Monday, April 04, 2011

Game Diary: DQVI, Okamiden, Assassin's Creed II

Okay, firstly... that podcast, huh? I hope you've listened to it. If not, I would encourage you to go do that now. It's not the slickest production in the world seeing as it is my first stab at it and I don't have the most outgoing nature anyway, but I'm quite pleased with the way it's turned out. You can hear my thoughts on the 3DS and four of the launch games (full written reviews will arrive in time), as well as a ton of the best remixes of video game music thanks to OverClocked ReMix. I hope to have episode two up around the end of the month, and it will be a slightly more scripted affair this time so hopefully I won't stumble over my words quite so much.

In other news, I have completed my first playthrough of Dragon Age II, so a review is imminent. I will also have a review for Super Mario Galaxy up this week. Besides these two games, my recent gaming time has been taken up by Dragon Quest VI, Assassin's Creed II and a little bit of Okamiden. Dragon Quest VI will be very familiar to those who have played IV or V on the DS, as it runs on exactly the same engine. Where IV's shtick was giving each of the main characters their own chapters before they met up to save the world (here's my review), and V's was the fact that you played as three generations of the same family of adventurers, this game was the first in the series to include a job system. I have only just got to the point in the game where I can change class (after 10 hours of play), but this game differs from Dragon Quest IX in that any abilities learned carry over when you change class, so in theory you can become all powerful if you're prepared to put enough time into it. For some, this breaks the game, but I'm not especially bothered by it. Not yet anyway. Okamiden is a bit of a strange one, because while on the one hand Capcom have really captured the look and feel of the original Okami on the DS, the platform does struggle somewhat to deliver the sequel that fans were clamouring for. The d-pad controls are pretty terrible for starters (though drawing with the celestial brush is perfect for the system), and the pacing at the start of the game gets bogged down in far too much text. You just want to get stuck into the adventure, but the game just plods along at a snails pace. This was also a problem with the original game but it didn't seem quite so pronounced when everything felt new. Okamiden also has a tendency to retread old ground from the original game, and while it is kind of nostalgic to see the same village from the PS2/Wii game at first, after a while it just seems that Capcom were reusing old art assets to save money. It's also something of a shame that the game has been released just as Nintendo transitions from the old DS to the 3DS, as it will most likely be overlooked just like the first game was. Why Capcom didn't wait and make a much better game on the 3DS is beyond me. As for Assassin's Creed II, this one has been on my backlog pile for ages now and I really want to play through it so that I can pick up Brotherhood. I actually did play a fair amount of it before, but I have decided to start again from the beginning. It's such a great game, leaps and bounds above the first one, which was a good idea that suffered from far too much repetition and banal gameplay. The second time around, Ubisoft have crammed so much in there to find and do, and I find I actually want to explore the various cities and discover everything. I think I'll be playing this one for quite some time, and really enjoying myself while I do so. That's it for this week, keep your eyes peeled for those reviews!

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