Retro Game Friday: Kingdoms of Amalur

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the only game made by the infamous 38 Studios. It’s Kingdoms of Amalur!

Plot Synopsis: A mortal known as the “Fateless One”, who, having died before the game’s outset, is revived in the experimental Well of Souls by the gnomish scientist Fomorous Hugues. The first and only success of the experiment, the Fateless One must escape the facility when it comes under attack by the Tuatha Deohn, a subsect of the immortal Winter Fae, who are currently waging a “Crystal War” on all the mortal races in the name of their new god “Tirnoch”.

Plot: The plot is okay, and there are plenty of sidequests, however it’s not completely original enough to be truly noteworthy to me. The fact that there is obvious and blatant nods to actual Earth mythology is a big demerit for the writing. That being said the story was enjoyable enough.

Gameplay: This played a lot like both Skyrim, in the freedom aspect (mostly although not like Breath of the Wild or Metal Gear Solid V), and Fable in the button usage and combat system.  There was enough customization to feel like you your character was unique and special for you, but not so overwhelming that you are required to spend 10 hours to get the perfect look. Although I suppose almost any game with a customization system could count as such if you want to be really picky. The combat was frenetic and fast paced, and it felt like if you put World of Warcraft and made it a single player console game. Sort of. That’s just the feeling I got from playing it.

Art: The art is okay, and while it’s aged somwhat poorly it’s not as bad as games from the 90’s or 00’s in terms of aging.

Music: Pretty standard fantasy fare, not too amazing or too spectacular though.

Overall: This is a fun game, although it has it’s flaws. Worth a shot playing it if you can find a copy.

For those who like: Action-RPGs, Fantasy, Drama, Frenetic Combat, Good Plot, Decent Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Retro Game Friday: Soulcalibur Legends

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a spinoff of a series that is often overlooked. It’s Soulcalibur Legends!

Plot Synopsis: The story of Soulcalibur Legends takes place between Soul Edge and Soulcalibur, and is based around Siegfried Schtauffen’s transformation into Nightmare. The game begins as Siegfried finds Soul Edge on a ship. He battles Cervantes on the deck of the ship.

Plot: The plot is pretty sparse, and frankly isn’t all that good. But if you are a Tales of fan you’ll enjoy the guest character Lloyd Irving from Symphonia!

Gameplay: This had both co-operative gameplay and competitive gameplay. Frankly the gameplay wasn’t that good either.

Art: Terrible, and it’s aged incredibly poorly.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, but probably wasn’t that good.

Overall: Skip this entry of the series, even if you are a hardcore fan of the Soul series.

For those who like: Action-RPGs, Mediocrity.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance II

This week for Retro game Friday I’m covering the sequel to Dark Alliance. It’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance II!

Plot Synopsis: The game begins by revealing the fate of the three protagonists from the first game; after jumping through the portal at the top of the Onyx Tower, Vahn, Kromlech and Adrianna are taken prisoner by the vampire Mordoc SeLanmere. Meanwhile, outside Baldur’s Gate, fate brings Dorn, Vhaidra, Ysuran, Borador and Allessia together. Upon meeting on the Trade Way, they learn that since the collapse of Xantam’s Guild, the route has become increasingly dangerous due to the rise of the Red Fang Marauders, a goblin army who prey on travelers. After infiltrating a nearby Marauders cave, and freeing the caravan guard Randalla, the heroes head to Wayfork Village, a nearby fiefdom. There, they rescue the village from the Marauders and kill their hobgoblin leader, Harnak.

Plot: The plot was okay, but due to certain circumstances I can’t really count it as being good. I won’t mention what they are, but play through the game and you’ll understand.

Characters: We get 5 new characters to play as initially, personally I played as Vhaidra, the Drow Monk. There are also two secret characters, Drizzt and Artemis Entreri, but those are unlocked after beating the game and Extreme mode respectively.

Gameplay: It played a lot like the first game, and was fun to play co-op with a second person with. I think my brother was the Human Barbarian Dorn when we played together. There were some additions, but really it’s not that much different from the first game.

Art: It’s aged poorly, but was pretty amazing back in the day.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, sorry.

Overall: A great sequel if somewhat lackluster in the plot department.

Retro Game Friday: Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a spin off of the Baldur’s Gate series. It’s Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance!

Plot Synopsis: The game begins with Vahn, Adrianna and Kromlech arriving in Baldur’s Gate, whereupon they are attacked by a group of thieves led by Karne. The thieves are about to kill the trio when they are interrupted by the city watch, who take the newcomers to the nearby Elfsong Tavern to recover. There, the bartender, Alyth Elendara, assists them in earning some money by giving them the job of clearing the tavern’s cellar of rats.

Plot: The plot is pretty decent, not the most amazing story, but definitely not the worst either.

Characters: The characters are pretty interesting and while they aren’t super deep, there is enough to them to keep them from being dull.

Gameplay: The game plays a lot like Gauntlet in that it’s very linear,and while there are some sidequests they are few and far between. It’s a hack and slash style game, so don’t expect to be entering intricate combos to rain destruction on your enemies. It can get repetitive, although with each of the characters playing very differently it doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up by starting a new file. You do have the option of playing local co-op however which was pretty fun.

Art: It’s definitely aged poorly, but was pretty decent back when it was first released.

Music: I honestly don’t remember any of it, sorry.

Overall: If you want a game that you can play pretty mindlessly, this isn’t a bad choice. That being said there are better choices like Diablo.

For those who like: Hack and Slash Games, Linear Gameplay, Okay Plot, Co-Op Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Retro Game Friday: Sword of Mana

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with one of my favorite GBA games of all time! It’s Sword of Mana!

Plot Synopsis: The player has the choice to follow the story of either the hero or the heroine, who are named by the player. The two stories parallel each other, and the two protagonists are often together. The hero’s story begins with a flashback dream of the death of his parents at the hands of the Dark Lord, the ruler of the nation of Granz. Upon waking, the hero, a gladiator-slave in Granz, attempts to escape before being confronted by the Dark Lord and thrown off of a bridge. After being fished out of a lake, the hero is advised to head to the city of Topple. The heroine’s story also begins with a flashback dream of the Dark Lord and his assistant, Julius, killing her stepmother and destroying her village. Upon awaking, she is advised by the knight Bogard to head to Topple, while he journeys to the city of Wendell.

Plot: The plot is excellent, and probably one of the better JRPG plots out there. It’s not quite up to Tales of quality, but it’s darn close.

Gameplay: This plays a lot like a Zelda game, and that isn’t a bad thing at all. It does have an RPG leveling system but that just adds to the gameplay in my opinion. Personally I liked to play as the Heroine more than the Hero just because her unique weapon of the Rod was quite fun to use. I liked whacking enemies over the head with it. That being said all the weapons were very useful and powerful if used in the right circumstances. You could also create and upgrade your weapons as well which was quite interesting, although difficult to do to get the best equipment.

Art: The art is some of the best you can find on the GBA and it’s quite awesome. Although some of the animations are a little awkward, the rest of the game is beautiful.

Music: The music is okay, but nothing spectacular.

Overall: If you haven’t ever played Sword of Mana you really need to play it. It’s a must play game.

For those who like: Action-RPGs, JRPGs, Action, Adventure, Amazing Plot, Fantastic Gameplay, Awesome Artwork.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

Retro Game Friday: Baldur’s Gate

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game from the ’90s! It’s Baldur’s Gate!

Plot Synopsis: The Sword Coast has entered a difficult time: iron production has virtually halted, with metal products quickly ‘rotting’, tools and weapons breaking easily as a result (except magical weapons), while bandits scour the countryside seeking iron over any other treasure. The protagonist and friend Imoen had grown up together in Candlekeep,  an ancient fortress-turned-library in the rural Sword Coast region south of Baldur’s Gate, under the tutelage of their guardian, the mage Gorion, both of whom were brought in as orphans. Gorion, sensing trouble, decides to leave Candlekeep with the protagonist (known as Gorion’s Ward), explaining nothing of importance other than to move on…

Plot: The plot is pretty good, definitely living up to BioWare’s reputation of doing stories properly. Thankfully this was before they started working with EA so the ending doesn’t suck like a certain space opera’s third game’s finale

Characters: Other than the main character, who you can dictate the actions of for the most part, Imoen is probably my favorite character. I’ve always had a soft spot for female “rogue” characters and Imoen fit that bill perfectly. The rest of the cast was good, but again Imoen was my favorite.

Art: Here’s where the game is a bit clunky, the art has definitely aged. That being said they did re-release the game with enhanced graphics, so there’s that to consider.

Music: Don’t remember it, sorry.

Overall: If you’ve never played the game, you really need to.

For those who like: RPG, Action, Dungeons and Dragons, Choices, Good Plot, Excellent Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.