Recent gaming: a drive-by

Advance Wars Days Of Ruin coverart

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.






2 responses to “Recent gaming: a drive-by”

  1. Turkka Hynynen Avatar

    “Indeed, [the characterization] manages to outright offend at several places.”

    I have played the Army of Two to about half way now and that comment of yours peaked my curiosity. Just how the characterization manages to offend? I didn’t notice such a thing but then again I have only played co-op with a friend and I didn’t pay that much attention to the all the points of the game. I had too much fun for that.

  2. Joonas Laakso Avatar
    Joonas Laakso

    A couple of incidents spring to mind. The guys seem way too happy for killing hundreds of guys per mission. This is separate from the dialogue parts which I think are meant to be smart, like the other guy wondering about his football bets in the middle of a mission, even though they’re not. This really breaks down in the part where he’s talking about the latest Wu-Tang Clan album.

    Then there’s the tasteful scene in which you’re back to back, in slow motion, with Afghan suicide bombers running at you from all sides, hands in the air, much like cardboard targets.

    The whole “we’re criticizing private militaries” thing never hangs comfortably with the MTV approach. It’s just poorly written.

    (Sorry for the comment taking almost two weeks to display. My comment spam filter had decided it wasn’t worthy. Makes me wonder how many other comments have been declined without my input…)

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