Alright! I assume we all know the format now (but here it is again anyway). In my eternal quest to clear up my backlog of games from the PlayStation Plus service, I dedicate tiny portions of my day to trying out new games. What comes next (naturally) is that I make sweeping generalizations and provide do or die opinions based on a small fraction of the game’s entirety. First impressions: your move video games!
Poker Night 2 (PS3)
What can I say? It’s poker. Texas Hold ‘Em or Omaha Poker to be exact so that doubles the value right there. I suppose it’s not just poker however. It’s poker where you’re invited to a secret society of characters from some of pop culture’s finest triumphs. Who hasn’t wanted to play a hand of cards against Ash from Evil Dead, or Brock Samson, or Sam from Sam and Max to name a few? And by few, I of course mean that’s most of the people you get to play cards against. I just left out Claptrap. And GLaDOS is the dealer.
- What’s a Royal Flush: It’s cards so it’s not like there’s a whole lot that can go wrong gameplay wise. The usual options for poker are mapped to a controller and it shouldn’t take long to adjust. They review the rules if you’re unfamiliar and in general the game is structured well enough to get started pretty easily. The graphics are nice. You can get new cards and chips based on the characters’ backgrounds. The bar setting is certainly fitting and well done. However, the real jackpot here is the dialogue. All of the characters have a huuuuuuge variety of conversation appropriate to the circumstances. Most of this is hilarious. At times I often forgot what cards I had and what I was supposed to be doing because I was enthralled with the dialogue. It seriously feels like you’re playing a game of cards with the characters. Also cool is the fact that they will occasionally put up personal belongings as a tournament prize.
- What’s a pair of twos: Automatic saves. Now to be clear I have no problem with auto saves. However, this game does them often and every time it will pause the game or cause dialogue skips, etc. It got to be a little annoying at times to say the least. Also, Sam is really really good at cards and took my money a few times so he’s kind of an ***hole.
How far did I get: I played a few tournaments and won Claptrap’s personal belonging with my one victory. Sam made me angry enough that I had to finally play a Sam and Max game to see if I should really hate him or not. Maybe I’ll review that someday.
Who is this for: If you like cards or any of these characters this is a pretty solid pick up.
Sam and Max: The Devil’s Playhouse (PS3)
A dog detective and a rabbit with some mental health concerns are a natural team. We find our heroic pair trapped aboard an alien spacecraft while a big ape with pretty obvious buttocks is threatening the world with something or other. It’s up to us (at least in Episode 1: The Penal Zone) to escape the ship and have a flashback about everything that lead up to us being in the ship in the first place. Each character has unique abilities (although Sam didn’t really have anything that stood out) and you must creatively use your limited options to solve the puzzle based world.
- What’s Max(ed): This is a Telltale Games venture which means point and click modified for the PS3. The controls translated really well actually. While the point and click nature gives a lot less free rein than an action game for instance, it’s pretty tight for a puzzler. The cartoony graphics and personalities of the characters mesh into a cohesive and engaging world which made me hate Sam a lot less. I like Max better though. The part I played featured Max more prominently and had him finding toys to gain psychic abilities such as reading minds or teleporting to cell phones (as long as you have the person’s phone number memorized). Puzzles were a little out there to go with the character’s wackiness but intuitive nonetheless.
- What’s dogged: You’ll need to make sure you’re up for a much slower pace than most other games. If you’ve gone Telltale before (I recommend Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People) you’ll be ready for it but new players will learn the true meaning of “Story Based.” The humor (while I like it) can be a little immature. Maybe that should be a positive. I dunno. You decide.
How far did I get: I played the intro scene with the aforementioned escape from the space craft. You have to use what appear to be dirt story items to solve puzzles with almost no point of reference. This actually worked well to make me want to play the story more. I started the flashback part but decided it was time for bed and put it away. Possibly for another night.
Who is this for: Another good game for the player looking for casual humor. Don’t expect much more than story and this one is all you.
- Machinarium~ As good as it ever was on your phone. An enchanting and creative puzzle game that will have you falling in love with a small robot (or two). Audio is outstanding in an already immersive world
- Wipeout 2048~ It’s a Wipeout game. Controls are responsive and the game is a very good addition to the series. If you like a little Sci-Fi with your racer, then go for it
- Frobisher Says~ Frobisher is going to tell you what to do and you will beg for more. This mini game bonanza in the way of Wario World will have rapid fire absurdity in your face that uses every feature the Vita has to surprise you
- Pinball games (they’ve made a million of these for Plus already I think)~ It’s pinball
- Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward~ An “escape” puzzler that has you placed in a cruel game akin to Saw in which you must choose to cooperate or betray your fellow contestants in a (potentially) bloody arc. Puzzles are done very well but I wouldn’t say necessarily any better than other escape type games. However, the story and “time travel” mechanic to choose other paths was so rewarding I found my first non Souls game platinum
- The thousand PSP and Vita fighting games they’ve put on Plus~ They’re all very good depictions of their series…
- Soul Sacrifice (not on Plus)~ I’ve heard it’s like Monster Hunter but since I’ve never played those I couldn’t tell you. Earn weapons, use them to kill bosses…repeat. I actually have not done all of the DLC yet due to repetitiveness, however the main story is an emotional ride that’s well worth the price of admission
- Knytt Underground~ Buy this now (also on PS3). I got zero trophies in this game but still felt I accomplished a miracle or three. The character development, moral questions raised and absolutely stunning world are worth every penny and then some
- Dokuro~ An enchanting skeleton turned prince out to save the princess. The puzzle based semi action game is a treat and will have you itching (the screen at times) for more
- Uncharted: Golden Abyss~ Shows off a lot of the Vita’s promise and made me a fan of the series (and Chase, raaawwrrr). Some gimmicky touch screen things are in there to “highlight” the Vita but overall this is impressive for a handheld
- Ecolibrium~ Meh
- Chronovolt~ Double Meh
- Gravity Rush~ Beautiful, engaging and quirky. This is the true early title that should have been used to show off the Vita’s potential. The gravity changing mechanic and character development are both amazing and this is just simply fun
- Escape Plan~ This game should also be a “how to” on showing off the Vita’s new and wonderful features (like a touchscreen AND touch panel on the back). Cute, brutal and addicting
- Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack~ A fun way to destroy humanity. The last level has you…I don’t wanna spoil it. Great game
That’s all for now!
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