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I’M BACK!!!

I have returned, Kweh!

I have returned, Kweh!

Greetings everyone, and welcome back to my esteemed blog.  It has been quite a number of months since my last post.  I have been very busy with the job search and seeking possibilities of returning to school.  I am very happy to say that I have not only acquired a new position, but I am also in the process of applying for school.

Now that the wheels are in motion, I am happy to get back to my favorite past time; that being sharing my insights and reviews with you.  I will be back on Wednesday 3/18 with my full review of Final Fantasy Type 0 HD.  Until then everyone, be safe, and happy gaming!

Tales of Xillia 2 Review: Take me back to Rieze Maxia

The new antagonists, Ludger and Elle

The new antagonists, Ludger and Elle

Welcome back everyone to my esteemed blog.  The crickets have been chirping quite a bit on the blogging front, but there are a couple of reasons for this.  First, my company recently had their annual meeting, which really took it out of me.  So, after the conclusion of that successful meeting, I took a few days off and just relaxed.  I also had to attend a wedding or two, which involved quite a bit of traveling.  Now fans can rejoice, for I have returned.  Let us begin.

Bandai Namco is best known for the Tales series.  Now they have brought us the direct sequel to Tales of Xillia.  Tales of Xillia 2 takes place one year after the events of the first game.  With the huge success of the first installment, does this sequel measure up to it’s predecessor?  Let’s review.

Graphics:  There isn’t much to be said about the graphics of Tales of Xillia 2, reason being, it looks exactly the same in and out.  The characters both new and returning still retain the same design and art direction, minus a few wardrobe and hair changes (it has been a year since the first game ).  Score:  8/10

A little of the new mixed with the old.

A little of the new mixed with the old.

Sound:  Tales of Xillia 2 brings back some familiar tunes along with some new tracks to spice up the roster.  Motoi Sakuraba brings his delicate touch back to what is already a great franchise.  The voice acting is done fairly well, with the original cast returning to compliment the new characters.  On a sad note to some, Teepo is back.  Ayumi Hamasaki brings her vocal talents back with the intro theme “Song 4 U.”  Fans of the first Xillia title soundtrack won’t be disappointed with this second dose of gaming music excellence.  Score:  8.5/10

Gameplay:  As with most Tales games, this is where it all comes together.  Tales of Xillia’s core gameplay is in the fighting system.  When you’re fighting monsters, it feels more like a fighting game and less of a “select your attack and wait” kind of game, which is pretty cliche in most JRPGs.

Outta my way!

Outta my way!

The story, which is excellent, picks up one year after the events of the first game.  There is a twist, you don’t get to play as two separate protagonists, instead you only have one hero, Ludger Kresnik.  I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed with Ludger as a protagonist.  Although his story involving his brother Julius is well plotted, his portrayal as the more often than not silent protagonist is very off-putting, and while you make selections on Ludger’s responses and choices-it feels bland all together.  Elle is the other protagonist, a non-playable character who is also a huge element of the story, although not being able to use her caused me to disassociate myself from her almost entirely.  I much preferred Jude and Milla.

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The story progresses smoothly, except for times when you are forced to pay off your ridiculously exorbitant debt.  This results in you having to sidetrack your mission to accomplish fetch and monster slaying quests.  Except for the “elite” monsters, I found the remaining quests to be very tedious.

Battle of the brothers!

Battle of the brothers!

The orb system has had an overhaul as well.  I was a huge fan of the “Illium Orb” system in the first Xillia game.  The new orb system called “Allium Orb” is something that I am not too fond of.  You equip each character with an orb that slowly levels up and earns you new and upgraded skills and artes.  Think of it as a Final Fantasy 6 esper system, but much more detailed.  The only downside to this system is that with everything going on in this game, you are forced to do some severe micromanaging.  To some this is ok, but for others, it can be somewhat of a burden.

Meet the new Allium Orb system.

Meet the new Allium Orb system.  I’m a fan of the japanese version, sorry folks.

One addition that I thought was an excellent touch is the character story lines.  This allows Ludger and Elle to go on separate quests with each of the original characters from the first game, thus learning more about that individual character and increasing the bond you have between them, and you can earn a costume accessory here and there.  Score: 9.0/10

Tales of Xillia 2 is an incredible story that brings this tale to a wonderful close.  Any Tales fan should definitely add this to their library.  One thing, if you never played the first Tales of Xillia, I would recommend playing that one first.  It helps bring events of the sequel to better light.  Thanks again for following my blog.  I am reviewing a niche title called Fairy Fencer F.  Stay tuned for my review coming soon.  Thanks everyone!

