Sunday, May 7, 2017

Dead Space (PS3)

I was never huge on survival horror games growing up.  Sure I had tried Resident Evil and did enjoy Resident Evil 4 when I finally got around to playing it in high school but I was never a huge fan of it.  This game kind of changed that.  This is easily one of the most accessible survival horror style games out there.

The story isn't hugely deep.  You are a space engineer set out on a job to fix a spaceship.  Things start out bad with a lot of strange happenings and only get worse.  Delving into concepts of religion and sacrifice, this game starts the series off on a good note.  It doesn't feel like the normal space-marine shooter and at times you remember that the character you control is not a hardened soldier but just a guy trying to do his job and survive.

Combat is a huge draw in this game.  There are a good variety of weapons but the initial weapon you get, the Plasma Cutter, is all I needed.  I played the whole game only using this weapon.  It is very versatile and covers all your needs for the entire game.  Just like a typical survival game, ammo and resources are limited.  There is a good customization option for all the weapons and armor to cover all the needs a player may have.  One thing that is really different from other zombie games is that headshots are near worthless.  The game really wants players to use the dismemberment mechanics to good use, encouraging arm/leg shots.

This is one of the few horror games that I legitimately was scared at times.  Most of the scares are jump scares but sometimes there are some pretty weird psychological things going on.  The combat is nice and the game has features that make it so the player never really gets lost.  At times this is really nice and is a totally optional part of the game for those players that want to discover where to go on their own.  It is a shame that this series kind of goes downhill and is pretty much dead at this point.  If you like survival horror games or just space games with zombies, try this game.  It is well worth the effort.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3)

I've never really been a big fighting game fan.  Sure I've played some of the bigger titles like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat.  Even some niche titles like Nitroplus Blasterz or Blazblue.  This game was one of the first games that kind of got me interested in the genre as a whole.  For some reason, it really clicked with me.

This is a game starring characters from the Marvel universe pitted against characters from popular series made by Capcom.  I had never played the first two games because frankly, I never knew they existed.  I never really followed fighting games after I got hooked on RPGs in my teen years.  When I found the genre again in college, this was refreshing.

The game is very complicated in terms of coming up with combos and learning match-ups. See, each character is unique.  They all have strengths and weaknesses.  Sure some are obviously higher tier characters but when you aren't playing in tournaments or in ranked matches, it is fun to experiment with different setups.

There are lots of other modes in this game than just the typical VS and online matches.  The arcade/story mode is actually well done, with each character having a unique ending.  I enjoyed working my way through the roster and learning about characters from both sides of the house that I had never heard of before.

Fighting games are an interesting genre to me.  They are fun to pop in for a short while, get some stress out, and move on.  This game lends itself to this type of gameplay.  Although, if you want to be any good at the game, you have to practice, learn moves, memorize frames, etc.  There is a huge amount of depth to this game and anybody who learns the ins and outs of this will be rewarded.  For me, the reward was seeing some of my favorite characters and some new faces battle it out in combat.  I mean fans of both Capcom and Marvel have always wondered who would win in various battles and now they can.  Definitely worth picking up if you like Marvel, Capcom, or fighting games in general.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed (PSVita)

Growing up, I was never really a Sonic fan.  One of my siblings had a Sega Genesis but we never used it much.  The games were expensive and Super Mario World on the SNES was still so much fun.  As I got older, I didn't play Sonic games much either.  This is probably one of the first that I played and it isn't really a Sonic game.

This is Sega's answer to Mario Kart and honestly, Mario Kart is much better.  The racing is solid but floaty at times.  Switching between the different forms of vehicles is an interesting concept at first but can be jarring when moving from land or water to flight.

The cast of characters run the gambit of successful Sega franchises.  Most of them I didn't know, seeing as how I never had Sega consoles growing up. Sure Sonic and his ever growing crew of friends are easily recognizable but some of them, I still don't know.  I also don't understand why Wreck-it Ralph was in this.  I guess they needed a tie-in somewhere but it just seems kind of odd.

This game isn't terrible.  It has some interesting concepts and the racing is solid.  But I still enjoy Mario Kart more.  There is just something about it that makes it seem much better.  It is so much simpler and yet there is still a lot there.  The items are recognizable and the characters were ones I grew up with.  Plus, this is the only game I have ever played on my Vita that has caused it to hard crash.  A hard enough crash that the Vita asked me to send an error report to Sony.  I have never had a Vita game do this and this is the only time I have ever seen it since.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hyrule Warriors (WiiU)

I've always loved Zelda games.  They are some of the few games I remember playing as a kid.  Either watching my two older brothers beat A Link to the Past or finishing Link's Awakening for the first time on the Super Gameboy.  I just have some fond memories of the games.  This game plays on that by bringing all the characters I know and love (and some I forgot about) into one game.

