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Friday, April 13, 2012

Tactics Ogre - Let Us Cling Together Review

It’s been a long time since I seriously played a tactical-based game because of its lengthy gameplay and you would tend to spend more time in it considering that some of them would force you to grind. But these games always have been a charm for me. I never got to play many tactical games that much. One that I won’t forget was Final Fantasy Tactics. Then there are other unique tactical games like Valkyria Chronicles II. Then recently, I finally got to play Tactics Ogre – Let’s Us Cling Together for the PSP.

Released on February 2011, this game was already a classic game that was released way back the Super Famicom days and re-released on Playstation, Sega Saturn and recently to Playstation Portable. I never played the older ones so I can’t really tell how it was improved but personally, the PSP version was very good on its own.

The story of the game start off with 3 characters, Denam, Catitua and Vyce who want to take revenge against a Dark Knight named Lancelot for destroying their hometown. The 3 tries to ambush 5 travelers they mistakenly think to be the Dark Knight Lancelot and realize that he isn’t and that one only shares the same name as the Holy Knight Lancelot.

The travelers namely Warren, Gildas, Mirdyn, Canopus and the Holy Knight Lancelot decide to help Denam to take arms against the Galgastians. They take the first step by saving the leader of the Walister Resistance, Duke Ronwey. The Duke accepted them and join his cause to battle against the Galgastians and from there the fate of Denam and his companions will make a big turn.

The game’s story has several branching paths to take depending on the choices you make, some small pieces in the story or even the major ones will have a significant effect in the story-telling, like whether you decide to help someone or not, or whether you have able to save somebody in battle or not. At certain situations, if you fail to save a character and dies, they are permanently dead. There are several unique characters in the game but not all of them can be recruited. Depending on your actions and decisions, some of them can be your ally, some of them will not or some will just perish.

There are no absolute right and wrong in every choice (some parts perhaps), it’s all depend on how you look at it as far as story goes so you would probably feel torn in the choices. But then again, if you’ve felt you don’t like the outcome of your choice, just make sure you have backed-up your save data beforehand.

Like any other turn-based tactical games, the strength of your army relies on how you manage the equipments, skills and classes of every unit in it. The good thing here is that, building-up units is more convenient. Instead of leveling-up per unit, they are level-up per class and the level is shared, so if you have a level 20 Knight, all other of your Knights are also scale to level 20. Although class level is shared, skills must still learn individually but you have the option to transfer it to other characters. If your unit dies in the process, you can transfer his skills to another. This way no skills would go to waste entirely.

There are several features in the game that makes it more interesting and enjoyable to play in my opinion, like the Tarot system where you can freely replay your turns in battle just in case you don’t like the turns you’ve made. Chaos frame system which basically works with the loyalty level of your units where If your unit’s loyalty drop, they will leave your army and will never return. The game has lots of information to read regarding in-game stories and character references that constantly updates depending on how the story is mold for every character. I personally got fond of reading the information that I actually spent longer in reading than playing.

Replayability of the game is very good. After finishing the game, you will unlock few extra post-game scenarios and you will be given an option to replay scenarios from any points of the game and get a chance to choose different choices, try different paths and even able to recruit other characters that you didn’t get in your first play.

Overall, Tactics Ogre – Let Us Cling Together is a very good game for me. I personally like the story and more contents that will keep you on playing even after completing the game and most especially the classic feel of the game. If you’re looking for a good classic tactical game that would keep you busy for a couple of months or 2, you definitely should try Tactics Ogre – Let Us Cling Together.

Until then!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Konami finally announces Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

After it was teased more than a year ago, Konami finally shown updates regarding Metal Gear Solid: Rising from the recent Spike Video Game Awards. But this time, the title is change to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It totally drops “Solid” replacing “Rising” instead, and added a new subtitle, which is a combination of “Revenge” and “Vengeance”. It sounds ridiculous but heck, who knows what they're thinking about the name. XD

Not only that, it is also revealed that Platinum Games (studio who developed Vanquish and Bayonetta) was actually involved in the development of the game. We didn't seem to notice it but it was revealed that the game had its difficulties and it almost quietly canceled according to Hideo Kojima himself. But it was able to regain grounds when the development is now pass to Platinum Games. A video has been posted on Konami's official YouTube channel where they talks about “The Truth Behind RISING”. It's basically an interview of people from Kojima productions also with guys from Platinum games and tells their piece of story behind the development of their Rising project.

As usual, some fans make some fuss about it. Ever since it was tease back on 2010, some fans already rumbling like, “this isn't MGS”, “it's not MGS at all”, rant this, rant that. And now, adding to the negative reaction is “why Platinum Games?”.

Personally, I think MGR: Revengeance will turn out just fine. I believe Kojima productions had already pointed this out that Rising is a totally different game that focuses more in action rather than the traditional stealth/espionage action of the old MGS. That is why in my opinion, changing the title to “Metal Gear Rising” is a good thing, although I'm not sure about that “Revengeance” subtitle-thing but heck, just get along with it XD. And I think Platinum games can do this just fine. Like what some of my buddies said - “Platinum games' elements fits to cyborg ninja Raiden afterall, so why not?”

So in the nutshell... It's NOT Metal Gear Solid. It's Metal Gear RISING! Get it?

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance trailer



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dissidia, In a Nutshell

As everyone who's played Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy's Story Mode can tell you, the story itself isn't clearly revealed even after you've played to the end of it. Therefore, allow me to clear things up and shed some light on the subject.

This information was compiled after carefully studying the events of the game, along with some additional research done through the Web.

(SPOILER ALERT!!! Don't read past the marker if you want to figure things out on your own.)


As you may already know from the reports, the cycles began in World A, when Chaos, a sentient Manikin created by Onrac researchers with help from Cid, a brilliant Lufenian scientist responsible for t
he invention of airships in their world, was taken away to be used as a weapon of war from his guardians, Cid and his wife. To force Chaos into obeying, they created another sentient Manikin resembling Cid's wife to take charge of him. This Manikin would be known later on as Cosmos.

Through the wars he was put through, Chaos eventually becomes hateful. When Cid and his wife attempt to rescue Chaos from Onrac, Cid's wife is killed, causing Chaos to finally snap, his power causing an opening in the Interdimensional Rift that sucks him, Cid, and Cosmos into World B.

Stuck there with no idea how to get home, the three are offered a wa
y out by Shinryu, a dragon with a lust for power, who lived in the Rift and happened to observe their arrival. The dragon had sensed Chaos' immense powers and wanted them for his own. Shinryu promised them a way to get back home if they made a pact with him.

The pact made, Chaos and Cosmos gained the ability to summon warriors from other worlds to battle each other until one side loses. Cid, being human unlike the other two and thus may not live through all the cycles, was turned immortal to act as an observer, at the cost of losing his physical body. The powers of all the fallen warriors would in turn be absorbed by Shinryu as payment for the pact, while Shinryu would imbue some of this same power to Chaos. The cycle would then repeat, with the warriors' memories of the last cycle wiped clean. This process would gradually give Chaos the power to finally open a portal back to World A.

At first, Cid was content in observing the cycles, whilst continuing his research on Manikins, trying to create a perfect being by transplanting his own memories into it, thus giving it sentience and will. In the end, the best he could create was one who was a perfect likeness of him, but had no will of its own, which Cid had attributed to a failed transfer of his memories. He left this Manikin amidst the conflict to see what would become of it. This Manikin would, in the future, be known simply as the Warrior of Light. The rest of his creations, imperfect Manikins that were crystalline, held no human memories, and desired nothing but conflict, were discarded into the Rift.

Chaos, reluctant to fight with someone he pictures as his mother, allowed his warriors freedom to do as they pleased, thus causing some of them to have their own hidden agendas. Some of them wished to rule World B, some wished to destroy it. As the cycles continued, he slowly lost his memories of his time at World A, bu
t still remembered his relationship with Cosmos through vague dreams.

Cosmos, on the other hand, willingly complied with the cycles at first, but slowly despaired as she observed her warriors fighting for their hopes and dreams despite not having any memories of how many cycles they've been fighting, not knowing how much they've gone through.

By the time of Cycle 012, Cid had realized the same thing as Cosmos. Breaking his pact with Shinryu, he
stopped being a mere observer and sided with Cosmos, helping her by formulating a plan to end the conflict using crystals formed with both Cosmos' and the warriors' powers.

The plan was supposed to proceed during that cycle, but the im
perfect Manikins complicated matters, released from the Rift by one of Chaos' warriors, Exdeath, who wished to sink the world into the Void. In the end, the Warrior and another from Cosmos' side, Kain Highwind, hid the other warriors from the Manikins. 5 other warriors of Cosmos joined Kain after that, abandoning the conflict to close the tear in the Rift the Manikins were coming from, thus greatly limiting the Manikins' numbers, at the cost of their lives. As a result of their deaths outside of the conditions Shinryu set for all in the conflict, they lost the chance to be revived in future cycles.

With the Warrior the only one remaining unhidden, defending Cosmos from the remaining Manikins who by now had reached Cosmos' fortre
ss, Cosmos sacrificed herself to destroy the Manikins, saving the Warrior in the process, and ending Cycle 012.

Angered by Cid's betrayal, Shinryu revives Cosmos and the fallen warriors on both sides (except the ones who died closing the Rift), and sides with Chaos in Cycle 013 to thwart Cid's plan. Cosmos, having been revived with no memories of her plan to end the cycles, was about ready to resign herself into continuing until a traitor to Chaos' side, Golbez, reminds Cosmos of her plan, as the warlock also desired an end to the cycles, both for himself and also his brother, who happened to be a warrior of Cosmos.

The combination of Cosmos sacrificing her life once more, this time to imbue power to her warriors through their crystals, and the resolve of her warriors, led to Chaos finally being defeated, ending the cycles at last and transporting the warriors back to World A, and later on to their respective worlds. The Warrior, having no world of his own, remained at World A, making it his home.

Further angered by this loss, as ending the conflict would mean no more power from fallen warriors for it to consume, Shinryu traps Cid in a nightmarish realm resembling World B, where events happened differently and Chaos survived Cycle 013, but kept on suffering losses on each subsequent cycle. By Cycle 018 in this realm, Chaos had been driven insane by the losses and entered the conflict himself, destroying both Cosmos' warriors and his own, turning into what is now known as Feral Chaos.

By Cycle 020, Cosmos had already weakened to the point that she could no longer summon warriors to her aid. With Chaos on the way to destroy her, Cid sealed Cosmos in World
B's Cavern of Earth. Being denied his target, Chaos instead turned on Shinryu, challenging the dragon. Cid, in turn, sealed off the entire northern continent of World B to restrict the conflict to that part of the world. He then sealed himself as well.

Eventually, the fighting died down, and Chaos himself went dormant.

Some time after that, 5 warriors were summoned by an unknown force into World B. By this time, only Moogles and Manikins roamed the land. The warriors eventually found Cid, now residing in the body of a Moogle with almost no memories of events prior. Using what little he remembered, he led the warriors to the northern continent, his memories slowly returning as the journey continued.

By the time they arrived at World B's version of Onrac, where Chaos was, Cid had finally recalled everything, and asked the warriors to destroy Chaos and finally free him from this realm. The warriors complied and, after an intense battle, finally managed to defeat Chaos.

As Chaos perished, he regained his senses, and thanked everyone for freeing his "father" from the nightmare. The warriors returned to their own worlds, and Shinryu, defeated, flew back into the Rift, thus ending the cycles for this nightmarish alternate reality.

As the alternate World B began to crumble, Cid asked Cosmos, now unsealed, if she wanted to come back with him to World A. The goddess of Harmony declined, stating that she would prefer to stay in that realm until it ended. Cid, respecting her decision, left her and returned home.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ClaDun X2 First Impression Review

Cladun is a hack-and-slash, dungeon crawling and retro-style RPG brought by Nippon Ichi, the same guys who brought us the Disgaea series. The first game, namely Cladun: This is an RPG! was released on September 2010 and now they bringing it back with the sequel, Cladun X2. The feel of the second game is basically the same as the first, but as what they imply on its trailer, all the stuffs in it is X2.

The main plot of Cladun X2 is basically not connected to the first (or as far as I could see). You are stumbled upon a mysterious world known as Arcanus Cella, a miniature world on which accordingly whoever sets foot on it never gets out and the only door connecting to it leads to dungeons that constantly changes. You are introduce to few characters living in the world. As you progresses, you are able to learn about them little by little and along with secrets behind the small world that you're trap into.

One thing to know about Cladun X2 is that it has tons of varieties in terms of customization. If you're familiar on how most Nippon Ichi's game were made then you have a basic idea on what to expect at Cladun X2. I guess most of the elements of the original game are still intact at X2. I never played the first Cladun that much but as far as I could tell, everything are basically the same only with few additions and improvements. So if you played the first one, you're already knew what you're getting at X2.

For starters, the most notable feature here is that the game allows you to fully customize your character going from its name-your-character-thing, choosing gender, and up to managing and building-up characters. Everything will be basic from the start-- choose your job class, equip your weapon of choice and armor and build-up your character using the Magic Circle feature. After a few minutes of progress, the game will give more customization options for you mess around like changing job class, managing equipment's Job Titles and and tons of weapons/armors at your disposal. More of it, as your character's levels up, you gain various skills and Magic Circles depending on your job class. If you're starting to change job class more often then you will get a LOT.

Building up your character involves the use of the feature called Magic Circle. This is where you place all sorts of power ups called Artifacts to boost your character's stats and abilities. The feature involves using multiple characters (main and sub characters) that will be place in the circle. Depending on how strong the characters you're placing, how you place Artifacts and the Circle that you're using, you can build up your character in any preferred way you want. You will pretty much spend some of your playtime building up your characters considering the tons of stuffs you can do to improve your characters. Not to mention that do you will eventually have to create several characters to use for both sub and main character role.

