Sunday, July 29, 2007

Game Review: Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80's

NOTE: This will likely be my last review of a PS2 game.

Graphics: 4/5 Slightly improved, but for the most part, look the same. The venues look the same but with a few added things around it to make it look like it's set in the 80's. The characters also have an 80's look. Still looks a lot like Guitar Hero II.

Sound: 4/5 The sound varies in this game. The covers go from pretty bad to decently good. Many of the songs are good ones, but not fun ones to play on Guitar Hero.

Control: 4/5 The game feels just like any other Guitar Hero game. On expert the game plays very well like always.

Fun: 4/5 Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks The 80's is, to me, a dissapointment. Only about 1/3 of the songs are fun to play, another third are okay to play occasionally, and the last third are absolute terrible to play. Rocks The 80's will be bought no matter what by a huge Guitar Hero fan, but is it really worth playing a good 10 songs for $50?


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Game Review ( Bomberman LIVE - 360 Arcade )

Graphics: 4.25/5 Kept pretty simple, but they look very sharp. The maps vary greatly and look well done, and the explosions from the bombs are pretty simple, but sexy.

Sound: 4.5/5 FANTASTIC for an XBLA game. The music is different pretty much anywhere you go, and changes depending on the map. The announcer gets annoying if you play for long periods, but still, Bomberman LIVE sounds very good.

Control: 4.5/5 Simple - ALMOST too simple. Walk around behind walls, press A. That's just about all you have to do - except when you get certain power-ups. You can kick and throw bombs and other objects, also.

Fun: 4.5/5 Bomberman LIVE may very well be the best game in the XBLA as of today. You can play with up to 8 players on Xbox Live with little to no lag most of the time, there are leaderboards that are very in depth, and you can even customize your character. All you have to do is play Bomberman LIVE, find "costume bells", and you can change the look of your Bomberman. This game is an absolute STEAL at only 800 MSP. You will likely be logging many, many hours into Bomberman LIVE - and you won't even realize it.


Achievement Difficulty: 8/10
One of the toughest arcade games to get achievements for. Most of the achievements are ones that will take a long time, and/or some friends to get. For example, "Girl Power!" and "The Good, The Bad, And The Bombed" require you to dress up entirely in an outfit, and do something specifically in a match. The odds of ever getting the achievements out of the blue would be EXTREMELY rare. There are some more hard achievements to get. Winning consecutive games isn't easy period, and you have to now do it on Xbox Live. Bomberman LIVE has some VERY tough achievements, so an achievement whore wouldn't want to play it then? No. Bomberman LIVE is so good anyone would play this game for a decent period of time.

Game Review ( Small Arms - 360 Arcade )

Graphics: 4.5/5 This game looks purely like an Xbox 360 title - you wouldn't even know it was from the arcade. The colors look good, the characters ( for the most part ) look really cool, and most of the maps are nice to look at.

Sound: 4.25/5 Pretty sharp. The guns sound like... guns, and each of the 12 characters talk here and there. The music also fits the game very well. Still, the sound could be better.

Control: 4.5/5 Think of Small Arms as Super Smash Bros. with guns. That's almost exactly what this game is. You use the right analog stick to aim, right and left triggers to shoot, X to melee, and so on. Small Arms controls are probably the best of any game in the XBLA.

Fun: 4.25/5 The core of Small Arms is really fun, but short unless you have Live. The single player plays ( like I said ) exactly like Super Smash Bros., but after awhile that will get stale. There is also a "Challenge Mode" where you fight waves of opponents, and "Shooting Range" where you shoot targets to get a highscore. Small Arms really is fun offline or on Live, and there is even downloadable content - with more to come, I'm sure. For $10, you can't go wrong with picking this game up.


Achievement Difficulty: 4/10
Small Arms really has mostly SIMPLE achievements. Complete training, complete mission mode, win 10 matches, and so on, but some may take awhile. The challenge achievements may take awhile to get unless you get lucky and the AI "glitches", which happens sometimes. The AI will randomly spawn and run off the spawn for no reason - this pretty much hands you achievements. Others are self explanatory - win. Just win a certain number of matches and "Achievement Unlocked". This game doesn't have the hardest achievements, but it has ones that are fun to get.

