Forums - Nintendo Discussion - A Biased Review Reloaded - Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in Review One Year Later

A Brief Introduction to A Biased Review Reloaded

A Biased Review originally started as a casual affair in response to a review series called An Unbiased Review, so its setup ended up being similar when it turned into an actual series as well. I've written over 70 reviews in less than four years, but the whole thing became more and more disjointed and less passionate as time went on. Most notably, the database thread stopped getting updated despite new reviews being posted. But the layout of the reviews themselves as well as the scoring stopped being satisfactory to me, so I was waiting for a good opportunity to reboot the whole thing for good. That's where A Biased Review Reloaded enters the picture as a new generation begins. All reviews and all discussion in a single thread. The second post of this thread will include direct links to all reviews as well as an explanation of the review process. You can request games to review, including ones that were already reviewed under A Biased Review.

Important Note on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The game has turned one year old recently, so it was re-evaluated to determine if its score of 9 should be upgraded to a 10. Additionally, a DLC review has been added. You can read all of it, including the original review, here: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8350387

Most Recent Review - Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS)

Perfect Chronology is a remake of the DS game Radiant Historia that didn't make its way to Europe back in the day. The most notable addition are Possible Histories that address unanswered questions from the original release. The world of Radiant Historia suffers from desertification which turns the land and even people into sand. Stocke, the protagonist, receives the White Chronicle from his boss and mentor early in the game. It turns out that said book allows its owner to return to pivotal moments in history where decisions can be reconsidered and consequently lead to different outcomes. The game simplifies this concept to two main timelines, the Standard History and the Alternate History. Any additional branches in these two timelines are covered in game overs that are explained in under a minute.

The catch is that the timelines do affect each other for some reason, so changes in one timeline can carry over to the other one. Radiant Historia repeatedly throws roadblocks at the player, so it isn't possible to play through one timeline altogether before switching to the other one. Progress is a repeated back and forth to unlock new abilities and equipment. Upon the start of your save file, you get asked if you want to play Possible Histories on the side or if you'd rather play through the original content first and then tackle the new content afterwards. I didn't play the DS game, but I picked the former option regardless. There were no notable spoilers this way and in hindsight it was definitely better to pick this option because the progress structure of Possible Histories is rather bland. What I liked overall is that Radiant Historia sticks with its premise of time, unlike Chrono Trigger which abandons it quickly to return to conventional JRPG story archs.

Radiant Historia's battle system is turn-based with a twist. Enemies are positioned on a 3x3 grid and can be pushed around to land on the same square, at which point single-target attacks hit multiple enemies. Furthermore, turn order of allies and enemies can be adjusted by the player to rack up combos and earn damage multipliers. For the best effect, you have to alternate between physical and magical attacks. While this has potential in theory, the execution is lacking. Stocke is locked into the party at all times, but that's okay because he is versatile. The same can't be said about the other six characters. Marco is the only other party member with a wide range of push skills while Raynie is the only one with access to all elemental magic. It's for this reason that Stocke, Raynie and Marco become more or less the default party throughout most of the game and that's hardly going to change when the other characters only receive 50% of the EXP values while they are on the bench.

The second drawback of the battle system is that it's not suited for grinding, because the auto-battle function doesn't do anything strategic while doing everything manually gets tiresome quickly. On top of that, the money ecosystem feels broken because everything is so expensive. I found myself skipping most weapons and armor, and still, it didn't get any better later on despite my efforts to save up. Equipment and stats are not that important on normal difficulty, but that's no excuse for the glaring lack of balance. This is another reason why I would recommend to enable Possible Histories right away, because the money from sidequests is generous and needed. Treasure chests also contain an absurd amount of money in comparison to what you can earn in battles.

Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is a game where I had to ponder if it's worth a score of 6 or 7. I usually choose the lower score in such situations and so far it has proven to be the better course of action when I look back at older reviews. I don't make an exception here, but I will remind my readers that a 6 is a positive score on my review scale, hence why it's green. This is a game that is definitely worth checking out for JRPG fans, especially those who put more emphasis on story, because that's the strong point of Radiant Historia.

