Super Quick Reviews from Wongo (6 games)
by, 02-02-2011 at 11:18 AM (747 Views)
Chrono Trigger - I've started this game a handful of times but wanted to really get into it this time. I finally made my way all the way through at some point in March of '10. Its a Japanese style RPG, and is often considered to be in the top 3 all time in that category. Released in 1995, The game is instantly entertaining and is full of quirky and likeable characters that belong in a young adult fiction story. For its time, the game introduced some really different interactive story telling techniques and will challenge even hard core movie going adults to pay attention as its complex time travel story unfolds. The 'boss' battles are frequent and they keep you feeling that sense of accomplishment that encourages you to explore and investigate the different stages of the story. The other thing that others always talk about with this game are the combination abilities that your characters can activate together. I'll agree with the screaming masses that the combos are really fun and should be in more RPGs. The only negatives would be things you could say against any game in this genre: bad dialog, too long etc. Bottom Line 5/5
Knights of the Old Republic - Bioware's Star Wars classic that takes place 1000 years before Episode 1 has been on my list of "must plays" for quite some time. This game was released in 2003, and while I've tried to play it on the PC, its really the original XBOX version that gets most of the praise. I finally borrowed a copy of the original XBOX version for my '10 staycation and dove in. An RPG but not of the Japanese variety, The story telling is great. The game really captures the feel of the Star Wars universe and does it well. The gameplay itself is solid although the maps feel too small after playing next-gen games. This results in the exploration elements feeling pretty easy. The combat flows like a real time or action RPG, but I'm constantly stopping it to switch to my various characters and activate their abilities. This can break up the feel of the game a bit. With around 20 hours in, I'm not really even halfway through, so I need to give this one some more playtime, but I'm enjoying it mostly for the story at this point. Does anyone know of a stand alone version of Pazak; the card game that is played throughout this game? No bottom line because I'm not finished yet.
Zak and Wiki Barbaro's Treasure - this game is actually called: Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure. Despite its wordy title (lovingly referred to as Zip & Faggy) this is an excellent puzzle solving game hidden in a Japanese style cartoon. The action in the game is point and click style. It reminds me of old PC point and click adventure games like Space Quest, Day of the Tentacle, or Sam & Max. However, rather than making you combine ridiculous items to magically open a sealed door, this one seems a bit more creative with its puzzle solving. "I have to pour the lava in the pit to burn the pole before I dump the water to get the treasure." The beauty of the game is that you just use the Wiimote to point and click your way through these puzzles. Occasionally they make you do some Wiimote push or pull or flick that ends up being mostly amusing and occasionally irritating. The characters were not as interesting as some of the recent "Telltale Games" point and click adventures. Perhaps that is an unfair comparison, but its an obvious one none-the-less. Bottom Line 4/5
No More Heroes - Hmmm . . . Its hard to explain this game. The best part of this game is the extremely entertaining storytelling style. Its a rare combination of a Japanese produced product that has successfully formatted itself for a North American (Western) audience. The main character is essentially a douchbag, 20 something who has a lightsaber and wants to become the #1 contract killer in the country. To do this he has to slice his way through killers 10-1 using the Wiimote buttons to unleash sword attacks and the motion controls to do 'wrestling' moves. Its got an open world feel to it like a Grand Theft Auto game, but the story is complete candy that somehow does not get old. Hilarious one liners, creative use of (a lot of) profanity, and incredible sword mutilations kept me glued and laughing most of the way through this one. I think they took some big risks 'stylizing' this and in my opinion it totally works. I get it. Bottom Line 5/5
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - I played this on the 360. The Wii version of the game actually gets slightly higher ratings and the 360 version feels like its been squeezed down a bit to accomodate the Wii's less powerful hardware. The cinematics are abrubtly stopped at points, there are long load times to get through the menus, and the controls seem a bit simplified. The menu load times don't seem like a big deal until you realize that you keep having to check them to see what moves you can do with your lightsabler. "Do I push x+y or x+b?" You have to wait like 7-10 seconds EVERY TIME you enter the menu to check this and because you are constantly unlocking new moves you have to check A LOT. These are just little knocks against the game however, but they did tend to reduce my enjoyment of it overall. I'd say my biggest complaint about this game is the way they implemented the "Force Throw" power. Again this doesn't seem like a big deal, but I want to be able to effortlessly throw rocks at jawas and instead I can't seem to pick up the one thing that I want, and when I do it goes off in some wierd direction where I didn't intend to throw it. To make matters worse, Its almost like the game encourages you to use this power and then laughs at you as you miss your target like 80% of the time.
GAME - "Haha, you'll never get that rock back cause its off the screen. Also, it was the only thing big enough to take out the AT-AT. . . . . Haha!"
Its only after you get past some of these shortcomings that you get to enjoy this game. I gradually developed a style of play that minimized the loading and the force throw, and I was able to get into a really well done and engaging Star Wars story. It takes place between Ep3 and Ep4 and tells the story of Darth Vader's secret apprentice. They used motion capture on the actors' faces and it ends up looking really good. (The lead is played by Crashdown from BSG). This might have been the "worst" game I played during my '10 staycation, but it is still a good one. It actually made me want to go back and play the Ep3 game for PS2 because I was a big fan of that one. Bottom Line 3/5
Dead Space - This game borrows from a lot of current gen titles and it does it very well. I don't remember the last time that I played a game that was this effortlessly fun. It doesn't really shock you with innovation or surprise you with new styles of gameplay, but everything it does seems so easy to interact with that you don't end up minding at all. The best way I can describe this game is if Bioshock and Resident Evil 4 had a baby in space it would be Dead Space. 3rd person action with spooky space aliens and an interactive mystery story that you uncover as you explore the abandoned SS Ishimura. Its great! One thing to note about this title is that it seems just as long as any other action/adventure game, but the pacing of the game seems really geared toward an adult with a job. You can finish one of the game's chapters in about 60-90 minutes. Thats perfect for someone who just put the kids to bed and wants to play something great in a short period of time. Or someone like me who is probably going to fall asleep at 11:30 whether he likes it or not and can't get into something that takes 79 hours. Bottom Line 5/5