Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Late TGIF

Have a good weekend folks! I will most certainly be offline for the entire time. Why? Well, basically I'm going to be spending 24 hours in a movie theater watching all the Oscar best picture nominees back to back. After that I'm going to get in some serious power sleeping then go out to a meeting.

It's gonna be fun! And crazy. But mostly fun!

31 - Dai Senryaku VII: Exceed (PS2)

Genre: Turn-based strategy
Rating: E
Developer: SystemSoft
Publisher: Valcon Games
Platform: PS2
Release date: 2007

I first saw this game randomly in the new PS2 game section at Game Stop. I saw it again months later brand new (actually in shrinkwrap) at Wal Mart. I picked it up and almost bought it but then went with Raw Danger new instead. This was only a month ago. What are these years old PS2 games doing brand new in retail stores still? It's a bit of a mystery to me. However, upon visiting the same Wal Mart a week ago the PS2 section was cleared out.

Onto the game. Well, I can't actually even begin to tell you how this game works, because I just plain don't know. It's a turn-based strategy game. You are in control of some Japanese troops and fighting against an opposing army. That's fine but I could not figure out how to control my troops, read the map, or generally stop sucking.

The game ended so fast as my tanks meandered unknowingly into enemy territory time and time again. My commanding was the most shameful affair that the AI had ever encountered, presumably. It was bad. I'm sure if you're someone really interested in turn-based military games then this would be great. But for me? Noooo thank you. Advance Wars will do me just fine.

Would I play again? No.

30 - Taito Legends (PS2)

Genre: Compilation
Rating: T
Developer: Empire Oxford
Publisher: Sega
Platform: PS2 (Also: PC, PSP, Xbox)
Release date: 2005

I just picked this one up over the weekend and was tired of going in alphabetical order so decided to hit this up. It was a pretty good choice, especially after the supreme un-fun of the game I'd just played. Strangely, unlike the Atari and Intellivision collections I have I wasn't quite sure what would be included in the Taito flavor. For classic games, I'm kind of biased with my interest which mostly leans toward western developers. Don't ask me why though, that's just how things ended up happening.

So aside from the obligatory Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, and Elevator Action a lot of these games were new to me. That didn't stop me from finding a couple new favorites though. Games like Gladiator were pretty cool. I liked that you could control your sword and shield separately for attacking and blocking against the enemy combatants. I'd really like to play it two player. There was some other sword game but I can't remember the name and I was just awful at it so maybe it's better to forget about it.

There was this other game but the name completely escapes me now. However, it was fantastic and it was a very simple game. Basically you were in control of two little animals (pig, dog, or cat) holding a.... bouncy mat thing. Wow, words really are failing me tonight. One of those types of things that firefighters use in movies when someone is jumping out of a window of a burning building. Anyway, you would bounce your animal friend in it and hit objects on the top half of the screen. There were even boss battles and it was totally cool.

Overall the mix of games was pretty cool. I'm always a fan of these types of things though so maybe I'm biased. They feel like pretty good deals to me. Some of the games aren't any good but that's the case with any compilation. With that said though, this compilation probably won't be the first or even second I reach for next time.

Would I play again? Sure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

29 - Shifters (PS2)

Genre: Adventure
Rating: T
Developer: 3DO
Publisher: 3DO
Platform: PS2
Release date: 2002

With 3DO developing and publishing games such as this gem for the PS2 it's easy to see why they ended up filing for bankruptcy. Now, their Army Men games were pretty cool but beyond that they always seemed to be reaching for the stars with their boots nailed to the ground.

This isn't a fun game at all. There's glitches everywhere and I came across them over and over again. The NPCs had inane dialog that sounded like it was written by a child. The graphics were awkward and probably even put together with an in-house engine. The music was silly and would cue up improperly. For example, the battle music would begin playing when I fought enemies but it would also begin playing if I tried swinging at women in the (safe) town. Apparently the music must have been bound to sword swings.

There were loading screens between levels that I didn't even know were levels. You would go to open some doors and they would open up into another room. Some doors, however, would open to a loading screen. It was really strange, especially since none of the "levels" were all that large.

There was no real guide throughout the game so I wandered aimlessly through the halls and caves. I was able to progress pretty far thanks to the extremely forgiving health bar. Along with taking a ton of hits to go down at all, it also would regenerate over time. Overall, this game felt like a really horrible way to spend my time. I'm glad it's over.

Would I play again? No.

28 - Sky Odyssey (PS2)

Genre: Flight sim
Rating: E
Developer: CAProduction
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PS2
Release date: 2000

I don't know why I have so many simulation games that I barely know anything about. I don't have any particular interest in flying or planes but here's another game based around it. Unlike more action oriented games such as Ace Combat this game is one based upon adventuring.

In the game you're given the option to play through the adventuring story mode, practice, or just fly freely around. I went with adventure mode because that was what I assumed to be the meat of the game. At first it seemed really boring but quickly picked up.

You're flying in precarious places by cliff sides and between them. Sometimes there will be rock slides that spontaneously occur and you have to maneuver out of the way or else you're in big trouble. You also need to keep an eye on the random plane stats on the side of the screen or else your craft might stall in midair. Mine did, but somehow miraculously un-stalled before I went crashing to my death.

Speaking of which, I managed to fly through the level, hitting the magical circles in the air that they wanted you to nail. It was at the very end of the flight that I finally saw the landing strip down below me. I quickly descended and tried to get on their as slow as possible. However, what ended up happening was that I slammed down onto the strip and it was game over. I saved a replay and hope to upload that to Youtube sometime.

Would I play again? No.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Updates

Heeeeeey everyone!

I'm just making this post here to let you know that for the most part my blog will not update with such masses of stuff each day like it mostly has been in the initial week. That gives you time to actually read stuff without get swamped by updates as well as time for me to do other things too!

Today I got an editorial position on a small, but growing gaming site so that will definitely take up some time. That, paired with my schoolwork and various other endeavors will stretch my obligations further. This blog is a ton of fun to work on though so it's not like I'm going to stop focusing on it!

Just wanted to share that there probably won't be 4 posts or whatever every day, but there might be sometimes! I just need to get everything all balanced and see what time is left for what. I picked up about 10 new games over the weekend too so at this pace I'll keep having things to review for a very, very long time. As it stands, if I can keep up my current pace (without counting new purchases) it will probably take maybe 3 or 4 months to write a few paragraphs on every game I've not really touched in my collection. We'll see how far off I am once that time eventually comes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What's the Best Way to Buy and Sell Games?

I've been wondering for a while what the best methods might be to purchase rare/import games and how to pawn off the lousy duplicates laying around. For acquiring any specific games it's pretty obvious I can't rely on GameStop or other local game shops to have all I need. In fact, it seems GameStop is forever trying to push collectors out of their stores what with them selling many last gen games now in plain paper slipcovers - trashing the manuals and cases when they had them prior!
Screw GS!

