Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock

Platform: PC (Steam – 6.99€)
Other Platforms: PS3, Vita


Daleks are definitely the most aggressive and difficult enemy in the game.
Doctor Who….. A franchise that spans 50 years, with over 750 episodes, tons of books, a massive fanbase which, as of the last few years has grown ridiculously and an array of famous actors and writers. Making a videogame out of it sounds like a good idea. A bunch of cash is generated from sales and some new fans are brought aboard as well.
However, if there’s one thing the videogame industry has never exceled at, is making videogames based on movies and TV series. And I don’t know which is worse: if the fact that a big Hollywood movie nowadays implies a videogame counterpart, or the fact that those counterparts always feel like they were made using the last remnants of the movie budget, and on a Sunday afternoon.
DW:TEC, of course, is crippled by this cash-grabbing  mind-set and thus suffers considerably in most regards. But it does manage to get some things right. Let’s take a look.

Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey

Get a tight suit, add some silicone and voilá! Lame fanservice.
The plot here is simple at first. Something or someone is causing a temporal maelstrom, and it’s up to the Doctor to stop it from tearing up time and space. Well, in a way, it’s mostly up to the TARDIS, since the poor girl acts as a plug, keeping the many holes in the fabric of time closed. Consequently, the TARDIS becomes slightly omnipresent. “Slightly omnipresent?” Well, yeah, since there are several time rifts and she’s keeping them closed, she is wherever there are any of those, which is….in several places simultaneously. Needless to say, moving her isn’t such a good idea in these conditions, so the Doctor is forced to use several time corridors that seem to pop out of nowhere with an unsettling accuracy, both time and space-wise.
Just as expected of a mess of this nature, along the way, the Doctor will face all of the major enemies of the most recent seasons, Cybermen, Daleks, the Silence and so on, each chapter being dedicated to outsmarting and defeating each one of these. All of this of course, while you go on with your quest of saving the universe once again and still be home in time for dinner.


Waiting for the AI to do its job.
Soon enough, you will most likely run into problems. Due to the 2-player nature of the game, and due to the fact that when you’re playing single your companion is as AI, several puzzles involving both players quickly become frustrating. Sometimes the AI will take too long to do what it’s supposed to do, or sometimes it might get stuck, meaning it won’t do anything at all, forcing you to restart from the last checkpoint. There’s also the fact that the enemy AI seems weird, being completely unable to notice you as long as they don’t face you, but if they do they will detect you even if there’s a thick wall between you and them. Some controls aren’t intuitive at all, especially elevator controls: some require you to use the sonic screwdriver, some others require you to just push up or down and others require you to press the action button. This might seem minor, but an inconsistency of this kind becomes a major annoyance, since you will be riding a lot of elevators and platforms.
On the other side of things, we have the configurations. The video options menu won’t save your chose settings, so you are forced to use the default graphic profiles (Low, Medium or High), which is also annoying (changing the config file directly had no effect whatsoever), and frequently, you will notice popping textures.

(Relatively) High IQ 

The only thing to do inside the TARDIS....is to exit the TARDIS.

The puzzles are all pretty mediocre and easy even on the highest difficulty. The mind map puzzles were the most interesting idea out of all the challenges present here, but even those are easy to figure out. In here you have to correctly align an image in a circle by rotating its sections. In easy mode that’s literally all you need to do but in higher difficulties each section you rotate will simultaneously rotate other sections, each in a different manner, thus increasing the challenge. The platforming element is decent and for any Doctor Who fan, using the screwdriver to unlock doors and other shenanigans feels delicious. Too bad that is everything you will use in this game (besides River’s gun).

Still I can’t help but feel that this is quite a cheap cash-in. There was so much that could be done, and yet, we are left with a hollow game that consists in jumping across platforms, sneaking past enemies, and solving a few easy puzzles across the way. The collectibles don’t really add much to it, but at least there are several achievements for timed runs which will most likely make you do certain sections more than once. Good thing all sections are pretty small and can usually be done in under 10-12 mins each.

Another very disappointing point in this game is the TARDIS herself. How could such an important element of the whole DW universe be shoved aside and just used as a cheap way to have a simplified plot? Fiddling with the inside of the TARDIS would have been a dream for any DW fan, since there are endless possibilities as to what can be found inside (as seen in Season 7’s “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS”). The control room is so pretty and detailed, and yet it’s used for nothing. The ONLY thing you do inside the TARDIS in this game is…….walk out of it.


Despite all its flaws, the game manages to get some stuff right. The ability to point your sonic screwdriver and use it to mess up with stuff is pretty damn funny, and it's pretty cool to personally evade and defeat the Daleks in a post-apocalyptic London, while listening to Matt Smith's occasional witty one-liners. That being said, some stuff, like the overall looks of Dr. River Song were totally uncalled for and are just a petty fan-service attempt.
So, in conclusion, if you’re not a DW fan and you’re just looking for a platforming game…….don’t bother. There are so many better alternatives out there for you, and this one doesn't really stand out. If you’re a big DW fan like me, go ahead and give it a try, you might like it.


Final Fantasy XIII


Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Reviewed Platform: PS3
Game Modes: Single Player
RPVP: $19.99*
Release Date: March 9, 2010


Lightning on Gran Pulse, Cocoon is seen floating in the sky.
Final Fantasy XIII takes us to a universe where humans live in an artificial sphere called Cocoon that floats around a planet called Gran Pulse. Cocoon is ruled by the Sanctum, a theocratic government, and both Cocoon and Gran Pulse are controlled by the fal'Cie, entities of godlike power. These entities are able to mark humans as their servants, who become l'Cie, and give them a task that they must complete known as the Focus. If the l'Cie completes their Focus they turn to crystal, but if they are unable to do it in a certain amount of time then they become monsters called Cie'th. The problem is that they receive their Focus in the form of visions that must be interpreted.

One hundred years before the events of the game, a war called War of Transgression took place between both worlds where l'Cie from Gran Pulse attacked Cocoon and destroyed part of it, which had to be patched with materials lifted from Pulse. The citizens of Cocoon have since lived in fear of another invasion, fear that is used by the Sanctum to remain in power.

There are two main military forces in Cocoon overseen by the Sanctum, the Guardian Corps, responsible for keeping order in Cocoon, and PSICOM, responsible for dealing with any Pulse related threat. The fal'Cie have also given the humans advanced technology. There is also a form of magic which normally is only accessible to l'Cie, fal'Cie and various monsters but humans can also use a distilled chemical form of it. 


The purge exiles, being protected by NORA.
The game begins two of the main characters, Lightning and Sazh, being Purged (being sent to Gran Pulse) because they had been in contact with something from there. Lightning derails the train to arrive in the zone where a Pulse fal'Cie had been discovered around 13 days earlier, in an attempt to rescue her sister, Serah, that was turned into a l'Cie during that event.

Snow and his resistance group, NORA, try to rescue the Purge exiles but during that process several people are killed, including Hope's mother, which he witnesses, powerless, together with Vanille who was also to be purged. Meanwhile, Snow is trying to rescue Serah, his bride-to-be, from the fal'Cie.

Vanille encourages Hope to follow Snow to confront him about his mother's death and because of that they also end up inside the fal'Cie. They all meet up with Serah, who asks them to save Cocoon and then she turns into crystal, an indication that she completed her Focus.

In an attempt to save Serah from her current state Snow and Lightning go to the fal'Cie, followed by Sazh, Vanille and Hope. After a quick battle with them, they all turn into l'Cie, giving them the same Focus, and visions showing the monster called Ragnarok.

The game then continues with the characters trying to understand their Focus in an attempt to save themselves from their fate.

Gameplay and Difficulty

Ingame battle system.
The player is able to control any character(s) he wants (in some sections of the game that's not possible but in the majority it is). The controls feel fluid and easy to use but the camera can be annoying in closed spaces (almost the entire game is played in closed spaces) but it can be controlled easily with the right analog stick (there is the option to invert the camera control if desired). It isn't possible to jump which can be frustrating sometimes because the player has to find a marked position to be able to perform a sort of scripted jump, in order to navigate through certain areas (to jump over a bunch of boxes for example).

The maps are very linear and there isn't much to explore, at least not until the player reaches Gran Pulse, which can be explored freely. But most of the time the map is just a corridor or something similar. In Gran Pulse there are 64 side quests to do which involve killing a specific target. In Gran Pulse its also possible to ride Chocobos.

The player is able to level up a character in different roles, and in the end all roles become available to every character. The roles are: Sentinel (aka tank), Commando (melee fighter), Ravager (magic fighter), Medic (healing role), Synergist (a support role to enhance party status) and the Saboteur (this one specializes in inflicting negative status effects to enemies).

Paradigm shift.
The battle system is similar to the ATB system used in other entries like FFIX, but the player only controls one character and there is a feature called 'Paradigm Shift', where the player can quickly change the role of each party member. The party is composed of a maximum of three characters and there is a limit of six different paradigms that the player can set up to use in battle. The paradigms are a set of roles for each party member and activating that particular paradigm in battle will change each character's active role accordingly.

The game itself isn't very difficult if the player uses the Paradigm Shift feature well. The system is very easy to learn and it doesn't take long to get used to it. Each character is able to unlock an Eidolon and use it in battle by summoning it.

It is quite hard to earn in-game currency because the battles do not give any. It can only be obtained from chests or by selling items. All the equipment in the game is upgradable and every character's ultimate weapon is obtainable by upgrading any weapon that they can use. Depending on the weapon upgraded the ultimate version may have different stats.


Chocobo riding in the open plains of Gran Pulse.
Well, in my opinion this is a good game, true its linear but that doesn't have to be something bad. Personally it isn't something that bothers me much. Although I do think that having "virtual" stores to buy/sell items in save points, practically no cities and almost nonexistent interactable NPCs is a shame, thankfully Square Enix addressed this in the sequel, FFXIII-2.

Other than that, the story can be a bit confusing if the player does not pay enough attention but its interesting and the ending is satisfactory (yeah I like endings where everything ends well, you can see my face when I finished FFXIII-2, but that's another review).

Some side quests where challenging (like the trials and the last one) which kept me from leaving the game after finishing it, so that's a plus, but the replay value is very low, mainly because the game's linearity and only one possible ending.

The Breakdown

Positive Aspects
Negative Aspects
Needs Improvement
  • Story and overall world.
  • Battle system and Paradigm Shift.
  • Side quests.
  • Lack of interactable NPC, including the virtual stores.
  • No actual cities.
  • It might be too linear.
  • A jumping skill would be great.
  • The replay value.

My Playing Statistics

Time Played: 121,5 hours
Trophies Unlocked: All
Difficulty played the most: Default

*RPVP based on GameStop retail price for PS3 (New)

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

So I just finished this game called Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and what a journey!

To start this review I have to start to talk about the soundtrack. It is beautiful, the whole soundtrack is based on a few basic melodies, which could make the soundtrack sound repetitive, but that's the thing, it doesn't. The melodies fit so well with the feel of the game that it never gets old. I'd recommend the reader to go hear some tracks.

Oliver casting "Gateway", to go to the Other World.
Next, I will talk about the characters and the voice acting. A good thing about the game is that you can choose to keep the voice acting in Japanese or change it to English. The main character (Oliver) has a child has a child voice (well duh) but the studio managed to not make it too sweet. The sidekick (Drippy, Lord High Lord of the Fairies) is a character that doesn't worry about almost anything and speaks with a Welsh accent which I think is unusual and the expressions he uses just make him even more funny. The writing is excellent as well, Drippy is dropping puns all the time and it doesn't make the game too melodramatic (Square-Enix could learn a thing or two with this game). The rest of the characters have voice acting just as good as well.

One thing that annoys me a lot is the excessive amount of dialogues you have to go through to get pieces of heart (I'll talk about them later on) and to do side-quests. I mean, it's nice to have context for everything that happens but you get a little annoyed after a while and start pressing the skip button all the way through.

The story in the beginning starts off with a tragedy which ultimately leads Oliver to the "Other World" to try to fix what happened. There he learns that an evil wizard is stealing pieces of people's hearts, like a person's enthusiasm, which leaves them brokenhearted. Oliver's goal is to stop the evil wizard and try to fix the tragedy that happened in the beginning. The story seems simple but closer to the end there are some twists that really makes it unique.

Oliver and Drippy in Ding Dong Dell
In terms of gameplay there is a lot to talk about, and I mean A LOT. The amount of content this game has is just amazing. There is an open world you can explore, first by foot, then by boat and later on by flying. The battle system allows you to select any character in your party and then fight with the character itself or with one of the familiars available to them. You can give some equipment to the characters and familiars, or give treats to the familiars to optimize the stats. The familiars can learn tricks, they can evolve (Methamorphize) and you can actually "catch" wild enemies to have them as familiars.

Oliver can use spells outside of battle, like "Chart Chests" and "Veil", to show chests that are close to him and to hide himself from enemies. There is alchemy, with which you can produce armor, weapons and consumables. There are rewards for doing side-quests too, you get stamps on cards for completing quests, and when you have a certain number of fully stamped cards you can trade them for perks, like increased battle experience and more rare drops, or increased speed while walking.

This huge amount of content can be a down side because it can be overwhelming for some people.

The battle system can be annoying and the game itself is not easy at some points. You have to be fast to block attacks, so you're able to survive through boss battles, and mana is something you will want to hold back, because you don't have much of it. There are "orbs" that drop from enemies (Drippy provides them as well) that restore a bit of health or mana, but its not much, and because only some familiars can learn a trick to resurrect you will want to keep all the consumables that can do that. Also, since you don't recover HP or MP after a battle, while on dungeons you will want to have consumables or it will be very difficult to survive.

Oliver fighting with a familiar.
The graphics are stunning, the cel-shading art style that is used in the game just fits so well with this type of
game that I couldn't think of any other way that should have been done. All in all the world looks amazing and the quality of the animation is excellent. I have just one small complaint about the cutscenes. They used still image animation and while it does look amazing the "non-fluidity" of the animation wasn't a plus to me.

This game also has end-game content, mainly a bunch of side-quests where you can side upgraded versions of bosses and such. You can also fight the last boss again if you'd like to. There is also the trophy collection for the PS3 which I might try to complete one day and it adds to the replay value.

In short, this game is a must buy for any fans of a good JRPG. The beautiful world, amazing soundtrack, clever writing and huge content will have you glued to the screen and you will want to just keep playing. 


What inspiration is worth

Coca-Cola has always been a company mindful of innovation. With heart-warming campaigns, easily recognized icons and hard-to-forget commercials, its marketing department is one step ahead at churning out memorable ideas. From animated polar bears to red trucks lit up in tune with the Christmas spirit, from catchy party songs to children choirs, they've tried everything to push the limits of what ads can do. As of late, they've started changing what their vending machines can do, too. Take for instance the 007: Skyfall promotional campaign, where people could get tickets if they managed to finish the mission in 70 seconds while the movie theme was played live, and then sing the same theme to the machine.

By far, the most impactful Coca-Cola videos are the inspirational ones.
We have security camera love…

… sharing…

… and the numbers that really matter.

The latest chapter of this saga is the Indian-Pakistani interactive vending machine, the so-called Small World machine. These machines work in pairs, one being in India and the other on in Pakistan, eliciting buyers to perform actions together so they can get their drink.

If you haven't watched it, you should.  It's a good video.
A beautiful video.

The state of affairs between India and Pakistan is touchy. There’s suspicion and anger from both sides, deeply rooted in the History of those nations, particularly since the partition of British India. Not only military conflicts but also religious divergences and territorial disputes have contributed to turn their relations into a very sensitive game of chess.

I’m not going to claim I understand all the implications surrounding the subject, but at the very least I can understand how this ad works for an outsider. To us individuals, whose lives are not directly impacted by the walls created by the conflict, watching two human beings who are different enough to have been at war bond over a machine makes us happy. It makes us think ‘Oh, it’s not that hard after all. We can build that bridge’. It gives us hope. And we feed on hope to keep believing.

Of course, Coca-Cola is not trying to solve a difficult problem between countries. Such thing would be impossible and utopic. In reality, they do it, for the most part, because they know this ad makes them look good. Ads that appeal to our emotional side tend to be more successful strategies than ads directed at our intellect. Some people might even claim the company only does what it does because they have an interest.
And why wouldn’t they? They’re a successful brand, whose name and drink is recognized in the farthest corners of Earth. Keeping that Earth together matters to the business, and so does people’s opinions. So it’s only reasonable that they want people to think of Coca-Cola ads with tenderness, believing the world can be a better place. Still, there’s a whole world of things a company could do to get people’s attention without having to deal with very hard political matters. The fact that they choose to, at least for me, means something. 
I don’t think a campaign needs to be selfless to have a deeper meaning, and the fact stands that Coca-Cola chose to spend their money in this manner.

We cannot forget that the people in that video are real people. The campaign is real, more so to those people than to us bystanders. It can’t create an open door, but it is an open window. The most important thing Coca-Cola is showing is that there’s humanity everywhere. The Indian are human. The Pakistani are human. Regardless of years of prejudice, deep down in every human existence is the wish to connect. Not only they can recognize each other as humans but they can interact, test that humanity, test that similarity to their brothers in origin. They can do all that behind a glass, behind anonymity and at a safe distance. Safety gives birth to courage. Curiosity takes the place of discomfort. And from that curious observation, hopefully, will come some manner of compassion.

They say change starts small, and while such small scale change is arguably no change at all, it’s proof that there’s a will. Coca-Cola is letting us in the secret that there are things that are worth thinking about, even if only from time to time. That while we go about our sped-up lives, while disasters happen and people struggle, somewhere in a different place there's people trying to be better.

The fact that there’s someone out there showing us there’s beauty in this cruel world is, at the very least enough to change me.