Saturday, July 17, 2010

No more ragdolls.

I know all my nonexistent readers will be heartbroken, but I'm done with this blog. I'm now going to be posting all my reviews on Outtafive.blogspot.com along with a few other people, who are writing reviews all different things like, music, movies, comics, and of course games.

I'm also starting up a casual blog for myself called The Knife Ear. It's just gonna be me posting stuff about games and other miscellaneous stuff I'm interested in. Which you can find at Knifeear.blogspot.com.

Hope people will read either more then they did this one, but either way i have fun writing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tales of Monkey Island

The latest episodic series by Telltale games and the fifth in the Monkey Island series. Tales of Monkey Island is split into five "episodes", and i recently picked them all up in their recent release on the PlayStation Network.

Story

Unlike other Telltale games titles, Tales of Monkey Island follows the same story over all five episodes. The basis of the story in this game isn't really anything special, all you really need to know is that your name is Guybrush Threepwood, you're a "mighty Pirate", and you're fighting the Voodoo pirate LeChuck, and if you didn't know that already from the previous games. Tales of Monkey Island does a good job of filling you in. So if you played the old games you get nice references, but if you didn't it'll be the same as back story, so you won't be too lost. If you haven't guessed the star of this story is really the characters. Their all colorful and interesting, though most of the best ones are borrowed from the previous Monkey Island games. The humor in this game is pretty good, it tends to be rather clever. Though it most likely won't have you doubling over in laughter. Aside from that though you'll finding you're self chuckling rather often, and mixed with the games overall colorful nature, you won't help but have a smile on your face most of the time.

Graphics

The Graphics overall are pretty bad for this gen. The textures are basic, and none of the level design really pops out at you, but the games cartoonish art design tends to make you forget about it. There's really not much to say about the graphics, aside from the fact that they really aren't the highlight of this game. The designers obviously knew this and didn't seem to put focus in the graphics themselves as much as the art, and use of the environment more for gameplay then being pretty. which we'll get to next.

Gameplay

While the gameplay is pretty basic for an adventure game it tends to work well. Items are placed in appropriate places and fit into the environment well. The controls have been tailored specifically for a controller instead of simply having you control the cursor with your control stick, and while it doesn't replace a mouse. It's the best control scheme I've seen on a console for this type of game. The difficulty in this game tends to be easy, though the (optional) tip system adds a lot to that. Though while you won't be consulting a walk-through very often if ever. You should be scratching you're head trying to figure out the latest puzzle often enough. It sets a nice balance, though this might not be preferable to all the adventure game diehards out there.

Overall

This game is fun but it's not the best adventure game, or even the best Monkey Island game. If you like adventure games though check it out. It's a pretty good game to start out with, it's not too complicated, but it will give you a good taste of the genre.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands

Brought by popular demand. Prince of Persia: The forgotten sands is a new chapter in the previously finished, Sands of time series. Is it a fabulous return to form, or just the same old thing? Find out in my Review.

Story

Forgotten Sands is set sometime between the original Sands of Time, and it's sequel Warrior Within. Though you wouldn't be able to tell. Story wise it is almost completely separated from the others in it's series. Only retaining The Prince and his back story. Though they try to emulate most of the things from the previous games, such as enemies made of sand, and the ability to rewind time. It ultimately doesn't make much sense in terms of story. It doesn't only fail story wise in comparison to the other Sands of Time games. It fails overall as a game.

Graphics

The Graphics in this game are rather good. The Prince has much detail and moves smoothly and realistically. The level design makes you feel like you're really in a broken down Persian palace, and the textures are overall pleasant to look at, though you will find more browns and yellows than other colors. Other than that the enemy design feels a little lazy, and while the level design is good, it's not on the same level as previous titles.

Gameplay

The gameplay is pretty much the same as the other Sands of Time games. The main difference is that you gain the ability of magic. Allowing you to control different elements of fire, earth, wind, and water. This is mostly a combat thing, but you do have separate movement powers. Like the ability to freeze water allowing you to walk or grab on to it, to do an aerial dash to enemies allowing you to cross large gaps, or to restore previously lost pieces of architecture. While this keeps it from being exactly the same, it's all been done in one way or another. The main difference is that you can use the mechanics on the fly as opposed to waiting for specific events. Overall it's pretty much more of the same.

Overall

The Forgotten Sands isn't bad. It just doesn't do anything new or different, it's simply a fan service to appease the masses of people, who missed the Sands of Time series. Essentially if you liked the Sands of Time games and are yearning for a new one, definitely check this out. Just don't expect it to be more, or even quite the same, as the old games.

Friday, May 28, 2010

God of War III

I was recently able to play God of War 3 and since it's one of the biggest games of this generation i decided i should probably review it.
Also i will now be forgoing my usual point system. partly because i think it's pretty pointless, and partly because I'm pretty bad at putting numbers to things. Anyway enjoy.


Story

Basically Kratos is continuing his rampage against the gods of Olympus that he started in the previous game. This is good and all but the story tends to get weighed down with a lot of emotional touchy-feely stuff, even more so than the previous games, and while i like dramatic story lines most of the times. It just doesn't fit with the brutal theme the rest of the series portrayed. Other than that though the game offers a very nice dark, and mostly accurate portrayal of Greek mythology. It's really nice to be able to see these mythological gods come to life, and come on. How could you dislike a game where you get to screw Aphrodite. (and get a trophy for it.)


Graphics

This game is just beautiful. It's has very detailed models and textures. The level design is great always giving you interesting areas that you very rarely get lost in. The monsters in this game look awesome, and you really feel like you're kicking the crap out of them, with buckets of blood everywhere including Kratos, and tons of really well done animations, that are so detailed it almost seems like those are real centaur organs you just ripped out.

Gameplay

The Gameplay is just great in this game, even better than the previous games. Which if you've played them, you know is amazing. They do a great job this time varying the game play, giving you multiple weapons, all of which work differently though are not so far a departure that you need to take the time to get use to them. They all also have different uses in battle. Which goes along nicely with the enemy variety. Now you'll find a lot of the same enemies this time but how they work is a little tweaked. They all have their own AI and strategies, and require the use of the different weapons to take them down efficiently. On top of the basic enemies, the bosses in this game are some of the best I've seen, their just as varied as everything else, with the lightning fast Hermes, or the behemoth Hades, or even the king of titans Chronos. Who is the largest moving piece I've ever seen in a game with that amount of detail put into it. It's almost worth getting the game just for that boss fight.


Overall

This game is just great. If you have a PS3 you should get it hands down. The only notable problem i can find is the length. If you don't replay games, or don't have enough money to get new games very often you might have better luck elsewhere. Though if you invest there are still a good amount of collectibles, challenges, and difficulties to make it worth it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dragon Age: Origins & Awakening

This is a game i've been meaning to review for awhile, and since i recently finished the expansion for Dragon Age I thought I would review both at the same time. This time since Awakening is so big I'll do the normal format but split each section into two parts. One for Origins, and another for Awakening. The ones that aren't split would be considered the same in both.

Story

Origins: (10/10)
The basic premise of this story is a little cliched. There is an ancient evil called the darkspawn that live in the underground of Thedas, the main continent that the game is set in, and are rarely seen above ground. The exception to this rule is during a blight, a blight happens only once every few hundred years and is caused by the darkspawns finding and corruption of a dragon, which then becomes an Arch-Demon and leads the darkspawn on a murderous rampage of the world, but there is and order of highly skilled warriors called the Grey Wardens who's sole purpose is to kill the Arch-demon and end the blight.
This is where you come in, you are recruited early in the the game to join the gray wardens by the current Ferelden Commander Duncan. Now how you get recruited is rather interesting, since it can happen six different ways. In Dragon Age: Origins you are able to choose between a maximum of six origins which differ depending on your race, and class. This changes not only the first few hours, but how people treat you throughout the entire game.
Aside from that though the game is filled with a plethera of colorfull characters all with a large amount of dialog options, and most of them have a romance option depending on gender (though there are Bi-sexual characters). These characters will even occasionally chime in on things during a scene when they feel the need.
Overall, Origins has a decent premise with great characters and an immensely deep and interesting world.

