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

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Lucius PC Video Game Review

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Warning some spoilers.

Lucius is about the son of Satan. He’s come back to take over the world. In order to go concur the world he, for some reason, has to kill off his family. While he’s killing off whoever the family slowly starts getting paranoid as to whos killing everyone. Some have emotional breakdowns and then the police get involved. The lead detective bumbles about and tries to piece it all together. Every once in a while Satan will drop by and give Lucius power ups.

This is one the few games I really really wanted to like. For once you play the ultimate bad guy and there are weird justifications for doing tons of gory bad things. Then you get to read his journal entries and shows the mindset of a terrible person for once. However it doesn’t do much else. The story is so frail that it doesn’t really explain why its a good idea to kill off your family, nor how he was going to go about ruling the world. Think about it. If he kills off his family he’ll be a penniless orphan and will only go on to kill other families. On top of that there is zero time for character development to make the player care about the people who are being killed and much less why they are killed.

Now murdering them all is a mixture of grotesque and unique. This portion of the game is pretty much a stealth puzzle mixture and all the combinations are interesting to figure out. Although some do die in cliché ways, although the setup is always different. This gameplay as a whole isn’t too difficult. It’s a lot like some of the older point and click games where you take everything that isn’t nailed to the floor. After that you explore the house to find the special spot to use it.

Also some of the best power ups that Satan gives you come really late in the game and you won’t be able to use them except maybe once. Like it you eventually get to wipe peoples memory after they catch you doing something bad, which would be hella useful in earlier parts of the game. But it’s only introduced after 3/ 4 ths of the game is complete and since you’ve already killed some 10+ people there are less people in the house to catch you. So it doesn’t really serve a purpose unless you really suck at stealth. Or better yet, you don’t get the ability to conjure fireballs till the second to last level. How awesome would it have been to just go around smokin mofos left and right with this ability? Well guess what? It isn’t happening.

This wasn’t a great game and it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. The graphics are OK, but not great for this generation. The voice acting is sometimes just terrible, or feels like a bad B movie. The characters are sometimes completely cliché, like the only butler in the game is British. On top of all that a lot of the story is just stupid. It basically amount to “go out and kill everyone just because!” and then it doesn’t give you a option not to kill them or give you a better explanation.

So if you do pick it up try to find it cheap. It’s a short experience and there is little replay value. Sure there are two bonus levels, but they’re hard, boring and serve no purpose. Also the story is going to be too bland for some people. Hopefully they’ll make a sequel seeing as they could easily fix things and adjust the story and game mechanics.

4.5/10

The Organ Trail Video Game Review

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Format: PC

Difficulty Played: Easy/Normal/Endless Mode

Mild spoilers ahead!

The zombie apocalypse happens somehow and all hell breaks loose in America. You’re stranded somewhere killing random zombies and you eventually run out of ammo. A former priest comes along and kills the rest before you get eaten. He is generous enough to give you a ride to find your friends in Washington, DC and let you ride in his car. So he escorts you to his 1950 Ford Woody car and you truck it to DC rather quickly. From there you gather supplies, your remaining friends, and escape DC before it gets blasted by a nuclear bomb.

The story is pretty much Oregon Trail, except it has zombies. So it does well being a complete homage to the original. Just like the original you’re going from one side of America to the other in search of a better life, uh, without zombies. This game has all the weird quirks and exploration the original had, but with more character. Much of the random dialogue has been updated to reflect today’s culture. Like some of the random encounters spout “Someone farted” in the car. Another are reflective in the random encounters. A couple encounters are blatant references to South Park or Zombieland. All are funny and give a light hearten tone to the game, unlike most zombie games.

The only thing that’s weird is the random boss fights. You don’t get anything for defeating them and some range from easy to impossible to kill. So they’re kind pointless to be in the game. Two random encounters are while you’re scavenging. One is a pack of wolfs that walk toward you at the same pace a zombie does and then crouches and jumps at you. They are really easy to kill (5 bullets) and really easy to avoid. The one I don’t understand is the zombie bear. I shot it more then 20 times and it didn’t die.

Then there are the random encounters while you’re driving. You might run into some zombie deer that are running from something and run forward along side your car while you’re driving. This one doesn’t many any sense to have in the game at all. This is simply based on the fact that: A) if deer were dead they wouldn’t be running at 60 mph and B) the animation gives you the impression they are herding in the THOUSANDS behind you. If that was true you’d be screwed no matter what you did.

The only random boss fight that DOES make sense you encounter less then all the others. When you leave some towns you’ll be followed by a certain number of bikers who want to rob/kill/whatever you. This makes more sense considering people are crap and many of them do have means to take you out or speed up to your cars current speed. Still there seems to be little to no reason for these boss battles.

Then there have been minor upgrades from the original. Like the car has a upgrade system that allows you, your party, or the car to get certain perks. A mini-vegetable garden prevents the group from starving completely. A solar panel upgrade still lets the car run, regardless if you have a battery in it or not. Other perks consist of fighting or scavenging perks.

The fighting perks are more reasonably priced (only $80) and are sporadically offered by trainers in the towns you visit. These are great, but if you stack them in the right order then you are pretty much invincible and the challenge to the game disappears quickly. Like there’s a boost where you can find food and money faster while scavenging. So you can easily get over 2000+ oz of food quickly and more then $600+ within a few days and wading out the large zombie groups in your area and re-scavenging the area.

Also the games in the extras menu just don’t make any sense to have. One lets you view all the grave stones you encountered in the game. Big woop. It would be one thing if they were funny, but many aren’t. Another option is to enable tweets during your gameplay. That, to me, seems kinda stupid. You might as well tweet you sat on your ass and wasn’t productive for a few hours. Because surely that attracts the ladies: being a lazy lard ass.

A side game in the extras menu is called Clements Quest. It doesn’t seem to have a point other then to drive to the other side of the nation and back. I haven’t made it back to DC, but it’s difficult when the rate that group members randomly catch diseases or dysentery is tripled. It is actually harder then the normal game itself. Multiple things seem to switch from real time use (like food or health deterioration) to a countdown clock. So you run out of everything rather quickly.

The other is Endless mode. You pretty much play Normal mode forever in order to get points. It’s fun, but after the first dozen random encounters that tell you someone farted or someone got bit by a zombies then it gets really repetitious. It’s also infuriating that these pop ups can come 4, or more, at a time. This stop the car from moving completely and cripples the flow of the game. So you can have a group member break his arm, get bit by a zombie, tell a story to the group, die, and then a dozen other things happen before you’re able to move again.

The controls are completely easy to master, just like the original. When you scavenge for food, or search for lost items, you use your W S A D keys to walk and use your mouse to pull backwards and shoot. Also it reminds you what the controls are each time you change modes between regular char/inventory/group management screens to hunting/scavenging/defending screens. Shooting is probably the only frustrating thing to do in the game. The hardest thing is judging the distance between the enemy and the way you point your gun, especially if they are far away. So if you are a little to the left or right with your mouse you can easily miss your target and get attacked. It takes a little while to get use to it. Other then that there isn’t aren’t many controls to remember.

The graphics are smooth at almost every level I put them at. So I don’t see why there are so many different options considering they are just 8 bit graphics. Yeah sometimes they look like they are 16-bit. Many of the towns are well rendered and have inside jokes before you enter the town screen. There isn’t much to say about them in all honesty. It’s retro quality is fun to look at and doesn’t wear on the eyes like today’s graphics. However the glitches are probably at their worst here. There are many times where the road completely disappears. Other times when you’re shooting the line that stems from your character telling you where you’re shooting too completely disappears and you have to restart the game either by shutting it down or starting a whole new game. This is a kinda big thing considering, as stated before, shooting is one of the hardest things to do in the game and if you are a hair off you’ll completely miss your target.

This game is pretty much a ‘you get what you put into it’ kinda game. If you want you can play it FOREVER like Harvest Moon, or Animal Crossing, or you can play it just enough to get the achievements. It’s fun, but all the mini-games while crossing through America get repetitive sometimes. Also its a game of random chance. Sometimes you can make it across the country with little to no trouble. Other times you’ll be swarmed by zombies and your entire group will get infected or die of starvation within the first few landmarks. Heck there’s even a random encounter where a bandit kidnaps one of your group members.

This for some will just be a rehash for a quick buck. They can think that for all I care, but it’s still a fun game. Yes it still has some of the same elements and themes as Oregon Trail, but it has it’s own witty charm. The multiple movie/video game/etc. references are great. The low rez graphics are a great nostalgia trip to a art style that helped found modern gaming. All in all it’s fun and worth the $5.