I've had a bit of luck with local stores although my favorite recently closed down thanks to a GameStop cropping up across the street. Thankfully, a new game store has taken their place in another area which is quickly gaining favor with me. Still, any retail store only has so much. If you want something really rare or imported usually you're relegated to search around on eBay, Game Gavel or specialty forums.

As of late I've been checking out various online ways to buy, sell, and trade games. There's certainly not a lack of websites devoted to this. I looked into Goozex, Gylde, SwitchGames, and a handful of other sites and found them all interesting little ventures. Goozex has by far the largest amount of users currently but before that it seemed the best option was GameTZ.

What I've come to find while checking out these various sites I've noticed that most are severely lacking in having a simple to use website. Glyde comes very close to this but the simplicity is in fact a little too much so and there aren't as many items available. Goozex is a super cluttered website and feels like it's full of teenagers. There isn't necessarily a thing wrong with that but I wouldn't really trust a bunch of kids who are going to goof off to give me a game in good condition, ship properly, etc. I know there are some fine folks using the site, but there doesn't seem to be a way to tell who is very reputable. Also, while they have a "retro" game section now (they didn't always) there's still tons of consoles missing and apparently many users don't even check their carts prior to selling.

GameTZ is ugly as sin but you know what, it doesn't need to be gorgeous. I had to look around a while to get acclimated to the layout of the site but it has quickly become my favorite site out of my searches. Almost every game from the NTSC region is listed, and many popular Japanese ones are as well for various consoles. I've seen reputable users offering up games that I desperately want and with 500 transactions under their belt, I'm very ready to trust them. The whole site is based around bargaining too, so you can work your way to a better deal, if you so desire.

I'm thinking that this is going to be the site I use in the future for buying, selling, and maybe trading too. Well, first I'd like to pawn off the stack of horrible Asteroids and E.T. carts I have at a yard sale or something, but then become invested in the site. I really like it and think it's worth checking out if you want yet another alternative to all the online shopping sites out there and maybe wanna get rid of a few things.

I'm curious what other websites, stores, forums, or whatever that gamers use. I'll keep searching because GameTZ apparently has been huge for at least 10 years and I only found out about it sometime last year. I've known of Goozex since its inception but just have never had enough trust for the site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Podcast Recommendation

Hey folks, even though initially I wasn't sure if I'd be around for posting on Sunday it's turned out that I have been able to. Fabulous! Well tonight it's about time for my favorite podcast so I'm gonna pass them along to anyone who might stumble over this post.

It seems now that every site has their own podcast going on, and that's pretty cool. I've taken the time to listen to various podcasts around the net but for the most part they don't keep me interested. I'm not sure if it's the content or the way they discuss topics or what, but none of these podcasts from the last 2 years really manage to hook me.

Perhaps part of the problem is because I've been spoiled by one of the first podcasts I ever listened to. That podcast is Orange Lounge Radio. They're a group of three friends who started podcasting way back in 2002. I started listening sometime around 2003 and haven't stopped since.

Initially they were a podcast about rhythm and music games specifically. A few years after I started listening they decided to switch to a more all-around gaming podcast because the music gaming genre was dying out, pretty much. That was before Guitar Hero and Rock Band hit the world at full force.

Perhaps it's also not quite fair to call them a "podcast" because for all these years they've been doing their show live on Sunday nights from 6-9PM PST. Would you call that a livecast? An online radio show? I'm not quite sure but podcast is the most recognizable term so I stick with it. Either way, they're live most Sunday nights and then they save that show and put it out on iTunes/etc later so you can listen in podcast form if so desired. It's much more fun to listen live however as they have their own chatroom where you can interact as well as responding to user emails, tweets, calls/Skype, and all of that interaction.

What's so good about these people then? They're huge gamers and have been all their lives. You'd have to assume so if they've kept this gaming podcast going after all these years. They're LGBT friendly which is wonderful to find in the gaming world these days. The host is a great, hilarious guy with a lovely boyfriend who sometimes appears on the show. The co-hosts are both married (not to each other!) and one is a proud father and techie while the other is an awesome gal who has tons of games and pinball machines. They talk about games but sometimes the topic wanders. Even when the topic goes onto something like food or something it's still entertaining to listen to because they get along so wonderfully.

OLR is wonderful and if you're ever interested in sampling a new podcast I highly suggest giving it a listen. They're going to be live in about 10 minutes on All Games. This is how I've spent many Sunday nights over the years and I welcome you to get in on it along with me. Their newest episode has already been updated to their feed.

27 - Cold Winter

Genre: FPS
Rating: M
Developer: Swordfish Studios
Publisher: VU Games
Platform: PS2
Release date: 2005

What can I say about this game? It's hard for me to formulate any good sentences for this game even though I enjoyed it and lasted maybe 45 minutes before dying in a firefight. Well, simply put the game is just like everything else out there.

The story isn't particularly riveting nor are the characters involved. The gunplay is extremely simple and you're never afraid of running out of ammo or body armor. Even if you were running low on armor, you can get shot all full of holes and run away as if nothing ever happened. This was on the normal difficulty too, and there was an easier difficulty below. I can only assume what that "difficulty" was like.

The graphics are average and the music... was there any music? If there was it was wholly uninspiring because I can't even recall hearing it. Something really strange that happened when I was playing was that I felt a very strong sense of deja vu. Either I had actually played this game at some point earlier in my life or this game was in fact so similar to many FPS titles that they blended together. Either way, it's not much of a compliment.

I had a fair degree of fun playing the game simply based off the fact it wasn't too complex or difficult. Frustration isn't something I typically enjoy to feel at the hands of a game. I could see myself wasting a few more hours with it.

Would I play again? Sure (to complete it).

26 - Chessmaster

Genre: Board
Rating: E
Developer: Ubisoft Romania
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PS2 (Also: GBA)
Release date: 2003

Chess is pretty awesome. I'm not all too good at it, and maybe because of this I've never cared to seek out a chess video game to play. Well, unless you count that action chess game on N64. What's the name of that game?

So yeah, I don't really trust my skill at the board game but that's no reason to not try. The first thing that struck me about this game was just how many options and various modes there were. It was a fully packed disc. Among the various gameplay modes (including an online mode) there was even a section where you could view famous chess matches. If I were more into chess I'm sure that would have really excited me.

What is really sad is that I put my skill level basically as I stated. There were four difficulty selections and I put myself at the second from the bottom. Despite this, the AI still kicked my butt in 5 moves. It was embarrassing.

Overall Chessmaster seems like a really solid package for a chess fan but there's nothing really for the casual player. Well, there are tutorial modes and you in fact have access to help persistently when you play a regular match but I doubt that stuff would have helped me out with my game. It seems the AI was just a tad too intelligent for my skill level and that's just too bad, because none of my friends ever want to or even know how to play a fun game of chess.

