Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews on videogame titles.

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Way of the Samurai 4

Way of the Samurai 4 Review Box ArtI was often recommended to try playing the Way of the Samurai franchise, but I never did get the chance. With Way of the Samurai 4 just released, it was now time to truly play the game for myself.

Way of the Samurai 4 sees the player take the role of a samurai during the period of transition in Japan, when the small country started to become influenced by western powers. The player may freely choose to side with the Japanese military, isolationists, or even the foreigners themselves. As a foreigner to the franchise, would I feel isolated?

Publisher: NIS America (Europe), XSEED Games (North America), Spike (Japan)
Developer: ACQUIRE
Genre: Action, Adventure
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: October 5th, 2012 (EU); August 21st,  2012 (NA); March 3rd, 2011 (JP)
Rating: 15 (BBFC)

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Aoishiro

Aoishiro_cover_PC Not being a fan of Japanese visual novels, or visual novels at all for that matter, upon initially hearing about Aoishiro, I was at least to say most unenthusiastic to play the game. But I decided to give Aoishiro a shot regardless of my negative bias towards this genre, with a tad little hope in the back of my mind that this game will be enjoyable to play. Using the unofficial English translation patch (so that I could understand it) I tried it out and wow, was I surprised…

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ClaDun X2

ClaDun X2 Artwork Review ImageHaving never played the original title, I went into ClaDun X2 with no expectations. The title is an abbreviation for the original Japanese title, Classic Dungeon X2. As the name implies, ClaDun is inspired by the classic dungeon crawlers that could be found on the NES, which is additionally made apparent by the game’s 8-bit visual style.

As a dungeon crawler, players are expected to battle their way through dungeons for all kinds kinds of loot — be it gold or a brand new piece of equipment. Is ClaDun X2 equally as valuable, or is it another useless item to be discovered and disregarded?

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Logo for ReviewJoJo’s Bizarre Adventure  lives up to its name, but it’s not just JoJo’s bizarre adventure. Originally released in the arcade before being ported on to the PlayStation and Dreamcast, the title is also the player’s own bizarre adventure. Littered with unique characters who have some of the most crazy abilities seen in a fighting game, JJBA is a title that went largely unappreciated due to the loss of interest in the fighting genre in the west at its time of release. However, that wasn’t to say that it wasn’t popular amongst fighting game cliques.

Jump ahead to the 25th anniversary of the Japanese graphic novel series, and JoJo is seeing revitalization in other mediums. A new TV show and videogame were announced, but they weren’t alone. The 25th anniversary also saw the resurrection of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure arcade game that was released here in the west, based upon the Heritage for the Future revision which was also released on Dreamcast.

Now reborn in the form of a high definition remake, is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure HD Ver still a good fighting game in today’s world, where the fighting genre itself has also seen a comeback? Or does it fall behind the times?

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Review: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard DLC Review

The Elder Scrolls V 5 Skyrim Dawnguard DLC Review

Dawnguard is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim‘s first downloadable content (DLC) release. Originally released on Xbox 360 for an exclusive time period of a little over one month, until it eventually founds its way onto Steam Workshop for Windows users. As of this review, there is no official word yet for the PlayStation 3 release.

Dawnguard seamlessly integrates itself into the world of Skyrim for players of level ten and over. Adventurers can expect to explore new landmass, dungeons, slay new foes, collect and forge new items (including crossbows!), hire armoured trolls for battle, or become a vampire and have the power to become a legendary vampire lord. With this in mind, Bethesda’s Todd Howard promises fans a ten to twenty hour play-time with this new content, but is it worth your buck? Read more for the spoils. Continue reading

Review: God of [What] Was

god of war hd collection review pack shot

God of War has always been a game I’ve been interested in. I had been following the franchise since the first title was released; however, I had never actually gotten a chance to play any of them until God of War III.It lived up to my expectations, which is why I had to get my hands on the High Definition remake of the first two videogames.

For an HD remake, it’s one of the better titles that I have experienced. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) did a great job in respecting the source material, as I later discovered. The God of War HD Collection consists of both God of War and God of War II. I’ll be reviewing the former.

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: SCE Santa Monica Studio
Platforms: PlayStation 3
Release Date: March 18th 2010
Rating: 18 (BBFC & PEGI), M (ESRB)

The general idea of the title is that you play a character named Kratos, who is allied with the gods. As the player progresses the game, they unlock new abilities and enhancements to the character. God of War is a typical hack and slash game. The better the combos you use, the easier the game is. Though there is a few difficult challenges in the game, though some of the challenges are merely down to how fast you can button mash — something that has never been improved upon in the franchise. Sometimes I found myself experiencing fear for my controller from the extreme button mashing that was required. This is particularly the case during the first boss.

The protagonist of God of War will never change. He will always have the same attitude and same personality. He will always be a killing machine. His thirst for blood and battle enhance the experience of the game; instead of playing a whiny character, we have a badass protagonist who shares our thirst for blood, our hunger for tearing enemies apart. Our lust for the battlefield and love of action. Moreover, his attitude continues throughout as he becomes more chaotic in cut scenes, and his attitude towards his enemies becomes more aggressive.

