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Ashley Winchester

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About my collections

When it comes to video games the older the system is the more likely I'll be into it. The original PlayStation is my favorite console (with way too many great games to mention) with the Super Nintendo being a close second.

My interest in games is closely related to my interest in video game soundtracks. For a few years games themselves took a back seat to the soundtracks but anymore the two are on even footing collecting wise.

My main favorite series include Mega Man (original, X and Legends and really nothing beyond), Castlevania (I don't really follow it anymore since it switched gears) and Wild Arms (well, generally the first two entries on the PS1). id Software's Doom is another title that has had a big impact on me even though I didn't follow it from the beginning. Other games like the original Tomb Raider, Panzer Dragoon Zwei II and Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos also rank among my favorites.

Favorite band is most definitely Finland's Sonata Arctica even though I've lost interest in a lot of European-flavored bands.


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AW's CD Collection (205 items)
Music list by Ashley Winchester
Last updated 7 years, 9 months ago
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AW's Current Vinyl (47 items)
Music list by Ashley Winchester
Published 8 years, 7 months ago 2 comments
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AW's CD Collection (235 items)
Music list by Ashley Winchester
Published 8 years, 2 months ago
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AW's Game Collection 2.0 (226 items)
Game list by Ashley Winchester
Published 8 years, 7 months ago
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Video Game Soundtracks (34 items)
Game list by Ashley Winchester
Published 10 years, 11 months ago 3 comments

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Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero Physis review

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 8 July 2014 01:54 (A review of Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero Physis)

As a Rockman fan, it’s hard to explain what sparked my initial disinterest in the Zero series. The idea of following the red-clad, blonde haired hero into the future would have been a high priority for most; still, as the first game rolled out in 2002, the prospect of following another series of games while awaiting the conclusion of the X series wasn’t very attractive. The truth behind my indifference later revealed itself: I’d grown weary of the formula Capcom saw fit to repackage year after year - the day as a fan I thought would never come.

To some the above may appear to be an attempt to label the Zero series as the point were the franchise lost its luster. In my opinion, this occurred prior to the series’ inception and out of loyalty I turned a blind eye towards it; nonetheless, I respect and acknowledge what Rockman Zero was able to do in its time. There had never been a Rockman saga limited to the lifespan of a single console and it didn't wear out its welcome with ill-fated, tacked on entries. These are impressive feats, but when asked about Rockman Zero my mind always goes back to the music which came to life with the emergence of the remastered albums rather than the games themselves.

In the first game Ippo Yamada offered what was more or less an unfocused portrait; a composer presenting a myriad of ideas much like an artist’s sketchbook - a tool in the search for inspiration, boundaries and direction. With Idea, these initial ideas were sorted through; some were embraced while others were sacked to create a streamlined experience that showed strength in numbers. Telos followed Idea’s example minus the input from Ippo’s associates and felt stunted. Physis takes these concepts, even turning negatives into positives and provides the full picture: musical exploration nowhere near as random as the first album, the return of the invaluable cast (and beyond) from Idea and the wall that halted progression on Telos is lifted in what equals out to be one hell of a final ride.

Despite the majority of Rockman Zero’s audio and style being attributed to Yamada, I’ve always believed much of the series color was due to co-composers Luna Umegaki and Masaki Suzuki who were able to provide that extra something while adhering to Ippo’s framework. This isn’t to insinuate there is some kind of a “my way or the highway” mentality to everything Rockman Zero or that Ippo's the weak link in the chain that binds, but the appeal of his work could feel limited at times. In what seems to be a revenge shot for my ribbing, Yamada tunes like “Caravan -Hope for Freedom-,” rife with struggle and forward movement, show how incorrect such a view is. We are given another side of the composer, one that's finally able to intermingle with others. Other tracks like “Exodus,” a tightly-woven anxiety-wrought number and “Straight Ahead” create a fantastic sense of unity by emitting the same kind of forward movement. Even the quirky “Elves Dance” contains a unique brand of cleverness all its own as does “Rust in Dust” in revisiting the inherit sadness of Zero’s theme in Mega Man X4. The rest of Ippo’s work consists of typical items, items reminiscent of past ideas or whose origins can be traced back one/two soundtracks, concepts that are not exactly broke but pale to those that truly stand out.

The freshness of the pieces above is eventually matched by the co-composers as well. On the negative side falls Masaki Suzuki who, despite composing befitting guitar anthems such as “Max Heat” and "Magnetic Rumble" has trouble extending his style beyond what is expected. This inevitably makes the hidden allure of the off-kilter “Celestial Gardens” all the more enjoyable. This pleasant string of musical anomalies continues with Luna Umegaki’s “Holy Land” and “Esperanto.” The somber “Holy Land” correlates back to some of the moody, almost cryptic pieces of Yamada’s in the first game (“Ruins of Lab”) while being anything but. A similar scheme plays out within “Esperanto” where Umegaki concocts the RMZ equivalent of a lighthearted stage theme from the original Rockman series as is the case in “Cyber Space.” In more typecast territory newcomer Shin'ichi Itakura tackles the soundtrack’s aquatic based theme “Deep Blue” with exceptional results and offers up the poignant “Falling Down,” the booming, shot-in-the-arm final battle theme that finishes the series off in style.

There are other solid tracks throughout Physis but those mentioned stand to exemplify the various ins-and-outs contained within. However, if there is any fault the soundtrack holds as a whole it would be the synth quality. The majority of the album brings the power one expects yet there is a nagging feeling that some parts, like the opening beats of “Caravan - Hope for Freedom-,” are thinner than they should be in what may be an attempt to make the experience as clean as possible. Such shortcommings aside, the material presented is more than enough to make up for such misgivings.


Even though Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero Physis brings us the conclusion of yet another Rockman series it comes with a heightened sense of maturity, the idea that this is the fully conceived sound the series has come to represent. This isn’t saying the first three soundtracks were only mere steps in evolution or their importance in such a metamorphosis was minimal, but the experience Physis offers the listener simply feels greater than any of its forbearers at heart.

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DmC: Where respectful debate goes to die...

Posted : 10 years, 2 months ago on 7 October 2013 02:24 (A review of DMC: Devil May Cry)

DmC: Devil May Cry. The reboot to the franchise that helped patient the hack and slash genre... or according to the contributors of very sad (and truly pathetic) message board topics the most evil, vile thing on the face of the planet. The "pros" and "antis" have taken it upon themselves to wage a war over the worth of DmC that is ridiculous as the day is long. At first I took a pretty kind of pride in watching over these squabbles - kind of like the typical JRPG super villain who’s manipulating a lesser evil in order to pester the heroes - because it's somewhat to fun watch unabated chaos unfold. However, after a while such laughter turns to despair when you realize these are the people that help make up the gaming community and they seem incapable of having a civilized conversation.

Of course, I know many people will just say "well, that's the internet for you…" and leave it at that. By this point in its existence I think most people know the World Wide Web is the place where opinions and respectful debate go to die. Post something on the www and if you have a large enough of an audience you're sure to have some snarky ass comments nestled among the ones that make you question reading and writing levels of those responding. Yeah, I know everyone hates a grammar Nazi (including myself) but I think I may hate gamers even more despite being one myself. However, one of the worst kept secrets in the world of gaming is that gamers want their interest in games to be respected. Games have come a long way in that regard but there is still a lot of work to be done. The funny thing is while gamers will admit this is their aim, their behavior when expressing opinions online, behind the perceived safety of a screen name, often betrays their purity of their devotion. It is one thing to dislike a game... it's another thing entirely to devote a ton of energy to run a personal smear campaign against it just because the developer and publisher's vision doesn't line up with your own.

This is the situation that DmC has faced even prior to its release. Granted, there were a few things said by members of development team that added fuel to the mob's fire but then you have to realize these people were looking for any reason to pounce to begin with. Damned if you do and damned if you don't, right? So what about the game itself? Do these people have a leg to stand on or are they really just out on a witch hunt? Personally, and if the beginning of this review is any indication, I feel it's the latter.

Now before I get too far I should probably admit that I do understand why the DMC fanbase became so vested in Dante as he was depicted in games like DMC3 and DMC4. When you get down to it Dante was a rather likable fellow and I know I wouldn't have had a problem with seeing more of him. After playing DMC4 I didn’t really see an in-game reason to reboot the franchise and Nero wasn’t even close to being a bad character. Given that you can't help but feel the fans of the previous games would have been unhappy with any kind of change - even if it was for the better. Then there are the moments where DmC pretty much proves how uptight the fanbase really is when small, tongue-in-cheek joke about finding white hair ridiculous sets off a message board fire storm. Seriously, I wish I was joking about that but I'm not.

For the most part, most people's opinions about DmC end up in one of two camps: the "it's a horrible travesty camp" which gives the game a one out of ten (or a zero out of ten if possible) even though the game is far from being the kind of broken mess that truly deserves such a rating and the "I have to rate it insanely high to make up for all the low scores" guys who think they're doing the game a great service when they're not. The truth is - well, at least my truth - is that this game is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

The first thing in the game that caught my attention was the art style – not Dante’s character, not the lack of Trish or the supposed weakening of the combat system – but the art style. As I watched a video of the game on YouTube prior to buying the game the environments (especially Limbo) really stuck me as something an eastern company would dream up rather than a western Japanese company. DmC definitely makes a departure in this area when you compare the bright hues to the duller environments in previous Devil May Cry games. This doesn’t really make one kind of environment better than the other but you really need to take in this difference to really understand where DmC is coming from.

I know some are probably like “no freaking da!” when it comes to these differences in visual aesthetics being broken down and analyzed, but you have to notice the difference before you can really see where DmC’s art style succeeds and falls flat. The main thing I noticed when I actually started to play the game opposed to just watching it is how dirty it looks. Most of DmC’s locals are down and out and – truth be told – aren’t very exciting. This really isn’t really a graphics or performance issue because this was Ninja Theory’s obvious intent – and why they chose to build the game using the Unreal Engine. Yeah, I know the game takes eons to load and the “30fps isn’t fast enough” cronies are just going to loathe the fact I said that but again I can see why Ninja Theory thought its use was the most expedient way of achieving the game’s intended look.

Of course, to those beating the DmC vs DMC war drums I doubt the game’s environments really mean much next to the “watered down combat.” When it comes to past games I have to admit the gameplay was much deeper than the control scheme would have you believe, but at the same time I think there was a lot of “illusionary depth” in that equation that was more-or-less an invention on the part of the players. This isn’t to say the skill level of the seasoned player wasn’t/shouldn’t be rewarded… but I don’t feel the gap between DmC and DMC’s combat is as wide as DmC’s detractors claim. However, it’s not a real easy comparison to make to begin with because while the aim and feel of combat is meant to be the same there are many maneuvers that come off differently because of the controls.

The controls in DmC strike me as an area that would have been discussed more had people not been raging over Dante’s personality. Personally after experiencing the game, I would have liked to have seen more conversation about this because seeing the game in action gives you little idea what Ninja Theory did differently than Capcom. Knowing Capcom like most of us think we do, the controller setup is a lot like the game’s environments where the ideas seem somewhat alien. Still, with all this talk of control, the obvious question is does it all work when put into play? For the most part the answer is yes – even if the vast number of button combinations makes it seem a bit convoluted. The only real victim in the control scheme is dodging. In the heat of the moment it is very hard to drop your attention from your alternate weapons on the back triggers and make the small leap up to the front triggers. To those reading this may sound silly, but in all honesty I can’t think of any other game I’ve played recently that puts a controller through its paces quite like DmC which is kind of a compliment and is not at the same time. As for the dodging problem I don’t really have a suggestion on how I’d even begin to address it but it feels like the kind thing that would eventually iron itself out over time and multiple playthroughs because a single playthrough – coming in at eight to nine hours – isn’t enough time to get over such a hump.

Still, if there is one thing that annoys me about combat in every Devil May Cry game it’s the fact that we’re always reduced to slapping around the same fifteen to twenty enemies the entire game. Well, it’s more like ten if you start excluding reskined and recolored adversaries but why does this problem still persist in this day and age? I know this is more of a genre problem than a real flaw with this specific game or series but can someone tell developers this is a trend that has got to go? Looking a little deeper, DmC kind of compounds the problem by having enemies that can only be defeated by certain types of weaponry. This alone isn’t an issue but when you’re attacked by two enemies of opposing disciplines and have to stick with one weapon for crowd control you’re probably going to be on the receiving end of some cheap hits when your attack hits the wrong target, is reflected and parried. Frustrating as that is, the biggest disappointment has to be the boss battles that fail to highlight and reward the skill of the player unless they are tackling the final boss.

Such flaws aside, I’m sure some out there want to know just what the hell my opinion on Dante’s characterization is. Well, this is a tricky question because while you spend the entire game controlling him Dante is really one of the tale’s least interesting characters. I myself wasn’t too interested in him compared to some of the other prominent NPCs so I wasn’t really picking apart what made this Dante so “wretched” in the eyes of most. Some may see that as “ignoring the problem” but at the same time I couldn’t help but think there wasn’t one to begin with. While some will strongly disagree considering this is a reboot that wants to indirectly build off of what came before it I have no problem treating DmC as its own individual entity. When I’m playing it I’m not endlessly comparing it to the previous games to the level others are. It’s not really what comprises Devil May Cry that makes or breaks it but the mentality of the person experiencing it.

