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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Criminal Girls Invite Only(クリミナルガールズ INVITATION)

Well, I just platinumed Criminal Girls INVITATION so I guess it's a good a time as any to review this awful piece of trash. As usual, the Japanese show a total immunity to seeing ALL CAPS as anything but some cool blob of English text. Thank god us Westerners are too enlightened to ever use a language without first properly understanding it.

What is this weaboo garbage?
So where do I even begin? First, do I need to remind the world that video games are an art form and this kind of lowbrow junk undermines the very fabric of our racially diverse, gender agnostic, politically correct society??? We should not tolerate this kind of thing if we are to ascend to a higher level of society that is cognizant and understanding of all people and their differing viewpoints.

The main problem with this game is that it doesn't try to play on a popular social topic of the times with an overblown sense of self-importance such as the indie masterpiece of mind numbing boredom and teenybopper first world problems game: Gone Home. All it succeeds at is being an extremely fun game with an addictive and original gameplay mechanic.

And no, I'm not talking about the "motivation" mini-games (PUNISH in Japanese). Since I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO interest in this kind of stuff, it was nothing more than just very simple mini-games to me. A bit of strategizing does come into play in terms of which skills to spend your OP points on, for example ice skills in the fire dungeon but there's not much more than that.

The pink fog was NISA censorship. The Japanese version showed EVERYTHING including the MRI Scan preorder DLC
No, the real fun comes when you unlock all the battle mechanics which is actually pretty far into the game. On the surface, it seems dead simple as there are no weapons or armor and you can only pick from 4 suggestions. But the real trick comes in trying to coax the right moves, especially in the boss battles by swapping in the right characters at the right time

The battle system starts out extremely simple so the "pro" contract reviewer paid to play 5 hours to knock out a review isn't gonna think it's so great
For example, one strategy I used was a chain (Yuko+Sako) continuous heal skill so you can unleash a powerful attack that only gets suggested at full health combined with an Attack X boost. Another example is a character that has two complementary skills: one keeps you alive when an attack >50% health would kill you and the other is an attack that gets stronger the lower your HP. There's nothing more satisfying than pulling off a huge move of 10K+ damage with a tiny sliver of health and coming back from the brink of death. You can really tell the balancing was well-tested because the true final boss has an attack that hits you a bunch of times with tiny hits to block this move.

Yeah, you can grind your way to the end but it's much more satisfying to go up against a boss under-leveled. Now, there are various endings to unlock by repeatedly beating the last boss so I just grinded afterwards to make it easier for myself but the first time was pretty epic. In addition, there's tons more to do after the first ending to get the true and true true ending so don't miss it.

The OST was nothing too special but this song was good

The story is microcosmic and very down-to-earth. If you insist on saving the world AGAIN, then it may not be the kind for you. Personally, I find themes such as getting picked on at school far more relateable that hits closer to home. (Disclaimer: As swim team captain with raiju girlfriend in High school and not the type to play weaboo shit, I'm just imagining what it must be like to be picked on at school.)

Score: 4 yet another obligatory disclaimer of how I'm totally not interested in these types of games out of 5 (47 hours to get final ending)

I had a lot of fun with Criminal Girls. Imageepoch has a knack for making deceptively simple and yet addictive and satisfying games (Fate/Extra review pending). If I was a "professional" reviewer, I could talk this and that and whatever diarrhea crap but at the end of the day, I had enough fun with it that it is in my book a great game. In fact, I may even try out the original PSP version for kicks one day.

The OG PSP version didn't have Live 2D and featured rhythm games
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ys I & II Chronicles(イース I & II Chronicles)

The first time I ever played a Ys game was on the SNES. The game left such a bad taste in my mouth, traumatically wasting a precious video game rental, that I avoided the series for about a decade until Ys I & II on the PSP.

Despite my self-delusional fantasy of growing up in Japan, my <sarcasm>wonderful childhood</sarcasm> in New Jersey left me deprived of all the good games from Japan and things like the PC88/98, MSX, and FM TOWNS were totally unheard of. Nowadays, every Joe Schmo thinks they're some sort of expert because they can use Google but back in the dark ages, we only knew about whatever was on TV or at the local video rental (or Toys"R"Us for the rich kids). So yeah, good luck on finding out about the TurboGrafx-CD version in 1990.

This is SO nostalgic in my fake Japanese fantasy childhood.
Starting up Ys I & II as a newcomer was quite a shock for me as a retro newb. I was frantically trying to figure out how to attack the enemies. Eventually, I got a sword and still it totally did nothing. Apparently, I wasn't retro enough to realize that your sword doesn't actually move and you just run into enemies. Now, if you have not played these games, just running into enemies sound completely boring and pointless but the trick is to not run at enemies head-on (this hurts you) but from at an angle or from behind.

You're better off going at it from behind (hardy harhar)
You may be tempted to think just running into stuff won't be a very fun game but you would be OH SO VERY WRONG. I beat both games on Hard and some of the boss battles are incredibly challenging. It will take all your reflexes, pattern learning, and coordination not to mention hours of practice to beat both games on hard. Be prepared for a very sore thumb and an intense feeling of satisfaction when you finally beat the game.

The first game especially was brutal at some parts. Yes, the bat boss in the first game was HARD AS HELL but at least you could grind for it. The last boss with the collapsing floor tiles was just ridiculous and there's no way to grind past the max level. I didn't really like how luck played a large part as sometimes you can get completely stuck if you're unlucky with a falling floor tile.

The second game is not as hard as they added magic and the ability to use your items during the boss battles. Having items during the battle made a huge difference in terms of difficulty but it's still no push over.

Shooting fireballs makes Ys 2 a bit easier even on the first boss
Overall, I shudder to think what the games are like on Nightmare mode.

The game has the original PC88, PC engine and a newly arranged soundtrack and it's all good even though I'm not normally a fan of rock guitar music. Koshiro Yuzo was one of the original composers so I don't think anything more needs to be said about that.