Controls 10 There's never much to say about games of this kind.
It's a challenge to mess up their controls.
Gameplay   Turn-based JRPG with a battle system that doesn't fulfill its potential
due to imbalance of characters. Constant money shortages.
Story   Timelines play an essential role in the development of the story.
The cast of characters is likeable.
Single-player   The strength of the story keeps the motivation high
despite the shortcomings in the gameplay department.
Multiplayer   Not
available.
Graphics   Sprites wander through 3D environments. This game debuted
on the DS and it shows in an unimpressive manner.
Sound   No complaints about the music, but the screams
of certain enemies are of poor quality.
Value   Comfortably reaches the 30-40 hours range for completion
of the story, so expected standards are met.
Replay Value   There are higher difficulty settings, but this game gets
carried by its story and that doesn't help on a second playthrough.
Score 6 Radiant Historia has its ups and downs. It's a solid addition
to 3DS owners' collections, but by no means a must-play.
Last edited by RolStoppable - on 05 March 2018

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

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How Games Are Reviewed

I'll try to make five paragraphs the upper limit. Following the body of the review will be a table with a variety of categories that are graded with different colors. Here's what each color means:

Blue = Great
Green = Good
Yellow = Acceptable
Orange = Questionable
Red = Bad
White = No Grade

Here are descriptions for how each category is evaluated:

Controls 10 Are the controls intuitive and responsive?
Are there glaring problems?
Gameplay   Is it fun? Are gameplay systems thought through?
Are there original ideas or is everything derivative?
Story   Are the plot and writing good? How is it presented?
Setting, lore, world-building and atmosphere also factor into this.
Single-player   Quality of the single-player experience.
May mention additional gameplay notes.
Multiplayer   Quality of the multiplayer experience, including online if applicable.
May mention additional gameplay notes.
Graphics   Art style and technical execution.
Hardware capabilities are taken into account.
Sound   Do music and sound effects fit the game?
Is the soundtrack memorable?
Value   Content judgment on a quantity level.
How much game is there for the asking price?
Replay Value   How does the content hold up once you've gone through it?
Is it once and done, or is it replayable?
Score   The quality of the game summed up in a number ranging from 0-10.
The weight of the above aspects varies depending on the kind of game.

The score will be in full points from 0-10. Before I list what each score means, I want to note that there is a caveat for the highest available score: In order to suffocate any chance of getting manipulated by hype, games are not eligible for a 10 until they are at least one year old. This means that 9s must be evaluated again eventually. If I have no desire to do this, then it definitely means that the game wasn't deserving of a 10.

10 = Masterpiece
9 = Fantastic
8 = Great
7 = Good
6 = Decent
5 = Mediocre
4 = Questionable
3 = Bad
2 = Awful
1 = Abysmal
0 = Steaming

The 0 is an appropriate reference to Valve's store where Early Access is a real thing, just to give you an idea what type of game a 0 is on my review scale. Colors will apply to the scores as well and they'll be used as follows:

8-10 = Blue. This is the range for highly recommended games. Buying them at full price shouldn't be cause for regrets.
6-7 = Green. This is the range where you should think twice about buying at full price. You aren't missing out by skipping such games either, so if you have time constraints, you are better off by focusing on the blue range. If you have time though, there's nothing wrong with paying full price or at least a discounted price, because green still represents recommended games.
5 = Yellow. This should only be up for consideration if the game is on sale and fills the void of an underrepresented genre.
4 = Orange. Similar to yellow, but here you are already taking a really big gamble.
0-3 = Red. This is the range you should only dabble in if you have a liking for trash, i.e. you get enjoyment from experiencing how bad games can be.

How DLC Is Reviewed

DLC reviews will come with a shorter and simplified table because most aspects of any given game have already been covered in the table for the conventional review.

Value 10 Content judgment on a quantity level.
How much content is there for the asking price?
Worth it?   A short summary that explains if the DLC is a worthy addition
to the main game. No numerical score, only colors.

The color for the Value category follows the same logic as in the conventional review. The verdict (Worth it?) uses the following descriptions:

Blue = Highly Recommended (HR). If you liked the main game and want more, the DLC is essential.
Green = Recommended (R). The DLC ticks the right boxes, but not to the same degree as the Highly Recommended level.
Yellow = Think Twice (TT). Multiple flaws are present here, so read the full review text to determine if the DLC is worth buying.
Orange = Be Cautious (BC). This kind of DLC should only be considered when it's heavily discounted.
Red = Stay Away (SA). If that's the verdict, then the DLC isn't worth it under any circumstances.

List of Reviewed Games by System in Alphabetical Order

3DS

7th Dragon III: Code VFD - 6
Brave Dungeon (eShop) - 6
Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight - 9
Ever Oasis - 7
Metroid (Virtual Console) - 4
Metroid II: Return of Samus (Virtual Console) - 7
Metroid: Samus Returns - 6
Picross 3D: Round 2 - 9
Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology - 6
Resident Evil Revelations - 8
Xeodrifter (eShop) - 4

Game Boy Advance

Metroid Fusion - 9

GameCube

Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean - 8
Beyond Good & Evil - 7
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem - 6
F-Zero GX - 5
Killer7 - 6
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - 10
Pikmin - 7
Pikmin 2 - 7
Resident Evil 4 - 9
Skies of Arcadia Legends - 6
Star Fox Adventures - 7
Super Mario Sunshine - 8
Tomb Raider Legend - 6
Wave Race Blue Storm - 9

PlayStation 2

Resident Evil 4 - 8

PlayStation 4

Horizon Zero Dawn - 8
Resident Evil 7: biohazard - 7
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 6

Switch

Blaster Master Zero (eShop) - 6
Fire Emblem Warriors - 8
Golf Story (eShop) - 7
Implosion: Never Lose Hope (eShop) - 5
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - 9
-DLC: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - TT
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - 7
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas (eShop) - 6
Picross S (eShop) - 8
Piczle Lines DX (eShop) - 7
Snake Pass (eShop) - 3
SteamWorld Dig 2 (eShop) - 8
Super Mario Odyssey - 9
Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (eShop) - 4

Wii

DiRT 2 - 2
The Last Story - 5
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - 8
Metroid: Other M - 6
Metroid Prime Trilogy - 10 (10/10/10)
Pandora's Tower - 7
Paper Mario (Virtual Console) - 9
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition - 10
Super Metroid (Virtual Console) - 10
Tomb Raider Anniversary - 7
Tomb Raider Underworld - 2

Wii U

Darksiders: Warmastered Edition - 5
F-Zero (Virtual Console) - 8
F-Zero X (Virtual Console) - 8
Metroid: Zero Mission (Virtual Console) - 9
Mutant Mudds Super Challenge (eShop) - 6
Paper Mario: Color Splash - 6
Resident Evil Revelations - 5
Shantae: Half Genie Hero (eShop) - 7
Wave Race 64 (Virtual Console) - 8

Last edited by RolStoppable - on 05 March 2018

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

Despite being a return to Zelda's roots of an open world action RPG, Breath of the Wild is commonly called a departure for the series. This shows how far off the path Zelda had strayed before returning to form with its latest installment. The game starts with a tutorial area that doesn't feel like a tutorial and is big enough to easily spend a couple of hours or more to get accustomed to the controls and mechanics. What becomes quickly apparent is that the developers have no intentions to funnel the player through a predetermined path, but pretty much every problem you face can be solved in multiple ways. This includes the puzzles found in most of the 120 shrines scattered across this tremendous incarnation of Hyrule. But it would be wrong to call the puzzles broken when they were meant to be circumvented by creative thinking outside the box.

Likewise, where you go after the initial area is completely up to you. If you want, you can go to Hyrule Castle and face the final boss Ganon right away. But Hyrule Castle is a truly threatening place. That is, if you even make it there, because you'll encounter plenty of enemies that can one-shot you. When a new hard mode was announced as DLC before the game's release, it was still unknown whether or not the base game would have difficulty options. It can be confirmed that it doesn't have a hard mode out of the box. But that doesn't matter, because Breath of the Wild teaches you respect quickly. It's no understatement to say that even Zelda veterans will accumulate more game overs in Breath of the Wild than in all previous 3D Zelda games combined. Nobody is going to ask for a hard mode for their first playthrough, because players are going to get beaten to death in no time.

Hyrule Castle is absolutely intense, it's something that hasn't been present in Zelda in a long time. Breath of the Wild's emergent gameplay, world and final dungeon leave such a strong impression on players that it gets completely overlooked that Hyrule Castle is actually the only dungeon in the entire game. Breath of the Wild is so wonderful that an otherwise such glaring shortcoming doesn't even matter. What makes games great are interesting choices, and this Zelda gives players so much freedom that they can go in any direction and discover nice things. Time flies while playing this game and none of it seems wasted, because progress can be made anywhere you go. In addition to the 120 shrines and four titans (which are elaborate puzzles, not dungeons), there are 900 hidden korok seeds (used to expand your inventory) and hundreds of treasure chests with supplies like arrows, gems and rupees. There's a lot of use for money this time around, because there are so many different armor sets with individual perks.

Breath of the Wild is pretty much the anti-thesis of Skyward Sword. Whereas the Wii game had long cutscenes and talkative NPCs, the Wii U/Switch release makes the majority of the story completely optional and only focuses on the most important events in its few cutscenes. While characters are only depicted for a few brief minutes, they still manage to become likeable and relatable. It's the art of telling a story with hundred words instead of tenthousand. The real story are the player's actions and it's not even defeating Ganon that feels like the ultimate goal, rather it's the journey itself. Players have become so used to beating a game as the reward that they've forgotten how fun games can be regardless of if they are finished or not. This is why Breath of the Wild got bombarded with perfect scores, because its premise is "you, the player, are great" instead of the all too common "look how awesome we developers are."

Yet despite doing so many great things, there are still plenty of opportunities where the next Zelda could be improved. There's no need for the world to get bigger; a sequel needs dungeons to provide more of that high intensity that is found in Hyrule Castle. The framerate of Breath of the Wild has too many dips to be excusable, although it is stable for the vast majority of the time. There could and probably should be more music. While it's nice that only half of the korok seeds need to be collected to max out your inventory space, it also means that the rest are only good to drive up a completion percentage (unless it turns out that there is an amazing award for finding all of them). The minigames are fun, but most of them do not net any rewards other than rupees. The replay value isn't going to be the same as for previous games; the classic top-down games can be played through in a weekend, but Breath of the Wild demands a lot more time.

Controls 10 Loaded with functionality, but no problem to get used to them.
No separate options for aiming and camera controls.
Gameplay   Fight and defeat enemies to get better equipment.
Explore the world to upgrade your stats.
Story   Cutscenes are only used for meaningful events and tell
everything the player needs to know.
Single-player   Epic open world game that truly allows players to do what
they want, including facing the final boss at any time.
Multiplayer   Not
available.
Graphics   Excellent artstyle. Rather common framerate dips in docked
mode, notable draw-in and pop-ups in both modes.
Sound   Sparse use of music in the wild where players will spend most
of their time. Dramatic music in key sequences.
Value   The main quest will last most players anywhere between
40-80 hours, but there's stuff to do for well over 100.
Replay Value   Players can try to beat Ganon sooner, but the game is so
huge that it demands much more time than previous Zeldas.
Score 9 A big step in the right direction for the Zelda series, but as
great as BotW is, there's room for plenty of improvements.

 

Downloadable Content

DLC for the Breath of the Wild is only available as a complete package. For €20/S20 you get a variety of things. There is a bunch of new armor pieces, although none of them turn out to be particularly useful. Most notable is the Korok Mask which reacts to hidden Koroks nearby, but its range is so limited that it hardly matters.

Master difficulty has its own save file and replaces each enemy tier with the next-highest one. This means that you won't find any red Bokblins and instead will be challenged by blue ones right from the start. Additionally, a golden tier is introduced and is unsurprisingly stronger than silver enemies. Furthermore, foes have self-regenerating health, so cowardly tactics don't work well anymore.

Trials of the Sword is separated into three parts with increasing difficulty. Each trial increases the base strength of the Master Sword by 10 points as well as its durability. It's the most challenging piece of DLC and it's annoying that there are no opportunities to save the game at any point during a trial. This is particularly damning during the final trial which is the longest one by far and can easily take two hours. The biggest catch is that you must start each trial without any equipment and items, so all you have at your disposal is what you can find along the way. Given how difficult this part of the DLC can be, its reward is rather disappointing despite actually being highly beneficial. Still, I would have liked the Master Sword's strength to go even higher and its durability to become unlimited, because when you beat all of these trials, nothing else will pose a challenge anymore anyway. Might as well enable a god mode of sorts.

The story DLC adds 16 shrines and a new "dungeon" and starts out with the forced use of a very powerful weapon that puts you at a quarter of a heart of health in return. That part wasn't fun and the rest of the DLC is already all about more difficulty. After the initial portion that features four shrines, the additional tasks are a more relaxed matter with a mixture of riddles and combat. The "dungeon" is alright, both in design as well as its boss. The cutscenes aren't exactly a revelation and pale in comparison with what is in the main game.

Overall, the DLC clearly underdelivered. On its own, that would be a bad thing, but looked at in full context, it can be forgiven because the main game clearly overdelivered. As such, I am not angry at it, but merely disappointed by it. I hoped there would be more on offer than such a strong focus on higher difficulty, but sadly there isn't. What bugs the completionist in me is that not even the DLC brings the heart/stamina container total to its max.

Value 10 Trials of the Sword and the additional story content amount to
~15 hours of gameplay. Also included in the DLC: Master difficulty.
Worth it?   Think Twice. The majority of the DLC offers higher difficulty, so if that's
not your thing, then you won't get much out of this.

 

Thoughts One Year Later

If you've read the explanation for my review procedure, you know that no game is eligible for a perfect score (10/10) until at least one year after its release, because I don't want to be influenced by hype. So now that one year has passed since the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's time to re-evaluate the game and the review that I wrote and then decide if an upgrade from a 9/10 to a 10/10 is justified.

I consider my review from one year ago quite accurate, both in its positives and negatives that I mentioned. Nintendo fixed the overworld of Zelda and that is a great thing, but the underworld (i.e. the dungeons) are still a construction site. A few people have called Breath of the Wild the best game ever, many have called it the best Zelda ever. I haven't agreed with either group at any point in time and I still don't. For me, Breath of the Wild is merely a foundation for something much greater that is possible to realize, because the shortage of dungeons alone already provides a lot of room for improvement in a future game. Therefore Breath of the Wild won't see a change to its score.

I don't think people will mind if the freedom of Breath of the Wild gets scaled back a bit in the next Zelda. That is, if the trade-off is more structure to the game's progress in difficulty. A Link to the Past is a masterpiece because it hits the right balance between overworld and underworld, and between freedom and linearity.

Last edited by RolStoppable - on 05 March 2018

Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Barring reading the complete review, your scoring system is interesting. I wouldn't recommend just a "decent" (6) game to anyone.

Carl is a Piplup hater and deserves to be punished eternally.

RolStoppable said:

The real story are the player's actions and it's not even defeating Ganon that feels like the ultimate goal, rather it's the journey itself. Players have become so used to beating a game as the reward that they've forgotten how fun games can be regardless of if they are finished or not. This is why Breath of the Wild got bombarded with perfect scores, because its premise is "you, the player, are great" instead of the all too common "look how awesome we developers are."

I agree with most of your points here, but this part in particular stood out. The journey is definitely where the game shines. It's not a game where I find myself plotting how soon I'll get to the end, every gaming session is a complete surprise and surpasses my wildest expectations.

I also must say that I love how the narrative was executed in this game. You pretty much can have as much story as you like, or as little. I honestly don't play enough games that feature story-telling like this, and I'd love to see it more often, particularly in this genre. Giving me control of how I advance through the world, only  to force me to listen to mandatory main quest events, definitely hinders that that feeling of complete control.

Anyways, excellent review, Rol. Hope to see this continue.



NNID: Zephyr25 / PSN: Zephyr--25 / Switch: SW-4450-3680-7334

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NintendoPie said:
Barring reading the complete review, your scoring system is interesting. I wouldn't recommend just a "decent" (6) game to anyone.

That's because the commonly used review scales have 7 as average and 6 is already bad territory (hence why 74 already constitutes yellow on Metacritic). Mediocre (=average) games get pushed so close to good games that there's barely any distinction anymore. Something's wrong when games that differ notably in quality have basically the same score.

When I did A Biased Review many people perceived me as being too harsh, but when I reflect on it, I consider more reviews as too generous than I do as too harsh.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

No mention of weapon durability? That deserves a trigger warning. Also, the reward for all 900 korok seeds is literally shit.



Bet with bluedawgs: I say Switch will outsell PS4 in 2018, he says PS4 will outsell Switch. He's now permabanned, but the bet will remain in my sig.

NNID: Slarvax - Steam: Slarvax - Friend Code:  SW 7885-0552-5988

Slarvax said:

No mention of weapon durability? That deserves a trigger warning. Also, the reward for all 900 korok seeds is literally shit.

I didn't mention the lack of a playable female character either. Why should I?



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Tagging for later, looks good :D

NintenDomination [2015/05/19 - 2017/07/02] 

              

 

 

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I wouldn't say the replay value for this game is lower than other Zeldas, in fact I'd say it's the highest of any Zelda game. Because it allows so much freedom, it can be a lot of fun to replay the game with different "rules" or ways to tackle things - as well as trying to beat it in a couple of hours after becoming used to the final bosses and stuff.

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Also, I made some music. It's really cool I think.