Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell PS3 Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

In continuation of the over the top antics and storyline the Saints Row crew throw a Birthday party for the resident nerd, Kinzie Kensington. They find out she hasn’t ever had a birthday party before, people are only mildly surprised, and then they break out the cake, generic fun party stuff, and a spoof of a Ouija board. They start asking the board a bunch of questions and it somehow opens a portal to Hell. It sucks the President of the United States of America in and then immediately closes itself. Everyone gets pissed and Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington volunteer to go rescue him.

So right off they take the two worst characters of the series and make them the lead characters. Yes, Matt Miller might be a ugly looking dork who’s possibly closet gay and obsessed with a shitty TV series, but at least he has personality. Kinzie Kensington is the kind of nerd that most nerds ignore, because she’s for lack of a better vocabulary: one dimensional. While most people can talk about other things that aren’t their job and live a normal life, Kensington lacks that ability. Same goes for Johnny Gat. His major characteristic is talking about killing people, and then does some killing of the aforementioned people. Seeing how everyone in most of video gaming history has this ability I don’t see why that makes him so special.

Despite this crappy note I liked most of the story that was actually told. Sure it’s a little slap dash, but a lot of the humor is still there. It has a bit of a mundane feeling since its all more of the same kind of either story or gameplay but I at least liked the ambiance of Hell and all the details added to the world. One of the major things I didn’t care for is the feeling that they either left content out or just flat out stopped caring. One major things I always do in sandbox games is take over the town, when able. This is a feature in most of the series and you get a few good perks from shops because of this. In other games like GTA you can even buy houses in areas you’ve taken over. Anyway, when you hit 100% it transfers back to the storytelling version of cut scenes. It’s where one of the main characters opens a ugly children storybook with the Saints Row symbol on it. She then flips through the pages of the book and basically reads it to you with really elaborate art pieces. It goes on for about 30 minutes and gives a dozen or so things anyone could get hyped about. Now instead of letting you play out those things, which would have added lots of depth to your relationship with the members of Hell, tells you how everything happens, rather then you being apart of it. It tells you how a fight unfolds between your group vs. whoever and how they reside in hell now. It’s a complete cop out of game play and some possible good story missions.

The graphics are the standard and good enough for the gameplay. The only fancy elements were the constant drips or raining lava. There were the occasional glitches, but nothing serious. Once I had to restart the game because I was wall climbing and got stuck in the building. Its like I could walk around the interior of the building if it was made entirely of two way glass. Also the freezing glitch, that stopped the game completely, was remedied in this version. Although there were major sound issues. Many times when I’d snag one of the audio collectibles it would get about half way through what it was saying and then just cut out. Then it would be pure silence for the next few moments or you’d switch back to the aerial sounds of Hell and generic music. It also had trouble playing anything in the background while I grabbed one. A few times I’d have someone shotting at me or I’d be on fire and the audio would block everything out and just focus on the collected audio.

All of the previous power ups from SR4 are available in this game as well. You can still run up walls, throw ice/fire/darkness/whatever, send minions to do your bidding, and power stomp the ground. They only improved those marginally. The only addition they included was the ability to fly, but it’s kinda lacking since its more like gliding. They explain that Satan got it from somewhere and Blackbeard stole it, but I don’t remember much after that. Also the variety of weapons they included embody the 7 deadly sins. Most of them are either A) obnoxious or B) already in the game in some form. Like the Ark of the Covenant gun is suppose to represent Wrath. It sucks in enemies and shoots them out in a explosion. Cool, but the stomp power up already sucks enemies in, crushes them, and some explode. When ya think about it it’s not really too great add more collectibles that do the same thing. It makes neat combos, but again, useless when you’re super empowered and killing everything was rather easy.

The final fight with Satan was hideously disappointing. It basically consisted of him disappearing and reappearing in a certain time frame, or essentially a flashy version of peak-a-boo. Sure he hit you with everything he had, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve already gotten every special hidden power up or gun and the health bar becomes a joke. Sure this series is all about empowering, over empowering?, the player, but we’re fighting Satan for fucks sake!!! The master of darkness, the evil of all evil, etc. He could have been at least a little bit scary or intimidating. I mean Satan is cartoonie in other productions, but he still had a feel of intimidation in some way.

This ‘DLC’ was both disappointing and refreshingly strange. While it didn’t add anything new gameplay wise however the level(s) and artistic interpretation of hell was fun, funny, and really damn detailed. While I hate collectibles, the commentary was funny at points and added some depth to the world. The rest of the story was just meh. The musical fairy tale style of story telling was disjointed. It often interrupted by actual cut scenes that felt a lot more serious then the many of the cut scenes. Yeah all the fun parts are there: the running, the shooting, the huge explosions, but it really really feels like one of their writers just said “FUCK IT!” and stopped writing , or caring, at some point about telling more of the story. So it really does feel weirdly incomplete.

If you want something really abstract, even for this series, then try this out. Otherwise I’d be weary of it.

6.0/10

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Bioshock Infinite: The Complete Edition PS3 Video Game Review

BioshockInfiniteTheCompleteEditionPS3VideoGameReview

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

You are Booker DeWitt a private investigator for hire. You’ve been sent to a city in the sky called Columbia that has succeeded from the United States of America and is run by a man named Zachary Hale Comstock. Somewhere in the city he’s holding a woman named Elizabeth. The mysterious client states that if you bring her back, he’ll wipe away all of your gambling debt.

I originally didn’t want to review this game because it has been done to death. Everyone who hasn’t lived under a rock, or granite like substance, has noticed this game and give it perfect score. I liked the first one and is probably one of the better FPSs of its time. The originals story stood out as being completely depressing and at that time it was different because it didn’t make you a completely infallible person. Also its gripping seeing as you’re trapped between two douches fighting for a city in total chaos and all you’re trying to do is figure out why you’re there and how to freaking get out alive. The continued mystery and noir themes would build tension throughout the game without making it feel suffocating.

This takes the same premise as the first one. You’re some average bloke who can’t remember anything and goes to a mysterious place to look for answers. Sound familiar!? Good, because there are very few changes. They have their wacky characters that are entertaining, possibly incestual, but most either not explored enough or you end up killing them. This, like the previous one, has a lot of gray characters instead of being absolute good or bad, like most FPSs. This one takes a bit of a chipper tone since its colored as a racist southern version of Disneyland. It was neat to walk amongst the city, and it’s citizens, before everything was thrown into pure anarchy mostly due to their own stupidity.

The beginning was good. It took the ‘damsel in distress’ story and warped it to make her more then just a powerless girl. In fact it alluded that she might be some kind of God-like creature. Anyway, it blunders about and introduces allies and villains in awkward ways. Like I had to look for a power up in one location that was ruled over by a local gang. The only option was to go in and kill them all. So the only purpose for them to be in the story was to guard that single power up. I thought this was a bit of a waste since they were a kinda gray group (morality wise) who only wanted to be recognized for their deeds. So much more could have been developed with them and instead they were killed off really early. Then one group was introduced, they steal your stuff, and then try to kill you later despite helping them out. This irritated me because they knew you had a time traveling girl on your side. It shouldn’t surprise them if you ‘come back from the dead.’ Also they seem to flip flop on agreements with little to no warning. It’s just stupid plot twists that had me rolling my eyes a lot.

