MMORPG Info Logo Disgaea 2, FFXIII, Just Cause 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, Nier, Super Street Fighter IV and Iron Man 2

2010 has already been packed with new games but, thank goodness, we have Wukung to help us wade through the titles. These are predominantly single-player games with a bias towards the Xbox.

Be sure to check out the other games rated by Wukung this year: Darksiders, Bayonetta, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Mass Effect 2, Dante’s Inferno, BioShock 2, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Heavy Rain and Yakuza 3, Bad Company 2, Half Minute Hero, BlazBlue, and Red Steel 2.

A group of reviews balanced against each other can be much more useful for making a decision and we’re hoping to see regular updates from Wukung on games as they are released throughout the year.

–Taymar

Another round up of games, this time mostly from last month but I have a few carry-overs from the first quarter.

Disgaea 2 (PSP)

Enhanced port of the PS2 strategy RPG. The anime style may not be to everyone’s taste but underneath is complex yet very accessible game. A decent amount of side content combined with random content generation (and a level 9999 level cap) give the Disgaea games a open ended life span. It is a perfect time killer on a portable platform but not it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
8/10

Note: This currently fairly cheap to get on UMD, but these games tend to have fairly small runs in the UK so the price may well pick up fairly quickly. In fact, prices seem to have climbed a little in the couple of weeks since I bought my copy. Disgaea 1 for the PSP is up to about £30 for the UMD copy but is available on PSN for £12, so unless you are obsessive about collecting NIS games or something *cough*, go PSN. The core open ended game play is pretty much the same and has ad-hoc multiplayer which 2 doesn’t.

Final Fantasy XIII (PS3)

I haven’t actually finished Final Fantasy XIII yet but I’m fairly close to the end. Final Fantasy XIII is essentially an RPG on rails for the first 40′ish hours. Sadly the story lacks the same amount of direction that is forced on the player. After the first forty hours it opens up a bit but, by forty hours in, I would rather be done with the game with the option of side content rather than at the end of the tutorial. Still Final Fantasy XIII has an excellent battle system and gorgeous visuals.
7/10

Note: I usually default to Xbox 360 versions of multi platform games because they tend to have slightly better performance or at least more solid frame rates. Final Fantasy XIII is however one of those games which is significantly better on PS3, both in the real-time graphics and the pre-rendered video quality.

Just Cause 2 (Xbox 360)

Just Cause 2 does everything but does nothing well. It also boasts the outright worst shop mechanic, coupled with the lack of any other way to recover ammo or get access to most decent vehicles. Still the variety leaves Just Cause 2 mostly enjoyable.
7/10

Splinter Cell Conviction (Xbox 360)

Pacey, stealth action, with stealth mostly optional. The campaign is short but that is because there is a refreshing lack of needless padding, focusing instead on what the game does well. Co-op and challenge modes add some lifespan. I couldn’t help but feel that Batman: Arkham Asylum already did a lot of what conviction does better.
8/10

Nier (Xbox 360)

Japanese Action RPG and again a disclaimer that I haven’t finished it yet but, if anything along the way changes my impression of the game, I’ll amend my review. Fun, if some what clunky. The combat is a little sluggish and lacks much diversity. The in-game menus are unintuitive. Graphics are mostly unimpressive with some nasty pop-ups. But overall the game is still an enjoyable action RPG with the almost surreal asides which let you cultivate a vegetable garden and engage in fishing challenges alongside your apparently time-critical main quest.
7/10

Super Street Fighter IV (Xbox 360)

10 extra characters and whole bunch of tweaks and extras. Street Fighter 4 was already a great game but Super Street Fighter IV improves on it. However, if Street Fighter 4 wasn’t for you, then there is nothing here to change your mind. With its budget price tag, Super Street Fighter IV is a decent package of extras and great for those who missed Street Fighter 4 the first time around.
9/10

Note: Frankly both the official pads for Xbox 360 and PS3 are pretty bad for fighting games. The 360′s D-pad is exceptionally awful but the analogue stick is reasonable with Street Fighter 4′s forgiving input. The PS3 D-pad is better than that of the 360 but the analogue is not so great. The Street Fighter 4 pads are a good alternative: they’re great for retro gaming too and aren’t going to cost anywhere near as much as a good arcade stick.

Iron Man 2 (Xbox 360)

Iron Man 2 feels tragically undercooked, rushed to be out alongside the film. It feels like most the game is an escort mission or dull boss battle (or at its lowest point both at the same time) which is a shame because, on the few occasions you are allowed to cut loose, the game is at its best. The upgrade and customization system is nice but the menus make it unnecessarily slow and tedious to load. The story is separate from the film and penned by current Invincible Iron Man writer Matt Fraction but is disappointingly the same story that comic book writers always seem to turn in for games.
5/10


And I still haven’t got around to God of War 3, but I will. May is looking like a busy month for games. I’m particularly looking forward to 3D dot game heroes and No More Heroes 2.

Posted by Wukung on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

2 comments

  • Conot wrote:

    Hi!

    I’ve been reading for a while, and I have to say, I felt you skimmed over Just Cause 2.

    Among other things, the fact that you dedicated two lines to it doesn’t look right, and although I agree that the shop mechanic was awful, there were plenty of ways to get ammo and vehicles other than through the shop, there are crates hidden at certain locations, and the chopper can extract you to any bases with nice vehicles, including planes and jets.

    Not to mention you sort of completely avoided such things as the sandbox being 400 square kilometers wide, the grappling hook, the sandbox freedom and the hilariously bad voice acting. I don’t know whether you didn’t have time to go further into depth with JC2 (which considering the number of games you review, it wouldn’t suprise me), or it was not just your type of game, or something else, but I feel you were way too shallow with that review.

    Hoping for a reply,
    Conot

  • Wukung wrote:

    To keep the reviews as brief as possible I try to avoid describing a game too much unless I feel the game is obscure enough to warrant it. Even then I try to keep the description as brief as possible. With Just Cause 2 I could see the length of the review getting a bit out of hand so I made a concious decision not to break down the features and write about them individually to keep it concise. Also I wouldn’t take the length of a review as positive indication on my opinion on a game, Iron Man 2 had the longest review but is by a fair way the worst game of the bunch.

    With regards to ammo and vehicles that brevity did come at the expense of being entirely accurate. Other than the shop there is no way to get access to your upgraded vehicles. You can access useful vehicles by extracting, though that is if anything more hassle than buying them other than avoiding the cost. With ammo I actually found the shop the least painful option of gearing up and eventually just went with whatever I could find as I needed it.

    To expand on the other points you mention, the large world helps to give a sense of immersion but is a liability more often than not. It’s fun to drive across Panau but it is only really fun once. In practice the size of the world does not add much content but makes even the decent amount of content in Just Cause 2 feel like it has been spread thin. The content which does leverage the size of the world, such as races, feels a lot like filler. Getting from a to b becomes such a time sink that I ended up extracting as much as possible, which it seems defeats the purpose of having such a large world.

    The bad voice acting isn’t something that actually bothered me too much and is way down on my list of gripes.

    The grappling hook and the vehicle free was a strong point in the game but still not outstanding. Along with parachute the grappling hook gives you a decent amount of options for getting around. The problem is there a lot of games which do a similar thing but better. For a straight up better implementation of a grappling hook there is Arkham Asylum. On the sandbox games front inFamous, Crackdown, Assassin’s Creed and various Spider-Man games, while they don’t exactly use a grappling hook all are more fun for getting about without a vehicle. Out side of bases and urban environments the only use I could find for the grappling hook to get around other than as a tool for stealing vehicles was dragging the parachute. That is kind of indicative of the problem with Just Cause 2, while it has a much broader feature set than any of those games mentioned for any particular aspect of it it’s possible to quickly rattle off a list of games which do a similar thing better and Just Cause 2 never quite adds up to being more than a sum of its parts.

    For me the high points of Just Cause 2 involve messing around. Things like trying to ride two motorcycles at once, attempting to complete the time trials spending as much time as possible standing on the vehicles or my first journey across Panau. But there is only so much life span in finding your own fun.

    The thing is I don’t think those extra details really change the review much. I want to put together a quick reference of at least some recent games and leave the fine details up to some one else. Perhaps that approach is not going to entirely do justice to games as feature rich as Just Cause 2. However, while the two line review may be in very broad strokes it does sum up my opinion of the game pretty accurately.

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