A Few New Pickups & More Review Quickies


Half-Minute Hero (PSP) – I enjoyed the demo of this unique take on the JRPG genre enough to pick it up.

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage (PS3) – Found this for a third of its original retail price. It’s a Dynasty Warriors spinoff based on the anime/manga of the same name. I love the license so I’ll give it a shot, but I’m expecting the borefest these types of games usually provide.

Ape Escape (PS) – Some years ago I played Ape Escape 3, which was my first experience with the series and I enjoyed it a lot, so here’s for trying out the first game.

Point Blank 2 (PS) – This fills in the middle spot of the three Point Blank games in my collection. They’re fun light gun shooters, especially with friends!

NOTE: I have switched to a 6-point rating system instead of the 5-point system I used to use. I felt like I needed a tad bit more room for denoting the quality of a game. Example: Under my old system both Doom 3 and Far Cry Instincts (both are FPSs released in 2005 for Xbox) would have gotten a 4 out of 5, but I felt Doom 3 was significantly better enough over FCI that I felt my old system didn’t have the space to accurately rate these two games, as well as many others. Under this new system Doom 3 gets a 5 out of 6, while FCI gets a 4 out of 6.

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves (PS2)
+ core platforming gameplay is still good
+ ability to play as a number of characters outside of the main three is fun
– too much of a reliance on non-platforming minigames of many different types for the sake of variety
– still too long and overstays its welcome just like Sly 2

I was pretty tired of the Sly formula by the end of this one. The series needs a less-is-more approach at this point.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 7.0 out of 10

Far Cry Instincts (XB)
+ shooting is fairly good, but nothing special
+ feral abilities are useful and fun, especially feral speed
– being stealthy doesn’t work well much of the time
– escort mission near the end of the game is super dumb

I don’t know what most reviewers at the time of this game’s release were thinking. Jason Ocampo gave this a 9.2 here on Gamespot. It’s a good game, but nothing about it comes off as particularly special. Doom 3 came out the same year on the same system and it was notably better than this.

RATING: 4 out of 6 / 7.0 out of 10



Review Quickies Vol. 3

The Bourne Conspiracy (PS3)
+ the different types of gameplay types (melee, third-person shooting, driving) work pretty well
+ melee takedowns are very satisfying
– each of the different gameplay types are extremely shallow
– third-person shooting aiming feels “off” much of the time

In spite of this game’s problems it was still a fun time, but this is one game where it’s brevity is very much in its favor. Any longer and you’d be very sick and tired of the super simplistic gameplay.

RATING: 4 out of 5 / 7.0 out of 10

Doom 3 (XB)
+ great graphics
+ weapons are satisfying to use
+ large variety of different enemies
– poor art design
– switching between flashlight and weapon frequently can be a bit irritating at times
– not scary or creepy like it wants to be
– bosses are too easy
– claustrophobic environments for most of the game which make using explosive weapons a bad idea much of the time
– goes on for a few more hours than necessary; should have ended in hell instead of going back to the same old corridors from the rest of the game

I know it looks like my rating should be lower from all of the minuses I have above, but the shooting action was more engaging than I expected and was a better game than I thought it would be. Doom 3 still didn’t achieve the greatness of the first two, but here’s hoping that if a Doom 4 is made that it’ll be what this one failed to be: great.

RATING: 4 out of 5 / 7.5 out of 10

Quake II (PS)
+ excellent looking visuals for an original PlayStation port
+ retains the fantastic red-book music from the PC version
+ some new levels not in PC version
– no control scheme in this game works well

You may be asking, “Usagi, why the lower score when your pluses make it sound like a great port?” My answer: It is a great port, but the one minus up there is so problematic that it throws a wet blanket on the entire proceeding. I ultimately ran through the game on easy difficulty because aiming was a pain. It’s a real shame since this is a wonderful port otherwise.

RATING: 3 out of 5 / 6.0 out of 10