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Found 14 results

  1. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time released in 2003, and it presented a new standard that action-adventure games still strive to achieve to this day. The titular prince and Farah, his sometimes-ally, have a relationship dynamic that felt lively and real, few games prior to 2003 had achieved such a portrayal. The influence of The Sands of Time can be felt in titles like Braid, The Last of Us, and BioShock Infinite. With a legacy that stretches back almost 15 years, is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Last Ninja 2: Back with a Vengeance 'Central Park (Metal Mix)' by Commando 64 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02273) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time released in 2003, and it presented a new standard that action-adventure games still strive to achieve to this day. The titular prince and Farah, his sometimes-ally, have a relationship dynamic that felt lively and real, few games prior to 2003 had achieved such a portrayal. The influence of The Sands of Time can be felt in titles like Braid, The Last of Us, and BioShock Infinite. With a legacy that stretches back almost 15 years, is Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: The Last Ninja 2: Back with a Vengeance 'Central Park (Metal Mix)' by Commando 64 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02273) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  3. Get ready for some farming nostalgia and small town romance, Natsume stealth released their 2003 life simulator Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life onto the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 4. This move comes as part of the company's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series. A Wonderful Life represents the first of two games from the PS2/GameCube era to see a re-release on PS4. In A Wonderful Life, players start with next to nothing aside from a rundown farm with a cow and a dog. Over the course of a few seasons in-game, players can build the farm up into a production juggernaut or let it be and spent their time walking around the nearby town talking with the locals and wooing the several eligible romance options. Players can eventually marry their digital partner and have a kid who then grows up into an adult. The special edition of A Wonderful Life comes with a number of welcome additions to the original game. Players have an additional love interest, more animal types, and the option to continue playing after the end of the story mode. There are also a number of quality of life changes that veterans will likely notice. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is now on PSN for $14.99 - who else is going to be farming up a storm in short order? View full article
  4. Get ready for some farming nostalgia and small town romance, Natsume stealth released their 2003 life simulator Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life onto the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 4. This move comes as part of the company's celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series. A Wonderful Life represents the first of two games from the PS2/GameCube era to see a re-release on PS4. In A Wonderful Life, players start with next to nothing aside from a rundown farm with a cow and a dog. Over the course of a few seasons in-game, players can build the farm up into a production juggernaut or let it be and spent their time walking around the nearby town talking with the locals and wooing the several eligible romance options. Players can eventually marry their digital partner and have a kid who then grows up into an adult. The special edition of A Wonderful Life comes with a number of welcome additions to the original game. Players have an additional love interest, more animal types, and the option to continue playing after the end of the story mode. There are also a number of quality of life changes that veterans will likely notice. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is now on PSN for $14.99 - who else is going to be farming up a storm in short order?
  5. Perhaps the quintessential cult classic, Beyond Good & Evil released in 2003 to some critical acclaim and lackluster sales. Directed by Michel Ancel, the creator of Rayman who yearned for more creative freedom at Ubisoft, the multiplatform release tackled very early 2000s themes of propaganda and murky government motivations as seen through the eyes of a young photojournalist who finds herself torn between the government who says it is keeping her safe and the resistance who tells her everything she knows is a lie. Combining themes that resonate to this day with an art style that has aged well and characters that ring true, is Beyond Good & Evil one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 'Super Mega Ultra Pipe House' by DDRKirby(ISQ) (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03487) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  6. Perhaps the quintessential cult classic, Beyond Good & Evil released in 2003 to some critical acclaim and lackluster sales. Directed by Michel Ancel, the creator of Rayman who yearned for more creative freedom at Ubisoft, the multiplatform release tackled very early 2000s themes of propaganda and murky government motivations as seen through the eyes of a young photojournalist who finds herself torn between the government who says it is keeping her safe and the resistance who tells her everything she knows is a lie. Combining themes that resonate to this day with an art style that has aged well and characters that ring true, is Beyond Good & Evil one of the best games period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 'Super Mega Ultra Pipe House' by DDRKirby(ISQ) (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03487) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! A Patreon has been created for those looking to support the show. You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  7. Back in the mists of the year 2000, Sega and Overworks released a game for the Dreamcast called Skies of Arcadia. The title made a name for itself as one of the finest RPGs available on the system - some people even argued that it was one of the best games made for the Dreamcast period. In fact, there was so much buzz around the game that it was ported to the Nintendo GameCube three years later. Jack makes the argument that, in either form, it's well worth playing - provided you can track down an elusive copy of the swashbuckling sky pirate game. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Sonic Advance 'The Glacier's Peak' by jmr (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02370) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes (consider leaving a review!). A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  8. Back in the mists of the year 2000, Sega and Overworks released a game for the Dreamcast called Skies of Arcadia. The title made a name for itself as one of the finest RPGs available on the system - some people even argued that it was one of the best games made for the Dreamcast period. In fact, there was so much buzz around the game that it was ported to the Nintendo GameCube three years later. Jack makes the argument that, in either form, it's well worth playing - provided you can track down an elusive copy of the swashbuckling sky pirate game. With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode. Outro music: Sonic Advance 'The Glacier's Peak' by jmr (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02370) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes (consider leaving a review!). A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  9. Released in 2000 for Dreamcast and 2003 for GameCube, Skies of Arcadia has proven itself to be one of those RPGs that really stuck with me over the years. When I was growing up, I didn’t see many RPGs in my house. Through sheer bad luck I somehow missed most of the great SNES RPGs, Super Mario RPG notwithstanding. For as much as I appreciate my N64, there was definitely a dearth of RPGs in its library compared to its 16-bit predecessors. The PlayStation and Dreamcast were unheard of in my home at the time, barely existing on the periphery of my young consciousness. Imagine my surprise when I picked up Skies of Arcadia: Legends for the GameCube over a decade ago and found myself wrapped up in a fantastical adventure full of heroes, villains, monsters, and sky pirates. To date, I think I spent more hours inside of Skies of Arcadia than any other traditional RPG with the exceptions of Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect series. Skies of Arcadia built an appreciation for RPGs in my heart, supplanting platformers as the genre that held the most sway over my gaming tastes. The dreamlike quality of its setting helps to set Skies of Arcadia apart from anything else out there. Arcadia's world consists of large islands and continents statically suspended in the sky. There are six major empires, both thriving and long gone, one for each moon that orbits their planet. The only way travel, commerce, and warfare between the different land masses can be achieved is through the use of air ships. Throw pirates, weapons of mass destruction, evil empires, and long lost magic into this setting and you have the makings of a great game. What I am trying to say is that Skies of Arcadia is a game about flying pirates being awesome and for that reason alone you should consider unearthing a copy. I haven’t made any secret that I heartily recommend Skies of Arcadia, but I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t have any imperfections. It falls victim to a number of RPG clichés in its storyline: amnesia, collect several magic maguffins, an escalating hierarchy of evil henchmen, etc. However, it is a testament to the quality of Skies of Arcadia that despite those clichés much of it feels fresh and exciting. I will be the first to admit that I could certainly be looking at this game through rose-colored glasses, but I think it is one of those rare titles that makes proper use of clichéd story elements. The clichés don’t feel out of place or misused. The narrative flows naturally from one point to another, and part of that flow includes a few well-worn video game tropes. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to make it feel fresh. Though many of the characters end up fitting into archetypical molds, they’re written well enough that players actually begin to develop empathy for their predicaments. One of my favorite examples of this is the captain of a small fishing vessel named Drachma. Captain Drachma is encountered early in the adventure and he initially serves as a gruff father figure. Over the course of the game Drachma is revealed to be motivated by a desire to avenge the death of his son (and the loss of his arm and eye) at the hands of a great skywhale named Rhaknam. He is so committed to this that he eventually buys a giant prow harpoon for his ship, with which he hopes to kill the beast. It is a pretty blatant reference to Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab, but it isn’t used as a joke. Instead, the backstory does what a backstory should