Well, what is there to say about me? I'm kinda like your average gamer: I like to play games, I like to talk about games, and I hope to work in the video game industry one day.
I do tend to enjoy videogames more than the average gamer would though: videogames have been my life for as long as I remember (hell, the earliest memory that I can recall personally is me waking up and hopping on my SNES to play that X-men and Spider-man crossover game) so it's as much a part of me as my personality.
Although I LOVE to play videogames, having been doing so my whole life, I am not as skilled in videogames as others so I usually play on easier difficulties. Don't get me wrong, I do find it a bit dull when a game's too easy, and I do respect games that are hard for the players who want it (Dark Souls is deliciously hard and I wouldn't want it any other way) but I'd still like it if developers catering to gamers like me who simply aren't as skilled as others.
I have a wide variety of taste when it comes to games as I try to keep an open mind about everything that comes out: just because I play mainstream games Halo and Call of Duty doesn't mean I can't enjoy the underrated ones like Anarchy Reigns, Fire Emblem, and the like.
With a game like Halo: Reach coming out, I was getting pretty hyped. However, it recently just hit me; this will be the last Halo game ever. Now, with it coming up, I feel like Halo will fade in obscurity a while after it comes out. After all, how many people dropped when Modern Warfare 2 came out? The community went from 500,000 people into 200,000, or probably even less. While I would like to go into all the Halo games (and books even, I'm a HUGE fan... well, a huge of a fan I can be with a small part-time job), I have a feeling that this may be a one shot, and if that's the case, I definitely want to talk about my favorite Halo game... which is also one of the most controversial ones. Ladies and Gentlemen (but mostly gentlemen... I know there are mostly guys anyway): My favorite Halo game is Halo 3: ODST.
Honestly, RECON sounded cooler
Yeah, that's right, I went there: My favorite Halo game isn't the original 1, the controversial 2, or the hate-it-or-love-it 3, but Halo 3: ODST. Now, I can see why people would hate it; It originated as a piece of DLC, but don't forget that they expanded on it after they decided to commit to a full-time game. It also included a small bit of "free roam," which at the time sounded like a great idea. With an awesome atmosphere, great score, and new game mechanics, I was in love with this game when it came out.
However, after looking back, I realized that even though I loved the game, I did have my fair share of problems with it. Here's the good:
The Story Now, you can say what you want about Halo's story; That it's unneeded, it's taking itself too seriously, whatever... Bu to me, Halo's story is what got me into the series. I fondly remember playing the original Halo: Sure, the levels were great, but there was just something about being betrayed by 343 Guilty Spark that rang out to me more than the game play, or when Master Chief discovers that Captain Keyes is dead. It's the little moments like that that made me wanna pick up the books, and Fall of Reach was the best book I've EVER read, period. Sure, it had the Halo brand, but hearing about how John grew up, and how his special ability is actually LUCK, it really had me intrigued the whole time. Yes, it seems like I'm nerding out about the story, but that's why ODST appealed to me a lot: The story was the best.
Whole crew by my side, cars beep beep as they pass us by...
Sure, you had to have played Halo 2 to understand the what and whys (which made me question why this game was called Halo 3: ODST in the first place), but deep down, this game had a good story. You start of as a VERY generic character, "The Rookie," but you jump back and forth between the present, when the Rookie was stranded by himself, to the past, which shows what happens to the squad after they separated. The fact that the game doesn't even give you all the facts (like why the Brutes were fighting the Elites, or what kind of relationship did Buck and Dare had) makes it even more enjoyable; It makes the game feel cryptic.
Game play Now, I will jump back and forth between story and Game play (because one affects the other), but I will say that what isn't cryptic about this game is how to kill the Covenant: You gotta shoot them in the head. You may care less about the story, but people remember Halo for two things: Frag-fests and Blue blood (and ever since Halo 2, you can combine the two!). Yeah, the game play was where it's at, and this has one of the best levels I recall in a Halo game. Sure, levels like Halo 1's "Truth and Reconciliation" and "343 Guilty Spark" holds a special place in my heart, but playing the first true level in Halo 3: ODST (yeah, it's like Stephen Stills; You say the whole damn name) was amazing: Seeing Buck make his way to Tayari Plaza was a sight to behold: You move through the city, and kill everything. Maybe it was because I haven't played a Halo game in so long, but it was definitely memorable hearing Buck and Dare.
And that was only the first level. Once I played the missions like ONI Alpha Site and NMPD HQ, I thought this was the best game ever. Granted, it was not the best game ever, as the later levels were lacking (and the Rookie's sessions were wearing out its welcome), but at the time, I kept saying how awesome it was to retreat into the building (something that you usually NEVER do in a Halo game... as an objective at least) or when the whole squad (sans the Rookie) were defending their position as Phantoms and Banshees bombed the area.
Speaking of patrols, I recalled the trailer... remember this?
Sadie's Story Going back into the story, I definitely loved the short story "Sadie's story." For those who didn't care, as the Rookie, you could run around the city and collect hidden audio tapes that records what happened to a girl named Sadie. Now, as big as a Halo nut I am, and how much of an Achievement whore I'm NOT, I initially didn't even care. I wasn't going to waste my time collecting something that I possibly was never going to read... that is, until I heard that a special scene plays out with the Rookie if you collected all 29 of them. And seeing as how I recall how LITTLE the Rookie contributed, I was like a rabid dog trying to find these tapes; I even played on Easy and scanned through the whole level for 2 hours to get them all. Sure, it didn't help that I missed 1 and actually had to GO TO EVERY SINGLE LOCATION again, but the story, and special scene, was worth it (to ME).
Now, I, again, didn't want to listen to the story, but I was a little bit curious, so I put it on and just did different things while it was playing. However, I eventually did started paying attention after a while, and man, I was glad I did: Sadie's Story was pretty damn good; Not as good as other short stories I read, but this in itself was amusing: The story is essentially about a girl named Sadie who's trying to find her father to escape the city. However, some perverted, corrupted officer by the name of Kinsler wants to stop her, and the only help she has is Mike, an officer who doesn't want to help Kinsler rape the girl, and Vergil, a very smart AI who runs the city.
Now, while the story it had was amusing in itself, it was kinda like a comic book in both terms of visual and depth: While it is an audio tape, you are given still images to see what's going on. But when I mention depth, that's actually an allusion that comic books show. If you pick up a comic book and give it to a kid, he'll tell you how much he loves superheroes doing cool things. Give the comic book to someone who's insightful and he'll tell ya how in-depth the story really is. Sadie's Story is a good side story, but it also has plenty of allusions to the Divine Comedy (better known as Dante's Inferno... the book).
Hunters can send you to Hell faster than (insert cliché here)
For example, Kinsler represents lust, this one fat guy represents gluttony, and this officer who killed somebody over a snack represents wrath. But it isn't just cosmetic: Remember when Dante needed to get past someone, and Vergil the angel came to help him? Well, in one scene, it looked like Mike was gonna get shot, leaving Sadie alone with Kinsler. However, Vergil came to help by having a truck dump garbage all over him. There are tons of that stuff, like when Sadie "held up" someone with a stapler (guess which circle was that?) or when Mike lied about being a soldier winning the fight to boost morale (same circle).
However, the best part of Sadie's Story is that it actually ties back into Halo 3: ODST's story: If you wanted to know who the Superintendent is, how, or why, then you just gotta collect the audio logs. Like I said though, the main part of me doing this is to get an extra scene: Do you remember in the level "Data Hive?" You met this one NMPD officer who Vergil kills halfway through the level, giving the cryptic message "Crime doesn't pay; Good citizens do their part." Well, if you got all the audio logs, Vergil doesn't kill him, and when you continue through the level, the "Sealed" door you saw before is now opened by him, and if you go inside, you will see the dead body of someone important.
