Lego Lord of the Rings (360): COMPLETED!

I’ve said before that I’m a big fan of Lego games. I buy all of them, and for the last few years have enjoyed them even more as I’ve played them in co-op with my daughter. For some reason, I’d never got round to picking up Lego Lord of the Rings (even though it’s pretty old now) until around New Year, when it was on sale on the 360 shop for about £3. I’d have preferred a Wii U or PS4 version, but neither exist. I’d also have preferred an actual physical version, but for £3 I can cope.

Coming to this after Lego The Hobbit, I can see it’s very similar. The overworld is almost the same, and some of the locations are – at least without a side by side comparison – identical. It’s fun, as all Lego games are, but it’s pretty far down the list when it comes to which is best. Although not unusual for a Lego title to be bug-ridden, Lego Lord of the Rings crashed completely several times, and on at least four occasions one of the characters got trapped in scenery and we had to restart the level. Twice, blocks that had to be pushed off cliffs froze in mid air, so we had to restart the level, and once we were unable to even start a level as it wouldn’t trigger. Pretty disappointing.

The quality of the levels themselves were not of a great standard either. Some were great, of course, but a few were truly terrible. The swamp level, with Gollum setting fire to things and you having to navigate through safe paths and put the fires out was an exercise in extreme patience as it just went on forever. The hiding from black riders and dragons (again this happened in the swamp, but also elsewhere) caused tedious stop-start gameplay, not conducive to enjoying the levels. In fact, we had to do the swamp level twice due to a bug mentioned above.

There were also too many fights of the form “Kill three of these” then “Kill five more” then “Kill seven more”. Repetitive and dull. Sorry, Traveller’s Tales. At least you’ve not done a Lego game as bad as this since!

All that said, it was still – on balance – actually pretty good. As always, it shines in two player and the source material and gags add to the enjoyment. We’re not going to 100% it this time though. Too many bugs and annoying sections have put paid to that.

The post Lego Lord of the Rings (360): COMPLETED! appeared first on deKay's Gaming Diary.

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious (360): COMPLETED!

Just trips off the tongue, that title, doesn’t it? It does exactly what it says on the tin, though – a Fast & Furious (tenuously) themed Forza Horizon game. Oh, and it’s free.

Yes, actually free. Presumably to tie in with the next The Fast and the Furious film, but aside from “the man in your ear” being Taj from the films, and a short montage of clips from the series, there’s not a lot of The Fast and the Furious here. Instead, loading screens encourage you to buy Forza Horizon and Forza Horizon 2, menu screens have links to buy them, and the end of game screen is literally “BUY THESE GAMES!!!!111!”, so it’s more a free advert for those than the films.

I’ve not played either Horizon game, aside from demos of one or the other (or possibly both), but FH2PF&F (or as some of the cool kids are calling it, fuhtwopuffandff) feels like I’d expect. It’s a little bit Forza Motorsport, and a little bit Need For Speed Most Wanted. In the three or so hours the game takes to complete, you have to round up ten cars buy beating the owners of them in the usual win-it-to-win-it races, with a few other events thrown in, such as drifting and having to reach a point unscathed.

It’s not especially hard, as very few events required more than one attempt, and I’ve nailed all bar one of the achievements (I can’t get a high enough combo for the last one) simply by playing the game. It looks great, and the cars are fun enough to drive. The map is pretty small when compared to the likes of Burnout Paradise and Need For Speed Most Wanted, but then this is pretty much just a stand-alone DLC pack for Horizon 2.

Will I return to play it some more? Yeah, I think so. I’ve a few more boards to find and smash, one road to drive (out of 134) which is eluding me, and I need to sort that last achievement out. After that, I can’t imagine picking it up again, but for several hours of free fun, I can’t recommend it enough.

Apparently, it’s only free for a few more days, so best nab it now.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (360): COMPLETED!

Oh 360. It’s been a while. Certainly since I completed anything on you, anyway. How unloved you are these days. But, since Ubisoft failed to release Rogue on the Wii U, I was left with little choice.

