Luminous Arc Review

Luminous Arc Review

Platform: Nintendo DS

Publisher: Atlus

Atlus has proven itself on Nintendo’s system this gen, with Trauma Center and Trauma Center: Second Opinion, with a third coming later this year. But what else can Atlus do? Well, the answer is simple, and here it is: one hell of an SRPG.

The games story is this: Witches destroyed the earth 1000 years ago, and now they’re back. The Luminous Church has trained a special squad known as the ‘Garden Children’ to condemn the witches. Sounds stupid, well, it is up until around the halfway point. The story has a lot of twists and turns, and the characters are great and well developed.

The game is a standard SRPG, so it doesn’t revolutionalize the genre. You’re characters fight it out in a 2½d battlefield filled with baddies. The goal of all the fights is to kill everything, plain and simple. Here is where most of my gripes come in. Lag, lag, lag, and lag. When there are a ton of monsters on the screen, and sometimes when characters perform their special moves, the game has an immense amount of slowdown. The game’s visuals are nothing amazing, and the DS should (and can) pull this off. So what’s the problem? Next, you have to confirm everything! After I choose the right command, I just mash the A button. It gets quite annoying later on, though throughout the first couple battles it’s not much of a problem.

Music and audio is a subject I won’t spend much time on. The music… is mediocre. It’s a problem with most games these days. I’ve nothing to say other than that. A high point here is the voice acting. I thought the voice-over was, save certain characters, good and well done.

I like this game, I really do. But I really don’t think you should pick it up unless you’re an SRPG fan. I’m hoping the sequel will take everything from this game, and improve it.

♦♦♦

Super Mario Galaxy Review

Console: Wii

I’m not a fan of Mario games. Paper Mario, yes, but the attributes of games such as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine are not typically something I look for in a video game.

Super Mario Galaxy, however, is an experience all in itself. I was wowed by the graphics, the gameplay and the enjoyable simplicity of the game. It has changed my opinion on Mario games forever.

Plot- [7/10] For the amount of good that this game brings to the world, it has a mediocre and extremely cliche plotline. Basically, Mario has been invited to attend the Mushroom Kingdom’s Star Festival, a sacred festival held every 100 years in recognition of the Power Star that gives power to the kingdom.

Of course, you can guess what happens five minutes into the festival. His menacingness, Lord Bowser, appears with a few new tricks up his sleeve (such as a UFO Confused). He makes quick work of uprooting Peach’s castle (where have I seen that before? Razz), with Mario still in it. However, before Mario can do anything, he is whisked off to another planet and introduced to a mysterious race called “Lumas”, shape-shifting stars, and their mistress, Lady Rosalina, who live on a large space station/observatory that passes beside the Mushroom Kingdom only every hundred years. However, the power from their observatory has been stolen by Bowser and hidden around the universe in the form of many Grand Stars. In order to save Peach from Bowser in the centre of the universe, Mario must first rescue all of the Grand Stars, so the observatory can fly once again.

Bleh. Very predictable and, to be honest, quite boring.

Gameplay- [10/10] Intensely awesome. Some of the smoothest, easiest-to-use Wii controls ever, in my opinion. Mario has the ability to “spin” instead of punching, an invaluable technique, and to execute this ability, all you need is one shake of the Wii remote. Unlike Twilight Princess, where the sword would sometimes lag for a few seconds after you swing the remote, this is perfect and smooth. The B button is used for firing Star Bits, and it is easy to use at any time, in the heat of any situation.

The rest of the controls are almost identical to those in Super Mario 64. It takes some getting used to to walk upside-down without problem, but it’s not too difficult.

Graphics- [10/10] Bless the Nintendo people for putting so much intricate detail and time into the graphics of this game, because they certainly succeeded. On most Galaxies, Mario can walk upside-down and all around any object. The detail on everything is amazing, and the graphics are smooth and without lag.

Final Score- [9/10] While the plot sucks, everything else is fantastic. In my opinion, this is debatably the best Wii game released thus far. A+

Guitar Hero III Review

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

Stars: *****

Review:

The first thing that anyone can say about this game, the first good thing they can say, is that the track list is amazing. I want to go buy the soundtrack. Featuring songs like My Name is Jonas by Weezer, and Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses, it’s no wonder that this is by far the greatest Guitar Hero yet.

