Monday, February 26, 2007

Dead Rising – Completed

Before knowledge of Hell boy for 360, this game was the most compelling reason for me to get the new Xbox. Zombies in a mall with a plethora weapons at hand seems like a complete formula for success to me. A concept many lovers of the zombie genre have contemplated since the original Dawn of the Dead.

At this point the majority of 360 games I have played had great controls and were easy to learn and use. Dead rising as followed suit very well. In the game you control quite a few objects and vehicles. It seems that each process was thought out and designed specifically for the situation. When racking up my 53,594 kills for the mega buster I spent a lot of time in vehicles. The vehicles are a very small portion of the game and you can almost complete the game with out using them. Yet when driving through leisure park trees were easy to avoid with faster responsive controls. You can tell the time was put in to make sure everything worked well. The only thing I found frustrating was sniping. It seems that when you’re zoomed in and move the reticule, it is moved a set distance. This keeps you from being very accurate in aiming while completely zoomed in. To compensate for this it seems if a zombie is any where near the center of your site the bullet will still magically hit it. This isn’t posed to be a realistic shooter and this is what I would consider a small feature to compensate for minute portion of the game.

The mall itself was fairly well designed, yet I wonder if when they got to the north plaza they got lazy. The majority of this area is under construction. It does add a certain ambiance that differs from the rest of the mall, however I think it could have easily been filled with a wide range of stores. When was the last time you were in a mall and it was being renovated?

Sound bits are a tad over done for me. I kept hearing this clicking in the background wondering if something strange was following me only to realize that it was my sword. Sitting in the security office waiting for the next case to begin the TV had to be muted. These ungrateful whiners whom I had already saved from impending doom insist on crying once brought to safety. In my second run through the game I almost contemplated not saving them for my own peace of mind.

The game has seven different endings, two of which I have had the pleasure of seeing. The thing that got me was having to know what exactly you must do to get the true ending. With no guidance through the last day I sat waiting for my helicopter. Isabella sat in her brother’s hide out and gave me little to no response from 6 am until 8 am as I waited for her to come with me. Only to find out that I had to speak with her after 10 am. Games built that require guidance or sheer luck annoys me.

I give it 9 out of 10

Gears of War – Completed

My first 360 game completed!

Number one selling game for Christmas, the amount of hype for this game was just amazing. Then upon its release it seemed to live up to its name. One of the reasons I purchased a 360 was this game. People seemed to think it was worthy to be the game of the year and to me it had to prove itself.

A future war and you are an imprisoned solider with a past. You have to fight the alien horde to save the planet. Seems fairly familiar when it comes to shooter games yet amazingly enough the story gets you involved. Something I didn’t really care for but kept me intrigued was the amount of information that is missing. Maybe I didn’t watch all the cut scenes or wasn’t paying attention, but it seemed like there were holes in the story they just never chose to fill. I don’t expect final fantasy like character development, but at least tell me why I am in the slammer. In the end I was content with the shallowness of the story as it did not really affect the game.

When I started out I didn’t read all the text and missed that I could have done a tutorial. Training would have made the first hour of the game much more enjoyable. I would suggest to new players at your first fork in the road go right and get the training. Once you have a handle on the controls the game runs well and is easy to maneuver. What makes the controls unique is the one button to do it all. When you want to duck behind cover, run crouched, or tactfully move through a house you only need to press “A”. Making what would be very difficult maneuvering for a novice player so simplistic gave this game allot of appeal. For season veterans such as my self the single control limited my abilities that I have spent over a decade honing. In years of counter strike / quake / battlefield you get a sense of movement and adopt it to your playing style. The game does not allow you to use this experience and requires the cookie cutter fashion in which it was programmed. What does this mean for the players? It makes everyone equal and bound to the same exact scheme of movement and control. This could be why the game is doing so well, it is a level playing field.

