Saturday, 26 April 2014

Nintendo Gamecube Review

Released just before the Wii, the Gamecube was met with mixed reviews, as some said it was good and some saying bad. Nintendo learnt from good - and bad - feedback from their N64 controller to make this controller, and the Gamecube was mostly bought for it's cheap price (being only £20 now for all plugs, a controller and the system), but is that all it was bought for?

Let's start with the memory. It's a strange thing. Instead of saving on a hardrive, you have to buy a memory card separately. I don't know if thats for all Gamecubes but it was for me. Due to this, it does make it lighter, but on the downside it will cost you a whopping £20 for a memory card with only a few GBs of memory. Not that that matters, though, the games take few memory.

The controller looks strange, but it's actually quite simple. Just like an Xbox controller, the d-pad and joysticks are in the same place. That's simple, because I'm used to the Xbox controller. DualShock users will have to get used to it though. The start/pause button is in a good place, too, and it's great there's one button for pause and not two. Buttons are somewhat unique, with two buttons at the top, and a B button diagonally below the A button also being slightly smaller. What I don't like about it, though, dosen't lie with the console; and instead the games.

The games have some okay but awkward controls. Usually, the trigger button is used for nothing or moving, and the A button to shoot. That's fine, but why not have the trigger button to shoot? I mean, it is called the trigger button. Whilst there is an incredibly small library for games, there are some great games on the Gamecube, such as Mario Kart, True Crime: Las Vegas, Resident Evil 4, Legend of Zelda: Windwaker, and much more. Saying that, they missed the chance to put on games like Half Life.

Let's talk about the console design. It's a square console. I guess Nintendo messed up with the Wii, and forgot it was good for a square console and not controller...? I don't know. It definatley makes good use of the small size, wasting no space to put on the fans, controller ports, and disk holder. What's strange though is how small the disks are. They have cases the size of Xbox 360 ones, but in reality, they only need to be as big as DS cases to fit in the game, and the manual can be shrunk down.

A downside is the lack of accessories. Aside from different colour controllers, there's... NOTHING. You have no plugholes for coolers, no special things, or anything else. That's a shame. With the N64, you had transparent controllers to small controllers. Same with Wii, but I'm NOT saying Wii is good.

Gamecube was great, but nothing special. If you want a full-out beast-looking hardcore machine, give it a pass, but if you just wanna enjoy some retro games, get it. It is only £25 at the smallest.

CONSOLE SUMMARY AND SCORE: Nothing special, but definitely fun. 7.5/10, aka 3 stars.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas Review

Terrorists, Vegas, and Casinos!
First of all, why I didn't post for 5 days. My computer fan was messing up. Anyway, I am a huge fan of Tom Clancy's video games. He made games from the stealthy Splinter Cell all the way up to the awesome strategy games like Ghost Recon. Rainbow Six Vegas is one of his, in my opinion, best games, with fun around every corner and a fast-paced atmosphere.

The game begins with you as Logan Keller and your group Team Rainbow being dropped into the middle of Vegas. It used to be America's playground, but now it's a battlefield, as terrorists have overrun and wrecked the place. Constantly, you and your team will be firing at terrorists as they fire back in large groups, in numerous and common well-made epic gunfights. Awesome work there, Ubisoft.

Guns and ammo systems are the best I've seen in a long time. All the newest games seem to like ammo that doesn't show how much clips you have, and instead how much bullets, but Rainbow Six Vegas gets it right. If it says 12, then you have 12 clips, not 12 bullets. Its one of those systems that do it easily, such as great old games like this and Black, but now its gone. Why?! I hope it returns, because I really like it. Glad this game featured it.

For those that care, graphics are literally stunning. Why they may not be anything too special, they definatley stand out with great graphics for things like the Vegas fountains and the general light of the many lights in Vegas. Sound is great for an old game, no audiospikes yet.

A feature I really like is the feature to control your team. Regroup, go there, everything you need to fight strategically is there. It is really nice. The d-pad controls really well for it, too, with no awkward controls to it.

Let's speak about controls. They're good controls, considering I recently got used to the new aiming control of pushing down the bottom joystick. Possibly they may take some time to get used to, but once you are, they will feel so natural. Tom Clancy's games all have good controls, but this shines in that.

Level design is... godlike. I have seen few games where the design of being outside in areas with a ton of buildings used well, but Rainbow Six Vegas slapped me in the face and said "Hey, there are some that aren't like that!" You never get lost and it feels all natural without trying too hard to be fun, and just feels like you would find it in a battlezone. If you were fighting in a casino, you would fight like in this game. If all else fails, use the map.

Characters are... well, soldiers. They are far from forgettable, but they're nothing special. You have your team, the woman who guides you through missions (HITMAN MUCH), but aside from that, nothing much. Speaking of NPCs, the enemy and your team have some of the best AI I've seen in games.

Tom Clancy was an amazing game maker, author, and so on. His games are loved by gamers including me, and Rainbow Six Vegas is a great piece of work of his. Sorry for the short review, btw, but I may be getting Bioshock Tin Edition tomorrow, so... :D

Fun:  9. Fast paced shooting and amazing AI.
Characters: 7. Some stick out, but not that much.
Controls: 8. They feel natural, for sure, but definatley take a while to get used to. Nothing wrong with them though.
Story: 8. Rainbow Six Vegas has a really good story.
Graphics and Sound: 8. Surprisingly good, but nothing speical.
Writing: 10. Damn... for a military shooter, I expected sh*t voice acting... but was met with nothing such.

OVERALL RATING: 8/10, aka 4 stars.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Bioshock Infinite Review

It's infinite...
Irrational Games is now closing. Aww. Still though, 2K is going to make the Bioshock games, but I just hope that it doesn't end up like Gears of War; another great series of games that got screwed over because it was sold to another company. Anyway, moving onto the review.

Bioshock is one of my favorite game series', just gonna say that. They all feature creative enemies, characters and so on, whilst telling an amazing story along with it. This game is no exception to the great story feature. You are Booker Dewitt, in search of a girl named Elizabeth (you have to escort her to Paris) to pay off your debt. Yet, you are the false shepherd, and thus are wanted by police, robots, giant robots, police, patriots, police, and so on, all lead by the prophet. Did I mention there was police? Anyway, so yeah. Currently, Elizabeth has knocked me out, despite me being fine with her THROWING BOOKS AT ME, crying, whining, and frequently running away.

Despite her faults, however, Elizabeth is one of the rare few un-tough companions who aren't useless. She's handy in combat, puts up with most (but not all) of Booker's murder, denies to join the prophet who may be her dad (idk yet, no spoilers in the comments), and so on. She can also toss Booker useful items such as money, ammo, health, and pick locks. Finally, don't worry about protecting her, she can defend herself in combat.

Enemies are my favorite part about the creativity of Bioshock Infinite. From small enemies to the gigantic handymen, there are many, and each one being unique. Beginning with the handyman, he's a heavy hitter and a bullet sponge. But (on difficulties higher than easy... obviously), he's possibly too much of a bullet sponge, and due to his fast speed he's a pain in the neck. Their speed is fast, and if you're unprepared then it's scary, with their heavy attacks instantly destroying shields. Attacking them can be a slog if the level design is small, due to them being able to run around and leap huge distances, but generally they're a fun challenge and reward you with good loot.

Firemen and police next. Firemen can throw fire at you, and are a step up from police (being a little bit stronger). They're fun to battle. Police are the most common (and weak) enemies in the game, either having pistols/machine guns to shoot you with, or coming straight at you with batons. Common, and no challenge, basically being a reliable loot source.

Motorized patriots are next. They're pretty common, but not that much, with a large crank gun. They fire at you and do reasonable damage, with decent-sized health. Once you shoot them a bit their head comes off, freakishly, signalling that they're low health. That's fine, I guess, but why not have it for stronger enemies like the handyman? Like, the heart glass cracking or something?

As for the Boys of Silence... *shudder*

For those that care... graphics and sound time. Graphics are artsy and awesome, with a sorta steam-punk atmosphere. Sound is great too, with amazing voice acting from characters such as Elizabeth or the Prophet. But hey, that also counts for the enemies like the handyman. There has been no audio spikes, along with fitting music and HD sound effects.

What really dissapointed me, though, was the weapons. In Bioshock 1 + 2 you can carry how many weapons you want, but in Infinite you can only carry two. That's a shame, because I had to drop my sniper rifle to pick up a hand cannon. The weapons are okay-ish, but I really wanted more than pistol, shotgun, sniper, machine gun, etc with slightly modified clones. Aside from your sky-hook, nothing is really memorable. Come on, Irrational Games! You can do better than that! Heh, what I liked though was the press ^ to get an arrow where to go. It doesn't work so well on skylines, but it definatley is handy when you don't know where to go on ground.

Moving on. Level design is great. When you're fighting a handyman, the world is handy. When you move through buildings, they feel like they would actually be a building in real life instead of something cheesy and boring. Not to say it's dull, oh no, there are some ideal places, like the building when you first encounter the Prophet, that stand out from the rest.

Bioshock Infinite may not be as good as the other games, but it's definatley a great game that's worth your time.

Fun: 9.5. There's various things to keep you entertained, and none fail.
Chracters: 8. Most stand out, but there are some useless NPCs that do nothing. Most add to the dramatic amount in a scene, but some don't.
Controls: 8. Good, but definatley take some time to get used to.
Story: 9. Amazing.
Graphics and Sound: 9.5. Artistic, with amazing voice acting.
Writing: 9. Awesome writing, especially for Elizabeth.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10, aka 4.5 stars.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Halo 3 Review

Halo 3 - arguably the best Halo in the franchise. It combines the story with gunfights whilst picking up from where it left off in Halo 2. Nothing gets in your way unless you let it get in your way, honestly. The fun is near endless in this great, genre-defining hell of a game.

