Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Month Overview: September 2015

 Games finished in September 2015:
Tearaway                                                 6.5
Shinobido 2 - Revenge of Zen                7.0
Tales of Hearts R                                     7.5
X-Men - Next Dimension                          8.0
Mario Kart Double Dash!!                          6.0

 The blog was supposed to be dead! And yet it isn't! I just had some opened stuff lying about, so I said: 'Hey, I should probably finish those at least', and finish them I did. It was a decent, if unremarkable month, with nothing that really wowed me, but at least, nothing was particularly bad.

Game of September:
 X-Men - Next Dimension might not be the most polished Fighter on the block, nor the prettiest, nor the deepest.... but it's a fun little game with a few bright ideas and a good execution.

 What's sad about Tales of Hearts is that it's not a bad game per se, it simply is a victim of unoriginality. Anything this game does, other 'Tales of' do better, so while it might be a good Vita game.... it's a rather uninspired installment of the Tales of series.

Review #255: Mario Kart Double Dash!!

 Two Racers, one Kart.
 Mario Kart, the most famous, and arguably the best, mascot racer around. Y'know the deal, when it comes to mascot racers it ain't just about being the best driver, but using the many, many weapons and power-ups in order to ruin your opponents' day. Double Dash is arguably the black sheep of the franchise, those that like it, love it, and those that don't, hate it. Me? Well, this is the only MK(Besides 8) that I haven't played, so that's my mindset: What does this game do differently? Why would I want to play this entry over the others?

 As with any other Mario Kart, there's 4 different 'classes', 50 CC, 100 CC, 150 CC and Mirror Mode, these act as both the difficulty setting and the speed at which the karts run. The Single Player modes are simply Time Trial and Grand Prix, in which you must play through five cups, four of these housing four tracks each, while the last one, the 'All Cup' is made up of all 16 tracks! As for Multiplayer, you can race up to three other players, either VS or Co-Op(More on this later), as well as Battle Mode, which is made up three modes: Balloon Battle, Bob-Omb Blast and Shine Thief. And here's my first issue with the game: You can't just play specific tracks against the CPU in Single Player, you have to play entire cups, which for someone like me who likes to just pick-up and play games every now and then, is a huge bummer. Then there's the fact that there's only 16 courses, Mario Kart games since the GBA entry(sans this one) have spoiled us with the 16 bonus 'retro courses', so having only 16 tracks is disappointing, what's more, for someone who has played most other entries in the series, keep in mind that most of the best tracks this game has to offer have already been remade, between Mario Kart DS, WII, 7 and 8, so if you are someone like me who, for whatever reason, skipped this one... there's not a huge incentive to go back.
 But what makes this game so divisive? That, fellow reader, is the 'two racers in one kart' mechanic. This time around you pick two different racers, as well as a kart, and play as both of them at the same time! It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure if the execution was so good. For instance, your 'weight' is determined by the heaviest character you pick, which also locks you out of certain kart choices. I think that 'merging' both characters' weights together would've been a better idea, but that's just me. The way items work got slightly overhauled as well, to make up for both racers. Now you can't just hold banana peels or Koopa shells behind you as protection, which in some ways is a bit more interesting and requires more skill, since blocking incoming attacks is now a matter of reflexes. However, each racer can hold a different item, not that hauling them is a good idea since most hits will make you lose both items. One thing I did like, however, is the unique special weapons. Each pair of characters share special moves, for example Mario and Luigi have useless wide-area fireballs, while either Bowser or Bowser Jr. gets a huge Bowser shell. This makes for interesting builds, since you could pick two characters with different specials in order to cover your bases. It does come at a cost though, some special items are undeniably better than others, so playing with 3 or 4 players could turn into a race to pick the best characters.

 As for the gameplay, 50 CC is as boring as ever, but I think that 150 CC in this game is much faster than in the other iterations. Drifting and Boosting works just like it did in Mario Kart DS, hold drift and mash left-to-right on the analog stick three times to charge your turbo, and if you are good enough, you can snake your way to victory. Going through Single Player is a bit tough this time around, on 150 CC and Mirror Mode, the AI is relentless, but what's worse is that there's no 'retry' option. Get boned by a blue shell on the last race? Too bad, you are gonna have to replay the entire cup again if you want Gold. Major props for how the unlocks work, every time you get a Gold Cup, you unlock something. It might be a new Kart, a couple of new Racers, maybe a new battle stage, but you get something, rewarding the player like this feels really good, and it's a good incentive to keep playing. That said, it would've been nice if clearing a cup on, say 150 CC, unlocked the 100 and 50 CC rewards as well, since 50 CC is really, really boring.
 The game looks just as good as the Wii iteration of the series, and in some fronts, even better, namely, this is a much more colorful game, which makes it a bit more appealing, and characters don't have that weird glint they had on the Wii version. As with any first party Nintendo game, the music is absolutely fantastic, so no complaints there.

