Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time

I haven’t been into many of the Ratchet & Clank games in the past, and I’m not sure why. Probably because I did most of my platforming on the Wii. But I recently tried out the demo of the new Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time on the PS3, and was really impressed. It’s reviewed very well, according to Metacritic ratings.

The demo takes about ten minutes, but shows off some great puzzle platforming and a boss fight. The time-shifting puzzles and slow-down really add a great gameplay element, using copies of yourself to perform cooperative actions — sorta like Braid. Makes getting from point A to point B much more interesting.

And controlling your character is a blast. The controls are so tight, you feel really in control of your actions. Never once did I think I was a victim of awful controls or camera views, like I have in other recent puzzle platforming in games like Prince of Persia, Uncharted, or Assassin’s Creed.

The game is also funny, good-looking, and kid-friendly. Alex really has a lot of fun watching the beat-em-up action and platforming. The environments are lush and full, but never distracting and never unclear about which direction to head. It uses a good, short, room-by-room method where you never wonder about which way to go. It’s a bit linear, but each room is so interesting you don’t care.

While I’m probably going to wait a bit to pick this up, it’s definitely going on my wish list.

Guild Wars Halloween 2009

Been so so so long since I played any Guild Wars, but around this holiday season there are a bunch of good reasons to play a bit — namely, Halloween treats! Starting last Friday, the Halloween events are ongoing in Guild Wars, and you can get all sorts of yummy and useful items just for normal adventuring. In addition to the bonus drops, you can also do quests and games for more prizes, including the yearly hats! I’ll have to dig out the scarecrow mask and jump into the festivities.

Dragon Age Journeys: The Deep Roads

The first installment of Dragon Age Journeys went live last night, and is now upon us like a horde of darkspawn. I played through the first chapter, subtitled The Deep Roads, over the course of a few hours last night. The best way to describe it is a flash version of Diablo only with turn based combat a la Final Fantasy. The gameplay is satisfying, and a neat feature is the unlocking of items for use in Dragon Age: Origins. Completing a certain quest can unlock an item, as does taking three short surveys throughout the course of the game. I thought that was an interesting idea… trade feedback for an in-game goodie. There is also a very nice helm that can be unlocked, but doing so requires completing 5 achievements. I’ve managed 3 of the 5 so far, with only one of them seeming to be dificult to accomplish: Killing an Ogre with full party health remaining. THAT will be a serious challenge. I’ve tried and failed several times. Regardless, it’s a fun diversion. You can find it here.

Command and Conquer 4 Preview

Great preview at Gamespot for the upcoming Command & Comquer 4: Tiberium Twilight. I really like the previously-announced commander class system, allowing you to choose your specialty — either offense, defense, or support. There’s also a greater emphasis on a rock-paper-scissors combat mechanic where different weapon and armor types have greater or lesser effect. A visual effect, showing colored tracers of fired weapons of certain types, clues players in to their effectiveness. Along with the mobile bases of some of the factions, there really seem to be some interesting refinements to the RTS gameplay of the title. Looking forward to its release in early 2010.

Glowing Blobby Reviews for a Boy and His Blob

A Boy and His Blob released last week, and the reviews have started coming in. I had posted the trailer of this game before. Reviews have been very positive, with rankings in the 80% range. Although it’s a simple platformer, the art and animation is so adorable, you can’t help but love it. There’s literally a hug button that does nothing else but make your child avatar hug his blob companion.

At its core, the game is a platformer with strong puzzle elements. The blob can take various forms to help you get past these puzzles. Fighting isn’t a strong mechanic, as most enemies, save for bosses, can simply be bypassed. The game is much more forgiving that the original NES title, and a checkpoint system, infinite lives, and infinite jellybeans allow you to play as you will without worrying about losing progress.

I’m certainly adding this game to my wishlist.

RPG Fatigue — Demon’s Souls and Dragon Age

Couple of hot new medieval fantasy RPGs have come or will come about this fall. Demon’s Souls is a PS3 exclusive and a hard-core gamer’s wet dream come true. A level-grinding and body-grinding experience, the difficult gameplay turns death into a reward, through the unique multiplayer features by allowing you to learn from other people’s deaths as a warning.

Even more highly anticipated is, of course, Dragon Age from RPG master BioWare. Dragon Age is billed as the spiritual successor to the Baldur’s Gate series, and promises to have the strong story and quality voice acting for which the blockbuster developer is known.

These titles come on the heels of other critical and commercial successes such as the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3, Persona 4, Fable II, Risen, Sacred 2, Dragon Quest IX, and more. And while each has its own twist, its own claim to fame, they each have a core gameplay mechanic: smack things and get stuff so you can smack bigger things. Yes it’s a gross oversimplification, but it’s close to the truth.

And I’m just tired of all of them.

I feel like I should be really excited for Dragon Age. It promises to be an epic event, a visual masterpiece, and an intricate story in a detailed world. What’s not to like? As a PS3 owner, I should be proud of the Demon’s Souls exclusive, buy it and crow about my platform’s ascendancy. But I don’t care about either. And I can’t exactly pin down this general feeling of apathy.

Looking back over my recent purchases, I can’t stand on any high horse and claim moral victory over the pi

Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story Complete

Finished Bowser’s Inside Story this afternoon. The last fight was a lot of fun, but certainly tricky. Had to pull out all the stops. Just tough enough — it was the first battle I’d actually failed.

I was expecting one more battle, but the ending was very appropriate. Funny to the end.

Mass Effect 2 Release Date

Looks like we’ll be seeing the second chapter of Mass Effect 2 here in North America on January 26, 2010. Really looking forward to this title. A little concerned about this “dark, gritty” feel we keep hearing about, but hopefully they stick with more of a space epic RPG than a grungy shooter. Only a few months until we find out.

Bowser’s Inside Story Nearly Complete

Finally had some more time to play the wonderful Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. Crazy busy weekend and beginning of the week, but now I’m back at it.

I’ve made it back to Peach’s Castle, trying to rescue the princess and clear out the evil lord. No, this time it’s not Bowser. Crazy, I know. The enemies here are the toughest yet, and a mini-boss trash robot fight was crazy. Luigi getting shoved into a trash can cracked me up.

But, my game just told me to take a break. What gives?

Oh now it’s ringing at me. Better pick it up!

I get the feeling there’s only a little bit left of the game to play, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!