And then you fight the officer, marking this the ONLY time in the mother Halo game (that means no Halo Wars) where you are forced to KILL a HUMAN. Sure, you could've done that before, and if you do it enough they turn against you, but you never been FORCED to do it. Again, a reason why I loved this game. I also love that the scene where Dare and the Rookie meets Vergil because it plays out just a tiny bit differently: Most recall that when you first meet the Engineer, the Rookie raises his gun to shoot, but Dare tells him to stand down. However, if you got the last audio log (in the sealed room), then the Rookie is the one who notion (no voice) Dare to stand down, and whistles the Engineer. Small stuff like that is appreciated.
Like this pistol... not as good as the first game's, but still appreciated
Ending notes Overall, I loved this game. Sure, I disliked some parts of this game: I loved exploring the city at first with the Rookie, but then it turned into a tedious trek, and then into a desperate struggle as you run low on ammo. They say you can avoid enemies, but from what I've seen, that's not possible. Plus, the map makes it difficult to know where exactly you should be going, and despite being able to tackle the first few missions in order, there is a defined order, which makes it pointless to even have the free roam.
I loved the score in this game as the smooth jazz fits in with the tone nicely: I even bought the CD for those moments where I sit alone in my room (don't hate). The game play was awesome, and I love the cinematic. I do complain about it being short: Now that I got access to the Halo Reach beta, I feel like the money's well worth it, but back then, 60 dollars was 20 bucks too many. Sure, it had all the maps, but you have to realize that the people who buy this game are fans of Halo, and probably have the maps already (which I did). And despite how awesome this game is, it's not really replayable: I felt fine just playing it once. And with a tedious free roam section, and short levels, there wasn't a point to restart. But all in all, the game is still my favorite because the game throws in different things.
Like Grunts, Jackals, and brutes (oh my!)
I mean for one thing, and this is something I've wanted since Halo 2, that this game mostly takes place in a city. If you recall, only two levels in the entire mother series was featured in a level and both of them were in Halo 2. When I first played Outskirts and Metropolis, I couldn't believe how great it was (and how awesome the Scarab gun is on a later play through), so it always disappointed me on how you never did it again, even in Halo 3. This game just got props just for being in a city, and not even that cop-out where it's "in a city, but not really" (read: in a sewer, in one building for about 3 minutes, etc.)
Now, with Reach coming up, I feel like this game needed one more play through. I'm keeping it in my library, but heaven knows when I'll probably play this game again. Hell, I don't even play it now; I don't have many Firefight stories because no one plays it with me since it didn't have matchmaking (although when I did get recruited, people were amazed on how good I was... on normal, but it says a lot when you keeping getting Hero medals).
That's why I wrote this: I needed to make a tribute of this game because I felt that it deserved it. And hopefully, I gave it a decent send off.
Well, it's been a while since I've done a review, but come on, I kinda wanna blog about something... That being said, after looking around on the internet, I found some of the shadow of the colossus moe girls. I know I know, that was a LONG time ago, but because it's
A) Cute girls
B) Shadow of the Colossus and
C) Really big breasts
I decided why not; might as well build some nostalgia or whatever those old people say. Besides, they were new to me.
First off, let's start with the key so you know which girls are which (note, incomplete gallery, and you may have seen these pictures before)
Warning: Photos may be NSFW, so proceed with caution, especially if your mother's awake. Dad won't mind.
Of course, any Shadow of the Colossus fan worth his salt would've already known who's whojust by looking at the pictures.
Now, here's the two that most people have seen on websites such as kotaku and destructoid.
But after searching around on the internet, I found some of the other girls. Like I said, you probably seen it before since I didn't look TOO hard on google, but here's some of the other girls:
The first girl in a different perspective. Depending on the type of person you are, this might be better.
Damn frickin' horse boss... It actually took me like 20 minutes to get him to look inside the damn hole...
I dunno who this is, but I'm really hoping that it was the bearded boss. I loved that boss solely for that reason. I mean, the minute he came out, I just knew that I HAD to climb his beard.
Too bad this boss was on water... I ain't the water type of guy.
Aw, the imfamous crotch shot of a typical anime girl. Yep, gotta love the Japanese.
I know you're probably staring at her, but the first thing I noticed was the horse... I mean, he's the size of her eyeball! I can't imagine how big her... shoe... must be.
Honestly, they needed to moe-fied this boss. I mean, I almost had a heart attack when this little beast chased after me. But now... hell, I'm still getting a heart attack (but for different reasons... shoot, put me down on 1000 ways to die)
I dunno about you, but this boss was easily the worst in my opinion. I mean, the scale was nice (and her figures) but I'm not into the standing still boss. Plus, I fell off a few times, so that made it more annoying than not.
And I saved this for last because I know that it's many of you guy's favorite (myself included):
Damn, just one more reason to love this boss! (or should I say two more...?) Honestly, one of the best bosses not only in this game, but in the entire frickin' history of video gaming! Who didn't love using Argo to charge at this beast (doing that now would be creepy) to climb at her wings while the dust tornado pushed you back? And when you finally killed this beast... oh man, a sight to behold...
Now then, I think this was a pretty decent blog. I mean, it had girls, it involved games... that's two for two!
(Written after I beaten the game)
I'm a huge Metal Gear Solid fan. I haven't played the Metal Gear games, but I did read up on what happened. I played MGS1, a little of 2, 3, 4, and a little of Portable Ops (to be fair, I hated the controls so much that I ended up youtubeing what happened). On my spare time, I love to wikia game series, and while I wikia things like Silent Hill, Final Fantasy, etc., I'm usually always reading up Metal Gear Solid. That being said, I couldn't believe that not only was the PSP was getting 1 MGS game, but 2 (!), AND the fact that Kojima himself calls it "The MGS5 at heart," I knew that it was going to be awesome. Sure, Portable Ops left a bad taste in my mouth, but I can't deny that it was a good game. I mean, some of my favorite MGS moments were in that game, like when Elisa told Big Boss that "one of his children will bring the world to ruin and that another would save it," foreshadowing the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. However, Portable Ops is kinda like a spin off, and Peace Walker was meant to blow us away. Does Peace Walker walk with peace, or will it bring destruction?
Story and presentation 4 years after the events in Portable Ops (and 10 years after Snake Eater), Naked Snake, still refusing to be called Big Boss, is running the Militaires Sans Frontieres (Solider Without Borders) with Kazuhira Miller when a man known as Professor Galvez walks in with a little girl named Paz and an offer: Paz's country, Costa Rica, is being invaded by strange men, and they are suspicious of their activities. He offers Snake a base in return for his help, but he refused, seeing as he doesn't want to be mercenaries. His mind doesn't change even when he finds out that Paz has been tortured because she caught something on tape that she shouldn't have. However, when he finds out that the thing that Paz caught on tape (recording) was evidence that The Boss was still alive, Snake quickly agrees to the mission.
Now, I know what the diehard fans of MGS3 are thinking: "What!? The Boss is still alive!? That's so much bull! It completely ruins the MGS3 ending!" Yes, I know they thought that because I was one of them. Still, I was intrigued, so I decided to keep going, and boy, was I happy that I did, as to me, this was one of the best storylines I've ever played, Metal Gear Solid or not. While I'll try not to spoil too much, this game deals with things like nuclear deterrence, the Cold War, human rationalities, and the true meaning of peace. I mean, even though this game is rated T for Teens, the story really needs to be experienced by mature gamers. The fact that Peace Walker's true objective to spread peace by becoming to most powerful nuclear weapon is a little ironic, but thought provoking... Would people really not use nukes if they are threatened with a nuclear strike themselves?
