.hack//G.U. Vol. 2: Reminisce (PS2) Review

Developer: CyberConnect2 Corp / Publisher: Namco Bandai Games || Overall – 8.5/10

Continuing its engrossing story from the first volume, .hack//G.U. 2: Reminisce is the second in the .hack//G.U. trilogy. Acting more as a bridge between the beginning and the end of the saga, it makes sense that by the time you complete the game you’ll be left wanting more. If you made it so far as to finish the first game, you’ll want to dive in head-first after the almost-too-long wait for the sequel.

Reminisce is a great continuance of the adventure laid out in the first .hack//G.U. There are some story elements that will answer questions, while new ones will be raised in their stead. What you once thought to be Haseo’s ultimate goal turns out to be something completely different. Without spoiling too much of the story, all I can say is that even though you may have defeated Tri-Edge in the first game, think again if you believe he’s actually gone for good.

The gameplay is virtually the same as the first volume. However, there are slight improvements that alleviate some of the annoyances in the first game. First, there is the Skill Trigger, which allows you to change from Haseo’s currently equipped weapon to another weapon, depending on the skill you have equipped. The only thing bad about it is that you may not be able to use as many of the skills for a particular weapon as you may like. You can only ultimately equip 4 skills, leaving you to basically equip one skill for each weapon and an extra one that you like. With Volume 2, A new Awakening is available called Divine Awakening which allows you to time hits correctly using the power of your teammates and throw a concentrated burst of energy down on your enemies for a massive amount of damage. It’s quite different from any of the Awakenings that were present in the first game, and it is a welcome change to the gameplay.

As you progress through the game, new and stronger weapons will be available. This game allows you to go up to Level 100, as opposed to the first which only let you go up to Level 50. There is also a whole new arena to take part in, so you’ll be on the warpath for a little bit of the game. This time around, it’s not as huge a part of the story as the first was. The game packs a lot of drama and shows the first effects of what uncontrolled AIDA will do to The World, which is amplified to near anarchy near the end of the game.

Practically all the production values have been carried over from the first game. As I said in the review of the first game, they are very impressive in the way that the game almost literally looks like a 3D anime. Not only is the game presented as such, but the game’s structure itself is actually laid out as if you’re playing through episodes of an anime, a little chunk at a time. Many of the CG movies are noticeably better than the in-game graphics (especially because of the lighting they use), but it keeps the same style going. The CG movies are fantastic — they portray The World in such a distinctive way not possible through in-game graphics, and just like a little 10 year old boy, I’m actually excited when I get to watch one of the movies.

Obviously, those that had tried out the first game and disliked it will most likely not enjoy the second volume of .hack//G.U. Though, for someone that really enjoys the game, it is a worthy sequel to an already pretty solid game. As the story is the main reason to play the game, the gameplay still needs a little bit of a reworking before there can be a killer game in the .hack series. While the gameplay feels ultimately mediocre, the additions to it in .hack//G.U. 2 does make it a bit more interesting. In the end, .hack//G.U. 2 can really be summarized as more of Volume 1 with minimal changes to the way it plays. .hack//G.U. 2 is simply a progression of the story, with a lot more AIDA battles.

Fans of the first game who are engrossed in the story and enjoy the gameplay well enough to keep going with it will find an immensely enjoyable game. Now that Volume 3 has finally been released (this time only a few months after the last volume’s release), Volume 2 is a vital part of the .hack//G.U. trilogy that should not be missed. Though the game doesn’t have many noticeable improvements over the first, it is still a worthy purchase or, at the very least, a playthrough.

 

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The (PS3) Review

Developer/Publisher: Bethesda Softworks || Overall: 9.8/10

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion finally saw its release on the PlayStation 3 this past month. After a delay, a short period of time followed where nobody knew when the game was going to be released for Sony’s current-gen console (gotta start sometime, right?), but the wait was wholeheartedly worth it. Everything I could have wanted from the game and more is delivered with flying colors.

Up until getting my hands on Oblivion, I hadn’t spent much time with any western-style RPGs (I usually stick with the Japanese-influenced side of the genre), resulting in personal unawareness of The Elder Scrolls franchise. But, after hearing all the positive impressions about the massive amounts of features the game has to offer, I was excited to get a chance to play the franchise on a console I owned. While it is a port of the originally released PC/X360 version, Bethesda spent a good amount of time in development on it. As a result, the game runs very smoothly, and even has enhancements over the originally released versions to include more content as well as improving load times and other outstanding issues.

