The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread

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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed May 06, 2015 2:00 pm

Both the Wii and the Wii U have a bum rep online. With many jokes regarding the frequent dusting and re-dusting of the consoles, a persistent myth regarding the console's lack of games proved hard to die. Regardless of any game release, each new game was only an isolated incident with no memory of the last release.

For myself, I judge each console's purchase on the availability of 10 must play games that I cannot play on other consoles. That was certainly the case for the Wii, but with the release of Super Smash Bros' 4, it was the same for the Wii U.

The 10 Must Play Games for the Wii U:

-Mario Kart 8:

Simply put, I think MK8 is the most gorgeous game of this generation, as well as the one with the best music. With the best racing in a Mario Kart game, as well as with a robust online community, MK8 laughs at the notion of dusting off your console. With this game, you simply won't ever need to tuck it away.

Additionally, it makes for a great time to play with your kid siblings, or even your own. It doesn't hurt that it has the best darn DLC in this day and age.

-Super Smash Bros. 4:

If you are a dedicated smash fan, you already have a Wii U. But the best thing about Smash is that it is equally fun for non-dedicated fans as well. With the best roster of a Smash game so far, Smash 4 has characters for everyone.

While its single player content is a tad limited, Smash is the best iteration of the legendary fighting formula.

-Bayonetta 2:

While Platinum do not get the commercial recognition that they deserve, they most assuredly are the best in the business at game mechanics. Bayonetta 2 is being treated as the epitome of Action games, and in many cases its not hyperbole.

For anyone with any interest in Action games, you simply won't find better than this witch. And with this purchase, you get the first Bayonetta game at its best (not the shoddy PS3 port).

-The Wonderful 101:

Again from Platinum comes an under appreciated masterpiece. The W101 is a crazy game, and is one of my favorite games of all time. In many ways, it is simply too difficult for this current gaming atmosphere, where games are more or less QTE events.

The W101 is not only mechanically complex, but its narrative is fun as hell, and crazy as chicken on meth. It might not have sold well, but it is mostly because it is the game we don't know that we need, it is the game that we deserve.

-Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze:

I have played video games for more than 20 years. DKCTF is the best platformer I have ever played. Not only is it mechanically perfect, but it varies greatly with your accoiated sidekick, as well as with the levels themselves.

Levels that show a degree of imagination unmatched in many games, and as such are replayable to no end. Even now, I will go into this game time and again to improve on my speed running time, as well as to just hang out and listen to the music.

-The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker:

I am cheating a little now, but few people actually played this game on the gamecube. Today, the game still holds up greatly, and frankly is better than a lot of the brown crap that is released every month.

The Wind Waker is a true adventure game, and is one of the best Zelda games ever.

-Super Mario 3D World:

Personally, I am a fan of the Galaxy games more than the linear 3D world. However, I cannot deny the brilliance of SM3DW. With each level, a new degree of imagination is found. Rarely does the game repeat itself, and its fun from beginning to end.

What makes it a must play game though is the multiplayer coop. Playing with other is not only fun, but also different enough to encourage multiple playthrough. Also, it encourages a true bonding experience between sibling, and parents with their kids.

-Pikmin 3:

The Pikming games are deceptively morbid. You are the general of a hundred or so alien creatures that you sacrifice to save yourself. It opens to an engrossing strategic playstyle, that rewards explorations as well as experimentation.

When playing Pikmin 3, you can try for a maximum efficiency approach, or simply strive to go back to your planet despite all the condemned souls of you soldiers.

-Hyrule Warriors:

Ok, this just another Warriors game with a Zelda skin. However, it is probably the most fulfilling and content filled Warriors game to ever get released. With deceptively deep combat, as well as great variety in characters, Hyrule Warriors offers dozen of hours for you to play.

Plus, long haired Ganondorf is simply too badass to ignore.

-Nintendo Land:

While Nintendo Land might first appear as a simple party game collection, it proves to be more than that. While I have always been a gamer, many of my friends have rarely if ever held controllers in their lives. Nintendo Land includes games that are so simple, yet so fun, that anyone regardless of gaming ability could have blast.

Now its a staple whenever my friends visit home, and also a staple when my family plays games together. It makes for an inclusive experience that everyone manages to share.

******************************************************************

That is it for the must play Wii U games. However, the Wii U has another advantage, which is the ability to play Wii games.

Now, I am going to go back to Gamesradar top 50 Wii games, and review them in a similar way to how I review the SNES games (I am nearing that thread's completion). Also, you can read my stuff in Destructoid.com, where I post with the same name.

Anyway, stay tuned


Last edited by Lord Spencer on Wed May 06, 2015 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce on Wed May 06, 2015 2:09 pm

Mario Kart 8 on 200cc is the equivalent of " some men just want to watch the world burn " in video game form.
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Post by LeVersacci on Wed May 06, 2015 3:08 pm

Does Wii & Wii U even have HD


Spoiler:
Had to do it before RG did it Razz
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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed May 06, 2015 4:34 pm

The Wii doesn't rofl
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce on Wed May 06, 2015 4:37 pm

BTW Spencer what you say is true about Wind Waker HD, despite having it on the gamecube i never actually played it because the faux grown up teenager inside of me told myself it was too kiddy rofl

Played it on Wii U though and it's one of the best games i have ever played personally, all it did though was make me more anxious for a new Zelda....
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Post by M99 on Wed May 06, 2015 6:02 pm

Yo so how many of you have played Bayonetta 2? That's one game that I want from Wii U.

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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce on Wed May 06, 2015 6:02 pm

I have played the demo hmm
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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed May 06, 2015 6:22 pm

Best action game of all time for me. Previously, it was the Ninja Gaiden Sigma games, but Bayo 2 simply beats them technically, all the while being crazy ridiculous.

Its obvious Platinum Games put everything they had in this game, because they fear they won't be able to make a third one. The Irony, I doubt there could exist a third one because 2 would be very difficult to top.
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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed May 06, 2015 9:43 pm

#49

Game: Lost in Shadow.
Year: 2010.
Genre: Puzzle-Platformer.
Publisher: Hudson Soft.
Developer: Hudson Soft.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread Lost_in_Shadow_box_art

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

These days, we find games like Lost in Shadow more readily in Steam or the Nintendo eShop, mostly made by indie developers. Of course, this is not a slight on the game as much as a reflection of the development of the indie scene, as well as the relative homogenization of major publishers. Not adhering to any single trope, Lost in Shadow follows its own philosophy on games, and it works for the most.

Obviously, Lost in Shadow is inspired by Ico, a PS2 Puzzle-Platformer that is as well regarded as it was commercially ill received. Taking place in a mysterious world, where most of the game is in the shadows of the real world, LoS clearly could have been a brilliant game. Unfortunately, it falls far from its potential despite being a good game.

"A Shadow, that is all I have become."

An ominous tower looms from the distance, but the camera quickly zooms into the top floor, as an ominous man prepares to sacrifice a child. While this child looks helplessly, the man slashes with his sword. Yet, there is no blood, only the sudden severance of the boys shadow, which is the unceremoniously dumped from the top of the tower.

We control this shadow, which aims to go back to its body. Hence, we need to climb the tower. This sets up the world of LoS, where its unique gameplay is almost entirely related to shadows. It also sets up the main mystery, and a lot of questions.

Why was the boy's shadow severed?
Why his shadow?
Why a boy?

Unfortunately, the game poorly answers its question. Soon, we know that there is a terrible monster that devours the shadows that try to climb the tower, mostly the shadows of the dead. Hence, we can surmise that shadows are like souls. However, other than this important fact, the game poorly manages its own mystery.

Taking cues from Ico, LoS aims at non-conventional exposition and a sense of mystery. Yet, LoS doesn't have the emotional core of Ico, nor does it reveal its information well. Most of the exposition we get is in major "narration" between important segments, which feel a bit lacking. Especially because what should have been a major story element is just disappointing. While climbing the tower, collectible "memories" are found, which raise your health as well as expose a little story. Yet, most of the memories are not that revealing, and some are downright "too blurry to read". Seriously, it is like collecting corrupted Audio-Tapes in Bioshock. The first one is cute, but it becomes increasingly stupid.

Ultimately, I wasn't as invested in the story as I probably should have been, and it didn't become a driving force for going forward (or upward in this case).

Mysterious Set-Up: +2
Non-Intresting Story: -3
Poor Story-Telling: -2

"What is the sound of a shadow's step"

Courtesy of being in the shadow realm, movement is naturally going to be in the 2D plane. However, all your movement is constrained by shadows. While you are in the shadow realm witohut a real world counterpart, the rest of the environment is simply the shadows cast by the real world. As such, you can actually see the foreground where pillars and machines cast their shadow in your play-field.

Here, the gameplay is a simple 2D platformer with some combat. You can jump, crawl, and attack in three combos. Its not a mechanically sophisticated system, but it does the job with no hassle, unless your a playing on hard, in which case you will need to jump-dodge more often.

The crux of the gameplay comes from interacting with the real world. Without any explanation, you are accompanied by some shadow butterfly that can interact with the real world. Its as simple as pointing at objects of interest and pushing a button. This physical change in the real world causes a change in the shadowscape.

More complex is when you are tasked with manipulating the lighting. True to real life, when you change the light direction, both the orientations and size of the shadows change. While it is limited by place, and often easy to know exactly what you need to do, it does combine sometimes in clever ways.

Finally, you get the ability to visit the real world for a brief amount of time. This changes the 2D gameplay into basic 3D gameplay. Unfortunately, this ability comes in late in the game, despite being useable in earlier stages. Obviously, the game wants you to go back to get some staggering memories.

Generally, the game isn't really difficult, and the puzzles are rarely challenging. Yet, they are clever enough to entertain, and unique enough to surprise. Despite that, the game outstays its welcome by a bit. With the endgame having the best levels and puzzles, I was annoyed at the midgame padding. For instance, just at the end of the tower, we are tasked with a stupid fetch quest that asks you to visit some rooms in the tower. It could have easily been cut without affecting the story.

Most levels use one or two ideas and evolve them, but many are just retreads of similar ideas. Each level tasks you with collecting three "Monitor Eyes", which is necessary to finish the game. Some levels include "Shadow Corridors" which serve as micro levels designed to showcase a single game mechanic. Unfortunately, those corridors are unskippable, and are hot or miss. Which all combines for an uninspiring level structure, yet the shadow concept holds strong throughout.

Interesting Shadow Puzzles: +4
Varied Systems: +2
Too Long and a little Uninspired: -3

"The Monster ate the shadows that tried to climb the tower"

The first time you are faced with the monster is set-up very well. First, you get a few memories in your path that hint at a terrible beast. Then, as you start the next level, the music shifts to a more urgent scale, and you are suddenly chased by the abomination. Its well designed, and scary enough to compel your escape without any directions to do so. It is single handled the best moment in the game because all of it comes together nicely. The music, the gameplay, the artstyle, and actually narrative drive.

Of all those aspects, only artstyle is consistent throughout.

Because it is basically shadows, the graphics basically need to show shadows on a plane wall. However, it goes much beyond that. Since shadow are cast on the horizontal ground as well as the vertical wall, the camera shifts as the shadow moves through different 3D planes. A shadow is equally cast on a near pillar as well as a far pillar, which translates to the cascading motion of the shadow hero as you move forward through the pillars.

While the main monster is the most memorable enemy, all the other enemies are actually well designed themselves. With a combination of macabre elements fused with natural horrors, we get some truly formidable looking foes (if not actually formidable in themselves).

