dramatic random pauses. He also doesn’t seem to have a good range capable of emotion, his performance is flat and monotone. I wish that he were the exception, but many other characters are also just as bad. It really detracts from the sentimental impact of the story, because their delivery is just so off. It doesn’t seem like it matches the same emotions the characters are experiencing and really kills the mood of the game for me at times. Also to note: In the original Japanese version EACH character is voiced by a different actor. In the English version, they use about 6 actors to voice a cast of over 30 characters :( That’s just cheap and lazy if you ask me. Do yourself a favor and download the Japanese voices and patch them back into your game. :) It really enhances the entire experience.

Conclusion: Looking past these few flaws, I would encourage you to give this game a chance if you have yet to experience this cult classic in rpg history. It’s fun fast paced gameplay and heartfelt storytelling will hook any gamer. There’s also a sequel called Valkyrie Profile 2 Slimeria

Final Scores:

Gameplay: 9/10

Story: 9/10

Concept 10/10

Characters 8/10

Graphics 4/10

Music: 10/10

Voice Acting: 1/10

Overall: 51/70 72.86% C- Good Game For Girls

Valkyrie Profile Review

Valkyrie Profile Review

Valkyrie Profile Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Valkyrie Profile Review

Valkyrie Profile Review:
Title: Valkyrie Profile
Publisher: Tri-Ace and Squaresoft (Square-Enix)
Release Date: PS1 2000; PSP 2006
Platforms: Playstation 1, Playstation Portable

Overall Score: 51/70 72.86% C- Good Game For Girls

Where to Buy: The Playstation One Disc is Regarded as a Collector’s Edition and goes for upwards of $400 on places like ebay and amazon. You can see the current value of this edition here: LINK

Meanwhile, the PSP version is a more reasonably priced alternative, at just $50 – It’s also very rare, at time of this writing only one copy was available on Amazon which you can track here: LINK

Geeky Factor:  geekygeekygeeky

Sweetie Factor:  sweetiesweetie

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js//

Overview: Valkyrie Profile is an old playstation 1 rpg, which later got remade with additional cutscenes on the playstation portable. The game focuses on collecting different characters and leveling them up before sending them to Valhalla to battle in Ragnarok. It is steeped in Norse mythology and each character has it’s own little side story. The trick is that time is passing as you explore the dungeons and if you want to get as many characters as possible you’re going to be hard pressed to complete everything in enough time. This also increases the replay value of the game allowing you to meet new characters each playthrough. You play the game as Lenneth, a valkyrie who is responsible for guiding the souls of brave warriors after their death. Lenneth herself has a troubled and tormented past which is slowly unveiled as you play through the game.

Gameplay: 9/10 The gameplay is a combination of action-rpg / platformer while exploring the dungeons, but it turns to turn based rpg combat when encountering an enemy. Enemies can be seen on screen and can be avoided, or engaged early to try and get the upper hand in battle. The battle is fast paced even though it’s turn based. You can chain your characters’ attacks for big bonuses and hit combos. This makes combat feel fluid and dynamic. There’s also special finishing moves which can be executed if your group has enough energy when the enemy is knocked down. You command each character with the push of one of the buttons (Square, X, Triangle, or Circle), I do not believe that the battle animations can be turned off, and after awhile, they do tend to get repetitive and slow down the combat some. The dungeon exploration gameplay feels fun and intuitive. You will jump, slide, climb, and build while traversing the dungeons. It is reminiscent of castlevania in this regard. The dungeons also feel adequately large and have lots of hidden goodies for the would-be explorer. At save points you can divine items and save your progress, there’s generally 2 or 3 save points per dungeon. And for those looking for a challenge, the game offers 3 gameplay modes, easy, normal, and difficult. If you play on easy, you are penalized into only having a few characters available to recruit. Aside from the basics mentioned here, the other main gameplay mechanic is the recruiting of characters for Ragnarok. Time passes as you explore dungeons and so you must decide where to go and what to do. It’s almost impossible to recruit every character in a single playthrough which makes this game highly replayable since a majority of the storyline is told through these characters you recruit.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js//

Story: 9/10  The storyline has 3 different endings for you to achieve, and as mentioned above, depending which characters you successfully recruit you are shown different “side” stories which help bond and endear the cast to you as you play. Due to the nature of the theme, death, and rebirth, etc, there are lots of tragic melodramatic moments. The story borrows heavily from Norse Mythology while throwing in a few unique twists and turns along the way.  You control the story mostly through your valkyrie seal level and evaluation level (two separate features). The other story mechanic involves who you send to Ragnarok and when you send them, and if you yourself decide to go to the final battle as well. Many people consider the “good” (or happy) ending to be very difficult to receive without referring to a guide or walkthrough. There’s one I found on Google here: SPOILER WARNING IF YOU CLICK HERE http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Valkyrie_Profile/Endings

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Concept: 10/10 The unique blend of action and traditional rpg elements as well as the ability to find dozens of unique party members, and the replay value of this game, earn it a 10/10 for overall concept and design.

Characters: 8/10 There are many characters in this game, and some are more fleshed out than others or have more interesting tales, but I think by and large, each story is unique, and collecting all of the characters is one the main attractions of the game. Therefore I give the characters 8/10.

Graphics: 4/10 – I don’t want to be too hard on this game, really, I don’t. I love love love this game. If I was going simply by how much I adore this game, everything would get 10s. But sadly, I must try to be objective. The graphics are old of course, since the game is now 15 years old, and even it’s remake is 9 years old already. That’s not the real problem, my problem is that not only are the graphics oldschool/retro style, but just really low quality. the textures look bad, grainy, pixelated, the sprites don’t look much better. The portraits for each character are nice, they give it a storybook, or painted feeling, but the environment textures and character and monster sprites are just very low quality. I also dinged it a few points for not being able to disable the battle animations which can be lengthy and repetitive.  I also was personally not impressed by the remakes cut scenes, which other reviewers have cited as the highlight of this remastered edition. The textures also seem low quality even in these new cut scenes. I think they could have used more shading and some more details especially in things such as clothing or hair, or even her wings they just don’t have enough detail. And it’s not just a tell of the times/limitations of the hardware, as I’ve seen other PSP games with crisp and clean textures and more details.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js//

Music: 10/10 I really like the music in Valkyrie Profile – what can I say, it just works, it helps set the tone in the both battle and dramatic or heart-moving story sequences. It’s varied enough that it doesn’t feel repetitive nor annoying, and several tracks remain memorable even after you finish playing the game.

Voice Acting: 1/10: CRINGE WORTHY voice acting. You can find patches online to “undub” this game, and I highly recommend it! The english voice acting is so bad…. like… 80s/early 90s anime kind of bad. It’s Baaaaadddd….. lol.  The first warrior you meet to recruit, reminds me almost of william shatner with his dramatic random pauses. He also doesn’t seem to have a good range capable of emotion, his performance is flat and monotone. I wish that he were the exception, but many other characters are also just as bad. It really detracts from the sentimental impact of the story, because their delivery is just so off. It doesn’t seem like it matches the same emotions the characters are experiencing and really kills the mood of the game for me at times. Also to note: In the original Japanese version EACH character is voiced by a different actor. In the English version, they use about 6 actors to voice a cast of over 30 characters :( That’s just cheap and lazy if you ask me. Do yourself a favor and download the Japanese voices and patch them back into your game. :) It really enhances the entire experience.

Conclusion: Looking past these few flaws, I would encourage you to give this game a chance if you have yet to experience this cult classic in rpg history. It’s fun fast paced gameplay and heartfelt storytelling will hook any gamer. There’s also a sequel called Valkyrie Profile 2 Slimeria

Final Scores:

Gameplay: 9/10

Story: 9/10

Concept 10/10

Characters 8/10

Graphics 4/10

Music: 10/10

Voice Acting: 1/10

Overall: 51/70 72.86% C- Good Game For Girls

Valkyrie Profile Review

Valkyrie Profile Review

Valkyrie Profile Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie