PlayStation LifeStyle A PlayStation gaming community. <![CDATA[ Full Moon]]>
With the shelves collapsing under the weight of such mediocrity, it would be very easy for a devoted role-player to lose faith in the genre. But for me, that's where Lunar came in. Lunar restored my faith in RPGs. (I'm well aware of the fact that Lunar had been floating around for several years preceding all the games I just mentioned, on both the Sega CD and the Playstation. However, circumstances had prevented me from playing it for years.)

Considering the hype and enormous cult following surrounding the game, my expectations upon unwrapping Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete for the Playstation on that snowy Christmas morning were quite high. Lunar took my expectations and blew them clean out of the water. I knew the game was supposed to be good, but never in my wildest dreams had I ever imagined it to be as good as it is. Lunar isn't just "good good". It's up-there-with-Chrono Trigger-and-Final Fantasy IX good. And while it does contain many of the silly clich├ęs that have been associated every RPG ever released, both story and gameplay contain wonderful, unique twists that will prevent Lunar from ever becoming just another face in the crowd.

In Lunar, we enter a magical RPG world where most of the main characters actually have regular names. There's the occasional oddball name, but nothing on the level of weirdness or stupidity that would rival the stupidity of parents who would name their child Dart (he's the main character from The Legend of Dragoon). The main character in Lunar is named Alex, and like many kids his age, he's inspired by the antics and adventures of a chosen famous person whom he admires. Alex's hero is Dragonmaster Dyne, a former world savior who disappeared mysteriously years ago. Alex spends many a day at the grave built in honor of Dyne, dreaming of having incredible and dangerous adventures before being snapped back to reality by either his foster sister and childhood sweetheart Luna, his money-obsessed friend Ramus, or his pet flying and talking cat Nall (I haven't a clue, so don't ask). It's a day like any other when Ramus decides to visit the cave of the White Dragon because he wants a rare jewel. During their spelunking expedition, the gang meets the White Dragon himself, who thinks Alex is able to become the next Dragonmaster. And so begins Alex's fulfillment of all the dreams he had of being like Dyne.

Lunar isn't merely about Alex's quest to become the Dragonmaster, though. What good is an RPG if it doesn't include the all-universal video game objective? That's right folks, we're heading out to save the world again, this time from a tall dark guy who calls himself the Magic Emperor. And as with all great adventurers, Alex has a crew of hangers-on by the end to help him absorb the punishment. All great adventurers have fair maidens or damsels or whatever you want to call them too, and that role is filled in very nicely by Luna. But there's difference between the Alex/Luna love story and most others, and that difference is Alex's devotion to Luna being so strong, he almost cares less about the world he's fighting to save than about his sweetheart since childhood. It's a wonderful way to do love stories, just showing how much the hero cares and sparing us the awful male self-realization we were forced to endure in games like Final Fantasy VIII. There are two other love stories in Lunar, but neither of them are brought to any real prominence as to deter our attention from Alex, Luna, and the world.

The characters in Lunar are arguably the best group I've ever met. Alex may be a teenager, but there's no inner pain to make him keep second-guessing himself, and so he shows a levelheadedness beyond his years and no reluctance in facing the dangers confronting him. While Luna does play up the pain-riven role a bit more, she makes up for it with her sensibility. There's also the overconfident, arrogant wizard Nash; the shy and reserved but powerful witch Mia; the barbaric, chauvinistic warrior Kyle; and the tough-talking, hardheaded priestess Jessica. All are excellent in their own way, and the exchanges between them are fun to read, especially the verbal rivalry between Kyle and Nash.

Speaking of verbal, Lunar's classification as an RPG means there will be talking in the game - lots and lots of talking. However, even talking in Lunar isn't the boring, nearly useless experience of many other RPGs. Part of this is because the dialogue is very good. But a large part of the reason for this is because the everyday street walkers aren't amnesiacs who drop one cryptic sentence that remains the same no matter how often you talk to them. Repeated talking to a single face in the crowd will take you through three or four different sets of dialogue before it loops. Furthermore, the characters often banter back and forth with each other during the interrogation. Characters in Lunar don't just talk to you, they converse with you, and that element alone does a lot more to bring you into the game's world than any other RPG.

Of course, since Lunar is an RPG, you'll find yourself taking to the battefield in order to be able to converse with other characters. One thing I noticed about battles is that they're not exactly random - you can see the monsters wandering around on the map. They move quite fast out there, and they do everything they can to crash into you, but they're avoidable. If you do run into one, a battle ensues. I point this out because of a dumb misconception I saw when Square-Enix released Chrono Cross - RPG n00bs seemed to be spreading the idea that Chrono Cross was the first game to offer such a system. Square-Enix, looking for their dollar-gathering hype, did nothing to discourage the idea. Lunar is among the many games that prove the idea wrong.

The battle system, like so many other things about the game, is nothing new but offers a few twists to stay above the humdrum. First, before doing the battle rounds with your characters, the game offers a choice for you to choose either having the whole group perform one action or whether you want to fight the round without help from the AI. For example, if you want your whole group to attack, you can select "attack" at the beginning of the round, and all your characters will save you the trouble of individual selection by attacking all by themselves. There is also an AI option for those people who can never think of what to do with certain characters. It's a nice thought, but using it will quickly show you that no matter what you wanted to do with your characters, the computer's auto choices are worse. But what I really like about the battles was that Lunar is range is a factor in using ordinary attacks. After selecting your option to attack and the enemy you want to attack, your selected character will actually walk over to that enemy, hit him, and then actually stay right where he stopped to attack. This can be good or bad, depending on how well you're able to adapt to using such a system. Sometimes, if your selected character has to walk a far enough distance to attack, he or she won't actually get to attack at all, and will sit there like a helpless sitting duck for your foes to prey on. The enemies are able to move around in a similar manner, and they won't hesitate to surround and pound a character to death.

Lunar's battles are challenging because the AI is powerful and bloodthirsty. This is easily countered using the age-old RPG solution of leveling up. However, this doesn't work on bosses. Whenever Alex levels up, the game applies complicated rocket science mathematical formulas in order to make the bosses more powerful. (An idea that Square-Enix ripped off when they made Final Fantasy VIII.) What I'm saying is that as Alex's level goes, so go the boss' levels. I both love and hate this system because while it keeps the game good and tough, it also ensures that beating some of the cheaper bosses relies more on your luck than on your strategy or skill. After losing certain boss battles a few times - and trust me, you will - some of the more short-fused among us will be buying new controllers before long.

One of the things about Lunar that drives me crazy is that the only character who can carry enough items to last through a typical dungeon is Nall, who you don't get to use in battle. Everyone else has an inventory that's so limited, deciding what items to place in it becomes necessary strategy. Perhaps the game offers the save-anywhere system in order to effectively counter this gameplay shortcoming.

After so effectively praising Lunar, you may now be beginning to wonder if Lunar has any chinks. Sadly, the answer is yes, and those chinks appear in the technical details. The version of Lunar that I'm reviewing may well be on a 32-bit console, but it's still a remake of a 16-bit game, and the graphics and sounds both show their age. Lunar has over an hour of animation, and while it's not exactly Disney-quality, it's just fine for what it does. The game graphics reek of 16-bit. While there are some impressive graphic effects in spells and certain animations like the blob that is the first boss, the sprites are unimpressive and lack detail. The sounds in the game are quite bad - whenever a character scores a hit on an enemy, the game makes a sound that can only be described as a squishy, muffled bang. The music is pretty good, but nothing on the level of the extraordinary compositions in, say, Final Fantasy IV. There are only two tracks that are really worth remembering - the title screen theme, and a song performed by Luna (lyrics included) as the group sails to Meribia. The rest is nice, but not indispensable, and the battle music sounds like a rejected disco track.

The gameplay in Lunar is quite good. The characters can move at diagonal angles, which is useful is you're on your last legs and trying to avoid battles. Having five different characters with five different inventories complicates the menu a bit, but it's nothing you won't figure out by the time you hit the second dungeon. When the AI pursues you in trying to start a battle, it will only chase you as far as the edge of the area you're currently in. It's almost as if the various AI map creatures are territorial, which is just fine with me because so many of them are faster then you.

Man, did I EVER want to give this game a perfect score. But out of objectivity, I just couldn't. The graphics and sounds are just too weak, and the boss level-up system too frustrating. However, those things won't stop me from giving Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete one of the highest scores I've ever given out. Plus, I guess I'm now able to brag about being rich enough to afford video games that include manuals with hard leather covers (which includes interviews with people behind the scenes and a strategy guide for the first leg of the game) making-of discs, music discs (of course, those are both common these days) and maps of the game's world printed on canvas (completely useless, but still very nice). Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete is a classic for every reason good games become classics. It's a brilliant answer for those who insist that nothing will ever be as good as Final Fantasy. Unfortunately, it's also out of print and exceptionally rare, so you'll end up paying top dollar for it. But hey, the way I see it, Lunar's rarity is just another finger pointing at its greatness. If you're lucky enough to find it, buy it then and there and I guarantee you won't want to part with it either.]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:50:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Duke Nukem is Dead]]>
Duke Nukem was first taken to be a sign for the changing times of video games when he went big for the Playstation, but Duke Nukem the character was always nothing more than an 80's style action hero ramped up on steroids. Big guns, big muscles, and women with big breasts were the order of his day. Duke served as an antidote to the PC-riddled 90's on account of primal id, and so teenaged gamers everywhere played Duke Nukem during that weird phase in life where they think adult games mean more blood, breasts, and curse words. There was a deeper reason why late adolescents played Duke Nukem, though: The advent of 3D gaming had made the action genre stagnant. This was before the likes of Maximo and Devil May Cry were able to remember what made action games so great in the first place, and Duke Nukem was the closest real outlet to the old days of picking up the big guns and blowing everything away.

At least that was the narrative being touted. Unfortunately, Duke Nukem Forever is less the steroid junkie action hero reclaiming his throne as the guy who first tried to get action games back on track and more The Duke becoming a victim of the old action game surroundings he once inhabited and defied. Duke Nukem Forever isn't the straight up action festival I expected from a Duke Nukem game - although I admittedly didn't know what to expect since I've never played a Duke Nukem game before, I know that Duke Nukem Forever wasn't at all what he was being advertised as. Well, except for the loud, egocentric frat boy hero part, which in all fairness was exactly what I was expecting.

Duke Nukem Forever starts 12 years after the alien invasion Duke rescued the Earth from. Duke is an international superstar, and he walks out of his Duke Cave looking forward to another television interview, probably an old hat to such treatment by now. Unfortunately, those damned aliens just can't keep their asses off our planet. They're here again, trying to invade AGAIN. The television station that's supposed to be interviewing Duke cancels the interview since it's obligated to follow the old news philosophy of if it bleeds, it leads. Duke nods, understands, and returns to the Duke Cave. (That's not a joke.) At home, he takes a call from the President, and General Graves of the Earth Defense Force. They tell him they're in diplomatic negotiations with the alien leaders and so Duke should stay put. Duke, surprisingly, obliges, but he doesn't take it well. But when aliens bent on revenge charge their way into the Duke Cave, it's once again time to kick ass and chew gum, and Duke's all outta gum!

Duke Nukem Forever lost my interest and good graces rather quickly. I give it credit for the opening satire, which comes off as a nice commentary on the downsides of political correctness. That, however, is about all I can give Duke Nukem Forever. I only played the first few levels. They made some efforts in level design and tried to vary the gaming experience a little bit, and while those things are always wonderful to have in video games, they're only wonderful inasmuch as the game's very engine isn't being ruined by them.

Well, guess what! Throughout the first several levels, the old FPS engine gets decimated as arbitrary obstacles get weaved in through every kind of corner. These aren't typical gaming nuances here; they're parts of the experience that have to be played through no matter what. The very first level has Duke running around through a series of dark air ducts and electricity rooms which, most of the time, are darkened out. Another has Duke running around while shrunken down to size and therefore having to avoid the bad guys he runs into in that state. There's a boss fight where Duke has to take out a bunch of flying aliens with a turret, and can't move or dodge the attacks - he just has to blow them all away in time.

Does any of that sound like fun? Well, get this: AMMO DEPRIVATION! Yeah! A certain Duke famous for shooting holes into everything in sight and it's difficult to find the equipment necessary for him to shoot those holes. Combine that with the feature of Duke only being able to carry two guns at once, and that's an outstanding recipe for mindless action that isn't really mindless action. The nice thing about this is that at least the levels are on rails, so you have an idea of what to expect coming in your direction and how much ammo you'll have to hold onto, if you're able to hold onto any of it.

Duke's graphics are crisp and clear. Everything looks sharp and colorful, and the game doesn't even use tons of all those effects we've come to expect from first-person shooters: Gray scenery, crates, and grim-looking rubble. The sounds are great. Duke talks big, and has a convincingly gruff voice which is still almost sadistically cheerful. A lot of things get nullified by the gunshots and explosions, but from a game with this kind of attitude, you expect that.

The gameplay is smooth, and Duke can run around without delay. The only think wrong with the gameplay is when Duke runs out of ammo and has to punch his enemies - there always feels like a delay between the action and the time you pressed the button. One odd feature is that some of the power-ups have the ability to speed Duke up or slow him down, and the adjustments really give out those sensations.

Duke Nukem Forever is frequently compared to a first-generation PSX title, and that's exactly right. Strange thing is, according to a lot of Duke Nukem veterans, the series had to regress to get there, and the reminder of what the first generation of Playstation games was like isn't very pleasant.]]> Tue, 13 May 2014 16:29:30 +0000
<![CDATA[Dual Shock 3 Controller for the PlayStation 3 Quick Tip by KingreX32]]>
What I'm trying to get at here is that although my gaming roots sort of started with Sony the PlayStation controller was one that always felt a little strange to me. When i was a kid it felt big in my hands and some of the buttons i couldn't reach. I kinda have that same feeling with the Dual Shock 3. The controller feels floaty to me, its a little light and those triggers,Oh how I hate those triggers; it feels like my fingers are going to slip off and any moment especially when I'm playing Need for Speed. (its happened while playing Call of Duty) While I have become reacquainted with the Dual Shock series of controllers, nothing will ever beat the hand filling, comfortable grip and heft of the GameCube controller. ]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 13:46:14 +0000
<![CDATA[God of War Quick Tip by GargantuasGames]]>
Also some aspects of the game just feel flat out unfinished. Consider, for example Kratos' parry maneuver. From SOUL CALIBUR to ONIMUSHA, parrying attacks have always been an invaluable skill in hack and slash titles. In ONIMUSHA, it was essential to survival, since the Issen slash was the only way to kill enemies in a single blow as well as replenish large amounts of your health. When Kratos parries an enemy attack in GOD OF WAR, the action enters a dramatic slow motion phase like something really cool's going to happen, but there's no payoff. Kratos can deliver a quick counterattack with his chains, but it's not visually impressive and does just as much damage as your normal attacks. What's the point of building up excitement with the slow mo effect then?

That said, there are a lot of good things about from an entertainment. However I'm sure they've all been said already in many other reviews. Definitely worth a playthrough or two. I just don't think it's the infallible masterpiece people have made it out to be.]]> Wed, 15 Jan 2014 00:50:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Ninja Gaiden Sigma Quick Tip by GargantuasGames]]>
Playing through the game this time though, I did notice more monotonous sections than I remember. For example, there are some bonus areas where you have to kill countless waves of respawning enemies in order to gain a health power-up or some other goody. Killing the same foes again and again for 1/2 an hour can easily wear on your patience. Also, you rarely have to worry about dying during these sequences because the enemies are constantly are dropping health orbs.

Overall, if you've never experienced NINJA GAIDEN before and have a PS3, this is a perfect place to start. It's a hard game, but I've never been able to find a action game since that has managed to replicate ninja sword and sorcery action with such slick and manic power as this title. After a round of playing, you will sweating, shaking, frothing and desperate for more.

Futaro Yamada would be proud. :)]]> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 02:50:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ "I have waited an eternity for this emancipation!!"]]>
The same goes for its gameplay, which is highly derivative of, yet again, GOD OF WAR. Despite being so large, the scythe Dante wields is a pretty fast weapon and easily capable of chalking up hundred hit combos. But unfortunately this is the only weapon you have for the whole game, and using it gets monotonous eventually. Wait a minute...that's not true. You also can use the Crucifix, which fires outs spectral emanations of the cross as projectiles. The sight of Dante "machine-gunning" down monsters with Crucifix projectiles is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the game. However this doesn't stop the combat from getting monotonous by the end. It also feels strangely limiting too...not as smooth as GOD OF WAR's. Enemy diversity is also a little too limited. Practically all the enemy monsters in the final circles of Hell are recycled from the earlier levels of the game. Most likely this game was rushed and the developers didn't have time to create new enemies for the later stages. Unfortunately that makes these final stages far less memorable than the earlier ones. Fortunately the game doesn't last too long (about 6-8 hours), meaning it ends before it gets truly tedious.

Still, this is a fun game when taken in pieces. Some of the level designs are really imaginative and horrific. The production values are fairly high. Graphics are fairly detailed. Voice acting is fairly entertaining (although some of the dialogue seems intentionally comical). The soundtrack is percussion heavy and thundering, but feels almost identical to GOD OF WAR's.

I do you rate DANTE'S INFERNO? It's a lot of fun, but it just doesn't really break any new ground in the video game world. Action game completionists should pick it up by all means. Other players won't get much more out of it though than many other modern action adventure dark fantasy game would deliver.]]> Tue, 19 Nov 2013 20:55:04 +0000
<![CDATA[Crash Bandicoot 3: WARPED Quick Tip by Pine_Bluff_Variant]]> Fri, 7 Dec 2012 22:00:04 +0000 <![CDATA[ Still a blast, even if it shows its age [May contain spoilers]]]> Overview

In this groundbreaking 1996 title you play as adventurer Lara Croft who is on the hunt for an ancient artifact called the Scion, which requires her to travel across the globe for it's pieces. but she will have to face off against deadly creatures and traps alike to acquire them.

Story Introduction and Premise

The game starts off with a CGI cutscene detailing how Lara comes to know of the Scion. one of the things that have not aged well at all are these cutscenes, with it's compressed video quality and awkward 90's low-budget animation. Thankfully the plot of the game is interesting enough, even if it lacks in intricacy. Lara isn't one of the most detailed characters in the world: she likes adventure, she owns a mansion, and she has a hilariously proportioned body and that's about it. But the fact that a woman was headlining what became a massive gaming franchise was a big deal at the time. Shame they didn't make her a more detailed character.


Here is where the games major strengths and flaws lie. A little over a decade after first playing this game I still enjoy the exploration, the puzzle solving and fighting the strange beasts. A big problem is the game doesn't exactly have fantastic controls (as in, trying to move Lara feels like moving a tank) but I was surprised how quickly I adapted to it's 'unique' control scheme. I played this game on the Playstation, and that system had (and the PS3 still has) a notoriously bad D-PAD. I feel that being able to use an Analog stick to control Lara would have improved the feel of the game (I also had a better experience playing the later games on the PC)

Platforming and puzzle-solving make up the majority of this game, and thankfully it is not incredibly frustrating as one might expect. In fact, solving the puzzles and successfully landing a massive leap give a nice feeling of satisfaction (and the puzzles aren't stupid hard), combat is slightly hampered by the controls but the game features an auto-lock on system so you don't need to worry about aiming, just maneuvering. If combat took up the majority of this game I imagine it would get frustrating quickly.

The level design is a combination of odd and actually quite impressive set-pieces. There are still moments in this game that made me go 'wow' (the camera zooming out and showing you standing on top of a Sphinx) and there are moments that just make you go 'wat' (A lever underwater opens up a door above ground. Why?) a nice thing about the stage design is that navigating the levels isn't a massive hassle, you will very rarely get completely lost. But they also aren't a cakewalk, and the difficulty curve feels fair.

Graphics and Sound--Production Values

I think it's fair to describe the graphics at this point as 'pretty bad', at the time it was one of the best looking 3D games out there (especially in an era with such abominations as 'Bubsy 3D') but now time has caught up with this game: the animation looks stiff, the textures blurry and the level design uses a lot of 90 degree angles. the sound work sounds a lot better, the guns are loud, Lara makes a sickening crunch noise if she falls to far and the large beasts make some pretty good roars. The voice acting does not hold up however, it ranges to mediocre to hilariously bad. Thankfully talking also isn't a major component of this game.

To summarize: while this game is clearly showing its age, and you might take issue with one or two things in this game, I'd say it's still worth checking out, due to its value in gaming history and the fact that at its core it's still a fun game.

]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 21:16:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ This Duke isn't quite A #1, but still really good. 80%]]>

It's been quite a few years since the last time Duke Nukem kicked alien butt, and after attaining so much fame for his deeds, he's now franchising himself like crazy. However, the aliens have not learned their lesson and are back to wreak havoc and steal Duke's babes. With the babes being abducted and Duke's various businesses being destroyed, he's mad and ready to unleash lots of pain to the alien invaders.

As you can tell by the story, it's not on the same caliber of storylines like those in the Mass Effect or Deus Ex series, and it's not supposed to, this game is all about fun.


While the gameplay is the most important part of any game (more on that later), one of the most important parts of a Duke Nukem game is atmosphere. DNF makes no bones about being a crude, violent, sexual, and humorous rollercoaster ride of over-the-top action. Much like in DN3D, there's lots of one-liners spewed from Duke. If you're a fan of classic 80's and early 90's action films like Escape from New York, Robocop, Total Recall, and Commando, then you're gonna have a ball with all of Duke's one-liners that reference said films.

Personally, one of my favorite Duke quotes is when after you kill one of the Cycloid floating tentacle monsters, he'll sometimes say “Take your tentacles and go back to Japan!!” (not quoted verbatim).

Also, there's some more modern humor to make the game more “relevant,” but thankfully doesn't water down the original Duke Nukem-styled humor. Examples of this would be in some parts of the single-player mode, an EDF (Earth Defense Force) soldier states to Duke that “Your power armor is ready, sir!”, and Duke replies “Power armor is for p*ssies!!”, which is an obvious jab at the Halo franchise. Another example include a film director behind a late night TV stage berating one of his crew in parody of Christian Bale's infamous meltdown on the director of photography on the set of Terminator: Salvation (even better is that you get a Steam Achievement for punching the director). The last example is that when you interact with one of the phones in the game, you hear a voice message that's in the same spirit as Bill Lumberg's voice messages in Office Space stating “Mmm, yeah I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday.”

There's even a parody of the Olson twins named the Wholesome twins, and I seriously doubt the Olson twins would be flattered with their portrayal in this game.


What's a videogame without good gameplay? Fortunately, DNF has good gameplay to go behind the crude, violent, and humorous atmosphere. While a lot of the game is the good old fashioned gun fights and big explosions against alien “pigcops” and jetpack-wearing aliens, there's also some nice variations from the over-the-top action.

There's some nifty puzzle sections that while not as brain-twisting as those in the Half-Life games, is nonetheless a nice addition to the game. Also, there's some fun platforming sections like when you're shrunken inside a Duke Burger and have to save a pretty female employee from a flooded kitchen with loose live electrical wires. This platforming section in particular is also mixed with some neat gun battles with some pigcops. There's even a section in the game that has you ride through the desert towards the Hoover Dam in a monster truck the Duke named “Mighty Foot.” These stages are fun since you can utilize the truck's built-in jet-boosters to get over some canyons and to get some great speed to turn your alien enemies into roadkill.

One of the things that was lauded about DN3D was the interactive environment, and thankfully, it's back in DNF. Among my favorite and most crude interactions you can do in this game is take a leak in a toilet or urinal when you want a little break from the combat.

I personally like the moments in the game where you get shrunken through alien shrink rays and have to navigate the world as a tiny Duke. This leads to some interesting interactions like having to platform through a dangerous series of cogs in the Hoover Dam, and hearing Duke with a high-pitched voice is quite funny.

There's some neat power-ups that totally match the spirit of the Duke Nukem franchise. Your sunglasses provide “Duke Vision,” which allows you to see in the dark, and this has infinite supply. There's one-time use power-ups like beer, steroids, and the holoduke. The beer slows you down but makes you more resistant to damage, steroids make you crazy and run around killing enemies with one or two punches, and the holoduke makes you invisible while fooling your enemies into shooting a holographic projection of yourself.

The weapons overall, fit the Duke Nukem aesthetic. Some classics like the RPG (this comes with a target lock feature) and Shrink Ray come back in this game. There's also some funky weapons like the Freeze Ray and the Ripper, with the latter being a three-barreled machine gun that can dish out some nasty hits to your enemies. One of my favorites is the alien weapon called the Enforcer, which fires three target-locking missiles at once and can kill big enemies with only a few hits. I wish some weapons like the microwave gun would have came back in DNF, though I can overlook that since the weapons in this game are still a lot of fun.


DNF is one of the PC games that allows for both control through a keyboard and mouse or through an Xbox 360 controller plugged into your computer. I used the Xbox 360 controller through the game and the game even has control prompts with the Xbox 360 controller buttons on them to allow for easier controls than some other games that say something like “Press button E to climb the ladder.” The buttons are used in a logical order similar to most FPS titles and thankfully, all the controls in the game are immediately responsive to your interactions with the controller.


I've only played the PC version of DNF, so I can't really comment on the quality of the graphics on the Xbox 360 and PS3 ports of the game. With that said, while the graphics may not be up to par with games like Metro 2033 and Crysis 2, I think the graphics on DNF are better than the myth that they're no better than on Doom 3. When you max out all of the graphics settings, you actually get nicely-detailed items, people, and environments that I'd say is probably worthy of competing with a 2008 game with top-shelf graphics quality. Besides, graphics aren't everything. What matters most is the gameplay and atmosphere.


The sound in this game comes in crystal clear, and the sound effects for various actions in the game feel just right for what you do. I think especially with the gun sounds, they have a nice punch to them, and go well with the over-the-top feeling of the game.

The music is good, too. There's some decent hard rock riffs in the background that match the macho, “one man army” feeling in this game. There's a more traditional classical score in the background in most levels, and the melodies feel right at home with the scores of action films of the 80's and early 90's, which fits in perfectly with this game.


While I do like this game, it's not without some complaints. I don't like the fact that until you beat the game, you're restricted to carrying only two weapons at a time (if you beat the game, you get an inventory expansion option to carry four weapons at a time). I think when Gearbox was finishing development of this game, they should have had the inventory set up so that you could carry all weapons like in DN3D. Also, the levels seem a little too linear compared to its predecessor (though you can rummage through lockers and crates to get weapons and power-ups), and there's no jetpacks in the game. However, I think in the big picture, these faults don't do too much to degrade the overall quality of the game.


This is NOT a game for the kids. This game has a lot of scantly-clad and half-naked women and even some Giger-esque visuals like “wall boobs” in some alien dwellings. There's also a lot of profanity-laden humor and insults, along with bodily waste and gore. The gore goes beyond copious bloodshed to even included dismemberment and exploding corpses. In some boss battles, you actually rip off some alien battle lords' horns and stab them in the eyes with them.


Don't listen to all the negative backlash this game has got. This game set out to be a slab of crude FPS fun, and it succeeds. If you're looking for a FPS that's all about crude fun, then I'm sure you'll be satisfied with DNF, especially with its current price. I think this game is a much-needed break from the current climate of the FPS genre being totally serious and realistic (not to mention being too derivative of each other). This is a game worth owning, and is also a good companion piece to Bulletstorm.]]> Sat, 28 Jul 2012 21:54:12 +0000
<![CDATA[Killzone 3 Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Personally, I think this is the best game in the Killzone series thus far.  Unlike Killzone 2, you have three weapon slots as opposed to two, so you can easily dish out more pain against the Helghast.  The graphics are top-notch and the "Brutal Melee" system is a blast.  If you can disorient the Helghast after shooting them, you can kill them off in such savage ways like stabbing their eyes out and cutting their throats.  If you have a PS3 and love the FPS genre, you have to get this game.