There are better tracks but you'll hear this one for so often, you'll never forget it

By now, everybody and their moms have talked the Ys series to death but I still have to add my two cents to say I&II is really a lot of fun. I would even go as far as to say I missed the bumping mechanic while playing Oath in Felghana. You have to do all this CRAP such as jumping and swinging your sword around that I'm just like UGH, I wish I could just run into shit.

Score: 3.5 OW MY THUMB!!!! out of 5.

I liked the PSP version so much that I even bought the PS2 version in case I'm ever in the mood for some good ol' bumping action on the big screen.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Trails in the Sky FC Evolution(英雄伝説 空の軌跡 FC Evolution)

After several failed attempts at beating Sora no kiseki FC on two other platforms (yay Falcom), I finally marathoned this game on my trusty ol' Vita. See, what happened was Xseed (AKA the company that no longer does fan service games) FINALLY got around to localizing the sequel to this game. And in their usual classy manner, they decided to spoil this game in the first THREE WORDS of the steam description. I got so annoyed that I decided screw it, better finish this game and play SC (second chapter) as well before all the 'mericans spoil that too.

Guess which version is from the tasteful folks at Xseed?
Anyways, putting aside my disgust at Xseed's total lack of respect for spoilers, I'm glad to have finally finished the first game in a series that already has a total of 7 games so far. The trails series is the most recent and longest running series in the Legend of Heroes metaseries, which I first talked about in my last review of LOH3 or 2 or 2-1. In fact, this game was originally called Legend of Heroes VI as the sixth entry in the entire... oh, WHATEVER!

Of course, as a Jhipster, I am playing the Japanese exclusive Evolution remake for the Vita which features voice acting, sharp-ass graphics, and new artwork. I'm sure non-jhipsters can enjoy when it gets localized sometime around 2025, just in time for it to be completely obsolete with the PS5 super evolution 3d waifu Matrix VR remake... at least going by the current release schedule.

The first thing that really struck me about the Evolution version compared to the 2 disk UMD grindfest version or even the PS3 HD "port" (emphasis on the double quotes) was how damn sharp those pixels were on my fancy OLED screen. While the graphics remain mostly the same, the details on the shops, buildings, signs, and everything was just amazing. This is the only 2d RPG I know of so far where you can actually read the tiny signs without having to examine it.

Thanks for the ! but I can read the sign just fine already (click image for full size)
The other aspect that makes this game unique is just how much the NPCs have to say in the towns. Virtually every NPC has something different to say after every tiny, little story event. And if you have the patience to talk to every NPC over and over, tons of little stories will unfold. Some of them will react to the events of the story and others will talk about simple mundane things like the guy working at the bar babysitting his girlfriend's little sister while she goes to work. There's even a couple that are on a pilgrimage that you will see at every town as you travel from one place to another.

Enjoy as this poor guy's mom asks every girl in the village to marry her son
About half of the 75 hours it took me to beat this game was probably spent walking around town and talking to NPCs. Even if you aren't crazy like me, there is SO MUCH dialogue to the point where I'm tempted to put this game in the ADV category, which is why having the main story fully voiced is such a HUGE improvement. As an American, of course I'm offended when confronted with the notion of having to read so being able to listen to the dialogue with auto progress on is a huge bonus. The only annoying part is having to swipe every few minutes so the Vita doesn't go to sleep. I can't believe there is STILL no option to turn that off.

The voiced dialogue also features matching mouth movement in the character profiles and various expressions which is an attention to detail I really appreciate. Really, the level of detail and the hours and hours of voiced dialogue just boggles the mind when you consider Falcom is already releasing SC Evolution a mere 6 months after this one while Xseed took many years just to translate the text. (I've worked in Japan so I can imagine the poor salarymen slaving away at this.)

There was a free demo on JP PSN last time I checked

This visual novel even has an RPG aspect (lol), and the battle system is a very fun turn-based grid system. I played on hard and it felt like just the right amount of challenge. The level progression is VERY controlled. In other words, you level up right away in a new chapter and each level makes a huge difference but it rapidly slows down until the next chapter. The dip is sharp enough to the point where it's almost impossible to grind and become overpowered unless you enjoy watching your exp bar inch up a few pixels every battle (kinda reminds me of Fate/Extra in that regard). As a result, the boss battles were all fairly challenging for the most part.

If you've played the PSP Westerner newb edition, you may remember the option to retry a battle in easy mode and (apparently?) 100% success rate of escaping from battles. The easy retry option was never in the Japanese version and while I only played this game on hard, escape success rate generally starts around 60% (higher or lower depending on who has the initiative) and goes up after every failed attempt.

Sorry, no retry on easy or 100% escape rate here... NEWB
There is some strategizing you can do in terms of attack delays, and turn skipping to try to get the good field effects but not as much as a game like Grandia. Still, it's fun to fill up your CP gauge and take the enemies turn on a Zero craft field effect and get a special attack for free. However, it can get really annoying if, for example, a boss you've been pounding at forever gets a 50% heal field effect randomly.

That critical turn is gonna make this attack GOOOOD
As for the story overall, I obviously would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't spoiled at the outset. While it wasn't exactly jaw-dropping, most of the charm lies in the character interactions, which is ironic because that's exactly what was so sorely lacking in LOH White Witch. They both feature a male and female character traveling the land but unlike Julio and Chris, Joshua and Estelle actually have personality, back stories, and character development (OMG!!).

Now featuring back stories and personality
WHA??? Character development?
Score: 3.5 Jhipsters don't have to READ FOO (except 20+ hours of NPC gossip) out of 5 points (75 hours to beat)

Is Sora no Kiseki FC the best RPG of this decade as some who talk about the the same 5 games over and over and over and apparently hasn't played any other game since would say? Nooooot exactly, but it's still an above-average game, especially since it's voiced. I fully enjoyed my time with it and looking forward to the second chapter. Oh, and the updated soundtrack was a nice bonus too.

The OST was pretty good, especially this one

For those who have played previous versions of the game, you have to check out chapter 2 fully voiced. As those who played can probably guess, there's a part that's way more hilarious voiced rather than just reading the (copious) amount of text. I have to say, Joshua sounds way better than I expected at that part. Ha ha.

Bonus Vita wallpaper for smug Jhipsters to use while playing on their Vita (and I'm not talking about PSP archives)
0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch(英雄伝説 ガガーブトリロジー 白き魔女)

First, before I can talk about "Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch", let me first write a dissertation explaining the Legend of Heroes (英雄伝説) series. If you are already familiar with the series, feel free to skip this section.

Falcom (aka the company that makes at least 12 different versions of every game) for some reason put like every RPG they ever made under the single meta-series known as Legend of Heroes. It's like Final Fantasy, except, you would have something like FF XIII-4-2 the revenge of Lightning after she left, after that time she returned again Win 10 evolution remastered edition.

The LOH series graph. See? It's not so confusing once you create a FUCKING GRAPH for it.
Now that you have an an idea of how the series as a whole look (OR NOT), let's now talk about "The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch", otherwise known as Legend of Heroes III, otherwise known as the first entry in the Garghav trilogy, otherwise known as HOW FUCKING HARD CAN IT BE TO NUMBER SHIT?

You see, released in '94 for the PC98, this was the 3rd game in the Legend of Heroes series so it made sense to call it 3 in a series that only had 2 other games. However, this game has no relation to LOH 1&2 (I STILL haven't really figured out that Dragon Slayer shit yet). So really, it was the first part of the Garghav trilogy (3-1 if you will). As per Falcom's MO, it was then remade like a million times (ok ok, just 4 - Win, PS1, Saturn, and PSP) and by the time it came out for the PSP, there was so much shit in the LOH series, it was renamed to "Legend of Heroes Garghav Trilogy White Witch", dropping the III label. Ok, problem solved right? WRONG!

For some reason, the localizers decided to release the SECOND entry FIRST (maybe because it's a better game?). Then they released this game as a "sequel" with probably the worst possible name EVAR: "The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch". It's not the two of anything really except as maybe the second screw-up by the boneheads who published this game outside of Japan.

Now that we got THAT out of the way, let's talk about the game itself. It was.... ummm... OK? I guess it was a decent port from MiCROViSion whom I have never heard of before. The backgrounds sure look better than the Saturn version even though they removed the nice anime cut scenes and replaced it with lame and now totally outdated 3D stuff.

This is totally NOT in the PSP version

I dunno, I think my main issue with this game is that Julio and Chris were like the two most boring characters I've ever seen in a video game. They have zero backstory, no character development, and pretty much every other character in the game is way more interesting. Their whole pilgrimage was just SO BORING. You know what would make a great Hero's Journey? The story of the White Witch seemed to have potential for a great narrative. However, you only hear her story in bits and pieces while you're stuck with these two boring characters that have zero chemistry throughout the entire game.

The art looks fine but the two main characters have as much personality as a bag of bricks
The battle system is a weird real-time ATB kinda system where the characters just kinda walk around to attack and you can input commands at any time. There is no clear ATB bar or anything so you just kind of wait around for the characters to do their move. It was kind of challenging on the last boss because there are so many moves that are queued up, it's hard to get the characters to do what you want at the right time.

But beside the obligatory difficulty spike on the last dungeon and boss, this game was so easy that I was really glad it wasn't traditional turn-based. At some point in the game, I discovered that you can just cancel out of the first menu and the characters would just start walking around and attacking automatically. Most battles literally took one button press and some healing afterwards, a nice bonus for what is totally a multitask game.

There are some summon spells that Julio learns that have cool effects but there was absolutely no need to ever use them except to check out the neato graphics once in a while.

Score: 1.5 dunno why but it's just so damn mediocre points out of 5

I mean, the game tried to be interesting. There's some scenes that try to be funny, you meet a large cast of characters, and the land has some history and backstory. But at the end of the day, personally, Chris and Julio just wasn't cutting it for me. As a game that originally came out in 1994, I guess I can't be too harsh on it. But at least MiCROViSion (who??) could've made the gameplay a bit more interesting in the PSP remake. Maybe the Saturn or PC98 version is better but when it comes to the gameplay, story, and music, this game is as mediocre as they come.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dragon Quest II(ドラゴンクエストII 悪霊の神々)

My first thought when I started Dragon Quest 2 immediately after DQ1 was that I didn't like it. I don't want to sound like an old fogey that hates change but man, I really don't like the changes they made from DQ1.

Yes, this is totally going to be recurring theme here.
I don't want to say something as cliched and hackneyed as "with great power comes great responsibility" but dammit, you can't just tack more shit onto a finely tuned game and expect it to come out decent.

Sure, if you start a series with only one party member, the next natural progression is to add some more party members. I didn't even notice but DQ1 only had exactly one enemy each battle. Oh boy have I noticed it now!! Consider the average length of a one-on-one battle in DQ1. Yes, the whole thing is kinda slow but given that the only turn is either you or the enemy, everything ends pretty quickly. Now take that same slow battle and triple the size of the party (hence button presses) and increase the enemy count up to 7 enemies.
You still here? Cause I think I just went into a temporary coma. Maybe the slowness wouldn't even be that bad because of course I'm multitasking this game if not for that AWFUL battle music. OH MY GOD. I thought something was up with the emulator on my PSP but NO, it's totally craptastically accurate.

Seriously, not only did I multitask this game hardcore, I did it with the sound OFF. Even though there's actually some halfway decent songs in the game, I don't even care because this is the song you will hear for like 80% of the time. I dunno, maybe it's just me? SquareEnix must have thought this diarrhea is hot shit (LOL get it??) because they included it in Theatrhythm Dragon Quest out of the total TWO DQ2 songs in the game.

Yet another example of more isn't always better is the world map, which must be about 4X+ times larger than DQ1. You can even travel to the original town from DQ1 and though most of places in DQ1 are gone and it's scaled down, you can still get a sense of how small the original map was as it's just a small part of the world in DQ2.