I really don’t like that I have to give this game a low score because everything was going swimmingly up until the games ending. The ending really ruined it for me. It reminded me of several 1970s sci-fi films where the good guy is somehow a alternate time version of the bad guy. In this case DeWitt if he seeks forgiveness in one reality he becomes a racist stereotype of the south and builds Columbia. If he doesn’t, in some alternate universe, he does fuck all till he gets a invitation from someone to go find Elizabeth. So in other words he becomes the villain in one universe and in the other he’s a completely depressed alcoholic in another. I don’t have any problem with the second outcome. However our wondrous dumbfuck Elizabeth does.

So as the ending roles it’s kinda open to interpretation so I can only tell you what I got from it. She basically explains that’s shes a time traveling omnipotent God like entity who can see different universes, times, and can see how everything happens. She basically leads DeWitt in believing everything happens the exact same way, in every universe, and he has no choice but to do the same stuff over and over again. This is bullshit if you’ve read anything about time travel EVER! She says everything repeats itself until he figures out what needs to be done. Eventually it strikes him that in order to prevent all the future tragedies he needs to kill Comstock at birth. So he asks her to help him kill the guy. She brings him back to some open void in time and lets him know he’s Comstock and DeWitt and in order to destroy a possible bad future she has to kill him.

I thought this ending was total and utter crap. If she wanted to prevent a ‘bad future,’ for other people, that meant she would eventually have to kill everyone else too to stop them from possibly becoming corrupt power hungry maniacs. Also if she is some kind of time traveling entity then she could have easily manipulated any instance in time to her, or societies, advantage. NOPE! Instead she, and her very narrow perspective on it all, choses to jump through time and universes to kill this same guy over and over again, regardless if he turns out to be a good guy or not. This is pretty much is what’s theorized at the end when multiple versions of herself show up. Instead of going through time, or other universes, and fixing things she has a fetish for killing this one guy over and over again.

On top of that it’s the most drawn out and pretentious thing imaginable. Instead of doing the simple thing and putting a bullet in his head and moving on, tear a spot in time and turning his brain into pudding, or letting him get killed by someone in Columbia, but she doesn’t. She instead goes all out theatrical and drags everything out so long that it makes the player wonder if everything, even Columbia, was intentionally setup to trap this one guy. She has him relive everything in Columbia (all the fighting, clue finding, tragedy, etc.) and holds this long elaborate plot to show him how guilty he should feel. In turn this makes him feel bad and she opts to kill him. She’s a fucking sadist in my opinion. If you download the DLC Burial At Sea then you’ll see that she jumps into another dimension and goes out of her way to kill him all over again. So not only does she lack a moral compass, but she lacks common sense, is exceedingly lacking self control, but on top of all that she has no fucking clue what she’s doing.

The only good things about this game is the gameplay and graphics. The gameplay is just like the last and has a lot of features added to it. It’s taken the FPS format and added battlemage capabilities. This means you basically play as mixture of warrior and wizard style of combat. You have a gun in your right hand and use your left to cast spells. This adds some great combos and make some of the tougher battles a little more strategic.

There’s a lot of variety in both strategy and kill combos. Everything can be upgraded, except DeWitt and Elizabeth. The only addition that is noteworthy is the clothing. Some areas have clothes that can give you special abilities. It’s a nice perk, but unless it’s something outside normal gameplay (like the shield) then most aren’t noticeable when being worn. Like one piece of clothing lets you run super fast after you lose 50% of your life for about 5 seconds. The only added ability that I didn’t care for was the shield. It seems to be gone after 2 hits most of the time and then health, ammo, and salts are nearly everywhere you turn so if they are going to try to make things so piss easy why bother with a shield at all, especially if it’s gone after a few hits? Also there is a hook rail system that you can jump on to run away from enemies. I found this obnoxious because it made it difficult to aim at anyone and other then some linear story progression it’s mostly useless.

Another bonus is Elizabeth acts as a companion that actually does something, other then die or get in the way. In combat she’ll throw you health, ammo, and salts to help keep you alive. The odd thing is that th AI completely ignores her. There were many times when she was crouched down behind a crate and the enemies went around her side to get to me. I thought that it was strange that there wasn’t any interaction her since the whole town was seeking me out to A) kill me and B) return the girl to her tower. Even if I did die in a heated battle she’d somehow drag me to the side and revive me, for a price. Again, she either did this ‘unnoticed’ or the enemies ignored her.

The graphics are probably a example of the best the PS3 can offer. The bloom is proportioned nicely throughout the game, it gives characters shadows on their face, and adjusts as characters walk. The animations break some of the immersion because they really aren’t expressive outside of cut scenes and give some dramatic dialog a jejune delivery. There were rarely any hangups while rendering the game. The few that did seem to glitch were light rendering errors. Other times it would seem to want to freeze the screen and load for no apparent reason. For example: it would take only a short time to load the game and then when you moved to another area on the same map it sometimes would popup saying it was loading, but not show the stagnate loading screen. Other then that they did a great job making the characters both look kinda cartoonie and lifelike.

This is probably the worst of the series to me. It takes old sci-fi stories from the 1970s and beats it like a dead horse till you see it’s bones. The cliché contrived betrayals happen, the good guy is secretly the bad guy or the other way around, blatant bad guy stereotypes are used a lot, and then it has you reflect on the previous two Bioshock games. Sure it’s fun, fast paced, and has a lot of the game play elements, and more, of the previous two for everyone to enjoy, but I hate this story.

If you want something that has good gameplay then buy this, just try your best to ignore the story.

3.0/10

 

Saints Row 4 The National Treasure Edition PS3 Videogame Review

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WARNING: Spoilers be spoiled

The Saints Row gang has taken over the United States of America and have somehow made their lead President. He starts to run the entire nation into the ground and calls a press conference to settle everyone down. Seconds after his public speech on how he’s going to clean it all up Aliens, called the Zin, show up kill, kidnap, destroy everything pretty much proving he can’t do shit. After a while everyone gains conscience and make some kind of stark realization that they aren’t on Earth anymore. As it turns out the smartest one there steals a ship and somehow notifies everyone they are in a ‘simulation,’ which is a nice way of saying VIDEO GAME. So they decide to do all they can to screw up the simulation and kill the Aliens that captured them.

Now usually when a series ‘jumps the shark‘ it is a giant cluster fuck of poorly written dialogue, story, jokes, character development, etc. However the group over at Volition makes jumping the shark a complete new art form full of various flavors of humor and wonderful tributes to movies, television, and even other games. Like most open world games you can run around doing dick all, or help someone do side quests, or main quests. Although after doing the seventh or so crack the code, blaze, or whatever else mini-game it’ll get repetitive, but if you want to max out your level (capped at 50) then doing all those, and some side quests, and should max you out before the end of the main quest.

I liked all of the stories told. They were entertaining and the humor flowed differently from character to character and none of it was too distasteful. However some were just throwbacks to the previous games. Since I hadn’t played any of them I had no clue what was going on. So they kinda didn’t hold any relevance and I wound up not caring sometimes. Sure that’s probably my fault, but I can’t get engrossed in a story about Matt Miller‘s wankery for his favorite TV show. Also some of them didn’t make sense. One confusing one in particular involved going to save Benjamin King from a simulation. Apparently lots of people are trapped in other simulations that make them think that all of the persons worst nightmares are coming true. So this involves a rival gang surviving and a hologram of his ex-girlfriend coming to kill him. Once the player gets him out, or to a point where he can leave, King requests that he stay in the simulation so he can kill his ex. My first thought was why does this matter?

