Thursday, December 29, 2011

66 - Enchanted Arms (360)

Genre: SRPG
Rating: T
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: 360 (Also: PS3)
Release Date: 2006

I'm not really sure what spurred me to play Enchanted Arms but it led to a really great day of gaming. Usually I don't find myself playing games for more than an hour at a time. For one, there's other business to attend to. The much larger problem though tends to be that I just can't remain interested for that long with nay game anymore. Every once in a while something grabs hold and won't let go (like, say, Corpse Party) but otherwise even the most "addictive" games are passed over by me.

So it was definitely really strange when this RPG managed to hook me in for a great deal of hours on my first time playing it. The game isn't honestly all that great though. The graphics have definitely been surpased by now and the voice acting in particular is awful. You can switch between the English and Japanese voices and, unless you need a laugh, stick with Japanese. I just left it at default English voices because it made the otherwise same-y story have more life.

The game itself is basically a turn-based SRPG. What makes this more interesting is that you've got "golems" to create. These golems are basically like Pokemon or anything else because one big point of the game is to catch them all and train them well. They gain new abilities and all that jazz just like other members in your party do. It's rather fun.

What makes this game probably so awesome to me is that it adds in a lot of features that modern RPGs should have. For one, it allows the option to save anywhere. Why is this still not the case in every game? Just keep players from being able to save mid-battle or something and then it should be fine. Secondly, the game lets you put battles on auto and even speed up the proceedings with the push of a button. I wish more games allowed you to fast forward through the repetitive bits. These were pretty much necessary additions though as random battles happen a lot.

For all the good stuff I have to say about it, Enchanted Arms failed me at about 7 or 8 hours in. It's around this point that the game finally takes on JRPG tactics of old and requires copious amounts of grinding because all enemies have suddenly become insanely strong. I don't like grinding in any games and I wish this didn't have to be a part of the genre. So, I've put it aside for now and don't expect to touch it anytime soon. Still, for a fan of the genre it would probably be worth trying out to see what it does right.

Would I play again? No.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hottest Game Cover of 2012

Yesterday Aksys announced what was going to be in their limited edition version of Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. Soundtracks and artbooks are always appreciated but I'm crazy about this cover! I don't know if the standard edition will have the same art gracing it, but no doubt the LE box will be a little larger. Therefore, I must make it mine.

If you'd like to play an otome (dating sim "for girls") game on your PSP soon, then maybe you should check it out too. Unfortunately, it's mostly rated M for blood and violence.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

65 - Hitman: Blood Money (Steam)

Genre: Stealth
Rating: M
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Eidos
Platform: Steam (Also: PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360)
Release Date: 2006

This is the only Hitman game I've spent serious time playing although it was not my first experience with the series. I started off with the first game, Hitman: Codename 47, but found it much too difficult to play. Although generally stealth games are pretty cool, they are often way harder than I can handle. It's one thing to understand how to be quiet and stay out of site but it's another thing to actually be able to carry it out.

So, with my normal inability to play stealth games I ended up really enjoying this game all the same. I think it's due to the fact that in Hitman: Blood Money you don't have to be stealth if you really don't want to. Obviously the game pushes you in that direction but allows most missions to be completed regardless of getting seen by people, killing civilians, or whatever else trouble you might get yourself into. I appreciate this because it means the game is really open to all kinds of play styles and techniques (including my bumbling, Rambo-esque one).

The game has a really strong sense of self. I often found myself just wandering around to listen to characters chatter on or just explore. Everyone has their own routine. It's pretty cool how nicely realized the world is, although it certainly gets very dark at times. As this is a game about a hitman, you're going to be forced to think about the ramifications of your actions - even if Agent 47 himself isn't.

I really, really like this game. Although I'm absolutely horrid at it the game accommodates itself to me and allows me to continue. The world is cool and I want to see it all. Definitely check this game out if you're in need of stealth games.

Friday, December 16, 2011

So Long, Manuals...

I think we all knew this had to happen at one point but I wish it never did.

Starting with this console generation we have seen video game manuals dwindling into single page fold outs. Although some games still come with decent manuals, most have been getting smaller and smaller until they don't even give you simple character bios or anything other than safety information.

With the impending release of the PS Vita it has just been realized that these games will come with no manual whatsoever. Vita game cases will come simply with one sheet of paper saying that there is no physical manual and where to access the digital one. I guess it's good that manuals still exist, albeit digitally. Still, I want to have my game cases include a nice manual inside!

Some 3DS games have also been equally lacking in manual, although it doesn't seem to be the case for every release. I expect when the next console generation that every game will only include a digital manual. This is just one step closer to phasing out the physical media altogether - at least that's how it feels. As I hold strongly on the side of physical goods this probably bothers me much more than the general gaming population. It can't be helped!

Do you accept this trend of cheapening physical game media further and further? I think digital manuals are at least a little better than the more eco-friendly cases which have giant hunks of plastic cut out of them.

A New Blog to Check Out

It always excites me to see a blog starting up. You never know where it might end up going, but the beginning it's really neat.

With the magic of Twitter, I somehow managed to stumble across The Backlog Journey a few days ago. Basically, the goal of his blog is similar to what mine had been - to play games in our collections that we hadn't before. He seems to desire to beat them while I only wish to sample things, though. Either way, it's a neat idea and I thought visitors to this site would be interested.

