Monday, September 17, 2007
Guitar Hero Rocks the 80s (PS2)
If Guitar Hero III gets trampled by the imminent arrival of the Rock Band franchise, it'll be easy to point to Rocks the 80s as the beginning of the series' downfall. This is an obvious cash-in on a big name, and the limited tracklist features only two or three songs you'll take multiple trips back to. Even the best songs in the game ("Holy Diver" by Dio, I'm looking at you) aren't even that fantastic from a guitar standpoint. A disappointment to say the least.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes (PSP)
I know absolutely nothing about anime, and I've never even heard of Naruto until the games started showing up here at Lawrence.com. Because of this, it's a good thing Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes isn't full of plot and dialogue to confuse me. It's a fairly straightforward fighter, with the added bonus of being able to fight in two different planes. My main complaint is with the button layout, which basically forces you to mash circle over in over in conjunction with directional buttons. The visuals are pretty nice, but the long load times certainly aren't.
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 (PSP)
This is the epitome of a game that about .002% of the gaming public will probably love with a passion, and the remaining 99.998% will be utterly baffled by it. Consider me firmly in the latter group. I spent most of my time either collecting items that I had no use for, or struggling with a very uncooperative camera. Like Naruto (and countless other PSP titles), it looks great for a portable but it's dragged down by horrendous load times. If you are one of the small group of people that'll really get into this game, however, you won't be lacking things to do thanks to the mammoth amount of quests.
I've heard of NASCAR fans refer to their tremendously boring hobby as "the USA's biggest sport", but I've yet to actually meet one of these people in the flesh. I'm convinced their bodies exist in some kind of non-visible spectrum, as I see countless Dale Earnhardt bumper stickers (usually in Wal-Mart parking lots), but never a walking, talking NASCAR fan. Regardless, this game is apparently for them:.and definitely not for me. It features extremely basic A.I., something called "the Car of Tomorrow" that looks a lot like cars from today, and all the driving-in-circles you can handle. Probably a good idea to stay away from this one if you live north of Arkansas.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam (PS3, Xbox)
On one hand, I think it's nice that the Dynasty Warriors series did something to change things up. I think everyone (even diehard DW fans) was getting very tired of the same characters in the same setting, coupled with the same button-mashing repetitive gameplay every year. I appreciate the effort to switch things up, but forming an odd union with the Gundam universe was not the way to go. This game is just as repetitive as any DW before it, but filled with a far more confusing story and featuring giant robots instead of sword-wielding warriors. Hardcore Gundam fans might want to check it out, but everyone else will be bored (or confused) out of their minds after a half-hour or so of play.