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    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:22
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    I promised it, so here it is, a 'moderately' in depth review of Condemned 2 (yes, I shelled out the big bucks for you, populace! Be grateful!) I actually haven't played this game on the PS3 as the cover art may imply, but from reliable sources (IGN, Gamespot) they are both supposed to be equal is game. Besides, most reviews I've made have 360 cover art, even though they have PS3 counterparts.

    Saying fps horror has a new face would be inaccurate-- how about no face at all?

    Comdemned 2: Bloodshot
    Publisher: SEGA
    Developer: Monolith Productions
    Players: 1-8
    Genre: Survival horror FPS

    You are Ethan Thomas, once an SCU(special something something forces) investigator. Now, your an alcoholic, and with a real pissy attitude. Your called back to action when your former partner has gone missing. Not only must you find your partner and solve many more murders, but you must battle your own inner demons as well and discover a truth so demented and sick that you will never see it coming...

    The truth is both disturbing and awesome...
    For my part I haven't really seen many a horror game that has an interesting story. Or many a horror game in general to be honest (Jericho and Doom 3 aside). So I was reluctant to try out Condemned 2, but the demo won me over. Aaaaannyway, Bloodshot's storyline is probably the most compelling reason to keep coming back to this game 'til the very end. Without revealing too much, the storyline actually seems less of a horror storyline and more of a mystery movie. Don't worry, its plenty scary for more reasons, but I'll get to that. The story is told in a way that makes the player consciously or unconsciously (thats right, it ****s up your mind, fool!) try and guess what happens next in the story. The best part is that your more then likely gonna be wrong, which serves to make the storyline much more compelling as you try to figure stuff out ahead of time (only to be wrong). The storyline itself is wacky, but takes itself so seriously it becomes like Ninja Gaiden-- crazy, but serious enough that it makes the player serious. For instance, in the first game (which I haven't actually played) you track down a serial killer nicknamed SKX. In Bloodshot, you go from solving a crime and trying to figure out whats happening to you and the city to, well....lets just say it goes from 1980's time periods to that of a sci-fi movie. None of this takes away too badly from the story, but it does make it a bit harder to truly get into. Still, it all is great and leaves a great amount of room for the third game. Oh, and did I mention, your steadily going insane in Bloodshot? Must have missed that... Now the atmosphere of Bloodshot is near flawless. it knows the perfect times throw psycho bandits at you and the perfect time to build crazy levels of suspense. Like when you explore the SCU building, and lights flicker while you simply see inhuman shadows for instance. Even the house levels will make you turn every single corner twice before you enter a room. The atmosphere in Bloodshot is a marvel of the horror genre, and a much needed improvement over those lame horror games where they rely on surprise as the sole factor in making a game scary. As far as menus go, your character sees the menus on his pocket computer, a bit of a nice change from the standard 'press start to see the bland, sideways menu' of most games. They are easy to read and navigate as well. I've had connection issues in multiplayer, but its more because hardly anyone playing it then anything else.


    Ethan Thomas is no longer the shining beacon of joy he was in Condemned 1

    Tar, tar, everywhere...
    Condemned sure looks great sometimes. The splattered walls, the psychotic villains and especially the tar monsters (see? Sega made a tribute to Scooby-Doo-- that means some people DO still like that show!) who tear themselves out of the tar covered walls. The lighting effects are great at most times, and the flashlight is much needed. However, there are a few rooms and hallways, specifically in the beginning and end which are stupidly dark. These rooms are very rare, but getting attacked by 3 creatures in the dark sure can be annoying(very). The bloody and torn textures of flesh and blood in the game is sickeningly spot-on. The weapons and textures are great, and the splatting of enemies heads against your feet (or bludgeon) splat gloriously bloody. The enemies differ from one another, and few enemies look alike. The faceless Oros are great looking enemies, although getting close enough to study one without being beat up may be a challenge. However, a lot of times they just look kind of messy, but for the most part they look just like psychotics would-- scars and blood stains included. Environments are very well done, most noticeably being the run down state of the city. You truly get the feeling that the city is being turned onto an absolute nightmare, a home for the insane and not much else. The houses are ruined and broken, wood is rotting and cracks underfoot, and the amount of junk just makes you think that these guys aren't just psycho, but have a severe case of OCD. Each room is cluttered with trash, TVs, meth (laundry machines) and other things. The lights in these houses either flicker or don't work at all. Some areas where lights don't even exist (thank goodness for the flashlight) look absolutely haunted. The chairs are stacked on the tables, and the dust and fog makes you know they've been that way probably for 100 years. Other rooms just repeat themselves, however. Like in the winter cabin many of the rooms are absolutely symmetrical. The framerate does drop at occasions of intense fighting, often when many people are all trying to beat on you at once. And when it does, its pretty painful. But for the most part, Condemned 2 looks great. It just has a few issues here and there.

