The Princess and the Pirate

Adventure / Comedy (more)

08 May 2008

Blood On, Color Rings Off

The Princess' and the Pirate's console cooperative action RPGs, from ichiban-daisuki to guttertripe.

Our Criteria...

We like console cooperative shared-screen action RPGs.
console = not on computer, because when we play a video game together, we want to sit on the sofa and play it on our large TV with controllers designed for video games
cooperative = not competitive, because we like working together
shared-screen = not split screen, because the Princess gets lost easily, and we like being able to see everything around our characters
action = not turn based combat, because it bores the Pirate and because the Princess likes to furiously mash the attack button and rely on a cartload of health potions; the Pirate plays with a bit more finesse so rates games lower when they don't have a button to block enemy attacks
RPG = role playing game, with all its tropes, because the Princess' favorite things to do are break open barrels and open treasure chests, and we like character advancement, skill trees, finding/buying better equipment, and all that

Top Six...

#1) Champions: Return to Arms (PS2) - RtA just edges out the original Champions due to better balance and a couple extra playable characters. If you've played the original, RtA is just more of the same, including recycling of most of the art assets, but that suits us just fine. The ability to join the forces of "good" or "evil" doesn't really add anything, but nor does it detract. We've played this through to completion at least twice.

#2) Champions of Norrath (PS2) - Snowblind Studio's excellent followup to Dark Alliance. The overarching story doesn't really hold together, and could probably be left out entirely and we'd have just as much fun. Has nice graphic design and some of the best music of any video game. We've played this through to completion at least twice.

#3) Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (PS2, Xbox, GC) - This was our first exposure to coop action RPGs, and it's so good that we have been playing them ever since. Has maybe the best story of the games on this list. I believe we've played through this twice.

#4) Justice League Heroes (PS2, Xbox) - Another great Snowblind Studios game, but has some kinda blah levels and is overall quite short. We will probably play though this again sometime.

#5) Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II (PS2, Xbox) - DA2 disappointed us, as it is nowhere near as good as DA1. (There is a significant gap between #4 and #5 on this list.) We found the character that trots around carrying an open book laugh-out-loud funny. Still, a decent game that we might replay some day.

#6) Mavel Ultimate Alliance (PS2, Xbox, PS3, 360, Wii) - This barely makes the list and will certainly be replaced by D&D Heroes once we've finished it. The vast array of playable Marvel characters is this game's biggest draw. We might not have finished it due to frustration if the Pirate hadn't switched to Deadpool and stuck with him for the second half of the game, since having both characters regenerate health (the Princess always plays Wolverine of course) is a tremendous help.

Haven't Bothered to Finish...

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (PS2, Xbox) - So-so for the Pirate, but the post-apocalyptic setting is not to the Princess' liking, and there does not seem to be a likeable character in the entire game.

Hunter: The Reckoning: Wayward (PS2) - Kinda falls halfway between a beat-em-up and an action RPG. Mediocre in every way.

X-Men Legends (PS2, Xbox, GC) - Ugh, what were the designers thinking?! The coop here feels like an afterthought, as you are returned to the X-Mansion between missions and the X-Mansion is single-player only! The level maps are deceptive, as there are markings that appear to be doors that are not and you can break through some walls but they still show as solid walls on the map. Inaccurate maps are especially frustrating on timed missions. Some levels require certain characters to complete, but this is not known at the start of the level, and sometimes selecting the "correct" character is a real guessing game. Despite all this, of the three unfinished, this is the most likely we'll play again.

We've also tried various Gautlet titles, but like Hunter, they feel closer to beat-em-ups so we've never really taken a shine to them.

Own, but haven't played yet...

X-Men 2 (PS2, Xbox, GC) - Since we haven't had the energy to slog through the rest of the first one, we haven't tried this sequel.

Currently playing...
Dungeons & Dragons Heroes (Xbox) - We've only played a couple levels so far, but we expect this to easily push Marvel Ulitmate Alliance out of our top six and probably jump ahead of Dark Alliance II. The Pirate's biggest complaint is that he has to keep adjusting the damn camera since it automatically "pulls back" when the two characters get too far apart until everything is so small (even on our 54" screen) that you can't see treasure you're standing right next to.


Post a Comment

<< Home