Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
Traditionally, I find the kart racing genre as fun as I do frustrating. In the effort to embrace players of all skill levels, genre giants like the Mario Kart series go overboard with weapons, punishing players for being better at driving with unavoidable weapons of mass destruction.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, on the other hand, continues its predecessor’s finely tuned weapon balance while vastly improving on the groundwork it laid two years prior. Between the core systems, track diversity, game modes, and great use of classic franchises, developer Sumo Digital has (barring a few technical issues) created what is quite possibly the best kart racer I have ever played.
A fighting game serving as a sequel to an RPG? It sounds crazy. RPG fans aren’t necessarily into the absurdly precise input of fighters just as fighting fans don’t necessarily care about lengthy stories. But like the groundbreaking discovery of combining chocolate and peanut butter, Persona 4 Arena really works.
Arc System Works is known for stacking copious amounts of mechanics onto their fighting systems, and Persona 4 Arena is no exception. It’s for that reason that the level of accessibility on display here is so surprising. The tired old adage of “easy to learn, tough to master” is in full force.
If you’re anything like me, you miss the incredible amount of personality the rhythm game genre use to have. Colorful characters and original music were par for the course when games like Parappa the Rapper and Space Channel 5 released. But as time marched on, the genre became synonymous with licensed music and rigid note charts.
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure brings the character-driven style back to rhythm games while, for better or worse, experimenting with some rudimentary adventure game ideas. The result isn’t perfect, but it’s a game you won’t soon forget.
Indie developers sure love that retro style. Yet, so many of them fail to execute the idea properly. Whether it’s a horribly inconsistent visual style or slow, floaty gameplay, truly capturing what made old games great often seems just out of reach.
It’s for this reason that I found Oniken so surprising. This is a game that nails the look and feel of an NES game so well that it’s not only convincing to look at, but satisfying to play in that old-school way that eludes so many developers.
The general gaming populous seems to be in agreement that comedy is king in point-and-click adventure games. That said, when a serious/dark entry in the genre comes along, it is appreciated by a certain set of discerning gamers. Well set of discerning gamers, prepare yourselves for the splendor of xii games’ latest masterpiece, Resonance.
Resonance begins with a newscast chronicling severe, simultaneous attacks occurring around the world against structures of varied importance. Those aforementioned structures, which are shown throughout the faux news cast, look as though huge bites were taken out of them by something. The individuals responsible for the attack and their reasons for doing so may or may not involve the titular resonance, a new form of tech invented by a scientist that has potential to destroy or help the world.
Over the years, Square Enix has managed to create some interesting spin-offs from it’s popular franchise Final Fantasy, such as Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. It actually goes all the way back to the Game Boy and SNES days. The Game Boy spin-offs were of the Final Fantasy Legend series, but what may be the most overlooked, under-appreciated, and simplified Final Fantasy iteration to date is Mystic Quest; a SNES title early in the console’s life.
If you haven’t played or heard of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest before, then I’m not surprised. It was an attempt by Squaresoft to release a Role-Playing Game for the “entry level” gamer and create a buzz among US players in the franchise and genre that had already gained great attraction in Japan. Mystic Quest was not a huge success, but it was one of the first steps in creating a mainstream audience for RPG games in the States.
I do not like the original Kid Icarus. I didn’t like it in its heyday and I didn’t like it when I played the recent 3D Classics downloadable version. So make no mistake that when I say I absolutely adore Kid Icarus Uprising on the 3DS, it is in no way related to nostalgia.
That said, I adore this game.
Like the original’s mix of Ice Climbers-esque platforming, Metroid-like exploration, and shmup style final stage, Kid Icarus Uprising divides its time between a few game types. For the most part, stages start with you flying around as Pit in a third person rail shooter that plays like Sin & Punishment: Star Successor practically verbatim. These sections never waste a moment of your time. Every second is a roller-coaster of arcade action.
Confession time: I prefer Robert Kirkman’s Invincible to The Walking Dead. While both works have their merit, I’m much more interested in aliens & superheroes than zombies & human drama. Please don’t mistake my opening statement as an attempt to come off as Mr. Hater of Popular Things; I just wanted you all to know where my head was that as I launched Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: A New Day for the first time.
Now that I’m a parent, my time for gaming has dwindled, which is to be expected. When I am looking at new releases, I try to find games that provide a fun and unique experience. I definitely found what I was looking for in Journey.
If you were going to break down Journey to its basic mechanics, you could say that it is a 3D platformer. The problem with that categorization is that it sells the game short. Journey is about your own sense of discovery and your personal experiences on the way to the top of a distant mountain.
In the first chapter of Binary Domain, I peeked around cover only to immediately get jump kicked in the face by a robot.
You could say that shooters are only as fun as the enemies you’re fighting against. If that’s a statement you can get behind, then you should definitely play Binary Domain. As yet another third person, cover-based shooter, it would be easy to dismiss Yakuza Studio’s contribution to the genre. But that would be a crying shame.
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