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: Star Wars Obi-Wan

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a relatively obscure Star Wars game. It’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan!

Plot Synopsis: It takes place in around 32 years before the Battle of Yavin, in the weeks prior to and during the events of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Plot: Yes it was a prequel to the first prequel movie. Frankly I don’t remember the story being all that great, but at the time I was obsessed with all thing Star Wars, and was only a kid, so cut me some slack.

Gameplay: The gameplay was pretty interesting in that you used the Xbox’s two thumbsticks to control both Obi-Wan and his lightsaber. It was a pretty bold move, although it really didn’t save the game, which if you haven’t ever heard of it isn’t surprising since it got a fairly low score from critics back when it released.

Art: The art is really aged, but that’s pretty expected given that it’s 3D.

Music: I remember it being classic Star Wars music, other than that I don’t remember anything.

Overall: An easily skippable game, unless one is incredibly bored don’t bother with it even if you get the chance.

For those who like: Star Wars, Lightsabers, Action

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

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: Tales of Vesperia

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This week for Retro Game Friday, I’m covering a game I truly am surprised I haven’t covered already. It’s Tales of Vesperia!

Plot Synopsis: When the aque blastia core is stolen from Zaphias’s lower quarter, denying water to the lower class who live there, a young swordsman named Yuri Lowell attempts to chase down the thief…

Plot: The plot of Vesperia is definitely one of the best in the series. It’s darker than most of the other recent entries, but it’s definitely worth experiencing. That being said it’s a pity that the PS3 version of the game, which has a slightly expanded plot and cast of characters, has yet to be released in the west.

Characters: The entire cast of Vesperia is pretty awesome, although it’s a shame that western players don’t get to meet the entire cast as those in Japan do with the PS3 version.

Gameplay: This is one of the more solid entries in the series, especially in the item and battle systems. Battle isn’t as flawless as the most recent entries, but Vesperia is also the last entry in the series to have an overworld, so there is that.

Art: The art is a little dated, but it’s pretty damn good for a game that was released almost a decade ago.

Music: The music is pretty awesome, and even the opening theme is pretty catchy.

Overall: Like with other entries in the series, if you’ve never played it you are truly missing out.

For those who like: Tales of, JRPGs, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Excellent Plot, Great Cast of Characters, Good Art, Awesome Musical Score.

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

Retro Game Friday: Tales of Phantasia

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering the first entry in my favorite JRPG series. It’s Tales of Phantasia!

Plot Synopsis: A heroic battle between four unknown warriors against an evil sorcerer, Dhaos, the outcome of which changed the fate of the world. The warriors are victorious, but Dhaos escapes through time. However, four different heroes await him: they seal the weakened Dhaos away by using the power of two pendants, thus returning peace to the world. In the town of Toltus ten years after Dhaos was sealed away, there lives a young swordsman named Cress Albane and his best friend Chester Burklight…

Plot: The plot is pretty amazing, and it really is a classic. If you’ve never played it, you are truly missing out on a great story.

Characters: Cress and Chester are the first of the cast we meet really, but the entire cast is awesome. There are some amazing quotes that can be taken from the game including one that the game opens with (at least it did for the GBA version, which is what I played). “Truly, if there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.” It’s a classic and probably one of my favorite quotes of the series. Right up there with “Prepare to die Eggbear!”…

Gameplay: The gameplay is dated and frustrating by today’s standards, but it was truly unique at the time. Instead of controlling all of the party, you only had control of one character, although you could order the other ones to use specific skills in battle. I enjoyed the gameplay, but it could get frustrating.

Art: The art is pretty great, and while it isn’t super amazing by today’s standards it’s stood the test of time much better than 3D games.

Music: The music is also amazing.

Overall: If you’ve never played Phantasia, you are truly missing out on one of the classics.

For those who like: The Tales of Series, JRPGs, Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters, Great Music, Awesome Art.

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

1096 Days!

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Hey all I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled Retro Game Friday to write this instead. It’s been three years, or 1096 days, since I started writing daily without missing a single day. I’ve gone through deaths in my family, moving, getting sick for over a month, and various other forms of distraction for the past three years. I’ve had a blast writing and will continue to do so, but I wanted to state some of the new things that I’ve been doing in the past year.

Tor: Last year, shortly after my 2nd year of non stop writing, I received a group email with some of my fellow writers at GiN from Tor the big sci-fi/fantasy American publisher and I’ve since started doing reviews for them in addition to the reviews I’ve been doing with Audible. I alternate between the two formats, with occasional breaks for a indie author’s book. If you haven’t been looking at them I highly suggest you give them a read. I’ve been submitting them nearly weekly for the past year, so there is plenty of content for you to enjoy.

Video Game Reviews: I’ve been continuing to receive various video games to review, most of them indie games. Some of them have been great, most haven’t been. I also get some AAA games, like Destiny’s “expansions” and various JRPG/Anime related games. I hope to continue doing these, and you’ll be able to read them at gameindustry.com as well. Just so long as they don’t make me vomit like Coffin Dodgers did. Ugh…

That’s it for this post, next week it’ll be back to Retro Game Friday!

Retro Game Friday: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

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This week for Retro Game Friday I’ve got an old game I keep forgetting to cover. It’s Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater!

Gameplay: There wasn’t any plot, the point of the game was to score the highest amount of points by performing tricks in the various levels. There were also secrets to be found by exploring said levels as well. Frankly looking back the gameplay of this game wasn’t super spectacular, which isn’t surprising given that I’ve forgotten to cover the game until now. That being said despite it being simple it was one of the best selling games of the time.

Art: It’s dated poorly, but given that it was released during the N64 era of consoles, that isn’t surprising at all.

Music: It wasn’t well done, and could easily be noticed that it was looping.

Overall: If you get the chance to play it, go ahead, but there are games out there with more depth and they are probably a better way to spend your time.

For those who like: Skateboarding, Sports, Tricks, Simple Gameplay.

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