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Ragnarok Odyssey Review

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

Ragnarok Odyssey Screenshot

HIGH Starts off very Monster Hunter-ish.

LOW Quickly succumbs to shallow design and tedium.

WTF Who thought locking the player in ambush killboxes was good design?

Extra Credits: Perfect Imbalance

The guys at Extra Credits look into incorporating imbalance in a game. Ironically, imbalance is just the thing that when worked into character classes, weapons, tools and gameplay rules can wind up giving both the wet-behind-the-ears newbie and grizzled veteran new strategies as each plays and progresses through a game.

Extra Credits: Perfect Imbalance

The slow decay of survival horror

Dead Space 2 Screenshot

Survival horror games aren't what they used to be. Once upon a time, they were about survival and horror. It makes sense. It's what the genre is called, after all. These titles would encompass qualities of mystery and exploration as the player fought to stay alive with every step. Over the years, they've increasingly become about action, gunfights, and an overload of cheap jump scares. I prefer the former, despite a plethora of the latter.

Dokuro Review

The Best Escort Mission that Ever was

Dokuro Screenshot

HIGH Completing the game without skipping any levels.

LOW The stages in area15 can be soul-crushingly difficult.

WTF why is using the water power so finicky?

The Silent Hill: Book of Memories survival guide, Volume 1

Silent Hill: Book of Memories Screenshot

I'm still between review games at the moment, so I started playing Silent Hill: Book of Memories on Vita. I liked the demo and I'm a big fan of dungeon crawlers and Roguelikes when they're done well, so despite all of the negative talk I heard, I decided to go for it. I'm about ten levels into the campaign so far, and I think it's actually pretty good—but that statement needs some qualification.

Cleaning house!

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Screenshot

It's time again for one of my "house-cleaning" posts where I toss up a bunch of random bits and links to stuff and get it off of my computer.

Hotline Miami Review

Psycho in the Car with Pistols

Hotline Miami Screenshot

HIGH Figuring out, after multiple deaths, how to take down a whole level in seconds.

LOW The queasy, terrible stealth level.

WTF Almost every moment of this game is a WTF.

Payola!

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Screenshot

I was listening to a podcast recently (and I've heard this same thing multiple times from other people over the last week or so) and I was shaking my head at the way the speakers were discussing recent Events Which Shall Not Be Named. Over and over, they were so insistent that reviewers are "getting paid off" for good scores.

Don't say a word

Mass Effect 3 Screenshot

In the wake of the success of Obsidian's Project Eternity Kickstarter, supporters are eagerly watching the stretch goals to see what promised goodies will be put into the game. Meanwhile, I am hoping to see one thing left out: voice acting. Done correctly, voice acting can significantly improve a Japanese RPG. However, recording voices for characters diminishes a Western RPG, regardless of the reading's quality. For this reason, I feel that Western RPGs should avoid having voiced dialogue.

Extra Credits: The Hero's Journey, Parts I & II

Extra Credits has an interesting two-part discussion about the hero's journey, a concept explored by Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Thatgamecompany's Journey is the game example featured here (along with The Legend of Zelda) but this seems to be a concept exploited in all entertainment genres.

Extra Credits: The Hero's Journey, Parts I & II

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