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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WRC 3 The Game Trailers: No Love For Rally Fans In The US, But Maybe Something Steamy?

 

Milestone has been around for a while making racing games, but despite all their work on assorted road, rally and motorcycle games, has never really made a name for themselves outside Europe. This will hopefully change up a bit as WRC 3 slides into stores there and a few folks import the game here and sing its praises. Hell, we AL:L could use a decent rally game that’s not an advertisement for a specific car, driver and race style that’s not rallying. I’m still hoping Evolution Studios gets back in the game one of these days or perhaps some of the folks at Warthog who brought the annoyingly tough to master (but eventually rewarding)  Richard Burns Rally to consoles and PC’s a while back. Granted, Burns is no longer with us, so it would need to be called something else (or the term “ghost car” would have a new meaning -O o -).

Hmmm… well, it IS PS3 and Vita bound and those versions shouldn’t be region-locked, so… it looks as if I’ll be importing this at some point to get my fix of tiny cars flying around slippery corners with nothing but the wind (and some good driving) keeping them from sailing off the edge. Yeah, yeah, Milestone wants to get this on Steam Greenlight as a worldwide release, but I don’t have a super fast PC to play this on should it get accepted. Besides, I like a bit of distance from the screen when I play a game like this… and a retail package I can put a disc in when I’m not glued to the TV.

 

WRC 3: The Birth of A Driver Trailer: Still Holding Out Hope For This To Skid Into The USA….

 

Hmmmm. So far, there’s still no news about a definite US release (boo!), but I do have my fingers crossed that a small publisher here willing to take a chance on what’s looking like a pretty solid racer will pick this up so we finally get an official WRC game after too many years without one. Not that I don’t mind the fun stuff Codemasters is doing, mind you. I just want something a bit less “party” and “social” and a lot more steel-willed concentration as I’m trying to make it though a course and nab that best time without wrecking.  As usual, we shall see…

WRC 3 Update: Vodafone Rally De Portugal Gameplay

 

Milestone keeps the good times rolling with this latest work in-progress trailer. I’m liking what I see here a lot, but as always, the proof is in the playing. Still, the developer has a decent track record with a nice lineup of racing games for different platforms, so my fingers are crossed that they go the extra mile in doing the WRC license justice. I’ll probably go for the PS3 and Vita versions, as it’ll be fun to compare the two in terms of features and see how much the dev team has managed to fit onto a Vita card. OK, it’s getting late and I’m running out of gas in terms of the auto-related puns. Back with more on this one as new footage magically appears on the internet…

WRC 3 Gameplay Trailer: Another Milestone, But Still A Ways To Go…

As works in progress go, WRC 3 is looking mighty fine to my eyes. Of course, some rally purists or overly picky types who didn’t read that disclaimer at the beginning of the video that this is indeed a game that’s NOT completed are getting a wee bit cranky at the sound effects work in the trailer. I say give it a rest and see what happens. For me, if the gameplay is solid, I’ll just fiddle with the sound options if I find the engines too buzzy.

WRC 3 Trailer Makes Me Jumpy In All The Right Spots…

If you know me, then you know I love a good rally game. WRC 3, headed to the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Vita this year (well at least outside the US), absolutely looks like something I’ll want to play. Granted, since no one bothered to release the other two current-gen WRC titles in the U.S. of A., I’m a bit annoyed about that little issue (I’ll need to import the PS3 versions when I can find them cheap enough). From my poking around online as soon as I saw this trailer, it looks as if UK gamers will see this one in October, but I’m hoping a smart US publisher can snap this up at some point. Milestone has put out some fun racers over the years, but thanks to a new graphics engine and what’s looking like more attention to detail, WRC 3 could be the best game yet in the series. At least for the current console cycle, as Evolution Studios set itself the task of making the PS2 home to aome of the best rally games on a console with its five WRC games (only ONE of which was released stateside, boo! Thank goodness I also have a Japanese PS2 here). My fingers are officially crossed for a US release (retail, PLEASE), so let’s see what happens…