Shovel Knight Review

Digging it

Shovel Knight, for the most, has been widely acclaimed by both critics and fans alike, praising its nostalgic 8-Bit graphical approach and its heavy influence from NES games, specifically the Mega Man series and Super Mario Bros 3. Many have addressed their concerns on Shovel Knight’s clear grasp on nostalgia, and how it doesn’t necessarily provide anything new and primarily rides off of the nostalgia alone. As someone who grew up exclusively playing the original PlayStation and have never owned a NES or SNES, I can deliver a warranted slice of perspective. Shovel Knight is not revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, and most definitely rides off of nostalgia, but none of these are necessarily a bad thing. I, for one, am not playing the game with tinted goggles as I never grew up in the 8 and 16 bit era of gaming, so no nostalgic flashbacks to Mega Man or Castlevania will ever resonate in my obscure mind. Despite all of this, I am happy to report that I absolutely adore Shovel Knight and if I had played it during its original release last year, it would’ve made its mark on my top 10 games of 2014. Shovel Knight is exceptionally charming, wholeheartedly addicting, and reasonably challenging; its 8-bit art style and sound direction are undoubtedly nostalgic, but that doesn’t detract from its overall presentational quality. Regardless of its nostalgic factor, Shovel Knight is a lovely bite-sized experience that shouldn’t be missed.

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Bloodborne Review

Masochistic fun

This gem in particular is extremely hard for me to critique; Bloodborne is so massive in scope and presence that it’s almost too daunting for me to analytically approach it, but its unrelenting challenge and downright punishing nature deserves to be praised. Bloodborne will be marked down as one of the most challenging and rewarding video games of all time; it’s an idiosyncratic experience that will either make or break you. Bloodborne brutally tests the player’s insight and reflexes; with a deliberate lack of guidance, plenty of mistakes will be made and plenty of gruesome deaths will undoubtedly ensue, but it’s this “no risk, no reward” mentality that makes Bloodborne such an unbelievable experience. Despite the alluring appeal of its demented but gorgeous world, and viscerally strategic combat, understand that Bloodborne is not an experience for the faint of heart. It will continuously beat you to the ground, and once you feel stable and things are manageable, it will revert to beating you, again and again. The path of Bloodborne is not an easy one, but I implore you to stick with it, for your time and effort will be rewarded and its uplifting feeling of satisfying relief is a sensation like no other. Yes you will die a lot, and yes you will get frustrated consistently, but this experience is a trial of your patience and skill. Truly overcoming the insurmountable obstacles that are bosses, in and of itself, is a gratifying accomplishment. This is a game about learning from player error, overcoming the unfeasible odds, and continuously striving to live for just another minute. This is Bloodborne, and it’s bloody fantastic.

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A Sad Nintendo Completion List

I’ve been gaming since I was about 7 or 8. The very first video game console I ever owned was the GameBoy Color, rocking Pokemon Silver 24/7. Pokemon Silver is was got me hooked to this phenomenal medium and is still one of my favourite games of all time. I also loved playing Spyro the Dragon on the original PlayStation, my first home console. However I didn’t start my current, habitual gaming hobby until I was about 15, and that’s when I got my PlayStation 3 as a Chirstmas present. And for a long while, I primarily played my PS3, I didn’t own an Xbox 360 at the time and I never did end up grabbing a Wii. And that leaves me with a confession: my very first Nintendo home console was the Wii U. People find that statement to be quite a shocker, especially because of how much I love video games. I never owned an NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, or a Wii; I guess you can say I jumped on the Nintendo bandwagon fairly late. In addition to my Wii U, I also have a 3DS which I do love and wish I had more time to play. So I thought I’d share my sad list of completed Nintendo titles with you all and express my interest on the other titles, whether they be recent or classic, I wish to experience, and hopefully you more experienced gamers can suggest some of your favourite Nintendo titles that I forgetfully omitted!

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To the Stars and Beyond…

So it’s been a while since I posted any music, am I right? Well I’ve been fairly busy with school, catching up on some gaming, other writing endeavors, and just life in general. But I thought the time was right to break the hiatus. This next song is entitled “To the Stars and Beyond” and it’s probably the slowest song I have recorded by far and definitely one of my favourites. It’s a traditional love song but the added delay and chorus pedal compliment the guitar nicely, adding the exquisite spacey vibe that I love so much. I wrote this song for my girlfriend’s birthday, but it was written in two completely different sittings. The first half was written before we started dating, evoking a message of assurance and sustaining our fears. The second half was written a month after we started dating, a newer message of security, love, and promise is distinctly conveyed through the lyrics. Don’t know how you guys feel about love songs, I personally don’t like them very much but at times I do like a nice breather from the faster, upbeat tunes and love songs, if done correctly, can be extremely enjoyable. Now I do plan on eventually releasing an EP, and the three songs I have uploaded make up about half of the track listing, so here’s hoping that I’ll be able to finish! As always, the quality isn’t best but it gets the job done. Be sure to use headphones or some good speakers to get the best sound quality! Thanks 🙂

Ori and the Blind Forest Review

A painting in motion

Ori and the Blind Forest is gorgeous inside and out and is the best game I’ve played since 2013’s The Last of Us. Portraying a vibrant colour pallet, some would say that Ori and the Blind Forest may be an unperturbed experience for younger audiences, but its innovative save system and unrelenting challenge would prove them otherwise. Ori and the Blind Forest is a successful homage to the traditional, Metroidvania-esque action platformer; encompassing brilliant level design, breathtaking escape sequences, a forgotten sense of challenge that’s never too punishing or unforgiving, a sublime orchestral composition, and a simple, yet endearing coming-of-age story that will undoubtedly pull on your heartstrings. Ori and the Blind Forest is a near masterpiece, easily joining the ranks of my favourite games of all time and is currently the best title on the Xbox One. Moon Studios have crafted such a tranquil, vivacious world that could rightfully fit into the established Disney Universe and Ori himself is an adorable mascot that mirrors the charm and innocence of Simba. Ori and the Blind Forest is a beautiful, endearing experience and does so much right that what little it does wrong is overlooked effortlessly.

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