Saturday, June 12, 2010

Game Review (Green Day Rock Band - 360)

Graphics: 4/5 Green Day Rock Band looks pretty great in my opinion. Tre Cool looks and acts like the real Tre Cool, and Mike Dirnt and Billy Joe look quite a lot like the real thing. There are only three venues, which kind of makes me feel like Harmonix skimped a bit on this game as opposed to The Beatles Rock Band, but it looks good nonetheless.

Sound: 4/5 I have a question for you - do you like Green Day? That's the obvious question. Secondly, do you like old or new Green Day? Odds are, if you're above the age of 15 or so, you prefer the older Green Day. This game includes the full albums "Dookie" , "American Idiot" , and "21st Century Breakdown" if you didn't know that already. "Dookie" is one of the bands earliest albums, while "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown" are the bands most recent. I really was disappointed in the lack of older songs by Green Day. There are absolutely no songs from 38/Smooth or Kerplunk!. And also, there aren't many songs outside of the three full albums. A good number of the band's singles are in the game, but I'd very willingly sacrifice some songs from "21st Century Breakdown" to get some 38/Smooth, Kerplunk!, Insomniac, or Nimrod.

Fun: 4/5 Green Day Rock Band isn't like a Guitar Hero version of a band game; Harmonix KNOWS how to make a successful one-band game. Green Day Rock Band is a success, but it's not without its flaws. The lack of older songs - I've already said this about four hundred times - from the band is a little painful, and having only three venues is a bit of a bummer, but any mid-range to super fan of Green Day will probably buy this game. There are extras, of course, like The Beatles Rock Band, but that's really it. The career mode really has a quick play feel - beat five songs, unlock about five more. There are challenges you unlock, which you play to get achievements and get videos.

On a final note, Green Day Rock Band really isn't for the guitar heavy music game player. There are a few fun songs in this game on guitar, (most of the fun songs, in my opinion on all instruments overall, are those from "American Idiot" ... there's the most variety on that album.) but the game just shines on drums. Tre Cool is a pretty underrated drummer. He's fast, has some really crazy fills, and it makes for a sweat dripping fun time. Guitar on most songs is essentially a chordfest, with a few songs here and there having a solo or something, while bass really is quietly more fun than as a whole than guitar. Ahh "Longview" how I like your bass line.


+ Green Day!
- Leans a little heavy on the newer Green Day, although "21st Century Breakdown" isn't as bad as I initially thought.
- Not for those that have guitar as their instrument of choice.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Game Review (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Resurgence Pack - 360)

fourzerotwo promised another Modern Warfare 2 back, but I don't think anyone thought it would happen so quickly. Released June 3rd on Xbox LIVE, the Resurgence Pack is yet again another $15-for-5-map download. Is it worth the money?

Strike: 4.5/5 As you probably know, Strike; along with Vacant, is a rehash from the original Modern Warfare with a few subtle tweaks. The map takes on a new skin, there's more detail, and the game just looks better. If you liked it before, you'll like it here. If not, nothing will change... that goes for Vacant as well.

Vacant: 4.25/5 The only difference here; outside of the new look, is that in objective modes, that little gate blocking the doorway in the bad guys's spawn opens up, allowing for a new tactical advantage for the good guys. Nothing else has changed from what I can tell, but it's just as good as it was in Modern Warfare.

Trailer Park: 4.25/5 This map is probably my least favorite of the pack. It's not bad at all, but there has to be a least favorite, right? Trailer Park is just as it says - a trailer park. You basically run in and around trailers on this small/medium sized map. It encourages easy camping, but it's easy to flush guys out with a quick M67 or Semtex.

Fuel: 4.5/5 I must say, Fuel looks really awesome. But on the flip side of things, I'm disappointed in the map for one reason. The one half of the map with all of the buildings is great, but I can't help but think the other part of the map - where nobody EVER goes - is simply for boosters. There is almost nothing there, and there's no reason to even go there. Still, Fuel looks great and plays very well on the other side of the map.

Carnival: 4.5/5 I thought this would blow the other maps out of the water. Not quite, but it's still a fantastic map. People say it's a huge map, but I seem to get around it pretty quickly. There's something amusing about hearing "Claymores on the carousel."... I don't know what it is. A very fun map.


The Resurgence Pack is really quite a bit better than the Stimulus Pack, but that's expected for sales. Naturally Infinity Ward (or any company) would put out the less appealing pack first, to try and get better sales off the second. That's how it works. Hey, I payed $30 for 10 maps - half the cost of the game - only 6 of which were new. A lot of people whine about it, and they have the right, but so long as they don't start charging $20 for 5 maps, I'll be fine.


+ Carnival and Fuel are maps that really any Call of Duty player needs to try.
+ Strike and Vacant got a bigger make-over than Crash and Overgrown in the Stimulus Pack.
- Still $15, a reason many will not buy.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Game Review (Wizard 101 - PC)

Wizard 101 is an MMORPG developed by KingsIsle, released September 2nd 2008, and targeted for a 10-15-year-old audience. Think of it, in simplest terms, as a game with a World of Warcraft atmosphere at times, with battles similar to that of something from Final Fantasy. Instead of really using magic, you're using cards, so MAYBE it's actually more like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh. However you compare this game, it's very solid overall.

Graphics: 4/5 Wizard101 doesn't have anything that will blow you away, but the game just looks pretty. It should run smoothly on most newer computers on the higher difficulty settings. The game occasionally lags, but that's usually only when you're in The Commons. The particle effects are nice, and the bright colors throughout most of the worlds really make the game shine.

Sound: 4/5 Pretty surprisingly good! Although I normally skip any dialogue, I have heard a good bit of it, and it is pretty well done for the most part. From what I can tell, every and any person you talk to has dialogue - human or not. The battle sounds are decent, but the music in the game is pretty simple and enjoyable.

Control: 4/5 I find the game to be very simple to control for the most part, but for someone that's 10 years old? I could see how this would be frustrating. There is a good bit to learn, but if you've ever played an MMORPG in the past, I think you know what to expect here.

Fun: 4.25/5 Wizard101 is a very solid game, but it's obviously not without flaws. Excuse me while I rant. First, I think KingsIsle is really a big scam of a company. The subscription is only $10 a month compared to the $15 for the giant World of Warcraft, but to really buy the spiffy things in and outside of Wizard City, you will have to buy Crowns, which cost real American dollars. You can very easily get along using the game's simple gold currency, but those who get Crowns will get distinct advantages, including much stronger, faster, and smarter pets. One of the biggest things that upsets me about Wizard101 is that although there are several different worlds to explore, and they appear to look different on the surface, they really are all quite similar. It doesn't take long to realize that; for the most part, the worlds have almost an identical layout anywhere you go, and the quests are also pretty redundant. (Pick up these barrels or crates, go inside this building and defeat these guys, etc.) This is to be expected, seeing as how MMORPGs tend to sort of... HAVE to follow this formula, but Wizard101 just doesn't seem to mask it quite as well. However, if a 10 year old were to play this game, they'd probably hardly even notice. The worlds, as I said, look very cool, the different creatures you run to along the way are interesting, the pets and mounts are spiffy, and the game is just expanding as KingsIsle is hard at work trying to keep the game fresh. While Wizard101 isn't the best MMORPG out there right now, it's a bit cheaper than World of Warcraft (if you're just talking about the subscription.) and simpler as well.


Things you may want to know:
- Subscribing ranges from $9.95 a month to $79.95 a year, depending on how you have it billed. If you don't subscribe, you will be unable to leave the core of Wizard City.
- Chat system is terrible. It's intended for a younger audience, so even words like 'crap' are blocked. But that's not all, I've experienced random words like 'so' to be censored, making for difficult conversing.
- Crowns, although not necessary, you may want to get eventually. Sadly, KingsIsle is trying to get kids to make their parents buy them, and I guess it's working. Sort of disappointing... almost like a scam.