Author Topic: Lord Raven's Game of the Week 3: Fire Emblem: Awakening  (Read 3503 times)

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Offline Lord Raven

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Hiya everyone,

So to spark activity on this board I love so much and call home, I will be doing weekly game reviews and discussions for games that I wish to talk about and pique my interest.  Hopefully this will provide some insight into some games, will give people recommendations and will encourage discussions about the nuances of one of everyone's favorite hobbies in life - gaming.

I will write my first article tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get an archive sort of thing going with my OP, and hopefully the discussion will be constructive as well.  I also want some constructive criticism in my writing too - I don't want to be a professional reviewer or anything but if there is some thing about anything in my posts that can rub you the wrong way then please point it out.  It encourages discussion in that sense too!

One warning in advance:  either keep spoilers to a minimum or mark them.  I believe the best way to deal with spoilers is to put spoilers in big bold font then put everything else in a subscript with yellow font.  Err on the side of caution with them.


Example:
SPOILER:
aeris dies

Archives;

8/8/2013:  The Last of Us
8/20/2013:  Tales of Xillia
8/28/2013:  [url=
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 02:38 by Lord Raven »
"In case of accidental ingestion, consult a mortician."

Offline Del

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week"
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 04:21 »
This is a pretty cool idea, looking forward to seeing what games you decide to write about.
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Offline Turner

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week"
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 04:22 »
Do it do it do it...but please spare us of every single FE game known to man.  :P

Offline Lord Raven

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week"
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 04:24 »
I haven't played much FE in months Turner so you can count on that ;)  FE:  Awakening may be covered as one of the first 10 but simply because it's new, not due to my love of the series.
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Offline Richard and Blaziken

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week"
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 06:23 »
Will these be posted to the site itself, or in this topic? Either way, I like this idea. :>
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Offline That Girl in the 'Roo Suit

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week"
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 12:48 »
The second I saw this I thought you'd cover FE:Awakening at some point... It sounds like a good idea though
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Offline Liam

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week"
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 15:53 »
I look forward to this. :angel:

Offline Lord Raven

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The Last of Us
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 16:51 »


Developer:  Naughty Dog
Publisher:  Sony
Platform:  PS3
Release date:  June 14, 2013 (WW); June 20, 2013 (JP)
Rating:  M (ESRP)
Genre:  Action-Adventure/Survival Horror

The Last Of Us is a game that has made me scream "holy crap" from the get-go.  There are many plot developments to be had in a game that feels short (but really took me 30 hours to beat blind).  Every single cutscene almost felt like it progressed the plot considerably and it was overall a well-paced game that gave me bouts of paranoia.

If you haven't already seen the opening cutscene then please take around 20 minutes out of your life to do so.  The plot begins somewhere in Texas where you see a man around his 20s/early 30s talking to his brother, hanging out with his daughter (who gives him a watch for his birthday).  All of a sudden, you're watching TV and the town goes nuts- your neighbors are breaking into your house and trying to kill you, people are running all around the streets and the main character, Joel, goes nuts around town with his brother Tommy and daughter Sarah trying to escape and avoid all the people running around.  The mood is generally frantic and there's lots of paranoia to go around.

Eventually they wrestle their way out of some of the more interesting citizens (known as the infected) and confront a soldier whose purpose is to prevent people from escaping the city and spreading the disease any further than it already has.  Joel, with Sarah in hand (leaving Tommy behind to block the infected) begs him to help them and says that he's not infected.  The soldier receivers orders to shoot them and do so, making the two of them fall.  The soldier is about to kill Joel when Tommy acts like a big damn hero and shoots the soldier in the head.  And, they see Sarah, now having seen the soldier nailing her in the gut and she dies.  News reports show that the disease has spread throughout the world, and mentions a movement known as the fireflies.

Cut to 20 years later, where Joel and a woman named Tess are in a quarantine zone.  They now work as smugglers and smuggle supplies into the zones, doing what amounts to effectively despicable acts to get by.  As time goes on they go into the outside world and meet with Marlene, leader of the organization known as the Fireflies, who gives them the task of transporting Ellie throughout the US on what is effectively an escort mission.  They have to evade other infected and the military in order to go from place to place.  The military, being as paranoid as it is, will not let you outside the quarantine zone without killing you - they are absolutely ruthless, but I can't name a single faction in this game that isn't.  Well I can, but that's a spoiler.

Now, we get to the spoileriffic part, so if you plan on playing the game or watching a playthrough don't read this.  If you don't, then read on.  (IMO not *that* bad a spoiler but it gets the plot going, and most trailers you see are after this cutscene).

Spoiler
Eventually you find out that Ellie is an infected.  However, her strain is weird because she has been infected for what amounts to years, whereas it takes only a few hours for someone to display the aggression associated with being infected.  This leaves Joel to speculate that Marlene was setting them up the whole time, but they bear with her for a while.  When we finally meet the Fireflies, they are dead, causing Tess to freak out - at that moment we find out that Tess herself is infected and instills some faith in Ellie because her infection has gotten significantly worse in a few hours than Ellie's has in a few years (let alone the few hours they've been traveling).  The military find them here and Tess takes a final stand against them, and Joel and Ellie are left to fend for themselves for the rest of the game, meeting people and visiting current US landmarks that have become barren due to the outbreak of the disease.

The plot is quite magnficent and it's nothing ground-breaking but it's well-paced, well-written, and shocking as well.  You do see certain things coming but it's not blatant foreshadowing.  It does a good job of showing the world in a good light despite being in a 24/7 fight to survive.  The characters and character dynamics are genearlly quite good and some characters develop while others either have tragic occurences or tragic backstories associated with them  - as expected from a post-apocalyptic world.  Unfortunately, you will meet a good number of characters in this game, some cool, some giving you a warm fuzzy feeling, and some that are disturbing in every sense of the word.  They convey a unique dynamic that is necessary in a game like this, instilling sorrow, hope, and tragedy all at the same time.  The voice acting is phenomenal as well, Troy Baker is Joel for reference and he does a damn good job.  He starts out as a young yet distressed father and 20 years in the future he sounds world-weary and cynical without being gruff and tough like other protagonists (Solid Snake, Cole) tend to be.

The graphics do quite a bit to amplify all of the moods in this game; there's a lot of color and green, but it conveys such a barren feeling at times which reminds you that you are playing in a game that borders on survival horror (but only borders on it).  They are beautiful and the actors are motion-captured, giving fluidity in animations and motion and makes the game seem almost realistic.  They add to the experience of the game greatly.

The gameplay is quite enjoyable and doesn't particularly get stale.  It is more or less a third person shooter/stealth game.  Most of the time you're going around and trying to open doors for whatever reason, sneaking past soldiers and infected, collecting items, or all of the above.  And fighting enemies too whenever you need to.  There's also no such thing as a pacifist runthrough of this game; you can, in theory, do it but it's incredibly hard simply because people are trying to kill you every which way.  It's very fast-paced at points, and at other points it's slow-paced and stealth-based (with the super-powered hearing and random shiving/choking that comes with the stealth genre).  There are times where you absolutely cannot survive by making noise and walking around and casually killing things you see, because you have to be tactical in the way you play.  Other times it's a basic duck-and-shoot type.

The enemies come in two different forms; hunters and infected.  Hunters are your basic humans that carry many of the same weapons you will, and you need to be considerably more tactical and stealthy when it comes to these guys.  Your melee combat blows unless you have blunt objects or something, so you can't engage them physically without them taking you down.  Sometimes you'll be up against Snipers with deadly accuracy, other times you're up against many enemies with semi-automatic rifles and running straight into them is a death sentence.  They are about as tactically efficient as you are.

Then you have the infected.  They are far more erratic and would much rather charge headfirst into you than anything else.  They come in four forms; runners, stalkers, clickers, and bloaters.  Runners are your most common infected and are the first stage of infected; they just run towards you en masse and are generally harmless but can kill you if you're not careful.  Stalkers are the most rare and they're the second stage; they hide and catch you by surprise.  Clickers are the third stage and second most common; these are by far the most annoying of all of these guys because there's no failsafe way to kill them.  They can hear almost everything you do unless you're crouched and not touching anything, and when they touch you they will instant kill you.  You can only fight them with blunt objects, shiv them from stealth, or use brute weaponry.  Dealing with more than one of them at a time will 99.999% of the time lead to your death - luckily for you they're blind and can only do things through hearing.  But they go crazy when they hear something and their clicking sound is the sound of my nightmares because of the amount of times these assholes have killed me.  Finally is the bloaters, who throw fungal spores at you which gradually chip at your health, kill you the moment you get in contact with them, and take forever to kill unless you have a flamethrower or molotov to chuck at them (in which case they become really easy).  They aren't annoying because there's exactly 4 of them in the game or so, one a mini-boss and the rest are just regular enemies that you can avoid if you're good.

There are the enemies, but what can you fight them with?  Well, you have a good assortment of weapons; Pistols, Revolvers, Sniper Rifles, Machine Guns, Shotguns, Flamethrowers, Bow and Arrows, etc.  You also can shiv people if you sneak up on them (if you want; either Shiv or choke, or even hold hostage like many stealth games).  Finally, you can pick up objects off of the ground and hit people with them, but they only have a little but of durability (can last like 5 hits, enough to kill like 2 people at most).  There are some bomb weapons too; Molotovs and a frag Grenade is all I remember off the top of my head (and may be it) but they're incredibly useful.  You can also forge scissors onto your blunt objects and have them last another two hits; both hits will be insta-kills on any enemy that is not a bloater.  So that's four enemies total you can kill with a weapon.  Blunt weaponry becomes better as you progress in the game, because you can instakill enemies with machetes and axes which last around 5 hits.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 01:51 by Lord Raven »
"In case of accidental ingestion, consult a mortician."

Offline Lord Raven

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The Last of Us
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 16:55 »
And yes, there is forging in this game!  Sorta.  It's really upgrading your weapon with certain items rather than forging.  You can combine various sorts of tools to make health kits, grenades, smoke bombs, add-ons to your blunt object, and shivs.  All are incredibly useful items and the game gives you enough that you're almost never short of these items.  You can also get experience points and purchase upgrades such as faster forging time, faster healing time when you use a kit, more stability in your aim (it's a realistic game in the sense that you will have drift in your aim), and a few other things I don't recall.  And you can upgrade your weapons to include things such as a better scope, more clip capacity and etc, the basics you'd want from an upgrade to a weapon.  It ensures the gameplay doesn't stay stale.

Difficulty is about average I would say; I haven't found anything particularly difficult once you get the feel for the game and the only real issue I have with the game is the fact that your aim drifts quite a bit.  That is actually incredibly annoying at times, but thankfully you don't need many headshots in this game (and some other times a more stealth approach is better than a headshot).  You can ramp up the difficulty during the gameplay and if something proves to be too challenging (like this one fight in the game, which was pretty bad on normal mode imo) then you can lower the difficulty and play it.  There are also higher difficulties to play on where the AI just generally approves; one segment I played had a noticeable amount more difficulty in normal compared to easy because the enemies had this tendency to be super aggressive and fight in bigger numbers.

As a whole, I really liked The Last Of Us even though I would say it's only a good game  I would recommend buying this game or at least borrowing it from a friend because it will entertain you, and the gameplay is dynamic enough that you won't stay bored at all.  The plot moves quick but it's easy to grasp, and it has undertones of social commentary related to the nature of humanity when all order is gone and the willingness to do despicable acts to survive.  If there's one thing I'd say that detracts from this game, it is the fact that the music is forgettable, because I don't remember a single track from this game or I don't even remember if this game has music to begin with.

For more informationa nd if you want to take a look at the first two hours of gameplay, look at this Youtube video..  Some good examples of the gameplay itself starts around the 1:30:00 mark (warning:  swearing).

There is a multiplayer but I can't tell you much about that since I haven't gotten around to playing it yet.  My backlog is too big.






Sorry for the game choice.  I did enjoy it but I'd have rather done something else; yet, this game has universal appeal to some extent and it was sorta safe to do it in.  I kinda wanna draw people into the thread before I alienate people with my random cult classic favorite games and stuff.  I've played and beaten this game and thoroughly enjoyed it, I just feel it was too mainstream so I have a little bit of a poor taste in my mouth from this.  But, it's also very new, having come out this summer, and people are still in hype mode about it so I just ran with it.