Final Score: 8.5/10

Child of Light Review: Visual Poetry In Motion

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Good day to all my fellow gamers. Welcome back to my esteemed blog. I apologize for this insane delay in posting, but recently work and night classes have syphoned my personal time, but once again I have returned and with some very late—but nonetheless excellent and non-bias gaming reviews. The summer is finally here, and kids, teens, and the more paleolithic gamers like myself are always looking to invest countless hours in some gaming goodness. So, I have decided to start by reviewing one of four games on my platter that I am playing and very much enjoying. The first review will be Ubisoft’s RPG, Child of Light. This title has had a lot of expectations. Does it live up to all these expectations, or is it another disappointing letdown. Let’s take a look.

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Graphics: Elegance and beauty are understatements when it comes to describing the graphics of Child of Light. From the moment you turn on your console, even the “press start” screen draws you in like a spell. The colors and textures are beautifully drawn. The backgrounds are lush and vibrant with color and life, from the immense forests, to the dark and creepy caverns—It’s an eye-candy overload that fans will love. Ubisoft definitely proves to all of us that they poured their heart, sweat, and tears into providing us a product of pure visual delight. The characters of Child of Light are also brilliantly drawn in both story sequences and gameplay.

The creature designs are almost out of a child’s story, but not in a childish way. Each creature is well detailed and some can also be a bit fearsome. Being a person with a hummingbird attention span, I found myself constantly getting lost or distracted from my path, but I didn’t get frustrated with the game. I simply wanted to keep wandering and soak in the beautiful atmosphere of this amazing world. Score 10/10 

Sound: Canadian singer-songwriter Coeur de Pirate (Béatrice Martin) brings to Child of Light a musical score that is timeless and beautifully done. Every track seems to fit the environment of the game. From the soothing melody played in the forest, to the climactic boss battles, every piece of music is a joy to behold. Score 9.5/10

Gameplay: This game focuses on the heroine Aurora who, after falling victim to a physical ailment—wakes up in the world of Lemuria. She then begins her quest to save her father from the evil queen, Umbra. Thus, she journeys through mystical Lemuria, gathering very unique allies along the way. A bow-wielding mouse, a jester who can’t seem to complete one rhyme, a golem, and a wizard—yes these are some of the different varieties of characters that you will encounter through your 12-15 hour quest.

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While most heroes in video games tend to have a stereotypical look from an abnormally muscular hero, or a sexy seductive heroine—Child of Light has none of these stereotypes. It introduces pretty average characters that still make an impact without all the muscles and sexiness. The battle system is one that is familiar to many fans. It uses a turn based gaming engine similar to the Grandia series. Characters and monsters take turns while small icons in line on the screen races to the “action” button. This determines who gets to act first. This element provides a lot of strategic challenges, because your quick thinking will determine whether you can get the jump on your enemies before they can act, or fall victim to their onslaught. Aurora’s companion Igniculus also plays a vital role in your quest as a distraction blinding your enemies and slowing their progression on the action bar. It is a refreshing element and a fantastic tribute to the gaming franchises that introduced these engines. Score 9.5/10

Child of Light is a game that should be in everyone’s library. It is a beautiful tribute to past games, and it is a brilliant masterpiece to behold. If you have not downloaded this title yet, don’t wait another minute—download Child of Light today.

Final Score: 9.5/10

The Guided Fate Paradox Review

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Welcome back friends to another edition of The Gaming Angel.  I hope your Halloween holiday was full of tricks and treats.  Over the last decade, Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) has become known for their very niche gaming titles such as Atelier Iris, Mana Khamia, Ar Tonelico, and of course their most famous franchise, Disgaea.  Now, we look at their latest release entitled The Guided Fate Paradox for the Playstation 3 console.  With NIS titles, it is usually hit or miss with their releases.  So is this another sleeper hit like Disgaea and Atelier Iris, or is this a title you should miss at all costs?  Let’s review shall we?

Graphics:  Fans of the Disgaea series will feel right at home with The Guided Fate Paradox.  The characters are bright and colorful, while the monsters have a very similar design pattern to Disgaea.  The art design of the environments and dungeons are very lush and colorful.  Score: 8/10

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Sound:  Yosei Teikoku does a brilliant job of bringing music that is fitting to the situation of the game’s story, while at times, some of the music is a bit too cheerful and perky for the dungeon environments.  Some of the english voice acting is on par, but there are others that make you want to turn the vocal option to Japanese.  Score: 8.5/10

Gameplay:  Like most NIS RPG’s, this is where the proof in quality comes into play.  The Guided Fate Paradox is a dungeon crawler RPG that has many similarities to the Chocobo’s Dungeon series.  You come across a dungeon and explore freely until you encounter a foe or foes, depending on the situation.  When you encounter an enemy, it becomes more turn-based and strategic.  You take turns moving around the map.  When you move, they move-when you attack, they attack.  Click on this link to view an example of the gameplay.  It is a nice change of pace that RPG fans will enjoy.

