Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “action adventure”

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek Online Memorial)

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Well, today was the day of the online memorial for Leonard Nimoy’s death.  I went there as my character, T’Mara.

screenshot_2015-03-05-13-35-23It took me a while to get here, because I couldn’t log into Star Trek Online and had to exit out of twitch tv in order for the game to stop crashing.  After that, I managed to get back on twitch TV.  There were memorials on New Romulus and Qo’nos as well,but I attended the one on Vulcan as my Vulcan character because I thought that was most appropriate.  It started out as a simple service with everyone saying, “Live Long and Prosper,” including me, and giving the Vulcan salute, as shown in the screen shot above.  Then a few trolls came in and started having their fun.  One threw smoke grenades whenever he or she could.

screenshot_2015-03-05-13-41-01Another lit up a disco ball that made everyone in the vicinity of it dance.

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Some people got mad, but I think they were just trying to keep the memorial from being too tearful.  After the fun was over, I went to Earth Spacedock and read the plaque for the people who worked on Star Trek that are no longer with us.

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Though, I have to admit.  It took me a while to find it.

Now that the recap’s out of the way, I would like to say a few words.  My first introduction to Star Trek was The Next Generation and I didn’t watch the Original Series until I was in middle school.  I looked the series up because I was curious to see the show that inspired the Star Trek universe and watched reruns of it on the sci-fi channel.  While it was clear to me that Kirk was the looker of the group, I found myself literally falling in love with Spock’s intelligent and logical mind along with his struggle to be purely Vulcan while denying his human half.  It was the first time I ever heard of logic and found myself embracing the Vulcan way of life, which I did poorly.  I started forming an imaginary relationship with him in my head and, for a long time, I hated McCoy and anyone who dared to insult Spock.  I don’t hate McCoy anymore, so don’t post on here telling me to stop hating him.  After a while, Deep Space Nine became my favorite of the Star Trek series and I felt that Garak was the most developed character that Star Trek had to offer.  However, Spock will always hold a special place in my heart and I will always love him.  When I heard of Leonard Nimoy’s death, four thoughts popped into my head.  If Kingdom Hearts wants to keep using old Xehanort, they’ll have to find a new voice actor.  I’ll never hear another Leonard Nimoy voiceover on Star Trek Online again.  Spock Prime will never have another cameo.  Most importantly, I’ll never have the chance to meet Leonard Nimoy at Comic-Con and tell him what a huge impact Spock had on my life.  It was because of Leonard Nimoy’s ideas that Spock became the character he is today.  His death is the first time I ever cried for a celebrity, a man I didn’t even know, and now I never will.

Final Fantasy Origins Part 1(Target or Walmart)


The Final Fantasy games are some of the most profitable video games you can find. Years ago, Square Enix remade the very first two games of the series for the Playstation. One considered a remake in both Japan and America and the other released for the very first time in the latter.

Final Fantasy

Since time began, four orbs controlled the elements of fire, water, wind and earth. Now, those orbs fell to the power of darkness. Only four warriors of light, each carrying a crystal, can restore power to the orbs and banish darkness once and for all.

That’s right, the very first game of a plot driven series has little to none of what made the series great in the first place. You never find out anything about the warriors you control, such as how they met or how they came across the crystals in the first place. Every town you drop in has just as much amount of plot and character development. The webcomic, 8-bit Theater, spoofs the very flaws you find in this game. I can’t really fault the writer for that, since everyone involved thought this would be their final game (hence why they called it Final Fantasy).

What the game lacks in story it more than makes up for in gameplay. In the beginning, you name four characters and choose a class for each one. Choose wisely, because, until you get class changes, you’re stuck with these four characters for the rest of the game. You travel the overworld map fighting battles to gain experience points. You also go through dungeons to bring power to the orbs and collect quest items. During your journey, you can visit towns to upgrade your equipment, purchase spells for your mages and resurrect dead characters. In this game, the only way for resurrection is either life spells or visiting the temple and paying the person to revive them. You can also rest at the inn and save your game. The only other saves you can do are memo saves, which is more of a safety mechanism than anything else.

This game is simplistic yet addictive. I give it 6 out of 10; a mediocre plot with fun game play.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Gamefly.com)


When Phoenix Wright became a defense attorney, all he wanted was to help innocent clients. Unfortunately, he lives in a world where it’s guilty until proven innocent. Not only that, but he has to face prosecutors who care more about winning than they do about justice. Can Phoenix beat the odds and prevent innocent people from rotting in a jail cell, or worse?

Despite the Americanization of the game, the legal system is strictly Japanese. In Japan, at the time they released the game, it’s guilty until proven innocent and that leads to complications. Therefore, you can imagine that defense attorneys didn’t achieve many victories. Therefore, the game’s essence is that of a defense attorney fantasy. Phoenix does have a hard time proving his clients’ innocence but, in the end, something always happens that proves his clients innocent. The game takes place 20 minutes in the future with the fantasy element of spirit channeling. It’s also quite serious save for a few ridiculous moments worthy of an anime, such as Phoenix cross-examining a parrot. I am not kidding.

For those of you who don’t want any spoilers, you might want to skip to the very last paragraph of my review. Spirit channeling plays an active role in the game by having Maya contact Mia Fey, her sister and Phoenix’s mentor. Despite the game using Mia for fan service, I absolutely loved the character. She is every bit as capable at her job as Phoenix is and maybe more. All I know is that, without her, Phoenix would have never won. Many people feel that her being used as fan service undermines her, but I feel that the game could have easily portrayed her as a beautiful woman with no intellect whatsoever or a woman hoping to make it big while crying about her beauty because no one takes her seriously. Instead, Mia is a confident person who doesn’t let anyone stand in her way and proves herself to be more than just a pretty face. Plus, to me, it seems more sexist to give all the strong intelligent women small breasts but maybe I’m just being a bad feminist. Speaking of Mia, I do love the game’s portrayal of women. It’s quite common in anime for the women’s main desire to get married, Sailor Moon and Wedding Peach being a couple of examples. In this game, the women have no desire whatsoever to tie the knot. For example, Maya and Ema, Phoenix’s sidekicks in the game, want to be a spirit channeler and a scientific investigator respectfully.

Despite Phoenix being the main character, the game is about the prosecutor, Miles Edgeworth. He starts out as a ruthless man who would do anything to get a guilty verdict. As the game progresses, his worldview starts to change as, little by little, he cares more about finding the truth than he does about his perfect record. In the fourth case, he’s forced to come to terms with all the lives he ruined by being in the defendant’s chair. In the fifth case, he becomes an ally to Phoenix while considering turning in his own resignation.

The game play is quite unique. You travel through different locations collecting evidence and gathering information from as many people you can find.

During the trial, you listen to witnesses testify and use the evidence you gather to point out any contradictions in what they have to say.

If you can’t find any, you can press the witness until you find it. The fifth case is the only one that takes advantage of the Nintendo DS gaming system by also having you spray luminol and dust for fingerprints.

This game is intriguing and addictive. I give it 9 out of 10; I laughed and almost cried during some scenes.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (Gamefly.com)

When Professor Layton’s mentor opens the fabled Elysian Box, he dies. Is the myth about whoever opens that box will die true, or did someone murder the professor’s mentor and make it look like the myth was true?

The plot is your typical Professor Layton game. At first, it looks like something mystical is going on. Then the characters explain everything in a way that a raises even more questions. To sum it up, the entire series is one big Voodoo Shark (a term invented by SFDebris). Don’t get me wrong, I love the series but I can’t ignore its flaws. I will say one thing, and I warn you that there will be spoilers in what I say next. Professor Layton is not a fit guardian. He regularly abandons Flora, a girl with psychological abandonment issues to the point where she can’t be alone, to go adventuring. When he discovers that Don Paolo kidnapped Flora, he decides to continue solving the mystery of Folsense and the Elysian Box and treats getting Flora back as an afterthought. At this point, I wonder why Flora’s even in the games anymore. She did serve a purpose in the first game but now she’s little more than the token girl of the series. You could say the same about Emmy in the prequel series but she has actually proven useful on more than one occasion.

The game play is the same as ever. You explore the scenery while solving various puzzles along the way. Granny Riddleton will collect any puzzles you miss. You also have three mini-games you can play in the form of exercising an overweight hamster, repairing a camera and taking pictures, and brewing and serving tea to the citizens of Folsense. For those of you who follow my twitter account, you know that the last one is not only my favorite in this game but in the entire series. You can also collect keys to read an old diary. When you’ve finished the game, you can solve bonus puzzles to unlock a few bonuses in the game.

This game is addictive and intriguing. I give it 8 out of 10; one of my favorites in the series.

The Walking Dead Game Season 1 Part 5: No Time Left (Steam Store)

Someone’s kidnapped Clementine and a walker bit Lee.  Can Lee save Clementine before he becomes another undead monster?

This is the episode where the first season ends.  Who you take with you depends on your choices in the previous episode.  I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll keep in brief.  Remember when you took food from a truck at the end of episode 2?  Now you get to see the consequences of your decision.  Oh, and if you don’t get choked up at the end, you have no heart.

This episode is played the same way as the previous ones were.  You explore various scenes to collect items for your inventory.  You also pick the dialogue options and make choices throughout the game.  What choice you make strongly affects the storyline.

The game is heartbreaking and addictive.  I give it 9 out of 10; I choked up at some parts.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Gamefly.com)

Professor Layton has just received a note from the late Baron Augustus Reinhold.  His mission, to discover where the Baron has hidden his fortune.  On the way, he has to solve every puzzle the villagers give him.

This game is actually the very first of the Layton series.  The plot is about Baron Reinhold’s family and you have to figure out the story little by little.  This is also an introduction to the characters and the only one we really get a back-story about is Flora.  So, I can’t really say anything about the game without giving away spoilers.

The game play is the same as any other game from the Professor Layton series.  You solve puzzles in order to collect picarats.  You can find hint coins throughout the game and if you miss a puzzle, you can go to Granny Riddleton.  You also have three mini-games you have to solve and in this one you need to assemble a robot dog, put a picture together and create the perfect inn rooms for Luke and Layton.  When you’re done with the game, you can solve the puzzles in the bonuses section and unlock plenty of hidden content.

This game is addictive and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; a good introduction to the Professor Layton series.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 3: Gameboy Color Version (Amazon.com)

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After the PC version, I concentrated on this one next.  Unlike the other games, this one focuses more on the story from the book.  It also has an RPG aspect that makes it unique.

Since I’m very picky about research (except when it comes to school work), I read the first Harry Potter book and viewed the first movie again.  I have to admit that, compared to the later ones, this one isn’t quite as great but it’s still enjoyable.  Still, what is it about these books that make them so popular?  Maybe it’s because, as Bobby Bacala (The Sopranos) says, “it gives the other kids, the 98 pound weakling, some hope.”  It might also be because, unlike other books targeted to children, Harry Potter is not so condescending.  In many books that are aimed towards children, when the main character broke a rule no matter how minor, they were automatically caught and punished for it.  This method was a way to manipulate children into being obedient robots.  In these books, sometimes Harry is rewarded for breaking rules or he’s punished.  Sometimes, he doesn’t get caught at all.  However, it might be because books in the UK aren’t as condescending as books in the US.  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

As I said, this game is the most loyal to the book with a few differences.  For one thing, it’s Hermione who tells Harry about Snape instead of Percy, which makes absolutely no sense considering that Hermione knows as much about the teachers as Harry does while Percy’s been there for five years.  Some scenes follow the book exactly and yet seem out of place, such as McGonagall showing up out of nowhere to take twenty points from Slytherin and Draco not even objecting to that whatsoever.  Sometimes it gets the characters wrong, such as having Draco give Harry a prize for beating him when Draco is a sore loser.  Another thing is that makes this game notable is that it’s the only one to have you attend History of Magic.  Don’t worry, all you do is get sent to Diagon Alley to retrieve a card.

The game play is RPG like which separates it from the other ones in the series.  You run into magic clouds and get into a battle with various monsters.  The more experience points you gain, the more you level up.  If you use a spell enough times you can also have it upgraded.  Oh, and you can collect wizard cards and card combinations you can use to aid you in battle. 

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To me, this seems out of place because RPG elements don’t really suit Harry Potter.  I prefer learning spells in classes and going through the obstacle courses in other games because it feels more like you’re in a magical school.  Did I mention that this is the only game where Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw could win the House Cup rather than automatically losing to Slytherin if you don’t have enough points?

This game is loyal but out of place.  I give it 3 out of 10; it’s unique but not in a good way.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 2: PC Version

After finishing the Playstation version I concentrated on this one.  Ironically, this one was actually the first version I ever played.  Like the Playstation version, this also gives you the feel of being a student.  However, there are differences in this version.

In the Playstation version, Harry Potter is the silent protagonist save for when he’s casting spells (think Link from Zelda or the 10-year-old trainers from Pokemon), but in this version he says very little.  The thing is, Harry only reacted in the first book, so it actually makes perfect sense.  You also have to collect beans for Fred and George, but instead of collecting a certain type of bean you just collect 25 beans and trade them for Wizard Cards throughout the game.  You have to collect all the Wizard Cards in order to see the secret ending and like the book, Dumbledore’s the first card you get.

You also get to attend classes and learn spells.  In order to learn the spell, you have to trace a symbol provided by the Professor.  As fun as it is, there’s a ticking clock that can make you very nervous and your hand can be unsteady because of it, so it’s hard to pass the final tracing lesson.  After that’s over, you get to participate in a challenge where you try to collect all the stars hidden throughout it.  You earn points based on how well you traced the spell and how well you completed the challenge associated with it.  There is one spell you learn from Hermione called Alohomora and you even get points from her, which brings up one question.  How is Hermione able to give points?  I have no problem with her teaching a spell, but actually giving points?  Couldn’t she have just given you a Wizard Card or something?  That would have made a lot more sense.  Another problem I have is that you never have a Transfiguration Class.  I understand not having History of Magic in the game, but Transfiguration?  The only time you even see McGonagall is when she tells you that you’ve made the Quidditch team and then she just disappears.

Like the book, Cerberus is still guarding the stone (yes I know his name is Fluffy, but I’m calling him Cerberus) and you have to put him to sleep by playing the flute.  However you never talk to Hagrid about any of this, so you never find out how to put him to sleep.  You never even find out the dog’s name.  All you know is that there’s a three-headed dog guarding the door and you were never told how to get past it.  Unless Harry gained the deduction skills of Sherlock Holmes, there’s no way he would be able to figure out how to get past Cerberus.  It also makes Ron’s line about how “Only Hagrid would call this monster Fluffy,” very out of place.

Again, we have Quidditch in this game and it even gets its own separate section, but they didn’t even try with this one.  In this version, there is a mention of an opposing Seeker, but you never even see your opponent.  The rings produced by the snitch don’t even serve a purpose, except to show you where it is.  Like the Playstation version, the only way of losing the game is to get knocked out and this time you don’t have armor protecting you.

Like the Playstation version, the game is relatively easy except for the Wizard Cards.  The difference is every part of this game plays some role in the overall storyline and you even find out why Fred and George are collecting beans.  I give this game a 6 out of 10.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part 1: Playstation Version(Amazon.com)

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone or, as it’s known in every other country, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is the book that started the cash cow known as the Harry Potter series.  When the movie first came out, games were made to tie in with it for obvious reasons.  Despite these games all having the same title, each version differs in a very unique way.  It is because of this that I’ve decided to separate each version by section.

Playstation Version

Lately I have been in a Harry Potter mood so I decided to replay all my old games again starting with this one.  While the game does follow the main story line, it also gives you a feel of actually being a student at Hogwarts.  Not only do you learn new spells, you also have to make sure you arrive to class on time or lose points for Gryffindor.  Unfortunately the game is not as awesome as you would think it is, but it is still a fun game.

According to Amazon.com this is “less of a game than a tour through Potter’s magical world.”  I have to say that I agree with that sentiment.  Not only does it let you explore the castle, you also get to attend lessons and learn magic.  One part that I really liked was the obstacle course before each class.  If you failed to pass it in a certain amount of time, you lose points for tardiness.  It made me feel like a student when there’s a chance of being late, though if you have to go through an obstacle course to get to every class at Hogwarts, I can’t imagine many students showing up on time, some of them might have even missed the class completely.  The only class you don’t have to run through an obstacle course to get to is Potions, which kind of makes Fred and George’s warning about not showing up late kind of pointless.  It’s also ironic, because in the PC version, that’s the only class you show up late to.

Speaking of Potions, the game does a decent job with Professor Snape.  While he is still the same snarky bastard we all know and love, or loathe depending on what kind of fan you are, I felt that the game tried too hard to pin the attempted theft of the Sorcerer’s Stone on him.  When he sends you to collect fireflies, a mysterious hooded man activates a trap to send you far down into the dungeon.  When you come back, Snape is surprised to see you and says that he wasn’t expecting you back so soon.  While I can overlook that, there is one scene I cannot get my head around.  After Harry gets his invisibility cloak, he decides to snoop around the third floor corridor only to run into Snape talking to Filch.  Filch tells him that there’s someone snooping around and Snape reveals that “(he’s) had (his) eye on (the Sorcerer’s Stone) for some time.”  So, basically, your way of making us suspect Snape was by making him practically confess that he’s out to steal the stone and then having us fight Quirrel in the end?  That’s like making a Chamber of Secrets game where you have Draco Malfoy announce that he’s the heir of Slytherin only to go down to the Chamber of Secrets to find Ginny possessed by Tom Riddle.  I get that you’re trying to mislead us, but if you’re going to have Snape say something like that without giving a rational explanation as to why he would say it, you might as well have changed the plot to have Snape steal the Sorcerer’s Stone instead of Quirrell.  For those very few of you who have probably not so much as seen the movie, I’m sorry for the spoiler, but if you haven’t at least seen the movie, then it’s your own fault for not catching up with the times.

