Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category


In June of 2000, gamers the world over were introduced to something, that at the time was just a Dreamcast game, but would later be revered as a transition for the medium.  Gravitating away from just being simply entertainment, but being appreciated as an art form; Jet Set Radio was that turning point and to this day remains one of the most important games released on any platform–and also the main reason why you should play it.

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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.

Gameplay:

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

14/20

Presentation:

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.

11/20

Visuals:

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.

13/20

Sound:

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.

10/20

Lasting Appeal:

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.

10/20

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

What did you think about FFXIII-2? Post your comments in the section below and remember to follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thegamersabstract

2011 Multi-Game Reviews

Posted: June 11, 2012 by shalashaska8986 in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

Gameplay: 18/20
Presentation: 19/20
Visuals: 17/20
Sound: 20/20
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.

Gameplay: 19/20
Presentation: 20/20
Visuals: 16/20
Sound: 16/20
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.

Gameplay: 14/20
Presentation: 14/20
Visuals: 16/20
Sound: 16/20
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


With E3 beginning in just a few short hours we here at The Gamer’s Abstract would like to throw out some predictions for the major press conferences. Alongside those predictions will be stuff that is most anticipated and the biggest shocker announcement of E3. This will be written in the order of the press conferences themselves.


You will see the big heavy hitter first party titles here. Expect to see some new clips involving Epic Games new Gears of War title, and also more in depth with Halo 4. Microsoft will want to reinforce why gamers choose Xbox 360 above all else with the strength of their first party IP’s and how they have exclusive content first to the market. Microsoft will remind users that Xbox is the only place to get Call of Duty content first on the market and show some gameplay footage from Black Ops 2. Look to Microsoft to have a dedicated time slot to just showing off the Kinect. As always this might include a bunch of kids or adults doing silly things on stage in their 2 minutes of fame. Xbox 360 seems to want to become more and more integrated for being the only media device one might need for a household (cable, dvd, bing, ESPN, etc.) . It will come as no shock to see that Microsoft will announce further integration with the mobile market and moving more into a cloud based system. Microsoft wants to be like Apple in that all their devices will talk and communicate with one another.  I do not anticipate that there will be any announcement or buzz for the new Xbox and will be absent from E3 until next year.


Sony may never outsell Microsoft but they do gain more and more ground with their IP’s each year. Look for videos of the new Assassin’s Creed, Sly Cooper  4, The Last of Us, The Last Guardian, God of War: Ascension, and the newly announced All Star Battle Royal. The Last of Us and All Star Battle Royal will be the highlight of the unreleased games during the press conference. The big push will not only reinforce why gamers choose the wide variety of exclusive games on the PS3 but will also focus on the Vita. Vita sales are less than what Sony would like them to be and gamers need a reason to go out and buy a Vita. I would recommend that Sony get Kevin Butler to do this segment as if anyone could get people pumped about buying anything gamer related it would be him. Expect Kevin to make an appearance at the conference and just like his appearance in 2010 people to be hanging on his every word. Vita will be seeing a price drop due to lackluster sales in the range of $50-$100. PS Move seems to be something that didn’t and still hasn’t caught on. Move will be mentioned but not to very much extent. Sony has been rumored in doing a strictly streaming based form of gaming sort of like onlive, I expect to see more details announced as to what exactly is in the works. With the PS3 still strong and the Vita in need of more sales it would not be smart for Sony to announce a new system at E3. I do not expect that this will be in the arsenal for Sony

All eyes are on the Big N this conference with buzz and hype all centered on Wii U. The name is here to stay as recent pictures of the tablet controller have the Wii U branded logo all over it. People want to know what it is, what the intended way to play this new system is, and what the recently leaked Rayman Legends trailer with Wii U means. (For those of you who do not know there was a trailer that showed putting action figures on the Wii U tablet controller and being recognized on the screen as an item, possibly game, or character. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSlccZt5O2o ) Consumers will see a release date of Early 2013 and no price point yet. There will be announced 1st and 3rd party games for the system possibly in the realm of Metroid, Mario, and Super Smash and how these games will work with the new tablet controller. Pikmin 3 along with the New Super Mario Bros 2 and the popular upcoming 3DS titles like Paper Mario and Luigi’s Mansion 2. And last as always we will be graced by the wonderful and charismatic personality of Reggie Fils-Aime. Who always manages to bore and annoy the crap out of me every E3 press conference.

