The Review Thread

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Postby Camera101 » Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:18 pm

I might want to pick that up when it premiers states side. Any extra FFVII tidbits of story to be picked up are very exciting.
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Postby Danners » Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:33 am

Perfect Dark Zero: First Impressions

I'll reserve my final judgement on PDZ until I've played more. For now I'll give you my take on what I've played so far.

Controls: While at first it takes a while to get used to it, PDZ feels awkward at first and I can't seem to figure out why. While some people say it's slow, I don't feel that's the case. I've played plenty of Halo to be accustomed to "slow" FPS. However, once I settled in, I find the controls bring quite a bit to the table. The lack of jump is actually a brilliant move. Jumping in a FPS has always seemed a little silly to me. It's like when no jump was put into Zelda OOT. People cried "FOWL!" but it made sense. No jump means no jumping puzzles.

Also, people said jumping was a means of dodging, but think about it. Imagine paintballing where all you can do to avoid things is run and jump. In FPS it's an often used tactic, but it seems silly. PDZ has the dodge button and it works really well for the exact same use that people quite often use jumping for.

Another nice touch is the aiming reticle gets larger the faster you fire to simulate you losing accuracy. This forces people to shoot in controlled bursts which again, feels quite realistic. Some guns have a less accuracy, some have better. Although this was the case in other games, in PDZ the visual cue is a nice touch.

Also being able to duck behind objects, lean out and shoot is great and suits the game well.

So far my only problem with the control is that the sensitivity for zooming in is too much. I feel like I can't hold a "middle" zoom well enough although I am getting used to it.

Graphics: I'm enjoying the graphics so far. While not a huge OMG!!! leap from the Xbox, they get the job done. They ARE better, and it's nice to see blurring used to simulate depth of field. It actually helps you distinguish foreground from background. The environements are varied which is nice. One one level, during a cutscene too, I noticed some chugging. During gameplay though it's been smooth as silk.

Gameplay: The missions, so far, have been a lot of fun. They're varied and quite often have some exciting moments. Some levels have you sneaking into a club, taking down flying mecha on a rocket ship platform, dodging trip wires and shotting down hover crafts. Level of choice so far was a rooftop mission where you're covering Jack Dark who's on the ground. It's a super fun mission as you're dodging shots fired at you from all over the place, while trying to take down the guys firing at Joanna's father.

Also, Co-op. Fun stuff. More games need this!

Only complaint about the missions is that despite having a story, which is not bad so far, it feels like they created a bunch of super fun missions and then 'tried' to get story to connect them all together. Not a major problem, but coming from playing other FPS like Half Life 1 and Halo, where each level sort of leads into the next, it feels 'old school' to have missions set up like that. But again, three difficulties, each that present new objectives and tougher AI is a great for replayability. Again, I wish more games in this genre did this.

Sound/Music: Wow. Kick ASS! describes it well. I've only had the chance to play with my low end speakers and it's amazing. I can't wait to try it out on my Logitech system wich LOVES deep base and gun effects. Music always kicks it up a notch and gets you all hyped when need be, and dims down during stealth. Voice acting isn't bad so far. Joanna seems a little too 'young and hip' compared to her N64 self, but again, it's a prequel so I guess it's ok. Jack Dark is tough as nails though and sounds great. Only voice I don't like so far is their guide, Chandra. Doesn't do it for me, and she seems overacted.

Others: Despite people questioning Rare's art direction, I can't complain about it so far. Joanna looks great and Rare didn't resort to the typical Lara Croft-ing other companies have done to their female leads. Jack Dark looks grizzled and gruff and his looks suit him. Also worth mentioning are the gagets and vehicles. They have a unique look to them that's well suited to the game. It's a futuristic game, but it's obvious they just didn't look at Blade Runner and use it as a template.

Multiplay: Haven't even touched this yet.

Overall: I'm enjoying PDZ and for me, that's what counts. Could this have been done on a regular Xbox? More than likely. Regardless it's on X360 and so far I'm not regretting the purchase.. Also, I have a hunch, that because it's Rare and Microsoft and a new system launch title, more people are scrutinizing it than perhaps would have been if it was, let say, back on the Gamecube or even PS2/3. Is it better than Halo 1 or 2? So far for me it isn't. However, the game TRIES to be different and bring new mechanics to the table and it presents them well. It was either Gabe or Tycho on Penny Arcade that said something to the effect, that despite not being a super duper game, it was worth purchasing simply because OTHER games neeed to implement the features PDZ has.
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re: Dirge

Postby Alessar » Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:05 pm

OMFG. I am so NOT buying that game now. Thanks for the head's up Jewelle!
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Postby DemonStalker » Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:24 pm

Wow, DM. That last bit with the secret ending sounds like a bad crossover fanfic.

Still might be worth renting, though.
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Re: re: Dirge

Postby devin10487 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 5:15 am

Alessar wrote:OMFG. I am so NOT buying that game now. Thanks for the head's up Jewelle!


I know. I was hoping it would be kind of an RPG, or at least like Devil May Cry.
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Postby Danners » Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:20 am

Alrighty! I've just finished played PDZ on Agent (easy) and while I feel the game may 'feel' short as there are only 13 missions, just like the original, the harder difficulties provide you with extra mission objectives and harder AI. I'll be playing with this shortly.

However, I got another little first impression...Dead or Alive 4. I traded in a bunch of original Xbox games and got DoA4 and Project Gotham 3.

I was first hesitant to pick up DoA4, afraid of more of the same. I'm a decent fan of the series, but felt DoA4 may be too soon. However, I listened to the reviews and picked it up. They were not wrong.

DoA4 is the game that Team Ninja's been trying to make. It finally deserves to be ranked up there with Soul Calibur, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear and Tekken. Counters are no longer easy to perform and BIG damaging. They're used sparringly (as risk) to change the flow of gameplay.

Big slow characters are just as effective as the fast characters (DoA's been notorious for speed wins always) and the fact they've reworked many characters to make them useful. Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden dude) was always a so so character and didn't feel ninja like. Now, he's a total kick ass in your face character. Even Zack who was a little 'silly' with his move style is a serious contender.

The new characters are fun as well. Quick review of each as I know them so far.

La Mariposa (Lisa) - Spanish wrestler fighting style. I played Lisa first and enjoyed messing around with her. It's like a controlled druken fighting style, with lots of exagerated moves to bait you in to attack. Lots of grapples, flips and yes, flipping grapples. Seems like she'll be a nice depth character to ease in to.

Kokoro - I heard she's suppose to be great, I played her and was unimpressed. And then, as if team Ninja purposely coded it, she practically always kicks my ass in to next week. She's not fast, and does average damage, but it's like she has an answer for everything AND can combo like mad. So yeah, I'm a believer of her true power, although I don't think she's my type of character. Her fighting style lacks some visual oomph that most all other characters have.

Eliot - The student of Gen Fu, Eliot plays differently from Gen Fu, but still deadly. His attacks are fast, and damage very well. Great grapples, good throws. He would be over powered if it weren't for the fact that many of his attacks are mid level, leaving him open for counters if not careful. Careful mind game and countering is needed to win with him. Definately a character I'd like to learn.

Spartan - Well, not a character I'll play often simply because I still feel it's a weird cross over, Spartan fits into the game quite nicely. They really made a solid attempt of crossing Halo and DoA. Spartan's fighting style is very 'soldier' like with lots of brawling type moves. And she looks VERY impressive on the screen how she towers over everyone.

Graphics are absolutely beautiful. While Team Ninja worked wonders on the original Xbox, what they've done with DoA4 is still impressive. The backgrounds amazingly detailed and the stages are large. It takes many plays of one stage to see all the areas. I've already put in over 5 hours of gameplay and some stages I still see spots where I can go/fall and haven't been yet.

Sound too is excellent. Music I feel is somewhat better than their past games. And the final ending (beat the game with Helena after finishing with all the other characters) has Aerosmith again (song: Amazing).

Modes of play are plentiful, but nothing new for a DoA game (tag battles, single, survival, time attack, online) but I haven't jumped into those yet. I wanted to beat story mode to open up characters. Also, the achievements list is nice and varried (45 in total) which keep you playing.

While I haven't gone online yet, I plan on getting a live subscription for this and PGR3 (and to a lesser degree PDZ). I tend to lose interest in fighters after a while because of lack of new competition. And again, I feel that DoA4 finally has the balance and depth I've been looking for.

My only complaint about the game is that while the character models are ever so lovely, it feels like they've been using the same ones for a while now. The textures and bump mapping are delicious (such as seeing the muscle tone of Jan Lee) and the shimmer of light on fabric and armour and shadows it excellent too. However, while some characters have evolved somewhat with new outfits, new look, and move sets, characters like Kasumi still have the same 2 starting costumes, same looks, same everything. Mind you, DoA's character models have been spectacular since DoA2.

As for the character endings, while the CG is amazing, half of htem are...odd and/or pointless. Endings seem to be divided into "Pointless and silly" or "Relevant to the story". I'll put one or two of the wierder ones in spoiler tags, but honestly, the silly ones don't ruin anything.

First there's Kasumi's. While they could have put a nice story element with her, seeing as she is now an exiled ninja and her brother and sister (Hayate and Ayane) are part of the main story arc, they instead [spoil]have her in a dream sequence where she's a topless (magically her nipples are always covered) mermaid swimming around with her pet fish.[/spoil] Exciting huh?

Then there's Lei Fang who's [spoil]on a train ride where the train suddenly brakes to avoid hitting a fawn. She stumbles backwards where her massive chest bursts opens her blouse and then some man who stumbles (hands first) gives a generous squeeze to her chest. Lei Fang then gives him a serious beat down and everyone applauds as she bashfully holds her shirt closed.[/spoil] Now that I think about it, ALL the pointless endings somehow involve almost visible breasts.

Zack's ending takes the cake though as my personal favourite. [spoil]He's on a treasure hunt where he finds a major gold stash with his woman of the moment. They accidently awaken a skeleton king where they get into a sword fight that's done in a Jason and the Argonauts stop motion sort of way.[/spoil] It's fantastic, funny and well done. It also serves as the set up for the DoA Volleyball sequel.

Overall, so far I'm enjoying DoA4. It deserves it's recognition as a contender to the fighting game crown. I personally still enjoy the Soul Calibur series more, but until Namco puts in online play into it, DoA4 for me is right up there.
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Postby Camera101 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:53 pm

As soon as EB opened this morning I rushed to get my reserved copy of Kingdom Hearts II and I was also suckered into purchasing the 30 buck special edition guide. Which wasn't nearly as good as the one for X-2.

But onto the game:

Phenomenal is the best word to describe it for the 7 hours that I have put in today. The graphics are the best that I've seen on the PS2 in awhile and the music is great. The detail to small things like the sound of Sora running or his footprints as he runs through the Tron stage are awesome. The voice acting is superb, even though I was a tad dissapointed by Mena Suvari as Aerith. The Gummi ship sections are actually enjoyable now, and really exciting.

Overall I haven't played enough to give it a full review in terms of story and such, but I had to post my first impressions as soon as I could tear myself away.

If you were a fan of the first game, this one is a must have. Its a wonderful game for the PS2's last year. And if you weren't a fan of the first, go out and buy it and then buy KH II, you'll thank me.
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Postby D.M.Jewelle » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:44 pm

I forgot to mention I finished DoC and put the review in my blog!

Part 1

Part 2
"Behold the apocalypse. HEY! Did I say anything about touching the apocalypse?"
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Rule of Rose

Postby Kane Magus » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:24 am

(Copy/pasted from my LJ post on the subject)

Okay, Rule of Rose has to be the single biggest mind screw of a video game that I have played since the original Silent Hill. Dare I say maybe even more so. I just finished the game with the "good" ending, which gives you an extra chapter that kind of sort of in a vague way puts a more realistic interpretation on the events of the game, but even so I still don't really fully understand what the hell happened. I mean, I get it, yeah, but still... crazy as hell. Seriously, children can be frickin' creepy.

The music. I find music in video games to be very important, especially in games like this. The music in games like Silent Hill, Clock Tower, Fatal Frame, Haunting Ground and such are appropriately atmospheric and set the mood pretty well. The music in Rule of Rose... ...well, it does that too, but it's... different. The game is set in 1930 and the music kind of reflects that, I guess. It's almost exclusively either violin or piano. There's no hard rock or pop or even Silent Hill-like ambient noise-as-music in this game (though there is plenty of ambient sound, to be sure). And yet, it works. It works really, really well. (If Galbadia Hotel were being cooperative at the moment, I'd have already downloaded it, but I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow. ¬_¬)

From a gameplay standpoint, it was okay. Some might consider having to find almost everything with Brown, the dog, to be a chore, but I thought it was pretty cool. Brown may not be anywhere near as bad-ass as Hewie (from Haunting Ground) when it comes to combat, but his nose for sniffing out items puts Hewie to shame by far.

The only real downside to this game: the combat is absolutely atrocious. The enemies, which are, at least, pretty much on par with Silent Hill on the weirdness scale (though none of them are as singularly bad-ass as the Pyramid Head), are either dead stupid and easy to kill, or so damn cheap and impossible and attack in such overwhelming numbers that it's better to just avoid them. Of course, the game explicitly tells you this, so I guess it's not so bad. Also, Brown doesn't do much during combat. His barking will sometimes stun an enemy for a few seconds, allowing you to get a few hits in, but that's about it. And it doesn't seem to work on the stronger enemies, much less the bosses. I think he can actually attack during boss fights though, for what it's worth, but he usually ended up unconscious so quickly that I found it better to just park him somewhere out of the way and fight the boss myself.

Still, despite the combat sucking, I'd highly recommend Rule of Rose. If you enjoyed games like Silent Hill or Clock Tower or Haunting Ground, you'll almost assuredly like this one too.

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Postby Xagarath » Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:32 pm

On the subject of horror games, I've only just discovered Clive Barker's Undying, which is excellent. Deep plot, atmospheric, surprisingly effective and sometimes plain weird.
It's a little old and dated, but if you can get past slightly rough textures, it's very worth a look.
Plus, since it's actually, at heart, an FPS, it actually has bearable combat, controls and the like, making it almost unique among horror games. The monsters are kept frightening by being fast, weaving around all over the place, and knocking you backwards and blurring your vision when they hit you (rather like Doom 3), rather than by seeming unfightable due to poor control issues.
I also respect any game that actually manages to make an old, cliche-ridden haunted mansion actually frightening.
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