Disappointingly, the visuals may be stunning and high-definition but the cut scenes have seen no change or improvement. They’re still pre-rendered in the old resolution of the PlayStation 2. I was personally hoping that they would render the cut scenes in at least 720p resolution instead of just re-using the original cut scenes. Instead, they are visually muddy and even the sound quality isn’t up to the standard of the rest of the title.

Putting the disappointing cut scenes aside, God of War HD is a good remake. The visuals look great, the sound quality is good, and the gameplay is fun and flows very well. It’s a good title worth picking up, especially from retail as it comes complete with God of War II HD.

God of War HD was completed on normal difficulty. The title scored 8/10, meaning that it’s a great game with a couple of relatively minor flaws. Input Lag is a regular author of the Gaming Advance website and can be contacted through the email address: inputlag@gamingadvance.com

(The review is entirely subjective and should not be considered fact. This review is the author’s opinion and nothing more. Feel free to discuss the review in the comments below, but try to keep it civil. You are also entitled to an opinion that may differ from the author — and don’t forget this!)

Review: Slender [Scariest video game ever?]

Slender Video Game Review

The Slender Man is perhaps one of the most famously unknown and terrifying stalkers talked about throughout fictional history and now thanks to the work of a single man he’s gotten a little more exposure. But first, a little backstory on who — or what — the Slender Man actually is.

The Slender Man was created at the Something Awful Forums in a thread entitled “Create Paranormal Images.” He is seen as wearing a black suit, a tuxedo, and as the name suggests he is extremely thin and is able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his victims — children. Once his arms are outstretched his victims are put into something of a hypnotised state, this is where they are completely helpless to The Slender Man’s evil-doings. He is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk on in a similar fashion to Doc Ock, the Spider Man villain in the Marvel Universe. The superhuman stretching ability can also be seen as a similarity between himself and Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Whether he absorbs, kills, or mearly takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any bodies or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.

The game Slender, created by Parsec Productions (a one-many army) places the player in the midst of a dark, spooky forest in the middle of nowhere. The player assumes the role of a female child where you are immediately instructed to collect eight pages, which are found scattered intelligently random throughout the forest. There is no tutorial, there is no prologue, there is no introduction to the game. Much like in real-life you hear yourself climb the fence and flick your flashlight on. You are now completely alone and defenceless, well, The Slender Man will be sure to keep you comforted in your journey.

Continuing on, it’s incredibly easy to learn the controls and mechanics of the game. Left-click is the action button (which is pretty much to collect pieces of paper), right-click is your flashlight, left shift is to sprint and buttons Q and E are used to zoom in and out respectively, with an appropriate lens-zoom sound effect as they are held down. Finding and collecting the first page initiates the first stage of ambient music: an off-in-the-distance drum echoing that will continue playing from now on. Now for every two additional pages you find, the next stage of ambient sounds will layer on top of each other, progressively becoming more chilling and intimidating. It’s a very effective, but simple, technique to ensue paranoia and fear.

Your flashlight will eventually run out!

Without spoiling, the pages can be found around landmarks in the forest; so you’re not going to find a page randomly on the floor in the middle of a bunch of trees; however, there is some level of consistency and visual clues as to where they can be. Also, at the beginning of each session of play, the pages’ locations are randomly generated in specific “hot spots” so you will not always find the same page at the same spot every single time. Now, picking up from before about music, the first stage of ambient sound is an audio cue to tell you that The Slender Man is on to you. There is no message that appears to break the immersion and tell you that you’re being stalked. Everything is naturally integrated in to the gameplay itself. The author of this game was definitely aiming for the most immersive and frightening video game experienc, by keeping the screen HUDless and replacing user interface elements with both an adaptive mix of visual and audio.

With this in mind, I found myself constantly looking around my surroundings, especially outside; expecting The Slender Man to appear right in-front of my eyes. As a matter of speaking, he has the ability to teleport anywhere on the map to where-ever you’re not looking at, but I learned that pretty quickly after finding my first page. With he continuation of the building-up ambient music along with the fear of seeing The Slender Man appearing right behind me with the classic “DUNN!” B-movie horror sound effect, my hands were physically sweating and my mouth was open the entire time I was playing; just waiting to be scared. I feel Slender is a self-selling game that makes you question your own psyche subconsciously. It was my own fear that that was keeping me motivated to play. I wasn’t sure if seeing or not seeing The Slender Man was for the better or not because it could mean he was going to either appear before my eyes any second, or if I did see him, then I would have just got scared by seeing him! This is what I mean when I say it is a self-selling game, I, myself, the player, was scared no matter what I did because of the tension that I created.

Is Slender the scariest video game ever made? Maybe…. It’s certainly the scariest video game I’ve ever played. Its efficient and simple style of gameplay makes up for a very convincing and addicting atmosphere. The realisation that you are indeed alone and helpless, and that all you can do is dig yourself a deeper grave, is spectacular. Its casual approach makes it open to all and any type of person to play, even if you don’t like to play video games, there is a strange addiction and compulsion to keep going and keep playing until the bitter end, a “so close yet so far” philosophy.

Slender was finished multiple times with a total of 5/8 pages, played on version 0.9.5 beta. For those who regard score as an important factor to a review, Slender receives a 10/10. It’s simply one of the most scary experiences you will have whilst playing video games, maybe even in your life, and should be played by everybody.

Guru Meditation is a regular author for GamingAdvance. You may contact Guru Meditation through the email address: gurumeditation@gamingadvance.com.