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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries.

 

 
  2006.08.03  10.54
May delete is cross-posting isn't allowed.....

Hey guys! This is cross-posted on retro_reviews. If cross-posting isn't allowed, then the mod can delete it. Anyhow, I just like to share my love of video games with my fellow gamers! Great group you guys have here!

My tribute to the NES classic: The Battle of Olympus
Battle of OlympusCollapse )

 
 


 
  2006.07.25  01.37


Games are drugs. I knew it before but... couldn't understand. ( http://game-era.com/feature/id/2 ) This is sad truth...


 
 


 
  2006.02.19  22.58
Half Life 2

If you don’t know about Half Life 2, and I’m sure most of the world does by now, it is a follow up to Valve’s Half Life. Half Life was one of, if not the most, celebrated and successful First Person Shooter games ever made. You play as Gordon Freeman, a “Rogue Physicist,” Whom certainly has the flare of a John Rambo or Chuck Norris character in an action movie. Is this bad? Not a chance.

Half Life 2 doesn’t revolve around the run of the mill action First Person shooting core; it branches far beyond the core FPS game play of kill this, shoot that, and move on. This allows for deeper game play and a more involving experience in a FPS ever.

I won’t ruin the story for you, but the story is streamed to you in a way that keeps you involved. Valve had a good idea of how to tell a story without using cut scenes, and thus rewards the gamer with a more immersive feeling. You arrive at City 17 Via Train in the opening scene, and the world will capture you to the very end threw Gordon Freeman’s eyes only.

Half Life 2 will take you roughly 10-15 hours, a good length for a FPS. 14 levels are included in the single player game, ranging from taking between 30 minutes to even as much as 2 hours per level. Each level is carefully crafted for variety and appeal. The game manages to go far beyond the shooting and “find this key” game play we have all come to be accustomed too in the genre. Valve has included driving (a buggy and a boat) to break up the familiar on foot pace of the FPS genre. This works well, as mentioned, it gives you a break and the driving levels are full of action comparable to your favorite Hollywood action movies.

Of course, puzzles are plentiful in Half Life. They add some thinking to the game play and assist in breaking up the “blow this up, drive here” game play. The puzzles are well thought out, and are not forced down your throat. Most of the puzzles make sense to the current situation at hand, and certainly can take some thinking to achieve.

Valve has included an automated save feature at checkpoints and loading screens in levels, so incase you forget to manually save (you do have an option at any time,) the next time you put the game on you may just click continue from the start up screen to resume progress. This is shown to be a very welcome feature due to the length of the levels presented. The only problem some might have with the Half Life 2 level design is the linearity. For the most part, they are fairly straight forward and getting lost is rare. Very little to no backtracking is needed in a level, bearing a few times at the very most. It feels very much like a get from point A to point B game, rather then a “Can I find my way to the end?” type of game.

Being a First Person Shooter, you have your standard Halo controls. Valve included the option to alter the sensitivity of movement depending on your tastes, which is good. You use the two analog control sticks to strafe and pitch and move forward and back. Two different fire buttons, and a few more buttons control your AVP suit. The controls are some of the most simple ever in FPS, and I found when I played the game, they never managed to distract me from what was going on.

The one main difference between Half Life 1 and 2, is that valve included a bit of squad tactical game play. While it’s only emphasized for two or so levels, it does add a little but more depth to the game play. The control of the squad is simple, one button push tells them where to go, two button pushes tell them to follow. It’s not complex like you see in a Rainbow Six game, however, the fact that it was included makes the battles you fight feel more expanded, rather then just the standard you versus the world included in most First Person Shooters.

Valve has managed to build a strong game core. The graphics engine is superb, but during game play I couldn’t help but feel they took second tear to the tasks I was playing with at hand. With Progressive scan enabled (480 P is all Xbox offers here), I was amazed by the textures and feel of the world in which Half Life 2 occurs. The water has reflections and life too it. The people move fluently and have human like shape and bodily appeal. The Character designs are well done, and the Combine (your main enemy base in HL2) look dark, and somewhat mysterious, in a scary way. The Graphics compliment and time with the amazing experience Valve brings to the table here. I have no such complaints, minus a few bouts of slow down on Xbox due to older hardware and less Ram to work with during the port.

The sound is a mixed bag. The gun sounds and voice acting are well presented, never seeming out of place. The voice actors we’re appropriate for their roles. The one thing that makes this audio package a mixed bag is the music. Mainly a techno base, It does have its times, but a lot of times it can feel misplaced in placing during the game.

Sadly, no multiplayer is included in Half Life 2. I don’t consider it a downfall. The Single player is so well made that multiplayer becomes a backseat idea in this well crafted package. It is much better to see a well made single player game with all the energy focused on it alone, then seeing the single player suffer a touch and have a generic multiplayer mode attached.


I’m almost sorry to write this review rite now. I am not sorry because Half Life 2 was a poor game. It wasn’t poor by any stretch of the imagination. I dare say this is a must buy for the system, and deserves to be in any gamers collection. The problem with Half Life 2 was it was released far too late into the Xbox’s life cycle. Maybe waiting for a 360 release would have been better, maybe not. The Interest in Half life 2 managed to dwindle thanks to the release of Xbox 360.

Saying Half Life 2 wasn’t the best 13 hours I spent on a game the past year would be a lie. It defiantly has its place in my heart forever. In a library full of some very good First Person Shooter/ Adventure games (Chronicles of Riddick, Halo, Brothers in Arms, Far cry, for example,) Half Life 2 has it’s place among the elite. If you want game play, look no further, Waste not another second because you might miss a contender for one of the best pieces of video game design ever made. Go get it.



 
 


 
  2005.12.10  20.44
Négone: La Fuga - The 31st Century Coming Near You.

Hey you guys, I cross-posted the entry below in my own journal- which is what it was meant for, really. But I figure I'd get more of the help I need to include Négone in the Wikipedia. If you haven't heard of Négone yet, read on.

+++++++++


It's probably in the Bible: The future of gaming is in a three-storey high-security virtual prison, my luv. And your console?
Will it be:
a. The PS?
b. The GC?
c. The X-Box?
d. The Revolution?
e. A new Handheld?

f. A wristband!

Ba-da bing.

Négone's official site is still only available to be viewed in Spanish [ because they are Spanish ], and no one as yet has bothered to even list them in the Wikipedia but baby, they ain't new. In fact, they are four.

Négone, is the world's first most successfully developed immersive interactive game concept by Differend Games which was founded by Jorge Juan García Alonso and sister, Silvia, who were inspired by online role-playing games as well as the films Tron and the violent sci-fi flick Cube. Négone underwent 18-month testing period was initiated in 2002, after which it later opened its first premises mid-2003 in Madrid with Version 1.0 of La Fuga [ The Breakout ], which was improved to Version 2.0 that includes more advanced contents for a more realistic gaming experience by September of 2004, where the second Négone was built on Captain Has in Madrid.

Your mission in La Fuga 'course, is to escape by cracking the security system of Mazzina, the highly secured virtual 31st-century prison you are trapped in, which, by the very way, is humongous. It spans across three floors with a capacity to hold 300 players set out on 300 different routes at any time, as well as over 20 individually themed rooms while providing you with the option of travelling on less hospitable grounds crawling through ventilation shafts and ladders, where you might either be congratulated with the occasional suprise of a secret door or hidden bonusses, or find yourself at a dead end. This glorious set was created entirely by film-set designers. Here's a link to their fancy plan of a prison.