And it’s a shame, because much as I hate the recent boating bits in recent Assassin’s Creed games, they’re made much more bearable (especially in the ludicrous “boat stealth” sections) by being able to use the Wii U gamepad’s massive map. In fact, on Black Flag, I would usually steer the boat entirely by looking at the map. It made it much easier and – most importantly – made the boat bits shorter as a result. Anyway.

In the latter half of the game, Shay starts to wonder if his turncoatedness was actually wise, as he started systematically wiping out his former chums (and chumette) in the Brotherhood. As a result, it was pretty obvious how things were going to turn out, but the trip to get there was enjoyable enough.

Although, in terms of the story at least, Rogue was definitely the shortest “main” Assassin’s Creed game. There’s plenty of optional filler, of course, but the end of the plot seemed to come around rather too quickly. I like what Ubi did to tie it in with Unity though, bumping off Arno’s dad (after briefly meeting Arno himself, as a child) in the final epilogue mission.

It has faults, like all Assassin’s Creed games, and it has bugs (again, like all Assassin’s Creed games), but Rogue is the best one since at least Revelations. I do really want to play Unity now. Only I’ve nothing to play it on. Hmm.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (360)

While my 360 was on, I thought I might as well make a start on this. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it, as I knew there was a lot more boating, like there was in Black Flag, and I’m not keen on the idea of being a Templar who used to be an Assassin either – although I do have a theory about that, which I’ll mention in a minute.

I’m only half way through Sequence 2, but I’ve heard Rogue is substantially shorter than Black Flag so I’m not sure how far that actually is storywise. Shay, the man with the worst Irish accent ever, is still an Assassin, and has killed George Washington’s brother and a fat man called Smith, but has started to question whether he should or not as Washington was sick and Smith was harmless. So far, there has been a lot of tedious boating, not much proper assassining, The actual assassining has, however, been great as always, especially Washington’s garden party.

You can see that the game is stitched together from other games. There’s asset reuse in the boats, the Homestead (straight from Assassin’s Creed III), and the Abstergo offices (from Black Flag). The “modern day” plot involves a virus hitting the Abstergo network, causing glitches and corruption in the Animus. It’s this which I think (and hope) may explain Shay’s Templar conversion. From some of the files I’ve found in the offices, it would appear that things are not as they seem. It wouldn’t be the first time either – in Liberation, Citizen E shows what “really” happened in various bits of the game – and I expect something similar to be happening here. We’ll see.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (360): COMPLETED!

Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve completed an Xbox 360 game. In fact, bar the odd bit of Minecraft, I’ve barely touched it in ages. Today my daughter wanted to play a Turtles game, so I picked this.

It’s the original arcade game from 1989, although I did complete it almost eight years ago. Blimey. Was the 360 even around that long ago?

This time was in co-op, obviously, and I found it easier than I remember. Sure, a billion credits were used (for some reason the game only gives you one life each credit? Pretty sure I must have missed a setting somewhere), but the bosses didn’t seem as indestructible as I recall.

Anywho, done. There was some technical issue aftermath, though. After playing, the game reverted to the trial version, and so to fix it I deleted it and went to redownload it. Of course, it’s not on XBLA any more. Nor was it in my download history. In fact, NOTHING was in my download history aside from Minecraft. Twice. Not on my 360 nor on the Xbox website. All very odd. Sorted it a few hours later when the Xbox Support Twitter account provided me with a link to my download history, which appeared to be the same URL as the one I’d visited previously, but this time it listed everything. Phew.

Things I’ve been playing recently

A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games overt he last month and I’ve been playing each for a short time. I’ve yet to settle down and just work on one or two, so I’ve not made much progress in each. So here’s a list, in no particular order:

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (Vita)

tumblr_nhtwabelmc1svmpf2o1_1280My subscription to PS+ was autorenewed before I could cancel it (the whole service got DDOS’d and I couldn’t log in), so I thought I might as well make use of it. This is one of the rentals.

It’s Duke Nukem. A bit easier to control than the 360 version that appeared on XBLA, and with a nice (but often broken) rewind feature if you die. It’s the same game that it ever was, so great. Half way through the first episode so far.

Hohokum (Vita)

tumblr_nhzgjbfpdm1svmpf2o1_1280At least, I was playing this until my family hijacked my save game. I’ve no idea what’s going on. You’re a snake which flies around bizarre levels bumping into things which sometimes react, solving puzzles that aren’t really puzzles, in an attempt to reunite with other snakes. I think. You’re just dropped into the game with no explanation and just expected to get on with it. It’s good, but I’m confused and lost. No idea why I bought it, although it was on offer.

Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)

Oh.I’m sure the Gamecube version of this was easier to control. I’m still sticking mostly to Mega Man, and I’m trying, but it does seem very vague as to whether I actually pull off moves or not. And I can never remember in the heat of the moment how to do the special moves that try to carry you back onto a platform when you’ve been punched off. It’s utter chaos, but then I suppose that’s the appeal.

Whoa Dave! (Vita)

tumblr_nhttyfer181svmpf2o1_1280Another PS+ rental. It’s an 8bit (or lower, perhaps – it’s more like an Atari 2600 title) looking single screen arcade platformer. Eggs drop from the top of the screen, and after a while they hatch. Baddies pop out and when they hit the lava at the bottom of the screen they “level up” and become more dangerous, and then level up again each time they hit the lava. You have to beat them by chucking eggs at them, or by destroying the eggs by throwing exploding skulls at them. Then UFOs appear and it all gets really hard. Really like this game, so much so I’ll probably buy it when it hits the 3DS. My high score is $1.76, in case you want a target (an easy target) to aim for.

Peggle (Mac)

tumblr_nhtn2lm76a1svmpf2o1_1280I happened to be using my old MacBook, and Peggle was on it, and I couldn’t remember playing it on there before so wasn’t sure it would work and then I ran it to see and it did work and then an hour passed magically. It’s Peggle, and that’s what happens with Peggle. No idea how far I got.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Demo) (3DS)

I didn’t want to like this because I really wanted a Wii U version instead. Sadly, that doesn’t look likely to happen. It’s Monster Hunter, but made a bit easier to play (on the 3DS) as I’ve a shiny new New 3DS with extra buttons and a prodnipple, so it’s essentially got the same controls as the Wii U version of MH3U anyway.

I chose the Great Jaggi hunt as I know where I am with that, and picked a hunter with twin blades, not a class I’d used before. I don’t know if it’s the different weapons, or the different game, but the combat was so much swifter than I ever had on the previous game. Mind you, that was with a Great Sword and so slow and ponderous came with it. I like how you can now jump on the back of the Great Jaggi and slash at his (her?) neck, and it’s nice to have some new maps to hunt on. Do I want this now? Yes. Yes I do.

SteamWorld Dig (Wii U)

Toot_Toot_Sonic_WarriorIt’s the same as the 3DS game that I completed last year (or the year before?), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just as good, but all in HD and on the tellybox. I bought it as it was on offer and I was trying to spend enough in the Wii U eShop before the end of 2014 to get another £5 credit before they stopped running the scheme. Don’t know why I started this before the other games that I’d bought but haven’t played before – that’d make more sense, surely?

I’ve reached The Old World, and have a couple of upgrades from there. I’m pretty sure by this point in the 3DS game I had the ability to punch by now, so I’m wondering if I’ve missed something…

Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut (Vita)

tumblr_ninhulrwnN1svmpf2o1_1280Stumbled across this, and as soon as I noticed it was basically a brand new Spectrum game, I had to buy it. Turns out it’s a twin stick shooter, with Spectrum graphics and sound, and even had a two minute long load (which you can skip – I didn’t). The plot is incredible – you appear to be Queen Victoria, dressed as a man, who decides to go to Mars in a giant bullet shaped space ship that’s shot out of a huge cannon, and, when you arrive, you have to shoot guards and zombies and collect keys and avoid massive centipedes while looking for tea and jammy scones. YES. It’s the best thing ever.

