June 14, 2008

What’cha been playin’?

I'm planning on making this a regular feature, giving quick impressions on stuff I played during the course of the week.

Nothing I've been actually playing, but still awesome enough to tell about. This was signed at the MGS 4 pre-release event in Hamburg. I was expecting the event to be held like at the HMV in London, where only special paper sleeves could be signed, so I only brought the game with me for the small chance that another item could be signed. Little did I know, you could get ANY one item signed by Kojima and so I missed out on the chance to get my PS3 decorated, as some other fortunate attendees have. Oh well. At least this autograph is a bit of a compensation for the fact that it is the 14th, and I still haven't received my copy of MGS 4. Fuck importing. But I knew what I was getting into when I ordered in the UK so I only have myself to blame. The risk of having only German subtitles and menus was just too big, in my opinion.

Brave Story - New Traveler (PSP)

I'm 15 hours in and, what can I say, it's a JRPG and as generic as they get. Before I whine about that for too long, one thing though: It has the most impressive graphics of any PSP game I have played, on par or even better than Crisis Core. I may be misguided by the bloom, but damn, it has some nice bloom.

There isn't a lot more I can or want to say about it. There is no complicated system to learn like FF VIII's junctioning, you have five equipment slots for which you buy new stuff in every new city, find some in dungeons or craft your own accessoires from enemy loot. Everybody learns skills which range from healing over offensive magic to physical attacks as they level up, and combination skills as they fight together. There is a bird-catching mini-game which I got tired of after a few tries. You can exchange special breeds for advanced equipment though, so there is some benefit for you if you decide to spend some time with it.

If you want a easy, standard JRPG turn-based battle system with O.K. characters and a simple story (which I won't talk about because it won't surprise anyone who ever played a few JRPGS, and that's saying enough), it's perfect for you. For anyone who expects a bit more of a RPG nowadays, skip.

I play it while I do other things like listening to podcasts and for that, it's perfect.

Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops (PSP)

It's not Metal Gear Solid, and because I expected Metal Gear Solid, I am quite a bit disappointed.

The good:
- The graphics, it looks like MGS3, only with an engine scaled down for the PSP
- It fleshes out the story of Big Boss and as you can see from the top of this post I'm a huge fan of MGS3
- The squad system is unique and the missions are very pick-up-and-play friendly because they are short and the areas aren't too big or convoluted

The bad:
- The story. I expect a nice conclusion in the end, but at the part where I am now (after the first boss) it hasn't picked up any momentum at all and definitely didn't make me want to come back to the game for it
- The recruiting, which is a key part of the gameplay, is cumbersome and rarely rewarding enough. Every soldier is pretty much alike stats-wise, except for maybe one or two more or less useless skills, like not being attracted by dirty magazines. I've never seen one lying around, so it is probably for the online, which I'm not really interested in.
- The "disguises" don't work well or logical. If I am playing as a high ranking officer, the enemy low-rank soldiers shouldn't get suspicious when they spot me. As it is in the game, only other officers can't see I'm an enemy, which makes no sense.

The ugly:
- The camera. Ugh. It makes no attempts to show you a good overview of the area you're in, so you constantly have to babysit it with the L-button (center behind the character) or the D-Pad, which is impossible. Sony, if you're reading this, get a second analogue stick for your PSP2. Also, don't call it PSP2.

For now I've put the game on halt. Maybe I will pick it up again, maybe I won't.

Ys - The Oath in Felghana PC

More on it later. Just one sentence:
It reminds me of Mega Man X, if it was an action RPG, and that's good!

I've also played the online demos of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars PS3 and Battlefield: Bad Company PS3.

The first has a terrible name, terrible lag and was no fun at all, except for when I spammed the chat with pre-made voice samples and went on a team-killing spree, which is fun in any game.

The second had a promising introduction to the single-player campaign and a fun yet unbalanced multiplayer mode. It was way too easy for me as a defender to sneak into the enemy base, steal a tank and wreak havoc, thus accumulating five times as many points as anybody else in the match and winning the round for my team. One well aimed shot from a tank will take out any enemy player on foot, while they need around 3 shots from a tank or a rocket launcher to harm me. When my tank was close to destruction, I just hopped into the next one of the three which were conveniently lined up at the back of the base and constantly respawning. While I took care of the enemy base my team had enough time to follow me into it and support my cause. Fun was had by all.
From my observations it may be too vehicle centric (no shit). Because of that, the only class that had any use was the one with the rocket launcher. The recon can't do much with a sniper rifle if he's matched up against an attack chopper and the medic has no time to heal if everything dies in one hit. I'll keep an eye on the game as I definitely want to know if the single-player is as good as I think and if the multiplayer becomes more varied and balanced.

Are you jealous of my signed copy of MGS3? Got anything to say about the games I played? Leave your opinions on anything in the comments!


The Gambler said...

By now you probably know that the PAL MGS4 includes subtitles in all the langauges. I took the risk, and I'm glad I did (I was kinda confident in blu-ray size). Otherwise I should have bought another one :-(

Maxax said...

Yeah, by now I know. And that makes the wait even worse. I pondered renting or buying and then returning the local version but all copies were rented out over the weekend and stores around here have strict returning policies on opened games..

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that it arrives on monday. Crossed HARD.