Each player wears a specially designed [ in collaboration with Sokymat! ] PDA wrist console by which they are tracked and identified through IR-positioning and radio frequency identification [ RDID ] which, apart from revealing just about your every movement, displays your score and related information to your character such as their health level, battery life, an inventory of items you have accumulated as well as how much time you have left. Upon selecting your level of doom difficulty, the security guards will then escort you to your designated cell to begin the craze you will, I suspect, soon dump your girlfriend for, if she doesn't ditch you for it first- because: according to Differend Games, only a measley 5% of first-time players make it to the end. And yet in escaping so soon, it still would not have been possible for any player to explore all the rooms. An average game may only last between 45 to 90 minutes per session, which is the same amount of time my mum used to go at Tetris on the GameBoy, but let's not forget the fact that the system stores all your records under the nickname you register under, so by the time you return for your next game, at least 60% of the puzzles and mazes will be new as well as more difficult. So if you think dating is a waste of time but never found an awesome reason not to, [t]here you go, ladies and gents.

Alternatively, if your girlfriend appears to be brainy, you could always persuade her to team up with you- there are two group missions available. And this is why: it is not just about running around. Whenever you spot a screen, you would want to activate it because it is an access to help from one of the four pre-recorded characters from an underground hackers' group you are affiliated with. God knows why they're so unattractive, but just so you know, that'd be these guys :

All that is required is that you place your wrist console beneath the screen. The problem is of course- you're gonna need brains. You will need to solve some logic quizzes and/or memory-testing puzzles or something more physical, involving the facilities of the room you are in. What's cool is that they won't kill you from incorrect answers- instead, you get condemned to a punishment cell. If you are lucky, you'll be expelled from the game and not left to rot, say. Correct answers will acquire you some neat new tool to help you with your mission in addition to a score boost, naturally. So as you go on, the screens allow and pace you through different doors throughout the entire building which may lead you at some point, basking in a room of more laser lights than you'd find at a rave, or this enormous bank vault which was a part of the building's former use- of which I found a photo of, btw[!] :




But Differend Games isn't completely satisfied with the gameplay yet, according to whom, Négone Version 3.0 will be launched next year where the game will include mobile telecommunications. And because the pair of creators have sophisticated dreams, it has been planned from the beginning to incorporate robots into Version 4.0.. in 2007!

AND. They have decided to start moving the Négone concept out of Spain. It begins with the opening of one in New York by the end of 2006. And listen to this: "We've planned for 60 locations over the next 10 years, all over the world. It's aggressive, but we believe we have a strong product that will revolutionise the industry." -Jorge Juan.

I doubt they've set an eye on Malaysia but I'd still shit bricks if any one of the 60 locations is one of our neighbouring countries.

Singapore, say.
You think?

p/s: Does anyone want to help out submitting a page on Négone to be included in the Wikipedia, btw? Hit me back. Let's do this.

++++++++


Please only reply here. Cheers lots.



Mood: hmn hmn hmn.
 
 


 
  2004.03.18  13.58
18.III.04 - Ninja Gaiden (XBOX)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Team Ninja
Publisher : TEMCO
Genre : Action

Presentation - (8.5/10)
The front of the case isn't really anything too special with good old Ryu kneeling in a very ninja like way. Looking inside of the instruction manual, it is pretty soild in how it goes over the various techniques and moves that can be done. It is only in black and white which is always a little disappointing for me, it is a small thing...but I really like manuals with colours. The lack of colour in the book and the somewhat lackluster boxart is the only reason why I really take away any points from this category.

Graphics - (10/10)
Wow.

The graphics in this game are some of the best I have seen in a little while. The cutscenes are very well done and are a great sort of reward for having to go through the levels. The fire in one of the first FMV's just looks superb. Oh yes, I must mention that Team Ninja is the same group that brings us the delightfully bouncy Dead or Alive series. That really explains why our good friend Rachel in the game is so bountiful, if you know what I mean.

During gameplay everything looks rather nice and detailed, no real pixelation problems or any framerate difficulties. The water is done rather well and the blood when it spews from your enemies has a nice effect to it as well. Each of the weapons when upgraded by the blacksmith has it's own different graphic which is something that I enjoy quite a bit. Other than that everything is just really nice and truly shows off the graphical power of the XBOX better than any game that I've played.

Gameplay - (9/10)
I would have almost immediately given this game a 10 in the gameplay, but there are a few flaws that I would like to address first. They are very small and one of them is a matter of opinion.

1.Camera
-The camera can be difficult to manage sometimes, even though you can control it...there is often times where you cannot get the camera is in the right place and makes a seemingly simple jump very difficult. Sometimes this will occur when fighting multiple enemies and you cannot see what is going on due to the camera being stuck in a bad place.

2.Difficulty
-This is a very very hard game. In the eyes of myself and most likely a good amount of the people who have this game, it is a good thing. But, it can be really discouraging for many other people who just aren't that good or stack up. That and goddammit some parts are just seemingly too hard.

The difficulty for me makes the game just oh so addictive, it isn't annoying hard. It is just difficult. Which makes it seem like you are truly accomplishing something when you beat a really hard boss or level. Let me get into the basics of gameplay. The controls are quite nice; there are two different slashes that can combo together when hit with different buttons, a jump, a ranged attack button, and block. While the system can be really simple throughout the game you get different moves that you actually USE. You don't use the same ones from the beginning you almost need to use the new techniques to survive against the really hard later enemies.

Essentially the game breaks down into different chapters that span over one expansive area that is all connected. You cannot get to all parts of the zone until you have gone through the different chapters, but you can always go back and get secret things or if you possibly missed a part. There is usually an objective to get to the end of the area or a certain place where you meet a hard boss, then move on to the next area. Throughout the level there are statues where you can purchase potions and upgrade your weapons. The "money" is dropped by the enemies that you kill. If you kill them with a charged attack you get more essences which is the money in this game. It is rather hard to come across very much so you need to be a little cautious with how much is spent.

Enemies and bosses in this game don't give an inch. None of the bosses really have a pattern, they have moves they do in reaction to you and then you must react to them. It proves to be very challenging because you cannot just wait for a moment in the pattern to strike. The first boss is a good example of what is to come.

Replayability - (8/10)
I haven't actually beaten this game yet, I'm very close. But I can at least say for myself that I'm definately going to go through this game again and I could see myself doing it a few times. This is for a couple of reasons. The first being that I want to fight the enemies at the beginning which I considered "hard" and are now just cookie dough. Next I want to fully upgrade my weapons and get everything that I missed the first time through.

Also in the game are the older Ninja Gaiden games that were on the NES back in the day, which are simply classic. They are difficult to acquire, but I feel that it would be worth it. Another thing is that I could really just see myself picking this up and playing if I am looking for a challenging game.

Music - (9/10)
Very nice score. Ranging from very old Japanese music when you are in Ryu's hometown to futuristic techno music when you are fighting on the Airship and the city of Vigoor. I have absolutely no qualms about the music in this game. The sounds are also very nice. The wooden weapons actually make different sounds than the metal when struck against objects and the enemies have unique screams when slashed and killed.

The only thing that takes away from the score is I wasn't really all that impressed with the voice acting, but it isn't anywhere near some of the other bad voiceovers. I just wasn't impressed with it.

Plot - (6/10)
Hmmm...I can't say too much about the plot. Ryu has good dragon sword, evil man takes bad dragon sword. You follow into city called Vigoor and there are demons and a bunch of shady people. Oh and a big boobied lady.

It really sin't anything special at all, the story feels a little thrown together and even though I haven't beaten it I don't think I'll be impressed with the ending. But believe me you aren't going to be buying or playing this game for the story.

Overview
This game was definately worth the wait. It is hard as hell, but very rewarding when you actually progress in the game. I'm afraid to play hard mode because "Normal" mode is like passing a stone. I believe the Penny Arcade comic really portrays how Hard mode will really be. If you have an XBOX, even if you don't. You need to get this game. My brother who mocked me about getting one for Star Wars KOTOR is now in the XBOX club because he bought an XBOX for this game. Everything about this game works in the graphics and gameplay department, I have my fingers crossed for a sequel. Maybe I will be halfway in hard mode by that time, if I'm lucky.


