PlayStation 2 owners have it made when it comes to role-playing games. With Final Fantasy making regular appearances on the console, fans can just sit back and wait for the next big adventure to be delivered to them. This sheltered console life mirrors that of Luke, the pampered hero in Tales of the Abyss - his every whim has been tended to inside his uncle's castle, never needing to venture out and discover what else might be on the horizon.
Once he does manage to break free of his comfort
The Tales series meant very little in the US until 2004's surprise hit Tales of Symphonia. It blended intense action, beautiful graphics and... well... a passable story into a lengthy adventure hundreds of thousands found well worth undertaking. Flash forward to earlier this year, and suddenly, things hit the status quo again. Tales of Legendia, which arrived on the PS2 in February, was kind of a mess - though it looked great, mediocrity seeped through every
Sequelitis is endemic in Japanese RPGs, but the Tales of... series stands alone in its naming conventions - no numerals for this baby. Keeping a handle on Phantasia, Destiny, Eternia, Symphonia, Rebirth and Legendia only gets harder as Namco releases the latest PS2 game, Tales of the Abyss.
Abyss' story quickly reveals its epic scope: a noble son, Luke, finds he is the holder of a rare power - the seventh Fonim (a sort of element) - just as war breaks out with a kingdom which had kidnapped him
"Back in my day,” say the oldest of the old-school gamers, “all we had was the local arcade, and we loved it! We happily dropped 25 cents a game to get our asses handed to us." Those days of traveling places to play games are gone, but a property from about the same by-gone era, the recently revived Teen Titans comic book franchise, will try to bring the arcade-style button-masher glory days back. Just because it's an old idea, it isn't necessarily a bad one.
In Teen Titans, you
Normally when GM gets hands-on with a preview, that's literally it, 'hands-on'. But when we went to see Tekken 5 we were more fingers, hands, legs and bums-on. You see Tekken 5 doesn't come on some tiny sliver of a silver circle; it arrives in the colossal arcade-shape of a sit-down, two-player, widescreen, wide-seated cabinet. Which did make it harder to lug back into the office without everyone wanting a go.But size isn't the only reason that Namco's named kicker counts as a big game - there
If you're sick to the core of watching grizzled old men in body-hugging wetsuits limp-wrist their way around oil rigs and military bases, you'll be glad to know that Fatal Shadows performs the hitherto unimaginable task of making stealth actually sexy.Firstly, there's a noticeable drop in the number of men involved this time around. Former Tenchu protagonist Rikimaru has been axed in favour of series mainstay Ayame and newcomer, Rin. They're both women, they're both incredibly 'well-rounded'
Ever wanted to make your own amusement park? Yeah, neither have we. One only has to imagine all of the red tape, legalese, investment concerns, zoning issues, contract disputes, liability claims, piles of vomit everywhere... you might be dead before you get around to designing your first
Thursday 2 November 2006
Back in the day, everything from murdering naked innocents (Rampage) to initiating incestuous affairs (Kissin' Kousins) was par for the course for young gamers and no one batted an eyelid. Alas, times have changed. These days children must feel like chastised tabloid targets just for seeking to do something as comparatively pedestrian as repeatedly driving over a virtual prostitute or policeman.
The fact that many children hanker after adult-oriented games goes some
Theme-park simulators are nothing new, but Thrillville might be the first to mix roller-coaster building with third-person exploration, interactive conversations, first-person shooting and nearly every other conceivable gameplay style to date. Casting players as a kid who inherits a chain of crappy theme parks from a rich uncle, Thrillville tasks you with cleaning up your new playgrounds and building badass attractions to draw in guests.
So, OK, that part is old hat. But once the guests are
There's really only one problem with monster-selling games like Rollercoaster Tycoon and Theme Park: they're no fun. Somehow, these micro-management games found a way to strip all the amusement out of amusement parks. Can Thrillville change it all?
The simpler setup feels like a good start: You're the young relative of a theme park tycoon and he's thrilled that you're coming on board to help him run the place (and stop Globo-Joy from taking it over). You've got carte blanche to improve