Let’s Visit Tyria – All the Vistas in Guild Wars 2 – Dredgehaunt Cliffs

Dredgehaunt CliffsAfter the release of Heart of Thorns, Guild Wars 2’s first expansion pack, I felt like it was time to go back to this MMORPG to continue working on this photo series. While I haven’t yet purchased the expansion, I used this opportunity to get closer to 100% map completion with my main character. So today, after a long break from the game, and after covering the Brisban Wildlands, the Plains of Ashford and the Snowden Drifts, I bring you to another snowy section of the map: Dredgehaunt Cliffs.

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Sly Cooper And The Thievius Raccoonus Aged Quite Badly

I have recently completed Sly Cooper And The Thievius Raccoonus on my PS Vita, after buying the Sly Cooper Collection about a year ago and pretty much forgetting about it until I started fancying playing a platformer some time ago and suddenly remembering that I had it.

The game itself is not that bad. As a matter of fact, I quite enjoyed playing it and I think that if you are a platformer fan, you should probably play it (and it’s very likely that you have done so already). The think in this game, playing it in 2015, is that it feels like it has aged pretty badly.

The controls feel very clunky, and all this is made worse by the fact that you can’t make Sly run. It’s not that you are walking, but only that you have one single speed to move around, and this keels some of the fun of this genre in my opinion (this has been fixed in the next episode by the way).

The level design is very linear, although this is not a bad thing per se, and the only exploration allowed is that to gather all the bottles in the level. If you manage to gather them all, you will be able to open a safe somewhere in the level that will grant Sly an extra ability, like being able to roll or not to die when falling in the water (yep, Sly can’t swim, so no underwater levels yay!)

The game is not the typical platformer, there are some stealth elements which make it slower than an old Mario game to make an example. In fact, most of the time Sly will die after receiving just one hit from an enemy, to stop you from rushing through the levels swinging your cane left and right. Also, there really are not many enemies in the levels.

The graphics are in a nice celshading, something I am not a huge fan of but I don’t mind them either. The smaller Vita screen does a good job to make the game look nice with cool colors.

The thing that I hated the most about the game, however, were the non-platform levels. There are some sections in the game where, instead of hopping around and collecting bottles, you have to perform some other actions, like winning a 3-lap race or shooting at enemies while on a moving vehicle. Well, I found these pretty terrible to be honest, and there are quite a few of them. I couldn’t wait to complete them to move over to another normal level, which is where the game is most enjoyable.

Finally, the boss fights deserve an honorable mention. While they are inconsistent in their difficulty (I found a couple of them extremely easy, killing them at my first try with no deaths, and a couple of other quite challenging, requiring multiple tries), I found them quite original, especially the one that has you play a Parappa-the-Rapper-style music game to defeat it. Kudos for the interesting change to the developers.

Overall, is this worth playing? Well, I think so, yes. The Sly Collection can be found for reasonably cheap nowadays, and if you are a platform fan you are likely going to enjoy this. Do not expect a masterpiece though, and I still consider the first Jak and Dexter a better game.

The Best Chest Messages In The Legend Of Heroes Trails In The Sky [Part 2]

Picking up after Part 1 left, here are the remaining chest messages from The Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky that I like the most. I loved this thing in the game, it added that little something that made the game stand out from other jRPGs. I sure hope that the next episode will keep this feature.

The Best Chest Messages In The Legend Of Heroes Trails In The Sky [Part 1]

As I mentioned in my review of The Legend of Heroes Trails in The Sky, the game has lots of lines of text. I was positively surprised that the Devs decided to add even more by giving voice to the various treasure chests you find around the game world: basically, if you open a treasure chest and then you press the action button once more so that you look into the chest a second time, you get a funny message from the chest itself.

There are more than 150 chests in the game and, even though some of the messages are duplicates, there were still quite a few to go through. I tried to choose the funniest ones and the most lolwut ones for you, some of them are really worth it. I will break this post into two parts as there are really too many to fit into a single one.

The Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky – A PC jRPG done right

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Some time ago I was browsing through my Steam library looking for something different to play and I saw this game that I bought during a Steam sale (well, like every other game really): The Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky. I couldn’t play it when it originally came out on PC, and I had not played the PSP remake, so I decided it was time to try a new jRPG franchise.

The game is not as long as other jRPGs, I have completed it in around 45 hours. It took me another 10-15 hours to get all the Steam achievements. There is not much hidden content (no real hidden bosses or huge sidequests or anything of the like) so once you complete the main storyline, you just have some cleanup to do to complete it 100%.

Don’t let this put you off though: those 45 hours are worth it. This is not the best jRPG that I have ever played, but it’s one that I am glad I have played and completed. The battle system is an interesting hybrid: it’s purely turn-based (the style I love the most) but it also allows you to move your characters on a grid (Disgaea style), which works reasonably well, although I haven’t really used this feature that much, normally you can simply attack and let your characters move by themselves. It adds an interesting new dimension to battles, but again, most of the time it’s not something you absolutely must use in order to win the battle.

Graphically, this game is beautiful. The colors are bright and the characters are so fluffy it makes you feel like a 10-year-old. The characters are well designed and well developed, each with a specific fighting style and personality, in the best jRPG tradition.

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But the best thing about this game is the story. No, the combat system is not the best one ever made, and the game doesn’t offer lots of challenges but the story will keep you hooked. The game is famous for the long dialogues, and yes, I can confirm you will have to do quite a bit of reading, but everything will lead up to a finale that will keep you longing for episode two. I don’t want to spolier anything, but I can tell you that I absolutely cannot wait for the second chapter to be released (which is supposed to happen some time this summer, according to rumors online). When asked in an interview about the status of Second Chapter, XSEED replied the following:

We know you’ve been waiting for SC. Boy, do we know! And in hindsight, we wish we could’ve scheduled its localization a lot better, because at this point we want it out the door just as much as you (ha ha). I’m currently working together with Trails in the Sky FC & SC editor Jessica Chavez to clean things up and make sure it’s as polished as can be within our crazily hectic schedule. In fact, we’re working 100% in tandem with some of the series’ biggest fans to ensure that every fact is checked and every piece of foreshadowing is correctly shadowed, and just in general taking every step we can to ensure even our biggest critics are pleased with the final product. So far, I could not be happier with the feedback we’ve received.

I recommend you read the whole interview, which also includes news about other episodes of the series.

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Unfortunately, there are not many jRPGs on the PC, although things have started changing in the last few years. This is one of those games that you should consider purchasing to support the developers to make sure more games like this find their way to the PC. Save your money, don’t buy another FPS (there are way too many of those on Steam already) and use that money to buy this. If everyone did this, Steam would become a better place 😉

2014 in Review

What better way to end the blogging year with the official WordPress report? Enjoy looking at my stats 😀

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,200 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Let’s Visit Tyria – All the Vistas in Guild Wars 2 – Snowden Drifts

Snowden Drifts mapThis week we have a change of scenery in Tyria: from the darkish Brisban Wildlands and the ghost-filled Plains of Ashford, we now move to the snowy landscapes of Snowden Drifts. This section is part of a much bigger snow-laden zone, the Shiverpeak Mountains, and is certainly one of the most visually appealing areas in the game.

I thought that covering these areas in these weeks leading up to Christmas would be quite appropriate 🙂 Enjoy!

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