Monthly Archives: January 2009

GOTY Revisions

I updated my Game of the Year post because I couldn’t decide between Professor Layton and the Curious Village and No More Heroes. I’m just leaving it a tie between the two!

Top 10 Games of 2008

Here are my top ten games from 2008. I listed twelve games because I’m including Ubeat, which was only location tested in America, and Rhythm Tengoku Gold, which is only available in Japan. If I’m considering those two games, my list should stop at entry ten; If I’m not, then disregard them but consider the last two entries.
1. No More Heroes
1. Professor Layton and the Curious Village
3. Ubeat
4. The World Ends With You
5. Castle Crashers
6. Braid
7. Wrath of the Lich King
8. Rhythm Tengoku Gold
9. LittleBigPlanet
10. Grand Theft Auto IV
11. Left 4 Dead
12. Mario Kart Wii

Guilty Gear XX ^ Core (Wii)

Finally I was able to try the game at which I’ve been aiming! Guilty Gear XX ^ Core great graphics and character design, cool music, and challenging fighting. The aesthetic is great. Characters are varied and extremely interesting with quite beautiful sprites. Heavy metal music plays most of the time, and the levels have pretty interesting also. The whole thing has a futuristic, industrial, fantasy vibe to it. There isn’t a story mode, only arcade, versus, and survival. I haven’t really got a good feel for the tension gauge and special moves; I’m pretty new to fighting games actually, so I’m not sure I’m going to get the hang of it! I’m enjoying it so far though and plan to put more time into it.

I Will Make You Something Chain Letter Thing

I got this from William, who got this from Allison.
The first Seven (7) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
– I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
– What I create will be just for you.
– It’ll be done this year (2009).
– You have no clue what it’s going to be. It may be a mix CD. It may be a poem. I may draw or paint something. I might bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that’s for sure!
– I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
The catch? Oh, the catch is that you have to put this in your journal as well, if you expect me to do something for you!

I don’t have comments enabled, so just let me know any way you want.

Posts To Write

In place of actually writing posts that I’ve been meaning to write, here’s a list of my post backlog!

  • What I’ve Been Playing for last Thursday (even though in a couple days I’ll need a new one)
  • Review of Naruto Clash of Ninja Revolution
  • Retro Review of Super Off Road
  • Obama!
  • Review of Ninjatown
  • Review of Tap Tap Revenge
  • Review of DDR S Lite
  • Review of TapDefense
  • Review Monster Hunter Freedom
  • Review Prey the Stars
  • Top 10 Games of 2008
  • Top 12 Games to Finish in 2009
  • Analysis of Games Purchased and Played in 2008

Hellgate: London to Stay Alive

Massively reported today at 10:00 AM Pacific that Hellgate: London will not go down at the end of January! Flagship Studios, the developer, was only going to continue to run servers until January 31, 2009; however, HanbitSoft, the current IP owner, has decided to keep the game online using the free-to-play model.
This is great news! I do feel bad for all the people who have been giving away items and palladium. Luckily I was not one of those people! I suppose the free-to-play model implies that HanbitSoft will be offering microtransactions to make money off the game. That’s fine with me! The article also mentions the possibility of an expansion. According to Wikipedia, Flagship Studios was working on an expansion called The Second Invasion that would take place in Korea. Of course, HanbitSoft now owns the rights to that too, but there hasn’t been any confirmation of them releasing it. In the novels, which take place before HG:L the game, there were rumors of Hellgates opening all over the world. Assuming this expansion takes place after Hellgate: London and that it is indeed about the second invasion, those rumors the characters heard must have been false.

Platypus (PSP)

Summary: Cool claymation graphics, but not much else going for it.
Platypus for PSP caught my eye because it was a horizontal scrolling shooter with an interesting look. The graphics are entirely claymation. The game was created by Squashy Software, who is actually one man, which is impressive.
The game has a relatively simple story: Aliens are attacking the planet, and you have to defend your home. I’m fine with playing a scrolling shooter without caring about a complicated story. The music is satisfactory but nothing special. The levels all seem pretty similar as do the enemies. The only real difference in the enemy types are their speeds and how many hits it takes to destroy them. There are a handful of powerups which change your attack for a limited amount of time. Because they’re time based, there is no reason to hold your fire. Platypus includes a survival mode that seems interesting. There’s also online co-op, but I didn’t have any luck finding someone with whom to play.
The game is moderately fun, the graphics are pretty cool, and it’s impressive that a single person made the game; However, I would recommend skipping this PSP purchase unless it’s very cheap. If you really want to take a look, it’s available for free on the PC. Check Squashy Software to download it.