And don't get me started with the whole deal about The Boss: If and how she's still alive, I'm not going to reveal, but I will say that this is the kind of conclusion that Naked Snake needed. As players remember, Naked Snake is STILL wearing The Boss's bandana, and he even now sports to same exact scar as hers (although in that game it was a snake, in this game... it's a spoiler), so it's important to not only Kojima to finally conclude that story, but to us as a gamer to find out the final resolution between Naked Snake and The Boss, as well as his acceptance to the name Big Boss. There are two endings in the game however, and it fills in the holes of Big Boss pretty well; you’ll find out why he went from a good person in MGS3, to a poor misguided soul in Metal Gear.
He sure as changed, hasn't he? They grow up so fast...
Yeah, as you can tell, the story is pretty damn deep, as well as engaging, but not everything is entertaining however; Rather than have long conversations by Codec, most of the conversations will take place in the form of recording sessions. That means that from anywhere from 2 minutes to 10 for a single session, you'll stare at a single picture hearing either an important conversation, or a really boring, unnecessary one. Being the kind of person I am, I took the liberty to not only play, but to actually pay attention to every single cassette tape... I got to say that while you'll learn about the plenty of characters in the game, you'll be bored about 75 percent of the time (and note, this is with voice acting... better install that game unless you want to read through it). I personally didn't mind listening to it, but only for a few select tapes did I actually care about what they were saying. Still, the storyline in the game is still as great as all the other MGS games, no matter what the haters say.
Game play, controls, and modes While the series has a good rep for having an awesome story, let's not forget one of the real reasons people play video games... the game play. Well, instead of a control scheme akin to MGS1, 2, or 3, this game's default controls is similar to the control scheme of MGS4, which is an over the shoulder view much like Resident Evil. The analog stick is used for character movement, the face buttons are used for aiming, the shoulder buttons are used to shoot, and the D-pad is used for everything else like switching weapons to proning. From my experience, this is definitely a step up from Portable Ops, but I still had some minor problems with it. For example, the analog stick is NOT sensitive at all, so trying to sneak up on people is much harder than previous games without the sneaking suit. While the face buttons makes combat easier, it doesn't have the right feel that you get from a console game. When you shoot up close, the aiming reticule tends to go for the head (with auto aim it goes for chest), but when you're trying to snipe, you'll have to move the reticule yourself, and that can be hard to accurately get a headshot when the person's moving. Plus, you can't even prone and move at the same time! Instead, you get a realistic "crouch and walk" feature, but not being able to prone isn't helpful.
Still though, the controls are a definite step up from Portable Ops, so I at least finished the game, but the controls aren’t what deserve the credit. For most games, I can appreciate a user friendly experience, so when this game is that, PLUS time friendly; I knew that this game is widely accessible. In previous MGS games, you always had to procure weapons and items on sight, which allows for slight item management, like when to use a ration or when to shoot. In this game however, the game is divided into missions with Snake returning to base after each one. This allows for a much easier experience as you can save after each mission, and get your supplies back. Even better is that weight and camo plays a role in this game, so carrying too much or too heavy supplies will make you louder and more visible. Sure, while you can't carry like 10 weapons anymore, it's definitely nice to be able to judge a mission and to bring only the things you'll actually need for it, and it's really appreciated to be able heal and get more healing supplies after a mission.
Those fools will NEVER suspect a battle hardened soldier in a pink box...
How are you able to get supplies at base? Well, the recruiting system in this game is back, and it's better, albeit totally different than before. In Portable Ops, you had to knock out a person and, in a best case scenario, drag him to a nearby teammate and let him do all the work. In this game however, while you'll fight the mission solo (offline), you can easily recruit teammates with the Fulton system: Just knock out the person you want, equip the Fulton system, and then press the action button next to them to instantly (and strangely, quietly) evacuate them. It's pretty cool to use because you're graded for each mission and to get a high score, you can't kill people, so rather than knocking them out and rushing to the nearest area exit (as each "region" is divided into several "areas"), you can just take them off the field, no dragging involved. The bad side is there later on, you'll rarely have enough of these things to successfully take out every single enemy, but at least you can be smart about who you take out and who to leave.
Anyway, while Snake is off fighting his own fights this time, the soldiers (and prisoners) he recruits are taken to the MSF base where you can assign them a job to the Mother Base. Every soldier and prisoner has different skills such as Combat experience or Research skills that you can use to produce weapons, items, and more. It's an interesting concept as it feels like you have support, and later on in the game, it's nice to see how big Mother Base has grown (visually by a 3D model). The best part of this though has to be what's called the "Outer Ops," which is a "simulation" of sorts where you can assign your soldiers in the Combat Unit to battle with the enemy a la Pokémon (you recruit soldiers, select 8 of them, and then send them off to fight in a Pokémon styled fight). While it's exciting at first, you'll eventually realize how shallow this mode actually is; For one thing, attacking is nothing more than just sending out the troops; That means that whatever happens in an actual battle is out of your control, and when you can lose units and vehicles due to poor A.I., it's irritating. I mean, what kind of a soldier would use a M1911 against a tank, but a Carl Gustav against a normal enemy grunt with only like 1000 HP? Still, it's a nice addition since you can at least feel that there are other people fighting other than you.
Features and Final Notes This is arguably one of the best MGS game ever. While 1 is what most of us got into, 2 was a unique experience, but 3 and 4 really hit home for a lot of us. Still, with so many things that Peace Walker has done, it's no wonder why it's considered the 5th installment of the series; There's simply too much stuff in here. While it certainly displeases me that the product placements are out (bye bye Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Famitsu magazines), at least 90 percent of what's left is very nice to have. While there's over 100 side missions to tackle in Extra Ops, there's still so many things to do in this game that it's mind-blowing. I already mentioned the Outer Ops, which is a horrible simulation, but the real reason why you'll be going there (other to beat missions and acquire new weapons and goodies) is to test out your Metal Gear.
Yes, in case you didn't read or played Metal Gear, Big Boss does eventually makes a Metal Gear, and while I won't spoil what happens to this one (Metal Gear Zeke), you can at least use him for your own. To create him, all you have to do is replay certain key boss fights and attack only a certain spot. Of course, it's never a guarantee that you'll actually get a scrap metal (to create a part, you need 5 "scraps" of the part you want), replaying the missions is significantly easier when you acquired new weapons, but it feels like it's more of a Monster Hunter styled way to create Zeke (since you have to repeat missions, boss fights, and even then still not get a part). Oh, did I mention that there's Monster Hunter styled missions in this game?
Ah Kojima... you and your jokes
Well, you probably have heard of the Monster Hunter missions if you played any attention to the media coverage of this game, but after unlocking certain conditions, you'll be able to fight the Monster Hunter bosses Rathalos, Tigrex, and Gear Rex, all in stunning 3D glory. These boss fights are definitely a hoot to fight against, but to me, they felt like standard (albeit really hard) boss battles than an actual Monster Hunter styled game play. I mean, if you divided the regions into areas anyway, why not emulate the Monster Hunter experience by having to track and follow the monster? I mean, it would've been nice to kill the raptors for food, then to use the fire spit to cook them for additional health (although you can still use the fire spit to cook rations). Still, you have the option to kill or tranquilize the monsters, although for some odd reason, tranquilizing them is so much easier despite not having any notice, visual or otherwise, if he's about to fall or not. The first time I played these missions, I had pretty standard weapons, so it was easy to make them fall asleep, but even with air strikes, supply drops, Carl Gustavs, and the Fim-34, I still ran out of ammo before I even took him down 75 percent. These bosses are definitely challenging, but like I said, it all gets easier with better equipment such as the Battle Dress.
