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October 6, 2008

Filed under: gaming»software

Fire Sale, Second Edition

Once again, I'm unloading surplus games on eBay for prices that are CRAAAZY! Capsule reviews follow.

  • Chocobo Tales: A fairly enjoyable cardgame wrapped around a set of minigames designed with the sole purpose of destroying your DS screen.
  • Magical Starsign: A surprisingly funny little RPG. The best thing that Brownie Brown's done in years, although that doesn't take much since they spend most of their time beating the goodwill out of the Secret of Mana horse.
  • Tony Hawk's American Skateland: A decent Tony Hawk game for a handheld. The touch controls are a bit gratuitous, though.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings: Square's idea of an RTS, this is a fairly enjoyable game, but it's got some brutally unfair missions, and it generally requires only rush tactics to get through. All the depth is in picking your troops, not generally in deploying them.
  • Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass: It's a Zelda game, basically Wind Waker in 2.5D. I don't have much to say about this one. My favorite Zelda is still Link's Awakening or the Capcom games, and everything else always seems like kind of a slog. It's pretty short, too.
  • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat: I just don't have room for the drums in the apartment any more. This is not a terribly long game, and prior to Rock Band it was the winner in the "disturb the neighbors with the sound of objects striking each other" sweepstakes. But it is a lot of fun, and on the combo-heavy levels it has a nice old-school groove to it that reminds me of Ninja Gaiden.
  • Guitar Hero III: Here's the most interesting game of the bunch--not because it's good or bad, because it's decent at what it does, but because it inadvertently exposes a lot about rhythm game timing. In GH and GH2, Harmonix tweaked the timing on hammer-ons and pull-offs, but the basic note window remained pretty tight. In an attempt to make the third game a bit more newbie-friendly, Neversoft widened the window, which had the perverse effect of decoupling notes from strums and actually made the game harder to play effectively (as the player can trigger the wrong notes during reasonably fast runs). GH3 has a fair number of other issues, including intrusive corporate sponsorships and sexism, but the timing window was the one that I found hardest to ignore.

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