Viral Video Game Blog

GBU Game Review for Halo:Reach (Xbox360)

The last Halo game to be made by Halo’s creators, Bungie. Now that’s not to say there won’t be anymore Halo games, Microsoft owns that franchise and will milk it for what it’s worth. They just don’t own Bungie anymore and those guys are ready for something new. They even say goodbye to the franchise and thank the fans in the credits. Do they go out with a bang? Hellz yes they do! Currently sitting with a well deserved 92 on metacritic, I’m gonna go with a solid 9/10. I’ll be talking about single player mode of course. I might go a little longer than usual with this one 😉

The Good – First off, I gotta mention some technical stuff here. The thing I noticed when I 1st booted it up, was how fast it loaded, in comparison to pt. 3 and ODST of course. Those games were painful to boot up if they weren’t in your cache or whatever those guys did. It’s just smooth how quick I’m able to get up and going when I turn it on. Second, that new graphics engine….man, it’s sweet. Halo 3 & ODST were some really good looking games, but IMO, there was something about them, maybe the way they meshed with everything else….just felt, I dunno, out of date. Especially when you look at the Gears games. Now I wouldn’t say Reach looks as good as a Gears, but it holds it’s own with it’s own style, and pushes the fact that we don’t need new gen consoles just yet. Even the cutscenes are all in game, done way better than in the past, all keeping a fluidity to the presentation. Detail is definitely improved, and colors have a more realistic tone to them. There are times when you’re on a cliff, you look over and there’s war going on in the distance, it really gives an epic feel to the situation.

With Halo, or any other game for that matter, you come for the presentation, then stay for the gameplay. Yeah son, it delivers big time. If you’re a long time Halo fan, then you’ll feel right at home. Bungie took the ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach for the most part, like usual. Though they did add some improvements. Riding the Warthog feels so much smoother than it did before. Since you don’t dual wield in this one, they put the reload button back on X, and they put melee on the RB, which feels just right. Grenade switching with the B button is a little weird though. Honestly, I don’t miss dual wielding, the lack of it worked fine in ODST and here as well. Sneaking up on foes and holding melee provides a damn satisfying stealth kill with a knife. And as with any new Halo game, some new weapons are thrown in for good measure. As m’man Jamie mentioned in his previous post, the weapons list is ridiculous, so I’ll just highlight a few that I really liked. The concussion rifle, the covenant’s answer to a grenade launcher, makes short work of anything in it’s path, it makes me feel safe when I have it. The plasma repeater, I’ve always loved the plasma gun, this is sort of bigger brother to it, unfortunately it became a bit ineffective towards the end for me, but I’ll get to that later. There’s a few more goodies there too. Throughout the campaign, I felt they mixed up the selection pretty well, so I was able to get a good feel to most of the weapons this time around. It kept the action fresh for me.

The power ups. What. an. improvement. Seriously, they introduced these in Halo 3, problem was, they were weird icons where I didn’t know what did what. I dunno if I’m alone on this one, but I pretty much didn’t use them cuz in the heat of battle, I don’t have time to figure out what the apple core looking thing does. Here, it’s all money. Huge color specific icons when you go to pick them up, that show a pic of what the soldier does. If it’s fast running, there’s a dude running, if it’s armor, there’s a dude crouching in a huddle position, if it’s a jetpack….well, you get the idea. Speaking of jetpacks, how can you not love those things. There’s an awesome strategy thrown in, in which the powers are for a limited time, but do recharge quickly. Which means you can’t just fly through the whole level, but it gets you to some spots easier than just running up there, or my favorite, in the heat of battle. I can’t tell you how many times a Brute would come rushing at me with his 1-hit kill hammer, I would boost away, shooting while looking down, screaming at the TV as he keeled over. It’s pretty awesome. No matter how you cut it or slice it, this is Halo 4 with a prequel story. This one definitely has my favorite gameplay and fighting out of all the Halo games. And it’s definitely the best Halo package well worth the 60 bux I’ll put down on it. Sorry, I really dug ODST, but it was an EXPANSION to Halo 3 that should’ve been cheaper, they lied and charged full price. But anyways, I can go on all day about how cool it was to do this, or do that, but the gushing has to come to end folks. Time to touch up on what I feel are some of the flaws.

The Bad – As with most games, I like to play on normal mode, for I feel this is how I think the developer wanted the player to experience their creation the first time through. A solid challenge is what makes a game fun to play to me….do you know what doesn’t make it fun? When that challenge becomes ball-punching abuse. Reach’s campaign is crazy awesome fun, then at the last couple levels, things get knocked a little out of balance as you’ll get to areas where you’re too overwhelmed with enemies. You’ll get to sections with Hunters where instead of a fun battle, they’re just a pain in the ass cuz you’ll die so much, yes I know they were always toughies, but you will unload MANY clips. Some of the elites come flying through with frickin almost invincible armor. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but when I have to reload more than twice, and their shields still aren’t down, it gets annoying. I know it’s supposed to be the last hurrah and all that good stuff, but there’s other ways of making a battle feel epic without just making enemies too strong.

There’s a space ship flying section…..which is actually pretty cool, but there are times there, restarting a checkpoint for a 6th time, just pissed me the hell off. I felt the game took maybe an hour or so to really get going, I mean, I’m all excited when I 1st fire it up…..then I sit there like, ok, it’s Halo….basically, some of the new stuff could’ve been introduced a little quicker. The story, ah yes…..titanic syndrome, since much has been made about the book Reach is based on, we know the planet goes down in the end. So no surprises there…..while the cutscenes look awesome, again, maybe I’m alone in this, but I can’t tell you what the hell just happened…they didn’t exactly engage me, it’s like, ok, get me to the next level. They shoulda brought some of that cool storytelling style from ODST over. Some of the new weapons aren’t really given a chance to flesh out their potential to gameplay…..how many times did we get to use the target locator? Halo’s own hammer of dawn, once I think?

