Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Backlog Barrage! Shootin’ Dudes In The Face Edition

December 19, 2010

MAG Publisher: Sony  /  Developer: Zipper
Platform: PS3 /  Genre: FPS  /  Release Date: January 26, 2010

MAG is easily my biggest surprise this generation. Until this generation, I had pretty much no interest in FPS games and even less interest in playing them online. Heck, I wasn’t even interested in MAG until the week leading up to release where I decided to pre-order this online only game at the last possible moment. I am really glad I did, as I have spent an ungodly amount of time with this tactical squad based shooter.

Yes, you are basically running around shooting people the whole time like any other shooter. However, since it is all objective based it feels totally different. People fall into roles, medics, snipers, engineers, and so on. You can mix and match these abilities, weapons, and equipment to make load-outs that suit different situations and your play style. This customization is great and being able to re-spec relatively cheaply makes it so you can always try out new gear or revise your character if you ended up not liking your build.

The main draw to MAG is the sheer number of players. It depends on the mode you are playing, but in Domination the game supports 256 players. You won’t see all of these players on screen at once, unless everyone swarms one area, but they are there and it really feels like a massive battle is taking place. Even in the smaller game modes there is a large number of players, so the game never feels empty. And like I said before, since it is objective based you are able to gain experience points by doing more than just killing enemies. Actually, healing and other objective based goals usually yield more points so it encourages players to help each other as opposed to just run off all lone wolf style.

If there was only one shooter I could have played this year, it would have been MAG. The sheer amount of players, tactical gameplay, customization, and feel of the game have made it one of my favorite games of 2010.

SCORE: 9/10

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Medal of Honor Publisher: EADeveloper: Danger Close, DICE
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC /  Genre: FPS  /  Release Date: October 12, 2010

Once again I find myself scratching my head and coming to a different conclusion then most “reviewers” of a game I played. Medal of Honor got a lot of mixed reviews, and a lot of the negatives came from being compared to other games. I can see why one would compare a FPS to the other FPS’s on the market, but to mark it down for not being those games is just stupid. Let Medal of Honor be its own game. That is why it doesn’t play like the two main shooters it was compared to. It’s like they want every game to be the same. Anyway, that is a whole other topic so let me get back on topic.

Medal of Honor comes at the FPS genre in a much less arcady and more realistic direction. You can’t dual wield shotguns, you can’t really run and gun your way through a level. You are meant to be more cautious and more precise. The atmosphere of the game lends itself to this style. I’m not going to say it is actually realistic, but in comparison to the other shooters on the market it sure does feel more real. Hell, even with all the jumping around between characters I still ended up caring for them throughout their trials.

The multiplayer aspect feels a little more fast paced than the single player, but over all it isn’t your typical run and gun (unless you only play the deathmatch modes). The most popular mode, and one I played the most is Combat Mission. This is a team objective based mode. You have to defend strategic spots, or attack them. These are played on larger maps and include limited vehicles. I really enjoyed this mode in particular a lot, and the overall multiplayer experience in general. You level up one of three classes as you play (able to switch load outs and class during your re-spawn), and unlock weapons and mods as you do so. I wish there were more unlocks and more customization, but that is a minor complaint.

So despite some of the poor reviews I really hope EA plans to keep Medal of Honor heading in this direction. If they are able to work out some of the flaws I think they could make a modern FPS that can hang with the other big FPS franchises on the market right now. If you are tired of some of the other shooters I’d easily recommend getting this game.

SCORE: 8/10

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Publisher: EADeveloper: DICE
Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC /  Genre: FPS  /  Release Date: March 2, 2010

I ended up getting Battlefield: Bad Company 2 much later than its initial release date, but I’m glad I finally got around to playing it. There are some noticeable changes form the first game which may change how you feel about the game overall. I personally didn’t mind the change to a more linear format in the single-player. You are not as free to pick a path in a level, but there is still a lot of room to maneuver and choose your path through the environments.

The other notable change is the interaction of the characters during the story. There is a more serious tone to this game than the previous one. It isn’t as serious as the most recent Medal of Honor game, but the characters aren’t cracking the same jokes during cut scenes as they did in the first game. They do still have their more personal and usually amusing conversations as you move through a level. The down side is that if they start talking during a firefight you may not be able to really hear them with all the gun fire, explosions, and crumbling buildings. Which is a shame as I really enjoyed the joking conversations these characters had. It’s still there, but you have to pay attention to catch most of them.

Even with these changes the single-player is still a lot of fun, but that will only last you several hours. After that, you’ll want to turn your attention to the multiplayer. Here you can spend a ton of time ranking up your different classes and unlocking a ton of gear. I was once again drawn into the more team oriented multiplayer modes. Which have you either attacking or defending positions.

If you play FPS’s you’ll feel right at home, but the destructible buildings really change up how you approach taking or defending a position. This along with the different classes and characters found in the single-player are what makes it feel different from the other major FPS on the market. Which is a very good thing in my opinion.

