Sunday, July 26, 2015

Games in 2015: Summer

June:
Heeeeere's J...urassic Park...y!
This month in Seattle was met with record high temperatures, making sitting inside playing games on a big heat-generating tv a bit of challenge. That said, I got to three of the Telltale Jurassic Park episodes. Each part is ~2 hours each, and is a nice fast gold trophy run.

Another title I started for 30 minutes was Time and Eternity, a hand-drawn, animated RPG. This game was painfully boring, and consisted of 2d jerky character movement over horrible 3d graphics, in a poor battle system. The explorable areas are separated by scenes of talking, talking, talking. Your character envies a cute little dragon because IT gets to bathe with...his wife. That's right, a husband is jealous of an animal that gets to see his wife naked. This game sucks, and stings extra hard because I actually paid money for this, and put it ahead of the 80 free games I have waiting on my PS3 hdd.

I....don't know either. Fun, though!
Lastly is a beautiful anime-sprite action/JRPG called Battle Arena Princess. The story is Japan's usual mix of crazy, cute, and inappropriate comments in some culmination of a very disengaging story. The gameplay is sidescroller beat-em-up, with certain modes where you fight soldiers in the foreground and command an army in the background.

July:
Since I'm traveling, I also started some 3DS games: Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright and Kid Icarus. Prof Layton is a mystery/thriller game with dialogue and cutscenes to power the story from puzzle to puzzle. Some of the puzzles are ashamedly easy, but others are a nice challenge. It's just that the puzzles are so contrived in the story: a character doesn't trust you until you can navigate some witches through a maze. A baker lets you stay the night at her house after you arrange bread in a certain pattern and discard the extra. In typical anime fashion, the girls are all smokin hot, but that's more of an observation than a complaint. The Phoenix Wright side of the game has you reviewing a witness' testimony line by line, and objecting when something s/he says doesn't matched up with your inventory of evidence.
It's pretty satisfying when it works!

Cheeky as hell...
Kid Icarus: Uprising is awesome except for one thing. The controls are really screwy: it's a rail shooter, so you use the circle pad to dodge and move, and the L-button to fire, resulting in hand cramps for me. You aim with the stylus. You also drop the 3DS and curse the developers for shitty controls. The music is great, the graphics are cool, and the banter between Pit and the Goddess Palutena is a hoot! There's a sliding difficulty scale that has you bet hearts (points) to get more hearts, to buy weapons n stuff. The level design is also reaaaaaaly awesome, especially when you go through Pandora's Labyrinth as the creepy, aloof entity becomes the butt of a lot of jokes. It's nice to have a hero that talks some shit!

August

Burnout is such a better game!
I caved in and bought a PS4! My first title was free: Drive Club, in all its 16GB glory. I figured a car game would be a great showcase for new-fangled current-generation graphics. Boy, was I wrong. This game looks about as good as Burnout Paradise on PS3. The cars look alright, but the surrounding environments are bland, and the racetrack spectators look horrid. I didn't have much hopes for gameplay, as Burnout Takedown and Revenge are pretty much the only good racing games that exist. Going in loops just isn't that fun if your car doesn't take damage and you can't ruin your other racers' days by nudging them into a pillar, bus, or cafe front!

Bringing the battle to Seattle.
Now, I've borrowed the super-enjoyable Infamous: Second Son. This game is a little more pretty, but everyone knows it'll be another few years before the PS4 comes out with a game that breaks barriers in technical capabilities. The story has some nice touches! Instead of a generic city, or NYC-based territory, the game takes place in a miniature Seattle, and your lead character-Delson Rowe-is Native American. It is so refreshing not to play a run-of-the-mill white character, and his loyalty to his tribe has a minor impact to the overall story. The antagonist is a woman who appears utterly ruthless until you get to the very end. Delson is able to absorb powers from people, and also learns their backgrounds and motivations. When you finally see her story, it's not really enough to deter you from wanting to get even, but it is a nice bit of depth to take in. I finished the good karma playthrough; now I'm doing Expert mode and am on the evil path.

Next on my list is Final Fantasy XIII.3 Lightning Returns. I played the prologue and it's such a different game, which I hope will grow on me.

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