As the story goes once someone is removed from their simulation they are kicked out of their holding pod. So simulation crashes and its assumed to be deleted from the Zin’s system. So in other words his ex-girlfriend isn’t real. She’s kinda like a AI unit in a videogame. It’s just a re-imaging of her. Once the simulation is deleted, she is deleted. Whats the point in drawing out something LONGER and get vengeance on something thats going to be deleted anyway? Besides, the ship has two really well rounded hackers on it, Kinzie Kensington and Matt Miller. Both could easily find the ex-girlfriend AI if she decided to go rogue and delete her that way.

Others are almost completely relatable on both being comical and/or nightmarish. For example: you liberate Pierce Washington from a corporate advertisements nightmare gone wild. Another makes Asha Odekar come to terms with her fear of failure. This one made me feel bad for someone who’s probably a strong headed killing machine, but truthfully its something everyone faces.

I hate to say it but most missions, beside the side quests, were incredibly easy. It mostly consists of go to x-location and kill x-bad guy. Sure the variety of story spruced things up a bit, but the game play was boring at times. I eventually found myself looking around for the collectibles considering they added some insight to the characters and gave you various powerups. Even the DLC(s) were easy which consisted of the same system of gameplay, but would only momentarily involve other aspects like doing a arbitrary task for someone in order to continue the mission. Like one involved finding all the people dressed up as animals and caging them. Fun, funny, weird, but still kinda boring.

One of the things I enjoyed the most, besides the humor, were the cameos. Sure, cameos are usually a bunch of people selling out for money, but many of the characters in this game had a purpose and are totally essential to the story telling experience. Like Keith David, one of my favorite bit actors of all time, is a main character and is apart of many parts of the main story. He even has a few good one liners later on. Rob Van Dam and Roddy Piper add a good bit of hilarious, and gruff, voice overs as well. Neil Patrick Harris is a villain and you can eventually have him join your crew. Even the Burch family, from Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’?, make a guest appearance. Due to the good amount of voice work done it adds a whole level different level of of humor to the game, makes it even funnier, and more memorable then most cameos in movies/games/tv shows/etc.

The graphics were really well detailed and accentuated the absurdity of it all. Like in some areas if a NPC stood next to a void, a open wormhole in the programming, then their eyes would bulge or arms would get scrawny. To a certain extent the game poked fun at itself by letting some NPCs walk along like they weren’t fully rendered. Other times cars would drive upside down or the buildings walls would look like they were constantly refreshing. Another cool thing is that in some missions the game would fake freeze the screen and a programming dialogue box would open up like someone was programming it as I played the game.

However the graphics were a major problem for the game. Often it would crash to a complete stop. So I had to reset the PS3 about 10 times total. To a certain extent I’m just glad it didn’t ruin my saved games files. However it was problematic if you used some of the more ferocious Homies to fight along side you. Like I’d recruit the Burch Family or Homies that were upgraded, a lot. They’d help in some of the intense fights. However, whenever we get into a skirmish they immediately use super powers on whatever enemy is around. So do the math, multiple cars, people, aliens, and your NPCs roaming about and fighting all at once== system overload. After I noticed that I stopped using them as much. This took away from the experience, to me, because the whole point of them being apart of the game is so they can help you out. Also there was a drastic difference in crashes between going solo and using NPCs. If I went solo I’d last about 9 hours of gameplay (shut up I know that’s bad), but if I used NPCs it would maybe last 4 hours before it crashed.

This is probably one of my favorite comedy games of all time. Yes, it’s a rare COMEDY GAME. Very few people in this world know what COMEDY is and how you can be funny or just fucking pathetic. Yes they straddle the lines on some of the shit jokes, but I found myself laughing so hard I had to pause the game and calm down more often then rolling my eyes. Sure the story lines kinda cluster together and some are just terrible, but for the most part the stories told are rather fun and stupid in a jovial fashion. The controls are perfect, and so are most of the graphics. The only thing that brings it down is that it sporadically crashes to the point where I had to restart my PS3 multiple times, but it wasn’t a problem for the most part. The difficulty wasn’t too challenging, but if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing the game will pretty much run you over.

This is simply put: a great game.

8.5/10

Farcry 3 PS3 Videogame Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS, SARCASM & WRY

A potential Girls Gone Wild video shoot gets captured by a group of pirates. The main characters wake up in the middle of a slaver camp and try to escape. Two of the college bros manages to escape, uh, kinda. Later he meets up with the local resistance on the island that tries to end the drug/slavery cartel. He learns of their heritage and they recruit him. They then send him on a series of missions to make him into a warrior, and to get really stoned. OK that’ll make sense once you play the game. Along the way he helps the people of the island with various problems, explores the island, hunts a lot of animals and people.

The story works out like any standard action movie. Jason Brody, is a average US American kid that somehow becomes a super killing machine by the end. He delivers standard “I’ll lead you underdogs to victory” speeches and belts out cliches lines like the script writers hadn’t seen a action movie ever! He’s probably the most uninteresting main hero I’ve see in YEARS. Anyway he seems compelled to go out and save his friends from the slavers who boarder between irritating, broken, or just not all that interesting. Don’t get me wrong his stoner friend (Oliver) is funny and adds a weird relaxing morose feeling, like the only reason he’s happy is because he found natural hallucinogens on the island, but he isn’t too terribly useful. Daisy is probably the only useful one, but seems to gain abilities out of fucking NO WHERE. So his job to save the island runs into hiccups due to the very well laid out bad guys and their very vicious and strange way of doing things.

Like Vaas is one of the more interesting villains I’ve seen in years, even if he lacked some development. He seemed to know your every move and attempt to save your friends. This was the neat part, because it seemed this villain broke the 4 th wall, read the script for the game, and said to himself “I won’t let him fucking do that.” So the entire time it I was trying to fight, or find, him was a giant mockery of every action movie ever made. He knew you were coming for him. So he set up a trap. He knew you might survive something. So he set up another trap. He, despite all his cocaine use, was scarily weird and vivid to the point where if I had to pit him against another villain in video game history it would be Trevor Phillips from GTA V. He’s mostly known for being a serial killer and cannibal and openly mocked anyone who questioned the ‘edginess’ in modern video gaming. But that might be a bad idea since they are so insane they might go into business with one another, or go into one another considering there are a lot of homosexual themes in the game.

That brings us to Willis “Buck” Huntley. Another villain I’m taking time to mention because it’s rare you see this kind. First off Buck is hella smart. He seems to be a redneck Australian version of Indianna Jones. I thought it was interesting because you don’t really see anyone Australian in anything, much less being smart. If they are they’re a 100% stereotype that we’ve all learned from a Crocodile Dundee movie and drinking lethal doses of beer. Secondly he seems to be a implied rapist. This I thought was well done, since most mediums now-a-days seem to shove whatever negative trait a villain has in your face. This is only IMPLIED and it he may have very well just been a shithead to someone rather then a rapist.

