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So About Them “Videogames” September 2013

September 14, 2013

よ~ It’s video game monthly time.
Things are getting a little more exciting than they’ve been over the past few months, with a few big new games coming out, and a new console generation looming but a couple short months away.
And while I may or may not be grabbing a next gen console at launch (given the pretty lackluster launch line-up), I’m still looking forward to getting one in the future. While current gen games look perfectly fine, anyone who tries to tell you there’s no room for improvement is jerking your chain.
While this is a problem easily overcome on PCs with how often new video cards and the like are released, I’m still content to wait for a new console. Maybe I’m biased that way or something.

Two games are swiftly approaching which I’ve been looking forward to for a while: Gta 5, which is but a few days away, and Pokemon X/Y hitting next month (before the next video game monthly, even).
I’m doing my best to go into GTA 5 knowing as little as possible, but what I’ve heard about the multiple protagonists and the ability to swap between them at will sounds interesting. There may be a review at some point, but open world games take quite the chunk of time to complete, so there may be a general “talky” article about it instead. We’ll see though.
Then, a few weeks later, Pokemon X/Y launches worldwide, which is equally as (if not more) exciting. Red/Blue were big games for me back when they came out, and the series has had small but meaningful refinements to the way they are played over the generations. So much, that going from the beautiful Black2/White2 to those first generations feels like traveling back to the stone-age.


What I’ve Been Playing:


eXceed series:
I’ll take shooters where-ever I can find em, and this series is available on Steam.
In the first game, Vampire Children, you have a choice of three different characters, which all have different styles of shot/bombs. You are able to charge up a more powerful shot by grazing bullets (flying close to them without touching). It’s a cool risk/reward way to handle grazing, as in some games it seems to be tied to score and little else.
While the first game in the series is somewhat generic feeling and lack-luster by terms of production quality, the jump in quality from the first game to the second is pretty vast.
While Vampire Rex (nice title, by the way) uses some of the same backgrounds as the first game, and involves many of the same characters, the graphics and gameplay have been refined, and it borrows heavily from the polarity mechanic seen in Ikaruga (which I’ve talked about recently on the Soapbox). There is also a melee attack, which allows you to absolutely wreck a boss’ health bar if you’re able to stay on top of them.
The third game, Jade Penetrate (where do they get these titles from?) is a departure from the story-line and characters found in the first two games, but plays very similarly to the first, in that you can no longer swap polarities to absorb shots, but can once again graze bullets to unleash a special attack.

These games are far less unforgiving than your average bullet-hell shooter. There is less memorization of enemy spawns/bullet curtain patterns required to make progress, though that isn’t to say you can just bum-rush your way through to the end either. I expect if you’re someone who plays a ton of these sorts of games, you may find the challenge lacking, but I thought it was a good balance.
As mentioned above, all three of these games are available on Steam, and you can grab them all in a bundle for 10 bucks; so if you’re a fan of bullet-hell (or someone new to them, looking for a somewhat easier to manage game to test the waters with), you really can’t go wrong with them.


256px-Forza_Horizon_boxartForza Horizon:
Forza Horizon is a more arcadey game than those which came before it. The most noticeable thing to me was how your vehicles in Horizon will just about never spin out, where as the same vehicle in the main-line Forza games might very easily be prone to.
There is no sort of penalty for driving like a complete ass, either. You can cut corners and smash opponents all you want, and it’s all good and fair.
The story is that there’s an auto festival taking place in Colorado, and a number of (badly acted) personalities are vying to come out on the top.
While these personalities are insufferable (and I think for the most part this is on purpose), they don’t appear to carry over into the races themselves.
While it isn’t a detriment to the gameplay really, it would have been nice to see “well here’s the overly-aggressive driver”, or “here’s the more cautious racer, who does their best to take clean lines through corners”.
There are a good amount of things to do, with point-to-point races, circuits, car-specific challenges and the like, and the layout and design of this fictional version of Colorado makes for fun driving, as the road is rarely perfectly level.
While rubber-banding can make races slightly more interesting than was the case in the past few Forza games, on Normal difficulty races almost seem as though as long as you’re participating, you will almost always come in first. This makes the races a tad more on the boring side than was the case with the main line games, as in those, you could try to take corners differently to whittle time off of your lap.
A arcade-sim taking place outside of the track is a great idea though, and they’ve done a well enough job at it with Horizon, but there’s plenty of room for improvement, and I’d love to see them take another shot at it in the future.


That’s the first half of September. Of course I’ve been playing things here or there such as Pokemon Trading Card Game Online or Akai Katana Shin, but not enough to have much of anything to say about them. I played through Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and liked it a whole lot, but when I went to talk about it here in the Monthly, I couldn’t really come up with anything compelling to say.
If you’re interested in 80’s action movies though, check it out. It’s well worth the asking price (of $15), even if there aren’t all that many available mission types or things to do out in the game world.
Things will get more active regarding video games here soon though, so until then, またね。

From → Games

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  1. Spitz’s Year-end Wrap Up 2013 | Spitz's Soapbox

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