VGA 101: New Additions: A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That…

silent hill 4Whee, a library update after a wee bit too long. OK, I never found my missing Silent Hill 4: The Room for the PS2 (what, I never told you it was missing? Well now you know!), so I figured that I probably accidentally sold it off or worse, stuck it in that big box lot of about 80 or so PS2 games I sold a few years back as a freebie. Oops. Anyway, I hadn’t been actively looking for a copy for a while, but poking around on ebay recently, a sealed Japanese version turned up at a crazy low price and my brain said (in the words of the late Merv Griffin) “D’ooooh!” as I ended up bidding and winning this one. I also finally got back the Xbox version I’d lent out ages ago the same day this arrived, so here you go. Yes, the import game has an English text option, so it’s quite playable…

ps3 additionsSome recent PS3 games? OK, two racers and two RPGs for your viewing pleasure. MUD (recently reviewed here) and WRC 3 (which just came in today and will be reviewed soon – so far, it’s quite good), plus White Knight Chronicles II and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, both developed by Level-5, and one FAR better than the other, period. Look, I LOVE Level-5’s games a great deal, but the first WKC, despite some nice-looking visuals and online play (it’s basically a MMO engineered for the PS3), is a pretty dull affair from the chunk of time I’ve put into it so far. The main issue is the combat system which should have been simpler and more action RPG oriented (like a Dragon’s Dogma, or Demon’s/Dark Souls) slogs down to a sea of menus and more menus plus a few menus for good measure. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the game wasn’t insanely easy once you’ve gotten those menus and powers figured out. It’s also generic to the point of being maddeningly RPG 101 at times and despite a decent character editor, the guy or gal you create is a silent partner to another character who’s not much more interesting. I haven’t fired up WKC II yet, but I’m not expecting much other than better-looking visuals and probably a few gameplay tweaks. It’s not a BAD game, by any means… but it sure is bland for all those large maps, huge cast of characters and lovely CG movies…

Ni no Kuni, on the other hand is beautiful and brilliant, thanks to Studio Ghibli teaming up with the developer to create something visually impressive with gameplay that’s a near total joy. I need to finish this so I can post a full review (I’ve only played about 9 hours so far), so it’s next up after WRC 3 gets taken for more of a spin…

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