In this week’s Reviews Spotlight, we take a look at the best arcade-style shooter that almost no one’s played (who really bought a Sega Saturn, anyway?), a role-playing game reborn for a new generation, a fresh take on a previously RPG-only world, and a couple of women with anger management issues.
We also hit up the Wii for a game apparently made for babies and games featuring a prince and a ninja. We top it off by reviewing a movie intended for gamers but seems more fit for lamers.
Let the show begin!
This Dragoon May Be On Rails, But It Has Heart
By Brian Shirk
I said in the spotlight intro, “Who really bought a Sega Saturn, anyway?” I didn’t know anyone who actually owned a Saturn, but almost everyone that I knew had played Panzer Dragoon — and loved it. Brian says, “Panzer Dragoon’s visuals may look archaic now, but those crusty polygons can’t hide the game’s amazing level design.” He uses “crusty” because we’re talking about a game that’s almost 15 years old. In 1995 it was a stunning game. Brian says that the audio was just as impressive as the visuals. “Panzer Dragoon’s CD-quality sound put to shame many titles of the 32-/64-bit era that still relied on MIDI files for their sound.” It’s a game that’s well worth another look.
This Generation Spanning Quest Is One of Dragon Quest’s Best (Dragon Quest V DS Review)
By Brian Shirk
The Dragon Quest series has never really got its due in America. Perhaps it was overshadowed by more popular RPG series, such as the Final Fantasy. Then again, it could be because they just weren’t as good as games from other more well-known franchises. The DS remake of Dragon Quest 4 on DS was a well-received game. Does Dragon Quest 5 continue the trend? Brian says, “Unlike Final Fantasy 6, Dragon Quest 5 doesn’t have a deep storyline, but the method in which it’s told makes it something special.” Sounds promising. “Even though Dragon Quest 5 contained numerous dungeons and monster hunting, there were only brief periods where the game felt like a chore.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. Let’s hope Brian’s review has more high points than lows for RPG fans.
I Reviewed Dissidia: Final Fantasy
By Mike Minotti
When you take an established group of characters and turn them on their head, you sometimes get a fresh and exciting result. Other times, you end up with a Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi — or as Mike points out, a Castlevania: Judgment. Is Dissidia an example of the former or the latter? “What makes this game different from a lot of other character-mash-up fighting games is how deeply these characters are retooled into a new plot.” It’s a good start. “Dissidia works wonderfully as a fighting game for Final Fantasy fans.” Looks like PSP owners and FF fans alike have reason to be happy.
Wet: Half-Cocked and Ready to Go
By Suriel Vazquez
Reviews for Wet all seem to mirror the same sentiment. As our own Dan “Shoe” Hsu pointed out in his story from a couple of weeks ago, Wet’s Bad-Ass Influences, the story comes from movies like Kill Bill. That’s a very good place to start for an action adventure game. Unfortunately, “From a ‘value’ perspective, Wet doesn’t have all that much to offer.” Suriel also says “…while Wet might offer the occasional thrill, the game manages to make its initially flamboyant action into something tedious.” Too bad the game couldn’t properly deliver on its premise.
Review: Heavenly Sword
By Evan Killham
Continuing with our “angry women” theme, Evan compares Heavenly Sword with God of War. That seems like a good endorsement for any game. “This is a fairly appropriate comparison; heroine Nariko — who wears just a little more clothing than Kratos — performs acrobatic attacks against large groups of enemies with a weapon that, yes, occasionally includes chains.” He goes on to say that “Heavenly Sword’s combat system is surprisingly nuanced.” Is the end result a female version of a kick-ass action-adventure game? Read on to find out.
It turns out that Prince of Persia: No Subtitle is fun
By Adam Dorsey
Prince of Persia and its original sequel were amazing games 20-plus years ago. With a reboot in 2003, the Prince’s Tomb Raider-style gameplay shot it back to the forefront of the action-game genre. It seems, however, that the Prince lost his way with the next couple of titles that followed. Is the un-subtitled Prince of Persia a return to form for the series? “The control is great. The animation is great. The cel-shaded graphics are perfect.” All good so far. And the gameplay? “The difficulty is there; the difference is that it’s just not frustrating.” Sounds like the Prince is back, ladies and gents.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade – The Extended Review
By AJ Hurst
Muramasa has been reviewed a few times on Bitmob. AJ’s initial review ended up being a bit of an unsatisfying take on a game that he really enjoyed because he shortened it to a mere 600 words. In this extended analysis of the game, AJ says, “Muramasa’s strengths come through when the immediate goal is just ‘make all the bad guys disappear.’ [It’s] 2D in every way, shape and form. Vanillaware maintains an admirable and uncompromising approach to 2D game design, from the gameplay to the visuals.” For fans of action platformers, this sounds like good news.
Like Rattles? This Is Your Game (Wii Music Review)
By Brian Shirk
It’s hard to argue the point that the Wii is an innovative piece of hardware. Whether using a steering wheel to break curves in Mario Kart Wii, pounding on a plastic guitar to “make music” in Guitar Hero, or swinging the Wii-mote around like a crazy person in the Sports titles, controlling Wii games is always an exercise in innovation. But does it always work? In the case of Wii Music, Brian says, “Admittedly, the concept behind Wii Music is a good one — the game claims to have 60 playable instruments. But in reality, that isn’t entirely true.” He goes on to explain that “not only are the control methods flawed and unoriginal, but the core gameplay is lacking as well.” Looks like in the opinion of this gamer, Wii originality isn’t enough to save this title.
Gamer Does Not Speak For Gamers
By Jeremy Hill
Normally, Reviews Spotlight is dedicated to reviews of games. As a bonus this week, we’re going to take a look at a game portrayed in a movie. Video games as a whole usually get a bad rap for being at best a waste of time, and at worst something destructive. About Gamer the movie, Jeremy says, “We come into this film just as we did with Doom — expecting a lot and getting nothing but disappointment in return.” Not surprisingly, Gamer seems like a put-down to real video game players. “I find it insulting that something I am so passionate about and hope to do for a living is being portrayed as so sophomoric and morally reprehensible.” With the exceptions of Tron and The Last Starfighter, has a movie ever shown us a proper portayal of a gamer?