SCORE: 8/10

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Too Many Games, Too Little Time

May 28, 2010

So I haven’t been posting on here as much as I would like. I’ve especially fallen behind in my reviews, but there are good reasons for this. The main reason is because of my new job, which takes a lot out of me most days. However, that isn’t the only reason. Almost as guilty as my new job, is the sheer amount of games out right now. My backlog is huge, and has grown even more this past month. It’s been hard to concentrate on just one game, or to choose writing over actually playing more of these games. I will be making a effort to complete some reviews and with E3 coming post some of my reactions to the news that comes out of the event. But for the time being, here is a short list with some very brief impressions of the games that have been keeping me busy.

MAG

I’ve played way too much of this game by now. Hell, I think I’ve dumped more time into it than any RPG that’s been released this generation. That is saying a lot. I also still plan on spending more time with it, especially when the new DLC comes out. It is probably the biggest surprise for me this year, and one of the games I’ve had the most fun playing.

Lost Planet 2

I’m still rather early in the campaign mode of Lost Planet 2, but I’ve been spending a fair amount of time playing the competitive multiplayer. Sadly, I think this game is getting roughed up a bit in reviews. Yes, there are things that could be improved. I think a lot of people just don’t like the way the game controls, but to me it just has its own feeling and that it isn’t a bad thing. I can see myself playing the co-op and competitive modes for quit some time.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Yes I am still playing this from time to time. Recently I’ve spent more time with the multiplayer, especially with the double cash weekends. I’m not too sure how much longer I’ll stick with the multiplayer, but I will be going back to the single player to get some more trophies and just to enjoy one of the best games of this generation.

Final Fantasy XIII

Well, I don’t really know what to say about this game yet. I’ve spent way too much time in it to not finish it, but it will be one of those games I’ll let sit while I finish other games. It is just rather disappointing that I’ve waited so long for this game, and then it comes out and I find myself not wanting to play it. Hopefully it will peak my interest again since I’m just getting to the “good” part of the game according to most people.

Red Dead Redemption

Unlike FFXIII, Red Dead Redemption is actually living up to my excitement and maybe even surpassing it. I’m not too far into the story, as every time I start riding around in the world I find a new side mission, some animals to hunt, mini-games, or superb environments to get lost in. I know I will be spending a lot of time with this game, especially because I’ve been really enjoying the multiplayer aspect of it as well.

Monster Hunter Tri

This game can be a massive time sink. I haven’t put a ton of hours into it yet, but that’s mainly due to other games and the fact that I’m not very good at the game. I really enjoy it, and can easily see how people could spend tons time with this game. Hopefully I’ll find time to play some of the online portion and start to not suck at it so I can progress in the game.

Then there are some games I’ve only barely touched but want to spend more time with. Some of these games are 3D Dot Game Heroes, Yakuza 3, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and then some DLC for older games. I can’t remember being this busy with so many good games. Thankfully I don’t know of many more games coming out right now so maybe I can start to catch up my posts and growing backlog. Although, with E3 right around the corner I’m sure we’ll see new games and get release dates for games I am interested in. So maybe the real answer it to stop going to work and just play more games.


What I’d Like To See In A Demon’s Souls Sequel

February 11, 2010

Yesterday Roy of Kotowari.org posted about a rumor of a sequel to one of my favorite games, Demon’s Souls (click here to read his article). After a few exchanged tweets about it, I started to really think about what I would like to see in a Demon’s Souls sequel. So here is what I’ve come up with so far.

