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GBU Game Review for Batman:Arkham Asylum (Xbox360)

Could it be? A super hero based title that hangs with the triple-A big boys? Since I feel this game is a 9/10, I’d say so. I played this joint on the xbox360, it’s also out for PS3 and PC.

The Good – Awesome 3rd person adventure that juggles many gaming styles. Obviously you play as Batman, who captures the Joker, while transporting him to Arkham Asylum, Joker gets loose and has sinister plans in place, taking over the asylum and trying to put Batman through a night of hell. It’s got a great story and awesome voice acting, written by the guy who used to write the animated series, and voiced by the same actors as well. The fighting system is simple to control but deep in it’s execution, stealth is there but never overbearing. So if you don’t like stealth(I do though), you’ll be fine since these portions aren’t long and nowhere near as deep and challenging as a Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell. There’s a detective mode to get your sleuth on, the view changes to where you can see enemies behind walls(x-ray style), hidden pathways, and important objectives. All of Batman’s signature gadgets are here, from the batarang, to the grappling hook, to a very cool hacking device, all gets unlocked along the way. There’s a great upgrade system that lets you update your fight skills, gadget abilities and so on. Fighting and finding the Riddler’s hidden stuff helps to build this up, achievement junkies will feel right at home. The graphics are superb, I was always impressed and couldn’t wait to see next portion of the island or the next signature villain. All in all, a tight package with great gameplay, a lengthy campaign, well done pacing, and lots of cool extras and challenges worth unlocking.

The Bad – Some of the boss battles, there’s a pattern with the first one you get down, which is cool….but then the next battle, it’s like the same thing but against 2 bosses at once(which is cool too), then the next battle, same thing but with regular enemies in addition to the two, and so son…it’s a little repetitive and less imaginative that what the rest of this great game offers, at least they’re not ridiculously difficult. Some of the level design choices are little too ‘gamey’, alot of gargoyles to swing from in the weirdest places for example. You may be inclined to leave detective mode on for too much of the time(which you don’t have to), this makes you miss alot of the awesome art direction in the graphics.

The Ugly – Some of the character design choices, they’re way too diesel, IE, roided up beyond Vince McMahon proportions….I mean, Batman’s biceps are as big as his head, whoa jeebus!

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for Batman:Arkham Asylum (Xbox360)

GBU Game Review for God Of War 1 & 2 (PS2)

In honor of these incredible games coming to the PS3 in updated form later this year, here’s how they stick out in my mind. I’m just gonna lump them together since it’s a continuing story and whatever can be said about part 1, can be said about part 2, obviously with bigger and better additions. Each one gets a 9/10 from me.

The Good – If you like hack-n-slash third person adventures of the triple A variety, look no further than this series. First, the story is captivating, channeling greek god myths and the like to get it’s narrative across, told through excellent CG cutscenes as well as in-game cutscenes, what’s here is compelling from beginning to end. You play as Kratos, the most bad ass of the spartans, seeking revenge on the God of War, fighting greek gods and monsters along the way, eventually becoming the God Of War yourself, but oh no, the quest is quite finished yet, hence the sequel and the eventual GoWIII. Top notch PS2 graphics spawn great looking characters, enemies, environments and so on….when part 2 came out, I thought, OK, it looks like part 1, no biggie since it looked great, but switching back and forth really showed how much better 2 looked. More enemies onscreen, more detail and levels that are incredibly huge and epic, so much so that in some areas the camera pulls away revealing everything and Kratos becomes but a spot on the screen, it was breathtaking at the time(especially for the PS2). Great audio, orchestral theatrical quality music doesn’t get old and really pumps you up during battles, voice acting is also great and convincing and adds alot to the storytelling.  And what keeps a homie coming back, the awesome gameplay…there’s only a few examples of games that actually make you feel bad ass with little effort, this being one of them of course, the level of violence on the deserving enemies just cement that fact. The fighting is combo based, but it’s just so easy to go in and start wreckin shop, that’s not to say that it’s a straight button masher, but the games won’t shrug you off if you’re new to it, and it’s incredibly rewarding if you take the time to learn some of the stuff, basically there’s plenty here for noobs, and plenty for the experts. Some level puzzles help to break up the action and keeps things fresh so you don’t burn out with too much fighting. Weapons upgrade system that makes you work for it but also opens up more and more moves as you move along. Magic attacks (can be upgraded as well) mixes in seamlessly with the fighting adding to your ass kicking repertoire. Some quick time events, mainly during boss battles, hardly ever get in the way and they reward you with health and such sometimes, they also add to the bad assness sometimes(tap a button to continually slam a door on someone’s head? HELL YEAH!). Can you tell I really love these games? 🙂