It should be noted that the same improvements are now available for the PC/X360 although you’ll have to buy the extra content as well as an expansion pack to get the upgrades. While the PS3 version does not have the downloadable content available for it yet, Bethesda plans on releasing them as time goes on.

For those who haven’t already played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on another platform, the game is a first person RPG, in which you can almost literally do anything you want. There is a main quest involving an alternative realm called Oblivion, but you don’t have to follow it at all. You can steal, dungeon crawl, travel the world, do one of the many quests you might acquire, become an assassin, become an arena gladiator – the world of Oblivion is packed with so many things to do its almost mind-boggling. You could spend 50+ hours in the game and not even take one step in the main quest. Most of my initial time was spent dungeon crawling and acquiring items to sell. It is really up to you what you decide to do in the vast game world.

For the sake of mentioning it, the game’s main quest begins as soon as you start the game. The Emporer, Uriel Septim VII is assassinated by a mysterious group as you help the Emperor escape. Its not good news when you “fail” (aka you will fail no matter what) but before that happens, you will be given a very important artifact called the Amulet of Kings. The Amulet of Kings is vital in stopping the demons (called Daedra) from Oblivion opening an Oblivion Gate and entering the world of Tamriel. This certainly doesn’t sound like it would be a fun thing to have happen.

Once you push the main quest forward a few events, Oblivion Gates will begin to appear randomly around the world. It is up to you to close the Oblivion Gates, since no one else is going to do it. Oblivion Gates will send you to a Plane of Oblivion, in which you can find a massive amount of powerful items you might find worthy to keep or sell. Once you complete an Oblivion dungeon, there is a stone that you’ll ultimately get that can be used to enchant your armor/weapons (which gives your existing items stat boosts). Needless to say, it’s a valuable prize.

While most of the game will take place in first person, there is a third person camera that is available by clicking the R3 button. It’s nice to have a different view every once in a while, just to see what’s around you as you are running around. Combat is best done in first person, however, as the third person view mode will still control as if you’re in first person. Weaponry ranges from swords, axes, bows, hammers, daggers, and a wide variety of magic. When you first create your character, you’ll have a chance to figure out what kinds of things you feel comfortable using, so you don’t have to worry so much about choosing the kind of weapon you’ll prefer.

Practically anything you do is reflected in gaining “experience” — you’ll gain it for just running around. There are a lot of breakdowns for the kinds of things to excel in, such as Athletics, Acrobatics, Destruction Magic, Blade, Sneak, and Mercantile, among others. Using skills enough will increase the level of that skill. Basically, you’ll be better at the skill, and if you reach certain thresholds, you’ll be able to do new things. When you first start out, you will choose seven major skills, with the rest becoming minor skills. Increasing your major skills, in any combination, by ten levels will result in a main level increase, in which you can choose three attributes that you want to boost. Depending on what you choose, your character can become more to your liking, if you want to focus on strength, magic, speed – it’s up to you. However, as your levels increase, so do your enemies’, so you’ll always be given a run for your money as far as combat goes, and it’ll never really get “easier” unless you have some really good armor/weaponry at a level you shouldn’t have them.

The graphics in the game are quite lovely. The most impressive part of the game is the world itself. It is amazingly detailed, and looks beautiful at certain times of the day. The dungeon-type areas are also impressive in their own right, as the careful detail shown throughout the main world is also apparent inside the dangerous areas beneath it. Several types of dungeons settings are in the game, like forts, caves, mines, castles, ruins, and others. The only thing that I can point out as bad is that there will be times where people will be quite literally radiating light, and I have to squint while talking to them. It’s about as funny as it is annoying. Speaking of the character design, most of the time they are fairly ugly – this isn’t a game full of beautiful people. When creating your character for the first time, it might be hard trying to find a character that actually doesn’t look like a freak of nature. Frame rate drops are a rare occurrence, but it can happen at times.

Sound is also another important part of the game. Every character in the game is voiced – every single one of them. You have the option to turn subtitles on or off, in case you don’t understand what they’re saying or if you want to speed read ahead of what they’re talking about so you can get on with the quest you’re on. The voice acting isn’t bad, but the only qualm is that there seems to be about seven or eight people that voice all the characters in the game. When there are thousands of characters in the game to talk to, it can become unappealing to hear the same few voices repeated. Patrick Stewart is featured as the voice of the Emperor, but he dies.

