Video Game Review: WTF: Work Time Fun [PSP, 2006]

WTF: Work Time Fun [PSP, 2006]

WTF: Work Time Fun
System: PSP
Developer: SCEI
Publisher: D3, Sony
Release Date: October 23, 2006

It takes just one glance at WTF: Work Time Fun’s title to realize that it is going to be a bizarre and eccentric game. A quirky Japanese title, WTF is a compilation of minigames that are all over the place with randomness and unusual concepts.

In the game, you play as an oddjob worker who just so happens to be in Hell. Your goal is to make money by performing random tasks. I’m not kidding when I say “random” — tasks range from everything to putting caps on pens to kicking out of a pro wrestling pin at the last possible moment. The money earned from these projects is used for vending machines that give out completely random prizes: more tasks/minigames, useless trinkets and mostly unhelpful “tools” such as a mobile bingo machine. In essence, there is no point to the game other than to work tedious jobs and earn money to purchase meaningless items. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?

WTF: Work Time Fun [PSP, 2006]

For all of its wackiness, WTF struggles with one major problem: most of the minigames just aren’t fun. The aforementioned Pendamonium game is probably the worst offender. In this “game” your job is to put caps on pens, occasionally taking the time to flip them over so the cap is placed in the right spot. That’s it. There is no definitive end to this task; you just keep doing this over and over again until you get tired of it. Another futile minigame has you separate baby chicks by their sex by simply hitting a different button for male and female. This goes on for a full TEN MINUTES. Whereas other minigame compilations work because they keep the games quick and to the point, WTF sometimes pushes them ad nauseum.

It should be noted that not all tasks are bad, though all are incredibly simple. I enjoyed testing my ability with the lumberjack minigame. In this one, an old lady throws out pieces of wood for you to chop — the catch is that she will occasionally toss in stuffed animals, and if you chop those you lose. Another tolerable minigame is a simple race where you have to hit the brakes at the right time in order to pass your opponent while also avoiding running off the cliff. Again, these are nothing special and actually could pass as simple Flash games, but they work in the context of WTF.

WTF: Work Time Fun [PSP, 2006]

Without its off-the-wall Japanese presentation, Work Time Fun would have nothing going for it. The games come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and have varying aesthetic appeals. Some games look like they belong in the Atari era, whereas others use real-life images to make them stand out. It’s always interesting to see what games you can unlock, although it’s not always fun getting there.

It’s hard to recommend Work Time Fun unless you have a soft spot for weird Japanese humor and/or you enjoy performing lots of tedious work to unlock worthless collectibles. Chalk this one up as an interesting experiment that belongs to a very niche audience.

5/10

Video Game Review: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [Playstation 3, 2009]

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [Playstation 3, 2009]

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
System: Playstation 3
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: October 13, 2009

I liked the original Uncharted quite a bit, but it took me a while to get a hold of the sequel. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves expands upon the original in every way while maintaining the same adventure/platforming gameplay that was so great the first time around.

Uncharted 2 picks up right where the first game left off. Treasure hunter extraordinaire Nathan Drake is back, this time trying to find out what happened to the lost fleet of Marco Polo. Aided by new and old characters alike, Drake’s journey takes him across exotic locales all over the world. Jungles, snowy mountains, hidden villages — you name it, it’s there.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [Playstation 3, 2009]

Building upon the epic nature from the first game, Uncharted 2 is grandiose in every sense of the word. Again playing out as a big-time summer blockbuster movie, the game has a number of insane cinematic moments. The opening chapter of the campaign heaves itself in your face, forcing you to learn the game’s controls while Drake is trying to climb up a wrecked train that is hanging — just barely — over a cliff. Yeah, this “tutorial” is only the beginning. There are a lot of ridiculous and over-the-top action sequences scattered throughout, and they are just AWESOME. Drake has almost superhuman jumping abilities — which come in handing for the game’s excellent platforming sections — and does a lot of stuff that is physically impossible, but it works because this is a *video game*. For sheer cinematic brilliance in gaming form, Uncharted 2 is among the best.

