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tpfkanep
02-24-2006, 07:23 AM
Gamecube:

Resident Evil... FOUR! - NTSC (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=280124#post280124)
Pokemon Colloseum - NTSC
Tales of Symphonia - NTSC (http://www.the-magicbox.com/forums/showthread.php?p=288189&highlight=tales+symphonia#post288189)
Metroid Prime - NTSC/PAL & MP:Echoes - PAL
Sonic Mega Collection - NTSC
Animal Crossing - NTSC
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - NTSC
Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition (Ocarina of Time) - NTSC
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker - NTSC


Playstation 2:

Maximo: Ghost to Glory - PAL
Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution - PAL
God of War - PAL


Playstation:

Vagrant Story - PAL


Nintendo DS Lite:

Hardware Review

tpfkanep
02-27-2006, 01:52 AM
Gamecube:
Resident Evil... FOUR!
Playtime: ~ 15 Hours. Disc 1. I last died while on some underground train looking for something to "feed the lion".


I'll start by saying that I hate and despise this series. I played one on PS1 (can't remember title) - hated it. Played (...loading...) RE:0 (...loading...) on GC (...loading...) - hated it. Sold that one as fast as I could. When I heard all the rave reviews of RE:4, I told myself I would wait for it to drop to a decent price, then I'll buy it to see what the noise was all about. I bought it for $29.00 on ebay... the next day it was on Player's Choice for $19.00.

Loaded up the game. Thoroughly enjoyed the 1st level. For one, no more friggin loading screens whenever I open a door. Stages are now organised in sections which is loaded all at once. About the biggest improvement is in the control of the main protagonist. But that is about it in this game with it's derivative gameplay. It plays about the same as that PS2 game: Ghosthunter. There I was looking for something to make this game worthy enough for someone to go and chop his head off, but there was nothing. Anyone who has played Ghosthunter will know that RE:4 is really a ripoff of that average game. It is an excellent ripoff tho, which improves on that PS2 game in all areas, altho Ghosthunter could shoot and run/walk at the same time, IIRC. Our hero Leon is only about a year in the force, and has not yet mastered that technique, altho that shortcoming makes the game a lot more fun for me.

Music and atmosphere is great, altho I would have loved a better implementation of the music: Whenever there is a bunch of ppl/monsters to kill, the sound changes. Finish them off, and the music changes to something more sedate. And that is about how the game plays: Get into a section, blast off the enemies. Collect what you can. Move on. The addition of cutscene and ingame button presses at certain times (even during boss fights) are quite annoying, and also very unique at the same time. I refuse to mention anything about the president's daughter... "Don't worry Ashley, I'm coming for ya!". :clap:

I do think that RE4 is a step in the right direction for the series. I never once really felt any type of fear whilst playing. The fear factor in this game reminds me of Eternal Darkness: initially interesting, but gets long in the tooth very quickly.

A lot of ppl were encouraged to get a GC for this game. There are way better offerings on GC than this derivative action adventure with RPG-like elements. If you have never played GhostHunter before, then by all means get RE4. It's now only $19, and well worth it.

Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:
Gameplay: :thumb-dn:

What other said:
I was drawn into the hype, but when I truly examined the game, I found nothing special. As a final note, I found the first 10 minutes to be much more enthralling than the last 10 hours.Overall - 8.6
Wow, it's lower than everyone elses' ratings here, well the point is that I like this game and if you round up, you still get 9, so I can't be that far off. I actually borrowed both this game and a GCN from my friend and EB is selling GCN's for $60. This game is currently $50 so I might consider picking this up.If you own a GameCube, you must own Resident Evil 4. That's really all there is to it. I couldn't put it down for almost an entire week -- That's how good it is. There's tons of substance behind the intoxicating visuals and secrets galore to keep you busy for hours on end. As of this very moment, RE4 is probably my favorite GC title.Overall experience: 10/10
Resident Evil 4 is mind blowing. I have never experienced a game this intense before. If you disliked the controls of previous games in the series, or if you have never experienced Resident Evil before, you owe it to yourself to play Resident Evil 4. This game alone is worth purchasing a Gamecube for. Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games of this year and this generation.Wrap up:
This is probably the best game for the Gamecube. Do not pass this up. It is worth owning a Gamecube for. It is worth owning NOW. It is a quest game that I didn't get bored with. That should tell you something. This game rocks HARD!

tpfkanep
02-28-2006, 09:56 AM
Pokemon Colloseum - NTSC
Playtime: 99+ Hours. The clock does not go higher than 99 Hours.

I would never have thought I would one day play a Pokemon game. Saw it on budget price and thought I would give it a bash. Initial impression: It's too easy. I have been playing for ~ 1 Hour and have not yet lost a life. Hmmm... I gave it some more TLC and before long, I was hooked. I finally got the gist of: Gotta catch them all!

Pokemon battles are absolutely wonderful 2 on 2 affairs. And they are the most important aspect of this game. The battle engine is simple, but is actually quite deep, and very elegantly implemented. Not deep in a WTF?!?, micro-management style, but more of a fun deep. You can have a maximum of six Pokemon in your party. Matching these are crucial to your survival in the game. You start of with two of the critters. And as you progress, you have to catch other "evil" Pokemon (only by battling other trainers) and go thru some purification process, which can take anything from 1 sec to 1 hour. Once purified, a Pokemon regains all their moves and can get to evolve like the other Pokemon.

Catching these dark Pokemon is tricky, fun and frustrating. Once you have some Pokeballs equiped (you can only catch the dark Pokemon with these - and there are various types to buy. Some more successful than others at snagging the dark Pokemon). Battle animations are absolutely stunning. The amount of lavishly animated polygons betsowed on the Pokemon makes every battle a pleasure. And something to look forward to. Again and again. Purifying your Pokemon can get tiresome at times, but it is well worth it. In the end I managed to purify ~40 Pokemon.

Maybe not a game for everyone. The RPG elements are a bit light. And the story is blegh. But the awesome battles are what makes this game great. Play without prejudice.

No comment on GBA connectivity-sh*t.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-dn:

Alexander
02-28-2006, 12:10 PM
I'm playing Pokemon Red right now and am thoroughly enjoying it. It helps that there's a girl at my school that understands that a game can be fun regardless of its targeted audience, so I can trade with her. :spinface:

tpfkanep
03-02-2006, 09:39 AM
Maximo: Ghost to Glory [PAL]
Playtime: Unknown [55% Game completion].

The shift from 2D to 3D was, and still is, problematic for most developers. The staple of the 8- and 16 bit days, 2D gaming is seen today as backward, and only of interest to those with rose-tinted spectacles who long for "the good old days" (tm). But once in a while a developer comes along and confounds even the most ardent critics of 3D gaming by producing games where the transition from 2 to 3D is seamless: Mario 64 [from what I've heard], Metroid Prime, and, the title of this review: Maximo. Obviously there are others too.

What a game. What a hard game. What a friggin' hard game. A lot of gamers have bemoaned the difficulty of this game. Not without justification. One thing about it's level of difficulty that has me always coming back for more: I know I can beat it. I dunno how the designers managed to finetune the game's difficulty, as the enemy AI is nothing to write home about. Infact, it's nonexistant: Enemies always appear at the same spot. Exhibit the same behaviour and patterns. But it takes some skill to overcome the blighters and smash them to smithereens. Timing of your attacks is of the utmost importance, even with the most powerful of powerups (of which there are many). Each powerup of weapon/shield/armour is available to you for a limited time. Armour is linked to your life. Get hit, and your life bar reacts in the now well known way. Shield can only take so many hits before being destroyed. Your sword, once powered up, can only be used to slash so many enemies before reverting back to your standard weapon. Lose a life = lose all your powerups. You do have some kind of bar at the bottom of the screen, where you're allowed a limited number of slots for some permanent powerups, but they are never enough. As you progress more slots become available. Choose wisely how you're gonna utilise those slots, and dying in the game is less of an issue, but still an issue nontheless.

This is the first action platformer I have played where the collect-a-thon staple, coins, have to be wisely used. You wanna save? Well show me the money (100 coins). You wanna buy some armour? Life? Boxer shorts? Moolah please, or nothing! And to make matters worse, money does not grow on trees. You have to fight nail and tooth to get those coins.

Level design and attention to detail are brilliant. Music is atmospheric and does it's job. Kill a boss, and you have an option to Save, Get armour, or some kiss from a witch... I am not so sure about the saving bit... I think you have to play the next level, and only then can you save.

There are some camera problems, but nothing that deters gameplay. The platforming bits are also not a walk in the park either. Environmental hazards, together with those pesky enemies make your life a living hell. This is definately not a game for those with no patience and dedication. Every level requires a very high level of concentration. This is no mindless slashfest of a game, and you need great timing, eye-hand-coordination and all the skills you have mastered over the years playing games will be put to good use.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

A Classic. :clap:

Beam
03-03-2006, 03:33 PM
i played pokemon for a while but after they started multiplying so quickly,after making it to gold and silver i gave up.i have many great pokemon if anybody wants them just let me know through pm and we'll work out a way to send the cartidges.

tpfkanep
03-06-2006, 03:40 AM
Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution [PAL]
Playtime: Unknown.
Fights: 1700 Wins; 700 Losses... Or something like that.

My first fighter I saw in action was Yie Ar Kung-Fu in the arcades. Since then I have avoided playing fighters like the plague. Street Fighter. Mortal Kombat. Marvel vs Capcom. Etc. Etc. Never got any attention from me. I gave up on the genre until I saw Tekken 3 on PS1. Totally blown away by it. Then came Kensei: Sacred Fist. Also for PS1. And even better than Tekken 3. After playing DoA 2 (also much better than Tekken:Tag and Tekken 4) for PS2, I saw no way forward for the genre. Enter Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. Sega did a very sensible and honourable thing by pricing the game appropriately: It is, for all intents and purposes, just an upgrade on Virtua Fighter 4. Kudos to them.

A game for the purists. Sublime. Deep. Satisfying. Rewarding. Gimmick free. On the surface, it looks like any other 3D fighting game out there. But dig deeper, and you will be astounded at the most beautiful battle engine ever created. Studio AM2 have outdone themselves. Characters are simply divine when seen in full motion (best played in 60Hz). They sport the best cloth simulations I have seen in any game I have played to date. Attacks, counter-attacks, reversals, throws, throw reversals, blocks, staggers, side-stepping all make for a totally engrossing and highly addictive game. I have spent countless hours just playing as Pai, and no one else. There is such a lot of things to discover about a character.

I feel priviledged and deeply humbled to have had the chance to play this game. It will go down as the best fighter I have ever played. Sadly, I do not see much that can be improved (for the genre and game). For one, I would love if AM2 can get rid of floating moves. Also some character moves (like that Ninja with that ridiculous throw) needs to be removed. Sadly, I have lost all faith in the genre moving forward. Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution represents the pinnacle of what can be achieved. The 3D fighter can now proudly join the shmup in game heaven.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-dn:

A Classic. :clap:

tpfkanep
03-13-2006, 02:21 AM
God of War [PAL]
Playtime: ~ 5 Hours. Just found Poseidon's Sceptre.

There are games, and then there are games. Games that go thru the motions. Games that further a genre by perfecting past imperfections, imposed either by limitations of technology or human skill. Games that play it safe and by the book. Games that want to be controversial. Adult and mature. Some developers consider their games not games, but art. What has this got to do with GoW, one of the most sensational games on PS2 in recent times? Nothing and everything.

GoW (aka "Human of War" in some quaters) is a game that embodies a bit of everything mentioned above. Or rather, some of the things are claimed by it's creator, Dave Jaffe. I first loaded the "Making of..." section (which might have been a mistake). All the ppl (there is a list 3 pages long of the staff) who worked on this game seems to have some serious issues: Ego, anger, rage, tiredness, and at times pride in their creation.

Jaffe blabbers about taking the action-adventure genre and furthering it to reach new pinnacles. He describes his character, Kratos, with passion. Are all the talk of Jaffe and co. evident in the game? Well, I dunno...

This action adventure includes:
- Blood and gore,
- Puzzles,
- Crates and boxes and pots that can be either pushed or shattered,
- Enemies,
- Weapons,
- A Combat system heavily based on combos,
- Boobies,
- Various environments (desert, water, cities)...

In my mind, nothing that this game presents has not been done before in the action-adventure genre. 1st couple of levels are... OK. Thereafter I was in auto-pilot. Square-Square-Triangle-Circle, from start to finish (or rather until the point that I currently am at). At one point in the game Kratos asks: What have I become? Let me answer that, Kratos: A brutal, button-bashing bore. Not Fucking rad! (the closing comment on the "Making of..." feature from some GoW staff member).

The game sports an auto-camera feature, which spoils a lot of the potential exploring. The camera basically guides you where to go next. Don't know where to go? Just walk around and viola! the camera will allign itself perfectly pushing you in the correct direction. There is no 1st person view, which could have made exploring the richly and beautiful environments a pleasure.

As I sat there after this crucial point in the game, I reflected - that's what I have become while playing this game - a button basher. Whatever energy I mustered to continue the game dissapated from my weary self. One can only wonder: How did this game garner such rave reviews and awards? Am I writing this just to be different, to go against the stream?

Gameplay: :thumb-dn:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

tpfkanep
03-31-2006, 08:35 AM
Gamecube
Tales of Symphonia - NTSC
Playtime: Completed - ~66 Hours

RPGs. Love to hate them. The genre has deteriorated into a mish-mash of anime-wannabe-save-the-world-misunderstood-hero-fighting-on-his-own-with-love-interest-thrown-in-macho-character-... blehness... Come to think of it, it has been sordid stagnated staleness for a good couple of years now.

Enter Tales of Symphonia. Exist the veteran RPG gamers... or some of them anyway. This was released initially on the GC which has a pretty thin lineup of RPGs, as opposed to the PS2 which has a ton of them. It was hailed by many as a godsend. Who can blame the RPG starved GC gamer?

On the whole it brings absolutely nothing new to the old tried and tested assembly line RPG formula. Not that a game has to do that to be enjoyable. I will not bore you with the "story", suffice to say that it follows the standards pretty close, with a couple of not earth shattering twists. So, onto the battle system. I am not a great fan of real-time battles, which this game sports. A pretty decent implementation, altho it does descend into a button mashing excercise most of the times. Enemies also follow the much hated colour coded enemy algorithm where one will get a blue bird, then later on a brown bird and later on a black bird... Enemies do not pose much of a challenge, most bosses included. There are a couple of super-side-quest-bosses, but these are dispatched via the tried-and-rusted level-up technique.

This game will be great if you're new to RPGs. Veterans of the genre might feel a bit cheated. It does everything an RPG is supposed to do. My 1st introduction to the Tales of... series.

Gameplay: :thumb-dn:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

What others said:
When you have a game of this scope and complexity and find yourself unable to put down the controller you had better set aside the next month of your life, but it will be the best month you can spend with your GameCube.overall:5/10: avoid this if you are not open minded to a different gameplay style and stick to what you know suits you better.because tales is not for everybody.(side note - if you liked namco's other button smashing rpg's you'll love this)This game is so fucking overrated it's funny, it thankfully isn't the only RPG the GCN has to offer, but it is one of the stinkers of the few. It would be nice if Tales of Destiny 2, Tales of Rebirth and Tales of Legendia hit the GCN, those seem to be way better storywise and character wise than this crap.A puzzle game with a story and lots of battles. If that sounds like your game, well then, go buy it. There is also a PS2 version, but the graphics are far inferior.WTF?!? :lol: With Tales of Symphonia you get what you see: A decent RPG romp with solid graphics and a fairly decent battle system. GC owners don't have much other choice, but I'm willing to betcha that Paper Mario RPG 2 wipes the floor with this title. Take your pick--decide what your money is worth. And I'm out.

Icarus4578
03-31-2006, 10:15 AM
ToS wasn't my cup of tea. Have you played any of the others?

BTW, good reviews. Keep 'em coming. :thumb-up:

tpfkanep
05-03-2006, 10:34 AM
Metroid Prime [NTSC] & Metroid Prime: Echoes [PAL]
The 1st Nintendo game I played on my brother's new Gamecube was Metroid Prime. Before that, Samus Aran was an unknown entity; Nintendo was not... and it showed in this game that is surely my game of the generaton: Metroid Prime. I was so impressed with the game, that I had to get a Gamecube of my own.

It's rare nowadays that a game of such beauty exists. Not just graphics, but all aspects of the game. Sound, music, gameplay, atmosphere, depth... And to top it all, it is an FPS/FPA. A genre that lost it's appeal after the Doom days in the 90's. MP is the only game that I have played to date where I really feel part and parcel of the virtual world... No, wait. I have to add Waverace: Bluestorm too. When I start up the game, I become Samus, right down to her digital DNA signature. Retro Studios have done an absolute marvelous job. The 2D roots of a game have rarely been so successfully translated to 3D.

The weirdest of things happened to me wrt my time playing MP. I had a ball of a time. Then I encountered the then fearsome Meta Ridley. All the bosses up to that point have been challenging, and logical. But not this mean programmed-to-be-difficult-as-hell one. I was so dissapointed in the whole Meta Ridley encounter, that I sold MP. It took me a couple of months to realise that I needed to fill a gaming void fast. I eventually acquired the game again (the NTSC version this time, which lacks the polish of the PAL version) and made my peace with Meta Ridley by shooting it to it's glory and finishing the game. In fact I finished MP:Echoes before MP.

Echoes does a couple of things different to it's illustrious predecessor...
- PAL is 60 Hz only
- Sharper graphics
- Great moody and tense music (the choir-like synths worked on my nerves tho)
- Morph Ball Boss fights - the greatest addition.
... but it is basically more of the same. Not a bad thing at all. I do believe that Echoes was not really needed so soon after Prime. It somehow diluted the whole experience of MP for me.

I found Echoes to be easier than MP for some reason. Both are a joy to play. I spent over 40 Hours on Echoes and near double that on Prime.

I do hope that MP3 on Wii will once and for all do away with the respawning of enemies, about the only criticism I have for the games (I believe that feature is a MP trademark carried over from the previous games). Chozo ghosts and amophorous Ing just does not cut it. With a much larger disc medium, there will be no excuse for Retro not to go crazy. Looking forward to it.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

Classics. :clap:

tpfkanep
05-17-2006, 04:08 AM
Gamecube
Sonic Mega Collection - NTSC
Playtime: Couple of hours

Gaming mascots. I cannot recall if Atari/Colecovision/Playstation/[...] ever had one. I suppose one could term something like Halo as a mascot for Xbox...? Nor can I fathom their purpose other than being a spokesper... character/thing for a console.

Sonic equalled Sega. Mario equals Nintendo. Sonic is now consoless. Mario has trancended the mascot reference by becoming an icon. A cultural icon. I could never understand the lure of Sonic or Mario. I was convinced about Mario (as a game) after Super Mario 3 on NES. Sonic... I dunno. Watching ppl play Sonic never ignited that feeling of "I want to try it too". So, here I am with this game in my hand, in my GC. Actually it's my brother's, who bought it for his wife.

Included on the disc are a couple of Sonic games - I do not even know for which Sega machine they were released. Genesis/Sega CD most probably. After having spent a couple of hours with the games, I am still dumbfounded about the phenomenon that was Sonic the Hedgehog. I cannot shake off the feeling that Sonic = go from point A to B as fast as possible, collecting rings and jumping on things. All the times I tried to get into the games, I always had to motivate myself to keep at it and not to lose focus. I failed miserably.

