Posts

Showing posts from October, 2012

On the Level: Pokemon

It's been awhile since I've posted, and to all of my readers I apologize.  Not that it's any excuse but life has just been crazy lately and things have finally started to settle down.

Now, onto what you guys and girls actually care about.  On October 6, 2012 Pokemon did a first: released a numbered sequel.  Pokemon Black Version 2 (which I played) and White Version 2 took place in a (slightly) different section of Unova two years after the events of Pokemon Black Version and White Version.  As I played through this game I once again developed a bond with my Pokemon, caring for them in a way that only a Pokemon fan can understand.  Yet I admit this adventure didn't feel quite the same.  For example my starter (Oshawott, now a Samurott) is sitting in my box while my Black 1 starter (Tepig, now Emboar) is in my party and being used with the same love he was in that game.  
Unlike past installments Black and White 2 kept you in the same region, a move that was bold in my…

Bastion Review

Image
The gaming critics little darling and not for the first time they are wrong. What we have is an action RPG that has 2 very unique features. First up is the way the game looks, isometric view of the levels which build themselves as you move forward, quite a nice effect which I can’t remember being in any other game. The visuals are nice enough, but I doubt they blow anybody away even on the highest settings. The second unique feature is the voice over which makes comments on the unfolding story and whenever you do something memorable in-game, very nice touch which gives the game its identity. Now where the game falls short is the gameplay and story, you carry a melee and ranged weapon plus special attack. You’ll pick up various weapons which can be upgraded by finding materials in the levels. Problems lie in the actual fighting, it’s so simple and dare I say it, boring. The story is rather poor as well, it has pretensions of being something clever and smart, but I couldn't invest in…

Alan Wake's American Nightmare Review

Image
The original Alan Wake has quite the history, seemingly stuck in development hell, PC version pulled and then finally landing on the 360 to mixed reviews, I quite enjoyed it although the ending and subsequent DLC never did resolve the storyline. Poor sales dampened any hope of a full blown sequel, but they finally released the original on PC and then followed it up with this bite sized experience which doesn't have much to do with the main canon. It's inspiration is most certainly the TV show from the 1960's called The Twilight Zone as you're thrown into a small town called Night Springs, fans of the original game will get the connection. The town has a serious problem and that would be the beings called The Taken whose sole purpose is to hunt Alan and destroy anything that stands in the way, the only way to kill these entities is to expose them to light (they're covered in darkness), mainly from the always equipped torch or the flares/flash bangs that you'll p…

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City Review

Image
Forget everything you knew about Resident Evil when it comes to this title, Capcom has sourced this game out to an American developer whose history includes games like SOCOM. This isn't survival horror or even the action heavy Resident Evil 5, this game was built for online co-op although the game does provide AI companions for offline play. The game starts in Raccoon City with the outbreak seen in RE2 as the background, you'll be going in as part of a Umbrella elite squad intent on getting the T-Virus out. The squad is made up from a varied selection of 12 characters, you can pick who you want to be and the pick will matter, you can take roles ranging from medic to assault style, the usual choice in this type of game. To be quite honest this could have been any squad based shooter but they've slapped the Resident Evil name on it to boost sales, there is nothing in the levels or the narrative that has any great impact on the Resident Evil story. 
What it does provide is plen…

Daytona USA Review

Image
Daytona USA
XBLA
Released 2011
Other Versions: PSN, Saturn, PC, Dreamcast
Had the pleasure of playing this in the arcades back in 1994, 4 player cabinets with a few mates after some beers was just about the most awesome thing in the world. This version is almost an exact replica of the game, but with textures upgrades and some extra modes on top of the core arcade option which consists of 3 tracks. This is pure arcade gameplay, it’s not subtle and you just hammer the gas as you try to beat the countdown timer. I don’t think the game has stood the test of time despite getting upgraded for the HD generation, the gameplay is just too simple for my tastes now and as expected,  the visuals look pretty poor. The music tracks in the game are infamous for being so cheesy and you get the originals and a new arranged soundtrack. Karaoke mode allows you to race round the tracks with the lyrics shown on screen, no real reason to be there but I assume the dev’s were having a laugh. Online racing for 8 …

Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Image
Mario Kart is better, there I said it and I’m the biggest Sega fan boy you’ll meet. Don’t let that put you off though as Sega/Sumo Digital have produced a very good karting game that does come close to Mario, doesn’t quite get there, but has plenty going for it. Let’s get to the good points first, visuals are sumptuous, you get Sonic’s iconic green “first stage” which has been in almost all of his games with loops and that famous blue sky. Other environments are drawn from Super Monkey Ball, House of The Dead, Billy Hatcher, Samba de Amigo, and Jet Grind Radio. The sound is adequate and you get the normal fare from these type of games with the other racers declaring how happy or irked they are. Nothing stands out and that might be for the best. Gameplay is fun, fast and all about the drifting although problems start to kick in on the latter difficulty levels as the game is quite unforgiving when the A.I. seems to target you and you only. Prepare to be frustrated as you get hammered wit…

