A quick 6-pack of impressions.

Over the past week I became my own personal Santa Claus as I bought a small handful of games for cheap (that Steam deal thing.) It's also the week my own personal Santa Claus, sidescroller, bought me 3 games from that Secret Santa thing I quickly disorganized several weeks ago. And even though I'm waiting for the Steam sale to end before I splurge on cheap games from years past, I've managed to take advantage of the sale and grab 3 games from the sale. I've also found time to play all 6 games for at least a half hour or more which is essentially the equivalent of a long Quick Look. And since this is meant to be quick, let's start the show. 
 

Kirby's Dream Land 3

 
Yes, sidescroller bought me a sidescroller. And he chose a latecomer to the SNES, Kirby's Dream Land 3. He must've learned about my appreciation for Kirby's Adventure, perhaps the last great NES game to come out. I only managed to play through the first world (Grass Land) and it's totally a Kirby game. Very colorful, very cute, bordering on too cute sometimes. Kirby didn't seem to change much over the 4 year period between this and Kirby's Adventure, but then again I hear Kirby Super Star mixed the formula up a bit. I breezed through the first world and defeat the first boss with little trouble... I assume things might get trickier later on. The one thing I'm not used to is the addition of new friends you can use to aid you on your quest. Uhh... Kirby can ride a hamster, the Yoshi of Kirby's Dream Land 3. 
 
So far I like it a lot, but I'm not expecting the game to throw any curve balls at me... it looks like a straightforward Kirby game. 
 

Ninja Gaiden

 
Ninja Gaiden has been available for a while now on the Virtual Console, but I couldn't gain the courage to buy it... someone else had to buy it for me. This was one I avoided because of its notoriously high difficulty, but now that I have it, I probably should at least give it a shot. Got through Act I with no real problems (although the boss wasn't one of those pussy early bosses we see in most games) but Act II was where I stopped. I'll be back, but I just wanted to sample it out first... so many games on my plate and Ninja Gaiden will have to wait. Yet I really enjoyed the game so far. There's never a dull moment, it's fast, there's a real story being told in the game (hooray for 8-bit cutscenes), and a solid-looking NES game. 
 
Ninja Gaiden certainly deserves the praise it gets and I'll really enjoy the parts where I die several times and throw the controller in frustration. 
 

Sin & Punishment

 
An interesting choice for sure. I don't consider myself a fan of rail shooters, but I've been slightly curious about Treasure's N64 hit Sin & Punishment ever since it came out on the Virtual Console to my surprise. Why is this once Japan-only game getting all this positive buzz here? Then I played Gunstar Heroes, Treasure's Genesis hit, and I kinda get why the response was what it was. Like Gunstar Heroes, Sin & Punishment is an arcade affair that just throws enemies at you without leaving you time to breathe, but unlike Gunstar Heroes, it's an on-rails shooter with only a little freedom of movement. Like most on-rails shooters you run forward blasting anything in your way, but you can move left or right avoiding enemies as they rush towards you or projectiles as they fly in your direction. I only played through the first two levels and I can see the similarities to Gunstar Heroes... Treasure sure has this formula down. Don't ruin a good thing, I guess. 
 
If you like blasting a steady stream of bullets while not worrying about where to go, Sin & Punishment is worthy of a look. I guess it's a shame that it's going to be over quickly... it's just a few hours in length from what I heard. 
 

Grand Theft Auto IV

 
Since everybody already has impressions about GTAIV, this impression will be short. It's awesome and one of my favorite games of 2008... can't say much more than what's been said by the millions who experienced it. I'm only mentioning GTAIV because I purchased the PC version for a ridiculously low price. And it could be the game that makes me regret taking the easy way out and buying a laptop and not building my own gaming PC. As a comparison, I can run Borderlands on med-high settings without any problems, but I can barely run GTAIV at the automatically chosen for my PC recommended settings without burning a hole in my desk while running at a paltry 10 FPS. I'll have to knock down the settings and even the resolution to more reasonable levels to make it playable. 
 
A disappointment from a pure technical standpoint, but I really have the urge to return to Liberty City and just live like an Eastern European. 
 

