Reviews by SonoDaten

85

Phenomenal Artwork and Soundtrack; Good Story

SonoDaten | April 20, 2014 | Review of Bastion

I had played Bastion for all of about five minutes on a friend's computer some time ago and enjoyed it.

The basis of the story is that the protagonist, a little boy, is a survivor of a cataclysmic event known as The Calamity that has wiped out virtually everything of the city he once lived in. The boy travels to the Bastion, the designated destination for survivors of such an event if it were to occur. From there, the boy much travel to different places and collect cores in order to expand the Bastion and rebuild while finding other survivors along the way.

Throughout the entirety of the game, the beautiful art and soundtrack was what kept me trapped in the game's grip. It strikes a nice balance between being naturally beautiful while also keeping the theme of post-apocalyptic city-scape (where appropriate). This allows it to mirror the boys journey: in the face of untold destruction and despair, there is yet a reason to hope. The camera is locked in a certain position, but it allows the player to see almost all of the field. The only problem I encountered was when going behind some objects (which become translucent upon doing so) or going around them, I misjudged how much space I had and fell off the map.

It should be noted now that I played the game while using an Xbox 360 controller, and I have not played using the computer controls. With that in mind, the controls were fairly simple: two weapons, one controlled with the X button and the other with B; a special skill that corresponded with one of these weapons controlled by RT; and a shield that could be used with either LT or the LS. This does give the game a hack-and-slash/button-mashing feel to it, but the variety of weapons both long- and short-range allow the player to mix-and-match for their preferred style or for what they're going up against. The monsters in each level do change depending on your environment, which makes levels feel unique.

In comparison, the story seemed a little slow. It picks up considerably near the end, but for the bulk of the game the player is left wondering exactly what has happened and why because not much is explained outside of what the objectives are or what the endgame of it all is, though all are revealed in good time. Personally, though, I am the type of player who prefers to squeeze as much current information out of NPC's as possible so as to know as much about the world as possible, so this naturally put me off just slightly (However, I could also see how this was appropriate considering The Calamity had destroyed most of the world!).

All in all, Bastion was a fantastic game that literally reduced me to tears by the time it was over. It is hands down a game that any person interested in RPGs should definitely own and I would highly recommend it.

80

Great Battle System, Backdrop, and Story, but Forgettable Quests

SonoDaten | Jan. 7, 2014 | Review of Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning - US & Canada

 Kingdoms of Amalur:  Reckoning is a good game for players who enjoy RPGs. The graphics are aesthetically pleasing and the art style is a very refreshing step away from realism. The battling mechanics are without a doubt one of the best features of the game, and it is actually rewarding to think out combos while fighting.
 The Destiny System also deserves to be mentioned here. It's a phenomenally revolutionary take on the classic "class and specialization" portion of creating a character. Your character's class is defined as a single card selected from a group of cards, and more cards become available depending on where you allocate your ability points. These cards offer perks and new abilities (for certain builds) that are tailored to that play style. There are even cards for hybrid classes! The best part? You can switch which card you have designated at any time. No waiting for a level up or paying in-game currency to have some wizard change it for you--you can change which Destiny you want whenever and wherever.
 The story itself is rather engaging--as the protagonist is a person without a fate in a realm where the future is a defined path for each being. And if you don't like main quests, there are plenty of side quests for you to do. Like, seriously. Side quests for days. I'm not kidding. These side quests suffer from the idea of "quantity > quality," I'm afraid. The quests are often boring and fall flat when compared to the larger side quests, rendering the quests themselves and all involved largely forgettable. There are also guild quests for those who are interested in that sort of thing.
 All in all, Kingdoms of Amalur is a solid game and an enjoyable RPG experience.