  • Friends: I’d like to see some small changes to the online aspects of the game, mainly the co-op. I don’t need there to be voice chat or text chat, as I think those would kind of ruin the atmosphere of the game. I would however like the ability to make a friends list (maybe similar to what is seen in White Knight Chronicles). This way I could choose to summon people off of that list. I’d still leave the ability to summon random people, but having a friends list would allow you to create a clan or group of friends which you could rely on to come to your aid.
  • Customization: The first game had some weapon customization and you could dress your character in mix and match armor pieces, but I’d like to see more crafting and more options to create unique equipment. I’m not sure how deep I’d want this system to be, as that isn’t the real focus of Demon’s Souls, but I think adding a way for players to really personalize their characters and equipment would be a nice addition.
  • Technical: I love the atmosphere, controls, and look of Demon’s Souls but it could use a small upgrade in some of its technical makeup. The graphics could be brought to the next level using a more powerful engine. Is this really something to harp about? Nope, but might as well try to bring it up a level if you can. I’d also like to see the weightless rag-doll physics of dead bodies fixed. Besides that, just try to make it run as smooth as possible.
  • Clarity: Thankfully Atlus created a guide and a wiki for Demon’s Souls, because without them I am sure a lot of people would have been completely lost. I don’t really want more tutorials in the game, but if there was some way to convey the finer details of the systems at work in Demon’s Souls that would be a helpful addition to the game.
  • Black Phantoms: You either love them or hate them, but I have some mixed feelings about how they are implemented. I have no problem with them being able to invade your world and hunt you down, or vice versa. However, there were several times when a Black Phantom would invade my game and it became clear there wasn’t going to be a winner. Thankfully those phantoms figured it out as well and left my game, but if they didn’t it would have turned into a war of attrition. With victory going to the guy with more healing items. This may be a rare case, but I would like to maybe see some kind of time limit placed on the Black Phantoms. Maybe the timer could start once they engage you, this way you can’t just run and hide before the timer ran out. Also, I’d like to see something implemented that would keep the same Phantom from invading you back to back. There were several cases when the same player would try to invade my game, after beating them 3 or more times they stopped but it was annoying seeing the same guy keep breaking into my world. Maybe if you beat them twice they wouldn’t be able to invade your game until after they invade a certain number of other players’ games. Just some small things I’d like to see modified in the sequel, but if they were left as is I’d be ok with that.
  • Let Me Pause: Ok, I know why you couldn’t pause in Demon’s Souls but that doesn’t mean I have to like not being able to pause the game. There were several times where real life would “interfere” with my gaming, and this can be rather annoying in Demon’s Souls. You’d have to find a safe place to hide and hope that no Black Phantoms invaded your game. There should be some sort of work-around for this. Maybe make it a spell, one that allows you to pause the world for a set time or at least block Black Phantoms from invading. Just something to make sure I can answer my phone in safety.
  • More: Yes, I’d like more. Some may say it is sadistic, but I would love to have more Archstones to explore. The one broken Archstone always irked me. Why even include it? It was a horrible tease. I really wish there was a way to open it up and travel to that land. Demon’s Souls is one of those games that just sucked me into its world. I stopped playing all other games and religiously played Demon’s Souls. I think if they could make the sequel a longer experience most fans of the first game would be very pleased.
  • DLC: I know, DLC can be a dirty word but hear me out. I would have loved to see more support for Demon’s Souls after its release. Atlus has been kind enough to have some fun with the worlds tendency, but I’d like more content. Like I said before, that one broken Archstone was always so disappointing. I wanted to find a way to fix it so I could travel to that area. I don’t want them holding things back for DLC, or just adding weapons/armor, but if they could create new areas to travel to or demons to fight that would be great. I couldn’t get enough of the first one, so the more reasons for me to continue playing the sequel would be welcome.
  • Trophies: If you have the platinum in Demon’s Souls, like I do, you understand why I’d prefer some variation in the trophies in the sequel. I don’t mind that a lot of them were grindfests, but to have some trophies based off super rare item drops isn’t the best idea (I’m looking at you pure bladestone). If they want to make them similar to the first game, just make sure to make some of the required items not so hard to get. Or maybe just explain how the item drop system works in more detail, so the player is aware of what is needed to increase their chances of getting those coveted items, weapons, and ores.

So those are my thoughts as of now. I’m sure I’ll keep thinking about it, as I absolutely adored Demon’s Souls so I’m ecstatic to hear rumors of a sequel. Hopefully Sony will put more money and support into the sequel, as it surely deserves the AAA treatment.

Thanks again to Roy for finding this.

Could 2010 Be The Year Of The JRPG For The PS3?

January 18, 2010

I’m a very big fan of JRPG’s, so when the PS3 launched I didn’t run out and get it since there really were not any JRPGs on the immediate horizon. Since then there have been a few JRPG’s available on the PS3, and the exclusive ones have been extremely good games. Both Demon’s Souls and Valkyria Chronicles are fine examples of spectacular PS3 RPG’s that any PS3 gamer should already own, and are worth buying a PS3 for. So although we’ve suffered from a lack of quantity of RPG’s, especially JRPG’s, it has been more than made up for with the quality of the titles that are available on the PS3. However, it seems we are about to see a flood of JRPG’s hit the PS3 starting in 2010.

Here is a list of all the possible JRPG’s I could think of coming out on the PS3 in 2010.

White Knight Chronicles ~ February 2, 2010

This game seems way overdue for a US release. In Japan they are already re-releasing it with all the add-ons and they announced a sequel at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show. It just kept getting pushed back in the US, much to my dismay. They are adding a ton to the US edition, but if you ask me it should have come out this past summer during the typical low time in gaming so it had room to breathe. Now it will be jammed into what is a busy RPG gaming year, and also a front heavy Q1 with other potential blockbusters like Bioshock 2, God of War 3, and Final Fantasy XIII releasing around the same time. Despite my complaints of delays and a poor release window I am really looking forward to this game. It looks like Level-5 have crafted another fun and enjoyable JRPG.

Star Ocean: The Last Hope, International ~ February 9, 2010.

Finally the Star Ocean series comes back home on the newest PlayStation platform, the PS3. Sadly, this game looks almost too much like the series’ most recent console edition (Star Ocean 3). This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you feel about the last game. To me, it is too much like the last game for me to get too excited about it. It looks like a more shiny and polished Star Ocean 3… and not much more. However, I will end up playing it as I’m a JRPG whore.