Everything is all hunky-dory until you get the boat, then it becomes an open world of getting lost and trying to find shit on random floor tiles based on cryptic clues from random strangers. This game is worse than even Mother in terms of aimlessly wandering around with no clue of where to go or what to do. Now, you can find a very basic world map that barely does the job but I didn't know that until after navigating vast expanses of ocean to find tiny islands in the middle of nowhere.

Even the awesomeness of the PSP wasn't enough to make this game palatable
For kids bored out of their minds with the ONE game their parents got, I get how wandering endlessly around a vast expanse of nothing but ocean would be a good way to waste time (FUN!!). But as an old fogey with 8 more DQ games on deck, the last thing I want to do is wander for hours looking for a TINY TINY island town in the middle of nowhere to find the goddamn gold key. (Yeah yeah, I talked to the random guy that said the gold key was to the south and his vague "directions" were TOTALLY over-simplified.) So once again, time to load up gamefaq and a world map on the good ol' internets.

Once you load up a walkthrough, you'll need to find item after item scattered around on the world map and also completely invisible. At least DQ1 told you how many steps an invisible item was but DQ2 has you scouring around the floor like some kind of crazy lunatic assuming you even found the clue (aka gamefaq).

Despite the dead simple story, the first game had a kind of charm as it made fun of the standard RPG tropes complete with the ohime-sama dakko. However, it feels like DQ2 actually takes itself seriously and thinks it's all that because it's selling like hotcakes. The endless fetch quest after fetch quest obviously designed to be as obscure as possible combined with the endless stream of painfully slow, random encounters flavored with the wonderful burps of the battle "music"(?) really made me glad to finally put this game down for good. I feel sorry for the poor kids in that last cave with the pitfalls, endless loops, and resetting paths back in the day without a gamefaq and the miracle of saves states.

Yeah, ok, they made some cheap and easy improvements sure. Like how you don't have to keep buying keys as using it once won't break it (that totally made no sense btw). And sure, you can save and whatnot in other towns besides the very first castle but it really doesn't make up for all the crap they added that makes the game slow as molasses. And no, throwing in a halfhearted, token pafu-pafu ain't gonna cut it either.

Score: 1 random stranger told me to crawl around the floor aimlessly searching for some "dew yarn" and now I'm in an insane asylum points out of 5.

PS. Buying the DQ collection on the Wii was NOT cheap and while DQ1 was good, I'm hoping DQ3 at least makes up for the scalper price.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Danganronpa 2(スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園)

スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園 (Super Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair Academy) known to non-Jhipsters as just "Goodbye despair" or "Happy Trigger Havoc 2" if you're a fake gamer on youtube who spends all your time trying to squeeze money from suckers online *COUGH* MJR *COUGH*, is umm ok so this is turning into a huge run-on sentence so let me try again. AHEM

Before I begin, there's not going to be any spoiler in terms of story here but I should point out that if you haven't played Danganronpa 1, you really should before playing the sequel. While not unplayable, you're pretty much gonna ruin the first game but really do I even need to say this? Like who skips straight to the end? Oh right, kids these days with their let's plays and instant gratification...

To cut straight to the chase, this game is paced far worse than it's predecessor. It really reminded me of that TV show Lost because I watched like maybe half of the first season, a quarter of season 2, then the last episode and I felt like I totally saved myself hours upon hours of puffed up suspense and fake cliffhangers. Ok ok, relax, this game is not even close to being as bad as Lost but the whole middle half of the game was a total drag.

In addition, I wasn't a big fan of the new trial mini-games. Rebuttal showdown was ESPECIALLY annoying. I'm not even sure how that worked on the PSP, as the analog controls were horrible on the VitaTV and I really needed to swipe on the touchscreen. Logical dive was also meh, I mean it was a tolerable, crappy snowboarding game. At least they simplified what used to be the tedious part of piecing together the crime in comic form.

Not a fan of this genre... I guess this is how non-fans of rhythm games felt
I feel like they tried too hard on adding more unnecessary gameplay elements in the trials, which ultimately didn't add much to the game. At the same time, they kept the flow of each chapter exactly the same as the predecessor: free time (presents ugh) → murder → investigation → trial. I mean it was ok in the first game but after a combined 70 hours of this across both games, you can't help but wish they changed up the formula a bit.

Besides the meh gameplay changes, the graphics are pretty much the same style except the environments are much more interesting and varied compared to the claustrophobic being trapped in a school setting.

Amazingly, Titty Typhoon apparently wasn't censo- ahem, edited for content.
You gain experience by walking of all things and of course, there's a trophy that would require TONS of grinding (ie walking) which sorry, I'm gonna pass on. Your Level doesn't seem to affect anything except maybe serve as a parody of other games. Speaking of parody, the plot in this game takes the already far-fetched, crazy setting of the first game and brings it up a notch. There are a lot of references to other games and playful 4th wall breaking. I mean for crying out loud, there's a rabbit mascot in a murder game though surprisingly, this game came out only 5 months after Virtue's Last Reward so... coincidence?

I played this bonus game like twice and I was like, meh, I have better things to do.
Overall, I had as much fun as the first game. It was easy to play and even though there was a huge drag in the middle, things finally did get interesting at the end. There were a couple plot points that were kinda disappointing but unlike Lost, it did explain everything though it was probably easier given the crazy nature of the game setting.

I liked the music a bit more this time around with a couple of tracks I actually liked. For example, the song for the end credits was pretty good.

More electric guitar is always a good thing

Score: 3.5 (+.5 mandatory bonus for Hanazawa Kana) oh god, they added an annoying rabbit on top of the annoying bear out of 5 (41 hours to beat)

There's more extras in this game as well, including the Miracle Monomi mini game (pictured above), which... whatever. However, a nice bonus is an alternate IF story of Danganronpa 1 in text form. I do intend on reading that at some point.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Danganronpa(ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生)

ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 (Danganronpa Acadamy of hope and high school student of despair) or known to non-Jhipsters as "Happy Trigger Havoc" was on my radar for a while. When it got re-released bundled with the sequel for the Vita as "Danganronpa 1・2 Reload", I decided it was finally time to pull the trigger (oh god, sorry about the pun but it just slipped out).

