Saturday, December 12, 2015

Blasting Through My PS2 Backlog, Part 1  


Welcome back to Coffeecola!

First off, in case you missed it, I posted my top ten games of 2015 over at @Gamecritics. If you haven't seen it, click on over and let me know what you think of my selections! 

Now, let's get down to business...

So, it sounds a little ridiculous to still have a PS2 backlog now that we're well into the PS4 era, but... Yep... I definitely do have a stack of games from back then that I always meant to play. 

I didn't want to commit to anything big this weekend since I'm working on other reviews, but it felt like the time was right to blow through some of these in rapid-fire style and pack up the ones I'm genuinely never going to play.  

Here are the first four...


Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier - 2009

I was a big fan of Naughty Dog’s original Jak & Daxter trilogy, so I picked this one up who knows when because I was hoping for more of the same. For those who’ve never played it, it’s basically a hop-and-bop franchise with some light vehicle and collection elements tossed in.

While it’s got the same stars and it’s set in the same world as the first three titles, it was done by a different studio (High Impact Games) and it was originally built for the PSP, so there are some differences.

For example, the camera doesn't tilt up and down since the PSP didn't have a second stick, there’s aerial combat, and the graphic quality is pretty weird -- it definitely doesn't look like a native PS2 game.  It seems fine enough for what it is, but after having played the original three and after letting so much time go by, I think I'm all right with leaving this franchise in the past.

Verdict: Tossed in storage


Pirates: Legend Of The Black Buccaneer - 2006

I had been looking at this one for a long time, waiting for it to drop to the right price in the bargain bins, but I think it was @AshtonRaze tweeting about it that finally pushed me over the edge into purchase territory. 

The gist is that an escaped slave becomes some sort of evil voodoo queen, and your character is a sailor who’s one of many coming after her treasure. It's got a strong Eurojank vibe to it, and the world seems more complex than I was expecting… I didn’t play long, but I was picking up a bit of old-school Tomb Raider mixed with a dash of Risen.  There was platforming, a quest log, some puzzles… The word felt fairly open-ended, too. Promising! 

On the other hand, I'm not too sure about the themes… casting the antagonist as a black female slave who does voodoo is a little questionable, and the first power the hero (a white guy) earns is the ability to turn into a hulking black voodoo brute. The whole thing feels vaguely racist in some way, but it was good enough to pique my interest.

Verdict: Kept it around to play later.


Summoner 2 - 2002

This one is a bit of a cheat because I did play this when it first released. I seem to remember getting fairly far in it until I hit a big difficulty spike and I put it down. I recall being impressed with the size and scope of it back then so I wanted to give it one last shot, but it hasn’t aged well enough. 

Within the first few minutes of play, I was really turned off by how stiff and unnatural the movement and combat felt, and the graphics weren't nearly as good as some of the other games in my PS2 backlog.

I’m sure there's a lot to the game that I haven't even scratched, but this one’s a little too rough and I don’t think I’m going to be able to commit to this one.  

Verdict: Tossed in storage


Scarface: The World Is Yours - 2006

This one surprised me a bit -- it seems like a pretty legit attempt at horning in on GTA territory and there's definitely some money behind it. It's an open world game with a lot of licensed music and tons of voice acting. 

Speaking of which, the main voice actor isn’t a ringer for Al Pacino, but he definitely gets the tone of the film correct. Within the first few minutes of play, he was swearing a blue streak and had me diving for the remote control so that I wouldn't have to explain to my son what all those words meant.

Things started off on the right foot with a good tutorial and the beginning of the game was strong, showing the fall of Tony Montana and how his wealth and power was stolen away. The enemy count was a wee bit concerning (I think I killed 150 dudes in the first three minutes) and I don't know that I’m necessarily in the market for another open world game after all the other ones I've played this year, but this one had me intrigued.

Verdict: Kept it around to play later.


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