Critical Failure

This week’s covert Best Buy sale scored me Dirt 3, but they didn’t have The Darkness II. Usagi704 made out much better than I did by getting every title he wanted.

The more recent announcement of a new Rise of the Triad game brought Apogee Software to the forefront. They haven’t done much in many, many years. In fact I visited their website and was reminded of the planned Duke Nukem Trilogy for PSP and DS from a number of years ago. What ended up being the result was just the first game subtitled Critical Mass. It was only published for the DS by Deep Silver and the game’s a mess, but I had to find out how much it sucks for myself.

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Recent Demos VII

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SNIPER ELITE V2
Without a doubt the big attraction/gimmick this game tries to draw gamers in with is the slow-mo of the bullet creating huge damage to the enemies. It is definitely a reason I loved watching other gamers play it via live streams on Twitch TV when it was first released. After trying it, however, I wasn’t as enthralled of having to find the enemies myself. It’s one of those games where I just have more fun watching somebody else play.

A personal example: I have a friend who’s quite good at Mega Man games where as I’m not. It’s great to see him make short work of what frustrates me in some of those games.

DIRT SHOWDOWN
This edition of the Dirt racing series seems like a mainstreamed/dumbed down version of Dirt 3 to me. While I haven’t played the full version of Dirt 3, the demo for that games was a better slice of final product. Here it’s only one track and one car. It was simply not enough to even attempt at a good impression.

SPEC OPS: THE LINE
The supposed gimmick in this first-person shooter is sand (and lots of it) with the setting being in the Middle East. The reason I say “supposed” is because the sand isn’t really affecting gameplay in anyway. It’s just there like the rest of the scenery. It might change the route you take suddenly, but that change simply takes place in a cutscene like in any other game.

Overall, this new Spec Ops is competent and better than I expected it would be, but that’s not saying much in a market currently flooded with tons of me-too bland military shooters.

The Wii Conspiracy

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The votes are in and the final tally from GS and GT is as follows.

4 votes for Gungrave
3 votes for The Mark of Kri
3 votes for Red Faction

I expected the winner to be Red Faction though I can’t say I’m all that surprised that Gungrave won. What I am surprised at is that anybody knew about The Mark of Kri to even get it any votes.

This is probably as good of a time as any to mention that The Mark of Kri also had a sequel by the name of Rise of the Kasai. Just letting anyone know that maybe interested in looking up more information on those pair of games.

My progress is going pretty good with Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. It’s exactly what I needed after all of that slaying of gods. Collecting all of the stars in a level to obtain the Momett Dolls is quite enjoyable. I have all ten that are available at this point. The next level is Indecision Pass which is a little more than halfway through the game. If you have a PS2, then by all means find yourself a copy of Klonoa 2. It comes highly recommended.

Also if you have a Wii, then the remake of the PS1 game simply titled Klonoa is another way to play one of the games from a great series. It’s easier to find and goes for $20 new. I had no problem finding two copies over the last two days. Take a look for yourself. ;)

klonoa-bourne-argonauts

Yes, I bought two copies of Klonoa along with The Bourne Conspiracy and Rise of the Argonauts. One copy of Klonoa is for me to take along when I visit friends or my brother. The other is a gift for my niece and nephew at Christmas time.

I always appreciate input from fellow readers of my blog. This time I’d like to ask you what Wii games would you recommend for someone with the following exceptions.

* No mini-game collections.
* No games that use Motion Plus.
* No WiiWare or Virtual Console titles.
* No multiplatform games.
* No games with extensive use of or tacked-on waggle.

Thanks for your time reading and responding. Later!

Teenage Mutant Mini Ninja Zombie Turtles

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Here’s what I thought of the following demos. My top rating may say “Day One,” but these games are obviously already released. So just replace that with “Buy Now.” Not that any of them get that rating anyway.

Call of Duty: World at War
This was probably the easiest game to like of the bunch because of being familiar with the series. It does have the great gameplay that I’ve liked about them, but I’m pretty much not interested in a straight World War II FPS game much anymore. Wolfenstein looks more interesting with its inclusion of the supernatural.

Rating: Bargain Bin

Mini Ninjas
I went into this one not expecting anything to like about it since it has a kiddie look to it. However, I was surprised to a degree with the number of ways to complete a mission. Also I found it amusing that fishing to make sushi for heath pickups was neat. Definitely the most interesting game of the lot.