This by no means is a normal Zelda game.  If it sounds familiar, this is musou style game.  Basically, if you have ever played a Dynasty Warriors game, then you will know what that is.  Large areas of tons of enemies to just hack and slash your way through.  This game is just Zelda themed.

To get to it, the combat is solid but does suffer a little when fighting certain enemies.  I can recall lots of times when I was unfairly destroyed by an enemy I had no chance of even seeing.  Still, it is pretty simple.  Pick a map, pick a character, and try your best.  Each character feels unique and even different weapons can change how the game feels.  Some characters are slow but powerful, others are weak but fast.  It really just takes picking the right character at the right time.

There is a lot to this game.  I mainly stuck with the story but there are challenges and an adventure mode.  Lots of content that you typically don't find in a Warriors game.  I think this is partially due to Nintendo really wanting to flesh this game out.  Sure they didn't develop it but they had the final say as to what went in.

If you are a Zelda game fan, this is definitely worth playing.  There is a lot to offer, lots of nostalgia, and just lots of fun.  Sure the game is pretty mindless at times as you move from point to point or enemy to enemy but sometimes a player just needs to vent.  This is a great game to get some frustration out on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dragon Quest VI: Realm of Revelations (NDS)

Dragon Quest games are an interesting concept to me.  At the core, each game is essentially the same.  The combat rarely changes in a drastic way, the enemies seem familiar, and even the plot doesn't get too crazy.  Despite all this, this series is a core for any RPGamer.  When people ask what a classic RPG is, Dragon Quest often makes the lists.  This game is no exception.

The plot is pretty straightforward.  Save the world, rescue people, high fantasy adventure, etc.  What sets this one apart is the fact that the world is split between the real world and the dream world.  This mechanic is used numerous times to tie the whole overarching plot together.  There are some pretty predictable plot twists during the game and at times it seems kind of cliche but it never feels stale.

Combat is similar to the other games in the title.  The player has their team of four combatants and controls what they do.  Each character feels unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses.  One of the new things in this game is the vocation system.  Basically, the player picks the vocations for the team at a certain point in the game.  These can be switched as needed but a lot of time it is better to pick one and master it.  Each of these "trades" feel different and a lot of the basic ones are needed to unlock the fancier ones.  Each character can be any of the vocations but some perform better than others in them.  For instance, Carter is naturally strong.  So making him a warrior or attack type vocation suits him better than being a mage.  That doesn't stop the player from making Carter a mage and it is sometimes fun to experiment.  As the "trades" level up, characters learn skills that they keep.  This really lets players customize their team.

The music isn't too memorable.  If you have heard a Dragon Quest game before, this will sound incredibly similar.  The art is also very similar.  This is not a bad thing.  The game definitely benefits from being on the DS.  It is nice to be able to play this game on the go, especially since it is on the longer side.  There are some post game things to do and lots to keep players busy, so it is well worth the money.

For what it is worth, this game is great.  It seems generic at the core but there is a lot there to make the experience unique for each player.  The typical humor for the series is still there and the enemy names still make me chuckle.  If you like RPGs or Dragon Quest, this is an excellent entry to the series.  Having it portable doesn't hurt and it is definitely a great addition to any collection.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Steins;Gate (PSVita)

Visual novels are often viewed as something that is very niche and uninteresting to the masses.  I feel that this game is perfectly acceptable to anybody that enjoys a good story.  Although sometimes it is hard to follow, it has lots of characters and a tale that keeps you interested.

As a game, this is pretty simple.  Follow the story and sometimes answer questions or send emails.  These actions can lead to different endings and it is worth it to try to get all the endings.  It gives you a complete picture of the whole story.

I can't really talk too much more about this without spoiling too much.  If you have the time to play this and like visual novels, this is a must have.  It is really good.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Devil May Cry HD (PS3)

Twitch combat and combo based action games have never been my forte.  I'm terrible at them.  I have a hard time doing combos in things.  So when I decided to get the Devil May Cry trilogy for the PS3, I thought I was going to have a super hard time with it.  I was right.

The first game for me was brutal.  My scores for the various challenges were pretty bad.  I lost to a lot of the bosses numerous times and I had to use cheap tactics and items to win.  The game itself is solid though.  The combat is fluid and when the player whiffs on an attack or dodge, it is their fault not the games.  Albeit, there are some rooms where the camera was in an odd place and an off-screen enemy rushes without little notices.  I don't remember anything feeling cheap or downright frustrating.

The story is kind of unique.  Demon hunter Dante is investigating a castle or whatever.  Things happen, people get killed, and things gets saved.  Some of the scenes get cheesy with how over the top it is and some of the dialogue is questionable but this is what the developers were going for.  Opposed to the darker feel that Devil May Cry 2 had, this one is a little pulpier.

There is a lot of game to play and lots of ways a player can push themselves.  Multiple difficulties, lots of challenging parts, and different ways to play.  In a lot of ways, this game is like God of War but much more refined.  The combat is much tighter.  Sure there are some flaws with the combat and sometimes the platforming was sketchy but the game as a whole is solid.  I enjoyed myself as much as I could for a type of game I am absolutely terrible at.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)

Another game and another legend.  This time set in the lands of the Minish.  I have to admit, this is still one of my favorite Zelda games.  It came out in a time in my life when I had all the time in the world to play games and it was great.

The concept is still the same as previous Zelda games.  Go around collecting treasures, tools, and artifacts.  Once you have them all, you fight the big baddie and save the world.  This one is a little different in the fact that you have the Minish Cap.  This allows you to shrink in certain parts of the game to see the world from the tiny Minish point of view.  This is kind of unique because some things are only doable as a mini-Link.

The items this time are all kind of unique as well.  There are favorites like the Lantern and then new ones like the Gust Jar.  Using these items to solve puzzles is a series staple.  Each dungeon is unique, my favorite being the ice dungeon where the boss is something that is very iconic to the series but as a Minish, it is a much different fight.

One new feature from this game is the Kinship Stones.  These are halves of round medallions that you find the pieces to throughout the game.  By joining the pieces together you can influence the world in ways that will sometimes yield things like rupees or a Heart Piece but some are used to progress the story.  There are lots of these things and they are always good to keep around.

This was a good Zelda experience.  It expanded on the lore, seemed fresh for the time, and tried some new things.  I had tons of fun with this game when it first came out.  I then did a speedrun of it on my 3DS when I received it free for being a 3DS Ambassador.  If you get a chance to play this game, don't miss out.  It is a fun little romp through this big world.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Metal Gear Solid 2 HD (PSVita)

A death to call my own.  This game starts out strong and gets better.  I understand why the fans hate it and I can see why they would be mad but if you play this game now without the prejudice of the time when this was released, it is actually a well built game.

I should preface this with my usual, I'm very bad at stealth games.  I have never been good at being stealthy.  I gave the Metal Gear Solid a series because I enjoyed 3 a lot.  By the time I got to this game, I had already beat 1 and 4.  So I had seen the beginning and at the time the ending of the series.  This game is better than 1 but not as good as 4.  Still worth playing though.

The game starts out with the normal sneak around a boat as Solid Snake and fighting enemies or being stealthy.  Your choice.  Then events happen and the player ends up playing as a new character named Raiden.  You infiltrate an oil rig turned hideout called Big Shell, I think.  I can't really remember the places that well.  Anyway, per normal fair there is lots of sneaking, espionage, cryptic metaphors, bosses with gimmicks, and timed stuff.  If you played Metal Gear Solid 1, this will seem very familiar.

Where this game differs is the story.  It seems much more cohesive and understandable than series in known for.  There aren't any really memorable moments for me though.  Raiden just doesn't have the same appeal Solid Snake did.  I'm not saying this ruins the game as a lot of fans did when this first comes out, I'm just saying.  You could have replaced Raiden with Snake and the game wouldn't have been much different.

There is a lot to this game and if you are a fan of the series, play this game.  It has some fun things to do and I enjoyed playing it on the go with the HD version on the Vita.  It definitely does help explain things about Raiden if you only knew him from MGS 4 like I did.  Now get out there.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd (PSVita)

I was never really into rhythm games when I was growing up as a kid.  I wasn't good at music and I didn't do well when I was forced into taking band.  I played percussion and I wasn't good at it at all.  But I wish I had worked harder at it cause I do like music and I think playing an instrument or being musical in some way makes a person more well-rounded.  All that said, I didn't need to be musical to enjoy this game.

Hatsune Miku is a digital diva.  She sings and dances on screens all over the world and even has concerts.  The character was born from a computer program designed to pronounce all the syllables in natural Japanese speech or so I've been told.  Just as you can expect, some of the songs get a little rough and you can tell a computer is speaking when the words are being said faster than a human possibly could utter the lyrics.

The concept of the game is simple.  Hit the corresponding button to the beat and try to time it to achieve the best performance on each song.  The songs range from super fast electronica beats to slower more melodic tunes.  There are a number of other "Vocaloids" to play with and each has their own voice.  My personal favorite is Meiko but she isn't very popular, so she doesn't appear as often.  There are options to dress your Vocaloids up in various outfits and you can play through the songs in multiple difficulties.  I've never been able to best anything past Normal though.

There is a lot more to this game.  There is the sim portion where you hang out with your chosen Vocaloid and play games and stuff.  I honestly spent the least amount of time with this.  I'm sure it is fun for people that like that but I have a hard enough time dealing with my own life.  I don't know if I could handle taking care of a digital person too.

The key draw to this game is the music.  It is great, I love listening to Vocaloids sing.  Even though most of the music is very "pop", it still has its moments.  If you have a knack for music and enjoy rhythm games, you can't do much worse than this.  It is fun and the game doesn't lack in features.  There is enough variety to keep even seasoned rhythm fans busy trying to Perfect every song.  Support Hatsune Miku because this is likely the future of music in some form.