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First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts III

Kingdom Hearts 3 2

As someone who’s been playing video games since elementary school, the Kingdom Hearts games have been the biggest part of my childhood. So, when I heard about the release of Kingdom Hearts III, a game I’ve been waiting for the longest time to come out, I was so excited and ready to play it.

Kingdom Hearts III takes place after the events in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, following when Riku and Sora take the Mark of Mastery test. As Riku and King Mickey go on the search for Aqua (another chosen Keyblade wielder whose story you learn more about in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep), Sora goes on an adventure of his own with Donald Duck and Goofy in search of reawakening his weakened powers and trying to learn the power of wakening. As Sora travels from world to world, he encounters Heartless, Nobodies and Unversed as well as runs into various members of the new Organization XIII whose true goals remain unknown.

While I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of Kingdom Hearts III, I truly believe it’s my favorite game in the series that I’ve ever played. One of the things I enjoy about the game so far is the combat. I love the different abilities (otherwise known as form change) that each of Sora’s Keyblades has that you can activate when you fight. I feel like each of them is unique to the Keyblade Sora is using but in a way that suits it.

Kingdom Hearts 3 Form Change
One of the form changes in the game.

There’s also a new ability in combat called attractions that I still have mixed feelings about. Just like the name suggests, attractions are an ability that Sora can use where he’s on different attraction rides that can cause damage to the enemy. I have mixed feelings about this new ability because some of the attractions you can use are very useful and others I just find to be very annoying and don’t like using in combat. But overall, I find the combat in this game to be the most fun I’ve had in a Kingdom Hearts game in a very long time and look forward to fighting whenever I play.

Another thing I’ve enjoyed with Kingdom Hearts III so far are the different worlds you can travel to in the game. I like the worlds you get to go into because most of them you’ve never been to in any of the other games in the series. I also like the role Sora gets to play in those worlds, whether he’s dressed like a toy and helps Woody and Buzz search for their missing friends or he’s a monster helping Mike and Sullivan get Boo back home. Sora is always getting himself into situations, making friends along the way and I love it just as much in this game as I do all the others.

Kingdom Hearts 3 3
Sora in the Carribean, one of my favorite worlds from Kingdom Hearts II that I’m glad they’ve brought back.

I also love the message of friendship these games bring with them. Of your friends even when they aren’t around still being a part of your life, close to your heart. This message always resonates with me and I feel like its exactly what I needed to hear. Especially with the personal stuff that’s been going on in my life.

There are, however, some issues I do have with Kingdom Hearts III. One of the biggest issues I have with the game is how they go about the plot. I’ve just recently started to get further into the main storyline of the game and while I do at times find it interesting, I also find myself left with a lot of questions that remain to be answered. I know since I haven’t completed the game yet I probably shouldn’t be complaining about this, but its something that bothers me so I feel like it needs to be discussed.

What I think doesn’t help is that a lot of the worlds Sora goes to the story doesn’t feel complete. You get some gameplay in these worlds, but I feel like you never truly get any resolution to the conflicts the characters in the world are dealing with. For example, one of the worlds I enjoy going to because the characters were a big part of my childhood is the Hundred Acre Woods from Winnie the Pooh. In the previous Kingdom Hearts games, you go to the Hundred Acre Woods and must help Sora find the missing pages of the book to see Pooh and the rest of his friends. In this game, however, Merlin shows you the book and Sora notices his image is missing on the front cover, so you go visit to see if anything is wrong there. It’s the shortest world visit in the game you experience and its one of many worlds in the game I felt were treated the same way, though not quite as short.

I also don’t like with Kingdom Hearts III that the worlds you go and visit don’t really tie in with the main storyline in the game. Usually, in these games, the worlds you go into playing as Sora there’s usually a reason he goes there that ties into the main storyline in the game. With this game, I didn’t see that truly being the case. I felt like you got some snippets of what the main storyline was, but not enough to really understand why Sora went to these worlds. The main storyline doesn’t take place until after you’ve completed these worlds. While I didn’t necessarily mind it, it’s different from what I remember in the other games, so it threw me off.

