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Here’s a Video Game Ramblings Grab Bag + Mini-Reviews

July 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Haven’t written anything in awhile so I figured I’d just note some things I’ve been thinking about and relay what I’ve been doing in the world of games recently.

First off I purchased Ninja Blade a few days ago.  The game is over a year old but that just means it’s at a good price and quite frankly there isn’t jack shit in terms of $60 games I want until September.  To be quite honest the gameplay is a pretty big rip-off of the newer Ninja Gaiden games.  Am I upset about that?  Hell no!  In truth this game isn’t nearly as good, but there’s still fun to be had with it and I don’t regret purchasing it.  By the way I scored a brand new copy for $32 so I would assume a used one is at about $20 right now.

To summarize you play a ninja who’s about as bad ass as any ninja I can ever remember seeing.  Japan is overrun with parasites that essentially turn humans into monsters.  Pretty standard ridiculousness.  You have a handful of weapons and specialties to upgrade somewhat and the moves are simple but look great.  Finishing moves can also be pulled off if you so desire.  I like the fact that, again similar to the new Ninja Gaidens, this is really an action game from years past converted to 3D.  You fight your way through each level, encounter a sub boss, fight some more, then you face the big boss.  The bosses by the way are huge, which is cool but admittedly they all start to look the same after a short while.

The game definitely has its flaws.  It uses quick time events (QTEs) A LOT.  Any time a cool cutscene happens that involves some type of action you’re required to execute timely button presses when prompted on the screen.  If you don’t perform them properly the game rewinds and you try again.  I thought QTEs were a neat idea when I first played them in Shenmue for the Sega Dreamcast, but they’ve never really been pulled off well.  Seems like developers want to use them but can’t figure out an appropriate punishment for failure.  No one wants to fail a little Simon Says game and have to replay the last 5 minutes of gameplay, but simply trying again defeats the purpose entirely.  That middle ground has never been established, if it even exists at all.  If you’re not familiar with quick time events check out the video below for an example.  It might be hard to notice the button prompts, but they’re right in the middle of the screen.

At any rate as you can see they’re a little silly, especially after the twentieth one that you’re asked to do, but it doesn’t bother me all that much.  Like I said there’s just no penalty whatsoever for failing you just try again.  That being said it’s hard to argue why they’re there at all.  Oh well.

I’ve read some old reviews saying the environments were boring and I agree however most of it is cities lit up at night which is a theme I always liked so I was fine with it.  A park or something would have really helped to mix it up though.

In summary if you’ve already played the best of these action games such as Ninja Gaiden, its sequel, Devil May Cry 4, etc. and you’re looking for more definitely pick this up.  Heck if you’re like me and you just need something to last you a few days still pick it up.  As I mentioned a used copy should run you about $20 so give it a shot if you’re bored with what you already have.  It’s not perfect by any means and I would never have paid full price for it but it’ll get you your fix.

Another game I played recently was Black Light: Tango Down on Xbox Live.  It’s a new downloadable first person shooter with a $15 price tag.  I played the demo and I’m not going to talk about it endlessly because frankly I didn’t care for it at all.  The only reason I was interested in the first place was because I heard you could rank up and unlock guns and upgrades.

The graphics are fairly shitty even for a $15 XBLA game.  I realize this isn’t a full budget title but games like Shadow Complex look ten times better.  The visuals are generic as all hell with some futuristic theme we’ve seen a billion times.  The guns feel like shit as well.  I’m not sure but I don’t think there was even any vibration which really kills it.  You don’t think about it much when you’re playing a game that does have it but when one doesn’t, trust me you notice…..a lot.

You certainly can unlock weapons but that’s boring as well.  You just have a long list of SMGs, a long list of assault rifles, etc. etc. etc.  Also, they’re all blue and look almost exactly the same.  Booooring.  I also tried to jump in an online game and waited about a full minute.  How exciting.   As you may have noticed in the video above the game is excessively quiet as well.  The maps might be too large or something.  Regardless something’s wrong.

My advice would be don’t waste your money on this or at least play the demo.  To be frank that’s all I played, but hey that’s supposed to make me want the full game right?  Plus the demo was of the timed variety so I did have a full hour to play what was essentially the full game.  Just don’t bother with this.  There are a ton of good XBLA games that are better buys than this or if you absolutely must have a shooter suck it up and pay full price for a good one.

OTHER: Well that’s about all I’ve played other than the usual lately.  I traded in Red Dead Redemption because I did just about all their is to do without being redundant.  One last time I’d like to mention it’s an amazing game.  I’ve played some Peggle again, a lot actually.  I’m cheap so I didn’t spring for Peggle Nights and instead replayed the original, which is fine if it’s been awhile.  Some day I’ll shell out for the sequel.

I’ve officially given up on tearing Microsoft Game Room a new asshole.  The last few game packs have been the same old shit I’ve been complaining about so I think I’ve made my point.  It seems like everyone’s wish to have late ’80s arcade games, Sega Master System games, etc. isn’t going to happen.  If it is I don’t know what MS is waiting for.

I finally re-beat Shenmue for the Dreamcast and am now in the middle of the sequel for the original Xbox.  Frankly the beginning was terrible.  It’s starting to get better though and reading some old impressions of it it seems that’s most people’s experience with it.  I’m hoping it’ll be worth the time I’m putting into it.

I wish I had a few extra bucks right now because I’m dying to playing some old games (read: purchase them).  The more I read about retro gaming the more it pains me that I sold all my old Sega stuff eons ago to a friend.  I’d have a nice library of Genesis games, as well as some from Sega CD and 32X, not to mention the Master System.  I have no idea what I ever did with my Sega Saturn but I sure as hell don’t have it anymore.  Oh well, something to look forward to I suppose.  I still have my Dreamcast with most of the games I ever purchased for it.  In a perfect world though I’d like to have all that stuff again so I can work solely on NES and Super NES stuff, two consoles I don’t even own but would love to.  Some day…….some day.

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