Thinking about the good ol' days, and seeing my friends all huddled around the TV playing Sonic, me trying to look interested... it seems nothing has changed. Sonic will always remain a mystery to me.

Gameplay: -
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

Icarus4578
05-17-2006, 08:40 AM
Sonic is a fun game. There's certainly more to it than merely running and collecting rings. In the first Sonic, every stage has a different feel than the others. Part 2 was good although the graphics suffered, but part 3 was an improvement. Sonic CD is pretty fun, as well. Perhaps you just have different interests.

tpfkanep
05-18-2006, 10:35 AM
Gamecube:
Animal Crossing - NTSC
Games are all defined by having clear and distinct goals and objectives most of the times: Rescue the princess, save the world, cross the finish line first, collect the bananas, destroy the enemies/invaders/evil bad guys,... Most game characters are also either sleek, cool, sexy, dark, mysterious, buxom, vengeful, raging or a combination of these characteristics. Games have also become mature, dark, gritty, claret filled, distopian, realistic, ... Games have also become technical showcases for bump-mapping, individual hair-strand simulation, realistic (boob) physics, particle effects and whatnot.

At times we are surprised by unique, fresh and effervescent titles that just fills one up with that feeling of: This is why I play games. Game that defy genre. Games that upset the apple cart. Stuff like Katamari Damacy, Viewtiful Joe, Cubivore, Freak Out, Doshin the Giant, Super Monkey Ball... that makes one sit up and notice. Of course, there are games that have traits that I described in my opening paragraph that can (and will) be considered great. Conversely, not all games that have unique gameplay elements automatically equate greatness.

Animal Crossing is the 1st game that all my siblings had an active part in playing. And play they did. Bribery for TV priviledges were the order of the day. Lots were drawn to determine playing order. Letters and gifts were exchanged. Paying off loans. Fruit tress were planted and destroyed. Towns were plundered. Getting town folk to move to your town was paramount. Laying traps, collecting music/furniture/NES games, designing clothes, getting the sale items, catching ghosts, having fun on your birthday, ... It was the most fun that I had with family who normally have a disdain for my hobby. This game was an eye opener for me and proved that one does not need to have realistic leaves, water effects, skin, hair, music to have an enjoyable game. It also proved to me that the general public do not care for these and other things that have become the staple of gaming.

The only game that is constantly screaming at me to get a DS. And I might just get a DS for this game.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

What others said:
Just pathetic. This game gets supremely high scores by a bunch of people that forgot to take gameplay into consideration and sold out to the gimmick that this product offers something original. Running around playing delivery-boy isn't fun and neither are the mini-mini-games within this long game without direction.I am still trying to figure out the search function. If there are other comments I will add them.

tpfkanep
05-19-2006, 09:22 AM
PlayStation
Vagrant Story - PAL
Playtime: 120+ Hours

Squaresoft. Square-Enix. A tale of two companies? I cannot recall ever playing a Enix game, but Squaresoft once used to be an illustrious company. A company that could make or brake console hardware manufacturers. Sony used them to great effect when FF7 was released to co-incide with the release of the ill-fated Sega Dreamcast. Or was it the N64? The FF series is their bread and butter, the foundation of their empire. (And FF will be the downfall of SE.) Squaresoft got gobbled up by Enix and has never returned to their former glorious selves. There are gamers who still fervently, feverishly and foolishly cling to SE's apron strings. All this because of FF. Well, mostly. Squaresoft has also been responsible for, among other things: Einhander, Front Mission, Legend of Mana, Parasite Eve, Xenogears, ... and ...

Vagrant Story. Which turns the standard RPG formula on it's head. You know the one: Lone hero, gets group of misfits together, badass bad guy bent on taking over the world, mysterious past, love interest, blah-blah-blah. Here we have a hero that is fighting alone, not to save the world, but trying to get to grips with cults, government conspiracies, political intrigue, and a whole host of other plots and subplots. For once, an RPG with a deep storyline, mature characters, brilliant (unspoken) dialogue, superb and atmospheric music, lots and lots of enemies, superb boss fights, and DRAGONS!!!!!!!! But all that are just complimentary to one of the most deep battle engines ever created. Virtua Fighter deep. In the same league as the ethereal Gradia 2.

All battles take place in semi-realtime: No random battles. You see all the enemies onscreen. A sphere gets created around the main character, and depending on the weapon at hand, differs in size. E.g. A bow's sphere will be bigger than an axe, meaning you will have a greater reach with the bow than with the axe. Some weapons are one handed, allowing you to also equip a shield. Other weapons are two-handed, meaning no shield. Armour and accessories can also be equiped to give you greater effectiveness in battles. Armour, weapons, accessories have attributes which affect their effectiveness against enemies: Fight enough Undead, and your weapon can become potent against those type of enemies. Same thing with your armours, which can affect your defence against enemies. yes, it's not just about attacking, but also defending. Thinking of using that bow indefinately? Your weapons will deteriorate, and will need repairs. Weapons can also be upgraded. Same with shields and armour. Weapons have to be earned: There are no shops to buy weapons.

Once you have your sphere initiated, you have to choose your attack. Time stands still at that point, allowing you to select your foe's body part, and attack that body part. These attacks are mapped to your controller buttons and have to be executed in the exact time, much like a bemani-type game. Each and every battle is a joy to partake in. Enemies are clever enough to use tactics against you: You see that enemy equiped with a bow? It will get as far away from you as possible, use the reach advantage of the bow, and pummel you from a distance. Same with enemies that can cast spells. They will initiate their spells from a safe distance. Then your on the defence. Which is similar to attack: Buttons have been assigned various defensive moves, which also have to be timed in order to be effective. So you decided to get your revenge on that magic-enabled enemy: You target it's head. The head is home of the mouth. With an incapacitated mouth, no spells can be uttered. Same with the arms, legs, body, tail, etc. You can really use tactics to make your attacks more potent. To top things off, there is the dreaded Risk Meter. The main character is what is known as a Risk Breaker. When you in battle, this gauge fills up, which determines the effectiveness of your strike rate. When low, you can land more hits, but with low damage. When it's high, the chances of a hit is rarer, but the damage is high. Stringing combos together can be real fun and the gamer is never allowed to become a button basher, as no mapped attack/defence can be performed consecutively.

The use of sound and visual effects in some of the attack sequences is also great. Sometimes an elaborate spell will be cast. Then a sequence will be initiated that requires quick reflexes and a keen ear, as sometimes a sound can be a reminder of when to press your defensive button.

A joy from start to finish, and for once a game that can be viewed as art.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

A Masterpiece! :clap:

Icarus4578
05-19-2006, 09:26 AM
I am still trying to figure out the search function. If there are other comments I will add them.

I'll PM you.

tpfkanep
08-28-2006, 03:00 AM
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door [GC - NTSC]
Playtime: Completed (46Hours 42mins).

Mario, one of the most approachable, marketable, adorable, miserable, whoreable and totally lovable game charater ever created. Love him or hate him, he is the foundation on which an empire was built and largely continues to star in games that set industry standards. How do we sell a soccer/kart racing/gholf/dance/...RPG game? ... Mario!!!!! "Oh yeah!"

Apparently, this franchise started life on the SNES (A Squaresoft creation). TTYD is now the 3rd (?) game in the series, and my 1st introduction. TTYD adheres to the formula for a successful RPG:
- Save the World,
- Gather a team,
- Rescue the damsel,
- Fight off the evil,
- Mindnumbing, unskippable, energy sapping speeches,
- Everyone is happy.

All of this is presented in glorious technicolor 2.5 dimensions. A lot of gamers will be put off by the happy colours and snappy tunes of this game and maybe even foolishly disregard it as "kiddy". Their loss... not really. All the standard RPG stuff is here: Health Points, Flower Points (kinda like magic points), Star Points (special attack/support moves), Badge Points (these give you options to give Mario access to his moves/jumps, or changes his luck, etc.), item management. The game does not bog you down with micromanagement of characters - there are no accesories/weapons [Mario has a hammer] to worry about. Your support characters need Shine Sprites, which are hidden in all sorts of places, to access their other moves and upgrade their stats.

Battles are all in real time, but comes with command menus, allowing you to at least use some form of tactics against the enemies. Up to two comrades can participate in battles, which also include a fanatical crowd, to spice things up: Based on your battle performance, you can entice the crowd to throw items (good or bad), shower you with star points, and even engage in the battles for a very brief time. Exciting...? Not really. The normal battles are OK, for most of the time. They are just too easy. I early on made the mistake to upgrade Mario's HP. I later realised that was totally not needed, and all subsequent upgrades to Mario were for Badge Points. My 8 year old niece finished off the 1st boss without losing a life. After completing a chapter, one is confronted with one of the most frustrating, unskippable interludes, either featuring Peach (running around doing errands) or Bowser (in 2D nostalgia trips involving classic Mario levels).

Some of the puzzles are quite interesting: Mario can aquire the attributes and properties of paper, which can be used to solve the puzzles. At times I felt like I was playing a dumbed-down version of Metroid Prime, as the game follows the same priciple as MP: Get an upgrade to your paper abilities and new areas become accessible. Unfortunately you do not really get to use the paper abilities in battle. One great addition is that you can also use your partners and their special abilities to solve some of the puzzles.

RPG die hards should maybe steer clear of this game (a bit too late for that now. Emblazoned on the cover is the "Best Seller" wording). It is not really an essential purchase, luckily I got this for $19.99.

Nintendo:
- Make games that have Auto-Difficulty-Detection. If God of War devs can do it, why can't you?
- I want varied and diverse enemies. A green kleft/Goomba/Piranha plant/..., a blue cleft/Goomba/Piranha plant/... WTF?
- Skippable speeches. I was drowning in speech bubbles.

Gameplay: :thumb-dn:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

tpfkanep
08-28-2006, 03:07 AM
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: GC - NTSC
Playtime: Completed.