But overall, I’m enjoying my experience playing Kingdom Hearts III. I remember when I first got into the series, excited to play these games. This game has been no different for me because I’ve been waiting for its release for so long. I know I’ll be sad when I finish this game because this game series has been a part of my life for such a long time. But right now, I’m enjoying my first time playing through it and believe I will continue to do so despite my criticisms.

First Impressions: Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery One

For the past couple months, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery to come to the Apps Store on my IOS. As a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I was really excited when I first heard this game was coming out. Now that it’s out here, I’ve been excitedly playing it in between completing other tasks at home.

For those unfamiliar with the release of this game, Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery is a new Harry Potter mobile game where the player gets to go to Hogwarts. As a Hogwarts student, you get to attend different classes where you earn different attribute points and if you successfully complete the class, points for your Hogwarts House. Along with attending classes, the game allows you to explore the Hogwarts grounds in order to complete the main game storyline.

From what I’ve played of the game so far, your character has an older brother who’s been missing since being expelled from Hogwarts. He’s expelled from Hogwarts because of his obsession with the Cursed Vaults, which your character decides they want to learn more about in order to find out what happened to their brother. So with the help from friends you’ve made at Hogwarts (Rowan, Penny and Ben, the first set of characters you’re introduced to during your first year), you set out to find out more about the Cursed Vaults and to find your missing brother.

I find that this plot in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery is one of the many reasons I’ve been enjoying this game so far. It’s not too complex of a storyline, but enough to get me interested in playing this game to see where it goes. I’ve also enjoyed it too though because I finally get to play as a student who attends Hogwarts. Since I fell in love with the Harry Potter series, I’ve always wanted to be a student at Hogwarts, and this game allows me to do just that.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Me Sorting Hat
Me during the Sorting Hat ceremony, where I choose Ravenclaw to be my house.

I’m also enjoying this game because it’s not too complex of a game. The controls are pretty simple, it’s mostly just pointing and tapping to get from one area to the next. The same with classes too where you just click on what’s highlighted in blue until you’ve completed that particular task. It’s also very slow-paced because a lot of the objectives you complete (classes included) involve using your energy under a certain amount of hours until you collect a number of stars. Once you get the number of stars you need, you then can actually take the class and learn a new spell, potion, etc.

As your taking these classes and progressing through the game, your character also gains attribute points. There are a total of three attributes that you can level up: courage, empathy and knowledge. Courage represents your bravery, empathy represents your ability to understand others, and knowledge represents your academic aptitude. None of these attributes have any real bearing on the decisions you make in the game at this point in time other than being able to say certain things to people if a particular attribute is at a high enough level. But I love all of these features and how simplistic this game has turned out to be because it makes it a very relaxing experience to play. While you’ll have to do a lot of waiting to get your energy so you can continue with your lessons, I don’t particularly mind because I use that time to do something else while waiting for my energy to refill.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery My Character Attributes
My character in Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery. Even though I’m a Ravenclaw at heart, in this game I seem to have an easy time leveling up my courage and empathy more so than knowledge.

While I love playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, there are some things this game does need that would improve it for me. For one, I think it would be nice if there were more clothing and hairstyle options for your character. From what I’ve seen of the clothes, there is a lot left to be desired. None of them are things I’d honestly really wear, and the things I do tend to see that I like require more gems or coins than I currently have. It would actually require me to spend money on this game to buy them. While I wouldn’t necessarily mind spending money on this game, it has to be something really worthwhile for me to consider it. And right now, there’s really nothing in the game currently that I find worth me to spend my money on. So for now, I’m sticking with wearing my Hogwarts house robs until I can afford clothes for my character I actually like. There also aren’t a lot of hairstyle options for your character when you first start playing the game. It isn’t until later on that you unlock more hair options. But like with the clothes, those hair options require more gems or coins than I can afford, and I’m perfectly fine with the hair my character has right now anyway.

The one thing everyone who’s played Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery believes needs to be improved in the game is the energy system. While I agree in the sense that the wait time for energy needs to be reduced a little, what I really believe would improve this game immensely is if the game was a little more interactive. I think it would be cool if there were more things you could do in the game while waiting for energy for classes, whether it be side objectives to complete that give you attribute points or fun games you can play that level up your character. I think for me what would make this game exactly what I want it to be is if we as players could control our characters and if the choices we made in the game had an actual impact on the plot in the game, whether it be differences in house points we gain or lose or the people we become friends with and the spells we learn during classes. I want all of these different features in this game because I want it to feel more like I’m attending Hogwarts myself rather than it feeling like I’m just playing a game on my phone. I also think it would be nice to have games you can play while waiting for your energy to refill because it would give players something fun they can do (if they so wish), but it would also give them more opportunity to work on their attributes and leveling up their character.

