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A Game with a Great Look

Vanity: Satan’s Wish. This game is definitely quite different from other games. While its story and gamplay are relatively strong, the cutscenes are done via pictures and backgrounds, giving an interesting feel in a different perspective.

Gameplay: 3. Battles were mostly balanced; puzzles were scarce, although bosses were difficult.

I thought battles were balanced, in a way. They were fun, what with different elements than just those based on nature found in most other games. I also liked how you wrote each enemies name as a status effect to sort of “beat” the DBS; that was creative. Although, in the battles, what I happened to notice was that skills were practically one hit kills, while attacks took several hits? This was interesting as the amount of MP you had was relatively low, making you choose wisely when to use your skills. Although otherwise battles took much longer. I think it would be good if maybe you increased the strength of attacks a bit? Not just for that reason, but also because I thought some of the monster’s attack were kind of really high. I was facing one enemy, and he cast a spell that did 170 damage to a character that had 190 health max. I had just gotten the character and wasn’t really “getting ahead” of myself. Maybe he was weak against that element, which probably is the case, but that much damage? Also, those multi person attacks are killer man. Like the enemy Tuggler, he has an attack that damages all allies. That’s kind of brutal, what also with the low amount of those drinks; of course I guess I could have just gotten the better ones…

Also, the boss battles seemed relatively hard. Maybe it was because you need to level up a bit or something, but I don’t know. The first boss I ran out of healing items on. Do you think maybe you could put a shop in the mansion somewhere? The first boss was pretty tough, but I think I could have beaten him with more healing items. Although the second and third bosses after that, Cerberus and those people of Azazel, they were too hard. Cerberus hits too frequently and you can’t heal enough to prepare for his next attacks. Like said previously, that multi attack he does is powerful. Maybe I’m going about the battle, wrong, but I don’t know. Oh also, I think you should watch the pricing on those “really rare” items. I thought money was very well balanced in the game, until I found a “mark of truth”. Seeing how it wasn’t really worth keeping, I sold it, and I never needed money again. So, uh I think you need to do something about that.

The puzzles were rather scarce and somewhat easy, I think the only one before the azazel followers battle there was only the one puzzle with the dead people, and that was pretty easy. Well, in mind anyway. In truth I think it was bugged. It said I had to list the numbers by their associated dates in order from youngest to oldest, which I did. But the door was still locked. I probably just did it wrong or something, but I even hit f9 and looked at the four numbers held in the variables; I entered those and still got the wrong answer. So I just opened the game up and edited that part, sowwy. But uh yeah, I think the game could use a few more puzzles. The dungeons were basically just about getting to the end and or exploring while fighting battles, which could be ignored.

Graphics and Mapping: 3. Most graphics, obviously the pictures and backgrounds during the cutscenes, seem non RTP and give a better feel.

Some maps were decently decorated, while others seemed rather plain. I think the city in the beginning is fairly enough decorated, it is a city after-all, there isn’t much you can put in it to decorate it. Although the monster areas seemed kind of sparsely decorated. The mansion, under the hermit’s house, and that dungeon with the dead bodies seemed a tad empty. Maybe you could add in a few things? Like maybe for the dungeon, shackles on the walls or something. Also, some things were very hard to notice; especially if it was something you needed to do. For example, when I was coming back out of the hermit’s house, I couldn’t find the door. Can you please give a little to mark or notice as to where the door is? I had to try every square, and I think something as obvious as a door should be… uh more obvious.

Another issue I had was getting to the Hermit’s house. I noticed I was only able to leave the city through one way, so that had to be the way to go. I noticed then I was on a long road, so I thought yeah just follow that. Apparently it turns out to be the wrong way, so I had to find elsewhere. But it was just a road, where was I supposed to go? Eventually I saw this little nick on the rail on the south part of the road and hit enter on it… uh yeah. Not very obvious; maybe that was the intention, but that’s kind of… dumb a little bit. No one’s going to notice this small indent more or else try and examine it. After jumping the railing, then I had problems finding where the transition to the next map was. So I just walked on every square on the edge of the map… Please add a road or something we could look at, and make the railing thing more obvious or something please.

Despite the lack of puzzles, in the least I think the maps could be bigger. If you don’t have a lot of puzzles, then maybe you can make the maps more explore worthy with more choices as to where to go etc. But if you do that, also try to put in some sort of way to know where you are. In big maps it’s easy to get lost… sort of like in the city in the beginning. It’s hard to know which building is what (although I like the swords on hawk’s place and the blue symbols on the hospitals) and its easy to get lost since the map is big. It would be nice if you put in some sort of help or navigation, like sign posts or something like that.

The NPC’s seemed custom, and they were interesting to look at. I saw some repeats, I typically have an issue with that, but I understand the difficulty in making and or finding charactersets. Also uh… what’s with the FF7 cameos? I see Cloud and Yuffie, maybe there’s more. Uh, since I know them right off the bat when I see them, that kind of kills the mood of the game. I’m fine with you leaving them in there just for NPC’s, but it would bother some people at first glance. Oh also, in the hermit’s house, in the dungeon area, the chests don’t seem to actually “open”. They stay closed even after examining them. That kind of makes it difficult to explore, and can be misleading. Maybe you can replace the chest and or make them open up?

Although I had quite a few issues with the graphics and mapping as stated, I just wanted to express the really good aspect you had with the cutscenes. Obviously most the pictures and backgrounds you used were taken from other places/media (I’m fine with that) but this really adds atmosphere and makes cutscenes just oh so more interesting. While it can be hard to add animation or facial expression and the like to a characterset, this method makes the chore so much easier and so much more effective. I think this is the game’s most prominent and effective feature, and it really makes the game unique in itself, which I think should be the goal of every game, and is, complete epic win.

Music and Sounds: 5. The music and sounds fit well.

The music was a little low in terms of volume, and some of the sounds seem really loud, but I thought they were appropriate. Each piece caught the feel of the scene, and added to the atmosphere. Although I didn’t hear a lot of sounds I don’t think. But then again I don’t think there were many other places you could have actually used more; you had clicks for opening doors, sounds during cutscenes etc. I think maybe you could add a sound effect for chests, but not sure what else. Regardless, I don’t have much else to say here other than most the music also sounds custom, and is well used.

Atmosphere and Setting: 4. The game is captured quite perfectly in atmosphere, and a decent amount of setting info was given.

As said before, most of the atmosphere comes from the cutscenes which occur when entering buildings and what not. The background and facial images etc help build the atmosphere. The game seems to have a “mystical” sense about it, since Marcus has these “powers” and weird things are going on. When scenes change and a drastic change in atmosphere happens, it occurs in a flowing manner, mostly with the help of the cutscenes, yet again. An example would be when the girl gets kidnapped, and they go out into the street to try and find her. The image of the street gives a sort “large open” feel accompanied with the severity of the girl’s lost-ness. Almost like a sort of hopeless feel… but then Rusty comes to help you etc. I thought it was really great.

There is some info about the setting that was told I believe. Through the NPC’s mostly, like information about how demon’s existence is known, and how both races try to exist together, but there is obvious racism and problems etc. I thought that was quite interesting. Although, I don’t think a lot of information about the world was given. I think a little history and back-story about the world and or the environments you enter would help give the player insight, and realize just what kind of world he’s in, and what he can expect of the people.

Story: 5. The story was really interesting, and the characters showed personality.

The story has quite a lot of foreshadowing, obviously a lot of things/high degree things are going to happen, but things are progressing slowly. What exactly Marcus’s powers are, and who that women talking to Marcus was are still somewhat a mystery and will be revealed soon enough. The story basically has a lot of its questions answered in the demo, and it seems the main plot is already determined, and things will seem very straight forward from that point. Though, I don’t know what the story intends to do, so maybe it won’t be straight forward…

Each character seemed to display their own personality; some more than others. I thought this was really good, because character personality, connections, change etc are a big role in terms of the story and how characters develop. And character development is something everyone looks at. (or at least should look at) Characters that ask why and think about their feelings and wonder about all possibilities, instead of blindly saying “yes I’ll charge into that cave and kill the evil dragon” are more interesting, more realistic. Marcus seemed like a very casual person, a person of the real world. His unusual methods of swearing add to his personality. “Shiiiiit I’ll take the free room.” It adds to the fact that he’s just another common person where something strange happens to him; quite nice. The girl seems quite focused and doesn’t like to “beat around the bush”. She seems quite determined to find out things of what her husband was doing, and despite her hatred for him, still has this respect. The other characters indeed showed personality but I won’t talk of all of them.

One thing I noticed that was odd or inconsistent was the scene in the second city where you meet Rusty telling you to beware and leave the city, and that “one of them was coming now”. I didn’t understand that scene, because the next time you meet him, he tells you the situation right when something bad happened. I don’t understand why he couldn’t explain the situation during the first time he meets with the party. Maybe it was because he didn’t want to become a “target”, but still I thought that was kind of odd.

What I liked: I really the unique way cutscenes were done, as well as the unique skills in battle. (and battle animations)

Closing Statements: I think Vanity Satan’s Wish just has these things that need fixing, they won’t take a lot of time, but otherwise the game’s uniqueness is in its cutscenes, and makes it a great game regardless even of the gameplay.