Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: etc, etc, etc

In a sentence, imagine Street Fighter II with slightly nicer graphics and hyper combos.

In more than a sentence, why is it that Capcom’s fighting games are allowed to be so lazy and yet get relatively good reviews? Street Fighter IV, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the 1.1 versions of both of those. Shallow and lazy. Particularly the versus series. Great potential for some kind of interesting story mode reduced to a handful of cool cutscenes.

So. What do you get in Tats vs Caps? Not a lot. Punch people in the head on seven stages in Arcade Mode. Punch people in the ahead against the clock in survival mode and punch as many people in the head before your life runs out in Survival Mode.… Read the rest

Monster Hunter Tri

If at first you don’t succeed ha ha ha ha. This is now the third attempt at a review of Monster Hunter Tri. Before I start can I just say that it isn’t actually a review. My inner critic has been blinded by adoration. It is more of a love letter? Hmmm. Maybe more of a state of the union of gaming as exemplified through this one game? Who knows what it will be? I don’t. But it begins now in any case.

I wasn’t a fan of Monster Hunter on the best PlayStation. I remember playing the demo that came with Devil May Cry and being a bit underwhelmed by it.… Read the rest

Review: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

Presumably, there is a design doc at Square Enix that defines what defines a Crystal Chronicles game.  A character called Cid, cactuars, marlboros, flans, chocobos, airships, trains and magical jewelery are all borrowed from the main series. What makes a Crystal Chronicles game seems to be an obsession with talking about crystals, carrying things above your head, real time combat and a world populated by four different races. What I didn’t know until I hit the Final Fantasy Wiki is that all of the Crystal Chronicles games are set in the same universe but thousands of years apart. Which is nice and explains the obsession with crystals.… Read the rest

Review – Fragile Dreams

I had high hopes for Fragile Dreams. It seemed to have an unusual story, focused on post-apocalyptic loneliness and exploring a more or less empty, shattered world. And, even after moderately bad reviews, I looked forward to trying out what I still hoped would be a good game. After all, Opoona and Baroque both got worse reviews, and in my opinion they are a couple of the best third-party titles on the system.

Then I started the game. And therein lies the problem. Fragile Dreams, despite its nifty artwork, decent plot, and great music, purports first and foremost to be a game.… Read the rest

Review – No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle

No More Heroes was a fine game, but it was one that worked best as a solitary experience. Parodies of gamer, geek, and otaku culture are a tricky business, and the game managed to address this issue well. Going for it a second time around would be pushing it, and having to reconcile the true ending of its predecessor would probably cheapen it in the end.

But really, it was the pessimist inside me that made me most concerned about NMH2. One of the E3 trailers indicated that the protagonist, Travis Touchdown, was going to start fighting as only the 50th ranked assassin.… Read the rest

Review – Another Code: R A Journey Into Lost Memories

Another Code:R A Journey Into Lost Memories (herein abbreviated to AC:RAJILM) is from the same developer behind the rather excellent Hotel Dusk. So I was somewhat excited when AC:RAJILM was announced for the Wii.

After an extensive playthrough, it seems that this excitement was altogether misplaced. This is not necessarily to say that the game is bad, or that this review will be negative, but just don’t expect to ever get excited in AC:RAJILM.

It seems that CING, when mixing up AC:RAJILM in the laboratory, accidentally got some of the quantities of the point ‘n’ click ingredients wrong. They have definitely made an adventure with pointing and clicking but some of the elements aren’t optimally balanced.… Read the rest

Review – Muramasa: The Demon Blade

“An ancient pond. A frog jumps in. The splash of water. Hmm… Not a bad haiku.” -Old Man living in Sagami

Muramasa is like a haiku. It’s simple and concise. It comes from an ancient era where a direction pad and a button or two were all anyone needed to escape into virtual reality. Its three metric phrases are its combat, its art and music, and its role playing. Games like this are rare these days in the retail world, having been mostly contained into digital distribution and indie divisions. I don’t know how this one managed to make it onto store shelves, but I commend whoever was responsible.… Read the rest

Review – Cursed Mountain

Cursed Mountain is the latest game in the survival horror mountain climbing genre. It really wants to let everyone know that it’s scary, it has angry contorted faces all over the place, deep dramatic music, and lots of dark shadowy stuff everywhere. It also really wants to recreate the feeling of climbing up a mountain. You will have to literally climb every inch of this huge mountain. Except for a few parts where they jump you ahead a little, since only so much mountain can fit into a ten hour game.

This videogame is less “survival horror” (most noticeably absent from the game is the whole “survival” aspect) and more of a genre that I made up after playing Gears of War, which I like to call “on rails but not really.”… Read the rest

Review – Rune Factory Frontier

Farmer’s Diary, Day 1
I have no knowledge of my past. I found myself in a town I had never heard of with only a half-dozen denizens. They told me I could have the farm. How kind of them to take me in for a while.

Now I just need to get some seeds, plow some spaces of earth, and water ’em. No sweat!

Farmer’s Diary, Day 2
Some giant stone whale-shaped island in the sky is blocking the sun. My crops demanded retribution, so I shouldered my hoe and readied my hammer. Climbing a convenient beanstalk, I reached the whale and it spoke to me!… Read the rest

Review – Klonoa: Door to Phantomile

Poor Klonoa. The plucky little dog/cat thing has appeared in two well regarded platformers and five spinoffs (two of them well regarded GBA platformers). Yet he has always dwelled in relative obscurity. With the release of the Wii remake of the original Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, nothing much has changed. Klonoa is still unable to light up the charts (and with a cover that looks like a budget release, I can understand why), and he is still able to make a damn fine platformer. Short, sweet, thoroughly gorgeous, they don’t make them like this anymore.

I say that because this is a very strict remake, helmed by many of the original team members.… Read the rest