S-Rank Blog Post #9 - Catch Up (Part 1)


So it's been like half a year since I last wrote one of these. I guess now I can see just how much I've progressed since then. There's gonna be a shit tonne (Metric) of games to go over so I'm going to have to keep it brief, which is probably a good thing seeing as a lot of details about the games have probably long since faded to the back of my pathetic excuse for a memory. If forgetting things were a sport, I'd be EA's cover athlete on the 2012 edition. I'll have to scroll down my gamercard to see what I've spent the last 6 months wasting time on instead of doing anything practical. Anyway introductory paragraph... check, onto the games. 
 
Comic Jumper 
First up is Twisted Pixel's  Comic Jumper. With this third banger Twisted Pixel game they've established a kind of trust with me, I'll be buying their games until one falls of the wagon. Now I'm not going to say Comic Jumper is the super best coolest game ever, it's a little bit of a one trick pony, but looking back at their previous works (The Maw, 'Splosion Man) I guess you could argue that every one of their games is like that. They seem to find an entertaining idea and make a decent game around it. So why am I so impressed by a "decent game"? FMV
 
Yes Twisted Pixel's penchant for using humorous full motion video in their games pushes them just that little bit further. Comic Jumper they've really crammed a lot in there (it is over a gigabyte), when you trigger your super move the Twisted Pixel dev team pops onto screen and pulverises everything for example. They seem to be one of the few who can actually pull of humour in video games. The underlying game is a side scrolling shooter which they keep fresh with special challenges and different artstyles. You come to this game for the accessories more than the actual gameplay, but I'd say it's worth it. 
 
RISK: Factions 
I never thought I'd enjoy playing what is essentially a board game on the Xbox. Here I am, finished with RISK: Factions and enjoyed it thoroughly. It comes with a basic, or "Classic RISK" mode, but the real reason for checking this out is the new tricks they've taught the old dog in Factions mode. I tried explaining the new additions to my girlfriend but that just ended in confusement and hesitation to play with me, even though she's a RISK fan. Once I insited it was good enough times to break her resolve she played some multiplayer with me and ended up demanding a game or two every day for nearly two weeks. 
 
Before playing this I don't think I'd ever played a proper game of RISK in my life, so if you are like I was don't let that put you off from giving this a go. The way they dress up RISK almost makes it exciting (something I don't say about dice rolls very often, or ever), mixed with the new rules and you have something that, with another coat of paint, could easily be disguised and not being RISK at all. 
 
Arkadian Warriors 
I've had my eye on this for a while, waiting for ages for a price drop or DoTW before picking it up. I've told myself that I'm not buying any XBLA games unless they've been discounted in one way or the other after having bought one or two before only to have them slap me in the face with a 50% off sale the next week. Arkadian Warriors is a fun little action RPG lite type game. With just enough loot to keep you mashing A hoping something good drops. At the start of the game you can choose to play as a Warrior, Archer or Mage/Wizard (whatever they called it), each one plays different in combat, and each guy has the ability to morph into some giant mythic beast for a while to aid in your callous genoside. 
 
My Warrior could turn into a sweet golden armoured lion. It's mostly my slightly nostalgic love for Diablo that keeps me interested in these games, but as a quick little RPG this could hit the spot for you. 
 
Plants vs. Zombies 
I had heard about this from friends with iPhones/Pads and gave it a look. You'd think the battle between plants and zombies would be a fairly one sided one, or that there would be no battle on the account of plants not having anything the zombies crave (brains). It seems however that plants have brokered an alliance with humans and are putting themselves on the (front)line to try and protect their ceribrum enhanced friends. This game really, really surprised me. I loved it and I would urge others to check it out. It is the DoTW  this week, so you got a few more days to grab that demo and decide before it ups in price again. Not only is the basic game a perfect mixture of action and strategy but it's surrounded with tonnes of bonus modes and meta games to sink your teeth into. Once again, if you overlooked this take some time out and give it a try! 
 
DeathSpank 
Here we have another action RPG, it's a step up from Arkadian Warriors in quality but the underlying gameplay of an action RPG hasn't changed since inception. Though this is a "true" action RPG with hundreds if not thousands of pieces of loot and a proper storyline underpinning your questing. You'll know if you like these games or not by now, but as action RPG's go this offers a fresh graphical style, something like Animal Crossing crossed with a pop-up book. It's a cool look mixed with some hit and miss humour. It's written by one of the writers of the Monkey Island games, so it's whacky which isn't something that most self serious RPG's would strive to be. All of this comes together to put a slick new coat of paint over the tried and true gameplay. 
 
DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue 
Continuing directly from where DeathSpank ended this builds on the original game and offers slight improvement everywhere and bombards you with even more loot. I would definately say to play the first game before playing this, the storyline flows seamlessly into this, so much so that it might have been one game at one stage. That's not to say either Deathspank or ToV are lacking in longevity or any other way as they both offer lengthy campaigns. While the original had more of a Dark Ages feel to it ToV ushers in a WWII aesthetic, with the ability to use guns and grenades aswell as swords and magic. 
 
