Quick game reviews...


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#1 Slaughter

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:20 PM

Okay, in the same spirit as the quick movie reviews thread, this one is for games. Write a quick review of a game you really like using the same format as below. If you wish to comment the reviews, you can do so in this thread.

Gamename - System(s) - Play time - Release year

Mafia - PC, XBOX, PS2 - ~20 hours - 2002

I tested Mafia for about 5 minutes when it was released. For some reason I didn't find it very interesting. Looked good, but I'm not really fond of 3rd person games. Over time though, many of my friends played it and found it extremely good. So whenever the game came up in discussion I got the "You haven't played it!?" comment. Anyway, I finally got around to play it, and here's my quick review for the PC version.

Your name is Tommy and you're a taxi driver. As the game starts you witness a car chase ending with the chased car crashing. Out comes two gangsters that jump into your cab and tell you to drive. So you have to drive like "mad" to get away from the chasers, and this is no easy task with the that slow cab! When you succeed the gangsters order you to drive them to Salieri's bar where you get to meet the Don. I'll not reveal more of the story, but suffice to say it is fantastic! It feels like playing your way through The Godfather, and you're THE MAN :D

As you play through the game you have to perform loads of tasks. Steal cars, assassinate, drive a car race and numerous other "normal gangster duties" :huh:. You move around in a HUGE city that looks beautiful. It's sort of like GTA 3 in this sense, but it looks much better and is way more "realistic". If you ignore a red light and the police sees you, they'll be chasing you. If you draw a gun on the streets, people will run and if police are close they will react. Feel like riding the city train? Then take a nice little sightseeing around town!

Anyway, everything about this game amazes me. The detail put into story, environment, cars, voice acting, mission variety and so on is beyond anything I have ever seen. I'm still no big fan of 3rd person, but with this game it doesn't matter. I like it in Mafia :D. So if you like 3rd person or not, if you like GTA or not, if you like Mafia movies or not, it doesn't matter. You should still give this fantastic game a try! It's like playing through a movie, and it has set a new standard in gaming for me. From now on I will be one of those saying "You haven't played it!?". Capone made people "An offer he can't refuse..." and Mafia should be one of them!

9 out of 10 because it is almost perfect!


#2 Aralez

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 09:19 PM

Hmph, can i write reviews of games that dissapointed me, too ?

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The Fall- PC - unkown - 2005

Being a fan of games like Fallout, Jagged Alliance, Xcom, Silent Storm etc. i was happy to learn that a game similar to those mentioned would be released in late 2004/early 2005. And accidently i found it in a small shop on a free day for a (what i thought) good price of ~30 $. I thought : Hey it's out! And cheap for a new game as well!

As i had nothing else to do i went home on that rainy day and installed the game, anticapating a nice evening.

To make it short: It wasn't! After the installation the game wouldn't run. I had all new drivers and my PC was uptodate, so i checked the web for a patch and found the latest one (Here i should have been alerted, the game was out for ~2 weeks and there were 4 patches already....!).

Installed the patch, ran the configurator again and Tada!: It worked. BUT it lagged enormously. I had chosen moderate settings and had a lag-festival! My PC runs Doom3 and HL2 in 1024x768 resolution without the slightest stutter, so you can imagine how surprised i was.

Then after several LOOOONG reboots and setupchanges i found a setting that didn't lag too much, but at the price of a terrible graphic. Ever played a Commodore 64 game?

But not enough with the bad graphics, the game itself was a mess as well: The map HUD was messed up, it would show only partially and when closed woulds still remain on the main screen. The game itself was (to my surprise) absolutely linear!!! Iirc there were some multiple choice questions which had no or at least little effect on the story.

And the sound! Especially the voices and the texts! Argh! Imagine a deadly super-villain pointing a gun at a guys head and saying with the voice of a bored 5cent-actor (or a terrible amateur-child-actor): "I will kill you. But as i like you i will give you 60 seconds to pray to your god. But hurry up" Graaaah!!! The story and the text/voice passages were FULL of old and obvious clichees and insanely dumb. It seemed a twelve year old Beavis and Butthead team had written the texts! Jeeses, that game was almost (unintentionally) funny with its low quality. Ever seen a REALLY bad movie where you actually laughed because of its dumbness? Well, here you have the fitting game.

But i wasn't in the mood to laugh, deinstalled the thing after ~one hour of gameplay (the word "gameplay" doesn't come easily over my lips with this game) and burried it in a small box which i hid away.

30 bucks, damnit. That day was ruined. Luckily i could prevent Slaughter from doing the same mistake with an "explaining" post about this piece of garbage.

0.5 of 10 points from me (yes 0.5,  because i was happy for an hour after i bought it, but then i installed it...)

Btw did i mention the corny intro movie? You see, i could go on for a while here.....

Ok 0 of 10 points.  :huh:

#3 JellyfishGreen

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 10:26 AM

Full Spectrum Warrior - XBOX, PS2 - 10+? hours - 2004

I'm in mission 10 on Normal and not finished yet. But I've linked in the Amazon page which has better reviews than mine. I noticed a review on idlethumbs.net today so I felt it deserved a mention here, on my favorite forums.

What's it like? A strategy game, where you move two US Infantry fireteams as groups from cover to cover and have to pin and outflank enemies with AK47's, grenades, and their own cover. But the setting, sounds, visuals, and camera system make the game like an interactive, immersive version of Black Hawk Down.

Stress that these are light recon infantry; a pickup with a machine gun is a serious obstacle requiring one of your few M203 rounds, and a tank requires calling in air support or the like while you cower and pray. I'd like a few tanks of my own, but that would be a different game. In this game they really crank up the tension: As you're trying to avoid the attention of the tank you could easily leave yourself exposed to a previously unnoticed sniper on a balcony.

I like it. Well worth the $30 I paid for a used copy.

JFG

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#4 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 03:02 PM

Tales of Symphonia[b] - GameCube - 80+ hours - 2005 (I think)

This is a return to the style of RPG that I like, where the plot is at least good enough that you pay attention to it (and even have to do so to some extent) in order to complete the game.

Ok, the story starts with a few kids in a school house and a bright light out the window. It then quickly builds to a save-the-world deal... Then save-the-worlds deal... And keeps twisting and adding on from there.

The graphics are anime style, and a lot of the time it looks hand drawn. There are very few pre-rendered videos, but I was often fooled for the first few seconds of certain cut scenes.

Graphics aside, the gameplay mostly involves romping around the world and various dungeons, merrily solving puzzles, hunting down important items and bashing monster type things senseless. It's the combat which shines. On 'normal' mode there is hardly a challenge, but you still feel the need to hunt down one more monster,
because it's so fun. The main character of the game is by far the easiest character to fight with, but the system lets you merge attacks with team mates and so forth. A combo meter keeps track of your hits, as in many traditional fighting games, and you can really feel the ownage when you get to a hundred hits and counting.

Of course you [i]can
turn the difficulty up to something where you can't afford to be so creative with your attacks. Mania mode leaves you running from enemies, hoping against hope that your lone character won't get double-teamed and subsequently crushed. It would be nice to be able to move in more then two directions - some enemies can't be evaded forever - but it's about the only negative I can ever think of for the game.

As for stuff to do, well, I'm still working on the sub-quests. When ever I see this game in stores I have an urge to buy it. Only heavy duty will power (and a mental reminder that I already own it) prevents me from forking out for another copy.

But then again... What if my original broke? Preeeecious...

9/10 because nothing is perfect. Won't appeal to people who dislike plot and just wanna stomp stuff, but there's enough stomping to keep the average gamer happy.
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#5 JellyfishGreen

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 11:45 AM

Pathway to Glory - N-Gage - 10+ hours, $ 30, 2004 - http://www.pathwaytoglory.com/

A turn-based WWII squad game with details like hit points and enemy turn reaction fire.

Good points: strategic thinking rewarded, good sounds, character voice acting & mission backgrounds.
Bad points: hard to track skill improvements, enemy ambushes let down by "fog of war" implementation.

Playing this avidly when stuck in airports. It's possible to play every mission without losing a man, especially if you're a decent XCOM player.* Quoting Private Ryan, running a soldier with an SMG right up to an enemy trench and spraying a burst to clear it, leaving a sniper hidden in the woods to pick off one enemy, then another when he runs - "Don't try to run, you'll only die tired."

I'm even starting to realize what the short soundbites coming from the Italian and German enemies actually translate to - just after I shoot them - and it's kinda tearjerking.

I like it. Only available to NGage owners but again worth $30.
JFG

*OK, I haven't proven this with the tank-rush mission in Sicily yet, but I reckon it's possible. :blush:

EDIT: 31 August - Since being intrigued by the possibility, I went for it. It took me five attempts but it's possible. I hid a few snipers in the graveyard, gave out lots of assault rifles, and bazooka'd the Tiger tank 3 times in 1 round.

Edited by JellyfishGreen, 31 August 2005 - 08:56 AM.

The deadly Lobsterman threat was finally countered by melee combat with power tools. -ufopaedia.org

#6 sir-roosio

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 01:29 PM

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Berfore I review this game, a quick autobiographical entry. . .

When I was about 10 or 11 my brother purchased a second-hand Amiga 500 (upgraded to 1MB of RAM!) which came with tonnes of games. There were platform games, racing games, strategy games (my first introduction to turn based strategy with Laser Squad), but my favourites were the flight sims! And chief among the flight sims were Cinemaware's 'Wings' and Microporse's F19 Stealth Fighter. Both of these were immersive games, which dropped you into the role of a aircraft pilot flying in a conflict bigger than you and your aircraft.

A few years later I was old enough to start earning some moneym and I soon treated myself to playstation, which came with G-Police again, a fantastically immersive game, but something was changing. Instead of the 4-8 missiles that you could carry in F19, the Cobra gunship was equipped with 60. By the Time I excitely rushed out and bought Ace Combat 3 the situation had quite frankly gotten ridiculous. With payloads numbering in the hundreds and missions starting over the combat area offering no sweaty handed perspiring brow moments where an enemy patrol threatens to jump you before you've even got close to the target zone!

Fast forward to 2005 and I was idly flicking thorugh the usual websites reading reviews for Ace combat 5 (and lamenting the number of missiles you were still equipped with) when in the 'if you like this you may also like' box was an entry for 'Energy Airforce: aim strike' "steep learning curve" lamented the reviewer, "punishingly small payload" "incoming missilees almost impossible to evade" "half hour missions" "Difficult landings" I got no further through the review as I had to excuse myself a go to the toilet for a few deep breaths and a splash of cold water!

Energy airforce is a realistic flight sim, on the PS2. or as I call it, mana from heaven. You play the role of a pilot in a non-descript airforce in a war against a military dictatorship of a non-descript country.

After passing a couple of the flight training levels (not mandatory, but highly recommended) I started the first mission. You attend a briefing, then arm your aircraft, and your wingman (tactical choices later, such as arming yourself for ground attack, and your wingman to cover you in the air are possible) and on to the mission: Patrol for enemy aircraft, simple. take off, follow the waypoints, patrol the border for 5 minutes, then RTB for tea and crumpets, meat and two veg to a seasoned flight sim player like me!

After twice crashing whilst taxying to the runway (once by overshooting the tarmac and destroying my landing gear, once by crashing into my wingman's arse because i didnt brake soon enough) I finally got my plane lined up, recieved permission from the tower, engaged afterburners and was away.

Instantly it was obvious that this is meant to be experienced as much as played. The game makes great use of the dual shock's rumble feature, giving you a great feeling of speed as you accelerate and lift off the runweay, the vibration suddenly lessening as you leave the ground. Your allies and wingmen engage in both mission related communications, and idle bitching chit-chat as you head for the first waypoints (by the way, you WILL be too slow to get there, and you WILL be told of by the AWACS controller, not because its written in the game, but because you aint got the hang of it just yet!). The cockpits of the aircraft are highly detailed, and the game employs a virtual cockpit freeview system where you can look all around you (vitally important, as your radar has blind spots).

The handling of the (officially licenced) aircraft feels right. Not over-sensitive, but at the same time responsive. you'll also suffer black-outs and red-outs if you start to manouver too sharply (holding your breath and grunting doesn't help) an element missing in so many console flight-sims right now. The ground detail isn't particualrly astounding at zero-zero, but it is created from real radar mapping, and meant to be viewed from high-altitude, where it looks just fine and dandy.

The biggest plus for me of this game being on a console, is that the controls have to fit on a PS2 joypad. This has made sure Taito only keep the controls that are neccesary, and throw away anything that overcomplicates things. They've done a fantstic job of this, you can control everything that (I feel) a flight sim needs; landing gear (flaps are lowered at the same time) ,arrestor hook, target and weapon selection, wingman commands, and even countermeasures to avoid missiles, (though this takes A LOT of practise and mission restarts to do). As I mentioned before, you can only carry a realistic payload of missiles & bombs. However, whilst Ace combats myriad missiles have a 3km range, the Energy airforce missiles can be fired at realistic ranges of around 30km for amrams and 12-15km for sidewinders.

Which leads me on to the combat. The first few times I attempted the first mission I was mercilessly slaughtered! Like taking down Lobstermen on TFTD, you need a  bit of practice before you get the hang of combat. Flying in, locking on, ordering your wingman, firing, switching targets, and evading any incoming missiles in the space of 5 seconds takes a bit of juggling, and enemy AI is quite advanced. But when you get there. . ooooh it's so satisfying! and the first time you wipe out the final mig using nothing more than machine guns gives you a sense of achievment that is missing in most video games in general, let alone flight sims.

Then after the mission there are replays, with multiple camera angles and the option to save them to memory card (though at half an hour each, you'll need a lot of space).

Overall, it's hard work getting to grips with this game, but for me it was a labour of love. If you enjoy flight sims, buy it now!

Interstingly, this is ine of only a few games released in the west that is compatible with the PUD J5A headset (pictured below) allowing you to look around the cockpit by moving you head. It's also a very space concious way of watching your DVDs on a huge screen. unfortunatley my budget won't stretch to importing one from Japan, but any donations kindly recieved!
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the games website is Here and features some great 'pigeon-engrish'

Enjoy!

p.s. I know it's 'quick' game reviews, it started off quick but I had to mention this, then that, then this then that, and suddenly it was long :blush: sorry
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2B or not 2B?

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