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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 22:24:23     -    Ninety Nine Nights (360)

    Maxwell Weinberg
    CS80k
    March 5th, 2008


    Ninety Nine Nights

    GAMEPLAY:

    This time, I concentrated on Myifee's missions. I beat the first mission, and unlocked his special combo, which causes meteors to rain down on enemies. But that was about the most significant part of this gameplay session.
    I found a few items and equipped them (like a life-orb that gives extra health, and a shield that raises other stats).

    After that, on the second level, I spent 15 minutes getting about 1/3 through the level, fighting about 600 goblins (just like the other levels), and then came a mini-boss fight with a thief named Tea Tea. You would think that a mini-boss duel would have some slightly more significant gameplay aspects, but no, it was the same hack and slash as before.

    Tea Tea actually ended up killing me, and I was reverted back to the beginning of the whole level. 15 minutes later, I made it back to Tea Tea. He killed me again.

    Then I became incredibly frustrated with the penalty of death in this game. You revert back to the beginning of the entire level.

    There are no checkpoints. It's as if they expect you not to die, because after having to do a 15-minute-section 2 or 3 times, the game becomes unbearable . I couldn't continue to play after he killed me a third time. The level-revert aspect killed the game experience. Although I really wanted to see Myifee's storyline, an annoying boss battle that takes too long to get back to turned me off to the game completely.

    DESIGN:

    The fact that this game can have so many enemy units on screen at once is unique. It feels epically proportioned as you play.
    However, the gameplay itself lacks variance, and even when playing as different characters, the game feels generally the same.

    The levels are repetitive and have no effect on gameplay. It's simply castle walls or grass or canyons or whatever tile-set the current mission takes place in.

    The game attempts to keep the player interested by using an "Orb Gauge" system. Each time you kill a bad guy, the gauge fills up slightly. When it's full, you can use your ultimate move, which lets you instantly kill enemies in a wide range attack. But once you use it, it ends, and it's back to the same boring hack and slash as before.

    Again, the most frustrating aspect of this game was the fact that there are no checkpoints.

    If you die, you go all the way back to the beginning of the level, which makes the repetitive gameplay even MORE repetitive.
    The cut-scenes of the game aren't interesting, and simply act as pauses in the gameplay. Many of them have no voice acting, and the text is poorly placed and poorly timed.

    This game has a lot of potential to be great, but it leaves the player hanging with lack of variable gameplay, repetitive levels, and a
    basic, trite storyline.

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 21:42:06     -    Ninety Nine Nights (360)

    Maxwell Weinberg
    CS80k
    March 5th, 2008


    Ninety Nine Nights

    SUMMARY:

    In Ninety Nine Nights, you play as a fierce warrior of your choice. You weild a rather large weapon, and you take on hordes of hundreds of enemies at at time (usually Goblins or Orcs).
    At the start of each level, you also choose a set of guards that will help you throughout the mission. You can choose archers, pikemen, heavy infantry, or infantry. I played through a few levels with 3 different characters: Asphaar, Inphyy, and Myifee.
    Asphaar is blue, and weilds a large bladed pike.
    Inphyy is his younger sister, and she weilds a large sword.
    Myifee is a mercenary warrior who weilds a large double blade on a chain.

    GAMEPLAY:
    The gameplay, although visually appealing, gets very repetative and old. Hack and slash, hack and slash, pound more on the X and Y buttons to pull off combos over and over and over again. Yes, you are attacking 40 bad guys at a time, and getting 1200 hit combos, but it gets old much faster than other games. I had fun at first, but once it got boring, the only thing keeping me going was the visuals and the simple satisfaction of killing 50 goblins with one swing of the blade. But there is no mental demand, only a button-smashing demand. I was left feeling bored throughout most of the gameplay.

    Simple tasks were thrown in to "change it up", such as "Destroy the catapults
    before they break the gates," but it didn't change gameplay. You just run up to the catapult and slash at it until it breaks.

    The characters were cliche', and the dialogue was terrible (The English-translation voice acting is bad, too).
    A simple story about a "kingdom under attack by goblins", and Inphyy's burning revenge regarding the death of her father, doesn't provide much as far as an interesting story plot.

    I feel like this game has a lot of potential to be a fun game, but the gameplay itself is repetative and uninteresting.
    The visuals are amazing, however. Thousands of enemies are on screen at once, and can be seen in the distance, but the combat system could flow better and be more varried, rather than "UP-SLASH, DOWN-SLASH, BIG ATTACK COMBO, Rinse and repeat!"

    -Maxwell Weinberg

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    Feb 19th, 2008 at 23:17:13     -    Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

    Gameplay:
    I was glad to have beaten the Deku Tree. Once the dungeon is cleared, the Deku Tree presented me with the first of many quest-related items, the Kokiri’s Emerald. This allowed me to then leave the forest, where Saria gave me the Fairy Ocarina, which introduced the new gameplay element of music, one of the main story and gameplay aspects of Ocarina of Time.
    The Ocarina is used to play magical songs that you learn through your quest, and when certain songs are played, events occur (the Sun’s Song switches day to night and night to day). However, when you pull out the Ocarina, all other gameplay stops. The game goes into a frozen time state, where the only action is Link playing his Ocarina. This makes the musical aspect kind of static and non-dynamic because it is completely separate from the other environment aspects. Memorizing the songs is basically the only challenge of the Ocarina (but you can pause and go into the menu to see the songs listed, so you don’t really have to memorize them anyway). It would be much harder if you had to, say, play the songs while in the middle of battle, trying to avoid being hit while hitting the correct notes. But this isn’t the case.
    Also, the Ocarina is limited to 5 notes. Although you can control the pitch of the notes with the control stick, none of the songs require you to change the pitch, so pitch control is a useless addition towards the gameplay.



    Design:
    The graphical quality of this game is astounding, for its time. I remember when it first came out, it was one of the most realistic looking RPG’s ever.
    The forest’s milieu is very tranquil, as should it be, to show that Link comes from a peaceful town that doesn’t know death (since the forest kids are immortal spirits who don’t grow old). The music is cheerful, as are all the characters (besides Mido, who stops you when you try to pass without a sword and shield). The first section of the game is supposed to ease you in to the game world and get you used to its mechanics, such as jumping from ledges, finding rupees (to buy the shield), avoiding obstacles (rolling boulders on your way to getting the sword), and talking to townsfolk for information. The Deku Tree stands as the all-knowing mentor that guides you (and gives you Navi the Fairy, who will guide you through the rest of the game with her annoying “HEYs” and “LISTENs”).
    The inside of the tree, as well as all the rest of the dungeons, seem to give a sense of aloneness, in a dark, dank dungeon where no one has been for a very long time. By using darker lighting, spider webs, and large ancient rock devices, you really get a sense of danger. The dungeons become increasingly harder as the game progresses, and by the time you have found a wide range of items, the puzzles become more complex, causing you to utilize and remember the functionality of all your weapons and items accumulated thus far. The pleasant feel of Ocarina of Time never lets the player down, and always keeps the player immersed in Hyrule.
    The land of Hyrule is beautiful (the rolling hills of Hyrule Field and the sandy desert of Gerudo Valley are good examples), and makes full use of the N64's graphics capabilities. The sun sets and changes the lighting and makes way for nightfall, which is also lit very well.
    This game ties together a beautiful landscape, challenging dungeons, memorable bosses, believable characters, and fun, dynamic gameplay into an experience that truly earns The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time a spot on the classics list.

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    Feb 19th, 2008 at 23:13:34     -    Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

    Summary:
    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was a huge step forward in the RPG genre. Released on the Nintendo 64, this game takes place in the land of Hyrule, where Link must quest to save the Princess Zelda and the kingdom from the clutches of the evil Ganondorf. You control Link, the green-hooded forest boy, through various themed dungeons filled with puzzles, monsters, and items to use. The game has a great story, told through cut scenes that usually take place between dungeons, and it all comes together to tell one of the most epic tales in video game history.
    For this game log, I started at the beginning of the game, in Kokiri forest, and made it through the Deku Tree, who then sent me off to Castle Hyrule to seek out the princess. I made it past the guards at the castle, found the princess, and then began making my way towards the game’s second dungeon, Dodongo Cavern.

    Gameplay:
    The gameplay is straightforward, and for its time, it implemented a revolutionary equipment system. The game makes use of the N64 controller’s C buttons in order to set custom inventory selections onto the left, right, and down C buttons, for quick-use. The fighting system isn’t typical RPG Turn-based combat, but rather a slash-and-hit style that works well.

    Link will slash his sword in the direction you are looking, which is usually the direction intended. Other equipment allows for diverse combat, so you can switch to ranged mode, or quickly deploy your shield with the R button. Although there is no “jump” button, Link will automatically jump when he reaches a ledge.
    Once you’ve found your sword and shield, you can enter the first dungeon, the Deku Tree. Even in the first dungeon, we begin to get a sense of how this game will play for its entirety.

    A series of small puzzles, such as buttons that open certain doors, and torches that must supply your Deku stick with fire long enough to burn down a spider-web-wall, block your path until you finally make it to the boss at the end of the dungeon. The boss battle utilized the use of the Slingshot, which was the new weapon associated with this dungeon (each dungeon provides you with a new weapon or item, as well as new puzzles and problems that you must use the weapon or item to solve).

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