Friday, September 14, 2012

My Month In Games: August 2012

Running a bit late on my monthly update (as usual), but here's what I played in August 2012:

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX - PSN/XBLA

I enjoyed the hell out of the original Pac-Man Championship Edition, so downloading this sequel was a no brainer for me. Like its predecessor, this game takes everything about the basic Pac-Man formula and cranks it up. The graphics are more colorful and sharp, the mazes larger and more intricate, and the gameplay even more swift and lively. With this iteration, greater emphasis is placed on tackling the mazes efficiently. Sure, you could light off in any direction munching dots and ghosts all willy-nilly, but the highest scores are achieved when you find the flow of the maze and attack things strategically. It's fun and satisfying when you get into the groove and start racking up the points, but it also has the effect of making it feel that there's a "right" and a "wrong" way to play the mazes. It's a small gripe, really, but I'm finding that it lowers the replay value just a bit. It's a good time either way, but if you're like me, you may find yourself returning to Pac-Man CE for its more traditional gameplay mechanics.

Grade: B-

Choplifter HD - PSN/XBLA

Remember the 80's classic Choplifter? I sure do. For some reason I loved that game even though it was brutally difficult. And when I say "brutally difficult" I mean "basically fucking impossible". Seriously, I don't think I ever made it past the third stage, but I still dug me some Choplifter back in the day. So here we are 30 years later and the old dog has gotten a reboot. Is it any good? Well, sorta.. While the presentation has indeed received a major upgrade, Choplifter HD actually does a remarkable job of referencing its source material. The unrelenting difficulty has been tamed somewhat, but the controls, objectives, and overall feel of the game are much the same as they were in the original. Take off, engage the enemy, pick up some hostages, return to your base, rinse, and repeat.  Choplifter HD spices things up with the addition of special weapons and other unlockables, but for the most part, this is the same game you remember. It's enjoyable enough, but it hasn't held my attention. Skip it unless you're a die hard fan of the original.

Grade: C+

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