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E3: Sony Press Conference Overview

Its time, what we’ve all been waiting for…The E3 Sony Press Conference. What we’re all hoping for is Sony coming out with a really big axe to take down the XB-1. Will they be able to recapture the top spot in the console wars? We’re just about to find out what they have in store for us.

The Good

GTA V fans will be happy with the partnership Sony has with Rockstar, with an exclusive new PS3 GTA Bundle that includes the PS3, GTA V, a nice headset all for the price of $299. The PS4 has been revealed and it looks stylish. The Order, a PS4 exclusive, looks crazy good. It looks like you play a warewolf hunter, but its hard to tell from a game clip. Still…crazy good. Quantic Dreams The Dark Sorceror looked really dark and scary, then turned completely comical in the best way possible, I want this game now…but I’ll wait because its Quantic Dreams, so you know its gonna be fantastic. For indie fans, Super Giant Games is bringing Transistor to the PS4 exclusively, this is making me smile from ear to ear…no jokes. The trollers at Square Enix announced the new Final Fantasy XIII Versus…oh wait…no, its Final Fantasy XV as if to say “lawl, we got you!”…cheeky buggers. Then they announce the Kingdom Hearts HD collection, they really want my money don’t they? PS4 has partnered with Bethesda to bring The Elders Scrolls Online as an exclusive for PS4 (whether it stays that way, we shall see). We got a trailer for Mad Max, which was awesome. And lastly, we got a nice sneak peek gameplay of Destiny, the new title from Bungie and Activision. This game puts Halo to shame with its vast, beautiful open world game.

The Bad

The only thing I’ve seen that’s a bad thing was the technical issues the conference had, it didn’t start until about 20 minutes after this scheduled time.

Everything Else

They opened the conference with highlighting some of the games coming out for the Vita and the PS3, there’s nothing people don’t already know about (i.e. The Last Of Us, Rain, Beyond Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6). They showed a trailer for Batman: Arkham Origins, but its not like we didn’t know that was coming. They showed new clips of games they announced back in their previous conference from a few months ago (Killzone: Shadowfall, Drive Club, Infamous: Second Son, Knack), nothing really new, but nothing horrible. Indie fans will love that the PS4 is opening themselves to indie devs hard by bringing a bunch of games to become exclusive indie titles for the PS4. They included a gameplay video of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, this game doesn’t really interest me (especially the lag that happened with the game), but hey…it’s sure to interest someone somewhere. Although, they also had a gameplay video of Watch Dogs, THAT…interested me greatly. On a side note, they mentioned their Gaikai cloud service that will allow you to play popular PS3 games.

Final Thoughts

So, lets sum this up completely. PS4 is coming this November. It supports used games, it supports rentals, you do not need an internet connection to use the system. It comes with a AAA title if you purchase Playstation Plus for less than a fast food combo monthly. Oh…and the price tag…$399. Let me calculate that for you…that’s 100 dollars less than its competitors. Sony wins with a TKO in the first round before they get out of the gate. I think I speak for gamers everywhere when I say “Goodbye Microsoft, its not us…its you. Don’t call us because you just lost the next-gen console war.”

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After a somewhat mediocre presser from EA, there’s still hope that Ubisoft will pull something out of their bag of goodies that will impress and that isn’t over a year away. Enough of an intro, lets do this!

The Good

The new Rocksmith 2014 looks pretty cool. As a musician I really like this as a fast way for guitar enthusiasts to learn the instruments and introducing the new sessions mode, that allows AI musicians to react to what you’re doing on the guitar. The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot looks like a ton of fun, for a free-to-play game that you play with your friends, storm into their castle and steal their loot. Good times, and the trailer was one of the funniest trailers I’ve seen in any of E3 conferences so far. South Park: The Stick Of Truth is coming, and its hilarious, I want it…now…right now…I’m serious…gimme gimme… Also, Watch Dogs looks amazing, and its not too far away which means gamers will be hacking everything very soon.

The Bad

Splinter Cell: Blacklist looks pretty good from the trailer, but I’m still bitter over the lack of Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher, so this goes here instead of in the good. Why? Because I can. Rayman Legends, a game that should’ve been released for the Wii U months ago, is still being highlighted for release on everything later this year. Still kind of upset that they didn’t remain exclusive to the Wii U, now where’s the system…we’ll find that out later. Lets Dance 2014…sigh…NEXT!

Everything Else

Another next-gen title that’s coming, its called The Crew, its a racing game…another racing game. It doesn’t look bad, but with Drive Club, Forza, Need For Speed, a possible Gran Turismo title…so many racing titles oversaturate the market. But it does have something unique with it when it comes to the size of the map making it an open world experience. A Rabbids TV show that you can interact and change through a game, that’s pretty cool. Another Assassin’s Creed is coming in the shape of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag where the gamer takes the role of a pirate on the seas. Even though it looks good, this is the 7th AC title…ugh. Trials Fusion and Trials Frontier look ok, its niche for people who are interested in the tricky motocross games, I do not. They also revealed a new game at the end of their press conference called The Division, a 3rd-person action mm0. While I want to say its cool, it confused the hell out of me. I guess Massive Entertainment didn’t get the memo on how to introduce a game properly, because they lost me completely half way through the video. Then finally revealing it was a Tom Clancy game, that might’ve mattered if I knew what I was seeing in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Other than a couple of titles that I really want to play, there’s nothing really here that excites me enough to say that the conference as a whole was amazing. It had ups and downs, but the whole thing left me feeling as if there were things missing. There wasn’t anything that really popped out as game changing for Ubisoft, just a mix of 2-3 good games with annual franchise releases along with some stuff that people may or may not be interested in. Here’s hoping they’re saving the good stuff for the Sony Conference, because they’re not making me happy as a gamer.

E3: EA Press Conference Overview

EA has been given a bad rap lately by gamers for the last couple of years. With their recent flop of the Sim City launch and their attempt to downplay their 2nd consecutive award for being the worst company in America by consumers. Can they redeem themselves by bringing out some awesome quality titles? Doubtful, but we’ll see…

The Good

The first game to be introduced is Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, coming to the XB-1 and the 360. The game looks a lot like its been done in the style of Dungeon Defenders, mixing action with tower defense elements. The announcement of Star Wars: Battlefront shocked and amazed not only the audience, but made me fall out of my chair in disbelief. The idea of being able to kill Jar Jar Binks over…and over…and over again is something I’ll be doing a lot of if they add him as a character. Dragon Age Inquisition looks really, really good, but its still over a year away, but its nice to see trailers to make me want it more (Morrigan is going to haunt my dreams…again). The new UFC game that’s coming next spring looks different now that its in EAs hands, this will hopefully be a better experience than previous installments. More Battlefield 4 stuff highlighting the Commander feature and showcasing a live action multiplayer demo makes it look better and better. Time to break out those parkour skills, another Mirror’s Edge game is coming.

The Bad

The first bad thing that I noticed wasn’t on a horrible game, but on the oversaturation of Respawn Entertainments Titanfall. Its looks great, don’t get me wrong, but it was the last game showcased on the Xbox conference and the 2nd game showcased here, feels like a back to back showcase which is only a bad thing when watching conferences one after the other. They put a lot of focus on their Ignite engine for their sports games, but they’re sports games, there’s nothing game feature wise that make them different other than improved physics and the amount of time they focused this just felt too long. The amount of speeches also was a downplay, if they want me to take a nap, they’re succeeding by the amount of speeches to the ratio of gameplay.

Everything Else

The Need For Speed: Rival showcase made was good but taking a turn to focus on showcasing the movie wasn’t. Sports fans will love the new physics being introduced for NBA Live 14 and Madden 25, with NBAs dribble physics and Maddens True-Step locomotion system.

Final Thoughts

My thoughts on EA hasn’t changed based on what I’ve seen in this conference. While they are releasing some good looking titles, most of the good ones are over a year or two away. So I am not impressed.

Last month, Microsoft unveiled their new system: The Xbox One. Unlike Sony, they showed nothing of what their system could do other than placing restrictions on their consumers. Here’s some honesty, I have zero interest in Microsoft as they become more pretentious and egotistical. So I was hoping that maybe their press conference might impress me enough to care. Here’s what I believe is the good and bad of what they showed at their E3 Press Conference.

The Good

They started off their conference with Metal Gear Solid V, which won’t be an exclusive if Kojima is smart (which I believe he is). Crytek’s Ryse: Son of Rome, takes a new spin on the hack n’ slash genre by adding a roman theme. A new Killer Instinct, ’nuff said. One non-game side note was the connection the XB-1 will have with Twitch.tv, that’s smart as its currently the most popular streaming site around…back to games. Sunset Overdrive, an Insomniac exclusive, looks to take open world and their unique style to blend in a nice marriage. If only this wasn’t an exclusive…ah well. Project Spark looks to give aspiring game devs the ability to build new worlds and games to share with others. Crimson Dragon looks stunning, but it had no sound which took away from the actual trailer. The premiere of Capcom’s Dead Rising 3, their open world zombie franchise, plans to be coming out exclusively for the Xbox One, but something tells me it won’t be an exclusive. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was for me at least, the highlight of the conference as a game of the year candidate for 2014. The announcement of a new Halo game didn’t light a fire underneath me, but its still a good thing when you think about it being a staple for Microsoft. The final game announced was Respawn Entertainments Titanfall with a gameplay presentation was a well welcome end to the conference that had high and low points. But at least they ended on a high note with a game that won’t be an exclusive.

The Bad

They’ve changed their xbox live gold membership to give subscribers supposedly 2 free games a month, but they are far behind the times and the games they announced (AC2 and Halo 3) are way past their relevancy and weren’t the best titles, and the silence it received actually made the whole thing comical. Sad, but comical. While some may like that a new Forza game (Forza 5), the fact that they focused so much time on a racing game is incredibly disappointing. One portion of the conference that made me facepalm was the claim that they supported indie developers, and then revealing their xbox one version of Minecraft…last time I checked, Minecraft became popular without Microsoft support and now they’re trying to ride the coat-tails by pretending to support indie devs and only supporting the ones that have already been successful. That makes me sad as someone who loves indie titles and spends downtime playing smaller, lesser known titles.

And another thing…wasn’t their conference supposed to be all about games, why in the heck are they talking about smart glass…I don’t care about smart glass features, show me more games. They spent 5-10 minutes on explaining how smart glass works instead of talking about new games. This is stuff they should’ve done a month ago in their last press conference when they talked about their system features. Maybe its bitterness, but I’m really expecting more at this point. One thing that was more of a fault on the technical side was the hick-ups in their AV crew, not having sound for Crimson Dragon and the video delay of Battlefield 4 making the DICE rep becoming anxious on stage wouldn’t be known as a relationship builder.

Everything Else

Some upcoming titles coming for the 360 and the XB-1, but they just don’t really fit into either the good or bad category and fall into the somewhat mediocre experience. The reveal for World of Tanks: 360 Edition that has some good stuff (free to play), but its more multiplayer than anything else. Dark Souls 2 is starting to look a lot like Infinity Blade, but since I sucked at the first one, it falls into that middle ground. They announced D4, I have no idea what that is, maybe some sort of vitamin? Below, the only new indie game shown doesn’t look bad, but they didn’t show you much on it. Quantum Break also looks like a good AAA title, but a cut scene for a game that’s been hyped for awhile doesn’t feel as if it was enough to live up to the hype.

Final Thoughts

Overall, even though this press conference had some definite highlights, most of them didn’t come from exclusive titles. They announced the launch date (November 2013), the price of $499 seems a little high but that was the expected price in the mind of most people. A lot of what this conference screamed was trying to become relevant again in hardcore gamers minds by trying to make the XB-1 more appealing. From this jilted gamers outlook after dealing with 2 broken systems, paying for xbox live for 8 years with zero rewards from that loyalty, none of this is interesting enough for me to fork over $500+.

