Monday, 9 November 2015

Playing, Completed, Binned - October '15 Edition

Nothing! I'm pleased to report that October did not see me give up on any games. Probably because I didn't try to and start as many as in September but still...

October saw me polish off a whopping four games which is quite a few by my standards given that I struggle to make a lot of progress lately due to various other factors in my life at the moment. In fairness, most of these weren't overly involving titles that would have consumed a lot of time but hey, I still completed four games!

First up was Secret Files: Tunguska for the Wii. This was a bit of a first for me because the game is sort-of presented like the classic point-and-click titles from the famous late 80's/early 90's PC scene and I hadn't played anything of the sort before now. Secret Files had always been on my radar since seeing a reasonable 70% score in the pages of Official Nintendo Magazine but it was a game that I never did get around to buying. Fortunately, a regular contact on the Retro Gamer forum was kind enough to send me his spare copy for nothing and thus I finally got to have a bash at Tunguska. The game is a fairly mixed bag in my opinion. The developers have tried to instill the sense that you are involved in a classic Indiana Jones-style adventure movie and this is fairly successful. The characters are quite grounded and realistically designed with the accompanying voice acting also being of a high quality. Where the game stumbled for me was in the gameplay department. With this being a point-and-click style game, the player can move the characters around the screen to explore different rooms/areas but all of the interaction is done by investigating objects or by using items from your ever-changing inventory. Sometimes, you have to combine items together or use them in fairly obscure ways to solve a puzzle and it was this that spoiled Secret Files for me because there numerous times where I had to go online to find the solution(s) because said solution(s) was so obtuse and unrealistic. Overall though the plot was fairly interesting and despite the fact that I definitely wouldn't sit through the game again, I don't regret seeing it through to the end. Certainly not when I didn't have to pay a penny for it.

Next up was Luminous Arc 2 for the DS and since I typed up a dedicated post on why I love this series, I won't go into too much depth again here. To keep it brief, it was a worthy follow-up to the original and enjoyable for a grid-based strategy RPG because it wasn't too punishing and didn't require excessive grinding to defeat. Granted, there were a few boss battles where I scraped through by the skin of my teeth but otherwise it was an enjoyable experience that clocked in at a reasonable number of hours. Recommended for anybody into the likes of Final Fantasy Tactics, Fire Emblem etc.

Then there was House of the Dead Overkill Extended Cut on the PS3 which I ploughed a heck of a lot of time into, hardly surprising given that I did the same for the Wii original. Again, I've already written about this game in my recent review so to keep it short and sweet, I had an absolute blast and intend to return to it again if I'm ever itching for a quick-fire arcade blaster fix.

Finally, there was Short Peace: Ranko Tsukugime's Longest Day which is a bit of an odd one and only the second 'Hybrid Disc' that I own for the PS3 (the other being Tekken Hybrid). What this means is that you are able to use the disc as a Blu Ray to watch the anime OR enter the 'game' side of the package. The four short anime segments were all of high quality and intriguing in an artistic way. The game itself was what interested me the most however as it is a Suda51 project, great news for somebody who cites No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw among their favourite games. The game is a fast-paced side-scrolling action game where you are constantly sprinting forwards and destroying obstructive enemies...and that's about it. The game is certainly stylish and has a nice futuristic, abstract atmosphere but depth is lacking and it can be beaten so quickly that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was just a demo. Where Longest Day excels however is with the typical Suda51 madness. The numerous animated cutscenes jump from one art style to the next and are so mind-bogglingly madcap that it's a struggle to understand what is going on but at the same time, it's hugely entertaining. The package as a whole has a really nice experimental feel to it so it's just a shame that the game portion is so short. I only paid £4.99 for this one though so I can't complain. Certainly I can see myself replaying the game in short bursts given how accessible and easy to grasp it was.

Currently I have three games on the go but given the lengthy nature of all three, will I beat any of them before the end of November? I'm not sure but here's what I'm currently enjoying...

  • Time and Eternity (PS3)
  • Rule of Rose (PS2)
  • Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (DS)

Of the three, Time and Eternity is commanding most of my attention as it has shown itself to be a bit of a hidden gem. Rule of Rose is something I'm playing in an on-and-off fashion as it has a lot of good points but plenty of frustrating ones too. It's an expensive and desirable title however so I'm lucky to have been able to borrow it from somebody else. I need to get it finished and sent back! Kingdom Hearts is a series that I've recently re-discovered my love for so it was quite handy that I remembered 358/2 Days was stored away with loads of other un-played games. It's quite the technical achievement for the DS and has the usual Square Enix polish so I'm liking what I've seen thus far.

I've also been lured back into Grand Theft Auto V in recent weeks. Such an engrossing and addictive game but when it steals time away from the above works in progress, it had to be shelved once more!

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