The Ugly – There are some dark moments in this one….when you first come back to the planet after the covenant has ravished everything….buildings burning in the background, bodies all over the place, it’s a creepy site. Either that or I ran out of steam and didn’t know what to put in this section 😉

September 12, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Halo:Reach (Xbox360)

GBU Game Review for Mafia II (PC)

Also on Xbox360 and PS3. I played it on PC cuz I’ve got a pretty sweet rig and the graphics on this bad boy look way better than the console versions. I give it a 7/10. A high 7 though, I wanna give it an 8, but the flaws are just a touch too heavy.

The Good – If you dig your games with a heavy Godfather/Goodfellas flavor, here you have it. A fully realized, nicely detailed world set in a 40s-50s New York like city. You play as Vito, a guy just out of the war and ready to work his way up in the mob world since “the working man is a sucker”. The gameplay is very much like a GTA, 3rd person everything, on foot, driving, that sort of thing. You take on missions of that type of variety as well…..drive so-n-so here and there, go kill this guy, go rob this place, and so on. It’s not the most original, but the gameplay overall is just fun enough to make you wanna finish the storyline.

The storyline is the star of this show, and the way it’s told as well. Heavy cut scenes before and after every mission, it’s all interesting stuff. It’s almost like an interactive movie, the dialog and voice acting are all up to snuff. If you like the way the Sopranos characters talk, you’ll be at home here. Presentation and whatnot are all top notch, radio stations in the cars play music of the time, all good stuff, and the game’s orchestral score kept me in the feel of things. Some missions have a bit of branching, meaning you can go about completing stuff in different ways.

The Bad – Sadly, there’s plenty of that here….first off, this may not be a bad thing to some people, but the game is painfully linear. Here you have a huge open world, highly detailed and all that good stuff….but….you really only have your missions to worry about. You wake up, go here, do that, go back home to finish the chapter then wake up to do it all over again. No real side activities, no doing things out of order, etc. While the shooting action can be fun, sometimes there’s just way too much of it, and you better take cover, because if you don’t, you will die….ALOT. That’s not fun. Way too much driving…..I love my driving in games, and I get it when it comes to open world games, but c’mon. When there’s really nothing to do between point A and B, driving sections should be short. Oh yeah, checkpoints, during big shootouts, blow.

The Ugly – Aww man, the ending. It is pretty unfulfilling….you would think with the cinematic quality of everything, the end would be epic. Instead of going out with a bang, it’s more of a fart :-\

GBU Game Review for Mafia II (PC)

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Mafia II (PC)

GBU Game Review for Bioshock 2 (Xbox360)

Did I enjoy this unnecessary sequel to the beloved Bioshock? Well….yes, yes I did. Also available on PS3 and PC, gonna roll with an 8/10 for this bad boy.

The Good – Ok, the originality of Bioshock’s story and setting have been done to death, in review form I mean. Get at the wiki if you wanna have an idea of what you’re jumping into and how the first one ended. It was one of the better gaming ‘experiences’ out there that I’ve had and it will always be a classic to me. The sequel basically gives you more of the same, with some refinements of course.

Set 10 years after the events of the first game, this is a different story involving a different character. You play as a Big Daddy prototype, the splicers are still running around acting crazy, and someone has decided to keep the Little Sister program going. The creepy, but cute buggers who go around extracting ‘Adam’ from dead bodies, the stuff that makes it possible for you to have crazy powers (plasmids) such as shooting electricity or fire from your hand. Some improvements see you utilizing both plasmids and guns at the same time….yeah, go look it up, part 1 had you split-seconding between the two instead of simultaneously shooting them. Yup, I forgot that too. Standard issue, new guns, updated guns, same with the plasmids. Some new enemies include Brutes, basically super roided up versions of the splicers, splicers being your basic enemies, luckily you only see Brutes once in awhile cuz they’re tough. You got different versions of Big Daddy’s….and probably the star of the pre-release trailers, the Big Sisters. Think the Big Daddy, but female, slender, and able to move and jump around like a ninja.

Some more improvements, such as the hacking of stations and security bots, still a small challenge, but way better than playing a ‘switch the tile’ mini game. Getting near the end holds some really cool surprises…remember in part 1, where you had to find a Big Daddy suit and walk in his shoes? Think of the surprise along those lines, but better I think. Of course you get to explore more of Rapture, which is still an awesome and interesting world with damn sweet graphics and sound. And if you’re an exploring type gamer like me, this game will keep you busy for HOURS. It really scratches the ‘loot whore’ itch that other titles like Oblivion and Fallout 3 do. At the end of the day, I enjoyed the game as a whole and got my money’s worth.

The Bad – A major audio glitch. It only reared it’s head a couple times….but the last time was really bad. Example, when you start kickin up dust and that orchestral music kicks in letting you know that shit’s on? And when the objective is clear the music is supposed to die down? Well, in one level it never died down….it got damn annoying, I was always on edge for no reason. The second time it happened I’ll save for the ‘Ugly’ portion here.

The game took a few hours to really get me hooked, when you start, it really feels just more of the same, and again, unnecessary. Once you get over that hump it does come into it’s own though. An issue I had with the original is here but amplified. Basically, when you feel like the game is about to end, you’re ready to cap this bad boy off, but you still go for another couple hours….it did that more than once to me.

