Play List Update – May 6

May 6th, 2008

Yes, I’ll freely admit being a few years late to the party. I’m currently in love with Cave Story.

The thought that everything within was created and coded by one individual blows me away every time I launch the game. From the fantastic gameplay and spot-on controls, to the endearing characters and charming soundtrack, every piece of this game is quality. Why hasn’t a publisher picked this up? Cave Story would be a natural fit as a portable or XBLA/PSN release.

The core gameplay is reminiscent of Metroid or Castlevania, a 2d platformer with multiple weapons and upgrades, puzzles, and challenging boss battles. My recommendation would be to play the PSP port (custom firmware required), where it’s a perfect fit, but barring that, Mac OS, Windows, Xbox and Linux versions are available. A Nintendo DS release is even in the works. You have no excuse not to play this game.

I’ve been writing a lot about Sins of a Solar Empire lately, so I figured it was about damn time I actually sat down and spent a few hours (okay, days) with the game.

While initially daunting (even after the not-so-illuminating tutorials), things fell into place about 45 minutes into my first match, a co-op 2v2 duel against the AI. Now I agree that the idea of a realtime Civ-style game sounds like a recipe for a complete clusterfuck, but I’ve gotta say, Ironclad nailed it. The pacing is mostly solid, and neither of us (both somewhat experienced RTS/4X players) felt harried by the system or interface.

By the third game, we were easily stomping the Normal AI and had moved up to Hard. Beyond just difficultly, the AI temperament can be set or randomized, although I have yet to figure out how much of an effect it has on overall challenge. Back in high school we used to play a port of Risk on the Mac SE, where the temperament choices were basically easy, crazy, and kick-your-ass. I dunno if the Sins AIs are like that.

test

The lack of any sort of campaign is disappointing. The manual and launch movie do lay out some very basic groundwork for a story, which leads to the thought that Ironclad may be planning some sort of campaign mode in the future. As it is, all three factions feel a bit dry, and I didn’t find myself particularly attached to any of them. With a dev team of less than a dozen people, I suppose the campaign sacrifice was necessary, but I really hope they add something eventually, I’d like to see the story play out.

Play List Update – Apr 19

April 19th, 2008

My personal belief is that tri-Crescendo designed Eternal Sonata as an open challenge to the cosplay scene.

Fifteen hours in and I know I’ll be seeing this one through to the end. While the gameplay is very much your standard jrpg fair, and the frequent mazes a bit tedious, it’s the wrapper they’ve encased these basic tenements in that really excels. The visuals and character design are stunning, the story solid, and the music is beautiful. Between each chapter is a small segment detailing points of Chopin’s life and his music; for me, those alone have been worth the price of admission.

Did a bit of tinkering with the PSP. Also, ripped my PSX copy of Final Fantasy VII in preparation for an upcoming binge on the series: Final Fantasy VII, then FF VII: Crisis Core, followed by a viewing of Advent Children.

Thanks to continued pressure from Adam, I’m chugging along in World of Warcraft again, and Vagary, my Undead Priest, is now level 49. I just want to see Burning Crusade content.

The Play List

April 4th, 2008

A list of games on immediately available platforms that I want to either revisit or play through for the first time. In the case of games without a definitive ending, a solid experiencing of is in order. A good portion of this list additionally acts as my personal Pile of Shame, ie great games I own that I have yet to actually complete.

With a list like this, why do I even bother to buy new games?
Full story, after the jump »