do; it gives the player a new perspective on the previous words and actions of that character. Graphically, Skies of Arcadia has not aged well. It sometimes looks like a polygonal mess. What polygons it does have are very colorful and inviting which still do it credit and keep the game feeling light hearted and fun despite some of the darker content that crops up throughout the adventure. Despite the dated graphics the mechanics are solid and serviceable, while the narrative remains as compelling as ever. One of the biggest problems that plagued the original Dreamcast release was the absurdly high rate of random encounters. While that was fixed somewhat in the Legends port, battles are still a frequent occurrence. The general gist of the combat is that characters can attack, cast spells, use items, or guard. As these things are done, more SP points build up that can be used for special moves. Later in the game players unlock different super attacks that change depending on the party composition, each with its own cool cinematic. There is also the option to simply unleash the entire crew of your ship which has a variety of effects depending on who players have recruited. It is a simple system overall, but one that is definitely enjoyable. To traverse Arcadia, you need to fly your air ship through the overworld. Throughout the game, players will pilot a variety of different vessels, each with their own abilities and equipment that can be upgraded. Exploration is limited by the type of vessel that is being flown. Early on, there are certain areas that the ships available lack the ability to travel through, like wind currents and high pressure areas. This is not to say that searching out nooks and crannies is discouraged. Exploration can really pay off for persistent and observant players. You can discover rare locations or treasures granting a sizable reward. Thoroughly exploring areas can lead to optional boss battles or even new crew members to recruit. Perhaps the best feature of Skies of Arcadia is the ability to engage in ship-to-ship battles. In these cinematic battles, attacks and evasions can be ordered at opportune times to optimize damage output and escape enemy fire. The system allows players to plan out an entire round of maneuvers weighed against the likelihood of the enemy taking offensive or defensive actions. If the fight continues for a long enough period, a meter will fill and you gain the opportunity to unleash a brutal super attack that deals enormous amounts of damage. These skirmishes are few and far between, typically only occurring against large monsters or other ships. Players can outfit their ship with different decks, armor, cannons, torpedoes, etc. Each change will greatly affect how the ship performs in combat. More powerful cannons can typically only fire once, while smaller, less powerful cannons can fire multiple times in one turn, and torpedoes fire once with a delayed damage burst. Who is crewing the vessel also affects the ships performance, granting different bonuses to the ship’s offensive, defensive, or healing abilities. I’ve honestly never seen a combat system like it before or since, which is a shame because I’d be happy to see it as a central system for an entire game. Skies of Arcadia is not a perfect game, but there are a lot of aspects that deserve more recognition. Often when player mention RPGs from around the turn of the century, I hear names like Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Paper Mario, but almost never Skies of Arcadia. It holds a special place in my heart for being a fantastic introduction to the world of RPGs. Not only that, but there are no other games with ship combat like Skies of Arcadia. If you are in the market for an older RPG you couldn’t go terribly wrong seeking out Skies of Arcadia: Legends. The story is the stuff of solid adventure. View full article
  10. Good Old Game: Skies of Arcadia

    Released in 2000 for Dreamcast and 2003 for GameCube, Skies of Arcadia has proven itself to be one of those RPGs that really stuck with me over the years. When I was growing up, I didn’t see many RPGs in my house. Through sheer bad luck I somehow missed most of the great SNES RPGs, Super Mario RPG notwithstanding. For as much as I appreciate my N64, there was definitely a dearth of RPGs in its library compared to its 16-bit predecessors. The PlayStation and Dreamcast were unheard of in my home at the time, barely existing on the periphery of my young consciousness. Imagine my surprise when I picked up Skies of Arcadia: Legends for the GameCube over a decade ago and found myself wrapped up in a fantastical adventure full of heroes, villains, monsters, and sky pirates. To date, I think I spent more hours inside of Skies of Arcadia than any other traditional RPG with the exceptions of Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect series. Skies of Arcadia built an appreciation for RPGs in my heart, supplanting platformers as the genre that held the most sway over my gaming tastes. The dreamlike quality of its setting helps to set Skies of Arcadia apart from anything else out there. Arcadia's world consists of large islands and continents statically suspended in the sky. There are six major empires, both thriving and long gone, one for each moon that orbits their planet. The only way travel, commerce, and warfare between the different land masses can be achieved is through the use of air ships. Throw pirates, weapons of mass destruction, evil empires, and long lost magic into this setting and you have the makings of a great game. What I am trying to say is that Skies of Arcadia is a game about flying pirates being awesome and for that reason alone you should consider unearthing a copy. I haven’t made any secret that I heartily recommend Skies of Arcadia, but I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t have any imperfections. It falls victim to a number of RPG clichés in its storyline: amnesia, collect several magic maguffins, an escalating hierarchy of evil henchmen, etc. However, it is a testament to the quality of Skies of Arcadia that despite those clichés much of it feels fresh and exciting. I will be the first to admit that I could certainly be looking at this game through rose-colored glasses, but I think it is one of those rare titles that makes proper use of clichéd story elements. The clichés don’t feel out of place or misused. The narrative flows naturally from one point to another, and part of that flow includes a few well-worn video game tropes. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to make it feel fresh. Though many of the characters end up fitting into archetypical molds, they’re written well enough that players actually begin to develop empathy for their predicaments. One of my favorite examples of this is the captain of a small fishing vessel named Drachma. Captain Drachma is encountered early in the adventure and he initially serves as a gruff father figure. Over the course of the game Drachma is revealed to be motivated by a desire to avenge the death of his son (and the loss of his arm and eye) at the hands of a great skywhale named Rhaknam. He is so committed to this that he eventually buys a giant prow harpoon for his ship, with which he hopes to kill the beast. It is a pretty blatant reference to Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab, but it isn’t used as a joke. Instead, the backstory does what a backstory should do; it gives the player a new perspective on the previous words and actions of that character. Graphically, Skies of Arcadia has not aged well. It sometimes looks like a polygonal mess. What polygons it does have are very colorful and inviting which still do it credit and keep the game feeling light hearted and fun despite some of the darker content that crops up throughout the adventure. Despite the dated graphics the mechanics are solid and serviceable, while the narrative remains as compelling as ever. One of the biggest problems that plagued the original Dreamcast release was the absurdly high rate of random encounters. While that was fixed somewhat in the Legends port, battles are still a frequent occurrence. The general gist of the combat is that characters can attack, cast spells, use items, or guard. As these things are done, more SP points build up that can be used for special moves. Later in the game players unlock different super attacks that change depending on the party composition, each with its own cool cinematic. There is also the option to simply unleash the entire crew of your ship which has a variety of effects depending on who players have recruited. It is a simple system overall, but one that is definitely enjoyable. To traverse Arcadia, you need to fly your air ship through the overworld. Throughout the game, players will pilot a variety of different vessels, each with their own abilities and equipment that can be upgraded. Exploration is limited by the type of vessel that is being flown. Early on, there are certain areas that the ships available lack the ability to travel through, like wind currents and high pressure areas. This is not to say that searching out nooks and crannies is discouraged. Exploration can really pay off for persistent and observant players. You can discover rare locations or treasures granting a sizable reward. Thoroughly exploring areas can lead to optional boss battles or even new crew members to recruit. Perhaps the best feature of Skies of Arcadia is the ability to engage in ship-to-ship battles. In these cinematic battles, attacks and evasions can be ordered at opportune times to optimize damage output and escape enemy fire. The system allows players to plan out an entire round of maneuvers weighed against the likelihood of the enemy taking offensive or defensive actions. If the fight continues for a long enough period, a meter will fill and you gain the opportunity to unleash a brutal super attack that deals enormous amounts of damage. These skirmishes are few and far between, typically only occurring against large monsters or other ships. Players can outfit their ship with different decks, armor, cannons, torpedoes, etc. Each change will greatly affect how the ship performs in combat. More powerful cannons can typically only fire once, while smaller, less powerful cannons can fire multiple times in one turn, and torpedoes fire once with a delayed damage burst. Who is crewing the vessel also affects the ships performance, granting different bonuses to the ship’s offensive, defensive, or healing abilities. I’ve honestly never seen a combat system like it before or since, which is a shame because I’d be happy to see it as a central system for an entire game. Skies of Arcadia is not a perfect game, but there are a lot of aspects that deserve more recognition. Often when player mention RPGs from around the turn of the century, I hear names like Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire, Paper Mario, but almost never Skies of Arcadia. It holds a special place in my heart for being a fantastic introduction to the world of RPGs. Not only that, but there are no other games with ship combat like Skies of Arcadia. If you are in the market for an older RPG you couldn’t go terribly wrong seeking out Skies of Arcadia: Legends. The story is the stuff of solid adventure.
  11. It turns out that Super Smash Bros. Wii U will be hitting store shelves before the holidays after all. Nintendo has set aside November 21 as the day when all Wii U owners fall victim to "Smash" sickness. The first wave of Amiibo figures, consisting of Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Pikachu, Kirby, and Marth, will arrive on the same day. There will be a second wave of figures releasing later in the month that will include Zelda, Diddy Kong, Luigi, Pit, Captain Falcon, and Little Mac. Nintendo has also announced that a Wii U compatible GameCube controller ($29.99) will launch alongside Super Smash Bros. Wii U. There will also be a bundle that include Super Smash Bros. Wii U, the GameCube controller, and an adapter that allows players to use their original GameCube controllers ($99.99). The adapter will be sold separately for $19.99. View full article
  12. It turns out that Super Smash Bros. Wii U will be hitting store shelves before the holidays after all. Nintendo has set aside November 21 as the day when all Wii U owners fall victim to "Smash" sickness. The first wave of Amiibo figures, consisting of Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Pikachu, Kirby, and Marth, will arrive on the same day. There will be a second wave of figures releasing later in the month that will include Zelda, Diddy Kong, Luigi, Pit, Captain Falcon, and Little Mac. Nintendo has also announced that a Wii U compatible GameCube controller ($29.99) will launch alongside Super Smash Bros. Wii U. There will also be a bundle that include Super Smash Bros. Wii U, the GameCube controller, and an adapter that allows players to use their original GameCube controllers ($99.99). The adapter will be sold separately for $19.99.
  13. In a week between the release of a new generation of video game hardware and software, the release of a fighting game from a decade ago can easily be overlooked. "Transcending history, and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold," it would appear that the opening words of Soulcalibur II ring true as one of the most popular fighting games of the GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 era has been remastered and ported to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as a digital download. The ten year anniversary HD release stays true to the original, with a few minor improvements. The character roster includes Spawn and Heihachi Mishima, previously only available on the Xbox and PS2 versions, respectively. Nintendo didn't allow Link, the exclusive character in the GameCube version, to appear in the re-release. Most importantly, as the name would imply, Soulcalibur II HD Online will include online matchmaking. Any Extra Lifers out there have fond memories of Soulcalibur II? Thinking about picking up HD Online? Let us know what you think!
  14. In a week between the release of a new generation of video game hardware and software, the release of a fighting game from a decade ago can easily be overlooked. "Transcending history, and the world, a tale of souls and swords, eternally retold," it would appear that the opening words of Soulcalibur II ring true as one of the most popular fighting games of the GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 era has been remastered and ported to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as a digital download. The ten year anniversary HD release stays true to the original, with a few minor improvements. The character roster includes Spawn and Heihachi Mishima, previously only available on the Xbox and PS2 versions, respectively. Nintendo didn't allow Link, the exclusive character in the GameCube version, to appear in the re-release. Most importantly, as the name would imply, Soulcalibur II HD Online will include online matchmaking. Any Extra Lifers out there have fond memories of Soulcalibur II? Thinking about picking up HD Online? Let us know what you think! View full article