Monday, August 28, 2000

Bayonetta PS3 review 9.0

Attention: This review was made with the PS3 patch that fixes the framerate and adds HDD option to my 320 GB HDD. Release date January 28, 2010.

In 1971, scored the band Led Zeppelin a huge hit with the song "Stairway to Heaven '. It sings singer Robert Plant, the sentence:" And she's buying a Stairway to Heaven. That's all well and good, of course, but after we Bayonetta have but we think there suddenly very differently. In the game you play because of a witch, as the title suggests, is called Bayonetta and her memory is lost. Hundreds of years, she sat in a box and is now awake, but without memory. Searching for answers, she is haunted by angels, in contrast to what we are told that angels are anything but peaceful. We accompanied her on the quest for answers and now have the review for you!
Before we elaborate on issues such as: the gameplay, audio, graphics and play like we can already say this. Yes, the game has some technical problems, but if you have a PlayStation 3 game and want to buy? Do not be frightened by what critics do not all say about the PlayStation 3 version of the game, because some tiny dots after it is still a great experience. Anyway we obviously have to explain why the game is so good and that is exactly what we do. Get ready for a game like you've never seen before and show that you have in your dreams will follow! Each game starts somewhere, however, so we just go off to the story to.
Bayonetta is set in the fictional city called Vigrid, this city is not entirely fictitious. As you probably know Bayonetta has a lot to do with mythology and the name of the city is not simply chosen. Vigrid is because from the Norse mythology, it represents the battlefield where the gods fought the giant black Sartre. The fictional European town Vigrid looks like a battlefield between giants and gods. Some own more than condominiums. Although they themselves do not exactly know Bayonetta is a member of the Umbra Witches, an old women from existing clan. They have magical powers which they draw from the Mon On the other hand, the Sages Lumen clan, a group of men who draw strength from the Sun
Together they hold a treasure called "The Eyes of the World '. One clan is "The Left Eye ', the other course," The Right Eye. " Light and Darkness, Day and Night, you understand that these are in balance. Naturally things go wrong and on and treasure the days disappear and a war breaks out between two clans and kill each other. To make matters worse, Bayonetta and her partner Jane have also been attacked by so-called 'Angels' that appear to come from heaven. Fighting on a broken piece of church introduces the game with your story and your character. After a wild roller coaster ride was suddenly dark and starts the game in modern times. Bayonetta hundreds of years appears to have sat in a box and has already been twenty years among us, now it's your turn.
A fairly early so hectic and one you will not soon forget. Bayonetta is a third-person action game where the concept of 'action' more than present. The control of the game is pretty simple on the surface, but as you get more moves and weapons unlocked quite deep. The game can be played off by just button bash, but gamers looking for but the hottest and coolest moves weapons can very deeply with Bayonetta. Of course, you buy weapons and moves to something and that you are called halos. These are the large gold rings that float above the heads of angels, only here you chop their heads off and take you into the halo. Then you visit your good friend and arms dealer who Rodin at the gate of hell is waiting for your halos.
Not everyone will just visit the gates of hell, but we've already told you that Bayonetta is a devil? Lumen The Sages are namely the gate of heaven, the Umbra Witches are those of hell. Got it? Good, then we can continue our Bayonetta Devil. The witch has a good range of moves and weapons ready to help you and not even close. When it has weapons on its limbs, both her hands to her feet as she guns. There are also weapons like a sword, a spear, an ax and so on. The most dangerous weapon of hers is still the alluring black hair and that's no joke. Were you always curious why its so good care of their women? We have the answer here!
Bayonetta is because her shiny hair transform into disgusting creatures such as giant fists, boots and a number of creatures including a dragon and a giant bird. As she does we see something remarkable and that is that the black suit that also has to Bayonetta locks is made! The genitals are just mind, but she is practically nude sample of a three storey banging into each other, action was never this good. In addition to these weapons is also a very cool feature and the "Torture Attacks. If Bayonetta namely a number of enemies defeated without being touched there is a full bar, at some point, the player the triangle and circle button and may be performed Torture Attack.
These attacks are very diverse and different enemies will also appear special. Thus Bayonetta a gallows where she calls her opponent bonjourt or a box full of spikes where an angel is depressed. There are about a dozen different Torture Attacks and they are all equally fun. Of course it is even more fun when it different enemies can exert Platinum Games deserves praise for creativity and imagination! Itself at the very end of the game, the player still new enemies, they all have different names and characteristics. So you have enemies that can fly and have a spear, a large kind of lizard that fire balls shooting, flying rays with pointed tails, flying creatures as big as buildings with traditional chiefs, and so on.
Of course there are plenty of bosses back at the end or midway a chapter reports should be. It all starts with one being about as big as a house and from there it is just bigger, stronger, narrower and more difficult for the absurd to it. The best trick is the fact that first you are very impressed by the first boss, but then you just fight against three at a time in a little later in the game and then again overwhelmed by a still greater being. So you see the progress as a player that you and your character books. If a being a bit too strong, but it is slow then you also have the opportunity to "Witch Time" to use. Indeed if the player evades an attack just in time with R2, then slows down time here and you're faster.

Make no mistake in Bayonetta, because it's not like you go from one room to the other enemies to run a cup size. You will have many hurdles to overcome, and these vary from running over a waterfall to the running of a church while it falls down. This may sound crazy, but wait till you play the game and we seem suddenly not so crazy. As we previously said, Bayonetta is a spectacle from start to finish and gives you little time to rest. Because the steering is so nice smooth keep you busy and you are motivated to overcome every obstacle again. Some obstacles, like in slow motion of a falling wall to another falling wall jump, are just too much for our human Bayonetta. Therefore this kind of situation can also further transform into a panther or a crow. The panther is very fast and the crow can fly over unfathomable depths.

Bayonetta is typical of the sexual undertones that contains the game constantly. Each time you back here to laugh at a crazy move at a critical moment. So she suddenly pole dancing with a giant hatchet, or is it deliberately with legs spread right in the picture. And we have not even had the lollipop, always has a lollipop in her mouth Bayonetta her any extra energy. The way they do thing, however, to keep it clean, consuming to say the least challenging. Platinum Games in the men do like a touch of humor. The game certainly has a serious undertone, but the seductive Bayonetta makes it often very funny. The other characters sometimes take a naughty joke.

Graphic Bayonetta has a special and magical style. The game has very nice lighting effects and the characters look convincing. Although the game is something of a character like stijltje conservation. The eye care environments, and with much attention in the game process. They come at you a magnificent Colosseum, a large church, an underground maze or a paradise in cheerful colors. The game is generally well cared for, but unfortunately we can not ignore the problems around the PlayStation 3 version entails. Now and then have absolutely no frame rate drops and load times at the oddest places. This is the momentum of the game not as good and even the start menu includes a loading screen can even be frustrating.

Load times can be found everywhere in fact Bayonetta, whether you pick an item, want to load the start menu or simply anywhere wraps around the corner. Not that every corner you have a loading screen, but sometimes it just happens that a few seconds to load while being chased by a lava flow. That does not mean that the game has become a great experience. Partly due to the beautiful sound of the game. The music has a feminine elegance, but can sometimes care for a serious undertone. Platinum Games wanted a female character is also female accompaniment of music, something that they certainly succeeded. The sound of rain, falling rocks, lava, water and tunes as you pick up such a sacred object are excellent.

As a final remark can perhaps be called the camera a tad annoying to do, but fortunately you have the opportunity to R3 with the camera quickly to place the butt of Bayonetta. Overall the game is just well cared for, it looks good, sounds good and plays well. Unfortunately the present loading times so that it can be frustrating. It does not spoil the experience, but after playing the 360 version, we had to conclude that PlayStation 3 version is clearly inferior. There are also very occasionally some of the previously mentioned frame rate problems.
On whether we hit the first of 2010 I have with a resounding: yes. Bayonetta certainly has agreements with Devil May Cry, but has chosen to simultaneously complete a separate identity. With a great character, a beautiful world and large numbers of enemies present, this is a game you played as a fan of action games should be. Yes, the game has some problems, but what would it if you can fight against monsters that are greater than your own home? So you have a PlayStation 3 Bayonetta and you want to play? Do not be stopped by the equations you found on the Internet, because the Sony console Bayonetta is a game of epic proportions. Hideki Kamiya may again be proud of himself and his team!

Sunday, August 27, 2000

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

What you, as you wonder in this translation is that the game has improved technically and whether it has become not a bad game, because the unique Nintendo DS capabilities are lacking. On a logical question, but on the other hand, it is a game from Rockstar and if someone is experienced in making games than they will. Fortunately we have good news like that, because it has convenient solutions to the gameplay that make up the difference and the game is technically improved. But before we really go in depth, it is important to first have a look at the story behind this game to watch. That decision is entirely different and has no connection with other parts.

Huang Lee travels to Liberty City to a sword of great value to the family, to deliver to his uncle. But he has not landed or if he is attacked and left for dead. Not really a good start, while another is also that his father was murdered. Lee Huang is not a coward and is soon to visit his uncle who is quite as cold as a stone block at the bottom of the ocean. His uncle runs a large part of the city, then indeed the underworld, and this is a little empire to collapse. So how annoying it is to Huang, his presence is still very convenient, because soon after the conversation with his uncle, he can go to work for many dirty jobs to restore.

The story continues gradually between the missions and again by a typical GTA story. It's great, works as a good red line around the gameplay is somewhat interesting to follow. Very shocking story should not be experienced, as we have seen better stories in the franchise. Nevertheless, it is a nice trip to the Asian mafia, and this provides a different approach to the game on. Besides, Huang was quite on the dry side and can be sharp with his comments. Furthermore, the gameplay of this game is virtually identical to other parts. You get missions and characters that range from the elimination of certain figures and works against the triads steal cars, and sabotaging them.

The missions themselves are not particularly, because we've all seen before. These missions continue to somehow still fun to play in this game and they get some kind of value. A good example is that at some point racing cars to steal. This is not just your cock. Look, everyone in the car, but then it started, that's another story. This is a mini game involved and then again it varies by car. Sometimes you need at the right time on the X button if the figure passes by in a series of ten, which are indicated below. Other times you have with the analog stick encircle as screws and then the wires together, so that the engine starts.

The mini games are new to the franchise and give it an extra added value. The missions are fun and playable, because you never really too long doing. The mini games add an extra element to the existing missions, so that you, you will not easily bored. The missions themselves are also good and varied it creates another Rockstar typically part of the franchise that is especially fun to play. However, a disadvantage of the mini games after a while not really exciting anymore. In the beginning you will like them and it definitely adds to what. But if for the hundredth time to do the same if you want to steal a car, you can do some work against. But that is the price that we paid for the port to the PlayStation Portable.

The original Nintendo DS game, came on the handheld Nintendo very good to her right because of the many possibilities for a mini-game to apply. The PSP is just the trigger, the analog stick and d-pad limited. The lack of a touchpad is a pity, but if you've played Nintendo DS version is not unlike the writer of this piece, then you are probably not very long wakefulness. Because anyway, you get a nice game for the PlayStation Portable with many familiar elements, but also really great and new additions.

In terms of gameplay, the game then surely expanded compared to the "Stories" sections. We are in many cases, especially on Grand Theft Auto IV thinking and not because the city is the same, but more the way you play and that's a good evolution. The city itself is also quite large and consists of the rightmost two islands of Grand Theft Auto IV, that if you map from a viewing perspective. This gives pretty much fun and many varied locations. These are visually well mapped. Moreover, it is completely different angle than you're used to from the "Stories" and what parts of the PlayStation 2 and 3 appeared. Something that most probably will know, if not, at this explanation.

Grand Theft Auto 1 and 2 had a top-down view. From the air you actually looked at on an interactive map down and this is the case with China Town Wars. But instead of you looking straight down, this game is different. A direct definition is not, because it contains a top-down view, which effectively 2D but the game itself then 3D. Let's keep it on the game between 2D and 3D. Graphically, the game than their approach differently than the full 3D games, which previously appeared on this handheld. Yet we must say that Rockstar has a very nice game graphically made of.

The game features a day-night cycle, neat-looking vehicle, which I still want to get into accidents verzeilt. In addition, people walk everywhere, which are large relative failure, but that aside. Besides this "living" things should also be noted that the city is somehow a self ambiance. It lives and all that is the game for good. It also looks all very tidy and organized. So was the game on the Nintendo DS still somewhat a bit on the blocky side. On the PlayStation Portable is a lot better, because the handheld is also stronger. The game does not turn, cut scenes, as the "Stories" sections.

The story is told through cell-shaded slides. Here you see the characters constantly engaged in dialogue, it is then displayed via text at the bottom. This is quite a considerable step back and perhaps the highest for the Nintendo DS, but the fact remains that there might be some more effort into could have been. On the other hand there are enough positive things to say about the game, so we do not have to worry about to make. One example is the audio. This is generally nice to call radio stations and especially the sound again as usual. Many choice of stations with various music styles, so nobody gets bored.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, a fun game that somewhat goes back to the roots, because the camera perspective. It offers the player plenty of variety and the minigames are a good addition to the gameplay. It's just that they are long term not really up to its promise, but that's mainly the control capabilities of the PlayStation Portable to blame. The cut scenes are really exciting and technically it is a pity that no more work has made. Nevertheless, the game is generally a sound purchase. It looks nice, has great variety and the audio is typically. The game is especially ideal for short play sessions and after completing the single player there is a lot to do. A game that you will keep being busy.

Overall 9
Graphics 10
Sound 9

Saturday, August 26, 2000

Batman Arkham City (PS3) 9.5

Anybody who has played Batman: Arkham Asylum and loved it knows precisely why it was such an amazing game. Take one part Matrix: Path of Neo for epic, super-human martial arts beat-em up; ad in another part Splinter Cell style sneaking around in dark environments for tense moments that test skill and patience; throw in some cool gadgetry to help you along the way like in Ape Escape; mix it in with amazing graphics, superb voice actors, and arguably the greatest super-hero ever and you had Batman: Arkahm Asylum.

So, how much more can such an already amazing game offer us if given a sequel? Apparently, a whole lot more.

If you can believe it, the intro to Arkham City is even better and more pulse-pounding than the intro to the first. You start off, not as Batman, but as Bruce Wayne, who is lobbying against Arkham City. I won't give anything away about what soon happens to our seemingly mild-mannered aristocrat, but I will say this...laying the beat down on some thugs as the boy-billionaire is one of coolest experiences I've had in gaming.

Soon afterwards, you suit up. Now you are Batman, but this isn't a self-contained island you're dealing with anymore. This is a no man's land. Pouncing on an unsuspecting group of baddies isn't as simple as it used to be; there are always more goons lurking around the corners, ready to jump into the fray like a vicious pack of wolves. More than once you'll find yourself overwhelmed and having to flee a fight while the stinging insults of said goons follow in your wake. Take my advice and just let it go. Survival is the name of the game.

If you've been watching Youtube then you've no doubt seen Batman's new flight mechanics. These are as fun in practice as they are to watch, although there is a learning curve to gliding effectively. There's also a pesky helicopter searching for you at all times. These guys are Tyger, Hugo Strange's own henchmen. Avoiding the helicopter can be tricky, but also fun.

As you'd expect, Arkham City plays almost exactly like the first one with a few tweaks and upgrades. Batman starts off with most of the same gadgets he had at the end of the first, including the grapple gun, the cryptographic sequencer and the remote batarang. He also has several new moves for melee situations. Batman must've been taking lessons from Chuck Norris because his martial arts are better and flashier than ever. He now has the ability to perform a counter-attack against two or more assailants at a time instead of just one. He has a new punch combo attack where he repeatedly thrusts with each press of the button. As Batman lays down an 18 punch combo on a single guy, or gigantic goon, I can't help but think of Kenshiro! "The one-hundred crack fist of the North Star! You're already dead!" Oh, but...this is Batman so minus the brutal killing of your foes. Let's just say he's more like Donkey Kong when beating up some Tikis.

The new combat moves make the game as fun as ever but also makes NOT using them an exercise in restraint. As stated before, enemies can show up when you least suspect and they sometimes pack heat. This will undoubtedly force all of us to use our brains even more when devising effective plans of attack. To aid in stealthy takedowns are a new set of "predator moves" where Batman can use far more takedowns from different hiding positions than he had previously. Again, a new set of moves and abilities to augment the ones we had before in Arkham Asylum. It's almost like the first game just laid the foundation and the sequel built onto it!

In addition to the main story mission are additional side missions that will pop up along the way. These may have you saving random inmates from other, worse inmates, to working with Bane to dispose of drums of Titan chemicals (Titan once more plays into the game's story) to solving mysteries planted by the Riddler. (By now we've all heard the "Riddler is Jigsaw!" equations made by everyone so I won't bore you with that. I don't even like Saw). You may want to hold off on the missions that involve Zaasz making you run across Arkham City to answer telephones until you've unlocked some flying upgrades. Certain henchmen will be highlighted in green. These are henchmen you can interrogate to acquire more info about the various crime lords they are working under. Taking them out last to initiate interrogation is a tough and not always fun exercise that we will nevertheless do in order to gain more precious XPs.

This game has a dark look and feel that pulls you in. Jumping across rooftops as the Batman is a whole `nother experience from doing it as Spiderman. The dingy, grungy look of the city, the background music and ambience. All of these together invade your subconscious until you feel alive with primal, survival instincts. I can't even describe it, really. You feel like a predator, but also like the prey. You're always walking a narrow line between seeming invincibility, and utter helplessness. This game puts you in a place all of us have been our whole lives without always realizing. When we dreamed we were running from danger, or dreamed we were conquering obstacles to achieve glory. This is just a personal opinion, of course, but I'd swear I've seen this in my dreams. Maybe I was just dreaming of being the Batman. This is as close as any of us will likely get.

The villains look fantastic. Mr. Freeze, interestingly enough, has a huge suit that reminds me of the Mr. Freeze suit from Batman and Robin. I apologize for even bringing THAT movie up, but the suit in that movie was still cool looking. Mr. Freeze looks menacing and sounds awesome with the voice talents of Maurice LaMarche (the guy who was Brain in Pinky and the Brain and about a million different voices in Futurama!) Penguin looks viscious and cruel and is twice as ruthless, no doubt to overcome his own size. Twoface looks somewhere between The Animated Series version and the Dark Knight version. Then there's the unexpected appearance of Solomon Grundy who looks like a nightmarish Frankenstein's monster and who is even bigger than Killer Croc!

In summation, Arkahm City is anther step forward for an already revolutionary game franchise. There are the usual shortcomings, however. You may find yourself wandering around, not knowing what to do until you trigger the right event to move the game forward. Figuring out some of the new controls may be a chore even to veteran players. And the boss fights still feel like, well, boss fights. Run around, dodge attacks and wait for the inevitable weak point to expose itself. Standard video game stuff, really. Of course, that's just all part of the experience. If it was too easy we wouldn't enjoy it as much, would we?

There's no reason for anyone who liked Arkahm Asylum to not like this one. If you didn't like the first one then I don't know how I could recommend this to you. It's the same game, just much bigger. If you don't like sandbox sandbox games and prefer something linear you can still focues on just the main mission. On the whole it's the same game, just with more stuff. That may be good news to some and bad news for others. For fans of the first, it definitely delivers. We finally got the new Batman Game, now just three more weeks til Skyrim!

Some people may compare this game's story, not unjustly, to Escape from NewYork. Maybe they're just nitpicking, though. Even if that's the case, there are still plenty of twists and turns to keep players genuinely surprised right up until they get to of the end main mission.
I'm afraid I can't comment much on DLC since they have it in such a way that different people get different things. I've heard after a certain point, though, we'll all be able to download the same content...for a price.

Friday, August 25, 2000

Tales of the Abyss review | 8.0

While the Tales series isn't nearly as big as other series (namely Final Fantasy), it's still a particularly fun and satisfying game to play. For one, the Tales series has always been able to bring about fantastic gameplay and expansive worlds. While the stories sometimes seem generic they're brilliantly told with fantastic characters. Tales of the Abyss is the latest in the series and needless to say, if you liked Tales of Legendia or even the far superior (and arguably best) Tales of Symphonia, you'll more than likely enjoy this game.

Tales of the Abyss follows Luke Von Fabre. A spoiled rich kid who is busy trying to regain his memories. He was kidnapped seven years ago and can't remember a thing from before then. He's cooped up in a manor, though, and is restricted from leaving. During a training session with his master Van, someone breaks into the manor and attempts to kill him. When Luke steps up to defend his master, the two are suddenly teleported to a different location. It would be pretty basic... if you didn't meet such entertaining characters along the way. Just the same, the dialog is really clever, witty and full of humor. Simply put, you'll have a ball with these characters as they go off and save the world. It overall makes what would've been a generic story very interesting. Not only that, but there are several plot twists. Many of which you won't see coming.

Needless to say it's pretty standard stuff that you'd find yourself getting into some battles. It is, after all, an RPG. Tales of the Abyss has the best battle system in the entire series. It's far more expansive and free.

Battles are pretty much free roam. It's much faster and more intense than turn based combat. At first it's pretty simple stuff. You control one character while the AI controls the other three. Usually in a game when the AI controls the characters it's not a good thing. In the Tales of the Abyss, it's not only a good thing, but easy to tweak with as well. You can change the settings if need be to the point where characters won't waste their tech points so fast, or maybe you want them to focus primarily on attacking all together. Either way, the AI works rather well for this game.

While in battle you can use artes. These are your characters special attacks and techs. You can also string them together all you want as you get further in the game. Characters have their own unique artes, and they have quite a bit of them. This makes battling rather fun. Another great aspect of Tales of the Abyss is that up to four people can play by using a multi-tap.

The game is not an easy game, however. Many boss battles are a pain and even some normal battles can throw you for a loop. Even if you feel you're not being challenged enough, you can change the difficulty level whenever you want. Upon completing the game once even more difficulty levels are unlocked.

Everything about the battle system is pretty simple stuff. There is first the field of fonons. Fonons are the elemental factors at work. When a character cast a spell of a certain fonon a field will appear where the spell struck. Characters can then use these field of fonons for certain artes to perform a much more devastating attack.

There are also Capacity Cores for your characters. You can equip them to certain artes and abilities go to work. For example, you can power up an arte, or make it cost less MP. Some will even allow you to steal or make the effects of certain status artes last longer.

Perhaps the best part about Tales of the Abyss is that it's overall a huge game. Almost everywhere you go is filled with secrets. The main quest alone will keep you busy for hours. Even when it comes to secrets, you'll have to play through the game a second time to unearth them all. This easily makes the game over 100 hours long in and of itself. Tales of the Abyss is filled with as many secrets as any Final Fantasy game.

The voice acting is fantastic. It's lively, full of heart. Even the moments where it's not to the best of it's abilities, the voice acting is good. A lot of the music in Tales of the Abyss is forgettable. Battle themes are really good and catchy, but on the field there's nothing you'll be humming any time soon.

I wish I could tell you the graphics were absolutely fantastic. They're not, unfortunately. Many of the environments are vague. When playing on an HD television the games rougher edges really come out. For a late generation PS2 RPG, Tales of the Abyss is just not pretty to look at. The load times between battles are also very annoying.

At the very least, however, Tales of the Abyss is an exciting RPG filled with secrets, side quests, and tons of likeable characters. Any RPGer would be proud to have it.

The Good

+The characters really bring the story to life. The story itself is basic, but with these characters it become interesting
+The battle system is fast and addictive with lots of interesting aspects
+Great voice acting
+Great dialog and sense of humor

The Bad

-Horrendous Load times
-Some of the graphics could use a touch up
-Battle themes are good, but the rest of the soundtrack is forgettable

Thursday, August 24, 2000

Borderlands PS3 review | 8.0

this is my first review, hope it's helpful (feel free to leave a comment and tell me what i did wrong/right). anyway, on with the amateur ramblings!

when i first saw the trailers for Borderlands a couple of months ago, i said to myself "that looks amazing (in both the graphical and gameplay departments), but it seems to be trying way too hard". i also thought it looked like what Fallout 3 would've been if it was a FPS with RPG elements as opposed to the RPG with FPS view that it is.

as a bit of side information, i got Killzone 2 a week ago and have been playing it nonstop. i've already beaten it twice and i've spent pretty much every waking moment (to my girlfriend's annoyance) playing the campaign or the multiplayer. when i woke up today there was a delivery on my stoop. i told myself i'd open up Borderlands first (i also bought Resistance 2 and a few old school PS1 games (FFIX!)) and play it til the first save or checkpoint. this was at 11am, i'm writing this review at 11:30pm and save for going to dinner with my friends and dropping my sister off at the dorms, i've played the entire time. this game is just that engrossing and sheer fun

i don't think i can explain exactly what makes Borderlands so fantastic... there's just something about it. reviews i had seen on a few sites said that it takes a while for the game to get going and that by the 10th hour or so it really starts to be fun. well, if the game gets much more fun than this, it will be close to my game of the year. everything about Borderlands oozes style and love (meaning you can just tell how much the developers cared about this project). the pacing of the game is fantastic, the difficulty is a little up there, but it works and is never frustrating. the controls are spot on as far as responsiveness, but some of the button mapping is a bit strange (who maps fire to L2? and there doesn't seem to be a way to change it). the AI is fantastic with weapon-based enemies finding anyplace they can to duck behind and fire for cover, while the dog like creatures just get right up in your face. this can be frustrating, but it really makes you feel good when you finally blast them away.

the RPG elements are just kinda... there. while i don't think they detract from the game, i also think that they could have been implemented differently without the overall game changing on a base level. that being said, Borderlands does a great job of Diablo style leveling-up. part of the reason i couldn't stop playing is cause you're ALWAYS building up your character in some small way. it's just incredibly addictive and fulfilling. the one minor nitpick that i can throw in here is having to press square every. single. time. you wanna pick up an item. you can hold it down to pick up multiple items that are very close to each other, but you'll be pressing square A LOT. i know tehre's some things you might not want, but you spend so much time in your inventory screen anyway, they may as well have made it so you just run over something to grab it.

Borderlands sells itself on the concept of it's "87 Bazillion Guns". i've heard real estimates that say there's at least a few hundred thousand and that sure seems to be true. you'll NEVER stumble on the same gun twice. it's both a good and bad thing. obviously it's fun to try out all sorts of different combinations, but a lot more often than you'd like, you'll wind up with a weapon that, while not useless, is just pretty lame and underpowered. when you do find that perfect sniper rifle that shoots lighting, has a 500-round clip and a 120x zoom (just as one of soooo many examples), it'll all be so very worthwhile.

the rest of my nitpicks, and by the way, that's all they are, cause i don't see a single legitimate big complaint with this game, would be as follows: while the game looks cool in it's own way, it think it's almost like a cop-out art style, maybe they didn't feel like doing textures or something. there's also severe framerate issues where you're in the middle of large battles. the vehicles, which make getting around so much easier,don't handle good at all and you get less Exp when you kill an enemy with your car as opposed to being on foot. i wish there were large online multiplayer deathmatches and CoF battles and the like. i'll have to check out the online "duels" at some point, see if they almost make up for that.

when you get right down to it though, this is just an amazing game all around. the graphics have a sheen and polish that not many games have (it's fun to see little HP numbers rolling off someone as you shoot them in the face). i still think Borderlands is trying a bit too hard to be "cool" in the way a Tarentino or Guy Ritchie movie would be, but it just works anyway (much like a Guy Ritchie movie haha). in the end there's just something about Borderlands, some intangible quality, that makes it such a worthwhile experience. i haven't played the online co-op yet, so i can't speak to that, but the single player is one hell of a ride. the areas might all look a tad samey, there's only four character classes to choose from. the driving physics are pretty bad and there's not much variety in your enemies. thing is, none of that matters, Borderlands is amazing in spite of all of it's very minor flaws.

if you've ever liked an FPS, if you've ever liked level-up-fests like Diablo, etc, hell, even if you wanted more action from Fallout 3, you owe it to yourself to at least give Borderlands a chance. this, along with Killzone 2, BlazBlue, Uncharted 2, Dirt 2 (and i can only assume the new Ratchet and Clank game) is one of the top 5 best games of 2009. there's a damn good chance that this game is considerably better than any other videogame you're looking to get on Amazon... pick Borderlands immediately. you won't be let down.

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands | 8.0

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands: the game that goes back to where it all started once. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was once on the PlayStation 2 a cool new game that was rated very good. The two subsequent sections - Warrior Within and The Two Thrones - showed an increasingly darker side. Afterwards, he was Ubisoft with a cell-shaded Prince of Persia and over again were the cool parts, but the magic of The Sands of Time was great. Ubisoft The Forgotten Sands tries to continue the good elements of The Sands of Time, but they were successful? That you read below.

In Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands prince travels to the kingdom of his brother Malik, being attacked by many enemies. The prince travels to his brother on behalf of his father to go and help, and shortly after your arrival, it hopelessly wrong. Malik leaves the Sands of Time free and proposes that the ancient god Ratesh able to rise up with his army of undead created from sand. Contrary to what Malik goes expecting the army against him, because he looks like King Solomon Ratesh and he previously vowed to destroy the kingdom. By the Sand of Time was released, the amulet that inactivated split into two and both brothers ended.

Because both brothers are now a part, it is important for our prince to unite these two parts and it Ratesh against them, but Malik thinks only of the power he gets, and thus begins to lose confidence in his brother. What happens next you find yourself during the game, but we can say is that the story of this game is fun to put together. The story should not particularly attractive, because it is not really original. However, it fits well in the setting and what you need to do in this new adventure. And let this adventure are exactly what this game it should have.

In our hands-on we were a little critical of this game and that was largely because we felt that the soul is a bit lacking. Today is the final game is pretty surprised, indeed, where we first were critical, we now enjoy the game off. It is perhaps not as attractive as previous installments, but soulless is different. The sections in the vast palace that you are calling nicely put together and the whole gameplay is supported by beautiful appropriate music. In this respect, our great fear is well made and very fine.

The game itself consists of two parts: fighting and climbing and scrambling. The game begins with a nice cut-scene shortly thereafter and begin climbing and scrambling. That went so incredibly smoothly, the desire for more equal opborrelde if we just ended up in a fight. You can use the prince still run along walls, and a reluctant and then jump back and forth. All this is quite easy and within seconds you're one hundred meters higher. You can encounter all sorts of great rocks, ledges and more climbing. The prince may be somewhat unnatural acrobatic, but it feels good, and it looks good as the animations are concerned. Actually everything is just fine in that regard and as you go into the game, is still a lot more fun.

As you progress you get more options. So you'll soon have the opportunity to water stopping. If you do this then everything goes as usual, only the water freezes. Sometimes spraying water from a wall and if you freeze, you can swing this if you make a waterfall into a wall along which you can run. A thick beam from above can be used as a cornerstone for you to cling. This seems simplistic, but you can not always do, because there is a meter that runs until you empty the water still move. In addition, these moments later in the game a sort of puzzle where you must freeze the water, to let go and freeze the same again, otherwise you will not advance.

That is not the only thing going up and scramble to make a puzzle in itself. If you're well over half of the game you also get the opportunity to further parts of walls to recover, which usually had collapsed. But this can only in part. If you then a "retrieved" and you have to piece is a piece that you still need to recover, then you must do so during your jump. This combined with the freezing of water makes it sometimes a challenge. Yet, all this so quickly that you have little to no frustration, and that in itself is an art. Add to this that another puzzle element in our hands-on session pretty annoying were also resolved.

Where we previously have had huge problems with turning levers in the circle is now much less. Totally illogical way, the controller for that matter, but it is much better. What is also very nice - which is especially important in the fighting - is the possibility to upgrade your skills. Frequently you have to fight many different enemies and each time you defeat enemies, this gives you some points. If you have an x number of points, then you can go to a grid point and an exchange of experience. This experience points you get through many enemies. You can experience more points into health, but also for special attacks.

In total you get next to you stand (and further extend) the possibility of sword attacks four magic attacks. This allows you during a fight, assuming we have the four magic "bought" have a number of stone evoke hover around you and serve temporarily as extra armor. In addition, you get a firm magic on the floor, causing the enemies fall. Ice is used to a frozen path for you to create, so that any enemy who comes into contact will receive an additional blow. Finally there is a fiery attack, which also necessary to deliver to the adverse effects enemies.

The combat system is not very deep. Warrior Within had such a huge extensive schedule of combos, but this part of this is addressed. Nice simple fighting with the square and the four key points for magic attacks. Besides a low blow you can get a solid distribution and that's it. Yet the fight is not boring because you combine your magical attacks with each other and in addition you can also use some of your agility in the fighting. The battles themselves are again interspersed with climbing and scrambling, and overcoming the many traps and puzzles by other elements, such as freezing.

In totality, the entire single player nothing more than a fine adventure. It plays wonderfully smooth way, the music sounds great in the ears, and visually see the animations are neat. Graphically, the cut-scene at the beginning impressive, but soon afterwards you notice that the game graphics are not really much to offer. The game is also not a masterpiece, but far from ugly. Nevertheless the overall picture is fine. It is very unfortunate that we are eight hours or by the single previously. Experienced players will likely again start at the highest difficulty level. In addition, the challenge mode just for fun, but keep it up.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands: A game that all the positive things from The Sands of Time reused with new elements and that worked out well. If you're a fan, then this is a great title. The only criticism is that it is a shame that the game is not very long and that if you have him off you're ready with it. The game has some replay value, but that is not enough for the majority of players to keep playing and that is unfortunate. Another downside is that it visually all one piece could have been better. Take your love for these points than is Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands a very nice title that certainly the fans and non-fans may delight from beginning to end.

Sunday, August 20, 2000

Prince of Persia | 9.0

his latest title from the Prince of Persia franchise, the creators not continued with the existing story. We have a new prince, a new story and a fresh new look, but this is where Prince of Persia fans have been waiting for? Are they loyal to the award-winning gameplay and this game is called the Prince of Persia name worth? Let us quickly review these steps and flying carpet a good fly.

Indeed the story is a completely new and we have a new prince. And I'll be honest, the prince I might. He is not as serious as the previous one and also a good sense of humor. I got settled while playing a smile on my face and that is something I appreciate. The story begins with the prince is looking for in a fierce sandstorm Farah. Farah shows, so you come back later in the verhaaler, your ass, and it is laden with gold. Our prince is not a poor devil. During his quest he Elika against which to escape for a group of soldiers. The prince could not resist this beautiful woman to follow and chase.

During the chase begins, as it were a simple tutorial to the tricks of the Principality to learn Persian. You will gradually learn more and more how the prince to drive, but here you learn the basic advance. Climbing and scrambling looks superb and works very intuitively. If you run tegende walls, then jump to the other side and continue running against the other wall, then jump to a pole and then run again, sometimes seriously feels like you can fly. It works very smoothly and it looks great from another. This is already successful and just that aspect, Prince of Persia I found the best in the game Sands of Time.

For me the two parts then why not play and I appreciate this part more. After your short tutorial on climbing and climbing, you see that Elika into trouble. She is surrounded by a group of soldiers and may you and the honorable charmer that you're obviously not over you just let go. Get first to the battle system in Prince of Persia. The fighting system in Prince of Persia is not complicated, but extended. With box do you use your sword to your opponents filleting. With round you use your glove to your opponent's claws to grab and throw into the air. With cross acrobatic show you the tour or for example to avoid the opponent to cross it.

With the R2 button, the prince in a defensive posture to block attacks. If you timed it perfectly, then the defense of your opponent completely open to a counter attack. Then you have finally the triangle and it puts you to work Elika. You throw her towards the opponent and they will then use her magic to attack. So as you already have notes on magic Elika. It is essential not only for the story, but if you want to survive this adventure. Elika is a princess of the Ahura, a tribe which aims at the evil god Ahriman monitor.

The king of Ahura, the father of Elika, the Tree of Life can now cut down and thereby escape Ahriman. The country will turn into a gray, dark and dilapidated world, and this is what Ahriman need to fully escape his prison, where he stuck thousands of years. To stop Ahriman with Elika you must now clear the different areas of evil. There are like four zones, with all its own boss over this region. From the temple, where the story begins and where the State Life, which can first reach areas of the four zones. Get the first dealing with the four followers of Ahriman, those imprisoned with him, but already escaped.

All four areas have then a cluster of four zones and again when you have them removed then you can go to the last area of the zone once and for all an end to the respective follower of Ahriman. To move around a cluster to go Elika will first need a new power. After purification of an area changed it back into a beautiful landscape filled with orbs. You must collect these orbs, as these light bulbs do you need to force an unlock. So if you've collected enough orbs will return to the temple have to activate it. You're in a dream world right where you first use this force and it can get after it in the real world use them.

They are not forces such as shooting a fireball or lightning, but his strength with which you can use special plates. There are four different types and each leaves you in a different way through the area, and achievement points, which you would not otherwise reach. To each cluster to play you need two forces and there you have enough orbs of course is needed. If the area is still dark, you will spend most enemies and avoid defeat, but when you've cleared the whole area then you will again go through the orbs to collect. It sounds complicated, but if your game once you play will fully understand what I mean.

It's a really great game and Elika is extremely useful for the information regions to come. If you fall into the abyss or threatens to die, Elika will you collect or heal. So you can never die while Prince of Persia and it keeps the pace is good at. Also, you will no longer perform a double jump by another miraculous jump in the air, no, now you just jump and then press triangle so Elika you throw a bit further. This will be regulated and what is particularly important that you know what buttons do what. You'll often consecutively a fast pace to push different buttons to move forward in an area.

Prince of Persia with flying colors. The cell-shaded graphics fit perfectly into the dreamlike world where the story takes place and auditory hallucinations you, you govern in the tale of a thousand and one night. The steering is very smooth and you quickly master. It remains cool to see the prince running against walls and even ceilings and environment puzzles will never get bored. I can now say that Ubisoft has managed to be a worthy new Prince of Persia and to bring a completely new story and new prince totally inferior to the previous parts. I venture to say he has improved and that it is quite an achievement. Prince of Persia is really a must and a game that you can not miss in your collection.

Saturday, August 19, 2000

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger | 9.0

First let me give praise to what the developers have done here. This game offers some of the most impressive deep gameplay that you can find in a 2d fighter. The game, even though a spin-off of the Guilty Gear series may as well be a GG game. It keeps a similar art style, over the top characters, and general gameplay as its GG counterpart. With that being said I am also going to say that this game isn't for every 2d fighter fan. The extensive possibilities in the gameplay can be a turn off for some and at the same time a thank you to other players. Let me explain.

When you play through arcade mode you may find yourself winning, but once you go online and run across veteran players they will show you how you know absolutely nothing about this game and have a lot of learning to do. This is no button masher. This game requires precise planning, when it comes to combos, strategy, how to atack your opponent, when to attack your opponent, etc. On top of that this game is so fast at times that you don't have much time to think at all. Now these things can either be good news to you or bad news.

For those who are GG veterans, they will probably have a much easier time learning how to play than others. For those who are coming from let's say Street Fighter, they will find themselves in very unfamiliar territory. This is game is not your normal 2d fighter. The combos take a while to learn and master and you aren't going to get any where online unless you learn them. For those who appreciate all of these things I mentioned, you should go out and get this game; for those who are put off by the steep learning curve, well you decide.

I give the game 4 stars because I feel it deserves it. Perfect games deserve perfect ratings and this game falls short of that because it caters to the hard-core. It is not newbie friendly. The bonus tutorial disc is well appreciated, but I can't imagine how lost customers who buy the regular version in the future will be. For those who do buy the limited version, make sure you write down all the combos the tutorial disc gives you. You are gonna need them.

Friday, August 18, 2000

The ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection | 9.0

It's difficult to believe that over 10 years have passed since Ico was first released, alongside other 2001 classics like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X. Unlike those two games, Ico fared poorly in the sales charts, despite its incredible graphics, great story and gameplay.
However, this was not the end, as 4 years later, the second game by "Team Ico", Shadow of the Colossus (SotC), was strongly promoted and achieved much better sales figures.
Now, Sony has breathed a second life into these games, thanks to this hi-def PS3 re-release.

Both games have been significantly enhanced in this PS3 remastery by Bluepoint Games (who also remastered the God of War Collection and the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 games), with the most important changes being:
+ 720p or 1080p @ 30fps framerate, with very little slowdown as found in the PS2 version during intense Colossus battles
+ Native widescreen support for Ico
+ Gameplay is ported from the European version, with the extra puzzle, weapon, and other small changes
+ Trophies! [16 for Ico, 31 for SotC]
+ 7.1 surround sound
+ Behind the scenes videos + 2 dynamic themes (yours to keep!)
+ Reversible cover insert containing original cover art for both games
= 3D support (but only at 720p, and framerate reduces down to 15fps during some of the battles in SotC)
- Textures appear to be more detailed, but they still look blocky close up, and the polygons look the same
- The menu/map in SotC is stretched on a widescreen TV, while the menu for Ico looks sharp and completely redone

I have already beaten Ico and the first few battles of SotC on PS2, and am finding this remake just as enjoyable, especially since there is virtually no slowdown even at 1080p. Do realize that both of these games are relatively short with limited replay value (<5 hours for Ico and <10 hours for SotC, much more if you want all of the trophies). The high production values of both games is maintained during their short stories, and you will likely spend several hours just looking at the beautiful environments in both games (especially Ico). The orchestrated music during each battle in SotC is terrific and fitting, as are the ambient sounds throughout both games. The controls are very simple, but some of the puzzles/colossus battles are incredibly challenging the first time around.

An in depth comparison of the various graphical settings can be found at [...]

For the $40 MSRP, you are still getting a good bargain, even if the games have been out for 6-10 years, as the visual experience is so much better on an HDTV (if you don't have an HDTV, get one).

Now go out and save a "princess"!

Wednesday, August 16, 2000

Red Faction: Guerrilla | 8.5

Red Faction: Guerilla is a sandbox game that has a enough unique elements in it that separates it from the recent influx of sandbox titles. The environment is uncommon and and the main character is a revolutionary that actually fights for a cause that isn't. selfish, and he isn't a thug.

Guerilla is designed like most snadbox titles with a unlockable map, safe house, mission objectives and a weak story. You drive around a decent sized landscape using a varied set of vehicles that are different than most sandbox games. The Mars environment is a nice change and the day/night cycle is put to great use to illiminate the barren, mountanious landscape. Compared to most open world games that involve cities, Guerilla's design is very plain in and rather monotonous. Most of Guerilla's innovation comes with the Geo Mod 2.0 Engine that allows you to destroy any man made object with great detail.

Red Factions gameplay is typical of all the recent sandbox games. The unique environment provides a different twist on the missions, while the repetition and weak story continues the grenres shortcomings. Guerilla's gameplay involves expanding a map by completing mission objectives, and furthering the Red Factions cause inside the different Mars colonies. Red Faction'smost endearing quality is that you play as a good man, with good intentions. The shooting is competent, the vehicle controls are good, and the citizen involvement is impressive. The enemy faction known as the EDF (Earth Defense Force) are everywhere, and the moral meter that controls colonists involvement within your actions is an important element. However, the most important gameplay device is the building destruction, and this is what takes Red Faction: Guerilla above most sandbox titles. You can use the destruction element in your favor during missions, and some objecives strictly adhere to destroying everything. This gameplay mechanic is very fun, and nicely detailed.

Guerilla is nice looking for a sandbox game. The environment graphics are nice, and the mountain terrain and sky are detailed and immersive. The character graphics and sound are less impressive, but still convey a decent amount of reality. Most impressive is the sound and look of crumbling buildings. Whether you blow up a foundation and watch as it slowly falls under its own weight,or you plant five charges to a single vehicle and watch as it lights up like the fourth of July, the small nuances of the destruction engine are incredibly impressive. Red Faction: Guerilla boasts a decent symphonic score and the games overall presentation is honorable for a sandbox title.

If destroying buildings is your thing. Buy Red Faction: Guerilla. As a sandbox game it plays well, has good production values, and allows you to play as a character with a cause, but it still comes with the typical sandbox games shortcomings like repetition, and a weakly told story. It is a lengthy and fun game, that still has yet to perfect the flawed trappings of the sandbox genre.

Tuesday, August 15, 2000

Diseaga D2 - A Brighter Darkness - 8.5

So I picked up this little bundle of madness yesterday... And I can feel my addiction being refueled with high octane Gasoline and many other forms of volatile chemicals.

This is my impressions as a returning Disgaea Player. Having played 1 - 4 multiple times each, and done hundreds of hours of grinding and the like.

First I'll start with the characters. Laharal, Flonne, and Etna once again take center stage and to be honest? It doesn't matter to me. I have never been a big fan of the original cast personally, And Flonne's English VA Makes me quiver with rage. On top of that Laharal's VAing seems... almost rushed/sub par. Everyone else is fine... at least so far.

The Story is simple, as all of them are, and doesn't get in the way. But only being in Chapter 3 I can't really say much more about it as it's just starting. The Dialog so far has been the traditional Disgaea madness. Sillyness abound and strange sentences everywhere! It's been mostly entertaining thus far so I have no real complaints about it yet.

Now, onto the meat and potatoes of Disgaea... the gameplay. The first few battles are a tutorial to learn the basics of the game if you are new. If not, you can skip the Tutorial aspect and just start fighting. Immediately I noticed some amazing changes.

1. The Movement panels are much easier to see, it's a simple but nice improvement

2. Throwing.... OOOH throwing is more awesome now. you can throw all around you instead of in a straight line. Those that haven't played the game before have NO FREAKING idea how useful that is.

3. The Sounds, Animations, Even the Font have all been altered and I love it all. Battle feels more... well just more. your Characters will occasionally say random things about combat, they will support each other on occasion even if they aren't standing beside each other, the attacks are quick and explosive... it's fantastic. Often I'll attack with 3 units only to have 7 attacks go off because they constantly support each other.

4. Mounting is a new feature and it's unlocked pretty much from the stat (battle 2 I think) and it allows any human character to use a Monster unit as a mount. This allows the monster to use it's movement and defense while the Human unit attacks. This may seem silly but... it's potent as all hell. Put a Mage on the back of a Mothman your mage now has 6 movement, higher defense, and can fly... WIN. Mounting also gives you access to powerful Mounted Skills which Become more powerful the more the two units like each other. Mounting doesn't have duration like Monsterchange did... so yeah that's awesome.

5. Which brings me to the Likability, each unit has a Likability meter towards other units. The higher it is, the higher the chance of support attacks, combo attacks, higher powered monsters skills etc... They can even defend each other. This can be raised and lowered in a few ways, using items, helping out, and Being a Master/Apprentice will increase it. Attacking/killing/using a specific item will lower it.

There are far more added things than this but they were the Biggest changes to combat, It's hard to explain why the combat is better than the previous Disgaea games if you haven't played them. Even if you have it's still something you just have to experience to see what I mean.

Outside of combat has changed as well! From a redesign of the menu structure/UI to the changes in items and Weapon shops to even how Item world (Sea) and the Dark Assembly work, heck even Items themselves have changed.

1. The game now has a new UI, it's quite nice actually. It shows all the details you could even need to know about your units, including the stat bonuses gained from jsut the items they are wearing, to how skilled they are with weapons and other attacks. It's impressive how much it's different... and yet still familiar. The only thing I miss is being able to display All the stats on one page in combat. So I could see the HP, and SP values as well as the ATK, DEF, etc... Just something i have to get used to is all. On top of this the game now shows if your stats are affected. If you get a Buff or Debuff it's reflected with an up or down arrow on your stats screen.

2. Items Rarity has been removed completely. Previously Items had a Rarity of 0-255. 0-10 was a Legendary Item, 11-50 or so was a rare item, everything else was common. That has been taken out, there are now just Common, Rare and Legendary Items.

3. Item Sets - Previously in Disgaea games if you equipped items of equal rarity you got a "set" bonus. This has been carried over, however it's much simpler now. If you equip 2+ rare items each gets a bonus for each one equipped. Same with Legendary. It's a pretty decent bonus too! And not only that the game tells you that you are getting the bonus.

4. Character World has been removed completely, and I'm kinda happy with that. Character world was interesting, but it was just another long time sync that Disgaea really didn't need. (personal opinion there). Evilities are still here but they are somewhat different. Each class has 3 evilities to chose from and all have wildly beneficial effects. I can't possibly go into them all but they do change how combat works significantly. You have to know what evilities your enemies have (It shows it in combat so don't worry) and how to plan around them. For instance Dragons could be immune to wind, or they could gain benefits from others using wind skills. Evilities can also be taken from other classes via the Dark Assembly (I believe) If the characters like each other enough.

5. Weapon skills and Fortes are back, each class has certain skill with weapon types and learn skills faster with weapons they are familiar with. For example a warrior will learn Sword skills much faster than learning say Bow skills. Skills can be leveled by using them instead of spending mana on them like in D3 and D4. Personally I like and dislike this system. It's great for combat skills and feels more balanced. but other skills suffer majorly from this. Skills like Espoir, Shield, Heal, etc... you have to use to level them up... well Espoir (Cures Status Ailments) doesn't get used that often, forcing you to cast it for no reason just to level it up. So it has it's ups and down.

6. Master/Apprentice is also back, a Master can have Multiple Apprentices, and can even be an apprentice to someone else. One unit can only belong to one master. Having an apprentice gives stat boosts and things to the Master, while the apprentices gain the ability to use the Master's skills and spells. If they use it enough they can learn it and even use it without being an apprentice. They also Gain weapon skills faster, as well A higher combo/support rate with their master. If your units AREN'T being used as either Master or Apprentice you are doing it wrong as there are 0 downsides. When a character is created it automatically becomes an apprentice to the character that created it. So if I call the assembly with Laharl and make a Warrior, that warrior will be Laharal's Apprentice (you can change this in the menu)

7. Item and item shops have changed, slightly, but for the better. You are no longer limited to a 30 item inventory, you have the entire 999 item warehouse at your disposal at ALL times. Item shops also no longer have limited inventory, if you have unlocked it, they sell it and an infinite amount of it and you no longer have to leave the shop come back and hope they have it again. The shops and other item screans have also organized the items into Categories. Fist, Sword, Armor, Trinkets etc... all have their own tab. I LOVE that. and finally the armor and weapon shops have been combined into one shop, the Equipment shop.

Changes to the Dark Assembly. It has remained more or less the same in terms of what it's for, however the Character creation as well as A few other tihngs have changed.

1. Each Meeting of the Assembly seems to have a "lead" senator, who appears behind you. These are the same as the Legendary senators from Previous games, but they always seem to be there this time.

2. The Senators vote faster (Just saves time)

3. Characters no longer need to be reincarnated to obtain their next rank. In previous games when you unlocked the next rank of a monster (There are usually 6 ranks) you had to reincarnate your character up to the next rank (Start at level 1 again) now this did give you great bonuses and things, but now you have to level it up again. NO MORE! You can pass a bill for a Promotion for a certain amount of mana, and become the next rank. Your Aptitudes increase and everything, the only bonus you don't get is the increase to base stats. Reincarnation is STILL there, but it doesn't feel required for the main game, only post game things or cross class things.

4. While it's not technically a Dark Assembly change, the fact that you have access to all your items helps. A lot.

5. When creating a new character you now get the choice of Alternative colors as well as their personality. Now the Personality isn't so much new as it's changed. Each personality has a different style of voice for the character as well as a different evility. At first I wasn't happy with that, I wanted Evility 3 but voice 1, but having them linked together I had to choose Voice 3 and evility 3. Turns out you can change their Evility or their voice serperately via the Dark Assembly for free, infinitely after the character is made. You can also change their name, and color for free and as many times as you wish, so have fun!

Changes to Overworld

Two new things have been added to the "hub" world that I wanted to mention. The first is the Dojo.

The Demon Dojo is the replacement for Character world. You can assign your units to train in various stats. Hp, Sp, Atk, Def, Int, res, Spd, hit. Each one will increase the amount of points that unit gains when it levels by a certain %. The started is 5% as the training levels increase so to does the %, as well as the amount of units that can be training in it at the same time (At the start it's 1). There are others too but I haven't unlocked them so I don't quite know what they do.

The Cheat shop is the other thing that was added. This allows for the manipulation of certain things. From Item world routes to EXP gained. Now it's not like you can jsut increase the amount of EXP, HL(money), Mana, and Skill EXP gained... you have to sacrifice one to raise another. So I could set it to 80% HL and 120% EXP. or 90% mana, 90$ HL, 110% EXP and 110% Skill EXP. It's kinda nice because if I don't need money, I can just put it all in EXP etc... As you progress into the game you can remove more and more points from one and put it in another. At the moment I can only set HL to 80% and EXP to a max of 120% I believe. You can also disable EXP all together, disable support etc...

Item world has also changed a bit. If you don't know what it is, then this section will probably not be useful since You will have little idea what I mean.

1. You start off in innocent town, you chose a boat to go in and depart. The boat determines how far down into the item you can go. 30, 60, or 100 floors etc... each boat has a different value. You will sail to a different island each floor, and you will always start on the boat. The Islands are still randomly generated.

2. There are less Enemy units, however THIS time around killing the enemy units actually adds to the items stats. The more you kill the higher % the stats increase, up to 15% I believe

3. Secret rooms have been removed, well not so much removed as they are randomly encountered between floors, not as a separate exit from the current floor. After you finish a floor there is a chance the next floor will be a bonus room. The rooms vary just like they did in previous games.

4. the 10th floor once again is a boss floor. However this time you can't multi-kill the bosses. You only kill them once. And you are guaranteed to go to Innocent down afterwards (I believe) Innocent town now has a shop in it.

5. Item World Assembly has also changed, you no longer need to be in the item itself to call the assembly you do that from the item world person int he overworld. On top of that you don't use Mana to call for bills, you use HL.

6. Reverse Pirating has been replaced with Bonus Rooms... that I believe do the exact same thing as reverse pirating without the insanely ridiculously powerful enemies. Could be wrong though.

7. Last but not least! Getting to floor 30 of a common item will reset the item to floor 0, increase the items rarity to rare (Remember that whole bit about item sets? *Winks*) and lets you go back into the item. Clearing a Rare item to floor 60 will reset the floors back to 0, then increase the rarity to Legendary. Get to floor 100 of that and... well I'm not actually sure. Probably resets to 0 again. If not, well you certainly have a damn powerful item.

As a final point there are a few more things I wish to note, this is again for Disgaea fans.

There is no X-Dimension/Dark World in this game, and the Land Of Carnage is unlocked automatically at the games end. This is big. big. BIG... at least for me who has never managed to unlock the land of Carnage due to it being ridiculously complicated to unlock in previous games. And last, but certainly not least... THE GAME HAS AN AUTOSAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (I am a slave to Autosave... I love it so very VERY much.) The Autosave will not overwrite your manual save, and if you don't want it you can leave it disabled.

I have played the game for 6 hours thus far, and I have enjoyed the gameplay a great deal. I think Given a little time to dive deeper into it, it will be my favorite Disgaea game, gameplay wise. Disgaea 2 still remains my favorite Character and Story wise, probably always will. but with Monster Mounting, The new Itme World, the new UI, the new... everything The game is just an amazing improvement all around for Disgaea fans. If you are new to the series, this is actually a GREAT title to start with as the features are less than thsoe of previous titles and are a lot easier to manage/understand while at the same time not being insanely simple. From the Crazy, mad attacks (I mean come on... The Prinny Attack is a replica of Bomberman from the old days just do damage...) to the silly Dialog and over the top characters and world... there isn't much negative to really say about the game. It is still a grindy grind grind GRIND game... but it's better at it than the previous entries thus far.

I give Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness 9 Pirouetting Prinnies/10 Dood. And I can not WAIT to get home and play some more this evening. Gotta level up my Prinnies dood!

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing PS3 | 8.5

Any self-respecting gamer would really need to know the history of SEGA. In 1952 moved from America to Japan in 1983 as a console on the market. Almost twenty years later would learn that Sega unfortunately they have no place in hardware. Yet it is precisely this period of extreme importance for SEGA, for it gave them the opportunity to develop their own games and a large number of game characters to create. Anno 2010 SEGA used many characters from that period for games like Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

SEGA character known as the longstanding Sonic The Hedgehog, but this speed demon is the pace a bit. The latest Sonic games were not successful and Sonic seems to be beneficial to profiling on the part of Nintendo's Mario. SEGA was that something had to change and a new 2D Sonic game has been in the making. The Japanese publisher had also understood that the Sonic on the side of popular game characters doing very well. The portfolio of popular game characters enough houses SEGA and Sonic & Sega All-Stars are almost all together. ... In a simple kart game.

The average twenty overs has previously managed to entertain with Mario Kart and the younger generation (plus grandparents) can now do on the Nintendo Wii. The concept of a kart game is quite simple. A lot of funny characters against each other to race on circuits and they are often too short to fight while racing with useful power-ups. We can already tell you that Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing the basic concept of a kart game has performed well. In order to make child-friendly game is chosen for an intense and bright color pattern and there is nothing wrong with that. That is why we are not too long on the graphics, because with a child-friendly stamp everyone understands how the game looks.

Graphically, the game is really okay, but the game must have other factors such as gameplay, high function and last stop should be enough supply. Since the game for younger gamers interested should remain there for an easy drive selected. With the momentum we bring R2 and L2 it is possible to drift cornering. Somehow it is also possible to brake, but that is not needed in Sonic & All-Star Racing. You just fast enough to go around the track and drives fills your boost meter, so with a push to increase the speed significantly knows. The fun factor comes into the picture in the form of power-ups.

As a kart game actually supposed to do, there are powerups to be found on the tracks. When you do a power up to get it is to hope you get a good because you get this fact randomly assigned. Boxing gloves and firing of rockets into traffic cones and a power up so you can totally disorient an opponent. After a few races you know what power-ups are most useful and you get to know the best power-ups you can use in certain situations. In second position you hope to missiles, so you still have a chance to be first in first position you hope to one beschermingsbal, so you're safe from attacks.

In the field of graphics, gameplay and fun factor cross SEGA & Sonic All-Stars Racing very solid together, but scored the game quite a lot of points in range. The fun of this game is that it does nothing special, but above the offer has managed to perfect. The single-player modes, four houses, which the Grand Prix mode. This is then subdivided into three difficulty levels and each level of difficulty has six competitions in four races. That you're just as sweet, but you might also like Missions mode. It contains varying challenges and we see this more often in games. Sonic & SEGA Racing All-Stars are, however, sixty-four challenges waiting for you and that will take some time to complete all.

Time Trails we see often in racing games, but in this game they do it just right. On each track you can drop a lap time and lap times will then go to online leaderboards. It is also possible to race against the developers, as they have in advance on all tracks put down a time and gives great satisfaction to a faster time to put down. Not that faster times to be difficult, because it must be child-friendly stay. The single player has plenty to offer, but while we can still add to the multiplayer options. Four players split screen? Check. Eight players online? Check.

It's all pretty much, but you get something in return. Every race you've driven or challenge that you've managed to achieve makes you SEGA Miles. It looks a bit like road pricing, but without it going to cost you anything, because you get very much money (points) assigned. SEGA Miles have to spend in the store-specific and this makes us very different to Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing to go look. In the beginning there are already quite a few games playable characters such as Sonic, Tails, Billy Hatcher, Amigo and Dr.. Eggman. With SEGA Miles will get the option of eight playable characters to twenty. You simply can include Knuckles, Ulala, Alex Kidd and Ryo Hazuki buy.

Twenty classic SEGA characters we feel very nice and they also all have different cars to race. Yet they are also not all car because Tails and Shadow fly rides a motorcycle. In any case, well balanced and it will depend more on personal preference which character you choose. The differences can sit him in Speed, Acceleration, Handling, and Turbo Boost. Sonic have scheurijzer example is not even really fast but his Turbo Boost is damn good. Sonic is therefore possible to be good instincts and thus increased use of turbochargers. Amigo his car has been fairly slow, but the controls it is a lot easier.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing to keep the graphics and gameplay area is very child friendly, but knows how to score a lot of the significant range. A large part (12 characters, 16 tracks and 32 songs), however, you obtain through the exchange of SEGA Miles. This keeps the game for a very long time have a purpose, because everything is worth it to unlock. If you stand on your own no more than is possible with three friends to share your screen or else there are seven other gamers online waiting for you. Sonic & SEGA Racing All-Stars did well to entertain us and this calls for half and part with more than SEGA game characters!

Graphics 8
Gameplay 8
Sound 8

Monday, August 14, 2000

Resonance of Fate | 8.5

I have finished the game (it took about 80 hours) so here is the final review. I have also added combat tips to the end.

First of all, I love the game. The combat is awesome if you like strategy games. The game has more in common with strategy/rpgs rather than traditional JRPGs. As in any rgp you can roam inside the cities, get side quests, and explore the world map. However, the combat and the missions are very much like that of turn based strategy games. In fact, ROF is more like a strategy game under a JRPG disguise.

Although the combat looks flashy and cool, as I saidbefore, RoF is not an action oriented game. The combat is very deep and strategic. Also learning curve is steep, it takes several hours to learn all the intricacies of the combat, and I will not attempt to explain it here. (I have added some tips and tricks at the end). However, the turn system is very similar to Valkyria Chronicles, it is a mixture of turn based and real-time (while you are moving the enemy also moves and can attack you). Flanking, timing, the type of attack etc. all plays a key role in combat and makes it very satisfying. They are nice to watch too, although your eyes would be on the action gauges most of the time.

There is a tutorial that introduces every battle action but it does not tell you about the tactics. (Think of chess, you can learn the rules in half an hour but you'll have absolutely no idea about the tactics). So the game got better as I played because I began to discover some of the mechanics and the tactics not described in the tutorial. It also has some real-time elements that require timing, which keeps things interesting and gives you some more tricks to help you. (For example, you can manually evade physical attacks if you time your movement right). It takes a long time to master every trick of the combat, but it is very satisfying when you discover something new.

Leveling and customization is all about the guns not the characters. There are 3 types of weapons (handguns, machine guns, and grenades). As the characters use a weapon they get more proficient with that weapon and level up. A character's level is the sum of all 3 weapon levels. For example, a level 20 character can be level 15 handgun, level 4 machine gun, level 1 grenade. As they level up their hit points and respective gun weight limit improve. Also they gain some additional effects (5% stun chance for instance).

You can only customize your weapons. Guns have 5-6 attachment slots (magazine, grip, sights etc.) that you can upgrade with the parts you found. Also you can add extensions to all slots(e.g. adding another barrel to the barrel). However you have space and weight limits that you need to consider. Finally, you can also craft special parts from the basic materials you get from monsters. There is no other customization. There is no armor either, however characters can equip two rings some of which are protective. You can buy a lot of different dresses but they have no effect other than changing the looks of your character (this also affects cutscenes as they are done with the in-game engine).

The story is slow to start. It starts to pick up after Chapter 5 (which would be 10-20 hours into the game depending on the number of sidequests you do), but it is one of the weak points of the game. It does get interesting, but a lot of things are left unexplained even after the game is finished. Simply put, this is not a story-driven game. There are a lot of fetch quests at the beginning but at least the NPCs are quirky, and the interaction between the characters can be funny sometimes. Later on, I got more interested in the story but game only hints at what's going on and never fully explains the background or the motives of the characters.

In sum, this is not a traditional JRPG like Final Fantasy or Lost Odyssey, it is more similar to strategy games like Valkyria Chronicles. Also if you want fast paced, action oriented, quick resolution combats (e.g. Tales of Vesperia) then this is probably not the game for you. If you like turn based strategy/rpg games (Jagged Alliance, Front Mission, Valkyria Chronicles, etc) with a lot of depth then I believe you will like this game.

*** Some Combat Tips and Tricks ***

In ROF, you have access to the full combat from the beginning (opposite of Final Fantasy XIII from what I hear). However, as you play you get a better understanding of the mechanics and the tactics. In other words, the combat opens up naturally and always stays fresh. Below are some tips but I believe half of the fun is discovering them. If you feel confused, then these might help. Also the guy next to the billboard in the guild gives one new tip each chapter. Always talk to him.

-The letter next to the enemy bar indicates which one of your characters the enemy is aiming.
-The enemy won't shoot until the end of the turn (even if their aiming bar is full) unless they are aiming at the character you are moving. If they are aiming at the character you are moving, they'll shoot in real time when their aim gets full.
-During hero runs you are invincible and also you can regenerate more because the turn lasts longer (depending on the distance). However, that also means enemies will have longer time to aim at characters.
-The circular green bar around the enemy is their equipment health (weapon, armor, shield etc). You will not be able to damage their body until you create/find an opening. The green bar is not always a full circle and if that's the case, you can make a hero run (or walk around while they are aiming at somebody else) and shoot when you have the right angle to hit the body. Or if you jump during hero run you randomly hit all body parts, you might get some hits to the body even if they are shielded.
-Getting rid of the enemy parts (equipment) will give you materials for upgrades.
-Try to set up the tri-attacks in a long range. The longer the running distance, the more time to shoot (and regenerate).
-You can make a tri-attack even with 1 resonance point. This can be helpful if the distance between the characters is long. You can also use it to move one of your characters to safety if he is going to be shot as soon as you end the turn of the current character.
-Charge acceleration is very important. Try to add barrels as much as you can. Also try to shoot at the highest possible charge to activate the skills.
-Dual wielding helps a lot in the later game(after chapter 10-11). It doubles your damage and chances of activating skills even if the second weapon may reduce some of your stats.
-During a tri-attack, the enemies inside the triangle won't move, the ones on the outside will.

Sunday, August 13, 2000

Fallout 3 | 9.0

I am old enough to have played the original game when it first came out in 1997. I was a great fan of the series that followed and, thus, was very eager to get my hands on this latest installment. In a short sentence: FALLOUT-3 is A DREAM COME TRUE! And now the dream is complete.

It is a cRPG game in which the player can alternate between the First and Third person perspective roaming a world comparable in size with OBLIVION. The action has moved from Vault 13 and Southern California to Vault 101 and Washington, D.C. and the story brakes away from the previous bloodlines. However, the atmosphere of the original has been maintained and its scents sharpened: veterans will find it fitting like and old glove - whereas the new gamers are in store for a bag of pleasant surprises.

The graphics are wonderful, the guns detailed and the environments highly interactive. Short of a screenshot, imagine what would HalfLife-2 would look if released today. And similar to HL2, FALLOUT-3 does not require an...ubercomputer to run smoothly. Once you see a NPC move though, you understand where the corners were cut.

Character customization is carried out in great style using the new and improved PIP-BOY at the beginning. You exit the vault and the harsh reality of a world that barely survived annihilation slaps you on the face. Adapt or perish.

The main storyline is there to be followed but FALLOUT-3 offers the greatest number of alternative choices I have ever encountered in a game! There is always a great number of paths to follow in order to achieve any goal - but every choice comes with a consequences tag. This is common feature of most classic cRPGs but in FALLOUT-3 I saw it implemented like never before. If nothing else, this sends replayability through the roof.

Side-quests offer little besides distraction and experience points (XP) to be spend on character improvement. XP are gained solely by completing quests, emerging victorious from fights, finding locations, picking locks and hacking terminals - and they are not limited by the action they were earned. Leveling up is based on 7 basic attributes [Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility & Luck - acronym?;)] that, in turn, affect your (13) specific skills. Leveling up used to be capped at Level-20 (increased to 30 by installing the DLCs), as the game designers wanted to encourage replaying the game. However, with this increase, now your character can realize its full potential. Replaying the game is still a joy though.

The game is violent and gory but well within tasteful limits. Not so with the language - but it is trade off with realism. In a radioactive world, Sunday-school niceties are bound to go out the window.
What deserves a special mention is V.A.T.S. (:Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) which opens new vistas in cRPG design. It is an ingenious system which lets you pause the game and target specific body parts of your opponents. The success of your attack still depends on your skills but the end effect is cinematic and amazing (remember SWORDFISH?).

This GOTY edition includes all 5 DLCs released so far: OPERATION-ANCHORAGE, THE PITT, BROKEN STEEL, POINT LOOKOUT and MOTHERSHIP ZETA. Compared to the basic FALLOUT 3, applying the above improves the experience immensely! As mentioned above, since one used to reach the Level 20 cap long before the endgame, increasing this by 10 levels will give you a brand new ballgame.
Augmented weapons, new territories, novel foes and unexpected story branching - all for the price of the original game. I own the original game and coveted after these DLCs in the past months, waiting for a complete edition such as this GOTY one. When it became available I jumped at the opportunity to get them all. And did not regret it for a moment.

After the nuclear summer of 2008 (with all the Limited-Installation/defective EA releases), this seems like a post-apocalyptic dawn indeed! BETHESDA decided to listen to the gaming community and did NOT cripple this beautiful game with any idiotic DRM scheme. Inputting a serial number and a DVD-check is more than reasonable.
The publishers of FALLOUT-3 understand that there is a fine balance between "protecting the product" and..."insulting your own customers". And they obviously view respect as the two way street that it is - and for this they deserve our support: buy this game, today.

Voting with our wallets is the only argument the gaming industry cannot afford to ignore. And it is about time to cast some well deserved positive votes.

Saturday, August 12, 2000

Death Smiles | 8.0

I honestly didn't know what to expect when I purchased this game- I was surprised at how good it was. It is an arcade/shooter game that takes place in the Kingdom of Gilverado where you fight against various monsters, souls, etc. The game gives you a choice of what character to play (you are presented with 4 girl characters to choose from) and each has a mini story that unfolds as you play. The best part of the game is that even novices can play due to the infinite continues and different level settings the game allows you to control.

GRID | PS3 | 9.0

Realistic non-F1 or NASCAR racing for the PS3 currently consists of two titles, GT 5 Prologue and Grid. This is a brief review to address the pros and cons of both programs:

Graphics: GT 5P is a very limited version of the full program which will be out later this year or even in 2009. As such, we need to bear in mind we are comparing a limited scope product to a finished one. That said, graphic elements in each program are still a wash, which I guess is testimony to GT 5P considering its graphics will probably improve a bit before the final version. The cars in GT 5P have more polygons and so the models look better, but Grid features a full-fledged damage system so the lower poly count and smaller number of cars in Grid are fully deformable, hence damage and collisions are quite dramatic in Grid. As of yet, GT 5Ps cars are not at all deformable so to some extent we are comparing two different types of graphics. Background track visuals are roughly the same in both games, so what we have is nicer undamaged models versus fully deformable models.

Sound: GT 5P wins hands-down. Engines sound nicer and more realistic, and the in-music is diverse and licensed. Grid truly fumbled the ball here with similar sounding rather weak engines and generic butt rock bgm that has not a single memorable riff. Admittedly one doesn't buy a racing game for the music, but the licensed tracks add some aesthetic appeal to GT 5P.

Scope and Size: GT 5P offers 75 cars, many of which are pretty tedious to drive. Grid offers 45 cars, most of which are lots of fun to drive. However, the fly in the ointment is that GT 5P has more varied and realistic handling among its cars. The 911, the Viper, and the Lancetti all handle remarkably similar in Grid, which really should not be happening. GT 5P by comparison offers a more diverse driving experience. GT 5P however only has 6 tracks while Grid has 15, so Grid offers a bit more to see. However, as mentioned, GT 5P is a work in progress, so we can expect to see many more cars and tracks by the time the finished version appears. Same deal applies to game play - Grid offers many different race modes and championship types, while GT 5P has a limited set of events, 40 or so, so the game can be tapped out very quickly. (Assuming you can get past some of the annoyingly difficult races, more on this later). Grid at present has a lot more to do and experience, so at present it will keep the average gamer occupied and interested longer. When the final version of GT 5P appears, we may see a different picture.

Simulation Aspects: Damage is the issue. GT 5Ps car handling is far superior in terms of realism, but when you see the cars bouncing off each other and walls at 150 mph undamaged, the realistic handling seems to take a backseat in consideration of simulation accuracy. The damage system in Grid is superior simply because it exists. However, the lads at Codemasters have retreated a bit from the more realistic damage system in their TOCA games, and your Grid vehicle can take quite a bit of damage before any in-game performance is affected, and the parameters for cataclysmic termination of the race have been raised considerably, so your car can be a veritable wreck on wheels and still win a race. The earlier TOCA games had far more realistic (i.e. harsh) damage modeling, and your vehicle was easy to either wreck altogether or to see it's performance degrade to the point where it could not compete against other racers after a few hard collisions. I guess the Codemaster gang had too many complaints about the high number of restarts needed to finish the average event, so the cars in Grid (as in Dirt) are more Hollywood style in their robust durability.

The current system in Grid is far superior to Forza inasmuch at least there is the possibility of complete elimination from the race for particularly severe collisions. Forza has the silliness of 170 mph head-on crashes that scar your car's skin and then make it pull to the left, a rather unlikely outcome that is only slightly superior to the Gran Turismo invulnerability. Grid is a good compromise in terms of damage modeling, and the added tension of the risk of crashing and the extra graphics pizzazz as you see bumpers fly off and windows shatter make Grid more entertaining and realistic. However, if you hope to see the handling differences between a Skyline and a WRX, Grid is not going to be of any use, so simulation fans have to make a hard choice here, between semi-realistic damage and simplified generic arcade style handling in Grid, or no damage at all and meticulous handing details in GT 5P.

Finally, the GT 5P developers promise there will be a damage system and deformable graphics added to the final build and perhaps even added to the 5P version as downloadable content as soon as this August. I personally am skeptical as to how this will be implemented, as I resemble the Forza-esque "damage" system from GT 2, and have my doubts that the GT 5P programmers are going to be able to give us several hundred deformable graphically detailed and realistically handling cars by the time of the final build, but we will wait and see. Polyphony has gone the extra mile in the past, so a fait accompli in this case would not be impossible.

Gameplay: Grid gets the nod here. The races in Grid are more thrilling due both to the damage system, the superior AI of the other drivers, and the campaign style racing career that is part of the game. Many of the individual races in GT 5P are fun, but the AI of other drivers is still robot-like, and they almost never screw up, never seem to interact with the player or other drivers, and respond little if at all to the player's movement on the track. They will at least avoid you if you park stationary in the middle of the racing line (unlike GT 4 where they would crash into you like cruise missiles repeatedly during the course of each lap) but that is about it. The other drivers in Grid are smarter, more "human" (failable), and at higher difficulty levels will be both aggressive and also willing to retaliate if you clip them. This programming plus the damage makes Grid races more white-knuckle affairs, full of drama and tension. The invulnerable cars racing against robot clones in GT 5P in comparison make that game seem more like you against your own best rather than you against other drivers, and therefore less intense and involving. It is a source for joy and entertainment in Grid to see a rival spin out due to a judgment error or crash into another driver in overtaking gone bad, and this is pretty much absent in GT 5P.

The annoying campaign structure (or lack thereof) of GT 5P should also be mentioned, as your progress in the game can be quite effectively stalled if you cannot finish one of the 10 events in each tier. The Ferrari "pass them all" event in the A level races in particular can literally bring your enjoyment of the game to a halt as you struggle again and again to meet the unpleasantly tough challenge of trying to pass 13 other cars in only one lap on a tough narrow and twisting course. Grid deals better with failure and there is always something else to do to progress in the game if you screw up a particular event. The diversity of Grid events is also appealing, with top speed challenges, touge races, even demolition derbies. The one mis-step in Grid's events are the idiotic drift races, where you compete on a closed course against an opponent whose score is unknown to you and who you never even see on the track. This is not only unfair, but also a bit dull. But you can mainly ignore drift races for most of the game and still have a lot of fun with it.

The lack of a fully developed campaign in GT 5P may well be due to the incremental nature of the game. The final GT 5 will presumably have the same wide range of events that GT 4 did. We may also see improved other driver AI and a damage system added to the final build, but at present, Grid is far more entertaining. The addition of the excellent "flashback" feature in Grid makes a strong package better, and this is a truly revolutionary feature that is very welcome in racing games.

Interface: Grid has many limits in its interface and structure. There is no learning mode, no racing line "cheat", no tutorials. The instant replays are very limited and you cannot change which car the camera focuses on, or save the replay. Stat tracking is limited to some basic numbers that pop up only in the loading screens. GT 5P lacks many of these features too, but the replay system is far better, the racing line feature is invaluable for the less skilled, and the finished build will presumably have the same full feature set of GT 4. Grid could have used a bit more polish here, though to be fair the more arcade like handling makes education of new players a bit less imperative. Still, a tutorial on drifting technique for instance could have made Grid more accessible and friendly to new players. The personalized commentary by name in Grid is cute at first, but the voices say the same thing at the same time over and over again, and you soon find yourself wishing these guys who know your name would just shut up for a bit.

Overall: A tough call - the damage system in Grid is a bit deceptive in its leniency, and the game markets itself as more of a simulation than it is. The 45 cars are already exceeded by GT 5P and the final GT 5 will probably have close to 10 times as many cars in it. However, as in GT 4, many of the hundreds of cars will be uninteresting to most players. The limited number of tracks in Grid is more troubling, but the various types of racing make the most of the small number of tracks. The interface in Grid is also a bit rough, and Forza still sets the standard in this area, with Gran Turismo running a close second