Monday, November 10, 2008

Game Review ( Gears of War 2 - 360 )

-Note: This will likely be my last review for a couple months.-

Graphics: 4.75/5 Near perfect - I noticed instantly the game looked sharper than in Gears of War, but there are also some things holding the game back. Mainly, the texture details don't come in quickly, and there are times at the start of multiplayer matches for instance, that your whole character looks like a blurry blob for a few seconds before the graphics load in. Not a big deal though, because the game looks great when it does load. Also, the game suffers from pretty terrible lag at times on Xbox LIVE matches. Sometimes the games run smoothly, and other times the matches are absolutely unplayable.

Sound: 4/5 The gun sounds seem to have been upgraded, ( The sniper sounds the most different ) but the dialogue really remains as it did in Gears 1. Cheesy, somewhat emotionless, and pretty average. That's not to say the game sounds bad, but the dialogue is very average for a game that overall actually sounds pretty good.

Control: 4.5/5 ONLY A 4.5? WTFZ?! I rate it this for a couple reasons. First, the shotgun is less effective in this game, and the direction it shoots is different. Also, the BoomShot is still like it was after the Gears 1 update. And finally, the sniper will not down players even if it is an active reload. Instead, it just does more damage. There are also issues with the camera after being knocked down by a smoke grenade. When your player is down and standing up, the camera gets all screwed up, and it just seems unfinished.

Fun: 4.5/5 It's pretty hard to effectively rate Gears of War 2 as it is now. The campaign is certainly fun and more entertaining than the first, but that won't take you forever to do. The multiplayer is (likely) what you bought this game for, and if you did, it's really a love it or hate it kind of thing. Some elements have been added that shouldn't have been, ( Mortars in multiplayer are pretty unfair, you have to admit, although they are fun to use. ) and some are welcome additions, such as the fixed sniper, and chainsaw duels. Basically, for anything you wanted fixed from Gears 1, something else got screwed up in Gears 2. The most aggravating thing though is what I stated earlier on - the lag/framerate issues. 5v5 in Gears 2?! SWEET! It kind of sucks to say that Epic didn't figure out how to keep the lag down while doing so. I mean, with a game as big as everyone knew this would be, and to make the matches 5v5 instead of 4v4 without making the connections at least DECENT was just stupid. If Epic couldn't pull off 5v5, they should have left it at 4v4 - I'd be fine with that. Overall, the multiplayer is decent fun, but the amount of B.S. and inconsistency really makes it frustrating for the hardcore gamer. It is also sometimes quite difficult to get into a matchmaking game. Often times you can sit in the multiplayer lobby for upwards of 10-20 minutes watching your game "Find Players"... then restart. The best new addition really has to be Horde mode, in which you and up to four other people can attack a horde of Locust that come in "waves", all the way up to 50. The game gets super intense, and it really is a blast. Basically, when Cliffy B said Gears of War 2 would be "Bigger, better, and more bad ass" than Gears 1, he forgot to also say "Gears 2 will be more laggy, inconsistent, and frustrating than ever before."


-Subject to change after an update or two.-

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Game Review ( Vigilante 8 Arcade - 360 Arcade )

Graphics: 3.75/5 Look good, like an average arcade game nowadays from Xbox Live, but the explosions look like powdered cheese flying everywhere, and the frame rate drops at times, sadly. The levels look great, though.

Sound: 4/5 If you remember Vigilante 2, this is the music from that. Memories flood in... also, there are car noises, explosions, and all of that... above average, and pretty good for an arcade game.

Control: 4.25/5 This broke the game for most people, but I got it right away. It is somewhat strange, but if you can't adjust quickly, you must not play many video games. The cars do feel "loose" and seem to turn freely, but it's not as bad as it's made out to seem. If you're skeptical, just download the demo.

Fun: 4/5 For $10, this seems like a fair purchase, and should be a no brainer for Vigilante 8 fans. Some old-school characters come back, you can "customize" your car, and there is one DLC pack coming out soon for 320 MSP including 2 new levels and a couple new cars. The camera angles are screwed up sometimes, there is lag on multiplayer, and some dislike the controls, but to me, this is a solid remake of a really great game. I recommend it more-so if you intend to play it alone / locally.


Game Review ( AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack - 360 )

Graphics: 4/5 Same as Rock Band 1, and so is the interface. Yeah - it's Rock Band 1, with 18 songs. Really simple. You can't make a character either, but why does it matter?

Sound: 5/5 Not all would really care for this pack because, as you can see, it's live, from 1992 at Donnington. Personally, I've almost exclusively heard AC/DC live, and live only. I think the songs sound great. There is also an over 10 minute version of Jailbreak that is actually surprisingly fun.

Control: 4.75/5 The charts are really good here. Thunderstruck has all hammer-ons for the intro in case you were wondering, but in Rock Band 1/2 with the transfer, only the green notes are hammer-ons, all else are strummed. I don't know of any more significant chart changes, but this one I noticed, and many disliked it. Personally, I play it much better this way because it helps with my timing, and it's more realistic. And ah yes, "Let There Be Rock" on expert drums is, indeed, a BITCH.

Fun: 5/5 Might just be the best $40 I've ever spent. You're spending just over $2 per song, for 18 songs, and over 99 minutes of music. And it's AC/DC, one of my very favorite bands. If you like AC/DC, this is well worth it. If you like playing guitar, this is well worth it. If you don't like AC/DC and play drums, this may not be worth it. I find the drums really fun to play, even though the charts are super simple for the most part. To me, this is a must buy.


( P.S. Watch out for "High Voltage" and "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" on Expert guitar. That is all. )