Early thoughts on 358/2 Days

I played through about 4 or so hours of this game on the train earlier, and I'm really digging it so far. It's definitely a worth successor to the Kingdom Hearts name, and I'm glad to be in control of Roxas once again (this time not just for a prologue!). The core gameplay of Kingdom Hearts has translated surprisingly well to the DS, and the game feels very much like playing through the PS2 games. The d-pad works surprisingly well, and the camera controls aren't terrible (they aren't great, but I haven't had much frustration). Although this is no PS2 game, it is one of the most visually impressive (possibly the most) DS games to come out to date. The cutscenes look absolutely stunning, and the regular game looks pretty damn good for a DS game, too. The sound is great, too. Although there obviously is nowhere near as much voice acting as the PS2, there is a nice amount. What is in there sounds really great, too. Square-Enix really outdid themselves technically.
The story shines through in this game, too. Roxas has always been my favorite Kingdom Hearts character, and it's great getting to see more of his story. Furthermore, I really like how his friendship with Axel is developed. They're easily the two most fleshed out Organization members. I haven't seen too much of Xion yet, but she also seems like an interesting character. It's also nice seeing some of the other Organization members when they aren't trying to kill you, and getting to know what they're like under more 'normal' conditions.
The game is split up into days, with missions being given out each day, and I think it works well. While none of the missions yet have been too long, they've all been enjoyable to some degree. It's been nice to see a couple of familiar places, as well. The combat works the same as always, but the big new thing with 358/2 Days is the panel system, which lets you arrange panels to increase your level, decide which spells you take with you, what your weapon is, and what items you carry. It forces some tough decisions at points, and I like the way it is implemented. I really think this helps to give the game its own identity.
Overall, I'm loving this game so far. I would definitely recommend it to any Kingdom Hearts fan.


Scribblenauts does Deliver

So, I've been hyped for Scribblenauts for awhile now, and some of the buzz from the GiantBomb guys and other places over the past week had me worried. I wasn't sure if there was a lot of merit to it or not, but I did let my hype drop down a couple of levels. Still, I received a copy earlier, and after having put over an hour into the game, I'm finding it thoroughly enjoyable.
Is it perfect? No. Do I wish I could use the D-Pad to move? Yes. Still, I'm finding the game to be everything I thought it would be, which is to say a fun and inventive puzzle game with a world of possibilities. Yes, there are frustrating moments, but the game is also a lot of fun.  I definitely think that it is delivering on what it promised to do, and while it may not revolutionize gaming, it is a very quirky and fun game that is doing a lot of new things. And above all, I'm just finding it fun.