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GBU Game Review for Silent Hill : Shattered Memories (Wii)

Anybody familiar with us knows that I’m a Silent Hill geek of epic proportions. Looking forward to this Wii “re imagining” for so long….pains me…for I just did not love this game. It’s out on Wii now, and soon will be on the PS2 and PSP. My rating, a disheartening 6/10.

The Good – I would’ve given this game a number score lower, but it’s twist ending I felt, was really cool. Okay, first off, the graphics, look really nice for a Wii game. I’m simply not used to high quality textures on wii, but here, things are nicely detailed and still look good close up. Audio is generally pretty sharp and of high quality as well.
There’s a psychological aspect to the game which is new and interesting. Depending on answers you give to questions posed to you, and actions you take, will reshape parts of the game and the looks of some characters. A staple of Silent Hill, when things turn into the “Otherworld”, which was usually a hellish version of where you were before, is now about being cold and encased with ice. The effect happens in realtime and looks impressive.
Lots of wii specific controls might get the wii diehard giddy with excitement(notice I said ‘might’). You carry a flashlight through the whole game, and yup, you guessed it, the wiimote acts as said flashlight. There’s a pretty creative cellphone mechanic that compliments the wiimote nicely as well, phone calls and sounds come through the wiimote speaker adding to the atmosphere. Opening locks, turning things, etc, etc are all done with wii motions in the ways you’d expect them to work. More interesting immersion. Overall, there are a lot of interesting ideas in this game.
Anybody notice I keep saying “interesting”? Hmmmm…

The Bad – The Silent Hill fanboy in me is getting ready to unload in 3…2…1……man, why the hell did they even bother calling this game “Silent Hill”?!? It’s supposed to be a remake/re imagining or whatever and about the only thing that carries over are character names and the most basic premise of the 1st game. SH is all about being scary and giving you a constant feeling of dread, which is almost totally missing in this game, save for maybe 30-40mins(out of maybe 6hrs of play) total that was actually creepy. Good god, could a game be more mundane?
SH always had cool puzzles here and there, here’s what amounts to your average puzzle here…say you’re looking for a key. Oh look, 3 cans sitting over here, shake each one up with the wiimote…*gasp* one jingles, turn it upside down and the key falls out, yay me. Exploration was always a staple, fear of what may be around the corner, music and sounds adding to the fear. Not in this game, it’s quiet…safe, not too much in the way of creepy sounds. Enemies are 100% eliminated in favor of the “Nightmare” sequences.
Now SH isn’t exactly known for good battling mechanics, they were just enough to get you by, and the ‘hey, you can die’ factor adds to the scaryness of it all. So it wasn’t the worst idea that combat is totally thrown out in this game. But with these “nightmare” sequences, which was scary the 1st time I tried it, then the 2nd time after I died….it quickly became one of the most annoying, trying and just plain badly executed functions of a game. Ok, the world changes, monsters come, your only defense is to run…..through a series of doors….which happens to be a maze….and is incredibly easy to continue running in circles….monsters grab you, you have to shake the wiimote in the direction their holding on to shake them off, which doesn’t work right a good third of the time….say you wanna follow the X that’s on the map on your cellphone, which the character pulls up and puts away reaaaallllyy slowly, giving monsters plenty of time to grab you again. Ok, sometimes you find a flare that keeps the monsters at bay, you can’t hold the flare and check your map at the same time. Sometimes there’s things you can knock over to slow monsters down, problem is, they slow YOU down more than anything. There’s probably half a dozen or so of these sequences throughout the game, they’re all pretty much the same….and for the most part, if you couldn’t tell by my enthusiasm, THEY BREAK THE GAME.
The storyline, while interesting, doesn’t hold a candle to the original or any other one after….it’s simplified beyond belief. Once you’re done and over the cool twist ending, you realize the supernatural aspect of everything is pretty much non existant. It kills me how unSilent Hill this game is. It’s a shame too, because there’s alot of good ideas at play here, just whatever happens to be bad….is REALLY bad.

The Ugly – The b**chin that went on in my room as I died like 10x on the 2nd nightmare sequence….you eventually get the hang of it, but they still suck.

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December 17, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments

GBU Game Review for Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox360)

Ubisoft gets it right, here’s for my review of one of my favorite crack addictive games of the year. Available for the Xbox360, PS3, and sometime next spring for the PC. I give this game a well deserved 9/10.

The Good – So Ubisoft took what was a solid engine built to be the first title and made a real game out of it. What ever do I mean? Well, part 1 had a fairly nice graphics engine, cool premise, huge open world, and probably one of the best climbing mechanics I’ve seen in a game. Problem? There were like 3 or 4 objectives that you could only do and once the novelty of playing as an assassin, scaling roofs and whatnot got old….there simply wasn’t much game there, repetition was the worst enemy of that game.
Fast forward 2 years, we have the sequel, which has you playing in Italian Renaissance times. You’re a guy in the present, in a machine, tapping into the memories of one of your ancestors who happens to be in a lineage of assassins. You’ll spend most of your time as Ezio, who dons a hood and cloak much like Altair in the 1st game, but much more stylish of course. Not only that, Ezio is way more interesting, his storyline in drawn out with interesting turns that really make you give a damn. Once you’re built up to full assassin status, it’s straight bad-assery here on out.
Just about all the problems most people had with the first game are fixed here. The cities are interesting and bubbling with life, there’s ton of missions/objectives to do…not only are they not repetitive, they’re pretty fun to do. It’s one of those games that’ll have you going, “just one more mission”. You can change and upgrade your weapons load out now, along with armor, and even change your look by going to tailors and have them dye your gear. It really taps into that vanity of games some of us just get sucked into.
Of course the big stars of the show, the climbing and actual assassinating. Climbing feels pretty much the same as I remember, which is fun and dynamic as Ezio grabs whatever’s nearby to maneuver. That system still works pretty well. Fighting I feel is improved, it’s easy to get down the rhythm of things, and complex enough that you might not even do half the moves unless you take the time to learn them. And the assassinations are as satisfying as ever, you get plenty of different ways of dispatching your enemies. It’s easy to get out of ‘notorious’ status to resume operations, unlike the first game. So you’re not always on edge, the game wants you to have fun.
Finally, there’s fast travel….no more riding horses for 10mins. at a time and worrying about getting attacked. Overall the game is pretty forgiving in it’s difficulty but challenging enough to still be really fun. Lots of hidden stuff keeps you coming back for more. Long review here I know, but hey, the game’s great and it’s huge and the campaign is really long, I’m only scratching the surface.

The Bad – As solid as the controls are, there are times where Ezio will make a jump or turn where you just didn’t want to. As you learn how to perfect the controls, you’ll see most of that is your own fault, but it shouldn’t be so easy to screw up. Minor beef there, hopefully will be fixed with the next game. The flying that was made so much as a big thing this past E3, is only present for one mission, that’s disappointing.

The Ugly – Trying to remember what actually happened in the ending…..man, they take such a left turn and try to cram so much info is so little time it’s insane. It’s like taking a person who got sucked into the 1st season of Lost, then flipping the script being like “you know they’re gonna be time traveling 4 seasons from now right?” Totally caps your head up.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments