Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell PS3 Review

gat_out_of_hell

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

Advertisements

Saints Row 4 The National Treasure Edition PS3 Videogame Review

saints_row_iv

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

Far-Cry-3-face-your-insanity

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