Since I've been away, I have a lot to jam into one post. Let's start with my biggest disappointment of the week: seeing actual gameplay footage of Parasite Eve The 3rd Birthday. I was delighted to see the footage via 1up, click to see for yourself. While I like the look of the game and it is visually impressive for a PSP game, how generic and bland does that gameplay look? Talk about a boss battle that just feels stale. I never let myself get too excited for The 3rd Birthday because I was worried about this. I do appreciate the old school shooter feel, but I can't help but think that the game could have been pushed to another level while still making it feel old school. I dunno, sometimes things are better left off in your memories, keep the nostalgia, and let the series live on that way. The problem when it has been a good amount of years since we've seen an entry is that developers get caught in trying to make the game feel like it did years ago to fans, while still making it feel fresh. It's a tough situation, but as it stands it looks like The 3rd Birthday will play out rather generic and I'm hoping that boss battle isn't the highlight of the game.
Now on to the reason this blog hasn't been updated: NHL 11 has taken over my life. I was a big fan of NHL 10 and it's no secret about my love for hockey and all things Blackhawks, but, damn, I'm really impressed with all the improvements: better graphics, the physics engine (checking has never been so fun!), sticks breaking, goal reviews, just to name a few additions. The game has actually managed to make it feel like you're playing real hockey - the goals aren't as easy and clear cut like they were in '10. Each check feels different and deflections are a mixed bag - you never know if they're going to be a good thing for you or not. I enjoy how far they even went as to make the goaltending feel so real. Every puck bounces off the goalie differently and the goalie tries different tactics every time to make a save. It never gets dull or boring. I'm a big fan of the Be a GM mode and the growth of players and trading just works so much better. In NHL 10, if you had a veteran he had no trade value or worth, in '11 it gives props to the old guys and although they will depreciate at a faster rate - there still is value about having them on your team (just like in real life). Players also don't become All-Stars overnight like they did in NHL 10. The game isn't predictable and I like that. The other mode that tries something completely new is the EA Ultimate Hockey League. You get card packs randomly (you can earn cards by playing or purchase them), with these packs you create your team, play games, earn experience, distribute stat increases, extend contracts. The cards really are luck of the draw. It's fun and it brings in a strategic card game element to it. Plus, there are tournaments and you can play online against others. The only thing is people can abuse the system by purchasing their packs, but other than that it's an addition I more than welcome.
And last, but not least, I am so stoked to hear the Alundra is making its way to the PSN in North America! AHHHHHHHH! That is one of my favorite games - I'm very nostalgic about it. I remember back when there were FuncoLands and I just saw this RPG on on the demo PSone to play. I started playing and I couldn't stop. Lost in a ship storm and you wake up lost. It was one of those games from the PSone that stands out for me. I remember those hard as hell puzzles and being a little tot frantically trying to figure them out. I'm excited to see if being older and playing through it again via the PSN will ease some of those tough puzzles. Now if only I'd see a VC release of Earthbound I'd be a happy girl, but I'm not holding my breath. I think instead I'll put all my hope into seeing Suikoden II, Vagrant Story, or Xenogears hit the PSN.
Until next time, folks!