Monday, May 30, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Tsugunai: Atonement is the standard for a good old-fashioned, turn-based RPG. You play as a Raven, another name for mercenary, named Reise. You start out exploring an old, decaying castle trying to find an artifact called the Treasure Orb of Danu. However, after you get it, you awake the God of Light and he is not too pleased. He punishes you by changing you into a spirit and the only way for you to be restored to your body you must possess certain person and solve the root of their misfortune. Now, onto the review:
While the graphics aren't the best, they do the job. The simplicity of the graphics is a contrast to the game's story, which is somewhat complex. The animation, however, is very smooth and fluid.
The most important thing about any game, the story. The story is the make or break factor for a game. Thankfully, in this case, the story is thoroughly put together. The story lags ever so slightly at some points, but it's never anything that takes away from the playing experience. The ability to "possess" people is an innovative twist. You will possess the village folk, a monk, a fellow Raven, and even a dog. A dog for goodness sake. The chance for variety is obvious from the start. Some of the people you possess are constantly fighting, while some of them don't fight at all.
Oh, the music on this is inspiring. Being a fan of Celtic music, this game was prefect for me. The music fits the environment ever so perfectly.
I genuinely wish more RPGs would incorporate a fighting system like the one in this game. There have been so many times in the other "big budget" games where I wanted to block an incoming attack. This game is one of the very few games that actually let you do that. The fighting also includes a rune collecting aspect. You get amulets with a distinctive shape. The runes come in specific shapes and by placing the rune in the amulet, you gain magic spells. If you completely fill the outlined shape, you get a summon spell.
Overall: 9/10 (Averaged)
Rent or Buy: Definitely a buy for fans of old-school, turn-based RPGs.
Review submitted by Tony with 3FG, Phoenix Gamer contributor
Friday, May 20, 2011
CONTROLS: The left trigger is used to aim or peek around corners when next to a wall. The right trigger is used to fire weapons or throw objects. The X button is used to grab objects or interact with the enviroment. The A button used to jump, the longer you hold it the higher you jump. The Y button used to switch weapons, double tap to access explosives. The Left Joy-Stick is used to move character and when pressed in it activate run mode. The B button allows you to crouch and when pressed while running your character will slide. The Right Joy-Stick is used to aim, when pressed in your character also melees. Later in the game you will also get a Nano-Suit ability called Air Stomp to do this jump high in the air and press the B button to come crashing down with your fist on an opponent. The Left Bumper activates your Nano-Suit shield and the Right Bumper activates your Nano-Suit Cloak. The Back Button allows you to customize or disassemble your weapon. Another thing, when aiming with the sniper-rifles pressing in the Right Joy-Stick allows you to zoom in on your target.
CRYSIS 2 CAMPAIGN: The campaign is action packed as the enemy A.I. is constantly on the lookout for you. The enemies take cover and move accordingly to your reactions to them; they even call for back up if they spot you. You must use your suits powers to avoid being detected or shot to death. Along the way you upgrade your suits abilities. These abilities come in handy and allow you to do things such as the ability to see incoming bullet trails. This is helpful when you are being fired upon from all angles. You can see where your enemies are stationed and firing on you from. I liked that you can also peek over corners using the left button. Whether you are on the left side or right side of cover you will always be prompted to use the left button to peek over that corner. The level design is amazing. Large and highly detailed environments make it easy to get lost during your missions. Crysis 2 has the best looking graphics I’ve seen on a console to date. As far as weapons go, you can pick up any weapon from the floor and pick it apart. Like the suppressors on sniper gun, you can take it off and put it on your pistol. You can customize any gun any way you like. I highly recommend a silenced pistol as it does not uncloak you when you fire it. The campaign even on normal mode can be very challenging, so the game is not dull by any means. If you're looking for a challenge you will find it here. The story is interesting and reminds me alot of Half-Life 2's story.
