Out of the big 3 of press conferences Microsoft did not choose to step up to the plate. However, Microsoft had a very strong start and quickly gained momentum by revealing Halo 4 gameplay. Master Chief is in search of a ship that crash landed as it flew over his head. When the gameplay starts we were greeted with the trusted Battle Riffle (my favorite gun) and shortly after a familiar enemy, The Covenant. At this point I had yet to be impressed as Halo 4 seemed like it was just a graphically better Halo game, but quickly I was proved wrong as I saw new and interesting things. A strange red beam takes out the last Covenant as he disintegrates directly in front of you. As Chief pushes forward he as ambushed by a group of mechanical AI dogs. Once those are cleared another new enemy appears as well as a new gun. The new gun as equipped reminded me of something out of transformers and looked bad ass, Cortana recognizes that the tech is Forerunner. This new gun looks sick as does all the new Forerunner enemies. I was not sold on Halo 4 given that Bungie was no longer part of the project, but after seeing this at E3 I am sold on buying it. But don’t take my word for it, watch it for yourself and see.
Archive for June 11, 2012
Tags: Ascend, Black Ops 2, Call of Duty, Dance Central, Dance Central 3, E3, FIFA, Forza, Forza Horizon, Gears of War, Halo, halo 4, Internet Explorer, kinect, Leon, LocoCycle, Madden, Matter, Microsoft, Nike+, resident evil, Resident Evil 6, SmartGlass, Splinter Cell, tomb raider, Usher, Wreckateer, Xbox, xbox 360
Tags: 360, ff x 2, Final Fantasy, final fantasy xiii, gaming, Lightning, ps3, sony, SquareEnix, video games, xbox 360
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the newest installment of the FF franchise. Trying to make up for the amount of complaints from the FF XIII and possibility of lacking creative ideas Square Enix attempts another console FF sequel. The first thing that came to mind was, “Why?” After the travesty that was FF X-2 I was very resilient to think that doing another FF sequel would be a good idea. The feedback that I received from reviews and word of mouth put my worries at ease and also stating that the complaints I had about the first one were also changed. Did the title live up to or exceed its predecessor? Let’s take a look and see.
The gameplay of FF 13-2 is very similar to that of FF13. The battle system is based off of 6 interchangeable class types and managing those into 6 on the fly class combos in order to heal, stagger, or devastate your opponents. If you played FF13 than you will feel right at home with the battle system. There were minor tweaks in place that now give some enemies the ability to wound your health making you unable to heal wounded damage, also some of the class abilities aren’t as vast as they were in FF13, and now your 3rd battle partner is a monster. You now have the ability to capture, infuse, and level up monsters in the game. While this makes it able to build the ultimate monster for each class type I would much rather have static characters that I can level up just like Noel and Serah. Having to worry about grabbing new monsters or not knowing which ones are good to level up can be frustrating at times. Monsters can only be leveled up, depending on the class of monster, using items you can either buy or earn in battles. This can also be very frustrating as you have a limited number of items and don’t want to waste them on monsters that aren’t going to ever be as strong as the monster you are using now. The crystarium system of leveling up is back again but with a small change. In the previous title you could level up one of the 6 classes and each one had a cap and you could dump XP into any one you wanted. This time around you dump those points into each class type and get stat boosts in strength, HP, and Magic depending on which class you level. Each time you do that specific class will level up and each class caps at level 99. Each time you fill an entire crystarium field you also get a bonus which can range from boosting a class or raising your accessory limit amount. In this game you can’t just wear any accessory you want as each accessory has a number attached to it. If you don’t have a high enough number cap than a lot of accessories are dead to you and this really limits what you can wear to 1 maybe 2 accessories at best. Overall I feel gameplay took a step back from FF13
The game has Serah in search of her sister Lightning who she saw in a dream fighting in Valhalla in the beginning. Shortly after she is met with the last human in existence from the future, Noel as they both travel through time solving paradoxes created in the timeline in order to bring back Lightning. You travel to a great array of places scattered all throughout time as well as multiple versions of the same time but changed after fixing paradoxes. In each time you spend anywhere from 30min to 3hrs following the trail of the next time period unlocked by gates. Since the previous title was too linear this one is too open. I quickly felt overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I had open to me in the timeline, and had to also revisit the same places to see if I could find more fragments in each time. The storyline was sub-par at best as it unfolded with a cast of characters that never moved or inspired me. Over the 38hrs of my time with the game I found myself playing it more out of not having anything else better to play rather than wanting to know what happens next. Most of the game posed no difficulty except for the final boss that resulted in me spending another 5hrs of leveling and creating stronger monsters in order to just barely win. The ending (spoiler free) infuriated me with the direction in which it played out. Overall, I would have rather played through FF13 a 2nd time than my one play through of FF13-2.
