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Posts with tag metareview

Metareview: Hoshigami Remix

Hoshigami Remix may look a little bit like Final Fantasy Tactics, but apparently that's the bitter end of all similarity. The best thing we can say here is that the reviews are packed with hilarity. The bad reviews say good things, and the good reviews seem delivered with disdain. It's like everyone signed a pact to be as confusing as possible!

But when it comes to the scores, we're disappointed -- a less-than-good SRPG on the DS just seems like a waste, considering the platform is so well-suited to the game type. Some of you reported difficulty finding Hoshigami Remix in stores this week -- and upon reflection, that may not be such a bad thing.

RPGFan -- 70%: "I did not enjoy playing Hoshigami: Remix. I did not find it fun. I found it irritating, monotonous, and cruel. There is a dedicated fanbase for this game, however, and if you're one of them, you will love the port. Also, if you play on Easy mode, none of the enemies can use Coinfeigms making most of the game a joke. I played on Normal and found the difficulty to be very uneven. Overall, you'll need to figure out for yourself whether or not you are the type of person who would enjoy Hoshigami: Remix. Most likely, however, you're not."

Games Radar -- 40%: "Almost all of these annoyances were present in the original Hoshigami, which is perhaps the most aggravating part of Remix. Despite all of the criticism levied against the original, the remake team failed to fix what needed to be repaired most. That's not to say there aren't any gameplay improvements - revival magic, once rare in the original, is available right off the bat, the stylus-controlled interface is quite intuitive, and you're allowed to save far more frequently (though there still isn't an in-battle quicksave feature). But in the end, these miniscule improvements tacked onto a broken game are like repairing a wrecked car with duct tape."

1UP -- 55%: "Basically, if you approach the game the wrong way, the newly tweaked difficulty will become a moot point by the time you get halfway through the game. Unfortunately, though, concentrating early on building your magical skills (which is really the best way to go) makes the first half of the game that much easier. Too easy, really. You'll be able to perform spells that your enemies just can't handle at that point in the game, thus wiping out entire armies in the blink of an eye. With all that being said, Hoshigami Remix is a satisfying role-playing experience, as long as you know what you're getting yourself into. Hardcore players may actually lament the slight ease in difficulty and the fact that the game doesn't give them the character development freedom it really should. But as far as portable RPGs go, you could do a lot worse than Hoshigami."

Metareview: Brothers in Arms DS

Considering the look of it, Brothers in Arms DS has been a game to watch since the moment it was announced. DS games are forging new 3D ground lately, and with all the rich textures and increased action, we diehards have been busily chewing our nails and wondering just how all these games would play out. Early verdicts are in on Brothers in Arms, and so far, things are looking alright. Print media seems to be scoring the title higher than online reviewers, but that may change as more reviews trickle in.

CVG -- 77%: "The first thing that gets you about Brothers on DS is just how incredible it looks and sounds. Okay, it's not the PC or 360 versions but as far as DS games go, this is up there with the best of them ... Brothers In Arms DS is a good little action-shooter that makes great use of the DS's unique interface. With the tactical aspect of its gameplay removed in favour of a linear action approach, it loses some of its style and identity, but it's nevertheless the first war shooter for DS, and sets a high standard to beat."

Eurogamer -- 60%: "Despite brevity, simplicity, and the slow turning, it's really very exciting to be playing an FPS of this complexity on the DS. The above problems are significant, but never stop the fun of blamming your way through a level, sniping out distant soldiers, or, best of all, explodifying everything in a tank. The story is hugely underwritten, but ultimately unimportant; the motivation, always the need to reach B from A without the Ns shooting you in the face with their Gs ... With some tighter programming, and far fewer invisible barriers and dumb deaths, BiA could have been rather good. As it is - flawed and fun - it's a fantastic signpost."

So what's the word? At this point, it looks like Metroid Prime: Hunters fans need to look no further than Brothers in Arms for a chance to get their shooter on. While the game loses some of what makes the franchise unique, it's a great mark of what's to come -- and anytime a word like "explodifying" comes into play, there may just be something worth checking out.

