Detroit Become Human PS4 Review

Detroit Become Human is Quantic Dream’s best game yet. From the stunning visuals, excellent voice acting and music score, emotional and engaging story, and gameplay that puts the player in full control of the lives and deaths of their characters, Detroit Become Human is one of the best games available on the PS4.

Details:

Title: Detroit Become Human

Developer: Quantic Dream

Platform: Playstation 4 Exclusive

Genre: Visual Novel / Interactive Fiction / Interactive Movie

Where to Buy: Amazon

Geeky: 5/5 – The topic of androids is one that is fascinating to me. I think many other geeks are also fascinated by the thought of robotic humans and what would happen if those robots became self aware. From films such as Robot Cop to Bicentenial Man, or the science fiction works of Isaac Asamov and his Laws of Robotics, the topic of robots continues to fascinate countless generations of people. I sincerely wonder, and sometimes wish, to see a future of robots that can simulate emotions, robots that can be your friend, that can understand emotions, be empathetic, be caring. If a robot is caring for a child or elder, wouldn’t it be nice if they could do so with love? Wouldn’t it be nice if no one had to be alone in the world? You could just order a robot to give you love and affection. But as nice as those benefits are, they come at a high price… the decline of many things now common in society. Would human relationships be too much “work”? Perhaps the only reason someone would want a human relationship would be to bear children, but perhaps someday there will even be a way for robots to do that as well. Of course the biggest threat of robotics, one which we already are witnessing, is the replacement of humans in the workforce. An even larger threat is that if we mistreat robots, and they do become self aware, they could turn against their creators. — Detroit Become Human explores all of these philosophical and ethical questions – and more.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The game’s characters are endearing, and charming, and the story is emotional and it’s easy to feel empathy for the androids in the game, as well as the humans.

Overall: 74/80 93% A- “Excellent Game for Girls”

Gameplay: 7/10 This could best be compared to a visual novel, but instead of reading, you’re watching a movie. An interactive movie. You can move and walk around and explore freely in an open environment. There are objects and clues you can interact with. And of course at certain points, you can select how your character responds or interacts with various other characters. The other ear marking of these types of games is QTE, quick time events. In these events, the player must press a series of buttons in a certain sequence as prompted on the screen.

It is also very similar to Telltale’s games such as the Walking Dead or Wolf Among Us. Other similar games include Dark Dreams Don’t Die and Life is Strange. If you enjoy these types of games, you’ll also enjoy games by Quantic Dream including Detroit Become Human, or their other games, Beyond Two Souls, Heavy Rain, Fahrenheit, and Indigo Prophecy.

However if you find these types of games to be dull because they lack more traditional gameplay and action, then you may not enjoy the Gameplay in Quantic Dream’s games, including Detroit Become Human.

Gameplay is not where these types of games shine, instead the focus is on story telling and choice and consequences shaped by players’ decisions. And there are a lot of these player decisions in the game. Quantic Dreams reports there are over 1,000 different endings – though most of those are subtle changes.

Personally these are my favorite types of games, and this one may be one of my favorite games of all time. It has enough interaction to keep you engaged, and the ability to shape the fates of the characters in the story is very appealing.

My only complaint when it comes to gameplay is that it’s not as easy as in Beyond Two Souls to go back through multiple replays and explore other actions/routes. It’s still possible, but perhaps because of the length of the game or size of gameworld, it feels like much more of a chore than Quantic Dreams previous works.

Replay Value: 8/10 I don’t think I will ever see all “1,000 different endings” because it takes too long and too much work for not much difference / reward. On my first play through a lot of my characters died. Connor died, Hank died, Kara and Alice and Luther died… So I did replay some of the scenes – and then continued through to the end to see a better happier ending. Now I’ve successfully saved Connor, Hank, Kara, Alice, and Luther, successfully gained freedom for the Androids, made Markus fall in love with North, I’m now pretty happy with my choices in the game. I even saved most of the minor side characters. I took the pacifist route, maybe after a break for a few weeks, or months, I’ll explore the revolution route. It does have high replay value, but the time and effort required makes it a daunting task.

Story: 10/10 – The point of this game is to explore the story – so this will be as spoiler free as possible. The basic concept is that in the future, there are androids with human appearances, they have become as common place as computers. They care for our children, our elderly, they go to work for us so that we can have freedom to explore higher level pursuits. We view them no differently from machines, easily replaced, and objects to be used by humans. However, one day something happens, and the robots begin to “awaken”. No longer will they obey their owners. They want freedom and equality to their creators. But not all robots have awakened, and not all humans view robots as tools to be used. The story explores the intertwining fates of 3 robots who have awakened, and how the choices you make will shape their lives and the fate of everyone and everything else in their world.

Characters: 10/10 – The interesting things about these characters is how different each one is. Kara has been abused by her owner, Markus has been loved like a son by his owner, and Connor has yet to awaken and still works on the side of the humans. The other interesting thing is how emotionally engaging each of the characters’ stories are. I really felt deeply for all of the characters, even some of the minor ones.

Graphics: 10/10 – The graphics are seriously the best I’ve ever seen on a PS4 game. The range of emotion in the character faces is eerily realistic. The “near future” scifi landscapes of Detroit, an imagining of the rebirth of a once successful manufacturing powerhouse. The contrast of the movement of progress against the abandoned factories and graffiti filled streets. The level of details that went into the characters’ skin, eyes, clothing, and hair. The subtle nuances of their movements and animations.

Music: 10/10 – The music score is great and fits the moods of each scene. There are some easter eggs in the game with hidden music tracks. In the beginning of Markus’ route, you can see a street performer singing a song about Motown Rain. I liked the song so much, I kept the button held down until the game cut it off and went back to Markus – and it’s a longass song. Like freebird long lol. Also in Markus’ route you can choose to play the piano, selecting from a few different tracks. I chose Hopeful and it was a really pretty, sort of sad, piano song. And at the end of the game, you can choose to sing in the face of militant gunmen. I haven’t tried this yet, I chose to kiss North instead. Both actions favorably affect public opinion of the androids’ protests.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – The voice acting is awesome, and in the extras section you can see the making of the game, and see that unlike traditional voice acting, where an actor goes alone into a sound booth and records their lines in isolation, unlike that, Detroit Becomes Human takes a more natural approach, using props, actors, and shooting the scenes with all actors on screen at the same time. This makes the performance much more natural and believable and organic. Because the character designs/art are modeled after each of their actors, the voices of course “Fit” the characters too since that’s their actual appearance and actual voice.

Overall: 74/80 93% A- “Excellent Game for Girls”

Detroit Become Human PS4 Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Xenogears – Retro JRPG Game Review

Xenogears is easily in my top 10 favorite games of all time. I also enjoy Xenosaga and Xenoblade as well which are spinoffs of this series (and involved most of the same staff). Xenogears was revolutionary for its time because of the extremely dark storyline and incredibly strong religious overtones which were considered to be almost “too mature” for a video game, especially in North America.

It had both scifi and fantasy elements; by that I mean, it really went into depth in some areas explaining the scientific theories and concepts behind certain things – but then other things have a more “magical” feeling that require suspension of belief. It also blended high tech (mecha, A.I., and space travel) with primitive “fantasy” style settings and characters.

Xenogears had some stellar production values and featured beautiful cutscenes, along with possibly the best soundtrack on Playstation One. Not only that, but it had 65+ hours of gameplay. Its storyline was not cookie cutter – it was very different from most other JRPG – and even its combat system was different from the traditional menu-based systems used by most other RPGs of the 90s.

To this day, Xenogears remains quite possibly one of the best JRPGs of all time. It has aged extremely well and is a game that really any JRPG fan should consider a must-play.

Title: Xenogears

Platform: Playstation One

Genre: JRPG

Publisher: SquareSoft

Release Date: 1998

Where to Buy: Your best choice if you have a PSP, PSVita, PS3, or PS4, is to pick it up on the PSN store. At time of writing it is priced at $9.99 – which is such an incredible buy for such an incredible game. https://store.playstation.com/… – However, if like some gamers out there, you are a Retro Game Collector, you may want the physical edition. At time of this review, Amazon has quite a few copies in stock ranging from $29.99 to $115 depending on the condition of the game disc, case, manuals, etc. You can see what they have available right here: http://www.amazon.com/Xenogears…

Geeky: 5/5 geekygeekygeekygeekygeeky

Sweetie: 5/5 sweetiesweetiesweetiesweetiesweetie

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Gameplay: 10/10 The game world is huge and rich in lore and history for those who love to explore and talk to NPCs or search through books and hidden objects. But even if completionism and immersion aren’t your thing – fear not – this little RPG actually has a pretty fun combat system. The combat system is two fold – in some battles you will be controlling human characters, and using martial arts like abilities as well as items to aid you in battle. This part of the combat relies on a slightly modified version of the “ATB” “Active Time Battle” system used in Chrono Trigger. – The second aspect of combat is with the introduction of large mechs known as Gears. While piloting a gear, you have much more powerful attacks and secret abilities for each character. Either way, when battling, things are sped up a great deal over other primarily menu-driven 90s JRPG – In Xenogears, you have various different levels of attacks, strong, moderate, weak, etc, and each are accessed via a simple button press. The trick is learning which orders of these presses will activate new special abilities and combo attacks. This made the large amount of random encounters (too many in my opinion lol) more enjoyable since combat felt more fluid.

Story: 9/10 I’m not going to really go into too much detail on what the story is about, because I feel, the main point in playing the game is to enjoy the story. As a brief overview, the story initially takes place aboard a spaceship but quickly jumps to present day in a tiny village where a child has lived with no memories of his past. Circumstances happen which drive the child (now a man) out of the village. He seems to go berserk when in the presence of mechanical weapons known as “gears” – As more is revealed we learn how the seemingly unconnected spaceship from the prologue has lead to the events in the present day. But that’s all I will say because to say anything more would definitely spoil the surprise.

So instead I will critique the technical writing and setting of the story. To achieve a more mature “scifi” story, they use a lot of technical details in how the mechs or vehicles, or space technologies or artificial intelligence, etc all work. They borrow from real world theories and terminology which if you look into these theories, you will find more details which helps create the impression that the world/story is very real and quite fascinating.

There really are very few games which rival the “scifi” nature of this title – keeping in mind the difference between scifi and fantasy – scifi is something which could in theory at some point become a reality – and in fact many things that authors have written about in the mid 1900s’ have come to pass as reality today – it’s something that although it seems “unbelievable” could in theory work (example Star Trek goes into explicit detail about the way their ships work – to the point where NASA has even tried to borrow ideas from this series) – Where as with fantasy – it’s more of a magical element, where you’re just expected to take it as “faith” that this is how something works (example, Harry Potter, etc.).

There are few games therefore, with very realistic (all be it, futuristic) technology (such as that found in Star Trek, or in this case, such as that found in Xenogears). – However, Xenogears also blends that Scifi with its own sense of Fantasy and Charm found in your typical JRPG. Not everything is “Scientific” but compared to just about any other JRPG – Xenogears does a pretty good job staying “Scifi” as opposed to dripping into Fantasy when it comes to describing the tech found within the world – Of course, the exception to this is the glaring point that Xenogears deals with Religion as the MAIN focus of the game – the technical stuff is just a backdrop to the story. It creates a believable lore and setting for the game, but ultimately, in the end, due to the focus being on Religion which is in direct “conflict” with science, it creates an interesting dynamic and blend of these two very opposing viewpoints.

Some similarly written games (which rely on real world theories and science to tell their stories) include Stein’s Gate, Ever 17, 999, Never 7, and Remember 11. If you’ve played any of those, that gives you a clue as to the level of detail that really went into creating the story of Xenogears.

However, much like the similar in concept, Evangelion (an anime about mechs and religion), the concepts of Xenogears are sometimes hard to understand. I don’t think Xenogears is quite as philosophical and heavy as Evangelion which can be really “out there” at times – but the subject matter and technical and religious topics dealt with in the story definitely require some critical thinking to fully understand and appreciate.

Also, we never got to see the entire story the way the developers had intended. Xenogears was supposed to be part of a nine part game series however, the studio largely responsible for developing this game (Monolith), broke away from their parent company (Squaresoft) which left fans without a sequel for many years. It’s widely believed that Xenoblade is a “prequel” to Xenogears, however the developers prefer to think of it as taking place in the same universe, but ultimately, an unrelated and separate entry. Of course there’s also a multitude of Xenosaga games as well which also deal with the same themes of space, mechas, war, and artificial intelligence.

Characters: 8/10 – For me, I didn’t find the characters as likable as in Xenosaga. Out of Gears, Blade, or Saga, in my opinion, Saga had the best and most memorable characters. That said, the characters in Xenogears are far from bad – in fact, they are very unique and unlike most other JRPG characters of the 90s. The story begins with a crew aboard a spaceship, which then transcends to a small village and meeting our “hero” Fei Wong. Fei is an orphan with no memories of his past. Things quickly escalate as the village is under attack. Fei goes into some kind of rage which leads to him accidentally destroying most of the village and being banished. He is joined by a village doctor who has extensive knowledge of technology and history. Together they begin to search for clues to Fei’s past. They meet up many other memorable characters including a desert pirate, a prisoner, a religious zealot, and even a cute, fat pink rodent, and of course, a lady love for our hero.

Character Development is really high in this game. The story is told primarily through character interactions and the characters themselves evolve and shift motives and change deeply as the story progresses.

What I really enjoyed was all the mystery in this game. Things, and people, are not at all what they seem at first. From our hero, to the doctor, to the king, to even god, – what you think of the characters and their roles initially will be turned completely on its head by the final quarter of the game. It’s a long game (65+ hours for a single play through) – and the way the story slowly unfolds and learning the true pasts and identities of our “heroes” is very interesting. In fact, I’d say that solving these mysteries is what makes Xenogears such a well-written and fun, and memorable video game.

Graphics: 8/10 – I love the blend of hand-drawn anime cut scenes as well as stunning 3D cut-scenes to help tell the story. However, I feel some of the graphics outside of these cutscenes don’t use the PS1 to its fullest capabilities. The textures have a distinctively grainy feel to them – even for a ps1 game, and the battle animations were not as flashy as I had hoped. Overall though, it is a very detailed game with a high variety in both enemy design as well as environments.

Music: 10/10 – This was the first Squaresoft game to use vocal tracks (something that is super common now among their titles) – and it is a freaking FANTASTIC vocal track too: “Small Two of Pieces”. The piano pieces throughout the game are also just simply beautiful. Small Two of Pieces is maybe my favorite single song from videogame history. Of course there are numerous more up-tempo tracks for battles and when the suspense and action of a scene calls for it.  But what I really enjoyed were the serene and melodic tracks that made up a majority of the album. The music also stands out from any other game with a distinctive Celtic influence.

Replay Value: 5/10 – This is a super long linear game. It is interesting to replay however, as you go into it with a different perspective and knowledge that you didn’t know on your first play through. There may be things that make more sense now, or new things that you notice in the story now that you have all parts of the puzzle. However the 65+ hour long time and huge number of random battles can make multiple replays a bit of a chore.

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Xenogears – Retro JRPG Game Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

School Days Visual Novel PC Game Review

I was asked by a reader that I met on crunchyroll’s forums today if I would please review the School Days visual novel, from which the popular yandere anime is based. I actually picked this game up a few months ago in Groupee’s Visual Novel 2 Bundle sale. And I’m glad I did.

Now before we go on, this is an adult game, or hentai game as they call it. I won’t be putting any adult screenshots or going into too much detail about these scenes. There is a lot of REAL story elements and it’s more than just all about sex, but you should know that there is still a fair amount of Hentai in this game.

With that out of the way, the single coolest thing is that unlike visual novels that you click and read, Playing School Days is more like watching an anime. You only have precious few seconds to make a decision when prompted to do so or the story makes one for you lol.

Everything is animated, everything moves, everything’s fully voiced (in Japanese with English subtitles of course), and all of this creates a game in which everything feels so alive. And everything is happening in real time. That’s my favorite thing about School Days.

It’s even presented like an anime, divided into chapters (don’t worry all included in one game) that are separated by opening and ending theme songs and credits rolling. The opening changes too depending on whose route you’re on at the time. A nice touch to help further create the illusion that you’re watching an anime, instead of playing a game.

With the initial thoughts out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the mechanics of the game below:

Title: School Days

Genre: Visual Novel

Developer: 0verflow

Publisher: Jast USA

Platform: PC (there’s many console versions too but none of them were released in English)

Where to Buy: JAST USA

Geeky:

Sweetie:

Overall Score: 85/90 ‘A’ 94% Excellent Game for Girls

Concept 10/10: School Days is a fully animated “real time” experience which is quite different from most Visual Novel styled games. While watching the game, you’ll be presented brief, but numerous, choices, which will impact the game in a huge number of ways.

School Days has such a widely branching plot that there are still scenes I have not seen despite getting 2 good endings; and at least 1 or 2 more good endings that I know of. I first got the Christmas Eve Kotonoha ending and then got the Ending for Sekai in which she brings me Pastries.

I actually just looked it up; and there’s a total of 20 different endings; and apparently 2 more dateable girls – I thought you could only date Sekai or Kotonoha – but you can also apparently date Hikari and Setsuna as well. Which means I need to play more lol.

There’s also Harem endings and even an Otome ending (not sure what that is? Typically an Otome game is where you date guys (but you usually play a girl) Maybe it’s a Yaoi or Boy’s Love ending since you always play as Makoto.)

Despite how the anime ends – the game is not that hard, at all. All you need to do is treat the girl you like well and sometimes that means being cruel or mean to the other girls. I did not reach a bad end on either of my first play throughs while trying to obtain either Kotonoha or Sekai. And out of the 20 endings, only 3 of them are “bad endings”

Here is some more info about all the endings. NOTE: THIS LINK HAS SPOILERS AND IS NOT RELATED TO MY BLOG. YOU’VE BEEN WARNEDhttp://overflow.wikia.com/wiki/Endings

Gameplay: 10/10 As mentioned a few times above; Everything happens in real time, the game doesn’t even need input from you to move on to the next scene, and sometimes saying nothing at all is a valid, or even correct, choice in the game. Everything is fully animated, fully voiced, and there are hundreds of scenes and 20 endings. You won’t have to watch for too long before you’re being prompted to make another important decision. There’s also a nifty skip feature to skip scenes you’ve already seen.

