Blaz Blue Calamity Trigger Review

For the past few days I’ve been playing quite a bit of Blaz Blue. I’ve been through the story mode a few times, played through the Arcade mode, and done some Online as well. The online mode especially is so much better than any other online fighting game I’ve played. I like how you can have multiple people in the room and have even more spectating. Now for someone like me who is awful at this and fighting games in general, I don’t necessarily want people watching me lose, but its nice to know I have the option.

The story mode is, as they said in the Giant Bomb quick look, “aggressively incomprehensible”  but who comes to these games for story. The fighting is where it counts, and Blaz Blue has that shit down. The combat is deep and rewarding, and the characters all feel very different. Litchi for example can put her staff into the ground and you can use that at any point to attack, or you can use it to stand on top of and get out way of the enemy’s attacks. If you like great 2d graphics and fast paced inventive fighters you should give Blaz Blue a try.

Killzone 2 Multiplayer Review

killzone-2-MP

I’ve been playing Killzone 2’s multiplayer mode for a week now and figured it was about time to give the old girl a review.

The graphics are amazing, that goes without saying. Screenshots don’t do this game justice. The textures are sharp. The models are detailed. The particle system is crazy, allowing for dust and debris to blow by in the wind. Explosions look natural and dangerous with billowing volumetric smoke and fire. Its all very impressive. The fact that this much detail is in the physics engine, even in multiplayer, is astonishing. Just last night I was running behind my friend Jason, and his character kicked a tire aside as he ran past, I was blown away.

The game’s unlock system, is pretty cool. It makes you earn the ability to use the games multiple classes instead of just giving them to you at the outset like Team Fortress. It gives you something to shoot for instead of just blindly plugging away at dudes with your rifle for hours. You can get new abilities and weapons by achieving small, per round goals, like getting 10 headshots with a pistol. You earn ribbons, which when collected to a pre-set number, earns you medals. These medals are what give you the additional skills.

The game modes, which rotate between, control point, capture the flag, assasination, and deathmatch type games keep the game new and fun for extended play periods. 32 vs. 32 player matches can get pretty crazy on the smaller maps. I want to try some 16 vs. 16 to see if it alleviates some of the grenade frenzy that sometimes occurs.

The controls (especially when set to Alternate 2) are great. I’ve heard lots of people complain about them, but I think they are just being stupid. To me they feel a lot like COD4 but with a little more weight. It translates to it feeling more realistic, for me anyway.

Ultimately, I don’t think the muliplayer is as good as COD4, but its damn close. I’ve only played the single player very briefly, but if its half as good as the multiplayer I’ve got a lot to look forward to.

Soul Calibur IV Review

Soul Calibur IV’s visuals will make your socks shoot off your feet like little smelly rockets. It’s got fantastic, high-rez textures on very well modeled, detailed, cool looking characters. The stages are beautiful and varied (I like the pirate ship one!), though from playing through the story mode you might not expect it. During my 5 or 6 plays through story mode I think I saw a total of 4 stages. Then, on my play through Arcade mode almost every stage was something I hadn’t seen before.

Liz and I have started the Tower of Lost Souls game mode. It’s difficulty is relatively high, but it gives little clues about what you have to do to win a hidden treasure chest for each round. In these treasure chests you receive clothing to use when customizing your character.

The ability to modify existing character’s look and augment them with additional stat bonus’ and abilities is pretty awesome. The create a character mode is also super deep and is way more customizable than I had expected it to be. I have made 2 characters so far and both look just as believable in the SC universe as any of the main story players. I wish there was a name generator, though. I suck with coming up with names.

The cast of fighters is filled with familiar faces like Ivy, Cervantes, Maxi, Kilik and Talim, as well as some new comers (Algol, Hilde) and guest characters (Darth Vader, The Apprentice, etc). I could have done without some of the manga artist created characters like Angol Fear. She kind of breaks the visual aesthetic of the rest of the game.  It’s easy enough to just not pick her in battles.

Soul Calibur IV is the cumulative knowledge of an already great fighting game applied in a way that makes the game become something fantastic. It’s easy to pick up and play, but has the depth necessary to continue learning and improving the more time you invest.

Call of Duty 4 Review

I just finished COD4 and the credits are rolling. While hadn’t played any of the other Call of Duty games, I really enjoyed this one. The S.A.S. missions with Soap, Gaz, and Capt. Price were probably my favorite ones I  and especially liked the mission in the gillie suit. That one was awesome. I also liked the final USMC mission. That one had some pretty powerful imagery. I cant think of another game that has done anything like that. The graphics in the game were pretty good too, but I wish that the shadows were a little softer. And some of the bump mapping looked a little weird. Aside from that it was beautiful.

Ah shit! Another playable part after the credits! Whew. That was pretty cool too. Ha ha ha I wasn’t expecting that!

The story isn’t anything fantastic, but it does get you to care about your team over the course of the game. I also liked how you’re the one that gets to take out the main bad guy at the end when Capt. Price slides you the gun.

This game is absolutely fantastic and I think that I’ll be playing its online mode for a long time still. If you haven’t played this game already go pick it up. Its probably one of the best games so far this generation.

Metal Gear Solid 4 Review

Metal Gear Solid 4 Review

I just finished Metal Gear Solid 4. I got it last night at midnight, got home at 12:10, then played till 5 am. The next day I played from around 11am till now. Pretty much without any breaks. The whole game took me right around 20 hours to complete (And I managed to get “Eagle” for my codename). Enough anecdotes, onto the review.

Metal Gear Solid 4, is a fantastic game. It takes all of the craziness and out-there plots of the past 3 MGS games and manages to tie all of them up, and conclude every character’s story perfectly. You even come to understand why the hell Liquid pretty much took over Ocelot’s body after having his arm graphted on.

The gameplay is very similar to the old games, but with a notable update to the controls. The shooting is great, albiet way easier just using the crosshairs or investing in a scope attachment for your gun. The barrel sights and lazer sights are much harder to use because of how much of your vision is obscured by the gun (because unlike most FPS games, in metal gear you actually hold the gun up to your face to aim in first person. The amount of weapons available in the game are crazy. I picked up most of mine off of enemies and had Drebin (an armsdealer you meet early on in the game) unlock the ID bindings so that I could use them. But in Drebin’s store there are tons of guns, add-ons, and explosives. I was surprised with how much variety there was in the gameplay. From firefights, to tailing a mark, to car chases, to tracking people through the wilderness. This game has it all. Not to mention a healthy heaping of Tactical Espionage (Action). The boss fights were amazing and really fun. The lengthy codec conversation with Drebin after each BB Corps fight gets kind of tired, but luckily there are only 4 of those. I wish the story of how they became what the did came from their mouths after the fight or something.

The story is pretty much exactly what I wanted from this game. It neatly ends Solid Snake’s story and brings everything out into the light of day. I think for people that find themselves scratching their heads at the end of metal gear games, this will be a big sigh of releaf. I think David Hayter gives his best voice performance since the original Metal Gear Solid in 1998. It was pretty awesome.

Finally, the graphics. Holy Crap! This game is one of the finest games I’ve played, at times it rivals Crysis. The faces are more stylized, but they are super detailed and look fantastic. Also, it sounds weird, but I was really impressed with how realistic the tears were. The art team really pushed the PS3 to its limits, and everything runs nice and smooth. I don’t think I ever saw any slowdown.

If you own a PS3 you should already have this game. It’s the best game on the PS3 so far, and best MGS of the series in my opinion.

Grand Theft Auto IV Review

I have never really been a fan of GTA games. That being said, this one seemed like it was going to do enough different that it sounded kind of interesting. When I got the game I liked that the narrative seemed to have been spruced up a bit, but it still felt like a GTA game. Surprisingly, this one kept my interest the whole way through. I just beat the game a few minutes ago, so I figured now would be a good time to give a brief review.

Things I liked:

  • The Story
  • The Voice Acting – This was probably my favorite thing about this game. The voice acting was brilliantly done. I wish Niko had a few more quips to shout when shooting, those got kind of repetitive after awhile, but over all. It was excellent.
  • The Shooting Mechanic – This was a problem for me in the previous games, and I thought it worked pretty well in this one.
  • The graphics – Some of the shadows were a bit flickery, but I thought the game looked pretty good as a whole.
  • The multiplayer seems pretty fun. I’ve only played a few times with friends, but it was pretty cool. I think free mode is my favorite, because you can just fuck around and do whatever you want.

Some things I didnt like:

  • The Driving – If this game drove like Burnout Paradise it would have been MUCH better, and car chases would have actually been fun instead of being an “ugh here we go again”. The cars felt like they weighed about 6 pounds, and would flip extremely easily. The desire to go fast was often defeated by the fear of sending a car into a flip/spin frenzy. Motorcycles were probably the worst controlling vehicles in the game. Every time a mission required the use of one (including the last one which took place on sandy beaches, further reducing handling) I would groan.
  • Some of the contextual button presses didn’t work very well. I would often have to hit the button 2 or 3 times before Niko would scale a ladder. Also I don’t know how many times I accidentally stole a taxi when trying to enter as a passenger.
  • AI/Glitches – There seemed to be several problems with the AI. I died countless times because of people running toward the motorcycle while screaming in fear. Because motorcycles in this game only weigh 2 pounds, this would cause me to flip headfirst into a wall. I saw a lot of animation glitches, like Niko’s foot coming out of his pants at some crazy angle and shaking violently. I was doing the last mission today and there was a part where you have to go off a jump. I wasn’t going fast enough so I failed the mission, and when I got to shore, instead of getting the restart mission option I got a the call that activates the mission in the first place, Which includes an additional car chase, plus having to manually backtrack.
  • It was kind of annoying getting calls from every single person you meet in the game constantly.

Overall this game is definitely worth playing, and I’d say its the best one in the series. Its pretty fun, and engaging throughout. I don’t think it is as good as all the reviewers for major sites have been saying, especially once you’ve removed the rose colored glasses that come with a big name release like GTA.

B

SingStar Review

SingStar

Today I bought SingStar for the PS3. The SingStore is great (Liz and I already bought 3 songs), the microphones also feel really solid, and the interface for the actual game is really awesome as well. It is a really fun game too. The songs that it comes with are really impressive containing Pixies, Franz Ferdinand, Weezer, Outkast, and Smashing Pumpkins.

As far as actually tracking the voice it seems like its really pretty accurate and if you’re fucking up its going to let you know.

New songs are only $1.50 and they come with the HD music video and everything. Plus there are already like 200 extra songs on the store, so if you don’t like the default tracks you can get some more for pretty cheap. As far as karaoke games go I’d have to say that SingStar is as good as I can imagine. If you like karaoke games, or have a lot of parties, I’d totally recommend it.

I’d recommend it!

A-