I can always complain about the unimaginative 3D "real world", but the shadow world feels like playing shadow tag on a huge landscape. Additionally, the idea of the tower, as well as the best locales, both add to the mystery of the game. So, the shadow theme helps a lot in the graphical presentation of the game.

Yet, it perhaps hinders the soundtrack most of all. I can imagine the composer wanting to create a music that fits the mystery and theme of shadows, and I can imagine that composer finally setting his ambient tunes to the stage. The end result is a mostly ambient style music that is hardly distinguishable, and perhaps most unforgivable; simply boring.

While the desire to complement the graphical mood makes sense, the music simply needed to be more interesting, more varied, and just not this boring. Previously, I said the the moment where you are followed by the monster is the best moment because all elements of the game gel together. Its not because the music is especially memorable, but because its the first time you hear a different sounding music.

Nice Shadow Graphical Effects: +4
Interesting Enemy Design: +3
Boring "Ambient" Music: -5

"Only hope keeps me going"

Time is scarce. In fact, I am more convinced that time is the deciding factor in purchases more so than cost. With this knowledge, I feel that my desire to finish every game I play is a determinant to trying out new games. Yet, there is always the fact that game will drive me to finish it.

This "drive" comes through various means: music, gameplay, story, or even style. With LoS, I cannot underscore a driving factor, because I believe "Hope" is the best I could come up with. Hope that the game fulfills the potential of its core mechanic, the potential of its mysterious set up.

To its credit, the game actually comes close at the end, but by that time, I doubt a lot of player stuck to the end.

No Driving Factor: -2

In Conclusion:

Lost in Shadow is proof that a game should not rest on a single promising mechanic, but should use that mechanic to differentiate a quality product. That is not to say that LoS is not worth playing, nor that it is a complete waste of time. In the contrary, I am glad I did indeed play it.

However, I am not entirely sure its worth finishing.

Final: 26/50

"Tips"
1- Don't underestimate your jump.
2- The best way to defeat enemies you are having trouble with is a quick one two then a jump.
3- Occasionaly flash the scene to look for intractable objects.
4- You can always change the difficulty in mid-level.

"Next Game"

So the beginning of the Wii list was not that good of a game, but it is at least better than the SNES list at least. The next game I am playing is not in the gamesradar list, but is the predecessor to one that is.

Of course, the Wii meant a revival to light gun shooters, and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was Capcom's first response to that revival. Here is hoping its more undead than dead (hahahahahaha).

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed May 13, 2015 6:17 pm

#47

Game: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.
Year: 2010.
Genre: Rail Shooter.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom, Cavia.

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First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

As the second Rail Shooter released by Capcom in the Wii, The Darkside Chronicle obviously benefits from the learned experiences of the team. Not only is it obviously better graphically, but also manages to have a tighter aiming and a cleaner interface.

Outside of the more obvious upgrades, The Darkside Chronicles manages to add more flourishes to itself, and almost manages to transcend the genre. Still, this is a game that is meant for Rail Shooters and/or Resident Evil fans. However, this is also a game I would recommend to anyone even remotely interested in either.

The Darkside Chronicles is probably among the pinnacle Rail Shooters.

"Just another one of Umbrella's failed experiments"

I will continue to reiterate; Umbrella is probably the most evil corporation in videogame history. While the company doesn't directly act in this game, their previous legacy is still the driving force for the narrative.

While the first chronicles game focused on Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine and their respective story-lines, The Darkside Chronicles retells the story of RE2 and Code Veronica as well as adds the excellent Operation Javier storyline. This means that the game focuses on the story of Leon and Claire (Chris's sister). This makes for a better story, because Leon and Claire are simply better characters than Chris and Jill.

Unfortunately, the game does not have the huge presence of Albert Wesker as it did in the first game. Yet, the new Operation Javier manages to compensate well. Especially by being a new fleshed out tale, the added scenario also explores the past relation between Leon and non other than Jack Krauser from RE4.

Additionally, the storytelling of this game is just better. Besides actually retelling the stories in a concise and personal way, the game doesn't only rely on archive files to flesh out the tale. While not as deep as the actual games themselves, the game manages to cultivate a sense of urgency that was sorely missing before.

Unlike the first game, where the story was hidden in the archives, The Darkside Chronicles actually does a decent job of showcasing the best parts of the stories it tells. Whither its the fate of the Birkin family, or that of the Ashfords. And not to be outdone, the Javiers putt in their contribution as well.

No Wesker: -2
Great Retelling: +4
Operation Javier: +3

"Something strange. It smells like... like a battlefield"

Similar to the first game, the character you choose has no effect on the gameplay, which is usual Rail Shooter fare with an infinite handgun and several side weapons. Yet, it seems like Capcom learned a lot from making the Umbrella Chronicles, and it shows.

In the first game, I bemoaned several factors for non-ideal aiming. If I could, I would go back and dock more point from The Umbrella Chronicles because this game simply has much better aiming which makes the first unforgivable and clunky. While still not perfect, and prone to shake without using a peripheral, it is still possible to sting along a series of head shots, and I feel more culpable when missing shots than the game itself.

This culminates in the cleaner look, which allows for a better aiming reticule, as well as enhanced feedback. Switching weapons is now simply done by pressing a directional button instead of scrolling through all of them to get to that beautiful rocket launcher. Grenades are their own weapon slot and no longer its own attack, and you can keep most supplies through levels. Better still, you can store herbs to use when you really need them instead of wasting them on full health.

I am no closer to being an expert at Rail Shooters, but I feel that practice would pay off when playing this game, and the gameplay feels satisfying.

Yet, two aspects might prove uncomfortable for some. The first is the removal of any camera control, which means you cannot look around as you could in the first game. The second is the shaky cam which is used throughout the game.

Since I played this right after the first game, I missed the ability to control the camera, and wish some limited control was available. As for the shaky cam; I honestly think its an overblown complaint. Not only does it add to the first person experience, but it rarely detracts from your aiming, since you character steadies their aim whenever you actually need to shoot stuff. However, it might make it harder to get the archive items (I didn't get all of them) but I am not sure.

Generally, this a better Rail Shooter than the first, and a better game because of it.

Better Aiming: +3
Cleaner Interface: +2
Quick Weapon Selection: +2
No Camera Control: -3
Linear Corridors: -2

"Come on now trenchy"

Since this game spans three timelines and three generations of B.O.Ws, we have more to deal with besides the Zombies which are thankfully varied in design if not in actual intellect. From the hunters and their variations to the lithe Anubis, we are tasked with handling a variety of foes.

Generally, each level has a healthy dose of variety, and no particular enemy feels cheap or forgivable (besides the bats). For RE fans, its cool to see the development of the Hunter class of B.O.W as well as the variety of bugs that are turned into nightmarish monstrosities. I am yet to see a camel scorpion zombie, and if I do, I am going to run far away.

As the pinnacle of the experience, the boss battles rarely disappoint in Resident Evil game and this one is no exception. From the human like Tyrant in all their terrifying power to truly frightening behemoths, the boss fights are intense.

When the boss's healthbar shows itself in the screen, you realize you need to throw in the gauntlet and let loose with everything you have. In many ways, the game does so as well, as it stretches itself both visually and mechanically to offer increasingly unique fights.

Not to be confused, you are still shackled to the rails as per the genre, but each boss fight has a combination of QTE dodges, as well as attacks that can be cancelled with the right firepower. However, acting more than a visual spectacle, these fights demand more accuracy than the usual horde, and are the most difficult parts of the game.


[i]Boss Fights: +3

Varied Enemies: +2

"When you look at the depth of the abyss it swallows you whole"

There can be no arguing, the Darkside Chronicles is a beautiful game SD graphics be damned. Whither it is showcasing the beautiful vistas of "South American Country" or the dreary streets of Racoon city. In gameplay and in CGI scenes, this is a game that is among the best on the Wii and the PS360. A lot of it is due to the excellent direction of Capcom, as well as impeccable lighting.

Hence, the game' varied locations all look great, and add to an atmosphere that is lacking through the genre's gameplay. With mansions suitably looking extravagant and filled with knick nacks, and a village that looks to have been obviously populated before an unspeakable catastrophe claimed many lives. This visual and stage design is even better than that or the disappointing RE5.

With this added graphical capability, the monstrosities conjured by the game's directors come to life more vividly, with a special kudos to one of the best final boss designs in a series renowned for its boss designs.

Shedding the plastic faces of the PS2 era human characters, Leon and Claire look and act more believably than previous iterations. However, for some reason, that jackass still looks like a jackass even with the visual upgrade.

Adding to the beauty of the game is its soundtrack and audio design. With both the music and the sound effect playing a crucial part in underlying both the prevailing mood or urgency of each situation. While not exceptionally brilliant, it still manages to complement the game well.

The VA deserve a special mention because they all do their job admirably. While some lines are cheesy and could have been cringe-worthy, the delivery of said lines made them passable and in some cases somewhat funny.

True, a Rail Shooter doesn't struggle to showcase stellar graphics, but such effort is to be commended by Capcom.

Beautiful Graphics: +5
Nice Soundtrack: +2

In Conclusion:

For a game particularly made for two fan bases, it has a lot to offer to both. With excellent retelling of loved RE stories as well as much appreciated back-story on Krauser, as well as great Rail Shooting gameplay., The Darkside Chronicles hits both demographics well.

Additionally, this is a game that I think manages to be fun for different players. The story is concisely told, with player unfamiliar with the source content mostly able to follow through, and the game itself being really well done.

Much better than the first game, The Darkside Chronicles is another point for Leon in the Leaon vs. Chris debate. Everybody hates Chris anyway.

Final: 44/50

"Tips"
1- There is no countering in this game, so don't get them close.
2- You can switch weapons into the quick selection slots in the pause menue.
3- Shoot the heads (DUUUUH!).
4- Brake stuff in the environment to get gold.
5- Use gold to upgrade your weapons.
6- Focus on upgrading your handgun first.
7- But an aiming peripheral if you are a fan of Rail Shooters.

"Next Game"

Gamesradar are perfectly right to put this one in the list instead of The Umbrella Chronicles. In fact, if Operation Javier was a full fledged RE game, I would guarantee it being a hit. Now that I am done with Rail Shooters for the moment, I might change the den like it was before.

The next game in the list is at #46, Sakura Wars: So Long my Love. This sounds like a very Japanese game, and it should be interesting since it is based on the Sakura Wars media franchise.

Stay Tuned
[/i]


Last edited by Lord Spencer on Thu May 21, 2015 12:38 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Post by Great Leader Sprucenuce on Wed May 13, 2015 6:18 pm

Wrong image i think hmm
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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed May 13, 2015 6:40 pm

Ninja Edit
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Post by Lord Spencer on Thu May 21, 2015 12:39 pm

#47

Game: Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.
Year: 2010.
Genre: Rail Shooter.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom, Cavia.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread Images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRvxv63dGW1qnfYi_oEE5zRoqrG-YZxJs4pz4kenyU4v3vk0I7T

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

As the second Rail Shooter released by Capcom in the Wii, The Darkside Chronicle obviously benefits from the learned experiences of the team. Not only is it obviously better graphically, but also manages to have a tighter aiming and a cleaner interface.

Outside of the more obvious upgrades, The Darkside Chronicles manages to add more flourishes to itself, and almost manages to transcend the genre. Still, this is a game that is meant for Rail Shooters and/or Resident Evil fans. However, this is also a game I would recommend to anyone even remotely interested in either.

The Darkside Chronicles is probably among the pinnacle Rail Shooters.

"Just another one of Umbrella's failed experiments"

I will continue to reiterate; Umbrella is probably the most evil corporation in videogame history. While the company doesn't directly act in this game, their previous legacy is still the driving force for the narrative.

While the first chronicles game focused on Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine and their respective story-lines, The Darkside Chronicles retells the story of RE2 and Code Veronica as well as adds the excellent Operation Javier storyline. This means that the game focuses on the story of Leon and Claire (Chris's sister). This makes for a better story, because Leon and Claire are simply better characters than Chris and Jill.

Unfortunately, the game does not have the huge presence of Albert Wesker as it did in the first game. Yet, the new Operation Javier manages to compensate well. Especially by being a new fleshed out tale, the added scenario also explores the past relation between Leon and non other than Jack Krauser from RE4.

Additionally, the storytelling of this game is just better. Besides actually retelling the stories in a concise and personal way, the game doesn't only rely on archive files to flesh out the tale. While not as deep as the actual games themselves, the game manages to cultivate a sense of urgency that was sorely missing before.

Unlike the first game, where the story was hidden in the archives, The Darkside Chronicles actually does a decent job of showcasing the best parts of the stories it tells. Whither its the fate of the Birkin family, or that of the Ashfords. And not to be outdone, the Javiers putt in their contribution as well.

No Wesker: -2
Great Retelling: +4
Operation Javier: +3

"Something strange. It smells like... like a battlefield"

Similar to the first game, the character you choose has no effect on the gameplay, which is usual Rail Shooter fare with an infinite handgun and several side weapons. Yet, it seems like Capcom learned a lot from making the Umbrella Chronicles, and it shows.

In the first game, I bemoaned several factors for non-ideal aiming. If I could, I would go back and dock more point from The Umbrella Chronicles because this game simply has much better aiming which makes the first unforgivable and clunky. While still not perfect, and prone to shake without using a peripheral, it is still possible to sting along a series of head shots, and I feel more culpable when missing shots than the game itself.

This culminates in the cleaner look, which allows for a better aiming reticule, as well as enhanced feedback. Switching weapons is now simply done by pressing a directional button instead of scrolling through all of them to get to that beautiful rocket launcher. Grenades are their own weapon slot and no longer its own attack, and you can keep most supplies through levels. Better still, you can store herbs to use when you really need them instead of wasting them on full health.

I am no closer to being an expert at Rail Shooters, but I feel that practice would pay off when playing this game, and the gameplay feels satisfying.

Yet, two aspects might prove uncomfortable for some. The first is the removal of any camera control, which means you cannot look around as you could in the first game. The second is the shaky cam which is used throughout the game.

Since I played this right after the first game, I missed the ability to control the camera, and wish some limited control was available. As for the shaky cam; I honestly think its an overblown complaint. Not only does it add to the first person experience, but it rarely detracts from your aiming, since you character steadies their aim whenever you actually need to shoot stuff. However, it might make it harder to get the archive items (I didn't get all of them) but I am not sure.

Generally, this a better Rail Shooter than the first, and a better game because of it.

Better Aiming: +3
Cleaner Interface: +2
Quick Weapon Selection: +2
No Camera Control: -3
Linear Corridors: -2

"Come on now trenchy"

Since this game spans three timelines and three generations of B.O.Ws, we have more to deal with besides the Zombies which are thankfully varied in design if not in actual intellect. From the hunters and their variations to the lithe Anubis, we are tasked with handling a variety of foes.

Generally, each level has a healthy dose of variety, and no particular enemy feels cheap or forgivable (besides the bats). For RE fans, its cool to see the development of the Hunter class of B.O.W as well as the variety of bugs that are turned into nightmarish monstrosities. I am yet to see a camel scorpion zombie, and if I do, I am going to run far away.

As the pinnacle of the experience, the boss battles rarely disappoint in Resident Evil game and this one is no exception. From the human like Tyrant in all their terrifying power to truly frightening behemoths, the boss fights are intense.

When the boss's healthbar shows itself in the screen, you realize you need to throw in the gauntlet and let loose with everything you have. In many ways, the game does so as well, as it stretches itself both visually and mechanically to offer increasingly unique fights.

Not to be confused, you are still shackled to the rails as per the genre, but each boss fight has a combination of QTE dodges, as well as attacks that can be cancelled with the right firepower. However, acting more than a visual spectacle, these fights demand more accuracy than the usual horde, and are the most difficult parts of the game.


Boss Fights: +3
Varied Enemies: +2

"When you look at the depth of the abyss it swallows you whole"

There can be no arguing, the Darkside Chronicles is a beautiful game SD graphics be damned. Whither it is showcasing the beautiful vistas of "South American Country" or the dreary streets of Racoon city. In gameplay and in CGI scenes, this is a game that is among the best on the Wii and the PS360. A lot of it is due to the excellent direction of Capcom, as well as impeccable lighting.

Hence, the game' varied locations all look great, and add to an atmosphere that is lacking through the genre's gameplay. With mansions suitably looking extravagant and filled with knick nacks, and a village that looks to have been obviously populated before an unspeakable catastrophe claimed many lives. This visual and stage design is even better than that or the disappointing RE5.

With this added graphical capability, the monstrosities conjured by the game's directors come to life more vividly, with a special kudos to one of the best final boss designs in a series renowned for its boss designs.

Shedding the plastic faces of the PS2 era human characters, Leon and Claire look and act more believably than previous iterations. However, for some reason, that jackass still looks like a jackass even with the visual upgrade.

Adding to the beauty of the game is its soundtrack and audio design. With both the music and the sound effect playing a crucial part in underlying both the prevailing mood or urgency of each situation. While not exceptionally brilliant, it still manages to complement the game well.

The VA deserve a special mention because they all do their job admirably. While some lines are cheesy and could have been cringe-worthy, the delivery of said lines made them passable and in some cases somewhat funny.

True, a Rail Shooter doesn't struggle to showcase stellar graphics, but such effort is to be commended by Capcom.

Beautiful Graphics: +5
Nice Soundtrack: +2

In Conclusion:

For a game particularly made for two fan bases, it has a lot to offer to both. With excellent retelling of loved RE stories as well as much appreciated back-story on Krauser, as well as great Rail Shooting gameplay., The Darkside Chronicles hits both demographics well.

Additionally, this is a game that I think manages to be fun for different players. The story is concisely told, with player unfamiliar with the source content mostly able to follow through, and the game itself being really well done.

Much better than the first game, The Darkside Chronicles is another point for Leon in the Leaon vs. Chris debate. Everybody hates Chris anyway.

Final: 44/50

"Tips"
1- There is no countering in this game, so don't get them close.
2- You can switch weapons into the quick selection slots in the pause menue.
3- Shoot the heads (DUUUUH!).
4- Brake stuff in the environment to get gold.
5- Use gold to upgrade your weapons.
6- Focus on upgrading your handgun first.
7- But an aiming peripheral if you are a fan of Rail Shooters.

"Next Game"

Gamesradar are perfectly right to put this one in the list instead of The Umbrella Chronicles. In fact, if Operation Javier was a full fledged RE game, I would guarantee it being a hit. Now that I am done with Rail Shooters for the moment, I might change the den like it was before.

The next game in the list is at #46, Sakura Wars: So Long my Love. This sounds like a very Japanese game, and it should be interesting since it is based on the Sakura Wars media franchise.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:21 pm

#46

Game: Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love.
Year: 2010.
Genre: SRPG, Dating Sim.
Publisher: NIS America.
Developer: Sega, Idea Factory.

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First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

For those unfamiliar with this game's path to localization, it isn't much different than the multitude of games developed by Sega that never sees a western release. Originally developed in 2005 for the PS2, Sakura Wars only managed to release over the sea in 2010 on the Wii.

To be fair, this is one game that Sega might have been justified in their reluctance to localize. Most obviously, there are hundreds of lines to translate and voice act. In addition, this is one game style that Sega were not sure would find its audience in the West, especially since its part of an established series in Japan.

While this game can be considered a solid SRPG, it is defined by its Dating Sim gameplay and anime tropes. This already puts it in a niche within an niche in the west, and this is a game that doesn't try to go beyond its audience, for good and bad.

"The peace of New York rests in your shoulders"

The setup to the story should be familiar to anyone who ever watched Saturday night cartoons or shows like the Power Rangers. Shinjiro Taiga, your semi-avatar, is a young Japanese military graduate who is transferred to the New York department of a force that battles demon deities. Of course, it makes sense in the game's world that you almost immediately become the captain of squad and find yourself in the middle of great demon's resurrection.

Did I mention that you pilot mechs to defeat those demons and their demon robots.

As the captain of Star Division, you are expected to defend New York from all evil. But first, you must prove to be a worthy captain for your team. Which, because this is a dating sim, is composed of a varied cast of females.

In fact, the aforementioned resurrection of the big bad thankfully takes a backseat to the individual stories of the characters and only act as a catalyst for the plot. It is these stories and the resulting relationships between the characters that aim to differentiate Sakura Wars from the Power Rangers crowd.

Unfortunately, I simply did not find the characters any more interesting than the plot. Depending on your Anime mileage and your resistance to tropes and cliches, you might find something different in the characters. Of course, there is the annoying child character, but there is also the aloof smart girl, the sickly super nice girl, and other archetypes. Rarely did a story development ever grab my attention. Sometimes, plot development is just insulting; there is this storyline where a crippled girl manages to walk again because of the power of positivity.

Mostly, I think this is due to our own boring Avatar. True, we actually control the choices in a conversation, but they are all choices coming from a dull person.

Positively, Sakura Wars tries to use the New York setting well. Star Division are a Broadway-show as a side-gig, and New York despite being squeaky clean still manages to rub some soul into the game. Even if the game does try to beat the "soul of Harlem" into our head.

Cliched Story: -4
Uninteresting Characters: -4

"Find a way to make your mark"

As a game with Dating Sim elements, interaction with other characters is all part of the gameplay, and governing that gameplay is the LIPS system. I already forgot the full name which was forced into that acronym.

Doing well in the Dating Sim aspect of the game is important for two main reasons. First, you want to end the game with your girl of choice. Second, building up relationships is the only way to level up everyone's mechs (which is a really cool twist).

The LIPS system is brilliant at what it does; creating tension and investment to the game's conversations. The most basic LIPS give you a limited time to make a choice, with silence being a valid option.

Other types of LIPS ask you to make a sequence of choices instead of one, which are rare. The second most common type ask you to input a series of commands to simulate an action your character should be doing in the story.

Unfortunately, in these command LIPS, the game's origin in the PS2 is clear. While you should be asked to manipulate two Analog sticks; in the Wii you are asked to use the D-Pad in the Wiimote instead of the second analog. This makes some sequences more difficult than they should be, which is why I recommend using a Wii Controller Pro or something like it.

Generally, the LIPS system is a great way of adding investment into the story sections of the game (which is about 70%). However, a great interaction tool can do very little when the interactions themselves are not all that great.

LIPS System: +4
Needs Pro-Controller Support: -2

"Fly for me, whose time is nearing its end"

The battles in Sakura Wars might be the less heralded aspect of the game, but they are actually quite good.

Think of these battles in the same way as grid-based SRPGs without the grid. Movement is in a 3D environment, but otherwise its similar in many ways. Each character get a turn based on their speed stat, which means ally turns will be separated by faster enemy turns and so on. In their turn, each character has a number of movement points, which they can use to move and attack as they see fit.