Seeing this blog also reinvigorated me to play and write about my collection here. At least, in a more active capacity again... Hopefully I'll be able to get a lot of gaming done over the holidays! What are you looking forward to playing if you've got some free time?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Humble Indie Bundle 4 is Amazing

I've got to confess something here. Although there have been a great deal of excellent indie game bundles coming out lately I have not purchased any of them. They tease me with cool-looking games at any price I'd be willing to pay - even give some to charity! Still, I've shied away from them. It doesn't have anything to do with the quality of indie games or even being a big scrooge, though... there's just something that worries me about grabbing digital copies of games from random sites. It just seems very messy in comparison to simply having everything managed neatly by Steam.

Of course, those fears are mostly quelled since more and more bundles offer Steam codes for their games so you can stick them right in the library. So maybe now there is a lot less reason for me to be wary. Anyway, the 4th Humble Indie Bundle is astonishing. It is full of games that I've been meaning and fully ready to purchase at higher prices. If you're interested then definitely check it out.

For me, I was most excited to try out Shank or Cave Story+ or Jamestown or BIT.TRIP RUNNER. Yes, basically everything in the package. However, I somehow ended up playing the physics puzzler NightSky instead. It seemed like it should really be the least interesting game of the set to me (alongside Gratuitous Space Battles) but it's actually really cool. I think that's the mark of an excellent bundle, really. It mostly amuses me that the game I thought should be the "stinker" of the pack is turning out to be the only way I want to spend my PC gaming time right now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Good Old Games Holiday Sale!

Yesterday, Good Old Games started up their holiday sale. It lasts until the 2nd of January (for most games) and makes almost their entire catalog 50% off. 50% off of anything is awesome, especially when considering the regular prices of their games. If you ignore the few pricey things like The Witcher, every other game regularly costs $9.99 or or $4.99. Of course, take half off of those prices and you've got the most expensive games being 5 bucks.

Here are some games I recommend:


  • The Longest Journey
  • Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition
  • Phantasmagoria
  • Police Quest 1-4
  • Postal 2 Complete
  • Sanitarium
  • Scratches Director's Cut


  • Phantasmagoria 2
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon Deluxe
  • Sim City 2000 Special Edition
  • The Zork Anthology

While Steam is going to have a huge sale soon too I can't help but feel that GoG is a bit of a nicer place to get digital games. Sure, Steam is great and all but they don't offer all the extras GoG does regularly. If you ever get any games from here you will typically get some computer wallpapers, game art, and sometimes even soundtracks. Getting a soundtrack is probably the nicest thing and I wish Steam would offer them too. At the very least both services will give you digital version of the game manuals, but it's not as obvious on Steam that they do so.

PS: They're giving away a free copy of Empire Earth: Gold Edition until tomorrow too. I haven't played my copy yet but it looks like a fun strategy game.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Black Friday 2011 Haul

Black Friday 2011 has come and gone and I think I made out decently. It wasn't nearly as awesome as last year's haul, but I still managed to grab some stuff so yay. However, my method is a bit different than most people's battle plans on the day. You see, I mostly ignore all the crazy Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc deals and just head straight to GameStop. While I actually don't like GS much, they are basically the only purveyor of PS2 games still so that's the place to go.

Thanks to their Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale (it should have been B2G2 on PS2 again, haha) I managed to pick up:

  • Area-51 
  • Armored Core 3
  • Bujingai: The Forsaken City
  • Chaos Wars
  • Conflict: Global Terror 
  • Contra Shattered Soldier
  • Eternal Poison
  • Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel
  • Growlanser: Heritage of War
  • Justice League Heroes
  • Mega Man X8
  • One Piece: Grand Adventure
  • Pac-Man Fever
  • Rocky Legends
  • Ruff Trigger: The Vancore Legacy
  • Shadow of Rome
  • S.L.A.I. Steel Lancer Arena International
  • Street Fighter Alpha Anthology
  • Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
  • Super Bust-a-Move
  • Super Monkey Ball Adventure
  • Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
  • Ultimate Spider-Man Limited Edition
  • War of the Monsters

It was a little unfortunate though because there were 8 games I really was looking forward to at one store but the worker was unable to find each and every one of them. Maybe they really didn't have them all but I'm sure some of it was probably also due to just being tired of having to search out the discs to put in the cases. Ah well, one day I'll get copies of RPG Maker II, Firefighter FD 18 and others. I also saw some rare games on shelves like .hack//Quarantine, Ikaruga, and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes but they were all over $20 which is over the amount I am currently willing to spend on used games.

From the list of things I did get I'm especially happy with my pickups of Eternal Poison, Shadow of Rome, and Ultimate Spider-Man Limited Edition and that all but two games came in complete condition. Shadow of Rome in particular I've been waiting to play again for years after renting it once and falling in love with it. While I'm not a huge comic book fan or anything, the Spider-Man game is notable because I handed over the regular edition case to the cashier. He was the one who instead picked up the Limited Edition box from their little PS2 pre-owned stock and handed it over.

I also picked up a few 360 games too since sometimes I couldn't find enough notable PS2 games to buy from a store. Those games are Bionic Commando, Dark Void, Power Gig: Rise of the Six String, and Velvet Assassin. Beyond that, I also devoted some funds to gift games. Maybe next year I'll try out some online shopping instead though, as it's finally beginning to annoy me to wait in lines with people squeezed all around.
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