Another feature this game is missing that would make it a really great gaming experience for me is a Sorting Hat quiz. While I don’t necessarily mind being able to choose the Hogwarts House I want to be in (since in the books, the Sorting Hat does say it’ll take the house you want to be in into consideration), I like the idea of taking a quiz to see what house I’d be placed in. While I know for people who identify with a certain house that might cause problems, I love taking online quizzes to see what I get and I think having one here would’ve been another way for people to see if they truly belong in the house they want to be in. I also think for a lot of people it would just confirm for certain the house they identify themselves as being in and would make playing this game feel even more like we’re attending Hogwarts.

So while I’ve enjoyed playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, there are a few features I believe need to be implemented or improved for this game to be the Hogwarts experience I want for myself.  But I do believe this game is making a great start in creating a Hogwarts universe that all of us who love the Harry Potter series can be proud of.

What about you? Are you currently playing Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery? If so, what Hogwarts House did you choose and why? And if not, what Hogwarts House do you associate yourself with and why? What do you like about the game so far and what do you think about the game can improve? Please leave a comment below because I’d love to hear from you.

 

First Impressions: Sword Art Online: Integral Factor

Sword Art Online Integral Factor Image One

I’m sure those who follow my Instagram account aren’t surprised to see this game pop up as my next video game review. I’ve been playing it for the past week now and I can honestly say I’m hooked to it right now.

For those who are familiar with the anime show Sword Art Online (also known as SAO for short), Sword Art Online: Integral Factor is a mobile role-playing game. This game centers on the beginning plot of SAO, which involves the main characters in the anime trying to clear all 100 floors of Aincrad in order to escape the game. But now you are one of the people in SAO trying to get out of the game too.

As someone who’s a big fan of anime (and SAO in particular), I’ve really enjoyed playing this game so far. It has the look and feel of the SAO universe and its one of the first role-playing games I’ve truly enjoyed in a long time. I think part of the biggest appeal for me is that I was actually able to create a character that closely resembles my real life appearance. My character doesn’t look exactly like me (because there aren’t too many games where that’s possible), but I found the appearance I was able to make for her closely resembled my real life self.

Sword Art Online Integral Factor Avatar Image One
My avatar in Sword Art Online: Integral Factor. At the point I took this picture, I was on the 2nd floor in the game at level 19.

I’ve also enjoyed playing Sword Art Online: Integral Factor because the fighting and game play is so much fun to me. In this game, you can equip your avatar with two different weapons and switch between them during fights. Each weapon has different skill sets that you can get as you complete quests, and you can equip those skills in order to gain an extra attack against monsters. I find that fighting these monsters using these skills can be quite a bit of fun. As someone who doesn’t particularly like grinding in games all that much, I really don’t mind it a bit whenever I’m playing this game because fighting these monsters is actually a bit more of a challenge than in most other role-playing games I’ve experienced. Especially when you enter the dungeons where you have multiple enemies attacking you at once. It makes this game that much more of a joy because it challenges me to be a better player and to continue leveling up so I can clear the floor. I also like that you have more than one weapon you can choose from. This allows you as the player to be able to become skilled at using more than one weapon during fights, which I think is a good skill to have in this game. I like it because I was able to find early on which weapons I enjoy using, but I also have the chance to use other weapons too if I want.

I especially like that clearing floors in this game isn’t easy. I’ve been playing this game for a week now and have only made it to the 4th floor. It allows you as the player to see exactly why it took the original SAO players so long to progress. But I also appreciate it because I love playing games that are a challenge to complete.

What I think makes up for it, however, is that you as a player do have the option to join other players and form a party. As someone who’s used to playing games solo, I like that if I so wanted I could join a party because it definitely would make clearing monsters in dungeons so much easier. While I’ve yet to really use this feature (I’ve only been in a party truly once so far since I started playing), I like being able to interact with others who love SAO and want to fight together. I don’t really get the chance to play video games with other people that often so it’s nice that I have that option if I so choose to do so.

