PS3 Speed Reviews
The thing about a new console is the sudden exposure to a bunch of new games (often just new to me, but never mind). So, I've been working on speed-reviews, for the fun of it.
In alphabetical order...
Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice
This is more my partner's interest than mine. I understand Disgaea games are valued for their stories, humour and playing with stereotypes (and the fact that the level cap is 9999). It's not my sort of humour, the stories don't interest me much, and the gameplay is unashamedly repetitive. That said, I am enjoying this more than previous Disgaea games, and turn-based can be good when my brain is tired. Also, there are War Slugs, so that wins points.
(also available on XBox 360)
I was attracted to this game purely on concept. The story takes place in a dream sequence that Chopin has on his death bed. It also includes interludes about Chopin's life, the first of which was about his relationship with George Sand, who seems a very interesting woman. ,Eternal Sonata is a very pretty game, in an anime, non-realistic way. And the music is of course very beautiful. The people and places are all named after musical terms. Beyond that it's probably a fairly standard JRPG, but I'm enjoying it despite the fact that they usually drive me a bit mad (mostly due to linearity and annoying repetitive special attacks).
(Also available on PSP, not sure if the browser version's still around?)
flOw is a simple game, but it works. I think it's probably much easier to control in the flash version than using SIXAXIS, but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun. You are an aquatic micro-organism, and your goal is simply to eat, grow and evolve. It can be quite relaxing to float around "om nom nom"ing away. Though some of the creatures you encounter also include some challenge - things that run away quickly, or fight back etc. It's the sort of game you can either play aggressively and try to reach your goal, or just sit back and enjoy a sort of interactive screen saver. There is no actual death of your organism possible and trickier things can usually be skipped.
(PS3 download exclusive)
I'm a little bit in love with this game, though there is a bit of debate about whether it is actually a game, or perhaps more of a technical demonstration. It probably has to be experienced - screen shots and descriptions don't do it proper justice. Flower is something of a successor to flOw, though you are now a breath of wind in a 3D landscape. Your aim is to pick up flower petals, and you will gradually build up a long trail of them. I think of it a bit like being a nature spirit tasked with making flowers open, though I doubt that was the intention. There is a potential for using this as a relaxation game, and happily whooshing about the landscape. It also takes some interesting turns, but I don't want to spoil it.
This is probably the PS3 game I was most enthusiastic to track down, and was glad I did. In order to solve the mysteries in a small, Irish town it is necessary to travel to the netherworld and recover the memories of the dead. Different realms are based on concepts of the afterlife: the pleasurable faerie realm; a war zone created by modern people who experienced a violent death; the Endless Corridor representing the concept that nothing exists after death; and so on. Combat occurs by capturing, training, and controlling "Folks" (the creatures of these realms). It takes a bit of getting used to, but it works (arguably training folks gets a bit tedious, though I personally enjoy this sort of thing). Using SIXAXIS to suck the souls out of creatures is fun and appropriate, if sometimes hard work.
Cute, fun and has a great soundtrack. Things are made even cooler by Stephen Fry's narration. I also appreciate games with good co-op mode. LittleBigPlanet is also surprisingly challenging in places - cute does not equal easy. I found the level creator a bit cumbersome, but the scope of potential creations is huge. You could have a lot of fun with this as an engineering-geek.
Motorstorm: Pacific Rift
I don't play racing games often, and probably never would have gone near this if I didn't get it for free. But, occasionally I do enjoy racing around and I guess this is my current-generation replacement for Powerslide. I like my racing games to be fairly unrealistic, and this fits by allowing me to tear through jungles, fall into lava and so on. It has a fun range of vehicles, from big trucks through to motorbikes. And each track has multiple pathways, with the best option varying for the different vehicles. I can't comment on how it compares to any other current racing game, but it's a bit of fun.
Noby Noby Boy
(PS3 download exclusive)
It's a $AU7 download, so I would have had to really hate this to feel ripped off. It is extremely strange though. Even stranger than I expected. There is no real goal - just stretch and eat things. It's kind of cute, but again in a very strange way. I'm not sure what more I can say really. I do appreciate the idea of playing around with less goal-orientated games though. It is probably another thing that is better to just play instead of trying to explain it.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
I am actually a terrible person to review this. Every now and then I get the urge to buy a game with a lot of shooting or other action in it, even though I know my skills in this area are probably not going to be up to the task. That said, so far I'm getting by. After fighting with camera-angles in Tomb Raider that tempt you to risk leaps-of-death this is a rather nice change. And the scenery is pretty. I would probably prefer something with more puzzles and less action though.
Mixing genres sometimes results in a horrible mess, but I think this successfully pulls off a combination of RPG, RTS and FPS. All of the potential troops have personality. This necessarily means some of them are annoying, but I'll still take that over commanding a bunch of anonymous mooks. The strategy is interesting and the challenge level is good. The setting feels a bit ridiculous (JRPG issues surfacing again), but once you overlook that and run with it it's well worth it.