Yes, I think we shall. Hehe.
Anyway, I know that many gamers out there are distracted this season by the Herculean quest of getting their hands on a PS3 or a Wii. However, if you're not into selling your first born child or entering Thunderdome(Two gamers enter, one gamer leaves...with a next-gen console), there are a couple of games for the OGX-Box and the PS2 that you might well have missed over the last year, that are worth your time and the bonus is that they've been out for awhile, so either one will probably cost you about 20 bucks at the most. DIG! Heh. I'm speaking of Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath for the OGX-Box, and Shadow Hearts: From the New World on the PS2. I haven't finished either of these games yet, but I've played enough to get an impression, so I will now share it with you.
Both of these games, by the way, were purchased by me with my own cash.
First off, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath.
I've liked the Oddworld games since Abe's Exodus back on the PSOne. This time, instead of running around collecting things, you play as The Stranger. A gruff-voiced, catlike creature that's a bounty hunter. He's got something wrong with him, so he needs to catch criminals to buy a medical procedure. The game is a blend of third person and first person. You use third person while navigating the very cool western-themed world. If you make the stranger run for a few seconds, he'll break into a tiger-like loping gait that moves you at a good pace. The problem there can be steering and stopping in time to avoid running into walls and things. It doesn't hurt you, but it does bring you to a sudden stop with The Stranger saying "OOF! it's rather amusing at first, actually, but it gets a little old after awhile. The third person part of the game is cool, but where it really shines is when you go into first-person shooter mode by clicking down on the right thumbsitick. THis brings up your double-barrelled crossbow, where you use live ammunition. And I do mean LIVE ammunition. THere are several types, from rude chipmunks that distract your enemies, to spider-like bugs that tie up your foes, allowing you to suck them up into a sort of vacuum cleaner thing to collect the bounty on them, to little hairy dustball-like things that lie in wait and then attack. It's really easy to shift on the fly between different ammo types, and most types are pretty easy to find around the world when you run low. You make more money for catching foes and bosses alive, which can be tricky, and makes you figure out the best ammo to use to bring down the different boss' and enemy stamina so you can bag 'em. Speaking of stamina, you have a stamina function too. Instead of things like health packs or healing potions, in Stranger's Wrath, you shake yourself to recover your health. However, you can only do this for a limited time until your stamina runs out, and you have to let it recharge. The game is not easy, but I am having a good deal of fun with it. Plus, being able to pick it up in the used bin at the local game store for 10 bucks makes it a damn good find in my book. Recommended to those that like their action games with a bit of an odd flavor and something of a warped sense of humor.
Speaking of warped senses of humor, that brings me to Shadow Hearts: From the New World. Now, this is the third Shadow Hearts game and it's my first experience with the series. But I might have to go back and check out the other games. Seems that the first game was dreamed up by some ex-Squaresoft employees, and it does show in a way. I think that there are many people that look at the Shadow Hearts series as the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Final Fantasy games. I can see where they get that, but there is definitely a different flavor to Shadow Hearts: From the New World than there is to any FF game I've played. First off, SH: FtNW has a sense of humor to it that the FF games lack a lot of the time. Don't get me wrong, I dig the hell out of Final Fantasy. However, playing an RPG that features an American Ninja, wieldings swords made out of lumberjack saws, a cactus, and a marlin who was trained in SOuth America by a giant talking cat that's a master of Drunken Fist, a Native American that employs Gun-Fu(a mix of guns and martial arts), a mariachi that has a flame-thrower in his guitar, and a Native American princess with a penchant for removing her clothing when activating her power, and you've got an entertaining game. The story, set in an alternate 1929 America, focuses on 16 year old private investigator Johnny Garland, who at the beginning takes a missing persons case from a professor that looks a lot like The Penguin. When Johnny tracks down the guy, the guy is promptly eaten by a monster. Whoops. He also meets up with Shania, a native american woman that can fuse with various spirits to become powerful hybrid human-monster creatures and her gun-toting, ass kicking side kick. These are just the first two characters in the menagerie of the strange that show up in the game. Again, I'm not all that far in, but it's a lot of fun so far and the story is cool, about trying to stop a flood of evil from devouring the world, mixed in with a serial killer that looks like he just stepped out of The Matrix and his Evil Sailor-Moonesque sidekick. Let's face it, this game is WEIRD! But that's cool, I dig weird. One thing that I like a bit better than FF is the combat system. It's very similar to FF-style combat, turn-based, you can use magic or weapon attacks. You can use items to heal or revive your party members. But one thing that gets you a bit more involved with the fighting is The Judgement Ring. When you select an action, the Judgement Ring appears. A line sweeps through it, and you have to hit the X button while the line is passing through colored zones to make your attacks work at all, or even make them more powerful. In additition to the attack zones, there are much smaller colored zones that if you can hit them, make your attacks, items, and magic stronger and more effective. The ring also comes into play with buying or selling items at the obligatory wandering adventurers' store. In this case, think of the merchant from Resident Evil 4, only it's 2 gay dudes in a motorcycle with a sidecar. heh. Also, you can perform hard hit, double and combo attacks using the ring. SOme of which are quite cool.
Oh, and the woman removing her clothes all the time? That would be Shania. Shania is something like your usual Summoner class from the FF games, only instead of summoning seperate creatures, she "Fuses" with various spirits, and becomes the beasty herself. The thing is though, every time she activates this power, part of the process is her clothes coming off. That's something that is definitely aimed at male gamers and lady gamers that also dig the ladies. heh. THis happens every time you use Shania's Fusion power, which is her strongest power, so there's a lot of Native American clothes flying off. Also, when Shania learns a new summon, there's a fully rendered scene of her turning into the new creature, which is more shall we say, involved than her transformations during combat. heh. I think there are several horny gamers out there that would be rather frustrated by that. heh. But all in all, from what I've seen so far, SH: FtNW is a very cool RPG that is engaging, has a cool story, and is so far quite fun to play. So if you like RPGs in general, or off beat RPGs with an offbeat sense of humor and some Polygonal Native American Erotica, you can pick up Shadow Hearts: From the New World wherever fine games are sold for about 20 bucks, and it seems to be worth it so far.
Uh-huh-huh-huh. I said "polygonal". Yeah, that was COOL!