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Nov 14, 2008

November's Downloadable Game Reviews

Sony Online Entertainment
Available on the Playstation Network

Game shows on the Playstation 3 are not in short supply this month with the Buzz Quiz series and now Sony Online’s newest version of Jeopardy. This classic game show has been keeping old people company for years and years with its familiar theme song and charismatic host, Alex Trebek, but now this trivia fest is available for download on the Playstation Network for you to challenge Grandma to a round or two.

You can play this game by yourself against the computer AI or you can play against 2 players at home or online. Each game has 3 rounds: normal jeopardy, double jeopardy and final jeopardy and each round has several topics with 5 questions each. Each questions is actual any answer which must be answered with a question. So basically if you watched Jeopardy on TV, there is no difference on how the games are played.

Always a fan of the Jeopardy show, this trivia game is a cheap and quick download to keep your brain gerbil running in his wheel and also a great game to play with gamers and non-gamers alike. The questions are varied in subjects so anyone will have a chance to get a few answers right even if they only watch reality TV and listen to Britney Spears music.

While the set and the theme from the TV show are present, I was disappointed to see Alex Trebek missing from the game. Actually there wasn’t even an actual announcer or host throughout the whole game, so expect to read your own questions and categories. The categories did repeat themselves sometimes which is good for the person whose plays all the time and wants to kick their friend’s butts, but bad if you want the game to remain fresh.

Buy it!

Age of Booty
Capcom, Certain Affinity
Available for Xbox 360 and PC

Age of Booty sounds like a bad porn name, but really it’s the latest downloadable game release from Capcom that promises lots of high seas mayhem. Pirates always mean fun so when you combined them with cartoon goodness then you know you’re in for a treat. This real time strategy game was honestly inspired by a running gag at Bungie Studios known as “Pimps at Sea”, so how could you not want to check it out?

Gameplay largely revolves around the manoeuvring of your boat around a sea. The player controls their boat by selecting a space on the map to travel to and if the ship becomes adjacent to a space containing an enemy like a ship or town, it will automatically fire upon it. If more than one enemy is adjacent, the ship will split its fire, firing at a different enemy every time. While each storyline game has a different goal, the main objectives always include capturing a certain number of towns.

To capture a town it must be bombarded until it has no health left. A bar then appears and the percentage the town is "captured" rises. The only way capturing can be halted is for an enemy ship to move next to the town, but capturing can be resumed if the enemy ship is destroyed. Resources found around the map or earned from towns in your possessions will help you upgrade your ship and even your towns.

This game addictive nature will keep you roaming the high seas for hours on end. The cute cartoon style graphics make it stand out from most strategy games and the price is great if you’re looking for some quick and skill-testing fun. Game does have a pirate storyline to put some purpose to your chaos but there’s really no Oscar winning tale here, so come for the game play. Online battling is what we keep you entertained long after the main quests are complete, so don’t be afraid to sink a few friends’ ships over the internets.

The sound effects were a bit annoying after you heard the same pirate voice say the same line for the 100th time, but at least they sound like real swatch-buckling pirates and not like the developers did the voice themselves or something. The game play isn’t anything complex, so don’t go in there expecting Age of Empire or Command and Conquer like graphics or details. This is simple high seas fun at its best though.

Buy it!

Mega Man 9
Available for Wii Ware, Xbox Live and Playstation Network

I can only imagine how many piles of letters from original NES style Mega Man fans crying about how much they miss the old style games that Capcom's Keiji Inafune must have seen before he decided to create the new retro inspired, Mega Man 9. Of course, having digital distribution through the 3 major consoles now probably helped tipped the scales in Keiji's favour to push such a simple 8-bit game concept through the approval process of company that usually produces huge gaming titles like Resident Evil and Devil May Cry.

This ninth instalment in the Mega Man series has you playing as the famed Blue Bomber as he tries to clear Dr. Light’s name after the evil Dr. Wily frames him for turning the world’s helper robots evil in a plot to take over the world. Mega Man must face 8 robots in order to absorb their power and finally take on the evil Dr. Wily to stop his plan.

This is the first game in the series to include a female boss robot, Splash Woman which is a nice touch. The game features old favourites like Proto Man and Rush and the whole game is like one big trip down Mega Man 1 & 2 memory lane from the stage setups to the game play controls. Aside from the single player story mode, there are several challenge modes like time attack and endurance mode where you must meet certain requirements to complete the stages.

Along with the reminiscent 8-bit soundtracks, Capcom has brought back the tough as nails enemies and the monstrous level designs that will have you tearing your hair out as you die over and over again. I never touched a Mega Man game before I played this instalment in the series and so I was not ready for the demanding level challenges ahead.

Well I do believe fans of the series will love this game to death but also know that most newcomers like me will be overwhelmed with the high difficulty of the game play. What can I say, I guess the newer generation of games have made me soft with their save points, difficulty modes and check points. Controls on the Wii version were extremely difficult to work with unless you purchase a classic controller to play the game with, so unless you have one I suggest the PSN or XBLA versions of the game.

I wouldn’t suggest this game as a buy unless you love Mega Man games from the NES era or like throwing your controller a lot.

Forget it!

Siren: Blood Curse
Sony Computer Entertainment, SCE Japan Studio
Available for the Playstation Network

Back in 2003 Sony released a little know Japanese horror survivor game called Siren on the Playstation 2 and the game received little hype which caused it to fade into the background that is until recently when Sony released the remake of the game, Siren: Blood Curse to the Playstation Network in 12 episodic downloads.

The story begins on August 3, 2007 and focuses on an American television crew that arrives in Japan to investigate and document the legend of Hanuda, a "vanished village" where human sacrifices are said to have taken place thirty years prior. From here, a basic survivor horror game storyline carries out where you must fight for your life in a twisted and gory Japanese tale full of evil gods and maggot creatures.

Made in a perfect Japanese horror flick fashion, Siren: Blood Curse brings you into this hideous world of death and decay along with its characters to suffer the same confuse and fear that they must endure. The Silent Hill like environments and grainy movie film graphics like game looks fantastic and will have you playing it with the lights on.

Unfortunately the controls in this game were horrendous which made the surviving part in survival horror extremely hard. Characters took forever to move around and it was almost painful to watch them. The dark environments though great for the game’s atmosphere, made it hard to know where to go next and though you have the use of the “sight-jacking” system to look through the eyes of the nearby monsters, this was more dizzying than helpful.

Finally the biggest pain of this game is the download and installation process which took forever and a day. Each episode took about 10 to 20 minutes to download and then another 10 minutes to install. If you decide to check the game out, I suggest you download and play each episode one at a time instead of getting them all at once like me. Pausing the downloads will allow you to take a break in between each episode.

Forget it!

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