(For the review, please follow the link)
Cam's Eye View's Blog
(For the review, please follow the link)
Have you ever played a game that wasn’t a classic, but could have been? Like almost everything works, but a lot of things get in the way? We kind of have a lot of those games this last year, haven’t we? We had games like Dark Void, Alpha Protocol, Final Fantasy 13, Army of Two: the 40th Day, Spiderman Shattered Dimensions, and other games from the past year. What happens? Is it time? Is it the budget? No one really knows, but we all knew that they could have been great games. A very good example of this was an RPG coming out from Square Enix known as Nier. It doesn’t seem like this was Square Enix’s year was it? I mean, Final Fantasy 13 isn’t a bad game from what I hear, but it’s not what fans want. That is why I’m not touching it. However, I was looking forward to Nier, but sadly, it falls into the “almost works” category. Now, let’s get near - well, Nier, and take a look.
The main story revolves around one of the oldest protagonists in the game industry name Nier, who lives with his daughter, Yonah. Yonah, sadly, has a severe illness that could possibly kill her. While searching for a cure, Nier runs into a magical book named Grimoire Weiss. Since Nier is in a world being tormented by evil beings called Shades, Nier has no way around this situation, but to stop the Shades to cure his daughter’s illness. After teaming up with the scantly clad female swordsman Kaine, and the powerful mage Emil, they set off the save the world. The story, while slow throughout the game, definitely has a lot of good moments, in my opinion, with some pretty emotional scenes that made me feel moved and attached to the game. Like I said though, it’s slow so I hope you have a lot of time on your hands.
The gameplay in Nier is more along the lines of an action RPG. You only control Nier, but can give simplistic commands to your two teammates. Nier can equip two-handed swords, spears, and one-handed swords, but I would stick to the one-handed swords, since wielding a two-handed sword is asking for an early grave. The whole game is kind of set up like a Zelda game, but without the polished areas like Zelda has. I’ll explain later. Nier can also use the power of Grimoire to use multiple magic spells, like making lances, giant fists, and rapid fire beams of magic at the enemy, but most of the time, only one or two spells really work out through the entire game. You can also do multiple side quests for the villagers, like getting letters, slaying animals, slaying animals for food, and getting food for people. The game can take 20 to 25 hours to beat, so you are looking at a lot of playtime in this game. During different parts of the game, the gameplay changes a little. One time you’re going through a level like an old-fashioned 2D action game, and then you’re going through a level like Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. It definitely has a lot of variety.
The whole look of the game is nice with creative monster designs and main character designs giving a lot of variety. Granted, the enemies usually look like something from Twilight Princess, but overall, they are not bad looking. The landscapes are somewhat beautiful to look at. One of the high points, though, has to be the music and voice acting. Takafumi Nishimura composes the music and the vocals are voiced by Emi Evans, who does a wonderful job with the music. It’s all very fun to listen to and sounds pretty good. Voice acting isn’t half bad with voice talent from Jamieson Price, Laura Bailey, Liam O’Brien, and Julie Ann Taylor who usually do a good job with the lines they are given. I also like the small bits of humor they throw into the game. I think one of the weirdest things here about this game is how long it has stuck to me. Sometimes, after playing different games, they don’t usually leave an imprint on my mind or anything, but NIER is different. I think out of this past year, it is one of the top 10 games that has been stuck in my mind after playing it.
Sadly, this game has a lot of rough areas. Like I said, the look of Nier is somewhat beautiful, if it was released in 2007, but now in 2011, it is pretty dated. It is not PS2 quality, but it looks like PS3 and 360 launch titles. I think the visuals could have been better if this game had been released years earlier. However, there are a lot of bland and flat textures, and for some reason during cut scenes there are bars on the top and bottom of the screen that are distracting. The controls feel stiff and wonky. They don’t really get in the way until the end of the game where it’s crucial to have perfect platforming and running controls. This will cause many gamers to get frustrated and annoyed. The side quests are basically pointless and repetitious with 99 percent of the side quests being the same thing every time. While I like the humor of the game, it kind of detracts from the main story, which gets lost at times. My final complaint is that when being released here, the in-game character Nier is actually different from the Japanese version. The Japanese version is much younger and looks like someone from Final Fantasy. What is the point of that? I mean, would we really think differently if the character were 22? I don’t mind the older Nier, but it just puzzles me sometimes, looking at the two side to side. I have read that it’s due to a relationship thing of Yonah with the US version being the father and the Japanese version being the older brother to Yonah instead of the father. Why would they do this? It sounds like they had a big budget but used half of it to make the two separate games.
So, that is my review of Nier. What is my final conclusion? Well, out of all the disappointing games of 2010, next to the new Spiderman game, this one has the least amount of disappointment. It almost works. The character designs are not that bad, the voice acting and the music is pretty good, and the story has some pretty dark turns and is overall enjoyable. While that is said, this game does have some pretty rough edges and just hits the line on underrated gem and above average game. It’s a little bit of both, and it is definitely worth checking out since this was the last game made by Nier’s developers, Cavia. I just wish there would be a sequel, since it definitely has much more potential than other games I have played in 2010. However, this is a new year, and I still have a lot of games to go through.
This game gets a 7 out of 10
Hey everyone, I must apologize right now for saying that Chulip was the weirdest game I have ever played. Now, I won’t hang or electrocute myself for my screw-up, but I will tell you guys about a very unknown video game made by Capcom. I will warn you though that there are not enough therapists in the world to solve what mental problem this game has. So then, I guess you’re wondering what game I am talking about? It’s a chaotic mental case of a game simply known as Under the Skin for the PS2. This little gem of a game is basically yet another over-the-top weird Japanese game that somehow got past the psyche screen. There are not enough medical pills to cure what kind of madness this game brings onto our mental stability. Let’s dive into this mental case of a game, and see what makes it tick.
The story of Under the Skin is about a blue alien named Cosmi, who is traveling to earth in a ritual that he must do to become a great warrior. He accidentally crashes into a satellite and lands on earth. His goal on the planet is to cause as much chaos and mischief as possible. It’s a cute little story, but it seemed like not a lot of work went into it, but I’ll talk about it later.
The gameplay in Under the Skin is hard to explain. It says on Wikipedia that it’s an action adventure game, but it’s more along the lines of stealth, action, and mini-games mixed together. There are about 8 levels, and some of them share the same goal, like collect 500 on your own or with another alien, get more coins than the other alien, team up to take down Nemesis from the Resident Evil game, and others. The main goal is to pretty much collect coins. The way you do this is to take a human disguise and use multiple array of weapons to get coins from the humans, like rocket launchers, elephants, pins, bowling balls, T-rex, laser guns, shotguns, hula hoops, and you get the idea. There are a lot of weapons you can use, and you somewhat have to be tactical on how you tackle each level. There is also a multiplayer mode and a co-op mode where you can do a lot of what you did in the single player. You can also choose different aliens after you beat them in the single player mode. You have to be careful though; if you’re hit once, your human disguise loses its clothes, leaving the human in its undies, and if you’re hit again, you turn back into an alien and lose some coins. You then must scan another human and make it your disguise. Some levels also have threats, like fast cars, gunman, thieves, and alien-tracking robots.
The graphics in the game are very bright and colorful and everyone has a cartoonish look. The areas are small so you won’t get lost. However, even if the areas are small, large hazards like the cars, elephants, grim reapers, and etc make it easier for you to get hit by them. The music is, while not memorable, really wacky and crazy. It definitely has a rather unique art style, which kind of reminds me of Costume Quest, and Wind Waker since it has that unique cel-shaded look. The aliens also have unique designs that are different throughout each level. The humor, while out of my age limit, is rather cute and it is funny to see people fly around when you hit them with a boxing glove and when they all panic.
There are however, a lot of glaring problems with this game that wouldn’t pass if it were released today. The game is really and I mean REALLY short! You thought Kane and Lynch 2 and Vanquish were short, it took me two and a half hours to beat Under the Skin’s single player mode. That would not fly today. It just annoys me at how short this game was. This game also came from Capcom, so I feel a little betrayed they would do this. Two-and-a-half hours are more like a 4-dollar DLC game. I also don’t like how repetitious the single player mode is and how simple and weak the story is. It’s like no thought, besides the opening and ending, were put into the story. I just hate how games of today think they can make a 3 to 6 hour campaign and just focus on multiplayer. Stop doing this, game developers! JUST STOP DOING IT! I mean seriously, I might have grown up with the N64 and into the modern days of gaming, but there are still things in the modern day game industry that piss me off! Make a worthwhile story mode and focus on multiplayer only if you have made a good story and worthwhile single player, which this game fails on both accounts of story and multiplayer. There just isn’t enough substance to make this a full price tag buy. There is just nothing memorable about this game! This seems like a game you would give a video game school as an assignment to see how you could make it better or something.