 So, if you have played every other Mario Kart game out there, why would you want to come back? You don't. The couple of really good tracks that haven't returned aren't really a huge selling point, having only 16 tracks is a bit disappointing, although I kinda like the excessively long 'All Cup' challenge. As for the two racers system, while I'm not a huge fan, it's good enough as to not feel like a gimmick, even if it could've been implemented a bit better. At the end of the day, this is Mario Kart, so there's fun to be had... even if you are probably better of playing any of the newer installments.
 6.0 out of 10

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fighting Games and I

 If my favorite genre is RPG, then my second favorite, though it was my favorite at a time, is fighting games. I don't play them at a competitive level, but I do get competitive about them.

 Special Mentions(Because 10 is too good a number):

 Street Fighter II: You can't just make a list like this without acknowledging the father of the genre. It may not have been the first, but it was the first one to get it just right. And the best thing about this beauty is that while dated, it's still fun to play today. Fun fact: My first foray into the fighting game realm was through a chinese bootleg SF II game for the 'family', a Chinese NES knock off.

 Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost: The only reason this one didn't make it to the top of the list is that it's not a traditional fighting game. Few games feel as tailor-made for me as much as this one, with almost a hundred unique mobile suits to play as, to its very easy pick-up-and-play nature... This is one of the best games ever made, as far as I'm concerned.

 JoJo Bizarre Adventure - All Star Battle: It's not the deepest of fighting games, nor the most technical of the bunch, but it's got more heart than any of them. The love that went into making every move, every pose as faithful to the franchise as possible is unbelievable. So many details that only the most hardcore of JoJo fans could catch.... this game is a work of love, from fans to fans, and it's pretty fun to boot.

 Soul Calibur II: Soul Calibur used to be so cool, but now it's little more than a fanservice fest, although ironically enough, they introduced a Caska-lookalike, one of my favorite fighters of any fighting game. But I digress, Soul Calibur 2 is fast, is deep and is immensely fun to play. The game was ported to the PS2, Gamecube and XBox, and each one had a different guest fighter, Heihachi, Link and Spawn respectively. If you ask me, I don't think any of them fit, but if I had to choose... I'd go with Spawn.

 Street Fighter Alpha 3: So it might not be as balanced as Street Fighter Alpha 2, but damn, there're so many characters. I was particularly fond of the different ISMs, you could play with stronger, but more limited characters with X-ism, or have fun creating combos with V-ism, or y'know, go classic Alpha with A-ism. And then there's the different modes.... Alpha 3 is an amazing game, with a lot of options and ways to play it. The best version out there would probably the PSP version, it has the most modes and characters, although the controls are a bit uncomfortable, and finding somebody else play with can be a bit of a chore.

 Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus: Would you believe me if I told you that I've played every Guilty Gear installment, sans Isuka, up til Accent Core Plus? I'm nuts like that. One of the fastest fighting game out there, one that demands excellent and consistent execution if you wish to play at a competitive level... it's surprising how easy it is to get into it! Just mash buttons, and stuff happens. Fighting games that can be fun for newcomers and experts alike are rare and far between. There was a sequel, Xrd, and I've got my sealed copy collecting dust on my closet, I just haven't had the time!

 Bushido Blade 2: As unconventional as fighting games go, there are no life bars, and every swing of your sword, or Naginata, could be your last. It's fan, addictive and original, and it's depressing to know that it has no successors! The Kengo series on the PS2 is the closest you can get to one, and even then, they don't hold a candle to Bushido Blade.

My Favorites:
 The King of Fighters 2006: Also known as The King of Fighters Maximum Impact 2, this is the series' second attempt at going 3D, and they finally got it right. The reason I love this game so much is that it's the perfect fusion of 2D and 3D elements. You've got your command specials, but you've also got your Tekken-like command strings. The character roster is very generous, and there's a ton of costumes to unlock, paying homage to other SNK properties. Plus, you can play as Rock Howard, my favorite fighting game character EVER, who is painfully underused by SNK.

 NeoGeo Battle Coliseum: I must've gone through the entire Neo Geo catalogue, dang, I love that machine. Well, Battle Coliseum is a love letter to anybody who has been following SNK's fighting games. You've got Marco, Mars People, Samurai Shodown, Art of Fighting, Garou, World Heroes and a few others.... if you love everything SNK, you just can't go wrong with this one. Plus, there's Rock Howard!

 Bleach - The Blade of Fate: This is the only fighting game I ever played competitively. I learned the ins and outs, I would try making the longest combos I could, I even took my Hitsugaya online. Deceptively simple, highly addictive, The Blade of Fate is a great, balanced fighting game that sadly only saw release on the DS, which is probably why it never really caught on. I could tell stories about this game, about why I picked Hitsugaya as my main, about the online etiquette, about my Soi Fon combos.... But those are stories for another day.

 The King of FIghters XIII: Full disclosure, I am terrible at this game, but man, do I love it. It has one of the best uses of 2D sprites I've ever seen, characters look gorgeously badass, the stages are beautiful and the animation is silky smooth. It's funny how people would make fun of how old KoF's sprites were, and then XII came out and it was praised for its beauty, and then XIII blew everyone away. But this game's beauty is more than skin dip, characters are varied, and the mechanics are fun. Plus, every year that this game made it into Evo's main lineup, it provided some of the hypest moments. It bears mentioning that I'm very disappointed that The King of Fighters 14 is going full 3D.

 Capcom VS SNK 2: While I would take Capcom's characters over SNK's, I always thought that Capcom had the better games. This is a dream come true, SNK characters on a Capcom game. Making up teams was always so hard, I wanted to have EVERYONE. And the roster is huge, and the different 'grooves' let you play like some of the various SNK and Capcom's fighters, so there's no excuses! Plus, Rock Howard's in it! And I'm still waiting for a third iteration.

 Street Fighter III - Third Strike: Most casuals hate it, due to it's moderately high entry barrier and the fact that it did away with most of the well known characters. But me? I adore it. Parrying changed my life, well, maybe it didn't, but it's one of my favorite mechanics ever introduced in a fighting game, and I loved the way this game applied it. By tapping forward just before getting hit, you could parry and attack, you have to risk taking the hit by tapping the opposite direction of blocking. It's exciting, it's risky and makes for more exhilarating matches. And did I mention that these were some of the best 2D sprites ever made? They might not match KoF XIII's beauty, but I'd say that the animation is a bit better on some fronts.

 Garou - Mark of the Wolves: I hate SNK. There's no possible way for a westerner to own a legit copy of Garou without importing either the Japanese Dreamcast port or the Japanese PS2 port, which sucks so badly, because this game is so amazing. This is the best looking Neo Geo game bar none, and the most original and fun fighter on it. There's a lot of parallelisms that can be drawn with Street Fighter III, a mostly new cast with a few successors, new mechanics and some of the best 2D graphics out there at the time. Plus, this was Rock Howard's first playable appearance ever. What's not to like? The new characters are great and the mechanics while simple were something new and original, I still want to see the T.O.P. system make a comeback!

 Tatsunoko VS Capcom: The game Marvel VS Capcom 3 wished it was, seriously, it borrows so much from this game it ain't even funny, except that MvC 3 is incredibly unbalanced, while TvC is actually, well, properly balanced. Easily my favorite 2-D fighting game on the market, what's not to like about it? It's simple, easy to pick up and play, the character roster, while featuring a few familiar faces, it has a ton of characters I had never seen before(Mostly from the Tatsunoko side, heh! But I knew Gatchaman! And Karas!) that is a breath of fresh air among most fighters nowadays. Then there's Baroque, the end all to infinite combos, which for whatever reason Capcom opted to abandon for MvC 3. Every now and then I will pop this one in for a couple of rounds, even if against the CPU.

 Virtua Fighter 4 - Evolution: So maybe Virtua Fighter 5 is a better game(Even if Vanessa looks oddly disproportionate when compared with the others), but Virtua Fighter 4 is the one I hold the most memories of. I vividly remember one time reaching over 100 rounds of Akira VS Akira against my best friend. The beauty of VF 4 is that it's very easy to just pick up and play, but it's very hard to master, some moves requiring some consistently excellent execution. Sure, the characters are lame and generic, the voice acting is terrible, and the character roster is small... but the gameplay is finely tuned into excellence.

 Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Huge character roster, excellent customization options, coupled with the tried and true Tekken formula makes for one helluva game. If I had one complaint about the game... is that every single one of my friends HATES Tekken, which means I'm always flying solo!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Now Playing: Mario Kart - Double Dash!!

