Posted by: shatteredblog | July 11, 2008

Vacation Gaming

On vacation, so I don’t have access to my mighty new gaming machine… but that’s no excuse for not still playing a game whenever the conversation dies down. I have my psp with me, and even though they’re not new games I wanted to talk about the three I brought with me this weekend.

First up is Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. A new remake of an ancient game, this one is probably responsible for all the newer turn based tactical strategy games that have come out recently. The remake isn’t one of my favorites, sad to say… they made a design decision to not add much new story content beyond a couple cameos and a new final dungeon path… and the graphics and gameplay are otherwise a nearly direct port of the playstation game from 1998. The upside is that it was a great game then, and all the greatness is still with us with the remade and portable version.
Second, I brought along something totally different… so different you might not even consider it a game at all. Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel is a retelling of another classic playstation game in graphic novel format, complete with bang pow action and unique artistry. It isn’t a game but an experience, and the interactive portion of the disc is a hide and seek collection game that allows you to search for clues about the story and characters within and behind the artwork during the story. Collecting sets of related data allows you to piece together the story in an elaborate and sometimes confusing, but ultimately rewarding minigame. It’s not for everyone, and it certainly doesn’t recreate the experience of playing the original tactical espionage game, but if you’re a fan or would like to know what the MGS4 hubbub is about this is where the series really began. Another graphic novel based on the second game in the series Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel 2: Sons of Liberty is upcoming according to previews released recently and I’m really excited about it as well.

Last is Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, which was highly anticipated as the game that would finally bring the psp home as a portable gaming solution. I’d like to say that it did, but the DS still outsells my favorite portable by quite a margin in this country… on the psp though, this game is still king of the heap. My take on it is that they really tried hard to make it for everybody, and the new story (a prequel to the events of the original Final Fantasy 7) is very rewarding but regrettably short. The ‘value’ in the game, the bang for your buck so to speak comes from a large collection of missions that are short hunt and capture minigames. These missions are the only way to obtain the best items in the game, and are rewarding but overly repetitive… and the actual storyline when played on normal difficulty doesn’t require you to even glance in the direction of them. It would have been nice to have had a real old school rpg experience on the psp, a game that recreated the world of Final Fantasy 7 and allowed us to have another adventure in that world. Personally, even though it was alluded to in the old game the Loveless bits really turn me off as light melodrama… and Gackt kind of grates on me. Don’t listen to my whining though, this is an amazing experience, and even if it was another final fantasy game that captured your passion this one is worth experiencing.

Ok, bedtime for me… or maybe another hour of play then bedtime.


  1. Never played any of those *snickers* no surprise there though. My brother owns a psp, but alas I do not. Still love reading about other people’s experience though!

  2. You’re my target audience for this post, silly! I didn’t want to get into an arguement with someone who had already played them and disagreed with me.

    If you’re interested at all in console rpg’s this is a good time to think about getting a psp. Soon to be released are the remakes of Star Ocean and Star Ocean: Second Story, which are two great old playstation games that I’m really excited about.

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