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Product Reviews

7 (71% helpful)

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  1.  Sleeper hit


    One of the best games for the 3DS is a game that could easily have been done on the regular DS, gameplay-wise.

    Seriously, the graphics are functional at best. Don't be fooled by them. While it would've been nice to see a little more polish on them - they'd be barely acceptable in a first-gen PSP game - they do their job for this game. You never question what you're looking at, which is what's important in Shadow Wars. Because this is personal turn-based, grid-based strategy at its peak.

    You only ever control a handful of units. Sometimes you get some extra units in addition to your party of six unique classes, sometimes you're stuck picking just a party of four. The good thing about this is that everyone's role IS very defined. You really have to think about where to send each of your squad, and the game will punish you if you send someone out on a solo mission.

    At least, it will if you're playing on the Hard level. And you will want to. The game is, with some small exceptions, downright easy at the regular difficulty level. You can tell that it really was meant to be played at the hard difficulty level: Some classes are downright abuseable at the regular level, to the point where you can take one particular character and go on a rampage with them, taking down half the enemy force before they even have a chance to move.

    Play at the harder difficulty level, though, and it becomes a game of careful decisions, nail-biting victories, and really playing to each of your characters' strengths. It very rarely turns into a game of trial and error - the game likes to trigger sudden ambushes as you complete objectives, and so you'll want to spend an extra turn just to have everyone ready to move as you complete an objective - but planning ahead means that the game will almost always feel tough, but fair.

    It's also a fairly long game, to the point that, granted, you might lose interest before it ends. The story's largely ignorable. The upside is that you'll have played for a good 10-20 hours before you've had your fill, and if you're really hooked, you've got a few more hours of story missions to do after that, and a LOT of bonus missions to complete on the story maps after that's done. There's a ton of gameplay here, no question about it.

  2.  Awesome story and world, not a great game


    This game is very, very funny. The world it builds is gorgeous and imaginative, the graphics, designs and voice-actors are all great. Much like Double Fine's previous game, Psychonauts, it's a bit of a shame that the game underpinning it all is a bit awkward.

    There's nothing fundamentally wrong with driving around the overworld, or the combat. There are some fun weapons to use, and the whole system shows promise. It's just all a bit awkward and clunky. You never quite get comfortable with the combos or the driving: It's JUST a bit too off-key in a way that's hard to describe. And you might find yourself especially not enjoying the real-time-strategy sections.

    Ah, the RTS. For something that was originally supposed to be the entire focus of the game, it's sadly the reason why this game remains unfinished on my shelf. There are indicators to tell you that something's being attacked, but there's no minimap. You can get an overview of the battlefield by zooming out, but you can never quite get a proper view of the action. You can join the fray, but it's chaotic and easy to get confused. You can stay above the battlefield and treat it like a straight RTS, but the pathfinding stinks and the controls never quite work like you want. Basically, in the RTS battles I did do, I poked around being confused and frustrated until I accidentally won, because it feels like the game makers knew the system wasn't good enough to give you some properly strategic battles, instead throwing you into an unfun grind.

    The fantastic presentation, script and acting makes this game ALMOST reach a four-star rating, because you may enjoy the game simply because of all that. While I haven't finished the game, I've played for more than ten hours, and enjoyed a good bit of it.

    If DoubleFine could make a less awkward game to support their wonderful humor and stories and designs, this could've been a true classic. But as it is, I found myself tolerating the game just to get to the next burst of imagination Schaefer and company would toss at me. That's not how it should be.

  3.  First read the script, then the comic


    This is a case of too-ambitious art ruining what's a pretty interesting story at heart. Don't get me wrong: The art is beautiful. But it makes it downright impossible at times to tell what's going on without scrutinizing each panel for five minutes. Couple that with the Joker's dialogue being written in a red scrawl that ALSO takes time to decipher, and you've got a tiring book to read.

    This is why it's good that this version of the book comes with the script attached. Having read and been thoroughly confused by the comic itself, I took to look at what was SUPPOSED to be happening in the most hard-to-decipher scenes... And suddenly, the story actually became pretty interesting.

    If you're prepared for something a little out of the ordinary, pick this up. And start reading at the white-colored pages BEFORE you actually move to the comic. You'll come away feeling a lot more satisfied. I wouldn't recommend getting a version without the attached script: It's downright essential to enjoying this story.

  4.  Don't be fooled by the cool title...


    "Ninjabread Man". That's a great title for a game, right? Yeah, it's just a shame that the game is completely worthless. The graphics are just a notch above Nintendo 64-quality, the game itself would be bad even on that generation, and even if you do find some joy in the repetitive combat and unresponsive platforming, you'll still be done with the game in a couple of hours at most.

  5.  Gorgeous and challenging


    One of the best-looking games on the PS3, even if a lot of the many, many story sequences fall into talking-head mode. If you can tolerate a whole lotta plot between your battles, though (and it IS a good story, despite some cheap tricks and moments that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth), the meat of the game is very juicy and flavorful indeed.
    Part RPG, part war strategy and part action game, you get a tactical, multi-unit system not dissimilar to Fallout 3's combat. Over the roughly 40 hours it took me to complete the game, the game constantly came up with new and interesting scenarios, leaving me with an immense sense of satisfaction upon completing the tougher of the battles.
    This game deserves way more sales than it got. Get it while you have the chance.

  6.  Not worth the price


    This is the kinda stuff that, as mentioned in another review, would be a fun little extra on another movie. Might be worth it if they drop the price... Watching Dragon do the Snoopy dance is worth a couple of Euros on its own, and the Gingerbread Man's see-it-coming-a-mile-off-but-kinda-funny-anyway Christmas story is worth another couple. But as it is, it's cute but forgettable, and it gathers fewer laughs in half an hour than the free-if-you-buy-a-movie-or-you-can-get-most-of-them-for-the-same-price-as-this-one-disc Pixar shorts do in five minutes.

  7.  Strangely addictive, yet infuriating


    This is a weird game. There's no denying that. It's all about getting money, which occasionally involves mindlessly hunting down enemies and items in the rather mindless battle system that pretty much just involves finding enemies, drawing as many enemies as you can into your dust-cloud, and tapping like hell... But the main meat of the game is finding the big treasures, going through pseudo-Zelda-like dungeons in the process.

    That would be simple enough if it wasn't for the fact that EVERYTHING in this game, right down to simple conversation, involves money. And it's not just a matter of giving them what they want: You also have to GUESS what they want. Offer them too little, and most of them take the money you offer anyway, not offering much of a hint as to how far away you are. If you want to avoid spending ages in the field gaining back the money you lost this way - and money is scarce in this game, with, again, EVERYTHING costing money, right down to getting into the dungeons - every conversation in the game devolves into a save-try-and-reload rythm.

    Actually getting rewards from people is closer to what the conversation system should've been: Wish for too much, and their reaction will tell you how close you are to the optimal sum. You get three tries to get it right, before they don't give you anything.

    Sounds infuriating, right? It is. So why four stars? Because the game oozes charm. The story and characters are hilarious, the gameplay is strangely addictive despite its simplicity... You want to see what's around the corner, and what's at the end.

    All in all, highly recommended if you're willing to put up with a very few really huge flaws.

  8.  Not for everyone, but insanely addictive if you get into it


    This is a hard game to cope with, mainly because of a battle system that, until you get used to it, may feel too complicated for its own good. Indeed, a lot of people might give up on it after having their ass kicked a few times.
    It's worth sticking with, though. Having to focus on both screens at once is hard at first, but once certain hit-avoiding moves become second nature, you'll find yourself enjoying it a lot. That, and the game lets you take it at your own pace. You can set the difficulty up or down literally at any point in the game where you can access the menu screen, and once you get to a certain point in the game, you even get the option to straight-up replay a fight you just lost on the Easy difficulty.
    Sticking with the battle system has its rewards, though, beyond the fact that the battle system is simply fun. The harder the difficulty and the higher the risks you take, the better your rewards will be. There's also a LOT to explore, should you desire it: There's a fashion system that gives you stat bonuses or detriments depending on what's popular, but which you can affect by simply using the brands you like: If your favorite clothes or pins are of a certain brand, you can work to make them popular all over the game world, and thus get stat bonuses. There's a ton of stuff to collect, a long postgame, and an engaging story in an original setting to top it all off.

    To summarize: TWEWY is possibly the best JRPG on the Nintendo DS, and one of the best JRPGs released overall. Geddit!