This begs the question, what should future generations take away from DmC’s history? Where should the failure and blame be directed? The answer to that question is something I’ve alluded to many times throughout this review, and I’m sure some don’t want to hear it, but the fact is Capcom is saddled with the negative results for grossly misguiding the maturity level of their customers and this is a shame for a form of media that still trying to grow out of its infancy. DmC is not a bad game. It’s a misdirected game but that’s an entirely different issue. Anyway, while others will obviously disagree, I am glad Capcom took the risks associated with this game as it was beyond interesting to see another take (or perspective) on the franchise even though it didn’t exactly pan out. If you’re not anal retentive over change and have an open mind I recommend giving DmC a whirl. I know such a plea will obviously fall on deaf ears for more vested players, but I hope that younger generations will give this game a chance… a chance it never really had.

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It works… but don’t get too excited.

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 25 August 2013 09:12 (A review of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow)

In what is a rather long time in the world video games, I remember how unconcerned I was about playing Lords of Shadow back when it came out. I wasn’t particularly keen on the direction the franchise was headed in yet at the same time I wasn’t really cursing Konami out for their decision like others were. Like a few other intellectual properties – like the various Mega Man spin-offs and the now defunct Wild Arms series – I made peace with the fact that I wasn’t interested in following the games anymore or that they had outlived their purpose to me and their respective owners. As superficial as some will find such a decree, the phrase “God of War clone” was all needed to hear back in 2010 in order for Lords of Shadow to fade from my gaming radar. Despite dismissing the game with such erroneous haste, Mercury Steam would get around to producing a Castlevania game that would arouse my interest a few years later.

Earlier in 2013 Mercury Steam and Konami released Mirror of Fate for the Nintendo 3DS. While the game was still heavily focused on the gameplay that was founded… er “borrowed” by Lords of Shadow, Mirror of Fate cleverly intertwined elements from the previous types of gameplay the series had cultivated. The castle and the surrounding areas took a bit of influence from previous Castleroids and the combat (especially the boss battles) took a page from the “old-school” titles with their emphasis on learning enemy patterns. I honestly found it to be a very enjoyable blend of where Castlevania had been and where it currently was. Unfortunately, if the sales figures and incessant whining on message boards wasn’t enough of a clue, Mirror of Fate’s fate is cloudy at best. I know the upcoming 360 and PS3 HD release will help a bit by expanding the game’s user base (something the 3DS may have limited) but I’m not expecting any miracles by far. Still, as much as I enjoyed Mirror of Fate I was definitely interested in knowing what happened prior to the opening (or third chapter) of that game. So I put aside my reservations and popped Lords of Shadow into my PlayStation 3.

Now I wish I could say Lord of Shadows beats back that negative stereotype that it’s a God of War clone when it comes to its gameplay… but I can’t as I got what I was pretty much expecting. Almost every facet of the game is lifted from somewhere else. We’ve already covered the subject of combat, but finding scrolls on dead soldiers is something the Metroid Prime trilogy already did to great effect even though I’m fairly sure they weren’t the first to use such an effective storytelling tool. However, when you do look at the combat in Lords of Shadow, I can’t help but be reminded of 2003’s Lament of Innocence. I know there are those that will argue until they are blue in the face against the argument that these games are similar but the main difference is the degree they bank on this influence. Now, I know you can’t really say that God of War influenced Lament of Innocence since God of War didn’t exist at that point, but that style of combat became so synonymous with that franchise that it’s a relationship most people make these days. The combat in Lament has moments where it does feel like God of War but the game manages to reign those tendencies in before it loses its identity as a Castlevania game. The opposite scenario holds true for Lords of Shadow because you can’t really lose an identity when you’ve never really had one. This is why I respect Lament of Innocence’s gameplay more than Lords of Shadow’s. This doesn’t make Lament the “better” game but it is the more honest of the two despite its faults.

Of course, in bringing up the “striking” similarities Lords of Shadows shares with God of War, we should probably cover Castlevania’s previous source of influence: the Metroid series. It’s not a question of IF but WHEN someone will point out that Castlevania has “borrowed” things from other franchises before. This is undoubtedly true, but there is – at least in my eyes – a very big difference in how Castlevania went about adopting those previous elements. The non-linearity and map system Castlevania adapted from Metroid was incorporated into the series “quilt” with much more tact and grace than anything in Lord of Shadows can lay claim to. Add to this the general idea that as Castlevania was carrying on the Metroidvania style Metroid itself was kind of breaking away from that mold with some of its games.

So given that I give more props towards what the series did with the influences that lead to Metroidvania, I’m sure some will think that I’m one of those fans “who can’t let it go” and “feels Symphony of the Night is the best game in the franchise.” Well, I hate to burst their bubble (no I’m not) but I don’t fit into either category. As a game I really do enjoy Symphony of the Night but it has definitely entered the realm of overrated works… and after like seven (?) games in the same style it was time for a change. However, the fact is people don’t want change and they don’t realize how damaging stagnation and flat-out stubbornness (in the form of fanboyism) really is when it comes to an opinion. Again, I don’t think the gameplay of Lords of Shadow is the answer. It works on the most basic level – and it worked much better in Mirror of Fate where the shift to 2D covered its origin’s tracks – yet this is not even the main draw of this soon-to-be trilogy. Such a concept is rather alien to the Castlevania universe because, for the most part, the gameplay WAS the meat and potatoes of the experience. This is still true in the Mercury Steam games to a certain extent but there’s another element that has (thankfully) encroached on its importance and that would be the game’s narrative.

This is another area where fans have a little trouble letting go. As was stated above, the gameplay of Castlevania has always been the main draw… the story not so much. I know some will say that Aria and Dawn of Sorrow “mixed things up” as far as this goes but it was still pretty bare bones. Lament has some rather important moments (keyword: moments) but again it was still far away as far as a real involving narrative. Lords of Shadow goes a long way towards mending this deficiency but – there’s always a but – ends up revealing other, related problems. When you consider that the levels are rather short you may think that you’ll complete the game in a handful of hours like most action games these days yet the amount of levels per chapter really adds up quick and ironically slows the game down. Some might see this as a good thing and typically it would be like slowing down and savoring a good meal. Unfortunately, you can’t really “savor” much of what you’re given storyline wise in Lords of Shadow because the game is often stingy with its revelations. This makes a lot of the levels feel like filler and ultimately makes you appreciate the shorter stature of the previous games. About halfway through the game I was really beginning to question my commitment to the game which is usually the opposite of how I feel. Usually by the halfway point I’m compelled to devote more and larger chunks of time to complete a given game… this wasn’t the case with Lords of Shadow.

Then there is Lords of Shadow’s battle with telling rather than showing. A very significant portion of Gabriel’s emotions are told to us second hand by actor Patrick Stewart. There’s actually a very good reason as to why the game takes this approach (it doesn’t seem to be the result of not wanting or being incapable of having more cut scenes) but when I’m listening to Mr. Stewart I can’t help but think how much more impactful the emotions Gabriel wears on his face would be if I could actually see them. To be honest I can’t really heap to much blame on the game for this as I can think of some other games that are far more guilty but then we’re not really done with Lords of Shadow’s narrative either as the ending solidifies it’s worth and underachievement.

Those who have seen the ending to Lords of Shadows know it comes in two parts: the obligatory “happy ending” and the “delightfully rude revelation that destroys the previous events” part. It’s definitely a bitter ending that makes me very interested in Lords of Shadow 2 but Mercury Steam kind of screwed up here as well because you kind of need to know what happens in the one DLC packs to understand what lead to the condition of a certain character. This is why I feel Mercury Steam and/or Konami (I can’t remember which party it was at the moment) referred to the DLC as a “mistake.” I know that apology was probably focused more on it being rushed and overpriced but they really should be extend it to leaving certain details out of the core game. Then when you tack on the fact the ending seems to set up the third game and not the second (???) the questions still persist. The closing video is definitely cool but is a mess at the same time.

However, given all the above, is Lords of Shadow worth playing? The answer is a somewhat hesitant yes… but at the same time the game points out that Mercury Steam needs to get to a point where the gameplay has its own identity. Mirror of Fate was step in the right direction (it definitely felt more like a Castlevania) but going 3D again – and open world – will be a real test. I really would like to see Lords of Shadow 2 end the trilogy on a strong note, a much stronger note than this game. I know some will find my final grade for Lords of Shadow to be quite low yet the game (and the first sequel) come with a glimmer of hope. Regardless of how Mercury Steam’s work on the franchise comes to a close the series will undeniably take some influence from it and realize some new potential. One can only hope those stonewalling these games out of loyalty to the previous titles will learn something as well, but that’s something I wouldn’t hold my breath over.

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Not bad, not mediocre but doomed to misunderstood

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 1 August 2013 05:33 (A review of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate)

Like many gamers, upon completing a video game I often times like to write a review. Even in my high school days I've always liked the written word (well, much more than math and numbers at least) so I often write things down as a point of reference for the future. I know that reviews are often meant to guide others in the positives and minuses of a given product, but I tend to see them useful for myself as well. I often wonder if I'll feel the same about a given game or item ten or fifteen years down the road. Looking back at some of my oldest scribblings, some of the music CDs I liked in my youth have aged very poorly. It's a real hoot to see such a contrast in opinion as tastes change and evolve... but given the hand that fate has dealt Castlevania: Lord of Shadows ~Mirror of Fate~ writing down an opinion seems like a good idea.

I write this review mainly because I see a real divide between opinions on this game. It seems that opinions are much more positive on websites that don't focus exclusively on video games yet when I visit a gamer-centric forum many people are quick to call the game trash. To a certain extent I guess that is to be expected - gamers are (sometimes unfortunately) pretty stout with their opinions - but I don't think Mirror of Fate is the failure some see it as.

Now, I will admit when I started Mirror of Fate (about the first three hours) I was a little concerned where Mercury Steam was headed with this game. In the simplest of descriptions it really felt like something was missing. Things really picked up with the first boss (minus the quick time events that don't belong in a handheld title and make me feel like I was going to break my 3DS) and soon after that I picked up an item that really opened up the game's world. It was around this time that the game really started to show some similarities to old-school Castlevania games, especially Super Castlevania IV. The further I got the more and more I realized the game's focus on learning enemy attack patterns which, as any Castlevania fan knows, was a big part of the older games. To put it frankly, if you don't learn when to attack your not going to get very far.

Still, what puzzles me is the seemingly large group of people that dislike Mirror of Fate because it doesn't directly follow in the steps of Symphony of the Night. As a fan I can't even begin to talk about how big Symphony of the Night was for me as a fan of the franchise... but, you can only make the same game (with one new gimmick per title) so many times. Recent video game history has shown fans are more than capable of making or breaking a rebooted franchise if they want to, but in the case of Castlevania Mirror of Fate has made a believer out of me. I actually want to go back and play the first Lord of Shadows and am now looking forward to the sequel despite having kind of written them off as God of War clones.

Despite my disappointment in how some view this game, the aspect of Mirror of Fate that really clinched my attention and respect was the game's willingness to tinker with and challenge pre-established beliefs about the previous game's storylines. Mercury Steam has obviously added a page from the older games to the original Lord of Shadow's mythos but they have done it in their own unique way. While it certainly takes a while for the revelations to come to light, I thought the game offered some really delightful twists. I know some of the traditionalists are going to have huge issues with Mirror of Fate's story but I just flat out loved it.

In the end it's rather ironic that a game with a story so vested in the idea of fate faces an uncertain fate itself. While the negativity on message boards and reports of low sales are discouraging I couldn't be happier with the game. I can't really give it a ten of ten but I'm more than glad I picked it up and it has help me shed the preconceptions I had of the series newest developed games. Personally I find Mirror of Fate to be a good game, and an especially good handheld title.

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Shows why we need an indie scene, but...

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 21 July 2013 04:54 (A review of Cave Story 3D)

Cave Story is a game I ran across while watching a series of videos on YouTube covering indie games. Over the last year and a half I've become fond of somecallmejohnny's reviews and the games they've lead me to play. Cave's Story's initial appeal was pretty much summed up to me in how it was compared to the older, side scrolling Metroid titles. In being a huge fan of Metroid series (my favorite Nintendo franchise) this obviously caught my attention, but I didn't immediately buy into the premise. However, while the video focused on the downloadable versions of the game the 3DS version was mentioned briefly before the end.

Not long after I watched Johnny's video I ran across a copy of Cave Story 3D at a local game store. I thought it was pretty cool running into a copy but as I had already spent more than enough money on video games that day I passed on it. A few days later while on my computer I saw an ad from amazon that displayed the new and used prices for the game. Needless to say I was a little stunned... thirty to thirty five dollars for a used copy of a non-recent game - and nearly sixty new - really caught me off guard, especially when the copy I saw was only twenty-two. So like any bargain hunting gamer I made it a priority to get back to that store and nab the game before it was purchased by someone else. Luck was on my side as it was still there but nothing could prepare me for the lesson Cave Story would soon instill in me.

