Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Resident Evil 4 (iPod/iPhone)

I recently got my iPod and was determined to keep it as a repository for my music, a place to download all my Cds, so I could get rid of them, but still retain the music. I was determined that I wouldn't cram it full of games, (as I do with every new phone I get) and I wouldn't buy a load of games for it that I subsequently never played ( as I have with every console I've ever owned!)

The music project is going pretty well, thanks for asking! I'm about a third of the way through my CD collection, and although I'm having to buy an external hard drive to back up the catalogue, I'm pretty happy with it.

However, when I saw that Resident Evil 4 (one of my favourite games of all time) was available for the iPod, I just couldn't resist getting the game as a demo. When you first see Leon S. Kennedy in that village with the Las Plagas shuffling towards him, pitchforks in hand, you can't fail to be impressed. The graphics are just gorgeous, although they do suffer from that all pervasive "brown-ness" that so many of todays games seem to love.

It's only when you start to play the game and try to negotiate it's clumsy touch screen icons which allow you to switch from weapons, to movement, to itinerary, that you realise that this whole beatutiful mess just isn't going to work.

I'm not sure that it's me... it could well be. I find 'tweeting' off my iPod nearly impossible, because my clumsy sausage like fingers find negotiating the tiny keys really tricky. I'd love to hear from more dexterous readers who have found the game as delightful as it was on the Gamecube, The PS2 or the Wii.

If nothing else, it's a very hopeful step in the right direction. Surely the PSP would have been a better vehicle for this game? If the hardware can make such a good job of God Of War, Tekken 5, Soul Calibur and Sega Rally Revo, then perhaps Resi 4 too?

Anyway, the (very short) gaming experience on the iPod has galvanised my resolve to keep it as a music only accessory, so I guess I can be philosophical about my disappointment about RE4!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sega Rally Revo PSP

Now, from one massive disappointment on the PSP (see previous post), to one major triumph. Sega Rally Revo PSP is not only one of the best driving games I've played on a handheld, but also one of the best driving games I've ever played full stop.

Like Soul Calibur, I've owned every incarnation of Sega Rally since it's debut on the Sega Saturn back in 1995. I've also loved it's only other handheld incarnation, back on the Gameboy Advance, although it was as basic as any driving game could be.

Sega Rally Revo on the 360 and PS3 was met with critical acclaim, but commercial failure. I loved it, but GGOTG's other satellite correspondent, Nebachadnezzar didn't. The handling was very sensitive, but the game's driving physics, particularly the car's correspondence to the break up of the driving surface in successive laps was absolutely spot on.

Now if i'm honest, I only bought the PSP version to be completist in my Sega Rally collection. I wasn't expecting much and I also had both Colin McRae and Toca Racing on the PSP which I hadn't explored at all. But as soon as I started to play, I was sucked in completely.

Like my other driving passion these days (Burnout 3: Takedown), the joy of Sega Rally Revo is in the joy of unlocking new races and new cars. This addictive cycle just keeps me coming back for more and more. The game is not just addictive because of this however, it plays like a dream. Whereas the original Revo for 360/PS3 had a steep learning curve in terms of driving, (putting many off before the party got started,) the PSP version is just easy to play and therefore fun from the off.

This has lead some critics to dismiss it as TOO easy and therefore, well... crap. (The usually reliable Gamespot scored it a meagre 6/10.) I know these creatures, they eat games for breakfast and shit 'em for lunch. Well I don't. I love a game that is easy to pick up and play, and dare I say it complete quickly ready for the next game to fill the gaming gap. If you're looking for a quick driving fix, you could do a lot worse than Sega Rally Revo PSP. I'd give it a very healthy 9/10!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soul Calibur 'Broken Destiny': PSP

Hello Peeps! It's been an age since I last posted here, and for that I apologise. And it's not even as if I'm returning on a high. I'm returning here with something of a moan, so here goes. I rushed out to buy SC:BD, as I have every other Soul Calibur release since SC2 on the PS2.

I absolutely LOVE Soul Calibur. I have every incarnation of the game including it's 'prequel' Soul Blade on PS1. It's my favourite fighting game of all time, and I love fighting games. So when I heard there was a handheld version coming out for the PSP, and that the frankly wonderful Kratos, star of PSP classic GOW: Chains Of Olympus was going to be a playable character, I was nearly wetting my pants.

I'd loved Tekken: Dark Resurrection for PSP, with it's single UMD versus mode and resplendent graphics. SC:BD promised to surpass it. So off I skipped to Game and picked up a copy.
Disappointment #1. was the fact that I bought a faulty copy which kept 'freezing' in my PSP. Not a great start...

Onto the second copy. New characters? Check! But the first one was the foppish Dampierre, a top-hatted dandy with a penchant for stabbing himself in the arm. WTF??? Count me unimpressed... Next, Kratos... Brilliant surely? Well, erm, no actually... Would it be the most controversial thing in the world to say I preferred playing as Yoda in SC IV? 'Cos I did!

The games modes are uninspiring to say the least. I've no idea how to play random players online, in fact I've not managed to play versus anyone... The Gauntlet Mode, requiring the player to pull off specific moves, against a variety of opponents, is one of the most frustrating game modes I have ever encountered. I got to a certain point and could just not get past it.

I ended up wanting to throw my PSP against the wall in rage, then I remembered that would be a rubbish idea, LOL! In the end I just took the UMD out and I've not put it back in since. I can't remember a time I was more disappointed by a game.

With GTA: Chinatown Wars, I got one of the best and most satisfying game experiences I can remember, which was coincidentally on a handheld. With SC:BD I got one of the most annoying game experiences I can remember, which just so happened to look amazing and feature one of the most iconic gaming characters of all time. Go figure!

Now very often, when I don't take to a game, it's me and not the game. I wonder of anyone else could confirm or deny which one if at fault? In the interest of fairness, I'll post a video review. Then you can make up your mind!