Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Game Diary 10/04/2014-15/04/2014

I've been busy all week catching up with two months worth of work I didn't have time for previously. I thought I wouldn't have time for games at all but I'm ahead of schedule.

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (wii)
I decided I wanted something different out of this so I've started playing as A.B.A, now that I'm playing as a character with a play style I;m not use to I find a lot of my matches int he game are going into round 3 which is alright but it has made me discover a fairly annoying bug in the game, the fucking music does not loop when the song ends, which means if I fight for too long the game will go completely silent until the fight ends. It's pretty irritating because the music is one of my favourite things about Guilty Gear.

Geometry Wars Galaxies (Wii)
I got curious and had a look at the wi-fi high score table for the Retro Evolved. The guy in first managed a score of over 13 billions, every single person below him didn't even manage 2 billion. I can't decide if he cheated or is a master of the game, the wii player base probably isn't very big, I wonder what the world record is on the 360 and PC versions?
Anyway I came to the realization that the classic controller isn't that great for this for one simple reason, the control stick has an octagonal ring around it which makes it hard to have full 360 degree control over your shots. Anyway I have always believed this is the best version of Geometry Wars, it's not HD like the 360 and PC versions but it has like 50 times the content of the original Retro Evolved, amazingly I've had people tell me I'm wrong. I can;t say how this holds up to Geometry Wars 2 because I've never played the full version of that.

Go! Go! Cosmo Cops (DS)
Started played this for real. It's super easy but at least it tries different things and doesn't get boring. It probably won;t take me long to beat this, I do think the developers put together a well designed game and in many ways the game probably would have been better off if it wasn't a retail game (no one buys these kind of games in shops sadly).

Beatmania (PS1)
I'm still shit at it.

Phantasy Star Online Version 2 (Dreamcast)
I finally unlocked the final area, Jesus wept what a difficulty spike. The enemies are incredibly tough and the rooms you fight them in are often cramped which makes it harder to fight them when your main weapon happens to be guns (still better than using swords). The guild missions are pretty hard too because you get partnered up with a NPC on all 3 of them and they all use close range weapons so they get completely murdered by the monsters.

Hydro Thunder (Dreamcast)
I tried to see if I could unlock the hard stages, I couldn't. Hydro Thunder is arcade at the core. The only way you are going to beat it is if you play all the stages over and over until you remember where all the boost refills are located and even then the games AI rubber bands almost at random, I can break my own course record and finish 2 places lower than I did on a previous time.

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Spirit Caller (DS)
I completely this game ages ago and I've put a good 70 hours into it but I still pop it on every now and then to try and grind some more experience and level up so I can get more cards. Never going to get to play this online seeing how the servers die in 5 days and I only own a DS Phat.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Ultimate Masters Edition: World Championship Tournament 2006 (GBA)
I'm finally ready to start playing this again. I haven't been playing this much ever since I lost a good 50 hours worth of play time, the fact that the monster that was played when my game corrupted looked like this is completely incidental.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Game Diary: 04/04/2014-09/04/2014

Tekken 5 (PS2)
I don't know why but I found I have this thing with Namco fighting games where I can only go up to a certain point with them. In the case of Soul Calibur I never go past Soul Calibur II. I played Soul Calibur III when it came out and was so very disappointed, the Broken Destiny on PSP didn't do it for me either and from what I've read and seen IV and V weren't much better. With Tekken I have the same sort of thing going on but unlike Soul Calibur I don't see it as something I'm going to give up on. Don't get me wrong I played the hell out of Tekken 6 at launch but in hindsight it was not what I actually wanted from Tekken game nor was it that great. I have heard a lot of great things about Tekken Tag Tournament 2 so I'll look into getting that sometime in the future.
Anyway Tekken 5, there are two reasons I still play this loads. Reason 1) It has the arcade versions of Tekken 1, 2 & 3; Tekken  3 is one of my all time favourite games, I can't do it justice in words, it is just perfect. 2) Tekken 4 wasn't very good and with Tekken 5 it felt like they had gone back and looked at what Tekken 3 so great, in other words I like it because it felt like the real follow up to Tekken 3.

Tekken Tag Tournament (PS2)
It isn't just the gameplay that makes a fighting game for me. My favourite fighting games are ones that have a certain appeal to them, these games I adore I consider to had an "it" factor that propels them to greater heights. Although the European version of Tekken tag Tournament is hamstrung by it's slow ass 50hz speed I still enjoy it immensely because of the factors outside of the gameplay (which is for a 50hz game is still pretty acceptable). My favourite things about Tekken tag are as follows: The music, the visual design and the artistic direction the designers went with. Those are the things that make me love Tekken Tag. It's not just Tekken Tag, Tekken 3, Street Fighter 3: Third Strike, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Guilty Gear X2, these are all game that hit this sweet spot for me and that is why I love them (also I adore the box art and wish more games had box art like it).

Guilty Gear X (PS2)
Every time I play this it really depresses the hell out of me. 50hz only, poorly optimised and really, really slow. I really like Guilty Gear but I can't be doing with this version of Guilty Gear X, it's too slow and as a result the game just isn't the same and the animations sometimes look really choppy. One day I will have a PS2 that plays NTSC games and I will be able to play this the way it was meant to be played.

Super Smash Bros Melee (Gamecube)
Nothing to say other than I played some friendly matches and need to practice some more. I have to be honest recently news about the new Wii U Smash Brothers has got me kind of looking forward to the game. From what Nintendo have revealed it sounds like they are aiming to make the game more like Melee and give it that speed and competitive game that was oh so missing from Brawl.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Game Diary: 28/03/2014-03/04/2014

If there is one thing I hate it is being sick, you can't get a damn thing done when you are sick. I've pretty much sat on my ass all week while waiting to get better. I just want to be able to go out and do the things I love, like running and weight lifting and shit. I also hate work deadlines because your workload always suddenly becomes bigger.

Cardfighters' Clash: SNK vs. Capcom (Neo Geo Pocket)
I'm currently at that point in the game where my only focus is on building up my card collection, the tournament finals that you get to enter once you have all six coins are tough because the opponents have access to really powerful cards. I've probably said this before but one thing I like about Cardfighters' is how it seems possible to break the game if you get the right cards. I'm currently trying to get 3 copies of Yashiro from King of Fighters, not just is he a strong card but he sends an opponents card back to their hand when he is played, considering that cards can only attack the turn after they are played that is a huge advantage to have and it can win games.

Beatmania, Beatmania 2nd Mix, Beatmania 5th Mix and Beatmania Best Hits (PS1)
I've had this on my list for a while, I have a thing for Konami's music games, if I didn't live on the top floor of an apartment building I'd probably still be playing the Dancing Stage games. I really like what Beatmania is more than I like Beatmania when I think about it. I've never been a big follower of music in general but when it comes to music games I am often all over them (unless they are Guitar Hero or Singstar of something), I think Beatmania appears to that part of me that loves the idea of mixing and being a DJ but at the same time has no knowledge or talent with music, also it appeals to the part of me that is attracted to high skill arcade games that I am rubbish at.
As you can see from the bold writing I have 4 versions of Beatmania, 3 of which happen to be Japan imports, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone to find that the PAL version I own happens to be the easiest.

Metal Gear Solid (PS1)
Got bored of playing Beatmania while at the video game league so I shoved this into my PS1 and decided to see how much of it I could burn through in 2 hours. It turns out MGS is much, much shorter than I remember as I am currently on my way to fight Sniper Wolf after getting the Sniper Rifle. To be fair to it Metal Gear Solid is one of those games I need to play every now and then to remind me how good it actually is, it's been over 16 years since this game came out and it still holds up (you could probably make an exception for the graphics). It's a master piece and to be honest I prefer it over the remake and its stupid as fuck missile hopping and back flip sequences.

Red Steel (Wii)
I paid £40 for this back in the day, £40! It's funny thinking about it now, I had a choice, this or Twilight Princess on Gamecube. Christmas 2006 was an odd time thinking about it, the wii had just came out and everyone was buying into what it could do, to put this into perspective, the day I got Red Steel I also got a brand new Xbox for £50 with Halo 2, Forza, PGR2 and Fable. I played Red Steel over Halo 2, that is how much I wanted to believe the Wii was the future. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh on Red Steel there but the game was one of the things that sold people on the console, then they played it. I remember my first time playing Red Steel, I couldn't not get on with the motion controls at all, I used to think the game was difficult but playing it again now I realise, I just wasn't use to it yet, no one was.
Just over sevens years have passed since then and playing it now I can play the game and see it for what it is, an adequate job. Some people will tell you Red Steel is shit, it isn't shit it is just adequate, it was a launch title made for a system featuring a control method that no one was used to, for what it was it was acceptable.
Playing it now I have these thoughts, 1) the game isn't particularly hard, not anymore anyway; 2) the voice acting is terrible, it's bad, it's terribad; 3) this game wishes it was a John Woo film.
I'll give Red Steel some credit, clearly the studio that made it did try, they tried different things and then went on to make Red Steel 2 which did, thankfully, address most of the flaws of the original (though considering how much was changed it might as well be a new series).

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Game Diary: 26/03/2014-27/03/2014

Cardfighters' Clash: SNK vs Capcom (Neo Geo Pocket)
I've been playing this mostly for the last two days, I have a thing for card games so this was a no brainier for me. There are two versions of Cardfighters' Clash, I have the SNK version so I started the game with an SNK deck and have to win all my Capcom cards. Cardfighters' Clash isn't a particularly deep card game but it is absorbing once you get into it, there is something fun about card games like this, it is very basic and the cards reflect that, you can have up to 3 of any card in your deck and when you consider the abilities of some cards you quickly realise that the card game can easily be broken if you get the right cards (a lot of card games have this problem in their early phase). In that sense Cardfighters' is like an RPG, you keep having matches and with each one you win you improve a little. If there is one thing that I think is a huge shame it is that the card game was never adapted into a real life card game because something like Capcom vs SNK would have had some legs as a card game, in my opinion anyway. Also there was a sequel with all new cards and mechanics but it was Japan only, what a shame.

Fatal Fury First Contact (Neo Geo Pocket)
I play tested this more than anything, I'm not really that big on Fatal Fury, I love Garou: mark of the Wolves but that is an entirely different beast to the rest of the Fatal Fury games. This is okay I guess, it isn't as good as King of Fighters R-2, or The Last Balde, or Samurai Shodown II but it is still a decent fighting game.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Game Diary: 24/03/2014-25/03/2014

Guilty Gear X (PS2)
So after a few failed ebay attempts I finally got a copy of Guilty Gear X and was bitterly disappointed when I discovered this PS2 version had no 60hz mode. Guilty Gear was not designed for 50hz, the game becomes far too slow to be played as it was intended to be played, the fast, hectic pace of Guilty Gear is what makes it so fun to play. The PAL version of X is still playable but this is something you'll want to import either on Dreamcast or on PS2 if you have some magic on hand.

Guilty Gear X2 (PS2)
I picked this up a while back too, now I have the vanilla version of X2 to go along with my PC version of #reload. This is a good version, a very good version, has a 60hz mode, the game plays in the correct aspect ratio (my PC monitor doesn't support 4:3 because it's cheap), it's what a Guilty Gear game is suppose to be like. I think one of the things that prompted me to get this was seeing how different the original version of Robo-Ky was to the one we have now. The original Robo-Ky was a re-skin of Ky Kiske who used his ex moveset and had a different standing and walking animation. As far as I am aware he isn't playable, not at first anyway. I love the theme for Robo-Ky in X2, it's just a fucked up version of Ky Kiske's theme, this theme was later dropped in #reload when Robo-Ky became a unique character.

Puzzle Bobble Mini (Neo Geo Pocket)
My Neo Geo Pocket finally arrived and the guy who sold it to me included a boxed copy of Puzzle Bobble Mini which is quite frankly an amazing act of generosity. Puzzle Bobble Mini is pretty damn good, it's no different to any other version of Puzzle Bobble aka Bust-A-Move but why would you want it to be. It's a fun pick up and play title that's for sure.

King of Fighters R-2 (Neo Geo Pocket)
This was a favourite last time I owned a Neo Geo Pocket, it's one of the more common games on the system but it is still incredibly fun and is good for showing off the control stick, I personally think the Neo Geo Pocket Color did fighting game controls better than any other handheld. KoF R-2 is pretty damn easy and can be beaten fairly quickly but at the end of the day the game is clearly a time killer, and a good one at that.

Puzzle Link 2 (Neo Geo Pocket)
I bought this on a whim because there wan't any other cheap games available at the time (all the ebay shops have restocked since). This is a pretty decent puzzle game, it's completely different to any other puzzle game I've played which is nice because they can't all be about blocks and balls. I haven't played this one much so i can't say much about it right now.

Another Code: Two Memories (DS)
I played this years ago but didn't get very far, I've started it again and haven't gotten very far. I'm quite eager to play Another Code this time around because I've always liked Cing's games, Hotle Dusk, Last Window and Little Kings Story are all great titles. It's funny, I own every Cing title except for Glass Rose on PS2, maybe I'll look into getting that one soon.

Lumines Plus (PS2)
This fucking game. I absolutely fucking love Lumines, I love it's music anyway. When I used to have a PSP this was ion my opinion one of the systems better games, alas I do not own a PSP anymore, how would I play Lumines without a PSP? Turns out Lumines Plus on PS2 is the exact same game. I actually like the game better on PSP, Lumines is not a game you play in short bursts nor would you want to on a PSP (you'll get hand cramp). Lumines has one big difference over other puzzle games, it isn't designed to be played for five minutes, when you play Lumines you sit down and keep playing until you game over, then you start again. Lumines is a game that takes a lot of skill and focus to play so you end up putting 100% of your focus into the game and seeing how far you can go, the further you go in the game the more stage skins (and songs) you unlock, it is an incredibly rewarding system that gives the game a sense of progression, once you get good at it you can make a single session on the game last half an hour or more and even if you spend 30 minutes getting to level 50 only to die you'll still want to start over and go through it all over again. That is the sign of a great game.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Game Diary: 20/03/2014-23/03/2014

Super Smash Bros Melee (Gamecube)
Nothing to say other than playing competitively so much really makes you feel the difference when you turn on items and start playing as characters you wouldn't normally play as. Competitive Melee is fun but every now and then it is nice you have a stupid match like Pokeball's only or a Jigglypuff 4-way where you can only use the rest attack.

Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Gamecube)
I'm slowly pushing through this, winning cups on sitting at a time. I'm not looking forward to doing them all again to unlock the challenges I missed out on the first time.

Sniper Elite (Wii)
Sniper Elite on Wii is nothing more than a shoddy port of a mediocre 2005 PC game, the game controls like ass and it takes some time to adjust. Each mission is taking me on average 40 minutes to an hour because I don't know what I'm doing, the controls aren't made very clear in the games instructions, it doesn't help that all the tutorial videos the game shows you at the start are from the PC version. I'd hate to think what this would have been like had it been played with the Wii Zapper as intended.

Pangya! Golf with Style (Wii)
I played on this while I was waiting for something to download on my PC. A lot of people scoff at this stuff but I really enjoy some of those casual play Wii games, they all get put together as cheap budget game rubbish but there are some great casual games on Wii and this is one of those said games. I've already spoke about how the sequel betters this in every way but it is still great fun.

Trauma Center: Under the Kinfe (DS)
Playing through the same stages as in Second Opinion make me realise how much the gameplay has been refined between each Trauma Center game, it isn't that Under the Kinfe has aged badly but everything was done a lot better in the later games. I find some simple things to be bothersome to do in under the knife, some times the game won't count a stitching even though you clearly stitched over the cut.

Tetris DS (DS)
I finally did it, I finally beat all 20 levels of a Tetris game, I don't know what made me play so well all of a sudden but my screen was hardly full when I completed the final line. This is my favourite version of Tetris by far and it is a shame that it won't be playable online anymore come the end of May (not that I can play online with my DS Original).

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Game Diary: 17/03/2014-19/03/2014

Super Smash Bros Melee (Gamecube)
I don't really want to talk about this much anymore, I've played it a bit, I'm still getting better, I won a match against a person I couldn't beat previously and I didn't get picked to represent the University at the game because I never attended any trials because I was too obsessed with playing Guilty Gear.

Animal Crossing (Gamecube)
It's been a while but I finally gave this a play, nothing has changed in the weeks I've been away, there are lots of weeds and one of the towns people left but I don't feel like I've missed anything at all. I guess taking a break from the game was good for me as now I feel like I can play it when I feel like playing it.

Trauma Center: Second Opinion (Wii)
I'm pretty much done with this for the time being. I've moved onto something that is better in every way.

Trauma Center: New Blood (Wii)
I started this, I finished this. When I encounter a game I have never played before and get into it I end up feeling really good, I never wanted to stop playing this game. The game is a huge improvement over previous Trauma Center games, the game is a lot faster, the story has much better pacing, the gameplay has more variety and a lot of things that were annoying or frustrating in the previous games (getting a miss for putting objects back on the trey) have been removed. What puzzles me then is all the negative reviews for this game that criticise it for being too difficult and frustrating, maybe it's just because I played this coming off Second Opinion but I didn't find New Blood particularly difficult, I'll admit the early levels were clearly more complex than those in Under the Knife and Second Opinion but it wasn't a difficulty spike by any means.

Trauma Center: Under the Knife (DS)
Playing the above games made me want to go back and try the original DS game again as I never completed it when I played it years ago. It's weird, I never thought I'd find the wii controls better than the DS for a game like this, I don't think it is a case of Wii controls being better than the DS touch screen. Under the Knife was the first Trauma Center game and it shows, there are so many small differences in the gameplay that I'm glad were removed or refined in later games, for example in Under the Knife you have to suck up liquids manually which makes draining fluids harder because you cannot move the drain, the syringe also has to be filled manually every time you use it, there are other differences like this too and I'm glad they were dropped from all future games (I can't remember if they returned in Under the Kinfe 2, I hope not).

Metroid Prime Pinball (DS)
I'm glad to have this again, I hardly get to ever play it but I really like pinball, I know there are lots of pinball games like Pinball FX but I've just never been interested in it, games like Metroid Prime Pinball, Pokemon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire and Devil Crush though I'm quite fond of.
My copy came with the DS Rumble Pack and I always forget how useless these things are, they have such a weak rumble that you might as well tape a vibrator to your DS for all the good it does.
Metroid Prime Pinball is a pretty good take on the pinball format, it has a lot of the things I like, lots of metal bits, loud noises, gameplay that becomes rewarding as you get better, it has its gimmicky bits but I don't mind them because it gives you a quick break from juggling balls around the board. It isn't a ground breaking pinball game or anything but it does everything right as far as I am concerned, multiball never gets boring.

Go Go Cosmo Cops (DS)
So this is a game I bought despite never having heard of it and not having any information to go on. I more or less bought this because of the box art, namely the bit that says Namco. I'm kind of into Namco games, mainly their earlier stuff. I don't know why I went and bought this, I think I just wanted something new and different.
Anyway this game is actually decent, it reminds me of those DK King of Swing games Nintendo Made years ago. I haven't played very far into this but it seems very arcade like in its design, like the game took one idea and just ran with it to see how far it can be taken. Interestingly this game according to Wikipedia is a European exclusive, Japan didn't even get this (it was cancelled).