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Watcha been playin?

November 10, 2007

I been out a long time folks, but my sweet Rollin came out with a call, nay, a plea for any content on our beloved blog and thus I give you the time honored exchange of information between gamers called “watcha been playin?”.  Rules is simple, I tell you what I been playin, how I feel about it, etc, and you do likewise.  Simple ain’t it?  So for the past few months I been playin:

Mario and Luigi : Partners in Time

Great game. GREAT game.  The last Mario RPG I played was THE Super Mario RPG for the SNES, so there was no paper mario of any sort for me.  I’m always a little perplexed at how Nintendo manages to stretch the story of a plumber who has to save a princess from a turtle/dragon hybrid, but they managed it with panache in this game.  While it wasn’t woah-god amazing, it managed to delight me with something new at precisely the right moments when I was starting to get bored.  And even if you’re not into the cutesy look of it, the artist in me was staring at the beautifully rendered backgrounds and wondering just how much effort was put into them, not to mention the terrific looking sprites.

definitely 5 out of 5 stars

Feel the magic XY/XX

Essentially an experiment in DS touchscreen controls, Feel the Magic does manage to amuse and interest me with its offbeat Japanesey story and whacked out art style.  However, the minigames are all stylus dependent and in some cases where pinpoint accuracy is necessary to complete a level, the hardware isn’t up to snuff and it can get pretty frustrating after a few tries.  Still good for a rental or a bargain bin find.

3 out of 5 stars

Etrian Oddyssey

I’ve just started on this Atlus RPG, and it’s the kind of game I would have loved if I still had a daily commute.  That’s because it involves a hell of a lot of level grinding, something which would have happily occupied me for an hour or so on the commute to work.  Now that I’m working from home, grinding becomes the chore that it usually is, and thus not so pleasant.  This game’s lucky I’m going to Shanghai for vacation today, cos it’ll see a lot of  use during the 3 and a half hour flight.

The story itself is mildly interesting, the emphasis on item collection and its effects on the world is also refreshing.  The more you pick up or mine/chop/take items found in the Etrian Labyrinth and sell them to the shopkeeper, the more items she’ll be able to sell you.  However, the amount of money you earn from the items is paltry compared to the price of weapons and armor, so you’ll be making plenty of trips into the dungeon to be able to buy one or two items.  And you’ll ned them too, because the enemies ramp up in difficulty and damage in a way I haven’t seen since Final Fantasy 2, where if you stray too far into a section of the dungeon that you’re not supposed to be in yet, you’ll end up dead pretty quickly.

Atlus by nature seems to be a quirky company, so it should be no surprise that they chose to make use of the touchscreen in a rather novel way, having you draw a map of the dungeon that you’re in to make a record of the interior of the labyrinth.  Apparently not too many adventurers have lived to tell the tale of the dungeon because there are NO maps for you to use except the ones you make.  It’s a little odd and feels a bit tacked on, but it doesn’t make the game any less enjoyable so I’ll give the mapmaking mechanic a pass.

Overall Etrian Odyssey seems like a decent first person view RPG, and shoud be a good bargain bin find.  I’d say rent it, but it’ll take you damn near forever to finish it.

3 out of 5 stars

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2007 12:14 am

    Just finished up RE:4 for the Wii, including the additional Ada content… FINALLY! I try to keep myself on a “one game at a time” rule, and I needed to clear up the slot before Galaxy hits in a couple of days… Though I couldn’t resist starting Psychonauts in the interim so we’ll see…

    Slogging through Zelda DS (portables have their own “one game” category) as well… Not sure when these games stopped being as fun as they should be. I keep waiting for it to kick in.

  2. November 11, 2007 12:19 am

    I don’t think it kicks in. I have a feeling when we beat it, we will be like…”Hmm, I beat it…NEXT!

    I have the same rule between console and handheld games. Interesting. Crapper and Couch categories.

  3. November 11, 2007 12:20 am

    Oh and the Hammer Bro’s leet-speak had me laughing out loud in Partners in Time. Great game, hard/long as hell ending.

  4. Bill permalink
    November 11, 2007 1:13 am

    I got some real quality time with Mario Galaxy over the weekend, and I LOVE it. It’s everything I have loved about those games with just more.

    Also got Call of Duty 4, which also is fantastic. It real is one of those milestone gaming years. Not only do we have a tremendous amount of games, a good deal of them truly A+ titles.

  5. Ruben permalink
    November 11, 2007 2:17 am

    I’ve been playing Fire Emblem for the GBA and loving it. I liked the graphics and some of the added features of the Gamecube sequel but in every other respect, I’m enjoying the GBA installment much more. 9/10.