The Bad – There’s not much I can really say in this category, but for review’s sake, I’ll nitpick a little. Quick time events, you either love em or hate em, or like me, don’t mind much as long as they don’t get in the way. As mentioned, GoW has em. Difficulty isn’t an issue, if it is, the game takes note and offers to go to easy mode for you, though if you can’t figure out a puzzle, difficulty setting doesn’t make a difference and to the internets you go. Part 1 could’ve been a bit longer(took me like 8hrs my 1st time through), but part 2 fixes that(took me like 20hrs my 1st time through). There’s no camera control, but you don’t really need it, the games are smart about where to angle the views, keeping things cinematic without hampering the gameplay, but I’ll catch myself hitting the right stick sometimes out of habit.

The Ugly – Medusas, check….Ogres, check….Hydras, check…most of these greek mythology monsters aren’t pretty, that’s for sure.

September 10, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU Game Review for God Of War 1 & 2 (PS2)

GBU game review for Heavenly Sword (PS3)

Here’s a game I’ve had on my mind for awhile. I played up till the final boss, had a really hard time with him, then let it sit till my first PS3 died, lost my saves so I gotta do it again. But it’s good enough for me to wanna play through again, gotta go with a 7/10 on this one.

The Good – This is a hack-n-slash game in the style of God of War, you play as Nariko, a fiery redhead who wields the ‘Heavenly Sword’ and is able to pull off a ridiculous amount of attacks and combos with said sword and awesome acrobatics. The graphics are detailed and impressive sometimes showing hundreds of enemies on screen at once, the battles can feel quite epic at times. The story is in an old asian/kung fu movie style that is very entertaining, you gotta protect your land and clan from evil forces who want to take over and rule with the Heavenly Sword. It’s told through gorgeous in-game engine cutscenes with great voice acting. Motion captured facial expressions really add to the feeling of ‘buying’ what the characters are going through. The music really stands out and would fit well in a “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” type of film. Sometimes the action is broken up in a different style with a secondary character who yields a bow and arrow. Some quick time events, which for the most part are easy and fun, and won’t always spell immediate death if you miss a command.

The Bad – The gameplay has a sort of auto blocking system to the fighting, which can be annoying to me since I’m used to pressing a button to block in these fighting/hack-n-slash games. The bosses have an ol skool quality, where you have to learn patterns in multiple stages of a fight, but some can be irritating when you die and have to do the whole process all over again more than once. While the graphics are gorgeous overall, sometimes there’s framerate issues and some ugly screen tearing as well. Some may not like the cheesy/hammy nature of some of the characters and bosses in the storyline. The game is short, I’m talking 5-7hrs short with really nothing else to do afterward.

The Ugly – Andy Serkis, of Lord of the Rings/Gollum fame, plays a few of the characters, notably the bosses….I wish this one, General Flying Fox, was real so I could punch him in the face for being ugly and annoying :-/

September 1, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , | 4 Comments

GBU game review for Shadow Complex (Xbox360)

What’s this? Two reviews back to back? Gots to make up for last week peeps, and while downloadable games are usually the ‘bite size’ type, this one is as long as any retail game, longer if you decide to dig deeper. I’m talkin Shadow Complex, another title off the Xbox Live Arcade, it’s goes for 1200 points AKA 15 dollaz….and I’m just gonna put it on front street here, this game sucked up most of my weekend, so a 9.5/10 for me as I had an incredible time with it.

The Good – More ol skool channeling happening, in the spirit of a Metroid/Castlevania. It’s a side scrolling action platformer(also with up and down scrolling)…in a nutshell, lots of shooting, lots of jumping, lots of searching for goodies. The graphics take on Unreal Engine 3 to do it’s dirty work, so we got silky smooth animation and a nice 3D sheen goin on. Good voice acting, some may recognize the star’s voice as the guy from Uncharted and the latest Prince of Persia, the dude just comes off as a likable hero. The gameplay is easy to pick up and is tight and responsive, as long as your timing is on point, your guy will pull off everything you want him to. Shooting is a ton of fun, headshots make your enemies fly back in a satisfying way that doesn’t get old. Going in to some rooms, you have options on how to handle situations, such as sneaking in and dropping explosives, or just guns/grenades blazing, this adds tons of depth to the battle system. The real hook for me here is how the game doles out upgrades and abilities, it’s simply addicting and fun. You start the game as a camper with a flashlight and by the end you are one bad-ass soldier with a super gun, grenades, missles, a hook, armor, etc. It’s a long game and well worth the money, I finished the campaign in about 7hrs, and decided to go back and find all the hidden upgrades for like another 5 hrs, I found it to be that fun.

The Bad – I think it’s pretty obvious that I love this game, so there’s not much I feel I can put here….but, since not every gamer is the same…Some may not like having to go to rooms multiple times to get things that were out of reach before. A ton of spots will be locked or just a too far jump away, it’s not till you start upgrading that you can go back and grab all the good stuff. Some items are a little too hidden, some crawl spaces suffer from that as well. Being a downloadable game, texture map quality of the graphics isn’t the best when the camera zooms in for cut-scenes.

The Ugly – How addicted to this game I got….seriously, when I finished the campaign, I said what the heck, let’s go back and try to get some more stuff…every time I found an upgrade, I just HAD to find one more.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Shadow Complex (Xbox360)

GBU game review for Splosion Man (Xbox360)

Here’s a title off the Xbox Live Arcade, I think it’s a lot of fun and well worth the Microsoft space bucks(800 points AKA 10 bux). On the Richie Raw scale I’m gonna go with an 8/10.

The Good – Here’s a title that channels the ol skool, as in it’s a side-scrolling platform game. You play as a science experiment gone wrong, your body is a constant burning cinder as you try to get through huge laboratory style levels. As Splosion Man, you have to jump and try to solve your way around platform puzzles, kinda like some of the old Sonic The Hedgehog levels, except it’s not jumping, you “splode” to send your character boosting from one spot to the next. There’s about 50 levels or so that will keep you busy, for the most part the levels are quick, lasting no more than a few minutes. Some are even thrilling in that you get thrown around at insane speeds wondering how the heck did you make it from point A to point B, others are just brain teasers, some are very timing based, all keep you on your toes. So yeah, some solid hand-eye cordination is gonna be a must. Nice, sharp, colorful graphics. The music is quirky and reminiscent of the old Looney Tunes shows, the game’s got humor in that style as well, sometimes making me laugh out loud. Once you get on a roll of beating levels, it feels quite satisfying.

The Bad – The difficulty level….for one, it’s uneven. It goes from a fun challenge, to unfair, pull your hair out type of hard, back to fun challenge again. Maybe my hand-eye coordination isn’t tight enough, but sometimes I feel the timing of some jumps don’t exactly match to when I press the button, it’s very frustrating at times.

