reviews

Dead Space

Dead Space is a third person, over the shoulder, sci-fi based, survival horror game.(damn thats a long opening sentence.) It starts out with your character, engineer Isaac Clake, and a small crew boarding the U.S.S Ishimura. A planet cracker class space ship. The Ishimura has been sending out an S.O.S call and you’ve been assigned to asses the situation and repair it.

Shit goes terribly wrong when everyone gets attacked by a creepy something within the first five minutes of gameplay and you get seperated from the rest of your group.(true survival horror fashion.) Now you and two other crew members, a scientist and a security officer, must survive long enough to find a way off the ship.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward. Theres not really a whole lot of wandering around to do. Little spaces here and there with some item pickups. But most of the time youll be walking down halls to grab some item and back while waiting to be attacked.

The game features somthing I dont think ive ever heard of in a game. Your enemies can only be killed by taking their limbs off. Thats right. You can shoot them in the head all you want. Hell even take it clean off their shoulders. Theyll still come after you. Some will even regenerate body parts or spawn more freaky little spawns of hell while fighting you. It makes for a pretty unique play experience where you dont have a set health for enemies. You can blast away at the torso all day and go through all your ammo and still not kill an enemy. It forces you to be really strategic with your aiming to conserve your slightly limited ammo.

It should be noted that there is no HUD for this game. Everything you need appears on screen in the form of halograms. Health, air, and stasis(time freezing power!) gauges are displayed on the back of Isaacs RIG. Ammo is displayed as a little box whenever you ready or fire a weapon. Inventory, mission objectives, maps, and mission logs appear through a menu holograms that springs forth from Isaacs arm. Hell, you can even make a line appear that lays out a path to your next mission destination. Finally no more wrong way, where the hell do i go now backtracking!

The soundtrack is just flat out creepy. It just adds the perfect tone to a deserted ship with a bunch of moving shadows. It really put me in that on edge feeling where I ended up moving slowly expecting to be attacked at any moment. Imagine being in a slow moving elevator and hearing a female voice whisper the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star slowly.. Its just plain unsettling.

A few things I have a major gripe with though. The controls, especially movement seemed awkward. Moving my character just felt slow and clunky. Kinda like playing survival horror games on the original Playstation. And then the many times I didnt hold L1 down firm enough, so I started melee attacks. So then I had to let go, let the animations stop, get hit a bunch of times and then try again. I remember one time in particular where I almost got beat down to death because it wouldnt register me readying my gun before attacking for what felt like 2 minutes. The second being this game was obviously made for HDTVs. I have an SDTV and often found myself straining or just plain giving up on reading any text that appeared in the menus.

Dead Space is a pretty short game. You can do a playthrough in about 10-15 hours. Theres a lot of trophies to be collected for it though. Enough to warrant maybe two or three replays, but I cant see myself playing this game much after I 100% it. I heard theres talk of some DLC for it, but as of my last checking the only DLC was a video comic series that detailed what happened before the game, and a some new outfits.

All in all, Dead Space has a quality storyline to it with some marvelous new ideas that are perfectly executed. It will scare the shit outta you. It has a few control mechanics that I wish wouldve been changed. Even still, I would go so far as to say this is a must own game of the year.

I give it a 9/10

Comments (0) – Posted on Monday, October 27 @ 8:39 AM by Xepher


PAIN

I’ve had this game for about two months or so. The game itself is available for $9.99 on the Playstation Store. The concept is fairly simple. Launch your character of a slingshot and try to do as much damage to them and the surrounding environment as possible.

[Gameplay]
One giant slingshot + one crazy punk+ a completely destructible city= A world of PAIN. A recent update allows you to earn PSN trophies, and there are in-game trophies as well. The game itself comes with one character with three unlockable outfits, and another character to unlock, the Downtown map, which has three modes, PAINdemonium(do anything), mime toss(grab the mime and throw him through the glass panes), and spank the monkey(launch yourself into the monkeys that pop up on screen). Additional characters are available for $0.99 each and an extra mode, fun with explosives, is available for Downtown for free. For another $5.99 you can buy the newly added Amusement Park. Which features the Abusement Park mode, Hot n cold(find the target teddy bear), and clown toss(grab the clown and throw him into the barrels scattered over the park).

[Multiplayer]
Get together with up to four of your friends to have fun in three multiplayer modes each for downtown and abusement park. Downtown has HORSE(this should be obvious how this works), Fun with explosives(where you compete to see how many times you can blow yourself up in three launches) and bowling(where youre the ball and your friends use obstacles to try and stop you from knocking down pins). The Abusement park has TRAUMA(exactly like HORSE), fun with explosives, and Call Da Shot(where your opponent sets items for you to hit and everyone bets on if you can hit them.) The only downside here is that there is no online mulitplayer.

