Page 2 of 12  [ 118 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 12  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 4, '12, 12:12 am 
R-90-2 wrote:I think that the most amazing thing about this game is that this seems to be a fairly common reaction.


Well, I just finished my second run through. Guess what, I want to start a third run with the same girl still! These writers and people that created the music, they deserve some money. :up: This will lead to fan art and possible fan fiction by me. I even joined the official forums. I'm going all out.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 4, '12, 1:03 am 
Anyway, you can feel free to talk about whatever games I've reviewed, don't let further reviews feel like pressure.

----------
Valis The Fantasm Soldier
Developer: Telenet Japan
Release Date: December 1991 (US)
Platform: Sega Genesis
Genre: Action-Platformer
------------

One of the things that I've had to do in order to be what I consider a decent reviewer is to look at games from a different pair of axes. The first, is games that I like, and the second is games that are well-designed. The two sometimes do not overlap with each other, and it is in this state that my relationship with Telenet Japan's Valis series exists.

The Valis series of action-platformers was, in essence, the flagship franchise of the now-defunct video game development company called Telenet Japan, a company that produced numerous titles throughout the 8- and 16-bit era. While the first game in the series was released for the MSX Japanese home computer system in 1986, the Genesis port, reviewed here, was the first version of Valis 1 that was at all worth playing, as the previous games were hampered by terrible controls, forced grinding in an action game, and (especially in the NES port) sometimes non-euclidean level design. The Genesis version, and later Turbo CD remakes, were rather straightforward action games with competent controls, much to the benefit of the series as a whole.

The game does not rely on the "excuse plot", instead opting for a more Ninja Gaiden-style approach, telling the story through full cutscenes in the intro and occasionally scattered between levels. This is the first entry in the story of Yuuko Ahso, an ordinary Japanese high school girl who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and ends up right in the path of a monster-based invasion from another world. It is roughly at this point that she also becomes the not-so-proud owner of two things- firstly, a powerful magic sword, and second, the role of the Valis Warrior- who is tasked with not only protecting Earth from the power of the Dark World and it's king, Rogles, but also the Dreamworld, from which the Valis sword originated. While it does sound fairly standard, the story in the Valis series takes the position that "Chosen One" is merely a fancy princess dress-up term for conscript, and does its level best to convey an appropriate mood- the ending hardly feels like a triumph, and it's barely even a relief. Of course, the impact of the scenes in this game tends to be undercut by the fact that the game's cutscenes have a horrendously slow and non-adjustable text speed.

While I do consider Valis I's gameplay to be the best in the series, this is more of a case of being pleasantly surprised rather than genuinely impressed, as, compared to earlier entries and iterations of the Valis games, the play in Valis I for the Sega Genesis is an almost shocking display of competence from Telenet's programmers. Yuko has the general movement package of action platformer characters, including high-jumping and sliding, the latter of which has the peculiar property that the slide can only be stopped after it reaches its duration or Yuko is hit out of it, meaning that the slide can be used to cross gaps if so desired. Not that this is especially necessary, as there are only two instant death pits in the whole game, and they are right next to each other on the same stage. While Yuko is equipped with a sword, her primary attacks come from projectiles, of which there are several types. Each one has three power levels, and are powered up by grabbing weapons of the same type. Below Yuko's life bar, however, one might notice one for MP as well. This powers Yuko's magic attacks, and there are six such abilities in the game, acquired in the same manner of Mega Man- by taking them over the boss' dead bodies. They tend not to have a huge amount of variety in their utility, as all except one are direct-damage attacks.

The level and encounter design is fairly well-done, even if the levels themselves tend towards the easier side of things- the main thing that threatens Yuko are the bosses. While a number of the levels are, essentially, press right to advance, a few of them have multiple paths throughout, and are quite explorable- and said exploration is frequently rewarded with power ups of various kinds, including the forever-prized 1-up. Each level also has its own unique set of enemies, with some limited variety in attack types and patterns. While some of the boss fights are tactically interesting, there are a few that are largely damage-races, and woe unto you if you have brought the proverbial knife to the gun fight. One of the bosses is exceptionally aggravating, as it has an attack that can deal around one half of your characters maximum health in one go, with no way to dodge it- you have to either mitigate it with magic, or just plain win before it goes off.