Total Score : (9.2/10)



Mood: complacent
 
 


 
  2004.03.09  11.10


anyone playing ninja gaiden? i love it, i love it, but damn. it is SOOOOOOOOOOO devil may cry. i mean, the combat system is a whole lot deeper, which is great, but everything from the camera system to the menu screens just scream devil may cry. i guess that's a testiment to capcom, though. they pretty much defined the 3-D action game several years ago when the original dmc was released. ok, if you need me, i'll be playing ninja gaiden.

 
 


 
  2004.02.27  14.15
NFL STREET

This game is totally addicting. If you like football at ALL you should have this game now. Being a big Madden fan, I even think the new Madden should look out for this game. There are 8 different fields with different surfaces so you get to adjust your strategy to fit them. I’m quite partial to the West Coast field in San Diego, the beach!! It’s cool because you have to devise a passing strategy while running in slow motion. I’m even helping to promote this game on my website because I think that everyone should own this game. Plus I’m trying to win some autographed NFL STREET gear hehehe: http://www.buzztone.com/nfl_street_v2/hostme.asp Let me know if anyone else is participating in this contest and if you are what you think of it. Seems pretty legit so far.

 
 


 
  2004.01.30  22.13
30.I.03 - abbatoir noises, weak reception

Man, this community is a silent as a mouse.

Wake up people, I know you are playing those games. REVIEW THEM. I have been rather lazy due to classes and playing games myself. I will be doing a review Dragonball Z : Budokai 2 and Silent Hill III very soon.



Mood: sad
 
 


 
  2003.11.16  18.51
16.XI.03 - Crimson Skies : High Road to Revenge (XBOX)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Fasa Studios
Publisher : Microsoft - Game Studios
Genre : Action/Adventure

Presentation - (10/10)
The box is quite nice, it has a great painting on the front of it of the main character and one of the supporting. On the back is a very colourful display of some of the action that goes on in the game and tells you everything you need to know. Especially the 16 player versus dogfight mode which in itself should make you grab this game and never let go of it. On the front it has "Best XBOX Live Game" a foreshadowing of what is to come. The instructions are done excellently, it is entirely in colour and goes over all of the different controls and instructions very well. The story is gone over and each of the planes that are in the game you can use are described and lots of pictures are used. It even has a quick guide of all the buttons on the back cover of the instructions for easy reference. This is how I feel all games should present their product.

Graphics - (9/10)
Excellent job on the graphics. The environments that are in the game are quite vast and actually have a fair amount of detail on some of the smallest parts of the buildings and on the planes. The water has a very nice effect and reflects all of the things that fly over it especially the sun. Explosions and flames are over the top at times, but they are done exceptionally well and really look good with the wreckage falling from the sky. When you damage anything, from a plane to a piece of the environment it will stay there for quite sometime and it is just one of those things that is nice to notice. The weather effects are also really awesome...after having a huge dogfight in the rain and strong wind you will be hooked on the graphics.

The cutscenes are really nothing too special and that's why I took the single point away, but that is something very trivial in my mind because there are only a few of them.

Gameplay - (9.5/10)
Wow. I love the gameplay of this game. The controls are simply wonderful, each of the buttons is used for something...but you never feel like it is too much to handle. The left control stick moves the plane up and down, left and right while the right analog makes your plane roll and allows you to do many of the stunts that will help you out in dog fighting. Each of the planes has three stats. Speed, Armor, and Weaponry...each of them excels in something and have different types of guns that are good for certain situations. I have a handful of planes that I love to fly and all of them are at least decent at what they do. The single player mode which is often overlooked in this game is actually decent. You fly around accepting missions such as taking down an enemy base, escort missions, or cargo theft missions. Some of the gathering missions can be a little annoying, but there are too many of them so you don't have to be bored. You get money for completing missions and throughout the level you can find or acquire upgrade tokens which allow you to make your plane even stronger. My only problem with the single player mode is that it is a little short...

The real appeal of this game is the multiplayer mode which actually has 6 different types of games. Dogfight which is the simple kill your opponent and a few variants of it, also there is a capture the flag game. This is what everyone has been ranting about, playing in such huge environments with so many people is just mind blowing. Up to 16 people can fight in one arena over a LAN or on XBOX Live and everyone has told me the samething and that is they have spent countless sleepless nights playing this game. I have yet to play in such a huge game because I don't have XBOX live yet, but because of this game I shall be getting it within the next month or so. You could never play the single player mode of this game and still the multiplayer mode in itself is simply worth the money you paid for this excellent game.

Replayability - (8/10)
Multiplayer fucking rocks. You will play it over and over again.

In the single mission after you finish the story for the first time, you can start over and do the first missions with all of the new planes that you acquired. It gives you a chance to use them more and upgrade all of your planes to the highest level. The game also gets harder and you can unlock the hardest difficulty in the game. So there is a decent degree of replayability in that sense.

Music - (9/10)
To quote my friend..."It sounds like Pearl Harbor music." I guess I can agree. The score of this game is actually really good in my opinion. The music is all orchestrated and really uplifting especially when you are dogfighting in a mission. I never once got tired of hearing any of the songs that went on in the game and at times I really got into the mood in the last couple of levels because of the music and the intensity of the gameplay.

Plot - (7/10)
This game takes place in the 1940's in an alternate universe where the United States didn't survive the depression and has broken up into various sections as the Aximo Desert, Nation of Hollywood (hehehe), and The Confederate Nation. The skies are the primary way of travel and there are countless amounts of Air Pirates that plague the skies. You are a member of the Fortune Hunters which are a band of Air Pirates and it all starts when you wake up after a drunken night of poker. Overall the story is decent, nothing really surprising and it isn't the deepest...but that really isn't the focal point of the game..at least it puts up an amusing little tale.

Overview
A complete surprise to me. This was one of those games that I didn't follow it until it was released and only heard a little news about the development and testing of this game. A few days after it was released I couldn't stop hearing about how fun it was in multiplayer and how the controls were so tight and fun to play with. I went to the mall and actually found out that both EB and Gamestop had actually sold out of the game the day it was released to my sadness, fortunately they got a new shipment at EB and I bought it. I must say that I do not regret buying this game at all. If you like multiplayer games and ESPECIALLY if you have XBOX live...YOU NEED THIS GAME.

Total Score : (9/10)

Next Game : F-Zero GX (GC)

 
 


 
  2003.10.29  16.18
28.X.03 - Devil May Cry II (PS2)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Capcom
Publisher : Capcom
Genre : Action

Presentation - (6/10)
The cover art is pretty cool with a close up of Dante's face in black and white with the keen DMC across the bottom. On the back we see the new character..man, she just look silly to me and then the phrase "Cooler than Hell." I guess...Nothing special here to shake a stick at. Moving on to the instructions. The instructions make me rather sad as they look rather boring and black and white. I like color and lots of pictures in my instructions and this book is lacking in both of those catagories. The booklet gets straight to the point with listing all of the various commands that your character is able to do like a decent instruction manual should. It is a fairly small book in all honesty one page for story and a couple for the controls.

Graphics - (7/10)
Fairly nice, but nothing too special for me here. The backgrounds are quite expansive filled with large cities for you to run around on and go through, there are also expansive caves for you to battle through. Unfortunately, even though they are quite large..that doesn't mean that they are all that impressive. I'm reminded too much of the previous one and they are really nothing too special to look at...lots of the same ol' colors, nothing that stands out and makes me say "Wow, great level design guys." Lots of the same colors, lots of the same objects, lots of the same crap. The FMV's are decent and show some pretty cool scenes which boosts the score a bit, but not by too much as they aren't the greatest of quality. Dante's movements are pretty cool the first time..you see him run up a wall, shoot upside down, and double jump...but man, the same exact sword slashes everytime...there is no way to change it up so it looks rather plain.

Gameplay - (5/10)
If you like the first one, you'll get exactly what you would expect from a sequel. Unfortunately they didn't really add anything new and that makes me rather sad, even though there was nothing particularly wrong with the actual gameplay of the first one. It just seems like to me that they could have put more effort into this part of the game. Now I shall simply go into the controls of the game which I shall repeat are not that bad..they seem to work out pretty well when you get the hang of them, though the sword always seems to be a bit slow for me and didn't really glide really well in with the gun. One thing that I found easily exploitable was the "Style Grading" where the game tells you how stylized your fighting is, which is silly. If you constantly hit something you see a little message giving you a score starting with D the more you hit and combo the higher. The way to exploit it is to just keep hitting "O" and flip around from opponent to opponent and you'll get an S everytime.

The bare bones of the gameplay goes like this. Little snip of story, fight, easy boss, can't upgrade. Repeat. I thought this game was too easy for my likings. The upgrades to the weapons really don't do anything that great, no visual change at all. Also it is just far too many of those stupid red orbs until you are able to really get a chance to upgrade it.

Replayability - (4.5/10)
There are two disks, one is Dante's game the other is the female characters...I was so disenchanted with the game that I didn't care about her game and I won't be playing it.

Music- (6/10)
Decent score, really nothing to scream or complain about. You get the good guitar battle boss music when you need it and the regular BGM's do the job they are needed to do, you most definately won't see me going out of my way trying to find these songs though.

Plot (3/10)
I was quite confused that I got very little plot to go with, I thought I would learn a lot more about what was going on with Dante's past or about what happened after the first one and all I got was nothing. Very disappointing because they had some potential here to do some real revealing of plot and left many of the gamers just hanging.

Overview
Very disappointing. It just seems like Capcom rushed to make another DMC game to cash in on. The plot is paper thin, the controls and gameplay are exactly the same, the only difference is the settings and some of the characters that are involved. All in all it is still a decent hack and slash with a couple of elements that are kind of interesting, but grow thin quite fast. Personally, I believe this game is a rental and nothing more...

Total Score : (5.75/10)

Next Game - Crimson Skies (XBOX)



Mood: accomplished
 
 


 
  2003.10.28  08.06
28.X.03 - I wish I had a pause button like Captain N did.

Hello out there in GameReview, I have been quite busy with 4 college classes at once that I have been having trouble finding the time in the day to post up any reviews. I shall begin soon, but you guys should have at it...review away.

Next up for me...Crimson Skies (XBOX), Kingdom Hearts (PS2), and Mario Party 4 (GC).



Mood: tired
 
 


 
  2003.10.01  02.13
01.X.03 - Wario Ware Inc. Mirco Minigame$ (GBA)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Nintendo
Publisher : Nintendo
Genre : Other (For Real)

Presentation - (10/10)
From the moment you look at this box you know that this game is an experience that is different from anything you have ever played before. Colors and colors and more colors. The book is quite large and is very original, there are actually little games and fun things to do inside of it. In the middle are stickers that you can place about the instruction manual and whatnot. As for the content it tells you what you need to know, but with so many minigames it is almost impossible to go over every single one of them. Overall, I have yet to see an instruction as well done as this one and just so original...so it gets biiig points with me.

Graphics - (8/10)
It is hard to rate this because some of the games have excellent graphics that range from the realistic to the very basic of computer programming. The menu's tell you enough, but are not anything special. So I'll just give it an 8. Seems fair enough.

Gameplay - (10/10)
200+ Minigames, wow. It seems like a lot and it is. You would think a game that is just composed of small games would be boring, but it actually is super duper addictive. The games range from catching the stick, picking your nose, shake the dog's hand, and thread the needle. All of the games are very easily done by pressing A or moving in a certain direction. Sounds easy? It is at first, but then it speeds up to an insane level and doesn't give you a break. All of the games are allocated to different catagories..I.E Sci-Fi, Sports, and Strange. You must complete a certain number in a row while it gets faster and then you can move on. There are TONS of hidden extras if you take the time to complete all of the minigames that there are.

Replayability - (10/10)
So addictive and yet I cannot really explain why. You just want to keep playing the crazy minigames and see how many you can do in a row and then try and beat that record. Also there are a good deal of extras that can be unlocked.

Music- (6/10)
While the music isn't bad there aren't too many songs in this game, there is a different one for every person..but they do get slightly repetitive and they only get faster and faster while the game gets faster. So not the most horrible score ever..but the songs do get old after lots and lots and lots of gameplay.

Plot (1/10)
This I don't really count because it has little to nothing to do with the dynamics of the game. Wario sees that videogame makers are making lotsa money so he wants in and begins his own videogame business and calls his friends to make games too. That's it.

Overview
I feel a necessary purchase for anyone with a Gameboy Advance, but some people you must be addicted to crack to really like the game. It is so addictive with all of its mini-games. Everyone can just pick it up and play and be blown away. I still play the game late at night or when I'm on the road and I really don't see myself getting tired of it ever.

Total Score : (8.75/10)
PLOT NOT INCLUDED



Mood: content
 
 


 
  2003.09.25  00.15
25.XI.03 - Star Wars : Knights of the Old Republic (XBOX)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Bioware
Publisher : Lucas Arts
Genre : D&D - RPG

Presentation - (10/10)
The box itself has a very nice picture of some of the main characters on the front of it and on the back it says "Choose Your Path" which is quite true in this instance. So no qualms with the box. Inside is a rather large instruction manual and for good reason because there is a lot to go over. Every thing you could possibly ask for is gone over in this booklet from the force powers to the stats and even the various abilities. For me I sat down and I looked at that book for a good 15 minutes reading about the various aspects of the rolls and attacking. The instructions do a good job of telling you everything that you need to know about the game, even though it is a good bit of information I really didn't have any trouble finding something that I couldn't figure out.

Graphics - (9.5/10)
The visuals in this game are simply exceptional. I will start with my one minor problem with the graphics and then go on to the list of the good, the only bad thing is the slight slow down in the framerate of the game at certain times when there are a lot of things going on around you. That is the only problem that I have.

The major thing that makes the graphics and the visuals rock are the small details. First off the main character changes quite a bit if you take it down the path of the darkside. A lot of the characters in the game have very distinct facial differences and different outfits, there are no two that look alike except for the usual grunt Rodian or whathaveyou. The combat, especially with swords and lightsabres, looks really kick ass...even though you aren't really in too much control of it the sequences and attacks all look really nice and mesh together well so it really looks like the two are swordfighting. The backgrounds are nice and look like they are supposed to look, the huge city of Taris the underwater world of Manann all look great. Other than the one problem with the slowdown in framerate...there is greatness all over the graphics.

Gameplay - (10/10)
First off this game is made by Bioware so you know that it is going to have the same D&D elements that go along with all of their games such as Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, and Torment. This is the wonderful glory of this game, if you don't like the D&D system of rolling, saving throws, and detailed character creation then this game is not for you. But for me who adore such games as this it is a blessing to have a Star Wars game that implements these rules. I take back the last statement about if you don't like the rules than it is not for you because the game takes care of the details of the rolling and saving throws all you have to do is play through, you can even make the game do everything automatically if you don't like dealing with so much customization.

First off you get to create your character your choices for class are Scoundrel, Soldier, and Scout. To put it simply the Scoundrel is weaker and gets less "feats" (in battle) and more "skills" (out of battle) the Soldier is the exact opposite and the Scout is basically in the middle. From there you change what the character looks like, the stats such as Str and Dex, finishing it off with skills and feats. The character creation is very indepth so never do a quick character ALWAYS DO A CUSTOM CHARACTER, because half the game to me is making a personalized character that has the feats and skills that I want it to have. You can make a Scoundrel that is really sneaky, good with computers, and specializes in blasters. On the other hand maybe a Soldier who is very strong, good at persuading, and uses exclusively two handed melee is your style. It doesn't matter the game let's you do what you want!

