RUINER – Cyberpunk madness

Ruiner turned heads when it was announced last year and I’d been instantly smitten with its chilling, cyberpunk aesthetic and action-driven gameplay. Drawing inspiration from anime like Akira and movies like Blade Runner, Reikon Games has successfully created a violent, dystopian world where murder is currency and trust is obsolete. The year is 2091, playing with people’s lives has never been easier. Continue reading

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Why You Need to Play Butterfly Soup

For all the money big-time publishers’ pump into their triple-A games the final product can often come out lacking what indie titles have in spades. There’s a simple charm to games made dutifully and lovingly by one man teams or small studios, and it shows. What they lack in budget and polish is made up with heart and creativity. I’m aware not all indie games end up this way – like Ark: Survival Evolved or the countless early access titles which never get off the ground – but I believe it holds true for the majority. Continue reading

Caveman Warriors – Hitting both highs and lows

There are few platform games that have succeeded in carving a place in the hearts of gamers. Unlike RPGs, platform games lack the means of telling an engaging story and it’s an uphill battle to endear the characters to players. Efforts to do so can go either way. One famous example of a beloved platformer franchise would be the Super Mario series. Nintendo perfected the art of a platformer and made Mario into a household name and nearly everyone, gamer or otherwise, has heard about the Italian plumber. Continue reading

Root Letter – All fluff and no meat

Root Letter is the first title in the Kadokawa Game Mystery Series with contributions from key staff who worked on Konami’s Love Plus+ series, like character designer Mino Taro. When it was first announced, I found myself drawn in by the gorgeous art and knew I needed to play it. Other than its art, Root Letter also further held my attention with this line:

“I’ve killed someone. This is farewell…goodbye.”

Almost everyone who read it would find themselves gripped by curiosity, and like me, decided to give the game a chance. This was reflected in the sales for Root Letter, which had exceeded expectations and sold over two hundred thousand copies, the head of marketing of PQube describing it as ‘Phenomenal’ success.

Unfortunately, for all the excitement and intrigue the game generated from the art, summary and trailers, Root Letter ended up disappointing me. Continue reading

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey – Weird, wonderful, and amazing

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With the announcement of Deep Strange Journey, I thought it appropriate to play the original game. I’d gotten a used copy of SMT: Strange journey a year back but due to being somewhat of a compulsive buyer, never got around to actually playing it until now. As a fan of Shin megami tensei and its spinoffs, I was eager to see what the game would be like.

Strange journey has captured my heart with its mature storyline, well-written characters, and challenging gameplay. This game absolutely floored me, and I’m more excited for the remake than ever. A game like this deserves a new lease of life and needs to be experienced by 3DS owners who have never gotten the chance. In short, missing out on a gem like this would be tragic. Continue reading

Why I never finished: Gravity Rush

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I really hoped to finish this game. Even writing this now, I can’t help but feel bad. Despite everything good about Gravity Rush – the bad parts eventually became too difficult to ignore and became the deciding factor in forcing me to stop playing.

Like most games I never finish, Gravity Rush is not a bad game. It has something of a cult status due to its charm, and was obviously popular enough to get a sequel. The story it tries to tell is pretty interesting, and the protagonist, named Kat, is bursting with personality.

This game feels experimental, and it shows. The clunky controls, a repetitive and largely uninspired battle system, drags down what could have been a good game and made it mediocre.

Gravity Rush tells its story through a series of chapters. Every chapter begins with events playing out in a comic style panel. This was a really nice touch and I found it quite charming. While cynics may see it as cheap replacement for animated cut scenes, I think this style of presentation suits Gravity Rush to a tee. In addition, character dialogues are witty, and the reliance on character interaction keep things interesting. There was never a dull moment with Kat.

It’s unfortunate that the bad aspects of the game overshadow the good. One example which encapsulates my experience would be this:

I would be flying Kat around the city when she suddenly flies straight into the building. The camera would shift erratically,  forcing me to go through a series of manoeuvres to get her back on track – inducing a headache in the process. This problem also occurs during battle, where the player is expected to tightly manoeuvre around the battlefield. This can get extremely annoying if the enemy constantly dodges, forcing the player to stop upside down in mid-air and try again, hoping the enemy would stay still.

I’m a person who gets motion sickness if the FOV isn’t wide enough, or if the camera moves too fast, so the horrible camera and poor controls were a deal breaker for me. Seeing Kat spin uncontrollably in the air, or attack a constantly moving opponent can make me nauseous enough that it breaks the immersion.

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The main character,  Kat

There are also things I love about this game. The main character is one of the more interesting protagonists I’ve come across. Kat is the right combination of funny and sassy, unafraid to deliver her personal brand of biting sarcasm to idiots around her. Despite being a shifter – a term used in the game to describe those with the power to control gravity – I feel Kat is the most relatable even among the entire cast.

While the game’s controls are annoying and makes playing it difficult, one thing Gravity Rush nailed was how the player controlled gravity. What I enjoyed most in the game was having Kat fly over the city, an unforgettable experience bolstered by the ecstatic rush of being free and seeing buildings rush by in a blur.

Kat doesn’t lose health falling from extreme heights, and it merely inconveniences her. The quick travel mechanic in the game was something I rarely used, preferring to fly Kat to her destination instead of taking something as mundane as a train, or airship.

Overall, I might have finished the game if I wasn’t prone to bouts of motion sickness. But as it stands, torturing myself to finish ten more chapters doesn’t seem appealing, especially when I could be playing something else.