++++++++
+Positive+
++++++++
+Graphics
+Story
+Humor
+Easy to use inventory management and upgrade system(s)s
————-
-Negative-
————-
-Repetitious game play & boss fights
-Shooting takes getting use too
-Very ‘luck of the draw’ gaming
-Strange bouts stupid non-game breaking glitches, but ruin the experience
7.5/10
86/100 – Metacritic – Critic Score
6.2/10 – Metacritic – User Score
BUY IT:
Steam – PC/MAC/Linux – $4.99
Publishers Website – PC/MAC/Linux/Android – $4.99
Google Apps – $2.99
iTunes Store – $2.99

The Cave Video Game Review

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Format: Playstation 3

Difficulty Played: N/A

Some spoilers ahead folks!

You chose 3 of 7 characters to spelunker in a mysterious living cave. The Cave, this is the only name it identifies itself as, is the narrator of the story. It exposes all of the characters most wanted desires. Not only does he make it feasible for them to obtain their wants and desires, but it lets them choose their own path to obtain them. Along the way you’ll run into puzzles based upon moral choice and ethics.

This was made by Double Fine. They have always made strange art games. So this production isn’t any different. The reason I point this out is because I hope this review will encourage people to pick it up or at least consider it, because it does have flaws and yet is still a great piece of story telling. This is a cross between most modern moral choice games and cause and effect theories, like the Butterfly Effect. Why? Because The Cave is alive. As described in the synopses it talks to you through the whole game. The Cave even plays with your emotions some to make you wonder what’s going to happen to the characters and other people you meet along the way. It exposes the characters for what they are and lets you decide their fate. This is hard to do considering most of the people are just terrible somehow. Many of them rely on acts of murder, lying, stealing, or even arson to get what they want.

Yes. You read that right.

Various sins are major themes of half the game.

The cute fluffy exterior is completely misleading to the underline themes and subject matter. At the core of half the game it’s about revolting selfish people who are terrible that do anything to get what they want. To a certain extent it’s like looking at the 7 deadly sins playing out their greatest fantasies. The even more revolting thing is that many of them live happily after committing these various atrocities, without punishment or remorse. One instance a guy looses his mind because some woman didn’t fall in love with him so he goes across country on a killing and arson spree. Another story involves committing a small nuclear Armageddon so the character can become rich. The list goes on, and things can get much worse.

The fantastic thing about this is that the other half of the game is about redemption. Since you get to choose the characters fate then you can lead them down a better path. All the better paths are much more heart warming and rewarding compared to the counter parts. To the same extent it still shows the character(s) living happily knowing they did the right thing. Also all stories have a moral, consequences to the characters action(s), and with some it shows how the future treats them.

So why did I throw up the Double Fine disclaimer? All Double Fine productions have always had a odd sense of game play, style, and absolutely aren’t for everyone. Like with this game in order to get the full character(s) story you have to play the game upward of 4 times. Also in order to get all the achievements you have to play the game in upwards of 5 to 7 times. This drags out the puzzles you’ve already solved, ruins the jokes, and makes the game play bland.

It would be one thing if the puzzles changed each time you play the game. Some adventure games do this, but this games doesn’t. They are the exact same puzzles, jokes, everything in each extra play through. It get’s boring and repetitious. So I don’t know if it that was their intention, but it kinda reflects the telling of morals or common knowledge. The most basic ideals of understand, or of what’s right and wrong, are often repeated.

The repetition kinda hurts in a way once you hear some of the same jokes multiple times because it really is a witty game. The dark humor oozes out like a Tim Burton and Disney collaboration. However it does it with more subtly and its a little darker at times. On top of that since half the game involves murder the game does all it can to make light of those situations in very colorful ways. It has it’s own wonderful charm, atmosphere, sense of direction, and soft tone brought on by the cartoonish way things play out and are less violent/realistic then they could be.

However the game play wears on the whole experience. You’ll often find yourself dying because you jumped the wrong way or didn’t jump to the next ledge at the right time. Well you can’t actually die, but that’s kinda irrelevant consider most games if you do die you just start over and continue on. However, when the characters already run at a incredibly slow pace and the cave is IMMENSELY large then it hampers your problem solving and the pace of the game. Like you’ll have to do various back tracking to bring a item from spot A to spot B. That may not sound bad, but what if spot A was in America and spot B was in England. Somewhere in the middle you die and it starts you back at spot A. That incredibly pissed me off multiple times.

You could be at the last little bit of whatever puzzle and after you solve it you can move on to the next room. However if you die you could delay yourself by minutes just by all the backtracking. If that doesn’t piss you off enough the item you have, since your characters can only carry one item at a time for some reason, might not even work at the sight of the puzzle. So you’ll be running back and forth between point A and point B a lot!

Sure the difficulty of the puzzles eventually results to basically thinking of whats around you and you can figure it out once you put things together. That’s easy but with the first few times you enter a cave’s section(s) you can easily get confused and lose tract of where everything is. So you could be walking in the completely wrong direction for 2+ minutes and not even know it until you reach a dead end, which this game has a lot of for some reason. After a while even The Cave (the narrator) will give you some hints in the way he talks in order to help you out. It won’t lead to many of the achievements, but it will help you progress with the stories at hand.

Another thing about the game play that I thought was odd, or maybe irritating, is that you’ll learn eventually that all the characters have a singular special power. To me that is just damn neat. Unfortunately throughout most of the game the powers are useless until you come to certain character specific location. Sure they’re fun to use, but ultimately useless 90% of the time and don’t add anything to the game play. To me this is odd since every other game out there if a character has a special ability then they can use it whenever and it successfully interacts with the area around them. The only reason I can guess that this was undeveloped was that is because Double Fine‘s style of game play has always relied off you to use your brain more, and the area surrounding your character, then the powers of a character. Like in Psychonauts (9.0/10, by the way) your special ability are mostly only used during combat. Regardless I think they could have expanded upon it a little more.

The graphics are ascetically beautiful. Some parts of the cave is alike a ever changing canvas and you’re characters are changing it. I know this is a simple game, but the amount of detail put into simple areas of the cave is nothing short of wonderful. For example: you can play as a monk and when you start to climb a mountain it starts to rain and the wind blows. This gives a wonderful distant exploration feeling to climbing the mountain and makes you feel really damn small. These are small details that enhance really mundane tasks. Even with something as odd as running across one of the roof tops of London, England the meshed green and black hues of the background add a dreary sense of unforeseen terror. Heck, there are even funny bits that add to the tremendous style of the game. Like there’s one spot where two fossilized dinosaurs can be seen in the cave walls having tea. I know many of them are cartoonish, but adds character to The Cave (the narrator) and the actual surroundings of the cave itself.

In turn the glitches are few and far between. Unfortunately the few that are there are completely game breaking. One instance I was the adventurer lady on some Ferris Wheel and when it made a full loop she went into a falling animation loop, but she was in the middle of the ferris wheel’s cart. I couldn’t move her out and she would only spin left and right. Regardless it was one of the few times I had to restart the game in order to complete the area. Another the camera didn’t move with the character so it got stuck to one section of the cave ans since I couldn’t see what I was doing I had to restart the game. The rest I’ve actually forgot, but they are super rare to run into so I wouldn’t worry about them. Also they are mostly self fixing considering you can just restart the game and the characters will be at a different location and behave normal from then on.

All in all I love this game, but it absolutely isn’t for everyone. It is a great throw back to the old point and click adventure game genera. The atmosphere, lighting, sound, and character development is supreme. The major pain for many will be getting the full story of the characters. As stated before in order to get the whole story you have to replay the game multiple times in order to unlock all of the story segments. This isn’t as bad for those who’ve already fell in love with the weird charm of the game, like me, or simply love adventure games. However, it will be a trying task for many others due to the slow pace and large level design.

At this point it’s totally worth the $15 bucks if you love good story telling and a ominous narrator playing with you, but the game play will wear on you if you’re not ready for it or use to the adventure genera. So you might need to break up your game play in order to fully enjoy the experience, because this really is a experience you will enjoy.

7.5/10

72/100 – Metacritic – Critic Score

8.2/10 – Metacritic – User Score

BUY AT:

Steam (PC/Mac/Linux)– $14.99

Amazon (PC/Mac) – $14.99

Playstation 3 Store – $14.99

Xbox 360 Store – 1,200 MSP

Tomb Raider Video Game Review

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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.