Tomb Raider Anniversary (Wii)

Tomb Raider Anniversary (Wii) / 2007 Eidos / / /

Tomb Raider has been one of the most tenacious franchises in gaming history. Obviously, it does not have the lead time that a Mario Brothers has, but has remained a strong-selling force in video gaming for over a decade. The amount of systems with which you can play Tomb Raider Anniversary is large – individuals can stick the game into their Xbox 360s, PSP, Wiis, and PS2s. For those individuals that think that Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a new game –they are slightly incorrect. The graphics in the game are new, but the game itself is not. “Anniversary” is a re-envisioning of the original Tomb Raider game, but with current era graphics and minor tweaks done to the game play. Continue reading “Tomb Raider Anniversary (Wii)”

Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess (Xbox 360)

Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess (Xbox 360) / 2007 Square Enix / http://www.square-enix-usa /

Final Fantasy XI has been around for a half decade now, and expansions such as “Wings of the Goddess” ensure that players will be locked in for years to come. The game play and additions brought the Final Fantasy XI series by “Wings of the Goddess” will ensure that the 500,000 subscribers of the game with further increase in number in the months to come. Square Enix has kept all three consoles in the running with this continuation – even as the console rapidly reaches obsolescence, there is a PS2 version of “Wings of the Goddess” being shipped as we speak. For individuals that want more than just another story to play through, there are a number of additions that first present themselves during “Wings of the Goddess”. Continue reading “Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess (Xbox 360)”

Orcs & Elves (Nintendo DS)

Orcs & Elves (Nintendo DS) / 2007 EA / / /

For me, ID entertainment will forever be the firm that created Quake. However, with the advent of games like Orcs & Elves, I may have to start changing my perception about what ID does in the gaming world. It has seemed to me in the past that a number of the RPGs that are brought over to the Nintendo DS have only been weakly ported over, and oftentimes do not take full advantage of the touch-screen option and the DS’s two screens. “Orcs & Elves” is the first DS RPG that I’ve played that has broken free of this problem. Individuals are thrown into a fantasy setting where they have to go through increasingly-difficult floors of a Dwarven citadel, while solving puzzles, bypassing traps, and killing hordes of monsters. Continue reading “Orcs & Elves (Nintendo DS)”

Jeanne D’Arc (PSP)

Jeanne D’Arc / 2007 Level-5 / PSP / / /

Individuals may know the story of Joan of Arc, the French girl that heard voices and was supposedly (or not) burned at the stake. Well, this game, produced by Level 5 (who you may remember as the creative minds behind Dark Cloud) follows a little bit of the story, but adds some different types of monsters and events to make the story that much more interesting. Essentially, before there was a France and an England, five heroes in the War of the Reapers made amulets and used the power from these amulets to seal their enemies and demons away for what they thought would be an eternity.

Fast forward however long and England and France are fighting it out during the 100 Years War. A French girl, Jeanne, is told by God that the reason why the English are fighting the French is because the English are controlled by the demons previously thought sequestered. The overall style of the game is similar to Shining Force or earlier iterations of Phantasy Star, where going to new places on the map triggers new battles and events and items. Jeanne and her party move through a largely-untouched map of France from that period and attempt to draw the demons back into some form of subjugation. There are a number of interesting twists and turns in the character modification parts of the game.

Each individual has a focus in Sol, Luna, and Stella. In a method similar to rock, paper, scissors, individuals are weaker against one type of focus but stronger against another type of focus. Individuals can bolster the stats and abilities of their characters through the acquisition of skill gems, which can be either bought, found, or taken in battle. The game-play is something closer to a turn-based strategy game than most current RPGs; the player assigns actions to all of the characters and then gives control over to the game. Regardless of how much an individual knows about the (possibly) real life Joan of Arc, the storyline present in the game provides an interesting use of a day or two of solid gameplay. The amount of modification that individuals can do with the game’s characters further adds legs to this game, and ensures that individuals will be playing and beating Jeanne D’Arc a number of time. The fact that a game can meld solid graphics with amazing gameplay only bodes well for the PSP in the years to come.

