It’s been a while, but The G.A.M.E.S. Blog’s staff is officially back for the Geekend, where we share the stuff we’re totally absorbed in right now from the worlds of games and anime. This week, we’re putting some overtime into recent games we love, and we’re looking back at some of our old favorites.
Michael Riel – Staff Writer
What have I been doing for the past week? Well, besides spending loads of time on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, I got Catherine and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse. Catherine is fun, but it’s pissing me off with its damn tower climbing levels. It’s the same thing over and over: “Oh, you’d better look out and hurry up, or the floor will drop out, and you will die!” The Family Guy game is alright, but I don’t see myself playing much more of that. As for anime, I’m continuing my journey through revisiting my childhood anime shows, and I decided to watch every single Sailor Moon episode from start to finish. And with that, Queen Beryl will be most pleased.
Jimmy Stephenson – Staff Writer
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption. I missed out on this game when it first released, but I figured I would avoid the temptation of Grand Theft Auto V and try out Grand Theft Horse instead. I’ve been really impressed by the level of detail in the environment and setting; whether chasing down a runaway criminal in a posse, breaking in a new mustang, or just wandering aimlessly through the countryside, it always feels believable. The animation and voice acting are up to Rockstar’s high standards, which helps breath life into the many bizarre characters I’ve come across. The minimal instruction and hand holding early on led to some confusion as to how some of the systems worked, but now I appreciate that the game lets you tell your own story without guiding you with giant glowing arrows or quicktime events. For a newer release, I’ve also picked up Killer Is Dead. Made by Grasshopper Studios and Suda 51, this game feels very reminicent to some of their older games, like Killer 7 and No More Heroes, which is definitely a good thing. The game is unbelievably stylish and features some of the coolest cel-shading effects I’ve ever seen. Making the most out of the visuals are the levels, which are as wild and bizarre as the bosses you’ll face. The stylized look of the game, along with gratuitous amounts of special effects, can sometimes make it difficult to figure out what’s going on, but the controls are smooth enough that it’s an easy hurdle to overcome. The story is totally nonsensical, so far, but that just makes it seem more mysterious and appealing. I’m looking forward to digging more into KID so I can find out what it throws at me next.
Dan Furnas – Editor-in-Chief
It’s been a couple weeks, and I’ve had my hands full with some real-life stuff, but I’ve managed to find time for some tactical RPGs, which is no surprise if you know me. First, I beat the Kingdom storyline of Vanguard Bandits on my Vita. It’s been years since I played it, but apparently all the Disgaea and Valkyria Chronicles has honed my skills considerably, because even the Sharking battles weren’t as bad as I remember. I followed that up by running through NIS America’s tactical RPG, Disgaea D2, which comes out on Tuesday. In my review, I tried not to gush about it too much, but it bled through a little: this might be my favorite Disgaea game. The more recent ones were getting encumbered by all of the gameplay additions, but this streamlines everything down while keeping everything that makes the series fun. I’m going to be putting a LOT of extra hours into this one, and you should too!
Jennifer Griffith – Associate Editor
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks in nostalgia land with ports and remasters of my favorite games. As soon as I got Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix in the mail, I had to put some time in on the first game; I managed to get the heck out of Traverse Town for now (please, not that music!) and finish up Wonderland. I had forgotten how annoying running back and forth in the Gummi Ship can be, though, and after Birth by Sleep and Dream Drop Distance, I’m finding the old battle system a bit lacking. Part of me wishes Squeenix had given Kingdom Hearts some real love with this HD release and done a complete remake, but as long as they’re working on Kingdom Hearts III, I can let it slide. In visual novel news, I’ve been working my way towards 100% completion on Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi, a 3DS port of the first Hakuoki visual novel on the PSP. There were still several endings I hadn’t seen yet, so it was fun playing through those, and I’m really enjoying the extra side stories in this version. It’s too bad the art doesn’t look as nice on the 3DS as it did on the PSP, but it’s still gorgeous. Here’s hoping more companies will release visual novels in English! Meanwhile, Aksys still gets all my money.
That’s it for us! Make sure you head on over to the comments and let us know what you’re playing and watching this weekend. Also, if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out our Extra Life post to see how you can help us raise money for charity through gaming.