Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wow, I am Really Enjoying Corpse Party

So, this week is a pretty full one for me. I have to work on reviews for both Jurassic Park: The Game and Corpse Party. Jurassic Park is a better game than a lot of people have been giving it credit for, so definitely looking forward to type out my thoughts on that. However, I've found myself a lot more enthralled by Corpse Party.

Seriously, I can't even tell you how excellent this game is to me. It has a pixel-y retro look but despite that it manages to toy with my emotions all the same. I am left feeling a bit sad or even really scared for "my" safety while playing. I won't say anything spoiler-filled but a certain chase scene in Chapter 3 made me feel absolutely terrified although the game never overtly says to you "oh no, here's a bad thing chasing you!". I really love that a game can work its meaning into your brain without having to be so obvious about stuff.

In general it's just really a great title. Well, not perfect by any means, but I'm digging it all the same. I haven't been so obsessed with playing through a game for a while. In fact, the last game that comes to mind that kept my attention so fully was Deadly Premonition (which came out in early 2010). The game's also made me think about what other really enthralling games came out this year. I'll probably make a list later of my personal favorites, since the obvious choices like Skyrim, Battlefield 3, or other triple AAA titles aren't going to be included, I think.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

64 - Vanguard Bandits (PSN)

Genre: SRPG
Rating: T
Developer: Human Entertainment
Publisher: Working Designs/MonkeyPaw Games
Platform: PSN (Also: PS1)
Release Date: 2011 (1998 original)

I love strategy RPGs. I've never really been a huge fan of western or JRPGs but SRPGs or RTS games I tend to adore. I'm not sure what it is about them but they're definitely a great area of games for me. Despite that, I rarely go off in search of them. I stick with what I know and it all seems to serve well enough.

Vanguard Bandits came onto the PSN last week with little attention. It seems PSOne Classics only tend to get attention when they're Final Fantasy or another hugely famous RPG. There's nothing wrong with that really but not many seem to know what this game is. Either way, I'm glad I got the chance to play through it because it is a phenomenal game.

Basically you've got your typical story going on about a young man who must save his country from being taken over by an evil empire. Although it takes place in a castles and knights kind of time they happen to have lots of mechs. The mechs are of course used for fighting because that's just so much cooler than knights with swords duking it out.

The game is really deeply strategic. While it's not hard to grasp the main concepts of battle being able to play the game skillfully is tough work. While the game doesn't have sidequests or anything it does have multiple story paths to go through. The replay value is definitely there and I appreciate it. With each of the 20 main missions taking about 30 minutes or more too this is one intense game, although maybe not the best fit for quick bursts of play. I really dig the game and find it a whole lot of fun even if it's a bit dated now (only graphically speaking). I could easily see the gameplay mechanics transplanted onto a 360 or PS3 game and people would love it. 

Would I play again? Yes!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Have a New Twitter!

For a while I've used a Twitter account mostly as a way to remember what movies I've seen. While that was pretty useful for me, it has no real application for anyone else. Last week I decided I would try to make a new Twitter account to use for discussion with other users and just talking about and posting game-related items (and posting my live streams and editorials, tee hee).

If you are one of the couple people who were following my old account feel free to unfollow it. If you have a Twitter account and I don't know it then let me know or something as I'll follow you right back! My new account can be found right here. Thankfully I've not yet gotten into the habit of tweeting every hour or so.... yet.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Here's a Neat Zine

It always surprises me how many gaming zines there are online. Not only that, but how many are single-person ventures. Knowing how much work it takes to fill up even 20 pages makes it seem like quite the undertaking for just one person to cobble up. Still, it seems like this is common in the zine world and I'm glad that people have the drive to go for it.

Yesterday's Gamer is one of these solo endeavors and apparently has been worked on since early 2010. In case you couldn't tell by the title, the zine basically takes a look back at some great games from over the years. There's talk about Metal Slug, Silent Hill 2, Bishi Bashi Special, and a lot more. It also seems that the zine's author, Joshua Croft, has a better feel for graphic design then other zines out there. It's not the world's most polished production but it is definitely clear and readable. If you've got some time online to spare it might be worth checking out.