The Ugly – That audio glitch I mentioned? Well, the second it happened was at the very last level…an alarm is going off like crazy….I finally finish, ending cut scene plays and all that good stuff…….all the while, THE ALARM IS STILL GOING OFF.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

GBU Game Review for LIMBO (Xbox360-XBLA)

The Good – It’s a side scrolling game, in which you’re a little boy looking for your sister in the woods…..but only in the beginning. What follows are a countless series of puzzles to get through to the end. No two are the same, it gets very challenging, but it’s never impossible. I didn’t even have to look up anything online 😉 It’s somewhat reminicent of Braid, another downloadable game that I freakin’ loved. But that’s where the comparison stops, for the most part, there’s no time bending mechanics here. The graphics look incredible, totally out of the ordinary, there’s no color, it’s all shadows, lights, and out of focus grainy stuff that resembles a really old film. It doesn’t look like a game and it pulls it off perfectly. The atmosphere can be unnerving and creepy, most puzzles involve traps that kill you unexpectedly, so you will jump a lot. It bugged me out a bit here and there. And the ending, I can’t explain, but not since Half-Life 2: Episode 2, and Braid where a game’s ending had such a huge emotional effect on me. But LIMBO’s different, the ending will probably affect people in different ways and everybody will have their own interpretation of what happened in the “story”. Air quotes, cuz you are told nothing, the bit I wrote at the start, I only knew cuz that’s what the description said before downloading. This is one awesomely unique game that everyone should try. 10/10
The Bad – As I mentioned, you’ll die a lot. As in many trial and errors. I really don’t think it was all that bad, but I gotta mention it in case it would turn some gamers off.
The Ugly – The numerous ways that the little boy gets killed. Good thing you only ever see a black sillouhette of him, cuz it can be pretty gory.

July 25, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for LIMBO (Xbox360-XBLA)

GBU Game Review for Red Dead Redemption (Xbox360) (also on PS3)

The Good – Having written some impressions on this awhile back, I hope you guys don’t mind me repeating some stuff(aka copy-paste). It’s basically GTA set in the old west. Here we have a  living breathing world, walk around the town and you get to see all the stuff that used to go down back in those days. From the cool, to the mundane. It follows the typical mission structure, instead of cars, you ride horses though(durr). And a ton of mini games that just drapes you in it’s atmosphere. You wanna break in horses? Check. Herd cattle? Yup. Hunt and sell the animal pelts? Get out the knife. Have a drink and/or gamble at the saloon? Why not. There is a TON of things to do.

What keeps you coming back is the awesome storyline. That and the atmosphere….the game is gorgeous, detailed, and sometimes you just wanna ride around enjoying the world, breathing it in. Top notch voice acting, entertaining cutscenes, and music I want the soundtrack for, creates a pretty unique package. It really earns that ‘mature’ rating, sure there’s violence, bad language and the like. But it’s not gratuitous about it. Not that I mind that, but it’s refreshing that the main character is about his business…he turns down offers left and right for debauchery, but he’s got a family he has to return to. And revenge….sweet sweet revenge.

What’s also great about it? You can probably get through the main storyline in less than 20hrs. I loved GTA IV, but the main story was just a bit too long, you almost forget what the goal was by the end of that one. Not here….and man, does it do something I think most games(even the great ones) miss out on. The climax/end, is spectacular, ballsy, and will leave you thinking about it for awhile. Highly recommended, and deserves a 9/10 from me.

The Bad – Typical Rockstar stuff….controls can be a little janky sometimes. On foot shooting close up sucks, and it’s tough to switch weapons in time in a pinch. Edge of your seat action isn’t always at the forefront….things are a little more subdued here. I don’t think it’s bad at all…but I’ve heard a person or two mention it being boring at the beginning.

The Ugly – There are just some really effed up characters in the old west. I know it’s fiction, but I bet some of this stuff wasn’t too out of place back in those days for some people. Cannibalism, grave robbing, and hints at necrophilia are just a few things…….come to think of it, that stuff definitely exists today, UGLY! :-\

June 30, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Red Dead Redemption (Xbox360) (also on PS3)

GBU Review for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

I was only gonna throw up an impressions of this. But at 30+ stars in, I think I’ve spent enough time on it to decide if it’s worth owning and therefore giving it a score. Heck, I’ve never finished Galaxy 1, but once I got my initial cluster of stars, I slowed down and only play once in a blue. I’m only at 51 stars in pt.1 and still love it as much as the day I picked it up. Galaxy deuce gets a 9/10 from me.

The Good – Everything you loved about Galaxy 1, is back and in most cases, better. This is 3D Mario platforming at it’s finest. Take the best parts of Mario 64, Sunshine, Galaxy 1…..and just take it a notch up. Seriously, there is so much to do in this game, it feels fresh every time I pick it up. Tons of power ups, tons of level themes, etc etc, brought together in such a cohesive way that numerous times I sat there and said, that is just awesome game design. Most of the time the control is as tight as can be, where I got kinda annoyed at the Wiimote control in the 1st game(only sometimes), they do a lot here that makes sense and it’s almost second nature while I’m playing.
Graphics….damn, why can’t every Wii game look like this, there’s something about colorful graphics with smart art direction that is so pleasing to the eye. Silky smooth framerate, new renditions of classic tunes, it’s all good here. Levels are huge, with smart checkpoints strewn about. Even some side scrolling style stuff, it just plays beautifully. Maybe alcohol’s affecting my memory, but I don’t remember the 1st game doing that. Yoshi! They also do the ol skool level map, which works and I like, I wasn’t a fan of the 1st game’s hub where you had to seek out where to go next…when you don’t play it for months on end, that gets annoying to have to search for the next level after coming back to it. Auto saves when you finish a level. Basically, if you have a Wii, then you should have this game too.

The Bad – Okay…we’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it….water levels. So far, there hasn’t been alot of stuff where I had to go deep, and they’re not the worst levels ever or anything. But C’mon Son! You change the way I do things that feels like a step backwards for a brief moment, takes me out of the moment. It’s rare, but sometimes, say on the big tree slide(you’ll know when you get there), my last second jumps won’t register, which is mad frustrating. The fireflower power up, why’s it timed?? The jalapeno power up for Yoshi, makes him run fast….sorry, but an out of control Yoshi has never been fun.

