Archive for February 21st, 2011

Xenogears on the PSN This [Tuesday]!
February 21, 2011

You can almost hear the cheers throughout the ‘net following the news that Xenogears finally hits the PSN later this week. So many fans have been looking forward to the chance to play this again, and on the go if downloaded to the PSP, so this PSN update is no doubt going to make a lot of folks very happy.

I know the ability to play one of my all-time favorites on a hand-held system is definitely something of a dream come true. Who would have thought back then that you would be able to play Xenogears while on a lunch break!? So, yea, Tuesday’s PSN update can’t get here soon enough!

More on Xenogears from the Playstation blog’s The Drop:

Xenogears is a turn-based RPG with a combat system that unifies the Square’s Active Time Gauge feature as well as a newly created combo system. The game chronicles the adventures of a young reluctant warrior named Fei, who, after three years of residing in a small, remote farming village begins a long, tortuous quest to uncover his mysterious past. With no memory of his life before being placed in the village leader’s care three years earlier, Fei makes a violent and tragic break with his peaceful life and sets out upon a journey. Along the way, not only will his own past be discovered, but he’ll also unravel the mystery of the planet’s past and humanity’s role in relation to it.


Red Steel 2 Impressions (Wii w/Motion Plus)
February 21, 2011

A few weeks ago I began hearing a lot of talk about Red Steel 2 (Wii). It came strongly recommended by several review sources that I trust (all with gushing praise), and I liked the concept and overall look of the game, so after finding a great online deal last week for the Motion Plus bundle (which basically paid for the cost of the attachment) I bit the bullet and ordered it.

The game arrived late last week, and despite having a number of other games in the queue, I really wanted to fire this one up sooner than later. Being a dyed in the wool true blue Texan it’s an understatement to say a game like this appeals to me, so yesterday afternoon I spent a good 3-4 hours swinging the Wii Remote around the room, doing my best not to look like an idiot, but having a great time all the same. The accuracy of the Motion Plus controller really was impressive (it is necessary to play the game) and I immediately noticed the different nuances that the more controlled movement of the add-on allows. This really is that game that I think a lot of us wanted when the Wii-remote was first introduced and the majority of us envisioned the possibilities that sword fighting, and guns ablazing, might hold.

RS2 invites you don the hat of the last surviving member of the Kusagari Clan following his exile from the group (for reasons unknown as the game begins). The game kicks off as you find yourself tied to the back end of a motorcycle and drug over town until the hero manages to free himself. Not much else is known about your identity beyond this fact, though it’s clear that we’re dealing with an Eastwood type character infused with the skills of a legendary gunman and samurai. And, interestingly, it is this fusion of ‘East meets West’ that gives the game so much character and I’m surprised at just how well the Ubisoft team was able to make this work. In fact, the fusion seems pretty natural after you’ve played the game all of 5-minutes. I don’t imagine there’s going to be a grand narrative to all that’s happening, and so far there hasn’t been, but I don’t think that’s the point of this one. Instead, Red Steel 2 puts you in the boots of a bad#$@ hero, on a dangerously slippy slope, and let’s you become that unstoppable character you’ve always wanted to be — dual armed with a katana and six-shooter no less! I thought this whole approach was exemplified extremely well in a couple of early mission descriptions that informed the hero that ‘he was being hunted and that he might take this opportunity to start hunting them back!’ I love that stuff.

The combat is awful addicting, and upgrades for your character and weapons abound, and so far there’s always that extra incentive to just play for a few more minutes to see what’s around the corner. Additionally, the visuals take advantage of the cel-shading technique (one of my personal favorites) and they look mighty impressive on the Wii. I have seen minor complaints that the game looks a little ‘brown’ at times, but for me, so far they’ve achieved a great visual balance.

Red Steel 2 has definitely exceeded my expectations, and I imagine I’ll be rotating between this and Donkey Kong Country Returns for the foreseeable future. From what I’ve played, I can’t recommend it enough — definitely one you don’t want to miss.