Sam Becker, again another interesting ‘villain’, falls under something different I notice. He’s a German-American who not only isn’t blood thirsty, but he wants all of the madness on the island to end. Sure betrayal isn’t anything new in any story EVER, but the fact that it breaks so many stereotypes it isn’t even funny. Most times you see a German in a game he/she’s perpetually stuck in the 1940s swearing allegiance to Hitler or wanting to kill everyone. This guy seems a little more put together realizing that killing is only a means to a end and once Hoyt (the main slaver and antagonist of the game) is gone everything has the possibility of being hunky dory on the island and he’s totally OK with that. Really. He doesn’t want to take over Hoyts business after hes dead. He doesn’t want to go killing anymore. It genuinely he seemed like he just wanted to sit down and drink with the locals, and hopefully not be strung up by them. So in all honesty he had the possibility of being the vile stereotype of either nationality he belongs to and they wrote him like somesort of Kelly’s Heroes hippy. This was weirdly refreshing.

One of the major things I hated about the story is the ‘love story’ subplot. I don’t know if you can call it a subplot considering it mostly consists of one lady (Liza, because apparently you can’t fucking spell Lisa and not attract the main demographic for this game) bitching about how Jason isn’t giving her enough time, or something, and doesn’t want him to get hurt. Its suggested that they were together before they decided to announce to a island full of blood thirsty pirates that they were young dumb, stupid, and full of money, coincidentally. Then after some time she says some crap like she’s finally seeing the man she wanted or he was meant to be.

I think this is ironic that A) she’s playing a stereotypical angst ridden woman (ie damsel in distress) who seems to think it’s a good time to ask someone who’s training to be a murder God to reevaluate their relationship whilst a civil war is happening on the island and their friends are in danger of being sold off as sex slaves. I found myself screaming at the TV, like some Jerry Springer fan, a few times telling her to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Not to say she’s completely selfish, but complaining about their relationship is the only thing I can remember that she did the entire game. Also B) it seems she to only gained interested in him after he saved a few people, killed a dozen bad guys/animals, and woke up out of a drug fueled dream with a dozen or so tattoos on his arm. This doesn’t give a good impression of what women want to the young people who might be playing the videogame. Seriously we don’t need any sailors going on drunk fulled murder and tattoo rampages and then expecting people to fall madly in love with them.

The gameplay is a vast improvement over the first Farcry videogame that I played. I ran into, at first, what I thought was glitches. It seemed every enemy could sniper you with any weapon through any wall, tree, house, or mountain from any distance. This annoyed the fuck out of me and I gave up on the game. It was one thing to be able to see someone and they’d be in visual distance and then they’d attack. But with my experiences, and the original, you could be in a shack with no windows and if you briefly fart or gasp for air and the guy on top of a mountain three mountains over would hear it and somehow be able to blow your head off. This was freaking unrealistic. I don’t know about you but most peoples eye sight is limited to 100 yards or so and can’t get shot upwards of 100 times. They shouldn’t have the abilities of Superman! Also, for the record, it was a legit copy for the PC.

This one has far more balance then that. If you can see them through a sniper scope, they can see you. If you shot them more then 5 times, with certain kinds of guns/distances/etc., they die. Simple enough, right? Well, ya, it’s just that simple. However, unlike most games where you can run through a base kill a few people either run off or kill everyone there effortlessly, the AI has a few smarter things going for it. Like once you make your presence known, anywhere, they continually search for you. If you run away, they’ll still be on the look out. A few times I’ve had to fast travel to a different location and come back in an actual REAL TIME hour or so so they’d stop looking for me. One time, when I first started, I ran into a heavily armed base and got destroyed because they called for back up, multiple times. So I had to build my own strategy on how to take out the base and that made this aspect of the game rather fun.

The only thing I get infuriated with is the stupid AI. Sometimes the drunk Molotov cocktail throwers would set themselves on fire, often. Other times when I would try to take over a base and a random lion or bear would wonder in the base whipping out EVERYONE there. Those damned animals shits even did that to bases I had conquered. Anyway these baddies are suppose to be trained militia. Like a guerrilla version of the Roman Legion but with better weapons. Why they seemingly ignore a large growl, followed by a terrible screaming sound, and then sudden silence and not decide to hit the alarm or have all forces focus in and kill the thing is beyond me. Also other times they’d literally WALK PAST the leopard or whatever that was attacking the base and it would then kill them.

Sometimes it seems like they were highly organized and you pretty much prayed to make it out alive or hope they didn’t hit the alarm, which seemed random, to signal for backup. Other times they’d do all of the above and get attacked by local wild life or the local resistance that just happened to drive by at the time you decided to attack the base. It’s entertaining, but frustrating because I wanted to play the game, not have AI play the game for me. It did add some immersion to the game, considering I can see this happening in a war torn country, but it often ruined my strategy on how to infiltrate the base. Also the local resistance didn’t help with the other 90% of the game, so why show up now?

This has some RPG elements that are almost not worth mentioning. The game, as said, depends on how you fight, the guns you use, and how well you fight in tight situations. With that being said, you can gain skill points for abilities after doing whatever to get xp, but the abilities don’t open up until you complete various parts of the main story. So I went out and annihilated half of the islands baddies, and took their bases, with nearly none of these power ups that that they wave at you in the beginning of the game. So I didn’t get the point of leveling up when you can’t use the points when needed or when the perks aren’t that useful.

Yes, you can do cool things like jump on top of someone and stab them to death, but if you’re like me you’ll shoot them with a silencer, or a bow, from a distance. Now this DOESN’T make any sound and it DOESN’T draw the attention of everyone when the guy screams for his life as you stab him to death. So why should I buy these abilities when everything else is already at my disposal? Aside from the few that help the character swim sharks or shoot better, there isn’t a point to many of them. On top of that, and as said before, you can use these ability but they’ll attract attention to you, very quickly. Now since it seems that they only decide to organize themselves to find you after finding you, then you can wind up dead very fast with said power ups. So having power ups that encourage you to go Rambo in a game that PUNISHES the living shit out of your for being a loud turd isn’t too terribly productive or practical.

Also the crafting system is a bit stupid. It requires you to get animal hide for special ammo upgrades, or it helps you carry more guns. Sure that’s fine, but it required the hides of seemingly random animals that shouldn’t exist on the island at all. Its like they asked a 5 th grader what animals he liked and then said “fuck it” and lumped them all on a island. It, like most tropical islands, are either hot or wet. If you listen to the local islanders in the game they complain about the weather A LOT. So why the hell would this island have a North American Grizzly bear on it and a few miles south packs of Dingos. The Grizzly would die from heat stroke due to the huge amount of fur it has and how it’s body naturally insulates heat. Dingos on the other hand live in EXTREMELY hot weather. So anything below 90 degrees or so could kill them since their bodies are made to resist HEAT and not cold. If you look at the map they’re technically already in areas where they should be dead. This also hurts the realism of the game and the whole immersion thing. Some the upgrades requires hides of super rare animals. Wouldn’t PETA be super pissed you were going off killed rare animals for your selfish upgrades? Sorry, Winne the Poo I need your hide so I can carry a extra gun. Also these super rare animals have no difficulty to them what-so-ever. They are essentially the same damn animal, but slightly reskined. If they’re that special why not make them harder or smarter? Other wise it’s just cheap.

The graphics show a good bit of what the PS3 can offer. The cut scenes are damn near movie quality. The facial structure and movement on most of the characters is life like. On top of that the water effects when swimming or sailing are interesting since it all seems to bump and sway like a real ship. Also the lighting and fire really help with the immersion of the game. Many times at night I saw light in the distance and it gave that same ugly glare that lights do in real life when trying to focus on something. This helped make it all that much more realistic when trying to take over a base and being half blinded by the lamp lights that are surrounding the base.

