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

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

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.

The Amazing Spiderman Video Game Review

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Format: Playstation 3

Difficulty Played: Hard

Some spoilers ahead folks!

Spiderman has just finished battling Curt Conners and stopping him from destroying New York City, and turning its citizens into mutant lizard people. Now he learns that the disease hasn’t left the city yet. Oscorp has been experimenting with the left overs and accidentally releases it on the public. Meanwhile, Alistair Smythe insisted the Oscorp invest in his new nanobot technology and built a whole slew of giant robots to deal with the outbreak. In order to treat the disease Spiderman breaks Conners out of a mental institution to get his help in finding a cure. This goes horribly awry and it accidentally releases dozens of other inmates.

The Amazing Spiderman is freaking fun! The web swinging throughout the city is near accurate with the size of the buildings. The acrobatic moves that Spiderman comes with, and you can obtain later, are fantastic and are as fun to watch as they are to unlock. The extra comics and unlockables are neat to see and it helps you appreciate how much detail the people put into this game. The story beautifully adds to the previous The Amazing Spiderman movie. This, so far, is one of the best movie tie-in games I’ve ever played.

The story does a great job of picking up right where the movie left off and sends Manhattan, New York, straight to hell. There are multiple crimes and plagues that are threatening the city, and yep, Spiderman is the only one that save them from certain doom. The jumbled and fast paced flow of the main story reminds me of the original Spiderman series and really keeps true to the main concepts of Spiderman. It kinda gave the feeling of “the good guys always wins” and “just keep truckin’.” It even does a great job of building tension with the giant bosses and continued decay of the city, along side reading the cities local tweets that are displayed during the loading screen. Some of the added detail is citizens puken green liquid in the streets to the smog in the city turning colors. This really adds to the atmosphere and is freaking wonderful. There are multiple points of pure dread that over flows the city, and Spiderman’s personal life.

Some of the characters gradually change while some almost take a complete 180. Like Gwen Stacy comes off as a complete bitch, where as in the movie she was more stable and nice. But hey she even mentions losing her Dad recently (see The Amazing Spiderman movie) so that might be some reason to her character change. It also adds considerable depth to Conners and makes him more human then just your average comic book villain, like most comics or shows do. It still plays off the misunderstood scientist, but it showed his gradual grief and dismay to his own selfishness. So he eventually comes to and straightens up to help Spiderman, and Manhattan.

It eventually delves into the scientific debate of human evolution and medicine and which way it should go. Even during one of the final Oscorp missions Connners and Smythe are bickering back and forth whether or not people will be more accepting of nanobots or gene therapy in their lives. This is neat because it’s a real world plausibility. This is also the main divide, and rivalry, between the two scientists. The only thing that was notably odd about the story was some of the voice acting. Near the end it seemed more like they were just saying lines or whenever there was a word highlighted in the scripted to be emphasized it was over acted.

There are multiple side missions that kinda add to the depth of the city, but are distracting and repetitive. There are only so many times you can break up a mugging or stop a car chase in the SAME ways before it gets completely boring. Also lots of the time the bad guys are the exact same or have only small variations that it isn’t even noticeable when you’re fighting them. There are some fun side missions, but when they give you 10+ between each mission, and many of them are the same kinds of missions, it only adds to the repetition.

If you wait long enough in the game one of the unlockables is a icon addition to the map you have that tells you where all the local escaped mental ward patients are and loose comic book pages. This is both a nice feature and a little dumb. Secret collectibles are suppose to be in unknown locations, however since they’re 700 comic book pages and more then 20 patients to collect it does help some. So all in all they are just so so. Now don’t get me wrong the collectibles add some extra game play time to the game. They also really help build Spiderman and it gives extra XP to unlock more moves or even better armor. But they, like all collectibles, are tedious. Also with games like this they aren’t skippable due to how much extra XP they give you. So if you’re playing it on hard you’ll have to collect them in order to prepare for the next stage, or even the next boss. On another note you might get your butt handed to you multiple times due to minor flaws and graphical issues while fighting.

The controls were completely smooth and easy to grasp. This sometimes makes combat a breeze, but it’s frustrating considering you have to have a eye on Spiderman’s head to see his spidy-sense go off. This be the notification that you need to hit the counter button, but often the graphics bloom (brightness from natural light) would completely blotch out the indicator. A white indicator on white background isn’t really visible. Other times it’s a snap second indication. So it feels like some of the pacing was set to Viewtiful Joe, which is super fast timing. The only problem that I saw with the controls is that during some of the open world areas the graphical glitches would interfere with the direction you were sending Spiderman and you couldn’t compensate quick enough to correct the problem.

The graphics are something strange and sometimes something to be desired. This is strange since the other half the time the graphics are as beautiful as this generation of games can deliver. Like most of the real world is being wowed by movie like quality cut-scenes, like in Tomb Raider. However, this game takes the character models and uses them for the cut-scenes. Its kinda bad considering most character models are only meant to bend a certain way. The cut-scenes try to add to the model that it makes them look awkward, just weird, or even stiff. However sometimes a nice feature comes up where you can control Spiderman’s viewpoint with the L3 stick. So if you get board with what they are saying you can look off in the distance or admire the elaborate detail of the room you’re in. Other times the graphics don’t seem to render correctly and look like they are Playstation 2 graphics. This isn’t that bad, but given that the other character models, including some cars, seem stiff, then it’s still noticeably bad.

Other various glitches seem to only occur in the open world environment. There were multiple times where Spiderman would clip through the edges of buildings. Other times he would go to swing, or climb back onto the wall, and he would be stuck in a falling pose and you could spin him in circles and nothing would happen. One time he literally got stuck in that pose. However the great thing about all of these is that none of them were game crashing bugs. Most, if not all, worked themselves out and I didn’t have to restart the system.

I usually don’t do DLC reviews, or add them to the main game review, but I thought I should mention these. The DLC won’t be worth the money for most people. There is a mega pack DLC, for about $10 now, where you can play as Rhino, Conners, and, as funny as it may seem, Stan Lee. Now it is fun to swing through Manhattan as Stan Lee, but the other mini-games are either terrible or just rehashes of older games like Space Invaders. They really are kinda bland. I wish they made them into story playable add-on’s instead of cheap rehashes. So fair warning.

For anyone looking to have fun pick up this game. If you decide to go for a 100% game completion then there is well over 20 hours of game play. Also there is enough decent achievements to balance out the annoying ones, like collect all of x-item. The story, as said before, is one of the BEST I’ve seen in a long time. It is really memorable in my book, but the controls, in open world, repetitive unchallenging side quests, and the ending ruins part of the experience. Wait till it’s about $20 or $30 before you pick it up.

++++++++
+Positive+
++++++++
+Graphics
+Story
+Most controls
+Atmosphere of the Game (it’s a fun loving adventure feel)
————-
-Negative-
————-
-Repiticious game play
-Minor Graphical Glitches
-Controls in open world are horrible
-Strange bouts of horrible voice acting

7.0/10

7.6/10 – IMDB

71/100 – Metacritic – Critic Score

7.2/10 – Metacritic – User Score

Tomb Raider Video Game Review

Vamers-Tomb-Raider-2013-Lara-Croft-Poster-Launch-Date

Format: Playstation 3

Difficulty: Normal

Some spoilers ahead folks!

Lara Croft and a team of her friends sail to Yamatai based upon a hunch she has for lost treasure. On the way there the ship rips in half due to a freak storm. Everyone has to evacuate and somehow makes it to the island. The unfriendly natives capture most of Lara’s friends. So Lara is left alone to discover the mysteries of the island and save her friends.

This game is fantastic. It, unlike the other Tomb Raider games, has character development and a really decent plot. The plot is almost akin to the old adventure movies. In comparison to the few other Lara Craft games this one has vastly improved. Unlike the others Lara has a semi-steady line of character development where in others she was either a mute or what she said wasn’t really important. In one game she was particularly cold and turned into a complete bitch by the end of the game. This took the ‘happy adventure’ spirit of the game and flushed it down the toilet. This one she becomes a well rounded action hero and the rest of the surviving crew of hers develops with her.

They’ve restarted the story line, and character development, about 2 or 3 times before and now they finally decided to stick with her character and background. Which is nice since everything is a lot clearer and develop with each other. With this reboot Lara Croft is thrown into a horde of crazed worshipers of a unknown God. She eventually comes into contact with other members of her wrecked ship and slowly uncovers the story behind the cult. She, despite some of her apparent frailness, learns to kill, and rather quickly. Which is fine by me. In drastic situations it is a “flee or fight” kind of thing. Either you flee the scene, fight them, or break down into a sobbing mess and become whoever’s latest murder victim. So the quick transition for the character made complete sense to me. So unlike other action/adventure heroes there’s something soothingly tragic about this reboot of Lara. Her character kinda keeps a happy poise to her while things continually get WORSE around her.

As for the story itself: it reminds me of the OLD Indianna Jones, which is awesome! The one where it made both science and supernatural elements completely plausible to exist in the same universe. Also it teases you with those elements all throughout the game that really develop into a fantastic finish. You’ll see a snip-it of some sort of monster here and there and then you see what the God of the island at the very end of the game. Also the scenery of the island, and various locations further adds to the depth of the story elements. Although some just don’t make sense.

The characters are all underdeveloped except the 5 main characters, including the bad guys. So when something important happens the emotional impact is significantly less then what it should be. Like with The Walking Dead game that TellTale developed. You could talk to the characters and get to know them, before anything happened. Here everything is rushed after you crash land on the island, which happens in the first 5 minutes of the game. So there is ZERO time to get to know many of the characters. Yes some slowly develop through notes and snip-its you find throughout the island. However, collecting them is completely optional. So if you decide not to you only get half, or less, of the story and characters development. Also there was one scene that made me HATE Lara. Her friend went adventuring for some tool they needed. He gets stuck and she offers to help. He refuses and blows a hole in the ship he was on, sinking it, and killing everything else that was on board. So she killed a more then a 100+ men by then, been in tighter spots, but she gets into one cramped room where her friend that needs help and she abandons him and lets him kill himself. It just baffled me and didn’t make any sense. It was needless drama for the sake of having drama in the story. However, despite these two gripes they did significantly better then the other Tomb Raider games story wise.

Also the title of the game is TOMB RAIDER which is weird since there is very little tomb raiding. There are about 6 complete tombs and all consist of 1 main puzzle. There are no enemies in the tomb and there aren’t any additional puzzles in the room. For me most of the puzzles were easy to figure out and basically consisted of climbing, shooting, jumping on whatever was in the room. So they aren’t too hard. This is fine, but the rest of the game consists of less puzzles and traditional adventure element then it would need to be a adventure game. So it kinda feels like a better, and well rounded, Uncharted game, except she isn’t a handsome douche. You spend most of the time shooting things and running away then solving any kind of puzzles. This is a drastic difference between this edition to the Tomb Raider series.

Does it bring down the game any? Well kinda, because with all the exploring you do you’d think you’d find MORE treasure then other stuff. Amongst the collectibles for the game you can find journal snip-its (the character development device I mentioned earlier), GPS distress beacons, some treasure, maps, and challenges designated to a particular part of the map. In all honesty with all the collecting you do you’ll find more crap then you do treasure. Even with the treasure you do find some of it is old toys or junk basically washed up on shore from the other ships that wrecked there. Now SURE it adds to the story of the island and does add depth to the atmosphere, but sometimes it’s like I just climbed 7 stories and solved a platform puzzle for this crap?! Now don’t get me wrong, it helps give you massive amounts of experience points to add points to Lara’s RPG system, but if it weren’t for that it would have made the experience a little irritating.

The graphics are stunning. The constant change in the weather adds depth to the current mood of the story. The lighting is beautiful, even though the rare glitches ruin the immersion. The rain effect gives the island a soothing wet feel during the beginning of the game which is really fuckin’ cool. Lara’s clothes even look completely soaked and when she starts shivering and shaking you kinda feel sorry for her. Even the loading doesn’t really disrupt the flow of the atmosphere or story. Also the death cut scenes are some of the grossest I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve played Manhunt. This, despite late in the life of the system, really shows of the power of the Playstation 3.

The game play is great, with a few exceptions. The jumping and climbing is rather smooth. Although she seems sluggish sometimes when she runs. It’s more like a light jog then running. Most of the time the jumping and aerobatic display of the adventure is almost hypnotic. The tense moments really come in when jumping from edge to edge and it’s a fun thrill. The shifting thought inventory is on the screen is really smooth rather then going to a sub-menu, which is nice.

Also the RPG style of upgrades is rather neat. For every abandon piece of hardware you find, and scavenge, you can build better weapons. And for everything you discover or how you kill your enemies you get more XP. However it lets you max out everything while still feeling a little helpless. There are some areas that if you go too far into and start a fight it doesn’t matter what level you and your weapon are: you are going to die. Also since the villains can call more people to attack you as well then it adds to some realism in the fights.

However certain aspects don’t seem fully developed yet. Like the problems with some of climbing is that it seems like she should be more able when she still has some draw backs. First off she can’t free form climb (i.e. without the aid of something). Secondly there’s a special colored board that helps her jump up to a higher ledge. It protrudes from the wall by a complete inch or more. Anyway one would think that she could grab on to it by the sides and it would help pull herself up it, but she doesn’t for whatever reason. Another thing that holds her back from being a amazing display of aerobics is the awkward environment. Multiple times I’ve run across a house or stone and could climb up it on one side, but on the other side was completely impassible. This wouldn’t normally be a issue except the surroundings were completely the same. It was level on both sides. The surface was the same on both sides. There wasn’t any reason I shouldn’t have been able to climb up it.

The glitches in this game are completely forgivable, but ruin the submersion. There are a few quick glitches and then others that LINGER. I’ll give you a example, a few quick glitches I’ve run into are mostly from the fighting. Sometimes it looks like Laura’s hand goes through the bad guy or the weapon she uses hangs above them, before the moment of striking them and then goes back to letting you have control of Lara again. Or her lower body will move and her upper body will be stuck in the reload animation of her gun. Another was that there’s one collectible near a mountain cliff on top of a roof of a small building. When I picked it up she did a backflip THROUGH the top of the building to the ground, was temporarily upside down, and when I pushed forward to walk it fixed itself. The bigger glitches are usually aerial. One time, when it was during the heavy storm part of the game it stopped raining, for hours. Then another time I was near one of the older bunkers and the inner lighting of the area looked like it was daylight. However when I climbed to the top the MOON was out and everything else was dark. It was just weird.

This is a quality single player game. The multiplayer is great, but limited due to the fact that it feels like you’re playing a 3rd person Counter Strike game with a unbalanced RPG system of upgrades. The graphics are some of the best I’ve ever seen and add to the immersion of the game’s atmosphere. This is probably the best relauch I’ve ever played and makes many of the other Tomb Raider games look weak in compairson. Buy this game if you love adventure games

9.0/10

9.6/10 – IMDB

87/100 – Metacritic – Critic Score

8.6/10 – Metacritic – User Score

EDIT April 1, 2013 at 3:09 am

I was going to post more, but I wrote it for 3 days and then got heavily involved in another game. So I might add more later.

I figured out what I wanted to add. This game has terrible sound. It only has two options: one for sound and fx and one for music. In the cut-scenes Lara damn near whispers everything, just like during game play. So either you turn it up and risk getting a ear-sploshion and if you don’t you’ll miss a good part of the story. If you don’t you’ll at least save yourself some defining explosions.