Visuals are usually a department that Square Enix does right. This title is an exception to that rule. The vast array of locations and geography always made it seem fresh. I would jump from one time period to the next and be immersed in a whole new world completely different from where I just was. However, the character models often seemed pixelated and it looks like there wasn’t a lot of effort into making this a well-polished and visually astounding title. The turnaround is that the cutscenes look as good as would be expected, but the environments, characters, and everything else outside of cutscenes looks like ass.
The soundtrack for this game is atrocious. Most music consisted of not just music but some of them also had someone else singing in the background. I found the music to be so horrible that I would try to leave certain time periods quicker than others or play over the video game music with stuff from my computer because it just hurt my soul. I took the time to listen to what those people were actually saying I hung my head in disgust to hear that the lyrics were horribly written. Below I have linked some Youtube links to a few examples of what I mean.
The game has a vast amount of content with 160 fragments to collect, multiple endings, and a casino to blow all your money and time at. The only problem is that it was hard enough to stomach one full play through that I could never see myself going back to playing this title ever again. Do yourself a favor and do not waste your money on this game.
Final Score: 58/100
I completed this game on the PS3 with a time of 38:27:20. I was able to collect 77/160 fragments in the game and was able to reach 56% trophy completion
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Tags: 360, Assassin's Creed, Catherine, Ezio, gaming, ps3, saints row, xbox 360
It’s been a while since I have had the time to be able to write an article. I was buried under the black hole that is retail as well as the start of my next college semester. However, some my time was well spent as I was able to polish off a number of hit games that came out during the holiday season that I will be reviewing today.
My time with Saints Row: The Third can be summed up in one word, Amazing. My 30hrs spent lost in the nostalgia that was Steelport was nothing short of an incredible ride. From the very beginning you get a sense of the crazy antics you should expect as you progress. The game not only met my expectations it exceeded them. From sprees of beating people with a giant purple dildo bat, killing waves of mascots in Prof. Genki’s, or tiger escort missions and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Needless to say that I never wanted my experience to end. This game boasts one of the best soundtracks incorporating a wide range of genres and song selections that could satisfy any gamer’s musical tastes. The gameplay is the heart and soul of the game giving you power ups as you level your saints, guns, cars, cribs, gang members, or yourself. The game plays out just like your standard open sandbox world video game, but quickly you will notice that this game relays heavily on the WTF factor. While the side missions are a fun means to tack on more hours the storyline is what ties the game together into the beautiful masterpiece that I experienced. The closer you get to game’s end the more I could only sit there bursting out laughing at character interactions and the objectives that I had to complete. The game also has a great deal of customization allowing you to customize any article of clothing or vehicles to the color or style that you want. The graphics were not anything impressive, but that’s not why you’d be playing this game in the first place. Places look as though a city would with a nice amount of detail but it’s a standard look that we’ve seen before from this type of game. There are a few times that my gameplay got drastically slowed for having too many things on the screen, but this only happened a few times. With co-op, single player, whored mode, challenges, plenty to upgrade, and a wide variety of side missions this is one title that will be a long and enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Future Playability: 20/20
Final Score: 94/100 I spent a total of 30hr playing this game, achieved 80% of the trophies, and completed 98% of the total single player experience.
Next up is the strange and horror filled love experience that was Catherine. When I started the game I had no idea what to expect. You play as Vincent a man who is tied down to his long term girlfriend Katherine, but after a long night at his usual bar he finds himself in a love triangle. The story becomes so compelling that you will want to spend hours solving the games incredibly difficult puzzles in order to see what happens next. The game is divided into 3 sections: the part you watch, the part you play, and the part where you interact and shape how the game will progress. Each morning you are greeted with a series of cut scenes that reveal what troubling situation Vincent got himself into next. The visuals in the animation are beautifully done in mostly an anime style of drawing. Outside of these cut scenes the game does a good job at making the rest of the experience to be visually detailed even if you are too busy to pay attention as you run for your life. The second is spent at your favorite bar The Sleeping Sheep where here you interact with people, text the two K/Catherines and try to help people with their problems and woes. You can also play the bar’s arcade game which can help you work on your climbing skills, or sit and drink to increase the speed of Vincent as he climbs. Once you leave the bar is where you’ll be running for your life. Each night is the same in that you have a series of levels and you have to climb to the top in order to make it to the next stage. The difficulty curve climbed exponentially quick with the introduction of new block types and more difficult puzzles to try to climb up. By the second night my opinion went from thinking the game was easy to Holy $&#* at this rate I am not even sure I will beat the game. The game does a great job at immersing the player into a constant state of panic as you tackle each new puzzle. However, no matter how difficult and frustrating they may be once the game sinks its teeth into you there is no stopping you from trying to finish the night to see what happens next. The voice acting as I would expect coming from a Japanese game is impressive. The score of the game sets the mood for the epic and puzzling climbs that you will have to make each night. With multiple endings, high scores and medals to achieve on each puzzle, and a challenge mode that unlocks from getting enough gold medals in campaign there is plenty that will keep you coming back for more.
Future Playability: 20/20
Final Score: 91/100 I spent 12:38 playing through the game and got 35% of the games trophies.
Ezio Auditore and Desmond are back in another hit installment of the Assassin’s Creed series in Assassin’s Creed Revelations. In order for Desmond to make it out of the Animus with his mind intact he must complete the tale of both Ezio and Altair that blur memories within his own timeline. The gameplay hasn’t changed much since the previous installments with combat seeing very little performance tweaks. If you love the fight, climb, and move mechanics of the previous titles than you’ll feel right at home in this one. The game adds a new feature to create bombs to help kill, distract, or infect the minds of opponents. Another new feature is tower defense which has you strategize troops of assassins to stop invading forces from taking over your controlled bases. Truthfully, I feel that with each new Assassin’s Creed title the developers try to add more and more content that can be a bit too cumbersome at times. The game would consistently break the flow of my game experience by wanting me to rush back to the complete other side of town in order to protect my bases. The stealth mechanics are more difficult this time around as the developers want to try to force you to craft bombs to help progress even as it felt against my will to want to. The Presentation is set in Constantinople as Ezio is trying to track down the keys to unlock the truth behind Altair’s secret room. The journey will take Ezio through a love interest, building the Assassins Order in Constantinople, and becoming involved in a struggle for power over the crown. The game also adds backstory scenes involving Desmond before he went to Abstergo in the first one and Altair after the end of the first Assassin’s Creed took place. The story developed in Revelations within Constantinople was bland and my only driving force was to continue the storyline shaped from previous titles. The visuals are on par with the last two Assassin’s Creed titles with nice visuals stretching as far as the eye can see from rooftops and the soundtrack fit the setting of the game. With tower defense, tons of collectables and gear to obtain, 2ndary objectives, an Assassin’s Order to manage, and multiplayer this is a game that could keep you busy for a long time to come. If you’re looking to continue the story I would recommend playing it just to see what happens. Otherwise there are far superior Assassin’s Creed titles in the lineup.
Future Playability: 12/20
Final Score: 72/100 I spent 12:01 playing through the game with 56.52% completion and 36% trophy completion
What did you think about any of the above games? Post your comments in the section below and remember to follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thegamersabstract