Things are slowly starting to roll on again on the Daisuki blog. Here's the latest post, now about a new game for a fresh change.
Well it's been a long time but I finally have put out a new retro game blog post :
To tell you the truth, after my PC busted and therefore losing the ability to use photoshop, I didn't feel like writing any more blog posts. Now however I'm sorta getting over it so I decided to start writing again.
Obviously I won't be able to make the posts as detailed as before, but I guess something is better than nothing.
Anyway, as always feel free to leave your comments.
Well, I just got the game today, along with EL SHADDAI, and I have to say that at least so far it has surpassed my expectations. I mean, as soon as I saw the dated-looking character models, I figured out the game wasn't getting its priase for its graphics.
But really, the sealth gameplay is really good, and it also has the best cover system I've seen in a FPS game. The dialog system also looks interesting - not on the level of MASS EFFECT or ALPHA PROTOCOL - but interesting enough. So I hope it's not only for show and that your choices actually carry some weight.
About the lowpoint I can comment on is the annoying hacking mini-game. Man, I wish programmers would cut-it out with these damn hacking mini-games. It was cool back in MASS EFFECT since it was quick and simplistic. But now they're coming up with these more 'clever' designs that just aren't fun.
Unfortunately this is one of those rare periods of time when I have just too much to play. I'm still trying to clear all of the special stages in CATHERINE, and I was also playing WAY OF THE SAMURAI 3 and LITTLE KING'S STORY. I also wanted to check out XENOBLADE and see if it actually lives up to all the hype it is getting.
●EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 3 [D3 PUBLISHER]
I remember that in the days of the Dreamcast a lot of great action games like ZOMBIE REVENGE and GUNSPIKE among others were getting downplayed by both the mainstream gaming media and the general gaming public. Now this had been going on since the previous generation, but it was during those days that I remember me saying that in the future people were going to miss games like these.
So we fast-forward to the current generation where EARTH DEFENSE FORCE 3, a lowest of the low budget game becomes (and rightfully so) a cult game quite simply because it delivers a gaming experience that otherwise had all but disappeared from the console gaming scene.
Really, the true merit of the game's developer SANDLOT is that they did what no other Japanese developer ever took time to do. I also believe they deserve a lot of credit for having faith in their game ideas and sticking with them in spite that they obviously lacked either the budget or programming talent for pulling them off properly.
So while EDF might deliver its next-gen shooting experience in the most bare-bones and lackluster way possible, it's still a kick-ass experience because well, there's nothing else like it. It's an insane over-the-top shooting game (straight out of a tokusatsu movie), with bland graphics, even worse physics and poor controls. But ask anyone who has played the game and they will probably tell you that EDF is a game that will leave a long-lasting impression on you.
For a console generation that doesn't have a single CONTRA game (nor any other legendary shooting game series for that matter). It's not really surprising why EDF 3 is held at such high regard by most shooting game fans. After all, you could purchase the game today and you would still get an unique game experience unlike anything that's currently out in the market.
Yesterday I finally completed CATHERINE on [HARD] difficulty, and I have to say that the game is a true masterpiece and a truly awesome experience. The game has both an amazing storyline and gameplay that manage to keep you on the edge of your suit all the way to the ending. It is also an amazingly difficult game, for not saying brutal.
It took me above 35 hours to clear the game, and I have to give credit to the programmers for always managing to find a way to make the game more difficult whenever I thought the game couldn't get any harder. Seriously, some stages took me more than 2 hours to clear them, and there was one stage near the end-game that took me almost a whole day clear it and nearly made me downgrade to normal difficulty. Still, all the effort paid off as like I already mentioned, the storyline is fantastic!
CATHERINE is a vivid example of the coolness and uniqueness of Japanese games, and why it's such a tragedy for the console gaming scene that they've been losing ground in recent years.
EDIT : Actually, it probably took me around 40-45 hrs to clear the game, since the game doesn't add the time you spent playing if you get sent back to the title scren.
Also, playing the game on hard turned out better it seems. Because it was almost impossible to clear the levels on just blind luck, I was forced to memorize most of them and so now I'm getting a surprisingly easier time ranking up gold trophies in my current playthrough.
●EYESHIELD 21 : THE FIELD GREATEST'S WARRIORS [NINTENDO]
EYESHIELD 21 is an american football game developed by 8ing and published by NINTENDO. The game is based on the manga and anime series of the same name, which being honest Ive never heard of before prior to playing this game.
