Friday, September 28, 2012

New Review Coming Soon!

It's been a few days, and thankfully I've been busy.  I recently beat Lord of the Rings: War in the North, so I'll likely write some more about that soon.  Also, thanks to Focus Interactive (side note: Of Orcs and Men looks cool), I will have a review of R.A.W. (Realms of Ancient Wars) soon!  I'm also finishing up a new Late to the Party review and some more Monster Hunter Tri Chronicles videos.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quick PSP Impressions #2

Here is the second batch of impressions from the PSP games I played recently:

Kamen Rider Fourze
I haven't watched any Kamen Riders past Decade, so I don't care much about W, OOO of Fourze.  Mostly, I just wanted to play as all the other riders, and this game delivered that.  There doesn't seem to be much story, just arcade and some challenge matches to unlock other characters.  The combat doesn't seem too deep or difficult, but maybe I just don't know how to play it very well.  Kind of enjoyable, but I'm glad I wasn't the one that bought it.

Tales of the Heroes:  Twin Braves
After hearing of this game and watching the trailer, I knew I had to try it.  However, after playing is actually good.  The game is a hack and slash RPG with Tales characters, and they have 2 playable characters from each game.  Good character selection, but a few too many sword users.  There is 1 attack button, and up to 4 equipable special moves at a time.  The moves are nice, some much more useful than others, but the combat feels a bit shallow.  I was hoping they would copy the Dynasty Warriors style of combat rather than Sengoku Basara.  Once you beat it with a given character, you unlock their partner for the "comical scenario".  I haven't done very many of these, but I have beaten all the regular story levels, unlocking all the characters.  Each story has 5 stages, and there are only so many levels.  More variety to enemies and stages would have helped the game out.  These really stand out when you go through all 12+ characters in quick order.  I had a lot of fun playing it so far, but burnt myself out for awhile, since there isn't much variety.  Still, it's a shame that it won't likely see a western release.

Queens Gate Spiral Chaos
Yes, I tried this fan service game, and I'm even admitting it!  The obvious pandering to their crowd aside (or maybe partially because of it), I really enjoyed this game.  I'm a sucker for strategy RPGs, crossover games, and RPGs with fun battle systems.  This had all three.  It's fun to pick out different attacks to find the best combination for each character fight.  I like that you can get extra attacks (and sometimes damage) when you break a piece of the enemy's armor.  The characters available are cool, and I am tempted to learn more about the characters I use that I don't know about.  I do have a few complaints, though.  First, the shallow one.  Less Flonnes and more Priers.  Second, sometimes the bonus attacks don't do damage, which can mean the difference of killing an enemy or not.  Some battles take a bit too long, and I really don't like it when they just dump many enemies on you in the middle of battle.  The combat is fun and the character selection is great, so try it if you like SRPGs and can get past the fan service nature of the game.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What He Does Isn't Nice

A week later and I'm still annoyed about NCSoft ditching City of Heroes to "focus on the asian market".  Why not just sell it if you aren't going to compete in this hemisphere?  Baffling decisions...

On another note, I recently beat X-Men Origins: Wolverine for the PS3.  I'm going to clean up a few of the trophies for it, except for beating the game on hard and, hence, the platinum.  Given my backlog, time to play and other factors, I usually don't beat games on the hard setting unless I really like them or are good at them. It's my least favorite trophy/achievement behind "play/win lots of multiplayer" and "speed run" ones.  Anyway, the game was ok.  I bought it really cheap, and got my money's worth out of it.  Some of the enemies are annoying, but the game has fun moments.  The only part I strongly dislike are the bosses.  They take to long and don't take enough damage.  I didn't know Logan's claws were made of paper.  They clearly aren't deadly, as I had to hit Gambit about 200+ times to beat him.  I'd hate to see some of the bosses on hard, especially the final boss.  So terrible!

All in all, the game was enjoyable, even if they waffled on portraying Wolverine as a bad ass and weakling.  A few of the weaker platforming aspects seem directly copied from God of War (beam balancing, really?!).  If you like Wolverine and/or hack and slash games, and somehow don't own this game, you might as well check it out.  Otherwise, you could easily skip it and play a better hack and slash, like any of the Dynasty/Samurai Warriors.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Death of the 'Classic Game'

After getting back from PAX, I check the City of Heroes site to see if they are having a Labor Day sale like most places.  The last thing I expected to see was this.  Paragon Studios is now gone.  Like Onlive and 38 Studios, they were just sent home.  No warning (that we know of), just a heaping helping of cold s**t.

I was stunned.  As far as people knew, the game was making money.  The failure of Aion dug deep, so they axed...City?!  Well, I guess they didn't attend business school, or should at least ask for their money back if they did.  Supposedly the servers will remain on until the end of November, but who knows if that will last?  So the most unique MMO, and the game with the best character creator ever made will be gone.  Forever.

This brings me to the true topic of this blog post.  It's an idea I've had for a few days, but this development brings it to the forefront.  It also illustrates my point perfectly.  Constantly connected and always/only online games help usher in the death of the classic game.

What do I mean by this?  Well, take a great game that you would consider a classic.  I'm picking Legend of Zelda for the NES.  You can find this game for a few bucks, and even pick up a cheap NES or similar device to play it.  You can download it on your Wii or 3DS.  The point is you can play it, even now.  So it can remain a classic, since you can enjoy it to this day and beyond.  You can introduce new people to it.  Let your children experience it.  Can you do that with World of Warcraft?  EverQuest?  Now, yes.  What about in 5 years?  Not likely.  10 years?  I doubt it.  These games that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy will just be...gone.  Lost.  Since they require a server, you can't even enjoy them offline.  They can't be preserved.  Therefore, they can't really be classics, as they cannot be passed on.  They can only exist as screenshots and stories.

Your grandchildren will not know what WoW is.  They will likely be able to play Legend of Zelda.

Think about that for a minute.  Strange, isn't it?  A game that at one point had 10 million subscribers will vanish.  Sure, there will exist private servers, but they cannot sustain forever.  You won't be able to snag it on eBay in 15 years when you remember how cool the game was.  The more games that required you to be online, or have no offline component, the less games that survive to be 'classics'.  These games cannot and will not be ported to other systems.  There is no "Virtual Console" for old MMOs.

They just cease to be.

And that, to me, is one of the worst fates.  Thank you Cryptic for making a great game.  Thank you Paragon Studios for making that game even better.  As many people on the forums said, you allowed me to fly.