Thursday, January 25, 2007

Game Bytes are back and there's gonna be trouble

“Final Fantasy III”
Square-Enix, for the Nintendo DS

rated E10+ for ages 10 and up (fantasy violence, mild blood, suggestive themes), $39.99.

This is the one Final Fantasy game that, up until now, never made it to U.S. shores, for reasons that have been shrouded in the mists of time.

In re-imagining the game for the DS, Square-Enix has kept the basic plot and gameplay, but revamped the music and graphics.

The story is about as rudimentary as you can get. Four heroes must join forces to search the world for magical crystals that will save the world from certain destruction. There’s some minor effort to give the characters personalities, but overall they’re pretty interchangeable.

What makes the game notable is the job-switching ability, which lets your characters try on a variety of roles, from white mage to ninja and beyond. But the fighting itself is basic. It’s a compelling enough game that “Final Fantasy” fans and rpg lovers will enjoy it. Others might find it too bare bones and rote to be worth the time.

“Power Stone Collection”
Capcom, for the PlayStation Portable

rated T for Teen (violence), $29.99.

Back in the days of the late, lamented Dreamcast console, “Power Stone 2” was one of my favorite games, a fun, frenzied beat ’em up in the vein of “Super Smash Bros.”

Now Capcom has put the two classic titles on disc, as well as added features, such as new weapons and network play.

The good news is that the series still is as hyperactively thrilling as ever.

The bad news? Load times are frustratingly lengthy, the controls are a bit wobbly and its appeal is limited if you don’t have any other PSP-owning friends to play with. But hey, it’s Power Stone. I’m willing to take what I can get.

“Superman Returns”
Electronic Arts, for the Xbox 360, Xbox and PlayStation
rated T for Teen (violence), $59.99 (360 version), $39.99 (others).

Despite his iconic stature, Superman has always been a tough hero to whip up interest in. He’s just too powerful, too perfect to drum up much appeal.

He doesn’t fare well in “Superman Returns” either, though that’s mainly to do with a faulty camera, unresponsive controls, lackluster missions and a too-close resemblance to the far better “Spider-Man 2.” Who needs kryptonite when there are games like this to weaken the Man of Steel’s reputation?

Copyright The Patriot-News, 2007


At 9:00 PM, Blogger seth said...

Okay, Superman Returns the Videogame was disappointing. I admit it.

But flying around the city at super-speed is amazing! Metropolis is awesome! Breaking the sound barrier is so much fun!

I can forgive ridiculously repetitive missions and buckets of annoyances just for that.


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