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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:50:57     -    Devil May Cry 4 (360)

    GAMEPLAY

    Going into the second hour, I managed to gain my Devil Trigger ability which lets me gives a boost in attack power and speed for a limited time. I can also grab multiple enemies if they are grouped with the Devil Bringer while in Devil Trigger form. It basically works very similar to Dante's Devil Trigger from the other games. From what I've played so far, the Devil Bringer is a pretty cool addition to the gameplay element. It makes the pace even faster than before and is a really useful tool for stunning enemies out of their attacks. I was a little skeptical of how it would work it out, considering that players have been playing as Dante for the past three games, but I've actually grown attached to it as well as the new character Nero.

    DESIGN

    As I stated before, the backgrounds and characters are gorgeous. Levels, although extremely linear, are very well designed. Everything in the game has a very dark Gothic tone and feel to it. You spend most of your time without any sunlight which also adds to the tone. As for gameplay, players need to be fast and have some good reflexes if they want to build up their ranks in order to get more orbs and proud souls. Unfortunately, this game has some issues that could have been easily solved.

    The first problem is the camera. Although you are able to control it at certain times, it is mostly fixed at a certain point in a room. This leads to some disorientation and confusion, especially when you're running in one direction and the view suddenly changes and you end up running the wrong way. This was also an issue in the previous Devil May Crys which apparently hasn't been fixed. It would have been a lot better if the camera was focused behind the back of the character with the player having the ability to freely control it, like in 3rd person shooters. Another problem is the difficulty. After complaints of the previous game being too hard, Capcom decided to dumb down the game and made it incredibly easy. Enemy AI isn't all that aggressive and enemies usually wait around before attacking. It's a especially easier with the addition of Nero's Devil Bringer since you can snatch enemies out of their attack animations and deal a lot of damage with your throws. There's also the lack of weapons. Nero only has two weapons, his sword the Red Queen and his gun the Blue Rose. While guns in the previous games were pretty strong, Nero's gun in this game is pathetic and pretty much useless. It deals a negligible amount of damage and is really only good for keeping your style meter up. Players can go through the whole game without even touching the gun upgrades. Since you have only one sword, your attacks and combos are also limited. If Capcom ever decides to make a Devil May Cry 5 with Nero again, this lack of weapons needs to be fixed. Despite the issues, Devil May Cry 4 is still an enjoyable game, especially for fans of the series.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:50:16     -    Devil May Cry 4 (360)

    SUMMARY

    Devil May Cry 4 is an action adventure game for the XBOX 360 and PS3 developed by Capcom. In it, you play as a Nero, a new character that has been introduced to the series. After the assassination of the high priest by Dante, you are sent to go after and capture him. Being the first game for the next gen consoles, it adds a brand new element of gameplay not seen in the previous iterations of the Devil May Cry series.

    GAMEPLAY

    Right off the bat, you can see that the game is really pretty to look at compared to its predecessors, especially on an HDTV. The lighting and the details of the characters are very well done and lives up to the standards of the next gen consoles. Gameplay is broken down into a series of missions, just like the previous Devil May Crys. The first mission served as a tutorial for the controls and the awesome new gameplay element, the Devil Bringer. The Devil Bringer is the demonic manifestation of Nero's right arm and acts as a sort of grappling hook. You can use it to grab enemies and bring them closer to you or to initiate highly damaging throws, with each one being different depending on the enemy. Throws can even be used on bosses once they are stunned. This new addition to the game makes for a more aggressive and faster style of play, more so than the previous games because you don't really need to run up to your enemies as much. The interface and upgrade system is pretty much unchanged. Red orbs collected from enemies are still used to buy items, green orbs heal you, and gold orbs act as revives. The one difference now is that proud souls, which are gained at the end of each mission depending on rank, are used to buy moves and upgrades instead of the red orbs. Rankings are given based on how “stylish” your fighting was, meaning how well you are able to string different attacks together without being hit yourself. Getting hit resets the style meter. Style points are then added up along with the number of orbs gained and amount of time taken to finish a mission to give you your mission ranking.

    The story is actually more interesting in this game than in the other ones. There are still plot holes and things are still unexplained, but it isn't as bad as before. Nero is a member of the Order of the Sword, a group of knights that worship the dark knight Sparda. In the middle of a prayer with the other members and the high priest, all hell breaks loose when Dante crashes in from the roof and assassinates the high priest along with a few other members. Nero fights him off and is then ordered by the order to chase after Dante and capture him which is where the story starts to kick off. From there, you're left wondering why Dante has seemingly turned evil and attacked innocent people.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 23:00:38     -    Chrono Trigger (SNES)

    GAMEPLAY

    Played through my third hour now and it's still as good as I remember it. The real story of this game doesn't really come out until you're about 3 or 4 hours into it, maybe more if you're into level grinding your characters. As you meet more party members in different time lines, more and more of the story is revealed. The music is great as well even though they were made for a 10 year old system. Every song fits the mood and atmosphere of your surroundings perfectly.

    DESIGN

    As I said before, the battle system in Chrono Trigger was really innovative. It adds an amount of strategy in the way you fight because of the different areas of effects each technique has. Some techniques strike in a line, while others affect a small area. Enemies are always moving around during battle so you have to decide on the appropriate technique to use. It also brings your party members into play. Since everyone has different combo attacks, you'll start deciding on which party members to bring in order to use certain abilities. The overworld backgrounds and settings fit in very well with the various time periods. The future, 2300 AD, looks exactly like it should after the destruction of the world with the coming of Lavos: ruined, stormy, and bleak. This is enhanced by all the dark colors used for the settings. Another good example is in 600 AD, where the country is in a state of war against monsters. There's a very nice fog effect that envelops the world during that era which really sets the mood.

    This is also one of the first RPGs that had any amount of replay value. There are 13 different endings for the game, each one depending on the actions you take in each time era. The sidequests that you can partake in add even more to the story by giving the background stories of all your characters. There aren't too many RPG games out there that really flesh out their characters. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about your main character, Crono. He's one of your typical silent protagonists like Link from the Zelda games. For me, it sort of detracts from the game experience because your hero doesn't really have a voice or personality. Silent protagonists are supposed to make you feel like you're in the game because you become the character's voice, but I was never really a fan of them.

    And since I'm talking about the bad side of things here, I think I should list a couple other issues that I had. One problem is the difficulty. The game is a bit on the easy side, especially once you get the more powerful equipment and spells. It's also a little shorter than the usual 100 hour Final Fantasy game which is more a nitpick for me, but it should be a decent length for other players. All in all, Chrono Trigger is one the best RPGs ever made by Square Enix. It's a bit of a shame that the series was never continued past Chrono Cross. Hopefully, another sequel will be released, or maybe even a remake. Either way, this is a game that all RPG players should definitely check out.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 21:39:59     -    Chrono Trigger (SNES)

    SUMMARY

    Chrono Trigger is an RPG game made by Square Enix for the SNES. You play as Crono and his friends from various time periods and try to save the world from an alien parasite known as Lavos, who destroys the world in 1999 AD. Starting in 1000 AD, you travel throughout different time eras in an attempt to stop the coming threat.

    GAMEPLAY

    It's been years since I last played this game and it really brings back a lot of memories. I remember being absolutely hooked on Chrono Trigger after getting it and played the entire game inside and out, getting every final weapon and going through all 13 endings. It was just the perfect RPG at the time. Anyway, I'll stop with the reminiscing and get on with the log.

    Chrono Trigger was and probably still is one of the most innovative RPGs ever made because of its gameplay aspects. A couple include the multiple endings and the new ATB (Active Time Battle) system. Starting out, you can see that the graphics are actually quite detailed for a 2D RPG on the SNES. The main characters have a very Dragonball Z look to them which is obvious considering that the artist for the Dragonball series, Akira Toriyama, did the artwork. Menus, items, equipment, experience, and whatnot are all very much like your standard RPG. Your party consists of only 3 members that you can switch around as you please but only at a given place. However, I think what really sets Chrono Trigger apart from other RPGs back in the day is the battle system.

    What I really liked about Chrono Trigger other than the great story is the battle system. Instead of having random encounters like the countless other RPGs, you're able to see where your enemies are while you're traveling in a dungeon. You can then choose to avoid or fight them. There also isn't a transition during battles where you're taken to a different screen to fight. Battles take place on the same screen and background which gives a seamless experience. The battle system itself uses the ATB system instead of the turn based one which also make the game a little more fast paced. The magic/tech system is unique in the way that you can combine magic attacks with your party members to make it stronger. Of course not all techs can be combined and you can only combine techs that you already have. One example would be, Crono's attack tech Cyclone with Marle's life restoring Aura, makes Aura Whirl which cures all allies. This magic system was never done before and is implemented really well in the game.

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