Saint’s Row IV Review

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Let me start off with saying that this game is OVER THE TOP. Hilarious and exciting at the same time, Saint’s Row IV is a tidal wave of fun that’ll leave you playing it again and again.

The developers behind the game are Volition(also makers of the Red Faction franchise), and WAS under THQ( Dawn of War, Company of Heroes), until acquired by Koch Media and published under their brand, Deep Silver.

There those that find Saint’s Row: The Third quite similar to IV, and they are not wrong in the slightest. IV was supposedly a planned expansion to The Third, but with the idea being quite a rich foundation, they turned it into a full game, and that’s why it uses the same engine, graphical fidelity, and generally the same feel. Some might argue that it is too close to the old game, but that is a subjective matter.

Unlike the Saint’s Row franchises before that, this actually has a very valid reason for being over the top and such: It’s a simulation. This has a large implication on gameplay that’s quite different from the older brothers of the franchise.

Saint’s Row IV gives the player oodles of new ways to play Saint’s Row like never before. These things include running at super speed and lashing out mini tornadoes that flip things you pass through(even tanks),  hovering in mid-air and punching the ground in stylish fashion, sending alien scum across the street, and the Dubstep gun. Need I say more?

Gameplay:

If you’ve played some games from the Grand Theft Auto franchise, you won’t be alienated by Saint’s Row. Some people can actually say that they are quite similar. But if you played GTA with cheats and enjoyed it, then you’re going to love what Volition has to offer.

Saint’s Row IV plunges you into an open world with a massive map and the possibility of a gigantic free-roam experience. With the progression of the story comes the unlocking of many features such as powers, mini-games and allies.

Often you’ll come to finish tasks given by your allies through playing the mini-games scattered all throughout the map. These mini-games range from racing across the streets with your super-sprint, to wreaking as much havoc as you can in an alien tank to a purposedly throwing yourself ragdoll style across the city. The challenges are easy enough to complete on their own, but takes quite a lot of practice and determination to get a high rating on them, as you can achieve bronze, silver or gold medals from them.

These games are what give the game its size, but the story is its backbone. Advancing the story brings about unique game elements not seen when you’re roaming about completing mini-games, such as challenges without your powers and getting into places that you can’t otherwise. It gives the feeling that the story is not the only thing you’re missing if you don’t finish the playthrough.

There are multitudes of weapons to blast enemies with. You may choose to simply
headshot your way with a pistol, SMGs, rifles, to decimating their ranks with the infamous Dubstep Gun, bazookas, you could even spawn a black hole beside them! Along with powers like freeze blasts, telekinesis and super stomps, Saint’s Row is a truly liberating game.

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The Dubstep Gun makes anyone shake their booty. To the melody of utter annihilation.

 

 

My qualm with the game is its difficulty. Some of these powers and weapons are downright crazy, and that can be forgiven or even be enjoyable, but they can be overpowered. You can cut a swath through enemies no problem. Heck, you can even melee your way across them and end with full health because all pedestrians drop health. In fact, upgrading your magazine for a weapon class will eventually give you infinite bullets.

The game is not really that challenging, but boy is it enjoyable, comedic elements line most of the moments, and the humor is legit.

There a LOT of customization options, from your clothes, to your physique, to your voice, specific taunts, gun appearances… You can also customize your cars, but with the inclusion of super sprints and air gliding, cars in this game are borderline useless. That is quite a shame actually.

saints row 4 thank you pack

 

As I said, a LOT of customization options.

 

 

The ability to record vehicles types and spawn them is a nice feature, along with repainting them and customizing their performance is great, but is just useless when you can traverse the map faster without them.

Sound:

Yes the music is great, the voice acting is top-notch, and the radio stations when inside cars are loaded with songs some would find familiar. (108 songs split into 7 stations)

The sounds don’t seem repetitive in the slightest, But riddled with amazing amounts of ambience that makes some things rather very familiar every time, such as the sound of powerups, alien stations or the super sprint kicking up wind in your wake. When you think about it, there are a lot of sounds you hear constantly, but the game makes a good way of not making it feel repetitive.

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Suddenly the sound of air whooshing 60% of the time doesn’t feel out of place.

Voice acting is great, on-point and embodies emotion and it realistically fits into the characters and their persona. A lot of VO scripts are created, even for pedestrians and enemies and all the little things give the game a lot to listen to.

The music is great, a lot of budget could have been put to license a lot of songs, including Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing and What is Love by Haddaway.

Story:

The story is well crafted, but it’s not the kind of story that’s rich for expanding upon for fans of the franchise. The story isn’t the strongest point, but it has a great scale to it as well. Fortunately for newcomers to the series, the story is quite compressed and does not have too many elements that are exclusively understandable to veterans of the older games in the Saint’s Row line.

The continuity is fine, but the pacing is quite stretched out with a singular goal in mind all throughout the game, and most of the time used for getting a crew together and solving each their own personal problems. It isn’t as engaging as other games, especially when held in comparison.

That goal? Kill this guy.
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Conclusion:

Pros:
+ Hell of a fun game

+Obnoxious humor

+Lots of customization

+Amazing amounts of freedom

+Great graphics but not that exceptional

+Lots of real life references

+Great music and soundtrack

+Lots of gameplay elements and mini-games

Cons:

-A little too easy

-Lack of intellectual gameplay elements

-Vehicles are essentially useless

-Humor is adult-rated, unsuitable for young children

-You use most of your time playing mini-games

-Mediocre storyline, big scale, but short-sighted

 

Grisaia no Kajitsu Review

In this day and age where graphics and gameplay are clogging up the criteria for what a good game is, let’s take a step back from western traditions and move into the japanese’ guilty pleasure of visual novels where gameplay and graphics are traded off for story and character development.

With that said, I’m going to review Grisaia no Kajitsu but before I go into it, I’m going to explain what this game is. Grisaia no Kajitsu is a visual novel. A visual novel is a different genre of a game which solely relies on story and doesn’t have much gameplay to it except for choosing decisions. These decisions will dictate which character’s story or route you will progress through and will also dictate (in certain games) what the ending will be. If you’re not the reading person, then this game is honestly not for you. Really, the most you can have in even the best of visual novels are a few mini games here and there but most of them don’t even have anything like that. As such, I will be reviewing this game in terms of the remaining criteria which are: Story, Music, Art, and Characters.gfs_179699_1_1

Ok let’s get this started with the story. As with usual visual novels, Grisaia doesn’t have a static story. It has 5 stories that splits off with how you, the player, respond to certain situations. While I won’t give out any details regarding the story for this game, I will say that Grisaia has one 509828of the better plot than most of the games I played, and I’ve played my fair share of visual novels. It has 5 very diverse, albeit some of them have clichéd themes or even a bit of morbid topics, different routes.

I also have to emphasize the common route of this game to be one of the ss_15d526c5ad9f7b2177a12bf3906355c4f1790488.1920x1080funniest and the most fun dialogues I’ve read. There’s this specific English speaking dialogue two characters have which gets really twisted because of how bad their pronunciation is. Almost all of them have great conclusions and memorable scenes all emphasized by the music that sets up the mood, which leads me to the next criteria.

Grisaia has one of the better music collections I know. I personally like about 4 or 5 songs in their soundtrack and all their mood-inducing tracks are great at setting up the proper atmosphere of the scene you’re reading. It makes visualizing the entire dialogue easier and makes emotional scenes feel smoother. They have a variety of upbeat songs for simple scenes to emotional piano arranges for the dramatic parts. I myself love one of the heroine, Michiru’s, character ending song which is called skip because of its rhythmic beat and cute vocals.

Now we go to art. Illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Watanabe Akio, the CGs, which are illustrated scenes that would usually be added in a CG gallery, look crisp and clean. The character images ss_7ce949a157b07287cce1027975221f751f090544.1920x1080also look their role which fits their personality and quirks. There’s nothing much to tell here as art tastes are purely subjective so I don’t want to go into this for too long.

 

Lastly, we go to the characters. Grisaia no Kajitsu has a wide variety of colorful characters in its cast. There are 5 heroines to choose your role, and while they seem stereotypical, they have hidden quirks that will only be observed in their specific story. The main character is a militaristic man who is stoic yet would have some of the most unexpectedly funny scenes. The side characters are funny and well developed as well. While, on their own, the characters progress the story well enough, the most important thing about this game is the character development the MC has with the heroines and they range from bland at times to really entertaining.Grisaia-no-Kajitsu

While Grisaia might not be those action packed games that would be featured in magazines or websites, it’s undeniable that it is entertaining by its own right. Despite some flawed logic being thrown for comic relief here and there, this game is pretty well written. With a good soundtrack and voice acting alongside it, I can give this game a good 8.5/10.

Currently, you can buy an english ported version of this game on steam but it has removed the adult content. You can buy the original japanese version but you’ll need to learn a little japanese or search the internet for a localization patch.

Well then, till next time I guess!

Splatoon Review

Let’s talk about something that others talk about. Nintendo is known for running cute games, games with toonish graphics or family games that has anti profanity or anti toxic player game environment and doesn’t include gore factor. But now they are turning it into a whole new level because Nintendo is about to join the competitive scenes as the game called Splatoon was released on 5/29/15 for WiiU but still without that gore factor. 😀

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Now let’s have a quick review, what is Splatoon?  Splatoon is a third person shooter that consists of online multiplayer with game modes: Regular Battle, Ranked Battle and the Battle Dojo and the single-player mode:  Hero Mode. The game has a simple main mechanic, the team who painted most or splattered ink around the arena wins. We will discuss about its game modes further below.
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Single player

Hero Mode – a story mode with puzzle and platforming elements. It stars an inkling in the hero suit fighting the octarians in octo valley.

Multiplayer

Regular Battle – can be accessed by players of all levels or called Turf war, is a mode consisting of four players in two teams. The team with highest ink coverage after three minutes win the match.

Ranked Battle – Now this is where the real competitive scene shows. It is unlocked when the player has reached level 10. The ranked battle modes require a higher level of strategy compared to turf war and wins and losses will be counted toward player’s ranks. Where players begin with a C- rating (this is there elo stuff), but are able to improve and regress based on how well they perform. Ranked battle has different modes, Splat zones, Tower control and an unconfirmed Rainmaker mode.

Battle Dojo – a local 2-player mode, where both players must attempt to pop the balloons to reach 30 points. If the timer runs out before one player has reached 30 points, whoever has the most wins.

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CHARACTERS 

As a player you have a customizable (where players mostly spend their time 😀 ) character kid that can transform into a squid or we’d rather call it a SKID, no just kidding. 😀 … Transforming into a squid allows the player to swim through ink of their own color which can also refill your ink tank (Great! Unlimited ammo) and you can maneuver on walls and through grates too (it’s like having super powers).

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WEAPONS

                Players are equipped with primary weapons as well as secondary weapons or arsenal of weapons to splatter ink around the arena. Splatoon has various choices of weapons for the characters which are mainly Shooters, Chargers and Rollers. Each of the weapon types has sub types also.

SHOOTERS – Shooters are mid-range rapid fire weapons, with great versatility and the capability of tackling almost any situation. These are like the Sub machine guns in other shooter games.

CHARGERS – are slow long-range weapons which excel in taking down players from a far. Each shot can be charged and upon fully charged can be capable of one hitting the enemy. And these are the snipers of the game.

ROLLERS – are short range weapons or melee weapons which excel at covering areas in ink. Two types of rollers are available: Rollers which leave a wide trail of ink and the Brushes that allows you to move fast with improved range. These are like the maces, clubs and hammers of the game.
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Now it is time for the game rating!

Gameplay: 9/10 (simple but cool mechanics, team oriented, strategy and skill based)

Graphics: 10/10 (because it is Nintendo’s tradition to make graphics to be eye candy and splattering ink looks INK-REDIBLE! GET it? INK-REDIBLE HAHAHA :D)

Sound Effects: 9/10 (the sound really matches the game even the splat sound, so satisfying in the ears)

Environment: 8/10 (the lobby is nice, because you can roam around like rpg or open world game does and no toxic players allowed)

Entertainment: 9/10 (it’s fun customizing character and collecting arsenals)

Playability: 9/10 (no pressure on matches, you can queue over and over again and it is a fast paced game)

Controls: 9/10 (controls are simple if you’re used to WiiU’s controller)

Overall rating: 9/10

KABER RATED! CHICKEN APPROVES!

kaberRated

Ori and The Blind Forest Review

If there is one thing to describe Ori and the Blind Forest, and that is a work of art. No, I don’t mean those stupid art you see in galleries nowadays where you just see paint splattered on a canvas.  This game is hands down considered as one of those game oozing with good aesthetics. Every level area you play on this game are show pieces. When was the last time you played a game where you stopped just to appreciate the design and art pieces as you explore the world? No doubt, making a video for promotional trailer on this game was a breeze as the game literally oozes with superb art.

I’m not that keen towards music and as such, but I can definitely say the soundtracks is on par with level of art they made the game.

On the game play side of things, it’s a puzzle platformer with some metroidvania/castlevania vibe to it. Combat wise, I can say is fairly simplistic but that’s ok. A cute and cuddly aesthetic doesn’t need Mortal Kombat gore fest. You progress depends on the skills you unlock as it will aid you to traverse the world, focusing more on level traversal and maneuvers. You might experience difficulty spikes throughout the game, but that’s just your thought as the area maybe cleared with the appropriate skill you unlocked. This game can be finished in a one day if you breeze through it, and I’m happy to say that this one of those games where I didn’t look at wiki’s or checked gameFaq.

I can say that the story at its best is simple. There is nothing surprising. I guess I’m too old for it,  If the game was made during my youth, then maybe it would have awed me. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make it a bad game. Plot or story wise its simple, but they made the Ori world/universe really good. Maybe that answers the question as to why I plowed through levels after levels of this game, I wasn’t after story or plot but the world of Ori begs me to go explore its universe. It was a good field trip. If they had a another one, surely I’d give it a go.

Wrapping this up, the game overloads you with its graphic aesthetics, a balanced gameplay and competent puzzles and platform. This is graphics indulgence at its best.  To people who say that graphics come second to gameplay… take that MF.

Phlyndir’s Weekly Update 4

Good day Hero,

We have successfully survived winter’s grasp..

We are slowly recovering from winters eve last moon of 2014.

We have focused our resources in visual concepts of characters

    • Merchant

    • Runesmith

    • Manus

    • Doj Gaveth

All preview can be see In our Facebook page! make sure to like and share

Goodspeed Hero,

Ian

Phlyndir’s Weekly Update 3

Good day heroes,

Winter is upon us and we must prepare for the darkest day and the coldest night.

We will be on winter break starting Dec. 21, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015.

Good luck and hope we all survive this winter.

Happy Holidays,
Ian

Phlyndir’s Weekly Update 2

Good day Hero,

We have very exciting news about Phlyndir’s environment. We have been concentrating on environmental aesthetics this week and we are proud to say that we have manage to progress quite a lot this week. Here are the updates that was implemented.

Upgraded water texture

Additional weapon models

Point Lights added in dungeons 

Upgraded environmental particle effects

We will keep you posted every week!!

May the crabs of Leviathan be forever in your favor.
Ian

Phlyndir’s Weekly Update 1

Good day Hero,

We are happy to announce a weekly update!! We have been very busy developing new content for the game and here are some the few updates that were implemented this week.

Updated maps with new assets

  • New Models
  • New Terrain
  • New Special Assets

Added new monsters

  • Berserker
  • Warmonger
  • Mage
  • Footman
  • Sorcerer
  • Grunt

New bosses

NPC now have voice-over

Updated mini-map

  • Rotation
  • Colored Background
  • NPC Icons

Mini-map

Removed fast travel inside important dungeons

We will keep you posted every week!!

Godspeed Hero,
Ian

Phlyndir Title/Logo Update

Hello Everyone!

Its been a while since our last update, and, just to show you that we weren’t slacking off under a rock here is the redesigned title for Phlyndir! Don’t forget to like it AND us as Facebook and follow us on Tumblr and Twitter

Phlyndir Title Logo

Here’s a grunt. Sorry for taking so long to update.

Phlyndir Grunt

Cheers!
Ted