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Well, let's kick my move to dreamwidth with the game that a lot of people (Including myself) have been waiting over a decade for to drop, Persona 5. Now I'll admit, I ignored a lot of the hype, and I tend to ignore a lot of hype, in general, mostly to avoid being disappointed (FF15 would be the best example of that, but I wasn't as disappointed because again, I got off the hype train). I don't watch trailers either because trailers usually just contain cutscenes and no actual gameplay content about 75% of the time. But unlike FF15, where I was overall disappointed, Persona 5 pretty much exceeded what I was expecting.

Also, be warned, there are some heavy spoilers in here, mostly with characters themselves. I'm going to try to avoid main plot spoilers, but be warned.

Title: Persona 5
Rating: M
Genre: JRPG, Modern

Graphics 7/10 - Now I'll admit, the graphics don't look any different than like, say, Tales of Xillia on the PS3. I mean, this is where the game probably suffers the most, so if you're going in expecting to see like FF15-like detail, you're going to be really disappointed. But I think the style makes up for it. The biggest example is probably the menu system, where you're treated to seeing the main character sort of interact with you depending on what you're doing.

The dungeons range from being dark to colorful and bright. I actually did feel like I was in a subway (And getting lost the first day as well) and I did actually feel like I was in Shibuya the times I was walking down the street. The artwork for portraits is done really well. The cutscenes are done well too and there's a lot more than previous installments as well.

While it's not the most heavily graphic detailed game, it makes up for it in it's style.

Plot: 8/10 - I'm going to try to hold off on major plot spoilers, but the game comes down to this: The Main Character (Since there's no official name for him, I'm going to go by the name he's called in the Manga, Akira) is walking home one day, where he happens upon a scene where a woman is obviously having... difficulties with a drunken man. Of course, Akira being a sensible human being, goes to help, only to have the situation completely turn on himself after the man falls down on his own accord and proceeds to yell, 'I'll sue!' (It's more like, 'I'm going to press you for assault!' rather than sue). Yeah, you should guess where this going, because this situation? Happens in real life.

Anyways, he's falsely accused of assault, and ends up with a criminal record. He's sent off to another town to be put on 'probation' for a year. Along the way, he meets people that, like him, were pretty much 'wronged' in some way, which leads us to our main theme, a bunch of outcast teens being lorded over by some of the shittiest 'adults' I've ever seen.

While walking to school one day, Akira gets pulled into a strange world along with another boy named Ryuji and... there is our 'Dark Hour'/'Midnight Channel' world of the game, called the Metaverse. Everything seems strange at first, and I'm not going to spoil it, but basically, Akira awakens to his power of 'Persona'. While in this world, they come across a cat-like creature named 'Morgana', who has no memories of his past, but seems relatively knowledgeable of the Metaverse. And basically, rocks fall and shit happens from there.

To be honest, trying to summarize the plot without some major spoilers is like impossible. So I'm going to cover the companions a little instead.

Spoilers for 'Confidant' Links, I also make some comparisons to Persona 4 )

I am going to say, I find the overall plot good for the most part. It does get dark, especially early on, so be warned on that. I don't think it gets as dark as Persona 3 or even 2, but it does get dark enough for me to give a warning about. I found Persona 3's story to be over the edge of 'too dark', but I think this game hits a perfect balance between dealing with dark issues and having it's light but quirky moments.

One complaint I have, I found the weaker parts to be, sadly, at the end of the game (And a certain character that I talked about above). However, it wasn't bad to the point of ruining my game experience. Overall, the game had me hooked from beginning to end. But I will warn, put aside at least 2 hours when you reach final boss time, cause holy shit, this game's ending is one of the longest endings I've sat through.

Music/sound 8/10 - I'll have to admit, I was really tempted to lower this, mostly because there's quite a few tracks I'm not fond of. But the tracks that I did like, I really liked them a lot, and I realized, that's how I felt about other Persona games, so I kept it as is. This Persona sort of goes for a more jazz type theme, which does fit the mood of the game. Some of the Dungeon's music is really well done and I like all the battle themes in the game. And the 'overworld' theme is really well done and I was thrown for a loop when after playing the game for over 10 hours, they put lyrics to it. But that has actually been a staple of the games, having lyrics in many of the songs in the game.

Gameplay: 9/10 - I have to say, it's been a while since I really enjoyed a turn based JRPG. Honestly, I can't really remember an old fashioned turn based RPG that I liked since Bravely Default on the 3DS, let alone a home console JRPG.

The gameplay is pretty much in the same vein as Persona 3 and moreso Persona 4. With a few minor changes/upgrades. First off, you can switch people out whenever you want. This is good because if someone is low on sp (Mana bar for this game), you can swap them out for someone who has a full bar, even if you're in the middle of a dungeon. You have your typical melee weapons, and they brought back guns from Persona 2. But honestly? Unless you have a gun that gives stat debuffs or the demon happens to be weak against guns, you're probably going to not bother with it until boss fights where extra attacks may make/break the fight.

You also have your Personas, and everyone has a set Persona besides Akira, who can swap out Personas at random. You can gain Personas by either making a contract with a shadow or by fusing them in the Velvet Room. Whereas your party members are stuck with their Persona for the rest of the game. So basically, whoever you put in your main line up will be that, and you can basically compensate for what you lack via Akira. Everyone learns different moves, but for the most part, whoever has the 'fire' spells will be only learning that, and so on and so forth.

Personas have a range of skills, but they basically serve as your 'magic' of the group, though there are 'physical' skills that will use your hp instead of sp. Dungeons are pretty much a balance of trying to clear them as fast as possible, but also focusing on saving your sp or using it to do 'all out attacks'.

Speaking of all outs, most enemies you meet will have some sort of weakness. The big trick to the game is exploiting those weakness to knock all the enemies off their feet. And if you manage to knock them all down, you can go for an all out attack, which usually kills all the enemies on screen or will do massive amounts of damage. In regular fights, you can actually talk to the demons (Something taken from earlier Persona games) and you can either have them become your Persona, or instead, they can give you money/items. Doing this will bypass the fight entirely (Though you do gain exp and money if you killed any).

Basically, it comes down to you either needing money (For your daily life, equipment, or fusions), needing items (Saving you the trouble of buying them or getting lucky and getting a sp healing item), needing power (More Personas means more chances of fusions or maybe you just really want that Persona?), or needing exp (All out attacks will usually wipe the entire pack out, unless you're underleveled/undergeared).

You also get cards later on down the line, so if there's a certain skill you need, you can slap it onto the Persona of your choice and bam. You can get more when a certain character joins you instead of farming one of the dungeons for that one card you want, basically, this character can make you a duplicate of any card and if you level his Cofidant link, he can make higher level ones.

I'm avoiding speaking about the Dungeons because they are heavily linked to the story and I don't want to spoil it. But for the most part, the Dungeons are your typical RPG flair, and unlike the last 2 games, these aren't based at random. There's also some clever puzzles in this one, and one of them actually caused me to have to write shit down, and it's been over a decade since I actually had to do shit like that.

There's also a stealth system in the game, which I think is a miss, because some parts of the game, it's nearly impossible to hide in certain areas, especially long ass hallways, without getting caught or waiting for the enemy to turn it's back, you dashing in as fast as you can, and causing a surprise attack. And you'll want to do surprise attacks as much as you can, cause if the enemy gets the drop on you, you can easily die.

And if Akira dies, the game automatically ends (Unless you play on Safety). That's the only thing I wish they would drop out of the game, cause it sucks getting far into a dungeon, only to make one stupid mistake and Akira dying because that light/dark skill that kills in one shot decided it wanted to work that one time. :/

Also, if you get caught by enemies too many times, you can get thrown out of the dungeon. I mean, in a way, it makes sense, you're supposed to be a thief, and what does a thief do? Sneak around without getting caught. There's certain tools that can bring down your 'bar' if you get caught too many times and the bar lowers if you ambush an enemy, but still. It's a clever new system, but it has some obvious flaws. I will say this though, I never managed to get a bar over 50% in the entire time I played, the highest was maybe close to 40%, but I ended up playing a lot more carefully than I usually do, and probably a couple of hours was me waiting for the enemy to come into sight before ambushing them. So needless padding.

And yes, you can play the game on a mode that basically makes battles trivial. If you're looking for a much more casual experience or going through NG+, it's good to have on, but I'd recommend to play on easy at the very least. Unless you know the tricks and trades of the series as a whole, would I recommend anything beyond Normal, because I heard the harder modes are really brutal.

Now that I covered the fight system of the game, let's get to the other important aspect of the game, the 'life simulation' portion, which was added in from Persona 3. Remember, Akira IS a teenage student, so while you have this 'mystic' power shit, you still live the life of a student. Which can range from studying for exams, hanging out with your friends, going to the movies, working a part time job, taking a bath at the bath house down the street, trying to pass the 'Big Bang Burger challenge', watching DVDs, playing video games (Playing a game within a game...), making tools for your 'heists', or hitting a home run at the batting cage.

There is SO much shit you can do compared to the previous Persona games that even I haven't found everything. And everything you do raises 'social stats', which basically serves as 'flags' for most of your Confidant routes.

If you think also, that the life sim part isn't important to the game, think again. By forming close bonds to your teammates or maybe the non teammates, say, for example, that guy in your class, you increase your own power. In previous games, it just meant fusing more powerful Personas for your main protag and your teammates would just get a more powerful Persona if you befriended them. But in this game, your 'Confidants' offer you a wide variety of abilities. You have the obvious ones, like getting more exp or money after a fight. But you have others, like befriending a certain character will let you switch characters out DURING a fight, which can come in real handy in a pinch. Or another will help you make powerful sp healing items. Or another which will let you read or make tools during class. And another will teach you special moves that you can use during fights. This isn't limited to non-teammates, as in the closer you are to your teammates, the more they offer in battle (They'll help you with negotiations with demons if you fail or they may take a fatal blow for you), and if you form a tight bond with them, their own Persona will evolve into a more Powerful version of their original.

The one good thing of this is now it's just as important to level those non party member links as it is to level your teammates. Not to mention, you can now take your party members to different places you can unlock because someone invited you there previously, or you read about it in a magazine. You can actually continue to do this even when they're maxed out, and if you take them to a place they like, they can give you something to decorate your room with. It's not something you HAVE to do, but it is a nice touch.

And yes, you can actually 'get into a relationship' with certain girls of the game. You can date one or you can date them all, if you so wish. The choice is really up to the player, and you get something special from them during two 'love bonding' events in the game that actually does go over to NG+. For the curious, in this game, I chose the Priestess, who happens to be one of my favorites of the game, on my first run. >.>

And it's all on you. Basically, you have to focus your social teenage life with the life of a Persona user. If you spend too much time on being a Persona user, you may actually hurt yourself in the long run, because you don't have enough power to defeat the tougher enemies down the line (Even outleveling sometimes doesn't fix it). However, if you spend too much time on your social life, someone will get hurt or killed and the game ends (Or it flips back a week, and all your previous progress is basically set back, which is really annoying). It's all a balancing act. Now I've seen a lot of people use the guide over at GameFAQs, but I'd highly suggest if this is your first Persona game to ditch the guide and find stuff on your own. I found quite a few things on my own that the guide doesn't really mention or doesn't mention until late end game.

Also, you do have a limited time and I think one flaw in this game is that if you explore certain dungeons, you waste an entire day until you max a certain Confident who will let you go out at night. And I feel like a lot of days are wasted, because the characters talk for like 5 minutes, part ways, and the game goes to the night, only to have Morgana nag you that you need sleep. It's really frustrating at times when you want to go out and do something, and the game basically tells you otherwise.

Other than a few minor things, the gameplay is pretty much the same as the previous with some life improvements.

Overall: 8/10 - Despite a few minor complaints and the graphics being previous generation, this is a very solid JRPG that any RPG gamer should have in their library. If you're new to the Persona series, this game is a very good one to pick up to get into it. And fans of the previous games will definitely be satisfied for the wait.
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Well, it's time to do a real video game review for once and we're reviewing the big one, Final Fantasy XV. Now, lemme say a few things:

1. I haven't played a single player based FF game since 12. I completely skipped 13 despite having a PS3. Weird huh? But that's how it is. I played FF14, and I have a review of it too. Let's say that it didn't live up to my standards. I did enjoy it more when I picked a dps class and I feel it does the FF theme a lot more than this game, but it's just not for me. Mostly, my crappy internet connection, but still... >.>

2. I avoided mostly everything about this title. Meaning I watched no trailers, played no demos, didn't want the movie/anime, or anything. The MOST I saw was when Angry Joe played FF15 demo on his stream one night about a year ago? I barely remember it (The only fight I remember is the deadeye fight and it was a bit different when he played it) and I can't even remember the combat. Other than that, I went into this game expecting nothing. Or at least expecting a decent story. Sigh... :/

Title: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: T
Genre: JRPG, Fantasy

Graphics: 9/10 - This is probably the best part of this entire game, the graphics. They're visually stunning. Some of the pictures that Prompto took for me, it looked like cutscene graphics. I also like when it's raining, the characters clothes will get wet and stay wet in the main menu. They get dirty after traveling and not camping out. The food that Ignis makes is so freaking detailed, that it looks freaking real.

This is even prettier than FF14. There's a few clipping issues here and there, but overall, this game is just pure eyecandy. And that's sadly, the only real postitive thing I can say about it. ~_~

Plot: 3/10 - The ONLY reason this score is so low is while the game does have a plot that feels sort of FFish, the way it's presented to the player is a garbled mess. Like holy shit. Look at it this way, they needed a movie and an animated series to explain stuff that happens. When you need a movie AND an anime to explain stuff that happens in a game... Why the fuck didn't you put it IN the fucking game!? Movies and animes are supposed to add on to what was already there, NOT explain to us the stuff that is NOT there.

Basically, you start out as playing Noctis, a Prince of some Kingdom. You're being sent out to meet up with your Fiancee, Lunafreya, along with your 3 bodyguards, Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto. And I swear this is real, the game starts out with you 4 pushing a freaking car down the road, bickering to each other, while the song, 'Stand by Me' is playing in the background. I blinked and said, 'Are... we for real!?'

But anyways, you find out that your castle (?) was invaded by the Imperial Empire while youre trying to hitch a boatride and your father was killed. Supposedly, before 1.03, this was ALL OFF SCREEN! But the added in patch added in cutscenes from the movie (Which REALLY stand out, and I didn't know they were cutscenes from the movie till I saw about it on a message board. I just thought they were unusual cutscenes, but didn't think anything of it). Yeah, do I even need to say anything more than that? That is piss poor story telling, and we're only at the beginning.

First off, we can't even feel for Noctis, because we never felt attached to his father, not to mentioned this happened off screen!? How are we supposed to feel anything for characters when the game just blazes through the way it does? The second example would be Jared. The old d00d from the 1 big town on the main map. When we come back and find out he's dead, I'm like, 'wait, who was that? Oh, the old guy! And I'm supposed to feel bad/sad, why now? Was this guy a friend of Noctis or a mentor of some kind? Who was he in relation to the characters?' All he told us was where to find a weapon and that's all. And when Noctis and his gang want to crash an Imperial Garrison to avenge him, I'm like, 'Uh, guys, we got better things to do than trash one Imperial site... We should be going to our destination so we can get rid of them for good instead of... You're just going to go anyways? Right...' Another example is Ravus (aka, Cecil-clone!), and I can't say why without spoilers, but when I saw what happened to him, I felt nothing. Why? Because the fucking character is on screen for 5 minutes! I heard he has more backstory in the movie, but fuck that noise.

And I'm not going to spoil the rest, but after Chapter 9 launches, it's like the story goes into overdrive and so much shit is thrown in your face with almost no time to take a breath and take it in. Basically, it's like I blinked and during that short time, something really important happened, and when I opened my eyes again, I just look at the outcome and scatch my head. And chapter 13 will make you hate everything about the game, but I'll get to that one in the gameplay section.

Throughout the entire game, I felt emotlonally distant from just about everything that happens and that's because the game presents the story so piss poorly. From it's very bizarre beginning to it's 'bitter sweet' ending. In fact, if you do the math of my playthrough, maybe 10-15 hours were with the main story. In fact, it took me less than 1 hour to go from Chapter 3 to Chapter 5. Why EVEN have chapters when some of them are done within 30 minutes!? Did they think if they divided them into 14 chapters, no one would bitcn about the length!?

The sidequests are basically water down versions of any MMO quests, look for this item, go collect this thing, go get me this thing. They add NOTHING to the story or the characters, with the exception of a few, like helping Ignis find his glasses or when you talk to Prompto after staying at a Hotel.

Anyways, let's talk about the cast. Or... really, there's not that much to talk about. Noctis is your snarky grumpy protag. Gladio is your big buff guy that kind of acts like your mentor? Prompto is the happy-go-lucky guy that you know has a deep dark angsty past (This cliche is way overdone nowadays) who likes taking pictures of just about anything. And Ignis, well, I'll call him 'Bulter-san', because that's exactly what he is. He's the 'nerdy intellectual guy' who supposedly comes up with the strats, does quite a bit of work (And by that, I mean cook, drive the car, and mend Noctis' shirt? He totally is a Bulter!).

I guess these guys are all friends. I get that more between Prompto and Noctis, since they went to High School together. And what the fuck, the FF characters going to High School!? FANFICTION NIGHTMARE FOR ME! Not to mention but the PRINCE going to high school??? Cause that's not going to draw a lot of attention! But... I can't really tell, because the game doesn't present it well. And the only way I get that feel is because Prompto loves to take selfies of him and Noctis in my playthrough a lot.

The whole game is supposed to be a kind of 'bro trip' type of thing, and I wouldn't really mind that at all (Fuck, I'll admit, the idea appeals to me because the 4 guys are pure eye candy material and I'll admit, I'd like to see 4 guys who start as strangers, but end up as, well, brothers in arms at the end)... Except it's not executed well here at all. It feels forced and I sometimes feel that this is just Noctis and his bodyguards trying to get to a destination with 'silly moments' demostrated by Prompto's pictures, not 4 guys randomly bonding with one another. Outside of combat, they make banter with one another, but I don't feel this closeness that the game should be aiming for. A better example of developing characters would be skits that the Tales of series is famous for.

Let's talk a little about the main pairing in the game, Noctis and Luna. Or... not? This is the most bland couple I've ever seen in a FF series, if any JRPG ever. Mostly because Luna spends maybe 10 minutes of screentime in the entire game. She's not a party member, so you don't see any interaction between her and Noctis. You get short flashbacks of them talking about stuff and you are told they communicate to each other through some magical notebook. And... that's it. You get the sense that these two are childhood friends. But lovers??? I barely get the sense that they are even close friends. Hell, you could give very cold answers to her via the notebook if you wanted. There's more chemistry between Noctis and Iris (Gladios' sister), mostly because Iris is on the scene more than freaking Luna!

Seriously, I don't want to hear any fucking Final Fantasy fan tell me about how piss poor Squall and Rinoa's relationship from FF8 is after seeing Noctis and Luna.

There's other characters that show up, like your Cid, his daughter Cindy (Urgh), Iris, some general guy named Cor, some messenger that I won't say for spoiler sake, your Biggs and Wedge, and the badass Highwind of the game, Aranea, but they are pretty much forgetable. Except Aranea, but I've always been a fan of the 'Dragoon' characters of the game (Hello, my favorite character from FF4 is Kain Highwind!), so... Nah, I think Aranea is a kick ass character and I heard she may be playable in DLC, so here's hoping!

This game is a perfect example of good ideas, but executed in the worse possible way. In fact, a lot of fanfiction in the past that I've read would qualify around this, good ideas that aren't presented well. What we have is a good idea: A prince losing his kingdom and has to go on a journey of self discovery with his 3 bodyguards that end up being like a second family to him. Along the way, he has to make tough choices and decisions that turn him from a sheltered prince into a worthy King. That's what I think they were going for.

But it's not executed well at all, and it's due to how it's presented to the players. Stuff that's supposed to make you sad only leaves you empty because you can't get on the wavelength or identify with the characters. Massive spoiler for chapter 9! )

What's worse, after you get into the meat of Chapter 9, the game goes pretty much linear, completely abandoning the idea of a 'brotrip' and open world all together. Wasn't that one of the biggest complaints about FFXIII, that it was too linear?? Why the hell would you think of doing that in FFXV!? I feel like they put too much into the open world aspect of the game and put the story later. And it's funny, because in order to access that open world aspect, you have to travel through time. Yeah, leave the time travel shit to Chrono Trigger, SquareEnix.

I also feel like SquareEnix wanted to make this a 'darker' type of story, kind of like Type 0. But it doesn't work, because the game's starter tone is more light at the beginning and then just suddenly goes 180 and turns dark, and some of the stuff that happens, specifically to Ignis and Prompto, just seems to be thrown in just cause FF games need angst. Sorry to say, but if you want a more darker FF story, just go play Final Fantasy Tactics. Or just play the Shin Megami Tensei/Persona series if you want darker plots.

This could be a really good setup for a game. Actually, it IS a really good setup for a game. But that's all it seems to me, a setup. We have the bare bone basics, SquareEnix decided we didn't need the meat and stripped it off the bone, leaving us with a bare basic story with little to no substance.

Music/sound: 5/10 - This is where I'm going to say nostalgia plays against this game. While you're in the car or the field and not on a chocobo, you can actually play music from previous Final Fantasies. Which sounds awesome in concept. But in practice, it works AGAINST the game, because besides the Chocobo music and generic pit stop theme, I cannot remember any music from this game at all. Why? Because half the time I'm listening to FF4/FF5/FF6 music that I forgot that this game has it's own freaking soundtrack. Yeah, ask me about a single tune in this game and all I can tell you is the chocobo music and only because I can't play my recorder on a chocobo. And the chocobo music is good, but it's the freaking chocobo theme, you can't really mess that up.

Beyond that, I cannot recall any music from this game, cept maybe for the battle music, and even that is forgetable. I don't get it. Even the FF11 and FF14 battle themes are memorable in my mind and I barely played much of FF11!

Though I really wish I could forget the 'Stand by Me' song played at the beginning and ending of this game. I mean, seriously, why that song? In the 80's and 90's, that song was used in a phone commercial and that's all I can remember it from. Not to mention, isn't Stand by Me a romantic song? Doesn't really fit a 'brotrip' theme. MAYBE it's supposed to represent Noctis and Luna (Though I'm sure it's supposed to represent the bonds between the 4 main guys, but reading the lyrics to the song, it's clearly a LOVE SONG), but like I said above, the game doesn't present that well at all.

Gameplay: 6/10 - I don't know why SE keeps going with a more action type combat. They simply aren't good at it, end of story. This game can be done just button mashing the O button. And dodging when the box pops up. And oh, it will a lot, because you'll be doing the tanking. And the dpsing. And the healing. You'll be doing just about everything while your bros will stand around and do nothing. Sure, maybe Gladio will help out sometimes, but Prompto and Ignis will probably stand around and die (Well, Ignis made himself useful with his 'regroup' skill, which basically, you run to him and heal). Like a lot. Unless you overleveled like I did and did every single bloody sidquest you see on your map.

I mean, it's not like SE is incapable of making a good action RPG. See Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu series. Or Brave Fencer. Or Dewprism/Threads of Fate. But it seems like they just want to copy Western games at this point, like Skyrim and Witcher. It works with those two games because you are only controlling one character usually. When you have 2 or more party members, that kind of combat doesn't work, moreso when the AI is bad. It works in the Tales of Games because you can change the AI's behavior and change what character you are controlling, but it's not 100% flawless.

I also forgot to mention this, so I'm going to now. The camera sucks in this game, it kills what could be a good battle system. And targetting sucks. When you're trying to land blows on a specific part of a monster to weaken it or maybe get an item (Good idea), you have to angle your camera so that it targets the part and try to lock onto it. The problem? It's very hard to angle the camera in the right position and can take some time. It's hard to do this when in real time combat, maybe this is where Wait mode would come into play? I tried playing Wait mode, but it wasn't for me.

Worse, you have to keep the R1 button down to keep your target. AND EVEN THEN, if you land a link strike, sometimes, you lose the target!

Not to mention, half the time I feel like I'm fighting monsters AND the Camera. A lot of the times, I have to readjust the camera because Noctis is flying all over and sometimes, a fucking bush gets in my way and I can't see him or what direction he is facing or if I'm hitting anything, period! This was a big issue I had in Kingdom Hearts series, it seems it has yet to be fixed.

Speaking of that, this game feels like in the same vein of Kingdom Hearts, only a little bit more complex, since Noctis can change weapons on the fly, but even then, it has it's limits and it gets frustrating when there's 8 mobs on the screen and they all come after you while your 3 buddies look on and just stand around or better, run right into a fucking AoE attack, getting themselves blown to bits.

The characters have different 'pass times' they like to do. Ignis does the cooking, but cooking actually has a point, as in you get some useful buffs. But you can only do it when you camp outside. But you kind of want to use a motel/hotel because experience boast and you can only do experience at rest points (Yeah, basically experience piles up from doing quests or fighting and the only way to distribute the points is via camping. Or finishing a chapter, so don't rush the main story!). Prompto likes taking pictures. That's about it for him, yay? If you're a Screenshot fan, you'll like this feature. Gladio picks up random items from the ground after a fight, which can save money. Noctis likes to fish? I hate the fishing mini game, but you need some of the fish for cooking, so meh. It's there to use and kill time when you're waiting for daylight to break.

Speaking of that, there's day to night in the game. And it's really frustrating, more so near the beginning when freaking bombs and Iron Giants come out and you see that they're level 30. Later on, it's just annoying, more so when you're trying to drive to your destination and they appear on the road. And then Magitek armor guys pop down after. And then the monsters decide they want to respawn... Like holy shit, I just want to get to the fucking gas station that's like only 1000 feet away from me, go fuck yourself monsters!

Again, a good idea, but executed poorly. Cut the freaking respawn rate. Or at least make it so the magitek can't see you at night because, well, it's fucking dark, you don't know if that's Noctis and his gang down there, what if it's just a random passerby?

Oh, let's not forget the car! Yeah, you can choose to drive or have Ignis drive. And lord all mightly, unless you're looking for pitstops, have Ignis drive. Driving is very limited, meaning, you can't go off the main and side roads to explore. I guess if you could, there would be no reason to have Chocobos, so they had to limit the car. You can drive to your destination or teleport there for 10 gil. It reminded me of traveling in FF14, which was a pain in itself. And near the beginning of the game, you can't teleport at night, because Ignis is a wuss. Later on, he'll drive at night, and you can teleport. Also, do we REALLY need to see them getting out of the car EVERY SINGLE time. Also, put some seatbelts in that damn car, and Noct, stop climbing to sit on the back part of the car while Ignis is driving! I actually did brake once, hoping to see Noctis fly like 30 feet in front of the Car, but alas!

I'll be honest, most of the time, I let Ignis drive, turned on the FF6 tracklist and went to go make a snack, use the bathroom, play on my phone (Irony was playing FF Record Keeper), or go browse the net until I got to my destination. That's not a good thing for a game to do, but I get free AP and exp for doing nothing. And you're going to need the AP to boast your shit.

Speaking of AP, the game has something called 'Ascension' in it. Basically, for using your points, you get different stuff. Like maybe you like driving the car a lot like me, so you pick the get AP and Exp skill while driving. Or maybe you want to improve stats? Go for the every level stat tree. Or you want to unlock your chain combos with the other guys? Or unlock more stuff for Noctis? This is a good idea, and it allows for really good customization. The bad thing? Getting AP is a grindfeast, some AP shit costing 333 AP or even 999 AP. ~_~;;;

Oh and magic and summoning? Magic is friendly fire. Yeah, that means, you use a spell and your bros are near the monster? They're more than likely gonna get hit with it. And take damage. So unless you cannot find a weapon weakness off a monster, you're gonna want to lay off using magic. And summons? I barely used them, because they basically come out when they want to, mostly when you're in danger of dying. The only time I remember using it was when I went to a underground sewer level and got ambushed by Yojimbo and got stabbed a bit. Then Ramuh decided he HAD to come out. It's pretty epic to see at first, and summons are basically instant KO for your enemies. But it's so random, and honestly? If I wasn't being stupid, I didn't even need to summon him to begin with! Yeah, worst summoning system ever.

Load times. I cannot believe how bad the load times in this game are. There's a load time for everything, it's really bad when you start your game up from your saved data or going back to the open world. Like holy hell, they make some of the PSX load times seem fast!

Also, I'm not going to spoiler this cut, because everyone should be warned about Chapter 13. Part of chapter 13 is basically Noctis with only one weapon walking down a bunch of narrow hallways. You have two choices, fight it out or stealth your way through. And trust me, it's faster to brute force your way through instead of stealth. This is, beyond a doubt, the worse gameplay I've seen in ANY FF game, it tries to be a survival horror game, which FF is not that.

And didn't SquareEnix want to avoid this type of play, walking down a very linear path to your destination??? Wasn't this a problem with FFXIII that a lot of people complained about??? WHY the FUCK would you put something that people clearly hated INTO a future installment!? And... this is the longest chapter of the game, because of this shitty gameplay mechanic. No joke.

Ignoring the cesspool that is Chapter 13, overall, the combat is a bit more polished than it's KH sister counterpart, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

All in all, like the combat, the gameplay isn't really bad, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

Overall 5.75/10 - Eyecandy cannot save a horribly presented story, forgetable music, and below average gameplay. FF15 has the potential to be something really good, but falls flat, mostly due to it's piss poor story presentation. This game was in development hell for 10 years and it honestly shows, because it seems like a game that doesn't really know what it wants to show or how to present itself.

This doesn't even feel like a JRPG, it feels like a WRPG with a Final Fantasy twist. I can see why this game did so poorly in Japan, because it doesn't have the 'spark' of what makes it a JRPG. And sadly, WRPGs aren't to my liking.

Honestly, pass on this game or wait till the price drops. It's worth it for maybe the eyecandy and some of the pictures that Prompto takes are fantastic. But as a JRPG to a once popular and well known series? Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be really following the Final Fantasy series anymore, moreso if they want to go the WRPG route.

If you want a game that is sort of like a WRPG that was made in Japan? Check out Xenoblade Chronicles instead.
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Okay, I'm going to actual put the review up that I kept going on about. Yes, DRAMAtical: Murder.

And I'm surprised that there's people who rank this game lower than Lamento and Togainu no Chi. Like wtf? Is it because the game has a more 'ligher' plot???? Or am I missing something???

Like, look, I get it, TnC had a dark plot. A lot of Nitro games in general lean more to dark plots. Chaos; Head was my first official Nitro game and I was not disappointed. I read summaries of Sweet Pool, and I will read it when it comes out (Though the meat monster thing is.. um, barf?). I also played Saya no Uta as well (I do NOT recommend it at all though, I can see some people liking it, it was not up my alley of dark stories). I love dark plots in my fiction, I mean fuck, I was part of Yami no Matsuei fandom for a long time. But the problem with TnC is that the routes themselves were terribly done and full of rape. Rape =! good dark story.

Anyways, enough with ranting and on to the review! Sadly, this review is full of damn spoilers. I tried hard to avoid spoilers for the main plotline, but I do somewhat spoil the other routes, so be warned.

Title: DRAMAtical: Murder
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy
Rating: E
Genre: Future Earth/Cyberpunk/Yaoi
Warnings: Violence, angst, dark themes, drug use, rape, gore, physical abuse, incest?, cannibalism, Amputation, beastility, sadism (Quite a few of these warnings only apply to the bad ends and a certain bad end)

Graphics: 10/10 - I absolutely love the artwork in this game. It's colorful and bright when it needs to be. And it can be dark and edgy too. I love all the character's art design. Aoba himself is cute to look at. All the love interests I liked their character design. I love the different expressions that Aoba makes and the other characters as well. And I love Ren to mother fucking pieces, that cute little puppy!

When you first start the game too, you'll notice a little 8 bit Aoba sprite walking across the game. As you finish people's paths, the sprites that come on the screen are 8 bit characters of the pathes you finished. I thought that was a small but really nice touch.

Also, don't rush the text. Because sometimes, the characters change their expressions while they're talking! Yeah, sometimes while you're reading, the face changes depending on the text. It's not totally important or mind blowing, but it does add some flavor to the story, like the characters are reacting to what they say.

Plot: 7.5/10 - Ho boy, I'm going to try my hardest to avoid major spoilers. And like the last VN, I'm going to cover the routes because the routes are so different from each other and one of them is VERY story heavy to the main overall plot. All together, there are 5 routes. Including a 'bad end', there's 6.

Basically, the game takes place WAY in the future. Our main protag, Aoba, lives on the island of Midorijima with his Grandmother and his cute All-Mate, Ren (machines that people own that act like a cellphone/laptop/GPS/anything you want. They come in many different shapes and models). He works in a 'Junk shop', just living his life the best he can. He seems to show no interest in 'Rib' (Basically street gangs) or 'Rhyme' (A virtual fighting game). It's more along the lines of pokemon since people use their All-Mates to do battle.

I just realized there's a ton of fucking jargon in this game, but Aoba does a damn well good job explaining in game.

Anyways, one day while working, he receives a weird email that downloads a game to his Coil system (Coils are sort of like portable laptops that fit on your wrist). The game is very Dragon Quest 8 bit style (In fact, the cave part I'm pretty sure is ripped right from DQ1, lmfao). The next day, he gets a headache while working, which apparently, he's had for most of his life. We also find out about people mysteriously disappearing (Rumor has it that Morphine, a legendary team, is behind it). Turns out that this isn't just a rumor and one day, Aoba finds out that Dry Juice is completely wiped out and Morphine's 'logo' is plastered all over their hideout. He's rightfully pissed and now he's out to find out the 'who, what, where, when, why' of what happened.

To sum it up, shit happens to Aoba's friend, and he decides to go find out why with his merry band of LIs. Honestly, I really can't say anymore because the game would be spoiled. Some people that show up:

Ren - Aoba's All-Mate, he's a cute blue puppy dog. Aoba deeply cares for him, despite him being a very out-dated model.

Koujaku - Aoba's childhood friend, he's a hairdresser and a huge Lady's man. He's really obsessed with Aoba's hair. He owns a red bird All-Mate named Beni.

Mizuki - A friend of Aoba's who is part of the Rib gang called Dry Juice. He's into tattoos.

Virus and Trip - The 'Not Twins' that work for the Yakuza that were aquainted with Aoba back in his 'teenage punk' stage. They call themselves Aoba's 'fans'. They also have their own All Mates but you don't see them until a certain point later on.

Tae - Aoba's Grandmother, who won't hesitate to lay the verbal and physical smackdown on people who deserve it. XD Aoba deeply cares for her.

Noiz - The 'Tsundere' teaser guy who is pretty obsessed with Rhyme. And Aoba for some reason. He has a shit ton of body piercngs and a cube rabbit-like All-Mate.

Clear - A very weird bubbly guy who is always wearing a gas mask and calling Aoba 'Master'. Like wtf, a gas mask!? He also likes Jellyfish (I don't get it but meh).

Mink - The Leader of a gang called 'Scratch' (Which consists of mostly criminals, joy), his first order of biz being his gang thugs to rape Aoba. ~_~ He throws off 'GOAWAYOMG!' vibes. His All-Mate is a pink Parrot. Like da fark?

There's more characters like Toue, a mysterious dark haired boy, the brat brigade, Aoba's boss, the crazy cop guy who abuses his powers, the big lady who has an all mate that has a crush on Ren, the crazy chick but actually a d00d all mate (Least his voice is) that looks over the Rhyme battles, and other characters that show up on other routes, but I'll try to cover them later on.

Holy shit, I realize there's a TON of characters in this story on top of a lot of Jargon. Like a lot to even keep track of. I don't think I can even name a game that has as many characters as this one has. It kind of blows my mind now that I think about it. Also, when the characters are introduced, the game says their name, gives their b-days, hobbies, positions, etc (I can't tell what else, because it flashes by so fucking fast). It's kind of funny how detailed this game is.

There's not much to say about the plot, because the plot is really this game's biggest weakness. The overall plot being who Aoba is and where he came from, isn't covered until Ren's route. The other routes focus on Aoba's Love interest rather than him. Which isn't a bad thing, but it does hurt the overall story itself.

I think one good thing about this game is that it's in First person PoV for the most part. Most VNs usually go the third person pov, so we can flipflip between the Main protag and the LI or other characters. Here though, we get in Aoba's head and we can get a clear feel on his thoughts and emotions. So we can connect to Aoba a lot better than we could with Akira and Konoe. The ONLY bad thing is we can't get into the minds of the LIs, and honestly, I don't even think that's a bad thing, because the focus of the routes is on the LIs from Aoba's PoV. It works really well here, believe it or not.

I also think the characters make up for the so-so plot. The characters are what really bring this game to life, and you feel drawn to them. They're all different and complex from one another. Aoba is probably the most likable main male lead for a BL game. And he's easily in my top 5 for most likable main protag of all VNs I read. For the others, I was drawn to Koujaku and Noiz pretty strongly. I was really curious about Clear as well (Mostly wondering how he knows Aoba. And why a gas mask!?). As for Mink, urgh. We'll get to this route.

Anyways, I would highly suggest you do the routes in the order I review them: Koujaku > Mink > Noiz > Clear > Ren. You can't do Ren's till the end regardless because he's the 'true route'. Yes, Aoba's All-Mate gets his own route too! I'd suggest doing Mink's route second because of all the routes, it's one of the more controversal routes (aka rapey and abusive route) and you should get it out of the way asap. I recommend doing it second though, because I feel doing Koujaku's route first is the better one to start out (It's not full of feels, but it's not controversal. It's the perfect 'in the middle' route). Also, take the warnings I give to that route seriously too.

Koujaku, spoilers! )

Mink spoilers )

Noiz spoilers )

Clear, massive spoilers )

Ren, massive spoilers )

Bad Ends/Virus and Trip Ending )

Overall 8.8/10 - Cept for one route, every route was solid and kept my interest to the very end. The story itself was so-so, but the characters FAR make up for it and Aoba is super likable.

Of all the routes, Noiz's is my favorite. I really thought Clear would grab me, but the big problem was the tone of the route took a 180 just randomly. Noiz's route could get angsty at points, but it was balanced, while with Clear's, I felt it went down a slope more and didn't go back to being fluffy till the end. In the end, it comes down to my personal taste. Though to be really honest, it's sort of hard for me to choose. >.> But if you're not a completionist, those are the two routes that MUST be played.

Music/sound 9/10 - Again, I loved every track in this game and all the characters have their own theme songs when you finish their routes. I think if I had to pick one, Clear's song would be the best. And a certain 8 bit song to a certain 8 bit ending. >.> Actually, I liked most of the tunes and I kept humming the main theme to myself a lot.

Gameplay NA - Again, visual novel. You have choices to get to people's routes, you have choices along the way that decide what ends you get. Again, warning, choose wisely, the Bad Ends are seriously no fucking joke.

Overall 9.3/10 - A VN that needs to be played. It has a couple of kinks in it, but it's a must play, moreso if you're looking for a BL game with an above average plot and complex characters. It's a little bit lighter compared to Lamento and Togainu, but it's much more polished and well written.

Also, I'm not going to review Re: Connect, there's no point to, because if you enjoyed the original and want an 'epilogue' to all the routes, you should go pick up Re: Connect. Yes, Dramatical spawned a sequel, but it's really just expands on the endings, and adds in a side story to Mizuki and Aoba's parents. The bad ends are expanded on and like I said in the review, the only one worth reading of that mess is Clear's, the others are there for shock/gore/rape torture. The good endings for the others are just pure kinky fap material. Even with that in mind, if you wanna see what Aoba and whatever LI is doing post game, it's a must read.

As for the anime, I didn't finish it, but really, pick up the VN before the anime, regardless. 99% of all animes based on VNs, the VN is almost always the better choice. Seriously, go read this!

Anyways, I think I'm going to take a long deserved break from VNs, replaying this one took a lot out of me. Maybe back to fanfiction. And holy shit, this review is long as hell. X_X
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Well, trying to purge the shitness of TnC out of my system, I moved to Nitro+'s next game, Lamento. Which... revolves around Cat boys. I'm sorry, but Cat boys are just not my thing at all. However, a good story and good characters can actually convince me to give it a chance. And I'm actually REALLY glad I did so.

I'm also shocked I'm in the minority, a lot of people think Togainu no Chi is better than Lamento. Like, uh? I can understand not being into Cat boys, but you come up to me and tell me that Togainu no Chi is better than this one, I'm going to laugh right in your face. And if it's because of the 'draggy plot'? May I remind you of the FUCKING SCREWDRIVER SCENE!? Or almost EVERY fucking route in TnC has rape in it. God, I will not let that go, will I?

If you're gonna bitch about it not being dark enough, go with Chaos; Head or wait for the translation of Sweet Pool if you want a darker yaoi story. This story can get dark in it's own way, but not to the levels of say, Corpse Party.

Also, again, I had a lot of problems running this game. Mostly the save/load function constantly freezing the game (Usually after a minute, we were back in business, but I had to reset it during Rai's route twice cause it wouldn't unfreeze); I had to run this as admin and even then, sometimes, it still freezes when saving. These games do not like Windows 7 and beyond at all.

Title: Lamento -Beyong the Void-
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy I linked them again, cause I can't find if they have a team name!
Rating: E
Genre: Dark/Fantasy/Alternate Earth setting/Cat people/Yaoi
Warnings: Gore, violence, angst, dark themes, light bondage, cannibalism, rape

Graphics: 9/10 - I'm going to admit, the artstyle in this game actually appealed to me, despite the game being about humanoid cats. I like every character's looks; from the cats to the devils to the backgrounds and just about everything. It ranges from being colorful to dark and then goes right for the middle. I also love how the characters move around on the scene and they have full body sprites and face sprites too, and I have to admit, I giggled when I saw their tails swish across the screen as they were darting away in some scenes. Very well done.

Plot: 7/10 - Again, like Togainu, gonna split this between overall plot and the routes. You're introduced to the world of Sisa. All human life is basically non existant and the race called Ribika (They're basically humans with cat ears, tails and claw-like fingers and hands, aka humanoid fucking cats!) live peaceful lives. Until some 'evil voodoo' thing called the Void shows up. It reminded me of the 'Nothing' from Neverending Story to some degree. Anyways, the Void makes it where plants and even animals cause great pain to the Ribika if they're touched. So something as simple as grass can cause cuts and even kill the cat people.

On top of that, a disease called 'Sickness' is going around, basically causing body parts to just vanish out of thin air (No joke, one day you're fine, and the next day, finding your arm just suddenly gone, scary as shit). Sadly, the Sickness is more commonly caught by females rather than males. So basically, the kitties are on the verge of going extinct. And some villages, the Void is so bad (Cause they can't gather and hunt), that they resort to eating each other.

So enter our main character, Konoe. He lives in Karou, well, not exactly, he basically lives by himself in a secluded area away from the village. One day, he starts having really vivid and dark nightmares (I won't spoil it, but it's really cringy near the end moreso), and one day, he wakes up with his ears and tail now black and weird markings on his arm. Which happens to fit the markings of a 'legendary curse' passed down. So pretty much, he's done fucked and now he sets off to find out why he's been cursed.

Along the way, he meets a bounty hunter named Rai, another loner cat named Asato, and a tiger cat innkeeper named Bardo, who seems to know about Rai's 'dark and angsty past'. There's other characters that show up, like the 4 devils, Konoe's BFF that like gets forgotten later on (I almost thought he was going to be a LI), Firi (Is it EVER explained why he has a lizard tail!?), our main baddie, a poet who likes playing the lute...

Holy shit, lemme say, this story is fucking LONG. Rai's route, which is the longest route, took me a good 20+ hours, and I'm underestimating it. Also, consider the fact that I can plow through 700+ length novels in a day if I want to. Basically, if you're a medium to slow reader, this game is going to take you maybe a week, if not more, of constantly reading it.

You cannot read a route in one sitting, end of story. To be honest, this part lost points because it really drags a lot and I ended up taking so many breaks due to the overall length of the game. I feel like the game could've ended sooner, but I also think some of the scenes are needed, because it creates some nice quiet and tender moments between Konoe and whoever you choose.

Rai, minor spoilers )

Bardo, spoilers )

Asato, minor spoilers )

Bad Ends )

Overall 8.4/10 - Besides the actual story being really draggy, the routes themselves were wonderfully done. It's very rare for me to like every love interest in a VN. I ended up liking them all.

I will also say, the overall climax of the game was... rather weak. The villian's motives were really weak themselves, and to be honest, I was really disappointed. SPOILER MAJOR! ) Despite the weak ass ending to the overall story, the routes and characters make up for this little blunder.

I think my overall favorite would flip flop between Asato and Rai. I feel like Rai and Konoe really belong with each other, the whole Touga/Sanga deal (Also, from a story perspective, it makes the most sense). But I also love Asato's route and how just well done it was (Probably the route that actually gave me the most mixed emotional feelings, from being really happy to shockingly sad). When I want to see Konoe being teased a lot and want more fun times, I'd go for Bardo's route, for sure (Though this route has it's darker moments).

Music/sound: 9/10 - I loved pretty much every track in this game and found myself humming it randomly. Since 'songs' are a theme in this game, the music is going to play a big factor and it works wonderfully here, fitting the tone of the scene, whether it's a fight scene, the devils making an appearance, goofiness just happening, or 'shit is gonna go down!' type of situation. I think my favorite song would actually be the one near the end with the final confrontation in Rai's route. And the song that plays when the Devils are on the scene too.

Gameplay NA - Again, a visual novel. There are some choices that affect the bad ends, but there's not too many of them and most will affect the route you're gonna go on. There's a few that actually change some dialogue, but it's flavor mostly. At least I get some choices in the damn routes though, unlike freaking Togainu. And all the routes too have their own bad ends.

Overall: 8.8/10 - Overall, a huge improvement over freaking Togainu no Chi. The only bad thing I can say about this game is that the story REALLY fucking drags to where you just want to get it over and done with. The good thing is that the story is actually really good. If you can handle a long length VN and can tolerate Cat boys, I'd highly recommend this over Togainu no Chi.

Next up, maybe DRAMAitcal: Murder. Or maybe back to fanfiction. Or maybe I get sucked back into the pit of death known as Warcraft, who knows? >.>
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Let's take a break from fanfiction for once and talk about Visual Novels. Togainu no Chi, I actually picked up around the time WoD came out back in 2014 and started reading it because 6 hour queues, at the time for WoW, sucked monkey balls. I never got really into it and when the queues vanished, so did my interest in reading further. However, since WoW is yet again becoming boring to me, I decided to pick it back up.

I really expected better from the people who made DRAMAtical Murder and Chaos; Head. But then again, it's a really old game. Unlike my other reviews, I'm going to cover my feelings on the routes in the Plot section, mostly because the main character is very different in each of them and really, I should do this with VNs from now on.

Also, I had a lot of problems getting this fucking thing to run. I had to redownload something because of a Windows 7 update not being compatible with the game. And save/load freezing the game too, I found a fix for it, but it's really annoying to do when you want to use saves to go back and get bad ends and whatnot. This game does not like Windows 7 and above.

Title: Togainu no Chi
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy Seriously, I just linked the forum patch. I don't know if the people went by an original team name, will update if I find the info
Rating: E
Genre: Dark/Post WW3 Japan/Yaoi/angst
Warnings: Gore, violence, sexual violence, sadism, rape (PLEASED take note of these warnings!)

Graphics: 7/10 - The art is pretty hit and miss in this. Sometimes the art is perfectly okay, and sometimes, in some of the CGs, it looks like Akira's hair is a different color than what it should be or sometimes, the characters look very different from the previous CG. It's an older game, so I'm giving it a pass to some degree. The artwork is definitely pretty to look at and Akira is definitely a pretty boy when you come down to it.

Plot: Unlike what I normally do, I'm going to give a basic run down of the overall plot, score that, and score the average of all the routes together. Which will work against the game.

Overall - 7/10 - The overall story is really interesting. Basically, we're thrown post WW3 Japan. During the war, children were basically taught how to fight and survive in combat instead of a proper education. When the war ended, those children, who knew nothing but fighting and surivival techniques, were thrown back into society and expected to just 'adapt'. Yeah, of course that doesn't go well...

Enter Akira, our protagonist. He is, sadly, one of those children who only skills are fighting and surviving. So no wonder why he's drawn to a fighting competition called 'Bl@ster' (Yes, that is how it is spelt) and he ends up at the top. However, it's not long lived, as he's falsely accused of murder. Enter two mysterious figures named Emma and Gwen, who basically make a deal with him: face life imprisonment, or travel to Toshima (Formally Tokyo) to take part in a 'life or death' game of survival, Igura, to defeat the strongest man, Il re.

Sadly, the backstory is probably more interesting than the actual plot, which is Akira's travels through Toshima. Which is why the overall story gets high marks. The story has a lot of potential, but it never really realizes it's potential.

It's also kind of hard to nail down Akira's personality, because it changes depending on what route you choose. He comes off cold and aloof in some routes, and in others, you see he has some really deep issues and why he's the way he is. He reminds me of Squall from Final Fantasy 8 (And what a shock, they actually look alike too!). So I'm going to cover him in the routes.

Dead end/bad routes )

Keisuke )

Motomi )

Rin )

Shiki )

True Route, no spoilers )

Overall score: 6.5/10 - While some routes are saved by story, you can't really ignore the flaws of all of them. Out of the routes, I'd go with Motomi, only because it's one of the few routes that's non-rapey. I shouldn't be picking a favorite route because of it's non-rapey elements. ~_~;; Ignoring the rape, True End was probably the best of them all.

Music/sound: 6/10 - Most of the themes are forgetable and while I did enjoy 1-2 tracks, I didn't care much for it. It fits the theme of the story, and does it's job.
Gameplay: N/A - It's a typical VN. It does suck that of the routes, only 2 have bad ends, which means when you're on a route, you're on it till the end, and you only have control over the Common route. Yeah, age isn't kind to some VNs, and that's this one right here.

Overall: 6.5/10 - This isn't a VN I would really recommend, more so if you have issues with any warnings I said at the beginning. It's a shame that of all the Yaoi VNs to get translated, it's one of the more mediorc ones. The fact of the matter is this: the game has great potential to be something really good and dark, but it falls flat. Having your main protag being raped constantly does not make a good dark story, it just makes us feel uncomfortable and unclean, more so when it goes the 'oh, he was resisting at first, but now he likes it!' route. My suggestion? Go read DRAMAtical Murder instead of this. While there's rape in that one too, the story, characters, and theme well make up for it.

I MAY do a review of DRAMAtical Murder but I'd have to replay the game to give it a fair review (I forgot a lot of what happens), so we'll see. Up next, maybe back to fanfiction. Who knows? I make these promises and I end up getting swept up in WoW. >.>
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Okay, we're back with a full review of this game. Now take this with a grain of salt. I leveled a CON/WHM with THM/BLM secondary, because I played THM in 1.0, so it was starting out fairly high level.

Title: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Rating: T, rating changes in game

Graphics: 7/10 - I'm just gonna repeat what I said under beta impressions: Probably the most beautiful game I've ever played. There's really nothing else to say about this, because it's the god to honest truth. It's also a number on graphic cards, because it basically means you need a high end graphic card to play this game.

Also, I discovered, this game doesn't have very good optionization. Meaning when you turn down something, you experience no increase or decrease in FPS and you barely notice the difference in game on top of it. This basically forces you to have a high end computer.

Plot: 7/10 - This gets a little bit of a lower score because while it does feel like Final Fantasy, it's really predictable. And granted, while the other jobs have their own little subplot, the two I did were.... okay. I wasn't really 'wowed' at the end of the story, because it basically continues into your relic weapon quest, and at that point I stopped. Why? Because the part I stopped at, to me, was where the credits rolled and that's it for me.

Music/sound: 9/10 - Again, just gonna repat what I said before: Familiar themes and new themes. I liked the original soundtrack to the game, and I like the newer music, especially the battle theme. And of course, epic fucking Chocobo music when you ride one. You're just riding a chocobo, but they manage to make it sound epic. :D

The one flaw is that the music sometimes doesn't play in certain zones, but I'm guessing that's a bug.

Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.

Combat 5/10 - The combat is slow, period. When you play a game with mechanics that require you to get out of crap fast, the last thing you want is slow combat. It doesn't help the global cooldown is 2.5 seconds. Also, instant spells/skills aren't exactly instant. Basically, you'll be mashing buttons, praying that your skill fires off.

There is some lag between special attacks firing off and movement too. I'm gonna leave this here, because this thread demostrates the problem far better than I can.

Dungeons start out easy and then start to get harder. On top of the combat and it's problems, it really makes the game stressful on tanks and healers. Which is a big no-no. Mechanics are basic if you raided in WoW, but due to the slow combat and the problems highlighted in the thread, it makes the game a lot more difficult than it should be.

Crafting 6/10 - Crafting is beyond boring and tedious, it feels like a class all on it's own, but not very fun, time consuming, and not very rewarding in the end. Granted, I did only get 28 of alchemy up, but it felt like a chore and it didn't help I was always having to stop and go gathering. Not to mention, a lot of mats you need are cross class. For example, you'll be leveling weaving and opps, you now need leather for something. So it's either level up leatherworking or go buy stuff.

Did I mention money is a problem in the game? Yes, money is easy to come by while leveling, but when you have a 50 and those repair bills and teleport bills start to pile up, you'll find your money going down the drain.

PvE (Questing, exploring) 5/10 - Again, your options for leveling are as follows:

1. Killing monsters. Tedious, I don't advice doing it unless you're farming for something.
2. Killing monsters via your class 'hunt' quest. You get bonus exp for killing a certain amount and the game will put something over a monster's head if you need to kill it if you're the right class.
3. Story quest. You need to progress through the 'main' story regardless, so always keep up to date on this. It unlocks different things in the game as well, so you have to do it.
4. Class Quests. EVERY class has class quests, which all have their own story. While they can be tedious at times, the story makes up for it.
5. Regular Quests. There's NPCs all over the place that offer quests. You can also skip them and come back to them with another class later, which I think is good.
6. Leves. This was the main method of leveling in 1.0, but now, it's basically optional. I only really did them when I felt myself getting behind. A good method of catch up if you run out of regular quests!
7. Fate. This is like Guild Wars 2 random events. Basically, random events happen around the world and the objective is different for every one, like collect items and give to a NPC, kill a boss mob, kill an army of invading mobs, etc etc. Nice way to pick up some quick exp while going to different places.
8. Duty Finder/Dungeon Finder. I have to say I'm not impressed with this so far, but it makes for really easy and quick exp. They don't even have to be dungeons, it could be a quick monster survival type of deal or just killing. Hoping the later Dungeons get harder or a 'heroic' mode for those of us who like challenges.
9. Exploration. Like WoW and most games, you find a new area, you get some exp. It's minor, but it does encourage to look and explore the entire map.

So why did I lower this? Because after you hit 50 on your main and want to level another class, your choices suddenly become very limited. Heck, you'll start to see that in your 40's, when your story requires you to be a certain level and you suddenly are out of quests and leve allowances. Your only options are doing dungeons, Fates, or grinding on mobs. And lemme say, the dungeons in this game are very unforgiving. Unforgiving dungeons + PuGs = terrible combination

The game has a duty finder, or basically a system that will auto sort you into a group automatically. The main dungeons consist of 4 people. Later, you'll see 8 man groups too. The queue times for dps are awful, ranging from 30 minutes to well over a hour. And later on down the line, especially the level 50 dungeons, Square decided to make limits on how many instanced dungeons can be open. So that means you can have a group of 4 actual people queueing up, but waiting over a hour because there's too many people queueing for this place. Did I also mention this is the best dungeon to farm end game tomes?

The bosses in this game are very unforgiving, and like I said with the combat system, you really don't want to mix unforgiving mechanics with pick-up groups. Story dungeons should be easier and there needs to be less trash in them, especially since you're on a time limit. Yep, dungeons in this game have a time limit, and while I've never failed to meet a time limit (I did come close in Cutter's, had a minute left), it's beyond stupid to have one. Raids even have one, which blows my mind!

PvP NA - No pvp yet, but if the combat doesn't improve, I don't see pvp happening in this game.

End game (50 only content) N/A - I'm not going to score end game because I didn't try hardmodes or the raids, but I will say farming tomes is not what I want to do. I did enough of that crap in wow, I really don't want to do it again on top of people being nasty in the duty finder, which I'll get to below.

Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) 2/10 - Let me say this game had one of the worst launches I've ever seen. This includes vanilla WoW. The servers were so boggled down, that it fucked with the duty finder the first few days, mostly because everyone was trying to do the story quest and it required you to use the duty finder (Which is a VERY BIG NO NO! Lesson: Don't do a single player story mode alongside something like a Looking for Dungeon type feature). Then we had limited log ins and the dreaded 1017 issues. Basically, for a time, Square limited how many people could get onto a server. The only problem is there was no active working queue finder (Some people say the queue could only support 250 people at a time, who knows). So the only way to get into the game was spamming the 0 key on your number pad. What freaking game does NOT have a queue system in place!?

Now this was cleared up after 2-3 weeks, but it's still unacceptable. Not to mention Fates like Odin and Behemut would crash servers because everyone and their mom would go to them.

The community in this game is probably the worst I've ever seen it, coming close to how people are in LFR in WoW. From people yelling and screaming at each other and calling people newbs (Don't people realize that most people playing this freaking game are new at it!?) from racist and disgusting remarks in shout chat to people screaming and yelling at people to skip the cutscenes in a story dungeon... Not to mention gold spammers on top of it. And if you say one negative thing about the game, people will call for your head to be chopped off on top of it...

This does not bode well for this game.

Final Score 4.5/10 - Not off to a very smooth start at all.

Overall: 6.8/10 - An average MMO that's in a very rocky place and greatly hindered by it's slow combat and bad community. If you like pretty MMOs and your machine can handle it, try it out. Though imo, there's better options out there that won't cost you 15 bucks a month.
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Beta impressions. It is much improved compared to 1.0. But to be quite honest, that's not saying much, since 1.0 was a huge pile of poop.

For those who don't know the story, a couple of years ago, FFXIV was released, and it was one of the worst MMOs I've played at the time, and the biggest flop in the MMO genre ever. The game was unplayable, the combat was delayed, you had a system that basically forces you at a certain point that you cannot gain exp because you played too much, as a PAY TO PLAY game. But the game was pretty!

Needless to say, the entire team of the original game was fired and taken off. Square/Enix basically came out and said 'We done fucked up!' and bam, a rerelease of the game. The good news? It feels like a FF game now, and the gameplay is much improved. The bad news? There's so many games out there now that are just, well, better, and some are F2P.

I might as well go through it since I can't even log onto the beta atm, so... Also, there's no spoilers for the plot. Most of this info can be found on other websites too.

Title: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Rating: T, rating changes in game

Graphics: 9/10 - Probably the most beautiful game I've ever played. There's really nothing else to say about this, because it's the god to honest truth. It's also a number on graphic cards, because it basically means you need a high end graphic card to play this game. Which means you need a high end computer to play.

Plot: 8/10 - Now this feels like Final Fantasy. From the opening to where you finally have control of your character, you feel like you're in a Final Fantasy world. This is what the game should've been at the start.

You can start in the three familiar towns (Which you can choose to start where) and while some of them got a bit of a facelift, if you played in 1.0, they're easily regonizable.

I won't spoil the story (And tbh, I think the story so far is more interesting than the story in SW: TOR), but even then, I think the story is different depending on where you start. In 1.0, I started in Ul'dah, and I chose to start there again. I can say I'm glad I made that choice.

You'll also see the staples of the FF series along the way, like chocobos and Moggles deliver your mail. And for older fans... you'll see! So it does have a Final Fantasy theme to it.

Music/sound: 9/10 - Familiar themes and new themes. I liked the original soundtrack to the game, and I like the newer music, especially the battle theme. And of course, epic fucking Chocobo music when you ride one. You're just riding a chocobo, but they manage to make it sound epic. :D

The one flaw is that the music sometimes doesn't play in certain zones, but I'm guessing that's a bug.

Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.

Combat 7/10 - The combat... is something to be desired. It's boring, to put it mildly. It doesn't feel as fluid and responsive as WoW's combat system, and again, like some other games, it looks like I've dodged something, and I still get hit with it regardless. It's not as terrible as SW: TOR (Which felt I was fighting with the controls 90% of the damn time!), but... it's just not as good as WoW's.

Like 1.0, you can switch to a different class, which makes having alts pointless. I think this is a good thing, cause if you're in need of something and someone in your group leveled it up, bam, switch, and the group can go!

I haven't played all the classes, but the 2 classes (Thaumaturge and Conjurer) I really played much of were about the same when I played them deep into 1.0. So thankfully, I didn't have to relearn a whole class. If you were a really early 1.0 player, Thaum might be a bit different, it plays more like a Black Mage.

I heard later on, the starter classes branch out into more Final Fantasy-ish classes like Black Mage, White Mage, Dragoon, Paladin, etc etc. I haven't gotten that far, my highest level was 31 back in 1.0.

Crafting 7/10 - Crafting is still crap, but much more improved than 1.0. You basically gather the mats or buy them, change your 'class' to your desired crafter, and go for it. You also have the chance to make the item much better than if you made it the normal way, but I have no idea about it, since I didn't play with the crafting system too much.

You can also level crafting the normal way or through leves, which most people recommend anyways. I'll talk about leves in the pve section.

I didn't work on any gathering professions this time around, so no comment on that yet.

PvE (Questing, exploring) 9/10 - I have to say, this is greatly improved from the original. To break it down, you can gain exp by:

1. Killing monsters. Tedious, I don't advice doing it unless you're farming for something.
2. Killing monsters via your class 'hunt' quest. You get bonus exp for killing a certain amount and the game will put something over a monster's head if you need to kill it if you're the right class.
3. Story quest. You need to progress through the 'main' story regardless, so always keep up to date on this. It unlocks different things in the game as well, so you have to do it.
4. Class Quests. EVERY class has class quests, which all have their own story. While they can be tedious at times, the story makes up for it.
5. Regular Quests. There's NPCs all over the place that offer quests. You can also skip them and come back to them with another class later, which I think is good.
6. Leves. This was the main method of leveling in 1.0, but now, it's basically optional. I only really did them when I felt myself getting behind. A good method of catch up if you run out of regular quests!
7. Fate. This is like Guild Wars 2 random events. Basically, random events happen around the world and the objective is different for every one, like collect items and give to a NPC, kill a boss mob, kill an army of invading mobs, etc etc. Nice way to pick up some quick exp while going to different places.
8. Duty Finder/Dungeon Finder. I have to say I'm not impressed with this so far, but it makes for really easy and quick exp. They don't even have to be dungeons, it could be a quick monster survival type of deal or just killing. Hoping the later Dungeons get harder or a 'heroic' mode for those of us who like challenges.
9. Exploration. Like WoW and most games, you find a new area, you get some exp. It's minor, but it does encourage to look and explore the entire map.

So there's a LOT of ways to get exp in this game, and you don't run out of things to do. There are a few annoying things like having to hand in items to the NPCs, and if it's more than 1, it's really annoying.

You also have an inventory for gear and inventory for your items and crafting crap, which is nice and gives you plenty of space. Of course, hoarders like me will most likely run out of room regardless. >.>

The 'flight path' is chocobos, and yes, you do ride on an airship too at some point, which are staples to FF games. However, I don't see a need for the chocobo paths if you own a mount. Currently, I could not ride my Goodbue mount due to an error/bug, so I can't really say.

Overall, the PvE is fun and you'll always have something to do.

PvP NA - I haven't played any PvP games and am not sure if PvP will be put in the game!

End game (50 only content) N/A - The beta only went up to level 20, so no clue on end game.

Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) N/A - I'm not giving a score since it's still a beta, but I'm greatly disappointed at Square/Enix. Mostly for their lack of communication. There's a serious bug going out on some characters, who are stuck in the game, and when a player tries to log that character, they cannot log in. And there's no word from Square/Enix about it at all. Even a 'We're working on the issue' would be better than nothing.

Also, who thought that having very few NA servers and an overabudance of Japanese servers was good? Believe it or not, Final Fantasy is popular in the US and Canada. The fact that EVERY SINGLE NA server was locked for new characters is not a good sign. So people who want to play with their friends? Nope, not happening! This wouldn't be an issue if beta stuff wasn't going over to live play, but it is. I think it's a mistake to do, but it's not my choice, so meh... I think this was a stupid move and if the servers couldn't handle the load, you should have queues. I think queues would be better than not being able to play at all!

Also, who thought that not having any sort of fucking queue system was a good idea? Because IT IS NOT! Hence why I'm not playing, my server is full and there's no queue system. And I'm not about to sit around and keep hitting refresh.

The UI seems kind of sloppy with a lot of buttons on one side. Granted, this game is designed around to accomadate the PS3 console, but still. I didn't fiddle with the UI too much, so hopefully you can change it to how you want it to be.

Hopefully, things get figured out within the week.

Final Score 7.6/10 - Above average, but if I had to factor in the last part, this score would be much lower!

Overall: 8.4/10 - A game you should try, especially if you're a Final Fantasy fan. A good re-impression that has some problems here and there. Hopefully, Square/Enix will fix them before launch. If you're a Final Fantasy fan and don't get plagued by the game-breaking bugs currently in this build, give it a try. I'd recommend trying it out for the first month and seeing if it's for you.
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Okay, time to do another Visual Novel. I will say, while I don't care much for the artwork on this one, the story blew me away. And for a freeware visual novel, I can actually let the so-so artwork fly by because the story is awesome.

Title: Frozen Essence
Company: Unbroken Hours
Rating: PG-13/13+
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Graphics: 6/10 - Like I said, the artwork is very hit and miss. Some of the CGs are really nice, and at other times, the bodies don't really look right. For the most part, it's okay (And the artist has gotten better obviously with the new VN), but it could be a bit more polished.

Plot: 10/10 - This is where the VN shines, and is probably more important than the story. Basically, the world is balanced by 'essence', or you can think of it as elements to some degree. Mina, a young girl, is awakened from a long slumber inside a crystal, with no memories of her past. A strange character by the name of Oracle, guides her away and promises to protect her along with 3 other mysterous bodyguards.

The story also changes based on who's path you go down. We have 4 eligible guys and 1 'mystery' character, along with an 'alone' path as well. Depending on what path you go down will change the story, learning about that particular character's past or even Mina's own past.

It's really well down and it shocks me that this kind of story is FREE, because it's better than most commerical games. And the story itself is pretty long on top of it.

Music/sound: 9/10 - The music fits to the scenes perfectly from light-hearted music to battle-esque like music. The only thing distracting is the constant 'slapping' noise that happens a lot in the game, but that can be turned off from the menu scene.

Gameplay: N/A - It's a pure visual novel here.

Overall: 8.3/10 - A must-read visual novel. Despite the so-so artwork, the story well makes up for it. And it's FREE, you cannot beat that, period.
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Yeah, another one from Key. :D

Title: Little Busters! (All Ages version)
Company: Visual Arts/Key
Translation done by: TLWiki
Genre: Romance/comedy/angst

Graphics: 10/10 - I thought Clannad had some nice visuals, but Little Busters! is even better. Seriously, the Main Character, Riki, is freaking ADORABLE, in the 'I want to glomp him!' type of way. The girls are all pretty as well and the guys are drawn very well too. I really wish there were more CGs with Riki in it, but what we got was nice.

Plot: 9.5/10 - Man, the plot starts out really simple, but then throws a curveball at you. The story starts out like this: Our main character, named Riki, lost his parents when he was very young. He became very depressed until one day, he meets Kyousuke, his sister Rin, Masto, and Kengo. They end up forming a very powerful bond and, together, they form the Little Busters!

The game takes place in their second year in High School. Kyousuke decides on his usual whim to form a baseball team. Why!? Well, why not?

The game basically revolves around you forming a baseball team and on the way, you form bonds with certain girls.

Seems like a very simple plot? Yeah right... SPOILERS! )

Also, the translation is top notch, now with the word wrap patch. Kudos for the translation team and good luck to them translating the three routes for the EX version.

Music/sound: 10/10 - I loved all the music in the game. I didn't play with the VAing on, so I won't comment about the VAing, but the music and sound standard is up to par.

Gameplay: 9.5/10 - It's unusual for me to give a VN a score here, but I did, because there's actual game play here. In your quest to making your baseball team, you have to, well, practice! This mini-game, shockingly enough, is really fun too, and the reactions from the characters if you hit the ball in their direction, or if you have the misfortune to hit too many of Rin's cats on the field, is funny as well.

There's also a 'pokemon' like mini game where characters will fight each other in a duel with some... odd choices of weapons, which are funny. Even more amusing is the titles they give to everyone else. :D

The mini games fit very well with the story, and are actually fun. And if you're not into mini-games in your VNs, you have the option to turn them off completely.

Overall: 9.75/10 - If I had to pick a perfect VN, Little Busters! would be it. As of now, I'm writing this for the all Ages version. There is a EX version that features 3 different paths and hentai scenes, which I have no idea would add or take away from the novel. The one I read had a couple of panty/booby shots, but nothing beyond that. This VN is really long, it took me twice as long as to get through it as Clannad. Seriously, why aren't you reading this NOW!? :D
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Cause I did nothing but talk about it on my regular journal, here's a review for it! One warning, once you read this Visual Novel, others just don't really measure up to this one.

Title: Clannad
Company: Visual Arts/Key
Translation done by: Drama club (?)
Rating: PG/10+
Genre: Romance/comedy

Graphics: 9/10 - This is actually a really old game that had multiple releases. I'm going by the full voiced version which was released around 2008.

The art style in this game is really pretty. The school looks like a typical school and it's funny to see the differences in the room, like Sunohara's room being clean or when he puts the TV in there. There's also some really pretty looking CGI's and the Illusionary World gives the feel of being really sad as well.

Plot: 9/10 - The plots range from being happy to sometimes downright angsty and some plots which seem really light-hearted suddenly take a dark twist and go down the route of angst. So if angst isn't your cup of tea, you may not like this.

The basic of the game is this: This is about a young man named Tomoya Okazaki . He lost his mother at a young age and his father drown himself in alcohol and gambling. One night before him going to HS, Tomoya and his father get into a physical fight, and Tomoya ends up hurting his right shoulder. This results in a gulf between Tomoya and his father, thus causing him to become resentful and a 'troubled student', aka delinquent. While on his way to school in his senior year, he comes across a young girl looking up the path to school...

Basically, the game is kinda like a 'dating sim' where you follow a path and in the end, most of the time, results in the main character, aka Tomoya, getting hooked up with one of the girls. Sometimes, though, this isn't the case.

On the other hand, there's a 'side story' being told of a young girl living in a apocolypic world by herself. One day, she makes something out of the junk she collects while a being of some kind watches this. The being inhabits the body made out of junk. Throughout the story, you see the hardships the girl has to go through through the eyes of the being.

Basically, depending on your choices, you can go down the young girl's, who is Nagisa, path or you can meet someone else within the school and go down their path. Like the two Fujibayashi sisters or the strange girl in the library named Kotomi. Or maybe the strange little girl carving weird stars made out of wood named Fuuko. Or maybe you'll help the mysterious underclassman named Tomoyo. Or maybe you'll want to help your best friend, Youhei, out instead. Or maybe that strange young man you bumped into on your way to school. All have their individual stories, though some intertwine.

The only nitpick I have here is the main character is referred to as Tomoya a lot, while there's another character named Tomoyo. Yeah, this could get really confusing at times, especially in her path. The only way around it really is to name the main character something else, but still...

After you meet certain conditions, another part called 'After Story' is unlocked, which follows the aftermath of Nagisa's storyline, so it's recommended if you read this VN to do her path last, mostly so it's fresh in your mind when you continue After Story. Not going to say what happens in this one, read it for yourself, it's heartbreaking.

Also, the underlining theme in this VN is family. Clannad actually translates into 'family' I believe, and that's what the entire VN revolves around.

While there is some kissing and cuddling here and there, there's no hentai and actually, if the game did have hentai, it would feel so incrediably out of place. This is one of those games where hentai would derail from the story a lot more than anything.

You'll see Tomoya in different lights too. In some paths, you want to smack him while in others you want to give him a hug, more so in After Story. It's interesting to see how different he acts in one path compared to another.

Music/sound: 10/10 - Nothing wrong with the music or sound. Music fits perfectly from the angsty moments to the Illusionary world moments to it's light-hearted and goofy moments. And the VAing is spot on, as always.

Gameplay: N/A - It's a visual novel, so there is no real gameplay. There are some easter eggs, as in there's a dating sim you can play, and I guess if you want to count Tomoyo's combo as a mini-game, you can too.

There is a goal to the game, which will unlock the 'After story' and the 'True Ending' to the game too.

Spoiler alert! )

Overall: 9.3/10 - A near perfect VN. If you like romance with some comedy and a dash of angst on the side, you will love this game. Even if you don't like that combo, I would still recommend it.
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And now since the game is out of beta, it's time for a full review! Also, my guild is composed of a lot of Star Wars fanboys and Bioware fanboys, so if they ever saw this review... I am much harsher beyond impressions because the game is officially launched and I really can't believe how unpolished it is.

Also, I played a Sith Inquistor that leans toward the Light side, so this is based on that.

Title: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Rating: T, rating changes in game

Graphics: 6/10 - Like I said before, the same problems exist, every race is a humanoid, the UI is still crappy (And if you tweak the settings, you can get a UI that looks similiar to WoW), not too many customazations, etc etc.

The big problem is the settings now. I can barely run this game with 20 fps on low, which is WORSE than in the beta, and after some research, I found the game doesn't really like AMD/ATI cards, so I had to tweak something outside the game. Besides, putting everything on low/medium/high didn't seem to do much, if anything at all. I could put textures on high and get the same fps than if I put them on low, even though it says in game lowering this option will improve preformance. If I lower settings in WoW and Rift, I get better performance. Try it in Star Wars, nothing happens. The only thing that matters is shadows and 'bloom'. Also, no AA for those who were waiting for it.

It's funny, because Rift's graphics are so much better than both SW and WoW, and yet, I can get better framerate in Rift on high resolution than on SW with the lowest possible settings.

No excuse for this.

The graphics themselves outside of cutscenes, which is what we will see 75% of the time, are kinda crappy. The environment is lifeless and dull, it lacks a real spark of life in some areas. It's also too dark in a lot of the places. Half the time when I want to take a picture of my character, I can barely see her cause it's too dark. I was more impressed with Rift's graphics than Star War's. Some areas lighten up, like Nar Shaddaa, but the world itself is lifeless and npcs just walk around and... nothing.

Also, no day and night cycles and no weather. Come on, it's 2012 now....

Plot: 6/10 - Not gonna lie, I was falling asleep when it came to quests and character quest. Character quest is just me running around fetching artifacts for my master who is obviously going to betray me sometime down the line. Oh, and I'm a desendant of a powerful sith. And what eventually happens... is exactly how I was warned about. And now, I apparently am one of those 'rare' souls that can communicate with ghosts well and I'm so 'talented', that I can absorb those ghost's power as my own. So in essence, my character is now a Mary Sue. /facepalm It does get interesting as time moves on, but the conclusion is pretty cliche and furthers me being a Mary Sue. Also that Sith Inquistor standing next to me? Same conclusion to his story.

Every other quest is basically the same you can find in any genric MMORPG nowadays. If you've done questing in one, you've done it in all. But this time, the quests just seem... boring, even with the VAing. Too many times I just found myself hitting spacebar when I was done reading the subs instead of watching it play out. Most of the characters save my own companions I could really care less about.

Most of the plotlines to the planets is that Republic is trying to get a foothold or already has a foothold, and you have to prevent it or increase the gain for the Empire on the foothold. Or there's a war going on and you have to stop it. That's the basic plotline of every planet I visited, and it's... really boring. You'll sometimes get a side plot and sometimes you'll get a reaccuring character appearing (Thana on Taris appears in many of the quests), but other than that, it's just stop the Republic from getting strength.

Not to mention, most of your decisions have no real impact on the world around you. There's a choice to keep Thana alive or kill her, and no matter what you choose, you NEVER see her again. So what's the point of keeping her alive now? Oh yeah, I want those light points...

Also, when you finally complete your story line, you're basically done with the plot. You can do like the 'final battle' on Ilum, but after that, it's basically 'The End' till Bioware adds in more content.

The only interesting things are your companions. I really love companions, even though their AI is questionable. Companions will give you quests if their affection is high enough. And so far out of the 5 minus the droid (*stabs it to death*), all of them are likable, even Khem, the poor bastard. :D Xalek sadly does not get enough development, but he's such a badass, it doesn't matter.

You can also romance certain companions, which is very similiar to DA. If they like you enough, it unlocks more quests. Of course, you have to progress into your character questline in order to get certain options.

Music/sound: 9/10 - Music is still awesome, but not played enough or repeats in areas when it shouldn't. Like it's kinda weird on the ears to hear the shooter rail music in a combat situation. We need some music in cities and the main hangout (Imperial Fleet). The tunes you do hear are really good and give an epic feeling to whatever you're fighting. You'll also hear some familiar themes if you watched the movies so many years ago. Also, the Voice Acting is very good for the most part, very rarely I cringed when I heard someone speak, and that one time, it was a pig-like creature making weird oinking noises at me. Also, fuck the droid.

Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.

Combat 5/10 - Combat is still clunky and clumsy here, but what pisses me off the most is healing delays. I will cast my heal, the bar hitting 2.5/2.5 and then... nothing, 1-2 seconds pass, and my character finally gets her heal off. This means I have to basically predict when damage will happen and cast spells early, which could cost me much needed force power that I would later need in the fight. It's really annoying, and it only happens in combat, outside of combat, there is no delay. Instant heals have no delays either from what I've seen.

From what I've read on forums, this is an animation problem. Star Wars favors realistic animation over smooth combat. Games like WoW sacrifice realistic animation in favor of a smoother combat system, which is why you sometimes find yourself running forward after mounting up but no mount on for a second or two. And really, I'd rather have a smooth combat than 'realistic animations' fucking up my rotations.

I've also had a few problems laying down my AoE spell a few times, from where the circle disappears to where it says I'm moving when I lay it when I clearly am not.

There's also WAY too many abilities to keep track of. This goes back to old style WoW, but the problem is setting up a good rotation to use them. Healing wise, it's disappointing, because over 50% of those abilities are useless, which surprises me as I thought I would've had more heals to work with. A knockback could be useful, but it also could be a double edge sword, as a guildmate and I were doing quests, and he would constantly use overload just as I laid my AoE down.

Also, companion AI isn't too well done. I'll CC a pat that came to me, and stupidly, my companion will shoot it and break it. Too bad my only CC is on a freaking 1 minute cooldown. That's going to be a big problem come later, when it's pretty common in flashpoints for people to break CC.

Crafting 7/10 - Same old here, cept there seems to be one profession that really ranks in money over others (Slicing). This will probably be changed in the future.

One big problem will be the fact that your companions make the stuff. At first, it's not too bad, but when you're waiting close to a hour for one of your characters to make you stuff when in normal games, you can do it instantly, it could piss you off. And not to mention, this is most likely going to be your credit and time sink. I guess the sacrifice to this was you don't have to do a damn thing when it comes to crafting if you don't want to farm nodes. But you still need to send companions out, because they can get things you cannot, like cloth and metals for blue/epic recipes.

Also, in order to learn blue and epic patterns, you have to craft the green or blue below it and pray that you get lucky when you reverse engineer it and get the pattern. I must've blown a lot of mats already on trying to discover epic patterns. You could conversely get recipes through 'gathering' professions as well. I've receieved a few recipes through Underground trading.

Other than that, there's no problems with crafting.

PvE (Questing, exploring, dungeons) 6/10 - Questing is boring. I'm sorry, but even with the story, I can't seem to get into the game like I did when WoW came out. Maybe it's because I've been playing MMOs with this formula for so long, but Star Wars has really failed to engage me. The quests are the same quests you've always done, get these items, loot these items from these mobs, kill x enemies. It also doesn't help that bad plot-twists could ruin quests, aka Sith Inquistor storyplot.

The biggest problem though is that you don't feel like you're playing a MMO at all. Save for flashpoints and heroics I did with my guildmates, I feel like I'm playing a single player RPG with coop rather than a MMO. Maybe it's because I leveled way too fast, but I rarely see anyone on the planet I'm on, and I'm on a full server. Sometimes I forget until I see someone in chat speak and I'm like 'Oh yeah...' You know a game isn't worth a sub fee if it takes general/guild chat to wake you up out of it.

People can argue about they don't see people in WoW, but the majority of people in WoW are at the level cap. Very few are at the level cap in SW when I was leveling, isn't it like impossible not to come across several players while on one planet???

There are phased quests and phased parts of the map too, so if you're doing certain quests, you don't have to worry about someone stealing your kills. Too bad I rarely, if ever, see people where I'm questing...

Flashpoints are basically the same, except for one problem. Remember how I said how epic Black Talon is? Well, the next flashpoints are really dull with little to no story. You do the flashpoint, there's one light/dark side choice, and that's it. The Black Talon sets it up like that's how the other instances are. I was sadly mistaken. Highly disappointed. I've done most of the flashpoints (Skipped foundry and Directive 7 though), and have yet to be impressed by any of the flashpoints like I was with Black Talon. False Emperor was somewhat interesting, but the time to complete it reminded me of doing BlackRock Depths back in vanilla wow. It took us 2 hours, no joke.

Hardmode flashpoints are composed of bosses doing the SAME things except they have very tight enrage timers. Like 1-2 minutes into the fight, the boss will enrage. Otherwise, bosses don't do anything different. It's boring and once you outgear the hardmode, the enrage timers don't become a problem. Tight enrage timers =! hard boss. I did Black Talon on Heroic and beyond the tight enrage timers, it's pathetically easy.

Companions also give their own quests much like Dragon Age and Dragon Age 2, and besides them, they are really the only characters I care about. That random NPC on Taris? Don't know, don't care. Your decisions don't really impact the world around you when they should. The NPCs are dull and lifeless, the entire world feels lifeless. Ocassionally, I'll see NPCs conversing via the VAing, but other than that rare occassion, the environment itself is dull. You think with all that VAing they dumped into this game, they could at least voice some NPC if you click on them at the very least. Or fucking give VAing for emotes...

Like I said, you can romance your companions, but there's one big problem I have with it. You only have ONE option out of your 5 to romance. Don't like the romance companion for your class? Too bad, you're stuck with them. I mean, really? That stinks....

PvP 5/10 - This game's pvp is horrid. Honestly, I thought Rift was the worst pvp I played, but I was wrong.

A big problem is that level 10's can fight with level 50's, there's no bracket, which I understand why they wanted to do this, but it also backfires hardcore. And while they got giving everyone a buff correct, the big problem is a level 10 won't have the abilities a level 50 has, and stuns, cooldowns, and certain abilities are going to be a huge advantage over someone of much lower level. Rift came close to doing it right, buffing low levels in x0-x9 warfronts, but giving a bracket so people with the talents won't have an unfair advantage over another.

I also mentioned all the other problems like stuns/knockbacks/interrupts and all. Since every class has one, it can be a nightmare for casters, especially healers. Nothing like being knocked around, stunned, and then dead before you can get a castable heal off. Also, no dimishing returns. Yeah.... Resolve bar, which is a bar next to your portrait, is supposed to make you immune for a few seconds from being stunned, but from my experience, it either doesn't work, or it'll work whenever it wants to.

Also, world pvp? I decided to check out Ilum and went to the area. All you're doing is going to a point on your map and blowing up Republic carriers, and if you're lucky, kill any republic you see. I didn't see a single republic and couldn't even do my daily because the republic didn't fight back. Not to mention, those big walkers roaming around? Are only decoration. I litterally stood on a spot where the opposing faction fires in and guess what? Took 0 damage. You think an area that has all these walkers around would actually be used for maybe battle? Nope.

After about a day, I came back again and guess what? Republic and Empire people were just trading off nodes so they could get their daily/weekly done. Yeah, epic pvp...

I also went back to Tatoonie to check out it's pvp area too and same issue, no republic. All I did in these areas was farm nodes. Yeah great world pvp, this'll be a problem on an unbalanced server for sure.

End game (50 only content) 4/10 - This gets a lower score because of one reason. HALF the heroic flashpoints are bugged in some shape or form or not even avaiable (As of right now, only 6 are functioning), some of them bugged to the point in making the run impossible to finish or complete. Really? Because when WoW came out with cata, all the heroics were working.

Didn't people on the forums say that Bioware had 15 flashpoints in the game, way more than WoW had? So why the bloody hell are only SIX of them on hardmode??? WoW cata launched with more heroics than that!

Not to mention, there's no LFD group, so getting a group, if you're not a tank or healer, takes forever to do. And that's the staple at 50, farm heroic dungeons. When you don't have a server LFD system, it becomes a problem.

Also, some of the flashpoints are very unforgiving, not because of new and amazing mechanics, but because bosses have 2 minute enrage timers. That means your dps has to be really good, otherwise you're dead. So if people were bitching about Dragon Soul in WoW being a massive gear check, hope you're ready for SW gear check.

If you think SW is going to be any different end game from WoW, think again. End game is the same wine and dine, farm dailies, farm heroics/hardmode dungeons for gear to set yourself up for raiding or farm pvp gear. The dailies are going to get old after doing them non-stop for like 2 weeks.

A big problem is that like Rift, pvp gear is about the same as pve gear. Which should NOT be the case, and this is where WoW does it right, it seperates pvp gear from pve, and you obviously won't be doing nearly as much dps or heals in your pvp gear than if you had pve gear. So lemme ask a perfect question: If pvp gear is no different from pve gear and there's a queue system for pvp, why in the holy mother of fuck would I farm normal dungeons for blue gear so I can do the hardmodes when I can get insta win epics eventually through pvp????

I also heard the normal raids are actually EASIER than the 5 man hardmode dungeons. What were they thinking!? I have yet to do any of these raids since my guild doesn't even know what it will do, so may update this section later.

Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) 5/10 - This game seems really unpolished. I've come across bugs that I experienced in beta and there were quite a few times where mobs would 'evade bug' on us, making them unkillable. There's been issues from graphic issues (From purple flashing rocks to a bunch of white dots running across the floor of a cave), gameplay issues (Healing delays), light/dark points not taking effect even though they were supposed to occur (Had this happen on Hoth for me), sound randomly going out and in (More frequent when traveling indoors), coming across invisable walls when I shouldn't (doing /stuck, however, helped me get out), and a whole bunch of random things that should've been caught and fixed in beta (Cutscenes being blacked out, characters jittering a bit in cutscenes, characters turning their heads at odd angles in cutscenes, etc). I even fell through the world once on Ilum and I fell to my death on my Taxi. And in Alderaan, my companion fell over dead a few times too when I took a taxi in a character quest area.

I also don't like the fact that I get stuck in a 100 queue and when I finally get in, unless I'm on Dromund Kaas or Imperial Fleet, I'm really lucky to encounter someone. I mean, the first time I saw a republic, I was in my 40's (50 is the highest level). And I rarely see anyone else questing around me too, if I see a single soul where I am, I gasp in surprise. Where is everyone?? I thought the servers could hold thousands of people, but it seems like a lot less. The most I've seen was 150 people on the Imperial fleet according to the chat channel. Today though, I noticed my server is 'standard' most of the time, so either they upped the amount of people per server or people quit.

Community is about the same as WoW and if you honestly think that the community here will be any different than WoW, I have a bridge in NY I'd like to sell you. I really like the logic my fellow guild mates told me that it's okay to be an asshole since we're Sith and if I didn't like someone ninjaing my chest (Had this happen, gotta love when you're killing an elite, someone decides to take the chest where you were trying to clear, and no, you can't open it in combat), I should roll Jedi. Yeah, perfect example of what the community MAY be. Not to mention, anyone who critizes this game will get basically called a troll, no matter how weak or strong their arguements are.

Also, load times in general are horrid, and becomes really noticable on Alderaan, and from what people told me, it's because the game has to load 'a lot of flora life'. I could litterally get up and go to the bathroom, come back, and find the game still loading. I think the worst load times I had outside this game was a minute in WoW and that's cause I had so much going on in the background and got d/ced in a populated area. I turned off a lot of stuff hoping the load times would stop, no go.

Final Score 5.3/10 - Lot of features lack polish and the game offers nothing if you're a veteran player of WoW or other mmos like it.

Overall: 6.6/10 - A game that's not as solid as it could be and lacking features that should have been implimented at launch. If you're a Star Wars fan and are a hardcore fan of Bioware games in general, you'll enjoy the game, despite the flaws. But if you're a mmo veteran or someone who is tired of WoW and is looking for something different, I would not recommend ToR. ToR will not make you quit the game you're currently playing unless you're just sick of the environment itself and not the current mmo formula.
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This is going to be a hard game to review, first because it's beta, and second, it's a MMO. Please note, this is just an impression review, as in, things may change on release or may be different than from what I've experienced.

I played in the beta weekend test from 11/25 to 11/27. The beta did go till the 28th, but I passed on really playing it, as I tested what I wanted to test.

Title: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Rating: T, rating changes in game

Graphics: 7/10 - I'm not a graphics whore, and graphics can be horrible depending on your video card too when it comes to MMOs. And while the cutscenes were really pretty, the overworld graphics lacked a certain charm as WoW had. Also, maybe it's because I had something turned down low, but the graphics seemed too dark, even when my character was in board daylight.

The UI is not too bad, but far from great, and hopefully will be more customable on release. There were some bugs with it as well, so I expect it to be more polished on release for sure.

The character customization is also lacking. While there are different races, they all look the same and are all humanoid. Cyborgs, besides one cosmetic different, looks exactly like human.

What's even more disappointing too is NPCs in the cutscenes use recycled models for body and facials. There's no excuse for having recycled models for this, especially considering how games made by Bioware have many custom features, like Dragon Age.

Plot: 8/10 - I'm only going to go on the character questlines here, the other quests will be covered in the gameplay. The character quests I've played so far, Bounty Hunter and Sith Inquisitor, have been really good and interesting. I only got to level 16 on my Inquisitor and 11 on my Bounty Hunter, but from what I've seen, I want to play further with both story lines.

Music/sound: 9/10 - Not going to lie here, the music and sound is awesome. When you swing your lightsaber, you feel like you're swinging an actual lightsaber. When you're shooting a blaster, you feel like you're shooting a blaster, and you feel like you're in the movie.

The music is epic. When you start a character, it even plays the familiar opening Star Wars theme.

The Voice acting in the game so far is fairly well done. There are some recycled lines your character says, but so far, it doesn't deter from the game.

Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.

Combat 6/10 - The combat is pretty dull and can be a little clumsy, more so the caster than the ranged I played. I have no idea how melee combat is. Targetting is horrible and brings me back to the old vanilla days in WoW. The only way to switch targets is to either tab or manually target, and that's a huge pain. No target-of-target exists, though this might change. The casting animations for healing is beyond dull. I thought it was bad in WoW, but it's worse in this game. Healing so far is the same spam heals, watch bars as every other MMO has, though you can dps during combat, depending how end game bosses are, this may not be possible in tight situations.

Star Wars adds something unique into the game called companions. These companions are sort of like your own personal NPCs or 'pets', as in they will fight with you in the open world and other things I'll cover later. Combat wise, they act like hunter pets. They actually have really good AI on their part, and they are very useful depending on what role you are, and I'd recommend you always have a companion out when you quest in the wide world. Also, any thing you can't use, you can give to your companion to use, which is great, because almost every item you find won't go unused.

Crafting 7/10 - Instead of your character doing crafting, you now have your companions do everything for you. You have the option of gathering the materials yourself in the world or sending your companion out to get them along with paying a small fee for them. As you go up in level for your crafting, your companion takes longer. If you have more than 1 companion, you can send the companion you're currently not using to get you mats too, which is really useful and you don't have to pause your gameplay.

However, it takes the overall feel away and while it seems good in theory, it's one less thing you have to do, and this might not work out too well end game. There's also the fact that you can only have 1 crafting ability and 2 gathering. You can't have 2 crafting abilities, which sucks if you decide to have an alt and want the alt to have 2 crafting abilities or if you want your alt to have all 3 gathering abilities.

You can also make something and 'reverse engineer' it to attempt to get another schematic. I don't know if you'll have to obtain schematics through other means later in the game, as I only got up to level 16.

PvE (Questing, exploring) 7/10 - If you played any other MMO like Rift or WoW, this is exactly the same thing only with a different paint. You gain experience by completing quests which range from 'fetch me this item!' to 'go explore this area!' to 'Kill X mobs'. There are 'bonus' quests you can complete with some quests and while you don't have to complete them, 90% of the time, you'll find yourself completing them anyways because it's on your way to your goal, so in a way, it's not exactly 'optional'. You also gain experience from killing mobs, pvping, and dungeons, which I will cover later on. But basically, you gain experience points the same ways you do in any other MMOs.

There are some innovative ideas such as Voice Acting every quest, but this backfires because you get tired of every single quest you get being VAed, and find yourself skipping the dialogue just so you can get your quest and go back to the game.

You get your own ship, which is a nice touch, and you can fly to whatever planet you want to go and play a mini game where you fly your ship in space combat wise. Sadly, this mini game is pretty much a space rail shooter, which may disappoint fans who wanted something more out of this than a Star Fox clone. So far, I found no real gain from doing this, but this feature would be a wonderful way to customize your ship both inside and out in the future.

Like other Bioware games, they added in an option to romance one of your companions, which adds another element into the game. I don't think I know of any MMO that has something like that, and it may be interesting. Sadly, I did not obtain a romancable companion on my Inquisitor, so I wasn't able to try this out, but you can send your companion to get gifts on certain crafting quests and give those gifts to your companions. You can also raise affection by taking your companions through quest dialogue and flashpoint dialogue.

The first flashpoint I tried out, Black Talon, is really fun and through dialogue choices, you can actually change the outcome of what happens in the dungeon and even change the mobs you fight as well. Depending on what and who is in your group will determine the drop rates, which is a huge improvement over a lot of game's dungeon systems, where as in you can go into one and all the drops are items that no one in the group can currently use.

PvP 5/10 - I had high hopes for Huttball. Sadly, after playing a game, my hopes shattered. I have a feeling that Huttball will be really fun if you go in a premade group. But doing it with a PuG is unbearable. The other two PvP warzones are pretty much clones of WoW BGs, only with different paint. PvP is going to be a problem in the future, because everyone has some sort of stuns/knockdowns. This could become really frustration with healing when you're constantly getting interrupted, stunned, or knocked down. It could make casters frustrated as well. It's still too soon to say, but I really did not enjoy the PvP as a healing spec, from what I've played.

End game (50 only content) N/A - I haven't played any end content in Star Wars, so I can't give feedback on it.

Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) N/A - I'm not going to score this as well since it's a beta, it's expected for bugs. I expected Latency issues as well as crashes, but in all honesty, I rarely had any serious lag issues and I think I crashed once or twice out of 3 days playing, which is really good. Because features were missing as well, I can't make a final call for this option. Community I can't comment on, but this game feels more like a single play game with co-op rather than a MMO.

Final Score 6.25/10 - Lot of features lack polish or haven't even tried yet. This will change on launch for sure.

Overall: 7.5/10 - Overall, it's an enjoyable game with some flaws. There's no way to tell if it's game to stick a subscritpion fee with until end game content is out. If you're burnt out on WoW and want something totally different, I would say pass on Star Wars. However, if you like the current formula and are tired of just WoW's environment, I would say pick up Star Wars. You'll get your money's worth out of the first month and getting to level 50, at the very least.
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The next one up also has an anime by it, but I have yet to watch it yet. I will warn though, unlike the previous game, this one is much bigger (It's about the size of BC-WoW) and has a... sloppier translation, due to it being a beta patch. I haven't found a non-buggy fully translated patch yet.

Also be warned, this VN is graphic, while it has no sexual content in it (Pervy moments, and a few bra/panty scenes), there's a lot of violence and very gory situations. I would also advise to try to play this game in spread hours instead of sitting down for one reading too, because it may be too much info to take in or the graphic nature may be too much to handle.

And this review is MAD long, think it's the longest one here yet!

Title: Chaos;Head
Company: Nitro+ and 5pb
Translation done by: Assembla (Not sure if that's how they refer themselves to)
Rating: R/17+
Genre: Horror/Sci-fi/psychological (Classified officially as a Delusional Science Novel)

Graphics: 9/10 - Compared to Tsukihime... there really is no comparing the two because Chaos is so different from Tsukihime.

First of all, there's not only anime-like art, but there's actually an anime opening. The room of the main character, Takumi, is completely 3D. There's tons of CGI's which had to be translated (For example, the chat room scenes and the webpages), the backgrounds are actually 3D and while it doesn't completely mesh with the anime, it doesn't distract like how it does with Tsukihime. The characters, when they speak, they actually move their lips.

Everything is so colorful and alive and creepy that it really gives to the story more than it should.

Plot: 7/10 - There's a good reason why I said to read this story in lumps instead of one sitting and there's two reasons for this. One, there's a lot of stuff to intake per chapter that it can get a little overwhelming at times that you may need to sit back and digest what you just read. And two, the game gets more and more bizarre as you go on.

The basic plot of the story is this: The main character, Takumi Nishijo, is your average Otaku. Aka, the type who is obsessed with anime and hentai (ero) games. He's also deeply involved in an online game called 'Ensue' (Think WoW here). He skips school (He only goes the bare minimum so he can graduate, even though he's making a living already by RMT or 'Real Money Trade' from his online game he plays obsessively) and lives alone in a shed on the roof of a building, secluded from everything and everyone. Basically, he's really not your typical main character, which can be a love/hate relationship depending on your viewpoint. You either find him very interesting because he breaks the norms or you find him so absolutely creepy that you want to stab him in the head.

While talking to a friend in a chatroom about the recent murder cases called 'New Gen', a mysterious guy name Shogun appears, which doesn't seem out of the normal since people lurk in chatrooms a lot. After Takumi's friend leaves, Shogun starts linking random pictures to Takumi. By accident, Takumi clicks on a picture only to see a 'guro' artwork piece and he pretty much brushes it off. However, Shogun leaves Takumi with the phrase, 'Whose eyes are those eyes?', a phrase really only having meaning to Takumi himself...

One night walking home, he walks into a scene of a brutal murder that resembles the picture that was linked to him. Later, he then realizes that the murder scene he stumbled upon was another episode in the 'Next Gen' case. But how could a picture of what happened existed before it happened? Who was that strange girl at the scene covered in blood? Who is 'Shogun'?

Basically the plot goes from there, and there's no way I could cover the entire game even in an entire post, let alone a review without spoiling it.

There's a few things I'm sort of 'meh' about this game.

Couple of spoilers/nitpicks )

Music/sound: 8/10 - Unlike Tsukihime, this game is fully voice acted and you can turn off the VAs. You also have music which fit the surroundings well enough. The only problem is again, Takumi, who stutters a lot and can get on your nerves after a while (Which really isn't the fault of the VA). And the music will pause at the end of it's play and then loop again.

The sound effects sound so real that when I heard the computer buzz fan, I almost mistook it for my own. :X

Gameplay: N/A - It's a text novel? But unlike Tsukihime which has straight choices, your choices are watching Takumi's delusions or not. Basically, at certain parts of the game, on the top screen, you'll see two dots, a green one to the left and a red one to your right. You can choose either dots or not choose either and continue on as is with the game. So you have 3 choices:

-Green - You see a delusion that is 'happy'. In other words, Takumi will daydream a perverted or rather silly scenario.

