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With the taste of bile still fresh in my mouth from Ghostbusters, I've forged on to something new - clubbing baby seals in Overlord II. I rather enjoyed the first Overlord, with it's cross between Pikmin-esque minion control and third person action. The humor of the original Overlord was it's absolute saving grace, and thankfully Rhianna Pratchett has returned in the sequel as writer.

Overlord tossed you into the fire quite quickly, and Overlord 2 keeps up the tradition. After a short (sadly) training mission as an evil Overchild, it gets right into slaughtering animals for life force and causing general destruction amongst the plebes. They've also added a mount system (wolf riders), allowing them to traverse gaps and move a bit quicker. As always, a few quick points...



* Very Fable-esque style art direction, same as the first game. Enjoyable and appropriate.
* Noticeable framerate drops when multiple minions on screen, I remember having a bit of this in the first, but not on this scale. Nothing game breaking, just a bit of chop.
* Wonky controls are back, it appears that Triumph did nothing to change this. Minions are a bit annoying to control, granted this early in the game it hasn't been a problem.
* Hilarious rasta/hippy elves.
* Appears to be a bit more dark than the first, definitely getting a more "evil Overlord" vibe than the first.



We're sitting at par for the course here, nothing new or groundbreaking to draw in new folks. It's a bit disappointing, as the first had such character and unrealized potential - I was really hoping they'd wow me with the follow up. I'd have a hard time recommending it over the original Overlord to newcomers, as this doesn't appear (so far) to be any vast improvement.

In short, if you haven't played Overlord, play the original first (it's dirt cheap now). If you liked Overlord, this is more of the same. If you hated Overlord, move along, nothing to see here.







t0pc0w
7:35 PM on 06.25.2009



In case you missed my positively glowing Snap Judgment on this title, I'll do a quick rehash. I was positively glowing about this game an hour in, and hoped it could keep the nostalgia train rolling on the tracks to absolute retro bliss. Could the rest of this game keep me as full of glee as the first hour did, or would it be dredged through much as so many of my childhood memories have been?



Likes:

+ Nostalgia factor is off the charts, especially in the earlier chapters.
+ Visuals and effects are far better than expected, the proton packs look amazing
+ Voice work is top notch, they managed to bring all of the original cast back.
+ Achievement design is well done and funny, all bearing the same name as movie quotes.
+ Cut scenes have a good style and fit well.

Disikes:

- Teammate AI is disastrous and incredibly frustrating, especially on Professional (hard)
- Chapter design is incredibly boring, generic spooky environments
- Weapons feel interchangeable, I used the proton pack through the entire game with very little problems
- Upgrades feel pointless, I unlocked the achievement for purchasing them near the midway point.
- Ghost design is uninspired, boring, and just plain lazy.
- Boss fights are boring and extremely repetitive. (SHOOT THE GLOWING ______)
- Multiplayer is a joke. No co-op story mode, no local co-op, only special levels specifically crafted.



Conclusion

All in all, I would've been better off if I had played the first 2 chapters, turned my Xbox off, and cracked the disk over my knee. What begins as a fantastic and fresh adaptation of a classic favorite turns into a contrived boring snoozefest. It's so sad, because the beginning shows such AMAZING potential, but the rest of the game doesn't even come close. I can't say that it's awful (because it could've been so much worse), but when a huge Ghostbuster's fan such as myself had more fun playing X-Men Origins: Wolverine - something went horribly wrong.

Overall Score: 6.0 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.)










Before I launch into this, let me tell you a small anecdote which puts my opinion in perspective. The earliest video my parents have of me is a Blockbuster Kidprint videotape of me when i was 4, and at one point they ask me what my favorite movie was, to which I gleefully responded "Ghostbusters!". That probably heavily influences my appreciation of this game, but I'm sure many of you share the same sentiment.

All of that being said and taken into account, the first hour of Ghostbusters is worth the price of admission. Unless the game completely u-turns into an abysmal, unplayable mess, I'm incredibly happy with it. The first training mission is so incredibly fun - I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I played it. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed the beginning of a game more (maybe Bioshock?). A couple of quick observations...



* The game looks fantastic! Lighting effects really shine on the proton packs, burn marks on the walls, stuff exploding. Very true to original movie.

* Voice acting and dialogue is spot on, you can tell the original guys had a blast doing it.

* Difficulty ramps up quick. I'm playing it on the highest difficulty setting and although I was only on the first mission, a couple of ghosts instantly knocked me down (ala Left 4 Dead). The computer controlled teammates are pretty competent so far, and are a big help.

* Controls are decent, albeit a little loose. Shooting stuff with the proton packs feels about right, and isn't too simple or too difficult. Switching between the first-person and third-person view is a bit jarring and harsh.

* There's a first person view with goggles and a PKE meter that you scan things with. This appears to be a collectible finder and Bioshock-esque camera, whereas you scan enemies for an entry into your Tobin's spirit guide (but of course).

