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Oct. 13th, 2010

persona 4: chie/yukiko: prince/princess


Note How an 'Odyssey' is Totally Different from a 'Journey' (Enslaved Review)

Game: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Rating: T
Platform: Xbox 360/Playstation 3
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Bandai-Namco Games
Released: September 2010

There seems to be a pattern about games with female protagonists, in that regardless of quality they are almost universally doomed to fail. 

You can make her a souless unlikeable shrew (Wet), fun and lighthearted (Bayonetta) or even a well-rounded and genuinely believable character (Beyond Good and Evil), but no matter what you do someone's going to be offended or just turned off by the horrifying prospect that they might run the chance of relating even slightly to the opposite sex by proxy.   And thus, the game is relegated to doing poorly with the possible hope of an unreliable afterlife as a 'cult favorite.'

The reason I bring this up is because a similar fate of lousy sales afflicted the quite decent "Heavenly Sword," Ninja Theory's very first game, and after learning this truth the hard way, their newest game "Enslaved: Odyssey to the West" almost seems like an avengement on Nariko's gender more than a few times.


Andy Serkis is really starting to look like the Doug Stone of mo-cap actors, and the guy definitely as a good vocal range.Collapse )


Oct. 12th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?


Romancing the Jewel of the National Uncharted Code (Guardian of Light review)

Game: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Rating: T
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade/Playstation Network/Steam
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix/Eidos Software
Released: August 2010 (XBLA), September 2010 (PSN/PC)

If, like me, you're a gamer with a fondness for quality offline co-operative play, 2010 has been a pretty lousy year.

Let's look at this for a second-- "Army of Two: 40th Day" was crap, "Harmony of Despair" is curiously void of such a concession to people who have the audacity to want to play with human beings they directly know, and I don't think I really have to go into "Kane & Lynch 2," do I?  I'd rather not.

And so it ends up being rather surprising that Lara Croft-- of the "Tomb Raider" series that (if we're honest with ourselves) really only did well in the first place despite awful gameplay was because you could back her into a corner and look at her square boobs-- a perpetual loner, should be the one to bring what's easily one of the year's best co-op games.  Who knew?


Coming soon, "Lara Croft and the Quest to Retcon 'Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'"Collapse )


Oct. 4th, 2010

fables: cinderella: confident


A "Mechassault" By Any Other Name (Front Mission Evolved Review)

Game: Front Mission Evolved
Rating: T
Platform: Xbox 360/PS3
Developer: Double Helix Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: September 2010

Well, I suppose I could wait until "Lords of Shadow" is out to know for sure, but it seems safe to say that 2010 is The Year of New Entries In Beloved Franchises That Piss Fanboys Off For Being Different From The Old Ones. 

First we had "Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom," which had the egregious crime of being both genuinely accessible to newcomers and being on the Wii, followed by "Splinter Cell Conviction," a fast and stripped-down reassessment of stealth game tropes that angered fans of the slow-- er, 'deliberate'-- pacing of the originals, and then we had "Metroid: Other M," which most people rightly hate for being incredibly boring despite the combined efforts of two talented companies.

Which brings us to "Front Mission Evolved."

More heavy metal than the Rock Band Music Store (and that's saying something)Collapse )

Sep. 30th, 2010

mgs: sniper wolf: stoic


Revolution of The Zomb-letariat (Deadrising 2 Review)

Game: Deadrising 2
Rating: M
Platform: PS3/Xbox 360
Developer: Blue Castle/Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: September 2010

The original "Deadrising" was a game I desperately wanted to like, but was ultimately unable to-- largely because it seemed intent on my not enjoying it.  The zombie-killing on a mass scale with improvised weaponry was a great idea, but unfortunately director Keiji Inafune failed to get the memo that nobody cares about the story itself of a zombie movie/game/comic book/whatever, and proceeded to set up a vast conspiracy-mystery that you were obligated to uncover while the game time gradually ticked down the 3 days until you were rescued. 

This was a problem for me because I was just in it for the over-the-top zombie-cide but the constantly dwindling timer bars for each mission always made me feel a little guilty, as if the game was tapping its heel patiently waiting for me to stop enjoying myself and get back to its precious narrative.  And when you feel like you have to choose between having fun and going through the story, something has clearly gone wrong.

So what does "Deadrising 2" do that the first game didn't to win me over?  Not a whole lot.

Granted, any game that gives you a lightsaber can't be ALL bad.Collapse )


Sep. 27th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?


Rush 2112: The Video Game (Sin & Punishment 2 Review)

Game: Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
Rating: T
Platform: Wii
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: June 2010

I have an odd relationship with the 'bullet hell' subgenre of shooters-- I like them, but they often frustrate me.  But then I suppose a grueling challenge is exactly what those who venerate games like "Gunstar Heroes" or "Raiden" or even the Touhou games have come to expect from this particular type of game.  The problem with making something challenging though, is that it has to be balanced properly in order to be truly effective, or else it just becomes tedious.

And so we come to the curious question of "Star Successor."


I wanted a Punishment and for my Sin they gave me oneCollapse )


Sep. 25th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?


