so i've had a little more free time on my hands lately and i decided to put it to good use. here are the video games i've beaten in the past two months, and games i'm playin now:
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
$18 used $20 new
$18 used $20 new
Prince of Persia
Batman: Arkham Asylum
$25 used $28 new
Splinter Cell: Conviction
$18 used $20 new
WHAT THIS IS AND WHO SHOULD READ --
and this is what i thought of each, with a focus on the current price point in relation to when it came out, and the quality of the game today. so the real question is, is it worth the price of admission? should i buy should i not? i write this mostly for casual gamers who don't have the time to read reviews, and don't keep up to date with games. for the gamers who fell out for whatever reason. time, family, overwhelmed by the list of quality games... so if you haven't played it, it's new to you. anyway here we go:
(if you want just final thoughts and my "ratings" skip on down to the summary section)
GAME DESCRIPTIONS --
Enslaved - OCT 2010
i played this on the ps3. it was fun. for the price. i say play it. like a lotta games do nowadays, the game presents itself like a movie. the graphics hold up decently. there was some choppiness and it's not the smoothest in terms of controls. but for what it is, it works. the story isn't bad, but nothing special. it's about a brute of a man and a fiesty girl trying to get her home. the characters are based on an old chinese fable, the monkey king. the game takes place in the future when humans have become "enslaved" by some robots or other being. the voice acting is superb. the fighting can get repetitive as many of these types of games usually do. there is a good amount of platforming, which i didn't mind cuz the fighting was pretty dull. and it's a little different having to interact/use the girl to help you or having to protect her.
the game wasn't very long and the replay value isn't that great. so to me, i'm glad i only paid $18 for it. on the flipside, for $18, it was well worth it.
genre - story/adventure
Darksiders - JAN 2010
i played this on the ps3 too. it's regarded by many as one of the biggest sleeper games of 2010, along with games like Demon Souls. choosing between the two i decided to play Darksiders because i read on many occasions that Demon Souls is hard as balls. my sentiment toward this game is very much in line with how i felt about Enslaved. it was a fun play. for the price. this game was pretty long tho, almost 30 hours. and the format was very interesting to me. story-wise, nothing special. you're one of the four horsemen and it's your duty to protect some sacred code. to be honest i didn't follow it that closely. but the game is laid out in front of you in simple terms. you have to beat four mini bosses to get to the final boss. back to the format, each mini boss is in a dungeon-type setup similar to Zelda games. and obviously you have to traverse through a variety of lands, platforming along the way, to get to each. you find a map and pick up a new weapon in each "dungeon", just like in a Zelda game. complete with hookshot, it's too much of a ripoff not to be an intentional ripoff. even down to the music you hear when you discover a secret passage. the puzzle solving isn't too hard. this aspect of the game, along with the fighting is a copy of God of War. the fighting again, gets repetitive, but there are plenty of moves and weapons to learn and upgrade. you even get a horse to ride. cheesy story with cheesy characters with cheesy voices. but serves purpose. not a story driven game.
i've said a lot about this game. and it's because i had a lotta fun with it. especially for $18. again, the replay value isn't so great. but i rarely play a game thru twice. which is why paying full price $60 can be so frustrating when i beat the game in two weeks. soooo, yeah, play this game.
genre - um, a zelda game with god of war style play
Prince of Persia - DEC 2008
played this one on 360. ok. i could go on and on about this game too. i did read a lot that this game received a good amount of critical acclaim. the graphics aren't the best, and choppy during cut scenes, the voice acting is pretty strong. this game is pretty much 90% platforming. if you haven't picked up on it yet, i enjoy platforming. which is why i'm a huge assassins creed fan. i can run around all day in that game. this game is close. you run off walls jumping from one to another, swinging from objects and climbing and falling. the controls are decent, but i will say i died a lot when he didn't do what i wanted him to do. sometimes it was a timing thing, which is part of the games difficulty. but a lot of times it was just because the controls were stiff. there is some fighting, but this is the part of the game that i would say is serviceable. the strength of the game is the characters, the environments, the puzzles, the platforming. it's a simple game, not hard to play... you can't die... so it's pretty easy to pick up and play, without having to break from any relaxation. and like Enslaved a girl follows you around, and similarly their relationship benefits the game. once more i say play it!
genre - platforming, collecting items, puzzle solving... basically like old prince of persias, but on the 360/ps3
Batman - AUG 2009
played on xbox. not gonna get too deep into this one. my friend wanted me to play it. it was fun. controls were good. graphics good. storyline not bad. playing the game makes you "feel" like batman. some stealth involved. fighting isn't bad. can get somewhat repetitive, but learning new moves helps. and counter system is fun. much like how i enjoyed Wolverine: Origins, but this game is much better. personally, i thought it was ok. but i know a lot of ppl loved this game. cuz it's widely regarded as the best comic book game to date. again, personally, i'd wait until it was in the $15 - $20 range. it's almost there. fun game! but i say wait on it. especially when the sequel, Arkham City comes out, the price will plummet.
