Friday, March 01, 2013

Five games I'd probably pick up if I owned a PlayStation Vita

Although I'm hardly what you'd call a "Vita hater," I'm also not exactly the biggest fan of Sony's latest handheld.

Still, a handful of its games have captivated me enough that I don't think it's completely out of the question that I'll own a Vita someday (especially considering I'm far more interested in portable, rather than console, gaming these days).

Should that "someday" ever arrive, here are five Vita games I'd seriously consider picking up alongside the bulky, OLED-screened system:

1. @field--What do you get when you combine Hot Shots Golf and pinball? Apparently you get this Sega-made game. Don't worry, I don't quite understand how a golf-pinball mash-up is supposed to play either. Something like mini-golf, perhaps? Regardless, I'm intrigued.

2. Dokuro--I've written about my interest in this puzzler-platformer before, so there isn't much more to say about it here. What I will say: if possible, I'd prefer to pay a premium and pick up the Japanese retail version of this game--just so I can sit and stare at its beautiful box art.

3. Gravity Rush--So many people trumpeted this title's merits around the time of its release that I actually stopped paying attention to it. (What can I say? I'm sometimes contrary like that.) Anyway, now that I've had a chance to reflect a bit, I think I can see why gamers went gaga over it and I'm curious to give it a spin myself.

4. Persona 4 Golden--Full disclosure: I've never before played the original version of Persona 4. In fact, I don't even own a copy of the game--although it's been on my "to buy" list since it was released. Everyone says this is the best version of it, so maybe I'll just skip the PS2 release and buy this one instead (should I ever purchase a Vita, of course).

5. Sei Madou Monogatari--The two main reasons I'm interested in this sure-to-be-Japan-only Vita title: 1) I've long been a fan of the Madou Monogatari series of dungeon-crawlers and 2) I like that this one looks more than a bit like Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon.

Other possibilities: The Legend of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki, Orgarhythm, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Tearaway and Touch My Katamari.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Six Japanese PSP games I wish had been brought to the States

Considering how poorly the PSP sold in the US, it's pretty amazing how many Japanese games have been localized and brought to our shores since it debuted in 2005. (In fact, they're still coming--as evidenced by the recent announcements concerning Class of Heroes 2 and Sweet Fuse: At Your Side.)

Still, a number of noteworthy PSP titles never earned an English release of any sort. Of those, the six mentioned below are the ones I most wish had made it to North America.

1. 7th Dragon 2020--Truth be told, I'd much rather be able to buy and play a localized copy of the original 7th Dragon (for the DS) than this "side story," but that doesn't mean I wouldn't pick up 2020 if given the chance--despite the fact that the crew at Hardcore Gaming 101 have described it as being "significantly dumbed down" compared to its predecessor.

2. Any of the Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA games--I'm a sucker for rhythm games, especially those that could be called "cute," so this Sega-made selection is a no-brainer. That said, I have a feeling this game would have been ruined had its developers attempted to replace its Japanese tunes with English ones, so maybe I should be happy it never left its home country.

3. Either of the MonHun Diary: Poka Poka Airu Village titles--This series (consisting of just two games, at the moment) often is described as being "Monster Hunter meets Animal Crossing," which of course means I've been curious about it since the first title was announced in 2009. Considering Sony seemed desperate for a while to expand western sales of the PSP (and Capcom similarly seemed desperate to expand western interested in the Monster Hunter series), I thought one or both of the MonHun Diary: Poka Poka Airu Village would be shoe-ins for a US release of some sort. Apparently I thought wrong.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Now that you've spent some quality time with them, what do you think of your Vitas and Wii Us?

The poor Vita and Wii U have gotten so much negative press as of late that I thought I'd ask all of you who own either or both of these systems what you think of them.

I ask this question, in part, because I'm generally curious about these kinds of things. I also ask, though, because I have a feeling I'll buy both systems at some point in the future (although the Vita is a less likely purchase than the Wii U, I think) and I want to know if those of you who own them currently feel they were worth the price of admission.

So, what do you say? Are you glad you bought your Vitas and/or Wii Us, or do you wish you'd saved your money (at least for the time being)?

If your response is that you wish you hadn't picked up a Vita or Wii U, why do you feel that way?

Personally, I've only regretted buying a system once--that being the Xbox 360--and even then I still got a good amount of enjoyment out of the console in question (just not as much as I imagined I would).

Given that, I can't imagine I could go wrong by adding either or both of these machines to my "collection" at some point. Still, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on them all the same.