Metareview: Planet Puzzle League

Planet Puzzle League has been known by many names over the years, but we really only need one word to describe it, and that word is awesome. It's not just us, either; the reviews have been pretty positive so far. The puzzler has even edged out Ouendan 2 score-wise, by a single point. That's quite a feat! Here's what the reviewers have had to say:

Nintendo Power: 85% - "Holding the DS like a book and pushing blocks with the stylus makes for an intuitive and fast-paced experience ... Planet Puzzle League lives up to the rich tradition of its heritage, and puzzle fans would be remiss to ignore it." (Issue 217, p. 97)

Game Informer: 85% - "Sure, it's not terribly original, but I'm not complaining about another chance to play one of the all-time greats – especially when this new DS version has been created with such care. The touch-screen functionality (which allows you to slide blocks with the stylus) fits perfectly, and Wi-Fi play means that you can take your skills online."

IGN: 90%
- "... the core gameplay is identical in the Nintendo DS, but the biggest change is its control: instead of using a D-pad to control a reticule in the stack of tiles, now it's a simple matter of tapping and dragging the tiles left or right. While it changes the overall feel of the original Panel de Pon by increasing the pace of the game, that's the only thing that it changes. The puzzle game still has that same enormous amount of strategy -- much of the skill comes from shifting tiles around in a way that'll trigger the stack to fall multiple times for huge amounts of points, a technique that's absolutely important in Vs. play. But now it can be done a lot more quickly and intuitively with the stylus."

Games Radar: 90%
- "It's not as inventive or charming as last year's Tetris DS, but that game's overwhelming Nintendo aura could easily have turned a lot of people away. Planet Puzzle League opts for a very clean, uncluttered approach that simultaneously makes it seem generic and intensely stylized. The ability to share this joy with people around you and then play them from anywhere in the world serves to make this one of the better buys you can make for the DS."

Metareview: Touch the Dead

The reviews were slow to come in on Touch the Dead -- which usually indicates a dud. From the scores, it looks like that cliché may really be a fair assessment of the title's merits. With a current metascore of 58%, Touch the Dead is less OMG-zombie scary and more scary like Grandma's lingerie.

Game Informer
: 66% (average of two reviews) - "What you imagine to be headshot city is, in reality, the most challenging zombie game to come along in quite some time. As the zombies struggle to walk, their heads jerk about violently, making it an incredible test of skill ... this is a game that every zombie fanatic could love, but only the hardest of hardcore gamers can excel at." (Issue 170, p117)

Game Almighty: 45% - "The first thing you notice when the game starts is the awful graphics. Touch the Dead reinvents what it means to have jaggies. Everything is pixilated and bland and the closer the zombies come, the worse it gets. Ironic, because the bad graphics actually inspire you to kill the creatures when they're as far away as possible, lest you think your DS has a broken graphics chip."

GameSpot: 55% - "Every time you empty a clip, you have to manually reload by dragging the stylus from the ammo icon on the lower right-hand part of the screen to the clip icon on the lower left-hand part of the screen. While it certainly injects a little tension into the game, you quickly get to the point where you have to reload your clip after every zombie you take down, so you actually end up spending more time reloading your weapon than you do shooting zombies. It feels unnatural and can be difficult to consistently reload fast enough when you have a swarm of zombies bearing down on you."

Metareview: Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales [update 1]

We've had our eye on Chocobo Tales for quite some time now, watching with fevered anticipation that the spin-off game would provide us with some more entertainment on our handheld system already populated by other highly-entertaining games. Now that the game has hit retail and been reviewed, we can finally see if the full NTSC version is for us. Not that imports aren't our thing, mind you, just we usually steer clear of the Square-Enix titles (lots of text, don'tchaknow).

So, what did the critics have to say? Let's check it out:
  • IGN (83/100) doesn't want the presentation to fool you, the game is fun for older gamers: "The game might feel a bit "kiddy" in its focus, what with those great, big, cute Chocobo eyes peeking at you from the box art. But even though the idea might skew young, the product is surprisingly enjoyable for the older crowd."
  • GamePro (80/100) finds the game to be a melting pot of good ideas: "Chocobo Tales is about quick and easy fun. The Crayola art style, pop-up book style graphics and fable stories may make it seem like a kiddie title and technically, it is. However, the game is fun enough that and packed with enough nods to diehard fans that Final Fantasy fans of all ages should give it a look."
  • New York Times (75/100) has issues with the card system: "Tales has a ridiculously cumbersome system in which you can't easily swap one card for another or compare two cards; even finding a particular card in your collection requires a tedious search. The designers would find it challenging to come up with a worse system. This flaw is surprising in a game that is otherwise beautifully designed."
The other remaining reviews come from Japanese import copies of the game, so as soon as more reviews of the English NTSC version come in, we'll update the post. In the meantime, discuss!