Final Fantasy VI Review

Image
Final Fantasy VI
SNES 1994
Other Versions: Virtual Console, PlayStation, PSN / GameBoy Advance
Perhaps Square's finest hour. To many people this is the best Final Fantasy made and whilst i don't think that myself, I would certainly have it in my top 3 of the franchise. Visuals are some of the best on the SNES as is the sound with a fantastic score. The story is rich and vibrant with many layers as you get to know each character and the reasons for joining the party's adventure. Plenty of memorable moments that still stand 20 years later such as the Ghost Train and Opera House. Gameplay moves fast and has plenty of depth for developing the roster. Kefka, what a total bastard this guy is and he will be the games main villain. He is absolutely hilarious which is helped greatly by the stellar English translation, coupled with the fact that he pulls off some of the most heinous acts seen in any video game and you'll have the greatest bad guy in RPG history. The world of Final F…

NBA 2K11 Review

Image
What to say about NBA 2K11? It’s a basketball game and it plays brilliantly. That's not going to do for the review so I better pad it out a little. Starting on Dreamcast all those years ago when EA wouldn't release the NBA Live games on the console, it had a free run, but it showed its class back then as well. This franchise is the reason that EA stopped making basketball games and thankfully EA couldn't get the exclusive NBA license like they did with the NFL and Madden. This version is also the one that featured Michael Jordan on the front cover and even had the Jordan mode on top of the expected features.
All the game modes that are now common place for sports games are present and correct, no point really in dwelling on them, but you can play a single game to a full season. The big thing about this version of the game is having the demigod Michael Jordan on board, you can play the "The Jordan Challenge" which throws you into some of his finest moments and asks…

Syndicate Review

Image
Syndicate

360
Released 2012
Other Versions: PS3 & PC Based on the universe of the early 90's classic strategy game and developed by Starbreeeze Studio who were behind The Darkness and Chronicles of Riddick. It caused quite the shitstorm when details came out about the game as it was going to be one of those generic First Person Shooters, thankfully for all concerned it’s got more to it although fans of the original won't be too happy, forget about the Amiga/ Mega Drive game as this has nothing to do with it.

The year is 2069 and governments no longer hold the power, nations don't exist as we know it and massive corporations known as "Syndicates" now run the show. They supply neural chip implants to the general populace which make all electronic devices obsolete and allow people to connect to the dataverse. Feuding amongst the Syndicates has created "Agents" bio-engineered and packing the latest combat chip, these guys are not to be fucked with. You'l…

Bang Bang Racing Review

Image
Created by: Digital Reality Genre: Racing / Driving Release: June 6, 2012 ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) My Score: 7 out of 10
Never saw this coming until a chance glimpse of the E3 trailer and I was intrigued. Racing game that views the action from the top-down perspective and takes its inspiration from the likes of Micro Machines and Motorstorm RC to some degree. Released on XBLA, PSN and Steam PC although its natural home would be the WII. It takes realistic environments and throws them through the Cute & Cartoony machine which nobody seems to use these days, if Scalextric Racing was the name of the game then it wouldn't surprise me at all. There isn't anything complicated about the game once you look beyond the colourful almost toy like cars and the MII style avatars in the watching crowd. Straight out Arcade racing with a boost button, you'll be working through four classes of championship, from normal cars to F-1 types. The simplicity of the gameplay is also its greatest st…

Football Manager 2012 Review

Image
I think trying to describe how water tastes would be easier than writing a review for Football Manager 2012. Don't get me wrong, I loved it but it's a hard sell beyond the fact it's crammed with stats on football. Last time I played this game was in its Championship Manager moniker which must be 13 years ago. The same basic principles are there, pick a team and take them to the top. Made by football fans for football fans, no matter how much praise this series gets and it gets plenty, non-footie fans will never play it and that’s fine, there is a market for obsessed football lovers and they'll know already if they want the game or not.

What I’m going to write about is my experience as the manager of Rangers Football Club for the season 2011-2012 and try to detail the way the things play out. Starting the game can be daunting, it will ask you for the basics such as personal information and favourite team and you'll then be invited to pick the database you wish to use…

InFamous 2 Review

Image
I always felt that InFamous was a love letter to Crackdown on the 360, I enjoyed it and even finished the story, but it was one of those above average games that would make my top 100 PS3 list yet never endanger the top 10. Haven't been the biggest fan of Sucker Punch Productions, the Sly games looked the part, but felt contested when it came to the actual gameplay. Hopes weren't too high when I started this game, but it's certainly a vast improvement over anything they've produced before.
The game starts in Empire City where the original took place, but events in the opening swiftly have you travelling to New Marais (or New Orleans if you will). Narrative wise the game has grown up somewhat from the original, the good or evil question is asked of you quite early on and will shape how the residents of the city treat you and what powers are opened, I took the evil option as it was just too much fun to kill anything that moved. The story itself plays out as The Beast who …

Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown Review

Image
I was there when Virtua Fighter launched in the Arcades, I was there when said game launched on the Sega Saturn, I was there when Virtua Fighter 2 launched. I fiddled about with Virtua Fighter 4 on the PlayStation 2, but by then my thirst for the series had long gone although I appreciated the gameplay, I just didn't want to play for long periods. Same story for Virtua Fighter 5 at retail on the 360, knew the game would be loved by many but I wasn't prepared to pour in the hours to master it like I did with the first 2 games. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a digital download only and provides the latest updated VF5 which launched in the Arcade a few years ago. It's funny how gaming tastes can change so quickly, this 3D Brawler was one of the most talked about games in the 90's, but the series and the whole fighting genre lost its way in the 2000's. Street Fighter never came back till 2008 and it rocked, same gameplay combat but with massive upgrades to the visu…