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Zeruda

Just a novice writer writing game reviews. With Gaming-Square.

Bravely Default 2 Review (Nintendo Switch)

Genre: Adventure, RPG, Action
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Developer | Publisher: Square-Enix | Nintendo
Age Rating: PEGI 12 | ESRB Teen+
Price: UK £49.99 | US $59.99 | EU €59.99
Release Date: 26th February 2021

No review code was provided, and all opinions contained below are my own.

Story/Characters

After a small introduction within which you get to choose the difficulty setting and your characters name, you, the MC, wake up on a beach after being shipwrecked. While trying to orientate yourself, you are found by a couple of random people, a young girl and an old man. They discuss ideas that don’t quite mean a whole lot to you just yet, but they proceed to take you to the nearest town, Halcyonia, so you can rest.

The MC will introduce himself as just a sailor, and about the shipwreck to the girl, with her muttering that it might be the Crystal’s will after all. The old man is introduced as Sir Sloan, a royal man-at-arms, an older gentleman who speaks in an archaic style. Princess Gloria is then introduced as well, firstly as just Gloria of Musa, then her full title and her uncertainty of whether she still is a Princess or not, since Musa has been destroyed.

Adelle, Elvis, MC, Gloria and Sir Sloan.

The Innkeeper will show you a map as you try to figure out where you are, but the map confuses the MC even more. The kind Innkeeper still gives you the map so you don’t get lost in future. As you continue following the course laid out in front of you, you’ll acquire a ship you can send out for up to 12 hours, whilst your Switch is in sleep mode, after saving the boat’s owner.

During the fight to save the boat owner, you’ll be lent a helping hand by a new couple of people. This man and woman will join you after the man attacks the creatures with fire and a small discourse between the two. The woman introduces them as a wandering scholar and his bodyguard/babysitter, her name being Adelle and his, Elvis. Elvis insists on dragging you to the tavern in Halcyonia, but not before they show you what they call an Asterisk, a special item that the pair are searching for across the world.

As you pull the whole group together, you learn that Gloria and Sloan are trying to recover the Crystals that have been scattered across the lands, with trouble coming along wherever they seem to settle. Elvis and Adelle are quite happy to come along as it will give them more direction than they had before. And it seems wherever there’s a Crystal, there are Asterisk users flocking around the place.

Gameplay

Big fight!

Bravely Default 2 is a turn-based RPG, but with it’s own twist. You can also use Brave or Default in a battle, Default is basically defend but allows you to gain a BP each time you use it, whereas Brave lets you take extra actions in your turn, up to 4 actions can be used in one go, and each extra action will use 1 BP each. You can go down to -3 BP but that’ll mean you have to wait 3 turns to be able to use that character again, so it’s recommended to Default then Brave as you see fit.

The Asterisks are what allow you to change Jobs in BD2, for example, Elvis first appears as a Black Mage, using fire, thunder, water etc as he gains levels in it. You’ll start with Freelancer and Black Mage, but you will gain up to 23 different Asterisks throughout the game. Personally, I really like Thief and Spiritmaster jobs, they seem pretty powerful with certain moves and support spells.

The world will open up to you as needed to progress, but anywhere you’ve opened is free to explore as you can, there are plenty of side quests to get done too, so you’ll be running around exploring and gaining extra items/exp/knowledge. There are five main cities that the world will open up around, Halcyonia being the first area, and even that has 2 or 3 optional mini bosses to contend with if you wanna challenge yourself.

Difficulty

Yes, yes we do

I am one of those people that always starts on the hardest difficulty, so I can only write from the Hard difficulty point of view. Although, I’m not sure if it’s because I am happy grinding when I want an ability or if the difficulty really is a touch low, even on Hard mode, but I found it to be pretty easy still, some bosses I would need to fight a few times to figure out the strategy needed, since some bosses have so many counter abilities it can feel like you’re hitting a brick wall with a feather duster.