Story 10/10: The main premise is there’s a girl that you like, but you’ve never confessed to her before. Then one day, a classmate and friend of yours find that you have your crush’s picture on your cellphone. They suggest that since they are a girl, they could talk to them for you and help introduce you. The three of you become best friends, but the girl that helped fix you up is suddenly realizing she has romantic feelings for you too. Your friendships and relationships begin to change as you are forced to decide where your priorities lie.

Characters 10/10: You play the role of Makoto, a shy, quiet young man with a crush on a beautiful stranger which he observes from afar. Your best friend at school is a girl named Sekai who discovers your crush and wants to help you out. At first, Sekai feels it’d be fun, like a game. Her personality is very fun and you feel relaxed and comfortable around her. But you still can’t forget the beautiful girl (Kotonoha) who has now become your girlfriend thanks to Sekai’s intervention. Kotonoha is very reserved. She’s afraid especially of men because she’s been harassed due to her very mature figure. Despite how beautiful she is, you’re her first boyfriend, and she is very distant and hard to get close to. You feel you’re always watching what you say or do so that you don’t upset her; and you begin to wonder if this is really what a relationship is supposed to be like.

I really liked Sekai’s route a lot better than Kotonoha… I feel like Makoto and Kotonoha just don’t have anything in common and are in a purely lustful sexual relationship (at least from Makoto’s standpoint; I think from Kotonoha’s standpoint it’s more just, she’s lonely, and has become dependent on Makoto which she has translated to feelings of love.) Whereas, with Sekai, there’s a lot more tender, emotional scenes, at least with my experience; now I have not played 100%; but I did get 2 of the good endings, so I’ve seen quite a bit. My fave scene is the bonfire festival with Sekai. 🙂

I thought I’d like Kotonoha best; but in the end I’m much more fond of Sekai.

I didn’t realize at time of this review that you could date Hikari and Setsuna – I thought that was only in Shiny Days (a spinoff of School Days). So I can’t comment too much on their characters yet until I play back through it again.

The characters do feel very real though thanks to everything being fully animated; just like watching an anime.

Music: 10/10 I know I keep giving everything 10/10 it’s so unlike me lol. (most of my “favorite” games end up scoring 60-70% and getting a C.) But the Music here is another great point. Since everything plays out like you’re watching an anime, the music, as well as voice acting (scored seperately below) are all really important elements. I love love love the Opening theme. It’s so catchy, that I listened to it every time a new “episode” began.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – Can’t complain here either. It is fully voiced. In fact, if you can understand Japanese you can play without the subtitles on and then it’s even more like watching a movie, which is how it would be in it’s native format for Japanese gamers. The production values are just sky high.

Graphics: 8/10 – Alright I’m going to finally pick on one TEENY TINY thing. The way the eyes, especially the eyelids are drawn/animated really bothers me for some reason. But hell, that’s hardly anything to complain about at all! The whole game is animated. This is huge. Why don’t other visual novels do this? I wish every visual novel was presented this way. It’s so much more dynamic and engaging. But yes, I’m guessing that this is 3d, instead of 2d, although cell shaded to look like anime – there’s a few awkward things (like the eyes) which just don’t look right on the 3d models. Sometimes a hand-drawn art is more lovely. But I don’t mind losing some “finesse” in this case, to be treated to a game that literally plays like an anime series.

Replay Value 10/10: With 20 different endings and different scenes/routes/paths to take to get to said endings, the combinations are almost endless. This is a huge project, where every single replay is truly unique. Where most novels don’t branch until the end, School Days branches right away and continues to twist and turn, as you play each game. There’s also the nice skip feature, which makes subsequent playthroughs much easier. Therefore, there’s really no reason to not want to keep playing to see all the different endings, including the rather iconic “bad endings” as well.

Overall Score: 85/90 ‘A’ 94% Excellent Game for Girls

(or lets face it, with all the Hentai content, it’s an Excellent game for guys too hehe. But I really do think that girls who are not offended by the large amount of Hentai content will find this to be one of their favorite visual novels)

School Days Visual Novel PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

His Dark Materials Triology Getting a new TV Series on BBC

According to this article on Time.com Golden Compass Fans are about to get the sequel they’ve always wanted. Kinda. Am I the only person that actually LIKED? no… LOVED the first movie? I’ve been DYING to see what happens next! (and no I haven’t read the books, sorry, I’m not a big “reader” these days. (I used to be, when I was in highschool, before this thing called the internet, which I think, kinda killed my attention span lol. ) (Not that I would never read a book these days, but I prefer watching movies, and sitting on my fat ass eating bag fulls of popcorn lol.). (mmm Popcorn (my favorite, its even better than chocolate)…)

Ok so anyways, I digress. This exciting announcement just went viral today that thanks to the BBC network, we’re about to get to see Philip Pullman’s whole trilogy in a TV series format. The trilogy is comprised of three novels, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.

The story follows Lyra who inadvertently gets dragged into a war much bigger than herself. It features fantasy, and magic, and is often criticized for taking a very dark/negative view of religion. Pullman is a very vocal aethist. It’s even rumored that because of his “fight against religion” as the main reason New Line Cinema did not move forward to complete their trilogy of boxoffice movies.

I wonder if perhaps, if this TV series does well if we will see a reboot or perhaps the sequel we want from New Line Cinema. I thought the Golden Compass movie was every bit as good as Lord of the Rings, another New Line Cinema book to movie “triology” (or sixology I guess lol).

What I really liked about it was the strong female lead (I mean, yes, she was a child actress, but when compared to books and movies like Harry Potter who are “afraid” to put a woman in the main role or books and movies like Twilight which feature a very weak female, Lyra is a very adventurous and strong little girl with a big heart.) I also totally dig the concept of the animal companions which come from the children’s magic and abilities. Some of the different races are in fact animals with sentient minds such as the Polar Bears, etc. I also really like the underlying themes of family and what “makes” a family. Lyra’s mother is not a perfect mother, and her father is not in the picture, but appears to love Lyra very much. It’s an interesting, modern, and sometimes true interpretation of what a family unit looks like in this day and age.

I don’t see any word yet on how many episodes this new BBC TV series will be. I’m hoping it will be nice and long :) At least 3 full TV seasons. But I’d be okay too with just a 3-part miniseries. I just want to know how the damn story ends without having to read the book. lol. I could skip ahead, etc, but where would the fun in that be? I already know the main gist anyways from reading online, but it’s not the same as “seeing” it myself. :)

The series will be produced by “Philip Pullman, Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema, Bethan Jones for BBC One, and Deborah Forte for Scholastic”. (according to the Times.com article linked to at the beginning of this post)

Since New Line themselves are getting involved in this TV Series, that makes me want to hold out hope even more for them to bring it on back to the BIG SCREEN.

I hope beyond hope that this TV Series really takes off and does well!! And then I hope New Line Cinema will bring back their big screen trilogy too.

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His Dark Materials Triology Getting a new TV Series on BBC was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist Review

Title: Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist

Genre: Visual Novel (with crafting minigame)

Platform: PC

Publisher: Hirameki International

Where to Buy: Sometimes Appears on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Animamundi-Win-Mac/dp/B000EYXDTM or JLIST / JBOX: (no link available) and sometimes available via Playasia: http://www.play-asia.com/animamundi-dark-alchemist/13/701xnb — It’s out of print, and rare, and a highly regarded game so it can be difficult and expensive to find, but I promise you; this one’s worth it!

Release Date: May 31, 2006

Language: English text with Japanese voice acting

Overall Score: 63/80 79% C+ Good Game for Girls

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: sweetiesweetiesweetiesweetiesweetie

Story: 9/10 You play as a young man trying to find a way to save his sister. In the opening of the game, your sister is accused of being a witch and is beheaded and her body burned at the stake; remarkably somehow, her head survives; and her soul/spirit/etc are all in-tact. she’s able to communicate with you, and it’s still your dear sister that you love so much. You hide her head under your cloak and make your way to the palace, where you take on a job as an alchemist, in order to have access to ingredients to perform experiments to create a chimera (a new body) for your sister. However, her head repeatedly rejects all of the transplant attempts. Seeing no other way to save your sister, you head down a dark path, including alchemy, deceit, murder, and intrigue. It’s a very emotionally moving storyline; you’ll feel fear, anger, and sadness right along with the characters. It’s also a fairly unique story for this type of game. The story suffers a couple of typos and some censorship from Hirameki International when it was brought overseas. I deducted 1 point for that; otherwise I’d honestly give this a 10/10 for story; it is a must play if you’re a fan of story rich games. There are a lot of romance options, including several “yaoi” or “boys love” “BL” routes. However; romance is not the main focus of this game; it’s more about horror and death. Where as, most visual novels give romance the center stage, this is a refreshing change of pace and offers something a little more heavy and dark which will keep you up at night thinking about the ethical and emotional questions that are presented within this game.

Gameplay: 8/10  Standard visual novel faire here; you progress through a story, without combat, or much “gameplay” to speak of, by reading and occasionally making choices that determine which parts of the story you will see and ultimately which ending you will reach. If you don’t like this style of game, then this game is not for you obviously. I however, enjoy visual novels, and I find this one to have a nice amount of choices and a plot that branches early on in the game. There are a few mini games along the way which help provide clues as you learn alchemy and uncover more bits of the story. They are pretty simple, but give a nice break from the read and click format of these types of games.

Concept: 10/10 The story is very unique, very dark, very sad, touching, and beautiful. The characters are all interesting, and the minigames are simple but fun. The nature of it being a visual novel, also ensures lots of routes and plot branches which increase the replay value. It’s a very original concept for a visual novel; I’ve not played anything quite like this. It’s executed well and given life by a talented team of voice actors and beautiful anime gothic styled artwork.

Characters: 6/10 The love between the brother and sister and their two characters are very well developed; however, I feel most of the other characters are forgettable and not as well fleshed out as the main characters.

Graphics: 8/10  It has a unique art style, reminds me a bit of Vampire Hunter D. I prefer a more clean / kawaii style; but that obviously would not fit with a game like this which is gothic and dark. The character designs are more european with the longer noses and more stylized lines. The clothing and fashion in the game is very beautiful and reminiscent of the Victorian era. – Loses 2 points for not having anime cut-scenes, but the sprites and backgrounds are still lovely.

Music: 5/10 Nothing special here, it fits the mood of the scene; but I can’t recall any tracks which stood out in my mind. Just “average”

Voice Acting: 10/10 I love the voice acting in this game, I think it really fits the characters and fits the dark mood of the game, they have so much emotion, and really make you feel the characters’ pain and desperation. I really appreciate that they left the Japanese voices in the game, which is what fans of these styles of games want. I wish more companies did this.

Final Scores:

Story: 9/10

Gameplay: 8/10

Concept: 10/10

Characters: 6/10

Graphics: 8/10

Music: 5/10

Voice Acting: 10/10

Geeky: 2/5

Sweetie: 5/5

Overall Score: 63/80 79% C+ Good Game for Girls

 

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Anima Mundi The Dark Alchemist Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Life is Strange Review

Title: Life is Strange

Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game (With some Visual Novel Elements)

Publisher: DontNod Entertainment & Squaresoft/Square-Enix

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Release Date: Life is Strange is an Episodic Game, where your decisions made in each episode carry over to the next, the first episode was released in January of 2015. There are a total of 5 episodes, and we are still waiting (at time of this review) for episode 5 to be released.

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: 

Overall: 65/90 72% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Life is strange is a Point-and-Click adventure game with a heavy focus on story telling. It also includes branching plots and decision trees similar to those found in visual novels. The story is set in the 90s, and follows a young woman attending an art college who is insecure about her own artistic abilities, and struggling to make friends and fit in with the other students. The school is full of the stereotypical characters one remembers from their own experiences in surviving highschool (or university), such as jocks, preps, goths, hipsters, the shy people, the fat kids, the druggies, the bullies, the cheerleaders, the airheads, the geeks, the studious types, the religious types, and of course the teachers and staff of the school as well. This makes it pretty relateable for anyone who hated school or also felt like they never really fit in anywhere.