After character creation you are on your way, you walk about and do your thing. There is a lot of dialogue in this game and the choices that you make can really effect the path that you take in this game. You can answer anyone however you like out of the choices from "I'd be an honor to help" to "How much and if it isn't enough I'll kill you", these will effect the sort of quests that you will have to do with people, the characters you get in the game, and which alignment you will side towards. You can play through this game as a dark side or light side each of with has a fairly unique way of going through the game. Of course you do the same things, but the way that you go about doing them are completely different. Depending upon your actions you can get light or dark side points which will move you to their respective sides, there is a meter in the pause menu that shows you how exactly you scale. When you eventually become a jedi there will be an influence on what side you are on, if you are more aligned to the dark the darkside force power such as Force Lightning and Choke are cheaper...while lightside powers are more expensive. Also the class you pick will have a very important effect on how you will go about doing things...the Soldier can smash through anyone and kill everything, but the Scoundrel might be better of using stealth to sneak around and then hack in to a computer and overload a power conduit. That is really how the skills and feats come into effect.

As for combat there is actually very little you can do about it. You tell the person who to kill and they do it, though you can control the actions that they do while they are fighting. That's where the feats which are attacks and the force powers come into play, there is a small menu at the bottom left that lets you control. At first there isn't much you can do when you start the game, but after your character gets more feats and force powers you can do a plethora of different abilities while fighting.

Replayability - (10/10)
Extremely high. My reasoning behind putting such a high score into this catagory is simply because the game has 3 different endings and so many different paths to go through. Playing through the game just once as a Soldier is a great experience in itself, but beating the game as a Scoundrel requires a whole different strategy. Another minor thing that I think is really cool is just to see how all of the characters look when they change to the darkside, because some of them are somewhat drastic and look really cool. I can easily see myself playing through this game many many more times.

Music- (10/10)
Excellent Star Wars orchestrated score. All of the music is very crisp and the sounds are simply amazing. The lightsabres sound excellent and the various blaster sounds are classic Star Wars. The music is very epic and fits the scene all of the time, I never once got tired of any of the themes that were going on.

One point that I especially love is the voice acting. I must give this game a hand, beacuse this game has the best voice acting that I have ever heard in a videogame. The cast is huge and has many famous voice actors such as Cam Clark (Liquid Snake), Ed Asner, and FRANK FUCKING WELKER (Megatron! SOUNDWAVE! Jabberjaw, Shmoo, and sooo many more). Even the aliens all have their own languages, they didn't go so far as to use the actual language but it is a nice touch that they didn't have everyone just speak English/Galatic Basic.

Plot (10/10)
THANK GOD THIS GAME IS NOT PART OF THE TRILOGY.

Having said that I can easily say that this storyline makes the previous two Star Wars movies look like Georgey Lucas took a pile of crap and put it on film. This plot takes place 5,000 years before "A New Hope" and there is absolutely no reference to it in the game. I was getting tired of always doing the same Hoth missions over and over just in a game with better graphics. This plot is quite a good one and will lead you all over the galaxy in various planets such as Korriban (The Sith Homeworld) to Dantooine. The plot stays interesting and you are in control, everything revolves around what decisions you make and what side of the force you stay on.

Overview
I bought an XBOX for this game and just for this game. That should tell you something. If you have an XBOX and you don't have this game then you just have some sort of mental problem. This game has everything you could possibly want out of a Star Wars game, hell out of any game in the market. It was worth every $180 that I spent and I cannot wait until they make another one or another game which uses the same system. There are 11 save files on my XBOX and only 2 of them are mine...everyone wants to start a game and they instantly get addicted to it, so be careful. God Bless Bioware.

BUY THIS GAME.

Total Score : (10+/10)



Mood: amused
 
 


 
  2003.09.24  12.44
24.IX.03 - hold select and press A B

I have changed the status of this community to an open posting one. Any and everyone can post, but the guidelines must be followed or else the entry is subject to deletion. That way many more people can review, but the crap reviews can be filtered out if necessary.



Mood: accomplished
 
 


 
  2003.09.23  23.51
23.IX.03 - Magic Pengel : The Quest for Color (PS2)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Agetec
Publisher : Taito
Genre : Monster Raising

Presentation - (6/10)
First thing you notice when you look at the front of the box is that there is a lot of cuteness and anime things that are appealing to the eye. It is super colorful and there is a lot going on, on both sides of the box. Inside are the instructions where they explain the very basic story of the game along with the battle system which is summed up on an entire page. The bulk of the booklet consists of trying to explain how the "draw" of the game..pardon the pun..works which is the Drawing System. It goes over the various buttons and whatnot, but to me it really didn't present it in a manner that was fitting and I found myself just jumping into the game and figuring it out myself.

Graphics - (7/10)
I really like the graphics of the doodles as they are refered to in this game, the crayon/chalk effect is really nice and the auto 3D rendering is very good as well. Other than that you get vivid anime style graphics that were designed by the same guy who did Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Unfortunately that's about all the good things that I can really say about the graphics, they are pretty cookie cutter and nothing too appealing. There are no astounding groundbreaking visuals or kick ass effects that happen when the doodles battle, so the score is lowered quite a bit. I would say the style and the doodle graphics are the only notable things.

Gameplay - (6/10)
The entire game to me is the Doodle System. To be able to create your own monsters using a paint-esque program that automatically renders them in 3D, that alone made me purchase this game. I will admit that it is a fun system to just mess around with to create the craziest of monsters with thousands of eyes, arms, legs, and horns. You can trade them and fight with another friend's doodles in the battle arena. The doodle system is rather easy to get a hold of even without the use of a mouse, the only problem is trying to make certain horns or arms jut foward properly without having them lean off to the side.

Unfortunately everything else is pretty poor. The fighting system itself is really a pumped up game of Rock, Paper, Scissors...just replace it with Attack, Magic, and Block. Each opponent picks an action out of the three and then the doodles attack. The only things that really mix it up a little bit are the rules that you cannot use the same action in a row and you can do an action called rest which does no attack, but you gain life back. I found myself rather miffed because the system lacked a good deal of strategy. Another problem with the gameplay is that it is rather bland after you get over the whole Doodle system. You fly around in a first person perspective which is odd, you'll have to see a screen shot to understand...you go up to someone and challenge them...rock paper scissors...make stronger doodle...repeat. There is only one town and you constantly just go through it back and forth and back and forth to meet other people who you can battle and to buy the tools so that you can make better and stronger doodles.

I will in defense say that it takes a good while before the Doodle System becomes old because you are constantly coming up with ideas.

Replayability - (4/10)
The only replayability is that you will want to make more and more doodles as you come up with them, that's about it.

Music- (6/10)
The music is absolutely nothing special. There's a song in the beginning that isn't very good at all and the music throughout is just happy music that doesn't even get in your head! If you are going to put in happy music at least put it in my head. The music is very repeatitive, there is only a total of about 5 songs in the entire game that I heard and none of them are great.

Plot (3/10)
Very silly plot. God created Doodles and Man. Man began to take advantage and use Doodles, made Doodle King cry and go away...that's the beginning. All I know is that it made it seem really big and important and all I got was a good laugh out of it. So far as of playing all I know is that I have a little faery that flies around and creates doodles and I go to tournaments.

Overview
I actually reserved this game and waited quite patiently for it to come out. Sadly to say it has been returned and put to rest. I was very disappointed with this game, I love the doodle system...hopefully there will be a sequel to build a good game around it because it is simply wonderful and creative. I recomend that you just rent the game for a weekend with some friends come up with some crazy doodles and fight it out. Then return it and never have anything to do with it again. Bottom Line...Great Gimmick, Poor Game.

Total Score : (6.2/10)



Mood: crushed
 
 


 
  2003.09.18  19.18
18.IX.03 - Breath of fire: Dragon Quarter (aka breath of fire 5)

REVIEWER : LP

Developer : Capcom
Publisher : Capcom
Genre : RPG

Presentation - (8/10)
The Box to the game has all of the characters on it and in the background is a faint map and the all important d-counter. Its really a very good picture and unlike with some games the image isnt from a movie the characters actually pretty much look like that there is a small difference in the color between the image and the actual game but its nice to see the picture used be almost like the actual gameplay instead of a movie. The manual tries to explain the combat system but other than explaining the radius types for spells it doesnt do a very good job. Although i didnt deduct points for it because With the way the system is set up its hard to explain in any kind of reference the net faq's even fail miserably unless you've played through and experimented with it yourself. Anyway the major problem with the presentation was that the manual was black and white the points deducted were mostly because of this I really feel that they should at least spend the extra money to give you a nice color manual. The other small issue was the artwork on the cd Its what could be a very beautiful and meaningful picture (play the game and look at it you'll understand) but instead of shrinking the picture they just cut out the middle section and pasted it to the cd so its kinda irritating that a big part of it is missing.

Graphics - (9/10)
I really like the graphics for this game other people that play it though are going to disagree and I really understand that viewpoint too. The graphics arent going to win any awards or advance the way that polygon based rendering is performed but it doesnt try to. Thats not to say no effort is put into this. It is a beautiful game in its own way in a way that only somone who respects (or perhaps understands) anime can see. Like bof 4 it takes a very anime approach at the graphics it doesnt try to do any realistic polygon rendering it strives for a television anime style and it succeeds wonderfully. You really feel like your playing through a great anime the graphics give it the perfect anime feel and although its not groundbreaking It is one of the most mood setting enviroments(viewed as an anime enviroment) I have ever seen in an rpg. thats not to say that there aren't beautiful 3-d backgrounds you see some very nice large genics(see below) in the backgrounds some of them even doing whatever they were designed to do. the first time you see one its somewhat amazing.So for the graphics accomplishing this wonderful mood setting effect(which if you really think about it is really what an rpg should do) and the interesting animated backgrounds i give it a 9.

Gameplay - (10/10)
About the game play all i can say is Wow. If the mood of the game didnt catch you the gameplay will ensnare you. It has an amazing one of a kind gameplay style. I have to admit at first I didnt like it or rather as i came to learn I didnt appreciate it but that was my own folly. The game actually combines the two main styles of rpg's today that is the "zelda" live action no seperate screen for battle style and the "classic rpg" seperate screen for battle style. Bare with me this is hard to explain and as i mention the manual even failed to explain this well.

Your character is in a maze of tunnels you see 3 enemies before you all grouped together. You have certain items you can drop on the field or throw at them to effect them this includes explosives, and various types of bait and poison bait. So you drop a piece of meat to lure just one of the three enemies away so you dont have to fight them all at once. As it approaches you when you see on your "radar" that the others are out of range if you strike the enemy with your sword or it hits you you will enter a semi seperate screen for battle with just that enemy. If you hit the enemy with your sword when the new battle screen loads you have the initiative if it hits you it has the initiative and the very valuable "extra turn". Anyway in this new screen you see the very standard fade into the battle screen but low and behold the battle screen is exactly the same except now the only enemy(enemies) are the ones that were in range in my example case only the one. The background and 3-d level is still the same and you can still move only where you could before. This adds another interesting element to the combat though as the only way to escape from a battle is to get to a door and choose escape or use an item and suffer a penalty. In my example if you didnt lure that other enemy away from the others and you attacked him all of the enemies would enter the battle screen with you. Really the only difference between the "battle screen" and the regular screen is what enemies are on the "board". In the battlescreen though you cant really use the dynamite or bait or mines or traps etc those have to be set up before you enter the battlescreen it adds a whole new level of strategy to the game.

When in the battlescreen you have the standard breath of fire ap approach at special moves. Its the equivelent of a magic meter on previous breath of fire games but this one takes an almost final fantasy tactics approach. Each character has a certain area they can move to (designated by there movement stats) and they can move in the field in that area and any obstacles actually act as obstacles and block various attacks by enemies. However as you move in your movement area 1 ap point is also deducted from your ap meaning that your movement is limited by your movement skill and how much ap you have left and that if you move too far your stronger attacks wont work. Also in a tactics approach you have the option of casting certain spells as runes that are painted on the ground that last for 3 ful turns. If an enemy steps on them the enemy is effected by the spell however the further you place the rune from you the more ap is used. Regular spells either effect a circle area, a line area, or a spread area. Different spells effect different types of areas.

Ok now for the biggy as in all bof games the main character Ryu(default name for pc on all bof games) after a certain point in the game can turn into a dragon. The catch here is that as soon as you reach that point in the game the d counter becomes active. The d-counter works like this everytime you turn into a dragon or use your d-dash(it knocks enemies out of your way on the regular map so as to not enter battle mode plus adds speed) your d-counter increases. It also increases for each turn your a dragon and each skill you use as a dragon. When using the dragon skills while a dragon the strength of the skill used dictates how much the meter is increased. Well the side effect of all this is that it increases slowly on its own if you just walk around (slightly faster if you dont fight enemies regularly). Whats wrong with this well the hook is that once that d-counter is active it effectively puts a timer on your game cause when the d-counter hits 100 percent its game over your body can't handle any more stress from the dragon energies and you explode in a very vivid scene. And no there is no way to lower the counter it steadily rises until you die give up or complete the game. The d-counter does make you rush through the game but since you have a give up option that you'll probably use frequently at first anyway its not a big deal.

You also have the classic fairy colony sidequest (your d-counter still rises while you do it) where you build a fairy colony and dictate how it grows and what kinds of shops are there.

As for the give up option and scenario over lay. They force you to play the game more than once as after you get to certain points plot points you were unaware of before open up so that when you replay you can see them. The give up option lets you restart at anytime carrying over party experience points (you get 2 types of experience regular and party party can be devided up however you see fit) and equipped equipment as well as any items you have stored in your locker (except tokens). There arent exactly random battles so to level build you are forced to start over and expend your party experience points if your too weak at a certain point in the game. Expect to give up at least once but with your party experience its 10 times as fast the next time through.

Lastly Because of the starting over they have a special save set up in dragon quarter. you can only save to one slot and you can only do so with a save token. This is a hard save if you save here you only have to restart from that save point. However if you have to leave suddenly or go somewhere or quit or whatever you can choose the quit option which performs something called a soft save which backsup the game exactly where you are and lets you shut off the ps2 when you reload the game it loads the data from the softsave however the data in the softsave slot is deleted ont he load so if you die you go all the way back to the hard save. This is done mostly because of the give up and sol system(if you die you also get the option to give up keeping your equipment etc). Anyway this is ok early ff games even did this but it nearly caused the game to lose a point for me because the area where i live is prone to power failures and the 2 hours between savetokens and save spots is very suseptible to those power outages one day because of power outtages i had to restart like 5 times. Under those conditions its annoying but if you dont live in an area like me you'll probably not even really notice how the saves work.

I really would give the truly unique gameplay a higher score if i could the strategy and anime feel it also adds is unbelievable if i could give the gameplay an 11 i would despite my power issues as they are my issues not the games the game designers cant help i live in a horrible area.

