Tag Archives: RPG

Space, Guns, Romance And Elevators – Mass Effect Review

MASS EFFECT (2007) – BIOWARE

Shepard leads the galaxy against the evil Saren

As a fan of the Star Wars universe, it follows on that I have a great deal of respect for Bioware. In 2003 they gave the world Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, one of the most highly acclaimed games of the decade, and they are currently working on a new MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Both of these games give ample room to expand the canon of the Star Wars universe, and it was handled very well. When Bioware revealed that they were going to have their own crack at a space opera, fans became very excited. The result of this was Mass Effect, a game released in 2007 on the Xbox 360 only. Using some of the dynamics from Knights Of The Old Republic (such as having full control of one character and issuing orders to team-mates) and blending it with a original storyline, Bioware created a game that received very good reviews. I picked it up for £10 when I got my Xbox a year after the game’s release, and after going through Gears Of War I decided to give it a go to see if the reviews were justified. Continue reading Space, Guns, Romance And Elevators – Mass Effect Review

Promised So Much, Gave So Little – The Last Remnant Review

THE LAST REMNANT (2008) – SQUARE ENIX

If Square Enix had taken thier time, this could have been so good

If I had to sum up my experience of The Last Remnant in one word, it would be ‘frustrating’. At the core, this has the potential to be a great little RPG, but there are some massive mistakes that prevent it from ever getting anywhere near excellence.

Example number one: the plot. The Last Remnant starts out pretty well, as you take control of Rush Sykes, a teen who gets caught in the middle of a battle while looking for his kidnapped sister. He survives, and befriends the leader of Athlum, Lord David (yep. Lord David. Although it is pronounced Da-veed to prevent him from being common), who promises to help Rush search for his sister if he helps investigate a local occurrence. The plot then spreads out onto a larger scale, and focuses on Rush and his compatriots attempts to stop The Conqueror (yep. The name of the villain is…The Conqueror) from taking control of the Remnants, massive structures that help to defend the cities. The problem with the plot is that after a quite solid opening hour or so, it suffers from great inconsistency: for example, you meet a mysterious figure early on of whom you know nothing about…and yet the very next cut scene Rush knows his name and his motives. And the supposed ‘twist’ in the plot becomes obvious before you even move onto the second disc. Its quite a poor narrative to be honest. Continue reading Promised So Much, Gave So Little – The Last Remnant Review

Hit The Motherload – Mother 3 Review

MOTHER 3 (2006) – BROWNIE BROWN/HAL LABORATORY

Note the blend of wood and metal...mixtures of machines and nature is a prevalent theme in Mother 3

In the JRPG genre, the Mother series has always been the black sheep. The likes of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy may well go out and steal the headlines, but since the days of the NES, the series of Mother games have attracted a loyal fanbase with their quirky take on how an RPG should be played. The original is highly regarded, and its successor, Earthbound, is the epitome of a cult classic, with the original SNES cartridges picking up anywhere near to £100. What fans wanted then, was the third instalment; and my word didn’t they have to wait for it. Mother 3 was originally intended for the Super Famicom, and then was transferred to the doomed Nintendo 64DD. Eventually, it was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2006…in Japan only. With the possibility of a localisation looking remote, fans at Starmen.net decided to make a fan translation, taking over two years to complete. Finally, in October 2008, Western fans of the Mother franchise were able to get their hands on the game. The question is, after such a troubled birth (call it the Japanese ‘Duke Nukem Forever’), is it any good? Continue reading Hit The Motherload – Mother 3 Review

‘I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again’ – Lost Odyssey Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 31st January 2011)

LOST ODYSSEY (2008) – MISTWALKER

Not enough people have played this game - don't you make that mistake as well
Not enough people have played this game – don’t you make that mistake as well

The classic Japanese RPG is somewhat of a dying breed. Whereas at one time it was considered ludicrous not to have a turn based system in an RPG, over the last decade Western RPG’s such as The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Mass Effect have shifted the goalposts, and sadly the JRPG started to die as new approaches to battling were introduced, primarily in the Final Fantasy series. Not every developer has been persuaded to change though: Mistwalker (a division of Microsoft headed up by the creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi) has continued the old fashioned trends, initially in Blue Dragon, and now in Lost Odyssey. The point is though, does it have the quality necessary to revive the genre? Continue reading ‘I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again’ – Lost Odyssey Review

Wanna Play Blitzball? – Final Fantasy 10 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine On New Years Eve, 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 10 (2002) – SQUARESOFT

Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the boxart doesn't give much away this time
Surprisingly for a Final Fantasy game, the boxart doesn’t give much away this time

When the PS2 was launched in the early dawn of the millennium, it gave game developers a chance to expand existing series that was already on the Playstation. Squaresoft had released Final Fantasy 9 to great acclaim in 2001, and is was expected that it would take some time for the great series to move to its new home on the PS2. In fact, Squaresoft surprised everyone by releasing the new instalment, Final Fantasy 10, only one year later. So did it meet everyone’s high expectations? Continue reading Wanna Play Blitzball? – Final Fantasy 10 Review

Let’s Do The Time Warp – Chrono Trigger Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, December 22nd 2010)

CHRONO TRIGGER (1995) – SQUARESOFT

Crono, Frog and Marle do battle - courtesy of Akira Toriyama
Crono, Frog and Marle do battle – courtesy of Akira Toriyama

Every now and again, a game will appear in the industry that can turn a genre on its head. In 1995, the RPG genre was stunned by the arrival of Chrono Trigger, a game born from a Squaresoft ‘super team’, including the creators of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yuji Horii, the creator of DragonBall, Akira Toriyama, and the man behind the music of Final Fantasy, Nobuo Uematsu. Put simply, the results were spectacular. Continue reading Let’s Do The Time Warp – Chrono Trigger Review

Have You Ever Seen A Man Suplex A Train? – Final Fantasy 6 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, 13th December 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 6 (1994) – SQUARESOFT

Behind the striking artwork lies a masterpiece
Behind the striking artwork lies a masterpiece

One of my greatest regrets as a gamer is that I did not start gaming early enough to experience the delights of the SNES/Mega Drive era. As a result, I’ve been forced ever since to listen to debates about Mario vs. Sonic and the like without ever having any input. Luckily, one of my friends has a SNES still working perfectly, and as a result I have managed to get some gametime on this classic console. It just so happens that Final Fantasy 6 was one of the games I have managed to play.

If you read my review on Final Fantasy 7, then you will know that I am a massive fan of the series. Final Fantasy 6 (or 3 as it was known in America) was the last 16-bit entry into the series, and I think Squaresoft wanted to produce a game that pushed the system to its limits. In doing so, they created a masterpiece. Continue reading Have You Ever Seen A Man Suplex A Train? – Final Fantasy 6 Review

The Alternative To The Ocarina – Final Fantasy 7 Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, November 18th 2010)

FINAL FANTASY 7 (1997) – SQUARESOFT

Spoilers - meteors may or may not turn up in the story at some point
Spoilers – meteors may or may not turn up in the story at some point

I bet that a few of you have looked at the game in question for this review and thought “Oh for gods sake, another FF7 review???”. Indeed this is the case. I will make it clear at this point; I am a massive Final Fantasy fan, and 7 is without doubt one of my favourites. Oddly enough, it was the first RPG I ever played (having previously avoided them for no apparent reason), and I credit it with launching my love of RPG’s. Hopefully the review below will convey why this is the case. Continue reading The Alternative To The Ocarina – Final Fantasy 7 Review