Dragon Age II Microreview

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Dragon Age II Microreview – 17/20!

Dragon Age II is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.

The player assumes the role of Hawke, a male or female human mage, warrior, or rogue who is driven from his or her homeland of Ferelden by the blight the Hero of Ferelden battles in Dragon Age: Origins. Hawke arrives in the city of Kirkwall as a refugee of no status, survives and flourishes into a legendary champion over a decade of personal and political conflict.

Of the Dragon Age trilogy, I played this one last and I lost interest halfway through for about a month or more before returning to complete it. The main plot is engaging, the combat flows well and the graphics are aesthetically pleasing. What began to frustrate me is the constant recycling of the same settings throughout the game; the same areas were used over and over again as the years progressed, although with no physical changes. That being said, I am extremely pleased with how well the end of Dragon Age II leads into Dragon Age: Inquisition. If you have the time and the patience, it’s worth playing in chronological order.

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Dragon Age: Origins Microreview

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Dragon Age: Origins Microreview – 20/20!

I cannot believe I allowed myself to overlook Dragon Age: Origins for so long! I love a game that places a lot of the power in the player’s hands. From creating a character that looks the way you want, to dialogue and action choices that shape the way the world in the game perceives you and evolves; the choices are yours. This makes the game a lot more engaging and the characters more intimate. Though it can sometimes be a chore to play a dated game for the sake of playing a series from start to finish, I enjoyed every minute of Dragon Age: Origins.

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Stacking Microreview

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Stacking Microreview – 16/20!

Stacking is a casual adventure puzzle video game developed and published by Double Fine Productions.

The player controls, Charlie Blackmore, the smallest doll in a family of matryoshka dolls who have fallen into misfortune after their father agrees to work for an evil industrialist known as the Baron. Charlie’s size enables him to stack and unstack into larger dolls to use their unique abilities to solve puzzles and allow him to free his older siblings from the Baron’s control. Each puzzle has multiple solutions and some include additional puzzles and challenges that allow the player to explore outside of the main story.

I found this game to be charming with its vintage aesthetic and unique concept of using the stacking matryoshka dolls with different traits and abilities to progress the story. Now I am a gaming optimist and I try to see the good in all games. I understand that each game is someone(s) time and effort, their pride and joy and therefore I take great care when judging them. That being said, I had to mark this game down one point in each category (fun factor, game play, sound and visual style) because it just wasn’t quite there.

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The Cave Microreview

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The Cave Microreview – 19/20!

The cognizant Cave, voiced by Stephen Stanton, is a magical labyrinthine of tunnels that lures individuals within to explore their darker personalities. Seven unique strangers, each harboring their own dark secret, have been drawn to the Cave from across time and space to learn the truth about themselves and gain insight of who they may become.

The player initially selects three different characters from a cast of seven stereotypical figures to explore the Cave: The Adventurer, the Hillbilly, the Knight, the Monk, the Scientist, the Time-traveller, and the Twins (acting as one character). Once chosen, these three characters will be your explorers for the remainder of the game; players can restart a new game to select a different trio of characters.

The majority of this game’s puzzles require the three characters to work in coordination to complete, the player switching between them to activate multiple parts of a puzzle; an example of this would be opening a door by maneuvering two characters into holding levers, while the third character passes through the open door to pull another lever, permanently opening the door and allowing the other characters to pass through. Each character also has a unique ability to aid in navigating the cave tunnels; for example, the adventurer is able to swing herself across gaps with a rope, while the time traveller can phase shift a short distance to pass through barriers. Some puzzles are specific to the unique abilities of a character, leaving some areas inaccessible if the appropriate characters aren’t chosen at the start; the Cave can only be fully explored through at least three replays, if not more.

In addition, some areas of the Cave are accessible only if one a specific characters is in your party; such as the knight finding a castle or the adventurer discovering a tomb, these areas represent the deep desires and dark aspects of a character that lured him or her to the Cave in the first place. Throughout the game there there are iconographs emblazoned on the walls of the cave for each of the three characters, which the player will need to get near to activate; these provide one of several still art images that reveal the character’s (usually morbid) back-story.

The Cave is witty and quite fun to play through at least once, if not more. The first time I played, I selected the Adventurer, the Knight and the Time-traveller and I couldn’t have asked for a greater combination. Their storylines were morbid, yet entertaining and between their unique abilities, I was able to explore a great deal of the Cave’s tunnels. I did start over with three new characters, but I soon realized a great deal of the cave was redundant and I had no true desire to replay the whole game again just to discover other characters’ backstories.

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Broken Age Microreview

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Broken Age Microreview – 20/20!

Beautiful aesthetics and a very fun point-and-click adventure! I could only imagine the frustration players must have felt if the played Act 1 and waited in agony for over a year for Act II!

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Severed Microreview

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Severed Microreview – 19/20!

Severed is an action-adventure platform video game developed and published by Drinkbox Studios.

Set in a mysterious nightmare world, Sasha, an ordinary woman-turned-warrior must conquer her fears and come to grips with the unknown fates of her family. Like Guacamelee! I am crazy about the colors used which are a bold and beautiful palette, but I found much of the subject matter disturbing. While this game is rife with meaningful lessons about life and loss, the outcome of the game is sad and frustrating which led me to remove a point in the “fun factor” category.

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Guacamelee! Microreview

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Guacamelee! Microreview – 20/20!

Guacamelee! is an action platform video game developed and published by Drinkbox Studios.

Inspired by traditional Mexican culture and folklore; the plot and aesthetics of this game are vivacious and vibrant, with a soundtrack to match. I am crazy about the colors used which are a bold and beautiful palette that compliment the Mexican inspiration. The plot integrated elements of traditional Mexico, a classic damsel in distress story, as well as more modern references to video game culture.

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Scribblenauts Unmasked Microreview

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Lara Croft Go Microreview – 17/20!

Scribblenauts Unmasked is a fun experience, but a little disappointing when compared to the freedom of Scribblenauts Unlimited, it’s predecessor.

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Okami Microreview

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Okami Microreview – 20/20

Inspired by classical Japanese myths, legend and folklore, Okami is an action-adventure video game, developed by Clover Studio and published by Capcom, that weaves a tale of the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu, who takes the form of a white wolf and saves the land of Nippon from an overwhelming evil presence.

Nothing delights me more than experiencing a game with unique perspective that resonates with my taste. It thrills me the protagonist is a wolf, my favorite animal and a non-anthropomorphic wolf at that, whom the player controls exclusively throughout the game. The graphic style is appealing and quite timeless in contrast to the common realistic interpretation. Gameplay and mechanics are quite fun and noteworthy, with enough simplicity to enjoy and enough challenge to intrigue. It quickly became and has continued to be my favorite game and I highly recommend it to all.

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Child of Light Microreview

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Child of Light Microreview – 18/20

Aurora, beloved daughter of a widowed Duke, contracts a mysterious ailment the night of his wedding and for all intents and purposes is dead, mysteriously awakening in a strange land instead; Lemuria. To return home and reunite with her father, Aurora, aided by her playable companion Igniculus the “firefly” and several fairytale creature allies, must restore Lemuria’s sun, moon and stars; held captive by the Dark Queen, Umbra.

Aesthetically, this game is remarkable. Child of Light is a platform role-playing video game combining the attributes of a side-scroller with a unique battle system focused on timing, similar to the active time battle system found in JRPGs such as Final Fantasy. The art style and character design is in charming hand-painted watercolor, which paired with the rhyming dialogue give this game the feel of opening a storybook.

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