    The Sound of fear
    Condemned 2 is a horrific opera. And like all operas, they have the cool parts where the guy is sword fighting the villain, and the bad part where Helga the Viking fatass sings her dues. Condemned 2 is a mixed bag. While it has great effects, its music can sometimes be utterly annoying. Let me explain then...the sound effects are top notch for a horror game. Psychotics scream when you smack them in the face, and gunshots pierce the dead silence of Condemn's freaky atmosphere. Electrical pulses from SKX's torture devices and the lights resonate great, like the, well, resonators in the game. Voice acting is finely done. Ethan specifically-- his new voice serves him sell through the game. Dialogue is hit and miss though, but it all works out well with the story and all its creepiness. Music is a different story. the few times that music is in the background, its more then likely gonna annoy the he** outta you. Especially in the conveyor section of the doll factory. The music is haunting and well placed, but that doesn't stop it from being simply awful. Suggestion: turn music volume to zero when you start. All other sounds are great.

    The perfect hand to hand system in a horror game? Awesome!
    The gameplay in Condemned 2 focuses mainly on hand-to-hand combat like its predecessor. Only this time around, they absolutely nailed the melee system. Monolith took huge care to approach the suggestions of its fans, specifically regarding guarding fist combat. Tons and tons of weapons, including everything from shotguns to foosball sticks, are a major point of enjoyment in the game. Looking at each weapon and uses each one is a fun trait that lesser collectors might not really care for. Each weapon has 4 stats: Power, Reach, condition, and Speed. Power determines the damage a weapon will do, speed is how fast you can swing it, reach is the length at which it reaches, and condition is the, well, condition its in. They do break if you block too often and don't parry enough (which is easy enough to do). As for blocking, they fixed it in Bloodshot perfectly. Rather then simply doing a fast and messy parry like in Condemned 1, you can simply hold LT and RT to continuous block, or tap it to parry. You attack with each side; left being left, right being right.


    Right hook to the face, bi***!

    Also, you get upgrades after each mission depending on how well you did in the mission, which is ranked by bronze, silver, or gold. Upgrades range in anything from new sneakers to a stun gun, so they are very helpful. As for some of the lesser action-y parts of the game, there are CSI-type scenes in the game which actually require you to *gasp* think (If was tough for me, you know? When have I EVER thought prier to this?) the crime scenes are very well done, and careful observation of the scene will indeed reveal the right answer, you just need to look close. After each scene you get a grade on how well you solved the mystery scene. To aid you in these scenes you get some pretty nice equipment as well, such as a UV light and spectrometer. Back to combat. Unlike Condemned 1, guns play a far larger role in Bloodshot, although the game is still dominated by hand-to-hand. most gun battles will take place near the last mission though. Gun play works great when you've got the alchohol to steady your aim (after you get the upgrade, its good then too). In other words, for being a game all about melee combat, guns work great. Ammo is also more abundant then Condemned 1, but it still needs to be rationed. Condemned 2 easily has the best melee combat system in any FPS out there.

    FPS horror multiplayer scores points for originality
    Replay Value. I was a bit reluctant to try out multiplayer, but for RV I needed to for this review. Multiplayer is a mixed feeling--the only really fair mode, team deathmatch, is great fun. 4 on 4, melee combat where you use the shadows to your advantage. In other words, stealth is perfected in this FPS multiplayer mode. Sadly, many of my teamates didn't seem to understand that (which would explain why I was able to best my entire team in my first game...) and so, without strategy its rather boring. I moved onto a mode called crime scene where its SCU vs. Infected. The infected have two boxes, each complete with severed heads inside that they must hide, while the SCU have to search for the boxes. Now heres the downside- SCU gets guns while Infected don't. So to kill an SCU officer, you need to know how to use stealth and be able to dodge bullets, fast. Doesn't always work. More often then not the SCU will win with flying colors (unless they're blind). Then theres bum rush, a great mode to play with friends. There are two SCU with health bars visible to all and 6 Infected. The infected respawn instantly, but die in a single shot from the SCU. So it takes an average of 20 infected to kill SCU officers, rather annoying unless you have friends in the game. other then multiplayer, theres Bloodshot fight club, which is kinda like a series of bloody minigames for the game. I haven't really explored these much. As for the single player story, its fairly short. However, you might want to go back through it another time on hard or FPS mode.

    Lets get to it then! (Right on! Right on!)

    Presentation: 4.5/5
    Brilliant horror atmosphere, and intelligent(mostly) plot tie into one helluva good horror time.

    Graphics: 4/5
    While they are good and effects are well done, they're rather average in general.

    Sound: 4.5/5
    Sound effects are something this game going for it, but music is garbage.

    Gameplay: 5/5
    Great melee combat whose depth is unrivaled by any other FPS out there. Gunplay is great too, but hand-to-hand is exceptional.

    Replay Value: 4/5
    Tons to do if you like it. Multiplayer is good fun on XBL if you can find anyone actually playing. Especially deathmatch (best melee system in multiplayer rocks)

    Overall: 4.5/5

    I've met very little horror games that both thrill and chill. Monolith's new entry into their saga of Ethan Thomas does both. best horror game I've played in a long time.

    PS Screenshots by me.
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
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    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Publisher: Activision
    Developer: Infinity Ward
    Genre: First Person
    Players: 1

    Well, unlike the other Call of Duty games this one is not set in a world war its set in the more modern times (note the name). This mean you have a selection or more modern guns while still having the classics.

    The game is split up into 4 modes -
    • Requite - Stupidly Easy. This mode is really just the the first time FPS players.
    • Regular - For the average FPS player
    • Hardened - A level to give good FPS players a good challenge!
    • Veteran - No words describe how damn hard this is. You need to be a FPS god and you will still be throwing your PS3 out the window from frustration.
    Right at the start of the game it goes through the story line that you have to get a man (not saying too much). Then it puts you into a training level. Which shows you pretty much what to do. This is before even choosing a difficulty mode. This is good for the first time FPS players but its a drag for the real FPS players.

    Graphics - What can I say? Call of Duty 4 has state of the art graphics. The character models are beautiful. The guns are perfect. The framerate is stupidly smooth doesn't seem to drop at the most hectic times. Even things like the reloading make you go WOW! Explosions are done perfectly, you can see the bullets soar through the sky. It really is a fantastic experience. I am finding it hard to find something bad to say about the graphics. If i am really picky the dead ragdoll models sometimes gets limbs going through walls etc. but thats all to be expected.

    Sound - It really sounds like you are in the game. I know it sounds stupid but it really does. After playing this for a while you really find yourself getting into it little too much because of the mix of great sound and great graphics. The sound could not be more perfect. You can even hear which way the bullets are coming from, and where the voices are coming from. All the guns have there own unique sound, so if you play this game a little too much (me!) you can tell what gun it is. I really don't see how the sound could be much better than this. Nothing bad to say about the sound.

    Gameplay - The main story line is great, all varying from different types of play, stealth, sniper and running around like a idiot shooting everything that moves. Basically in the game you have to find people. Thats all i am saying. For my liking the Main story is a little too short. A longer story would be great, but when you have completed the game you still have the online play to fall back on (I will talk about this later). The story is good, everything works well, the AI is great. The only problem is the length.

    Online - This game is amazing online. I would even say it is one of the bests games online. Even up against the Online Only Game Warhawk. For a game which was designed not just for online thats very good going.

    The scoring works on XP points which go towards Ranks and Ranks go towards more Weapons and Perks. XP points can be achieved by playing games kills etc. and can also be given from Challenges. Challenges do what they say on the tin, you have challenges that you have to do while playing online (150 kills with AK-47 etc.) and when you do them you will be awarded with XP points, and if it was a gun challenge a Add-on to your gun (Scope etc.).

    The ranking system unlocks new guns and perks. Perks are sort of advantages that you unlock. (Things like bigger bullet damage, or more health, or drop a grenade when you die). The higher your rank, the better perks you get. Guns work in a similar way the higher your level the better guns you get.

    Ranks only go upto level 55, then 'prestige mode' is unlocked. Then you get the option to go back to level 1 loose all your guns and perks but have a different rank logo by your name. This is just for bragging rights really.

    Create a Class is where you can make your own class of weapons to use in a game. So when you unlock a new weapon, you can replace it with the old weapon in your custom class. Here you can choose your perks for the classes too.

    The game joining system is the one thing that lets this down. You hit find game, then hit the game you want to play and it takes ages and eventually puts you in a game. A system similar to Warhawk would of been much more effective.

    Lifespan - This game has the ability to last for ever due to the amazing online play. The main story will last a while, and when you have completed it you will get the urge to complete it again on a harder difficulty. Longer main story is a big thing in my eyes though.

    Replay Value 4.5/5
    Sound 5/5
    Graphics 5/5
    Gameplay 5/5
    Score:


    This is my first ever review, please excuse ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
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    I'm a dedicated tales fan. Really, I am. In all fairness, I have put that aside for now for this miniview.

    Ahem...cough.

    Now that thats out of the way, the 2005 addition to the Tales RPG series, Tales of the Abyss, is very much like Tales of Symphonia, from battle system to monsters. Through personal experience, I can safely say that I believe this game to have surpassed Tales of Symphonia, as awesome as it was. Aaaaannnnyway....