The Adventures of Schrodinger's Cat(girl)-- Blade Kitten Review

Game: Blade Kitten
Rating: T
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade/Playstation Network/Steam
Developer: Krome Studios
Publisher: Atari
Released: September 2010

I'm not going to suddenly drop my stance on the subject and say that modern gaming has been ground down into a joyless cesspool, but if there is one thing I'm not particularly fond of in the current gen, it's how genres have started bleeding together.

Not that the borrowing of concepts from other types of games and mixing them together is necessarily a bad idea, but sometimes it's more important to have a title that's focused on one particular style rather than trying to wrangle in as many potential customers as possible and leaving everyone less than satisfied.

Admittedly, not everyone is going to walk away satisfied from "Blade Kitten" (or I should say, "Blade Kitten: Episode 1" because its status as an episodic game is something that they conveniently forget to mention before you buy it), but it's still a nice example of how genre specialization can work in a game's favor.


I could make a Stray Cats reference here but I won't so be thankful for that~Collapse )


Sep. 24th, 2010

mgs: sniper wolf: stoic


How To Make Friends and Kill Ancient Deities (Sakura Wars Review)

Game: Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Rating: T
Platform: Wii/PS2
Developer: Overworks/Red Entertainment
Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software America
Released: April 2010

I should hate this.

There were several factors contributing to my ultimate decision to review "Sakura Wars," neatly summed up with:

A) I was fully prepared for it to be a straight-up harem game, and if there's one thing I learned from "Love Hina" it's that the harem subgenre makes me want to slam my forehead into a wall and I am nothing if not a shameless masochist;

B) I've been trying to find something that I haven't played to fill in the time between now and the pre-holiday glut starting in October;

C) first-party Wii games so far this year have been either 'new, improved' versions of older games or just offensively bad;

and D) I knew this was made by Overworks, the monsters responsible for the living hell that is "Valkyria Chronicles," and I wanted an easy target for petty revenge.

So why the hell do I like it?

What we really need is a crossover where Rosita goes after Niko BellicCollapse )

Sep. 20th, 2010

claymore: helen: D8


Plumbing in Circles (Super Mario Galaxy 2 review)

Game: Super Mario Galaxy 2
Rating: E
Platform: Wii
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: May 2010

You know, at some point people are just going to stop reviewing Nintendo games. 

Not because they're somehow untouchable or anything, but for the same reason that new entries in superpopular horror film series aren't screened for critics, or why people continue going to MacDonald's despite the clear health risks involved-- it's because there are some things that no degree of reasoned argument or valid criticism can dissuade people from throwing money at.

(Incidentally, this is the reason that Bleach is still going, but now I'm getting off-topic.)

I'm not even sure why I'm bothering to write this, months after the game's been out and already made bank, outside of the fact that I'm honor-bound to at least act something like a real reviewer, despite not being one.

So let's get right into "Super Mario Galaxy 2," shall we?

How is a collection of 'galaxies' is a 'world' exactlyCollapse )

Sep. 17th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?


The Monster Hunter Tri-o featuring John Mayer! (Review)

Game: Monster Hunter Tri
Rating: T
Platform: Wii
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Released: April 2010

It's kind of interesting how when a popular game comes out that's good for specific reasons, several other games can be trusted to follow in its footsteps only to miss the point completely. 

"Modern Warfare" did gangbusters because it had excellent controls tied to a robust multiplayer, yet most developers seem to think it was because Russians were the bad guys; Several imitators popped up to challenge the original "Guitar Hero" without acknowledging that people were sticking around for the combination of scoremongering and classic rock/metal soundtrack, and while we've gotten plenty of games in which you kill gigantic screen-filling monsters, none of them get that "Shadow of the Colossus" worked because it gave its living skyscrapers believable presences and made fighting them more visceral and involving than 'shoot/stab until dead.'

So does "Monster Hunter Tri" buck this trend and give you a more satisfying and interesting way to take down... well, monsters and make it rewarding?

Well... kind of.  But not often.

It's about TRI-ing to be a monster hunter! *shot*Collapse )


Sep. 15th, 2010

mlp:fim : rainbow dash : wwrdd?


Take/These Fragile Dreams/And learn to fly again~ (Review)

Game: Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Rating: T
Platform: Wii
Developer: Tri-Crescendo
Publisher: XSeed Games
Released: March 2010

I understand that big game companies have to stretch the truth a little bit these days in order to sell product in a competitive market, but I'd like to think that there's still a line between 'fibbing' and 'outright fabrication'.

There's a long and glorious history to fudging the truth in order to get games out the door, after all; from the "Blast Processing" that SEGA claimed was the secret to "Sonic the Hedgehog's" previously unimagined speed to the Wii's setup making for 'the best first-person shooter controls of all time' for "Metroid Prime 3" to anything that Cage, Molyneaux or Itagaki have ever said about any game they have ever worked on.  Nevermind advertising itself.  Really, I get that.

But still, if there really is a Video Game Hell, then "Fragile Dreams" would probably be first in line for a prime spot at the Frozen Lake of Treachery located in the fabulous Ninth Circle.

It's like "Life After People," but incredibly boring! Or maybe same then.Collapse )


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