Last Rebellion ~ February 23, 2010

Last Rebellion will feature two different main characters, a more artistic art direction, and tactical turn-based combat. You will be able to switch between the two characters during combat, each with their own abilities. The combat will be turn-based, but you can strategically target different parts of enemies to disable them. This way you can reduce the enemies ability to fight back and make it easier to take them down. Being a NIS game, having strategic combat, and a budget price tag all adds up to me being very interested and pretty much sold on the game.

Final Fantasy XIII ~ March 9, 2010

Here is another game that seems way overdue. It feels like we’ve heard about this game since before FFXII was released in the US. Like a lot of people, I’m more interested in FF Versus XIII than FFXIII due to its darker mood. However, FFXIII seems to be shaping up nicely. Most people that played the demo, which came with the Japanese release of Advent Children or at various game shows, have come away being impressed. I personally don’t like most of the character designs, besides Lightning, which is a big disappointment since FF games are very character and story driven. I’m expecting FFXIII to be a very good game, just not sure it will live up to my expectations for a main entry in the FF series.

3D Dot Games Heroes ~ May 11, 2010

Once again, Atlus has come to the rescue of fans of JRPG’s and unique or quirky games. 3D Dot will be a sleeper hit in 2010. It will be another niche game that endears itself to those that actually play the game. Featuring beautiful art direction, customization, and a great sound track it will surely be a very unique and exciting gaming experience. I personally can’t wait for this game, and it is one of my most anticipated games in 2010.

Resonance of Fate ~ May 31, 2010

Resonance of Fate is another new JRPG IP from Sega (who brought us the fabulous Valkyria Chronicles), although it is being made by tri-Ace. Originally I wasn’t too excited about this game, as it was another RPG with guns but after seeing some of the combat my interest as been peaked. It appears to be a mix of real time and tactical turn-based gun combat with a lot of flair to it. You will also be able to customize your characters clothing, hair, and most importantly their guns. All this customization means you’ll be able to tailor the characters’ looks and how they play to suit your style better, which is always a welcome thing in my opinion.

Final Fantasy XIV ~ TBA

FFXIV was one of the major surprises revealed during Sony’s 2009 E3 keynote. It took the audience by surprise. How could they be announcing FFXIV when FFXIII isn’t even out yet? Well, simple. It is a totally different team and style of game. FFXIV will be the next FF MMO. I have my doubts that we will see this in the US in 2010, but you never know. Square Enix could surprise us since the game is supposedly very far along in its development and they’ve had to remain quiet about it due to FFXIII’s development.

Atelier Rorona ~ TBA

Not too long ago NIS America finally came out and confirmed that they are indeed bringing Atelier Rorona to North America. I’m was happy to hear this, as the game might not be the best looking game out there but it does have a certain charm to it. It will focus heavily on alchemy. Which means a lot of item collection, management, and crafting. If you aren’t into those sorts of things you might feel over burdened by the game, but I think it should add a little bit of variation when compared to the other JRPG’s in 2010.

Record of Agarest War ~ TBA

Well, this game was suppose to be available in 2009 but since they decided to bring it to the Xbox 360 as well it has been delayed until spring 2010. Record of Agarest War is a niche game within in an already small niche. It plays like a SRPG with some dating-sim elements as you can breed new warriors by seducing some of the ladies in the game. This should be an interesting PSN title to say the least, but I doubt it will do too well now that it will be pushed up against the more notable JRPG’s in 2010.

Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment ~  TBA

I’m not too sure how excited I am about this game. Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment is a prequel to the original to the original Vandal Hearts game way back on the PS one. It is a SRPG that will place you in the center of a grid-based board, where you have to defeat the surrounding enemies to clear the board. Instead of having to decide where you want to spend experience points they will be distributed for you depending on how you use your characters. So if you use a lot of fire magic for one character, they will naturally continue to get better at using it. This should be true for combat skills and weapons as well. I’m not really into the art direction, but if it comes out at a good price I’ll probably end up getting it.

Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll ~ TBA

For the first time ever KOEI will be bringing the Zill O’ll series outside of Japan with Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll. This entry into the action RPG series is suppose to  have a darker tone than the previous games and will feature a non-linear story. You will control three adventurers that have been brought together for some unknown reason. You can switch between these three party members during combat creating combos with them. Another interesting aspect of combat and exploration is that the environments are suppose to fully interactive. This means you can change the environment to access new areas and use the environment to your advantage in combat. Although this game seems interesting, it is being made by the same team that makes the Dynasty Warriors games. Hopefully the combat won’t become as button-mashy as those games.

And here are a few other JRPG’s that only have a Japanese release or aren’t officially announced yet for the US.

Trinity Universe ~ TBA

Trinity Universe is cross-over game between NIS, Idea Factory, and Gust. It will feature characters from titles made by these companies, such as Prinny and Etna from the Disgaea series. There will be two sides to the story of Trinity Universe. You can play as either Kanata or Rizerial, which will align with either demons or goddesses respectively. So it looks like you’ll see the story from two different view points. As you move through the story you will engage in 3D battle, which will be a first for a lot of the characters in the game. The game’s story will play out in slightly animated conversation scenes, which are 2D. It seems like this game will be another unique mash up of JRPG franchises, like Cross Edge, to create a fun new game. Plus we’ll finally see Prinny and Etna in 3D, which is probably a big thing for fans of those characters.

