Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls changed the way I play video games.  Every other modern game seems undemanding in comparison, and certainly not half as fulfilling.~Eric Hollis

Dark Souls 2

The original Dark Souls is one of my favorite titles of all time.  Truth be told, I hated it the first time I picked it up.  I couldn’t even defeat the first boss, and in a fit of geek rage I took the game back to the store, vowing to play something more enjoyable. This decision to give up so easily haunted my pixilated nightmares.  Six months later I attempted it again and I’ve never looked back, it’s slowly becoming one of my favorite games of all time.  The main reason: it’s so damn rewarding.  Sure, it’s tougher than leather, but also completely fair, impatience and bad timing are your greatest enemies, not the gigantic bosses who can (and will) demolish your health bar in one well-timed combination. Needless to say the sequel had a lot to live up to.

Dark Souls 2 - Gameplay

Thankfully From Software hasn’t made many changes to the original formula that still feels so close to perfection.  The game is a lot prettier graphically than the original, oceanfront hub Majula is certainly a more visually comforting place than Firelink Shrine, though both areas function exactly the same.  Bosses are consistently brutal and seem to appear a lot more frequently, and normal enemies can still take your souls after one ill-timed blocking attempt.  Prepare to die.  Often.

Dark Souls 2 - Gameplay

Dark Souls 2 also never holds your hand or provides more information than absolutely necessary.  I’ve had numerous friends restart entirely after finding out they were using items the wrong way or making character builds that just don’t succeed in combat.  I even completely respec’d my own character after I realized that a very strong shield was needed to get past a certain boss.  Granted, you can locate tons of information on the internet, but that takes away all of the gratification earned by figuring things out for yourself.  Playing this with a walkthrough will completely rob you of one of the most worthwhile and demanding gaming experiences out there.

Dark Souls 2 - Gameplay

One major tweak that might infuriate gamers is the new health bar reduction.  When you die, a small portion of your health bar is permanently removed.  The only way to restore it is with a very rare item called an effigy; these also essentially replace humanity from the first game.  This new twist on the formula made me a lot more cautious at first, but eventually I just learned to function with half a health bar at all times.

Dark Souls 2 - Gameplay

The other major change is the ability to fast travel from the very beginning of your quest.  The player didn’t gain this ability until roughly halfway through the original and it definitely changes the overall pacing of the game for the better.  I was never faced with conquering one boss to move forward, there were always at least three paths open to me I could utilize at any time.  This overcomes this sheer frustration I felt on the first title when I was stuck in Anor Londo for over a week trying to best Orenstein and Smough.  There are always multiple options in Dark Souls 2, which in a title this exhausting can never be a bad thing.

Dark Souls 2 - Gameplay

Dark Souls changed the way I play video games.  Every other modern game seems undemanding in comparison, and certainly not half as fulfilling.  When I walk up to an unopened treasure chest I always take a precautionary swing.  Always.  Even if I think there is no danger, I do it just in case the chest turns into a toothy monster ready to devour me down to the marrow.  I expect a trap around every corner because there usually is one.  It’s made me a shaky, paranoid mess and I’ve begged for and enjoyed every single second of it.

Dark Souls 2 - Gameplay

Dark Souls 2 is more addictive than pure heroin.  I’ve never done heroin, but I have a few friends that have.  I’m basing this statement on how quickly they were willing to sell me their game collections to obtain more heroin.

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360)

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Red Dead Redemption is a game that really is unparalleled when held up to any other current title. It is more vibrant and alive than any game, including GTA IV. ~Geoff Calver

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption is an awe-inspiring game. From the get-go, Red Dead Redemption fascinates with its unique characters, witty dialogue, deep storyline and beautiful game world.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

Red Dead Redemption begins, appropriately enough, in the small city of Blackwater, a town at the edge of the wild west. As John Marston, the hero of the game, gets off a boat with two federal agents, a car is lifted by a crane from the ship onto a dock. A newspaper boy calls out headlines and a train waits at the station, ready to carry passengers into the wilderness beyond.

This opening scene segues into a train ride. As Marston looks out the window, we, the gamer, see plains turn into desert plateaus. As the sun sets, John Marston listens to ladies describe the savages who live in the west and a preacher explains to a young woman that only through an acceptance of God into their lives can people reach heaven.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

These opening scenes set the tone for the game. The car arriving represents the onward thrust of modernity into a west that, in 1911, was still very wild. The land of Red Dead Redemption is one of liars, thieves and murderers. But it is not a soulless world, and that is something that lends the game a stark beauty. Amidst the gorgeous yet savage setting, there are people with good hearts who need saving but who also, frequently, offer help to Marston.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Marston is a former outlaw tasked with bringing his old comrades to justice. The newly formed Bureau in Washington, DC has taken his wife and child hostage in order to force him to help bring law back to the wild west. And in his journeys, Marston meets a huge variety of characters.

A small sampling of the characters would introduce you to a well-educated, well-grounded young woman who prefers ranching and lassoing wild horses to civilization and banking; an old woman who is waiting by a church for the man she intends to marry, unaware that he died 20 years ago, madly in love with her, and is buried in a cemetery nearby; an enterprising swindler with a flair for histrionics and musician who sleeps with whores and who implores with you to convince his wife to stay with him. Some of the characters are downright evil and some who appear evil at first are shown to have a soul after all. And that isn’t a coincidence, as Marston himself is a reformed outlaw, forced back into a life he wanted to leave behind.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

The characters in Red Dead Redemption are truly human, and that is a high compliment, because most games feature wooden characters who drop one liners and stiff discussions with pregnant pauses. The characters in Red Dead Redemption are unique, expressive and wonderfully voiced. They come to life, and with them, the world of Red Dead Redemption is made vibrantly real as well.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Red Dead Redemption’s most prominent feature is simply it’s landscape. Spread over a huge area, Red Dead Redemption encapsulates the American west. Great plains give way to huge, snowcapped peaks which transition to wetlands, mesas, deserts and canyons. There are hidden treasures in the landscape. Caves, waterfalls, lakes and small chapels nestled in the hills. Striking through the middle of the game world is a large river which separates the United States from Mexico, which is equally gorgeous with its scorching, hot days and star-filled nights.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

This is a believable world. Animals chase each other through the wilderness, lightning flashes in the distance as a storm approaches. The light of late afternoon is harsher than the light of early morning. Characters request your assistance on the side of the road; some with intentions, some with bad. Travelers halt their horses to relieve themselves in the woods before continuing on their journeys and every once in a while the sounds of a shootout carry on the wind.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Red Dead Redemption is a game that really is unparalleled when held up to any other current title. It is more vibrant and alive than any game, including GTA IV. It’s landscape is diverse, huge, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. It’s analysis of the retreat of the wilderness is simple and elegant. It’s characters are more alive than any that have come before them, and the sheer amount of things to do in the world of Red Dead Redemption is nearly endless.

Red Dead Redemption - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot-

Red Dead Redemption is a game that I heartily recommend to everyone. It is a Rockstar Game, so it isn’t intended for youngsters with its violence, seedy characters and stark portrayals of life in the west, but it is an essential game in that it truly represents a step from interactive medium to an emotional, involving, beautifully created experience that truly blends the line between cinema, game, and art.

World of Tanks

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World of Tanks Xbox 360

I would have gotten more enjoyment out of World of Tanks if the learning curve was a little more gradual. Unfortunately, the game throws you into the fray with about as much wartime knowledge as Maxwell Klinger.  This is certain to minimally frustrate even the most seasoned gamer. ~Eric Hollis

There’s something about reviewing a free-to-play game that makes me feel extremely ungrateful.  I’d never complain about a free lunch, or a mercy hand job, so I certainly have no room to complain about a free game, right? Wrong. But at least World of Tanks doesn’t feel like either a free-to-play crapfestival or a micro transactional grind, both of which make it an extremely refreshing and pleasant change, especially on the 360.

World of Tanks - Xbox 360

If you love blowing up tanks with other tanks, you couldn’t ask for a better game.  While the content is a little dumbed down from the PC version, you still can choose between multiple vehicles from American, German, and British stables.  Upgrading said vehicles can become a chunky grind. Even if you are willing to throw down real cash for a new ride, you still have to play multiple matches with each vehicle to move to the next tier.  The higher-level beasts will take most players weeks to obtain, and that’s with a lot of dedication and perseverance.  One hundred plus hours of gametime that cost absolutely zero is nothing to scoff at, especially when you aren’t getting something that feels even close to a budget title.  Hell, I’ve played tons of sixty-dollar games that, by comparison, should be ashamed they charged at all.

World of Tanks - Xbox 360

The premise of World of Tanks is simple—it’s a third-person shooter that uses tanks instead of soldiers.  Players participate in large 15 on 15 battles that involve either capturing a base or annihilating the enemy team.  The seven included maps represent varied terrain. Fortunately this concept works very well. As far as control, besides a few tweak to the aiming, if you’ve ever played Battlefield, you’ve already learned everything about the actual controls you need to know.  There’s also a very brief tutorial that explains how to traverse the map.  Unfortunately, map use is about all that is explained, which led to my biggest frustrations with this title.

World of Tanks - Xbox 360

The biggest problem with the game is the sheer lack of critical information.  Nothing is ever explained in detail, with the exception of a few scant loading screens. Armed with only minimal quality instruction, I felt extremely over my head during almost every match.  Why do tanks disappear off the map at random?  Why do my shots immobilize enemy players as often as they do no damage whatsoever?  Why can I crush some objects like aluminum cans yet others stop me dead on my treads?  I would have gotten more enjoyment out of World of Tanks if the learning curve was a little more gradual. Unfortunately, the game throws you into the fray with about as much wartime knowledge as Maxwell Klinger.  This is certain to minimally frustrate even the most seasoned gamer.

World of Tanks - Xbox 360

My other issue is the rhythm of gameplay.  In World of Tanks you never respawn in the match; death is always permanent.  With that, hastiness in battle never proved to be an intelligent option.  (Trust me, I tried the old bum rush the enemy base play.)  This kind of mortality causes the player to think more fully about strategic methods, which is fine, but lasting death also means that even the most minor mistake will force you to stare at another player’s screen while waiting for the next match to start.  Thankfully, there is no penalty for quitting a match early, but an early exit hinders the chance to make friends and talk trash at length with other Tankers, two activities that are crucial not only to shooters but to online gaming in general.  Some of the matches also felt extremely unbalanced, but this was probably due to the fact that I was absolutely garbagedick at the game. Simply put, I never felt like I figured out how to play well enough to enjoy myself.

World of Tanks - Xbox 360

Unfortunately I couldn’t get into World of Tanks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least give it a try.  If you really want to get into the vast community that WarGaming has created, my research tells me that the PC version is a lot more substantial and developed than the version I played on 360.

Reflections: Titanfall Beta

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I wasn’t sure what I would think about bots being mixed in with human players, but it really does increase the amount of action, downtime isn’t an issue because there’s always something to shoot at.  ~Eric Hollis

Titanfall Beta

Part Halo, part Mirror’s Edge, part Armored Core, this highly anticipated FPS amalgamation was released as a public beta this past weekend.  Does it live up to the immense hype?

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Here are my initial thoughts:

Not to start on a down note, but it would be really remarkable if the environments were at least partially destructible.  Sure, this would make the battle a lot harder for the soldiers, but it would also add a little more heft to the formidable power of the Titans.  Also, blowing up buildings with shoulder-mounted rockets is always an enjoyable time.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Ejecting out of your Titan while it turns into a nuclear bomb and torches your opponent is absolutely thrilling.  You can actually sabotage Titans while in soldier mode which keeps the playing field a little more even.  My favorite moment over the 25 matches I participated in was ejecting out of my Titan, launching my would-be Titan-jacker into the air, and then shooting him in the face before I hit the ground.  I’ve never played a game where I could do that.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

The leveling progression is taken right out of Call of Duty, pre-made loadouts are available at first, but after a few matches customization options open up at a frequent pace.  There is also the introduction of “burn cards” which enable you to temporarily power up your character, these are one-use only items you earn based on match performance.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Titanfall runs very smoothly, I didn’t notice any lag while playing, always a good sign, especially with an open beta.  I was playing on the One, not sure how it holds up on the 360 where most of the copies will be sold.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

I wasn’t sure what I would think about bots being mixed in with human players, but it really does increase the amount of action, downtime isn’t an issue because there’s always something to shoot at.  For people like me who are abysmal at shooters, this means I actually get a few charity kills every match.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Surprisingly I didn’t feel completely out of my element like I normally do in first person shooters.  The gameplay seemed both balanced and accessible.  I’m sure this might change when the full game launches, but I didn’t have any moments where I wanted to quit due to frustration, something that happens to me in every single other online frag-fest.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

Titanfall’s beta was level capped to 14, which was a really good idea, because a lot of people would be in the high 50’s by this morning if it weren’t.  The first taste is always free, after that it’s sixty bucks in March.

Titanfall_beta-gameplay-screenshot

My biggest problem with the game?  The release date.  I had a blast playing it, but nothing in my mind can compete with the release of Dark Souls 2. Did you play Titanfall this weekend?  What did you think?  There’s plenty of time left to try it out, they aren’t talking the beta down until the 19th.

WET

WET is a unique-looking game with a lot of fun features. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for with a Kill Billesque storyline and visual styling, and ridiculous gunplay that is over the top and absurdly fun. Unfortunately, WET isn’t a perfect game because it lacks creative depth and can feel repetitive, but it is definitely a fun shooter if you’re just looking to kill a couple of hours. ~Geoff Calver

WET

Gameplay

WET tells the story of female assassin Rubi Malone. Rubi carries a pair of revolvers and a sword, and she dispatches her foes with style. The game obviously focuses on having fun while completing your mission. Rubi is beautiful and athletic. She is able to run along walls, jump high over obstacles, and slide for ungodly lengths of time along the floor, all while shooting not just at one enemy, but at two. The game encourages you to run along a wall and then jump into mid-air and slide along the floor while killing enemies left and right. As you perform such combinations, you have points rack up. The more points you gain putting together awesome acrobatics and the more enemies you kill while performing the acrobatics, the faster your health will replenish and the more points you’ll have to spend towards upgrading Rubi’s weapons at the end of each mission.

WET - Xbox 360

WET tells an interesting, if a bit convoluted story. The game begins with Rubi watching a suitcase being handed between two men in an ornate room in Chinatown. The suitcase is her target – she needs to retrieve it – and she crashes through the glass ceiling and begins shooting up the place. This leads to a chase where she follows Simmons, the man carrying the suitcase. It turns out the suitcase holds a heart, which a man named Ackers has hired Rubi to retrieve so that he may have heart surgery. He rewards her well and comes back a year later asking if she can go to Hong Kong and find their heir to his crime fortune, Trevor. From there, Rubi travels around the globe through a twisted plot of backstabbing, lies, and falsehoods. She gets beat up a few times, engages herself in high-speed chases, and in the end, prevails.

WET - Xbox 360

The story of WET is fun in that it is over the top, just like the gameplay. The twists and turns are at times so ridiculous that you feel you are watching a ‘70s B grade action film. And that’s the point. WET is fashioned to look and feel like a Kill Bill or even more aptly, Grindhouse style of film. It is over the top, action-packed, and features a grainy visual style meant to replicate cheap 70s Technicolor film.

WET - Xbox 360 - Gameplay Screenshot

Unfortunately, though the upgrades to Rubi’s weapons are decent (she can eventually gain access to shotguns, SMGs, and crossbows); they don’t change the gameplay dynamic much. The novelty of putting together acrobatic kill combos begins to get stale when you realize that the AI isn’t very intelligent and are mostly just cannon fodder. The difficulty in playing through WET is fighting off huge numbers of enemies rather than thinking about how to do so.

Graphics

The graphical style of WET is completely unique to recent video games. The only other game I can really think of that reminds me of WET in terms of atmosphere, film influence, and graphical styling is the old driving combat game Interstate ’76, where bellbottomed 70s hipsters drove around vehicles outfitted with guns. It, too, was over the top in its action and in its depiction of its heroes, and it screamed of 70s B-movie styling.

WET - Xbox 360

WET makes great use of its graphical deficiencies. The graphics engine behind WET isn’t all that great. The character models look decent but not special, the locales are colorful and varied, but the amount of detail on the buildings, vehicles, and in everything else around you isn’t anywhere near that of many newer titles. What is impressive is how the team working on WET managed to work around the weakness of their graphics engine. The 70s B-movie looks manage to make it okay that the graphics aren’t like Gears of War or Metal Gear Solid 4. The screen has little dots all over it like grainy film, and occasionally a bar will move through the screen like a slide in a film that suddenly shows itself. If you’ve ever see a Quentin Tarantino film, you know what the visual style of WET is. And it’s really unique and fun.

Sound

The sound in WET is a mixed bag. The music is fantastic. It features a great score, and beyond that, there is a ton of original music made specifically for the game by artists ranging from Gypsy Pistoleros to The Chop Tops. It is excellent music that is loud, vicious, and fits right in with the game style.

WET - Xbox 360

The voice acting ranges from good to great. Rubi’s voicework is fantastic. Voiced by Hollywood actress Eliza Dushku (who is the lead character, Echo, in Fox’s Dollhouse) she sounds great and her voice really gives life to her over the top female assassin character.

The Final Word

WET is a fun, action-packed game that takes lots of inspiration from 70s B-grade action movies and Quentin Tarantino’s work. It isn’t going to keep you up at night wondering about where the plot will go next, and it isn’t going to be on any “game of the year” lists, but it certainly is a fun title that is over the top and features great styling, music, and an innovative approach to how you go about taking out enemies.

The Scorecard

73%

+ Great atmosphere that evokes Kill Bill, Grindhouse, and cheap 70s action films

+ Fun gunplay

+ Easy to pick up and play for just a few minutes

+ Excellent music

– The storyline is a bit convoluted and doesn’t really draw you in

– The graphics are dated

– The AI is about as smart as my fish

Family Game Night 4

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Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone with either a passion for board or family gaming.  It has its shortcomings, but they are not fatal, and there’s enough that’s right about Family Game Night 4: The Game Show to override that which is deficient.  Give this game some playtime when you have a hankering for some simple, clean, and non-violent fun! ~Dan Epp

Family Game Night 4

Family Game Night 4: The Game Show is a collection of mini-games set within a broader game environment.  You are a contestant (and can play with others or against computer opponents) playing to win a virtual version of the Hub Network television game show of the same name.  Some of the games you play include: Scrabble Flash, in which you attempt to form as many words from a set amount of Scrabble tiles as possible; Connect 4 Basketball, in which you must aim your basketballs carefully to form a row of four balls or to prevent your opponent from doing the same; Yahtzee Bowling, wherein the pins are the dice that you must knock over with your bowling ball; Sorry! Sliders, a shuffleboard-style (or curling) game in which you must attempt to slide your pawns into the highest possible scoring areas; and Bop-It Boptagon, which is essentially a hand-eye coordination and reaction game.

Scrabble

I found the various games to be a mixed bag in terms of “fun,” which arguably is the best metric to judge a video game based on a television show based on board games.  I enjoyed the Scrabble Flash and Yahtzee Bowling, and found I could play these two games multiple times while still maintaining a sufficient level of “fun” gameplay. Connect 4 Basketball could be challenging once you started shooting simultaneously with your opponent, but the Sorry! Sliders became dull very quickly as the gameplay did not seem to alter much from game to game.  Finally, Bop-It Boptagon was an experience that I did not repeat twice, and the memories of my abject failure are too painful to translate into the written word.

Connect 4

Mr. Potato-Head is the host of the game, and though he is not annoying like the bizarre host of the Family Feud Xbox game (the memory of whom has scarred me for life), he also doesn’t add anything to the gameplay.  The animations of the avatars are a bit silly, and not dismissed immediately with a button-click, which makes them a little irritating.  The play-by-play voice was a constant, “go get ‘em, tiger” kind of happy, which lost its charm over time.  Note to developers: if you want to see how a host can be engaging, perhaps even annoying, and yet bring you back for more, check out the You Don’t Know Jack series of games.

Bob it

A quick note: although the game features Kinect compatibility, as I am one of the last Xbox 360 owners in North America without a Kinect accessory, I did not test it with anything besides a standard wireless controller.

Family Game Night 4

Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone with either a passion for board or family gaming.  It has its shortcomings, but they are not fatal, and there’s enough that’s right about Family Game Night 4: The Game Show to override that which is deficient.  Give this game some playtime when you have a hankering for some simple, clean, and non-violent fun!

Thanks to the Classic Game Room for the awesome video review.

Half Life 2: Episode Two

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

Half Life 2: Episode Two begins right where Episode 1 left off. The Citadel has come crashing to the ground, City 17 is in ruins, and your train out of dodge has derailed. You awake to find Alyx outside, thankful you’re alive. She helps you out using the Gravity Gun, and thus begins your mission.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

Host to a data card that the Combine desperately wants and needs, Alyx and Gordon must rush to White Forest, the resistance’s new base in the wake of City 17’s destruction. The game follows Gordon and Alyx as they make their way across the countryside that surrounds City 17 and to White Forest, where Doctor’s Vance, Kleiner, and Magnusson  are waiting for their arrival with the data, which is needed to launch a missile that will close the Combine portal, leaving the Combine trapped on earth without reinforcements.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

The story is fantastic. The characters are well known by now, as is the struggle, and never does that struggle seem more important than in the final hours of the game, when the portal can be seen looming in the dark sky and striders are flooding the forest towards the resistance base and the missile silos.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

The story is excellent, but, the journey to get to White Forest begins a little too slowly. After leaving the train we are treated to a stunning view of City 17 and the outdoor environment of Episode 2. However, the game quickly leads you underground, into Antlion nests where you feel confined and frankly, a bit bored. Antlions just aren’t fun. And tight spaces aren’t a whole lot of fun either when there beckons an entire world of forest and mountains above.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

Nonetheless, Episode 2 throws you into the outdoors after about an hour and a half of crawling in Antlion tunnels, and you rarely venture back in. The huge difference in this game is the size of the environment. You are surrounded by wilderness, small towns, farmhouses and lone radio towers. There are rivers and stunning mountains rising in the distance. It’s liberating and it creates a feeling that the Half Life world is truly real. While playing, I was left with a very certain impression that the world had been abandoned with the Combine invasion fifteen years earlier. Everything was falling apart, buildings left to rot, and it was overwhelmingly awe-inspiring to see the world as a place where humans had been shepherded into ghettos and where the Combine used the earth as a mine, taking natural resources over time.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

One of the main questions surrounding the game was the introduction of a new enemy: the hunter, which is a difficult foe in the different gaming environment. Episode 2, however, also introduces three more enemies as well: an acid-spitting Antlion, an Antlion guardian, and the Combine Advisor. While serviceable enemies, the Hunter steals the show. A vicious, fast-moving, and deadly adversary that stands about eight feet tall; the Hunter seems to travel in packs and it shoots electrical bolts that stick to surfaces and explode, zapping health and energy. It is a welcome addition the Half Life story, and I expect that we’ll see more of it in Episode 3.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

The lighting and other graphical qualities are fantastic, and even though better graphics can be found across current-gen consoles, Valve enlisted such incredible art direction that the Source Engine’s age is barely showing. The environments look wonderful, the spaces feel appropriately vast, and the character models still look amazingly realistic. They display emotions on a level I’ve never seen before in a game, and I still don’t think any graphical engines model human characters so well.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

Sound use is excellent in Episode 2. The music kicks in at the right moments and serves to inspire fear, excitement, or manic abandon. The weapons sound appropriately tuned, and the voice acting is fantastic as usual. And of course, the screaming of headcrab zombies is utterly terrifying and spine-tingle inducing.

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

There was some criticism of the length of Episode 1, and that has been rectified in Episode 2. Episode 2 offers a range of diversity that is unrivaled in gaming and is quite long. From the driving segments to the use of the Gravity Gun, to physics puzzles to shotgun diplomacy to huge battles from underground lairs to shaking valleys full of striders, Episode 2 is amazing. It is roughly six hours long, and it is well worth the journey (and the price).

Half Life 2 - Episode 2 - Xbox 360

Episode 2 isn’t perfect. Though the opening sections of the game make the eventual arrival in the forest seem incredibly liberating, they are a bit of a slog and they make it tough to begin the adventure. And though the story is enthralling, I still want to know more about the G Man and the seven hour war. Looking beyond those minor faults, Episode 2 is at least every bit as strong a Half Life experience as the game’s that came before it and has me excited for the final episode. No other game offers such a diverse, fantastic, and entertaining variety of puzzles, strategy, excitement, and story. Episode 2 is well worth adding to your game collection.

Final Score: 93%

+ Great gameplay                                                   – Opening section of game is a bit slow

+ Wonderful art direction                                    – Story could still use some insight

+ Pulse poundingly exciting

Deadlight

Released for Xbox live arcade on August 1st 2012, Deadlight is a 2d side-scrolling survival horror cinematic platformer for Xbox Live Arcade developed by Tequila Works.

deadlight

(..takes deep breath…)
Plot:
Virus outbreak reanimates the dead, decimation of society, Randall Wayne (you) searches for his family.  Walking Dead meets Limbo.

deadlight
Positive critic reviews focused on the horrific and compelling story-line and challenging puzzle game play.  Negatives include issues around game controls, brevity and voice acting.  Opinion is polarized as to the game environment, impressive vs. bland and the plot, compelling vs pointless.  The game managed to score a decidedly average 69% from 52 critic reviews on Metacritic.

deadlightMy 2 cents
In fairness to the developers, I’ve only managed to invest an hour in the game since launch day, which probably says more about the game than I’d like to admit.  I found the voice over script contrived, the game atmospherics failing to impress and then there is that overly familiar nod to the walking dead, the “shadows” responding to loud noises…please!!.

deadlight
Alf The Helper: Yeah I noticed that too, they could have mixed it up, like the zombies responding to smell!
Elderly: Smell?
Alf The Helper: Yeah, like the zombies can pick up your smell if you’ve been sweating and stuff.
Elderly: What?
Alf The Helper: Yeah, like you’ve got to shower and brush your teeth, find cans of Lynx to put the Zombies of your trail..
Elderly: 8( …..oh sweet divine!!….where was I?

…..getting pummeled by “shadows” before I knew how to fight back, didn’t help either.  I do however intend to return and finish the game, at which stage I’ll update this little section…  without Alf!

deadlight
Quote of the Bunch:
Deadlight draws you in with its rich, pervasive atmosphere, but doesn’t give you much to do once you’re there. -Gamespot

deadlight

Reviews Summary:
The quality of content is amazing, psychotic storyline with fluid gameplay.
The full product is a disappointment to say the absolute least.
Probably the best downloadable title on the market right now.
Weirdly inconsistent 2D survival horror.
A breathtaking adventure, though the main campaign lasts only five or six hours.
It’s as mindless as the zombies it features.
All the style, substance, and gameplay you could want, with none of the originality you need
Without satisfying mechanics or narrative, there’s nothing pushing you forward towards Deadlight’s conclusion.
An incredibly slight experience, a single play-through comes in at under two hours.
Ruined by the lacking storyline and extremely short campaign.

Official Website

Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto 5

This is the hardest review I’ve ever had to write.  Unabashed love for all things Rockstar produces aside, I just don’t want to type any of this right now.  I’m at roughly forty hours logged between story and multiplayer, and all I want to do is play more Grand Theft Auto 5.

Grand Theft Auto 5

To call this the most anticipated title of the year would be a gross understatement.  Rockstar is known for releasing some of the best games of the past two console generations; this entry takes the bar that they always set so high and throws it directly over the sun.  The game has been in development for five years, after you sit down with it you’ll understand that not a second of that time was wasted.  Every aspect of the franchise has been improved, each frame absolutely drips with the highest attention to detail we’ve ever seen in a video game.  All of the signature trappings GTA is known for are thankfully included: the radio stations, the commercials, the fake movies and television, epic stunt jumps, hidden items, random pedestrian banter, political / social commentary, and the shameless parody of American life.  Everything in the title is presented with an impeccable and unprecedented level of care to even the minutest detail, the game is a brilliant masterpiece that will be imitated but certainly never equaled.

Grand Theft Auto 5

Let’s start with the feature I wasn’t excited about at all: the three unique protagonists.  My first thought when this addition was touted was “So what?  That’s exactly like GTA4 with two other people.”  Shame on me for being a doubter, character switching practically makes the game for me.  The other playable characters function completely separately in the world, and rotating between them on the fly is absolutely encouraged.  Just finished skydiving with Franklin and stuck with a long drive back from Mount Chiliad?  Time to catch up with Michael, you might find him mid argument with his adulterous wife.  Tired of catering to Michael’s spoiled rotten children?  Switch over to Trevor who you’ll find passed out in his underwear straddling a balcony overlooking the city.  You can also swap seamlessly to your multiplayer character at any time, and throughout the many times transitioning I never found any of the characters in the same situation.

Grand Theft Auto 5

The world of Los Santos is so gorgeously detailed I found myself following random pedestrians on the street just to hear their side of hilarious cell phone conversations.  A couple of the radio commercials and conversations made me laugh so hard I paused mid-mission just to hear the end of them.  Other games have shown similar levels in depth of world, but none of them have made me feel like the city existed without me playing the game.  You’ll lose yourself in Los Santos for hours on end, even if the game was only single player it would take awhile to get bored with everything you can explore and interact with.  I’m still hearing songs and hilarious commercials on the radio I’ve never heard, seeing signs and references I didn’t notice, and coming up with new ways to stymie the police.  Honestly, I don’t even feel like I’ve scratched the surface, I’m sure there are thousands of details, jokes, and allusions I haven’t even noticed yet.

Grand Theft Auto 5

The online world is also an absolute treat that adds exponentially to the gameplay.  Unfortunately not all of the bugs have been worked out yet, I did get to play a lengthy session with a few buddies this past weekend and we all had an unadulterated blast.  I can’t wait to see how everything shakes out after all of the issues are fixed; the multiplayer is essentially a celebration of everything that makes the single player so incredible.  The day one bugs were displeasing, but only if you were completely bored with the single player game.

Grand Theft Auto 5

Rockstar didn’t invent the sandbox style game but they have proven multiple times over that they are undoubtedly the pioneers of the genre.  Grand Theft Auto 5 is a fitting goodbye to this generation of consoles, one that truly shows the untapped potential our hobby still has still yet to uncover.  I can’t recommend this game enough, but odds are you are already playing it.  Enjoy every second of the experience; it might be another five years before we get to see something this prodigious and wonderful.

Limbo

limbo

First of all I’d like to say that for a puzzle platformer, Limbo is a solid game. It’s easy to pick up and play, the controls are simple, the physics are great, and it’s not terribly frustrating. It’s selling point however is supposedly the atmosphere that the game brings and the mystery behind the meaning of it all. It’s decent, not the best, but great for what it is. . .unless you’ve played other games like it.

limbo

There was a video on Youtube where in the comments people were talking about theories for the ending/non existing story for the game. The only thing i had to say was this;

limbo

My theory: he found his sister, the end. The only clues given about this game is the title and that this kid has to find his sister. That’s about it. sure there are things throughout the various levels that you can speculate about, but games of this style have been done before & better (another world, braid, etc). As much as I would love to pull theories out of thin air, I don’t feel there’s any reason with this game. it’s not THAT engrossing as a whole, & seems kind of lazy comparatively speaking. *end comment*
limbo
I guess the reason why I’m NOT ABSOLUTELY LOVING THIS GAME is because games like Another world and Braid were great simply because they were something different (and if you wanted a game shrouded in obscurity and dripping with existentialism, there’s always Passage and Yume Nikki) They were stand alone games. This whole “guessing game” within games buried in silent mystery and artsy-ness seems to be a new genre emerging.

limbo

I’m not sure that I like that idea of that so much. It’s not that I don’t like these types of games, in fact I love these games and games that make the player think and feel a sense of immersion, but I feel that it would give new developers an excuse to make a poorer product. This game seems to be an example of that. Don’t get me wrong, it’ still a decent game, and a lot of fun to play, but I feel they could have done more with it. It just doesn’t have the same charm as the other games.

Of course, if you haven’t played those other games that I mentioned, then yes, this game will be one of the most amazing things you’ll ever experience. It’s short, worth a play through, and definitely worth checking out.

Payday 2: The Heist

Payday2_Tittle

As an avid player of first person shooters I believe the genre that unfortunately dominates gaming has grown mighty stale.  It would be challenging to muster up the enthusiasm for another cookie-cutter war-based storyline even if Activision programmed an unlockable Christina Hendricks sex tape into this fall’s Call of Duty: Every Single November.  Payday 2 intrigued the hell out of me however because its themes are mostly untapped in the realm of first person shooters, and honestly, who hasn’t dreamt about robbing a bank Point Break style?  Unfortunately what Overkill studios have given us is half a game here, which is a real shame because with a little more care this could have been an absolute masterpiece.

Payday 2

If you don’t plan on playing Payday 2 online with friends don’t even bother, the AI is so glaringly bad it’s a wonder that the title ever made it out of production.  Most of the missions inevitably involve your crew transporting some sort of cargo to an awaiting van, and your computer partners aren’t even able to accomplish the simple task of picking up an object and dropping it off in the correct location.  On a positive note the AI won’t completely muff up your perfectly planned stealth attempts on purpose, something I certainly can’t say for the majority of random players I encountered online.

Payday 2

The most enjoyable way to play Payday 2 is with three of your friends who actually use microphones.  When the missions are pulled off flawlessly you will feel extremely satiated as a player, but communication and precise planning are necessary, even on some of the easier and shorter selections.  One stupid mistake can cost you an entire run, and this will happen 99.9 percent of the time you even attempt, making robberies that don’t end up turning into the last act of Dog Day Afternoon both extremely rare and immensely rewarding.

Payday 2

There are only ten main missions, but the locations of goods, cameras, guards, and safes are always generated randomly.  This is the much-needed adrenaline shot of replay value that the game desperately needs, it would be far too easy to complete the levels if everything remained the same during every play through.  Picking missions can actually be a chore however, there’s no menu per say, just a map with jobs of varying difficulty appearing at random.  I understand what the developers were going for here, but after searching for a specific mission without success numerous times I was really longing for a traditional level selection system.

Payday 2

The character leveling is very addictive but also nothing original.  Four separate skill trees are selectable, and mixing and matching perks from each is encouraged, you’ll have plenty of flexibility by level 50, and that’s only the halfway point: Payday 2 is a long grind to 100.  Supposedly six DLC packs are on the way, this should alleviate the main ten missions growing stale even with the randomness factor figured in.

Despite its many egregious flaws I got tons of enjoyment out of Payday 2: The Heist when I was playing with a few of my buddies, alone however it was an absolute chore that frustrated me consistently.  If you have a steady crew you can recruit this is a must have game to scratch that criminal urge until Grand Theft Auto releases next month.

R-Type Dimensions

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If there was one thing I would not expect to do on a next-gen console, is to play games from the older generation. Boy was I wrong! Even though I do own a SNES and a Master System 2, I still happily play old and new titles on my Xbox Classic, the 360 and the Wii. The 360 and the Wii offer access to their exclusive online stores, and amongst the titles on there are a lot of old games from the older consoles. With that said, a lot of companies lately are remaking classics (and doing quite a faithful job of it as well!) Enter R-Type Dimensions.

r-type-dimensions

My past experiences with the R-Type games weren’t overly immense. A brief stint at a Timezone in Sydney back in the 80’s , the rental-to-almost-purchase on the Master System 2 in the early 90’s, and a sequel on the SNES (R-type 3). A frustratingly hard game? Some could say that, but I’ll go with exuberantly challenging. For those who don’t know what R-Type is, it is a side-scrolling shooter, think 1942 but with a side-on perspective. The storyline is that there’s the evil Bydo empire invading the universe, you are a pilot of a small ship sent to stop this evil.

r-type-dimensions

Okay, not much to it really, but this is the kind of game, where the storyline doesn’t mean a thing, and gameplay is where it matters. R-Type Dimensions is a faithful remake to the original game on the arcade. The graphics have been enhanced to a more modern (3D) feel, and I’ll be honest, they (IREM who were the original creators of R-Type, Tozai, and SouthEnd) did an amazing job of keeping the remake faithful to the classic, also by including an option to swap between HD and Classic graphic mode flawlessly, as the High-def visuals were rolled over onto the originals (Plural, yes, it includes R-Type I & II).

r-type-dimensions

The game was, and still is very challenging, getting to the point that many levels can not be passed easily unless you have 1-3 seconds of invincibility after you die, and a new ship appears. You have multiple power-ups, one of them infamously is your satellite, which is mounted to the front or rear of the ship, and can be jettisoned at will and returned back to the front or the rear of the ship. With the usual speed-ups and missile power-ups, you will find interesting methods on attacking the hordes of enemies, and figuring out how to defeat each end-level boss without losing 50 or so lives.

r-type-dimensions

Speaking about the lives, there is also an infinite mode, meaning you have unlimited lives to plow through the game with. The challenge there I suppose is to see who can finish the game with the least lives. There is also a co-op mode which would be beneficial for plowing through such a hard game.