Rating: Sooner Rather Than Later

Dirt 2
I gave this game the most time to impress me as I raced on the two available tracks at least four times each. I loved the graphical detail of the cockpit camera view, though it did artificially make the game more difficult. Also the default difficulty level, which was one above the easiest, wasn’t very forgiving. Even though I had some fun with the game, it pains me to say that I’ll probably not get it.

Rating: Bargain Bin

Wet
When I originally heard about Wet, I was interested in what it could be. After the mixed reviews I still kept up hope that it would be something that I’d still have fun with (like with Watchmen: The End Is Nigh). Now that I’ve played the demo I definitely won’t be buying this one. The controls were a bit too sluggish for the type of game that it is. I can understand that it will win over some people (like GameSpot’s Chris Watters), but it didn’t with me unfortunately.

Rating: Skip It

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
Continuing on with the disappointment is the remake of Turtles in Time. I’m sure that most of those that were letdown by this title were older gamers like myself that remember playing the original version in the arcade. The music definitely took a turn for the worse as well. It should’ve been based off of the superior SNES version with the extra levels, better bosses, and the excellent use of Mode 7 graphics. If you don’t mind what it is, you can find something to like, but for everyone else just get an SNES.

Rating: Bargain Bin

Zombie Apocalypse
With this game I don’t really have much to say about it other than it’s what I expected it to be. This game does reek of the current zombie fad that gaming in general is going through. For duel stick shooters, you can do much better. Geometry Wars 2 and Super Stardust HD are two that come to mind.

Rating: Skip It

Rating scale: Day One – Sooner Rather Than Later – Bargain Bin – Skip It

21

Alright, back again and this time I show off a total of 21 games and 2 systems that I’ve added to my collection.

In the past some of you have wondered how I get all of this stuff. It’s all thanks to a wizard or if you’d rather a different reason, then we’ll go with Joe Pesci. Thanks Joe! (lol) In the end it’s about what I got not how I get it. So let’s get to the goodies.

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Larger view

First up is two Game Boy Pockets, one blue (eBay) and one green (eStarland.com). I invite you to check out this video I made that shows me testing the unopened green Game Boy Pocket for the first time.

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Now for the games. The picture above is to give a perspective of the many games I bought. Below are more detailed shots via links of smaller groups. Group #2 are actually replacement games as the ones I already owned were working fine, but the label color didn’t match the disc color.

GROUP #1
Fighting Force
Crash Team Racing
Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed
Final Fight 3
The Scorpion King: Sword of Osiris

GROUP #2
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
Nightfire
Spy Hunter

GROUP #3
Metal Slug 7
Overlord: Raising Hell
Bleach: Dark Souls

GROUP #4
Metal Slug Advance
After Burner: Black Falcon
Tetris DX
Phalanx

GROUP #5
Neo Contra
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
Alone in the Dark: Inferno
CT Special Forces

GROUP #6
Tetris
Pokemon Blue

I was thinking of plans for future blogs/videos and I thought of showing off sections of my collection that were requested by you all. I’m not going to do a multi-part of all my PS2 games or anything really long like that. However, I’m willing to show games that I have from a certain series or something similar like that. Maybe even with some gameplay footage at the end to spice things up a little. So if you’d like to suggest something, please do. Just remember to check out my game collection list to see what I have first.

Like always, I’ll put up another blog here soon. So thanks for reading.

Recent Demos

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Clive Barker’s Jericho
I tried Jericho knowing that I wouldn’t really like the horror theme of the game. So I wasn’t going to knock it for that. However, I was interested in the quick switching squad mechanic that was somewhat unique to this game even though it was used in a similar fashion in Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.

Once I played the demo I was less impressed than I thought I’d be. It wasn’t really that scary and switching characters was a menu-based pain in the ass. If that wasn’t bad enough, the AI controlled characters die way too often. The only really useful character is the guy with the minigun since the enemies rush to your position right away. Oh, and lets not forget the terrible context sensitive parts that are just upsetting and not one bit of fun.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
Here’s a game that I thought wouldn’t be much fun because it has been labeled as more of the same. In fact this game does stick to the Ratchet & Clank formula very closely, but the controls are even more refined than in the previous PS2 games that I’ve played. It’s interesting that “more of the same” was just what the doctor ordered. I think that the controls and the beautiful visual design of Ratchet & Clank Future goes a long way to make this series still a blast to play.

Conan
Conan is the game that everybody loves to hate just because it plays very closely to the God of War series. In that sense most people won’t even give it a first chance for a first impression. That’s sad because I was surprised that I enjoyed the demo as much as I have. I’m a big fan of the God of War games, but I can also allow for Conan to be its own game without the needless and endless comparison to Sony’s award winning series. Just because it plays similar doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. The combat felt really great and the huge amount of different moves that can be pulled off feels like it’s never ending and that’s awesome too. I like games from time to time to be viscerally satisfying and that’s where Conan totally delivers.

The Darkness
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I hadn’t tried out the demo for The Darkness. I think that had mainly to do with the overall solid scores that the game was receiving at the time of its release.

Upon playing some of the demo I found that the aiming was imprecise and sluggish. Because of that I died frequently during the part in the small graveyard while trying to fight off the mobsters. Once I finally cleared that part I eventually got to a point where I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do or where to go. That was where I stopped playing because it was pretty boring.

TimeShift
Unlike the previous four games where I was obviously on one side or another, the same thing can’t be said for TimeShift. This game sounds like fun because of the time powers. Other than that this game would be just another first-person shooter. I liked everything about the game as I expected I would, but the problem here lies more within me than the game itself.

When a game has an interesting mechanic that I’m not used to for the type of game that it’s in, I have a tendency to forget to use it. This happened when I was playing Final Fantasy VI. I forgot to use the Espers in battle most of the time which made for tougher battles than there needed to be. So as you’d probably expect I wasn’t usually thinking about using the time powers to my advantage. Despite this I’m still looking forward to this game.

In The Anticipation Zone: Post E3

Back in January, I talked about my ten most anticipated games of 2007. Now that we are post E3 it’s changed quite a bit. Of course, four of the games on the previous list have been released. Two other games, TNA Impact and Black 2, are also off the list because of their scheduled 2008 release date. That leaves a lot of room for new additions so let’s get to it.

Contra 4 by Wayforward
DS – TBA 2007

I’m sure that some of you have heard how much I like the Contra series pre-3D. Well, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that I’m super excited for Contra 4 on the DS.

contra4

Turning Point: Fall of Liberty by Spark Unlimited
PS3, X360, PC – Q4 2007

This is one of the few games that I’m still anticipating from seven months ago. I can thank the great GameSpot stage demo at E3 for retaining my interest. The whole intriguing aspect of this game is based on a “What If” scenario. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t end up feeling too much like all of the other World War II FPS games that we’ve played before.

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Assassin’s Creed by Ubisoft Montreal
PS3, X360, PC – November 2007

I love platforming games when they’re done right. Some good examples of this are Prince of Persia and Tomb Raider. In those games it was simply a lot of fun to just move around the environment. Assassin’s Creed looks to take that another step with the free roaming aspect of being able to climb around on anything. I can’t wait!

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TimeShift by Saber Interactive
PS3, X360, PC – Q4 2007

I can’t say that TimeShift was on my radar before E3. However, after the show it has a place on my anticipated games list. The stage demo helped with that. I found it cool that the player can stop time and take an enemy’s gun out of their hands.

Burnout Paradise by Criterion Games
PS3 – Q4 2007

The last time my list included Burnout Dominator. It ended up as somewhat of a disappointment. It wasn’t because of the lack of online or crash modes, but rather because of the boost meter being more like the one in Burnout 2. Burnout Paradise looks to be a much more seamless experience with offline and online play. It’s kind of like Test Drive Unlimited, but even more so. It goes without saying that I hope the boost meter goes back to being like it was in the third and fourth games in the series.

Other anticipated games of 2007:
God of War: Chains of Olympus by Ready at Dawn
PSP – Q4 2007

Heavenly Sword by Ninja Theory
PS3 – Q3 2007

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames by Pandemic Studios
PS3, X360, PS2, PC – Q4 2007

Stranglehold by Midway
PS3, X360, PC – August 20, 2007

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune by Naughty Dog
PS3 – Q4 2007