Saturday, July 5, 2008

DS RPG's, Space Invaders Extreme, STG's, etc.


Portable gamers have had the run of things lately and there looks like there's no stopping the deluge of quality comming out. Certainly an excellent time for DS and PSP junkies and especially so for any RPG fan.

Just this past month I picked up The World Ends With You, a quirky but addicting DS RPG from those guys at Square Enix. I was seriously bummed out by Crisis Core (boring gameplay, laughable story, characters you could care less about - even Aeris. Yup, I said it...) but figured Square was due and after hearing so much good feedback from the guys on the Joystiq podcast, I just bit the bullet and went for it. Especially as it was getting realy hard to find.

The game itself is a fresh take on RPG's in general, set in modern day Tokyo in the Shibuya district (where all the cool fashionistas hang out). The characters are interesting, even though there is a bit too much depressing emo-ishness going on (think Neon Genesis) with the main character, but its playful and kind of a self-parody, if that's possible with the first game of its type.

The battle system is very active and more like Zelda boss battles than traditional Final Fantasy fare (pick the right 'weapon', get some patterns and win) and they are really fun. I only have about two hours into the game, but its already impressing the hell out of me.

The biggest reason I haven't put the hours into The World... is because I have been playing the hell out of Etrian Odessey II. I played through the first one in two weeks, loving every dungeon drawing minute of it and the sequel is no exception. The game play is the same, with a few new character classes, and the dungeon difficulty seems to be fairly even across the board. I haven't flown through any sections like I did in the first installment where the difficulty dropped off in the mid-teen floors. In fact, on the 8th floor, theres a mid-boss that you don't even fight (for now at least) - you just need to sneak past and get the stuff hidden in its lair to pass the Quest (he'll one shot your whole party if you try and lock horns with him).

I seriously cannot put it down. Atlus, you are beautiful.

On my PSP, I have been investing time into Space Invaders Extreme and have been enjoying it, but really haven't been blown away by it. The game play is a significant step forward from earlier Space Invaders sequels and even has a big, blue lazer ala DoDonpachi to mow down scads of enemies. I found the game fairly easy once you understand the scoring and how to get weapon upgrades, so I kinda put it down for the time being. I imagine it will get a good workout on the road later this summer when I am away from home and craving some STG goodness.


I did play a bit of Shippu Mahou Daisakusen (Kingdom Grandprix). I'm considering selling it to get some spending cash for my NYC trip later this year as I'm taking the girlfriend for our first vacation together. I played two credits and 1CC'd in again on the second, not really trying, for a score of 662,261. It's a fun game, but I think not nearly challenging enough to warrant keeping it.

I have been dabbling in a few pcb's recently, namely Mushi Futari 1.5 and ESPrade, but no high score at the mo. I'm really working for score on the former and the clear on the latter, so hopefully there will be some updates in the weeks to come.

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