Game Review ( Brothers In Arms - DS )

Graphics: 4.25/5 I can tell you right now, the graphics are the only thing that is right in Brothers In Arms. We all know the DS isn't nearly as powerful as the PSP, but the DS really goes far and delivers the best graphics it can without disrupting the gameplay.

Sound: 3.5/5 The guns sound alright, the music is okay too, but ( obviously ) there are subtitles instead of audio for messages. Sounds okay, but it's overall really quiet.

Control: 2.5/5 At first, the game seemed to control great, but quickly, you will find yourself dying when it's not even your fault. You're supposed to be able to walk up to something for cover, but 80% of the time your guy will jump over it instead of into it, which will cause you hopping back and forth over something until you finally die. The aiming system is unique and works well, but the main reason this game fails is because of the controls.

Fun: 2.5/5 Brothers In Arms had potential to be one of the few great shooters on the DS. It looks and sounds like it would be good - hell, it has almost the exact same idea behind it as Call of Duty 2 and 3 did. There are 3 campaigns that you can play, but after that, all you can do it try to get unlockables by playing back through. There is multiplayer, but it's not infrastructure, so you're left just playing with people nearby. Brothers In Arms is one dissapointing game.


Friday, July 13, 2007

My preview ratings of some of the games that were at E3.

As we all know, E3 just ended, but I'm sure a lot of people watched the stuff on G4. The number I put is from 1-5 on a "Psych Meter", meaning obviously how badly I want the game.


Halo 3: 4/5 Halo 3 is likely the biggest launch in game history. However, I kind of fell out of the "want" for Halo 3. There is nothing we know about the story, the online will be great like in Halo 2, but I'm just not THAT excited about it... yet.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: 4/5 I haven't seen much on this game, but I've been wanting to play a SSB game way back just after Melee came out. Looks pretty good, but again, don't know a lot about it.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: 5/5 Infinity Ward is back into the CoD franchise, but this time they go from the history books to modern times. Call of Duty 4 looks absolutely amazing. The RPG elements that go into online play sound super cool, and the graphics are nothing short of spectacular. Definitely dying to play this.

Assassin's Creed: 4/5 I had no idea what this game was until E3. I had no interest in it - mainly because I didn't even know what it was - but It actually looks like it will be a very good game. Don't know TOO much about it, but it looks very good and should be top notch... I mean, it's made by Ubisoft, so you know it will be.

Grand Theft Auto IV: 4/5 So, it takes place in New York. That's all about I know - or most people know, for that matter. Still, who doesn't want to get their hands on this game? Looks great.

Super Mario Galaxy: 3/5 Not so interested in this game - for whatever reason. Call me crazy - but I don't understand the game at ALL. So what, you're Mario... in outer space... running around planets or something? Doesn't seem interesting to me. The game looks good, but let it prove me completely wrong when the game is released in November.

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock: 5/5 Six out of five, anybody? I'm MORE THAN DYING to play this game - I've been playing GH2 on the PS2 and 360 for what seems AGES... I want to play something new! Guitar Hero III looks to me the ultimate Guitar Hero experience. Enhanced graphics, new and better songs, online play, improved multiplayer in general, and boss battles with legends including... SLASH! This game will be a blast, for sure.

Rock Band: 5/5 This for me goes up and beyond what I'm expecting from Guitar Hero III because of one obvious reason - it's the whole band! Not just that, but you can join or create a band online, make a band name, make your own apparel and logo - this will be an amazing game - AND there will be downloadable tracks every week! Must have game right here.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: 4/5 All I got from the trailer is that you play as Darth Vader's apprentice - that right there sold me. I have no idea what kind of game this is, though, ( Action? Action adventure? RPG? ) but one thing is for certain - I want it. It's a Star War's game, and it looks sweet.

Mario Kart Wii: 4/5 No one knows much about this game since it was so briefly shown at E3, but HEY - It's Mario Kart, it comes packaged with a steering wheel, and it's confirmed to have online multiplayer. Those reasons alone should make any Nintendo fan drool.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames: 4/5 There isn't much buzz about this game right now, but this game is going to be almost a guaranteed award winning title if you ask me. The game looked GREAT in videos, and there is hop-in/hop-out co-op multiplayer. Mercenaries 1 was almost perfect - JUST lacking multiplayer. Now we have it. You know what that means...

Tony Hawk's Proving Grounds: 3/5 Another Tony Hawk game, huh? Meh. Tony Hawk games have just been becoming worthy rentals for me recently, and I don't see what should make this game more special. Sure, you can choose your career path... but what else could we possibly see in this game besides new levels? We'll have to see.

Burnout Paradise: 4/5 Burnout is one of my ( if not my ) all-time favorite racing game franchises ever. Get a car, blast it at wicked speeds, and fly through or into intersections with great results either way. Not too much known about this game, but there will be a mug-shot feature enabling you to see the person you made crash's face, and you can save them. The worst thing about Burnout Paradise? We have to wait until "Winter" to get it.

The Orange Box: 2/5 It's Half-Life 2 with some extras in the bag. When I first learned about this game awhile back, I was totally stoked about getting it. But lately, I honestly wouldn't want to do more than rent it. Team Fortress 2 looks fantastic, but I wouldn't pay $50 for just that.

The Simpsons Game: 4/5 Not getting much hype - at all. Looks great, and it's The Simpsons. Maybe the last two words of that sentence scares people off. The Simpsons hasn't had the best video games of late, but this one may be different. Maybe my hype over the movie is what makes me want this game, too.

Medal of Honor: Airborne: 4/5 I thought this game was coming out awhile back, but it still hasn't been released. Well, E3 made me want this game even more. You get on a plane, jump out, and start the level from where you land. If that's not good enough, there's obviously multiplayer, and VERY spiffy graphics.


And that's about it. There are a few games out there that look interesting, but they aren't coming out for awhile.


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Game Review ( Guitar Hero 2 Track Pack 4 - 360 Arcade )


Track Pack: 4
"I Wanna Be Sedated" - The Ramones
"Smoke on the Water" - Deep Purple
"You've Got Another Thing Comin'" - Judas Priest


Track Pack 4 was released on July 11th - exactly three months after the first three were released - and I was actually dissapointed with this track pack. The songs are very easy. ( even on expert )


"I Wanna Be Sedated": 3.5/5 Not a fun song to play. 90-95% of the whole song is just constant chords, and it's really repetetive. ( What do you want, it's the Ramones ) I can beat this song without missing a note just by strumming one way. ( even though it does start to hurt ) I'd say this is the worst song of all 12 of the downloadable songs available.

"Smoke on the Water": 4/5 Smoke on the Water... a classic song, but REALLY repetetive in Guitar Hero. The solo isn't too bad, it's probably the best part. Still, Smoke on the Water is a classic song and plays decently.

"You've Got Another Thing Comin'": 4.25/5 My favorite song of the three. I've liked Judas Priest for the longest time, and it was pretty nice to play Y.G.A.T.C. in the original Guitar Hero. The song still plays well this time around, and it's fun.


Overall, the GH2 Track Pack 4 is somewhat dissapointing. Hardcore Guitar Hero fans will buy every pack - no matter what songs are included, so that doesn't matter, but those of you who aren't willing to fork out 500 MSP for just three songs will likely not have much interest here. Another big flaw about this track pack is that there are NO leaderboards for the three songs. The songs are listed on the leaderboards, but there is nothing there to see. So leaderboard whores, you're S.O.L. My overall recommendation: Wait for the next track pack or buy one or more of the previous packs released if you haven't already. This one should be easy to pass up.


Monday, July 09, 2007

Game Review ( Mad Tracks - 360 Arcade )

Graphics: 3.5/5 The game rarely if ever slows down, but the graphics aren't all that great - they are really bland.

Sound: 3.5/5 Okay soundtrack, but it gets old after awhile. Still, it sounds better than most XBLA titles.

Control: 4/5 Controls are done pretty well, and they are somewhat frustrating for this reason, believe it or not. Still, the controls work very well with most of the games.

Fun: 3.75/5 Surprisingly fun game. There are 15 different mini-games, ( There are I believe 24 now thanks to new downloadable content ) many of which are just "meh". I highly recommend you play this game with a friend or on XBL because the game won't last long if you play it just on single player.



Achievement Difficulty: 6/10 Just about anyone can easily get 90 points out of this game, but some aren't so easy. Ones where you have to collect items and finish the race are hard because the pieces seem impossible to get, and the "Ultra Fast Food" achievement I SWEAR to you is impossible. This really isn't an achievement getting XBLA title.