The Strum Bar: It was made longer, easier to strum on, and clicking was reduced.

The Whammy Bar: It was made easier to press down on rapidly, unlike previous games.

The fact that the controllers are now wireless, (with the exception of the PS2) It is now way easier when you memorize a song to jam about the playing area dancing and kicking without unhooking the controller, screwing up your jam session.

Once again, I state this is the best Guitar Hero yet, and something that will again bring more players to the game world. (Heck, I got my sister on there)

Pokemon Diamond/Pearl Review

Pokemon Diamond/Pearl Version- Nintendo DS

We heard about it years ago: Two games, called Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl, are in the works. They seemed to take forever to come out with details, though, and only recently has any kind of actual information been released directly from Nintendo. But here it is, finally, the much-awaited game that brought even the most reluctant Pokemon players *coughcough* *ME* *coughcough* crawling out to their local Walmart to buy a copy. With millions of sales in the first day it was released, this truly is an amazing game.

Gameplay: 10

This game uses the innovative DS touch screen to make it so much easier for us players–Wheras in other generations of these games, one had to move the cursor with the control pad merely to select an attack to use on the opponent, with Diamond and Pearl it is no longer a problem! Simply touch the attack you wish to use, and you’re on your way.

The fun “Poketch” feature makes Gameplay even easier; With many different Poketch apps that you can collect, from a digital clock to a daycare monitor, it is a useful and invaluable tool.

The wireless functions of the game are endless. Not only does the game feature Wi-Fi connectivity, with Worldwide trading and battles, but you can also go “Underground” and dig for fossils, evolution stones, and more with your friends, all via the Nintendo DS wireless connection, of course.

You can also “migrate” Pokemon from a 3rd Generation game (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, FireRed, LeafGreen versions) after you receive the National Dex. This can only be done by completing your ordinary Pokedex, but it is worth it, I guarantee.

There are TONS more features which I haven’t mentioned here, and if you want to find out what they are, I suggest you go out and buy the game for yourself. Wink

Story: 9

A criminal syndicate called “Team Galactic” which operates a facility beneath the Veilstone Space Station has been planning something for awhile. Something to do with the three lakes in Sinnoh, and three ancient Pokemon called Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit…

An incident at Lake Valor confirms it–Galactic’s head, Cyrus, is up to something, something involving two of the greatest powers in the history of time… By harnessing the power of Time and Space, Cyrus will be able to destroy the world, and create a new one.

His world.

And time is ticking.

Difficulty: 8.5

Pokemon games have never been too difficult, and this one is no exception. Within a week, a player (or at least an addicted player like myself) can find and receive all eight gym badges, capture either Dialga or Palkia, and save Sinnoh from Team Galactic. For the more casual player, however, it could take months–It all depends on how much you play, and how experienced you are with past editions.

Final Score: 10

Fantastic. Truly fantastic. If you do NOT currently have this game, it woud be in your best interest to get out there and buy a copy right now. Yes, I’m talking to YOU. You, sitting at your computer screen, with no idea how amazing this game really is.

Super Paper Mario Review

Super Paper Mario- Nintendo Wii

Since the release of Twilight Princess, the Wii has had a drought of adventure/RPG games. It’s been one mini-game collection after another. Well, the clouds have come, and it’s about to rain. The drought is over, and Wii owners need wait no more.

It seems Mario can change to any genre, yet still be loved to death. Party, platformer, RPG, sport, mystery; yes, Mario has ventured into almost every genre imaginable. The man in red is doing it again in the platformer/RPG adventure, Super Paper Mario.
Continue reading

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Retro Review (N64)

Three words: Best. Game. Ever. I got it very soon after it came out after I got my 64, way back in ’99…I think, and loved it immediately. I’m embarassed to say it, but before OoT I had never played a Zelda game before. Embarassed It introduced me to a world of video games that just can’t be beat–And did it with style.