Anyway, EYESHIELD 21 is about the only american football game I've ever enjoyed playing (I hate american football), and this is due to the fact that EYESHIELD 21 is in reality a motion-based action game that's only dressed as a sports game. This worked out for the best though, as the motion controls were implemented great into the gameplay, which is very simple but also very fun.
Where the game is really lacking however is on the sound department. EYESHIELD 21 certainly could've used some voice acting, as well as a whole lot more of sound effects during matches. I mean even since the 32-bit generation most sports games have had an in-game commentator. EYESHIELD 21 does have one but it's text-only - something which is very lame for console standards.
●DEADLY PREMONITION (aka RED SEEDS PROFILE) [ACCESS GAMES]
I don't know why but for the longest time I thought that DEADLY PREMONITION was a budget-priced western game. When I finally realised it was a Japanese game I thought that it could actually be interesting, and boy I couldn't have been more right!
DEADLY PREMONITION is a fantastic game, specially for those looking for an interesting and superbly-developed storyline. I really can't think of many games that mix creepiness with goofiness as masterly as DEADLY PREMONITION does. Also, the game has so many epic moments, and they're often pulled off better than in many other high-profile games out there.
Technical-wise the game is a bit behind the times, but I wouldn't say it's hard to look at neither. About my only complain in this aspect is how the light of your flashlight comes out from within your character's chest. That looks really lame, but otherwise the game looks competent enough and puts a lot of efford in the little details.
Now for those of you who have yet to play the game, here's a little word of advice : Make sure to not watch any trailers or read any previews or reviews about the game! Trust me, it'll be a lot better if you get into the game without knowing anything about it, as even the slightest spolier would be tragic.
●LOST PLANET 2 [CAPCOM]
Like I mentioned already in one of my previous posts, I think the critics were way too harsh on LOST PLANET 2. The game has fantastic graphics and it's a real blast to play. It's really beyond me how could anyone think that the game was harder and more frustrating than the original. I mean, if you die this time around, you just respawn until your battle gauge runs out. It's a very forgiving system, actuallty.
I do agree however that the storyline is pretty weak and rather inconsistent. But my main complaint is that the various playable factions just aren't that interesting, and worst of all, for all intents and purposes, they're just model swaps. It would've been nice if they actually played differently or had any unique special abilities.
●NODAME CANTABILE : DREAMS ORCHESTRA [BANDAI-NAMCO]
I don't know why but for some reason there don't seem to be many cla$$ical music rhythm games out there besides the ones based on this manga & anime series. With that said, NODAME CANTABILE is a pretty good rhythm game with incredibly responsive controls. In fact I would dare say that the game has the most responsive motion controls out of any rhythm-based game on the Wii. Some of the control schemes - like how you have to play the violin for example - are very silly, but they work surprisingly well.
Unfortunately the game's production values do not match its amazing playability, as if you take the motion controls and voice acting away, this is basically a DS game.
While I'm waiting for CATHERINE (the savior of Japanese games, or so I'm told) to come out, I feel like spending time posting some of my favourite games of this generation. This isn't really a top number game list, but more like a list of the games I've enjoyed the most this generation, so I will be updating it constantly with more short game descriptions.
Feel free to leave any comments or anything you feel like.
●LEFT 4 DEAD 2 [VALVE]
LEFT 4 DEAD 2 is by far the hardest game I have ever played in my life! And you know what? I absolutely love it!
I've beaten the game on (single player) expert, I've beaten it on realism, and I just can't get enough of it. There's something incredibly gratifying about surving those deadly zombie mobs and saving the useless A.I. bots. I mean, you know that you can only pull that off if you're an expert player, and that is one sweet feeling.
●DRAGON AGE : ORIGINS [ELECTRONIC ARTS]
For many (myself included) DRAGON AGE felt at first like a BALDUR'S GATE lite. I mean compared to BIOWARE's previous games, the game does have less depth, specially when it comes to the character cla$$es and skills. Still, DRAGON AGE has everything that in my opinion makes western role-playing games superior : heavy customization options, unforgetable characters and character development, high replay value, and of course the feeling that you're actually role-playing.
Now with the new direction that BIOWARE games have taken, it remains to be seen if DRAGON AGE : ORIGINS will be the last of its kind or not.
●OTOMEDIUS G/X [KONAMI]
OTOMEDIUS is one, if not the best arcade shooting game to have come out in the last decade (after 2001). Yet the game isn't really a substantial step forward over its predecessors (it's more like an homage really). In fact, I would say that the original PARODIUS games were a lot better for the time they were released. A time where they faced the most stiff competition the genre has ever seen, by the way.