The Ugly – Another thing we’ve said before and we’ll continue with…..this game is gorgeous, but good gawd….if the jaggies were cleaned up and shown in HD? Would be glorious. Seriously, to quote the guy on this week’s Giant Bombcast, even with the same assets. The graphics would just jump off the screen.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Review for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

GBU Game Review for Mass Effect 2 (Xbox360)

Right off the bat, I didn’t play the first game. So I can’t really compare, just mention differences I’ve heard. And two, this is one of my favorite games of the year so far. How much so? 10/10

The Good – From what I’ve read/heard/etc., everything that was wrong with the first game, is fixed here. Very simply, I found this game to be a ton of fun. So much that after I exhausted the 360 version, I started on the PC version, and I’m enjoying it all over again. Ok ok, enough with the gushing. It’s a sci-fi action rpg.

In classic Bioware form, you create a character, choose a class, then fall into a story backed by a deep story, dialog system, and in this game, real time action that I’ve compared to a lite version of Gears of War. Third person shooter action with a cover system, plus powers that are cool, numerous, and of course upgradeable. There’s an insane amount of missions, most of which are fun, and with the dialog system, determines if you’re a nice guy or a hard ass. You usually roll around with a squad of 2 other characters, who also are bad ass gun wielders with awesome powers. This combo makes for some deep action, yet it’s simple to get into.

The guys you recruit are all interesting, have their own good story, and all bring something different to the table. The graphics are damn nice, they keep a smooth framerate almost all the time with some gorgeous detail too. Sound design and music are also up there. Good surround sound and mostly good voice acting. All that with the tight gameplay makes for an awesome, highly recommended package.

The Bad – One of the optional things you can do in the game, mining, can be a slow, boring, grinding process. More so on the 360, you scan a planet while moving a cursor(probe) across the surface trying to get minerals so you can upgrade ship parts, weapons, etc. It’s incredibly slow and boring, but you don’t have to do it. It’s just that the ship upgrades can significantly alter the outcome of the game. The scanning is alot better on the pc version, you don’t have to move a slow cursor with a stick, you spin the planet with your mouse the way you’d spin a globe, it’s much faster.

Towards the end of the game, where things get really hectic, the 360’s framerate stutters quite a bit.

The Ugly – How unexpectedly cracked out I got with this game….there were times where 2, 3, even 4 hrs. of time would pass by while playing.

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Mass Effect 2 (Xbox360)

GBU Game Review for God of War III (PS3)

Finally, the long awaited end to the trilogy is here….how’s it hold up for me? 10/10….yeah I said it, deal with it.

The Good – Let me get this outta the way right now, no, this game is not perfect, nor is any game. The problem is, a lot of cats assume a 10 means just that, to them, I say grow up. Since no game is perfect, then what’s the point of the 10 score? I’m going go with how great I thought my experience was, however flawed it can be.

Continuing the Greek mythology themed story, God of War III picks right up where II left off….I would go into some story details, but my partner-n-crime is just about finishing II and I can’t go spoiling it for the homie. I will say this though, the first level in III has got to be one of the best first levels I’ve ever played, it couldn’t have left a better impression on me. Kratos is still the butt kicking spartan out for revenge, letting nothing stand in his way. The graphics are outstanding, definitely up there with games like Gears of War 2 and Uncharted 2. The way the camera swings in, out, and all about, all in real time without the action missing a beat….impressive indeed. This game sets a new standard for scale in boss fights, there are times where Kratos isn’t but a spot on the screen in comparison to what’s going on around him.

The gameplay sticks to the ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ formula. But they do add some very welcome tweaks and changes. The hack-n-slash fighting remains smooth, responsive, and as rewarding as ever. New moves, new ways of handling weapon switching with magic associated with said weapon, item use, etc, are awesome additions. I’ve always liked the GoW puzzles, but sometimes they took too long to figure out, everything flows much quicker, pushing blocks(or whatever) gets a speed boost, and rotating stuff is a lot more streamlined, just hit the R stick and Kratos quickly spins stuff himself. Fights are more epic, levels are incredibly huge, everything is just done better. I was also very satisfied with the outcome, though it may not be for everyone. In the end, for me, this is the cream of the crop for action games.

The Bad – If God of War 1 & 2 weren’t your cup of tea, then I don’t know why you’re reading this. This game won’t change your mind unless you REALLY like awesome graphics. There’s a couple of levels that don’t really match up with the insanity and impressiveness of the rest of the game.

The Ugly – Oh jeez, I can go anywhere with this….Kratos is on a mission to kill gods, and it wouldn’t be God of War if he wasn’t getting his way. The way he dispatches some of these guys, really push the gore factor in gaming.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , | 1 Comment

GBU Game Review for Heavy Rain (PS3)

This be the long awaited PS3 exclusive from developer Quantic Dream. The follow up to their awesome Indigo Prophecy(Fahrenheit in the UK), this follows a much different story. One that I enjoyed immensely, 8/10.

The Good – Something…different. This isn’t your traditional game, in fact, I think it’s hard to explain the gameplay and make it sound exciting. That’s because the actual gameplay isn’t, it’s the story, the situations, the conflicts that your characters run into that make it exciting. This is more like what used to be the dream of what interactive movies were to be. One of the first trophies you unlock is called “Interactive Drama”, if that’s any indication.
What we have goin on, is a murder mystery. A murderer known as the ‘Origami Killer’ is on the loose. The game switches you up between four characters, all dealing with their own situations, but ultimately tied together by this killer. You’ll have to spend time with your son as a father, or pick up a lead as a private detective, or investigate clues as an FBI agent, etc. It’s the mundane things they make you do that’s somehow entertaining, yet make you really connect on an emotional level with everyone. And sometimes, you’re thrown into action packed scenes that are thrilling and tense. These scenes act like quicktime events, but they’re so much better, if you miss a move or two, it’s not game over, the scene adapts to what you’re doing. Another awesome thing, the game is always taking note of your decisions, making big or small changes to the outcome depending on what you do. Different players can potentially have different takes on the story because of their choices. There’s some really cool stuff going on here and has been a hell of a gaming experience.

The Bad – Heavy Rain was made by a french based developer, as such they used a bunch of french voice actors and it shows. English dialog with french accents that can’t help but break through sound a little off sometimes. The gameplay takes a bit of getting used to, particularly when you have to move characters around. It can be awkward and sometimes you wrestle to move them in the direction you want.

The Ugly – There’s a scene, I swear, could be straight out of a Saw movie…it’s intense, unnerving, and I had to give the game a break after I did it.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Heavy Rain (PS3)

GBU DLC Review – Battle of Forli (Assassin’s Creed 2)(Xbox360)

Assassin’s Creed 2 was one of my favorite games of ’09. There’s more than enough game there, so DLC really isn’t necessary, but there were a couple ‘memory chapters’ in the game that went ‘corrupted’ if you get the ‘Animus’ lingo. Word around the campfire is that the devs couldn’t polish up these chapters in time for the game’s release, therefore, with the power of the internet, we can get them later. The 1st one just came out on Xbox Live and the PSN, it’s 4 bux for an hour of so of gameplay…not too bad. The Raw rating, 7/10.

The Good – In case you couldn’t get enough AC2, here’s a little more. If you like the fight system, then there’s plenty of that to do here. One mission had me timed, I was able to pull it off with 3 seconds left on the clock…while it really shouldn’t have taken me that long, it was quite thrilling to pull it off in such fashion. A character that you’re briefly introduced to in the main game gets to be fleshed out here, and she’s an awesome character at that. The main game had only one flying mission, once you were done you couldn’t do it anymore, with Battle of Forli, you have the option to freefly from a spot anytime you want. Overall, pretty worth it if you’re a big AC2 fan.

The Bad – Even if you are a big AC2 fan, you’re not missing alot by skipping this…as I said, it’s worth it, but…no mind blowing revelations or anything like that. Nothing particularly new to do….and just in case you’re not a fan of the fighting system, then you really want to stay away from this. It’s only like an hour long, and ends pretty abruptly, leaving us hanging till next month for the next chapter. Once you finish the missions, you can’t go back and play them again.

The Ugly – Me, stumbling with the controls trying get my bearings….while I got pretty good at the game, I finished it what, a month and a half ago? I went back to the training grounds just get smooth at it again.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU DLC Review – Battle of Forli (Assassin’s Creed 2)(Xbox360)

GBU Game Review for inFAMOUS (PS3)

Ahhh inFAMOUS…one of the PS3 exclusives of ’09…this is a weird one for me. It created a so-so first impression which built up into a great time…then to a game I couldn’t deal with anymore. Sittin pretty with an 85 on the metacritic, this was a bit of a critical darling, not for me though….I’m a go with a 5/10.

The Good – Original super hero style story that’s not based on a previous comic book for a change. You’re struck by a nuclear blast of sorts then start gaining some serious electrical powers. Everything from shooting lightning bolts from your hands all the way to creating lightning storms killing enemies all around you are there to be built up. It’s an open world city style game, but no driving like a GTA, you jump and climb everywhere. The climbing is one of the best parts of this game, as Cole (your character) will pretty much grab and cling to any ledge, pole or what have you creating one smooth and fun gaming mechanic. The game takes on a mission structure and there’s a good variety for the most part, even the side missions can be fun, usually with a pretty forgiving checkpoint system. Hidden items are made easy to find by clicking a button and they’ll briefly highlight on your mini-map, this is a welcome addition to the open world formula and hopefully games like GTA will adopt this in the future. The cutscenes are motion comic style and happen to be very cool. The feel of unlocking new powers and upgrading them can be pretty fun at first. The graphics and 7.1 surround sound aren’t too shabby either.

The Bad
– Oh man, one of the most major parts of the game….the actual fighting. Sometimes it’s really fun, especially when you’re combining powers….but that’s where it ends. Most of what you’ll use is the standard lightning bolt, talk about needing some aim assist, just when you think you got a bead on someone’s head, *bzzzzzzz* no go. So you’re shooting, missing half your shots since the enemy constantly strafes or hides, especially on rooftops. Then they’re too many times where the baddies will overwhelm you cuz they can swarm in ridiculous numbers. Sometimes you just want to explore the city, but nooo, you gotta get used to the annoying gunshot sounds cuz they’re constantly spawning randomly. Then when you’re in the middle of a mission, trying to get from point A to point B, that random spawning occurs, just makes you want to throw the controller. And the enemies themselves, how bout some frickin variety…first you get some guys in hoods, they all look pretty much the same, you will kill DOZENS(maybe even hundreds) of these guys, it gets old real fast. Then you get the guys with the armor made from garbage and stuff, they’re harder to kill cuz of that, even more annoying, you’ll kill many of them too. And finally, some other guys who are stealthy, with good armor and they move faster than the first guys…..by then I threw up my hands knowing I wasn’t gonna finish the game since the game just became so un-fun by this point, yes, we’re making that a word around here. For those that wanna know, yes, I even put the game on easy mode halfway through and made sure I had most of the powers, all upgraded too…it just wasn’t fun by that point.

The Ugly
– Man, I remember when the demo came out, it was criticized for not being the best(alot of demos are like that)…upon reflection, it was perfect for it was a short summary of how the rest of the game is. Pretty much everything I mentioned in the Bad section, shows up in that demo. So basically, if you love the demo, you’ll love the game…the other side of the coin holds true as well.

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , | 1 Comment

GBU Game Review for DJ Hero (Xbox360)

Finally, a new hat in the music game genre. Results are generally good, if not difficult, but hey….I couldn’t play Guitar Hero at first either, now I can do consistent 5’s on hard mode. Anyways, some thoughts on whether or not this fulfills my childhood fantasy of being a DJ :-p It’s available on the Xbox360, PS3, PS2 and the Wii. This gets an 8/10 from me.

The Good – DJ music game that comes with a turntable controller. If you’re familiar with Guitar Hero/Rock Band, some things will be a bit familiar. Such as a flowing note chart in which you have to hit the right button to the music to succeed, hoping to get 5 stars by the end of the song. What’s new here, well all of the music are mashups, a combination of 2 tracks premixed and tweaked for a club sound. Not my favorite, but it works and sounds really well in this case. The music spans all types of genres, from hip-hop to dance to rock to pop, there’s bound to be something for everyone. There’s 3 buttons on the turntable,  hit the right one to the tune, sometimes you gotta scratch, and on harder modes, crossfade between tracks. There’s the starpower equivalent, Euphoria, which of course doubles your points for a limited amount of time, and other features that keep you motivated during play. Once you get the hang of things you get the cool sensation of rockin the party and it’s a ton of fun. There’s a ton of mixes, a bunch of unlockables and just an all around fun atmosphere.

The Bad – This just feels like it’ll be harder than GH/RB for some people. Not all the tracks are winners, it would’ve been nice if all the songs were accessible instead of having to unlock them. Getting the hang of crossfading is reeeaaallly tough, luckily I’m not dealing with that yet since I’m stickin with easy mode at the moment. The turntable and crossfader portion are physically a little too close for me, I’m a big dude, adjustable width should’ve been part of the controller design. Find something to lay the controller on, keeping it in your lap can be pretty uncomfortable. I was hoping for a freestyle scratching mode, but nope, deal with the songs included. There’s some lost potential there.

The Ugly – Some of the characters, they’re similar to the Guitar Hero look….we’ve said on the podcast, we like the look of the Rock Band folk a lot more.

January 14, 2010 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for DJ Hero (Xbox360)

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.

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

GBU Game Review for Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox360)

Here’s what’s probably the biggest release of the year. I can’t remember the last time a game sold 5 million copies on it’s 1st day of release….dang. How do those guys sleep at night….probably on mattresses of money 🙂 Anyways, I’ll be reviewing the single player campaign, which gets a 9/10 from me. I played through the 360 version but the game is also available on the PC and PS3 as well.

The Good – Like the last Modern Warfare game, this is top notch first person shooter action. The action here is simply explosive, think of the good summer blockbuster movies out there, take their most exciting parts experienced over the length of a game and that’s what you got here. The story picks up 5 yrs. later, and keeping form you play as a few different characters throughout, all tied to the big picture at hand. Which obviously has to do with war, deception, and sometimes just downright insanity. The feeling from fighting in the streets in a random suburb of America is just crazy. It’s fun, exciting, over the top cinematic style is not something you see performed consistently in alot of games. It’s pulled off here with panache.
The graphics are some of the best this console generation, all moving at a fast, silky smooth framerate. I feel the campaign is a good deal longer than the 1st game, I’d say it’s just right. There’s a ridiculous amount of ‘holy crap’ moments, to the point where I would just need a break cuz my nerves would be rattled. The gameplay feels great, controls are tight and feel just right. There’s a crap-ton of different guns everywhere at any given time. Being taken to all kinds of different locales gives every level a distinct feel. The action changes up sometimes with short vehicle sequences that keep you charged. This game’s a good substitute for Red Bull 🙂 Highly recommended.

The Bad
– There’s a few parts in the game, I can think of maybe 3-4, where things just get ridiculously difficult. I played on regular, which is the game’s normal difficulty, and just couldn’t understand why it was so tough to get through these few parts. Except in the Rio de Janiero level, getting killed by guys standing on the roofs of shacks is just annoying when you don’t notice them at first. I spoke with our friend Jack, the super hardcore mouse/keyboard PC shooter guy, and he had the same issues on the same sections playing on PC. A little more tweaking on those few portions would’ve made the campaign almost perfect. While the story is really good, narrative needs a little work. Sometimes the plot gets a little confusing when the game switches up the characters you’re playing as.

The Ugly – It’s pretty obvious, anybody who knows the game enough knows about the controversy with the “No Russian” level. It’s dark, grim and uncomfortable. You have the option to not play it at all, but it works in the context of the story. It isn’t till near the end where it kinda makes sense for the devs to make you feel this way at this part in the storyline.

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox360)

GBU Game Review for GTAIV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Here we are with the second piece of promised DLC for GTAIV. Exclusive to the Xbox360(for now, if rumors are to be believed that is), for 20bux off of the Xbox Live Marketplace, or on the “Episodes From Liberty City” disc. Which is 40bux but it also comes with “The Lost And The Damned”. I liked this DLC even more than the last one, this gets a 9/10 from me.

The Good – Rockstar has really gotten the whole storytelling thing down, everything from the dialog, the voice acting, heck, even the way the cutscenes are directed…all top notch and masterful. Wanting to find out what happens next really keeps things moving. Liberty City remains a lively gaming world with plenty to keep you busy. While GTAIV toned down alot of previous GTAs’ insanity in favor of a more realistic crime drama style, TBoGT has some new activities that brings back some of the craziness of San Andreas that are fun as hell. Stuff like parachuting, helicopters that pack some serious artillery, even the police APC.
New weapons turn the fun meter up a few notches too. Machinery like the automatic shotgun with explosive shells and the silenced machine gun just tears things up with a prowess that makes sure the enemies hide from YOU. Radio stations, a GTA staple, have been updated with newer songs that keeps you draped in the atmosphere of the character(Luis Lopez) you’re playing. Luis has part ownership of a couple clubs that Gay Tony owns, you have to option of running one of them certain times at night. Again, the feel has been fitted to a tee. The thumping music, people dancing, drinking, the whole package. Some cool mini games for dancing and drinking are there as well.
The campaign is lengthy and the mission’s fun to frustration ratio is the most minimal yet. You’ll hardly come across a mission that’ll give you a hard time, the feel and pacing swim along just right. It’s nice starting off and your character already has a nice place to live, nice clothes, and he’s already established in the city. No need to build up, you just jump right in. I know some people who fell outta love with GTAIV, they felt the story just took too long. Not an issue here, the fat’s been trimmed, so to speak.