E3 Preview

Ok, so E3 is tomorrow and with all the hype of the going around, I figure…for the first time in weeks, there’s actually something worth writing about in gaming news! So before we actually dive into the conferences tomorrow, there’s been tons of information coming out for Microsoft and Sony’s new systems, so here’s what we know so far:

Microsoft

What hasn’t been said about the Xbox One. Other than going anti-consumer and kissing the backsides of big publishers, they really don’t seem to have anything that will blow our minds. We’ll cover their conference that begins at noon tomorrow, but be warned, its been an utter disappointment so far and its probably not going to get any better.

Sony

Sony has some really interesting plans for tomorrow. With the probable announcement of Vita/PS3 price drops, the PS4 system reveal and a ton of games to showcase, gamers will be ready to designate Sony as predetermined winners of E3. But be cautious, like a big piece of chocolate cake, it may look good, it may taste good, but eat enough of it and you’ll quickly get fat. What does that mean? I’m sure there’s a hidden catch that Sony is hiding from consumers that might make their system policy look just as shady as Microsoft. Looking on the bright side, it can’t be as bad.

Ubisoft

Other than Watch Dogs and another Assassin’s Creed game, I’m not entirely sure what else they have in their arsenal. Last year they surprised us with Watch Dogs, this year might be another nice surprise. We can’t hope for it, but it would be welcome!

EA

No one really cares about their evil agendas. NEXT!

Nintendo

Rumors speculate that announcements of the new Smash Bros. is highly likely. There has to be more up their sleeves as publishers are abandoning making anything for the system. Wouldn’t it be lovely if they announced some franchise titles like Star Fox, Metroid and/or Sonic game? Any and all of these will revitalize and bring people back to wanting to invest in the Wii U. Lets wait until their press conference to see what exactly they have, and please, no more Mario, give him a break this year!

 

This is a short round-up, its not really focusing on what’s going to be on schedule as most people don’t really know. But one thing I do know, E3 begins tomorrow, so lets get to it!

Indie Spotlight: Spellirium

Welcome to this edition of Indie Spotlight where we highlight indie games that need exposure for your future gaming pleasure. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about a game called Spellirium, a game that mixes word creation and a unique point and click adventure. One thing led to another and I managed to get my hands on a press copy. The first thing I noticed from the website is Untold Entertainment’s President Ryan Henson Creighton, who in the video shared a few facts before I even started playing the game. He shared his desire for creating a new and exciting game for the gaming community. His honesty in needing financial support to finish Spellirium and what he needs to finish the game. So even before playing the game, I had an idea of what I was expecting before I dove in…

Like other point and click adventure games, you have to have a general story that tries to keeps you invested. It revolves around Todd, an apprentice runekeeper, who goes on a quest to find his masters after finding one of them dead with a mysterious device that has magical powers to do many different things. Without going too much into the game’s story causing spoilers, you get the sense that there’s something dangerous lurking down the road and all you really have are a few allies and a device of mass devastation in your grasp… sounds like a party. This game’s story doesn’t take itself seriously, with its tongue and cheek humor and some dark undertones, this looks like it has to potential to be something really good. However, the ending is essential to most games in their level of telling a story and the success of how a game that’s driven by its story will actually turn out. Spellirium’s ending is nowhere to be seen due to the fact that its still in development, which makes saying that its a good, great or terrible story based on the lack of an unfinished product difficult and completely unneccessary at this given time.

Another highlighted feature in Spellirium is the mixture of a boggle/word find/word creation feature. The device in which Todd is carrying is one of the main vocal gameplay elements that Spellirium has to offer. With this feature, it actually does something that mixes the game elements of bookworm with situational battle mechanics that makes this game different than other point and click adventure titles. For someone who actually sucks at word games (seriously, scrabble is kryptonite to me), this is where frustration can set in for a certain demographic that just wants to kill stuff or experience story. With that said, its a unique concept on taking a different spin on a common mechanic.

Now to answer a really important question: Why should you care about Spellirium? Some may look past this title as something they’d rather not invest due to a lack of interest. Sadly for those people, they might fail to see the lack of potential that’s actually there. Games like Spellirium remind me of past experiences with games like The Secrets Of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango, but adding Bookworm into the mix. It keeps me reminded of who made those games and where the developers went in the future and how much they improved over time and gotten better. When you look at it from that prespective, you see a game like Spellirium and automatically think of backing something unique to a genre that hasn’t been overhauled in a long time.