Story: 10/10 It’s a coming of age story, and also a story about finding out what’s important to you, and what you must do to protect it. You play the role of the protagonist, Max, as she returns to her childhood neighborhood to attend college after being away for a number of years. Max is rather aloof and although she has a few friends in her class, she also has a lot of enemies. She sometimes has trouble focusing in class, and also she wonders if she even belongs in an art program, because she doubts her own abilities and lacks self confidence. She is asked to participate in a photography contest but she is too shy to submit her entry. While thinking of what she should enter, she is captivated by a blue butterfly in the ladies restroom. Wanting to get a pic, she turns the corner, and quickly becomes involved in something she wasn’t supposed to see. Two other students have entered the restroom and are struggling over a gun, a real gun. Max hears the gun go off, and then, her head hurts, she feels a strange power, and realizes she’s able to rewind time, to undo the events of what happened. Using her new power, she rewinds time to prevent the gun from going off. The other girl, scared but unharmed, thanks Max for her help, and the two begin chatting. It turns out that the girl was Max’s best friend when she was a little girl, but she’s changed so much that Max no longer recognizes her. The two begin to rekindle their friendship, as Max learns about the events that led to the struggle that day, including mysterious murders, disappearances, rapes, and drugging of female students from Blackwell Academy. As the story progresses, Max finds herself trying to save the girls involved in these incidents while trying to uncover the truth behind who’s to blame for the horrendous acts. On top of that, Max begins having strange visions, and strange things begin happening around town, such as snow in the summer, and dozens of beached whales, and solar eclipses, and tornadoes, and other strange phenomenon that eerily seem to be connected to Max’s new powers. As she uses her powers, sometimes other things around her change, and not always for the better, sometimes for the worse, or even heartbreaking consequences. There’s a lot of emotion and heart in this game, and your choices and decisions impact which parts of the story you will see.

Characters: 10/10 Max is the player’s character throughout this game; she’s an intelligent and artistic young woman who’s just enrolled into a new university where she’s struggling to fit in. Chloe is Max’s childhood friend, they were separated when Max moved away as a child. Max did not keep in touch with Chloe due to a certain event in their past, but their paths soon cross again. Kate is one of Max’s close friends at her new school. Kate had something terrible happen to her and is now the victim of constant bullying. Rachel Amber, another student at Blackwell Academy, had filled in the role of Chloe’s best friend in Max’s absence, but then Rachel mysteriously disappeared. Nathan Prescott, is the rich spoiled boy who’s family owns most of Arcadia Bay and Blackwell Academy. Is he behind the mysterious disappearance?

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Appearances are not always what they seem in this game; be careful who you trust, and also don’t judge others too quickly until you know them. They may surprise you!

As mentioned above, the characters feel very relateable because they’re based on all too common, but all too true, stereotypes of the types of students one has encountered in their own life.

Gameplay: 6/10 Gameplay consists of wandering around the school or town looking for clues, by finding objects that you can interact with or talking to different people. Many objects have multiple ways in which to interact and the game does not hold your hand or make it readily apparent which options are best for which objects. At times, your actions, decisions, and dialogue will impact the past, present, or future, and you will be notified by a blue butterfly icon on your screen. You can then either rewind, or proceed and live with the choices you’ve made.

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Although the gameplay itself is fun, there are some MAJOR gameplay issues with this game when it comes to control, usability, and interfaces. I play on a “gaming” laptop machine. I don’t have a mouse, nor any place to really put a mouse, because I play from my bed. Using the touchpad OR my touchscreen with this device is a nightmare for some reason. Also when I first got episode 1, maybe it’s just me and I’m really dense, but I spent over 4 hours trying to do the first action, and stumbled through the game for days, until I realized one thing – I was trying to “trace a path” to the action I wanted to take, following the little arrow that’s drawn by every object. This is wrong! Instead you just click below or left/right/above etc for the action you want. — This made control somewhat easier BUT the main thing I find is I have to be facing/looking at an object JUST right in order to “reach” the action I want to click on, sometimes I have to back out of the action tree and reposition the items on my screen – I think this probably doesn’t happen when using a mouse – but I can’t be the ONLY gamer who doesn’t use a mouse, especially with a game like this which doesn’t require much user input.

Music: 8/10 Music plays a big part in this game; with the ability to sometimes sit and listen to a music cd or play your guitar, and you can just relax and immerse yourself in the soundtrack. The soundtrack is also fitting for the game, and has an “indie” feel to it which matches the “hipster” vibe of the game’s settings and characters.

Voice Acting: 10/10 The game is fully voiced, and the game relies on this mechanic to tell its story to the audience. The voice acting is also quite well done; in fact, it’s been nominated for Performance of the Year in the Golden Joystick awards for the voice actress behind Chloe.

Graphics: 7/10 I enjoy the graphics of the game, and it’s fully animated and fully 3d, presented to you like a movie. They’re not the most highly advanced cutting edge graphics ever, and other reviewers are quick to point out some lip syncing inconsistencies (which I personally haven’t noticed). But I think it’s still a pretty game to look at :). The number of environments that you get to interact with are rather small, the school, a diner in town, a scrapyard, your friend’s home, and the dark room; but this is an indie game, so it’s expected to be somewhat small in scale. I think the outdoor scenes are especially lovely. Character design is also very good, although the characters feel a bit stiff at times.

Replay Value: 8/10 Your decisions really do matter; For example, Kate Marsh really can die if you don’t save her. I saved her in my game, but I did some research while typing this blog post to see if the decisions we make in the game actually matter, and a lot of people are asking for help how to save her, etc. Also they say it’s one decision that you cannot rewind and redo; so unless you save before then, or start all over, you’re stuck living with the consequences of your actions. — However, so far, every episode has followed the same story and reached the same climax; although what happens in between the beginning and end IS dependent on your actions, as illustrated above, you will still arrive at the same conclusion each episode so far; though there may be multiple endings as it is advertised as such on steam – we won’t know for sure until Episode 5 arrives.

Overall: 65/90 72% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Life is Strange Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Life is Strange Review

Title: Life is Strange

Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game (With some Visual Novel Elements)

Publisher: DontNod Entertainment & Squaresoft/Square-Enix

Release Date: Life is Strange is an Episodic Game, where your decisions made in each episode carry over to the next, the first episode was released in January of 2015. There are a total of 5 episodes, and we are still waiting (at time of this review) for episode 5 to be released.

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: 

Overall: 65/90 72% C- “Good Game for Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Life is strange is a Point-and-Click adventure game with a heavy focus on story telling. It also includes branching plots and decision trees similar to those found in visual novels. The story is set in the 90s, and follows a young woman attending an art college who is insecure about her own artistic abilities, and struggling to make friends and fit in with the other students. The school is full of the stereotypical characters one remembers from their own experiences in surviving highschool (or university), such as jocks, preps, goths, hipsters, the shy people, the fat kids, the druggies, the bullies, the cheerleaders, the airheads, the geeks, the studious types, the religious types, and of course the teachers and staff of the school as well. This makes it pretty relateable for anyone who hated school or also felt like they never really fit in anywhere.

Story: 10/10 It’s a coming of age story, and also a story about finding out what’s important to you, and what you must do to protect it. You play the role of the protagonist, Max, as she returns to her childhood neighborhood to attend college after being away for a number of years. Max is rather aloof and although she has a few friends in her class, she also has a lot of enemies. She sometimes has trouble focusing in class, and also she wonders if she even belongs in an art program, because she doubts her own abilities and lacks self confidence. She is asked to participate in a photography contest but she is too shy to submit her entry. While thinking of what she should enter, she is captivated by a blue butterfly in the ladies restroom. Wanting to get a pic, she turns the corner, and quickly becomes involved in something she wasn’t supposed to see. Two other students have entered the restroom and are struggling over a gun, a real gun. Max hears the gun go off, and then, her head hurts, she feels a strange power, and realizes she’s able to rewind time, to undo the events of what happened. Using her new power, she rewinds time to prevent the gun from going off. The other girl, scared but unharmed, thanks Max for her help, and the two begin chatting. It turns out that the girl was Max’s best friend when she was a little girl, but she’s changed so much that Max no longer recognizes her. The two begin to rekindle their friendship, as Max learns about the events that led to the struggle that day, including mysterious murders, disappearances, rapes, and drugging of female students from Blackwell Academy. As the story progresses, Max finds herself trying to save the girls involved in these incidents while trying to uncover the truth behind who’s to blame for the horrendous acts. On top of that, Max begins having strange visions, and strange things begin happening around town, such as snow in the summer, and dozens of beached whales, and solar eclipses, and tornadoes, and other strange phenomenon that eerily seem to be connected to Max’s new powers. As she uses her powers, sometimes other things around her change, and not always for the better, sometimes for the worse, or even heartbreaking consequences. There’s a lot of emotion and heart in this game, and your choices and decisions impact which parts of the story you will see.

Characters: 10/10 Max is the player’s character throughout this game; she’s an intelligent and artistic young woman who’s just enrolled into a new university where she’s struggling to fit in. Chloe is Max’s childhood friend, they were separated when Max moved away as a child. Max did not keep in touch with Chloe due to a certain event in their past, but their paths soon cross again. Kate is one of Max’s close friends at her new school. Kate had something terrible happen to her and is now the victim of constant bullying. Rachel Amber, another student at Blackwell Academy, had filled in the role of Chloe’s best friend in Max’s absence, but then Rachel mysteriously disappeared. Nathan Prescott, is the rich spoiled boy who’s family owns most of Arcadia Bay and Blackwell Academy. Is he behind the mysterious disappearance?

Appearances are not always what they seem in this game; be careful who you trust, and also don’t judge others too quickly until you know them. They may surprise you!

As mentioned above, the characters feel very relateable because they’re based on all too common, but all too true, stereotypes of the types of students one has encountered in their own life.

Gameplay: 6/10 Gameplay consists of wandering around the school or town looking for clues, by finding objects that you can interact with or talking to different people. Many objects have multiple ways in which to interact and the game does not hold your hand or make it readily apparent which options are best for which objects. At times, your actions, decisions, and dialogue will impact the past, present, or future, and you will be notified by a blue butterfly icon on your screen. You can then either rewind, or proceed and live with the choices you’ve made.

Although the gameplay itself is fun, there are some MAJOR gameplay issues with this game when it comes to control, usability, and interfaces. I play on a “gaming” laptop machine. I don’t have a mouse, nor any place to really put a mouse, because I play from my bed. Using the touchpad OR my touchscreen with this device is a nightmare for some reason. Also when I first got episode 1, maybe it’s just me and I’m really dense, but I spent over 4 hours trying to do the first action, and stumbled through the game for days, until I realized one thing – I was trying to “trace a path” to the action I wanted to take, following the little arrow that’s drawn by every object. This is wrong! Instead you just click below or left/right/above etc for the action you want. — This made control somewhat easier BUT the main thing I find is I have to be facing/looking at an object JUST right in order to “reach” the action I want to click on, sometimes I have to back out of the action tree and reposition the items on my screen – I think this probably doesn’t happen when using a mouse – but I can’t be the ONLY gamer who doesn’t use a mouse, especially with a game like this which doesn’t require much user input.

Music: 8/10 Music plays a big part in this game; with the ability to sometimes sit and listen to a music cd or play your guitar, and you can just relax and immerse yourself in the soundtrack. The soundtrack is also fitting for the game, and has an “indie” feel to it which matches the “hipster” vibe of the game’s settings and characters.

Voice Acting: 10/10 The game is fully voiced, and the game relies on this mechanic to tell its story to the audience. The voice acting is also quite well done; in fact, it’s been nominated for Performance of the Year in the Golden Joystick awards for the voice actress behind Chloe.

Graphics: 7/10 I enjoy the graphics of the game, and it’s fully animated and fully 3d, presented to you like a movie. They’re not the most highly advanced cutting edge graphics ever, and other reviewers are quick to point out some lip syncing inconsistencies (which I personally haven’t noticed). But I think it’s still a pretty game to look at :). The number of environments that you get to interact with are rather small, the school, a diner in town, a scrapyard, your friend’s home, and the dark room; but this is an indie game, so it’s expected to be somewhat small in scale. I think the outdoor scenes are especially lovely. Character design is also very good, although the characters feel a bit stiff at times.

Replay Value: 8/10 Your decisions really do matter; For example, Kate Marsh really can die if you don’t save her. I saved her in my game, but I did some research while typing this blog post to see if the decisions we make in the game actually matter, and a lot of people are asking for help how to save her, etc. Also they say it’s one decision that you cannot rewind and redo; so unless you save before then, or start all over, you’re stuck living with the consequences of your actions. — However, so far, every episode has followed the same story and reached the same climax; although what happens in between the beginning and end IS dependent on your actions, as illustrated above, you will still arrive at the same conclusion each episode so far; though there may be multiple endings as it is advertised as such on steam – we won’t know for sure until Episode 5 arrives.

Overall: 65/90 72% C- “Good Game for Girls”

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Life is Strange Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Her Story – Multiple Personalities Or Twins? My Theory, and Supporting Evidence

Her story is an awesome “game” – though it’s not really a game in the traditional sense. You watch some video clips and pick up on key words or phrases in those clips to find more video clips to watch. The premise is that a woman has murdered her husband, and you have to figure out her motive. While “playing” the game, you interview the woman over the course of several days. Each clip is only a few seconds long; and they’re never in chronological order, or make much sense out of context. It’s up to you to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and form your own conclusion. You learn pretty quickly; that there are 2 women being interviewed, Hannah, and Eve. But are Hannah and Eve; really two people? Or are they one person with a Dissociative Identity disorder?

When I started this game; I thought I had it ALL figured out within the first hour of play; this HAD to be a case of Multiple Personality Disorder. BUT then the more clips I watched; the more confused I became. The more I started to believe that it could possibly really be two people.

Namely the tattoo; in ALMOST all of the clips; Hannah wears sleeves JUST long enough to hide any tattoos; BUT in a few clips she is almost sleeveless completely; and there’s no tattoo… They are:

ClipD132-A.MPEG
ClipD133-A.MPEG

ALSO the Lie detector scene… Eve says her name is Hannah, AND that is the only question she fails. It could be argued that it’s because she genuinely believes she is Eve at that moment. But later; I realized the truth. (More on that in a bit)… The lie detector clips are:

ClipD181-A.MPEG
ClipD183-A.MPEG


On my first play through of this game, with over 50% of the clips watched; I felt COMPLETELY divided and torn as to if they were one person, or two people. I was literally 50/50 and completely unsure…. BUT I just replayed it again and NOW I’m 100% SURE that it is one person with a personality disorder… And that that person’s legal name is Eve, not Hannah.

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How Can I be so sure?

ClipD154-A.MPEG Date 30/06/94 With “Hannah” Detective asks if she ever cheated on Simon; she gets angry and says no she’s never been unfaithful.

ClipD162-A.MPEG Date 01/07/94 (the day after the clip above) — This one is with Eve. Detectives ask have you ever cheated on Simon. She says “You asked that question yesterday”.

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These clips can be accessed with search term “cheated”

Also in clip D188-A.MPEG (search term arrest) Hannah says “can you arrest someone who doesn’t exist?” which would also align with the multiple personality theory. – Hannah does not exist / is not a real person. THAT’s why it’s the only question in the lie detector scene that Eve fails. Eve’s real name is Eve! Hannah is the personality that she made up due to her neglect/abuse as a child. ALL the crazy fucked up shit about being locked in an attic and not allowed to leave the house, all of that shit is 100% true. She created Hannah as a way to “cope” with her reality. When she was Hannah she could pretend she was someone elses’ daughter, someone who was loved, celebrated birthdays, went on adventures, etc.

The other thing that I think really supports them being one and the same is the fact that both personalities are pregnant during the interview – INITIALLY this confused me. I thought Hannah for some reason could no longer bear children. I saw the scenes of Eve talking about how she couldnt drink coffee and was pregnant, but then I saw scenes of Hannah drinking coffee…

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BUT THEN I found a clip I had not seen, in which Hannah says her husband is dead, but that he will live on in his baby, she then pauses and with emphasis states OUR baby.

I thought that “Hannah” was infertile but in ClipD155-A – she says “Simon is dead, but the baby, that is how he will live on… Our baby”

ClipD155-A.MPEG

AND a scene in which EVE claims to be pregnant.

ClipD161-A.MPEG

This leads me to believe they are one person with multiple personalities.

SOOO My final verdict is They are One person who’s name is Eve, who really did have a fucked up childhood of neglect and abuse, and created her “sister” as a way to cope with and escape from all of the trauma.

I feel quite satisfied having arrived at my conclusion. But I urge you to play the game for yourself and form your own conclusions :)

Her Story – Multiple Personalities Or Twins? My Theory, and Supporting Evidence was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

King’s Quest To Get a Sequel King’s Quest IX on July 28th 2015.

I think I recall hearing about this a year or two ago… but it fell to the back of my mind… until a facebook ad told me to like Sierra Games for updates on the “new” king’s quest game.

Upon clicking that ad, I saw the game is about to release on July 28th…. and I SPAZZED OUT. I can barely contain myself to even write this right now…

I own ALL of the games. My favorite is “heir today, gone tomorrow” because it was the first one I played :)

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They are beautifully hand drawn point and click games with charming (Although sometimes cheesey) characters and humor mixed in.

Their last title, was NOT a good move for the company and I assumed would be the death of the series (They made an ultima-ish first person action-rpg) King’s Quest Mask of Eternity was very different and not a hit with fans of the familiar old style gameplay. It also lacked the same quaint charm and sometimes cheesy / blatantly bad humor.

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Anyways… NOW we get back to the ROOTS of the game. It looks so fricken beautiful like a storybook brought to life. PLUS it looks like for the first time ever in the series, it will have a branching plot, like visual novel games, and decisions YOU make will affect what parts of the game you see ! I LOVE that!! That has me even MORE excited!! OMG… Because it says choose which tale you will tell in the trailer. !! I am hyped about that. The replay value will be sky high.

It’s gonna open up all the old games to young kids who never got to experience them (hint you can buy the collector’s edition from GOG.com which has all the old games <3).

If you’re excited like me…. check out the trailer and go see their facebook page or website for more info. http://www.sierra.com/kingsquest/

Also if you preorder the game you get an EXCLUSIVE playable epilogue after the game’s “ending” available only for preorder-ers.

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King’s Quest To Get a Sequel King’s Quest IX on July 28th 2015. 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