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Thread: Videogame Reviews

  1. #1
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    The Natural's Avatar

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    Coffee Videogame Reviews


    It's a fairly simple concept. You play a game, give a review, WC reads it, and I archive it. Doesn't matter if the game is old or new. Doesn't matter if the game is good or Black Ops. Help your WC peers find the game they're looking for or avoid the game they aren't while being funny and/or helpful in the process.

    Ground Rules - Please Read

    • There's nothing wrong with "short and sweet" but when discussing the story or graphics, give us more than a sentence, please. If the graphics are bad, tell us what you don't like about them. If the story sucks, why does it suck?
    • You don't need to use the template provided below, but don't forget to sum up your feelings with a one or two sentence summary I can list next to your review in the archive.
    • If the game is less than two months old, please utilize spoiler tags when reviewing the story if you are revealing major plot points.
    • If you have a score-based system of review, please say "out of #" after giving a number. If you give a 4, I need to know if that's out of 4, 5, 10, etc.
    • Feel free to discuss or debate reviews. I'll be posting a link to each review as part of the archive so don't worry about making a mess. But do play nice.


    Review Template - (Optional)
    Spoiler:

    Game:

    Console:
    Developer:
    Year Released:
    Genre:

    Gameplay:

    Graphics & Audio:

    Story:

    Pros:

    Cons:

    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences):


    Also optional but highly recommended - when slamming a certain part of a game for something that sucks, give us your thoughts on what should have been done differently, or point to a game that did it better.

    WC User Review Archive


    "The game has good A.I. If you like long stories, you might not like it - it might be a 5-6 hr. story. If you're a big fan of third person shooters, you'll probably like it." (paraphrased)

    "After breathtaking trailers and promos caused considerable hype, Assassin's Creed III failed to live up to the lofty expectations set forth by a great marketing campaign but still delivers a solid title. Longtime fans will feel right at home in a good way with just the right amount of freshness to make this an above-average title."

    "It's not perfect, but it's as close to perfect as a Batman game has ever come. It's worth playing through if you like good games and is a must play if you like Batman."

    "Arkham Asylum set a very high standard for a sequel. Arkham City shatters that standard and really can be called one of the best games ever."


    "All in all its an okay game, but does have its flaws with no doubt. It will still appeal to the FPS fans, but of course like most other popular franchises it just does not quite live up to the hype."

    "For me, Dragon Age II is a must-play game. If you liked the first game you should get along with the sequel well enough to warrant a

    "I grew up on Dragonball Z and Dragonball Z games. Taking a look at this game, it could be considered a game strictly for hardcore fans, yet I wouldn't recommend it to even the most hardcore fans."

    "For 19.99 you can not beat this game. It is crisper than UFC, makes a lot more sense, the ground game is very technical, and the career mode is very robust. Being able to download any MMA fighter via Fighter Share is awesome, and if you want to go online the online mode is insane, especially with live broadcast."

    "This game is the NBA 2K12, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, and Halo of RPG games, if you are an RPG gamer this is the game for you, and it could finally dethrone Final Fantasy VII as the RPG game to have!"


    "Fallout New Vegas is like any other Fallout game; full of bloody, disgusting action, lots of guns, a plethora of quests and options to choose and go down, and a game that'll keep you hooked for several hours. The glitches can sometimes get to you and make you want to break the CD in half, but it's not that bad of a game. 7/10."


    "I was not a big fan of Fallout 3 but New Vegas has improved on the formula vastly. This game is the ultimate post-apocalyptic first person shooting roleplaying adventure and I consider it to be one of the better games ever made."

    "Quite simply, the greatest game I've ever played. If you are an RPG fan or simply a fan of the Playstation, YOU NEED THIS GAME."


    "
    Highly addictive, very fun and very rewarding for the time you put into it, which will be a lot, Great community, and community support."


    "The graphics are the best I have ever seen for any console game, and for the first time in a long time, I can safely say that this is a game well worth $60. If you have ever played a racing game or care even the slightest bit about racing or cars in general, do yourself a favor, and go buy this right now."


    (Your review here.)


    "Halo 4 felt less like the next iteration in the Halo series and more like Call of Duty painted with flashy Master Chief colors. While not terrible and probably worth a playthrough for most, as a Halo veteran from the beginning I feel a sense of dismay every time I boot up a multiplayer match."

    "Halo: Reach is the summation of the Halo franchise and it's evident in the polish you see in nearly every gametype available (of which there are many). This game is as close to perfect as I can see a first person shooter getting."

    "Infamous 2 is a good game altogether, with just a few minor hindrances that keep it from being great."
    " A fun game to put your time into, and there are definitely some interesting concepts in the game. The cons don't really take over from the overall experience of the game, but for someone like me, I don't even bother to play the game at times when I know it's this easy, as I'd rather play other games that give me a challenge."


    (Your review here.)

    "It's a $60 game that lacks many of the caveats I feel would make that a deserved price tag as a result of the conscientious decision to withhold features from the gamer to achieve a desired effect: class. However, the desired effect is sullied by the game's convoluted and unnecessary narrative toward the end, so much so that as great as the first half of the game is, the second half renders the project utterly ridiculous."

    "The Last of Us is a must have for any PS3 owner. It is one of the finest video games you will ever play, and if this is the swan song of the PlayStation 3, then the PlayStation 3 is going down swinging."


    "Metro 2033 is as average as a game can get. If you're looking for something to fill time through a rental or can pick it up on the cheap, Metro 2033 is a fun enough experience to warrant playing through but possesses no replay value or overly critical points to warrant a full-priced purchase."

    "Overall, this is another home run. Everything about the game screams great so far. It should not come as any surprise though since it happens every year. If you're a fan of baseball and the show series thus far, you won't be disappointed."
    "A overall solid fighting game definitley a game for MK fans. This wont ever go down as the greatest game in the world and is definitley a game to pick up for around 30 or so dollars because fighting games get old."


    "One of the best basketball games I've ever played, as it's in-depth, there's a lot of variety in what you can do, and you'll never get bored. Easily the best sixty bucks I've ever spent, but this game is only for, obviously, basketball fans."

    "Best sports game of all time? No doubt."
    "Overall its a damn good game and can get addictive once you get your feel for the controls. As for best sports game it is possible, I'd place it in my top 2 or 3 of all time."

    "While there is room for improvement, All of the modes offered are deep and engaging, and it has an interactive tutorial for newbs. It's both beginner and pro friendly."


    (Your review here.)


    "Regardless of replay value, this is essential gaming. Wait for the price to drop, or rent it, because as a stand alone gaming experience, it's unlikely to get much better than this in 2011."
    "PES needed radical changes in gameplay to bring it up to the realism that current day gamers demanded, PES delivered in that respect and it's one player modes outshine those offered by it's FIFA counterpart."


    (Your review here.)

    "Red Dead Redemption is an amazing game that will, in my mind, be remembered for many generations. The game looks beautiful and runs great, and the characters draw you in."

    "This game is a must play. There are some technical things with the game that will annoy you, but this story is just to awesome not to expierence ... This story will stick with you for a long time, and some of the imagery will be tough to get out of your head. MUST PLAY!!!"
    "This game is getting a lot of negative reviews, but it's actually a very nice and gorgeous game. It's probably a rental, and it's just a fun game to go play, and then be done with it."

    "Crystal Dynamics manage to pull off a great transformation of a inexperienced, dependent and vulnerable young women to the Ultra confident Tomb Raiding Lara Croft we know from the series' past. The fantastic story goes hand in hand with solid gameplay to create an enjoyable and rewarding game. Lara is back."


    "If you're a real Adventure Guy/Gal, then you really should get this game. Get it before 2 & 3 aswell. All in all, one of the best games I've ever played, and I didn't even ask for it!"
    "An all around brillaint game by the Uncharted series. Better than the first one and this game is my favourite of all time."


    (Your review here.)

    "Is this Fire Pro? No, Is this No Mercy? No. But this game is the closest thing you will come to both of those games. You have so much ability to create your own Universe you will spend 100's of hours just creating and developing your own Universe. It's not perfect, but oh my goodness they are getting so so so close!"

    "The SVR Series is about as good as it's going to get until they ditch the once-per-year production strategy and actually focus on making a better game instead of an 'intentionally flawed' game that they can add new features to so you'll buy it every 365 days."


    "So basically this game is great and you should buy it. Seriously, it's probably like five bucks at your nearest gamestop and the story is pretty awesome, so why not?"


    (Your review here.)


    (Your review here.)



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ RETRO ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ REVIEWS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1989


    1991


    1994


    1996

    Last edited by The Natural; 06-24-2013 at 02:09 PM.




  2. #2
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    (sorry if I wasn't supposed to post it here, i can't delete it now so sorry!)

    Game: NBA 2K11

    Console: Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, PC, PSP, Wii
    Developer: Visual Concepts and 2K Sports
    Year Released: 2010 (October)
    Genre: Sports (Basketball)

    Gameplay: There's a lot of options for gameplay, and NBA 2K11 gives you every option that you can think of. Controlling your team to the playoffs, creating your own character, or even leading Michael Jordan to victory, there's a lot of gameplay modes and you won't get bored easily.

    Graphics & Audio: The commentary is pretty good, as it's pretty varied for every team. However, if you do play just a few teams for awhile, the commentary may start to be repetitive, but it's definitely better than last year. The graphics are great as well, as the moves are very sharp. From the alley oop to the simple step back jumper, the graphics are just great.

    Story: There's really no story/campaign in NBA 2K11, there's just a lot of modes and exhibition matches that you can do.

    Pros:
    • one of the most in-depth rosters ever
    • lots of variety
    • a lot of moves that you can execute
    • very similar to the real life NBA (Power Rankings, news stories, game recaps, etc.)
    • just a great basketball game overall


    Cons:
    • commentary can get a bit repetitive
    • a bit crazy how some people can hit insane shots (Kobe hitting a three pointer while being double teamed)
    • the rosters aren't up to date when you get it, but you can easily fix that by "Retrieving Living Roster"


    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences): One of the best basketball games I've ever played, as it's in-depth, there's a lot of variety in what you can do, and you'll never get bored. Easily the best sixty bucks I've ever spent, but this game is only for, obviously, basketball fans.

    Score (out of 10): 9.75
    I would've gave this game a ten, but I wanted to have the option of leading past teams to the playoffs/beyond. I just really wanted to lead Patrick Ewing and the Knicks to championship victory, but it's just a minor personal complaint.
    Last edited by Epic Andy; 02-26-2011 at 09:38 PM.

  3. #3
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    The Natural's Avatar

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    WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011

    Game: WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011

    Console: Xbox 360 but it is for PS3, PSP, PS2 and Wii as well.
    Developer: Yuke's
    Year Released: 2010
    Genre: Wrestling, Simulation

    Gameplay:
    Where do I start... the matches themselves are fun and I'll admit the 'chain grapple' concept is easy to get use to after some time with it, but often times the gameplay in these games seems to take a step sideways rather than foreward or backward. Unnecessary changes like 'chain grapple' could have been time better spent on creating more animations or allowing us a larger variety of moves.

    TLC matches, Ladder matches, and Extreme Rules matches are much more fun now with the spiffy new physics system that's been implemented. However, I am still unaware as to why TLC matches always have something dangling from the ceiling. Didn't they used to end in a pinfall? I don't think there's even the option for that and there's actually a feature called match creator. When the developers' decisions start making sense, I will sing their praises. But for now, they're like the TNA of wrestling game creators. The only reason their game sells well is because there is virtually no real competition.

    I will go much further in-depth in the pros and cons section.

    Graphics & Audio:
    Graphics are good, as usual. I have to believe Yuke's spends the most time developing the graphics, and as such, everything else takes a back seat. It would explain why characters wear such outdated costumes sometimes...

    Audio is decent. However, I think it's fucking retarded that I cannot mute the music in the menus without muting the entrance music for the wrestlers. Absolutely stupid. It would be different if the 'back' button on my 360 controller brought me straight to the options but it's always more of a chore than that.

    Story:
    I only completed Rey Mysterio's Road to WrestleMania but I played it as a heel and it was immensely enjoyable. Jack Swagger and Rey Mysterio were among the most entertaining things to come from the Smackdown series in years. I highly recommend playing this exactly as I did. Such a good time. Not sure about other RTWM's but I highly doubt they were as great.

    Pros:
    • Championship Gold: The championship belts look and fit better in SVR2011. However, I'm still confused as to why the Unified Tag Team Championships didn't come in a download pack yet. Oh wait it's THQ. I'm no longer confused.
    • Gimmick Matches: Much improvement to the gimmick matches in SVR2011. They are both fun to play and mostly unpredictable. I'll forgive the ladder that bounces around the ring like it's Shawn Michaels against Hulk Hogan so long as I can continue to Celtic Cross people off ladders and through tables.
    • Community Creations: They've restructured the Community Creations section so that it's much easier to navigate. Additionally, they've allowed users to edit the creations of others as well as allowed us to assign them an "overall" instead of having to build each character up (time consumption central). Very happy with this aspect.
    • The Roster: It doesn't have Daniel Bryan or Alberto Del Rio, and that makes me sad, but it does have the Hart Dynasty, Zack Ryder, Yoshi Tatsu, Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. Nexus through DLC has been nice and I hope they keep it coming. Good roster so far.
    • Universe Mode: It was ingenious to allow users the ability to play exhibition mode and still have the fun of a Story Designer or Road to WrestleMania, somewhat. But... (see same bullet in Cons section)


    Cons:
    • Character Creation / Paint Tool Mode: Microsoft Paint has been offering to save custom colors to your palette for YEARS. Why the hell hasn't Smackdown started doing the same? Unforgivable.
    • Attention. Loading. Attention: Give me one hourglass for the entire duration of the load/save nonsense and do that shit in the background. Make the START Button an auto-Yes without confirming. For the love of god and all that is holy. 1/5 of my game time is saving things. This isn't Deus Ex!
    • Story Designer Still An Afterthought: Here's my beef with the Story Designer - you have animations that are used in RTWM (plenty) and animations that are on the disc (individual moves) that for whatever reason are not included in the Story Designer mode. To quote a character who exists in-game as a non-wrestler only "Wassup wit dat?" If Yuke's actually cared about the story designers using Story Designer, we would have a plethora of scenes to work with. I don't think it's too much to ask for resources that are already on the fucking disc, but who knows. Maybe I'm being unreasonable. I've probably been spoiled by greatness like Halo: Reach and GTA IV but I expect more for my $60.
    • Universe Mode: Universe Mode, oh Universe Mode. You had so much promise when you were first announced. However, like all things handled by the unholy alliance of Yuke's and THQ, you turned to shit. We cannot manually change title contenders, we cannot lock a tag team so that 'simulating ahead' doesn't result in their breakup, we cannot control the WWE Universe. In essence, it is the WWE Universe that controls us. And this is pretty much the way it always has been and probably always will. It's almost poetic then, that in a game we continue to buy because there is nothing else on the market, we are further controlled within the game that creates the illusion that we are in control. Mind = blown.


    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences):
    "The SVR Series is about as good as it's going to get until they ditch the once-per-year production strategy and actually focus on making a better game instead of an "intentionally flawed" game that they can add new features to so you'll buy it every 365 days."

    On a curved scale that takes into consideration we get a SVR every fucking year, this is about an 8 out of 10.

    On a scale of this game versus other games, even generously I could only muster a 6 out of 10.




  4. #4
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    Halo: Reach

    Game: Halo: Reach

    Console: Xbox 360
    Developer: Bungie
    Year Released: 2010
    Genre: First Person Shooter

    Gameplay:

    Anyone new to the series is going to find a very solid shooter with interesting ideas brought to life in Halo: Reach. Fans of the series, however, should find that Bungie has taken what works from every Halo game before Reach and optimized it for what is the standout game in the series. Everything feels fluid and the newly implemented load-out system adds many layers of depth to already solid gameplay.

    At first, it seems as though it's nothing new - my first memories of class-based combat on a large scale go all the way back to 2005's Battlefield 2. However, Halo: Reach's "class options" differ in that there are different powers available for the player that come with "cooldown" timers, making their use in battle very strategic; there is no reward without risk. I personally enjoy the sprint option the most, as nothing is more satisfying to me than running up behind someone and snapping their neck before they have a chance to know what hit them. However, I've seen the jet-pack, hologram, active camo, armor lock, evade and drop-shield use to varying success and I would like to spend more time learning them as they all seem to have their strengths and weaknesses.

    These elements and the various gametypes Bungie has developed (including the introduction of Grifball as a mainstay in matchmaking's playlists) ensure that Halo: Reach owner's with an Xbox Live gold account will find many hours of fun included with their purchase of Halo: Reach. It's a fantastic game and I should probably stop now before I start drooling over its excellence.

    Graphics & Audio:

    Halo: Reach is a very pretty game. It sounds amazing as well. This is in part due to this being yet another entry in an already established series that has the brilliant Marty O'Donnell working on audio design. If you have a great sound system, there are few games that will celebrate it more than Halo: Reach. Not much else to say here, because honestly, in 2011, if you're not using hi-definition to its fullest, you're wasting everyone's time.

    Story:

    Halo: Reach features the story of Noble Team, who is sent to figure out why a relay station isn't online. Insurgents are suspected but it turns out to be much worse: awiens!!!! No, seriously. It's an alien force known as the Covenant. Big shock, I know. So as the mysterious Noble Six (which is pretty great, because you get to use your armor set-up from matchmaking - which can be pretty fucking awesome if you put in the time to buy the different options and customize it to your liking) you set out to figure out just what the hell is going on.

    I won't ruin anything, because it's one of the best narratives in gaming today. The feel and direction of it are arguably better than the story, but the story itself is pretty great. Without giving anything away, it's a very fulfilling game and leaves you feeling very satisfied at the end like few games do.

    Pros:
    • Armor Customization: Incredible. I'm the kind of guy that will fiddle with settings until the end of time if there are enough of them. I like the ability to switch up my armor and try to find a unique look whenever possible. It's fun. And that it carries over to the campaign adds a level of customization to what is usually a very linear process in most other games.
    • Power Ups: The combination of power-ups used in games changes the way the game is played. 16 people with however many options for power-ups can play the exact same game type a hundred times without it ever being the same game as long as they switch up their powers. Very good inclusion by Bungie.
    • Challenges: At first, I didn't like them. It was annoying trying to play the tried-and-true fun gametypes when your friends wanted to complete the daily challenges instead so they opted for shitbag games. However - I have grown to appreciate them. I just play the games I want to play for the most part, and it's fun when you have an additional objective to accomplish aside from what you were already intending to do. However, challenges aren't all sunshine and lollipops... (see below)


    Cons:
    • No server list?: WUT? I like matchmaking, don't get me wrong. But we should be able to see the custom games that don't require an invite to join. I would much rather get a game full of dedicated players together for a game of serious Capture The Flag than have to wade through matchmaking hoping I get the right gametype/map combination. This should be common sense, Bungle.
    • Challenges that fuck up my game: For instance, if I want to play Team Objective and have some good games of Oddball - I don't want daily challenges encouraging players to focus on getting kills instead of playing Oddball. You might say, "But Natural, that's why there are Team Slayer games - people should play those for the kills!" but I will reply, "NO, NO NO NO NO NO. YOU LISTEN TO ME. It's much easier to get kills in objective based games because the people you are trying to kill are distracted by the objectives! DUHHHHH." It makes challenges really annoying because they end up dictating what matchmaking playlists I shouldn't play.


    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences):
    "Halo: Reach is the summation of the Halo franchise and it's evident in the polish you see in nearly every gametype available (of which there are many). This game is as close to perfect as I can see a first person shooter getting."
    Last edited by The Natural; 03-08-2011 at 03:49 PM.




  5. #5
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: EA MMA

    Console: Xbox 360, PS2, PS3 PSP, iPhone
    Developer: Electronic Arts
    Year Released: 2010 (October)
    Genre: Sports (MMA)

    Gameplay: The gameplay is a lot smoother than UFC if that is what you are used to in MMA games. The game plays a lot like Fight Night, and if you are not good with the analog controls then you can turn them off, and use the buttons, although it takes away from some of the freedom the controls offer. The ground game is easier and makes a lot more sense than UFC. It has very extensive career mode, and plus you can download other fighters through the Fighter Share mode. The level up system makes more sense than in UFC, and having Bas Rutten as your career guide is awesome. You can also train with Pat Militech, Rickson Gracie, and five other MMA Legends.

    Graphics & Audio: The graphics are pretty nice and crisp. Very smooth with everything that is going on in the game. The commentary is hit or miss, after you play about ten fights you have heard everything, but the thing with this game is Mauro Rinallo is tolerable, because he is not always screaming at you like he does in real life. The soundtrack is awesome as they have songs from Disturbed, Linkin Park, it also has some hip hop and rap although I couldn't tell you the artists, because I don't really follow it.

    Story: Take your fighter through indy group organizations, and be trained by Bas Rutten. Awesome!

    Pros:
    • Fight System makes more sense, and is fluid
    • BAS RUTTEN!!
    • Fighter Share, this game has the potential to be Fire Pro Wrestling with the matchups you can make on the MMA side
    • Career is not bogged down with mindless mini-games
    • Has Japan fighters that you do not have in other games, and if you can't find a fighter go online, and you can download them
    • The price: 19.99


    Cons:
    • Fighter can be pretty one dimensional
    • The Boxing part can be tough with the analog stick
    • Not able to use Fighter Share in career mode, has to be a fighter you create
    • Some trophies are impossible to achieve


    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences): For 19.99 you can not beat this game. It is crisper than UFC, makes a lot more sense, the ground game is very technical, and the career mode is very robust. Being able to download any MMA fighter via Fighter Share is awesome, and if you want to go online the online mode is insane, especially with live broadcast.

    Score (out of 10): 8.75
    If you are a UFC fanboy, and will not buy this game because it doesn't have UFC fighters on it, get over it! This game is insane, you can add UFC fighters in the game if you would like, and again for 19.99 you're not gambling on a big 59.99 purchase. I think this game will go under as one of the most under rated games on the market.

  6. #6
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    MuffinMan's Avatar

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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: Final Fantasy IX (9)

    Console: Playstation 1
    Developer: SquareSoft
    Year Released: 2000
    Genre: RPG

    Gameplay: Gameplay here is simple, yet fun. Many people are not fans of the turn-based style of combat, but, growing up as a Final Fantasy fan since Day 1, I can say they really struck oil here. While it seems the same to other, fans like me can see how much this has improved. Being the same simple strike-and-wait combat, that doesn't mean it's not fun. SquareSoft really put effort into making each enemy different and unique and made it a bit more challenging in terms of combat, without getting too hard. New spells and summons broaden the players arsenal of weaponry and allows for more ways to formulate a unique strategy when creating your party.

    Now, onto probably the biggest part of any RPG; THE ITEMS! Another thing SquareSoft really focused on and made perfect. I was a huge fan of the Materia system in Final Fantasy VII, but was not a fan of the overly complicated 'Junction System' from Final Fantasy VIII. But, in Final Fantasy IX, players get to add spells and bonuses to their characters by giving them a specific item. Once that character kills enough enemies and get enough AP, the ability from the item is permanently learned and won't be forgotten for the rest of the game. This system is something I found incredibly easy to get the hang of, yet still a challenge (in a good way), as you would need to have different pieces of armor going into certain boss battles. This makes you want to level up before each battle while having fun and feeling a source of accomplishment afterwards. Absolutely a great touch to a great game.

    Next, we have the boss battles. Boss battles are another thing in this installment that SquareSoft really wanted to focus on and make perfect. Well, you did it. Each boss and every battle is specifically crafted for the level of play. The farther in the game you are, the harder the bosses get. Simple and effective, which is very nice. Each boss will take both preparation, strategy, and calculation, which fans of the series should be used to. Even though it has been the same in every game, they really made these bosses feel unique.

    Last, but not least, we have the simple features in the game that make it into such a unique experience. Finding items while roaming a city or town is basically the same, but, this time they added an alert to let you know when you're next to an item. Simply running past a bush with an item in it while cause a little text bubble with an "!" in it to alert players of nearby items. A fine touch which makes finding items easier and allows for more exclusive items to be found without the use of a guide. The new style of limit breaks, known as Trances, are very nice. It is different from it's predecessors because it doesn't allow for a simple move, it causes the character to go into an altered state for a few turns which adds bonuses to damage as well as a whole new array of spells and abilities. There's even a new mail system called the Mognet. These 'side missions' follow the player delivering mail from one Moogle creature to another. This allows for opportunities to get unique items and some sort of a back story on the Moogles. The new card game, 'Tetra Master', allows the player to embark on a series of card mini games that are a nice break from the actual story. Players will want to spend time getting the best cards and battling all sorts of in-game characters to expand their card collection.

    Graphics & Audio: Absolutely beautiful. While the graphics may not be as ground breaking as they were, you have to look at how good they were compared to games from the same generation. Some of the best graphics I've seen in a Playstation game. Each character model is created for a unique feel and they programmers really focused on making not only the main characters unique, but they made all the ones you encounter just as unique. Event he cut scenes are untouched by any animation that came before it, and even better than some after. Top notch graphics, compared to the time of release.

    Now, for the audio. Each place, the world map, the battle scenes, the boss battles and even the main boss battles each have their own distinct songs that are some of Nobuo Uematsu's best work... Scratch that. This IS his best work. Every ballad is absolutely breath taking I couldn't be happier with the music. The sounds shine as well as each instance has a unique sound as well, whether it be a weapon, spell, summon or even a cut scene.

    Story: This is Final Fantasy's biggest game yet, so telling you every aspect of the story would be pages long, so I'll try to sum it up. Zidane Tribal and his band of loyal, thievish followers are in a group known as Tantalus. Their mission; Kidnap the Princess of Alexandria, Garnet Til Alexandros XVII. While everything seems to be going according to plan, Zidane and his posse partake in Alexandria's most famous play, 'I Want To Be Your Canary', on Garnet's 16th birthday. During the play, Garnet end up going missing and when Zidane finds her, she asks him to kidnap her. He agrees, and the party escapes Alexandria with the Princess. But, not without a fight from the Brahne, the Queen of Alexandria. Along their journey they meet Steiner, a Pluto Knight from Alexandria with protecting the princess being his only mission. They also encounter a soft-spoken mage named Vivi, who's having trouble finding out who he really is, like Zidane. Through this, each character has his/her own back story and mission to accomplish. Throughout this, they battle all sorts of monsters and entities, while finding out not only who the bad guys are, but finding out who they all are as well.

    If you want to know more, go pick up the game. Simply the best story I've seen in a game, EVER.

    Pros: Stunning graphics, story, music, and gameplay. A game that was truly ahead of it's time, and ahead of almost any RPG even being released today.

    Cons: None.

    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences): Quite simply, the greatest game I've ever played. If you are an RPG fan or simply a fan of the Playstation, YOU NEED THIS GAME. 10/10



  7. #7
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    I created a thread just like this a few months back, but it was probably not as well constructed.

    I also have a question and that is can we review DLC (Downloadable Content) such as map packs or add-ons to a game's single player. Separately or should we add it to our review of the original game?

    Anyway here is my review for Call of Duty: Black Ops.
    Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops

    Console:
    PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and Microsoft Windows
    Developer: Treyarch
    Year Released:
    2010
    Genre:
    First Person Shooter

    Gameplay:
    Call of Duty: Black Ops consists of many different game types which are Online/Offline Multiplayer, Zombies game mode, and of course the Campaign. As for the playability it is definitely there, but latency does tend to occur quite a lot within the online, but the controls still work properly for the most part.

    Campaign:In the campaign you take control of different characters to view different perspectives of the story. I won't go in to a whole lot of depth with the story just in case no one has not played any of

    Graphics & Audio:
    Graphics are similar to most other Call of Duty games, but are a slight step down from Modern Warfare 2's, but that game has different developers so there isn't much need to get into all that. The audio isn't flawed in any way really except for a few minor things that sometimes are faintly heard if at all in the multiplayer at times.

    Graphics: 8.5/10
    Audio: 9/10

    Story:
    As I said I won't state much other than it occurs around the Cold War time and you take control of different people.

    Pros:
    The campaign is pretty interesting and the favorite zombie mode has its return in the newest Call of Duty Treyarch game.

    Cons:
    The online still has plenty of mess ups, whether it be the servers dropping or unfair perks, guns, or class set-ups. The game has improved something people raged about in the online of MW2, but can tend to be less exciting when online.

    Brief Summary:
    All in all its an okay game, but does have its flaws with no doubt. It will still appeal to the FPS fans, but of course like most other popular franchises it just does not quite live up to the hype.

    Overall rating: 8/10

    Second Look Rating: 8.3/10


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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainC View Post
    I also have a question and that is can we review DLC (Downloadable Content) such as map packs or add-ons to a game's single player. Separately or should we add it to our review of the original game?
    Great question, CaptainC.

    Go ahead and review DLC separately and I will tack it on in the 'Archive' beneath the original review. I appreciate everyone's contributions here and I'm hoping this thread can thrive as a useful resource to the gamers of WC.




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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: MLB 11: The Show

    Console: PS3
    Developer: SCE Studios San Diego
    Year Released: 2011
    Genre: Sports

    Gameplay: The gameplay is not like it used to be. With going analog it takes some getting used to which I have not yet. I much prefer the classic controls. With that said I am going to stick with the analog for now. It seems to make it much more realistic. It will just take time.

    Graphics & Audio: As always with The Show, both are top notch, from batters stances, to slick fielding and animation. The audio is about what you would expect. Not great again, but not bad. Losing Rex Hudler will hurt, but Eric Karros so far seems to fill in fine. I'd rather have had Dave Campbell gone instead of Hudler though.

    Story: N/A

    Pros: Graphics, slick gameplay and all around look and feel of the game. You can create your custom settings on any game play.

    Cons: Menus. I liked the previous menus and I'm sure after time I will like these too, but for now they just seem clunky and hard to navigate. I still have yet to find a create a user anywhere on the menus. I went to create and it was letting me create my settings. Still a PS only game, which sucks for Xbox users.

    Brief Summary: Overall, this is another home run. Everything about the game screams great so far. It should not come as any surprise though since it happens every year. If you're a fan of baseball and the show series thus far, you won't be disappointed.

  10. #10
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by The Natural View Post
    Great question, CaptainC.

    Go ahead and review DLC separately and I will tack it on in the 'Archive' beneath the original review. I appreciate everyone's contributions here and I'm hoping this thread can thrive as a useful resource to the gamers of WC.
    If a game has already been reviewed by the same user (Eg. C's CoD review), could you please edit it in the original post? Now that's only if it's something minor. If it's something big like a Single-Player add on then go ahead and make a new post, but for map packs, could you please edit them in if your review is small (Go ahead and make a new post if it's quite a big review though)

    Please and thank you's

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  11. #11
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Okay. My review for the First Strike DLC for CoD: Black Ops


    Game:
    Call of Duty: Black Ops First Strike DLC pack.

    Console:
    PS3, Xbox 360
    Developer: Treyarch
    Year Released:
    2011
    Genre: First Person Shooter

    Content:
    4 new online multiplayer maps and 1 new zombie map.

    Thoughts on Multiplayer Maps:
    The new maps in my opinion are very appealing and I even prefer to play them over the maps that came included with the game.

    Thoughts on Zombie Map:
    Ascension is a very fun and a fairly medium to large map. This new map includes new things like the Russian Doll Grenades, Space Monkeys instead of dogs, Lunar travel pads, and much more including the Gersch Device.

    Pros:
    New maps to mess around on and when the maps debuted on the weekends double xp was available. New online section for the maps so you can only play the DLC maps if you want.

    Cons:
    With new maps come new updates and new glitches that come with slight annoyance. Also when playing the new online multiplayer maps there is a much higher chance of replaying the same map multiple times in a row.

    Rating:
    9/10

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakstang
    I would much rather please God than men.

  12. #12
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011
    Console: Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, PC, PSP, Wii
    Developer: Konami
    Year Released: 2010 (October)
    Genre: Sports (Football/Soccer depending on where you're from)

    Backstory: Just a brief history lesson on the rivalry between PES and FIFA. In the 90's and early noughties, FIFA was pretty much THE football game, but it had very little in the way of competition. Then in late 2001, a japanese football game with a very arcade feel to gameplay was rebranded as Pro Evolution Soccer and released in Europe. By PES 4 in 2004 it has obtained a cult like status by gamers bored of FIFA's stale offering and was tauted as the future of football gaming. By 2005/2006 due to it's growing reputation and FIFA's demise, PES was widely accepted as the current #1 title in it's field. Then as the next gen consoles arised, FIFA really stepped up the gears and dramatically improved whilst PES rested on their laurels and did nothing, since then FIFA has taken back it's crown in the next gen era.

    Gameplay: Big changes, really big. PES seem to be listening to the voice of the current sports gamers, realism was the key issue, something FIFA claimed they had the stranglehold on. With that in mind, Konami have finally toned down the arcade, quick passing, hundred mile an hour gameplay that the series was famous for. In PES 2011, the gameplay is the closest to FIFA it's ever been, it's slower and feels more authentic. New additions like the 360 degree passing (i.e. being able to direct you passing in any direction) and a sensitive power gauge (passes, shots and through balls now require the right weight of pass/power) are welcome additions, but take some getting used to. A real step forward

    Graphics & Audio: The commentary is ok, but main commentator Jon Champion has a lot of phrases/soundbites carried over from PES 2010, so repititiveness is an issue. The graphics are the best they've ever been since moving to next gen consoles and players faces and features are beautifully detailed

    Story: There's no story in the PES series, but plenty of differnet modes to get addicted to such as Master League (where you control one team and try to make it the best you can buy making the right deals in the transfer market, balancing the books, developing young players and ultimately winning matches) and Become a Legend (where you only control one player on your team, you start off as a youth team player and strive to improve to greater things)




    Pros:
    • Master League brilliant as always
    • Player Animation very detailed, best it's ever looked
    • Eventually the 360 passing becomes natural giving the most realistic PES ever
    • Tricks/Skills have been giving a much needed facelift, for the previous eight game you only had the same 5-6 stock tricks
    • Easy to navigate edit mode to make transfers/new kits etc to keep up to date with real life football, plus a new create a stadium option
    Cons:
    • commentary by Jon Champion is almost identical to last years PES, in some cases it's the same exact soundbites - Lazy!
    • Licensing Issues (in particular only two premier league clubs have the current kits and logos) will still put people off. ***Patches can be downloaded with the correct kits/logos/squads to get around this issue***
    • For a game that came out in October, they seem to have ignored the summer transfer window quite a lot so the squad defaults are wrong. Again that's lazy, I can accept deals done at the end of the window might be pushing it if Konami are up against a tight deadline, but there were some transfers that happened in July that they didn't bother to fix
    • The new gameplay will take maybe a week to get comfortable with
    Brief Summary: PES needed radical changes in gameplay to bring it up to the realism that current day gamers demanded, PES delivered in that respect and it's one player modes outshine those offered by it's FIFA counterpart. In my opinion having played both games, PES is the superior title with lack of licensing only holding PES back, and whilst game sales prove the market still prefer EA Sports's offering, there's little doubt in my mind that PES has taken a big step on the road to being the #1 game in it's field. PES is back!!

    Score (out of 10): 8/10 would be the average score I'd give it, to me it's a 9, 9.5/10 because I love the series, but this game isn't for everyone, i.e. non-sports fans
    Last edited by Ed; 03-13-2011 at 09:23 AM.

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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: NBA 2K11

    Console: Xbox 360

    Developer: 2K

    Year Released: 2K10

    Genre: Sports, Basketball

    Gameplay: The gameplay in this game is simply outstanding. The game just has a really good flow to it. Be it hitting 11 3's with Ray Allen in the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat (Just done it) or coming back from a 22 point deficit with the Raptors against the heavily favoured Utah Jazz (both in my Raptors game). There is too much realism for it to be even conversed. Overall, gameplay is a 9.0/10. With the extra 1.0 not being added on because of some small glitches

    Graphics & Audio: Graphics are outstanding, especially on courts and player models. Although the dynamic crowds didn't quite work out as planned. Audio = amazing. Clutch situations, your team down by 2 with 0:05 left on the clock and the crowd are in a frenzy. Maybe your on a 12-0 streak and fighting your way into the game and you can almost not here the commentators due to the sound. Or maybe your on the opposing side of a streak and the crowd is booing you to the heavens. It's all here and it's all amazing. 9.5/10.

    Story: The story is fully up to you. You can do what I'm doing currently, which is trying to take the Toronto Raptors from one of the worst teams in the league to the very best. Or maybe you want to take a title to South Beach with LeBron and co. It's all up to you

    Pros:
    Amazing graphics
    Great Audio
    Outstanding MyPlayer Mode
    Awesome Association
    Smoove gameplay
    All-round Awesome

    Cons:
    Dynamic crowds not working
    Some graphic glitches, nothing major.
    Freezing occasionally in Association and My Player


    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences): Best sports game of all time? No doubt

    Score outta 10:
    9.75/10

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  14. #14
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Didn't Epic Andy already review NBA 2K11, seems like a very popular game at the moment

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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    It's always nice to have a few reviews of the same thing. Gives a different perspective.

  16. #16
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: Red Dead: Redemption

    Console: XBox 360
    Developer: Rockstar North/San Diego
    Year Released: 2010
    Genre: Western, Action-Adventure

    Gameplay: Game runs very smooth for such a large and interactive game. The gun lock-on is usually spot on, and if it doesn't lock on to your target then it will at least get you close, then you just have to move the cursor a bit and shoot. If you don't use decide to use lock-on then it might be harder... moving the gun manually while running and dashing away can be hard, even if you're just standing there trying to get on to your target it can be hard. You have to just stand there for a moment and aim. After you use a gun to take out a bunch of enemies (or people that just "got in your way") though you feel like a total badass!
    Another bad thing I found when dealing with guns is that you're forced to aim before shooting. So no shooting from the hip. This may make things more efficient but it's makes sure you have to press and extra button. Just a minor grief.

    The game has a great sense of movement to your character. Things like dodging with a side/back/forward roll all work great, and what's even better is the jumping/climbing! Being able to vault over any rail of fence, and climb up on any roof top low enough is amazingly fun as apposed to other game that only allow you to jump over certain rails etc.. such as Fable.

    The game sends you to many different locations, one of the big ones being Mexico. Out of all the places to travel Mexico seems like it should be a huge, interesting leaps, but instead it comes off boring, open with nothing to do. A much better place is the small towns of Blackwater and Armadillo which both have a certain charm to them.

    Graphics & Audio: Red Dead has some of if not the best characters I've ever seen! Everyone looks incredibly life like, and has their own sound. Maybe not every character in the game has a different model but it's not often I found a character and his 'twin' in the same town.
    John Marston has an amazing voice actor (whom ever he is) and some of the other characters all have unique voices/looks, one that comes to mind for sure is Seth. Without a doubt the best character all around.

    Story: John Marston is sent to hunt down his former allies of a gang he used to run with. When he catches them he'll be able to return to his family. This is how the game starts off but you'll probably forget all about that as you run into many side missions, and the direct plot takes a detour. You meet with many interesing characters, some good, some bad.
    The bad one you'll be forced to do tasks for is Nigel Dickens. His tasks are boring, meaningless, and most of the time just plain stupid! Like I've already said, the good characters you'll meet are Seth who's just a fun, hilarious, and wacky character. Another is the sheriff of Armadillo who leads you on some interesting missions, and just has the sense of a solid regular character.

    Multiplayer: Although it's not necessary for this certain game, and usually a single player focused game with multiplayer thrown in doesn't exactly work well, and no matter what the community doesn't last long online, but with RDR the multiplayer is fun! The games version of 'Team Deathmatch' starts out with a gang vs gang line up shoot out which is interesting and great to stay true to the western roots even in multiplayer.
    Other then that there's just free roam which may not be too fun alone, but when you're playing with a friend can be very fun.

    Pros: - Looks amazing
    - Fun multiplayer
    - Interesting characters
    - Open world

    Cons: - Some missions can be boring
    - Strays away from the original course

    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences):
    In closing Red Dead: Redemption is an amazing game that will in my mind be remembered for many generations. The game looks beautiful and runs great, and the characters draw you in.

    Red Dead:Redemption get's a 10/10
    Last edited by Kakarot; 03-25-2011 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Screw it, I didn't want to give a 10/10 on my first review, but this deserves it!

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    Batman : Arkham Asylum review

    Game: Batman: Arkham Asylum

    Console: Xbox 360
    Developer: Rocksteady
    Year Released: 2010
    Genre: Stealth, Action/Adventure

    Gameplay:
    I have a bad history with Batman games. Probably because most of them are garbage. The Adventures of Batman & Robin for Super Nintendo comes to mind as a rare exception. That said, I was coming in to Batman: Arkham Asylum (AA) via word of mouth. People I trust had hyped it up to be great and they weren't kidding. AA sports some of the best combo fighting I've seen in a game that wasn't a strict fighting game. There are only a few times where you can't use your grappling hook and I would say they make a strong case for why you shouldn't be able to. Overall, the gameplay was fantastic. If Rocksteady were to make a kung fu action game, I would pre-order it in a heartbeat.

    Graphics & Audio:
    The music was chilling, the graphics were great, and the AA interpretations of classic Batman characters was both intriguing and inspired. The voice acting was top notch and among the best for any videogame I've ever played that utilizes pre-established characters such as this. There isn't much to say about the graphics and audio. I will note, however, that there are "patient interviews" scattered around the asylum... audio files that you can collect as bonus fluff. They are amazing. Very chilling stuff. Listening to Harley Quinn before she was Harley Quinn as a doctor interviewing The Joker was really telling. Hearing Zsasz speak of his fixation with killing was chilling. It all came together to create a very creepy atmosphere that made the immersion factor for this game unrelenting.

    Story:
    Without ruining things, the story is this. The Joker has managed to take over Arkham Asylum. He's strategically freed some of Batman's greatest villains in an attempt to slow the dark knight down as he completes his evil plan. As the Batman, you have to save personnel, disarm criminals, and stop the Joker before his plan is complete. I was very satisfied with the story that was told.

    Pros:
    • Batarangs - They were used ever so efficiently in the animated series that to use them sparingly would not feel true to form. Luckily, this game makes great use of batarangs and other bat-gadgets that really make you feel like you're in control of a genius who is one step ahead of his enemies.
    • The Villains - An excellent choice of villains for this game: The Joker, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Bane, Scarecrow, and more. And the ones that weren't major players in the game still left their impression - whether it's Clayface portraying different characters from the safety of his cell, or the Mad Hatter's tea set left lying around in the gardens...
    • Fighting - As previously noted, the fighting system in this game is epic. It's the best part of the game by far and it's worth noting that I was anxious for the next fight as soon as I finished one.


    Cons:
    • Detective Mode - At first, it was really cool to change Batman's vision to 'detective mode' and see clues scattered about. After a while, however, Batman's regular vision took a backseat to 'detective mode' and more often than not it was the norm. I don't like this because the art direction in this game is fantastic and a lot of it went ignored as I ended up using 'detective mode' (which turns things blue, for the most part) the majority of the time out of necessity.
    • The Scarecrow - I love the Scarecrow and I think Cillian Murphy's portrayal of him in The Dark Knight was fantastic. This isn't the Dark Knight, I realize that, however the Scarecrow came off as the most cartoonish character to me. It wouldn't have been so bad if my gripe was only aesthetic, but the gameplay in his portions of the game was dreadful. Gone were my thrilling fight scenes and daring grapple hook adventures, replaced with side-scrolling trial and error set in the twisted universe Scarecrow's fear serum brings you to. Not a fan.
    • Plants, Plants, Plants - I'm not even going to lie, Poison Ivy is straight up hot in this game. The fact that her voice sounds very close to Uma Thurman's doesn't hurt, either. But part of the game sees Poison Ivy unleashing violent plants all over the asylum and it enters the realm of cartoon horror at that point. What was a gritty, realistic, and violent tale turned into Mario. Definitely not a fan.


    Brief Summary (1-2 Sentences):
    It's not perfect, but it's as close to perfect as a Batman game has ever come. It's worth playing through if you like good games and is a must play if you like Batman. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel, Arkham City.




  18. #18
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    I should be doing a review of Final Fantasy VII, God of War III, and Resident Evil 5 in the near future. I've enjoyed everyone's reviews so far. Keep them up.



  19. #19
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Game: Dragon Age II

    Console: Xbox 360
    Developer: Bioware
    Year Released: 2011
    Genre: RPG

    Gameplay: Dragon Age II was most noticeably difference in the combat department. Instead of employing the "auto attack" system from the first game and subsequent expansion, Dragon Age II utilized an A button smash fest to deal damage. Some people might be turned off by needing to constantly crank the A button, but I got bored of Origins' simple "point and click" system and Dragon Age II made me feel like I was actually dealing the damage this time. Party control remained the same for the most part. There were very minimal changes to potions and general item use. Runes, a huge part of the first game, became further streamlined to the point that you had to find recipes to craft Runes and then purchase them. Runes didn't really seem to have an effect on weapons or armor in Dragon Age II compared to how they could turn the tide in the original game.

    Graphics & Audio: Dragon Age II had a noticeable difference in graphic presentation and it paid off. There weren't as many environments (in fact you were trekking through the same five or six for the entire game) as you could find in the first game. But the sequel really polished up character models and the scenery was vastly improved over the last game. Where Origins at times looked like it was straight out of 2003, Dragon Age II refined the graphics and everything looked and felt smooth.

    Story: While following a somewhat similar story of unknown warrior becomes feared legend like Origins, DA II starts off with a completely different tone. The outline of the game is basically a particular character being interrogated about how Hawke had involvement with the eventual plot end. The gameplay that you experience is the "in between" years and it was a pretty neat way to tell a story. There are companion quests that pop up that have differing appeal. The characters themselves felt a lot different than Origins. This all revolves around personal taste, but in Origins I actually felt guilty if I didn't take certain party members out Darkspawn clubbing after a while. I had my favorites but I tried to give everyone some attention. With Dragon Age II however, I really only connected with three characters and used them exclusively after a while. In hindsight, main plot points could be deemed predictable and expected, but in the moment nothing felt cheap and I didn't really anticipate what was coming next. The story was so good that I didn't want to worry about how it was all going to end. I wanted to experience one second at a time to truly appreciate it for what it was.

    Pros: Streamlined graphics, superb voice acting, excellent story surrounded with interesting characters, updated combat system added a twist to a stale system from the original game, possessed a "one more quest" feeling that kept me going for hours after I thought I was going to stop, improved dialogue system allowed for easier conversations and had a fun way of providing unique discussions.

    Cons: Recycled environments and a particular set of repetitive quests really sucked immersion out of the experience, the game hard locked on me twice (once towards the end of the game forcing me to replay an annoying battle) and had a few minor glitches that weren't necessarily gamebreaking but unattractive, the climax of the story didn't seem like you really affected the outcome.

    Brief Summary: For me, Dragon Age II is a must-play game. If you liked the first game you should get along with the sequel well enough to warrant a playthrough. My biggest gripe with the game aside from environments repeating too much has to be the ending. Without spoiling anything, it simply didn't feel like the decisions I mad had any effect it all. In a sense that is probably for the best since I felt rather neutral about the issues at hand and I could basically point and say, "I told you so." But the payoff of completing the game just wasn't there like it usually is in a Bioware game. Not that it was disappointing to the extent that it was horrible or pissed me off. It just didn't really feel like it had "weight" to it and that is the only department that I felt Dragon Age II fell short with.

  20. #20
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    Re: Videogame Reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by Coxatron View Post
    Game: Dragon Age II

    Console: Xbox 360
    Developer: Bioware
    Year Released: 2011
    Genre: RPG

    Gameplay: Dragon Age II was most noticeably difference in the combat department. Instead of employing the "auto attack" system from the first game and subsequent expansion, Dragon Age II utilized an A button smash fest to deal damage. Some people might be turned off by needing to constantly crank the A button, but I got bored of Origins' simple "point and click" system and Dragon Age II made me feel like I was actually dealing the damage this time. Party control remained the same for the most part. There were very minimal changes to potions and general item use. Runes, a huge part of the first game, became further streamlined to the point that you had to find recipes to craft Runes and then purchase them. Runes didn't really seem to have an effect on weapons or armor in Dragon Age II compared to how they could turn the tide in the original game.

    Graphics & Audio: Dragon Age II had a noticeable difference in graphic presentation and it paid off. There weren't as many environments (in fact you were trekking through the same five or six for the entire game) as you could find in the first game. But the sequel really polished up character models and the scenery was vastly improved over the last game. Where Origins at times looked like it was straight out of 2003, Dragon Age II refined the graphics and everything looked and felt smooth.

    Story: While following a somewhat similar story of unknown warrior becomes feared legend like Origins, DA II starts off with a completely different tone. The outline of the game is basically a particular character being interrogated about how Hawke had involvement with the eventual plot end. The gameplay that you experience is the "in between" years and it was a pretty neat way to tell a story. There are companion quests that pop up that have differing appeal. The characters themselves felt a lot different than Origins. This all revolves around personal taste, but in Origins I actually felt guilty if I didn't take certain party members out Darkspawn clubbing after a while. I had my favorites but I tried to give everyone some attention. With Dragon Age II however, I really only connected with three characters and used them exclusively after a while. In hindsight, main plot points could be deemed predictable and expected, but in the moment nothing felt cheap and I didn't really anticipate what was coming next. The story was so good that I didn't want to worry about how it was all going to end. I wanted to experience one second at a time to truly appreciate it for what it was.

    Pros: Streamlined graphics, superb voice acting, excellent story surrounded with interesting characters, updated combat system added a twist to a stale system from the original game, possessed a "one more quest" feeling that kept me going for hours after I thought I was going to stop, improved dialogue system allowed for easier conversations and had a fun way of providing unique discussions.

    Cons: Recycled environments and a particular set of repetitive quests really sucked immersion out of the experience, the game hard locked on me twice (once towards the end of the game forcing me to replay an annoying battle) and had a few minor glitches that weren't necessarily gamebreaking but unattractive, the climax of the story didn't seem like you really affected the outcome.

    Brief Summary: For me, Dragon Age II is a must-play game. If you liked the first game you should get along with the sequel well enough to warrant a playthrough. My biggest gripe with the game aside from environments repeating too much has to be the ending. Without spoiling anything, it simply didn't feel like the decisions I mad had any effect it all. In a sense that is probably for the best since I felt rather neutral about the issues at hand and I could basically point and say, "I told you so." But the payoff of completing the game just wasn't there like it usually is in a Bioware game. Not that it was disappointing to the extent that it was horrible or pissed me off. It just didn't really feel like it had "weight" to it and that is the only department that I felt Dragon Age II fell short with.
    Kind of missed the point on this part, didn't you?



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