The third time out on American shores for the Tactics Ogre franchise is most certainly a charm. Following a fantastic debut on the Super Famicom, the isometric strategy-RPG moved on to the PlayStation, and also the Game Boy Advance for portable tactical battles to take on the go. Square Enix’s dazzling return to form, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together for the PlayStation Portable, is a remake of the original Super Famicom release and later Sega Saturn port that had an entire generation of gamers enamored with its memorable characters, intertwining storylines, and deep gameplay. For what is arguably one of the best tactics adventures ever developed, this PSP edition does the fanbase a fantastic service and makes it even better.
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With the dizzying success of Call of Duty: Black Ops, it only makes sense that another set of maps should be released. Me? I’m still chilling on Call of Duty 4 most of the time, but Black Ops is a winner in my book, especially when I’m jonesin’ for a good ol’ fashioned zombie massacre. The very first Black Ops map pack, entitled First Strike, comes packing five different maps, four intended for multiplayer and one new zombie adventure for those of us ready to take another stand against the shambling undead. For the first round of extra content, it’ll set you back roughly $15 (depending on platform; Xbox 360 version reviewed), and it’s one of the better offerings I’ve seen in quite a while, especially if Treyarch’s blockbuster is still in your nightly multiplayer game rotation.
Mindjack, for all its issues, is still one of the more unique cover-based shooter experiences I’ve played this year, although that’s not really saying much. Developed by feelplus (Ju-On: The Grudge) and published by Square Enix, it’s an interesting concept backed up with some creative multiplayer and cooperative mechanics set inside a futuristic world that can truly be described as a hacker’s paradise. Unfortunately, its the rest of the game that’s the problem, as its marred by slow, uninspired shootouts, subpar graphics, and forgettable characters, all of which form a mediocre shell with a hefty load of squandered potential.
Bionic Commando, undisputed classic of the NES era, was rebooted a couple of years ago in a not-so-enjoyable manner. Its first real next-gen imagining left a lot to be desired, though its companion release, a polygonal remake for XBLA/PSN re-titled Bionic Commando Rearmed, happened to be a sight more entertaining than the higher budget full-fledged release. It wasn’t as ambitious as the hokey hotdog-haired endeavor, but it was a sufficient remake that worked quite well. It’s now gotten a sequel, Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, an adventure that follows Nathan “Rad” Spencer after the events of BC:R. It doesn’t hit all the high notes that its predecessor did, but is still a decent adventure that’s worth taking if you can stomach its premium price tag.
With EA and Capcom leading the charge in the race to successfully mimic console experiences on a handheld, it’s a great time for gamers who’ve never played some of their biggest releases in full fledged, home console form, which include some of their greatest hits. These experiences may not be perfect, but they’re certainly evolving and making progress, and this is clear in Devil May Cry 4: refrain, one of Capcom’s latest attempts to take a blockbuster console adventure and successfully miniaturize it. But the only question is whether or not the game itself survived the process.