Nathaniel Buck's portfolio


Review - Eternal Sonata

"Great for a JRPG, but..."

Paris, 1849: Frederic Chopin lies on his death bed, comatose. While his family anxiously hopes for his recovery, in his mind he is searching for a truth.

Tenuto Village: A girl named Polka sets forth to the capital city to discover the reason for a tax on floral powder, a medicine that she and her mother sell. She is to die soon; an illness will ravage her body, with the upside of granting healing magic, but most everyone she meets will keep their distance... (read more)

Article - "First XCOM and now Fire Emblem: Hard mode should not be luck mode"

I consider myself a big fan of turn-based strategy games. I haven’t logged as many hundreds of hours (or even dozens of hours) in Civilization as some, and there are key franchises I haven’t even touched yet, but I loved the recent XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Fire Emblem: Awakening.
Until I beat them and tried the higher difficulty levels, that is... (read more)

Article - "Linear Storytelling: Why Pokemon beats Assassin's Creed"

I have never before played a game as heavily as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon. I was totally addicted until I beat the main storyline, which conveniently was only about 12 hours long.
So, I started considering what the draw was. I knew the gameplay was nothing special, and since I didn’t care too much to play the post-story missions, I thought that it must’ve been the story, or, at least, something about the presentation... (read more)

Article - "Peta vs. Pokemon: It's not very effective"

If you haven't heard, Pokémon Black & Blue (hereafter PB&B) is a parody game that PETA released to coincide with the launch of Black 2 and White 2 last weekend. The player controls several abused Pokémon in battle against their former masters with equal parts civil disobedience and over-the-top comic violence. Offensive, ignorant, and ill-conceived, this mockery of a game is a half-hearted attempt to portray Pokémon as something that it absolutely is not... (read more)

Review - Pokemon Conquest

"It's such a great idea, I just don't know how it turned out this poorly"

Pokemon Conquest is great on paper: a reimagining of Pokemon battling as turn-based tactics/strategy with a feudal Japanese flair drawn from the Nobunaga's Ambition franchise. Each Pokemon has a signature move from the Pokemon games, with different areas of effect on the combat grid, and as Pokemon and warriors (trainers) battle and grow together, they both evolve and gain new abilities. The player begins with just two warriors in one of seventeen nations (one for each type) but can recruit new warriors by impressing them in combat with a swift defeat or a super-effective attack, and warriors can link with (capture) wild Pokemon that match their preferred types, each with one or two species that s/he can form the strongest link with. Unfortunately, the execution of even these core concepts falters at many times throughout the game... (read more)

Review - Valkyria Chronicles

"I want to love this game, but it just won't let me."

Valkyria Chronicles is really a gem of a game, a rarity, a unique melding of turn-based strategy and third-person shooter with appealing art direction. It has everything it needs to be great, and for a majority of the game, it really is. It seems to play well, and the story has some potential. However, "seems" and "potential" are about as far as it gets; for everything V.C. does right, it finds something innocuous to draw attention away from or outright negate it, and all that's left at the end is a desire to play the game that it should have been... (read more)

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