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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:05:59     -    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)

    ENTRY #2

    GAMEPLAY: After finishing the first case (which actually took longer than I thought), I moved on to the second case right away. I was introduced to another case involving some guy and a noodle cart. Hooray. Oh, and he died on it. So being the good attorney that I am, I had to investigate the matter.
    The investigation part of Apollo Justice is exactly like that of Phoenix Wright. The scene moves from the top screen to the bottom screen, and the player uses a crosshair (via touch screen or d-pad) to investigate clues that might be helpful. It was one of the first investigation parts of the scene, so the search wasn't too difficult. After a certain number of clues were found, the game took me back to the court room.
    I pressed witnesses, I presented evidence to contradictory testimonies, patted myself on the back, and went back into investigation mode after the judge decided that he couldn't announce a verdict until ALL the clues were decisive. I stopped there because I realized it was eleven at night and this is due in an hour. So I really look forward to the rest of the game.

    DESIGN: I am actually surprised that this game reach the popularity that it did. Not many gamers that I know would like to sit down and play a heavily story-driven game. Usually the heavy amount of text is a turn-off for people. I personally love it.
    The game has two basic modes of design. The first one is in the courtroom. Players must use the ability "press" to get essential information from testimonies and find holes in their stories. And once the player finds a testimony that contradicts certain evidence, he/she must present the evidence correctly or else a penalty is given. Though it may sound a little difficult, going through testimonies and finding contradictions isn't too bad. Players are given the ability to reread certain parts of a testimony if they miss what was said.
    The second mode is the investigation mode I mentioned earlier. In this mode, players must talk to different people (given by the "Talk" option) and gather information in different locations. Afterwards, there is an "Examine" option where people can look around the current location and potentially find different clues essential to the case. When there are no clues left in one place, players must move to the other places (with, of course, the "Move" option). At certain times, the player will be required to "Present" certain items to characters so that they 1) get a reaction out of them necessary to move on or 2) get more information on the presented item. It feels a little tedious at times and can get frustrating when you don't know what to do. But one feels a great deal of reward when he/she finally figures it out on their own.
    But these two modes alone couldn't hold a game. It would get boring quite easily. That's why it's a good thing that this game has a good story and lovable characters. While not as good as the Phoenix Wright series in terms of character development, Apollo Justice does the series justice (pun intended?). Each character has their own personality and look that it never gets boring. Some you will learn to love, and others you will simply HATE because of how annoying their appearance and personality are. Just like in real life!
    And like any good game out there, this game has memorable music. As a matter of fact, I kind of want the soundtrack, but I don't have money. The tunes I speak of occur in the actual courtroom when Apollo thinks of a great comeback against the prosecution. It almost sounds like Megaman music (which is probably why I like it so much).
    Overall, this game is a great addition to the series. Any fan of the Wright series will feel right at home here. The characters aren't as well-developed, but I'm sure that will come in later sequels, which I HIGHLY look forward to. I recommend this to anyone who loves story-driven games (and sorry RPG fans, you won't be given the option of killing monsters and getting EXP/MONEY for it).

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 21:04:02     -    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)

    APOLLO JUSTICE: ACE ATTORNEY

    SUMMARY: Seven years after the events of the Phoenix Wright series, Apollo Justice is the new rookie lawyer in town. As a defense attorney, Apollo must trust each of his clients' words and defend them to the very end.

    GAMEPLAY: Being a HUGE fan of the Phoenix Wright series, one can only imagine my anticipation for this particular title. I was a bit sad because I knew that this game wouldn't have any of the familiar characters that I grew to love in the Wright series. Still, I wasn't disappointed when I played the first case of the game. Because certain characters from the Phoenix Wright series DID appear in Apollo Justice:Ace Attorney. In fact, the first client you get is...*SPOILER* Phoenix Wright.
    The game is VERY story driven, which I love. The game opened up with being in the court room as Apollo Justice. The old interface from the Wright series makes its return here. I was given the ability to press a witness for information and present evidence to certain contradictions during the testimony. Being an old fan of the Phoenix Wright games, I grew to like Apollo a lot. He's just another young rookie attorney that needs to get experience as he gets more cases.
    New to this particular series (Apollo Justice) is the ability to "perceive" people's nervous habits when they lie about something in their testimony. When "pressing" witnesses and "presenting" evidence doesn't work, choosing to use the "perceive ability" (represented by a bracelet) becomes the most logical option.
    Needless to say, because I'm a veteran, I haven't received many penalties in the game (if you get too many penalties, it's game over). But I have a feeling that I'm gonna start getting those very soon in the next few cases to come. Still, the storyline is all there and the characters all have their own unique personalities. I look forward to playing this game more.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 00:16:16     -    Gradius (NES)

