Ys Origin Review

ys-origin-topThe Ys series has remained relatively unknown in North America, but has always been worth playing. Ys Origin is, as the title suggests, an origin story for the rest of the series. Ys Origin is a traditional action RPG, available on Steam, without any of the bells and whistles. There is no talent or upgrade system, no party members to manage, and only the most basic equipment screen. Ys Origin is nothing more than a simple hack-and-slash action game, and it’s a ton of fun. Continue reading

Scribblenauts Remix Review

I encountered Scribblenauts Remix a few months ago while browsing for a cheap time-sink on my phone. I had read about Scribblenauts after the original game was released for Nintendo DS, but had not be interested enough to pay thirty dollars to try it out. The iOS game was significantly cheaper, so I decided to try it out, and I haven’t regretted my decision. Continue reading

A long overdue review: The World Ends With You

I have played video games for almost twenty years, and in that time I’ve played dozens of great video games. I have spent hours playing and replaying universally acclaimed games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and at the same time given Quest 64 more chances to impress me than it deserves. The video game industry continues to impress me with well made games, but those same games often lack a uniqueness that makes them memorable after the game is over.

Despite all this, on rare occasion I play a truly unique video game that remains fresh in my mind for years. I consider these unique games to be among my favorites.

The World Ends With You is one of those games. Continue reading

Defining The Legend of Zelda: The Role of Combat

Near the end of May, I examined the important role that puzzles have had in the evolution of the Legend of Zelda series. In that article, I noted that fans often debate whether puzzles or combat is more important to the series. Both puzzles and combat have played an important part in the evolution of the Legend of Zelda series and today I’m going to to take a closer look at the role of combat in The Legend of Zelda.

A newcomber to the Legend of Zelda series would quickly note that Link’s weapon of choice is a sword, but after playing through a portion of any Legend of Zelda game the same player would realize that there is far more to the combat of The Legend of Zelda than swordplay. The inventory items that Link acquires throughout each game have always played a pivotal role in Link’s adventures. I’ll be exploring roles of both swordplay and inventory items in this conclusion to “Defining The Legend of Zelda”.

Continue reading “Defining The Legend of Zelda: The Role of Combat” at Zelda Universe.

Darksiders Review

When I first heard about Darksiders, I was glad to hear that there was another game following in the footsteps of The Legend of Zelda’s item-based exploration. While other popular games are often copied endlessly by their competition The Legend of Zelda series seems to have avoided this problem entirely. The Legend of Zelda series has always introduced new ideas that have influenced the industry, but the the basics of the gameplay are rarely copied outright. Unfortunately, this causes a different problem that fans of other video game genres do not have: there are no similar games to play between Legend of Zelda releases.

Darksiders builds on the basic gameplay of The Legend of Zelda series and outperforms its predecessor in some ways. The result is a game that feels similar enough to The Legend of Zelda to make fans feel at home but offers enough differences to feel like something entirely new. Continue reading

Impressions from Nintendo at E3 2012

I’m going to keep this brief for now, but I think there’s a lot to talk about from Nintendo’s showings this year; both because of what Nintendo revealed and what Nintendo did not reveal. Nintendo held two separate conferences this year (one for WiiU and a second for Nintendo 3DS) and my first reaction to both was disappointment. I am disappointed that the games I most wanted to see are not at the show, and Nintendo made some strange decisions of which games to feature at their events. Some of the most exciting and interesting game announcements have been made after the press conferences through interviews. Specifically, I felt that Project P-100 for WiiU and Fire Emblem: Awakening for Nintendo 3DS should have been featured at the press events.

However, once the dust settled, my reaction to Nintendo’s game lineup changed for the better. I’m not extremely excited about what was shown this year, but I am satisfied. I’m satisfied with the WiiU’s launch lineup and the capabilities of the platform itself. I am satisfied with the holiday lineup for Nintendo 3DS as well, but I am still not convinced that I need to rush out and buy one.

In particular, I am very pleased to see Pikmin 3 finally revealed. I have never been a huge fan of the original games, but the announcement has renewed by interest in the series enough that I plan to play through Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2 soon.

The other highlight of Nintendo’s lineup is Nintendo Land. When the game was first announced, I was not interested and simply wished that Nintendo had devoted that stage time to something focused more on “core gamers”; something like The Legend of Zelda. However, when I saw the games being played and began reading impressions from people playing the demos my interest grew. For the first time, I am excited about a mini-game collection being released and, as long as Nintendo doesn’t choose to sell the game separately for $50, I plan to purchase it.

Impressions from Microsoft and Sony at E3 2012

Today, both Microsoft and Sony held their annual E3 press conferences, but both were underwhelming. While I had hoped that Microsoft might focus on games and announce a few new games, instead they announced no new major releases and focused almost exclusively on expanding the media features of the XBOX 360. I love that my XBOX 360 is capable of doing all of these things, but I use my XBOX 360 for games first and foremost and right now there is a severe lack of titles that interest me.

I expected a much better presentation from Sony, and they certainly did a much better job of focusing on games, but their conference suffered from a lack of new announcements. With the exception of Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls,  Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation, and Wonderbook everything that was shown had already been previously announced.

Despite their lackluster press conferences, there were a few noteworthy games. While none of them are really my taste, Halo 4, God of War: Ascension, and The Last of Us are all sure to be hits when they are released. The demo for The Last of Us was particularly impressive. I was also glad to see more of Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale, but I’m still not entirely sure how the gameplay works. I’m hoping to see more footage from the game during the rest of the week.

However, the real highlight today was Assassin’s Creed 3. Ubisoft demoed the game at their own press conference and again at Sony’s press conference. Both demos looked great and for the first time I am actually excited about an Assassin’s Creed title. Ubisoft truly stole the show today with Assassin’s Creed 3; it’s looking to be one of the best games of the year.