It’s been a while, hasn’t it? What with a Top 100 to compile and argue about, we haven’t had much time to discuss what we’ve all been playing recently! Well, now that business is very much back to normal, today couldn’t be a better time to catch up with some of those long-neglected games sitting on our shelves. But with E3 just around the corner and the prospect of several new titles on the horizon, it seems like we’ve all subconsciously gone into retro-mode this weekend, digging out long-lost consoles and games that haven’t seen the light of day for several years. Perhaps it’s a sign that we all secretly yearn for times gone by, or maybe we’re cleansing our modern gaming palette so we can all be overawed by Nintendo’s guaranteed super-fantastic E3 presentation. Who knows! We’ll leave that decision up to you…
I came upon some birthday money and put it into Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition, which can be found for the bargain price of $20 (I love getting older games for cheap). It’s vintage BioWare, with the morality and dialogue trees, but it’s also equal parts Lord of the Rings (almost shamelessly in some places) and Baldur’s Gate. The combat system is a cousin of Xenoblade Chronicles with MMO-style cooldown timers, although I have to say I liked Xenoblade’s implementation somewhat better.
One other interesting sidenote: this is the first game I’ve played in years (probably since Knights of the Old Republic or Fable that had a romance component to it. While I was never a big fan of those elements in games, I’m especially self-conscious now… since my wife is usually sitting out in the living room reading or using the laptop while I’m playing on the TV. Suffice to say that my elven warrior has no interest in relationships.
I too have been cheating on my Nintendo consoles this week. I recently got a Dreamcast, so I am enjoying a few games on there that I never got the chance to dive into before. Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi and the original SoulCalibur are all awesome games that I have been enjoying. To be honest, Sonic Adventure hasn’t aged all that well but I still find myself laughing at the sheer cheesiness of it. The Dreamcast game I got that I love the most has to be Shenmue, though. Man that game is detailed. It’s got a life all to its own with features that even modern sandbox games don’t have. I was never a Sega guy but now I understand what I was missing. I can make room for Nintendo’s former bitter rival in my heart. I’m probably going to pick up Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive) later this month too!
On the Nintendo side, it’s been nothing new really. Now that I am finished with classes I can jump back into Xenoblade Chronicles. I had to put it down for a couple weeks because I just didn’t have the time to invest in a deep RPG. I prefer to play RPGs they way they were meant to be played: zoned out for hours at a time forgetting about the world around you.
Oh, and just last night I had a reunion with an old friend, Banjo-Tooie. I live in a college dorm, so there’s no way I have room for my dozen or so consoles. I have to leave around half of my game collection at home, so every time I go back to my house I always take the time to boot up an old game again. Banjo-Tooie seems to have so many new layers to it that I can see now that I am older. The writing is just hilarious, and the graphics are still quite beautiful. Now that I am more familiar with game design, I do groan at some of the more convoluted and silly obstacles that Rare used. But on the whole Banjo-Tooie remains an absolute joy to play.
Wow, I cannot believe the weekend is already here. My most recent purchase is Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition. I bought it the other night and have yet to play (Darn Team Fortress 2) so I will be playing that along with Crysis on Xbox Live Arcade.
I have an audio problem with my Wii so if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to shoot away! I have the official Wii Component Video Cable for my HDTV and everything works but the audio is way too low. Regardless if I figure it out this weekend, I will be playing some New Super Mario Bros. Wii for some awesome platforming fun.
I am going to be buying much less and saving more, for college expenses, but I would like to pick up New Play Control! Pikmin. New Play Control! Pikmin 2 is finally coming to the States next month, having been released in Europe over three years ago!!
Well, we might have had New Play Control! Pikmin 2 for three years, but I would gladly trade that for a European release of Radiant Historia! It makes me incredibly sad that it still hasn’t been released over here yet (with not even the slightest hint of a European release date escaping Atlus Towers despite its recent reprint in the US), but a few weeks ago I finally decided to take the plunge and make it my first import purchase. I haven’t found any time to play it yet, but I’m really intrigued about how it will compare to Chrono Trigger, gaming’s other great time-travelling masterpiece. I’ve heard several sources say it doesn’t even begin to compare with Crono’s grand journey across the ages, but I guess I’ll have to wait and see!
I also finished the story mode of Kid Icarus: Uprising this week, but by no means has the game finished with me yet. There’s just so much to go back and do, whether it’s completing parts of the extensive Treasure Hunt or just trying to up my average intensity level– which is currently sitting on a very safe 4.0. The mind boggles at the amount of content Sakurai’s managed to squeeze into this game, and while I really enjoyed all the twists and turns of the story, its replayability has got to be its most impressive feature by far. I’ll definitely be playing this for several weeks to come, methinks…
About a week and a half ago I powered on my Xbox 360 for the first time in two years. Since it had been so long, I decided I would start fresh with Braid and play from the beginning. After about thirty seconds of jumping around (I bounce around like a maniac in platformers) the game freezes up, leaving on the screen what looked like a tracking problem on an old VHS tape. I reset and try again, and it does the same thing. I load up another Xbox Live Arcade game, ‘Splosion Man, get to the end of the first level, and it freezes. I tried the feeble troubleshooting the Xbox website had to offer, but it did me no good. (Take off the hard drive and see if the game works then? The game is saved to the hard drive!)
Having no choice, I took the plunge and bought a brand new Xbox 350 S (the $199 one with 4 GB of memory). Now I can play Braid to my heart’s content. But after that’s finished, I’ll definitely be investing in several more Xbox Live Arcade games. I mean, I gotta keep that thing hooked up for a good while to justify the purchase.
Other than all that Xbox stuff, I’ll likely invest in a little Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley on PSP; it’s crazy addictive. My future dog needs a doghouse so I can put him to work finding Power Berries. But I’ll bring my GBA SP with Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels/2 Japan to the movie theatre for the line-up when I go see The Avengers.
This weekend would be a great weekend for me to fire up the Wii and do some massive catching up with my console gaming, but alas I am working this weekend. And it just HAS to be nice out both days I’m working while going to crap all over again once the weekday hits. However, that doesn’t mean that I will be keep away from the 3DS at least.
I purchased the wonderfully fantastic Colors 3D where finally I can draw digitally with an actual stylus and actually SEE what I’m drawing (I really need one of those big badass cintiqs but perhaps the Wii U can help me in that instance). SO I’ll be spending my non work hours between that and dog sitting my two dogs (my parents are away on vacation). I’ll also be partaking in Mario Kart shenanigans. It’s surprisingly relaxing to race others before going to bed.
Once I pay my student loans bill and work a few more hours than usual, perhaps I can FINALLY buy Xenoblade Chronicles. I put $10 down on it but I’m kind of low on funds…stupid being an adult…
Well, after finally finishing up Xenoblade Chronicles a few weeks ago, and shaking my head in utter disappointment at its contrived, convoluted mess of an ending, I’m onto bigger and better things. Actually, that’s somewhat of a lie; this weekend I probably won’t be playing much at all. In truth, I haven’t touched a whole lot of games in the past week and a half – I’ve been far too busy preparing for Diablo 3. If I get in some gaming this weekend, it’ll probably involve some mindless grinding in Tera– or The Secret World beta– while consuming irresponsible amounts of alcohol. Nothing says a good time like beer and MMOs.
On the Nintendo front, I was able to pick up Skylanders a few weeks ago. While I haven’t played it nearly as much as I assumed I would, it’s still a fun distraction from my more serious gaming sessions. Plus, the collectible figures are pretty darn cool. At 26 years old, I’m okay with admitting that. Now whether that’s amazingly awesome or hilariously pathetic is up for you to decide.
Well, you’ve heard what the staff are playing, but what are you playing this weekend? Are you still knee-deep in Xenoblade Chronicles or are you taking a break from Nintendo this weekend and giving some other consoles some love and attention? Let us know in the comments below, and happy gaming!