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  • DS Games

    I've been playing at three DS games lately, and I thought I'd jot down a few first impressions.

    Age of Empires: A very nice grand-strategy wargame. I've never played the PC version, so I don't know how this compares (though I hear the PC version is real-time and this is turn-based). Captures the look and feel of the Middle Ages, and includes exploring, building, and expanding as well as fighting. Apparently it's all land warfare. The focus is on five specific heroes, which in the game have various special powers besides being the toughest fighters around. There's some good info on the period too, so the game is educational as well as fun and challenging.

    Advance Wars: Dual Strike: A superb little game. Again, I've never played any previous version, so this is brand-new to me. Despite the small screen, this manages to have the look and feel of a real wargame. And thanks to the campaign structure, the newbie is taken by the hand and led along from easy scenarios to harder ones. A pleasant way to learn the game. Here again, there's a focus on commanders -- several of 'em, and sometimes they cooperate in "tag battles." Land, air, and sea warfare with all the usual stuff found in this kind of game. Like it a lot.

    Steel Horizon: A naval strategy game set in a fictional WWII. Strategic, turn-based movement of task forces, followed by quick real-time battles when foes meet. So far, I'm finding this game a little slow -- and a little fast. Too slow on the strategic side, too fast in tactical battles. The player has relatively little control in tactical battles; there's just not time to give many commands in sixty seconds (which is the fixed maximum time for all battles, and often you have less time than that). It's a good game, and it looks good too. But of the three mentioned here, this is so far my least favorite. Maybe it'll grow on me.
    --Patrick Carroll


    "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

  • #2
    Age of Empires, only downside I think is graphics. Well let me explain. I have noticed they effect my eyes and it must be the specific way the images are drawn. Otherwise great game. And yes, original form was an RTS resource gather/builder type.
    You will find as you play you earn points which allow you to unlock options. Go for the maps first. Get the Welsh Bowman too those guys rock. I like Joan the most her heal ability seems impossible to beat. The AI is ok but I think once you have played a while you will find you need to play 3 AIs on hard. Against another human I suspect the bets are off.

    Steel Horizon is a good game, but I find the AI is predictable. Again a game where a human opponent will be like night and day. It also gives you unlocked goodies for performance. It's not easy to get those bonus points even if the game seems easy. So a personal challenge might be to call a game only truly a win if you get the brownie points.
    The trick with the game, is properly sorting out your fleet order. Properly recognizing which ship will be the most important ship to command first. So that you can employ it's special ability first. And knowing how to not get met in battle at a disadvantage, because that costs you reaction time.
    My fav tactical battle mode tactic just keep hammering the x button in battle regardless Seconds count.

    Brothers in Arms is a good game, with good graphics. It's a challenging shooter.

    Sim City is good, but the graphics are very detailed for a small screen.

    Tetris is a must get game. Several really absorbing modes.

    All those adult Brain builders are good.

    Tank Beat is a surprise game, interesting graphics, but challenging game as you have to watch two screens and manage several controls all at once. Over all a bit difficult to play.

    Looking forward to Civilization.

    Don't have Advance Wars, but it's on the list.

    Don't have Operation Vietnam, but recently found out it is just the arcade game of the same title. Looks fun though.

    Want Panzer Tactics.

    Several quest games too many to mention all with surprising graphics. Final Fantasy is a good place to start.

    Biggest danger with a DS, is you can get obsessed playing it without realizing it. And they make you look like a kid using one.
    Life is change. Built models for decades.
    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
    I didn't for a long time either.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Paul Maud'dib View Post
      Age of Empires, only downside I think is graphics. Well let me explain. I have noticed they effect my eyes and it must be the specific way the images are drawn. Otherwise great game. And yes, original form was an RTS resource gather/builder type.
      You will find as you play you earn points which allow you to unlock options. Go for the maps first. Get the Welsh Bowman too those guys rock. I like Joan the most her heal ability seems impossible to beat. The AI is ok but I think once you have played a while you will find you need to play 3 AIs on hard. Against another human I suspect the bets are off.
      I think you overestimate my playing skill. It's rare that I find a computer game of any kind where the AI ceases to be a challenge for me. I usually have to dumb a game down to my level. But so far in these three DS games, that has not been a problem, because the campaigns are designed to ease a new player into the game. I like that -- and need it! We'll see how long it is before I start losing and get frustrated.

      I know what you mean about the graphics, though. Sometimes they try to do more than the tiny screen can really handle. I'd prefer simple, clear icons myself, and I could do without the animation, for that matter. But the graphics do add a lot to the historical feel of the game, and so far my eyes have adjusted.

      I had some trouble with the touch-screen features at first. But then I took to using the buttons instead, and I've come to prefer that.

      Steel Horizon is a good game, but I find the AI is predictable. Again a game where a human opponent will be like night and day. It also gives you unlocked goodies for performance. It's not easy to get those bonus points even if the game seems easy. So a personal challenge might be to call a game only truly a win if you get the brownie points.
      I take the wins wherever I can get 'em! But I have so far found the early scenarios to be very easy.

