Posted by: Tha Square | April 23, 2008

Budget Priced Games You May Have Missed

Ah yes, spring has finally sprung. Time to go outside, play some ball, and…. What?! It’s raining?! Oh, those clouds are going to pay dearly for their transgressions… I’m going diesel! Take that Mother Nature! Ahem… sorry about that. The truth is, with all the rainy forecasts across the globe, you do get to become more acquainted with your favorite system. What better way to do so than with a few new games? Good thing they’re budget priced too; you’ll need some extra cash to remedy that cold you’ll get going out in the rain to pick up these titles. You win again Mother Nature…

If you are looking to fill that space in your library in and you just don’t know what to get then maybe I can help. Unfortunately, these titles have gotten a bad rap and haven’t sold nearly as well as they should have. Hell, half of the titles in “Games to Avoid 1 & 2” have sold better than them! These games have slipped too far under the radar for anyone to notice (I blame those conniving clouds) and have probably had a few discerning remarks branded on their backsides. These do have some minor qualms but just because they might look different doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ignore them down right. So kick back and enjoy some Budget Priced Games You May Have Missed.

Number 3 – Prince of Persia: Rival Swords – $19.99 – Sales.13 million

Importing games onto different systems has been going on for decades. From Animal Crossing to Tetris, remakes of old titles have surfaced on just about every gaming system to date. Even our beloved Mario has been polished over and tacked onto the lineup of a mainstream system in hopes of finding a hungrier market. Whether they’re big or small, blockbusters or bombs, ports help keep a gaming system alive between major releases. Most ports receive improvements in the visual department or a few bonus features, but there are a few that slip through the cracks with nearly nothing altered.

Prince of Persia: Rival Swords is on of those games. In the nearly three years since the title was released on the GameCube as Prince of Persia: Two Thrones, Ubisoft decided not to alter the game other than including Wii specific controls and an exclusive chariot race sequence or two. Even though the title lacks in freshness, gameplay with the Wii controls are great. Graphics are fantastic, especially for the Wii, and the puzzles will keep you intrigued throughout the whole game. With a price fit for princes and paupers alike, this game surely is one to fuel the fire under the buttons vs. gestures debate.

Gameplay in Rival Swords is just as outstanding as it is in most Prince of Persia titles. Run across walls, flip from beam to beam, and kick the crap out of anyone who stands in your way; you know, generally like every other PoP  game. You can even sync together hits with the “Free Form” style of fighting to majestically slash the necks of your enemies all while doing a cartwheel. Though this sounds really great, especially when you consider the Wii’s control advantage, almost all the moves are disappointingly done with the same downward motion. Even attacks that go from the ground up are still done by lowering the control for the respective hand. However, if the programmers did assign moves in accordance to direction, I could very well be complaining about how easily they’re misinterpreted.

All in all, this game is a fantastic adventure. If the title had been more improved upon, even in the slightest, I assume the game would have received a much friendlier welcome. The controls can be fun, the visuals are excellent, and the plot is top notch. Now that it has received a much needed price drop, the only reason I think to not buy this game is if you already own the GameCube version. If you don’t, definitely check this game out. It can be a pretty hard challenge that is well worth its price tag.

Number 2 – Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire – $19.99 – Sales .07 million

Dragons are awesome. They fly around, burn down villages, steal gold, and sleep in frickin’ volcanoes. If they had laser beams on their frickin’ heads, they’d OWN. Seriously though, Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire doesn’t need laser beams; it’s fine the way it is. When Dal’s bride in waiting is killed by lizard men and minotaurs, he joins forces with the spirit of Valthorian, a once powerful dragon, on a quest to rid the world of the beasts who took his love. Help Dal Hack and slash his way to victory and bring vengeance upon those who ravaged his life.

In the beginning of the game, Valthorian tells you that he and the six other dragons helped bring balance to the world. For some reason, they tried to devour him and his power but before they could attack, he broke himself up in to pieces, one of which landed near Dal’s village. After they team up together, they must battle across the world to defeat the evil dragons and reassemble Valthorian by collecting the Dragon Blade parts scattered across the land. I think it’s a very unique story and one that was addressed to smugly by the rest of the world. Even if the plot is pretty solid it isn’t the main reason to pick up this game.

The real bread and butter of this game is the combat system. You swing the Wii Remote (and also thrust) in appropriate directions to swing the sword and link together combos. On the third swing, you complete the combo with a powerful attack that will do a different amount of damage according to the way you swung. You can also attack and do more specific swings in the air and that’s just the surface. Once you gather together more of the Dragon Blade pieces, you can launch attacks according to the piece you use. There are several pieces to get, including the head, two arms, and wings among others. From clapping together the dragon’s hands to sprouting his wings and flying, this seriously is one combat system I doubt many games have ever tried.

Another selling point is the difficulty of the boss battles. Don’t get me wrong, some fights in the rest of the game can get pretty rough, but they’re nothing compared to the bosses. Believe me, you’ll be hard pressed to complete any battle in one, let alone five or six tries. The AI is usually pretty smart and the developers really took into account where players would be standing. You can rest assured that these dragons mean business.

It’s too bad this game hasn’t gotten the attention is deserves. It got such a brow beating for some very insignificant problems like the reused enemies throughout the game and the fact that the strongest attack, the thrust, is rather hard to pull off. These, to me, are minor problems when compared to the rest of the game. Like the combat system; I think the sword swinging aspect beats The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess’  set up. In Twilight Princess, you must hold the direction you wish to swing down with the Nunchuck and then perform a swing; in Dragon Blade, you just swing. Anyways, if you’re searching for an action-packed game for a small price, then look no further than Dragon Blade: Wrath of Fire.

Number 1 – Dewy’s Adventure – $19.99 – Sales .08 million

Raindrops keep falling on my head! That doesn’t mean my… Oh, hi. I’ve just gotten done playing a bit of Dewy’s Adventure and I can’t keep that cute little raindrop off my mind. With such an adorable mascot, who can blame me? As Dewy, you must save the Tree of Seven Colors from the slimy clutches of Don Hedron and free the forest of the corrupting Black Water. Turn Dewy into a block of ice or a cloud to defeat any foes that Don Hedron has sent your way. Free the Eau, solve puzzles, and drizzle your way to cleaning up the land of this evil menace!

You may have noticed Dewy’s Adventure looks a little childish. Yes, this game is definitely geared toward the younger audience but the gameplay is great. It’s a cross between a ball rolling puzzle game and a platforming adventure and it pulls the mix off quite well. There are a few ball games out already for the Wii but this is by far the best yet. Unlike Kororinpa: Marble Mania, the basic marble puzzle title, this one actually has a storyline and the controls don’t put as much stress on your wrists when navigating through the world. Another thing it one-ups both Kororinpa and Super Monkey Ball with is a set of actual attacks. You may not have needed them in either one of those titles but it gives you something more to do than just collect items before ending the level.

However, there are a few snags here and there. The game doesn’t look like it’ll be too long of an adventure. The enemies so far have been very easy to take out and other than keeping Dewy from falling off the edges of the map, there isn’t too big of a challenge here. There are a few problems with the controls too. Jumping isn’t the easiest thing done in this game and movements themselves seem a bit sticky.  Even with these nitpicky drawbacks, Dewy’s Adventure has a bright silver lining around its clouds.

I’ve also noticed how much better the controls feel in Dewy’s Adventure than in the other similar games. Instead of holding the remote in one hand, you’ll be handling it Excite Truck style with two. It takes a lot of stress off the wrists this way and it simply feels a lot better. Other than the layout, the in-game controls are by far the best in the genre yet. You’re actually given a set of attacks in this game and it just makes the title more robust, even if there are only two or three total. You can slam into the ground or opponents’ heads as water Dewy, shock and stun foes as mist Dewy, or simply bash into them as ice Dewy. Changing which form of water you’d like to be is easily done with the D-pad and at many times, certain obstacles require a certain form.

You do have two other “attacks” in your arsenal as well. You can shake the remote left and right to cause an earthquake that will stun most enemies or up and down to send a breeze that can lift you off to unreachable places. The learning curve for the controls isn’t too bad either; Dewy may be a little stiff at first so I’d definitely change the tilt settings up a notch. Jumping too can be a pain but if you think you’re about to go off the edge, you can always bring Dewy back to ground level with his butt stomp attack. The controls are great overall and they only compliment the awesome multiplayer experience.

You might not be able to go two player in story mode, but it’s all good here; Dewy’s Adventure showcases one mean multiplayer mode. You can go head to head with up to four friends in a king of the mountain style battle. What’s really cool about this mode to me is the ability to make and play on your very own maps. This is one of the only Wii games out that allows you to create your own environment and it’s a very nice addition to this title. You can build up whatever you see fit to have on your map. Enemies, items, and themed blocks you’ve encountered in the main story mode can be added to your creation and the ability to send your maps to friends over the internet is wonderful. Another cool thing about this game’s Internet options is the ability to take screenshots and send them to friends. It’s not exactly anything to jump for joy over, but it’s still one of the only games I’ve heard of that allows such.

This game is a real joy to play, even if it is rather short. It’s a truly original story and it’s a great break from the usual gaming affairs. From the controls to the story and right down to the visuals, everything in this game excels. However there are some big drawbacks for older gamers. The kiddy theme of this game is sure to detour even the most passive of players with all its cute squeaks and huggable characters and the ease of play too will have many a gamer wishing for a more difficult challenge. Even with those setbacks, the game is a knockout. The map editor will keep many artistic players around for hours alone and being able to send the map to your buds is an awesome idea. I have no idea why this game hasn’t gotten as much hype. Maybe because it bombed overseas people didn’t think it was worth their time but believe me, it will keep you entertained for quite awhile. It may appeal to the younger audiences more than others but even with its bells and whistles, older gamers should be able to find a drop or two of enjoyment. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed my rainy day recital. Hopefully, the weather will clear up soon and I can get back to the finer things in life. Until then, I guess I’m stuck playing these wonderful games. There are a lot of other budget games out there that deserve a pat on the back (here’s to you Geometry Wars and Zack and Wiki) but we’ll save those for another day. Anyways folks, stay safe, wear those wrist straps and don’t forget – friends never let friends drink and Wii… unless you have a video camera handy and a Youtube account! Later!

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