Gaming 233

Published on November 20th, 2008 | by Greg


Fight, Shoot, or Quest?

The Nintendo DS is a pretty great device for RPGs- perfect for long trips, with some handy features that make for interesting and user-friendly gameplay. Best of all, RPGs don't need fancy, flashy graphics- they may help, but Zork is still fun long after it looks dated.

Our first game this week is Dragon Quest IV, a game that was originally released on the NES (really!) and later the Playstation. The update has actually improved the game in some ways while not changing anything too important- the storyline is great, and they made fantastic use of the dual screens. The music and graphics are clean, bright, and add to the presentation. If you've already played through, there probably isn't reason enough to get this version (except for nostalgia)- but if you haven't, DQIV is definitely worth a look.

The same can't quite be said about the latest Bond game, Quantum of Solace for the Xbox 360. Having seen the movie, I can safely say that the game isn't as good- whatever your feelings about the film. Further, in a season packed with amazing, must-play titles, this one just feels tired. That's not to say there aren't moments of fun to be had, with some excellent voiceover work and sequences, and a decent life in the multiplayer section. Of course, it isn't Goldeneye, but what would be?

The single-player mode suffers from trying to do too much, from some questionable plotting and minigames. Developer Treyarch obviously knows what to do (take a look at the Call of Duty series; QoS uses the CoD4 engine to decent results), but either the license got in the way, or a short development timeframe did… and it shows.

Finally, if questing or shooting aren't quite violent enough, what about an update to the classic fighting game Mortal Kombat. This time, and for the first time, the license meets with another IP- DC Comics. This mashup adds some new life into what was a rapidly-fading fighting game series, and though it won't satisfy those who are used to Tekken or Soul Calibur, the ability to play as some classic comic characters adds a fair bit of variety, strategy, and fun.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, as it is properly called, looks pretty great- good animations, decent sound, and nice levels. Superman, Batman, and the rest of the cast are pretty faithful, and though you might miss a few of the folks, pretty much everyone you would want is included. What you might miss are the over-the-top blood and gore that used to be the hallmark of Mortal Kombat, and have been toned down significantly for this game to receive a Teen rating instead of Mature. The plot and single-player and AI are about the same as ever, but if you have a buddy or two, the new Freefall Kombat mode is a ton of fun.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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