My 1st experience with the Legend of Zelda series was with Wind Waker. To say that I was blown away by it is and understatement. I reached a certain point in WW, and the urge got to me to get to the roots of the series. So, I bought the Collector's Edition, which comes with four games: The Legend of Zelda, Legend of Zelda: Link's Adventure, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. Unfortunately, the SNES LttP is not on the disc. I started with OoT, and abondoned my WW session.

It is quite difficult to give an honest assesment of the game, in this day and age. I was not there when the game was first released. I totally missed being caught up in the hype and excitement for the game, as I totally missed on the N64 (and SNES :( ) generation. I took time for me to adjust to the game, as I had to adjust my mindset to that of someone who experienced the game in all it's glory in those days.

It beats a lot of current games in terms of camera control (unfortunately there is no way to manually control the camera with the C-stick, you use the [L] Trigger), gameplay (which still holds up remarkably well), atmosphere, sound and music. I absolutely loved playing as two different Links. Altho they are basically the same, the fact that only certain items/weapons can be used by either, was quite refreshing. I am not too big on sidequests, but these can be very rewarding at times, as new items and weapons can be obtained, which can make your life a lot easier. I was a bit dissapointed in most of the boss fights. Some was way too easy. I should never have abandoned my tennis lessons...

The one major problem I had was with the L-targeting (which is one of the greatest innovations of 3D gaming). It can be really frustrating when fighting enemies to go off at a tangent attacking the air, and be clobbered by an amused-looking enemy. The under-utilisation of Epona was also dissapointing, and judging by the screens and videos of TP, will hopefully be remedied. Unless there was a mission I missed that featured horseback fighting...?

Most of the dungeons are quite a pleasure to complete. The Water Dungeon... ... took me a long time to complete. I nearly lost my sanity, and at times thought there must have been a glitch when the game was converted to GC.

A marvelous game, that still remains fresh after all this time. Altho I have not played MM yet, I can see the similarities between this and the Wind Waker, which is quite disconcerting: WW is basically just a perfection of the formula that was created in OoT. I hope Twilight Princess adds something really new (I do not count the... additions of Wii-mote functionality as new), altho it has been mentioned that TP will be the last time we play a traditional Zelda game. It is a mammoth task, seeing as how this game set the benchmark for a whole two generations. The 1st true Wii Zelda will have a lot to live up to.

Gameplay: :thumb-up:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

A Classic. :clap:

Icarus4578
08-28-2006, 10:34 AM
I'm playing through Wind Waker right now (as well as RE4 again ...because there hasn't been anything good in a looooong while). WW alone makes recent software look like garbage in comparison, therefore OoT decimates everything over the past several years.

tpfkanep
09-11-2006, 08:47 AM
GC:
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (NTSC)
Playtime: Completed.

Link. Ganon. Zelda. A formidable combination... I suppose saying a once formidable combination would be going too far? Unlike Mario, Link is a character that is basically held prisoner by what Hyrule and environs offer up. Mario can comfortably go from the Mushroom Kingdom, the soccer/baseball field,... to infinity and beyond... and that "short-coming" might really be Link's ultimate downfall and... death (I hope he dies an excrutiatingly slow death in Twilight Princess - so that the franchise can be rebooted a couple of console generations down the line). With that out of the way...

... Wind Waker is my 1st introduction to Link's universe, and what an eye-opener it was. I wanted to even create my own website to promote Nintendo to my fellow ZA gamers after experiencing the absolute joy that is found in this game. Wait, I am jumping the gun here. Let's try this again: I loaded up the game, selected my save file, etc. and I was greeted with an unskippable introduction that lasts for a couple of minutes. Sweet Isis, was I pissed off. I do not care one bit for all the malarky of the past, background info and whatnot. With what seems like an eternity, I was greeted with what can only be discribed as a triumph. At last, a true, living breathing virtual world. What might have been established "features" for the Link veteran, was so refreshing for me. I could swim in any water mass. I could go anywhere. I could manipulate any object: be it in a house, on a field, in a dungeon.

I had no problem with the sailing, getting treasures, even the last bit searching for that cursed thing-that-cannot-be-named. This game would have been perfect had it not been for it's difficulty: It's on the same level as Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. I have not once felt like "I am going to die now, I need to kill the boss, quickly..." There are always sufficient jars with an overabundant supply of hearts nearby. It was really a let down. Did Nintendo not playtest the game? If they did, who did they use?

This game is a disgrace to what is a legendary franchise, and should never have been released. Whereto from here, for Link? A more "mature and darker and non-cartoony" Link? More speech bubbles with angsty dialogue? A more vengefull Ganondorf? A more... fuller Zelda? As long as these things take the backseat to a more challenging game, I will be overjoyed. I dunno if Nintendo is purposely trying to ease on the difficulty of their games. If it is so, I hope they include options for difficulty settings in the future (Walk in the Park; Easy Peasy; etc). They should look at games like Super Monkey Ball to get an idea on how to correctly implement difficulty. The Capcom team responsible for Maximo: Ghost to Glory should also offer a masterclass (I doubt Nintendo will participate) on setting game difficulty... Maximo difficulty + Zelda = Gaming Goodness. One can dream...