Awakening: (8/10)
Awakening is set only a few years after Origins and gives you the option of bringing in your old character from origins, bringing with you all your skills and some of your choices from origins.
Though you have the option of starting as a Orlesian commander, allowing you to start with a whole new character, though you will still start at a relevantly high level.
Awakening starts as you are walking to the new Gray Wardens base, Vigils keep, after being away from your home country of Ferelden for the past few years. You are now the Warden Commander of the Ferelden Gray Wardens and have come back to rule the newly acquired Arling of Amaranthine. You quickly find out that Vigils Keep has been attacked by darkspawn, and that they attacked with unusual coordination, as they are usually unorganized and barbaric without an Arch-Demon. After saving the vigil you go on a journey to find out about the darkspawns newly gain intelligence and save Ferelden once again.
While the story is a bit more original, it lacks the same detail of Origins, and feels a bit rushed. Though it is at most 15 hours, compared to Origins' average of 40. Aside from that though most of the characters, though still good are much less compelling and lack the same dialogue trees, instead having small scenes activated by specific land marks. The game still has the same charm but it's size feels like it's holding Awakening back quite a bit.

Graphics (7/10)

I have to admit that i played this game on the Xbox 360, which has the worst graphics out of all the platforms this game is on, but the graphics on the 360 version at least, are horrible. The main problem is the textures which is the main difference between platforms. Their mostly bland and lack substance, which is really sad because this game has great level design. Most places are well detailed and feel believable, and characters are well constructed, though character movement could use some work. The voice acting is wonderful and you'll very rarely find any character even small ones that fall into the "bad" category. Basically the game is well made but could use a much better engine.

Gameplay (7/10)

Again, I played on the xbox 360, and from what I heard the gameplay is far superior on the PC version of the game, I will however still be righting based on the 360 version.
The gameplay is basically like Baulders Gate (you might be more familiar with KoTOR, or Warcraft that have a similar style) and it works just fine, but with all the different options you have in this game it's hard to put in on a controller. You end up with it being similar to how you'd expect. You point the camera in the enemy's direction, hit A and you start attacking, but aside from that you have up to six hot keys, which is not a lot late in the game, and you have a small in-game menu that allows you to quickly pause the action and choose an attack. It sounds alright on paper but when you get down too it, it has a lot of flaws. For one you are stuck using the left and right bumpers to switch characters which forces you to go in order to get to the one you want, and while this is normally fine it can really get in the way in the heat of battle. Also you don't have the option to queue up attacks, meaning that you need to keep going in and out of the quick menu to use any move that you don't have hot keyed. On the bright side though, character development is pretty good, you have many skill lines to follow and multiple specializations for each class adding a whole new skill line which can lead to tons of different combo's and play styles. Though the gameplay is sorta clunky, if your a fan of the story you'll have no problem with it, and though you won't be having a blast, it doesn't mean it's not fun

Awakening:

The only major difference about awakening is that your character is very overpowered, you get skills that do hundreds of damage, and your stats are so high all your worries from origins are gone. For example I used a Tank based Warrior Character, and my health and defense was so high I would barely lose any HP unless I had ten guys on me. It's still fun, but if your care about difficulty this could really hurt the game for you.

Overall

Origins (9/10)

Origins has an engaging cast of characters with a good story line and a great world, it's filled with a pretty good amount of side quest and tons of interesting places and people. Overall Dragon Age: Origins is a great game any RPG fan should play, but if you have the choice i suggest the PC version.

Awakening (8/10)

Though most of it is close to origins and has a few new and fun things, it feels a little rushed and you don't get the time to know the characters like you did in Origins, but if you liked Origins and want to play more, I definitely suggest this.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Persona 4

The persona series is a largely overlooked series in the mostly overlooked Shin Megami Tensei line of games. So I thought i would review the latest, and i think the best in the series Persona 4 (also known as P4)

Story (10/10)
Basically, you play a Japanese high-school student, who's parents recently got a year long job over seas. So instead of going with them your parents decide to send you to the rural town of Inaba to stay with your uncle and young niece. Your character quickly learns about something called the midnight channel, and that somehow someone is using it to murder people. After investigating you find that you have the ability to summon something called a persona to help fight the shadows that fill the midnight channel, and you start a journey to solve the mysteries of the murders and the midnight channel.

Now it might seem weird, but to be honest that's the best part. This game oozes Japanese culture and any anime fan will love the story, which is filled with twists that keep you guessing from beginning to end. The best part of P4 though is the characters, their all very deep, each with their own backgrounds and story lines. Their all people you wish you could meet in real life, and the ability to be able to interact with them and watch them grow and get into all sorts of situations ranging from funny, to sad, to heartwarming, is truly amazing and really makes you feel for the characters.

Graphics (5/10)

The graphics in this game are awful for it's time (2008). they look like ps1 graphics, and all the cut scenes are played out in box lettering with animated cutouts of the characters to show emotion, but the redemptive part is the art style. It's wonderful, showing this weird twisted anime style filled with wicked monsters and colorful characters. Another part is the size, this game will take you on average a whopping 70 hours to complete, and that mixed with the amazing writing you'll hardly notice.

Gameplay (7/10)

The first half of the game play is your basic turn-based RPG with a few twists. The first is your persona, you as the main character can wield multiple personae (up to 12), and with them can come a variety of stratagems, with different strengths and weaknesses for each persona and monster. Think of a less in depth Pokemon mixed with final fantasy.
You also have multiple choices in what your teammates do, they can be lead by AI with multiple strategy choices like "full assault" or "Support/Healing". You can also switch to "Full Command" which allows you to control all your party members actions which is a huge improvement over the last games as they didn't allow you to do so, and you were stuck with AI the whole game.

When your not fighting demons inside a TV, your playing the role of your average High-school student. You go to school, hangout with friends, get a part time job, and just chill in your room. While this may sound boring, and can sometimes be tedious, all of it has a use in some other part of the game. School is mostly a series of trivia questions, with some chances to get a better relationship with your friends. Getting closer with you're friends increases your social link which increases exp bonuses when your get new personae. Jobs get you money to spend on weapons and supplies, and even a few of them have social links of their own, and the things you do in your room increase stats to help you with basically everything i just talked about.

Overall (9/10)

This game, like i said before absolutely oozes Japanese culture. Any Japan fan would be a fool to miss out on it. I can't stress enough that if you like Japanese culture and JRPG's in general you will love this game, but if you don't there's a good chance everything i just mentioned will be completely lost on you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guest Review #1 Super Paper Mario

Travis here, I guess I'll "guest review" something so that Alex's blog is graced with my awesome presence. I think I'll do Super Paper Mario.

Gameplay: 9/10
Very fun. Old school Mario style gameplay with some new twists. flip into 3D to avoid baddies or solve puzzles. Playable characters include Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Luigi. A downside to the extra characters is that only Mario can flip to 3D, so more than 3/4 of the game is spent as Mario.

Story/Comedy: 10/10
Although they are slightly predictable, it is impressive that a videogame's plotline actually has twists. Also, this is one of the funniest games on the planet. 'Nuff said.

Graphics: 8/10
The whole flat thing is really cool, but there could be a tad more.

Dialog (not comedy): 5/10
I added this category so that the main flaw of the game could be shown. There is WAY to much dialog in the game for a simple platformer. If it were all funny it would be OK, but sitting through long strings of boring text can dull the games charm.

Average: 8/10

Buy or rent: I would say buy, but if you aren't a fan of platformers just rent it.

Sincerely,

Ragdoll Travis.