I continued playing Rocksteady Studio’s Arkham Asylum, via the Return to Arkham Collection on the PlayStation 4. Arkham Asylum was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2009. Here are some of my thoughts while playing the game (spoilers).
- Scarecrow: The confrontation with the Scarecrow in the morgue was pretty awesome. I liked how you slowly become under the influence of his fear gas and start seeing bugs on the walls, and then the morgue telling you to get out, and then finding your parents’ bodies in body bags. It all leads up to taking on a giant, creepy looking Scarecrow. Awesome.
- Bane: Bane’s appearance was pretty epic, especially getting to see him juice up on his venom. It took a bit of time to figure out how to take him down, but was fun once I got the hang of it. The henchmen getting thrown into the fight was pretty annoying though. Also, I’m pretty sure Batman killed Bane with his car, or at the very least caused him drown in Gotham Bay.
Early Impression: 9.0/10.0
Trophies Earned (9/48): Daydreamer and Baneful Payback
I started playing Rocksteady Studio’s Arkham Asylum, via the Return to Arkham Collection on the PlayStation 4. Arkham Asylum was originally released on the PlayStation 3 back in 2009. Here are some of my thoughts while playing the game (spoilers).
- Intro: The game opens up with Batman escorting the Joker through Arkham Asylum because he feels that something was off by how easy the Joker gave up. Throughout the walk the Joker taunts Batman and the guards. The whole opening sequence was very cool in my opinion.
- Killer Croc: While escorting the Joker through the asylum you come across Killer Croc being moved to a different area of the asylum and man does he look awesome–and very, very intimidating as he towers over everyone.
- Zaza: I think it’s cool that they introduce some of the combat mechanisms to you via a lesser villain, such as Zaza.
- Detective Mode: I really like how you go into detective mode to investigate scenes and clues, but I also found myself using quite extensively even outside of it to keep track of enemies. It has a really Predator-like feel to it when you track skeletons.
- Freak Outs: I love how the enemies start becoming more freaked out as you pick them off one by one and will start jumping at noises and shooting at nothing.
- Gotham: It’s cool once you able to get to the Arkham grounds and you can see Gotham City shimmering in the distance, a nice touch.
Early Impression: 9.0/10.0
Trophies Earned (9/48): “Shocking Rescue;” “Leave No Man Behind;” “Malpractice Needs More Practice;” “Born Free;” “Just What the Doctor Ordered.” “Freeflow Combo 5;” “Freeflow Combo 10;” “Arkham Analyst;” and “Cryptic Investigator”
Here are my final thoughts on Zeboyd Games’ Cosmic Star Heroine (Spoilers).
First up are some of the positives of the game:
- Sci-Fi Setting: I really enjoyed the sci-fi setting and being able to jump between several different planets–each with its own set of alien races and different kinds of technology.
- Story Setup: I also found the start of Cosmic Star Heorine’s really interesting, from rescuing hostages to investigating a mysterious lab to being betrayed by the government that you work for. The game does a great job of getting you hooked.
- Defend: I enjoyed the fact that this game made you take into account the defend button in order to recharge your other abilities. It offered an interesting bit of strategy early on in the game.
- Lovecraft: I loved the fact that Cthulhu was a hidden optional boss in this game. No explanation as to why Cthulhu would be in it, but it was a nice nod to Lovecraft.
And now some of the negatives of the game for me.
- Shallow Story: After revealing that the API is looking to bring order and stability to the galaxy by engineering mind control technology the story really doesn’t progress beyond that initial setup. Sure, you jump from planet to planet looking for a counter to the technology, but the API takes a backseat, which causes a lack of urgency.
- Characters: Cosmic Star Heroine has a large cast of character, but unfortunately the vast majority of them are extremely underdeveloped and it would make zero difference if they were not in the game. It would have been nice if there had been more sidequests involving these characters.
- Length: Clocking in at around 11 hours, Cosmic Star Heroine is way too short for the story that it is trying to tell. I think it could have really benefited from another 15 to 20 hours of gameplay to help flesh out the story more.
- Glitch: Given how integral the VR combat is to the game it surprises me how the game crashing glitch made it past Q&A. Pretty disappointing.
- Combat: I was a bit disappointed in the combat, because once you’re able to get multi-target programs and stat enhancing programs you pretty much just end up buffing one character and having them cast a board clearing spell.
- Dialogue: The dialogue in this game is pretty cheesy. While cheesy dialogue can have its place if it is intentional, but given the serious tone of this game it just comes off as distracting.
In the end Cosmic Star Heroine never quite lives up to its full potential and is an all to brief, but fun ride.
Final Verdict: 6.5/10
I’ve continued playing and beat Zeboyd Games’ Cosmic Star Heroine on the PlayStation 4. Here are some of my thoughts while playing the game (Spoilers).
- Major Bug: This game has what I consider to be a major bug. Namely if you decide to refight a battle in VR and you happen to lose it will ask you if you want to retry. However, if you do retry the game will glitch out and then crash. I tested this out and it did it every single time. Lame.
- Characters: There are a fair amount of characters in this game, but unfortunately pretty much the vast majority have really no reason to join the group other than for the most basic reasons, such as needing to get out of a place or because you know someone. I wish the characters had been fleshed out a lot more.
- Story: I really like the basic concept of this game’s story. The idea of a government agency wanting to control the minds of humans to get rid of crime and usher in stability is interesting, it’s just unfortunate that the game never really delves into the idea. It mainly stays in the background and then devolves into a lame ancient alien wants to control humanity…for some reason.
- Combat: Basically later in the game this devolves into have three characters buff one character and the next turn that buffed out character pretty much wipes the board with the enemies.
- Asteroid: When heading out to the asteroid the game warns you to save your game, as if you’re enter a point of no return, but that’s not really the case. It was just kind of weird.
- Game Master: I’m still not exactly sure what happens in regards to this boss. So you go to the Volt Arcade and then check out the arcade machine, which causes the Game Master, a giant face that is very reminiscent of the Lawnmower Man appears and attacks you. However, does this boss come out of the machine? Are you sucked into the machine? Who is this guy and why is so obsessed with Dave’s high score?
- Eternity: This end boss was a bit of a disappointment, mainly because it pops out of nowhere and so late in the game that it really doesn’t matter. Also, is there some kind of unwritten rule somewhere that the final boss in an RPG must have multiple stages? Why not just have it all in one go, because at this point I can’t imagine anyone being surprised by the boss not actually being defeated the first go.
- Eternity 2: I did enjoy the music that accompanied this boss battle and it definitely got me pumped up for the battle.
- Smirks: Why do so many of the characters during the ending smirk as the camera pans them? Do they only know how to draw smirks? Was kind of annoying.
- Lovecraft: Clearly the developers of this game are fans of Lovecraft and his greatest creation is an optional, and fairly challenging boss battle.
Early Impression: 6.0/10.0
Trophies Earned (34/34): “Gourmet;” “Betrayal;” “Full House;” “Objection;” “Braaaains!;” “Mad Skills;” “Gunmancer;” “Overkill;” “Cosmic Star;” “Crowded;” “Dem Bones;” “Eldritch Master;” “Primer;” “Scavenger;” and earned the platinum trophy, “Heroine”
I’ve continued playing Zeboyd Games’ Cosmic Star Heroine on the PlayStation 4. Here are some of my thoughts while playing the game (Spoilers).
- Enemies: It looks like enemies don’t respawn in this game, once they’re gone they’re gone for good. This is nice when you have to run back and forth through an area, but not so much when you want to level up a bit. However, the game does have a VR battle section, which allows you to fight the battle you just fought over again.
- Defend: This is one of the few RPGs that I can think of where the defense button is actually useful. In this game, you need to use the defend button to recharge your abilities, because for the majority of them once you use them once you can’t use them again until you defend.
- Clarke: Is this guy supposed to be a robotic Michael Jackson or something? Also, why does he have a metal mustache and eyebrows? So weird.
- Clarke 2: I found this guy to be pretty damn useless in battle. Most of his abilities are only effective if he is dead and his most powerful attack is his self-destruct button, which kills him. Lame.
- Ship: It looks like this game is taking a page out of Suikoden’s base concept, but instead of a castle you have a spaceship to fill up with team members and crew.
- Support Crew: I like how you can “equip” support staff to your team, with each of them offering a different type of bonus to the group. I think this adds a nice bit of strategy in trying to figure out which crew member will help out the most in each area.
- Swamp: Going through the swamp area on planet Rhomu there’s an area where you need to collect two eyeballs and place them in pedestals in order to raise a bridge out of the swamp. I definitely wasn’t expecting this and it was just very weird. Also, what did those eyeballs come out of, because they are pretty massive.
- Scimirex Village: I was stuck on this area for a while. First off you need to get a device that will assist you with understanding the bug-language of the Scimirex in order to use the terminals. Easy enough, but in order to proceed you need to help a Scimirex repair terminals, but to do that you need to get into the storage area, which requires a terminal. However, the terminal is down to repairs. However, the actual terminal you need is tucked away in a different area. This was poor design by the developer.
- The Hive: Where’s the Energize bunny when you need him? There’s so many damaged and missing batteries from the Hive.
- API: What happened to these guys? You jump to a different planet and they forget about you? I’m surprised there hasn’t been more run-ins with these guys, because it seemed like they were being set up as the main antagonist. Oh well, maybe they’ll show up again on the next planet.
Early Impression: 8.0/10.0
Trophies Earned (19/34): “Prison Break;” “Visionary;” “Crystals;” and “Red Button.”
I’ve started playing Zeboyd Games’ Cosmic Star Heroine on the PlayStation 4. Cosmic Star Heroine was released on April 11, 2017. Cosmic Star Heroine is the 5th game developed by Zeboyd Games and is a 16 bit style RPG that draws inspiration from classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, and Phantasy Star. Here are some of my thoughts while playing the game (Spoilers).
- Enemy Encounters: The way you encounter enemies in this game is clearly inspired by Chrono Trigger. Instead of being taken to a separate battle screen when an enemy hits you, you go straight into the battle right on the map that you had been traversing. Personally I’ve always had a preference for this approach over the other one and I’m not sure why most games don’t adopt this.
- Graphics: The SNES style graphics of this game are hitting all of the right buttons for me and is bringing back found memories of my childhood.
- Dialogue: The dialogue in this game has been a bit on the campy side for me, and it doesn’t come off as being intentional on the developer’s part. For instance I’ve come across such memorable lines as Groff referring to the agents as “knuckle-headed, agency freaks” and Alyssa informing Groff that his “Evil ends now.” I’m really hoping this improves, because as of right now it is pretty bad.
- Sue: I wasn’t expecting sectional chief Sue to be a baldheaded, red bearded brute of a guy. It definitely caught me by surprise.
- Dream Scene: There’s a weird cutscene involving a dream sequence, I think. Or was it someone actually in Alyssa’s room messing with her? It was really hard to tell what was going on in that scene.
- Dressing. Right after the dream cutscene there’s an in-game scene of Alyssa hurriedly getting dressed when she pops out of bed, which I thought did a good job of capturing some of the charm of old school RPGs.
- Story: The story sounds promising thus far. You play as Alyssa, a top agent of API, who had stopped the terrorist group, Astrea, from acquiring technology in violation of the Mental Autonomy Act, which outlaws technology that infringes on an individual’s right to freedom. However, you soon find out that the government agency that you work for plans on using the technology itself. Now you’re on the run and hunted by your former employer.
- Talking: It can be a bit difficult to talk to characters in this game due to the fact that you have to be in a very specific spot and you have the ability to walk through them.
- Nightshade: The techno music in this club is easily the best in the game so far. It really has a nice beat to it. The lyrics for the song that Lauren sings are a bit bizarre though.
- Giant Robot: This was a fun boss battle that sees you fight off a giant robot attacking the city. You start off at its feet and then have to run through the skyscrapers to reach its middle and then head. After which you hop into the robot and proceed to fight with a giant monster attacking the city. Great stuff.
Early Impression: 8.0/10.0
Trophies Earned (15/34): “Prepare to Die;” RPS Badge;” “Stylish;” “Bomb Squad;” “Product Placement;” “Rat Pack;” “It’s Baaaack!;” “Rogue Agent;” Charming;” Safehouse;” “Friendship;” “Kaiju Killer;” “Captain;” Practice Makes Perfect;” and “Teamwork;”
Here are my final thoughts on Gust’s Co.’s “Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.”
First up are what I found to be the positives of the game:
- Characters: One of Atelier Sophie’s strengths is its cast of characters. While I didn’t use all of the playable characters in battle, the game is setup in such a way that you have numerous small interactions throughout the game that you really get to know the characters and come to care about them. This is especially true in regards to the interactions between Sophie and Plachta and between Sophie, Oskar and Monika.
- Alchemy: Once you get the hang of it, the alchemy in the game becomes pretty addicting. I found myself spending quite a bit of time just trying to gather the best materials and trying to get the best traits and effects. I thought increasing your characters’ abilities and stats through the traits and effects on equipment was an interesting take on the RPG formula.
- Graphics: Clearly this game has an anime inspired design and the graphics reflect this style and are vivid, crisp and bright. The game also runs silky smooth.
- Voice Acting: The voice acting, outside of Pamela, is fantastic and really did a good job of capturing the characters’ personalities and emotions.
And on the negative side of things are the following:
- Story: This game really lacks any type of story. Yes, you’re trying to help Plachta regain her memories and you’re doing that through developing new recipes. Unfortunately, there is no journey and our heroes really face no crisis that they need to overcome—unless you consider thinking about new recipes as a crisis.
- Villain: Related to the story issues is the fact that this game really lacks an antagonist that challenges the hero and compels them to overcome adversity. Luard falls far short of a compelling villain, mainly because he never really does anything. Sure, the game tells us that his alchemy is bad, but the fact that all that occurs off screen, is so minimal, and happens so late in the game really minimizes any potential impact it might have had.
- Combat: The combat in this game is pretty damn simplistic for an RPG. The vast majority of the time I found myself just using the offensive stance because most of the fights last at most two rounds, with very few exceptions.
- Pacing: The pacing of this game is off. There was just a couple of sections, such as when you’re developing Plachta’s body or pursuing Luard, that the game picks up. Most of the time there is a whole lot of nothing happening–other than taking time to think about something. In fact, the Latter Day DLC was pretty much just hitting the sleep button to advance the think about events.
- Enemies: There really is no excuse for either a PlayStation 3 or 4 game to have so many enemies that are just pallet swapped versions of each other. Most enemies had four or five different colored versions of themselves. Even the two bosses in the DLC were just pallet swapped version bosses in the main game. I can understand a few enemies, but there are so many in this game it’s inexcusable.
- Backpack: There needed to be a way to hold more items in the backpack when out gathering. Having a hundred slots filled up way too quickly and I found myself having to go back to the atelier way too often.
In the end the combination of the lack of any type of compelling story and being a very formulaic JRPG that fails to try anything different left me feeling that Sophie Atelier is a very mediocre JRPG.
Final Verdict: 6.0/10
I continued playing and have beaten Gust Co.’s “Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book;” including the DLC. Here are some of my thoughts on the game thus far (Spoilers Ahead).
- Alchemy: Last time I had made the complaint that there needs to be way to search for traits while making items during alchemy–and apparently there is. It’s too bad I didn’t discover the filter option until it was so late in the game.
- Alchemy 2: Also, I didn’t notice that you could just hit the options button to bring up a whole list of items that you can craft that meet the material type requirements of the item that you are trying to create. This too was extremely helpful.
- Gather Level: And yet another mechanic that I didn’t know, but apparently the longer you’re out and the more stuff you gather the more difficult the enemies become and the better the items are. This is all indicated by the little bulbs on the side of the map. I remember the game discussing that at night creatures getting harder, but I don’t remember this mechanic being mentioned.
- Luard: I was pretty disappointed in this boss because throughout the game he hasn’t really done anything to make him feel like the antagonist. He basically shows up near the end of the game when Meklet and Atomos combine and then goes off and does his “bad” alchemy. And that’s pretty much it and that’s why he doesn’t really even feel like a villain. It really didn’t even feel that satisfying to defeat him.
- Luard’s Theme: The music in Luard’s battle is just badass and epic sounding. It really adds an epic feel to a fight that would’ve been otherwise completely flat.
- Light Elemental: Wow did this monster kick my ass several times. I found her to be a nice challenge and not as cheap as some of the other enemies.
- Demon King: This guy kicked my ass so hard and so many times. In some ways, unlike the Light Elemental, this guy comes off as cheap because he breaks the battle mechanic rules. For instance, he’ll switch from a regular attack to a warning attack mid-round, which gives you no time to switch stances. He’ll also heal himself out of turn or his card’s turns.
- Alchemy 3: Having gotten my ass handed to me multiple times by the Demon King, and having done some research, apparently I was way underpowered–and my precious overpower and dragonscale defense traits needed to be upgraded. And thus began basically three days of grinding to find powerful traits, create high quality materials and forge better arms and armor and items. I probably spent several hundred thousand gold on all of this. Also, I spent quite a bit of time leveling up stats.
- Plachta: I also switched from Monika to Plachta and I soon realized that I should’ve done that right away. Plachta can deliver a serious beatdown.
- DLC: It’s hard to be disappointed in a DLC that’s free, but I really wish that the two bosses in the area weren’t just reskins of Nazarus and Luard. However, the items and traits that you get in this area are just fantastic! In addition, I thought the Latter Days DLC did a nice job of wrapping up the game and was a nice touch.
Early Impression: 6.5/10.0
Trophies Earned (45/45): “After A Battle;” “The Master of Inspiration;” “Challenge From Plachta;” “Good Friend;” “Reliable Guy, Oskar;” “Without Glasses;” “Logy’s Firm Will;” “The Sunlight Dragon;” “The Shadow Dragon;” “The Incarnation of Shine;” “The Cruel Violator;” “The Alchemist of Exhaustion;” and the platinum trophy, “The Alchemist of the Wonder Book.”
I continued playing Gust Co.’s “Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.” Here are some of my thoughts on the game thus far (Spoilers Ahead).
- Puni Among Punis: I purchased this rumor about a puni that leads all other punis and decided to go check out if the rumor was true on the Pilgrim Road. Upon reaching the Pilgrim Road I soon discovered a bunch of punis in a circle and in the middle a rather large puni. Surprisingly, the regular punis took off rather than attacking. The Puni Admiral, who attacked me, was kind of a pain in the ass in comparison to the experience points and gold he gives you (at least on normal).
- Farming Gold Punis: I think coming across the trick of farming gold punis on despair level really broke open up the game for me. Going from 60 gold per gold puni on normal to 600 on despair really allowed me to rack up the gold needed to upgrade armor and arms.
- 999 Quality Trick: This was another trick that helped immensely. Being able to use the quality up trait repeatedly to max out the quality of armor and arms was great.
- Dragon: The other thing that blew open the game for me was being able to actually defeat the dragon I stumbled across in the Fallen Palace and then receive some really good materials with some great traits.
- Dragon Soul: I’m really loving this skills, it increases all stats by 15 and skill power by 20%. It has really made a difference.
