Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tomb Raider Review

Tomb Raider is a reboot of the franchise, and while I don't normally agree with reboots or like them, this one surprised me because they did such a great job with the game in graphics, sounds, and gameplay.

The new Tomb Raider has Lara Croft on a ship called Endurance. They are on an expedition to find Himiko and her kingdom of Yamatai. After going back and fourth Lara suggests going into the treacherous Dragon’s Triangle, where she says is the best place for it to be. While Dr. James Whitman (famous archaeologist) doesn't agree with Lara, the rest of the crew side with Lara and sail into the Triangle.

This might not have been a good decision however, because they soon went into a horrific storm, that breaks the ship into two and crashes on an island. Now being separated from everyone else, Lara must now fight for survival and hopefully reunite with her stranded crew mates.

The fight for survival is going to be painful for some. They don't sugarcoat the many ways you can die in this game. There are some that hit my core like OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There was one part (Not going to say what it is and ruin it for you) but I had to stop playing because it was disturbing to me. However, this is one of the many good things about this game. You see a more inept look at how the choices you make impact your chance of survival.

Ont op of the pretty good main story, you learn about not only the other characters stories, but also Lara's from collectibles you can collect like documents. Some are of your friends, and others are from people who have come to this island as well.

The progression of Lara crofts character of her adventure on the island is also so well done, there are no parts that I feel rushed and I don't feel that her character is too rushed either. That's not me saying that she isn't rushed because there is a point where you have to make a call, that call is a tough one for anyone to make and after you do it, you will start to see Lara's character progress, and probably along with yourself.

Aiming and firing in this game are very well done, I do like that there is no hip fire, you must actually aim and then fire. I know some pope might hate this, but it's not a shooter, it's an adventure game with shooter aspects.

That still boggles my mind, people are complaining that this game is too much like a shooter and that the original never was.

Ummm... people, what's really different here? Yes, they do have you rely more on the shooting part, but there has been shooting in Tomb Raider before so what's the real problem?

I love that have have fast travel points, so if you missed something or want to just explore more you can travel back to anywhere there is a fast travel camp. This is really good for finding collectibles like GPS Caches, Relics, Documents. One thing that I do like about finding these and don't is how easy they are to find. Tome Raider has a feature (can't remember the name like Survival Instincts or something like that) where you hit the trigger button (PS3 L2, 360 ???) and everything goes Black and White and hidden things like collectibles and challenges or enemies glow. Enemies and animals will glow and it's really good to see them hiding or if they are through the trees and normally you wouldn't see them. Bad part about this? If you hit L2 and you are looking North (just to pick a direction) anything West, South and East of you (within the range of the effect) will be visible. So you really can just run around (or walk if you want) hitting L2 and when it wears off, do it again.

I think that Salvage should have been used to pay for this ability (I'll get to salvage in a moment) like 5 Salvage for every use, and not the infinite use that it is now.

Salvage is what you use to upgrade your weapons, you can find salvage everywhere. You can find it in boxes, (both crate style and lid style) and you can find them in lockers as well. You can even kill an enemy or an animals and get salvage that way.

Tomb Raider also employes a skill tree if you will. Every time you level up you earn a skill point that you can use for whatever you want. One of the best ones (in my opinion) is arrow retrieval so when you take anything down, when you go over to them you can get your arrow back.

One other thing to note is that there are 7 "Hidden" Tombs, I won't go into what I really want to say about these Tombs and ruin it for you, but each tomb has a Camp, and puzzle that you must complete and a nice reward at the end.

One thing I will say is that you should explore them all, because three Tombs have a special weapon upgrade that you might want to get.

That brings me up to one of the best things about this game, upgrading your weapons. Each weapon has an upgrade, or upgrades. All of them (sans the Tomb one) are found randomly in crates, so make sure you go into every area and collect everything you can. These will also open up more things for you to customize, like upgrading your Bow's fire rate, or how much damage it can do, etc.

The visuals that Crystal Dynamics have done on this game are simply amazing. They are really freaking good. I think that they have pushed the envelope with this game. The different environments are fantastic, the shadows and light refractions are stunning, heck even the motion cap. was so well done that this game has a certain fluidity to it.

I mean, look at this freaking game:

(Original link -

It's beautiful!!!

The sounds in this game are unparalleled. From the music which changes tempo depending on your situations and the eerily quiet parts, to the sounds of chaos all around, CD did a great job with it. one of the best things is that you can eavesdrop on your enemies and you can tell (visually and audibly) if they are going to change positions so you might get a clear silent shot on them.

In the end, if you like the the new look and feel to the game and want to play a game that is unlike anything else, then simply get this game, it really is a classic and will definitely be one of my favorite games I've ever bought and one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

I give this game a 9.8 out of 10

My only gripe about this game are the lack of Tombs, I would have loved more in the game, but that's just me.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Secret of Mana Review:

Secret of Mana is the second game in the Seiken Densetsu series.
Unlike other RPG's of the time, it was an active-time RPG, that
had real time battles.

This game was revolutionary, and while yes other games did have
real-time battles, none were like this at all. However, one thing
not a lot of them had (at least from what I can remember) this
game had a 3 character party, no big deal right?


This game can be played by you, and two of your friends at the
same time, on the same cartridge!

Yep, you heard me correct You need the game, three controllers and
one of the SNES multitap devices and you and two other people can
play the game at the same time. Each person controlling a
character, and each character (and person) able to do whatever
they want to, when they want to. You want to use an item while
they heal or Vice versa? Go right ahead!

That was one of the best things about this game, and for some
stupid reason, not a lot of games have done this.

The story of the game is, (you are a boy living in this village)
you are out playing like you do any other day. Next thing you
know, you hear a voice coming from a waterfall, and notice that
there's a sword in a rock there. You decide what could possibly

By the way, that's the worse thing to ever say, trust me! Karma
will run you ovah!!!!!!!!!!

Once you do this though, you have since awakened monsters, that
are ravaging different places, and in doing so have you hated by
the village that you would live in for removing the sword, and
ultimately kicked out of it. Now you are on your own, but on a
mission to save the world.

I could go on, but I'd rather not spoil anything in case people
have yet to play, see or let alone hear about this game.

I said before that there are three characters, and each of them
have their abilities and flair to them. You have the boy, a
warrior class, able to learn lots of different weapons.

There is the girl (who I call the white magic class) she is
useful for healing and defense. Then sprite, who uses black
magic, damaging magic onto foes.

You can play by yourself, and have the AI take control of the
other two characters. however you are really missing out on a lot
of fun when you don't have people to play this game with you.

The "menu" system really reminds me of how Dishonored has their
weapon/magic wheel menu. I love the whole circle menu in my
opinion, I find that it's faster and easier since you can really
move around in the wheel, vs a traditional menu.

Each magic and each weapon have a skill level attached to them,
the higher the skill, the better the item(s) magic spell(s)

For weapons, you can charge up a powerful attack, however please
keep in mind, that for each level that you can charge your attack,
it takes longer to charge it up. So a level 1 charge is nothing,
but a level 5, 6, y, etc. will take longer and leave your
vulnerable to an open attack.

The graphics in the game, while not as good as other games, feels
more inviting then the rest, it's something you hardly see
anymore, sans Ni No Kuni. I guess that doesn't surprise me, and
shouldn't surprise you, since some of Secret of mana's graphics
looks like they were (at least to me) hand drawn/painted. Which,
even if it wasn't and given the illusion of that, makes it really
more inviting to play a game like this. It makes me want to play a
game like that more since it shows how much they care, not only
about their games, but about their consumers as well.

The sounds and music fits the style of the game, but the sound
effects could have been a bit better. First things first, the
music describes the game perfectly, it really melds well with the locales that you are in, when you hear the music.

The sound effects on the other hand, while not bad, are not great either. They are in a sort of happy medium. Some of the sound effects get repetitively, and I really don't know why they didn't take a little bit more time to work on he sound effects, especially since it's on the SNES and there were many games with better effects.

In the end, this game deserves all the credit that it gets and more. Well it should get more since I believe it was translated in a little bit more than a month, and they did a great job in doing so.

I highly recommend this game to people who want to enjoy a nice adventure with either nobody, or with up to two of your friends.

I give this game a 9.8 out of 10

I really feel that the sound effects, being so limited and that there are quite a few dry spots in the story (ones that I won't spoil for you :P) hurt this game from a perfect score.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


I also called this my Swine Flu Deck.

Before I continue I need to tell you that this deck is easily $120.00+ SO keep that in mind. I will offer some budget varients as well (mainly the ones I used)

Pox is a special card, it can do magically things, like take a third of people's life, cards in hand, creatures in play, and lands in play (rounded down) for 3 black mana.

This effects you too, some remember a Pox deck can help you but if your not careful it can also hurt you too!

Also side note, please use a calculator, you might be good with math, (I can figure out 1/3 loss rounded down), but some poeple I faced couldn't so I used a calculator to make sure that there is no confusion when running this deck.

First let me start of by saying that there are many different types of Pox decks, and many different color schemes that you could go with.

I.e. Crucible Pox (By far my favorite and the one I used) Contamination Pox (Great Pox varient, but I could never see how it could outlast the crucible pox) Mono Black, Black/White, Black/Green Pox.

I preferr Mono Black Pox since it's the easiest and in my opinion the deadliest since you should always have something to do with a Mono Black Pox and don't have to wait for the perfect land to come along.

I kept going with a decklist but then I remembered this link:

That link is to the Pox Primer on mtgsalvations, you will find a whole hosts of cards that can be used in decks, and if you click on one of the card links, you will even see what the prices for those cards are.

I would recommend making a Pox deck, but starting off with a budget version, maybe have one Crucible and then slowly build it up to 2 or three.

False Hope Deck

Well this deck has been know my many names, False Hope, False Promiss, and (mystery)

The name is not mystery, but it will be revealed once I tell you the trump card of this deck.

False Hope starts off by giving your opponent a false sense of security, mostly because this deck wants your opponent to gain life.

Yes you heard me, with this deck you could gain life but the ultimate idea of this deck is so you force your opponent(s) to gain life.

Why you ask? Elementary dear Watson!

First however, let's go through the decklist rundown:

Lands 18:

4x Plains
2x Secluded Steppe
6x Swamp
6x Forest

White 8:

3x Life Burst
3x Wall of Shards
2x Beacon of Immortality

Black 12:

4x False Cure (The kill card of thi deck)
4x Shred Memory
2x Needlebite Trap
2x Sign in Blood

Green 14:

4x Skyshroud Cutter
4x Reverent Silence
4x Invigorate
2x Regrowth

Multicolored 6:

3x Mortify
3x Watchwolf

Artifact 2:

2x Isochron Scepter

THe main kill of this deck is False Cure. False Cure states:

"Until end of turn, whenever a player gains life, that player loses 2 life for each one life gained."

This means if you gain 4 life, you gain 4 life then lose 8 life.

Or Instead of gaining X life, you lose X life instead.

The best thing about this deck, is that False Cure stacks.

Meaning if you have two False Cure's active (it is in instant) for each 1 point of life a player gains, that player loses 3 life.

3 False Cure = 1 point of life gained, player x loses 5 life.
4 False Cure = 1 point of life gained, player x loses 7 life.

It's a very powerful card, if you can play it right, and that's where this deck comes into play.

There are many cards in this deck that can make a person gain life, even cards that you don't have to pay a mana cost for.

These cards are the following:

Skyshroud Cutter - If you gain a forest (Forest card in play) you may have each other player gain 5 life instead of playing Skyshroud's Mana Cost. 2/2 Creature.

Reverent Silence - If you control a forest, you may have each other player gain 6 life instead of paying Reverent Silence's Mana Cost. Destroy all Enchantments.

Invigorate - If you control a forest, you may have an opponent gain 3 life instead of paying Invigorate's Mana Cost. Target Creature get's +4/+4 until end of turn.

Those few cards are really helpful with killing anybody. Especially the first two since they make all other opponents gain life.

One thing to note, you can use Reverent Silnce, and Invigorate even if there are no cards in play that they can target. This is because the card is played, then you look for a target(s). So if there are no enchantments in play, reverent silnce will still trigger, but since nothing in play is elligble to be destroy, nothing is done. The card is still played, it just has no effect.

The best way to run this deck is as follows:

Play Isochron Scepter (2 of any mana) when it comes into play remove an Instant card with CMC (Converted mana cost) of 2 or less in your hand from the game. The removed card is imprinted onto Isochron Scepter.

Tap 2 of any mana, tap Isochron Scepter. You may copy the imprinted card and play the copy without paying it's mana cost.

I know this sounds stupid since your still paying 2, but think again. YOu can play 2 of anything. SO if you have more plains then swamp and you imprinted False Cure (2 Black mana cost instant) you can save those black mana for something else more useful.

The ultimate combo of this deck is Beacon of Immortality + False Cure.

This is a one-hit kill combo. Beacon of Immortality (5 Generic 1 White mana) Double target player's life total. Shuffle Beacon of Immortality into it's owner's library.

That is an instant kill combo, because even if they try to do anything (like a counter) you still have plenty of ways to kill them.

Most of my matchups with this deck are very positive with Beacon since they are trying to counter false cure or other cards, and ultimatly wasting counters on essentially decoys in the grand scheme of this deck.

This is a very good "Controlish" deck since you are controlling life points.

Gaea's Blessing Deck

This is my version, I will add budget versions of the more expensive cards in it.

Lands 17:

6x Plains
4x Island
2x Forest
4x Tropical Island - can be replaced for more forest and island
1x Seaside Citadel

White 6:

4x Wrath of God
2x Island Sanctuary

Blue 24:

4x Ponder
4x Sage Owl
4x Counterspell
4x Fact or Fiction
4x Force of Will
2x Dreamborn Muse
1x Frozen Aether
1x Jace, The Mind Sculptor

Green 3:

2x Gaea's Blessing
1x Azusa, Lost But Seeking

Artifacts 10:

4x Howling Mine - Great for getting your cards faster
4x Mesmeric Orb - THE KILL CARD
1x Crucible of Worlds
1x Chrome Mox

Tropical Island - can be replaced for more forest and island

Wrath of God - Helpful against creature heavy decks

Island Sanctuary - great against non flyers/non insland walk creatures, has helped me more times than I can count!

Sage Owl - Goes great with Jace, The Mind Sculptor

Fact or Fiction - Perfect for Gaea's Blessing

Force of Will - Perfect card for this deck, can be replaced by daze or another counter card, like mana leak

Jace, The Mind Sculptor - Excellent card, can look at the top card of your opponent's library and put it on the bottom for +2, can get a free brainstorm for 0, for -1 return target creature card to owner's hand, and for -12 can exile all cards from target players library and turn their hand into their library. This is an expensive card, but it's so freaking worth it!

Dreamborn Muse - Part one of the three part milling machine, for each card in a persons hand at the beginning of their upkeep. The take a card from their library and it goes into their graveyard. SO if they have 7 cards in their hand, then 7 cards go from their library into the graveyard.

Gaea's Blessing - The meat and potatoes of this deck, for one colorless and one green you can Shuffle up to three cards (you can still use this if target players graveyard has no cards in it, since it says up to) in a target player's graveyard, into their library and draw a card. What seperatres this card though is this:

If Gaea's Blessing is put into your graveyard from your library (milling, Fact or Fiction, etc) shuffle your graveyard into your library.

So you get milled and your opponent(s) and you come out fine.

Fact or Fiction is perfect for this because you reveal the top 5 cards of your library, target person makes 2 piles from those cards. You take one pile and put it into your hand, and the other goes into your graveyard. Since Fact or Fiction is not making you draw, but reveal and then put into your graveyard, if Gaea's Blessing is in one of those piles then GB triggers and you get to shuffle.

Any card that makes you look at or reveal (not draw) and put at least one card in your GY, then Gaea's Blessing's ability will trigger.

Azusa, Lost But Seeking - Legendary creature that lets you play two additional lands on each of your turns, so if you had three lands in your hand, you can play all three as long as that creature is out!

Mesmeric Orb - Is really the kill card. When it's out, whenever anyone untaps a permenant (for whatever reason, even during the untap step) that person puts a card from their library into their graveyard. Yep, for each card. So if they tapped four mana, then when they untap, they have to mill four cards.

This effect stacks, for each Orb in play, so four orbs, four mana = 16 cards going buh-bye.

Crucible of Worlds and Chrome Mox, are only there as insurance. Chrome Mox is useless later in the game since everything you have will go from GY to your library and if it comes out later then it's useless. Same for Curcible of Worlds, however foreach land in your graveyard (with Azusa out) you can play three lands so one in hand and two from GY. Again if it doesn't come out until later, then it is of no realy use.

Retro Tuesday Postponed for today

Hijacking my own blog to put up some magic the gathering decks for someone on playfire.

WIll add review tomorrow.