The only thing I can complain about is the rain effects. They are neat, but not fully developed. Nothing really seems to get wet. Also you can look at the houses and plants and not see anything drip off of them. It’s just weird. Besides that the only major glitches were random scenery glitches from time to time. I’ll be walking somewhere and there’ll be a thin discolored line that runs across the screen. So I’ll back up and it’ll disappear. Then there are some areas on the map where your character starts a swimming motion, makes a splash sound, and the water either A) failed to render or B) he’s randomly doing that on some hillside for no reason. Regardless just move some and the glitches go away completely.

The story is aching of a cliché action movie, but the real reason to play it is due to the vast colorful characters, both good and bad guys. The graphics are at their peak with little to no glitches. The game play is great, but gets repetitive due to the similar quests and wonky structure. All in all this is a worth while action game, despite it being considerably over hyped and my griping. If you can find it for cheap, or the new Farcry compilation, then I’d recommend buying it. It’s a quality FPS game.

7.5/10

Fallout New Vegas PS3 Video Game Review

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You’re some loaner out in the middle of nowhere in the ruins of Las Vegas, Nevada. You’ve been assigned to take a parcel to some address for unknown reasons. Along the way you get mugged by a sharp looking guy and a group of thugs. They steal your package and leave you for dead in some cemetery. You eventually come to and a doctor makes you aware that the town robot has dug you out of your unmarked grave and you’ve been patched up. Kinda.

As with all Fallout games you expect a great experience and the story is just that. It blends scifi, 50s technology and vibe, and does it all beautifully. The stories involved are very vivid and damn near completely compelling. Yeah it has some cliches and genera stereotypes, but for the most part it’s well written. The characters, and voice actors, do a great job making you care about them and their well being, even more ruthless ones like the Great Khans. The stories that intertwine help bring some depth to the peoples and their struggle. Also, many times, it pretty much displays no one as a true hero and shows everyone makes mistakes. The better thing about this game is the options. You can chose between factions and it has a impact on how they treat you. The guns can be upgraded to be lighter, more durable, etc. It gives you a great deal of more options when choosing how your character survives the wasteland.

The voice acting is the usual top quality stuff. You get a greedy and damaged character from Matthew Perry. Voice acting legend Jason Marsden comes back as a hard boiled and emotionally damaged sniper. Unlike his first role in Fallout 2 as a chem making asshole. All are quality performances, except the bit characters dialogue. Some seem hackney or hastily slapped together at the last minute. I doubt its the actual voice actors problem, but…well…I’ll give you a example. You’re talking to a MALE Brotherhood of Steel paladin and when you say Goodbye a female voice says Goodbye and the lips of the Paladin move. So either the character had a spontaneous sex change and his estrogen shot to ungodly levels or the coders screwed it up. Another irritating time is when I’m talking to ED-E, a robot companion in the game. A message comes over his speakers from the Brotherhood of Steel asking you to bring them the robot so they can analyze it. On the very last sentence it switches from a American accent to a very thick Middle Easter, or Indian, accent. WHAT THE HELL? It does this multiple times and is just completely weird.

I’m just warning you ahead of time that this is why I’m completely failing the game. The GRAPHICS and game itself isn’t terrible. The whole of it is just incredibly unstable! Its like they made the game to troll the crap out of the player. I have had to restart the PS3 multiple times due to it freezing or getting so slow that minutes will pass before anything happens. Like if I hit the left joystick telling my character to walk left it’ll sit there for a while, then it decides to walk left 5+ minutes after that. Many times when it tries to load a new area it goes to a slow crawl and either freezes or is so jittery it becomes to difficult to do anything. Other times characters, usually IMPORTANT ONES, will have various monsters spawn near them in the secluded and SAFE town that they live in and get killed. This usually happens AGES before you get to the quest that requires them. Also it seems to happen AT RANDOM. So very important, quest required, NCPs will be DEAD when you need them the most and for no logical reason. Other times if you have a companion they will lose important items you bought for them. Or if you go into a casino they’ll be stripped of them and you won’t get them back later. The list really goes on and on. Due to all these glitches and more it completely ruins the immersion feeling this series is known for. Instead of having quality face to face with the characters it’s all a jittery crash filled experience and quickly reminds me that I should have bought a better PC to play this.

The thing that frustrates me the most about this whole experience is that I have other games I need to get to, play, and review. I have other games fixed/patched/whatever, without GAME STOPPING GLITCHES, that run fine on the same game system. So if I ever get a new computer I won’t force myself to play this game again, seeing as it would probably be the same experience. So because they can’t seem to fix glitches, fix simple quest glitches, and stop NCPs items from randomly disappearing I’ve don’t have a choice but to give up on this game. When I play a game I want the whole story and for it to function correctly. This really isn’t the case.

Quality assurance should be a top priority of any games developer. Those who haven’t made it a priority have went bankrupt. After so many hours into this game and learning more of it’s lush lore and intriguing story line: it’s very apparent they just gave up at one point on the graphics, and how to load them. I am infuriated that such a great story was thrown to the way side because people don’t want to patch their damn game! This has been a totally upsetting experience because I love this series and this is the only one I’ve had so much trouble with. The crashing ruins the game for me because if it wasn’t for that factor alone I would be giving this game a 8.5/10. However, I just can’t.

3.5/10

South Park: Stick of Truth PS3 Review

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The boys are out and about playing pretend and decide to role play as some sort of hybrid fantasy world. They string it through where ever they go, into Canada, and it even covers the entire town. You are the new kid in town, nicknamed Douchebag by King Wizard Cartman. For whatever reason the kids hold some random stick as some sort of ultimate power in their kingdom. Yet it’s just a stick. Anyway, some guy from the Elvin district steals the stick. King Wizard Cartman orders you to go find the stick and return it.

The story stays to the true nature of South Park’s themes. It’s wacky, it’s weird, and it has a steady pace of humor, story, and quality character development. It completely goes out of its way to make it a rich environment to explore. It also takes its time to bring in various characters. The game either brings them in as dispensable backup characters during battle or you get to interact with them in some form that references various parts of the show. Another neat fact is that some of their interactions unlock achievements or are just Easter Eggs.

The Stick of Truth is a inventive look on RPGs and adds all the comedy someone could want that is absolutely lacking in most games labeled ‘funny.’ However, it lacks what most games are about: gameplay. It isn’t so much a RPG as it is a quick time events, a mixture of point and click, and filled with weird fetch quests. Most special moves are instantly accessible. If you’re good at quick time events then any battle ends really damn fast, even boss battles. The other half of the time if you have armor that matches your level and enough food, then it doesn’t matter what weapons you do or don’t equip. I was still able to take on most battles easily on normal. Also if you wonder about like I do, just to check out the town, you’ll be swamped with Money. It’s just stupid how much you can get. Sure all this takes the grinding out of the RPG, but that isn’t a bad or good thing. In all honesty it seems like they had a idea, then completed half of it. If not, then it seems like they just need to improve it more. The new-ish RPG style is there, it just drastically needs improving.

The puzzles mostly consist of shooting things in the environment to trigger something else. Simple search and click tactics are prominent in many of them, like in the older point and click adventure games on the PC. Others consist of luck and involving your character to land on whatever it is that is most needed to carry on. All puzzles seem to be of a medium difficulty and don’t change over time. I’ve noticed that paying attention to detail will save most people a lot of time, but backtracking is required for many of the puzzles. This is the only downside to the puzzles, but they are fun due to the various character I got to interact with.

The biggest weaknesses of this game are very blatant and repetitiveness of the game. Like there are basically 3 or 4 major songs that play in the background during the whole game. If you play this game all the way through, including side quests, then it gets really boring and unfunny. One of the major songs is Cartman saying “dumb….dumb…dumb jews….nien!” Now don’t get me wrong it’s done in a creative way and offensively funny the first time you hear it, but after hearing it for the zillionth time it losses its impact. That being said every other RPG that releases a soundtrack either the songs are memorable or if you hear them throughout the game it’s somewhat welcome since it sets the mood and atmosphere for the game. It isn’t grabbing your attention with the obviously mocking lyrics.

Another issue is the continuous glitches and poor loading quality of the graphics in the game. For whatever reason the game takes forever to load from scene to scene. If they don’t take forever they jump and jitter when they finally load and if your decide to walk around. Other times it completely froze and I had to restart my game. I would be fine with that if it looked like Tomb Raider, or even Hotline Miami, but it looks like you’re playing a version of the show and, even after some 10 seasons, it still looks like they make it with Adobe Flash. My PS3 shouldn’t be failing at rendering very basic animation when it can render various other games flawlessly to a point of almost looking realistic. Good examples of this are Beyond: Two Souls and The Last of Us.

South Park: Stick of Truth is a fun romp through the town of South Park. Its bright, beautiful, and cinematically impressive cut scenes and the story is worthy of a entire mini-series within the show. However the humor, graphics, and gameplay are something to be desired. The humor goes from soft funny humor to something completely rancid within seconds. It doesn’t make the humor ‘bad’ but it is rather jarring, unlike the show where there is usually a balance. The graphics continually stall or just flat out freeze the game up completely. The game play is so simplistic that I hate to label it, but it’s best labeled as a ‘casual game.’

Despite all these blaring flaws it is still a quality product and is representative of the South Park brand of quality story telling, no holds bar comedy, and character development. If anything its a great tribute to the 15 years it’s been on TV.

7.0/10

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds 3DS Video Game Review

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Once again Hyrule is thrown into chaos when multiple people go missing. It all starts when Link witnesses a warlock named Yuga kidnapping, you guessed it, Zelda. Yuga states that he’s going to use her tri-force power to resurrect Gannon, and then disappears into a crack in the wall. Link then ventures through a dark void as a painting and winds up in Lorule, a alternate world of Hyrule. There he meets Princess Hilda who tells him in order to stop the resurrection of Gannon, and the distruction of both worlds, he needs to find the 7 sages that are trapped in paintings spread through out her kingdom.

This is probably one of the better Zelda stories to come out in a while. It plays complete homage to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, in many ways. So to a certain extent it seems like a sequel to the game. The story is a lot different then most of them, with the exception of the sages and how they hold some kind of magical power. To a certain extent the ending was worth seeing a lot of borrowed things from A Link to the Past.

It borrow some of the bosses, weapons, the alternate version of Hyrule, and characters. I didn’t mind the characters so much as I did the bosses. The bosses help define every Zelda game ever made. The most memorable thing about them is the fact that just about every boss is different and has unique ways of killing them. Even a few of them were down right scary. But when you see 6 of the 11 original bosses it kinda kills the experience of the new story.

Although one of the best dungeons EVER was in this game. It was the theifs den in Lorule. It was completely different from most of the dungeons ever made. It even had a NPC who helped you out a few times. It was nice for them to add this to the game, but since they didn’t expand on the NPC’s character development it was kinda a waste. This is something they should have expanded more on, and the Lorule town.

The other great thing about this one is that it plays a lot like most of it is a open world environment. You can casually switch between worlds and choose whatever dungeon you want at whatever time. Yes there are a few that won’t let continue until you have certain items, but 90% are bought from a merchant in your old house in Hyrule. So you become quickly over powered. Despite this fact the dungeons seem a little harder then the original so having all those tools doesn’t matter sometimes.

The strange thing is that they have random mini games through out the game. They don’t have a whole lot of depth, to me many of them just weren’t fun, and some had a stupid premise. One mini game was to avoid flying chickens. No. Really. You just walked around and avoid chickens. It was insanely easy. Another is driven around collecting rupies by whatever means. The only one that is challenging, frustrating, and fun, is the baseball game where your goal is to smash vases with a baseball. Although I have no idea how it works and has its own flaws.

If you have a 3DS this is a must have. The new mechanics let you chose just about whatever dungeon you want to do first. The graphics don’t add a whole lot of depth, but it’s still nice to see one of the most iconic video game characters of all time in 3D. However the art itself is great and adds a super colorful cartoonish feel to the world while still maintaining some kind of seriousness. The story is probably one of the better to come along in a while and the twist at the end is really nice. If you don’t screw around and do just the main story I think you’ll be in for a surprise. All in all you have about 5 days worth of playing if you don’t use any help and constantly grind on it.

This is a real treat for any Zelda fan or anyone who’s a fan of adventure games.

9.0/10

Gunpoint PC Game Review

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Gunpoint is 3 rd person stealth game based on the fictional life of Richard Conway, a freelance spy (not legal kids). A firearms producer hires him to investigate a death of one of their employees. He reluctantly accepts. The police start to follow him and accusing him of said murder. Other people start to catch on and suspect his involvement with multiple breakins and the skills he presents. Along the way you pick up upgrades and more skills to help you with each mission.

The story is your basic “someone died and people blame you” scenario. Also had one of the most dramatic and comedic openings I’ve ever seen in a videogame. As much drama it has in the game it has a nice equal balance of comedy. Gunpoint gives you the option to make the story as serious or as funny as you want. Some comedic events are even thrown into the achievements, and how the achievement is written. The only good thing about the story is that due to all the choices it doesn’t get boring and you don’t have to read all the extras in the game in order to get the full story. However, some of the dialogue was cliché at times.

It seems to want to blend multiple sub genres of the stealth games/movies/what-have-you and does it rather well. You can run and gun many of the mission (not recommended) or you can sneak in and out of the building without anyone noticing. In truth this is where it shines: the game play mechanics. The controls are easy to grasp and you can quickly develop your own exploring/spy style of investigation without the game penalizing you for not exploring the way they wanted you to. You can trade bought upgrades once you have them for other ones if you don’t like them. So eventually you can find a combination of a few and complete insanely hard levels, with some strategy, while catering to your skill. This is unlike most games where it only allows you so much range skill wise.

Like they offer the ability to change the wiring of a building, silently breaking glass, and make silent landings while jumping from high buildings. Did I need them all? No. So I didn’t have to buy many of them in order to progress through the levels. After a while I was able to obtain enough money to buy them all, but even then it feels like cheating. Regardless its good to just have it as a option to make the levels harder if I wanted too.

The 8-bit graphics actually shine through in this game. It made it feel like I was playing a old cabinet arcade, which was a great nostalgic feeling. The building, background, and small details like street lights are simply beautiful and makes the world feel huge. The graphics also don’t seem to cut on the processor and are easy to render. So anything that loads quicker on my PC is always a good thing.

Gunpoint is definitely something you’ll want to pick up if you’ve ever been a fan of stealth games, since there are so few of them. The music is a nice jazz temp which adds to the whole spy world feeling. The controls are beyond easy to master. The story is great, although not completely different from most of the spy genera. But most importantly: it’s fun. The only problem is that it’s short, especially if you are skilled at any kind of stealth game.

8.5/10

Beyond: Two Souls Video Game Review PS3

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Format: Playstation 3 exclusive

WARNING: Mild Spoilers!!

Quantic Dream is the company who brought you Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy. Recently they released Beyond: Two Souls, which is a deep spiritual journey that spans the life of a young girl named Jodie Holmes. She has another soul linked to her for unknown reasons. Aiden, the soul, has various supernatural powers you can control. Due to this ability, and other elements in the game, you can make various moral choices that help change some of the endings of the game and various paths throughout the game. Each choice makes you think about the options before and after and usually allowed adequate time for anyone to think about them. Also depending on the choices you make the characters voice their opinion due to your interactions with them or choices you’ve made.

This is one of my new favorite stories of all time. I’ll repeat: This is one of my new favorite stories of all time. I know it can’t rank up there with Rear Window, or the newer stuff like The Dark Knight, due to its flaws but it comes really damn close. Yes it’s the typical reluctant hero kinda field that has seen a rise in the recent comic book movies, but a much of the way they handle it and let you choose the characters actions is unique. You can control most everything she does from being a good kid when she’s younger to cold bitch when she’s a adult. Aiden can aid, or hinder, all her actions along the way. You can have him/her kill people, rig ATMs, posses people, and even defend Jodie when she can’t. This is really fun due to the fact that he can’t die and the access to many of his abilities are usually all readily available. Yes the game tends to limit you sometimes on what you do, but I think that tries to enforce the idea that Jodie does have some control over Aiden.

I found myself really empathized with the characters, even the douche ones, due to how well script is written. They really take the time to develop each character or bring them on long enough to see how they are emotionally attached to Jodie. It eventually gets easier to grasp when you play whatever level multiple times. You can also use Aiden to see what others think of you, or your actions, which only adds heaps more depth to the story. Although it is irritating when important dialogue is missed sometimes because I didn’t switch to Aiden and wonder off to a room where other character are located. It shines even in simpler tasks like trying to help Jodie become romantically involved with Ryan.

With that being said there’s a wide variety of moral choices you can make from helping the homeless to strangling childhood bullies. The amount of choices are insanely large and many of them, despite doing something completely evil, will warrant a achievement. Regardless of achievement incentives to do evil things I found myself playing the same levels multiple times just to see what else I could do or what I missed the first time. So it was like a moving piece of art that you have to keep looking at in order to notice all the details. With replaying multiple levels it was also fun to see how it changed the people around her by the end of the level.

Also Jodies reactions to it all also adds more emotional stability and sanity to the situation which helps considering how fantastically strange things turn sometimes. It even helped develop her into a strong female lead while not making her look like a complete bitch. This is something kinda rare in story telling, because most authors tend to make the female leads too masculine and they lose almost all femininity to them. This played a delicate balance between both while still giving you control over what you wanted her to do.

The story structure threw me in multiple directions without warning. At one point you could be navigating Jodie through a wrecked closed security site and the dead would get posses and try to murder Jodie. Then the next scene she experiences her first love with one of her hunky boy toys in the game. While the jumps were often jarring I’ve seen enough of this style of story telling (See Memento and Pump Fiction) that it didn’t bother me. However I don’t doubt many would enjoy the game because of how disjointed it feels sometimes. Although I don’t think I could have picked a better way to display the confusion of a terrifying journey like this without jumbling it. I’ll admit I liked the change of pace because some levels were rather relaxing compared to say the previous two where Jodie was almost killed or raped.

The thing that really heightens the mood is the graphics. They are simply stunning. There were a few scenes where you run through a burning house and you can see burning embers float past your face. The fire, and a lot of the water effects, are some of the best I’ve seen in gaming. Period. One scene where it’s raining you could see it run down Jodie’s face, drop by drop and her clothes would slowly get wetter as it rained down. Also I don’t think I ever saw any noticeable glitches, which is rare for any game.

Sometimes the interaction is limited due to the game play elements. There are many quick time events and there are many times it has the same limitations of a 1990s point and click adventure. Like there would be a interactive object that would only prompt Jodie to comment on it or the interaction was bland. Also instead of pointing and clicking you wobble the joy sticks in whatever awkward way the game instructs you too. This, sometimes, isn’t fun, but I played along with it to basically see what happened next.

The action sequences, while super fun to watch, really posed no challenge. You, as long as you’ve played some kind of game in your life, will be able to run, dodge, fight whatever police, CIA officer, African militia, etc. with great ease. Which made me wonder why they even bothered with a difficulty option. It asks your video game skills, at the very beginning of the game, and basically gives you a choice between normal mode and normal mode with hints. This just trivialized the whole option considering it didn’t change the difficulty at all. This was also disappointing considering their previous games had some level of difficulty. Like with Heavy Rain you had to concentrate more then most games on what you were doing or going to do next and the choices that you were prompted to choose from. Then Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy was notably hard in some areas which would impact the story negatively, and sometimes get main characters killed for the rest of the story. Seriously, many levels were just made of pure keyboard snapping frustration and Beyond: Two Souls was a walk in the park compared to this.

However, I really only consider this game to have only one completely terrible thing about it: the controls. The controls are muddled half the time or the camera angles screw up the direction you want to go. There were multiple times where I wanted Jodie to go through a door and she’d kinda rotate left to right and got stuck. I couldn’t zoom out half the time to see what her character was stuck on or doing. So I kinda had to wiggle out of it and walk off. Also there are some blatant dead ends that the camera doesn’t pan out to show you so I would wind up in a corner searching for a door or hidden items (which there are plenty of) in a worthless empty space and that just blatantly wastes time.

Other times there will be something tremendously bad happening and the controls just flat out wouldn’t work. Like, you know, the building your in is about to explode. So instead of running like a normal person, Jodie kinda just jogs around the building. Also during certain scenes like this the run button will be disable. No I’m not joking. The run button, that you use MULTIPLE times in other situations, will be completely useless. I don’t see the point of that. It doesn’t build suspense or help the story. It’s just stupid.

The emotional impact of the story, and multiple endings, only made me want more. It does leave it open for a sequel, but all sequels depend on funding and if the script is good enough. Despite all the negative aspects of this game it is still something that can be deeply enjoyed if you have the patience and don’t mind a different kind of gameplay. This is truly one of the best stories I’ve seen in a video games. It may not be your kind of game due to the artistic gameplay style, or jumbled style of story telling, but I’d say at least rent it or try the demo.

8.5/10

71/100 – Metacritic Critic Reviews

8.1/10 – Metacritic User Reviews

8.0/10 – IMDB

Dead Island: Riptide Review for the PS3

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Platform: Playstation 3

Some spoilers ahead.

After escaping from Banoi the group lands on a cargo ship full of military types. They immediately get locked up at gun point as being recognized at some of the few who are immune to the disease. Somehow some of the infected zombie population get released on the boat, while they are introducing themselves to the newest member of their group John Morgan, a ex-military Australian held captive for treason. So you, and your crew, crash land on Palanai. Literally. Most of the crew is dead and, somehow, the only survivors are the immune and a Australian military man named Colonel Hardy.

As for the story goes I think they could have done without this one. The original I thought was good enough since they do the classic “fly off into the sunset” and everything is assumed to be fine. In this story they add a mutagen to the zombie infection and it’s suppose to explain why there are new zombies. The new zombies are cool, however the whole mutagen side story is just bland. If they were going to get that extravagant they might as well have made a reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while they are at it. They didn’t ever explain what it was, or why it was there. It was hinted at that the infected started to mutated between Kuru and over exposure to chemical weapons, but this wasn’t fully explained. Then they kept going on about how the small immune group will eventually become more and more enraged as if it’s some kind of side effect, and yet again, didn’t explain things fully. I don’t see why they made a big deal of the two and didn’t give them proper closure. Now I’m sure it’s all explained in the collectibles, but I didn’t buy a PS3 to READ.

Yes, some of the collectibles are read aloud, but it’s difficult to listen to them when being attacked by really loud zombies. It should be noted that the voice actors did a beautiful job performing in this area. Anyway, the rest of the time the crew rarely develops character wise. If I walked by them they mostly say the same things over and over again. So not only do the original characters that were well developed, and gruff to their own extreme, get really tiresome to hear. I eventually begain to hate them because they didn’t really have a purpose to help advance the story. This is disappointing considering the original game only showed the other team members in CGI cut scenes to HELP do just that, and the dialogue was much more extensive. So it’s kinda bad that you get tired of so many cool character so fast.

The gameplay is the exact same as the last game. You comb the island completing quests, looking for collectibles, etc. This is fun and all, but gets repetitive. So in other words this is the exact same game as before. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if the story helped pull it along, which as stated above is meh. The upgrade system isn’t any different and the leveling system is the exact same. Yea sure there’s a leveling system for the different kinds of weapons, but it doesn’t feel like a complete idea and I just completely ignored it. The weapons leveling system didn’t seem to improve anything at all, or at least that I noticed. Also this doesn’t seem to matter consider some zombies, if they get behind you, can kill you in one hit. That is completely unrealistic and ruins a lot of the melee fighting.

The melee is just as before. You’ll need to a void certain zombies and learn strategies on how to deal with them. This is probably one of the best aspects of the game since it’s all first person. The leveling helps control the combat, as it gets considerably harder. It’s nice to see you can mutilate zombies, but there are only so many swinging animations and with some of them I kinda wondered how it didn’t get the character bitten by zombies. Despite that after figuring out how to fight, or when to run, it’s a really smooth system, unlike most FPSs. One of the best things is that it gives you a large variety of weapons and gives you enough options in order to get good weapons.

Like it has random dungeon like zones called ‘dead zones.’ Many of them have a large zombie population and usually has a large number of valuable items and weapons in it. On the flip side some are just regular areas with zombies and they rarely have anything valuable in them. To a certain extent it extends the game play, but it’s a major distraction if you’re playing it for the story. It does add some quality battles to the game, but most are infuriating solo. The variety of difficulty is also something to be noted. There are easy ways out of some challenges considering they have doors and you can close them after you throw a few grenades. Unfortunately other areas are more closed in and it’ll you’ll have to work around runners and leading them around doors to slow them down.

The island’s explorable areas are a lot smaller and this makes it slightly disappointing. The thing that made me like the original, and want a sequel, was the large lush areas you could explore. In Riptide you have one whole less area to explore and it makes the game feel shorter to a certain extent. Also the utilities in the original were actually useful, like cars. In Riptide it introduces the use of boats, but they are harder to steer and, if anything, annoying since if you go too slow zombies will tip you over. In the cars you can drive zombies would just be bumped to the side. So you have a more vulnerable, louder, zombie attracting vehicle that’s extremely limited in maneuverability and availability on the island. You can only access it at the beginning of the game and doesn’t help you explore that much of the island. So it made me wonder what they were thinking considering it’s kinda useless.

The only thing that made me think of how useless it is was is the online experience I had. A small group was going with me to some mission location. It was in a more remote areas. Instead of taking a boat we JUMPED our way across the water to our next location. Not only did we avoid nearly all the zombies that would have been attracted to us, but we were also able to scout out the area ahead relatively undetected. In turn we kill that many more unsuspecting zombies with greater ease.

Alexa Loren has nothing to do with the game, but I got so bored writing the review I went and looked her up. I think she's stunning.

Alexa Loren has nothing to do with the game, but I got so bored writing the review I went and looked her up. I think she’s stunning.

The graphics are stunning at first, but it all fades fast. It seems like they polished the first few parts of the level(s) then forgot about the rest. The raining affect that take place at random on the island is awesome. The bloom effect comes up splotchy in a few dozen areas. The character models mouth kinda move in synch with the voice actors dialogue, but it isn’t of any fluid motion. So it kinda looks like a door opening and shutting really fast. Other then that their idle movements will get irritating after visiting one of the safe zones for the dozenth time.

The most notable thing about the graphic is the heaps of glitches. I guess some things don’t change, considering this is one thing they could have immensely improved on. Sure some of them are drop dead funny, but it ruins the immersion of the game. You can still kick dead zombies through boulders, bushes, and just about anything that isn’t usually impassible to the character you’re playing. There are multiple areas where the zombies animation kinda freezes. Most of the time it’s while they’re running and are stuck between two things.

The biggest set of glitches come during defense segments. Whenever you go to set down a wire barrier the entire game might freeze. For me it froze during the first and second defense segments. I had to take the game offline and restart the game 6+ times. This killed the immersion and pretty much ruined a good half of the game for me. I shouldn’t have to worry if something will load between scenes or have the game crash on me during a really important part of the game.

The multiplayer is both fun and completely obnoxious. Its fun to see people back you up while fighting a super hard zombie, but at the same time many players like to chuck grenades. So they can blow you up fast. Then there are a few glitches while playing multiplayer that ruin it for me. When doing the main quest and you go to turn something in and someone else is has the same quest then it turns it in for the both of you. That’s fine, but the quest character will echo their dialogue or it simply won’t come up at all. So you’ll have some guy standing there flappin his lips and movin’ his arms with no sound at all or it’s simply too muddled to hear anything.

This was, just like the last one, fun and disappointing. It could have been so much more and been developed better, like Dead Rising, but a lot of things get in the way of it being perfect. Like the glitches constantly grind on you as well as the repetitious game play. Don’t get me wrong this is a really fun game considering you can power through a few hours and mow down zombies left and right. So the game does a great in this aspect on making you feel God like. It’s just a strange experience because either you can easily over look these flaws or they’ll stop you from playing the game completely. If anything most should probably wait till it’s $20 before considering buying it.

++++++++

+Positive+

++++++++

+Fun gameplay

+Great graphics

+Fun open world exploration

+Decent followup story

————-

-Negative-

————-

-GAME BREAKING GLITCHES

-Stale main character animations

-Glitchy sound

6.0/10

7.1/10 – IMDB as of 05/07/2013

56/100 – Metacritic Critic Score

6.4/10 – Metacritic User Score

NOTE: I hesitantly wrote this review due to the fact that this series is a very love hate relationship with most people. So if I praise it too much people will hate me and if I hate on it too much people will hate me, and I already have very few followers as it is. Also the other reviewers I’ve read added too much garbage to their reviews then actually looking at the game. One wasted several paragraphs over their controversial pre-order zombie lady busts, that didn’t ship in the US for some reason. The others wasted time on complaining about the previous game and basically gave this game a failing grade out of association. So the development of this game has been nothing but stange.