Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice Review

I’m testing a new scoring method with this review. The diamonds are in the place of stars because I can’t find any that work with WordPress. Also, the editor’s choice thing is here to stay, even if the rating system isn’t. Have fun…

The 4th installment in the Ace Attorney series sees a change that not many looked forward too, or enjoyed once they got the game. Phoenix Wright, the former protagonist, has left the spotlight, and Apollo Justice has entered it.
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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates Review

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates

Console: Nintendo DS

In all honesty, who doesn’t love Final Fantasy? Quite possibly one of the most popular video game series of all time, the incredible masters of RPG have done it again, and they certainly lived up to expecations.

I personally have been anticipating this game for ages, and seeing as I loved Crystal Chronicles for the GCN, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed.

Plot- [10/10] One of the most intelligent and interesting plot designs ever, in my opinion. In complete contrast to the many somewhat pointless subplots that were the downfall of the original game, Ring of Fates delivers an incredible storyline that will leave you wondering what is going to happen next. Along with this is the customizable aspect of Multiplay mode, which is similar to the original game, giving you the choice of either option.

In RoF, twins Yuri and Chelinka live with their father, Sir Latov, in a small village on the outskirts of Rebena Te Ra, the region’s capital (points if you know where the name is from). Their mother is long deceased, and the children miss her dearly.

Suddenly, monsters begin to appear in many places, controlled by mysterious red crystals embedded in their body. These crystals are somehow related to the Crystal Temple in Rebena Te Ra, and are viciously powerful and evil in comparison to the light crystals that the Yukes use for magic.

After a day at Mount Vaal, picking Moogle Plants with family friend Alhanalem, the children are looking forward to a quiet night alone with their father – one that will never come. Their village is invaded by the Blackguards of the Temple, and a strange wizard called Chaspel murders Yuri and Chelinka’s father, asking for “a replacement”. Yuri and Chelinka ward him off using magic, but at a terrible price; Chelinka can no longer speak.

Along with Alhanalem, Meeth the Lilty, and Gnash the Forest Selkie, the twins must get to the bottom of the terrible prophecy they are, unknowingly, a part of, and stop the demonic power of the crimson moon – before it is too late.

Gameplay- [8/10] After Crystal Chronicles, it takes some getting used to to play this game, and especially interchanging between the touch screen and the buttons while in combat. However, having a damage meter in place of the original game’s “heart system” is much easier.

Switching party members is also an issue. You need to touch their logo on the touch screen, but this happens while you are still being attacked – A fact that makes it nearly impossible to not take damage while you are doing it.

Graphics- [6/10] With all that is good about this game, the graphics are truly a disappointment. The short, animated “baby people” are annoying to watch on my DS screen, and they could have done much better, in my opinion.

Final Score- [9/10] An excellent, excellent game, and probably my favorite DS game thus far. Definitely a must-have, even if you didn’t like the original – It is less like a Crystal Chronicles and more like a true Final Fantasy title, which is still great. A+

 

-Brett, Cafe Editor

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin Review

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

I’ve never been a fan of the Advance Wars franchise. I did play a bit of the first and second game, Black Hole Rising, but I can’t say I overly enjoyed it. I’ve always been a Fire Emblem type of guy. After picking up Days of Ruin, I can still say I prefer Fire Emblem, but Advance Wars’ gameplay is deeper and more advanced, no pun intended.

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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.

♦♦♦

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.

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

Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney Review

Game: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
System: Nintendo DS
Developer: Capcom

It may have been released two years ago, but it still deserves to be played and reviewed. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is, and always will be, one helluva game, if I do say so myself.

The game is like this: you are the character Phoenix Wright, a new defense attorney working at the Fey and Co. Law Offices. You go through five trials in the game, pointing out contradictions in witness’ testimony, investigating crime scenes, and getting to the bottom of the truth.

Game-play wise, this game requires your head, big time. You must think quick and put together seemingly random pieces of a puzzle together to form the truth. And it all eventually makes sense. This is kind of like a novel, so a LOT of reading is necessary to advance in the game. If you hate reading, this game is definitely not for you.

When collecting evidence and going from crime scene to the detention center to the police office to wherever, it gets tedious. Of course, what makes it interesting is how you interact with people there and what you discover at the scenes. Definitely look everywhere and talk about anything. But, the tediousness does get pretty bad by the time of the fifth case (BELIEVE ME), and when you’re antsy to get the game over with, you’ll realize there’s a lot more to it than what there already is.

When in the courtroom, however, it completely makes up for it. This is strictly cross-examining witnesses and finding their lies and/or mistaken testimonies. This is where the game really shines. You must use intuitiveness and everything up your sleeve to win, here, although it is slightly linear (but later cases it gets harder to do).

Story wise, this game takes the cake. I’ve never seen such excellent story-telling. The final case in the game literally made my jaw drop in awe. And you learn much back-story to the characters and events that happen in the game. And what characters! Miles Edgeworth, the nitty-gritty prosecutor you square off against (he’s my favorite character); the Fey sisters, Mia and Maya (Mia is your boss, Maya is a spirit-medium-in-training); Dick Gumshoe, the scatterbrained detective who is oddly loyal to Edgeworth; and, finally, the biggest boss of them all, Manfred von Karma, the toughest and ruthless prosecutor you’ll meet in the game. He’s a piece of work, indeed.

Overall, the game kicks ass. The characters and story are top-notch, but the evidence collecting sequences are tedious and tiring. I rate this a…

“Objection!”

What is it now, Mr. Wright?

“Is the defendant guilty of being a horrible game or not?!”

Oops, sorry. “Not guilty.”

Edgeworth: GGGGggrreahahaaaaaaahaahaahHhhhhh!

…right. I rate this game an 8.5/10.