2009 Music Game Mega-Review

As I’ve been a bit slacking in getting out reviews, I’m going to approach these in a slightly different format, avoiding the headers I used before (though I still plan to call out the individual grades I give).  As this year we had 6 (6!!!!) music games on the market, here’s my mass music reveal to cover all those.

These are all based on the 360 version. I’m aware of Band Hero and Lego Rock Band DS version, but have not tried those yet.

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Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PS2) – Review

cover Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 from Atlus is a JRPG based on very traditional, turn-based combat combined with dating simulation-like elements that doesn’t, at first, vary much from its predecessor, Persona 3.  However, as you start to get into the game, you’ll notice several improvement on the already successful formula that make the game much more enjoyable and management, with possibly a slight reduction in its difficulty as a result.  Regardless of that, the game is very easy to get into and is definitely one to try if you are on the fence about JRPGs; the characters and story are quite well done, as well as the presentation, and the game promised a hefty dose of playtime but presented in a manner that can make it more distillable to the end user.  It is a definite must-have title for any RPG fan in the first place.

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PixelJunk Eden (PSN) – Review

eden-cover PixelJunk Eden is the third game from Q-Games on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 and is probably the most abstract game of the three.  The game is based on using your “grimp” character to swing on plant to collect pollen, pollinating seeds that will grow into new plants in order to reach the farthest heights of each “garden”.  The core gameplay, visuals, and soundtrack are excellent, though there are a few questionable elements that could have been removed to make the game much tighter, but overall the game is fun and enjoyable.

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Braid (XBLA) – Review

braid-cover Braid is a rather unique puzzler-platform game available through Xbox Live.  While the basic play makes the game look like your typical Mario clone, the bulk of the game is centered around the use of time manipulation and other time-related puzzles in order to collect hard-to-reach puzzles and complete the game.  The game is fantastically presented, and while the unique time-based puzzles are great, there is a very very steep learning curve as well as puzzles that require tight timing and controls in order to complete, and these may make the game too frustrating for those that lack the patience to solve them.  I feel the game could have used just a few more “tutorial” type puzzles which would have smoothed out the difficulty curve and made the game much more accessible.  Still, however, the game is one that should be praised for its distinctive approach.

 

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The World Ends With You (NDS) – Review

cover The World Ends With You is a non-traditional RPG from Square Enix and Jupiter for the Nintendo DS that uses a battle system that involves a lot of use of the touchscreen.  There are a lot of gameplay aspects within the game, but the game itself is wisely crafted around those elements to allow you to use as many or as little of the elements as needed, effectively letting you drink as much of the game as you want but tempting you with better rewards if you take on the added challenges.  This approach, as well as the overall combination of tight gameplay, interesting story, and outstanding design, make this one of the most impressive RPGs that I’ve seen in a long time.

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LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (360) – Review

cover LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is another LEGO-based game from Traveler’s Tales, who have previously done both LEGO Star Wars games.  While there are several elements that are reused, and much of the general gameplay hasn’t changed much, they have refocused the general approach on the adventure genre and solving puzzles to progress in the game, making it feel pretty fresh and showing that the series has more legs with other popular franchises.  The game is generally on the easy side and is a bit short, but it is entertaining throughout.

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Lost Odyssey (360) – Review

cover Lost Odyssey is a turn-based role playing game developed by Mistwalker studios and distributed by Microsoft Game Studios.  The game has a number of similarities with Blue Dragon, also from the same studio, in both looks, gameplay, and other aspects.  However, while it introduces a number of interesting game elements, the overall approach to the game as well as odd loading times for a next-gen console game make it very tedious to work through.

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