Monday, October 29, 2007

Full Auto – Completed

Back in the day we use to play car wars the card game. Yes it was in fact a card game like poker and what not. One of the only resemblances of reality that came from my numerous outings with the youth group I was in. It consisted of cars with weapons attempting to blow up other cars with weapons. That is my definition of full auto and well you get to race as well. If you like the mixture of above then you might like the game. Right now I don’t think to highly of it due to the fact that there is so much more they could have done.

What would I have liked to see in the game (since I know your asking? First off track variety, I don’t just want to blow up the city, I was to blow up the desert and mountains and so on. What seems like the exact city every time over and over got quite annoying. The other thing is weapons come in sets, why cant I customize to have grenades on the back and a missile in the front. That leads me to my other point, the cars are primarily selected for you. This would be the first and probably last time I would agree with some other games that force you to buy a car and use it. Give it some of your personality and run with.

Finally the career mode is short, you can easily complete it in one evening. There are other modes to play, but after career mode I just did not feel the need to play anymore.

The game was 4 out of 10 for me. I have a copy if you want to borrow it for a few hundred achievement points.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Superman Returns – Completed

If you’re a gamer like me and you think of Superman, your mind will drift back to the 90’s and memory off the complete disaster Superman 64 is. When this title came up I avoided it like the plague until finding it fairly cheap on eBay. Curious I went to meta critic and saw the score was not disastrously low. By no means game of the year but a few people said it was playable. With the idea that the game is sandbox and you’re able to fly around metropolis, well I opted to pay the $12 and see for myself.

There are plenty of bad reviews out there, this is not going to be one of them. I would prefer to only touch briefly on the bad and focus on the good.

Flying has to be one of the best aspects of the game. You start out slow and can press a button to fly faster, and at some point you break the sound barrier and a sonic boom is emitted. Now when traveling at super sonic speeds the controls are a little squirrely, in my opinion this is as it should be since your flying at 500 mph. At now time did I really feel out of control. The use of powers, cold breath, laser eyes, and blowing giant gusts of wind are easily used and fairly entertaining. The one thing I had hope for that was not included was X-ray vision. Thinking through what the developer would have needed to do in order to have the special vision I can understand why I was left out. Each of the three powers has two different modes, normal and burst. With burst it store up and release the power in a large blow. The concept is sound but I generally found its inaccuracy made it ineffective during the game.

Strangely enough the game has cut scenes that associate it with the movie. I will be honest and say I skipped over all the cut scenes and there never seemed to be anything in the game play that would tie it to the movie, I could be wrong yet I don’t feel the need to go and find out.

If you like sand box super hero games then give it a shot, the game is cheap and fun. I will forewarn you that it is very repetitive. The boss battles make it worth the play.

Give it 7 out of 10, love sandbox super hero games, achievements were challenging with out frustrating me.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bullet Witch – Completed

Originally I only gave this game about five minutes of my time (got it from gamefly) and it seemed completely off kilter for a 360 game. At that point I put it back into the sleeve and sent it on its way. Then I realized there were a few achievements to be had and only six levels of game play, Sara was kind enough to loan it to me for two nights and that seemed to be all I needed to finish the game.

To be 100% honest the game is not horrible, just don’t play it after BioShock or even Halo 3 for that matter. Graphically it’s not overly appealing and definitely looks like last generation graphics. Play ability is fine and it has some originality with spell casting. There are two aspects which appealed to me, first the constant firing of weapons against a fair amount of enemies, second the spell casting. Spell casting is a bit weak when it comes to different spell options you have, some are just for extra damage using little mana (not sure if that’s how it is referred to in the game but who cares) and others that do massive damage to a large area and use all your mana. The appeal comes from casting out a tornado into a large group of enemies or summoning meteorites to pummel the ground. It definitely gives the player a sense of power.

In between levels you have a chance to spend skill points collected during the previous levels. They are over priced for the benefit and if playing on normal you will only received maybe three upgrade the entire game, so long as you pick ones worth your while. This annoyed me to no end as it seemed I had little control or understanding of how to get skill points, granted I never put any real effort into figuring it out.

Finally the final boss battle was fun but frustrating, and not because it was hard. Simply because you never knew if you were dealing damage to the correct area of the boss, you receive subtle hints from what ever entity is communicating with you through the game. But even with the hints it never appears you are doing something correct until you have poured 1000’s of rounds into a certain area of the boss.

The game for me was 5 out of 10. Better then gun grave yet just as short. My suggestion would be to avoid spending any money on this game.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters – Completed

This is the first Ratchet and Clank game that I have played, even though I have one for the PS2 I have yet to pop it in and try it. Now it is far and few between that I find a PSP game I would actually tell my friends to play. This would be one of those games.

R&C is a mascot plat former for the play station brand. Think of a Mario game with guns and a giant wrench. The premise of the story is Ratchet is taking a well deserved vacation when a child who wishes to see him in action gets kid napped. He of course being a hero goes into the depths of space in order to save her and of course things are never as they seems. The story is a touch thin but has a sense of humor with out being childish. I really did not care what would happen next, but I was not annoyed either.

The majority of play is spent jumping and shooting like a normal plat former. Though there are occasions where you can race, fight through space as giant clank, mini games that resemble robot wars, and a few other mini games one of which is a lemmings clone. What seemed to give me the most enjoyment was the weapon selection. There have been many of commercials for these games where a few guys are in there front yard playing with one of these weapons, the outcome is pretty entertaining most of the time. The game has over 10 weapons/gadgets to choose from and use. Most of the weapons upgrade through use as well as purchases. The variety ranges from a regular blaster to little robots that fire lasers and missiles. Ammo is plentiful and bolts which is the source of money seem to be fairly accessible.

