If you’ve already read my Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow review, this is just a video version of that review, with a minute and a half-long skit tacked onto the front. The skit was recorded for the hell of it and I thought the best way not to let it go to waste would be to actually integrate it with a video review. I want to get back into video reviews, but this is just a bit of testing the waters.
Is Aria of Sorrow an action-RPG? It has a leveling system, plus a plethora weapons and armor which effect the player’s stats. The core mechanics are similar to games like Dark Souls, only much less complex or interesting. It’s more RPG than The Legend of Zelda, which I’ve covered in this series as well, so I’m including it.
The other day I tried to play Circle of the Moon and found it wrought with poor design choices, so I skipped to its better-received sibling, Aria of Sorrow—the third and final Castlevania game released on the GBA. Aria of Sorrow usually ranks in the top ten on lists of the best GBA games of all time, and has universally positive reviews. Some consider it to be one of the best games in the Castlevania franchise.
This might be a weird way to start an analysis, but I need to get it off my chest: Mass Effect is too short. My playthrough clocked in at around twenty-one hours, and I did somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of all the side quests. I’m starting with this because twelve hours into the game, I was ready to consider Mass Effect as one of the few games that I can truly call favorites (alongside Dark Souls, Tera Online, and Super Meat Boy). However, the game ended so abruptly that it left me wanting more, to where I think I’ll need to play the other Mass Effect games before I’ll be able to call them a favorite as a whole.
I’ll dissect a bunch of the game’s strengths and weaknesses in a bit, but before that, I want to briefly summarize my playthrough, which has a lot to show for what I felt about the game’s pacing.
What I’m referring to should be an obvious fact: that everyone’s experience of a game is different. This is a given, since everyone brings their own taste to the table and plays under different conditions—but with video games, there can be a lot more to it than that.
Note: this review doesn’t completely fall in with what I said in my last post, because I wrote it before I wrote that one. This post was written to be a video, and I had all the footage collected and shit, but then I cancelled the videos altogether (for now). I haven’t had time to play and review another ARPG though, between consuming a fuckload of editorials/reviews and playing awesome indie platformers.
On that note, I said in my last post that I haven’t found anyone doing heavy-duty analysis of individual games on a regular basis. Well, now I have. Errant Signal is an amazing blog with some excellent and lengthy videos, many of which analyze individual games. Unfortunately, it’s almost all games which I haven’t played, since like just about every other game’s journalist, he focuses on AAA games and indie games intermittently. As you may gather from my posts, I focus strangely on A/AA games and genre titles.
Anyway, here’s my review of Swordcraft Story.
Had I played Summon Night: Swordcraft Story when I was thirteen or fourteen, I’m sure it would’ve been among my favorite games. Back then I played more Game Boy Advanced than any other console. I was really into shounen anime and JRPGs, and would’ve loved a game that I could beat in just over ten or eleven hours, instead of the longer Gamecube and PS2 RPGs that could never hold my attention through to the end.
Even though I’ve never played a Summon Night game before this one, Swordcraft Story gives me a faint sense of nostalgia. I wasn’t a gamer in the Super Nintendo era, but I played a hell of a lot of Game Boy Advanced, and even though the graphical qualities of both systems are similar, there’s a huge difference in the atmosphere of RPGs for those consoles. GBA games tend to be brighter, lighter, and somehow more innocent and easy. Whereas Super Nintendo games appealed to a generation of gamers who dedicated countless hours in front of the TV playing their favorite games, GBA games were more about carrying a game around that you could snap on, play for twenty minutes, snap off, and continue your day.