And here’s where things get interesting if you’re interested in backing Spellirium. The game itself isn’t finished, to put it mildly and looking as an outsider and someone who likes to predict, it looks to be about 70-80% done. They need some backers to make the game a finished product. They are close to reaching their goal, but how can you be of help? Buy the game! There are many different option brackets that’ll suit your budget. Vist spellirium.com for all the info on the payment options. Where your money goes is essential, its supposed to be going towards ending the game and putting voice-overs in the game to give life to the characters.

Here are my final thoughts on why I believe Spellirium is a good up-and-coming title. It looks to do a lot of the little things right in trying to give you a game experience. While it may not be the greatest game you’ll ever play, its something that you won’t forget. Lets hope that the finished product actually holds as much promise as being given, because the potential is there to be really, really good.

The Secret Of Monkey Island HD Collection Review

LucasArts Games is officially gone, and most of the gaming world has mourned and moved on. I took the time to remember the great games from my childhood, some of the most memorable experiences being from LucasArts. One of the first games I remember playing on my moms computer was Monkey Island. Sure, it was on a disc that only gave me a demo, but it was the first good PC game experiences that I had. It just so happens that all these years later, LucasArts decided to remake and release The Secrets Of Monkey Island in HD for fans and a new generation to enjoy. This made me quite happy as going back to revisit good childhood memories is enjoyable, so putting it on my rental queue seemed like the right thing to do. And then, LucasArts became no more…then I get this game in my mailbox…To the memory of LucasArts, lets review The Secret Of Monkey Island HD Collection!

Creativity

The disc contains 2 Monkey Island games: The Secret of Monkey Island and The Secret of Monkey Island 2: LeChucks Revenge. The Secret of Monkey Island begins by the introduction of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who arrives on Melee Island with the hopes of becoming a pirate. After learning the arts of swordfighting, thievery and treasure finding, Guybrush enters into a new life as a pirate. But alas, there’s always a catch. Love. Guybrush becomes enchanted with the governor of the island, Elaine Marley. However the main baddie of the game, Lechuck, is also in love with the governor and decides to not only ransack the island, but kidnap her. So the basic tale becomes girl gets kidnapped, hero goes to save her and stop the baddie in a hilarious tale that would only happen in a video game.

The second installment entitled LeChucks Revenge, continues the story a few months after the first with Guybrush returning as the main character. Guybrush, in attempting to prove he defeated LeChuck, proves it to the wrong person leading towards LeChucks return and seeking vengeance against him. The story from there takes a bunch of weird turns when trying to stop LeChuck to revealing that LeChuck is really the brother of Guybrush in a strange way. Out of the two games, the story for the first title seemed to make more sense from beginning to end, although the story of the second game is actually better than most of todays graphical eye candy. And the addition of voice acting to the game made the games feel more like remasters than they do simple remakes.

Graphics/Mechanics

The graphics of both games have gone through a complete overhaul. There’s a function in the game where you can go back and forth from the original to the HD version so you can see how much work was put into remastering this classic. However, the first game gets the edge over the first game when it comes to controls. Switching between interactions are more fluid in the first game than they are in the second. It would’ve been much more pleasant of an experience if the controls were the same for both games, instead of having two different types of controls schemes.

Features/Length

Along with the two titles, you get a bunch of concept artwork, soundtrack music and material from a supposed animated film on the title that never made it through production. Each game takes about 6-8 hours to get through, longer if you enjoy conversing with all the characters.

Fun Factor

The experiences I had with this game overall varies between the two games. With the first, it was enjoyable. The flow made sense, the controls were easily adapted to the controller and figuring things out wasn’t a task. The second game was sadly the exact opposite. Within the first 45 minutes, I felt lost and had no idea where the game was supposed to lead me. The control scheme was completely different, enough to the point where I had to put the game down for a few days, play something else and then come back to it. Maybe its the new gaming culture that’s corrupting my level of skill, but it started to feel like a chore after awhile, and that’s never a good thing.