]]> Sat, 14 Jan 2012 01:38:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Disgaea 4 Quick Tip by Draparde]]> Sun, 1 Jan 2012 21:34:39 +0000 <![CDATA[ An Amazing Addition to a Fantastic Series]]>
The story in Uncharted 3 is a bit more rich and defined than the first two games. Nathan Drake is back and this time he's searching for the Atlantis of the Sands. It has something to do with the ring he inherited from Frances Drake. But a woman by the name of Katherine Marlowe believes that ring is hers and it ultimately holds the key to finding this lost city. On paper Uncharted 3 sounds pretty basic, but watching the story in action showcases a strong character driven narrative. In particular players will learn more about the dynamic between Nathan Drake and Sully. The cast is remarkable and charming. And we learn about them not just through the cutscenes but how they interact with one another during some of the moments in between the actual cutscenes. The dialog and banter between them is charming, humorous and sometimes even heartfelt. There are also moments that can, and often do, feel as though they've been ripped from a summer blockbuster. Though some of it is definitely over the top, the character driven nature of the story is what ultimately makes it so good. Like the first two there is a distinct human element at play that makes the simple situation an interesting one.

The cutscenes are aided by extremely good direction and motion capture as well. The characters feel human. But more than that, Uncharted 3 is simply a beautiful game. The environments the game takes place in are detailed and the animations are smooth. The Uncharted games in general are some of the prettiest you'll ever see. But it isn't just that they're visually astounding, it's that their detailed and encompassing. The environments come alive. Other details also stand out a lot. Water or sand is amazing and the way the physics work is also amazing. If there's one thing we can clearly say about Naughty Dog, it's that they'll never skimp on the presentation of a game. The voice acting is equally as good and charming. Some of the best you'll hear in the industry. As you play and watch the characters interact and hear their voices it's hard not to love them. You'll be drawn into their personal hell and anguish, but also their joy. It's all great on the eyes and ears.

Gameplay wise, Uncharted 3 hasn't changed too terribly from the first two. There is a good amount of gunplay, platforming and puzzle solving throughout the adventure and the game does a very good job of balancing them all and pacing things along. The gunplay in and of itself hasn't changed much. You'll find yourself charging from one firefight to the next, taking down the bad guys and picking up their weapons or replenishing your own supply of ammo. You'll also take cover to avoid fire and pop up to shoot when the time is right. You can also enter melee combat which is fun as well given how much it has improved over time.

The platforming sections are generally among the easiest to acquaint yourself with. You'll find yourself scaling walls or jumping from ledges or hanging off objects all in an attempt to keep yourself from falling too far. Despite all the detail, the path is usually laid out for you. This is also true throughout the entire game. You'll rarely get lost or not know where to go next. You'll also rarely find yourself backtracking as a result. Aside from a few of the hidden treasures off the beaten path, there's no reason to really deviate from your destination. And if something should happen where you find yourself stuck, the game will point you in the right direction. The puzzles are pretty creative and simple. You won't find yourself stuck for too long, given that the game will provide hints thanks to a journal that Nate carries around with him.

The game handles all of this well, rarely keeping you in any given situation for long. What is more amusing is how much adventure is truly packed into this game. The second game, in particular, had amazing moments: A helicopter chase across rooftops, an amazing train sequence, a game of cat and mouse with a large tank and a jeep chase were just some of the second game's highlights. Uncharted 3 does a little more. Without spoiling anything, you'll find some of these moments leaving you quite breathless at the spectacle. It's not the situations themselves that are amazing as it is how the game presents them. You'll even find yourself scaling and shooting at enemies firing from above and watching as they tumble forward and fall past you. It's amazing stuff.

Without a doubt the biggest overhaul is multiplayer. Before the versus primarily had you on teams but here you can do a free for all or three teams against each other at the same time. You still have other modes such as the co-op survival mode or a variation of capture the flag. You also still have tons of different boosters to equip. But you can also enter matches with temporary boosters (called kickbacks) which you can get by earning a certain number of medals. They're not permanent but they help for those who may need that small boost. Likewise, for those who want a truly hardcore experience you can always go onto the hardcore battle arena. The maps are also ingeniously designed. Not only are your opponents people you have to look out for, but so are some of the environmental effects. In one level a sand storm rolls in, for instance.

The most rewarding is the co-op experience. Sure you can still go into an arena and do a survival mode and whatnot, but there's actually a co-op campaign here as well. And it's a full blown story campaign, complete with cutscenes and everything. You can team up with two friends and go at it. It's remarkably satisfying and pretty addictive.

Uncharted 3 isn't perfect by any means. Like the first two before it, there's a lot of precision in playing. For example how the game times some of its jumps when say... platforms are falling from beneath you. Or cutscenes that run seamlessly into gameplay. If you're not on the ball you may find yourself retrying certain segments constantly. Some moments can feel like a trial and error practice simply because you don't know WHERE to go immediately and thus you fail until you figure it out. Since Uncharted 3, like the previous two, is very straightforward and linear you generally only have one option out of a situation. If you don't find it fast enough in some of the more time sensitive moments you're done for. In other situations your timing may be off by just a second. Uncharted has always been somewhat of a challenge but most of it comes from the first hand experience. When you play through a second time things tend to flow more seamlessly when you know exactly where you're going and what you're doing. The good news is that checkpoints are everywhere. If you end up failing a platforming section or a gun fight you usually tend to start right next to it. So the game won't punish you too badly.

Uncharted 3 is a great follow up to Uncharted 2. Whether or not the game is better is up for debate. The multiplayer suite certainly is, but for some fans who were truly blown away by Uncharted 2, they have to face the fact that the third game isn't exactly the same leap forward that the second one was. You've got new weapons, a revamped melee system and you can now toss grenades back to your enemies... but for the most part Uncharted 2 didn't have much that needed fixing to begin with. It was a near perfect game, addressing each and every issue the first game had. With not much to address there isn't much for Uncharted 3 to really improve upon. Or add, for that matter. In seems the only part that Naughty Dog strived for more with was the story. And they succeeded. You certainly get a much more emotionally involved story but the gameplay is primarily the same thing here. If you've enjoyed the gameplay of the series thus far, there's no reason not to jump into this one. The story and characters alone make this a must play for Uncharted fans.]]> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 01:03:29 +0000
<![CDATA[ Intensely Interesting]]>
For a fighting game, BlazBlue certainly offers one hell of a story.  The fighting genre is not particularly known for telling stories.  It has some that have characters and a world worth learning about (Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat come to mind) but for the most part I've always thought people who buy a fighting game for the story are suffering from a bad case of brain damage because most fighters just aren't big on storytelling.  BlazBlue, on the other hand, has a strong narrative.  Each character adds a part to the story and playing through every characters scenario helps to unearth the ENTIRE story.  And it's complete with giving characters back story, development and relationships with other characters.  And it has its own themes and plot twists.  But more than that the story is actually not so bad.  It is, however, extremely wordy at times.  Very much so.  There are passive moments where you'll read characters internal thoughts or prose as though it should've been comprised in a novel.  Whenever characters speak, however there is actual spoken dialog. 

For the most part much of the story is actually well written.  Though not always natural, the dialog isn't too hokey or cheesy.  Most of it holds up rather well.  The only big thing is... there's just so much of it.  When doing certain parts of the story it's easy to wonder when you'll finally get to the fighting. 

If there's one thing BlazBlue has going for it... it's that there is A LOT of content in it.  Tons of galleries to view.  Not only is the story mode deep and exhaustive but the Arcade Mode is just as fun.  So is the Score Attack mode, which can be strangely addictive.  There is also an extensive online mode that is actually a lot of fun to play because you can customize it to your liking better than most other games.  It's odd but BlazBlue is actually a beast in the amount of content it offers.  In this day and age it's important to have a lot to keep the player coming back and it's perhaps the one thing that the fighting genre has had troubles in.  That is, providing a decent single player experience.  Fighters are mostly multiplayer affairs where if you don't have someone to play with or a group of friends to get together... why on earth are you playing it?  BlazBlue isn't quite like that.  That's not to say it isn't fun without someone to play against, however.

The actual fighting is impressive because each character behaves in their own unique manner.  There are no clones here and mastering one character will certainly not help you get the hang of another.   Every character has weak, strong and medium attacks, but they all also have drives which are their special attacks.  Utilizing drives is what will ulimately help you master the characters.  There are tons of different combos and moves you can pull off through this as well.  On the surface it doesn't seem like much (when viewing the moves list) but the action is quite intense on screen.  Button mashing will only get you so far in BlazBlue.  If you're playing against someone who knows the in and outs of the fighting mechanics... then button mashing is about as useful as a piece of sheet metal in a lightning storm.  And BlazBlue will throw you right in.  There is (thankfully) a practice mode, but even on the easier difficulty settings newcomers will have to take a few battles to find their footing.

Using the various drives and combos there are tons of meters as well.  There's the barrier gauge which you can block attacks with and there is also your Heat Gauge which, when it has enough can allow you to perform distortion attacks.  Usually using 50% of the gauge.  Or, you can fill it all the way (by causing and taking damage) and use an Astral Attack to perform Astral finishes. 

It's a surprisingly addictive game.  One where you can you lose yourself.  There might also be fights that last longer than one might expect.  The only thing holding BlazBlue back is that it doesn't have a very diverse cast of fighters.  There are only about twelve characters to play as.  Each are unique with their own fighting style but you can't help but notice that it's a tiny roster compared to other fighting games.  The various modes, addictive gameplay and diversity among the characters makes up for this... but after a while you'll wish you had more than just twelve fighters to choose between.  Looking at the glass half full, though, it means you're more likely to find a character to get attached to because BlazBlue is big on developing its entire cast.

Visually BlazBlue is astonishing because it's so detailed.  2D fighters are going the way of the Arcade but when you see a game with detailed 2D sprites it's hard NOT to get a little excited.  BlazBlue's characters are all hand drawn and have an absurd amount of moves and over the top animations.  BlazBlue is pretty in your face with it's style.  If you're not one to fall in love with anime or the over the top nature that some animes can have then BlazBlue is definitely not for you.  The good news is that it's so in your face you'll know within minutes whether or not you'll enjoy it.  It's high energy, flashy animations and addictive combat will keep you coming back for more over and over again if you're into this. 

One of the best aspects is without a doubt the soundtrack.  The music really gives it an arcade feel and, like the visuals, make no bones about what it's supposed to be.  The music compliments the art style beautifully and is strangely addictive to listen to.  The voice acting is another thing.  Sometimes it's good.  They've got the right voices but haven't always the right tone to match.  The English dub isn't too hard on the ears.  You CAN listen to it in Japanese if you wish or turn them off completely.  The only thing that is likely to drive you insane is the number of times you'll hear the game announce: "Counter!" in each match. 

On the whole, if you're a fighting enthusiast then BlazBlue is a must to check out.  It goes so far as to give games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken a run for their money.  It's a fantastic game in its own right.  If they had only thrown in more characters it would be perfect.]]> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:49:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Extremely Basic Modes... but Depth to the Gameplay]]>
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 brings the series back and stars some of your favorite fighters such as Ryu or Wolverine and Spiderman but also introduces new fighters such as Dante, Amaterasu and Zero.  And while it's great to have some familiar faces as well as some new ones the roster is pretty small compared to the previous game.  In particular the abscence of Mega Man is the most daunting of all considering that is the FACE of Capcom.  Without Mega Man there'd be no Capcom to begin with... and he's noticeably absent here.  For those coming from the Marvel side of the fence this is fine, but for those coming from the Capcom side of things... this is an insult and a slap in the face to fans.  Mega Man is one of the recognizable video game characters of all time.  His absence is a little strange.

Beyond that, the gameplay in and of itself is familiar, though not exactly the same.  You've got a series of light, medium and heavy attacks you can execute as well as a special move button that is mostly served for knocking your assailant into the air where you can continue to perform combos.  You'll create a team of three and fight tag team style.  You can call in your allies at the press of a button to bring on the pain.  A match finally ends when all three characters are down for the count. 

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a lot of fun to play because it does what what the Capcom vs. games do so well.  There are an unusually large amount of combos to pull off and you can string together.  It's not hard to find matches that are short because someone was able to pull off a combo that took away nearly an entire life gauge.  It's fun, addictive and a lot of it is flashy as hell.  Especially as you pull off some of the special moves that usually lead to large combos. 

The learning curve is steep, however.  Especially for those who aren't familiar with the game to begin with.  There's a mission mode which will help you get acquainted with some of the combos and they're there for each character, but it can take a while to learn and master.  There is a "simple" mode when you play, however, which will assign the buttons to performing some of your special commands.  The trade off is that you can't do some of the better moves, but you can easily pull of some by just pushing a button.  This is great for beginners, but experienced players will do best to stick to Normal where the full diversity of the move list is at your disposal.

All the fighters are very different from one another.  This is perhaps what is best about Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  There aren't as many fighters as Marvel vs. Capcom 3 but EVERY character is different from every other character.  Mastering the moveset of one will not help you when it comes to learning another.  This gives a lot of diversity to the cast.  Despite being toned down to 36 fighters, there's definitely going to be someone for everyone here.  There are also a couple of DLC characters as well.

If anything... Marvel vs. Capcom 3 just doesn't offer a whole lot of actual content.  The varied fighters are great and the versus mode can be fun when you've got friends to play with, but one can't help but notice that there isn't much that will keep you coming back to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 when it comes to its single player experience.  As I said, it's a very bare bones game.  It features Arcade Mode, Versus Mode and a Training Mode.  That's really about it.  There is a mission mode for all the characters but it's only there to help people learn the game.  Aside from that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is noticeably dry.