The art design manages to at least not offend- characters and attacks managed to at least stand out, so you always know that anything that hits you is largely the result of one's own ability or inability to dodge. the soundtrack isn't anything amazing, as it mainly consists of a few 'meh' pieces, some decent ones, and a few really good tracks- the final boss theme is actually probably one of my favorite action game final boss themes of the era.

While I cannot recommend this game without certain reservations, if you ever feel the burning need to get into a half-way decent, kinda obscure set of action games from the 16-bit era, there are certainly worse places to go than Valis I for the Sega Genesis- just don't expect it to blow you away in the gameplay department.
---------
No screenshots, I did an LP. It's terrible, though, so watch Kikoskia's instead. If you must watch mine, though, here it is.

Valis I Genesis Part 1- A Magical Warrior Is You!
Valis I Genesis Part 2- Wrath of the Exposition God
Valis I Genesis Part 3- Fire, Wind, and Lightning (WARNING: massive commentary desync)
Valis I Genesis Part 4- Two roads diverged in a Blah Blah Blah
Valis I Genesis Part 5- This can only end in fire and tears.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 4, '12, 2:23 am 
I remember the Valis series! I never played that much of it, couldn't get very far. It was way back when the Sega Channel was out. So about 15 years ago.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 4, '12, 6:33 pm 
Prince Rhys 83 wrote:I remember the Valis series! I never played that much of it, couldn't get very far. It was way back when the Sega Channel was out. So about 15 years ago.


Well, I did make videos- I play it so you don't have to. :)

----------
Valis II
Developer: Telenet Japan
Release Date: Fall 1989 (JP)
Platform: Sharp X68000
Genre: Action-Platformer
----------

The original version Valis II is something of a perplexing game for me as a gamer and a reviewer, as there are very few times where I have encountered a game that is so full of decent to good ideas, and yet is so righteously determined to shoot itself in the foot. It is as though, in the late '80s, Telenet Japan approached game design as a zero-sum process- anything that is exceptional had to be somehow "balanced" by something horrid. The Sharp X68000 version of Valis II bears little resemblance to the Turbo CD version, which did make it to the US, as this one was based on the original MSX and PC-9801 versions of the game. This version never made it to the US, for two reasons- first, it was only available for computer systems popular in Japan, and the second will be covered later. the Sharp X68000 version was translated by fan-translation group MIJET, who also did the superb translation of Langrisser 2.

Valis II picks up some time after the first game left off. Yuuko has had a series of very long nights after the her defeat of King Rogles, and is now near-constantly plagued by nightmares, ones that give warnings of a new foe, the Cruel King Megas, soon followed by the presence of a terrifying black shadow. As Yuuko is left to ponder the possibility of a new power having arisen in the dark realms, she is faced with a far more immediate and direct threat- the servants of King Rogles have never forgiven Yuuko for killing their master, and have hunted her all the way back to Earth. Caught between these two forces, Yuuko is forced into a constant battle that may well push her past her breaking point. The story is told in the between-level cutscenes as before, which are lengthy due to content rather than an abominably slow text speed, allowing the scenes to move along at a pace that can keep the player's attention. However, the problem with Megas, the primary villain of the piece, is that he's at his best as a villain when he's not on screen. Off-screen, he's a terrifying presence who dominates the proceedings of the story, in a way similar to that of Sauron from Lord of the Rings- almost everything said and done is a reaction to his presence in the story. On-screen, however, his dialogue transforms him into a fairly generic, if uncommonly brutal evil overlord, and at some low points, a member of /b/ (You'd have to play the game to see what I mean). He seems to have even been designed with the idea that Telenet could make a totally irredeemable monster of a villain, but they could only do it just this once.

I will have to talk about the gameplay at length, because of it's depth- of problems. While the MSX2 and the PC-9801 were generally ill-equipped to handle the game that Telenet wanted to make. However, there were no excuses as far as the Sharp X68000 was concerned, as that was effectively a home arcade machine in terms of its capabilities, and was even used as the development platform for Street Fighter II. Yuko has the usual movement abilities allotted to action-platformer characters of the '80s, and the game does actually have something of an equipment system- found weapons and armors can be freely switched once acquired, and many of these can be upgraded through exploring the often very large levels. None of the weapons to be found in the game are useless, though a couple are rather situational. there are also special weapons, which are generally utility devices, all of which are useful. One stops enemies for a few seconds, another stops enemies from even spawning for a little while, and the use of these special abilities are costed accordingly in jewels, which you can pick up from enemies (none of them work on bosses). As stated above, the levels can be vary large for a game of this type, and do promote some degree of exploration by the player.

