Archive for 2011

Ar Tonelico and other Gustiness

For a long time, I avoided Studio Gust.  It’s not that I expected their games to be bad, merely that I expected them to feel wrong in some way.  Unlike other studios, they seem to embrace the quirkiness and stereotypes of anime, lending them an even more bubblegum feel than the Persona games.  Such fears were, of course, not wholly unmerited – having played the first Ar Tonelico and the recent Atelier Totori, while not making me an expert in the subject of Gust games, at least tells me that much.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments

Paladin’s Quest Review

In the vein of games like Arcana and 7th Saga, I picked up a copy of Paladin’s Quest.  Unlike the former two, I find Paladin’s Quest to be quite tolerable in difficulty, if unintuitive.  All three have their strong points, but PQ is by far the most playable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments

Some thoughts on 7th Saga

I’m not sure I can call this a “review”, but I do want to write down a few things about the much-maligned (and rightly so!) 7th Saga.

First off – it is a difficult game, but only in its form as The 7th Saga.  The 7th Saga is a cruel, unforgiving grind-fest of a game which will offer only a few lines of dialogue for every hour of wasting time fighting the same enemies over and over.  I spent 16 hours trying to play this game in its “original” US format, and I got perhaps a third of the way through.  More than ten hours were spent not trying to progress – not even exploring, or side-questing, or talking to villagers – merely trying to survive in the new area where suddenly I was once again in grave danger of dying in every single battle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)

Thoughts on PAX 2011

I attended PAX Prime again this year.  It’s a good chance to get in touch with (somewhat) local friends, and to visit Seattle, which is a pretty cool city to just walk around.  And, of course, there were games there.

I don’t usually visit the big booths on the Expo Hall floor, since – by and large – the same content is out in a few weeks, and coverage on it is out in a few days.  I did try out the intro for Mass Effect 3, which was fun enough, but not worth the 2-hour wait.  The best under-the-radar game I saw there was Shoot Many Robots – a co-operative, 1-4 player shoot-em-up, which feels like a post-apocalyptic, hick-themed Metal Slug.  Some brief bits follow:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments

Review – The Last Remnant

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about The Last Remnant.  On the one hand, its Akitoshi Kawazu pedigree shines through, with an incredibly nuanced battle system that never fully makes up for its terrible plot.  On the other hand, that battle system is really very good and worth playing the game for on its own, it’s just that the plot was made even worse – seemingly deliberately – to balance things out.

Kawazu has a long history of working on the SaGa games, and it is entirely reasonable to call TLR a stealth entry in the series, since it has many of the hallmarks.  Aside from standard battle system/plot dichotomy, there’s a wonderfully imaginative world that very little is actually done with, entertaining side characters that never really break into the third dimension, incredibly good music that has only bits and pieces of substance to go with, and enough sidequests to deliberately avoid the main story for hour on end.  Atmosphere is fed in small spoonfuls for completing hour-long quests, while stat increases are passed out like candy on Halloween after every single battle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments