Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Two (PC/360/PS3): A Penny Saved… (Detailed Review)

Penny Arcade Adventires: Episode Two | Header

When I reviewed Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode One, I did not have much good to say about it. The game had a solid battle system and some amusing dialogue, but it was sorely lacking in just about every other area. The plot was incredibly tedious and the game itself was a major slog. At the end of that review, I stated that I had no interest in playing Episode Two as a result of the first game’s failure to provide a quality experience. However, I ended up changing my mind seeing as how I felt as if I should at least play this one if I was going to play Episodes Three and Four simply for the sake of having the full experience. I did not have high expectations going into Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Two, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only did I find Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode Two to be a much more enjoyable experience than Episode One, but I would also say that it is among one of the better indie RPGs I have played. The funny thing about this, however, is that there really is not that much of a difference between Penny Arcade Adventures Episodes Two and One. At points, I have considered that I simply might have not been in a good mood when I played and reviewed the first game, but it turned out that Episode Two simply executed its various aspects better than the first game. In my review of the first game, I have criticized it for using a gameplay setup that I thought was inherently flawed. While technically my complaints do still apply, Episode Two did prove to me that it was indeed possible to make a good game out of that apparent “flawed system.” I am ultimately glad I decided to give this game a chance, and I encourage you to consider this one if the first game did not quite catch your interest. Read more

Standard Review: Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode One (PC/360/PS3)

Penny Arcade Adventures Episode One | Logo

To start things off, I will disclose that I am not too familiar with the Penny Arcade web comics or even the website itself. I have seen a small amount of the web comics but they did not seem to have any effect on the game itself for me. I would assume that big fans of the web comics may get a bit more out of this game. Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode One, or simply Penny Arcade Adventures as I will refer to it from now on, is really not good enough to appeal to anyone who is not a big Penny Arcade fan. The game unsuccessfully tries to combine elements of point and click adventure games with turn based RPGs, and ends up as a game that fails as either of them. It is not necessarily a bad game, but I would not recommend it unless you are a hardcore Penny Arcade fan. Read more

Duke Nukem Forever (PC/PS3/360): A Product of Before Its Time (Detailed Review)

Duke Nukem Forever | logo

TW: Misogyny, rape.

I’m no stranger to holding unique or contrarian views in regards to games. You kind of need to have either unique opinions or insight in order for people to want to hear what you have to say after all. There unfortunately comes the risk of having people accuse you of being purposefully contrarian in an attempt to garner attention rather than giving your own honest opinion.

The truth is that these are all my genuine opinions, I just don’t put that much stock in what everyone else thinks. I’ve always disliked how cliquish and conformist most mainstream gaming sites are in regards to games (among other things) and it always comes across as cringe worthy how people will take their word as law despite the fact that gaming media has become widely distrusted as of late.

I did not go into Duke Nukem Forever expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Aside from the game’s poor reception there is also the fact that I never got into first person shooters even when they ARE well received. My only experience with the Call of Duty series for instance is playing about two hours of the first Modern Warfare and quitting because the game just didn’t click with me. Granted that was a few years ago and I did not play enough to get a full impression but I have other games I’m far more interested in. Read more

Persona 3 FES (PS2): Finding the Will to Live (Detailed Review)

Persona 3 | What I wanted most

When people think of the biggest JRPG series, what do they usually think of? Likely Final Fantasy at this point but the series is no longer what it once was. There’s also Dragon Quest if you are in Japan or are a total weeb like myself, and the Tales series if you are a weeb as well. But the face of new console JRPGs for the last decade or so has arguably been the Persona series.

Persona 3 was the first new entry in the Persona series in 6 years when it originally came out. The original Persona was pretty popular in Japan but it just kind lingered in obscurity in the US since it was a JRPG released before Final Fantasy VII. The first entry in the Persona 2 duology was not even localized at the time and as far as I know the second one wasn’t successful.

It was Persona 3 that decided to change its entire approach and that was almost single-handedly responsible for putting Atlus on the map. I first played Persona 3 almost a decade ago and had yet to replay it until earlier this year. While it is not without flaws, it is an immensely powerful game and is likely to remain a cornerstone in the genre for quite some time. There is a lot to talk about with Persona 3 both good and bad. Read more

The Last of Us (PS3/PS4): Why I Don’t Like AAA Games (Detailed Review)

The Last of Us | Joel and Ellie

TW: Gore, Death.

There perhaps, has not been a game as overhyped and lavishly praised as much as The Last of Us since the PSOne era. Not since Final Fantasy VII and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has there been this much hype towards one game in particular. However, both Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time were legitimately good games. Ocarina of Time was one of the first 3D action adventure titles and there was very little else like it at the time. Final Fantasy VII, while not exactly revolutionary in its design, did create one of the first great cinematic gaming experiences and did so in a way where, to this day, people still miss the point of what made it a great game to begin with.

Fittingly enough, The Last of Us is one of those games that took great influence from what Final Fantasy VII brought forth whilst also missing what made it a great game to begin with. Unlike the aforementioned titles, The Last of Us could not have any less original unless it stole code from other games.

Originality is not always necessary to being a good game however. Maybe people could have just gave it all those game of the year awards because it just did everything so well. Yeah and maybe we will discover that Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Freddie Mercury, Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson never actually died and all plan to collaborate for a comeback album but you never know. Read more

Amazing VGM: The Dark Colossus Destroys All (NieR)

Ah yes, three of my most shilled games in a row for Amazing VGM. I’d normally do something from Saya no Uta since I just reviewed it but I kinda hinted at this one last week so I better follow through. Anyway I’ve been meaning to touch on this one for a while since it really is an amazing track from an amazing game.

NieR is known for its outstanding music after all, so it’s time to cover a track that was good enough they made it twice! Starting with the original. Read more

Standard Review: Ghosts ‘n Goblins (Arcade/C64/ZX/NES/Amiga/GBC/WS/GBA/PC/IOS/Android)

Ghosts 'n Goblins | Level 1

Ghosts ‘n Goblins was always infamous for being one of the hardest games ever made. That statement is pretty much 100% accurate, Ghosts ‘n Goblins is so difficult that it is only on the border of how difficult a game can be while still being playable. One should note that I am using the word “difficult” and not “challenging.” The reason I say this is because being challenging is generally a good thing as it implies that a game brings you up to its own level by being demanding and through its design.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins, on the other hand, is just difficult in the sense that it is very patience trying and unfun. Before I hear the parade of apologists proclaiming “git gud” I should make it clear that I did beat this game twice, and yes I am counting it as twice regardless of that stunt they pulled the first time. Ghosts ‘n Goblins may be beatable, but it isn’t exactly an enjoyable game to play. Most players will be having far more frustration than fun and beating it serves no purpose other than bragging rights. Read more

Amazing VGM: Gods Bound by Rules (NieR)

NieR | Boxman

It’s been a little while since I covered a track from NieR as an amazing VGM hasn’t it? The last one I did was “Weight of the World” from NieR Automata and that was at the end of December of last year. This time, I’m going to cover one of the more underutilized and thus underrated boss tracks in the original game; “Gods Bound By Rules.” Read more

Amazing VGM: The Path is Open (Persona 3)

Persona 3 | Thou art I and I am thou

This week’s VGM is a special track. This track has an especially notable significance to me in not only how it sounds, but also what it represents. In the past I have often made Amazing VGM pieces that connect to me personally in regards to my very own struggles in life, I believe that games have a very significant personal element to them that many are often discouraged from sharing for not being “objective,” and I feel this greatly undermines the medium as a whole.

Anyway this week’s track is from Persona 3, a flawed game in many ways but nonetheless one of my all time favorites. I have been replaying this game and I’ve just about reached the end of The Journey portion of the game. While I find the overall musical output of Persona 3 rather average, there are some standout tracks that have a very deep and meaningful impact when you hear them. This track is one of those.

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Amazing VGM: Buccaneer Beach (Pac-Man World)

Pac-Man World | Buccanear Beach

Yep, another “VGM from a game I just reviewed” piece here today. There isn’t really a set plan more so than reviewing a game just makes me remember its music so I have it stuck in my head later. I may not have enjoyed Pac-Man World 1, but there was definitely some finer points to it. I only briefly mentioned the music because most of the music didn’t stick out but I remember it being good. The obvious exception to this is the first level theme, “Buccaneer Beach.” Read more