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The story of The Guided Fate Paradox is very interesting and definitely unique to say the least, but not unheard of by RPG standards.  You take the role of Renya, a boy who after winning the lottery, is chosen to be god.  Now he must answer the prayers of those that pray to him.  It is indeed an interesting twist to your standard RPG cliches of someone attempting to be a god and trying by any means to achieve it.  In this game, you simply spin a raffle cage and presto, you are now God.  Score 9/10 

NIS faithful fans and Disgaea fans will definitely love The Guided Fate Paradox.  Whether you are an NIS fan or a fan of RPG’s, you should definitely add The Guided Fate Paradox to your gaming library.  It takes a pleasant step away from the typical RPG cliche’s in both gaming and story.

Final Score: 8.5/10 

As many of you know, Playstation 4 comes out next Friday, November 15th.  So I will be back November 18th, with a review of the PS4, and Knack, one of the premiere titles.  Until then friends, be sure to subscribe, take care and Happy Gaming!  

 

Shin Megami Tensei IV Review

ImageWelcome back everyone to my amazing blog.  Summer always marks the sign for new releases in the gaming world.  The Shin Megami Tensei series has been climbing it’s way to the top in terms of recognition since the release of Persona in 1997.  Now the long underrated series is getting the respect it deserves.  Releases such as Digital Devil Saga, Devil Summoner, and the more recent Soul Hackers for the 3DS are opening gamer’s eyes to this unique and amazing series.  

Now Atlus has graced us once again with the latest installment in the Shin Megami Tensei series Shin Megami Tensei IV for the Nintendo 3DS.  This title has been very anticipated by fans of the RPG genre.  SO now the question remains, does the latest installment in the Shin Megami Tensei series deliver?  Read on to find out.

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Graphics:  Shin Megami Tensei IV is fair in terms of graphics.  The backgrounds are somewhat decent but can seem a little too blocky at times.  There is not too much to speak about in regards to animation since it mainly consists of still hand-drawn images.  The creatures are fairly unique, some are fan favorites, while others are brand new to the Shin Megami franchise.  The character designs seem somewhat bland but, it’s nothing that will make you put the game down.  Score: 7.5/10

Sound:  The soundtrack is fairly suiting to the game’s overall feel but, there are very few memorable tracks in this game.  The voice cast does a wonderful job of bringing the rather bland cast to life.  Score: 8.5/10

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Gameplay:  This is the meat of the package.  Exploration is done in 3rd person view, as opposed to Soul Hackers’ first person perspective, which allows for more depth in exploration.  The story is very well written and it holds enough interest for the player to endure the MANY DIFFICULT BATTLES that come your way.  Demon negotiation and fusion also make their star studded return.  There are over 400 possible demons you can encounter and create throughout this game.  Trust me when I say this, if you are someone whose “gotta catch em all” you will love this game.  Score 9/10

Though Shin Megami Tensei IV has a few faults, it is still a deep and challenging RPG.  No RPG fan should overlook this 3DS title.  I would highly recommend this title.

Final Score 8.5/10

Be sure to follow my blog, and be sure to tune in next time when I review Dragon’s Crown and Tales of Xillia.

 

Persona 4 Golden Review: A classic beautifully remastered!

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HD Remakes are becoming an overpopulated category as of late, and now Atlus adds to this category with Persona 4 Golden for the PS Vita.  Does this version outdo the original?  Read on to find out.

Graphics:  Persona 4 is resurrected in beautiful high definition.  Atlus really did an impressive job in smoothing out the sometimes boxy pixellation of the original version.  New anime cut-scenes add to the enjoyment.  Score: 9/10

Gameplay:  The gameplay style of Persona 4 that fans remember returns in full fury.  Battles are quick and action packed, the dungeons are randomly generated and well designed.  The collection of Personas is more robust with new Personas added to the library or compendium.  The murder mystery storyline is among the best RPG story lines out there.  There is also TONS OF STUFF TO DO!  You battle creatures trying to save your friends from a horrible fate, while managing a student lifestyle on the side.  Everything from dating, to holding a job, even studying for mid-terms and final exams.  It’s all here in one terrific package.  Score 9.5/10

Sound:  Shoji Meguro does it again with this amazing soundtrack.  The catchy J-Pop music that plays during battles is addicting and doesn’t annoy a person in anyway even after 65 hours of gameplay (yes I have been playing for this long).  This is a soundtrack that will dazzle fans everywhere.  Score: 9.5/10

Issues:  Some people found the fact that there is so much to do in so little time in this game.  I only found this a reason to replay this amazing adventure and find those Personas.  Not to mention the hidden bosses in the game as well.

Final Score: 9.5/10

Did you enjoy Persona 4?  Do you like the Persona series?  I would love to hear from you!  Please leave me your feedback, and thanks again for reading and following my blog!  Until next time!

Lucas

Rainbow Moon review: A surprising RPG Experience.

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Hello everyone, and with the approach of another weekend brings another edition of The Gaming Angel blog.  This time around we will take a look at an RPG exclusively for the Playstation Network entitled Rainbow Moon.  Rainbow Moon is a strategy RPG developed by Sidequest Studios.  It focuses more on depth, exploration, and dungeon crawling level grinding fun.  Does this anticipated title fit the bill for RPG fanatics like myself?  Read on to find out.

Graphics:  The graphics are pretty impressive for a downloadable title.  The worlds are pretty, however the character models are nothing to write home about.  Overall pretty decent for a PSN download title.     Score: 7.5/10

Sound: There are a few quirky “hi” sounds when interacting with townspeople along with some “Hyaah” sounds for attacks.  The soundtrack actually surprised me.  There a few noteworthy tracks in this game.  Don’t be fooled because of it being a PSN downloadable game.  Score: 8/10

Gameplay: Here is where this game truly shines it’s talents.  The depth of this game is insane.  I am 41 hours into this game and have not even begun to scratch the surface of how much content this game has.  The combat system is pretty smooth and straightforward.  Customizable armor weapons and stats through the acquiring of certain items, tons of missions, level grinding goodness, and trophies to obtain makes this a great investment for any RPG fan out there.  Score: 9.5/10

Issues:  For someone like myself who values story first thing above anything in an RPG, I was disappointed with the poor story of Rainbow Moon.  The story pretty much puts your protagonist in a situation where he is involuntarily thrown into another world, and embarks on this perilous quest to save this world while finding his way home.  The story does very little to progress from that point on.  The AI of the enemies is also kind of suspect.  There is no real strategy to battles unlike that of Growlanser Generations or Final Fantasy Tactics.  It’s kind of a downer for me that Rainbow Moon’s story is not very in-depth as any RPG that is out there, but it doesn’t hinder the gameplay experience.

Final Thoughts:  Rainbow Moon is a definite must buy for anyone who loves RPG’s. This title emphasizes on strictly character development, exploring locations, and battling ferocious fiends, and with a price tag of $15.00 you can’t miss with Rainbow Moon.  

Final Score: 9/10

 

Silent Hill HD Collection Review: The roots of Silent Hill resurrected.

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With the recent string of bad Silent Hill titles as of late, it’s nice to take a look back at the titles that made the Silent Hill franchise so amazing back in the day.  Hijinks Studios took the liberty of redoing Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 in high definition for the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 game consoles.  So, are these resurrected classics just as good in high definition?

 

 

Graphics:  The HD rendered graphics of Silent Hill HD Collection is among the best.  The dreary atmosphere of Silent Hill still remains in both titles and still continues to creep out original fans.  Newcomers to the series may not be impressed since most people these days appear to be attracted to soulless polish, but to the original fans of the series wanting to take a trip down memory lane, you will not be disappointed.  Score: 9/10

 

Sound:  Even after a decade the original soundtrack of Silent Hill HD Collection remains true to it’s roots.  Akira Yamaoka’s strange sense of musical style still shines strong a decade later.  There have been some complaints with regard to Konami choosing to redo the voice work in both games.  Well I can thankfully say that the new voice work is well done.  Plus you have the option of choosing the original voices or the new voices before you begin both games.  Score: 9/10

 

Gameplay:  Some new generation fans may not be so keen with the clunky combat of these Silent Hill installments, but fans of the game will be happy to know that the original gameplay has been left untouched.  What new age fans don’t understand is that it’s more about the fear factor and running from the monsters and less about fighting them.  Score: 8/10

 

Issues:  The combat may displease new age fans that are just being introduced to Silent Hill with Homecoming and Downpour.  This is a look into what made Silent Hill so amazing before team silent disbanded after the completion of part three.  This is a rare treat that Silent Hill fans old and new should invest in.

 Final Score:  9/10


Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my blog.  As always I am happy to hear comments and questions should they come my way.  Thanks.

Lucas