Update: Added the New York Times review.

Metareview: Honeycomb Beat

We gamers are hard on puzzlers, but we can't help it -- we've seen so many great ones, particularly on handhelds. Thus, it takes something really phenomenal (or at least really addicting) to rack up notable scores. Unfortunately for Konami's Honeycomb Beat, it looks like a mixed reception. Fortunately, the low price -- Honeycomb Beat weighs in at just $20 -- may make it a safe bet for puzzle addicts.

Game Informer
(70/100) found the game fun, but awfully slim on features. "I liked puzzle mode the best, but wanted a little more. There is nothing else to this game. I guess you get what you pay for, but even at $20 it would have been nice to see a two-player mode."

Games Radar (70/100) thinks HB is engaging, but could do more: "Honeycomb Beat's pretty damn fun for what it is, but can also be maddening mostly because the difficulty spikes about halfway through the Puzzle Mode. Still, it'll give your brain one hell of a workout without having to shout "Blue" repeatedly into the DS' mic."

GameSpy (40/100) thinks it feels half-finished: "Although these two modes are very different and require different strategies, there's not a whole lot to them. The gameplay also isn't engaging enough for extended play sessions. As soon as you start growing tired with the two available modes, the lack of variety really starts to become apparent. A few extra modes would have gone a long way in extending the life of this one."

We're sensing a theme here.

Metareview: TMNT

Many of us undoubtedly grew up with these turtles. We probably had their comics, loved to watch the cartoon and maybe even owned the sewer playset with all of the figures (Rat King was our favorite villain to fight in there). With such a massive following years ago, the turtles now look to return and capture a brand new audience.

And, with the new movie that aims to do this, there are undoubtedly going to be game tie-ins. With Ubisoft at the helm, we thought the game would be in good hands and get the justice it deserved, perhaps allowing us to relive, if only for a few hours, those wonderful days we enjoyed in our adolescence. Looks like that won't be happening, according to the critics:
  • IGN (55/100) says the game needs improvements: "It's certainly not terrible and the rhythmic jumping action has some fun and energy, but the fact remains that the game just ends up feeling inconsistent due to sloppy storytelling and, more importantly, an absolutely awful fighting engine."
  • Nintendo Power (55/100) thinks the game isn't worth the effort: "Success gives you a feeling of accomplishment, but the path is paved with frustration." [Apr 2007, p.87]
  • Video Game Talk (50/100) finds the game a waste of time: "The single player campaign is incredibly short and offers little replay value due to its relative ease. The multi-card multiplayer mode is an average extra, but I doubt folks will sit around to compete for the best times on those odd, jump-laden levels. This is a decent DS title once it hits the $10 bargain bin, but leave it on the retail shelf for now."
Have any of you picked this up and care to provide some insight on the game? Or are you waiting to nab a copy (probably on the Wii, based on this Metareview?) at the Nintendo World Store this weekend?

Metareview: Custom Robo Arena

With a fresh Wi-Fi Connect compatible game hitting the market today, many might be looking to Custom Robo Arena to spice things up and offer a new experience for Wi-Fi play. Not only that, the promise of customizable robots is sure to be enough to entice any gamer, be they an enthusiast of the DS or any other system.

So how did the game fair with the critics? Read on and find out:
  • GameSpy (80/100) thinks the game was developed for the young'ns: "Simple and sublime, Custom Robo Arena was quite clearly developed with the little tykes in mind, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it."
  • GameSpot (79/100) gets our hopes up as they laud the multiplayer: "Exciting action and great multiplayer make Custom Robo Arena a game well worth playing."
  • 1UP (75/100) doesn't have great things to say: "It's too bad, then, that Custom Robo Arena's RPG elements are so mundane, a connect-the-dots of talk to this character, trigger this event."
  • IGN (70/100) says the game could've been better: "The Nintendo DS version of Custom Robo won't raise the franchise up to a "must have" status in the Nintendo library of first-party titles, but apart from the boring RPG story it's not such a bad diversion."
  • GameDaily (70/100) finds the game easily forgotten: "A likable (if not quite memorable) game for the Nintendo DS. The presentation could've use a little sprucing up and some parts of the story stretch on for way too long (such as the school segments)."
Have any of you picked this up yet?

