You have to make a really hard choice at the end.
I just can't decide!
You have to make a really hard choice at the end.
I just can't decide!
When I pointed out at the all out Nintendo Union that I was playing (and enjoying) The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a gentleman known as Shy_Guy_Red requested that I write impressions about it. I can't say I'm entirely certain what was meant by that, but I promised that I would get this finished on the weekend, and after over a day, of procrastination, I'm writing this blog post on what I think of this game and it's various elements. I do apologize to Shy_Guy_Red if this was not at all what he meant to ask me to write.
It would make sense to start with the most controversial element of the game, which is the repeating three-day cycle. Personally, I like this element of the game quite a bit. It's immersive and incredibly well designed. Different events occur at different times of the three days during which the game takes place, and the player will need to be at the right place at the right time in order to gain items or cause events, which makes for a very interesting and unique gameplay experience. It's just a great, underappreciated gameplay design overall, and it makes collecting items especially fun.
The typical Zelda fare is still present in Majora's Mask as well. Enjoyable, well designed dungeons, puzzles, and sidequests as well as a plethora of powerups are present in this game, and the repeating three day cycle makes gathering them even more interesting that in an ordinary Zelda game.
Next, I will write about the presentation. Good presentation is a sign of a strong effort in gaming, and Majora's Mask is certainly not lacking in this area. Graphically, the game isn't to far ahead of Ocarina of Time. However, it's atmosphere, especially later on the the game's cycle, is something to marvel at. The dungeons, the night of the final day, and just about any of the scenes involving the skull kid are presented with a very dark, excellent atmosphere that one might not necessarily expect of the Zelda series. However, what you would expect from the Zelda series is the strong soundtrack. It supports the atmosphere quite nicely at times, and can be anything from exciting (such as the boss theme) or sentimental (such as the song of healing). The Song of Healing is an especially great piece, with it's sad, yet hopefull tune.
Majora's Mask's story is interesting. Skull Kid's character is especially tragic and insane, and along with the Happy Mask Salesman, among others, he makes up a part of one of the best casts in the series, and in a game without Ganondorf, no less. This game isn't your typical "save the princess" Zelda plot (though such plots CAN be strong as well). Instead, Link goes out looking for Navi, and inadvertently ends up having to save the land of Termina from the Skull Kids efforts to drop the "Angry Moon" on it. It's hardly the best plot to ever grace the gaming industry, but it's a strong plot nonetheless.
As for boss fights, I have only experienced one of them so far, and though it was interesting in all the attacks it had, the process of defeating it was not. However, I have little doubt that the game's other bosses will far exceed this one in quality.
There is also the matter of masks. Unfortunately, I've only had access to the Deku Mask and the Great Fairy's Mask thus far, but I will say that having multiple forms makes for an interesting gameplay element, especially where puzzles and boss fights are concerned, and once I acqiure the Zora mask and the Goron mask (I am already aware of there existence), these could potentially make for a very interesting addition.
That's everything I'd like to cover for now, though to conclude I'd like to say that Majora's Mask is reminding me of why I consider Zelda to be one of gaming's best franchises. I will be writing a review of this game when I complete it, as well.
And for my next blog post, I plan to write a (rather belated) attempt at a more detailed "Best of 2010" awards. I suppose I don't mind sharing my favorite movie of last year as well. (actually, that part about the film is probably a bad idea, I simply haven't seen enough 2010 movies. Hell, the whole thing is probably a bad idea.)
Where I live, the date has changed to December 31st, the last day of 2010. This marks the end of my first year at GameSpot as well, and I'd like to take the opportunity to reflect on the year,mostly by writing about what my favorite games of this year were,as this is a gaming website after all, and to give readers a few updates about my plans for my activity here at Gamespot in the near future.
As for my favorite game of the year, that would be Super Mario Galaxy 2. This is a game that took what was my second most liked game of all time and improved on it in nearly every conceivable fashion, resulting in an experience that was nearly unparalleled.
The runner-up game for my favorite of this year would be Kirby's Epic Yarn which was creative and enjoyable in all the right ways, as well as providing an excellent and incredibly creative art style, which is something I've come to value in gaming as of late.
