There are a lot of people who report news and write articles, but either don’t play or barely play any games.
I’m not one of those people.
So, I’ve decided to write up a post that will become a new segment of passthemsticks. That way, you can know what I’m playing, what I’ve bought (and for how much), and other gaming-related news pertaining to me.
Games I Played
Tales of Vesperia
I am and always have been an avid JRPG fan, but lately, I haven’t devoted enough time to my favorite genre. I’ve played a lot of other games, but I felt I needed to sit down and enjoy a game that would take me back to my roots a bit. The last time I actually played a JRPG was Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and that was back in September 2010. I had started Tales of Vesperia previously, but I didn’t get very far. I decided to devote myself to it, this time.
It was a good decision. I think I’m about one-third through the storyline, and I must say I’m enjoying it. The narrative itself is pretty decent, but the battle system is very engaging. If you’re scared away from JRPGs because of turn-based battling, this game should open your eyes some. All the Tales games boast a unique (to the series) battle system that’s more wide open than other JRPGs out there, and has quite a bit of nuances to learn. It’s rare that I die during normal progress in an RPG, but I’ve died a few times in this game. And I love it.
This game also has Skits, which are meant to flesh out the characters and story, and they are effective and entertaining. And thankfully, fully voice-acted. Some previous Tales games didn’t have voice acting for Skits in the North American versions, but Vesperia does. I find myself hoping for another skit as soon as one of the cutscenes concludes. They really add to the experience.
I don’t own a PS3, but my girlfriend and her brothers do. I’ve had a PSN profile for a long time, but only recently have I been able to put it to use. I like FPS games, and I remember that I once enjoyed the original Killzone with a friend, so I thought I’d start it. I was also told (by a certain future brother-in-law) that I wouldn’t be able to obtain the platinum trophy on Killzone 2, so I’m motivated to do so.
I started this game several weeks ago, but I didn’t really start playing it until a few days ago. I’m really disappointed that you cannot manually map the controls in this game, because I found them to be awkward and nearly unplayable initially (R1 to shoot, really?), but I managed to find a more friendly control scheme (I believe it was Default 3) and continued my game on the second level.
Now that I can actually play the game, I can better enjoy it. Thus far, it seems to be a very solid shooter and a good addition to the PS3-exclusive games. The AI has been a bit basic and grenades don’t bounce as well as I believe they should, but the core gameplay is pretty good. There was even a brief vehicle segment in the earlier levels where I had to control a tank, and it actually controlled pretty well. For the record, many FPS games seem to struggle when it comes to vehicle controls (I’m looking at you, Call of Duty 2 and Battlefield Bad Company), but it handled about as well as a Scorpion tank in Halo 3.
The only real complaint is where it feels like they forced the Sixaxis controls on you. It’s okay that they wanted to use it to turn valves and place C4 charges, but why do I need to hold the controller completely still if I want to snipe? Well, at least I have been successful running around with my knife.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1
Played this one on PS3, since my future in-laws had it on their system and I hadn’t played it yet. I was curious to see how SEGA did in trying to get back the magic from the previous titles.
I’ll start by saying this: the game (so far) isn’t bad. However, it’s not quite the same. The level design feels right and the visuals are rock-solid, but the locales just feel rehashed from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Another issue I had is the game doesn’t make me feel, well, fast. The point of playing a Sonic game is the feeling of speed while you’re zipping through the level. This Hedgehog just didn’t have the same zip to me. I do plan on finishing it, though. Right after I complete Killzone 2.
Not too much to say here. I play this just about every week with my brother online. We go back and forth in this game a lot and have a good time playing it. Best basketball game to date.
It’d been a little while, but I finally played a bit of the Halo: Reach multiplayer again. Had a few good matches, had a few bad ones. Thankfully, they put the jetpacks back into the ranked matches, so I can play them. I love the jetpack – it’s definitely the most fun to use for me. I simply don’t play as effectively when trying to use the other Armor Abilities. I’m a medium to close range fighter in that game and I need to cover ground quickly. The jetpack (and to a lesser extent, Sprint) allow me to do that.
It’s going to be weird playing the Halo: Anniversary Edition without the benefit of Armor Abilities, for sure.
Streets of Rage 2
Just playing through, beat the game in one short sitting. I was able to complete the online co-op, and I only have three achievements remaining. Unfortunately, they require me to play on Hardcore difficulty, and I’m not too good at this game…
A friend on Xbox Live asked me to help him out with the multiplayer portion of this game, so I helped him boost it some. Still got plenty left to do, but we’re in no hurry. I was glad to help (even though I’ve already completed all the multiplayer achievements in this game) because he’s one of my oldest and best friends on Xbox Live, and he has helped me a lot in the past. It reminded me of all the time I spent playing this game online just for fun. It was a great game for its time.
The King of Fighters XII
I’ve been slowly but surely working towards completing the final achievement in this game, “The King of Fighters.” This achievement requires you to defeat every character WITH every character. There are 22 in all, and it basically forces you to create a chart or spreadsheet to keep up with it. Couple that with it being the WORST King of Fighters game ever (a true disgrace), and you can tell I’m eager to get this done and get rid of it.
Games I Bought
I’ve been trying to cut back on the games I purchase since I have a significant backlog of games, but sometimes, I see a deal so good I can’t pass it up. My most recent purchases were at Toys R Us, where they were running a Buy 2 for $50 sale. The choices were L.A. Noire, Portal 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Mortal Kombat, F.E.A.R. 3 and Brink. Not a bad selection, right?
Anyway, I own the first three already and I’m not interested in MK9, so I went with F.E.A.R. 3 and Brink. I also grabbed a new copy of Quantum of Solace while I was there for $10. So, I paid $60 plus tax for three new games – one that had released that day.
Other Gaming-related News
Nothing too important here, but I finally got around to moving all of my data off of my 20GB HDD and switched out to my 120GB HDD. This is a big step for me – I can finally install some games (like Bioshock) that I’ve been wanting to play again, and not have to constantly delete DLC and Arcade games to conserve space.
That about wraps up my gaming report for this week. Now it’s your turn – what have you been playing this past week? What new games have you bought?
Let me know in the comments.