Completely random (and likely unpopular) opinion: Nintendo should reconsider Animal Crossing's North American logo

Here's the thing: I actually liked the North American Animal Crossing logo well enough at first. Over time, though, I've grown a bit bored with it. After all, all Nintendo of America's staffers seem to do these days is paste a rather cheap-looking accessory (for lack of a better word) on top of the tried-and-true signpost-esque design they came up with back in 2002.

Case in point: the logo that appears on Animal Crossing: New Leaf's North American box art (below).

The logo created for Animal Crossing: Wild World (below) is a bit better, it has to be said, but even then I'd hardly call it creative.

Compare both of the above-mentioned logos to the one conjured up for the Japanese version of Wild World (aka Oideyo Dōbutsu no Mori), which in my opinion not only is more whimsical--always a plus in my book--but also is a better fit with the rest of the cover imagery.

That said, I think the logo crafted for the Japanese release of New Leaf (aka Tobidase Dōbutsu no Mori) is even better--and is the kind of thing Nintendo of America's designers should strive for in the future.

I especially like how the game's title is contained within a row of homes as well as a tree--elements that play a major role in this series of adorable "life sims." The subtitle's placement within a bunch of communication bubbles is a nice design choice, too, as it helps depict the series' increased focus on interactions with players both near and far.

Anyway, that's what I think about this admittedly rather unimportant matter. What do all of you think about it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let's Play: 'Which Box Art is Better?' (Touch Detective 2 1/2 edition)

I don't know if any of you care to know this, but I've got the Beeworks-developed, Success-published Touch Detective titles on the brain at the moment--mainly because of my obsession with the series' soon-to-be-released (for 3DS) puzzler spin-off, Osawari Tantei Nameko Daihanshoku (aka Touch Detective: Funghi's Big Breed).

I'll have a brand-spanking-new copy of Osawari Tantei Nameko Daihanshoku in my grubby little (big) hands shortly, by the way, so keep an eye out for a post on it--if you're at all curious about it, of course.

In the meantime, I thought I'd publish another "Which Box Art is Better?" post dedicated to this charming (or so I've been told--I've yet to play one myself) series.

Last time, I focused on the first Touch Detective title, so today we're going to focus on the second, which is known as Touch Detective 2 1/2 in North America.

Speaking of which, here's the illustration that appeared on Japanese copies of the game:

And here is the art that graced covers of the North American version:

European copies of the game featured the same illustration, although it was rather garishly (and horrifically, if you ask me) colored:

Which one do I like best? Well, I'm sure you've already surmised that I'm not a fan of the Euro box art. With that out of contention, I guess I'll have to choose between the Japanese and North American covers.

Although I quite like the Japanese version's soft, almost pastel, paint job, I have to go with the North American option this time around as I feel it's far more illustrative of the game's content. Also, I really like how the designer(s) at Atlus decided to put the main character's hand to good use in the logo.

That's just my opinion on the matter, though; what's yours?

See also: Previous 'Which Box Art is Better?' posts

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Month with Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, Part 3

Hold on to your hats, folks, as what I'm about to say may just may blow them of your pretty little heads. I ... have ... finished one of my "Bye-Bye, Backlog" games!

I finished it--Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, that is--yesterday, in fact.

And when I say I finished it, I don't just mean that I beat the final boss; I also mean that I rescued all 100 of my slime-napped friends.

As for how long it took me to accomplish this feat: putting the game's antagonist, Don Clawleone, in his place, once and for all, pushed my playthrough past the 20-hour mark.

This post nearly wasn't so celebratory, by the way. That's because I was this close to giving up on Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime early in the week--after I became hopelessly stuck on a specific late-in-the-game tank battle.

I sped around that bump in the road after re-tooling my tank and re-configuring my crew, though, and then gleefully raced through the rest of this wonderfully captivating game.

Or maybe I should say "through the fight with the final boss," as the game never really seems to end. (A handful of side quests and a "Tank Masters Tournament" can be completed after the credits roll, plus every stage and tank battle can be re-played to your heart's content.)

Unsurprisingly, I'm still playing the game, even though there are no more slimes to rescue and no more tanks to beat to smithereens (well, other than those that are part of the Tank Masters Tournament). That's how much it has wormed it's way into my heart.

I'm going to continue enjoying Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime--and Fire Emblem: Awakening (which I have to sheepishly admit I've yet to start)--through the end of this coming week, and after that I'll switch to my next "Bye-Bye, Backlog" selection, which at the moment I'm thinking either will be Half-Minute Hero (PSP) or Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube).

In the meantime, feel free to share your heartfelt opinions of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime in the comments section below.

See also: Previous 'Bye-Bye Backlog' posts