Saturday, 5 July 2008

The pick of the bunch

PataponTo go with my love letter to portable gaming, here are some of the better games to catch my eye over the past year or so:

Advance Wars: Dark Conflict (DS): A superior turn-based strategy affair, this game is an improvement over its predecessor simply by virtue of having characters you don’t want to drown.

Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS): Turn it on for half an hour a day and pay off your virtual mortgage while engaging furry convention rejects in inane conversations. It’s bizarrely addictive, and I had to forcibly give it up – the fact that I succeeded gives me hope in quitting smoking.

Beats (PSP): One of the few worthwhile downloadables on the UK website, Beats takes your saved music and converts them into levels – not unlike Vib Ribbon did so many years ago. Simplistic, but fun.

Crisis Core – Final Fantasy VII (PSP): A prequel to the original FFVII, Crisis Core is a simplistic semi-brawler that wouldn’t get away with its obvious design flaws if (a) it wasn’t Final Fantasy, (b) it was on a bigger screen or (c) it wasn’t so darn pretty. As it stands, it’s good fun.

Advance Wars (DS)Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions (PSP): An excellent port of the original PSX game, this is a stupidly complex and rewarding strategic role playing game. Prepare to sink in hours of preparation to get through a ten minute battle.

Final Fantasy VI (GBA / DS): A port of the old SNES classic, this game is one of the highlights of the whole series. The reduced screen size means that the old graphics still look gorgeous even to my jaded PlayStation eyes, and the story is heartbreakingly well told.

FlOw (PSP): It’s not a game, I think. I’m not sure what it is, but I lost a fair few hours of my life playing it.

God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP): Everyone’s favourite Spartan kicks the shit out of more mythology. As brutal – and formulaic – as the PS2 releases, it has not lost its glossy prettiness in the translation.

Metal Gear SolidMetal Gear Solid Portable Ops (PSP): It’s Metal Gear Solid with comic book cutscenes and the ability to kidnap enemy soldiers. Stealthy goodness.

Patapon (PSP): Rhythm action battling. Save your Patapon nation by banging drums. Compulsively weird.

Platinum Sudoku (DS): I know, I know. It’s Sudoku. But there’s about 20 million of them on the cartridge, which means I’m never running out. FFVI aside, I’ve spent more time with this than with any other portable game.

Pokemon Diamond (DS): God, I wish I was joking. But underneath the kiddy graphics and plot, there really is a deep game with an incredible amount of stuff to collect and beat up.

Tekken Dark Resurrection (PSP): It’s Tekken 5, but smaller and with more stuff to do. It’s without a doubt the best fighting game available on a portable console, and perfect for a commute of any length.

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