Terraria kind-of-Review

Terraria isn’t the kind of game that lends itself well to a review because of its more open-ended nature and the complete absence of anything resembling a story or meaningful characters, so I figured that rather than going the usual route and breaking things down one section at a time, I’d tell everyone the story of my experience with Terraria version 1.2.4.1 and highlight the good, the bad, the ugly, the frustrating, and the wonderful as I discovered it. As such, I’m labeling this as a kind-of-review despite the fact that this is technically my 200th site review (and it totally counts despite the unique format). Read more →

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Review

Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t just the worst game in the series—it was also one of the worst games I’ve ever played, one that left me with such a bitter aftertaste that I spent the following week angry that my time had been so wasted. However, it also failed to explain any of the mythology necessary to understanding the ending, something I was told that its sequel/s improved upon. While it’s true that XIII-2 explains what actually happened at the end of the first game, it also opens up a number of huge plot holes and unanswered questions of its own, many of which dwarf the story-related problems of the first game. Read more →

Valkyria Chronicles Review

Originally released in 2008 exclusively for the Playstation 3, Valkyria Chronicles is one of those games that I really wanted to try, but was nevertheless on the fence about. On the one hand, it looked like an incredibly creative game. On the other, games with an anime aesthetic sometimes go very bad, turning into preachy, screechy, utterly abominable messes. Eternal Sonata is a wonderful example of this, taking one of the greatest classical composers and thrusting a ridiculous, fictionalized anime version of him into a world devoid of meaning or entertainment. Skies of Arcadia is another example, which, while not quite as bad as Eternal Sonata, had a story that made absolutely no sense and saw its characters acting as stupidly as possible in order to hamfistedly stitch together something resembling a plot. Before I had a chance to make up my mind about Valkyria Chronicles, however, my Playstation 3’s disc drive broke and the decision was made for me. Imagine my surprise when an inexpensive PC port came out of nowhere and included the DLC. Needless to say, I finally pulled the trigger, and I’m glad I did—this is an amazing game that deserves all the praised heaped on it and more. Read more →

Final Fantasy XIII Review

I wanted to love Final Fantasy 13, and for the first two dozen or so hours, I succeeded in doing so. However, the completely needless character drama, stunning absence of any kind of logic behind the game’s ending, and painful slogs through too-long parts of the game ensured that I was severely let down. Whereas I originally enjoyed just about everything the game had to offer, I grew to hate it by the end, even going so far as to make excuses to avoid having to play it anymore. This is a game that tells a complicated story involving deities who are never shown or even explained in enough depth to actually understand what’s happening over the course of the story, most notably toward the end, and this is unacceptable. Read more →

Costume Quest 2 Review

Costume Quest 2 is a great example of a sequel that improves on its predecessor in virtually every way. That’s not to say that it’s entirely flaw-free, but the problems from the first game have been largely minimized in such a way that it’s a much more fulfilling experience than the already-worthwhile original. That said, much of the game will be instantly familiar to those who have played the first game: a large part of gameplay still consists of going house to house trick-or-treating for candy to progress, the combat is still jRPG-inspired, and the overall game still has a distinct sense of humor that you won’t find anywhere else. Read more →

Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

As much as I love Batman, I can’t bring myself to enjoy Arkham Asylum. Yes, the freeflow combat system is interesting. Yes, it’s nice to go up against an array of Batman villains. Yes, the lighting and graphics are surprisingly solid for a 2009 game. None of that makes up for the game’s poor pacing, weird mechanics, lengthy sections of tedium, trial-and-error mechanics that often only explain how to succeed at a section once you fail, and awkwardly linear design that ensures that you rarely have more than one or two ways to approach a situation. I made sure to install both Arkham Asylum and its sequel Arkham City in order to develop a better understanding of what makes City the superior experience, and the two are truly night and day. It’s amazing how much was improved in the sequel. Read more →

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