Love is in the air, and the month of February promises to be a cavalcade of surprises, including the anticipated unveiling of the PlayStation 4. In the meantime, I got a couple of new games to kick off the month. To get one of the games, however, I decided to let Assassin's Creed 3 go and use it as a trade-in. I messed up badly leapfrogging that series, and I'm paying the price. It's doubtful I'll get back into the franchise after it held so much promise for me, but life goes on. I'll live. In the meantime.....
Ni No Kuni. It was only mere days ago when I got this game and began playing it when I received a hearty congratulatory message from my good friend matastig. That was when it all sank in -- Ni no Kuni was something special, and there was a reason why it's got everyone talking. It's not merely a great game -- it's a prodigal son. You know, when a specific brand of role-playing game goes away for a lengthy period of time only to come back feeling better than it's ever been. The whole thing screams "old-school traditional style" right down to the Rogue Galaxy-esque combat, the familiars and the all-around classic vibe. It may not break a lot of ground, but it does what it does extremely well. Drippy has officially become my new favorite sidekick character. Not so much because he speaks in a heavy Scottish accent, but he's as lovingly annoying as a hyperbolic Ricky Gervais.....with a Scottish accent. Anyhow, the game is a nice throwback to old-school traditions; even if it does feel as if the game relies too heavily on them at times, I suppose that's what gives it so much charm.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. For a while, I had my reservations about the fourth Sly Cooper game going into a next-gen platform for the first time and being handled by people other than Sucker Punch, but with Thieves in Time, Sanzaru Games have proven how much they actually love the source material. Thieves in Time draws heavily from Sly 2 and retains all the memorable platforming gameplay of the series. Bottle collecting is back, the time-travel element works with the story and the ability to play different characters from the Cooper family is a big hoot. It's safe to say that the franchise is in good hands, even though the transitioning of development teams was tough to swallow. Although I do hold some hope that Sucker Punch will pick up the reins again, Sanzaru seems competent enough to carry the Sly Cooper legacy well into the future and, perhaps, through the graces of the rumored PS4. As Sly himself says in the game, "it feels good to be back in action."
Legend of the Mystical Ninja. On my quest to build a Super NES collection of games (complete with their boxes and manuals---watch yourselves, digi-demon and widdowson91!) I chose this game as my pick of the month; found it on EBay complete with box and manual. Such a thing is fairly rare with a game that had a limited print run back in the day, so this is something of an extraordinary find. I remember the good old days when me and my friend played it together on my Super NES, seduced by the authentic Japanese soundtrack and perplexed by the many different gameplay variants -- like the mini-games, the side-scrolling platformers and some mild RPG elements. Granted, this wasn't exactly Konami's killer app at the time when compared to juggernauts like Gradius, Contra and Castlevania, but it managed a cult following of sorts. Heck, I actually wanted it for Christmas one time before I had completely forgotten about it mere months later when I got Contra III for my birthday. Legend of the Mystical Ninja can currently be found on the Virtual Console for 800 points.
On the fence, I'm considering Metal Gear Rising, but since it is technically a part of the Metal Gear Solid series, I don't want to find myself leapfrogging again until I play the previous games. I also still have Far Cry 3 on the brain, too. Not sure yet. I'll keep you posted.