Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27: DrIVer

I have been playing the Wii version of Driver for the past three days and I just beat it. I did very much enjoy the game. It starts out kinda badly with boring missions but does get better a few hours in to it and there are some really cool missions in there.

The game is split up in two parts, the first one in 1989 and the second one in 2006. A very interesting idea I must add. And its in the second part the game really begins and the quality of the story and missions really go up. All tho some of the later once back in 89 are pretty cool as well.

Im happy that I played this game on Wii, the controller makes using any kind of weapon very precise and enjoyable. I described the control scheme in my previous post so im not going to do that here but im gonna say that the controls kind makes my wish I was left handed. As it works for me now Im pulling my left hand to pull the hand break and using my right hand to lean out and fire from the window on the left side of the car. Its all very backwards, it would make sense of the game took place in London but not in New York.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 25: Driver for Wii impressions

I got my hands on an early copy of Driver: Parallel Lines for Wii. I have been playing it for a few hours now and thought I would tell you how it controls. Thats always the most exciting part with these ps2 ports.

While in the car everything is controlled with the nunchuck. You steer with the analog stick, accelerate with the Z button, break with the C botton and use the handbreak by pulling nunchuck upwards, much like you would in real life. This all works well even if it feels a little weird at first to be controlling everything with just one hand.

There is a reason for this however. At any time you can lean out of the window by pushing the A button. You can then freely aim using the wiimotes IR capabilities. This works great and is by far better then using an analog stick. Aiming using the wiimote works even better while you are on foot. You pull your gun with the A button and then you can aim the same way as you could in the Godfather only it works much better here. You simply aim at what you want to shoot at and turn by moving the cursor towards the edge of the screen. Its not at all as slow as in the Godfather and there is no doubt here that these controls are better then the standard GTA style targeting.

While driving without your gun drawn you can control the camera by pushing the B trigger and moving the cursor to any side of the screen. This works pretty well but I cant really imagine you ever needing to move the camera while driving. The camera is controlled the same way on foot only then you dont have to push the B trigger, you only move the cursor towards the edge of the screen. This works almost as well as an analog stick and is compleatly acceptabel.

Overall I would say that the controls work very well and makes the game more fun to play. Even if driver isnt the best game ever made it might be worth picking up only because of the excellent controls.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 23: OMG someone passed me in Puzzle League!

When I got back from my midsummer celebrations I booted up my DS to play a quick game of Puzzle League. I took a look at the rankings and saw that someone had bumped me down to second place. Not only that, the guy had twice as many wins as I did. So im now playing Puzzle League like a mad man trying to catch up. Its only 10 hours left until the rankings for this week end so I dont have much time to pass him. Metal Gear is going to have to wait, I have to beat this guy.

Edit: Im once again no.1 on the rankings in Puzzle League, I just passed my new found rival. In about 4 hours the rankings will be reset and I am going to have to fight to keep that spot but for now im at the top and it feels great.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21: Even more Spiderman 3

Today I played even more Spiderman 3. The game still sucks as a game but as a webslinging simulator its kinda fun, at least for an old Spiderman fan like myself. I figured out how you can slightly aim the web by moving the wiimote/nunchuck in different directions while shooting web. This helped me control spidey a little better but I still crash in to walls quite often.

Mostly I played the Metal Gear Solid remake. Im loving it but i will write more once I beat it, which should be soon since I have a feeling that Im close to the end. I also played a bit more Puzzle League and Im still addicted to that game. There has showed up another challenger that shares my birthday so I will have to make sure to win some more games so that he doesnt pass me in the rankings. I have a solid lead so far but that could change fast.

Im going away for midsummer celebrations tomorrow so I probably wont be playing any games for day or two. Once I get back plan to beat Metal Gear Solid so I will be writing some more about that then. I am really looking forward to the release of the wiimake of Resident Evil 4 coming out next week here in Europe. I will see if I cant get my hands on an early copy of that, either way I will write about it as soon as I get a chance to play it. Im also curious about the wiimake of Scarface thats coming out the same day as Resident Evil. I will try that out too and see how well the controls work. I never played the original but I am a fan of the movie so it will be fun to try out.

June 20: more Spiderman? really?

So of all the games I played yesterday I ended up going back to the worst one of them, Spiderman 3. Why? well the webslinging is fun and I really felt like playing something that I didnt have to get all that involved with. Dont get me wrong, the game still sucks so dont buy it.

I also started playing the remake of the original Metal Gear Solid for the good old Gamecube which I really enjoyed but more on that later.

June 19 part 4: Planet Puzzle League

Whats the best puzzle game ever made? Its a tight race between the three classics; Tetris, Panel de Pon and Puyo Pop. Its hard for me to decide but I would say that Panel de Pon is a little bit better then the other two. If you havent heard of it before its probably because the series out side of Japan has gone by other names. First it was called Tetris Attack, back when Tetris was ruling the world. Then it became Pokémon Puzzle League, this time attached it to Nintendo's new money maker. Now days its just Puzzle League and the newest version for Nintendo's dual screen goes by the name of Planet Puzzle League.

Its the best version of the game by far thanks to added touch screen and wifi functionality. You can still use the good old d-pad to move around the blocks but the new touch screen controls are a definitive upgrade once you get used to them. It gives you an added speed that makes the old controls feel dated.

The other great thing about the DS version of the best puzzle game ever made is its online mode. Puzzle League is the most fun in multiplayer so this mode is God sent. You have the option to play either unranked or ranked matches. But here Nintendos quirkiness comes in to play, instead of the usual rankings you are only ranked against people who have he same birthday as you. I was at first very exited abut this idea since it narrows down the competition so that you have a shot at the top spots. This excitement ended when I found out that I was the only ranked player with my birthday. Another player soon showed up but he was never a match for me. Maybe ranking you against players from the week you were born would have been better because right now there arent enough people playing for the rankings to work. Never the less the online play is a blast and makes me come back to this game.

My only complaint is the look of the game. It doesnt look bad but Nintendo have tried to position this as an adult title to appeal to the touch generation gamers. I would have paid extra to have some classic Nintendo skins in there. How about a Yoshi Island style skin? I would kill for that.
But thats not enough to stop me from falling head over heels in love with this game. I see blocks every where I go. The blocks even show up in my dreams and I wake up wanting to play Puzzle League first thing in the morning. I have been playing this excessively for the past week and I dont see me stopping anytime soon.

June 19 part 3: Mercury Meltdown Revolution

Mercury Meltdown Revolution is another PSP port for the Wii. A very bad trend for a console that is supposed to be part of the next generation. But if there is a PSP game that you would think would work well on Wii its Mercury Meltdown. Its a puzzle game where you tilt the level to guide a blob of mercury to its destination. This is of course very well suited for the Wii's controller. Unfortunately the controller is held like a NES controller and not remote style like Wii's two other world tilting games. Monkey Ball and Kororimpa which both use the control exceptionally well. Considering how the camera is positioned this might be better for Mercury Meltdown but for someone like me who worships the Wii version of Mokey Ball its a letdown.

In the game you have to guide a blob of liquid metal through various mazes. Splitting it up in to several parts and changing its color to advance. I can see how people can find this puzzle like gameplay interesting but it really didnt appeal to me. If the control was as comfortable as in its level tilting competitors on Wii I would probably have kept on playing (I did get a 100% in Kororimpa a game that was pretty much only fun because of its control mechanism) but instead I put it way after not even finishing the first world. Maybe I will go back to it some day but probably not.

June 19 part 2: Madden NFL 07

Another game that i tried out for the first time today was Madden NFL 07 for Wii. This was not only my first time playing Madden on Wii but my first time ever playing Madden. That might sound weird to you, a big time gamer who never played Madden. The thing is that Im Swedish and American football isnt that big here in Europe.

From what I heard madden hasnt changed much for a long time and EA keeps selling basically the same thing year after year. That isnt hard for me to believe since thats what they are doing with our football game here in Europe, namely FIFA. The Wii version of Madden supposedly is changing it up a bit with its new "free-motion" control scheme. The new controls have been very well received and Madden is currently the forth best reviewed game on Wii according to Gamerankings. I personally really liked the controls even if I thoght that they were a bit complex, but I have nothing to compare it to since I never played Madden before.

My first impression of Madden was a very positive one, it seems to me like EA's big yearly iterations usually are very sold and good games. That is if you never played them before or not many years. Since they have a habit of releasing almost the same thing year after year I and a lot of other gamers tend to get bored with them. The upside of having released 10+ versions of the same game is of course that it will be very polished. So its not weird that when I for the first time pick up a series like Madden that EA has been working on since the eighties I am very impressed.

My big problem is not with the game, its with myself. I have never watched a game of American football other then as a part of a movie or TV show. Therefor Im very uncertain of how the sport really works and the game lacks a tutorial for anything other then the wii controls. So while I can have fun messing around with the game I cant really play a serious game of football.

June 19 part 1: Spiderman 3

Today has been a day full of gaming. Most of my attention has been directed to my Wii on which I have been trying out 3 new games. I have also played a little bit of DS, Im going to save that for later but believe me when I say that Im definitely saving the best for last.

