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Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Batman: Close, but not quite.

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I got Batman: Arkham Asylum from gameFly a few days ago. I was stoked. It got good reviews, a few friends told me it was on the up and up. I got it, fired it up, played it for a lil while, then stopped.

I came back to it the next day, played it some more, and after that just didn’t have any desire to play it any more. I loved how the hand to hand combat was set up. After a while though, it just turned into “mash X until i see the thunder bolts, then mash Y, and after that go back to mashing X. Oh and wiggle the joystick a lil.”

As you moved through the facility you tended to approach it in a similar manner. heres the process: 1) Walk into facility. 2) Walk down a hall/through a room. 3) find a couple of unarmed bad guys to beat. 4) go into another room which then turns it into a stealth mission. 5) beat the room, explore/examine. 6) leave room, rinse, repeat.

Every now and then, you’ll run into a boss, once again, here comes a formula. 1) bad guy comes out. 2) boss shows his attack. 3) usually you have to dodge, then hit/throw something at them. 4) rinse, repeat. Each successive boss fights adds an new technique for step #3, so the first boss was 1 move, the 2nd was 2 moves.. etc…

I grew weary of the repetition. I think thats what killed it for me. the repetition. which is weird, since i love RPGs, i put countless hours into grinding in Borderlands, Final Fantasies and the such. RPGs are built on repetition. But there was something about the lack of reward for all the repetition as you played through the campaign. Every now and then you would get a chance to gain new abilities, but even then, there were some you were not allowed to get. Which means the game doles out the powers to you when it deems fit, not when you’ve done enough to deserve it. Therein lies my problem with it. In a RPG setting, if you use weapon x enough you’ll learn an ability, not when you get to a certain part in the games story. You can improve upon the skillset you have, and even learn new ones under a different class/job, while running around getting in various fights with lurking monsters and the sort.

On the plus side, there were some things i liked very much. I mentioned the combat system, it was pretty good, but i did not play it enough to find out if you get combos, ie  ‘x + b + a’ does this and ‘b + a + x” does something else. The stealth move batman had were pretty awesome. A few takedown options, one as simple as approaching from behind and knocking the bad guy out. My favorite was grabbing the guy and tying him upside down from a gargoyle.

How can it be approved? well, i dunno. One improvement i would like to see, but this is one i have with most video games is: more options, more room. You tended to get stuck in a certain area, and can not get out until you get rid of all the bad guys. Nothing wrong with that mind you. Its just, why can’t i get outside the warehouse, and drop in through the skylight? Batman would/could do that. Instead, i’m stuck lurking in the rafters. I want to have enough room to set up the takedowns the way i like, the way i think batman would do it.

Batman: Arkham Asylum got really close to being a really good batman game. Its good, definitely worth a play, but i would suggest renting/borrowing instead of buying. There is just not enough here to keep you playing.

so this is what the other side is like.

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

i finally got a PS3.

The chances of that happening looked pretty bleak for a while. When the system first came out, it was too expensive and there wasn’t anything i wanted to play that i couldn’t already play on my 360.

But, things have changed. The price went down, and the hard drive sizes went up. The huge change though was PS exclusive games that i actually want to play. Little Big Planet, Katamari Forever, Flower, the Last Guy, WipeOut HD, and Modnation Racers.

Before i get into my experience so far, let me make a few statements. I have an Xbox 360 and Wii, so put your fanboy torch away. Most of the comparisons i’m going to make are going to be with the 360, since, lets face it, the Wii is just a Gamecube with waggle.

and away we go…

Likes:
Graphics – Its not that they are too far off from the 360. But, it seems the PS3 can handle more objects/particles on screen at once. WipeOut HD looks better, in-game, than the opening cinematics of any of the PS2 version of the game, its amazing.

Independence from proprietary hardware – You can open it up, and upgrade the hard drive, there’s even instructions in the manual on how to do it. You can charge the controls by plugging it into the system with a simple USB cable. You could never do either of those with a 360. You have to buy a special cable and battery pack to charge your controller from the system. You have to spend $150 (at time of writing) to upgrade to a measly 120gb hard drive (the hard drive alone can be purchased for $30-$40). From what i’ve read you could also use a regular bluetooth headset with it, but i haven’t tried it out, so i dunno.