Overall Verdict- Borderline Rent

The Secret of Monkey Island HD Collection wasn’t a complete disappointment. It was enjoyable for what it was and having it remade actually gives gamers new and old a chance to see where the industry came from and has grown into. However, the differences in control schemes, the lack of new content, and the amount of better games out there  just doesn’t help in being able to convince others to invest in the game. So if you’re bored, and want to replay games from years past and decide to get The Secret of Monkey Island HD Collection, rent it from somewhere and stick to the first title.

The Cave Review

Adventure games have been making a giant comeback over the last year. With Telltale and Double Fine leading the charge, we’re in for some amazing story telling devices. One game happens to be Double Fine’s The Cave. Screw it, you don’t want to hear me rabble on about Tim Schafer being a pioneer for adventure games or how his former titles being cornerstones for adventure games of the last 10-15 years, here’s our review on Double Fine’s The Cave.

Creativity

The game starts off with the cave actually narrating the story, giving a normally inanimate object a life of its own. You can choose 3 of 7 playable characters, each with their own backstory, while hammering the main story quest by venturing through the cave. What you find however makes this so-called Cave, not so much like a cave but an apartment complex combining many different sceneries, from a castle to a zoo to an island. There are common areas for which your characters will have to work together to get through, while going through character specific areas. The endings are also different depending on which characters you go with and there are good and bad endings in The Cave which makes leaves room to go back and see if you can do better. The voice acting is very tongue and cheek which raises the comedic factor. Overall, the story doesn’t take itself seriously which is a change from usual storytelling devices.

Graphics/Mechanics

For a $15 game, the graphics are stunning. The one thing that gets me away from the cartoony feel is the way each character has a different movement. When you watch the hillbilly move, his graphical and mechanical development makes him feel more like a caveman than a hillbilly (did I mention its more of a cartoon feel?). Each character has a different special ability to get through areas. Each level seamlessly goes into one another which makes the transition easy to stomach. And while you can easily tell the change between, its not a sudden shift. This is an adventure game, so common mechanics within the genre are back when progressing through levels. If you’ve never played an adventure game, let me explain with this early example from The Cave. You need a key, a monster is blocking your way, there’s a crane in which you can grab the monster, however you can lure the monster underneath the crane, how? Now that would be telling.

Features/Length

This is a predominantly single player game, like many adventure games from the past. However, you can do a 3-player local co-op which is different from adventure games in the past. You have 7 characters to choose from: Adventurer, Knight, Hillbilly, Twins (2 evil looking children used as one character), Adventurer, Monk, Scientist, and Time Traveller. Again, each character has a backstory and the game can be replayed to experience all of the  characters. The Cave isn’t fairly long as you could rush through it in a couple of hours, or if you want to experience everything it will take about 10-15 hours to get through.

Fun Factor

The Cave is fairly enjoyable. When I started playing, having just finished playing a horrible game probably made it more fun than originally anticipated. It made me laugh and the back stories were interesting enough to keep me invested in playing. Adventure games for me has always been that genre that seemed enjoyable but never really kept me invested long term (except for Grim Fandango). While I didn’t have an amazing time playing this game, it did give me a couple hours of enjoyment, and that’s really all that matters.

Final Verdict- Try

The Cave is for a specific fan base: Adventure game enthusiasts. If you’re not a fan of adventure games, you’ll wind up picking it up, and putting it down after a couple of hours. However, its worth giving it a try to see if you get some enjoyment out of the game. Its available on PC, XBLA for about $15 and if you’re a Playstation Plus member, you can get it for free right now.

Rainbow Moon Review

RPGs were my bread and butter back in the day. Whenever I wasn’t at home, I’d have my Gameboy Advance playing a ton of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. There are fond memories of me sitting with my buddies and one of them gloating about getting a new job and trying to figure out how in the world did he do it. When a few people mentioned SideQuests Studios Rainbow Moon a few months ago as a new take on the strategy RPG genre, that intrigued me. Its a genre that hasn’t been very popular and very rarely pulled off successfully. But when I saw it on my Playstation Plus for 8 dollars and a $10 credit from Sony, it was a no brainer, there was no way this wasn’t winding up in my download section. But can Rainbow Moon be a great successor to games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Fire Emblem, here’s our review on Rainbow Moon for the PS3.