Originally released for the PC after five years in development, Cave Story takes most of its inspiration from the games of yesteryear. Long before stupid phrases like AAA gaming started coming out of the mouths of gamers and developers games where much simpler and, in a nut shell, Cave Story is a celebration of that. Again, the obvious comparison people make here is old-school Metroid, but the game takes several liberties with the formula. One such difference is Cave Story is much more linear than Metroid yet this this isn't the one that really matters. The main way Cave Story differentiates itself from the era it reflects upon is actually referenced in the title. Unlike most older games, there is much more dialog present here. The story doesn't ever reach epic proportions and it's not infallible but it's a lot more than what comparable games have to offer. At the center of this story is Mr. Adventurer (the manual's place holder name for the game's protagonist) and Curly. It's not hard to form affection for these characters but the game's success in this area also presents the player with its main failure. Like similar games Cave Story opts for the "silent protagonist" theme that is often seen in many role-playing games. Now this isn't to say this scheme can't work in a game, but with the game having so much dialog it just feels unnatural for Mr. Adventurer to have no lines. Because of this the main character never becomes anything more than a nameless avatar even though he does have a name. This is a real shame as given some more development the character could be even more likable. I know some will consider this nitpicking but after giving this some real thought this is the only thing that really holds Cave Story back from being one of my favorite games.

This isn't to say there aren't other problems for the game to overcome but they all seem like child's play compared to the above situation. The small fetch quests can become slightly annoying, sometimes the camera fails to keep up with the action when underwater jet streams are involved and the game isn't too clear at informing the player which hazards are lethal but again every other qualm I have is simply squashed by what is done right.

Still, as much as I like Cave Story 3D there is the fact that I feel it is a somewhat misleading product and that people really misrepresent it. As the name implies the game has gone from being sprite based to being fully polygonal (outside the characters) while still playing out on two dimensional plane like the original. The thing is while the graphical update is good looking for the most part, it's not really necessary. Cave Story is the game it is because of its gameplay which means the previous versions of the game are not made obsolete by this version. If you're hesitant to put the money down for this game (and I don't blame you considering the cost) give the PC original or the Nintendo DLable versions a try. The second thing about the game's graphical appearance is - contrary to what I've read in countless reviews - I don't think the 3D provided by the 3DS screens is put to good use here. The 3D is used at odd intervals and is not consistent throughout. Granted I'm probably spoiled from the 3D in games that had much more financial backing but to see so many people talk about it only to have it appear to the level it does within doesn't really justify its use. The last thing that is somewhat troubling about Cave Story 3D is the fact that the manual seems to have been completed prior to the game itself. The manual makes reference to several options that are just not in the game. On top of that is the lack of explanation of the modes of play that do exist. I still do not know what the difference between story mode and classic mode is to this day.

Problems aside I can safely say I'm glad I picked Cave Story 3D up. While it mainly serves as a reminder of a simpler time to dismiss it because of that is just the most unfortunate thing you can do. The game has definitely acted as a ad-hock introduction to the indie development scene to me and I look forward to looking into some more of these games that fill the small voids left behind by the big guns on the block. It is somewhat of a shame the game loses out because it takes some of the old-school practices to heart but thankfully none of those are the elements that relate to its gameplay.

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It’s not all gloom and doom…

Posted : 10 years, 6 months ago on 26 May 2013 10:59 (A review of X-Men Destiny)

In today’s world it always seems that people are only seeking the best of the best when it comes to video games. Of course this makes sense – I don’t know anyone that wants to purposely spend their hard earned money on a bad game – but at the same time many gamers miss out, especially when they hang onto the words of a reviewer (oh the irony!) or the utter simplicity of a MetaCritic score.

However, I’m getting ahead of myself. Sometimes a negative review can point you in the right direction. For me this is how the discovery of X-Men Destiny came about, and how even a very flawed game can feel more rewarding than the latest AAA masterpiece. Needless to say Destiny has its problems – some of them being more than obvious – but even as Angry Joe outlined them in his video review on YouTube the game still seemed like something I should check out despite his final six out of ten score. A six out of ten you say? Isn’t that the video game equivalent of the kiss of death? To some yes, but that’s not how I operate. That said, I can safely say I agree with Joe’s final analysis and that the game deserves a look from interested parties.

The combat in X-Men Destiny can be compared to the combat of other, more popular and polished games. You can unlock new skills through experience/items like Devil May Cry and God of War, but in general the game and its look seems to take a page from Dynasty Warriors. For some of those reading such a comparison is probably an ill-conceived introduction considering the semi-brainless nature of that series combat. This pretty much holds true for Destiny where the combat is so repetitive that it is almost akin to the two-dimensional brawlers on the original Nintendo like the arcade style Ninja Turtles games. Such an uncanny similarity and reflection is probably what kept me interested yet to most it will probably be the game’s biggest vice.

The rather simplistic nature of combat is what eventually turns the game’s second biggest problem into a virtue. With a campaign only lasting a mere five to six hours X-Men Destiny clearly can’t justify its initial retail price of sixty dollars since the gameplay is incapable of supporting a longer game. This doesn’t really excuse the shortsightedness on the part of the game’s developers but at least there isn’t an insane amount of padding. Additionally, I often find it nice to have a few shorter games on hand as I don’t always want to open a huge can of worms every time I play a game.

Still, the part of the game that really won me over was the presentation of the characters. I’m not really the biggest fan of the X-Men (okay, I really did like X-Men Evolution back in the day) so I’m not the best judge of character per say but I feel Activision did treat these well-established characters with the right amount of respect. There are some parts that stretch even comic book-like reality (I can’t really see a newly discovered mutant taking on a Sentinel one-on-one) but I was pretty pleased with the general direction of the story as it was enough to keep me interested.

So despite all the negative reviews I read on this game - after playing it – I’m glad I picked up X-Men Destiny. In some odd way it contains a dumb kind of fun that is easy to pick up and play. Again, I couldn’t imagine paying anywhere near full price for this title but at today’s used prices it’s sins can be somewhat forgiven and proves a game doesn’t need to be a masterpiece to be part of a gamer’s collection.

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Oh Zelda… something’s got to give.

Posted : 10 years, 6 months ago on 26 May 2013 10:05 (A review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past)

Ah Nintendo. I don’t know if there’s another brand out there that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about the late 80’s and early 90’s than Nintendo. But as much as I can reminisce about the NES and SNES (and the place they hold in my heart) it didn’t take much for the original PlayStation uproot that bond during my adolescence. However, while titles like Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VII seemed grittier than Nintendo’s ever excellent first party offerings, the arrival of the PlayStation didn’t mark the end of the 16-bit era to me. Ironically enough, I didn’t experience some of the greatest SNES titles until well into the 32-bit era. Among those titles was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

Without going to deep into the place and setting, it was pretty amazing how blown away I was by this early gen title from a bygone era. Sure, great games (usually) remain great regardless of the year or advancements in technology, but A Link to the Past never acted as the springboard I wanted it to be. One would think enjoying one Zelda game would lead to experiencing another and another but for me it never did. I’m sure a lot of this had to do with picking Sony over Nintendo in the following two console generations, but if I can backtrack and experience all the Metroid titles I missed out on you’d think I could do that for the Zelda series as well.

