Capsule Game Reviews – March 2011

So… gaming. Gaming is my main hobby, but particularly older consoles. I like for things to be slightly out of date. Also, my general low income means that I sometimes miss the bus on things when they’re hot so I don’t discover them until after the fact. Most of the time though, lack of interest is a huge factor.

Lately, I’ve been catching up on the Playstation and PS2. Almost a decade ago I owned a PS2, but it stopped working. For awhile that left a sour taste in my mouth and I swore off PS2 and all consoles of the same generation. But I found a game series I loved that had installments on the PS2 and the love I had for that was enough to override that sour taste, so I bought one.

Admittedly, some of that sour taste returned. The PS2 I bought was a modded machine so I could play imports, but within just a couple of months it started showing signs that it was dying, so I already had to purchase a second one (this time a brand-new one, from Amazon). The fact that I decided to buy a second one after the disappointment says it all about my commitment though.

So here’s some capsule reviews of games I’ve played since January, which was when I got back into the PS2 scene. This includes some PS1 games as well:

Armored Core 2 – The longer I played the more I got into this game. I, of course, named my pilot “EdmondDantes.” My Core is called the Gandalf and I colored it primarily with primary colors and an emblem that looks like the letters ED with a smoke trail. Yeah, that’s right, I mainly was into the whole customizing-my-mech thing and spent longer doing that than I did missions… or would, if that were possible. I honestly find some missions to be BS, particularly the night ones, where I had to turn up the brightness on my TV to see anything. That’s actually a common problem with PS1/2 games and one reason I primarily stick to older consoles.

Eternal Ring – I would’ve bought this anyway eventually but I went out of my way to acquire a copy because someone on TV Tropes claimed it had all these incredibly bad design flaws which I just couldn’t believe (it being a From Software game). As I suspected, the troper turned out to be full of shit, but it really is kind of a letdown considering that From Software’s games are usually pretty good. This one didn’t have any really stand-out flaws, just it wasn’t much of a game.

King’s Field: The Ancient City – This is actually the English version of King’s Field 4. Like the other three games its a first-person RPG with an exploration bent. It’s as good as the others, slightly longer and I don’t like that the “Light” spell is no longer absolute (there are some areas where it just doesn’t work), but it’s still a fine addition.

Metal Gear Solid – An example of “didn’t pay much attention to it back in the day, now I love it.” Managed to find this and its sequel at Goodwill for $8 each, and honestly I’m loving it now, and oddly I’m compelled as much by the plot as by the gameplay (usually I can’t stand games that have more talk than playtime). My only gripe is that sometimes I don’t like the controls, particularly the mechanism for making Snake put his back to the wall (until I practiced a bit, I often found myself doing it by accident). This game also taught me some things I hitherto had not known about the Playstation–such as that PS2 dual shocks are actually more sensitive than PS1 dual shocks (making me wonder how people managed to beat Sniper Wolf before the PS2 came out).

One note I need to make: In the original release of the game, there’s a codec frequency that the game tells you to find by looking at the back of the CD case. Yes, the game’s actual packaging. My copy is the Essential Collection one though, which stupidly does not have this image. HOWEVER, the frequency in question is now listed in the manual. So anyone else who has the collection: Search the manual. (I also wrote it on a memo pad and placed it in the back of the case so the game would be technically correct next time).

(I also have Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, but I haven’t played them yet)

Shadow of the Colossus – Wow. Just wow. You’ve probably heard everybody and their dog calling this one of the best overlooked games of any generation ever. Well, they’re right. This game is what the jump from 2D to 3D was invented for. It has everything you could ever want: A big open world that you can explore for freaking ever if you wish, and giant monsters that you can ride and stab to death. No, seriously, this game hero’s epic confrontation with sixteen awesome huge creatures rivals anything you’ve ever seen in movies. It needs to be played to be understood.

No, I haven’t played Ico yet–I just put in an order for it.

I also recently got some new anime: Record of Lodoss War and The Vision of Escaflowne. What’s weird is lately I’ve been getting burned out on anime as I haven’t felt particularly compelled to watch either one. Escaflowne though seems quite good. Lodoss can die in a fire though and I’m glad I didn’t pay very much money for it.

That’s all for now. Ja.


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