Tag Archives: review

Wii U Essentials: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

In contrast to The Wind Waker, which shook things up considerably in terms of both aesthetic and game structure, you’d be forgiven for thinking Twilight Princess was “just another Zelda game”.

It marks a return to the semi-realistic visuals of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, and is set firmly on dry land in the familiar land of Hyrule — albeit another, differently laid-out Hyrule to its predecessors on the grounds that it’s yet another era in the extremely convoluted Zelda timelines.

But get into the game a bit and you’ll discover something a little different to what we typically expect from a Zelda game: childish optimism replaced with melancholy; the usual feeling of light inevitably triumphing over darkness replaced by questions over whether everything really will turn out all right this time; and an air of slight cynicism that largely emanates from Link’s perpetual companion Midna, one of the most memorable characters the series has ever seen.

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Grisaia: Sachi and the Maid’s Burden

When we first meet Komine Sachi in The Fruit of Grisaia, she’s introduced almost as a caricature: she plays the role of “the perfect maid” to everyone else at Mihama Academy, right down to wearing a maid outfit when she’s not in school uniform.

But it doesn’t take a great deal of perceptiveness to notice her behaviour isn’t what you’d particularly call “normal”.

Specifically, it’s apparent pretty much from the outset that Sachi’s unusually compliant nature and tendency to take things literally is something out of the ordinary. Protagonist Yuuji isn’t quite sure what the exact problem is to begin with, but it gradually becomes clear to him as he starts to spend more time with her.

“She resembles me,” he says at one point. “Organising her life around diligently following orders, she never allows herself to doubt them, let alone defy those who make use of her. And almost as an extension of that, her ‘private’ activities are little more than the bare minimum routines of daily existence. Looking at Sachi, I’ve been seeing myself… and the discomfort I felt was a reflection of my uncertainty about my own way of life.”

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From The Archives: Darkness and Scissors – The Horror of Corpse Party

If you have a PSP (or Vita) then you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the magnificent Corpse Party from Team GrisGris, localised by XSEED. (Editor’s note: Since this article was written in 2012, you can now also get a version of the game for 3DS and PC, though note that these are slightly different to the version under discussion here.)

While initially resembling a top-down SNES-era role-playing game more than a traditional visual novel, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a game where story — and, more importantly, atmosphere – is king.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

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Wii U Essentials: Super Mario 3D World

Nintendo’s Super Mario franchise isn’t really one series any more. It’s split off in a number of different directions, each catering to a slightly different group of fans.

The different subseries have enough in common that someone who just enjoys “Mario games” can get something out of all of them, but each type of modern Super Mario game is clearly designed with a particular type of player in mind. And it really benefits their overall game design.

One of the more recent additions to the formula is the Super Mario 3D series, kicked off with Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS and continued with Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U.

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Grisaia: Yumiko – The Girl Who Learned to Be Loved

When we’re first introduced to Sakaki Yumiko in the common route of The Fruit of Grisaia, it’s clear that she is both troubled and likely to be trouble for protagonist Yuuji.

When Yuuji first attempts to introduce himself to her, she initially tries her best to ignore him, and subsequently goes to slap him when he persists. This eventually escalates into her lashing out at him with a box cutter whenever she sees him, a fact which Yuuji’s fellow students just shrug off as being “something she does”, because they’ve all been through it too.

Yuuji, being a certified badass, shrugs off Yumiko’s attacks without injury easily, and eventually they stop altogether, though she still proves herself to be a prickly individual who is generally unwilling to interact with others.

Except, of course, it’s not that simple.

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From the Archives: Thou Art the Innocent Blade, Demonbane!

“From the hate-scorched sky, with righteous anger in our hearts, we draw forth the sword that smites Evil! Thou art the innocent blade! DEMONBANE!”

This is one of the most iconic, regularly-occurring quotes from Nitroplus’ visual novel Deus Machina Demonbane, and it doesn’t get any less thrilling each time you hear it — even as the game stretches on and on well past the 20-hour mark.

By the end of the game, you’ll be triumphantly bellowing it along with protagonists Kurou and Al as they prepare, once again, to smite Evil with the titular metal monster.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

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Wii U Essentials: Pikmin 3

Pikmin is one of Nintendo’s series that often gets forgotten about, but it’s a real gem — and its Wii U installment is no exception.

Often (arguably) erroneously decribed as a “real time strategy” game, the games are actually more akin to puzzle adventures, in which you explore a world and figure out the best ways to proceed and defeat the enemies in front of you. In the grand tradition of games that feature sprawling, huge maps, too, there are plenty of shortcuts to unlock and lots of revisiting earlier areas with new abilities to find hidden secrets.

And the whole thing is tied together with a delightfully cute aesthetic that fits the tone of the experience perfectly.

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