Tales of Vesperia ~ TBA

Tales of Vesperia is probably the game I am most jealous of that has come out on the Xbox 360. I’ve never really followed the Tales series, but I absolutely love the art direction in Vesperia. The character design is really nice, and whatever engine Namco Bandai is using in this game looks gorgeous. Featuring a ton of added content, the Japanese PS3 version easily outsold the lifetime sales of the former Xbox exclusive version in its opening day. This should make it an obvious decision to bring it outside of Japan as well, but there is still no word of that. However, there are some hints that is is being worked on. Hopefully it does become available outside of Japan as it looks like a great JRPG.

The Last Remnant ~ TBA

Maybe, just maybe this game still exists for the PS3. However, I highly doubt it. But for now, since I haven’t heard that Square Enix has officially announced that is has been canceled, I’ll go along and say that it will emerge from the lost land of vaporware to become a real game sometime in 2010. If this does happen, it better run smooth with none of the problems that severely hampered the Xbox 360 version. Also, SE should consider releasing it for a discounted price just to make it a more attractive purchase to busy JRPG gamers.

Ar Tonelico III ~ TBA

Ar Tonelico III will be the first Ar Tonelico game to feature 3D character models for combat, but it will still have 2D character portraits. Very little is known about Ar Tonelico III right now, but I expect it will follow a similar story to the ones featured in the previous game.  Most likely it will center around the relationships between Humans and Reyvateils, and the towers they live in. Even though it hasn’t been announced for NA yet the other games in the series were brought over by NISA so I’m pretty sure they will bring this one over as well.

With all of these JRPG’s coming in 2010, or rumored to be coming out around then, I almost feel like it is too much. I really wish a few of them had come out earlier or hope that they are at least spread out through the year. Otherwise people will be skipping games due to a sheer lack of time to complete all of them, especially if they are going after the trophies for all these games. I guess I shouldn’t complain, at least there will be options for PS3 JRPG fans in 2010.

My Favorite PSP Games of 2009

January 9, 2010

To be honest, I haven’t played or finished enough PSP games in 2009 to make a true top 10 list for the year. Because of this, I figured I’d just list some of my favorite PSP games I played during the year instead of making a top 10 list. Like I said, I haven’t finished all these games but I’ve played enough of them to have a fair opinion on them. So here are some of my favorite PSP games, listed alphabetically, of 2009.

Half-Minute Hero
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Not only is this my favorite PSP game of 2009, it is also one of my overall favorite games of 2009. Simply put, I fell deeply in love with this game. It is over flowing with charm, humor, and character. It is a blast to play, with several different modes, and both the art direction and music really cement the game as must buy. It is one of the many unique games available on the PSP that really define the system in my mind. Basically if you have a PSP you need to get this game, especially if you love JRPG’s.
Review coming soon.

Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This?
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Here is another quirky PSP game that I really enjoyed last year. It plays sort of like a tower defense game, but has more than enough tweaks to the gameplay that make it feel unique. Add to that some rather funny moments and retro pixel art direction and it easily won me over.

LocoRoco 2
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Many people might find LocoRoco 2 too cute, too “kiddy”, and too easy but I just found a great and fun game. I love the simple art direction, fun gameplay, and excellent music. LocoRoco 2 is one of those games I found myself playing much longer then I would intend to. Only realizing how much time had passed when I finally looked at a clock or got distracted by something else. Do yourself a favor and pick this whimsical game up.

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis
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I wasn’t too sure how I would feel about this game, but I ended up sinking a lot of time into it. It has just enough of that classic JRPG feel to it that I really got hooked on it. If you are looking for a more full fledged JRPG for your PSP I’d pick this one up.

Patapon 2
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Once again, I find myself being drawn to unique and charming PSP games. Patapon 2 builds off of the excellent original game. Fixing and enhancing it in all the right ways. I love the superb art direction and music of this rhythm-action game. If you are looking for something different, fun, and challenging you can’t go wrong with Patapon 2.

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?
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Another NIS game full of humor and charm. I will admit that this game can get pretty tough, but that is kind of the point of it. You play as one of my favorite supporting characters from video games, Prinny. That automatically makes it a good game, but build a solid side-scrolling action game around Prinny and you get a great PSP game.

Resistance Retribution
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I love the Resistance series, so being able to get back into that fiction was an easy sell. It takes place between the two console games and features a new protagonist. Even with the lack of a second analog stick, Resistance Retribution manages to play very well for a third-person shooter. Also of note, is that it is the only non-Japanese game on my list. So even without the charm of those other games, Retribution still manages to provide a great action packed game. If you are a fan of the Resistance series you really should play this game.