A superb game, let down by it's difficulty.

Gameplay: :thumb-dn:
Graphics: :thumb-up:
Sound: :thumb-up:

What others said:

The Legend of Zelda ~ The Wind Waker - GameCube - Rating 8
Miyamoto's latest effort is a remarkable game that grabs you and simply will not let go until you've completed virtually everything.The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker - 9.6

Icarus4578
09-11-2006, 11:37 AM
At last, a true, living breathing virtual world. What might have been established "features" for the Link veteran, was so refreshing for me. I could swim in any water mass. I could go anywhere. I could manipulate any object: be it in a house, on a field, in a dungeon.

Sounds almost like an advertisement for Shenmue, sans the dungeon bit.

This game is a disgrace to what is a legendary franchise, and should never have been released. Whereto from here, for Link? A more "mature and darker and non-cartoony" Link? More speech bubbles with angsty dialogue? A more vengefull Ganondorf? A more... fuller Zelda? As long as these things take the backseat to a more challenging game, I will be overjoyed. I dunno if Nintendo is purposely trying to ease on the difficulty of their games. If it is so, I hope they include options for difficulty settings in the future (Walk in the Park; Easy Peasy; etc). They should look at games like Super Monkey Ball to get an idea on how to correctly implement difficulty. The Capcom team responsible for Maximo: Ghost to Glory should also offer a masterclass (I doubt Nintendo will participate) on setting game difficulty... Maximo difficulty + Zelda = Gaming Goodness. One can dream...

I couldn't disagree more. Playing the SNES version, which is cartoonish, it's easily my favorite. It's way past easy now but that doesn't stop it from being a great game. Wind Waker's major flaws, for myself, were its lack of dungeons and the Triforce fetch quest. Aside from those two things it's smooth sailing (pun = not funny).

tpfkanep
09-12-2006, 01:45 AM
Sounds almost like an advertisement for Shenmue, sans the dungeon bit.Never played Shenmue, but I hope it's a VC downloadable.

tpfkanep
12-06-2006, 05:13 AM
Nintendo DS Lite

I hate portable gaming. The small screen, tinny speakers, recharging of batteries, and... cramped controls. Here I sit. The (proud) owner of a DS Lite. While writing this, I tried to remember why the hell I bought this device, given my loathing of such devices. I cannot for the life of me remember what was the motivation... oh yes! It's the games.

User Interface:
When you boot up the thing, you will get a snazzy, yet simple user interface, where you can setup time, brightness, GBA options, language, username, system colours and a couple of others. All of these functions/options are accessible via the Dpad and |A| and |B| Buttons, and also the pen, which is used on the touch sensitive lower screen. When carts are present, the main UI allows you to start either a GBA or DS game. There is also an auto-start option, which allows your game to bypass the system UI and start playing immediately. Making changes some of your settings requires a reboot of the system, which is annoying.

Ergonomics & Build Quality:
Whoever decided to have a rectangle shape for the DS, needs to be institutionalised. It is hell playing GBA games. I constantly suffer from cramps in my hands and fingers while playing GBA games for more than 30 minutes. Playing with the Dpad is another pain on GBA games. Altho any Dpad is better than the GC one, I just cannot get used to the lovely DS one. Games like Fire Emblem play perfectly. Metroid Fusion and Castlevania is OK. Zelda: A link to the Past and Minnish Cap controls terribly. GBA games that utilise the |R and |L| buttons in conjunction with |A| and |B| is a real pain. I am currently awaiting the GB Player for my GC.

The DS with GBA cart inserted looks ugly. There is an ungainly protrusion in the front of the DS where the GBA cart slots in.

Playing DS specific games is a breath of fresh air. Using the pen as input method is a blast, and beats crampy controls hands down. I see the DS also has [X] and [Y] buttons: Hopefully no DS games utilise those. I have an unopened Metroid Prime: Hunters looking at me, and I am not keen to start that game, due to control fears.

Buttons and Dpad are of high quality, and have a nice and secure feel to them.

Battery Life:
Absolutely brilliant, altho a mini-nuclear plant built-in would have been even better. Charging takes ~ 3 hours from completely flat. I have no idea how playing online/multiplayer affects battery life.

Speakers:
It looks like the DS has full stereo. Better than I expected.

Touch Screen & Stylus:
So far no problems. It has a few hairline scratches due to extended Wario and Brain Training sessions, but nothing serious. I am still awaiting a screen protector, but I doubt that I will install it. The stylus takes some getting used to, but using it becomes second nature.

Connectivity:
Not used.

A neat little system (for DS specific games). Get it.

Seraph
12-06-2006, 10:01 AM
Good review of the DS lite.

I agree its mega uncomfortable for traditional games. the corners dig into my palms and start to hurt after a few games of mario kart.

Alexander
12-06-2006, 10:17 AM
I disagree; it's perfectly comfortable. Different hands though, I suppose.