Metareview: Spectrobes

We've had our eye on Spectrobes for awhile now, hoping that the game would bring some variety to the monster-collecting genre. Between all of the presentations the game's producer has attended, as well as the idea of utilizing punch cards, Spectrobes very much looked like it would bring that variety we so desired. According to the majority of critics, the game isn't that great, however. Let's see what they had to say:
  • Nintendo Power (80/100) says the game has enough to make it stand out in the crowd: "The game definitely has its roots in the Pokemon world, but provides enough new features to give it its own identity." [Apr 2007, p.86]
  • IGN (70/100) thinks the game is just too much to handle: "Spectrobes is way more game than is really necessary. Jupiter has some great concepts and tried to jam them all into one game."
  • Game Informer (65/100) sees a lot of the game as being a chore: "The slowly paced story turns the fossil digging into a chore, and the real-time battle system starts to feel the same not long after that."
  • GamePro (60/100) thinks the title is too gimmicky: "As it is, Spectrobes is little more than a dull game of collecting fossils with a momentarily enjoyable gimmick attached to it."
Any of you out there picked up the game yet? What do you think about it so far?

Metareview: Wario: Master of Disguise

The reviews are coming in and they're all over the place for Wario: Master of Disguise. We've grown to expect innovation and even brilliance from Mario's unruly counterpart, but the thing about innovation is that it's a risk ... and often, opinions can vary, as we see below.

GameSpot: 61% - "...the game's real problem is that it stops being interesting after about an hour. Cutting down a chandelier with a laser is cool the first couple of times you do it but not the 100th time. By the third or fourth episode, you've interacted with the same objects and experienced the same set of eight minigames so frequently that the process of switching costumes and using the stylus becomes rote."

Continue reading Metareview: Wario: Master of Disguise

Metareview - Meteos: Disney Magic

We're puzzle junkies. Yes, we love the genre and are always keeping our eyes out for new and interesting puzzle games. Tetris, Puzzle Fighter and Lumines are some of our most favorite games of all time. That's how even with the Disney theme stamped all over this title, we're still interested in Meteos: Disney Magic. Sure, we kept a realistic head about us and kept thinking of how it wouldn't be better than its predecessor. But then they changed how the game would be played and we became interested again. Then we forgot about it for a bit, but Mizuguchi's interview came and our interest was renewed yet again.

Now, the game has released and although many of the reviewing outlets haven't made their determination on the game's worth, we wanted to start this topic in the hopes that anyone who has gotten their hands on the game would speak up and let us know how it compares to the original. So, without further delay:
  • IGN (80/100) says the game improves on the original: "Meteos: Disney Magic does a really good job moving the design forward. Now let's bring back the alien worlds and take this sucker online."
  • Nintendo Power (75/100) sees the experience as being improved also: "Meteos: Disney Magic does more than provide a Mouseketeer-friendly facelift to one of the DS's best puzzle games; thanks to the ability to move blocks horizontally, the sequel has a thoroughly different dynamic than the original block launcher." [Apr 2007, p.85]

Metareview: Trioncube

With news that Trioncube has gone gold, the press have started to receive their copies of the title and weigh in on its value. So far, from what is being said by these critics, the game doesn't offer much to distinguish itself from the bunch and falls in line as a generic puzzler. This saddens us, as not only are we puzzle junkies, but we're ... well, that's it, really. We're just puzzle junkies.

So, what did the press say?
  • NTSC-UK (70/100) says the game is a melting pot of great features: "Trioncube's mesmerisingly spartan yet compulsive gameplay, married to the charming presentation, indelible soundtrack and reward trail, often confect to make this feel like a honeyed breath of fresh air." [JPN Import]
  • Nintendo Power (55/100) does not find the game to be unique at all: "The alternate name for falling-piece puzzler Trioncube could be My First Tetris." [Mar. 2007, p.89]
  • Edge Magazine (50/100) finds the game lacking the essential cruelty that comes with puzzle games: "Without the challenge and cruelty that can make a classic, the results here are likeable, confident, and nowhere near essential." [Mar 2007, p.86]
  • GamePro (50/100) thinks the game doesn't bring much to the table: "Trioncube doesn't offer much for a puzzle game. There's little depth or difficulty to be found, and while the odd story is surprisingly entertaining, it isn't enough to keep you playing for long."

Metareview: Diddy Kong Racing (update 1)

No doubt, Diddy Kong Racing has been in the spotlight for the last couple of months, due to some excellent features and the promise of repeating the success the game enjoyed on the N64. With custom-track creation and countless other wonderful features, we've waited long and patiently for this game and hopefully the majority of reviewers out there won't find the game as lacking as the below two have:
  • Nintendo Power (75/100) finds that the game has some appeal, however maybe not as much as it needs: "Like its predecessor, Diddy Kong Racing DS has a Mario Kart game to compete with, but also enough unique features to make it a kart-racing contender." [Mar. 2007, p.87]
  • GameSpot (67/100) says that the game might just have too much to do: "Diddy Kong Racing DS is a decent racer with plenty to do and some interesting new content, but the seemingly endless amount of tasks you must complete to enjoy all of it may irritate anyone who simply wants to race."
  • IGN (71/100) tells us that the online rocks, but isn't enough to carry the game: "Diddy Kong Racing's a good product with some first-generation blues dragging it down. The fantastic online and customization focus offset some of the clunky items that made it into the design...but don't think we're going to turn a blind eye to the stupid stuff."
[Update: Added another review score]

Metareview: Hotel Dusk: Room 215

While Phoenix Wright may never fail to rev our collective fanboy motors, when it comes to adventure games, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 has been garnering more and more excitement -- and even the reviewers who find fault with the title can't help but gush over the story.

GameSpot -- 82%: "One of the really neat things about Hotel Dusk is how the plot plays out. It's not often that you can praise fiction in games these days, but Hotel Dusk is a clever, stylish, well-spun detective novel hiding inside a DS cart ... It helps that the solutions for puzzles aren't often troublesome. All the puzzles are designed specifically with the realities of this hotel in mind, so you won't find yourself with any obscenely weird objectives or "tie the cell phone to the cat" moments, nor are you likely to find yourself glued to a walk-through for the bulk of the game ... [t]hat Hotel Dusk mostly manages to avoid falling back on ridiculous item hunts and completely illogical puzzle solutions to progress is a godsend, simply because it lets the storytelling drive the game, and the gameplay rarely distracts you from the mystery."

eToychest -- 90%: "Stylistically, Hotel Dusk marries pencil sketched characters and water colored backdrops with traditional polygonal environments in a manner that should be jarring, but instead feels both unique and altogether perfect. The characters themselves are distinct and very expressive, each displaying mannerisms reflecting their attitude regarding a particular line of questioning. Ask Louie about his past, and he'll clam up and try not to make eye contact, or sweet talk Iris to see her beam like a schoolgirl. Most every game has characters, Hotel Dusk has personalities."

GamePro --75%: "Hotel Dusk probably won't appeal to every DS gamer, as it requires a degree of patience and thoughtfulness that only the aged (and insane) are capable of. But anyone looking for a cerebral and deliberate challenge should definitely check out this cool and unique title; just be patient with it, and don't let its minor faults discourage you from plumbing its depths."

Metareview (the web) - Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice For All

Now that we've seen what the magazines have to say, it's high time we checked in with the various sites of the world wide webtron. With mostly favorable reviews of the title (natch), we're glad we do not have to enter the tubes ourselves and personally kill any online entities responsible for bad-mouthing our favorite Ace Attorney.

At the time of this post, we don't have all of the online reviews yet (1UP and IGN), but once they've posted them, we'll come back and update this post.

  • Gamespot (77/100) says it's more of the same and doesn't innovate: "Justice for All is a good, lengthy adventure with great character-driven storylines, but it fails to build upon the promising groundwork laid by the first game."
  • Games Radar (80/100) is quick to call it a great follow-up to the previous game: "The charm and clever logic puzzles are still here, and the cases deliver the same charge-back-from-the-edge-of-defeat rush that made the first game so cool. Whether you're a fan of the original or a newcomer to Wright's bizarre legal world, you won't be disappointed."

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