Initial Impressions on the Christmas 9

So among the many things we got for Christmas (Sony home theatre system, lots of books, clothing, DVD sets for 24/The Awful Truth/South Park/Sakura Diaries, etc), we cumulatively received 9 video games. This is problematic, given that I’m hard pressed to find time to play them between work, maintaining the house, all the DVD watching, and Animal Crossing. Still, I have at least played everything, so here’s my initial thoughts, in alphabetical order.
Britney’s Dance Beat (PS2) – Katie wanted this as a gag gift. The gag, apparently, is that she does like to play it. I will not play this. Period. The engine is novel enough, but I can’t stand Britney, never mind that there’s only 5 songs on here. Rating: Funk dat.
Devil May Cry (PS2) – as a quick addition since I liked it enough on rental and it’s Greatest Hits, it’s decent. Better survival horror than Resident Evil, good graphics/framerate, and the hack and slash is sufficiently deep without leaving me frustrated. Rating: Decent.
Frequency (PS2) – sleeper hit. Picked this up because I knew FYE had a copy kicking around for the past 6 months and I had heard good things. Despite playing like a poor man’s Beatmania, it’s quite challenging, the music is nearly all great (why is there industrial rock on here?), and I am so addicted. Rating: Excellent.
Metroid Prime (GC) – I had rented Prime a few days after we picked up the GameCube, and I unfortunately cannot toe the party line here. Yes, it’s an excellent game. Yes, the game looks great. But the game just feels a little off from the Metroid I’ve come to know and love over the years, and I can’t go “GOTY! GOTY!” like everyone else I know. Rating: Just Great.
Sly Cooper And The Theivius Racoonus (PS2) – ahh, now this takes me back. Rented this, couldn’t take my hands off of it. I restarted my game today, just so I could play it fresh – this, folks, is a 3D platformer done perfectly. You know why this is perfect? Because there’s not a single point in this game where I don’t feel like I’m in control and responsible for the game play. Other platformers, the camera gets in the way, or the shadows aren’t precise enough, or worse, the control scheme is too complicated. Sly Cooper, however, executes everything flawlessly, looks beautiful, and is fun and innovative to boot. Rating: Perfect.
Sonic Collection (GC) – emulation is all the rage these days. Sega put out a bunch of Sonic games on one disc. It takes me back. Rating: Nostalgia is a good thing.
Super Monkey Ball 2 (GC) – This was actually Katie’s present, but I seem to play it far more than she does (since she hasn’t touched it yet). I agree with the complaints that I had heard that some of the levels just rely on dumb luck, but with beefier party games, I’m not going to complain. Rating: Excellent.
Suikoden III (PS2) – now this is a toughy. After the legendary 8BOP Suik3 Standoff, I had my interest piqued by this one, and IGN giving it a stellar review didn’t help keep me away. So I got it, and now…I’m waiting. The game has a huge learning curve (no in-game tutorials, skimpy manual), the camera is weird, and there aren’t any voices, which is odd because I think this may be the first PS2 game I’ve played without any. Still, I can tell there’s a ton of depth here, it just needs to pick up. Rating: Too soon to tell.
Virtua Fighter 4 (PS2) – also in the Greatest Hits section now. Looks great, sufficiently deep…one of the two fighters I plan on owning (and the other is SC2). Rating: Very good.