Let's start with the story of Halo. It's a really great and detailed story, but I'll shorten it down: in the past, a race called the Forerunners fought against the Flood, yet the Flood overran a ton of the Milky Way. One of the affected races, aka humanity, started to fight against the Forerunner... idk why, they fought against the Flood for God sake. That's the basic story, and there's something about Cortana yet I won't spoil it (I just got it ruined, so thanks Wikipedia, you morons). Here's the Wikipedia page on Halo, if you really wanna know the whole thing:

One of the unique things about Halo is that you get to decide some of the controls. When you are instructed to look up, just as in Halo 2, whatever control you use then is automatically chosen as your control to look down (it has to be an analogue stick, and that analogue stick will then be used as the one to look around with). Controls are pretty simple, with the general A scheme. One thing that bugs me, however, is that the control to scope in is to push in the bottom analogue stick. Now, maybe I'm being dumb, but usually I use that for throwing grenades, crouching, etc in other games. The one I generally use for aiming is LT, but that throws a grenade. Unless you're used to it and a fan of Halo (first Halo I played was Halo 4 and that put me off), it can be kinda annoying when you accidentally throw a grenade and kill a friendly.

Weapons are fun. There are three types of weapons, which are the UNSC weaponry (the one you start out with), the Covenant weaponry, and the Forerunner weaponry. Starting with the UNSC weapons, there are a ton of weapons, and they're generally good guns. Snipers like the BR55HB SR Battle Rifle (it doesn't have to be used a sniper but I find it best to use it that way) deal heavy damage from long distances with great balance for when you have to face an enemy up close via it's burst fire feature. The gun you start with, the MA5C, is a machine gun that deals expected damage with plenty of ammo. The MG6 pistol is what you would expect from a pistol, and the rest are balanced and enjoyable to use weapons. Forerunner weapons are alright too, but the Covenant weapons aren't my favorite since the bullets don't instantly hit, and instead slowly fly through the air. It does good damage, but is annoying to hit enemies with.

Characters all stand out. Master Chief, the face of Xbox, is still an awesome character and they don't shove it right in your face, saying "LOOK, HE IS SO AWESOME, WOO!" No game that wants you to like a character does that. Instead, Halo builds up your respect for him, and in Halo 3 (despite faking to be dead) is still the respectable guy you saw in the other games. Take that, Max Payne 3, trying to make me respect a guy by using an hour long cut-scene to start with that I COULDN'T SKIP! I still like Max Payne 3 though... anyway, moving on. Johnson is a character I never really liked, but he's okay in Halo 3, even though he still shouts a ton when he's trying to just talk normal. Thel 'Vadam is useful in combat, but for the first part of the game his personality isn't really shown.

Now to the part I really don't give a damn about - sound and graphics. Graphics are really great, but the lighting on the weapon can sometimes be off. Despite that fact, the graphics are still well done, from the bullet dust when a bullet hits a wall right to the laser bullets flying through the air. Sound is sweet too, with no audio spikes so far (for those that don't know, audio spikes is when the sound suddenly blasts), as well as the audio not going suddenly quiet. My only issue is when Cortana appears for the first time with sudden audio, as it gave me a mini heart attack. I thought the G-Man in Half Life 2 was the end of that, and even he wasn't that startling!

Enemies are mostly great. Shields, Brutes, and so on are unique, each facing you with different ways to kill them and different amounts of health. The only enemy that I have a problem with is the Unggoy... wtf? They're annoying little weak enemies that appear in packs along with a few strong enemies, them distracting you and getting in the way. They run away like morons when you fire at them, and their dialogue is so, SO annoying. Maybe they were designed to be annoying, I dunno.

So yeah, that's Halo 3. An amazing, great game with fun around every corner, and deserves the title "Game of the decade".

Fun: 9.5. Seriously, I really love it.
Characters: 9. Love them or hate them, they all stand out.
Controls: 7. Easy enough, but that grenade thing is annoying.
Story: 10. Halo's story is one of the best stories in video games.
Graphics and Sound: 8. Great, but lighting can be a bit off on weapons.
Writing: 9.5. Sometimes cheesy, but overall very good.
Tea-bagging Allowance: 9.5. Teabagging just got bigger and better.

OVERALL SCORE: 9.5/10, aka 4.75 stars.


Hi.Okay, I won't lie. I kinda forgot about this blog. But, I'm going to a store that sells really cheap games later today, so I can review one later for you.

Sorry if I dissapointed anyone!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Review

Sorry for not posting yesterday, but let's be honest - there's so many new games out you gotta buy at least one (Me buying this and Terraria, I'm gonna buy Titanfall soon). Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is no exception from being a great game. Whilst some hate it for the typical EA always online bullcrap, it's awesome if you look past that.

First of all, the characters are funny and each unique. Starting with plants, the Peashooter is fun. He has a powerful 10 round pea cannon, which is a joy to mess with, and relies on speed (basically being like the TF2 Scout). His speed ability doesn't make him go that fast, but it can definatley get you out of bad situations. The bomb is powerful yet requires much skill to get a zombie with it, since they all have a move to evade it. His pea-gatling ability can hold certain map areas for a while, but it does weak damage. If you can be quick, then he is the class for you.

