Monday, March 07, 2011

Game Diary: Handheld Heaven

This weekend I shut out the outside world and got down to some serious gaming, and it was glorious. The majority of my time was spent playing my trusty DSi - despite its successor only being a few weeks away, the old system still has a ton of quality software to offer (that will also still work on the new system thanks to backwards compatibility).

First off, my copy of Radiant Historia finally arrived after a bit of a delay. I have basically played through the introductory portion of the game, which covers the main mechanics of the game and a few battles. The main twist that it has going for it is the time manipulation - at certain points in the game, a "node" is created in history, and you can use the magical book known as the White Chronicle to go back and follow a different path. I'm not sure yet whether there is only one "correct" path through history, but I do know there are multiple endings and side quests that utilise this feature. Visually the game is reminiscent of 16-bit RPGs - nothing too flashy, but nicely drawn, and audibly the game benefits greatly from a fantastic soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura (probably best known for her work on the Kingdom Hearts series).

Another DS RPG has been getting the bulk of my attention, however - Dragon Quest VI. Despite not having completely finished Dragon Quest V or IX yet (the end of these games tend to be a bit grind heavy) I was keen to begin yet another entry in the series. When DQIX came out before this one, I did have my doubts whether Square-Enix would actually bother localising it into English at all, but I'm glad they did. This is the first time that the third and final part of the Zenithia trilogy has been officially translated (a fan made patch for the SNES ROM has existed for quite some time). I'm now around 8 hours into the game and only just getting to the point where I can change my character class, which is quite a long way in if you ask me. Presentation wise, the game is pretty much identical to DQIV and V, as you would expect as it uses the exact same engine and a lot of the art assets as those two games. There may have been an awful lot of Dragon Quest put out on the DS, but I still love these games.

Apart from these two, I was somewhat surprised to discover that I had a craving to play some more Dragoneer's Aria last week, despite it not being especially polished in any particular area. The thinness of the plot and quick loading times (for the PSP) actually make it the perfect game to while away the time during the daily commute, and now my PSP travels with me to and from work and fit roughly half an hour of play time in each way, which is usually enough to gain a few levels.

Finally, the award for the least appealing game of recent times has to go to Bulletstorm. Having heard and seen quite a bit about this game on the various podcasts that I listen to/watch, I most definitely have no desire to play a time that is so immature. I don't care if an interesting and innovative combo mechanic is buried underneath all of the swearing, I have no intention of going anywhere near it. Thankfully there are so many other excellent games coming out I don't have to give it any more thought - for example Dragon Age II is now less than a week away! You can bet I will be reviewing that one once I've had time to play through it. Farewell for now.

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