Fast forward to present day and A Link to the Past is still the only Zelda game I’ve ever played. To many I’m sure that’s a bloody sacrilege – and it is – but the question that was on my mind concerned A Link to the Past. After all this time was it still the ten out of ten I billed it to be in my mind? Rest assured there is an answer but all the self-assurance in the world doesn’t make the eventual reality any easier.

As unbelievable as it may sound, A Link to the Past starts out with its only real flaw; namely that the initial light world section and pendant search is mere child’s play. Granted this makes the switchover to the more unforgiving dark world (or golden land) all the more invigorating, but the game feels like it’s in neutral until you start playing around with the dual world concept. Yet as quickly as the game ups the ante there’s a strange feeling where I just can’t slap a ten out of ten on the experience even though there is little doubt the game deserves it. I just don’t know what that hesitation is… but I have a theory.

When it comes to Nintendo mascots/franchises my relationships with them has always been complicated. The sole exception is Samus Aran from Metroid although Other M may be a major snag once I get around to playing it. Anyway, perhaps the most convoluted “relationship” I have is the one I share with Kirby where no game released after the GameBoy original has been able to stack up. Try as I may – and I’ve played most of the immediate follow-ups – my fondness for Kirby is still relegated to that twenty-one year old game despite the fact it is far from prefect. Now I sure there are those that will have no problem diagnosing this as the extreme case of nostalgia goggles it is but I think my issues with Nintendo related fare go far beyond this. The truth is Nintendo developed games just don’t seem to appease my gaming appetite like titles from second and third parties do.

Because of this I often wonder what others see that I do not. Despite a sizable portion of my collection being comprised of Sony titles I don’t have an undying devotion to the brand. In fact, as the generations have passed since the 32/64-bit era I’ve been interested less and less in their offerings – but that pretty much goes for every company competing in the console wars. Additionally, Nintendo is way ahead of Microsoft as well considering I own no Microsoft products beyond the operating system for my laptop.

Regardless of how I try and analyze it, it’s a shame that my involuntary apprehension towards Nintendo products taints my view of what is one hell of a game. Breaking it down the game deserves all the ten out of tens and five out of fives it receives but my heart and the shadow cast over it (maybe it’s that damn Ganon!) won’t allow me to score it that high. That said, I think the only recourse is to play more Zelda games – and more first party Nintendo games – in the future. Here’s hoping I can find something I can give a ten that doesn’t have Metroid in the title.

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Aiming for the Lowest Common Denominator

Posted : 10 years, 7 months ago on 1 May 2013 04:29 (A review of LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga)

Legos. Like most kids I loved to fool around with Legos when I was growing up. Sure, Legos eventually took a backseat to video games in my teens - and given how much a nice set of Legos went/goes for (who knew plastic was so expensive!) – perhaps it was for the best. However, as I grew into an adult I became somewhat disenchanted with Legos from afar. Unlike in my youth, Lego more-or-less sold their soul and paired itself with every bankable intellectual property you could think of. We didn’t have Star Wars Legos in my day, we had the “M-Tron” series, and while this will make me seem like a crotchety old coot, we loved them. I didn’t need a pre-established universe to enjoy my space Legos… my imagination – the very thing Legos once thrived on – could fill in the blanks.

My memories of such Lego fun time pretty much mirrors my relationship with video games; namely how I believe the games I experienced in my youth are superior to what we have now. As you’d expect I typically get ripped on for having such a narrow point of view, for living in the past and for wearing nostalgia goggles. To a certain degree, yes, I am guilty of that yet it does not mean I am incapable of seeing how time can dull even the sturdiest of games. There are several games I can think of offhand that have failed to age gracefully. Still, this isn’t the argument I want to make. The point is ever since Lego City Undercover debuted for the Wii U it has seemed like a title I’d really like to play, but – and here’s the kicker – I’ve never played a Lego game.

While purchasing a Wii U is very far down my list as far as future purchases go (a 3DS would definitely come before that) I found myself questioning the popularity of these games… I mean there had to be something to them for developers to produce them at such regular intervals, right? With so many IP’s to choose from – Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter – I decided to go with Star Wars since I have a decent amount of respect for episodes IV, V and VI despite not being a hardcore fan. So while the subject matter was a little touch-and-go at times I was more interested in the gameplay. Unfortunately, nothing short of the Jedi mind trick could change my opinion that The Complete Saga is about as shallow as you can get when it comes to a video game.

Now I get that these games are more for younger audiences, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many adults have told me they enjoy these games as well. Those quotes in themselves helped motivate me to pop this thing into my DS XL but those statements wrote a check its tush couldn’t cash. The gameplay in Lego Star Wars follows a rudimentary formula that can be summed up as busywork. The game occupies your mind with what’s going on on-screen but it’s all for the sake of being occupied. I know that sounds like a rather redundant statement so I’ll state it another way: the whole time I was playing The Complete Saga I had this feeling I could be playing something much more deserving and rewarding.

This isn’t to say why children like these games is lost on me. Sadly it’s pretty easy to see the appeal to the younger sect. Yet this is where my past kind of conflicts with the current reality. I grew up playing Mega Man games. Even after all the damage Capcom did to the property later on I still love Mega Man. I may have turned a blind eye to it in the blissful ignorance of childhood I can now admit that these games where practically the same thing over and over and it’s pretty amazing (e.g. sad) that Capcom was able to milk it for as long as they did. That said, the Mega Man games were the Lego games of my youth. The thing is while I don’t see a difference in the overall pattern of releasing an absurd amount of games with as little change as possible, I do see a difference in the overall value. It’s true that Mega Man never evolved unless a spin-off was created (the excellent Mega Man X being a great and perhaps best example) I simply feel that Mega Man’s gameplay is a few hundred times more rewarding than what’s here even though it’s been done to death. It’s true the Lego game may take longer to complete but it’s nowhere as fulfilling.

