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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: 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: The Sims FreePlay

The Sims Freeplay Image Two

I’ve been playing this game for several weeks now, not sure exactly if I wanted to write about it in the first place. But after some much needed thinking, I figured why not?

I started playing The Sims FreePlay because I wanted to play a Sims game. I wanted to immerse myself back into this world where I control the actions of the characters I’ve created. Where I was given total power over the choices I made and could see the consequences of my actions play out in front of me.

In this version of the game, which comes on your phone or tablet, your main objective is to build a town full of people of your own creation. You build all sorts of homes and locations for your Sims to either visit or work on their career in order to make some money so you can further create. Along with creating these places, there are quests you can fulfill to your own discretion which will gain you more items, hobbies or locations to unlock. It’s up to you what you do in your town, but you also need to make sure to satisfy your Sim’s needs as well.

What I like about The Sims FreePlay is that it’s free. Unless you want to spend money on this game so you can get these different types of points to progress on your tasks, you don’t have to spend any money on this game whatsoever. You can play the game without spending any money and I like it because I don’t want to spend money on app games if I don’t have to. As you progress your town, you also earn Simoleons and XP for each of the buildings you’ve created whether it be homes, businesses or career locations. I think this is a nice feature in this game because it allows you to earn money without only having to invest in a career and gives you more experience points.

I also like that you have so many choices of things to do in the game. You can complete tasks whenever you want, though there’s a time limit to gain certain items if you don’t complete tasks by a certain time. You can also choose which buildings you want to build as long as you have enough Sims living in your town. Some buildings cost more money and need more Sims in the town than others, which can sometimes be a pain because it could be the exact building you need, but you need one more person before you can start building it.

In The Sims FreePlay, you also have a variety of hobbies you can choose to complete. These hobbies are things like cooking, fishing, fashion designer, and woodworking, just to name a few. What I like about having these hobbies is that you can unlock more of them by completing certain quests. However, the downside to these hobbies is that your Sim can only focus on one hobby at a time. I don’t know yet if that changes after you’ve mastered the hobby, but I find it to be very inconvenient because whenever you try and learn a new hobby, you lose all the progress you made on the hobby you’d worked to master before.

The Sims FreePlay Fishing Hobby

What I like the most doing in this game is completing these tasks. I like them because they are interesting and can level you up faster. I also like them because you see your Sims doing all sorts of interesting things. For example, while I’ve been playing this game, I’ve been focusing on the Sim I created in my image to start learning the spell casting hobby. I did this by completing one of the quests in the game and just following every objective that has to do with spells or magic. This now allows any of my Sims to learn magic or brew potions if they choose.

However, I do have some criticisms for The Sims FreePlay too. One of my criticisms is that skills like painting and playing the guitar advance your career instead of counting as hobbies. While it’s nice because you can get promotions for your Sims faster, I wish they could be counted as hobbies instead because that would be more realistic. Instead, they are activities you can do that count towards career promotion.

Another criticism for me of this game is that it’s way more time consuming than any of the other games. What I mean is that when you go to do certain tasks, you have to wait a certain amount of time until what you’re doing is done. So for example, a task that takes 5 minutes won’t be completed until that time has passed. Unless you have points you can use to get these tasks done faster, some tasks you’ll have to wait for hours until they’ve been finished, which can be a pain when it comes to completing these quests. Especially if you decide to do them under a time limit to unlock certain items. I usually complete them whenever I feel like it and don’t worry about stuff like that, but I feel like it can still be a pain for those who want to get tasks done at a faster rate. In the other Sims games, you can usually fast forward time so this isn’t an issue whenever you play. But for those who want to complete things at a faster pace, just know you might not have luck with that.

My biggest criticism for this game though is the style options. In this game, there really isn’t a whole lot of clothing and hair options for your Sims. Everything is pretty basic, making it extremely difficult for you to make unique Sim characters as you continue building up your town. I’m hoping as I continue to play this game that I’ll be able to unlock even more unique clothing and hair options so that I can try to make my Sims look different from each other in the future. But right now, my options are pretty limited.

But overall, I find myself enjoying this game as much as I do the other Sims games I’ve played in the past. It’s to the point where I’m starting to play the Sims game I have on my PlayStation 2 again in the hopes of progressing further than I ever have before. In many ways, you could say I’ve become hooked to the Sims again, which has never been that much of a struggle before. I highly recommend this game if you are looking for something casual to play or if you’re looking for a Sims game to play but don’t know where to start.

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.

 

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