Sunday, August 22, 2010

Now Playing - "The end of all things begins!"

I finished off a couple games this week and played little bits here and there of others when I wasn't watching football or TV. I haven't put much time into the games I am currently playing, so I've just got early impressions on them so far. Other than that, I'm a bit worried about my laptop-its been locking up and displaying an error message on startup occasionally. I don't know what it was going on about though...might take it to the computer shop if my friends in computing don't know what is up with it. I don't have a huge amount of stuff saved on it, but I'd rather not do a system restore..I don't like the idea of having to start from scratch. Plus last time we did system restore, it was on my ex-girlfriend's computer and that didn't help much, in fact it caused more problems in places. Damn computers...why do they randomly stop working at times...

Anyway, I'm running out of time just now, so I'll turn my attention to the games I've been playing this week. I'm going out to my friend's place today (in fact I was supposed to be there already.)

I finished up Demon's Souls (PS3) eventually, I was having problems with the False King battle-some of his attacks are really damn strong, plus I hate that he can drain your soul levels. He did that a few times and knocked one of my Spell memory slots off, taking with it Soul Ray, a pretty good spell I wanted to use in the final battle. Speaking of which, the final battle is a joke, I don't see how it can get anywhere near even attacking you if you have spells. For a mage, it seems very easy. But that doesn't bug me really, to make up for it there was a hard fight at the end of 1-4, the one I was talking about previously. Its a very hard game in places, so I can see why people might be put off initially. You really need to be patient with it to get through some of the stages. But once you get used to your character and understand the attack patterns the enemies have, where they spawn, the traps and all the other stuff, it is manageable. And it is very rewarding when you get through the bit you were having problems with. 

Such an atmospheric game as well, it has quite a dark feel to the world and it is pretty disturbing and creepy in places, which I really appreciate. It breathes life into an RPG which is a bit light on the story. 

One other potential flaw I could say it has would be the camera and controls. They can be unwieldy at times and contributed to my death on more than one occasion. Its damn frustrating to get a boss nearly dead, then get backed up against a wall, roll away to dodge and have the camera spinning out of control so you end up walking or rolling into the bosses attack. The lock on feature, while it is pretty much essential for some forms of attack (spells, for example), can also lead to some camera annoyances.

It has some pretty nice music as well, it's never really too jarring and it seems to fit the scenes it is assigned to, even if it is over the top at times. I think it adds to the tense nature of some of the battles, some of which really get you on edge. They leave you shaking from the adrenaline rush. Well, they did for me, I can't take stress very well, but I liked the rush it gave me. Here's one of the songs from 5-3. 

Other than the few minor flaws it might have, this is a brilliant game, probably one of the best action RPGs I've played, definitely up there among my favourites from this year. (We just got the EU release a month or two ago T_T)

I finished up Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS) as well, at least the main story. There is a lot more to do for me, but I've been a bit frustrated postgame, as I don't know what quests to do first, or where to go for the easiest grottoes. I got wiped out by a single normal enemy at one point. So after that, its been neglected a bit. I might go back to this some day and try and fill out the bestiary, do more quests etc. I really enjoyed the game though, it has some very nice graphics and a fairly good story. It is a bit fragmented, and slows down in the middle, where you have to go around doing mini-vignette type stories which involve a lot of talking, a dungeon and a boss at the very least. Some of them I found enjoyable, whereas others (like the Swinedimples Academy one) weren't quite up to scratch. 

As a Dragon Quest game, I can't really tell how it compares to some of the others, its slightly different from say IV and V, but has the same sense of humour and quirkyness, the same life they have tried to inject it with by giving certain townspeople accents to try and differentiate them. One thing I liked about it was the vocations, similar to FFIII or other RPGs with class systems, you can chop and change the classes of your characters when you wish. (Not at any time, you have to go back to a certain area to do so.) That adds a lot of replayability and will make different people's playthroughs go differently depending on what they choose. I like that in RPGs-there should always be some scope to do things differently in my opinion. FFXIII was a recent offender in that area. It puts you into a tunnel for 20 or 30 hours so there really is no chance to do things differently until you get to Pulse later in the game. RPGs should have lots of things to do, they shouldn't be as streamlined as that I reckon. It was a bit of a step back for the series and I seriously hope they change things back for their next games.

I had my eye on Eternal Poison (PS2) ever since it was announced for US release, and sadly it never found its way over to Europe or other PAL regions. I'm a big fan of tactical RPGs and this one had a really nice dark tone and style to it from what I had seen. So now that I can play NTSC games on the PS2, I picked this one up. I've not put in much time so far, but I am appreciating some of the character designs (the artbook it came with is fantastic, by the way) and the story seems interesting so far. Its kinda strange that it is going to be a large dungeon with many floors though, that is more of a dungeon-crawler RPG convention. And apparantely grinding is not possible in this game! ;_; Oh well, I can enjoy other aspects, like collecting all the Majin I can, for one thing. I'll have to play more of this in order to recommend it or otherwise.

Ys Seven (PSP) This game arrived only a few days after the US release! I had been waiting on this game being released for a while now, definitely interested in it all the way, despite never having played an Ys game, so I've put a couple hours in so far and I have been fairly impressed by the battle system which is nice and fast paced and doesn't have that disconnect of the enemies appearing on the world map, or random encounters and then the transition into battle, it is all seamless. You hack away at the enemies as they appear and they shower money and items on their deaths. It is very kind of a zelda game or something similar. 

As my first experience of an Ys game, I am fairly happy so far. There are some things that seem odd, like the super silent protagonist, Adol. Its like they go out of their way to make him say nothing, for example, a message will come up saying "Adol thanks the King" or whatever. They could have done the same with less lines of dialogue by making him just say "Thanks" or something similar. The inventory screen will take some getting used to for me, but so far I'm not even far enough in to have many items heheh.. XD

Its got really cool music and some quite nice character designs, as with many Falcom games. Here is the opening to the game. 

I played a little bit more of Diablo II (PC), continuing my Elemental druid playthrough I started a couple months ago. I was determined to get through Act I, as I think it is the most boring of the five for me, as I've seen it so many times. That's due to me having played so many different characters so many times in this game though. I put in a few more hours of this, and got past Andariel (the final Act I boss) really easily. Seriously, she fell faster than any other character I've used from what I can remember. Some of the Druid's Fire spells are pretty powerful from the looks of it. Don't think I've died once so far. I put this back on hold though, in an effort to finish off Demon's Souls and DQIX. While waiting for Ys and Eternal Poison to arrive, I put in a few more games of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) multiplayer. The cover system still isn't perfect, but I'm surprised by how good the multiplayer for this is. It does have flaws though, it seems if there aren't people online for an optimal game, it will throw you in with whoever is on, even if means guys at the max level. It does try to balance the teams out though. I suck at this, but I'm up to lv22 online now. It was pretty satisfying to bring a game or two back for our team, coming back from behind to win. I seem to start really poorly, but improve as each game goes on.

I couldn't find many decent pictures for this post T_T Maybe next time...

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