Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story (Bigfishgames.com)

When a young woman’s husband goes missing, she sets out to a creepy town to find him.  Her only guide is a talking doll who was mailed to her along with a dollhouse.

The storyline is slowly revealed to you in the form of dolls that you place in a dollhouse as you continue the game.  You also get closer and closer to finding the main character’s husband and a few other people help you along the way.

The game is your standard hidden object with items you add to your inventory.  You will have to backtrack to complete the game.  If you’re stuck, you can use a hint.  Oh, and did I mention that the Collector’s Edition comes with extra footage that you can use to fully understand how this mess all happened?

This game is suspenseful and addictive.  I give it 8 out of 10; not a bad waste of your time.

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Aveyond 3: Lord of Twilight (Amaranthgames.com)

When Mel is hired to steal an orb, she thinks it’s just going to be an easy job for pay.  If only she knew what she was getting into.

The plot of this one is more like a prologue than an actual chapter.  You get to know the characters, find out the evil plan of the villain and begin collecting items to try to stop him.  There are a few side quests, but you don’t get to complete some of them until the next game.

The game play is the same as the last two with a couple of exceptions.  You can activate a system that allows you to travel through various locations.  You can also level up your characters without having to add them to the active party.  Oh, and when you search the corpse of an enemy after you kill it, it disappears.

This game is short but exciting.  I give it 7 out of 10; a good start to the third game in the series.

Aveyond 2 (Amaranthgames.com)

When a young elf named Iya is captured by the Snow Queen, it’s up to her friend Ean to come to the rescue.  Can they stop the Snow Queen from turning the world into ice?

Despite what it sounds like, rescuing Iya is only the beginning of the game.  Plus, it’s Iya discovering her magic that allows them to escape in the first place.  The rest of the story is about restoring Iya to normal and defeating the Snow Queen.  Another thing is that the two elves live in a place cut off from the rest of the world called the Vale.  Unlike in other stories, where the main character dreams of leaving their small town to explore the rest of the world, Ean and Iya are perfectly happy in the Vale.  If it weren’t for the Snow Queen, they would have stayed there.  Emma and Rye are the ones that want to leave their home and dream of something greater.  Yes, there are other characters besides Ean and Iya and, like the last game, you can marry various characters.  Ean has to buy things for Iya or have spells cast on the both of them.  Emma has to win or lose a tournament while making a bet with Rye.  Ava can either marry Gavin or teach Nicholas humility depending on which one you’d rather have in your party.  If you want both, go to Amaranth Games and check out the goodies they have for this one.  Oh, and you can also choose between three endings, even though one of them doesn’t actually have an ending.

Unlike the last game where they had a tendency to force pairings, this one actually manages to give them chemistry with the exception of one.  Ean and Iya have been friends for years and there are hints throughout the story that they care for each other a great deal.  Emma and Rye are both commoners who want more from life than what they have.  They also have a competitive streak that causes them to insult each other and place a bet when Emma signs up for a tournament regarding servitude.  To me, this pairing is the most believable because of their natures.  My only problem is that Rye says that Emma’s not like other girls who are boring and sappy.  I get that there probably weren’t many deep women in Rye’s farming village, but he also travels with Iya and Ava.  Ava is a no nonsense pirate who shouldn’t be messed with and while Iya is more girly than the other two, she knows where her priorities lie.  One example is that when Iya and Ean are fleeing from the Snow Queen, though Iya loves her Snow Princess gown, she knows that it’s hard to travel in and that there’s no room for it in her pack so she throws it away.  This is a breath of fresh air from Cassandra Claire’s Draco Trilogy where even when the women were in a life-threatening situation, the minute they got a new dress that was their number one priority.  As I said earlier, Ava has two paths she can take.  Truth is, I didn’t find her relationship with Gavin believable.  During the game, he makes advances that she is constantly rejecting and then he makes an offer out of nowhere that makes her like him.  She refuses, but I wonder if he knew she was going to turn him down.  I also love Nicholas’s storyline where he is rude and conceited yet he sees the consequences of his actions with the help of Ava.  Like Lars, he sees the error of his ways and learns humility.  Unlike Lars, we are not meant to take the writer’s word for it and actually witness his transformation.  His relationship with Ava is far more believable than her marriage to Gavin but I don’t think Nicholas is a better match for her.  Ava and Nicholas’s relationship seems more like an older sibling teaching her younger brother how to behave than that of boyfriend and girlfriend.

The game play is like the last one where you travel the world fighting monsters and leveling up your characters.  You can also partake in events that give certain characters attraction points and buy a farm that can be your party’s headquarters.  If you want an easy play through, you can find several goodie caves throughout the game.  You can also sign Iya up for one of four guilds and get a new outfit based on which one of them you choose.

This game is addictive and has more of a storyline.  I give it 8 out of 10; a superior sequel to the last game.

