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Random Recommendations: The stuff I've been playing recently - Destructoid

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The premise is simple. I like videogames and so do you, so Iíve had some fun compiling together some of the recent gameís Iíve enjoyed, not enjoyed, or are currently anticipating, and gave a couple of thoughts on each. Easy, huh! I hope you find something you like here; there are a couple of weirdoís ahead that youíve likely either forgotten about or have such bad memories of that theyíve burned out of your skull. (Iím looking at you, Geist) But anyway, please read on, and have a nice time with the ride!

Games that I started about an hour ago and have made me again realize how much I adore JRPGís: Eternal Sonata

I havenít played a proper RPG in a good while, but Eternal Sonata had been lazing on my shelf waiting to be played for so long, that I just couldnít resist it any more. And the result: me sitting giddy on the couch, drawn in by its pretty graphics and enchanting musical score. That was within ten minutes.

Thereís just something about JRPGís which makes me want to gawk at the screen letting my mind wander free, and this game certainly began with it all. A beautifully realised fantasy setting, the typically stupid-yet-I-donít-know-why-I-like-her-enthralling female character, lots of spiky hair, and a half-hour in even gave my first androgynous she-he (Beat) that Iím still not fully sure about. Yes, from the short hourís play that I got this game already comes with a massive recommendation, bringing back memories of some of my old favourites; Lost Odyssey, Final Fantasy XII, and Tales of Symphonia, in the process.

I canít wait to enjoy some more RPGíing in Sonataís world later on! If youíre a genre fan itís likely either on your list or youíve already played it. If not, itís still possible to get a few laughs from the slightly silly dialogue, such as the bit where Polka asks her mother if sheís afraid to touch her any more *snicker* or the part in the moonlight where she asks Frederick to come visit her forest. *retarded guffaw*


If you put a letter "F" in the middle of Sonata, it also sounds a bit like Eternal Sonfarta, which has the word "fart" in it. This is funny, for some reason.


Games that I wish I could play right now because Iíve been drooling over pictures of the new ones but someone deleted my file: Pokťmon Platinum

If youíre like me who obsessively checks serebii.net every few days to see if any new information has come out, youíll likely be lusting over pictures of the upcoming Heart Gold and Soul Silver release right now. I was, and it really makes me long to play my old games again! So off I went one day, down to the girlfriends occupied R4 card where my half finished save resided; only to be greeted with a message saying there was no existing game data. I asked her if she knew anything about this, to which she said the card had been recently acting up a bit. This was met with my screams of ďYOU MURDERED MY MANAPHY,Ē some tears, some exclamation points, and ultimately me vying for her blood. Ten minutes later, we got in, Iíd settled down a bit and I was fine.

Anyone who plays the game knows that losing a Pokťmon save file is like losing a best friend. Actually worse,; itís like losing six of them, and Iíll never understand the people who can just casually erase their file to start a new game, without spending three hours beforehand transferring their captured monsters to someone elseís DS or Pokťmon Stadium. Itís just wrong! Or maybe I just have some kind of condition, I donít know. All I can say for sure though is, the moral of this tale is that pirating games is wrong, and you should always buy a real copy if you want to be safe with your save.

On second thoughts, why should I listen to my girlfriends opinion on what happened here, when sheís a blatant buneary boiler.


See what I did there! Buneary Boiler! Oh alright, have a cute picture to make up for the terrible puns.


Games that are kind of a bit boring to be honest but Iím slogging through for the sake of finishing them: Geist, Madworld

Having earned a place in my Gamecube collection for about three years, but only being played for around three (sets of ten) minutes, Geist is one of those titles Iíve been determined to finish. Itís a little known title that was announced around two years prior to its release - looking a bit crap both then and there Ė and in that time gaining the notoriety of being the Gamecubeís big FPS. It never lived up to that notoriety, but what did surface was a decent little shooter with an equal balance of clever and utterly terrible ideas. Itís not bad.

You may already know that you play a ghost with the ability to possess people and objects, and if you didnít, you do now. This leads the way for some smart puzzle-shooting game play, such as some nice moments where rats must be taken possession to find secret passageways to new areas, or some cool looking areas where you get to take part in a computer simulation. These are some genuine highlights youíll experience while playing this game.

Theyíre also some of the only ones, considering the proceeding list of not game-breaking, but annoying problems nonetheless. For one, it looks the dog (and not a particularly attractive dog) apart from some of the texture popping moments witnessed in the virtual world. Gunplay feels clumsier than a ladder made entirely of bread, with headshots being about as effective as arching down and firing at your invisible legs. I always keep my DSi handy in case I need to check gamefaqís to solve an obscure riddle Ėwhich is often Ė and the game is totally streamlined so you have no freedom to explore off the beaten path, for example, one ďpuzzleĒ wouldnít allow me to scare a man by possessing a fire extinguisher he was staring directly at, unless I got him to move closer to it first. Iíve found at least one wall that I could run through, and regardless of all this, I still think itís a decent game. Itís short, which is quite nice, and somehow engaging enough to keep me for a few hours at a time. Not bad, and recommended if you have absolutely nothing else to do.


This is one of the prettier screens. If it does nothing for you, you're a bit out of luck.

Now Madworld on the other hand, is the total opposite of that. It is a very nice game to look at, but I just donít feel it to be engaging at all. Iíd go as far enough to call it boring, which I hate, because I was really looking forward to playing this game back when it was revealed. Combat hasnít gotten much more than swishing around at the same few guys while battling an awkward camera, and the primary reason I continue to play it is for the occasionally excellent commentary. This is unfortunate in that it has to continuously repeat itself. During a game of human darts, I had to listen to Greg Proopsí erotic tale of himself, a dwarf and a donkey no fewer than four times in around a three minute period, which made me wonder whether Platinum couldnít have just put a limit (one) on the amount of times a line can be said, or at least spread out some of the more random lines that are uttered, rather than having a constant, filling barrage of the same thing over and over.

