I’m still engrossed in RTK8. Most recently I’ve been inching my way up the east coast of China, up into Yuan Tan’s territory, and back down into Ma Teng’s territory. I’ve taken two or three cities of Ma Teng’s, and I’m about to take his recently-relocated capital.
I think I’ve executed too many officers who wouldn’t join me, because lately free officers and officers of other forces have begun turning me away at their doors, saying that they won’t meet with someone as nefarious as me. The game has a low tolerance for executions, it seems, and they inflate the hidden Infamy stat more than any other action you can take. I’ll probably end up getting a “tyrant” ending, but it’ll be fitting for a ruler that started out as a bandit pillaging villages. Continue reading
Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII has me in its iron grip, still sucking away hours at a time whenever I sit down to it. Nothing for years save Morrowind or other PC RPGs has been so addictive to me. I’ve finally figured out that this is the kind of console strategy game that I’m cut out for, not the typical tactical strategy RPG (though I remain quite fond of Advance Wars). The roleplaying elements provide just the right amount of freedom for me to really be able to express my imagination and find my own narrative, and the depth and detail of the setting provides for a very rich playground and some really neat divergent-history situations. Continue reading
Yeah, that’s right. They made a sequel. One of the earliest Playstation releases, the original Aquanaut’s Holiday was met mostly with blank stares and derision from its reviewers and more vocal players. It let the player pilot a small submersible through a calm body of water full of placid sea creatures and…seemingly, not much else. There was no way to die, there was nothing to fight, and no challenges to overcome.
The sub could make a small variety of clicks and chirps, with which the player could “speak” to animals and sometimes make them react in strange ways. When the creatures were convinced of the player’s good intentions, they would populate a 2D screen showing a reef made of blocks that the player could arrange at will. Filling up the reef with enough creatures did eventually end the game, but the lack of defined goals, any real challenge, or strong feedback, plus the blocky, first-generation graphics, left many simply bored.
Aquanaut’s Holiday 2, released only in Japan for the Playstation in 1999, doesn’t vastly shake up the formula the first set forth. Kazutoshi Iida, the game’s creator, considers the first game his worst ever, so he was naturally motivated to improve things for the sequel.
I rented Red Ninja over the weekend, and I’ve played through the tutorial and the first level and a half or so. And while I really wanted to give the game as much of a fair shot as possible, and hoped that the reviews really were missing something about the game that would turn it into something enjoyable, I have to agree with them this time. While the game’s appearance is quite nice – the feudal-Japan environments are some of the nicest I’ve seen lately, and I really like how Kurenai is modelled and animated – and the ingame ambient sound and music are well-done, the gameplay seems clumsily designed, poorly implemented, and the victim of several opposing design goals.