Let's take a couple of other fighting games that have come out recently.  Certainly Mortal Kombat (the new one) doesn't feature as many fighters but the amount of content is staggering.  The story mode is expansive, there's a challenge tower with over 300 challenges.  The point is that there's enough content there to justify buying it even outside of the multiplayer experience.  Even Soul Calibur IV features the "Tower of Souls" to compensate for a relatively lazy story mode.  And that's good enough.  But Marvel vs. Capcom 3 doesn't offer anything beyond the standard Arcade and Versus modes.  There's not much to keep you coming back aside from the occasional party game and perhaps taking it online.  But there aren't a great deal of unlockables that are worthwhile.  There's no mode that gives you specific objectives to really do.  There is no survival mode (a survival mode for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 would be AMAZING) or anything like that.  The fighting genre has evolved.  Back in say... the Super Nintendo days this was all a fighter needed.  But in this day and age you've got to offer a bit more content in a fighting game.  As I said, from the standpoint of what it offers Mortal Kombat has more depth, even though it doesn't quite live up on the gameplay level (Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is an absolute beast from a gameplay standpoint).  The problem with the lack of modes is that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 provides what is essentially a mediocre experience... as a single player game, anyway.

On the other hand that's not to say it fails in all aspects.  This is really the only thing that's lacking a great deal.  On the other hand Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is still a lot of fun.  One thing that I have to note is that the art style is actually surprisingly good.  Your mileage will vary, however.  The 2.5D here is pretty detailed.  This may explain why the roster was cut down.  These aren't hand drawn sprites anymore but rather incredibly detailed 3D models.  It couldn't have been easy to animate (it doesn't excuse leaving Mega Man out of the roster, though...) all of them (because they all move very differently).  There are also commentary and voice acting in there that's pretty cool.  Of special note, Deadpool is easily the most amusing character to play just for his comments and victory poses.  He breaks the fourth wall as well.  Even if he isn't the most adept player he helps bring style.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is an amazing game no matter how you look at it.  The lack of additional modes is a loss, however.  There is a good deal of fun to be had if you go beyond the Single Player experience.  But for those expecting to really dive into the game, there isn't much there.  The unlockables aren't exactly worthwhile.  And one can only play through Arcade mode so many times before they want to do something else.

Even more, Capcom is releasing an Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 with more characters.  This pretty much expands on the game but one has to wonder what else they'll include in this one and if it'll be worth it to those who already invested in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  It's a great game, but probably not worth paying the full price of admission for--especially with another version coming out (but will THAT be worth the full price?).  If you've got some friends or you want to really dive into online mode, you'll get a lot out of MvC3.  If not, you'll find the game simply doesn't offer much beyond the basic experience of any fighter.]]> Wed, 10 Aug 2011 06:10:10 +0000
<![CDATA[ Certainly the finest gaming console in this current generation. 92%]]>  

When it comes to Sony's latest gaming console, I've had a really funny history with it. At the time the PlayStation 3 was released (November of 2006), I just got an Xbox 360 and whenever I saw commercials for the PS3, I would laugh and say “Whose gonna spend $600 on that?!!” As the months went by, I noticed many gamers weren't satisfied with the PS3, and in sales, it was last in place behind the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. However, after Sony remodeled the console so that they could sell it for a much cheaper price (remodeled as the PS3 Slim), the console has made a giant leap in sales and garnered much praise from gamers, not to mention that the PS3's library of quality exclusive games is steadily growing, making the console much more valuable. Even after buying an Alienware gaming PC last June (these computers are beasts), I found myself buying a 120 GB PS3 slim last August because it looked so great, and I don't regret buying it at all.




One of the selling points for the PS3 is the amazing graphics it supports, and as someone whose played with all three of this current generation's gaming consoles and a really beefed-up gaming PC, I can say the graphics match the hype, thanks to the console being built around the Blu-ray disk. I have my PS3 connected to a 720p TV through an HDMI cable, and even though my TV isn't “full HD,” I was still impressed by the amazing visuals generated by games like God of War 3 and Uncharted 2, as they're nearly as good as Crysis with all the graphics settings maxed out on a potent gaming PC (Crysis is a benchmark in graphical quality in videogames). Aside from excellent details in image quality, the game also supports high-resolution textures, lighting, and shading to make “realistic” games look even better. The Xbox 360 can support some great graphics, but the PS3 beats it out overall, and the Nintendo Wii doesn't even come close in this area.




What good is a game console's robust graphics if it doesn't have any great games to play on it? Thankfully, the PS3 out of all the three current consoles, has the largest library of quality exclusive titles, and unlike Nintendo, has adult gamers like myself in mind when making games. Some of the most notable and best exclusive games are the Uncharted series, Killzone series, Resistance series, God of War series, and the Infamous series. It also has support for many fantastic multi-platform titles like the Dead Space series, Crysis 2, Alice: Madness Returns, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Portal 2, and Borderlands. I know there's people out there who are into different types of games than this, so your opinions may change on what “great games” are available on the PS3. The only really great game that gamers who only have a PS3 will miss out on is Metro 2033, as that one is only available on the PC and the Xbox 360. There's some decent 360 games like the Halo and Gears of War that PS3 gamers may miss out on, but the exclusives the PS3 offers in return offsets this, and there's really nothing exclusive to the Wii you're missing out on if you choose to only have a PS3 (except possibly the newest Zelda and Metroid titles).




For a console made primarily for gaming, the PS3 is the most versatile of the three as you can play PS3 games, DVDs, Blu-ray disks, MP3s, and you can store and share video and image files with your friends through the PlayStation Network (PSN). While I'm on the subject of the PSN, if you hated the fact that Microsoft charges you for Xbox Live, you'll be glad to know that PSN is free for everyone with a PSN account to use. Some people have complained that the newer PS3 Slims don't support PS2 games, I was originally irritated by this, but since some games like the first two God of War games and Shadow of the Colossus games are getting reissued for the PS3, that problem is getting partially remedied. The PS3's tagline is “It only does everything,” and the reality of the console's functionality isn't too far off the mark.




As much fun as I had with the Xbox 360, I hated it whenever I'd get a “red ring” error (I thankfully never had the dreaded “Red Ring of Death,” as my console hasn't died on me to this day), where I'd have to turn off the console and turn it back on again. Sometimes I'd have to repeat this two or three times until the device decides to function properly. I've gotten some good mileage on the PS3 and I haven't gotten a single “yellow light” error as of writing, In short, from my own experience, the PS3 (the Slim model) has been working like a charm, and is a pretty quiet machine.




If you're in the market for a current generation gaming console for the most bang for your buck and don't feel like investing in a gaming PC (these can be very expensive), then the PS3 will be a purchase you won't regret.

]]> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 22:33:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Daddy, Should I Poke Rod with a Sharp Object Like the Mouse did?]]>
Right. What a shame most of those sounds were never heard in the Genesis versions of the first two Mortal Kombat games. But fans take heed! The people at Midway finally got fed up with the bumbling of Arena and then Acclaim, so they gave the liscense to Williams! Entrusted with such a huge cash cow liscense, the good people of Williams delivered the first Arcade-perfect port of a Mortal Kombat game seen on the Genesis! It's a shame for Williams so few fans took heed, because Mortal Kombat took a turn for the worse in its third installment, a turn from which it would never recover.

The original story continues in Mortal Kombat 3 with Shao Khan trying to enter the Earthly realm again, and succeeding this time. Although the mighty Khan got whupped in the Outworld Mortal Kombat tournament, he had apparently enacted a plan some 10000 years before. He took a queen way back then named Sindel. One day, Sindel dropped dead, and Khan cried like a baby. Khan was so heartbroken, in fact, that he had his sorcerers concoct a powerful magic spell which would take its effect 10000 years in the future. This spell would allow Sindel's spirit to be reborn in the Earth realm, thus allowing Khan and his henchmen meander through the Outworld gates and begin slaughtering everybody. As the Earth realm slowly turns into a part of the Outworld, Khan finds there are souls which he can't touch. These souls are, of course, the Earth representatives in a new, all-or-nothing Mortal Kombat contest.

The first thing series regulars took notice of was the fact that most of Mortal Kombat 2's cast didn't make the cut this time around. Reptile? Gone. Baraka? Out. Mileena and Kitana? Not here. Johnny Cage? He's a movie star, so he never had a soul in the first place. So it's safe to assume he disappeared in the first wave. Rayden? Seems he can't compete in a world ruled by the Outworld gods. Scorpion? His non-showing may have been what did the series in. Sub-Zero is still here, and he tossed his mask while evading a pair of robots called Cyrax and Sektor. Sonya and Kano both make grand returns, and there's a multitude of characters making first appearences who are NOT palette swapped. At least not in the traditional sense. You can even play as a four-armer named Sheeva. Shao Khan isn't taking any chances on wimpy half-dragon bodyguards this time, so he hired a massive centaur named Motaro to succeed the (probably) often-available position last filled by Kintaro.

The big gameplay change in Mortal Kombat 3 was the addition of a run button. I'll give Midway credit here because, like the Junction system from Final Fantasy 8, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Like the Junction system, its flaws glare brighter than the sun in practice. This button, when pressed, made whatever character who was being played run forward so the player could mash buttons upon reaching the other guy. These buttons unleashed deadly combos if they were pressed in the right order. But herein lies a problem: If any idiot runs up and starts mashing buttons, all he has to do is guess an order to unleash one of these combos. In doing this, he mocks the skills of veteran Mortal Kombatants who spent hours with the last game learning and mastering the talents of their favorite fighters. Naturally, there weren't a whole lot of people lining up to get creamed by a five-year-old with one finger in his nose.

This complaint harkens back to what I said about the Genesis port of the first Mortal Kombat. Combos are too easy to pull off. In the original Mortal Kombat, however, you still had to develop a certain degree of talent to pull off the flashy combos because you had to work every special move by hand. In Mortal Kombat 3, you need NO skill, because almost, if not every, combo in the game consists solely of basic moves: High punch, low kick, low kick, high kick, things along those lines. Flash is all but absent, and even though each character once again has a repotoire of special moves, they're more of a convinience and less of a necessity.

Ironically, the series trademark helped in its downfall: Lets all offer congratulations to Ed Boon and John Tobias for having the guts to add blood to a fighting game. After the whole thing in Congress died down, the whole blood idea was seen as pointless by a lot of people. That didn't stop Eddie and Johnny from loading up part 3 with gallons of the red goup. Of course blood was the reason for the popularity of the series, so you can't blame them if they were oblivious to their clients' satisfaction of bloodlust. The first two games may have been infamously violent, but this addition was just plain grotesque. The red stuff was darker and therefore more real-looking, and the fatalities bloodier than ever, but the audiences just didn't care. So the addition of Animalities - finishing moves in which the winner morphed into an animal and did whatever to the loser - simply made the game's violence even more gratuitous than it already was, and people just didn't want to stomach it anymore.

The selection of characters in Mortal Kombat 3 was varied at last. 14 fighters to choose from, and only robots Cyrax, Sektor and hidden fighter Smoke mimiced each other's outfits. My general complaint about everyone's similar fighting styles still remains, but the special moves go beyond just the more ordinary stuff seen in the last two games. Nightwolf, an Indian fighter, plucks a bow out of the air and fires off an arrow at his opponent. Cyrax traps opponents in energy nets. Kabal, a fighter on a respirator, runs by his opponent fast enough to cocoon them in the passing wind, which gives him time to walk up to the victim and hit it with an uppercut. Sheeva, as already stated, has four arms, and Sindel has a rather useless flying function. The backgrounds fall in between the boredom of the first game and the creativity of the second game. The tournament takes place on the ruins of Earth as it's transforming into part of the Outworld, so half and half would be somewhat natural. One of the more creative backgrounds takes place in a subway tunnel, and if you uppercut your opponent, he flies through the roof and into the city. The more mundane works include a wooden tower and, in what is another Mortal Kombat trademark, a pit.

While Mortal Kombat 3 may be a lousy game, at least Genesis owners can take pride in finally owning a flawless Arcade conversion; or at least as flawless as a game of this calibur can be on the 16-bit Genesis. The designers finally gave the computer the happy medium between easy and cheap the last two Mortal Kombat conversions were sorely lacking. So while the game isn't easy like the first game, it isn't frustratingly cheap like the second game either. The new centaur boss, Motaro, is an opponent of unbelieveable power. Nor can he be knocked down, and this fact add to his overall massiveness. Shao Khan comes into the fray carrying a war hammer this time, and he's not afraid to use it. And to the credit of the designers, the blood can actually be turned off at the options screen.

One of the cooler features in the game is the code dial in the two-player mode. It appears at the bottom of the matchup screen, and if you fiddle with the buttons, you could dial in a combination which alters the game in one way or another. It's a nice feature which will help alleviate boredom for a limited time, but the novelty wears off quickly. And as much as I should mention the Fatalities, I can't because I won't be able to say anything which has not yet been said in my last two Mortal Kombat reviews. What more is there? Everything returns from the last two, and the tame Animalities warrant a mention, but that's it.

Now we get to the differences. The graphics, like the challenge, find a happy medium between the first game's muddiness and the second game's shininess. All of the original background details, colors, and animation frames are there, but it appears Williams had to sacrifice some of the second game's outstanding photographic images to get them all in. Other than that, the character sprites in Mortal Kombat 3 are smaller and less detailed than their Mortal Kombat 2 counterparts. The blood comes in three colors now: Traditional red, green for Sheeva, and black for the robots. Although the blood in the Arcade looked very real, the realism on the Genesis also had to be shed, and so you get stuck with huge animated drops that rarely ever touch the ground. It's an Arcade detail that got sacrificed for other details, and it looks so ridiculous, you'd be better off turning off the blood so it doesn't distract you.

The original Arcade voices and sounds are HERE! The Mortal Kombat-y original score remains fully intact, and the voices are also there. The screams of the fighters come off a little scratchy, but the ominous announcer comes through all the way. Too little too late though, as Rayden's famous superman shout was excluded along with Rayden.