Picross e5 (3DS)

tumblr_nip7ql5orv1svmpf2o1_400I was having a look at the eShop the other day and realised Picross e5 was out and I hadn’t bought it. So I bought it, and started playing it. It’s Picross, and I like Picross, so I like this. Aside from different puzzles (obviously), it seems to be no different to Picross e4. That’s not a problem, as Picross e4 was lovely.

Minecraft (360)

Oh, remember my 360? Never before has a console so frequently used in the past been dropped so quickly. Mine barely gets touched these days. In fact, the only reason I turned it on was because I finally decided to get Minecraft, mainly for my daughter. I’d a pile of free credit, and since the 360 is the only machine I have that 1) plays Minecraft and 2) I have two controllers for (for co-op), it had to be that version.

Created a “creative mode” map, which was far too vertical to navigate, so after a while we binned it and created a flat world – which we forgot to make “creative”. So cue all the baddies in the world appearing when it got dark and we hadn’t built any shelter because all I had were a couple of oak tree seeds and some dirt. Then we explored a lot and it seems everything wasn’t just flat, as we found a monastery (I think) and I fell in a well and couldn’t get out and drowned. Yay?

Skylanders Giants (360)

While the 360 controllers were out, and we’d just taken delivery of a cheap Skylanders Swap Force starter kit (for the Wii U – to hell with the 360 now!), I thought we shoudl probably finish off Giants.

So we worked through two more levels – Kaos’ castle, and a Ghost Ship. I’m sure the game it waaaay harder than the original Spyro’s Adventure, you know. We’ve about 30 Skylanders and ploughed through pretty much all of them on both levels.

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)

Prison_breakThis was on sale and even though I know it’s not supposed to be very good, we are big fans of the cartoon and it was very cheap. And it’s multiplayer co-op.

It’s not too bad, actually. For the most part it plays like Gauntlet, complete with food and baddie generators and smart-bomb magic, but there’s also a Rogue Legacy style shop system. You can quit the dungeon after every 5 levels, and then spend your money to get better stats, but any money you have left is lost when you return to the game. The best bit is how the Gamepad becomes a giant Beemo face, who comments on your action with such gems as “food is where the hearts are!”. Excellent.

OlliOlli (Vita)

tumblr_ningobQfD61svmpf2o1_1280With various deals and cheap credit, I got this for less than £2. I’ve wanted it for a while, but keep being put of by people who say it’s rubbish. At that price I thought I’d risk it. And I’m glad I did as it’s pretty good.

It’s no Tony Hawk’s, obviously, but is instead an endless runner with things to grind on and ollie off. It’s all about timing, and the tricks are more like the Skate games in how you flick the stick to pull them off.  Was getting well into it, and then it crashed. Bah.

Things I’ve been playing recently

A lot of things, it seems. I’ve had a glut of new games overt he last month and I’ve been playing each for a short time. I’ve yet to settle down and just work on one or two, so I’ve not made much progress in each. So here’s a list, in no particular order:

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (Vita)

tumblr_nhtwabelmc1svmpf2o1_1280My subscription to PS+ was autorenewed before I could cancel it (the whole service got DDOS’d and I couldn’t log in), so I thought I might as well make use of it. This is one of the rentals.

It’s Duke Nukem. A bit easier to control than the 360 version that appeared on XBLA, and with a nice (but often broken) rewind feature if you die. It’s the same game that it ever was, so great. Half way through the first episode so far.

Hohokum (Vita)

tumblr_nhzgjbfpdm1svmpf2o1_1280At least, I was playing this until my family hijacked my save game. I’ve no idea what’s going on. You’re a snake which flies around bizarre levels bumping into things which sometimes react, solving puzzles that aren’t really puzzles, in an attempt to reunite with other snakes. I think. You’re just dropped into the game with no explanation and just expected to get on with it. It’s good, but I’m confused and lost. No idea why I bought it, although it was on offer.

Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)

Oh.I’m sure the Gamecube version of this was easier to control. I’m still sticking mostly to Mega Man, and I’m trying, but it does seem very vague as to whether I actually pull off moves or not. And I can never remember in the heat of the moment how to do the special moves that try to carry you back onto a platform when you’ve been punched off. It’s utter chaos, but then I suppose that’s the appeal.

Whoa Dave! (Vita)

tumblr_nhttyfer181svmpf2o1_1280Another PS+ rental. It’s an 8bit (or lower, perhaps – it’s more like an Atari 2600 title) looking single screen arcade platformer. Eggs drop from the top of the screen, and after a while they hatch. Baddies pop out and when they hit the lava at the bottom of the screen they “level up” and become more dangerous, and then level up again each time they hit the lava. You have to beat them by chucking eggs at them, or by destroying the eggs by throwing exploding skulls at them. Then UFOs appear and it all gets really hard. Really like this game, so much so I’ll probably buy it when it hits the 3DS. My high score is $1.76, in case you want a target (an easy target) to aim for.

Peggle (Mac)

tumblr_nhtn2lm76a1svmpf2o1_1280I happened to be using my old MacBook, and Peggle was on it, and I couldn’t remember playing it on there before so wasn’t sure it would work and then I ran it to see and it did work and then an hour passed magically. It’s Peggle, and that’s what happens with Peggle. No idea how far I got.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Demo) (3DS)

I didn’t want to like this because I really wanted a Wii U version instead. Sadly, that doesn’t look likely to happen. It’s Monster Hunter, but made a bit easier to play (on the 3DS) as I’ve a shiny new New 3DS with extra buttons and a prodnipple, so it’s essentially got the same controls as the Wii U version of MH3U anyway.

I chose the Great Jaggi hunt as I know where I am with that, and picked a hunter with twin blades, not a class I’d used before. I don’t know if it’s the different weapons, or the different game, but the combat was so much swifter than I ever had on the previous game. Mind you, that was with a Great Sword and so slow and ponderous came with it. I like how you can now jump on the back of the Great Jaggi and slash at his (her?) neck, and it’s nice to have some new maps to hunt on. Do I want this now? Yes. Yes I do.

SteamWorld Dig (Wii U)

Toot_Toot_Sonic_WarriorIt’s the same as the 3DS game that I completed last year (or the year before?), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just as good, but all in HD and on the tellybox. I bought it as it was on offer and I was trying to spend enough in the Wii U eShop before the end of 2014 to get another £5 credit before they stopped running the scheme. Don’t know why I started this before the other games that I’d bought but haven’t played before – that’d make more sense, surely?

I’ve reached The Old World, and have a couple of upgrades from there. I’m pretty sure by this point in the 3DS game I had the ability to punch by now, so I’m wondering if I’ve missed something…

Rock Boshers DX: Director’s Cut (Vita)

tumblr_ninhulrwnN1svmpf2o1_1280Stumbled across this, and as soon as I noticed it was basically a brand new Spectrum game, I had to buy it. Turns out it’s a twin stick shooter, with Spectrum graphics and sound, and even had a two minute long load (which you can skip – I didn’t). The plot is incredible – you appear to be Queen Victoria, dressed as a man, who decides to go to Mars in a giant bullet shaped space ship that’s shot out of a huge cannon, and, when you arrive, you have to shoot guards and zombies and collect keys and avoid massive centipedes while looking for tea and jammy scones. YES. It’s the best thing ever.

Picross e5 (3DS)

tumblr_nip7ql5orv1svmpf2o1_400I was having a look at the eShop the other day and realised Picross e5 was out and I hadn’t bought it. So I bought it, and started playing it. It’s Picross, and I like Picross, so I like this. Aside from different puzzles (obviously), it seems to be no different to Picross e4. That’s not a problem, as Picross e4 was lovely.

Minecraft (360)

Oh, remember my 360? Never before has a console so frequently used in the past been dropped so quickly. Mine barely gets touched these days. In fact, the only reason I turned it on was because I finally decided to get Minecraft, mainly for my daughter. I’d a pile of free credit, and since the 360 is the only machine I have that 1) plays Minecraft and 2) I have two controllers for (for co-op), it had to be that version.