 Prepare for Trouble! And make it Double!!
 I'll make it short 'n sweet since I'm pressed for time

What I liked:
 - Each pair of characters has a unique special weapon
- The 'All cup' sounds cool in theory, I'll have to try them!

What I didn't
- You can no longer hold shells or banana peels as protection!
- Only 16 tracks, and I've already played a few from subsequent iterations of the series!
- No single player 'single racing', you have to play through entire cups!

RPGS and I

 If there's one thing our humble narrator loves, it's RPGs. Ever since I played Quest 64, and later Final Fantasy VII, I've been in love with the genre. So, why not write about them?

Special Mentions(Games that I'd need to replay in order to properly rank, since it's been far too long since I last played them):

 Chrono Trigger: It's a classic, and I've played it countless times, and scored a ton of endings... yet I was so young that I wouldn't know where to properly place it now!

 Final Fantasy VI: Probably the most beloved Final Fantasy game behind VII, it deserves all the praise it gets and more.... Although I will admit that I never properly finished it, something I plan to change, eventually.

The Elder Scrolls 3 - Morrowind: Morrowind is amazing, it was my favorite game at the time of its release actually. It was enormous, huge even, and the amount of freedom was staggering, and after playing for a while, you finally felt like a god among sheep. Problem being... I tried playing it again a few years ago, and I was a bit... disenchanted with it.

 Special-er Mentions(Because if I'd go beyond 10, these ones would follow):
 Seiken Densetsu 3: Easily my favorite SNES RPG. I loved the characters, loved how depending on which party you made, certain events would change, and how it would tie the stories of your three selected characters. And the branching job specializations? I love this game. And it never, EVER received a proper localization, what I'd do to have one. Squeenix, get on it, dammit.

 Tales of Graces F: I've followed the 'Tales of' series ever since Phantasia's fantranslation, and while I wouldn't call'em my favorite JRPGs ever, I've been entertained by them. Tales of Graces F is my favorite among the entire series, it delves into themes no other 'Tales of' games dabbled, the fighting system was a blast, and for a port of a Wii game, it looks gorgeous.

 The World Ends with You: Sure, the story is a rip off from Shibuya 15, and the 'Modern day Tokyo' setting was lifted straight from Shin Megami Tensei, although it took it in an entirely different direction, but it's one of the most original JRPGs out there. The combat system made the most out of the system, without feeling gimmicky, and while the story feels lifted from Shibuya 15, hey, no other game had done it before, or since! Plus, I felt Neku's character evolution was fairly realistic, which I enjoyed seeing all the way through.

 Lunar 2 - Eternal Blue Complete: Alright, so Lunar 1 is decent, but very dated. Lunar 2 improved so much upon Lunar 1, that while it does feel dated as well, it feels more of a 'classic dated' than 'annoying dated'. The story is fun and satisfying, every main character goes through their own story arc, they evolve, they change, they grow. The combat is challenging, but fun, and the presentation is adorable. Lunar 2 is great, amongst PS1 greatest.

 Legend of Legaia: My two favorite genres are Fighting games and RPGs. Now, what would happen if you mixed them both? Legend of Legaia happens. Featuring one of my favorite fighting systems, Legend of Legaia is a blast to play, creating your own combos with special and super moves, the game rewards creativity... well, until you find the Mystic Artes(Ultras), in which case you'll just want to try and score those! The story may not be all that interesting, some may even say that the main character is little more than a secondary character, but hey, this game makes grinding fun. And you will have to grind.

 Wild Arms 3: This one only barely didn't make it into the most favorites. The combat system is amazing, the story is great, the characters are appealing, there's a ton of challenging bonus bosses and the Western setting is very unique for the genre. Plus, Virginia kicks major butt.

 The Real List(Because Lists are fun):
 Shin Megami Tensei III - Nocturne: At first I was a bit scared, I absolutely hate the 'mute hero' trope, and what I like the most about RPGs is character development. But Nocturne managed to make the Demi-Fiend(The player character) matter, even if he never uttered a word. The entire world and premise of Nocturne is genius, and it's hard not to empathize with the supporting cast.

 The Legend of Dragoon: When I played this one when I was younger, I absolutely hated it. But modern-day me? Absolutely loved it. For instance, I love characters with alternate transformations, and in this one, well, every character in the game can transform. And I love dragons. And they transform into Dragoons, which grants them dragonic armors. And they look awesome. The Legend of Dragoon is a 4 disc epic, back when JRPGs used to be cool.