Lumines

 
I'm becoming a sucker for cheap puzzle games and Lumines was on sale for less than a pack of Chips Ahoy! cookies. And I played this more than the other games I bought which wonders if I'm starting to get too casual for my own good. Lumines can trace its origins to Tetris and we all know Tetris rivals crack in addictiveness, and Lumines can replace Team Fortress 2 as my new crack... temporarily at least. The background can get in the way of the gameplay at times, but that could be what they're going for. And a damn fine soundtrack to boot. It's a winner in my book. 
 
Do pick this up if you haven't already. It's on practically every platform now anyway. 
 

Torchlight

 
And here's my "this is why I hate Steam" game of the week. Torchlight is an action RPG in the same vein as Diablo, a game I never played and have no business of playing honestly. My history with action RPGs of this variety remains virtually nonexistent and I can live blissfully without playing Torchlight, Diablo, or any of the Diablo clones. It's based on my hatred towards the medieval fantasy genre as a whole and entire grind/loot style of play seen in many of these games. So why did I buy Torchlight? I guess a relatively new game that reviewed well is worth a look for $5? Did I mention that I hate Steam sometimes? Anyway, after an hour of dungeon (mine) crawling and monster slashing, I can say that it's not a bad game... in fact it's probably pretty good if you're into that sort of thing. The learning curve is not that steep and the action is as simple as a left click, which you'll do a lot in Torchlight. Since it's technically a budget game, it doesn't get as deep as most action RPGs storywise, but that might be the reason why I can enjoy this at some level. It's not up its own ass in plot twists and side stories. Torchlight doesn't seem to be the game that needs you to waste several weeks of your life in order to finish, too. My main gripe, however, is that it follows that stereotypical fantasy setting seen in almost every non-Japanese RPG. 
 
Torchlight is not going to woo me over to the dark side of role-playing games, but there are some elements that even a cynical weirdo like me can enjoy. If you're wondering whether to buy Torchlight or not, I'd suggest going to your nearest Diablo fan who owns Torchlight for an opinion... I'm not qualified to answer that question. 
 
Wow, nothing quick about these impressions. I think I need a beer.
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2 Comments
Posted by Dalai

Over the past week I became my own personal Santa Claus as I bought a small handful of games for cheap (that Steam deal thing.) It's also the week my own personal Santa Claus, sidescroller, bought me 3 games from that Secret Santa thing I quickly disorganized several weeks ago. And even though I'm waiting for the Steam sale to end before I splurge on cheap games from years past, I've managed to take advantage of the sale and grab 3 games from the sale. I've also found time to play all 6 games for at least a half hour or more which is essentially the equivalent of a long Quick Look. And since this is meant to be quick, let's start the show. 
 

Kirby's Dream Land 3

 
Yes, sidescroller bought me a sidescroller. And he chose a latecomer to the SNES, Kirby's Dream Land 3. He must've learned about my appreciation for Kirby's Adventure, perhaps the last great NES game to come out. I only managed to play through the first world (Grass Land) and it's totally a Kirby game. Very colorful, very cute, bordering on too cute sometimes. Kirby didn't seem to change much over the 4 year period between this and Kirby's Adventure, but then again I hear Kirby Super Star mixed the formula up a bit. I breezed through the first world and defeat the first boss with little trouble... I assume things might get trickier later on. The one thing I'm not used to is the addition of new friends you can use to aid you on your quest. Uhh... Kirby can ride a hamster, the Yoshi of Kirby's Dream Land 3. 
 
So far I like it a lot, but I'm not expecting the game to throw any curve balls at me... it looks like a straightforward Kirby game. 
 

Ninja Gaiden

 
Ninja Gaiden has been available for a while now on the Virtual Console, but I couldn't gain the courage to buy it... someone else had to buy it for me. This was one I avoided because of its notoriously high difficulty, but now that I have it, I probably should at least give it a shot. Got through Act I with no real problems (although the boss wasn't one of those pussy early bosses we see in most games) but Act II was where I stopped. I'll be back, but I just wanted to sample it out first... so many games on my plate and Ninja Gaiden will have to wait. Yet I really enjoyed the game so far. There's never a dull moment, it's fast, there's a real story being told in the game (hooray for 8-bit cutscenes), and a solid-looking NES game. 
 
Ninja Gaiden certainly deserves the praise it gets and I'll really enjoy the parts where I die several times and throw the controller in frustration. 
 

Sin & Punishment

 
An interesting choice for sure. I don't consider myself a fan of rail shooters, but I've been slightly curious about Treasure's N64 hit Sin & Punishment ever since it came out on the Virtual Console to my surprise. Why is this once Japan-only game getting all this positive buzz here? Then I played Gunstar Heroes, Treasure's Genesis hit, and I kinda get why the response was what it was. Like Gunstar Heroes, Sin & Punishment is an arcade affair that just throws enemies at you without leaving you time to breathe, but unlike Gunstar Heroes, it's an on-rails shooter with only a little freedom of movement. Like most on-rails shooters you run forward blasting anything in your way, but you can move left or right avoiding enemies as they rush towards you or projectiles as they fly in your direction. I only played through the first two levels and I can see the similarities to Gunstar Heroes... Treasure sure has this formula down. Don't ruin a good thing, I guess. 
 
If you like blasting a steady stream of bullets while not worrying about where to go, Sin & Punishment is worthy of a look. I guess it's a shame that it's going to be over quickly... it's just a few hours in length from what I heard. 
 

Grand Theft Auto IV

 
Since everybody already has impressions about GTAIV, this impression will be short. It's awesome and one of my favorite games of 2008... can't say much more than what's been said by the millions who experienced it. I'm only mentioning GTAIV because I purchased the PC version for a ridiculously low price. And it could be the game that makes me regret taking the easy way out and buying a laptop and not building my own gaming PC. As a comparison, I can run Borderlands on med-high settings without any problems, but I can barely run GTAIV at the automatically chosen for my PC recommended settings without burning a hole in my desk while running at a paltry 10 FPS. I'll have to knock down the settings and even the resolution to more reasonable levels to make it playable. 
 
A disappointment from a pure technical standpoint, but I really have the urge to return to Liberty City and just live like an Eastern European. 
 

Lumines

 
I'm becoming a sucker for cheap puzzle games and Lumines was on sale for less than a pack of Chips Ahoy! cookies. And I played this more than the other games I bought which wonders if I'm starting to get too casual for my own good. Lumines can trace its origins to Tetris and we all know Tetris rivals crack in addictiveness, and Lumines can replace Team Fortress 2 as my new crack... temporarily at least. The background can get in the way of the gameplay at times, but that could be what they're going for. And a damn fine soundtrack to boot. It's a winner in my book. 
 
Do pick this up if you haven't already. It's on practically every platform now anyway. 
 

Torchlight

 
And here's my "this is why I hate Steam" game of the week. Torchlight is an action RPG in the same vein as Diablo, a game I never played and have no business of playing honestly. My history with action RPGs of this variety remains virtually nonexistent and I can live blissfully without playing Torchlight, Diablo, or any of the Diablo clones. It's based on my hatred towards the medieval fantasy genre as a whole and entire grind/loot style of play seen in many of these games. So why did I buy Torchlight? I guess a relatively new game that reviewed well is worth a look for $5? Did I mention that I hate Steam sometimes? Anyway, after an hour of dungeon (mine) crawling and monster slashing, I can say that it's not a bad game... in fact it's probably pretty good if you're into that sort of thing. The learning curve is not that steep and the action is as simple as a left click, which you'll do a lot in Torchlight. Since it's technically a budget game, it doesn't get as deep as most action RPGs storywise, but that might be the reason why I can enjoy this at some level. It's not up its own ass in plot twists and side stories. Torchlight doesn't seem to be the game that needs you to waste several weeks of your life in order to finish, too. My main gripe, however, is that it follows that stereotypical fantasy setting seen in almost every non-Japanese RPG. 
 
Torchlight is not going to woo me over to the dark side of role-playing games, but there are some elements that even a cynical weirdo like me can enjoy. If you're wondering whether to buy Torchlight or not, I'd suggest going to your nearest Diablo fan who owns Torchlight for an opinion... I'm not qualified to answer that question. 
 
Wow, nothing quick about these impressions. I think I need a beer.
Posted by Claude

I almost bought Torchlight. Same as you, never having played Diablo or its clones, I tried the demo off Steam, but yeah, couldn't pull the trigger. I'm an idiot.