Bloodborne Strategy Guide Review

Bloodborne Strategy Guide ReviewDue to a battle wound inflicted while battling a unicorn, I sustained a wound to my finger and thus typing is not really a thing I want to do right now. Thanks to this unicorn inflicted injury, I decided to do a video review of the Bloodborne strategy guide from Future Press. Actually, I kind of think I want this to become a thing that I keep doing! What do you think? Would you like to see more video reviews?

Video Strategy Guide Review:

SGR Rating 4.5/5

Author: Anwar Hassan, Bailey Strauss, Franz von Eisenheim, Lucas Hofstatter, Marcus Sanders
Publisher: Future Press
Editions Available: Collector’s Edition
Acquired via Publisher

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Strategy Guide Review

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD strategy guide reviewFinal Fantasy Type-0 HD is the most un-Final Fantasy game I’ve played since Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. It’s action-based with random encounters AND not-so random battles, it has similar side quest system where the quests have to be sought out, there’s a limited hub world, and you make abilities more powerful by synthesizing materials. It’s absolutely insane, not much makes sense, and the difficulty is brutal to say the least. On top of that, the game is meant to be played multiple times, as that is the only way to uncover everything or even complete every last side quest. Like Lightning Returns, I am not sure how it is possible to find everything on your own, so a strategy guide seems to be a very high requirement when it comes to uncovering every little secret and completing every task and side quest. I still think this is the case, but unfortunately, Prima Games’ Final Fantasy Type-0 HD strategy guide fell a bit short of the goal due to poor organization, inefficient information placement, missing information, and a lack of an index.

Since I didn’t receive the strategy guide until I was nearly done with the game, I knew I missed out on several key pieces, and the strategy guide walkthrough was very kind to tell me just how much I did miss in the six chapters I played without it. So many side quests, so many tasks, so many Rubicus entries, and I wasn’t able to complete the Kazusa and Emina sub-events since I didn’t know the trick to completing them. The strategy guide also taught me that I really went about the real-time strategy sorties the wrong way by choosing characters that made the excursions far more difficult than they should have been. I can also say that the strategy guide taught me how to embrace Jack, the one character I loathed using, and how to use his stances and abilities to easily achieve breaksight and killsight with enemies.

And that’s really all the nice things I have to say about the strategy guide (well, that and the chocobo breeding tips).

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD strategy guide

Yes, yes, this is pretty helpful, actually.

Obviously, I was able to get through the game and survive it, and a lot of that was due to the strategy guide’s tips and tricks, especially in the last never-ending dungeon of doom. However, while I would have been able to find and complete many of the side quests with the guide’s assistance, there are plenty I would not have due to its vague information.

For example, one task requests that you bring back three mauve phantoma. Okay, so how do I get mauve phantoma? According to the strategy guide under the “Phantom” section, mauve phantoma can be gathered from defeated enemies. Gee, that’s a huge help. Mind telling me which enemies? Oh wait, there’s a Drop Rate Chart that will point out which enemies drop mauve phantoma and the likelihood rate, right? Nope. Mauve phantoma can be harvested from “Generic Enemy 2″ with magic-based kills. Time to turn to the Bestiary section and find out what in the world Generic Enemy 2 is. Turns out that Generic Enemy 2 is a mid-level run-of-the-mill enemy, which appears to be anything but a boss. I can’t believe this method is the most efficient one they found. For the record, the reward received for bringing back those three mauve phantoma is not worth this headache.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD strategy guide

So I need the Setzer Airship to get here. And how do I get this airship?

The strategy guide’s biggest disappointment is in explaining how to acquire the Setzer airship. This is an Achievement/Trophy, and it’s the only way to reach the Agito Tower in the middle of the Rubrum map. Learning how to get it should not take heavy reading to even find where it is mentioned. The first place I saw it mentioned was in the Side Quests section, where it lists the trials of the Agito Tower and comments that the only way to reach the Tower is with the airship. There is no reference where to turn in the guide to acquire said airship. I pored over the walkthrough, looking for any mention of the airship in the main walkthrough, the side quests, or the trials. I finally resorted to looking it up online, where it directed me to a trial only available in Chapter 7. Opened the strategy guide to Chapter 7, and no, there is no mention of this particular trial. Other trials are listed as for the second playthrough, so where in the world is this one? I looked through the Second Playthrough portion, just in case, and lo and behold, there is the wayward trial. This trial should have been listed in the original walkthrough with the “second playthrough” label slapped on it like it has others, AND it should be referenced in the Agito Tower walkthrough in the side quests.

As for more information about the trials, they aren’t even in the Side Quests section at all, despite the main walkthrough saying that they are! There is also no appendix for the Achievements and Trophies, and no index. An index that included every Side Quest title, Task title, Trial title, collectible, etc. would have made me overlook this issue with the Setzer airship, because then the airship would be in the index.

I am honestly not sure if this strategy guide was rushed, hastily put together at the last minute, or just flat out disorganized, because this Final Fantasy Type-0 HD strategy guide is not a typical Prima Games product when it comes to Final Fantasy games. It will get anyone through the game once, that is for certain, but as for helping users find everything and find it all easily? Well, you’ll find the collectibles with no problems and breed chocobos like a pro, but be prepared for a lot of page flipping and perhaps some online assistance. That said, it may be best to just use online help only.

SGR Rating: 2.5/5

Authors: Garritt Rocha and Nick von Esmarch
Publisher: Prima Games
Editions Available: Collector’s Edition
Acquired via Publisher

Evolve Strategy Guide Review

Evolve strategy guide reviewI was, and still am, excited about Evolve. The premise of four hunters taking down a giant monster totally has my interest. While I enjoy the game, sadly it’s already on the pile of “Games that Died Too Soon” thanks to a dwindling online community. Sadly, this will also be the case of the Evolve strategy guide by BradyGames.

This is a fairly easy guide to read and understand. As I was new to the game, as in I was kept away from spoilers and such, it was nice to learn how the various weapons and skills worked. This helped me form a plan as to what hunter I wanted to concentrate on and get the most unlocks for right at the start. This is true for the monsters as well as their attacks are spelled out and easy to know what monster fit my style of play. It was also handy to know what perks to pick for both sides, as those do make a big difference.

Could we get a bit more detail here. Like PRETTY PLEASE!

Could we get a bit more detail here. Like PRETTY PLEASE!

I found the Hunters and Monsters sections to be detailed enough to help me pick a favorite hunter and monster. Having the hunter combinations that utilize their loadouts against specific monsters was a nice touch. There are tips on how each character operates and what makes them tick. However, the tips are rather basic. Telling readers that a healing class should sit back from the fight and only swoop in when needed is pretty much Gaming 101 at this point. Having more advanced strategies would have made this guide a lot more useful.

The maps are a mixed bag. I like knowing where the monster spawns in relation to where the hunters drop and the power core. The various map effect details (dependent on game mode) will help new players as they are not only fighting one another, but also the environment as well. Knowing what a man eating plant looks like will come in very handy when running away from the Goliath in hopes of living to fight another round.

While the maps are good for an overview, there isn’t much else to them. There are no prime routes marked for hunters or monsters. The lack of detail, outside of spawn and drop zone location, is very disenchanting. Having markings of where the bigger wildlife spawn points are, bird flock locations, and vantage points would have made these maps that much more useful.

Now this is full of win!

Now this is full of win!

For those who want to get all the accolades, badges, and achievements will find the guide is very helpful here. Accolades and badges come in spreadsheet form and contain all the info that is needed to obtain these. The nicest part about this section is that the achievements are more than just a table with the name and point value. This guide actually details out what is necessary in order to snag every achievement available. That is not something we see in a lot of guides, and it is something I’d love to see more of.

As with any guides for a game of this nature, take all numbers and stats with a grain of salt. Patches, balance tweaks, and so on can easily render the numbers in this guide useless in one fell swoop. This guide also can’t be updated with future maps and hunter releases, and so the value of this information is rather limited to the game launch window.

Overall, the Evolve strategy guide is a great introduction to what players can expect from Evolve. I found that it was easy to read while drinking coffee or over a lunch break. I then was able to plan out what I wanted to focus on and unlock during my future Evolve play sessions. However, seasoned veterans will find this is more of a Sunday read than anything that is going to actually detail out solid strategies to make one a better hunter or monster. As is the game, pick your side and determine the value of it for yourself.

SGR Rating 3/5

Author: Michael Owen and Will Murray
Publisher: BradyGames
Editions Available: Paperback
Acquired via Publisher

The Order: 1886 Strategy Guide Review

The Order: 1886 strategy guide reviewWhen I first heard that there would be a strategy guide for The Order: 1886, I was rather stoked. The game appeared to have so much potential as a combat-heavy shooter featuring steampunk weapons, a deep story, and werewolf fights. I have a feeling that BradyGames thought the same thing, hence why they proposed creating such a strategy guide for Ready at Dawn and Sony. After playing the game the first time for review, I formulated three reasons why there would be a The Order: 1886 strategy guide: 1)collectibles, 2) stealth sections, and 3) trophy hunting.

For the most part, that is exactly why the strategy guide will be used at all as all of the combat is very straight forward and simple. At least what it does is rather spot on with minor, minor complaints.

When I say it’s spot on, I mean that I was able to obtain a Platinum trophy in the game. Doing so not only requires completing certain combat feats, but also finding every single gosh-darn collectible. And these collectibles are not straight forward and easy to find, unlike the firefights. I found several on my own, but some are way off the beaten path in areas I didn’t know I could even get to until the strategy guide pointed them out. Plus a few of the phonograph cylinders could be easily overlooked in one scene in particular, because if you searched certain spots before locating the cylinders, a cut scene would trigger and force you to move on.

Collectibles! (And lots of screenshots)

Collectibles! (And lots of screenshots)

As an added bonus for completionists, all of the collectibles are listed in an appendix as well as the walkthrough. I do have to caution users that you do have to follow the strategy guide verbatim for the collectibles, as once you pass through one area, there is no going back to retrieve that wayward collectible. You’ll have to wait until you complete the game, which will unlock all of the individual chapters to play.

When I looked through the appendices for the trophy list, as I always do, I was initially disappointed that the list did not include advice for where it is best to obtain these trophies. Some of the trophies, the “Brilliant!” trophy in particular that requires shooting an airborne grenade during Blacksight, seemed impossible for me to achieve without a smidge of help. I honestly thought I would never get all of the trophies, and I focused on getting what I could my second time through the game as well as the collectibles. I really, really wanted to make sure the guide was 100% accurate on the collectibles.

My fears were unfounded, as some of those more “complicated” combat trophies were mentioned in the game’s walkthrough, such as that Brilliant! trophy. And yes, that’s exactly how I obtained that specific trophy; it was 100% with the strategy guide’s help.

Thanks for the lack of stealth help.

Thanks for the lack of stealth help.

With the final need for the strategy guide, the stealth portions, the strategy guide was a bit lacking. There are two distinct sections that require stealth, and only one properly guided you. In the first section, which took place on the airship, the guide told you exactly where to hide, showed you with screenshots, and even marked it on maps for efficient stealth kills without getting seen. In the United India Company gardens, you’re simply told to go take down the six roaming around. Oh, okay then. A suggested order for taking them down would have been great, or even marks on the map of their patrols would have been useful. My first time playing was a nightmare as I didn’t have help (and the QTE mechanics with stealth kills only made it worse).

At least they were very detailed in how to survive each werewolf encounter, whether it’s a werewolf boss fight or fending off the regular Lycans. In fact, it was because of the strategy guide’s recommendation to equip the Falchion for its stunning ability that I was able to develop a quick rhythm when it came to putting them down.

Other than the collectible and trophy hunting, The Order: 1886 strategy guide kind of ends up as a glorified art book. Each page is just covered with screenshots, because if you had to rely on words to fill the pages, the guide would be thinner than it already is. There is no bonus art section in the back, because the book is already crammed full of screen shots and character art. If they added any more, they might as well create a flipbook depicting all of the cut scenes in the game.

Other than the lack of assistance with one stealth area, The Order: 1886 strategy guide does an amazing job at helping players cover every nook and cranny of the game. The game is short as it is, so you might as well try to get as much out of it as possible. Not to mention, if it can help me of all people obtain a Platinum trophy, it can help absolutely anyone achieve the same.

Rating: 4.5/5

Author: Rick Barba
Publisher: BradyGames
Editions available: Paperback
Acquired via Publisher

Dying Light Strategy Guide Review

Dying Light strategy guide reviewDying Light is an interesting blend of shooter, scavenger, and parkour simulator. While the story was rather bland, the game itself was a friggin’ good time. Sadly, that good time didn’t translate to the Dying Light strategy guide from Prima Games. Usually I tackle my guide reviews in a section-by-section format, but I want to try something new. So I’m just going to write what I thought was bad and good from this guide.

Unfortunately, the part where most readers will spend their time is in the walkthrough and side quest portions of this guide, and those are really rough. I found both of these to be littered with inaccuracies on how to tackle a specific quests. Either the strategy guide would tell me to go to the wrong place, or it would leave out vital tasks that needed doing before the quest could be completed. There were quite a few times when I’d have to go to Dr. Google and ask its advice, because the guide just left me hanging and questioning what the heck I needed to do/go next.

Gotta love the art!

Gotta love the art!

Another point of contention comes in the form of the character development part. Outside of the experience and progression table, there isn’t anything here that is not already clearly shown within the game. It would have been nice to have some pointers on how to develop the character to make the earlier portions of the game a bit easier. Sure, I don’t have to follow those tips, but it would have been nice to see them included.

The biggest issue with this guide comes down to the collectible section. There is a map and a correlating picture for each item, but these don’t always match up with what is actually in the game. The map doesn’t mark all the collectibles accurately, which left me high and dry at times. When the map was right, there were times that the attached screenshot was incorrect. I don’t know if the author had already snagged the item before doing a screen capture, but it made this section feel very incomplete and disjointed.

What the collectible section really needed was tips on how to snag the more complicated items. Until you get the grappling hook, trying to parkour the terrain to get to some difficult place can be an exercise in frustration. Having some direction would have helped. It doesn’t make things better when I spend ten, or more, minutes getting to a place that was shown on the map to have a collectible, and yet I’m greeted with a big fat nothing.

Lastly, the multiplayer could use some love and attention. The guide has some basic maps and tips on how thing work when online. However, anyone wanting to learn more about being the monster will find absolutely nothing on the matter. There is just nothing of solid in this section, and for a game with so much that can be done with friends, this is not okay.

Yet, the strategy guide still has some redeeming qualities. When it comes to presentation, the book rocks it. The pages look like they are dingy and come from the game. The side navigation markers made it easy to get to specific areas without much of a hassle. The artwork, especially in the bestiary, is phenomenal.

I liked that the blueprints actually had info on where you obtain them and what they provide. Granted the map still suffers the same kinds of issues as the collectibles, but not nearly as bad. I used the blueprint section a lot more than I thought I would.

I like it when you scream!

I like it when you scream!

When the guide nails a mission or challenge, it does so in such a solid manner. There is a hefty amount of reading, so be prepared to spend a few moments digesting a heaping portion of text. However, when all that text leads to a successful mission without any major hiccups, it’s a glorious time.

What I really dug about this guide comes in the last few pages. These contain all the Easter eggs, developer tips, and little quips on how to make the game a bit easier. It was fun to read that there was a Mario Bros. reference in the guide and then being able to find it in the game. It’s not exhaustive, but enough that I spent some time actually enjoying the world and getting a laugh between all the work of caving in zombie heads.

When it comes down to it, the Dying Light strategy guide is hard to recommend. There are times it nails down its job and provides concise and useful info. Sadly, the amount of misinformation, bad maps, and lack of thoroughness just drag this guide down and make it unreliable. This is one guide that it is best to skip and just save yourself the headache by using online resources.

SGR Rating 2.5/5

Author: Michael Lummis
Publisher: Prima Games
Editions Available: Paperback
Acquired via Publisher