Replayability - (10/10)
As i mentioned with the scenario overlays that you can only see after the first time through and the fact you will probably give up and start over to get stronger quite a bit adds a lot of replayabillity to this in fact its even kind of necessary. It might seem tedious to replay it several times for the sol's but its not the game isnt all that long it couldnt be to have the d-counter work as a timer. Well though the last thing that pushes the replayabillity over the edge is your d-ratio. Every person in the underground world has a d-ratio it defines how strong the person is capable of becoming. Every time you beat the game the number of chests you've opened and a few other factors is calculated and your d-ratio is raised. you start out with some freakishly obscene ratio of 1/8192. Well that ratio means your nothing more than a ranger grunt if you beat the game and open all the chests that number is approximately halved. When you restart the game you restart with the new d-ratio. Well there are doors in the game that are only accessable by rangers with a certain d-ratio a security rating if you will. for instance if you do all you need to do to lower it the first stage to 1/4096 the 1/4096 doors are opened and you can get special items and see new parts of levels you couldnt before if you open all the chests in those doors plus all regular chests when you go through the next time that is halved. I havent played through that many times though and neither have the faq's iv seen but theorietically its possible to raise your ratio all the way to 1/1 and have like a god ranger ranking. So as i said you MUST play this game over to get everything out of it and you'll want to just to see the new plot points let alone to be the highest ranked ranger ever.

Music- (7/10)
The music is nothing overly memorable other than the fact that some of it is techno. It does add to the overall feel and plot of the game nicely but its nothing overly important or noticable compared to either the rest of the game itself or the music in other games.

Plot (9/10)
The plot is amazing. It is a true anime plot. I dont want to give too much away but all the creatures roaming around are even explained. You see long ago there was a cataclysm on the surface of the planet so everyone fled underground. To help organize the new System everyone was divided up according to there potential called the d-ratio. But the air underground began to become poluted and food and various other things were needed so the scientists performed genetic experiments creating genics. Some genics are food some are even to clean the air and some well some got away and reproduced. The rangers job is to hunt down rogue genics and protect the cities. I cant say much more without giving away some important plot points but the genic lab is holding the remains of a dragon from the surface (and if you know about other bof games dragons fight the gods every 10thousand years and the world is destroyed and rebuilt) the dragon is sorta housed there as it is the last dragon and although dead if it is housed it cannot rise up again. Well it bonds with ryu who is apparently the last descendent of the chosen who have the abillity to bond with dragons and were thought extinct. Well i cant tell you exactly why but you are eventually forced to head toward the surface (which you come to believe has healed from the cataclysm) in order to save your friend. Somewhere along the way the higher ups of the society want to stop you from ruining there society and who are controlled by a mysterious entity ( who if you played other bof games will understand about) plus they find out about your dragon powers which threaten their leader once again. The plot really would have gotten a 10 except that like most dvd games its very very linear and that somewhat irritates me plus the d-counter adding an effective timer to the game makes you rush through the linear plot rather quickly and not all of it really sinks in.

Overview
Although not groundbreaking it has mood setting graphics, anime styled characters and backgrounds that make you actually feel like your in an anime. The plot although linear is also very gripping and animeish. The gameplay is one of the most interesting and effective battle systems i have ever seen and where the graphics lack in raising the bar the battle system succeeds amazingly. Previously though Capcom has failed miserably with the bof games. Since picking up the slack from square in bof 2 (bof was BY square) it had progressively worsened with each new release until bof 4 which saved the franchise after the horrible flop of breath of fire 3. This game will renew fan's faith in capcom and in Breath of fire in general and is with out a doubt the best breath of fire yet. If you like anime or other Breath of Fire games this is a must have.

Total Score :
Statistically (8.8/10)
Subjectively(9.3/10)

 
 


 
  2003.09.18  15.04
18.IX.03 - Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : Square-Enix
Publisher : Nintendo
Genre : Tactical-RPG

Presentation - (10/10)
The box to this game is really your classic Square-Enix, RPG..all white with a kick ass illustration in the center of it. Easily recognizable and definately gets the points for when it comes to that. Next is the instruction booklet, personally I've only flipped through it just for this review, but from what I've seen it has all of the basics. What I mean by that is that the book is freakin' huge for a GBA booklet because it has to put in all of the Tactical gameplay controls and the rules. The instructions manage to tell you most of what you need to know...there are tutorials in game as well which I feel are more effective.

Graphics - (9/10)
For the Gameboy Advance you are not going to get any better than this. The graphics are very colorful and bright, they are just a pleasure to look at. The style of the graphics is very unique and there are a lot of different character profiles with the NPC's and of the various races that there are. Magic and summons are about as good as they get on the GBA and I'm not complaining one bit about them. The only thing that takes the one point away from being a perfect score is that the menus are a little big and can take up a good deal of the screen. I might of taken off a little more, but I understand that you need them to be somewhat big becuase of the size of the screen.

Gameplay - (10/10)
Classic FFTA/Tactical core gameplay elements here. The main fighting system is pretty much the same along with moving along a world map just like in the last FFT. That is about where the similiarities end between FFT and FFTA, I shall elaborate. The biggest change to me is the LAW SYSTEM which can be a blessing and a curse. In every fight there is a Judge NPC that refs the fight and at the beginning places laws on either certain actions such as (Color Magic, Fight, and Steal) to specific weaponry (Swords, Knives, and Missles). There is a way to counteract these laws using an item called accordingly an Anti-Law Card which lets you nullify specific laws, also there are items that let you implement laws that will be benefitial. For example if you are all knights and the enemy is a team of wizards, just use a Color Magic Law card and you will be off to a good start. Another key element of change in the combat is the fact that magic, skills, and summons do not have a charge time they happen immediately instead of later on down the AT list.

Other than the law system, the other biggest change is in classes and abilities. Now the game includes multiple races which each have specific jobs that only they can be, there are a few which can go over multiple races. Humans get such jobs as Paladin, Soldier, Hunter, and Ninja while the Moogle race gets Juggler, Mog Knight, and Gadgeteer. While this sounds like a whole lot of classes...many of them are just the same class with different names attached. There are enough unique classes though that there is still a good deal of strategy involved. The change in the abilities is that all of them are learned through equiping an item that has that ability attached to it, after enough AP then it is learned and the character can change equipment and still have the old ability. One more thing about the AP is that characters do not get it for every action in battle, after the fight is won...your army gets and allocated amount that is predetermined, usually 50AP per.

Almost forgot to talk about how Mission system works, like in FFT you can dispatch one of your army members away and while you walk around for a few days they come back and get items. Well there is more, you go to the pub and you accept all kinds of missions that will move you to various locations and progress the story. One final topic is the world map, instead of it being revealed you are given the map barren and after you proceeed you can place where you want the various locations to be like in Legend of Mana.

Linking up is also available; you can trade items, members, and do missions together or in competition.

Replayability - (9.5/10)
If you are like me, you love the Tactical-RPG's. For those people who are not obsessed with the genre the score would most likely seem far too high for you. I see myself playing through again getting everyone the various skills and trying to come up with some very powerful and useful class combinations. Assassin with Sniper skills. Knight with Ninja Two-Sword and Paladin Skills. So forth.

Music - (8.5/10)
Exceptional music for just the GBA. Unfortunately the tracks are few in number, while they are really good you get to hear them quite a bit. I have yet to be bothered by it, I just wish they could have slipped in a few more battle tracks here and there. Voices are nonexistant other than the death shrieks given by NPC's and characters when they die.

Plot - (8/10)
Compared to the previous FFT, the plot of this game seems childish and contrived. But I don't think it hinders the game in any sort of way. It is a nice little enjoyable plot that is insteresting and has a few twists here and there, not to say that you won't most likely predict them a little before they happen.

Overview
In conclusion, BUY Final Fantasy Tactics Advance! If you don't you are doing yourself an injustice and your Gameboy Advance as well if you leave this game out of your collection.
Square has delievered us a gem.

