What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

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ThePurplePantywaist
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What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 26 Jul 2015, 12:12

I've played videogames for over 30years.

I played on NES and Wii U, Mega Drive (Sega Genesis) and PS3, Gameboy and PC, Arcade and 3DS and many more.
Since 2009 I beat over 600 videogames (that's when I started to keep lists).
I programmed in the 1990ies, I wrote for a video game magazine in the 2000s.
I bought videogames at Niedermeyer and Cosmos (two now defunct electronic chains), toystores and flea markets, Steam, Amazon, Origin and Uplay, VGP (Canada) and Play.com (UK, now defunct), Humble Bundle and Blinkbundle (now defunct) etc. (Surplus steamkeys I gift)

What is my point?
I know videogames.

I do not write elaborate reviews very often (after all, there are people, who get paid to do so), but in this topic you will find links to most of the reviews I wrote and all the reviews I will write from now on.
Also there will be a few very short reviews now and then, written exclusively for Kortz.at/Forum.

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Purple Pantywaist's Reviews on Gamefaqs.com

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 26 Jul 2015, 15:19


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Castlevania: Whack-a-Vlad - What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 26 Jul 2015, 15:29

The Purple Pantywaist's Verdict on Castlevania:Judgment

Before the Castlevania games became really bad, there was a time, they were kinda good. Back in those (g)olden days, your friendly neighbourhood pantywaist was (among other things) kind of a Castlevania fanboy. But even back than, I could not close my eyes when the franchise started to spiral down the drain.


"Bolero of Brawling - Neither full fan-service nor a formidable fighter"
(originally posted on Gamefaqs)


Castlevania: Whack-a-Vlad - Overview

Castlevania is a franchise, which has been around for a very long time. It is about a multitude of characters fighting Dracula - who is merely a metaphor for the evil in men's hearts. So far the games in the series have been platformers, mostly in 2D, some in 3D, since 10 years or so with an RPG-element. Castlevania: Judgment is the first fighter in the series. In many games members of the Belmont clan, who wield the legendary whip Vampire Killer, fight Dracula. But don't be afraid, the game is not about 10 guys wearing leather or fur and flagellating each other, there are only 2 characters who use whips as weapons.

The series has been mocked for several reasons, because male characters often have very female physiognomies and because the titles of the game often sound similar, try to convey a dark mood and include musical terms. This last point shall explain the irony I used for the various subheadings in this review.

C: Decrescendo of Innovation - How the game plays and is controlled

You can control via waving about and flailing or by using the classic controller. There is the possibility to use the Game Cube's controller as well. Maybe the controls will take a little time to get used to, but there is a tutorial (and even a manual) and you will most likely find a scheme that works for you. The only problem with the controls is, that you can not lock on to your opponent and that you have no button to do so. The reason is, that you can brake barrels, crates etc and sometimes even have to fight additional enemies in form of zombies and mermen. Still, as you can not lock on to your (main) opponent, you will sometimes miss them, especially with your ranged attacks, sometimes even if they stand still. That problem is complicated further by the camera. The camera is moving automatic, and as some stages move as well and some enemies move in certain patterns, in a few but recurring combinations the true opponent is the camera, not Dracula or his minions.

The characters in Judgment can run, jump, block, evade and attack. The standard attack has 2 different variations for most characters and can be chained by pressing the button several times or by continued waving. After this chain you can add one or several of the other attacks: Each character has about 3 special attacks, secondary weapons attacks and guard breaker attacks. Secondary weapons range from throwing knives to various spells, but they and their ammo have to be collected (by braking barrels etc) before use. As not every attack can be chained to every other one, there is not much variation in attacking - especially if you plan on winning.

Further there is a hyper attack. It comes with its own bar, which gradually fills by fighting. If the bar is full, you can use the hyper attack by pressing a single button. It does about 45% damage, is hard to connect and if successful executed shows a very long animation, which can not be skipped. Although those animations are different for every character and sometimes even a little original, after seeing them the third time you are bored.

It is a good thing, they did not make an overly complicated fighting system with 100+ combos, counter attacks, combo breakers, an unintelligible attack hierarchy, long key combinations etc. On the other side this simplicity is a big downside as well. While some of the characters are faster, stronger or better suited for ranged attacks, there is not much variation. You will find yourself doing the same combo on the same situation again and again. And again. The fighting systems feels somehow generic, and the question remains, whether that was done deliberately to address casual gamers as well.

The game modes are Arcade mode, Survival mode, Vs mode and Training mode. Further there is a so called Castle Mode, which resembles Soulcalibur's Weapon Master mode: You make your way through Dracula's Castle by completing various fighting missions. Those missions are mostly rather trivial, but are often either very easy or pretty unfair. The main mode is Story mode, and will be discussed below.

C: Nights of Darkness - Visuals

You'll find yourself fighting in classic Castlevania surroundings (cemetery, dungeon, clock tower, throne room etc) with fluently animated opponents. Sill, some of the characters do not take after themselves in other games of the franchise. An extreme example is Death who has always been portrayed as the Grim Reaper, a skeleton with a dark mantle and a scythe. In Judgment he looks like a combination of a stilted Terminator and a Predator. In general some of the characters look like Castlevania takes place in a Sci-Fi future and not mainly in medieval castles in the time between 1600 and 1940 AD.

As mentioned above, Castlevania is (in)famous for female looking male characters. As most of the times Alucard shares this fate, together with Simon (who tries to compensate by macho one-liners). Aeon probably looks androgynous for a reason.

Faces are the next cue: When watching the (hardly) animated faces of the characters, you probably would not think this was a game on the seventh generation of home consoles. In general the graphics are not bad, but definitely nothing to write home about. The whole game probably could have been realised on the Game Cube as well.

C: Lamento of Silence - Sound, Music, Voices

Another reason why the franchise is renowned is its music. Judgment includes therefore many classic tunes which fans will have heard before many, many times. Still, there is hardly anything new or shiny about it, no innovation or reinterpretation of classic themes. The music was not worse on DS either.

The quality of voice acting varies, but below the line it is good enough. Sound is not special. Japanese voices are available as well.

C: The Hopelessness of Fanboys and -girls - Story, Story Mode and how it fits into the franchise

In the beginnings of the series Dracula returned every 100 years. With the multitude of Castlevania titles out there he seems to return every other weekend now. This has called for severe retconning by Konami, the canon has been changed repeatedly. (Personally, I see no reason why not every Castlevania game should be considered canon - the stories do not contradict each other and Dracula is resurrected by humanity's evil, which is rather omnipresent throughout history anyway). The creators of Judgment did not bother with such details, Judgment takes place within a Time Rift. In Story mode the characters stumble into it and fight. After completing Story mode with all characters, there is a rather mild revelation, and for the "real" endings, you have to beat Story mode for a second time with everyone.

Nevertheless there is not much story in Story mode. The characters brawl mostly without any reason and they do so, even if they are friends, allies or complete strangers. Sometimes the "stories" bring soul-searching, self-discovery or background information or they include nice allusions to other titles in the series (e.g. Dracula mentioning the curse on Simon or Trevor talking about his marital life), but mostly the stories just feel poorly fabricated to create an excuse for violence. Maria Renard (and her pubertal jealousy of the other female characters bust sizes) probably is supposed to be funny, but is not. At least there is a couple of cool one-liners and the characters in the game are very well picked from the many Castlevania titles. (I still miss Soma Cruz though, but that is just personal taste).

C: The length of Eternity - Game length, Unlockables

It took me less than 8 hours, to unlock all characters and beat Story mode with each one. Further I broke all records the game comes with, beat the tedious Castle mode and defeated so many enemies in Survival mode, that I got so bored, I had my character jump into the abyss. All at normal difficulty, which is the hardest difficulty which does not need unlocking.

The game has a VS mode, where you can play against human opponents or the CPU, and you can play against friends or strangers over the internet. I did not try that. There is different stuff to unlock, music, voices and almost 100 accessories to dress up the fighters. So if you've always been thinking, Grant should wear a top hat, Dracula definitely needs a monocle and a medal and Simon would be much more handsome with goats horns, you can live that out with Judgment.

C: The final Judgment of an Endless Night - Conclusion 6/10

Overall, Castlevania: Judgment remains a honest try, which partly failed. The game is not really fan service, as it is superficial in that regard and includes hardly anything new. Further the artistic licence which was used creating the character models does not give one the impression of a Castlevania game at all, when you see e.g. (Cyberninja) Grant fighting (Terminator) Death. On the other hand, the simple yet generic fighting system, which lacks innovation and variation, while being adequately balanced, will not convince fans of the fighter genre. It is not a bad game, but sadly there is not much good about it. Still, there is latent potential for a sequel there, but even from a fanboy like myself Castlevania: Judgment does not get more then 6/10

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Purple Pantywaist's public reviews on Steam

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 26 Jul 2015, 16:01

All of the Purple Pantywaist's (public) Reviews on videogames on steam

I've written a bunch of reviews on Steam, because it is quick and easy and even a very short review can help make somebody's mind up.

I will quote a few in full length:

The Purple Pantywaist recommends Rollers of the Realm
Best Pinball/Something other than pinball - mashup since Odama.

Basically, in this game you use pinball mechanics to collect money, mana (sometimes loot) and fight the baddies.
The balls represent your characters, who are a Street Urchin, a fallen knight, a healer and many more. They have special powers (sometimes multiball) and can be upgraded by finding treasures (using pinball mechanics) or buying upgrades.

There might be some room for improvement here or there eg replayability is rather low for a pinball game, but overall it is a well rounded experience.
Most definitely it is a unique experience - there is so far nothing like it, so if you are at least a little intrigued by the concept, give it a try.


The Purple Pantywaist does not recommend Resident Evil 6
The about 8th iteration of Resident Evil numbered 6 might have a few moments, some goods scenes and from time to time decent gameplay.
And it is the Michael Bay and Call of Duty of Resident Evils.

But beside that, it is the worst RE so far in regards to both gameplay and story. Hands down. No contest.

The Purple Pantywaist does not recommend Murdered Soul Suspect
Murdered Soul Suspect is a 3rd Person Ghost Walking Simulator. You are a cop, who has been murdered in the intro and must now try to solve your own murder (and several others). As you can barely interact with real worlds objects, you mainly walk around and look at things. From time to time you have to answer questions about the things you looked at, these questions are normally either embarrassing easy or the answers do not make much sense.
There are some nice "ghost mechanics" included, mainly walking through walls, but they do not carry the game for its full (or half or quarter) length.

So, what else can carry a game with stale gameplay?
Visuals? They are nice, but no unique sales point.
Music? There are mostly mysterious sound effects.

That leaves us with: Story. And the build-up is great. Your dead cop character has a checkered past and is full of hurt, you have your run of the mill serial killer to follow, your teenage side kick complains a lot etc. The first third of the story is good, then not a lot happens, then a few foreseeable plot twists and it ends with ... a deus ex machina.

In a nutshell:
+ really good concept, no open end
- gameplay is mainly walking around looking for stuff
- story starts out good, then becomes less so and leaves you unsatisfied

The Purple Pantywaist recommends Remember Me
After beating Remember Me, I can understand, why this game has so mixed reviews. I cannot even fully make up my mind.

Let's start with some of the really good stuff:
The basic idea, the world they created is great.
The story is very ambitious and - let's say - powerful and is - in some parts - very well told
Here and there the game develops a cineastic quality, which is rarely if ever seen in videogames
The visual design of the levels, of the characters etc is good.

Later in the game, it just serves you big chunks of story, with almost generic dialogue patched between - they cannot keep up with their own ambition.

In regard to gameplay, the game oscillates around mediocre.
You have the rather uninspired brawl-sequences, where you have combos, dodges and some special attacks. There is a little running around, but the game always shows you the way, you are basically on rails. And then there are very boring climbing sequences, they rarely pose any challange and obviously serve only the purpose, that the game does not consist of (mediocre) brawl after brawl.

Especially later in the game, when the storytelling gets a little stale and the levels gets longer, it gets boring and almost a chore to finish.

Although heavily in doubt, I do recommend this game.



As this is the interwebs, you can rate my reviews on steam, if you feel like (pun intended) it.

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Re: What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 10 Jan 2016, 15:23

ThePurplePantywaist does not recommend D4

D4 is an episodic adventure about a time travelling ex-cop who tries to find out who killed his wife.

The idea is somehow interesting, but the game wastes your time with watching your character opening doors, flicking through magazines, eating stuff, having long winded conversations and so on over and over again.

Story could be even interesting, but before it starts to make any progress (or sense) the season (!) ends, and it is unclear, if the game will be continued.

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Re: What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 12 Jan 2016, 18:01

The Purple Pantywaist does not recommend Life is strange

Sure, it has great voice acting and a distinct graphical style.
That it is not much more than a walking simulator can be overlooked in regard to its great storytelling
That many episodes feature parts, which are longwinded and/or boring and only serve the purpose, that the game is 5 episodes long and not 3 can be forgiven, because it is a solid concept in an fitting setting.

But the game

[spoiler="- be warned, a slight spoiler cannot prevented, so if you want to play it anyway, stop reading - "]breaks its basic promise, that your decisions matter.
Sure, characters remember in the later episodes how you behaved to them in the earlier episodes. But in the end all your decisions are erased, one way or another, depending on how you decide at the end of the last episode. And this decision feels really, really, really very forced and is at best far-fetched.

if for whatever reason you want to read more ranting about this, including spoiler for the whole game, follow this link[/spoiler]

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Re: What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 16 Mar 2016, 23:20

The Purple Pantywaists recommends Space Run

What is it?
It's a tower defense game, but only in the broadest sense: you have your (two-dimensional) space ship, consisting of various hexagonal spaces. On these you can build propulsion devices, weapons, shield, generators or place your cargo. On each mission your ship flies automatically from A to B (faster if you build more engines) in real-time, and you have to defend your cargo and your ship from being destroyed by enemy ships and asteroids, which can come from 360°. Destroying them brings you resources which you need to build more devices.

So, is it any good?
Oh yes, it is. It is actually great. In the first missions you have only a few devices and a small ship. Later the ships get larger, the devices get bigger and need more energy, so you have to place bigger generators next to them. That might sound a bit cumbersome, but it is not. The game leads you from mission to mission to the more complex setups, and you can choose in which order you unlock new devices and upgrades. Later missions are difficult and a little grinding is necessary from time to time, but the balancing of the game is very well made, so they never feel unfair.

What about game length and replayability?
There are about 30 missions to do. There are achievements, which are a must these days. You can replay all missions to get a better rating and to unlock new devices or upgrades (=grind). Considering the price, that is more than fair.

Obviously this is a recommendation. Any criticism?
This qualifies as an Indie game. So in regards of graphics, music and sound design, you can expect solid work, but nothing extraordinary. The story is pretty basic and generic: acerbic trucker and android sidekick quarrel with pirates. Voice acting was good. The game can get rather hectic, and the design of some of the devices makes it hard to keep track of everything: A few times I built the mid size shield and not the mid size generator, or forgot to build a missile defence, because I saw too late that the enemy ship had a missile launcher. Enemies and asteroids can come from 360° degrees, but in most mission they do not. But even when replaying, you have to remember the directions.

Final Verdict?
I really enjoyed the game and gladly recommend it. I am looking forward to the sequel. 4,5/5=9/10


This review is available here on kortz.at/forum, on Gamefaqs (http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/799677-space ... ews/162110) and on Steam (http://steamcommunity.com/id/ThePurpleP ... ed/275670/).

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Re: What's the Purple Pantywaist's opinion?

Post by ThePurplePantywaist » 22 Mar 2016, 17:46

The Purple Pantywaist recommends Sunless Sea (with a caveat)

What is it?
In Sunless Sea you are a captain of a ship, travelling on the titular underground ocean. You steer the ship from a top down perspective and travel from harbors of islands and cities to one another, exploring the sea and sometimes fighting pirates and sea monsters. (Fights can be avoided most of the time, however.) When docking in a harbor, the game changes to some sort of text adventure, where you have a description of what is happening, and several options to decide what to do; which are available or likely to be successful is depending on your stats, your earlier choices and/or cargo. There is also trading involved, and RPG-elements, as both your captain and your ship have various stats, which you can improve, and officers, who you can recruit that give various bonuses. Terror is a very important game play mechanic: When traveling on the sea or making certain decision, your terror rises. If it rises too much, bad things happen, options disappear (but new might come instead). Too high terror means too high risk of death. Reducing terror can be very costly, depending where on the sea you are.

What genre is this?
I'd say Lovecraft meets Steampunk with a little Kafka and mythology. If you have played their browser game "Fallen London", it belongs in that universe. There is not one main story: Your captain is their "life goal", which you can pick at the start, but there are many stories parallel, e.g. most of your officers have their own story, and several islands as well. While you might die from time to time, and your next captain can inherit various belongings, officers or stats, it is not really a roguelike: Often there is luck involved, but seldom in a game deciding way. When you get the hang of it and play rather cautious, you do not need to die at all. Permadeath is optional. The position of the island changes from game to game.

How does it look and sound?
This qualifies as an Indie game. Graphics are very dark and atmospherical, sometimes gruesome. The topdown view is simple but mostly well-arranged, in the "text adventure" mode you have pictures, which again catch the atmosphere very well. There are very few music tracks, but they fit the overall theme. There is no voice acting. The game was lauded for it's writing.

Game length?
This is my main criticism: The game is great, but once you got the hang of it, it gets really, really tedious. Let me give you an example: You needs lots of money, called Echo in the game.According to the games official wiki, the best trade route nets you 13 Echo per traded item for which you have to travel from one end of the map to the other, and the ships are not very fast, even with the faster engines (which again cost a lot of money and require more fuel). The largest ship can carry a maximum of 100 items, but you need at least a third for fuel and provisions to not die. You do not have a warehouse anywhere, so you have to carry everything with you (eg quest items, munitions, candles) all the time. Let's be very optimistic (or take a big risk) and say, you can use half of the hold for your trade good. That means from this trade run you can get 650 - ignoring the fact that you have to buy fuel and food and maybe hire crew and somehow have to reduce terror. And that you need the biggest ship for it, which costs 29 000.

Let me say it in another way: You have to grind for money and stats, and these grinds take very, very, very, very long. The whole pacing feels like that they gonna railroad you with microtransactions, time saver dlcs and premium content any second. They do not, however. On the plus side, the game can be modded and it is easy to edit your savegames. A DLC is coming soon, which might bring some changes.

TLDR?
Fresh concept, awesome setting. Many, albeit small wall of texts. Getting from A to B takes very long and you have to get from many As to a lot of Bs very, very often. Even for a little progress you have to invest a lot of real time (and make notes). If you are not bothered by this or have lots of free time, it is a great game.


Available here and on Gamefaqs. (I would have posted it on Steam as well, but there was some technical problem)

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