The Ugly – If you die alot of times in a level, the game offers you the “Way Of The Coward” option, which instantly skips you to the next level…ugly? When you start that next level, your character is wearing a tutu.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Splosion Man (Xbox360)

GBU game review for Mothership Zeta [Fallout 3 DLC] (Xbox360)

I spent a chill saturday afternoon taking care of the last of the Fallout 3 DLC(according to Bethesda, but again, they say never say never). If I gotta place this on a quality scale, here goes, best on top of course…
1. Broken Steel
2. Point Lookout
3. tie-The Pitt/Mothership Zeta
4. Operation Anchorage
…I played through it on the Xbox360, it’s also available on PC, and somewhere down the line it’ll be on the PS3…anyways, here’s my thoughts.

The Good – As usual, I’m happy with any DLC in the Fallout 3 universe that shows me some new surroundings, in this case, on board an alien spacecraft. You get to meet up with some new characters from different places in time that were abducted just like you. Audio logs strewn about the ship offer an interesting perspective on what your alien enemies really want, sometimes with hilarious results. You get access to a nice little group of alien weapons that are fairly powerful, and there’s plenty of drops on those as well. New aid items like alien biogel that can be modified so you’re patched up with 150HP(!), even better alien epoxy, repairs whatever weapon you have equipped(I haven’t tried it on earth weapons though). Some of the aliens offer a little challenge to take down, which is nice, especially when you’re at level 30. Some of the objectives are pretty cool and unique, like walking on the outside of the ship, and deathrays(!). You can return back to the ship anytime after you’re done, in case you wanna pick up whatever you left behind. Overall, if you’re a Fallout 3 crackhead like me, it’s worth having, taking my quality scale into account of course.

The Bad – The quest line is pretty linear…and a bit repetitive at times. As usual a bit short, it took me about 5 hrs, sure that’s not bad on the gameplay value scale, but on the Fallout 3 scale….maybe I’m just spoiled by the regular game :). There’s not much variety to the enemies, aliens, aliens with helmets, aliens with shields (ho hum).

The Ugly – The voice acting of the little girl you meet up with, she’s like a bad anime voice….you know, older person trying to sound young, that’s just weird to me.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Mothership Zeta [Fallout 3 DLC] (Xbox360)

GBU game review for Mirror’s Edge (Xbox360)

This jawny jawn came out last fall, during the time when alot of big hits try to cram through the market at once, though not all of them sell well, probably explains why so many ‘hits’ from this fall have been delayed till early next year. Anywayz, this is one that didn’t sell well, it was also available on PS3, and later on PC.

The Good – Original first person experience that introduces gamers to parkour. The game is set in the future, where life is on a corporate stronghold, you’re a sort of an ‘underground’ courier. Introduces a visceral feel in it’s 1st person view, as you run and jump across rooftops, swing off pipes, cranes, etc., all while being chased by 5-0 at times, can be damn exhilarating. Some areas you need to get through become essentially puzzles that can be challenging and fun. Graphics have a clean, brightly colored style, but limited in palette as to highlight where you should probably go. Audio is ambient as you hear the wind blow from the rooftops, the hustle and bustle down on the streets…and the sound of your character Faith‘s feet pitter pattering and her breathing as you jump and dodge add to the exhilaration.

The Bad – This game is NOT, I repeat, NOT a first person shooter….yet you can take guns from the officers, and when you do, not only are you limited in ammo, but control as well, seeing that your character is a gymnast and not a soldier. It’s pretty obvious the developers meant for you to not shoot, since there’s even an achievement for going through the game without doing so. I say, why give me that option if it’s going to be purposely, poorly implemented. There’s a weapon take down move that’s helpful if you just want to incapacitate the enemy so you can move on more easily(sometimes required), problem is that it’s timing based….and you know what? It simply doesn’t work right half the time, trust me, when you do a section 20x, you’ll know if it’s yourself, or just the controls not being tight enough.

The Ugly – How I almost threw my controller across the room cuz of the next to last level, the take down controls got that frustrating.

