Patapon (PSP)

pataponDeveloper/Publish: SCE Japan/SCEA

Platforms: PSP (2008)

Gamerankings.com Score: 86.1%

Amazon                            Ebay

Genre: Action, Rhythm

Pata-Pata-Pata-Pon! With my last post being LocoRoco, I found it only fitting to have Patapon next. With help from developer Pyramid, SCE Japan has yet again created a game boasting originality and fantastic art direction. In the game, you serve as the god of the titular Patapon tribe as they cross the world in order to lay their eyes on “it”, granting them eternal happiness. Give commands on beat with the music and your minions will march, defend, and attack anything in their path. String a combo together and they will enter fever mode, granting stat boosts, get off beat and your commands will go unheeded while the Patapons get confused. Grab some headphones and enjoy this trance-inducing game.

LocoRoco (PSP)

locorocoDeveloper/Publisher: SCE Japan/SCEE

Platforms: PSP (2006)

Gamerankings.com Score: 85.3%

Gamestop: N/A                           Ebay

Genre: Platformer, Puzzle

It’s bright, cute, quirky,easy to play, and has catchy music; it’s everything you want in a “Japanese” game. LocoRoco are little blob creatures and their world is being invaded. It’s up to you to help them by turning their entire planet upsidedown and letting gravity do the rest. The controls consist of tilting the playfield left or right to guide the blobs through each of the 40 levels. They can jump and have a few other abilities, but that’s about it. Some may find this too simplistic, but most of the enjoyment comes from a fun happy game that you can work through leisurely and doesn’t push too hard.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3, Xbox 360)

skyrimDeveloper/Publisher: Bethesda/Bethesda

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 (2011)

Gamerankings.com Score: 88% (PS3), 95% (Xbox 360)

Gamestop: $4.99                            Ebay

Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG

Writing for a blog about collecting cheap games, you can imagine I don’t like to pay a lot for games, but Skyrim was one of the few games I’ve purchased on release day. I still rank it as one of my favorite games of all time. It’s huge and nothing if not entertaining. The combat is varied and satisfying, and the world is fully realized. The Dark Brotherhood storyline alone could have been it’s own game. The PS3 version is said to have some performance issues, so I would stick to the 360 which also happens to be cheaper. I used to be a collector, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

Need for Speed: High Stakes (PS1)

high-stakesDeveloper/Publisher: EA Canada/Electronic Arts

Platforms: PS1 (1999)

Gamerankings.com: 84.3%

Gamestop: N/A                         Ebay

Genre: Racing, Arcade

I admit Need for Speed: High Stakes is not the best racing games on the PS1. It doesn’t have the polish of Gran Turismo 2 or the personality and iconic music of Ridge Racer 4. That being said, I think it is a great game to have especially if you have another person to play with. The racing action is solid, the cars now include damage modeling, and they control well. The menu systems are a little bland, frame rate can sometimes take a hit, and the music is typical 90’s electronica. But as the title states, you can race for pink slips with your friends which makes for a great white knuckle party game. Also included is an improved and expanded hot pursuit mode which is a cat n’ mouse style race where one person is chasing the other in a souped up cop car, which is a blast when playing with a human opponent.

LOTR: Return of the King (GC,PS2,Xbox)

rotkDeveloper/Publisher:Electronic Arts/Electronic Arts

Platforms: Gamecube,PS2, Xbox (2003)

Gamerankings.com Score: ~84%

Gamestop$4.99                             Ebay

Genre: Action, Hack n’ Slash

Time has shown that not all movie based video games are terrible, especially when the source material lends itself so well to a particular style of gameplay. With it’s sense of adventure, exploration, and epic battles, The Return of the King just needed a competent developer to bring the book/film to life, and EA most certainly did. In a brilliant move to follow the storyline of the source, this game features 3 different paths to the end. You can choose to play as Gandolf, the hobbits, or Aragorn/Gilmli/Legolas. Each groups path has its own specially designed levels, and players are free to stop and switch paths as the please. You can buy upgraded weapons and levels your character throughout this hack and slash adventure, and even do it with a buddy since all versions include co-op. The improved graphics and EA’s cinematic camera make the game feel just as large scale as the movie.

Magical Starsign (DS)

magical-starsignDeveloper/Publisher: Brownie Brown/Nintendo

Platforms: DS (2006)

Gamerankings.com Score: 70.0%

Gamestop$4.99                     Ebay

Genre: RPG, Turn Based

Many years ago I bought this game on ebay, but the seller backed out and I never got  it. Fast forward to last night and I happen to come across it randomly at a Gamestop CIB for $5. This game did not get a lot of love when it first came out, maybe because it was a little too traditional a game released 2 years into such a innovative system like the DS. As a fan of traditional JRPGs, I implore you to give it a shot. The world that Brownie Brown created and the characters in it are bright, funny, and a joy to explore, even if the plot of the whole affair is razor thin. The battle system is pretty standard underneath the hood, but the planetary alignment system will keep players on their toes. The journey will take you well into the 30-40 hour range, and even offers some multiplayer dungeon exploring action.

Batman: Arkham City (PS3, Xbox 360)

arkham-cityDeveloper/Publisher: Rocksteady Games/Warner Bros.

Platforms: PS2, Xbox 360 (2011)

Gamerankings.com Score: 95.9% (PS3), 93.8% (Xbox 360)

Gamestop$4.99                                    Ebay

Genre: Action, Adventure

Disclaimer: I hated this game, but I also really dislike Batman as a character. That being said, it is universally praised, so what do I know. People love the fluidity of the combat system and also the ability to earn experience points to upgrade your moves and gadgets to really customize your experience in Arkham. Moving out of the Asylum of the last  game and into the city proper, this game is much larger and there are tons of nooks and cranny’s to explore and Riddler trophies to collect. If you enjoy the characters and the environment of the Batman universe, this series is obviously one to collect.