Still, these bosses are optional and even to get the true ending, you'll never have to play the truly hard missions, but it's still nice to have. There's the option to tackle almost every mission with an ally so co-op is a great asset for this game. While there's the competitive multiplayer, it isn't so hot, but at least the options there. If you hadn't notice, I keep saying the word "Options" a LOT; that’s because the fact that we have the option to do plenty of things that it's mind-blowing! Hell, as of right now, while I'm doing these tedious "search" missions, I usually goof off in Peace Walker by trying to screw around with the Vocaloid program. For those of you who don't know, Vocaloid is a program that people use to create music and even a voice to accompany the music. While in this game you can't use the music composition of the program, you can screw around with the voices to create a short verse from pre-set songs, or even have battle cries for when you deploy Zeke into Outer Ops (mine was "Die..." and even that took a lot of work).
So all in all, this game is actually pretty good. The story is unlike anything I've seen before, and I love it. The game play is reminiscent to of MGS4, which is a great addition for those who couldn't get used to the Portable Ops set up, and there's even those controls should you want them. The comic book styled cut-scenes (with a splash of anime) by Ashley Wood (who worked on Tank Girl) is definitely a treat to behold; I loved how interactive it is, and the flashback to the fight at Tselinoyarsk was definitely a sight to behold: The animated fighting (complete with quick time events) was fluid, the characters were nicely detailed, and the music playing in the background was beautifully haunting. While this game isn't full of those epic moments like in MGS4, what's here is great, and the fact that it finally finishes the circle of the story is a nice gesture.
The going may get tough but...
Score: Graphics ---- 9.5
-The PSP was definitely pushed to the limit for this game; there’s so much information in this game that you had to data install some of it! The character models look good, although no one's mouth every moves, It's but an annoyance seeing of how little you see in-game cut-scenes.
Sound ------- 9.0
-I was using the Walkman a lot when I played this game, but I still hear the grass rustling as you walk, the birds chirping, and even the sound of a babbling brook. The voice is as top notch as usual, and the music score is pretty damn good. I even had chills when Rathalos screamed at me.
Controls ----- 8.0
-If you hadn't noticed, I pretty much praised the controls here, and kept downplaying the Portable Op's control scheme. However, just because it's better doesn't mean that it's still as good as I'd like it. The camera is either too smooth or too jittery, and sometimes it felt unnatural to switch weapons and run around at the same time while keeping an eye on your enemy. Still, a major improvement.
Fun Factor --- 8.5
-I definitely had a fun time playing this game, but there were some times when I had to "Grind" for weapons to develop, and the game became a real drag as I replayed mission after mission to get the good stuff. Still, I never had to grind for more than an hour, so the story missions more than made up for that, although watch out, as near the endgame there's gonna be a pretty difficult mission.
Final Verdict - 9.0
-I think every MGS fan or PSP owners needs to play this game: It's amazing, it's fun, and it's one of the best PSP games out there. While games like Persona 3 and Crisis Core are good, they take up too much of your time; With a new control scheme and a better user friendly experience, this game can be played by anyone (and this is coming from someone who's "afraid" to play a Zelda game).
Modern Warfare 2 is obviously one of the most anticipated games of the year, with it selling more games than what GTA4 did in its first week as well as hit movies like Harry Potter and the Dark Knight. However, is it worth the hype, or is the fans making it much more glamorous than it needs to be?
Story and presentation To start things off, the story in this game is much stronger than it was in the first game. 5 years after the events of Modern Warfare 1, you'll be in the boots of Gary 'Roach' Sanderson, the FNG of the newest joint operations group Task Force 141, commanded by none other than Captain 'Soap' MacTavish himself. Although giving you a full list of playable characters will spoil some of the things, you will be jumping perspective of 5 different characters named Roach, Joseph Allen/ Alexei Borodin, James Ramirez, Sat 1, and Soap himself all with their own levels and objectives (except for the 4th one). However, just because there's more bodies around doesn't necessary mean a better story (for a more definite example, compare Michael Bay's Transformers 1 to 2). It does mean however that there's plenty of surprises in store.
While not necessary a spoiler, after Zakhaev's death in Modern Warfare 1, a man named Vladimir Makarov organized the biggest terrorist spree ever to hit Russia and manages to blame it all on America. How and whys would be considered a spoiler, but every scene done in this game is in first person, which means that you're not only seeing the events happen, you're in the event, and although you get minimal control over your character, watching the scene unfold in front of your eyes is definitely the highlight of the story. You'll feel every emotion from joy, anger, and even depression as you play this game simply because the story is that good.
What could've been better done is the main menu design. Instead of one menu that has everything like the first game, there are 3 menus for each of its game types: Campaign, Multiplayer, and Spec Ops. Each is represented by a picture and once you click on one, you'll be taken to a different menu, although when I say different I really just mean its own version of the same menu stuff. The design is bland compared to other games, and even worse compared to the first game, but since you'll be spending less time here, it's all for the better.
Despite what the trailers indicate, every "cut-scene" is in first person view of your character
What's still not changed from Modern Warfare 1 is the "briefing" loading screen/ video that you get to watch between missions.... at least some of them. Thankfully, the cut-scenes do vary just a tiny bit, and they won't show a video ALL the time, but seeing these things instead of in game interactivity like what was done in GRAW 2 (where you see the news and mission briefing on a camera on the way to a mission), you'll still be twiddling your thumbs as you wait for the next explosion to occur. At least this time you have a better reason for doing these missions instead of the half assed plot in Modern Warfare 1, but as nice the videos are, they get old.
Game play If you remember that (default controls) L1/ Trigger is aim and R1/ Trigger is shoot, then you basically got the game down pat. There's almost no new controls needed in this game despite the new goodies you got. Picking up a sentry turret is as easy as pressing X/ Square and walking, and calling in air strikes and predator missiles are just the same as hitting the D-pad. You're still basically shooting through waves of enemies, but at least they're not unlimited.
Enemies aren't much smarter than they were in MW1, so you'll still be gunning down enemy fodder, but at least with the new gadgets it'll be more fun. Using a predator missile is extremely fun: you simply activate the laptop by pressing the D-pad (note that you're vulnerable as this happens) and control the missile to hit marked enemies from a first person perspective of the missile. It's a hoot to use, but you'll rarely get them unless you're beast in multiplayer, but they're fun when you get them, provided you don't get killed before then. It's also usable in campaign during certain missions like Wolverine, which was one of my favorites.
Even though the game play hardly changed, the environments sure did: from the snow-capped mountains in 'Cliffhanger' to the detailed airport in 'No Russian' to even storming Washington D.C. in 'Of their own accord' all provide beautiful set pieces with scripted events o' plenty. From the bland 'defend this position until they get too close' objective to dodging falling helicopters, you'll always be doing something different, but even though they still consist of gunning someone down, you'll like how Infinity Ward at least attempted mission variety.
The Heart Beat sensor: THE most kick ass attachment ever
Obviously, the multiplayer is the heart of the game, regardless if you play split-screen on the couch or over the internet over Live/ PSN. The campaign is short, so much of your life will now consist of trying to rank up to level 70, and then ‘prestiging’ to do it all over again (optional). Much like the last game, you shoot guns to rank up to earn better guns to kill people with. And although attachments were included last year, there's plenty of new, creative attachments to strive for, like the mini radar that detects enemy heart beats, the full metal jacket (that gives bullets more punch), and rapid fire (I don't need to explain this).