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Mirror’s Edge (Xbox360)

GBU game review for Wii Sports Resort (Wii)

I got my copy on release date 7-26-09 (which includes a Wii Motion Plus), and man, people must be expecting this bad boy to SELL. I thought I would have a hard time finding it like most Nintendo products on release day, but stepping in to Target, it was obvious, this game is probably everywhere. Why? I didn’t have to go to the gaming section, a huge stack was sitting at the front of the checkout isles, you know, the impulse product spots….that’s just insane to me. But it must’ve worked cuz in the 5 min I stood around the stack, I saw no less than 3 people just picking it up for the heck of it, like “ooh look, it’s that new Wii Sports!”.

The Good – There’s 12 activities to choose from, swordplay, wakeboarding, frisbee, archery, baseketball, table tennis, golf, bowling, power cruising, canoeing, cycling, and air sports. The Wii Motion Plus works, and well, pretty much 1:1 movement is impressive. Swordplay will bring the kid out of you as every swipe, twist and turn is registered, cool stuff. Archery is pretty addictive, as is frisbee throwing. Graphics are simple, but pleasant, colorful and with a smooth framerate. The overall package is a ton of fun and shouldn’t be missed if you enjoyed the original Wii Sports.

The Bad – Sports like bowling and golf are carried over from the 1st game, not bad to me, but I feel if you’re gonna do that, carry them all over so I don’t have to pop in the old disc if I wanna play, say, baseball. Basketball is interesting, but the shooting was kinda spotty for me, not registering the movement about 40% of the time. I was never a big fan of the 1st golf, and this one won’t win me over either, especially when it keeps registering my swings with a curve when I’m trying to be as straight as possible, very frustrating. Only comes with 1 Wii Motion Plus, it should’ve been at least 2.

The Ugly – Finally getting the Wii motion technology we were promised from the start. Also, the price of a single Wii Motion Plus, is like 20bux, it really should be like 5 so everybody with a Wiimote can get it :-/

July 28, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Wii Sports Resort (Wii)

GBU game review for Trash Panic (PS3)

Here’s a little gem I found on the PlayStation Network last week, a puzzler by the name of Trash Panic. It was only 5 bux, so I said buss it, I’ll give it a chance. I’m glad I did, here’s some thoughts.

The Good – Very fun puzzler that’s easy to pick up and play. At the start it almost feels like Tetris, so anybody can pick it up and ‘get it’, but it’s a much different game than that. Let me lay it out a bit, your view is from the inside of a trash can, from the side. Trash is slowly dropping from the top one piece at a time that you can direct as you please, you hit a button to rush it through or “smash” it. The goal is getting all the trash in a level to fit in the can without more than 3 unbroken pieces falling out. You can try to lay the trash out strategically(if you can), shake the controller which shakes the can which helps to compact the trash a bit at times. Sometimes you get lucky and a match or two comes through which burns and gets rid of some of the trash, that has it’s own strategy involved in that you can close the can lid to increase the time your trash burns. It’s very challenging and a lot of fun. Did I mention it’s only 5 bux?

The Bad – When I say it’s challenging, I mean it…..this game gets freakin hard! How hard? I haven’t passed the 2nd level yet…..I know, noober style, time to check out some gamefaqs!

The Ugly – This game has boss encounters, which consist of a big, harder to break piece of trash that you have to smash within 10 seconds, if not, you get penalty trash that you can’t break down…..UGLY! lol

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Trash Panic (PS3)

GBU game review for Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare (Xbox360)

I got to thinking about this one the other day when Activision announced that the ‘Call of Duty’ name is back in the Modern Warfare 2 title…….whatever Activision, what we have here is an awesome military first person shooter and it’s upcoming sequel should be as great if not better. Here’s my thoughts on the game that took the series out of the tired WW2 theme (which Activision made sure to take it back to). I played through it on the Xbox360, the same experience can be had on the PC and the PS3 as well.

The Good – The single player campaign has some of the most intense first person shooter action around, it’s top notch quality from beginning to end. As the title implies it’s in a modern day setting so all the weapons are current, and the locales are straight from today’s headlines. Levels that put a new spin on your average shooter such as the ‘Death From Above’ level, and the sniper levels are incredibly tense. Tons of cinematic moments weave seamlessly into the gameplay. Graphics engine that’s detailed, fast and smooth, so much in fact that the next game in the series(World At War) used the same engine and runs great on the major platforms(PC,360,PS3). Multiplayer that many gamers swear by, it’s still high up on the xbox live activity list.

The Bad – The campaign is VERY short…probably take most gamers like 6hrs. to get through…AI isn’t always the smartest…umm, there’s not much else in this game that I think is bad. Maybe the intensity will tire some out *shrugs*.

The UglyThe rap song that plays during the ending credits….talk about out of place.

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Call of Duty 4:Modern Warfare (Xbox360)

GBU game review for Ghostbusters (Xbox360)

The long awaited now-gen iteration of a Ghostbusters game finally dropped in June 2009. Released for just about everything under the sun including the Xbox360, PS3, PC and Wii. What we have here is a 3rd person shooter style action game, except you use proton packs instead of guns. I played through the 360 version.

The Good – Really captures the Ghostbusters movies’ feel. The characters represented are all voiced by the original actors, except for Vigo. Tons of fan service, from the music, to Slimer, even having Vigo’s painting at HQ. Graphics are very solid, proton packs, traps, etc, are all detailed as closely to their movie counterparts as much as possible. The first time you wrangle with a ghost and trap him, you really get a feel for being a Ghostbuster. Storyline is canon, which takes place 2yrs after the sequel. Levels are huge and imaginative taking you places you’ve never seen in the movies. Proton packs eventually update to having 4 different modes to fight ghosts, and are upgradable to help keep things fresh. I found some moments to be genuinely creepy in a survival horror kind of way, which was nice.

The Bad – Playing this on the medium/default difficulty level yields a tedious result. No joke, I couldn’t take the game for more than 20mins at a time, restarted it in the easy setting, it became 10x more fun. Old and bad game design at times, example, if I die after a checkpoint, then choose to restart at said checkpoint….I have to wait for what seems to be the WHOLE level reloading, I assume that cuz it takes like 50 seconds. Fellow AI can be pretty dumb, walking into walls, shooting you by mistake, etc. Not much variety in taking down enemies. PKE scanning system can be very clunky.

The Ugly – Seriously, having to restart the game on easy to enjoy it….this game should’ve been a Ghostbusters fan’s dream, but too many flaws keep it in the 75% rating category.

July 7, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

GBU game review for Ninja Gaiden Sigma (PS3)

Proving that 3rd party exclusives are hardly exclusive anymore, an updated version of the then exclusive Xbox360 game, Ninja Gaiden II(notice that ‘Only on Xbox360’ badge?), was announced this past E3 for the PS3, in Sigma form. Meaning there will probably be updated levels, weapons, modes, etc. Ninja Gaiden came out for the Xbox1 back in ’04, then remade as Ninja Gaiden Sigma for the PS3’s launch in 06′ with those mentioned enhancements.

The Good – Awesome, fast paced hack-n-slash gameplay that really rewards the player for learning it’s deep combo system, button mashers beware, this game will not forgive amateurs. Deep upgrade system for weapons and powers. Beautiful 1080p graphics that run at a silky smooth 60 frames per second, sure it’s an update to a last gen game, but man is it pleasing to the eye.

The Bad – Notorious for it’s brutal difficulty level, I’m not kidding, I’m sure this game was the cause for many broken xbox controllers 5yrs ago. As I stated in the good, if you learn the system you can get through it, till I got near the end, my PS3 controller almost took flight! So I had to quit. Storyline is typical japanese style action fantasy, which means it doesn’t make much sense. First you’re fighting on a zeppellin, then in a casino, then underground against a dinosaur skeleton, wait, how’d we get here again? LOL

The Ugly – The boobie physics of the main female character, seriously, they don’t stop swaying or jiggling, it’s just weird.

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Good Bad and the Ugly - Game Reviews | , , , , , | Comments Off on GBU game review for Ninja Gaiden Sigma (PS3)