First out is Spiderman 3 for the Wii, a game that has been sitting on my shelf since it came out along with the movie. And I probably should have left it there since the game is close to a disaster. Its pretty clear to me that the game isnt done and was pushed out to be out in time for the movie. Nothing seems to work very well and that which does isnt much fun. Lets go through the games faults one by one.

First the graphics which might be one of the best things about the game but thats not to say that they are good. Barely decent is how I would describe them, everything looks very bland and there is very variation. Most everything looks the same and the world itself feels very lifeless, which is never a good thing in a sandbox game like Spiderman 3. The only thing that I liked about the graphics is Spiderman himself , he has the typical shiny next-gen look. You know the one where it looks like there is a spotlight pointed right at the object. The funny thing is that he has that shiny look to him even when he is in a dark room, which happens to be where the game starts out.

Whats much worse is the sound especially the dialog. Tobey Maguire does his own voice which could have been a cool thing but instead it turns out that he is the worst voice actor ever. It sounds like someone gave him a piece of paper to read off of in the elevator on his way to work. There is no enthusiasm and it just sounds very much like someone reading from piece of paper. There is also an annoying narrator who makes lame jokes and has really long lines. In the tutorial when you are about to learn how to crawl on walls you have already crawled all the way from point A to point B before he is even halfway in his long monologue on wall climbing.

The fighting in the game is done by waggling the remote back and forth Zelda style. Only in Zelda it makes sense since you are fighting using a sword. Moving the remote right and left doesnt simulate a fistfight as well. I didnt do much fighting during my playtime but the little that I did was more the enough to make me bored of it. The only fighting I did do was during the tutorial which I wasnt able to finish. Not because I didnt to or because it was too hard, no it was because the game simply wouldnt let me. It turns out the game is so buggy that even the tutorial is broken. A part of the tutorial required me to swing trough a series of blue rings, the problem is that one of the rings refused to register that i passed through it. Even when i repeatedly swung back and forth through it for about two minutes. Even restarting the mission didnt help, maybe restarting the game would have but I really didnt feel like doing that. Instead I went on exploring the city.

Which leads me to my next point, the webslinging. Which was the reason I wanted to play this game from the start. The only modern Spiderman game that I have played before this one is Ultimate Spiderman, A game that mostly sucked but had a very fun webslinging. In the Wii game it is actually somewhat interesting. You use the wiimote to control Spidermans right arm and the nunchuck to control his left. By moving one part of the controller and pushing its trigger button you shoot a web. So in this aspect the wiimote really contributes to the experience. The problem is the game itself. The way spiderman chooses the targets for his web is far from as smart as in Ultimate Spiderman and I often found myself slammed face first in to a wall.

So the game sucked, dont buy it. If only the webslinging was smarter I could have had some fun with it but now I will probably never pick it up again.

What'cha been playing?

So this is the first post on my new blog. Its about (as the name may reveal) what I have been playing, sort of like a diary of my gaming. I got the idea from all of the gaming podcasts that I listen to, nearly all of them have a segment talking about what they have been playing the past week. It is usually titled "What'cha been playing" so I decided to steal the name of my blog from there.
Instead of talking about what I have been playing the past week Im going to try to write about what I have been playing every day.

Im mostly writing this for myself but if anyone finds their way to my little blog I very much hope that they enjoy it. Since im mostly writing for myself I wont try all that hard to use correct grammar and spelling. Im Swedish so English isnt my native language so expect there to be quite a few mistakes. Hopefully you will be able to tolerate that otherwise im afraid this blog isnt for you.

Full chronological list of games written about on What'cha Been Playin'

Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer

Legend of Mana

Chrono Trigger
Yoishi's Story
Final Fantasy 1
Perfect Cherry Blossom
Sonic Rush Adventure
Picross DS: Picross NP Vol. 2
Picross DS: Picross NP Vol. 1
A midsummer day's resonance
Wario Land: Shake It!
Mass Effect
Shivering Isles
Mother 3
Mega Man 9
Dragon Quest IV
Contra Advance
Etrian Odyssey
Castlevania: Dracula X
Castle of Shikigami III

Ghost Squad
Mystery Dungeon: Time

Final Fantasy IX
Persona 3

Full alphabetical list of games written about on What'cha Been Playin'

A midsummer day's resonance


Castlevania: Dracula X
Castle of Shikigami III
Child of Light
Chrono Trigger

Contra Advance


Dragon Quest IX
Ducktales Remastered