The Chomper is my favorite of the plants. He does really powerful chomping attacks, and overcomes his meele only attack with a balanced power to go underground and come up on zombies, eating them. Chomper can also get them from behind, but don't worry; he can be escaped. He can plant Spikeweeds to pin down zombies and slow them with Goop, being overall a support class. Even if his biting from behind takes some cool-down it is insta-kill and something to be wary of.

Sunflower is a medical class. She can use a heal beam to quickly heal team mates, possibly revives them quickly, but surprisingly packs a punch. Her quick attack and soon damage enemies, Dark Flower and Solar Flare Beam lasers destroying opponents. Don't underestimate this little healing class, she is pretty powerful in all respects, despite her low HP.

Last of all we have the cactus. He's basically a sniper. You can use him to shoot from long range to take down zombies with powerful bullets, and use Potato Mines to catch out un-expecting zombies. Yet, I haven't unlocked his other abilities, so I can't review them.

Moving onto the zombies. Usually, I play the Foot Soldier or All Star. Foot Soldiers can rocket jump onto rooftops and out of sticky situations, use his ZPG to clear out areas, and his stinkbomb to make a smoke screen. He's a fun and greatly balanced class, making him my favorite of the zombies.

The Engineer is fun, but I don't play him much. I guess you can use him to make robot head drones and use his drill to annoy zombies, but I find him mostly useful to distract Chompers with his Sonic Grenades. A fun class, I guess. The scientist is the medical class of the undead. He has a 3 shot cannon, and is pretty annoying with his teleporting. His other two moves are fun, and I'm not gonna spoil them for you. Gotta see them yourself, but don't worry, its worth it!

Finally the All Star. He's a big zombie, being with that an easy target, but he's fun. With his minigun he can kill idle plants and annoy them, use his shields as handy protection, use his sprint tackle to kill annoying plants that are near, and his Imps to scare off noobs. He's definatley a powerhouse.

Next, the maps. They're few, but they're all pretty good. Garden Ops mode offers unique maps such as SharkBite Bay, which are well designed for waves of zombies. Not to say the multiplayer maps are worse, they're also good and well made, my favorite map being Welcome Mat. The modes in multiplayer are generic such as catch this, defend this, but offers new modes such as vanquish.

Garden Ops is a mode you can play where each of 4 players are defending against waves of zombies and zombie bosses (they're fun bosses, aside from the incredibly annoying yeti one, but at least he's weak). Its a basic survival tower-defense kinda thing, but its far from boring. I love it. Only problem is, there is more kids on this game than Call of Booty. AND THEY ALL HAVE MICS. AAAAAAAAARGH!

Oh well. Its a fun game, with fun modes, even if the online stuff is annoying sometimes.

Fun: 9. Its really fun, with plenty of different modes to keep that fun.
Characters: 8. Funny and unique classes.
Controls: 8.5. Once you get used to them, they're easy.
Graphics and Sounds: 9. Has that awesome cartoony style and no audio spikes.
Writing: N/A

OVERALL RATING: 9/10, aka 4.5 stars.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

LEGO Batman review

Personally, I've never liked LEGO games. They just rip off movies, comics and whatever they can get their hands on with gimmicky puzzles, repetitive combat and boring levels. Now, there are one or two good games from LEGO, but Lego Batman (despite being favorable) is downright crap, in my eyes.

So why, you may ask, do I hate it if its generally well-reviewed? My main issue is the puzzles. Every single LEGO game has stupid, stupid puzzles that are sometimes cryptic and mostly boring, so much that you nearly want to CRY. You have to run around, smashing things like an idiot, until you find some little bricks that take some time to build. It sounds like a good idea, right? Well these damn puzzles are dragged on FOREVER. I was doing to second stage on The Riddler's Revenge, aka the Doctor Freeze one, and one puzzle was so poorly made I shut off my console.

Not to say that I don't like puzzles. Hell, I'm all for Portal or Half Life. But I only like FUN puzzles. Not puzzles where you run around and smash things uselessly, trying to find whatever it is you need to spend 10 years building, build it, and die because you need to find a gazillion other damn puzzle parts. Lego Batman is DOWNRIGHT JAM PACKED WITH IT. And, obviously, I hate it.

The suits. Oh god, the suits. Some are fun, like the demolition suit and the glider suit, but others are boring. The demolition suit is the only one used with good level design, the glider suit having boring puzzles along with it. But it had so much potential! Robin's suits are the WORST. Technician suit, you spend 3 days hacking some panel, and then a little RC car comes out and you get to drive it into money you can't EVEN PICK UP WITH THE CAR and mines that are impossible to see due to the lazy camera.

Oh, and the camera. Usually its fine, but there are some parts where its horrible beyond belief. For those that care, graphics and sound aren't even that good. Graphics are okay for the most part, being the over-used, generic and repetitive LEGO style we all got used to, but the sound will drive you insane at some stages. The sound of your character falling to death because LEGO PUT A BIG RED PILE THAT IS HARD AS HELL TO GET PAST RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A PATH and Robin's damn magnet suit. Listen, and you'll hear only clink clonk clank clank clonk clink clonk clonk clink clank clink clank clink, and there is no escape from it unless you mute the game and ruin it. Music is alright I guess.

Oh, and Robin's oh-so-super-duper Magnetic Suit. WHY?! You go minus seventy miles a god-damn hour in this ear-beating fun-killing suit, walking slowly up boringly designed pipes and walls, with the same sound, and by the time you get up YOU FALL DOWN BECAUSE THE LEVEL DESIGN IS RETARDED. Level design is repetitive. Let me sum up the first stage. Boring puzzle, boring puzzle, enemies every two seconds, boring puzzle, enemies every two seconds, slightly fun puzzle but ruined because there is an enemy EVERY TWO SECONDS, enemies, puzzles, enemies, boring puzzles, enemies, puzzles, BORING BORING BORING PUZZLE PUZZLE PUZZLE. WTF.

Not to forget the suicidal AI. Okay, so I was pushing a boringly-placed cog for Robin to come across, he came across after 3 hours of pushing the damn thing, and then what does he do? FALL TO HIS DEATH, AND MAKE ME START AGAIN. Not to mention the freaking AI can't kill anything and loses health faster than the Ghosts and Goblins guy. Seriously, LEGO, fix the retarded AI will you? I can't go two seconds without un-needed frustrating enemies as I slog through repetitive design and Robin doing nothing put punching and never killing. I know it's meant for kids to feel awesome, but, LET THE AI KILL PEOPLE! MAYBE I DON'T HAVE A SECOND PLAYER! GOD!

You know there's something wrong when the puzzles are so badly-executed that a lame fistfight between the characters is more entertaining than the game. LEGO Batman is nothing but another one of LEGO's shameless attempts at gaming and getting gash. THEY'RE GREEDIER THAN EA FOR CHRIST SAKE!

Fun: 3. Consists of boring puzzles and enemies popping out your gloryhole every 2 seconds.
Characters: 5. You can't expect much from a LEGO game for characters, but come on, you still don't accept THE SIMS REJECTS! They're not even likable, Robin is a showoff and Batman is a moron. They made BATMAN A BAD CHARACTER.
Controls: 4.5. Generally basic controls, but what lets them down is the GODDAMN TOO LONG PUZZLES.
Sounds and Graphics: 4. Here, we have high versions of In the Nighgarden characters communicating with pig grunts, and after that bland graphics and ear-torturing sfx.
Writing: 1. Whoever came up with the cheap idea of no voice acting deserves to be burnt at a stake. It. Is. The. Worst.
Attempts at engaging player instead of being cheap douchebags: NON EXISTENT!

OVERALL RATING: 4/10, aka 2 stars. Don't even lay eyes on this game. It sucks.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

SSX Review

Love EA sports or hate them, they've succeeded here. SSX, the fifth game in the SSX franchise, is an amazing sports game and playing it brings joy when you pull off an impressive move successfully. It's cheap, worth it, and a fun experience.

Characters are little, though. Whilst it does feature the classic characters such as Zoe Payne and Moby Jones, it misses out on Jean-Paul, Nate Logan, Broderick, and so on. Yet, each character is different and they all have different signature moves, making you have your favorites. It may be a small handful, but its a good handful in that. Its also a little thing, you'd be having so much fun you wouldn't care about your character for the most part.

The music depends on what you like. It fits the game perfectly, but is mainly electronic, dubstep, dance and so on. I'm fine with it, but some may argue that its annoying. Suit yourself. But, a song they could've added yet missed out is Skrillex - Cinema. It fits with the snowboarding greatly.

Snowboarding is fun and fast-paced. Despite going onto rails slowing your momentum, you generally speed across snow, over ramps and up ice, doing impressive tricks and signature tricks along the way. Eventually, you will go "Tricky", and have a cool orange glow. I don't exactly know the full effect of Tricky, so if any SSX fan wants to point it out in the comments, I'd be grateful. Anyway, when you do tricks you really have to focus, because the lower you are the more you bite your fingernails hoping to nail a huge trick. If its designed to be that way, they executed it amazingly here.

The only issue with this is that, even though you can rewind, it costs a lot of points. The bigger the trick, the more points you lose. I once lost over a million points over a huge jump trick, which is quite frankly unfair in my eyes. But, rewinding isn't necessary. Only if you die do you have to do it. Yet, making rewinding only usable a few times is unfair. If you don't use it, you don't even think that it needs to be there. There should be checkpoints, not score-crushing rewinds for deaths.

For those that care, graphics are delicious. The snow looks amazing when you've been over it, the lighting being the highlight (especially with the flares in the dark), and I haven't encountered any audio faults whatsoever so far. Writing is decent too, something not usually achieved in sports games. The only thing that would make the graphics even better is if they went for cell-shading, like in the fps delight, Borderlands 2. Now that would be some impressive stuff.

Level design is brilliant. They throw in plenty of things to use for tricks but also plenty of hazards in survival levels. Even the ice, something I usually hate, is designed in a great way that is a reasonable challenge to the common gamer. Ridernet allows some great fun with rivals and multiplayer, along with the singleplayer races having intelligent but fair AI. It all adds up near perfectly.