Please comment and tell me what I am doing wrong or right, and also feel free to just talk about the game itself or ask questions or anything.  Just getting a discussion going is all.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 01:51 by Lord Raven »
"In case of accidental ingestion, consult a mortician."

Offline SirBlaziken

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week" - Week 1: The Last Of Us
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 17:00 »
The game sound like a good one. You gave a lot on info, and I'd play it of I had a PS3, well, depending on the rating. Great job.
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Offline Lord Raven

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week" - Week 1: The Last Of Us
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 17:02 »
I don't give numerical ratings.  I don't believe you should pick up a game based on some arbitrary number or scale I made up, I'm just hoping to fill in some information, give my personal opinion on it, and maybe encourage you to take a look at it, watch youtube videos of a playthrough so you can get what is effectively a great story and interesting gameplay or whatever.
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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week" - Week 1: The Last Of Us
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 17:04 »
Ooooh! Well, I definitely enjoyed it - The Last Of Us is a game I've been wanting to play, so any reviews are definitely worth a readthrough so I know what kind of thing to expect. With that being said, some cult games would be nice to hear about; what kind of titles were you thinking of?

In terms of critique... It's largely personal preference, but I'd prefer more discussion of the good and bad aspects of the game, rather than just going over the gameplay features (after all some features sound cool, but come out clunky and awkward, while others don't actually sound that great but when you try them you can't get enough of them). To be fair though, maybe that comes across less here because it's a game you had a more neutral opinion of?

Offline SirBlaziken

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week" - Week 1: The Last Of Us
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 17:06 »
I don't give numerical ratings.  I don't believe you should pick up a game based on some arbitrary number or scale I made up, I'm just hoping to fill in some information, give my personal opinion on it, and maybe encourage you to take a look at it, watch youtube videos of a playthrough so you can get what is effectively a great story and interesting gameplay or whatever.

Not that kind of rating. The ESRB rating, than again it's probably M or something like that.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 17:09 by ShinyBlaziken2000 »
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Offline Del

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week" - Week 1: The Last Of Us
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2013, 17:07 »
I've wanted to play TLOU since a few friends got it and started hyping about it constantly, and this is really selling me on it. I've seen the first 30 or so minutes streamed and it looks like it plays really nicely, which is great, although the A.I seemed a ~little~ whack. But yeah, TLOU is apparently all about the atmosphere and plot and that and I've just heard nothing but great things about that so I'm gonna have to borrow this from a friend or something.

Pretty well written review Muhed, looking forward to more of them!
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Offline Lord Raven

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Re: Lord Raven's "Game of the Week" - Week 1: The Last Of Us
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2013, 17:09 »
@Kit:  I had a generally high opinion of it, the thing is I don't generally like to hype games (especially since TLOU receives ALL THE HYPE) and I prefer the audience to make their own choice about what they think about the game.  Another problem I have is that I'm trying to do it all in one post which I may have to exclude in the future, otherwise I would include more gameplay videos.  This was just a test run more or less with a semi-popular game to see what people think, but your critique is valid and I think it's better to have a video to supplement the gameplay as well.

As for cult games, I was thinking (from this past decade) Nier, Drakengard, Shadow Hearts, Ys, Tales of Legendia, etc.  Some old and some newer games.  But basically more obscure and niche games in general, which also brings out games like FE and Final Fantasy.

@Del:  Thanks.  It does have a great atmosphere and plot and one thing I would've loved to touch upon had my character limit not run out is the graphics and how they are actually pretty amazing.  The characters are motion-captured and the background isn't nearly as brown as other "realistic" games tend to be.  Lots and lots of colors and green, which adds to a hopeful-yet-still-bleak atmosphere that this game brings to the table.

(your post actually convinced me to go into a multi-post format if necessary just because there are some games where there are many things to touch upon.  Still, this was a test run and I am thinking about something similar for another forum so I can actually repost this whole review if necessary).
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 17:13 by Lord Raven »
"In case of accidental ingestion, consult a mortician."