Post mortem: Radiant Historia

It has been nearly twenty-five years since I played my first JRPG, Final Fantasy, and as time has gone by I’ve played fewer games from the genre every year.  Although I like the formula that these role playing games bring to the table, there is no denying that innovation within the genre is all but dead.  I probably would have given Radiant Historia a pass if not for Jeremy Parish‘s enthusiastic review on the now defunct Active Time Babble podcast.  I’m glad that I picked up a copy – this is a Nintendo DS game that JRPG fans cannot allow [... read the rest ...]

The dog days are summer are almost upon us, and while I don’t have nearly as much time for gaming (let alone writing) when the weather is this nice, I find myself spreading my miniscule gaming hours across far too many titles.  Here is a brief look at my current ongoing titles…. Bayonetta (PS3) I loved this brawler back when I demoed it, but it took quite a while for me to find a copy for a price that I was happy with paying ($15).  I’m three chapters in, and the game is every bit as action-packed and bat-shit insane [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Super Scribblenauts

Super Scribblenauts is the sequel to the flawed but innovative 2009 title, Scribblenauts.  While I did not play the original, it was maligned for its awful controls, excruciating platforming, and puzzles that could be solved using the same toolset almost every time, robbing the game of its challenge.  5th Cell seems to have taken the criticisms it received to heart, because Super Scribblenauts is a fantastic vocabulary puzzler that is perfect in almost every way. The premise of the game is that you have to solve small puzzles in order to earn stars and unlock levels, which allows you to [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Final Fantasy - The 4 Heroes of Light

As a general rule, I only play the main line Final Fantasy titles; I’ve been burnt far too many times by bad games in the spinoff series (most notably the abysmal Crystal Chronicles atrocities).  After hearing a few early previews claiming that the latest entry in the franchise, The 4 Heroes of Light on the Nintendo DS, was a throwback to the old school NES title that kicked everything off, I decided to break my own rule and spring for a copy.  It was an excellent decision. After popping the cartridge into my DS and firing up the game, the [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Dragon Quest IX

I have played, and completed, all of the Dragon Quest/Warrior games that have been released (or re-released) to the North American market. The series has always been, unapologetically, a JRPG grinder with only the rough scaffolding of a story in place.  Combat has always been about mashing the ‘A’ button with very little need to think deeply about strategy or resource management, and I have been fine with that.  I accept Dragon Quest for what it is, and revel in how it harkens back to simpler days. I almost didn’t finish Dragon Quest IX.  I took a long hiatus from [... read the rest ...]

Games of January

I go through two main phases with my video game addiction:  focused, in which I play a title exclusively whenever I can eke out gaming time, and scatterbrained, where I play way too many games all at once.  December was fairly focused, with Demon’s Souls dominating my activity however January is shaping up to be much more diverse.  Here is what I have on the go right now: Up until a few days ago I thought that I was through with Dragon Quest IX – I had stalled out on the game back in October, and wasn’t feeling much desire [... read the rest ...]

My 2010 gaming awards

Twenty-one. Over the course of the last calendar year I have completed twenty-one video games, with a twenty-second – Demon’s Souls – teetering on the brink.  Of those titles ten were on the PC, five were for my PS3, four were on the Nintendo DS, and two were Wii games. As a frugal gamer, many of the games that I played to completion were actually released prior to 2010 – there is no way that I could afford to purchase more than a handful of these games at full price.  Frankly, the benefits to waiting are more than just financial:  [... read the rest ...]

A very Nintendo Christmas

One of the nice things about being a lifelong gamer is that everyone knows that I love to get new games for Christmas.  I may be 30-something, but since I’ve been gaming consistently since the days of the Commodore 64, nobody pretends that I’m going to grow out of my hobby anytime soon, and no one bats an eyelash when video games form a prominent part of my Christmas list.  Happily, I have a pretty huge family, and so there are lots of presents to be had at Christmas. Last year’s big present was a PlayStation 3 from my wife, [... read the rest ...]

Post mortem: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is the second game in a series of Nintendo DS brainteaser games.  Like the original title, I played through the game in thirty minute sessions while snuggling with my wife before bed. Instead of me doing the bulk of the reading this time, I read most of Layton’s lines, while she took on the role of Luke; we split the various other roles fairly evenly and I always read out the explanations for the puzzles. In one respect, I don’t have a lot new to say about the second Layton game that I didn’t [... read the rest ...]

Games of September

At the mid-way point of September I find myself spending a lot of time on video games, but am really no where close on finishing any of the titles that I’m working on.  All three of my current games are RPGs at their cores, but each is dramatically different in both focus and implementation. PC – The Witcher The Witcher is an odd hybrid between a third person action game and Dragon Age.  Combat is fairly twitch-focused and fluid, while the actual story is all about ambiguous moral choices and character building.  Although my early impressions of the title were [... read the rest ...]

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