Of course this game didn't have a chance in hell of making it out of Japan when it was originally released on the PSP in 2010. Maybe if it was on the DS and rebranded as "Phoenix Wright Origins: The Lost Chapters of Despair!" I mean after all, both games are about murders and trials and Ace Attorney even has red blood instead of the pepto-bismol censored stuff in Danganronpa.

If you think about it, Ace Attorney is just as violent yet somehow it's all just laughs and giggles
But times are a changin ie Vita isn't getting pirated like a cruise ship lost in Somalia. I think the fact that the entire series getting localized and still going strong for a 3rd entry really speaks to the success of the long tail niche markets with social media internet marketing. (OH LOOK AT ME! I'M SO SMART!)

I don't own the original PSP version of the game but I'm pretty sure the Vita version is pretty much the same save for the god awful load grinding like a awkward teenager at an 18+ club and wet tissue paper durability of the UMD disc of course. Well, at least the PSP version comes with a manual with tactile functionality made from some amazing Egyptian invention with papyrus plants.

Apparently this is what passes for manuals nowadays (0 pages)
Anyways, ah hem, the Vita version comes with the original demo as well that is pretty much a trimmed down version of the first murder. The cool thing about the demo is *SPOILER ALERT* it sets up the stage making you think the main love interest is the cute idol girl. *SPOILER ALERT* Suffice it to say, the main game is not quite the same as the demo.

I approve of the character design. God, I'm such a sucker aren't I?

As for the game itself, I thought it was easy to play and fun overall. I liked the character designs and the mysteries were interesting. My only real complaint is the lack of voice acting between trials. Yes, the trials were fully voiced but as an American, reading all those lines of dialogue in between the trials was a bit annoying.

The music was memorable but personally it wasn't my kind of thing. I guess it did a good job as a game soundtrack but I'm not gonna listen to it by itself.

OST was ok I guess, just not my kind of thing

The game definitely starts out pretty slow as they are just so many characters to talk to especially when they're all in one room. There were times when I just got tired of trying to find the right presents from the gacha machine and talking to random people during the free times. It's not like you're going to unlocked rich backstories for most of the characters. I spent a lot of time with the swimmer and I think I learned that she liked doughnuts. (I dunno, it's been a while.)

Hey, I know how to swim too, wanna go out?
The game definitely picks up as you have less and less people to talk to. I just liked doing the investigation and the trials, really. The trials were definitely more dynamic compared to Ace Attorney as you have to shoot moving words. It also has parts where you select evidence like AA and even a mini-rhythm game. Sure the logic got a little, shall we say, vague near the end but the game was friendly enough to replay whatever you failed. The ending was very satisfying and you can't get those awesome death sequences on the DS.


Score: 3 god that bear is annoying though out of 5 (30 hours to beat)

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Black★Rock Shooter THE GAME

You know when you have a really cool idea for a story, character, or setting but not enough to develop it into anything fleshed out? Well, Black Rocker Shooter is kinda like that but the original illustrator just rolled with it cause INTERNET. The rest, as they say is internet viral/social/whatever history.

Looks cool so let's just roll out a whole media franchise on it
I was first exposed to Black Rock Shooter as these viral things go pretty randomly. It was probably an AMV or MAD from a related youtube vid which led me to the OVA, which brings us here to the game.

The famous(?) supercell song

Given the grassroots nature of the whole BRS thing, there really is no canonical anything as it's media developed out of nothing more than a concept and the game is totally unrelated to any other BRS media works. It definitely took an interesting approach as the story begins with the human race almost entirely wiped out.

You thought other post-apocalyptic games were hardcore? This game starts out with literally only 12 humans left alive after 2 die right at the start of the game. My first thought at the beginning of the game was, you're the only girl (weapon thingy?) in the ENTIRE WORLD surrounded by 12 men? UH OH. Turns out my fears were unfounded as the story is not about any sort of fan service and is actually quite serious (the unlockable costumes on the other hand...).

The main story is fairly short and can be completed in about 12 hours or so and it's exactly the type of story that every mainstream gamer would hate. Without going into spoilers, let's just say it's not exactly Hollywood happy endings and was very artsy, indie film-ish. I personally loved it as it definitely breaks the mold.

Try dem graphics on the DS in 2011
The graphics are great as Imageepoch (RIP) is the master of the PSP platform and I was already biased towards the BRS character designs. The gameplay was fun as well, especially the boss battles. In classic Imageepoch fashion, it tries lots of new things and battles are a mix of balancing dodging, blocking, shooting (of course), and special moves along with stamina and recovery time. My only complaint is that the standard enemies are often recycled and VERY generic.

While the main story is fairly short, there's tons of things to unlock in the EX missions including the most powerful, best looking special attacks and some sexy costumes (this is a Japanese game after all). I tried to swipe my credit card on the PSP to buy the costume DLC but it wasn't working for some reason. Amazingly, it appears to be unlock by playing the game??? WEIRD!

The OST definitely has a few gems

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. The music was really good, I loved the character designs (WRS OMG), and the boss battles were a blast. It was also fun unlocking all the cool stuff post end-game. Yes, the regular battles could get a bit repetitive and some of the bike missions were a pain in the ass but I definitely think this is one of those underrated titles that mainstreamers are totally gonna write off.

Score: 3 when costumes could be unlocked without a credit card out of 5 (27 hours played)
+.5 optional bonus point for the EXTREMELY short skirt costume.

The PSN version is only available in English as Imageepoch published games were pulled from the Japanese PSN store. :-(

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Friday, October 2, 2015

Final Fantasy II(ファイナルファンタジーII)

I naturally started Final Fantasy II right after beating the first one and of course, stopped playing it not long after.There's only so much final fantasying I can do before I need to take a break. Anyway, I came back to it after I got tired of how SLOW DQ2 was with the awful changes they made from DQ1 (review pending). I guess there's only so much dragon questing I can do before I need to take a break from that too.

Not that there's anything wrong with FF2. In fact, it's far better than FF1 as sequels should be (but sadly often isn't *cough* DQ2 *cough*). I didn't like it much at first because it was just so different from most RPGs I've played (I don't want to brag but I've played a few). But thankfully, I was able to keep an open mind and the game eventually grew on me. It probably helps that the PSP version I think has a re-balanced leveling system (ie easy mode for retro hipster wannabes like me).

My first impression of FF2 was WTF? I was wandering around the world map at the start of the game and then just DIED. You see, this game is linear OLD SCHOOL. At least DQ1 warned you that crossing a bridge would result in stronger enemies. Here, the only hint that you're not supposed to go somewhere is not mountains or a fancy 3d tunnel (*cough* FFX *cough*), but rather monsters that just DESTROY YOU. Game over. No retry option. Go back to title screen. Thanks for playing!

Looking for INSTANT DEATH? Just cross the eastern bridge and go north.
Not only does FF2 feature the linear world map of death, you also can't fight for shit in the beginning. Basically, the leveling system has been micromanaged to hell and you need to level every single possible thing separately. That means because your weapon levels start at zero, you are constantly missing until you level up at least one type of weapon for each character. So yeah, FF2 can make quite a negative impression in the beginning. It's like some kind of weird hybrid between more complicated PC RPGs and the stripped down console RPGs of the time.

However, once I got used to this weird hybrid, I actually enjoyed the mechanics quite a bit. For example, in one part of the game, Gai, despite having like double the HP of everybody else, was constantly getting wailed on. So I put a shield on him and even though his DEF stayed the same, after he leveled up his shield skills, he didn't get hit quite so hard anymore. The girl of course, per RPG sexist rules, went in the back row. LOL

Before my ascension to Jhipster, I was big into PC RPGs. In fact, my first RPG was Curse of the Azure Bonds on the C64 (with code wheel copy protection and the works). So having a console RPG with a tint of PCness was actually kind of refreshing.

My first RPG. That's magic armor in case any SJWs were wondering. You would know this if you read the book. DUH!
The dialogue mechanic is another example of this approach. While there are no complicated branching dialogue options, you can memorize words that are highlighted in red. You can then ask characters questions based on the list of words you memorized. Still very simple but just a tad more PC-like than any other FF game. Of course, people must've hated this approach because all of FF2's game mechanics were scrapped, never to be introduced again in any other FF title EVAR.

It's no Fallout but hey at least they tried.
The story in FF2 feel like the beginnings of what makes FF stand out as a series instead of the standard RPG clones FF1 felt like. While the story is still basic and the villain one-dimensional, there are hints of the character development and touching moments we'll see much better fleshed out in later games. So not a great story but it's a decent start to an evolving series.

Is it just me or is it getting HOT in here?
I have to give FF2 credit for trying some new things that actually worked pretty well (at least in the PSP version) despite some flaws. It also introduced Chocobos and Cid, two things that would continue on for well over a decade. The PSP remake also has a great CG opening intro that actually relates to the game (unlike the PSP remake of FF1) and several really neat non-CG cut scenes. It also has a great OST especially as you near the end of the game.

Game has way better songs but this is still pretty darn good for listening to like 1000+ times

FF2 has a lot going for it and I liked it quite a bit. However, at the end of the day, it's still very much a multitask game. I actually played this game for a bit with my full attention and it was a tedious cycle of random encounters and holding down circle. Yes, I had to use magic on certain monsters (red, black, and yellow blobs in classic FF fashion) so it was maybe 10% less of holding down circle compared to FF1 but there were tons of buff/debuff spells and whatnot that I never felt the need to even try. Fight, cure, fire, ice, and thunder is really all you need for the entire game.

Ok ok, that's a slight exaggeration. The last dungeon had a large difficulty spike so I had to use flare and holy but it was such a pain to level up the spells, that I just grinded a few hours to completion. I never even grinded a spell past level 9. I can't even imagine how long it must take to grind to 16 levels. And by the end, the economy was so broken, I could just elixir my way to the end of the game with totally weak spells. Of course, this meant that I may have missed out on some cool spell animations but ah well, I simply didn't have the patience. Especially since Ultima requires leveling OTHER spells to be effective. Speaking of Ultima, there's some interesting FF lore about why it was so weak in the original version with some harsh life lessons for the poor unwary kids back in the day.

In conclusion, while not a bad game, FF2 wasn't quite innovative enough to warrant my full attention.

Score: 2.5 wish this game had a level for auto-battle/encounter rates, it has a level for freakin' everything else out of 5 (25 hours to beat)

As a bonus, after playing FF1, I felt like a retro-gamer expert when I jumped into LAVA with no hesitation. YOU WON'T SCARE ME THIS TIME WITH 1,000 DEGREES LIQUID OF DEATH!!

"Your entire body is covered in lava!!!"
"Hmph! It's just a flesh wound"
The PSP version also has some weird random caves scattered throughout the land and a new game plus "Soul of Rebirth" bonus quest that I have not delved into. Soul of Rebirth seems cool cause it makes it worth grinding the constantly switching weak ass 4th party member. Of course, I had no clue about that while playing the game so I'm probably screwed but we'll see. Maybe I will revisit after I finish FF4's bonus quest.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Touch Detective(おさわり探偵 小沢里奈)

I really wanted to like Osawari Tantei, I really did. The game had me sold from the get-go just with the cute cover art alone. Combined with the fact that I'm already heavily invested in the nameko franchise, I'm probably the most biased customer Success would ever find. However, no matter how much I tried to like this game, it just wasn't very good.

You had me at hello.
First of all, this adventure game doesn't even have a single puzzle. This is more the old-school adventure game where the only puzzle is combining and using things in your inventory except... it doesn't even really do that!

I mean out of the 4 cases included in the game, the first case has some item puzzle solving and the 2nd case gets a bit tougher in terms of figuring out what you need to do as well.

Enjoy solving puzzles while it lasts (spoiler: it doesn't last very long)
But just when you expect case 3 and 4 to bring things up a notch, it's almost like the developers stopped caring because the last two cases consist almost entirely of visiting the same 6 locations OVER AND OVER, talking to various people in order to trigger an event to progress the game.

This game isn't exactly open-world to put it mildly
Another problem is that while the characters are cute in a weird emo way, they are totally one-dimensional. I enjoyed the first and second case but by the time I got to case 3 and 4, it was just kind of more of the same. Combined with what seemed like a total lack of effort in the latter half, the game was quickly wearing out its welcome, which is really bad for a short game that took less than 10 hours to finish. I have to admit though, the fleas in case 4 were pretty damn funny. Definitely the highlight of the game.

There are additional extra puzzles and whatnot you can do besides the tutorial and 4 main cases but at this point, I just don't feel like playing it beyond the game end credits.

In theory, this game should've been totally up my alley, but it really wasn't.

Score: 2 sometimes just being cute isn't enough out of 5 (9 hours to beat)

I really wanted to like this game and I did in the beginning but ultimately, I just ended up hoping that at least the two sequels are much better. If anything, the Nameko franchise that came about from this series seem far more successful for Success (yeah, I had to go there). Nameko has tons of merch, anime, children's books, games, you name it. This is great if you're like in elementary school or have kids. But yeah, as for me, I'll pop in the sequel 2 1/2 in the ol' DS sometime and hope for the best. Or maybe I'll even pick up the nameko 3ds rhythm game. (It's on my wishlist *wink wink*).

Get dat banana stand money!

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Friday, September 11, 2015

Another Code(アナザーコード 2つの記憶)

I literally have nothing interesting to say about Another Code: Two Memories so this is gonna be a short post. I'd say that also reflects upon the game itself as it's not very interesting and very short.

It's not that the game is bad per se, in fact, I would have a lot more to say about a bad game. It does at least make clever use of the DS hardware with some of the puzzles. I must admit I got stuck on a couple of those, like closing the DS and stuff like that.

The graphics are not bad either and once again I just don't have much to say except, meh, I guess this game was aight. If you like puzzles and adventure games, at least get this on the cheap. For the 500ish? yen I paid, you know, whatever, it's aight.

yeah, I lifted this from, that's how lazy I am
The story premise had potential for some feels but it kinda falls short. Ashley is a likeable character but certainly nothing special and somehow I don't really feel like the developers know what it's like to have kids as the story was just lukewarm in general. As for the game's length, sometimes a game is good because it's short and sometimes it's just... short

I guess there's a bad and good ending? I really can't be bothered to play this game again though. Here's hoping the sequel is better cause I paid like almost 1,000 yen for it. Oh, and as an obligatory Jhipster comment, I have to say the localized title "Trace Memory" is like the most generic and boring game title I've ever seen. Good job as usual, localizers.

Score: 2 I honestly can't think of a single clever thing to say here out of 5 (6 hours to beat)

Liked the main character so hopeful for a good sequel

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Toushin Toshi(闘神都市)

I have never played an 18+ game before (no, FOR REAL, I'm NOT EVEN LYING), but I wanted play this game before Toushin Toshi for the 3DS. And what a horrible name for the 3DS game because it's actually a remake of Toushin Toshi TWO and it totally screwed up my google searches for the original title. Anyways, being the obsessive compulsive as usual, I decided it was better, nay A DUTY, to play the first entry before digging into a remake of the sequel. You know, in case I would miss something important like uh... plot points?

Yeah sorry, couldn't help myself.
I debated whether to even post any 18+ games but whatever, you guys can handle it right? I promise what I post here will not get any raunchier than Cero D levels.

Originally released in 1990, this multiplat game was available on all your favorite, popular platforms such as the PC-9801, X68000, MSX2 and FM TOWNS. Ummm, yeah, we all totally had one of those growing up right?

OMG, I totally saw this ad in an issue of EGM. NOT!
This is probably the most retro I've gone so far but I'm playing the Windows version, part of the Aliceの館456 compilation released in 1997. I have no idea if it's any different from the original but for a game that came out 18 years ago, it worked impressively with no issues on my Win7 PC without any silly compatibility settings to fudge around with.

Can you handle this much retro? Can you? PUNK?
I guess Alicesoft or MS or whomever deserves some kudos here. But I'm just gonna go ahead and give all the Kudos to Alicesoft (cause you know M$) because they were kind enough to release a bunch of their older games as freeware. So you can go ahead and download yourself a FREE copy absolutely guilt-free! You're gonna have to go through the age check and find it yourself and if you're not Jhipster enough to do so, well, there's probably easier ways to find porn. I hear there's this thing called the Internet that supposedly has a small sample.

For the rest of us, there's actually a pretty decent RPG underneath the 18+ label. The nice thing about this game is that battles are REALLY fast. Not like ATB or anything fancy like that but you can just spam attack and end a battle in like 5 seconds. Maybe it's because my PC is like 1000000x faster than the original platforms but this game almost feels like an action game. In fact, my only major gripe was that pressing the keys so fast made my hand cramp up (don't even think about making a joke about my other hand). A controller would have been really nice but I guess there was ONE compatibility issue as my PS3 DS3 did NOT work with this PC-9801/X68000/MSX2/FM TOWNS game from 1990. (Geesh, these developers are SOOOOOOO LAZY)

There's even a really nice feature (bug?) where once you've fought enough enemies on  a single floor, the random encounters just stop altogether giving you free rein to explore the entire floor.

Apparently you have no issues with tearing this monster apart with your sword. Um, I'm talking about the attack options? Geesh, get your mind out of the gutter.
You play as a guy named Custom, which is ironic because you can't change his name. The premise is you (Custom) enter in a tournament to help a girl you meet traveling. Apparently, her dad won a previous tournament and then cut off all contact with her and her mom. Winners of the tournament get a special title and live in a fancy palace that only winners of the tournament can enter. That's where you come in as she'd very much like to meet her dad and ask why he abandoned her and her (now deceased) mom. Basically, you have a few days before each match to explore dungeons, level up, and complete various quests in order to defeat your next opponent.

