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Archive for June, 2010

Review #358

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Blue Toad Murder Files Episodes 4-6 Bundle
Developer: Relentless Software
Publisher: Sony
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 04/28/2010

You’re probably wondering why I’m reviewing a game a little over two months after its release date. Well, the simple answer is that we didn’t get the review code until May 28th, so here we are.

I reviewed the first episode bundle back on April first, and found it to be a pretty fun downloadable title, especially in the dearth of quality adventure games in the first quarter of the year. Three months later, we’ve seen some fun point and click titles hit the market like, Disgaea Infinite, Secret Files: Tunguska, and Hotel. Does Blue Toad Murder Files still hold up, or is the second first not as good as the first?

Review #357

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Secret Files: Tunguska
Developer: 10tacle Studios (Wii Port)/Fusionsphere Systems (Original PC version)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 06/22/2010

Dr. Raymond Stantz once referred to the the Tunguska Incident as the biggest interdimensional cross rip up until the time the Gozhr the Gozharian tried to destroy all of humanity by taking the form of the Stay Puff Marshmallow man. The Tunguska incident is one of the most talked about unsolved mysteries of the 20th century. Folklorists, scientists, historians and the like have spent a century now trying to discover what actually happened back in 1908.

That’s how I started off my original review of Tunguska back in 2006. It was my second favorite adventure game of the year and ended up making my “Top Ten Games of 2006.” So here I am four years later, reviewing the Wii port of the game. I should point out I have been waiting for this since about 2007-8 and god knows every time one of my staff goes to a Deep Silver/SouthPeak event I arm them with two questions, “When are we getting the Wii/DS versions of Tunguska and when are we getting Secret Files 2?” I’ve come close to pulling the trigger on importing SF2 numerous times, but since I’m always swamped with reviews, I’ve never had the chance. Looks like that game is finally hitting North American shores in early 2011 on the DS, Wii, and PC (My preferred way to play Adventure games).

So, how does Secret Files: Tunguska hold up four years later? We’ve seen another game from the mid 2000’s finally get released in North America (Sakura Wars: So Long My Love), and despite its age, it’s our frontrunner for GOTY right now. Has SW:T held up as well?

Review #356

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Hotel: Collector’s Edition (PC)
Publisher: Cateia Games
Developer: Cateia Games
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 06/08/2010
Buy it Here: The Official Website

It’s been a rather lackluster year for PC Exclusive adventure games. The best titles have also been available for consoles, such as Sam and Max: Season 3 while Sony’s systems have been hitting it out of the ballpark with titles like Disgaea Infinite, Heavy Rain. and Blue Toad Murder Files. This is quite the turnabout from say, three decades of gaming.

So with 2010 more than halfway over and your intrepid reviewer still in search of a quality PC point and click title, I run across a little game called Hotel. Hmm. Egyptian Cults, possibly haunted hotel, and a mystery story tying the puzzles together. I can’t deny I was intrigued. A little over a year ago our own Guy Desmarais reviewed The Legend of Crystal Valley, another game by this Croatian development/publishing house and deemed it to be a good game, so that was all the encouragement I needed to give this title a try.

So, do we finally have a PC exclusive point and click title in 2010. Cateia certainly hopes so as it already has a sequel in development starring a relative of the main character, but is this a case of counting chickens before they’ve hatched?

Review #355

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

XG Blast!
Publisher: UFO Interactive
Developer: Next Wave Team
Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Release Date: 06/14/2010

UFO Interactive has become one of the go-to publisher of choice for shoot ‘em up fans. They’ve brought us titles like Radirgy, Raiden IV, Chaos Field, and I>Karous all made it to the US thanks to these guys. God knows I loved my Ultimate Shooting Collection. Of course, they also recently cancelled the much anticipated (at least by us here at DHGF) Arcade Shooter: Invelio. This latest shoot ‘em up is the second offering by developer Next Wave Team. To be honest I had never head of their first title, Double Sequence: The Q-Virus Invasion, but after reading reviews of it, I am probably better off for not having experienced it.

Does XG Blast! fare any better or has Next Wave Team gone 0 for 2?

Review #354

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Hexyz Force
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Sting
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: 05/25/2010

I have a love-hate relationship with Sting. I like the idea of their games and their attempts to try new things, but I find the finished products to be somewhat or deeply flawed, be it in gameplay, story, or both. Evolution was a second rate but adorable roguelike. We have three staffers that have played both the Saturn and Wii/PS2 versions of Baroque, and all agreed that the game had issues. I hated their remake of Wizardry for the Wonderswan, yet enjoyed Rivera on the same system, while loathing Atlus’ localization of the game for the GBA and PSP. Yggdra Nation was flawed and dull, Dokapon Kingdom was fun with friends but god awful boring when played by yourself and finally Knights in the Knightmare was a great idea in theory but not very well implemented.

With all this in mind, there is something about Sting’s games that make me keep coming back for more. That brings us to Hexyz Force. Chris Bowen wrote a preview for this game a month ago, but now it’s time for the actual review. Does Hexyz Force continue Sting’s streak of innovative but flawed games, or have they made something appealing to RPG fans of all walks?

Productive Day!