One of the let downs in this game was the armor. The first set I completed through regular game play and the effects were great, as you walk you leave burn marks and when hitting enemies with your wrench it sets them a flame. This was short lived when I upgraded my armor for protection but was unable to easily complete any of the other sets. In a programmers mind I could see how this would create reply for the game and it almost did for me. But seeing how the armor had to be acquired (via walk through) appeared to be more work then fun.

The last point I want to make is lately in most games there has been a serious lack of boss battles from yesteryear. All the boss battles in R&C:SM are not epic, but take some work and strategy, not just balls to the wall firing for 30 seconds (looking at you halo 3).

The game is a solid 8 out of 10 for me. It’s not to short with decent graphics and really just down to the nit and grit the game is fun to play.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Stranglehold – Completed

John Woo is making a video game? Well that’s just a fantastic idea and after playing the demo I fought back not buying it on opening day. That turned out to be a pretty good decision on my part. Mike T rented and beat the game quickly enough to give me a shot at it.

The game like a John Woo movie centers around Chow Yung Fat’s character affectionately named “Tequila”. A cop bent on stopping a mob war at any cost, I will even call him a super cop. With a few plot twists and some Russian the story plays out as you would expect from an action movie. Not particularly moving by any means, but has its share of gun battles and explosions.

It’s a third person shooter with destructible environments, a decent range of weapons, and Tequila bombs! No I do not mean drinks, but Tequilas special ability’s, heal him self, aimed shot, barrage attack, and the spin attack. Each one unique and powerful in its own right and giving you options when you approach different situations. It cracked me up every time I did a spin attack, doves fly as a slow motion sequence ensues and you kill every enemy in site. Perhaps the doves were a ploy to distract the ESRB!

Now the crappy part, the game is short and I mean like Halo 3 short. For the sake of achievements I beat the game twice in the day I had it. It probably would take anyone four hours maximum to finish the game.

On that note the game is 6 out of 10 for me. It is fun, but short and there is nothing overly unique about the game play.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Dirt - Completed

First off, please take a moment to remember Colin McRae a great racer who tragically lost his life in a helicopter accident September 17th 2007. His name appeared on many of games including Dirt (in Europe). Though I am not sure of his contribution to the games with his name, I would like to think his contribution was what made them enjoyable.

Rally racing is not very big in the US, but my father is a junkie so I have spent many afternoons watching or listening to rally races. To race I am sure it can be exhilarating, but the games lacked longevity and drive. The premise of rally racing is not a bunch of cars on a track, but a single car on a course racing the clock. This lacks a certain amount of excitement that say F1 would have with passing and crashes. Being as all your trying to do is go as fast a possible with out flying off the track can get quite boring over time.

Dirt changes all that, with a great mixture of different types of racing. You get to run events with everything from semi truck hill climbs to dune buggies. This gave me the drive to keep playing and see what was next. In the beginning you run shorter tracks with single racers per event. Since it is only certain sectors on bigger tracks each time you raced for the first 50 times the tracks seemed new. Towards the end when racing tracks like the full 12 miles of Pikes Peak hill climb you have raced there enough that you know the track, but it’s not quite repetitive.

The game is beautiful graphically and like most 360 games, the controls are spot on. If you’re a racing fan I really think this is a must have for 360 owners. I finished it in 7 hours and 44 minutes, some of that time was spent practicing tracks and was not all pure racing. There are 46 cars to buy and race, but unlike other racing games they come fully prepped for racing. You do not have to spend two hours trying to pimp a Honda civic to be competitive. Finally the achievements like BioShock are littered through the game and can be easily obtained with just playing.

I easily give this 9 out of 10, as I said before a must have for 360 racing fans.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Burnout Legends -Complete

My faithful PSP made a return as the foremost game system while in Cancun. Andrew brought a laptop with all his games so I was not limited to the ones I pre-loaded. Daniel was playing this and told me it was a lot of fun so I went for it.

Low and behold a racer I enjoyed, the burnout series has been around for a while. Yet the first few attempts at the game left me wanting something more fulfilling. Since in Mexico and lacking my 360 I gave it a much more solid look and found enjoyment in it.

This seems to be one of the few PSP games where the controls (of course not the nub) seem to work very well. The D-PAD was very smooth and functional a nice change of pace for the normally plagued controls in PSP games. Since the racer is basic it only used a few buttons, however they were also done correctly with there layout adding to the ease in playing.

The game play consists of two modes, racing and crashing. I did not discover the crash mode until I had finished all the career racing modes and honestly I am really happy it played out that way. There are 100 different crash runs and after the first 5 it is extremely repetitive and not that enjoyable, my only drive was to finish the game. The racing has a few different styles that kept the game interesting. The first that comes to mind and the worst in my opinion was burning laps. While I gained gold medals easily in all other facets this one seemed to be the most difficult. All you have to do is make a lap in a certain time, which at certain points seemed nearly impossible. I would really recommend avoid these if possible, it drags the game. The other modes are normal races, crashing cars, and being a cop crashing a car. They were all fun and rarely caused frustration.

The game was 6 out of 10, but definitely fun for a PSP game.

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