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Monday, January 27, 2014

Sunday Update: 1/26/14


Heart of Darkness (PS1): Second straight appearance, Second all time 
Last weekend, I was only a few levels into Heart of Darkness, and my feelings about the game were less than great. However, after getting through a couple more levels, I'm really starting to enjoy this game. There's a certain amount of intrigue from me regarding the art style and animation- I've never seen anything like Heart of Darkness from a platformer. The backgrounds and enemies still look great even today. (That's purely in gameplay, by the way. The CG cutscenes don't hold up today.)

This may seem tangential, but I've been thinking about giving "Let's Play" another shot after my classic THPS2 LP from 2011:

I think Heart of Darkness (That or Tony Hawk 4, because I figured out a way to do that game some actual justice) could actually be a good game for an LP series from me. I have a problem with playing well and talking at the same time (if you can't tell from the video above), so a lower-paced game like Heart of Darkness that I enjoy would be a likely candidate for my triumphant re-entry into this sorta thing.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (PS1):
I'm really sorry, everyone. Every time that Crash Bandicoot is brought up to me, I generally brush the series off. I never enjoyed my copy of Crash 2 (which I've owned since about 2004 or '05, actually), but I decided to try it again this week. To my surprise, I've been totally wrong about this series! The platforming is actually pretty tight, though not quite perfect. The level design is good, the enemies are fun to fight, the boss fights are actually pretty decent, because they're (surprise) not awful and an absurd spike in difficulty to take all of the enjoyment out of the game. No, actually, the boss levels in Crash 2 are fairly enjoyable! Looking forward to finishing this one, actually.

ModNation Racers: Road Trip (PSV): Second Straight Appearance, Second All-Time
I figured out another thing I like about this one! The "Championship" (known as "Grand Prix" in Mario Kart [and who am I kidding, of course I'm just using this like Mario Kart]) mode works much differently than in Mario Kart because there's no consistency among computer-controlled drivers between races. Much like a human would, performance of every racer fluctuates between tracks. This means that a cup win doesn't have to come from a perfect performance on every track because goddamn Dry Bones keeps getting second and there's really no breathing room if he wins this next race, but a consistently high-place (getting first doesn't hurt) will keep you in the hunt just as well. Also, you can redo individual tracks in championship mode, which is much more preferable to going back and retrying all four tracks just because you were unlucky on the third one of four.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PSV):
I love seeing mixed reviews of a game nowadays. With many games, there's a sort of consensus about quality, where many critics have the same general opinion on most games. In researching games, you're only going to need to see two or three reviews to have a general understanding of what everyone thinks of a certain title. This wasn't exactly the case when I first started paying attention back seven or eight years ago. My first encounter with with mixed reviews came from Pokemon Channel for the GameCube. Nintendo Power gave it like 22 stars out of 25 or so, and EGM (which I trusted a bit more at the time) was less positive, saying the game deserved a 4/10 or something like that. Due to the way games are designed now, and the way that game websites and magazines work today, you'll be pretty sure of how good something is, especially if it's a big-budget title, with only a few reviews.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories (much like a number of games on the Vita) doesn't exactly have that. I have seen some fairly favorable reviews, and I've seen the opposite. As for me, at the moment, I lean more towards the positive side. Though I've never tried a Silent Hill title before this (and I'm sure that my lack of experience with the series influences why I have a favorable opinion), I'm enjoying the story, and I like the way the gameplay "karma" system works. I'm not very far into it, so be on the look out for what I think of it in the future.

Well, that's all for this week. I guess it's Monday...

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