The other thing about the Lego series that is somewhat of a hitch is the insanely low difficulty. The lack of consequence for “dying” is something I just can’t eye to eye with having grown up with unmerciful NES games. Removing such a boundary from the game only reinforces the fact that The Complete Saga is a hollow collect-a-thon with no challenge what-so-ever. It’s the equivalent of giving the player a participant trophy when they absolutely suck. I’d go on about how this train of thought is damaging but to shorten this paragraph by a sentence or two I’d suggest checking out the “You Are All Diseased” and “It’s Bad for Ya” comedy specials by the late George Carlin. Alternatively, you can also listen to the somewhat antagonizing “Neverlution” special by Christopher Titus where Chris more-or-less plagiarizes the whole Carlin bit. The point is you need a boundary like this even in a video game so there is something to work towards other than unlocking insipid stuff with cash. Video games should deny players access to later content until they’ve proved their skills. This occurs one time within The Complete Saga.

To be honest I wish there was more to say about this game. The game does make me glad that I grew up when I did and games didn’t give out gold stars like candy. I’m sure some out there will believe I’m missing the point of these games but the only thing I see is an experience that's probably just re-skinned time and time again to wring a bucket of cash out of loyal fans. And again, I see the irony as I realize that’s all that Mega Man was but at least Mega Man was its own entity and not the combination of two brain dead properties. For what it’s worth I’d rather play an aging and ailing franchise than one that was created to cater to the lowest common denominator. Still, if I can take one thing away from all of this, it’s the hope that Lego City Undercover will be a lot more robust than this game whenever I get to play it.

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There Are Some Lessons To Be Learned

Posted : 10 years, 7 months ago on 16 April 2013 09:14 (A review of Devil May Cry 4)

Devil May Cry, the kingpin of the hack and slash genre. I never really sat down and played any of these games for a considerable amount of time – I did play the original game up until the first boss - but as the recent reboot split the series’ fanbase in two (with some very ironic results) I can easily say I’ve become interested. Given that all the games in the original series are very inexpensive these days (the 1-3 HD collection cost about fifteen to twenty-five dollars and the collector’s edition of 4 only ran me a mere eleven) I’d thought I’d check these games out. Now I’m sure some will find starting with Devil May Cry 4 to be a mistake – and in hindsight it kind of was – but I wanted to start with something that was current gen since my brother-in-law rags on me for owning a PlayStation 3 and only using it to play PlayStation 1 and 2 games. Still, in a certain way, I’m kind of glad I did play this one first because nostalgia, unlike every other game I play and review, is far from a factor here.

As most know, the major change in Devil May Cry 4 is the introduction of Nero. I tend to see a lot of dislike towards Nero but I’m rather indifferent towards him. Yeah, his personality isn’t and infectious as Dante’s and I could really care less about his quote unquote quest to save Kyrie but in context it’s executed well enough. The bigger and more important question here is how well Nero handles in combat. Up until this point the only games I’ve played that really remind me of Devil May Cry 4 are Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. However, this game has taught me that is a rather poor comparison. The gameplay in Devil May Cry is on a different, higher level than those games, especially Curse of Darkness which was decent enough despite its total lack of inspiration. Outside a few isolated spots the challenge factor seems spot on and increases as you become more familiar with Nero during the first half of the game. Before long I was comfortable despite some moves like the launcher requiring multiple buttons to be pressed.

Unfortunately, this harmony was completely shattered by the change of protagonist halfway through the game. I really wanted to play as Dante until I got to play as Dante. Seriously, the difference between these characters is a lot wider than the game’s gameplay would suggest. On a surface level this seems like something that should be commended yet it really is akin to slamming into a brick wall due to the enemy intelligence not being toned down to allow the player to ease into controlling Dante. The game seems to assume that if you can control Nero (who I was getting pretty good with) you’ll be up to the task of controlling Dante. Again, I’m sure if I had played the previous games this would have been way less painful, but it sure wasn’t fun having enemies take complete advantage of my lack expertise, exploiting every moment of weakness and not having the overpowered buster moves to fall back on.

Eventually I did find my bearings with Dante yet this did not fix the game’s other main problem, that the second half of the game feels like an afterthought. While playing with Nero everything I encountered seemed to be constructed with a purpose and the pace of the game seemed very deliberate. This feeling simply does not exist when backtracking as Dante. These proceedings come off as rushed even though there are some entertaining cut scenes along the way. I’ve read many times that the game was the victim of a somewhat botched development cycle and it clearly shows. I and others can only imagine what Devil May Cry 4 could have been had it been given the proper room to breathe.

When all is said and done I want Devil May Cry 4 to be a challenging game, much like I expect Contra games to be completely unmerciful – it’s just part of the deal. But a game needs to consider the needs of the player, especially when there is a shift that seems minor but is anything but. Devil May Cry 4 somewhat fails at this, but should definitely be experienced by anyone who is interested. Nero may not hold the same place in the hearts of fans as Dante does but the lessons one can learn from controlling another/different character in the Devil May Cry universe are invaluable.

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Ambition vs inspiration

Posted : 10 years, 8 months ago on 8 April 2013 03:24 (A review of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption)

Ambition. It’s needless to say if you are a game developer ambition is something you want your game to exude. Ambition is important, but just like anything else too much ambition is a bad thing. When it comes to ambition biting a developer in the nether regions, I’m often reminded of titles like Xenogears where the scale of the project was so immense that its budget couldn’t support it and resulted in one of the most interesting yet most flaccid role-playing games in existence. Now I don’t hate Xenogears. There are several things I like about the game. I just wish people could see that despite its scale it’s a flawed creation, not worthy of that many ten out of tens. Xenogears teaches us many things about games, but the lesson I’ve always taken from the experience it puts fourth is sometimes what a game tries to do is more important than what it actually accomplishes. Likewise, imperfect games often times have more to tell us than those quote unquote “masterpieces.” These were the kinds of things that were on my mind as I booted up Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii. Many, many years late to the party would this – my first Wii game – help me forget my slight disappointment with Echoes or would it only reinforce my feelings that the original Prime was when lightening truly struck?

The first thing one will notice with Prime 3 is its scale. The game isn’t really longer or shorter than its predecessors – which is a good thing considering they clocked in at a respectable length that easily justified their purchase – but the game attempts to spread out its real estate for the illusion of girth – geographically and with its narrative. There’s a real push to up the ante in these areas and it’s obvious from the start. Story wise the game introduces us to some rival, but friendly, bounty hunters who are rather likeable. As far as the game’s setting goes, Corruption takes place over several planets and star ships. The idea of introducing additional characters in the Metroid universe is an interesting one. Up until now all we’ve had is Samus herself and the various members of the Space Pirates. Well, okay, we had Prime Hunters in there but I’m not sure if anyone really cared for the additional characters in that game. Corruption’s first missions go into some detail about these guns for hire, and it’s not hard to form a little bit of affection for them, especially once you combine their actions with the various logs you uncover. However, the attachment to these personalities ends as quickly as it begins. Dire fates await these hunters yet you’ll feel absolutely nothing for them when they meet their demise. Even when Gandrayda screams in agony in her final moments it means nothing. This is the exact opposite of how one feels when they gun down a member of Fox Hound in Metal Gear Solid. We don’t know Sniper Wolf or Psycho Mantis for very long but we feel we do after we talk to them before they pass on. Samus’ fellow bounty hunters in Prime 3 feel utterly wasted in comparison: bitches of a narrative that simply undervalues them.