[Controls]
The controls here are pretty easy. Aim, Launch, you can drift through the air until you hit something/someone, you can grab in any direction with the cross, triangle, square, circle buttons, use the direction button to “ooch” after you’ve hit something. Ooch essentially drags your character around the ground or through the air.

[Sound]
There is no real soundtrack for this game. Theres one song the play in the main menu and thats it(it is a pretty rockin’ song if do say so myself). In-game you hear sound effects of the environment, people yelling, stuff breaking, your character cursing up a storm as you smash his groin into a flagpole, etc. You can also play the songs you have stored on your PS3′s hard drive.

[Replay Value]
This game doesn’t have an end. Its all non-stop smash, reset, repeat. Honestly I never get tired of this game. Ive spent hours thinking up new ways to injure my character and destroy everything. And with the addition of PSN trophies, I spent even more time trying to earn some of the hardest ones.

[Overall/tl;dr]
PAIN is a blast… into a wall. Maybe its my 13 year old male mentality of finding joy in blowing stuff up and injuring myself, but this game never gets old for me. The controls are easy to pick up and after a short tutorial youre ready for some PAIN. The sound effects are a riot. New PSN Trophies add extra challenge and extend the life of the game. Really, the only problem I have with this game is that the original game is pretty basic, and you get charged for more characters and another map/play modes. I dont really have a problem with it, but Im sure many people do.

I give it a 8/10

Worth a buy?: Yes.

Comments (0) – Posted on Friday, October 3 @ 6:25 AM by Xepher


Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES


Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES for PlayStation 2.

So yeah, I've watched Xepher play about 30 minutes or so into the original "Persona 3" (UNDUB hack), which was all pretty weird to me until I played it myself.

Note: This is an incomplete review since I've only played a high number of hours into the game. This version is Persona 3 FES (UNDUB hack) with japanese audio and english subtitles using original BGM music patch.

Plot/Gameplay: 9.0
Short and sweet to the point here.. So, you're this Japanese high schooler who magically has the power to summon multiple personas (think GFs from FF8 or summons from FF7) and you team up with high schoolers (plus others) at a dorm, although they are only able to summon a single persona, which seperates your power from all the others. The high schoolers at your dorm invite you to join their group called SEES (Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad) because they fight an enemy called the "shadows" and want your strength to help fight them. This is one core part of the gameplay where you can choose to go to a place called Tartarus (the source of where the shadows are coming from) during the Dark Hour (around midnight) and gain EXP/levels/levels for personas/skills/etc. The reason for heading off into Tartarus is to find the answers behind that place and to learn more about the shadows.

The other part of the core gameplay is going to school. You basically can increase your academics, charm, and courage through this part. By doing so, you can also go to various clubs and meet new classmates/students to unlock a variety of different personas and levels by producing a healthy relationship with one another. "After School" is when you have the freedom to choose how to spend your time and a majority of the activites will take up the entire night which loops straight back to the first core part of the gameplay explained above. You can typically call this part a "makeshift dating sim".

The thing I like most is the pacing and this does not just affect solely gameplay. The battle system is overly easy and nothing extremely complex involved here. You summon different personas which each have different skills/elemental attacks and you can later on create fusions of personas to wield stronger ones. Your classmates/SEES teammates are AI controlled and actually know how to combat the enemy which is another plus for me. No random battles are involved, so you can see the enemy and avoid or provoke an attack. You can even group your party or prioritize defeating shadows. You are in control of yourself and there is a maximum of 3 other party members where you may select who battles with you.

This all becomes uplifting as soon as you start playing, but once you've dug into the game for quite awhile or even more, you start to notice the repetition in everything. But, as the days in the game pass by, there are usually always new events occurring which may or may not be anything big.

Sound/Video/Graphics: 8.5
Well, I will give the intro music and opening a nice plus. You can expect typical anime-related themes in this quite strongly. There are very few anime sequence videos as far as I've progressed, which isn't a bad thing, but I'd personally like to have seen more (at least as far as I've been). The actual BGMs are repetitive for going to school, dorm, and other places. As you progress in Tartarus, you obtain the selection of changing the BGM. I found the option of changing it to be too late in the game, but, oh well. The overall sound is pretty average, but with some uplifting and upbeat BGMs which will get repetitive over time. The japanese voices are pretty good in relation to all the different situations.

