Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Games I'm playing

I apologize for the lack of update recently. The weekend was my lazy time, but I figure I'll post here what I'm playing currently and do a review of something I finished recently later tonight.

1. Just started the HD rerelease of Beyond Good and Evil on my Xbox 360. A new take on an awesome old game? Score.

2. Dragon Age 2 comes out today! I thoroughly enjoyed the first Dragon Age and I'm hoping I'll like this one just as much. I'll likely start this later tonight on my PS3 or maybe try to finish BG&E fast and then get to it.

3. Playing the new Pokemon game, of course. Mostly when I'm out of the house and need a quick distraction.

4. Replaying Oblivion on my 360 in anticipation of Skyrim. Very Excited!

5. Bought Rift and just started playing it, once I get closer to the level cap I'll give my impressions on the game.

Huh, I just realized that entire list is full of RPG's. Guess I should diversify a little. If it makes a difference, I just pre-ordered the newest Tiger Woods golf game on my ps3, which will be my first attempt at a golf game since Mario Golf on the N64.

Friday, March 4, 2011

IPad Extravagnza

Since it feels like I'm doing handheld games all this week, I figure today I'll give you an overview of some of my favorite IPad games. Most of these also play on your Iphone, but I can't be bothered to check for sure on them all.

Angry Birds HD:

Probably my favorite game on my IPad, it has a pretty steep learning curve, but once you get into it you start to feel how the physics work and can create some spectacular results. I was frustrated with this game at first, because my natural inclination is to play a level until I get all three stars, then move on. It just wasn't possible for me on some of the levels, and once I accepted that and moved on it became much more fun. I think I've played Angry Birds HD for at least 20 hours, which is awesome for a game that costs a dollar. Very fun game.

Cut the Rope:

This game is easy to learn, with a very gradual ratcheting of difficulty that managed to keep me engrossed through every level. It plays more like a puzzle game than a physics game, because there are only one or two ways to solve each level. I tried to be creative with a few of the levels, but it doesn't usually work, and most of the difficulty of the game comes from figuring out the gimmick for each level. I got three stars on most of the levels my first time beating them, with a few exceptions in later levels. I look forward to the content packs they release for free every month or two.

Infinity Blade:

Infinity Blade is one of the prettiest games I've ever played on a handheld. It looks fabulous, and is powered by Unreal Engine 3. It has a very easy to understand narrative, and if you are amazing at the game you could potentially beat it in the first fifteen minutes of playing it. The real challenge is the fighting system. You attack, dodge, block, use items, and cast magic by touching and sliding with your fingers, while otherwise standing still. Enemies have a very set attack pattern that you start to recognize and react to fast enough to survive the harder enemies that appear as you gain levels. When you finally make your way to the final boss you end up dying most of the time, then starting over at the beginning of the castle with all your items and levels from before. This lets you work your way through a very simple game that gains in difficulty as you build new gear and levels until you are finally powerful enough to win a fight against the final boss. If you like RPGs and have an IPad, I suggest you pick this game up or at least take a look at the many trailers and game play videos on YouTube.

Plants vs Zombies: 

PvZ is the epitome of tower defense games. Every TD game you have ever played was leading you up to playing this game. It has a very well designed sloping of difficulty and a huge cast of Plants to help you survive the crushing hoard of Zombies crossing your yard. This game is very charming, with a simple style that doesn't confuse your eyes when a lot of things are happening on the screen at the same time. If you like TD games and have an IPhone or IPad, this is the one to buy.

It's-a-me Mario!

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story follows a familiar recipe. An amazing long term franchise combined with the RPG formula really can't lose! I'm just wrapping up this game and I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with you now.

The combat is easy to learn with a few twists that make it hard to master. Being able to dodge and counter-attack enemies attacks will help you survive tough battles, but once you learn the pattern it can make many things trivially easy. Luckily they have new enemies in nearly every area, making the player need to learn the fights again, with only a few re-skins of previous enemies and abilities.

The classic cliche equipment system of every RPG is in attendance, but as you progress in the game you rarely need to upgrade your equipment, making the system feel largely unnecessary in the long run. They also added in a few things, such as their Badge system, which get introduced and then ignored. I think in the whole game I found one place that had Badge upgrades, and they never got any new stock.

The mini-games are diverse and happen constantly, but at some point in the game they switched instantly from much too easy to frustratingly hard. The only loss from failing one is a few coins and a retry, but when you end up redoing the same mini-game four times because you messed up in the last 10 seconds it can get pretty annoying.

The story is not your normal Mario arc, since Bowser fails to kidnap Peach this time and instead accidentally swallows the whole cast. Most of the game takes place either using Bowser to fight, or having Mario and Luigi explore the inside of Bowser's body. No real big surprises in the storyline or anything, but really, what can you expect from a Mario game?

What this game really shines at is charm. It oozes fun from every available pore, and every time Mario and Luigi interacted with each other or Bowser tried to intimidate someone I found myself grinning like a six year old watching cartoons. It was nice to see a real personality breathed into these characters, and they were all really enjoyable to watch.

Overall I enjoyed Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story enough to buy any new Mario RPGs that come out, and give my hats off to Nintendo for creating another solid game.

Which is your favorite Mario game? Which is better, Classic or Modern Mario? Drop me a line and let me know!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Both Pokemon Black and White release this weekend, so I figure I'd start off with a review of how I felt about the previous iterations of the series.

Pokemon has a very stable style, every new version comes with minor upgrades that doesn't change the central thesis of the game at all. Although now that I think about it, a central thesis might be the one thing Pokemon lacks, but what it lacks in focus it more than makes up for by having an eclectic mix of attractions. For the player that needs a constant grind it has battles that you can pay little attention to that constantly improve your team. For the completionist it has tiny secrets tucked in corners and the ability to revisit old areas with new abilities to access previously hidden areas. For a child it has an easy to learn rock-paper-scissors system of battle that lets you cheese your way through battles and still feel like you've earned your victories.

But it might have the most attraction for a collector. Someone who sits down with a new Pokemon game and obsesses with finding every creature possible. Not many hand-held games offer something that a player could pick up and play for two-hundred hours and still be earning new rewards.

I find myself buying each new edition for a variety of those reasons, though I always lament the lack of an over-arching story and the stigma that comes with buying a "child's game".

I've recommended Pokemon games to both newbie players and veterans of RPGs, and not one of them has ever told me they regret playing one.

Have you ever played a Pokemon game? Did you enjoy it? Will you be picking up either Black or White this weekend? Leave a comment and let me know!

Welcome to Dysphoria Games!

This is Dysphoria Games, a blog designed to give reviews and thoughts on games that I'm currently playing or have recently finished. I play a wide mix of games, and have enough of a backlog that I could probably spend a year beating games without ever playing something I've played before.

I always find myself with opinions to express about games that I finish with no where to put them. Don't expect a star rating or a number fraction system out of ten or something silly like that from me. I plan to give honest reviews of what I like and don't like about a game without the bullshit you see from so many game reviewers these days.