As I said earlier, the game is essentially a glorified tour and that includes Diagon Alley, the very level I have grown to despise.  Hagrid’s dragon gets sick, so you have to go to Diagon Alley to get some ingredients for the medicine.  Of course, you have to get money from Gringotts first, leading to six mini-games in general and you have to do really well if you want to get three hidden wizard cards.  Did I mention that you have to collect paperwork on a very slippery floor and then go through a roller-coaster ride just to get money that’s floating in thin air?  That’s right; any idiot who manages to collect the paperwork can get their money just by rolling the mine cart around and who knows, they might accidentally collect some of your money too.  If that’s how Gringotts is, no wonder no one tries to rob you, and yes I am very well aware of what happens in book seven, but we’re not talking about the books.  Oh, and after you get all that money, you now have three mini-games you have to play to collect the ingredients, one of them being that you have to chase a pissed-off peacock around Ollivander’s storage room hoping to pluck one lousy feather, and don’t even think about using your wand.  In all honesty this level wouldn’t be so frustrating if it weren’t for the very fact that none of this played a role in the story.  It just seemed like a desperate excuse to put Diagon Alley in the game and the only thing you really get out of it is that peacocks hate having their feathers pulled out, something I already knew.  Well, that and wizard cards, but you could have easily stuffed those cards anywhere around Hogwarts.  What’s really frightening is all the work Harry now has to make up because of this.  Take it from me, it’s better to have to do a little work every day than have to do this huge pile of work in one whole day, and I really need to take my own advice on that one.

Anyone whose familiar with the world of Harry Potter knows about Quidditch, and it’s not only included in this game, there’s also a whole section devoted to playing it.  The problem is, since you’re playing as Harry Potter, the only position available to you is Seeker and it seems like a real pain.  While there is an opponent Seeker, all he does is fly through the rings never catching the snitch; if that’s how opponent Seekers not in Gryffindor play, no wonder Gryffindor usually wins.  Seriously, the only way you can lose is if you get knocked out and even that is close to impossible when you trade beans with Fred and George for Quidditch armor.

Despite how easy the game is, it’s still pretty fun.  The only challenge is collecting all the wizard cards and you can easily consult a walkthrough for that.  Still, there were some very frustrating parts that did not belong and you never find out what Fred and George want with all the beans you gave them.  I give this game a 5 out of 10, fun but not particularly memorable.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Gamefly.com)

After finding the city of Ambrosia, Professor Layton receives a letter from an old friend to come to Monte d’Or.  It turns out a man called the Masked Gentleman has been using an artifact known as the Mask of Chaos to cause incidents all over the town.  Now Professor Layton must face his past in order to save the future of himself and those closest to him.

The game alternates between playing in the past and playing in the present.  In the past story line, we discover how Layton became interested in archaeology in the first place.  That and Layton has one screwed up past.  I don’t want to give anything away but can you imagine forever living with the knowledge that if you had agreed to leave a dangerous place, your friend would still be alive?  However, I will admit that his friend, Randall, does seem a bit self-absorbed.  He constantly tries to get Layton interested in archaeology despite his repeated claims that he has absolutely no interest in it.  Yes, I am aware that Layton does get an interest in it later on, but the fact remains that Randall tries to push his interests on other people.  He also wants to go on a dangerous mission despite his girlfriend, Angela’s, concern for him.  I’m not saying that he deserved what happened to him.  I’m just saying that if you want to go on adventures you can’t have a family that’s constantly worried for your safety waiting for you at home.  In the present, Layton travels the city with Luke and Emmy looking for information about the Masked Gentleman and trying to discover the secrets behind his dark miracles.  Again, I don’t want to give anything away but I felt that Professor Layton forgave the Masked Gentleman way too easily.

The game play is the same as any other in the series.  You travel around the city solving puzzles.  Each one you solve awards you with a point system called picarats.  The more you collect the more bonuses you can unlock.  You also have to complete three mini-games in order to unlock more puzzles in the bonus section.  Oh, and you can participate in a horse racing mini-game which I actually enjoyed even though it had no point.  There are also these puzzles in the past where Layton and Randall explore the ruins of an ancient civilization while avoiding mummies and giant boulders.  This was my favorite part of the game because we truly get to see Layton in his natural habitat.  Yes, I am well aware that archaeologists in real life don’t avoid mummies and run away from giant boulders but for once, the game came across as less like Sherlock Holmes and more like Indiana Jones.

This game is exciting and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; despite a few plot issues, I truly enjoyed it.

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