Surprisingly, there is a multitude of actions available for use. Other than movement or attack, the mechs can use points to pull-out a defensive barrier or charge up their special gauge. This gauge allows each unit to heal itself, joint attack with other units, or use its super move. Hence, managing your points is essential to maximize your effectiveness. You can unleash a 5-hit combo to try and destroy an enemy unit, but if you fail you already lost the units necessary to shield yourself. Each unit has a unique attack range, with some being able to hit foes from far away, and others managing to sweep multiple enemies in one hit.

Additionally, there are flight mod battles which shake things up fairly well. Its not a dramatic change other than in scenery; as the game still uses the same movement points system. However, it does change the way you think about spacing and distance.

With a solid gameplay system in place, Sakura Wars does well in greatly varying the battles themselves. From a battle that require both ground and air troops to defend your airship engines, to another that take place in top of a runaway subway train. This is a game that shakes things up regularly, and stays fresh as a result.

Great Battle System: +4
Variety in Battles: +4

"The World Needs More Smiles"

The moment you boot the game-up in an HD television, you will notice that the game is locked in a square TV aspect-Ratio. Obviously, this would be jarring for many, but it is done to keep the anime-style drawings from stretching out into ugly messes.

All characters and backgrounds depicted in the LIPS segments are drawn in a clear cut clean style of animation that is neither unique or too redundant. With each character having a variety of different poses and facial expressions. Special props to the evil characters who are mostly well-designed, with one bad guy standing out because of the sword impaling his head. There is little animation outside of the cut-scenes which are generally short but are spread out.

In the battlefield, the mechs are designed in an oddly clunky way that is more unique and endearing than the regular Gundam rip-offs. Graphically, this is not the Wii at its best, but its passable especially regarding the boss robots who are well designed.

As for the music, it tries to convey Jazz and soul music influence, which is mostly manages to do even if the music is a little repetitive. For some reason, the music is louder than the voice acting and the settings cannot be changed to adjust that. The voice acting itself is not worth listening to though, as its rarely good, and mostly mediocre and sometimes seriously annoying. Rosalita, the child character, is the worst offender with what is possibly the most terrible Mexican rendition of a child's accent ever.

Generally, you can say that Sakura Wars does well in its presentation. However, given that Star Division are supposed to be a Broadway group, the game seriously loses and opportunity by not leveraging that. In some scenes, there should be singing and music worthy of Broadway (or worthy of pretending to be Broadway) but there is only silence. I don't know if that is the case of not translating the original Japanese or it simply wasn't there to begin with. Maybe its actually a blessing in disguise, as I would hate to see the VAs over-dramatize their lines or fall flat as they usually do.

One tune that always perked me up is the main theme, which I grew to really like as the game went on. It did the job of providing a memorable tune to this team of Power Rangers, as well as underscore any rallying moment in a battle. Whenever the song started, I felt extra compelled to kick the big bad in the rear.

Ok Graphics: +3
Aspect Ratio Locked: -3
Good Music: +3
Bad VA: -2
Awesome Main Theme: +2

In Conclusion:

Sakura Wars is made for a specific crowd, and it doesn't aim further than that crowd. For those who are resistant to anime tropes or simply did not encounter them enough, they will find that there is a very solid SRPG within this Dating Sim game. Unfortunately, for those who might not be part of Sakura Wars niche, the great battle system cannot justify the 70% of mundane Dating Sim aspects.

That being said, I don't regret playing this game. It had really good battles. As for the story, in the end, despite not caring for the majority of the characters and story. I cared enough about one character to ensure she doesn't end up with my unfathomably boring Avatar.

Final: 30/50

"Tips"
1- Use a Wii Pro Controller if you want an easier time in Command LIPS.
2- The face in the save file is that of the girl with the highest trust level.
3- Joint attacks might appear useless early on, but they are a great way of hitting multiple enemies.
4- Don't get an unit destroyed, it will affect your relationship negatively.
5- If you want to get multiple different endings on the same save-file, keep a save at Chapter 7.

"Next Game"

While I didn't necessarily like Sakura Wars that much, I am still thankful that NIS localized and released it state-wise. It was a different and unique experience that I believe could have made a much better game with better writing and story.

For the next game in the list, I am actually going back to #50 to play Ivy and the Kiwi since my sister just bought it and other games in the list from the US.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:19 pm

#50

Game: Ivy the Kiwi?.
Year: 2010.
Genre: Platformer.
Publisher: Prope.
Developer: Xseed.

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First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Ivy the Kiwi is one of those games that can easily be ignored and forgotten, and in fact, was largely ignored and forgotten sale-wise and only managed to grab any attention because it is a game designed by Yuji Naka; the man behind Sonic.

If not for that connection, I find it hard to see how gaming websites would even look at the game. Made by a nearly unknown developer, published by the little known (but very resilient) Xseed, and featuring a new platforming character in the console that is brimming with platformers.

Additionally, business decisions and pricing options also contributed to the low sales of the game. No one would buy the game at this high of a price, and the game itself could not justify it. Which is unfortunate, because Ivy is a nice enough game that could have succeeded if handled differently. Especially since it has a very solid mechanical base to build on.

"One day a polka-dot egg fell from the sky"

From the egg, hatched a red bird that couldn't fly. It looked around, and without a sound, it realized her mother could not be found. At that she began to cry, and as she looked around, to find her mother she must try. And so, the bird named Ivy (but what had named her so) began to run, beneath the snow, the rain, and the scorching sun. As Ivy ran, the player watched, her path he drew, with vines stretched. Because without the player Ivy may fall, and her mother she would not able to call.

Ivy the Kiwi is set up initially as a fairy tale, and from that set up comes the entire story-book design. Unfortunately, besides the beginning and end, the game does not uncover any pages throughout the chapter. Its not like I needed a narrative reason to go through with the game, but even little lines of dialogue to show you the game did not forget its roots would have been enough.

The story-book style is not unique to Ivy, and has been done before and in a bigger way in the Yoshi games. Even though, the Ivy story itself is nice enough that I can use as a bed-time story to the youngest members of my family.

Mainly, Ivy's search for her mom is just the plot reason for both her inability to fly, and for her run through the levels. Levels of which there are few off, too few for a full retail price.

Too few Levels: -4

"Ivy set off running, searching for her mother"

Since Ivy is a child, I am going to forgive her suicidal tendency to run without break like a road runner on meth. Because she cannot fly, Ivy thinks that running in a straight line would somehow compromise. She only changes direction if she hits a wall or something.

Here is where the game's unique platforming comes into play.

While Ivy is busy running without any control from the player, the player has the ability to draw vines with the Wii Pointer. These vines can act as both ramps and gap stoppers, but also should be used to cover dangerous obstacles and otherwise guide Ivy's path.

However, Drawing vines is not static, but is a dynamic activity. For instance, you can draw a vine behind Ivy, and as she runs, you can move the vine and push her with it to launch her forwards and upward. In fact, this dynamic usage of the vines is more important than the static laying of bridge vines.

Another use of the vines is as a sling of some sorts. By pulling on an already placed vine under Ivy's kegs, Ivy is then launched opposite the direction of the pull to destroy a number of obstacles and blocks.

These obstacles are periodically introduced to the game to switch things around. From rats that move right and left, to crows that move up and down. And of course, the most dangerous of all, droplets of what I can only assume is highly concentrated Hydrochloric Acid that dissolves Ivy completely on contact.

Hence, you have to worry about a number of different things, including collectibles, as you help Ivy navigate each level. Which is a both hectic and rewarding process that can be used in widely different ways.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't use the mechanics to their fullest potential, and would rather invite you to master the short campaign it has than to fully explore the possibilities within its gameplay.

Similar to Sonic, this is a game about mastering a limited number of mechanics that can make Ivy do widely different things. Using dynamic vine movements to throw Ivy from one side to another, all the while trying to keep her away from crows and rats, as well as draw shielding vines to keep the drops of Nightshade Poison from killing Ivy, is as a hectic as it sounds. But when you are able to pull it off, you feel like champ. Especially since there is probably no better way to do this than the Wii Pointer.

Great Unique Mechanics: +5
Varied Obstacle: +3

"The story of the bird who ran to the top of the sky"

Taking from its story-book inspiration, Ivy the Kiwi uses a story-book style in its graphical presentation. Its a charming style that fits the game, but there is not enough variety in locations. Hence, outside of the different backgrounds, and graphical filters, there isn't much here that suggest work from the developer.

Aside from the levels themselves, the storybook that is featured at the beginning and end of the game is very well drawn. It looks like what a real story-book would look like, and what the game aimed for in the start.

Similar to the graphical presentation, the music fits well with the game, even if it repeats itself more often than it should. With probably only 10 tracks, each track should have had a longer melody before it looped to give it more substance.

Sure, its a nice enough sound track, but the final two chapters shouldn't have had the same music.

Nice enough Presentation: +1

In Conclusion:

As a Wii-Ware game, or even an eshop-only title today, Ivy the Kiwi would be a game that is easy to recommend. However, as it was released; as a retail-game. The game, like Ivy herself, does not have the wings to carry it far.

This is why, even though it is a mechanically great game, Ivy commercially flopped. This should have been sold in the same category as Super Meat Boy, not with Super Mario Galaxy.

Final: 30/50

"Tips"
1- Use Dynamic Vine movement to navigate Ivy around.
2- Collect all 10 Red Feathers to get a life.
3- If you want to get red of all your vines quickly, just draw dot vines on the outside quickly.
4- Sometimes it pays to put Ivy in a vine cage as you plan your next move.
5- Sometime it pays to destroy crows and rats so that you don't have to deal with them.
6- Time can be a real pain, so watch that clock.

"Next Game"

Ivy the Kiwi should be re-released on the eShop. It would be perfect as even a 10$ game. However, I cannot imagine paying 40$+ for it at all.

Now, I am going to play a game by the wonderful Platinum games, MadWorld. Which is at number 45 in Gamesradar list. MadWorld is a hyper violent game with a unique visual flourish that turned off more people than it excited, but Platinum are not known for their sales anyway.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:40 am

#39

Game: Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins if the Moon.
Year: 2010.
Genre: Action-RPG, Survival.
Publisher: Xseed.
Developer: Namco Bandai, Tri-Crescendo.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread Fragile_dreams_wii_cover_2_by_blackraven64

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

When it comes to videogame narrative, I am usually skeptic. Usually, games that try to mimic other forms of media in their storytelling end up delivering an experience that would have been better as a film. Which is why I always approach games renowned for their emotional power like Fragile Memories with a degree of caution.

Turns out, Fragile Dreams manages to tell a gripping story while trying to involve gameplay into the narrative. Unfortunately, while the game succeeds in establishing a wonderful story, its gameplay leaves much to be desired.

"I just want someone to be with"

Company is a powerful thing, we take it so much for granted that once we miss it, and we feel sad, we sometimes do not recognize where our sadness comes from. In a post-apocalyptic world, where more than 99% of population disappeared, the rest of humanity survived in very small groups, and sometimes only as individual loners. Seto is such a survivor, left in the world by himself after his "grandfather" dies.

While there is an overarching story in Fragile Dreams, it only shows itself at the end. Most of the tale is of Seto's attempt to find anyone to be with. In the beggening of the game he sees Ren, a mysterious (since she is only the second human he saw) silver-haired girl. This acts as proof that he is not alone, and therefore Seto tries to find her again.

Through Seto's journey to find Ren, he learns more about himself and his own need for company. This is not a protagonist who is on top of things, but a vulnerable 15 year old boy. From the onset of the tale, we learn the meaning of living in a dying world, and Seto's emotions are mostly subtly conveyed.

Strong Story: +5
Strong Characterization: +4

"At that moment, I was truly alone in the world"

Central to the emotional impact of the story is all the background information, the memories of the departed, which Fragile Dreams attempts to emphasize. Much of the game's gameplay consists of walking from place to place, occasionally picking up objects on the ground. These objects contain the memories of people that already left the earth.

Such memories vary from those of parents mourning their sons, to messages of regret, proclamations of hope, and even the sad pathetic thoughts of pet. When collecting these objects, Seto "reads" the memories included whenever he rests at a checkpoint bonfire.

Regularly, these memories painted a powerful image of the world as it approached its doom. In many cases, the consistent theme of companionship and loneliness is touched upon, and we feel as Seto probably feels, alternately hopeful and depressed.

The best of these tales are ones that are divided into several parts that tell a "complete" stories" Usually, I would be frustrated if I was asked to find several objects to get one full story. However, here the memories are not numbered and each doesn't betray the existence of another part. As such, when a story grabs my attention, I find myself wishing for a better conclusion that I got.

For instance, in one particularly great story, it is divided among scraps of a torn picture. Every time, I wish there is another scrap for me to find. Even by an end which I am still unsure is the end, I am hoping there is another scrap that I didn't find; a scrap that had a happier end.

Great Micro-Stories: +5

"Whatever happens in the future, I will always have this moment"

So far, I have only covered the narrative elements of the game, which is normal for a videogame that doesn;t inspire much through its actual gameplay. In a few words, Fragile Dreams gameplay is simply busy work. As proof by its own amorphous genre definition, this is not game that is easily classified. However, that is not because it does so much from very different genres, but because it does so little.

In order to reach his objective, Seto must walk, walk, and walk some more. Generally, most of the game involves a lot of walking, which is occasionally interrupted by bland combat. Seto might be lonely, but he has a lot of ghost company to deal with. Adding to the busy work is weapons that break and inventory management.

None of this is particularly offensive, but the fact that all of it is basically designed to keep you busy as you progress the story feels like a placeholder for something that should have been better. True, the long walks establish a sense of scale and loneliness that truly works for the story, but then why the pitiful combat.

Combat is basically an excuse to "level up" which gives you more HP and ATK, and an excuse to break your weapons and the manage your inventory. Its a dull, brain-dead system that is neither annoying nor rewarding. While some found that weapon breakage to be annoying, I thought it as a non-issue, especially since you can simply run away from all conflicts. In fact, you shouldn't feel compelled to kill every ghost you see, simply move along.

While there are boss battles that must be fought, stacking up on healing items and stronger weapons does the trick. Especially since weapons only break after the fight. Just a note, ranged weapons are much preferred in the final boss fights.

Busy Work Gameplay: -10

"The world is over, but it might wake up again"

When games try ton convey the desolation of the post-apocalypse, they usually go with cold color palettes and images of ruin. In that regard, Fragile Dreams is not different, but it is different by its own character art style, and that imposing beautiful moon.

Despite being an anime fan, I didn't care much about the specific style used in the game. Seto and friends are all uniquely designed, but I found that they were distracting more so than compelling. For instance, nothing would compelling any sane character to dress as Ren does, it is simply a poor excuse for a dress.

Outside of the characters, the environment doesn't break any new ground in presentation. Yet, it shows a really gorgeous skyline, especially when the moon is visible. It also showcases a variety of distraught locations, from a theme park to a hotel. Unfortunately, the latter stages of the game take place in industrial tunnels and buildings. It lacks the beauty and variety of the earlier sections.

Complementing the post-apocalyptic theme is a minimalist soundtrack that attempts at invoking loneliness and desperation. While Riei Saito's work is, as the graphics are, not groundbreaking, it manages to be a little more memorable. Especially the battle music which makes combat a little more bearable than it is.

Of special not regarding minimalistic soundtracks is the excellent use of natural sounds. Usually, games that intentionally limit their musical input in a minimalistic effort tend to rely on unrealistic silence. In the contrary, Fragile Dreams use nature's sounds as a better substitute of silence.

Good Graphics: +3
Good Sound Design: +3

In Conclusion:

Fragile Dreams is a game that you simply cannot play again. Its a one-time experience. While this experience might be hampered by some sub-par gameplay, I don't think its annoying enough to subtract from an otherwise great story.

This is exactly the sort of title which I feel greater care in its gameplay elements could have elevated into another level. As it stand, Fragile Dreams is still worth experiencing, even if it involves a lot of busy work.

Oh, and there is a merchant wearing a chicken head who you will end up sympathizing with. Not many games can say that.

Final: 35/50

"Tips"
1- Have an additional weapon in case yours break.
2- Use bonfires frequently to save and read memories, as well as store stuff.
3- In the final bosses, a ranged weapon is a much better choice.
4- You can always ignore enemies to speed things up.

"Next Game"

Few game narratives worked on me, but the story of Fragile Dreams, as well as all the micro-stories were presented very well and in more ways the regular cut-scenes. It was a worth-it narrative experience.

The next series of games are also narrative focused. Atlus's Trauma Center series focuses on the lives of doctors, and the player is put in the role of surgeons. Only the third game in the series, Trauma Team is on the list at #37. However, for better context, I will play the other two first. So my next game will be Trauma Center: Second Opinion.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Awesome on Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:29 am

Just wanted to know, LS, but also wanted to let you know that I don't mean to be rude at all by asking, but do you really play, or have played, all of the games you review?

And lol, I'm currently about to play Trauma Center series myself. I just saw the Atlus label on it and I decided I'd play it. Though, right I'm having my hands full on Baten Kaitos Origins. Already played the first BK one too.

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Post by Lord Spencer on Sun Aug 02, 2015 7:53 am

@Lord Awesome wrote:Just wanted to know, LS, but also wanted to let you know that I don't mean to be rude at all by asking, but do you really play, or have played, all of the games you review?

And lol, I'm currently about to play Trauma Center series myself. I just saw the Atlus label on it and I decided I'd play it. Though, right I'm having my hands full on Baten Kaitos Origins. Already played the first BK one too.


Of course I do.

In fact, I complete all the games I review at least once. It doesn't mean I get 100% completion, but just that I get to see the credits.

Also, this is why I am not reviewing games I played a long time ago. I prefer to finish the game and review it while its fresh on my mind. I would give FF6 a full mark for example, but if I review it now, it would be based on rosy memories instead of immediate observations. At the same time, it is an excuse to try out games that I probably wouldn't have played if not for these review series.

The only exception is one game in the SNES that I simply couldn't finish. I ended up making a review in behalf of a friend that did. In that review, I explicitly said that I was writing the review in behalf of a friend.

Currently, I am blogging in Destructoid, and all the reviews I post here I repost there. So if I didn't actually play the games, I would get called out by those who did.
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Post by Lord Awesome on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:53 am

@Lord Spencer wrote:

Of course I do.

In fact, I complete all the games I review at least once. It doesn't mean I get 100% completion, but just that I get to see the credits.

Also, this is why I am not reviewing games I played a long time ago. I prefer to finish the game and review it while its fresh on my mind. I would give FF6 a full mark for example, but if I review it now, it would be based on rosy memories instead of immediate observations. At the same time, it is an excuse to try out games that I probably wouldn't have played if not for these review series.

The only exception is one game in the SNES that I simply couldn't finish. I ended up making a review in behalf of a friend that did. In that review, I explicitly said that I was writing the review in behalf of a friend.

Currently, I am blogging in Destructoid, and all the reviews I post here I repost there. So if I didn't actually play the games, I would get called out by those who did.


Ah, that explains it all. I never knew you were a VG reviewer for an online community. Well, nothing but respect for you, man. Smile I'll defo stay tuned for the rest of your reviews. I'm think I should get GC/Wii Resident Evil games now. The Wii RE series seems appealing to me now after reading your reviews.

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Post by Lord Spencer on Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:48 pm

#S4

Game: Trauma Center: Second Opinion.
Year: 2006.
Genre: Medical Simulation, Visual Novel.
Publisher: Atlus.
Developer: Atlus.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread 76152_front

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The launches of the DS and the Wii brought with them a number of different genre's to the market, genre's that thrived on the possibilities offered by styles and wiimote control scheme. On of those genres is the medical sims, and perhaps the best of those sims is the Trauma Center series.

Second Opinion actually symbolizes that DS/Wii influenced jump by being a game featured in both system. First published as Under the Knife on the DS, Second Opinion is a remake of the game on the Wii.

As the first title in the series, this game does a good job of setting itself apart from everything else in the market, and in being a darn fun game to boot.

"A doctor's hands are heavy with responsibility"

Finally, a game where saving people's lives does not include taking others lives. Simply, you control Dr. Derek Stiles, a surgeon, in treating patients and potentially saving them from certain death. Additional to the Wii version, you also control another Doctor, Naomi Weaver, and the storyline is expanded.

Initially, Dr. Stiles is simply an up and coming surgeon who is not taking his job super seriously. Only after his new assistant admonishes him for his carelessness does he begin acting like a "true" doctor. Then, it is discovered that he has access to the magic-like "healing touch" ability which marks him as treasure for medicine.

Unfortunately, the beginning is a ham-sounding as it, well, sounds. It feels forced, and issues of real ethical concerns such as euthanasia and doctor's responsibilities are handled with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. In fact, I felt the entire first two chapters to be underwhelming affairs.

However, the story picks up tremendously once a new disease, the laughably named GUILT (Gangiliated Utropin Immuno Latency Toxin), is introduced. At first, it seems like a natural super-disease. However, it turns out to be the product of new global terrorists pioneering medical terrorism. Once GUILT bursts into the scene (quite literally), the story picks up, and characters all around start becoming more interesting as a result.

With all story progression happening in Visual Novel-like segments, it offers up a context for the large number of medical procedures (gameplay segments) you are asked to do. Rarely does the story sag, as it develops as quickly as the disease spreads, and your medical skills are put frequently to the test.

While the plot begins mundanely, it manages to puck up steam and be quite interesting by the end. There isn't any groundbreaking stuff here, but the refreshing take of tackling the terrorist's through treating their victims makes the unique perspective worthy in itself.

Humdrum Start: -2
Interesting Story: +3
Some Cool Characters: +2

"Those patients are depending on you"

Real life surgery requires a lot of education, experience, stamina, accuracy, and a whole team of support. Surgeries depicted in the game that are actual real-life surgeries typically take from 2 to 4 hours to complete. It is a stressful job, with the knowledge that the patient's life is in your hands.

The Trauma Center series tries to emulate that by being bloody hard.

Typically, you are given five minutes for each surgery, and you are asked to be both fast and accurate. Also, you need to multi-manage both keeping the patient alive, and healing him as fast as you can. Failure doesn't cause any change to the story, it is only a game-over, but the stress of repeating the procedure, and the fact that a small mistake can undo all your work, does grow.

Often, I found myself repeating a procedure for the fifth time, each attempt bringing me closer to the goal but the patient's lifeline depletes as I make another mistake. I can't decide whether to stutter (surgical sewing) a wound that just opened, go after the source of those wounds, or attempt to buy a few more seconds by applying a medical syringe. Ironically, it is the indecision that then cost me the game, because probably anything I would have done was better than wasting seconds thinking about it. This difficulty builds really well throughout the game, and I rarely found it overwhelming. Always, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I finished a particularly difficult procedure.

This is because the game simply controls really well, such that I rarely feel cheated by a loss. All actions depend on the wiimote pointer for direction, which I found to be always accurate. The Nunchuck analog serves as a very fast and reliable way of switching tools. Sure, in the heat of the moment you could switch to the sensors instead of the scalpel, but here is where the tool placement shines. The most essential tools are given the core four directions, and harmless (they don't cause you to stab the patient) tools are either side of those.

Each tool has their specific use in treatment, and there are many different treatment procedures you are going to do. For those concerned about repetition, I can't say it bothered me much. Sure, there are repetitive tasks such as always starting an operation by making a surgical incision (cutting open their chest) and ending it by closing it. However, once inside, there is a surprising variety of procedures you are going to do. I found almost all different cases to be fun, with a few notable exceptions.

Whenever the game tries to be cute with motion controls, it falls flat on its face. For example, a few missions (I think two) ask you to use a defibrillator to revive a patient. To this day, I have no idea what is the specific motion I am supposed to do with both wiimote and nunchuck tp activate it. I simply flail my arms about until it works. Another also limited procedure asks you to rotate stuff by rotating your wrist. Here's a medical tip to the devs, the wrist only has 200 degrees it can rotate comfortably in; you cannot ask the player to rotate their hands to that 160 degree's blind zone and expect them not to get "misses". Thankfully, these instances are very rare.


Unique, Tense, Gameplay: +5
Very Good Control: +4  
Some Rare Use of Awful Motion Stuff: -1

"You need to see the consequences of your carelessness"

Every-time you get a gameover, you get a hilarious prompt (that you can skip) about how Dr. Stiles could no longer handle the responsiblity of being a doctor (After he just killed this patient) and then goes on to disappear, "never being heard from again". Due to the difficulty of the game, many would probably memorize that prompt.

Yet, because the game can be mastered, it offers two difficulty levels that up the ante considerably. With even one of them being dubbed as "harder than real surgery". I dabbled with hard in the earlier cases, and I enjoyed the increased rush. However, I can't see myself managing the latter ones at all. Some of which I completed through the brink of death.

In the other end, the game offers an easy mode for those who are mainly interested in the story. I don't suggest playing on easy, because tension is an integral part of the game. However, the fact that you can change difficulty levels at any time means that you won't get stuck. In fact, I changed to easy mode for the last two cases.

Satisfying Challenge: +3
Different Difficulty Levels: +3

"You fixed my broken wings, and now I m ready to repay the favor"

First major issue you are going to notice is that the game is limeted to a 4:3 aspect ratio with no option to change. This at once introduces two ugly black ribbons in most of today's TVs. Second major issue is that the game is limited graphicaly, not ugly, just limited.

Take the interior of the human body for example. Possibly to streamline the operations (the human body is mess internally), or even so as not to get an M rating, it is simply clean and non-realistic. It feels more like images taken through some medical device rather than Dr. Stiles directly looking in.

Outside of the human body, the character's are all well designed, with unique looks and different facial animations. It is the usual anime drawing used in visual novels, but with the extra details and careful charectrizations Atlus is known for. Nothing super spectacular, but soid nevertheless.

Musically, I cannot say I payed much attention. It facilitated the mood during surgeries, and it probably helped me through the repetetion. Yet, no track stood to me in particular. Only the music in the "boss" cases felt different, and those I enjoyed, only to think that I maybe should have also enjoyed the music selection in all of the other cases.

Locked Aspect Ratio : -2
Boring Body Graphics: -3
Character Design: +2
Limited Music: -2

In Conclusion:

Second Opinion sets the stage for the series. It introduces a very solid gameplay system, and a potential for greater stories to be told. For those seeking something different, something potentially really challenging, this game is a perfect intro to a series I hope improves on this game.

Final: 35/50

"Tips"
1- Make smart use of mydical syringes.
2- Don't depend on activating the medical touch, it fails half of the time.
3- If you se a lot of cuts, the patient's health will deplate rapidly.
4- Learn to stuttur wounds super quickly.
5- Learn when you are able to heal the patient without complications ruining your day.
6- In some instance, you cannot afford to heal your patient, and you should focus in avoiding more damage.
7- Learn what each GUILT series is able to do, and counteract accordingly.
8- If a case is too difficult for you to move on, try it on Easy mode.
9- Listen to the diagnosis, it will help you cure any case.

"Next Game"

Second Opinion is a solid start to the Traum Center series. Now, I am excited about playing the other two games. Unfortunantly, I won't play the direct sequel to SO, because they did not remake that for the Wii

The next game is not a direct sequel, but is a Trauma Center game in the same univese. It is actually the first game in the series to built from the ground up to be on the Wii. Hopefully Traum Center: New Blood is an imporvment because of that.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:13 pm

#S5

Game: Trauma Center: New Blood.
Year: 2007.
Genre: Medical Simulation, Visual Novel.
Publisher: Atlus.
Developer: Atlus.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread 250px-New_blood_game_cover

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The first Trauma Center game released on the Wii was actually a remake of a DS title, and it was obviously constrained due to that. As the first game in the series to actually be developed from the ground up on the Wii, New Blood wanted to more strongly push other genres on the Wii.

It might not have succeeded in getting the sales numbers, but New Blood surely makes a strong argument for the value of having such strong games in non-traditional genres.

"People are capable of so much when they don't take life for granted"

The game starts in the remote icy terrain of Alaska, as Doctors Vaughn and Blaylock obviously, if not wasting their talents, then using them sparingly instead of helping the world at large as they could do. Dr. Vaughn is in Alaska in repentance for his role in creating a mysterious and deadly virus, Stigma, and Dr. Blaylock is there to learn the "Healing Touch" skill from him.

Soon, events unfold in a way that forces the two out of their comfort zone, and into a world that will soon need their medical skills to survive an outbreak similar to the one in the first game. Stigma is unleashed on the world, and only the skill and dedication of the doctors at Caduceus (including the two MCs) will help save the world.

However, Stigma is a virus, and it doesn't have a mind of its own. While the virus serves as the background driver of the plot, it revolves around much more than that. Through an excellent cast of characters, and some intelligent story telling, New Blood succeeds where the first game failed in tackling question about the ethical role of doctors, and the role of medicine and technology in an ever changing world.  

Again, it is refreshing to save the world by healing it, as a doctor's purpose is even to save the life of his worst enemies. While surgery is the main gameplay element, the game almost always give you good reason to go through the operation more so than the completion score.

Interesting Story: +4
Cool Characters: +4

"Let's get down to business, I have dinner reservations"

Carrying on from the first game, New Blood provides the same tense and unique surgery experience. These are arcade surgeries, that require careful multi-tasking, quick decision making, and correct use of tools to succeed all in a limited amount of time.

All the tools of the first game make a return, meaning the basic gameplay is the same. You use the scalpel to make cut, both minor incision and major exploratory opening. The suturing tool is a useful as ever, with the ability to rapidly close wounds and suture veins and such together.

Some medical procedures return, but the majority of cases were not seen before, and some are far improvements of similar cases. From fixing broken rib cage, to multiple bullet wounds emergency treatment, the cases are progressively more difficult, but engaging and different enough to pull you off guard.

There are only a number of limited actions that you can take, but its impressive how much mileage you can get in using the same tools for a variety of cases.

The same Engaging Gameplay: +3
A Variety of Cases: +2

"It's too late to wash your hands off this"

In order for the gampelay to be tense and engaging, it needs to be both challenging and fair. In challenge, the game actually has three difficulties, with an easy option for those not wanting the extra stress to hold the story. In normal, the game is pretty difficult, with failure a distinct possibility in most procedures chapter 4 and above.

Since the game controls really well with the motion controls, challenge is mostly fair. A lot of the action you can take are pointing based, and that's generally handled really well on the Wii. For example, when suturing wounds, you normally need to go in a zig-zag pattern, and the game recognizes even an ugly zig-zag with at least a good score. Other actions that use motion, or the orientation of the Wiimmote, are better than they were before.

Each operation gives you a score, but with a very demanding scoring system. simply put, the scoring system does not seem to understand that there are inherent errors in motion control that are not take into account in this system. So if you are interested in getting good scores, its less than fair the game goes about in scoring you.

Anyway, besides scoring, the game is challenging and fair, except when it isn't. This has to due with the "Healing Touch" technique you can use once in an operation. This special move allows you to stop time, and can save you from certain failure and propel you to victory. In order to use that technique, you need to hold the Z button and draw a star on-screen, except that it rarely works.

I can attribute at least 70% of my failures to the move not working when I needed it most. I would draw star after star on screen, and non of them activates the move, and I continue to hectically attempt to draw it until the patient's vitals go to zero and they die.

There is simply no good reason for the move to be activated with such difficulty, and its due to the inherent faults and inaccuracies of motion control. In this case, the developers should have assigned a specific button or button's combinations to activate the move, because if it didn't work in the split second I needed it to work in the final stage, I would have probably never been able to finish the game.

Satisfying Challenge: +3
Different Difficulty Levels: +2
Healing Touch Failure: -4

"The same tool, they can be used for both good and evil"

Trauma Center: Second Opinion, was locked at a 4:3 aspect ration because it was ported from the DS. Since New Blood was made for the Wii, it thankfully supports all kinds of TVs, which is to be expected from a Wii game.

Atlus seems to have really talented character designers, because they continue to make interesting and varied character designs for all of their games, this one included. Not only do they look nice, but they usually have varied expressions to sell the conversation, and this time around they have excellent Voice Acting as well.

Maybe because the setting is actually a normal medical setting, but the Voice talent is actually much better than what we usually get from Japanese games getting localized. Surprisingly, nearly all the characters have excellent VAs, and it didn't ever compel me to ask for a Japanese option or to simply skip the conversations to protect my ears.

In the operation table, the graphics are better than they were before, but still are too basic and unnatural to be anything special. In fact, I think this is a better way to go than to show the real bloody mess inside a person's body, but its not something nice to look at.

Other than VA, the game's sound is not anything special, with the soundtrack giving a modern but forgettable feeling to the game. Suitably, the soundtrack is tense during operations, especially when things get more complicated. Yet, all of it is forgettable, and bar the final operation them, none particularity stood out to me.

Character Design: +3
Very Good VA: +3
Limited Music: -2

In Conclusion:

I don't think New Blood is much different from the first game, but it is better in nearly every way. As a result, it goes past being more of the same by being a better version of that same thing. In effect, playing this first would give more of an impression, and as a result it might actually hurt your reception of the one before it.

So, while I would recommend this game for fans of the original, I would still recommend that you play them in sequence so as to appreciate the advancements. However, if you think you only have time for one Trauma Center game, this will be the one to play.

Final: 43/50

"Tips"
1- Make smart use of mydical syringes.
2- Don't depend on activating the medical touch, it fails half of the time.
3- If you see a lot of cuts, the patient's health will deplete rapidly.
4- Learn to suture wounds super quickly.
5- Learn when you are able to heal the patient without complications ruining your day.
6- In some instance, you cannot afford to heal your patient, and you should focus in avoiding more damage.
7- Sometimes, it is smart to let one harmless little bugger go around making damage while you fix something bigger, because killing it might summon worse versions of it.
8- If a case is too difficult for you to move on, try it on Easy mode.
9- Listen to the diagnosis, it will help you cure any case.

"Next Game"

New Blood took everything great about Second Opinion and made more of the same but a little better. It would have been a very great game if it also tried to fix what was wrong as well.

The last game in the series, and the one to be actually featured in the list I am currently reviewing, is Trauma Team, which introduces five more things to do other than surgery. Based on the series so far, I have high expectations of this game.

Stay Tuned Surprised
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat May 07, 2016 10:31 am

#37

Game: Trauma Team.
Year: 2010.
Genre: Medical Simulation, Visual Novel.
Publisher: Atlus.
Developer: Atlus.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread Trauma_Team_cover

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Predicting that another game focused on surgery wouldn't be very different from the last, and wanting to emulate medical drams such as ER and Grey's Anatomy, Atlus must have decided they needed to put in more doctors and professions into the Trauma series.

As such we have Trauma Team, which gives you control over six doctors, each in their own profession. The result is the crowning achievement of the Trauma series, even if it does lose some of the best parts of the previous games.

"Medicine has its limits, and passion cannot save lives"

In the previous Trauma games, the story revolved around the central surgeons only, and their experiences. Culminating in some medical terrorism story lines, using some outlandish disease in its center.

This time around, the story is a little bit more grounded, focusing on the interconnecting lives of six doctors, each with their own demons to face. At first, with a few exceptions, the stories mostly involve the characters themselves more so than their patients. Which makes the build up to the central epidemic more organic.

Before the story goes into high gear, the game makes an excellent attempt at foreshadowing the catastrophic disease that is coming. Mostly through the forensics gameplay section, figuring out the tragic stories of the dead was the highlight of the whole experience.

Mostly, this is due to the excellent characters themselves. While not all of them work (Tomoe if a shallow caricature of a Japanese honor-bound character), they are mostly a cool bunch. Of course, this extends to the supporting cast, from the hardened cop with sunglasses for eyes, to the one-time characters who reside in the backstories of dead people.

The story unfolds according to your own choice of episodes. You can choose to mix and match between characters, go through one character completely, or just do as I did and take it from left to right going down as you go. Actually, I would suggest that approach, as I think it is the best order for the story to unfold.

In the past Trauma games, Atlus showed an ability to create some really cool characters, and a really good story. This time around, they stretched that ability to its limit without showing too much cracks.

Interesting Story: +5
Cool Characters: +5

"I see corpses all day, one more wouldn't bother me"

The central change in Trauma Team from the series is the introduction of five more different gameplay styles other than surgery. Besides surgery, there is forensics, diagnosis, endoscopy, orthopedics, and emergency.

Surgery is the exact same as the last two games. With a number of tools, you are tasked with operating on a patient, mostly through pointing the wiimote and very limited motion controls. Emergency is nearly the same, but with a more limited tool-set, and the responsibility to juggle multiple patients as well.

For forensics and diagnosis, the game becomes more of a visual novel. Similar to games like Ace Attorney, its more about detection than arcade surgical skills. In forensics, I wouldn't mind an entire game focusing on that, because it is just another point of view in the detective genre. As for diagnosis, you are tasked with finding the symptoms and detecting the disease based on those symptoms.

Orthopedics is probably the simplest of all game modes, and the most resembling the classic surgery board games. In them, it is a simple matter of pointing and using the tool in the per-prescribed way.

Finally, there is endoscopy, which I found to be the worst part in the game. Ironically, its only the worst part because of a central flaw in the system; having to "push" the Wiimote to move inside the patient. Its inaccurate, and makes the whole thing more troublesome than it should.

Overall, the difference in game modes keeps you engaged throughout, and the strengths of one mode compensates for the weakness in another.  

Variety in Gameplay: +6
Endoscopy isn't that good: -1
Forensics and Diagnosis are good: +2

"All one needs is the resolve to stay calm"

With six different game styles, it obviously means that trauma Team doesn't go deep into any of them. Arguably, the forensics and diagnosis sections are fully realized and the number of chapters dedicated to them is perfect. I can say the same for orthopedics which is too simple to have too many cases dedicated to it.

The obvious loss is surgery, as the game doesn't nearly go to the depth the series is known for. Hence, super fans of surgery in the previous games might be a little disappointed.

However, what will disappoint them most is the clear downgrade in challenge in the game. Whereas in the last game I struggled to get Bs, here I managed to get S scores that I do not think I fully deserved. This considerably lowered the barrier of entry, and I would say needlessly so.

In the last game, there was an easy mode for those who didn't enjoy the extra challenge. There is absolutely no reason to change normal mode into easy, and then lock away hard until after completion.

In my opinion, the tense challenge of the series lent a sense of urgency to the procedures. It served as a substitute to the actual stress in the operation room. Stress that wasn't close to being there in the game until the end.

Lack of Challenge: -3
Hard Locked Behind Completion: -2

"If conferences saved life, I would be the first one in line"

To support its episodic structure, and the medical dram theme, the game incorporates a stylish comic book structure to its scenes. The screen is divided with sharp lines, a big part of it showing the current scene (which is moving) while you see the greyed out stills of other scenes in the edges of the screen. At first, I didn't much like this style, but I got used to it, and I think the game wouldn't have worked without it.

True to the series's roots, the game's characters have excellent designs. This excellence is not only in their 2d portraits, but also in the various expressions they have and the stylish placeholder drawings as the scenes transition from one comic panel to another.

Generally, the game has much more animation than in the series past, with characters moving around the panels and even some animated scenes in key narrative points.

Continuing with the excellent voice acting of New Blood, Trauma Team has a mostly good VA cast with the exception of one of the worst VAs for a child I have ever heard. In Japanese anime, if you are not getting a child actor to do the voice, then you will hire a girl to do it. Until I heard this "child" talk, I didn't appreciate that fact.

In the sound level, it seems there are mixed opinions on soundtrack. Some think its too jazzy for a medical dram, and that's true to some extent. However, the soundtrack dramatically shifts once the story goes into top gear, and I think the operation tunes are the best in the series by far.

Character Design: +3
More Animation: +1
Good VA: +2
Good Music: +2

In Conclusion:

Atlus didn't want the series to stagnate and repeat itself. In my opinion, New Blood improved in every way over the first game, and I didn't see much room for improvement without also becoming too familiar. To avoid that, they made Traum Team as a completely different game, featuring some completely different play styles.

However, it was not only in gameplay did they make changes, but also in the style of the story and the fact that they had more characters to focus on.

I think the gamble paid off, as Trauma Team is a great game that is among the Wii's best. After all, it couldn't have worked out in any other system.

Final: 45/50

"Tips"
1- Make smart use of mydical syringes.
2- In Endoscopy, make sure not to hit the patient's inside walls.
3- Save often in Diagnosis and Forensics, I have never failed, but it would be a major pain if failure means you restart from the start.
4- In Emergency, do not focus on your patient too much, sometimes you need to switch to another an give them some medical syringes.
5- In Orthopedics, make sure to understand the timing of the drilling, screwing, and hammering tools.

"Next Game"

As a final game in the series, Trauma Team is an excellent swan song, as well as a reason to make us wish for another Trauma game. Its a genre without many games, and I hope Atlus does something with the IP in the future.

Next game in the list is #32, and it features the fatter, greedier version of Mario. Wario Land: Shake It! probably has a lot of shaking involved, as well as a lot of money and gold. I actually rarely played Wario Land games, with the first memory of playing one was in a K-Mart store in the US nearly 15 years ago.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:08 am

#32

Game: Wario Land: Shake It!.
Year: 2008.
Genre: Platforming.
Publisher: Nintendo.
Developer: Good-Feel.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread 250px-WarioLandShakeIt

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

The Wario Land platforming series is in a weird place among its other Nintendo platforming brethren. While Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, and Kirby all have their distinctive style with limited changes, Wario's games seem to be all over the place.

Case in point Shake It!, which takes some cues from past Wario Land games but plays very different to them.

Maybe its that lack of distinct style that turned me off on the game initially, but I didn't enjoy the game at first, and thought completing it would end up just being out of duty to this review.

Curiously, this is a game that I give a begrudging acknowledgment to by the end, because through a lot of competence, it pulls through its initial boring early going.

"With every shake, a fortune of coins burst from its limitless depth"

Shake It! starts with a cool cartoon opening that could be the opening some really competent Saturday Night cartoon. It showcases the Shake King's abduction of some cute looking race, as well as their treasure; a bottomless treasure bag.

From that opening scene, we go into Wario's she or something, were someone suddenly delivers a rather large globe. In an elaborate cartoon scene, Wario is transferred inside that globe, where he is asked to save the princess of the Merfles (the cute looking race).

Being an unrepentant greedy bastard, Wario is more interested in getting back the treasure, and collecting a ton of treasure in the way.

Outside of that elaborate setting, the game's greatest weakness is apparent, its lack of personality.

Despite Wario's world actually being quite realized, with its weirdness accentuated in the Wario Ware series, here it is boring and quite pedestrian. Other than the focus on getting treasure, which all showcases the wonderful weirdness of the Wario-verse, everything else in the game could change without much of an effect.

Both stages, and everything occupying those stages from backgrounds to characters look great, but is sterile and devoid of any personality whatsoever. This result in a clean-looking game, with assets that nearly look like placeholders for something that should have been more interesting.

Very Good Intro: +2
Devoid of Personality: -5

"Shake Dimension, tremble before your new King!"

Now that he needs to go into these stages and save the Merfles, Wario is in no way willing to spare things that stand in his way. Especially as it regards potential treasure.

Wario has a surprisingly numerous moves in his repertoire. He can jump over enemies, pound them with his weight, shoulder bash them to oblivion, and of course shake them for health and throw them as projectiles. That's all before using the various in-stage tools that could help him get more leverages.

Clearly, Wario is threatened by whatever is in his path, especially since he can take even more punishment that he gives.

As such, the game is more like an exploration platformer, where you need to explore the level for more gold and three treasures a stage. Otherwise, going from one end to the other poses little challenge.

Once you finish a stage, the one of the game's twists come into place. You have to race back to the beginning of the stage. While this can prove boring in paper, its actually a decent thrill in an otherwise slow-paced game.

Other than the traditional platforming stages, there is the annoying submarine stages where are okay since there aren't many of them. Then there are the bosses of the game, which are absolutely challenging and fun, as well as varied to a great degree. I hope the Mario games take note of that someday.

Lack of Challenge: -3
Fun to Walk Around: +2
End of level Races: +2
Great Boss Battles: +3

"Thanks for getting the treasure for me Wario, now consider it a consultation fee"

Like the game's lack of personality in style, I was initially very disappointment with the what it had to offer in terms of stages. First, I thought that the low number of stages (24 regular stages and 12 secret stages) would be a disadvantage.

After completing the first two worlds, I though the low number of stage would end up being an advantage, such was my disappointment in the game. Simply, with slow-paced exploration, the stages must be interesting. In both style and substance, the first two world were too boring.

Just when I was about to give up on the game, the third world started with an excellent level set in a moving train. I am always a sucker for train levels, and this one was especially good.

From that stage on, the game didn't drastically improved, but it did noticeably get better and more interesting. Stages started getting more varied, and the idea of replaying them to complete challenges wasn't as terrible as it was at first.

To complete the game's challenges, you would need to replay most stages at least twice. Because of how they are constructed, one challenge making the other more difficult to get, playing the stage twice is the only way to get all challenges.

Otherwise, these challenges are really just there for people who really enjoyed the game. For me, while the game in the end managed to satisfy me, it wasn't to the level that I wanted to complete everything it had to offer.

Bad First Impression: -3
Pretty Good Later Stages: +4

"Ordinary goggles only protect the eyes. Ordinary goggles are for chumps--description of Full-Body Goggles"

Right from the start, its obvious that this latest Wario Land's graphics and animation is gorgeous. Nearly all sprites and background objects has this 2D hand drawn look that is both detailed and incredibly smooth. As a plus, it looks even better when it moves.

Wario's movement, still animation, shaking motion, and all of his other visual effects convey a deep sense of character to him.

The excellent graphics and animation, as perfectly evidenced by Wario, is the reason we notice the game's lack of personality. While everything is very competent, the graphics are nearly wasted on placeholder items with little to no inspiration.

I say nearly wasted, because the game manages to squeeze some personality purely through its art direction at times, even if the assets it has to work with are not exactly special.

One weird thing though is the constrained view of the game. The main action takes place in a 4:3 square in the middle of the screen when playing in a 16:9 TV, with the two sides occupied by information regarding the level's challenges and treasure. Its probably due to the game being developed with SD TVs in mind and the art style making it undesirable to stretch for HD TVs.

Musically, the game has a lot of personality. I cannot say that the soundtrack is excellent, even saying its Very Good might be a stretch. However, it has variety and constant quality. Better yet, the music manages to install some personality to these stages that it otherwise lacks.

Good Feel must have had a lot of faith on the soundtrack though, as unlocking them is the reward for finishing the challenges of each stage. And yes, each stage does have its own nearly unique song.

Excellent Graphics and Animation: +5
Constrained View: -2
Very Good Music: +4

In Conclusion:

I started Wario Land: Shake It! with little experience with the Wario Land games, and I expected a competent platformer from Nintendo. It started as an obviously good game, but its lack of personality and the pedestrian stages turned me off.

Perhaps its a testament to its innate quality that the game managed to change a strongly negative first impression into a positive final view of the game.

While it never managed to pull me to fully complete and explore everything it had to offer, I enjoyed my time with Shake It! despite the initial turn-off, and despite the cramps from all that shaking.

Final: 35/50

"Tips"
1- I suggest you look online to see how to unlock the secret stages.
2- The fastest way to complete all challenges is to focus on getting the X amount of gold challenges first.
3- Usually, the kill no enemies challenge cannot be completed with the speed challenge.
4- To get the best out of the game's bosses, do not buy any heart upgrades until the last boss, where you will need them.
5- If you are low on health, shake enemies to get a health pick up.
6- Sometime, using enemies in a clever ways is the only way to get to tough to reach treasure and gold.
7- Nearly always, you will need to get the all the big diamonds in a stage if you want to finish its Gold challenge.

"Next Game"

Wario Land: Shake It! is proof that first impressions can change. Its also proof that Nintendo are simply THE experts in the platforming genre, and that they can craft games of many molds into it.

Next game for me to review is another one focusing on treasure. Sitting at #28, Zack and Wiki: Quest For Barbaros's Treasure is almost a treasure in of itself. While not especially rare, it was one of the celebrated 3rd party games that apparently did not get the attention they deserve.

Stay Tuned
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Post by Lord Spencer on Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:55 am

#28

Game: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure.
Year: 2007.
Genre: Adventure, Puzzles.
Publisher: Capcom.
Developer: Capcom.

The Official Wii and Wii U Gaming Thread Zack_%26_Wiki_-_Quest_for_Barbaros'_Treasure_Coverart

First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.

Obviously, Zack & Wiki was a labor of love for Capcom. Some individuals in the company probably carried this idea in their mind for a long time, and the Wii gave a perfect chance for that idea to emerge and take place.

Both a homage to point-and-click adventure games of the 90s, and an evolution of them, Zack & Wiki is unlike anything Capcom have done before. This resulted in a unique game with lots of heart and thought put into it. A game that actually manages to be classic Capcom in a time the company began to struggle.

"The pair of heroes, in a journey to pay back some debts.... Scratch that, to make their dreams come true"

The game begins with a blast. A literal one, as the rival Rose Rock pirates blasts our titular heroes airplane from the sky. In a quick scene that introduces both the wacky style of the game and its gameplay, Zack must survive the fall by using an umbrella to slow down his fall. His pal, the magical talking monkey, Wiki, is unperturbed. Sure, Zack might become pancake any second now, but Wiki can fly and make some puns along the way.

After surviving the fall, and then surviving the airplane falling on them, the pair of unlikely heroes discover a treasure chest. Obviously, the chest is haunted, but pirates do not really care much about curses. And so, Zack opens the chest, just to find the floating talking skull of the infamous pirate, Barbaros.

Despite Barbaros being obviously evil (the game does not attempt to hide that), he promises Zack and his crew the famous Legendary Ship. With that promise, Zack & Wiki embark in a journey to search for Captain Barbaros' many missing parts.

While the comedy doesn't always register, and we cannot really say the story is in the level of great masterpieces like Monkey Island, it still has its charm. Among Capcom's games, I would say its style is closest to the underrated Tron Bonne games.

Zack's silent movie antics are sometimes funny, and the dialogue is smart and worth a smile, if not a laugh. Ultimately, its a good enough story if you like something similar to Saturday Night Cartoons, even if it doesn't always manage to hit those heights.

Good Funny Story: +3
Good Funny Characters: +3

"The reward is set. I leave putting me back together in your capable hands, Zack"

Unlike the adventure games its inspired from, Zack & Wiki abandons the interconnected stages in favor of smaller self contained puzzles. This means you won't be hauling lipstick you found in the beginning of the game that you need to use before the final fight.

Each stage ends with opening a chest containing one of Barbaros's golden bones, but you need to get to that chest first. At the beginning, the stages are small, and the puzzle solution is immediately apparent.

This quickly changes, as with the fourth stage, the puzzles start becoming more multi-tiered and fun. Take level 4 or 5 for example. You need to go swim under a small lake to reach the chest. However, a dangerous fish will eat you if you try to go in too deep. The solution involves getting rid of the fish, draining the lake, and filling it up back again.

Generally, you interact with the stages through pointing an clicking with the Wiimote. When interacting with something, almost always you are going to use motion control. Many times, you will need to use item laying around. One type of items is especially interesting though. Enemies can be turned into items easily, and they can be turned back. This makes for an interesting dual usage of enemies, where they can help solve the puzzle by turning them into items as well as turning them back to enemies.

I can say that most stages are fun, and figuring out how to solve the puzzle is both challenging and intellectually satisfying. However, longer stage suffer because of the frustrating lack of a checkpoint system that doesn't punish you. There is a failure state in the game, mostly when you die, and the game revives you with the increased insult of docking points from you.

Some would argue this rewards players who solve the puzzle without dying. However, it really rewards players who play the stage another time, because many of the deaths I had were unavoidable without knowing what is happening next.

Fun Smaller Stages: +3
Some Really Clever Puzzles: +3
No Free Checkpoints: -2

"Just a little longer and we would have been flattened, smooshed, and squished for good measure"

One reason the lack of checkpoints is frustrating is because you feel the resulting death to be unfair. Seeing the control scheme of the game to be Entirely driven by the Wiimote pointer and motion control, you might assume that is due to some motion control issue.

I can say that with the exception of the the last two stages, the Wii motion control is not responsible for any unfair deaths. That is not to say that it works perfectly, but to say that it is never used in a critical junction (apart from the last two stages) to cause any death. Which is just as well, because motion control wasn't developed enough in 2007 to allow it being used in such a critical role.

With that in mind, the myriad of problems associated with motion control are to be expected in Zack & Wiki, but also the number of bonuses as well. Nearly every action in the game requires the player to gesture with the Wiimote. This runs the gamut from pulling a lever, fishing, to a poor swordplay minigame.

Most of what the game tries to do, it pulls off, and being a slow paced puzzle game, it can afford the usual inaccuracies of motion control. In fact, the use of motion control makes the usual busy work of adventure games more interactive. Puling levers and turning knobs is more active.

In a way, its a simply different way of playing the genre, and while it doesn't add much to the overall experience. It also doesn't take away from it, with the exception when it does.

I noted that the game is slow paced. However, in one part of the game, its pure action and rhythm gameplay. The Baron Whatshisface shows up in a few stages and plays a tune. He asks you to shake the Wiimote in time with those tunes, and that's one of the most difficult things I ever done. Each time I see that Baron, I am suddenly nervous at the prospect of once again crying because the game doesn't recognize my shake, because my arms is tired from all the repeated attempts.

With the exception of the optional Baron minigame, and the last two stages, the motion control scheme of Zack & Wiki does not offend. However, when it doesn't work, it punishes you with a very obnoxious minigame and the lack of checkpoints mentioned above in the last two stages.

Unique Gameplay Control: +3
When that Control Doesn't Work: -4

"Simply amazing big guy. A pleasurable performance of pure pirate prowess"

With its unique gameplay and wacky style, Zack & Wiki wouldn't have worked with any art style. Capcom knew that, and they went through many revisions until they fixed upon the cel-shaded style we see here. We can obviously see the hard work that went in the graphics of the game. Through a treasure finidng mini-game, we are rewarded with concept art of various elements in show. Looking at that concept art, we see the painstaking detail that went into the game, from the smallest item Zack uses to the grand design of each stage.

Its obviously designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences, and it actually doesn't compromise its initial vision. That of a pirate boy and his magical monkey friend going into an adventure looking for treasure. Naturally, they must meet similarly wacky characters populating an adventurous world filled to the brim with homage to Indiana Jones and similar movies.

It is then suitable that the soundtrack is equally adventurous, with hints of Indiana's influence and a lot of epic tunes. But the soundtrack is not only epic, but also fun and funny. Zack & Wiki is not only inspired by pure adventure films, but inspired from the Saturday Night Cartoons parody of those films.

Which is why the sound-effects seems as if lifted from Cartoon Network, and the soundtrack includes some funnier tunes.

Capcom went on record blaming the art direction for the poor performance of the game. They might be right. However, that wouldn't be the fault of the excellent direction of the game and more a fault of the general uniform taste of the masses.

Very Good Graphics and Animation: +3
Very Good Music: +3

In Conclusion:

Zack & Wiki succeeds because its a labor of love. Even with its shortcomings, in both motion control and some weaker stages, it shines because there was so much attention to detail. It also succeeds because there isn't anything like it, and there probably wouldn't be anything like it.

At its purest, Zack & Wiki is a collection of clever puzzle boxes with a fun and cheerful style. Who doesn't enjoy clever puzzle boxes, even if they cannot complete all of them.

Final: 40/50

"Tips"
1- For the Baron musical game, I suggest shaking the Wiimote TOWARDS YOURSELF, not away.
2- A good way to see how the can be solved is through seeing what enemies are there and what Items they can become.
3- Use the camera button to look around the stage.
4- If you are having trouble dying a lot in a stage, do buy platinum tickets to revive.
5- Try and not use hints, the best thing about finishing a stage is figuring it out yourself.

"Next Game"

Like many games on the Wii, Zack and Wiki was criminally underappreciated. However, that doesn't take out from what a good game it actually was. It is also worth mentioning that Capcom has a history of misfiring with critically acclaimed games.

Next game to review is an RPG, which means the review won't be coming for a long time. At #27, The Last Story is an RPG that was part of operation Rainfall, a ground roots movement from fans to bring three RPG games to North America.

Stay Tuned
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Post by LoveSlug on Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:41 pm

Everyone should own a Wii U so that they can play Super Mario Maker, it's literally the best game of this generation.
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