* Cutscenes are brilliant, and the pacing is spot on. You're bustin' ghosts in no time right out of the gate, and so far it hasn't stopped.

* Music is straight from the movies. You'll recognize bits and pieces constantly. Interested to see if they keep that going or if they have some original stuff. Hearing the same samples over and over may get a bit old.



In short, if you're a Ghostbusters fan, you have to play this game. It's a bit early to tell if I'd recommend it otherwise, but my overwhelming glee at how FRIGGIN AWESOME IT IS TO BUST GHOSTS is preventing me from thinking straight. Sure, this first impression is biast, but just back off man. I'm a scientist.







t0pc0w
8:34 AM on 06.19.2009



Let me start by saying that Prototype turned out the be EXACTLY what I expected of it, and your satisfaction may vary based on your preconceptions. In case you don't know, Prototype is a sandbox type game, a variation of the formula that GTA introduced. The game is extremely similar to another of Radical Entertainment's other outings, that being The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.I'm not a big fan of the long winded review, so I'll just touch on a few of my likes and dislikes and give a quick summary.
*Disclaimer - I still have about 10 or so events left, and haven't played the game on Hard yet - but feel that completing the story mode and 75% of events is enough for a fair shake.

Likes:

+ Sense of freedom and speed is fantastic, never gets old.
+ Missions design is interesting.
+ Visuals are a bit dated, but fit the game well and allows the frame rate to stay solid.
+ Upgrades are interesting, powers are fun and varied.
+ Vehicles are reasonably easy to drive.
+ Event system (side missions) are optional, and allow the game to be easily played in short spurts.
+ Web of Intrigue is a great idea, makes you feel actively involved in progression of story.
+ Stealth system shows flashes of brilliance, and can be intensely satisfying.

Disikes:

- Wonky controls at times, can be incredibly frustrating on timed events.
- Story is ridiculous and contrived, almost non-existent.
- Missions and events become very repetitive.
- Devastators (supers) are near useless later in game, as the require a charge that is always interrupted.
- Difficulty varies wildly from mission to mission.
- Boss fights are uninspired and feel tacked on.
- Stealth system is quirky, sometimes too easy and often useless.



Conclusion

Prototype is again exactly what I expected from it: a solid action title with a non-existent story. The controls are a bit frustrating at times, but those shortcomings are only glaringly apparently in the optional timed events. The stealth system feels a bit lacking. but is fantastic when it actually works. I almost get the feeling that Radical ran out of good ideas about 3/4ths of the way through development, and just rehashed much of the earlier portions of the game in order to get it out the door.

Overall Score: 7.0-- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
Photo Photo Photo







t0pc0w
10:18 AM on 06.11.2009

After being inspired by Cadtalfryn's keepin' it real type setup, I decided to post a couple of pictures of my setup in it's natural state.

So here it is, unedited, unfiltered, and IN THE RAW.


Note the Ginger Ale (mine) and Coke (girly) bottles, strategically placed for optimum drinking convenience.


High above my awesome HDTV (TWENTY TWO INCHES OF PURE TECH PR0N), is the white board of 8-bit, I'm slowly filling up. Link is next...


Close up of the contents. Note the cat food, empty bowl of Cheez-Stix (ghetto Grenada cheetoes with tons of MSG) and a dead light bulb.

someday, you too could have a third world setup as nice as this.



EDIT: Action Photo

Photo Photo Photo










So, I've played through the first hour or so of Prototype - here's are a couple of snap judgements.

Controls are a bit weak, hopefully I get used to them. You're basically holding RT the entire time to sprint (AKA run over/through everything), which is fine - except someone decided to also bind the airdash to RT(while you're in the air). So if you're running from roof to roof, you'll jump over short gaps, hold RT to sprint across the roof EXCEPT WHOOPS YOU HADN'T LANDED YET AND YOU AIRDASHED AND FELL 6 STORIES.

Graphics are nice, runs smooth. Exactly what you expect. Some of the "Web of Intrigue" cut scenes have real actors, which is a bit odd and jarring, but nothing that really removes you from the experience.

Missions so far have been generic "let's get you familiar with the controls" type stuff. I definitely sense potential for tricky stuff, different approaches, etc. Using the disguise mechanic works well, and functions as expected.

Quite a few "holy shit" moments, at one point I was being chased by a "strike team" (Prototypes apparent version of the GTA cop swarm). The helicopter carrying them popped up on my mini map, so I grabbed a taxi, ran up the side of a building, and chucked it at the copter, exploding spectacularly, then crashing onto the soldiers that had begun zip lining down to the street. Very slick.

There appears to be a a time trial based event system in the game, where you have to accomplish tasks in a set amount of time. So far this has just been climbing up a building, and running across rooftops. You gain experience based on how fast you complete, and I assume there are achievements based on getting the top scores. Annoying so far, but hopefully easier once I'm familiar with the controls.

Expect a full review once I finish, so far it's about what I expected: a sandbox title with a seemingly lackluster story, but very slick presentation.