genre - ummm, you're batman
Splinter Cell - APR 2010
quality quality game. xbox exclusive. lives up to previous Splinter Cells. but this one's different. still stealth is required, but not as religiously as the old ones. you get to run around and kick a little ass semi-pseudo-metal gear style. controls take getting used to cuz they're pretty different from most other standard third person shooters. but for the purpose of this game, they work great. plays like a movie. with a solid story. nothing mind blowing. but entertaining for sure. a little short, when i beat it i wasn't even close to wanting it to end yet. but eh, it was long enough. i dunno why the price on this game dropped so fast. one year, and it was $18-$20 already. i guess it didn't sell well. but for this price? it's a steal. there are side missions and multiplayer missions separate from the single player campaign. i want to go back and play those. i really liked the stealth system, and the execution ability, where you could mark enemies and take them out all at once. but you have to hand to hand someone to earn the capability. the only thing i would say needed improvement was the weapons. there would be weapon stash areas for you to upgrade and equip different guns. there wasn't nearly enough to do. and i never really had any reason to change my guns after like halfway thru. but all in all. play it!
genre - metal gear solid type game but realistic
SUMMARY & VERDICTS --
so you might have noticed i liked em all and suggested em all. well yeah that's because i researched these games. these are the good ones =p i guess i'm just confirming it. plus you can't really beat these prices.
here's the order i'd suggest em in:
(keep in mind this is my personal preference)
1: Splinter Cell
2: Darksiders/Prince of Persia
in terms of quality. if i had to play any of them over again, that's the order i'd play them in. if you think about it. i think it's awesome that these days graphics can really stay relevant for a few years. all of these games still looked great if not good enough to compare with the games coming out right now. in my opinion that's the hardest thing to get over when playing an old game. if it just looks horrible. i mean the only other reasons to get games right away is #1 you can't wait to play it #2 you play it with your friends #3 you don't wanna miss out on all the hoopla, reviewing, critiquing, complaining, sharing, talking, etc. so my point is, graphics matter the most when looking at the dusty games on the shelves. and thankfully all the games were impressive in this element.
***Splinter Cell isn't all that old, about exactly one year. and it's been a consistently quality series so it's no wonder it's the best game on this list.
***Prince of Persia also comes from a long line of real good fun and classic games so i expected nothing less, but the fact that it's held up so well from 2008 is pretty impressive. i was almost tempted to get the other Prince of Persia next gen game... but decided against it. it seems to be more action oriented tho, so if that's your cup of tea you might want to try that one: Forgotten Sands multiplatform $18-$20 released MAY 2010. took me some research to clear it all up... but the "trilogy" (comprised of sands of time, warrior within, two thrones) is just a remastered bundle pack of those ps2 games in "HD". they're all good games, and the bundles cheap. but i think that would be wayy too dated for me to play.
***Batman was actually a relatively older game on the list. the game is still good, but frankly, the price has stayed at a higher-than-normal-price-for-the-amount-of-time-on-shelves... for too long. but it has held up amazingly in terms of overall (graphics, gameplay, story, controls, etc) and it's because it's critically acclaimed. it sold well. and i guess ppl are still buying it. it's finally coming down to a "proper" price by my standards. but like i said before. the sequel is coming out soon this year. once that happens, the price will immediately adjust accordingly.
***Enslaved was at the bottom of my list even tho it was the most recently released. well, there's a reason it's already selling at $20. and i think that's the right price for it. so like i said, my reviews are price sensitive. despite a few commercials on tv and a cover story on GameInformer, this game remains relatively unknown. i could say the same for Darksiders, cuz i do remember seeing a couple commercials for that game too. the difference being Darksiders exceeded my mediocre expectations i have for these (either older or just plain priced reduced) games.
but it's not like they were developed by complete unknowns. Enslaved was made by ninja theory while Darksiders, vigil games (THQ). ninja theory was behind Heavenly Sword, which was a ps3 launch title. it's still selling for $20 buuuuut... i'd pass. i never spent money on it but i played it thru, wasn't a bad game, but no thanks, maybe for $5-$10. it's funny tho because if you look at the girl character "Trip" in Enslaved, they used the same model cuz she looks just like the Heavenly Sword girl. vigil games, who was bought by THQ in 2006, made the Warhammer series. THQ has games such as Saints Row, Homefront, inSane, UFC Undisputed on its roster.
the metacritic score Enslaved currently has is an 82/100, while the users gave it a 7.9/10. so i don't want to make it sound like it's a bad game. those scores are on par with my feelings towards the game. but i'm gonna give you a number rating considering the current price and how well the game has held up since release. the time aspect hasn't started to hurt any of these games yet. and obviously paying less is always a good thing, it's weighing the two against each other - saving the money vs. the game losing it's fun/quality over time.
they're all playable, they're all fun, and they're all at pretty good prices. some other questions to ask when deciding which to buy is: how hard you want to try (how much you have to focus to play) and what kind of game you want to play. i tried to describe the types of game these titles are in the above section. below i'll provide two lists. my number's rating (rating brand new $60/rating current price and time) on a scale out of 10, and how "difficult" the games are, or in other words, how much you need to pay attention, again on a scale out of 10 (1 being easy). this is another obvious point, but the difficulty rating is based on my skill level which is basically a judgment call because it'd be too difficult to describe that. so i'm guessing the difficulty level for your average fan, not what it was for me.
1.Splinter Cell - 9.0 / 9.3 -- 7.0
2.Prince of Persia - 9.1 / 9.3 -- 5.0
3.Darksiders - 8.0 / 8.6 -- 6.5
4.Batman - 9.1 / 9.2 -- 5.5
5.Enslaved - 7.0 / 7.9 -- 6.0
right now i'm working on Bayonetta for the ps3. so far, my impression is ehhhh. it's underrated sure. but it got a good amount of hype as an underrated game... again, for the price, it's not bad. but it's basically a Devil May Cry with a chick, and in my opinion... not as cool.
also working thru Army of Two: 40th Day. so far what i expected. just like the first one. if you liked that, you'll like this. everything's basically the same except you have way more options to customize your guns with. which to me is what makes the game fun anyway. that, and running around and shooting ppl up with a friend. obviously that part of the game isn't too different. they tried to throw in more story, and "consequences" to "choices". but these are gimmicks like none other. for me, they add a lil fun to the game. but they're not game changers or anything.
in the queue i have Alan Wake and Dead Space (which should reduce again soon now the sequel is out) waiting. i also went against my code of patience and bought LA Noire. i also borrowed Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood from someone. yeah, i just didn't want to wait. =p
ANOTHER WORTHY MENTION --
and finally i'll leave you with this: The Darkness $5 JUN 2007
this game is only $5-$8 used (can't really find it new anymore- unless you resort to craigslist/ebay/amazon). and from what i've briefly read, fans have enjoyed it. a lot. i think i might check that out next. for a game that came out in 2007 this will be in danger of being too dated for me to play. but if i can play thru it, at least a decent amount, i'm of course gonna say it's worth it... for $5? as long as i don't turn it off after 5 minutes and already know i never want to go back. good chances are it'll be "good enough" for a four yr old game. and hey, that's the point of what i do. so that i'm always satisfied with my purchases and never feel "gipped", by the industry, or thru sell backs like Gamestop.
** edit** == i just read a couple online reviews for The Darkness and what i didn't realize is that it's a 1st person shooter. the screenshots i've seen do make me think the graphics are ever so slightly dated (depending on how picky you are). the baseline is this: you're in the mob and you start hearing voices in your head. based on the pictures i'm guessing as the game goes on you become less human and more "demon-like". as you can see below, you have "alien tendrils" where your hands and guns would normally be in a first person shooter... it sure sounds fun. hopefully i can stand the graphics... if you can't tell i'm pretty worried about that ==**edit**
HOW I'M GAMING WITHOUT IT MAKIN ME BROKE --
man do i hate paying $60 and beating a game in a week, then realizing i'm never gonna touch it again... in my opinion, $60 should be entertainment that lasts at least 2-3 months. bare minimum. that's if it's blow your socks off fun. i pay $10 a month for the gym. that's a good barometer. $10 of fun for 1 month at a time. $60, 6 months. <--- **** personal ranting/tangent ****
lemme put it this way. i've gotten to play quality games all year long so far... and i've spent $16 out of pocket for a total of:
Army of Two: 40th Day
Prince of Persia
how? i used my 10% off used games (Gamestop powercard), some buy-two-used-games-get-one-free coupons (they have this all the time), and gift cards (i take surveys while i'm at work to get $25 gift cards to gamestop). without the gift cards i would have paid a total of $66. that's six quality games for the price of one new game's worth. and that's in the span of six months: jan - jun. so imagine if i was buying full price new games... i'd have already spent $360+ dollars this yrs on games alone... that's close to $400 for 6 months of
^^^**** more personal ranting/tangent ****
oh, and revisit the old list i posted a while back. a lot of those games are dropping even more in price, like fable III, red dead redemption, ...
till next time!!!