Too Human 
Poor Too Human didn't get the best of receptions, but personally I loved it. I would have to say that I can see how that might be a 100% personal view though, as when I step back and look at the game objectively it's definately not for everyone. As stated above I have what could be descrived as an irrational love for action RPG's, also having a decent interest in mythology of all sorts as well as a interest in vikings in general. Mix in some sci-fi (of which I'm also a fan) and you have an overview of the game. Phat loot, cyber vikings, action RPG... if that sounds appealing to you maybe have a look. 
 
The gameplay isn't bad, though it does get quite repetitive. The thing that I feel went wrong here is instead of controlling like a normal action RPG - massing buttons/clicks until enemy death, they've given it a feel something more akin to the Devil May Cry series and Ninja Gaiden control wise. It's understandable as the games combat is a frantic mixture of the two gametypes aswell, featuring combos, launchers, powerstrikes, area sweeping moves and spells. The problem here is the gameplay falls squarely inbetween these two types of games, not quite as fast paced and deep as a proper action game, but slightly too fast and involved to just relax and quest. 
 
The game does get better the longer you play, which is because you'll have mastered the combat system including all the new skills and atributes you outfit your character with as you level up, however to get to these later stages you'll have needed to play though the campaign atleast twice to earn enough experience aswell as A LOT of grinding. If you're a completionist this game can take 100's of hours to get every achievement. The worst being Relics of a Forgotten Past which will be the last achievement you need and is only worth 5 gamerscore. It tasks you with finding a full suit of Elite armour, during the 3 or 4 playthroughs of the lengthy and repetitive campaign I only ever found 3 elite drops, 1 for a different character class, 1 weapon which wasn't needed and 1 piece of actual use. Luckily a friend was working on the game aswell and we arranged to play the same class and share the loot we were grinding for so we only had to find half a suit each. This still took weeks of killing the same enemy over and over before we were finally lucky enough to scrape all the items together. Big thankyou to Fate if he ever reads this. 
 
Well that's it for now, it's getting late. This isn't anywhere close to caught up but hopefully I'll bang out another blog or two pretty soon bringing me back up to date. I've been doing a fair amount of boosting lately, which I have sort of been putting off for a while so that's brought me back into a more serious completionist mood, and looking to boost a lot more seriously now. So just ask and I'll be more than happy to jump on and grind out some achievements.
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Posted by Phr4nk0

So it's been like half a year since I last wrote one of these. I guess now I can see just how much I've progressed since then. There's gonna be a shit tonne (Metric) of games to go over so I'm going to have to keep it brief, which is probably a good thing seeing as a lot of details about the games have probably long since faded to the back of my pathetic excuse for a memory. If forgetting things were a sport, I'd be EA's cover athlete on the 2012 edition. I'll have to scroll down my gamercard to see what I've spent the last 6 months wasting time on instead of doing anything practical. Anyway introductory paragraph... check, onto the games. 
 
Comic Jumper 
First up is Twisted Pixel's  Comic Jumper. With this third banger Twisted Pixel game they've established a kind of trust with me, I'll be buying their games until one falls of the wagon. Now I'm not going to say Comic Jumper is the super best coolest game ever, it's a little bit of a one trick pony, but looking back at their previous works (The Maw, 'Splosion Man) I guess you could argue that every one of their games is like that. They seem to find an entertaining idea and make a decent game around it. So why am I so impressed by a "decent game"? FMV
 
Yes Twisted Pixel's penchant for using humorous full motion video in their games pushes them just that little bit further. Comic Jumper they've really crammed a lot in there (it is over a gigabyte), when you trigger your super move the Twisted Pixel dev team pops onto screen and pulverises everything for example. They seem to be one of the few who can actually pull of humour in video games. The underlying game is a side scrolling shooter which they keep fresh with special challenges and different artstyles. You come to this game for the accessories more than the actual gameplay, but I'd say it's worth it. 
 
RISK: Factions 
I never thought I'd enjoy playing what is essentially a board game on the Xbox. Here I am, finished with RISK: Factions and enjoyed it thoroughly. It comes with a basic, or "Classic RISK" mode, but the real reason for checking this out is the new tricks they've taught the old dog in Factions mode. I tried explaining the new additions to my girlfriend but that just ended in confusement and hesitation to play with me, even though she's a RISK fan. Once I insited it was good enough times to break her resolve she played some multiplayer with me and ended up demanding a game or two every day for nearly two weeks. 
 
Before playing this I don't think I'd ever played a proper game of RISK in my life, so if you are like I was don't let that put you off from giving this a go. The way they dress up RISK almost makes it exciting (something I don't say about dice rolls very often, or ever), mixed with the new rules and you have something that, with another coat of paint, could easily be disguised and not being RISK at all. 
 
Arkadian Warriors 
I've had my eye on this for a while, waiting for ages for a price drop or DoTW before picking it up. I've told myself that I'm not buying any XBLA games unless they've been discounted in one way or the other after having bought one or two before only to have them slap me in the face with a 50% off sale the next week. Arkadian Warriors is a fun little action RPG lite type game. With just enough loot to keep you mashing A hoping something good drops. At the start of the game you can choose to play as a Warrior, Archer or Mage/Wizard (whatever they called it), each one plays different in combat, and each guy has the ability to morph into some giant mythic beast for a while to aid in your callous genoside. 
 
My Warrior could turn into a sweet golden armoured lion. It's mostly my slightly nostalgic love for Diablo that keeps me interested in these games, but as a quick little RPG this could hit the spot for you. 
 
Plants vs. Zombies 
I had heard about this from friends with iPhones/Pads and gave it a look. You'd think the battle between plants and zombies would be a fairly one sided one, or that there would be no battle on the account of plants not having anything the zombies crave (brains). It seems however that plants have brokered an alliance with humans and are putting themselves on the (front)line to try and protect their ceribrum enhanced friends. This game really, really surprised me. I loved it and I would urge others to check it out. It is the DoTW  this week, so you got a few more days to grab that demo and decide before it ups in price again. Not only is the basic game a perfect mixture of action and strategy but it's surrounded with tonnes of bonus modes and meta games to sink your teeth into. Once again, if you overlooked this take some time out and give it a try! 
 
DeathSpank 
Here we have another action RPG, it's a step up from Arkadian Warriors in quality but the underlying gameplay of an action RPG hasn't changed since inception. Though this is a "true" action RPG with hundreds if not thousands of pieces of loot and a proper storyline underpinning your questing. You'll know if you like these games or not by now, but as action RPG's go this offers a fresh graphical style, something like Animal Crossing crossed with a pop-up book. It's a cool look mixed with some hit and miss humour. It's written by one of the writers of the Monkey Island games, so it's whacky which isn't something that most self serious RPG's would strive to be. All of this comes together to put a slick new coat of paint over the tried and true gameplay. 
 
DeathSpank: Thongs of Virtue 
Continuing directly from where DeathSpank ended this builds on the original game and offers slight improvement everywhere and bombards you with even more loot. I would definately say to play the first game before playing this, the storyline flows seamlessly into this, so much so that it might have been one game at one stage. That's not to say either Deathspank or ToV are lacking in longevity or any other way as they both offer lengthy campaigns. While the original had more of a Dark Ages feel to it ToV ushers in a WWII aesthetic, with the ability to use guns and grenades aswell as swords and magic. 
 
Too Human 
Poor Too Human didn't get the best of receptions, but personally I loved it. I would have to say that I can see how that might be a 100% personal view though, as when I step back and look at the game objectively it's definately not for everyone. As stated above I have what could be descrived as an irrational love for action RPG's, also having a decent interest in mythology of all sorts as well as a interest in vikings in general. Mix in some sci-fi (of which I'm also a fan) and you have an overview of the game. Phat loot, cyber vikings, action RPG... if that sounds appealing to you maybe have a look. 
 
The gameplay isn't bad, though it does get quite repetitive. The thing that I feel went wrong here is instead of controlling like a normal action RPG - massing buttons/clicks until enemy death, they've given it a feel something more akin to the Devil May Cry series and Ninja Gaiden control wise. It's understandable as the games combat is a frantic mixture of the two gametypes aswell, featuring combos, launchers, powerstrikes, area sweeping moves and spells. The problem here is the gameplay falls squarely inbetween these two types of games, not quite as fast paced and deep as a proper action game, but slightly too fast and involved to just relax and quest. 
 
The game does get better the longer you play, which is because you'll have mastered the combat system including all the new skills and atributes you outfit your character with as you level up, however to get to these later stages you'll have needed to play though the campaign atleast twice to earn enough experience aswell as A LOT of grinding. If you're a completionist this game can take 100's of hours to get every achievement. The worst being Relics of a Forgotten Past which will be the last achievement you need and is only worth 5 gamerscore. It tasks you with finding a full suit of Elite armour, during the 3 or 4 playthroughs of the lengthy and repetitive campaign I only ever found 3 elite drops, 1 for a different character class, 1 weapon which wasn't needed and 1 piece of actual use. Luckily a friend was working on the game aswell and we arranged to play the same class and share the loot we were grinding for so we only had to find half a suit each. This still took weeks of killing the same enemy over and over before we were finally lucky enough to scrape all the items together. Big thankyou to Fate if he ever reads this. 
 
Well that's it for now, it's getting late. This isn't anywhere close to caught up but hopefully I'll bang out another blog or two pretty soon bringing me back up to date. I've been doing a fair amount of boosting lately, which I have sort of been putting off for a while so that's brought me back into a more serious completionist mood, and looking to boost a lot more seriously now. So just ask and I'll be more than happy to jump on and grind out some achievements.