Would I play again? No

25 - Chulip

Genre: Adventure
Rating: T
Developer: Punchline
Publisher: Natsume
Platform: PS2
Release date: 2007

A few years ago I tried this game out but never bought it. The idea intrigued me: level up by going around the town kissing people until your true love will reciprocate your feelings! The idea of the game has stuck with me through the years but I'd basically forgotten everything about it.

Playing the game I realized why I put it down so quickly the first time. It's very, very slow. It's very Japanese as well which might turn some people off. There's no murder or car crashes or explosions but just you and your father in a strangely Animal Crossing-esque world. Despite the ponderous pace of the game I really enjoyed playing it.

There were various plot points laid out relatively early in the game and there was always something going on in the town that you needed to take care of. Each character was a specific personality and overall the game oozed with a cute, Japanese charm.

At first I thought I might just sit and play the game to completion for it didn't seem very easy to die. However, finally I was presented with the option to jump down from a higher plot of land to a back yard below. Of course I took that chance and ended up plummeting to my death. It didn't seem that far, I swear!

Would I play again? Sure.

24 - Gears of War 2

Genre: Sci-fi, shooter
Rating: M
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: 360
Release date: 2008

FPS games aren't really my thing. Anything with guns typically isn't my thing unless there are guns and zombies/monsters/whatever strange creatures. Aliens however don't really fit into this picture so Gears of War has never struck me as a wholly interesting series. I played GoW but this was my first time checking out the sequel.

It's basically more of the same. A lot more of the same. The graphics don't appear improved any although the characterization perhaps seems a bit more human. There might also be even a bit more constant action than there was in the first, but maybe not. It could just be the fact that I'm not usually playing action-heavy games that this seems really wild.

I had no problem playing the game. Something I find odd is that GoW and similar titles are not very hard on their normal difficulties at all. While I died within half an hour on almost all the games I've played for my blog so far I managed to keep on trucking for a really long time in this one. It was only when I got a little too confident in my abilities that I was mowed down. These games seem designed for younger players, it seems.

Overall the game wasn't anything exciting and new but it's done well enough that I didn't find myself getting bored after an hour of shooting same-y enemies. Perhaps some of that could be contributed to my custom soundtrack that was playing through the battles. Normally I don't use that feature on the 360 but I don't really need to hear heavy, orchestral or whatever music as I shoot aliens. I was just fine with a collection of dance music.

Would I play again? Sure.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Late TGIF


Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be back at the start of the week. Or maybe Sunday. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

23 - ChoroQ

Genre: Racing, RPG
Rating: E
Developer: Barnhouse Effect
Publisher: Atlus
Platform: PS2
Release date: 2004

I've been meaning to try this game out since I picked it up. It always surprises me what an eclectic amount of games that Atlus has published over the years. They used to be one hell of a ballsy group, I'd say, although they seem to be playing it much safer now with their guaranteed userbase.

Anyways, onto the game at hand. It's a longer series based off of toy cars in Japan. I don't think there have been nearly as many releases for it in the US, but there have been at least a couple. Strangely, I've heard that Road Trip is a supremely better game in the series (which I also own). It seems weird that two games in the same series of cute racing and travelling cars could be polar opposites, but apparently this is the case because ChoroQ is bad.

It's not horrible, but it's not good either. The racing isn't exciting and in fact reminds me of Lego Racers. That is to say, it's no Mario Kart or any respectable racing game. One might say the racing isn't even the bulk of the game. You can wander about towns and talk to the other cars. You can customize your car all up and do various other activities. However, there's nothing pointing to what should actually be going on so I spent a long time wandering around town, lost.

It seems like it could be an okay game but it's strangely confusing. What am I supposed to be doing? Why is there a bank for cars? Why do I drive into houses only to have the car residents there greet me and then shoo me away? It's quirky but there's nothing much in terms of solid gameplay to back it up with. The intro video got my blood pumping, so it wasn't a complete waste.

Would I play again? No.

22 - Chaos Legion

Genre: Action
Rating: T
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: PS2 (Also: PC)
Release date: 2003

The reason I avoided this game for a couple years was because I thought it was a JRPG. Not just a JRPG but a hard one. Now, I could have spent one minute looking it up to find out the truth but I quickly got caught up with other games and never gave it a second thought. Tonight I did though and found out this assumption was completely wrong!

It's very Japanese, but not an RPG at all. It's a Devil May Cry style action game. It's not nearly as flashy or fast, but I found myself extremely entertained. The only problem was that in the throes of button mashing through crowds of monsters I would skip past the tutorial text and not know what to do.

It was fun. There's no better compliment for a game than that. After a while it seems it would probably become very boring to fight groups of samey monsters over and over with a small array of attacks... In fact, I'm sure it would after a few levels. However, I wasn't able to last a few levels without dying so this game can and will remain perfectly fun in my mind.

While watching the initial cut scene it brought my attention back to a Japanese PS2 game which never made it on our shores. The name is Oz or something like that and the only reason I know of it is because it showed up as the background video/song in DDR Extreme 2.


Would I play again? No.

21 - Catwoman

Genre: Action
Rating: T
Developer: Argonaut Games
Publisher: EA Games
Platform: PS2 (Also: GBC, GBA, GC, PC, Xbox)
Release date: 2004

I'll tell you straight out, this was not a pleasant gaming experience. However, it wasn't the worst, as my expectations were set much lower. However, you gotta know you're in for a treat when the main menu shows a very slow and close up panning across the various curves of Catwoman.

The control scheme was pretty cool. You could run regularly or press a button to get into cat-like mode and have a different set of control methods. The left thumbstick moved your character around and the right controlled your whip action. In a cat fashion you are also able to jump further and climb up on things. It was also interesting that upon executing various attacks that Catwoman would exude purplish sparkles. It almost felt like I was playing a supremely less fabulous version of Bayonetta.

That's where the compliments end. The voice acting of all the NPCs were hilariously bad and the tutorial on-screen text was written really strangely. I suspect it was written how Catwoman talks but I've never read the comics so it was really weird. Beyond that, the camera loved to move in the worst places possible so there was no way to see the proper way to go and, as far as I could tell, there was no way to move it yourself.

Because of that damn camera I plummeted to my death from the tops of buildings a handful of times. Well, I should have. Falling from 7 stories only took a small chunk of health from Catwoman each time until it finally whittled down to nothing. She didn't even land on her feet!

Would I play again? No.

20 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds

Genre: Beat 'em up
Rating: T
Developer: Eurocom Ent.
Publisher: VU Games
Platform: PS2 (Also: GC, Xbox)
Release date: 2003

In regards to the show this is based off of, I had high hopes. It's a fabulous show and not a bad movie either... but I should have known better. As soon as the first level starts you're thrown right into a battle against vampire thugs. There's absolutely no introduction or initial words that tell you what is going on. You're just there, with a guy in your face ready to pound you down.