The game also misses the mark with many of its locations. While this feeling started to take hold in Echoes there is something about Corruption that is downright weird. Structurally the game is similar to the previous games but there’s an element that keeps it – for the lack of a better description – from really feeling like a Metroid game. I’m sure some of those reading are saying “Of course it doesn’t feel like a Metroid game, it’s a freaking Halo rip-off!” but I’ve never played Halo so I don’t know if that’s what happening or what. Early on I thought this problem was due to the game’s control scheme and my inexperience with the Wii but the problem persisted even after I gained my bearings with the controls. To be honest, I can’t wait to replay the first two games with these controls when I get around to playing the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Still, while I’m not exactly sure of it’s the cause, I think Corruption’s real problem is a small lack of inspiration. As I implied above I feel the game is ambitious with its scale – and I really respect that – but I think some of the most awe-inspiring locations in the game are rather boring, Elysia is the prime example were a lot of the planet’s architecture repeats itself making it very easy to become disoriented. Seriously, if it wasn’t for the game’s map feature I would have wasted more time than I did rambling around looking for things in this area. The small lack of inspiration aside, Prime 3 also struggles in the challenge department. Such a problem is tongue in cheek as I don’t really consider any of these games to be hard yet there are often times were it took a few loses to become familiar with boss enemies. Corruption continues this trend at first (damn you Mogenar!) but by the time you reach the third Leviathan seed bosses become an absolute joke. You’d think that with the word “Omega” in front of his name Omega Ridley would be hard but no… and the final bosses are even greater pushovers. This is unfortunate because boss fights tend to be one of the best elements of the series.

Flaws aside I enjoyed my time with Corruption. While it is probably my least favorite game out of the three game trilogy, I like how each game has its own identity. That said, while I’m pleased with what Retro did for the series I don’t think I’d want any more games in this style. It’s pretty clear that some aspects of Corruption were stretched thin to keep the experience fresh. Prime 3 proves this is easier said than done, although those who found the pervious games too confining will probably love this entry. Personally, I like my games to be a little more self-contained like the original Prime which was definitely the winner of the trilogy for me. Regardless of my opinion, Corruption is completely worth picking up – especially at today’s used prices.

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Ashley Winchester commented on a list
GruntLogic's Favorite Game Series (30 games items)

"It's kind of amazing how many games some of these franchises have now... but personally I break some of these lists up a bit more when I'm categorizing them or talking about them. For example I kind "

10 years, 2 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
Capcom on NES: Best to Worst (40 games items)

"Wow! I never thought I'd see the original Mega Man placed so high... I mean I respect the game for spearheading the series and all but to be honest the game kind of ticks me off. Well, maybe I'm a lit"

10 years, 2 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
Games To Acquire (254 games items)

"Holy hell, that's an insanely freakin' rude comment thenoah! What's so great about newer games anyway? The only thing better about them are the graphics... despite what developers will try and tell yo"

10 years, 2 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
Best Bad Movies (35 movies items)

"Can you really call Evil Dead II a "bad movie" when the movie is intentionally set up to be that way? One of my favorite bad movies is Coneheads. Yeah, I know it's bad but I still like the damn thing"

10 years, 3 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
Top 10 Game Boy & GB Color Games (10 games items)

"Agreed on Metroid II, think the dislike is a little misdirected... easily one of my favorite handheld games."

10 years, 4 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
The Top 100 Videogame Villains (100 games items)

"I can't believe you put Seifer from Final Fantasy VIII on here with actual GOOD villians. Seifer was a terrible villain... but then Squall was a pretty terrible hero."

10 years, 4 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
My Ten Favorite Video Game Companies! (10 games items)

"Eh... I really like the games id made in the beginning like Doom and Doom II (and I totally loved reading about the company's early days in Masters of Doom) but when I'm honest they aren't the company"

10 years, 4 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
Classical Music in Games (18 games items)

"Dude Totally forgot: Mega Man Legends 2 (PS1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFKJOKLlJGA The Sulpher Bottom theme is Vivaldi's "Four Seasons~ Spring" This was also adapted by Makoto Tomozawa of C"

10 years, 4 months ago
Ashley Winchester commented on a list
Classical Music in Games (18 games items)

"Got a few you can add: Mega Man Legends (PS1) Piece: Nocturne Op.9 No.2 Composer: Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin In Game: "Present" (Music box theme in Roll's room) On YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/w"

10 years, 4 months ago

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Posted: 10 years, 1 month ago at Oct 16 0:57
Thanks for the comment. To respond, I noticed that too that Xenoblade/Last Story had more attention then Pandora's Tower. It's a shame since its a interesting game with some noticeable flaws, but fun nevertheless. I'm so glad Xseed picked this up. There's really need to be more games like these in the market instead of being only in Japan.
Posted: 10 years, 2 months ago at Oct 4 23:06
Yeah, GTA Online has issues from what I heard. Apparently it has loading issues, weird bugs like the mission failing appearing despite just started the mission, and others. I can't comment about the online myself as I haven't played it yet other then my character I created for online got deleted for no reason. At least the main game is quite playable.
Posted: 10 years, 2 months ago at Sep 22 4:43
I'm sure that has nothing to do with it... Thanks for the comments and votes dude!
Posted: 10 years, 4 months ago at Jul 27 5:23
I agree with your comment regarding Id Software. They indeed have outstayed their welcome, but I still love them for the achievements they've done, not how they've become now.

Plus, I loved Masters of Doom. Really gave an awesome insight to the company, the crew and video gaming as a whole!
Posted: 10 years, 4 months ago at Jul 21 17:24
Thanks for the vote and comment. To answer it, yes the members were from SE before they made XSeed.
Posted: 10 years, 4 months ago at Jul 19 5:06
actually i find this one picture from simpsons ..
Posted: 10 years, 5 months ago at Jun 28 18:44
great collection of consolle...
Posted: 10 years, 5 months ago at Jun 17 7:32
Thanks for the comment.
Posted: 10 years, 6 months ago at May 28 19:45
Thanks for the vote!
Posted: 10 years, 11 months ago at Dec 30 3:10
Hey Mr. Winchester. Could you take a quick look at my friend Mr. Saturn's Listal's Favorite Game Series Poll and comment with up to 20 of your favorite video game series? It'd be keen if you could!