    By the way, anyone who likes strategy RPGs should check out Front Mission 4. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes your equipping your mechs but don’t let that discourage you. This game is excellent. 9/10.

    By the same token, any who likes SRPGs should avoid Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth at all costs! This game is so poorly balanced, it’s a joke. Just stay away. 4/10.

  6. November 11, 2007 3:47 am

    Ruben I’m so there with you on Front Mission. I’m still depressed that they didn’t translate release FM5:Scars of War. Even after numerous online petitions! Fire Emblem on the GBA also kicks ass. Can’t wait for the DS version.

    I almost wanna put money down on a Wii just for SMG. I finished playing Jak and Daxter on the PS2 afew days ago and I gotta say I haven’t been that delighted playing a game in a very LONG time. After playing MGS2 I felt tired and kept away from 3 because it jsut felt exhausting. after jak and Daxter I dove into 2 right away because I was so jazzed about it. The sequel’s still good, but does leave something to be desired.

  7. Ruben permalink
    November 11, 2007 4:12 am

    Ha! I’m glad you liked FM4 as well. I’ve been recommending it to friends but not one of them tried it. ARRRGH! Why did you have to remind me about Scars of War! Now I’m angry. This also reminds me that the Berserk PS2 game never made it out of Japan. I loved the Dreamcast game (and the anime/manga) and the PS2 game looked AMAZING!

    As for Fire Emblem, what’s the good word on the DS version? I’ll snatch it up as soon as it comes out. I definitely share your feelings on the Wii version. My girlfriend has a Wii but she lives 3 hours away. If I score a free one at that release party tomorrow, I’ll be picking up Fire Emblem with my next paycheck fo’ sho’.

    I couldn’t get into Jak and Daxter. Not that I don’t think they’re great games. They are… I think. I just don’t dig on that genre as a whole. I couldn’t get into Spyro either. Never tried Ratchet and Clank or Sly Cooper. Love the cut-scenes though. I don’t know if Zelda and Metroid fall into that genre as well but I’ve never been able to get into their post-SNES incarnations.

    You must play Snake Eater! It seems like a lot of people avoided that title (including myself for quite some time). I can’t put my finger on why. After playing through it, there’s no question in my mind that it’s the best game in the series. One qualm I can think of off the top of my head is that the boss battles were a joke compared to MGS2.

    Enough ranting. It’s time for sleep.

  8. DrewMG permalink
    November 11, 2007 12:24 pm

    Just finished HL2:E2 last night, which wraps up my month-long fixation on Orange Box. I still play about 3-4 games of NCAA 08 on my 360 once a week. As far as Nintendo games go… well, I played through about 3 stages of SMB3 last week. Ummmm… playing through maybe 15 mins of Phantom Hourglass a week, but really struggling on that one. Just not motivated to play through it.

    Mario Galaxy will hit this week, and I also am going to finally tackle Psychonauts.

  9. drewmg permalink
    November 11, 2007 12:26 pm

    Stupid cookies. LOG IN.

  10. November 12, 2007 4:48 pm

    I have been hooked on Etrian Odyssey since May, I kid you not! I’m at the 20th floor, and just when you think you’ve had enough and nothing new is going to happen, the game drops something unexpected on you! The game is tough, but fair, and the access to weapons and upgrades vs. the access to bigger monsters is very well balanced. The thing I like the most is actually the element of dicovery provided by the drawing of the maps… I think that’s where this game got its edge. I also started on Dementium: the Ward. Pretty impressive 3D shooter, considering you are playing on a DS!

    On Xbox 360 I’m playing Halo 3 (of course!). I just finished the whole campaign on Normal and started it on Legendary. I’m also leveling up on multiplayer. I also play a lot of Viva Piñata, since it’s what my daughter likes (she also likes to play Halo 3 with me in her version of “co-op”: I move while she pulls the trigger on the same controller killing everyone in sight. She turns 3 on January.)

    On PS2 I’m trying to finish Shadow of the Colossus, another one my daughter likes to see me play. Amazing-looking game that makes you wonder how they did that with PS2 graphics. I also got started on Odin Sphere in that system. Most beautiful 2D graphics in ANY console you will ever see!

    On Wii I kind of abandoned Metroid Prime 3 for a bit, but I might pick it up again soon. I am going to get started on Super Mario Galaxy as soon as it comes out, though! Super Mario 64 is another one of my daughter’s favorites, so I imagine she will love the new one!

    All in all, I try to keep playing only two games at a time on each platform…

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