Plot- [10/10] The story is remarkably compelling, and would make an excellent movie, book, or fan fiction (*cough ME cough*). Basically a young forest boy is reckoned by the Deku Tree, the guardian spirit of his forest, to begin an ancient quest to stop the evil Ganondorf, king of the Gerudos. Link, the young boy, collects the three spiritual stones from the Kokiri, the Gorons, and the Zoras and then must use their power, along with the royal heirloom, the Ocarina of Time, to enter the Sacred Realm and wield the Master Sword.

…But there’s a twist–Before Link can do so, Ganondorf ransacks the palace in an attempt to kidnap the princess. He fails, but no sooner is he seemingly defeated than Link opens the Sacred Realm, leaving the way open for Ganondorf to grasp the power within…

Link must now find the six sacred Temples of Hyrule, and free the spirits of the Sages who guard the magic there. Using their power, he must then defeat Ganondorf–Once and for all.

Gameplay- [8/10] I’m gonna be honest–The gameplay of this game isn’t all that great. The action button makes it easy to do things, but I just wish you could jump upward! Targeting with the bow and arrow isn’t too bad, and the Hookshot makes it very clear to where it’s going, so the points will rack up to 8, instead.

Graphics- [5/10] Well, perhaps it’s just my 64, but from my experiences with this game… The graphics suck. They continually lag, glitch, and even stop about an hour into the game, at which point I have to reset the machine (which isn’t easy, as my Reset button is jammed with peanut butter). And while Adult Link’s nose is too pointy, Child Link has no nose. It’s not a good balance, but I guess it’s okay considering the technology back then.

Final Score- [10/10] I’ll revert to the intro when I say this: Best. Game. Ever. It pwns, honestly–You can’t beat the Ocarina. They keep trying, but they keep failing. This game will go down in history. A+

Nintendogs Review

Nintendogs
NDS Review

Ah, Nintendogs… I ♥ this game in ways that you could not even begin to imagine — One summer, I was so addicted, SO addicted to this game that I bought a Nintendogs DS Skin. Twenty-five dollars Canadian, and worth every penny.

Having my humble copy of Lab and Friends, I take pride in doing something that a casual Nintendogs gamer like myself would not ordinarily be able to do in such a short period of time (since Jan. 06, with not much play time)–collecting most dog breeds. I say most, because it’s freaking impossible to get ’em all when you play as little as I do–I’m serious, guys. NOT POSSIBLE.

Plot- [9.5/10] With very little plot line, this game is open to the wonders of the imagination by basically making it your own. There is no way that you must play the game, but the basic plot goes as follows:

A new dog trainer (yourself) goes to the kennel to purchase his/her very first ever dog. Depending on which version you own, you can choose from different dogs. You are then invited to join tournaments (hosted by the quarreling Archie Hubbs and Ted Rumsworth), go for walks, meet other dogs, shop for supplies, and so much more. With Nintendogs the exploration is more fun than even a Legend of Zelda game.

Gameplay- [8/10] The gameplay of Nintendogs is, in my opinion, irrelevant to how the game works, but in itself it is a wonder. Use the stylus to pet your dog, feed him treats, pull the leash…It also makes a convenient way to hit icons, sort of like a computer’s desktop. It also proves useful in competitions, especially agility trials. And using the voice commands to teach the dogs tricks, while sometimes faulty, is an added bonus that makes the game that much more realistic.

Graphics- [10/10] I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that these are quite possibly the best graphics I’ve seen yet on a game for the DS. The dogs look realistic enough to be believable, and some of the background scenery on walks is breathtakingly intense.

Final Score- [10/10] This game is fantastically original in its own respect, and even dwarfs countless other simulation games. With so many things to unlock, and so much to do, you always enjoy yourself when playing Nintendogs. A+

-Brett

Big N Cafe Reviewer

Brett’s Nintendogs, for those who are interested:
-Cappy, Labrador Retriever
-Lupin, Siberian Husky
-Munich, German Shepherd
-Flip, Toy Poodle
-Pugwash, Pug
-Trouser, Chihuahua
-*wants* a Daschund named Howie… Unfortunately, I lost my Nintendogs game… Crying or Very sad ‘S all gone… Sad