The control requires skill, but not as much as it did in the last game. You can afford to make a few mistakes when performing special moves this time. Trouble is, you won't need to perform them a lot, since the horrible connect-the-dots combo system does most of the work for you. The run button takes a bit of practice to get used to, since the fighters automatically run forward for you once you hold run and tap the directional pad. The morons at Acclaim screwed Genesis loyalists out of the crouching low punch in the last game, but it's here now. Williams even found a system that works for it, somewhat: High moves require you to press the low move buttons and block button at the same time. I guess the best thing to say, as with all fighting games, is to get a six-button pad. Not only does it make everything worlds easier, it allows you to pause the game.

Well, Midway finally gave the series to the right developers. It's a shame the gameplay was shot by the time it got there. The sounds may chrm you, but the dot connecting combos will leave fight veterans feeling unfullfilled and unchallenged. And the ultraviolence is just the icing on a too-stale cake. Mortal Kombat 3 made my second-ever article on Epinions: One of the worst games of all time.]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:33:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ That's, uh... Raspberry Jam!]]>
As all good Arkade games are, eventually Mortal Kombat 2 is brought home to the popular konsoles (kan I stop with the k thing now? Have I made my point?). After the disaster which was the homecoming of the first Mortal Kombat, Nintendo and Sega aren't pulling any punches. They're bringing the Arcade money machine home as faithful as possible, with the blood fully intact in both versions-no code required. Unfortunately, "faithful," is again not the operative word in a description of the Genesis version. Although it comes much closer than the conversion of the original game.

The story of Mortal Kombat 2 currently escapes me, since I've lost the manuel (which, now that I think about it, I may never have owned in the first place.) Although the purpose of the second Mortal Kombat tournament escapes me, I know the following details: The plot introduces the evil Shao Khan, who is to Shang Tsung what Emperor Palpatine is to Darth Vader. It seems Khan was upset about Tsung losing his grip on the tournament. But Tsung, who is apparently a smooth talker, talked Khan into giving him another chance. So Khan granted him that second chance, and up'd the ante by restoring Tsung's youth. And now the tournament is taking place in their hometown, the Outworld, where the fighters all get another chance to knock off not only Tsung, but Khan himself. Somehow this ghastly contest is attracting all the best fighters from both worlds-including Tsung, who is now a playable character, morphs and all.

Since the game takes place in a more mystical dimension, Boon and Tobias were able to let their imaginations run a bit more wild. As a result, we see some lovely new backgrounds, like the Dead Pool, the Tower and the Living Forest. Among the inhabitants of this wonderland are Baraka, a scary-looking, big-toothed dude with swords which retract into his arms Wolverine-style; Mileena, a sai-thrower who sucks up her opponents and spits out the bones; Kitana, a gorgeous princess whose fans cut deeper than just the skin; and Kintaro, another four-armer. Kintaro, by the way, is the next-to-last boss and therefore not a selectable character. The noble Earth warriors are without Sonya and Kano now, but the rest are still there, as well as a couple of newbies: Kung Lao is one of Liu Kang's Shaolin brothers, and Jax is with the special forces unit Sonya serves on. Reptile is also selectable now, and he has a whole new set of moves.

Boon and Tobias' creativity didn't end there. Since everyone went nuts over the blood in the first Mortal Kombat, they thought of some truly sickening ways to knock off opponents in Mortal Kombat 2. Now each character has TWO ways to satisfy the bloodlust of the gamer using him or her. The Fatalities range from unnecessarily violent (Jax's arm rip) to standard (Baraka's head lop) to painful looking (Scorpion's Toasty) to freakin' COOL! (Liu Kang's dragon bite). Furthermore, if painful instant death isn't your cup of tea, each character also has a Babality, which transforms their opponents into infants, and Friendships, which allow the winners to make peace with the losers in ways like signing autographs or selling dolls.

The good news for the vampires reading this is all these gory works made it into the Genesis version, with all the blood right there. Unfortunately, if it's an exact Arcade sim you want, this sadly isn't the one to buy. In their creative streak, the boys at Midway also added a new move for the Arcade version: A crouching low punch. This move was essential for some of the flashier combos in the Arcade, but Acclaim snatched it away from the grasp of Genesis gamers, citing the three-button controller as the reason. A truly boneheaded move, considering even Capcom managed to find a way to cram a six-button layout into the three-button controller. So if your favorite combos involved the crouching low punch in any way, you'll now just have to settle with ending them with uppercuts.

In Mortal Kombat 2, Midway removed the endurance matches which were in the original. In the Genesis translation of the original Mortal Kombat, the endurance matches were the only things which provided the game with any real challenge. So at first glance, their removal from a Genesis translation of Mortal Kombat 2 is a very bad thing. When a second glance is taken, though, their removal is actually good for the translation. Acclaim managed to keep the Arcade's challenge in there for the ride home, in both required skill and artificial intelligence. It still takes skill to unleash special moves and combos, and the computer won't just stand around letting you pummel it this time. The latter comes off as a desperate attempt to please fans of the Arcade version, however, because the computer isn't bashful about cheaping you out to win. Mortal Kombat 2 Genesis has the most unpleasantly cheap AI I've ever played against. Even in the early stages of the very easy setting, it appears to come at you faster than normal. After awhile, it suddenly gains the ability to throw you whenever you try to hit it with an uppercut. I've destroyed controllers because of this. So it's a good thing you can give yourself up to 30 credits to knock Shao Khan off his pedestal. But the extra challenge is still a good thing.

Mortal Kombat 2 can also be a very unbalanced game at times. Certain characters have simply enormous advantages over other characters. Liu Kang is again the big favorite because he's a ridiculously easy character to learn and use. Even his new bicycle kick only requires you to hold down a button for a few seconds. Shang Tsung can morph into any playable character in the game, complete with his choice morph's special moves. But the time he takes with the actual act of morphing is just enough for a skilled player to administer a free hit. Jax has a move, the Earthquake, which is unblockable. Reptile, the hidden big shot from the first game, is a guy everyone wants to use-until they learn about his invisibility move, which has the same problems as Tsung's morphs, and his ultra-slow forceball projectile.

On the upside, fight buffs can take heart in the fact that the moves, as I've already stated, require real skill. The one-button-at-a-time special move system from the first game has been overhauled, and the new moves require swift Street Fighter 2-like thumb rolls. This is good because it means the chances of being cheesed out by human opponents are less. Combos in Mortal Kombat 2 are twice as hard to use, but also twice as flashy as they were in the first game.

Unfortunately, despite all the creativity and skill requirements packed into the sequel, it still suffers from the same lack of different regular moves which made its older brother forgettable. The regular moves are not only all the same, they haven't even changed from the first game! Every character is still a palette swap. Which makes the real palette swapping of TWO SETS of characters inexcusable. Reptile, Scorpion and Sub-Zero remain swapped, and now Mileena and Kitana have been added to the mix.

The graphics in Mortal Kombat 2 Genesis are far superior to the graphics in their prequel. Instead of looking colorless and muddled, the graphics are bright and photographic. The Fatalities all look brilliant, and the special effects are fantastic. But for all their prettiness, they still have a long way to go before being an exact replica of the Arcade version's. Picky people with eagle eyes will notice all the background details which are STILL missing. The dragons in the Tomb background, the floating monk in the Tower, and a vast number of animation frames are all gone. In the Arcade version, if you pulled the right moves, you could fight a hidden boss called Smoke in Goro's Lair. You won't be doing that in the Genesis version, though. If you get to fight Smoke, you do so in a Blue Portal, which is a very cool-looking compliment to the regular Portal, but still not the Arcade. Color is here but still lacking a bit. When you perform a Friendship, the word "Friendship," flashes across the screen in small red and yellow letters, not gigantic multi-colored letters.

Once again it has been decided the original score in the Arcade was not good enough and had to be discarded. And once again the programmers relied on their own musical abilities in lieu of hiring Crystal Method. Once again the resulting score is astonishingly horrible. Finally, once again the programmers decided the Genesis wasn't powerful enough to handle the repotoire of voices contained in the original version. Although I'll be a nice guy and give them credit for using more voices than they did in the first game. Shao Khan has a thundering voice which he uses to taunt you, and Scorpion now has the phrase "Come Here!" in addition to his classic "Get over here!" Aside, about 90% of the original voices have been hacked. We would have to wait for the next game to get a full range of voices. Unfortunately, by then the series would be about dead.

Instead of pushing the d-pad in a direction, saying "duh!", then pushing it in another direction, saying "duh!" and then hitting the last button to execute the move, you now have to be smooth about the movements. It's like every other fighting game now. If you don't move your thumb fast enough, you don't perform the move. Of course, some characters still have charge moves, but they're rare. The controls in general respond light-years better than the counterparts of their older brother. Now if only that darn crouching low punch still existed, Genny owners would really be in business.

Mortal Kombat 2 for the Genesis is far from the best fighting game available for that console. It isn't the best translation of the Arcade game, either. But, all things considered, Mortal Kombat 2 is the best game in its series and a worthwhile Genesis purchase. Its two-player mode is still a lot of fun, and the challenge, which the first game lacked, is there, despite being cheap. There may be a few people who revile the game because of the missing move. But honestly, sometimes it's interesting to see how you'll improvise your favorite combos without it.]]> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 11:46:52 +0000
<![CDATA[ Get Some Go Again]]> In the 90's the FPS genre was taking over and clones of Doom were churning out endlessly and that still holds true today.  Many of those FPS games then and no are cookie cutter cutouts of one another.  Duke Nukem however back then stood out in a few ways:  Puzzle solving to reach your goals, a fun sense of humor and it's game play was good, or at least different enough that it didn't feel like the same old same old.  The titular Duke was a cigar smoking, big gun shooting dude who stomped the shit out of any ugly alien in his way with nary a care in the world of it's feelings or why the slimy suckers are invading Earth.  Turns out it's for our women-and that only pissed Duke off more.

3D Realms didn't want to simply crank out another Duke game after it's add-ons in an already flooded FPS market so they cooled they're heels to work the most they could into this newest game and now after enough development headaches and feeling they got it *just* right, Duke is back and the wait.....would have been worth it on a PS2 or older system.

Being a true sequel to the original game, 12 years have passed since the events of the last Duke Nukem game.  The aliens retreated and Duke is Earth's savior to the point he has gotten to license himself in true rockstar fashion with his own hotel and casino in Las Vegas and a chain of Duke Burger fast food and strip clubs.  Duke is so badass that the army will still call upon him in case of an emergency and now, in present day the aliens are back.  The President of course is a weakling who doesn't want to hurt the aliens thinking that they could just be here for peace, let alone they took out several portions of Las Vegas, kidnapped more of Earth's women for breeding and have taken control of the Hoover Dam.  Whats worse?  They drank Duke's beer.  "Come get some!" indeed.

The game plays very similar to the original Duke Nukem 3D.  As a FPS, take Duke through Casino's your own fast food joints and strip joints, highways and the alien hive among others as you blow the bejeezus out of every Pig Cop, Alien Enforcer and other disgusting freak you see.  Duke still has an inventory of his night vision shades, beer for getting blurry vision and extra damage with your weapons, steroids (yes a power up) to decrease your health but make your fists able to smash and aliens skull in half with your strength and the famous Holo Duke, in which you can fool your enemies into attacking a fake Duke while you stick a grenade up they're stink holes from the other direction. 

Weakened enemies can be "executed" by getting up close and kicking they're heads off or other such action and your weapon attacks can literally tear arms, legs and heads off.  All done with satisfying Duke one liners like: "Wonder how many porkchops can be made with the remains?" or the infamous "Blow it out yer ass!"  When confronting a three breasted alien queen boss, Duke will comment that he wishes he had a third gun.  Class act that Duke.

Duke now has the ego bar which determines health and regenerates when not taking damage.  The ego bar gets boosts from interacting with things like lifting weights, winning games of air hockey in the game and even looking at yourself in the mirror.  There is A LOT to interact with in the world and many produce results like the ego boost, have Duke crack a joke, get a trophy unlocked or, nothing.  It's up to you to find out.

The graphics soar with extreme attention to details in some ways and in others, not.  Some textures could have been improved upon (Dukes hands and some skin textures for one) but soar in others like the blood splatters and slime covered walls in the hive.  For sound the title track is a rocking metal tune but in game it's subdued or sometimes nonexistant.  Your guns thankfully make a bang and a boom and every crack of the bone as you lay a beating on the aliens is a juicy one.  Duke controls well but his jumping is a little floaty but you will get used to it fast.  You will have control over Duke as he uses gun turrets, missile launchers, an RC Car and his own "Mighty Foot" Monster Truck to do battle.  Some levels have you shrink down to explore where the big Duke can't go.

The issues?  It took a LONG time for the big man to come back and the result is a game that you feel could have been cranked out in a year or two.  With all this down time and preperation, you feel that a little more effort could have gone into making the game.  All the weapons are the same as the old game, the Devastator, shotguns, ripper triple machine guns, the shrink ray and more.  Duke doesn't have quite as many one liners as I was hoping to have, though one had me pause the game in laughter in regards to Army men asking Duke if he needs any power armor.  Said power armor resembles the HALO armor and Duke's comment?  "Power Armor is for pu$$ie$!"  Let it be said, I never cared for HALO.

Other issues are that while the puzzles can take a little while to figure out, an advanced player will figure them out much sooner and that will make the gameplay shorter and the single player campaign, while it isn't SHORT it doesn't take much to get through it.  Three difficulty levels will keep some challenge coming but again, an advanced FPS player could tear through pretty easy.

Multiplayer and online is where the game does take a downturn in a big way.  For the most part it's team death match and not much else.  Maybe I've been spoiled by Red Dead Redemption and it's STELLAR online mode but online mode in Duke's world is lacking.  You can find the guns, find the other team and blow them away.  There is interactivity in he levels like trapping your opponent in the dishwaher of the fast food levels but thats it.  Customizing your own character is lacking as well.  If Saints Row is king, then Duke is a bit on the serf side.  Online gets you exp points which let you customize your own Duke Cave where you can put up the pinball machines, paintings, stuffed aliens and scantilly clad women in the game.  Almost all the women in the game are at least a DD cup (including the naked slime covered ladies you must rescue in the hive), and unlike the last game, Duke can't even tip the strippers.  Interacting with a cash machine in the strip club level even has an "Out of Order" screen appear.

