There are many games that are built with the specific purpose of teaching you something. Many of those games are designed for younger players and are referred to as edutainment. Then there are games that teach you something without specifically trying to. I think games like Assassin’s Creed fall into that category. Never Alone, from developer Upper One Games falls into the previous category, but it’s designed with an older player in mind.
The developer set out to design a game specifically to tell people about their heritage. They are members of the Inupiat people of Alaska. The game tells the story of a young girl named Nuna who sets out to save her village from a never ending blizzard. Along the way she receives aid from a small arctic fox who turns out to be a little more than a fox. The two journey through the frozen tundra in search of the source of the blizzard.
Now I love me some strategy games, Disgaea, Tactics Ogre, Advance Wars, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and many others, so when Tony came to me with a review code for Etrian Mystery Dungeon, I was excited to experience a fresh take on this style of game. Having never played an Etrian Odyssey or Mystery Dungeon game, I walked into this with very little idea of what to expect.
What You Need To Know
EMD is a collaboration title using the gameplay style of Spike Chunsoft’s Mystery Dungeon games with a coat of Etrian Odyssey paint to brighten things up. The game starts off by having you create a character and a guild for exploring the mysteriously changing dungeons around the town of Aslarga. The town serves as a strictly menu based point of operation for your guild where you can visit the inn, buy weapons, items and food, recruit new guild members, and speak to NPCs with the ultimate goal of preparing to leave town and explore the dungeons.
The second episode of Tales from the Borderlands 2 is out. After nearly four months (though I just played the first episode a couple of weeks ago) the story continues. The previous episode introduced us to the two main playable characters, Rhys and Fiona, as well as their companions Vaughn and Sasha. The group has smuggled and lost a large sum of cash and stumbled upon an underground facility that left clues to the existence of more secret bases and possibly a vault. We also saw the reappearance of one character people assumed to be dead.
Episode 2 continues the story and doesn’t do much else. There is a little bit more in the way of game play. You have a few more action segments that require you to line up icons on the screen and pull a virtual trigger. Those actions can be anything from shooting a gun to kicking someone or even grabbing a character that’s falling out of a moving vehicle. Like before none of them require quick timing or precision. Just get close enough and it’ll register.
I find myself being drawn to a free-to-play, match 3 style game I didn’t even want in the first place. I’m not a fan of match 3 games. I never really have been. I was never able to grasp the idea of trying to keep track of falling pieces a few moves ahead and the randomness of what would drop after them. There were too many on the market. It just seemed like an easy way to cash in on a popular name and scoot out a game that didn’t take too much effort to actually make. Is that fair? Probably not, but that’s what I thought.
Nintendo recently added a piece of software to my 3DS that I didn’t ask for. I have the SpotPass functionality turned on so that Nintendo could do things like this so I’m not going to complain about that. I opted in. They did what they said they were going to do. I now have a copy of Pokemon Shuffle sitting there on my 3DS home screen menu. It was free. I thought, “Why not give it a try? What do you have to lose?”
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is about Shin Kamikaze, a normal high school student, and who is attacked by demons on the way home from school one day. Some how in the confusion of the attack Shin gets stabbed through the heart and the last thing he sees is an angel that has come to save him. Shin later awakens in Celestia, home of the angels, to learn that he died in the attack but has been brought back with the power of the Fate Awakening Crystal. The Fate Awakening Crystal allows Shin to use the powers or both angels and demons in order to fight against angelic and demonic creatures.
The angels will often refer to Shin as Lord or God as he is an artificially created deity. Shin is also given an angel assistant named Jupiel who often refers to herself as Shin’s exclusive angel. Jupiel often helps Shin with various tasks like training for battles and preparing meals. One other important character is Ariael, the demon scientist. Ariael’s main purpose is to monitor Shin’s growth with the Fate Awakening Crystal and to help keep him stable. Ariael is an interesting character as she is a demon that is allowed to walk around Celestia and has all the instant noodles she wants, even though she is a prisoner.
What You Need To Know
The story is told in the style of a visual novel with a bit of roguelike dungeon crawling mixed in. Throughout the game you will have to make choices that will decide the fate or Shin, his friends, or even the world. All the choices come with a blue and a red option to indicate whether the choice is good or evil. I quickly learned that the choices allow the story to develop differently but are less good and evil than intended. An early choice you will face is whether you will save injured angels on the battlefield or focus on destroying demons so you can end the battle before more tragedy occurs. Outside of the story and choices are the randomly generated dungeons where you will encounter angelic and demonic types of enemies. Each enemy has a certain weakness to the opposite of their alignment meaning to beat a demonic creature you need to use Shin’s angel form and to defeat a angelic enemy you use Shin’s demon form. Not only can you deal more damage using the right form but you will also take less damage.
There are a couple of franchises that I don’t have a lot of experience with (okay there are a LOT of franchises I don’t have experience with. Work with me here.). I played about two hours of the first Borderlands game on Xbox 360. I’ve played one season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead series. So naturally it would make perfect sense to download and play through a game that combines both of those into one game, right? That’s exactly what I did with the release of Tales From the Borderlands. Just in time for episode two of the series to come out I downloaded and played through the first episode of the game, and you know what? I kind of liked it.
The game opens up with one of the main characters, whose name is Rhys, being dragged through the desert by a mysterious masked figure, who’s obviously captured him for some reason. By the end of the episode we still don’t know what that reason is or who the masked figure is. He has Rhys explaining the details of a situation that will most likely lead up to why he has captured Rhys, so the events of the episode are told in a sort of flashback.
There was a game a few years back that released on Xbox Live Arcade that I absolutely loved. It was a 2D, Metroid style shooter called Shadow Complex. You navigated around a map moving on a two-dimensional plane inside a governmental base taking out enemy soldiers, mechs and aircraft. It played incredibly well, with solid shooting mechanics in both two and three dimensions. It looked great and the map had more secrets than any politician on the planet. It’s been almost six years and still we haven’t gotten a sequel to that game.
Well, fast forward to now and a company called Dynamighty is giving me the next best thing; a two dimensional stealth shooter where you play as a spy and carry out missions against two world superpowers in an effort to stop them from blowing each other up. The story involves mutual assured destruction, secret plans for sending atomic weapons to the moon and spies. That’s all you really need to have a great story, right? Let me just tell you. It is. The story isn’t the real reason you come to this game, though. It’s the stealthy goodness and the shooting. Maybe I should tell you what game I’m talking about. It’s called Counterspy and it’s great. (Full disclosure: I got this game for free thanks to PlayStation Plus.)