The Bad – Basically, if you’re not a GTA fan to begin with, this game ain’t changing your mind. While driving still feels great, it would’ve been nice if the on foot controls were updated/tweaked. They get the job done, but nowhere near where they could/should be in feel. With the disc version of the game, licensing issues prevented Rockstar from carrying over all the music from the original GTAIV game, to make up for it they threw in 3 new radio stations. While the downloaded version gets access to ALL of the original disc radio stations/songs, but not the new stations, it’s too bad this small feature separates the two since music is such a big part of the GTA experience.

The Ugly – If you don’t like The Sopranos way of things, or any crime drama of that sort….stay away….The title of the game has “Gay Tony” in it, and you play as a latino character in quite an ugly crime underworld. Take a guess at some of the things you’ll hear from some of the game’s less than savory characters.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for GTAIV: The Ballad of Gay Tony

GBU Game Review for Uncharted 2 :Among Thieves (PS3)

Man, the PS3 has been on a roll this year with it’s exclusives and Uncharted 2 is no exception. Read on for some thoughts on one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year. 9/10

The Good – Please excuse me if I happen to repeat certain things from my review of the first game. But what was good there returns and is even better this time around. The Indiana Jones style adventure is back and even more exciting and multi-layered than before. Once again we have a third person action game with platforming/climbing elements, and some fun shooting action that’s mostly cover based. The story keeps you sucked in, wanting to find out what happens next. The characters are well developed and interesting with some great writing and dialogue. There are so many ‘holy crap’ moments, and most of the time the creators don’t even milk them when they could’ve, so many awesome moments that only happen once. The gameplay has been tweaked and revamped, adding a ton of new moves as far as the climbing/exploring action goes. The shooting elements are tweaked to where most of the time it’s really fun, headshots actually register normally this time around. There’s plenty of weapons, some light stealth scenes and just an all around solid action package.
The graphics this time run at a solid framerate, never dipping, and none of the ugly screen tearing that happened sometimes in the first game. There are plenty of scenarios, from jungles, to ancient ruins, to snow mountains, and more. What really got me was the amount of detail packed in, it really is astonishing when you stop and look at the scenery. Simply, these are some of THE best graphics this gaming generation, period. Great lossless audio quality makes a return as well, supporting 7.1 surround if you got the setup.
There’s a hefty multiplayer component, which I haven’t tried, but is said to be strong and a ton of fun. This is a game that every PS3 owner should at least try, good stuff.

The Bad – Some of the action ‘issues’ I had with the first game briefly rears it’s head near the end. As in way too many enemies spawning, with only a few parts requiring multiple tries. While the enemy models look great in-game, you kill ALOT of them, problem is seeing the same guys way too many times can pull you of the adventure experience a bit.

The Ugly – My treasure finding skills. There’s hidden treasure items(just for the fun of it) hidden throughout just like the first game. In this one there’s 100, I was only able to find around 35 or so my first playthrough :-\

November 4, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Uncharted 2 :Among Thieves (PS3)

GBU Game Review for Half-Life 2: Episode Two (Xbox360, PC)

In a bit of bass ackwardsness, here’s my review to the 2nd expansion pack to Half-Life 2. One of my all time favorite first person shooters EVER. Why this one first? I just played through it for a 2nd time last week so it’s fresh in my mind. The first time was when it was released 2yrs. ago on the Xbox360, then last week on my fairly equipped PC. I’m gonna go ahead and give this one a 10, that’s right, I went there 🙂 Somewhere down the line I may review Half-Life 2 and the it’s first expansion Episode One, but this is where the game is tops, until Episode Three drops maybe. But only time will tell, especially since we’ve been waiting for it for 2yrs. now :-/

The Good – Awesome continuation of the Half-Life 2 saga. You, playing as Gordon Freeman, are put to the task of trying to save the world from the Combine. An alien race that terrorizes the human race into a concentration camp like lifestyle. The first person combat continues as you battle Combine soldiers(humans converted to do their bidding), striders, a new combine enemy, the hunter and other nasties as well such as antlions, headcrab zombies and more. Everybody (or creature) has their own tactic to be taken down with, so you’re sure to have a different experience in every section of the game. The action is incredibly thrilling, never boring, sometimes scary, and thankfully never overbearing. Puzzle sections help to break up the action, which usually has you making use of the gravity gun, something that was revolutionary in 2004 when Half-Life 2 dropped. This “weapon” lets you pick up most objects and place them down, or for fun, shoot them anywhere. In some sections you can defeat enemies just with this and whatever is laying around, this makes for some cool creative fights and definitely something new and different in the shooter world, even 5yrs. later. The story, which is strong, is uniquely told entirely through the eyes of the hero, the camera NEVER leaves his perspective, and he NEVER speaks….this is interesting in a strange way, but it 100% works. The characters on your side are likeable, they just make you give a damn, which means the voice acting is there in top form as well. Sometimes you’re paired up with an NPC(usually Alyx), which can spell annoyance in some games, but they never get in your way, always help and are never annoying. One of the last things I love about this game, unlike most shooters today, every gun that you find throughout the game, as long as there’s ammo, is at your disposal. Sure, games like Halo and Call Of Duty started the trend where you can only carry two guns at a time, and while it sets forth an interesting strategy for those types of games, almost every shooter(1st and 3rd), has copied this. Sometimes I just wanna use it all, when I want to. And oh yeah, sorry PC junkies, but the PC version lets me use my 360 controller and the controls are fully configured exactly like the 360. Guess what I used 🙂

The Bad – Pffffft….hardly….but I’ll be a little nit-picky for review’s sake……A first person shooter with no dedicated melee button? Really? I know I can use the crowbar for this function, but I have to switch to it, inconvenient if I ever ‘need’ it. In old shooter fashion, you have to “find” health, yup, nearly every shooter today has regenerating health or shields, here you have to find it when you need it, like the old days. It makes for an interesting strategy for me, but some cats may not like that. The Source Engine graphics, while still great and pleasant to the eye, are starting to show their age….in the age of Gears of Wars, Call of Dutys, and your Uncharteds, it’s true.

