And with today’s PSN Store restoration comes a bunch of games that probably would have been released a month ago had nefarious hackers not conspired to destroy the lives of those who eat and breathe Sony’s Playstation brand. Because of this, not all of this stuff is new, as a couple of titles I’m about to discuss have already been released on XBox Live Arcade. Maybe you don’t have an XBox though. Hey, then these little bits are absolutely relevant to you. It’s okay if they’re not, though. You don’t have to read them. Still, you should, because what I have to say is very important, even if it is mostly speculative and based on things I’ve seen or read or played in a purely demonstrative sense because who has the time to play everything anyway? I don’t, and you don’t either. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this, so stop looking at me like that. We’re supposed to be in this together.
*Games will be rated on a scale of PASS, EH, or OKAY, YEAH.
Star Raiders (Atari) $9.99 – Star Raiders is one of aforementioned games that has already been released on XBLA, and if the prospect of a game where you fly through space in a transforming spaceship gets you all worked up, then I apologize for throwing this glass of cold water on your face. Star Raiders is a modern 3D reworking of a game from 1979 featuring some nice looking visuals, ship transformations, laser beams, missiles, robots, robots that help you fly a spaceship that transforms itself (note: the ship does not transform into a robot), and a lot of space to shoot lasers and missiles in. It just doesn’t stay fun for very long and it doesn’t control particularly well. Each of the three ship transformations has its own control scheme as well, making it even harder to get a feel for what should be pretty awesome 3D space combat that you thought about all the time when you were a kid and even last night before you fell asleep probably. There’s a demo, and if you’re still interested in this game then you should probably play that first. PASS.
Sega Rally Online Arcade (Sega) $9.99 – Again, maybe you already played this on XBLA. Maybe you already played most of this content in an arcade in 2008 as well. Maybe not, though, because that assumes that there was actually an arcade somewhere in 2008. The point is that there’s really nothing new in this title besides online play. That said, Sega did a good job with their arcade rally racing games, and this game represents the best of their work in this field. I question the legs of a game like this, as I have no idea how well an arcade rally racing game would hold up today. I think it’s fun, but I probably wouldn’t play it for more than a couple of days, and I’m probably not the only person who thinks that way. You’d be paying $10 for an online racing game that will likely only have a significant population for a week or two, but then I suppose that might be better than paying $60 for a game like Blur which couldn’t boast much better than that. Maybe that game was only $40, but you get it. If you’re only looking to relive your arcade glory days for a week or so, you can do worse. EH.
THE REALLY OLD!
Alien Crush, Bonk’s Adventure, Bomberman ’94 (Hudson) $5.99 each – You remember Turbo Grafx, right? That’s where these games all came from! And, personally? I’m not interested in any of them! Alien Crush is widely considered to be the greatest video pinball game of all time, but the problem with that honor is that Alien Crush is still a video pinball game. PASS. Bonk’s Adventure was designed to be the killer app for the Turbo Grafx. Bonk was to be their Mario, their Sonic. Instead, hardly anyone bought a Turbo Grafx and I have a feeling that a large part of that was because Bonk’s Adventure wasn’t a very good game. PASS. Bomberman ’94 is a relic from a time when Hudson paid very close attention to what EA was doing with its sports games and decided to annually update their prized Bomberman franchise with roster updates, expanded playbooks, and upgraded graphics and opponent AI. They finally decided to nix this process right before implementing detailed player creation, scouting combines and a draft system. I’m not a Bomberman guy, but even if I was I know I’d probably be sick of him by now. PASS.
Dragon’s Lair 2 (Digital Leisure) $9.99 – Hey, remember laser disc games? I wish I didn’t! PASS.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls (XSEED) $14.99 – The Wizardry franchise is OG RPG, and it’s carved out a niche for itself by riding decidedly against the current of the genre it helped to create. This latest entry in the series is no different, as Labyrinth of Lost Souls is exactly the punishingly difficult 3D grid-based dungeon crawler you might expect. This is absolutely NOT a game for everyone, and it’s actually a little bit too much for me. Still, it’s a quality game and it’s nice to see hand drawn 2D sprites still have a place in modern RPGs, even if they aren’t especially modern in design. Again, a demo is out there. EH.
Red Johnson Chronicles (Lexis Numerique) $12.99 – I doubt it’s much of a coincidence that a gritty point-and-click adventure story is released on the heels of Rockstar’s LA Noire. Red Johnson Chronicles has a really, really nice look about it, it has a time-constrained dialogue element, and the puzzles are being widely met with approval. Plus, you can knock around $3 off the price with your upcoming free month of PS+ service (part of the Welcome Back package). Dig point and click adventures? Finished LA Noire, and looking for maybe something a little different but also a little similar? Maybe just curious and drawn in by the artwork and/or atmosphere? OKAY, YEAH.
Under Siege (Seed) $19.99 – I am NOT an RTS guy, and I haven’t been in a very long time. They’re too complicated, too grand, and they never ever ever work on a console. That said, I cannot tell you why I am so intrigued by this game. I guess I like that it’s got a medieval setting because of how much I like swords and how much easier it is to understand something when a sword is involved. I also like the gameplay is more focused on small skirmishes as opposed to larger battle and that the game was specifically designed to be played with a Dual Shock controller (or a Move, you motion gamers you). I also like that the game really packs on the content and also features online multiplayer and a map editor which is, by all accounts, robust. I can also tell you that I’m way into the fact that the $19.99 price point will be cut to an even $10 when my free month of PS+ kicks in, making taking a shot at a genre that’s burned me so many times in the past much more palatable. OKAY, YEAH.
Learning with the PooYoos Episode One (Lexis Numerique) $8.99 – You can read, right? PASS.