With Predictions also comes the most anticipated already expected stuff that here at The Gamer’s Abstract are itching to know more about or can’t wait to see. Below is a list of what we here at TGA will be looking out for. Those things would be:

Castlevania DS and Lords of Shadows
Wii U (We want to know wtf this thing is)
Kevin Butler as always makes a great addition
Paper Mario and Luigi’s Mansion 2
Bioshock infinite
Resident Evil 6
Tomb Raider
Assassin’s Creed 3

The biggest shocker prediction to hit E3:

Valve will finally man up and announce Half-Life 3
What do you think will happen at E3? Post your comments in the section below and  remember to follow us on http://www.facebook.com/thegamersabstract


The wait is finally over for Ubisoft’s I Am Alive.  Six long years and many changes later it is finally available on the Xbox Live Arcade and I wish I could say that I was more enthusiastic about it.  I love post-apocalyptic games like Disaster Report and Raw Danger and I Am Alive is in the vein of those titles, but doesn’t resonate with me the same way and let me tell you why.

I Am Alive places you in the fictional semi-metropolis of Haventon.  You are on a quest to find your wife Julie and your daughter Mary.  An “Event” has rocked the country and even more so in Haventon.  Earthquakes have ravaged Haventon and plumes of killer dust encapsulate the city and while it creates great atmosphere, everything looks overly drab.  The utilization of the Unreal Engine generates some great effects for lighting and shadows, but the environments and character models lack the detail of other Unreal powered games.  The collision detection needed some more polish and that lack of polish really diminished what little visual quality the game had to its credit.  The main character’s animations are stiff which is more troublesome in a game like this where navigation and exploration are integral game components.

Navigating and exploring areas falls short in comparison to the game’s scale.  The areas in the game present multiple potential avenues for moving forward, but the game dictates one single linear path for you to pursue.  The climbing mechanics were supposed to be a staple in this game and prove to be generic and frustrating.  A stamina gauge is placed on the main character in order to create tension for climbing and if your stamina runs down you are going to fall, presumably to your death.  This would have been an awesome mechanic, but it will never happen unless you let it happen.  Stamina reserves in conjunction with a stamina “boost” feature will guarantee success in all your climbing endeavors.  In addition to visual indicators really intense music kicks in when your stamina is low and it gets very annoying very quickly.  This music continued to play after my stamina gauge was low until I used a recovery item to replenish it.  With the world in shambles you might also assume that searching for resources would be important.  I wasn’t looking for a fallout loot fest, but it would have been nice to search containers or abandoned vehicles for supplies.  The environment is littered with both and nothing can be searched which I found it to be particularly aggravating.

The scale is there, just not the depth

The lack of exploration is also met with lack of story development and character interaction.  I understand that the “event” wiped out a large portion of the population, but the encounters with NPCs, showcased some missed opportunities for dialogue, bartering and story progression.  This first NPC interaction involves some old sewer hobo pulling a gun on you and yelling nonsensical banter at you.  “Get away from me” and “Don’t come back ya’hear” could have been replaced with more engaging dialogue options where the main character could have probed for information about what lies ahead or possibly traded goods with the poor sewer dweller.  The only occurrence of such dialogue was when I helped a victim that had been stabbed by curing them with a health pack.  Other than that random stragglers just yell at you.  The options could have been limited and still would have created another layer of immersion that the game is lacking.

The combat in I Am Alive never seemed like a focal point in the design and it shows.  You start with a pistol with no ammo and your enemies are none the wiser.  The aiming of ranged weapons such as the pistol is done in first person and while it doesn’t look bad I think it narrows your focus too much especially when dealing with multiple combatants.  Like I said your enemies are oblivious as to whether your pistol is loaded or not so pointing it at them will intimidate them pending they don’t have a fire arm of their own; in which case they will shoot and kill you.  Assuming you are intimidating an enemy with only a melee weapon you will yell at them to back up and if you are lucky they will back up to an edge where the game will prompt you to send them plunging to their death.  I derived much satisfaction the first time I did this, but can see the process becoming very repetitive.  One caveat about intimidating with your ranged weapon; enemies do not remember that you are packing, so the minute you holster your weapon they will charge you almost immediately.  This is a major design flaw that almost renders the intimidation function useless.  The machete melee combat had promise, but the surprise and struggle kills are slow and boring.  Another hiccup with collision detection is also present and your machete passes through enemies as if they were vapor.