The soundtrack is also impressive. It’s all orchestrated, so it makes you feel like you’re in a fantasy movie battling all the different demon monsters and walking skeletons you’ll encounter. The only time there is no music, is when it’s used carefully to create a feeling of isolation, or something to that effect. Upbeat “battle music” will start playing if there is an enemy nearby, as well. There aren’t too many “theme songs” to really pick out from this game, but the title screen song is the most memorable of all.

An important part of the game to mention is the sheer amount of content you’ll experience if you intend to explore every nook and cranny there is to be offered. You can easily spend upwards of 200 hours in this game and still have more to do. The game is worth it at practically any price you can get it for, and it being the same price as so many of the other short games on the market today is really a testament to the amount of value you can get out of the same cash you could have spent elsewhere.

If you’re aching for a game to put some time into, Oblivion will certainly deliver if you enjoy western-themed RPGs. With seemingly an unlimited amount of things to do for a huge amount of time, it is certainly a must-buy. If you waited on buying the PC/X360 versions and have a PS3, it might be worth it to you to give Oblivion a shot on your Cell-powered machine.

 

Revolution (Wii) Controller Theory

In July of 2005, before the Revolution’s controller was actually revealed at the Tokyo Game Show of the same year, I drew up a bunch of pictures making fun of what the Revolution controller could actually be like, based on the information and rumors of the time. A couple of things were actually right, like the huge “A” button idea, and other things. But all the following drawings are NOT REAL, they’re just to make fun of Nintendo’s gaming console, the Revolution.


 

Star Fox 64 (N64) Gripe

fucking slippy, always in the way. I swear they programed him to defend the enemy. “save me, save me” “Don’t shoot me!” Make up your mind, either you want me to save you from the enemies by killing you myself or you don’t

I always liked Falco, he was helpful, never got in the way

 

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, The (SNES) Review

Developer/Publisher: Nintendo

Overview:

Ah yes. The absolutely amazing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. This epic adventure was definitely one of the highlights of the Super Nintendo 16 bit era. Even today, this is still a good game, even when compared to the games coming out today.

Graphics:

The graphics are pretty damn good for Super Nintendo. Everything is easy to see, and has its own, unique style. The game itself is very colorful, and gives you a feeling like the world you’re in is alive.

Sound:

The music is great, the sound effects aren’t annoying. What else could you really want from a game?

Gameplay:

The gameplay is really fun. The battles are fun because you have to use what you have available to you whenever you’re fighting against something. When you use the menu screen though, it takes a little getting used to, because you don’t have to confirm your choice, all you do is move the cursor over to the item. The first time you open the menu screen, it may overwhelm you at first, but after you get used to it, it gets better. After a while, this game gets HARD, and you really have to be good at using a sword, and whatever other weapons you use.

Crappiest Part:

I would say the crappiest part in this game is not really being able to use the shield when you want to. You don’t have the same control over the shield as in the the Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. The reason they probably did it like that was so you could have a secondary weapon and still have the shield up at the same time. So I guess you just have to not really rely on the sheild at all.

Overall Score:

This game is really good, and is surprisingly long for such an old one. There’s a lot to do, and a lot of secret rooms to look for during the game, which adds to the replay value.

10/10

 

War Against U.S. Terror, The (PC) Review

Developer: Paul Cartwright

  The War Against U.S. Terror (PC) (2.0 MiB, 660 hits)

Game by Paul Cartwright, made with Game Maker.

Overview:

The War Against U.S. Terror is probably the only Game Maker game made to make a political statement. But don’t hate it because it tries to be anti-American. Hate it because its so fucking hard. There’s millions of planes and units that the U.S. has against your own terrorist fighter plane, and believe me you’re going to die in real life before you ever beat all the levels in this game. The main point in the game is to help terrorists fight off the U.S. in all the major wars/battles/confrontations of the last 50 years or so, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. A few that are probably soon to come are tossed in as well, like Iran, North Korea, and Indonesia.