    In Tales of the Abyss, you are cast in the role of Luke fon Fabre, an heir to the throne of Kimlasca, one of two peaceful nations that exist in this world. Spoiled and arrogant, Luke is soon sent half across the world when trying to guard his master. The attacker, who happens to be his masters sister too gets sent with him. An adventure begins that will not only shape the futures of the two nations, but change the entire future of history itself.

    Graphics, for its time anyway, are nothing special. Slowdowns do occur at very rare instances, and for detail its about average for a game of its time. The real highlight to these are how believable the characters became, based on the small feature changes in their faces, and the slight movements of their bodies at the needed time. For its day, this was as close to lifelike as you might've gotten. Still, graphics work, but are nothing special.

    Voice acting is great. All the voice actors seem well placed in the game, with the exception of Sync and Ion, all the characters sound fine. Music is as it always has been for a Tales game...good. They even threw in a few hard rocks songs for fight scenes. Who would of though for an RPG, right? No.

    Gameplay mixes the best of the Tales genre has to offer, and some new, often useless ideas. For instance, the idea of combining Artes (special powers) with fonons (elemental forces) really makes some attacks really awesome. Sadly, if it doesn't tell you which element you attack is compatible with, how will you know? However, that is only a detail of the battle system. The FRLMS (Flex Range Linear Motion System, I think I got it right...) is the Tales series signature battle system. And like I've said before, its the best system for an RPG I've seen. I have no complaints. Its difficult to explain, but mix a bit of Kingdom Hearts, Phantasy Star Online, and a fighter game, and you've got it.

    For the presentation, they really help you to get to know the characters. Although there are mandatory cut-scenes (Like every RPG, obviously) with full voice acting, there are many, many, MANY optional cutscenes that you initiate by pressing "Select" when it gives you the options. These range from giving hints and tips as to what you ought to do next, to talking about one girls obsession of "cute" things. The storyline really is epic, and the animated cutscenes often give you a feeling of just how important your actions are in reference to the future of this world.

    And in the immortal words of the Spy...I never really was on your side. You'll know if you play it.

    Graphics: 3.5/5
    Perfectly fine for a Tales game. not so fine if your looking for something to blow you face off.

    Presentation: 4.5/5
    As always, a great tales storyline, except this one dwarfs Tales of the World by 100 fold. Menus are easily navigated, but the constant talk of fonons, and fonstones will more then likely confuse some.

    Gameplay: 4.5/5
    its great to be able to see your enemies on the overworld, hence being able to run from them, but they chase you FAST, Not as fast as Symphonia has them though. And the FRLMS only gets better and better.

    Sound: 4/5
    Voice acting is great. Pity that much of the good Tales music repeats itself for every battle. But then again, which RPG doesn't?

    Replay Value: 4/5
    Its an RPG. Enough said. It does have a few parts where you have to choose to go with one group or another, leading to a different experience. item gathering and the norm, but after you beat it....but don't expect to beat it in the first day. Or week. Or month. Its taken me at least 60 hours, and I haven't even beaten it yet.

    Overall:

    A great addition to the Tales series of RPGs. Improvements on good leads to great. Where Symphonia left off on features TotAbyss picked up. Though if your expecting an RPG where everyone is always nice and happy...heh heh.... ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
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    Endless Ocean
    Publisher: Nintendo
    Developer: Arika
    Genre: Simulation
    Players: 1

    Ok after a long wait I have finally found the drive to write up this review. I certainly hope you people like it :P So lets jump right in here. Endless Ocean. This "non-game", while not for everyone, is indeed for me. From day one I found myself interested in this unique scuba diving game. It attempts to give you an open world take on the ocean and does it very well. Heres the thing though. If you dont like exploration dont buy this game. If you do buy 3 or 4 copies so the makers think its a huge hit..

    Graphically this game is nearly on par with the greats of the console like Mario Galaxy or MP3. Notice I said nearly.. Not quite but its good. The graphics do their job of being immersion and thats all you/I want anyways right? Oh and did I mention the graphics are great only when you're in the water? On the boat they arent so hot..

    As far as the controls go you'll soon forget their are any. Its that natural. Simply point at the screen and hold the B trigger or hit - to toggle auto swim. Thats it. Just point and go. Immersive? yes. Simple? yes. Does it work? Again yes.

    The sound work is great. Plenty of breathing noises and all those underwater sounds you'd expect. Granted its nothing breathtaking but it serves to make you feel like you're drowning. One big issue is the absence of literally any voice over work. Often times you speak to other people and its completely silent minus the birds and water splashing. Very underwhelming.

    All in all its a good not great game. It does exactly what you want and little else. It does, however, have online but again NO VOICE CHAT means why bother to me.


