Now Playing: December 2019

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The previous three months has been a trying time to find a game I can get into. I succeeded, but the percentage was low. The racing games of Hydro Thunder (PS), Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2), and Flatout 2 (PS2) were more of the usual rubber-banding AI opponents that can make for a frustrating experience.

Flatout 2 had the worst of this issue, but the most annoying problem was the destructible track elements that got in the way on later laps once they were destroyed the debris was laying about. Burnout 2’s deal was solely the issue of the AI being perfect. I was having fun even when not winning, but once a certain mountain area track was what I was currently racing there seemed to be no way to progress regardless of the car I selected. Arcade racer Hydro Thunder was fun, but the bare bones presentation and odd decision to lock tracks behind a currency earning progression system was where I fell off of this one.

I then went to portable side of gaming with my DS Lite and PSP. I was hankering for some Puzzle Quest, but Puzzle Quest: Galactrix was too much of a departure of what made the first game so enjoyable. On top of that they added timed puzzle to complete. This is not what I call a fun Puzzle Quest experience. It was an immediate turn this game off moment.

I had the sequel on hand so I inserted the cartridge for Puzzle Quest 2. It was much more of the traditional fun game with additions that are much more welcome. There isn’t any timed puzzled, thankfully. I didn’t complete the game, but at least I had gotten my fill of Puzzle Quest in a more satisfying way.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2 was a first person shooter, as one would expect, but it’s on the PSP. Because of this everything hinges on how good the controls are. They’re…decent. It’s not a quick reflexes style of the recent Call of Duty titles on home consoles. It’s quite plodding to be very honest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mainly suffer from AI that can aim accurately. This is bad when you’re under a time limit to get out of a base that’s going to explode! This is precisely the scenario I was in when I hung this game’s boots up and moved on.

The game I moved onto was a 2019 released game, if you can believe it. It was The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors. Not a new game in practice since the original version was from 1994 on the Super Nintendo. I love the original and this is definitely a worthy improvement. I’m not fond of the two new characters or that you can’t grab and throw the level 1 boss, but otherwise it’s excellent. The game didn’t need a two-player mode, but it’s done well enough with both players sharing the life and blaster (battery in the new version) meters.

Finally, I not only bought The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors in the last month or so, but I was also given Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night by Usagi704 for Xmas. My total new games for the year of 2019 is a big ol’ seven.

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Game of the Year 2014 – Worst Game

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For the worst game I played all of last year it’d be too easy to give it to a game which I utterly hated playing. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II is the perfect example of this. I didn’t enjoy that game at all, but anybody who knows me already knows I have rarely if ever enjoyed my time with a Sonic the Hedgehog game.

Two other contenders for worst game are Crime Fighters and Assassin’s Creed III. The former is an old Konami arcade beat-’em-up. It definitely isn’t their best brawler by a long shot. Their two sequels, Vendetta and Violent Storm, are much better. The latter game is the typical Ubisoft glitchfest that we’re very used to seeing these days. It’s not a big shock it isn’t good.

The winner is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I played this last January and I wasn’t impressed by the simplistic storytelling or the idea that I’m supposed to care for these characters more than I actually do. The attempt to have a heart-warming story was laughable at best. Also the fact this game was developed by Starbreeze Studios is surprising because they’ve worked on better games already. Go back to those titles and leave this pretentious work in the forgotten past.

Brothers: A Tale of Heavy-handed Storytelling

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was released for download on all three major platforms, PS3, X360, and PC, in August and September of last year. It recently became free for PlayStation Plus members. I had a free trial for the service running and decided to take the game for a spin.

The heavy-handed storytelling began right away as it desperately tries to get you to care for the mother of the siblings despite you know nothing about her. In fact, the biggest failure of the story in Brothers is that the characters are never more than 2D and flat. It doesn’t help they speak in gibberish, but this isn’t a problem in a game like Klonoa because we still get subtitles. That’s not the case here. The most you get is some pantomiming which only can convey the most basic of thoughts. It’s certainly not enough for me to care.

The controls are unique where you use the analog sticks to control each brother independently and, from what I understand, were only ever done similarly in The Adventures of Cookie & Creme on the PlayStation 2. The only buttons used are L2 and R2 which help with general interaction with the world.

My brain had the most trouble dealing with walking the siblings down a path when they’d cross to the opposite side of the screen. When I’d stop to reset and regain my bearings the refresh would usually only last about 30 seconds at the most.

Another problem control-wise was at the last part of the game. This is where you control the younger brother independently. You eventually come to were you have to swim and using R2 for his interactions doesn’t work. He simply refuses to swim. There’s no other path to take and no indication whatsoever to the player as to how to advance. It turns out you need to use L2 (the older brother’s interaction button). Why does that work? Did he feel his powerful spirit to carry on? It’s never explained.

And that’s the overall problem I have with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Everything is just too vague. I mean, I’m no dummy. I certainly don’t need things spelled out for me. It just would’ve benefited from a better way to tell its story. I can say I’m glad I played this game, but I’m also glad I didn’t pay the $15 asking price. It’s certainly not worth that much even with the pleasing graphics. There isn’t any value in replaying it unless you want all 12 trophies.

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Hahaha! Oops! XD

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Cut a leg off to clear the way. How could you. *sniff*sniff*

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*Unreal Tournament announcer* “Headshot!”

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Winner of the Buried Alive match is Mophead #2.