As for recent developments and my plans for the future, I've recently obtained Professor Layton and the Curious Village and Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the former which I've played to completion and thoroughly enjoyed, as well as having reviewed Here, and the latter which I've started to play and am currently enjoying. I plan to review the game once I complete it. Other games I've been playing are The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, (Which I've found to have the same great gameplay this series is known for and one of the series' better storylines, and an artistic presentation which I love), and Earthbound, which is turning out to be quite different from it's sequel (which I consider one of the greatest games of all time) and nearly as good. I plan to review these games upon completing them as well. Also, I've received some money during the holidays, which I plan to use to buy the second game in the Professor Layton series, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, seeing as I liked the first one so much, though I may end up buying Scribblenauts or one of the Ace Attorney games I've yet to play instead.
As for my most anticipated games of next year, I'm most looking forward to Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, seeing as Layton and Pheonix are two of my favorite video game characters, and I've enjoyed their games. Another game that I'm looking forward to playing is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which has loads of potential that I think Nintendo will be able to bring out in it and create an incredible game. I'm also planning on picking up the DS version of Plants vs. Zombies which will be coming out in January, as this will be my first chance to get the full version of the game.
I suppose that's all for this blog post. I've a few ideas as to what my next few blog posts will be, though I may not end up finishing any of them, and in the case of a few of them, there are a few games I'll need to play first.
In the 1990's, Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed franchises around. Today, with quite a few titles being launched to critical scorn, some claim that this series is "dead" or "ruined". However, this could hardly be further from the truth.
Each new Sonic game features a highly creative and interesting new twist, which for whatever reason is usually held in poor regard, despite such efforts from other series being praised.It's quite odd that while some series such as Pokemon may be scorned for lack of changes over the years, Sonic is scorned for the exact opposite reason. Some may claim that said gameplay twists are poorly implemented or ruin the gameplay, though this is rarely, if ever, the case.
The "Werehog" sections of Sonic Unleashed (Wii), for example, provide high quality exploration and Platforming, as well as adding variety, but they are held in poor regard for being "slow". This is also a bit of an oddity, since one of the greatest qualities of the genesis classics was that the games weren't afraid to slow down for the same precarious and enjoyable platforming that any good platformer can provide, something which these sections of Unleashed provide as well. The combat in these sections has also been criticised for being "Shallow" or "Repetitive" despite Sonic's ability to use a wide variety of different moves with which to dispatch his foes, to the point where a fair amount of depth and replayabiltiy exists within the combat sections of those particular levels (Though, to be fair, you would have to reach a certain level of experience to attain these combos). Combat isn't perfect, but it's nowhere near as bad as critics and "fans" would have you believe. These sections may not play as well as the Hedgehog levels, but they are enjoyable and creative, while they help shape the game into it's own unique experience without being noticeably worse than the rest of the game.
This isn't the only way that Sonic games are given inaccurate reviews, however. It's not uncommon for some of the good qualities of the games to be unmentioned in reviews. Almost any Sonic game can be counted on to provide entertaining and creative boss fights which generally make good use of the games' sense of speed or their different gameplay twists. The bosses from Sonic and The Secret rings adapt well too and make good use of it's gameplay twist fo example. The final bosses in the more recent entries into the series are also very much enjoyable and provide an "Epic" feel, most notably in the amazing three part final battle against Dark Gaia in the Wii version of Sonic Unleashed.
The games also tend to have great soundtracks featuring a combination of classic rock style songs featuring vocals and strong instrumental tracks (the exception to this is Sonic and The Secret Rings, which had a fairly mediocre soundtrack). However,many people who review these games choose not to mention this in their reviews. Perhaps the vocal tracks are slightly debatable or opinion based, but this is not the case for the instrumental themes. A good example of a great instrumental track from these games is Solaris Phase 2 from 2006 game Sonic the Hedgehog.
Though that isn't to say that all the games in this series are perfect. I found Shadow the Hedgehog to be a pretty boring game, with some of the mission objectives being quite tedious. The most recent game to be named "Sonic the Hedgehog" has lengthly and frequent loading times and poor city levels. I haven't played it myself though, so I will reserve further judgement on that game until I have.All of the other titles mentioned in this blog post are good or even great, however.
But hey! that could change in the near future. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 recently launched to generally positive reception, and the upcoming Sonic Colors has received very positive reception thus far. A 3DS game has been announced, but next to no information on that has been released just yet to my knowledge.
Overall, Sonic is almost always able to deliver a creative, interesting, and enjoyable game which generally also has great bosses, Graphics, and Music, despite what many critics and fans tell you.
It recently came to my attention that people are supporting their favorite villains (or brackets) in the greatest game villain competition. So, I'd like to ask anyone who reads this to please vote for:
From now on, I will be reviewing only games I've played to completion, mostly so I can get a better feel for the story. That said, I will be deleting my reviews of GTA and CoD.
Use your keyboard!
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