Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 22, 2012
Email: Post 16-bit games that I still play
While you’re working on your post about 5 PC games you keep playing, I thought I’d share some games, after the 16-bit gen, that keep me coming back (of course there are loads of games before then that I love replaying). These aren’t games I would insist you have to play (but trying them out would of course be nice), just why I find I keep enjoying them.
First some honorable mentions. Some games I think might be this, but it’s too soon to tell.
- Xenoblade: Haven’t finished it yet, but I already can say this game deserves a “more perfect” sequel.
- Persona 1 (PSP remake): Haven’t finished it either, but it doesn’t have a solid battle system. The difficulty doesn’t hold your hand either. I’d put the difficulty in between the NES and SNES Final Fantasy games.
- Pokemon Black: I got it recently, but haven’t even opened it yet. It’s my first true Pokemon game though, and I have been wanting to try one for quite some time. The closest I got before were the Spectrobes gmaes (which could take off if they were streamlined and didn’t make excavation such a chore), and a Pokemon Ranger game (not a bad game, but it has all the earmarks of being made just to fulfill any “must show off the DS touchscreen!” obligations, so it was no surprise I got that game on clearance, but got Black for full price).
- Crackdown 1 and 2: Haven’t beaten either one yet, but they still beat the pants off of GTA IV. And in hindsight, it was really dumb for the “hardcore” to assume people were only buying it for the Halo 3 Beta (they expected floods of returns after the Beta was over).
- New Super Mario Bros Wii: Again, haven’t beaten it yet.
Now to the games I certainly keep coming back to (and the 3D Mario and Zelda games used to be this, but I find they just don’t hold up that well).
- Castelvania Symphony of the Night, Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: These are pretty obvious, as regardless of Super Metroid’s shortcomings, it’s a far better design for a game than many games use today. Oh, and I forgot how much splendor was in Symphony’s soundtrack when you turn the volume up. But that’s part of the measure of good music. It has a melody you can follow at lower volume, and even more depth added when you turn it up.
- Dragon Quest Series: While I replay the ones I complete, I find I want to play more games as well, and I REALLY want the Dragon Quest Anniversary Collection localized to the US. Nintendo, just do it and take my money!
- Ratchet & Clank (PS2 games), and the original Spyro Trilogy: While some of these are better than others, they still have solid gameplay and action. Plus the various weapons to try out help the endgame for the R&C games. I don’t have a PS3 yet, but more of those games would be among the first I buy for it.
- Grandia 1-3: These are hampered by unskippable cut scenes and stories that take themselves way too seriously for how cliched they are, but they also have, hands down, my favorite RPG battle system. It’s hard to describe, but it adds a lot of strategy to all but the most basic fights.
- Grand Theft Auto III, GTA Vice City, GTA San Andreas, Saints Row 1-3: Well you’ve already explained how fun these can be, but I’ll explain why the later GTA games aren’t included. Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories basically recycled their settings (Saints Row 2 used the same city as 1, but radically altered it), and there were elements of their stories that really bothered me (I actually refuse to finish VCS, as I know what happens to Louise). As for GTA IV, I bought a used copy, and returned it after a few days (got Lost Odyssey instead, which doesn’t screw around with what works in an RPG). The driving is horrible, and walking feels more appropriate for the first Silent Hill games than a sandbox game. Chinatown Wars I didn’t touch, as it was them basically going artsy with the game (and then blaming the DS owners for not buying it in droves).
- Dance Dance Revolution, Just Dance, We Cheer, Dance Central: Yeah, I like these dancing games. They are silly and fun.
- Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days: Okay, I stopped caring about the Kingdom Hearts story after a while. It’s just convoluted, and stuff is thrown in without care to make sure they fit. But the gameplay is solid (save for the menus and the combo system often forcing button mashing). The first DS game (which does have a silly title) is the one I replay the most, because the mission are great for replaying, whether the regular versions, the multiplayer versions, or the challenge versions (save for the “Don’t miss” ones, as the combo system makes those more frustrating than challenging).
- Disgaea 1 and 2, Phantom Brave: Ever since I played Vandal Hearts, strategy RPGs became one of my favorite genres. I would say I feel about them now the way you feel about shoot-’em-ups. And some of Nippon Ichi’s games are the cream of the crop. They have loads of variety in how you can play, which means loads of endgame (especially the extra dungeons that require level grinding to the roof). And I would say the storytelling in these games is actually good. It’s not great, but it’s actually competent most of the time, which is more than I can say for most game writers. Some of the music tracks are wonderful as well. I say look up “Anthem of Braves” and “Prinny My Love”. Oh, and I haven’t played Disgaea 3 and 4 yet, but those are more good reasons for me to get a PS3.
- Resident Evil 4: I freakin’ love this game. It has great gameplay, flow that lets you fight any way you want, and that and all the different weapons give it lots of endgame. I would say that a more perfect version of the game (has too much linearity at points) could become another true hit game* closer to the Call of Duty games than the flash-in-the-pan games of these days. I would say one of the biggest “dropping the ball” this generation was the lack of a more perfect RE4 (although bigger droppings of the ball are of course the 3DS and Nintendo handling the later Wii years). 5 is basically a weaker version of 4 combined with a weaker version of Gears of War, and a game that was overall smaller than both of those. Further games aren’t refining it either, just trying to show off all the effects and background clutter they can add.
So those are the games I still play. I know most are far from classics, but they have more than the rest of the drivel that keeps being thrown at us, or games that are good, but sabotaged by their own drivel (the Wild ARMs games having puzzles getting in the way of the RPG fighting, or the Overlord games using the minions for puzzles instead of another form of RTS gaming).
* Although the game still sold very well as it is, even on the Wii, which kind of flies in the face of the third parties’ claim that Wii owners wouldn’t by their games. It’s likely why Capcom also moved the goalposts in terms of “testing” the Wii market (it wasn’t meant to actually sell), and why others refuse to mention when discussing the supposed risk of developing on the Wii (that and they refuse to acknowledge that more companies go under supporting the HD systems than supporting the Wii).You went through great lengths to make this email so I’ll put it up. Perhaps others will share your enjoyment of these post 16-bit games.