Archive for April, 2005

Posted on: April 20th, 2005 by

Have been playing 16 hours now, so it can’t be that bad having 108 characters to collect/choose from certainly adds to its longevity.


Lilin from Suikoden IV


Fina from Skies of Arcadia

I would probably still rate it second to Skies of Arcadia (not bad for a 5-year-old Dreamcast game), but a much closer second than I initially thought.

Posted on: April 4th, 2005 by

Writing about web page http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/82088R1MY89U/026-2076860-3658819

The must-buy list has been updated again, with a few additions, but with 6 sequels being removed, on account of the fact that I have bought them. Here they are:

Gran Turismo 4
Slightly harder, more cars (who can claim to have a racing sim without the inclusion of the Volvo 240 Estate?) and a new mode: B-spec directors mode, which involves you watching rather than racing. The new mode is probably the biggest change, it makes the endurance races rather less taxing and is a good way to learn circuits and skip annoying tracks with hard-to-control cars, but you’ll always be quicker if you drive it yourself. Interestingly it can use my USB memory stick to save pictures – so why do I have to buy £20 8MB memory cards for savegames?

Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords
It appears to be the same game as the first one, which isn’t really that bad, although I’ve felt less overwhelmed on visiting new worlds as the game’s mechanics really start to show when they don’t vary it enough – sometimes a visit to a planet could just have a text screen:

Do you want to:

  • Race speeders
  • Play cards (Pure Pazak)
  • Do the Good quests
  • Do the Evil quests

Apparently the good/evil stuff has more effect than the previous game (they must have been playing Fable) but I have yet to notice anything. Mind you, I always play good. Of course.

Suikoden IV
Quite a nice RPG, but without the millions spent on it that Final Fantasy X had, it looks a little unpolished. At least that’s what a lot of reviews seem to say, personally I don’t think you need to spend very much money at all to animate your character’s walk properly or to fix the excrable control method of the ship. Apart from those annoyances it’s quite a nice game, although random encounters seem a little frequent in some areas. Not quite Skies of Arcadia, though.

Championship Manager 5
This is always going to be exactly the same, but with new players, right? Wrong. They’ve speeded it up – really speeded it up, once you get used to the rhythm of when to click continue you hardly experience any delays at all, infact during month-ends I’d go so far as to say it gets a bit hectic! Other than that, it’s much the same, the match view is a bit better, approaching the detail seen in LMA, but I never really cared for match views. The constant flow hopefully means I smoke less fags when playing it.

Timesplitters: Future Perfect
Don’t tell me – just the same? Um, sort of – it’s like Timesplitters 2 with internet multiplayer. Which I haven’t actually tried yet. I like the story mode better (than TS2) – there’s some great moments when you travel through time to meet yourself, some good characters and some silly puzzles. There are a lot of new game types such as basketball hoop-shooting and remote-control cat racing, both of which I found fiendishly difficult. The internet multiplayer should be the game’s strong point, and I will have to brave it sometime – perhaps without the headphones.

Shadow Hearts: Covenant
Best ’til last. The game I had the lowest hopes for actually turned out the best. The prequel was a dark affair, very well done but made a bit too hard by the combat system which involved stopping a line in the correct place as it circled a disc like a sped-up second hand on a clock face. You had to do this for everything, every attack, item use – whatever. In the sequel – er – you still do…but there’s the option to do it automatically at the cost of a bonus hits/damage. This is far better as now they do the attacks you have told them to, albeit at reduced power. I don’t know how much they had to spend, but the presentation isn’t that far behind FFX, while the cut scenes appear to be rendered using the game engine rather than the fancy supercomputers they used in FF they are no less effective and probably more numerous, being the first PS2 game I’ve seen to come on 2 DVDs. Some may complain about the linear nature of games like this, but I’d rather go straight to the next area than get lost at sea like in Suikoden. There are tons of things to keep you occupied as well, not-quite mini games as they all contribute to real battle performance. A nice surprise, as I was considering not buying it as I hadn’t bothered to finish the first one.

So what am I playing most?

World of Warcraft.