Not as fun as it looks

If I Am Alive didn’t take so long to develop and hit the market it would have been a much more impressive title.  Other disaster games like Raw Danger and Disaster Report may not have been gems, but they had personality and worked better within the context of the genre.  Games like Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia offered great exploration and navigational controls and games like Alan Wake created a more aesthetically dynamic atmosphere.   I Am Alive is unfortunately overshadowed by all of them.  The game proposes some great ideas, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.  I had huge expectations for this game and was let down.  Let us know about your experiences with I Am Alive by sounding off in the comments section.  If you saw something differently than us be sure to tell us, it might get us to view it from a different perspective.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

*Disclaimer* I have only played the trial version of this game.  It is available on XBLA for 1200 MSP ($15).  The trial version was approximately 40 minutes in length and I played it to completion.  My comments are based on this experience and this experience alone.  If you wish to see further criticism check full reviews.


Milkstone Studios is back with another indie game called Little Racers Street, but is the game worth your time, consideration or money?  Simply put, yes on all fronts.

Little Racers Street is the latest Xbox Live Indie game from developer Milkstone Studios.  Milkstone has established themselves as a reputable Indie developer on the marketplace and their excellent reputation is only perpetuated by Little Racers Street.  LRS is an isometric arcade racer that offers an incredible amount of content in a small indie game package (and price).  The racing is fast and intense will have you clamoring for more after each play session.

Gameplay

The gameplay in LRS is by far its most defining feature.  Most of us have played some sort of isometric racer before, but I promise you none that perform like this title.  The point of racing game is to obviously beat your opponents by crossing the finish line before them, but what sets every racing title apart is how you go about doing that.  LRS has very basic, but delicate controls.  In order to win races and stay ahead of the competition you need to perfect the handling of each vehicle, because while this game emphasizes speed and acceleration; precision cornering and nitrous management is what wins races in this game.  The slightest miscalculation will run you into a wall and could cost you the race, while mismanaging your nitrous will leave you in the rearview of your opponents.  This might sound like a disadvantage for LRS, but the addictive nature of this title will bring you back to races to perfect cornering to increase lap times and finding the best spots to deploy nitrous.  With nitrous aside, I applaud LRS for putting emphasis on cornering because far too many games allow you to ride the wall and still have the ability to win; that is not the case in LRS.  The game also has 5 difficulty setting ranging from easiest to unfair (unfair is the difficulty description for clarification).  So depending on how fast you pick up the controls you have a difficulty to match.  One last thing to note; like most racing games LRS does factor in damage when credits are dispersed at the end of each race, so less precise or careless driving will net you less money after each race making it another reason to fine tune your skills.

Graphics

The graphics in LRS are very pretty for an Indie Game.  I’d even go as far as to say that it is probably one of the best looking indie games available on XBL.  The car models are very simple, but the lighting effects and driving animations are fluid and a sight to behold.  Smoke trails are left when drifting and nitrous trails light up the screen when boosting and I must say I was very impressed with these effects in particular.  An outline of your car will also illuminate when things hit the fan or when your view is obstructed behind scenery (and both will happen).

The environments are nothing to sneeze at either.  The variations in track designs while minor keep things fresh and also the weather effects (rain and snow) add a nice touch.  Day, Night and Dusk variants of each track also showcase different details making the same tracks look different which I thought was pretty clever.  Overall the game exhibits great design and the frame rate remains stable most of the time.  It has dipped on occasion, but nothing that interrupts the flow of a race or makes the experience any less enjoyable.

Presentation

LRS has a very simple layout and I think it suits the game very well.  There is no mystery as to what does what and you can jump into whatever you need to do with great ease.  The background at the main menu is dynamic which adds pleasant imagery when you are maneuvering through the menus.  The presentation isn’t a huge selling point for this game, but it doesn’t hurt the experience either.

Sound

The audio in LRS is superb for an indie game.  The sound effects for the cars are really good.  Engine noises are mostly uniform amongst the vehicles, but the sound effects are welcomed nonetheless.  Tires squeal when drifting, metal scrapes when you rub against walls and other vehicles beep when you hit them or cut them off.  The soundtrack steals the show in the audio department.  It boasts a well done mix of electronic music that compliments the “street” racing very much so.  Racing games usually have an eclectic mix of music that is all over the place, but the choice to go with an entirely electronic mix was an entirely appropriate choice to me.

Future Playability

LRS has a lot of content packed under its mini sized hood.  There are several challenges to complete with a ranking system for offline play and online leaderboards for lap times.  There is competitive multiplayer over Xbox Live and for system link play.  There are lots of cars to purchase (30+) and every car has the ability to be upgraded so that can also consume quite a bit of your time if you so choose.   All in all LRS has a ton of content for you to explore and will likely satisfy your need for an arcade racer.

Final Thoughts

I have spent a good amount of time with LRS and have taken a real liking to it.  It offers really fun and addictive gameplay and for only 80 MSP ($1) you can’t go wrong.  It is the most fun I have had with an arcade racer since NFS: Hot Pursuit if you needed anymore validation as to how good this game is.  It also has a car similar to the AE86 from Initial D (the Relampago 1.6 L) which is killer.  Also it will help support Milkstone Studio’s future products and updates (which LRS has gotten a few already).  Lastly the game does have a trial so if you are curious about it before making that huge financial commitment, give it a spin and see what you think.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.  If you try out Little Racers Street and like it sound off in the comments section or shoot Milkstone an email, I’m sure they would love the feedback as well.  Until next time be easy everyone.

Little Racers Street was purchased by me for 80 MSP ($1).  It is currently available in the XBLIG market on the Xbox 360.  I have invested around 4 hours into the game prior to this review and plan to invest many more.


The XBLA House Party has kicked off and the first game on the table is none other than Warp.  When I first heard about Warp I am not going to lie it looked like an isometric clone of Portal.  While it shares some similar sentiments in regards to “warping” Warp stands on its own stubby little black legs.

Warp is a crossbreed between a platformer, action and puzzle game and puts you in the role of Zero an alien who unknowingly becomes the victim of a research experiment in a secret underwater facility.  Seeing how I have only played the trial version of this game I do not have much more information about the narrative, but what I can tell you is that this game isn’t one you should pass up.

Zero is initially put through some silly tests which serve as an interactive tutorial for you learning the controls (which are painfully easy).  Then Zero stumbles across what looks like to be a giant magenta booger with honeycombs in it and without the slightest hesitation shoves it down his hole.  I say hole because doesn’t have any discernible mouth or receptacle for nutrition.  Anyways; after Zero eats said giant magenta booger things get interesting real quick because shortly after his snack he becomes reacquainted with a donut shaped octagon that gives him the ability to warp (no way!!).  This event puts the lab into frenzy with alarms and all other manners of security implementations to stop Zero from escaping.  Lucky for you they fail miserably and this is where the trial really kicks off.

From here on out you have rudimentary access to Zero’s powers, but what they highlight in the demo will either turn you into one of two players.  One that will be stealthy and avoid turrets, guards and scientists or the polar opposite and be a blood thirsty alien hell bent on killing everyone and everything (I choose the later).  The way you kill people is what’s most interesting and you can probably deduce what I will say next.  You “warp” into a suspecting or unsuspecting enemy’s body and gyrate the analog stick until the host explodes (done with objects too), spilling entrails and blood everywhere (remember how Neo jumped into Agent Smith and he jiggled around then exploded, nearly identical).  Also that is why this game isn’t cute (just for clarification purposes).  This binary approach also gives you the opportunity to mix it up a little bit if you so choose.  Well you might be wondering about some other details so let me fill you in on those real quick.

Warp has a great visual style utilizing the Unreal Engine so you get a sleek looking game that didn’t glitch or hiccup at all during my time with the trial.  The sound effects were not anything too incredible, but nothing about the audio diminished the experience either, so that’s good right?  The controls like I said earlier were painfully easy to grasp and once you unlock more abilities I don’t see the controls becoming an issue, so another check for Warp in the awesome department.  In addition to the main quest of the trial it gives you a small taste of the challenge rooms that are in the full version.  These are time based objectives that I can only assume will vary from point to point rooms and fragging enemies in an allotted amount of time (the two ones in the trial, I’m sure there is more variety, so don’t fret).  Overall Warp is a solid downloadable experience that for either 800 MSP or $10 will surely keep you entertained until you have gotten your money’s worth.  Warp is available for both XBLA and PSN so give it a spin and let us know what you think about it in the comments section.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

I played the trial of Warp on XBLA for approximately 35 minutes.  The game is available on XBLA for 800 MSP and the PSN for $10.


Last night I felt the urge to go to GameStop and peruse the store (which happens often), but to my delight they had a PS Vita demo unit out for use.  So what was supposed to just be a short outing turned into me getting my first hands on experience with Sony’s new handheld.  While I didn’t get to fully explore the Vita I feel like I got a pretty good showcase of what the system is capable of so let me share my thoughts with all of you.

The design is very similar to that of the PSP which made it very comfortable to use and even with a security cradle attached to the system it was still very light, which is a plus.  The face and shoulder buttons are once again identical to that of the PSP, but the major additions come in the form of an additional analog stick, front touch screen, rear touch panel and a camera.  Dual analog sticks were something PSP owners wanted out the gate, but even through two system redesigns were never integrated so prospective Vita buyers fear not.  While the dual analog sticks are a great design addition they are very small and depending on how they are integrated into various pieces of software could potentially pose a problem for users with large hands (such as myself).  One other caveat with the analog stick design is that if a game uses the rear touch panel and both sticks it could potentially make the Vita a bit cumbersome to use hypothetically speaking (you would literally be clutching just the outside of the system and would be putting extra pressure on the sticks).  Enough with the design jargon let me tell you about the software I played.

The system had quite a few demos loaded on it, but due to time constraints (i.e. store closing) I only had the opportunity to play Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss.  Both games were a blast to play and it reaffirmed in my mind that dedicated handheld systems still have a place in the video game industry.  Gravity Rush has a great art style with quirky characters and the gameplay mechanics were beyond unique.  If I had the available funds to purchase a Vita at launch Gravity Rush would absolutely be a day one purchase.  Uncharted: Golden Abyss was a treat as well, but it wasn’t anything that players haven’t already experienced in the previous three entries (sans some touch integration).  Nonetheless Golden Abyss is setting the bar really high out the gate for graphics on the Vita and makes me very optimistic about the visual fidelity games will present down the road.  Like I said earlier I wasn’t able to fully explore the other demos available or any of the other features that were on the display unit so I apologize if this seems inconclusive.

The PS Vita is a cool piece of tech that will definitely please those who are purchasing it day one and will be a great device for people to save up for.  I unfortunately fall into the latter category, but it will be a glorious day when I can get my hands on one of my own.  In the meantime many more trips to my local GameStop will be in order until that day arrives.  Also if this article piqued your interest head to your local GameStop to see if yours has a demo unit and give it a spin; if you are a fan of handheld systems I promise you it won’t disappoint.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.  If you get a chance to check out the Vita sound off in the comments section and let us know what you think.


The demo for Resident Evil: Revelations just launched today in North American and European Nintendo E-Shops and I have had a couple of hours to play around with it.  Let me tell you that this might be the new reason to own a Nintendo 3DS.  Resident Evil: Revelations is far and away the prettiest handheld game I have ever seen and it handles just like its console counterparts (which is good or bad depending on what you thought of RE 4 and 5).

The demo puts you in control of Jill Valentine on a mysterious cruise ship (which I believe is where the majority of the game takes place) and Jill’s immediate objective is to regroup with her partner Parker.  Based off of the extremely limited exposure to Parker I think he will be a solid addition to the RE cast and I am excited to see how he is intertwined into the narrative.  Navigating the small part of the cruise ship in the demo definitely gives you a feel for how the game is going to make you play, which is smart or die.  Ammo is very scarce and enemies take a beating before going down so choosing your battles will be the name of the game.  This is true fan service because that is how original Resident Evil games operated, which is why Revelations feels really nostalgic and fresh simultaneously.  This game also has great atmosphere (especially with the 3D cranked up).  There is one room where the floor is covered in fog and the 3D makes it pop and you are just waiting for something to jump out at you (I’ll never tell…).  But it is that kind of atmosphere that makes the game already super eerie which I can’t get enough of (even though it scares the crap out of me).

The controls for the game are pretty solid and are highly reminiscent of past Resident Evil titles (i.e. 4, 5, Mercenaries 3D).  The over the shoulder perspective is back for navigating and the first person view from last year’s Mercenaries 3D has returned for aiming.  The ability to sprint or move faster wasn’t present in the demo, but quick turning is still there (also some dodge mechanic that I am still figuring out).  I hope they add an ability to maneuver faster because during combat I was easily attacked because I was simply moving too slow.  I don’t know if that is being done deliberately to make the game feel more claustrophobic like previous RE titles, but like I said I hope that issue is addressed in the final build.  Lastly I don’t have a Circle Pad Pro so I am unable to comment on whether or not that makes the game control better, but the demo does offer the option for those of you who imported one (comment and let us all know how it works).

The inventory system for Revelations is pretty intuitive with weapons, secondary weapons and items being mapped to the d-pad for quick swapping and use.  You can also use green herbs by simply pressing the A face button which is pretty handy when you are getting dominated (happened to me on my first play through).  One of my favorite additions is an item you pick up midway through the demo and that is the Supply Scanner.  This little device operates pretty similarly to the scanner from Metroid Prime in which it lets you scan the room for items and scan enemies either dead (defeated) or alive (trying to kill you).  The Supply Scanner turns up hidden items in the room that Jill was previously unable to pick up and comes up clutch especially near the end of the demo (mad hand grenades, yo).

When the demo concluded I was left really satisfied.  It isn’t terribly long, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect when the game launches on February 7th in North America.  This isn’t some half ass effort from Capcom and it is something that Resident Evil fans should rejoice about.  This game will appeal to longtime fans as well as new ones and will surely move some 3DS units come early February.  Stay tuned for more about Resident Evil Revelations and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

Posted: December 8, 2011 by shalashaska8986 in Reviews, Wii
Tags: , , ,

Skyward Sword is the newest installment in the Zelda series and with it, brings both old and new concepts that appeal to diehard fans and newcomers alike.  Taking into accounts all the potential that the Wii motion plus has to offer this is certainly a game that the Wii was designed for, but was the newest installment everything that it could have, and dare I say should have lived up to?

Gameplay:

If there is one title that stands out from the rest fully utilizing the Wii’s motion control capabilities this would be the 1st title that would come to mind with the sword swings almost (key word) perfectly mimicking my horizontal, vertical, and diagonal slashes in order to correctly attack a well-guarded foe.  Each enemy brings a new challenge of having to learn how to attack using the Wii Motion Plus.  At the core of the gameplay mechanics makes for a challenging but enjoyable experience from start to finish.  The items earned though out the game also make great use of the Wii’s motion control capabilities with new items such as the beetle to old favorites like the bow just about each item in the game adds a beneficial degree of some kind.

The single gripe I would have with the gameplay mechanics….?   The constant need to put absolutely everything into Wii Motion control. There was a lot that benefited from Wii motion but there were some elements that made the game more frustrating. The mechanics behind freefalling, navigating the world, and the occasional sword swing which sometimes was nowhere even close to the direction that I was swinging my sword took away some of the enjoyment.  It was very frustrating when I finally found my window to attack only to have link swing vertical when I took my time making sure I had a horizontal slash.  Another key factor that got old really fast was the need to recalibrate and center my controller each and every time I not only turned on my game, but also each time the remote went to sleep because I walked away for a few minutes.  It just pulls me out of the game when I come back and I have to spend extra time trying to find a flat surface (the first few times I actually did not have a surface to put my remote on within the vicinity of my chair.) to recalibrate my remote.  Overall the gameplay was solid and I found myself having tons of fun hacking and slashing through enemies, but the few buggy controls kept me out of touch on more than one occasion.

18/20(few bugs but overall not a ton of complaints.)

Nothing more gratifying then successfully landing an attack on a well defended foe

Presentation:

With a new storyline, new characters, and a whole new world to explore the developers were allowed to take any direction they wanted.  The game world is set up with three central locations all different from one another and one central hub world to fly around in.  You bounce back and forth between locations completing tasks and later on opening up new sections of re-visited areas.  The formula has not changed much nor did I expect it to: complete a series of tasks in order to finally gain access to a temple, find the temple item as well as a master key, defeat the boss and then repeat.  It is the standard Zelda formula and as always holds true.  The story felt fresh, new, and original and kept me interested through the long haul.  The story does something for the first time in the series in that really it starts to establish a timeline between some of the other titles in the series.  I often found myself finding references to another Zelda title as I progressed through the events in Skyward Sword.  The puzzles were very well developed sometimes leaving me stumped for quite some time trying to figure out what to do next.  However the turn off from that was when I wasn’t involved with a temple everything else seemed to be spelled out for me.  There was very little degree of confusion within the outside world of where I had to go and what I had to do next as if the game had an on and off switch on the difficulty.  The game introduced the ability to farm items from creatures, collect bugs, and upgrade most of the items in your arsenal to be better than they already were.  I would farm for hours in order to get the items needed from enemies in order to have the best gear I could get.

While I was determined to complete this installment I couldn’t help but stop and think during my play through, “Is this really necessary?” and the more time went on the more I found myself asking this question. The game seems to just add stuff in order to add length to the game rather than know when to progress with the important parts of the game.  Out of my near 50hr play though there was about 38-40hrs I could justify of that time to stuff that needed to be there adding to the whole experience.   The scale of the game also felt small looking back at everything I explored and unlocked.  The game seemed to have a wide open sky with very few places to visit and 3 locations on the ground that did not feel very large either.  You end up going to each of the locations time and time again for one task or another, and there was only so many times I could visit one place before I sighed in disgust when they told me that in order to complete the next task I would have to travel back to where I just was.  The opening parts of my experiences with the game were filled with met and exceeded expectations while the tail end never quite gave me the epic close I was looking for.  The side quests mostly mini games or fetch quests that I was able to complete a fair amount of them, but they weren’t very fun to complete nor did they really offer a must have item that I had to have or depth to the characters.  It seemed like most of them existed for me to spend more hours playing the game.

16/20 (the good parts where great, but the game dragged on a bit too long coupled with a lacking latter game experience)

This got old fast, where’s my horse?

Visuals:

The Wii was never really built for stunning visuals, and unfortunately this does a great disservice to the Zelda series.  The visual in the game are par from what I would expect from a Wii title and did nothing to stimulate my eyes as I progressed.  The landscapes are generic for the series (I called pretty much all the landscapes before I even opened them up) for any seasoned veteran player, but I feel this category got sold short.  I know that the Wii is capable of producing far better visuals using component cables but chose not to.  The visuals look something I would expect to see on Gamecube and not the visual level I have seen the Wii capable of.

14/20 (Nothing terrible but nothing to write home about either.)

Hmm a mountain volcano how original.

Sound:

When I think of this category songs from previous Zelda titles fill my head and bring a smile from ear to ear singing all the classics.  For this portion I listened to the soundtrack that came with my LE copy of SS and took time to analyze the music throughout the game.  The game did a great job of setting the mood and emotion with each piece that surrounded the game.  Each orchestrated piece sounds magnificent and was used to the full potential where necessary for what was reflected at that time in the game.

19/20 (Great soundtrack but there wasn’t a single track that will be remembered long after this game is around)

Future Playability:

With roughly 50hrs of play time invested in the title I still had another 10-20hrs left of side quests left to go back to as well as a boss rush mode.  For those who cannot seem to get enough after the first play through and looking for a more difficult experience the game offers a more difficult play through.

18/20 (Game offers a lot of lasting replay value, but it’s entirely dependent upon your desire to want to.)

A great new installment in the Zelda series

Final Thoughts:

This game is one to be enjoyed and treasured by all who own a Wii.  If there was a title that would shine as something the Wii Motion controller was designed for this would be it.  The game wasn’t afraid to try something completely new and in most regards it succeeded.  A few setbacks of trying to make the game longer then it needed to be, Wii motion controls in a few areas that it wasn’t necessary coupled with constant recalibration, and repeated visits to the same few locations making the game seem smaller than it actually was kept this game short of reaching the pinnacle that this game had every opportunity to seize.

Final Score – 86/100 (Great score and a great contender for GotY, but not quite the best Zelda title in the series)

Leave your comments and opinions in the section below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at The Gamer’s Abstract or at Twitter @GamersAbstract or @Shalashaska8986.

This game was purchased by me for $70 retail for the LE copy.  I completed this game once with a play through time of 49:23 completing most of the sidequests the game has to offer.