My Top 10 PS3 Games of 2009

January 1, 2010

Ok, so 2009 is almost over and I figured I might as well do a top 10 list. This list will be for games available on the PS3, either disc based games or games available through the PlayStation Store. I’ll be listing them alphabetically, since I don’t really feel like listing them from 1-10 since I know it would be very hard for me to pick between some of these games and it doesn’t matter as I think they are all must own games.

Assassin’s Creed 2
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I was in the minority, as I actually enjoyed the first Assassin’s Creed. Luckily it sold well, so Ubisoft was able to correct the mistakes of the first game. In the sequel you still get to sneak around on roof tops, stealthily take down guards and other targets, and free run across several locations. However the sequel adds more combat moves, weapons, varying side missions, and maybe a better setting and protagonist depending on your opinion. Overall, it takes what was an already really good game and brings it to the next level. Reaching a lot closer to its potential than the original Assassin’s Creed did, this game is a must have for any fan of action games.
Assassin’s Creed 2 review coming soon.

Borderlands
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If you are into loot and long games, then go out and pick up Borderlands. There is a lot to do in this FPS with RPG elements. Along with Demon’s Souls, Borderlands became a huge time sink for me. The smooth shooting controls and constant lust for new weapons makes you want to keep playing the game. This game is what I wanted Fallout3 to be. You know, actually fun. Plus if you are into co-op you really need to get this game, as you can play through the whole thing with up to 3 friends.
Check out my review here.

Critter Crunch
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With a ton of charm, humor, amazing art direction, stunning graphics, and solid puzzle mechanics Critter Crunch was easily one of my favorite games of 2009. The game has character and heart. You can tell the studio, Capybara Games, behind the game poured their love into this game. If you are at all interested in puzzle games you have to pick up this great PSN game. If not, try the demo and you will most likely immediately become enamored by the game and want to pick it up.
Check out my review here.

Demon’s Souls
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Thank you Atlus for bringing this game to the US. I’m one of the people who imported it, but I’m also one of the people that bought it a second time when Atlus announced they were bringing it over since Sony didn’t want to. So yes, Demon’s Souls is so good that I bought it twice. It controls great, has amazing atmosphere, unique and innovative online, and is one of the most addictive games I’ve played in a very long time. This is an instant classic for any hardcore action RPG fan.
Check out my review here.

Fat Princess
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Beneath the cute art direction there is an immensely fun 32-player competitive online game. Personally I loved the art direction. I mean come on, there are a ton of unlock-able beards. How can you go wrong with that? Besides looking really good on your HD TV, Fat Princess will give you hours of enjoyment. I’m not a huge online gamer, but I immediately found this game fun and accessible. The overhead class-based gameplay is simple enough for anyone to grasp, but there is enough depth to it to keep you coming back. The tactical aspects of controlling points, gathering resources, defending your base, feeding the princess cake, upgrading your hat machines (which determine what class you are), along with having to coordinate a siege on your opponents castle to effectively free the princess and bring her back to your castle gives the game enough variety and challenge to make the game appealing to a number of different players. With the promise of more classes and more maps Fat Princess should continue to grow and remain a bloody good time.

flower
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I’m still unsure how to describe this game, but whatever it is I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is simple, and in that simplicity it is beautiful. Featuring gorgeous and simple graphics, flower is immediately recognizable. You control the wind as you fly through fields and other areas. Picking up petals as you open up flowers. There is a story here, which you may like or hate but that doesn’t change the fact that the game is fun, relaxing, stunning, and looks great in HD. Do yourself a favor and pick up another unique gem only found on the PS Store.

infamous
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During the current glut of open-world games infamous stands out from the crowd with its fluid controls and great story. It manages to avoid repeating too many of its missions and side missions. The controls are great, whether you are climbing a building, shooting lightning, or gliding through the sky to drop down on your enemies. As you struggle with your actions and how your choices effect the game, you are driven forward by an epic branching story. It is one of those games you will replay just to see what happens when you make different decisions.

Killzone 2
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Amazingly, Killzone 2 was able to live up to the hype and exceed it in my opinion. Dark, gritty, intense, and action packed. Killzone 2 is one of the most impressive games I have seen. The graphics are perfectly married with an oppressive art direction and some of the best animation you’ll ever see in a game. You are on Helghan, and you know it. Killzone 2 plays differently than other FPS, as it actually has weight and a realism to it that other games lack. The controls aren’t floaty or gamey. If you are looking for something different than other FPS’s, with a deep online multiplayer then you really need to check out Killzone2.

PixelJunk Shooter
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Proving once again that you can’t go wrong with a PixelJunk game, Q-games sneaked PixelJunk Shooter into my top 10 for 2009 with the mid December release. They prove that simple isn’t always a bad thing. You control a space ship and fly around 2D caverns, rescuing colonist while solving puzzles and shooting a lot of things. Featuring great art direction, a sweet soundtrack, and amazing fluid dynamics. Shooter is an easy to pick up and play game with some depth to it.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
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Uncharted 2 is simply breath taking and jaw dropping. I thought the first game was impressive, but the sequel brings it to a whole new level. The new setting was a great move by Naughty Dog. You will see a bunch of different locations and all of them are amazingly realized. The game still has great controls, platforming, and fun puzzles as well. Uncharted 2 isn’t just a very good game due to its superb technical prowess and smooth gameplay. Much like the first game, the characters and story are done so much better than any other game that you will really be drawn into their world and actually care about them. It does this even better than a lot of movies. Nathan Drake and company are some of the most believable, engaging, and likable characters I’ve ever encountered in any type of media. If you own a PS3 and don’t have this game then I feel bad for you, as you are truly missing out.
Uncharted 2 review coming soon.

Honorable Mentions:

God of War Collection – I must confess that I’ve never finished any of the God of War games before this collection. I’ve played parts of them and watched my brother or friends play parts. At the time these games came out I was pretty much only playing JRPG’s, as that is my favorite genre and there were a ton of them available on the PS2. I’ve always wanted to go back and play the God of War series, and I almost bought the games back in the beginning of the PS3’s life. However I’m so glad I didn’t. These two games are brought back to life with smooth framerates and polished graphics. God of War II in particular looks rather impressive. If you are like me and missed out on really getting into these games when they came out this is a must buy, especially if you are going to get God of War III.

Gravity Crush – Some people may choose this game over PixelJunk Shooter, as they appear to be very similar. They do have similarities, but they play and feel very different. Gravity Crush is gorgeous and has a great retro feel to it. However I found myself drawn to PixelJunk Shooter which which is why Gravity Crush didn’t make the list. Although, I do recommend getting both games.

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger – I am not a huge fighting game fan, but I actually really enjoyed BlazBlue (even if I’m not too good at it). To sum up how much I like this game, it is the first fighting game I’ve purchased since Street Fighter back on the SNES.

Dead Space 2 Officially Announced

December 8, 2009

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Well it took the oh so painfully long wait of one whole day for my hopes to be answered. Today EA has officially announced that Dead Space 2 is in development via a lovely little press release, which can be read at Giant Bomb. Although practically no details are given in the press release it does mention one important fact. The protagonist from Dead Space, everyone’s favorite space engineer, Isaac Clarke returns in Dead Space 2. Depending on how you interpret the last scene of the the original Dead Space this may be somewhat of a surprise. Hopefully they will explain what the outcome of the last scene of Dead Space is in Dead Space 2 and we get to dismember some more necromorphs sooner rather than later.

Possible Dead Space 2 Announcement Soon

December 6, 2009

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Well, I loved Dead Space. It was the first Survival Horror game that I’ve actually finished in a long time. I know it isn’t as slow paced or methodical as the Resident Evil series, but I think that is a good thing. The game wasn’t hampered by the controls, like Resident Evil 5 was. Dead Space had very smooth third person action/shooter controls that didn’t make you feel like you were fighting the game for control of your character. The game also had very good graphics, nice art direction, great atmosphere, fun weapons, and superb sound design. I also thoroughly enjoyed the story of the game, even with a silent main character. So with all the rumors of the possible upcoming announcement of Dead Space 2 I’m pretty excited.

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It is rumored that Dead Space 2 will be featured in the next issue of Official Playstation magazine and it is also rumored that the first trailer will be shown at the upcoming Spike TV Video Game Awards. On top of these rumors, the Dead Space Twitter account has posted a new image (seen above). It is done in the style of a Rorschach test. You can make out 3 different types of necromorphs (the creatures featured in Dead Space) and the Marker in the negative space at the center of the image. Then there is some writing below the image, which is written in the language used by the colonist when they start to go mad due to the Marker. A forum member, Aglaophotis, of HellDescent.com has gone through the trouble of translating this text for everyone. It reads:

“The nightmare is over but it will not end”

This doesn’t really give us any insight into Dead Space 2, other than there is a Dead Space 2. Hopefully the rumors are true and we’ll be getting a lot of info on the possible existence of Dead Space 2 very soon.

The Few, The Proud, The Wii Games I Would Like To See On PS3

December 5, 2009

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I don’t own a Wii, and I don’t plan on getting one. That statement might sound very fanboyish, but that isn’t the case. I don’t have anything against Nintendo. It has just been a very long time since I actually missed having a Nintendo console. I haven’t been following the main Nintendo franchises (Mario, Zelda, 10,000 Mario spin-offs, etc) for awhile, as they no longer appeal to me. The last Nintendo system I owned was the SNES. Nintendo’s consoles and games just haven’t resonated with me in a long time. On top of this, the Wii’s motion controls just feel too gimmicky for my tastes. The addition of Motion Plus was a good move, but I still have yet to see it have a meaningful implementation in a game that interests me (sorry, more Wii sports doesn’t interest me at all). Plus, with Sony’s upcoming motion control if I really want to get in on the waggle I can do so, and in HD. However, with that all said. There are a few recent Wii games, and upcoming games, that do strike my interest. Is it enough to get a Wii? Probably not, but here is a small list of games I would like to play that are only found on the Wii.

Dead Space Extraction
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I loved Dead Space. So being able to get back into its fiction is something I would eagerly welcome. Dead Space Extraction is a prequel to the original and explores the events that lead up to what you play-through in Dead Space. It is also a very good looking game. Would it look better in HD? Of course, so moving it to the HD consoles would benefit that aspect of the game. Moving it to other consoles would help Extraction out sales wise as well. It has done horribly so far. However, there is one problem with Extraction in my opinion. It is totally different package than what you experienced in the original game. Instead of being a smooth controlling and immersive third person shooter, Extraction is rail shooter. That doesn’t really sound like too much fun to me, but I could be wrong. However, to experience more of Dead Space I think it would be worth wading through the light gun gameplay.

Monster Hunter 3
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It’s been a very long time since I’ve played a Monster Hunter game, back on the good old PS2. When Capcom came out and said they were moving the development of Monster Hunter 3 from the PS3 to the Wii I was pretty disappointed. Thankfully, Demon’s Souls came out and even though it is a totally different game it managed to scratch my Monster Hunter itch. That being said, I would still love to see Monster Hunter in HD. Hell, they have managed to make a very nice looking Wii game so just imagine it on an HD console. Plus, they could have more critters on screen, even more players for co-op, and larger environments. Overall I think it could be a more realized game if it were on a more powerful machine than the Wii.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
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I’ve always been a fan of the Final Fantasy series. However, like I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve never owned a Gamecube, N64, or any of the numerous Nintendo handhelds so I’ve never played any of the Crystal Chronicles games. I think its about time I actually play one of them, which is why I’m putting The Crystal Bearers on this list. It looks very different than the most recent main entries of Final Fantasy, which is true of the Crystal Chronicles as a whole. Maybe it is playing to a younger audience, but I still find it interesting and it would be a nice change up from the main series for me.

Sin and Punishment 2
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I never played the original Sin and Punishment (which makes sense since it was only released in Japan), but when I saw the footage of Sin and Punishment 2 I was immediately interested. Yes, it is a rail shooter so you’d think I’d complain about that like I did with Dead Space Extraction. However, the original Sin and Punishment was a rail shooter as well so I wouldn’t expect this to be drastically different. This is in contrast to the original Dead Space which was much more than a rail shooter. Anyway, Sin and Punishment 2 looks like a lot of frantic fun. Plus it has very nice, and very Japanese, art direction which I am a sucker for.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade
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This is one game that probably wouldn’t see a large upgrade in the graphics department with a move to HD consoles since it already looks gorgeous on the Wii. That is due to the superb art direction. Muramasa is just beautiful looking. Besides being a looker, it also looks like a ton of fun to play. Side scrolling through great looking backgrounds while slicing foes up never looked any better. There was a rumor going around that Muramasa might actually come out on the PS3 and Xbox 360. This doesn’t seem that far fetched seeing how it doesn’t use motion controls and also didn’t sell too well. So maybe one of my wishes will actually come true.

Fragile:
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I saved the best for last, Fragile. This is the game that would possibly move me to get a Wii. If you don’t know much about it check out this video (LINK). It looks extremely good to me. The art direction, atmosphere, characters, and general feeling I get from the game really resonates with me. The gameplay might not be the most intense thing around, but it looks like it will fit with the overall mood of the game. Oh fragile, I’d love to see an HD version of you on the PS3. It doesn’t come out till February in North America and since the PS3 motion control wand isn’t due till spring it could give them a little time to rework it for the PS3… Right? Or just forget the motion controls, as I really care about the story and the world of this game. If you couldn’t tell, I’m really jealous that this game is only available on the Wii. If I ever cave and get a Wii it will be due to this game. Heck, I might try to borrow a Wii from a friend just to experience this game.

New Blade & Soul Video… How I Wish You Were Coming To The PS3

December 1, 2009

A new video for NCsoft’s newest MMORPG Blade & Soul has been released, and boy does this game look really good. The video has a good amount of info in it, which is good considering it is over ten minutes long. It shows several races and classes/professions that are available in the game. While showing off all the new classes/professions you will also see many different and beautiful environments in the game and get a feel for the action based combat in the game. Blade & Soul is being described as an Asian martial arts styled MMORPG. Since it isn’t based in reality, magic, crazy anime-ish combat flourishes, fantastical creatures, and other powers will also make up the world of Blade & Soul. Another important aspect of the game are the graphics which really do justice to the superb art direction of the game. The Korean artist Hyung-Tae Kim is responsible for the lovely aesthetic of this game and the great character designs. His character designs may be a tad too much for some people, but I really like the look of most of the stuff seen in the new video. It really makes the game feel different than other games. Even though Hyung-Tae Kim is also the man behind the character designs of the Magna Carta games, the ones featured in Blade & Soul feel much more like his actual artwork than those found in either Magna Carta game. Anyway, I was really hoping this game would turn out to be one of the rumored NCsoft games for Sony but there has been no word about it coming to anything other than the PC. If that is the case then I doubt I’ll ever play this game since I don’t have a gaming PC and don’t plan on getting one.