      Brothers in Arms is a good game, with good graphics. It's a challenging shooter.

      Sim City is good, but the graphics are very detailed for a small screen.
      I'll have to check those out. Believe it or not, I've never played any version of SimCity. (Played a few turns of SimLife years ago, when it was new, but that's it. I got bored and confused and switched to other games.)

      Tetris is a must get game. Several really absorbing modes.
      That one I can borrow from my wife. It was in the package with the DS I bought her last year.

      All those adult Brain builders are good.
      My wife loves those and plays with 'em almost daily. Lately she's been challenging me at one of them.

      Tank Beat is a surprise game, interesting graphics, but challenging game as you have to watch two screens and manage several controls all at once. Over all a bit difficult to play.
      Just saw a bad review of it:
      http://ds.ign.com/articles/795/795825p1.html

      The headline is: "Take Advance Wars, add some combat, remove all fun, and here's what you get."

      Biggest danger with a DS, is you can get obsessed playing it without realizing it. And they make you look like a kid using one.
      I only play with my DS in private or when I'm with my wife. So I guess the obsession is socially acceptable.

      Anyhow, since we don't have kids, we have to be kids ourselves sometimes. Like on Christmas morning, when we make a big deal out of sitting around the tree and opening presents -- just the two of us and our three cats.

      Guess there's a little kid in all of us.
      --Patrick Carroll


      "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

      Comment


      • #4
        That Tank Beat review is likely not far off.

        I think in my case I am biased.

        And your assessment of your own skills likely means we both would call it a challenge even if everyone else calls it bland

        I suppose the key detail is do you want to fiddle around driving a tank about having some fun shooting stuff up occasionally?

        It's not really a genuine tank sim, but I doubt the DS is up to that realistically.
        Life is change. Built models for decades.
        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
        I didn't for a long time either.

        Comment


        • #5
          A DS game I'm still not sure about is Puzzle Quest.

          I bought it for my wife, since she likes puzzle games as well as fantasy-fiction. But she didn't take to this game, so I've been trying it myself.

          However, I've never liked puzzle games. I don't know why -- they've got the same kind of thinking challenge as games like chess and checkers -- but for some reason they just go against my grain.

          This one's been addictive, though. I keep telling myself I'll get the hang of it pretty soon, so I'll try just one more game. And at the same time, I want to make my way through the series of quests and all that.

          Yet, I get frustrated, losing as much as I win and despairing of ever becoming a skillful player. And all the while, I'm wondering why I even care about this stupid puzzle game anyway.

          But I still kept the cartridge in my DS and brought it with me to work, just in case I want to try again at lunchtime.
          --Patrick Carroll


          "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

          Comment


          • #6
            Top 100

            Top 100 DS games:
            http://us.gamestracker.com/ds/top-games.htm
            --Patrick Carroll


            "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

            Comment


            • #7
              100+ DS game reviews later

              I have been going through a site that has all of the games all sorted out in multiple methods, by number and region etc.

              And every time I thought oh that looks at least interesting, I would then type in the name, add DS and reviews into the google search field.

              In most cases I stuck with Gamespot just for ease and consistency.

              I noticed a few key important details.

              First, every single DS game has a really cool cover picture just in case the customer was silly enough to buy something based just on a nice picture. I really think this is the case.

              Famous names. I have noticed fully 50% of DS games having a well known video game name, are complete garbage all the same. In some cases it is shameful and irresponsible behaviour by the game maker too.

              Famous game clones. I have found that some games are rather disgustingly just copying something else that was already a success. Although unlike with other games on PC or console, they are often just make a quick buck garbage. Be careful to avoid clones.

              Class of game. I have found that there is no reason to believe in oh they couldn't screw up this sort of game. Apparently they can. Games as well done as adventure types are still be botched, and titles that seem entirely basic, can still be ruined.

              What I have found amusing is there are a lot of games out there getting high ratings, and you would never suspect the title was a lurking gem of a game.

              A common flaw in the turkeys appears to be oddly enough, the game creator simply refused to acknowledge the DS has a small screen and work accordingly, and that it uses a touch screen, but the touch screen is not magic.
              We need to be able to enjoy the game on a small screen. Too much detail is just as bad as too little.
              The touch screen is just what it is. But some game designers seem to think it will work magic. And oddly enough, some game designers don't seem to understand it has limitations.

              I am now of the opinion, that before ANY purchase of a game for my DS, I will required seeing it reviewed.

              I thought Heroes of Mana would be a fine game for instance. The review totally kills the ability to want it though. In a nutshell, the game is said to have about the most worthless pathfinding possible. All of the other features of the game are a total write off when the pathfinding problem effectively destroys the game.

              I saw several titles I thought would be easy grabs rendered worthless all because of some element that in retrospect, should have never been possible.
              In effect, there are enough games that are duds for the DS, that claims of it possessing X games on the market, should be reduced by 50%.

              Today when I went in to the local store, I looked at several titles on the shelf with a new insight.
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

              Comment


              • #8
                Whew! I sure hope this turns out to be just a passing phase. I spent most of this past weekend -- or a sizable portion of it -- sitting in a chair playing games on my DS. Mostly Puzzle Quest, which I find can be especially addictive.

                I'm reminded of a Star Trek TNG episode where aliens presented the starship crew with a toy -- a portable game (it was worn over the eyes, IIRC). Whatever the game was, it was so addictive that soon all the crew members were shirking their duties and just playing the game all the time.

                I need to snap out of it and get back to real life!
                --Patrick Carroll


                "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Resistance is futile, you will be one with the DS
                  Life is change. Built models for decades.
                  Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                  I didn't for a long time either.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For the DS it's All about advanced wars.

                    I got a load of AoE but I find it's rather boring after playing duel strike.

                    Puzzle quest is good but the old problem of levelling monsters removed the fun of it for me, I got fed up fighting the same monsters time and time again. The game play also gets repetitive after a while and a lot of it seams to come down to luck. Getting the right combinations to drop when you need them too.
                    Xbox live: Waltz Junta II

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Waltz View Post
                      For the DS it's All about advanced wars.

                      I got a load of AoE but I find it's rather boring after playing duel strike.

                      Puzzle quest is good but the old problem of levelling monsters removed the fun of it for me, I got fed up fighting the same monsters time and time again. The game play also gets repetitive after a while and a lot of it seams to come down to luck. Getting the right combinations to drop when you need them too.
                      Advance Wars is very good, it's true. Guess I'd say it's the best thing on my DS at present.

                      But OTOH, I love the concept of Puzzle Quest. Only problem, to me, is that the "battle board" is just a puzzle, not a real game. I'd like to see "Chess Quest" or "Checkers Quest" -- a game just like Puzzle Quest, but where the player has to win games of chess or checkers (at varying skill levels, strong monsters playing better than weak ones) to advance through the quest. Chess and checkers engines are currently capable of beating the strongest human players in the world, but they can also be dumbed down to where anybody can win sometimes. It'd be great to enjoy "Chess Quest" just for fun, all the while improving my chess skills as well.

                      I wonder if anybody has produced such a game. Seems like a terrific way to package a "chess mentor" program.
                      --Patrick Carroll


                      "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Waltz View Post
                        Puzzle quest is good but the old problem of levelling monsters removed the fun of it for me, I got fed up fighting the same monsters time and time again. The game play also gets repetitive after a while and a lot of it seams to come down to luck. Getting the right combinations to drop when you need them too.
                        Guess I've reached that point now. It's maddening to bump up against monsters too strong to beat, then have to run around fighting orc after orc before you dare go for the big guy again. And it bothers me that it's the same stupid puzzle over and over and over again.

                        But as I said last time, I think it'd be great if a game like checkers replaced the puzzle. Because you can pretty well keep developing checkers skill all your life and never exhaust the strategic/tactical challenge. It can be a lifelong game.

                        Apparently someone tried to do a similar thing with Majestic Chess -- but it's evidently designed just for kids. It's a clever way of teaching kids to play chess -- by having them go on a quest, fight monsters, win treasure, and so forth, learning and playing chess all the while.

                        Wish someone would do something like that for adults. Because as much as I admire chess (and checkers), my interest always dries up before I get very far. In Chessmaster 9000, I can play in tournaments and try to up my rating. But the AI players are just faces on the screen, and the rating is just a number. There's no story line -- no monsters to fight, damsels to rescue, treasure to find. Nothing to get my imagination involved.

                        Back in school, I didn't mind learning math, but I much preferred "word problems," where my imagination and logical skills both came into play. I hate seeing great games like chess and checkers degraded to stark logic contests.

                        Well, just a thought.
                        --Patrick Carroll


                        "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Age of Empires, Steel Horizon

                          Played AoE several times on Saturday; kept losing -- failing to have Minamoto take over the castle. It got frustrating after a while (long game, and pointless to continue once you know you're beat), so I quit.

                          Sunday I switched to Steel Horizon. So far the campaign scenarios have been cakewalks. A pleasant enough game to play, but the AI is really stupid, at least at this stage. Maybe it'll become more challenging. I'm hoping the game is designed to be merciful to newbies. (The campaign story line is ludicrous too, but I don't mind that; it's all in fun.)
                          --Patrick Carroll


                          "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Now I've appropriated my wife's Clubhouse Games. Great little game collection! And it includes some neat features for encouraging you to try all 42 games. Right now I'm working my way through the "stamped" games, where you play all the games in series (more than once if you lose), get credit for games played, and unlock special features.

                            Most of the games are relatively light and fun, but a few are deep and challenging. Last night I found myself playing shogi -- Japanese chess. Quite a learning curve there, and I'm still on the steep beginner's end of it. Hard enough just getting to where you can recognize the different pieces, much less make logical moves.

                            I can think of some games I'd like to see in this collection, and some that are there I could do without -- but overall it's a lot of fun.
                            --Patrick Carroll


                            "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yeah I have that one, it's a fun distraction there will always be something you want to play in there.
                              Xbox live: Waltz Junta II

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