The Ugly – The timing of these “Episodes”. Valve was supposed to start a new era by helping to introduce us to episodic gaming. We were promised 3 episodes to continue the Half-Life 2 storyline, it was basically supposed to be Half-Life 3. They were supposed to be 6 months apart. So Episode One drops a little over a year and a half after Half-Life 2, Episode Two drops nearly a year and a half after that…..and here we are almost 2yrs. later waiting for Episode Three with no announcement in sight 😦

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

GBU Game Review for Dead Space (Xbox360)

A couple podcasts ago, I mentioned trying out Dead Space Extraction on the Wii all for about 10 minutes. Now we know it’s a prequel, but since I never had the time to play through the original game that came out a year ago, I figured October is as good of a month as any to have the bejeezus scared out of me. This game delivers, released for the Xbox 360, PS3, and the PC….Raw scale sez, 9/10.

The Good – A well told story in the sci-fi/horror realm. You play as an engineer(Issac) that’s part of a team called in to see what happened on this huge mining ship that’s found an alien artifact known as the marker. This huge rock has telepathic tendencies, making people hallucinate and feel to the point of having a group make a religion worshiping the thing. When you get to the mining ship, pretty much no one is alive and it’s very obvious by the blood and gore left behind that it wasn’t a regular party that went down. It’s a survival horror game that gets both terms right. What’s here is 3rd person shooting action with extremely tight controls, awesome graphics(lighting especially), and endless jump scares that keep you on edge cuz you never know when an enemy is gonna pop out. The enemies(Necromorphs) themselves are interesting in that they are a product of a disease from the marker(as well as small creatures), basically everyone started killing each other then morphing into freaks of nature that reanimates left over dead bodies into more necromorphs.
There’s a refreshing take on how you kill them, you can’t just fill them with as much ammo as possible or just go for the head shot(they’ll keep reviving or just coming at you), the trick is dismembering their limbs, this kills them and makes sure they don’t come back, and of course the only way you’re gonna survive. You get a couple cool abilities to aid you in battle, stasis which makes thing slo-mo(great for when enemies are running at you), and kinesis which lets you pull in objects then shoot them if you please. As usual with games like these that are good, there’s a useful upgrade system in place, you’ll definitely wanna search out the joint making sure you have all the ammo you can find, and money too so you can upgrade your weapons to keep up with the rising threat. The heads up display is really cool and unique, acting as a hologram in front of your character. The audio especially deserves mention, not only does the music keep things tense, but the sound effects as well as environmental sounds are incredibly produced, and on a good surround system, wow, the sound design rivals big hollywood movies. The campaign is full and definitely not short.

The Bad – Something you won’t hear me complain about too much, but it’s a little too long.The game took me just over 12hrs. to complete, but I think it could’ve been shaved down to maybe 8 or 9hrs. Sometimes your objectives can be a little repetitive, plus I’m the guy that likes to explore in these sorts of games, so I’m making the game long enough myself, but if you don’t explore you miss out on all the goodies. Why buy ammo when there’s plenty strewn about?

The Ugly – Seriously, the amount of times this game made me jump and bug out. Play with the lights off and the surround turned up, this game will turn you into a punk 🙂

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Dead Space (Xbox360)

GBU Game Review for Halo 3 ODST (Xbox360)

Coming 2yrs after the release of Halo 3 is this tight little expansion, Halo 3 ODST. If you’re a Halo fan, you know what to do, if not, this game won’t change your mind…..8/10.

The Good – More Halo, that’s really good to me, which means top notch console first person shooter action. The storyline is a fresh take on the usual formula, you get to see different takes from different character perspectives. It all takes place during Halo 2, basically experiencing a portion of what went down in New Mombasa. Tight, intense gunfights that keep you on your toes, are quite exhilarating. There’s a very cool semi-open world aspect that lets you approach enemies from different angles on some levels. Enemy AI is as smart as ever in a Halo game, no two battles are quite the same, even approaching a gunfight multiple times yields different, if even slight, experiences. Nighttime scenes have an air of creepiness. The graphics engine still looks good two years later. Audio is as good as it gets on the 360, high quality effects, well designed surround direction, and some pretty incredible music all add to another awesome Halo experience. The new Firefight mode is supposed to be pretty fun, along the lines of Gears of War 2’s horde mode, haven’t had the chance to try it myself, but I trust it’s a blast with friends. The multiplayer portion comes on it’s own disc with all the previous Halo 3 DLC maps with 3 new maps as well.

The Bad – The campaign is kinda short, it should’ve lasted at least another hour and a half since the main game is maybe 6-7hrs. While I’m happy to shell out for a new Halo game, there’s a reason why it’s called “Halo 3 ODST”, it’s just an expansion of Halo 3….not a new Halo game, probably should have been 40$ instead of 60$. Sure you got some expanded multiplayer, but it’s still Halo 3’s multiplayer, and I’m not an online multiplayer anymore, so that 2nd disc is gonna go to waste for me. You’re not Master Chief, and the characters you do play as are nowhere near as cool as he is, they’re pretty bland actually. While the overall graphics engine still looks great, you would think they’d update the face tech, the characters without their masks look pretty bad. I can be wrong, but I always remembered Halo autosaving, you have to “Save And Quit” to do this here, so if you turn off the box in mid game, you’re screwed.

The Ugly – When you go into the map/objectives screen, the game doesn’t pause, which means if you’re looking at the map, reading objectives or what have you, you can still get hit by enemies…..umm, hello? Pause?!?

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment