Kuon

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Kuon

 Eurogamer Review 4/10
Gamespot Review 6.3/10
Gameinformer 6/10
1up Review 6/10
kuon_ps2Official Website
Screenshots from Eurogamer
Walkthrough from Gamefaq
kuon_ps2I’ts been out for a while in the US (july ’04) but only recently released in the Eu (April ’04) hence the walkthrough.

kuon_ps2Kuon takes place in a haunted mansion in ancient Japan during the Heiankyo period (dating back to the late 1100s, and no i am not that elderly).

Game Overview:

 

The main character is a 15-year-old girl who has wandered into a huge mansion in search of her father and sister. Together with four trainee exorcists sent by their master to uncover the mansion’s mysteries, the girl must use a number of seals (similar to medallions) to survive numerous Japanese-style monsters. An action title with a ghost story theme, Kuon allows the player to assume the roles of several different characters in an effort to explore a multitude of plot threads.

kuon_ps2

The game’s story is set in the Heian period. Strange things are happening in an old mansion — eerie singing voices and moving shadows. You play as three characters, Uduki, Sakuya and Seimei Abeno, each with their own special chapter, respectively the Shadow Chapter, the Sun Chapter and the Kuon Chapter. A key focus of the gameplay is the use of martial arts, which the protagonists have to use to defeat the evil water spirit that inhabits the mansion. You’ll find beasts aplenty as well as numerous traps and puzzles, giving the game a Resident Evil-feel.

Zelda: Skyward Sword

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Zelda: Skyward Sword

legend of zelda -skyward sword
For those who don’t know, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been my favorite game since I first played it back in 2000. While all the 3D sequels have been excellent, they all had their faults. Though none of them (except Majora’s Mask) really innovated the series. While Skyward Sword follows a similar formula, the new Wii MotionPlus controls (which weren’t around at the time of Twilight Princess) took the series to a whole new level.
legend of zelda -skyward sword
The motion controls for the first time let you swing Link’s sword like if you were really Link himself. This allowed the game to evolve with enemies (the ones that used swords anyway) to block and counter your moves and vice versa. The aiming for the bow and other long-range items was also excellent.
legend of zelda -skyward sword
I also really liked how the story was the ultimate prequel to the series. There was no Ganon, Zelda isn’t a princess, and there is no Kingdom of Hyrule yet. The story was fresh and the main villain for most of the story is the demon Ghirahim who wishes to revive his dark lord. He was also the most memorable boss of the game for me as when you first fight him, he can catch your sword (not in a cut-scene either) and toss it on the other side of the room.
legend of zelda -skyward sword
The game was also one of the longest in the series. It had plenty of dungeons, lots of side-quests, and overall is one epic adventure. While I still prefer Ocarina of Time,Skyward Sword really showed that the series is still one of the best in the industry. My only real complaint is that I wished they had saved it for the WiiU. Not being in HD  in the year 2011 did make it feel a bit dated visually.

 

Jaws Unleashed

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About as much fun as having your leg chewed off.

Jaws Unleashed

“Take control of Jaws the Great White Shark while playing out the themes and
locations from the JAWS film universe”. Though you’d wonder why you’d bother,
with a score of 53% for the xbox format,
and 55% for the Ps2 from Metacritic.com

jaws unleashed

Xbox reviews
summary

glitches, camera issues, satisfying missions, large environment,
unique combat
about as much fun as having your leg chewed off
Fans of the
film will love it, but prepare to wrestle with controls
technical flaws, but
the savagery makes it fun (???)
lacklustre camera, collission detection,
graphics

jaws unleashed

Ps2
reviews summary

Playing as a killer shark a refreshing change of
pace
Reasonable amount of fun at a budget price
Unforgivable
gameplay
In the spirit of generosity about 30 minutes of fun

jaws unleashed

Official website (don’t bother)
Gamespot
screenshots
IGN
Trailers
Gamestats
popularity rating 40.7%

State of Emergency

state of emergency - ps2
While Grand Theft Auto took the video industry by storm back in the early 2000’s, many companies wanted to copy it’s success. There was even competition internally by Rockstar themselves and the video game media sites paid attention.
state of emergency - ps2
Despite the apparent similarities, the two games are really total opposites. While GTA put you in the role of an anti-hero in a world of crime, you’re just some random person against a major corporation who took over after the government collapsed.
 state of emergency - ps2
While GTA gave you the freedom to do anything, you’re limited by a good bit in State of Emergency. There’s two modes and frankly their both boxed-in areas where you rack up points by taking down police guards, gangsters, and breaking all kind of things like glass, cars, and other kinds of property.
state of emergency - ps2
Even though the game was released in 2002, the game-play style is too old-school for much enjoyment. It’s too simplistic with little sense of accomplishment or hopes for being awarded anything. Combine that with aging graphics, and you got a game that should be forgotten. It certainly didn’t deserve the hype.

Frogger’s Adventures: The Rescue

 Frogger adventures
This was the last batch of games my girlfriend had left over beside one other game I already had played on GameCube. From here on I must obtain PS2 games on my own. Which shouldn’t be too hard since they’re so cheap. So yeah this is the first Frogger game I’ve played since the first game.
Frogger
Obviously I mean the arcade original. I didn’t exactly play it in the arcade. I did play it on some arcade collection disc for some system. I also had a bad version of it on Atari 2600. For such an old arcade game it holds up decently. I don’t mind a game or two of Frogger.
Frogger adventures
Frogger has had many re-releases, remakes, and reboots over the years. This is a more modern take, and it’s very kid friendly. Well at least graphically and story wise. The game-play is a bit old-schooled, and pretty challenging. I also had some problems with the controls, Frogger died many times because I accidentally jumped too far or turned the wrong way.
Frogger adventures
I did get the hang of it after awhile, and mastered the game a bit more. It’s still pretty tough for the demographic they were targeting. It’s got decent levels, colorful graphics, and an ample amount of content. It’s not the greatest game in the world, but I had a lot more fun with the game than I expected.

Score: 7 out of 10

Weird Games: Katamari Damacy

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

Forget the big bang theory or intelligent design, the world was made by rolling a big ball of junk together and creating stars. Well, at least that is how the cosmos is recreated after it is destroyed. Katamari Damacy is a mix between a puzzle game and an action game as you play a prince who has to collect various fallen parts to recreate the cosmos your father, King of All Cosmos destroyed.

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

How did the moons and stars get destroyed? By binge drinking of course. After this event you have to roll around a magical ball called a Katamari that collection objects that will allow you to create a star once it becomes large enough. The game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2004 and was created as a result of a school project affiliated with Namco.

katamari_damacy-ps2-gameplay-screenshot

Along with the main story there is a side story about a family whose father is an astronaut and as a result of the drunken destruction of the King is unable to go to the moon. Meanwhile his daughter can sense that the prince is trying to recreate the cosmos, but in the end they all get rolled up in the Katamari to make the moon. What a twist!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciKPiw6Sc50[/youtube]

The gameplay is simple, but can get frustrating. The idea is to collect items smaller than the ball, but there are larger objects that can hit the ball knocking off your collected items and slowing your progress. The goal is to collect enough items to grow your ball large enough and turn it into a star. There are secrets to be found in the game as well as a two player mode that has you fighting to see who can collect enough objects first. The game also features a great soundtrack, so as weird as it might be it is worth checking out.

Weird Games: Mister Mosquito

Mister_Mosquito_Coverart

Normally when someone says, “This game sucks,” It is a bad thing. In this case, it is the main goal of a weird PlayStation 2 game that came out in 2002. Mister Mosquito is one of those games that in Japan makes way more sense than in the U.S. In this game, you play as a mosquito that lives in the home of the Yamada family. Your job is to suck and store up blood for the winter by biting the family members on specific parts of their body.

mr-mosquito

Now this might sound easy, but only certain areas are bitable and you must watch your stress meter while sucking blood. If you suck to fast or too slow, you can stress your victim out and if that happens you are dead. (Seriously, I could go so lowbrow with the sucking too fast or too slow, but I will let it be just this once.) In addition, if you are flying around and are spotted you enter a battle mode where you need to avoid being killed while hitting pressure points on your attacker to calm them down. (I wish my mosquitos did this.)

mr-mosquito gameplay

A strange game indeed this is, but for you perverts out there, there is a level where you have to suck blood from a girl in the bathtub. (No, I’m not kidding.) How many of you are going to either go play this or look up Youtube footage right now?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwxwxjpkKkU[/youtube]

You know we got you covered.

Chaos Legion

General

Chaos Legion is a Gothic third-person action game that was released in 2003 by Capcom who both developed and published it. It could easily be attributed to Devil May Cry that was released just two years prior, in 2001. The gameplay and style is similar though Chaos Legion certainly seemed to have its own genre at the time it was released. The game is based on the novel by Tow Ubukata that has the same title. The concept of a gun-slinging, sword-swinging male hero in a world that combines the planes of demons and humans was still fairly new.

As a fair warning, if you play this game you need to have an open mind. I can guarantee it isn’t anything like what you have seen since 2003. In fact, it may not even be as good. I’m writing on it because this gamer in particular enjoyed it very much.

Design and Environment

The genre “gothic” in this sense is not the conventional “gothic” that has been taken way out of context with the last few generations. What I mean by gothic is the fact a lot of the game is in its medieval structures, environment, and clothing. It isn’t bloody and gruesome with black randomly splattered about and it does not have to be. The buildings are more like castles. They rise up high and almost look prison-like. There are also open fields and forests which give the player a breather from the concrete.

chaos legion boss fight
A good example of a boss fight and how summoning legions works.

The boss fights are admittedly the most thinking you need to do in Chaos Legion. Like in just about every action game both new and old, each one has a certain strategy that is based on how advanced you are considering abilities and skills. The creatures come in hordes and in order to progress you need to take them out round by round. This does get repetitive but it would be a lot worse if it weren’t for the “Legions” the lead character Seig Wahrheit possesses. They are fallen souls who the “Chaos Legion” allows the bearer of the gauntlet to use to do his bidding. There are 7 legions each of which have different abilities that can be advantages to a certain situation. Legions can be summoned as a group which impairs Seig’s movement, or as an extension of an attack which does not but is weaker. Both take from Seig’s soul gauge which comes back exponentially.

chaos legion gameplay
These legions are called “Arrogance”. They can be used as shields.

Story and Characters

chaos legion characters

The story seems to be a mesh of things that have been done before, but it works to create a surprisingly engaging story. The character personalities are extremely typical, however, with the soft-spoken, kind, dead, love interest and the spunky, quirky girl the main character meets later on with the same goals. The background of the story and all of the characters runs rather deep despite all of this including references from angelic lore and the like.

The Ending Theme Song

I thought this was worth a section all on its own. “Fly”, by the band LIV with Manabu Oshio as the vocalist is one of my favorite songs of all time. This song has stuck with me since I beat the game in 2007 because of how memorable and beautiful it is. Sure it’s in “Engrish” (English spoken or sung by someone who hardly knows or doesn’t know English) and even a little hard to understand sometimes, but one can get the idea and really pull from it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONLGIMIeghI[/youtube]

Wrap Up

-Chaos Legion is a decent game that a fan of the Devil May Cry series could get into.
-It’s old, keep that in mind. The graphics are not stellar and if you expect them to be stop playing video games and find another hobby.
-The concept of the “Legions” is great and quite engaging. I became attached to demonic and pained critters.
-The Gameplay and story have been done plenty of times but it’s worth a shot.
-The environment is pleasant though it has a dark twist to it.

El Shaddai: The Ascension of the Metatron

A Little Bit on El Shaddai’s Developer and Director

El_Shaddai_Game_Cover_Art

Ignition Tokyo, founded in 2007, is a branch within UTV Ignition Entertainment that developed El Shaddai and interestingly enough, El Shaddai is their first game according to the International Gaming Network. It certainly shows with the game’s originality and creativity which is its strongest feature. Ignition Entertainment has published well known titles like Muramasa: The Demon Blade and various other games for different consoles and handhelds.

Takeyasu Sawaki is the director of El Shaddai in Ignition who is known for being the lead character art designer for Okami and the first Devil May Cry. This was no surprise to me as I played it, seeing similarities that are only positive. In many cases this could be considered a bad case but I digress.

Story

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LKdmChm96A[/youtube]

This is a modern (jeans, cell phones and all), fictional, and somewhat biblical account derived from the the Book of Enoch. It tells of seven fallen angels corrupting mankind and a scribe named Enoch who is sent by God to purify or send them back to Heaven with Lucifel’s help. Grave consequences await man should our heroes fail, including the coming of the second Great Flood.

The story concept has a lot of potential, but I feel that the development of it was El Shaddai’s Achille’s heel. There is a lot of information they could have expanded on from the original tale or not, especially because the game is not very long as it is. I personally did not understand the ending, which created more questions than answers. I felt it was a very simple story even though so much was said and implied that seemed to be ignored. There was a problem, there were hiccups in the hero’s progress, and then it was solved(?). It sounds normal, but suppose I wanted to spoil the ending, I wouldn’t be able to describe it with any kind of sense. I’ll just say I have mixed feelings about a sequel. I want an explanation, but it could also only make things worse.

Characters

Enoch_and_Lucifel
Enoch and Lucifel

Lucifel, the Lucifel we all know but don’t exactly love, joins Enoch in his journey as a save point and is the narrator of the game. It’s interesting he is a Korean pretty boy who speaks to God on his cell phone every time you see him, simply because it’s the opposite of what you would expect from such an infamous figure. Lucifel looks like he’s a club goer and Enoch sports a pair of jeans with his armor which you don’t see in many games. The more damage he takes the less he has on. I found this amusing.

Gameplay and Graphics

In my opinion, they are what make the game. I could go on forever about color choice and creativity. The color black is innovated for use in contrasts with others throughout the game. It works with many other crafty, artistic strategies to create an intriguing and sometimes even abstract environment. The stages are never a disappointment and change almost constantly in color, shape, and structure. This could happen as Enoch is running, walking, or not even doing anything.

Another great aspect of the gameplay is the fact the plane changes back and forth from 2-D to 3-D while keeping Enoch in a third person view. I haven’t seen a game so innovative with its graphics in such a long time, so it was refreshing to experience. Overall it’s no less than visually stunning.

The Battle System and Its Difficulty

El Shaddai has a hack and slash battle system that is difficult at what seems to be random times. Some bosses throughout the game are easy, but the strategy to others can be difficult to find, especially before the discovery of the Veil. It’s a shield that doubles as gauntlets that are overpowered and that I rarely switched out for other weapons. The other two are the Arch, an arrow-like blade, and the Gale which shoots projectiles and is meant for long distance. The latter two weapons make jumping easier and Enoch run at a faster speed but unless you need them for those rare purposes, at least I didn’t find myself using them. Difficulty is important in a game and you’ll find it in El Shaddai, but expect it to come at awkward occurrences.

This video is a good example of the battle system and environment, at least for the start:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owk6VntXfNs&feature=relmfu[/youtube]

Replay Value

The game is a decent length for the type it played out to be and has decent extras like an art gallery and character voice clips you can unlock. From what I have heard so far, they are tidbits to add to the story and possibly elaborate on it. DLC isn’t likely but it certainly is possible. Like many games these days, the replay value is dependent on whether the player wants to collect the little extras and fulfill achievements.

The Audience

This is hard to tell but not everyone will like it, that’s for sure. I appreciate art, creativity, and innovation in the games I play and that seems to be what is emphasized the most. I love El Shaddai’s originality and I can bet money there is no game like it right now. There is no gore or apparent violence so if you’re looking for that, this isn’t where you’ll find it. It isn’t a children’s game either because of its complex storyline and that’s why I agree with the “Teen” rating it has.

The demo is SO important in deciding whether one is going to enjoy the game or not. I know I certainly did.

A Summing Up of the Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good
-Hack and slash battle system but it isn’t noticeably repetitive thanks to the brilliant environment and graphics.
-The environment and graphics. I see colors and images like those in my dreams.
-Original; there is no game like it.
-The art created for El Shaddai is outstanding. I’m waiting for my artbook to come in the mail.

The Bad
-If there is a sequel to be made and it ends up not straightening out the story, not even the graphics and gameplay could save it.
-Difficult at awkward times, but this could vary from player to player.
-Limited audience.

The Ugly
-It’s ending.