Mehs:
Updates, always with the updates
– I got the system home, set it up, and turned it on. What was i greeted with? an update. an update that took 45-50 minutes to download. After i downloaded that, i decided to try out Little Big Planet. Another Update, another 30-40 minutes of downloading before i can even play it.

Sixaxis – I’m pretty whatever about the whole ‘waggle’ thing that the Wii forces on you. So when PS3 decided to add that, i was also, not impressed nor looking forward to it. But having played a few games, i love how most don’t even use it, or if they do its optional or just for the lols.

Dislikes:
PSN download speeds – Yes, i know its free, i shouldn’t complain. But damn, i’ll pay $50 a year to get some of that download speed that Xbox Live has. Part of what made downloading all the updates, demos, and games such a pain was how slow they downloaded (~2-3mb a minute – most updates were 100-120mb, 1 game was 1.2gb). Some downloads you can set up to download in the background. But when its an update for a game you about to play, you can’t set it up in the background. You just have to sit there… and wait…. and wait…. and turn your 360 on and play something else for 40 minutes.

Demos and Purchased Games – Lets say i download the demo for a game you can purchase off of the PSN store. You download it, play it, and decide “hey i like this and want to play more.” So you go to the PSN store, buy it, and then you have to download the WHOLE thing again, except this is the entire game, and since its PSN its uffing slow. On Xbox Live, you download the whole game, and if you buy it, all you download is a ‘key’ that’s roughly 100kb in size, a quick download and your up and running.

By the way what have i played?

Demos
Metal Gear Solid: stupid long title
– sucked, i dunno, just not into the whole Metal Gear thing. Each one that comes out seem to keep piling empty crap upon empty crap. until you dont know whats what or what going on. NEXT!

Killzone 2 – Controls are wonky, checkpoints/objectives were vague, and the controls suck. Its the same old Killzone from PS2 with shiny graphics. Boo! … oh and the controls are fucking wack!!!! who uses R1 to shoot a gun when you have a FUCKING TRIGGER right under it!!!

Motorstorm Pacific Rift – pretty cool, nothing amazing, liked the multiple paths available, but all the vehicles handled weird.

Katamari Forever – pretty cool, only two levels, and lets face it, its Katamari so it can’t be bad.

Fat Princess – i dont get it.

Full Games
Little Big Planet
– fun. i like the creative aspect of it. Only problem is with how basic your movements are in the game. You got run, jump, and hold. You can grab on to certain types of object, and drag them around. But if you holding onto something, you can’t jump off of it, or climb up it. You just let go, and hope your momentum is enough to get you to where you want to go. Now, if the characters moved like they do in N+ that would be insane… Little Big Planet: hyper edition.

The Last Guy – old school game play with a modern twist. You play as the ‘last guy’ who runs around an area of a city, shepherding survivors back to the rescue zone, while avoiding all kinds of bad things. Its fun, and the pseudo-satellite image look of the levels is really cool.

WipeOut HD – the good old wipeout you know and love, with better graphics, more ships, and more tracks. whats not to love?

Noby Noby Boy – just weird pointless fun.

so, conclusion time. I like it, but the 360 is still my ‘main’ system, but the PS3 is very close in the running, i just need something to play.

First Impressions: Gran Turismo PSP

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

If you read previous posts, you know i’m a GT fan. So, i was stoked to get a hold of this long-awaited PSP version.

Likes

  • Tons of cars
  • Tons of courses, all the old courses are there, and tons of the newer GT4 courses as well.
  • Its got the usual GT physics, on par with GT4.
  • Quick pick up and play set up. No long races or tournaments that keep you glued to your system.
  • Every race is custom, depending on what car you choose, so you always have competition as well as a diverse set of opponents.

Dislikes

  • Only certain brands of cars are available depending on what day it is in the games world. So one day its honda, suzuki, jaguar and audi… and something else the next day.
  • No performance upgrades. WEAKSAUCE!!!!!
  • Very limited tuning options available, no tunable transmissions! DOUBLE WEAK!!
  • No practice mode to allow you do endless practice laps around the tracks.
  • Physics engine still bounces you off walls.
  • No damage, so you tend to play a lil rougher when it comes to passing.

Overall its pretty good, but would only pass as a 50/50 mix between arcade and career mode if it was on a console… Career lite as i would say. There’s no ‘Cups’ or series, like the other GT’s, so you never win a prize car, or championship money.