Created a “creative mode” map, which was far too vertical to navigate, so after a while we binned it and created a flat world – which we forgot to make “creative”. So cue all the baddies in the world appearing when it got dark and we hadn’t built any shelter because all I had were a couple of oak tree seeds and some dirt. Then we explored a lot and it seems everything wasn’t just flat, as we found a monastery (I think) and I fell in a well and couldn’t get out and drowned. Yay?

Skylanders Giants (360)

While the 360 controllers were out, and we’d just taken delivery of a cheap Skylanders Swap Force starter kit (for the Wii U – to hell with the 360 now!), I thought we shoudl probably finish off Giants.

So we worked through two more levels – Kaos’ castle, and a Ghost Ship. I’m sure the game it waaaay harder than the original Spyro’s Adventure, you know. We’ve about 30 Skylanders and ploughed through pretty much all of them on both levels.

Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! (Wii U)

Prison_breakThis was on sale and even though I know it’s not supposed to be very good, we are big fans of the cartoon and it was very cheap. And it’s multiplayer co-op.

It’s not too bad, actually. For the most part it plays like Gauntlet, complete with food and baddie generators and smart-bomb magic, but there’s also a Rogue Legacy style shop system. You can quit the dungeon after every 5 levels, and then spend your money to get better stats, but any money you have left is lost when you return to the game. The best bit is how the Gamepad becomes a giant Beemo face, who comments on your action with such gems as “food is where the hearts are!”. Excellent.

OlliOlli (Vita)

tumblr_ningobQfD61svmpf2o1_1280With various deals and cheap credit, I got this for less than £2. I’ve wanted it for a while, but keep being put of by people who say it’s rubbish. At that price I thought I’d risk it. And I’m glad I did as it’s pretty good.

It’s no Tony Hawk’s, obviously, but is instead an endless runner with things to grind on and ollie off. It’s all about timing, and the tricks are more like the Skate games in how you flick the stick to pull them off.  Was getting well into it, and then it crashed. Bah.

Things I’ve been playing recently

FUZZY_PICKLESEarthbound (Wii U)

Progressing well through this now. Well, at least I was until I entered Moonside where everythings is… wrong. The map is like Fourside only upside down, and all in neon. And there are invisible walls. And some people you talk to warp you all over the place but not to anywhere useful. And “yes” and “no” are reversed, except when saving your game. It’s very odd.

Oh yeah, and Paula got kidnapped by a green squidalienghost in the department store, which means some of the fights now are pretty hard as I had been relying on her Freeze “magic” (although it isn’t called magic – what is it? PP? What?) a lot.

They_see_me_rollin_._They_hatin_.__cos_cubes_don_t_roll.Edge (Wii U)

I still have some eShop credit and this was reduced last week to just £1.79 or something, so I picked it up. It’s a nice puzzle game where you roll a cube around picking up smaller cubes and hitting switches which make the platforms appear, move, or transform. Seems good so far, but I’m only about 20 (short) levels in. The controls are a bit of a pain though – it’s too easy to allow the cube to keep rolling even after you stop pressing the direction pad, which is odd as it’s a cube, not a ball.

tumblr_n3krwn7ttt1svmpf2o1_400Animal Crossing (3DS)

Still playing this every day! Big news this week though – I finally managed to get a lighthouse! That space I’ve been saving on the clifftop for almost EIGHT MONTHS has now been filled with a lovely shiny lighthouse. Awesome!

I’ve also been trying to get more special tree stumps. I’d visited someone else’s village and they had at least two special stump designs that I didn’t, so I chopped down half my trees in the hope I’d find them in my own village. I didn’t. So a lot of time has been spent planting new trees.

