Monday, January 28, 2013

Dissidia: Final Fantasy (PSP)

As a Final Fantasy fan, this game was a dream come true.  All my favorites in one game, clashing in an epic battle for the future of the world.  Getting to pit your favorites against each other and settling some answers about who could beat who.  This game was the number two reason why I wanted a PSP and it was one of the first games I ever bought for the system.

I love everything from this game.  The story is a weak part considering the pedigree and rich history it draws from but it is nonetheless a decent story for what is essentially a fighting game.  The amount of content is incredibly astounding for just how big this game is.  Costumes to unlock, levels to gain, and items to unlock.  I still haven't gotten everything out of the game.

The greatest part of this game is the combat.  It is fluid, responsive, and above all, fun.  That is what makes a good game great and a great game, awesome.  The combat is just so much fun.  Sure the computers can be relentless but even if you are against the ropes there is always a shot.  Just the amount of little nods to the different games in the series makes the whole game worth it for any fan of the series.

What else can I say?  If you own a PSP, you should own this game or at the least the sequel that includes all the features of this game plus mores characters and story.  Even for non-FF fans, this game is solid.  The amount of fun that can be had dodging Exdeath and the VOID! is just too much to be skipped.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bioshock (PS3)

I went into this game completely blind, to say I had not heard a single thing about how this game played other than it was a first person shooter with some special things.  I was pleasantly surprised by this and in fact, it was fun and a great story.

The main premise is you are involved in a plane crash and find yourself on the doorstep to a city that was built underwater.  Through the course of the game, you come to find out your true purpose, the history of the city and just what is going on.  This is my key point for liking this game.  The story is well-thought out and every piece fits.  Sure parts are a little funky at times but everything you are doing makes sense with what is going on around you.

Now, the gameplay is solid.  You have a of tools at your disposal and you know what they are used for.  Then comes the twist, using plasmids in conjunction with a weapon yields different results.  It keeps the game fresh but at times you will just be running around and trying to survive.  This game suffers from what I like to call, useless cover syndrome.

Useless cover syndrome is when a game gives you a cover system but then allows the enemies to quickly make it useless.  Early on, you learn that you should crouch behind things to avoid getting shot at.  The only issue I had was often I was being shot through the cover or what I thought was cover was in fact just a set piece.  It is frustrating when you are trying to use the systems the game comes up with and they don't work.

Through and through, this game is atmospheric and even at the lowest points, it is never dull.  I give this a recommendation just purely for the story.  It is a very well-thought out piece of writing and it even makes you wander about things if our world had just been a little bit different from the reality we live in.  Sure it is a fantasy story but it also has the pieces of plausibility that give it an extra edge.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top Gun (NES)

I went to the danger zone!  No I didn't.  This game was awfully hard and I never figured out how to actually land the plane.  In fact, I'm curious as to how this game got into my collection.  I did inherit a large number of NES games from my brothers when they moved onto other consoles and I do remember playing this.

Let's just say that I will keep this short by saying, if you enjoy the movie, stay away from this game.  It is dreadfully challenging and does not hold up well by today's standards.  Flying planes has gotten much better and much easier to control.  That is all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord? 2 (PSN)

Surely, you will learn what this game is.  It's hard to describe and I don't have words for it.  So I won't even try.  As the second entry in a series of games where you place Badman in a dungeon of your creation and you try to defend him by building it correctly.

There is a whole ecosystem to this game and getting set up correctly takes a great strategy.  I for one am terrible at planning these kinds of things, so I never completed all the story based missions.  Sure it is fun to see what happens when you get a good dungeon going and see it eat heroes alive but when you lose, you usually lose in a bad way.

Is this game fun?  I had some fun with it.  Not my style of game but I gave it a chance and at least had some fun with it.  If you like what I described, pick it up.  Pick up the first game and I believe there is a third game in the series but I never played that one.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Half-Life (PC)

The game that started what people call the modern story based FPS.  I have to say, as somebody who doesn't play FPSes all that often.  This was an alright game.  Sure it suffers some flaws but they can be overlooked.  Easily overlooked if you take the game as a whole.

I love how the game starts.  It's just a typical day for the silent protagonist, Gordon Freeman, and you get to be him.  Sure, things go sour pretty fast but everything you need to know is introduced shortly thereafter and the game gets going.  What sets this apart from other FPS games is that you are trying to survive and escape at the same time.  You objective isn't always clear at times but the main goal is to survive what has happened.

This leads me to the first issue I have with the game.  A lot of times I ended up wandering around for a while because I didn't know where to go or what I could interact with.  At one point, I ended up doing a whole section of the game without an integral piece of the stage with me and had no idea I was even supposed to use it.  Did I make it without it?  Sure, but it was rough.

Secondly, the bosses in this game (particularly the last one) often make no sense and don't give you any clues how to hurt them unless you are paying attention.  I died a lot of times before I figured out what I was supposed to be doing on the last boss.  It probably is my lack of skill for this game that caused this but I found it a particularly negative point in the game.  I didn't want the game to hold my hand but at some point I have to figure out what to do and I just couldn't.

This is a classic and should go with any collection.  Even if you don't like the genre, this game is more than worth a play or two.  Even the expansions add more to the story and you know what is going on at the end of it all.  Play this game now, you have no reason not to.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Playstation All Stars Battle Royale (PSVita)

So going into this game, I figured it wouldn't be smart to treat it like it was Super Smash Bros. with Sony characters and that was a good idea.  This game doesn't even feel the same, despite looking like the same concept.  Something seems a little bit off.  To compare it to Super Smash Bros. just feels unfair, so I will treat it like a standalone fighting game.

This is a pretty basic concept.  Fight till you get enough energy in a bar to use a special to win.  Simple concept but each character has different specials.  Many of them range from screen clearing attacks to easily dodged attacks that are annoying to use.  That's the key to any fighting game is balance.  That's what this game lacks.

They did recently patch the game to fix the fact that Sackboy was near impossible to hit but as of this post Kratos is still overpowered and Raiden has an attack that is easy to get off and clears all those around him.  Unfair, not really because both those things are only issues for new players.  But it does get annoying to jump into a fight and get bombarded by the same three characters.

One not I have about this game especially, over it's PS3 brethren.  The mic feature is stupid.  It picks up too much sound and there is nothing in the game manual on how to disable it.  Yes, it has to be disabled through a Vita menu but it doesn't mean you can't have a blurb about it in the game manual.  When players have to use Google to figure it out, you have problems.  I would say this game is skippable, unless you are looking for more games for your Vita.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Metroid Fusion (GBA)

I finally get to talk about my second favorite Metroid game in existence.  This game came out just as I was really getting into games and it was definitely one that I won't soon forget.  This was my first GBA game and it showed me just how great a game can be.

Everything from the level design to the graphics in this game are great.  It showed me just how good a GBA could be and really showed off the little device.  Before this, I had been playing on a Lime-green Game Boy Color, so this was definitely something new to me.

The gameplay is the key piece to this.  This is one that truly shows what a good Metroid game can be like.  It has all the elements, like getting new powerups to get to new areas and increase what you can do.  The bosses are well-thought out and often have a quirk or two that throw unseasoned players off.  Sure fighting the cores was a pain, but it was justified.

The best memory I have from this would be the part where you are escaping from a certain enemy.  It is intense to just drop into a room thinking it is just completely empty, only to see the big baddy there.  A moment of fear that quickly leads into a rapid and desperate attempt to survive and escape your untouchable foe.  I will never forget this moment for as long as I game.  This is was a Metroid game should be like, this is what I will remember the series as.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rayman Origins (PSVita)

Having played the first Rayman game back on the PS, I can say I like this games format better.  Yes, it has more modern things like checkpoints and such.  But in a platformer, having lives now is just pointless.  It just wastes time.

This game is the perfect blend of fun and frustration.  Getting past a particularly hard part is fun but at the same time, you hit that point where you just want to give up.  Giving up is never the better idea as you are rewarded for doing a good job.

This game is definitely a must own for any system.  It came out on all of them practically.  Ubisoft actually went back to the roots of the series and made a solid platformer.  Not since Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? have I had so much fun jumping and landing.  Sure I didn't do everything but that takes time and that secret level is an absolute killer.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)

The game that started it all for me.  This was the first game that I received with my PS2.  Before then I was still playing my N64 or Gamecube and had never seen a game like this before.  I was stunned.  It was so open and free.  I could do whatever I wanted and it was just awesome.

Sure this game has some really buggy faults, namely just popping in and out of areas and things.  You couldn't drive very fast without killing a few people, but that was the fun.  This was all knew to people and it was just a trailblazing experience.

What really killed my fun was the actual story missions.  Though they were varied, some of them felt very unfair.  When you are at such a disadvantage, such as facing invincible cars for opponents, it's not really fair. The shooting mechanics were clunky but still fun.  This was a good game and I'm glad they built off it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Disgaea DS (NDS)

For the first Disgaea game I ever had, I have to say I enjoyed this one the most until I played the next game in the series.  This was a breath of fresh air for me.  Sure this is the worst port of this game, but that just goes to show how well made this game is.  If I had this much fun with the worst version of the game, I can only imagine what the better versions are like.

The basics of this game are simple.  Clear maps to win.  You have a clear goal.  Your way of doing this is up to you and once you get into all the different stats, reincarnation, weapon levels, etc.  This game has more depth than most people will want to deal with.  Heck, even if you are setup to level grind, it takes a good while to get to 9999 the first time with just one character.

And that's what I love about this game, it takes everything to the extreme.  Bosses that are 9999, weapons that have stats in the millions, damage that is just so absurd, I still get surprised by it sometimes.  It's like they wanted to just raise the caps on RPGs and then did it.  The story isn't half bad, but as a fan, you will grow to loathe the main characters of this.  Not because they are not fleshed out and well presented, but because they just show up in every game hereafter, with the same quirks and jokes.  It does wear a little thing when you have to listen to Flonne be a lovefreak every single time she shows up.

Would I pick this game up if I weren't into grinding and trying my best to get everything I can out of a game? No.  You will spend hours getting into this game once you know what you are doing.  Sure if can take time to get through everything, but the rewards are astounding.  Seeing those large numbers just does something to your brain.  It's almost a drug, it keeps you coming back for more.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pikmin (GCN)

So this is interesting, I've hit a point where I have reviewed a sequel before the first game.  I didn't play this series out of order, I'm just reviewing randomly.  Anyway, let's get to business shall we.  This game is a great start.  It sets up a great premise, a great gameplay system, and gives you set goals.  Get everything back by a certain amount of time.  How you accomplish this task is up to you.

Now, I will get this out of the way early.  I didn't like the time limit.  It felt far too restrictive.  It led to less exploration, in a game that screams it.  Going around to every nook and cranny is what this game was designed for.  You are looking for those pieces of your ship, why limit how long we get to look?  Sure it adds some pressure and moves the game forward, but it also stifles the exploration piece that this game has almost at the forefront.

The concept is pretty solid and the controls are well done, especially with managing pikmin.  Sure you have to get used to which pikmin do what and how to use them effectively but towards the end you become accustomed to sending teams out to do what you need to be done.  In fact, I ended up getting my last piece of the ship on the last day and I only did it through using all the skills I had earned before.  That is the true testament to a good game, forcing the player to use everything they learned to complete the game.  So many games forget that and just make things harder through artificial means.

I'd say if you are looking for a great game, pick this up.  It's simply, straightforward and fun.  Sure you can get frustrated when you lose half your pikmin team but those decisions you made caused that.  Nothing in the game feels cheap, you are in control of everything that happens.  Retreat or lose pikmin, stay and fight, all these run through your head as you progress forward.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2)

You know, this was an interesting concept.  You play as a character from a good RPG, that is optional to the point that you can completely miss him and actually miss all references to him.  You play as Vincent Valentine, a gun-toting and awesomely designed character that is intense and awesome.

What really drags this game down is the camera and controls.  It's a decently solid title with some interesting moments and some great fun but it fails in some basic places.  The number one thing I can remember is the camera.  It was not responsive.  The only other thing I can remember is the difficulty, it is sometimes easy as pie but the next level could be intense and frustrating.

For a game like this, it is hard to say I love it.  I mean I stopped playing this game for about 3 years before coming back and beating it.  The gun customization system was a pretty cool concept and definitely I would like to see more of it.  This was not a bad game and I wish Square Enix had used the engine again (with some tweaks) because it was fun to play.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Resident Evil 5 (PS3)

Oh Capcom, how far you have fallen?  I started the series with RE4 and loved it.  I even went back and played the original game and enjoyed that as well.  Sure both RE and RE4 are completely different in terms of what they are, but then this game happened.

At no point in this game was I afraid.  In fact, you can see most of what is supposed to be scary early due to Sheva being immensely overpowered.  For a while, I gave her the stunrod and nothing else.  I had so much ammo, I didn't know what to do.

Now, the series has lost the survival horror aspect from the first game, but how does this stack against RE4 in terms of being a 3rd-person action/shooter.  It's almost on par but lacks in the uninspired and often frustrating boss fights.  It just kind of falls flat on the radar compared to the spike that was RE4.

Sure, there is fun to be had in this game.  It sets up a nice story about what happened after Umbrella's demise but parts of it were just clunky and the whole last section was a complete letdown.  I won't let this experience sour my future with the series but honestly, I probably won't touch this game again.