 Orcs & Elves: When ID created the first person, turn based RPG 'Doom RPG', they struck gold. They went on to make Doom RPG 2, Orcs & Elves, Orcs & Elves 2 and Wolfenstein RPG using the very same engine... and they are all amazing. Long story short, they are the perfect on-the go games, and I must've played over a dozen times each. But my favorite would be the enhanced DS port of Orcs & Elves 1. It looks amazing, it adds more areas, but is every bit as good as it was on mobile phones. And sure, the story isn't up to par with any other entry on this list, and Story does matter on an RPG, but as far as gameplay is concerned, it's hard to get any more addictive than this.

 Shin Megami Tensei - Digital Devil Saga part 1 and 2: Fun fact, the game doesn't use the Shin Megami Tensei moniker in Japan, instead opting for 'Devil Turner'. But I digress, Digital Devil Saga is amazing. The game is about warring clans on a desolate land, until a sort of 'Virus' breaks out that turns everyone into demons, and they must eat other demons. It's a very dark game, very original as well, and it runs on Nocturne's engine! The game is made up of two halves, while I would say that Part 1 is a little bit better, since I love the setting, part 2 has some very, very poignant moments. The ending can be a bit freaky, but it's the journey that matters, not the end.

 Dungeon Siege: Back in the day when Internet was more of a luxury than a commodity, news about games were a bit harder to come by, games could come out without you ever hearing about them. Dungeon Siege was such a game for me, I just saw a cover with a fire sword and I knew that I had to play it. As far as I'm concerned, Dungeon Siege is even better than Diablo 2. One of my favorite things about the game, that makes me prefer it over Dungeon Siege 2(Even though Dungeon Siege 2 is amazing on its own right) is that you are always moving forward, enemies don't even respawn. It feels like an epic adventure, not unlike Half-Life 2. There are no 'cut-outs', just a one-way trip to the enemy's base. It feels grandiose. Then there's the little details, like the tons of different armor pieces that reflect on the character's model. And there's even a separate Multiplayer Campaign that ends on a huge Dragon boss fight. And then there's the Chicken Level, that rewards you with a Chicken Launcher. I am not making that up.

 Pokemon HeartGold: It's no secret that Generation 2 is my favorite Generation. Scratch that, it's the best generation. Suffice to say, Heart Gold is everything that Pokemon Gold was, but even better. There's not a single change that I'd undo, not a single addition that I'd take away. If I had gotten Heart Gold when I was a child, I think my mind would've exploded.

 Borlderlands 2: If you'd told me that mixing a loot-based dungeon Crawler, like Diablo, with a first person shooter would've made for a great game, I'd have called you a fool. And had you entertained the idea that I would've loved said game, I'd have cut all ties with you. But lo and behold, Borderlands 2 turned out to be almost everything I've ever wanted in a game. Now add proper melee weapons and combos, and I'll tattoo 'Borderlands' on my forehead.

 Xenogears: This game does exactly what Legend of Legaia did, mixing fighting game elements, like different attacks, combos and specials, with RPG elements. But unlike Legend of Legaia, it has an amazing story to boot. Sadly, the second disc crams three discs worth of content into one, with a lot of stuff having gotten cut. It's very rushed, and the game suffers for it, putting a blemish on the phenomenal game that is Xenogears. And despite that, against all odds, it manages to be cohesive, if a bit hard to follow at times. At the time, it had one of the most thought-provoking stories on an RPG, and while it's not as 'WHOA' as it was back in the day, it's still a fun romp. By the by, the Xenosaga series is terrible, but Xenoblade is a fantastic reboot of sorts!

 Persona 4: Alright, so the way in which Atlus has, and is, milking the series is downright disgusting. But Persona 4, on its own, is still amazing. With a supporting cast that is both appealing and interesting, manage to feel very realistic at times, it's easy to empathize with the trials and tribulations even tertiary characters go through. The fact that it uses a revised version of Nocturne's combat system is a plus as well.