It's worth mentioning that now the game is more balanced with the inclusion of the perks systems, which have all been revamped. If you hated the juggernaut perk before that made players in a fair fight nearly invincible or the martyrdom perk that made knife kills useless, be glad to know that they reserved it for the sucky players: A new system called the death streaks called people to get perks that'll give them a slightly better edge, but only if they died enough times in a row without a kill. Now, the painkiller perk is a death streak that's only given to one who died 3 times without dying as well as the martyrdom perk, and they both become disabled as soon as they get a kill (although not until the next enemy life).
So what if you don't suck? Then welcome to the world of 'kill streaks' which is far much better than last game's: instead of just getting a UAV, airstrike, and then a helicopter, you can get new goodies like a Harrier jet, a predator missile, and even be able to control the guns of an AC-130. And don't worry about everyone getting these as they're only really used by people who get like 8 kills without dying. In case you're like me and you're not good, but you're not bad either, then there's a goodie for you too: a 4 kill kill streak will give you a care package that will randomly any one of the goodies (except the nuke... yes, a nuke). Nothing is better than getting back at the best player in the game by getting that lucky AC-130 bonus from a care package.
Yes, you can haz rockets in the game
In case you think that it's totally unfair, there is a small reprieve: provided that you're a high enough level, you can get launchers like an ATH-4S or a Stinger to shoot down most of these kill streak bonuses. While UAVs are small enough to shoot down with an ATH-4S, bigger things like a Pave low, a low flying helicopter, will need the punch of a stinger missile. And nothing is more satisfying than shooting down a Harrier RIGHT when it comes into the field, especially when you get acknowledged for it: One of the best things in multiplayer is the call signs.
What's a call sign? Simply put, you get to pick a title that you earned and an emblem to show yourself off. While it's strictly cosmetic, and can even reveal your profession (guess what gun a player with the title 'ghillies in the mist' will use?), it's definitely nice to stand out from the crowd. Even better, whenever you do anything substantial like get a pave low or shot one down, on the top right hand corner it'll showcase your call sign and commend you for it. And if that wasn't enough, if you get the game winning kill, then the game will show a record of the last 5 seconds leading up to the kill, and it's a perfect time to show off (like this video: Modern Warfare 2 Knife Throw)
Spec Op In case you don't want to kill your players, you can team up with them in this new game mode, although be warned: there is no online play aside from inviting a friend. However, if you have a friend online or off, then this mode will provided small chunks of fun. Basically put, it's a collection of mini-mission like the 'Mile High Club' in the first game (which oddly isn't here). You run through them with a friend on a chosen difficulty and if you die, you'll have to start the whole thing over unless someone revives you. Although the missions aren't as long as the campaign, a definite downside seeing as how World at War was almost full co-op, it's still nice to run and gun enemies with a friend, provided you weren't doing that during multiplayer.
Hope you can run
Is this the greatest game ever made? No, I still find classics like Shadow of the Colossus superior, but to say that this game isn't good is a lie: This game is better in almost every way. Sure, what happens to select characters were interesting to see, but it got old after the 2nd one, not to mention the 3rd time around. The controversial airport scene was a nice treat and it was implemented nicely, but it was a one trick pony: no satisfaction comes playing this level repeatedly. And if I must nitpick one thing, it's the horrible ending that almost all sequels games have. While the fight was climatic for the characters, it paled in comparison to the last mission 'Game over' in the first game. Seriously, it even ended in a cliffhanger. What the hell? All in all though, online was still good, Spec Ops is a nice addition, albeit a small addition, and even though the ending of the campaign sucked, the ride to the end (as in the rest of the campaign) is just too epic for words RIP Ghost, Allen, Ghost.
Score: Graphics ---- 8.5
-Graphics are notable almost the same, they just bumped up textures, lighting, etc. Still, the time they saved on making a new graphic engine to work on other aspects of the game was well worth it, and MW1 was a nice looking game.
Sound ------- 9.0
-The score is nice, especially the scene mentioned in the spoiler above, and the voice acting was definitely top notch as they had famous people in it, like the dude who played Private Jackson in Saving Private Ryan (in this game, he's Cpl. Dunn) and 50 Cent (although he's seldom heard).
Controls ----- 8.0
-The same as before: decent.
Fun Factor --- 9.0
-There's just too many wow moments in this game that it'll make your head spin. Sadly, once you boil it down, that's all the campaign has going for it. Multiplayer is still nice provided that you don't suck TOO much.
Final Verdict - 9.0
-To recommend this game to you is like asking you to breathe: You just gotta do it. I mean, if you don't have online, you may wanna reconsider unless you got 3 friends and 4 controllers. And if you don't plan to spend your whole life online, then just rent it as campaign is too short to recommend as a stand along title. Still, Spec Ops definitely gives this game an edge.
I fondly remember playing Lost Planet 1 for the Xbox 360. Sure, it was only a demo that I played at a Best Buy, but it sure as hell stuck on me: Epic skirmishes with bugs, awesome anchor mechanics, and the boss fights all made me believe even more in getting a 360 (that and GRAW1, but that's a different story) at the time. However, I didn't get a 360 until way later, and now that I have, I totally forgot all about LP1, so when I heard of a LP2 coming out, I knew that I had to get it. Problem was, not a lot of people was fond of the first game and decided that this game (LP2) was to redeem the series. I bought the game to redeem myself, but now as I'm reviewing it, is it worth the so called redemption, or is it destined to be redeemed for a couple of bucks?
Not an actual case; couldn't find any
Story and Presentation It's been 10 years since the events of Wayne's fight against NEVEC on E.D.N. 3, but you didn't really need to know that. In fact, despite being called Lost Planet 2 (which is really supposed to be called Lost Planet squared considering the fact that the 2 is actually an exponent as stated in the interview), this game requires almost no knowledge of the last game besides the fact that this place used to be a snow barren wasteland.... and now it's not. That's not to say that there is no story, just a very simple one... at least, once you understand it...
The story isn't a narrative like in the first game where you see Wayne's story, but rather, you see the game throughout multiple perspectives. The game is divided into 6 episodes (and in chapters, and within chapters, missions), all barely connecting to the each other. You play as multiple factions as you run through campaigns, but you're really only playing as Ex-NEVEC characters since you play as them the most (twice to be exact) and that they were the most significant. You're only the Rounders, Waysiders (a group within the Rounders), and the Fight Junkies for one episode, leaving the Ex-NEVAC team to lead the show (twice, although you do get to play as actual NEVAC operatives for an episode).
Hot, humid forests... I kinda miss the white snow, eh?
That means the story is only loosely connected, and not in a good way. It's more of a story of coincidence: One episode has characters failing to capture an enemy weapon only to be captured by someone else in the next episode as they overlook something that isn't fought until the last episode. Sure, there are some pretty interesting tidbits, but really, the story is largely forgettable. In fact, it isn't the story itself that'll stick with you, but rather what you'll be doing.
This game is all about the monsters, called Akrids, and the game knows it. Rather than caring about why you're shooting these monsters, you care more about actually shooting down these behemoths, and the monsters take center stage. Sure, you'll be fighting the standard grunts and VS (or mechs), but make no doubt about it: The Akrids are the real reason why you're here. I must mention that the story really feels like an over hyped action movie: Heavy on the action, light on the plot. The whole game feels like one epic scene after another, and that's a good thing. However, unlike a movie, you actually get to play something, so now about the game play....
He tries to eat you, so you retaliate by... entering his stomach... huh...
Game play Now, the levels in this game (missions to be exact) are to pretty much move from point A to B, shooting everything in your path. It's pretty fun, even when alone, to just shoot everything in sight, letting your instincts take over as you run and gun, but there's also different things you can do like activating data posts. Data posts are essentially respawn points, so activating them not only gives you a new place to come back to, but it also increases the Battle Gauge, which is pretty much the lives count. So while most of the time these are optional to activate, there's really no reason not to, and it's better than running all the way back to the fight.
