News has started to trickle out about the upcoming Shiren the Wanderer for the Wii. Set to release on February 9, this is absolutely one of my most anticipated games for the foreseeable future. In case you missed it, I picked up a copy of Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer on DS a while ago and blogged about it obsessively for a few days.
I knew very little about it except for the fact that it was a Rogue-like, but it didn't take me long to fall in love. More than anything, I admired the unyielding discipline of the developers and the way they implemented the rules of the game consistently and fairly from start to finish. It was certainly difficult to be sure, but it was one of those rare games that never felt unfair or cheap.
A while ago, a friend on Twitter recommended I check out SwitchGames, an online trading service for folks who want to get rid of the old in exchange for the new. Rather than messing around with tokens, credit, or trade points (I get enough of that nonstandard currency crap paying for DLC already, thanks) SwitchGames offers a 1-to-1 trading system—basically, a straight-across swap service that matches people up according to their wants.
Always one to support smaller development houses and those exploring the downloadable space, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to have a brief exchange with Max Wagner, one of the co-founders of brand-spanking (sort-of) new Signal Studios. The studio's first game, Toy Soldiers, was just revealed at the most recent Tokyo Game Show and will be leading the assault on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service in the very near future.
As is somewhat apparent, I've been spending some time (a lot of time, actually) with BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins. Although it's got a few issues, it's a great Adventure-RPG if you like the style as much as I do, and it's had no trouble keeping my interest. However, there has been something that's been bothering me about it—the character Shale.
For those that don't know, Shale is an extra character that can be recruited into the player's party. A powerful wrecking-ball of a golem with a witty personality, he's a very attractive prospect. The issue? He's only available via DLC.
So, now that it's here I've been able to log some hours with it and at this point all I'll say is that despite some of the big talk BioWare was putting out, Dragon Age = KOTOR/Jade Empire/Mass Effect in a Medieval-ish/Lord of the Rings skin. Frankly, it's the same game they've put out a couple times now, so everyone's mileage may vary. In my case, this is one of my favorite game types and BioWare does them best, so I'm digging it. However, I'm under no illusions that the game pushes any boundaries or explores new territory. This is firmly-established boilerplate.
Playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 with the wife right now, doing co-op throughout the entire campaign. I didn't expect much more than a complete rehash of the first game, but I have to admit I'm a little surprised at how lackluster it feels. It's basically there, but needs more polish to really make it pop. We've stumbled across more than a handful of bugs and glitches which always detracts from the experience, and parts of the game just don't feel very well-thought-out. The boss fight with Yellowjacket was a complete mess, and it really drives me up the wall the way the game is so capricious with the team you’ve selected.
So the word is basically out, and the level that has been causing all the commotion has been revealed to be used as a scene-setting device—basically establishing some context for the player's actions in the rest of the game. That was pretty much what I expected, but… it was also relayed that wherever this scene appears in the final retail version, it will be preceded by a warning about "graphic content" and the option to simply skip it and jump right into the part where the player goes back to being a "good guy".
Spoiler Alert for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 fans!!
This morning on Twitter, I saw a link come in mentioning Modern Warfare 2. I don't really give a rip about it and I've been skipping over most of the masturbatory OMG-look-at-this-new-feature news on it, but this particular tweet was from one of my recent follows who I perceive as being a pretty sharp dude, and his basic reaction to this piece of news was essentially "holy s**t." That in itself isn't usually enough to get me to click a link, but like I said, this guy has had some interesting things to say, so I checked it out.
Borderlands is the game everyone's talking about at the moment, although I have to admit that I'm a little bit (well, okay, a lot) puzzled at all of the positive buzz is getting. It's currently rocking an 84 at MetaCritic and no one has a bad word to say about it on Twitter. However, my experience was basically the opposite… it started poorly and failed to come together for me, leaving me bored and disaffected.
One last note: I'm almost done with my start-over-from-scratch replay of Demon's Souls, and after taking a very close look at the Tendency system, I'm basically convinced that it's pretty much the only false step that From made.
The first time I played the game, I went through it without consulting any FAQs and just immersed myself in the overall experience. It was extremely rewarding and I'm glad I did it that way, but I was a little put off after credits rolled to find that I had missed several things because my gameplay style kept me "in the middle".
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