That said, I have only managed about three levels so far, only being able to play one per session without tiring of it. Maybe the story or the rest of the soundtrack will redeem it in my eyes, but so far, colour me unimpressed.


Who knew that murdering leigons of criminals with a chainsaw could be so tiresome.


Games I brought to fill in spaces in my collection in which one turned out to be alright and the other utter tosh: Donkey Konga 2, Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble

Before satisfyingly slotting in my latest two five-pound finds next to Donkey Konga and Viewtiful Joe 2 respectively, I thought it might be quite nice to play them. Donkey Konga first, which I thought was quite inventive back in the day. It plays just like Taiko no Tatsujin, but with charmless, four-frame images of the main monkey himself moving in the background instead of adorable little drum creatures. Plus bongos!

The only song I could recognise from the soundtrack was everybodyís favourite All Star by Smash Mouth, which I proceeded to play. Hang on a second though. The instruction manual says that this song is performed by a band called Squish Moth, not Smash Mouth of whom we all (Ben Stiller and probably Mike Myers) love. Yup, itís another bunch of covers. Good covers, mind, and the game is still rather fun to play, even though it does lack terribly in its presentation. Iím glad I managed to find it all the same Ė and I just need two more pairs of the peripheral before I can bring four player bongo nights back!


Having seen the Japanese track listings now makes me want to import. Katamari on the Rocks in a Nintendo game! It just feels unholy enough to try.

Viewtiful Joe: Red Hot Rumble is a real shame. Itís a shame that the two excellent games that receded before had to be brought down by this sullied mess of a title. Itís a shame that half of the controls have been changed, so I have no idea what Iím doing most of the time. Itís a shame that the designers chose to go down the four-player beat-em-up route for their final console Joe, instead of completing the trilogy and addressing the twist ending in the last one. And itís a goddamn shame that barely any of it is explained, just why?

A Smash Bros. alike Viewtiful Joe sounds great on paper, but itís just one of those ideas that could never, ever be executed in an playable way. Four players, time-altering techniques, and massive explosions; yup, thatís what you get, and itís barely possible to keep track of any of it! Within seconds of a four player match up youíll lose your character on screen and have no idea whatís going on, not just because of the general clutter, but because nothing at all is explained. Sometimes youíll be sprung into a quick time event which doesnít even tell you the buttons youíre supposed to be pressing. Other times, youíll have an objective that gets lost in the mess of the rest of the screen. Itís entirely pointless!

Then again, this game was meant to tie in with the animť (that wasnít even released over here) which partly explains its reasons for being so awful. Come on Capcom, you can do better than this.


Can you tell what's going on? I can vouch that its ten times worse in motion.


Games that I find the spelling mistakes on the map screen quite amusing: Trauma Centre: Second Opinion

Every time. Every time you enter the map, which is before every single operation, there is one great, glaring mistake at the bottom of the screen. ďYuo will move automatically on the map screen.Ē

Now, I donít know if Atlus is in on something big here, or if Iím just falling behind my New Words in the English language, but Iím around 87% sure that ďYuoĒ is a mistake for ďYou.Ē That, or itís a way of abbreviating ďYu-Gi-Oh,Ē which makes little sense due to the distinct lack of card games apparent so far in the Trauma Centre series. Either way, I find it quite humorous.

Oh, and the game is really good too, by the way.


You'll know when you hit the learning curve. It's that early mission where you fail within seconds and have no idea how it happened. It hurts, hard.


Games I managed to preview in a dream last night: The Beatles: Rock Band

When Iím not dreaming about hot chicks, sports cars, being an international superhero spy for the government and various other things that men dream about, Iím probably dreaming about videogames. And fortunately for me, last nightís sleep-engaged escapades took me on a full tour of Harmonix Massachusetts office where I got an exclusive hands-on with their upcoming music game, The Beatles: Rock Band. What else can I say, but itís shaping up very nicely!

Iíll start by saying that the dreamlike, feel-good style of The Beatles has been perfectly captured in the build that I played. Landscapes and colour schemes are constantly changing to the sound of the music, from the beautifully lush, 60ís infused paradise which performs in the background of Eight Days a Week, to the seedy alcohol-and-urine smelling bar scene in any of the songs where Ringo takes vocals. Yes, apparently one new feature is that you can actually smell the venue youíre i taking the series to brave new, oftentimes unpleasant levels. Also new to the series is the way the note highways move. Occasionally, mid song, they may switch from the regular Rock Band top-to-bottom style, to flying Donkey Konga-like from the left, diagonally, or even with symbols that arenít even represented on the guitar which made my play session that much more confusing to carry on with. This perfectly captures the trippy style that the band took with some of their later songs, and I canít wait to see more of it!

Also, if what I heard was correct as I was flicking through the completed setlist, there will be some Monkees songs in The Beatles: Rock Band. Yet another reason to purchase this game if youíre a fan of music in the 1960ís decade.

In fact, The Beatles: Rock Band was such a good game in my dream that my first instinct when I awoke was to check the Playstation Store and see if the Abbey Road DLC was up, so I could play it straight away! It wasnít.


This is in fact nothing like how The Beatles: Rock Band will look, if my dream is anything to go by.


Well that about wraps up my first edition of Random Recommendations, which I thoroughly enjoyed putting together. Who knows, maybe Iíll make this a regular thing each time I play a set of new games, just to give some of those old titles the words that they deserve. Anyway now, Iíve gone on long enough. Until next time, ta-ta.

Bonus Points for remembering what classic trailer I stole that last line from!
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