All bitching aside, the racing is the solid GT racing I know and love. The cars look great, the game runs smooth, and all my old friends are there… Tsukuba, Autumn Ring, Laguna Seca. I like how you can just buy whatever car you want, and immediately race it. There’s no tuning, no upgrades or shakedown runs to do, which helps with the quick play style of the game.

If your into GT, get it, love it. If your kinda on the fence with racing games, stick the big brother versions on the consoles… GT on Playstation, Forza on XBox.

ODST and me, or how learned to stop worrying and melee a brute.

Friday, September 25th, 2009

So, Halo 3:ODST came out this week, and i picked it up, yes, at midnight with all the other nerds. I played through the campaign mode pretty fast with a friend. With guns blazing, grenade lobbin and alien beatin, all in all it took us about 5 1/2 half hours to clear through it all.

What i was hoping it would be, and what it ended up being was pretty different.

Hopes: a stealthier, slightly more tactical shooter based around an ‘open world’ city in the Halo ‘Universe’. If you knew there was a mass of enemies in a certain area, then you go around a different block, and avoid them. If you couldn’t go around them, then you can just get in the dark, and wait til they had their backs turned to go to the next dark area. Weapon wise, i was ok if it was the usual selection of weapons in the Halo universe… you know… sub machine guns, assault rifles, pistols, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers. Pretty much covers all the bases for when it comes to kickin ass.

Reality: Yes, there was some stealth elements. Playing on my own, i was able to find a dark spot, do a quick take down, move, wait til they came to where they thought i was, rinse, repeat. Now, its not that it didn’t work, it just ended up taking up quite a bit of time. Usually i would just take out on of the lil guys, because they’re not too strong, but, they still had a brute giving orders to the rest. Now, if i took out the brute first, it leaves the lil guys with out command, and after that they just freak out, some attack, some run away. But taking down a brute takes a bit of firepower.

This is where weapons come in. You are equipped with a silenced pistol, and silenced machine gun, both capable of zooming in on targets. On a brute though, the pistol did not do much damage until its armor had been destroyed, the machine gun also, was pretty weak, but where it lacks in power and accuracy, it compensated with speed. Usually i held onto the pistol, and picked up one of the alien rifles or machine guns that the enemies leave.

The usual Brute encounter went like so: throw a grenade near the target brute, and get rid of his armor. next you go in, empty your clip and done. If you’ve got good aim, and hes not wearing ‘chieftain’ armor, then you could stick a plasma/spike grenade to him and be done with it.

Theres one more type of enemy that they throw at you, and taking them on single handedly is pretty challenging. The ‘Hunter’ is bigger, stronger, and pretty heavily armed. They are the same as they’ve ever been in the other Halos, but this time around, your not the indestructible tank that is Master Chief.

Getting around New Mombasa was pretty linear, usually only one route was made available to you, so evasion was made tougher. When you play through it you start to unlock doors that grant you access to the building interiors which help you hang low or escape a hairy situation, and also pick up a few ‘premium’ weapons like the shotgun, sniper rifle or rocket launcher.

Disappointments: The non-Open Worldness of the game. You couldnt just wander where you want, only certain doors were open for you depending on what ‘level’ your playing. Levels… the next part i don’t like. Instead of the entire story taking place with you going around the city, instead, you would go from check point to check point, then finding something that triggers a ‘flashback’ level. Taking place in and around the city, one thats in the outskirts, and another at a sort of airport/shipping dock area.

The superintendent. All the trailers, and developer documentary talk about the superintendent role in the game. But, it doesn’t really do much, other than point a sign in your direction every now and then. Story wise, it fits in because it has recorded videos of all the events that have transpired in the city. I was under the understanding that it would help you out by ‘hacking’ doors, maybe killing the lights in an area, so you can sneak up on the bad guys.

Lastly, it ended up being just an normal Halo game. This time around you play as different people, who are not the super soldier that is Master Chief. Your weaker, and can’t take huge jumps, thats it.

But as a bonus they threw in Fire Fight, that pretty much makes ODST worth the money. Your stuck on small level, with endless waves of bad guys coming at you. each round you advance, the difficutly gets cranked up. The bad guys will start to throw more grenades, they start to dodge grenades, and have stronger armor. Its hard, its fun. fuck ya.

so ya, ODST, mostly its good for a rental (and easy acheivements/points), purchase it if you want fire fight mode, and the groovy stand alone Halo 3 Multiplayer disc with all all the DLC levels, and 3 new levels.