Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin (aka Dark Conflict)
The sequel to the excellent Advance Wars: Dual Strike doesn’t look very promising. It’s post-apocalyptic world may be atmospheric and something new, but it’s just too gray. The same goes for the characters and plot. First of all, I don’t want a plot in my tactics game, and second of all, the Days Of Ruin plot just plain blows. I don’t care about it, mostly due to the uninteresting characters, yet it keeps interrupting my gameplay. So you’ve basically got Dual Strike without all the charm.
However, Intelligent Systems has realized it’s gone overboard with unnecessarily fiddly elements in Dual Strike and instead of pouring more topping on the cake, it’s decided to trim it down to the delicious core. Advance Wars is now more about the basics and much better for it. The CO powers have thankfully been toned down, too.
FIFA Street 3
I am not a sports gamer. FIFA Street 3 seems to be made for me. Playing a very showy game of street soccer is very easy. This streamlining does make playing defense boring, but you don’t really care so much, because it’s just so feel-good. The music is excellent, the cartooney style and animation bring a smile and it all feels very effortless. Like a summer vacation.
Extra mention goes out for the menu design. I can actually see every single piece of text without squinting my eyes at all. It feels so good, I hadn’t quite realized how bad it has gotten with most games these days.
Army Of Two co-op
Army Of Two’s vague plot and characterization did not hold up after a somewhat promising opening. Indeed, it manages to outright offend at several places. My recommendation is to entirely disregard the context and concentrate on the gameplay, because played with a friend, it’s a lot of fun. The “professional” difficulty level makes things interesting.
I hope they get an actual writer for the next installment, because upgrading the weapons and tagteaming with your buddy is solid entertainment. That, or ditch these token, failed efforts at characters entirely.
Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)
I quickly tired of Burnout Paradise’s directionless wandering. Playing it on the Xbox 360 instead of the PS3 made me really get into it and – I’m a little ashamed to say – it’s all about the Achievements. When the game fails to keep my interest in progression, Achievements come to the rescue. I still can’t see myself completing it something like 99% as with the previous Burnouts, but at least I’m enthusiastic about it again.
Lost Odyssey: disc two
Then there’s been quite a bit of Lost Odyssey, which has only gotten better as it goes along. Really top-notch Japanese roleplaying, I think it’s up there with Final Fantasy XII. I hope it sells well and Mistwalker gets working on a sequel. The dream sequences work well and the fighting and character development are still engaging.