Zero Escape and Replayability

Zero's Escape

One of my favorite games on the DS, 999 was a mystery game that placed 9 people on a cruise ship to solve Saw-type puzzles. If you could stand to read lots of text, it proved to be a gripping, heart-pounding visual novel that really knew how to tease your brain. Zero Escape, its sequel, is no different, and in many ways might be better than the original.

As I’ve been playing Zero Escape, however, I’m noticing something about myself as a gamer these days. Continue reading Zero Escape and Replayability

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone with Fire Emblem: Awakening

fire emblem awakening

As a gamer I’d like to think that my tastes are fairly diverse. Sure I enjoy a good dude-bro shooter every now and then, but I also appreciate stretching my wings, so to speak, and trying something different when given the opportunity.

One genre I’ve never managed to get into is the Strategy RPG (although I suppose the most recent XCOM game might qualify). I’m remedying this right now with Fire Emblem: Awakening, the latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running portable series. Anthony put up a review of the game last year, and I’m finding myself hard-pressed to disagree with him.

While I enjoy the battles in the game, my favorite aspect is purposefully trying to pair up units to get bonuses to my stats; it’s satisfying to have two people back each other up while enemy after enemy kill themselves trying to take my heroes down. I’m really liking the cast of characters as well, as the writing is fairly humorous at times and the anime cutscenes are rather thrilling. Fire Emblem: Awakening is quickly becoming one of my top 3DS games, which is saying something considering the additions to the library of that system in 2013.

What this game is making me want to do is dig deeper into this genre. I hear Valkyria Chronicles is pretty good but I doubt I could find a copy anywhere around where I love. Does anyone have some SRPG suggestions for titles I should check out?

The Bold New Direction of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

a link between worlds

Listen, I like The Legend of Zelda as a series, I really do, but Skyward Sword was…well it wasn’t the worst thing ever, but let’s just say it was fairly average. If anything it really displayed that the Zelda franchise needed a bit of a shakeup.

For A Link Between Worlds, the newest entry in the series on the 3DS, Nintendo is changing things up a bit. For instance, the introduction for Between Worlds in incredibly short as opposed to the lengthy tutorial of Skyward Sword, and the game no longer relies on the typical Zelda progression of slowly unlocking a large number of items that are more or less exclusive to the dungeon they come from (something that was fairly rampant in Twilight Princess). You can now rent any item in the game at any point from the merchant who moves into your house, but you lose them if you die (you can also buy them permanently later on, although this is expensive). The dungeons can also be tackled in any order as well. Couple that with the fast travel and this is the Zelda game with the most sense of exploration and freedom since, well, A Link to the Past, which this game is a direct sequel to.

The isometric presentation works great too, and this game runs at a speedy 60 frames per second even in 3D so the action is nice and crisp. The music is also fantastic, and features an updated remix of the classic Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. While Zelda games on the Nintendo handhelds have by and large been pretty good, they usually haven’t matched the caliber of a full-fledged console Zelda. A Link Between Worlds blows this notion out of the water and gives us a pretty good look at how Nintendo is planning on making Zelda a different beast for future games.

Has anyone else played A Link Between Worlds? What do you think of it?

The Addictiveness of Animal Crossing: New Leaf

animal crossing new leaf

Very few games compel me to play them every day. Sure, there are times when I’m obsessed with a game for a few days, but rarely do I log on every day consecutively for weeks at a time.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one such game. This is my first experience with Nintendo’s long-running life-simuilator, and it’s got me hooked. For Animal Crossing veterans, some of the experience will be familiar: you collect fruit, seashells and various flora and fauna in your attempt to accrue enough bells to stay out of debt with Tom Nook.

The kicker this time around is that you’re the mayor, and as such you can build public works and enact ordinances to change how your town functions. I typically play Animal Crossing on the bus to work at 8:00 am, but the shops don’t open until 9. With the “early riser” ordinance, I can force the shops to open at 8. The only downside is they close a little earlier, but it’s better than having to wait until lunch to sell my pockets full of goodies.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf isn’t typically the sort of game I play. It’s cutesy and there’s no combat, but it’s deep, addictive and a heck of a lot of fun. Because the game keeps track of the clock (a long-running feature of Animal Crossing) this is a title you can play for years on end if you want. In terms of value for your money, there’s few games that can offer that.

Who else is playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? What did you name your town? Does anyone want to come visit Assville?

GamerSushi Asks: E3 2013 Predictions

e3 2013

E3 2013 is right around the corner (seriously, it’s on Monday!) so it’s time to bust out those E3 predictions! Gaming yearly extravaganza always seems to sneak up on us, even when we know exactly when it’s coming.

This year is going to be especially interesting considering that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been announced. With Microsoft’s recent info-dump about the Xbox One’s stance on used-game and its once-a-day mandatory Internet check in, I wonder whether they’ll concentrate mainly on games or try to do further damage control.

So! What do you think is going to happen at E3? What are you looking for out of the press conferences? Of the big two, since Nintendo is skipping E3 this year, who do you think will come out on top? Will EA announce SimCity 2? Go!

Review: Fire Emblem Awakening

Fire Emblem Awakening Feature

The Nintendo 3DS has had some great games in the past few months with one of the most notable being Fire Emblem Awakening. Having a love-affair with strategy games and being a Fire Emblem virgin, I was anxious to delve into the game and see what all the fuss was about.

The Story

The story of Fire Emblem is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts off in an interesting, if cliched fashion: your custom avatar wakes up in a field with amnesia. Now, I know what you’re thinking but stick with me, the story gets better. Having been found by Chrom, the prince of the kingdom of Ylissia, and his companions, you help them in defending the countryside from marauders, eventually joining them in the greater struggles that await. These struggles range from demonic Risen to all manner of political intrigue and attemped coups. Chrom’s sister rules the kingdom and he enforces her rule, but there are neighboring nations that have nefarious plans of their own, all of which give you a reason to do what you do best: fight some battles and kick some ass. The story encompasses everything from bandits to time travel to world-ending dragons, so there should be something in here that appeals to everyone. Continue reading Review: Fire Emblem Awakening

Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem Awakening

I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?

But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking. Continue reading Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem