Monthly Archives: October 2009

JUST BEAT: Prince of Persia


Developer/Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre(s): Action Adventure
Mode(s): Singe player
Rating: Teen
Time clocked: Definitely less than 12 hours according to the Speed Demon achievement

To start, I had mixed feelings over 2003’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (for the Playstation 2). For one, I absolutely loved running around and bouncing off walls and performing some serious parkour. But the fighting/battle system was terribly unforgiving despite the time mechanic which allowed players to rewind scenarios if they didn’t play out like they wanted. When I’d enter a room full of baddies, I’d groan, and the only way to hear happy noises from me was to get out of said room so that I could run around. But these memories were enough for me to steer clear of the next iterations in the series, which I’m glad I did because I’ve only ever seen them described as gothy and emo. Hmm…

But then the series got a reboot. A colorful one, at that! Prince of Persia for the Xbox 360 tells a typical story: boy meets girl, girl needs saving from overpowering god of darkness, boy saves girl but not without sacrifice. More specifically, the Prince and Elika must travel to a bunch of lands within her kingdom and heal them to keep Ahriman trapped within a giant tree.

While the plot itself is fairly yawn-yawn, the dialogue is a treat, as is Prince of Persia‘s utter lack of interest in spoon-feeding the player. At any point during gameplay, a player can push a button to have the Prince speak with Elika. What spews from their mouths depends on where they are and/or what just happened, and it helps to make both characters fun and engaging. You’ll really feel like they have a tag-team relationship going on by the game’s end.

Graphically, the game is gorgeous. The corrupted lands are bleak and dirty, ragged with oozes and chipped stone, but once they have been healed a wash of color spreads and we’re treated to a lush, vibrant playground. Some might not like cel-shading in this day and age, but I think it has the potential to be even more amazing than photo-realistic games like, say, Final Fantasy XIII or Gears of War.

Unfortunately, not all is bells and whistles. If Prince of Persia is to have a fault, it is in its repetition. The balance of acrobatics, combat, and puzzle-solving is just that: a balance. You will run and climb your way to the corrupted land (acrobatics), possibly solve a riddle (puzzle-solving) to get you to the next level…where you will fight a mini boss (combat). Rinse and repeat. There is little variety, especially when the mini bosses all have a pattern to them. After the lands are healed you can spend time hunting down balls of light, but you really only need to find 600 or so to complete the game, and I don’t I’ll go back and find all 1,001 of them.

Achievement-wise, Prince of Persia seems fairly forgiving, especially since you can’t die (more on that in a second). I unlocked 35 out of 60 on my first playthrough, none of which required too much skill. A majority of story progression-based, some involved special tactics against the mini bossess, others were more about collecting. My favorites were Improvisor (10G: Congratulations, you used the environment to your advantage.) and Precious Time (10G: Congratulations, you know when to stop.).

That said, I will never achieve Be Gentle With Her (100G: Elika saves you fewer than 100 times in the whole game.). Technically, the Prince can’t die…but I died a lot in this game. Missed jumps, timing off, QTE jitters. I’m pretty sure Elika saved me at least 500 times or more. A moot point, but I’m a little put off by the fact that the achievements all use the same picture and word “Congratulations”…feels a bit robotic if you ask me.

In the end, the reboot works though. It’s a much more colorful and lively game thanks to the graphics and voice acting, even if it gets stale rather quickly. A little more variety would’ve been nice especially since it was billed as having “open-world gameplay,” but for $20.00, I had a good time. You might, too.

7 out 10

Nintendo Announces the Nintendo DSi LL

Nintendo announced at a Tokyo press event there will be a revised version of the Nintendo DS, dubbed the Nintendo DSi LL.


Great. Cause at this point, the world needs one more iteration of the DS. Here’s how it’s gone down over time:

  1. The DS
  2. The DS Lite
  3. The DSi
  4. The DSi LL

Evidently the “LL” is in reference to the new, larger screens, which fans have been asking for since the 207 B.C. It’s mostly there for those using the system to listen to music and surf the Interwebz though I wouldn’t mind seeing my tiny Animal Crossing: Wild World items better represented. Anyways, the new DSi LL also comes with two styluses, three in-system games, the DS Easy Dictionary, and three snazzy colors (Dark Brown, Wine Red, and Natural White). There’s probably a stronger battery life in there, too. No U.S. launch date or pricing yet.

For what it’s worth, I love the color wine red, but really feel that things need to slow dooooooown.

Kotaku has a comparison up of the DSi LL to the DSi and DS Lite.

The Top Five Most Horrible Videogames I Own

That’s right: the top five most horrible videogames I own. You may interpret horrible as you please. But I’m putting it all out there, and while I’m almost certain there are worst games in existence (hello, Vampire Rain), these are just the ones I actually have in my collection.

Let the walk of shame begin…

5. Super Fruitfall (Nintendo DS)


Actually, my mother bought this game and then passed it along to me. I think she either beat it or hated it with the heat-passion of a thousand suns. I played for probably a total of six minutes and experienced my life’s quota of Super Fruitfall. Basically, all the player does is hit the directional button left or right to rotate the screen so that fruit will fall into a hole. That’s it. There is nothing else to do. In theory, this game could be played with one’s eyes shut tight. I recommend that.

4. American McGee’s Alice (PC)


Initially, I loved this game. But then again I also found the TV show “Ronin Warriors” to be kickass. I was young, I was stupid, and I was in “love”…see, I played this game with my then high school girlfriend, and it was an interesting experience. I directed and hit the jump button (space bar) while she walked Alice to and fro. Kinda fun, mostly lame. I went back to American McGee’s Alice a few years ago and found it horribly ugly, stiff, and no fun at all. The relationship died a long time ago, I guess.

3. Summoner (Playstation 2)


On paper, Summoner sounds pretty neat. In fact, let’s look at some key points from the back cover:

  • Traverse a beautiful, completely original world spanning two continents
  • Encounter hundreds of characters and battle in realtime with a 5-person party
  • Summon red minotaurs, black imps, golems, and other powerful allies
  • Cast spectacular spells, wield an arsenal of weapons, clad yourself in the armor of a warrior

Pretty standard stuff for a top-notch RPG, am I right? Lies. ALL OF IT LIES. The problem was, besides Summoner being flat and unsightly, the in-game worlds were almost too large, with a map as helpful as a cave drawing. I don’t believe I ever even got out of that first major city despite having acquired nine different quests. Combat was tame, and the only time I ever saw a summoning was when I looked one up on YouTube.

2. Mario Paint (Super Nintendo)


Mario Paint is actually an excellent and fun game…when you can play it. My dumb self picked this up at a garage sale without remembering that you need the special Super NES Mouse and Mouse Pad to enjoy life. I thought a controller would’ve been enough, but alas all I can ever do with it is turn it on and stare endlessly at the start screen.

1. Godai Elemental Force (Playstation 2)


SWEET HOLY CRAP ON A DISC THIS IS SWEET HOLY CRAP ON A DISC! I fear that describing this game in words would not do it justice so please, take a deep breath, and then watch this gameplay video. Did you see the part where the ninja sort of glides when he jumps down off the higher part of the level? Yeah, that’s how everyone jumps. The voice acting is a riot until you realize they are trying to be serious, the combat is a joke, and the graphics are as poor gets. I don’t remember how much I spent on this, but whatever it was…I WANT IT BACK, 3D0.

And this completes my very first list here at Grinding Down. Ta-da!

Sushi Academy nom nom nom

Here’s a videogame I secretly want (but now it is no longer a secret):


From the look of things, Sushi Academy is basically Cooking Mama: Raw Fish Lovers Unite. And that’s okay with me. But let’s see what we can learn from, shall we?

Sushi Academy by City Interactive features Old Sushi Master, who runs a world-famous restaurant. His snacks are enjoyed by a vast amount of fans that would love to know the secrets of sushi making. Only a handful has been honored by being taught by the Master himself. Under the Master’s guidance, learn to chop vegetables, cut fish and decorate and serve meals. Create more complicated dishes, and maybe you will surpass your master.

And some key features include:

  • Prepare meals, collect the ingredients, and take the exams in the set of colorful mini games
  • Get to know the history, etiquette, and rules of sushi making by reading the specially prepared sushipedia
  • Create dozens of exotic meals and admire the effects of your work
  • Broaden your skills and knowledge on one of the oldest culinary cultures of the world

Oh, Nintendo DS game, you had me at sushipedia. Sushi Academy releases, hey, tomorrow (10/27/09) to zombie-like crowds of fans and hungry people everywhere. I wonder if it’ll come with a special chopstick stylus…

Fable III to use Natal tech and in-game shopping


Peter Molyneux announced that Lionhead’s forthcoming Fable III will implement Natal support, as well as in-game shopping. Readers, I’m afraid.

Now, the latter doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s basically DLC already in a game, and so long as it doesn’t limit the gamer from having fun then by all means, have an in-game shop where you can buy treasure maps and super lubed condoms or whatever Fable III wants to hock. I mean, all the special avatar clothing and gear zips by me unnoticed so…

But Natal. Natal. Eep. This can only lead to bad, almost uncomfortable “blow into the DS microphone” gameplay that no one will want. I do not want to have to dance to get my character to dance no matter how “immersing” it is supposed to be. At this point, I’m just praying that it’ll be optional support because I want Fable III badly, but I do not want to have to buy further tech just to play it casually.

But yeah, while we wait for further details, let’s all start practicing our favorite expressions at home. Vulgar thrust, anyone?

Insert epic orchestra score

“An opportunity missed is an opportunity wasted.” – Seed, Suikoden II

That’s a good quote from one of my all-time favorite games to try and get this ball a-rollin’ again. The lack of steady content can be blamed on many things, but mostly this: time. I won’t go into a long tirade where I am all wah wah this and wah wah that. I’ll just sip this water, take a deep breath, and prepare to take this videogame blogging thing to a new level.

Pun intended.

Fallout 3: Status Report (Level 10)

fallout 3 city

I just hit level 10 last night in Fallout 3 and figured this would be an excellent place to stop and talk about my experience so far in post-apocalyptic United States.

First, I’m pretty surprised at how–I don’t want to say easy here–fast I got to level 10. If this was vanilla Fallout 3 (meaning no DLC), the level cap would be 20 (whereas it is now 30 thanks to Broken Steel), and I’d be halfway to the max. I’ve only done the first two main storyline quests so far, as well as all of Operation: Anchorage. There’s been little exploring on my part, and most of the experience I’ve gained came from shooting Commies in VR Alaska. I kind of actually hope the next twenty levels are a bit harder to get to. We’ll see.

Anyways, the reason I did Operation: Anchorage first is because I am roleplaying as a sneaky thief, and I heard there was some wicked apparel to pick up there: Chinese Stealth Armor. Wicked doesn’t even come close to describing it. I’d have liked a little more background on the events within Operation: Anchorage, but it was enjoyable and quick–and less stressful knowing that I didn’t have to worry about loot and weapon conditions and using up too many stimpacks.

At this point, I just finished fixing up the radio signal for Three Dog. Rivet City is my next destination. There’s some sidequests I’ve picked up and haven’t done yet, and that’s okay. Truly, I’m having a blast. I’m definitely enjoying the RPG side more than the shooting, as I’m now able to sneak past ghouls and super mutants with ease, popping them in the face from a safe distance. Fallout 3 is much more lax about the amount of loot you can carry than Oblivion, and the amount of things to do, things to see, and things to tweak is just staggering. I know I’ve barely brushed the surface, and already I know this is a game worth replaying and replaying and…well, replaying.

To end on an excellent note, my character has the bushiest of beards, which my victims will never witness. I kind of like that. See y’all again at level 20!

Fallout 3: GOTY, here I come

Some very big games come out tomorrow (10/13/09), namely Brutal Legend (360, PS3), Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3), and Petz Pony Beauty Pageant (DS). But the videogame I’m most excited has already been out in the world for just over a year now: Fallout 3.


I finally got my Xbox 360 about five or six months after Fallout 3 came out. At this point, Bethesda had already released two pieces of downloadable content (DLC) for the game, with a third to come. A few months later came word of two more pieces of episodic adventuring, and then the no-suprise announcement of a Game of the Year edition, much like Bethesda did with Oblivion and their Knights of the Nine and Shivering Isles expansion packs. I already knew in my heart of hearts that I’d be frugal and just wait for this; much of the DLC was already plagued with bugs and glitches, and I figured I’d just hold out until they cleaned it all up and released it in one glorious bundle. Good thing I’m patient.

So yeah, Fallout 3. Coming here soon. Like tomorrow. I’m pretty excited to venture out into the wasteland. Knowing my playing style, I’m going to guess that I will likely play a good karma/slightly gray thief character. Any handy tips I should know of?

If Nintendo Declared Armageddon


…we’d all be screwed,

Courtesy of Geekologie.

Videogames can be fun and frustrating, you know


Two videogames have been driving me absolutely bonkers lately. One won’t just let me complete it (three achievements to go!); the other won’t even let me move forward.

LEGO Batman. Sure, I “beat” it months ago, but every now and then I pop back into it to grab some missed items and trying and unlock everything. And I’ve gotten just about everything…that is, but three collectibles. Now, one of them is painstakingly annoying to obtain. Trust me, I tried three times in a row last night. In one of the Penguin’s villain levels, you have to guide your characters down an icy slope, going through five specific flags to unlock the hidden canister. Sounds simple enough, yes? The problem is that if you miss even one flag you are then dropped into the level’s final boss battle room and cannot return to try again. Meaning you must replay the level again and again and…again. I’ve had zero luck so far. Insert heavy sigh.

And then we come to Eternal Sonata, a bizarre RPG that isn’t really my favorite thing in the world, but I liked it enough to get to the middle of Chapter Three. It has my gang running around a pirate ship of…evil pirates. I don’t know. The storyline is a bit murky to my memory at the moment. Anyways, my dudes are about all LV 19s, and we hit the ship’s main boss: Captain Dolce. To put it simply: she slaughtered us. An online walkthrough suggested that our party be all LV 22s at least before tackling Dolce. That means, if I want to move forward, I have to now waste a good couple of hours just wandering the ship’s floors, fighting generic minion after minion after minion.

I know this blog is called Grinding Down, but grinding is not something I yearn to do. Time is precious, and this sort of roadblock only wants me to put the game back on the shelf and move on to something a little more forgiving.