It certainly helps that the game is stunning, one of the most gorgeous titles available on any platform. The character models are top-notch, and the aforementioned exotic locales are simply beautiful. The details found while traversing these areas are subtle but brilliant, such as Drake having snow get stuck to his pants while in the mountains, or having his clothing become wet after jumping into a lake. With an impressive musical score and some excellent voice acting, Uncharted 2 definitely feels like an action movie.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves [Playstation 3, 2009]

While this sequel is all-around more polished than its predecessor, it still struggles with some minor gameplay mechanical issues. Combat is much improved, as now you don’t have to empty clip after clip into enemies before they finally drop. However, there are still occasional problems with the covering system, namely Drake getting sent to hide behind the wrong piece of cover than what you originally intended. This tends to happen right in the heat of important battles, and can lead to some frustrating deaths that are faults of the gameplay, not the user. There is also a lot of repetition in the game. There are moments where there seems to be gunfight after gunfight, which gets tiresome. Naughty Dog usually does a good job dividing up segments into different styles of gameplay, but there were some areas where it became redundant. Still, there are a lot of EPIC sequences that make up for the occasional monotony.

Perhaps most intriguing about Uncharted 2 is its addition of a multiplayer mode. At first I was wary of this because Uncharted is very much a single player experience, but I was pleasantly surprised as to how well-executed the online play turned out. There are both competitive and co-op options available, each of which has different game modes. I found the co-op games to be the most fun online, as you can either play through various levels while fighting off countless enemies, or you can play an “Arena” mode where you shoot your way through ten waves of villains. The competitive modes include traditional Deathmatch, Plunder (a spin on “capture the flag”), and Turf War (control areas to win), among others. There is still a good-sized community active today, and that should remain for the foreseeable future.

Uncharted 2 has received an impressive amount of accolades — and Sony has made sure that we are aware of this by listing “25 Perfect Review Scores” on its cover — and most of these high marks are deserved. While I still found issues with some of the gameplay quirks and general repetitiveness, I greatly enjoyed working my way through the single player campaign. The addition of a high-quality multiplayer section is just the icing on the cake. If you’re a fan of giant action/adventure epics, you will feel right at home with Uncharted 2.

8.5/10

Free Games Announced for Playstation Network Members

Now that the Playstation Network is finally back, today Sony was able to announce their “welcome back” plan for PSN members. Here are the full details, courtesy of the Official Playstation Blog

“All PlayStation Network customers can select two PS3 games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

* Dead Nation
* inFAMOUS
* LittleBigPlanet
* Super Stardust HD
* Wipeout HD + Fury

For PSP owners, you will be eligible to download two PSP games from the following list. The games will be available for 30 days shortly after PlayStation Store is restored and can be kept forever.

* LittleBigPlanet (PSP)
* ModNation Racers
* Pursuit Force
* Killzone Liberation

* A selection of “On Us” rental movie titles will be available to PlayStation Network customers over one weekend, where Video Service is available. Those titles will be announced soon.
* 30 days free PlayStation Plus membership for non PlayStation Plus subscribers.
* Existing PlayStation Plus subscribers will receive an additional 60 days of free subscription.
* Existing Music Unlimited Premium Trial subscription members will receive an additional 30 days of free premium subscription.
* Additional 30 days + time lost for existing members of Music Unlimited Premium/Basic subscription free of charge for existing Premium/Basic members.
* To welcome users Home, PlayStation Home will be offering 100 free virtual items. Additional free content will be released soon, including the next addition to the Home Mansion personal space, and Ooblag’s Alien Casino, an exclusive game.”

It looks like I will finally get inFamous, which I have heard nothing but great things about. I already own LittleBigPlanet and Dead Nation, both of which are quality titles. I haven’t decided on Super Stardust HD or Wipeout Fury HD yet — both seem intriguing.

How about you guys? What two games will you be picking up?