Now Playing in September ‘14

I actually played a lot of games in September.  I got through a couple of PS3 games that have been sitting on my backlog, as well as a couple of smaller download titles on the WiiU and spent a bunch of time with a couple of great 3DS games.  It was a good month, especially with the fall release season starting to heat up.  In October I’ve got Smash Brothers and Bayonetta 2 coming, assuming that I can keep from jumping on any of the other games that I’m on the fence with, like Hyrule Warriors and Theatrhythm Curtain Call.

Beaten

Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wrightwrote about it here

Metroid Fusion –

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This game is simultaneously loved for being a new 2D Metroid game that came almost a decade after Super Metroid and hated for not being Super Metroid. Both stances are valid. Fusion is not as good as Super Metroid; it has some serious handholding flaws. But the further we get away from the Golden Age of Metroid (2002-2007, which featured Fusion, Zero Mission and the Prime Trilogy) the better the games from then start to look. Despite losing two buttons from Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion plays great and it looks great. I actually really like the story it tells, though it sows the seeds for the storytelling tragedy that is Other M, but I wish it could have told its story without railroading the player quite so often. Still, this is a very good game.

Smash Bros Demowrote about it here

Teslagrad – This is exactly the kind of game I hope for when I pick up download and indie titles. It is a small, but delightful metroidvania game. It also tells a story without flooding the game with words. All of the abilities the player gains add to his mobility; giving the player a terrific sense of empowerment. A lot of it based on a kind of polar magnetism. The player must use positive and negative polarity to push and pull the character through death traps. It is just a joy to explore this game. The one fly in the ointment are the bosses. They are just a little too long when the player can only take one hit. Yes, checkpoints are frequent so death is not that great an impediment, but the bosses were anti-fun sticking points. Still, Teslagrad is an excellent game.

Tomb Raider (2013) – This game got a ton of praise last year and as a fan of some previous games in the series I was eager to play it. Tomb Raider does a lot of things very well, but it is a prime example of my current disillusionment with the AAA marketplace. It takes a series that was largely about exploring a 3D space and replaces that with, what else, shooting. It turned the game into primarily a shooter. I’ve got more about this game coming soon, but for now I’ve got to say that it sucks that everything has to be a shooter to get any attention these days.

Metal Slug, Metal Slug X and Metal Slug 3 – My friend and I got together one day and ploughed through the first three Metal Slug games, with the superior remix X replacing 2. I love this series. As far as I’m concerned it is the best run and gun series to exist (screw you Contra!). I try to make it a yearly thing to play a few of the good games in this series. Hopefully soon I’ll have time to get to 6, if just to punch tanks with Ralf. This series is just pure fun.

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time

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I greatly enjoyed the Sly Cooper Trilogy on the PS2. The first had promise, but was somewhat limited. The second fulfilled that promise and was one of the great platform games from that generation. The third game, while still good, faltered under the built up cruft of the series. The fourth game in the series is much like the third game. It is still a good game, but too much of the game is not about Sly Cooper performing heists but instead about increasingly ridiculous and tenuously tied to goal missions involving Sly’s buddies Bentley and Murray. It just tries to do too much, distracting from the very good core of the gameplay.

Ongoing

Yakuza 4 –

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I just got started with this, only playing the first episode so far. It looks and plays like Yakuza 3, which is a very good thing. If you are not familiar, Yakuza is like playing a Japanese crime movie with a touch of great video game logic.

Tomb Raider Underworld – I’ve played through the first area or so, but I have thoughts on this game. Once I finish, I think I’ll write something about this and Tomb Raider (2013). My biggest takeaway so far is that Lara is disturbingly out of place in this game. Or at least her character model is. The rest of the world looks realistic, Lara is a cartoon. It doesn’t fit together.

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment – I haven’t put all that much time into this. I am eager to dig in, but I’m playing it on my PSP and my handheld time has been taken by other games, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Through a couple of hours, it seems much like its other half, Persona 2: Innocent Sin.

Persona 3: The Answer – I started this up as well, but the reports of its difficulty make me wary. As much as I loved Persona 3, its difficulty was occasionally unfair. It wasn’t too hard, but it would be cheap and cost the player an hour or so of playtime. From what I’ve heard, this game features that sort of thing more heavily. I’m not stopping already, but I did allow myself to get distracted by a lot of other games.

The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks – I should be finishing this up in the next couple of days, with my 2nd Quest post to follow. It improves on Phantom Hourglass in just about every way, but it still feels lacking.

Upcoming

Bayonetta 2 – This hits at near the end of the month, and my frothing demand for this game increases.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – Once I finish with Spirit Tracks, my Zelda series replay is down to just this and 4 Swords Adventure. I am going to get this done before the end of the year.

Okami HD – I picked this up on sale from PSN, making it the third time I’ve paid for this game. One of my absolute favorite games. I can’t wait to dig into it.

Smash Bros 3DS – It hits tomorrow. I will play nothing else for at least a week. I can barely form words, let alone string them together into coherent thoughts. I want this game.

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