Creativity

You start the game through the introduction of our hero, Baldren, who gets magically shoved by his rival Namoris, through a portal into the world of Rainbow Moon. At that point, your hero is set on a journey to not only figure out the world of Rainbow Moon but is also looking for a way home. Along the way, your hero runs into others who help him on his journey towards the end goal which looks to be defeat your rival and get home. The story itself is very basic, and the sad fact is that its not the driving force of the game. There’s not a lot of character development going on which takes you out of the intrigue of interest and more into grinding like a peon (work work). There’s not much in terms of voice overs except for literally one word greetings/farewells from NPCs and the intro cutscene. I get that they’re trying to make the actual gameplay the driving force of the title, but maybe some more love in the story development might make me care more, because these characters are like white bread, completely bland.

Graphics/Mechanics

Visually, Rainbow Moons graphically is very appealing. Its colour contrast is very beautiful and appealing. The mechanics work very similar to other strategy RPG games. One bothersome mechanic is that the enemy AI can be predictable. Certain enemies tend to go after certain members of your party which can get you tiresome after having to use the same strategies over and over again. The userface is similar to other RPGs. The one thing I noticed right off was the menus were well organized and made finding things simple. A mechanic that can bite you if you’re not well equipped is the hunger mechanic, every character has a hunger bar that needs to be refilled by eating food every now and then. So not only do you have to keep an eye on all of your characters health, you have to keep an eye on their hunger as well. Something else that is useful (or butt clenching) is that currency in the game doesn’t come your way as often as other RPGs. Depending on what difficulty you’re playing on, you really don’t get a lot of coins or items which can make the game more of a grind than progression based style of gameplay.

Features/Length

This game is a single player title. You have a normal and hard mode with 4 other levels of difficulty to make the game really hard. Based on the grind that you’ll have to go through, you’re looking at well over 100 hours of gameplay if you’re looking to invest in everything Rainbow Moon has to offer.

Fun Factor

I mentioned in the opening that the idea of playing Rainbow Moon brought back memories of my times playing Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Those were great times. Playing Rainbow Moon however is the exact opposite. While I had a great time playing FFTA, Rainbow Moon is more of an endless grind of killing monsters, refueling health, killing more monsters, refueling health, upgrading stats, killing more monsters, etc. After awhile it became a serious chore for me to continue playing the game after 10 hours of playing, which left me unsure whether I should be crying, angry or unsatified by my experience. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the combat and the system, its just the constant grinding that definitely made this game boring and a title that I’d rather overlook when better titles come along. This whole experience makes me miss even more those times where I used to sit with my friends playing FFTA.

Overall Verdict- Trial

If it wasn’t for Rainbow Moon being a cheap game with a free trial option, I’d say avoid it altogether. But if you have an hour or two to kill and you want to check out something new, there’s no harm in downloading Rainbow Moon and giving the trial a chance, you might be one of those types that enjoy grinding and it might be a better payoff for you than it was for me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play some FFTA, maybe that’ll get my heart feeling all fuzzy again for the genre.

New Series Concept: Indie Spotlight

As a lover of video games, its difficult to stand behind AAA titles these days due to mediocrity. And as I get older, the love for smaller, indie titles helps me to reminisce about good times gone by. What’s worse is that you’ll rarely see video game reviewers actually review an indie title or give spotlight to an indie title. So while there’s a ton of content coming for the blog over the next couple of weeks, another new series concept will be making a debut next week. A series called: Indie Spotlight. This will be for those indie titles that are either in the alpha phase, in the beta phase thats soon to be released, or ones just released that needs some attention. I believe that the shift in our culture when it comes to gaming is becoming more concerned with quality of gameplay than the quantity of popular franchises, so this new concept will bring not only quality previews of upcoming indie titles but will bring you photos and possibly videos when they’re finished products.

So this is an open call to developers who are looking for exposure, if you’re looking to get some coverage on the blog, please feel free to e-mail us at cglfmail@gmail.com

That said, new review will be up tomorrow and 2 others over the weekend, and boy…are they good ones.