But more importantly OTOMEDIUS has showed me two things : First that for the last 10 years the traditional arcade shooting genre has been sucked into a black hole from which I don't see a way out yet. Second that it seems they cannot longer sell an arcade shooting game without putting some annoying anime characters in them, and what better if they are of the big boobed kind.
Personally, I would've preferred the original PARODIUS cast any old day, but probably the 90% of the gaming audience nowadays is more than happy with the wide eyed anime girls with big boobs.
●THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD : OVERKILL [SEGA]
This is by a longshot the most hilarious and over-the-top lightgun game... ever! And it totally rocks!
I'm actually glad the game wasn't Japanese since I don't think they would've nailed the 'grindhouse' feel of the game. Actually, from what I can gather the Japanese version had some cencorship.
OVERKILL is also one of those odd cases where the graphics suck from a technical standpoint yet look awesome within its context. The grindhouse effect is the best I've ever seen on a videogame and overall it succeeds at making the game look good.
Oh and did I mentioned that the soundtrack is simply A-W-E-S-O-M-E ?
●ACE COMBAT 6 : FIRES OF LIBERATION [NAMCO-BANDAI]
Gorgeous visuals and the perfect mix of arcade and simulation action made ACE COMBAT 6 an instant winner for me. The storyline which is flat-out corny and takes a borderline naive and annoying take at war can get on your nerves at times, but fortunately this is relegated to the cut-scenes only. The character interaction that goes over the radio with the rest of your comrades is much, much better.
I don't quite agree with GameSpot in that the campaign takes a while to get interesting. Maybe only in the lower difficulties, but at the highest difficulty settings, the campaign gets exciting and challenging from the first stage.
My only complaint is that while your companions have a surprisingly powerful stopping power, they only ever use it when you command them, and the rest of the time they're sitting ducks waiting for you to do all the work. It certainly would've been nice to see your comrades fighting the enemy more vigorously.
●DRAGON QUEST : MONSTER BATTLE ROAD VICTORY [SQUARE-ENIX]
Based on the arcade smash-hit - ROAD VICTORY is a card-based battle game developed by 8ing. The cards themselves serve only as icons for your equipment, monsters and special attacks though, so in reality the game works and plays like a Japanese RPG.
ROAD VICTORY is a game that sucked over 70 hours of my time, and I haven't even done any of the post-game stuff! I find this very surprising considering that ROAD VICTORY is in reality a rather small-sized game. A small but beautifully detailed town serves as a hub for your activies, which for the most part will be purchasing cards at the card shop and battling your town buddies for supremacy. You can also visit the costume shop and dress your character in your favourite DQ heroes or monsters outfits.
Being originally an arcade game, the gameplay is very easy to get into and is also incredibly addictive. The cel-shaded graphics are also top-notch and really gives you the feeling that you're in the world of AKIRA TORIYAMA.
Overall, ROAD VICTORY is a must-play for any fans of DRAGON QUEST and/or TORIYAMA's drawings.
●DEAD RISING 2 [CAPCOM]
In Japan the DEAD RISING games are labeled as [Zombie Paradise] games, and I certainly don't think they could've come out with a better one.
The original DEAD RISING was in my opinion a breakthrough game on the XBOX 360. It brought killing zombies to a whole new level, putting hundreds of zombies on-screen at once and giving you lots of stuff to dispose of them in the most creative way you could think of.
The sequel fixed many of the design issues of the original game. It is also a bigger game with lots of more stuff to see and use. I do have two issues with the game though : The first is that the game suffers from a whole lot of technical issues that the original game didn't. The second is that the storyline, pretty much sucks.
For a game that at times didn't took itself seriously, the original DEAD RISING had a very well fleshed-out and solid storyline. The mission structure, though often critisized, was pretty intense. And the Overtime Mode was really cool and it added a lot to the game. The sequel however, never felt intense and its Overtime Mode was a huge disappointment. I do have to say though, that I found the new character cast more charming and likeable, even though the characters themselves are on the shallow side.
Still, when all it's said and done, it's hard to go back to the original after playing the sequel, and that's why I put it here.
●NIGHT OF THE SACRIFICE [MARVELOUS]
NIGHT OF THE SACRIFICE is an unique horror adventure game in which you play as a small group of college students who've decided to take a trip to a place called the [TSUKUYOMI RAVINE] where as legend has it, people used to sacrifice to the gods.
