Monday, February 14, 2011

Game Diary: Shadows and Dust

I completed Tales of Vesperia last night! Woohoo! I won't say too much more about it because I don't want to duplicate stuff that I shall be putting in my review, but I'll just say that I really enjoyed it for the most part. My final play time came in at 45 hours, and there will still quite a few optional side quests and plot strands I could have explored. Though the game was quite linear in the early stages, but the end of the game you had the freedom to zip around the map, visiting towns and dungeons as you see fit. RPGs with decent overworlds are becoming something of a rarity, so it's nice to have a more recent contribution to the genre with one. I'm not entirely certain when I will manage to get a review up, as I want to spend some time on The Gamecube Vault and get my long delayed Fallout New Vegas review written first, but hopefully next week at the latest.

Finishing ToV gives me a little time to fit something else in before the release of Dragon Age 2. Now, a few weeks ago I put a couple of polls on the side bar to try and gauge what to play next. The votes I've received so far are unanimous - I should play Shadow Hearts: Covenant and focus on games I haven't completed before. So I am indeed going to play Covenant, but it's been so long since I played the first Shadow Hearts and it's a fairly short game, so I'm going to replay that first. I should hopefully get it done in time for Dragon Age 2, and then after that I will move onto Covenant, with the longer term goal being completion of the third game in the trilogy, From the New World. The Shadow Hearts series is something quite unique in the JRPG genre, as it blends HP Lovecraft inspired horror with quirky characters and humour.

The Shadow Hearts trilogy.

Of course, last week I mentioned the 3DS, so this week it's the turn of the NGP (which will always stand for Neo-Geo Pocket to me, but never mind). Sony is finally giving its fans a second analogue stick, which is a good thing, but I hope it doesn't have the side effect of unleashing a tidal wave of inferior spin offs of PS3 titles. Hopefully the inclusion of touch controls on the front and back as well as motion controls will see developers using their creativity in a similar fashion to that of the original DS, and we won't be drowned in first person shooters. All in all, I'm finding it hard to get quite as excited about Sony's new handheld, mainly because it's still quite a way off, but as the release draws near I expect that will change, and you can bet your life I will get one.

In other news, I picked up a great book on Friday: 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. There is some great stuff in here and it will take me a fair old while to read, but flicking through there are a few things that I wouldn't personally have put in there - Army of Two one of the games you must play? No way. I also wouldn't have put so many Metal Gear Solid games in there. The first one for the PS1 definitely, 3 and 4 maybe, but certainly not Portable Ops. Regardless, it remains a worthwhile purchase for gamers, and once I've had a chance to work how many I've played it will be interesting to see the results.

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