 Final Fantasy VII: Some would call it dated, and I'd say it has aged like fine wine. Some would call into question the original sloppy translation, but I'd strike back claiming that it has been revised for subsequent releases. Some would say that it looks like crap now a days, and I'd say that it's still charming, and that I can't play graphics. There's something to be said for a game that started a trend, I'd call it the Street Fighter 2 of JRPGs, the Modern Warfare of JRPGs. The impact the game had on the industry is undeniable. Many would go on to try to be Final Fantasy VII, to try to be the next Final Fantasy VII, but none managed. There's something to be said for a game so old, with a story that has been dissected, told and spoiled all over the internet, and yet the plot twists still manage to shock and awe. There's something to be said for the materia system, so simple, so elegant and so functional.
 There's something to be said about Final Fantasy VII...

 Notable Mentions(Because they lack something, some oomph, but yet are noteworthy in some regard):
 Chrono Cross: It was, for a while, my favorite game of all time. There's a reason my I made my E-Mail address after it! I replayed it a while ago, and.... it's not a bad game, not at all, but the PS1 has so many other RPGs, so much better RPGs, that this one just feels a bit unremarkable.

 Parasite Eve: While I wanted to play this one for the longest time, I wasn't expecting to fall in love with it. The fighting system is very similar to Quest 64, which I actually enjoyed, the story and setting were pretty original, even by today's standards, and Aya Brea was a great character. Buuut.... the RPG elements are very few, it feels more like an action game than an RPG!

 Quest 64: The very first RPG I've ever played, I loved it then and I love it today. Turns out the Internet hates it! A couple of years ago I tried to give it another go, to see if I was so wrong... I played about 3 hours straight, turns out I love this little bastard. So, leveling up can be a bit tedious, I'll grant you that, but the combat system is fairly original and entertaining, you gotta give it that!

 Wild Arms 2: So, Wild Arms 2 is REALLY good, and I do mean, REALLY good, buuuuuuuuuut everything this game does, Wild Arms 3 does better. Really, that's it's only shortcoming. Ingenious puzzles, which WA3 does better. An excellent combat system, which WA3 does better. A highly original setting, that WA3 got better.

 Okage - Shadow King: So, Okage is fairly mundane as far as RPGs go, dated as well... but it's incredibly original and appealing. The story is hilarious, and it has a ton of genius little moments that are so subtle that you may not even notice them and consider them flaws, and explaining them would be entering spoilerific territory. It's a quirky little RPG, that's way more style than substance, but when your style is so unique, it's easy to ignore it's bigger flaws.

 Kingdoms of Amalur - Reckoning: So the game is anything but original. The settings is your very generic dwarves and elves magical medieval setting, the art direction feels like a WoW wannabe, and the story is nothing to write home about, not that I'm calling it bad... but they got the combat right. Most western RPGs tend to be great in stories, but lame in combat, KoA is the other way around. A forgettable story with a few good moments, but a fantastic combat system. It feels very dynamic, partly with how agile your hero is, and how you can switch weapons on the fly! It's a shame the developer went bankrupt, and we were left without a sequel.

 Disgaea - Hour of Darkness: For a while, it was my favorite game at its time(It's a bit of a recurring theme, c'mon, kids change their minds all the time!), it was funny and deceptively deep! As the series went on, it would go on to get more and more ridiculous, and them being SRPGs with hours upon hours of content, and me having shorter and shorter periods of free time.. I kinda fell off the Disgaea train.

 Tales of Phantasia: I still remember the first time I played this game, I was blown away by the real-time combat system, and how good the story was. The... 'spicy' fan translation also helped make the game more appealing for a growing teen! Eventually we got a GBA localization, which was, sadly, very bad, but in spite of it, I clocked over 50 hours on the bastard. It's a great game, and while it has been left in the dust by subsequent games in the series, it still has a place in my heart.

 Darksiders 2: Darksiders 1 is one of my favorite games of all time, and while I feel it's superior, as a whole, to its sequel, Darksiders 2 did some things I really, really liked. Namely, adding RPG elements. If there's one thing I'd hold against the game, is that at times it feels too much like Kingdoms of Amalur, a more badass Kingdoms of Amalur, but very similar non the less.

 Arcanum - Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura: This game has my favorite setting for a game ever, mixing steampunk with medieval fantasy elements, like orcs and magic. This is a very old isometric RPG, that luckily isn't as dated as, say, the Tower of Elemental Evil, so it's still easy to play without much hassle.

 Fable: Many called it 'disappointing', I called it great. The difference being that I knew better than to fall for Molyneux's hype. I loved Fable, the combat was simple, yet entertaining and watching your character grow and changed depending on you played was a neat touch as well, although growing older was not much fun(Particularly when you could be older than your mother if you sidequested a lot before rescuing her!), so, protip: Don't do the 'Fountain of Youth' quest until you are very, very old.