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    Feb 9th, 2008 at 02:27:56     -    Front Mission (DS)

    GAMEPLAY
    The units I had at my disposal were very customizable. New legs, arms, weapons, and more could be bought from a store with the money I earned. My squad gained experience and leveled up from destroying enemies, increasing their skill with weapon types, dodge chance, etc. There was an arena in the towns that I could enter and bet money on. It was with this that I figured out how to gain as much money as I wanted early on in the game. All a did was pick an opponent I could beat a lot and win a decent amount of money and in 15 min. I had so much money I bought all the best stuff for my units and had plenty left over.
    The story line isn’t the greatest, it just ties the missions together as best it can. There’s some evil, super-powerful guy who “killed” the love of your life and you want to get revenge. There’s not much else. The other characters in your squad have even less background. They have some personality, but it’s not enough to make me care about them. There one other thing that’s been bugging me about this game. The characters look like they were taken from a French fashion magazine. They’re all really pale, long and skinny, and they have this pompous, aloof look on their faces. Not the kind of people I think of fighting in a war.

    DESIGN
    The fact that I could kind-of cheat and get a lot of money quick and easy was a big flaw in the game. The value of the money to me in terms of effort needed to get it was near nothing and I could have got much more satisfaction from the money rewards of the missions and from buying new gear for my units. They should have put a limit as to how much money I could earn in the arena or something like that, in order to prevent this.
    I didn’t like the four life bar system very much with little control over which bar damage went to. It just decreases the skill of combat and increases randomness. I would have preferred one life bar or more control over the what bar is damaged.
    At the start of the game I thought I would specialize each of my units by giving them certain parts and weapons for a certain job, like long range attacks or close combat, damage absorbing units, but the game doesn’t provide parts that allow for much specializing. Usually, there is just a certain part that is the “best “ part of its type and there isn’t any reason not to get it. This led to all my units having the same gear. That’s just boring. They should have made parts that were meant for a fast, agile unit, and parts for a slow tough unit, and so on. At least then there would be some variation in my units.

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    Feb 9th, 2008 at 02:26:34     -    Front Mission (DS)

    SUMMARY
    Front Mission is a Turn-based strategy game, like Advance Wars or Final Fantasy Tactics, in which the player moves their units around on a map that is a grid of squares and attacks enemy units. The protagonist, Royd Clive, was a in the army but left after he lost his fiancée in the war going on with some other country, but gets his chance for revenge when he is offered to lead a group of mercenaries against the enemy nation. By the way, this war is fought with giant humanoid robots, like Armored Core. The game consists of a two campaigns( one on either side of the war), and the player’s team of mercs does a series of missions for cash and, most of the time, payback.

    GAMEPLAY
    The combat system was pretty simple, but different to what I am used to in a couple ways. The attack types were split into three categories: melee, short and long. Melee and short attacks required that I be right next to my enemy to use, and long range attacks have ranges that vary from weapon to weapon. Also, melee and short weapons allowed the defending unit to counter attack the attacking unit with their own weapons. Some weapons had a certain number of times they fired when I attacked. The more times the weapon fired, the less damage that weapon did per shot, on average. This wouldn’t matter that much except that each unit (excluding a very few) had four life bars: the legs together, each arm, and the torso.
    When damage is dealt to a unit, it is dealt randomly to one of the life bars. So a weapon that fires more would have its damage spread out among the four life bars generally. When the legs life bar was brought to zero, that unit could only move half the distance it had before. When the one of the arms’ life bars was taken down, weapons on that arm could not be used. Finally, when the torso’s life bar was depleted, the unit exploded, making it the most important life bar.

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    Jan 26th, 2008 at 02:26:54     -    Elebits (Wii)

    GAMEPLAY
    The longer I play, the bigger the levels get and the stronger my gun gets. Its a good progression and I like lifting stuff I couldn't before. The first boss battle was fun and not too easy. All I had to do was shoot him a bunch, no trick to it. I was a little tired of the story mode so I tried the edit mode. It's pretty good. I especially liked the option of having no gravity, so I made a surreal house with lots of stuff suspended in the air.
    There was some levels that had restrictions to them like not breaking to many objects or not making too much noise. These game variants didn't make the game any more enjoyable. They were just annoying and limited the chaos I could cause.

    DESIGN
    This game is obviously aimed at a younger audience, with such a wimsical mood, and is extreamly mild for a shooter, but I guess that's exspected from a game on the Wii. The game doesn't force the player to complete certain quests to finish levels. It tells the player how many watts they need and leaves the rest to them. At the same time there are definate steps reached in each level, which are when the capture gun reaches new levels. When a new level is reached, the possible places to search increase untill the player is not limited by any objects. Power ups were added to give more strategy, like learning the best time to use certain ones.
    There were a lot of aspects of this game that give the player a reason to replay the missions and give skilled or bored people something to do. First, there's the time trail and other variants added to the story levels. These optional modes make a new goal for the player to acheive and really tests the player's skill. Second, there's the editor for all those creative aspiring game designers. Combine that with the online map sharing and there is sure to be some clever maps to download and play, plus theres always new ones being made. As I said before, they added a gravity modifier that increases the diversity of player's maps.
    I didn't like the layout of the turorial at the start of the game. It went really slow and taught each aspect of the game one at a time. It also asked me if I wanted to take the tutorial every time. There was about ten of these, and there were loading screens inbetween all of them. They could have just had just one tutorial that taught the player everything in order, not segmented, instead of saying "success!" after every little thing (I'm not sure if it said "success!" but it was something like that).

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    Jan 26th, 2008 at 02:18:41     -    Elebits (Wii)

    SUMMARY
    Elebits is a first-person shooter for the Wii. You play as Kai, a young boy who feels neglected by his parents. They're too busy studying a tiny magical species called elebits, which power all electrical devices in the world. When a big storm takes out all the power, you must use a special capture gun to harness the power of the elebits that infest your house to regain power.

    GAMEPLAY
    The gameplay is easy to learn and simple. You shoot the elebits to gain watts. When the watts get high enough, appliances become active. Use them and they release power elebits, that increase the strength for the capture gun so it can pick up heavier objects. Each level has a time limit and the goal is to get the highest wattage before the time runs out. It is very remenicient of Katamari Damaci. The levels aren't too hard to pass, but do require some skill to get a higher score, and has good replay value. It gives me an evil pleasure to ransack the house and catch the fleeing little elebits. Everything in the house can be picked up, if you power up your gun enough.

    There are some problems with the game. sometimes when I moved a smaller object it would push a larger object and block a door or a drawer, then i wouldn't be able to open it untill my gun got upgraded. Another problem is when there is an object that requires that I put something in it, like bread in a toaster. The bread has to be the proper orientation to go in the toaster, which can be preatty hard. Also, opening doors can sometimes get frustrating. If you don't twist the Wii-mote right the door won't open and sometimes when it does, the door bounces back closed. Objects can prevent a door from opening as well, even small ones.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 26th, 2008 at 02:32:00.

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    1Beyond Good and Evil (PS2)Playing
    2Crimson Skies (XBX)Playing
    3Elebits (Wii)Playing
    4Front Mission (DS)Playing
    5Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)Playing

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