The graphics aren't anything spectacular you would find in FF10 or FF12 at very best. The game runs on a "static" overhead-angle 3rd person view which you are able to rotate left and right throughout the game, excluding the battles. It seems to be practical, unless it would constantly change in other RPGs where angle views change in different maps. You won't find any realtime mouth/lip movement, 2D to 3D animation changes, etc.

Conclusion:
The only reason I came to play this is because of the popularity I heard it garnered. I like the flow and pacing which might honestly be too fast for some players. You won't have to sit through hugely long drawn out story sequences, but it seems to be more broken up in a consistent manner, just expect to be talked to and make certain dialog decisions 95% of the time.

If they added more dialogue sequences during parts of each day, it would probably be more burdening and repetitive, as well as the pacing being off. I am only assuming if it is similar to what you choose to do "After School", but if it was more interactive or different in some way, it might be exceptional.

Again, I wish there had been more actual anime video sequences, but that's just me. The anime video sequences actually replace the full motion videos seen in a majority of today's RPGs.

But.. again, as days pass in the game, there is something new your classmates or other people talk about which keeps just that bit of freshness.

If I make it through this game, I might be highly interested in the upcoming Persona 4. There is also an anime based on Persona 3 which takes place a couple of years after it's events, which I'll be sure to check out too.

Comments (0) – Posted on Sunday, August 17 @ 8:03 AM by Kuronosu


Final Fantasy VII -Crisis Core-

The much anticipated Final Fantasy VII -Crisis Core- is finally out in the states. After much fiddling around with firmware shit I finally got it working. Its pretty much everything you’d expect from Square-Enix. Pretty boy main characters, graphics to die for, and a soundtrack thats as close to an orgasm that many who play the game will ever get without giving it to themselves.

The game puts you in control of Zack Fair, SOLDIER 1st class and starts before the original FFVII leading up the events at the start of the game. It opens up a whole lot of back story not only for FFVII but Dirge Of Cerberus as well.

Theres been a split a Shin-Ra’s SOLDIER division. Genesis, SOLDIER 1st class has split from the group and taken Angeal, SOLDIER 1st class as well as a bunch of other 1st and second classes with them. You must team up with Sephiroth, Tseng of the Turks and even Shin-Ra grunt Cloud as you explore the country on missions in search of clues to lead you to them. And find out why they, more importantly Angeal your mentor, left the company.

{Gameplay}
The game plays out much like FFVII the the PSX with a few exceptions. Theres no world map. Youre taken straight to the town that you need to be at. The random battles are all on the area map and play out more like a beat ‘em up KH than a typical FF. And last but not least: No random battles. Thats right say it with me: NO RANDOM BATTLES!! HOORAY!!! All battles take place at certain places, and always the same place along the games very linear map. And for the most part when you win that battle it never comes back again. Its so nice to go the wrong way through a maze and not get bombarded with battles every five steps on the way back.

{Controls}
The entire existence of Crisis Core takes place on the area map. You can walk around freely for the most part. Theres a lot of invisible walls in what look like pathways in Midgar. The battles play out a lot like Kingdom Heats where you’re on the area map and can run around freely attacking monsters. The various Materia you find throughout the game can be equipped to add weapon skills, and magic to your battle menu. Limits are in the game but theres a new twist: the DMW. The DMW is like two slot machines put together spinning in the left corner of your screen. The one set of slots is a series of numbers that give you beneficial rewards such as no MP cost during battle or Invincibility. The other is pictures of characters that you have met throughout the the game. When three of the same characters line up, you preform a limit break specific to that character. Also when the characters line up, the number reel will spin again. Depending on the combination of numbers you may level or your materia may level up or nothing at all will happen. This is the only way that you or your materia level up. After you collect a summon materia, the character reel may randomly change to the summon reel. There you will have a chance to use one of your summons.

{Sound}
A lot of songs have been remastered from the original soundtrack. Theres also a lot of new songs for you to get your groove on to. Its pretty sweet guitar shredding.

{Replay Value}
After you beat the game you can start a new game plus with all items, gill, materia, levels, play time and accessories that you had found in the first play through.

{Overall/tl;dr}
Same basic stuff you expect from S-E beautiful visuals, amazing music, and a pulse stopping storyline. The only problems I have are from DMW being the only way to just about everything. I’ve managed to go two whole chapters without a level up. Ive only used a summon twice. Limits are really infrequent. It just seems like you end up relying on Luck way too much in this game.

I give it a 7/10

Comments (0) – Posted on Tuesday, April 1 @ 6:47 AM by Xepher





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