Friday, December 30, 2011

N is for Navi

So I've been playing a lot of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword lately., and so I decided to honor the franchise with everyone's FAVOURITE fairy (not)! Seriously, November was a HUGE month for video games (I know, I know, I'm late, but what could I do? I was too busy playing them!), and I've managed to get my hands on almost every major title that came out by Christmas time (except for MW3, I've never been a big fan of the CoD series.). I'll try and line them up for you, with what I though about 'em. Bear in mind, I've only had Skyward Sword since last Sunday, so I haven't beaten it yet. I take my time-ish on games.
Cedric's Game Reviews:

   Now, I really like the LotR movies and games. They're good (which is a surprise for anything based off of a book. It's almost invariably awful). War in the North was a fast-paced game that was great if you wanted to get in and just kill stuff. Here's the thing that really sold me on it, though: it has a local co-op that's actually fun! 
You can play through the main campaign with a friend, not unlike the Halo franchise. The cool thing, though, is that you and your friend play two different characters in a three person party of adventurers set in the north of Middle Earth, essentially buying time for the Fellowship to get to Mordor.I played as the dwarf berserker Farin from Erebor, and my dad (who played through the whole campaign with me) was the Dunedain Ranger Eradan. That's another cool thing about this multiplayer, though. It didn't jump on the Fable bandwagon and make co-op play creepy. There's no romance between players or anything, it's just straight-up fun.

There's this baddie, Agandaƻr, who was sent to the north to destroy Rivendell and conquer the Free peoples yada-yada-yada. I have to say, the story in this game is pretty lacking, Basically, the bad guy's just evil for the sake of being evil, and the good guys are completely selfless and righteous and stuff. A bad story makes for a great hack-and-slash, though, and that's basically what this game was. A hack-and-slash, plus equipment. There's a lot of equipment, which was my favourite part. My dad never got it, though.
Anywho, here's my final verdict on LotR: War in the North:
Story: 6/10. This game was lacking any real depth, and was obviously just inroduced to add another money-maker to the game franchise.
Gameplay: 8/10. This game is fun for a while, but I personally found little replay value in it. it's a really linear RPG with a lot of the illusion of choice. (little do you know, if you say 'no' to a main quest, you end up doing it anyway...) The gear system was fun for a while, until you have a ton of amazing weapons and armor and you're basically invincible. It's a great game to just play with some friends that are over or whatever, though.
Learning Curve: 9/10. I feel that if my dad (who hasn't been good at a video game since SMB) can pick up a controller and be hooked on a game, it's pretty easy to learn. It's a difficult game to master, though, especially if you're not familiar with the control scheme (pretty standard x and y to attack, b to dodge, a to interact, but you've gotta start somewhere with these games).
Overall: 7.7/10.


   Bethesda's long-awaited Elder Scrolls game didn't disappoint. Right from the start I had fallen in love with the graphics, and not long after I could tell I was going to love the absolute freedom it gave me. Also, Dragons are badass. I would say it's hard to go wrong with dragons, but I've been let down by enough games to hold my tongue there. Anyway, the game is beautiful and the story is pretty good. Again, the main villain in the main(ish) story is pretty much evil just for the sake of being evil. Why can't you guys get original?
Essentially, there's the big evil dragon who's resurrecting dragons (which had been dead since 1E or before... I don't really remember) around Skyrim, the Nord province of Tamriel. In the meantime, there are two factions of people battling it out against each other. The Empire is the same one from Oblivion in 4E, but now the High Elves (calling themselves the Second Aldmeri Dominion, or the Thalmar) have their hands in much of the power, ever since the old Empire singed the White-Gold Concordat, which essentially settled for Altmer ideals in the Empire's law. The Stormcloaks are rebels calling themselves the "Children of Skyrim," battling against the Empire's laws they are trying to impose on the people, most prominently the worship of the God Talos (formerly Tiber Septim, who founded the Empire and joined Divines as a god.).So while all of this is going down, your character finds out that he(or she) is the only Dragonborn in this age. You are the only person who can permanently slay a dragon, by absorbing its soul into yourself. Pretty cool, eh? It doesn't stop there. 

You can use these souls to unlock "shouts," which are a powerful kind of magic using combined words in the dragon language to produce effects from the famous "Fus Ro Dah" shout, which sends a wall of force blasting your enemies back, to others like "Ful Mey Gut," which throws your voice, fooling enemies into investigating.

This game is practically endless. I must have over 100 hours logged, and I've barely scratched the surface! I'm level 40, I've beaten both the Dragon story and the Sotrmcloaks vs Imperials story, but there's still so much to do that I've just gotten lost in the possibilities! I must have made three or four different characters just to try out different play styles, but I like the sneaky-stabby approach the most. =3

Here's my rating for Skyrim:
Story: 8/10. It's alright, but the general idea's been done before to the point where one of the only cliches that was left out was the hero's dead parents. Good game, though, and I had a lot of difficulty picking sides between Stormcloaks and Imperials, because both believed their cause was noble and that the other side was evil, even though they both were pretty much bad on a ton of different levels. I love that stuff.
Gameplay: 9/10. High replay value, and everything that sucked about Oblivion was fixed. I mean, seriously! Not only did they add dual-wielding, but they made Magic work as a weapon instead of some separate thing that made little sense. The level up system is awesome, but it punishes people who power level with things like pickpocket or some other easy skill severely. Oh, your highest combat skill is 35 one-handed, but you're level 30? Let's see how you do against a Frost Dragon. Good luck! Also, killing witnesses to keep your bounty from going up was a brilliant idea.
  Learning Curve: 8/10. My dad wouldn't take part in this experiment because "he likes to be contrary, and everyone plays Skyrim." This basically means he's being a huge video game hipster. Anywho, I feel like if I put someone who doesn't play video games in front of Skyrim, they'd have to fumble about for a bit before they got the general idea of how stuff works. I mean, it seems simple to gamers, but it's tough for the average I-don't-really-play-video-games Joe.
Overall: 8.3/10.

About a year ago, I would have told you that the AC series was lame, that sneaking around and killing stuff was all that there was to the game and that it couldn't be fun at all. I would have 1:been lying, and 2:judging a series that I had never played. After playing Brotherhood, I feverishly ran through the other games to get the story and everything (The first one wasn't very good in my humble opinion.), and I couldn't get enough. Naturally, when my sister bought Revelations, I pounced. I obsessively played the game until all of Ezio's and Altair's were cracked, and I knew all of their history.

If you remember Brotherhood, some shit went down (I won't say what, in case anyone reads this and doesn't want spoilers) and crazy stuff was going on. Well, in Revelations, Desmond wakes up, and he's in the Animus again! Only this time, he has to work faster than before. His mind is hash, and if he can't relive all of the memories his ancestors are sending his way, then he'll go crazy and suffer the same fate as Subject 16, who makes a few appearances in the game.

This story is fantastic. I've always loved the AC stories, and this one was one of my favourites (still debating with my sister, who thinks AC 2 was the best.). It's a beautiful blend of Altair and Ezio, and it takes place in Istanbul/Constantinople, 60ish years after the Byzantines were overthrown. Ezio's looking for access to Altair's Library to learn more about the Assassins, so he journeys to Masyaf (remember this place from AC 1?) where he finds he needs 5 keys. Each time he gets a key (1 in each sequence, ish.), he goes back and relieves a memory from Altair's life (with a better voice actor! Praise the lord!). By the last memory, Altair is 92 years old, which is crazy given that he was living in medieval times.
Anyway, here's how I'd score this game:
Story: 9.5/10. I can't get enough of Assassins' Creed, and I love where it's going. I can't wait to play AC 5 as Desmond! The story was fast, fun and dynamic. Every sequence has a memory that's part of the Masyaf Key search, and a memory that's part of the Constantinople Assassins' story, which come together masterfully. I could not ask for a better game from Ubisoft.
Gameplay: 9/10. Seriously, if you get bored with the gameplay, there are a million different things to do to keep you occupied! Personally, I didn't enjoy the Desmond's Journey crap, which essentially consisted of Desmond talking to himself while you did stuff that wasn't related to what he was saying at all. However, I loved the Assassins' Den Defense, even if I was awful at it. =p In the primary gameplay, however, the controls were smooth, the graphics were beautiful, it was really neatly stitched together. It was great, and fun to play.
Learning Curve: 8/10. I put this game in front of my girlfriend (who pretty much just plays wii when she does play video games, and to my understanding had never touched an xbox controller) and she could figure it out, with a bit of coaching. This game is another one of those "easy to learn, difficult to master" titles.
Overall: This game deserves its rating of 8.83/10. It's truly a very well done game.


I won't lie; the trailers I saw for the newest installment in the Legend of Zelda franchise did not impress me one bit. I thought that it looked like Wind Waker trying to be Twilight Princess, and I thought the Wii MotionPlus was gimmicky. (I still do, a little bit) I received it as a Christmas Present, though, and I figured I'd give it a shot. It was Assassins' Creed all over again. My low expectations were blown out of the water by beautiful graphics (I don't know what I thought was wrong with them before), fascinating gameplay, and (quite possibly my favourite part) completely orchestrated music!

I haven't beaten it, yet, but at the point that I'm at Link is a Knight-in-Training, and the game starts at teh day of the Wing Ceremony, where every Knight Academy lower-classman races to beat the others on their Loftwings, giant birds that bond with their masters empathetically (or something like that). Anyway, Link wins (ta-da, nothing new there) and he gets to spend some alone time with Zelda (I know what you're thinking, you're wrong.). Anywho, they go flying around the clouds, and I giant tornado launches Zelda off of her Loftwing and sends her plummeting through the clouds toward the Surface. Basically, Link and Zelda are parts of this divine plan by the Goddess that watches over everything, and Link sets off  (with a shiny sword he gets while he's finding all of this out) to go find her. Most of the adventuring takes place on the surface, but you can sort of think of the Sky as the Great Sea from Wind Waker, with some smaller Islands and the One giant one that you live on. First he's just chasing Zelda like mad trying to catch up to her, but later he realizes his destiny needs to set off on a different path for a time and he has to go purify his Goddess Sword with the three Sacred flames (remember Farore, Nayru and Din? Instead of Pearls like in WW, this game has you looking for flames instead.). It's pretty crazy stuff.
Anywho, I'll rate this when I'm done with it, but expect somewhere in the 8's for it.

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