Monday, November 26, 2007

Gaming In 60 Seconds, Again

There's a whole bunch of games I've played over the last few months that I haven't had a chance to do detailed reviews for, so here's the short versions:

Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii): Some absolutely crazy four-player multiplayer makes up a for a plethora of sins in this Nintendo-themed extreme soccer game. The single player game is high on repetition and low on quality opponent AI, but the ability to body-check Princess Peach into an electric fence adequately compensates. There's an online mode, but the general shoddiness of the Wii matchmaking support will likely dissuade you from getting a lot of use out of it. Best enjoyed with three friends and some beer.

Phoenix Wright: Justice For All (DS): Phoenix Wright's second courtroom adventure in the English-speaking world serves up more of the same as the first time around, but once again the quality of writing, zany humour, and tight pacing make for a satisfying and memorable experience recommendable to all DS owners.

Drawn to Life (DS): Not only is this game apparently raking in a fair wad of cash down here in Australia, but it's also actually worth playing, which is unusual in such a heavily kid-oriented title. A backbone of lackluster generic platforming is made highly entertaining by a central mechanic whereby you draw the key graphics in the game yourself. The fun of designing your avatar to be an evil skeleton or a killer robot is only enhanced by the way the game saturates you with an endearingly innocent sense of charm.

Dead Rising (XBox 360): I'll probably be coming back to this one, but my initial verdict is that no matter how much fun mutilating hordes of zombies with a blunt object may be, it can't compensate for the bloodyminded awfulness of the save system, or the fact that most of the boss battles are built around the game's distinctly subpar gunplay mechanics instead of the core zombie-mashing action. The gamers likely to get the most mileage out of Dead Rising are the ones with a high tolerance for frustration.

Halo 3 (XBox 360): Master Chief's third serving of first-person-shooter antics may have sold a bucketload of copies but it's still better suited to series fans than virgin punters. It's brutally short, it's incredibly derivative, and once again the narrative is disjointed and unsatisfying, but if you've ever enjoyed anything about Halo this one is undoubtedly the finest in the trilogy. The fantastic musical score and high production values will help alleviate a lot of the downsides. Furthermore, if you're the sort of person who's likely to spend time with the online multiplayer components it becomes an exponentially more attractive proposition. Unlikely to win over new players, though.

Geometry Wars (XBox 360 Live Arcade): A game that probably could have been easily delivered on a Commodore 64, Bizarre Creations' Geometry Wars is nevertheless definitely the best game that Live Arcade has to offer, and could be considered to be the game that reinvigorated the top-down duel stick shooter genre. Featuring simple gameplay which is endlessly addictive and brutally challenging, the game combines aspects of classic games such as Asteroids and Robotron to produce something significantly greater than the sum of its parts. This should be the first game downloaded by any new 360 owner.

Paper Mario (Wii Virtual Console / N64): There is nothing about Paper Mario that fails to please. Mario and friends make their (second?) RPG outing, which features gameplay, pacing and controls tuned to near-perfection. Brilliant level design and consistently entertaining game mechanics provide a solid foundation for a game filled with charm, humour, and a surprisingly large amount of solid characterisation, all within the context of a storybook where all the characters are represented as 2D paper cut-outs exploring a 3D paper world. The only weak spots are some extended fetch-quests, and Princess Peach, who once again proves unable to escape from the equivalent of a wet paper bag.


Xantar said...

Dead Rising was the videogame when I realized how annoying all this HD stuff being shoved down our throats could be. It happened when my friend connected his Xbox 360 to a very nice and very large but still standard definition TV, fired up the game and we had a scrapping good time killing zombies with various implements until we met an uninfected human and he said something.

To this day, we don't know what that man said.

GregT said...

Probably, "The late 90s called, they want their standard definition television back."

I play my games on a huge TV and then sit way back on the couch, which is the way my mother tried to convince me to play way back in the day when TVs were roughly the size of books. As a result, even the wonders of high def are insufficient to enable me to read the tiny, tiny text in Dead Rising. This isn't a HD vs SD problem, it's a fault with the fundamental UI of Dead Rising. The fact the text may be technically legible in HD if you're really close to the TV doesn't excuse the crappy design decision.

Goldcoaster said...

I haven't tried Paper Mario (old) but have got the Wii version - it's great, both my son and wife agrees!

Good Free RPG Games

Goldcoaster said...

Forgot to add... what Wii games do you recommend - we just have the paper mario and sports? Are there any more adult games around that are good and any decent non-mario games?


GregT said...

Check through my backlinks, but I highly recommend Excite Truck, Twilight Princess, and Eledees. If you follow a general rule of only buying Wii-exclusive titles (nothing also available on other platforms), and avoiding anything developed by EA or Ubisoft (with the exception of Rayman Raving Rabbids) then you should be fine.

Grant said...

I think, from memory, Paper Mario Wii is the sixth Mario RPG including handhelds.

GregT said...

That sounds right. And the one on the N64 I think was the second, after Squeenix's effort. Might be wrong - the Mario RPG milieu isn't something I've deeply explored.

Lel said...

It's been a while.

I'm pretty new to the Halo series. I received mine when I bought a friends Xbox 360 off him so he could buy a PS3.

I was a little skeptical when I first started that I would like it, but I've been proven wrong and quite like the game. I'm more for the single player mission, but I've been playing a few death matches and co-ops with the guys I met at the AG forums...

I'm probably not going to go all out and buy the previous two games, but I'm happy with just having Halo 3.