On the XBLA for 1200 Microsoft Points, some would argue that the price for title like this is questionable. R-Type Dimensions is definitely a title for those who appreciated the original on just about any platform since it’s release.

4.5 out of 5

Pros:
– extremely loyal remake to the original
– ability to swap between new and old graphics
– challenging

Cons:
– Price may be questionable
– Plenty of moments where you could lob your controller across the lounge room from frustration

Star Trek

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I am a die-hard unapologetic lover of all things Star Trek related.  The source material however has never led to great achievements in the realm of gaming where the Star Wars franchise seems to perpetually excel.  The last Trek game on current gen hardware was Star Trek: Legacy, an extremely glitchy and muddled mess; the only redeeming factor was including real voice acting from all 5 captains.  When I picked up the new game, I never imagined in a million light years that I would be desperately missing Legacy.

Star_Trek_Game

Let’s start with Star Trek’s most blatant problem: it’s a shoddily executed cover based shooter.  The pacing of the episodes certainly lends itself better to any other genre of gaming, and this repetitive slog had me wishing I were playing the RTS space battles of Legacy (or anything else) again.  I never thought I’d see Kirk and Spock trudging through generic levels like a poor man’s Marcus and Dom, much less interspersed with arduous platforming sections that make Damnation look like Tomb Raider in comparison.  The jumping mechanic is so poorly realized that I often got lost on the lengthy journey by not attempting leaps that seemed impossible to make at first glance.

Star_Trek_Game

The main characters are also completely interchangeable.  Besides Kirk brandishing a “Captain’s Phaser” and Spock wielding a “Vulcan Repeater” there is absolutely no difference between the playable trekkers sans aesthetics.  If you are going to give us a choice of two characters at least make them perform a little differently, especially since the relationship between Kirk and Spock is one of the driving plotlines of all of the films and the original series.

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Star Trek was always about helping your fellow man (or alien); the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, ect.  Apparently, the many all need to be repeatedly shot point blank in the face because other then a few random tricorder readings that’s basically all you accomplish.  Sure, you are encouraged to set phasers to stun and then knock out your enemies, but when you can just dispatch them safely from behind cover with zero penalty then what is exactly the point besides painfully shoehorning some of the familiar trappings of the series?

Star_Trek_Game

Fortunately the current cast members perform all the voice acting, unfortunately this is actually a negative because the actors seem like they could care less about the actual acting.  To say that Zoe Saldana’s performance was laborious could be misconstrued as a complement.  Pine and Quinto are barely above average, and (big surprise) Simon Pegg is the only one who seems to even care about being there at all.  How often do you get an entire original cast to perform in a video game?  Like everything else on display the voice acting is truly a squandered and sloppy opportunity.

Star_Trek_Game

The Gorn play the generic bad guys here, you’ll remember them as the lizard like creatures Kirk rolled a boulder onto at Vasquez Rocks, the same location featured in numerous other Hollywood productions like Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and Paul.  If you can’t tell how bored I was with the game please refer to my previous sentence where I write about a famous rock formation instead of explaining in more detail how disappointing the experience actually was.

Unfortunately for fans it seems the Star Trek franchise is still waiting patiently to get the Batman: Arkham Asylum treatment.  I’m confident that a developer who truly understands Star Trek could make an excellent game that is both exciting to play and faithful to the canon.  Currently what we are left with is this stinking pile of half assed ideas that are executed with the grace of a wet fart in a windowless room.  I tried, but even my extreme fandom couldn’t find a way to reprogram the simulator to make the game bearable.  Kobiashi Maru indeed.

Runner 2: Legend of Rhythm Alien

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Platform games will probably always be my favorite genre of gaming.  This is certainly due to cutting my proverbial teeth during the heyday of the NES, the era where every other title had some sort of influence from the brothers Mario and their army of copycats.  Before I picked up Runner 2: Legend of Rhythm Alien I had never played a Bit.Trip title before, and I was only familiar with the main character Commander Video from his cameo appearance in Super Meat Boy, arguably one of the greatest games of the past decade.  Now I’m certainly going back to explore the titles I missed, because Runner 2 is unfiltered platforming bliss.

runner2

Runner 2 might as well be a checklist of how to do everything correctly in a video game.  The gameplay is extremely accessible and enjoyable, coupled with eye pleasing, unique graphics and an amazing soundtrack.  Difficulty in the game gradually scales but is unbelievably fair; you start off with a simple selection of moves and then slowly learn all of the combinations required to be successful.  There’s also some great humor (the hardest thing to pull off in gaming) and some phenomenal references mixed in to the package that I wouldn’t dare spoil here.  Gaijin Games even added hidden retro levels (unlocked by finding golden cartridges) that are extremely challenging and pay homage to those glorious days of the NES and Sega Master System.

runner2

Originality comes with how your character interacts with the soundtrack.  Every jump, slide, dodge, block, and kick corresponds with an intended beat or noise that complements the music.  You can miss these beats with little consequence besides failing a scoring opportunity (thankfully you don’t get a grinding Guitar Hero-esque interruption noise) but the soundtrack simply swells with a crescendo of awesomeness when you hit them on time.  In most modern games (especially first person shooters) I almost never experience what Billy Hoyle and Sidney Dean remarkably refer to as “the zone,” where the entirety of the room ceases to matter and you aren’t even thinking about what buttons you are pushing while conquering every single obstacle on pure muscle memory.  Playing flawlessly causes everything to click into place and you achieve an almost Zen like experience.  Runner 2 just has a magically fluid feel I’ve rarely seen replicated anywhere else, especially in other titles that also employ auto running and rhythm based play.

runner2

I did get frustrated often while playing, but it was the type of frustration that made me want to persevere to perfect the level, not the type that makes you want to place your controller under a rusty jackhammer.  When you make a mistake it’s never the game, it’s simply your lack of skill.  It’s certainly not as difficult as the aforementioned Super Meat Boy, but it still takes impeccable timing and precision to get through some of the harder sections, exactly what you should want in a quality platformer.

If you like platformers, pick this up immediately.  For fifteen bucks on the marketplace it’s an absolute steal, especially when there are sixty-dollar titles (Aliens: Colonial Marines for example) that won’t give you a fraction of the enjoyment contained here.  I realize that it’s barely March, but this is unquestionably the best title I’ve played this year.

Dead Space 3

Dead-Space-3When I first saw the promotional materials for Dead Space 3 I was extremely worried.  The first game was such a sleeper gem that new copies still sell for sixty dollars online, the second took the “survival horror in space” formula established in the first and ramped up the creepiness factor, essentially turning it into the series I always imagined Resident Evil was destined to become. (Unfortunately Resident Evil became Resident Evil 6, the series no one wanted it to become) I knew they would eventually make a third game but why is it taking place in a snow-filled environment similar to Lost Planet and not in a creaky spaceship infested by necromorphs?  The environment and brilliant use of sound design is what made the previous titles so exceptional in the first place!  Wait, it’s also going to include a co-op campaign in a game series that has literally made me jump out of my seat on multiple occasions because it is intended to be played in the dark by yourself?  Won’t these changes ruin this beloved franchise?

Dead-Space-3

Fortunately no.  There are a few issues with the game, but none of them stem from changing the setting or pacing of the series.  This is definitely a more action-oriented title however, whereas in previous games I was always struggling with ammo and health management, that was never a worry this time around.  You don’t even actually get to the ice planet Tau Volantis until roughly 9 hours into the game, so there’s still plenty of tight corridor and zero gravity outer space action to sink your plasma cutter into.  The graphics and especially the lighting are still stunningly gorgeous, and the sound design exudes the same ambient dread that you would expect from the series.

Dead-Space-3

One phenomenal addition is the ability to craft your own weapons from salvageable parts found in the environment.  Any weapon you find can be deconstructed into pieces that can be used to craft other and ostensibly better armaments.  Want a flamethrower / plasma cutter combo?  No problem.  Or how about my favorite creation thus far: a shotgun / line gun amalgamation that also stuns necromorphs with electricity?  You could literally spend dozens of hours perfecting your ultimate weapon hybrid, and it’s always fun to test them out against puke spewing necromorphs.

Dead-Space-3

The major issue I had with the game is one I didn’t anticipate: the writing.  The game starts off strong but during the midpoint I almost started cringing at some of the dialogue and directions the characters are taken in.  Without entering into spoiler territory, essentially Ellie, the girl who you risked your ass (and sanity) to save in Dead Space 2 has moved on to another mate who is basically the equivalent of the douchey blonde villain in so many eighties movies. (And unfortunately not voiced by James Spader or William Zabka)  When the story turned into Tau Volantis 90210 I mentally checked out, and while I don’t remember the narratives in the previous two titles being anything special, I also don’t remember them being absolutely grating either.  Sure, when you can lop off the head of a space marine with an electrified rotating ripper blade it’s easy to forget the story, but like so many Hollywood movies I’ll never understand why the writing is the hardest thing to nail.

Dead-Space-3

The co-op play however is thankfully awesome.  While it does wring much of the suspense out of the game it’s still immense fun ravaging aliens with a buddy, sharing blueprints of uniquely crafted weaponry, and saving each other’s asses from obligatory surprise attacks.  There are also optional missions that can only be tackled in co-op, giving the game some excellent replay value.  Co-op play is also of the drop in, drop out variety, so you can recruit a partner at any time to help you tackle some of the game’s tougher challenges.  You can also play through the story in Classic mode (similar to Dead Space 1 with only original weapons and no crafting) or Pure Survival mode, where everything, even health packs and ammo, must be painstakingly assembled.  These variations will provide a much-needed challenge when compared to the regular campaign, especially when conquered with a partner.

Overall Dead Space 3 doesn’t disappoint.  It does sacrifice sheer horror for guns blazing action, but the addition of weapon building and co-op actually helps move the series forward instead of treading some of the same roads.  The environment is definitely more John Carpenter’s The Thing than Ridley Scott’s Alien, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all.  Annoying issues with the narrative aside, the game is completely worth the purchase if you are a fan of the series or a well-crafted third person adventure.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

High Moon studios returns with a follow-up to their well received take on the Transformers franchise, the 2010 sleeper hit War for Cybertron.  All of the resources on Cybertron are now practically tapped out, and Optimus Prime (fortunately still voiced by Peter Cullen) rallies his Autobots to escape the planet and find a new home in Shia LeBouf’s backyard.  Megatron is of course not very supportive of this decision and attempts to defeat the Autobots by preventing their exodus.  High Moon doesn’t stray very far from the formula that made the first game successful, and aside from one major omission the game delivers everything you would normally expect from a quality sequel.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

The weapons system has been revamped from the previous game; each gun is now upgradable with multiple attachments that are purchased with credits earned in the campaign.  You can also acquire “perks” that carry over through multiple campaign playthroughs, these make the game much more manageable on the harder difficulties.  This addition is a very pleasant improvement on the first title, adding an RPG element to an already exceedingly polished experience.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

Fan service is also prevalent here; many more characters are featured this time around, including the Dinobots, the Combaticons, Metroplex, and the Insecticons.  I actually felt like I had been sucked into an eighties toy commercial every time a new character appeared.  Hardcore Transformer fans should really find a lot to enjoy here, before I played the game I couldn’t distinguish Swindle from Onslaught, so fans of the source material will really enjoy all of the love taken with the character choices.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron-gameplay-screenshot-1

The glaring omission is the absence of online co-op play that was so well received in the first game.  In War for Cybertron you had the option of three different Autobots or Decepticons per level to tackle each mission with, and your online friends (preferably) or the extremely competent AI would fill the other two slots.  This gave each mission the sense you were part of a team, something that is integral to the Transformers franchise by nature.  This time the legend takes a grander scope but the co-op element was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor.  This doesn’t necessarily hurt the game overall, but it is something I sorely missed because I had grown accustomed to it.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

If you decide to try the game based solely on the narrative you won’t be disappointed.  I’m not even a huge Transformers fan and I enjoyed playing through the campaign multiple times, the set pieces are much bigger this time around, the annoying boss battles from the first game are thankfully expunged, and the game maintains a truly epic feeling throughout.   The final level might be one of the best campaign levels I’ve ever played in any game, it switches between both warring factions and individual characters multiple times, putting you right in the center of the final battle of Cybertron.  I know too much of a good thing can sometimes lead to overkill, but I left the experience feeling that if every level would have taken cues from the final one the game could have really been something truly special.  I’m not saying the overall gameplay or story is lackluster in any way; it’s just the final level is really that damn quality.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

Thankfully the horde mode inspired escalation is still included, as well as an excellent multiplayer component that is actually better (although much easier) than the previous game.  The first time I jumped into an online game one of the other participants hilariously greeted me with a throaty rendition of “You’ve Got The Touch”, the seminal cheese ball anthem featured in the eighties movie and also over the end credits in this game.  Options for customizing your online Transformer are also much more substantial, you can really create some truly unique characters.

If you are a Transformers fan this one is the proverbial no-brainer, comparing the sub-par movie game adaptations you’ve probably slogged through to the overachieving fanboy love that High Moon injects into their adaptations isn’t even fair.  Fans of third person action will also find a highly engaging title that doesn’t skimp on the action and couples a well-crafted yarn with thoroughly enjoyable gameplay.

Skylanders: Giants

Skylanders-Giants

Whoever came up with the concept for Skylanders is a marketing genius.  The recipe is so pitch perfect it’s hard to believe it took this long for someone to execute:  Take the elemental centered and “gotta buy them all” appeal of Pokemon, mix it with the addictive RPG leveling and character progression that almost every game utilizes today, and then pair it up with a plethora of collectable figures that you can transport both between and across consoles.  The results are a franchise that has already grossed upwards of 500 million dollars between two releases with zero signs of slowing down.  But is the game any good or just a flagrant cash grab aimed specifically at children?

Skylanders-Giants

Actually it isn’t half bad.  I spent the majority of this past Saturday playing this with my nephew Jacob (he’s 8) and really enjoyed myself.  The game is akin to many dungeon crawlers like Diablo and Baldur’s Gate except it takes place in the uber-colorful and child friendly world of Skylands.   The interface is very simple and easy to understand; almost anybody could pick it up and play with little instruction.  Character leveling is extremely balanced and it has the familiar “just one more level” appeal as you constantly unlock better powers and upgrades for each of your individual Skylanders.   Jacob spent the better part of our lengthy session saving up hard fought treasure for a battle-axe made entirely out of bees for his favorite giant Swarm, and his joy upon finally earning the weapon was completely palpable.

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Each Skylander represents one of eight different “elements” like fire, wind, technology, or undead.  The levels are divided with multiple gates and hidden areas that can only be accessed by certain elements, meaning in order to fully unlock everything the game has to offer you must own at least one character from every element.  If you are defeated, the only way to continue the level is by swapping out figures on the fly, making the game near impossible with only the starter set, but very manageable with a stable of Skylanders figures at your disposal.  (Defeated characters can be used again on the next level but not before)  The aforementioned starter set only comes with three characters, the game disc, and the necessary Portal of Power; so more characters must be purchased (Hey Mom!) in order to fully experience and enjoy what the game has to offer.  Some Skylanders are also much rarer than others (especially some of the newer Giants) making collecting these things highly addictive.  Again, sheer marketing brilliance.

Skylanders-Giants

Skylanders: Giants is also compatible with all of the toys released for the original game, and the level cap is increased from 10 to 15 for all of your previously purchased characters.  There are also new Series 2 versions of the original Skylanders that have more effective powers and different poses than their original counterparts, a very wise move by the developers to keep fans of the original excited about the sequel.   I’d be absolutely shocked if a third game wasn’t released this holiday season, right now the game has legs, something that Activision is notorious for exploiting on a yearly basis with all of their other major franchises.

Skylanders-Giants

It is also interesting to mention that the first game was titled Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, featuring popular gaming icon Spyro the Dragon who has appeared in almost twenty other titles.  Spyro never speaks in either game however, and doesn’t give you any sort of advantage over any of the other characters.  It almost seems like the developers were hedging their bets to get the game off the ground with a mascot familiar to the intended demographic.

If you are looking to enjoy some gaming with one of the younger people in your life you could a lot worse than Skylanders: Giants.   The title is certainly geared towards children but contains many of the familiar trappings of an addictive video adventure; I certainly didn’t grow bored playing it as I have with many other games.  Just plan to shell out a lot more than the initial seventy-dollar investment if you want to see everything in the game or actually get through it successfully at all.

Hitman: Absolution

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After an unheard of six-year console hiatus, Agent 47 triumphantly returns in Hitman: Absolution.  This title is certain to please fans of the Hitman series.  Actually, any fan of a thoughtfully composed stealth action game should definitely enjoy what the  designers at IO Interactive offer here.  The familiar mechanics of the series remain polished and fluid, the classic kills are plentiful, and the level design is top notch.

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This adventure is set five years after Blood Money, the only Hitman game offered on current gen consoles, until now.  In the world of the game, your handler and best bud Diana has sold you down the proverbial river.  After you assault her in the shower with your trademark Silverballers, she reveals a bit of information that sends the tightly scripted narrative flowing through multiple varying locations.   One thing you will notice right off the bat is how gorgeous the crowd scenes look. I paused the game multiple times in the Chinatown level to marvel at how many different NPC’s were milling about the marketplace.   The abundance of careful detail gives all of the levels an extremely realistic feel.

Hitman-Absolution

One of the signature features of the Hitman franchise is freedom of player choice. There are always multiple ways to dispatch your targets, ranging from the extremely silent and stealthy to downright straightforward and brutal.  You truly have the option to go completely guns blazing, more so than you might in other entry in the series. Yet, this approach is not without consequence, as it increases the difficulty exponentially.   The silent and creative approach is often the ideal method (especially if you are going for a high score) and is certainly the way the game was intended to be experienced.

