Glad I did/didn’t buy it…

Well, I got my PlayStation 2 a little over a month ago and thanks to the Coke Rewards program I’ve been able to get some free game rentals at BlockBuster Video. This is a good thing since at $7.99 a rental I wouldn’t have rented any…I also picked up a few games when I got the system and recently ordered a couple more from Walmart.

The games I’ve rented:

Super Monkey Ball Adventure – Wow, boring. Rented this mostly for the mini-games to see if I could get my mom into gaming a little. The majority of mini-games were two minute “try it and see what’s next” type games. One, a cannon vs castles game was amusing but the AI as in all too many games is far too good for the novice player.

Thrillville – Yeah, umm, SIM type games should be left to the PC with more keys to choose from and control things. I couldn’t even get through the tutorial for this before I gave up on the main game. The mini-games were for the most part completely unplayable though the mini-golf game gave us several hours of amusement. Not worth the price to play one cut down game in the party games selections.

We Love Katamari – I know, I know, everyone told me this was a fantabulous game series and it would be easy for someone with my hand problems to play. I think they were all smoking crack. The game play while amusing wasn’t anything that made me stand up and shout “I MUST have this game!” it was rough on my hands. You frequently get stuck in corners where the camera can’t show you what the hell you’re doing. The menu system… how do I express my contempt… this would insult the intelligence of a 6 year old. You either have to sit through the annoying ‘sound per letter’ dialog or constantly hit the X key to fast forward through the insultingly insipid conversations. “I don’t want this game, ever again!”

Test Drive: Unlimited – which is a limited cut down version of the Xbox 360 version of the game. Like too many car games it feels like the developers have never seen let alone driven a real sports car. The cars which all drive and sound alike handle like greased pigs on ice. Except, of course, for the cars controlled by the AI. Those cars a driven as if they’re on rails and seem to have super speed bursts as one that was WAY the hell behind me was able to catch and pass me at the last second even though it was supposed to be the same car I was driving. The physics are a joke. You can’t drive up some hills my grandma could have walked up. There’s no damage taken no matter what you do. A head-on collision at 150 MPH is the same as tapping a tree at 5. Cars you hit BOUNCE out of your way. At $37 this game is garbage. It might be decent if you wait for it to hit the $10 bargain bin, maybe.

The games I have bought –

Final Fantasy XII – Oh, my god. How much content can they cram into a DVD?! It’s been a long time since I played an RPG (think Sega Saturn days) and this is just blowing my mind. The game is flat out gorgeous. I’ve put over 220 hours into the game and still have a ways to go. Some, like the fishing game are beyond my hand skills and the real time combat system is a little rough in big battles. Speaking of the real time combat, NO more random encounters. One thing I always hated about RPGs was the ‘doo dee dee doo!’ sound of some monster you didn’t see now attacking you. While some monsters still do spawn out of the ground or drop from the ceiling you fight them where you are in the game, no more battle screen switch over! There’s more side quests you can stop and enjoy than you can shake a bundle of sticks at. I absolutely love this game and I don’t want it to end! The camera angles can be a bit annoying especially when fighting a huge (and I mean, screen filling, gigantic, huge) monster where you mostly get to see wall or a giant foot. It still doesn’t detract enough from the game to make you quit playing. If you’ve got the time for an RPG, get this game!

Gottleib’s Pinball Collection – This is fun! It’s no Earth shaking game but it’s got a bunch of tables to play and each recreates a classic pinball table from the 50’s to the 80’s (90’s?). Graphics are well done. Game play reasonably represents real pinball tables. Tilting is all too easy to do just like in the real thing. Best of all my mom not only can play this and enjoys playing it but she can also, on a couple of the tables, kick my ass. Go mom!

Some ‘World Championship Poker’ game – I can’t remember which of the many WCP games this is. I mistakenly thought it was multi-player but that’s only for online gaming. It’s ok as poker games go but nothing to write home about. The locations are dark, dingy and kind of boring. The game play includes some ‘bluff meter’ thing that I need to look up in the manual one of these days. The AI plays reasonably well and will even toss a decent hand if you play a strong enough betting game. Character/avatar creation is minimalistic. Most options (earrings, etc) aren’t even visible when playing. Thankfully I got this in the $10 bargain bin, I certainly wouldn’t pay more for it.

Games I’ve just ordered:

Hot Shots Golf Fore – This got decent reviews and I’m hoping that even if the main game is too hard the new-for-this-version miniature golf courses will be something my mom can get into. 

Dragon Quest VIII – Another Square-Enix RPG, cell shaded this time. It looks interesting and got great reviews. Hell, you really can’t go wrong with Square.

JamPack Vol. 11 – Just a demo disc of PS2 games. Can’t go wrong getting 10 playable game demos for $4.

Games I’m going to order, soon:

World Championship Cards – Yeah, another WC game. I’m getting this for two reasons. Firstly because I’ve got a little over $8 left on a Sears gift card and secondly because it’s got CRIBBAGE! I used to love the cribbage game over at the MSN Gaming Zone but those bastards at Microshaft took the multi-player games away from us. I can’t take cribbage in person, I always mess up the point count but get a computer to count for me and I can play for hours on end.


Update – The games I ordered appear to have shipped already. YAY!


  1. J.I.

    You know, I just didn’t get Katamari Damacy either. I got a few levels in and had no desire to go any further. Given the choice between wasting time on that or something like Final Fantasy I think the choice is obvious.

    Now that you are a proud ps2 owner I should recommed a few games. I don’t know how bad your hands are so i’ll try not to mention games like Guitar Hero.

    Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas – The whole reason to own a ps2. The closest thing to virtual reality so far.

    The Warriors – C’mon, I know you love that movie. The entire first half of the game is a prelude to the movie. They even brought back most of the actors to do the voices and the atmosphere is perfect!

    Spider-Man 2 – Grand Theft Auto in the Marvel Universe. Not the best game ever but nothing compares to swinging through streets of a virtual New York City as Spiderman.

    The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction – Same idea but with a lot more carnage.

    God of War – Best platformer I have played.

    Have fun!

  2. hawk (Post author)

    Yeah, I do love The Warriors, been one of my favorite movies for a LONG, long time. I’m going to rent it one of these days to check it out. My biggest problem with any of the PS2 games I’ve tried is those that require you to move with one analog stick and aim with the other. I just absolutely cannot get my hands to work that way. Sadly this culls just about every FPS from the ‘gotta try it’ list.


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