Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RE4, Trapt, Devil Summoner 2, and Drakenguard PS2 Game Mini-Reviews... (Non-FFXI related)

I've played all the way through or mostly finished a few PS2 games and decided to write up some mini-reviews of them.

Resident Evil 4

I hadn't played any Resident Evil games since the PSX ones. The original, RE2, and RE1 Director's Cut. I played the hell out of all of those and got most/all of the hidden stuff and Rank A/S for finishing them in under two hours without saving. I rented and beat the PS2 Code Veronica. I never played RE3: Nemesis.

Now that I have my REsume (horrible pun!) out of the way, onward to RE4. I'd heard good things about this game and wasn't disappointed.

The story is nothing to write home about: "The President's daughter has been kidnapped. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President's daughter?" So, Leon Kennedy from RE2 is dumped in a village in Spain to find the President's daughter and Zombie Mind-controlling Parasite Apocalypses may ensue.

The gameplay is what really makes RE4. You get to blow away a pretty wide variety of enemies from homocidal Spaniards, to those giant troll things from the Lord of the Rings movies, to giant evil fish monster...things that are towing the rickety little speed boat you're riding in. The only real complaint I have with the game is quicktime events. There will be cutscenes were I'm watching the obviously evil guy smack around Leon and then splat I'm dead because I didn't know I was going to have to hit L1+R1 or Square+X at the same time suddenly.

Much of the signature features of the RE series that gave it its charm are back. The "Scooby Doo" effect on items you can interact with or pickup is back as a glowing effect in the fully 3D environment. There's thankfully shorter, but still interesting, notes and letters to be found and read that add background info. The rocket launcher even makes a comeback. The nonsensical item puzzles are back, but fairly intuitive. I finished the game without having to go to a FAQ to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing.

So yeah. It's a really fun game and if you too have been living under a rock I'd go and pick it up. You can get RE4, Code Veronica, and some other RE game I've never heard of for $20 new.

Trapt

Trapt is the fourth game in Tecmo's Deception series. The first three games were PSX titles Trapt is the first (and last) one on the PS2. The jist of all the games is you play a person who's in a castle/mansion hiding out for some reason and you kill intruders who are coming to kill you for various reasons by luring them into traps. And you're usually doing it to clear your name and ressurect the Devil.

It's a little weird.

If you liked the previous Deception games Trapt is worth picking up if you can find it reasonably cheap.

The localization is...bad. They left the voiceacting in Japanese and went with English subtitles. I don't speak any Japanese, but it sounds like standard anime quality. The guys' voices are all deeper than I'd expect looking at the characters. The gals' voices are uniformly high pitch and borderline irritating. The VAs sound like familar ones from anime. If you like anime and like it subbed over dubbed you'll probably be happy. I kind of lied when I said they left it in Japanese. Some of the cutscenes have no voiceacting at all. Also, from what little I could understand of the Japanese the subtitles were pretty clearly wrong rather often.

The gameplay is simple and repetitive but fun. Electrocute the hell out of an intruder with an electrified floor, impale the crap out of them on hidden wall spikes and then drop a gigantic burning rock on their head just to be sure. What's not to like? The main problem is the camera. It's like the one from the first Kingdome Hearts game, i.e. way to fucking close. It also looks downward more than it should. And it turns too slowly. Basically, the camera's pretty fucked up, but you can mostly work around it without too much trouble. All those problems end up in getting you hit by attacks (including projectiles) you never saw coming. Intruders make noises before projectile attacks though, so you can blindly dodge most of the time and avoid being hit. Still annoying though.

Something I shouldn't have to complain about but is also bad is the loading times. The game is divided up into chapters with cutscene -> mission (kill some dudes) -> cutscene. There's loading times before the cutscene, after the cutscene, before the mission, after the mission, before the closing cutscene, and after the closing cutscene. It's kind of ridiculous. Especially, when the mission may only last one minute once you've unlocked some of the better traps.

Overall, a very flawed game with a poor localization, bad loading times, and kind of janky in general production quality. If you enjoyed the previous Deception games and can get it cheap I'd pick it up. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it.

SMT: Devil Summoner 2

I've played to Chapter 2 now and the game is starting to grow on me. It lacks a lot in in-game tutorials, so you have to either read the manual (I would never consider stooping to such a level!) or just kind of figure things out on your own. Having learned most of it I'm now able to figure out what to do to progress without too much difficulty or turning to a FAQ.

Overall, it's still the weakest of the PS2 SMT games so far. There's just something about random battle encounters in an action RPG that's kind of...off-putting. And the story hasn't really gone anywhere yet either. Maybe I'll change my mind later, but I'd recommend Persona 4 or some other SMT game instead.

Drakenguard

Dynasty Warriors, i.e. one dude slaughtering hordes of mooks meets...some game where you fly around as a dragon and kill things with fire. And you, your weapons, and apparently your dragon all level up separately. The story is pretty lame and cliched.

I still find it fun to play despite being nothing original or amazing. Games are supposed to be fun, so I'll recommend it if the description above appeals to you. Really glowing endorsement, I know. XD

TTFN!

Hopefully, you now feel wise and informed and either inspired to add to your back catalog of games to play (or actually play one that's already sitting in it).

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