Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bucket-load of Game Impressions

It's been a while since I posted anything related to a game. Since there's "posting drought", I decided to post a bunch of mini-reviews of all the new (for me, not necessarily by release) games I played since last September, just like I did in the old days. Some of the games I purchased, some were rented, and one was borrowed.

I'm going to try to keep each one in no more than two paragraphs. Hit the jump to see those mini-impressions.

[NDS] Scribblenauts
Great concept and very well designed games. Even outside of the regular levels, it's fun to just summon random objects and people and see how everything interacts. The controls are bit loose, but I don't feel it hinders the game in anyway. Good news for everyone that complained about the controls though, the sequel will have tighter controls and D-Pad movements. The one problem I have with the game is that it's often very ambiguous how certain object behaves with others. I don't think there are many players that figured out that button and switches can be triggered by "Engineers".

[NDS] Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
Since 2002, I've been in love with the Kingdom Hearts series. I was one of the first to mock the concept, yet I got addicted to the series the moment I played it. I long awaited this iteration of the series. There were many unanswered questions in Kingdom Hearts II that are brought to light again in this game.

The gameplay is exactly like a Kingdom Hearts game should be. There are great little additions in gameplay (Panels for example) and the story is amazing. However the game is severely crippled by repetition. The mission-structure is extremely redundant after 200-something days. As amazing as the story is, it can't get me to continue the game.

Unfortunately, great cinematics and story isn't enough to save this game from repetition.

[PS3] Borderlands
Addictive crack! This game is simply awesome! Freedom, character-growth, shooter-RPG-hybrid, great artistic direction... all around great fun. We needed a game to scratch that "Diablo" itch until the release of Diablo III.

[PS3] Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time
Best Ratchet & Clank game EVER!

[Wii] New Super Mario Bros. Wii
I grew up with the classic Super Mario games from the NES and SNES era. New Super Mario Bros. Wii has gameplay elements from the great Super Mario games all combined into one. It's extremely addictive and the addition of multiplayer can make things downright chaotic (in a good way). Something older gamers, such as myself, that grew up with sadistic games will enjoy: the game can be downright cruel. At first I thought the game was way too easy, stacking up 99 lives in an hour or two, only to lose half of them in a single world later on.

[NDS] Etrian Odyssey
I wanted to try this game for a while. It was often recommended when I was looking for Dungeon Crawlers. Somewhere along the way, I was glad I didn't buy it. It's got a lot of personality and style, and above all it's pretty fun. It's a solid game in terms of gameplay too, but it's a little too purist for my taste.

[NDS] The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
I got a little scared when the sequel to my favourite NDS games was first announced. "Train" just doesn't strike me as "free-roaming". But, to my surprise, the signature exploration is still there. The already good controls from The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass were tightened up a bit and the gameplay in general felt just as great. There is one thing however that I still have trouble wrapping my head around: difficult dungeons in a Zelda game.

[PSP] LittleBigPlanet
Simply put, this game is made of "happy". From the design to Sackboy's personality and even the music , the whole game is extremely charming. It's very faithful to its PS3 big brother. All the key elements that made LittleBigPlanet what it is, is all there in portable form.

There are two things, however, that annoy me a little. One is the same as the PS3: The core gameplay lacks a bit of depth. The whole game is extremely creative, and even more if you download levels. Besides moving, jumping, collecting, and the minigames, there isn't much more to the game. The only other thing is how complicated the controls for the level-editor are. I know it's not really possible to have this complex of an editor to be very "user-friendly". Even if you're not into creating levels, it's still a pretty solid game.


[PS3] Darksiders
Imagine of the Legend of Zelda formula evolved somehow. This would be it. It's one of the 2010 "Like God of War but..." games. However, it's unique design and gameplay-hybrid really makes it stand-out. I personally like it a lot more than God of War. The controls just feel better and the dungeon/adventure genre makes it a lot more fun to me.

[NDS] Izuna 2: The Unemployed Ninja Returns
My first step into the world of Roguelike Dungeon-Crawlers is an easy one. It overflows with personality, charm, and humour. The dungeon-gameplay is a bit repetitive at points, but that's a quirk of the subgenre, not the game. It can be extremely deep and even sadistic (even if you've saved before the dungeon and quit without saving you still lose your items), but even with that it's a lot of fun... heck, I think I'm going to play this tonight...

This is a lot harder than it looks...

[PSP] Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Those who have known me when PC gaming was king know how much I loved Grand Theft Auto 2. It was my favourite GTA game for a long time. GTA Chinatown Wars is just that—the spiritual successor to GTA2. It looks gorgeous on the PSP screen and the controls are smooth as butter. The targeting, just like the past few GTA games, is very sloppy. But with everything that you can do in this handheld reproduction of the GTA IV Liberty City, this flaw is easily forgotten.

[PSP] Half-Minute Hero
I originally wasn't sure about this game. I liked the "Hero 30" demo a lot, but was afraid that it wasn't much more than that. Time passed until recently when I read a bit more about the game and how it really is. It's insane! Like a lot of people, I haven't been able to put my fingers yet on what makes it so addicting. Sure the 8-bit/16-bit is charming, but there are some solid gameplay elements. 30 seconds to save the world may not seem like a lot, but when you have the Time Goddess on your side, it's not as bad as one thinks.

There's a lot of variety in the gameplay and multiple modes that reminisces some classic games. Other than the Fast-Paced-RPG, there's mode where you control a princess in top-down shooter missions and even a mode with an evil lord in a rock-paper-scissor mechanic. Game modes, multiple paths, unlockables. There's a lot packed in a small $20 package.

My only grudge about the game is how obscure alternate-paths and titles are sometimes (in Hero 30).

30 seconds to save the world can be hardcore...