Retrospective – Killer 7

Killer 7 was one of, if not the most polarizing game of its generation.  I have seen debates in which people are asked to “step on one side of the line” in regards to what they think of a game, but only after Killer 7 popularized the idea.  You must either love or hate this one, with no chance of finding a middle ground.

What could cause such divisive opinions in the first place?  We can start by blaming ourselves.  Killer 7 was announced early in the Gamecube’s life, when users were scrambling for another violent, mature game that could legitimize Nintendo’s place in the console war.  Nintendo’s family first attitude was costing them users and goodwill, so fans of the company felt compelled to defend them, as well as their purchase.… Keep it warm.

A Farewell to (Wild) Arms

One of the first RPGs to land on the Playstation in 1997 was an unassuming, Old West-inspired game by the name of Wild Arms. Though it never managed to compete with more mainstream series, it has a greatness all its own; with a solid difficulty balance, a variety of puzzles, and a plot that dwells more on loneliness and a decaying world than on long-haired villains or a large but irrelevant main cast, I consider it one of the best RPGs on the system.

In the past couple weeks, the news got out that Akifumi Kaneko, the lead designer and scenario writer for the entire Wild Arms series, left Media.Vision in 2008.… Read it your way.

2008 in Review Part 3

Being an optimistic person, I’d like to discuss some of the things I was disappointed with in ’08. Last year must have been the first since I reached financial independence that I played games on only one publishers system; in 2008 I was a Nintendo fanboy.

Oddly enough, I am not adding the Wii in ’08 to my list of disappointments. No More Heroes, House of the Dead, Mario Kart, Boom Blox, Strong Bad, World of Goo, De Blob, and Dokapon Kingdom all came in ’08 and while I may have quirky, Japan-centric (or shitty) taste, I was content.

I am disappointed that I refuse to learn lessons from past game purchases.… Can you read me now?

2008 in Review Part 2

Many folks are saying that 2008 was a bad year for games. I think this is true in the sense that almost no Triple-A release lived up to their hype or potential. However, if you embrace a wide range of consoles and genres, there was a lot to love this year. Here are some of the more remarkable games from this year. Note that I don’t like them all, but each left a mark on my mind.

Burnout Paradise

Don’t let the hate fool you – Burnout Paradise is the future of “open world racers,” or whatever the hell you want to call them. One reason is that it plays like a spiritual successor to Midtown Madness, a game that existed before “open world” and GTA3 were in our vocabulary.… Devil May Read 2

2008 in Review Part 1

I like to pretend that my favorite games will always be the classics, but this year has been quite a trial for that facade. Every year more and more games come out, and I have no chance to play just the ones that people recommend to me, much less all of them. The games I have played are good enough that I know 2008 was a good year for games, not just in terms of volume but in terms of quality. The DS has gotten a bunch more good games (even if it still has only a few great ones), the PC, XBox360, and PS3 have been receiving a host of games with a few standouts each, and even the Wii has gotten a game or two I’ll at least be keeping on my shelf if not playing again.… Read or die.

Retrospective – Phoenix Wright

I rented Phoenix Wright from Gamefly sometime last month. After burning through the game, I added a few brand spanking new games to the queue for the purpose of review. Instead of sending these low availability titles, they saw fit to send me the next two PW games in a row. After a constant stream of Ace Attorney over the last month, I feel it is time to take a look the series – its strengths and weaknesses – and how Capcom should handle it in the future.

The Good
Character art: The character animations convey a lot of emotion in just a few frames. It is striking to see just how much you can understand a character simply by how they move in different situations (for example, Ema Skye’s design and movements perfectly convey the idea that she wants to be an adult, but still looks and acts like a kid).… Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 5: Golden Post

Retrospectives – Metal Gear Solid series part 5

Continued from part the last.

Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
What happens when you decide to remake the original Metal Gear Solid using the MGS 2 engine? What if you promise new cinematics and content?

Chill out.

What if you told people it was being developed by Silicon Knights, with the help of Miyamoto and Kojima.

They say if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, and the case holds here. I do not know the official story, but I’ll venture to guess that the two Gaming Gods had mere advisory roles. Silicon Knights still manages to deliver on the promise. That promise, however, just isn’t much.… Ask not what this post can do for you - ask what you can do for this post.

Retrospectives – Metal Gear Solid series part 4

Continued from part 3.

Metal gear Ghost Babel

I remember when I first learned of gamerankings.com, I looked to see what the highest rated games were in its database. Ocarina of Time was number 1 (and remains so), but one of the games in the top 3 was Metal Gear Solid on the Gameboy Color. I always laughed at this one; while the game deserved all the high scores and praise it received, I loved the idea of a simple handheld game trumping some console classics in ratings.

Ring around the rosie.

While it may not be the best thing you’ll ever play, Ghost Babel, which is the subtitle for the game that was removed in the States, is an easy vote for my favorite game on the Gameboy/Color.… Jesus: Readful Bio Monster

Retrospectives – Metal Gear Solid series part 3

Continued from part 2.

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Metal Gear Solid 2 is impossible to discuss nowadays without at least establishing what the game is “about”; the message that Kojima intended for the player. First, we need to understand that Raiden, everything about the character and his experience, represents the player (more specifically, the modern Japanese gamer/otaku, but it works well enough for Westerners). Second, the game’s surreal nature, crazy AI and double crosses are all commentary on the Information Age, which has made information not only more widespread, but has changed how one can wield it. The final message from Snake (the hero we aspire to, but cannot control for long) is clear; just believe in something, and pass your beliefs and your genes on to the future.… Devil Summoner: Readou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Article

Retrospectives – Metal Gear Solid series part 1

Because this is a discussion of the game series there will be significant spoilers. Read and weep.

I have a strange relationship with MGS. If you take away a few enhanced releases, I have played (or am playing) just about everything MGS related, from the mainline trilogy to Twin Snakes and even the Game Boy Color game. Something tells me I’ll have finished MGS4 within four months of release, even if I have no PS3. I seem to be an absolute whore for Kojima. And yet, I’m not sure I entirely love MGS. In fact, I know I don’t.

The only game in the series that I would consider truly brilliant is 3.… One must imagine video games happy.