Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is an adventure game released in 2006 for Xbox and Windows. It's the sequel to The Longest Journey, a straight point-and-click adventurer released seven years earlier. Dreamfall takes advantage of the beefier hardware and features fully navigable 3D environments that plays more like Shenmue than Syberia. This may very well be the evolution of adventure games right before our eyes.
I never played the original Longest Journey, well, I take that back. I played the demo for a few minutes then turned it off. So much for the first hour of a demo, huh? There's something to be said about starting in the middle of any story driven game, it usually doesn't work. But that's The Longest Journey, and this is Dreamfall! If you're curious about the game after the review, it's readily available on both Steam and Xbox Live Originals on the 360. Check it out, after we check out the first hour of Dreamfall.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released 10 years ago this week for the Nintendo 64 and 3D adventure gaming has never been the same. Topping many gamers' all-time favorites list and sitting atop at Game Rankings, Ocarina of Time currently reigns as the unofficial Greatest Game of All-Time. I remember quite well my anticipation for this game ten solid years ago and that it actually did live up to the hype.
How much more can be said about this game that hasn't already been said? Well, no one has just played the first hour before and wrote a review just on that, so let me be the first. I'll be playing the original Nintendo 64 version, as there have been at least a Gamecube and Virtual Console port so far.
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is the one and true sequel to Pac-Man! You may be wondering, but wat about Ms. Pac-man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, or Pac-Mania? Nope, none of those have the number two in their name. Pac-Man 2 is the definitive sequel, and it is a side-scrolling adventure game with puzzle elements. How about that. It was released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and is quite the departure from the traditional series.
Fourteen years after chomping pills in a dark maze, Pac-Man is now a moody middle-aged blob living with Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Jr., and Pac-Baby-Daughter. Pac-Man is an independent blob too, as you don't even control him directly! Instead you shoot a slingshot to point out things to Pac-Man and hopefully grab his attention. This doesn't always work though and Pac-Man can get angry pretty quickly. This is pretty much a recipe for complete disaster, so let's start cooking the first hour of Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures.
Ico is an adventure game in the greatest sense of the word. It was released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2001 and has a decent fanbase, helped by a sort of spiritual prequel in Shadow of the Colossus released in 2005. Ico is considered a prime example of video games being art, with many pointing at its stylistic graphics, lack of interface, and engrossing story as highlights. The game sold best in Europe, part of which I attribute to bad box-art syndrome. Check out the Japanese/European cover in the infobox, and here's the North American cover. I honestly don't know who approves this crap.
For my review on just the first hour, please see my Ico review at The First Hour.
Ico is a PlayStation 2 video game released in 2001. It's honestly hard for me to believe that this game is seven years old already, but it is, and I still think it plays great. I discovered Ico in 2005 after I had finished the great game, Shadow of the Colossus, which serves as sort of a distant prequel to Ico. Anyways, Ico is an action-adventure game similar to Zelda but without an interface, text-driven story, or large cast of characters. Ico is minimalist in many senses of the word.
I feel like I'm drawn to these cult hit games recently as I enjoy exposing them and also trying out a game I would never play if it weren't for this site. I've owned Ico for three years and I've barely ever played it. Well, that's enough introduction, let's get to the review!
For my review on the entire game, please see my Ico review at Beyond the First Hour.
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a new adventure game in the same vein as Lego Star Wars. I've had great fun with the recent series of Lego games and since I've always been a fan of Indiana Jones, this is one game I'm excited to play. I've only played one other Indiana Jones game before and that was Desktop Adventures, a fun, randomly generated top-down computer game. Lego Indiana Jones supposedly does not include any content from the newest movie, which doesn't bother me, I thought it was pretty bad honestly. I will be playing the Nintendo DS version of Lego Indiana Jones.
This is my last review for Day 2 of The First Hour. Another 24 hours of video gaming has passed and another 24 will begin soon. All reviews here on old domain will be moving to firsthour.net and all new reviews will be posted there. That site will consolidate my full review site into it also. I'm really excited for it and I plan to launch it this summer. It will probably be a few weeks though as I have just closed on a house and also have a baby on the way, so it's going to be a busy summer! I'm excited for the future though and still plan to review just the first hour of video games. Heck, that's all I have time for anyway.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is the combination of the first two Lego Star Wars games (The Video Game and Original Trilogy) in what is an obvious attempt to sell more copies of the games and reach that same Star Wars audience that will only buy the DVDs when they're all available in one, giant box set. So basically we have all the levels from the first game, plus all the levels from the second game, plus some more (minor) stuff in case you already own the first two. I received this game for the Nintendo DS, which is essentially my platform of choice of late, and played the heck out of it for the last week and a half. And surprisingly, I loved every minute of it.
I'm not sure why it took so long for someone to realize that Legos are awesome, Star Wars is awesome, and video games are awesome, so why not put them all together. But it finally happened a few years ago and it was like my childhood fantasies were coming together for one last amazing adventure. Somehow though, I never played the first one (Episodes I-III) but got the chance to play The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI). I thought the game was fun but short. The Complete Saga has allowed me to play the first game and replay the second, giving me a much more satisfying experience. It took me a solid 21.5 hours to achieve 100% completion and I'm a little sad to say goodbye. Thankfully though, Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman are only a few months away... Now let's get to the review!
Assassin's Creed is a new action-adventure game for the Xbox 360 and PS3 from Ubisoft. The game tells the story of Altair, an assassin in the Holy Land in the 12th century. Altair controls somewhat like the Prince from the Prince of Persia series, but focuses more on stealth and silent killing similar to the Metal Gear Solid games. But instead of hiding in boxes and camouflaging yourself in the trees, Altair hides himself among the people of Jerusalem, attempting to blend in with the public and not stand out to the guards. This makes for some interesting gameplay as Ubisoft spent a lot of time working on crowd reactions for their new kind of camouflage. Without much further ado though, let's dive into the first hour of Assassin's Creed.
For my review on the whole game, please see my Assassin's Creed review at Beyond the First Hour.
Assassin's Creed is the newest action-adventure game from Ubisoft. Since it was released about a month ago it has seen pretty good reviews and has become the fastest selling new IP since 2002 (The Getaway, seriously??). I can't argue with facts but I can't believe how many unbelievable scores this game has gotten: a 10 from Games Radar, a 9.5 from Game Informer, and 37/40 from Famitsu are just a few scores that make me go "WTF?"
For my review on just the first hour, please see my Assassin's Creed review at The First Hour.
Before I defend myself and get into why this game is both incredibly awesome and incredibly horrible at the same time, let's have a little more history. Assassin's Creed is in the same vein as the recent Prince of Persia trilogy, you can run up walls, kill bad guys with your sword, and basically just do cool acrobatics. Ubisoft made a good decision giving the Prince a break and trying something a little different. Breaking away from the Prince of Persia games, Assassin's Creed gives you a giant sandbox to play around with in three giant 12th century cities. Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus are rendered beautifully and you can tell were created meticulously and carefully. The main character, Altair, is basically a white-clad ninja in the Holy Land, so it seems like it would be really fun to dive into his stealth-killing world. What could possibly go wrong?
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is a recent Nintendo DS release and the direct sequel to Wind Waker. It features cel-shaded graphics and complete control using the stylus, pressing buttons is entirely optional and you can only use them for shortcut keys anyway, no controlling Link. This probably makes Phantom Hourglass the most unique Zelda game in terms of control (even considering Twilight Princess), but other than that it is a pretty standard Zelda affair.
Phantom Hourglass picks up where Wind Waker left off, with you and Tetra sailing the high seas. Of course, something bad happens and we basically get a repeat of the opening of Link's Awakening (a game I always considered to be sort of a sequel to Wind Waker even though they were made 10 years apart with probably no intention of relating to each other). Anyways, the game focuses on exploring the four quadrants of ocean on a treasure hunter ship and saving your girlfriend. Treasure and women is usually a good combination and Wind Waker doesn't disappoint. There is a surprisingly amount of repetitiveness, however, as the game forces you to repeat a particular dungeon something like five or six times over the course of the game. This is the only part in which the Phantom Hourglass actually has any meaning and it just feels a little rushed and slopped together in this sense. Anyways, time for some scores out of 10.