Duke Nukem Forever took like what felt Forever and like many long awaiting dream projects, it's lacking and it certainly isn't from a bad game, but it's an unfinished game.  An online mode that hopefully can be fixed with a DLC pack as well as some same old same old weapon selections and recycled Duke lines.  I would hope that Duke makes another trip out into the world to save our women from aliens but this time not taking over a decade to get the job done for the effort that was shown.

]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 05:21:05 +0000
<![CDATA[Duke Nukem Forever Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 04:27:24 +0000 <![CDATA[Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories [PS2] Quick Tip by TsunayoshiSawada5927]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2011 04:06:17 +0000 <![CDATA[Disgaea 3 Absence of Justice Quick Tip by TsunayoshiSawada5927]]> Tue, 26 Apr 2011 04:05:22 +0000 <![CDATA[ Exceptional Fresh IP in the Japanese RPG Genre]]>
The story takes a back seat in this game leaving us with essentially experiencing one year of the three main characters lives. Through their interaction through doing missions and helping to close out the story of one of the characters lives and through a non playable characters eyes of him coming to grips with the way the world is, a dazzling and interesting story is told. The highlight with the characters is their interaction. In battles they make interesting conversation with other and have excellent interactions that it becomes one of the most memorable aspects of the game. I had a few favorite lines with my favorite line of dialogue (and one will hear it quite often being).

LeAnne: So do you want me on offense or defense?
Vashyron: LeAnne goes both ways, thats good to know.
Zephyr: Save it, will'ya!

There are also many others that do bring smiles to my face (especially that involve Zephyr). The story as a whole though requires playing through twice and in quick succession (a second playthrough can take essentially eight hours or less) so it becomes a quick scene of cutscenes that weaves together into an interesting plot. I enjoyed it.

Gameplay wise it is essentially a turn based action orientated RPG> Characters can wield/dual wield, machine guns (that do scratch damage), hand guns (direct damage, will convert scratch damage to direct damage), and grenades (can do both scratch and direct damage, and inflict status ailments). All can be leveled up and are directly dependent on customization options (guns can be customized, better grenades can be generated). The customization system is extensive and directly rewarding to those that engage in it (it makes a world of a difference in battle). The game could explain it better but it had a decent in game explanation. Characters level up by the number of times they use the weapons, with each one able to go to level 100, there is an arena too for training, and world map hexes (zones on the map) can be linked together for numerous benefits such as better exp gain. Essentially, with a weapon that deals tons of hits and double exp rings (give more exp to the characters) and the exp zone on the map with a double effect too, I was able to quickly raise characters levels in my first playthrough, maxing them out before the final boss. There are other intrinsics to the battle system that are explained well in the arena's tutorial so if one explores it the game can become a highly involving and quick paced game.

Ultimately, the game looks good, sounds good, and with characters jumping and running with numerous animations, it is a fresh experience. Purchasing apparel in the game can affect the characters appearance during cutscenes and looks nice in battle and out. Enemy designs never feel old or look like early game models late game with just a fresh paint job. The game explains everything well and features addictive fast paced gameplay. I found the battle system addicting, played through the entire arena (at least 10 battles per the 50 ranks) and bonus near end game "realm", and finished the game in 170 hours, but a playthrough can be completed in just 30-40 hours if one rushes and doesnt level. Enjoy it if this appeals to you!]]> Sat, 16 Apr 2011 17:17:23 +0000
<![CDATA[ We don't go to the Kingdom]]>
As an unwritten rule, gamers hate escort missions. Knowing that your success or failure (and thus having to restart from the last save point) depends on the behavior of the computer is not too fun, because for all you know, the CPU could be utterly suicidal or just brain-dead. Unable to know the AI level beforehand, a gamer will just avoid the risk and not buy these titles: in turn, this will make developers unwilling to spend time and resources on something people wouldn't give a chance to anyway, and thus only the titles with bad AI remain, which again only serves to make players even more wary of the genre. This whole process should be similar to what in economics is called "adverse selection".

How does Game Republic avoid the problem then? It pretty much runs around it: while the game ends when the Majin is defeated, said character is a lot stronger than you. In battle you have to help him of course, but the chances of him dying are pretty slim. In fact, you are probably going to die more often than him. When it happens, the Majin can revive you, therefore you actually learn to appreciate the guy. He also moves essentially on rails, and never gets stuck anywhere. At least as far as the escort part goes, Game Republic got it right, though the combat gets repetitive after a while.

The rest of the game is a bit less well-made. The game features many puzzles based on both the Majin's power (which will grow over the course of the game) and your own abilities, but they never get past the "very easy" stage. The playing field is divided in areas, and the map tells you how many items are hidden in each. Therefore getting 100% is not difficult, but still an annoyance: some of the items can only be obtained at night, and there is no way to make the time cycle, so the only thing you can do is come back later (or wait there, but I wouldn't). I completed the game in about 17 hours, but most of it was spent backtracking.

The visual style is kind of impressive, with big ruins and mountains, but the graphics are pretty low budget, especially anything in the distance looks like 320x240. And the textures are all oily. As a member of the Brotherhood of Gritty, and sworn enemy of the Order of the Sacred Oil, I can't accept that. Also the dub is just annoying, and the story is a bunch of clichè and not-very-interesting characters. At least the controls are ok.

I'll admit to enjoying Majin more than I should have. Overall it's more than the sum of its parts: and it has a kind of charm that makes one want to go forward. But the puzzles are too easy, the backtracking is annoying, and the presentation is subpar. Essentially, it relies on its visual style and some cleverly designed areas to impress. That's not enough for me, but together with the decent AI system, I'm willing to rate it positively.]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2011 20:08:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ LittleBigPlanet 2 Review]]>
Read our full review of LittleBigPlanet 2 here:]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 03:39:42 +0000
<![CDATA[ Bayonetta Review: A Hair Raising Experience]]>
Read our full review of Bayonetta here:]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 03:34:42 +0000
<![CDATA[ One of the Most Creatively Designed Games Ever]]> Brutal Legend, were very high. The overall premise of the game's story, gameplay, and colorful character designs gave me the urge to want to buy this game on the first. Unfortunately, one other game swayed me from buying Brutal Legend, which I will talk about for another time. Having played this awesomely creative after all this time, one thing is clear: I regretted not buying Brutal Legend sooner.

Double Fine Productions, the makers of Psychonaughts and Costume Quest, along with director Tim Shafer, outdid themselves by creating a video game of many flavors: a well done storyline, an open world with creative and chaotic environments, a musical experience, and a cast of characters with favorable personalities; all of these dedicated to the heavy metal genre and its fans. Without further ado, it's time to sound the Battle Cry with Brutal Legend.


Brutal Legend gives us an opening of Jack Black taking you (the player) to a music record store and showing you the rarest of all records in history, which is called, of course, Brutal Legend. This brings up the menu for choosing the single-player campaign, multiplayer, extras, and vise versa.

The story follows the adventures of Eddie Riggs, the greatest roadie of all time. A roadie does all of the grunt work from behind the scenes. From building the stage to sweeping the floors. The opening kicks it up in modern times, when metal has deteriorated into the crappy tween metal you hear every now and then, such is the cameo of the band Kabbage Boy. After an unexpected turn of events, Eddie gets sent into a whole new world ruled by the evil Doviculus. Eddie must gather an army big enough to defeat Doviculus and his demonic sons of bitches.

The story is as engaging as it sounds, presenting you with a mix of mythology and pre-modern history; meaning that the characters in this world have no idea what an engineer is. As a matter of fact, this dark and cartoony world is one of the things that make Brutal Legend one of the most heavily licensed games of 2009. For example, much of the sites are influenced by the CD covers of several metal bands. The overall story is great through my entire experience. It's filled with comedy, tension, and many fun antics that remind me of the Jak & Daxter series. The humor eventually gets watered down, which could bore some people, but that's not to say the story is still not awe-inspiring.

The characters are also great with many diverse personalities that the western audience can relate to. For example, Ophelia, Eddie's love-at-first-sight interest, is more of a badass than she is a damsel. Eddie, as a roadie, has the makings of an inspiring leader and is a enthusiastic go-getter. With this well done presentation, Brutal Legend's single-player campaign is an enjoyable experience for the players.


Despite the story being great, it's the gameplay that makes Brutal Legend a mixed bag for certain gamers. The game has an open world environment that you can explore as you ride The Deuce (a.k.a. The Druid Plow). You have an axe and a guitar that shoots lightning, which can be upgraded as you pay "Fire Tributes" to the Metal Forge (hosted by Ozzy Osbourne). At the beginning of game, players can assume that this is a hack-and-slash game, but at the core, Brutal Legend is both an action and real-time strategy game. This is revealed once you partake in war battles in the form of a rock concert. You conquer these Fan Geysers which can give you points to spend to summon units at your favor. The goal is to destroy the opponent's stage before he or she can destroy yours. You also have an arsenal of guitar solos to shift the battlefield, such as the Battle Cry, which increases the strength of your units, and the Facemelter, which, of course, melts faces. There's also the Double Attacks you can use with each different unit.

This mixture of the action and RTS genre is pretty good chemistry in my opinion, despite the fact that I don't like RTS games. It makes the single-player campaign all the more fun. These elements can be used fully in the multiplayer modes as well, but unfortunately, nobody seems to be playing this mode anymore. Either that or my internet connection still sucks. And one small note: Eddie can't jump.

There are also side missions, but the lack of variety is what makes this game capable of being repetitive. They range from ambushes, mortar strikes, to racing. It wasn't the biggest gripe for me, but I wish the race missions were more challenging and that they were included in the multiplayer.


The sound department is also what makes Brutal Legend one of the most heavily licensed games. Double Fine has put a lot of time and effort to add many icons of the metal genre in this game, from the soundtrack, name references, to the voice actors. There's friendly neighborhood Jack Black as Eddie Riggs, who does an outstanding job being true to the character. We also have the likes of Lemmy Kilmister (from Motorhead), Rob Halford (from Judas Priest), Jennifer Hale, and, more notably, Tim Curry as the evil Doviculus. The dialogue consist of many fun antics that contain the following.

Lars: "I wish I could help them, but I mean...what do you do with a bunch of kids who don't know how to do anything but bang their heads all day long?"

Eddie: "You start a revolution, Lars. Right now! It's time to sound the battle cry!"

Lars: "Have you been...looking at my sword?"

Eddie: "...(looks down and up)"

The soundtrack, besides the in-game compositions, consists of over a hundred songs from many artists: Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne, 3 Inches of Blood, Megadeth, Tenacious D; just to name a few. These tracks are played consistently while you ride The Deuce or partake in missions.

Final Verdict:

The side missions can be a pain and there may not be many people playing the multiplayer modes anymore, but Brutal Legend is a very fun game throughout. Whether or not you're a fan of heavy metal, the single-player campaign has enough eye-candy for you to enjoy. I highly recommend getting this game now that it's cheap. After all, every first step to buying a good game begins with an epic mosh pit.]]> Sat, 19 Mar 2011 07:14:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ Killzone 3 Review: The Battle With The Helghast Rages On]]>
Read our full Killzone 3 review at:]]> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 23:26:40 +0000
<![CDATA[Brutal Legend [PlayStation 3] Quick Tip by DaiRaioh]]> The soundtrack is obviously great, the gameplay satisfying, it's like a rock version of Overlord and other games, where you have control over a group of minions, you have a bigass car with the craziest heavy metal equipment, and not to forget the hilarious love story. Really whatever I have to say, it all comes down to: "Buy and play this damn game!" :D]]> Sun, 13 Mar 2011 15:53:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Killzone 3 Quick Tip by thatruth2006]]> Here's a quick tip for Killzone 3, when you are facing the flying Helghast, aim for their heads or the wings to take them out quickly. If you don't they will fly all over the place and cause you much more trouble than they should.]]> Sun, 13 Mar 2011 15:04:28 +0000 <![CDATA[Super Street Fighter IV (PlayStation 3) Quick Tip by Ashgail]]> Sun, 13 Mar 2011 10:04:53 +0000 <![CDATA[ Killzone 3 graphical beast, but anything more?]]>

Killzone 3 plays really well. Its style of shooter is different than Call of Duty and really sets itself up uniquely. The missions are still very linear, but they allow you a couple different ways of doing things. For example, there is one level where you are in a sort of trench and you can just run through it, clearing out the enemies within, or take the high ground and wreak havoc with a flamethrower. These different strategies in the levels are what really give you replay value. 

The guns have been made less "bulky" than they were in Killzone 2, and I think this is a very good thing. Killzone 3 doesn't give you the speed that call of duty does, and that is fantastic, but it's also not so slow to the point of being a hassle (the second one in my opinion failed to do this). 

The guns are as always quite diverse. The boltgun returns (a big favorite of mine) and you get a gun that looks like something straight out of District 9, just imploding the Higs. The problem I found with the guns though is that no matter what gun your using, your "heavy" weapon will always be best. Rarely did I even use my assault rifle weapon because the heavy weapons were so much better, and the game has so many ammo points that it is easy to just resupply and continue using it.


What can you say here? Flawless. Best graphics of any first person shooter out there. The cutscenes look great, the in game action looks great, and this transfers to online beautifully. 

The sounds in the game are exactly how they should be. Whether your in an exoskeleton and the machine is beeping at you for low health or RPGs are blowing up in the background, it feels just about like your really in the action. 

There are a few hiccups at times when playing co-op however. 


There are four difficulties in Killzone 3: Recruit, Trooper, Veteran, and Elite. My first playthrough was on veteran difficulty and it felt pretty fair. All fire fights and true FPS action seemed about right, but when they tried to mix the game up, that's where the problems came in. 