The graphics and sounds have a great effect in immersing you into the environment. The graphics are some of the best to date that I have seen in gaming. The lighting and ambiance of it all give you the tingle you haven’t felt since resident evil.

I will give it 8 of 10. Game didn’t not feel as short as I expected it to be and the controls once learned are stable and well done. If you own a 360 and like shooters this is a must have.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Futurama – Completed

This game has been sitting on the shelf for probably two years. This is mostly because I got half way through it and was frustrated and quit. In a push to finish games I started but never completed this was on of the first few titles that came to mind.

The game is a plat former that centers on a typical Futurama plot. Through out the game you play as four characters Fry, Bender, Leela, and very briefly Zoidberg. Each character sports here own type of moves and give a real sense to who they are in the show. The voice acting was great and I would not be surprised if the voices were done by the original people in the show. During load times they splash up advertisements from past episodes, which I found to be a nice addition to the feel of the game. Characters were cell shaded and the environments looked straight out of the Futurama world. I could probably go on and on about how I liked the look and feel of this game, being such a Futurama fan but I will spare you.

The game play was a little tough through the first half of the game and then I got to Leela. All of her attacks are melee based with out a targeting option. This made combat difficult and awkward. Fry had a guy that let you auto target and Benders moves allowed him to attack enemies some distance away. After passing the first few levels with Leela it came to light that there was some half baked idiot they let program a few sequences. These sequences require you jump from pillar to pillar and in some cases you are not even able to see where to jump thanks to the some what shoddy camera. Of course if you fall of its into lava which instantly kills you. At some point I slammed my PS2 controller into the coffee table and quit playing. I would much rather take on 1000 enemies then have to jump from tiny ledge to tiny ledge, it is not they way to increase the difficulty of the game and I wish some of these programmers would figure that out. After a good nights rest I tried again and was able to pass the lava pit and move on. At this point I felt as though recommending the game to anyone would only do them harm.

The game itself had some rather crappy features. The camera could actually get stuck behind a wall and not allow you to see where you were going. Often the camera would not give you the angle needed in order to progress. This was another source of my frustration with the game. Also the save system and lives was terrible. You can only save in between levels, and have extra lives if you die. If you run out of lives you are returned to the title screen and have to reload your save. They didn’t even make a short cut to allow you to continue from the starting point, and with PS2 load times the could take up to three minutes to reload your game. The game just has small little quarks that make the game overly difficult and frustrating.

I give this game 6 out of 10. If you’re a fan of the show then I would suggest getting it and pushing through the crappy game play and save system. Being immersed into this world was great fun and made me laugh. If you’re looking for a plat former game then stay away, it’s not worth your time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Trauma Center: Second Opinion - Completed

This is my second bout with this game as I originally had it for the DS. The revamp of the game changes the controls for the Wii and also has difficulty levels. Most people who attempted the DS version walked away quite frustrated with sore hands. Second opinion scales the difficulty and makes for quite the game.

The game itself is surgery, something that many people can rarely witness. It gives you the opportunity in a virtual environment to know and do things that surgeons do, at least to a certain extent. In the end it is still a game.

The controls are easy and if the very idea of a surgery game intrigues you. Then you should really consider giving the game a go.

There are a few bad features anyone should consider before playing. Two major things stand out in my mind. One being the music in this game is terrible and turning it off could make for a more pleasurable experience. The second issue being the games story and all of the dialogue it requires you to read to understand the story. Luckily one of the developers must have recognized this flaw and put in the option to skip all of the talking. This is done in a very half assed manor, when you select skip it speeds up the text and makes it clearly unreadable but still has to go through each sentence of text. Although at first for me it proved to be a good time to use the restroom and get food, over time it was annoying.

Give it a 7 out of 10, took around 6 hours to beat with out the extra seven surgery’s which I have not done. The idea of the game is extraordinary and I would love to see more titles with out side the box thinking. The dialog got annoying and some of the levels caused immense frustration. But over all a good experience.

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