Another thing I like about this game so much is that it allows me to be in the SAO universe and interact with the characters from the anime. Ever since I watched SAO for the first time, I’ve always wanted the opportunity to explore that universe, see the monsters Kirito fought and try my hardest to help clear each floor. Now that this game is out, I get to do just that, even get to talk to the characters from the anime. Even better, some of the choices you make in the game change the outcome of the original story line. And I really like that because you can save characters that were originally killed off in the anime. I also like that you get to explore the SAO universe because you actually get even more story line content in this game that you haven’t seen before. With each floor you clear, you learn more about Aincrad, get to do quests that you didn’t see in the anime.

I think my favorite thing about this game overall though (well besides playing this game, of course) is getting to see the SAO universe. I love getting to explore each of these floors in this game, especially the moment when I defeat a boss and get to see what the next floor looks like. I like this particular moment in this game because the SAO universe in this game is graphically beautiful. I find that each floor is beautiful in its own way and can’t wait to see what the next floor looks like.

Sword Art Online Integral Factor World Image One
Me at level 42 whenever I get to the 4th floor for the first time. So far, the 3rd and 4th floors are my favorite floors graphically in Sword Art Online: Integral Factor.

There are however, some issues I do have with this game that if cleared up would make it a much more enjoyable playing experience. The biggest issue for me when playing Sword Art Online: Integral Factor is lagging/freezing during game play. I’ll be fighting a monster on one of the floors and notice that its health isn’t going down, even though it’s clear that my attacks are hitting it. So I’ll reset my game, which usually results in my character losing a majority of their health, sometimes even dying. I’ve actually died a couple times in the game because of this problem and it’s really frustrating to deal with. I’ve also noticed from the one time I was able to really join a party that most of the conversation I had with my party members somehow gets deleted to where I can only see things I typed when talking to a party member. I don’t know why, but it’s something I easily noticed and it annoyed me. But despite these difficulties, I’m still playing and enjoying this game a lot.

Another criticism I have for Sword Art Online: Integral Factor is that there aren’t really a variety of quest options for a player. Besides the main quest storyline, you have two other quest options: fighting monsters to collect items and boss fights. I get that the overall objective in this game is to clear each floor of Aincrad in order to escape the game, but I was hoping the quests in this game would be more story based. Or that there would be more to them so that they would be just as challenging as the main quest storyline. While it does benefit you to do some of these sub quests anyway (mostly because you can gain experience to level up), I find them to be just plain and not to be too much of a challenge to complete. It almost seems pointless to do most of them, especially because you can do them multiple times if you wish with very little reward.

I’m also critical of this game because it doesn’t really explain how you can improve your skills very well. When I first started playing, I thought I understood how it worked, but it’s taken me longer than expected to understand it and to improve the skills I have equipped. I’ve managed to do just fine not really understanding it, but it’s frustrating because I want to do the best I can to be a good player in this game. I know with time I’ll have it all figured out, but I still wish the game had explained it better so that I wasn’t dealing with so much confusion.

But overall, I’m enjoying playing Sword Art Online: Integral Factor immensely. It’s a much better SAO game than I was expecting for mobile and I’m having so much fun playing it that I don’t know if I’ll ever stop playing it. It just needs a couple adjustments here and there for it to be a much more enjoyable gaming experience for me. But I still love it all the same and can’t wait to play it some more.

First Impressions: Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor Picture

Arena of Valor is a multiplayer online battle arena game for mobiles published by Tencent Games. In this game, you are on a team with four other players as you try your best to destroy their home base. Doing so requires a lot of leveling up and good teamwork. Depending on what hero you choose determines what abilities you have. For example, some heroes are good at jungling (where you go into the wild and defeat monsters to gain experience and level up your hero) while others are good tanks. So do the best to choose heroes to balance out your team so you can win.

Arena of Valor Pic 2
Via Flip Geeks.

I just recently started playing Arena of Valor when I saw one of the Youtubers I follow play it. And man, do I really enjoy it. What I enjoy about this game is that its team based. While I enjoy playing video games by myself, I don’t mind a game that involves playing with other gamers and trying to reach victory together. It gives me the chance to interact with other people who enjoy video games as much as I do.

