Sunday, February 19, 2012

More Vita Quick Looks

...Because I am a masochist, apparently and I can't stop watching these things despite having no ability to play with one for the long three days that remain.  Three more of the games that I have at least a cursory interest in have Quick Looks, as I imagine the bulk of the Vita's Launch Line-up does, so I decided it was a great idea to give them a look over as, while I doubt any of them will be bought sooner rather than later, there is a good chance that some of them will be accompanying me in my game-playing journeys.  I think it's a safe bet to say that the Vita's launch line-up is fantastic by anyone's standards, but more importantly to me, I'm finding that there's a lot of titles in it that I clearly wouldn't mind getting as well, which is exciting.  While I'm only getting two, that's mostly because of monetary reasons as were that not an object I think I would get all six of the games I've shown off through these two posts if just to try them.

First up is a game from a series that, much like Lumines, I've just never gotten into despite having a genuine interest at checking it out.  Though I guess you could say I have technically dipped my toes into the 'universe' of it as it were with Nobi Nobi Boy, it's still not really the same thing.  Touch My Katamari is the latest version of the Katamari Damacy series that involves you rolling a ball around the world to pick up things to get bigger so you can pick up bigger things and so on and so forth.  It's a simple concept, but the simple ones are oftentimes some of the most pleasing, if just in short bursts.  Though I'm not sure how short each level of the game might be, given that some seem to be based on getting the biggest Katamari as you can in a given time, where others seem to task you with a certain size to reach and grade you on how fast it took to get there.

While I haven't played Katamari games, I've certainly seen them and, as the Giant Bomb crew are quick to point out, it certainly looks like a Katamari game and appears to play as one too.  Though there's not a lot you can do to add to the simple theory in play aside from what's been added in the Vita version in stretching the Katamari tall or wide.  I'm not sure just how much that adds to the game beyond novelty, as I'm not sure if they'd create levels just to cater to those functions, but I'm sure there's some usage in there for it.  And it's something else to do as you roll around, picking up stuff.  I'm not sure I could suggest it adds strategy to the game, but at one point, I do see an area where rolling flat could have certainly made it easier for the guy playing to pick up a bunch of grouped objects though he didn't seem to think of it.

Katamari proves to have all the familiar japanese quirkiness one would hope for in such a game and then some, which will likely appeal to the side of me who ironically or unironically enjoys that sort of thing, though I'm sure it'll make me wonder why they have fully voiced cutscenes, but the King of All Cosmos talks in sound effects when he has been voiced in the past.  Seems like a little bit of an oversight there.  And despite all this, I can't help but wish that it was Nobi Nobi Boy rather than Katamari.  I can only hope that someone decides, down the line a bit, that it would be a good idea to port over the PSN darling for people like me who would enjoy it.  The Vita-exlusive gimmick is there already, as you can just use the touch pads to stretch your Nobi Nobi Boy rather than use the control sticks.  It's a rather perfect fit, I should say.

Super Stardust has built up something of a pretty hardcore following for anyone following all things PSN, so that it's seeing an iteration on the Vita, especially at launch, is no surprise.  It is, again, a rather simple concept in that you have a dual-stick shooter that puts you in the cockpit of a starship whose goal is to blow up a bunch of meteors using all sorts of wild weaponry.  From what I can tell, it has a little Ikaruga flair in it in it since meteors are color-coded (well, more like temperature-coded) and you have two weapons that will exaggerate these conditions, blowing the space rocks up.  As such, the heat ray is for hot rocks and the ice beam is for ice rocks, and while one can take out the other, it's nowhere near as fast or efficient to do so.  All in all, pretty simple right off.

There's more added on top of that of course, as there were mentions of bossfights which I imagine aren't against meteors, which is rather nice.  I don't really know a whole lot here, being someone who hasn't dipped into the series at all, but that's what I can glean from parts of information here and there as well as the quick look above.  I guess, thinking on it, there's not a lot I can say about a twin-stick shooter other than there are things that you shoot and how you shoot them.  Though I must say the game does use colors rather well, and the framerate is absolutely excellent.  Where most games have slowdown as a side-effect, I believe I can safely say the slow-down when you use a special attack like unleashing a black hole or letting loose a volley (which is an understatement) of missiles is intentional for effect.  That's quite refreshing to see when it seems that a lot of the other launch games weren't quite able to lock a framerate at anything.  And for a $10 title that most people might get for free, even, that's quite an introduction to the system.

Modnation Racers:  Road Trip could very well be the last lap for the franchise that's spanned over all three 'recent' Playstation devices with the news that LittleBigPlanet Karting is officially a thing, so I have to wonder if it's worth getting in on it since I can have the more 'complete' version of it, with the ability to play every track that was created for the PS3 version of the game, and have access to all the Mods and Karts created for it as well.  The rationale part of my brain says "No" because I do not, nor have I ever really (beyond a stint with Mario Kart 64 on my N64 which, let's be honest, any game would've been latched on to) been into Kart Racers and my playings with both the PS3 and PSP versions of the game left a little to be desired, having been in the Betas for both by some stroke of luck.  On the other hand, I get to have all the fun of a Single-Player racing experience which I find that much more desirable than a multi-player one, knowing I'm in the minority on this.

Still, the obvious main draw of the game, the creation aspects, have a powerful, powerful pull to me.  As you can tell by reading this blog even, I like just creating things, even if I'm not going to share them or anything.  I could probably spend hours making tracks, mods and karts in the creator, not upload a single one and be perfectly happy with it, though I suspect I might fold eventually.  Still, the mere thought of playing around, making things like makes it really easy to reach for my wallet.  I have to constantly remind myself that there is racing in the game, and regardless of the quality of it, I really don't care for racing games whatsoever, preferring to get where I want to go the way I want to go without being shoehorned one way or another.  As well as that, there are rampant rumors of the AI for the PS3 version, at least having what's affectionately referred to as "Cheater AI" which can't make a racing game much more fun than it is at base.

Again, any of these games and the games from the previous post have a potential to have a spot in my Vita library at some point in the future, and from what I've seen, I wouldn't mind it in the least.  Modnation Racers is likely going to get a spot despite the obvious because I know I'm going to get it and make things and hate myself for spending $20-30 on a game that I won't play, but rather just use as a tool box, but I know me and I know it's going to happen.  Katamari is likely as well, as it seems like a fun little quirky game and perhaps my purchase will let Bandai Namco know that I like this type of game, so I'll be able to get what I actually want.  Time will tell, I suppose, and all I can do is watch and rewatch these videos again and again, wishing that it was me playing them.

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