After the embarassment of gaming riches that came along towards the end of last year, I was hoping that I’d be able to spend this spring catching up on my backlog. Yet the flow of awesome games that I just don’t have time to play continues unabated:
Rez HD: I’m usually against the idea of paying again to play a game I already own, but this one is worth it. Looks and sounds better than ever, which is saying something. Playing in widescreen may be a smidge harder than in the original, since your cursor has to travel a bit further, but the package actually includes the original 4:3 mode as an option, because Q loves me.
Just when I was really getting back into the game’s groove, though, my new TV freaked out and went on the fritz, requiring lots of trips to the store and haggling over warranties and NOT HAVING A TV FOR A MONTH. (Thank goodness the breakdown coincided with the networks running out of pre-writers’-strike shows, or I would have really freaked out.) I haven’t played it since I got my TV back, as other games have been stealing my attention since then.
Patapon: Delightful Rolito-designed characters, peppy music, and a neat twist on the Space Channel 5/Simon Says mechanic: instead of following the patterns presented to you, you get to tap out the patterns that send orders that your army of little eyeballs obey in order to attack or defend. Like Puzzle Quest, it’s a happy genre scramble, but unlike Puzzle Quest, having to grind out the same battles over and over again to level up and progress feels like a chore. In PQ, the new spells and abilities you get as you level up are sauce, but new patterns and unit types in Patapon are the meat of the game, and too much gating between new servings is frustrating.
It’s also really hard to get into the rhythm of a music game when you’re on a loud train car, so I can’t really play Patapon while commuting, which gives me that much less time to devote to grinding.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village: I’m not sure why I didn’t enjoy this more. Nice art, nice characters, nice relaxed pace, nice overall package, but I just couldn’t get into it. Perhaps the problem is that the puzzles you solve aren’t really connected to the mysteries that frame the game, but are just a hodge-podge of riddles and spatial tests. Or perhaps it’s that so many of the puzzles are ones you already solved in fifth grade, and don’t need to go back to again.
Whatever the reasons, I kept finding myself popping Professor Layton out of my DS and putting Advance Wars back in, and as much as I love AW, it shouldn’t be that hard for a game to displace it.
Assassin’s Creed: Finally got around to playing a bit of this, mostly to check out the crowd AI and make myself jealous of the amount of IK they do on the player character’s movements. I usually get irritated with stealthy games, but the “hide in plain sight” mechanics here are a nice way to encourage sneakiness while avoiding the annoying red-light-green-light pace of most stealth games. And when you get sick of navigating the crowds, you can just leap from rooftop to rooftop, ninja-style. It looks and feels great, although I do wish there were a teensy bit more of a skill component to it.
Unfortunately, I got a hold of Assassin’s Creed right before Super Smash Bros. Melee came out, and the latter has sucked up all of my meager time for console gaming lately.
Smash Bros. looks like it’s going to suck up a lot more of my time in the near future, and I’ve finally gotten around to playing Bioshock as well, so I’ll probably never get back to any of these other titles. Time waits for no game, I suppose.