The problems with the gameplay become immediately apparent as soon as the player tries to move Yuuko around with any sort of precision, in that such a thing is an act of madness. The controls are incredibly slippery, and it's very difficult to get Yuuko to stop on a precise spot. This is also compounded by the horrid jump controls, which make any kind of precision platforming far more difficult than necessary, as Yuuko may or may not rocket about with a single tap of the directionals- and since the first two levels of the game rely heavily on platforming in order to proceed, one may well end up seeing far more of those two levels than one would like. This is further compounded by the fact that the game's "camera" is badly centered- Yuuko must advance to the last 1/3rd of the screen in whichever direction she wishes to advance, meaning that there's a high likelihood that you will run into enemies you will have no time to dodge or destroy, and there's at least one level where damage taken from falling on enemies appears to be practically mandatory. The problems with the control implementation are large enough that the actual glitches in the game seem minor by comparison. There are two glitches involved in Yuuko's offensive abilities- the chainsword glitch and the upgrade glitch. The first is caused by the fact that Yuko's sword checks for damage far faster than the melee attack actually animates, so while she fires projectiles at the proper speed, her sword strikes far, far more often than it looks, and there's not much in the game, not even most bosses, that can stand up to any moderate exposure to Yuuko at close range. this makes certain otherwise challenging bosses practically trivial to defeat. The upgrade glitch is far more insidious- each projectile type has four levels of strength, but actually upgrading to level 4 results in a serious downgrade in the weapon's attack power. While level 3 weapons are quite sufficient to finish the game with, it's still a maddening oversight.

The art design, at least, is competent enough, though the cutscene art had not yet reached the heights it would later in the remakes of the series. The game itself actually has a good soundtrack overall, and there's only one track I would describe at mediocre. Telenet did actually manage to create a couple of fairly harrowing sequences in this game, which is by far the darkest iteration of a Valis game in the whole series. It's certainly the most graphic in terms of its violence and other content, not forgetting the fact that our heroine fights her enemies using a sword. The actual level graphics do actually use the capabilities of the Sharp X68000 fairly well, creating fairly vivid backgrounds and the like.

Valis II for the Sharp X68000 is a game that is the electronic equivalent of the proverbial candy apple with a razor blade inside. There are some parts that are perfectly tasty, but sooner or later you'll run into something that makes you bleed and cry on the inside. I like the game, but I do recognize that the patience required to come to terms with the games flaws likely won't pay off for most gamers in the end.
----------
Screenshots.

Image

Image

Image

Image

------------
Hey, I did an LP of this one, too. It's extremely strongly recommended you watch one of Valis I, first. Just a heads-up: I wouldn't especially recommend watching this one at work for general content reasons.

Valis 2 X68000 part 1- We Done a Bad Thing
Valis 2 X68000 part 2- Attack of the Gunsnails.
Valis 2 X68000 part 3- Digging with a sword.
Valis 2 X68000 Part 4- Shoot the Core
Valis 2 X68000 Part 5- Not just a cigar this time.
Valis 2 X68000 Part 6- Unfinished Murder Business

And remember, I use annotations. :)


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 4, '12, 9:01 pm 
I'm still quite stuck on Katawa Shoujo. I recall you saying you couldn't play any other game for at least two months, I want to at least match that. :-D I think I can do it. It's been a week so far and I'm still stuck on Hanako. Her story is so touching and deep that by the time you reach the end, you've had an outpouring of emotions at least a few times. You really start feeling like you're in Hisao's shoes, worrying about her and what not. I think it's time for me to start drawing some sketches to add to the KS forums. It seems to be a strict forum involving only game-related discussions but that's ok cause I'd have a lot to say and rant about it. And I can draw in my amateur way and ask for advice and such. I have potential, as I've drawn very good anime pictures in the past. But it takes me about 3 or 4 hours to really get a good, large pencil sketch down. I have to keep erasing lol. In any case, I look forward to more KS and I'd recommend that anyone here play it. I'm already starting my third run through and letting my dad watch this time, and he seems to be getting into it as well. Hopefully after that, I can get my mom to watch also. That will add a lot of excitement and replay value. I really want to share this game with as many people as I can.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 5, '12, 7:31 pm 
Prince Rhys 83 wrote:I'm still quite stuck on Katawa Shoujo. I recall you saying you couldn't play any other game for at least two months, I want to at least match that. :-D


Well, it wasn't for lack of trying, believe me. :) I had finished all five routes in the few days following the game's released, but playing others left me with a kinda bleh feeling all around, so I couldn't really play others for more than a few minutes before quitting.

