PS1 games you may have missed: More RPGs edition

In my last entry I took a break from mentioning RPGs. Since, however, RPGs are my favorite genre, you’re just going to have to live with a few more of them now.

Before we begin, I would like to briefly mention the first two games of both the Suikoden and Wild ARMs series. I have discussed them in more detail elsewhere, but all four are great games.

Lunar & Lunar 2: Originally released on Sega CD, these classic games were once again translated by Working Designs. Therein lies a lot of the appeal of the Lunars: Not only do you get a solid battle system, you also get a fun-filled localization. The voice acting leaves something to be desired, and the translation isn’t always true to the original, but the Lunars were the first games where I enjoyed simply running around talking to people in towns. →  Read the rest

An even more Smashingly little amount of information to Brawl about: Music

Recently, the Smash Bros Dojo has opened its doors officially. Though much of the information is not new, updates are guaranteed to be coming every weekday from Masahiro Sakurai himself!

Unlikely to be the last surprise waiting for us inside a box.

Most of the information is stuff any fan of the games would know by now – such as how to play or information about the one stage that has been revealed.

However… if you look at “Music” there is a list of composers that is nothing short of formidable. Absolutely amazing.

The list itself gives examples of games the composers worked on, which is helpful for several names I didn’t recognize. Let’s take a look.

The usual suspects:

  • Koji Kondo
  • Masaaki Iwasaki
  • Minako Hamano
  • Shogo Sakai
  • Toru Minegishi
  • Yuka Tsujiyoko
  • Hajime Wakai

These are all composers who worked on several Nintendo games in the past or recently worked on big-name Nintendo games. →  Read the rest

Square Enix announces FF remakes for PSP

Recently, Square Enix (hereafter referred to as Squeenix) announced and released (in Japan) remade versions of Final Fantasy 1 and 2 for PSP. Unlike their previous remakes of the two games for PSX and GBA, these games would be sold separately at $35 apiece, but with still more features and extras. Although it remains yet to be seen whether they will fix the atrocious leveling system in Final Fantasy 2 that carried over to the “Origins” remake, I have some doubts as to whether these remakes will be good enough on their own to merit buying the same game for the third (fourth?) time, even for the hardcore fan.

The question now is whether Squeenix is stepping over a line in remaking the same two games for the third time in two console generations. →  Read the rest

Virtual Console Reviews/Previews

XBox Live Arcade:

This cutscene was awesome when I was younger … it still is.

Luxor 2: I played the first one on my PC and it was quite fun. Pretty much the same game as Zuma but with some added special effects and an Egyptian theme. The new version has almost 90 levels and supports HD 1080i, which is a great deal for the price. Plus, I love when games like this have a plot they want the gamer to care about. “You must save ancient Egypt from the terrible wrath of Set” … by shooting colored balls into a snaking line.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (arcade 1989): I know this one was technically released a couple of weeks ago, but I had to throw it into this list because it’s that good. →  Read the rest

Let Us Cling Together: The joy of playing games cooperatively

Imagine you’re delving into a dark labyrinth. You’re exploring the endless hallways, looking for a path leading deeper into the ruin when you’re ambushed by a dozen demons both ahead and behind. You’re certain this is the end… but then you realize your partner was trailing a ways behind you, and by now she should blasting her way through the enemies attacking from the rear. Thus assured, you unsheath your sword and charge on ahead… This is the magic of cooperative gaming.

I find it hard to get into any competitive game (with the exception of Smash Bros). The idea of playing against other people just isn’t as fun as playing alongside them. I tend to find cooperative games much more enjoyable, but it’s a much under-appreciated genre. Before the release of Half-Life, Valve promised cooperative play in the game but never delivered, instead creating only an online deathmatch mode. →  Read the rest

Best Game Ever – Master of Orion 2: The Battle at Antares

Master of Orion 2: The Battle at Antares was probably the defining game in the 4X genre (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate); it set the standard for a decade of games. Featuring a robust tech tree, intricate ship design, active ship combat, a big, goodie filled universe, and intense colony management, MOO2 had it all. Despite being well over a decade old, the game still has a level of depth that has been unmatched by its successors. Additionally, even though Microprose is long out of business (gobbled up by whomever), the game’s support has been taken over by fans (Lord Brazen, for those interested), who have kept the game playable on KALI and have steadily eradicated the last remaining bugs in the game. As exciting as it is to have a game so old with such a following, it also depresses me that the industry has yet to produce a worthy sequel. →  Read the rest

Review – Sword of the Stars

I’m still not writing to say that MOO2 has been unseated from it’s throne as best 4X space game ever, but Sword of the Stars may be the closest thing to bastard upstart rival capable of causing a genre wide (or at least, Golden Jew wide) civil war. The full game builds upon the demo, showing that the guys at Kerebros know what they’re doing and have created an extremely entertaining, robust game with a great deal of replayability.

This review will be written assuming you read my demo review. If you haven’t, you should go read it. Let me touch upon some high level items first. The one personal pet peeve I have about SOTS is they decided to go the route of “you should discover the intricacies of the game by playing it.” →  Read the rest

Sword of the Stars Demo Review

“Fear my complex arrangement of polygons!”

Let me start out by saying that I feel as if Kerebros made a serious error in the release of their “demo” of Sword of the Stars. This is not a demo. At least, I seriously hope it isn’t. It really seems to be more of a “beta demo preview” than anything else. What’s in a name? In calling it a demo, you set the expectations that you’re seeing a small slice of the real game (which you are). But after playing the demo, not extensively, but sufficiently, I can say that I would be a little worried if this was a small slice of the real game, as opposed to a teaser trailer/beta of a game in development.

That being said, I’d like to start out by congratulating Kerebros in doing what they have, which is presenting a part of their unfinished product to the community. →  Read the rest