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My top 5 Favorite Games ~ An Objective View

In no particular order, my top 5 favorite games are Super Metroid, Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, Final Fantasy Tactics, Donkey Kong Country 2, and Kirby Super Star.

Super Metroid

  • What I liked : I liked the atmosphere of the game. Several things contributed to this. Parallax scrolling caves, jungles, and whatnot combined with weather effects like rain, fog, and steam really went a long way towards selling the locals of the game. The music was also very atmospheric, going a long way towards setting the tone of the world. All this combined with the level design and placement of scripted fights and events led to a very intense, very atmospheric title.
  • What I didn’t like : Due to the exploratory and general non-linear narrative and game progression, if you left the game for any considerable length of time and then came back to it to play, there was a fairly good chance of being completely lost and not really knowing how to get back into the flow of the game’s progression.

Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G

  • What I liked : I like the skill based nature of the game. You can’t really ‘power-level’ in this game, as all the best weapons and armor won’t save you if you just aren’t good at fighting. Fortunately, the game is lain out in such a way that if you progress through the quests in the given order, you will become better at the game. The sheer amount of unique and interesting content layered on top of the rather simplistic concept of take giant weapons and fight giant monster is also just plain awesome.
  • What I didn’t like : In the original Monster Hunter, and even Monster Hunter 2, the difficulty curve was much smoother and straighter, and it was pretty much guaranteed that by the time you had mastered fighting any given monster you were of an adequate skill level to face the next monster in the progression. Because of the sheer amount of content in 2nd G, however, the difficulty curve has become more of a hyperbole, starting out gentle and then sky-rocketing. It’s easy to get lost in the amount of monsters and equipment that become available at each level in the progression.

Final Fantasy Tactics

  • What I liked : The world of the game was very intricate and plotted out. Every character had a story. Every soldier had a unique name. Every map had historical records and anecdotes and hidden treasures. Everything in the game, from the world’s history to the daily lives of the squires in your opponent’s troops has at least a bit of story if not several paragraphs. All this combined with the ink-pen art style and the game-play, which was glorified chess on steroids, made this title awesome.
  • What I didn’t like : because of the sheer amount of statistics and tactical data present at all times in every battle, it is very hard to play this game casually. It is possible to set units on a sort of “auto-pilot”, but then many fights become somewhat per-determined based on unit stats and abilities, save for the randomness of the die roll on exactly how much damage any given attack will actually do.

Donkey Kong Country 2

  • What I liked : Donkey Kong Country 2 takes everything that made Donkey Kong Country 1 awesome, and does it better. The levels have tighter design. The atmosphere and theme of the game awesome (haunted pirates permeate everything while not being overwhelming in their prevalence). The game-play mechanics are tighter and more fluid. The controls have been tweaked. There are new and improved versions of animal buddies. More power-ups. More types of barrels. More enemy archetypes. Everything in the game improves upon its predecessor, which was pretty good in the first place. The game is just awesome.
  • What I didn’t like : While the game improves on everything present in its predecessor, it doesn’t actually re-use all of the content. Some of the animal buddies, for instance, were replaced by new animals that serve a similar function. It would have been nice to actually see improved versions of the all of the DKC1 buddies. Similarly, Donkey Kong himself is not actually playable in this title, or its sequel, which is a bit disappointing, as we never got a chance to see how Rare would have tweaked his gameplay and design before they were sold to Microsoft.

Kirby Super Star

  • What I liked : This game takes Kirby’s fun core gameplay and applies it to 9 (count them) different games within. None of these games is really long enough to be considered a full title, but in the context of a compilation game, each is able to explore and tool around with whatever variation of the Kirby theme they were dealing with and make it tight, contained, and fun. The overall experience is really rather enjoyable.
  • What I didn’t like : While all of the individual games are really fun, I would have liked to see a few of them as stand-alone, full length Kirby titles. The gameplay variations of Milky Way Wishes in particular would have been nice to see in a full length game.

Review ~ Metroid : Other M

Metroid Other M

Game Platform

Wii

Game Overview

This action adventure exploration game features a new take on the classic side-scrolling Metroid formula while throwing in a little bit of the Metroid Prime feel by having the ability to switch into a first person mode. The game takes place on an abandoned research vessel full of biological weapons and deadly enemies for Samus to overcome.

What Did This Game Do That Was Different From Its Predecessors?

Instead of being purely side-scrolling or purely first person, this game is third-person 3-D open world, with a dynamic camera that at times goes full side-scrolling or full first person.

Instead of ammo and health ups dropping off enemies, the game employs a system for the player to personally recharge their health and ammo under various circumstances.

This game includes dynamic auto-aiming, command dodging, and command kills similar to God of War’s to ease exploration and combat in the third-person 3-D world.

Instead of upgrades, equipment, and weapons being rewards for exploration or defeating bosses, the game grants you the ability to use them in scripted events as you progress through the story.

Favorite Part about the Game (and why)

The game features a number of aesthetic and not necessarily needed moves that add to the cool factor of the game. While facing multiple enemies, the game dynamically poses Samus as she turns to fire at each in turn. The game also features a way to perform dynamic dodges instead of simply strafing, and to perform cinematic finishing moves on enemies as an optional, more awesome way of defeating them. These three features add to the player’s sense of empowerment during play.

Least Favorite Part about the Game (and why)

The game provides no rewarding reason for defeating enemies other than the ability to move on to the next area where you will be once again forced to kill everything in the room in order to move on. Due to the manner in which you acquire power-ups and refill your health and ammo, there really isn’t any reward for killing bosses, let alone the normal enemies in the game.

How would you change the game to make it better?

I would change the health and ammo refill system, having enemies drop health and ammo refills instead of allowing the player to just manually refill when they feel like it. This gives players an actual reason to battle the numerous enemies in the game.

I’d also take about a third of the power-ups and upgrades gained throughout the game and make them rewards for boss battles and some of the mini-boss battles, thus giving rewards and a sense of achievement after winning an epic battle.