- Dragonscale Defense: Even more so than Dragon Soul, Dragonscale Defense has made an immense difference by increasing defense by 40. I went from taking pretty massive damage to taking around 5 damage per hit or less. So great.
- Overpower: Finishing off the combo of great traits is Overpower, which increases attack power by 20 and also allows the characters to absorb 10 percent of damage dealt as healing. So basically I am now finishing most battles in two rounds. In addition any damage I’ve taken is replenished by the damage absorption.
- Fairy Guide: I love this item. Being able to be taken instantly back to the atelier from wherever is so convenient.
- Nazarus: What a pretty tragic guy, having to hide out on the outskirts of society due to his body slowly being taken over by a monster. Naturally you end up fighting the guy before you can heal him. As far as I can tell this is the first boss in the game. I mean there have been rumors where you can fight tough monsters, but these never really have had a boss feel to them, but rather just seemed like stronger versions of tougher monsters. Also, they are all voluntary and don’t progress the story.
- Alchemy: I have to say Gust needs to go back to the drawing board when it comes to the menus when using alchemy. It’s so tedious because you have to scroll through so many items until you find the trait you’re looking for. It would be nice to be able to search by trait. Also, why can’t the recipe list be organized alphabetically as an option?
Early Impression: 6.0/10.0
Trophies Earned (32/45): “I Can Do Anything!;” “Saving Enthusiast;” “The Cauldron Of Knowledge;” “The Repaired Clock;” “Sister’s Smile;” “Change A Mood;” “Plachta With Delight;” “The Expert Alchemist;” and “The Monstrous Left Hand”
I continued playing Gust Co.’s “Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book.” Here are some of my thoughts on the game thus far (Spoilers Ahead).
- New Outfit: I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the new outfit that Leon created for Sophie. I don’t know why, but her new costume reminds of a painter or an artist. I think it might be the fancy hat. Also, I’m noticing a trend in Leon’s designs in that she likes to showoff the bellybutton.
- Max Level: It’s crazy that the level cap in this game is twenty. That seems really low for an RPG–at least it’s one of the lower caps that I can remember off the top of my head.
- Ability System: What’s kind of weird is that once you hit level twenty an ability tree opens, in which you can spend adventure points, which you earn after so many experience points, towards different stats (such as attack, def, speed, special abilities, etc.) of your choice. Why wasn’t this system implemented at the beginning? Feels like a missed opportunity to me.
- Date Ticket: So I bought a date ticket with all of the vouchers I had been accumulating, but I wasn’t expecting it to be a date with Tess. It was kind of funny, if not a bit cliché, on the guys at the bar getting upset and ordering drinks to forget their sorrows.
- Harol: I’m actually pretty surprised how interesting this character was. He’s gone from being pretty much an ass to softening up. I think it’s interesting how he’s slowly facing his father’s legacy as a clockmaker.
- Pamela: There’s an event where you have to find out Pamela’s age. I have to say her saying that she doesn’t know how old she is because she is dead caught me off guard. I definitely was not expecting her to be a ghost.
- Cory: I’m really enjoying Cory’s backstory. The idea that she wants to be famous so that word about her and her unique ability to duplicate items so that her father could find her is touching.
- Tess: There’s a sequence with Tess that was pretty funny. It all starts with a bomb and a rock and ends with needing fertilizer because the poison she requested killed all the weeds and the flowers.
- Leon: There’s an interesting exchange between Leon and Sophie about dreams and what they are and what happens when you achieve your dream only to find it meaningless and empty.
- Expert Cauldron: Loving the 50% bonuses that this cauldron bestows when creating items. Of course the exchange is a one minute time limit, which is not that bad.
Early Impression: 5.5/10.0
Trophies Earned (23/45): “A New Self;” “The Expert Adventurer;” “Date With Tess;” “It’s An Orgel;” “Horst’s Surprising Talent;” and “Recreation At The Lake.”