This game is a mess, and there is nothing memorable or noteworthy about it. The levels and missions are repetitious, the story is half-baked, it’s way too short, and it just gets everything wrong besides a decent graphical presentation and just a really weird premise with cameos from the Resident Evil franchise. If you like this kind of weird crazy Japanese style game, then I could easily say yes, but for everyone else, just don’t go buy it. I mean if you were to buy it, just don’t pay 10 bucks for it. Now, it definitely isn’t black list worthy, but it almost falls in that area. The only reason I would recommend checking out this game is if you have some time to kill before the next big release or you just want to play a really bizarre game.
This game gets a 4 out of 10
Hey, guys. Welcome back to Prince of Persia Retrospective part 2! Now, if you guys read the first part, then you know what I am going to review next. If you haven’t read the first part of this retrospective, then here is a short version. Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time was an okay game in my opinion. I thought the combat was tedious and platforming overly difficult, but it was worth a rent to see what the big deal was back in 2003. However, it is time to move on and play a different game. I decided to skip the two sequels and move on to the Prince’s first HD appearance in the 2008 Prince of Persia! I remember when people saw the new art style, everyone was overreacting and freaking out wondering what had happened. It turns out that, in my humble opinion, it’s a better game than the 2003 game, though it does have its faults, and I will get to them later in this review. So, let’s get into part 2 and review Prince of Persia.
The main story of this game stars our hero, the Prince, as he wanders through a desert looking for a camel that has a king’s worth in gold on it. While he looks for the camel that probably is dead from the weight and the heat of the sun, he meets a princess running from some guards. After some more running, they run into the princess’s father inside the Temple of Light where the father then releases a powerful dark god. It is up to the prince and the princess to restore the sacred areas of the land and take down the dark god. So, yeah, it’s basically “ I’m a guy who is normal but is thrown into an impossible mission that I probably won’t survive”, but it works for who the Prince is.
The gameplay featured in Prince of Persia is mixed with intense swordplay along with some very creative Prince of Persia platforming. The main platforming comes in the form of wall-crawling, ring-grabbing, walking on ceilings, jumping on poles, and running faster all over buildings in the specific area. In each section of the world, one of four bosses resonates in each area, and you must defeat them to restore the area, kind of like Okami in a way. After you purify each area, you have to collect light seeds to gain access to special powers, like launching yourself from one pad to another, to getting the ability to run up walls and ceilings without needing to use rings or vines to grasp on to. The sword combat in my opinion is much MUCH better. This time you can pull off more offensive combos with the help of the princess who can stun enemies to where you can use your acrobatic sword skills to take down enemies. The final main gimmick I have to tell you all about is the infinite continues you can get if you mess up. Each time you miscalculate a jump or do something bad, you can always get a helping hand as the princess will pull you back up and put you a few feet away from the area you died in. It is a much more direct approach to combat, and the execution of the game, instead of making it all acrobatic like the last game.
The graphics are purely beautiful. Granted, some areas look a little repetitive as you walk through them, but the moments when you restore sacred areas just look amazing. The animation of the Prince also looks really good in some areas, like when he climbs upon the ceiling, he looks realistic, but in real life, you would be dead if you did that. The voice acting is, again, hit and miss, but the company definitely upgraded by kicking the last person who did the Prince’s voice out the window and bringing in Nolan North, who you guys all know as Nathan Drake from Uncharted. He does A LOT better on this role than the last guy. Everyone else is pretty hit and miss, but it’s good overall. The music is also nice since the same composer of the last Prince of Persia game I reviewed is back doing this game’s musical score that sounds really good.
However, it does have some major faults, which could either make you buy or rent the game. While the platforming is fun, you could easily get lost and go the wrong way, and it takes a while to get back to the area you started at. That is another thing that bugs me; it takes forever to get to point B from point A. While finding light seeds is required to progress through the game, it gets boring REALLY fast. It just gets repetitious since, later in the game, you will need to find every single little light seed to get the new powers. It’s the same kind of collecting issue as in the Ratchet and Clank series and the early Spyro games. It also doesn’t help that platforming takes over fighting 90% of the game, meaning that battles will not be consistent throughout the game. I also kind of wish puzzle-solving aspects were kept out of the game since some of the puzzles are just overly tedious in some areas of the game. I also find the dialogue to fit somewhat, but most of the time, the lines are cheesy
Overall though, what are my thoughts on this game? While some areas don’t age as well from three years ago, it is definitely a better game than the Sands of Time. I say, rent it if you haven’t played it yet, or buy it if you like this franchise. I just wish they continued with this art style instead of going back to the old style like with the most recent games in the franchise. That’s right, I said games with an ‘s’ at the end! Stay tuned for more reviews and a special two-part finale to the Prince of Persia Retrospective!
This game gets a solid 8 out of 10