Monday, June 14th, 2010

1) Complained at Sony when I notice my computer has started having the same issues it did right before it died the first time

2) tried to vaccum the bedroom

3) unclogged the vaccum of bunny dust, hair, hay and poo with the help of a screwdriver, long knife and bathtub faucet

4) vaccumed the bedroom

5) cleaned the bathroom

6) Complained at Sony Store for not actually fixing my computer in the first place

7) Bought an Acer

8) Mailed a ton of packages

Now it is time for

9) vaccuming living room

10) cleaning kitchen

11) letting rabbits out of their cage.

Review #353

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

100 Classic Books
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Developer: Genius Sonority Inc./HarperCollins
Genre: E-Book Collection
Release Date: 06/14/2010

For the two years I’ve been debating whether or not to get the Kindle from Amazon. I love to read and I have a ton of books. Buying a Kindle seemed like a good way to keep my home from being cluttered with books. However I still haven’t pulled the trigger on purchasing one. Likewise, when 100 Classic Books was released in Europe a year and a half ago, I considered buying it to compare it to the Kindle, but I ended up importing other games like Agarest: Generations of War, Demon’s Souls, Cross Edge and Shining Force Feather. Now that 100 Classic Books has finally been released in North America, I was able to get an advance copy from Nintendo and their PR firm, Golin Harris and have spent some time with it, re-reading classic stories like The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I even finished a book I’d never read (nor heard of) before in The Woman in White by William Collins.

This review won’t be about if the collection here consists of the greatest works of English literature or what should have been left out and what should have been put in. You, the reader, are more than welcome to leave your suggestions in the comment section though. I suspect Falkner fans will bemoan the lack of The Sound and the Fury though.

So for $19.99, you’re getting 100 books and ten extra downloadable ones, but how does the overall package come out? Is the writing akin to the Kindle’s E-ink? How is the formatting? Is it easy to page through the books in question? These questions and more will be answered below.

What I’ve Been Up To

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Well, it’s been about six weeks, so I should probably update this.

I took all of May and the first half of June off from video game writing. I honestly didn’t miss it, but I had several games I called, so it’s time to go back to it. 2010 will probably be my last year writing, as it’ll have been eight years on the same topics and roughly 400 reviews by the time this year ends. That’s a pretty good career in my book.

I spent the weekend of May 21st-24th in Beckley, WV helping Guin move into her first apartment. She really likes it and I really should have done it the weekend before but she didn’t think i should drive 300 miles to help her move. Well after two sets of assholes she considered friends bailed on her and left her high and dry without any help, I came down anyway. West Virginia appears to be full of pussies and assholes BTW. We got her some nice furnishings, including this awesome set of dishes. I also picked up a set of Alton Brown DVD’s for only $6.50.

I came home to find my computer had died. The cause appeared to be a faulty hard drive installed on my computer. It was supposed to be a two day job but it took from May 24th until June 4th, because sony is full of fucking idiots and messed up my order in every way possible. Then on the 4th when the new hard drive arrived, it was 100 gigs smaller than my original one, so they had to re-order. It was supposed to be an overnight order, but Sony didn’ty call about the part until Sunday night at like 8pm (which was insane). I brought the computer in on Weds. It was supposed to be 4-5 hours, and ended up being until Thursday afternoon. Even then they messed up on my computer so it now thinks it has two hard drives - one 400 gigs and the other 100 gigs. This is insane. So I spent the better part of a few weeks using my blackberry and a library computer to work, which drove me nuts.

Memorial Day weekend was neat. Saturday was a play that wasn’t very good (The Liar) and Sunday was a cooking lesson with Michael Symon, who I don’t really care for, but the opportunity was there, so I went for it.

The 4th to the 7th I was back in Beckley for Guin’s birthday where I made her breakfast in bed (although she woke up right as I was finishing) and I gave her the presents I purchased for her back in Cancun, which were two pieces of jewelry that she really wanted.

This week I’ve been finishing up three games for review and am about to start a 4th title. I’m glad to keep busy actually as it keeps me from crazy spending. Right now I am debating on purchasing a gelato maker, a kindle or a bunch of books and DVDs with all my Amazon.com credit.

So it’s been a busy few weekends. Every weekend has been packed with stuff and/or travel while the works days have been pretty busy too. I’ve got a Pokemon deadline with seven articles to write too. Then Guin will be up for the 4th for a play and fireworks. That’s about it. I think I’ve covered everything.

Review #352

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Disgaea Infinite
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Genre: Adventure (Visual Novel)
Release Date: 06/08/2010

I’m a pretty big Disgaea fan, but then most of us are here at DHGF. The original won our 2003 Game of the Year award and Disgaea 2 went on to win our Turn Based RPG of the year award in 2006. However between the three Disgaea titles, their PSP re-releases, and other titles like Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom, and La Pucelle, there has been a bit of a complaint that Nippon Ichi has been squeezing blood from a stone regarding SRPG’s. To battle that claim we saw the release of the platformer Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? in 2009 and now we have the straight up adventure game Disgaea Infinite which is more akin to the point and click titles seen on the PC. It’s been a bad year for Adventure games on the PC, but consoles have had some fun ones like Heavy Rain or Blue Toad Murder Files. Was Nippon Ichi able to make an adventure game work on the PSP or are visual novels a genre better left to Japanese audiences like the poor old Phantasy Star ones I had to import back in college?

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