Speaking of running, you do have the option to sprint, but you also have this very useful tool called the Anchor that serves as a grappling hook. It's very simple to use and it's very fun to abuse: All you do is point at a surface and press a button, which then allows your person to grapple to the surface. There's usually things like stairs and ladders that you can take, but it's much more fun to just swing around places like a ghetto Spider Man. In fact, I had so much fun using it (and being as lazy that I am) that I wish it was in every game (my dumbass self tried using the anchor button in Modern Warfare because I was lazy).
Something else to do while fighting (if you can find them) is to use the VS mechs scattered around. You can use a variety of mechs from the standard AT-ST looking mech to the awesome PTX-140 Hardballer (showcased in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom), and there's even a mech that can be combined with another mech! There is a downside to using mechs however: Getting one destroyed will force a hit on the battle gauge, and getting yourself killed due to the explosion (sometimes you can't eject) will mean that you take a second hit. Other than that, it's pretty easy to control and, with the right type of weapons, can be an absolute necessity to a mission.
If they have propellers on their backs, why don't they just fly away?
Something to note about this game is that it has 8 control schemes, and with good reason: No matter which one you pick, there's going to be something that feels a little odd. For example, I used the default controls and it mapped like 4 things to the B/ O button: Melee, sprinting, activating things, and entering mechs. That means if you’re near something and you wanna run, you might just melee the air and get hit by a sniper, or if you're trying to huddle around a data post with your allies, you may accidently smack them off the data post, making you look like a douche for a brief second. Sure, there's many control schemes, but none of them feel natural: It's all of a matter of preference.
Speaking of preferences, people generally love to play with other people, and within good reason: This game is designed for co-op, and you'll be damned if you don't play it that way. Sure, the A.I. teammates are actually somewhat useful (since they offer firepower AND that their deaths won't result in a hit of the battle gauge), but make no mistake; you want other people to play with you. I mean, not only does it make the game easier; it's also way more fun than playing it by yourself. I love being able to run through a level in record time with pro teammates and seeing who did the most work out of all of us, and I definitely appreciate the costume mechanic (that I'll touch on later).
Gears of War's Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago... chainsaw lancer not included
Extras, online and final thoughts One of my favorite things in video games that don't appear too often is character customization. Sure, I like changing the color of my armor like Halo 3 or what guns I wanna in my class a la Modern Warfare 2, but in games like Soul Calibur 4 and Modnation Racers where you can totally customize your characters, AND see them in cut-scenes, are a definite treat to me, so imagine how pumped up I was when I heard that upon beating the game, you can not only bring a customized character into story campaign, but he (or she, although it's awkward seeing the character as she still acts like a man) will appear in the cut-scenes!
That means two things: One, all the cut-scenes are in-game (and still amazingly beautiful at that) and two, this game allows you to become attached to your own character. While the story was action packed, I did find it hard to connect to the characters considering that they seemingly have no personality (or faces considering that most of them have a mask on), but on the design side, I loved that your character can appear in cut-scenes, making it feel like it's you. I can't tell you how many times I played this game just to see how my new character would look, or what he will be doing. The story treats the four players as actors, and being able to customize your 'actor' is a really nice touch, especially when you are the player who does the cool stunts (which is mostly player 1). This not only gives a little more replay, but playing online gives it more replayability since you can see certain scenes in a different perspective since you're a different player. Sure, maybe I'm overhyping it, but seeing how many games do this (or feature cross over: PS3 owners gets 2 Helghast skins from Killzone and a Rathalos Armor from Monster Hunter while the 360 fans will get Gear heads Marcus Fenix, Dom Santiago, and photographer Frank West from Dead Rising), it's hard not to.
The famous Rathalos Armor from Monster Hunter, without the grinding!
However, I must mention that sadly, since newer and better games are out (I myself have spent over 50 hours on MGS: Peace Walker, and even might have a review (after I get the second, true ending) when I'm not playing P3P), at the time of writing, online has really come and go. Sure, if you play online co-op (the main draw of the game), you'll still see the diehard pros or the new novices, but there's no denying that the online feels a lil' empty, especially considering competitive multiplayer. Something that I really wanted to try was Faction Matches, which is pretty obvious; People will side with one faction for a week (kinda like a trial version of MAG) and play a specific game mode. Whoever wins wins credit to their faction. I really loved the idea of this, but sadly, it's rare to find a game.
Sure, there's an AI bot battle for the offline users, but you pretty much have to go through hell to do it: Training Mode. Yeah, the training mode in this game is a real bitch, and that's just the basic training (advanced training was actually pretty fun). Basic training pretty much tells you to run a course in the shortest amount of time possible, and you can only advance if you earned a bronze medal. That sounds easy, but when you have to rush to get it in the nick of time, that's a hassle, and when you throw in more enemies and less time, you'll rage quit before you even unlock the AI bot battles (thankfully the newest patch unlocks it automatically).
Shown here: The Scout Helghast costume. Not shown: The Lost Planet 2 game (sorry, I couldn't find a shot)
And that's the thing about Lost Planet 2 and why I like it so much despite what people think: I played it AFTER the patches came out. From what I researched, the single player campaign was much harder due to weak weapons and lower defense... but that's not all: The Data Post in the levels are usually hard to find EVEN WITH THE MARKER, so imagine trying to find it the first time without them, and there's even a patch where if you're fighting a certain boss on a train and he rams it, then it's pretty much instant death, and seeing the section you had to endure to even make it to the boss fight was tough, that was a low blow. Thankfully, the boss battles are easier, but even with the new respawn system included with the patch, if you die during this fight; you have to start the WHOLE chapter over again. I love this game, and I usually don't rage quit, but when a game eats up hours of your time with no compensation, even I can toss my controller aside.
And don't get me started on the most difficult chapter in the whole game, Chapter 4-3. It features a tough underwater level where the enemies are vicious and too damn strong even against a mech, and even if you make it to the next mission, you really have to play it safe. At one point, you need to operate a mechanism to lower a draw bridge. That sounds easy until you realize that you're on the other side of the draw bridge, and mechanism is covered with enemy snipers, rocket launchers, and turrets. And that's not even the worst part: You have only two or three mechs that's actually capable to get across, and if you make it over there only to get killed by the snipers, then the mission might as well fail you because you're screwed. It's the worst design flaw ever in the whole game, and it's the most notable since you don't expect to lose without being told that you lost.
Aside from that, it's a pretty decent experience. Thankfully, for a game this beautiful, it's pretty SD TV friendly seeing as most of the text isn't an eye sore. However, split screen co-op is a little bit disappointing: Instead of doing a total split screen like the older generation of games (like say Halo 2), this game tries to keep the ratio intact by giving you a way smaller screen to work with. How small you ask? Well, on your TV, imagine a line in the horizontal middle, like you expect, but then imagine your half of the screen gets cut off around the 30 percent mark. That means you only get 70 percent of your half of the screen to see. Sure, on HDTVs, or hell, anything big, will show your screen just fine, but if you have a small 20 inch like my friends, then co-op will be severely disappointing. However, if you can get past that, the split-screen experience is largely intact: There's very little loss visual wise, the draw distance isn't as bad as say, COD: World at War and the fact that the split screen partner can use your unlocked weapons is a nice touch. However, you do lose the ability for the split-screen partner to customize themselves, which is understandable, but you also lose the ability to bring AI partners.
Wesker from Resident Evil 5. Too bad he never moves his mouth.
Now, you probably heard people complain about AI partners, but not having AI partners is a real disappointment for split-screen players. For one thing, the game feels a lot emptier without them, and it's a little harder considering the fact that the game is INTENDED for 4 players. I mean, when you have to defend 4 positions in one mission, it's pretty obvious how many people are supposed to defend one position, but when it's just you two, it's a little bit harder, especially considering the fact that both your deaths will subtract from the Battle Gauge and that the game treats you as 4 players instead of one (meaning you lose the added attack and defense power you would've gotten from playing single player). Overall though, the game is pretty easy with the patches now, but that still doesn't subtract the frustration of some levels.
Final thought, I'm going to have to say that with all the patches, it's a really nice game with a bunch of flaws. The graphics are beautiful, but the controls are awkward, and yet the bosses are amazing, despite the design being flawed in some levels. It's too (for a lack of a better term) bi-polar for anybody to immediately have fun with, but over time, this game starts to grow on you. Do note that the game is short, and apparently the community has long since left, so you'll be spending most of your time replaying the campaign. Still, there's nothing that beats the satisfaction of knowing just exactly how to get through a level, and that experience, like the whole game, should be shared with other people. If you intend to play alone, rent it, but for everybody out there with a couple of friends to play it with, have a go at it.
Play with human players, because their tactic isn't just stand there shooting.
Score: Graphics ---- 9.0
-I don't think I've seen such a great looking game. I mean, the jungles look detailed, the character models are slick and well animated (although they never blink, move their mouths, or even move their fingers) and the atmosphere is unlike any other, with everything polished... almost literally.
Sound ------- 9.0
-The score is extremely well suited for the game, and despite what they say, the voice acting is very decent (despite barely being heard). The only problem is that the monsters sound a little scratchy, which can get irritating, and that the score is also seldom heard.... get ready for some quiet monster hunting...
Controls ----- 6.0
-I played games with horrible controls, but this isn't as bad as say... MGS: Portable Ops. I tested out all the controls and I still had to unnaturally use my fingers to aim or melee. However, the worse problem is that getting hit with automatically stops you from doing anything, like using your harmonizer, your anchor, changing your gun, or even shooting at certain points. That can lead to frustration.
Fun Factor --- 8.0
-While most of the time you're just shooting things down as you walk, it's definitely fun taking down the numerous bosses in this game. In fact, this might be one of my favorite campaigns in video games, even rivaling Modern Warfare 2 (not better than one) (although Episode 4 in this game is easily the worst with its spiked difficulty and boring events).
Final Verdict - 8.5
-For everything this game gives you, it takes so many away. Still, the things that this game gives you are well worth experiencing at least a few times, and for the record, the game does seem to end with a less than satisfying boss fight.
Dead or alive... yeah, y'all know how the game goes. It's like any other fighting game: You pick a character, you press buttons, and you kick ass. That's how it's supposed to be. But then someone had to go change that: Dead or Alive Xtreme had deviated from its fighting game roots in favor of some sexual fan service to its fans. While it may seem like a disappointment to the hardcore fighting fans, many appreciated this nice change of pace (after all, 50 Cent did tell us to 'go 'head and switch the style up, and if they hate it, let them hate it, and watch the money pile up') and bought the game anyway, making bank for Team Ninja.
Now, when I first saw this game, I had to be like what, 13-15 at the time, and I definitely loved the fighting game Dead or Alive 2 (or 3, I can't remember), but I wasn't about to go ask my mom to buy me this game, so I let it past. I did however played it at my female cousin's house (apparently it was ok for her to have it) and I saw that it was a pretty chill game: Not amazing, but it was worth more than any bargain bin game. In fact, if I was 17 when Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 came out, I would've bought it... good thing I wasn’t because that game was NOT worth the weird looks, but I would've bought it at least.
Now, Dead or Alive is at it again with Dead or Alive Paradise, a game on something that was more 'secure' to play on. I mean, seeing as I'm only in high school (senior year bitches), I still live with my family, and seeing as how we're lower middle class, I share a room with my brother, so when I heard of an Xtreme game going for PSP, something that I can have privacy with, I pretty much had to play it. And after being embarrassed buying it at a local Best Buy (you try buying one of these games in front of females and parents when you look 14 when you're really 18...), I finally had my chance. Now, after going so far and waiting so long to play it, was this game 'something I'm missing (paradise?')... Or was it anything but?
Story and Presentation
OH WOW, IT HAS A STORY!? Yeah, that's what I thought at first, but it's definitely anything but; Suppose fully, Zach found some way to raise his Island from the ocean in order to open up his resort... AGAIN. And every girl from the Dead or Alive series (the beautiful Kasumi, the Cowgirl Tina, the badass Christie, etc) is back... AGAIN. Yeah, there really is no story... and would you have it any other way? I mean, let's be honest, you're really only buying this game for 3 reasons only:
-You're a HARDCORE Dead or Alive fan.
-You like disproportioned boobs that jump up and down
-You bought it as a joke... Which involves boobs.
So since the girls are the only thing worthwhile here, we'll just skip all the way to the presentation. Well, if first impressions is anything, then this game starts off somewhat nicely with its CG cut scene (that they stole from DOAX2) of the girls showing off their goodies, but then when you hit the title screen, the first thing you hear is probably the last thing you want to hear: The English voice acting. Now, I don't like to diss on whether or not an anime is better with Japanese voice over or American voices, but when someone who prefers English acting is saying that the voice acting is terrible, then you know something is messed up.
Seriously, when I read through the manual (yeah, I read the manual) and saw the list of voice actors, I at least thought it would be decent with names like Karen Strassman (Kallen from Code Geass) and Kahl Wahlgren (Kagami from Lucky Star), but no, it sucked... big time... and not the kind of sucking you would want from this game (if it seems like I'm being too sexual with this... come on, what did you expect reading a review like this?)
Heh, she's riding Moby Dick... not funny? Ok... (PS: Took this pic myself)
Gameplay Anyway, once you switch the voices over to the Japanese, you can start the vacation as your favorite girl. You start the game by taking a quick tour around the island with a random partner to learn the basics of it" How to buy items, how to send gifts, and how to take pictures. However, the first thing you notice while on the tutorial is that the backgrounds aren't exactly backgrounds.... they're more of being a backdrop taken from DOAX2... and they are horrible compressed at that. I mean, the game itself has to resize and refocus the picture when it's loading up the shop: It doesn't look good when you're waiting for the shop, and it's definitely ain't much better once you do. And seeing as how you are looking at these screens a lot... Oh man...
But at least you won't have to deal with the music if you don't want. Smartly added to take advantage of the PSP's ability to play MP3, you can import your favorite tunes to this game and can listen to it instead of the game's soundtrack (which is decent enough, but really, bring your own music). I do admit that there is some complaints, like having the game trying to recognize the MP3 files, but even when they do, they usually play the same songs over and over again even with Shuffle turned on, and you can't pick any MP3 song to play on the spot (although you can choose when, where, and what to listen during the day). Still, this is one of the few recent games I can remember that can do something like this; especially since last gen you could've done it while playing Madden or Burnout Revenge, so beggars can't be choosers.
Took her forever to give her that damn swimsuit
(This one also)
But just because the beggars can't be choosers doesn't mean that the girls won't be: Aside from the mini games (that I'll get into), there's also a gift giving relationship game thing here: For a girl to be your partner, she needs to like you, and for that to happen, you need to buy her stuff. Sounds simple right? Wrong... SO WRONG. Apparently, no girl will accept a cruddy gift no matter how much you paid for it unless it's gift wrapped with their favorite color, and even then, if they don't like the item, they'll send that bitch right back to you. What the hell? What's even worst is that you aren't even told what the girls like besides their favorite food, drinks, and color, all from the handy (and yes, that's sarcasm) in-game guide that takes forever to load. I'll be honest, I can forget important vital information in just under 3 seconds, so when I have to sit for like 12 seconds for the guide to load to remember something so insubstantial, I'd already forgotten why I'm there, and if I do remember, I pray that I'd remember it 12 second from now so I wouldn’t have to come back.
I guess it's not fair to fault the game because I ain't good at remembering stuff, but that's because this game doesn't help out players like me. I mean, sure, I'd write down information on the girls, but there is none. You aren't told what each girl likes unless you played the fighting games. For example, if you finished Dead or Alive 4, you'd know that Hitomi likes to cook, so a gift you can give her is cooking items like lettuce and ovens. However, what about girls like Christie and Lisa? You aren't told what they like, and the games don't even help you. Yeah, I know that Christie is an assassin and that Lisa is a wrestler, but I'm not exactly gonna find poison needles and lucha masks in the store now am I? I mean, we are at a resort after all...
But if we're at a resort, then how would we get money? Well, well you don't earn money per se, you earn Zack Dollars or whatever by playing the various minigames Beach Volleyball or Pool hopping.... that's it. Surprising right? Well, in all that's fair, you can unlock two more games (Beach flags and butt battles... from what I hear), but these are hardly worth unlocking. I mean, really, even the Pool Hopping sucks enough as it is, so why would you want two more sucky mini games? Really, the only game you'll be playing is Beach Volleyball, which is actually done quite nicely: No longer being moved by the computer, you now have control of your own character.
(I took this as well)
This is pretty cool because now volleyball has a tiny bit more depth into it: Stand in the wrong spot and you'll pay for missing the ball, but stand in the right spot and you can stay in the game. Gameplay is broken down into two buttons: One for passing and lobbing the ball, and one more for spikes and hits. You're basically trying to anticipate the opponent's moves and position and try to take advantage of it by pressing the right button at the right time. It's pretty fun once you realize how to play: If you're standing at the top right of your court (from the camera's eyes, not the players) and there's no players there, it makes sense to spike, but if you set up the ball and the opponent tries to spike it back down, you can lob the ball instead, making a fool of the other girl. It's pretty fun playing this game, and even more fun to see that there's little glimpses of commentary (like characters that complain when you suck and celebrate when you do); The other games simply have a win/ lose commentary.
The other games like I said are Pool Hopping (which is pressing buttons that match the mats, which is harder than it looks since you have to hold the button for distance... if you just press it, your character's gonna fall in the water), Beach Flags (which is a timing/ button mashing mini game), and Butt Battles (which should be a rock paper scissors kind of thing), but since they all suck and give you the least amount of money, they should just be ignored. After all, you only have 3 things to do in a day: The days are separated into 3 times (Morning, Day, and Afternoon) and you can only do one thing per section (shopping and moving around don't count) like play a game, giving a gift, asking someone to partner up (and possibly being rejected), or just relaxing.
Now, why do you wanna relax for? To take photos! I mean, that's actually why I got this game: I always wanted to be a creepy stalker when I grow up, so why not try it out here? You can to follow a girl around with a camera as she relaxes in the pool or walks around the beach... it's creepy, yet fun and addicting. After all, there are 15 clips for each girl, but since you can imitate your partner, you can share clips among the girls, which means you can collect all the clips, which makes the thing even more addicting. In fact, I even took some of the pics you're looking at in my review, so lucky you! Now, I'm not a pervert, so I didn't try to zoom in on any girl's boobs or butt (and FYI, you can't), but my biggest problem in the game is that these clips don't even last 30 seconds. If you don't have the shot by 25 seconds, the game cuts off the clip and you just wasted a section of the day.
Better have lots of clips set up, as each barely lasts 20 seconds
But it beats wasting money. After the 3 sections of the day, the 4th section, the Night, is probably the one you'll be spending the most time in: You can head into the casino to play blackjack, poker, or just hit the slots, while you can gain the most money during this time of day, you can seriously lose it all too. I'm not kidding, the game must be rigged. For example, one time, I was playing Blackjack, and the girl Rio got a 16 while I had a 20, so she had to hit (It's that rule thing, I dunno, I play virtual blackjack) and she got a 5. WHAT!? That's BS and you know it (this would've sounded much cooler if I made a video review... dammit). Overall though, this is all optional, and you can still make plenty of money playing volleyball, so I guess it all evens out.
Final Notes Well, just before we end this, I wanna talk about a few things. First of all, the PSP is not a powerhouse: It has the power of the PS2, but it definitely doesn't have the power of the 360. That being said, if you come in expecting the girls to look like they do on the box, you are going to be seriously disappointed. I mean, the faces are all pixilated, the details are scarce, and they move pretty oddly too. And if we're talking about anything moving oddly, I'm going to have to mention the boob physics: I know that each boob is supposed to be separate, but two things: One, don't tell me that when a girl jumps, her left boob goes up while the right boob goes down, and two, boobs aren't supposed to move 5 seconds after the girl stops. Seriously, I remember trying to take some pictures, and her boobs actually ruined the shot. Damn it all.
I also wanted to clear up things about this gift giving thing: While I did have some interesting points (like needing a girl's bio), through trial and error, you can eventually get a girl to accept practically the right gift, and eventually your favorite kind of swimsuits and accessories (like hats and bracelets), and your reward is her friendship, which isn't useless in this game. For one thing, I lost a friend about halfway through the 2 weeks, and I couldn't play volleyball until I had one. Another reason for having a friend is that you can share clips among the girls, like I said, but you can also unlock things like that: I heard that if you unlock 99 percent of EVERY girl's venue clips (what they are called), then you can unlocked the ultimate slot machine, which can be used to unlocked a pole dancing minigame (although you can find that on Google or something). So technically, it's not a waste of time to do it, but it's definitely justified to hear the negativity of the aspect.
(I took this one too)
Finally, despite all that I said, I think I honestly enjoyed this game. I mean, I did laugh a lot about how seriously stupid the game was, but then again, it's a pretty decent game (which means that you're going to hate my score) but honestly, if you're into games like these, it's definitely worth picking up. I am disappointed that there's no multiplayer at all, but there's plenty of things here to keep you busy: buying all the accessories, swimsuits, and unlocking all the clips and pole dancing will definitely take people at least 30 hours, if not more. So all in all, it's a pretty decent game.
Score: Graphics ---- 7.5
-Trying to put 3D models in the PSP is always hard, but when you're trying to put ATTRACTIVE ladies on it, you better damn well do the job right, and sadly, this ain't even close to what the PSP can do. The physics can be wonky, but at least you can laugh at something
Sound ------- 6.0
-The soundtrack is pretty decent, but the English voice acting is terrible. Sure, you can opt for the Japanese voices, but then again, you rarely hear characters say anything other than a few phrases, so it's not like it'll kill you. Plus, the ability to import tracks is greatly appreciated, and is this game's saving grace from getting an F in sound.
Controls ----- 7.0
-The controls ain't good for this game: Volleyball lags a little so it's hard to accurately be on the spot when you need to be, and pool hopping will take you at least a couple of tries to get it right.
Fun Factor --- 7.5
-There's actually a pretty fun beach volleyball game here, and while it's a niche thing, taking photos and unlocking swimsuits and stuff is pretty fun. I do wish that there were some more mini games, even if they were scaled down, and there's absolutely no excuse for it here.
Final Verdict - 7.5
-To recommend this game to you is like asking you to eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich: some people like it, some find it ok, and some people are too repulsed by it to even try. Now, this game ain't the best you ever played, nor is it the worst, so if you got 30 bucks and nothing to spend it on, you might as well give it a try. If anything, if can last you a while.