I also like Arena of Valor because of it being a 5v5 game for mobile. While I’ve never played a game like this on my phone, I like that MOBA games are being brought to mobile because I feel like the controls are a lot easier. I also think it’s very convenient too because you don’t have to worry about booting up your computer or laptop to play, it’s all just right there in your hands. The controls are also pretty easy to learn too, which is another plus to me because the player doesn’t have to worry all too much about what buttons to push to use their abilities.

I love that this game has a variety of heroes for you to choose from. Every time I play a game feels like a new experience because I want to play as many of the heroes I can so I can see which heroes work for me. I like that as you continue playing the game and getting a feel for how it works, you can unlock more heroes to experiment with along with more talents. This gives me incentive to continue playing Arena of Valor and seeing how far I can get.

Arena of Valor Pic 3 Heroes

My biggest challenge playing this game is that I don’t yet completely understand how to use the Arcana system and what items I should be buying when I level up my heroes. While I get how the Arcana system works (you have three types of Arcana: red is strength, life is purple, and green is willpower and as you play and level up, you unlock more Arcana to build up your heroes), I haven’t completely figured out how to use the Arcana and the items I buy in game to my advantage. I know I’ve just started playing recently so this’ll come with time so I’m just doing the best I can with it until then.

Arena of Valor Pic 4 Arcana Building

While I really love playing Arena of Valor, I do have some things I don’t like about it. The biggest thing I don’t like about it is the Credibility system that’s in place to make sure players aren’t leaving games or trolling. With this Credibility system, if you leave a game for any reason at all, players can then report you for being AFK and you lose credibility points. While I get why this system is in place and do overall believe it’s a good thing to have, I think it needs some improvements. I’m not the type of person to leave in the middle of a game intentionally and then come back later. But there have been times where I’ve been playing and the game suddenly froze on me and I wasn’t able to get back into the game no matter how many times I tried. And I’ve lost credibility points whenever this has happened to me. This then left me frustrated with the game because I wanted to continue playing and enjoy it, but getting points taken away from me due to a system error made me less inclined to do so. And there is no way to dispute when someone reports you for being AFK, even if being gone from the game isn’t your fault. So people could end up taking advantage of this system, which is why I think they should have it set up where there’s a way to check that someone is actually AFK verses having system problems. I think there should be a way to tell so people don’t keep getting penalized because they have a crappy system because it’s hard to enjoy a game when it’s laggy and you keep being penalized because of it.

I also don’t like with Arena of Valor that to unlock some heroes you have to pay for them. I get having something in place to unlock heroes as you level up and play. But I don’t think you should have to pay to unlock heroes you really want to play as.

However, I am overall pleased with Arena of Valor as a MOBA game and am excited to continue playing it. I remember playing League of Legends and enjoying that a lot, but I think I like this one a little more because of how convenient it is. I also hope to try out more games like this one in the future because I know they’ll definitely be fun to play.

First Impressions: Pokémon Magikarp Jump

Pokemon Magikarp Jump Image1

Last week, a game called Pokémon Magikarp Jump was released onto IOS and Androids. This game centers on a Pokémon in the franchise named Magikarp, one of the weakest fish type in the games. In this game, you catch a Magikarp which you then have to feed and train in order to get it to compete in jumping leagues. As you level up your Magikarp, it gets bigger and its jump power increases with each nugget of food you give it. Once you reach your Magikarp’s maximum level, your Magikarp will go into retirement and you’ll have to raise a new Magikarp from scratch.

I didn’t know about this game until its release. But I’ve actually found myself enjoying it. For one, even though Magikarp is one of the most annoying Pokémon to train in the other games, I like that this game gives Magikarp a purpose in the Pokémon universe.

I also like the mechanics of the game. I like that the features of this game are very easy to use so that anyone can play. All you have to do is click to feed, train and battle with your Magikarp. The only real choices you have to make in the game involve the events, when you want to spend coins to increase the jumping power of your food and training, and when you want to battle other Magikarps to become the highest jumper. Other than that, most of the game involves just clicking and watching your Magikarp grow.

Pokemon Magikarp Jump Image2

I like that this game has random events that can occur that can either help you increase your Magikarp’s stats or make you start over because your Magikarp just got eaten by another Pokémon. I think these events add something different to the game, but also make the training process even more interesting. Especially when you have a Magikarp that you’ve developed a close bond with only to have it snatched away from you. While it can be frustrating to some, I just find it amusing because I know I can train another Magikarp anyway that could end up possibly being better than the one that was taken away from me. I like when these events happen because it’s fun to see what’s going to happen next in the game.

Pokemon Magikarp Jump Image3

However, there are some downsides to Pokémon Magikarp Jump that need to be discussed. It’s a game that can easily get boring the higher you have to train your Magikarp before it can retire. This is because much of the game process involves doing a lot of grinding from when you feed your Magikarp to when you train and battle with it. When you first play this game, you don’t experience this quite as much. But once your ranking goes up and your maximum Magikarp level goes higher and higher, you begin to reach that point in the game. This results in the game starting to become too repetitive for you, which is a problem I’m beginning to experience. I’m at the point now where I wish there was more stuff you could do in the game because there’s not too much else to the game other than feeding, training and battling/jumping. I really think adding some more features to the game would really make it a game people would continue to play.

But overall, I think Pokémon Magikarp Jump is a simply fun game for anyone who wants to play and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Pokémon games.

First Impressions: Transistor

Transistor 1

Transistor is a science fiction action role-playing video game. Published by Supergiant Games in 2014, the game centers around Red. Red is a very well-known singer in Cloudbank, a futuristic city where nothing is as it seems. In an attempted assassination on her life, Red acquires a weapon called the Transistor that is owned by the Camerata and has to combat creatures called the Process in order to survive in the city.

As you explore the city of Cloudbank, you learn more about the Transistor. You also fight the Process using these set of moves called Functions. Red also has a unique ability called Turn() that freezes you in time so you can use your Functions to fight the Process. This ability is one of my favorite combat features in the game because it makes fighting the enemies a little easier.

Transistor 2

Turn() is an ability that can really help you. Especially when you find yourself in a serious pinch.

Transistor is such a uniquely beautiful game, completely different from any other game I’ve played. I enjoy playing it because the game takes you immediately into the action and explains the further you progress. It tests out your ability to fight the Process with the set of Functions you start off with, making it enjoyable to fight against your enemies.

I also enjoy playing this game because of the relationship between Red and the Transistor. In the beginning of the game, Red acquires the Transistor via pulling him out of a dead man’s body. You don’t know anything about what’s going on at this point, but it’s perfectly clear Red and the Transistor know each other. While progressing in the game, Red and the Transistor have little interactions with each other that I find to be very enjoyable to hear. Their relationship continuously gets stronger the more of the Process you fight and the more you explore Cloudbank. I enjoy seeing their relationship because I’ve never seen anything like it in any other game I’ve played this year. Its serious but also playful and fun whenever they fight enemies together. I also think it offers a brief commentary on the relationship between humans and weapons, which I find to be a very fascinating thing to think about.

Transistor 3

https://www.supergiantgames.com/games/transistor/

While I enjoy fighting enemies in Transistor, there are certain aspects of the battling system I don’t particularly enjoy. I find having to click on the enemies to use your Functions to be very tedious but also hate that once you use Turn(), you have to wait until the bar is all the way full before you can use your Functions again. I understand that in many ways this allows for Red to recharge her abilities, but it also makes it difficult for you to use Functions on their own if you find the Process your battling to be low on health. I also dislike that when an enemy takes your health all the way down, you lose one of your Functions. I find that to be very annoying because you have to wait until you can get to an access terminal to reinstall them.

Besides these two issues though, I really think Transistor is a well-crafted, beautiful game that I can’t wait to play more of as I progress through the city of Cloudbank. I highly recommend it to those interested in a unique gaming experience who love science fiction as much as I do.

To view this post on Creators, click here.

 

First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X is a RPG, action turn based game. Played on Android and mobile devices, Kingdom Hearts Unchained X has just recently been released in the United States.

And it is unlike no other Kingdom Hearts game. For one, you get to create a character uniquely your own. In previous Kingdom Hearts games, you played heroes chosen by the keyblade. But in Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, YOU are the hero. You can customize your avatar’s clothes and hair as well as choose which keyblade you want to use on each quest. It has also been released on Android and mobile, something Square Enix has never done with Kingdom Hearts in the past.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X Avatars

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X is an enjoyable game for beginners to the series. Those unfamiliar with Kingdom Hearts can play it without playing any of the other games.

I both like this and hate it. I enjoy that this game can be a stand-alone because it has unique features other Kingdom Hearts games don’t have. But at the same time, as a big Kingdom Hearts fan, I’m sad. Kingdom Hearts Unchained X is a good game, but I was hoping this game would move the plot of the series further along. But it doesn’t.

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X Action

However, I also just started playing Kingdom Hearts Unchained X a couple days ago. So while I feel like there’s no real plot to the game, there’s still a lot I haven’t gotten to just yet.

But from what I’ve played so far, Kingdom Hearts Unchained X is a fun addition to the series. I enjoy being able to play a unique character that I’ve created as well as explore familiar worlds seen in the rest of the series and can’t wait to dive further into the game to see what all else it has to offer.

First Impressions: Life is Strange Episode 5: Polarized

LIS 298

Warning: Do not read this review if you have yet to play the previous episodes in Life is Strange or have an interest in playing this game. This review has spoilers for the game so viewer discretion is advised.

Two days after playing the fifth episode in Life is Strange, I am still recovering.

I previously wrote a post on Life is Strange, which can be viewed here. However, after the fifth episode came out on October 20th, I decided I wanted to write another post about the game. I want to focus not only my thoughts on this episode but on the game overall now that the final episode for this season is out.

But first, let’s talk about Episode 5: Polarized. This episode comes right after Max Caulfield gets drugged by Mr. Jefferson in the junkyard and watches her best friend Chloe get shot. The player wakes up in the dark room, where Jefferson with the help of Nathan has been luring his victims to take photographs. You then go through a series of timelines where you go back to try and stop Jefferson from drugging you and shooting Chloe. However, you soon realize that you haven’t fixed everything yet. The tornado is still going to hit Arcadia Bay so Max tries to figure out a way to stop Jefferson and the tornado. However, she quickly realizes that she can’t stop the tornado without sacrificing Chloe’s life.

In this episode, the gameplay is pretty amazing. Most of the decisions you have to make are big ones that impact what other characters do. Some of these choices you can’t undo. Whenever you make the final decision at the end of the game whether to go back in time and let Chloe get shot, the fate of Arcadia Bay is placed in your hands. You can choose to let Chloe live if you wish, but Arcadia Bay will remain destroyed.

Making the decision to sacrifice Arcadia Bay means Chloe lives but the town still gets hit by the tornado, resulting in everyone else dying.
Making the decision to sacrifice Arcadia Bay means Chloe lives but the town still gets hit by the tornado, resulting in everyone else dying.
Or you could let Chloe die and the town will be alright. You’ll even get to see the blue butterfly one last time.
Or you could let Chloe die and the town will be alright. You’ll even get to see the blue butterfly one last time.

But that is one of the many aspects of the gameplay in this episode the player gets to enjoy. At one point in this episode, Max passes out and has a terrible nightmare. This nightmare reflects on a lot of the choices you have made up to this point. What I love about this part of Life is Strange is how this shows Max’s inner turmoil on the decisions she’s had to make with her rewind power. She knows she hasn’t made the best decisions and this nightmare reflects on that. However, I also see the nightmare as a foreshadowing for the end of the game. Whenever Max goes into the diner where everyone in Arcadia Bay is and faces herself saying mean things, this is a hint that she should choose to sacrifice Chloe and let everyone else live. This part of the episode can be contrasted with Max walking through her special moments with Chloe since returning to Arcadia Bay. That part of the nightmare is where Max’s subconscious is telling her to let Chloe live, even if it means everyone else in Arcadia Bay is gone. I enjoyed the nightmare scenes because of how they allow the player into her subconscious and found them to be very submersive.

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However, there are also aspects of Life is Strange episode 5 that I didn’t enjoy.

One of the things I didn’t like was how they structured the plot. I found that there were too many cut scenes then needed. Whenever Max ends up going to San Francisco because she won the Everyday Heroes contest, I felt as if that wasn’t needed. While it’s nice knowing that one day she could end up an artist, I felt that they could’ve taken that out and fleshed out the game more.

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This episode also didn’t flow as smoothly as the others. It felt very choppy to me as if they were adding scenes into the game because they didn’t know what direction they wanted it to go. And while I did enjoy playing in Max’s nightmare, I don’t think that was needed as well. I felt like it was placed in the game as filter so that we could get a better understanding of Max’s character and so we could get a hint of the two possible ways the game was going to end.

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Overall, while this episode in Life is Strange wasn’t my favorite, the game as a whole I really enjoyed. I felt as if the creators of this game did a really good job of creating a story with a diverse cast of characters. The game also goes into heavy discussion about topics most people shy away from, which allowed me to enjoy it on a more personal level. I quickly became attached to the characters and felt as if I were walking in Max’s shoes.

While I enjoyed my gaming experience with Life is Strange, there is talk that there will be a second season. Even though I can’t deny or confirm this information, if a second season does come out, I will definitely be playing it and write another post about Life is Strange in the near future.

First Impressions: Life is Strange

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Released on Jan. 29, 2015, Life is Strange is an environmental interactive adventure video game. Developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published by Square Enix, Life is Strange is from the perspective of Max, a regular senior photography student at Blackwell Academy who discovers she can rewind time when she saves her best friend Chloe from being shot. As the two best friends figure out a way for Max to use her powers, they discover something strange is going on in Arcadia Bay. Together, they work to figure it out through finding out what happened to a missing Blackwell Academy student.

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Max’s room in Life is Strange.

Life is Strange is a game that allows the player to rewind time. By rewinding time, the player is able to relive social interactions and change their decisions, which results in different consequences for Max in the game. This allows the player to relieve a variety of different endings for the game. Life is Strange is also divided into a total of five episodes, which gives the player the opportunity to change their decisions in the episodes if they want.

When I first started playing Life is Strange, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it. I knew it was a game that I wanted to play, but didn’t know what my feelings were going to be towards it after playing. But since I’ve started Life is Strange, I’ve gotten nothing but pure enjoyment from playing it. I’ve enjoyed Life is Strange since playing it because I love the high school vibe the game gives the player. You get to play as a high school student who is trying to figure out what to do with her new powers while still trying to get through everyday life. Max not only has to deal with how to handle her new powers, but how to deal with issues at school, such as bullying, suicide, rape, and abuse. These issues bring Life is Strange to a new level that hasn’t been explored in other video games and I enjoy seeing these issues brought to life in this game.

The heart wrenching scene with Kate in Life is Strange. Those who’ve played know what’s going on here. The choice you make here determines what happens to her next.
The heart wrenching scene with Kate in Life is Strange. Those who’ve played know what’s going on here. The choice you make here determines what happens to her next.

Another component to Life is Strange that I really enjoy is seeing how the choices you make in the game impacts the other characters. As I mentioned earlier, there are many different choices you can make when in uncomfortable social situations with Max. However, the choice you decide to stick with is what determines what’s going to happen later in the game. I love this aspect to the game because you can rewind time after having those uncomfortable conversations and make a different decision and then see how it plays out. It really brings to the surface the saying that “actions have consequences.”

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Life is Strange is also an enjoyable game to me because I like how you can interact with the environment. From looking at an object to taking pictures of the world around you, there are so many little things as the player that you can look at that I find to be a charming aspect in this game. By looking at these objects and taking pictures, you are able to add more material to Max’s journal so that you get one step closer to collecting everything in Life is Strange.

The one thing in Life is Strange I don’t particularly care for are the controls. While moving Max around isn’t too bad, I find that whenever I play, there are a lot of times my game lags and I feel like I’m unable to do anything. It also affects my social interactions too because whenever I talk to people in the game, they sometimes say the same word over again two or three times during dialogue. I know that’s an issue I can’t control, but I don’t really like the controls for Life is Strange because of it.

Overall, I enjoy playing Life is Strange. The game has a lot to offer to those interested in playing and I would recommend this game to anyone interested. However, for those who aren’t comfortable with playing a game that deals with issues such as rape, abuse, suicide, bullying, and violence or don’t want to play a game that is very emotion heavy, I don’t recommend Life is Strange to you. For now though, I look forward to continue playing Life is Strange and seeing what’s going to happen next to Max and Chloe with the decisions I have made.

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