Okami Review

PS2 ports are one of Wii owners’ worst nightmares. But in Okami’s case, it should be considered a dream. A wonderful, lengthy, polished, beautiful dream. Yes, Okami is an absolute gem and easily seats itself at the top of the Wii’s library. From the game’s beautiful presentation, to its masterfully told story. Okami is a piece of art, throughout every aspect of its design, a must own for every Wii owner who calls themselves a hardcore gamer.

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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.

♦♦♦

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)