With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” coming out this week, it only seems fair to write about a Star Wars game. And there are a whole lot of them of varying degrees of quality from all the way back in the Nintendo Entertainment System days until the present.
Most people like collecting things. In video games, collectibles come in many, many flavors, ranging from feathers to film reels to Pokemon. And in some rare cases, that collectible is people. The whole “have a ton of playable characters” motif is a pretty major double-edged sword. Sure, it’s a lot of options, but at the same time it hamstrings some character development because you just have too many characters to really put together a compelling narrative. Such is the case with “Radiata Stories.”
Sometimes a game falls into that weird subcategory where it perfectly captures the time when it was made, and is good but not particularly great. Most games that try to play on some sort of current milieu end up being awful, like “Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf” or anything Parroty Interactive made. But today we’re looking at the game that is about the most 1999 thing in existence. Hey, hey, it’s “Crazy Taxi!”
We’re finishing up our month of individual levels with the way we close every November — with the “Turkey of the Year.” The Turkey is the one time each year I rip on a bad game or concept or something. And this year, it’s time to go after one of the worst areas in any video game ever. And it happens to be in one of the most popular games ever. Let’s take a trip to the Swamp of Sorrows from “World of Warcraft.” One of the beauties of “World of Warcraft” is that once you get past some of the opening areas, you can more or less play however you want and level up in whatever areas you want.
Well, we started this month with an ice area, so we might as well do a fire area to balance it out. Or maybe I can do another ice area because I do enjoy them. Or how about I combine fire and ice? Yes, that’s the ticket. It’s time for the more or less obligatory journey into one of Rare’s Nintendo 64 games as we explore great levels in video games. While “Banjo-Kazooie” stuck to a lot of the traditional adventure game standards for levels (swamp, ice, desert, haunted, beach, forest, etc.), “Banjo-Tooie” struck out on its own with some of its more imaginative areas.
The sea has always held a special place in societal consciousness. There is a kind of infinite possibility represented in the water. What’s across the sea? What sort of lands and people are there? What would it be like to explore that world? Many games put a heavy emphasis on exploration, but not many have focused specifically on the sea. This is kind of cheating, but our level this week is an entire overworld. And it’s the pretty much obligatory “Zelda” entry. We’re off to the world of “Wind Waker” and the Great Sea. As you might expect by its name, the Great Sea is huge.
Games are often this weird medium where you take the experience of a game and base it on some holistic merit. But at the same time, there are all of these individual parts that need to come together. It’s not exactly an uncommon experience for an otherwise great game to fall short of achieving something special because of one aspect or you’ll hear “(insert game title here) was awful, but that it sure had great music!” Of course, this can be amplified if a great game has one particularly awesome section, which is what we’re here to look at today. Well, we’ll be doing it for all of November.
If you’re a fanatical devotee of this column, and who isn’t, then you might have noticed that I cover certain years for games more than others. I’ve done my share of 1998 and 2000 and, more recently, 2011.
Every time Square Enix has some silly reveal event, I get my hopes up that they'll be reviving the “Ogre Battle” franchise. Though 2011 brought the remake of the first “Tactics Ogre” game to the PSP, there hasn't been a proper entry in the Ogre Battle Saga since 2002's “Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis” on the GameBoy Advance, and there hasn't been a game bearing the “Ogre Battle” name since our game today — ”Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber,” released in 2000 on, you guessed it, the Nintendo 64. This game clocked in at 17 on my recent best games ever list and it has more than a lit
Today I want to talk about plot twists. With the immense popularity of shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” (and the print works those shows are based on), it seems that an awful lot of media out there has taken up the crusade of twist after twist, often involving many character deaths, with the big goal to make the consumer say that they weren’t expecting that. Now this is nothing new. Games have been doing it for a long time as well, with sometimes varied results. Let’s look at some of the more common ones.