The game is played from a first-person perspective. You use the Wiimote as a flashlight, and optionally you can also use the Wii Balance Board to move. Now, what makes NIGHT OF THE SACRIFICE unique is that unlike in most other horror games your characters have no means to fend off against the evil spirits that roam the Tsukuyomi Ravine, so all you can do is find a way to sneak past them, and if worse comes to worst; run like hell for your life. Only one grab is enough to get a game over, so you really need to move around very careful.
The game is also scary as hell. In fact I would say it's the only genuinely scary game on the system as I didn't found ZERO, nor CALLING and the rest particularly scary. Another peculiar thing about the game is that unlike the realistic enviroments, the main characters (which all can be renamed) are portrayed in a $tyle similar to the one used previously by SONIC TEAM for their DS game [I WOULD DIE FOR YOU] or FEEL THE MAGIC/PROJECT RUB as it is know in the west.
About the only lowpoint the game has is that it was obviously a middle-range production, so a lot of enviroments and objects get re-used constantly here and there.
After playing Left 4 Dead 2 extensively, I went back to the original to beat my missing Blood Havest campaign, and boy, the game is a total cakewalk compared to the sequel. I cleared Blood Harvest in only 1:28 hrs and only re-started 7 times. I also revisited the first two other campaigns and I cruised through them relatively easily this time around.
The only thing that is harder in the original are Tanks, but otherwise, without jockeys (I hate those guys), without fatigue, without uncommon infected, and without gaunlet crescendos - the game is substantially easier.
Anyway, I've beaten both Left 4 Dead games completely now and got the respective What Are You Trying To Prove? achievements, so yes, mission complete!
After a long-arse struggle I was finally able to beat all 5 Left 4 Dead 2 campaigns on single player expert difficulty. I had already beaten the Hard Rain and The Parish ones, but the Swamp Fever finale was giving me problems because you have to fight 2 tank enemies simulatenously. Well, I figured out how to beat them and so mission accomplished.
So now that I've cleared the game competelty I wanted to try the Realism mode, but for some reason Valve decided it to make it a co-op mode only and thus you cannot pause the action, which of course puts that mode totally out of the question for me. (T^T)
It's been a while since I've played such a tough game like this, so even though alot of the time it was very frustrating and nerve-breaking, I really enjoyed the challenge.
Now I'm looking forward for the next entry.
Lately I've become totally addicted to the Left 4 Dead games on the xbox 360. Again another couple of games that I can't believe I didn't played before. They're abosuetely fantastic, but also insanely difficult!
Seriously, these are by far the hardest first-person shooting games I ever played! (on the highest difficulty setting that is) As I think I've mentioned several times before, I like playing games on the highest difficulty setting, but these games are kicking my arse like no other game has done before in a long time.
But the most nerve-breaking part is that you have to beat a whole campaign in one sitting for it to be considered cleared, and this of course is a hugely time-consuming task, not to mention frustrating.
Of course I'm aware that the games are meant to be played co-operatively. And it's pretty obvious that with at least another human player, even the Realism mode on Left 4 Dead 2 shouldn't be that difficult. However, I can only platy on my own, and as it is the Expert difficulty setting is the stuff of nightmares.
For the first Left 4 Dead game (not counting the 100+ previous retries), it took me 4:30 hrs to beat the first campaign, about the same for the second, and more than 5 hours for the third. I gave up trying to beat the Blood Harvest campaign finale and moved on to the sequel, which of course is the superior game with more content and more charismatic and talkative characters (except for the black girl Rochelle, whom for some reason Valve forgot to give her dialogue lines and character).
I liked the loading screens from the first game more though, if I have to nitpick about something. And also, in my opinion the teammates A.I. is a lot better in the first game too.
Anyway, again it took me about 4:30 hrs to beat the first campaign, and now for two days I've been trying to beat the second one, but unfortunately I ran out of play time and I'm forced to quit. (T_T)
I really hate that the first chapter of the Dark Carnival campaign is the most difficult and frustrating. I can beat the second and third chapters more easily, but the Highway chapter is like The Crane chapter in the first Left 4 Dead game, in the way that it has a lot of variants that can potentially screw your whole playthrough.
And the funny thing is that this is only the second of five campaigns! Man...
Obviously I wouldn't even be bothering to clear the games on the Expert difficulty exclusively if I wasn't a big sucker for extrmelly though games. To tell you the truth, I don't even feel like playing them in any lesser difficulty, that would feel like giving up, so I'd rather not beat them that way even though the stupid A.I. teammates have come close to making me cry, literally.
In any case, the Left 4 Dead games are now among my favourite games this generation. They're a bit old now, so I'm sure a lot of you have already played them. If that's the case, feel free to tell me your opinion and or experiences with them.