    Replay Value 4/5 If you like the game you'll keep coming back for a very long time. The ocean is huge and theres plenty to explore.
    Sound 4/5 Dolphin noises like you've never heard them before. Also breathing and water moving noises. Whoopie.
    Graphics 4/5 Just a notch or so below Mario Galaxy and Metroid. Probably 2 notches though.
    Gameplay 4.5/5
    Score:


    Via: C*M ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
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    Article Preview


    Its actually an annoying story how I stumbled onto this one. I went to Blockbuster's to rent a game, and lo and behold they don't have Assassin's Creed, which i wanted. Or DMC4, CoD4, Eternal Sonata, Dynasty Warriors 6, or even Warriors Orochi. So, I chose between Lost Odyssey and Naruto Rise of a Ninja, Guess who won.

    Anyway, N:R of a N is a little hard to classify. Its an RPG, adventure, action, fighting game. So, ahem....

    The presentation is good, and not so good. Half the menus look great and are easily navigated, the other half are kinda glitchy. The symbols attribute to this, as half the time, I can't tell what they even mean. For a long time I thought a bowl of ramen was some kinda of blotch, just artistic license. Despite this, it detracts very little from the games smooth presentation. Story is...well, the show. So really, if you've seen the show, this game is all about gameplay. But if you haven't, this is a very good storyline, if not a little butchered.

    The graphics are easily the best looking Naruto game out there. Cell shaded characters models with very smooth animations. Backgrounds too look quite nice, although the shading is a little...interesting at times. As far as I have seen, little to no slowdown occurs. Ever. Jutsus and effects too are amazingly done. Though when in the overworld, you can usually find as least 4 of the same people within a mile radius (a bit of length) of the villages. Speaking of which, the overworld looks great, if not a little repetitive. But then again, the whole village is supposed to be of one architectural type, and it works pretty well. I could live without the skippy anime cutscenes.

    Sound is hit and miss. The voice overs for most characters are great, while a good many characters have totally new voices that are either weird or creepily done.Grunts, explosions, punches, all the sound effects are well done. Repetitive voices get annoying after a while.

    Gameplay is a wide variety ranging from great to average. The overworld was a very nice addition, as its quite large (this is no San Andreas though.), even if a lot of areas are just the same. Its kind of like a kid GTA. Still, quests are plentiful, and all around theres a lot to do here. The more jutsus you learn, the more places you can reach, too. But jutsus aren't just overworld. These jutsus(like artes in tales, magic in final fantasy, and in just about every other game too.) can all be use in combat too. Speaking of which, each time you encounter an enemy, It turns into a classic fighting. The fighting system works too; its fairly well balanced. the way jutsus work, too, is very well implemented. Not all the action takes place in the combat system, though. There are also small races you have to accomplish, where you have to get to a certain point in a certain amount of time, and tree hopping, and hide and seek....theres alot bit more then just fighting. mini versions of dungeons exist, where you avoid traps while having occasional fights. Plus, you can be more then just Naruto in story mode too, at least, thats what I can tell from achievements.

    Theres plenty to do after you've finished story mode, like playing other peoples story's and doing side quests. If thats not enough for you, you've also got an online mode where you can battle your friends in ninja tournaments. Upgrading your attacks and skills are another way to continue playing.

    Now down to the score.

    Presentation: 3.5/5
    Menus, good, story, good, just about all the presentation is good. Not great, not bad, but good.

    Sound: 3.5/5
    Does get repetitive, but sound effects and "most" voice acting is spot on.

    Graphics: 4/5
    Great cell shaded character models and well-drawn backgrounds. Naruto made a great transition into the next-gen.

    Gameplay: 4/5
    The free roam, the combat system and the leveling system all work nicely. A bit of annoying things and glitches here and there, but not many. Free roam isn't huge like San Andreas, but its fair sized. Unfortunately, you can't throw people out of their cars. Sad.

    Replay Value: 4/5
    If you like this game, theres a ton to do, between online play and other story modes. If you don't, well....your a really tough crowd.

    Overall:

    Deciding between an 8 and 8.5, I reached a climax. Everything works in the game, although nothing is really all too inspired. ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
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    Article Preview


    By that single small statement of Xulap's I reinstate thy miniviews in HH as well! Honestly, I didn't think anyone cared for them. Too bad on DCEmu they don't. Guess thats why the mods stopped bitching for a reviewer.

    Aaaaannnnyway, an anticipated title thats been in production since the PS2, Dark Sector is the story of CIA operative Hayden Tenno who has been sent on an assassination mission in Lesria, Russia. A lunatic has been reportedly trying to smuggle a deadly virus into other nations. This is no normal virus, however. It not only rusts peoples skin to steel, but turns them into an undead, or worse. Hayden caught the virus on the mission, and somehow utilizes its power in the form of a glaive.

