Thursday, September 29, 2011

Jade Empire: Édition Spéciale

What do you know?  My collection has grown once more with the addition of Bioware's 2005 game Jade Empire.  This is one of those games that I must admit to knowing nothing about.  I somehow managed to miss this game when it hit the shelves, and honeslty would not haveknown about its existence at all if certain members of GameBanshee didn't keep talking about it whenever a Bioware related subject is posted on the newsfeed.  On one hand I feel like my lack of knowledge concerning this game is a bit odd since I've been a major supporter of Bioware and thier story-telling abilities.  On the other, I have to forgive myself since Jade Empire is in an unusual, ancient Chinese inspired setting.  Yes the setting is unique, but I've always been more into the "normal" high-fantasy settings and thus might have simply completely disregarded the game on appearance alone (at the time) before blocking it from my memory altogether.  Doing so would have been rather un-gamerly of me, but I can't think of any other way that this title managed to slip under my radar.  Well as it stands, I'm now the proud owner of  Jade Empire: Édition Spéciale, which includes both the English and the French versions.  Acquiring a copy of the French game was completely unexpected, but that is what happens when you buy "new" games sight unseen from companies that largely deal in used games.  You won't hear complaining though, because there are far too few multi-lingual games in my collection.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

ME1 - Out Of Their Minds

Not everything is what it seems when Meriel descends upon the human colonies of Feros.

There are spoilers after the break.  Continue reading at your own risk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alpha Protocol

Alpha Protocol came in the mail today.  Released in 2009 by Obsidian, Alpha Protocol is a third person action cRPG.  (Or as the box say, it's an "espionage" cRPG.)  When the game originally hit the shelves I didn't pay it any mind because, to my understanding, it deals heavily with stealth and utilizes gun play as a central component.  I'm sure that it's been mentioned before this, but ranged weaponry and I have a very strained relationship.  My success rate with guns, bows, and crossbows is rather abysmal without a good targeting system; so generally if a melee option exists I'll opt for that instead.  Recently, however, I've begun to realize just how many games have flown below my radar due to their reliance on ranged weaponry.  Thus, after repeated references to, and recommendations for, the game from Game Banshee contributors, Alpha Protocol has joined my rapidly growing to-be-played library.

Another thing that has also previously deterred me from purchasing AP, is the fact that reports regarding its "brokenness" abound.  We aren't just talking one or two obscure references here.  References to its broken nature (largely in the form of bugs but also regarding balance issues) appear in customer reviews, professional reviews, and even serve as qualifiers for otherwise positive recommendations.  Considering AP was distributed by Obsidian I suppose this isn't too much of a surprise, but when negative comments are that common, one will certainly think twice about sinking their money into a release.  Something that I've discovered lately though, is that despite all its nay-sayers, this game has continued to intrigue me. The basic premise, or at least what little I understand of it, is perhaps not exactly earth shattering material.  What I've heard about AP's dialogue system and character development though certainly makes me sit up an pay attention.  Only time will tell what I'll ultimately think of the game, but for now I'm thrilled to finally own Alpha Protocol and hope to get to it soon.  Once comprehensives are finished there (theoretically) will be a lot more time on my hands, so hopefully that won't take too long.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

First Impressions - Devil May Cry 2

Studying for Comprehensive Exams has been consuming just about all my time these past months.  You reach a point after a while, however, when you just can't take any more and will snap if you do not take a break. This is where Capcom's Devil May Cry 2 (2003) recently entered the scene. Yesterday found me picking up Devil May Cry 2 and Devil May Cry 3 for the PS2, and then popping the first game in to see what it was all about.  Given my rocky relationship with JRPGs, I must be honest here and admit that I only picked these up because of Unskippable's video for DMC1, and Yahtzee's reference to keeping enemies "afloat with a cushion of bullets" in DMC4.  Given comps, there hasn't been much time to properly play DMC2 yet, but after zooming through the first mission it seems like a great deal of fun overall.  I have clearly undervalued the cathartic nature of shooting projectiles in the past, because gunplay, for once, is far more satisfying than swordplay.  There is nothing quite like jumping a mile into the air and then keeping yourself  there amidst a sea of gunfire.  The game's gun play is even exhilarating enough to forgive the world's worst fixed camera, the inability to see half your enemies, and the fact that Dante runs like a man trudging through knee-deep mud.

Verdict: Hello there, my new stress relief game of choice.

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