However, there was something much more of an issue going on. See, the PS3 I've been using to play these games is in between the PS3s with the emotion engine and the PS3 consoles with no PS2 support whatsoever. Mine uses software emulation to play the games and every once in a while there are some glitchy troubles with specific games. This game was probably the worst I've seen yet with the emulation.

The screen was blinking rapidly in 75% of the level - however outside of those parts it was a solid and fine screen. In both areas however parts of the character bodies would disappear. Sometimes the models would disappear completely and I'd be left with the sounds of punching and shadows on the ground to judge where I and my enemies were. All this with the screen flipping out and I don't feel a bit ashamed to say I died in the first room of the first level.

Looking the compatibility up on the PS3 site I was able to determine it wasn't my game's fault (that and by looking at the disc). Aside from all that trouble though, it didn't appear to be any special kind of game.

Would I play again? Maybe (on the PS2).

19 - Britney's Dance Beat

Genre: Rhythm/music
Rating: E
Developer: Metro Graphics
Publisher: THQ
System: PS2 (Also: GBA, PC)
Release date: 2002

So, this might sound really weird but I have played and beaten this game on GBA prior to touching this version. Because of that, these paragraphs will mostly be a comparison of the two games. Firstly, the game is basically a very simple rhythm game where you have to press the four PS2 buttons (triangle, circle, square, x) and sometimes the d-pad. It's surprising but sometimes the buttons managed to trip me up. Not to mention that every dance was a challenge against someone else, who would try to sabotage your moves.

In the PS2 version you are a backup dancer going through a string of auditions against increasingly tougher dancers. The goal at the end is to dance up on stage with Britney. Strangely enough, this isn't the same case in the GBA version. For that one you are Britney and are practicing before your world tour, or something of the sort.

Unimpressively, both versions of the game only have 5 songs. Also, the PS2 version is lacking in the multiple difficulty options that the GBA game includes. It seems quite odd that these would be missing. Still I'd have to say the PS2 version is superior for the simple fact that the songs are the actual ones and not some crazy MIDI music... although it's almost endearing. Almost.

This is supposed to be Oops! I Did it Again

The game isn't awful. In fact, it's kind of infectious in a way once you get past the initial goofiness. That may just be my preference though. The main problem is that there's not much replayability at all once you complete the 10 auditions (you play each song twice).

Would I play again? No.

18 - Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships

Genre: Alt. sports
Rating: E
Developer: 4J Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
System: PS2 (Also: Xbox)
Release date: 2005

I think this game is pretty good. The only problem with it is that I have no idea how to control a horse in real life and by effect in game life. I understand that smacking the horse is supposed to make them go faster or something but is there a skill to when you do it? Why was it every time I tried to do it the horse didn't speed up one bit and even when I had a huge lead for 3/4th of the race by the end there was no place lower to go.

This game isn't as hard as Gallop Racer. Well, Gallop Racer might not be "hard' per se, but it's a very accurate recreation of the sport. It's a little disconcerting that I'm unable to finish in the top 3 on an easier horse-racing game, but what can you do?

Unlike Gallop Racer you couldn't customize your jockey either. At the very least I got to choose my jockey and he had on a snappy pink top. I might not have won but I sure did lose in style.

There's no so much to be said about this game because of the tiny bit of gameplay I saw of it. They can't all be my type. If you like horses though, get right to playing! On the other hand I think Barbie Riding Club will do me just fine.

Would I play again? No.

My History with Zombies

When I was younger I was enamored with zombie films. Any movie I could possibly get my hands on from Hollywood Video or Blockbuster would become my "favorite". It was a weekly ritual to visit and pick up some new horror film - zombie preferable. Strangely, I skipped out on Braindead/Dead Alive for years because the cover disturbed me.

Interestingly enough, when I was even younger I was frightened by The Rocky Horror Picture Show cover. There must be some deep-seated fear of lips in my head. Anyway, zombie movies were my life. When Resident Evil 4 came out it was really exciting. It was a fast paced zombie game that gave you lots of power. When it came time in a chapter to survive in a 2 story house being assaulted by zombies I lost my mind. THIS was the perfect style of gameplay. This is what I had been waiting for. I made a save right before that chapter so I could play it over and over and over again. It was just like a zombie movie.

I remember when Dead Rising first premiered. My heart nearly stopped. This was probably one of the last few times a game really got me caught up in excitement and for good reason. It was almost exactly like Dawn of the Dead, location-wise, and that was a movie favorite of mine. The game didn't disappoint me and instead of playing through the missions I would simply run around surviving and killing the ever-increasing waves of undead. 

When Left 4 Dead first started coming into the picture I went bananas again. While "action"-style horror games were no longer catching my interest this was different. Here was a game again like what I Had always wanted when dealing with zombies. There were multiple occasions where you were stuck fighting it out in a house with partners. I played the hell out of L4D. Before that, I'd spent a good while on the Half Life 2 mod/completely new game Zombie Panic which was quite similar, but actually allowed you to be a zombie after getting bitten up and dying. I can't tell you how cool that was to me, since Stubbs the Zombie never really seemed a great game. 

When Left 4 Dead 2 came about I no longer really cared. I had built up such affinity for the original four survivors that this felt unfair. I didn't want to start up all over again. Thankfully, Killing Floor came around to satiate me with even more frentic gameplay. It also had melee weapons before L4D2. While KF might not be 100% zombies I took it as if they were. 

Since all this has happened I have really gone out of the loop with modern horror games. I barely touched Bioshock and have yet to try Bioshock 2. I've not played any Dead Space game. Resident Evil 5 was such an affront to the rest of the series (what happened to Jill?!) that I still don't own it. Whatever else comes out as horror these days is usually ignored - and I'm still pretty sure horror is my thing! It's just that the Doom-style super powered and nasty monster stuff has never appealed to me. I enjoy feeling that my "life" is at risk with each turn. 

However, today I saw a trailer for a game which excites me again. I remember seeing screenshots of it or something a couple years back but had since filed it away as vaporware. Apparently this is not the case!



It feels so weird to be excited over a game. Usually the current types of trailers with blasting audio don't elicit any reaction. Bullets flying around and huge explosions have lost their severity. But here is this cinematic trailer that makes me get the sudden urge to play it right now. Maybe it's due to the fact that the supposed island in the title hearkens back to Zombi 2, in my mind anyway. That movie was one of the first zombie flicks I ever saw and it has stuck with me ever since. It is fantastic. Even though I doubt the story of Dead Island will revolve around voodoo and whatnot it still looks great. Normal people being forced to survive zombies is always neat to see and I hope this game really does come out at some point. Until then, I'll try to satiate myself with more rounds of L4D finales and zombie flicks.

I'm just gonna leave you with the trailer for Zombi 2 and maybe later I'll share a list of my favorite zombie movies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

17 - Blood Omen 2

Genre: Action, horror
Rating: M
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos
System: PS2 (Also: GC, PC, Xbox)
Release date: 2002

Here's the second vampire-centric game so far! As shameful as it may be to say I've never played any games in the Legacy of Kain series before. I have 2 but was waiting for a rainy day before busting any out. Either way, on an actual rainy day here I stuck it into my PS3 and wished I'd done so months earlier.

This is a great game! There was an issue with the brightness which couldn't be fixed in game but I'm starting to think it may be my television which is causing the issue. That was certainly a little tough to deal with because the game already takes place in dark corridors, alleys and whatnot in the dead of night. In fact, there was a point where I needed to kill a woman chained to a wall but she was completely shrouded in darkness. I had to strike wildly around with only her shrieks of terror to guide me.

Despite the brightness issue this game was solid and fantastic. I enjoyed the feeling of power that I had inhabiting this vampire and sneaking up on unsuspecting street people for a bite. I haven't had this much fun with a game based around vampires since Vampire: The Masquerade.

Again there was talk about vampires not being able to touch water so I figure that's a legitimate thing and not just the constraints of programming. I bring it up because that's how I led my avatar to death. He was supposed to jump over a pool of water to reach the other side, or so I thought. My poor avatar met his death four consecutive times. Finally I figured out what was actually supposed to happen but by then it was definitely time to play something else.

Would I play again? Yes!

16 - Armored Core 2

Genre: Mech sim
Rating: T
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Agetec Inc.
System: PS2
Release date: 2000

This game has a great electronic soundtrack. It's also damn good at hyping you up as soon as the disc is inserted into the console. Armored Core looks like a solid series and this was my first venture into that world. Despite really liking the idea of mech games I've barely ever touched them.

I got thrown right into the first mission without any information about how to pilot myself around or shoot, but figured it out after getting shot at a million or so times. Thankfully, that not-really-tutorial tutorial had me at infinite life so that was sure nice of them.

My first real mission was a complete and utter failure, however. It should have been apparent as soon as the level loaded and I spent the next 5 minutes trying to open the door to the battle. It's amazing how awful I can really be at games and still manage to have a good time playing them.

So, there's really not much to say because I honestly barely got to experience 15 minutes of game. I will say that the controls for the mech are really wild and confusing. They're not as tough as Robot Alchemic Drive but they're no walk in the park either. Almost every button on the PS2 controller is mapped to some function of the robot.

Would I play again? No.

Bonus intro video: 

15 - Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits

Genre: RPG
Rating: T
Developer: Cattle Call
Publisher: SCEA
System: PS2
Release date: 2003

JRPGs aren't really my thing. It's not because of the stories or characters or anything like that but simply the fact that I've never been very good with strategy and magic. In lots of these types of games you have to be able to use special skills and maybe fuse items and all kinds of other stuff. This game is mostly the same.

Something that was refreshing about it though was that the battles were in a sort of Advance Wars/FFXII style. I'm sure there's lots of other JRPGs like this but I'm not very well versed in them so this is the best example to be given. Anyway, I prefer that to pure turn-based because it makes you feel like you have more control over the situation.

The story didn't seem like anything fantastic or new but still I found myself being drawn into the world. If nothing else, RPGs of any variety are generally good at sucking me in. It was cute and the battle music felt oddly out of place, but a good jam nonetheless.

I got killed by some rats in my second real fighting mission. This is how these types of games generally go for me, which is really too bad. Maybe sometime I should just set up cheat codes with the game so I can purely play for the story.

Would I play again? Maybe.

Video Game Museums, Huh


Making the rounds this morning I saw a post that was on various gaming sites. Apparently, a group of people are intending to start up a gaming history museum in San Francisco. Now, I think that's a perfectly wonderful thought and why not do it? There are other digital media museums but they're not really on the west coast. However, upon going to their web space and viewing their proposal video my tune changed.

Full disclosure, I don't know any of the people involved in this and completely adore San Francisco... and want to someday create my own gaming museum. Perhaps it's because of the last comment that I am viewing this upstart so harshly. They don't seem to have any true focused idea for what they're doing. They're looking to scrounge up money for a retail outlet-sized space and yet they have their aspirations set way too high. 

They want to have LAN parties and classes on programming/game design. Excuse me? I can understand the desire for interactivity in the museum but a LAN party is not how you do that. Have some games and arcades up for playing, and maybe a small computer space for 8 players at any time. But to have a specific "party" night or time seems hilariously useless. Something that also caught my attention was something about resurrecting servers for games that have long since been offline. Now, I don't know what games they really mean but the big fans of any online games have since found ways around the official servers. Phantasy Star Online is still going strong and so is M.U.L.E.! Even that Sierra On-Line online game world thing (the name completely escapes me) has been brought back. Who are they expecting to play online games with them anyway? I doubt it'd be enough to warrant an entire "fat internet connection". It'd be much nicer to do something along the lines of what Classic Gaming Expo does where they recreate a small living room and hook up consoles to an old analog set (the kind with knobs!) for local multiplayer.   

A retail space is not very large and I wonder what it is they'd choose to display. The guy behind it all said it would display pieces from his collection as well as the collections of those involved. While he seems like a nice guy overall, that sounds like a really conceited thing to say, at least that's how I took it. "Relics from my collection"... Whatever, this is just over-analyzing things, but it seriously didn't jive with me. In fact, I am curious as to what his collection entails, so maybe I should go if/when it opens. Something else that bothered me about the video was the numerous slides of Shadow of the Colossus. Yes, this is a great game but it's always brought up as such an ARTSY FARTSY game. It feels like using multiple images of this game is trying to prove how super artsy and amazing this place will be, but they don't even have the imagination to come up with something else to show. 

It seems like the people involved in this project are terribly unfocused. They also estimate the cost for their first year to be $25,000. Hell no, it won't be that cheap, especially if they are able to roll out classes and get their crazy internet connection they want. Are they dreaming? I know that living in the freaking Bay Area is expensive as hell and so I can only assume opening up a storefront in San Francisco would be terribly pricey without any extra features at all. One might assume they'd get revenue from people visiting the museum, but if it is only 1000 square feet who is going to pay to visit that? I want a fully featured museum experience, not some cramped place I assume would be filled with hipster kids who don't even really understand what's going on. 

For some reason this post is making me feel like a crotchety old man but I swear that's not the case! Perhaps I'm just sore that they might open up a museum before I do in California. Mostly I think the problem is I expect them to fail spectacularly. Prove me wrong, MADE. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Inspiration?!

So if you've been paying attention to gaming blogs yesterday and today you'll probably have seen posts about The Great Gatsby NES game. I've actually not tried it out but the fake advertisement for it made me laugh and was supremely impressed by at the same time.

Looking through my blogroll I read a nice post from The Gay Gamer who talked about other media he'd enjoy adaptations of and how they might work out. Looking over the ideas for games and movies made me think that I'd love to make my own game based off a movie. Sure, it couldn't be for profit or anything like that but it would be a great way to pay homage to something I love.

Since reading the post ideas have been swarming in my head about what kind of game I could make and what it would be based off of. At the moment I'm not very sure at all but if I make any progress on this line of thoughts then there will surely be a new post about it. Either way, it excites me a hell of a lot just to imagine the prospect. Currently I'm working on a visual novel but that's something that might never end just due to me getting caught up in complexities.

Anyway, this seems super awesome and is amazingly fun to think about. Aside from games, movies are the main other obsession of my life. I hope I can do this!

14 - BloodRayne

Genre: Action
Rating: M
Developer: Terminal Reality
Publisher: Majesco Games
System: PS2 (Also: GC, PC, Xbox)
Release date: 2002

Let me give a little back story for my history with this game. In high school, one of my good friends was freaking obsessed with BloodRayne (both the game and the character). She thought she was the hottest vampire gal ever. I didn't know what to think because it was rare for someone to mention a game I'd never played. In fact, that was around the time I had an issue with the massive sexualized of women in games that I was finally becoming aware of. I figured if the game was any good they wouldn't have to pander so hard to the prospective audience with a busty character with tight clothes.

Apparently I was wrong because it's actually a really damn good game. The story is a little rocky but the production values are very obviously there. There don't seem to be many vampire games out there to begin with, but they made it work out just fine.

I like the character and how she handles. It also seems a pretty forgiving game on the easy difficulty. Of course, that didn't stop me from dying, but my character was allowed to be shot full of holes before finally drowning in a lake. Apparently vampires and water don't mix.

I could live without the horribly exaggerated breast jiggle in cutscenes but aside from that it's a surprisingly solid title. In fact, it now seems odd that there were only two titles available for it. It really seems like this game is about due for a new version or even a "reimaginging" since that seems to be in vogue.

Would I play again? Yes!

13 - NeoGeo Battle Coliseum

Genre: Fighting
Rating: T
Developer: SNK Playmore
Publisher: SNK Playmore
System: PS2 (Also: Arcade, Xbox 360)
Release date: 2007

This is a pretty solid fighting game. It follows along the lines of some fighting games in the past where you are presented with a stack of characters from various different games all brought together in one brawl. There are guys from Samurai Showdown, Metal Slug, King of Fighters, and more.

Something funny about this game is that the group hosting this coliseum fighting contest is called WAREZ, which is of course a term used to name pirate goods. SNK Playmore has said that piracy was a huge hindrance to them and part of the reason they ended up closing. This tidbit of information reminds me of Segagaga and makes me need it so much more than I already did. But, back to this game!

I got to the 2nd  last round of fighting with my Iori/K team before finally getting my ass handed to me. Going by the rules i set up for these posts, I figured I'd let that Continue screen get the best of me. I'll probably play it again though because I love the characters presented and still don't have a copy of Capcom VS SNK 2.

Something also very worthy of note is that my Iori was in a purple color scheme. I never really know which button to pres for whatever color palettes straight off, but whenever possible I go for a pink or purple coloration. It's especially fun online to bruise the sensitive ego of 14 year olds everywhere when they're beaten down by a pink-clad character.

Would I play again? Sure.

12 - The Bard's Tale

Genre: RPG
Rating: T
Developer: InXile
Publisher: InXile
System: PS2 (Also: PC, Xbox)
Release date: 2004

When this game was going to come out initially I had no idea about the series of Bard's Tale games. You see, I was never really huge on WRPGs, JRPGs, or any sort of dungeon crawling. However, 2004 was the start of an exploration into a "new" genre for me. Either way, buying this game got put off for years and even since owning it I've never tried it out. Until today, that is.

For some reason when it came time to play it I was looking to dislike it. Many of the great WRPG titles supposedly out there fall flat for me (I'm looking at you, Fallout). However, as the game started I was instantly smitten. The narrator had a sly, humorous nature to him and the characters were also sharp-witted. The voice acting was nicely done and was all very entertaining.

Something that really threw me off about the game was the top down perspective. It reminded me of Dragon Age a bit except you could get up close with your characters in that. This one had you relegated to a very tactical position that made it hard for me to judge if my attacks were landing on certain foes or what items/chests were around.

It's a nice game but, again, just not my type of thing. It seems like this is how a modern remake of King's Quest might be handled if there had ever been the opportunity (and I've still not played the The Silver Lining). It's too bad more games aren't able to be revisited in a promising way. But then, perhaps it is best for the games of yesterday to be left as they are.

Would I play again? No (the camera angle gave me a bit of a headache).

Monday, February 14, 2011

11 - Headhunter

Genre: 3rd person shooter
Rating: M
Developer: Amuze
Publisher: Acclaim
System: PS2 (Also: DC)
Release date: 2002

So here's a game that was so entirely uninteresting that I didn't even remember I played it. The gal who had been with me while I went through the games had to alert me to the fact it was missing from this current list. And yes, all the games listed before this one were played in one day.

Anyway, this wasn't a very good game. It wasn't bad either, but overall it just felt very uneventful. Perhaps I'm feeling this way because I didn't even survive the tutorial. Personally, any game that allows you to fail the tutorial seems a very cruel game to me. There should be something that keeps you from having HP at all or whatever that early on.

I died because I wasn't able to shoot everyone down in one fell swoop like I'm used to. Perhaps it would have been best to listen to the game which was currently hinting at me to crouch behind items to dodge fire. I've never been one to play by the rules and perhaps that's why I somehow always manage to find the stupidest ways to die.

The graphics were okay and the main character seemed cool. The world built up around the game also seemed pretty interesting but the game itself didn't feel like anything. It felt like if you filtered Metal Gear Solid down to make Winback... but then you filter Winback down even more and end up with this game.

Would I play again? Maybe.

10 - Everblue 2

Genre: Simulation, RPG
Rating: E
Developer: Arika
Publisher: Capcom
System: PS2
Release date: 2003

This game is the sequel to Everblue and its spiritual successor is the Endless Ocean series for Wii. All of these games are scuba diving simulators with RPG elements, at least from what I've heard. This is the only one I've played of these and probably the only one I will play for a long while.

From what little I experienced of the game it seems very akin to visual novel games. When you are out of the water you can choose to talk to characters but you control everything through menus, and not by actively walking your character around. You are mostly tasked to read what characters have to say a few times and then make a decision where you might like to go or whatever next.

Underwater the game is a full scuba experience. You must monitor how much air is left in your tank as well as being wary to not venture too deep into the ocean. I'm not sure what else there is to do in the game but for my maiden swim in the ocean all I could find to do was search for treasure. You did this by sonar and sending out waves until you were near an object. After finding a few objects you could bring it back up to the surface and identify it.

The aquatic life was beautifully rendered but the ocean felt very safe and overall boring. What was there to do down here? I'm sure later on there are probably more obstacles and things to worry about (sharks?) as well as cool places to search for treasure. However, as it stands the game seemed pretty lifeless and not worth spending time with.

Would I play again? No.

9 - City Crisis

Genre: Helicopter simulator
Rating: E
Developer: Syscom
Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
System: PS2
Release date: 2001

The very first thought I had when the game started up was: This game is ugly. It's really ugly. Not only is it a game from very early in the PS2's life but it is also on a CD-ROM. this means the entire game is under 700 MBs, and it really shows. However, I've never been one to judge a game on the graphics. For some reason it just really stood out to me.

The actual game was very hit and miss. The concept is fantastic. You are in a helicopter which fights fires and also is able to lift people to safety from their dangerous predicaments throughout the city. However, figuring out how to control the helicopter was hell. I'm far to new from games but the tutorial mission didn't even explain how you make the helicopter lose or gain altitude. It was just expected you know. Since I didn't have the manual for this game, my partner and I confusedly attempted to push every button to figure out how to do it. I finally figured it out, but it shouldn't have been that hard.

Once the controls were in my gasp I was able to play the game a bit more proficiently. That was until I headed over to save some people on a burning building and nudged the side of another building. For some inexplicable reason this caused my helicopter to explode on top of everything. There were no survivors.

I really love the idea of playing a game where you fight fires and/or save people. In fact, I'm very much in love with fire fighting arcade games and console attempts. Unfortunately, this game doesn't do a great job at it. It's okay.

Would I play again? Sure.

8 - Carmen Sandiego: The Secret of the Stolen Drums

Genre: Action, platformer
Rating:  E for Everyone
Developer: Artificial Mind
Publisher: Bam Entertainment
System: PS2 (Also: GC, Xbox)
Release Date: 2004

Carmen Sandiego has always been a weird enigma in my gaming life. I always wanted to love the series but found myself completely unable to play it. When it was in vogue I was but a young child who had no real knowledge of the world I inhabited. It was nearly impossible to play but damn if I weren't captivated by the title character of Carmen.

So this game for PS2 is surprisingly far from the roots. While your characters provide you with lots of information about the level you traverse, the actual gameplay involves little to no detective work. It's just a platformer game at heart for kids. I really wish the game had maintained the old style of playing, but that probably wouldn't capture the attention of today's children.

There's a hint of stealth gameplay but it's a tiny hint. The enemies are robots who will shoot at you if you get in their sights. However, if you hide behind anything they will not give chase or remain in an alert state. They'll simply turn back around and do what they had been prior to your arrival. As such, this is a terribly forgiving stealth system, if it is even counted as one.

I don't think I actually died in this game. The only reason I pulled it out was because it was boring. Chasing a notorious thief is supposed to be exciting but it all felt like a chore. The graphics and movement of characters was very nicely done. Despite that though, there was no good reason to continue playing and in fact it seemed I would have to force myself to die for it to actually happen.

Would I play again? Perhaps (it's an easy game to beat).

7 - BMX XXX

Genre: Biking
Rating: M
Developer: Z-Axis, Ltd.
Publisher: Acclaim
System: PS2 (Also: GC, Xbox)
Release Date: 2002

I remember back in school this game getting name-dropped everywhere. It was a "bad" game, as in, it was full of things that middle schoolers would go crazy over. There were girls in skimpy outfits with big breasts, foul language, and lots of crude humor. It seemed like it could be a pretty entertaining game so I expected to be mildly amused when playing it.

This game is awful. The bike controls are fine but everything else is terrible. You start out in a slice of a city and are tasked with doing various missions there to complete the level. However, there is no waypoints or guide on map to show you where it is you're supposed to be going. Where is this hobo you need to visit to get your mission from? Who knows!

Once you find your character to give you a mission of course the task has to be timed. It's like whoever developed this game was trying to find various ways to tick off the players, because they did it very well. From what I experienced, regardless of what you had to do the timer would always start at 1:00. You had exactly one minute to figure out exactly what your task was and to do it in that small time frame. I quit in frustration after attempting 3 various missions and finding myself unable to complete any of them.

Something funny about this game though was within the first 5 seconds of entering the first level I glitched myself into a spot under the level. Interesting, I was able to string together a load of tricks to get points while in this limbo land before finally managing to pop myself out of it and crash.

Would I play again? No.

6 - Aqua Aqua

Genre: Puzzle
Rating: E for Everyone
Developer: Zed Two Limited
Publisher: 3DO
System: PS2
Release date: 2001

This game is a sequel to Wetrix on the Nintendo 64, but I didn't know that when I purchased it. When starting the game up and going to the main menu it was noticed that you can't just start in the main mode but must first go through a series of tutorials. I forced myself through them and quit playing after that.

The reason I gave up was because I had actually been met with a failure screen in the very first tutorial level and so the rules stated it should already be over. However, it felt kind of shameful to be taken down so quickly so I made sure it was possible for me to beat the other tutorials before putting the game back on the shelf.

What made the game difficult was the fact that the goal of the game was entirely unknown when starting it up. During each tutorial you have a professor character who shows you exactly what to do, but even then it was very confusing initially. You are supposed to build up/tear down barriers which you can deposit water into. Once you got that down it was easy to understand but the professor couldn't offer much more help.

I mimicked him as close as possible but still faced a failure screen time and time again. There was such subtlety to where you place the blocks that it was impossible for you to follow the professor exactly. In fact with those little mistakes of placing a piece just a little off it would be impossible to go back and fix. This game has the cutest exterior possible but is much too hard to have fun with.

Would I play again? No.

5 - Alias

Genre: Stealth, action
Rating: T
Developer: Acclaim
Publisher: Acclaim
System: PS2 (Also: Xbox, PC)
Release date: 2004

When looking over the box and manual for this game it really didn't seem like it would be anything special. No offense to Alias or anything, but that stigma of "movie games" (or in this case TV games) is stuck firmly in my head. Thankfully, the game proved itself to be an interesting title.

What I expected from this game was lots of shooting and lots of scantily clad women. I found the main character rather lacking in clothing at certain points, but there was even purpose to this. In the game you would take up an "alias" for each mission. In the first mission you are a waitress in a casino, so it makes sense your attire would be glitzy and tiny.

The bulk of the game seems to be focused around infiltration, information gathering, and general sneakiness. It's not full stealth though because you are in fact out in public just disguised as someone else. Acting in a suspicious manner will get you caught. I really enjoyed pretending to be the casino waitress to spike someone's drink and obtain intel. However, once the game started to become action-y I lost interest. It was confusing with no sort of map or related system which would show me the general location of my targets or where to go.

Overall the disguise parts were excellent and I wish that's how 80% of the game could be, instead of the 60/40 it seems to be. It should also probably be noted that I've never seen Alias which might have been part of the reason I was surprised with the style of gameplay presented.

Would I play again? Sure.

4 - The Adventures of Cookie & Cream

Genre: Puzzle
Rating: E for Everyone
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Agetec Inc.
System: PS2
Release date: 2001

I think I actually played this game a long time ago with my sister. Or more aptly, I watched her play. It wasn't as if I was entirely put off by the cartoonish look, but usually we would both rent games separately. She would watch me play mine and I in turn would watch her. 

When first popping the game in, I decided to try out solo because my gaming partner was being lazy. It was horribly difficult though and the game is most definitely created to be a two-player experience. Looking back on it now, I have no clue how my sister managed to play it on her own. 

The screen is split in two and you (and your partner) control a bunny character. As you progress through the level there are obstacles which only your partner can help you with by pressing buttons or manipulating levers. The interactivity of the puzzles is super fun and the cuteness makes everything funnier when you unexpectedly drown your character thanks to a missed jump. 

It gets boring rather quickly, but once it does they throw a boss fight at you to keep you invested. While the rest of the game isn't too difficult the boss battles are surprisingly tough. It's a quirky little game that seems a strange release on the US shores. 

Would I play again? Sure. 

3 - Activision Anthology

Genre: Compilation
Rating: E for Everyone
Developer: Contraband Entertainment
Publisher: Activision
System: PS2 (Also: GBA, PC)
Release date: 2002

Compilation games are some of my favorite things ever, especially when they're retro compilations. I adore being able to play my favorite games from childhood without ever having to hook up the consoles again. Sure, there is something very awesome to be said for playing games on their initial hardware, but it becomes increasingly difficult to hook them up on modern TV sets.

This was a really awesome collection. It had well over 20 games and the interface was one of the best I've seen for this type of game. You navigate around a kid's very 80's room to choose various options. The games themselves are on a spinning shelf and you can view lots of information on each title. Playing games gives you access to their commercials and other various items. This is what I wish Achievements of Trophies would do these days, instead of just giving you more points.

In fact, on the shelf of games there are empty slots. I talked with someone on the development team for this game and those slots are not for unlockable games. In fact, they were supposed to be special games you could download. Of course, the PS2 online network never really took off and this feature was nixed.

Overall this was a lot of fun although I wish there could be a bit more explanation about how to set up two player modes or what the various functions the buttons are mapped to. Aside from that, it was a fantastic set of games and a great way to spend some time with friends.

Would I play again? Yes!

2 - Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies

Genre: Flight simulator
Rating: E
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco
System: PS2
Release date: 2001

Believe it or not I've never played an Ace Combat game. I've never been especially enamored with flight sims. I'm much more of a mech kind of guy. Regardless, it seems like a very cool set of games and this was my first flight. 

It's not an easy game. I'm sure it's nothing compared to the massive setups that some hardcore flight sim players set up and use but I still didn't really know what to do. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to do a flip or turn faster to get where I needed to go. The planes controlled as well as they possibly could under my novice piloting. 

For the initial mission I spent a long time trying to figure out how to speed up. Once I finally did I still heard my teammates asking for help that I was wholly unable to provide. After my horrible piloting I was eventually able to take down enemies with guided missiles (thank goodness!) I crash landed in the mountains and received a Mission Fail screen despite the fact that my teammates were congratulating me on a job well done already. 

It was a very pretty looking game in regards to the planes and I could tell there was a lot of work put into it. Star Fox is really the only type of game in this style that I've ever had my hands on and in comparison feels like Super Smash Bros. vs Street Fighter. If I could figure out how to do those very basic maneuvers I was lacking in my initial play through then the game would probably become entirely more playable to me. 

Would I play again? Maybe. 

1 - 24: The Game

Genre: 3rd person shooter
Rating: M
Developer: SCE Cambridge
Publisher: 2K Games
System: PS2
Release date: 2006

I've never watched 24. Anything other than monster of the week TV shows are rarely something I can get into. Either way, as I started playing the game I figured it probably is a very good representation of how the TV show progresses. You have chapters divided into hours and do lots of exciting, bomb-diffusing things in between. There's also a lot of shooting, predictably. 

For some reason when I started playing the game's default brightness is none at all. I could barely see where I was going and had to crank it up 5 notches for the game to look nice and vibrant. I wasn't especially good at killing the enemies but at least there was a (somewhat glitchy) auto-targeting system. You got more points if you arrested the crooks instead but it seemed random whether or not the enemies would choose to surrender after having a taste of hot lead or not. 

I only got to experience diffusing a bomb once in my limited playthrough and it seemed supremely simple. I assume that was due to it being the introduction to the entire deal. However, I could see it becoming a very tense and fun minigame in between levels. 

Overall the game seemed tailored to those who don't spend much time playing games or were younger. The story was completely incomprehensible but I chalk that up to being unfamiliar with the series and characters.

Would I play again? Sure. 

Introduction

Hello internet.

I'm looking to start blogging regularly again but am not sure where. Both Wordpress and Blogger really please me. I'm thinking overall Blogger is the simpler and friendlier service so I shall initially post things here and repost good stuff on my main Wordpress page. We'll have to see how that all works out though. At the very least both blogs are under the same name so no one should accuse me of stealing my own work.

The point of my writing here at least is to give little descriptions about the games I play. There's  a special rhyme and reason about this all though (at least at the onset). You see, I have many games in my collection that have never been touched and so I figure now is the time to start trying them out. This may seem weird, but when you buy at least 20 games a month it should be readily apparent that a backlog will grow much too quickly.

I'm not necessarily intending to play a game to completion each time. Not at all! What I'm trying to do is just to play a game for a little while to get a taste of it and then if I like it might return to it later on. The main rule is that I'll play until reaching a game over screen for the first time and then moving along to something new. If a game is really good though I will make note of it so I can pull it out again at another time. This idea was partially inspired by The Gay Gamer's Great Gaymathon and Games for Lunch. I'm starting with PS2 games because those are super convenient to play on my PS3 with a wireless controller.

A lot of the games I'll play are probably not on the top of anyone's list. There's nothing wrong with that and is probably why I myself have yet to play them. However, in the past I have found a great amount of games that were much better than one would assume (25 to Life, The Guy Game, etc). After I tire of this or possibly run through all my games - and intermittently in between - I will post about other game news or musings.

So yes, that's the point and hopefully someone will enjoy reading it all.
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