    Graphics are disheartening for a title thats been in development for so long. The characters, specifically the main one, look great. Everything else, does not. Textures are on the bland side, and clipping issues weigh it down even more. Very little slowdown. But the reflections from gunshot and fire look great on Hayden. Animations are hit and miss. Some look great while others look...um...something.

    The story itself is bland. It begins great, just got infected, don't know whats going to happen, don't know why your doing what you are...then gets generic. Your chasing down a baddie whose trying to spread a virus. Sound like a bad episode of Justice League? It should, its practically the exact episode. Still, the interests that surround this odd virus are rather compelling. But it gets far too repetitive half way through to really matter. The crypt levels are great, though. The ambiance and the fog, the moonlight and the tombs, they all make that level truly survival horror.

    Sound is sound. The gunshots work, the screams are bloody, and the metal clanks. The cemetery levels really shine though. They're perfectly creepy. the zombies howl, the wind whistles, and you slice through demon dogs piercing snarls.

    Gameplay is good. The glaive is really one of the only interesting parts of it, but gunfights work well, if not a little odd. (Aiming seems to work sometimes and other times fail.) Still, the half-assed finisher moves I could've lived without. They rely too heavily on your sense and desire for brutal deaths then interesting cutscenes. Honestly, they went a little too far on how much the enemies scream in pain. The puzzle elements are really just Zelda junior. In fact, if gears of War and Zelda had a really lazy kid, this would be it. The cover system works, but around the corner gunfights just aren't very good. And the fact that you can't pick up weapons because your "infected" is beyond annoying. Still your powers and your elemental-glaive really make it interesting. Zombies are fun.

    So heres the verdict:

    Presentation: 3.5/5
    Boring storyline but decent menus and ambiance for some levels make it a mixed feeling. Not usually a good thing.

    Sound: 4/5
    Everything sounds like...well what it should. Nothing too interesting though, and music is there...I think.

    Graphics: 3.5/5
    Bad backgrounds meet good foreground. Let the battle of the century begin!

    Gameplay: 4/5
    Its alright, if not overused. The puzzle elements fall flat, though the cover system is alright. the glaive is quite fun.

    Replay Value: 3.5/5
    If you could bear the single player, try out multiplayer. I haven't really played it much, but I know you'll want to play it on hard mode again for the Achievements.

    OVERALL:

    Its not an 4 and not a 3.5. So I compromised. Really, we've seen it before and again and again. its just another shooter, but with a fun little melee weapon. It all works, though. ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
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    STORY

    From the WIKI page:
    "The story takes place in the sky world called Orelus. It begins at the prologue, a world being consumed by war and the skies turning to the purple color of sadness following the downfall of the Kingdom of Kahna. The Kingdom of Kahna gets conquered by the Granbelos Empire, headed by Emperor Sauzer, taking Princess Yoyo captive and forcing the defenders of the kingdom to withdraw in defeat."
    The story is good, but it seems to drag on a little painfully at times. Of course, I'm basing this on a fan translation... Though you can tell that there wouldn't be much difference otherwise.

    Most of the back story is "optional". You get to hear more through cutscenes by talking to certain characters. This is good if you want to get straight to the action, but it leaves you a bit unsatisfied if you don't talk to everyone every chance you get.

    Where the story shines is in the characters. They each have a distinct personality, which gives you a strong sense of attachment. Matelite and Taicho add some very welcome comic relief, Yoyo is a chick that actually grows on you and Rush really gets you into the action with his upbeat persona.

    All and all, it's pretty solid and enjoyable.

    ----------------------------------------

    SOUND
    http://www.hotlinkfiles.com/files/12...tLagoonCDE.mp3

    The music, oh god the music. If you enjoy the music from Final Fantasy 6, Secret Of Mana etc... Then the music in Bahamut Lagoon is gonna grow on you.

    The only problem is, that the same songs get played too often. For the most part you hear one song for the enemy phase and one for the player phase. It gets repetitive pretty quick... But it's enjoyable, so I don't really care.

    The actual sound effects are top notch too. Sword attacks sound like sword attacks, fire spells sound like fire spells... And there's a great deal of them to go around.

    ----------------------------------------

    GRAPHICS

    This is one of those games that make me which they would go back and do some more SNES games. It proves that with the right team, visuals can rival that of PSX games.

    Did you think the enemies in Final Fantasy 6 looked awesome? What about the backgrounds? Well, take all of those graphics, add even more polish (doesn't seem possible, but they pulled it off) and animate nearly everything. Yes, I said animate. Probably 95% or so of all the enemies and characters are animated to some degree. You'll take one look at them standing still and say "Holy crap! That looks freakin' sweet!!!". Then once they attack and show off their fluid animation, you'll most likely crap your pants.