Skylanders Giants (360)

Late to the party with this, as Skylanders Swapforce has been out about six months now, but someone was selling Giants (and ten Skylanders we didn’t have) for a bargain price, so I snapped them up. I’ve been playing it with my daughter, and although we’re only about four levels in, and it does seems like more of the same (only without the right-stick “waggle” events to open chests and locks and things), it’s just as fun as the original. Having a pile of new Skylanders to try is nice too. We’ve 27 overall now.

tumblr_n3ebuzyrew1svmpf2o1_1280Steel Diver (3DS)

This was one of the “three for a tenner” games I bought a while back, along with Tetris 3DS and Heroes of Ruin. I can see why people complained at the price when it was £30, but for what I paid it’s a perfectly good title. You control a submarine and have to navigate through areas by moving depth and velocity sliders on the touch screen, rather than with the d-pad. Torpedo firing controls are all “buttons” on the touch screen too, as is the attitude “wheel”.

There are three different subs to choose, from a nimble but weak tiny one, to a strong but difficult to manoeuvre underwater tank. You actually have to play all of the levels with all three subs to unlock the later levels, and I’m currently struggling to pass Level 5, where there’s a massive ship you have to destroy, only I can’t. Boo!

Playing_dress_up._Or__since_I_have_no_other_clothes__dress_down.Megami Paradise (PC Engine)

I have no idea what is happening. I intended to play this for Game Over, Yeah!! but couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do, so didn’t get to any areas where it was possible to die, so had to abort it. It appears to be an RPG where you control a girl at a convent school (it’s full of nuns). I managed to find some other girls who were stuck in chests or surrounded by frogs, and then found a dressing room where I could strip to my bra and knickers (but it wouldn’t let me leave the room until I’d put my clothes back on). Pretty standard Japanese fare, then. See:

Retro City Rampage (360): COMPLETED!

tumblr_n1g9w6sqt41svmpf2o1_1280What a totally nuts game. So many ideas, parodies and play styles all thrown together, seemingly randomly, with intentionally terrible (well, great retro but terrible modern) graphics 1 and sound and garnished with groan-worthy puns and not-so-subtle innuendo.

And it’s brilliant.

One minute you’re in the sewers beating up ninja turtles, the next you’re a Ghostbuster, before taking part in a clone of Smash TV (where at one point you end up in the wrong TV studio and interrupt Phil Fish being interviewed), all via some Solid Snake Inna Box and pretending to be Batman. Not to mention Paperboy, Super Hang On, ‘Splosion Man and so many more. And GTA, which the main game overworld apes so obviously.

There are references to retro and modern games, TV and films everywhere. The developer pokes fun at terrible practices at large gaming companies at every turn. Games programmers, reviewers, PR people and “celebrities” pop up all over the place. There’s so much fun to be had before you even play the game.

Thankfully, the game still stands up as a game worth playing. Somehow, stitching these tropes and parodies together actually works. The game even riffs on itself by apologising for the tedious bits, using some deus ex machina to skip some sections that are obviously going to bore you (one fetch quest is cut short with a never used again warp whirlwind, a-la Mario 3). In fact, even some of the more difficult stages give you the option of skipping them, or you’re loaded up with better weapons to make things a bit easier. Add to this instant restarts and pretty frequent checkpoints and it’s clear the developer doesn’t want you to get bored.

Unfortunately, some of the stages are still a bit on the hard side (especially the final few), but that’s to be expected, I suppose. I did put some of the deaths down to a bizarre problem my 360 pad has developed where it moves to the left by itself. Odd.

Overall, well recommended. And other off my Pile of Shame. Phew!

Notes:

  1. Which you can change to make look even worse! Like it’s a C64 game or it’s running on a Game Boy!

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360): COMPLETED!

Urgh. I really didn’t enjoy that. And, without spoiling it for anyone else, I can’t really explain why.

I didn’t get used to the two-person, two-sticks controls. The camera caused a few issues (in the snowy area, specifically, and on the final “boss”), and it was far too easy. But they are not the reasons I didn’t like it.

No, it was the story. The last bit of the story. Far too grim for me, especially the bit you do immediately after reaching the top of the Tree of Life. After I’d completed the game I genuinely wished I’d never played it. Horrible. Even worse than that bit in Prey.