    Gamelog #2
    Gameplay: After another 45 minutes of gameplay, I finally made to level…TWO! As one can imagine, I patted myself on the back for that one (which actually wasn’t a good idea because I flew into a wall at that moment). Still, I got a lot better at upgrading my ship for me to survive. I managed to get three options for Vic Viper, all equipped with the laser this time (double still sucks, sorry). My Vic Viper was a TANK…that didn’t last that long. Even being a tank in this game, being killed is still quite easy. I can understand why some people just hate this game, but I personally love it. The difficulty is truly meant for the hardcore gamer.
    I also found that having my ship upgraded to full speed isn’t a good idea. Often times, I could not control Vic Viper, which resulted in stupid ceiling deaths. I yelled and cried because the player is only allowed three lives, and it was my last life. Still, I find this game quite enjoyable and hope to beat it very soon with my Gradius Collection on the PSP.

    Design: Gradius is a classic shoot-em-up that is “easy to play, difficult to master”. The classic gameplay and hardcore difficulty are definitely the appeal of this game. Most shoot-em-ups have power-ups to make your ship more powerful to help you through the game. Gradius is no exception. However, the upgrade system is very unique in this particular game because the player can actually choose the way Vic Viper gets upgraded. As far as I am concerned, this is the first (and maybe only) shoot-em-up that allows such customization. Gradius definitely does this upgradable system correctly and without flaw.
    In terms of the difficulty, I am often reminded of Contra when I play Gradius. Without a doubt, this game will frustrate ALL players (hardcore or casual). But resilient hardcore players will beat this game, no doubt. I almost feel that the level design of this game is mostly memorization (and therefore a lot of trial and error is involved). Though players will be challenged to dodge bullets at every angle, as long as you have one set path in this game of progression, you should be fine. This aspect only probably makes up the “love or hate” relationship of this game with the player (personally I love it).
    For its time, Gradius is actually quite a gorgeous game. Vic Viper is a bright ship and easy to look after in contrast to the very dark backgrounds of the game. The enemies are also very colorful and never get boring to look at.
    The only aspect of the game I did not like very much was the music. Occasionally it would change to a different tune when I entered a cave, but for most of the space sequences, the music was the same. It goes great with the theme of a galactic space shooter, but it was not memorable enough for me (such as Megaman 2 music for the NES, especially the Wily stage music). If I could change anything in the game, it would most likely be the music.
    Overall, Gradius is a very well designed game. While the difficulty is awfully steep, it is still fun mainly because it was MEANT to be this hard (like Contra). It isn’t hard because of poor game design (like E.T. for the Atari). The upgrade weapon system also adds a very unique twist to the shoot-em-up genre. The game looks great visually and never gets boring. In fact, because of the insane difficulty and nice visuals, Gradius is actually one of the very few games that’s fun to watch other people play.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 00:15:54     -    Gradius (NES)

    Gamelog #1
    SUMMARY: Gradius is a vertical shoot-em-up. You play as a ship named Vic Viper and must blast through hordes of enemy ships and aliens.

    Gameplay: I’ve heard how difficult this game was, but I always thought that perhaps those people who complained about that simply were not used to shoot-em-ups. So I decided to play it for myself. Almost as if to slap me in the face, Gradius wasted no time in proving that its difficulty lived up to its hype. I started with a slow-moving ship, so naturally the first thing I upgraded was my speed. I moved a bit faster, but still wasn’t satisfied, so I upgraded again. My first reaction to this upgrade system was thinking how unique it was as opposed to most shoot-em-ups. I could finally upgrade my ship to reflect my playing style. After blasting more enemies and gaining more orange power-ups, I decided to try the “Double” option. I’ve never seen it before and it sounded cool, so I went for it. And boy was it a bad decision.
    Not only did I feel like my fire-rate was MUCH slower than it already was, but it also went in two different directions that I didn’t want it to: diagonal up right and straight right. I’m sure some players love this weapon, but I hated it. It made my ship-massacre less efficient. I thought I’d try to get used to this weapon because I’m sure it was just me being bad. But every time I upgraded to it, I kept dying! “Double” definitely isn’t my weapon. So I decided to skip that and just go with “Option” instead. Much to my surprise, I now had an orange bad to help me shoot bad guys. THIS was the kind of double that I was looking for! Further into the level, I got enough upgrades to get a second “option”, so now I had TWO orange buddies to help me out! Oh joy! But…as soon as I got it, a rock from an erupting volcano hit me. You can only imagine the anger that ensued from that event.
    At least I was finally able to experience the difficult of Gradius that I’ve heard so much about. Sad to say, I didn’t even finish the first level in the game. Hopefully during my next 45 minute play through, I can make it a bit farther.

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    1Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)Playing
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