    It also takes advantage of some awesome MODE7 effects for backdrops during the cutscenes. Probably some of the best I've seen.


    The only reason I didn't give the graphics a perfect score, is because some of the animations are a little whacky. If you've fought a chimara, you'd agree that it's hard to tell what the hell is going on with it's legs. This reason, and the fact that Star Ocean/Tales Of Phantasia have it beaten are why it gets a 9.0.

    ----------------------------------------

    GAMEPLAY

    This is gonna be a long one...

    Gameplay is what makes this game so enjoyable. It's your standard strategy RPG affair (ala Final Fantasy Tactics), but with a few major twists.

    First off, each troop consists of multiple characters. When it's your turn you can move, attack, heal, blah blah blah... The thing is, there's two different ways to do everything.

    You can attack/heal on the field as in FFT mentioned above (this is mainly done with long range attacks/spells), or you can go straight up to the enemy and begin a turn based battle. Turn based battles net you more EXP, gold, items and are generally stronger... While field attacks get you fewer of said things, but can't be counter attacked.


    Another big twist are the dragons. Each troop get's there own dragon, to which they can issue commands (Go!, Come!, Wait! etc...).

    That's not the cool part though... In between each battle, you get the chance to feed your dragons items you've won. Each item has a different effect on it's stats. Fire Rods will give your dragon points in "Fire", "Attack" and "Wisdom". Ice Armor will give it points in "Ice", "Defence" and "HP". You get the picture.

    The elements cap out at 100. After it gets one point in any element, it will learn an attack in said element... For each 10 points after that, the level of that attack will raise by one. Changing it's animation and strength.

    For each elemental attack a dragon learns, it's troop will learn attacks based on that element as well... So if you have a troop with a wizard in it and the dragon is of the fire element, that troop will be able to use a fire base range attack on the field and fire based spells in battles. Also, if your dragons fire element is at level 6, the attacks your troop have will be as well.


    This game has another thing I'll call "stacking". Say you have one wizard with a LVL 4 ice spell. Put that wizard in a troop with another that has a LVL 9 ice spell. This will give you the ability to use LVL 13 ice spells (only on the field, as allies take turns in battle). Put a healer with LVL 6 light element in with a LVL 5, a LVL 8 and a LVL 3... You'll be able to use LVL 22 healing spells.

    The only reason I gave gameplay an 8.5 as opposed to 10, is the lack of controls over the dragons... This is SERIOUSLY going to piss you off. One dragon has 200 HP missing out of say 4,000. Does it need to be healed? NO!!! But the healing dragon doesn't seem to give a damn. He wants his friend to be in tip top shape. Another thing... Say your dragon has LVL 10 fire skills and LVL 1 poison skills. It'll go ahead and try poison more often then you'd think. Stupid bastards...

    ----------------------------------------

    CONCLUSION

    This is seriously one of those gems that needs to be played. If you're not into strategy RPGs, at least check it out for the music or just to gawk at how great the enemies look. Sure the dragons will make you shake your head in sadness from time to time, but this is how it would be in reality (if dragons actually existed). Teaching a dog to use Fire Breath on ice enemies, and Thunder Blow on earth enemies isn't a sure thing... He's bound to mess it up sometimes.

    Story 4.5/5
    Sound 4.5/5
    Graphics 4.5/5
    Gameplay 4/5
    Score:
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
    1. Categories:
    2. Nintendo DS News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    My current game of play has been CSI:Crime Scene Investigation (Dark Motives)....

    After thorough game playing I would personally give I high recommendation on this particular game.

    But I do suggest you have a complete read of the instruction manuel before playing, NOT A QUICK SCAN! or you will struggle to progress through the differant stages. I do beleive this game is good in the respect it is has a detailed and fuffiling feel to it, this is no cluedo! On the other hand there are the expected floors, some of the clues are so unobvious and hidden to the naked eye this can almost make certain areas impossible complete, I admit I had to search for a walkthrough to give me hints (not an easy task in it's self so I suggest contacting me if this is an issue). Once i realised all the differant areas of clue detction it was an enjoyable experience, this is why I suggest full manuel reading! There are high quality film sequences, large collection of tools and detection devices, locations and characters which add to that oh so wanted CSI TV SERIES FEEL! I think the game could of been slightly longer but considering the large amount of detail etc and it being a Nintendo Ds game it was satasfactory. This a trully wonderful game to keep going back to, for those of us who like snooping around and solving mysterys! ...
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
    1. Categories:
    2. Nintendo Wii News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Okami
    Publisher: Capcom
    Developer: Clover Studio
    Genre: Adventure
    Players: 1

    Okami was a game that I was first intrigued by simply because of its art style. The game looked absolutely gorgeous and it had my interest immediately. Knowing little more than that about the game, except that my sister planned to buy it day one, today I got to play it. It immediately felt like LoZ:TP wolf mode in good way. Like Zelda with way more style. Well not quite Zelda.. But close. You begin with none of your actual powers (Sound familiar?) but that doesn't last long at all. In 2 hours you should have 2-3 of you brush techniques acquired and you'll be well on your way. You'll be wondering how this game will stretch to 30 hours but apparently it does! The brush work is fun, quick and easy especially when compared to the PS2's offering 2 years back. Other than the lackluster dodging with the nunchuck this game feels like it was built for the Wii.



    Combat is fast and fun but not as often as some action games. Theres plenty to keep you interested in between battles however. I found myself enjoying myself doing practically nothing because of how it looked. Just running through a cave is almost fun. Other than that there are plenty of side quests and smaller missions to keep you very busy for a long time.

    My biggest complaint is easily the voices of the characters. They sound like the people from Animal Crossing if their vocabulary was badly reduced. Very unpleasing to your ears. Its a wordy game too so get used to high pitch mumbling noises.



    With that being said its an amazing game. My biggest complaint is something that most would find trivial and has no serious effect on the game. If you have not played Okami or maybe its been a while you absolutely have to buy this game. For a budget title this game is simply amazing. $40. Go buy it. In fact buy 5.

    Score:
    by Published on January 1st, 2011 16:21
    1. Categories:
    2. Nintendo Wii News,
    3. DCEmu Games Reviews

    Wii Review by zzt
    LostWinds
    (Avalible on Wii shop channel under WiiWare)

    Publisher: Frontier Developments
    Developer: Frontier Developments
    Genre: Adventure
    # of Players: 1
    Price: 1000 Wii points ($10)

    Overview:
    In LostWinds you play as Toku, a young boy who finds a piece of the Spirit Stone that contains the spirit of wind Enril, and the two set off on a quest to seal off an ancient evil that has invaded the island of Mistralis.

    Gameplay:
    In this game the player uses the wiimote/nunchuck combo.The nunchuck is mainly used to control Toku, the little boy. He climbs and reacts automatically. The most you have to do is push Z make him pick up objects. Then comes the main reason this game is so great, the Wind. The Wiimote is used to control the on screen cursor (the spirit Enril) to put the power of wind in your hands. Just move the cursor, and a sudden breeze wisks by anything nearby. This in itself is very amusing as people react, trees sway, and the grass and flowers flow at the mere signs of the wind. Then the A and B buttons come into play. Holding A creates a gust of wind, letting one do a number of things, the first and formost of which is letting Toku jump. Just draw a gust of wind under Toku and he is wisked upwards. Later you can draw what is known as a "slipstream" with B to create a wind current, of which I will let you discover its uses. As one of the first Wiiware games, I just have to say this kind of gameplay is so refreshing. There WILL be moments that you think to yourself " that is just amazing..." when you discover the true power of the wind.


    Graphics:
    There are some games that have good gameplay but poor graphics, and vice versa. This game on the other hand lets you have your cake and eat it too. What I mean is that while the gameplay goes above and beyond, the graphics are PHENOMENAL! The pictures almost speak for themselves. The game takes place on a 2D plane with 3D graphics with maybe a bit of cellshading. The style seems to be a mix of Native American/Aztec. The closes thing it resemebles to me is LittleBig Planet, a PS3 game for crying out loud! Seriously though, there are many games on the Wii that cost 5 times this much and do not look anywhere near this good. I can only hope other developers take a que from this and start taking advantage of the Wii as such.


    Sound:
    Another one of my favorites. The sound also takes a que from the Aztec/Native American style as it consists of drums and flutes. There seems to be only this one song through the main parts of the game but it is so beautiful and calming you will not mind. Battles do have a small melody that comes into play when enemies are in the area.

    Replay Value:
    Alas, every rose must have its thorn. If there was one issue with this game, it is its length. The game time clocks in at about two and a half to three hours, maybe four if you find all the secrets. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT let this turn you off, as this is really only a quality over quantity issue. The time you spend with this game is one of a great experience. Not since Okami has a game inspired me this much. Also remember that the game is only $10. You will more than likely want to play this one again from time to time, so take that into consideration.

    Conclusion:
    What a game. After playing this, I cannot wait to see what else can be done with the Wii and its WiiWare. The graphics and gameplay are great, the sound is wonderful, and the only reason not to get this game is if you are looking for a high energy, bloody, gory, action intense game. Even if you did somehow mistake this game for one, you would still have a great time.

    Score:
    I wish there was a way to give a score with only a quarter of a point off (like a 4.75) but I have to work with what I have. Due to the relative short length of the game, which is only a small complaint, mind you, I give this game a:



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