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    Apr 13th, 2008 at 23:19:21     -    Gradius 5 (PS2)

    I rented this game from the JBEL, but the PS2 they have there apparently is set for the Japanese region, so I wound up taking it home.

    Right off, I noticed that the initial movement speed is much less crippling than in 3. This means the speed-up powerup is less powerful - I often skip it entirely now. Options are much more powerful, thanks to the option control mechanic and the fact that they are the only powerup that can persist through death (even continues).

    Option control is very interesting. There are 4 types, but I've mostly used the second - by holding the option control button, I can rotate the direction in which an option fires its primary weapon (missiles are not redirected). Although you can move the ship and redirect at the same time, it's still very useful to be able to fire in any direction. Furthermore, the options' laser fires continuously, and it's possible to sweep it up and down, covering the entire front end of the screen. Type 1 allows the player to freeze the options' orientation relative to the player, type 3 holds the options above and below, and allows the player to govern spacing (press and hold to move, alternately away and towards the ship). Type 4 rotates the options around the ship.

    The rest of the powerups come in much fewer varieties than in 3 - there's only two kinds of double (diagonal-up and back) four kinds of missile, and one each of laser and shield. However, custom equipment is no longer available: There's 4 preset loadouts (and the option type I favor is not in the same loadout as the missile type I prefer).

    Next post: Levels

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    Mar 30th, 2008 at 06:07:28     -    Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)

    I got a bunch more Colossi before I had to return it to the library. This was a while ago, so I forget how many, but I do remember some things.

    The water snake was drawn about a bit longer than it should have been - especially once all three of the electric prongs are disabled and the thing can no longer harm you. Once the last prong is disabled, it would have been good design to also disable the the part of the AI that makes it dive beneath the water for an indefinite period of time, which forces you to let go of the thing and start the climbing step all over again.

    The bull chased me out of its lair at least twice. At one point it was bugged and I had to expose myself to its attack in order to get it to leave a small part of the stage, and I barely made it to the lake that prevents it from following you to the surface.

    The hint system I praised earlier failed pretty spectacularly at the turtle colossus. There's absolutely no mention of a key game mechanic unique to this level: the stones on the creature's head can be struck to guide its movement. I had to look the damn thing up on gamefaqs, which a well designed game should never do.

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    Mar 30th, 2008 at 05:52:03     -    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)

    Finished it. Only four cases, although the fourth case is extra large.

    The only notable element from a game design perspective that I haven't already noted is the special Mason System investigation section, where the old psyche-lock mechanic is reintroduced. The psyche locks add a reward/punishment system to investigation - presenting the wrong thing damages the same penalty bar that is used in court, and clearing a witness' locks restores half that bar. It is not possible to get a game over through the psyche-locks, however. Despite the great deal of attention paid to designing the investigations in this game, I did manage to get myself stuck once. This sort of game relies almost entirely on writing - the writer not only has to tell a good story, they have to give the reader enough clues to figure out what they're required to figure out to move on without having to resort to the brute force solution (presenting everything to everyone), and when the game penalizes the player for resorting to brute force (on top of the unavoidable waste of time) the cost of failing to do this is especially high.

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    Mar 15th, 2008 at 03:22:15     -    Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)

    I'm on the 4th case so far. It's pretty clear that this is a DS native game, in contrast to the Phoenix Wright chapters in the Ace Attorney series, which were ports. Ema Skye and her "Forensic Science" mechanic from the DS bonus case in Phoenix Wright 1 feature prominently.

    What I find most notable so far is a major improvement in execution of the investigation sequences - nearly every "area" gives you a conversational cue to move on once you've collected all the plot tokens.

    Story-wise, it's remarkable that this game so thoroughly averts the evil prosecutor trope - so far, at least.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Mar 30th, 2008 at 03:10:49.

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    ajrich's GameLogs
    ajrich has been with GameLog for 12 years, 10 months, and 11 days
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    Entries written to date: 19
      Game Status / Read GameLog
    1Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (DS)Finished playing
    2Battle For Middle Earth (PC)Stopped playing - Got Bored
    3Gradius 3 (SNES)Stopped playing - Got frustrated
    4Gradius 5 (PS2)Playing
    5Peggle Extreme (PC)Finished playing
    6Raidem (PC)Stopped playing - Got frustrated
    7Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)Playing

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