The only time I have felt underpowered, is when I ‘beat’ the game and got to go unlock extra Job levels, those fights were a pain in the butt, but I managed eventually. As I said before, lots of learning their patterns and changing my jobs to suit the fight I was in, rather than just hit them with everything I got. A bit of patience is all that really required for this game, other than that, it was a walk in the park unfortunately. I actually wish there was a harder difficulty once you’d beaten the game.

But, apart from Hard difficulty, there are also Casual mode and Normal mode, Casual being BD2’s Easy mode. Now, from what I’ve read myself about BD2, it seems for most people this game is classed as difficult, even when not on Hard mode. I think growing up on old JRPG’s has given me the patience to just grind out levels or abilities whenever I fancy. Most issues it seems others had with the difficulty is either the amount of thought you need to put into the strategy, or the counter mechanics. Just have some patience, learn as much as you can in your first try against something difficult and persevere! If necessary, write down what they counter, what their weaknesses are, so you can get a better look at what you need to bring to the fight.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

I wish I could have taken a video to show how well voiced all the characters are, but unfortunately, Bravely Default 2 doesn’t allow video to be taken on the Switch. But, they voice almost every character you interact with! Most simple townsfolks don’t have a voice, but anyone important in any way to the story has a unique voice. It’s nice to see such diversity in a computer world, accents changing with the country, cultures changing too.

Each place has it’s own sounds, whether you’re in a forest listening to the sounds of forest life or on the beach, listening to the waves, it’s such a delight to hear the soundtrack and background noise. It’s a very interactive world, and it helps that you can really get immersed in this world so easily, I was glued to Bravely Default 2 for hours at a time, barely noticing if other things were happening around me.

Possibly the only issue I believe to be found in the performance may be the loading times, now, I don’t mind if a game takes it’s time loading things in as long as it’s not long enough for me to make a cuppa before it’s done, but 10-20 seconds, no real issue to me. But I know that it can be a problem for other people, which is understandable. We’re in a world where we want technology to do what we want as fast as possible, but a touch of patience and hopefully it’s not that big a deal. The game itself makes up for slightly long loading times.

Conclusion

Bravely Default 2 is a great old school style RPG, if you long for old Final Fantasy style gaming, give the Bravely Default series a go. They’ve managed to incorporate new ideas with the old turn-based style and it works, I love the gimmick of Braving and Defaulting, it opens you to fun interesting fighting styles.

8/10

The Legend of Zelda: The 35th Anniversary

As we all know, February 21st marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, one of the longer-spanning series for Nintendo. With 19 main games and not a small amount of spin-offs under the Zelda team’s belt, including one of the first handhelds, Game & Watch (not to be confused with Zelda Game Watch), it’s no wonder there is a huge fanbase for our beloved Princess and her protector.

Here at Gaming Square, we share the love and would like to share our love with you today. Read on for where we began, what sat best with us, and what we’d like to see in the future.

CandidWillow

I was late to the Zelda world, with my first game being The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. I absolutely fell in love with it, and it was one of the few DS games I fully completed. The nostalgia had me excited for Breath of the Wild when I got my Switch, but unfortunately, I found that the open-world title didn’t scratch the itch in quite the same way as its predecessor. The Link’s Awakening remake has managed to build my excitement for the series back up, though, in perfect time for the anniversary! I’d love to see a Switch remake of some of the older games – particularly Twilight Princess, which I love the look of but don’t have the hardware to play – for the 35th anniversary, as I’ve really missed out on a lot of lore with having not played so many of the big titles. A remake collection would be a dream come true, but I’m not sure how likely that is. I’ll be eagerly watching that space though!

Eevee94Mystic

I’ve never really played any Zelda games before, they’re just not my type of game. However, the one that did get me to try a few more was The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes on the Nintendo 3DS. The music is good, the level design is fun with unique puzzles, and it makes great use of the multiplayer. While playing single-player is a bit lonely, this game was definitely made for multiplayer and is 100 times better. I’ve always looked from a distance at the Zelda series, but looking what Nintendo did for other Anniversaries, hopefully this one will be amazing for all the fans.

SuperWidzy

My favourite Zelda game is a tough one. So many great games over the years, if I had to pick one… I’m going to have to go with Ocarina of Time. Simply because it was brilliant when it launched on the N64. Plus, with everything being canon, OoT proves to be the most important game in my honest opinion.