GAMEPLAY MULTIPLAYER: The action in Crysis 2 is fast, furious, and intense. Somewhere around level 19 you become one with your Nano-Suit. You will know when to move in cloak mode and when you must activate your shield to survive. The ability to choose between charging up your shield and activating your cloak before any encounter, makes for some intense moments. If the enemy sees you, turn on your shield, but if he didn’t then take him out in stealth mode. You get an energy bar that you can use for both your shield and or cloaking device. It starts depleting after you activate it, so you got a limited amount of time to use these abilities. After which, a cool down process begins and your energy bar starts re-charging. You are graded based on your performance on the match and how well and often you use your abilities. There are 3 different types of abilities you will be graded on; armor, power, and stealth. As all three abilities level up you will gain new unlockable perks for your armor, power, and stealth abilities. These perks can be leveled up, some up to 3 times, each level granting an additional perk within the perk. Crysis 2 also uses a challenge system much like that of Call of Duty's. For those of you who are not familiar with a challenge system, it is a kill goal associated with a weapon, perk, and or kill streak. For example, kill 200 enemies with a pistol or call in 10 radar jammers. By completing these challenges you get big xp bonuses at the end of the matches, which in turn helps you level up faster. The weapon system works much like Call of Duty's: Modern Warfare 2, as you can upgrade your weapons via attachments, like scopes, extended magazines, and grenade launchers to name a few. You can also reboot, which is the same as prestiging in Call of Duty. You can reboot up to 5 times and you get new dog tag rewards for doing so. I must also add that the multi-player maps are some of the best I have ever seen. Simply put the multi-player maps are genius.
GAMEPLAY MODES: They’re a couple of game modes you can play on multiplayer: Team Instant Action, Instant Action, Crash-Site, Capture The Relay, Assault, and Extraction. Which equates to Team Death-Match, Lone Wolfs, King Of The Hill, and Capture The Flag. Assault is different though, as teams of Nano-Suit soldiers try to extract data from computers all over the map armed with only pistols and their suit powers. Meanwhile, a squad of regular soldiers armed with assault rifles tries to stop them from downloading the data. Extraction mode requires a team to protect two power nodes on the map, while the other team tries to steal them and extract them onto a helicopter. Both teams take 1 turn at it and the team with the most nodes collected under the quickest time wins.
KILL-STREAK REWARDS: Every map on Crysis 2 multi-player has its own set of kill-streak rewards. Here is a list of kill-streak rewards you may encounter in a multi-player match: Maximum Nano-Suit: Gained after 7 kills, grants you infinite Nano-Suit energy and stronger nano armor for a minute or so. Maximum Radar: Gained after 3 kills, it tracks all then enemies for your team on the radar screen. Radar Jammer: Blocks the enemy radar for a couple of minutes. Orbital Strike: Gained after seven kills in a row, causes a giant laser to fall from the sky on your opponents. Ceph Airstrike: An alien ship hovers above the map raining down bombs and heavy machine gun fire on your enemies. Nano-Suit Jammer: A beacon drops onto an area designated by you and pulsates an area effect EMP blast on that area for a couple of minutes.
In order to call in these kill-streak rewards you must collect dog tags from fallen enemies you have killed in the battlefield. For example, if you kill 5 people in the battlefield and only collect 3 dog tags you get a Maximum Radar, but if you collect all 5 dog tags you get an Orbital Strike.
MULTIPLAYER HICK-UPS: When you party up with your friends it will separate the party the first game. There will be moments when some of your team-mates are put on the other team, negating the reason you partied up in the first place. It will though, put all your team members back in one team after the first game. From then on you can continue being in a party. Sometimes, some of your team member will not make it to the match and you will have to start the process above again; it gets annoying. Another rare occurrence in the game after noob-tubing (grenade-launcher) or reloading your gun locks up and you cannot shoot. I found the solution to this problem was to change my primary gun to the secondary weapon then switch right back. The black screen of death, this happens when the game doesn't load up the map and at this point you have to dashboard cause the game is frozen. When you run out of ammo and want to change weapons to avoid reloading the game will sometimes reload your secondary weapon when you pull it out, negating your primary motive in the process. Your energy bar will sometimes deplete all the way for no reason after just being fully recharged, this is known as the energy glitch.
GRAPHICS: The graphics are realistic and ambitious, as they try to portray a war torn New York City. The level design is genius; it incorporates the destruction of your surroundings into the game play itself. It used to be that jagged destroyed objects would just get in your way when navigating a level, but in Crysis 2, navigating the destruction is part of the level design. As most of your cover and escape routes will be provided by the debris in these devastated environments. The Crytec graphics engine is amazing and helps give the game a Gears of War realistic, gritty look and feel. Yet, the game plays with the speed and intensity of Call of Duty. I am not lying when I say these are possibly the best graphics to ever hit a console.