There's actually quite a lot to do in this game. You have to talk to people in the bar, find items, learn how to use magic, etc., etc. I actually got stuck a couple times, which made the fact that the 3DS remake has the same name SO annoying when you're trying to look for information online.

There's even like a story and stuff. Off-topic but I also totally read Playboy for the articles.
Overall, the gameplay is fast and convenient for short play sessions. Buy a return item for 10 gold, go straight to the floor you want, do some exploring and whatnot, use the return item, and then go back to the inn to save. While you can heal by sleeping only a few times before it's time for your match, you can also restore your HP with items and by leveling up. The game is actually pretty easy for the most part and only near the end around the 7th floor does it get a bit challenging.

That is until you get to the final boss, when there's a huge difficulty spike. Basically the setup is that you lose all but a handful of items and I had to grind for a few hours just to finally beat the last boss.

Score: 2 are you getting tired of innuendo jokes yet? out of 5.

This was a pretty fun, fast, and dead simple game. Although the hours of grinding at the end was pretty annoying, at least I got a bit of satisfaction after finally beating the last boss with barely any health left. If you don't mind all the sex or the dated graphics, it's not a bad game by any means especially given the VERY nice price tag. Plus, now I don't have to be afraid of missing anything (probably absolutely nothing) when I play Toushin Toshi for the 3DS.

Some more bonus screenshots cause I had them laying around you know for uh, review purposes.

Features a very unique system for learning new magic spells: Girl in a box
Heisei 2  is 1990 in case you forgot this game was old. Alicesoft asks for any feedback but I doubt they care anymore?

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

Monday, August 31, 2015

Corpse Party -THE ANTHOLOGY- サチコの恋愛遊戯♥Hysteric Birthday 2U

♪♪♪ Hysteric Birthday! Hysteric Birthday dear good god what have you done with Corpse Party 5pb! Hysteric Birthday TOOO U!!! ♪♪♪

Oh what can I say about Corpse Party -The Anthology- Sachiko no Ren'ai Yuugi♥Hysteric Birthday 2U that hasn't already been said? First of all, I have to say this game's title is a bit too short. 5pb marketing should really take a lesson from D3, the makers of 夏色ハイスクル★青春白書 ~転校初日のオレが幼馴染と再会したら報道部員にされていて激写少年の日々はスクープ大連発でイガイとモテモテなのに何故かマイメモリーはパンツ写真ばっかりという現実と向き合いながら考えるひと夏の島の学園生活と赤裸々な恋の行方。~.

Anyways, putting the short title aside, let's get right into the heart of things, shall we?

This game is scary alright, but not for the reasons you might think...
16 years since the doujin release of the original venerable Corpse Party on PC98 and this is where 5pb is gonna take the series eh? Those brutal deaths, the tense feeling of dread as you explore the decrepit halls of Tenjin Shougakkou, 16 years since the series inception all culminating into... cross-dressing BL...

......alrighty then.............

Remember when I said Book of Shadows really cut down on scary and upped the fan service? HA! Turns out 5pb was just getting started. Yeah, yeah, we all know this is a spinoff title but really, Book of Shadows was also pretty much a spinoff title EXCEPT for the last hidden chapter. And JUST like Book of Shadows, there is an extra chapter in Hysteric Birthday that is actually part of the main story and even introduces a couple new characters. Characters whom I suspect will show up in Blood Drive (still need to play that one). Interestingly, the new characters just pop up out of nowhere from the beginning making me think I must have missed some comic or other spin-off media. Nope, it was just the weird way they ordered things.

Of course, unlike Book of Shadows, this game doesn't even try to be scary or even serious as it's basically a weird horror-themed comedy filled with the awkward fan service you've come to love from 5pb but powered up. Seriously, like Super Saiyan level 3 power levels. I'm not even exaggerating here.

At least the game lets you know what you're getting into in the very first chapter
Really, this game couldn't be farther than what you'd expect from a Corpse Party game. The developers must have realized how broken the exploration menu system was from Book of Shadows. So instead of fixing it or better yet, going back to the top-down 2D style, they removed it completely, making this a 100% vanilla adventure game (what non-Jhipsters call visual novels). At least it's easier to play than Book of Shadows as it still has all the usual features you'd expect from adventure games such as auto mode, etc without the crappy room navigation.

To be honest, I actually enjoyed playing this game for what it was. It was weird sure, but you can't help but laugh out loud at various parts of the game because it's just so RIDICULOUS. Let me just throw in a phrase to give you a rough idea: "Death by butt suffocation". I'll leave the rest to your imagination for any future Jhipsters that may want to play this game. Frankly, I'm shocked that this game DIDN'T get localized. I'm sure if it came out today, Xseed would have gone for it. After all, they only localize games for gameplay and not fan service, right? YA RIGHT.

I guess sex sells... SHOCKER
Anyways, I had fun with this game. The music isn't as good as even Book of Shadows but it still had some gems, especially this throwback track from the original PC98 version.

16 years later and still just as good

By the way, the part of the game where this music plays was hilarious and was definitely the highlight for me as a wannabe retro hipster. I would say if you have a weird sense of humor and willing to try something different, Hysteric Birthday 2U is definitely not the worst adventure game you can pick. I certainly enjoyed it more than Book of Shadows and of course they did the usual sneaky trick of including the only relevant (canon?) chapter as an "extra" that requires playing through the entire game to unlock.

Score: 3 butt wrestling matches out of 5 (26 hours to complete)

People who are looking for the original Corpse Party experience best just check out Corpse Party 2 Dead Patient for PC. Unfortunately, only Chapter 1 has been released forever ago and I'm still waiting on that one. In the mean time, I can only hope 5pb finally gets down to business in Blood Drive. As much as I enjoyed Hysteric Birthday, I think I'm more than ready for a REAL Corpse Party game next time.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely