Game Over: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

January 22, 2011

As 999 was coming out I had some interest, but only some. The buzz was that the game had a deep, compelling story and characters; from that I was instantly intrigued. Unfortunately, as I started to see art work for 999 I began to lose my interest. Considering the hype being that it was a truly mature, Mature rated game, the art direction seemed a bit childish. Hotel Dusk had a much more fitting art style and the reason I bring it up is because it is a similar game. I figured that I would just let the game come out, not sell, price drop and pick it up on the cheap. About a month later the game was still getting talked about, a lot. I was surprised by how much attention 999 was receiving weeks after it’s release. Word was spreading that it was starting to become difficult to find in stores so I looked around. True enough, the GameStop that I work at was the only store anywhere close that still had the game. I decide that I would buy it before it was any more difficult to get a hold of.

And so my voyage began. Instantly I was drawn in to the world of 999. The opening is truly fantastic and it slightly over sold the game to me. One thing besides the storytelling that stood out was the use of sound, something that doesn’t get much attention in DS games. While the use of ambiance is used throughout I did expect it to be more involved based of the first minutes of the game. Environments look nice and the music kept me playing with my headphones on late into the night.

9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors can be broken down to three parts. The first part is the story and the second part is the puzzles. The third part is the ending.

The story; as well as the translation from the original Japanese is all nicely done. There is a lot of text and I only found two instances where there was a typo. The characters within the game build off each other creating a strong cast and their dialog is almost always interesting. I never found myself breezing past the text. There is also a rich mythology surrounding the story that borrows inspiration from the likes of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and the many rumors surrounding the Titanic. I am a sucker for that kind of storytelling. Another key part in the story is your involvement through dialog choices of the character you play as. This directs the path the story will take and how it will inevitably end.

Scattered throughout 999 are environmental puzzles. Rather than having the whole game subjected to keeping track of found items to solve puzzles hours later (as in Hotel Dusk) 999 segments puzzles into single or multiple room area. In these areas you must discover a way to escape by finding objects and clues to solve math problems, visual puzzles and riddles.

After you reach the end of the game you will be left with questions, and you may feel unsatisfied by the turn of events. Don’t worry, this is likely the most important part of the game. 999 is designed to be played through multiple times; with multiple paths to be explored and in doing so you will unravel the mystery of 999. There are more puzzles to solve and new details to learn about the characters. I know by the time I reached the true ending I was glad I took the time to find it, and if any of this sounds interesting to you I think you will be too.

 

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Samus, Dead or Alive?

January 20, 2011

I’m not sure if this is confirmation that Samus will be in Dead or Alive Dimensions but I really wanted to post the picture below, so there.


Game Over: Sonic Colors

January 18, 2011

Last year I beat my first Sonic game ever. I’m not what you would call a Sonic fan. I didn’t own a Sega system until the Dreamcast so I only ever got to play Sonic games occasionally during the Genesis days. I liked the original Sonic games okay, but after a few levels the games charm wore off on me. More recent Sonic games have done an even poorer job at capturing my attention. That is until Sonic Unleashed. I played a demo of Sonic Unleashed and really enjoyed the day stage that I played, but I never bought it to play the whole game because of all the bad things I heard about the night stages where you play as the Werehog.  When Sonic Colors was announced I was instantly intrigued at the prospect of playing a whole game in the style of Unleashed’s day stages. This designed decision proved to make a great game, and my new favorite Sonic game; although I don’t know if I could really tell what it was before.

There is a clear inspiration from Super Mario Galaxy in Sonic Colors. From the amount of side-scrolling sections, to the power-ups (most specifically the drill power that Sonic has), to the epic orchestrated score of the games start menu. The game is overall done very well. Most level bring something unique so I never felt bored by any of the levels, the too few and far between between cut-scenes looked nice and made me laugh. The cut-scenes before boss fights were strange in that they don’t show of the actual boss and has not dialog coming from the boss either, Sonic just talks to himself. I think this was done on purpose based on Sonic’s own questioning on why none of the bosses talk back to him.

I’m glad I bought Sonic Colors. While I wait for Sega to possibly make a sequel, there is plenty of game for to go back to. There are a red rings hidden each level and I missed many of them from earlier levels that require going back through once you unlock power up from later in the game. There are also leader boards for each level that I could try to place on if I felt like I was good enough to do so. I’ll just stick to having fun rather than frustrating myself over high scores.