Also, do try other routes- but if you really can't get enough Hanako, do at least try Lilly's route if you decide to do another one. :)

----------------
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale.
Developer: Easy Game Station
Release date: December 2007 (JP) September 2010 (NA/EU)
Platform: PC
Genre: Item Shop Simulator?
----------------

Yeah, that's not helpful, but that's largely because Recettear is a bit of its own thing. There aren't many RPGs out there that put your character on the other side of the item shop's counter- that is to say, the owner, manager, and salesperson dispensing items and equipment to various and sundry persons in a fantasy setting and taking them for all that they're worth. It's not a crowded genre, and English releases of such games tend to be even more rare. So, when the localization group Carpe Fulghur released Recettear onto Steam a couple of years ago, it made a bit of a splash, and for good reasons- it's not just enough to have an example of the genre available, it's just plain better for it to be a good one.

So, our story begins with our young heroine, Recette Lemongrass, living alone at her home in the town of Pensee. She soon receives a visitor, Tear, a loan-collection fairy working for Terme finance, who has come to inform Recette that her father, as he was preparing to runoff to become a great hero, took out a massive loan. Given that he was last seen falling into a volcano while fighting a dragon (yes, this is very deliberately a Dragon Quest 3 reference), Recette's house is now forfeit, as it was put up as collateral for the loan. But, Tear is not an unsympathetic fairy, so does offer to help Recette set up a way out- that is, convert the first floor of her house into an item shop. However, if Recette fails to meet her loan payments, there's nothing that can keep her from being booted out of the house.

So, the gameplay is centered mainly around time management. Each day has four time blocks- morning, midday, afternoon, and night. Most actions you take use up one of these slots, such as opening the store for business, or doing things in town. Doing things in town only uses up one time block no matter how much you do, so planning ahead is rewarded, as time not spent with the store open is time that you're not making money. Also, in town you can occasionally get little events of Recette and Tear interacting with townsfolk- while this is generally for a bit of fluff and comedy, this can occasionally lead to certain rewards, such as acquiring new adventurers. At the end of each week you need to pay up the part of the debt that has been assigned, or it's a cardboard box for Recette. So, opening up your store is the key to victory. Opening your store lets in customers, who will attempt to buy what you have or sell you just abut anything under the sun. You get to set the price both ways, but the real objective is to set the price so that you build trust, which cause customers to come back with more money so that you can really gouge them later for the big bucks. Unfortunately, the game gives you some bad advice as to how to go about it- in Tear's instructions, it makes it looks like haggling is a major part of sales, but it's very important to sell or receive on the first try- not only does it build trust, chaining sales also increases Recette's merchant level far more quickly, allowing her to bring in more expensive inventory and upgrade the shop to hold more stuff. Thankfully, it's easy to find a price that pretty much everyone will buy at, while netting you a good profit, as your prices already start up marked from what you buy them for. Eventually, prices for certain items will rise or fall, and contending with these market forces is a major part of determining victory or defeat. Selling and buying things is surprisingly addictive, especially since customers have a few stock phrases for whatever their buying or selling, meaning there are times when a dude will try to pawn his heirloom beef stew on you.

The action that will take up about half your day, however, is dungeon exploring. Not that Recette is adventuring material, but there's a whole guild of poor saps who'll do it for you. Dungeoneering plays well enough, and shouldn't be too much of a stretch for anyone who has played the classic Legend of Zelda games. It's a risky endeavor- while you can sell everything you find there at pretty much 100% profit, losing means you can only take one thing back with you, and you've effectively wasted a good chunk of time. the secondary benefit is that one can come across items that you can't actually buy from the wholesalers, and you also encounter ingredients that you can use to craft new stock or equipment, such as the time I ended up crafting a +15 Apple Pie. Adventurers do require advanced equipment above what they have as you move on, so either you will have o bring it along, or sell it to them when they visit your store. You gain new adventurers by doing things in down, or fully-clearing dungeons, and they do have a fairly wide range of abilities between them. The only unfortunate aspect is that dungeoneering isn't all that viable as a late-game strategy due to the time constraints involved.

Anyway, while the main story of the game is built around the month you spend paying off the debt, once that's cleared, there is a ton of post-game content, such as two new dungeons, but the major reward is ht there are no longer time constraints, which means you can pick up on all of the little story events you missed, clear all of the dungeons, gain all of the adventurers, and really just play around with the game as a whole. There is also a new game+, where you retain all of your stock, merchant levels, and adventurer levels, and dungeon levels cleared, so you can go back and earn a couple of things you could only get in the main story but without as much pressure. Losing the game also effectively puts you into this mode, as defaulting on the payment resets you back to the first regular day, with all of the above intact- which is good since it's a bit of a feat to finish the game on the very first loop.

The art design pretty much immediately telegraphs that this is a game that's on the lighter side of things- brighter colors abound, so this is definitely not a 'real is brown' sort of game. This is also not the sort of fantasy RPG that lends itself to sweeping, orchestral scores, so those are quite absent- while there are a couple of places with more serious tracks, the game's composers were not out of their depth. While the soundtrack is not amazingly memorable, it does the more important thing, and doesn't grate. I've encountered some people who have been put off by the art direction, somehow finding it too cutesy, but again variety, is the spice of gaming- and it is a purely subjective point,at any rate. Hence, why I provide screenshots.

Recettear, apart from a couple of stumbling blocks in how it presents the game to the player, is still a game that is more fun than any game about time and and money management plus market forces really has any right to be. The game is available on Steam, but if you don't want to shell out $20 sight unseen, there is a feature-complete demo available that allows you to transfer your finished demo save over to the full version, so there's no excuse for you not to give it a try.

------------
Screenshots:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 6, '12, 2:24 am 
R-90-2 wrote:Well, it wasn't for lack of trying, believe me. :) I had finished all five routes in the few days following the game's released, but playing others left me with a kinda bleh feeling all around, so I couldn't really play others for more than a few minutes before quitting.

Also, do try other routes- but if you really can't get enough Hanako, do at least try Lilly's route if you decide to do another one. :)


I've been playing just over a week so far. It took me about 13:30 hours for my first run. After that I was captivated, and immediately began a second run. The second run actually took longer than the first, over 14 hours! I think there was more pausing and getting up while playing involved. It's not that I can't read fast, but I really take the time to enjoy and get myself into the story. It's like enjoying a long, good meal. What happens when you eat too fast? You get sick. So now during this third run, I'm letting my dad watch and he's getting into it. I really do feel like I can't get enough Hanako... I may eventually try all the other routes but I'm willing to bet there will be another Hanako run between each one. :) Talk about massive replay value, I've already spent almost 40 hours of play time. Some of that was me messing around though, seeing if I could keep the same route while changing a few choices around... bad move, though. So now I'm reading this quite long fan fiction from a writer on the official forum. It is really quite interesting. I can definitely feel some artwork on the way.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 6, '12, 9:56 am 
Huh, I didn't know Valis I had a Genesis release. All these years, I thought Valis III was the first game in the series to get on that system. I'll have to watch those LPs sometime. I was always interested in that series, but most of it was just out of reach due to being on consoles I didn't have.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 6, '12, 11:20 am 
Thoul wrote:Huh, I didn't know Valis I had a Genesis release. All these years, I thought Valis III was the first game in the series to get on that system. I'll have to watch those LPs sometime. I was always interested in that series, but most of it was just out of reach due to being on consoles I didn't have.


Here's the fun part- Valis III was the first game to get put on the Genesis. The Genesis port of Valis I was actually released after the Genesis port of Valis III.


Top
 Post subject: Re: R-90-2's Review node.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 6, '12, 7:02 pm 
:eyebrow: Well, that's pretty backwards. It explains why I didn't know of it, though. Never thought to look for a later release!


Top
 Page 2 of 12  [ 118 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 12  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


Display posts from previous:
Sort by  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to: