The penultimate part of my Christmas Gaming Gift Guide will most likely go live on Friday. In the the mean time here are my first impressions of four new Nintendo DS games.
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker
The first thing that strikes you about this game is the graphics. They are extremely close to the style used in Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2, which is no mean feat. When you get a bit further into the game, you realise that DQM: J lacks the plot of the PS2 game, and is more of a Pokemon style collect-em-up. I've never really enjoyed Pokemon games, despite having tried them several times, but for some reason this game appealed to me where the Pokemon games don't. A great little RPG which is extremely addictive - look for a full review some time in the future!
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
The Original Trilogy was a buggy mess, and the levels also differed from the home console versions rather greatly. I am pleased to say that The Complete Saga is a huge improvement however. While some of the the levels are missing, the game is much more solid this time - the only niggle I have is that sometimes you are unable to activate force powers even though you should be able to, which results in wiggling your character about until the object you're trying to use starts to glow. The DS version benefits from some touch screen mini games, which give you more opportunities to earn studs and gold lego bricks. Worth a look if you're after some Star Wars action on the move.
Dementium: The Ward
I haven't played this one as much as the others featured here - only about an hour so far, but I was extremely impressed with what I saw, not to mention terrified. The developers have managed to capture the creepy atmosphere of a Silent Hill game, except this one is viewed in the first person. You wander around a zombie infested Hospital, spattered with blood of ex-patients and armed only with a night stick in the beginning. Before I could find a better weapon, I had my intestine gnawed on by a dozen grissly monsters - so like Silent Hill it's rather challenging until you know what you're doing.
The Simpsons Game
The DS version of The Simpsons Game is for all intents and purposes a traditional 2D platforming game, in much the same style as a Mario or Yoshi game. Without all of the many characters and voice clips recorded especially for the game, it would be a pretty average experience, but their inclusion, combined with a script written by people who have actually worked on the show elevate to above average status. It won't win any Game of the Year award but for fans of the show, it's great!
If you have a DS, then any of these may be worth a look depending on your tastes!