Hitman-Absolution

 

For instance, the game welcomes the player to arrange creative ways to pull off the hits. The first level alone features at least ten different ways to take down the target, and each kill method is coupled to a challenge that will increase the score on repeat playthroughs.  Playing the levels multiple times is downright encouraged, especially if you want to best the scores of your friends. The incentive for the best score is heightened by constant displays of rankings, friendly reminders that you (or one of your friends) could have done a little better.  This certainly adds value to an already chunky package. With so many choices and encouragement to replay, the campaign took me roughly 18 hours to complete.

hitman-absolution-multiplayer

Multiplayer (a first for the series) also feels very adaptable.  Campaign levels are opened up sandbox style; any NPC on the map can be chosen as a target and then sent to your respective friends list.  Gamers can place restrictions on the assassinations; you can compete with your friends to see who can complete the hits most efficiently based on the parameters dictated by another player.  This adds an even greater level of replay to the game, and it also welcomes the creative contributions of gamers.  Hundreds of thousands of player-made challenges have already been uploaded, giving play time a durability that previous entries in the series failed to achieve.

If you are a fan of the Hitman series then you likely picked this up on launch day and have already relished in brutally murdering your targets with well-timed sniper shots, convenient natural gas leak explosions, “accidental” chandelier mishaps, and of course Agent 47’s signature fiber wire.  Hitman  neophytes will enjoy this title as well, as it is a suitable springboard into the series.  In Hitman: Absolution, the series has never been more polished and the level design is impeccable. I certainly enjoyed the stealth mechanics of the game much more than in any other assassin title released this holiday season.  Hitman: Absolution is therefore highly recommended; it has certainly provided one of my favorite gaming experiences this year.

Weird Games: Naughty Bear

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

Sometimes you have a bad day and it appears Bears are no different. In this game from 505 Games, we meet a Naughty Bear that does not like being cute and cuddly like the rest of the bears and as a result is shunned and made fun of. Because of being ostracized by the community Naught Bear seeks revenge on his fellow Teddy Bears and you have thousands of different ways to scare, punish and disrupt bear society.

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

In Naughty Bear you have an entire island to explore and cause mayhem on. The island itself is divided into four parts with some sections and areas needing to be unlocked. There are a total of 28 levels on the island and tons of different objects to use and obstacles to overcome. Your job is not only to get revenge on the bears who tormented you, but also to avoid the law abiding bears who will try and stop your mischievous ways.

Naughty Bear - Gameplay Screenshot

Now the game is not just about beating up bears. There is a “Mischief Points” system where the more you scared the bears and the different ways you scare them earns you more points. Not all bears will be frightened by the same thing so you have to mix it up. This combination along with the open world model keeps the game from getting stale as you come up with new ways to cause havoc.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfznS5Rw_UQ[/youtube]

You can find Naughty Bear for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Long before the movie “Ted” this bear was naughty and the game is definitely weird.

Weird Games: Sneak King

If you only saw the title, you would think this is some weird Japanese stalking game. Instead, what you have is a weird and creepy advertisement for Burger King that should have been a web game not an actual game for the Xbox 360.

Sneak King COVER

Sneak King was one of three different games that Burger King offered back in 2006. I think you could purchase then for $2.99 with a value meal or something like that. In this game, the objective is to sneak up on people and deliver Burger King Burgers to them. Personally, I rather sneak up and deliver sausages but that is just me.

Sneak King COVER

The gameplay works like this, you are in what they call a “sandbox”, which is a set area where you can walk around freely. You will see various people walking around and as they get hungry, a hunger icon will appear above their heads. Now I have no idea why you would need to sneak up on a hungry person to give them food, but that is exactly what you do.

Sneak King COVER

Now like in games like Metal Gear Solid the idea is to stay out of their cone of vision. You can sneak up from behind, but the King makes a lot of noise so you have to be careful of that as well. You can also hide in places like garbage cans, (seriously, would you accept food from a guy popping out of a garbage can, what is this Final Fight?) or other such places.

Sneak King COVER

So you can earn points for delivering fast or hiding versus sneaking. Also, the hunger meter starts blue and then turns red. If you wait too long to deliver the food the person passes out for a while. Now why are there hungry people walking around until they pass out, I dunno. Even stranger is if you time your food delivery just before they pass out you earn more points, way to care about humanity, Burger King.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OnPXrOTBWc[/youtube]

This game has 80 challenges and once you finish them call you get a, Stealth Suit Overall, if you get this game for free or a few bucks maybe the weirdness is good enough to warranty the purchase, but don’t expect great graphics or long lasting gameplay.

Trials Evolution

The much anticipated Trials Evolution has finally been released on XBox Live.  The sequel to the very popular 2009 title Trials HD, fans had high expectations for this motorcycle stunt game and will be pleased to learn it is everything it needed it to be.

trials-evolution-box

Trials Evolution finds the perfect balance between rehashing the same formula from before and remaking the game to the point it loses the charm of the original.  The game instantly feels like the original in your hands but quickly stuns with amazing new graphic detail and personality.  Very few video games have ever successfully managed to make such a deep improvement while retaining everything that made the original popular as well as this one has.

Trials-Evolution_gameplay-screenshot

Perhaps drawing inspiration from some of the user-created levels of the original, Trials Evolution uses obstacles and environments in far more creative ways than the original.  Even the earliest tracks have a more “extreme” feel to them while later tracks add elevators, moving cars and over-the-top explosions like never before.

trials_evolution_gameplay

Those that missed the original Trials HD will find quick tutorials to help them pull off various moves.  The Single Player levels increase in difficulty in a balanced manner and should provide players of all skill levels a fair level of challenge throughout.

Trials-Evolution_gameplay-screenshot

The level editor mode has grown by leaps and bounds and comes in two flavors:  a basic mode and a more advanced editor.  Both versions allow for an exponential amount more than the original Trials HD editor did while somehow still managing to be easy to learn and use.  This feature alone makes the purchase price of 1200 Microsoft points a bargain.

Trials-Evolution_gameplay-screenshot

The multiplayer mode provides the only real issue thus far.  At the time of this review, online matchmaking was taking several minutes at a time and would fail altogether on many attempts.  Once in a game, however, it ran flawlessly and could easily become a serious competition for many XBox Live fans.  Be aware if you lag behind the rest of the pack the camera will turn toward you once the race has finished, putting all eyes on your efforts to complete the track.  Hopefully the matchmaking issues can be remedied quickly.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43tj8X7dQ2s[/youtube]

All in all, Trials Evolution is easily the best XBLA game released in quite some time.  Such a deep gaming experience is rarely seen in a downloadable title and should provide hundreds of hours of play.  A must-buy for all gamers.

Catherine Demo

Catherine covers

I played and completed the demo for Catherine on the 12th. I was extremely impressed because it was graphically stunning, engaging, and original. It has been a while since I have played any kind of game with its originality. It’s rare Atlus ever fails to impress me, and I had high hopes for Catherine, even for the demo. It delivered everything it needed to.

Graphics

The graphics are, of course, in the usual Atlus “3-D anime” form. They are sharp and bright but with a certain theme. The point of the game is for it to be dark and gritty, but the colors chosen contrast each other, making each and every one stand out on its own. The colors seen most are pinks, reds, whites, and blacks.

Gameplay

What I was expecting was a kind of dating simulator that Japan is known all too well for releasing, but if that aspect is imbued in it, I didn’t notice. The demo takes you through what seems to be the introduction of the game, and the first two stages of the puzzles. Yes, there are puzzles. Even on the easy difficulty the demo plays by default, the puzzles are quite challenging and require the player to think on the fly. Also, there is a way you can text the “first” “K”atherine, literally, through Vincent’s phone. The main menu is active and has actual character models.

Story

This is what kept me engaged the most. The story plays out like an old time detective movie, and is about Vincent, a unfortunate man who has nightmares which are in the form of the puzzles. He is escaping what is a gigantic hand of a hysterical woman after him and has to move blocks in and out of his way to continue up. “Katherine” is his current girlfriend who pops one of the largest questions in one’s relationship: “marriage plz?”

Who Should and Should Not Be Playing This

This game is rated mature for a reason and has strong sexual themes with a dash of violence. This is a Japanese game that has anime cut scenes and 3-D graphics, as mentioned, in an anime form. If this is your type of game, I guarantee you will have a blast, even if it’s just a demo.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a69nmiAvSY[/youtube]

Overall

The demo ends with him meeting “Catherine” and a trailer of what is to come in the story. The trailer was even better than what I had played of the game. I have yet to see anything like it, and I can already see why there is so much hype for it. The demo is available on both the 360 and PS3. What are you waiting for? Get to it!

Alan Wake

Alan Wake logo
Alan Wake logo

A new series here at Obsolete Gamer where we hope to spark comments and debate on a wide arrange of topics. Various writers from Obsolete Gamer will give you their take (opinion) on a subject and we hope you will weigh in even if you completely disagree with us.

Alan Wake is a survival horror game that attempts to mix in more of the serialized television feel to its game. What this means is the game also plays like episodic television in which each level beings an episode.  Besides the action or important parts of the game you will also have some areas where you just walk around doing mundane tasks and it does add to the “show” feel more than if they were just cut-scenes.

You play as Alan Wake a famous writer that while on vacation in a small-town called Bright Falls is thrown into a mystery and a horror story involving his wife, his past and present works and a creepy town history that can give Silent Hill a run for its money.

The game itself has the feel of a Silent Hill as you are just a normal guy who all of a sudden has to go all Alone in the Dark, carrying a flashlight to fight of shadow monsters called “Taken” you also become proficient in hand guns, shotguns, hunting rifles, flash bangs, flares, flare guns and the use of batteries.

Now there have been tons of reviews on the game so I won’t go to much deeper into that aspect. Here is my take and there may be some spoilers so you are forewarned.

J.A.’s Take:

The game is well done, let me start with that. Sure, there are some clipping issues sometimes and the camera can spin you in an awkward direction and there are a few other tidbits, but I can deal with that. One of the problems I had was the game was too easy in one respect and then difficult in another. If you have ever played any third person game like a Silent Hill or Resident Evil then the normal difficulty with be a joke. Pretty much you will never run out of ammo except one very small part of the game and you can kill almost anything with the handgun alone.

Speaking of ammo, one thing that pissed me off about Alan Wake is the need to always find a way to make you lose your weapons and gear. Again, in the normal difficulty you will always have enough weapons and batteries, but almost every time you finish an “action” area you fall or trip or donate your weapons to Toys for Tots and you start the next “action” area with almost nothing.

If you play like me, in a survival horror game some of the keys to winning is to conserve ammo and run from a good number of your enemies, but in Alan Wake if you conserve ammo you just end up wasting it. As for running from enemies, unless you are near a strong light source it is a waste of time because many enemies can just appear behind you or they run super-fast and as a writer you have never hit the gym so you can’t sprint very long.

Speaking of running, let’s take a break and talk about puppies. What, you don’t want to talk about puppies in the middle of an Alan Wake rant? Too bad because my puppy rant might contain useful information about Alan Wake, but you have to listen for up to ten minutes or no achievement for you.

In a nutshell that is how I view the watching of the Night Springs television show that you can watch in game. Night Springs is a Twilight Zone rip-off show that you can watch on many of the televisions in game. The problem is twofold. One, for the most part you don’t need to watch the Night Sprints shows for anything other than an achievement.  Two, when you are being chased down and are in the middle of intense action it makes no sense to spend up to ten minutes watching a badly made in game show that does nothing for you. The same applies for the radio. Sure, the radio show gives you some current information and town info, but again, it is long and doesn’t really help you in the game and takes you out of the moment.

Another take you out of the moment comes from chasing down manuscript pages. Now to be fair, this is part of the story and the more you collect the more you understand about what is happening to you and even what will happen. The problem is in most of the action sequences you need to keep moving. When you are being chased by the cops and the taken at the same time it is just silly to stop and search that mountain in the distance for a book page. Also, if you miss some pages it can be really hard to understand what you are reading and it doesn’t help you that much really.

How about some coffee? Writers love coffee and there are 100 coffee thermos’s throughout the game you find just for an achievement, but again, it takes you out of the action and does nothing for you. I will admit sometimes it was cool to grab some coffee while shooting a taken in the face, but when you need to run and gun it just kills the mood to go foraging for your Starbucks coffee carrying device.

As for the story, you will either love it or hate it and don’t expect the ending to wrap everything up nicely. In the age of downloadable content the idea is to extend the story by making you shell out points (money) to buy more episodes until Alan Wake 2 comes out.

Alan Wake the signal
Alan Wake the signal

Bottom Line

I would not have purchased this game personally, this is a rental. I could have beaten this game in a day and playing on nightmare mode is only for achievements. If you play on Normal and have ever played any shooting or survival horror game you will be bored as the monsters are easy to kill, you have to much ammo and the only way they can even hit you is to sneak up on you from behind and try to surround you gangbang style.

The story was meh and I am not paying for your DLC to finish a story you should have in the first place. I care about story and history and this and that, but in a run and gun game I don’t want to watch television shows, listen to down home radio or read about how the great red oak tree was hit by lighting in 1834.

Alan Wake is like playing an Outer Limits episode, but not a very good one. Take Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark and that Darkness game put it together and you still have a game that will put you to sleep not keep you A.Wake.

So that’s my take, what’s yours?

Assassins Creed 2

Assassin's Creed II Ezio
Assassin’s Creed II Ezio

Assassins Creed 2 Review by Darknight630

Assassins Creed 2 is the sequel to one of the fastest selling new IP’s of all time, Assassins Creed. As was with the original Assassins Creed 2 has two distinctive story lines thrown in. One is of Desmond Miles, who you might remember from the original game. While the other story line involves the new assassin, Ezio. Unlike in Assassins Creed you played as Altair, the dedicated assassin. Ezio’s story is one of betrayal and revenge, the more Ezio goes into getting revenge the more he becomes tangled in the same war between the Assassins and Knight’s Templar. Assassins Creed 2 has been in development for over 2 years now, so how have those two years served to fix all the issues that plagued the original Assassins Creed? Let’s find out.

Once again Assassins Creed 2 takes place in both the future and the past. The game begins at the exact spot where the first one ended with Desmond Miles escaping Abstergo Industries. Desmond still sits on the sidelines for most of the story, but in the few times that you do play as him you do a lot more then walk around a small room. Desmond must use the animus to watch the memories of ancestor Ezio in order to both train him to become an assassin and find an incredible secret. Unlike Altair (who was an assassin from the get-go), Ezio starts out as a simple nobleman whose seemingly perfect world is shattered when his family is betrayed and killed. Thus begins Ezio’s quest to seek revenge against those who betrayed and killed his family. However the deeper Ezio goes in avenging his family he becomes more and more tangled in a war between the Assassins and Knight’s Templar. Everything in Assassins Creed 2 is much deeper story wise. Whereas the original Assassins Creed had you repeating the same tasks over and over again to reach an assassination, AC2 actually has a story that fleshes out each character and has you actually seeing what is going on in this war between Assassins and Templars. Once more unlike Altair, who blindly followed orders from whomever, Ezio has his own agenda and plan. There is no one pulling the stings so to speak when it comes to Ezio. Plus without getting into spoiler territory AC2 also goes into explaining the “creation of man” in the AC universe and thus leaving you with the begging feeling to play Assassins Creed 3.

Assassins Creed 2 has made an incredible improvement from the first game in terms of game play. No longer do you walk around cities quickly doing three of the exact same missions. Ezio has specific people to go to that provide him with a large variety of missions that never once become repetitive. The original idea for Assassins Creed was to be a mixture of Prince of Persia and Grand Theft Auto, however the first game never delivered on that. Assassins Creed 2 definitely delivers. Combat has been improved in a big way making it so much more fun. You have about 30 weapons to choose from now rather then just three (including using enemies weapons), and each have different styles of killing enemies. You may also disarm enemies now and even do actual combat with your hidden blades. Ezio has many different assassination techniques such as pulling guards over ledges, jumping on them from roofs, stabbing them from a hay bale, and more. Other new gadgets include a hidden wrist pistol, smoke bombs, and poison.

Graphically Assassins Creed 2 is amazing. Ubisoft did a real nice job of bringing all the cities of AC2 to life. Considering the game takes place in Italy you can tell how detailed all the cities look. Everything has pretty much been accurately recreated to match what could be found in Italy during the AC2 time frame. The inhabitants of the cities also add to the effect and don’t look as bland as they did in the original game. The same goes for all the main characters in the game, they actually show emotions and actually make you feel for these characters as you meet them throughout the game. Also for all you fans of blood and gore those effects are definitely nice in AC2, in some cases they are good enough to even make you cringe at the sight of some of the assassinations. Soundwise Assassins Creed 2 is much better over its predecessors. There is a simple soundtrack to be found in the game, nothing to really get excited about. However the sounds of weapons hitting each other and even the sounds of weapons being impaled into flesh all sound great. Also a grand addition to AC2 that the original game didn’t use, character accents!

In terms of replayability and value Assassins Creed definitely has both of those over the original. Unlike the original game who’s only form of replayability was collecting flags scattered around the land, AC2 adds far more options in this sense. Such missions include finding hidden treasure chests in the land and helping your mother find 100 feathers scattered around. These two are in the same vein as the original games flag collecting, however AC2 adds one more thing that greatly improves replayability, the ability to assist your Uncle Mario (Yes, there is a Super Mario Brothers joke in the game) in rebuilding his city. Using any money you earn throughout the game you can donate and repair things such as the Mansion you live in, the Weapons shop, the Art shop, the Tailor shop, etc. All these repairs go into giving you discounts for weapons, armor, art pieces, and more. Also added to the game to increase replayability are the clues that explain something I cannot go into for fear or spoiling the game. They serve as clues that explain Subject 16…and that’s as far as I can go.

So to sum it up Assassins Creed 2 is a great improvement over the original game. It’s a rather lengthy game as well spanning well over 25 hours or so depending on your skill and if you choose to do the side missions. I completed the game in about 27 hours playing it on the Xbox 360. There are no major differences between playing this game on the 360 or PS3 aside from the controller.

Final Score: 8/10