Guilty Gear 2 Overture (360)

Summary after 15 minutes: Rather ugly, bland, and cliché. I’m interested in getting a little farther to see what it feels like outside of the tutorials, but I don’t think I’ll play it after tonight.
Extended summary: The combat system is more interesting than I originally thought, but the game seems average overall. It’s hard to overcome the clichés and bad voice acting.
Guilty Gear 2 Overture seems to be a cross between a 3D hack and slash like Devil May Cry and a 2D fighter. The introduction was very bland. The game gives a little background, teaching the player that giant, living machines called Gears were used in a great war, but they’re no longer used – an overused idea. You play as a bounty hunter who now has been forced to simply hunt rabbits. You seem to hate anything to do with the monarch of the kingdom. Your apprentice for some reason demands that you train, asking you to move, jump, slash, and other things that an apprentice should not ask of a master. You also don’t seem to know the apprentice. Is this another overused concept, amnesia, or something else?
The graphics started out pretty bland through the long and boring introduction. The training area is not skipable and simply teaches controls that could be guessed. The left stick moves, the right stick moves the camera, A jumps, X and Y attack, and the right trigger locks-on. Like most 3D hack and slash games, hitting different attacks in different orders causes your character to do different combos. I was amused that the achievement that unlocked for finishing the training mission was titled “Hello World.”
The game seems to borrow some flavoring from Japanese RPGs in a minor sense. In addition to being able to use items during battle, the character designs remind of common Japanese RPG or SRPG characters. Also, when the characters talk, a portrait of the character appears along with the text of what he is saying. The voice acting was rather bad so far.
The music is decent enough and fitting, but the graphics were darker than I expected. I was hoping for bright, colorful, beautiful characters but was instead greeted with dull, dark colors, characters who seemed apathetic (common in Japanese RPGs it seems), and a sword that clipped through the ground when the character stood still.
After that first training mission, I was able to start the next mission. The game changes to focus on the monarch that was disliked earlier. While the castle was rather dark, the monarch and his guards were colorful and detailed, giving me what I was hoping for in terms of aesthetics.
I think I made the mistake of trying out Guilty Gear 2 Overture when I should have been looking at some of the previous Guilty Gear titles.
Added after an additional 15 to 20 minutes of play:
The combat is a bit more interesting than I originally thought. You can attack certain structures to gain various other units/soldiers that fight alongside you, with each offering a different advantage. This is very similar to use of different types of units in RTS games. Guilty Gear 2 Overture actually has a quite interesting game mechanic, making it a 3D strategy hack and slash. The clichés, including a character with cat-like ears, mixed with the original strategy mechanic makes this game remind me of the niche strategy and SRPGs made by NIS or Atlus. That said, I think this game is missing the charm that those have. To fully see the intrigue of this game to see if you like it you should definitely play at least a half hour, but I still think the game is just average and will not continue to play it.

Best Music Game and UBeat, Rhythm Tengoku Gold

Someone brought up why I didn’t choose UBeat for Best Music Game of the year. On the one hand, Japan has a great number of games released that we don’t get or haven’t yet received here in America. For that reason, it seems unfair to consider them in the award choices. On the other hand, I also didn’t play the majority of US releases. I considered the games I played, and I did play both UBeat and Rhythm Tengoku Gold. If these games were to be considered, they would both beat Rock Band 2 by a large margin with UBeat coming out as the champion.
For that reason I think I should stick with my choice for Best Music Game, but I’d like to talk about why UBeat would have won if it was released and why I’m sure it’ll win in the future if and when it’s released here.
UBeat is basically Whac-A-Mole set to music with a 4 x 4 grid of buttons with LCD screens instead of moles. Each screen plays a short video when it’s time to hit them, with a particular point in the video being the exact moment at which the LCD button should be pressed. The song list during the location test here in Irvine was small but impressive. I was thrilled to see Scatman John’s Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop) in the game and played it quite a few times. The machine is also sexy as hell. I know that Konami wants to suck me in with the flashy machine, but I have to say, if lights and the look of the physical machine count as an attract mode, this game has a much better attract mode than any other game I’ve played! On a side note, Dance Dance Revolution X, which was also location tested at the same place and time, was also quite flashier than its predecessors. To get back on topic, the UBeat cabinets were small, sleek, and sexy! I’d love to have on in my house some day, and I’m really hoping they’re brought to America. You can read my review of it here.
Rhythm Tengoku Gold is a DS game utilizing only the touch screen in various rhythm based games. While most music/rhythm games could be played without the music, Rhythm Tengoku Gold would be impossible without the music. In fact, once I’ve figured out how a particular game works, which is hard because the game’s in Japanese, I can close my eyes and continue to play based only on the audio cues.