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Well Damn, Summer is Over

Well, it has been a pretty good summer but it is time to gear up for another semester of college fun.  Although this semester will be the most interesting since I get to run around on the first day to make a mad dash for classes and beg professors to fit one more student into their Statics or Differential Equations class, I do have some games that I am looking forward to once classes start (Valkyria Chronicles 2, that Spiderman game, Halo:Reach) that will give me short breaks from worrying about exams and labs. 
But before I go thinking about my Fall plans, I thought I would go through what I played during the break,  I did purchase some games, but many of them had been out for awhile. Some of the games I played were from waayy back and I was pretty sure I wasn't gonna play them again. 

What is the Gamecube doing out?

My brother brought a box from his friends house one day that had a Gamecube and a bunch of games in it.  Our Gamecube broke a long time ago, and at first I thought my brother was being an idiot for bringing another one home when we had a bunch of games that, y'know, came out within the last 5 years.  Well, it did not take long before we were playing Super Smash Bros and Mario Party (which was just as dumb as I remembered).  We couldn't find all of our old games, but some of the games I was able to really enjoy going back to.  I even surprised myself when I put some hours away replaying Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader.  I also watched my brother fail at playing Sonic and Knuckles on some Sonic collection for the Gamecube.  It felt weird playing with a Gamecube controller, but I still got a little excited when I heard Flying Battery music. 
 Shootin down TIEs
 Shootin down TIEs
 Fun rating: 4 outta 5 
Nostalgia rating: 5 outta 5

Sometimes, You Can't Go Back

One of the games we did manage to find was Conflict: Desert Storm.  Now, this game was responsible for hours of time being put away while my brother, my uncle, and I played that mess of a game until we finished it.  I remember having a good time sniping with Foley and his awesome rifle, my brother wasting loads of ammunition with Connors and his machine gun, and my uncle having to control both the rifleman Bradley and the specialist Jones.  So I thought, why not give it another shot? 
Poor choice. 
Damn, that game looked so bad.  Aside from the fact that the c-stick is poor for aiming, you could not see a damn thing thanks to the fact that an enemy didn't render at long range but could still shoot you.  I'm not a fan of being shot at by ghosts.  The point where I had to put my controller down and say "screw this" was when we reached a level where there was a friggin sandstorm.  YOU CANNOT SEE SHIT. 

     No thank you 
     No thank you 

Finishing What I Started   

Persona!  (4) 
I finally beat Persona 4!!! Hahaaa!  After playing P3FES I thought I would jump right in and give P4 a try.  A week later I realized that I did not have that kind of RPG stamina to endure another game that I knew would take me like 100 hours to beat.  So I waited......for a year.  A year of deciding not to watch anymore of the Persona ER so I wouldn't spoil anything for myself (luckily the Deadly Premonition ER started)  and playing other games before I decided to play what turned out to be one of my favorite games.  The story was great, most of the characters were very likable (How can you hate Kanji?), the battle system was an upgrade from P3, and the music and style of the game were fantastic.
Batman: Arkham Asylum 
The last comic book hero game I remember playing was Spiderman for the N64 that had Stan Lee have a little narration at the start of most of the stages.  The last Batman based game that I had played was for the Genesis.  This game was probably the best way to dive into a comic book hero game.  I don't know much about Batman and I didn't read a lot of comics, but I did watch the Animated Series back in the day, so hearing Mark Hamill as the Joker was kinda cool.  I think my favorite part of that game was finding answers to the riddles in the game.  Getting to see little bits and pieces of the fiction easily made me more interested in the game. 
Valkyria Chronicles 
This game is easily in my top five in my PS3 collection.  Yes, the art style was cool.  Yes, the story was nice even if it was a little predictable.  What stood out for me was the combat system.  The first step felt kinda like Advance Wars where you pick a unit while everything else waits.  But then it goes nuts by allowing the other units to react and duck or return fire while you have to directly move a unit and aim to take the shot.  A couple of those battles took me a long damn time and I would have finished it sooner had I not hit a wall in the game last year.  Contemplating whether or not to do a new game+. 
I guess you don't really finish MAG, but I wanted to mention it because I had a really good time playing it.  I played a lot of Call of Duty before, and this game was a great change of pace.  Playing with my friends was a lot of fun, but I found that you didn't necessarily have to to get the job done.  Plenty of MAG players know ell enough that to win you gotta do your job, and sometimes that means you aren't trying to get kills.  I think I'll be playing this game for a pretty long time.

