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Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

Disgaea 3: Become Hell’s Number 1 Honour Student

(Video Games)

Disgaea is one of my favourite strategy RPGs of all time. The others are Valkyria Chronicles and Final Fantasy Tactics (the original game, not the rest of the series). The rest could pretty much vanish and I wouldn’t miss a single one. Sorry Fire Emblem fans, but I’ve tried two or three of those games and they never manage to keep me engaged for more than a couple of hours and certainly nowhere near long enough to get to the end.

Being able to play Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice is actually one of the main reasons I bought a PS3 and, to this point, I’ve invested about 30 hours of my life to it. At the rate I’m going, the game will probably claim another 20-30 before I get to the end of the main story, let alone the post-game side quests and power levelling. That’s considerably longer than the offline, single-player experience of most of the PS3′s top titles… combined.

The protagonist for this chronicle of the Netherworlds is Mao, the son of the Overlord (and Dean) of Evil Academy. Mao has been consuming everything imaginable about “Heroes”, humans who according to legends told in the Human World have gone toe to toe with Overlords and prevailed. He hopes that this research will eventually lead him to the power to kill his father. Why? Because Dad stepped on his “Slaystation Portable” and he lost 4 million hours worth of save data.

That’s just the beginning of Disgaea 3′s relentless mockery of stale Japanese RPG conventions. Even more than the first two games, Disgaea 3 is filled with irreverent humour, game and pop culture references… I even found a nod to a Japanese Internet video meme the other day. (Link goes to NicoNico Video, which is in Japanese and requires a login. Sorry but 4Kids had the original video taken down on YouTube). Most of all, Disgaea 3 is very much willing to poke fun at itself and its predecessors, with characters often breaking the fourth wall to get a chuckle out of the fans. Read the rest of this entry »

JRPGs: The Diminishing Genre

(Video Games)

I was having a conversation with a co-worker today about how it seems that dominance in video game development has shifted from Japan to the West. This is not a particularly new idea. But it does leave me with a somewhat unsatisfied appetite for one of my favourite genres which is very well-represented in the PS2′s library: Japanese RPGs.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game (Rating: Awesome)

(Video Games)

If there were a hierarchy of games in which the very best titles of all time stood at the top, you’d probably find most movie game adaptations very close to the bottom. They are lackluster at best and nigh on unplayable at worst. Now what happens when you take a graphic novel series, turn that into a movie, and then turn that into a game? It wouldn’t be strange if you imagined that might be one of the worst games ever made. But if that’s what you thought just now, allow me to be the first to tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Running on the Mirror’s Edge

(Video Games)

Image courtesy of Kotaku

I recently received Mirror’s Edge in the mail from GameAccess.ca, which is where I’d borrowed Final Fantasy XIII from — it would be the very definition of “unwise” to buy a game I’d heard so many bad things about. So, in my grand tradition of reviewing games based on only a couple of hours of gameplay, today’s post will be about Mirror’s Edge. Mirror’s Edge is, by and large, a running and jumping game in the first person. If you like parkour, the game is pretty much like extreme parkour where every so often people with guns are trying to kill you as you run along the rooftops. Read the rest of this entry »

Vanquish: Be the Ultimate Weapon

(Video Games)

If you follow my status updates on Facebook, you’ll notice that I’ve been very positive about Vanquish. I really liked the demos and I ultimately ended up buying the game. You may even have seen the pile of bronze trophies I’ve started earning for it. So I’d like to explain why I like Vanquish and why I recommend that you try it, while taking a bit of a critical eye to some of its elements. Read the rest of this entry »

Valkyria Chronicles: From PS3 to PSP

(Video Games)

Bozz, a good friend of mine from university days, is a huge fan of Valkyria Chronicles. So am I, but in discussing the series with him and other hardcore fans, I’ve realized that I approach the games from a very different direction.

I didn’t own a PS3, so my first exposure to the Valkyria Chronicles games was the demo of the sequel for PSP. I bought Valkyria Chronicles 2 soon after playing the demo. When I purchased my PS3, I bought the first game and finally had an opportunity to play it. Fans were largely disappointed at seeing the sequel on the portable system because they felt that in many ways the game had been scaled back. The maps were smaller, deployments were smaller, the story was phoned in and the visuals weren’t quite as stunning. I still very much enjoyed playing Valkyria Chronicles 2 and I wondered if everybody was finding fault with it just because it wasn’t what they were expecting it to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Things I Like About FFXIII

(Video Games)

Final Fantasy XIII has quickly become the game in the mainline FF series that fans love to hate. A cursory search can probably find you a lot of criticism about the game on various blogs and forums. One of my co-workers advises us to just skip it. Having now played some of it myself — clearly I’m bad at taking advice — I could easily write about all the things I dislike about it. But that wouldn’t be much of a challenge for my second blog post of November, would it?

Therefore, I’ve decided to write about all of the things I like about FFXII based on what I’ve seen so far. Read the rest of this entry »