As far as shonen epics go, Bleach is one of the most successful franchises to rock Japan. Countless video game spinoffs have been crafted as a result, most of them falling into the doldrums of normalcy, subpar gameplay, and showing a blatant disregard for quality. Bleach: The 3rd Phantom is the latest entry into the Bleach video game legacy, and it proves to be no exception. While it serves up delicious fanservice and well-written plot expansions for Bleach diehards, it cannot stand on its own two feet as a capable SRPG. Instead, what eager fans can expect is a humdrum visual novel sprinkled with meager, unsatisfying battles. Similar to how the Bounto arc turned many viewers off, this title will likely disgruntle genre loyalists looking for a solid anime-to-video game adaptation.
Archive for November, 2009
While the iPhone is rarely considered a true gaming platform by a glut of the gamer populace, it’s actually home to quite a few substantial successes that wouldn’t be out of place on the more “accepted” handhelds. Amongst ports of classic FPS titles, addictive puzzlers, and handy applications, the App Store is home to several fantastic RPGs, namely a particularly intriguing one entitled Zenonia.
Last Halloween, we fast-forwarded 500 years into the future, where interstellar mining was alive and well. The Concordance Extraction Company, or C.E.C., was charged with tasking mining ships with this mammoth deed. Just when things appeared to be running smoothly, a distress call was received by the C.E.C. from the USG Ishimura. Isaac Clarke, an engineer employed by the C.E.C., along with some squadmates, were sent to evaluate the situation. Upon arriving on the Ishimura, Clarke and his squadmates discovered that what appeared to be a simple malfunction had gone terribly awry. A terrifyingly hostile race of beings known as Necromorphs had overrun the ship and jeopardized the survival of Isaac and his party. The three were separated, and Isaac was left to fend for himself out in the deepest, darkest reaches of space, left only with the Necromorphs and every bit of his wit that he would need to use to survive. With that, we were thrust into Dead Space, one of EA’s most enjoyable new IPs of last year. Presented in a format reminiscent of Gears of War or Resident Evil 4, gamers were tasked with keeping the space engineer Isaac Clarke alive until he could get to safety or to the bottom of the Necromorph invasion.
What do you get when you combine the innocence and hilarity of the LEGO universe with one of the most successful music simulation titles going right now? A bona fide hit, of course. The latest entry into the Rock Band saga, LEGO Rock Band, is a fresh look at the franchise, as well as a great place to start for younger gamers or those of us who just love toying around with LEGOs. Was its release necessary? The gaming populace will say no, but frankly, I’m thankful this project came to be. It’s cute. It’s wacky. It’s just what you would expect from the world of LEGO, and I’m actually quite pleased.
Fighting games are evolving, right before our very eyes. No longer are they simple grudge matches between superpowered titans or scantily clad women, they are pseudo-RPGs, overflowing with character customization options, challenges to complete, and awesome guest stars, including some that seem eerily out of place (Yoda, anyone?). Perhaps the fighter that dabbles the most in said deviations from the past is Soulcalibur. It has long held a special place in my heart reserved only for the best of the best. Ever since I laid eyes on Soul Blade, I knew I’d never forget the series or what it stood for. Here we are all these years later and the latest release, Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny is still blowing me away. Juicy customization, explosive guest appearances, and the core Soulcalibur experience are intact. What more could you ask for?