Game of the Summer

Aside from playing a lot of good solid games (and some shitty ones) that came out some time ago, I actually played some games that released this summer.  The game that I feel easily won my award for Game of the Summer would be Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.  Now, I am not the biggest MGS fan.  I never got around to playing Snake Eater and only finished Sons of Liberty.  My brother and I tried to do our own endurance run of Guns of the Patriots, but we didn't get very far.   
For some reason Peace Walker just kept pulling me back in.  The story was a little crazy, but I think that is a MGS requirement.  What was great was all the missions that were available.  There was a good variety too: sneak, demolition, monster hunting, and yes, Pooyan missions.   
 Those balloons don't even know whats coming to em.
 Those balloons don't even know whats coming to em.
 At this point I still haven't finished all of em with an S-rank, but that is because I need to team up with some buddies take some of these missions down.  The controls work well enough with what the PSP gives it, and the number of things that you collect is pretty ridiculous.  The recruit system had me scanning for wireless hotspots while I was in the car going somewhere(not driving).  Yes Peace Walker was definitely able to join a group of games that kept me well-entertained while I tried to stay out of the heat.  

Where are the good kids games?

I have 12-year old cousin who loves to play video games and for the longest time had a gameboy advance. They live about two hours away, so whenever I do see him he tells me about all the games he is playing.  Whenever he went to my house he would quickly say hi and then ask me if we could play xbox.   Before this past Christmas, he told me that his parents were going to get him a PS2 for Christmas.  He was real excited, but I had an idea that he could use a current-gen console.  Luckily, my brother and I had an extra xbox 360 from my uncle who did not want to deal with RROD, so we decided "hey, let's give it to the kid."  After we got the go-ahead from my aunt and uncle, we packed the console up and wrapped for his Christmas gift.  
The problem came when we were looking through games to pack with the console.  The first game we chose was Lego Star Wars because my cousin always played that at our house so we figured that was a winner.  Then we hit a wall.
I had to assure my aunt that we would not be getting my cousin any of those "violent killing games" which I agreed to because it's understandable that she doesn't want her son exposed to that right now.  I thought it would be no big deal because surely there are plenty of games for kids on the 360.
When my brother and I hit an electronics store, I soon found out how wrong I was.  Being a pretty enthusiastic gamer, I did not want to get some crappy game based off some kids movie.  I've seen enough parents go looking through games and purchasing garbage for their kids because they don't know better.  All the games we saw were either some game based off of a cartoon or movie that obviously was not made with great quality, or they were games that my aunt would certainly deem inappropriate. 


One strategy my brother thought up was to try to find a game that was a remake of games we had once enjoyed, like some new Sonic game.  At first I thought he was crazy, but then I saw that more recent Banjo and Kazooie game.  I thought there was a chance that it might be alright, because I remembered enjoying the game back in my N64 days.
Well, about a few months after he has had the 360 for awhile, I asked him how he liked the games.  He enjoyed the Lego Star Wars game a lot, but he did not seem to care much for Banjo-Kazooie.  He asked me what games I was looking forward to and I brought up games that I had not yet bought like Red Faction Guerrilla and some that were not out yet like Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker.  When I asked him if there were any games that caught his eye, he quickly said "Halo."  Then the floodgates opened and all he talked about was Halo 3 and how the multiplayer is so fun and that his buddies love that game and he plays it when he's at there house.  He REALLY wanted Halo 3, but he knew that his mom would not let him have that.
When did this happen?  At what point did finding a quality game that could be enjoyed by any age become such a rarity.  Now, I understand that there are good games that are for the younger audience, but how many of them (aside from Mario and Pokemon) are seen as being able to compete with other games made for mature audiences?  I don't remember this being a problem when I started playing games.  When I received my Sega Genesis, I ended up with games that I enjoyed and were not about head shots and did not include a deathmatch game.  Not that there weren't any, just they were among many other games that were given the same kind of care and development.
When my cousin came to visit for a weekend, he left with my copy of ace combat: fires of liberation.  I know I am risking the fire of my aunt when she sees her son firing missiles at airplanes, but I can't just let him play Lego Star Wars all the time.  I also recently got a copy of Pure, and am thinking about getting that Sonic and Sega All-stars racing game since he seemed to enjoy the demo of those that I had.  Maybe in a year or two, he will  be able play Halo:Reach among other games  and eventually get to see that there are good games out there, just not necessarily for kids.

Some hits are from waayy back

I was dumb enough to decide to play FF7 again while I am not even done with Persona 4.  I also kinda want to play some Mass Effect because I remember nothing about my old characters. Dead Space also is sitting on my shelf taunting me.
Just now taking a look at the Underdome in Borderlands because I was in Cambodia most of December.


Sure, why not?

I got a PS3 pretty recently and so far I have more PSN games than I do Disc games. I have Madden and Cod4, while I have downloaded Fat Princess, Trash Panic, and MvC2.  The balance will definitely change when more games that I want start coming out during the fall.