Total Score : (9.5/10)



Mood: happy
 
 


 
  2003.09.09  21.03
09.IX.03 - Otogi : Myth of Demons (XBOX)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : SEGA
Publisher : SEGA
Genre : Action

Presentation - (6/10)
Box art is decent, something about the font and how it looks though really turned me off...but I decided to give this one a chance because of all the good remarks and reviews that I had been reading on Gamespy and Videogames.com. The book gives you the barebones of the controls and tells you what you need to know about the mechanics of the game. It is entirely in black and white tones so nothing too great to look at. There is no extra storyline parts or descriptions of all the beginning weapons and magic, this unfortunately lowers the score in my opinion.

Graphics - (10/10)
Simply beautiful! This game really shows how good a game can look on the XBOX. The graphics are so good that it is almost a shame that you are going to decimate everything in your path when you play. The framerate is wonderful and there is never really a slowdown when you play such a fast-paced game. Details to destruction are also very nice because when you destroy something the bits and pieces still remain on the ground even after you return to the level many times after saving it. The destruction of said pieces is also very well done with the dust and the pieces flying everywhere. Overall I can't really say I have any qualms, even the water effect in this game is done quite well. Glorious visuals.

Gameplay - (8/10)
This game is very enjoyable. Especially to those who like to just annihilate everything and everyone that comes into their view...even the stuff you cannot see gets decimated without you even knowing it. OTOGI = DESTRUCTION is the simplest way that I can describe the gameplay. Overall it is a Hack and Slash style of game where you just slash everything you see on the screen. But there are other elements to the game that enhance the gameplay. For one thing you get graded on the destruction, combo, spirits freed, monsters killed, and time that it takes to complete the level. If the conditions are met you gain more EXP and get gold. In Otogi there is a store where you can buy up to 30 weapons and there are even more if you meet conditions in certain levels. There is also magic and various accessories that can be purchased at the store as well. The controls fit well into the system and there aren't any glaring flaws in that department. I'm not saying that the has this awesome super indepth system, but for a hack and slash it is almost a crime how enjoyable the game is to just play.

Replayability - (8.5/10)
You would think for a game such as this that there would be little to absolutely no replayability it, but Otogi is different to me. It is a game that I can definately see myself playing just to destroy everything...if I have some built up agression because the day pissed me off I'll just pop in the game and destroy everything. The controls are so nice and the gameplay so crisp that it just really is a pleasure to play whenever.

Music - (9.5/10)
The soundtrack in Otogi is really reminds me and makes me think I'm in the Japanese Feudal time. There is quite a bit Taiko drum playing and just old fashion Kabuki theatre sounding music which to me just really fits the game. If you really don't like that kind of music you are out of luck, but to find a game which actually has it and uses it well is quite a feat. Also the game allows the option to switch the dialogue between English and Japanese...whatever floats your boat both of them are good.

Plot - (8.5/10)
The plot of this game is actually based on Japanese Mythology so if you are a huge buff in that then you should definately check out this game. I wasn't expecting a long and tangled storyline of craziness that would blow me away. But for this genre of game it is more than sufficient.

Overview
In conclusion, if you have an XBOX it is definately a game to add to your library. I had a bit of trouble actually finding it at the mall close to me because it is what I would call a sleeper hit. The wonderful controls, beautiful graphics, and just fun gameplay come together to make a very enjoyable experience.

Total Score : (9/10)



Mood: amused
 
 


 
  2003.08.07  00.47
07.VIII.03 - Arc The Lad : Twilight of the Spirits (PS2)

REVIEWER : Mitchell

Developer : SCEI
Publisher : SCEI
Genre : RPG

Presentation - (8/10)
The box art is nothing to really shake a fist at, not comparible to some of the other beautiful artwork that is gracing game covers nowadays. But it is not a bad picture and didn't detract me from buying it. The instruction manual is your classic relatively thick book filled with the usual odds and ends of how to play and RPG and most people who have played one will really not need to read a good portion of it. The only parts that might need to be read are informative and easily explain the fighting, skill, and equipment systems. Overall there isn't anything too amazing...but the instructions do a good job of explaining the necessary parts and the art isn't horrible no lower score. :D

Graphics - (8/10)
In this field I really feel that the game did a good job with each of the characters and each is rendered quite well with very expressive faces and nice backgrounds. The game has a very polished feel to it. The only reason that I didn't give it a higher score was because it didn't blow my mind when I played the game and the various magic spells were really nothing to shake a fist at, they are just your usual elemental abilities.

Gameplay - (9/10)
This is where AtL really shines in my opinion, after playing many games of just tapping X a thousand times in every battle to attack and not even pay attention...AtL is a nice change of pace. The combat involves the character being moved around the field of battle
and then the enemy must be in range of the character's attack radius. Each character has a different attack radius from the archer to the huge axe wielder each of them is different. Positioning is key because you are often outnumbered and if you let one run out in front then he or she will be surrounded and be smeared. Also you do not just get the treasure that is dropped once an enemy is killed they will drop the loot and the character must move to it an actually pick it up for it to be acquired.

Oh yes, NO RANDOM ENCOUNTERS. When you move across the map to various landmarks only when you cross a landmark such as a forest will you be brought into battle...which I enjoy.

The other factors are pretty much cookie cutter RPG style interface with a few twists. I will mention that the weapon system is a little interesting as you don't buy any weapons, but upgrades if you will 'weapons parts' that you attach to a character that will make the weapon stronger or add an ailment. The magic system involves Spirit Stones instead of MP which can be bought at the store or picked up during battle, these are a vital part of success in this game. One more topic I would like to mention is the characters have two levels..the regular level up and a class up...that are gained by recieving enough XP and SP respectively, at the end of the battle; class allows them to get more skills.

I will only say one thing is that sometimes the combat drags on a little longer than you would like after fighting a good deal of battles at one time.

Replayability - (5/10)
I don't really need to go into this, I think...it's standard RPG replayability. There is a New Game+ like Chrono Trigger when you finish the game, your characters start with kick ass equipment, lots of items, and a whole lot of money.

Music - (7/10)
The musical score in this game is excellently done with multiple orchestrated scores that really set the mood. It's really hard for me to tell you about it, I can suggest if you are interested in hearing the music that you should download an MP3 or whatnot if you are curious.

Plot - (8.5/10)
I personally enjoyed the plot of this game. It isn't revolutionary and the twists are relatively predictable in this, but to me it just felt good. This game has the classic RPG plotline of evil empire trying to control the world and the heros must stop them. But in AtL, you get to play two sides of the coin with Kharg and Darc..each of them having to go through their own trials and difficulties to get to their goal. At first they very cross only a little and then in the end of the game have a head on collision.

Overview
In summary, the game is just a really good purchase and one that I believe all RPG gamers can enjoy. The gameplay is a nice escape from the usual tedium and the plot just feels good when you play it, I really cannot explain. I won't say something like 'move over FF', but this game is one of those underdogs that you really should give a try. Just return some of your old games that you don't play. Trust me, it is worth it until FF:CC comes out or FFX-2.

Total Score</u> : (8.5/10)



Mood: accomplished
 
 


 
  2003.08.05  02.29
05.VIII.03 - ^ ^ v v < > < > a b a b -start-

Well I have decided to make a community, I hope that it becomes sprawling in size and huge...it will be filled with game reviews of the newest games that I come across along with others who I will allow to comment on this and give their two cents about new games that they get. I want the reviews to be nonbiased and a fair review, one that is mature and well explained.

Soon to come will be a style to this journal, an icon, and also the reviews of...
*Arc the Lad : Twilight of the Spirits (PS2)
*Neverwinter Nights (PC)
*Star Wars : Knights of the Old Republic (XBOX)
*Magic Pengel : The Quest for Color (PS2)

I have high hopes for this community and even if it ends up being just a handful of us members that is good enough for me.

I would do some more things, but KOTOR is calling.



Mood: anxious