On a couple different missions, you are in vehicles, I won't spoil anything, but the difficulty when in these vehicles is downright unfair in many of the missions. Two in particular are unforgiving, the snow mission where you drive a futuristic snowmobile-tank hybrid, and the mission where you are in a space vehicle. I found myself dieing in these missions after no fault of my own... Frustratingly restarting at checkpoints only to have it happen again. Eventually you'll figure out how to do it just right, but it's a little tedious. 

As I said before, I have gotten the Platinum trophy for the game. To do this, you must also beat the game on elite. My gripe is this, after having beat the game the first time on veteran, beating it on elite was actually easier and faster for me. The enemies took more shots and did more damage but it didn't seem like they were really any "smarter". 

*Side note: on all difficulties that I played, the Higs can through grenades with 110% accuracy, forcing you out of cover. 


Killzone 3's online still has a lot of work to be done which is sad. While day 1 patch 1.03 and newer patch 1.04 helped fix a lot of the bugs and connectivity problems, there is still a balance problem that I fear won't be addressed. Frankly there's just no point in not being invisible. You can kill people with the marksman's fully upgraded secondary weapon and still remain invisible. Fun to do, very annoying to be killed by. 

The classes are diverse though, and if there were no marksman or sniping, it would be much more balanced and stress more team play. The Operations game mode is incredible and adds a lot more fun to traditional online play. The only problem is, it's found on only 3 maps and they have no plans on making more. 

Another online drawback is the lack of squads. A great feature in Killzone 2 is now gone and frankly it makes playing with a friend a little less of a team experience. It's a pretty frustrating thing to have taken out. 

The best part of the online though is how it is true to Killzone. They made the guns a little less "bulky" but that's about the only difference. It still plays how it feels it should and the graphics are amazing. 

The clan system is also much improved from the valor point system. Unfortunately in order to get a good rank you basically just camp in one part of a map invisible and destroy the other team when they walk by. A simple fix that would stop this would be to make every clan have to have 1 of each type of class before they can have repeats. This would make matches much more competitive and fun. Unfortunately I doubt we'll see such a fix. 


In the end of it all, Killzone 3 is a great experience. Campaign is fun and a good thing to come back to especially with co-op and online offers a lot more hours to play. I just hope custom rooms with no snipers start to pop up because frankly it's just unfair.


Apart from a few distractions with co-op, they are perfect.

SOUND:  10.0

Very realistic and seem to fit in just right.


Good overall, but I find myself going back to the heavy gun and just restocking all the time.


Great campaign, great online, but a few more patches and maybe some custom settings are needed.

ONLINE:  8.3

There's still some work to be done here.


GraphicsApart from a few distractions with co-op, they are perfect.
]]> Sun, 13 Mar 2011 03:04:53 +0000
<![CDATA[ Grand Theft Auto IV Review]]> Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, no good deed goes unpunished. With alternate endings depending on your final choice the game displays a depth and insight not often seen in a video game. The game is brilliantly designed and a success on so many levels. I commend Rockstar for breaking away from the molds of Vice City and San Andreas and doing a game that is unique in the franchise. One thing people will not say is that this is either over those games done over.

Read our full review of Grand Theft Auto IV:]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 12:11:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ Red Dead Redemption Review: How The West Was Won]]> Red Dead Redemption is Rockstar Games follow-up to 2004′s Red Dead Revolver which was set in the mid-1800s and focused much more broadly on the classic myths of the Old West. Red Dead Redemption focuses much more on a specific time in American history, the story takes place during a time that some refer to as the death of the Wild West. This was a heck of a time in history as industrialization and the expanding reach of the federal government slowly crushed the last remnants of a way of life that was as wild and raw as any.

Read our full review of Red Dead Redemption at:]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 11:46:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Metal Gear Solid IV Guns Of The Patriots Review- Is This The End Of The Age of Heroes?]]> Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare were the gold standard as far as the PS3 console was concerned, they were. After playing through MGS 4, I have to say that this is not only the greatest PS3 title to date, this may quite be the greatest game I have ever played on any console and yes I understand the implications of what I just said. This is more than a video game, its a piece of art, a movie and just a saga of the biggest proportions.

Read our full review of Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns Of The Patriots:]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 11:43:03 +0000
<![CDATA[ Call Of Duty: Black Ops Review: The Best One Yet]]> The Call Of Duty franchise has had one heck of a year. It has seen the studio that originally developed it become involved in battle with its publisher that saw the founders of that company leave to start a new development house which left it looking like a shell of its former self. As most of you know, Call Of Duty isn’t made by just one developer like most games. Activision, perhaps with a bit of foresight, assigned two different dev houses to work on its key franchise- Infinity Ward and Treyarch. The biggest concern that most folks including myself had was could Treyarch continue one of gaming’s most enthralling franchises and continue to deliver the kind of experience we all know and love. To be honest, I had some serious doubts because I honestly felt that even though World At War was great, it just didn’t bring it home the way Modern Warfare did. Additionally, when Modern Warfare 2 came out, it only reinforced what I already thought -Infinity Ward was the superior of the two developers working on the Call Of Duty franchise. So as I sat down to play Call Of Duty: Black Ops I wasn’t expecting to come away more impressed than I had been with Modern Warfare 2, but this my friends is why we play the games.

Read the full review of Call Of Duty: Black Ops:]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2011 11:36:47 +0000
<![CDATA[ Prototype Review-The Most Fun We've Had All Year]]>
Read our full review of Prototype at:]]> Thu, 10 Mar 2011 01:59:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Killzone 3 Quick Tip by thatruth2006]]> Wed, 9 Mar 2011 02:05:57 +0000 <![CDATA[ Mass Effect 2 (PS3) Review: Was It Worth The Wait?]]> PS3 gamer, I never thought I would be writing a review for Mass Effect 2, but this just goes to show that anything is possible. Mass Effect 2 was released on the Xbox 360 more than a year ago to critical acclaim, and had PS3 gamers wondering what all the fuss was about. I’m here to tell you that there are tons to fuss about and Mass Effect 2 is one of those special games that you just have to experience for yourself.

Read our full Mass Effect 2 (PS3) Review at:]]> Wed, 9 Mar 2011 01:59:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Crowned Multiplayer FPS]]>
Before the release of the first Battlefield: Bad Company in 2008, EA Digital Illusions CE (or DICE) released what could be a preview of the evolution of the Battlefield series. Not only did they attempt to emphasis a lot of humor with the characters and posting parody trailers, but also adding something new for the first-person shooter experience, blowing stuff up! This new incentive gave birth to more dynamics for the players, allowing to create a number of solutions while changing the shape of the battlefield, especially in the multiplayer. Even the campaign itself was a comedy galore, presenting interesting characters as well as a not-so-serious, but still great plot.

During the development of Bad Company 2, Infinity Ward's "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" became the talk of the town. It was the first to claim the crown of the best online multiplayer game. Everyone knows it; Everyone plays it. That alone is reason enough for more people to experience it's greatness. In spite of this, there are just some things that Modern Warfare can't do that Bad Company can. And it starts this year with the next FPS that could be next in line to claim the thrown, Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Presentation/Story: The game starts off pretty well with some simple options. You can choose the story campaign or the multiplayer. On multiplayer you can join a random game, while choosing which modes to play in. You can also choose to play with your friends and create clans of your own. EA also presented an in-game store for the VIP players, or so it seems. When you input a certain code given by EA, you have access new content for the multiplayer experience, such as new maps, skins, and weapons.

Overall, the story of the game is good, but not as good as it was from the first game. If you're like me and you laughed your ass off while the characters in the game do some crazy shit, you'd expect to see that in the next game. Unfortunately, you won't. The plot seemed interesting from the beginning, the Japanese create a secret and destructive weapon. The beginning happens to be a prologue from the past until it transitions itself towards the present time with Marlowe, Haggard, Sweetwater, and Redford...or Sarge. Even if you might be taken into the story, it's certainly a fail that EA didn't bring back the humor it once had. It was what made Bad Company special in the first place. Still, the characters are funny as hell, and even if you don't see much humor in the cutscenes, there's always the special conversations mid-game. What adds even more flavor is that DICE has the guts to makes Modern Warfare 2 references. One note to add is the variety of weapons you can find and collect as well as gold crates to blow up.

Gameplay: Controls are the same as any other FPS, along with the D-pad for the use of gears from the classes you play as and the Select(PS3) or Back(XBOX) button to spot enemies for your squads. Those buttons are also used when pointing at your teammates whenever you need some ammo or health. Bad Company 2 presents an amazing range of weapons and perks, all stacked in a unique unlock tree. The types of weapons range form sub-machine guns, light machine guns that have the most bullets, and sniper rifles. There are four classes in all: Assault, Engineer, Medic, and Recon.

The Assaults are your standard attackers. They always move to the front lines with everything they have in their arsenal, equipped with sub-machine guns and grenade launchers. They are also equipped with ammo boxes for your squadmates. Engineers fix up vehicles and destroy enemy vehicles with their RPG's and anti-tank mines. Medics are the healers, of course. Their light machine guns have the most capacity, but they're hard to handle (it depends on how you use them). They are equipped with med-packs that heal nearby units and the defibrillators that revive them. And lastly, the Recons, or rather the snipers. They shoot at long distances and are equipped with motion sensors, C4 Explosives, and mortars.

The main faction of the gameplay is DICE's revamped version of blowing shit up: Destruction 2.0. The aesthetic that allows players to use anything at their disposal to blow up every part of a building, forcing it to tumble down to the ground. Use a knife to break fences and doors; use grenade launchers to destroy heavy machines guns. Get a squad to use C4 explosive all over a building and watch the fireworks. These aren't even half of the number solutions you can come up with. As for the guns, there's no scope drifting.

Like every Battlefield game, vehicles are a necessity. From Bradleys to UAVS, they are another way to wreak havoc across the battlefield. Players would complain that these vehicles are overpowered, but alas, this is WAR!

Sound: The sound quality is also top notch. It reflects the realism of what explosions, gunshots, and the whiffs of rifle rounds sound like. The voice acting is more true to what soldiers at war are supposed to sound like. "How so," you ask? In war, men cuss. Get ready to hear a motherload of F-bombs all over the battlefield. This also makes the multiplayer experience feel more alive.

Multiplayer: This is the main focus of Bad Company 2, and it expands more and more through EA's involvement. If you had just bought and played this game after becoming a master in Modern Warfare 2 and whatnot, you must have felt like a raging, AIDS-infected, adolescent fool. The multiplayer experience is way different and it requires a lot more thinking and skill. For instance, always spot your enemies with the back or select button. It the best way for your entire team to find your enemies and go on a kill spree. You will earn points for being a good sport about it. I use this a lot no matter which class I use, giving my squad ammo whenever they need it and just spreading med-packs around.

There are 4 modes of multiplayer: Conquest, dominating 4 points with your native flag while defending them from enemies; Rush, setting charges on M-COMS or defending them from enemies "trying" to disarm them; Squad Team Rush, the 4 vs 4 version of Rush; and Squad Deathmatch, 4 squads taking each other out until they've reached 50 kills. My favorite was Rush and Squad Deathmatch in Arica Harbor. I'm more familiar with the environment and it has good shortcuts and sniping spots.

Speaking of points, you will unlock more weapons and perks for gaining experience for your classes. Your total experience adds up to how much it takes for you to rank up. If you play an Assault class killing enemies with it, you will earn EXP for it. You will earn a lot more for playing your role, like giving your teammates some ammo. This is the same for all classes, especially the vehicle experience you get. Learn how to utilize them all and dominate the opposing team.

You're in a squad, so act like you are. One of the best mechanics in the online multiplayer is the squad spawning system. This allows you to respawn either on your home base or on top of your teammates. This is the best use of strategy, much like real warfare itself. I went as far as to spawn near my squadmmate whenever he's near an M-COM. What I love most about being in a squad is communication. You listen to your own squad this time. You may not communicate with anyone else, but it's better than hearing one whiny 12-year old in the team.

As far as my enjoyment was on multiplayer, I knew I was going to have a great time ever since I played the demo. Being honest here, first-person shooters were never my preference. I thought it was a waste of time if you just lose more than you win and the fact that games such as this can drive you insane. But when I first saw the first Bad Company, with it's hilarious singleplayer campaign, I knew maybe there's hope for me to like FPS's, if only a little. Bad Company 2 managed to fill me with interest, using so many ways to win and having fun with my teammates. Not only that, I love killing tanks with C4's.

Final Verdict: DICE had no intention of coming in second place with this marvelous sequel. In truth, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has risen above the fame of Modern Warefare 2. Why, you ask? The fact that many people are transitioning from MW2 to BC2 is proof that they are getting tired of the boredom and glitchiness of it all. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is declared the new king of online multiplayer shooters. You will not be disappointed when you buy this game. This could last you for more than half a year, if not longer.]]> Fri, 4 Mar 2011 10:26:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Worthy Expansion of Ninja Gaiden 2]]>
After their groundbreaking success with Ninja Gaiden 2 for the XBox 360, Tecmo and the Team Ninja development team decided to reprise their plans for an adaptive PS3 exclusive version, just as they did with the exclusive Ninja Gaiden Sigma early 2007. Thus, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 was born. Team Ninja added more tweaks than usual in order for this game to be extreme, stylish, and superb as always. One of the best additions that peaked to their fans' interest is that they have included 3 more characters to play as during the story campaign: the kunoichi and fan favorite Ayane (Dead or Alive), the fiend hunter Rachel (Ninja Gaiden Sigma), and ex-ninja plus shrine maiden Momiji (Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword). Let's hurry on with the review.

Presentation: Everyone knows that loading screens during installments are boring as hell. Tecmo managed to make this worthwhile by creating a "prologue" of the game in manga artstyle. It works pretty nicely if you ask me. Thankfully you won't need to see it twice because by the time you're finished with the prologue, the installment is already complete. The menu screen consists of a bunch of modes to play (that is, should you finish the game first). At first, you will have Story Mode and Team Mission Mode. Team Mission is where the online multiplayer kicks in, but I'll explain that later.