EMH_Richard

So, I first got into contact with The Legend of Zelda when I was 12? I never had a GameBoy growing up, so I’m a bit late. The first game I played was Link’s Awakening DX and it was amazing. I was hooked. Then the Oracle games released, and they were pure magic. To this day, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are my favourite games in the franchise. The depth of those two games, especially when linked, is awe-inspiring and certainly something I love replaying. With the 35th anniversary approaching I do hope we get a re-release of these amazing games, possibly in the style of Link’s Awakening for the Switch. I would cry manly tears.

Zeruda

My first contact with Zelda, I believe, is with Link’s Awakening DX. And oh, it was so good! Around the same time I would have been able to play A Link To The Past as well, I got lucky with having older gaming brothers to borrow from. The only main series games I haven’t played in their entirety are Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds. I would love to see more Zelda games come to the Switch, whether it’s through more old consoles like the NES and SNES apps, or being ported from elsewhere. I have reluctantly chosen one game from the main series – if I could, I’d say most of them – as most have their own place in my heart, but Majora’s Mask is my favourite; it just stands out to me from them all.

Looking Forward

Now, I’ve seen talk about how some people on the internet would like to see in the future of the series, one of the main things I’ve noticed is how many people would love to see Zelda as the main character, rather than Link. And yes, I’ve seen the comments saying this would make Link redundant, but not necessarily.

Whilst discussing this idea with ZeruDad, we came up with a potential premise for a future with Zelda as the MC. Ganon, or whichever big bad, somehow manages to go back in time and kills Link, or his parents, in every incarnation he has, so it’s up to Zelda to go back along the timeline and fix it to save the future. This would give Zelda her time to shine, going back through the multiple games we’ve witnessed throughout the last 35 years, and would give fans the chance to see old worlds again, maybe even in a new light, like Link’s Awakening?

But that’s just something I thought to share today, what ideas or hopes do you have for Zelda? Or for a different character? Is there anyone you’d like to see more of, or places you’d like to be able to go back to? Have you thought up a premise for a potential game for Zelda or Link, or maybe even Linkle?

Well, fingers crossed Zelda keeps loving it’s fans and vice versa. And here’s to many more years of Link’s adventures!

Characters through the Ages

Space Crew Review (PC)

  • Genre: Simulation, Strategy, Adventure
  • Platforms: PC, Switch, PS4, xBox One
  • Developer | Publisher: Curve Digital | Curve Digital
  • Age Rating: Everyone 10+
  • Price: UK £17.99 | US $19.99 | EU €19.99
  • Release Date: October 15th 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Renaissance PR.

In Space Crew you are introduced smoothly, being introduced to the environment and your crew through use of the tutorial, or, if you skip the tutorial, straight into the action.

Story/Characters

You get to build your own crew in Space Crew, from customising their weapons and gear, to completely changing their look and appearance. You can start with 5 or 6 crew members, depending on the difficulty settings you choose. I went with 6 this time, just to make it so I didn’t die, again.

As you can see above, there’s quite a choice between settings. I went with an easier set up, as I know I can get frustrated easily. So I went for semi-automatic Tagging Mode, which meant I didn’t have to manually tag each enemy as they appear, as long as my Comms Officer was at their post. I grabbed the sixth crew so I could man more of my turrets at once.

The story appears to boil down to humans have made their mark in space, they have multiple bases and labs dotted around. And their main enemy, the Phasmid, are on the lookout and are quite happy to shoot at you on sight. On every mission, you are highly likely to end up in combat against them, whether it’s small groups of fighters, or larger ships, or even named enemies, like Hewpen Garratt.

Gameplay

Most of Space Crew is simply choosing a mission, doing said mission, and returning to base. For some people, it will be too repetitive, however, most games boil down to the same premise, so I didn’t see an issue here. The missions are ranked in difficulty, so you know how much hassle you can expect once you’re out there.

Missions can range from protecting another vessel or place, to simply fighting off swarms of Phasmids. You will stumble across Phasmid beacons or other important things on your journeys, which you can scan and learn about the Phasmids through. You will be able to hack some parts too! Have to admit, I haven’t figured out how to hack successfully yet.

Using jump gates, travelling through space is much easier than it sounds. Just lock onto the gate you want, get to it, charge your hyperjump and then go. Use gates to travel and traverse the area you find yourself in. Be careful around and in asteroid fields though, they literally attack you and take out your shields in one hit.

Graphics, Sound, and Performance

The graphics for Space Crew are pleasant, I enjoy actually looking around during my missions when I get to explore somewhere new. I like the layout of the ship, it’s efficient and looks good.

The music is benign, I have no issue with it, but I can’t really remember it now that I haven’t played for a day. It’s a shame, but it happens. There is audio for most actions, shooting, getting boarded, etc.. It’s ok for background noises, for me anyway, but as a main source, I think I’d get bored of it very quickly.

The performance is brilliant, I’ve not had it lag, glitch or falter while I’ve been playing. And I don’t have the best PC as it is. Seems like a low maintenance game, runs smoothly and runs pretty.

Difficulty

As I stated before, I pulled the difficulty down from the original settings, just so I could get a feel for the game itself. On the original difficulty, I found my whole team wiped out within 10 missions, have to admit, that annoyed me. I got distracted for a moment and it was critical.

Thankfully, this game has sliding difficulty that you can change whenever you want, bar in a mission. It is a good way to open a game to a larger audience, simply because each person can choose the difficulty that suits them.

Conclusion

Space Crew is a fun, repetitive game. Explore the sights they’ve given us access to, while saving the humans from the Phasmids, collect data to hack and undermine the Phasmids. For £18~, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys space travel and management simulation games.

Verdict
A good space management sim, good for whiling away some hours without realising it.

Re:Turn – One Way Trip Review (PC)

  • Genre: Horror, Puzzle, Action, Adventure, Role-Playing, Visual Novel
  • Platforms: Steam, xBox One (Switch and PS4 to come Nov 2020)
  • Developer | Publisher: Red Ego Games | Green Man Gaming Publishing
  • Age Rating: PEGI 18
  • Price: UK £9.99
  • Release Date: 14th October 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Renaissance PR!

In Re:Turn – One Way Trip, you start by following a group of newly graduated college students. For the majority of the game, you will control Saki, as she searches for her friends.

Story/Characters

Kanae, Saki, Yuuta, Kazuki and Sen are camping in the woods, celebrating the end of their college days. All is well until, after an unfortunate misunderstanding with Saki’s fiancé Sen, Yuuta runs off, leaving the others go to sleep.

Saki wakes a little later, to find she’s suddenly all alone. After looking for her friends, she stumbles upon an abandoned train car in the forest. Obviously, Saki decides to check out the train, because she knows her friends are the type of people to explore something like this. As Saki makes her way in the first car, she becomes increasingly paranoid and skittish. She pushes away things that make her scared and pushes forward.

Gameplay

From here, you will need to solve puzzles. The puzzle are usually logical and make sense, they’re some pretty solid puzzles in Re:Turn. Most of the time, you’ll be moving slowly around the train cars, whether the situation is urgent or not. Fortunately, about 2/3 of the way through, Saki really does find it urgent enough to start running.

The time travelling is an interesting and cool mechanic that’s put to good use in Re:Turn; it adds so much more to the story, and makes for a fun adventure story at the same time. You will travel back and forth to the past to progress the story and to find out what actually happened on this luxurious train to leave it abandoned.

Unfortunately, the writing left a little to be desired. While it is easy to follow, and it’s not riddled with mistakes or anything, the writing just felt a little… simple, for a PEGI 18 game. Which is a shame, because the story was interesting and tense in places.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

The graphics are pretty good, it’s easy to see what items are, it’s easy to see the characteristics of the character models. The detail is outstanding. For being hand-drawn, this really blew my mind. The amount of attention to detail throughout is amazing of Red Ego Games, and it makes for a beautiful backdrop to the story.

The sounds are good enough to affect how I looked at what was happening. If I was supposed to be tense, the music saw to that fairly swiftly. If I was supposed to be sad, the music reflected this. Again, attention to detail, even in the music laced throughout, is spot on.

Difficulty

A couple of times I found myself trying everything I had on everything available. This always works, especially if you are stuck in one place with no way out. The puzzles themselves as stated before are usually logical, so it shouldn’t be too hard for anyone.

Conclusion

It’s a fun little game, for £9.99 you get a few hours of puzzles and time travel adventure. I enjoyed what I played although, as a horror fan, I was sad to find it wasn’t all that scary. Jump scares and dark themes pepper the game, making it possibly scary to some, or even most. I don’t know what level of ‘horror’ it really counts as to be honest.

Verdict
A fun horror, visual-novel/adventure game for an evening of jumps and scares in an abandoned train.

Partisans 1941 Review (PC)

  • Genre: Strategy, Real-Time Tactics, Action, Resource Management
  • Platforms: Steam
  • Developer | Publisher: Alter Games | Daedalic Entertainment
  • Age Rating: TBC
  • Price: UK £25.99
  • Release Date: 14th October 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to Renaissance PR!

In Partisans 1941 you play as a Red Army commander in World War II, stuck behind enemy lines on the Eastern Front. Gather more Partisans and use guerrilla warfare against the German occupants.

Story/Characters

Play as Commander Alexey Zorin as you gain new Partisans as you journey forward. Meeting Sanek and Fetisov will give you a squad of three to use as you progress. Sanek is a local lad of 14, just wanting to stop the German invasion into his homeland. Fetisov is also part of the army, and is glad to be back fighting the good fight. Continue on and find more Partisans just waiting to join your team and fight against the German invaders.

Gameplay

Partisans 1941 brings a fun approach on the gameplay it involves. Using the real-time tactics, own the way forward with your way of playing. Use a mixture of stealth, combat, ambushes and a variety of special items to astound the enemies ahead of you.

The use of tactical mode is very helpful, being able to slow down time to figure out your next move in the middle of a fight is so fantastic a mechanic.

I have to admit, this game was harder than I could ever have expected; even on easy mode I’m really having to think about how to move forward, how to dodge that enemy or how to not get caught. Even the resource management in the camp takes some thinking, do I need food, materials, weapons, ammo or morale??

Speaking of the camp, it’s all on you to decide what gets built, what gets searched for or what missions you want to send your allies on. The only time you don’t get to decide what to spend your time on is when there is a story mission. Story missions are at a set time and your people will be automatically set to go.

Graphics, Sound and Performance

The graphics are pretty realistic, which I guess you’d hope for in a historical war game. The characters are fleshed out well, and really well designed. The scenery is beautiful, and the use of the scenery is a great mechanic for Partisans 1941.

My only issue with the sound is that no matter what you set the audio to in game, the opening is always at it’s full volume, which can catch me off guard.

Difficulty

Ok, so I touched on this briefly earlier, and wow, just wow. This game is incredibly difficult to a novice like me. I’m used to turn-based RPGs, so having real-time tactics took some getting used to. Even on easy, I am having to take my time to figure out the best way forward in missions, and even use trial and error to make the best moves I can.
I am stuck in a mission at the moment, but I will get past it, I am determined to push forward once again.

You can choose between three difficulty settings at the start of a New Game.
Easy mode, which is the recommended difficulty for a first playthrough.
Normal mode, which makes you and enemies have lower health, which in turn makes every combat even more dangerous than before, and dogs will be more dangerous again.
Hard mode, now your comrades can die if you don’t treat their wounds in time, you also can no longer save during missions and tactical mode will no longer slow time.

Conclusion

The gameplay makes Partisans 1941 worth playing for anyone that enjoys a challenge and to think about the moves they make in a game. I’m sure the story will attract fans of historical war games, and it might take others by surprise by how much they enjoy or get invested in the story. It’s a good game for when you want to challenge your brain into thinking in the ways it pushes you to think, and noticing any out of the box ways to complete missions.

Verdict
An interesting war story played out with fun and interesting mechanics makes for a good, albeit challenging game.