Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Game Review ( Grand Theft Auto IV - 360 )

Graphics: 5/5 At first glance, the game looks pretty unimpressive, but quickly, the game grows on you and you'll appreciate it much more. The character models are good, the body movements are fantastic, the Ragdoll Body physics are great, the city is fantastic, there is little framerate drop even in online play, and the game looks absolutely stunning from a helicopter when you fly over the city. Grand Theft Auto IV may not look like the best 360 game straight up, but when you consider how much is put into this game, it really does look good.

Sound: 5/5 Easy 5/5, and one of the best sounding games ever. Radio stations and TV stations and characters with great dialogue for the most part. The game sounds great, of course. I can't think of one sound flaw in this game. The voiceovers don't impress everyone, but I think they are done quite well.

Control: 4.75/5 Very confusing when you first boot up the game, but quite easy to get down after a little while of playing. Many people have the car's new "realistic" controls. I actually like it better because, well, it's more realistic. It is frustrating at times, but it's not hard to get used to. The helicopters on the other hand, that's another story. They control well unless you're going fast - good luck landing one of those things. The new cover system and fighting system are pretty good, but not great. The cover system is actully somewhat useless, especially in online play, since players know where you are, and the fighting system is also flawed online because sometimes, although seldomly, headshots don't register.

Fun: 5/5 Are you surprised by the score? Of course not. The critics really gave this game what it deserves. GTAIV is definitely one of the best games of all-time. Sim-like gameplay, plus a great story, plus phenomenal multiplayer equals one great game. Although the game seems, and almost is, perfect, there are of course flaws. One thing for instance is the lack of being able to play co-op, which is a real downer. Still, the several different game modes will keep you occupied for months - or even years to come. If you are trying to find a reason to dislike this game, good luck, because just about anywhere you look, you will find greatness.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Game Review ( Mario Kart Wii - Wii )

Graphics: 4/5 From afar, the game looks pretty good. When up close, though, the character models are not very good, and actually look worse than the GameCube version. This game does look good for the most part though, and the fact that the framerate seems to drop very little, and there are 12 racers on the track this time around, is impressive.

Sound: 3.75/5 Tracks are the same for the retro tracks, which is nice to see, and of course new for the new tracks. People say the music is annoying - not really. The thing that really is annoying are the voiceovers. Every few seconds you will hear your character and all the others wailing out. It gets old in minutes. Most characters don't sound at all like they did in previous games. What's with Donkey Kong sounding like Scooby Doo?

Control: 4.5/5 Why people dislike the Wii Wheel, I'll never know, but I think it's great. It took a Grand Prix play to get used to it, and now I don't think I'd ever go use a GameCube controller for this game. There are other ways to play: Wii controller on the side ( Same thing as using the Wii Wheel ) , Wii+Nunchuck, Classic Controller, and GameCube controller. I only give this a 4.5 because there are times when I turn right or left on the Wii controller, but the character on screen goes the opposite way. Doesn't happen often, but it happens sometimes. Really though, the Wii Wheel is great.

Fun: 4.5/5 Mario Kart Wii may very well be the best game in the series despite a LOT of flaws. Tedious loops of character grunts, so-so graphics, unbelievably cheap A.I., and a lack of some really great retro tracks are just a few things that bug me about this game. There is online play, obviously, and it is fun, but not as fun as most people say it is. I definitely recommend getting this game simply because there are so few games as fun as this one on the Wii. This is arguably the Wii's best games available now - it certainly gives Super Smash Bros. Brawl a run for its money.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Game Review ( Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - DS )

Graphics: 4.5/5 CoD4 for the DS looks surprisingly good, and it suffers very little frame rate drops. There are also a lot of different and cool looking environments in the game. The character models look even better. One of the better looking DS games to date.

Sound: 4.25/5 People say it sounds great, I think it sound good. The guns sound good, but not like their real life counterparts, and the voice overs don't sound too great at all.

Control: 4.5/5 Along with Metroid Prime Hunters, this is the best and easiest to control shooters on the DS. This is how they should all be. You should be able to quickly learn these controls. They are effective and work well, although there are a few minor problems, like sprinting in to walls and the like because of the DS's D-pad. Other than that, well done.

Fun: 3.75/5 Sadly, CoD4 for the DS is worthy of nothing more than a rental - unless you have a few friends that have the game as well. The fact is, the single player is the only thing to this game unless you have friends to play with. After you're done with the campaign, there is no real reason to come back. The campaign is indeed fun, but it won't last forever. The single player has a similar story to the one in the 360 and PS3 versions of the game, but the experience is much different, as are the levels. This game could very well have been the best shooter on the DS if it had Wi-Fi, but sadly, it doesn't, leaving this shooter just another that falls short of being dubbed a gem.


Game Review ( Mario Party DS - DS )

Graphics: 4.5/5 They look very solid for a DS game, and certainly better than the N64 versions of the game. No drop in frame rate, and it overall looks very good.

Sound: 3.75/5 Grainy sounding Mario, Luigi, DK, Peach, Yoshi etc. = annoying. The game doesn't sound fantastic, it's just pretty average. Past games sounded better.

Control: 4/5 Obviously, Mario Party is known for its mini-games. On the DS, the microphone and touch screen are put into use, of course. Most games are exactly the same that involve the microphone, and some with the touch screen are the same too, just with different skins, but they are still enjoyable. The other minigames are played with the control pad.

Fun: 3.5/5 Mario Party DS is lacking a few things - Wi-Fi, more playable maps, and more characters, but it's a decent game. The minigames are quite fun, even though some are almost the same. Mario Party DS really doesn't feel like its own game, and just a minigame itself. I wouldn't recommend buying this game simply because it is lacking some things games on the N64 did have. Another problem I have with this game is its story mode. While it could be a nice addition, the story is lame and predictable, and if you fail in the story mode, you have to redo a whole 10 turn or more game. I would recommend this game if you are going on a road trip with (a) friend(s), because it's fun in groups, only playing a few games at a time, and can be played with one copy of the game.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Game Review ( Call of Duty 4 Variety Map Pack - 360 )

Released today is the much anticipated Variety Map Pack (VMP) the first, and possibly, the last map pack for the game. It features the maps Creek, China Town, Killhouse, and Broadcast. ( Killhouse can only be played in Free-for-All and Team Tactical, sadly. )


Creek: 4.5/5 I really wanted to play this map, and it doesn't disappoint. While there are a lot of frustrating snipers, the map is well covered in weeds and trees to make it somewhat difficult to snipe. There is a hill, a broken down barn house, and a cool little cave you can walk into. Creek isn't the best map in the pack, but it is a lot of fun.

China Town: 4.75/5 "Most of the Call of Duty 4 maps are built from the ground up" - this isn't one of them. You'll notice right away, if you played Call of Duty 2, this looks just like Carentan, France from Call of Duty 2. Not a bad thing - it was one of the best maps - but it is VERY similar. The only difference is that it looks a lot prettier and, well, it's in China apparently. One of, if not the best, map of the four. Great for all modes of play.

Broadcast: 5/5 My favorite map of the four, definitely. Broadcast is quite similar to the "Charlie Don't Surf" mission of single player, and it's amazing to play online. It's inside the TV station, as well as outside. It doesn't look completely like the single player version, but different enough to see the difference. Everything about this map is great with a few problems - airstrikes and helicopters are only really about 20% effective, since about 80% of the map is indoors.

Killhouse: 4/5 I finally played Killhouse. I played it in a 2-on-3 private match, and I must say, it's really not that bad. It's a small map with an almost entirely open roof for good use of airstrikes and helicopters. It's definitely not as good as the others, but it is pretty fun.


The VMP just comes down to this: $12.50 for one NEW map. Why do I saw this? It costs $12.50 for 1000 Microsoft Points through Xbox LIVE, Broadcast is essentially a map from single player with some subtle differences and new rooms, China Town is Carentan France from Call of Duty 2 with a new slap of skin on it, and Killhouse will probably get played by quite a few in actual game modes. Still, this is one of the best ways someone can spend ten bucks. You get three great maps that are probably better than any of the ones included in the game. ( Hah. Probably only saying that because I've played the on-disc maps so many times. ) Still, VMP adds a quartet of tasty maps that will only add to Call of Duty 4's seemingly endless online playability.


[5 for value. I make no sense.]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Game Review ( Burnout Paradise - 360 )

Graphics: 4.5/5 Good, but not amazing. The frame rate holds up, and I suppose the graphics are more impressive just given that. Also, there aren't any load times while driving around the huge city, unless you start a race or the sort.

Sound: 5/5 A decent soundtrack, but the real thing here that sounds great are the cars, yet again. A car going 200mph hearing opposing cars whip by sounds amazing yet again. Burnout always has great sound, anyway. No surprise here.

Control: 4.5/5 As with most next-gen racers, you use the triggers to drive. It's comfortable, and I wouldn't have it any other way. However, some things are just pointless. The ability to do stunts in this game such as barrel rolls and flat spins is quite lame.

Fun: 4.25/5 Everything is well above average in Paradise, but it just isn't as fun as previous games. The online play is set up the best by far, but the city just isn't as fun to drive around in as one would think, and there are little things about the game that will get on your nerves. ( Ex. Fail a race? Better drive back to the starting line. ) Still, Burnout Paradise is the first REAL Burnout next-gen game for the 360. Well worth a look for any racing fan.