THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM
I knew Skyrim was going to be an improvement over Oblivion, but I didn’t realize it was going to be such an impressive jump. Visually speaking the game is breath taking, the environments are beautiful to the point that I just enjoy looking around and forget what quest I’m on. I’ve only done 5 main storyline quests and I can already tell it’s a huge improvement over Oblivions, there’s no comparison. I also think the Thieves Guild missions are an improvement, but I think the Dark Brotherhood took a step back, I’m going to hold on my final judgement of that quest line until I’m done with it. The fighting mechanics are improved, but not extensively, sometimes I’ll be attacking an enemy and doing damage, but it doesn’t really feel like I’m hitting anything at all, but I’m usually so immersed into the game that it’s not a major gripe for me. I also like the new changes made to your characters stats, its simplified, but the perks add some depth to the system. I particularly like the Smithing skill, it’s quite useful, extends your usage of armor or aweapon you like by being able to upgrade its stats by finding the right materials. Fighting dragons is hit or miss, just because some dragons are too easy to kill, but I have noticed a gradual increase in difficulty, then again, I have a harder time killing a snow bear. I love the music it just adds to the epic feel of the entire game and I also love some of the choices you have to end up making in the game because they’re not black and white options, this is especially true for the Civil War quests between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks. All in all I can see myself playing this game for a long, long time.
Two games in the same franchise, released on the same consoles (Oblivion 2006, Skyrim 2011), what a massive leap for Skyrim and what a difference five years can make.
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD
Where to start with this game? Visually speaking the game is really nice to look at, the art style is superb and pretty timeless, in the same sense that if you look at Wind Waker today it doesn’t look visually out-dated. The controls are spot on, it’s quite amazing what an improvement the Wii-Motion Plus is over the regular Wii motion sensor, I haven’t had any issues where I needed to recalibrate my Wiimote. The sword fighting is a lot of fun with these controls, wildly swinging your Wiimote wont work with the majority of enemies you fight and I find that killing normal enemies has a more strategic approach compared to past Zelda titles. The music in the game is beautiful to listen to, it’s hard to believe that this is the first Zelda game to include a fully orchestrated soundtrack because it works so brilliantly in-game. Everything in Skyward Sword works well, it’s as perfect as a game can get (so far), my only real complaint is that the side-quests seem slightly bland compared to the main quest and that they mainly seem to be “fetch” quests, they’re still enjoyable, but I can’t help but feel they could have been better. I’m really enjoying my time with this game and I get this feeling of dread knowing that this game will eventually come to an end.
This video was posted after Gamespots inaccurate review came out, exposing the reviewers lack of understanding of the controls.
CAVE STORY 3D
I previously wrote about Cave Story and Daisuke Amaya’s success with the game and ever since I heard that a 3DS version was in the works I’ve been patiently waiting for it to be released and I’m extremely pleased with what I’ve played so far. The game reminds me a lot of Super Metroid, from the way the environment is laid out to the hectic movement of your enemies to the massive bosses. This is a great thing, because I consider Super Metroid to be one of the greatest games ever made and there hasn’t been anything like it since, the only game that comes close is Konami’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I really like that the game offers you choices are you’re playing that branches out the story, but you don’t really know you’re making a choice until after you’ve made it, which adds a lot of replay value. The music for the 3DS version was reworked by Danny Baranowsky, who previously worked on the indie-smash hit Super Meat Boy and the music is another positive aspect of the game. The 3D effect is subtle and gives a lot of depth to the environments you’re in, which looks really nice and if you don’t like the new polygon look of the characters you can switch to their original pixelated look, which I think is a nice feature and they look great in the new environments. There is a slightly superficial problem with this game, it doesn’t seem to translate well into screenshots or videos, the game looks much better compared to what I’ve seen online. All in all, this is a perfect game for a portable console like the 3DS.