The overall of the story is that you play as the descendant of the holy Dragon Lineage, Ryu Hayabusa. He's very much a super ninja, when his mission is clear, he won't stop, period. The Dragon Lineage is a bloodline a celestial warriors created to destroy the Fiends that continue to lurk on the planet even to this present day. At the starting point, one character named Sonia, a CIA agent, has information for Ryu concerning the Fiends' attempt to resurrect the legendary Archfiend. You play as him throughout the entire story. At certain points, you will play as one of the 3 additional characters, each with their own chapter. Playing the game, you'll notice that the story is very linear and there's no plot twist because there's no plot to twist. If you think about it this way, it's more like a superhero's story in which you consistently take on a lot of interesting and rather giant bad guys in order to save the world. Ryu is a super ninja after all. Still, it makes you wonder "why can't there be any exposure to make the experience more entertaining?" In fact, that exposure is written in the scrolls that you find during the campaign, which explains the entire history for you. Believe me, when you read them, you'll be wondering why Tecmo didn't utilize the history for this story.

Gameplay: As said before, extreme, stylish, superb. One of the most fast paced battle systems that will keep you focused on the fight until it's over. Enemy A.I. is really on par with the game's overall difficulty. You will always be fighting ninjas, fiends, werewolves, machines, even ninjas with.......machine guns and missiles. None of them will hold back against you; always getting the chance to grab you and rip you to shreds. Boss Battles are just as intense, but their grabs can be a pain if you don't see them coming (fyi, one grab is Instant Kill on Master Ninja difficulty). 5 new bosses are added to the Sigma title, replacing any repetitive encounters. As you damage these enemies, you'll see their body parts severed. Once you see that, move in quickly and press the triangle to decapitate them with a one-hit kill. Always use this while getting rid of one enemy after another. I'm very much expressing my hatred for how difficult it could be fighting enemies on harder difficulties. You have to try very hard not to get damaged, or grabbed for that matter. However, since I was a very patient man, I've manged to barely make it through each playthrough until I've beaten Master Ninja.

Ryu Hayabusa has a large moveset and a sweet array of weapons. You also have have your Ninjutsu magic and long ranged weapons. Your close ranged weapons have a lot (and I mean A LOT) of combos. About the ranged weapons, changes were made from the first Ninja Gaiden 2. You still have the Fiend's Bane Bow, now with unlimited arrows, and the Howling Cannon, which replaces all the other previous weapons. Let's not forget your close ranged weapons. You have your standard Dragon Sword, along with unique weapons like a Bo Staff and even a sickle with a chain. Combos can be important in this game, even though there's a lot, so know these combos well in case you have a favorite weapon. Some weapons have their own moves as well. One in particular is Ninja Gaiden's best move, the Izuna Drop. In Ninja Gaiden 2, you can only use the Izuna Drop with the Dragon Sword, but in Sigma 2, you can use the same move with all your weapons. One new addition to your collection is the Emma's Fang, a large sword which is great for sweeping enemies down.

Next is your movements, as well as Ultimate Techniques. Dodging and guarding is very, very important in this game. Holding down the L1 button allows you to guard and pressing square or triangle will let you use counter attacks. Moving while holding L1 will allow you to dodge any enemy attack in an instant. Use this only when you have an opportunity to dodge or get away from enemies. Jumping is important too. Ultimate Techniques are used with any close ranged weapon by holding the triangle button, unleashing a devastating combo that will put your enemies to shame. All enemies drop theme karma orbs as you kill them. Collect those for money or absorb them holding the triangle button to shorten the time for your Ultimate Techniques.

The tools used for the item system is a bit sophisticated in this game. You can find healing items, health upgrades, or spell upgrades in treasure chests (some contain fiends inside). You can also buy these healing items whenever you've come across any one of Muramasa's shops. The prices are expensive for a reason, because this enforces you to use items sparingly while honing your skills. You'll come across these crystal skulls that help to decrease those prices. When the lamp next to the shop is blue, that means you get to choose any weapon to upgrade once. Upgrade your weapons once every time you come across these blue lamps and make them stronger and gain access to more intense combos.

Sound: On the sound department, the score is always intense with orchestral instruments that pump up the action, even during the cutscenes. It's a shame that there's not much variety because of that, especially when all I've been hearing are slashes and the screams of dying enemies. The English voice track is good overall, whereas the voices of the Greater Fiends pretty much stole the game.

Multiplayer: The multiplayer experience wasn't that bad for me. An online co-op is always better than relying on a useless partner A.I. In Team Mission Mode, you are given a lot of missions, each are categorized by difficulty. You and your partner have to take down every swarm of enemies while working together. You can both use your Ninpo at the same time to unleash an Ultimate Ninpo, destroying all enemies at once. Complete each mission and earn Karma Points and a medal. One good cause for the multiplayer experience is that after a mission, you get to see the percentage of how much work you've done less or more than your partner. I've had a hell of a time with one player I've come across and we attempted to beat this hard ass mission, no matter how many times we failed.

In a way, the multiplayer is just...okay. Considering that some players have using the multiplayer by now, you would wonder why there was no split-screen multiplayer.

Final Verdict:

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is an excellent game and far better than its Xbox 360 predecessor, redesigned to be much easier for the PS3 audience while adding more content. The difficulty is high depending on which setting you play, but hardcore gamers will love the fast-paced experience. Story Mode is linear, but that's minor compared to everything else. If you're a patient man (or woman) like myself, get this game and try it out. Hopefully you'll beat this game on the hardest mode, just as I have.]]> Fri, 4 Mar 2011 10:00:31 +0000
<![CDATA[ I first heard of Jack about 13 years ago. I better know him now.]]> It started in the mid ninties, has had it's theme games and experiments but when all is said and done, You Don't Know Jack is back full throttle with a lavishly produced new entry into the franchize.

Supporting online play as well as play from home with friends, You Don't Know Jack's premise remains the same.  Get a question and a dollar amount, buzz in if you think you know the answer.  A right answer nets you money and praise.  A wrong answer takes cash away and leaves you with shame.  The timer ticks away this time and ringing in sooner will net more money and multiple players this time can get right answers instead of just one player.  When all players have rung in, you will see whos a winner or not.

No Gibberish Questions or anything involving typing this time concerning that you are using the controller.  Dis Or Dat is still around (again with all players participating) and remains the same with 7 items relating to one of two themes and needing to match them up, along with the Jack Attack where you match up an item among various potential answers.  A new feature has the "Wrong answer of the game" where you can earn a bonus by selecting a special wrong answer per episode that has a tie to the episodes sponsor.  You can even win things like a fashionable barrel or keg of toothpaste.  Collect them all!

Plenty of trophies are out there to unlock like coming from behind in the Jack Attack round, getting all the Wrong Answer of the Games, playing a game with all four players and even put down wins like "Quick Draw McDumbass" where you buzz in too early on 10 questions and get the questions wrong.

73 different trivia games are available at 10 questions a piece and theres a Jack Pack download that has 10 more games.  Hopefully they can keep getting more Jack Packs out to keep the trivia coming.

The game looks lush compared to other entries with silly intros to the questions but it does irk me that the memory could have been used to have more questions, or that there is only ONE tune to accompany the intro animation when other games would at least have two.  Any other complaint was that the random question values are back to regular amounts like the older games, but having a countdown to the value along with having other characters able to buzz in and still get the right answer does help things.  Oh yes, and there still is screwing with a player who successfully screws able to pass up a question if they want to afterword.

The sound is packed full of those great bogus commercials for things like Bible Action Figures and Brazen Paper Towels and there are some new ones too.  Cookie my favorite host is back in the drivers seat while Schmitty is the voice of the sponsor.

You Don't Know Jack this time may not have tweaked the formula the way I liked it in "The Ride" or had the magnitude of questions that the "Offline" series had but it's still fun, still funny and still JACK.

]]> Wed, 2 Mar 2011 05:17:29 +0000
<![CDATA[You Don't Know Jack (PS3) Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 2 Mar 2011 04:03:59 +0000 <![CDATA[ A Well Worthy New Sequel to Persona 3]]> What happened in the three hours of the game?
Those first few hours were retaining the relationship system that I got used to in Persona 3. I got used to the intriguing characters as well, personal favorite being Chie. The premise of the story is as bizarre, dark, and interesting as most SMT titles. 

What was the most challenging part you completed?
Beating the "climax" boss. Goddamn him.

What was the best part of the story?
Oh, you know. The part where where you thought the story has ended even though there's suppose to be something else...with little indication on how to get to said "something else," which is why I regretted saving the clear data after getting the normal ending...but that story is for another time. The REAL best part of the story, imo, is the climax of you and your group being caught in hefty situation. Should you kill the murderer? Because if you don't, he will come back. What can you do, as a leader, to put an end to the mystery?

Share the most innovative gameplay mechanic.
The only most innovative mechanic for me was being able to control characters other than the MC in battle (thank merciful God).

What ice cream flavor best represents this game?

It's sexy and delicious. You'll be constantly licking this baby until you say "What? It's ending? FFFF-oh wait, it's not really the ending? MORE BANANA ICE CREAM!"

]]> Wed, 2 Mar 2011 02:19:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Quick Tip by Eireek]]>]]> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 19:39:01 +0000
<![CDATA[Final Fantasy IX Quick Tip by JustThisOne]]>
I thought it was a great game. They said they were going back to the roots, and I felt like they really did - but in a different way. I felt that FFVII and FFVIII were much more modern and more serious. The tone of FFIX was nice and lighthearted. They definitely pulled off the fantasy setting.

Lovable cast. Except Quina, but that was only because she was scary. Honestly, Blank would have been so cool.]]> Wed, 23 Feb 2011 10:55:55 +0000
<![CDATA[Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 Quick Tip by Alhazardous]]> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 21:00:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Resonance of Fate Quick Tip by TokenDP]]> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 06:12:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Final Fantasy IX Quick Tip by Yusaku_Matsuda70s]]> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 05:55:30 +0000 <![CDATA[Final Fantasy XIII Quick Tip by Yusaku_Matsuda70s]]>
EDIT: Playing it on my friend's 360, I was unable to complete it any further after several stop and goes that accumulated well over 30 hours.]]> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 05:22:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ Don't Let Bad Reviews Deter You From Playing This Gem.]]> What starts the story in this game?
You are in control of Lightning. She's on a personal mission to save her younger sister Serah from the grasp of the evil Fal'Cie. With your partner Sazh you make your way to where the Fal'Cie lie in wait. The story quickly shifts you to the story of Snow. This young man is Serahs fiancee. While working on a mission with NORA (his resistance group), tragedy strikes and an innocent mother is lost. This lose of an important figure quickly wrecks a young child named Hopes life. He and Vanille begin to pursue Snow, who went after Serah as well, in hopes of getting revenge. The five soon get entangled in a tough decision: they can fight against a destined fate or destroy the world they live in. This soon spirals into a long and fantastic story that any fan of a RPG can enjoy.

What was the most challenging part of this game?
The final boss of this game is complete bollocks. If the party leader your controlling in the battle dies, it's game over for you. Adding the fact that the boss has a One-Hit Kill move, it makes this fight a real pain. I often found myself getting closer and closer to finally beating the boss and *Shazam* it uses the insta-kill move on my party leader. I would usually die right on the spot. I can't tell you how frustrating it was to have this happen countless times. But after not giving up for several hours I finally beat it. All my hard work had come to fruition and I was on my way to a what I thought was a happy ending.

Was the story good?
Absolutely! The whole story was great. Picking out a single point from the 60+ hours of story and saying it is my favorite part is down right impossible. I loved every aspect of this story. The love in relationships between certain characters was the genuine article. The story of trust and friendship was phenomenal. Protecting what you loved was a major part in the story, every character was driven to do just that. The story flowed so smoothly. I'll never forget how heartwarming and depressing the ending was to me. I had loved the entire story and didn't want it to end. Yet sadly all great things must come to an end.

*Luckily it goes on in the next installment being developed by SE called "Final Fantasy XIII-2".*


Share the most innovative gameplay mechanic.

The Eidolons were this games answer to summons. Every main character had one. Acquiring them was no walk in the park either. Once you summoned them your other party members would disappear and your Eidolon would swoop in too save the day. Each Eidolon had two forms. The first being what they were summoned to the field as, which is best described as a humanoid form. While in this form they would fight along side you and act as another party member.
     The other form was a vehicle form (only one didn't even relate to a vehicle, I'm looking at you Alexander) called gestalt mode. You would transform them into this form before their SP gauge was full. The final attack was always a the big hitter of all. It would almost always kill the random enemy you were fighting; while only doing a good chunk of damage to the bosses.
The Eidolons were such a great addition to the game. I found myself using them any chance I got.

What ice cream flavor describes this game?
This was a simple choice: Rocky Road. Just as the name implies, it's a bumpy road at first, but as you go along it evens out and turns into a very nice and smooth ride for anyone to enjoy. All the bumps are simply the cons of this game.
-First, linearity of the dungeons is a big issue to a lot of people when it comes to this game. I felt the dungeons were all done extremely well. No two hallways looked the same and I found myself walking through each corridor slowly taking in the great design.
-Second, others say the characters are boring or dull with the exception of a few characters. I had no issue with this. The characters to me were some of the best in the series. They each had some part of their personality I could relate to.
-Lastly, It is said you can just mash the confirm button when your in battle since there is a auto command, and you don't have to put in any effort towards the fight. I feel this is said by people who simply played only the first part of the game and quit out of influence from judging the game too early or they read a bad review. As the game progresses your forced to change classes and fight certain types of enemies in different ways. Every enemy can't be killed by simple physical attacks or the cast of the spell ruin. If you don't change classes or strategies, your in for a very tough fight.
     The rocks of this road are quickly turned to pebbles and hardly ever  noticed again once you overlook them. The wonderful road this game lays out after its "short comings" is a beautiful story, wonderful characters, well designed dungeons and an addictive battle system. So give this game a shot if your searching for any of these from a RPG.

Thanks you for reading my review. Criticism and comments are very welcomed.

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