Rating: 8.2/10

Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow (PSP)

Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow / 2007 Sony / PSP / / /

For individuals that loved the storyline behind “Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror’, “Logan’s Shadow’ is the next game in the series. The game’s story line essentially runs as so: Gabe Logan has to get into a well guarded’s ship’s cargo hold to get some technology before it falls into the wrong hands. Pieces start falling together and Logan learns that the package has been taken and the ship has been taken over. Logan’s luck gets worse and worse as his boss, Robert Cordell, is shutting down the International Presidential Consulting Agency because one of Logan’s allies, Lian Xing, has been suspected of being a double agent, disappearing from the radar. The game has a hell of a story, equally the equivalent of any spy or suspense thriller, but how does the game play stack up to other Syphon Filter games, and do the tweaks that Sony added to the game make the whole experience any more compelling than “Dark Mirror’? Continue reading “Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow (PSP)”

NBA ’08 (PSP)

NBA ‘08 (PSP) / 2007 Sony / / /

Obviously, it would not be fair to directly compare the PSP version of NBA ’08 with the version for the PS3. However, what the PSP version may lack in graphics or rendering is easily made up for with a number of interesting mini games, such as Fast Break, Alley-Oop and Block-a-Shoot. There is a “conquest mode” present during this iteration of a game that forces players to win specific territories and keep them up, where awards from these matches brings skill points and upgrades to the player. These upgrades make the next territories that much easier to hang with, and these points turn a baller into one of the best players in the game. The coupling of these skill points with the mini games present in this version of NBA ’08 make this into a great handheld game. Continue reading “NBA ’08 (PSP)”

NBA ’08 (PS3)

NBA ’08 (PS3) / 2007 Sony / / /

I remember when NBA Jam was the big basketball game. Obviously that has been a few years back, but looking at that game for the arcade and Sega Genesis console and looking at NBA ’08 is selling two related games, but with countless evolutionary steps taken between the two. Let’s see what all NBA ’08 has to offer in regards to the graphics; one just need look at the player models to understand that this is a next-gen console. All the big stars of the NBA are immediately recognizable as such; one does not need to look at the back of their jerseys (which exhibit realistic physics as the players jostle and otherwise move around the court) to see that. Furthermore, the crowd present during a game is rapidly approaching the detail level of the player. Continue reading “NBA ’08 (PS3)”

Heavenly Sword (Playstation 3)

Heavenly Sword / 2007 Ninja Theory / Playstation 3 /

It just seems as if Sony is getting their stuff together and putting forth some of the best games out for any of the three terrestrial game platforms (now if Bioshock was on a platform, I don’t know how comfortable I would be with that statement).  Heavenly Sword, created by Ninja Theory, is yet another of these games. The one thing that will hit individuals first has to be the beautiful scenery and the ways in which the game’s main character, Nariko interacts with it. Fans of classics such as Shenmue (and its’ sequel) as well as God of War will find quite a few hours of fun in Heavenly Sword. Continue reading “Heavenly Sword (Playstation 3)”

Lair (Playstation 3)

Lair / 2007 Sony / / /

You control Rohn in Lair, who is a knight that has a mount in a dragon. The game is similar to a Panzer Dragoon (if you remember that), in that missions largely take place in the air. Unlike Panzer Dragoon, Lair makes individuals complete missions in such a way that Rohn gains different abilities, combos, and other skills based on how the individual scores in the mission. It’s as if the developers of Lair (Factor 5) were angry at EA for not giving individuals any real unlockables in their Madden series, so they adopted little trinkets and fun skills for those individuals that progress through Lair. Continue reading “Lair (Playstation 3)”

Brave Story: New Traveler (PSP)

Brave Story: New Traveler / 2007 XSEED Games / $39.99 / For: PSP / /

RPGs are obviously my favorite genre of games. I typically shy away from RPGs created by companies I am not familiar with, but after digging a little, I realized that XSEED is a company founded by former members of the USA branch of Square Enix. They are relatively new, but have been attached to games such as Wild Arms (4 and 5), Shadow Hearts: From The New World, Valhalla Nights, and Dungeon Maker: Hunting Ground. Brave Story: New Traveler is a 2006 Japanese game that was modified and edited for an American audience by XSEED. The premise of the game is a little goofy. The lead character, Tatsuya, is too immersed in playing eir PSP to see that eir friend Miki has taken a turn for the worse and passed out. After playing/wishing/hoping that Miki can get better, a disembodied voice sends Tatsuya into the world to collect 5 gems, in order to place them in eir traveler’s sword and give Miki a new lease on life, and generally make things better. Continue reading “Brave Story: New Traveler (PSP)”