Ni No Kuni

December 12, 2010

On the 9th of December 2010 there will be a game known as Ni No Kuni: The Jet-Black Mage. A game that is one of the last hurrahs for the DS; which will be replaced early next year by the glorious 3DS. It’s a collaboration between one of my favorite animation studios, Studio Ghibli, and the game developer Level 5.

Level 5 seems to be on a role as of late, sure White Knight Chronicles was uninspiring but the Professor Layton series is proving to very popular with it’s multiple games, a movie, and next year a 3DS cross-over game with Phoenix Wright. The 3DS will also be home to some other promising looking games from Level 5, Fantasy Life, Time Travelers, and more in the Professor Layton sixlet. This up and coming game company has managed to grab the attention of the ever illusive Studio Ghibli. The next few years I think we could see Level 5 rise to the ranks of the largest gaming companies.

I get a sort of Mother (Earthbound) vibe from the games combat and the story will great with Ghibli involved. The graphics are great for a DS game, some of the best in game polygon 3D that I have seen on the system. There seems to be a lot of voice acting in the videos I have seen. The game comes with a full book that has lore, a beastery, maps, and direction on how to cast in game spells using the DS touch screen. The spells do things like remove locks form doors and summon monsters to help you in battle. I was also excited to discover that the quite beautiful PS3 game is much more than a prettier version of the same game. It will start of the same but end up having a different story; which means that I can play the DS version for touch screen gameplay and still go through the PS3 version for the more theatrical presentation without having to go though the same exact story again.

On a side note Ni No Kuni along with The Last Guardian is more than enough reason for me to take the plunge into a PS3 whenever one of them decides to come out.

What is in store with Ni No Kuni, perhaps nothing for the United States. I know that Disney has US distributing rights for Studio Ghibli movies and who knows what kind of mess that would cause in the gaming world. I now that Disney has it’s own game publishing department but they have also, in the past, dealt with other companies to publish games for movies and shows. At least with Disney involved I would be assured that the English voice work would be done very well.

I’ll try to keep my hopes up on this one.


Muramasa: The Demon Blade

December 8, 2010

The last few weeks I have been playing Muramasa and weighing my love of Japanese art work against my hatred for pressing up to jump. I’m not a big fan of the combat in Muramasa and I’m saddened by the simplification of the item system from the one used in Vanilla Ware’s previous title, Odin Sphere. Still, when I play it I am having fun despite its shortcomings.

Muramasa has an interesting story, full of Japanese mythology. I have only been playing through Momohime’s story. I’m not sure how far I am on that path but there is a corresponding story of a boy named Kisuke to play as well. Even with this large amount of game to play; I get the slightest feeling that Muramasa was rushed to release. Perhaps my expectations were too ambitious but I would have enjoyed more characters to interact with, more stores to shop in, and more vestigial areas to explore that add nothing but a deeper atmosphere to the world.


Cave Story DSi

November 30, 2010

Let me start off by saying that out of the many great games that have come out this year; for me, Cave Story ranks right up near the top if not the very top (I do understand that it originally was available all the way back in 2004). That said, starting today Cave Story has FREE demo up on the Wii Shop Channel. If you haven’t tried Cave Story go download it now.

Cave Story is also now available on DSiWare now, for 1000 Nintendo points. I have played it for little while, I just fully leveled up my Bubbleline before I stopped playing. It’s great as expected. What could be better than Cave Story you can play easily while on the toilet?

THURSDAY 12:46AM

I just beat the Island’s Core only to realize that I failed to take the correct steps to beat the game the way I wanted this time around. Now the question is, do restart a new game on Easy (because I know I can beat the game on Normal already), or do I restart a new game on Normal again?

THURSDAY 6:05 PM

I decided to go with Normal again. I started an Easy game and just felt bad for myself. I’m back in the Bushlands and I must say I’m not looking forward to going back through the Sands, other than for puppies.


New Wii Ware Demos

November 23, 2010

I just finished playing through the 4 newly available demos on WiiWare.

And Yet It Moves

It’s pretty good puzzle platformer but nothing that I would want to buy.

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ThruSpace

I tried playing it with the remote sideways and it was very hard, once I played with the remote and nunchuck the movement of the blocks became much easier and the game clicked with me. This would easily fit into the Art Style series.

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Jett Rocket

Probably the best looking WiiWare game. Not as great as Super Mario Galaxy but it definitely is taking ques from it. I still don’t like way the main character looks (much like how I don’t like the character from And Yet It Moves). It plays well too.

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Bit Trip FATE

The Bit Trip series has been pretty good so far, I liked Bit Trip BEAT and Bit Trip Runner is one of my favorite WiiWare games but Bit Trip FATE bored me.

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