TIPS: 1.Press in the Left Trigger while aiming down your sights and increase your accuracy at the cost of Nano-Suit energy. 2. The key to victory is remaining unseen and catching the enemy by surprise. To do this, you must navigate the level while being behind or under constant cover. A good way to maintain your invisibility is to crouch walk behind cover, while you recharge your energy. This will keep you in constant motion towards or away from your enemies without being seen. 3. Choosing the right perks and weapons for you and the levels you're going to play. The following perks will be good for any beginner, for the armor perk choose energy transfer, for the stealth perk vision enhance, and for the power perk choose mobility enhance. Another handy perk is the load out perk, it can be found under power perk. It allows you to carry two primary weapons; I carry a sniper gun and a Feline gun. This way I can snipe on the larger levels and protect myself from enemies that are gunning for me and are too close for comfort. 4. If your weapon doesn't have the range or you don’t want to give out your position, you can always spot an enemy for your team-mates. Tagging an enemy is easy just press up on your d-pad and highlight the enemy. This will put a red arrow on that enemy and will allow for all your team-mates to know where he is for a few seconds. Though he may be out of your reach he may be within another team-mates grasp.5. Ducking, only duck when trying to remain unseen and never during a head on fire fight. When you duck during a fire-fight it is easier for the enemy to score a head-shot, which equates to an instant death. 6. Turret-guns pull them out of their posts and walk around or camp in a corner with them. They are very powerful and will kill most opponents in 2 shots. They are also very good for head-shots, so kind of spray towards the head area. Remember one head shot and its game over no matter what. 7. If you're going to scout and tag people for your friends, it is best to have the Enhanced Vision Perk on. Enhanced Vision will highlight the enemies in red when you aim, allowing you to tag them faster.8.This game is also best played with a team as it has a tendency of making people rage quit.9. I am currently the #2 player in the world for wins on Crysis 2. Use these tips so that my team does not totally eradicate you when we meet and we will meet on the battlefield.
SOUND: Crysis 2 has some very impressive sound effects. You’ll be able to hear team-mates calls for back-up echoing down halls and through walls. Bullets crackling in the back-ground prompt you to turn on your Nano-Suit, as it are go time. Every sound in the game is detailed and precise. For example, you will hear glass shatter into hundreds of pieces when you run through a window or the sounds of the industrial city echoing high above the air, while battling atop a ten foot story building. The soundtrack is becoming of the games premise, nothing you will be humming or remembering years from now, it just sets the mood and gets the job done. I found the story in the campaign to be immersive thanks to the excellent voice acting in the game.
STORY: A team of marines is sent to extract Prophet a Nano-Suit wearing super-soldier from an epidemic stricken quarantined zone that is New York City.The Marines then come under attack by an alien ship and all are wiped out but you. Prophet a mysterious Nano-Suit wearing super-soldier winds up rescuing you. Prophet then gives you the last of the surviving Marines his Nano-Suit and his mission before offing himself. Apparently he has found the cure to the epidemic known as the Spore. The information though, is lost with his death and you must now partner up with a scientist named Gould who was helping Prophet with his missions. You must now solve the Prophet's puzzle in the middle of a quarantined zone all the while an alien invasion is going on in the back-ground. To make things worse the C.E.L.L. army is after you as well as they are charged with your retrieval from the field dead or alive.
FINAL VERDICT: This game has a great campaign that is both lengthy and challenging not to mention fun. The multi-player is in a class of its own. This is not a poor man’s Halo or Call of duty, this is a stand alone title. I believe this is a new franchise people will be looking forward to playing in its next iterations. The game offers alot for your money. If you’re a FPS nut then I recommend this game for purchase or rental. My score for this game is a 10/10! This game offers action and excitement, all the likes that you have seen before but it cranks it to 11!
Review submitted by Ron Zambie, Phoenix Gamer contributor
Saturday, May 14, 2011
To say that the original Portal was popular is perhaps the biggest understatement of its 2007 debut. The game featured some of the best writing, puzzles and overall atmosphere of 90% of the games on the market today and the sequel doesn't disappoint.(Warning - Minor Spoilers)
While not exactly pushing the system to it's limits, the graphics are vibrant, clean and crisp.
One of the strongest parts of this game has to be the story. Set hundreds of years after the first Portal, you play once again as Chell as she awakens from a cryogentic chamber. Throughout the first part of the game you are accompanied by a core on a rail by the name of Wheatley. As the game progresses, you get your trusty portal gun and come face to face with GLaDOS again. You eventually end up teaming up with GLaDOS to escape the facility.
Sound/Voice acting: 10/10
The voice acting is superb. The writing is just as wity and clever as the first Portal if not more so.
This is much more difficult than the first Portal and that's a good thing. After playing through the first Portal once, I was able to beat it faster and faster. That's not the case with this one. The inclusion of gels, light bridges, and excursion funnel add a whole new dimension to the game, opening up a plethora of ways to complete each puzzle. To sweeten the deal, there's even a co-op mode complete with its own individual story that's totally seperate from the main game.
Final Score: 9.5/10
At the end of the day if loved Portal, you'll love Portal 2. If you just liked Portal, you'll still love Portal 2. It's that good.
Article Submitted by Tony at 3FG, Phoenix Gamer Contributor