Aveyond (Amaranthgames.com)

A young girl named Rhen is captured from her home and sent into slavery in a far away land.  Fortunately for her, she has the power to draw magic from swords and is sent to the academy to learn how to use it.  Now she has to stop an evil sorcerer from destroying the world.

I know, this sounds like the plot of Ahriman’s Prophecy with the words changed.  That game is actually a prequel to this one.  While this game does more than the previous one does with the side characters, they all remain the same until the end of the game.  The only exception is Lars who somehow stops acting like a royal brat and gains humility with no explanation of how this drastic change occurred in the first place.  I guess you could say that Dameon also changes but even that literally has to be forced by magic. 

The pairings are another issue I have due to the fact that every one of them seems forced, some of them quite literally.  Rhen’s relationship with Dameon seem to have come from nowhere.  They immediately take a liking to each other and he changes his mind about some of his beliefs just from a few words from her, something his own mother couldn’t accomplish.  You might expect me to talk about how I prefer Lars and Rhen as a pairing, like many other fans do but I’m sort of on the fence about that one.  Rhen was a slave to Lars’ mother and spent years under his abuse.  In the beginning, he didn’t seem to care if he accidentally killed her.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could ever hook up with a guy that I associate the worst years of my life with.  On the other hand, if done correctly, it would have been an interesting story arc to see them struggle with feelings for each other while remembering their history together.  Elini and Pirate John is another pairing I have an issue with because the former pours love potion all over the latter.  I always felt that love potion was a form of rape because you’re forcing someone else to have feelings for you instead of respecting their decisions.  What I liked about Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that such magic was not portrayed in a favorable light.  Te’ijal and Galahad are also forced but how they end up married is believable and in character, so I will applaud the writers for that.

Speaking of Galahad, he was the character that I found most irritating.  He didn’t believe in magic despite all the evidence around him that it exists in this universe.  He also tags along with Rhen in the belief that a young woman needs a man to protect her despite all evidence that Rhen can protect herself just fine.  Though I did like that when Galahad makes the offer, Rhen is understandably insulted by this but agrees to take him along because his skills would benefit the group as a whole.

Rhen herself is not a believable protagonist.  She has no clue what country she’s in and has to be told where to go.  At the end, you can choose what path she takes and every single one of them seems forced.  If the intention was to give her very little personality so the audience can pretend to be her during the game, it would have been better to use her as a silent protagonist like Link from Legend of Zelda.

The game play is different from the last one in that when you touch a monster, you enter a battle screen. 

You can also change party members as you see fit.  Unfortunately, there’s no escape option so you need to save often.  Sometimes you come across save crystals which I don’t really see the point of having seeing as how you can save the game by going to the main menu.  You can go wherever you want on the world map and enter various cities and wilderness areas.  If you do a thorough search, you can find two goodies, one that can warp you to different locations and another that can give you huge amounts of gold.  You can also find various treasure chests and loot the corpses for more items and gold.  During the game, you’ll also have a choice between four guilds for Lars to join.

This game is simplistic yet addictive.  I give it 7 out of 10; it makes up for its lack of characterization by its fun game play.

Ahriman’s Prophecy (Amaranthgames.com)

Talia was once an ordinary girl who only wanted to be a herbalist.  Unfortunately, during her naming ritual she uncovers an evil plot.  Now she must study to become a magic wielder and save the world from destruction.

The plot’s quite simple, save the world from an evil sorcerer. 

The two main characters are Talia and Devin and sometimes it feels like they’re the only two characters in the whole game.  During the journey, all Devin and Talia do is talk to each other.  While you can invite other characters, they contribute little in the way of storyline.  Alicia’s just another marriage option for Devin, after Frederick’s side quest, you don’t do anything with him except when you need to teach him a new shape shifting form, and Jack only has one side quest option and then he disappears.  It’s like the rest of the members just stand there in silence while Devin and Talia talk.  There’s also a dwarf you can hire but I never really use him.  The story line is quite cliché with a villain dumber than dirt.  One example would be a scene where he possesses a very important person and acts very impatient.  If he had acted nonchalant, Talia and Devin would have just given him the relics they collected and he would have won.

The game play is different than I’m used to but enjoyable.  Instead of entering random battles, you see a health bar whenever you exit town, go around destroying random enemies you see in the field and loot their corpses. 

As I said earlier, you can choose whether you want Devin to marry Talia or Alicia.  Another aspect of the game is that there are five guilds for Talia to join.  There is one aspect of the game play I hate and it’s that you can only have four people with you.  You can’t keep other members in a reserved party and when you switch members out you have to go all the way back to the city you found them in to get them back.  Then you have to switch out another party member to do so.  It’s a very frustrating aspect.

This game is simplistic yet addictive.  I give it 6 out of 10, and the best part is it’s free.

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