Gaming My Way

11 Oct

The Nintendo DS is Awesome

Yes, I know, I’m behind the times… a lot. However, a friend of mine recently let me borrow her DS, along with a few games… namely Sonic Rush, Megaman ZX, and Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.

I haven’t played much of Sonic Rush yet. The gameplay felt like it was more about holding right and hitting speed boosts than it did a traditional 2d Sonic game, which involves a lot more dodging enemies, collecting rings and powerups, and general reflex tests. To be fair, I put it away before finishing the first zone, so this could quite possibly get better later, and I intend to give the game another go when I’m not distracted by the other two currently taking up my time.

Next up, I tried Megaman ZX. I think it’s fair to say this game is closest to Megaman Zero once you get the ZX biometal, and before that, it feels a lot like Megaman X back on the SNES. The biometals are an interesting idea to keep the old characters alive, and the plot doesn’t seem too shaky, which is nice to see continuing from the Zero Series. In the end, of course, it comes down to how much you like shooting and slashing your way through levels in relaatively classic Megaman style. And I very much enjoy it. I’ll be coming back to this game soon.

But I have to say, Sonic Chronicles is hands down my favorite of the three. I’ve dumped many hours into this game, and am currently on chapter 6. I have to say, when I first heard they were making a Sonic rpg, I laughed and thought Sega had lost it’s mind. After all, as much as I love the Sonic line of games, it’s hard to ignore the fact the last couple have been awful. Yes, I’m looking at you Shadow the Hedgehog and PS3/360 Sonic the Hedgehog. Then I heard Bioware was working on it. My hopes lifted a little.

Then I played it. And it’s made me a believer in the touchscreen. All control is done through the touchscreen, and it’s simple, easy, and intuitive. You touch where you want Sonic to run, you change characters by touching their picture, and the menu is hidden behind a fold in the lower left corner that you touch to bring it up. Buttons pop up anywhere you can interact with something or someone, and you simply touch those to interact. It feels a lot like a mouse based PC rpg outside of battle.

In battle, whenever you do a special move, touch commands show up on screen which you have to tap properly in order to increase the damage your move does, or in some cases pull it off at all. When the enemy does a special move, if you perform the touch commands properly, you can partially or completely defend against the move. This adds a lot of interaction to the combat, and I like it a lot.

To be honest, I actually don’t use the DS much on the road, and mostly use it at home like any other console. Of course, a lot of my friends do enjoy gaming too, but we tend to do a lot of other things while we’re out too… as well as tend to play multiplayer games when we’re gaming together. But the DS still has it’s place amongst my consoles, and I will be getting one at some point.

The controls on the DS feel great, both the button based ones and the touch screen. I like that it uses a button layout similar to the SNES controller, modified to fit on a handheld of course. Makes it nice and easy to get into games that use the button controls, as it’s a layout I grew up playing sidescrollers with. And the touch screen is responsive, even after the very heavy use it’s seen from my friend. Given my experience with other touch screens, knowing this one still works after seeing a lot of use makes me feel a lot better about it.

Anyway, I need to get back to playing those games now. I’ll likely do some reviews when I finish one or more of them.

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