PS: The writer is also the guy behind ThisKidPlaysGames.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Simpson Arcade Game

There's been talk recently that the old The Simpsons Arcade Game might be coming to consoles. Although it's really only expected to be a straight port for the XBLA/PSN market it is awesome news if it turns out to be true!

Back when arcades were still popular I found the Simpsons game to be some of the best fun out there. It's probably because the game was not inherently competitive. I didn't like going near the fighting games or anything like that where someone would be waiting to pound my digital face in or something. The Simpsons was all about getting four players on it and beating up everything together. I'd love to have that experience again, although certainly a digital release will never be able to get it back entirely. There'll always be something "magic" about being shoulder to shoulder with strangers or with having a teammate you don't know well give you a quarter to keep on fighting. Man, I miss those days.

Anyway, The Simpsons Arcade Game was awesome and I really, really, really hope the rumor is true.

Monday, November 7, 2011

63 - Dungeon Defenders (PSN)

Genre: Tower defense
Rating: E10+
Developer: Reverb
Publisher: Trendy Entertainment
Platform: PS3 (Also: 360, PC)
Release Date: 2011

I only really became aware of the tower defense genre when flash games started to proliferate online. Back then it didn't really spark my interest though so I shied away from it all. Only recently have I gotten a taste of it at all via Orcs Must Die! which was a pretty fun game. This is my second bite of the genre and I see that perhaps it really isn't for me at all.

In Dungeon Defenders you can take up one of four classes (although you can switch at any time) and level them up as well as your traps. You set these traps and barriers to keep hordes of enemies from destroying your crystal. It's the easiest goal ever except for the fact that the rest of the game is so tactical and difficult. It dives headfirst into lots of RPG-type stuff as well by making you grind and level up your characters and their skills to proceed.

Within the first two levels you will be tasked with taking down a humongous enemy with 10 times the health of anything else you were forced to fight the rest of the level. It was when this point came that I realized this game is serious business. It also is probably best to play with a team of four. As I was soloing, I found the game to be outrageously difficult. It's hard to try and defend four seperate points all at once. Since you can't have your eyes everywhere you can simply set up your best barriers and hope for the best while you slooowly run from entryway to entryway. If I had more players in a team with me it probably would be a ton more manageable.

As is, the game just doesn't appear to be for me. It's supremely tough and doesn't appear to let up. Playing alone is far from the best idea... although it's true that you can grind on the first level until you're strong enough to take down harder monsters all by yourself. If nothing else, the game is super deep for a digitally distributed title which I'm sure some folks will quite appreciate.

Would I play again?: Nope.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

62 - Pokemon Rumble Blast

Genre: Beat 'em up
Rating: E10+
Developer: Ambrella
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 3DS
Release Date: 2011

Pokemon Rumble Blast is the first Pokemon game on Nintendo's latest handheld. Nintendo could have waited for the next big iteration but instead they decided to go with something different. From what I've seen on game blogs, most people seem not to appreciate this game at all. It's too bad really since it's actually pretty fun.

The game plays out a lot like Gauntlet. You control one (or a team of 3) Pokemon and battle through "dungeons". It's all from a top down perspective and fighting is not complex at all. In fact, the game is really simple because there's not more to the fighting. You can use different skills and all but aside from speed of attack and range they never really change much.

There isn't all that much to the game, honestly. You battle, battle, battle, and battle some more. However, what reviewers are not seeming to mention is how addictive it is. Even though nothing really exciting or cool was going on I continually find myself returning to the game for short bursts throughout the day. I think that is the game's strength and it's a great one. Handheld games aren't necessarily meant to be long, intensive things but nice breaks from work or school. This is Pokemon Rumble Blast's strong point.

It's also a really long game. Some of the Pokemon spin-off titles (Pokemon Channel comes to mind) are super brief experiences. I've put in about 12 hours with this one so far and I'm only about halfway through. For a handheld game to offer so much playtime makes it worth the price tag right there. Not to mention that, from what I've heard, it even has a high degree of replayability due to new things opening up after beating it.

I like it. This isn't a game for everyone and especially not people tangled up in the "hardcore gamer" world. If you just want something fun and mindless though when you're on the go then give it a look.

PS: EVERY Pokemon is in this game! That's 600+, in case you haven't been keeping count over the years.

Would I play again?: Yes!
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