Well, the time has come to end Gamefly in our house. We’ve had fun with the service, but due to some circumstances, it was time we ended it (for now at least). I’ve had my gripes with the service, but I got my chance to play games that I would otherwise not consider (or not pay full retail price for). There were some games that were pretty damn awesome, and a few that made me happy that I only went as far as renting it. One thing I wished I would be able to do was to actually review these games within the time I had them. But several things (namely Xenoblade) would come up and I would be unable to review them fully. Other times, I began to forget the premise of the games, the gameplay, the stories, and any specific things that may have occurred while I played. So I would like to take this chance to at least talk about these games and how I felt about them. I would also like to reveal the one game I eventually bought as a result of Gamefly. So after the break, the games I bought.
A note before I begin. Do not take what I say here as the main reviews representative of the site. I ran out of time to fully review these while they were still fresh in my mind. So to do a full review of them now (except for one of them) while my memory is fuzzy would not be fair nor accurate.
Super Mario All-Stars
Since this and the next game below would be the first games we get from Gamefly, my sis and I chose games we both wanted to play before we started choosing the games separately. So we played both Super Mario All-Stars and Sonic Generations, which ironically were games that celebrated the anniversaries of their title characters. We popped in Super Mario All-Stars first, and… came away very disappointed. Clearly this game was mostly about the packaging (since the retail one came with extra goodies like a soundtrack CD and Artbook). Since this was Gamefly, we were of course only getting the game and not the extra stuff. The game is a straight port of the original SNES release, and that’s it. We played some games here and there. I went on to beat The Lost Levels for the umpteenth time. But the whole time I kept thinking “they could’ve at least done a port of Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World. Or hell, make a mega-compilation of the flagship Mario platformers upto Super Mario Sunshine, or even upto Galaxy 1” But nope, Mario gets a port of the inferior version of All-Stars.
Good for a rent if you never played the game before on SNES (or each game’s 8-bit counterpart on NES/Virtual Console, or each 16-bit game individually on GBA). Otherwise, it’s a waste to rent it at all from Gamefly.
Now here’s how you celebrate an anniversary! Playing both Super Mario All-Stars and Sonic Generations back-to-back, it was clear which game was the better celebration. Played a bit of Sonic Generations at last year’s New York Comic-Con, which I sucked ass in since I never played a 3D Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. So any physics/gameplay changes made since then I was never used to. Reina_Rei would primarily play the Classic stages (since she was a SEGA kid growing up) while I primarily played the Modern Stages since I played SA2. Overall the controls felt great as Modern Sonic, though it was pretty jarring when Modern Sonic’s playfield went to 2D, and then you played as Classic Sonic. I did manage to beat the game, but I kept coming back for the challenge stages. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do them all before sending the game back.
Solatorobo: Red The Hunter
In one of the podcast tapings for Season 2, David had mentioned that he (and I believe Anthony) were playing Solatorobo, which David described it as “a game where you ride a robot picking up things to throw at other things, including people.” Intrigued, I added this to the queue. He wasn’t kidding. Your primary method of attack is to pick up things and throw them at enemies (or pick up the enemies themselves). Gameplay pretty much plays in three ways: You throw the enemies into the floor, you wait for an object to appear to throw at the enemy, or you caught the enemies’ projectiles and threw them back. Over time the gameplay got very repetitive. But the story for the most part kept me coming back. It plays out pretty much like an anime episode, with each chapter ending with a “to be continued”, the next chapter starts, and so on. It even has a Season Finale and Season Premier (or in game terms, Disc 1 and Disc 2). The one thing I grew tired of was that I couldn’t take on multiple quests at a time and do them in one swipe. I had to do one mission at a time, to which I would have to report back to the quest giver to take a new one.
Out of everything though, the presentation of the game impressed me immensely, especially considering this was a DS game. Sure the spritework on characters were iffy, but the worlds were very beautiful to looks at. It reminded me of those pre-rendered environments from the PS1 era, which today still look awesome. I was pretty close to buying the game out of Gamefly after being told that the games take a week to get back to Gamefly and another week for the next game in the queue to get shipped. By the second week of having the game, I set a goal: beat the game. If I can’t beat the game that week, I’ll buy the game. If I beat the game, send it back. Well, I managed to fully beat the game that week and sent it back. Overall I would recommend this for anyone looking for something different to play. Try before you buy if you’re not sure.
Digital Devil Saga
In my Soapbox article on Gamefly, I mentioned that I finally managed to play a bit of the game that I’ve been looking everywhere for: Digital Devil Saga. Coming fresh off of playing Personas 1 to 4, I was ready to branch off and try other SMT games, but could not find DDS anywhere. So when I saw this on Gamefly, I threw it on the queue to see if my search for the game was worth the trouble. One word: Yes. The story was pretty interesting since it took place in purgatory and it was literally a dog-eat-dog world. Different clans had to fight each other to prove their worth to a deity, and the losers would be eaten by the victor (no seriously, they ate them). The battle were random unfortunately, but they wouldn’t last too long (like Persona 1 PSP). Understanding the flow of battle and the terminology of some of the attacks were easy thanks to my experience with Persona. And the music kicked a lot of ass. And of course, this being a MegaTen game, there is quite a challenge to the game. You can’t fuck around with a game like this, and if you do your demise will be painful.
So who should play this game? Well MegaTen fans of course. But I would also recommend this to anyone looking for a more darker JRPG experience that isn’t rife with bishie pretty-boys and Tales of Cliche.
I was pretty hyped to see Twisted Metal finally make its debut on the PS3. After the Ps1 era, there’s wasn’t much of the game to go around. There was only Black on the PS2, and Head-On for the PSP (which came to the PS2 under the Extra Twisted Edition moniker). Both games I never played for some odd reason. So I wanted to get back into this series after a near decade-long break. Coming back in, I noticed quite a few changes made to the system. For starters, now there are some extra twists to the single player campaign’s usual death match mode. There’s a giant truck to destroy, Cage match, racing (finally), and.. others that I unfortunately ran out of time to see. One thing that disappointed me quite a bit was that the character selection was really short. There were only three characters to choose from (though I’m not sure if there’s more since I ran out of time), and they drove other cars. So you’ll see Sweet Tooth drive Mr. Grimm’s bike, or that clunker Roadkill. I also couldn’t play online since it had an Online Pass.
Now why did I run out of time? Well, around this time I was still playing Xenoblade. So I had a hard time going back to finish Twisted Metal. Countless times I kept telling myself to go back and finish it. But I just could hype myself to go back. After realizing I was holding the game for nothing and wasting time, I packed the game up and sent it back.
Soul Calibur V
Reina_Rei and I went into this game hoping that this was going to be better than that shitfest called Soul Calibur IV. The character selection, while vast, felt stale, the single player content was a joke. The character creator options were marred by DLC up the ass. And Algol? Tabuu was more interesting that this clown, and he had no backstory whatsoever. So what did we get with Soul Calibur V? Well, some things were improved. But in the end, it was more of the same. Great that they added an actual Story Mode, but the way the new characters were introduced were baffling. They were just… there. No “Hi, I’m X” or “I’m her desciple” or any of that. And the actual story? …….It creeps me the hell out! WHO the FUCK would say, “I want to be with her, together, forever, ” …TO HIS SISTER!? WHO!? FUCKING SHIT IS CREEPY! By the end of the story, I though I finished playing Code Veronica again. Overall, thank Zeus we rented this. This would’ve been a another massive waste of money again. Soul Calibur III is still the king of this series.
Ah SSX. In my teen years, this game eluded me many times. Either is was unavailable, or my gaming ADD acted up again. I finally got into the series with SSX On Tour and played the game for a long while. This was followed up by SSX Blur on the Wii, which felt like a greatest hits compilation of the previous games. Still, I wanted to try out the previous entries like SSX Tricky and SSX 3. That time came and gone, but I wanted to still try continue with this series. So I got this new SSX, and I must say I came away impressed. The mountains had character, the characters themselves were likable, the presentation was awesome, and some of the extra ways to ride brought something new to the table. I will say though that the wingsuit could’ve used some work. Many times I would jump off a cliff and open my suit while spinning, which would make me careen away from the course and into another cliffside. The instructions for avalanche runs were also confusing. I’m here thinking that the controls were reversed since the view would be from above and in front of the character. They were actually still the same with left being left and right being right. But still, that avalanche run was pretty awesome and reminded me of that old Ski Free game.
I managed to finish the game’s single player campaign in the time I had it. It’s somewhat short, but it does present a challenge. I also snagged that free DLC that included Eddie Wachowski, the legendary fan favorite that I never had a chance to play as since starting on SSX On Tour. I couldn’t play online since this game had an Online Pass, but I could still play the courses. They only thing was that any records I set could not be uploaded to RiderNet, but it’s no big deal. Satisfied, I sent the game back.
Kirby Returns to Dreamland
The only console Kirby game I played was Kirby Super Star, but that was a looooong time ago. Beyond that, I played Kirby’s Dreamland and Canvas Curse. So I finally played a console Kirby game again and.. for some reason I felt out of the loop. Like if there were any references or shout outs to the previous games, they were going to fly over my head. Still, I recognized some of the musical nods, like Grape Garden (since I heard this in Canvas Curse). I was also very fond of the Aurora Area music as well. And the mega-powers were very fun to use. The actual gameplay itself was actually pretty challenging for a Kirby game. Since I was still playing Xenoblade, I wanted to finish this up as quickly as possible and send it back. When I finally finished the game, I unlocked a Mirror Mode. But I saw enough and sent the game back.
It’s not often I play an Xbox 360 game since the actual console in the house is not mine. I always prefer to play games on my PS3 since that one is mine and it’s in my room (though currently it’s in the living room). But back then when that was the only HD console in the house, I had to make due. I owned The Orange Box, and with it Portal. Almost from the beginning, I was interested in Portal and wondering what exactly it was. Half-Life 2 I was aware of, Team Fortress 2 was an online-FPS that I knew right away I wasn’t going to play. Then there was Portal, a mysterious game I didn’t know much about. So I played it, and it was pretty damn cool. So in comes Portal 2 a few years later. I wondered how they were going to turn a game like Portal into a full-fledged game. I always saw Portal as a snack of some sort. “How are they gonna turn a snack into a full meal?” I wondered.
Playing Portal 2, I was impressed with how they were able to actually make the game longer. I also noticed a theme to each chunk of the game. The beginning was rebuilding, where GlaDOS was repairing the facility Chell destroyed. The middle part where we saw the ruins of old Aperture and how it grew as a company (and where GlaDOS got her cold personality from). And finally restructuring, where… uh, “someone”, takes parts of the lab and forcefully adds it to the current test, destroying parts of the lab in the process. Another thing I was impressed with was how GlaDOS’ character developed from this cold-hearted computer to an understanding, almost sympathetic human (though the middle section of the game explains it). I was happy to have finally played this game one year after its release. With the credits theme stuck in my head, I sent the game back.
Since my tiff with Capcom started with last year, I wanted nothing to do with this game that saw me spending a single dime on Capcom games. However, I was still interested in seeing what this game had to offer. It was a big crossover between Street Fighter and Tekken after all, two of the biggest fighting game franchises in the genre. So I wanted to see how far this crossover went. I was well aware of the On-Disc DLC, but I put that aside to make a proper judgement call on this game. The character selection was modest (since you had to pick two characters). The Tag system in place is the same one found in Tekken Tag Tournament, which also meant that one character had to be KO for a round to be decided. In the end, my reaction to the game was lukewarm at best. While some of the TTT-like features meshed well, the Street-Fighter IV features felt… well, strange. Still, I wanted to judge this game on its single-player merits (like I do with every game I play). In a post BlazBlue/MK9/Persona 4 Arena world, single-player content in a fighting game is doable and recommended.
But… for some reason I never went back to play the game. While the arcade mode was the game’s single player mode and looked to have some interesting set ups… I didn’t go back, and I wanted to continue to see what else was in this game. I don’t know if it was disappointment, apathy, or preoccupation, but… I didn’t go back. Maybe it was that 360 control pad.
Child of Eden
Finally, here’s a game that I was interested in playing since its reveal along with the Kinect. Q Entertainment makes some pretty good music games, and I’ve grown fond of Genki Rockets since playing No More Heroes and Lumines II. I remembered saying during the very first episode of the podcast that I was skeptical how the game would control since not only did you move the cursor with your arm, you shot out the beams by flicking your arm. In doing so, the cursor would move as well and make you lose your bearings in the game. I was right. The game, for the most part, detects you arm flicks, and thankfully you can use your other hand to shoot rapid-fire beams. Child of Eden also supports regular controllers and you can freely switch between the two on the fly. What I would do then was that when my arms got tired, I would play the older levels (called archives) with the controller and play newer ones with the Kinect. I will say though that the game looked very stunning and beautiful to watch. The message is pretty heavy handed in the We-Are-The-World sort of way, but I came away satisfied. But damn my arm hurt like hell for days after playing the game.
So that’s it. There were other games that were played by my sister, but I wanted to focus on the games I played (or that we both played like Soul Calibur V, Sonic Generations, Street Fighter X Tekken). But what game did I buy?
The Game That Was Bought
There was still quite a bit of things to get in the game after our initial rental, and I was really liking the music of the game. Also, my in-game collectible OCD kicked in and I just had to find all the red star rings. So my sis and I split the duties again with her playing as Classic Sonic and me playing as Modern Sonic. While the story is rather ass, the gameplay was actually pretty impressive. There are some issues with it, but I still enjoyed it. Still have the Planet Wisp Challenge stages to finish, and I still have some Red Star Rings to find. But this purchase was a good one.
Overall, Gamefly’s service is satisfactory. All my gripes with the service still stand. But it’s great to see if your hype for a game is justified. Certainly helped me as you see with some of the duds up there.
Until we meet again Gamefly.
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