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Kill things and wear their skin as a hat.

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

After I finished reviewing Lord of Arcana, I found myself wanting to go back to Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for some reason. Of course, it had been so long since I last played, I had forgotten all the controls. Sadly, Monster Hunter is not the most intuitive game to play so I went back to basics with a new character. It’s a good thing that the tutorial system of Freedom Unite is so in-depth. I was back hunting beasties in no time. I even downloaded a Monster Hunter theme for my PSP, and it makes me so happy every time I turn it on.

The difficulty curve is still as steep as ever. One of the annoyances of Freedom Unite is that the regular enemies show up even when a boss monster is present, forcing you to deal with them while you’re attempting to focus on your mark. Of particular annoyance are the wasp enemies that love nothing more than to sneak up and sting you for minimal damage, possibly paralysing you. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing because you were gang-rushed by four enemies at once. Still, the deep gameplay and focus on player skill keeps me coming back for more. Having only just unlocked the three-star ranked missions, I have a long way to go. By the way, it’s on the PSN store for a mere £8: that’s an incredible bargain for a game with so much content.

In other news, Atlus have announced that Catherine will indeed be getting a US release. Which means that, thanks to the PS3’s region-free system, I’ll get a chance to play it even if it never comes out in Europe. The new trailer is really slick, and made me chuckle with the warning that it “may contain some material unsuitable for children”. Really? May contain some? My money is on a PEGI 15 rating, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it got slapped with an 18 rating. Between Catherine and Tales of Graces f, I’m going to be an extremely happy gamer this summer.

I’m also thinking of revamping this blog, giving it a new name and shiny new appearance. I’m a bit stumped for names though. Still, if you do arrive and everything is different, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Dragon My Feet Back To Ferelden

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I was really excited for the first Dragon Age game. High fantasy is one of my favourite genres and I was looking forward to a return to classic swords-and-sorcery fantasy. While the game had a lot of high points, I was ultimately frustrated beyond belief by the unbalanced power curve that placed magic far above everything else, the incompetent AI of my party members and the exhausting pacing of some of the quests. That said, I have been told that the PC version is superior and the game was highly acclaimed for a lot of good reasons. I chalked it up to a personal misfortune, a game that was a misfire for me but ultimately a success otherwise. So it was with caution that I approached Dragon Age 2, a game that takes the lore of Ferelden and incorporates many of the gameplay elements from Mass Effect 2, a game that I absolutely loved. The demo for the Xbox 360 version was released today (at a heifty 1.98Gb) and I got stuck in to see just what kind of game lay ahead.

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New review: Lord of Arcana (PSP)

February 19, 2011 1 comment

Another review of mine up at Unknown Gamer. This one is Lord of Arcana, a game I was really looking forward to because it’s a spinoff of Lord of Vermilion, a game I wish I could play. Check out my review!

First review at Unknown Gamer!

February 8, 2011 1 comment

Huzzah, my first review for Unknown Gamer has been published! Check it out, it’s a review of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.

Seven Video Games That Let You Play As Kickass Canines

January 27, 2011 3 comments

The saying goes that dogs are a man’s best friend. Certain video games have decided that dogs should be a gamer’s best friend too, giving your characters a lovable pooch to aid you in your quest to destroy the Evil Whatever on Mount Doomydoom.

Final Fantasy VIII even let you shoot a dog out of a cannon.

But some games go that extra mile by actually allowing you to play as the dog itself. Today, we honour those playable canines and demonstrate just why the video game world needs more magical dogs with superpowers.

(I’m going to lay down some ground rules for this: each entry has to be all-canine. None of this “was actually something else but was cursed into a dog form” or werewolf crap. Furthermore, the canine must have full Player Character rights- being directly controllable at the very least- even if it’s just for a short time.)

Also, be warned that there are spoilers below.

With that said, let’s get into the list!

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The Straight Line

January 24, 2011 7 comments

Linearity has become a curse word in the videogames industry over the past five years. Fewer words these days can sink a game’s reputation faster. Take the controversial Final Fantasy XIII: surrounded by malicious Internet mutterings of, “It’s just one straight line”, its reputation was damaged before its release and the stigma of linearity still surrounds it today. Strike up a conversation with a critic of Final Fantasy XIII and the first thing that will be brought up- I guarantee you this- is the linearity. Try it at home, you can make good money.

But are things as different as people think? I went back to Final Fantasy VII– that most treasured of titles- to find out. Upon leaving Midgar, I was instructed to go directly to the nearby town of Kalm. No detours. I decided to defy this order and see how much of this new frontier I could explore. Not much. There was a giant land snake that killed me if I went too far in one direction, and a Chocobo Stable that I couldn’t use. In-between all of that was not a land of unexplored wonder, but a big green blob of grassland filled with unusually-organised groups of monsters that wanted to hurt me. The game refused to allow me to advance, despite teasing me with a brave new world. I was, in fact, on a straight line.

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Review: Blade Kitten (XBLA)

December 2, 2010 1 comment

Did you know that Blade Kitten was based on a webcomic? No, I’d never heard of it either before the appearance of this nifty little title from Kroze Studios. You don’t need to have read the source material first though, as this is both a prequel and pretty light on plot. The main character is anime catgirl Kit Ballard, a bounty hunter in your standard sci-fi future world. There’s something about her “breaker key” (a license that allows her to legally hunt certain bounties) getting stolen at the start, but that plot point is resolved about halfway through and never really followed up on. Really, it’s just an excuse for a lot of 2D platforming action and quite a bit of fun.

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