yes folks. its a chicken sword... and its awesome!
Other than the varieties on building up characters, there are also some other varieties that somewhat doesn't really make up for your progress in the game rather it’s for all your amusements. One of the cool varieties in the game is editing character's sprite face and equipments. You can freely edit your character's face, armor and weapon all you want.  So if you want a character that looks like Squall from FF series with shades wearing Tidus' outfit and wielding a Buster sword, you go ahead. XD These optional varieties aren't really necessarily in your overall gameplay. You can play through even without messing with those but it’s actually hard to ignore it at first. It's time-consuming but addicting at the same time. You would find yourself editing faces and equipments the whole time than playing the main game.

the exit... so near yet so far (T_T)
The main gameplay is simple yet fun and challenging. You basically have to work your way to dungeon levels by finding the exit. Dungeons have different themes and each consist of 3 to 4 levels before going to the next dungeon theme. At first walkthrough, dungeons are simple and straight forward with some few handfuls of monsters in your way. As you progresses, dungeons became more and more complicated. There will be certain dungeon levels that require you to beat certain monsters before going any further. You can hack and slash your way or simply run pass through it, which you might try doing it anyway since there’s a reward for completing a dungeon if you beat its given fastest time record. But as you going further to dungeon levels, monsters will gradually improves. Once you starting to feel the difficultly, you might think of slowing down and try to play smart.

Unfortunately, Cladun X2 doesn't have any multiplayer mode at all. You can still do adhoc session with other players but it only does sharing of your pixel art of character's faces and equipments that you've created. I never played the first Cladun that much but I do knew there's a co-op mode there so it's too bad that they remove it at X2. Personally, it would have been fun to play Cladun with somebody else.

As I said, the game has tons of varieties you can mess around. Although some of these varieties are mainly for player's amusements and doesn't really add-up worth to the main gameplay, but these extra curriculums can be addicting at some point and that's actually how the fun works in Cladun. Building up characters might overwhelm you at first but it can still play the game casually. Surely there will be some grinding moments but they're not that as unforgiven as you may think and you can easily cope with it as long as you have the gist on the basics of the game. The retro feel of the game is a plus for guys (like me) who appreciate oldschool style of RPG gameplay. I would highly recommend this game for guys who appreciate classic RPG style and all.

And that's about it for my review. As always, I tend to make my review more general as possible so that I won't spoil the game that much for you. Everything I've talk about is just on the surface and it’s up you to know the rest. Hope this review is enjoyable and helpful.

Until then!

ClaDun X2 Trailer


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ipod/Ipad Gaming: Simulations... Simulations... Simulations...

Greetings HobbyBox fans! Back once again for a game review from one software developer, Kairo Park. Focusing on the constant release of the same genre, Kairo Park had managed so far to deliver a few addicting games for the Apple and now as of recent for the Android users as well. 

Let's start with the game:

Game Dev Story was actually the first game that Kairo Park had released for the Apple IOS. This game actually boost lengthy game play as players try to create the ultimate game up to the most recent update, your very own gaming console. There was an original PC game but so far, no plans of importing it to English.

You actually start with a small 6 man team, that includes 4 developers, you as the manager and your lovely assistant. As the game also progress, you will receive offers of expanding your office, getting new people or firing your old employees. The game also allows you to train your employees and as every employee also has, the employee itself shows specialization (e.g. Music, Coder, Artist) that allows your game to be further enhanced depending on the employee's specialization. 

Another thing to look forward in this game is the challenge of mixing game combinations. There's actually 2 categories to choose from: Genre and Type. I won't go further with details but I think you get the point. Depending on your combination you may get the highest combination (amazing) to the lowest (not good). 
There's also a challenge of people management. You need to actually know which people are to keep and to let go as their special type of employees that have high stats which makes your game scores higher. Funny thing to mention also is that, the names of the employee, sounds like names of actual celebrities... Another factor is money... Well this doesn't become an issue when you already have like 6 or more employees as you can take projects to gain money while having your game sell on the market. 

Going with the game specifics, the graphics are kind of your every 2d sprite. Nothing to look forward but you may notice that once every while, you'll get odd employees wearing odd costumes. Sound/Music, it's sounds like a midi sequence but that's something you can live with.

Overall, the game may sound addicting but when you reach the part that your game has received the 1million prize reward, you may stop and say, "I'm done...". 

So here are the scores:

Graphics: I'd give it a 6, For a sprite based game. 
Sounds: I'd give it a 4, it's in midi. You can play your own sound but if you have an old iPhone or iPod, I won't recommend it
Gameplay: I'd give an 7. Addicting at the start but kinda routine at the end.
(Since there's no story, I'm changing the last category)
Replay: 4, Once you beat the top ranking game out there, that's it...
Over all: It's a 5... you may want to try it but probably stop halfway...

There's a few more games out there you may want to try as well from Kairo Park if you are into Sim Games:

Right now, I'm enjoying "Grand Prix Story" but again, you can always try the other Sim Games this developer had to offer. You can also visit their website to know more: 

Well enjoy and happy gaming!