-Red - You see a delusion that is 'violent'. In other words, Takumi will daydream a gory or violent scenario.

-No choice - If you don't select a choice by a certain amount of lines, you won't see any sort of daydream and the game pretty much progresses on as normal.

Some spoilers )

Overall: 8/10 - Overall, it's worth one read through, and as of right now, until a final patch is released, you should only really go through it once. If you're not a fan of gory games, you WILL want to stay away from it. But if you like psychological horror stories or are a fan of Higurashi, you may want to give this one a read.
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Okay, we're going to take a step away from fanfiction for a moment to cover something else I've been getting myself into lately.

Why the question mark? Because really, the next few reviews aren't really 'games' to me. They're classified as 'Visual Novels', but they require the player to make choices, so hence why it's still a 'video game'.

And don't classify 'Visual Novels' to only hentai games, while they do have some hentai scenes in them, the focus is the plot itself, and it saddens me that these games aren't liscensed over the crappy hentai games that get published out there.

These games are going to be a bit hard to score, since the focus is the plot and not really 'gameplay'.

Genre is going to be more in-tune with fanfiction/book genre rather than 'shooter', 'Adventure-ala-Zelda', etc.

Graphics are judged on the artwork and pictures that are found throughout the story.

Also note, all these VNs I'm about to review have anime counterparts. I've seen 2 out of the 3 as I'm revieiwing this VN, and I will say, the anime pales in comparision to the VNs.

Title: Tsukihime
Company: TYPE-MOON
Translation done by: Mirror Moon
Rating: R/17+
Genre: Action/Horror/Romance

Graphics: 7/10 - Honestly, I'm kinda so-so on the artstyle for this game. The artwork for all the girls is good enough and is pleasing on the eyes for the most part. The only problem is the backgrounds are designed with more of a 'real life' feel and it doesn't really mesh too well with the anime artwork. It's really hard to explain this, but it looks oddish to the eye.

The few times you see the main character, Shiki, he looks very out of place, and I think that's mainly due to the fact that when you see his face, his eyes are completely covered by his bangs. If you look at him in the anime or the bonus 'sequel' of the game, his bangs aren't nearly as long (And actually, I like how he looks in the 'sequel').

Plot: 10/10 - This is where the most important part to a Visual Novel takes place, and let me tell you, I found myself wanting to read this over some of the books I have on my shelf. And the ironic part is that I prefer fantasy/medieval like stories over sci-fi and horror stories, and I'd pick reading this again.

The plot involves a boy named Shiki Tohno. Due to a strange near-death accident when he was a kid, his eyes can see the 'lines' on objects and people. He then discovers if he traces those lines, he can 'kill' them. The only way for him to not see these lines is a pair of glasses that were given to him when he was young. Because of his accident, his body has become frail and he is sent away from the Tohno house. Years later, near the end of his Junior year, Shiki discovers that his father is dead and his little sister, Akiha, who is now the head of the house, has ordered him to return to the mansion...

From this point on, depending on your choices, you can play the 'Far Side of the Moon' which revolves around a woman named Arcueid and the mysterious upperclassman, Ciel. Or you can play the 'Near Side of the Moon' scenario which revolves more around the Tohno family and the two maids, Hisui and Kohaku.

I won't spoil the paths, because I'd be typing this review forever if I did, but both paths are completely different from one another and while Arcueid and Ciel's paths do have some similiarities (A certain guy you fight no matter what happens for example), there are plot points that you could never discover unless you played the other. The Near side is completely different from the Far side and while there are some similiarities (You end up confronting a certain classmate in each path), there are some important points you wouldn't be able to find in the other scenarios.

Five times reading through this may seem like a daunting task. But the intensive plot keeps you glued to your seat and you'll just find yourself going through the game again.

I will add, save 2 endings, all the characters have a 'true' and 'good' ending. One character has a 'true' and 'normal' ending while one has a 'true' ending. And you can die a lot if you make the wrong choices, so be sure to save a lot.

The only real complaint I have is the hentai scenes, they aren't written too well. But they don't distract from the plot and you can get rid of them all together via a patch if you're really don't want to see them.

Music/sound: N/A - For some reason, I couldn't get the music to function properly, so I'm going to skip this section all together.

Gameplay: N/A - It's a text novel?

Overall: 8.5/10 - Definitely worth at least one read. I would say complete the game if you want to learn everything there is about all the characters themselves.
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Title: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Rating: T
Genre: Strategy/RPG
Graphics: 8/10 - Okay, honestly, the graphics are definitely not up to par, considering that almost every damn PS2 game uses 3D graphics now. To me, though, it's a relief, as I enjoy 2D graphics every now and then. Anyone who likes anime and manga drawn characters will like them here. The game works like Xenogears, 2D characters on 3D backgrounds.

And they're beautifully done. The game is colorful, despite the setting it takes place in. The characters themselves are very detailed and colorful. There are times where the game can get pixelated, though.

Plot: 9/10 - The plot in this game is amusing and interesting all at once. The King of the Underworld has passed on and the Underworld currently has no leader.

You take control of the Prince of the Netherworld, Laharl. Your job? Become ruler of the Netherworld!

It doesn't seem too much like a plot, but the game comes to life through some humorous and serious situations. Example, in one of the chapters, Laharl is being blackmailed to give up his rights to the throne and it's your job to get the pictures back.

There's also 'Next episode' scenes at the end of each chapter, where one of the other main characters, Etna, describes the 'Next episode' in an anime-like style. While some of these hint on what's to come, most of them have nothing to do with the actual storyline, it's just made to make the player laugh.

The story can also be serious at times. Flonne, an angel companion, wonders if demons are capable of love and she observes Laharl and Etna throughout the game.

Music/sound: 9/10 - I REALLY wish I could get the soundtrack of this game, because the music is excellent. The voice acting is fairly good, and you can choose to listen to the japanese or the english during storyplay. Sadly, the english voices remain when you do battle.

There is one huge error, as some of the humanoids still have their japanese voice actors. Laziness on the part of Atlus, I say...

Gameplay: 9/10 - You'll be playing this game for hours on end. This is a strategy game, after all, so the game isn't going to be a walkthrough in the park.

Basically, you can have 10 characters out on the battle field. You can choose what type of characters you want, from Prinnies (Little monsters who say 'd00d' a lot, I kid you not either, how it's spelt in the game), to Humanoids with their own classes to every monster in the game.

You can either get monsters/humans in battle to join you by throwing them in the portal or you can make your own via the 'Summon Assembly' option. Each class comes with it's own unique abilities and you can customize some of them even further by using the mentor/pupil system and equiping your characters with different weapons.

To make a character, it costs a character mana. And to get mana, you need to defeat monsters.

Creating characters isn't the only thing you can use your mana for and it's certainly not the only thing you can do with 'Summon Assembly' command. When used, the Assembly of the Netherworld is called, and you can pass bills, which differ from making the item shop sell new equipment, to beefing monsters up to opening special areas in the game!

But it's a bit harder than it sounds, as not everyone summoned will be in favor for you. You'll have to bribe them with some items!

Battling is fairly simple and runs like any other strategy game, like chess pieces, you move your characters on a board and you give them commands.

Overall: 8.75/10 - This is definitely a game worth having. The big problem? Only 40,000 copies of this game were released in America, so it's going to be a bitch to find. But lucky for all you European fans, the game was JUST released as I'm typing this. So what the hell are you waiting for!? GET this game!
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You know, I was really excited when they announced that another FFT game was going to be made.

Then I was disappointed. ~_~

Title: Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced
Rating: E
Genre: RPG/Strategy
Graphics: 9/10 - Okay, I'll admit, the graphics on the GBA for this game are really good and an improvement from other games. The mog artwork is left to be desired, however. >.>
Plot: 4/10 - Um, the plot? Kids get sucked into a book. That = badfic idea. Come ON! FFT had one of the most deepest plots for it's time and you give us this little kid show story for a plot!? That's it for the plot, really. The game's focus is on dinky little missions, which aren't exactly appealing to me.
Music/sound: 6/10 - The music is... really bland for this game compared to other games. It's happy-go-lucky and really sounds like elevator music. ~_~;;;; It's not BAD, but it's no award winning masterpiece.
Gameplay: 3/10 - The gameplay is bad. They brought back the ability system from FF9, which sucked to begin with. The 'AP learning' and you equip weapons/armor to learn your skills depending on the class. Didn't they learn it wasn't good the FIRST time!? I think a lot of people HATED the system in FF9. It was annoying as HELL to equip weaker weapons to learn abilities. ~_~

Characters no longer gain JP points in the same way in FFT. Instead, when you kill an enemy or use the 'recommended' for a law in the area (will get into laws in a minute), you are awarded 1 JP point. JP points allow you to do special combo moves depending on the class and skill you have. You can do a combo or you can summon creatures of your totem and many other different things I have yet to discover.

And this game comes with a 'judgement' system. What's that? Basically, there are certain 'laws' that need to be followed in battle. For example, a law will prevent you from using the 'fight' option. This makes battles tedious, not strategical, as battles take a lot longer than necessary.

If you break a law in battle, you are pentalized. Depending on the law broken, your character can get fined, you'll lose rewards after battle, or you get thrown in jail. *yawns*

The only good thing about this game is the class system. That's about it in a nutshell though.
Overall: 5.5/10 - This is a game you want to try before buy. To me, it's a waste, it's too easy for someone who has experience with RPGs and tactical games. It gets tedious at times, especially when you want levels and AP points to get skills and spells.

I would say unless you're a real devoted FF fan, should you buy this game. Otherwise, pass and get something like Golden Sun or Lunar.
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Not a Yami fanfic review! *gasps*

Title: .hack/Outbreak
Rating: T-PG-13
Genre: RPG (A MMORPG sim, basically)
Graphics: 8/10 - Um, basically the same as .hack/Mutation. 3D graphics that are actually not bad with anime-like characters. Very appealing!
Plot: 6/10 - Yet again, the game LEAVES you wanting more! I think the mistake is putting out 4 parts and waiting 2 months in between. By the time you play the next part, you forget what happened in the one before. :/ Basically, it continues where Mutation left off, that's all I'm going to say.
Music/sound: 8/10 - Same as Mutation. :X They brought back the japanese voices from .hack/sign to do voices for the characters in the .hack series on the PS2. And um... sadly, the summary at the beginning STILL has no subs. *Stabs Bandai* WE WANT DA SUBTITLES, FOOLS! ;_; For those of us who want to hear the game in japanese/subbed and not dubbed. And surprisingly, there's quite a few famous japanese voice actors playing the roles.
Gameplay: 8/10 - Same as Mutation. There's no changes. The camera angle can be a bit tricky, especially with monsters that dart on the map, but that's about it.
Overall: 7.5/10 - Basically the same as Mutation and Infection with a few minor improvements and the next part of the story. It could be a bit better, but overall, it's great. Bandai should REALLY consider making 'The World' into a real online RPG, just without the comas and stuff. Oh, and anime comes with it.

And um, it's HIGHLY recommended you play Infection and Mutation before Outbreak. ~_^
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Series: .hack/sign
Genre: Fantasy/adventure/drama/romance... Er, I would motion more to general. :X
Rating: PG-13, probably
Warnings: Light Shojo-ai (girl/girl) themes, angst too. :X
Animation (Art for manga): 8/10 - The animation is really good. It does get a little choppy at times, but it's pretty good. The only thing I have a complaint about is the many times songs are repeated during the anime. ~_~;; But the songs are good. ^_^ I might also add, for all those Yami fans out there, Shinichiro Miki plays Krim in .hack/sign. :D
Story: 6/10 - Sadly, this story starts out REALLY slow. It doesn't pick up till later in the series, which will get you hooked. Basically, the story is about a MMORPG (Meta-morph online Role playing Game) called 'The World'. It revolves around Tsukasa, the main character, who, for some reason, can't log out of the game.
Pros/Cons: Overall, the anime is good (The concept of an anime based on an online game, I think, is original. :D), but it starts out too slow. This could be cut in half, if you ask me. The songs are repeated too often throughout the anime, though, which can get on some people's nerves. While the songs are good, being repeated too often can make you hate them. The ending is REALLY confusing to the anime too.
Summary: Like I said, the anime revolves around the main character named Tsukasa, who can't log out for some reason. Other players of the game decide to investigate the matter and mysteries plaguing the online game, and you find out why Tsukasa can't log out and among other things, like background info on 'The World', and it gets you prepared for the sequels (the video games and OAV, specifically). This is more like background info for the games and OAV (.hack/mutation, etc.).

Overall - 7/10 - Overall, the anime is really good, but it has some flaws. It's worth at LEAST one watch, but you might not watch it again, as the plot moves too slowly for some people's tastes. For fans of the video game, you MUST watch this, as it provides some great background info on the games.
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Title: .hack/Mutation
Rating: T - PG-13
Genre: RPG
Graphics: 8/10 - It's not up to PS2 standards, like FF10, but it does leave you in awe, and the artwork is just beautiful. :D There's no glitches in the game graphics that I've seen.
Plot: 6/10 - Why so low? Because this is really just a PART of 4 stories. It leaves off you wanting more, and I HATE when games do that. This is the bad thing about releasing a game in parts. I'm not going to spoil it, but it basically continues where infection left off.
Music/sound: 8/10 - Shinichiro Miki gets a small part in .hack. *Swoons* *_* He plays Krim in .hack/sign and they brought him back here to play a minor part in the game. :D Anyways, the voice acting is top notch. The dub could be a bit better. What I didn't like is that for the .hack/sign flashbacks (Yes, be CAREFUL for .hack/sign spoilers in the game), there's no subtitles? Wdf? If you're playing the game with the jap voices, you NEED the subtitles if you wanna know what the flock is going on. Did they forget them or something!? Music is fairly good, some tunes are memorable, some aren't though. So it's pretty so-so. :X
Gameplay: 8/10 - This is where the game shines. I love the gameplay in the .hack series. It's typical RPG play but with a mix of action/adventure. If you played infection, the gameplay doesn't change from there and it's easy to get adjusted to.
Overall: 7.5/10 - Overall, it's a great game, but it's much too short. You'll beat it in about 10 hours. I clocked in 27 from playing both infection and mutation, and I clocked 12 hours in infection. It took me over 10 hours from doing side quests and exploring dugeons.

I would recommend it, but I would say play infection first, as so you'll know what the hell is going on, otherwise, you'll be confused.


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July 2017

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