Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Month In Games: December 2012

Sonic The Hedgehog 1 and 2 - PSN

The first two Sonic games are free on PSN right now so I picked 'em up for old times sake.  I beat both of these games back in the day (yes, I got ALL of the Chaos Emeralds) but I haven't looked at them in at least a decade and I had a couple of thoughts while playing them again.

1. For all the emphasis placed on the speed of the character, Sonic isn't really all that fast paced of a game.  In fact, in most of the levels, Sonic's speed is his greatest weakness.  This game requires careful platforming in order to collect and keep the precious golden rings that allow you access to the bonus stages and your shot at the Chaos Emeralds.  Any time you get Sonic going at top speed you're essentially flying blind, begging to slam into an enemy and lose your rings.

 2. I have no idea how I beat these games back in the day without smashing my controller into a million pieces, as naturally acquiring the Chaos Emeralds in both of these games is crazy hard and requires more than a bit of luck.  Luckily, these PSN versions have savestates enabled, allowing you to save your game and retry at any point. Tedious, difficult challenges like these don't really exist in games anymore and I think the main reason for that is choices.  Nowadays, when it comes to gaming, we just have an incredible number of options.  If a game is frustratingly difficult then the audience will quickly move on.  Back when these games came out we simply didn't have the massive amounts of affordable, high quality gaming options that we do today.  Console games were expensive, the second-hand market was way smaller, and there were fewer sources for reliable, unbiased game reviews. These days, one can download free demos of the latest games, check out videos of the gameplay on YouTube, and if you STILL end up buying a bad game you can look to Playstation Network or XBOX Live and find dozens of amazing gaming experiences for $10 or less.  I guess what I'm saying is, old games are harder than new games.  They're generally shittier too, but definitely harder.  Ah, you kids and your modern conveniences...savestates, baby!

3. Mario is better than Sonic.  Always has been, probably always will be.

Grade: Sonic C/Sonic 2 C+

Resident Evil 4 HD - PSN

Well, this is the 4th time I've purchased this game.  First was the Gamecube version, then PS2, then Wii, and now PSN.  I know this game well, and like an old friend I always enjoy playing through it.  That sounded weird, but I think you know what I mean.  It was cool to play it in high def and with PSN trophies, but besides that there are no other additions to the game that I could see.  After spending a few years away from this game and mostly playing RE5 and RE6 I can see why the survival horror fans bitch about the current direction of the series.  The newer games ARE more action oriented compared to this one.  I've droned on about Resident Evil enough in the past, but I'll weigh in this way: between 4, 5, and 6, Resident Evil 4 has the best main campaign.  There's a good amount of action, the length and pacing are good, and the characters and bosses are memorable and engaging.  The combat mechanics aren't as evolved as those found in 5 and 6, but overall it has the tightest main campaign of the three.  When it comes to "The Mercenaries" mode, I have to give it to 5...maybe 6, no 5...  Trying to go back and play "The Mercenaries" from RE4 just doesn't cut it anymore, as it's slower, clunkier, and single-player only.  If you never played this game back in the day, it's still a hoot.

Grade: B+

Rochard - PSN

 Another freebie from Playstation Plus.  Shoot, now that I think about it, they should be paying me for all the mentions I give them.  You hearing me, Sony?  I like to be paid in nice, crisp, non-sequential bills, alright?  Anyway, Rochard was a nice little surprise.  It's a side-scrolling puzzle platformer that features a Metroid-like vibe.  Well, it's like Metroid in that it takes place in outer space and features puzzles and platforming, but no one will mistake fat, balding protagonist John Rochard for Samus Aran.  Good game!

Grade: B

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