Tag Archives: exploration

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Alchemist on the Road

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Having taken a high-level look at Atelier Sophie’s place in the series and its overall game structure, it’s time to look more specifically at the way it does certain things.

In this part of the Atelier MegaFeature, we’re going to take a look at what Sophie gets up to when she leaves the safety of her hometown Kirchen Bell and heads out into the big, wide world. As we’ve seen elsewhere in the Atelier series, exploring and gathering ingredients is an important part of an alchemist’s lifestyle — and Sophie’s life as depicted in Atelier Sophie is certainly no exception in that regard.

So empty that Basket and throw on those gathering gloves — it’s time to hit the road!

Continue reading Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book – Alchemist on the Road

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Wonder and Danger in the Twilight

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So far, we’ve seen how Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk starts a new age for the Atelier series, both with its overall sense of design, and with the specifics of its alchemy mechanics.

Today we’re going to look at what protagonist Ayesha gets up to when she’s not working away in one of her several workshops: the ways in which she is able to explore the world around her, discover many new and wonderful — and sometimes horrifying — things, and how she protects herself from danger when things get tough.

Yep, it’s time to look at combat and exploration in Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, another area where the game feels both comfortably familiar and fresh.

Continue reading Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk – Wonder and Danger in the Twilight

Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland – The Fight For What’s Important

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In keeping with how Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland’s alchemy mechanics aren’t just a straight rehash of the other Arland games, the battle and exploration mechanics also feature a pleasing blend of old and new.

By taking the basic structure of battles from the earlier Arland games and then supplementing this with a variety of brand-new tactical considerations, Atelier Lulua provides us with an enjoyable combat system that keeps things consistently interesting for the game’s duration. And some really nice “quality of life” features mean that the whole game feels nicely streamlined and efficient to play without sacrificing any sort of mechanical depth.

That’s how you do a good follow-up — from the perspective of game design, anyway. Let’s take a closer look at these specific elements of Atelier Lulua: The Scion of Arland.

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Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Meruru, Warrior Princess

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As we’ve seen numerous times in the previous installments of the Atelier series, being a successful alchemist isn’t just about holing yourself up in your workshop for months at a time; sometimes you have to take to the field and get some practical experience.

In Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arlandthose excursions outside of the protagonist’s home base occupy something of a middle ground between the relatively short excursions of Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland, and the grand adventure which unfolded over the course of Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of ArlandMeruru never strays that far from home — but she does have important things to accomplish wherever she goes.

Let’s take a look at what life in the field is like for our tomboyish princess — and how she makes use of her alchemical talents to defend herself when things get rough.

Continue reading Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland – Meruru, Warrior Princess

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana – Life at 45 Degrees

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Last time, we talked a bit about how Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana is a lot more of a “traditional RPG” than many of its stablemates in the rest of the series as a whole.

We looked in particular at how the game’s combat and progression mechanics are based on the conventions of turn-based, menu-driven console RPGs, but how it adds a few twists onto that formula — with an appropriate emphasis on item usage and alchemy.

Today we’re going to explore the overall game structure and presentation a bit further, with a particular eye on how protagonist Klein and his companions can explore their world over the course of their adventure as a whole. Let’s jump in!

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Super Metroid: Grown-Up Nintendo

To my shame, despite having ready access to it — I bought it on the Wii’s Virtual Console storefront, I own a SNES Classic, and now it’s available on the Nintendo Switch’s online service — I had never played, let alone beaten, Super Metroid until this week.

I have now corrected this glaring oversight, mind you, which puts me in an excellent position to contemplate how this genre-defining game from 1994 remains just as relevant and playable an experience today as it once was.

Super Metroid is an absolute masterpiece. You probably don’t need me to tell you that. But I’m going to anyway. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s such a masterpiece.

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The Zelda Diaries: Part 5 – Indoor Play

We’ve already seen numerous ways in which The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild distinguishes itself from its illustrious predecessors, but one of the more controversial changes for some was how it handled “dungeons”.

Rather than unfolding through a progression of discrete, large, self-contained dungeons that become more challenging as the game progresses, Breath of the Wild instead provides you with 120 shrines to discover and solve, with each taking just a few minutes at most to get through.

It’s a markedly different approach to classic Zelda — but it fits perfectly with the game’s non-linear, exploration-centric structure. Let’s take a closer look.

Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 5 – Indoor Play

The Zelda Diaries: Part 3 – I Wonder What’s Over There

“I wonder what’s over there” has been an aspect of game design that creators of open world games have been grappling with for some time now.

Ideally, when playing an open world game, the player should be able to find a definitive answer to “I wonder what’s over there” simply by… well, going there. “You see those mountains in the distance? You can actually go there” and all that.

Not every open world game gets this quite right, but Breath of the Wild presents an excellent example of how to do it very well indeed.

Continue reading The Zelda Diaries: Part 3 – I Wonder What’s Over There

The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Game of the Year 2018

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more here, but you’re out of time to leave suggestions, I’m afraid!

Well, here we are once again on the last day of the old year, awaiting the arrival of the new. And, of course, that means one thing for anyone interested in games: the completely arbitrary declaration of “Game of the Year”.

Everyone has different criteria for selecting their own personal Game of the Year. For some, it’s simply the game they enjoyed the most or which took over their life to the greatest degree. For others, it’s to do with technical or artistic achievement. For others still, it’s all about sales figures.

For me, it’s quite simply the game I played this year that I feel was… “best”, across all its various aspects. A game that is a real showcase of just what is out there today, and which I feel is a shining example of what being interested in video games really “means”.

And the winner is…

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Evenicle: Fightin’ Waifus

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We took a look at an overview of how Evenicle works as a game back when I shared my first impressions of the game, but it’s time to delve a bit deeper.

Much like AliceSoft’s other games, Evenicle is an RPG in which its narrative and mechanical elements are intertwined rather nicely, giving the whole experience a pleasant feeling of coherence. The party members you gather over the course of the game feel like people rather than collections of stats and abilities — but there’s some interesting mechanical depth there for those who care to explore such things.

Let’s dive in, then.

MILD NSFW WARNING

Continue reading Evenicle: Fightin’ Waifus