Got Game: Year 4 Feature - The Next Level

Got Game: Year 4

Not going another month without sounding off.

Article by TNL Staff (Email)
February 28th 2008, 02:10AM

Andrew Calvin

Man it's a good time to be a gamer. Seriously, if you can't find something to suit your interests, than videogames just aren't for you.

Thanks to a vacation and a visit from family, I caught up on a lot of games I've wanted to play. I sat down with the first chunk of missions in Devil May Cry 4 on the Xbox 360 and was happy to see it return to its roots. Expansive levels, nice clean graphics, and an insane amount of complexity in the controls department. Add to it a difficulty that is hard, but not “OMG WTF just happened!?” kind of difficulty. I plan to give the PlayStation 3 version a go for reference sake, but from my limited experience, it is a superb action game and one worth owning for the many replay incentives.

Though I haven't quite gotten through my stack of unplayed games from the holidays, I have been sidetracked a bit by a review build of NIS America's upcoming release of Mana Khemia. Let's just say that at 20 hours in, it is my favorite of the alchemy RPG genre I've played thus far (though I did miss the latest Atelier) and does some really interesting things to the battle system to keep it from falling in to the typical “I attack, then you attack” routine. One thing I will note is that for the first few chapters it seems as if there isn't anything special to battles, but once you attend the proper lectures and gain more allies, things get much more interesting.

It also features a customizable level-up system that isn't related to experience points, but instead points earned from killing monsters that are then assigned based on the character and specific items that need to be synthesized. Since alchemy is at the heart of the game, it is ever more important that you find/purchase necessary materials so that you can keep your character from being wiped out in sometimes very difficult battles. Expect a full review in early March, but for now just know that Gust and NIS have done a superb job with the genre and added enough new things to make Mana Khemia really stand out.

Besides getting through all the games I haven't played yet, I'm keeping tabs on my top 2 of 2008: Disgaea 3 on the PlayStation 3 and Street Fighter IV. Ok, add one more: the HD remix of good old Super Street Fighter II Turbo.

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