The shop allows you to buy reasonable priced gear that is all great. Rare stuff makes you feel like a pro and is fit for one, whilst boards and gear are awesome to get. You even get some achievements for buying them, which is a great idea in the game. You fairly get a lot of money rewardingly, allowing you to unlock races in a steady time without having to farm early missions to get the stuff you want. They hit the nail on that part of the game.

Race lengths are usually aced. Survival missions may be long, but because of that, they challenge you in a good way. Usually though, they last a good two minutes whilst presenting a decent challenge, be it tricks, race, or anything else that SSX has to offer. Its not dragged on nor a short experience, yet you'll be itching for more despite the time being well-balanced.

Want some challenges? Theres plenty to invent. Its fun to do. Go upside down and spin before doing two backflips, jump over the helicopter propeller, go under on over a fellow player whilst doing a frontflip or spinning 360 degrees, there's plenty of little fun things to do in a race, so much you could half of the Bible with ideas for tricks. Its all great.

Finally, just a little thing. In the collectors edition, a 2D version that would be kinda like Sonic would be AWESOME. Just sayin'.

Fun: 9. Freaking amazing fun, with adrenaline rush and the music bringing excitement.
Characters: 7. Has classic characters that are executed well, but misses out on many characters from the previous games.
Controls: 9. Easy and fun controls is what SSX 5 nails.
Sound and Graphics: 9. Awesome graphics and good fitting music, it only would be better if it was cell shaded.
Writng: 9. Little, but well thought out lines and well voice-acting will not dissapoint.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10, aka 4.5 stars.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Far Cry 2 Review

The Far Cry franchise is an outstanding series, despite the newest game being bad. My second favorite besides Far Cry 3, Far Cry 2, is where the series feels like effort has been used in the right way. Its fast paced, fun, and a great game.

Lets start with the story. Its not much, but still a decent storyline. You're on a holiday in UAC, as a mercenary to assassinate The Jackal, who is selling weapons. After passing out at the end of your jeep ride after getting a sudden disease, you awake in a hotel room, and face the Jackal but are unable to defeat him because of the malaria you're infected by, you die trying to escape so you begin to work for Warren Clyde (if he isn't chosen as your character). Its a really good set up.

Next, the map editor. Its a great tool and functions well... if you have a lot of time. Making maps is rewarding, easy and yet takes a while. Results are great and downloadable maps are a fun new mix to the game, but if you want to make a map quickly, then you're really out of luck.

The weapons are realistic and fun. From rifles to pistols to machetes, they all feel powerful but controlled. Now, lets move onto the flamethrower... which is good and bad in all respects. Whilst when you do ignite things, its satisfying watching enemies burn or items burn, but there isn't a whole lot of things to burn and destroy. You can ignite pretty much anything, but they usually will stay alight for a minute and then not fall apart. A destruction engine would really help. Yet, when things do burn, its pretty fun. Not as good as the Far Cry 3 fire engine though.

Enemy AI is actually pretty smart. They will shoot on sight, be reasonable with their machine gun stands, not run up to you and fire like an idiot, and have decent health. A large pack of them is pretty dangerous, but the game is fair on the health so its not likely you're gonna die early on in the game. Not to say they aren't a threat, though.

Vehicles are a joy. They have brilliant physics just like the Far Cry 3 vehicles, are very speedy, plentiful, and repairing them isn't a pain. Vehicles are essential for getting to once place and back, so you need them. Health supplies and saving is common and not overused, and the freeworld element feels free and allows you to do anything your heart desires.

For those that care, graphics are well done for the time this game was made. They're not bland, the lighting is nearly perfect, and sound has no audio spikes. Voice acting, at some points, can be weird, but generally fine. Anyway, moving on. The missions are fun and have plenty of shooting, and Far Cry 2 throws you right into the action with no dragged on story. Its a real fun game, and sorry for the short review, but anyway I reccomend it.

Story: 7. Far Cry 2 has a short intro, but the story is great throughout.
Fun: 9. Despite disappointing fire mechanics, the game is a hell of a lot fun.
Level Design: 6. A 6 because its an open world, but the open world map feature is pretty well done.
Characters: 7. Far Cry 2's characters are plentiful and you hate them or like them instantly.
Writing - 6.5. The script is great but some parts lacks good voice acting.
Control - 8. Generally great and fun.
Sound and Graphics - 7. Decent.

OVERALL RATING: 7/10, aka 3.5 stars.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Payday 2 Review

Payday: The Heist was a great game, and now it has a great followup. The four criminals are back in a guns-blazing mask-wearing cable-tying great game, possibly one of the best games of 2013. And it won the E3 of 2013, but mainly for a good reason. Yet, there are some weaknesses to the new game.

Lets start with the masks. You have the classic masks, but can also unlock masks and customize them. There is nothing stopping your creativity but cost, making it possible to create awesome looking masks with infero as the material and the dragon tattoo on the "Perfect Stranger" mask. The system is really nice, and the stuff you get for masks after a heist makes it feel worth it if you wanna look like a pro (It worked in TF2 so shut up :P). But this can also be for weapons. In Payday 2 you can buy stocks, modifications, suppressors, and so on for yourself making you either rambo or the silent thief. In the words of Dennis from Far Cry 3: "One gun won't get you very far." Thus, buying guns doesn't feel a pain - it feels like you get something out of it.

For those that care, the graphics are okay I guess. Some places have poorly rendered text along with basic walls and lines on things that should have detail, with a constant mixed between highly rendered to poorly rendered, and much detail to little detail. But, they aren't all terrible. The lighting is very well done when the sun shines upon you from outside, and the smash effects on half-broken glass is impressive. Sound is also good for the most part, but there has been once or twice when I've encountered a random audio spike in the middle of a game.

So how fun and well-made are these missions? Well, each one is a hit or miss. Some missions, like the simple Bank Heist and Watchdogs are fun to play and well designed, but Mallcrasher is vague on showing what you can vandalise or not. For what I know, you can vandalise laptops, headphones, jewelry, glass and so on, but there are a surprising amount of shops that cannot be destroyed aside from the machine on the counter - and its not even obvious if that one counts. If you could destroy the glass or pop the wheels on the car on the top floor, the mission would be easier. And maybe a little pricetag on the items would be helpful, because your only indication of the amount destroyed comes from the microphone which isn't constant.

Mainly, the AI is frustrating. They act as meat shields and help you up, but will randomly stop shooting, stand around, get in the way and run away from the van. What really sucks is they can't pick up bags, but at least they cover you. They can't throw down Doctor Bags, so its up to you. They are accurate and helpful, but can't do a lot of things like carry, restart drills, interact with things excluding civilians, etc. Don't expect anything great out of the Ai, but they're at least standable.

The skill tree is great. You can choose it to fit your style, and it doesn't force you to be the same type of stealth guy or gun guy that you were. One minute you're the mastermind, the next minute the ghost. But you only get skill points every few levels, which is hard to cope with.

The enemies are well designed. They all have weaknesses, and fit their personalities - mall cops are weak, SWAT members with shields take some damage to kill. It all works out perfectly. Yet, maybe this is just personal, but I think they can down you too easily on the smallest difficulty. Yes, I know Payday 2 is a team-based game, but when you're alone grabbing the last bag of coke/jewelry/money, a group of only 3 can incap you in seconds when you're on half health or less. But if you work as a team, they're easy enough to kill. It needs a difficulty tone down though. Another annoying thing about them is that civilians run past them, whilst you're shooting them, so the civilians get killed before you even NOTICE THEM. If the civilian AI was smarter it'd be great, since it also takes 5 tries to get them to get down after making a shocked fish mouth and dancing with their hands up for 7 hours.

The music is awesome. It's fast paced and fits well, getting faster and more action-packed as the heist does too. It all comes together great and I love it. But you will hear it alot if you're trying to get a noob into the van who is just standing there. If you can get away with the AI being out the van, why can't you get away with the majority of the robbers in the van? Or have a vote to kick during the game instead of in the planning phase?

I know this seems like a negative review, but Payday 2 has a certain charm to it. Something that makes you look past these faults. However, faults are faults, even if I do enjoy a bit of Watchdog or Nightclub every now and then.

Fun - 9. Its fast paced and despite minor faults, it still keeps you entertained and full of adrenaline.
Level Design - 6. Its really hit or miss when it comes to this.
Sound and Graphics - 7. Graphics can be disappointing to some, but the sound is generally fine.
Writing - 8. Whilst there's not a lot of it the voice acting is done well. Oh yeah, the thermal drill. The thermal drill. Go get. My. Thermal. Drill.
Control - 7. Its easy to learn and simple.

OVERALL RATING: 7/10, aka 3.5 stars.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Top 5 Video Game Enemies

Video games always have one thing - enemies, for the best, or for the worst. Here, we take a look at the top 5 video game enemies. Rules are they must be from games I've played and only one game enemy per franchise. That obvious stuff aside, lets begin!

5) Portal Series - Turret

Ah yes, Portal 2 is a great game. It involves using your mind, something not commonly executed well executed in most games, but Portal hits the nail on it. That being said, it has some great boss fights and types of turrets. Turrets are the little terrors of Aperture Science, shooting Chell to death and often appearing in large dangerous packs. It can really be annoying when they sit on non portable surfaces, making it impossible to come up behind them and throw them around. They're low because they can be used to your advantage sometimes, but they're still annoying.

4) Bioshock Infinite - Handyman

Bioshock is full of heavy hitters, and the handyman is definatley the strongest. Taking the cake at number 4, they're not only strong but are also pretty damn scary. Same with their dialogue. One hit can destroy your shield with ease, they're giants, hard to kill, have booming voices, and are fast. They are DAMN FAST. Don't try and run, these things will chase you down like a murderer and squash you. And then, when you finally do kill them, you can even be killed by the explosion from their death! They're a really bad challenge but atleast they aren't numerous and some are avoidable.

3) Left 4 Dead Series - Tank

Yep, another heavy hitter. Tanks are also fast, giant and scary, but have a theme song that makes you sh*t yourself when its heard. The ground rumbles when they're near, but their design truly shines with their attacks. They can punch you sky high, but not as high as the Skyrim trolls (BADUM TISH), throw rocks at you, and deal heavy punches. And when your incapacitated and they scream at you, you just beg they die off so you can be saved. Because if they don't, you're screwed. Whats also a good thing about them is that the usually appear at the end of missions when escape is available, making them a hazard since you're trying to hurt the tank but also get in the escape.

2) Minecraft - Creeper

SSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssss... BOOM! How could you make a best enemies list without these little green guys? They're deadly because they're silent until they hiss, moments from when they explode, and unless you're a ninja then thats probably when you smash your keyboard or controller through the screen and throw the machine out the window. Found in caves they will destroy you and make you lose your diamonds if you're without torches, and if they get hit my lightning then they can be a real pain in the a**. 

1) Half Life Series - Headcrab

At number one, in a really great game, is the headcrab from Half Life. No, not the derpy zombies that they make (those things are one of the worst things, not the best :P) They jump at you, do a good amount of damage and the types vary in a good way. They're something to watch out for and can be thrown at you by the fat poison zombies. 


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

South Park: The Stick of Truth Review

South Park: The Stick of Truth is hilarious in its writing just like the show, but even those who don't watch the show can play this game and enjoy it. Theres a great balance between humor and gameplay, with a fun RPG mechanic and fun boss fights.

The story is a typical South Park related one, with you being the new kid and needing to help defend The Stick of Truth from the Elves. Not only does your character create hilariously awkward situations, but the jokes made about him never speaking are fitting. Its set in modern day but the kids pretending it's medieval time, with a shop in Cartman's backyard (known as the kingdom of Cupa Keep) to buy weapons. The joke that the stables owner has diabetes is funny as hell, and Cartman is just as angry and stupid as before.

When fighting, its a turn based RPG. You can use special moves to fart on enemies, and launch projectiles via fart power. You use PP (Power Points) to use special attacks such as backstabbing for the thief class. Speaking of classes, you have pretty standard stuff, such as Warrior, Mage, Thief and... Jew. HAHAHAHAHA! The Jew class, despite the iconic idea, isn't much different from the other classes. Whilst you can stick to playing as the class is supposed to be used, there's no stopping a Jew from becoming a Mage or a Mage becoming a warrior, despite special attacks. You gotta either love it or hate it for that.

Boss fights are a neat addition. However, the first boss which is a Ginger Hall Monitor, is too easy. He does some easily blocked special attacks and usually his minions are fighting for him. When he does do some damage, its a decent amount, but as long as you have some health potions handy its nothing.

The world is small, but doesn't feel it. Whilst you are restricted to only the small town of South Park there is plenty to do, such as hunt down Manbearpig or use an Alien Probe to teleport onto a roof of a store. The side-quests feel fun, but not as fun as the main missions. Random battles are fun, and the higher the level the more useful they are to get loot. Shops for weaponry, health and armor cover the town and the references are never ending. If you get bored, there's always the option of hunting for the collectible Chipokimon. When you collect all of them, you get a prize. Not gonna spoil it for you though, go and see yourself.

You can have 2 characters together at a time, each great. Princess Kenny, Paladin Butters and so on are great characters with great attacks, and can be controlled by you in combat. Only downside to this is they can't use the special fart attacks you can, but are always useful when your character runs out of potions and they have some instead. Potions are plentiful though, the looting system is great and rarely unfair. But its forgivable since the combat is fun even if you die.

Cutscenes are packed with humor. Even though Europe (Where I'm from) got a censored version, the censored slides are pretty neat in explaining why its censored in a comedic fashion. Comedy is the same rude and great humor as you see in the show, with fart, butt, swearing and more jokes, such as parodying goths. NPCs are funny in their dialogue and match up to their character in the show brilliantly, saying lines that have pretty good voice acting for them.

Weapons are plentiful, but the only real changes (if you choose to use only the ones for your class) are damage and look. If they gave you more special attacks it would be a good feature, but as long as you have a high damage weapon you're fine. What equippable is really great is armor and bows. They have different abilities and upsides, making it possible to play the game in any way that suits you.

The Stick of Truth is an amazing game for the first one by South Park, with hilarious writing and fun gameplay. Don't expect to be dissapointed with immature humor and nothing more, the immature humor is executed great and is a full length game with many surprises. Feel free to buy this game, its definatley worth your money.

Fun - 8 The game is fun in combat and just watching cutscenes or listening to jokes can be entertaining. Not to mention that Chipokimon hunting is a fun time-killer.
Graphics - 8 Its just the same as the show, but with better animation whilst staying relevant to the cartoon style seen previously.
Writing - 9 South Park: The Stick of Truth is fall off of the chair funny. Butt jokes to references, there's something for everyone.
Story - 6.5 Whilst it is a typical South Park story you would expect, and its executed well, there's nothing spectacular about it.
Control - 8.5 The control is simple and fun, even non-gamers can get used to it.

OVERALL RATING: 8/10, or 4 stars.