Graphics:

The graphics are good. The planes look pretty good, and its kind of funny how obvious it makes the planes to be owned by the USA, because there’s a huge “USA” printed across most of the planes. The only bad things I would say in this game, graphics-wise, would be the unrealistic red balls being shot out of the planes (but that makes it so you can see them), and the badly drawn infantry barreling out of the little forts that have a big “USA” on top of it. (It may as well be a big target, if you ask me…)

Sound:

The sound is very good. There’s a lot of explosions and gun firing. It might be a bad thing to play loud while there’s other members of your family in the house, because they’ll feel like they’re in a badly sampled war zone.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is the same as you would see in any other plane-killing-millions-of-units games, like 1942.

Crappiest part:

The crappiest part is how the menus and the commands are not very user-friendly. Instead of pressing “enter” on the menu screen to go to the option you selected, its the space bar. And when you press escape, you have to press “y” (for yes) to abort a mission, when there are no choices represented (like a thing saying Y/N?). These really are not hard things to fix, and is probably just a preference of the creator to do these weird things that are out of the norm, and needlessly complicated.

Overall Score:

This game is cool, and is definitely one of the better games I’ve seen made with Game Maker. Its very smooth, everything is blended well, and is made with a sense of humor (for example, the level descriptions). The tagline for this game is: Terrorists of the World, Unite!

9/10.

  The War Against U.S. Terror (PC) (2.0 MiB, 660 hits)

Game by Paul Cartwright, made with Game Maker.

 

Urisoft Monopoly (PC) Review

Developer: Urisoft

  Urisoft Monopoly (PC) (708.3 KiB, 606 hits)

Game by Urisoft, made with Game Maker.

Overview:

This is a recreation of the ever-popular Monopoly game. Instead of fake places like Monopoly has, this Monopoly has real countries (yay). So I can buy India for like 750 dollars. Ain’t that swell?

Graphics:

There’s no effort in making any thing. The only thing that is original is the board.

Sound:

There’s no sound. This is kind of bad, because it gets really boring after a while, with no music to shake your ass to while buying the countries of the world.

Gameplay:

Long and boring. You can’t trade property, buy houses, or nearly 3/4 the things you are able to do in Monopoly. And when you go to Free Parking, you lose 3 turns. Its free parking, why the hell would I have to stay there for three turns?! FREE PARKING IS GOOD, AND YOU PARK THERE CAUSE ITS FREE GODDAMITTT!

Crappiest Part:

The boringness of the game.

Overall Score:

When you get down to it, this game is just boring. There’s no way to trade your properties to other people or computers, like it is in the Monopoly games, so that makes it kind of limited to only two things you can do: roll your dice to move and pay money.

5/10

  Urisoft Monopoly (PC) (708.3 KiB, 606 hits)

Game by Urisoft, made with Game Maker.

 

Sexiest Hand II, The (PC) Review

Developer: Jazzuo Games

  The Sexiest Hand II (PC) (4.8 MiB, 656 hits)

Game by Jazzuo Games, made with Game Maker.

Overview:

If you’re wondering what happened to The Sexiest Hand 1, then let this be known to all that have been subjugated by the censor Gods: This is actually built on top of it, and it has it included basically. This is an imporved Sexiest Hand, with more levels and junk.

Graphics:

The drawings are original, except for the soccer ball. And I can’t really tell what that U shaped thing is. A pot?

Sound:

The sound is excellent. It boasts an original soundtrack made by the game creator himself. If you haven’t heard the title screen song, you should download it just to listen to it.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is pretty annoying. I can’t seem to get the hang of the mouse thing, and its almost a 1/1200235000433461“133 chance that you’ll get it in the u pot. But the more you play, you kind of want to play more because you want to get the damn ball into the damn pot thing.

Crappiest Part:

The crappy part is probably how it is kind of not fun. The file size is also really big because of the music.

Overall Score:

The game isn’t a very fun game, but I love the soundtrack, and I have to give a lot of points for it. Without the mustic it probably would have gotten a 3, but it gets a

7/10

  The Sexiest Hand II (PC) (4.8 MiB, 656 hits)

Game by Jazzuo Games, made with Game Maker.

And if you want to checkout the first Sexiest Hand:

  The Sexiest Hand (2.6 MiB, 657 hits)

Game by Jazzuo, made with Game Maker.

 

Table Top Soccer (PC) Review

Developer: Global Software

  Table Top Soccer (PC) (1.1 MiB, 631 hits)

Game by Global Software, made with Game Maker.

Overview:

This game takes ordinary table top soccer and makes it ordinary table top soccer…on your computer!

Graphics:

Nothing special here, but nothing special is really needed to pull off this game.

Sound:

The sound effects makes it feel like your at a real table top soccer field…which isn’t really….possible… It does get annoying after a while when the crowd keeps cheering after a score (especially when its for the other team 6 times in a row)

Gameplay:

This game is actually fairly fun, and is very good for a table top soccer game. Its not good to use only one hand for this game, as you may have delayed reactions sometimes, telling which finger to either press a, z or the space bar (which are close together), so its best to use a and z with you left hand and use the space with your right hand.

Crappiest Part:

What my score usually is at the end of the game (2 minutes long):

(I’m red)

Overall Score:

This delightful game is put very well together, and runs smoothly. Table Top Soccer on your computer will help us on our way to not having to play anything in real life ever again! I give it a:

8/10

  Table Top Soccer (PC) (1.1 MiB, 631 hits)

Game by Global Software, made with Game Maker.

 

Super Carrot (PC) Review

Developer: Urisoft

  Super Carrot (PC) (2.8 MiB, 627 hits)

Game by Urisoft, made with Game Maker.

Overview:

You are Super Carrot. Super Carrot is a really cool character and this game, coming from Urisoft, is really good compared to the other games this guy has made. Super Carrot starts out in Iraq, and he’s out to make ketchup out of all the tomatos, jump over boiling oil, and run over retractable spikes.

Graphics:

The graphics aren’t very special, but at least they’re mostly original.

Sound:

The music is pretty good, but the sound effects are really good…except for repetitive gun shot noise. Super Carrot sounds like a surfer, and he says all these cool things like “no respect!” or “see ya later alligator, wah!” and “die you mutha!” and “ya’ll die in hell!” and “I feel good!” and “I’m dead!”

Gameplay:

Simple enough. Space jumps and Ctrl shoots the magnum. You have to kill tomatos to get through the level and jump over boiling oil as well. Its sorta funny that Iraq just leaves their oil out like, y’know…and they put boards into the oil so you can jump across it, and its really hard to do that…yeah…

Crappiest Part:

The crappiest part would be how I can’t get past the retractable spikes in the 2nd level.

Overall Score:

This game is swell! This is probably Urisoft’s best game…ever… 8/10.

  Super Carrot (PC) (2.8 MiB, 627 hits)

Game by Urisoft, made with Game Maker.

 

Sticktra 2 (PC) Review

Developer: Smoking Monkey Software

  Sticktra 2 (PC) (1.3 MiB, 609 hits)

Game by Smoking Monkey Software, made with Game Maker.

Overview:

Sticktra 2 is the sequel to the ever-boring yet slightly originallic (original-like, or containing a somewhat original characteristic) Sticktra. So, now you may ask, what has improved in this game? Well, a lot HAS improved…but with its newly implemented improvements, come even more problems.

Graphics:

The graphics are basically the same as the last game. This time there’s a few new things, but they really didn’t take much time to draw.

Sound:

The sound has definitely improved, mainly because the sound effects for the weaponry are gone. There is no real need for them, and they were just too distracting anyhow. The music is good, and there’s also a little ring that you hear when you get a diamond.

Gameplay:

The gameplay is the same as the last one, except this time there’s different weapons. So that means you can hit your space bar in different patterns! Hooray! The point of the whole game I suppose is to get some diamonds so you can horde them up and then give to your dragon back at home that lives in a mountain in your backyard to guard them all. There’s also one new move that I’ve noticed. Wall climbing. Isn’t THAT special?

Crappiest Part:

Probably the crappiest part now is how there’s not much really having you enjoy playing the game. There’s no story, there’s no anything. You just go from room to room killing more and more stupid enemies till you get to the end of the level and go on to the next one. Booooring. After a while there’s really no fun in killing enemies, even with the different weaponry you can choose from, and you’ll just want to run through the levels to get to the next one. Sort of like the first one, but for a completely opposite reason. The first one was too hard, the second one was too easy.

Overall Score:

The game has not improved very much. If some of the sprites were polished, and maybe if there were interesting backgrounds to look at, it would have been more enjoyable.

4/10.

  Sticktra 2 (PC) (1.3 MiB, 609 hits)

Game by Smoking Monkey Software, made with Game Maker.