Looking over the latest edition, it occurred to me that the team has literally put my own personal gaming habits to shame. I blame it all on my recent job, or perhaps -- I am just truly bad with time management. Nevertheless, I am at least proud to be amongst the player base who've invested in awesome gems like Resident Evil 4. The biggest problem is sticking to a game and completing it from beginning to end. Drat, I am really behind, the PSP rolls out nationwide next month, and we're in store for a whole new batch of "must own" titles...perhaps another vacation is in order? Getting back on track here, this month -- we've returned with a new monthly discussion highlighting our recent digital adventures of the past and present releases. We hope you enjoy it...
Chris Scantleberry (Bahn)
Last month was a little reserved for me. Despite a brisk wave of remarkable games available over the past few weeks, a great degree of my time has been absorbed by a new job. Ultimately, I focused on learning the ropes and took a brief hiatus until February was underway.
Recently, I spent some time with a PS2 previewable build of Area 51, revamped from its traditional coin-op roots. The content can best be described as X-Files meets [insert conventional first person shooter here]. Want more impressions? Read my official hands-on report.
Although I generally don't make much time for RPG, the oft-neglected genre may finally see a turnaround thanks to my recent purchase of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. It's given me an excuse to make use of my Nintendo DS (man, what's with the lack of kickass games?) Now that Sony has finally revealed the launch details of the North American PSP, I've decided on putting down some cash to reserve a unit. Yeah - $250.00 is an insane amount to ask for, even for a bundle deal, but I refuse to wait for a price drop. I am planning on using some of my tax refund for my PSP purchase so my hard-earned dollars can be used for other things -- like launch titles. I've already made up my mind that Wipeout Pure, Ridge Racer and Metal Gear Acid will be picked all within the same week of each other. Man, the anticipation is driving me crazy...MARCH HURRY UP.
In other news, I finally sat down and made time for Resident Evil 4. Wow, I really regret failing to dive into this game weeks ago when I purchase. The story and gameplay thus far has me hooked and dare I say it -- has compelled me to develop a newfound respect for Capcom's critically acclaimed series. And this just in -- Namco's Death by Degrees arrived in my mailbox... Drat, now I am going to go on a schedule to ensure that each of these awesome games get their due time and appreciation.
Andrew Alfonso (Reno)
I've been leading a very boring life in Japan as of late. There hasn't been too much to speak of when it comes to games, although some very high profile titles have appeared on the market recently. Resident Evil 4 was released a couple of weeks ago, and we also had Gran Turismo 4 see some action too. But I'm not paying upwards of $80 US for RE4 and quite frankly, I always hated simulation racers.
To help me wait for Tekken 5 on the PS2, I've been playing a lot of my portable systems. I picked up Yoshi's Touch & GO, and quite frankly, the game rocks despite being a little shallow on the content side. It's one of the few games that really utilizes all of the features that Nintendo included on the DS, and it also has a nice nostalgic feel to it. I'm still not sold on the whole dual screen thing though. Nintendo could've done much better if they had focused on one high quality touch screen that was as big as the one on the PSP. That would've been much more effective and intuitive, I think. Enough of the off-topic jazz though. Aside from Yoshi, I'm still playing an unhealthy amount of Lumines, Fire Emblem and Tekken 5.
What's been occupying most of my time hasn't been games though, it's been DVDs or going to the movies! I've picked up no less than one DVD per week for the past month, and I've also received some DVDs from Canada, courtesy of my cousins. The Chappelle Show, NHL Heritage Game, Kung-Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer International Edition and Collateral have all been watched and enjoyed since I finished my winter vacation.
But now the big titles that are coming out this week are Devil May Cry 3 and Namco Museum for the PSP. Seeing as that I just put down money on a lease for a new house, I'm going to be very, very strapped for cash in the coming month. But that's okay. There's always room for Dante and Dig-Dug!
Kevin Cameron (Hero)
Resident Evil 4
Simply the best Resident Evil 4 game ever and one of the best games of 2005. You heard right – we’re only two months into the year and I know nothing will really top RE4. It does everything right from start to finish; building suspense and panic; making the action element the focus of the game; ditching all the abstract puzzles and item gathering; and most importantly – no more save ribbons! Thank goodness!
Volumes could be scribed about the greatness of Resident Evil 4, but let's leave it at this; no other game comes close to conveying the pure adrenaline rush and doing so in such a visually flooring way as this game does. If you own a GameCube you owe it to yourself to check RE4 out.
Metal Gear Solid 3
Still trucking on in MGS3, trying to get the best grades possible. Finding some of the camos is downright painful in the most enjoyable way, and I refuse to tire of the gameplay. It’s good to have a game that can be finished so quick and clean when you sweep away the cutscenes yet remains to be a challenge from start to finish.
It doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves in the PS2, but Suikoden IV hooked me back into the series. After the drudgery that was the battle system in Suikoden III, the fourth installment takes a step back to the fast paced, more involved battles seen in 1 & 2. Meaning? No more front and back row nonsense, where only one character can cast spells or use items per column. Throw into the mix some impressive graphics, lovely music and game elements that harken back to older RPGs (dungeons you can get lost in? Nice!), Suikoden IV ranks as my favorite PS2 RPG these days. I just wish sailing around the world wasn’t so tedious…